E+E–Family Portraits–Brooklyn, New York

SarahGreigPhotography_stomp_0958A few weekends ago on one of those perfect fall Sundays, I had the pleasure of meeting E and E in Brooklyn Bridge Park for a fun portrait session. The photos were a surprise gift to their grandma for her birthday–how adorable is that? Grandparents just LOVE photo gifts…and I heard these were a hit! I had so much fun with these gals, ages 4 and 2, who ran around the fields at Brooklyn Bridge Park and along the gorgeous waterfront.

SarahGreigPhotography_stomp_0965E and E have a really sweet dynamic together. I have two little girls of similar ages, so it was fun to observe these sisters’ interactions. And their blue blue eyes…OH MY goodness! Thanks to their mom and dad for providing some laughter (and stuffed animal props) as we photographed their gals. Eleanor later told her mom that taking photos with me was the highlight of her day. How nice is that? 🙂 Right back at ya girl! I’m so glad that the photos were a hit and I hope to see you all again soon!
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Aussie Adventure Top 12–#10–Salamanca Market–Hobart, Tasmania

SarahGreigPhotography_stomp_0939I’ve been remiss in posting these in a timely manner-sometimes life gets in the way of my intended fun blog posts! But we’re finally heading back Down Under to Tassie today for more recommended Aussie adventures. (Check out more about this series in honor of our two year anniversary of moving Down Under).

Tasmania sounds like one of those places you’ve heard of but aren’t really sure where it is. Famous for its devil (now endangered) and a quick flight from Sydney and Melbourne, everyone plans their trip there to be in the historic capital city, Hobart, for their famous Saturday market at Salamanca Place. We have farmers’ markets in NYC as well as craft fairs, but this one is really kicked up a notch–the flower stands had arrangements straight out of Martha Stewart Living, friendly vendors sold gorgeous and high quality children’s clothing as well as beautiful handmade cutting boards made of various local wood, and the fruit and veggie stands provided a visual rainbow of fresh culinary options. We even met a children’s book author selling some wonderful Aussie storybooks that he autographed for my nieces and nephews. Our morning at the market was gray with a light misty rain, but it didn’t detract from being an experience I’d love to revisit!

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SarahGreigPhotography_stomp_0877Background:
Tasmania is an island and state located 150 miles south of the Australian mainland. Nearly half of the island is composed of national parks, reserves, and world heritage sites. Hobart, its capital, is full of 1830’s Georgian style warehouses and has been described as “a mashup of the 19th and 21st centuries”.

The Adventure:
Stay in the area near Salamanca Place, a charming area surrounded by four story historic sandstone buildings and old warehouses. Hit up the Farmer’s Market early, grab your (delicious and amazing) Australian coffee, and just wander. Bring cash and go bananas- and remember you can bargain for some items.

Replicate:
You can get to Tassie by overnight ferry (11 hours) across the Bass Strait from the Australian mainland, or by a quick flight from Melbourne or Sydney. Time your trip to be in Hobart for the Salamanca Market, which runs on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. Be sure to wander about hilly yet walkable Hobart, full of beautiful architecture, great restaurants and sidewalk cafes, and gorgeous vistas of the harbor.

For a real treat, head down to the harbor take the (very cool and tricked out) ferry to MONA, a unique contemporary art space. Spend an afternoon among art and grab lunch in this dockside contemporary building.

For travels beyond Hobart, don’t miss the stunning Freycinet National Park and its famous Wineglass Bay, Cradle Mountain, and the gorgeous drives in between.

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One–New York, NY

SarahGreigPhotography_stomp_0914We’ve got a newly minted one-year-old in the house this week. And I’m celebrating with some thoughts on the craziest year of my life thus far. Pop the bubbly, because we barely made it…but we did!

FEG,

You are one! Looking back on the last year, I think Charles Dickens may have put it best when he wrote: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times…It was the season of light. It was the season of darkness.” Dramatic? Maybe, but also true.

You arrived into the world in a hurry at sunrise on Saturday, September 27th. We left our apartment at 3am–thanks to my dear friend Kate, who left her own babies and arrived via taxi to stay with our sleeping 3 year old. We got to the hospital barely in time for me to get an epidural (but plenty of time for watching the Ryder Cup live on tv!) and a few hours later, you entered the world. At first, everything seemed good–you were almost 2 lbs more than your sister was when she arrived–you clocked in at a healthy 7 lb 6 oz. You seemed to latch and actually show an interest in breastfeeding–amen! The only thing that shook us was that you were a girl. A girl? We thought for certain you were going to be a boy. And so, as I wrote about last year, we agonized over a name for you. My stomach hurt from our indecision. For THREE days. We finally found one that felt thoughtful and right…until the health insurance rep on the phone commented “oh! Like Pha-rrell, the singer!” Yes, exactly like the singer.

It’s a long detailed story for another post, but you just didn’t thrive when you got home. We were all pretty miserable. You were always hungry but had trouble gaining any weight, and you threw up a lot of feedings. Even when I look back at photos of you from age 2-6 weeks, you just look sad. At six weeks old, they figured out why–you had pyloric stenosis (which I had suspected from my overzealous googling at 3am while on the breast pump) and needed emergency surgery to repair your stomach. They took over 26 hours to operate on you in the emergency room (I use that term loosely), and didn’t allow you to eat anything during the unending wait. The experience at the hospital was nothing short of hell. Who allows an infant needing emergency surgery to wait for over a full day without food? I can still hear your horrible hungry screams, wondering why we wouldn’t feed you. When we finally made it home, your recovery was slow, as you still threw up until your stomach healed. We lived in a tired fog and just put one foot in front of the other and limped through to Christmas.

But in 2015, you really came into your own. Your bright blue eyes gained a sparkle as you felt better and started to explore your world. By early spring, you were crawling at lightning speed, (much earlier than your sister did, but whose keeping track?!), and two days before your first birthday, you got up and just starting walking. I guess you realized that it was time.

We have loved watching you grow over the last year as you have brought a joyful, wild energy to our home. Here are a few observations as you reach your first birthday:

-You are a hurricane–no toy bin, pile of folded laundry, wallet, bookcase, stack of files, or open diaper bag are safe in your wake of destruction. You can gleefully clear a coffee table of its contents faster than I can say NO! In 30 seconds you can undo 30 minutes of cleanup. And you do it all with a big smile.

-You are curious. You are determined. Put these together and you get…destruction! See above.

-You love to laugh and play with your big sister–even when “playing” means getting knocked over or smothered. The sheer delight on your face when you see Callahan first thing in the morning or just after school is heart melting.

-You are adaptable. You still don’t have a bedroom. Or a real crib. You spent your first eight months of life in a bassinet and then a mini-crib in the hallway. Unfortunately for us, you are above the 99th percentile for height, so now you sleep in a travel crib wedged in between our dressers…you’re a total New Yorker! And still, always a smile on your face!

-You have a scream that can melt the wax in our ears. Your grandma claims that’s a trait you inherited from me. Hello payback!

-You are not a snuggler, you never will be. You are much too busy to stop for that long in one place.

-You love to eat. In one sitting, you eat more than my seven strapping nieces and nephews do, combined. And you will try everything and ask for “maa”. In fact, you shriek at the top of your lungs if your food tray is empty.

-You’re a fighter. You didn’t have it easy in your first four months of life and yet you are always smiling, waving, and bringing cheer to everyone.

-You are fast. You can speed crawl to a dog bowl and fill your mouth with dog food in the blink of an eye. You giggle and make a break for any staircase that you can find and zip right up.

-You have more teeth than a barracuda–eating purees was a quick blip on your radar.

-You’re a monkey. You can Houdini yourself out of high chairs and strollers and voila! You’re standing on top of tables and couches with a very proud grin on your face.

-You’re very social, you will wave and smile at anyone and everyone. If we’re at a restaurant and we face your high chair away from the action or crowds to view, you will awkwardly turn yourself around so you can see everyone and wave.

You are a ham. You are adorable. You are ONE.
We love you. Happy Birthday. XO

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Aussie Adventure Top 12–#11-Riverwalking–Arrowtown, NZ

 

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Sorry for the delay in this posting–my appendix and a little surgery got in the way…but it’s high time to resume the list!

(Check out more about this series in honor of our two year anniversary of moving Down Under)

Aussie+ Adventure Top 12–
#11- Riverwalking among Lupines In Arrowtown, New Zealand

Background:
Sometimes the best travel experiences are ones that I stumble upon and haven’t planned for. That’s saying a lot since I’m a major travel planner–I’ve never met a calendar, timetable, restaurant review, or travel book that I haven’t liked! So when happy accidents like this occur and are so memorable, I feel surprised and lucky.

We decided to close out our last two weeks abroad by traveling throughout New Zealand. I had been there 9 years prior in March and fell in love with the natural beauty and Kiwi friendliness. I didn’t know when I booked our time on the south island in December (which is their end of their spring and beginning of summer) that wildflower season would be in full swing. All over the islands, we found vibrant fields of lupines and other wildflowers that made an already stunning backdrop even more beautiful.

The Adventure:
While staying in Queenstown (adventure capital of the South Pacific), we set out for a quick drive to the quaint and adorable Arrowtown. Upon arrival, we cruised down Main Street, which reminded me of downtown Crested Butte or a similar old mining town in the U.S. Just below the main street, we found a little parking area next to a glacial river and thought we’d stretch our legs by walking along the river. My daughter loved finding her way along the banks of the meandering river–we first rolled up her jeans but eventually just let her run around in her diaper to be able to wade through at some parts (and yes, it was a bit chilly!). Surrounding the river was a vibrant green landscape and hundreds of wild lupines bursting with color. To walk along this turquoise glacial river and through tall fields of purple, pink, and blue flowers was extraordinary. To say these flowers added a new level to the already gorgeous landscape would be an understatement. I felt I was walking in a dreamland–which sounds ridiculous but I’m not exaggerating. All in all, one of my favorite “accidental” memories on our journey. The pictures hardly do it justice.

Replicate:
Book a trip to NZ in early December. Fly into Queenstown (the plane approach between sharp green mountains is thrilling and a bit scary), rent a car and drive a scenic 20 minutes to Arrowtown. Park in the lots down by the Arrow River, just below town, and follow any of the easy pathways along the riverbed. Bonus–this is very kid friendly! Complete the day with a walk on the historic Main Street and a glass of wine at one of the local vineyard’s Main Street tasting rooms. Oh, and if you’re feeling a bit wild, you can stop and bungee jump on your way back to Queenstown. More on that later. 🙂 In the meantime, enjoy these images of walking in a dreamland and a few of quaint Arrowtown.
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Aussie Adventure Top 12–#12-Running Over the Sydney Harbor Bridge

SarahGreigPhotography_stomp_0900Drumroll please…let the Top 12 list begin…here is the the first of three I’ll post this week. If you’re looking for a unique bucket list item, running across a famous bridge in the lanes usually reserved for cars should be pretty high up there. As a bonus–try doing this on a sunny day while surrounded by Sydneysiders and their contagious good cheer! Here is #12 of my favorite travel experiences during our time in the South Pacific.

(Check out more about this series in honor of our two year anniversary of moving Down Under)

12) Running over the Sydney Harbor Bridge during the Sydney Marathon

We had been living in Sydney for two weeks when I spotted a sign about the Blackmores Running Festival. I was intrigued. As part of the Sydney Marathon, they host a family fun run that travels through (in my opinion) the coolest part of the course–directly over the iconic Sydney Harbor (Harbour in Aussie) Bridge. Since it was completed in 1932, the bridge has always been a symbol of the city and a muse for painters, writers, and photographers. I knew it would be a tough sell to get my husband and daughter out of bed early and onto two buses and a train to get to the starting line in time, but I was also fairly certain that it would be an awesome experience. Not that either one of us ex-athletes is a runner, but we could handle 3.5Km with a stroller.

That spring morning dawned crisp and sunny (and early, as I predicted) as we made our way to Milson’s Point. I love marathon days in any city as the excitement in the air is palpable. We joined the herd of strollers and families as they queued up for the fun run, and made our way across the center lane of the bridge. Callie even insisted on getting out of the stroller and “running” for part of it. After a not too painful 2.1 miles (8% of a full marathon!), we grabbed our medals–which my daughter proudly wore for months–and made our way to the Opera House where the real marathoners would be finishing shortly. We had time for a nice little brekky and a flat white while overlooking the course finale, and then made our way to cheer on the REAL marathoners as they raced to the finish. Overall, an awesome and memorable morning. The next time I find myself living in Sydney in September, I’d definitely do it again!
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SarahGreigPhotography_stomp_0894LEARN MORE

Did you know that if you’re visiting Sydney, you can also CLIMB the bridge? As in, gather your courage, put on a jumpsuit and a harness, and walk up the side to the top? It’s not for the faint of heart but it is truly crazy and spectacular–we did this in 2005 when it had first opened. Check out the Bridge Climb for more info on another great bucket list item.

Want to know more about this iconic Sydney landmark? Drop some knowledge on your friends or impress strangers at a cocktail party with these 10 interesting facts about the bridge.

Stay tuned for Travel Experience #11 coming later this week!

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