Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween Everyone!! This is my favorite holiday of the year. I love Halloween. I have been trying to pack in as many Halloween activities as possible, especially this week. Here are some photos of our Halloween fun.
 
 
Some lovely friends organized a pumpkin painting acitivity. Cosette got really into painting her pumpkin. She painted the whole thing blue, green, and yellow. Then she proceeded to decorate it with stickers. She is an artist.

 
 
This year our sweet baby girl is a yellow horse. Horses are her favorite animal and yellow is her favorite color so it works. She is really adorable in her costume. She looks awesome!

 
At our church Halloween party. Our friend Josephina is holding Henry. She is awesome! Henry got along well with her. He fell asleep in her arms. 
 
 
Sweet little boy to the left. To the right is the end of the annual Harlem Meet Pumpkin Float. You can take your jack o' latern down in Central Park and watch it float across the Meer. It's a pretty haunting sight.  
 
 
Cosette and Daddy carved our jack o' latern this year. She was super excited to do it after going to the great jack o' latern blaze (post here). She wanted it to be carved just like her plastic trick or treating pumpkin.
 
 
Lovin' on the pumpkin. She is the sweetest.
 
 
Our little bat at the haunted house after a Halloween story time.
 
 
 
These two pictures are from our Day of the Dead outing. I took the kids and we went the the El Museo del Barrio for their annual Day of the Dead celebration. They had a parade from the museum into Central Park around the Harlem Meer. We met the parade and joined in. The top photo is part of the parade. It stopped a couple of times and they played music while people danced and handed out sugar skulls and the bread of the dead which is just normal bread. It was really really cool. The bottom photo is a shrine at the museum where people place the photos of their deceased family members to honor them. Wish I had more pictures, but I forgot the camera so you are stuck with my stinky camera phone pics.
 
We hope hope that you have a ghoulishly delight ful day!
Happy Halloween!!!
 
Love,
Lyndon, Christine, Cosette, and Henry

The Blaze

When we were in England, our landlords forbade us from displaying our Jack-O-Lanterns. They did not celebrate Hallowe'en because they thought it was too pagan. Well, setting aside the demonic aspects, Hallowe'en is a blast, and after our experience in England we discovered it is much better with lots of carved pumpkins. After our pumpkin fast, imagine our delight when we discovered THE GREAT JACK-O-LANTERN BLAZE last year, near Washington Irving's Sleepy Hallow, no less! This year we knew we had to go back and see the thousands of carved Jack-O-Lanterns again. So we bought our tickets early. Unfortunately Christine fell ill the day we had our tickets. Feeling impetuous I, Lyndon decided to brave the cold dark world and take Coco to THE GREAT JACK-O-LANTERN BLAZE all by myself. Things were complicated when just before it was time to leave, Coco took a nasty fall and cut her lip on the asphalt while on a trip to the grocery store. After changing out of our blood soaked clothes (that is not hyperbole), and consulting Coco's wishes, I decided to forge ahead with our plans to attend THE GREAT JACK-O-LANTERN BLAZE.
 
We arrived at the THE GREAT JACK-O-LANTERN BLAZE without incident. I listened to some Tchaikovsky while Coco napped. We bought a sandwich and a lunchable for dinner and headed for THE GREAT JACK-O-LANTERN BLAZE.
 
The thing to remember about THE GREAT JACK-O-LANTERN BLAZE is that it is dark. So with each beautifully crisp picture, please imagine me croaching, with the camera on the ground (for lack of a tripod) with Coco either clinging to me or running off in the wrong direction. In life one must choose between taking good pictures and being a good parent. You decide which I chose.
 
 
Van Cortland Manor all dressed up for Halloween.
 
 
A hairy snake??
 
 
Coco with her bruised lip. She was very well behaved at THE GREAT JACK-O-LANTERN BLAZE, if a bit too adventurous.
 
 
Here you can particularly tell that the camera is on the ground. It makes these flowers seem gargantuon. Makes me think of Through the Looking Glass.
 
 
Floating fairies.
 


 
Giant worms??
 
 
I tried unsuccessfully to get Coco to look at me here. Too many interesting things to look at.
 

 
All the great gothic monsters lined up together. Frankenstein, Mummy, Dracula, Skelaton and Witch.
 
 
Flash makes things seem not so spooky.
 
 
Is this skelaton merely friendly or crawling out of the ground to devour us?
 
 
Hard to Rest in Peace with those bats flying above you. Seriously guys, learn to read. How many times do we have to write the same thing on our tombstones and still you don't get it.
 

Never separate a spider and his web.
 
 
This web is pretty big. Coco loved it. She made a miniature spider's web at a crafting event with her friends.
 
 
The skelaton spider.
 
 
Something wicked this way comes. Luckily Macbeth did not himself make an appearance.
 
 
This was Coco's favorite part, the TUNNEL OF LOVE. All of the pumpkins were carved with hearts. A worker mentioned the tunnel at the start of our tour, and Coco had been talking about it ever since. When we got here she did not want to leave. She just kept talking about it.
 

 
 
Coco also loved the giraffe, elephant and lion,
 
 
the Dragon,
 
 
and the Dinosaurs.
 

 
Coco and I had a great time. Coco now loves pumpkins, so we carved one tonight. Not as good as the ones we saw at THE GREAT JACK-O-LANTERN BLAZE, but Coco still loves it.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!
 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Birth Story

It has been a month since Mr. Henry's arrival so I guess I will share a little bit about the day he was born. Lyndon says I should share the birth story because this blog is help our families keep up with us and it is kind of funny. There are no gory details so don't worry.

I was nine months pregnant and I was not sure if he was ever going to come. I mean I had been pregnant this entire year so far. 2013 did not know a non pregnant Christine. I was really ready to have him and not be pregnant anymore. Anyway, I did not have hardly any contractions the weeks leading up to his birth, which for me was weird because with Cosette I had Braxton Hicks all the time. I mean all the time! With Cosette I was afraid I was not going to know when I was in labor because I had so many brackston hicks. Anyway, at my last appointment my doctor told me that she would probably not see me at my next appointment the following week because he was probably going to come in the next week. I went home so full of hope that he would come soon, very soon, like that instant. I started to get everything ready just in case. I called my sister in Pennsylvannia to see if she could come that weekend and lucky for me she could. And nothing happened! No contractions, no nothing. It was so disheartening because I was not just sitting around. We were going out and doing things and we walked every where.

Hooray for Aunt Bethany! She was an angel by coming to help us that weekend. We really really appreciated it.

Cosette's last day as an only child. It was a good one.

My sister left Monday afternoon and that night after my swim it felt like something was happening. I started having a few contractions, yay! They were not regular and I fell asleep while timing them so yeah no labor there. Tuesday morning I woke up and  was having more contractions and was not sure what to do. I decided to just go about normally and if things progressed then I would take it from there. I also figured walking around would get the ball rolling better than just sitting. So Cosette and I went to story time and my contractions were coming pretty frequently but nothing to strong. I started timing them when we left story time and on our way to our weekly play group. Luckily one of my friends was there who happens to be a dula. I told her what was going on and she was able to answer the questions I had which was great! I really did not think that Henry was ever going to come so she basically had to convince me to go to the hospital after play group. I did have to call Lyndon and have him help me get home because I am a nut and walked a mile to the park while having contractions 2 minutes apart and then proceeded to chase Cosette around the park for over an hour (that is the funny part). He was able to come down and help me push the stroller home because my contractions had gotten progressively more painful, which was awesome because it meant the end was getting closer but not awesome because we had to walk a mile home and part up a hill. Like I said, I am a nut. We got home grabbed all our gear and caught a cab dropped Cosette off at our friends and rushed to the hospital. I had to register in the triage which took a little too long. My contractions were coming on pretty strong and Lyndon had to do the talking for me because I was having to focus on breathing through them. I finally got registered and was allowed into the triage and then they pretended that I was not in labor. Kind of frustrating. Twenty minutes later they finally checked on me because my contractions were coming so quickly. They admitted me shortly after. One of the doctors in triage while doing an ultra sound on me said "the baby is kicking a lot". I was thinking, I know I can feel it! He just kicked my ribcage. My L&D nurse was great. She is Jamaican and very in to sports. She goes to the Olympics and major soccer events to cheer Jamaica on. Cool lady. We did not spend long waiting once I was admitted. Once my doctor came to check on me, they broke my water and said see you in a couple of hours. A couple of hours turned into 15-20 minutes later. The doctor was called back and sure enough baby boy was ready to make his world debut. He was born shortly there after. He was tiny and perfect and still is. I am very grateful the whole process went smoothly and that Henry is healthy. We are loving being a family of four.

One day we will get a picture where we are all looking at the camera.

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Union Square Drawing


Today I am sharing a video the wonderful missionaries in our Stake put together. We have sister missionaries serving in our ward right now who have gotten to know pretty well. We have them over for dinner about once a week. The other night at dinner they told us about an activity the missionaries got together and did on one of their day's off. All the missionaries in our Stake got together down at Union Square and drew the plan of salvation on the side walk with chalk. Awesome idea! It is something that people will be curious enough to ask what is going on. Great way to meet new people and teach the gospel. We love the missionaries!
 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Cloisters

 
We finally made it up to the Cloisters! It is the second part of the MET where the medieval collection is housed. The Cloisters is really cool; it is an actual French monastery that Rockefeller had taken apart and shipped piece by piece to Manhattan and put back together. The perfect place for the city to display all of it's medieval art, right?
 
The collection up there was fantastic. I went down into the treasury where all there were several crypt on display. I felt like Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade, but with all out the rats thank goodness. There was one room that was set up like a chapel with speakers playing choir boys singing like you were in an actual service. It was amazing! The main piece we wanted to see were the unicorn tapestries. I have talked about this several times on the blog, but Cosette is obsessed with horses right now. Does not matter what kind of horse it is she loves them. She really liked the tapestries. She kept saying "Unicorn!" over and over again. She loved it. The most famous piece we saw was the Merode alter piece. It is  the most famous because it is a really good example of Northern Renaissance alter pieces. There is a lot of beautiful religious symbolism in the piece. It is not big which means it was probably commissioned for private use, but well worth the trek up to see.
 
I will say this, the Cloisters is not stroller friendly. We took our double up there and there are no public elevators. We had to ask to use the employee elevator which we had to wait for an employee to accompany us and we barely fit with the stroller. Next time we will take our trusty McLaren.
 

 
The architecture is absolutely amazing! It makes me miss our time in Cambridge so so much. I cannot wait to go back and visit. Lyndon is an architecture buff and taught me a lot about it. So as you can see in this photo the windows have a sort of stamped out. That means that this is was built in the early gothic style.
 

It was a bit chilly that day and I am super paranoid about my children being cold when they are outside. It is the worst when you are out and about and your kid is crying because they are cold and there is not much you can do.  So Henry is in his "snow" suit that is too big for them. It really does not get much cuter than that, except for him in his new snow suit that is his actual size.

 


The way these vines are growing up the rope is so neat. It adds so much to the authenticity of the garden. It did feel like we were in a European garden.

 
As you can see we spent most of our time in the court yards. It was a lovely fall day and Cosette could run to her heart's content. Plus places to sit down so I could nurse the baby. There were interesting varieties of herbs being grown. The most interesting I thought was mandrake, which for all you Harry Potter fans is the ugly baby plant in the Chamber of Secrets that is used to wake up all those who have been petrified. I did not know it was a real plant until now. Thank you Cloisters for telling me.

Lyndon with his dashing mustache he is sporting right now. I really like it. I think he is pulling it off well.

Cosette running through the garden.

Best picture I could get of her there. We will tell her smile for the camera and she will say "cheese" and look every where but at us.
Lyndon sitting on his wall. He likes to sit and stand on top of walls to get pictures taken when available.

We did not get to see as much as we wanted but got our appetites whetted to go back and explore some more. Next time we will take a lighter stroller.
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