Friday, November 20, 2015

What Comes After Halloween

Rophone's birthday is just a few days after Halloween. Every year. Crazy, I know. Sometimes I get worried that in the midst of all of the Halloween festivities I'll forget to get anything ready for his birthday, but it hasn't happened yet. And, I will say, I think that the birthday balloon color and pattern combination I managed to put together is probably my favorite one yet (but, of course I didn't take a photo).

We kept things pretty low key, just as Rophone likes it. A little pizza for dinner and homemade cheesecake for dessert. Grandma Fish and Grandma and Grandpa Gorilla came to help us celebrate. It was lovely and relaxing.

Happy Birthday, Rophone! We love you and we're so glad to call you ours! 

P.S. He got his wish-- the kids' Kickstarter campaign funded the very next day. Thanks to generous support from friends and family, Crayons Go Berserk is going to happen. Woohoo!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Back At It

I admit that it was a little tough to make the transition back to my everyday grind when I got home from my trip. Something about having to see to others' needs again...constantly...or something. Ha! It was so good to see Rophone and the kids, though. And, luckily, the weather was still warm enough for a couple of hikes. Edith sure is a good hiking companion.

Thank goodness we can grab a drink of the "Energy Water" to boost our stamina.

I really love this picture Edith drew. I'm amazed at the detail she includes in her drawings at only 4 years of age. 

Edith's Halloween costume arrived, so of course she had to try it on. Adorable!

I took the 3 youngest on a hike, trying to squeeze at least one more in before the weather got too cold. It was a beautiful day. Maybe even a little too sunny and bright. 

I wanted to be sure Bud came along so he could see the layout of the city from above. He loved it like I knew he would.

That afternoon, it was time to carve pumpkins! Everyone really was much more excited about it than they appear in the photos. 

You can probably tell that reaching in to grab the guts isn't Edith's favorite part. 

Bud and Big both carved their own pumpkins start to finish this year. So awesome. They did a great job. I should have taken a photo of the jack 'o lanterns with my real camera  for clarity's sake, but I was feeling lazy. You get the idea anyway. Bud's is the bat, Big's is the cyclops, and Edith chose an owl to match her costume. 

While all of this Halloween stuff was going on, the kids' Kickstarter campaign was still active and they were busy working on the game.

Pen gathered some stuff from around the house to create the costume she wore to work the morning shift on Halloween. You wouldn't think that Wednesday Addams would be a friendly bagger...

...until you see her laugh and do jazz hands. Then you can see that her customer service skills may not be that lacking after all.

Just don't mess up her neatly fronted shelves.

Ginger had a little trouble deciding on a costume this year, but ended up with something perfect. One of the friends she was going to hang out with that night was planning on dressing as Santa, and every Santa needs a reindeer. So cute!

Bud went as a mad scientist. One of my favorite trick-or-treating stops was at the home of an elderly friend-- she provided a little commentary about the costumes as she was handing out the candy. "Another Star Wars costume on Big...Oh, and Edith aren't you a beautiful bird!...and Bud is a scientist." When we corrected her and said, "Actually, he's a MAD scientist." she muttered, "Well, aren't they all." in the funniest little way. You probably had to be there, but she has an awesome sense of humor. 

Big is just a wee bit Star Wars obsessed right now (like everyone else), so it only seemed right that he dress as a clone trooper. 

Edith was a totally adorable, super fluffy owl. We just wanted to hug and squeeze her constantly because her costume was so soft. 

Pen went out to a masquerade party that night, but I didn't get a chance to snap any photos because she went to a friend's house to get ready. Totally bummed. Ginger went with us to my mom's house before her party so I got a photo of everyone dressed up-- even my mom! I don't think I've ever, not once in my whole life, seen my mom dress up for Halloween. It was weird! Fun, but weird! Ha!

It was a really great Halloween. Everyone had fun and was happy with their costumes, so I call it a win!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Trip of All Trips: The End

This is the last trip post. I'm not kidding. Like all good things, it has to come to an end. The trip was good, I mean. I'm not so sure about the posts. Ha! But, don't worry, this last one will be short.

We went to brunch at a lovely little place called Le Pain Quotidien. It was a fairly quick stop, since we had to be sure to make it to The Frick before we headed to the airport to go home.  Do we look tired? :)

The Frick is an amazing museum-- I just can't believe it used to be someone's home! Seriously such a cool building. I almost found myself admiring the architecture more than the fabulous art housed within. I guess Henry Frick was quite a dastardly chap, but his NYC "house" was cool. :)

Our plan originally called for Art to head to the airport by herself since her flight was quite a bit earlier than ours, and the rest of us would find a way to kill a few hours before going to the airport. Then we decided maybe we'd just all go together and play some cards at the airport while we waited. It's a good thing we did! There was some construction on the subway line, so we had to take a totally convoluted route to get there. Luckily Martha was there to decipher the confusing directions of our new route and get Art there on time. She barely made it! Phew!

The trip home was pretty uneventful, except for when we got to the car park and found the car dead as a doornail. Awesome. I guess leaving on a dome light really sucks the battery. Luckily the nice guys at the car park were able to jump the car and get us on our way. Considering all we did over the 4 days of our trip, I'm really glad that the only real bumps came at the end. 

It was seriously the most well-planned, fun-filled vacation I could have imagined. Thanks for making it happen, Mom! 

More Fabulous Trip Stuff! Don't Quit on Me Now!

So, we're on Saturday by now. You're not going to believe what we did on this day-- we not only went to 2 Broadway shows, but we went to the Empire State Building TWICE, Times Sauare, AND we managed to fit in Grand Central Station and Rockefeller Center, too! I know, crazy amazing.

The first stop of the day was Levain Bakery; we needed a few 10-pound cookies to fuel our bodies for the day. A little nibble here, a little nibble there... 

A shot of us on our main mode of transportation:

So cool to be at the Empire State Building!

The audio tour was so informative. The Empire State Building is truly an impressive structure, and I'm amazed at how quickly it was erected-- it took just under 15 months! Another amazing fact is that only 5 people died during construction (compared to 22 when the Brooklyn Bridge was built). After looking at all of the cool photos of the workers walking around on the skeletal frame of the building with no harnesses, that fact is astounding to me!

We left the Empire State Building with plans to return that night to see the city lights from above. 

Our plan was to hit Shake Shack for lunch on our way to see Matilda. Shake Shack was A LOT more crowded than we anticipated. Amazingly, with all of the things we've been managing to do every day, this was the ONLY time I felt rushed. And, boy, were we rushed. I could feel the mostly-unchewed chicken and apple sausage floating around in my stomach during the performance like a little canoe on the water. It all turned out okay, though. :)

After Matilda (really cute, by the way, my kids would love it), we took a little stroll in Times Square. 

Then we went to dinner at this little dim sum place. So super good. 

After the yummy dim sum, we realized that we could squeeze in a visit to Grand Central Station before our second Broadway show. It was so bitterly cold by then that we just needed some place to be in out of the cold. What a cool space to be warm in!

Okay, so Matilda was cute and really fun. Wicked, on the other hand, was PHENOMENAL! Seriously so good. I wish I could take the three older kids. They would absolutely love it. 

After Wicked we made a run to Magnolia Bakery for their must-have banana pudding. Everyone else got banana pudding, I got a hot drink. Then we went to Rockefeller Center, which was beautiful, but I didn't even take any photos because it was so cold I didn't want to take my hands off of the outside of my hot cup. Getting the hot drink was a bad idea, though-- the rapid temperature fluctuation between my super hot drink and the biting cold wind made one of my fake front teeth crack. Oops. But, man, did that hot liquid hit the spot. Brrrr!

It was after midnight by the time we got back to the Empire State Building, but there was no way we weren't going to get our nighttime view of the city from up in the stars. 

Hello, again (cool floor)!

We thought it was cold at ground level, but it was nothing compared to the intensity of the cold out on the observation deck of the Empire State Building that night. So cold! We were out there just long enough to run around to all 4 sides to snap photos and notice that there were tons of bats overhead eating the bugs attracted by the lights. Super quick, but so worth it. I mean, look.

So beautiful, don't you think? We spent a few minutes browsing the gift shop on our way out. I bought a small gift to take home-- a set of playing cards with pictures and facts about the Empire State Building. Just the right thing for my game-playing family.

This day was so super long, but I wouldn't have changed anything about it. What a blast!