Friday, June 25, 2010

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

If you've spent any sort of time around us, you've probably heard us talk about Noah's younger brother, Jordan.

That same Jordan who has weaned himself of needing {even wanting} to sleep in a bed, who attempted a sleep-30-minutes-every-four-hours routine {"productivity is through the roof!"}, whose near-arm-loss during the talent portion spelled the demise of the Mr. Genola pageant, who tried to make himself immune to giardia by drinking down the river in intervals.

Well, the one and the same made his way to NYC for a quick visit in May, and as one might expect, a great time was had by all.

Jordan didn't have a ton of time in the city, but we hit most of the midtown sites, the LDS Temple, Julliard/Lincoln Center {Jordan is an extremely talented classical guitarist, so music-related sites and stops were high priority} and Central Park before a quick bite at Shake Shack. Then we headed downtown for a stroll through the Financial District and across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The guys caught a Josh Ritter / Annie and the Beekeepers concert on evening two and by morning three, we were already bidding Jordan adieu {not for long, though, as we met up in San Diego the next day...}.
The trip was not without its classic Jordan antics. My favorite is how he managed to take a cash-only DC-NYC bus trip and eat a cash-only meal in Chinatown without a single dime in his pocket {plenty of dimes on a debit card, but in a city that's frustratingly opposed to plastic...}. Didn't seem to faze people. The guy is inherently trustworthy.

Quick trip - but I hope we convinced you this is your kind of town, Jordan! Thanks for the visit!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Family Upstairs

Some of the sweetest blessings when living away from family are the friends who become like family. We've been fortunate to meet a lot of wonderful friends who fit the description. But the camera's out a lot with one surrogate family especially, and after Tamara shared these pictures with me the other day my happy heart had to sing their praises a bit on the blog.

When Noah and I were considering new apartments, we kept our search largely to one neighborhood in the city. And by that, I mean even 6 square blocks of one neighborhood in the city. Most of our closest friends lived in one general area, and the prospect of maintaining a little consistency in the wake of that particular move was appealing. But we did happen upon just a few outliers - one in midtown that seemed too good to be true (it was.) and another downtown that piqued our interest (the prospect of a gym six flights of stairs below me really spoke to me. the no-hassle workout. now we're talkin').

Imagine our delight when we realized Tamara, Brian and their adorable offspring called the latter home as well. It was especially reassuring to chat with Tamara about the building, the apartment, the neighborhood, etc. before we signed on the dotted line and we've been spoiled by their gracious hospitality since the minute we moved in.

We always find ourselves lost in great conversation in their home - they're both incredibly well-read and wildly intelligent in the most approachable way, and I usually find myself wanting to learn more about two, three, four new topics each time we get together. Best part about it - two of the most adorable kids known to humankind. Overstatement? Not one bit. Exhibit A:
In addition to dinners (sometimes, I don't even put on shoes... glorious!) and surprise treats left at our door (Donut Plant? why yes, thank you!), it has become our occasional Sunday ritual to walk or take a detour home from church with this wonderful family. A few highlights include the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, the Muggiest Day of the Year Picnic at Union Square, City Hall Park in Bloom and little T's spring ballet recital. Yes, you're all welcome to breathe a collective sigh at that last one. It was the very definition of "presh."
In all these pictures, I realized this was the only photo of the six of us. iPhone + stranger who only marginally cares how the picture turns out. Squint and maybe we won't seem so blurry...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Derby Tale

With only an hour or two to spare before the big race, our pinewood derby call was still just a block of wood, two axles and four plastic wheels in a Ziploc baggie.

I was in the kitchen and realized I hadn’t heard a peep from Noah in quite some time. Somewhat akin to the physiological reaction sparked with a toddler suddenly gone silent, my nervousness was piqued and I peered around the corner to see Noah whittling the wood with a razor blade (city kids, our woodworking tools are sub-par, at best). He stepped into the kitchen for the occasional supply – raiding the recycling for an empty spaghetti sauce jar and surveying our limited selection of paint colors.

He kept a lid on the progress and I kept a lid on prying questions until he popped his head around the corner – “how long does it take papier mache to dry?”

Against my better judgment, I finally inquired about the plan.

It would be an understatement to call Noah’s plan brilliance. But because I have no other words, let’s go with brilliance. Sheer brilliance.It had all the makings of a prize-winning vehicle. And because the mean age of Noah’s competitors was roughly 6.7 years, the odds were really stacked in Wienermobile’s favor.Wienermobile met an unfortunate fate, though, when it proved too tall for the track's restrictive gates.

Not to be deterred, Noah made some impressive last minute adjustments. Much to the chagrin of his pint-sized opponents, Wienermobile 2.0 performed exceptionally well. Beating even that most formidable of opponents ... Wrench Car.Wienermobile 2.0 went on to compete in several heats, remarkably (even, confusingly) securing top honors each time. It wasn't until its final run down the track that Wienermobile 2.0 fell behind Empire State Building and Wii Remote (with fully-functioning buttons).

Between you and me, I think Noah was a little relieved to come in third. He may have been a little self-conscious about being the only adult to come with his very own car and sans his very own kid. Plus, he'd received some pretty menacing looks from the Holman boys about his blatantly non-regulation-abiding vehicle.

Competition - and deep-rooted biases against processed meats - can be brutal.