Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Trip to Jersey

We visited my cousin and her family this weekend in New Jersey. It was such a fabulous trip. Here is happy Claire at the beach!

My cousin Taji who was an absolute angel and helped watch my kids all weekend so I could relax and have fun! She and her husband Chance have a beautiful house in a calm neighborhood of Pennington, NJ. They were such amazing hosts and made us feel at home in their place. The beach was about 1 hour drive from their house

Emmie had so much fun with Taji's 7 yr old girl Rita (named after our sweet Grandma Rita)

They have two awesome boys, Caleb (11) and Corbin (10) that we really enjoyed getting to know.  They even got Jon to play some video games with them (which obviously would not take much convincing)

Lukie had fun burying the two older Bagley boys

The beach was beautiful and the sand was perfect. The waves were a bit intimidating for me, but Jon got me in the water doing some "body surfing" which was a lot of fun.  I didn't mind the "Jelly fish balls" floating around us. We nicknamed them that because they were these little balls of goo. You could pick them up and hold them and they wouldn't sting. The kids collected a bunch in a bucket. Emmie was sad when we told her we could not bring the jelly fish collection home!

We did the beach day Friday, and on Saturday Jon, Claire and I ventured into New York City!  Claire was excited about her trip to the City. She may just be our city girl after all!  It was fun to just spend the day with Claire and Jon.  Claire doesn't get much solo time with mom and dad, so I think she sensed it was something special!

We took the train in, which we decided would be a better alternative than driving. 1) Jon could relax and not have to worry about crazy city driving.  2) We could hold Claire  3) We didn't have to deal with delays with traffic.  It took us about 1 hour to get to Penn Station.  I was impressed with how clean and nice the trains and stations were.

This was one of the places I really wanted to go in New York.  I had already seen some of the tourist spots like Statue of Liberty, etc, when I came to visit Spen and Diana several years ago.  I have been interested in the memorials surrounding 9/11. A couple of months ago Shelbs and I went to the Pentagon Memorial here in Virginia. It was an uplifting experience.  This was too!  I just love that both memorials have a feeling of hope and life after such a devastating event.  The twin tower memorial waterfalls were very symbolic to me of what happened that day....the towers literally crumbling into a void like the waterfalls descend down into today.  But the rushing water and trees surrounding the memorial symbolized hope, peace and new life.  The other strong feeling at all the sites in the 9/11 memorial was unity.  They are going to be doing a lot of things in the next several years to make this a special place (museum, 7 WTC buildings, etc)  Very cool stuff.

This was the survivor tree.  It was found after 9/11 and had survived all the fires.  Granted, it was only an 8 ft stump.  They transported the stump to a nearby New York park, and nurtured it back to health. It grew 30 ft and was then uprooted again in a huge storm in 2010. It still survived the storm and is now replanted on the memorial grounds.  Again, a symbol of strength, resilience and hope.

The names of all the victims inscribed around the waterfalls

The first WTC in progress

It was SO FUN to meet up with Scot and Sarah.  They have been our East Coast buddies lately!  They had just moved to NY two days earlier.  Spen and Diana had planned a trip to Virginia Beach the very weekend we wanted to visit them. It was funny because they were planning to come and see us in Virginia on their way! Luckily, we hope to see them on their way back from the beach this week. I REALLY missed them when I was in their hometown.  I am brainstorming another trip to NY soon :)

Claire loves her Auntie Sarah

Jon remembered watching the food network and seeing this yummy Jewish Deli on there. It is famous in NY so we decided to try it out. 

We were NOT let down!  I am not a huge meat eater, but I feel like I could have eaten 3 of these sandwiches.  The meat was amazing. We can't wait to go back!

They've been making these sandwiches since 1888. Well, they've definitely got it figured out!

Dessert time: Gelato :)  They had all sorts of interesting flavors that we taste tested. I tried "Turkish Fig" and would not recommend it.  I thought it sounded like "Turkish delight" in Narnia.  I even got a shot of our favorite guy of the day (he is the worker behind the counter).  He was very giddy about the job.  When we would ask to taste test something, he would grab an extra spoon and taste test it as well! Then he told us it was his 2nd day there. He was totally stoked about it.  It was funny.

The kids had a blast playing with Rita, Corbin and Caleb. Emmie even had a "sleepover" with Rita each night downstairs in the basement

We stayed up late talking each night. It was fun to swap Fowler memories and get to know each other more. Taji, Chance and I all served missions in Chile so it was fun to reminisce about things like Completos (the best kind of hot dog there is), Chilean bread, etc.  Thanks for the great trip Taji and Chance!

They completely MADE Luke's day by giving him a Darth Vader mask.  He wore it on the way home! It was so awesome to keep looking in the backseat and seeing this!!

Emmie is always Claire's biggest entertainment in the car.  The kids did great on the road.   We can't wait to go back!