Monday, May 31, 2010

Boston - Day 3

We started out last day with a Duck Tour.  We'd always wanted to try one and though Boston would be a great place for it.  Plus we knew the girls would enjoy it.  Here we are on the Duck vehicle.
Our driver was MC History (like MC Hammer the rapper).

One of my favorite sites on the tour was seeing a piece of the Berlin Wall.  I remember being in elementary school when the wall came down.

Here's Jeff and Lily after the Duck splashed into the water.
For a morning snack, we stopped by Mike's Pastry Shop after the tour.  Jeff and I had Oreo cheesecake and their specialty, cannolli.
Lily picked out an M&M cookie the size of her head!

After we finished our treat we went to Fenway Park, the oldest baseball park in the US, for a tour.

I was really surprised how much I enjoyed the tour.  I recommended it to anyone who likes going to baseball games.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Boston - Day 2

On our second day in Boston we walked along the Freedom Trail, a collection of sites important to the American Revolution.  We started at the Boston Common, the oldest public park in the US.  There was a beautiful display of flags representing all of the soldiers from Massachusetts that had died in any US war.
There was a half marathon race going on while we were touring.  It was really exciting to me because I'm planning on running my first half marathon in late August (although I'm having trouble staying motivated with my training). I almost look like a race participant - aside from the baby on my hip!
After the Freedom Trail we went to Chinatown and ate Dim Sum for lunch.  I had eaten Dim Sum before, but never on my own.  It was quite the adventure.  Most of the food was pretty good, but I picked out a few unrecognizable things.

I didn't recognize this dish - but Jeff was quick to spot the tentacles and little suction cups.  We're guessing there was octopus in it.

After lunch we took a nap break at the hotel.  After resting we went to the Public Garden, which was very beautiful.

The we rode the subway to Cambridge and did a little walking tour of the Harvard Campus.  The Harvard buildings are nice, but I was not impressed with the grounds.  I guess I've taken for granted how beautiful BYU's grounds always are.

The Harvard motto engraved over one of the campus entrances says, "Enter to Grow in Wisdom".  Quite the contrast to BYU'S "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve"

After walking around, we stopped at JP Licks for some ice cream.  Claire got her first taste of ice cream and she loved it!  I wouldn't have let her have any, but Jeff "claims" he didn't know any better.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Boston - Day 1

We visited Boston for Memorial day and had a great time!  Jeff and I both really like Boston and commented that we could live there (we probably couldn't afford to, but that's beside the point).  I goofed up and reserved a hotel much farther away from the city that I originally thought, so we decided to try bidding on  What a deal!  We stayed at the 4-star Hyatt Regency in downtown for $85/night, which is less than we were going to pay for our other hotel.  I think being able to go back to the hotel to rest made the trip much more enjoyable.

We arrived at lunchtime on Saturday and headed straight for the North End (aka Little Italy) to get some pizza.  It was awesome and affordable.  Rarely do those two things go together.  It's called Galleria Umberto and the pizza's only $1.45/slice.  The inside was a little ghetto, but who cares!
After lunch we decided to walk over to the water and take the ferry to the USS Constitution.  Walking through the North End was really beautiful and charming.

And we stopped at the Christopher Columbus park on our way to let Lily play.

We really enjoyed riding the ferry.  The views of the harbor were really beautiful.

The USS Constitution is the oldest navy ship and it has never lost a battle.  It was key in the war of 1812.  It was really neat to see what the old navy ships looked like.  Its nickname is "Old Ironsides" because cannonballs bounce off the ship walls, like they would bounce of iron, even though the ship is made of oak.  The oak walls are REALLY thick.

We also toured a WWII Destroyer they have on display in the shipyard.  It was neat to see all the details of the ship, from the guns and torpedoes to the kitchen and laundry.

We also visited the USS Constitution museum while we were there.  I really liked it and it was free!  Here's a picture of Lily and Jeff looking inside a cannon (I think).

For dinner we went to Fanueil Hall.  They have a lot of street performers there and a replica of the Cheers bar (from the TV show).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Strange Sleeping Positions

Claire is pulling herself up on things now.  It seems like whenever kids are going through a major developmental milestone like that they have a harder time sleeping because they just want to practice their new skill.  Well, Claire must have been practicing in her crib until she got too tired and finally fell asleep.  She just fell asleep sitting up!
I was going to leave her like that, but Jeff convinced me that she would sleep better if I laid her on her back.  She fell right back asleep after I laid her back.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Our first weekend in NJ was spent getting settled, getting groceries, and getting Jeff ready to start work.  Our second weekend in New Jersey we decided we were ready to take a day trip.  We drove to Philadelphia, which is only about an hour and 15 minutes away.  We had a great day there and hope to be able to visit again sometime this summer.

First thing we went and got tickets to tour Independence Hall.  It was nice to have a free guided tour, but Claire cried through most of it and I felt bad for the other 58 people with us.  It was really cool to see the room where the Consitution was created and the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed.  Here we are in front of Independence Hall.

Here Claire and I are in the room that was used as a court room.

Here is where all the political action took place.  They still have the original chair George Washington sat in!

The Liberty Bell is right across the street so we went there next.  I enjoyed seeing it from a professional standpoint (the material used to repair the bell is what caused the crack and they inserted a "spider" into the crack to prevent it from propagating further).

Then we went and visited the site of Ben Franklin's home.  They also have a small museum and a replica of his printing shop.  On the wall of the print shop was this quote of Franklin's that I really like.

Nearby, outside the Carpenter's Hall, we ran into Ben Franklin himself...or a good actor.

For lunch we went to the Reading Terminal Market, which used to be the Reading Railroad train depot (from Monopoly).  The marketplace was really busy, but the food was AMAZING!
My favorite things were the roast pork sandwich from DiNic's -- I would go to Philadelphia again just to eat another sandwich.  I think it was the sharp provolone cheese that made it incredible  -- and the soft pretzel from Miller's.  Soft pretzels don't generally excite me, but it was so soft inside and crispy outside.  Slightly sweet, slightly salty, and very buttery.  Mmmmmm.  Jeff also really liked the Dutch Eating Place, where the Amish prepare food.  We had apple cinnamon french toast and blueberry pancakes.  Their homemade butter tastes really different.  Here they are cooking.

After lunch we ran up the Art Museum steps, where Rocky (from the movie) took his victory lap.  I've been training for a half marathon so running up these steps got me all fired up.
We visited the Constitution Museum, which I really enjoyed.  They had a moving video/presentation and lots of interactive exhibits.  One little area they had two little school desks.  Lily really wanted to sit in one, so I let her and then I watched a little video about integrating the public schools.  While this was all going on a little black girl came in and sat in the desk next to Lily.  I was really touched and it made me so happy to be in this country.  At the end, they had bronze statues of all the men who signed the Constitution.  Here's Jeff with Pierce Butler of South Carolina.

And here's me with George Washington.

After the museum, we wanted to do something fun for the girls so we went to a nearby park.  Much to our surprise they had a carousel and Lily LOVES carousels.  We decided she would have to ride it and just hoped it didn't cost too much.  While we were walking up a man asked us if she'd like to ride the carousel and gave us a free ticket.  He made our day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Lily put her princesses to bed tonight and it was so cute I had to take a picture.  Each princess doll had a hair bow for her pillow and a headband for her blanket.  Lily is getting more creative and imaginative all the time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 10 - Palmyra Continued

In the morning we visited the Smith Family Farm.  It was really neat to see where Joseph and his family lived while Joseph was growing up.  Here is our family in front of the Smith log home.
While we were there I thought a lot about what the Smith children would have done for fun on the farm.  It was easy because Lily was demonstrating for me.  There was a little family of foxes (or foxen as Brian Reagan would say), lots of pretty flowers, and a little stream. 

Claire had a lot of fun too!
Next we visited the Sacred Grove.  It was so beautiful and quiet.  I could really feel the spirit there.  Here are a few pictures that I liked from the Sacred Grove.

Then we went and walked around the Palmyra Tempe grounds. The temple has beautiful stained glass windows depicting the Sacred Grove and the Tree of Life.  Our girls missed this because the were sleeping in the car.  I guess playing at the farm tired them out.

At this point our camera battery died.  Good thing we had a back up battery....but it was dead too.  What a shame!  We visited the Peter Whitmer farm and saw the log cabin where the church was organized.  It was amazing!  Imagining all the first Saints there that day (I think there were about 40 people that attended) would have been PACKED!  Then it was so neat because the day the church was organized was the same day that Joseph Smith was able to baptize his father.  The visitor's center had some beautiful art depicting it and how moving that must have been.

After the Peter Whitmer farm, we continued on our journey.  We drove to Harmony, PA.  There isn't much there, but Jeff jogged down a dirt road to see the spot on the Susquehanna River where the priesthood was restored.  He said it was really neat and he was able to help a couple of missionaries find their way too.  I stayed in the car to feed Claire and let Lily continue sleeping.

Then we drove through Scranton, PA.  We didn't stop, but I would love to go there and take a tour of sites from The Office.

Finally, we arrived at our apartment in Somerset, New Jersey at about 7:45pm.  Phew!  What a road trip!