Thursday, August 4, 2016

NYC Date with Josh

The Saturday before we moved from New Jersey Josh and I were lucky enough to spend a full day in New York City. My cousin Cara was so wonderful to set this up for us and babysit our kids all day. Josh and I had such a fun day!
This is just a cute shot of Tate and Cara at the zoo on that day :) We've only been away from New Jersey for 6 weeks now and we already MISS living so close to Cara and her family. I'm so grateful for the two years we had living just 5-10 minutes from the Newmans and the fun time it was to be in their ward.
Josh and I rode the train into NYC and then our first stop was to Dominique Ansel's bakery. This was our first time and I loved looking at all the beautiful treats. Of course we were mostly there for the Cronuts, though! Luckily the fad has died down a bit because we didn't get to the bakery til probably 9 am and the line for Cronuts was only about 15 minutes.
We thought the Cronut was really delicious! In hindsight, we should have split one since they are pretty rich and heavy and this was our "breakfast"...maybe they wouldn't have seemed so rich had we eaten them later in the day? We also split a "DKA" (Dominique's Kouign Amann). I actually loved the DKA even more than the Cronut. So good! It was kind of like a crunchy croissant that was warm and soft inside. Yum.

 Afterwards we took the subway down to the 9/11 Memorial, which we hadn't ever visited before. It was really sobering, especially looking at all the names of those who died. 
 The freedom tower
 For the rest of the day Josh and I each chose one NYC thing we wanted to do before we moved. Josh's choice was to spend time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - not viewing the usual American and European Art that I normally lead him to, but instead looking at all the Egyptian, African, South American, and Oceanic art and artifacts. Neither of us had been through those sections, so it was neat to check them out.
 Josh was loving it. This particular exhibit cracked me up because the pottery was from the years 200-600 AD and when Josh said that he said "These are replicas, right? I mean, there's no way these are really around from that long ago, right!?" Josh was eventually convinced that they were probably legit artifacts. :)
It's so interesting to see how different cultures (and different centuries) depict the human figure and face. I love how the African sculptures were so stylized, especially since we had just walked through the sculpture hall with all the classic European figure sculptures. Such a contrast!

My semester in Tonga and New Zealand studying native art and culture definitely gave me a soft spot for Oceanic art. I loved all the artifacts and beautiful carvings from this region. 

And then on to the Egyptian artifacts...
 Nothing brings people together quite like good Egyptian art :)

Of course we had to pop up to the roof of the Met for the beautiful view of Central Park and the NYC skyline. We will miss this place.
 After walking all through the Met we thought it would be a good idea to do more walking in the hot weather, so we walked across Central Park. Why did I think long jeans would be a good idea for a warm day in NYC? 
Some parts of New York are so crowded and dirty and ugly, but other parts are so pretty. I love the Upper West Side neighborhoods like this one.
Our walk landed us at Jacob's Pickles, where we were so happy to get out of the sun and enjoy some delicious southern food. It was really, really good (better than my picture shows).
 After lunch we headed to one of my very favorite spots in New York: the MoMA. Josh's company is one of the corporate sponsors of the MoMA, so we got in free with his company badge. That's a great work perk, if you ask me! I didn't take pictures of all the famous paintings, but I've already posted about the MoMA at least once on my blog, but here are a few favorites...
(Including that rad black piece above by Louise Nevelson)
Rauschenberg | Lee Bontecou
It's hard to tell, but the piece on the right is three-dimensional, with parts of canvas and steel and wire jutting out. It's made of dirtied canvas from conveyor belts. Bontecou made this piece during the Vietnam War and only felt it was right that his art during that time depicted the fear and ugliness that hung over the heads of Americans during the war. 
 I will always love Matisse. The MoMA has a huge gallery of just Matisse and it's one of my favorite parts of the museum. 
Philip Guston | Matisse
Franz Kline
Frank Stella | Rauschenberg
Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns | Rauschenberg
 Cezanne is always another favorite of mine. I love his still lifes the best, but his landscapes also get a thumbs up.
 Alex Katz | Andy Warhol
 One of the current temporary exhibits was a large exhibit of Degas' work. There was tons of good stuff, including lots of his beautiful ballerina paintings that I love and that we're all familiar with. But my favorite part was seeing his landscape and more abstract paintings. (See above). What!? I had never seen that type of work from Degas and I loved it.
- - - 
After the MoMA we decided to call it a day! My cousin Cara was so sweet and was encouraging us to stay later and see a Broadway show, but we were pooped! If you're familiar with NYC then you'll know that our itinerary was taking us all over - Soho, the Financial District, Upper West Side, Upper West Side, and then back to Midtown. So it was a lot of walking (and a few subway rides). 
I'm so grateful to Cara for letting Josh and I have this wonderful child-free day in NYC before we moved. We will miss you, New York!

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Great Swamp

 I'm way behind on updating my blog because of our move to California, but I'm going to try to get caught up! Here are some pictures from one of our favorite places in New Jersey, the Great Swamp. It was about 15 minutes from our home and it was the perfect place to enjoy nature and let the kids run around.

 Watching the toads and turtles. We also saw the coolest thing on this trip to the swamp: there was a little birds nest in a tree right off the boardwalk and while we were watching the baby birds in the nest we saw the beautiful yellow mama bird fly to the nest and feed her babies. So cool!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sleep-over in NYC

Josh travels about every other week for work, which results in lots of hotel points. A few weeks ago we decided to use some of his points and spend a night at the Sheraton hotel in Time Square. We had such a great time...
 First of all, I survived my first time driving into the city with the kids and no Josh. I thought it would be nervewracking, but we didn't hit any traffic so it was only a 40 minute drive and the kids were great. 
Josh works right by the hotel, so he zipped down and helped us check in at the hotel and unload our bags. Then the kids and I walked to Central Park. We paused for a picture by this statue and in my mind I was thinking "I HOPE I don't lose any of my children these next few hours while Josh is still at work!" We actually had a fun time and no one was permanently lost.
My kids LOVE Central Park. The playground are fun, but the girls' favorite part is all the big rocks to climb on.
 I kept glancing over and seeing these two casually walking around the park arm in arm. The friendship these two have makes my heart melt.
Even cautious Mya was loving all the climbing and running around with random NYC kids. 
 I think this is the only moment that Tate stood still the entire afternoon. He was running around and having such a fun time.

After work, Josh met us at the park just in time to snap a quick pic of me and the kids. I was feeling rather triumphant at this moment because I had survived my first outing in NYC without Josh's help wrangling the kids.
We popped into the Columbus Circle shopping center, since I was still scrambling to put outfits together for family pictures the next morning. And then we had dinner at one of Josh's favorite pizza places "Uncle Mario's". Yum.
The next morning we woke up bright and early and had our pictures taken in Central Park. (I haven't gotten the pictures back or else I'd post them). Tate was a wild man. In hindsight, Central Park wasn't the ideal place for photos with Tate. There were way too many rocks to climb, dogs to chase, open fields to run around. I will be very impressed if our photographer managed to get a good shot of us!
Bryn and I loved this beautiful doorway at Petrossian. I'm not a huge fan of Petrossian's bakery items, but this gorgeous doorway almost convinced me to give it another shot!
We're very famliar with Penn Station, since that's where the New Jersey transit connects, but this was our first time taking the kids to Grand Central Station. It's a bit grander and cleaner than Penn Station! 
 We had Shake Shack at the food court of Grand Central Station. 
 Josh and I wanted to do the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the afternoon, but the girls overruled us and convinced us to do the American Girl store instead. It is haven for them. 
 I'll end with these cute pictures of Mya with her favorite Bitty Baby. She is saving up her coins for a Bitty Baby, but it's going to take a while!