Monday, April 11, 2011

Heaton Visit

Whew! We just had ten amazing, fun-filled days while Tyson's family and my sisters visited us. I'm now ten days behind on laundry and cleaning (not to mention unpacking), so I'll make this report brief.

Here's what went down...

Friday, April 1: Heatons arrived in the evening and we all went to Noboru in Montgomeryville, which is an upscale sushi and Asian buffet (well, as upscale as a buffet can be). Curtis likes sushi, and it's a fun place to sample a lot for one price. They have a shabu-shabu station, a huge variety of interesting Asian salads, a crepe station, and the tart frozen yogurt. Those are my faves. There is also an extensive hot buffet of Asian items, and steak and fish cooked to order on the weekends. Some of Tyson's siblings tried sushi for the first time -- props to them for being adventurous! We went home and got sleeping arrangements sorted out, then went to bed.

Saturday, April 2: I dropped the kids off with Allyson (thank you!) and Taylor and Rachel stayed at our house while Curtis, Charlene, Tyson, Missy, Katelyn, and I went to New York. Tyson ably drove us onto Manhattan and parked in a garage in Chinatown. We wandered around for a while before meeting our tour guide near the Manhattan Bridge. We took a tour about organized crime in the Lower East Side during the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s, primarily focusing on Jewish gangsters ( Hey, something unique, right? I bet our tour guide, Gideon Levy, had never given this tour to a group of six MORMONS before! I think that threw him off a little, but we all had a good time, and it was fun to learn some in-depth information about an area, era, and people of New York with which I was not familiar. Gideon also introduced us to Doughnut Plant and Economy Candy, which were so worthwhile I returned with my sisters the next week.

We ate brunch/lunch at gastro-pub The Clerkenwell. I didn't take any photos, and if I had, it wouldn't have turned out as nice as this one. We ate at the long table at the back/right of this photo. Charlene was the ordering winner, with her superb fish & chips. Melissa's Caesar salad was also delish. I disappointed myself by ordering somewhat poorly. I chose a fine, but bland, omelet. Boo! Wish I had gotten the fish and chips too! The service was quite slow, and we began to get antsy because we had to make it to the Theatre District by 2 p.m. for our matinee of Jersey Boys.

photo by Melissa Hom, via Grub Street New York

I did not do a good job of pulling out my camera on this day. I think Charlene took quite a few photos, and hopefully I can get some copies. I didn't take one at Jersey Boys, but if I had, it might have looked like this:

Credit unknown, via here

We deliberated about whether to take two taxis or the subway as originally planned, and eventually decided on the subway. Then, when we went to the intersection where we thought we would find the subway entrance, we couldn't see it. Someone on the corner told us that entrance was closed for construction (we later found out he was wrong and we just should have looked further down the street), so we hurried to the next nearest stop and suffered through what seemed to be an interminable subway ride. When we got off in midtown, we literally ran to the theater. We missed the first few minutes of the show, unfortunately. I thought the show was great, but the experience would have been better if we had been more relaxed when we got there. The show, which is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, was really fun. It's so nice to see a show on Broadway, because every performer is top-notch, costumes are great, and there is never a mistake or an off note. Many thanks to Charlene and Curtis for treating me (and Tyson) to such a great event.

After that, the non-city folk were done for the day, so we walked through Times Square and then to Grand Central Terminal to take the subway back to our car. We were parked just a little over a mile from the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. The drive had taken us only ten minutes or so in the morning, but at 6 p.m. the same distance took about an hour. While we waited for our car to be brought up from the garage, I walked down the street and got a couple sesame balls and a savory filled bun. I desperately wanted some hand-pulled noodles, but I couldn't see a place right in the vicinity.

The Heatons aren't really known for loving to have their pictures taken, and I'm not really known for picking the best photo ops, so these aren't exactly the greatest documentation of their trip. For instance, here are two of the very few photos I captured the day Charlene and Curtis treated us to a great NYC day. These two photos are from the end of the day, when we returned to our parking garage in Chinatown! And yes, we drove in Manhattan, and it's just like driving in any other large city. Tyson drove the day we went with his family, and I drove my sisters and myself the next week. Shout-out to my friend Allyson and her family, who watched Sawyer and Beck while we had our New York day.

Sunday, April 3: This was kind of just a relaxation day. Before conference started at noon (eastern time) we watched some of talks we had missed the day before. (So nice to have this all on the internet now!) We went to play at a couple of parks in Doylestown. Big kids and little kids alike enjoyed the teeter-totters (or this a regional difference?). We had a yummy Sunday dinner of salmon fillet, Cobb salad, golden raisin & pecan couscous, and asparagus, then celebrated Katelyn's 17th birthday with a fabulous fruit-topped cheescake and a four-layer chocolate mousse cake from Wegman's.

A few games of Rook and dice were played that day. I surely enjoyed hosting Sunday dinner for my family in my new home. Curtis and Charlene have hosted us hundreds of Sundays, and it was nice to be able to reverse the roles for once (though of course all the Heatons were very helpful with prep and cleanup). We seated all eight of us around my round table in my new, separate dining room, with Sawyer and Beck of to the side in their chairs. I've long wanted room to feed a relative "crowd", not in, or in direct view of, my kitchen. The day finally came! I hope everyone enjoyed the relaxing Sunday as much as I did.

Monday, April 4: The Heatons left in the morning to take a trip to see church history sites in New York and Ohio. They returned on Thursday, April 7. By then, my sisters had arrived, and Tyson and I basically had to split up our hosting duties, so I didn't see all that much of the Heatons (who stayed in a motel during this leg of the trip) or my husband throughout the rest of their visit. I'll pick up on their adventures in a future post.

Back to the laundry.

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