New England Autumn (And Other Wonderful Things)

This is our backyard (I actually had to TONE DOWN the saturation
because it was ridiculously bright)
We've been so busy enjoying our autumn here in Connecticut I just haven't found the time to update the blog. There are so many things to do here that I just can't justify staying indoors for a few hours to sit at the computer (forgive me!). Our family took a trip to Saratoga Springs, NY and then another weekend trip to New Hampshire. The views were breathtaking, I wish I had pictures to post but every time I took one I had to delete it because it just didn't do the leaves justice. Sorry guys, I guess you'll just have to come visit us next fall :)

In the latest news, Aaron passed his fourth actuary exam!!! Seriously, this was HUGE for him. One more test to pass and Aaron will have his ASA (lower certification for actuaries). He worked so hard and I'm not surprised he passed. 

I've been working on learning the technique of levain (sourdough), so far it's been pretty good. In case you aren't familiar with levain, it's wild yeast. Before there were labs and factories to mass produce homogeneous strains of yeast, people used wild yeast they grew in their own kitchens. I find it absolutely fascinating that you can catch and "feed" your very own yeast, and utilize your little friends to leaven your breads. In the process of learning the best way to feed and care for my yeasty friends I got them a little sick, so they are recovering in my kitchen right now. I'm taking a step back from wild yeast while they get back to health. For now I dug out my commercial yeast that was tucked away in the back of the fridge. Once I get the hang of it I'll post a little bit about my adventures on the blog.

The other thing I've been working at is figuring out the best way to meal plan for our family. I've tried a couple different methods that haven't quite worked for our family, but I think I've finally figured out the best and most effective way to plan out meals. I'm doing a trial run this month, I'm crossing my fingers that it will work out well. 

Sawyer has changed so much since the last time I posted on the blog. He's running around (probably the cutest little run I've ever seen) and talking up a storm.

He said a three-word phrase the other day that blew me away. Okay, so the content wasn't mind blowing, but the fact that three words came out at once were exciting. He loves to ask "whas dat?" (translation: what's that?) all the time, but this time he saw me holding a book and asked "What's that book?" It actually came out like this "whas da buh?" but I knew exactly what he meant.

Aaron and I have tried keeping track of all the words he uses on a regular bases and it's about 25. He can say a lot more, but most he doesn't use more than once or twice.

Physically he is a tiny guy, seriously. Two separate people asked if he is 8 months old. AND THEY WERE PARENTS! I concluded that they have gigantic babies :)
Sawyer is tall (he wears 12-18 month size clothing for height) but really thin (he could wear 6 month clothing for his waist). Since he eats a good amount of food, is very active, and sleeps well his doctor said there is nothing to worry about. (But I still sneak in some coconut oil in his smoothies)

Sawyer's eyes have a little bit of both Aaron and I; they are my shape, but he got the color and long lashes from Aaron.

I wish I could say I posed him this way, but he's actually admiring an airplane :)

For Halloween he was the mouse from "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" since it is one of his favorite non-truck books.

I can't get over the cuteness of this little guy, especially in the mornings when he wakes up all bright-eyed and bubbly. I wish I could bottle up some of that sweetness and save it forever. It's bittersweet to see him growing up so fast. I love to see him reaching new stages and milestones, but I mourn for the previous stages that were so endearing. I guess we'll just have to have another one ;)


New York City!

A few days after getting back from Idaho we all set out to a weekend in New York City.

Aaron had an actuary conference in Times Square on Monday, so we decided to make a weekend of it. 
We drove to NYC on Friday evening (it's about 2 1/2 hours away from Simsbury, CT). We stayed at a place we found on Airbnb.com. It was in the Bronx, and it was... Decent. The family is Dominican and SUPER hospitable, but it was a sketchy part of town, so both Aaron and I were extra vigilant, maybe a little too much. The first night we got there the family introduced themselves and then left or went to their rooms. Aaron and I were sitting in the living area reading when all of sudden we hear someone trying to break in through the window with the air conditioning unit. I heard the person moving the cardboard aside and then start pushing away the curtains. I panicked and looked at Aaron, he looked just as panicked as I did. We kind of just sat there like deer in in the headlights until I saw a little hand reach through the curtains, and a little voice (in Spanish) ask "Is anyone in there?"

We soon found out that she is the niece of the person we were staying with, and she is only 7 years old. We laughed about it for quite some time.

The next day we took the subway into the Financial District and bought bagels for breakfast. Sawyer had a grand time chasing the pigeons while eating his bagel.

Look at that face- so determined, it worries me

Later that day we walked around Manhattan, Soho, and Midtown. We really fell in love with the city! So many cool things to do, places to eat, and lots of parks and playgrounds. For a moment we talked about how fun it would be to live in the city, but the city-life (especially the New York City life) just isn't for us :)  I'm just glad we live a couple hours away so we can visit just about whenever we want.

During our walk in Central Park we saw a turkey and raccoon! The raccoon was coming out of a hole in a tree and was obviously taking a breather from her nursing babies. It was so cute!

This is probably my favorite picture from the whole trip

On of our favorite parks was Highline Park in Midtown. The seating and landscaping in this park are very modern and aesthetically pleasing.

Even though it was modern, there was still plenty for Sawyer to do. I loved that the whole park was baby-friendly.

Every so often you would find stadium seating overlooking the street. You could sit down and enjoy watching NYC traffic. Ironically, it's relaxing to watch it, just not drive in it.

We bought some artistic popsicles along the way. Aaron had the plum sour cherry and I had yellow watermelon cucumber. The flavors were very refreshing on a hot day.

On Sunday we went to church at the LDS temple. There happens to be a chapel in the same building and it was really neat to be walking on the streets of NYC and then walk into the chapel and experience complete silence. It was very peaceful and rejuvenating.

Later that day we went to Grand Central Station and Central Park.
Sawyer was amazed at the ceiling of GCS. In case you haven't seen it, it is a beautiful mint green color with stars and constellations mapped over it. Some of the stars are actual lights.

Sawyer's favorite part about Central Park was the sand and water. He could have stayed there for days just playing in the sand and then cooling off in the sprinklers.

We didn't get to do all we had planned, but before we left we had already started planning our next trip to NYC. It was so much fun, and we fell in love with the city. Even though you would have to live in a small apartment, I don't think you'd mind because you wouldn't spend much time there. The city always has something to do and somewhere to go.