Sunday, October 22, 2017

Trip to NYC


Here's a recap of our trip to NYC as told to our sister missionary serving in France!

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Hello to the Sweetest Sister Missionary in France (or in the Entire World)!

How's life in Toulouse? WE are in VRM here at our house, which stands for Vacation Recovery Mode. That means I have loads of laundry to do, I'm kind of grumpy and tired after our super long days and not sleeping in our own bed, my tummy's on edge because of all the junk we ate, and I'm kind of dreading the jump back into reality that will start tomorrow morning. But vacation was awesome, so it was worth it!

I'm going to recap what we did here, so that when you are back and want to plan your trip to NYC next summer, that you'll have it all in one place. If it will bug you to read all the detail, feel free to skip over this part. (I'm really serious about making that trip happen).

Wednesday--
We left as quickly after seminary as we could (about 9ish) and drove to NJ and left our car in the park-and-ride there in Secaucus.


Then we took a train into the city and checked into our AirBnB.  (How I love that everyone's old enough to carry their own stuff now!) 


 It was a pretty decent apartment not too far of a walk (maybe about a mile) from Times Square. We ate dinner at Guy Fieri's restaurant. We honestly picked it because someone handed us a coupon for a free dessert there, but it actually turned out to be pretty darn tasty. After that we went to HAMILTON!!!!! It was awesome!  (we enjoyed getting decked out in our frilly clothes for the occasion!)



Thursday--
Ate breakfast at a bakery.


World Trade Center Memorial. It's a pretty sobering experience to visit and think of all the lives that were lost there. The memorials are different, but pretty thought provoking.


Battery Park to catch the ferry to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Use statuecruises.com for the best prices (and make sure to get tickets well in advance). The security lines for the cruises is HORRIBLE, so give yourself extra time when you go.

Statue of Liberty--Going inside was a bit anticlimactic, but being on the island and seeing the SofL up close and personal was a cool experience!




Ellis Island--This was a first for us and we really enjoyed it. There's a lot of history there on the island and I highly recommend everyone go at least once.



Chinese restaurant (Wu Liang Yi) for dinner.




It was fantastic.



Anastasia on Broadway.


The quality for this show was very high and I recommend seeing it someday! I honestly liked the music a bit better than Hamilton and it was so fun that the actors were willing to come out and mingle with the audience afterward. Emma, Adam, and Ellie were totally enjoying the groupie scene....



and loved getting their playbills signed by all the actors.


Junior's Cheesecake. Apparently this is a post-Broadway tradition. Cheesecake is too fatty for me, but the one bite I did take of it was pretty amazing!



Friday--

Levain Bakery for breakfast. WE got blueberry muffins and cookies for later. They're pretty famous for their cookies. It's probably a joke compared to a run-of-the-mill French bakery, but it was pretty good as far as American bakeries go.


Manhattan temple. Brother Koch (your old seminary teacher) works in the offices there, so he met us and took us around the property (but not into the temple).


We also met Dad's aunt Debbie there, along with some of her kids and grandkids who were there on a girls' trip for fall break.  
 It was just random that they happen to be in town at the same time and it was fun to see them again. Some of the kids I'd never met before.


Central Park. We took a bike tour of Central Park and saw wayyyyyy more of it than we'd ever seen before.  
We saw some really beautiful places there and I highly recommend it as a way to see more of it than you could ever walk to.


Our driver only got in one minor accident when he hit a woman that stopped rather unexpectedly (and he wasn't paying very close attention). She was okay, but it was a little sad to see how harsh the whole thing was. The driver blamed her. The woman blamed the driver. It was honestly both of their faults and it was more than a tad awkward. Other than that it was a cool experience!


Serendipity for lunch. We went and got lunch....


and frozen hot chocolates!

I'm still not eating chocolate this year, so I got a pineapple/lime drink instead.

I was only a little disappointed to be missing out on the chocolate (okay...maybe a little is an understatement). My sandwich was fantastic though (you can see a glimpse of it there at my empty spot at the table).


MoMA--Museum of Modern Art.

It was cool to see Claude Monet's Waterlily painting and Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night in person.


Some of the art is downright weird...

but overall it was a cool place to visit.



Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset. Ellen James told us we needed to do this and now it will forever be on my list of things to do in NYC.

WE LOVED IT!


Juliana's for dinner.  


Juliana's is on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn, so it was a perfect place to stop. Pizza was good, but my cheeseless pizza left a little to be desired. I feel like in order for a cheese-free pizza to be good, it needs lots of flavorful toppings to make up for the lack of cheese. They missed that memo and made it pretty skimpy. The crust was excellent though! (this was a another Ellen James' recommendation)

Walk back over Brooklyn Bridge at night. Again...it was fantastic!


The view of Manhattan's lights glittering in the distance as we crossed back over the bridge was absolutely mesmerizing.


Saturday--

Breakfast at Ess-a-Bagel. It was only a block away from our apartment and honestly we just got in line because there was a long line in front of it!

Haha! The bagels were hot, fresh, and amazing, but the actual breakfast sandwiches were a bit disappointing. Next time we'd just go into the express lane and get bagels and cream cheese. Luckily they had low-fat cream cheese or I would have been very annoyed.


Checked out of apartment and made our way back to the car in New Jersey.

(the kids all wore their Hamilton shirts on the way home)


Lupper at Ruby's Diner--Biggest disappointment of the trip. (can you tell by my face how annoyed I was about it?)


Part of my problem is that I was sick of being good food-wise at this point, so I was already super annoyed that we were at yet another place where my selection of foods was so limited. And I was really craving a milkshake (which everyone but Emma was getting), so when my turkey burger came out flavorless and with soggy bread about the same thickness as a crepe, I was mad, mad, mad.


Being tired and out of routine did not help my plight either. So I left there not having eaten much, refusing to pay for the joke-of-a-meal, and absolutely fuming that they had the gall to serve something so pathetic on their menu.

I came home and made pumpkin pancakes for dinner, which was 10,000 times better than Ruby's crapburger.

And that was that. We got home, did some grocery shopping, I finished up the programs for today, and helped Kristina with her primary program. Today I continued to eat like garbage (celebrating Adam's birthday a week late) and am now enjoying a quiet evening with Spence out pokemonning (as per usual for him) and the kids off at a youth fireside (that I wasn't invited to)! Dad's writing his letter to you and I'm writing this email. Your snail mail letter is already done and ready to pop into the mailbox tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the get-back-to-reality day and I fear it will not be pretty. We'll have all of the work we didn't do on Friday to make up for and I feel like it's always hard to rally into a routine when we've had a few days of being off. But we have your letter to look forward to, so there's always that!


Here we are after church today.  Ellie's dress is a Chinese knock-off I bought for myself, but the sizes ran suuuuuuppppperr small, so it's Ellie's now.  That's the last time I buy from a company without reading the reviews first! 




WE love you, Sweetie! Have an awesome week!

Love, 
Mom 

Here we are at the Metropolitan Opera House. It's very near the temple


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking"

10/3/17--"Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain

If you are an introvert, love an introvert, or work with an introvert, then this book should be required reading for you.    We live in a society that values the extrovert ideal and often introverts get the short-end of the stick when it comes to being allowed to be themselves.     I especially enjoyed the explanation of temperament vs. personality and the intricate play of biology, experiences, and environment that come together to shape each of our individual personalities.  It makes sense that people are complicated and I appreciated the fact that she didn't try to swoop all introverts into one easy box. I was also fascinated by the cultural differences of introversion and extraversion.  Americans and Europeans seem to have grasped onto the idea that extraversion > introversion, while the Asian view is opposite.   More than anything, I enjoyed the insights on how to let an introvert shine in their own way.  From the way we set up workplaces and classrooms, we can be aware that there are 1/3-1/2 of the people who will benefit from having their own space to work and think creatively. If I had to sum up  the main point of the book, I would say that just because someone is quiet, doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have anything to say.   Look out for the introverts, respect the space they need, help them to stretch when they need to stretch, and, together, we can change the world!

Want a good summary without reading it?  Watch this video of the author doing a TED talk on the subject!




Friday, September 22, 2017

Randomness from August

The problem with not blogging as regularly as I used to, is I get gummed up with lots of things I still want to blog about, but don't want to devote an entire post to.   I wonder if there will come a day when I give it up completely (or that I'll blog more regularly again), but for now, I see what a treasure this blog has been to my family and I am still drawn to keep it up at least on a minimal basis.   

So, I'm making this a random post with a little glimpse of August in the Goold house!  

Cami's mission started using Facebook to share the gospel and it's been fun to see her smiling face occasionally beaming out to us among the drivel that fills my normal Facebook feed!

My cute Ellie liked this sign at the grocery store! 

My dad had a stroke right after his birthday.  

The stroke was on the minor end of things as far as strokes go,  but he had to spend a few weeks in the hospital and rehab before he was allowed to come home, so it's been a tough time for him and my mom.   He's doing better than the doctors expected, but we were sad that it caused them to have to cancel their trip out to visit us in September.  I decided that was my cue to buy a ticket and go out to see them in a couple of weeks.   We are also heading there for Thanksgiving. 

When Emma packs food for a trip, she goes all out.  These are homemade Larabars she made.

We stopped by Busch Gardens on the way home from seeing the solar eclipse.  

We hadn't been in a couple of years and it was fun to have one last hurrah before school started again!

Me and my cute hunny! 

One day I noticed a little trail of blood all over the kitchen.  I totally got mad at the kids and demanded that they take care of whatever injury was leaving such a mess.   They all denied having any injuries, then randomly pointed out that my toe looked to be bleeding.  Oops!  I didn't feel a thing, but I had quite a little chunk of skin off the top of my baby toe and bled through several bandages (and made a much bigger mess before I finally got it under control)! 


A white dove hung out around our house for an entire day.  I had never seen one in the wild before and haven't seen one since, but I took it to be a good omen and a sign that we need to powerwash  our gutters. 

I found this cartoon when studying for my psychology class (that I'm teaching this year) and it totally struck my funny bone.  My dreams usually involve being unprepared for something and babies that I forget about.   

A random butterfly that we came across one day. 

And with that bit of randomness, I will declare myself officially caught up on blogging through August.   Now onto September! 

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