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Coney Island’s Sand Sculpture Contest

We went to Coney Island on the 15th to see their Sand Sculpture Contest. Since we went to Coney Island last year for the Mermaid Parade, I knew it could be quite packed. It turned out to be pretty busy over there, but not as bad as last time we visited, so that’s good. But that place. It’s strange. You’ve got to go at least once in your life just to experience the atmosphere and to check out the boardwalk, but there are so many crazy people and the beach is pretty dirty. It’s pretty much the complete opposite of Spring Lake.  That being said, we still had a fun time. Put me on a beach, and I’m a happy girl.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 10.53.12 AMAfter spending the afternoon at the beach, we walked down on a pier and watched the fishermen for quite some time. Then we met up with T.J.’s friends from BYU at Totonno Pizzeria Napolitano. It was soooo good!

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Not a bad day!

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Broadway in the Park

This Summer, Bryant Park had a Broadway series each week. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about it until the last week… but I at least got to go to one! The week we went, they did clips of the musicals Mamma Mia, Matilda, and Motown. All three were so good, particularly Matilda. Those kids can sing. Holy cow. We’ve got to see that musical!

We brought a picnic and enjoyed the show on the lawn. The kids danced to the music too, which was adorable.

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What’s Up Wednesday

August is almost over and I feel like we have really made the most out of our time. Last week we had cooler weather and it gave me a little Fall itch for a second. It got me excited to spend that season in the city. I was trying to remember what type of things we did last Fall, then T.J. reminded me we rarely went in the city with Eva because that was the time when Eva HATED being in the stroller. I am SO glad we’re past that phase. And I’m so excited about walking through the city during the Autumn season! Remember on Gossip Girl, they say:

There’s nothing quite like Autumn in New York. But it’s not only the leaves that change. Something in the air brings out the true colors in everyone.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m still enjoying summer and would be fine if it never ended! Here are a couple recent instagrams.

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Trying to swim as often as we can since the pool closes next week. I told Eva it closes soon and she instantly screamed/cried, “NOOOO ASHLEY’S POOL… NOOOOO!” I think Eva will be the most disappointed.

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More frozen meals… I’m kind of obsessed.

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Our computer broke (and since was fixed for free under Apple Care… phew!) and so I had to trek around the city with Eva to the Apple store and another computer store one Monday. They first told me it was the hard drive and that it could cost up to $500 to retrieve our data since we hadn’t backed it up. Thankfully it was NOT the hard drive and everything got fixed promptly. As soon as we got it back, we backed it allllll up! It was a rough day though. The computer, and then a smoothie spilled all over the stroller and my diaper bag which was really gross and stinky. But my child was great that day and we treated ourselves a bunch so I wouldn’t have a breakdown in the middle of Manhattan.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 10.54.48 AMWe walked around through Central Park this weekend. I’ll never get over that place. It’s so gorgeous and absolutely charming. I know I’m turning into my mom though because I kept singing and dancing to songs from Enchanted. How can you not?

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This is from a month ago or so, but I forgot to post it. We went to Central Park one Saturday and just played on the lawn all day. It was perfect.

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Panera recently opened up in our mall (woohoo!). I tried going the day it opened but it was too busy, so I went on Saturday morning before the rest of the mall opened. Ashley was there doing the same thing! We had a good laugh about running into each other.Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 4.28.36 PMI made tiny sandwiches for Eva to get her to eat her lunch. Worked for a day, but since then she hasn’t been excited about the idea.

More blog posts coming up of the Staten Island Ferry, Coney Island, and Broadway in Bryant Park!


Beach Day

On Saturday, we went with a couple of friends to Spring Lake, New Jersey, just about an hour away. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, it was just perfect. The waves were so fun too–we brought our boogie board and caught a couple of good ones! I can’t wait to go back. Oh, and who wants to buy me a beach house there? The little town was filled with gorgeous beach homes.

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By the end of the day, Eva was so worn out, she was playing in the sand while laying down.

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Within three minutes of getting in the car, while Eva was eating some snacks, she fell right to sleep. Sign of a good day!

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Summer Flashback

I can’t believe that summer is coming to an end. Part of me feels like we didn’t do a thing, but I think that’s because it wasn’t our typical summer at Seven Peaks and going on hikes in the mountains. But as much as I have obviously missed my Utah summer and a visit to Kentucky, we actually did do a lot and I feel like I’m okay with moving on to Fall.

We spent May going to BBQs, saying bye to friends, hanging out with the little kiddos, and just soaking up those last few days all together as an extended family.


End of May, we moved out to NYC, had our first night in the city on our anniversary, and spent the first couple weeks in a hotel. We depleted our savings while we desperately searched for a place to live, but finally found a nice apartment in Jersey City, NJ.


In June, we started to explore the city, went to Coney Island, had dinners on the Hudson, spent our days at the park and splash pad, and went to DC to visit my sister and her family.


July we went on vacation with my family to Chincoteague Island, had my parents stay with us for a couple of days, did more exploring, and grew together as a little family.


Finally, August. The weather cooled down, so we spent the days at Hamilton Park and splash pad again, made a step towards adulthood by buying a used TV, explored more fun sights in NYC, had visits from Hannah and Kendra, watched the Bachelorette finale with friends, and went to a couple ward activities.


When I map it all out like that… holy cow, we really did have a great summer. But most of all, we made NJ our home. I don’t know if you remember, but the day before we moved out here, I had a quote from The Office:

“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.”

This summer, we made this crazy place our home and boy, does it feel good!

Oh yea, one last thing I did this summer was watch the finale of The Office and I’m still crying over it.

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Prospect Park Zoo

On August 24, T.J. and I took Eva to the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn. I was expecting it to be just as busy and crowded as the Central Park Zoo (that place was packed) so when we strolled in around noon without even waiting in a line to get a ticket, we were delightfully surprised. The weather was absolutely perfect that day, as well, so our trip was fantastic and worth the hour ride on the subway.

If you are in NYC with kids, you should definitely check this zoo out. The subway stop with an elevator is right next to Prospect Park (which is beautiful to walk through too)-I’d feel comfortable taking Eva there by myself. It’s just $8 a person and Eva was free (which is much cheaper than Central Park’s). But if you’re expecting to see big animals, you will be disappointed. This zoo is small, yet quaint. A lot of little animals to see, including a petting zoo (which we do more of looking instead of petting) and if you’re lucky like us, everything will be out for you to look out. The sea lions even do a show every day which was the highlight of our visit.

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Our Weekend

We actually had quite a fun weekend and made the most of our time. On Friday, I met T.J. at Bryant Park and we split a Chipotle burrito. It was such a nice night out, so we just enjoyed the weather, and ran around the park with Eva. We even took her on the carousel-which she loved so much, she cried when it was over. To end the night, since we were close, we just walked through Times Square and got an ice-cream from Mr. Softee. It was crazy busy, but Eva loved the lights and all the creepy characters. One Spiderman TOUCHED HER FACE. I freaked out and about slapped his hand away. Those guys aren’t like the characters at Disneyland.

On Saturday, we went to our church’s BBQ at the Liberty State Park here in Jersey City. It was right on the river across from the Statue of Liberty. The views were incredible (I’ve never been that close to the statue) and we made some new friends.

Sunday, we went to church and then had a few friends of mine from my hometown over for dinner. I hadn’t seen two of them since graduation, so it was so fun catching up and seeing what they’ve been up to. We ended the weekend (and started the week) by watching Shark Week to the wee hours of the night!

Great Weekend in our book! This upcoming weekend will be just as good because Hannah is coming to visit me! #btoml am I right?

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Instagrams In-Between

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Eva and I on the way to Chincoteague!

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The amazing sunset that welcomed us when we arrived.

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Not the best BBQ we’ve ever had but pretty fun decorations.

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Eva would fall asleep within minutes of leaving the beach each day.Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.16.25 PM

Eva and Amelia eating breakfast together

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Mark, Mary Beth, and Claire enjoying the beach even with the wind.Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.16.50 PM

Taken after I braved the waves for the first time.

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A bird went to the bathroom on my dad’s head.Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 6.05.52 PM

Taken at the NASA center nearby
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On the boat ride

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Shots from our walk around Chincoteague.

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Trip to Chincoteague Island (Part 2)

Thursday was the 4th of July! Surprisingly there wasn’t a parade in the town, so we made other plans. We thought about going to see the rocket launch over at the nearby NASA center, but we had been previously and it was always postponed due to weather conditions. We thought it would be postponed again but of course, the day we didn’t go-we missed the rocket blastoff. That was pretty disappointing.









So, we went to the beach again. When the Swainharts vacation at a beach, we soak it up as much as we can… plus we had to go because T.J. hadn’t been yet. We bought a boogie board that day and it made riding the waves soooo much more fun. On previous days, the waves were so intense that my top would… well… let’s just say, I hope no one was looking! With the boogie board, I was able to get on top of them and not worry about any slips.


After the beach, we got cleaned up, ate a lot of crabs for dinner, then went to the local fair in town. It was cute to look at but didn’t hold our attention for long, plus the mosquitos were biting us like crazy. We watched The Music Man as a family and then saw the fireworks from our porch. It was a low-key yet fun-filled 4th that I’ll always remember.





Friday was our last full day, so we wanted to make the best of it. We went on a boat ride to a sand bar. It was so serene and beautiful. The little kids loved splashing in the little ponds. After a while, the jelly fish that were all around started to really freak me out, and T.J.’s legs looked like a lobster, so we headed back and visited all the little stores in the town.



We finished off our vacation by having dinner at the beach and taking a walk together.






It was such a great vacation and we owe many thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, as well as to my parents. It was so nice of them to let us join them!




Mermaid Parade

On Saturday, we decided to head out to Coney Island (about an hour subway ride away) for the Mermaid Parade. We got on the subway in Manhattan and it was full of people dressed up as mermaids-so we knew we were heading in the right direction. There were some people that had amazing costumes-very creative and elaborate as you’ll see from the video I have below. But some other people’s costumes were so revealing (as in 99% topless) with just body paint (I did not include a video of that). We had to close our eyes a lot. We headed down to the beach and spent the afternoon playing in the sand. The water was ridiculously freezing, I couldn’t even dip my toes in but Eva had fun running back and forth at the edge of the water. On our way home, she fell asleep in the stroller which is a success in our book. So overall, it was a really fun Saturday!

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