Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adventures in NYC

This weekend I drove in New York City not one, but TWO times...I even drove through Columbus Circle! As someone who started out driving life not really liking it and dreading it, I was pretty proud of myself. And, you know what, it wasn't even that bad.

On Saturday Ellen, Henry and I headed in to the Children's Museum of Manhattan. I had signed up for free tickets thanks to Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day celebration. We got into the city and went to park in the garage I had printed a coupon for and found it was already full! We circled the block a few times hoping for a parking spot on the street but ended up parking in another garage. Turns out they had a good deal if you got your ticket stub stamped at the museum.

The museum itself was a little overwhelming as it was PACKED with small children and their parents. We did, however, brave the masses and enjoyed all sorts of things like:

Dora the Explorer's House

and Curious George! (He was Henry's favorite for sure!)

The museum had a lot of neat things for kids Henry's age to do. I'd like to take him back again on a day that it isn't going to be so crowded so we can relax a little and really enjoy it.

On Sunday, Henry and I picked up Meredith and headed in to meet Eleni to go to the Broadway Flea Market. It was a neat event with tables from many of the shows and organizations. Sadly we didn't make any new friends (i.e. famous people we meet once) but it was still fun to walk around. Meredith and I found really inexpensive 9 to 5 the musical shirts that we snapped up! (Sidenote: I just saw that the event raised $550,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS!)

After a really delicious snack at PinkBerry Meredith, Henry and I parted ways with Eleni and headed back towards our car. On the way we were completely distract/enthralled for a long time by a religious procession from a small church (Santa Rosa de Lima). There were 24 men in robes carrying what appeared to be a very heavy platform carrying a large statue of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. The men swayed back and forth in time to the small "marching band" that was following them. (I put that in quotations because it was really a rag-tag group with their music clothes pinned to the person in front of them. But they really had some heart and the trumpet section wasn't half bad!) They inched forward very slowly and would put the platform down every once in a while to take a break and to switch carriers.

Meredith and I were, as I said, completely enthralled by this slow-moving procession. Part of it was out of amazement that this was happening on 52nd Street, which had NOT been closed to traffic so cars were backing out of it and at one point a NYFD truck pulled passed them! Also, they were inching slowly towards 8th Avenue, which is a pretty busy street(!), and we were wondering what in the world they were going to do when they got there. Well, what they did was KEEP WALKING! A tiny woman in a dress-suit managed to keep traffic from running into them as they turned onto the avenue. They began inching their way down 8th. Amazing.

Meredith and I both noted that we enjoyed that we both liked random things like this procession and that we could stand and watch it and be amused for so long!

Here are two photos of the procession on 8th Avenue:

The week got off to a fun start because Eddie took the morning off of work so that he could come with Henry to swim class. They both did a great job. It was fun to get to watch instead of being the one in the water.

Other items of note for this week's update:
-Henry has become a walking machine! It's still pretty new and still amazing to me right now. I think he is enjoying this new way of being mobile. It's pretty cute.
-I completed my first five-mile run! It actually felt pretty good. I am starting to enjoy running, which I didn't think I would.
-We discovered today that Henry has another top tooth popping through. At this rate he might not look like a jack-o-lantern for Halloween!
-Henry, Eddie and I all had haircuts today! We had a Buy 2 Get 1 free coupon for Supercuts. Turned out to be a good coupon as the kids haircut there is only 2 bucks less than the adults! I don't trust myself to cut Henry's hair just yet so it worked out well. We all look so fresh and so clean!

Things To Watch For:
-Eddie, Meredith and I are heading into the city again tomorrow to see a play.
-Family outing to the Devils Hockey game on Friday
-Family apple picking on Saturday

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another week gone by!

It really is amazing how quickly time flies by from day to day and week to week.

I am currently enjoying the quiet of naptime for Henry. (It's also amazing how quickly that time flies by too!) Typically I try to use this time to catch up on email, laundry, etc. but usually feel like I don't get anything really accomplished. Lately I've been entering sweepstakes during this time too! I saw a show on TV about people who sweepstake obsessively. I'm not at that point and I don't care to spend hours upon hours on it but for about a week now I've been entering a handful each day. The ones I am choosing to enter either have cash prizes or things like new windows, appliances, etc. as prizes. I figured that it doesn't take much time and you have to be in it to win it! I already won $25from Macy's!

Swim classes started back up for Henry last week. We switched days from last sessions so we are in a morning class to better accommodate Henry's new afternoon nap schedule. This class is smaller and I've found that I kind of miss his Thursday class friends!

We start back up with library time on Thursday. I'm looking forward to that since he has really grown up since the spring when the last session ended. I hope that he enjoys the class and enjoys interacting with the other kiddos in the class.

As for me, rehearsals with the Ridgewood Concert Band started up again last night. It was nice to be back playing my clarinet and seeing the other people, especially the other clarinet players. After watching the high school marching band at rehearsals the last few weeks I had been really missing music so it was good to be at rehearsal last night. (Sidenote: Henry has been LOVING watching the marching band practice. He waves his arms around and dances a makes my heart happy!)

The weather here has been cool for the last few weeks and I am loving the change. Fall is my favorite season (probably because it meant new school year and marching band....nerd, I know) and I am looking forward to sharing it with Henry. I know it's not his first fall but he was just a little bump on a log of a baby last year and this year he will react more and be able to do more things. So far we've gone to two weekend festivals (Greek Fest and Fall Craft Festival) and I think we'll probably do some more over the next few months. It's so much fun to get out and about with Henry and watch him take everything in!

Eddie has been keeping very busy between work and reffing soccer. As much as I am sure that he'd rather be at home hanging out with Henry, reffing soccer is a great second "income" to add to our home fund since everything seems to cost more than we thought it would! I really do appreciate how hard he works so that I can be home with Henry. I feel so lucky that I can be the one with him all day, teaching him new things, taking him to do things like swim class and watching him grow. (Thanks Eddie!)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years...

It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed since that beautiful Tuesday morning in 2001 that changed our country. That day and the subsequent anniversaries have had great effect on me despite the fact that I did not lose anyone directly related to me and was not physically near any of the sites. I guess I am like many other young Americans who had not seen anything like this before. Not that anyone had seen anything like this before but older Americans had gone through Vietnam, JFK, Korea, etc. For Americans my age, the Gulf War had seemed so far away and foreign with its glowing green nightvision bombs and names of countries we hadn't learned about yet in fourth grade geography. September 11th was different. It happened live, on TV, in color, right there while we were watching.

I remember coming out of conducting class and hearing parts of conversations in the Music Building lounge about some plane hitting a building in NYC. Katie and I went upstairs to the band hallway and heard the news spilling from computer speakers in the graduate assistants' office.

No one quite knew what to do...should we go watch TV? should we go to class? We went to class. I don't think I will ever forget sitting in the band room for Brantley's Music Ed class and everyone just sitting in stunned silence. He asked if we wanted to talk about it and a fellow student, a New York native, just said, "Why?" I can't remember if anyone actually said anything else or how long we stayed in class before we all left to gather around TVs in lounges across campus.

It seemed like all I did for days was watch the news, the same video clips, the same sad stories over and over again. Suddenly planes flying overhead weren't just unnoticed pieces of scenery, they were reminders of what had happened.

That Thanksgiving the Marching Royal Dukes marched in the Macy's Parade. My group of friends went to Ground Zero. Even though we were standing RIGHT THERE looking at the ruins, it didn't seem real. How in the world could those two great towers fall? How could so many innocent people just die like that? And for what?

Each year around this time I've gotten sucked into watch the specials, the documentaries and all of the coverage. And each year it fills me with the same nausea and sadness.

This year I have made an effort to avoid the coverage and instead focus on the "good" things that came from this tragedy....Americans coming together, showing patriotism for their country and the building of hope for the future.

And in that spirit I have two things to share:

A friend posted this video yesterday. These kids are from a public school in NYC. I have followed them for a while now and thought this video was perfect for this post being that they are from NY and singing about NY.

Each year around this time I make it a point to either read or watch the monologue that Jon Stewart gave on the first Daily Show episode after September 11th.

If you don't want to watch the whole thing, here is the ending, which is my favorite part:

"The view from my apartment was the World Trade Center. Now it's gone. They attacked it. This symbol of American ingenuity and strength and labor and imagination and commerce and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can't beat that."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Catching Up...Again

It seems time has flown by again and it's been a while since the last post. It's been an eventful two weeks...

-Hurricane Irene made her way up the coast and poured A LOT of rain on us. Ridgewood had a lot of flooding, including the sports fields across the street from the Seavers' house. Our new house in Midland Park ended up with about three inches of water in the basement. Turns out we weren't alone, our neighbors had water in their basements too. We were very lucky, though, to just have that water in an empty basement....there were so many that were without power for a while, lost a lot of belongings, etc.

-My parents came up for a visit which was great. Henry enjoyed having his Grandad and Ding Dong around to read with and to play with. One of the highlights of their visit was our fun field trip to the Morristown National Historic Park, which showcases the site of George Washington's Headquarters from the Revolutionary War. Our docent was excellent and we learned lots of fun facts. Henry "earned" another Junior Ranger badge for his hat...this time they made us fill out the booklet!

-Henry's Heart....During his 1-year doctor's visit Henry's pediatrician noted that he had a slight heart murmur. She wasn't overly concerned but wanted him to see a pediatric cardiologist to see if it was something we needed to watch or just let go. We took him in and he had an EKG and a ultrasound of his heart. He was a real trooper having to sit still and the staff was great (blowing bubbles, having Nemo on the TV, etc.) The cardiologist didn't see anything wrong anatomically with the heart but was concerned with some extra little blips on the EKG. They sent Henry home hooked up to a Holter Monitor (Click here for a picture to get an idea of what he was hooked up to.) to track his heart beats for 24 hours. He was pretty unaware that he was hooked up to it and didn't try to rip it off or anything, which was nice.

His cardiologist called back on Tuesday around 1 to give us the findings. She wanted to wait until Eddie and I could both talk so I had to wait anxiously for five more hours. It was a long wait because all I could think about was what she was about to tell us. Turns out he has a 2-to-1 beat pattern where the top part of his heart beats twice while the bottom beats just once. This basically means there is a disconnect in the communication between the two parts. This causes his heart rate to be slower than a normal one-year old.

His cardiologist said that he seems to be tolerating everything just fine and we don't need to do anything differently. We just have to watch for him to be dizzy, faint or extremely pale. He will have to go in for appointments for an EKG and the Holter monitor every six months. In the long-term if he starts showing symptoms of it affecting him they would look into a pacemaker.

The doctor didn't seem overly concerned about the condition so I'm working to not think too much about it either. As she said, he's still the wonderful, active little boy we brought in last week. I still have much more to be thankful for than to be worried about so that's a good thing.

-Walking...well, sometimes....Henry took his first real steps on September 1st. Of course I was the only home but managed to catch it on video thanks to my smartphone! He was kind enough to take some more when my parents arrived and since then has only decided that walking is fun a few more times. I guess he figures he's much faster when he crawls.

-General joys of parenthood....Henry continues to be an amazing little boy. He seems to really like making people laugh so tonight's bathtime became the biggest splash-fest I've seen in a long time when Henry saw that it made me laugh. We were both hysterically laughing! It's a good thing the bathtub/shower has sliding doors because it allowed me to just get my right shoulder and arm wet...until he caught me off-guard and got it right in the face. It was a real hoot. He's such fun and I love that his temperment is such that it is. We really got lucky!

That's all for now. I will do a photo/video post this coming week to catch you up with those.