Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Dixons take Manhattan

Seth & I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary on Tuesday and, to celebrate, we decided to take the family to New York City. In the past, we've been lucky enough to make the trip alone (thanks Mom), but we decided it would be fun to try making the trip as a family. A small miracle occured along the way-we didn't have to stop at any bathrooms. That's progress, people.

Here's Katie-cakes on the subway. She kind of reminds me of Randy in a Christmas Story-she can't really put her arms all the way down.

Nate could put his arms down, he just didn't want to. Here we are catching a train down to Battery Park to take the ferry out to Staten Island. The kids love ferry rides (it was the only thing they talked about after we visited Boston) and I wanted them to see the Statue of Liberty.

I hate to say it, but my kids are wimps. Kylie walked from the subway station to the ferry, only to collapse in the elevator. She wasn't alone; Kaitlyn collapsed as well, but not as photogenically. Maybe it was the 10 pounds of winter wear I had them dressed in.

Our gift from our French friends.

Does this island look like it belongs somewhere remote and peaceful? This island is just off Staten Island, but it seems so out of place. On every side you find all of the industrial trappings associated with a busy harbor with this little gem in the middle of it all.

Our little geographer in the making. He loves maps, just like his dad.

A serendipitous moment: the unexpected tree at the Stock Exchange. We ended up liking this one more than the Rockefeller Tree.

Just another day on the subway. Kylie's got her careworn New Yorker face on.

Free hugs, get 'em while they're hot.

"All aboard to Santa Land!" The kids loved our conductor and this place, the decorating is so extensive they leave it up year round. I also loved it because the line moved rather quickly for the biggest department store in New York City on the last Saturday morning before Christmas.

Decisions, decisions...

The man himself. This is the first year that my kids didn't treat Santa like he had an extra eye or a communicable disease.

Like I said, the Wall Street tree was better and less crowded.

One of the things I love about Kylie is her ability to surprise me. When I asked what she would like to see in New York City, she replied, "Balto." I thought she'd give me a generic answer, but instead she taught me something. Me, "What??" So she (a second grader) explained to me (age unknown) about the dog that saved the town of Nome, Alaska.

The kids came to life in Central Park. All of the whining ended, no one needed to be carried and it started to snow. Although they enjoyed the things we took them to, in the end they just like climbing big rocks and running around best. I guess Olmsted knew best.

"The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus, through the influence of the mind over the body gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigoration to the whole system." --- Frederick Law Olmsted
Central Park's designer

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Live Free or Die-NH

Two weeks ago, we took an extended weekend visit to New Hampshire to stay with my aunt and uncle. Live free or die is on their license plates and tells you something of the people who live there. We had our first outdoorsy adventures in a long time. Generally, our time outdoors is going to the playground or, more recently, the beach. Our first full day in NH we climbed Mt. Piper and picked a gallon of blueberries.

The kids got tired, but mostly they walked. Round-trip this was a two mile excursion uphill-yes, both ways:)
My aunt Janet made us a blueberry pie and then sent us home with the rest of the blueberries. Yummy.
Our second day we spent canoeing and swimming on Lake Squam. If you've seen "On Golden Pond" with Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda, this is the lake. It's gorgeous. Notice how you don't see any cottages? They are required to leave the trees along the shoreline and build behind them, pure genius.

Nate became a blueberry connoisseur. We picnicked on a huge rock and, while wading around, Nate found blueberry bushes and helped himself.

Fun swimming with Daddy.

Seven or seventeen?
Okay, this lake is full of huge boulders. They freak me out. Even though we were in a canoe-thus only two inches down in the water-I could imagine us tipping or getting a hole in the canoe. No wonder they chose that particular problem in the movie.

My Uncle Gary hoping to see some wildlife. Overly hopeful with my loud children in his canoe.

Loons. They had a baby with them but I couldn't get him in the photo. They have the most beautiful call.

On our final day of the visit we went to the Squam Lake Science Center where my aunt works. It's very child-friendly and has a lot of animals native to the area. I like this photo of the kids.

Let's go Cougars...let's go! I mean, We Are...Penn State! I have conflicting loyalties.

The girls in a faux bear cave. They loved this.
Nate and my aunt studying what a bear eats.

We walked through a marsh area on our way to the exit and I saw this Monarch. We had a great visit that Nate can't stop talking about.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Life in Little Rhodey

If anyone out there still checks to see if I have updated my blog, I have two things to say. First, thanks! Second, sorry-I've been really busy. This picture is a large part of why I've been busy. I hated the wallpaper in this room and determined that as soon as the ink was dry and the keys to the house were in my hands I'd attack this room with vigor.

And I did. It fought me every step of the way. Sections of wallpaper pulled old paint off the walls. Wallpaper, I've realized, is used to hide a multitude of sins-all of which are a headache for the person foolish enough to pull off the wallpaper.

Twenty plus hours later, I let the girls chose the color of paint and initially regretted it. It was too bright for a subtle person like myself. However, this wasn't my room. It was for the girls and they loved it. After all the bedding and pieces of decor were added I had to admit I liked my girl's bold tastes.

My friend Deborah, who was been such a help to us, invited us to Scarborough Beach our first week. There was a large group of us, mostly kids, and they discovered 5 starfish. The girls had no intention of touching them, but Nate is always a brave boy.

Not a great photo, but home to 5 starfish for the duration of that day. They also found eels...ick.

Kaitlyn, who will never look at the camera if she can help it.

We decided that if we were going to live within five minutes (literally) of a zoo we needed to be members. So far, we have visited three times and learn a little more each time.

Kate and Nate.

Kaitlyn is touching a wildebeest hide and Nate is reaching for an elephant tooth.

Kylie loves the giraffes and has an amazing memory for the facts that she's been picking up on our trips to the zoo.
This is a harbor seal and the really cool thing is that we have them here in Rhode Island. I would love to see one out in the bay.

Our move has been good so far. The kids are getting used to the house and making new friends. We miss all of you back in PA and hope you are well.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Almost famous...

After four years out of Utah, I had the opportunity to return for a writer's workshop at BYU. We didn't talk about Stephenie Meyer much...not more than ten times a day, anyway. The bag of apples they gave us were bruised, but they made a great photo op.

Memorize these faces. This is the future of young adult chic lit.

Each morning we had a workshop with author, Janette Rallison. Okay, so I look terrible, but isn't Janette cute?

Here is where Seth and I met so long ago.

I love BYU's campus and the mountains. I enjoyed learning, visiting old friends and making new friends-it was a great week.