February’s Adventures

My rapid-fire monthly recaps just keep a-comin’! We now move on to February, and let me tell you, this was a big one.

On President’s Day LG’s office was closed, so we decided it was the perfect chance to make a long-anticipated visit to the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan to see the dinosaurs. I prepared Smudgie for it all week, talking up the fact that we were going to take the subway to see some dinosaur skeletons. I didn’t want him to think the dinosaurs would be walking around like in the zoo, which would be an easy assumption to make since he only encounters the anthropomorphized ones in children’s books. He also has been obsessed with skeletons ever since Halloween, so playing up the combo of the two seemed like the most enticing (and accurate!) way to hype this event.

But first: the subway. Like most NYC toddlers, Smudgie loooooves the subway. The Curious George rides the subway episode is on constant repeat. Christoph Niemann’s Subway is a nightly read. And every time we pass a subway station, Smudgie asks to “Go in. Go to the subway” (so, basically, every 5 blocks or so).

Smudgie Subway

Needless to say, the D train (and then B train) ride to the Museum was a highlight of the trip. He stood on that seat the whole time looking out the window remarking on everything we saw. “There’s another train! There’s the tunnel, Mommy. It’s dark. Are you on the D train, Daddy?” Two months later he still likes to tell me that he rode the D train. I really need to plan another subway ride for him.

Once there, the Museum was crowded. We weren’t the only family with a little time off who decided to spend the day there. (Fortunately, however, there was only one family with a rip-roaring drunk father who tried to start some beef on a crowded elevator, and that family was not ours.)

Smudgie loved the “Dino skeletons” and insisted on shouting “RAWR!” every time he saw one. He also really liked: the numerous stairs and ramps in the dinosaur wing; the interactive touch-screen computers with dinosaur facts and pictures; the touchable models of dinosaur bones; the open hallways perfect for running. The day essentially turned into an indoor, dinosaur-themed track meet, with Smudgie handily besting both his parents. But he had fun and that’s the important thing. And here are some pictures of the day!

Getting his hands on some hands

Getting his hands on some hands

Trying to connect

Trying to connect

Sheepish portrait with Dino tail

Sheepish portrait with Dino tail

That's a big head

That’s a big head

Let me tell you some cook Dino facts, Mommy.

Let me tell you some cool Dino facts, Mommy.

The boy was utterly pooped at the end of the day. Score one for the dinos! I think my favorite moment out of many favorites, however, was when I asked Smudgie if he wanted to go into the Hall of Extinct Mammals. And he said, “Scary Mammals. RAWR!”

And now: bonus Nu-Nu photo. Since she spent the entire trip (you guessed it) sleeping in the ergo cuddled against LG’s chest, we don’t have any photos of her from the day. This around-the-same-time shot will have to do. She was about three months for this one, and just waking up from a nap:

The grin slays me

Don’t you wish you woke up this happy?

Another great time was had by all amongst the Dinos. We definitely want to go back, but in the meantime we have many more NYC adventures to chronicle.

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January’s Adventures

In January we did a few fun things with the kids: a trip to the Holiday Train show at the New York Botanical Gardens and our first visit to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. I’m only going to blog about the first in this post, though. Just because we didn’t do much in March that we photographed, but we did go *back* to the Museum, so I’ll save those pictures for then.

Originally we’d planned to visit the Gardens on a weekend in early January with LG’s stepmother, who’s a member. But Smudgie was running a fever so we had to postpone. And then the mother in law was going out of town which left only a weekday for our trip. Nervously, I decided to load up the car with my two-year-old Smudgie and six-week-old Nu-Nu and visit the show on a Thursday morning.

My expectations were low, which turned out great. A Thursday morning after the Christmas and New Year’s rush was slow and low-key. No big lines or crowds pushing us along. Smudgie was able to spend as much time looking at the trains as possible, which he did!

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Here was the very first train we saw (note the delightful lack of people waiting in the doorway). Smudgie ran back and forth shouting “Wanna chase it!” for about ten minutes before he was willing to move on to the next train. He saw fast little trains that looked like insects (ladybug, butterfly) that he loved. He also shouted out, “That’s a Thomas train!” a few times, but wasn’t super into them.

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He loved this little train that ran around a twisty track through log cabins and vegetation, though. You can see his gasp of delight as it rounded the corner toward him here. I had to drag the boy away, because twenty minutes in front of the same train grew a little tiresome.

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Here were some of the replicas of major NYC landmarks (Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler building) made out of twigs, seeds, pinecones, and other items from the gardens. I thought they were awesome, but the time it took to take this photo is about as much time as Smudgie spent looking at it.

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What was Nu-Nu doing during all of this, you asK? Wearing a kickass sweater, for one. Keeping her fists clenched, for another.

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And sleeping in the ergo for a third. She slept the whole time. It was fabulous.

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When our visit came to an end, Smudgie bid a fond farewell to the trains (“Bye train!”), we dragged him out of the greenhouse, and got lunch at the cafe.

It was a lovely day and we will definitely go back next year. I think the same schedule– 10 am on a Thursday after the holiday rush–is probably the way to go, though.