Monday, July 31, 2017

Bad Selfies in the Big Apple

I still can't believe it.  It feels like it was a wonderful dream.  A couple weeks ago I flew to New York City for the week with dear friends, Andrea and Jennilyn.
This is all the belongings I took with me for six days in the Big Apple.  Impressive, no?
See, I really am a minimalist at heart.
Andrea's daughter was doing a week long Broadway Prep camp for the week and Jennilyn and I tagged along to keep Andrea company.  This picture was the first of what we called "Bad Selfies" we took throughout our trip.
"Airport Bad Selfie"
We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Fortunately my fear of driving across bridges does not translate to walking across bridges.
New York feels larger than life-- so much activity on so many levels-- underground, all around, towering into the sky.  I don't think I'd enjoy living there, but it is so impressive that so many people can live in such a small space in such relative peace.  
We went to Coney Island.  I'd never been before and I felt so turn of the century!  Why?  I don't know-- I guess I've read about Coney Island in so many books set in the early 19th century that it just felt very American to me.
New York was quite hot and muggy-- obviously, it is summer-- but the beach was decidedly cooler and refreshing.
"Bad Selfie at the Soaring Eagle".  The next time you are with me and I suggest we ride a roller coaster, please remind me that I'm OLD and prone to motion sickness".  Horrid.
"Bad Selfie at Coney Island".
Biking through Central Park-- it's like we were living in a romantic comedy set in New York.
We did some "grounding" exercises in Central Park.  It was lovely.  I laid down on the grass and tried to soak it all it.  It was a nice break because frankly, I'm out of shape and the bike riding was kicking my tushy!
We ate at a tiny basement ramen restaurant.  It was interesting.  Who knew ramen could be chic?
Oh come on, you know I'm not very adventurous with my food.  But I do try.  And I'm glad to have friends who help me be more adventurous.
We had a marvelous time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I have not spent a lot of time in art museums in my life, but I quite enjoy them.  In a high school English class in Fairfax, Virginia we had to do a big project called an "Art Notebook".  Basically we had to research and put together reports on famous pieces of art.  It was pretty cool to see some of the pieces in person.  
For the record, I do not appreciate, nor understand most modern art pieces done in the last 75 years.  Do I lack and artist's heart?  Perhaps, but I've seen my children's artwork that seems more inspired than what passes for modern art.  Frankly, my messy garage seems more artistic than some of the "pieces" we saw.
Chelsea-High Line Meatpacking District walking tour.  It was fun, but not my favorite part of the trip.  Still, any excuse for another bad selfie.
We got all around town on the subway.  To be truthful, Andrea and Jennilyn navigated throughout the week and I just followed them around.  But I never got lost form them, so that's something.
Doughnuts from the Doughnuttery in Chelsea Market Place.  Bite-sized handmade doughnuts dipped and rolled in sugary spices and flavors.  YUMMY!
You might notice our eyes are a little red and puffy, like we've been crying.
Yes, this was the "Crying Bad Selfie".  We had just finished watching Dear Evan Hansen.  We LOVED it, and unless I'm mistaken it was the favorite play of the week. 
We had a lot of choices for such an award-- Cats, Anastasia, Dear Evan Hansen, The Great Comet of 1812, A Wall Apart, Bandstand, and Groundhog Day.
I loved Dear Evan Hansen, Bandstand and Anastasia.  I didn't care much for The Great Comet of 1812 or Groundhog Day and I'll talk more about A Wall Apart in a bit.  I loved, loved, loved watching the plays, but almost as much as I liked watching them, I loved discussing them with Andrea and JL.  So much good stuff to talk about and the crying about Dear Evan Hansen continued during dinner at Junior's.
The gal in the hat is Vanessa from South Africa.  We made friends on a double decker bus tour, so naturally we asked her to join in for a bad selfie.  I quite enjoyed the bus tour, but it was hot, hot, hot.
 Horror of horrors.
I had never been to a wax museum before and I will never go back to one.  CREEPY!
These wax figures were freaking me out.  They were like standing embalmed celebrities.  Couldn't get out there soon enough.
One of the very, very coolest things we did was attending a designer's run through of a new musical that was opening for a Broadway festival the next week.  In a small room, the cast, wearing their street clothes, performed for the first time, a full run through of their play for the set designers to watch.  It was AMAZING because we were the only observers not connected to the play and the actors were right in our faces.  I mean they were like less than two feet away, full invested, singing in our FACES!  At times it was almost awkward for me-- but it didn't appear to be awkward for them because they are professionals.  It was just so raw and real!
How did we get such an opportunity?  One of the playwrights was in an old ward with Andrea and somehow she got this invite.  It was my favorite experience of the whole trip.  And the play was about the Berlin Wall-- and since I lived in Berlin as a child, I felt quite a connection.
It was so intimate that we knew it was not the time for a selfie.  That would be tacky.
But at the intermission we couldn't help ourselves.  We had to snap a quick one.
Now for the worst (but my favorite) bad selfie of the week.  The museum of Fraunces Tavern had a little patriotic dress-up area, presumably for the children.  But whatever.  We couldn't help ourselves.  It just screamed for a bad selfie.
Fraunces Tavern was pretty cool-- it was where George Washington bid farewell to his officers when the British evacuated New York at the end of the Revolutionary War.  It was also a meeting place for The Sons of Liberty.
We went to the restaurant Serendipity that was featured in the movie Serendipity.  We enjoyed the tastiest  ice cream dessert with fresh berries and a raspberry sauce.  I love raspberry sauce!
Our sweet husbands unexpectedly greeted us at the airport on our return.  It was so nice to see them and so nice to be home.  This trip was unforgettable and I can hardly believe I got to go.  As much as I love home and and love routine and keeping a regular schedule, it is very good and so healthy to mix it up and have new experiences.  To get new perspective and to be in a different environment.  Thank you, Andrea for the opportunity.
The final bad selfie!
This little sweetie was almost as happy to see me as I was to see her.  She just hugged me for about 10 minutes.  I had sort of weaned her before I left, but thankfully (for both of us) she happily resumed nursing upon my return.  I missed her terribly and was so happy to get her squishy-ness back into my arms.  

Friday, July 7, 2017

Greta and Jules

Our visit to the pool on the 4th of July went so well, that we thought we'd try it again.  Brig and her kids and Misty and her girls joined us and it was delightful.  And these little sweetie cousins showed up in white sun bonnets and matching colored swimsuits and pictures just had to be taken!
So, so yummy!
They are so striking next to each other-- Jules has fair skin and black hair, Greta has light hair and tan skin.  I want them to be best little cousin friends.
They both loved the water.
Today is their Grandma Cannon's birthday.  She would have been 63 years old.  I have to think she smiled down on the site of these two little sweethearts together today.

Happy 18th Birthday, Clark

Clark turned 18 this week.  WOW!  They say the days are long and the years are short.  They say you hold your baby and blink your eyes and they are all grown up.
True that.

In very typical Clark fashion, he took matters into his own hands and planned his birthday celebration.  In the morning was hiking with Tanner and then a five hour space camp with these guys and two cousins who are going to BYU.
I missed his company on his birthday, but I love that he knew what he wanted to do and he made it happen.  I expect Clark will make a lot of good things happen in his life.
Perhaps not the best lighting, but I guess this picture proves you're never too old for space camp.
I think from now on every post will have some picture of Clark and Greta together.  I can't help it.  I don't want to help it.  It has made my heart so happy to see them together.
I am grateful for the relationship Clark has with his little brothers.  I am thankful to have had the privilege of raising Clark and learning from him.  I am thankful for the good example he has been to his siblings.  He is passionate and creative and driven and determined and honest and smart and dependable and clever and good.  
Happy 18th birthday, Clark!

4th of July 2017

This.  THIS!  Oh, yes, I did get 8 children to the pool, including swimsuits, towels, goggles, coolers of water and popsicles, folding chairs, and everyone sunscreened by 9:00 AM on the 4th of July!  This may be one of my greatest ever parental achievements!  
There was one motivating factor-- SHADE.  I wanted the spot under the big red umbrella.  As soon as the pool gates opened, we RAN for the shade and we spread out fast.  How selfish of us.  
I was rather daunted at the idea of taking all the kids swimming without Abe there to help.  But thanks to the older kids helping with younger ones, it was quite manageable and dare I say, it was even fun.   Peter seems quite happy in the water so we may be spending some more time at the pool this summer.
Cousins getting ready for diving for dollars.  Poor Faith sustained a kick to the eye during the feeding frenzy of children searching for money.  This may have been her last year participating in this barbaric, questionable use of city tax dollars.
Poor Peter.  The activity didn't go so well for him.  His obsession as of late is money.  Coinage.  He collects it all over the house.  He steals it from siblings.  We try to get him to keep it in a plastic ziploc bag to keep it out of Greta's reach.  He carries it around all day.  He sleeps with it.  He talks about it.  He cries about it.  He takes it on car rides.  
So when he saw the staff walking around the pool throwing tons of coinage into the pool and then they blew the whistle that the time had begun for the kids to get in and try to collect it--- Peter refused to get in.  We were confused.  We thought he would love to participate.
Instead he ran back to our belongings and found the coin he had brought with him (safely stored in the cup holder of a folding chair), then he ran back to the pool and THREW HIS COIN INTO THE POOL while all the kids were trying to pick up coins.  This picture was taken after he saw a girl pick up the coin he had just thrown in.  NOT HAPPY.
Near the end Bethany got in the water and helped him get three "monies".  That seemed to assuage his bitter feelings.  
My big kids are so busy with jobs and summer camps and such that I feel like I'm hardly seeing them this summer.  I was glad they wanted to come along to the pool.
George going off the high dive.
Elinor is on a swim team, but it was probably nice for her to get to be in a nice pool without having to swim laps.  The morning at the pool was great and then we went home to rest and recuperate.
Then we went and did what I swear every year I'm not going to do again.  At the hottest (100 degrees plus) part of the day we went to the main city park for the haystack dive.  
Seriously, the dumbest activity ever.  Once again they divide the kids by ages and then throw masses of candy, coinage, trinkets and bobbles onto a tarp covered in wood shavings.  
WHY?  Who thought of this?  Who approved this?  
But whatever.  We go because the kids like it and it's the 4th of July and I'm a sucker for free stuff.  
It was hot and rather miserable, and yet, I sure do enjoy the company of these little people.
I adore this picture of George walking back to the car with his hoard of haystack booty.
Team Middle Kids.
A private fireworks show that evening with the Schramms.  
Abe worked all day and then met up with us at their house.  It was my job to stop by a fireworks stand and pick up our contribution to the evening's pyrotechnics show.
Unfortunately for the group, I could only bring myself to purchase lame, nervous mom fireworks-- Pop-Its, smoke balls and parachutes.  
Perhaps Abe will want to do all the fireworks purchasing next year.  Luckily the other two families brought some rocking aerials and it was an impressive show.
She looks a little nervous in this picture, but she liked the fireworks.  Or at least, she like me snuggling with her during the show.
Peter and Kate liked the fireworks, but they liked them better from behind the safety of the mailbox pillar.

The Parade 2017

For our family, it is a highly anticipated event every summer-- our city's 3rd of July parade.  It's always the evening before the 4th and this year we enjoyed the company of my sister's family and my brother's family.  An already enjoyable activity is made so much better with good company!
We sit in the shade, we eat popsicles, and the kids scramble for candy thrown from the parade.  It's just fun.  I love that the boys dressed themselves patriotically for the occasion.
Clark and Abe both worked during the day and they hustled home to be with us for the parade.  Actually, Abe does a lot to make the parade so pleasant for us-- he set up the tent and loaded the coolers full of popsicles.  He loves popsicles far more than a grown man should!
One year before I was very great with child-- Greta was only 10 days away from being born.  What a difference a year makes!
Maiyah, Eli, George, and Emi sampling the popsicles.
Chip confessed to me he did not love parades.  While this was shocking to me, I hope the comfortable accommodations softened his grinchy parade heart.
Mostly they just throw salt water taffy-- which none of our kids like-- but the thrill of the hunt and the collecting!!  And then I get the thrill of throwing junk away-- it's a win/win!
It was good of Peter to share one of the green popsicles with Greta-- he's pretty possessive of them.
Looks like Cannon had one too many popsicles.
Greta was pretty happy when Clark showed up!  I was pretty happy as well.  I sort of like having the whole family together.
And I really sort of like this guy.
After the parade we all went back to our house.  Cousins played outside and the adults played "Liar's Dice".  How have we not introduced this game to my family sooner?  I see another game night in our near future.
It doesn't take much to entertain a group of kids.  A little bit of fire and danger goes a long way.
Bethany helping Peter with his sparkler.
One of our family's favorite fireworks is the "Piccolo Pete".  It's a very loud, high squealing noisemaker.  We didn't have any this year, but it turns out that our children can mimic the pitch and volume of the "Piccolo Pete" perfectly.  It's one of our gifts.  We took about 30 seconds to let our own little Piccolo Pete's loose on our street.
Notice most of us are plugging our ears!
What a good daddy!