Sunday, June 30, 2013

This Stuff is Made In New York City

 Once again Brandon's studies have taken us on the road.  He shrewdly chose a poet who lives in the Big Apple and then found a way to score an interview with him.  While we were there we figured we might as well see a few things.
After we dropped the big kids off with their grandparents we hit the skies with Rosebud who still gets to come, mostly because she flies for free.  Taking an infant around the city was a hassle but probably ended up working to our advantage because she would turn on the charm with her blue eyed stare and melt the hearts of even the toughest of New Yorkers.

Rosy thought the planes were a lot more interesting when she was looking at them from the outside.
 She proved to be a pretty good little traveler despite the fact that she is a wiggly little one.

We saw all the usual tourist attractions and crammed ourselves into the masses at Times Square.  We were there before dark on a Wednesday night and it was overwhelming.  I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like on New Year's Eve.
 Of course we had to stop in at the Toys R Us.  Brandon was...well, he was like a kid in a candy store.
 Rosy, not so much.  I tried to convince her that a box of Nerds that was bigger than her body was something worth noticing but she just wanted to sleep.  Unfortunately at $24.99 it was out of our price range which is a bummer because I would have enjoyed the annoyed faces of our fellow passengers when we tried to use it as a carry on for the flight home.
 We also, in true Rigby fashion, found a bunch of out of the way places of interest that are off the beaten path.  We stayed in Astoria in Queens at a place he found on Airbnb.  I had never done it before but Brandon got a great deal just renting a room for a week.  I personally was a little hesitant but it ended up being much more comfortable than a hotel.  The host, which was a middle aged dude, Eddie, from Croatia was pretty surprised when we showed up with a kid but she behaved herself so he didn't seem to mind. We in return didn't mind when the people from the downstairs apartment were having a huge party that lasted late into the night.  I learned a valuable lesson that it is easier for me to sleep through conversations when they are being had in a language I don't understand.

Since the trip was officially for study purposes Rosy and I had quite a bit of time to wander while Brandon was working in libraries.
 He had to sneak into the library at Columbia because when he called to get an appointment the special collections director told him it would save everyone a lot of work if he just said he was there to see an exhibit.  They would have given permission anyway but I thought it was more interesting this way.  Being on the campus already seemed like being in a movie and breaking into the stacks of books made it into a thriller instead of an artsy foreign film.
 Once again, Rosy wasn't impressed.  I was shocked because she usually loves a library.

We rode the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.  Because of the amazing zoom on our camera you will just have to trust me that this is her.  You might not want to, now that you know that the Rigbys have secret underground dealings in New York.  It could all just be a cover up.
 On Sunday we crashed the Manhattan 1st ward and got to see the temple.  It was really great.  I always try to think of reasons that I should skip church but when it comes down to it there is no better place to be on a Sunday morning.  It is good to know that in a city with so many different kinds of people that there are a few Mormons around too, and I don't just mean the actors in the musical.
 Central Park ended up being the place that we gravitated to.  I loved the hustle and bustle of the streets but my soul just yearns for space.  I have heard tons of great things about Central Park and it still surpassed what I had imagined.
 The New York Public Library was another place that we were both drawn to.  I knew in advance that we were in for a treat because I have seen Ghostbusters about a million times.  While we were there we did not see any ghosts but we did get to see the original Winnie the Pooh toys.  There was some baseball card that was worth like a billion dollars too but you'll have to ask Brandon about that.
 While Brandon hit the books Rosy and I hung out with the crowds in the park.  She was supposed to take a nap but instead we spent the time people watching.  I found that people are all basically the same.  I mean, we are all really different too but in the end we enjoy hanging out with friends, eating together and lounging around on a pretty afternoon.  It was just like the park in Eugene, only with better clothes and less space between the blankets.
 The thing that Rosy liked the most of all was riding the subway.  It seemed a bit ironic that after all the sights she snoozed through that she was most active in the one place that everyone else was trying to sleep.  Because people would get on and off at every stop she constantly had a fresh set of new faces that she could try and amuse.  It was like she had a personal goal to get a smile from each person.  It was pretty funny to watch because the Metro is a place that people do not interact.  Making eye contact and talking are things that generally seem annoying, but apparently babies can do it and still be cool.
One time she smiled at the crazy guy that everyone else was working hard at avoiding and it turned out that he was a prophet.  He told us that he doesn't usually share his prophesies but he wanted to let us know that because we were taking good care of our baby that she was going to bring us thousands of dollars.  He emphasized that it wasn't one thousand dollars, but that it was for sure going to be thousands and thousands of dollars.  I didn't want to be rude but I sort of wanted to ask if he was sure he was reading his revelation correctly because I'm pretty sure that she is going to cost us thousands of dollars.  But then again, there are tax returns.  She is already starting to pay off.

 Chillaxin' on the Hudson River.
 We spent some time in the Puerto Rican neighborhoods because the poet is in that scene.  I thought it was fun because it reminded me of my days in Boston.  We ate at this Caribbean restaurant and it brought all kinds of great memories back.  I had forgotten about how much I love Dominican food but it all came back in one plate of the rice and beans and Mofongo.

Rosy was beat after the show she put on in the subway so she slept all the way across the Brooklyn Bridge.  I am sad that she missed it because it was beautiful.
 When there wasn't anyone on the subway she stayed entertained by smiling at herself.
 Brandon was great at navigating us all around the city.  There are so many tourists that it is always kind of embarrassing to be pulling out a map so he would try to be discreet.  By the end of the trip we must have perfected the bored and slightly pissed off look that the "natives" had because there were a few times that wide-eyed people stopped us to ask for directions.

We stopped in at the FAO Schwarz to play the Big piano but there were a bunch of kids using it.  Instead we had to be content seeing the Newborn Nursery that Elna Baker told about on This American Life.  If you haven't heard her story about Nubbins you should find it.  I would put a link but it is already way past my bedtime.

 Guess which baby is real.
 This picture really made me laugh when I looked at it.  The Shake Shack is famous for having a long line.  We usually try to avoid things that "everyone is doing" but I couldn't fight the curiosity.  I just had to know what they were doing to their burgers that made people willing to wait that long for them.  We showed up right as they opened at 11 when most people are still eating breakfast and didn't have to wait in line.  I still don't know what they did to the burger but it really was amazing.  I like the photo because even though the burger was good it really didn't deserve its own picture and I know you are all thinking that it is just another shot of my kid in her stroller like the 600 you've already seen, but in this one she is wearing a bib.  Hilarious.
 Brandon pointed out that Coney Island is Daisy's dream.  It is the place where you can be on the coast and ride a roller coaster at the same time.
You will all recognize the spaceship towers from Men in Black.  We were going to take them for a test drive but we had to catch our flight.
And that, my friends, was our trip.  If you made it to the end of this post you are truly a friend indeed.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Roller Coaster

Yesterday was Rocky's last day of school so we felt like we should get out and enjoy the sunshine and bask in the freedom that summer brings.  Unfortunately for Brandon that freedom won't begin for another week.  Generally I stick with the boring mom scenario and make the girls stick to the playground outside our front door so that I can happily sit on a blanket and read while Rosy naps but today I was feeling inspired.  I had an errand to run in Veneta and figured that since we were already 30 minutes into the drive that we might as well extend it to Florence. 
 When I first proposed the idea the girls were so excited that they were running around the apartment cheering.  We found a little beach off of the spit and they frolicked and danced in the sun for an hour or so before Daisy came back to me and asked when we would be leaving for the coast.  I was perplexed because as far as I was concerned we had already arrived.  After a few minutes of her insisting that we weren't there I asked her to tell me more about it and she said, "You know the coast that goes up and down and you ride."  It was then I realized that she was under the impression that I was taking her to a roller coaster.  "Yeah," she replied, "Aren't we going to the roller coast?"

 I didn't take a photo but for a few minutes we shared this small patch of sand with two gigantic dogs.  As they approached the blanket that Rosy and I were sharing their owner from about 100 feet away yelled, "Don't worry, they are really nice."  This was news I was happy to receive, especially since one of them was in the process of chewing on Rosy's hat brim. I think at this point it is important for me to emphasize that it was the brim of the hat that was currently on her head, which looked like a pea next to the monster teeth of that dog.  While I waited for someone to call their pet off my baby the owner just kind of smiled and shrugged his shoulders, his wife stood with him and continued looking for seashells.  Rosy for her part was too busy trying to eat the sand to care much.  While reflecting on this situation later it seemed that I should have been more proactive in protecting my 8 month old offspring and done something, but the moment was too bizarre for me to react rationally.  Lucky for us, those enormous animals were in fact nice, or we would probably have one less Rigby.
As the time passed I grew some pretty tender feelings for the dogs.  Their spastic bouncing in and out of the water was the four-legged version of the same dance Rocky and Daisy were doing.  I still wasn't sure about their owners though.  If it was reversed and Rosy was trying to take a bite out of one of their dogs I'm sure I would have at least apologized.  She only has two teeth but I have been bit enough by them to know I need to keep her reined in.
The guy's only comment was, "They are just being a couple of crazy hamburgers."
What does that even mean?  Hamburgers?
Later he told me he was from Warshington which made me think of my dad and seemed a little endearing and since none of my little hamburgers were hurt we all parted as friends.

The girls wanted to show their Opa that they found stick guns.  Instead of play shooting each other however, they used them as part of an impromptu peace demonstration.  You can take the girls out of Eugene but you can't take the Eugene out of the girls.   It was especially effective because Rocky is clearly holding her pistol by the barrel.

 Two minutes after the photo the sticks were set aside when an argument began over who got to use the purple bucket and they went for the real weapon that was available, the sand.  So much for peace. Once they were both crying from the pain of sandy eyes I swept in to save the day by handing out a round of bananas and all was well.

Happy Summer!

Bonus Photo:
Last day of school with teacher Stormi

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dinner With the Rigbys

 Brandon turned 34 and we had (surprisingly) tasty flourless chocolate cupcakes.  I was skeptical but he insisted that is what he wanted and they were really good.  We celebrated by going to see Iron Man 3, which was also really good.  It was a fun little date for us.  We all love Brandon so much.

Since the weather has been so nice we have moved outside and spend as much time as possible out there enjoying the sun and the other families that live here.  I have heard horror stories from people living in complexes like this about their neighbors but we are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by awesome friends.
 We eat almost every night outside at our kiddie table.  Brandon and I usually have our knees up to our chests as we try to cram into those tiny seats while Rosy towers above us in her high chair but we like doing things al fresco.  It provides a lot of entertainment for the other kids in the red doors because they stop by to see what we are having and I'm pretty sure it makes our immediate neighbors feel awkward every time they try to leave their house and find us all out there, but we stick with it.  I gave up on trying to be cool a long time ago.  Now we are going for the quirky but nice category. 
For those of you who don't get to drop in for dinner conversation this is what it looks like.
As you can see we keep up a pretty strict dress code for evening meals. 

 I feel sort of bad that almost every photo I have or Rosy is of her sitting in one of her seats.  Here is a different sort of look for her so you can get to know her better. 
 I probably won't do many more like that because whenever I look at that face I feel like I am also going to burst into tears.
This one is better.
 Daisy has started taking selfies. 
 Most of the other shots that she took are of random objects, think a brown banana, a rock, or an ant, but this one for some reason really spoke to me.  I like that she is a kid and has no fear about photographing from an angle that really does make her thighs look huge. 
The other day in the car she was singing that "Call me, Maybe" song, loud and proud.  Her lyrics were a little different. 
Hey, I just met you.
Here's my number
And here's my baby.

Brandon noted that she had taken a when we first met story and with a small adjustment in the wording turned it into the beginning of a sketchy babysitting job.