Saturday, 29 August 2015

Coney Island

I love being a zoo member because we have access to all sorts of neat experiences offered by the zoo/aquarium. I am kind of an animal nerd in that way. One of these events was a meet the sharks at the New York Aquarium down in Coney Island. I was ecstatic! Sharks fascinate me/terrify me. You will find me glued to the TV during Shark Week every year. I love it! I was not going to miss this chance to get up close and personal with these creatures.

We woke up early on a Saturday to get all the way down to Coney Island, and of course the weekend trains sabotaged us. The weekend transportation is the worst! The slower bus/train schedules and changes hinder a weekend outing. I grumble about it every weekend, okay rant done. Anyway, we did make it to the Aquarium late so we missed the encounter, boo. The boys were both wearing shark shirts/onesies. Lyndon and I agreed that we were happier getting up earlier than and going than we would have been if we had stayed at home.

We did get to see the sharks way up close. It was awesome! They are in a large holding tank right now while their new exhibit is being finished. You can walk right up to the glass and stare right at them as they swim by. There was also a giant ray inside. It was awesome! We were all mesmerized watching them swim by. It was really really cool to be that close to them. And really that is about as close as I want to get to them. People are friends, not food! 

He stuck his head out really far and I thought he was going to try and climb through the railing. I just thought it was cute. I love his blonde little head.
Me and my boys! Raphael is hidden under his red sun hat. I love that I can say boys now.

The sea lion show was the best. If that is all we had done it would have been worth it. It is spectacular and pure awesome. I sincerely mean it is pure awesome. Dancing sea lions, sea lions diving off high dives, and pretending to be sharks?! Pure awesome. Cosette loved it asking all sorts of questions about what the sealion was doing. We had a blast.

We lucked out because the Coney Island sand sculpting contest was going on that same day. We did a quick walk through by some of them. The contest went on all afternoon so we did not get to see them finished, but from what we did see there are a lot of  talented sand sculptures out there. You can check out the winners of this year's contest here

Coney's Cones finished off our outing. Perfect summer day.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Philipsburg Manor and Kykuit

Our exploration of the Hudson Valley continues! There are several manors and estates that we have been on our list of things to do. Lyndon has been talking about going to the Rockefeller estate, Kykuit, for ages now, and we took advantage of him having some time off lately.

 The first stop of the day was to the Philipsburg Manor. We took this beautiful wooded path out the Manor with our tour group and went back in time to the year 1750 according to our tour guide. We visited the main house where we learned how the Philipses lived during that time. They were Dutch traders located in New York and used their Manor in the Hudson Valley as a trading center. Cosette and Henry were welcome and able to participate a lot during the tour. Cosette demonstrated how to carry pails of milk from the barn to the kitchen using a shoulder yoke, churn butter, and showed off how strong she was by picking up a dutch oven.  Henry decided to sit out and be a "silent" observer on the tour. Cosette particularly enjoyed the tour, which was a surprise! She has become very vocal and talkative to pretty much everyone we meet, and having the children participate on the tour certainly helped make it a much more meaningful experience. There were a couple more buildings on the farm we could tour, but we skipped out on them in order to make it to our tour of Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate.  

Kykuit is the Rockefeller estate that John D. Rockefeller built for his family and four generations of Rockefellers have lived there. The house and grounds are incredible! The tour starts at the visitors center where you take a bus up to the highest point in the area where the estate is located. Kykuit is the Dutch name for lookout which is appropriate as it looks out over the hudson valley. The view from the back balcony is incredible! I was pretty much in love with the house and grounds. The facade and fountain in the front alone were worth the trip. Actually, the stable was worth the trip. It didn't look like any old regular stable, more like a gothic architectural masterpiece. The whole place was impressive. Different generations of the family collected different types of art work. The house was filled with Chinese ceramics, modern sculptures, and my favorite piece there, a modern painting in the living room. I wish I could remember what it was called, but I can't. I do know that the MOMA, which was set up by Abby Rockefeller, borrowed the piece and then did not want to give it back. So the Rockefellers who it belonged to at the time asked the artist to make them a copy and he did. We heard a lot of great stories about the four generations of Rockefellers who lived there including using a can of Campbell's soup to prop up the TV because it was slightly tilted to the left. 
The kids held out pretty well on the tour. Cosette much prefered the Philipsburg Manor, I think only because that was the first tour we took that day. Towards the end of the tour she asked, "Why did Daddy make us come here?". It made me laugh. She made sure we got back to the bus on time to go back to the visitors center.  

It was a fun day and we came away with a greater appreciation for the year 1750 and the Rockefeller legacy. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Peach Picking

Lyndon was home this past week and it makes me miss the student days where we had all the flexibility in the world with our schedule. Spending all this time with him makes me sad to think about monday and not having him to ourselves. 

We went peach picking at our favorite pick your own farm outside the city, Barton Orchards. We really love this place. The drive through the Hudson Valley is beautiful and and worth the trip up there.

Since it was the middle of the week we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The kids were excited to pick the peaches off the trees and got picking happy and kept picking unripe greenish ones. We came home with a huge bag and have been snacking on them on them all week. Surprisingly we are almost out and I am not sick of peaches yet. We also picked a few early apples since who knows with Lyndon's work schedule if we will make it back up here this fall. A few photos from our peach picking outing below. It was just peachy.

My view while nursing. They were feeding the goats grass and giggling uncontrollably because the goats were licking their hands. Henry is our animal lover and for some reason gets really excited about goats. He enjoyed thist to the max.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Five Years

Today is our five year anniversary. Holy cow! That went by quick. Thinking about the last five years makes my head spin a little and I need to sit down, because it has been a quite the ride. It's hard to believe all the things that we have done. I cannot believe it's been five years since our time in Cambridge! Holy cow! It feels like we just moved from there yesterday. I vividly remember specific days and events that happened there like it was just last week. And Cosette being born. That was like a second ago, well actually that was Raphael. 

 I still remember the first day I saw him. He was the most handsome guy I had ever seen. It's my anniversary so I can say sappy things about my love.  We had a class together and he was so brilliant. Always answering question, giving these brilliant answers, and points in all the class discussions, plus his good looks. I didn't have a chance. I was absolutely shocked when he asked me out, seriously. I did a double take when I saw his name on my caller ID. Well, I asked him out first, but then he asked me out again, and again, and again. 

I am very grateful for him. He does everything in his power to make my dreams come true, even the ones I mention off hand. It's wonderful to have someone like that. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have someone love me like he does. And he tells me just about everyday how grateful he is to have married me. 

Okay, I'll stop being so sappy. Here are some wedding photos, because I have never posted any. We did not get our wedding photos till Cosette was eight months old. That day at the temple was crazy, and so has our life since, but in the best way. Three degrees, three kids, four countries, oh it's been an adventure. 

Happy Anniversary my love! You are Unforgettable baby!
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