Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rachel's Wedding

My sweet youngest sister got married this weekend. Her husband, Jeremy, is awesome! In fact, he didn't mind hanging with the sisters when we all descended on their home 18 months ago--even getting up and making us breakfast!

Their wedding was beautiful, the two of them were gorgeous (are gorgeous), the ceremony was touching -- conducted by my other sister, Bekah -- how's that for modern?  Jeremy's little boy, Cooper, kept us smiling through tears of joy.

It was so fun to all be together and get dressed up. The cousins loved being together as well and the celebration of a family wedding was a great ending to our family trip.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Niagara Falls & Palmyra and the Sacred Grove

We got up close and personal with Niagara Falls this morning. So powerful! I'm so glad we made the extra trip to see it!
We left in the afternoon to Palmyra and stopped at The Hill Cumorah, The Smith Family Farm and The Sacred Grove. We were disappointed at first that we'd miss the Hill Cumorah Pageant, but actually without all the visitors, the Sacred Grove was very peaceful. We were able to sit and talk about it's importance on a bench in the grove. 

You can see the temple from the Smith Family Farm.

The Sacred Grove
After visiting the Church sites, we had a long drive to Newark, New Jersey where we were catching an early flight to Denver. Hard to believe the trip has come to an end.  
I never got tired of the green, rolling hills and charming farms! So different than the West!
Dan and I have loved every minute and Nicholas agreed with us that we should keep traveling!  The other kids are anxious to go home and see their friends. I remember feeling the same way on long family trips when I was a kid, so I won't take it personally.  

I'm so glad we did this trip. It was a non-stop feast of new adventures, but the best part of all was being alone together in our little family unit for 2 weeks! I love our family!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Tail End -- Cornell & Niagara Falls

We left Boston early because we had a long 6 hour drive to Ithaca, NY to see Cornell. Clearly, by our lack of photos of the last few colleges, we were feeling the pull of home.

Cornell's campus reminded us a lot of BYU. Mixed architecture, wide open spaces. The view from the quad overlooking the valley was the most stunning view of any we'd seen. (I did make the boys get out of the car and look at it when they picked us up. But alas, no photos.)

The coolest thing about Cornell was their claim to fame building the smallest guitar and saxophone. They're so small you can't see it with the naked eye and you play the strings with molecules (somehow)!

After our tour, info session and lunch we drove another 3 hours to Niagara Falls. We got there just before dusk and the view from our hotel room was awesome! We stayed on the Canadian side because we'd heard the views from Canada were spectacular. They were. Fun accents too.

View from our hotel room!
More from our hotel room.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Boston, Day 3

Dan had a business meeting this morning and Courtney and I toured Boston College.  This left the boys home to sleep in, watch TV and pick up donuts in the neighboring mall for breakfast. They were in heaven.

Boston College was a beautiful campus with cool architecture. As a Jesuit University, it's pretty religious and and we loved that the Worship Wagon would take you to your place of worship on Sundays.

After our tour we took the train back to Boston (unfortunately the longest, slowest route) and met everyone at Boston Gardens. The Gardens is the setting for "Make Way for Ducklings." Love that book! We rode the swan boats and played on the grass and then headed to Fanueil Hall to Boston Chowda' for dinner. Highly recommended as the best Clam Chowder in Boston, it didn't disappoint and we went back for seconds.

That night we walked over to Fenway Park in a downpour for a Red Sox game. What a great stadium! We loved going to all the MLB games and have a plan to go to more each summer.  So wish we had a Major League team in Utah. The Bees are fun, but not quite the same excitement!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Boston, Day 2

Courtney LOVES MIT!
Monday morning Courtney and I headed to Harvard. The information session was boring and the tour was worse. What a disappointment! The tour guide talked in a soft whisper and blabbed about her friends and their lives and sadly they weren't interesting at all.

We met the fam for an outdoor brunch and then they dropped us off at MIT. Here Courtney was in heaven surrounded by all that math and those formulas! She didn't stop smiling and was giddy at the mention of doing problem sets with your dorm mates.
Math designs as decoration on the Aquatic Center's windows.
White boards in the dorm so you can figure out the equation for a circuit before bed.
The architecture was pretty cool. Buildings were numbered instead of named!
Also, "Hacks" were the pinnacle of smart kids using science and math to have ingenious fun. Hacks are pranks students pull each year.  There are rules -- they have to be safe and ethical etc. But to be the most inventive is the ultimate challenge.

Finally, the bookstore had everything you could want to be a cool, science nerd.
E/C2 = M  -1 is Imaginary = I  PV/nR (gas equation) = T

I didn't even get this but Courtney knew it was hilarious!

End of a great day!
We topped off the day with lobster and crab at Jasper White's Crab Shack. We ordered a lot and devoured it!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Boston, Day 1

The best part of arriving in Boston was our friends from back home, The O'Brien Family, were there too! we met at church in the morning and then took the Duck Boat tour after. The kids were so happy to be with friends again! Their drought in family-only, no-friend-land was finally over after 10 long days!
The Italian food was delicious in Boston as were pastries at Mike's! Wow! So decadent we went back for more the next day!

Later that afternoon we parted with the O'Briens and drove out to Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. We visited the homes of Henry David Thoreau & Nathaniel Hawthorne (same place), Louisa May Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson -- practically right next door to each other. We also drove to Walden Pond and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (not THE Sleepy Hollow, just another cemetery with the same name) and visited the graves of the same authors. Pretty Historical Place (literally).

We were exhausted by the time we got back. Spent the evening watching movies in the hotel and relaxing!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yale, Newport, Brown and Arriving in Boston

Another early start to get on the road. We started out for Yale thinking how easy it was to get across town on a Saturday morning. By the time we hit the freeway up to Connecticut, realized that everyone from the city was heading up to Connecticut with us. Took us 2 1/2 hours to drive 75 miles. Ugh.

We just drove around campus--beautiful buildings, not sure what we think of New Haven. It's not very nice, actually. Not sure if we missed the best part...

Then we drove up to Newport, Rhode Island. So quaint! So crowded!

We had a great lunch at The Parrot Cafe and then rode the bus to the famous Newport Mansions. Toured the Vanderbilt's "The Breakers" home. 150,000 square feet. It was so ornate and quite amazing.

  After we walked along "The Cliff Walk" along ocean past more beautiful mansions.

We left Newport and headed to Providence to see the campus of Brown University.  Downtown Providence seems brand new and clean. Very impressive. The campus was in a beautiful part of the city, just blocks from downtown. Also beautiful. All these back east colleges have so much character!

From Brown we had an hour drive to Boston. Great hotel in Cambridge. Watched Harry Potter, The Sorcerer's Stone on TV when we got here. Everyone is realizing how weird it is to watch TV without Tivo (you have to watch commercials)! I've told everyone that in "the olden days" when I watched TV, commercials were a good break to go to the bathroom, get a drink, get something to eat etc. 
A little intermission isn't such a bad thing.

Our friends, the O'Briens, are here on vacation too! 
We overlap a day and everyone is excited to see them tomorrow! Yea, Friends!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Statue of Liberty and The Yankees and It's SOOOO HOT!

Nick has been really excited about seeing the Statue of Liberty. 
We were able to get tickets to get in the pedestal but not the crown. 
(Making a trip? If you plan a few months ahead you can get timed tickets so you can avoid some lines. 
We started at 9:00 and were able to walk right through security and onto the boat.)
Funny security story--I kept setting off the detector. 
She had to use the wand and pat me down. The culprit? The underwire in my bra.

Record-breaking heat made any time outside miserable. Everyone was dripping.
Fortunately the interior of Ms. Liberty was air conditioned and no lines.
102* and with humidity, heat index was 114*!!!!!!

After the Statue of Liberty, we took a boat to Ellis Island. This was our first time to Ellis Island and we wanted to make sure Christopher got to see it since he'll be studying all about immigration in Mrs. Ross' class this year. Great displays and pictures really bring Ellis Island and immigration to life.
The best part was it was almost cold inside the building! We were so relieved to get inside!

After Ellis Island we went back up to Columbia to get Courtney a sweatshirt from the bookstore, then down to 83rd and Amsterdam (our old neighborhood) to an old favorite for lunch, "Good Enough to Eat."

We were so glad to get back to our hotel and cool off for a few hours before the Yankees game.
We sat around reading books, watching TV and blogging.

We took the subway to Yankees Stadium which was super slick and easy. On the way to the stop, Nick was STARVING. So easy to grab food on the go in New York!

In the second inning someone hit a Grand Slam and the Yankees got ahead 14-5.
After that it seemed the game dragged by. It was still broiling outside at 9:00 p.m.
After 3 hours we were still only in the 6th inning.
It was 10, so we called it a night and headed home.