Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas was relatively tame for us this year.  We normally have 5 gatherings, but missed two with our trip to New York and won't be getting together in Nebraska this year.  As usual, we inviting my Grandma Bette and her boyfriend Larry over for breakfast on Christmas Eve.  We had cinnamon rolls, eggs and bacon on the menu.  When I put the rolls on the table Parker pushed his plate aside and pulled the whole pan to his spot.
Larry was hanging out with Esme the whole weekend.  We had stopped by my parents the night before and he loved holding her.
After they left we headed over to Jimmy's parent's house to celebrate with his family.  His middle sister's family had been in town the weekend before so we missed their visit.  Emma and Esme looked so great in their red outfits.
Jimmy's dad had been a bit under the weather so he was resting for part of the meal.  We had delicious prime rib, baked potatoes, green beans, and salad.  There was also lots of cookies and pie.
We opened presents next and both the kids got some great stuff.
The best gift Esme got (in my opinion) is her first Cabbage Patch Doll.  This is Clara Cow!  I love cows and I love that her name is Clara since it was my grandma's name.  I hope her and Esme become great friends.
We went to church in the afternoon, then back to my parent's place for dinner.  We also took a bunch of family pictures.
4 Generations
We played a fun dice game for gift cards.  Everyone got something fun.
We woke up Christmas morning and unwrapped gifts before heading back to my parents for the day.  Esme is a big fan of eating wrapping paper!
I was really proud of Parker too.  He actually helped to unwrap most of his presents, which is a bit accomplishment.
We ate breakfast and then opened gifts with my family.
We just hung out there the rest of the day.  Esme took a sweet nap with great-grandma.
I didn't get too many other pictures.  I wanted to get one of lunch, but Esme threw up, so I had to take her upstairs to clean up.  She wasn't sick, I think it was just something she wasn't used to eating.  It was a great Christmas despite that little hiccup.  I am bummed I won't get to see my grandma in January, but hopefully we will get together next summer.  I hope your Christmas was just as merry!

Friday, December 30, 2016

New York City: Day 3

Our last day in New York was the warmest.  We woke up to 54 degrees and it was -17 at home!  
We grabbed doughnuts and a hot chocolate at Doughnut Plant.  I am not sure how we came across this place during out last visit, but I had to go back.
We took our goods back on the subway to get to the Staten Island Ferry.
It takes about an hour to take a round trip Manhattan and back.  You get a great view of the Statue of Liberty...
...and lower Manhattan for free.
We checked out of the hotel, then made our way to the Bronx for our Yankee Stadium tour.  Our room was "cozy" but had a nice bathroom.
We made a quick stop at the Brooklyn Bridge before getting on the train.
We grabbed a quick lunch at a deli just down the street from the stadium.
We were both glad to get another dose of pastrami.  
This tour was not nearly as inclusive as previous ones we have been on, but we were excited to get inside.  We'd like to go to a game there some day, but this will have to do.
We walked through their museum and learned about the 5 great teams.
We got several views of field.  It was being set up for the Pinstripe Bowl which was played on the 28th.  This was as far as we got.  No locker room, no dugout, no bullpen.  Kind of a bummer, but fun none the less.
By this point we were exhausted, but I dragged Jimmy to the last Apple Store.  We'd been to this one in 2010, but I wanted to hit them all in one trip.  Jimmy even gave me a nice smile despite our backs and feet aching.
It was such a fun trip, we can't wait to be back again!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New York City: Day 2

On Friday night I booked 9 am tickets for the 9/11 Museum.  I am glad I did because the line was already wrapping around the building when we got there at 8:30 and they let started letting us in at 8:45.  It was nice not to have to wait to buy tickets.  We got to be the first ones in a lot of areas, which made it a lot more special.  We entered on street level then went below ground where the exhibits were.  Two of the 84 "trident" structures from the north tower were in the main entrance.
After walking down a ramp and along a path you come to Memorial Hall and an art installation of 2,983 individual watercolor squares.  One for each victim in 1993 and 2001.  Beyond this wall is the repository of unidentified remains that is guarded by the New York City Coroner.  There was another hall with a photo of each victim a video presentation that went through the list and had a brief synopsis of the person's life.  It was overwhelming to see so many faces and know they were no longer here.
We got to overlook Foundation Hall when first entering the museum, then got to explore further down another level.  This is a huge space with one of the original slurry walls that withstood the collapse of the towers.  The slurry walls held out the Hudson River and prevented water from entering the foundation.
This was the last beam removed from the excavation site.
There was a lot of mangled steel in the museum, but this was one of the few pieces you could touch.
This cross was found just two days after the collapse of the buildings.  It was installed on a pedestal a few weeks later and stayed at ground zero for over 5 years.  It was temporarily relocated to St. Peter's Church nearby, then to it's current location in the museum.  My first trip to New York was in March 2002.  Most of the clean up was complete by this time, but memorials left by visitors and missing posters left by families remained.  This was another time of eerie silence.  There was people as far as the eye could see, but it was so quiet.  I took the picture on the left below during that first trip.
We spent most of the morning at the museum then headed to Brooklyn for lunch.  It had snowed a couple inches overnight then turned to sleet and rain, so it was a slushy, wet mess all day!  The only consolation is that that it was too cold.
While looking at another potential lunch spot on the map I saw "Pies 'n' Thighs."  I just knew it had to be a chicken place!  I was so excited to check it out.  It was a cut little hole in the wall place with another small dining room in the back where we sat.
I got chicken and waffles with cinnamon butter and maple cranberries and Jimmy has catfish and grits.  The flavors were all really good, but everything kind of tasted like it was made the day before.  The waffle edges were really hard and the chicken was a bit dry.  Jimmy thought his catfish was perfect.
I was also super excited about the pie, but then I saw the crazy donut menu they had.  We couldn't chose do we got one of each to go.  We broke open the bag and ate the orange clove donut on Roosevelt Island.
Roosevelt Island is in the middle of the East River between Manhattan and Queens.  You can take a tram to get there and we were able to use our metro cards.  It is a lot of residential buildings so we just walked around a bit and went back.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening doing a lot of walking and attempting to complete my Apple Store goal.  The second store we visited was the Upper East Side which was in a gorgeous old bank building.
We continued west across Central Park, where our feet got the most wet.
To Upper West Side, then south to W 14th St.
Our final one of the day was Soho which was in a former post office.
We grabbed a sandwich for dinner on our walk to one of those stores, then browsed the Union Square Holiday Market (carolers included) before heading back to the hotel for the night.
I was so excited to crack open the pie box and dig in to the coconut macaroon slice, but found another donut instead...  At least it was coconut creme filled and was delicious!  I am still bummed I didn't get any pie.
We Facetime chatted with the kids and my parents before relaxing for the rest of the night.  Parker ended up with a fever on Saturday, but was mostly better by the next morning.  That is why he looks so tired.  We were pretty exhausted too after walking 24 miles in the past 36 hours.