Vacation Week #2: Back in NYC, More Museums

Read about our summer 2010 vacation week #1, here.

For our second week we were back in NYC, doing a few boring things (lawyer visit, trip to Target, etc.) but mostly relaxing and enjoying all the fun New York stuff that we actual New Yorkers never have time to do because we, you know, work here and stuff.

I’ll skip the boring stuff and just report on the three highlights:

The Cloisters. This is an outpost of the Met up at the very tip of Manhattan. It has all medieval and Renaissance art and architecture. Very cool. Maddie pointed out the animals in the tapestries. When she saw this painting she declared “They look grumpy.” And she was fascinated by all the different pictures and sculptures of the Madonna and Child. “There’s another mommy and baby! And another mommy and baby!”

MoMA: So fun! Maddie was primed for a museum visit because of the Cloisters. When we walked into the Picasso room she said “Oh, look at all the paintings!” A Matisse with three women and a bunch of flowers inspired this: “They are playing ball like how I play ball. I like ball.” Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend as much time in the Matisse as we’d have liked because someone declared “I want lunch!” (Sam, for his part, loved the nudes. Everytime he saw breasts he cried out with delight. He too was thinking about lunch.)

Check out Maddie playing with blocks in the children’s area:

And here’s Sam, being Sam:

Lots more great photos from MoMA here.

Beacon: After MoMA we decided to try a real restaurant with the kids. We figured a Wednesday in August at 5 p.m. was a good time for such an experiment. It was hilarious. First, Beacon was more kid-friendly than I would have guessed. They gave Maddie a coloring book and crayons. The kid’s menu included a steak dinner with a tiny filet mignon, mashed potatoes and string beans. Maddie and Sam were both on their very best behavior and the staff was amazing — so lovely and gracious. It was a whole new twist on family dining!

Great week.  Now to get a good night’s sleep … I’ve got more than a thousand email messages to wade through tomorrow …

Vacation Week #1: The Beach (Plus a museum)

This year Preston and I took a two-week long vacation.  It’s the first time we’ve taken that long off since our wedding in 1995!

For the first week we rented a house in Scituate, Massachusetts.  It was on Humarock Beach which is beautiful.  We had great weather and lots of fun.

There are lots of pictures here, here, here, and here, but here’s a real cute one of my three favorite people:

Meanwhile, here’s how the week went down:

Saturday: We arrive! Long trip, lots of stops. Auntie Tracy greets us with pizza. Hooray! Tracy and I run to the grocery store for party supplies and provisions.

Sunday: Party! Friends and family converge and Grandpa Monahan mans the grill and serves up yummy hot dogs and burgers.

Monday: First day on the beach.  That night we headed to Nana and Grandpa’s house to celebrate their wedding anniversary with lobsters. So fun.

Tuesday: Another nice beach day.

Wednesday: Beach day. Sound boring? It wasn’t.

Thursday: The Boston Children’s Museum. Super-fun. Check out the photos here. I haven’t been since I was a kid. It was awesome watching Maddie run around and have a blast. After we had dinner with Zeyde and Uncle Craig.

Friday: Last day at the beach! It was beautiful. Perfect weather. Nana and Grandpa came and spent the day. That night we headed back to the house for steak tips and potato packets on the grill.

Saturday: Pack ’em up, move ’em out. The trip back to NYC wasn’t too bad and we looked forward to another week of R & R a little closer to home …

Funny Farm

We made our annual Labor Day trek to Maryland to visit our friends Rick and Wen-Fei Uva on their farm. (See posts from previous years here and here.)  It was very fun.  You can see all the photos here and here are a few highlights:

Friday: We arrive and the Uva children, Pearl (5) and Isaac (3) are fascinated by my huge belly. Isaac wants to know why I’m having another baby. I answer “I don’t know.” Inquisitive Issac also asked if we have tractors and golf carts (which Rick uses to get around the farm) at our house.

Then Preston makes everyone pasta sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil. The Uvas also cook up some fresh squash. The “farm to fork” concept takes on a whole new meaning when the farm is the backyard. After dinner Preston and Rick head out to check on the irrigation system. I’m glad when Preston comes back without injury.

Saturday: Farm life is demanding and the Uva family needs to head out very early in the morning to sell their goodies at local farmer’s markets. Preston, Maddie and I start our day with breakfast at Jimmy’s Grille where I have grits and Maddie scams extra watermelon from the waitress. Then we head to Ocean City, Maryland. Best part of the day was sitting on the boardwalk eating Thrasher’s French fries. Preston took Maddie on the carousel, but she was having nothing to do with the horse. He ended up sitting on a bench instead. That she seemed to find amusing enough. Saturday night was a delicious dinner of Maryland crabs back at the Uvas.

Sunday: Beach day! We went to a nice beach in Delaware that is on the bay side, so the surf is gentle and there are lots of sandbars for the kids to play on. We quickly learn that Maddie will not touch sand. At all. She loves the water, and if we hold her in the water and let her splash it in such a way that she does not have to touch sand she is happy. Harder to do than it sounds. Maddie had a great time and really loved playing with Pearl and Isaac. She takes to shrieking “Kids! Kids! Kids!” over and over whenever they do something she finds amusing.

Monday: Headed home, loaded down with basil, watermelon, squash and more.

New England Aquarium

We went to the New England Aquarium today with Auntie Tracy (my sister) and Zeydee Forman (Preston’s dad).  Preston says the last time he was there was high school (circa 1987).  I can’t remember when I was last there.

It was very fun and Madeline loved it.  She learned new words: “fish” and “turtles.”  Of course when the stingray swam by she said “bird!” From her perspective it makes sense — they look a lot more like birds than fish.  Mainly though she just laughed and shrieked and pointed.  Life is good when you are well-loved 20-month-old.

After the visit we went to Legal Seafood for lunch.  My sister asked if it’s wrong that a visit to the aquarium makes you hungry for fish.

All this was followed by swimming at Nana’s house.

I’m too tired/lazy to upload photos here.  But they are all up on Picasa.  Go there now and look.  We got great photos of Maddie, of course.  But also some really nice pictures of seals, penguins, jellyfish and turtles.  And then some great photos of Maddie impersonating a fish in my parent’s pool.

Travel is Stressful When You Are Almost One

Madeline is a pretty good traveler.  She doesn’t mind the car, even for long trips.

But she does find sleeping in new places hard.  We left NY bright and early yesterday morning and all was well.  We arrived at Bubbe Forman’s house a little after 1pm and gave her a bottle and tried to put her down for a nap.  She was having none of it.  We figured it was the lack of any sort of crib and the overall excitement of the day.

But things did not improve when we arrived at our hotel a little after 7:30pm (after dinner with Zeyde and Uncle Craig).  She had her bottle but had less than no interest in sleeping the in the Pack and Play in this strange place.  She cried and cried, which she almost never does.  Finally I laid down on the bed with her.  Which worked, except I feel asleep too.  When I woke up and tried to extricate myself she woke up and started crying again.  The only answer was to let her sleep with us.  Ugh.  Bad, bad night for Mommy and Daddy, though Madeline seemed happy as a pig in you-know-what.

The good news is that as I type this in the hotel biz center she is upstairs in the Pack and Play.  She wasn’t napping when I left, but she also wasn’t crying.  This bodes well for tonight. 

I think next time we come up I am going to plan to come to the hotel first and give her time to play and acclimate.  Once the surroundings feel a little familiar she seems to do okay.  I think we would have saved ourselves a bad night if we’d planned a little better.  Preston disagrees with this theory.  We’ll see.

In any event, travel is stressful for babies.  They don’t know where they are or why and you can’t explain it to them.  And they can’t explain to you how they feel.

But we are here and ready for a turkey feast!  We are going to give her tastes of everything today, so it should be a treat for all.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Forman Family Summer Vacation

We spent the last week of August up in Massachusetts. We spent the first few days on Cape Cod with Tom and Laurie Goddard. They were very impressed with Miss Madeline, particularly her admirable behavior in restaurants. It helps that their bedroom is very far from the guest rooms … meaning they didn’t hear Maddie’s middle-of-the-night wake ups.

One highlight from the Cape weekend was trip on the boat. She enjoyed it, although she didn’t love the life jacket.

Then it was off to Nana and Grampa’s house to hang by the pool, nap and try some swimming. We also went to the Whaling Museum in New Bedford with Bubbe.

You can see many more photos at the usual spot on Picasa.

Overall it was a good week. It took Maddie a few nights to get back to her regular sleep habits. And, as I wrote before, there is no such thing as packing light with a baby.

Like a lot of things, vacations aren’t what they used to be …

Traveling Light

We just got home from a four-day visit to Massachusetts for the Fourth of July holiday.  Traveling with a baby is different.  You need more stuff.  A LOT more stuff.  To wit, here’s the list of what we brought just for Maddie:

  • 12 onesies, assorted colors
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 20 diapers
  • 6 bibs
  • 9 jars of organic carrots and sweet potatoes
  • 4 jars of organic pears, apples and bananas
  • 4 baby spoons
  • 2 pairs of sandals
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 1 sweatshirt (just in case)
  • 6 burp cloths
  • 1 stuffed lion
  • 1 stuffed hippo
  • 1 Winnie the Pooh
  • 2 teething rings
  • 2 rattle/chewy toy thingies
  • 5 board books (Moo, Baa, La-La-La, The Going to Bed Book, Guess How Much I Love You?, The Runaway Bunny, and Mirror Me)
  • 3 travel-size packs of wipes
  • 1 Red Sox cap
  • 2 sun bonnets
  • 2 crib sheets (just in case)
  • 1 bottle of water
  • 1 vat of baby sunscreen
  • 1 travel-size bottle of baby shampoo
  • 1 travel-size bottle of baby lotion
  • 1 bottle of baby vitamins
  • 1 bottle of baby Tylenol (just in case)
  • Baby comb and brush
  • Stroller

We also packed as much patience as we could fit into 2 duffel bags, one rollerboard suitcase and a gigantic beach bag.  Which, truthfully, wasn’t much.  Fortunately we had enough love and sense of humor to make up the difference.

Puerto Rico Diary

On the desk by the phone at the Wyndham Resort could be found a small piece of paper with the following:

Due to our tropical location, long distance telephone calls carry an additional surcharge.  Please bear this in mind when making long distance calls.

Huh?  How does the fact that we are in the tropics, as opposed to any other faraway place, have any bearing on the phone charge? 

Frankly, given the number of New Yorkers we ran into it might have been just as effective to write "Hey, knucklehead, this ain’t Coney Island.  The call is gonna cost ya."

Continue reading “Puerto Rico Diary”