First of all, allow me to apologize for posting so late. When we originally began posting here, I intended on posting every month around the 15th. Nearly two weeks have passed since then, but if we hadn’t waited to post you would have had to wait more than a week for these fun pictures (click the link to see all four pictures we took in NYC).
I’m adding a new feature to this site: Section Headers!
The Trip to NYC
As you can see, we went to New York City on Friday to visit my brother, Eric. He had been living up in Boston for a while, but now he is moving out west to California. Since California is a lot further away than Boston we decided to try and meet up before he leaves, halfway between Boston and the D.C. area where we are living – New York.
A quick side note:
For any of you who aren’t aware, before coming back east from Arizona (see our posts related to our grand adventure across the US) we purchased a Garmin Nüvi GPS unit. We didn’t realize it at the time, but that GPS unit would soon become a fifth member of our family. For much of the trip out here we played around with the different voices it can use to talk to us and we finally settled on a nice sounding woman from Australia named Karen. Her Australian English is nice on the ears and she is much more pleasant than the Arabic woman who sounded like she was mad at me all the time. So, now that you know our newest family member, Karen, I’ll continue with the story.
We left around eight in the morning on Friday after plotting a course with Karen using an address Eric provided us in downtown Manhattan. Karen was thinking we only had about a two or three and a half hour drive.
Especially headed into New York, we knew that traffic would be an issue, but Karen gets traffic updates via FM radio transmissions as we approach cities and she adjusts our course to avoid really bad jams. Around 11:30 our she was telling us we would arrive at our destination in an hour, but suddenly her cool, Australian voice chimed, “Severe traffic ahead. Recalculating.” At that point we knew she had finished downloading the traffic information for where we were headed.
I always like hearing that she is re-plotting a course that won’t land us in a long traffic jam, and she usually picks routes that don’t add too much to our travel time (she only recalculates when the traffic delay is longer than the workaround). She took a long time recalculating though.
Finally, several minutes later, she finished her calculations. The new arrival time had changed from 12:30 to 5:30 PM! Checking the map, she revealed a new course that took us nearly two hours north of NY City (we were approaching from the south, obviously), then we would be hooking back down to come in from the north. Since we had planned on leaving New York by six in the evening, the new arrival time was unacceptable.
Watching Karen react to NYC traffic was like watching a bloodhound track a skunk. When it got close enough to realize what it was smelling, it freaked out and looked for a way to get there without getting too close to the business end.
We negotiated with Karen for a while, finally deciding to tell her it was OK to use toll roads. Once she had that option, she found us a route that let us arrive around 2:30.
Once we arrived, we met up with Eric and his girlfriend, Lindsey, and went to a little Chinese place for a late lunch. Then, with a couple more hours before we wanted to leave, we wandered around a while looking for the Nintendo World Store. We finally found it and it was awesome (especially since just about every one of us loves Nintendo in one way or another).
They had a really cool museum showcasing just about every major product and prototype Nintendo has ever unveiled (OK, maybe not EVERY major one), including an early prototype of the original Nintendo Entertainment Center (NES).
Sophie LOVES Mario (not as much as Tinkerbell though) and enjoyed walking around pointing at all of the Mario dolls, shirts and games saying, “Mario.”
As we walked around it rained a little, but Sophie really enjoyed it, laughing and squealing every time a drop hit her face. Micah just wanted to splash in all of the puddles, but his Uncle Eric came up with the fun idea of making it a game. Depending on the size of the puddle, Eric would give Micah points for jumping OVER the puddle, and take points away for getting IN the puddle. It worked perfectly.
Our meandering around took us through Times Square (the first picture above) and the Rockefeller Center. When we walked past the area where the Today Show is filmed, Micah exclaimed, “The Today Show!?! I’m in HEAVEN!”
Back in California Micah and Rochelle used to watch the Today Show on occasion while I was at work, but it’s been months. Recently, though, Rochelle asked Micah if would like to go to New York, and his first thought was voiced in his response: “Yeah, because I want to be on the Today Show!” Unfortunately, they weren’t filming when we walked by.
We ended up leaving for home a little later than we had planned, but the trip was a lot of fun. We all enjoyed Eric and Lindsey spending time with us and we look forward to visiting New York again in the future. Next time we’ll try to have more time to really look around though.
Saturday, as if Friday wasn’t a big enough day, we had a big work get-together picnic thing for our families to meet. There was a little kiddie pool and playground that Sophie and Micah enjoyed thoroughly, and the weather was pretty good (though a storm system was coming and hit pretty hard last night).
Sophie really liked playing on the playground equipment – she loved going down the slide all by herself (it was her first time doing it without a lap to sit in).
How the Kids Are
Micah goes back to school tomorrow in the first grade. He is still obsessed with Pokémon and rarely talks about anything else, so there isn’t a whole lot to report about him. If you ever want to get an earful of Pokémon, just give us a call and ask for Micah.
Sophie is getting cuter, smarter and bigger every day. Here’s a cell phone video of an old trick we had been trying to get on camera for a while:
These days her biggest efforts have been in vocabulary. She really wants to sound just like us. The most recent thing we noticed has to do with when we give her a choice. We’ll tell her, “you can have apple juice or milk. Which one do you want?” and she will really think about it, looking around and saying, “hummmmm…” Of course I think everything she does is super cute, but it’s not just me. She’s cute.
Oh, and she says, “mine,” now. A lot. She doesn’t do it to everything, but ocasionally she’ll grab something and say, “mine!” Most of the time it really is hers, so she even seems to understand the concept.
Also, now that she is a year and a half old, she goes all by herself to the nursery at church. The first time we left her in there alone for the full two hours I worried a little that she would cry. The nursery leaders reported that she didn’t cry even once. She loves it and has a great time. When we pick her up she’s excited to see us, but dropping her off is easy and she doesn’t even ask for us while she’s there. She plays nicely with the other kids and loves the toys they have. I’m very proud of how well she handles nursery – she is the only kid her age that doesn’t cry at all in there.
I’ll wrap up by reminescing about Sophie’s ever growing Tinkerbell obsession. She loves and watches frequenly the Tinkerbell movie and we recently puchased some new Tinkerbell shoes for her (visible in the photo of us at Nintendo World). The shoes were a stroke of golden luck – she loves shoes and she loves Tinkerbell. It’s perfect.
There is just one more thing I guess I should tell you. Sophie must be in pants or have something covering her diaper at all times now days. We used to let her run around the house in her diaper alone, but then she started removing it. That’s right, she takes her own diaper off. Not just when it’s full either, sometimes it’s clean, she just doesn’t want it on any more.
So, again, I appologize to all of you who faithfully checked back recently expecting an update. I was late and I’m sorry. I hope this long entry has been enough to make up for the lost time. With any luck, you’ll see an update around the middle of next month, even though it’s only a few weeks away.