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Weekend Wrap Up and Highlights: Newport Mansions and Vanderbilt's Zillions

Kids, PersonalJill AdamyComment

We’re the type of family that really likes to just hang out at home on the weekends. It’s relaxing and since we consider this house our “vacation year round” house, it’s always exactly where we want to be.

But this weekend, it was a little different. While Saturday was spent running errands (and selecting field hockey equipment for camp this week!), Sunday was a tad bit different. It was go-go-go for all of us! In fact, as I sit here typing this blog post on Monday morning at 7:30, all the kids are still fast asleep in their beds, recovering from all the hectic activities they did!

My oldest and youngest went with dad and a friend to Comicon in Boston yesterday. They all love comic books, anime and that sort of thing so they were super duper excited to go in and see all their favorite characters as well as all the costumes. People really get into this! My daughter and her friend got dressed up in costumes from their favorite anime shows and were thrilled when they were stopped in the convention center to take pictures with some other kids that recognized their costumes. My son, who is about the biggest Star Wars fan there is, dressed up as Jango Fett. He’s 7 and this was his first time at the conventions and my husband said that he just walked around stunned with his mouth agape, not believing all that he was seeing. So adorable and so so glad they all had a great time.

My middle child and I aren’t really into that sort of thing. So we decided that we were going to take a ride to Newport, RI and take a tour of a few mansions. Just a little backstory: She’s 9 and is completely obsessed with gilded age people and has studied the big tycoons of that era: Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Frick… all those big wigs. So going to Newport to see some of the “cottages” that these folks lived in was an absolute dream come true for her.

The Marble House

Owned by Alva Vanderbilt and her husband (who gifted this to her for her 39th birthday) who was, as I understand, about as bad ass as they come for that era.

This house was just ridiculously opulent and over the top decorated with so much gold and marble, we could hardly keep our eyes on our head. What really blew me away was the ceilings in this house. Just incredible how much detail went into every inch of every surface.

The Breakers

Owned by yet another richer than rich Vanderbilt heir, this one was just too much to even take in! The sheer size of this place was over the top. My daughter and I walked around just stunned by all of the decor and how intricately decorated every surface was. It’s just staggering to think of people actually living like this.

It’s funny how when you go into a place like this and it’s just so palatial and extravagant and you think, “Could I live here?” And the answer both my daughter and I came up with was, “No thanks!” It’s gorgeous and all… and all the possible room you could ever want to run around in, but it’s also very uncomfortable and not welcoming. Now, believe me, I know that wasn’t the intent of making it a comfy house when it was constructed. But I can’t help but think about all the kids that this house has had as residents (both as heirs and as the staff’s children). It’s mind blowing to me to think of these little kids who had to be so prim and proper, and be so ultra careful not to break anything, touch anything or speak out of place. Gracie and I both agreed it wouldn’t have been a good fit for us or our family!

As I look through all the photos we took yesterday and all the gorgeous decor we saw, it inspired me to create some pieces based on these rooms, ceilings, alcoves and architecture that we were able to see in person. The color combinations are fabulous and the ceilings… I can’t get over them. Have I mentioned how much I love the ceilings in these homes?!?! Makes me see lots of great ideas for future art projects and paintings based on these designs!

New York City 2019 and Updates on Life

Kids, PersonalJill AdamyComment
Times Square view from our hotel at the Marriott Marquis. Hello “Good Morning America!”

Times Square view from our hotel at the Marriott Marquis. Hello “Good Morning America!”

After a few harrowing weeks of dealing with some pretty scary issues with my elderly mom who lives with us, we decided at the last minute to surprise the kids and take them away for a few days to their favorite places in New York City! Because my mom lives with us and I’m her sole caretaker, we don’t get to go away at all because she can’t be left alone in the house for longer than an hour or so. I guess I could have hired someone to come in, but she wouldn’t have liked that (and neither would we) so we have stuck very close to home since she moved in with us over a year ago.

I’m so lucky because I don’t have the type of kids that have to go, go, go all the time or constantly bitch about going to Disney or why we can’t go on vacation ever. They’re happy with picnics on the town common or going to a movie for a few hours. I’m so thankful that these little kids are mine because they make a very stressful situation a lot more tolerable and enjoyable.

That being said, there have been tears here and there because we can’t just go on a whim to do something as a family. There has to be planning involved. Scheduling a CNA to come and take care of my mom so that we could drive them back and forth to my mother-in-laws house. That sorta stuff. Needless to say, it’s been a rough patch for everyone.

My mom fell a few weeks back and has been in the ICU and now a rehab facility. For now it’s the right place for her because she’s really having trouble with confusion (no doubt because she hit her head so hard when she fell in the middle of the night) and physical limitations after the fall. Her depression is also heartbreaking and concerning so it’s really the best place for her to be now that she needs 24 hour skilled nursing care. So… as you can imagine, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for everyone here, especially these 3 little kids who really needed something positive to look forward to and get excited about.

We decided to take an impromptu trip to NYC and visit some of their favorite places that we all enjoy together. Because we could only get away for 2 nights (I had to be back for another CAT scan for my mom on Friday), we packed in as much as we could and had the kids pick what we did and where we went. Staying at our favorite hotel, the Marriott Marquis, is always a must. I don’t think it’s because of the view as much as it is the elevators that are open to the entire lobby and soar quickly up to the top of the 45th floor! The kids LOVE those elevators! The front desk clerk is a wonderful woman who really gives the kids the royal treatment every time we’re there. This time, she said she had a surprise for them and gave us a room looking directly over Times Square and the famous New Years Eve ball! Plus, we were able to watch the Good Morning America set and see Michael Strahan himself walking around the set outside below our window!

The kids chose to have dinner at our favorite restaurant, Becco, over in Hell’s Kitchen. If you haven’t been there yet, definitely go. It’s outstanding and they have “all you can eat” pasta, which is our favorite thing in the world!

The appetizers at  Becco  were amazingly delicious as usual. The caesar salad was to die for.

The appetizers at Becco were amazingly delicious as usual. The caesar salad was to die for.

Every day at  Becco , they have a “pasta symphony” where they have 3 different pasta dishes that are “all you can eat.” When we were there, they had the most delicious three cheese pasta, spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce and a braised short rib and ziti. Scrumptious!

Every day at Becco, they have a “pasta symphony” where they have 3 different pasta dishes that are “all you can eat.” When we were there, they had the most delicious three cheese pasta, spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce and a braised short rib and ziti. Scrumptious!

Once we left Becco and started the walk through Hell’s Kitchen, down 46th towards 8th Avenue where we went to our favorite gelato shop to indulge in some sweets after such a fabulous meal. Amorino is a little hole in the wall that features the most deliciously rich gelatos I’ve ever had! It’s usually completely packed with a line out the door but it’s worth the wait. Especially when you pick up your cone at the end of the counter and it’s shaped like a rose! Complete with a delicious little macaroon perched on top!

AmorinoGelato.jpg

The next day we spent at our favorite place in the world (next to our house): Yankee Stadium. It’s like a home away from home where we all have such a wonderful time, indulging in our favorite baseball players and all the great food that Yankee Stadium has to offer! Hubby got great seats too, which was so awesome! My middle kid is the biggest Yankee fan (especially since my dad died last year, she’s sort of thrown herself head first into being obsessed with them like he was.)

After about a 1 hour rain delay, the game went on and our team won! What a great time we all had, being with the other fans and watching all the action and home runs happen right in front of us! We were all hoarse from the hootin’ and hollerin’ we did as we cheered on the home team! And to walk out of there listening to Frank Sinatra croon was epic for all of us!

Learning about flying a boomerang from the fantastically fun guy at FAO Schwartz.

Learning about flying a boomerang from the fantastically fun guy at FAO Schwartz.

Our last day was spent over in Rockefeller Center at the FAO Schwartz store, Lego store and American Girl store. The kids had never been to FAO before so it was pretty cool seeing all the neat toys and different things that you don’t see at Walmart or big box stores. The Barbies alone were just fantastic!

So that’s what’s been going on with us and what we’ve been doing to keep busy over here. With summer winding down and still a ton of stuff on our “Bucket List” to do, we’d better get moving on checking off some more stuff on our list of activities!

Our New Baby "Sundae" the Baby Cow Has Arrived!

Kids, PersonalJill Adamy

Yesterday was a long and awesome day! Hubby and I drove my kids 6 hours to spend the week at my Mother In Law’s farm in upstate NY. We always have a good time in the car as we make the trek across state borders and the kids were super good even though it was quite a long car ride.

Once we arrived, we wanted to just sit out on the deck and relax for a bit before we began the drive back. But as we sat there, my mother in law said that one of the cows was about to give birth in the field (which happens to be right in her back yard!) So off we all ran, into the pasture to watch the miracle unfold! None of us have ever seen anything like this before but it’s a weekly occurrence on the farm so they’re totally used to little farm babies being born.

We got down to the field just as our farmer was pulling the baby out from mama. My kids (and us) were in complete awe of what we were seeing! Baby’s first breath and how mama cow knew exactly what to do once the baby was born. This was the first calf for mama cow and she did great!

Our new baby calf is named “Sundae” or “Sunny” for short. My husband and I left shortly after Sundae’s birth to start our 6 hour drive back home but my oldest daughter spent pretty much the rest of the day and night out in the field with Sundae and her mama documenting everything that went on, including her first steps and her first drink of milk.

Once the calf was born and mama took a break from cleaning her up, she is given a few buckets of water that is filled with vitamins for her after the birth.

Once the calf was born and mama took a break from cleaning her up, she is given a few buckets of water that is filled with vitamins for her after the birth.

As mama drank her vitamins, our farmer had to tend to the baby’s umbilical cord with iodine to help fight any infection after the birth.

As mama drank her vitamins, our farmer had to tend to the baby’s umbilical cord with iodine to help fight any infection after the birth.

Our farmer has been doing this since he was a child, so he knows exactly what to do when one of his girls becomes a mama. Loves his animals.

Our farmer has been doing this since he was a child, so he knows exactly what to do when one of his girls becomes a mama. Loves his animals.

Once Mama was finished with her vitamin drink, our farmer was showing us her teeth because my son was wondering how old she was. Who knew that cows only had bottom teeth! And our farmer was telling us that because she has 4 teeth on the bottom, that means she’s approximately 3 years old.

Once Mama was finished with her vitamin drink, our farmer was showing us her teeth because my son was wondering how old she was. Who knew that cows only had bottom teeth! And our farmer was telling us that because she has 4 teeth on the bottom, that means she’s approximately 3 years old.

Quite a wonderful start to their summer school vacation at “Camp Grammy”!! I don’t know how you can top that! I still can’t get over that we got to see this baby calf be born and how exciting it was for all of us to witness. And I’m thankful to mama cow that she waited for us to get there before the baby made her entrance!

Summer Vacation is HERE!!! FINALLY!!

Kids, PersonalJill Adamy

Happy Summer Vacation, Kids!!! We’re so excited to start off summer vacation and have a little break from the weekday hustle and bustle that goes along with the school year. Lunches every day, rushing around in the mornings, homework, projects, extra curricular activities. They’re all on PAUSE!!!! We are gonna just chill out and relax, enjoy sleeping late and playing outside. Swimming, gardening, drawing, and just plain relaxing.

Hope you have a fun and relaxing summer planned!

End of the School Year Gifts

Personal, KidsJill Adamy

This year was a quick one for the school books, that’s for sure! My kids started in one school district and ended in another. Funny how at the beginning of the school year in the old town, we had no intentions of picking up and moving. And yet, here we are ending the school year in a new town, new house, new school district and new friends.

At first when we decided to make the move for the entire family, we had a tiny bit of pushback from one of the kids… the oldest one. Totally understandable because 5th grade is a tough age to switch schools and be the new kid. Luckily, the two youngers were all in and couldn’t wait to start. So after a lot of consideration and weighing of the pros and cons, all 3 decided to make the switch mid-year to the new school. Originally, we were going to just commute to finish out the year.

Now that we’ve been here 3 months, these kids couldn’t be happier. They’re flourishing and absolutely loving everything this new school has to offer. From extra curricular clubs, challenging school work, fun projects and very caring and encouraging teachers and administration, the transition went so smoothly, we couldn’t be happier.

To say thank you to our teachers and bus driver, we bought some gift cards to restaurants, coffee shops and, of course, Amazon to say a small thank you to the wonderful people who have made this year such a positive and amazing one for my 3 kids. Each envelope we made using our gelli plate, doodles and a little bit of collage so that they were all different. Then we used some extra pieces of paper to use as a thank you tag with a note attached for each recipient.

So exciting to have the summer ahead and our bucket list of things to do is about a mile long! But we’re ready and looking so forward to slowing the pace down for a bit and just enjoying the time off!

Have a great rest of your day!

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