Monday, November 30, 2009

Decorating the Christmas Tree

Saturday night Sofia and I went to visit Grandma and Grandpa. We went to Mass at Saint Catherine's. The last time Sofia went to church with Grandma a woman complimented Sofia saying she had never in her life seen such a well-behaved child at church. I had to see for myself! And she really was very good. I've been using her as an excuse not to go to church so it seems as if I no longer have an excuse which is good because I've missed it!

The priest's homily talked about Advent and the quietness of spiritual preparations before Christmas. All I could think about was how I, as many others he pointed out, planned on putting up the Christmas tree the following day. Maybe next year we'll start the tradition of decorating the tree on Christmas Eve and using Advent for it's true purpose: to reflect back and to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord’s (and Sofia's) first coming into this world...

But this year the tree goes up early. Sofia helped me put lights on the tree. She really loved it! It was so fun to watch her.

Dan had to work, but Grandma was there to help. She brought Sofia an ornament and it was the first ornament on the tree. Sofia loves to help do things so she was having a ball.

Soon it was time for Sofia to take a nap and Grandma and I got to work; putting up ornaments, sharing stories of our favorite ornaments and memories of past Christmases and of family members and loved ones who are gone. It was a nice couple of hours and when we were done we had a beautiful tree full of memories and family ornaments.

We really missed Dan being there and I wanted him to be a part of it so I saved the tree topper for him to put on once he got home from work.

After Sofia's nap I couldn't wait for her to get her first look at the finished tree. I think she was as impressed as I'd hope for her to be. She pointed out all the animals and angels and stars and other things she could recognize. I'm hopeful all the ornaments won't be too tempting for her to pull off the tree but so far so good! I let her play with the special ornament Grandma brought and she loves taking it off and putting it on over and over again.

We also pulled out Sofia's Little People nativity set and she LOVED it! My mom loved nativity scenes. She collected them and I remember them being all over our house during Christmas growing up. When Matthew was a baby she found out that Fisher Price made a Little People version of it and she was so excited to get it for him. Julie remembered how meaningful that was for Mom and last Christmas gave Sofia her own to play with. It was such a thoughtful and kind gift and I was so excited to set it up for her this Christmas.

Grandma helped set it up with her and Sofia had so much fun with it. She knows which one is "baby Sheejush" (Jesus, of course) and Mary and the animals and loves to push the angel down so it will sing Away in a Manger.

It was so much fun. And the next morning she insisted on bringing baby Jesus to breakfast.

She told me "baby Sheejush seepee" and then put her adorable, tiny little finger to her mouth and shushed me.

She cracks me up! We love her so much and we are so excited to share the Christmas season with her creating so many memories and creating our own traditions.

Thanksgiving 2009

We spent Thanksgiving this year at Tio Louis' house in Austin with Emi, David, Julie, Emily and Jeff. We really missed Papi but he needed to stay in Miami. He has a lot of work being done on his new condo which we can't wait to see and we'll see him again soon. I can't believe I forgot my camera but Dan took some cute pics with his iPhone.

The food was amazing and the kids were adorable. Sofia is still a little shy and takes a bit to warm up to her aunts and uncles but she LOVES hanging out with her cousins. She calls Jake "Jickey-Wickey,"

which is so adorable and loves to do anything Matthew does.

Sofia even tried on her little Indian costume she made at daycare.

I am so thankful for all of my family and hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Love, Dan and Angie

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November 2009

This month has flown! It feels like just yesterday we were dressing up our little witch and here we are at the end of November. Honestly, some days it feels like just yesterday that we brought home our little newborn ... but it's been almost two years.

Two years ago she was still growing inside my belly, just one year ago she was discovering her world so slowly, pulling herself up and cruising along the couch and today she's running and laughing and counting (all by herself!) to 15!

She's discovering her world so quickly now. Everytime I turn around she's doing or saying something new... and I'm so proud of her.

This morning after buckling my girl in the car, right before closing the car door, she says to me, "Bye bye, Mommy. Be good." Ha! That's what we say to Jax every morning before we leave.

When her daddy comes home she runs to the door and squeals, "Daddy hee-ew!"

She looks at photos of our closest family members and calls them by name. And when I mention to her today that we're going out of town tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family, after I name off everyone who will be there and realizing that I didn't name off any of her grandparents, little Sofia pauses, and asks, "Bo-boooh? Ma-mah, Pah-pah?" She knows her family. And she knows they love her.

As the pumpkin bread (the one Mom used to make every year) bakes in the oven I sit here and I am thankful!

.... .... .... .... ....

Here are some of the latest happenings...

I am so lucky because it seems our little girl loves housekeeping! She loves to help Dan put away the dishes. She loves to help me do laundry.

And ever since her gig as a witch she loves her "oom." Actually she prefers our broom, the big one.

It's sweet to have her help. It usually means things don't get done as quickly or perfectly but hopefully the investment will pay off in the end. I could have her cleaning this whole house by age 5... ya think?

One of Sofia's most favorite pastimes these days. It keeps her busy at restaurants. I love to see that concentration in her face.

IKEA with Isaiah
My friend Lindsey and I took the kids to IKEA to do a little shopping. It's actually a great place to bring the kids. The kids section is full of toys and furniture for them to play on and climb all over. We got there before they opened but they let us anyway and the kids had a blast just climbing on the couches and drumming on the coffee tables in the waiting area.

These two have a lot of fun together and so do the mommies! Isaiah's wearing the t-shirt we got him New York City ... isn't he a cutie?

I was able to buy Sofia some chairs of her own at IKEA. She sits at the same table that her Grandma used as a child and that her Dad and uncle used too. It's so neat to know that another generation is using that table to color and play on.

She was so excited about her new chairs that I brought them into the kitchen to let her eat breakfast like a big girl. And as you can see Jax looks excited too to be even closer to Sofia's food!

Beauty Queen
Tia Emily introduced Sofia to her makeup brushes on our last trip to Dallas. And the other night as I was putting on makeup Sofia peeked over my makeup drawer and asked, "Buh-sh?" So I let her play with one. She loves to rub it on her cheek, and her eyes, and her hair, and her neck, all while naming off each body part.

Then as Dan helped me clasp a necklace she looked up at me, "Neck-lush?" So I gave her one to play with. It was so cute to see my little girl, the same one who loves trucks and airplanes, be a little girlie.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

October 16-24, 2009

We had a great time! It was our first real Family Vacation.

Do you want to come with us on a weeklong vacation...? Enjoy your trip - it's not a short one!

Friday, October 16
We headed to Houston Hobby. It's only about a 15 minute drive from our house, especially at 4:30 in the morning. Unless, of course ... an auto accident causes I-45 to completely shut down, causing us to have to take a route so far out of the way that we arrive so late to the airport that they cannot put our bags on the flight with us. So late that they're calling out our name over the loudspeaker while we're rushing through security on the brink of a nervous breakdown. So late that we hand our tickets over at the gate at 5:47 when our flight is scheduled to depart at 5:50. So late that they are removing boarded stand-by passengers from the plane in order to let us on. So late that from now on I will arrive at an airport for any flight at least two-hours early... wait, please don't mark my words on that one.

Anyway, we finally made it to Newark Airport in NJ and Sofia got to wear her new puppy backpack leash.

Saturday, October 17
We were in town for my friend Blythe's wedding. We made it to our hotel in West Orange, NJ; our luggage did not. We wore the same clothes for over 24 hours. We finally (after two trips back to Newark) got our luggage. Sofia loved rolling the luggage cart with daddy

and cracked us up because she thought that small incline in the hallway was a slide. She sat down on it and would scoot herself forward saying, "Whee!" So silly!

She and daddy stayed in the room most of the day, playing with her blocks

and watching her Barney DVD,

while Mommy spent time with the girls getting ready for Blythe's big day!

Luckily we had a babysitter stay with Sofia so we could fully enjoy the night. It was a black tie affair - doesn't Dan look great in a tux? The wedding was beautiful and we had a great time. Plus, it was fantastic to finally be out of our travel clothes from the day before!

Sunday, October 18
Poor Sofia woke up with a fever and mommy and daddy with slight hangovers. She laid around all morning while we packed our bags.

We were headed to the train station. We stopped and had a little lunch

and then waited for our train.

We were taking an Amtrak train to New Haven, Connecticut to visit a lot of my side of the family. I loved the train. It was so much more roomy than those tiny airplane seats and the views were nice too. I won't mention however about how much I over packed for this trip resulting in us having to concoct very elaborate game plans about boarding and deboarding trains in busy train stations with a toddler in a stroller. No, I'll save those stories for Dan's nightmarish flashbacks.

We got into New Haven and had an awesome meal at Cousin Mary's with my Tia Ela, Tio Horacito, Cousin Mary and her husband, Danny and their kids, Kate and Jack, Danny's sister and her husband, Danny's mom, Cousin Tuti and his son, Richard, my Cousin Hershey's wife, Connie and her (expecting!) daughter, Carolyn and her husband Dave. I had to fight back tears a few times because it made me miss Mom so much. These were people we didn't get to see very often growing up because we lived so far away, but it never mattered because they were always as dear to us as if they lived next door. My Mom knew the importance of family and these people mattered so dearly to her so they matter dearly to me. They were the family she grew up with and her cousins were like siblings to her. It was awesome to be there with them and have Sofia and Dan there with me. And of course it was so great to have a home-cooked Cuban meal. I miss those!

Monday, October 19
Sweet Sofia still had a fever when she woke up. We weren't too worried since it was her only symptom but we decided to take her to Mary's pediatrician anyway. We figured it would be better than being stuck on the next leg of our trip in NYC trying to figure out where to find one.

Sofia had fun in the waiting room but, of course, hated it once the doctor came in. She got a clean bill of health though and the doctor suspected she was just getting over a short virus.

We celebrated her health with a trip to Lyman Orchards. It was so beautiful! The weather was beautiful, the sun shining with a chill in the air. The leaves were still changing so they were beautiful shades of green, yellow, orange and red. It was a perfect Fall day.

We were still a bit worried about the chill in the air for Sofia so we wrapped Mary's scarf around her. It was a bit big, but oh so cute on her!

Sofia loved feeding the ducks and picking apples straight from the trees. We could have spent all day out there just enjoying the scenery.

But Sofia was getting tired. On the way home she zonked out,

and Mary drove us around her beautiful neighborhood in East Haven trying to convince us to buy a house there. We were practically sold!

After a nap and some lounging around we got ready and met with Tia Ela, Tio Horacito, Connie, Carolyn and David at the famed Pepe's Pizza in New Haven. As we drove down the street Mary mentioned that we were on the "safest block in New Haven." I asked if New Haven was a dangerous town and she explained to me, "No, this is mob protected." She said you could usually see them standing around on the street corners. Dan was really hoping we could see some so he could go take a picture with them. We reminded him they were not a tourist attraction!

This place was packed. We had to wait in line, outside, in the cold, for nearly an hour. Sofia and Daddy sat on a curb. Sofia was all bundled up in her white winter coat. It was a gift from Grandma last year. When she bought it I couldn't imagine it would ever fit her and there she was... in New Haven, sitting on the street corner with her Daddy in her white winter coat, beckoning her Mommy, "sit down" and patting the concrete next to her.

We had a great time at dinner. It was worth every second of the wait. We ordered a white clam with garlic. Delicious! Sofia loved the pizza and she started feeling much better.

She put on quite a show for Ela y Horacito and we had fun talking with Carolyn about the new baby they were expecting and watching the waitress fall smitten with Tio Horacito. He claimed, however, that she was not his type!

Notice the tall bald guy in the back. He worked behind the counter and posed for every picture we took, just like you see above. Hilarious! I should send him a copy.

This dinner was so much fun! I loved every minute of it and Sofia loved the pizza enough that she snuck some home with her. That's my girl!

Tuesday, October 20
This was our last day in New Haven, visiting family. On the way to the train station we stopped by Ela and Horacito's new house. They lived in another house for over 40 years and growing up we spent a lot of special occasions there visiting with all the family. That old house is ingrained in my memory and holds so many wonderful memories. I can close my eyes now and picture their basement, their kitchen with its butler's pantry, their screened in front porch, the bedroom upstairs and the tiny bathroom next to it, the photos of my cousins lining the stairwell, their beautiful backyard with the hammock and garden and their garage which burned down one legendary Christmas Eve during a pig roast. They wisely decided to move to a new one-story house a few years ago for ease of living. I was secretly worried about seeing this new house because I was sad about the old house, but it was beautiful! I was so happy to see them there and they have settled in beautifully. And their neighbors love them, of course!

Sofia ran into their bedroom and picked up every single photograph Ela had framed on the window sill and we would point out all of her cousins to her. It was particularly touching when she grabbed the one of cousin Cathy "Pinky," and wanted to carry it around.

Ela gave Sofia a little bowl of dry Cheerios. We laughed so hard because Sofia would accidentally drop handfuls of them but then very deliberately pick each one up so as not to leave a mess. She's always cognizant of putting things back. Ela thought it was apparent that she was related to my clean-freak grandmother, my Abuela. We laughed!

It was so nice to be there and my only regret was not planning to stay there longer. We had so much fun and it was so nice to be there. We can't wait to get back!

We left there and headed to the New Haven train station.

After our last experience with all our bags at the train station we were a little nervous about boarding but we managed. We were definitely novice train travelers. We made it on the train alright. Sofia was tired, therefore a bit cranky. But thank goodness for Barney, and for those frat boys in the background who gave up their seats so we could sit together.

We finally made it to Penn Station in New York City. And despite the sleep which overtook the Short One and the look on Dan's face, WE WERE EXCITED!!!

We were a couple of hours early to check in to our little apartment in Chelsea so we checked our million bags with Amtrak and took a jaunt around town. The city was exhilarating! This is the immediate view coming up the stairs from the train station.

We stopped at the Empire State Building but didn't go up.

We did some walking just to soak up the city. After all the traveling we'd been doing and the excitement of the past week it really took me an hour or so for the shock to wear off. The city moves so rapidly and I felt overwhelmed. But after a bit it felt natural and normal.

We stopped to eat in Midtown and celebrated our arrival with a beer. Sofia saw us tap our pints of beer together and happily say, "Cheers!" and she wanted in. So she cheered with her Dora cup. Funny, it's a habit she's brought home. She loves to say "Cheers!" and tap whatever it is she's drinking, or even with a Popsicle.

After lunch we headed to our apartment. It was where we would call home for the next four days. Where we would climb the three stories of very narrow stairs.

Where we would order in pizza and feel like locals. It was a small one bedroom apartment on a tree-lined street in Chelsea

with a park, Clement Clarke Moore Park, and the famed Empire Diner on one end of the street and local grocery, cleaners, Rite-Aid, bakery, bars, etc. on the other end of the street. It afforded us a tiny little bedroom for us to all sleep in with a living room

for us to retreat to once Sofia had hit the hay. We also had a full bath and the tiniest little kitchen you could ever imagine. Perfect for quick breakfasts in the morning and a fridge to keep essentials, like beer Sofia's milk.

After unpacking and settling in we bundled Sofia up in her jacket

and hit the streets for a walk. We were definitely in New York City. Something is always happening in this town! We walked three block and right through a film set.

We kind of hung around to see if we could recognize anyonebut we couldn't. I asked a woman walking her dog and she said she wasn't sure what they were filming but the neighborhood had been crazy all day. Apparently, President Obama had been in town also. We continued our walk toward Chelsea Piers. The more we walked the more police officers we saw. Boy, this city is safe! Once we tried to cross 11th to get to the pier we were stopped and told we could not cross until the motorcade passed. So there we stood. We had been out for less than fifteen minutes and already walked through a movie set and straight into the President of the United States. This stuff never happens in Houston!

Here's what we guessed to be his motorcade, but it was hard to tell.

We never did cross and make it to the Pier. It was cold, it was getting late and Sofia needed food and sleep. We walked to the pizza place by our apartment, got some pizza to go; we walked to Billy's Bakery down the street and picked a cupcake up for Sofia and the yummiest oatmeal raspberry bar; we walked to the little grocer and picked up a six-pack and then we went home to settle in.

Wednesday, October 21
We had a great day planned. We got Sofia dressed and let her take a look at the map so she could get oriented.

We walked down our new lovely street and stopped to eat our first NYC bagel.

Sofia took her first ride on the subway which she would learn to call the ChooChoo and we would learn to affectionately call our Source of Confusion.

We headed downtown and stumbled upon a beautiful park, City Hall Park, with a gorgeous fountain in the center. Sofia loved playing with the "wa wa." She would have jumped in if we'd let her!

We were headed for the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked about halfway down. The views were incredible. This was probably my favorite NYC icon to visit and Sofia loved pointing out all the cars and trucks that whizzed by.

All the excitement from the bridge tuckered our little girl out. So as she napped we walked through the Financial District, along Wall Street, where Bobo worked back in the day.

Sofia and I posed in front of a statue of George Washington that read,
On this site in Federal Hall, April 30, 1789, George Washington took the oath as the first President of the United States of America.
Pretty cool.

Next stop, Staten Island Ferry.

We boarded the free ferry to Staten Island for the views. We didn't get off but instead took it roundtrip and introduced Sofia to her first NYC hot dog and pretzel.

It was a great way to see Ellis Island and of course, Lady Liberty, the Statue of Liberty.

After the Ferry ride we played along the promenade at Battery City Park. The Statue of Liberty looked on from far, far away (see it tiny back there?) as Sofia had her diaper changed. Our little Sofs then sat silently thankful for our freedoms as she took in the Statue of Liberty from afar.

We finally let her run free among the statues and flowers on our way to check out Castle Clinton. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the city.

Next we walked north and headed toward Ground Zero. There is construction all over the city so when we stumbled upon Ground Zero we almost didn't even realize what it was. It's a construction site now. Albeit a very large construction site. And since we had no real life reference to compare it to it was unrecognizable. We went to a sky bridge inside the World Financial Center and were able to look down on the site.

It was unthinkable to imagine the twin towers and the surrounding campus which previously stood there. It was far more unthinkable to imagine the mayhem on the streets on that sad day in September of 2001. We headed next to the 9/11 Memorial Museum's Preview Site where you could see an architectural model of what they had in store for the area.

This was very emotional. They had a timeline showing exactly what happened that day and the same emotions of sorrow and deep sadness came rushing back as they did all those years ago. It was incredibly sad. We stayed for awhile and paid our respects.

Now we were tired and hungry. We headed back toward the subway and Sofia spotted her beautiful fountain again. We let her play awhile longer while mommy studied the subway map to try and determine just how we'd get to our dinner spot without buckling under pressure and hailing a cab!

We hit the subway and ended up in the West Village at a must-have burger joint, Corner Bistro. My brother, David, discovered it years ago and during a day trip to NYC in 2001 with my other brother, Louis, tasted the awesomeness of the burger. I had to take Dan (and Sofia) to try it. The place is dark and mellow like a tavern should be and a perfect place to end a perfect day.

Thursday, October 22
We had a slow start but couldn't wait to head out. There's so much to see! We hit the streets on this day and decided to hoof it all the way to Times Square. We loved how much there was to see on our strolls through the city. We walked by the famed (or infamous) Chelsea Hotel,

stepped inside and checked out the artwork in their lobby.

We walked by Madison Square Garden, where I saw my first concert, David Lee Roth (ha! don't laugh!) many, many years ago with Emi,

spied the Empire State Building

and a cool little Pork Shop that we'd seen before on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show,

saw Parsons New School of Design, where they used to film Project Runway and where I'd personally LOVE to have a degree from,

and spotted a cool billboard which was appropriate since the Yankees were in the midst of what would become their 27th win of the World Series. To my brothers: Sorry for bringing that up.

Sofia caught a ride on Daddy's shoulders and

we marveled at the commercialism and sheer craziness of Times Square and it's electronic billboards.

Then we let Sofia loose in the biggest Toys R Us we've ever seen. This is when we realized that this day was mostly about Sofia. It made it quite evident of how different a trip to NYC is with toddler in tow!

We were greeted by a giant 3-story indoor ferris wheel. Sofia loved the floors.

She basically walked around and just touched every toy she could get her hands on. But she never stayed in one place too long before moving onto the next toy. It was as if she knew she had to get into as much as she could in a quickly lapsing amount of time.

She rode a stick horse

hugged a huge teddy bear's foot

then decided to hug another one's face.

After Toys R Us we headed back out into the city. Dan stopped to get Sofia a pretzel from a street vendor.

She happily ate it and then quickly fell asleep.

We continued our walk until I saw an H&M and decided I'd seize the opportunity to do a little shopping. Sofia slept in her stroller and Dan waited patiently and rested his feet. I so wish Houston had an H&M! They have great prices and really cute clothes.

After my shopping spree we popped into St. Patrick's Cathedral and admired the beautiful architecture. I wish I would have thought to check their Mass times so we could have attended. Maybe next time...

We kept walking and headed over to Rockefeller Plaza and watched the ice skaters in front of the gilded statue of Prometheus and admired the flags. As you can see, Sofia slept through all of this excitement.

We continued on until we ran into a funky little burger spot by Central Park called POP Burger. We shared some food and a milkshake amid Andy Warhol's pop art reproductions

then headed over to toy store #2 for the day, the FAO Schwarz. Sofia posed with the living nutcracker and then went in for another round of ADD excitement.

She was, as they say, like a kid in a candy store (within a toy store.) I left the camera in my bag and decided instead to enjoy it with her. They had a station set up where you could design your own full size Muppet like Jim Henson would. It was so cool! I was actually tempted to do it until I saw the crazy price tag and remembered it would not be good to add that much bulk to our already out of control luggage situation!

Next we were headed to Central Park to explore until Sofia caught site of all the "horsies!" or handsome cabs lined up.

We hopped right on.

She loved the ride and insisted on sitting on her own next to Daddy.

I'm not really sure if she knew we were being pulled by a horse but she loved pointing out all of the other horses and cars and bikes we saw go by. We pointed out to her the statue of the Cuban national hero and literary figure, José Martí, which stands proud at the entrance of the park.

It was a lot of fun. We buckled under pressure to the idea of taking a cab home

rather than attempting the subway. The cab driver dropped us off right in front of the park on the corner of our street so we stopped there for some fun

before heading home to recharge.

After our naps, we got ready to go.

We were going to have dinner with friends of the family who live in the city, real near where we were staying. Growing up Dan had a close friend, Scott, and his sister, Michelle, now lives in NYC with her husband, Michael, and their sweet little girl, Juliet.

On the walk to the restaurant we passed by our tiny neighborhood bookstore and noticed they were hosting a reading. I peeked inside and it was the "incontheivable" guy from my all-time favorite movie, The Princess Bride. I had to sneak a picture.

We met them at a really cool restaurant called Park. The interiors of this space made you feel as if you were outside, in a park. It was really beautiful. Unfortunately, since it was so close to Halloween they had fake cobwebs strewn across the trees so you can't see just how beautiful the trees are.

Anyway, it was a beautiful dinner and wonderful to have people in the city to visit with, and borrow their Pack n Play! Unfortunately amongst all the catching up and chasing after the kids I didn't get a chance to get a picture of us together.

It was another long, fun-filled day!

Friday, October 23
We bundled up our girl

and we headed to start our last day in NYC with another bagel. We hit the subway and ended up back at Rockefeller Plaza.

We were headed up to the Top of the Rock to see the spectacular views. It was great too because they had several enclosed levels and we could let Sofia run around outside and check the views out for herself.

They also have an amazing room which connected you to either side of the top observation deck which they called The Breezeway. Here's how they described it:
The Breezeway is an intelligent light display activated by movement. Walk. Dance. Wave. Become a part of the experience. The Breezeway showcases state-of-the-art technology that identifies visitors as they walk through space, assigning each person a red, green or blue color.
It was so cool. Sofia was mesmerized.

The views were incredible. Here are some of my amatuer photos. There's no way to capture the amazing views and feelings that they conjure up. It is spectacular!

The Top of the Rock knocked Sofia out

but we headed over to Central Park again so we could explore the park. So once Sofia woke up we did just that. We visited the ice skating rink

the Angels of the Water Fountain,

the statue of Balto the dog,

and all along the way we just stopped and admired the beauty of this park.

The only problem now was that we were getting hungry and it was getting cold.

We had a place in mind we wanted to try in the West Village so we studied our map and hopped on the subway. The only problem was that I didn't study the map enough. We kept repeating our stop over and over to ourselves. I was counting down each stop and then I reminded Dan that the next stop was ours, so get ready. The next stop came. It wasn't ours. I was confused. Let's keep going, the next one must be ours. Dan was confused. I was confused. Then suddenly we both can see light out of the window! What's happening? we're wondering. And we realize then, that this subway car is crossing the water. It's going to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn, here we come. I'm tired. Dan's tired. Sofia's tired, hungry and sick of us.

We decide to let fate take it's course. We'll get off in Brooklyn, we'll look around, the first restaurant we see - we'll stop there.

The first restaurant we see: freakin' Applebee's. We decide to keep walking.

This Brooklyn stop definitely had a different vibe from Manhattan. Which is fine but we were hungry, tired and had plans to get Sofia home at a certain time for a babysitter so we could have date night!

There was an interesting artist's installation in a row of abandoned shops. I made us hop in and experience it. They were really interesting pieces of sculpture... fun and full of whimsy.

We got back on the subway and, honestly, I can't even remember how we ended up near NYU,

but we did. It was yet another fun, vibrant, beautiful, albeit unplanned, view of the city. And we ended up eating in a lovely little Italian restaurant and then catching a cab back to our apartment. My cousin Mary called earlier that day and said she and her husband, Danny would take the train into the city and come to dinner with us that night. We were so excited to spend more time with them!!

Sofs went straight to sleep and then the same great babysitter from the wedding in New Jersey came to stay with her so we could go out. We had plans for a sushi restaurant but there were no reservations left, so we decided on another place, The Spotted Pig. Mary and Danny were to meet us there but they called and said it was packed so instead we would meet at Spice Market in the Meatpacking District. It was a great place and we had so much fun chatting with them and getting to know them even better. We literally laughed and cried (at least us girls) but I know we all enjoyed ourselves.

Saturday, October 24... our last day
We woke up and let Sofs hang out in her new favorite hat, eating a yummy handpicked apples from Connecticut,

while we packed up and said goodbye to our lovely apartment. We were so sad to go but Dan ran up to the corner grabbed us one last bagel

and we popped our girl in a cab and hit the airport.

We've been back from our trip for almost a month now and it's taken me this long to go through the 600+ photos and even longer to get over how much fun we had. I can't wait for Sofia to look through these photos herself one day and know how much fun she had!