Sunday, July 31, 2011

I have to admit, it has felt pretty good to get back into "normal" life.  Being in Utah feels more like the norm because it was the norm for so long.  We know the streets, the stores, the canyons, the doctors.  It's just really easy here.  Living in New York felt like a sureal dream, and it was fun while it lasted, but I am glad that I have awakened from that sleep.  We played so hard, spending only sleeping time at the apartment, and I have just barely finally like I am rested again.  Do I miss New York?  No, we left with a great taste in our mouth still.  I do miss several things about it, and those are my friends that felt like family and took care to make sure we were always doing ok.  We weren't there very long, but we were taken in and welcomed in a wonderful way.  I look up to all my dear friends that live there in that physically demanding city.  These are some amazing women!
I am loving being able to cook again.  I wasn't not cooking because we were in New York, it was because of the pregnancy.  I was so sick, but luckily we were in the mecca of delicious places to eat!  Caroline even said excitedly, "Mommy, you can cook again because you are not sick anymore!"  That made me feel like a million bucks and since she was so thrilled I felt like the greatest cook ever (which I am soooo not!). 
Eating out is one of my favorite things to do that we haven't done a ton of while in law school.  I don't even think it's about the food for me, rather the atmosphere.  If a cafe' has twinkle lights, I am sold.  Not all of the places we ate at had twinklies, but there were some delicious eats.  Here are a few...

Alice's Teacup I already wrote about beause we went for Caroline's birthday.  Again, I would highly recommend it for breakfast!

Sarabeth's is another quaint breakfast nook that I could go to again and again.  It's been a favorite for a long time and has never been a place to disappoint...especially in the French Toast department.

Anyone that is from New York (but no longer living there) that knew we were going to live there said, "Eat a bagel for me while you are there."  Well, Absolute Bagels won our hearts over.  The line in the morning is always ginormous, but so worth it!  We lived right around the corner from it so we visited often.

If you have a major sweet tooth like myself, Levain Bakery is worth a try.  Not only is the brief history of this bakery unique, their cinnamon buns won a contest on Oprah, and their 6 oz. cookies are so soft and just melt away in your mouth.  As you can see, they bring pure delight to your day...especially the dark chocolate chocolate chip variety.

As for pizza, I was kind of doubting that we would find any worth talking about as we neared the end of our stay in NYC.  We ate a lot of it because it's everywhere and the kids will eat it.  The last night when we were out with my family, we went to Lombardi's in Little Italy.  It is delicious old-school Italian pizza with thin and crispy crust, crust is so important to me, and the sauce and bubbly cheese were delicious.

And if you are looking for some refreshing fruit drinks, hit Gray's Papaya, which is a hot dog joint.  The papaya and pina colada juices were my favorite.  It's cheap too which is always a bonus in NY!

There are tons more, but hopefully you can enjoy thinking about these ones for now. 
What are your favorite restaurants, not just in NYC, but anywhere?  It's so fun trying new places.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Well, it's been well over a week since I have visited here.  The time has been filled with family visiting and lots of fun exploring, and packing the girls and myself up to leave NY a little early to roadtrip down South with my parents.  We are now in Utah and I am in relaxation mode.  May I just shout a huge hooray for dry heat, oh I so love the dry heat.  Bring on 100 degrees even if there is no humidity, I really enjoy not dripping sweat all day!

There is so much to cover and so I will just do it little by little because I don't want to forget the memorable past couple weeks.  I made a very last minute decision to hit the road with our two little ones and visit the deep south.  I had 8 more states to visit before I have been to all 50, and now I have only 2.  Six of the states were in the south: South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.  (The ones I have left are Louisiana and Alaska.)  I just couldn't pass up and opportunity to hit all of those states. I was nervous to be on the road so long with the girls and so many people thought I was crazy.  Each day I would change my mind as to if I was going.  Then the night before my parents left, I felt that nice calm assurance that going was a great decision.  So the mad rush to pack began.  It was nice because we stopped in DC on the way to drop off a lot of things.  This will make traveling home from Utah at the end of August will be a breeze!

My dad is a total Civil War history buff and so we stopped at many battle fields and cemetaries.  It was very solemn to be right there where a lot of the big battles occurred.   I didn't take the girls on the tours because mixing tours of battle fields and two young children goes together as well as oil and water.  So while dad went touring, my sweet mom came with the girls and I to do other fun things.  Overall, the southern states were just hills of gorgeous green trees and fields full of healthy crops, and lots of rivers.  And the accent, probably my favorite part!

We hit the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston which was incredible.  There were scuba divers feeding the sharks and one played peek-a-boo with the girls and was giving them high fives. 

I really enjoyed stopping in Prairie Grove, Arkansas because I learned that my fourth great-grandfather fought in the Civil War here.  On the tour there was a very clear sense of how all of the soldiers marched and where they charged.  It was powerful to think about and I love that the girls were able to see it as well.  I think traveling is the best way to learn!

The homes throughout the south were so beautiful and charming.  They all had wrap around porches, intricate detail all around the woodwork and many had porch rockers.
I still am blown away at how smooth the trip went.  The girls were absolute dreams, thank you little lovelies!!  I so enjoyed sitting between their little carseats and playing with them over the 3,000 miles.  I really felt so lucky to spend every waking minute with them.  I loved watching Caroline pass the time playing with and molding a wire hanger into Rapunzel's hair and various things.  Olive loved putting stickers on her arms and looking for "hoseys" (horses) out the window. 
I can't thank my parents enough for having us and for helping me so much. 
This just makes me happy and I never want to forget the little bites Olive took out of the apples.  The top two divets are from her front teeth, which helped hold the apple in place while her bottom teeth actually grabbed a little bit of goodness. 
More to come:
Family visit to New York
Quick stop in D.C.
more past adventures in NY

Sunday, July 17, 2011

America's Birthday!

The Fourth of July is hands down my favorite holiday.  This is a bold statement coming from me because Adam would say every holiday is my favorite because they all have to be given a lots of attention...and lots of celebrating is always in order.  America's birthday, however, is the essence of summer and celebration!  Glorious summer heat and cooling off in the sprinklers, fireworks, hanging out on the grass, snowcones, bbq's, it's almost too much wonderfulness for one day to handle.

This year it was a very patriotic holiday for us.  We woke up and we were at the subway at 7 am.  No one else in New York was awake.  We were the only ones on the train, which has never happened.  We were also at a very clean subway stop, which never happens either!

We headed out to see our lovely Lady Liberty. It was incredible to read all about the history of how she came to be and all of the symbolism that surrounds her.  I definitely take living in this incredible country for granted and it was nice to reflect on how lucky we are. 

The girls took a pause from frolicking on the grass to raise a flower torch to the Statue of Liberty in honor of the day. 

The day continued with enjoying a lazy afternoon at the World Financial Center Waterfront.  We came upon this little gem by accident, and I think everyone in New York should spend an afternoon there for sure.  People were sailing, we had free snowcones and festive balloons.  It was absolutely perfect.

 We ventured through China Town and the smell that day was almost too much to bear.  Sorry to always comment on the smells, I guess I was really sensitive to them all.  Lovely Mulberry Street luckily saved us from the strong potent smell of fish, with exchanging it for smells of pesto, garlic, and fresh bread.  
Oh my, Little Italy is a street filled with colorful shade umbrellas, tables on the sidewalks, and people strolling.
It was the perfect place for dinner.

A highlight of the day was going to see the Macy's fireworks display on the Hudson River.  After a LONG, LONG walk, we finally were able to pass through security to get to the riverside.  It was totally worth the effort to see six synchronized displays of fired from barges floating in the water.   
We thought that the girls might fall asleep while waiting, but it turns out they are a lot like their mom and will do anything to catch sight of some sparklers in the air.  

Happy (belated) Independence Day America!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We had a non-stop 4th of July weekend.  We loved having Adam around even on Monday!  Grandma and Grandpa Beckstrom came for a visit and they were powerhouses.  Adam's mom has breast cancer and just got results from a PET scan that no one was very thrilled about.  She didn't feel up to par, but kept a smile on.  We took several rests which were good for me too as I was emotionally drained.  We packed it in though, and I think covered the rest of my must see list for New York.  I am bummed because we can't find our battery charger for our camera, so the camera will likely be resting for the remainder of our time here.  Luckily G & G B. had cameras and we got to borrow Grandpa's for a few weeks.

I loved the excitement that built up as we were sightseeing on Saturday. We knew that we were going to Wicked that evening and we all couldn't wait.  I loved that I didn't know the story, and I only knew a couple of songs so it was all new to me.  
(blurry I know, but it's the only one we have :)
We laughed so much over the weekend after we saw the show realizing that we have such a Glinda on our hands!!  We just have to teach her how to toss her hair and she's got it.  
We are debating if we should attach a cup to here so she could make some bank while she sings the entire day as we travel around.

Meet Gus, the most lovable Polar Bear I have ever met.  He lives at Central Park Zoo and is the happiest bear alive!  I think it must be because he weighs about 1,000 pounds and has the most beautiful fur coat, not to mention his sweet pool!  Every time we visit zoo, he is swimming.  He stands up on a rock and pokes his upper body out of the water, and then does a graceful back fall into the water to begin his glide.  He even does a swimmers flip turn to continue his swim.  Coolest animal I have ever met at a zoo.

After hanging out at the New York Public Library, we were reminded that we may have two Glinda's on our hands :)

Hide and Go Seek during one of our rests may have been the their favorite part of the day!

Oh baby!  The varieties of ginormous candy at FAO "Shorts" (as C calls it) is so fun to take in.  I think my favorite is the huge box of Nerds.

Grandma and Grandpa couldn't quite keep their eyes open while on popsicle watch.  It made Adam and I again just bust out laughing.  We also love how the girls are looking up with those eyes saying...ok, what's next on the agenda, we are ready for more!

More pictures of our 4th of July extravaganza are coming, but for now I am off on a quick trip with the girls to meet up with my family in Cooperstown, NY.  Then to Kansas City for some nurse training with a new job.  Kind of a whirlwind of fun/travel, but being around family is always a treat!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sights to see in NYC and Many Thanks

I am overwhelmed right now.  Overwhelmed by the love and support we have had and how much it has brought comfort.  Often I forget that we are not the only family with difficult things going on, everyone has a lot on their plate.  Yet, with everyone being so busy, they take the time out from caring for sick children, husbands being out of town, church responsibilities, work, etc. to send love.  I think, in fact, that is another lesson I have learned at this time.  There is ALWAYS time to serve others and lift a load off their shoulders or help soothe pain.  If we make time to serve, our Heavenly Father will help it fit into our busy lives.  Thank you dear family and friends for teaching this to me and for being our buoy.  Our home has been
filled with an incredible feeling of peace which I know the wonderful gospel has brought.

This past week we have been together as a family a lot with the holiday and everything.  We didn't have a date night, but being here with no school has been so amazing for keeping lots of dates!  For most of our date nights, Adam and I have done city walks from a set of cards that a friend let us borrow. They sell the cards in most of the tourist shops around the city.  We have loved exploring all of the different neighborhoods and stopping here and there for a pastry, to listen to some jazz music, or to just sit and people watch.  It's been fun to learn why SoHo has it's name, South of Houston St., or Tribeca which is Triangle below Canal St.  I just love learning little factoids like that.

I am in love with all of the outdoor seating here.  People just set up most of their restaurant tables on the sidewalk and it just adds a lot of color and spice to the city streets.  Chairs like the ones here always catch my eye.  I just get whisked off to Europe in my mind.

There are a ton of indescribably nasty smells as you walk the streets, but these fresh fruit markets help redeem some good smelling air.  As you walk by it just feels fresh and the smells of citrus, berries, and melon fill the air.

These are delivery bikes for a restaurant in SoHo and I would love to get ahold of one to ride around.  They even have a little bell on them.

This firestation in Chelsea is so classic.  I am such a sucker for red and the flag blowing mightily out front, it's just too perfect.

The Green Market in Union Square is another place to go if your nose just can't take the scents of the usual streets in NY.  This lavender had me stopped for some time, the strong smell settled my queasy tummy and filled the air of the market.

Ok, I am such a sucker for Jazz music and this little trio was amazing!  They hang out in Central Park on the mall and they know how to get people's feet tapping.

One thing that has brought me the most happiness since being here is to see all of the incredible hydrangea plants throughout the gardens.  They grow so well here and the pinks and blues are so vibrant, I usually have to stop the stroller and the girls and I just stand in awe at them.  The most impressive display of these beauties is at the Rockefeller Plaza, where they line the entire walk down to the center.  We have gone there several times just to sit and take in these gorgeous plants.  One day I will have a garden full of these and peonies, oh how nice that sounds.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The post has been sitting waiting to be published for weeks.  Adam and I are always excited to share exciting news like the upcoming arrival of a new baby.  We announced our news at Caroline's jewel party and had Caroline open a present with a card exclaiming news of a prospective baby brother or sister inside.  But for some reason, there the post sat, and I just never felt good yet about posting it.  We always tell family and friends early because we have discovered we love the support if something goes wrong.  Well, Friday I was 14 weeks along and some bad news came.  No heartbeat with the doppler when I went to see the Midwife.  We had to wait over the long holiday weekend for an ultrasound, and that's when the heart crushing news came.

This may seem so personal to some to share this here, but for me I have learned it helps to share.  The first time we experienced this I treated it like it was taboo to talk about, I felt uncomfortable sharing the news with most friends.  It hurt.  I found out though, that the more I shared with people, the more I discovered this happens unfortunately a lot and some healing began.  I gained comfort in other peoples stories and successes of still being able to have children.  We are one of those successes because after two hard experiences came sweet animated Olive.

The thing I learned from those hard losses was that our Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need and what is best for us.  I went through so many emotions, anger, fear, hopelessness, sadness, before I realized that it's in His hands.  Olive came at the perfect time and when I realized this I was comforted and my faith increased.  This knowledge is what got me through last weekend.  Yes I thought things might still be ok, but I also felt so calm and full of the Spirit knowing that I really have nothing to worry about.  It's in the Lord's hands.  It was hard to remember that when we did hear the disappointing news, but I truly know this and find peace in it.  We are beyond blessed and so grateful to have our two beautiful little girls.  I always learn from this to be a better mother each day to these precious little ones and cherish every sticky finger, messes that need to be cleaned up, spills, crying that needs comforting because one day there will be none of that....and I know it will all be missed.