Friday, February 28, 2014

Grace Birthday and Party

While we were in Pompton Plains, we had several birthdays (including mine) and having a party with people whom you have just met is not that easy. Grace being her, worked her way into a few hearts by the time our internship was over and so we decided to have a potluck dinner for her birthday. It turned out quite a bit bigger than we had anticipated but we had fun nonetheless. We miss you Pompton Plains! Thank you so much for being our 'stand in' family, it truly is SUCH a blessing to be part of God's Kingdom!

Family tradition, opening presents on Heit and Mama's bed!
Getting ready for the party,
I wonder what Grace's favorite color is?
I told you it was a bit bigger than anticipated!
She even had her own magic show! Thanks to the Rossi Family!

The Rossi kids even made her a 'Hello Kitty' banner
Cupcakes, it was far too hot to bake a cake!
Being utterly spoiled!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Highest Point of New Jersey

On one of our last days in New Jersey we decided to visit the highest point in New Jersey. We naively thought that this would be free. Ha, joke's on us. We should have done our homework. It turned out that not only was there a fee for this State Park, out of town people paid double! Since we have an Illinois licence plate that kind of gave us away as being out of the NJ state. Since we drove 45minutes to get there, we were reluctant to turn around and go home but also we were not prepared to pay the out of town fee. Finally, thanks to a letter that Pompton Plains church wrote for the library/YMCA stating that Albert was working there over the summer, we were able to get in for the NJ price. Phew! We also didn't realise that people come here for the day to 'hike', swim and picnic. We didn't go swimming and only went to the very top and drove around (in our air conditioned car!) and went back home. 

Looking out of over NJ
Can we see NY?
As part of the highest point was also a tower. Since we came all this way, we decided to climb the tower, I probably now in hindsight regretted that. While the stairs might be a engineering miracle, I wasn't very fond of it and engineering aside, scared me. My heart was racing by the time I got to the top and it wasn't because I just climbed all those steps! I gave Albert my camera in the end as I just wanted to concentrate to get out as fast I as possible could! 

Spiral staircase, I could handle that, wait to see what came next!
Stairs only attached to the walls, argggg!
Nice view, not sure if the stairs are worth it!
Quick Albert, hurry up, I WANT to go down!
(standing on a platform attached to the wall!)
Loooong way down
Going down to safety
Look what we came across on our travels?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

NY Trip Three - Federal Hall & 9/11 Memorial

Ok, here it is our final installment of our visits to NY! We so thoroughly enjoyed visiting the biggest city in America! A real treat, just to make it clear though, that is not why we chose to do our internship on this coast! Pompton Plains came highly recommened and Albert had a great summer and learned lots! NY was just the 'cherry on the top'!

The visit to the 9/11 memorial was very touching. Even though I'm not an American, it really was a worldwide disaster and to be there where the towers collapsed was quite emotional (and I'm NOT an emotional kind of person). I'm glad we visited! At the visitor centre we bought a photobook detailing the during and after of the burning towers, quite an impressive book. 

Of course while we were in NY, we also did some 'schoolwork' and visited some places of historic significance. The girls once again did a 'badge' at Federal Hall (for FREE of course), what a great way to learn history by being able to visit it! 

Broadway, NY I thought this was cool :)
Wall Street
For those who don't know,
George Washington was inaugurated here! 
He addressed the crowds from here!
Looking across the street from Federal Hall,
The Stock Exchange
The plaque of the first President of the USA
Inside the Federall Hall
(notice in the door, George Washington's statue)

Church across from Wall Street
(notice the homeless people?)
9/11 Memorial, thankfully we had ordered our tickets online
and we didn't have to wait long.
Security however was a strict as an airport
Freedom Tower
Construction/rebuilding under way
The memorials were VERY impressive. The photo's don't do it justice. Here are actually two reflecting pools each on the footprint of each of the towers. Around the reflecting pools are the names of all who died even the unborn, very sad :(. 

It's hard to capture on camera
the true magnificent of the pools 
It's quite a drop down
Notice the names?
Albert and Zara

This is the only tree that survived.
It's a long story, google it if you will
Proof we were both there :)
On our walks we came across this amazing sandcastle
Resting our feet :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

NY Trip Three - Brooklyn Bridge/Staten Island Ferry and THE Lady!

Here is the second to last installment of our NY trips. It's been a while now and while I'm typing this there is snow outside, it is hard to go back to when were in NY when it was soo hot! 

After reading Franci's email with regard to NY sights, we took off on our third trip to visit NY and had planned to visit the 9/11 memorial, take the free Staten Island Ferry and see the Lady, and finally walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Phew I think we managed to see most of the sights that Franci suggested! 

Like last time, we took the Path train in. We drove 45 minutes to the train station (Newark, took the commuter train (the PATH) for a 12 minute train under the Hudson river to NY. Once we got to NY, our feet were our mode of transport! We had been blessed by one of the families in Pompton Plains with some spending money, which we decided to use to have dinner  and an icecream in the city. We figured we might as well spend the maximum time in NY as this would be our last visit while we were in NJ. 

The girls were excellent again and being quite fit by this time, did very well with the long walk especially going over the Brooklyn Bridge. 

The Staten Island ferry was interested also. It's a free ferry and so every man and it's dog crams onto this ferry. We waited our turn and hopped onto the boot, I thought that we were doing quite well in getting a spot at balcony and wonder where everyone else was! Oh dear, was I wrong! The reason why my side of the ship was empty was because 'The Lady' was on the other side. Needless to say I didn't make that mistake twice and on the return trip, I nicely 'ran' to the right side of the ship to be in the prime position to take some photo's of 'The Lady'. I'm glad also that we didn't pay to see 'The Lady' as when we went past there was a HUGE crowd waiting to get in (circling a good part of the island), not to mention the heat that day! 

If you look careful you can see the
 people lining up at the bottom of the statue
Looking back at NY, notice the freedom tower at the left
Ferry (we like free :) )
On Staten Island, refueling :)
Notice how the ferry has a lean towards the side of 'The Lady'
Albert and 'The Lady'
(although his lady was taking the photo!)
Walking towards the Brooklyn Bridge (in the background)
Meg, I was thinking of you!
A dog park along the water front, no grass though, poor dogs
CHCH I was thinking of you, with the container shops!
What a treat M'M ice cream cones.
(We bought them in a grocery store, so much cheaper!)
A very busy Brooklyn Bridge
(Albert with the backpack on)
Our return trip, we walked over and walked back. 
Pizza and Sushi for dinner with some Mountain Dew for Mom.
(I needed that!)
The train - PATH
On the way home.
Back in NJ after a long day!
To be continued.....