Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday-New York City!

From the beginning we have made a pact as a family NOT to sing THIS SONG at all today. Originally, we were going to go out to see the Statue of Liberty, but realize that that is a big hunk of a day, and decide to just explore the city..... So, we head into NYC from Secaucus on a cool train, Miles is SO excited, and a little sad it wasn't a longer ride...
We get off in Penn Station, and start walking, taking in all the sights. We make a stop here at Bryant Park as an homage to Tim Gunn....

Then head up towards Rockefeller Center, and stop off at American Girl Place!!
Caroline has always wanted to go there, and achieve her lifelong goal of getting her photo put on the front of the AG magazine. Done!!
Miles and Nick were able to tolerate about ten minutes of the store until they started breaking out in hives, due to the amount of estrogen floating in the air there, and went outside in search of pretzels. Then, much to Miles' delight, and lifelong dream achievement, we took the subway
up to Central Park West to the museum of Natural History, where we wander around, play with magnets and use the restrooms.
Then we take a little walk through Central Park (I always wanted to do that).
And go to Strawberry Fields, the John Lennon Memorial. We are a little tuckered, and spend some time on a shady bench, watching people from ALL OVER the world come to take their photo here.
Then we walk back to Times Square, see the Ed Sullivan Theater,
...find Caroline's comedy club we did not know she was running...
Managed to not buy the world's largest chocolate bar.
Watched these dudes breakdancing...
....walked around Times Square at night...
....and took a taxi back to Penn Station.
Good thing we have a car day tomorrow, our little feet are tired! A full NYC day!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


We got up a bit late this AM, I couldn't run, it was POURING rain, and I did not bring rain gear. I have a limit, and it is vacation and all....We packed up our gear, and headed north out of Annapolis. Thank goodness for the GPS! (That turned out to be the theme of the day) We drove
to Philadelphia, to get a good dose of American History. The kids really want to see the Liberty Bell. Along the way, we get some good information off this van.

....good to know. We get to Philadelphia, and find parking (!) and get out and walk around Independence Square, where all the historic buildings are. You need tickets to go inside, and we do not have them, and they are out of them. We enjoy them anyway from the outside....This is Independence Hall where the Constitution was written and signed.

We went to the Liberty Bell Exhibit, which you do not need tickets for, and learned a LOT about the ol' Bell. There has been TONS and TONS of paraphernalia made with the LB image over the years. Nick will not let me get this clock for the living room, and I really want it. He has no taste.

There is part of the old bell here, so you can 'touch liberty'. Of course we don't pass up that chance.
We found out that this is actually the third bell made from this material, as the first two cracked!!

A helpful ranger told us a bunch of stories about the bell, which I kind of forget. But it cracked when they were ringing it for George Washington's birthday in the 1840's. It was just a hairline crack, but they drilled the bigger crack into it for it to get the 'ringing' sound back into it. Then it cracked more, but they just took it down and replaced it.
They tried to get their money back from the company in England that it came from for being defective, and arriving in damaged condition, in the 1970's, but they said they had to send it back in the original packaging. Ha ha. Then

We went outside and walked around and saw these jokers. We think they might be Farbs, though.
Then we headed over to the Reading Terminal Market, and walked around a bit. Very much like Pike Place Market, but with more places to sit to eat.
We decide that while in Philadelphia, the obvious thing to eat is a CheeseSteak Sandwich....
And we are right....yum!
Then we hop back in the car, and head for NYC. We use every piece of technology that we have, the GPS, the Google phone, and my phone to figure out where to go. AAA is great and all, but their state maps are just not detailed enough sometimes! We are trying to go to Hoboken, NJ, and I called Marriott, and with all our accumulated points, we get 2 nights at the Marriott in Secaucus! (there is no Marriott in Hoboken....) We get there and check in, nice room, here is the view!
Then we decide to go into the city, and drive around at night and see some sights. We go to Times Square right away, and WOW, what a madhouse. People really do drive like maniacs, and the pedestrians have no fear. The lights are blinding, and Miles said, it's practically day here!

Then we drive over to Battery Park, to see Lady Liberty all lit up at night.
It was awesome until Caroline saw two rats.
Another full day!!! Whew, we are ready for bed.

Wednesday--Washington DC

Most of the family slept in a bit, but I got up and went running, around the Navy Stadium, twice. It was about like trying to run in a sauna, or a shower, but I survived. Humidity is so weird. We got on the road at about noon, and headed into DC to Aunt Cynthia's apartment. She said we can park there for free all day! Bonus! We haven't seen her since Paris, too long! We 'pop in' and say hello, Miles fiddles with her computer and new camera a bit, gets them working...Then we head out to the hotel lobby next door and meet Richard! Haven't seen him since Mexico! We eat lunch with him, and then hop the Metro down to the mall. We get to go down what was once the world's longest escalator. Seems like it could still be a contender. Miles is SO excited to be back on a subway, he just loves them. He got a map straightaway so he could study the best routes.
We get out and walk into the nearest museum to figure out which museums have the exhibits we want to see. We go down to the National Gallery, East Wing, to look at the Calder mobile, that's Miles' favorite. We see some modern and contemporary art, then walk through the light tunnel to the West Wing and see the Monets. Caroline recognized the bridge in the painting from Giverny. Then we walked through the sculpture garden and dipped our feet in the fountain (perhaps I have not mentioned how HOT it is here!!!), to the American History museum. Caroline HAD to see the ruby slippers which are there,and we all wanted to see Julia Child's kitchen.
We saw them both, and a cool video about engravings. Richard then had to leave, so we went back to Cynthia's apartment to regroup for dinner. We met Todd at Los Castanas, for Peruvian food. We haven't seen him in...15 years?! Too long, obviously.
Dinner was delicious, and then Todd called his Limo Driver, who picked us up for a nighttime monument tour. This is the Only Way to see DC monuments, btw. At night, not hot, they are lit up and beautiful, and with someone driving who knows exactly where they are going. And can park wherever they want. Just brilliant. We got back to Zoe's about 1 am. That was a pretty full first day of vacation!

Tuesday--Travel Day

Today we leave for our big trip back east. We have an afternoon flight, so it is very odd to not be rushing around. We got up, finished packing, and Geni came at 12:15. We SMASHED all the suitcases into the back of her Jetta, and made it to the airport with just the right amount of time to spare....Hopped onto our very full flight to Baltimore, watched lightning out the window of the airplane, read books, played cribbage, and arrived at about 10:30. Luggage was fine, (no drama),rented a car, (a PT Cruiser, oh man we look like dorks)and got on the road. We arrive at Zoe's around midnight and stay up a while chatting with Matt.

A travel day so unremarkable that we took absolutely no photos. OK, but I got one of the car.
Embarassing. Oh and here is Zoe and Matt's house!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Shaw Island Vacay

At the end of June, the kids and I went to the Warner's house on Shaw Island with Sally and Tai. We had not much of a plan, other than doing a lot of nothing...We actually did quite a bit, here are some highlights:

It was a GORGEOUS morning, and we took the ferry from Anacortes, making a stop on Lopez. The kids found the talkback station on the ferry, and immediately started giving me grief.

We arrive at their gorgeous house, which was moved to the island on a barge from Seattle...(They were even on TV!!)

The boys composed some music....
Played outside...

..on the rope swing...
Caroline did a lot of origami in the windowseat....
And baked cookies, twice. And a batch of brownies.We went to the Cutest Library on Earth...

....and the adorable general store for ice cream and root beer floats everyday. (I had mine with espresso, not root beer...)

Watched the deer walk by during dinner...
...and played cards each night....and watched the sunset.
SO relaxing, and SO fun. What a beautiful place.