Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cheesequake Picnic

Burgers!We haven’t visited Cheesequake State Park since my last birthday, which happens to be during the month of August.

Anna being cute without trying.The weather has finally gotten nice outside — although in this area of the country it goes instantly from cold to hot — so we decided to do a small family picnic.

Arosha with grandparents.In the morning we actually set out to visit Staten Island Zoo, but Arosha really wanted a picnic, so we figured — why not.

Alёna.We like Cheesequake because it’s really close to us (relatively) and it always has a bunch of free space in picnic areas — no matter the hour.

Us.We called my parents, dropped by a supermarket to get some burger ingredients and off we went.

Anna enjoying the burger.Alёna did a great job driving us back and forth — numerous highway changes, bridges and so on. She is still quite afraid, but the best way to cure the fear of driving is to drive.

Grillin'.Burgers came out really well — as they always do on a real grill. It probably is not possible to screw them up. Our recipe is super simple — non-frozen patties, sharp cheddar cheese and a slice of sweet onion.

Arosha vs corn.Everyone enjoyed it. Even though Arosha likes burgers our Anna ate more. She is a real big time meat eater, unlike Arosha.

Playing after lunch.Then we took a short hike through the woods, but it was getting real hot, so after collecting a full bucket of treasure (cones) we went home.

Grandma handing out treats to kids.And that was our day. Good family fun for people who live in apartments. Probably less exciting for house owners with their own personal grills.

More grilling.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Car Trouble and Visiting Tanya

Arosha and Antosha. Arosha is 3 months older, but is taller than all kids of his age.A small update on recent events of our life — two pretty much separate stories. First one is the fact that Tanya — Alёna’s friend from university days in Minsk — is in United States again. While the first time she was here for a tourist visit with us, this time she is here for work. We kept planning to visit her for several weeks now, but stuff kept getting in the way. This time around it was our car.

On Monday morning I got into our car to go to work. The car didn’t start from the first try, but did after a second try. When I got to work it did the same thing at a gas station near my office. In the evening I decided to leave earlier, in case it doesn’t start and it had no trouble at all. On Tuesday morning all was good as well. So thinking that it was some one time fluke I stayed late at work on that day and to my dismay the car would not start no matter what I tried at the end of the day.

Usually the most typical problem is a dead battery. But all the electronics seemed to work just fine. Lights were on, sound system played music well, but the engine would not even try to turn over. My dad had to come out and get me. We got home close to midnight. I spoke with Geoff and he very kindly suggested that I should leave my keys on his desk and he’ll try to sort things out in the morning, so I wouldn’t have to come out and not be able to get back again — I couldn’t ask my dad to make so many 140 miles long trips.

Antosha. He was much more willing to pose for me than Arosha was. I was unable to talk Arosha in standing still for 3 seconds.I was dreading having to deal with getting the car towed. But I guess luckily for me the car started in the morning when Geoff tried it, so he dropped it off at a local Chrysler dealership and it started having starting problems there, so at least they could start on troubleshooting the issue. Now here are two things — the car has 83,000 miles on the odometer. This was the very first time that it gave me any kind of trouble at all. When we bought the car we bought an extended warranty that runs out at 85,000 miles. I thought this extra warranty purchase was completely useless and kept thinking that warranty covering something was really a myth. I was glad to have been proven wrong.

So the dealer called me and told me it was a starter and the car would be ready on Thursday morning. My dad drove me to work again and when we got to the dealership we saw a bunch of mechanics hovering over my car with manuals — never a good sign. They replaced the starter, the car didn’t start. The suggested they get me a rental car (also covered by warranty) which I had not choice, but to agree too. It’s never cool to give up your car for a car that’s worth less than half of yours — bare-bone Jeep Compas. You just get too used to little niceties. Anyhow, since I’m not in Norwalk until Monday they agreed to let me keep the car until then.

Long story short, they ended up replacing the starter, the fuse box and some transmission sensors which finally fixed the problem. All that got resolved only at the end of Monday, which caused me a lot of stress. But all in all, I did have a temporary car, the warranty covered it all and I have my car back in a working order. Hopefully it will stay this way.

This way the only way to photograph Arosha -- but capturing him. This didn't last long either.Back to Tanya now. This time we decided not to let this car issue stop us from visiting her. We installed our “Costa-Rica” child seat into our Jeep and using Google Maps on iPhone as navigation successfully arrived to the hotel where Tanya was staying with her mom and her 2 and a half (approximately) year old son.

It was a nice visit. We talked a lot about different topics — work, travel, kids, kids, kids. We went out to a local Outback restaurant for lunch, helped with some grocery shopping — Tanya doesn’t have a driver’s license which makes things very hard for them there, even though the company that hired her would cover a rental.

Aroshka played a lot with Antoshka. With went for a nice walk around a lake and they would run around and picked up all kinds of sticks, cones and other stuff. Arosha kept pulling Antosha by his hand in all different directions and Antosha on one hand wanted to play with Arosha, but on the other hand seemed to be kind of afraid of him. So when Arosha would run away on his own Antosha would say — let’s play together. When Arosha would come back Antosha would run back towards his mom and stick with her. All in all I think they had a good time as did we. We will definitely do this more. Tanya is in US until the end of the year I believe.

This would be me.We are planning to invite Tanya for a weekend to stay with us as they are very much bored in New Jersey with no car. While big cities have robust public transportation systems for the most part, in rural America you can not do anything without a car. So there you go. This concludes my update for the past week.

P.S. Sadly I somehow managed not to take a single sharp picture of Tanya. I was running around with my manual lens and I think I lost some fast focusing skill since I haven’t used it in a couple of months.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sandy Hook Trip

Sandy Hook beaches.Today was the last day of September, and it was sunny and beautiful. I am happy to write that it did not go to waste for our family. The three of us plus Danya’s parents went to Sandy Hook in NJ.

Alёna and Arosha are walking down to into the sand.We left shortly after 11, and it took us about an hour and a half to get there (it would have taken us a bit less time if we did not have to stop twice for Arosha’s bathroom break). At the park itself we stopped in three different places.

Concrete barrier.The first one was on sandy beach. Aroshka climbed onto some old concrete barrier which ran alongside the beach, and had a lot of fun walking back and forth. He also liked sand, beach vegetation, and seashells and did not want to leave.

Sandy Hook. Dad.Our second stop was at Fort Hancock, which is located on the Sandy Hook peninsula. Danya and his dad took a few pictures, Aroshka and his grandma laughed and ran around playing hide-and-seek, and I just felt extremely happy being with all of them someplace outside of Brooklyn.

 Fort Hancock.The third stop was close to the Northern tip of the peninsula. There is an observation deck with a beautiful view of the Verrazano Bridge, the southern shore of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Sandy Hook tip.It was around 3 PM (Aroshka’s normal nap time) when we finally got into the car and headed home. Since everyone was hungry, we stopped at one of the local rustic restaurants, Bahr’s Landing. This place had a beautiful view of the water and a good selection of seafood along with a seasonal Octoberfest menu.

Bahr's Landing.We got clam chowders/lobster bisque and mussels to warm up, and a variety of Octoberfest meals as our main courses. Everything was pretty delicious, but as usual the main meal portions were too big. This restaurant reminded me greatly of our Maine trip.

Arosha with a piece of cactus.Aroshka slept almost all the way home, but was cranky for over an hour after we got home since his nap was too short for his liking.

Looking at some flowers.All in all, we had a wonderful day. It felt as if we drove much farther from Brooklyn than we really did.

South Brooklyn, Manhattan. View from Sandy Hook.On a side note, I am very proud of Aroshka in terms of his control over certain bodily functions. He was diaper-free all day today, and he only peed in his pants ones in the car (luckily, we put a absorbent training pad on his car seat, so it did not get wet). We started going diaper-free outside about a week ago, and he is doing better and better. He even told us that he needs to do #2 while we were outside today, and to me it is a big accomplishment!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

О Настроении

Aroshka in his baby GYM.Сегодня понедельник, небо хмурое, время от времени идёт дождик. Я пью чай с яблочным пирогом, а Ароша спит в своей кроватке рядышком. Надеюсь, проспит хотя бы пол часика.

Arsen's new house.Вчера мы ездили в гости к Арсену и его жене Лене — они пару недель назад купили дом в городке Freehold в штате Нью-Джерси и пригласили всех нас посмотреть на их новое жильё, а так же отметить день рождения Лениной мамы. Дом меня очень впечатлил — во-первых, он просто огромный и очень удачно спланированый, во-вторых, на улице есть подогреваемый бассейн, в котором д. Боря вчера даже искупался, а в-третих, Арсен так же стал владельцем солидного, в несколько гектаров, участка земли на котором растут деревья, кусты черники и прочее и прочее.

Barns and a corn field at a stop along our way to Arsen.Честно говоря, я не уверена была стоит ли нам ехать в гости, потому что я волновалась о том, что Ароша будет капризничать и я не смогу его успокоить. Данина мама, однако, убедила нас, что поехать стоит, и оказалась права. Мы хорошо провели время, я немного расслабилась, а Ароша продрых в беседке на свежем воздухе где-то 3.5 часа подряд, что, по-моему, является для него если не рекордом, то очень близко к оному. Еще я волновалась о том, что же делать если ребёнок проголодается в дороге. Всё оказалось очень просто — мы остановились, я приложила его к груди, и через пол часа мы снова были в пути.

One side of the backyard.Вообще, надо признаться, иногда на меня накатывает совсем грустное настроение. Не знаю, послеродовая ли это депрессия, но глаза у меня в некоторые дни то и дело на мокром месте. Мне сложно обьяснить что именно нагоняет на меня слёзы — наверное, это комбинация гормонов, усталости и чувства вины, которое возникает у меня по разным поводам (когда Ароша плачет, когда я не выхожу с ним погулять, когда я думаю, что неправильно его кормлю, и т.д.).

The land that belongs to Arsen extends 150 meters beyond the fence. After that the state protected natural preserve begins.Еще у меня проблема с послеродовым сексом, который причиняет сильную боль — врач сказал, что, возможно, когда зашивали один из моих разрывов, туда попал нерв и теперь у меня там повышенная чувствительность. Когда станет лучше (и станет ли вообще) неизвестно, и я как-то очень сильно расстроилась после визита к гинекологу. Однако, за прошедшие с тех пор пару дней я немного успокоилась, и, почитав форумы, понимаю, что не одна я такая. Что ж, надеюсь, всё “починится” со временем.

Но вообще хочу сказать еще раз — несмотря на приступы грусти, ни на мгновение я не пожалела о том, что в наших жизнях появился маленький человечек. Мне очень хочется чтобы он рос здоровым и счастливым! )

Corn field somewhere in New Jersey.Да, а из песенок в моём репертуаре появилось пару новых, и наибольшее удовольствие я получаю от “Калыханкi”, “Зоркi Венеры”, колыбельной Волховы из оперы “Садко” и песенки “Дождь пойдёт по улице” из каког-то белорусского мультфильма.

А еще я всегда радуюсь и-мэйлам и комментариям, которые мне шлют друзья и знакомые. Отвечать не всегда есть время, но читаю я их с удовольствием и настроение от этого обычно становится лучше. )
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Monday, June 23, 2008

New Jersey Lighthouses

Sandy Hook LighthouseOn Saturday we spent the whole day trying to entertain ourselves, and I think we succeeded. )

We woke up pretty late, had a quick breakfast and together with Danya’s dad and Ignat went to the lighthouse, located in Sandy Hook, NJ. There are actually a number of lighthouses in the area, but we visited only the Sandy hook lighthouse and the Twin Lights lighthouse.

The Sandy hook lighthouse was built in 1764 and is a little taller than a 100 ft. It is still operational (I just read it online), although this fact wasn’t apparent to me when I saw it. There is a tour of the lighthouse offered by the New Jersey Lighthouse society, but we didn’t take it because we kind of arrived there late and wanted to visit the Twin Lights while we still had time. Everybody got a pretty cool stamp though, and we bought a new lighthouse magnet for our fridge.

One question that I had in mind was why the lighthouse was build so far from the shore. Here is the answer: “When the lighthouse was built in 1764, it stood only 500 feet (150 m) from the tip of Sandy Hook; however, today, due to growth caused by littoral drift, it is almost one and half miles (2.4 km) inland from the tip.” Interesting!

View from the north lighthouse of Twin Lights.The Twin Lights are non-operational, and we took a short climb to the top of the North Tower. I’m a bit claustrophobic, so going up and down the narrow stairs wasn’t very pleasant, but this activity was rewarded by a beautiful view of the Sandy Hook Bay.

Twin Lights LighthouseIt’s interesting that the Twins are actually not identical (Ignat was the one who noticed it), as one might expect. They look alike, but there are some noticeable differences in their design.

The area around the lighthouses was very nice too. It smelled like hay, and I even laid down on the grass, and it totally felt as if I were in my grandmother’s village again.

Cherry Tree CherriesI spotted a cherry tree, and Danya harvested some ripe berries by moving the car under the tree and using it’s bumper as a stepping stone. Oh, those cherries were delicious!

9-11 MemorialNot far off the Twin Lights we stopped at some scenic viewpoint. The view was great, and we also saw a monument dedicated to the events of September 11 — it portrays an eagle carrying a piece of deformed metal in its paws. I guess, the metal once belonged to the Twin Towers.

Later on we went home, ate in the local Uzbek Kebab place (although the kebab was worse than normally), and then went to the movie theater to see “The Incredible Hulk”.
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