A Few Days in Albany (Alternative Title: Things to Do in Upstate NY with a Baby)

Note: I apologize in advance for more typos than usual on this post and others recently – I’m typing this with 9 fingers (see the BONUS at the bottom of this post for more details)

B and I just got back from seeing my parents. While we used to go out to Albany several times of year, our trips back to NY have gotten fewer and fewer now that we have FW. My parents have spent much more time coming to visit us in Cleveland. That’s why when B suggested we take some time off around Labor Day and take a trip, I was excited about the prospect of using part of that time to see my parents.

 

Trips to NY are a little different now that we have FW, but we still were able to have some fun and found a few baby-friendly activities to keep us busy.

FW loves visiting Nonna and Grandpa because Nonna makes delicious cookies 🙂

Some of the highlights:

Seeing my brother. He was in town from Berlin and I’m so glad I got to see him, even if just for a day. T he last time he saw FW, he was only 6 months old!

Going to a Farmers Market. Saturdays in Upstate NY mean farmers markets – we went to the one in Colonie, but Troy also has a great one.

Checking out the New York State Museum. It was rainy one day we were in town so we spent some time indoors at the museum. The museum is a great place to take your kids – it’s free (just a suggested donation), full of plenty of kids running around, has some really cool exhibits, and even has a toddler-focused hands-on room (that we didn’t get to check out).

the infamous long house inside the museum

are they on a train in the city? Yup – but inside the museum!

Also, the museum has a large indoor free carousel! It was FW’s first time on the ride and he LOVED it.

We met up with Jane and Alisa and her boyfriend at the museum, and then we had them over for dinner. They also hadn’t seen FW since he was 6 months old.

Going apple and blueberry picking at Indian Ladder Farms. I LOVE apple picking and have fond memories of going every summer I as growing up. It was great to go with FW, who was old enough to help pick the apples, put them in the bag and even taste them. We also got to pick some blueberries and after our picking, we enjoyed the local cider and beers at a picnic table with some apple donuts and apple fritters.

❤ my momma

the only time i’ve seen him enjoy blueberries – while picking them!

william tell …

family photo!

Stopping by a local playground. One of the days was gorgeous out, so my parents and I took out FW and had some fun running around in the grass and enjoying the rides.

Visiting West Point. Okay, West Point isn’t in Albany, but it’s not too far away, so the day we left Albany, we headed to West Point. We got in some beautiful sights (they sit above the Hudson River and have some great views) and an informal tour of campus with one of our friends who is a professor there.

BONUS: spending some time in Urgent Care. Ha! Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a “highlight” but I can’t share this post without mentioning this story about my Saturday night. My dad was cutting some vegetables for dinner when the knife slipped and he cut his pinky. It was pretty bad, but not bad enough to need stitches, so he elevated it and bandaged it up and I took up the cutting. I decided to take the opportunity to show him (and my mom and brother who were also in the kitchen) how to properly cut vegetables and the right type of knife to use (the knife he/I was using wasn’t the right kind). Of course, as I got to the last piece of eggplant, the knife slipped and I ALSO cut my pinky. I looked down and knew that this was no ordinary cut – the tip of my pinky was hanging off and bleeding pretty bad. I looked over at my brother and mom and said, “I need stitches.” So, my mom and brother took me to the local urgent care while B stayed home with FW and my dad resumed preparing dinner. Three stitches later, my pinky is in better shape now and I’ll be getting the stitches removed in a week or so.

Some questions for you:

  • When was the last time you went to Urgent Care? What was it for?
  • Have you ever cut yourself so that you needed stitches?
  • Do you like picking apples/berries/etc?

That Weekend One of your Best Friends Gets MARRIED

I had a FABULOUS weekend and I am just so excited to share it with you. That’s right – as you probably could tell by the headline (do you read headlines?) – one of my best friends in the whole world got MARRIED this weekend.

blast from the past! Some memories of me and Melgar

blast from the past! Some memories of me and Melgar

Let me tell you a little bit about Melgar. Melgar and I have been friends since 7th grade. Have I told you this before? During locker day, that day when all the soon-to-be seventh graders come to the junior high to try out their lockers and their class schedule, Melgar and I discovered we had lockers next to one another. AND that we had the same first name. Which is why I always called her Melgar – not Melissa. So it only made sense that two short seventh graders, with the same first name and in the same hall, and lockers next to one another, would become friends. Friends we became – and despite going to different colleges, and living oh so far apart, thanks to Skypes, Google Hangouts, and phone calls, we have remained friends to this day. And that’s why I feel so blessed and honored to have been part of her special day – and in my first wedding!

melgar getting ready

beautiful bride getting ready

jane and melissa fruity drinks

post-ceremony cocktail hour at the gorgeous Franklin Plaza

B and me with the newlyweds!

It was a beautiful wedding, a beautiful (and cold) day, and a wonderful weekend – seeing my family (my parents live about 20 minutes away from where the ceremony and reception took place so I stayed with them all weekend!), catching up with old friends (seeing Alisa, who flew in from Finland and Andy who lives in Florida), spending the day getting ready with two of my very best friends Jane and Melgar, and dancing the night away with B.

Celebrating with my favorite ladies after the wedding

Celebrating with my favorite ladies after the wedding

B and me- all dressed up!

B and me- all dressed up!

Hope you had just as glorious a weekend! What did you do?

Some questions:

Have you been in any weddings? What’s your favorite part? I loved all the pre-big day activities! Spending the day with some of my very best friends who I don’t see very often and just getting to to be with Melgar on her special day was so wonderful.

Did you stay on your running schedule this weekend? Whoops. Nope! I was due for a 14 miler on Saturday and 7 miles on Friday. With the wedding and the weather (and any other excuses I can come up with), I only was able to get in 18.8 miles – over the 4 days. BUT I did put in a run each day, so I don’t feel too bad (including 6 miles the day of the wedding and 4 miles early the morning after on very uhh tired feet). 

What are you looking forward to this week? It may sound boring, but sleeping in my own bed! Last week I was traveling for work 3 days and then back in NY for the wedding – and I haven’t slept in my own bed since Sunday. 

Weekends In My Second Home – New York (Part Two)

Friday night I had planned on staying with my brother in his dorm room. I did it last year, and post-dinner we had just hung out, chatted and gone to bed, which is kinda what I thought we were going to do this year. I was wrong! This year, Greg wanted to take me out with his friends. I’m clearly not in college anymore. His friends were meeting at 11 p.m. to go out … yes, 11, which is later than I typically go out now. We went to a bar only a few blocks away from campus, a bar that gave out free shots of anything (including tequila) if you friended them on Facebook. And then it started pouring out, and none of us had umbrellas. You can tell from those last two sentences how my night was. It was a good time – I enjoyed meeting my brothers’ friends, partying like a college student for one night and getting stuck in the rain.

this is what happens when Greg and I hangout... a photoshoot

this is what happens when Greg and I hang out

Saturday morning we woke up pretty early (sleeping on a dorm room floor isn’t easy, even if you have a blow up mattress), and Greg suggested we go for a quick, short run while he waited for his laundry. Another impromptu, unplanned run in New York? Score! After the run, we enjoyed breakfast and then it was time to say goodbye as my parents and B were on their way to pick me up to visit my grandma while my brother studied for finals.

Grandma, dad and me

Grandma, dad and me

My grandma lives in an assisted living home with a lot of other elderly people. It was SO nice to see her – it’d been a few months – but it’s always hard seeing her living there, as opposed to the apartment I saw her in when I was growing up. I hope that when I’m old and if I’m living in an assisted living home I take advantage of all the activities they have. Posted in the elevator I saw the schedule for the weekend included crafts, live music, a morning walk, and even some fresh-baked apple pie BEFORE dinner.

After visiting my grandma we headed back up to Albany and went out to a really delicious dinner at a Turkish restaurant. My parents went to Turkey last year to visit my brother who had an internship there over the summer (see how cool he is?) and I’m convinced that since then they enjoy Turkish food more. Anyway, I gobbled it all  up before taking any photos because I was so hungry after smelling the warm apple pie cooking all afternoon. I fell asleep on the couch at home (see, this time home means in Albany!) after a tiring but relaxing day.

Mother's Day Brunch

Mother’s Day Brunch

Sunday I woke up and my parents were getting ready to go for their usual hour and a half walk around the neighborhood. I decided to join them, but go on a run first and meet them halfway. For some reason (perhaps fueled by the amazing Turkish food?), I ran faster than I normally do – my MapMyRun app clocked me at running 4.75 miles in under 42 minutes! After my faster-than-usual run, I found my parents and enjoyed a leisurely walk home with them.

sunday run splits

Check out my splits for the run! I’m not typically this fast unless it’s a race.

After our walk/run, we went out to Mother’s Day brunch in downtown Albany. We had reservations at Justin’s on Lark Street, which had a great breakfast and live piano music. I enjoyed a latte, some cornbread and a great brunch of eggs over easy, french toast, bacon, potatoes and toast. I was starving (again!) and finished it all. Post-brunch, the weather looked nice, so we headed over to Washington Park where Tulip Fest was going on. The Tulip Festival happens every spring in Albany and features live music, food vendors, family-friendly activities during the day and other activities at night, and even the crowning of a Tulip Queen. We only had time to walk around for a little before it was time to head back home, pack and head to the airport.

mom dad me tulips

As always, it was sad to leave my parents and head back to Cleveland. But it was such a beautiful weekend and I had such a good time, which made leaving easier. I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day weekend as well!

And since there are no food photos in this post, I’ll leave you with what B and I enjoyed for dinner after we got off the plane late Sunday evening for dinner – Vietnamese.

I <3 Vietnamese Food

I ❤ Vietnamese Food

Some questions:

  • Do you live in the same city as your parents/siblings? If not, do you visit them often? My family is all in New York, but I try to get out there a few times a year. I also love hosting them in Cleveland! 
  • What time is too late to go out at night? No time – but I think getting ready to go out at 11 p.m. is too late for me now. I guess I’m getting old!
  • Do your parents work out or have a work out routine that they stick to? Yes! They have for as long as I remembered. We would go to the YMCA as a family when I was young or go on long walks. Which is probably why I have always felt the need to stay active and get in a run or some other activity every day.
  • Do you enjoy brunch food? What’s your favorite? I typically enjoy the more savory brunch foods like eggs – I don’t really like pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc.

Weekend Recap – Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Food – Part 2

Sorry, folks, the other post was just getting to long and I (and you) probably needed a break. Anyways, after an awesome Thursday and Friday in the city, I was looking forward to seeing the rest of my family later in the weekend.

Saturday

I stayed overnight in my brother’s dorm room Friday night and we woke up early Saturday to pack up his stuff and help him move out of his dorm. We grabbed a quick breakfast at Westside Market (no, not the Cleveland landmark) before meeting up with my parents to pack up his stuff into their rented van. My brother had to work again, so my parents, B and I headed to the High Line to explore the green area on what was turning out to be a gorgeous, 70something degree day. The High Line was beautiful – for you non-NYers, the High Line is a park/walking route in on an old, abandoned above-ground and above the streets train tracks. The tracks are no longer in use, and instead of tearing them down, the city decided to turn the overgrown tracks into a park-like walking area, above the city. There are gorgeous plants, vendors selling food and cute artsy stuff, sprinklers for kids to run through, and more, all along the walkway.

We spent a few hours walking, grabbed a quick lunch at The Park in Chelsea (they have “Garden Seating,” a tree in the middle of the dining room, a ricotta salada and beet salad, and serve banana bread with the meal – need I say more?), walked a little more, and then headed to visit my Grandma and meet up with the rest of my family for an early Mother’s Day dinner at our Riverdale staple – Nonno Tony’s (and yes, Nonno Tony knows my Grandma and the rest of my family, they go there so often). After stuffing ourselves with pizza and salad, B and I got dropped off at Penn Station and took the train up to Albany.

Sunday

Sunday, I woke up in Albany and spent most of the day relaxing with my family. The four of us (my mom, dad, brother and I) hadn’t been together since Christmas and likely won’t be all together for another few months (my brother is spending his summer in Jordan, Istanbul, Edinborough, London and more) so it was great. In the morning, B,  my parents and I took a leisurely 5-6 mi walk around the area. Then, we enjoyed a Mother’s Day lunch at Risotto, a new restaurant in Albany before B and I returned to the airport for our flight back to Cleveland.

My chicken and risotto .. at Risotto

What a great Mother’s Day weekend! Were you able to spend it with your mom? Did you do anything special?

Weekend Recap – Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Food – Part 1

What a glorious weekend! I’m back from a three day weekend in NY, visiting friends, hanging out with my brother and celebrating Mother’s Day with my momma. Of course, I’m going to share it all with you.

Thursday

After work, B and I took the rapid to the airport and flew into Laguardia. That’s right, we flew. That may not sound like a big deal, but B and I hardly ever fly together. For some reason, we either fly without one another (like I did a few weeks ago on my trip to Orlando) or we drive places (like we usually do to NY). But this time – we flew! At the airport, we grabbed a quick snack (pretzels and beer!) at Great Lakes and a 6 pack to go! That’s right, you can buy 6 packs to go to drink on the plane to bring for a friend!

After landing in Laguardia 20 minutes early, we hopped in a taxi to our friend Jared’s place, where we were staying for the night. Jared lives basically on Central Park West, so it was a quick taxi ride and a great place to stay. We met up with Jared, who was just coming home from work (yes, at after 10 p.m.) and grabbed some drinks and a quick bite to eat at a local bar.

Friday

Friday, B and I got up early and did some work. I got in a conference call and some emails and had planned on taking the day off to explore and visit with my brother, but after my brother found out he had to work and some of the projects I was working on were on deadline, and some others experienced a mini crisis (of course on my day off), I ended up working most of the day until meeting up with my brother for dinner at 8.  Thank goodness with my job I have the ability to work remotely! I was able to get a lot of stuff done, get on a client call, and answer important emails all from NYC. Plus I got an awesome lunch break – meeting up with my jr high and high school bff (and Maid of Honor) Jane, who lives in New Jersey and came into the city to see me, enjoy Shake Shack. We of course got in a quick trip to J Crew.

Cheeseburger, Shroomburger and Cheesefries

Jane and me – friends for 15 years!

Friday night, I said goodbye to B and met up with my brother at Columbia. He got out of work a little after 8, and then we took a few trains and headed to Williamsburg (Brooklyn) for dinner. My brother had picked out a place for dinner, called Bistro Petit – and it definitely took after it’s name – there were probably 8 seats in the whole restaurant! Luckily, we had made reservations and were even able to sit outside for the first part of our meal – watermelon salad. Okay, I admit, watermelon salad sounds boring. It does. But my brother wanted to order it, so we did. It was anything BUT boring. The watermelon was perfect and came in a spicy watermelon reduction dressing with pickled watermelon rind, grilled halloumi cheese and mint.

watermelon salad from Bistro Petit

Kimchi Bouillabaisse… and bread for dipping

For dinner, my brother got the homemade pasta, and I got the Kimchi Bouillabaisse. Wow. I was greeted with a steaming pot of mussels, scallops, pollack, shrimp, tofu, rice gnocchi (my new favorite thing!), watercress and kimchi. By the end of my meal I could have still drank the broth with a straw – it was so good! The chef came out to ask us how our meal was and explain a little about the pickling and process for making the salad – you could tell he was really into his cooking and it was great to enjoy the fruits of his enthusiasm.

We took a few trains back to Manhattan and I spent the night at Columbia. Ahh, living the life of a college student – for just one night.

More to come … (Update – post completed here)