Sunday, December 27, 2015

NYC Christmas Trip

 The week before Christmas we skipped work and school and made the 40 minute drive into Manhatten for a fun family day in the city. We did over seven miles of walking as we tried to fit in as much fun as we could. Three cheers for well-behaved kids who lasted all day and allowed us to pack in a lot of good stuff! We had such a good time...
 First stop: The Rockefeller Tree
 Rockefeller Center on the left, Plaza Hotel on the right
Gorgeous decor between Saks 5th Ave and the Rockefeller Center
Beautiful St. Patrick's Cathedral
The Nativity at St. Patrick's Cathedral
The girls went nuts at the American Girl Store. Three floors of American Girl goodness. Bryn has been saving up her money for an American Girl doll or a Bitty Baby, so she was in heaven. It got her even more motivated to do jobs all day to earn enough money.
 We walked up 5th Avenue to check out more of the Christmas store windows. Our favorite displays were the ones at Bergdorf Goodman. So pretty!

 Luckily, we went on a weekday and we went early enough in the day that 5th Avenue really wasn't that crowded. We pushed around our double stroller without any trouble at all. 
 There were fun Christmas decorations all throughout the city. 
 It was such a beautiful day (weather in the 60's) that we ended up spending a lot of time in Central Park, walking around and playing at the playgrounds. 
 Most of our time in Central Park was spent at the Adventure Playground. All three kids loved it!

Bryn and Mya were so funny playing Charades on this little dome. I love watching them play together and become such great buddies.
 Sheep Meadow
 It started getting dark as we were leaving the park and it was beautiful to watch the sunset over the city skyline. 
We had a tasty meal at one of Josh's favorite NYC restaurants: Dig Inn. I'm a fan! The girls thought it was fun to sit at the window and look out at the busy street and all the pedestrians. 
Later on we walked down 5th Avenue and got the most delicious hot chocolate at the City Bakery. We shared two cups between the four of us because it was so rich and creamy. The homemade marshmallows made it even more amazing. 
 The NYC Public Library
 The fun Christmas displays at Macy's on 5th Ave.
The girls had just seen the Peanuts movie with Josh a few weeks ago, so they loved seeing all the Charlie Brown windows.

We went to the Rockefeller Tree once more to see it all lit up at night. Beautiful!
Lighted archways in front of the window displays at Lord and Taylor on 5th Ave.
And a silly Tate who was such a champ, just chilling in his stroller for hours on end.
The Empire State building
What a fun day as a family! We love living so close to New York City and being able to take advantage of all the fun things going on here. The girls haven't stopped talking about the fun time they had and that makes me so happy. It was totally worth the $115 parking ticket that we got that day :)

Friday, December 25, 2015


Josh travels regularly for work and I finally decided to tag along and accompany him on a business meeting to Nashville, Tennessee. We flew into Nashville on Friday evening and had 48 hours of fun until I flew back on Sunday night and Josh stayed in Nashville for two more days of work. It was such a great weekend. Josh had a bit of work on Saturday, but we also had plenty of time to explore Nashville and have fun enjoying each other's company without our kids.... which rarely happens!
 This was my first trip to "the South" , so our first stop on Friday night was getting a good southern meal at Hattie B's Chicken. Oh man, this was a fantastic restaurant choice. (Thank you, Yelp!) 
 It was all amazing, but our favorites were the fried chicken, pimento mac and cheese, and the banana pudding. So, so good!
We also had two delicious meals with work clients, which prevented me from snapping pictures:
Another good southern lunch at Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant (as seen on Food Network) and a delicious steak and seafood dinner at Sperry's Restaurant in Franklin. Yum.
 After dinner we walked to Centennial Park and to check out the Parthenon, all lit up with Christmas lights. The Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. So basically, this was a fancy international vacation :)
On Saturday in between Josh's work commitments we spent time walking around downtown Nashville. It was exactly what I would have pictured: Lots of fun and energy, tons of boot and cowboy hat shops, live music blaring from literally every restaurant. It was such a unique experience compared to all the other cities I've explored. 
Boots, boots, boots!
Lots of record shops and Country Music paraphernalia 
 We loved this fun candy shop. They lured us in with delicious samples of warm chocolates and caramels and then we had to take a few for the road!

We had a nice walk across the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge. 
On Sunday we slept in (!!!) and went to church in Franklin. We also walked around the Nashville LDS Temple, which was beautiful. 
It was such a fun trip and such a good time with Josh! 
Our kids were babysat by Jake and Tyra's family and they had such a fun time with their cousins. They were sad to leave. This was the first time I've ever left Tate and to top it off he had been having some breathing trouble. Tyra was a saint to not only watch my kids, but also to deal with Tate's nebulizer treatments. 
As a side note, we only have a few more weeks with Jake and Tyra's family until they move to Chicago :( We are so sad! We've been so lucky to live by them this past year and a half. What a blessing it has been to live so close to family!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Hiking with the Newmans

 We love living close to my cousin Cara and her family. We also love living close to the Watchung Reservation. So when we combine those two things it makes for a good time!

Lucy, Bryn, Olivia, and Mya
Sweet, silly second-cousins


 Our favorite November tradition is our grateful tree. We've done this the last few years and it's always a fun thing for the kids (and Josh and I) to reflect on all the many things we are grateful for. 
Park days with Mya and Tate while Bryn's in school.
 I love going on walks with my kids, especially when the sidewalks are covered in leaves!
 There are scenes like this all around our neighborhood and it never gets old. 
The last of the leaves in our backyard.
 Wild man Tate doing one of his favorite things: turning the fridge light on and off and on and off. 
Sometimes I get desperate and have to cage up Tate if I want to make dinner. Ha ha! This didn't last for long because Tate figured out how to push the whole gate around and bang into the furniture :)
 Bryn with a her watercolor leaves and Mya with her pumpkin art projects from a little art class she takes at the Rec Center. 
Josh didn't have to travel too much in November and we always love having him home in the evenings. 
 Tate is becoming more and more curious. Yikes.
 Mya insists on dressing herself most days. That's why we end up with little pink shorts and socks + crocs!
The outfit on the right was her outfit she chose for her art class at the Rec Center. She is a little OCD about getting her hands messy, so she occasionally carries hand sanitizer with her.... sometimes in her shirt pocket :)
Mya's hair is the best for braiding!
 For Thanksgiving we got together with Jake and Tyra, the Mathuseks, and the Feinhours. It was a great day! We're sad that this will be the last holiday we celebrate with Jake and Tyra's family before they move to Chicago. It's been so fun to live so close to cousins this past year and a half. We are going to miss them so badly!

 Thanksgiving rolls. Yum.
 Bryn and Mya color and draw every spare minute!
 Mya hard at work
 Mya has recently started drawing more recognizable figures and it's cracking me up. This is a drawing of two fairies. (You can see the gray wings and wands if you look closely).
A few of Bryn's drawings from November
 A few of Mya's November drawings.
 And one last silly drawing from Bryn as we head into Christmas season :)