Friday, October 19, 2007

The Big Trip

What a trip! It couldn't have been better (well, I guess we could have done with a little less rain and cold - but you can't have everything!). We packed our 5 days with favorite places and favorite people and had all sorts of serendipitous experiences (mostly involving getting something for free- always nice). One of the highlights was sharing everything with these wonderful big boys of ours - while knowing the twins and Eliza were safe and having a wonderful time at home with our good friends, the Lanoues. The boys were totally excited about everything - both the sights we were excited to show them and the things they discovered on their own (like the joy of chasing squirrels in Harvard Yard and Central Park) - and it was great to see things through their eyes. They didn't complain once about the many many miles we walked every day and were always up for the next adventure.

We left home at 4am on Wednesday the 10th for our flight from Vegas only to get there and find the flight was delayed an hour and a half - so we had a great time exploring the airport. The boys loved this poster of Blue Man group at the airport (they're trying to do Blue Man faces in the picture). Little did we know we'd be seeing the show that night!
NEW YORK CITY
After we left the JFK airport, Noah greeted us at the subway with the news that he got us positions as ushers at Blue Man Group and fanagled a way for us to bring Ash and Ike. Ashton's fondest wish was coming true! I got to sit by Ashton in some great seats up front and he was transfixed throughout the show (despite getting up at 4am for our flight and not sleeping much on the plane - he was too excited to sleep and wrote all this cute excited stuff in his journal instead). It really is a great show that's so entertaining to all ages - and has some great messages imbedded. Isaac was thrilled that a Blue Man came up in the show and put a blue thumb print on his cheek - he wouldn't let us wash his cheek for days. As "ushers" it turned out that all we had to do was help clean up crepe paper at the end for about 5 minutes - and we got four $80 tickets! I love free stuff, don't you?After the show we went to Times Square. To add to the excitement of all the lights and people you can count on there, a garbage truck had just totally demolished a taxi cab and there were police on horseback and all sorts of exciting things going on. Great to be there and see the place so alive - at 11pm on a Wednesday night - NYC is truly the "city that doesn't sleep"!
Here we are waiting for the subway - we all loved the experience of riding around on the subway - people of every color and background and interest brought together by the common need to go somewhere in the same direction, buskers playing instruments and putting on shows in the stations and on the trains, dirty old trains with graffiti that muggy hot smelly subway air, nice new trains that don't seem to belong to the same transit system, beautiful old mosaic tiles with the names of stations.... There's nothing like the NY Subway. Isaac especially liked the lady that got on wearing a funny paper birthday party hat and I thought the pretty 20-something woman with tattoos and lots of piercings who was sucking her thumb and rubbing her nose as she contemplated life was pretty interesting.
We all wedged ourselves into Noah and Kristi's great little apartment for a very welcome night's sleep. Noah and Kristi have created such a lovely home there and they live in such a great area. They are the greatest hosts and were so sweet to show us around and help us do all the things we wanted to do.

We started off with Central park and FAO Schwartz. The boys loved chasing squirrels (or "chipmunks" as they called them - we don't have any squirrels around here) in Central Park and playing the big piano at FAO.
Then we walked down 5th Avenue - loving the roasted chestnut smell at all the little food stands, the people-watching and the fancy window displays (looks like everyone should wear black this coming season - black, black and more black on all the manequins - fine with me - my favorite color to wear). We stopped into St Patricks Cathedral and it was mass - there's nothing like hearing music in a cathedral - a wonderful woman singer echoing throughout the place. Then we headed on down to try our luck at catching some great views atop 500 5th Avenue - I think I was one of the very few people in my family who hadn't done that yet and the boys were very excited about the intregue of "sneaking up" there. We breezed past the security guard station - took our name and picture and sent us to the elevators. Then we took the elevator, then the stairs, and just kept going - it was pretty exciting for the kids going through all these machine rooms and old narrow metal staircases. We finally got out to where the ladders are and there were all these workmen (they're fixing the brickwork all over the building) who didn't seem to mind us being up there but didn't like Isaac trying to climb up a ladder. So we retreated to another great spot and got some wonderful views.

You can see in this photo how seriously Ashton took the "sneaking" - he's so into spies and all that. The boys were so excited that we found this great secret place for a great view!
We headed down to try to see the Statue of Liberty but it was POURING by the time we got to that end of town so we checked out the World Trade Center site (sad long long list of names there) and saw that we couldn't see anything of the Statue of Liberty through the rain - oh well. We headed back to Noah and Kristi's to get our bags and say our goodbyes and went to explore Chinatown for a while before taking the good old Fung Wa bus for Boston. What a day!

BOSTON

Sweet Saydi came and picked us up at midnight when our bus finally got into South Station - lots of rain and traffic made for a long ride but it was nice to just sit for a while and enjoy the odd assortment of sandwiches I picked up for dinner at a random place in Chinatown while a truly diverse group of people on the bus talked loudly on their cell phones in Chinese, complained with a lot of expletives about the bus driver's technique, snored or ate smelly food.

Saydi and Jeff's house is beautiful! They've done such a wonderful job with it- I loved all the colors and the beautiful old creaky floors and the radiator noises that took me back to my days at Wellesley - such a pleasant homey place. Ashton and Isaac had so much fun playing with Charlie and Hazel and kept them entertained in the early mornings so the rest of us could sleep a bit. We spent a rainy Friday eating amazing food at an Indian buffet on Newbury Street with Saydi and Jeff and kids, checking out the Public Gardens and doing a fair amount of the Freedom Trail until we were just too cold. Then we headed for the Boston Children's Museum which has all this new stuff and everyone had a wonderful time - luckily it was late opening day so we had all evening there and we got in free off Saydi's pass.
Here's Ashton and Isaac's favorite spot on Newbury Street

The boys at the Massachusett's State House - beginning of the Freedom Trail


Outside the Children's Museum
Saturday we did the grand tour of MIT and Ashton decided he's going there. He couldn't get enough of all the cool inventions we saw at the MIT museum and loved the labs we walked past and the neat echo bench place on the grounds and the awesome new computer sciences building. It was so fun to have Jared show us some places I'd never even been before.

Here's the wild new computer science building.


Here's one of the really cool, whimsical machines we saw at the MIT museum.
Then we went on to Harvard Business School to visit our friends Neylan and Elliott and family and check out Mom and Dad's old stomping grounds.

Then walked around Harvard Square and the Ed School and Harvard Yard. It was fun to see all the students carrying "Free Hugs" signs and the buskers doing various shows in the Square and it seemed like just yesterday that I was there - so much the same.

The kids thought Harvard paled in comparison to MIT - no cool gadgets in sight, just a lot of old brick sidewalks and buildings covered in ivy. But the squirrels in Harvard Yard - they were cool.





We finished off the day with a visit to Newburyport to see Eva and family - her little kids are so cute! It was fun to see their house (with walls full of Eva's beautiful photography) and catch up a bit, speak some Bulgarian and see the beautiful little jewel of a town where they live. It was quick but it was worth it!

Sunday we had a nice breakfast with Tal who was there for the single's conference - fun to see him here and there between his activities. Then it was great to be in Saydi and Jeff's ward - such a mix of good people from all walks of life and Saydi and Jeff clearly part of the foundation that ward relies on.

Went out to Wellesley right after church and I loved showing the boys some of my favorite spots. Wow - that place is gorgeous! The leaves were all really starting to turn thanks the cold weather we endured.




















We had a great dining hall Sunday dinner with Charity and the boys thought it was pretty much the coolest thing in the world to eat all the food they wanted. We ate in the dining hall for lunch the next day too and the boys seriously put away about 5 meals worth of food in one sitting. Thanks in large part to the food, Isaac declared that Ashton could go to MIT if he wanted but as for him, he'd be going to Wellesley. He was pretty disappointed to hear that that wouldn't be a possiblity!
The three Eyre Wellesley women in Great Hall
Saydi and I stayed out at Wellesley after Jeff and Jared took the kids back for bed (all but Ashton who got to spend the night with Char and thought it was very very wonderful). It was so fun to talk about all the wonderful and weird things about Wellesley with my two Wellesley sisters - when I went there way back when, I never would have guessed I'd have any siblings go there - let alone two!

We spent Monday morning at Wellesley again, exploring my favorite "secret" passageways and getting one last meal in with Charity. Then we spent some time with one of my best friends from Wellesley, Keliegh and her husband and little girl - great to catch up. Then Saydi took us to the airport and that was it!

We were so excited to see Liza and the little guys and they'd had a wonderful time with the Lanoues. It was great to be back at home and back together. What a trip we had! I love that Ashton, Isaac and Jared have all these special shared experiences now and that the boys know more about the places that helped shaped who Jared and I are. There are so many things I love and miss about the East Coast. But this is home - for now - and it's great to do the comparison and feel so blessed to be where we are at this time in our lives.

Catching Up

It's been forever so I'll catch up a bit via some photos mostly. We had a great time in SLC a few weeks back for the big Ascend Gala where mom and dad were MCs (they did a great job in a hard situation with a huge ballroom full of people who wanted to chat rather than listen to the overly many people speaking and performing!). I also go to do a training for an intern headed for Bulgaria for 2 months to work in orphanages - and got him a $500 check from Eyrealm to help him do wonderful things for the kids over there. The kids' favorite thing about the trip was an exciting train ride on Trax (mostly for the twins who are obsessed with trains) with Grammie and Grandfather and Eli, our zoo visit, and the fact that it snowed - they even built a snowman - in September!
This is the International Children's Choir at the Ascend gala

Here's a delighted Silas on Trax with Grammie and Grandfather
SNOW! In September! Didn't get a photo of the snowman, but there really was one.
Then Conference weekend here was great. Eli and Julie came down along with Tenille, Paul and Rennie so we had quite a houseful (luckily some could stay at Jo and Aja's while they were in Vegas for Aja's big reuion). Julie's great - so easy to have around, fun to talk to, bright, good to the kids. It was good to get to know her better and she definitely gets thumbs up from us. We ate lots of good food, watched the marathon for a while, went to the sand dunes (Eli sent a great video - always so much fun to run down those hills and the twins don't seem to mind face plants - end up with lots of sand in their nose, ears, mouth, etc.), hiked up to the caves behind our house, had a great late night hot tub with all the adults (including Jo and Aja who came back before Tennessee) and really enjoyed watching conference.

Here we are at the St George Marathon -
watched for Michelle Eyre but missed her -at least we tried!

Sunday morning session of conference.
Aja brought beads for the kids to string - worked out great.
Tried some jumping pictures at the sand dunes -
sort of hard to get air with a bunch of small kids attached but Eli and Julie did remarkably well!
Then we were on to lots of packing and getting work done and getting our great friends and babysitters oriented to their upcoming task so that we could leave for the East Coast with Ash and Ike.
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