Friday, July 31, 2009

Another "First"

S&A spent the night with a friend last night. They've had sleepovers with Emily before, but this was the first time at a friend's house. I wasn't really nervous for them; they're great sleepers and they had each other, so I figured going to sleep wouldn't be a problem, and I was right. The problem came in the morning. When I logged onto Facebook this morning and saw my friend's post that all 3 girls were up at 4:30am (later revised to 4:06am!!!), I knew we were in for a looonnng day. Fortunately I managed to get them both to take a nap so they wouldn't be too cranky for our friends who came for dinner tonight. So, I guess their first sleepover was a partial success. I'm definitely not ready for one at our house, though!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

One Last Beach Trip Before School Starts

We have been gypsies this summer. I don't know why I've had such travel fever, but it's been fun! On a whim, I decided to take the girls to Dauphin Island for a few days. We went to Mobile for a night to help Mimi celebrate her birthday, then we drove down to the island Tuesday. It was a great trip.
We stayed at the Holiday Isle condominiums, right on the beach near the public pier (the pier to nowhere, since it's no longer in the water!). The girls were really brave in the water, swimming and body surfing and looking for hermit crabs. It was all great until Emily and Abby got stung by jellyfish. Now Abby says she'll never go in the ocean again.
We had a great time with Leslie, Thomas, and Emily, and we were sad to leave. On they way home, we started talking about where we want to go next. DisneyWorld, DisneyLand, and Maine are all on the list.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Big Weekend for Sarah!!

Look what Sarah learned this weekend:

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Way to go Sarah! We're so proud of you!

And yes, Abby is sad. She tried, but fell, and then she was too scared to try again. Sarah has always been first though: the first to crawl, the first to stand, the first to walk. Abby does things in her own time, on her own schedule.

NYC - Day Six

On Sunday, we took a cab uptown to the American Museum of Natural History. Perry had been wanting to go all week, so we decided to check it out. The girls have never been interested in dinosaurs before, but they really enjoyed this museum. It's HUGE and we probably only saw half of it. We went to the space show in the planetarium which was pretty cool.
After a couple of hours, we decided to go outside to get hot dogs from a cart and enjoy the beautiful weather. We sat in Central Park and ate our lunch and dessert, then headed through the park to 7th Ave. We walked most of the way but took a pedicab for a few blocks when the girls started getting tired. I should add that we walked A LOT this trip - about six miles a day!
We headed to Times Square to look for souvenir t-shirts, then met Susan at the Lion King. This was a fantastic show! The costumes and set are amazing.
Then, after the show, we met Fred at a great Mexican restaurant, then walked a little bit to the Flatiron building.
Sadly, this was our last day in the city. On Monday, we hung out at Fred's place and got ready for our trip home. We really weren't ready to leave.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

NYC - Day Five

Saturday was great. We were on the 8:30 ferry to Liberty Island. On our way there we passed Ground Zero - the only time I saw it on this trip. The ferry ride was great, but I will say that I think it's really sad how tight the security has to be at the Statue. We stood in line an hour and a half, mostly without backpacks (and therefore without snacks or water) because they had to be locked up, and then we passed through the most intense screening I've ever experienced, just to get up to the pedestal. Of course it was worth it, of course we forgot all about the waiting once we got up there, but still - I'm thinking that they shouldn't allow so many people to go over each day if it's going to require such long waits. I wish we could have gone up to the crown (it reopened on July 4th after being closed since 9/11), but security is even stricter for that and only 10 people an hour were allowed up. Maybe next time. I went up in '98, but I'd like Perry and the girls to experience it.
After that very long visit to Liberty Island, we really rushed through Ellis Island. In fact, the girls and I mostly just walked around outside and enjoyed the gorgeous day while Perry, Susan, and Fred explored the museum and the wall.
After a restful afternoon, we walked around Washington Square with Susan and Lucy. Then the girls went out to eat with S&F while Perry and I went out for sushi. Yummy sushi, with sake and a beer, too. A real date, just the two of us, in NYC. What a luxury - thank you my wonderful friends!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

NYC - Day Four

Talk about an early morning...we decided to go the filming of the Today Show. Unfortunately, it was also a Friday, in the summer, which meant they were having a concert in front of the studio, and to top it off, it was Rascal Flatts. So, Perry left the hotel at 4:45, and we walked down about 30 minutes later. Turns out we were probably about 4 hours too late to get close to the stage. Still, it we did manage to push up close to a side barricade so we could see the TV screens and get Daniel Radcliffe's autograph. And, it was quite an experience.
We headed back to the hotel around 8:30, and the girls and I decided to head to the Manhattan Children's Museum. This was probably the only disappointment of our trip. The girls had fun, but I couldn't believe how small this place is. I guess I'm just spoiled by the McWane Center, but after about an hour we were ready to leave.
That afternoon we went to Fred's office in Rockefeller Center. We were so lucky to get access to the beautiful roof gardens on his building. Then Fred took us up to the Top of the Rock, which was absolutely amazing.
We walked back to the hotel to get our bags, and moved to Fred's apartment in the West Village. It was really great to spend the weekend in an apartment in a neighborhood, away from the office buildings and tourist shops. We were just a few blocks from Washington Square, and we had lots of great neighborhood restaurants within walking distance. Many many thanks to Susan and Fred for their great hospitality!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NYC - Day Three

Thursday started early, when we met our PhotoTrek guide in Times Square at 8:30. This was a very fast-paced tour of some of the highlights of the city, including Times Square, Central Park, Grand Central Station, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Our guide took pictures of us throughout the morning, and we got several "frame-worthy" pics.
After the tour, we went back to the hotel for lunch and a break. Then the girls and I decided to go shopping, so we went to World of Disney (disappointing - they don't have characters anymore and the merchandise really wasn't anything special) and Toys R Us. The focal point of the Toys R Us store is the giant carousel, which we loved.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NYC - Day Two

On Day Two, our first full day in the city, Perry needed to be at his conference all day. So after a big breakfast at a diner, the girls and I walked to Central Park to check out the zoo. It's a very small zoo, but it was great. We had a wonderful morning looking at the animals and even petting and feeding some of them. We ate at the cafe at the zoo and then caught a cab down to Times Square. I really expected S&A to be overwhelmed and in awe of all the lights and signs and people, but they took it all in stride. We LOVED The Little Mermaid, and when it was over we went in a few stores. We walked back to the hotel for a quick break before dinner, but quickly realized that we were too tired to go out again. So, we ordered room service, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip for them. We ate chicken fingers and french fries and salad while sitting on the bed and watching TV. Perfect.

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NYC - Day One

Our flights to NYC were uneventful. The girls were great travelers. Once we got checked into our hotel (the Hilton on Ave. of the Americas), we decided to walk up to Central Park. Unfortunately, we stepped outside and realized it was raining! Not pouring, but still not great weather for the park. So we walked up to FAO Schwarz. By the time we finished looking around and buying stuffed animals and candy, the rain had stopped and we decided to head into the park. On a whim, we took a pedicab tour. We really lucked out - our driver was awesome. He's an actor (isn't everyone?) so he's very outgoing and friendly, and his knowledge of the history of the city was impressive. We ended the day with dinner at a little Italian restaurant around the corner from our hotel. It was a great first day!

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Monday, July 13, 2009

New York City!!

We're home, after an action-packed week in NYC. We had a fantastic trip, and I can't wait to post some of our (>400) pictures! I'm uploading them now, and hope to get them organized tomorrow so I can start posting. I think I'm going to make photo books for the girls; it was an incredible trip and I want them to always remember it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This Week

The girls and I went to Oak Mountain Monday morning to play at the beach. We took the J, as we affectionately call the Jeep, and I was a little worried because that's a pretty long trek on a hot day! But we had a blast getting there, especially driving through the tree tunnel on the road into the park. The beach was almost empty when we got there, and the temperature was perfect! We swam and built sand castles and played duck duck goose in the water and ate and swam and made mud pies. What a glorious morning! We were there three hours, so when we finally decided to head home we were hot, tired, and cranky. Not a good combination when you have to climb into the Jeep for a hot and loud drive home! Somehow Abby managed to sleep despite the wind and noise - when she's tired, she doesn't care where she is, she just sleeps. Just like her mom!
We went swimming with a friend yesterday, and this morning we went bowling (terrible action photo taken on my iPhone!). This afternoon we just hung out, playing games and swinging in the hammock and reading The Indian in the Cupboard. We're a little more than halfway through it now, and we're still loving it. It really is a looonnnnggg book, though! I have edited a few parts as I go along, especially the parts about the Indian scalping 30 white men. I just didn't want to have that conversation! But most of it is pretty kid-friendly.
Tomorrow they have a tennis lesson, we need to get to the library for more reading books, and we're getting ready for Emily (and Thomas and Leslie) who are coming in the afternoon. Should be a fun weekend!
Here's a pic of their new big-girl haircuts. Sarah has decided that hers isn't short enough, so we might be going back soon.