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What's been happening here lately:

//faux hawks\\

//visit with Letty's great aunt sue\\

//we are not baseball people. but David's great uncle sure is.\\

//target. nuff said.\\

//a little hide and seek fun\\

//the artist at work. the squinting eyes is a trademark. that flash rebounds you know.\\

//these two.\\

//after a few days of rain we NEEDED to get out and walk.\\

Warning: tomorrow is the start of May. This also means that it is the start of the Blog Everyday in May Challenge. Which I proudly accepted. I'm only slightly anxious about the annoyance I'll be. So please don't be annoyed. There. You have been warned.

Tomorrow's post: the story of my life. Oh the drama!!

kingdom for kids

Big weekend here people. Dutch Wonderland, a staple of many a local child's youth, opened for the year! I ain't really from around here and yet even I frequented this nostalgic theme park. They really have made strides in becoming more of a "place to be." While still keeping old haunts like the Wunder Haus. That places gives me the gags.

We joined our neighbors and fellow season pass holders this morning. Bright and early. Opening day. The excitement was palpable.

Letty wasn't too keen on actually going ON the rides. Even with her BFF Avery leading the charge. But we had fun watching and especially cheering Avery on (not sure where that came from but fine). D napped. The girls shared a pretzel courtesy of Aunt Steph. Liam took one look at a ride and shook his head emphatically in the negative. I'm not actually sure Steph and I got the chance to talk to each other but it was still fun. Once the Fitzgerald's hit the road after lunch so began Operation Find Princess Dress. My little toddler walked around DW three times to find Princess Brooke. She even held my hand. Like, the whole time. Once we found the illusive Princess (that we saw three times already this morning), Letty stood in awe. No speaking. No waving. Just staring. It was incredibly awkward. Also a sign the girl needed food. So we left while we were ahead. Thank you Letteria for behaving and making this first solo trip to DW a smooth one.

It was sad that Matt couldn't join us but soon enough he will be free again. Then he can take her on every. Ride. In. The. Park.

//it hurt my heart a little to watch her run off on to the ride without my assistance. who am i kidding it hurt a lot.\\

//yeah man\\

//the whip. huge hit\\

//who needs a stroller\\

//she's an emerald!\\

//of all the rides they chose the school house\\

//10-4 good buddy\\

//just call her esther. side note her hair style is perfect for this\\

//second princess brooke sighting. she was THIS close.\\

//my man\\

//carousel! d's first ride. of the day.\\

//aunt steph was kind and gave mommy a break\\

//i mean. really.\\

//the whip solo\\

//monorail crazies\\

//diving show. do NOT try this at home letty\\

//log flume\\

Prepare yourselves for lots of DW pics in the future. Season passes and all (thanks to my mother-in-law).

my manhattan

My first interactions with The City were brief. Mostly my father driving us through it as a kid to get from point a to point b. Then I started taking my friends to Long Island over the summers and more fun began. My dad would take us to the Empire State Building. To the Statue of Liberty. To the Twin Towers. To my friends and I that was pretty freaking cool. I got older and was able to convince my parents to allow some solo trips into the city. With friends of course. These started out as day trips in on the train. I'd show off my Manhattan know-how. Show my friends the sites. Always your typical touristy areas. Rockefeller Center. St Patrick's Cathedral. Radio City Music Hall. Empire State Building. Ground Zero. My college offered an insanely cheap way of seeing the city. Ten bucks round trip. If you were lucky you may be able to swing a free trip if there was a way to tie it to a class. I jumped on this each and every time. Exploring Central Park, Tiffany's, Chinatown. Times Square. All Sex and the City locations I could find. Later on I would take my sister in. We would spend the night. Going in to different shops. Walking from Ground Zero uptown and back. Soho. The Brooklyn Bridge. I 'discovered' Magnolia Bakery in 2006 and was amazed. South Street Seaport. Little Italy. Eataly (I could dedicate a whole post to how awesome I think this place is). All the main attractions. My Manhattan is pretty much your basic guidebook experience. I took Letty in once and that went well. Navigating the subways with a stroller is much easier in Manhattan than say DC. In my opinion.

I was pretty proud of myself for driving in The City. Twice. It was a three man operation. No doubt. I focused on obeying the general rules of the road (even if I was the only one). My brother was my directional guide as well as general commentator. My sister-in-law Ashley made sure I was informed about any car doors/pedestrians/pigeons that could cross my path. But for this country bumpkin once it was done I had a little added swagger in my step. I don't want to do it again though. I'll stick to the train and my feet thanks.

I'll never run out of areas I want to explore. The High Line. Brooklyn. More of Central Park. The museums. Restaurants times a million. Always something new there. I hear there is a place called the Museum of Sex. So there's that.

//island of manhattan as seen from ellis island\\

//i'm a baby in central park\\

//there were flags or "gates"\\

//day trip with the sister\\

//magnolia bakery\\

//waiting on the path train with kerri\\

//street side dining\\

//two different trees. two different years\\

//ferris wheel inside the store\\

//st. patrick's\\

//empire state building\\

//view of the wtc station from our hotel room\\

//this girl got around her first year\\

//south street seaport with holly\\

//baby girl sees times square\\

And that's that.

on commuting

I did not live on campus while attending college, hence the title of this post referring to commuting (duh Laur). I spent my four years driving to and from school. Twenty minutes each way. Sometimes twice a day. Sometimes twice a week. I drove. (If you said that ala Forrest Gump we could be friends.)

Originally, I didn't want it to be that way. I planned on being a resident. I wanted to be a resident (even though the showers reminded me of ones from the concentration camps I saw depicted in movies). The first mistake was taking my father to a potential student day at Kutztown University. After leaving the cafeteria a group of potential students and parents were mooned by a bunch of Friday-happy (and let's be honest here, visibly drunk) college students. I have since heard this happens quite often at this particular educational establishment. Looking back I think its quite funny. At the time I knew it spelled bad news. My dad did not speak to my mom and I until we got home. The gauntlet was laid down. No. Kutztown. I fought back hard.

The compromise was: a local school with my father paying tuition and if I insisted on living on campus than I would pay for room and board (meaning I would go into debt). Here's a news flash to some of you: I'm stubborn. So I accepted.

Freshmen year I moved into the dorm like every other student. I cried and hugged my parents goodbye. I might have cried a lot. I instantly hated every single aspect of dorm life. Great for some, just not for me. I spent one sleepless night in that dorm thinking I was pretty much a fool. I laid awake looking at my freshly decorated room surrounded by pictures of my best friend and boyfriend. Both of whom were able to stay at home. My room mate, if after a day you can call her that was just not me. I think she was dismayed at the size of the tv I brought. Or my lack of refrigerator stock. Regardless, I've never slept in the presence of a complete stranger. It 'twas weird. Unsurprisingly I wasn't invited to accompany her to breakfast/lunch/dinner the next day. Must have been the giant eff you written on my forehead. Here's another news flash: I wear my emotions on my face like a giant neon blinking sign. Anyways...

The second night I walked my butt to my car in the dark (this may not seem like a big deal but the Eagle Talon was quite far away) and drove home to my own bed and slept like a champ. My mom shook her head at me when I walked in the door and gave me an I told you so look.

The third day I marched into the dean's office and said peace out I'm going home. Not quite like that but man that would have been cool. My parents moved me out. I smiled. I was back home. Kindly the college let this little mess go without charging me anything. The embarrassment followed me for little bit but that's ok. I got my own bed. My mom's home cooking. A personal laundromat (my mom spoils us). A pool. Parents who were pretty lax with my comings and goings. And I only had to be on campus some days three hours. Winner winner. I. Was. Happy.

Four years passed and I never once regretted my decision to move out that third day. I intensely hated campus life. I knew it was wrong for me. When I did finally move out of my parents house 5 years later I moved in with my new husband. So that was pretty neat.

I don't think I missed out on the college experience. If you're thinking that means staying up to all hours drinking I certainly did that on occasion (see above to understanding lax parents. I may need to do a future post about my parents and honesty and trusting their kids). I didn't have to eat crappy food. I didn't gain the freshmen fifteen. I had a few friends here and there and I was content with that. The deal my father put on the table was accepted by all four of my siblings. On graduation day all four of us got our diplomas debt free. And that my friends you cannot put a price on.

I didn't walk at my graduation (because I think those ceremonies can be intensely boring and I had my party to attend to). I didn't make a litany of friends. I didn't go to parties every night of the week (let's be honest LVC has no such thing). But I was just fine with all that. I did get a decent education and figure out what I wanted to do - which is really the point of college I think. I did meet Matt too.

Not to let this post take a turn to Negative Town, but I can't think about my freshmen year of college without thinking about that day in September. When the first plane hit the Twin Towers and I was at home with my parents, watching them go about their day, I was exactly where I needed to be and where I should have been. I never looked back. Because that's what's important. Family. Spending time with them. Being there with them in the moment. If I had still been on campus that day what's the first thing I would have done? Go. Home.

letty cam

We decided (and by we I mean Matt) to give Letty my old old camera (two cameras ago). It's digital. It's sturdy. She loves cameras. She calls them 'Cheese'. Get it?

These are unedited. Unfiltered. Raw. Some call it art. I call it "Letty Cam."

So here is a bit of the world according to Letty:

//upside down view of her morning. chocolate cheerios, water, tv\\

//self portrait number 9\\

//self portrait number 32\\

//our deck\\

//baby david's wall mural and finger\\

//letty's great-grammy's deck\\


//baby D and princess ride\\

//facetiming with daddy\\

//mommy planking\\

//peeling nail polish in tent\\

//mommy hair and sticker\\

Lessons learned from the artist? She likes decks. Self portraits. Including her finger in the shot. Unflattering angles. 

Till next time....