Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hyde Park

A few weekends ago my friend Natalie invited a bunch of us down to her house for a girls weekend. And by weekend I mean 24 hours lasting from Friday night to Saturday night. Short as it was it was still nice and a lot of fun.

I was absentminded when we were at Natalie's and neglected to take pictures of the many, many animal heads and bodies that are splattered around the house. Natalie's husband, Mike is a serious hunter and displays his conquests on the walls. I walked into her house this time and saw the usual stuff: a deer's head - normal. A huge fish of some sort - normal. And then she shows me their bathroom that they're renovating and the first thing I see is this HUGE turkey that is sitting in their bathtub. Apparently that is its' temporary home but I'm not sure how I feel about a gobbler staring at me in the bathroom.

On Saturday we decided to tour some of the verrrrrry nice and historical homes of Hyde Park. But on our way there we stopped at Orange County Choppers because it was on our way. I was hoping to buy a little motorcycle for Jamison but I couldn't find anything that was perfect for him. There really wasn't any other reason for us to go there.

The Santa bike. They had all their custom bikes around the shop. Since it was a Saturday there was no one working in the shop but we were able to look in. I do relate to the whole working-with-family thing and I especially relate to the whole parent-child-yelling-at-each-other-in-the-office thing. Not that my father and I would ever be so unprofessional to yell in the office. Puhlease.

Then we made our way to FDR's childhood home Springwood. He was born here, grew up here, and he and Eleanor lived here for a while with their kids. Luckily, I was with girlfriends who knew and understood my slight obsession with history and in particular, historical homes. They were very generous and patient with me.

The house was really dark, crowded, and had small hallways. But other than that it was beautifully kept up and the tour guide was phenomenal. He told us that Ken Burns is planning on doing a documentary of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt and he was at the house just the week before. He also said that Ken Burns interviewed him but we'll see about that when the documentary comes out.

Then we decided to go to the Culinary Institute of America for lunch. Since we hadn't planned on eating there we assumed one of their restaurants would be open at 2:00 for a late lunch. None of the restaurants were open! Everyone on campus is there to cook and there was no one to cook us lunch! What else do they have to do but make food? Isn't that why they are all there?!

I was about to go in the dorms and just start knocking on doors and ask someone to cook me something when we decided to take pictures on the campus. This is Michelle and I. She is one of the ones who has been the most tortured with my interest in history. Example number one: Ellis Island trip 1992-ish. I went into every room and had the head set tour guide. They almost left me there...which I don't think I would have minded so much as it would be an opportunity to pretend I was an orphaned immigrant waiting for my mid-western relatives to pick me up and take me back to their farm. But I digress....

And here is the Frederick Vanderbilt Mansion. This is the smallest of the Vanderbilt mansions. I think his house looks like a bank. Even the inside look bank-ish. The interior of this home is completely different from FDR's neighboring home. It's obvious that the Vanderbilt's had tons more money than the Roosevelt's. This home is elegant, massive, and ornate.

And this is the back of the home. This is as much as I could get in my camera frame. If I took two more steps back I would roll down a steep hill, cross over the Amtrak tracks and plunge into the Hudson.

This is the view. It's beautiful and the picture can't do it justice. That being said, when we were all looking at it we remarked how much more beautiful it would be when the leaves began to change.

Many thanks to Natalie for inviting us down for the weekend!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


September and most of October is apple picking time in New York. I'm not a fan of apple picking. I have no reason for this. It could just be from over saturation of apple picking growing up.

We went with the other young families in our congregation so that was nice. The weather, on the other hand, not so nice. It was overcast and drizzly.

This is a picture of the same scene as above. I took this one when we were strawberry picking back in June. Apparently I'm teaching my children to be farmers, we do so much fruit picking. Or migrant workers. They can have aspirations for either career.

Brian was in charge of holding the huge bag. Who needs a half bushel of apples? And the kids were in charge of finding apples that were still on the trees.

Due to some heavy winds a lot of the apples were on the ground. Luckily, it took Jamison a while to eat one apple so I didn't have to continually knock rotten apples out of his hands.

Friends! Miss Jan, Emerson, Tamar, and Logan (in utero).

We were lost. There aren't that many directions to go in when you're apple picking but we succeeded in losing all sense of direction. All the trees look a like and there was no sun. Those are two very good excuses.

When I was little we would go to an apple orchard that had ladders ready for you to climb on. Lily depended on Brian for an extra lift to get the higher up apples. He tried to do the same thing with Jamison but Jamie wasn't sure what he was supposed to do so he just tried to climb the tree.

I made three apple desserts in one week in attempts to use up all the apples before they went bad. I wasn't happy with any of the desserts but it could be because pastry dough scares me, so I stay away from the predictable apple pie.
I stuffed the kids with apples for snacks. So much so that when Lily asked for a snack I would head for the apples and she would say - "anything but apples!" For the past few weeks I have found hidden slices of apple under the couch, behind arm chairs, and in a bookshelf. Lily would never hid apples, she would just throw them in the garbage, so that leaves only one other culprit - the boy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


In September we were able to meet up with our cousin, Erin from my dads side of the family. I hadn't seen her since her wedding in 2005. At this point I could go into detail about the WORST stomach bug I've ever received when we were traveling back from her wedding. But I won't. I kinda want to though because it was awful, but I won't. So next time you see me just ask me about this and I would be happy to go into gory detail.

Erin has a son, Carter who is one week older than my sister's girls and 4 months younger than Jamison. We thought it might get crazy in the house with all those two year olds but they didn't really interact. It was cute to see them all together, though.

Erin and I also came to the realization that we have a lot of Meeks genes in common. I'm not sure if this is genetic or not but we found out that we even organize our closets the same way (in order of shirt sleeve length, then color, and of course all the hangers facing the same direction).

It was Maddie and Ruthie's birthday so we brought a few small gifts. Jamison was very interested in the Potato Heads (we only have 10 so it's not like he can play with one whenever he wants.)

I decided to torture my brother in law and gave Maddie and Ruthie three pairs each of play shoes. Which, they loved, but my children overpowered them.

Whatcha lookin' at Uncle Mark? How do you like my purple heels?

Friday, October 16, 2009


We have a confession. We have been apprehensive about sharing this with others as we don't want to appear to be bad parents. But we feel we must be open and honest. Our son has the smelliest feet in the world. They stink. They stink so badly we have had to discipline him for taking his shoes off in the car. It was for the safety of the driver. We can't have the driver succumbing to the pungent odor.

So he took his shoes off when I had my camera ready a few weeks ago (um, I hope it's clear to the reader that I was not driving). The kids were being silly so I was hoping for something good. Lily thought he was so funny for smelling his feet and scrunching up his face in disgust.

Oh right. Here's another parenting confession. We cannot get the shoulder straps on Jamie's car seat to be tight enough. He is the Houdini of car seat shoulder straps. Here is a list of my attempts to get him to keep them on (obviously tightening the straps was my first attempt and that failed):
ACTION - roll down his window until he puts them back on. REACTION- demand that his window be down for every car ride.
ACTION - turn off the kids music until he puts them back on. REACTION - he sings at the top of his lungs so that the car windows start to crack.
ACTION - pull the car over and tell him we're not moving until he puts them back on. REACTION - apathy.
ACTION - threaten a discipline action once we get home. REACTION - races to struggle to get the straps back on and in these efforts punches himself in the jaw.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Animal Kingdom

While we knew Lily probably wouldn't be very interested in Animal Kingdom, we had a feeling Jamie might enjoy parts of it. Overall, Animal Kingdom is not worth the entry fee since they don't have many rides. But, it's also amazing to see the kids expressions (or Brian's) when they see the animals up close.

As soon as we told Jamie we were going to see animals he wanted to see hippos. I don't even know how he knew there were hippos there. He was right about the hippos though - the window showed about the water and below it so you could see the hippo making it's slow way into the water.

Jamison even gave us an impromptu performance of Hip-Hip-Hip-Hippopotamous.

So Disney succeeded in sucking us into another over priced theme park...we probably won't be going back to Animal Kingdom again. It's hard to invest in a park where the most impressive thing is the giant turkey leg that you can snack on in the DinoLand area.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Oh how nice! Brian is taking Jamie and Ruthie for a walk to the playground!

Wait a minute...if you want to play on the swings you just have to say so.

How awesome is the playground? Unfortunately the humidity was 300% so we were just looking anywhere for shade. So Kristen, Brian, and I squeezed inside the cave of the playground where it was the shadiest.

We were able to hide from the sun, but not the kids.

We spent most of the week telling Jamison "No Hugging!". He loves hugging the girls and causing them to either fall or scream. If he didn't try to tackle them they got along great. (Notice Kristen hiding in the cave)

Can you guys which kid? You have a 50/50 shot.

Real ROAR!
Fake ROAR!

Nothing funnier than dizzy kids.