Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Hi, I'm Susie. You can find out all about me, or just read my journal.

[No comments] New York City: NYC day 1: Lounged around all morning, grocery shopping, checking out the rooftop pool and playing iPad. We got into the city around 2 and met Leonard at the NYPL for a tour. The building was so cool, and I liked seeing the actual Winnie-the-Pooh friends.

After that we went to the American Museum of Natural History. Arthur loves seeing the dinosaurs. Maggie asked about seeing the Easter island statue, so we saw that too.

Next we had hot dogs and waffles in Central Park, climbed on the rocks, played hide and seek and played in a playground.

We had tickets for Top of the Rock in the evening. The little two, who are both sick, were about done at this point. But on the flip side, Dalton finally seemed to be having fun.

Then we walked over to Times Square and hung out while John got some Juniors cheesecake for dessert. We got a bit lost on the way home, so made an unexpected stop at the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.

Day 2: We took a 1:00 ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. So cool! We’ve never been up close before. Of course it suddenly started pouring and we sheltered under a tree for 20 minutes before continuing our visit.

The boat next took us to Ellis Island, which was pretty neat. Arthur enjoyed the boat rides.

After making it back to the main island, we went to the 26th Street pier where they have free kayaking on Thursday nights. John took Maggie out, and I went with Dalton. While John and Maggie were waiting, it started pouring again. Luckily it didn’t last long. And there was no thunder so we got to have our turns. The volunteers running the thing were so sweet, one of them got otter pops out for all our kids.

We walked back to the World Trade Center station to cross the river, and got to see the 9/11 memorial in the day time this time.

Day 3: We took the train all the way to Rockaway where we bought subway sandwiches, more beach towels, and spent a few hours enjoying the Atlantic. Dalton and John got in the water and went out body surfing. Maggie ran around. Sienna lay on a towel, and Arthur played in the sand with a paper cup. A great time was had by all.

After dinner, Maggie and I went to our first Broadway show: The Lion King! It was amazing. The effects, dancing, cool animal costumes. It was really neat. We got a piece of chocolate mousse cheesecake from Junior’s next door, and snuck it in. Maggie was appalled at our rule-breaking, but not enough that she didn’t eat her fair share!

Day 4: Saturday we met Leonard at the New York Transit Museum, after lots of train trouble. The kids loved it, especially the little two, and Arthur was in heaven. There were dozens of actual subway trains on actual subway tracks under the museum, from different times in the last century. It was so fun to play in them and to see the old advertisements. There were also old turnstiles and a ticket booth they had fun playing with.

We had lunch at Shake Shack, then tried to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Unfortunately it was closed to traffic that direction due to a protest ending. So we took the subway to the other side and walked up to the first pillar. It was really hot, and we took advantage of people selling ice cream and $1 cold food water bottles. That was about all we managed to do today, but it was a fun outing.

Day 5: The Central Park zoo was small (and hot) but exciting. We watched the sea lions be fed, and then spent lots of time with the penguins. There was also a small children’s zoo that the kids enjoyed. John and Dalton went to see Wicked after this, while the other kids and I walked to Chopt to meet Leonard.

With Leonard, we walked through Central Park to the turtle pond. Unfortunately the castle was closed, but we got to go in the Shakespeare garden where Leonard and Sumana were married. And the turtles were everywhere. Did I mention it was hot?

Sienna: Can we each get our own ice cream?
Me: I’m not buying five ice creams.
L: Ooh I will! Can I be the fun uncle?

Leonard walked us back to the subway and I managed to get the three kids (plus stroller) back to New Jersey in their respective one pieces.

Day 6: Our last day was spent at Coney Island, and on the train getting there. It was 1 1/2-2 hour train ride, which no one complained about. The kids all loved riding the subway. We went to Luna park, bought $100 of points to use, and took turns going on trill rides, kiddie rides, and playing games. We bought an $8 Icee with unlimited refills (we had at least 6) and had subway for lunch again. The Cyclone, original roller coaster was thrilling. It felt very unsafe, which was half the fun. Definitely no Disney. That evening, John went back into town and had dinner with Sumana.

[No comments] : Dalton on my leg hair: you need to cut that. It’s getting long.
(It’s not.) Me: how often do you think I cut that?
Dalton: a year?

[No comments] One Summer Goal Checked: I was cleaning the garage when I heard Sienna yell “mom, I’m doing it!” from the driveway. Apparently she got out her bike and decided to ride it. Just like that.

[No comments] Must Watch Toddler TV: There’s a Daniel Tiger episode about not interrupting mom when she’s resting.

[No comments] Fine Dining: John and I went to the Carthay circle restaurant at California adventure for the first time last night. When the waiter found out we were passholders, he asked why we hadn’t been in before.
Me:... We have four kids.

Also, we went on guardians of the galaxy and it was terrifying.

[No comments] Daddy’s Boy: John got home from a trip just as Arthur was falling asleep. I tried to wake him to say hi to dad, but no luck. John came in and shook him awake. Arthur opened his eyes, saw John, closed his eyes again and then a slow smile spread over his face, as he immediately fell back asleep. It was the sweetest thing ever.

Port-a-Pot: Sienna reading the signs on the porta-potties at Cub Scout camp: this one is for boys, this one is for girls, and this one is for grandpas (wheelchairs)

Hobbes: Dalton asked me “where’s the book about the boy with the huge imagination and the stuffed tiger?”

Not Throwing Away Our Shot : John gave me Hamilton tickets for Mother’s Day. After my neighbor used the line “it’s no Hamilton tickets!” when her husband gave her her Mother’s Day gift, it’s become the thing to say. Even when John outdid himself by booking a Disney Cruise later that day.

Memorial Day: Why is sitting in a chair at the beach for five hours so exhausting?

Maggie won a giant kite in a drawing on the last day of school a year ago. We finally used it today. The kids (and friends) kept it in the air for over four hours.

Girls Trip to San Diego: This weekend was the long-awaited girls trip John told me to take. After he mentioned it and my neighbor and I started some planning, another friend who recently moved out of state texted and asked if I wanted to do something this summer, so she came along, too. We stayed in La Jolla and did all the "hidden adventures in San Diego" we could find. We didn’t spend money on any of our activities (except $5 cave entrance). We felt like we ate extravagantly, but since we only ate two meals a day, and didn't feed five other people, it didn’t seem to add up to as much as we thought. The whole trip only cost me about $250.

We tried to theme the weekend "Tacos" but we kept coming up with more themes as we went around. Tacos. Breakfast. Breakfast tacos. Hidden adventures. Secret spots. Giant succulents. Slot Canyons.

Saturday morning we went down to Shell Beach to find sea glass. WE had brunch at Hashhouse Gogo and went to the spruce street suspension bridge and quince street trestle bridge, just fun little spots in downtown. Then we went to Balboa Park, walked around admiring architecture, and the botanical building. After a flight of ice cream at Hammonds, a little rest, and our fourth outfit change, we went to hike the trail to Black's Beach. This was so fun! And it was great to be hiking with people who kept exclaiming "this is so fun!" instead of whining. We climbed some unstable cliffs, hid in slot canyons, skidded on sandstone, crossed some 4x4 "bridges" and descended the last dozen yards holding onto a muddy rope. The beach wasn't much to write home about, but the hike was awesome. After dinner at Prep Kitchen, we hit the hot tub, and went to bed feeling energized.

The next day after sea glass hunting, we got in the car to drive to Brockton Villa for brunch... only to drive around the block the very long way and end up luckily finding a spot 10 feet further than where we had just been parked. And walking to the restaurant a few hundred yards away. Hah! But that's what memories are made of.

We walked up to the Cave Store and descended into the tunnel to see the sea cave. We watched Sea Lions. Then we spent some time driving around looking for the Secret Swing. Which we found! Another fun hidden adventure. Next, we drove down south to Sunset Cliffs to do some more sketchy sandstone cliff exploring. After that we headed home, but we had one more stop. Annie's Canyon was a short little slot canyon hike, 1/2 mile off the road. It had little caves to climb up into, and even a ladder. The kids would have loved it, and you can even do the canyon loop a couple times.

By the time we got home Sunday night, I was covered in scrapes and bruises, which, as I always tell my kids, means I was having fun.

Spring: This morning, I dropped Sienna off at school so John could take Arthur to Disneyland. While walking back to my car, I decided not to respond to my texts and just enjoy the morning. There was a little chill, but the sun was warm, and the air was fresh. It was a nice two minutes.

I Wish I Was a Fun Mom: Last night I was browsing the Kids Activities I’ve posted on my other blog and I remembered what a fun mom I used to be. So today when Arthur woke us up at 6, I got up and made peanut butter muffins instead of lying there.

All Aboard!: Arthur is completely obsessed with the Disneyland Railroad, and conductors, and Casey jr., and conductors. And also, conductors. He’s started saying “all aboard!” and waving his arm out like a Disneyland safety signal. Today he did it every single time he climbed onto the side of the grocery cart at Walmart. He was pretty loud, but it was pretty adorable.

Too Heavy!: One of my favorite Arthur sayings: “it’s too heavy!” He says it anytime he needs help with something. Often accurate, but he usually means “it’s too hard.” I’ve stopped correcting him because it’s so dang cute.

Earthquake!: My mom would be so proud- John and i woke up to an earthquake at 4:50 this morning. John said it was a 4.5 out past earthquake, only the second one he’s felt. I’m surprised we both woke up and felt it.

Dessert Club: John and I are being the change, and started a dessert club. We invited our favorite neighbors, and a couple other random families from the ward. And we all brought dessert and played at the park for two hours, and it was awesome.

Kid-Free Disney: John and i has our second Disneyland date Saturday morning. We’ve now doubled the amount of Disney dates we’ve taken since we had kids. We had a babysitter come at 7, but apparently Disneyland didn’t open until 9, so we had lots of time to sit around. We went on Indiana Jones, space mountain, big thunder, and Soarin’. We also waited in line for the new Adorable Snowman treats, which were really yummy. We had lots of time to hang out and talk, and had fun going on rides together. We were thinking we haven’t been on Soarin together since we had kids.

When We’re Helping We’re Happy: I’m reading The Happiness Project, and in the chapter about improving her marriage, she talks about stopping nagging. However, I’ve recently decided to do the opposite in my marriage. Not nagging, but asking. John works a lot and often spends his non working time doing whatever he wants, and I spend a lot of his non working time taking care of stuff. And rather than being annoyed about it, I started asking him to help. Brilliant, right? Give the kids a bath. Start the dishwasher. And then he helps and we’re all happy. I don’t have to do all the things, and I’m not annoyed.

15 Hours: Apparently 15 hours straight is my limit on Arthur for the day. What does he have against sleep? He’s been up since 5:30 am. And so have I, for that matter.

Corndogs: Maggie eats a corn dog every morning for breakfast.

We Need Its Energy: Sienna’s favorite planet is the sun, because without it, we wouldn’t have iPads.

New Friends, Fast: I got assigned to visit teach a new woman in the ward, about 15 minutes before visiting teaching was "retired", and five days before she had a baby. I met her once, at park day a few weeks before. After the baby was born, I offered to take her three year old to park day, and I was surprised that she said yes, mostly because sometimes people don't let you serve.

But also because I only met her once, and her kid doesn't know me at all, and really, neither does she. But this says a lot about our church and its members - that I can take an unknown three year old for two hours, based solely on my Mormon niceties.

Also, thanks for letting me serve.

John’s New Car has XM Radio:
Sienna: I wish we still had that kitty. Jellybean. (She has a photo of jellybean, she’s obsessed with.)
Me: Jellybean died a long time ago.
Sienna: Did she die in the 80s?

So Cute Right There: Two cute things Arthur says lately.

Oh right dere!
It’s so cute!

If I’m lucky, I will get a video before he outgrows it.

[Gummy shark]
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