Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FIBER FILLS FAMILY

Healthy eating takes a little work and a lot of knowledge. Recently, a few members of the Cupit household have been under medical supervision for conditions that can be prevented or at least relieved by some slight adjustment to the daily regime. Hence, at recent trips to the grocer and local produce market, Maren picked up a bag of bulgur wheat, a bag of flax seed, some wheat germ, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. So far, these additions to the Cupit kitchen have been used in smoothies, added to instant oatmeal, prepared in a new recipe (tabouleh), and sprinkled on top of Jiffy corn muffins. Tonight, the family (with the exception of Laurel) munched on boiled and salted edamame beans. The consumers were surprisingly pleased; they tasted as good as they do at the restaurant. Brad is waiting for Maren to come home with her new birkenstocks...and perhaps complimenting pairs for the rest of the family.

The other side of the "Louisiana Two-Step" (have you seen the add campaign?) is more exercise. While the ultimate plan is to join the YMCA, a garage sale bargain will fulfill the need for the interim. Maren negotiated at a garage sale last weekend and walked away with a double jogging stroller. It's been used the past two nights and will be worth the $50 if it makes regular appearances outside of the storage closet. Brad stamped his approval on it tonight after his test drive around the neighborhood. The kids love having plenty of legroom and the smooth ride.

The Cupits welcome recipe or food suggestions that can help them maintain healthier eating habits. They especially like easy, simple changes to common foods, but are not averse to more complicated recipes. Next up for trial is a bran muffin recipe made with bran flakes from a friend at Maren's office. If all goes well, this will be a favored Laurel breakfast or snack...maybe dinner??? Also, if anyone wants to join the family in the cooler evenings for a jaunt around a neighborhood or park or trail - or the mall if it's just too hot - just holler. They'll join you right after they get out of the bathroom!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

PIC OF THE DAY

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HOUSTON HOSTS WEDDING, FRIENDS REUNION

On their first ever considerable family road trip, the Cupits went to Houston to visit the Rees family and to attend a wedding for the Gerage Family. Both events were worthwhile reasons to attempt the 5 hour ride in the car. Thanks to "Ratatootie" and Peter Pan, plus a few other library rentals...the trip was pretty much a cinch. One thing the Cupits learned though - there is no such thing as a quick bite to eat or a quick stop for gas when you are traveling with little ones. Despite rather long stops, the family stayed in good spirits and the mini-vacation was wonderful.

The Rees family lives in the beautiful suburb of The Woodlands. While there, the kids played with their much-missed pal Michael. They went to a mini splash park in a posh shopping center and to a fantastic indoor park in a gigantic Methodist Church. It is true that things are bigger in Texas! Mom Elina and Dad David generously entertained the children so Brad and Maren could attend the wedding at the Houston Temple. The sunshine made for some beautiful wedding pictures.

CROWD CELEBRATES FOUR YEARS

At the Cupit's first away-from-home birthday party, friends and family gathered to celebrate Laurel turning one year older. She and her friends enjoyed bowling, pizza, a Cinderella cake, and an arcarde. Even Brant took a turn rolling the ball, but he spent most of his time on the motorcycle in the arcade. He reminds people often that he's "Brant...", and he likes "elephants and motorcycles."











Perhaps opening presents was Laurel's favorite part of the day. She took home a wealth of new princess stuff.


A little while after her official birthday, Laurel visited the pediatrician for the four-year-old check up. She's tall and lean and otherwise healthy! She's enjoying hearing camp this summer and went on a camp trip to the zoo on Friday. The calendar for July and August are open at this point, but it won't be long before it's filled with post-worthy events!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NEW YORK, AGAIN

After Ground Zero, Brad and Maren had to rush to go meet their friends Dave and Meredith at Grand Central. While looking for the right subway station, they happened upon two beautiful places. First, they came upon City Park and City Hall. Wow! It seems majestic and peaceful. Not bad for City Hall.

Next, they rounded the corner, and Brad turned his head to the right. "What bridge do you think that is?" Maren saw the green sign indicating it was the Brooklyn Bridge! What luck. They postponed their meeting time a few more minutes to allow a quick walk on the bridge for some impressive photo ops. The Brooklyn Bridge is a walking/cycling bridge as well as a automobile bridge. There were plenty of people walking on the bridge, and one local man leading a group of his out-of-town friends took a great photo of the Cupits. He was very friendly and asked the two to come back and visit again.


Eventually, they met up with their friends at Grand Central. From there, they took the short walk to Fifth Ave., which may just be Maren's favorite part of the trip. Dave took them by (and into) Saks, Tiffany's, the Apple Store and Nintendo World. They arrived in Rockefeller Center and paused to absorb the coolness factor! Those Today Show people just might work in the coolest place in the world. It's so alive with energy and excitement. The place seems to shout..."this is where cool things happen!" Dave pointed out Radio City Music Hall and the NBC studios. Brad and Maren took some obligatory photos.


Somewhere along Fifth Ave. is the best toy store ever- FAO Schwartz. It's several stories of childhood bliss. Some of our readers may remember the movie Big with Tom Hanks. He danced on the giant piano that they still have at the store. The store has professional piano dancers to put on shows for the tourists and then they allow the visitors to try it out for themselves. It didn't take much encouragement for Maren and Brad to take off their shoes and give it a whirl. You can see them pictured below on the piano and with their friends Dave and Meredith and darling little boy, Sam.

At this point, they parted ways with Dave, Mere, and Sam, and headed back to Times Square to meet up with Maren's college roommate Tamar and her husband Trevor who both made the trip to Manhattan from Philadelphia. Maren was thrilled to see Tamar for the first time in about eight years and to meet Trevor. They all ate a BBQ dinner at Virgil's and had their only famous person sighting of the trip. Brad is pretty sure he saw Spike Lee in the restaurant.
They left the restaurant and headed outside into the "bright lights, big city." While walking in Times Square, they saw one more famous person...ELMO! With an Elmo superfan back home in Louisiana, they couldn't pass up the photo. But, wait, ELMO wanted cash for the picture. "One Dollah!" Oh how funny to hear a foreign man wearing an Elmo costume (with a cowboy hat on!) It was a moment they won't soon forget.You may notice that both Brad and Maren have sunglasses on their heads. These were knock-offs purchased in Times Square that evening. Maren crossed that last thing off of her to-do list.

After buying a few more souvenirs, they ran to catch the train back to Stamford. They had a relaxing Sunday with their friends including a strawberry/rhubarb homemade pie and introduction to the game Settlers of Catan. Tuesday they flew back home...and so ends one great adventure.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

NEW YORK: THIRD EDITION

All of our readers will eventually get to see the entire highlights of Maren and Brad's trip to New York. Thank you for your patience. Our pictures were rescued, but the technical department is using Linux (the operating system on the interim machine), so the learning curve is slowing down the process.

Back to our feature. The adventure continued in the evening. Brad and Maren headed back to the Gershwin theater to attempt to win the "Wicked lottery." This is a last minute chance to win front row seats for the evening performance. They didn't win, and headed next over to the TKTS booth. This booth provides day of tickets at discount prices. The couple made an impulse decision to see Cry Baby. Oops! This ended up to be a mistake. The show was not-so-great, but there were so many other wonderful parts of the trip that it turned out okay. The two left the theater and went into some Times Square tourist havens including the Virgin Megastore, M&M World, and the Hershey's store. Then they picked up some dessert from Junior's at the advice of some people in the know. Believe it or not, at this point, Brad and Maren were exhausted and couldn't walk ANYMORE!

The next day, they went down to the bottom of Manhattan to do the next touristy thing...Lady Liberty. At this point, Brad and Maren had to make the decision whether to pay the money and spend the time to go all the way to Liberty Island and tour the statue, or just take the free, one-hour round-trip ferry over to Statten Island and pass by the statue. The decision to save time and money turned out to be the right one as it began to downpour on the return trip on the ferry. Imagine being stuck on that island in the rain with no umbrella! No thank you!
The ferry is pretty close to the financial district and Ground Zero. They headed there next with some direction from a very friendly New York Pub worker. Brad and Maren can testify that New Yorkers are in fact very friendly, accommodating and gracious people. As he told them, "it's a big hole in the ground; you can't miss it." In the picture above, you can see the gigantic posters depicting what it will look like by 2012.

That's it for today. Maybe one more issue???

Friday, June 6, 2008

Chronicle on Standby

To our loyal readers. We here at the Chronicle are sad to report our technical difficulties. Our technology department (7 year old computer) finally crashed, though not before submitting its resignation via the blue screen of death. By some miracle, Brad was able to rescue our New York pictures last night with help from our friends the Goodes. Our circulation file (outlook contacts) is still gone. Brad will continue damage control tonight, but in the meantime, please submit to us all your contact info. Most of you have our e-mail address. If you don't, please leave a comment on this post, and our support team will get back to you.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

BIG APPLE: SECOND BITE

After dropping off the luggage, Brad and Maren tried to start crossing things off their "to-do" list. They found their way over to Central Park and walked through it on their way to Lincoln Center (home to the LDS temple.) Central Park is such a beautiful peaceful place in the middle of the city. Sheep's Meadow is a big open field within Central Park that used to have grazing sheep. Now it's a designated quiet spot for New Yorkers.


From Central Park, they walked just a couple of "city blocks" over to Lincoln Center. The temple sits amongst lots of other buildings, which is a rare site. Apparently the building that houses the Temple also is home to a few wards. The building was closed for renovation, but Maren and Brad snapped a couple pictures for fun.

To continue the adventure, Brad and Maren ventured on to the Empire State Building. Their route led them first by Columbus Circle and Trump Tower.


Because of the beautifully clear day, the view from the Empire State building was perfect. The trip to the 86th floor is a whopping $19/person, but for a tourist, not to be missed. Along the way, aggressive salespeople are peddling all kinds of add-ons to make the view more enjoyable. It was in line for the elevator to the top that Maren first realized the large proportion of foreigners, especially Europeans. There is an upside to a down economy- plenty of international tourism taking advantage of the weak dollar. The view from the top is breathtaking. New York is HUGE!



Are you ready for more? Check back in a day or two for the rest of the story!

MAN GETS BIG APPLE BIRTHDAY PRESENT

Maren finally executed Brad's birthday surprise that had been months in the making. For his 30th birthday and an early 5th anniversary celebration, Maren planned a trip for the couple to NYC! In her excitement, Maren told plenty of people about the plans, and miraculously, not one person spilled the beans. Except for one little hiccup on the eve of the surprise, execution went as planned.

Maren packed for the family on Thursday morning, picked up Brad at work for lunch, and revealed the events to come. It seems like Brad smiled all the way to the airport. The children were thrilled too, if not impatient, to get to spend the weekend with their grandparents. What a special moment, when everyone is super happy!

Maren's dear friend Meredith met them at the White Plains airport late Thursday night. After a solid night's sleep (a great benefit of vacation without kids or work on the brain), Brad and Maren hopped on a train to head into the city from Stamford, CT. The train arrived in Grand Central Station. What a "grand" welcome to the city. It's fantastic! Maren and Brad tried to think of all the movies that have scenes in this very place. Maybe they should put a poster up somewhere with a list of them.Next, the two walked outside to navigate their way to their hotel. Along the way, they crossed a city block, looked up and "oh my!" Brad said, "Maren, we're in Times Square!" He was giddy!


Seeing this place during the day is breathtaking; seeing it at night should be on everyone's lifetime to do list.

Eventually, they made it to the hotel to check in and drop off their luggage. It was located in a fabulous location between the theater district and Times Square. Priceline is a pretty useful tool. Maren tried day after day bidding for a room at a good price in a good location. Finally it worked and the two felt richly rewarded! Here are some photos of the view outside the window.


Check out the lobby of a New York 2 star hotel. Maybe some day they'll be able to live it up in 4 stars, but for now, 2 stars isn't too shabby! The hotel had a cool elevator system. The guest punches in the desired floor in a keypad next to all the elevators. Then the keypad displays which elevator to get on. The elevator itself has no numbers in it. It just takes the passengers directly to their floor. Pretty impressive for some humble Louisianians!

Please check out the next issue of the Chronicle. There will be at least one more feature on the Cupit's trip to the big city, of course loaded with plenty of photos.