Friday, December 19, 2008

Funny Friends

I am not going to lie, I have some funny people in my life. You must read what my friend Eric wrote here. Whether you are a fan or not, you have to admit it's pretty hilarious.

My lovely New Yorker friend Ryan made this gem:



I love my friends.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Paris is le bomb.com (Day 1)

I never wrote about my trip to Paris. And you probably thought that I didn't write about it because I hated it so much. But that is simply ridicule. Because I loved that dang place. And so I AM going to write about it, and it's going to be detailed so consider yourself warned.

On Monday, June 30, in the wee dark Romanian hours, Ben and I hopped on a flight to Paris. As sad as I was to leave Romania... Scratch that, Romania is a strange place, and three days in Bucharest was enough time for me to discover that I was going to starve to death there. Bring on the French!

When we got to Charles de Gaulle airport, I carefully rehearsed in my mind everything I was going to say to the cab driver. I really hoped that he wasn't going to ask me any questions because I knew I could speak French, but I just wasn't so sure I could understand real French people. However, when I told our driver the address for our hotel, he didn't look confused at all. He simply nodded and we were on our way. Our hotel was located on a side street that was off one of the "bicycle spokes" of the Arc de Triomphe. It didn't really sink in that we were actually in Paris until we first came upon the Arc. I could hardly believe it. We went inside our hotel and I geared myself up for more French. Turns out, everyone in the hotel and restaurant business in Paris speaks English. It makes tourist life easier, I suppose, but I could never figure out how they knew we were Yanks before we even opened our mouths. Ben and I spent much of the week trying to be as French as possible, short of smoking, as to fool somebody, anybody, into mistaking us for bonafide Parisians. I guess we lacked that certain je ne sais quoi, however, because they got us every time!

After dropping off our luggage, we headed out to find food, which is like the easiest thing to do in Paris EVER! There are cafes every ten steps you go, so it is basically my kind of town. We walked down to the end of the block and decided on Cafe Kleber. I ordered a tomato and fresh mozzarella salad, with chocolate mousse for dessert. Ben ordered something with some awesome au gratin potatoes. It was all divine. I loved sitting out there in the afternoon sun, observing all of the beautiful French people. There are many. There are also many not beautiful ones, and they are the Americans. Just kidding. Sort of.

Following lunch, we crossed the street to the Trocadero. We walked out into the middle of the square and BAM! There it was. One of the top ten sights that will be permanently etched in my brain if I suddenly go blind. La Tour Eiffel. Oh my goodness, it is so stunning in real life, I cannot even begin to explain it. I fell fast, I fell hard. It was A-mazing.

After standing in awe for a few minutes, we headed back to the hotel to rest for a bit. Paris was much like Romania in that you walk your little feet off. Maybe that is why Bucharest is called "Paris of the East," because I'm hard-pressed to find many other comparisons. Does it sound like I'm dissing Romania? I guess I sort of am, but I feel bad now because I really did love going to Romania, as crazy an experience as it was. Maybe I'll just say it's the difference between Wal-Mart and Target and leave it at that.

Nap-time was followed by walking back to L'Arc de Triomphe. We climbed up to the top and admired the Paris cityscape from every angle. I was beyond happy. Maybe you don't know that I studied French from ages 12-22 and had about four blissful semesters of French History and Culture at BYU. I don't remember everything, of course, but I was finally in the place I had been dying to see for the past twenty years. So awesome.

You really should make this one big so you can see my crazy facial expression.

We descended the Arc and headed up the Champs-Elysees. It was cool, but not really my favorite part of the whole trip. There were lots of stores and stuff, but I wasn't really that interested in shopping in Paris. Because what would be the point in paying three times as much for a shirt in Paris that I could get in the States? Call me crazy, but I was there for the food, the sights, and the history. We walked the entire length of the Champs and then turned towards the Pont Alexandre III. Along the way, we passed building after beautiful building. We crossed the bridge and headed back the way we came. We passed the tunnel where Diana was killed and then I'm not sure what happened after that. Dang. I knew I should have written this sooner.






At any rate, we made it back to the hotel to change for dinner. Ben had researched all of the restaurants he wanted to eat at months before, and he'd made reservations at some of them. Ben is an even bigger foodie than me, if you can believe it. But the difference between us is that he likes super fancy food and I eat anything that tastes good. As we were leaving our hotel to walk to the restaurant, I noticed for the first time that we had a view of the Tour herself, right from our bedroom window, in fact. I was giddy.


That night, we ate at a restaurant called Chez Georges. If you want to know the story behind it or why it is so awesome, you will have to ask Ben because sometimes I zone out when he talks about that stuff. It's only fair. Do you think he really listens to me when I talk theater? I doubt it.

The important thing about this particular dinner is that I really embarrassed myself. I ordered prime rib in French and felt pretty awesome until I got a bowl of curly rubbery things, which Ben guessed was maybe beef fat. Sick. I tasted it and said, "I believe this is calamari." Which it was. It turns out that the word for prime rib, entrecote, is very similar to the word for calamari, which is entre-something. So, basically, it wasn't my bad French, but the waiter's mistake because he very clearly saw what I was pointing at on the menu while I was so "confidently" ordering in French. He must have scribbled "entre" on his pad (I can understand, I was a waitress, after all. Chx, anyone?) and then didn't realize his mistake. And if he DID realize his mistake, he probably wondered why in the world the blond bimbo in the polka dots was mistaking calamari for beef. What kind of moron does that? Well, maybe the kind who is terribly non-controversial in her own country, and therefore to the umpteenth degree in a foreign one, that's who! I just could not bring myself to send it back. And so I sat there and chewed my squid. And that's how my first restaurant dining experience in Paris turned into a total bust. You can laugh at me--lesson learned.

Later that night, I opened the doors to the balcony of our room so I could see the pretty tower. It just so happened it was sparkling all over at that moment. A magical ending to a magical day. Except for the squid part. Gross.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obsessed Much?

I deleted my last post per request of someone close to me, but if you want to talk about it any more, feel free to e-mail or FB me.

The other morning, when I was in the shower and thinking of random things as I often do, I thought about how I might answer the question: "What do you obsess over?"

I know what I would NOT say. Not exercise. Not cleaning. Not scrap-booking. Not crafting. Not sports. Not pets. Not money, really. Not sleep (shut up, Ben, I am much better now.) Not my husband. That last one sounds bad, but while I like my husband a whole lot, I am not obsessed with him (don't even tell me you don't know at least one woman who stalks her own husband, because they are totally out there.)

I would have to say I do obsess over the following:

1) My kids. I am around them all the time and they rock my Cheerio-scattered, diaper-infested, laundry-covered, papers-piled everywhere world. They are my full-time with double over-time job. They drive me crazy and I drive them crazy. I want them to grow to be respectful, honest, sympathetic people and so they would probably say things like "I have the meanest mom in the neighborhood," but I take that as a compliment, thank you very much.

2) Food. As I write this, my mouth is watering over the medium-sized pomegranate and original swirled frozen yogurt topped with strawberries and mangoes I had this morning. I have been known to call Rachel and say things like, "I love ham so much I want to marry it."All my best friends share my obsession with food (including my husband,) and I don't think I could be in better company. Funny thing is, I'm not so much a cook. But my husband is. So life is good.

3) TV/Tivo. I think about my stories while I'm doing dishes. Knowing that I have TV night at a friend's house to look forward to at the end of the day is sometimes all I need to pull through. My favorite thing to do with Ben is sit on either end of the couch on Thursday nights under a blanket to watch Pam and Jim and Jack and Liz. What could be better? I will occasionally read crazy TV gossip websites and some of my friends started a TV blog, which makes me oh so happy. Once again, I have actually acquired friendships through conversations about TV. If you don't believe me, ask my friend Jenny about the first time we met and she'll tell you we talked about a certain lad named Blake who could do a certain straightleg-kick-somersault on a certain summer dance competition show. Or talk to Annette, whose porch I stood and chatted on during the glory days of Alias. The writers' strike was a dark time for some of us. We'd call each other and discuss the weather, of all things. And why did they have to do it during the winter, of all times?

4)Target. Red and white until I die. I am so happy there, and I make my kids be happy there, too, with suckers! And if they're not happy, I ignore them and get carried away into a lovely land of cute, cheap clothes and awesome shoes and must-have holiday decorations. I have not gone into a Wal-Mart in months, and I don't plan on returning any time soon. I am nothing if not loyal. Plus, Wal-Mart really bites and I cry with my kids there.

Your turn...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

October Recap

Since October is long over and I am slowly coming out of a sugar-induced coma, what better time to post pictures of last month's festivities?

Not really Halloween-related, but here is a cool picture of Andrew, Mila, Emma, and Ethan up at Snowbird

Lane, enjoying the fall leaves


Because I'm such an awesome mom, I drove my kids all the way to Hee-Haw Farms on a day they were out of school. Because I thought I was so awesome, I was punished by the Halloween gods because Hee-Haw Farms was closed that day...

We DID make it to Cornbelly's however--I love this pic of Lucy on the train

Halloween night--my little "Laney-bug"

And then there's, um, a "Lucyfly?" Maybe not. She was a butterfly, OK?

Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, pictured here with an invisible light saber (also with his Jedi pants falling down, but whatever)

Ms. Mila as a sassy black cat

Lucy caught on to the trick-or-treating racket pretty fast--here she is, counting the spoils

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hello, November!





We're a little giddy over here--how are things in your neck of the woods?

P.S. Taking two babies trick-or-treating seemed like an awesome way to beat the system and get twice as much candy for me (I showed you, suckas!) But now that Halloween's over and I still have shloads of candy to consume, my body has to keep reminding my brain that I'm no longer five.

Monday, November 03, 2008

This just in

For Family Night tonight, Ben was at school and Mila taught the lesson. She quoted something from the Proclamation on the Family, and so I took the opportunity to touch on the part of that document that pertains to marriage. After I explained a little bit about the importance of children having both a mother and a father, Mila said,

"Yes, also because the mother has to have the baby and the father is necessary because he has to fertilize the egg."

"Um, where did you learn that?"

"Well, I watched this Magic School Bus episode about chickens once and so I just assumed it was the same with humans. That was my hypothesis, anyway."

I swear to you, I do not make this stuff up. It looks like we will be having that "talk" sooner rather than later. At least half the work has already been done for me. Oy vay, chickens? Magic School Bus? Really?

Good stuff

I'm kind of a strict mom, I guess. In our house, the "f" word is "fat," the "s" word is "stupid," and the "d" word is "dumb." It makes reading Junie B. Jones books out loud a real challenge (I just act as a human ClearPlay.) We also have a ban on "real" swear words, even though Ben and I get busted for "crap" like every day. But sometimes, you have to express yourself about something (believe me, I know) and so I have to give my kids points for creativity. Ethan's expletive of choice is "Oh, Peanuts!" It's cute, but sometimes I cringe when he says it in public because I know what he's saying, but you know?

Mila's expression of choice? "Oh, Snap!"

So, I couldn't resist this $5 find at Old Navy today:


I may have also purchased these slippers, but are you kidding me? I'll wear these bad boys all day long all winter long (I'm wearing them right now):

After going to Old Navy, Ethan and I got Red Mango because we love it--it is our "hot date" locale of choice! (Did anyone else have "hot dates" with their parents growing up? What the? Why did we call it that? Mom? I don't call it that with my kids, btw, I only did here. Crazy non-politically correct 1980's...) Anyway, Ethan gets original with strawberries and I get whatever, as long as it's medium and has mangoes! Sometimes we share with the twins, and sometimes we don't. Depends on our mood and how hungry we are. (He chooses it over getting a Happy Meal--the kid is so 2008.)

I also watched this just now and it made my day. Talk about cheap thrills! Ben is going to love it, especially when it shows the black and white footage of the lady not being able to use her phone AND a blanket! Oh, the horror! I think they all look like a crazy cult or Masons group. So awesome. Thanks for posting it, Jenny, my dear!

Finally, The Book Thief is being made into a movie, of course--total no-brainer. On imdb.com, it says 2010, but gives no other info. Who do you think should be cast?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put on my Snuggie so I can watch The Amazing Race and eat Halloween candy! (Only one of those things was a lie.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

This Morning

7:20: I open my eyes and look at the alarm clock. I think, "Got to get up and get ready for church..."

7:45: I open my eyes again. "Oh no, we have to leave in one hour--we'll never make it..."

7:56: I get out of bed and walk to Mila's room. She is awake already, reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I sit on her bed.

Mila: It's 8:57, Mom.

Me: Huh? (I look at her clock. It says 8:57.)

Mila: It's Daylight Savings.

Me: Ohhhh, but you're supposed to move your clock an hour backward not forward, which makes it...6:57! Later!

6:57: I run back to my room. Ben has turned on the light and is heading towards the bathroom. I turn off the light.

Ben: What are you doing?

Me: I forgot it was Daylight Savings! We can go back to bed!

6:58: We both jump back in bed. I can hear the girls in the room next to us begin to stir, then talk, then jump up and down in their cribs. But I don't even go in there for another 10 minutes.

8:50: We arrive at church ten minutes early. Yes! It's about time Daylight Savings showed me some love.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mila's Musings on a Brisk Fall Walk

"You know what? Money can't buy happiness."

A pause. Then,

"But Nature can."

Speaking of obsessions...


The girls have begun exhibiting some disturbing behavior that I like to refer to as "All-Out Mama Brawling." Basically, they both charge me and fight over which one gets to be picked up, if I'm standing up, or, if I'm sitting down, it's who can get closest to my face. In their effort to accomplish these aforementioned goals, they bust out their best pinching, hitting, pushing, and eventually biting moves to knock the other girl out of competition. I am totally caught in the middle and it's like breaking up a dog fight, meaning that I usually suffer some casualties in the process. If I stand up and walk away, they both run after me screaming, trying to get closest to my legs. They do this no less than 15 times a day. Even now, I'm hurriedly typing this because the Wiggles caught their attention long enough for me to make an escape. I suppose I should be somewhat flattered--I haven't had two people fight over me so passionately since high school, and even then, I never saw those boys pinch or bite each other once (at least not in my presence.)

So, what am I supposed to do about this? I already broke down the cage, er, playpen, and asking them to "use words" to achieve world peace is futile, since they only have like three words and they are "mama," "mine," and "no," all clearly unhelpful in this situation. I have heard from other moms of twins who have gone before me one of two things: 1)The first twelve months are the hardest, or 2) No way, 12-18 months is the hardest. I'd like to go on the record by saying that they are all wrong, and they must have sedated themselves or sent their twins to boarding school when they hit 22 months because dang!

Lane just brought me my empty wallet. Awesome. (Note: on some occasions, "awesome" is my favorite word to drip with sarcasm.) Ack! Lucy is giving me the evil eye--gotta run!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oh, October, how I love you...

I wanted to have a picture of them together so I could say "Happy October!"

But try as I might, I could not get both their faces in a picture at the same time!

This particular October has been incredibly busy and doesn't really show signs of slowing down. To start out the month, Ben's youngest brother, Davey, came to stay with us over Conference Weekend. Lucy and Laney called him "Baby," which was cute because that is what his family used to call him as he is, well, the baby. We watched Conference and accused each other of snoozing through talks even though there were some where we all were. What? It's like the best nap time EVER. We also had a rousing game of Monopoly and I kicked everyone's trash. Ben has been seeking revenge ever since.

This is the only picture I took of Davey while he was here--sorry, bro!

After Davey left, we packed up and went to California for Ben's fall break. We went to Disneyland last Thursday and we were totally hardcore. We subscribed to RideMax before we went, and it was right on! The park was crowded (darn you, fall break!) and yet we went on 15 rides or something. Crazy success! We also found out about this beautiful thing called a Ride Switch Pass. Why has no one ever told me about these before? If you have small children with you who can't ride the roller coaster type rides, you ask for a switch pass before you get on the ride, then you give the pass to whoever was watching the kids during the ride and they get to go right on in the fastpass line. GENIUS! Thank you, strangers in front of us who overheard Ben and I arguing about who was going on Indiana and who was sitting out for Space! It also worked out well for Mila, our roller coaster addict who got to ride nearly every one twice. Might I also recommend Jedi Training? My kids didn't get "picked" (major junior high flashbacks) but the Jedi Master was hilarious and my kids had fun anyway. (If you do not have a child in your house who talks about Star Wars 13 hours a day, this might bore you incredibly.)

Ethan, Lucy, I believe, and Ben on Dumbo

Mila, Lucy and I on "Pirates"

It's not ALWAYS the happiest place on earth (and don't you worry, people LOVE to say that loudly when they hear screaming children, trust me...)

The second day of our California trip, Ben golfed and I went to Target. Don't be too jealous about my crazy vacation plans! But Target actually turned out to be quite an adventure because the twins began screaming and hitting and biting in their stroller. They didn't have shoes on (they always take them off in the car) so I couldn't let either of them out and I couldn't just walk out like you're supposed to because I needed to get like two things. So I decided to pretend like I was by myself. I calmly headed towards the snack aisles, unfortunately located on the other side of the store. I knew I wasn't in Utah anymore when everyone actually stopped what they were doing to watch us pass by. I can only imagine what was going through their minds: "What is that piercing noise? Oh look, it's that red stroller! There are two of them screaming!! Oh, good heavens, there are TWO more trailing behind?! And their poor mother/nanny is deaf--she seems to not hear them!!!" But I ask you, what other option did I have? I really needed those two items! We made it to the snack aisle where I promptly tore open a box of Cheezits and bought myself enough time to check out and get the h out of there.

To reward myself for my sufferings we went straight to 21 Choices, where I told the girl working there, "Yeah, I'm going to need to taste Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Three Musketeers Bar AND Strawberry Guava." If you haven't already heard, 21 Choices is pretty much the best frozen yogurt place in the world and no one else comes close. I decided to go with half Three Musketeers Bar and half Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with cookie dough mixed in. When my step mom got home later, she informed me that there was actually a new 21 Choices store in the Village as well. Guess where we went for dessert? This time it was Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Heath Bar mixed in. I know. You might call it excessive. I like to call it obsessive. If I would have ever gotten around to telling you about my other two days in NYC, you would have discovered that I walked to two different Pinkberrys in Manhattan on the same day. I also went to three different H & Ms, but in my defense, their layouts were totally different!

Lane and I at my dad's house (yes, I have a different color hair now)

Back to California. On Saturday, I got to see my awesome friends from high school and their cutest babies and new houses and all that fun stuff. Saturday night, I went to see The Duchess with my step mom and her friend. My friend compared Keira Knightley to a praying mantis, and now that's all I see. I mean, are we really supposed to believe that, over the course of the movie, she has given birth to like eight children? Afterward, we ate dinner at Le Pain Quotidien and had vegan split pea soup, a tartine topped with goat cheese and Bartlett pear, and a cup of steaming hot milk that we poured little pots of chocolate into. In between bites of goat cheese tartine, I actually tried to get my step mom to go with me to Paris that minute (she used to live there, after all.)

When we came home to our house in Utah, it was 52 degrees inside. Apparently, the seasons changed from summer to fall to winter, all while we were gone! I should mention that I also finally finished The Book Thief on our trip. This book should come with a warning: "You will be reduced to a puddle of sobs." That's what happened to me, anyway. I haven't reacted that way to a book in a long time. I actually need to stop talking about it right now...


Two days ago, for UEA, we packed up the kids and headed up to my grandparents' condo at Snowbird Ski Resort. We hiked and fed birds and hung out with "Papa GG,"and all in all it was a wonderful escape from the daily grind.

P.S. My daily grind is nutso! Do you want to know how much household damage two damage-minded 22 month-olds can inflict on a house within two hours? I didn't think so. I'm not going to survive the winter. Can I come over?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Thrillionaires Halloween Show with Guest Alex Boye


Here's what you MUST see this weekend:

The Thrillionaires’ October 18 performance will feature special guest artist and musician, Alex Boy√©. After winning a singing competition in 1996, Boye gained success singing in an internationally acclaimed group called “Awesome.” Since then, Boye’s voice has accompanied superstars such as the Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, Mary J. Blige and George Michael. Local audiences may remember him for his roles in “Smokey Joe's Cafe," "Big River," "The Civil War," and the film “David and Goliath."

Buy your tickets online for only $7 at www.coveycenter.org! It's sure to be a spooky good time!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Must Have

These might just be the CUTEST skirts on the planet.



My friend Rachel makes them. She is awesome and creative and can do no wrong.




You can find them here. There are plenty of different colors and patterns (I'm really loving the Halloween themed ones right now!) Get one for your little twirler (or send the link to Grandma!) You will NOT regret it...


Monday, September 22, 2008

You guys, every day I die a little...

...because my babies won't stop growing. I love these little people and why do they have to get big? They are jumping up and down in their cribs as I type this. All I hear over the baby monitor is Boing! Boing! And lots of giggles. It's their daily pre-nap ritual.

Lucy, going down the slide for the 50th time in a row

Lane

Mila had an XBox party recently and invited three boys. They all ran inside our house after taking the bus home and Mila said, "You guys! My mom put out lots of snacks that rock!" (I totally did.) She also knows everything about Pokemon and Club Penguin. Do you think the boys think she's cool? Um, yeah! She is almost finished with Harry Potter Book 5, and she understands everything that's happening, she claims. I told her that I am proud of her because she never lets her peers tell her what to do or what she likes. She replied, "It's because I'm brimming with confidence, Mom."

Mila and Lucy

Ethan sometimes kills me the most of all. He tells me that when he grows up and gets married, I will stay behind in the house that he grew up in, sort of like "a servant who stays in the castle, while the king goes out to find new lands..." I always thought I was his queen, but clearly, I was mistaken.

His prayers right now are awesome. He says things like, "You know what? It is really hard to be good, but we are trying our hardest to be good every day. Sometimes the babies bug me a lot, but that's OK because they're little and don't know any better so I need to respect them. Also, when people move in, you need to be nice, because once I moved in and I was afraid, so I learned to be nice to new kids. Oh yeah, and when we're helping, we're happy..." and so on. We all just sit there and wait patiently--Mila doesn't even open her eyes, bless her heart, but I open mine almost the whole time because I'm silent laughing with Ben.

I also love listening to him rant about how the only thing he hates about school is the bus ride home because "it is TOO crowded, and one day, I even had to sit on Mila's lap! Aargh! And another day, I saw a spot, but before I could grab it, Carrie was yelling, 'Sit here, sit here, sit here!' and argh! I got so confused and then I lost my spot!!" I love it. So. Much.

He is really into taking self-portraits with our old digital camera

I just like my kids a lot, you guys. (This is the kind of post my friend Josh was talking about.) But I will counterbalance this bragging by admitting to everyone that I am a big disorganized mess and my house will always look like it's a Monday morning. So wah wah waaaaah...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hot Sugar

At our last Thrillionaires show, the theme was 80's rock and it was radical. We had an audience of 75, all ready to be taken back to the decade of John Hughes and shoulder pads. For our first play, we got the title "Back to the Top" as a suggestion. What followed was a high school drama about a stuck-up football jock who learned a valuable lesson about trust, life and love, after discovering the dark secrets of a 30 year old gold stamp collector. There was also a prom queen runner-up who fell in love with a rebel artist! (Are you crying yet that you missed it?)

Brett, Lisa and I before the show (also before Brett had his first wig of the evening on)

For the musical half of our show, we were given the suggestion "Hot Sugar" as a band name, and we then told the story of a trio of gas station workers who realized their dreams when a music idol-turned producer (named Nigel Thorpe, aka Gold Stamp) and his assistant discovered them. Brigham played the piano, and Brady was on the electric guitar, improvising their musical hearts out. Overall, it was one of our best shows, even though my hair, huge when I first left the house, continued to shrink throughout the night. Aqua Net, anyone?

Maclain, me, Jake, Lisa, and Brett, after the musical

Monday, September 08, 2008

Labor Day

On the 1st of September, we were treated with rain. Ben was at school playing catch-up, so I bundled up the kids to go to Costco. Everything was closed, so we returned home to do some puddle-jumping. Good times and hot cocoa ensued. P.S. I may need a polka dot intervention...

Mila and Ethan

Lane

Lucy


I make them give each other kisses--mean mom

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's that easy!

Exactly two weeks ago, I was eagerly awaiting the return of my husband from his seventh week of being gone this summer. We would have two days with him home before he would have to leave again the following week, this time for New York.

He called me from the LA airport: "Just come with me...it will be fun...free hotel, free food..." (Dangit, he knows me too well, that kid--I can't resist free stuff and especially edible free stuff!)

I certainly didn't doubt that it would be awesome, but how could I possibly abandon my children in the middle of a school week, and who would I ever convince to watch them?

He wouldn't give up, so I told him I'd make a few calls, get a few rejections, and then he'd see just how crazy his plan was.

Well, naturally I turned to my sisters. Sort of. I called Courtney, who played my sister Meg in Little Women. I made my crazy offer and she insanely accepted! It could not have been easier. To fill in the gaps when Courtney had to nanny for another family, I called on Lex, who played my sister Beth. I love fake sisters!

Lex is on the left, Courtney is on the far right. Emily's in the middle--we love her, too.

I bought my ticket that night and wondered what I had done. The following weekend was a blur of cleaning, typing up schedules, laundry and packing.

Monday afternoon, I snapped some pics of my little guy and took him to his first day of Kindergarten. I put the girls down for a nap and we left for the airport. It was that easy.

We flew into Newark after 11 pm, and took a cab to our hotel in Times Square. In the entrance of our hotel, there was a glass ceiling with water rushing through it. On the 7th floor check-in area/lounge, there was a bar and very loud music. As we escaped back into the elevator to head to our room, we decided we were old and we liked it that way. This is what our room on the 21st floor looked like:


We played around with all of the modern contraptions in the room, looked out the window at all of the people in Times Square, not sleeping, then shut the blind to block out the midnight daylight. We decided that this was the best free hotel money could buy, even with the obnoxious music on the 7th floor.

Tuesday morning, I took a cab with Ben to his first callback and then went and ate breakfast across the street. I called my mom and said, "I'm eating breakfast in New York by myself!" She was so proud.

After breakfast, I began to walk. I walked and walked. When I'd get to a corner, I would just look down both streets and decide which one looked more fun. I passed lots of fancy shops, like Tiffany & Co., I passed the Trump Tower, and I passed five hundred and twenty Starbucks. I came to Central Park. I walked along the south end of it and up another street. At this point, my friend Ryan called me and asked me where I was. I told him, and he said, "Oh, you are near the temple." I looked up and I was, in fact, standing in front of the temple! I was pretty proud of myself for accidentally finding so many landmarks. It was SO easy!

Manhattan Temple

Next, I headed across Central Park and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I went to buy my ticket, the man said, "Student?" I said, "No, adult." He didn't look convinced. (Incidentally, the exact same thing happened to Ben and I at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. The lady would not believe we wanted to pay the admission for people over 30.) I told the man that I was pretty sure that I had not been a student for eight years and then he proceeded to actually try and talk me out of paying the full fare. He was not making it easy:

"You know, $20 is only recommended, but you can pay whatever you'd like."

"Oh, it's OK, I'll pay $20."

"Are you sure?"

Well, now I WAS sure I wanted to pay the $20, just to prove I was an adult! I felt like if I backed down and paid $3 like he was trying to convince me to, he'd think "Aha, she IS a student!" As if someone would fight to pay more. Silly man. I showed him! Silly me. Next time, I'm offering all the change in my pocket, like Ryan does. Of course, he says they treat you like dirt when you do that.

The Met was incredibly large, and I got lost many times, but that was part of the fun, I think. My findings included:

A Vermeer

A favorite Monet

A famous Seurat

Ben called and said he was done, and after spending a long time trying to find my way out of the museum (not easy), I met up with him again. The rest of our day included the following adventures:

We went to the top of 30 Rock

A nice view of Central Park

We HAD to take a picture of this place for a certain 8-year old

We saw this Chris Clark favorite after eating dinner at a steakhouse full of French waiters

We went to the Stardust Diner for dessert, where Ryan treated us to some Barry Manilow

I'd say it was a pretty awesome day, all around. Stay tuned to hear about Day 2, which included lots more Ryan and a New Jersey outing, and Day 3, which involved more walking. And shopping. And walking. And Pinkberry!