Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ten dollar vacation.

A few weeks ago Will both found ourselves with a few extra days off from work, leaving us with a very long weekend at the end of August. Since we didn't go anywhere after we got married (but have BIG plans for our first anniversary), we decided to take advantage of it and take a little trip.

Several places were mentioned about where we might go, but we both quickly agreed upon where we would travel to. And as it turns out, Will had so many hotel and airline points that our flights and hotel room for four nights cost a grand total of $10. Ten. Crazy! So last week Will, Henry and I packed up and headed out to New York!

How exciting to be able to explore the city with my two boys. My challenge to myself, during this trip, was to put the big camera down (mostly) and capture photos of our trip using nothing but my iPhone. I really liked the freedom and thought some of the images turned out great!

Will arranged something really amazing for our first full day in NYC. A tour of the city-- by helicopter! It was the first time for any of us to ride in a helicopter (and I have to say it was pretty fantastic!). Henry really seemed to enjoy the ride as much as we did and the views were amazing.



Next we went and hopped on a ferry to go see this old girl. Henry was pretty fascinated.



Ellis Island was really a lot more interesting than I expected! I could have spent another couple of hours reading about the history of the immigrants- especially all the parts about how medical screenings were done! The building was spectacular. And we managed to find some Pierces and some Zuills on the Wall of Honor.



After coming back across on the ferry we headed back towards the subway and made our way to the next stop on our list. But Will wouldn't really say where we were going. Because he wanted to surprise me!



Who you gonna call? The ghostbuster's fire hall! That was a full first day! We ended the day with dinner at Mesa Grill. There were no Bobby Flay sightings but the food was pretty good!

The next day found us staring straight up at some pretty tall buildings. And the view from Top of the Rock was impressive.



We clearly had to hit up FAO Schwarz. It really is a cool toy store. Oh, and we hit up Daddy's toy store as well- the Apple Store. It was so packed in there you couldn't turn around so we got in and out in a hurry. But we did get to see their awesome staircase.



We found our way to Grand Central Station, saw a nearly naked Indian and closed the day out with cheesecake from Junior's. Heavenly.



And before calling it a night we squeezed in a trip to the big Toys R Us at Times Square. Thank goodness we went, otherwise we'd have never run into Iron Man and Spiderman! And yes, we bought the cheesy photo in the even cheesier souvenir frame. How could we resist?



The next morning after breakfast we made our way to Central Park. I really think I could have spent an entire day there. It was so peaceful, especially in contrast to the hustle of the city.



And you never knew what you would run into around the next corner. I loved that.



Have I mentioned how awesome Henry was on our trip? Slept like a champ and really did well handling the amount of time he had to spend strapped in a stroller or in the Ergo carrier. I think there was so much to look at that he was absolutely mesmerized. And the play breaks helped a little too. He had a great time playing at Central Park.



After we spent a few hours wandering around the park we headed somewhere a little cooler. Somewhere that full of things that Henry likes to refer to as "Rawwrrrs!".



And of course we couldn't end the trip without seeking somewhere to get good New York style pizza. Yelp lead us to Angelo's Pizza. I am not lying when I say I seriously thought about putting the leftovers in my suitcase. It may not be ranked as the best pizza in NYC, but it was the best pizza I've ever had.



After we finished with our pizza (and maybe stopping by Junior's for just one last piece of cheesecake) we made our way through Times Square and back to the hotel. Because even Spiderman needed to get a little rest.



What a great getaway- our first vacation as an "official" family!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The calm after the storm.

After all the excitement from the wedding died down, there was really a sense of relaxation that fell onto our house. Maybe I'm the only one who noticed it. But my to-do list was finally completed for a while. I was finally able to slow down and just slip right back into our normal (not quite as hectic) routine.

We celebrated Will's 40th 39th birthday with pizza, pool and great friends. Nights like this are always something we look forward to.


We have had record high temperatures here in Tennessee (as has a lot of the country). Over a week of triple digit temperatures and not an ounce of rain in sight. It got a little crunchy around here. It also cut down on our time outside. Even the pool felt like unrefreshing bathwater. So any play time we got was late in the evening, just before dinner and bedtime. It was the only cure for Henry's summer cabin fever.


One evening we all practiced our photography skills.

(turn the camera around the other way, buddy)

I had more than one cute photographer with me that day.


But we're really going to have to talk to Henry about how he takes care of his equipment.


And since we did find ourselves with a lot more free time, post nuptials, Henry and I were actually able to tag along on another road trip. Will had a meeting in Atlanta and before he knew it he had a car packed full with Henry, me, and one of my best friends, Mark (with visions of Ikea dancing in our heads, clearly).

We got to Atlanta pretty early the day before the meeting so we all had time to wander around this place for a while.



Some members of our group were fascinated while others were terrified.







The next morning we hit up The Flying Biscuit Cafe for a quick breakfast before we headed out to that glorious place that drew us there. The rest of the day was a blur of toll booths and Ikea.



When we got back, we soon had another day that was a blur. I invited our niece and nephew over to spend the night with us. They jumped at the chance to stay with Will and A, so a slumber party it was! Other than a little toddler bickering over toys, we had a great time. Especially once we put Henry to bed.






And what night is complete without a posing contest?



As you can see, I got a lot of help in the kitchen from Ella Grace and Cohen when they were here. And lately (since I came home with a new Ikea kitchen stool) I've had another little set of hands wanting to help in the kitchen as well.



I'm really enjoying being Mrs. Zuill. Just as I knew I would. And I bet I've spelled z-u-i-l-l a million times in the last five weeks- just as Will knew I would. It's a good life we have. I'll have everything ready for a wedding post soon. In the meantime, here are a couple of instagram photos from our wedding day!




Have a great weekend!