Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Love Me Some Boys!

A Lovely Night for a Walk

Despite Sam fighting a bug of some sort (poor kid was quite familiar with the porcelain bus all day), we all took a nice walk in the evening. Sam sported his new Cars sunglasses and Thom sported his matching hat and shorts ensemble (which Ron thinks is dorky and i think is CUTE).

Lovin' the double stroller. Thanks again, Dad!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Season's First Picnic!

While inside at work all day, while it was busy being the first REAL warm day of Spring outside, i decided I'd love to do a picnic with the family after work. I called Ron at home to pass the idea by him and he said he had the very same idea! I called Dad ("Pop-Pop") to include him and HE said HE had the very same idea!!! WARM WEATHER syncs us all up! And why shouldn't it? - S'been a long time comin'. Sam's favorite place is OUTDOORS (specifically, he'll tell you: "My favorite place in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD is the PARK!"), and what better place to be. Ron put together some homemade potato salad, sliced up a mini watermelon and i brought home some dogs and buns. We packed it all up, gathered the kids, and headed to Pop-Pop's, where he then followed us up to Harris Hill, a favorite place when it's nice out and we're lookin for something to do, especially with Sam. Ron fired up the coals and Sam ran between us and the playground; that was exactly my plan (bwa-ha-ha). The dogs rocked, the watermelon was super yummy and the homemade potato salad totally hit the spot. Dad had a great time. WE ALL DID! The plan, however, was for Sam to ride some rides, but by the time we went over there, they had closed the ride area down. Instead, he picked out a blue train from their little gifty shop and he was happy as a clam. At one point i looked at each of my family members and realized how truly happy and fortunate i am. It's just plain nice to be surrounded by such love. Oh yeah!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Blast From the Past

My friend Kim, who i befriended the summer of 1991 working at a horseback riding camp in Vermont came to visit me! AFTER 18 YEARS!!! How cool is that!? She brought with her her wife Susan and their "Lil' Princess" Riley, who is one month older than Sam. The kids got along like peas and carrots, which rocked!

Kim, Susan and Riley arrived Sunday around 4 and after hugs and introductions, we turned right around and ventured to Harris Hill for kiddie rides and playtime. Sam and Riley loved the rides (of course!) and Thom chilled from his carseat watching everything and thinking about how he'll join in some day (soon!).

Then we came home and had some eats and the kids played together and watched some shows on t.v. It was really nice to catch up with both of them and i loved that talking and reminiscing with Kim came so easily. We got to laughing about our friend Sarah, who recently passed away, and her antics at the summer camp, one of which involved driving the boat and pulling Kim waterskiing. Sarah sped up and slowed down, over and over (I think on purpose, so that she could laugh, but we can't confirm that), and somehow, Kim managed to stay UP. She'd sink way down in the water, and then practically catapult OUT when Sarah would take off again. Good times...

The next morning, Ron and I prepared a big hearty bfast (waffles, eggs and bacon - YUM!) and Sam and Riley hung out in the living room playing and watching morning shows on PBS. The day was chilly and rainy, so any plans to play outside were thwarted. They were headed to Naples for the week, and ended up heading there around lunchtime. I hope they have good weather this week!

It was a fun 20 hours together. Went quick, but well worth it. I told Kim we are NOT to let another 17 years pass. I'll be making sure of that.

(If you would like to see all the pics from our visit together, have a gander.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Zee Beeg Appelle

On Thursday, April 16, Ron, Natalie and I went to NYC for the day! Ron's mom came over the night before to be here for the following day. We got up early, got Sam ready for school (got there 2 min before they were technically open!), and headed out by 7:30am! Natalie bought snackies for the car, so it was a straight shot. We got there and parked in a neighborhood on the Upper West Side where her friend lives. $12 for the day!!! If i ever return, I will do this again.

We walked around the corner and checked out the Ethiopian restaurant that Natalie was taken to for her birthday. Ron and I had never had Ethiopian before - Natalie said it was similar to Indian, which we ARE familiar with. And it was. It was very tasty. Most of their dishes, however, contain foods I like but they don't like me! I didn't mind.

After lunch, we hopped on the subway and headed to The Heart: Times Square. We went there purposely to check out the TKTS booth to see if we could find a discounted show for that night. When we arrived, the line was HORRENDOUS - hundreds of people. We all agreed we would not be standing around in this mess. We called Wicked's box office: nothing. We called Hair's box office: nothing. But i had printed out a 50% off deal the night before to a play called August: Osage County. Got a ton of good reviews and awards, including Best Play 2008. It was a drama. We decided to go for it and called and bought the tickets right then (standing next to the hundreds still waiting for TKTS to open). The show was at 7:30. It was 2:30.

We had five-ish hours to burn.

I'll always find it fun to watch cabs drive around in the city. It's an art form really. If you are watching from the sidewalk, it's an ebb and flow of yellow. There's never a hesitation, so if you are a person not paying attention, you just might die under the wheels of one, though somehow i don't think this happens very often. Zipping in and out, mysteriously never hitting, bumping or scraping another car. Wow. We hopped in one and rode a few blocks to our next destination:

The Museum of Sex. You read it right, folks. I wouldn't have thought of this place, but Natalie did and we were all game. For the sake of keeping this a FAMILY BLOG, I've linked a semi-naughty slideshow of pics (calm down, they aren't THAT juicy) when you click on the MoS photo to your left.

One of their featured exhibits focused on "The Sex Lives of Animals" which was really quite well done and INTERESTING. I gained a couple trivial nuggets. I loved the sculptures that the artist had, displaying full size animals in mid-copulation: the whole form was covered in masking tape and drawn on with pencil to render the fur/hair, etc. And the eyes were a realistic glass. Really cool. Ron especially liked the antelope threesome (which, you might find interesting to know, is common in the animal kingdom). Their were 2 other exhibits, "ACTION: Sex and the Moving Image" as well as their permanent collection, featuring a lot of "Do Not Touch" tags. Natalie got a stern "AHEM" from one of the security guards.

After that, we headed to a vintage clothing store I had spotted about 3 blocks back called Cheap Jack's Vintage Clothing. I was thinking it might be a glorified Sal Val or something. Ron headed right to the basement where the Men's section was, thinking he might find something circa 1920 for Hopey's wedding. As soon as i headed to one of the racks, i tried to tactfully contain my eyeballs; i don't need to stick OUT like a tourist. A terrycloth strapless shorts jumpsuit that i had in yellow in 1983 when i was a dorky chubby 12 yr old was being sold for $165!!!!!!!! I knew it was time to leave. I descended the stairs to meet Ron and his eyes told me that he had flipped over a price tag as well. C'est la vie.

So then we just decided to walk and see where it takes us. Within minutes, i wondered out loud how much it was to ride in one of those cycle rickshaws. I completely admire the guys that 'drive' them... it looks like HARD WORK - **AND** dangerous. See above commentary on the cabs, and now add a dude biking a RICKSHAW! While i was buying a big pretzel, Natalie and Ron got to chatting with one of the dudes and before we knew it, we were all hopping in. I caused a mini stink about it, highlighting the fact that this guy could NOT pull our weight. He assured me that he could and that he'd pulled 5 people before. I said he was lying, and reluctantly (but excitedly) got in. IT WAS FUN!!! He pulled us about 15 (?) blocks for $20. Now i can say i've done that.

I suggested we grab a beer, and we all concurred, so within minutes, we found a cool looking bar and lounge on 8th and 45th street called "Social." We each did one Tequila shot for fun (to the outrageous and "not Western NY prices" tune of $27!!) and hunkered down to relax with a couple beers. The bar started to fill up fast for Happy Hour. It was then that we had to get going to go see our show! But first: a quick slice of NY pizza (OH SO GOOD) and a triangle of Baklava.

We had good seats for the play (bought them blind). It was about 3 hours long with two 10 min intermissions. Ron really liked it but commented on its "downer" tone, which it certainly had, but that quality added to the play's success. I felt that it dragged from time to time, but by no means disenjoyed it. I've wanted to see a play/show in NYC for a VERY long time, and i finally did it. I'm glad. I think next time i would like to catch a musical or something off-off broadway where there's seating for 100 or something.

The drive home was LONNNNNGGG. I started the first leg, gave the reins to Ron at one point and woke to Natalie driving the last part. We were all very glad to pull in at 4:45am! I had scheduled myself to work at 10 and i really appreciated Ron letting me sleep-in while he yukked it up with the kiddos. Shirley, incidentally, had a GREAT day/night with the kids, which made me VERY happy to hear. I had called her during the play's first intermission and rest assured.

See ya next time, Big Apple.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter

Sam had a good time dying Easter Eggs for the first time. I set out the bowls and i let him drop the dye tablets in. I got him a "Cars"-themed egg dying kit (dye, shrink wraps, stickers and these useless egg holders). At first i was starting to think the whole thing was junk: first, the red tablet didn't dissolve at all, and when it did break apart, it was just clumpy and not making the water red. Then, the plastic 'shrink wrap' rings of Cars images that go around the egg - they didn't SHRINK. Initially. Turns out, the water had to be more than just "hot" - it had to be BOILING. Sam liked watching them shrink. And he was into dying the eggs, for a little bit, then he got bored. Fair enough buddy. That night, i also filled about 10 plastic eggs with candy m&ms, chocolate eggs and some with Bunny marshmallow Peeps (which Sam has since determined are "yucky" and gives them to Ron).

The next morning, as I got myself and Thom ready to meet Dad for breakfast out, Ron hid the eggs and then took Sam out to "find" them. Next year we'll be a little more challenging with the whole thing; this year, though, since it was all new to him, we basically laid them around for him to find. Ron held the basket (and the camera) and Sam plopped in his found eggs. Now he's got a fine little stash of 'treat eggs' for when he's good and/or finishes his meal.

Later that afternoon, Dad came back over to join us for supper that Ron made. Delicious! Chuck roast (no ham here... we work with what we got!), butternut squash and veggies. I made a pumpkin cream cheese boxed cakemix (upon Sam's request) for dessert. The whole meal was really yummy and we got some great leftovers from it. The day was just great... really nice to be spent with such an awesome family.

Check out this pic of Sam from two Easters ago. My how time flies...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Fun with Cheerios!

I was pleased as peaches (ha) to turn Sam's NON-nap into Funtime with Cheerios. Or as Sam likes to say: "Mom... we're havin' a NICE DAY together."