Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Exploring Queens

Somehow I ended up with Friday and Saturday off work last weekend-- it was pretty great.  Friday was our Batman date, and on Saturday, we decided to explore an area in Queens we'd never really been to... well, we'd never been past the subway line. :)  

We were watching Blue Planet after breakfast (usually we watch Nature shows if I don't work Saturday mornings), and it inspired us to go see some animals at the zoo.  There are several around, but we chose the Queens Zoo at Flushing Meadows Park.  Definitely the most convenient for us.  Plus, Marcus got to see the rockets from the World's Fair that are in the same area.

He was pretty excited to tell me all about them :)

The zoo was really nice.  It's small and doesn't have many animals, but it was a great day to go.  Everything was so active.  Which kind of freaked me out since the alligators were the first animals we saw.

Marcus was so impressed that they were moving--we recorded a clip.  But then the gator walked up to the fence line, and I was done with that area...

Here are some pictures of the rest of the animals at the zoo

Can you see the eagle?

We were able to watch the trainer feed the seal lunch.  It was awesome.  Almost like Sea World :)

Here's a clip of the talented seal

This bear cracked us up-- napping with feet in the air!

And from there we ventured a bit more around the area.  We took a bus to Costco, but we missed the stop.   Oops.  What can I say--we've been subway people since we moved here, but I'm slowly learning.  (Today even, I made it back from the mall and got off at the right stop, one street away from our apartment!)  Marcus doesn't like the bus system yet.  But he did enjoy chatting with the missionaries we ran into while back tracking over to Costco.  It was a good day.  And we were both pretty exhausted when we finally made it back home with our Costco loot.  I'm always amazed by how much there is to do around here.  Gotta love NYC.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

To Nexus or not to Nexus?

Marcus was so excited today because he made it home just as the UPS man was leaving what we call the "Note of Sadness."  He'd been stalking the shipping since it was ordered, and today was a race to get home before the delivery.
 Marcus and his new Nexus 7

He debated for a long time whether or not to get a tablet, and of course beyond that, which one is really the best option.  Meanwhile he'd been saving up, and some birthday cash put him at his goal.  When the Nexus 7 came out, I'm pretty sure he watched every video about it and had me watch as many as I would too.  Like I said, it was quite the debate to get one.

But now he has one, and he's having a blast figuring it out.

The first question he asked his beloved Nexus...  Is the 7 Line running????  haha.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Our 7 Service

What a day.  Seriously though.  You don't even understand.  :)

I was actually having a decent day at work.  Yesterday as just plain miserable (I'll spare the details), and today was supposed to be even warmer.  I prepared by wearing a dress to work to keep cool, and I had a fan blowing the entire shift.  It made standing for probably seven hours much more manageable.  At about five, Marcus and I made a dinner plan, and I grabbed a couple things at the grocery store in Flushing before heading to the subway.  Now that's when the fun starts...

You know, there are so many things we take for granted in life.  I hadn't realized one on my list was the train.  We rely on it so much out here, so when our blessed 7 line is closed, life basically ends.  I learned that today the hard way.

I walked the two blocks with my two grocery bags to the subway.  Remember, it's hot.  100 degrees!  In a freaking humid state!  So I get down to the platform, and they're announcing the 7 line is closed.  Not delayed, CLOSED.  Now what?!  Well, that was my thought.  I call Marcus, since I don't know how to get home without the subway.  He doesn't answer.  Just my luck.  And every time I try to pull up a route home on my phone, it keeps defaulting to my usual subway line.  Not good.  So what do you  do next?  Yep, that's what I did.  Call Mom :)  She helped me google bus lines and Long Island Railroad schedules, but nothing was working.  All the buses were crazy full to start with since everyone on the train was looking for new routes.  And the LIRR was another hour away.

All of these plans took a lot of discussing, so I did a ton of walking.  In the heat.  I walked all around Flushing.  It was a good adventure.  I'd never really passed the subway station before.  I saw the LIRR station, tons of restaurants and shops, the other mall, ...  And I finally had to complete the huge circle back to the mall because I realized the only way to get home was a cab.  There weren't many car options where I was walking, since the entire area was jumping into any cab around, and I know cars wait outside the mall.  Plus there was a bank there.  I had finally gotten in touch with Marcus, and he reminded me how I need cash for a car service by the mall.  I grabbed some cash, and when I got out of the bank, there was a car waiting outside.

It was a really exciting moment.  I saw the AC in the car and knew I had made the right decision.  :)  So another ten minutes and I was home.  Mind you that drive is really only about five miles, but I had taken about two hours to get home by this point.  With my groceries.  The best part... I had Oreo's in one of the bags!  And I got to experience my commute in Queens in a way I hadn't ever before.  By car.  Haha.  We drove by the Mets Stadium, along the water, through some cute neighborhoods.  Really a nice drive.

Well, remember how I said the 7 was closed?  Well, obviously that would impact Marcus a bit too.  He made it home just before I did.  And he had left work when I did.  And his trip was only four miles.  He waited for the 7 line for a long time, and then he had made up a new plan to get home as well.  We had a difficult time communicating since his phone was almost dead, but luckily we both were able to quickly talk confirming we would make it home.  He took another train home that didn't quite get him in the area and then had to walk.

We had definitely gotten our exercise for the day!  And I know there was some divine intervention because I got home at seven, showered, ate, started watching Batman Begins with Marcus (to prepare for the big day on Friday), and don't have swollen feet!  Miracle!

See, I told ya.  Crazy day.  Or maybe just another day in the life of a newby New Yorker...

(In case you were curious, we've been told the 7 line was closed because there were issues with the signals.  Definitely a worthy cause.  And a major bummer!  It is running now finally, but still with huge delays.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Critter Buggy

My mom called the other day to let me know she was sending us something.  I had to laugh since it's not a holiday or anyone's birthday.  Apparently she couldn't resist.  But I guess that's what her little Grand-Critter does to her.  So here's what she sent...

Our new Critter Buggy!

She said it is our baby shower gift.  And I won't lie, I'm pretty excited about it.  So is Critter.  And Marcus.  :)

Marcus: I like things that are well engineered.
Erica: And...
Marcus: This is well engineered.

Pretty good Marcus compliment :)

He also called it a "good piece of gear."  Definitely a Hardy-ism.  But it's true.  Check it out.  Great harness.  Visor.  Wind guard.  Reflective surfaces.  

And of course, the Diet Coke holder.  :)

Our little guy will be out and about in style!  Thanks Mom!

...the true test will be keeping Chicago out of the stroller :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Still Unpacking

So what if we've lived in New York for over six months and just barely unpacked the last two boxes stored in our bedroom...  And just hung up the clock and picture in our living room...  

 Critter is definitely good motivation to clean up a bit.  So Saturday morning, we started tackling more of the wall of doom.  Slowly.  There's definitely wall space now.  :)
(I have since gotten rid of half of the bins-- whoever invented vacuum bags is AMAZING.  So there's even more room.  I know it doesn't seem like it, but really, lots of space for a little one in New York!)

Marcus and Chicago celebrating their fine work hanging up our picture
Officially moved in.  Ha.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Fourth of July

Honestly, the best place to be for the 4th of July is New York City.  And this year we did it a little more  low key.  My feet weren't up to standing for hours, so we were excited when we got an offer from Fernando and Melissa to watch the fireworks at a park in Astoria.  Definitely closer, and we were able to sit!  Plus, there was a McDonalds nearby, so we had a very Patriotic dinner (and dessert of chocolate dipped cones).  :)  

Marcus was a true gentleman and carried our chairs to the park.

Socrates Statue Park

They had live music before and during the fireworks.

The view from the park.

Marcus killed time reading.  
(You can see why he's trying to convince me he needs a tablet.)

You could text messages to be shown on the screen, which were much easier to read once it got dark :)

There were some fireworks around the city starting before the main show, and little Alexander obviously enjoyed watching them.

 The screen was actually pretty good!  And I liked how we could hear the fireworks all the way in Queens.

It was nice to be able to see the fireworks and get home a lot faster than if we had gone down to the Hudson.  But it was a lot of fun!  Happy (late) Fourth!  :)

Corie and Cadie Visit

Two of my cousins came out to see NY and stayed with us for a week.  Honestly, both Marcus and I worked a lot, but it was fun having Corie and Cadie here.  We obviously don't have tons of room, but hopefully they never felt too cramped.  And I was so impressed with all they did every day-- tours around the city, Central Park, museums, 9/11 Memorial, Long Island, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, ...  Thank goodness the weather wasn't too bad (and of course, our AC for when they got back in the evenings).  It was fun hearing about their days and adding to my list of things to do in New York :)

Ashley, Cadie, and Corie riding the subway right after arriving in NYC

Our luxury accommodations :)  I took a quick picture before I left one morning.  Ashley slept on the air mattress on the other side of the table.  Hopefully it was okay for a week...

Like I said, we weren't really around very much, but we did get to catch up a little bit here and there.  It was fun to have them in town.  Even Chicago loved it!  And they were so sweet to leave a little thank you gift.  Our Critter is being so stinking spoiled.  :)  He'll be one stylist little dude!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Critter's 28 Weeks Appointment

Today was my 28 Week Appointment, although tomorrow is officially 28 weeks.  I don't have any pictures, but I thought I'd post the update.  The doctor said we have a smart little guy.  (But I already knew that.)  He's developing perfectly, especially his heartbeat!  And he even flipped himself over, just like he's supposed to-- I didn't even have to ask.  :)  And apparently I'm on track too... meaning I haven't gained way too much weight, but these 22 pounds better disappear just as quickly.  Haha.  I haven't swollen up yet either, which is impressive in a NYC summer, but the biggest recommendation was keep my feet elevated whenever I'm home from work.  And the nurse said I should eat more berries.  Sounds good to me :)

85 days left on the Critter countdown!!! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

NYC-style Nesting

Everyone I've ever blog stalked talks about their big nesting phase during pregnancy.  Well, we don't have the space to really indulge that, so instead, I randomly felt I needed to start rearranging things in our apartment.  No, there's no additional baby stuff, but now it will be easier to swap out certain boxes and bins for what we're planning on doing for Critter.  Sorry, no before pictures.  It was too crowded, unorganized, and messy to have proof displayed online.

It's very different preparing for a little one here than what I've seen my entire life.  Obviously, the fact that most younger couples live in studio or one bedroom apartments for years means not much space.  But I've been getting lots of tips at church and of course while awkwardly watching how people behave with their children walking down the street.  I'm sure furniture will move a million times while we figure it out.  Good thing kids come little so we have time to really figure out how to fit him :)

Job One of the rearrange:  make more room for Marcus to walk to his side of the bed.  Serves two purposes.  First, he won't stub his toes on the piano stand and wake up probably the entire apartment building in the process of mourning his jammed toes.  It's a traumatic experience.  Every time.  Second, when Critter comes, he can easily get up in the night and get the little guy :)

Much more room!
The two boxes will be gone when Critter's here since they're both for him.  And the guitar has been requested in Arizona.  Just the vacuum in the way, and it doesn't take much space.

Job Two: What to do with the piano???  It's now behind the glider.  Takes much less space than the huge AC boxes did while there, and it will be more convenient to use if I start teaching again.  Don't worry, it wasn't any heavy lifting.  Dobby came and helped out.  At least that's what I'm telling Marcus. 

Doesn't look too crazy busy in that corner (comparatively).  
I don't think anything will change in this area before Critter, besides the pile of pillows and blankets on the couch that are being used by Corie and Cadie.

Job Three: Work on the Storage Wall of Doom in the bedroom.  When we don't know where to put something, it's always gone along this wall.  Hence, it's become a serious wall of doom.  At least it's not bigger than before with working on other sections of the apartment.  That's an accomplishment if you ask me :)

Still scary, but not as overwhelming.  :)
The plan is to trash the college storage bins and put those clothes in vacuum bags.  A task I've been putting off for too long.  The laundry...  well, who knows.  The empty boxes on the left are for the AC units, which we have to keep.  Still working out that one.  But really all we have to additionally fit in this space is a storage tower guy with totes for some Critter stuff.  We have a plan for that, so don't worry too, too much. :)  We'd also put a pack-n-play here, but it will often move to the living room.  So it doesn't have to have a permanent place against a wall.  It can totally be in the way.  Haha.

I had to post my pictures because I've felt like I've accomplished nothing today.  But I feel this was good progress and productive.  We'll see how long it takes Marcus to notice that his toes won't be as threatened by the piano anymore...