Friday, September 09, 2011

Paying Tribute and Playing Around

Last weekend we decided to use our extended time off to include a day trip up to New York City. Finnley had never been there, and we hadn't been in quite some time. We figured this was a very fitting time, as well, given the upcoming 10 year anniversary of the attacks of 9/11.

We started our day at Ground Zero...which is the current construction site for ONE World Trade Center. As we walked closer to the site, we decided to stop at a local shop to purchase a flower to place at the scene in order to pay our respects to all that lost their lives that tragic day, to all those who survived the terror, and to all those who were affected by the horrific events. It was a sad and cathartic experience all at the same time. The pain of the past transitioning into the persistence of a people and a city to rebuild and to thrive. I cannot wait to see the project at its completion, with the commemorative reflection pools and the towering structure with its symbolic beacon of light and hope. And, although the experience was lost on Finnley at her young age, I am happy that she was there with us. One day she will understand, and I believe that she will reflect on first trip to this meaningful place with appreciation and awe.

After leaving the site, we flagged down a taxi to take us to Times Square to get our fill of some lights, smells, and funky noises. Finnley was a bit uneasy and unsure since she wasn't strapped into a car seat, but she quickly realized how COOL that could be...FREEDOM! She stood up, looked out the back window, sat back down, and just took it all in. After a bit of time in the car, she decided she wanted OUT! That might have something to do with the way taxi cars flit about the city with honking horns, zippy turns, and a race car attitude. Regardless, she hung in there until we arrived at our next destination: Toys 'R Us.

What can you say about a gigantic toy store in the middle of a gigantic city? Over-stimulation to the max! It delivered. Finnley didn't know where to look first or what to touch next. We spent some time there hitting each floor and checking out a bit of everything, and we managed to leave without spending a dime! That has to be something of an anomaly, but we were pretty proud of ourselves.

Next on the agenda was a bite to eat at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. It was close. It has good food. It is a great place for a toddler to eat. It worked perfectly. Finnley spent the first ten minutes at our table stacking, placing, moving, and re-stacking approximately 10 red, white, and blue plastic plates. It was an obvious process, and one in which Finnley was fully enthralled. She took a break to do some coloring before our lunch arrived. We made quick work of our food, and then walked with a purpose to our last stop...M&M World!

A shop that is all about chocolate and truly smells like chocolate? Heaven! The only negative thing about the place is the cost! But, once you are in the do you resist buying a bag of candy??? You can't, and they know it. So, we left that store with one small bag and one even smaller bag of candy. Cost? $17.00. No joke. Whatever, we were all happy!

For our grand finale, we found our way to a subway station on 50th and jumped a train back to the Battery Park section of the city. Again, Finnley was a bit tenative when we started...but she quickly fell in love. She kept walking from my seat across the aisle to Matt's seat. She would look and point and squeal. She repeated "I ride choo-choo" over and over again. The mass transit system of NYC did not disappoint this toddler. Not.One.Bit.

This day was short and long all at the same time, and it exhausted Finnley completely. Two minutes after being buckled into her car seat and us getting back on the road, Finnley was passed out. I am pretty sure we will be back to THE city again soon. Paying tribute and playing around. Our girl seemed to love it, and I know that we did, too.



Out and About

Having surgery can't keep us down! It might make doing things (like picking up a toddler, changing a diaper, carrying a kicking and screaming child to her crib for nap time, cleaning house, etc.) a bit more challenging, but all of these things still manage to get accomplished in one form or another. While the sutures were still in it was most difficult, just because I couldn't get my hand / arm wet. Outside of that, things have been pretty much normal.

So, as normal, we headed out on some fun-trips. Last week we hit one of our favorite destinations, Smith's Play Place in the Fairmount Park section of Philadelphia. Finnley can't get enough of all of the outdoor equipment. She explores, climbs, rides, controls, possesses, plays, runs, and eventually gets hungry...which is when we head to a picnic table for some lunch before heading home. We need to take advantage of the days left to hit the outdoor part of the play does shut down during the "colder" seasons. So, I'm sure we will have more reports from here soon.

With the fall season coming up, we have some familiar activities to throw ourselves back into and some brand new ones to add to the mix. Finnley has just started GYMNASTICS class! It is a "mom and me" class, and although she is a bit clingy and whiny at the start of class, she turns it around after a few (or several) minutes. She just LOVES it. She waits patiently for her turn and for instructions, and then she just rolls with it...literally! I think this is going to be an awesome addition to our "curriculum". This coming week we will return to our favorite music class. I can't wait because it means we will get a new CD for the car. I have nearly hit my tolerance level for the previous one, and I seriously look forward to some fresh tunes. I hope Finnley likes the new one as much as the old...she has started "singing" some of the words to the songs, and she has "dances" for each one, too.

These two classes will take up our Mondays and Fridays, leaving the middle of the week for additional outings and adventures. Who knows what those will include, but I am sure we have another fall and winter of fun ahead of us!

A look at our trip to Smith's: