The Petersens: Our Tales & Travels


happy 2nd birthday, jude!

two years ago at 10:21 pm jude was born.
i never thought in a million years i would have a boy. ever. we were terrified from the moment the ultrasound screen lit up, to the moment before he was born...
the second i held him in my arms, exhausted after a whirlwind day, and he stuck his little tongue out at me that was it- i was head over heels.  he's been the source of joy and pain (mostly just physical pain. usually directed at elle) and unimaginable love for each of us, and i am forever grateful to a heavenly father who knew that little boy was just what our family needed.

happy 2nd birthday, juju!!!


hogle zoo date...

 so free day at the zoo!   free day means busy day.   i can handle busy for free.  the weather was gorgeous for january, and it was really nice to get out, just us three.

i would like to also point out the elephant in the room (couldn't help myself)- my kids insist on wearing their old, filthy, too-small coats. i shouldn't complain because they actually wore coats this day, but alas. jude looks rather unfortunate in his mini attire,

i would also like to say that twice, i called animals by the wrong name. 
and was corrected by people around me, "uh, that's a llama, not an alpaca." 
aaaaand "where are the lions? all i see are tigers... i assume you know the difference, ma'am? if you don't, your kids should..."
i would have been offended if i wasn't so embarassed.
thankfully, it was (busy) free zoo day, so i never saw those blunt humans again.


almost 5.5 & almost 2, and an overnight trip to logan


there are few remaining signs of the baby girl i used to know. elle is the most lovely, sweet, sensitive, silly little soul. her core is pure and good and kind. i'm terrified to immerse her in this somewhat ugly world; i want nothing more than to hold her close and teach her and love her and help her continue to be the tender girl she is- i don't want her to be sheltered, but i want her to grow up in such a way that she knows how rare such a gentle soul is. i never want her to lose that sensitivity. sure she's feisty and willful, but she is incredible. she cries about everything (tonight she got a paper cut and wept because it hurt too bad to even think of going to swimming lessons in the morning...). she's also strangely brave and curious- about odd things- she will watch any movie without being scared, and doesn't flinch when it comes to normal things that scare little kids. she refuses to let me choose how to do her hair, or heaven forbid, have any sort of opinion on what she wears (^^ notice her in jude's 9 mo. coat above, which is much too small for him and most definitely too small for her). she would never eat if we didn't remind/force her, and her brother passed her in weight long ago. she always loves jude who is violent and unpredictable and abusive. he hits, she cries, then she hugs him and says she loves him even though he hurts her- she's gold, i'm telling you. 


jude will be 2 in just a few weeks- 2! since our disney trip a couple of months ago, his vocabulary has grown exponentially. i mean, i'm sure few people understand him, but he tries. and we get most of what he's saying. he says "HI!!! BYE!!" to everyone he passes, and is genuinely hurt if they do not reply. my favorite moments of him lately are when i sit him down on the toilet (yes.) and squat in front of him to chat, eye-to-eye (the only time i get him still, and have his undivided attention)- we have these little conversations about anything and everything. they only last a minute or so, but they're hilarious. he looks right into my soul. he has this face he makes when he is surprised or excited- an "O-hhh!!" face he makes whenever he hears a puppy bark, motorcycle pass, or knock at the door. he usually makes this face at least once during our chats. he expresses the most overwhelming feelings of joy, and manages to jump around constantly without bending his knees. it's hilarious and confusing and impressive all at the same time. he is a pathetically early riser, just like elle. if we make it to 6am, it's a good day. as irritated as i get, i laugh whenever he lays down in bed next to me with his bottle and at the top of his lungs announces, "HI!!! hi hi hi hi hi...." and repeats that until one of us responds, "hiiii juju." he is entirely obsessed with anything related to a ball. he calls everything circular, "b-ball," and screams whenever one is in range. he loves his dad, but is a complete mama's boy. he also makes the below face mostly anytime i ask him to smile: "nooooo!"
and now about logan...

while we were in nyc last week, mike's uncle passed away. we decided to head to logan and spend friday night at a hotel so we didn't have to make the drive back and forth within such a short amount of time. (plus, we've been wanting to spend the night there for ages now.) we got a hotel last-minute (which ended up being awesome!), and barring the fact that jude and i came down with colds and were miserable, and the fact that NONE of us slept because jude chit-chatted all night, and both our kids are pathetic bed hogs (HOW DO PEOPLE SHARE BEDS WITH THEIR CHILDREN? it's beyond me)... it was a long night. anyway, it made for a nice visit, enjoyable services, and since the kids both fell asleep the next morning en-route to the funeral (shocker! tired? i wonder why?), it gave mike and i time to drive around (and around and around and around- hey, gas is $1.73 a gallon! i don't even feel guilty! that's a 50% savings from just a few months ago), and reminisce about the town we love so dearly. the services were really beautiful, and it was a nice to be with family. elle had a complete breakdown toward the end of the funeral. i was sure she was hurt since she was crying so uncontrollably, but when she finally calmed enough to tell us what was wrong she stuttered, "i just saw all the other people crying and felt so overwhelmed! i feel so sad, mommy! i'm so sad!" it broke my heart, but touched me so much that she has such a tender spirit (see!)- it was a good way to teach her again about the spirit- about life and death and all that we go through. elle kept repeating, "mommy, this was the best vacation ever!" i think all that hotel swimming and free breakfast (donuts, let's be honest) did it, but both kids were on cloud nine the whole time. 

...and just like that, january is done.


weekend in nyc, part 2

i feel like i should take a moment of silence.             a moment in gratitude for the impeccable timing of our trip: divine intervention. sure we had all weather varieties in the 72-hours we were in the city, but the fact that we debated on this weekend vs. last weekend, and last weekend won... and now this weekend the east coast is getting blasted with some sort of "worst storm in history" means that it's yet another little (or not so little) miracle from this trip.   thank you!!!!

now, for the second half of the trip. this was presidents day, and the city was strangely quiet... 

first up, city bakery for hot chocolate. i've learned that everything in manhattan just blends in- i swear the "hot spots" should stand out somehow, but they just... disappear. mapping on my phone was useless since everything is so packed together- 
best bakery in the city is next to bodega 
is next to bikram yoga 
is next to starbucks
is next to another h&m 
is next to kosher market 
is next to sausage shop 
is next to another starbucks
is next to graffiti covered closed-up daycare 
is next to another bodega...

phone says: "arrived at destination."     what?    where?     I DON'T SEE IT!!     that happened like 98 times. 
once we really did "arrive at destination." we got their famous cocoa and marshmallow, and a  berry scone. the scone was my favorite thing this entire trip. oh, it was bliss! the cocoa was so rich- it needed a gallon of milk to make it more drink-able. even sharing, we couldn't even get it all down. 
next up, a walk to flatiron. which, we couldn't find the building for the life of us. again my phone kept saying we were there... do new yorkers have a better app than google maps? google maps is terrible. either way, we were there. it just didn't look as triangular while standing at the tip.    hey! found it!
i was so excited to walk the brooklyn bridge- the morning was freezing cold, but the sun was finally out and shining! the walk took my breath away (for multiple reasons) it was so stunning! we started early enough that it was quiet and calm. we kept turning around in circles trying to take it all in. (on the way back it was snowing lightly, which was almost equally as lovely looking.)
we explored dumbo for a while, walked down the promenade, then went to juliana's pizza (our only sit-down the whole trip) as soon as they opened...
after a walk back across the bridge, we spent the afternoon doing even more walking around. we decided to just explore, so we went up and down the streets for miles. we stopped at the smith to play in the photobooth and check out the unisex bathroom (what an idea!)- we were too cheap to eat there, but the booth was fun!

i looked up high and swore i was in paris again! oh, paris!
we ate dinner at shake shack, and were sorely disappointed!    all the talk!    all the praise!    so much disappointment.    so much garlic. we shared a burger, fries, concrete, lemonade, and caramel cocoa. i didn't like any of it. none! none of it!    meh.   so sad.
tuesday is it! the last day. we started out stopping at multiple bagel shops for a side-by-side comparison, as well as take-home treats. we then headed downtown.
perhaps the best part of our trip was this view- a friend works on the top floor of 7 world trade center let us come see the morning view. wow. a 360 of the entire area- uptown, brooklyn, ellis island... everything. we could even see along the hudson where he pointed out all kinds of fun details we never knew. what a city, what a view, and what a host! we also might have gotten stuck in the high-tech elevator. how embarrassing. who gets confused and stuck in an elevator? us. it was unreal to look up- another 50 floors to the top of 1 world trade center. so. tall! 
it was also surreal to look down at the site of the twin towers and the beautiful memorial, which we went  to look at after...
more walking, magnolia bakery & central park followed. 
about magnolia bakery: for a non-banana-pudding fan, i will say that famous banana pudding was delish. as was their hot chocolate. and this blueberry shortcake thing. wow! 
so, it was really cold. but i was so sick of being in a coat, hat, scarf, and gloves for every photo, i thought i was brave enough to brave the cold without for a bit! i made mike hold it all, and i skipped around pretending to be warm. that idea was dumb, so after 6 minutes, i threw it all back on and we got a hot dog in central park while watching people ice skate. mike also fed the birds. 
who then attacked us.

more walking, this time mostly around the uws. we stopped at zabar's and beard papa's (for on-the-spot-fresh cream puffs!). 
my favorite thing about the city is there's always something to see and eat. i adored looking at the fresh flowers, fruits, and all-around goodies on hand all the time...
i feel like i should do a little shout-out to our hotel. we went back and forth about this, and couldn't be happier with the choice. basically, we wanted something super cheap and in a good locale. hotel marrakech fit the bill, but we were way skeptic. i set my bar low. mike and i loved it though- it was a boutique hotel, and it was cheap, so naturally it was small. (small beyond compare.   small.   it was small.) however, it was literally 10 steps from the 103rd street station, clean, and the employees were super nice. it had this young, hip vibe that made me feel old at 30:) it was a walk up, and we were on the 2nd floor, so it was loud as well from our room, but again- manhattan. you can't expect quiet in that city. if we were on the 5th floor, it would probably be a bit quieter, but then we'd have to climb 5 flights of stairs, so 2 works for me! for $80/night, it was a home run.
and just like that, with an abrupt ending shot of mike walking from the subway toward the hotel ( ^^ see! close!), that's the end of our weekend in nyc.

until we meet again, concrete jungle, until we meet again.
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