Wednesday, August 25

Florida adventures

Last week we spent 2 days at Disney (Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom) and 1 day at Sea World's water park, Aquatica (which I totally recommend to anybody 1 month or older, it was SOOOO much fun!!!).

Then we spent the weekend at Panama City Beach at a Holiday Inn that blew me away. It was right on the beach and all the rooms had their own private balcony that faced the beach. There was also a great little waterpark right there for the kids. Yes, we used a lot of sunblock. Thankfully, nobody was seriously burned. Just

Below is the view from our balcony.

For more photos, check out pictures at right.

Saturday, August 21

10 yr anniversary trip

It has been such a whirlwind these past 3 weeks. It is hard to believe it has only been 3 weeks since we left feels like a lifetime. There is so much to write about and so many pictures to share, but by the time everybody is in bed, I practically drop into bed myself, after all the unpacking and packing, of course.

We celebrated 10 yrs this year by going to New York City together. We had so much fun! We spent 3 nights there, and are glad we did. There is so much to do and see, plus we wanted some time to really relax and enjoy ourselves. When you go away for one night, it's like you've just started to unwind and not think about the kids when you have to head back.

We took the Amtrak in which was very relaxing. The first afternoon we stopped by "the world's largest discount audio and visual store", B&H, only a block from Penn Station. We were on the hunt for a digital camera, since mine was so nicely stolen our last week in Nicaragua. We had talked about upgrading for a while now, since I wanted a bit more than the normal "point and shoot" variety. This store was absolutely amazing, we would highly recommend it to anybody looking for a camera, laptop, recorder, etc. They have used, refurbished and new equipment and the sales staff are so they really know their stuff! After purchasing a camera, we took a cab uptown to our loft, settled in, then walked a few blocks to enjoy a very sumptuous Thai dinner.

We the next morning we slept in until 8:30, then took the subway to Battery Park to buy our tickets to see the Statue of Liberty. After we bought our tickets, we started for the line, and it just kept going, and going, and going....when we saw how long the line was, we thought, we'll come back tomorrow when it firs opens. So we headed north, passed through Wall St. then saw Trinity Church and St. Paul's Church (2 very old churches, with old cemeteries..George Washington worshiped at one and Alexander Hamilton is buried there). They also served as "hospitals" for the injured during 9-11.

We then visited the World Trade Center and City Hall. They are currently building a memorial on the site of the Twin Towers.

From there we took the subway to Times Square and had lunch at Planet Hollywood. A fascinating place with lots to look at.

From there we headed over to the Solomon Guggenheim art museum. Can't saw we really enjoyed ourselves there, but other people seemed quite interested. I guess we just aren't the artsy type.

Then we headed back uptown to our loft to get ready for our show on Broadway...we got orchestra seats for Phantom of the Opera! I was so excited! Although I've seen Phantom twice in Boston, it still moves me and brings me to tears. The music, voices, staging and story are so incredible and romantic. This was Steve's first time seeing a show so I was curious what he would think of it. When the show ended at 10:30 I asked him what he thought, and he just kept shaking his head, saying how incredible the music and voices were.

We were so awake after the show, we decided to head to the Empire State bldg (how romantic!) for a night view. We were up by 11:00 (the lines were so short, another good reason to go at night) and saw some fantastic views of the city. You could even see the glow of the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

The next day we got up early to be at Castle Clinton in Battery Park by 8:45. Definitely the way to go! Hardly a line and we got right on the ferry. Seeing the Statue of Liberty was amazing. She is breathtaking and I enjoyed learning the history of the island itself. Did you know she is sitting on top of an old fort?

We then took the ferry to Ellis Island. It has been converted to a museum. We spent a few hours there, although to really do it justice, one should spend an entire day. There are exhibits that walk you through all the facets of the immigration process and life there, from people who were sick and had to be quarantined there, to the charities that helped feed the thousands who lived there until they could be passed through, to the mental tests given people to decide if they were mentally ill or not. It was incredible.

From there we headed north again and had "lunch" at Stone Cold Creamery, yum! We are SO enjoying the delicious ice cream options here in the US. We then headed over to see the Modern Museum of Art. Again, not impressed. But we thought we'd give it a try. We then walked uptown and stopped by the Rockefeller Center, then headed over to Radio City Hall for a tour. Once again, we were in awe. It looks exactly how it was built in 1932, and you feel like you are stepping back in time when you go through. The amazing part is that they still have shows there. The stage is the world's largest indoor stage, measuring 144 feet long and 60 feet wide. The hydraulic system that controls the stage is so ingenious that when the Hall was renovated (at 90 million dollars!), the engineers declared it to be in perfect condition!

Me with a Rockette

The main room where you wait to enter the auditorium and stage.

From there we headed over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Now THIS was a museum that we thoroughly enjoyed! It contains all sorts of ancient relics, from tombs carved 200 yrs after Christ to 16th century chalises.

We finally made our way back to the loft, with very sore feet but enthralled by the city. The next day we slowly made our way back to Penn Station and headed home. It was an incredible trip, to say the least. Thank you to all for watching the boys so we could get away for 3 nights!

Friday, August 6

Back in the Saddle again


So sorry for the long absence, things have been a bit crazy! Packing, filling out forms, scheduling doctor's visits, visiting with friends and family, traveling and unpacking have kept us quite busy, not to mention the three little energy balls we have around here.

Hard to believe it has only been 2 weeks since we left already feels like a lifetime ago. We have slowly started adjusting to life here in the States (aka rush rush! and plan everything!) and the kids are doing great, praise God!

It's amazing how much you forget in only a year. Since we were here last year for Seb's birth, I didn't think there would be much shock. How wrong I was! We continually remind ourselves of American customs, so if we shake your hand twice or kiss you on the cheek, don't be too surprised! Old habits die hard. Also, if our english seems a bit choppy at times, perhaps you should try conversing with us in Spanish, sometimes we find it easier.

Below I've posted some random thoughts in my head these last few weeks.

- Look at all the white people!
- Look at all the shorts! (since shorts are fairly rare in Nicaragua, it seriously felt like everybody was running around nude)
- I feel so short.
- (As we rode in the car) The roads are so smooth here, I feel like I'm gliding on ice!
- Brrrrr, I'm chilly! hand me more blankets, please! (I could hardly stand the A.C. in the grocery store, I practically ran outside with the bags to get warm again)
- Wow, I had forgotten about dead animals on the side of the road (it's extremely rare to see road kill...although we did see a dead horse on the road once)
- so many electronic gadgets...everybody has GPS
- so many stores...are there really enough people with enough money to support all these stores?
- (while I shower) I remind myself not to waste too much water, so I shut if off while I shampoo my hair
- it's been 5 days and I haven't eaten any rice, yikes!
- why is everybody in such a rush?
- mmm...corn on the cob, peaches, applesauce, grilled steak...I think I'm in heaven!
- everything is so nice and neat
- I can't believe people don't lock everything up!
- Oh my! the food is so expensive
- LOVE the library, I'm so glad they don't have a limit on books to check out!
- Carpeting! Oh, how I love you!
- It's too quiet, I need my fan

The Kids are really enjoying the playgrounds here, they are so nice. Nicaragua does have a few playgrounds, but they are more like the playgrounds from the 70's...all metal and usually rusted away.

Seb has become quite the ham these past few weeks...he loves to smile for the camera!