5/27/12

Oops

I was supposed to post this a few months ago - just found it again.

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Piano is a bit hit and miss for us, but the boys are learning basics like chord positions and notation.

Flex

Ah, the essence of homeschooling - flexibility. I hate being flexible - I'm a schedule, routine oriented person  - if I want spontaneity, I plan a block of time for it. Homeschooling and travelling is not conducive to such thinking, and it's slowly getting pounded out of me. Connecticut has presented us with changes to our routine and I think I've had the hardest time adapting. Don't get me wrong - we really like Norwalk a lot, and Connecticut in general, but this is the first time in many years that we've had to completely re-arrange our lives around a different work schedule. It's changed how and when we do our "schoolwork" a little bit, and forced us to scale down the scope of our out-of-town trips and explorations. It can be frustrating at times, but it's teaching us flexibility. We're a bit spoiled with big blocks of free time, but we've purposely set up our lives to make it that way. I get cranky when our routine is disrupted, but it's forcing us to find creative ways to have as much family time as possible in between Christie's bizarre work schedule. That can't be bad.

Christie typically has 1 - 1.5 days off at at time, so rather than say, a three day trip to New York, we have to only plan enough for a single day. This week it rained on the day we planned an excursion, so we went with something more simple. To be honest, it was a nice break from trains, taxis, rails, and crowds. We found a little sports complex over near New Haven, and because we went on a Tuesday, we were practically the only ones there. Bowling, mini-golf, arcade games, lunch at Red Robin, some shopping in the mall...it was a nice change of pace from museums and apartment hunting. We got a little wet during golf, but it made for a memorable day.










Sometimes you just need a big juicy hamburger.
Red Robin is the go to place. 

The boys are also playing soccer, so Saturday mornings are currently filled up with that.










We've got a quasi-tradition of eating pizza at a delicious "organic" pizza place called Savor nearby after soccer. We didn't know it was organic when we first ate there, but the pizza is so incredible we keep going back. 

The boys prefer meat-lovers

Mom tried a Mediterranean pizza with Avacado and Cucumber Sauce 



Yesterday, Christie took the boys to a park to give dad some down-time and let them run off a little more energy since they've been cooped up here most of the week with the rain. 




After which they came home and made toffee cookies. 



So life is going on, summer is coming. I know some of you follow the blog for actual homeschooling reasons (not that all this stuff isn't homeschooling), but I'll do a post soon on what's been happening with the boy's academic progress, plans for summer, etc. 






5/15/12

Start Spreadin' The News...I'm Leavin' Today...

I want to be a part of it...

Ah, how I love Frank. 

This was the first time Christie and the boys have been to the Big Apple, though it's been nearly 20 years since I went. What an incredible weekend. I'll start at the beginning. 

I think I've mentioned (about a hundred times) that we're tying to get used to Christie working day shift because we're a bit trapped at home without the van. We're making the most of it, but our friends, the Foleys, could tell we were in a bit of a funk last week. They surprised us by offering to meet us halfway between our house and theirs Thursday night to take me and the boys back to PA with them. This was perfect since we we were all planning to go to NYC Friday night/Saturday when Christie was off. We met at an Indian place in Bethlehem, PA and pigged out on Lamb Vindaloo and a bunch of other awesome stuff I can't pronounce. 

We spent most of the day Friday at the park. We LOVE this Homeschool group (INCH). We've not had a connection like this with any other group in our travels, and we keep going back there as often as possible. A huge group of kids that mix together so well regardless of age.

The best part about these kids is that no one instructs them how to
play or to play with each other. They make up games, mix age groups,
and come up with some pretty creative twists on popular games. 

Red Rover - notice how small Brennan is compared to the older kids?
That night we went to the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game. This is becoming a tradition, since we went last year too when we lived in PA. It was a bit sad because Christie wasn't there, but great to hang out and see all the kids playing together. Cool firework show afterwards too.

Amy Madsen and Stacy Foley

Not sure if the kids are praying or playing Assassins here. Either way... 

Brennan watches fireworks

Rich watching fireworks

The next morning we headed back to CT together where Christie was ready and waiting to board the train for NYC. We caught the train from Stamford Metro Station, about 10 minutes from here. Nice!


On the train

Straight into Grand Central Station. It is Grand. It is Central. And it is a Station. I think you could spend an entire day just wandering around it.





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We walked a few blocks to the Empire State Building, failed to outsmart a huckster out front, but eventually made it to the observation deck. It's definitely odd looking out at the skyline and not seeing the World Trade Center, but the Freedom Tower is about halfway built, and the boys could see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. 








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I love the moment here where Rich sees the Statue of Liberty a few minutes in.


From there, we took a bona-fide New York cab (replete with near collisions, passing in the wrong lane, horn honking, cursing, and regretting not updating our will) to Greenwich Village to eat at a local dive called John's Pizzeria. Purportedly the favorite of local celebrities, but very un-fancy. Regardless, the pizza and calzones were worth the trip, although the Village turned out to be my favorite part of the city. It reminded me of The Cosby Show and Friends. 



Speaking of which, all the adults in the group are HUGE Friends nerds - constantly quoting the show, looking up trivia, etc. So we walked a few blocks to the building they used for the transition shots, then the theater where most of Joey's plays are assumed to take place. Geeky, but it was a bit of a thrill to see them.  



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We also hit a little cupcake shop called Magnolia Bakery around the corner. Delicious, line out the door, stifling inside. We chowed down at a quaint and picturesque little Village park across the street before heading back downtown. 

                                     



From there, another cab ride to Times Square, where though it was night, it looked like broad daylight. Really hard to know where to look first. We were getting tight on time, and the kids were dying to check out the massive Toys R Us with the Ferris wheel inside, so we quickly ran in and did that (TOURIST TRAP). Next time we may just spend the whole day in Times Square - so much to see. 


Stacy's life passing before her eyes




Note the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in the background



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It was a bit of a walk back to Grand Central, but we made it in time to catch a late train home. Exhausted, but it was an unforgetable day, and we feel so fortunate to have shared it with close friends. Next morning the Dad's made the Mom's brunch and hung out at the apartment until the Foley's had to head back. Then we took mom out for sushi for Mother's Day. A whirlwind weekend for sure.