Monday, May 28, 2012

Southern Belles

We just wrapped up our 11 day road trip covering 10 states (+DC!) and 2200 miles! On our continued quest to visit all 50 states, we decided to take advantage of our East Coast location and Ferris’s inability to run away. 

Here is our crazy itinerary: 
New York, NY to Philadelphia, PA to Wilmington, DE, to Harper’s Ferry, WV to Leesburg, VA to Middleburg, VA to Chapel Hill, NC to Savannah, GA to Hilton Head, SC to Charleston, SC to Raleigh, NC to Washington, DC, to Baltimore, MD to New York, NY. Whew!

With the exception of Philly and DC, all of our stops were new to us, so this was a great chance to learn more about the different states. With few exceptions, most of our preconceived notions (both positive and negative) turned out to be pretty inaccurate. We had low expectations for West Virginia and Baltimore, but those were two of our favorite stops! I’ve heard so many good things about the research triangle of NC – Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, but it underwhelmed us. Downtown Wilmington, Delaware, tax/legal home to just about every credit card company, is sketchier than any block I’ve been on in NYC. One huge surprise was our impression that rumors of southern hospitality are overstated. Also, we encountered plenty of southerners (Virginia, Carolinas, Georgia) who seem to hate babies, and I’m a little sore about that. (Or maybe New Yorkers just really love babies? Or maybe I think Ferris shouldn’t count as a baby since he doesn’t cry?) Who knew! 


Philly, PA: a quick visit to the Liberty Bell on our way to Wilmington! 


Wilmington, DE: “Hi, we’re in Delaware.” – Wayne’s World. This was pretty much it, but with a side of, “Don’t go to that ATM, that’s not on a safe block.” We happened upon a hospitable group of businesswomen who travel to Wilmington so often that they hang out with the hotel staff and take it upon themselves to pour the wine for the happy hour. 
Harper’s Ferry, WV: This little town is home to tons of Civil War history and an entrance to the Appalachian Trail. The landscape of the area was beautiful, with a view of the Blueridge Mountains and old battlefields. We went on a ghost tour and “hiked” to the extent it’s possible with an 11 month old.

Leesburg, VA: We went to a couple of different wine tastings and a jazz festival. This was the first example of baby-hating. I wouldn’t make such a claim without providing examples! We showed up for the jazz festival and were told that children are only allowed within a certain fenced in area. The setup was a little awkward so we drank our wine (individually, since tastings took place outside the family jail) and headed to the next vineyard. 

Middleburg, VA: We spent a few hours wandering around this little town, which had some cute shops. 

Chapel Hill, NC: We drove around Duke and UNC, hung out in our gorgeous hotel room, and ate biscuits for breakfast. Second example of baby-hating: people would glare at us while Ferris smiled in their direction. Third example of baby-hating: Ferris was sleeping in his stroller in a nearly empty restaurant, but the waitress still glared in his direction whenever she found time. 
Savannah, GA: Fourth example of baby-hating: it took ages to find a hotel that allowed children. But Nick did such a great job finding us a gorgeous historical building in the middle of Savannah. Ferris loved Savannah, because it has so many trees!
Hilton Head, SC: We loved Hilton Head, it’s the only spot we could imagine making a point to revisit. Nick golfed, I got a massage, and we hung out on the beach and ate gourmet hotdogs. This was Ferris’s first time in a swimsuit. Heartbreakingly cute. 

Charleston, SC: Nick found another amazing place to stay – an old rice plantation with award winning architecture. We did a little bit of exploring downtown Charleston, but spent most of our time touring the plantation. Fifth example of baby-hating: Ferris was sleeping in the baby carrier, while we signed up for a tour of the plantation house. The guide lectured me that I would need to leave if the baby started screaming. A. He’s asleep. B. I have enough sense to leave with a screaming baby so blanket restrictions and lectures aren’t needed. C. You’re a bitch. 

Raleigh, NC: Admittedly, we just stayed here to break up a long stretch of driving. But Raleigh boasts the best coffeehouse I found along our trip! 
Washington, DC: Nick scored again, although by accident - we went to the wrong Kimpton Hotel, but they let us stay for the same rate, and.... drumroll.... upgraded us to an amazing suite with a jacuzzi. (Does this count as southern hospitality? The hotel manager was born in Minnesota.) The standard fare: walked around the White House, the Washington Monument, and a special exhibit at the Holocaust Museum. 
Baltimore, MD: Ferris went to his first baseball game at Camden Yard! Baltimore was a charming, livable city, and we discovered a lot of cute neighborhoods. When we’re traveling, I try to find the best coffee in the city, since that usually leads us to fun new places. (You know, the type with growly baristas and signs that say, “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.”) Despite the baby-hating, we had a fun time getting away from our familiar routines and locations. And thankfully, this trip made us so appreciative of how great Minneapolis is, and how exciting our new neighborhood will be!

Top: Delaware friends, ghost tour, trees!, mint julep, hot dogs
Bottom: beach, plantation grounds, DC, Orioles


Just one more photo of Ferris. This is me trying to show a little restraint. Can you believe the next post pretty much has to be about his first birthday?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ferris Theo's Day in Midtown

Well, I guess it's time to make it blog-fficial!
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We're moving to Minneapolis! Yes! No! I was feeling a little angst-y about it, until I had lunch next to Jerry Seinfeld the other day. Since then I've been fine with it. I guess I did what I came here to do! Before we move, we're heading out for a nice road trip along the east coast to rack up some more states! We tend to have a really luxurious history of unemployment.

Here is a sweet little NY book I made for Ferris, one to play with and one to save and one digital version for the blog. :) If you don't know, there is a board book called Good Night New York City, and this is the exact layout and text, just replaced with photos from our wonderful time here. (And another book I made; I'm getting a bit obsessed with these, and I love that I can show off an online copy as well.)
 














Links if your flash player is finicky.
Good Night New York City
Just One Ferris


Today I had an early appointment in a super inconvenient location. I was a wee bit annoyed, until I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to walk 40+ blocks and say good-bye to all the New Yorky things in Midtown. So here we are! Enjoying a perfect, spontaneous, New York day. As we walked up Fifth Avenue, I did the unthinkable: I looked up and gazed at the majestic buildings like a tourist.

Radio City Music Hall, (napping in) Grand Central Station, Chrysler Building, Willa Cather quote on the sidewalk leading up to the library "... there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before..." (such a beautiful sidewalk filled with quotes!), humongous diamonds at Harry Winston, The Plaza Hotel, FAO Schwartz- hats and stuffed animals and $500 rocking animals that were a little bit scary (more parentheses, there was even a freaking unicorn!!), and the infamous piano.

Here is a nice vertigo inducing video of Ferris on the $250,000 Big piano! Our little underweight baby wasn't heavy enough to set off the keys so I tried to walk beside him and make it interesting!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The third annual visitors edition

Oh wowza. Ferris is 11 months old, and today is the last time we can truly celebrate his monthiness. There seems to be a grace period until "he's 24 months" but I know the truth. He (finally!) has 2 little tooth buds, is obsessed with opening and closing everything, and just discovered the joy of clapping.



Nick just discovered the joy of driving a Lamborghini. A belated execution of a birthday gift from me, the whole fam drove out to Jersey, yes, Jersey! where you can drive these around a track.

My grandma, who performs magic. She sews, cleans, and can make Ferris fall asleep just by sitting next to him. Today he debuted his latest fashion for Tuxedo Tuesday!

And Deena and 2 month old Yvey, who bravely traveled from Iowa for some girl bonding time. Most of our activity involved food acquisition, but we also fit in a visit to Times Square, and the WTC memorial. Deena's friend also gave us a backstage tour of Ghost on Broadway! Behind Ferris, you can see the darker tree that doesn't fit in - that is the survivor tree, which was found in the rubble of 9/11. Deena and I were college roommates that fall.

And my joy was taking my favorite photo evereverever, of anything. Deena and Yvey were walking with us past the Imagine memorial for John Lennon, which is almost always flooded with tourists and harsh lighting. The unplanned moments are the best.

Bonus favorite.

And if you need proof of the clapping.... or just want a dose of pure joy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Good news!

April has been kind to us. Warm sun, crisp breezes, afternoons spent lounging in fresh grass, even a pizza tour to Coney Island.


It's been a year since we learned that Zoltar had one wonked kidney and transformed my relaxed pregnancy into one of constant worry. And right after his birth, we found out there is some bonus wonk in the other kidney! For the past few months, we've had a surgery date on the calendar, looming before us. I started to view it as the price we have to pay for having such an awesome baby. Today we encountered another unplanned turn of events: we went to his specialist and she told us everything seems to be doing better, and cancelled the surgery!


WHEE!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

There's a party in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it....

Oh man. I really really really need to organize the photos I've taken of this boy. And in doing so, I came across some old gems. I had the far-fetched and subsequently discarded idea of an illusion that would look like a baby torso with grown up legs. This is the best I can do.

Photobucket

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dios Mio, Ferris Theo!

Here we are once again! Ferris is 10 months old, and his constant "thumb hook" reminds me of James Dean strutting around with a cigarette.

And of course the best photos manage to neglect the poor bear.

Ferris's latest party tricks include cruising! He's quite practical, and won't waste his energy on this unless he really needs something. Otherwise, he is content to crawl everywhere, and we're in no particular rush to encourage walking.


To recap month 10, Ferris.... met his first CEO (Mickey Drexler), attended his first college class (advertising), pulled pictures off the wall each morning, went faux furniture shopping, had an MRI under general anesthesia and woke up cheerfully, visited the Guggenheim and saw 3 Picassos, spent his first night away from his mama while she went on a bender, and welcomed his first spring in New York City.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Like Steve Martin, without the dryness.

In the sense of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!

PLANES:
Airplane ride #8 successfully under his nearly 10 month old belt! Playing with his flight accessories...

TRAINS:
This was taken during my last month of commuting. For six months, Ferris and I sat just like this twice a day. I loved it. I loved it when he fell asleep, I loved it when he stared down strangers until they looked back at him, I loved looking up to see a car-full of people gazing at Ferris, I loved it when he reached out to hold a gangsta looking teenage boy's hand and the boy's face was overtaken by a grin. They held hands for 4 stops. A woman got on at 42nd Street and insisted on taking a photo of Ferris grabbing my face and earrings. The New Yorker in me hesitated about handing over my phone, but the Midwesterner in me won out.

AUTOMOBILES:
Cheating here, because he doesn't have one. He does have a nice stroller and a good suck on a Mustang.

As I was (sort of) saying, Ferris gets around, most recently for a short trip to Minnesota. He has the good fortune of having people flock to him, ready to love, play, and laugh. We couldn't ask for more.


And back in New York, Central Park was just springy enough for me to capture his infectious smile and grass-waving ability. Sometimes he interacts with such understanding that I think he's so brilliant and surely he'll win a Nobel Peace Prize. Then, out of the blue, he starts sucking on my shoulder with such ferocity that I'm momentarily forced to reconsider.
Don't you love the onesie? We also have the Mario yellow star and red mushroom, but I never manage to get a photo.


They need a new word for happy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

9 months and new running shoes

We've just had two birthdays! Ferris is 9 months old.

At this point, you can't even distinguish which shots are the outtakes, can you?!

Here is what 30 looks like. Happy birthday to Nick! We celebrated at Del Posto, a fancy Italian restaurant owned by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Unfortunately, we didn't bump into Joe, who is the best judge on Master Chef. We started watching the show when Ferris was super wee, you can even hear it on in most of the little videos we took back then!

And here is what 9 months old looks like. Goofy and curious and unskilled at putting puffs into his mouth.
Ferris has a thing for highwaters, or his mama has trouble moving on!
 I used to wonder why seemingly normal people are always sprinting around New York City. Since going back to work after Ferris was born, my only workouts have been occasional jogs from my office to the daycare for a quick lunchtime hello. These are my running shoes. Therein lies the problem. We have some big events coming up soon, most notably Ferris's kidney surgery. So I decided to take a couple of months off from working instead of running myself, and my ballet flats, ragged. When I last had maternity leave, Ferris had just started grabbing his feet.

Today we went to the park, met a friend, read books, played on the floor together. Ferris went in a swing set for the first time, and tentatively smiled and giggled before preferring to suck on the front of the swing. He crawled toward the kitchen, as he always does. He pants with happiness, and his eyes gleam as he rounds the corner and sees the dog and cat dishes just ahead. Today I didn't stop him; I let him splash and kick the water dish until his clothes and the floor were soaked.