the Paladinos

New York

Friday, July 29, 2011 by Leslie Paladino

Last weekend Michael and I took our first ever trip to New York.  From the moment we were surrounded by all those buildings we were in awe.  It’s incredible what they can fit on one tiny island.  We played the goofy tourists well and went to all the big stops.  We saw Times Square first since that’s where we were staying.  It was pretty overwhelming and ALWAYS filled with people.  Next we walked to the New York Public Library and Bryant Park.  The parks amazed me.  It’s this beautiful perfect stretch of grass with people napping or playing games completely surrounded by sky scrappers.  I was also surprised at how well the city takes care of most of the streets.  We walked through a lot of neighborhoods with trees lining the streets and beautiful lush flowers.  However, I will not describe the smells of these streets.  Not quite as impressed with that.       

Our first night we had a wonderful seafood dinner with amazing desserts then watched the sun set over the city at Top of the Rock.  This might sound romantic but we were surrounded by about 50 sweaty people from all over the world so not so much.  The next day we hit the Financial District with Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange and of course the Bull.  Next we hit China town and had soup dumplings and noodles with the locals which was a pretty uncomfortable experience since we didn’t have forks and had no idea how to eat the dumplings.  Then on to Little Italy, Noho and Greenwich Village.  We worked our way back to The Met and had pizza after.  We rode the subway to Grand Central Station and as we were walking back to the hotel saw a movie being made.  They wouldn’t tell us what it was but after investigating some trailers and vans parked up the rode we found out its called “the Dictator” with Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat).  I don’t think we saw him but we saw part of the movie which was really interesting to see how they do it.     

Monday we had yummy bagels then hopped on board a cruise that takes you around the city and past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  We read that lines were horrible at Ellis Island and the statue so we decided seeing it from the water sounded better.  We then had lunch in Hells Kitchen at an amazing Thai place.  I don’t think I would ever want to cook if I lived there.  The food everywhere was SO good.  After that we went to the Museum of Modern Art which I have to say made me very, VERY angry.  I really dislike what they call “art” and can’t believe that people are actually making money doing that.  A canvas with stripes on it IS NOT ART!  But I’ll move on before I start beating the desk with my fist and yelling.  :)  We finished off this night with one of the mile high deli sandwiches and Magnolia Bakery cupcakes.  Yum!  

Our last day we woke up and stood outside Good Morning America to be one of those cheesy people yelling and waving at the camera.  And we succeeded!  We made it on camera a few times and got to see the whole GMA gang up close and personal.  Robin is beautiful and so nice and George is just as little as he can be.  This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip and was so much fun.  Breakfast was a slice of New York cheesecake (had to fit it in somewhere) and then on to the Museum of Natural History.  We had a great lunch at an Indian place and then walked through Central Park.  That night we met one of Michael’s friends from grade school/high school and his wife for dinner.  Also one of my favorite parts of the trip with good food and conversation and just seeing the city from a local point of view.  We left for the airport at 2:00 am exhausted and ready to be home.  It was such an amazing trip that we’ll never forget!  Thank you to Gramma and Grampa and Mimi and Papa Mike for keeping our babies.  I don’t think they missed us a bit and were well taken care of.

View from our hotel room.

Times Square.  At the top of the middle red sign you can see a glowing ball which is the New Years countdown ball.  Smaller than I expected.

Our hotel behind the dancing elf. 

Bryant Park behind the NY Public Library.

Rockefeller Center.

Top of the Rock is at the top of this building.

Views from Top of the Rock.  Central Park.

St. Paul’s Chapel.  Also one of my favorite things on the trip.  It was right beside Ground Zero and is one of the oldest landmarks in the city.  There was a pew that George Washington used to sit on when he went there.  But it was also used after 9/11 for the volunteers to rest in.  A lot of amazing 9/11 pictures and memorabilia.   

You can see Ground Zero construction through the trees.

Trinity Church

Wall Street area

NY Stock Exchange

Black and White cookie of course.

Washington Square in Greenwich Village.  This was taken from a park bench that I refused to get off of because I was so tired.

Central Park Turtle Pond

Central Park castle

Ellis Island

Brooklyn Bridge

Ground Zero from the water.

My good friends Robin and Lara.

Random lady with my good friend Robin.

Little George and guest chef Alex Guarnaschelli from Food Network Chopped.

View from Central Park bridge.


Soccer Camp, Potty Training & 4th of July

Thursday, July 7, 2011 by Leslie Paladino

We’ve had a good summer so far and have managed to keep pretty busy.  Gabby had soccer camp last week which was an hour a day for a week to help teach her the basics of soccer.  I think she did really well for her age.  Unfortunately they practiced in a field of clover flowers which is just asking for trouble.  Needless to say I had to repeat “Gabby, we’re not here to pick flowers.” a lot.  She really liked her coach and I’m sure her coach got a kick out of me who obviously has no experience with sports when for the first 3 days I called her “Miss, I mean, Coach Kimberly.”  Gabby really did do well though and most importantly likes playing so hopefully we’ll be ready in the Fall when she starts real soccer. 

Peter Michael has kind of blown us away with his potty training.  We started on Tuesday, June 21st and he pretty much had it down by that Saturday.  We just put him in big boy undies (which is pretty darn cute) and let him make a mess.  Now he only sleeps in diapers and he still wears pull-ups when we leave the house.  But he’s doing great with telling us when he needs to go and he totally has the muscles down on when to hold it and how to get the potty out.  I can’t believe that I’ll have 2 kids out of diapers soon.  I don’t know if I’m ready for that! 

We had a great 4th of July.  We went to a beautiful fireworks show at our church, Cross Church in Rogers.  The kids were amazed for all of about 3 minutes then they started to get a little bored with it.  Maybe they’ll get more into it next year. 

Getting her soccer camp certificate. 


Waiting for the fireworks to start.  Gabby did not want to have her picture taken so this is the shot I got most of the time.

Snack time.

Playing with Reagan.

Future soccer player!  Umm…wait soccer players don’t use their hands.  So maybe not.   


Now for some random pictures.

Peter kicked back with a muffin and some milk.

And of course Gabby had to try it next.  Her legs seem to be a little longer though.  Don’t worry they had to take their feet down after this. 

Gabby showing off her chalkboard drawing of Peter and her on the swing set at Gramma & Grampa’s.