Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eventful Week

It turned out to be quite the eventful week last week. It started on Tuesday, August 23rd, when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit in Virginia, which was felt all up and down the east coast. I was in a meeting when the building started shaking and, once it stopped, we all left to go outside. There was no cell service available but Brian was able to get word from Evan's school that it was closing so he went to get him. Then, all of 4 days later, we were facing a hurricane. Hurricane Irene was the source for lots of humor as she was named after my mother, of course. Our friend Ben put together this comical picture and posted it on facebook:

But Hurricane Irene turned out to be no laughing matter for the real Irene. Cranford got hit really hard - worst storm in history for the town. The Rahway River winds through the town, but couldn't hold the wrath of Irene. For those east-coasters who were saying this hurricane was all hype, you haven't seen the photos of Cranford.

This is downtown Cranford - you can see the water is up to the heads of the parking meters:

Another shot of downtown Cranford - the water is halfway up that building in the far right:This is my parents' street, about 6 blocks up from their house. This bridge you see in the middle and to the left was supposed to go OVER the river . . . in this case, the river went over the bridge:Just a random picture of a house I ound online - their fence was almost covered to to the top in water:My elementary school, which is a stone's throw away from my house. Not sure how that is going to be open in a week?

My parents had water fill up their basement from floor to ceiling. But they didn't even have it as badly as others, where water filled up several feet onto the first floor. Their power has been out since Sunday and they are being told it will be a week before it comes back on.

Irene was just a big rain storm for us in Pennsylvania. I was fearful of the big trees in our neighborhood (which have a history of falling on houses), so I made us have a family sleepover in the tv room. Evan slept until 8:00 AM that day, so we are thinking of making it his bedroom :) After the storm ended on Sunday morning, we decided to try taking Evan out to dinner with some friends to Hibachi - a Japanese steakhouse where they cook on the table right in front of you. We have avoided taking Evan out to dinner for quite awhile now because he just doesn't like to sit still. We thought Hibachi would be perfect because it would provide him with mealtime entertainment. Oh boy was I wrong and don't I wish I had brought my camera. At Hibachi, they start the "show" with a big fireball on the griddle in front of you. The table across from ours began their dinner preparation and the fireball went up. Poor Evan started screaming crying, as though we were under attack. Half of the restaurant looked at him with humorous pity as he screamed and cried. When it was our turn, the chef kindly didn't light the fireball, but all of the quick action of the chef with the griddle still was enough to freak him out and more tears ensued. He quickly got over his fear once the fried rice was served, but I think Hibachi may have terrorized him more than anything else. We should probably stick with the normal restaurants for at least a little while longer as our sensitive boy can't handle it just yet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Evan at 15 Months

Evan had his 15-month appointment on Wednesday this week. He weighed in at 26 pounds (68th percentile), measured 30.5 inches long (27th percentile) and his head was in the 50th percentile. He was not happy to be at the doctor's office after a few minutes and kept walking to the door in his diaper and saying "bye bye". I guess he proved to the doctor that he can talk.

Some of the new things Evan is doing these days include going down our entire flight of stairs backwards, starting to sleep on a pillow (though most mornings we find him on the other side of his crib), walking the dog (i.e. - holding onto the leash during our nightly walks), throwing MAJOR tantrums when he doesn't get his way (which usually is when we make him come in from playing outside) and overall just being silly. He sleeps like a champ (I am counting my blessings) and will wake up and sit in his crib for up to a half hour just entertaining himself. When he is awake, he is always trying to get our attention and not always in the best way. Sometimes he plays in the dog bowl and sometimes he bites us! We have begun the process of discipline by way of "time out". I sit him down and count to 10 - most of the time, he watches me count and then smiles at me. It takes everything my power to not laugh back. Contrary to what I had originally thought, Brian is much better at this discipline thing than I am because I hate seeing my little boy cry. Other than that, I think he is your average 15-month-old boy . . . he NEVER stops moving. And he LOVES to dance. Just put on music and he will spin in circles for you. We need to get that one on video soon.

And since I'm doing a horrible job at filling out his baby book, I figured I should document his vocabulary on here. He is up to about 25 words, which include: mama, daddy, papa, hi, bye-bye, up, leash, treat, doggie, Lily, cheese, shoes, Elmo, book, yay, ball, all-done, hat, more, balloon, car, keys, uh-oh, and thank-you (the cutest one of the bunch). Now, most people other may not be able to understand these words, but we can. He can also tell you that a cow says "moo", a horse says "neigh" and a dog says "woof". For a boy, I am guessing he's on the more verbal side (he does have his dad's personality) and it's amazing the speed at which he's learning new words.

Here he is being his silly self:
And trying his first full ice-cream cone, which he seemed to enjoy:

In the next few months, I'd like to teach him to eat with a spoon. He is great with his fork (though sometimes it's just easier to eat with his hands), but I've been the one hesitant to give him the spoon because I don't want to deal with the mess. I guess I'll have to start with that soon enough because it was one of the things the doctor asked about. Other than that, he continues to be our happy little boy.

Utah Day 4

Our last full day in Utah was spent at the Olympic Park, where a large portion of the 2002 Winter Olympic games were held. The pictures below can't do it any justice, but we opted to see a performance of the aerial ski jumpers. They go down these huge ramps, do up to 3 flips, higher in the air than you could ever imagine, and land in the pool. The only thing more impressive to me is that they have the courage to try this and land on the snow! Here are some pics from the show:
After the Olympic Park trip, we went on a scenic ride that took us up and over a mountain pass on a dirt road. We had rented an economy car, which was certainly not equipped for this kind of drive. Brian seemed to have fun with making me as scared as possible during this ride:

A beautiful birch tree forest:

And then we put our camera on some stranger's car in order to take a photo of ourselves. We were so high up here: Sadly, our trip to Utah came to an end very early the next morning, as our 4:30 AM alarm reminded us that we were on our way home on Sunday. We had a 4 hour layover in Chicago, so we opted to leave the airport, venture on the L-train and head to suburban Chicago to get some real, Chicago deep-dish pizza at Giordano's. I have been waiting and waiting to try deep-dish Chicago pizza and it was well worth the wait. I even have 2 pieces frozen in my freezer waiting for me on a bad day.

And one last note - thank you so much to our parents for taking such great care of Evan while we were gone! It was nice to be able to go away and not have to worry about how he was doing because we knew he was in your more-than-capable hands. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Utah Day 3

We woke up to another day of blue skies on Friday morning and decided to head out to Ogden, Utah (about an hour from our hotel) for a really nice hike. As we drove to Ogden, there was an enormous storm cloud that just stayed right over our hiking spot . . . the kind of storm cloud that includes streaks of lightening that were hitting the ground. We were hoping that the storm would be cleared by the time we arrived . . . and such begins the saga of the hike. I am one who is very fearful of thunderstoms, though as we arrived and the thunder was subsiding. We started hiking and, from the first moment, I kept questioning whether or not we should turn back. We got 1.6 miles (of the 2.5 one way) into our hike when I was seeing more streaks of lightening and hearing loud booms of thunder. After second guessing myself for about 15 minutes, I insisted that we turn around on our hike. We passed a man, probably in his 70's, who was also hiking behind us. I was expecting him to back me up but he seemed unconcerned with the storm and continued on, which made Brian laugh. So we turned around . . . it was a beautiful hike up until this point: About halfway down, you could start to see the blue sky creeping in. I was secretly hoping the storm would get worse and we'd be getting poured on by the time we got back to the car so that i could feel justified in this decision. Instead, mother nature decided to play a cruel joke on me because, by the time we got down, the sun was shining. We missed making it to the beautiful overlook part of the hike but at least we were safe and sound in our car in the bright sunshine :)

Following our hike, we were hungry and ready to try our first In-N-Out Burger, the famous west coast burger chain. The place was so crowded, you would have thought they were giving away the burgers. And they were very yummy, though I'm not quire sure what all of the hype was about. Following our lunch, we headed into Salt Lake City to check out the Mormon temple. There were probably 8 different couples getting married there at the same time - I'm not sure how that works. But we saw tons of brides & grooms and thought it was odd that it was so busy at 1:00 on a Friday - but I guess that is where all of the Mormons want to get married:

The flowers on the grounds were amazing:

At night, we headed back to Main Street in Park City for a very yummy steak dinner at one of the fancier restaurants in town:

With all of this food, I'm guessing I probably gained 7 pounds :)

To be continued . . .

Utah Day 2

On Thursday, we decided to play a morning round of frisbee golf (i.e. - disc golf). Given all of my years of ultimate frisbee experience, I thought this would be a breeze. Little did I know that it would be anything but that . . . I was HORRIBLE! I shot a 99 (at least I broke 100) and I think Brian beat me by 27 throws. I am used to throwing an ultimate frisbee disc, which is much different than a frisbee golf disc. Anyway, we had a blast despite my lack of skill . . . which is better than my first experience regular golfing where I was crying by the 15th hole. You couldn't get better scenery for our course, which was at the top of The Canyons ski resort. You can see how crowded it was when you look at the empty chair lift behind Brian that took us up to the course: Here is Brian in full action . . . he, not surprisingly, was great at frisbee golf:

Here I am with my best attempt. Throwing backhand is not my skill and, unfortunately, you can't throw forehand with a frisbee golf disc. I looked like I'd never thrown before:

We had a fantastic lunch at the lodge on the top of the Canyons, sitting outside in the mountains. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for some pool/hot-tub time. There were 6 hot tubs at our hotel, many of which looked like this:

Close up shot of the hot-tub:

We headed to a Mexican restaurant next to our hotel for dinner, which included some yummy, frosty drinks:

After dinner, we headed back to Main Street to walk around in the early evening:

And this concludes our 2nd day of the trip. To be continued . . .

Monday, August 22, 2011

Utah - Day 1

Thanks to our wonderful parents who took great care of Evan, Brian & I were able to get away for 5 days to the mountains of Park City, Utah. Many people gave me an odd look when I told them we were going to Utah for our summer vacation, but this was right up our alley - mountains, hiking, fresh air, relaxation - a little bit of everything for the two of us who are not quite "beach-people".

As you can imagine, I took a ton of pictures. So I'll try to write up each day separately so as not to put 50 pictures in one post.

On day one, we woke up with absolutely no agenda. It was so unlike me to not plan anything, but I haven't had much free time lately, so we said we'd figure it out when we got there. On day one, after sleeping in to a very late 5:00 AM, we hit up Park City's Main Street for lunch. Park City was an old mining town and Main Street is such a cute little street with tons of shops and restaurants:
We had lunch at Bandit's, which served BBQ. The sandwich and fries below were out of this world:

Next, with no plans, we decided to go ahead and drive to Wyoming because . . . why not? We had nowhere to be!

We got out on the side of a major highway to take goofy pictures:

Brian striking a cowboy pose:

After posing by the sign, we headed to Beaver River State Park in Wyoming for a small hike:

This picture just said "Western America" to me. There was a large elk below the American flag, which we got much closer shots of a few minutes after this:

Here was the big man on campus - he was HUGE:

These two guys were not far behind, though they let the big man lead the pack:

A butt shot:

Some bison . . . after seeing this scene, I kept on singing "Home, Home on the Range" in my head for days to follow. Even though there is no mention of Bison or Elk in that song, it perfectly summed up what we saw in Wyoming.

Next up, we returned home to shower and get ready for dinner. But first, we attended a sushi class that our resort offered. Again, why not? Well, I have to say I was a semi-professional sushi roller on my first attempt. Yes, this was my first try:

There are not many things that I'm better at doing than Brian, but I think it's safe to say that sushi-rolling is one thing I'm better at as evidenced by Brian's sushi below:

Following sushi class, we headed to a sushi restaurant to finish off our meal.

And that concludes day one. To be continued . . .

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Evan's First Fair

Every year in August, West Goshen township hosts the Goshen Country Fair. We've seen the grounds set up before with the rides, but have never had a reason to go. On Tuesday night after work, we took Evan out for his first fair. He had a look of awe on his face as he took in all of the sights and sounds. Here he is getting ready to pet a goat. There were also cows that he was able to get up close to see. Brian got to take Evan on a carousel ride as it was really the only ride he was able to go on:

He was loving the carousel and had fun just exploring it before the ride even started:

Brian also played the dunk-tank and dunked a teenage girl into the water. And I got myself a nice ice cream cone too. We are looking forward to going back in the coming years.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cabin Party

Every year, our good friend Ben hosts a weekend-long (no kids) party at his family's lot of land in the middle of nowhere near where Brian grew up. The land actually straddles the NY/PA border, so you can stand in both states at once. While it can be a pain at times that Brian and I grew up so far apart, it is nice to have two different cultures to go home to. Brian's hometown area is that of complete relaxation and my hometown is more of the city-life. I like that Evan will be able to grow up going to the lakes of upstate NY and into NYC, all within a short distance of his grandparents' homes.

Back to the cabin weekend - Ben's family built up this land to have a swimming pond, a pavilion with picnic tables, a fireplace, electricity, refrigerators, bathrooms and a shower (but no house) . . . a must-have for my type of camping (or "glamping" as it was called this weekend). We bring our aero-bed to put in a tent - you get the picture of how much we're roughing it :) And Janet & Vinnie were very helpful with babysitting Evan all weekend, which allowed Brian and I to enjoy the party.

Below is a shot of the pond for swimming: Just a handful of the tents that were set up. There had to be at least 20 tents on the property:

The Sayre crew - Kirsten , Ben, Julie & Ben:

Brian and I enjoying our kid-free time:

Chatting by tiki-torch light as the sun set:
A shot of the pavilion at night:The picture below is of one of my best friends, Jessica, and her boyfriend, Walt. Funny story from the weekend. Jessica owned a 3.2MP digital camera from 1999 which was far past its prime. Jess loves photography and is obsessed with taking pictures . . . but taking pictures with her camera had become a practical joke because it took about 5 minutes to turn the camera on and, if she had enough battery left, you might be able to get 1 picture before it died. Forget it if you wanted to view that picture on the camera's viewing window after you took it, you needed a magnifying glass because the screen was probably 1inch wide. We have all been begging Jessica to get a new camera for years, but she has held onto this antique for unknown reasons. Well, a slightly-tipsy Brian decided to take matters into his own hands. He took the memory card out of the camera (to save the pictures) and threw the camera far into the pond. The party erupted into cheers at the death of Jess's camera. She now must buy herself a new camera. And, because I did feel slighly bad, I was in charge of taking her pictures for the weekend:Yes, Diana is 7 months pregnant and decided to come camping for the weekend. Here she is getting her groove on with Brian:

As the night went on and more drinks were consumed, the dance party broke out. Here Jeff is doing his best Britney Spears imitation with a blow-up snake:
The next morning, everyone was in the pond relaxing before noon:
A close up of the relaxation:
One of the cutest moments of the weekend was when Lily joined Brian on a raft. She stayed in the water with us for hours and even climbed the ladder stairs to get onto the dock. And yes, Brian was drinking bright and early on Saturday morning:A grilled turkey was on the menu:

Unfortunately, I had to return back to Janet's on Saturday night to take care of Evan while Janet & Vinnie attended her high school reunion. But it was a great time and we always look forward to going back again!