Friday, July 20, 2012

Welcome to Connecticut!

We've lived here for 20 days now. I think it's time for a post about life in New Haven.

First, let me tell you about our day-to-day lives. I bike in to campus in the morning (usually arriving between 9 and 9:30). My bike route is about 5 miles and is actually pretty nice. There are two scary sections where traffic is heavy, one that involves freeway on- and off-ramps and another that involves two highly congested intersections in close succession. I have so far found that most people are considerate of bikers on the road. Some even chat out the window at me: "...biking sure keeps everything looking nice." Ok, so that part isn't great, but hey, at least it's complimentary! I know this won't mean much to most of you, but here is my bike route (red is where we live and green is where I work):

My building at Yale is called the Osborn Memorial Laboratories (pictured below). I work on the fifth floor of the left wing (there is a big courtyard out back). Let me tell you, after biking in, it's quite a workout climbing five flights of stairs with my bike over my shoulder. Between that and the two flights of stairs at home I'm going to have calves of steel!

I have also officially started a training schedule for the New York marathon in November (less than 16 weeks away!). So I've been exploring our neighborhood, trying out different running routes. The bad thing is that there are no sidewalks anywhere in the neighborhoods of East Haven as far as I can tell. This wouldn't be terrible except the roads are also very narrow and people also tend to drive too fast. It makes it scary to run with the dogs, or a stroller. But on my own, I have found some pretty nice routes. Here is one example, that I do a lot of variations on. Foxon road is a major thoroughfare, so it's busy and loud and ugly--but it has sidewalks. The other streets are quiet neighborhood streets.

For the runners out there, you may note that there are a few little hills in there. I noticed too. In fact, the route starts with a really steep hill. I've named some of the more "charming" hills on the route, but I think I will abstain from sharing them for those of you with sensitive ears.

Alex has been able to go biking a few times (once his back healed from moving). In fact, last night he discovered a 30-ish mile route that goes by the Thimble Islands:

Apparently the islands are privately owned. Oh to be rich.

While I'm at work, Alex and the kids have been exploring and testing nearby parks, running errands, grocery shopping, and just hanging out.

Beyond day-to-day things, we have managed to get out and have a few adventures. The first weekend here, Beth, Matt, and Meghan came to visit! Aside from lounging at the house...

...we made a trip to the beach. We went late on a Sunday morning to Hammonasset Beach State Park, which is about a 30 minute drive east from us. It is purportedly one of the more beautiful beaches in our area, with two miles of sandy shore. We arrived at the park to find two lanes of traffic waiting to get in. Ahh. Nothing like escaping the crowds on a Sunday morning. Besides the fact that it was crowded, the beach really was beautiful, and Abby got to swim in the ocean. She really enjoyed "jumping" the waves with me.

I suppose I should mention that while we had our visitors we went out to eat at Modern Apizza, which is famous for it's "New Haven style" pizza. It was good, but I'm not going to claim it was better than any other pizza I've ever tasted. Sorry, but pizza is just pizza in my book. I think Alex feels differently, but since he doesn't blog you'll have to get his opinion elsewhere!

We're looking forward to having more visitors (hint, hint)!

The next weekend we ventured out to Peters Rock Park which is about two miles from our house and is the proud owner of the highest point in North Haven--a whopping 373 feet! Aside from the pesky mosquitoes, it was a really fun hike, about 2 miles round trip. Abby made it the whole way by herself with minimal complaints! She was really into spotting the trail markers and taking pictures of them with her binoculars.

We transported James up the trail in the Chariot. I love the Chariot.

We reached the top just before sundown. It really was a beautiful view, though I probably spent more time admiring my family than I did admiring the landscape.

I think we'll be heading back there quite often.

Finally, last weekend we went back to the beach, but a little closer to home--about a ten minute drive south. Once Abby got over the smell of the ocean (you can tell what she thought of the smell in the first photo below), she had tons of fun turning over rocks to find snails, crabs, and clams.

This is the typical size of crabs we found.

But we did find one big one!

In typical James fashion, this is how he enjoyed the ocean.

I'll try to keep you updated as we continue to explore our new surroundings!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We Moved!

I know, I know--old news. But you haven't seen the photos!

We moved our stuff using U-Pack. The company drops off a semi-trailer which you are responsible for loading, they pick it up a few days later and drive it to your destination, you unload your stuff, and they pick it up a few days later. Our trailer was loaded and off to CT on Thursday, June 28 (thanks in a large part to Brian, who helped Alex load furniture in the 90 degree heat while I twiddled my thumbs). We didn't follow until the next Saturday, giving us time to clean the house, take care of last minute details, and hope for the arrival of a certain baby. In the meantime...

Abby and James test drive our sleeping arrangement. They decided to stick with the air mattress and co-sleeper in the end.

Charlie finds a new bedroom.

James gets out of working by being adorable.
Our drive out to CT was uneventful for the most part. Abby had had hand, foot, and mouth disease, but she was on the tail end of it and feeling pretty good. The morning we left we noticed that Charlie had a giant head wound, undoubtedly from a last minute attempt to catch a squirrel in the back yard. It was oozing green goo and blood. Good timing Charlie, good timing. The cats hated the car, but we expected that. What we didn't expect was the copious amounts of hair that they lost. Don't worry, they didn't go bald, but they lost enough to make a sweater out of.

We stayed the night at a Quality Inn somewhere in PA. It wasn't the greatest hotel, but it allowed dogs and had a pool which allowed Abby to test out her newly purchased water wings. That night I made Charlie a make-shift cone-of-shame to wear to prevent him from scratching his head wound. He was miserable. Also that night, Alex came down with a fever, chills, and major sore throat. He was also miserable. But James and I were great!

We arrived at our new house around 5 pm the next night. We immediately made one of several trips to Ikea to purchase Abby a big-girl bed (thanks Grandma Mettler!).

Assembling the big-girl bed. It will be awesome once the part that I broke and had to re-order arrives in the mail...

The next day (Monday) at about noon our trailer full of junk arrived. Alex nearly single-handedly had it unloaded by 7 pm that night! He also nearly killed himself unloading the file cabinet and managed to strain his back so that he spent the next week walking like a hunchback, but he got it done! We spent the next several days unpacking and organizing the house.

Our stuff arrives!

Abby and James chill out.

Dad tests the new Ikea chair (bought on the second trip to Ikea--did you know kids eat free on Tuesday's at Ikea?).

I promise more house pictures soon. I'm waiting for it to be really clean before I show it to you....hmmm, could be a while. Or, you could come visit and see it first hand!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mommy, can you make clouds?

On our drive out to Connecticut, Abby asked me a question that seemed somewhat out of the blue. She said "Mommy, can you make clouds?" I asked for clarification. "What do you mean?" She said "Can you make clouds with junk food in it?" At that point, I turned around to see what was instigating her questions. She had a Berenstain Bears book open in her lap, with this picture. 

"Oooohhhhh" I said. Then I explained that those were called thought bubbles and they showed what the bears were thinking about. They weren't real clouds. She was silent for a moment. Then I heard some grunting and turned around to see her with her eyes shut and a pained expression on her face. She opened her eyes and said "I can't do it! I'm thinking about cake--where is it?!"