November. Where has 2013 gone? So these photos are quite old and the girls (and their cousins) are almost 7 months older now…it’s hard to believe. These are the photos from Lia and Ella’s 2nd birthday party this past spring, in April. Lots of family and friends were in attendance, and the weather was nice enough to be outside. Enjoy.
Back in March Aaron and I met up with Rita for a fun weekend in New York City. We had a great time walking around the city together. We visited the High Line, Rockefeller Center and Central Park. And of course we hit up some great restaurants. I took the above photo of Aaron and Rita at top of 30 Rockefeller Center. We’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building, but this is the first time we’ve been up to the top of 30 Rock and it was great to see the Empire State Building from this height. And the light was beautiful.
We spent our second to last day of the trip at sea, lounging on the boat. Our last stop was in Búzios, a beautiful resort town full of beaches and beautiful views. The town is on a peninsula and wherever you go, it seems you are never too far from the water. We toured the town in an open air trolley and enjoyed seeing the lush landscape, the sea birds and the local fishing boats. Later that night, for our last dinner (and Becki’s birthday) we went to the Asian-fusion restaurant on the ship, Izumi and enjoyed delicious sushi and ishiyaki (hot rock grilled meat and veggies). It was the perfect ending to another fabulous adventure together. Love you Becki!
Next we visited Salvador, Brazil and in this port all of the excursions the ship offered were being done in Portuguese… So Becki splurged and booked a private guided tour – which was great. We had an entire day with a guide who took us all over the city and told us about its history, culture, politics – and answered all my questions. Totally fabulous. Salvador used to be the capital of Brazil and a center for the slave trade. There is a strong African presence in the culture which is clear in the religion, food and customs of the city. Our guide also explained that this city has been undergoing a major architectural restoration since the mid-nineties. And while the results are truly beautiful it has been a controversial project because the majority of the residents in the neighborhoods being restored have been “relocated” to the outskirts of the city. Basically the project is attracting more tourists and bringing more money to the city, but unfortunately very few are reaping the benefits.
On Day 4 we arrived in the city of Maceió in Alagoas, Brazil. Historically it was a sugar plantation and sugar mill settlement, but today it’s a pretty big urban community. Parts of it were lovely – the colonial architecture and white sand beaches, but parts of it were a bit rough. We toured the city on a bus and saw historic and municipal buildings, churches and monuments. We also visited a beach and an artisan market, but the day was incredibly hot (even for Becki) – almost too hot to be out and about – so by mid-afternoon we were happy to head back to the boat to our ocean breezes and air conditioned rooms.
After our time in São Paulo it was time for us to head to the cruise ship. We took a long bus ride through the mountains that at times reminded me of the bus ride Kathleen Turner took in the beginning of Romancing the Stone. To be fair, there wasn’t any livestock on the bus, but the bus itself had seen its share of miles and the road we traveled on was narrow, remote and offered lots of vertical, lush views. We made it to the port of Santos unscathed, got off the bus and onto the ship. The first couple of days of our cruise we were at sea – so we read books, explored the ship and relaxed.
Hello all – it’s been a while, ok… I know, it’s been a long while. But I’m diving back in – for now anyway… and we’re going to start back in January, when my Aunt Becki and I took a cruise in Brazil.
This first post features photos I took in São Paulo, where our trip began. We took a great tour of the city with Around SP. Our guide’s name was Luis and he was fabulous – he picked us up at our hotel and drove us all over the city on a personal tour. In retrospect, we felt like touring with a local was definitely the way to go – São Paulo is HUGE! We visited parks, historical buildings, churches and a municipal market. We learned a little history, a little culture and got to see everything from street art to mosaics in the Metropolitan Cathedral. Pretty good for day 1.
Oh and Aaron has upgraded the photo portion of our blog so the photo albums appear in more of a collage layout. Once you’re in the gallery, you can mouse over any photo to see its caption, and click on a photo to see a bigger version. I think it’s a huge improvement. Thanks Aar! Enjoy all :)
Here’s the next small batch of photos from months ago – these are from an afternoon outing with Amy, Joe and their boys to a local tree farm get Christmas trees. Aaron and I go for a little tree where as Amy and Joe go for a 12 footer. The boys can’t understand why we want such a little tree… but it was festive and fun to spend an afternoon outside. We spent the evening helping them decorate their tree and then set ours up later in the week.
Hi all….after a long hiatus, it’s time to blast through some old photos. Some of these are pretty outdated – but things were busy. I got a new job, then the holidays, then I did some traveling and now I’m back to the blog – until something else comes up anyway :) So – here’s the first of many. We were at Peter and Maria’s house for trick or treat this past October and got witness firsthand the hordes of people who appear on their street looking for candy. More importantly though, we got to see the girls in their Halloween costumes – pretty damn cute.
Hi all, sorry for the delay – there’s been lots going on. These are from back in October when Aaron and I went to the Topsfield fair for an evening with Amy, Joe, Justin and Brian. We had a fun night eating, checking out the animals and produce, playing games and going on rides. One of my favorite fall traditions…
On a sunny fall afternoon we all took a trip to Russell Orchards, a local farm to go apple picking and buy some pumpkins. Amy and Joe brought the boys, James and Chrissy brought Alice, Peter and Maria brought the girls and Mom joined us too. We went on a hayride out to the orchards and picked apples and then returned to the farm to pick out pumpkins. Justin, Brian and Alice took a few rides around the farm in Amy and Joe’s wagon and visited the farm’s animals. We snacked on warm cider donuts and apples. This year’s new favorite for apples were ginger golds – we had never seen them before. It was one of those great New England autumn days, we were happy to spend it outside with family.
The weekend after we got back from the shore was Amy and Joe’s 10th wedding anniversary. Aaron and I volunteered to watch the boys for the weekend so that they could get away. Amy and Joe spent the weekend on the Cape and we spent the weekend doing all sorts of fun things like going to a local truck show, hanging out at the playground and of course stopping by the Lego store. We had a great weekend – the truck show was put on by our town’s public works department and I think they literally brought out every piece of equipment the town and local businesses own and put them all in a park and let the kids climb in them, play with the controls, ask questions. It was great. Justin and Brian are pretty easy to be with, and it was really a treat for us to have this time with them, but I will admit we were totally exhausted come Sunday night when Amy and Joe returned. We totally respect all you parents out there – no idea how you manage it, but we do love being aunt and uncle, so thanks for making it work.
As most of you know the family cottages took a vey hard hit last September from Hurricane Irene. It was unclear for most of this past year if either of the cottages would be habitable this summer. However, Aaron and I along with most of the immediate family and some extended family did all get some time their last month. We all stayed together in the big cottage, and despite the sometimes close quarters and the fact that the property is an active construction site, we had a good time. I was simply so happy just to be there at all. The affects of the storm on the area are apparent all around. Several cottages on the beach have been demo-ed and are simply empty lots, the beaches have eroded in some places and then there are huge piles of sand in places that were never sandy before. Despite it being late in the summer season it was still warm enough to swim and sit out in the sun. We had fun playing with Justin, Brian and Alice the first weekend and then spent the ret of the week visiting with Uncle John and Peggy, Nonnie and Becki and Jeremy and Crissy. Check out the album of photos from our week.
In August, Amy and Joe threw a party to celebrate Justin’s 6th birthday and Brian’s 3rd. They brought back the Toy Story bouncy house from last year which everyone enjoyed, including the adults, after the kids went home of course. They also hired a caricature artist as a surprise guest who did drawings of all the kids. We had a cookout lunch and despite it being a rather gray day, the weather held and we were able to be outdoors all afternoon. The kids enjoyed/destroyed a dinosaur piñata and Amy made another fantastic cake – this year’s theme was dinosaurs. Joe’s brother Jami and his wife Jen came up for the party and it was great to have a visit with them as well as some of Amy and Joe’s friends who we’ve gotten to know over the years. It was definitely an enjoyable afternoon.
In late July we spent a day with Justin, Brian, Amy and Joe at the Boston Museum of Science. We checked out the dinosaur exhibit and looked at model trains. Then we went to the butterfly room – a rather humid conservatory filled with exotic plants and filled with live butterflies. We also spent a lot of time in the more interactive exhibits on light, energy and motion. We walked through the exhibits on New England habitats filled with taxidermyed animals (some of which have been around since I was a kid) and another one on Egypt that featured mummies and facts on pyramid building. We had a great day and its fun for us to see what new things the kids will be interested in each time we go.