Monday, May 31, 2010

Central Park

Larkin's devotions are a bit divided and I have a bit of trouble discerning where her loyalties would lie. On the one hand, she loves city life - everything about the yellow taxis, the big buses, the choo choo train subway. On the other hand, she also loves the park, Central Park in particular. I guess she just loves to be outside! But if I had to choose, I would say the park is her greater attraction. In fact, sometimes when we were in my Dad's apartment, she would climb up into her stroller and just sit there hoping we would take her to the park. It's just a bonus that we get to pass taxis, buses and a subway stop, all on the way to the park!

My Dad's place is right near the Great Lawn, so we went there to picnic and hang out several times. But there are so many great places within the park, that we did extensive walks through the park too. I love Central Park! It's amazing that you only need to go a few hundred yards into the park and you can no longer hear the streets and city life happening just yonder. This gem is truly a sanctuary for the city's citizens.

These pictures help give a small flavor of our time in Central Park. The first one is of Larkin and me, ready to head out! The next couple of Larkin and Brian are from the boat pond and the Great Lawn. The one of Larkin running is of her holding a leaf... she would run back and forth between our picnic spot and a few nearby trees, bringing us back leaves as gifts. It was a good way to let her expend a little energy! Last but not least, the final picture is of Brian and Larkin by some huge boulders in the Ramble. Here's to a NYC treasure!

Corn on the Cob

This was Larkin's first time eating corn on the cob. She loves corn, but we've just not given it to her on the cob before. She did a great job (and yes, we needed to floss afterwards). We were all a bit surprised to see her try dipping the cob in her milk, but just because we never thought of it ourselves doesn't mean it isn't a brilliant idea....

Victorian Gardens Amusement Park

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went to the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park at Wollman Rink in Central Park. It is a small amusement park, ideal for children ages 3-6. The rides are simple and yet exciting to young tots! It was a blistering hot day, so we went early and beat the lines. As you can see, Larkin got to go on a lot of rides and she LOVED them! She takes after both Brian and I with this... we both love roller coasters (go Cedar Point!). The last two pictures show Larkin on her first official roller coaster ride (sitting next to Brian, with Uncle Greg and cousin Luke in the car behind). Fun!

Riding the "Choo Choo" Subway

Larkin loves the subway. To her it's a "choo choo train" and it ranks really high on her list of favorite things right now. After riding the subway only one time, she remembered that it is underground, and after that, whenever we would walk by subway station steps or hear a train pass under us, she would whine "choo choo" and want to go down! Here she is getting on the subway at the 81st & Central Park West stop and taking the C train downtown to 59th Street (Columbus Circle). This was a huge treat for her. She even knows to stay behind the warning yellow line! The "choo choo" was so cool to her that we bought her a couple of NYC subway train cars (a couple of select stores sell official ones) as momentos from our trip!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Children's Museum of Manhattan

One of the most fun places to take kids in the city is the Children's Museum of Manhattan (near 83rd and Amsterdam). It's five floors high and there's so much to do there that we didn't even get to visit every floor. One other cool, fun fact about the museum. It's located directly across the street from that cafe that is in the movie You've Got Mail (the one where Meg Ryan is waiting with her book and a rose to meet Tom Hanks and he stands her up)!

During the summer months the museum opens an outdoor water feature area that is a huge hit with all kids. They have a covered area to help get the kids out of the sun, as well as extra large blue aprons that the kids can wear to try to keep dry. But let me warn you... your kids will get drenched regardless and you will need to bring a change of clothes! Larkin really liked playing in the water table and the boat ramp. Her cousins, Gavin and Luke, pretty much played with the boats the whole time. Luke especially liked to lay claim to all of the green boats!

After playing outside, we moved inside and tried to hit as many exhibits as we could. The fire truck and MTA bus were huge hits with Larkin, as was the grocery store (with a kiddie-working version of a check-out conveyor belt and barcode scanner). I think the pictures pretty much speak for themselves... the kids have a blast, are going non-stop the whole time, and don't want to leave!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Girl's Night Out to the Ballet

My Mom, sister, and I had a girl's night out in NYC! We went to the ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center. We saw Don Quixote, performed by the American Ballet Theatre (ABT). The ballet version of the Don Quixote story is nothing like the musical version, but I was very excited to see the dancers - they really are amazingly beautiful. It was cool to see Ethan Stiefel dance live, as I remembered him vividly from the ballet movie Center Stage many years back. We ate in the restaurant in the Met before the show and had a fantastic table right up against those famous windows (that you can see in the background of the picture of Dana and me). We had a fun evening and I look forward to another girl's evening of fun soon!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Larkin's 2nd Birthday!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Larkin! Larkin turned two while we were in NYC, so the "city girl" got to celebrate with her extended family. These first few pictures are from the morning of her birthday. Isn't she radiant?! She was so happy, it was so fun to share in her festive energy. I've also included a home video of Larkin singing the Happy Birthday song, telling the camera how old she is, and saying her name. She calls herself "Lar-Lee"! It took us a few times to realize that she is trying to call herself "Larky", but it comes out "Lar-Lee". I think it is so cute.

Larkin loves balloons, so her birthday wasn't complete until she had a bundle of balloons that she carried around nearly all day.

Party time! Here are the kids... hungry for some pizza and cupcakes!

Larkin was a little shy when we sang to her, but she loved the whole event. She helped me blow out her candles and then after contemplating it for a minute or two, she dove into her cupcake! It was yellow cake with pink icing and she got a sugar high from all of the icing she ate. Check out the cute video of her during cake time!

This is a frame-worthy photo of our family that was able to celebrate Larkin's birthday with us. It was a great party! HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY, SWEETHEART! WE LOVE YOU!!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Playing with Cousins

Nothing is more satisfying for adult siblings than to watch their children play together happily. Larkin loves playing with her cousins Gavin (6) and Luke (3) so much, and they with her. Here are a few cute pictures of the kids just hanging out, wrestling, and being silly in general. Just the way kids should be!

This first picture shows Larkin laying claim to BOTH of the Star Wars light sabers. Go girl!

If you put big and small boys in a room together, eventually wrestling will occur! I think that's a law of nature or something. The Hittle/Feller/Cook clan is no different, and as you can see, everyone joined in the fun. Larkin is not one to get left out!

Here is Larkin being silly with my mom, Dede. In case it's hard to tell from the picture, they both are sporting pairs of Larkin's pajama bottoms on their heads!

Larkin is taken by both my sister, Dana, and her husband, Greg. There's just a natural comfort level there. And for some reason, Larkin thinks my sister is hilarious! Larkin falls into a gigglefest whenever my sister comes near! :)

I love this set of pictures. While we were on a walk together one day, Larkin got really upset if she couldn't see Gavin at all times! She was kind of a little obsessed, and Gavin thought it was getting a little tiresome keeping himself in her view non-stop. But he was a good sport and he is so good with her. Here they are holding hands on the walk (Larkin LOVED that) and then other pictures of them kissing each other. So, so sweet! I love seeing these tender, innocent moments they share together.

Luke and Larkin don't do much kissing, but Luke does like Larkin's hair. Every once in a while, you'll find him "petting" Larkin's hair. Here's a picture of him doing so. How cute is that?

Ahhh, at the end of a long, exciting day, nothing's more satisfying than seeing the kids settle in and relax together. Then, off to bed. Good night.