Sam and Milo -- 09/03/07

I took a vacation day on Friday and Nancy and I took some trains down to New York City.

I said trains in the plural because, even though we can catch an Amtrak train just a five mile drive from home, Amtrak ticket prices tend to mount up if you do that very often. Depending on which train you catch, New York is either $62 or $76 each way. (There are some $42 trains, but they are all at night... there are also discounts for membership in various organization -- such as American Automobile Association -- but those tickets must be ordered at least three days in advance.)

So, what we frequently do (especially when one or both of the kids is coming with us) is drive about ninety miles, down into Connecticut, and catch a MetroNorth commuter train for under $15 each way. (At times I think it is better to pay Amtrak -- for example, Jill and I went down to NY on a rainy day in the spring and took Amtrak because I95 through Connecticut is bad enough in nice weather, in rain it is a nightmare. And when Milo was born, Nancy and I just jumped on Amtrak.)

This time, however, we were going on a weekday, not a weekend, which meant that the Shore Line East commuter rail service would be running east of New Haven (they do not run on weekends). So we drove down to Old Saybrook (in Connecticut) to catch a Shore Line East train to take us to New Haven to connect to MetroNorth. Well, that was our plan, but we got there at 7:58 to catch a 7:55. Oops. Next Shore Line East train wasn't until 9:14... so we took the 8:10 Amtrak to New Haven ($16 vs. $5.75). (Coming back was easier and we made the connections we wanted.) Of course we rarely travel to New York on a weekday, so this was more a case of a train travel experiment than a solution for future travel.

Milo seems to have grown so much already. We were astonished at how big he is getting.

Sammy, of course, always seems to be getting bigger. He will begin attending pre-kindergarten this week.

Leah and Sam
Sam and Nancy
Milo and Nancy
Milo and Grandpa
Adam and Leah have that exhausted look of parents who have not had a full night's sleep in the past month. But at least they are experienced enough parents to realize that in a few more months they will be able to have an occasional full night's rest. I just told them to hang in there, it gets easier after the first twenty years. *grin*

Sam enjoys playing in this playground, especially climbing and sliding....
Sam and Nancy playing soccer
Climb up, slide down; climb up, slide down; climb up, slide down....

Saturday afternoon Nancy -- with the assistance of niece Lauren -- worked on getting her classroom ready for the start of school. (This past Thursday had been a full day of faculty meetings, beginning at seven o'clock in the morning.) Various family members were visiting in Rhode Island on this long weekend and we all got together at Nancy's mother's house for dinner on Saturday.

Sunday Nancy got in a quick hour or so on the beach with a couple of her sisters between church and working on her classroom. I cooked up some food (I made the usual veggies and dip as hors d'oeuvres plus something inspired by clams casino except I used scallops instead of clams and I stuffed the mixture into little philo dough cups instead of putting it on clam shells). We had mesclun salad and chicken parm and a medley of sauteed vegetables (asparagus, zucchini sticks, green beans, sliced red and green peppers, and sliced red onions, all marinated in Spiedie sauce. (I also had some pieces of chicken spiedies because that is always popular.) Nancy had baked two different cakes for after dinner. (There were nine of us.)

Today was the Labor Day holiday in the U.S. -- which has come to mark the end of summer, with most schools starting the new academic year this week (except in those areas -- mostly in the south -- where they have already gone back to school). I helped Nancy put some finishing touches on her classroom and then went for a three mile run. I think that is the first time I have run three miles since early June... It seems as if I have been struggling with one pulled muscle or another just about all summer long. The problem with my right calf has finally gone away (after more than a month). I credit the cure to my finally having made an appointment with a specialist in orthopedics and sports medicine for this coming Friday. These "pulled muscle" problems are the reason I've spent the summer doing bike riding and weight lifting instead of running. Of course I now also have pains in my left shoulder. *sigh*

Jill's road trip.

They spent a couple of days in a town somewhere along the Columbia River in the state of Washington (I can't remember the name of the town) staying with Eli's aunt, but they are on their way back home. They have been driving pretty much non-stop since Sunday morning -- Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois -- and phoned a few minutes ago to say they were passing through Indiana and planned to keep driving, except for pit stops, until they got home.

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