November 30, 2013: A Day Out in Utica

This morning Dominica and her dad got out the door pretty early so that they could go to the movie theater and see Catching Fire which they had been unable to see last night.  Dominica’s mother and I stayed home and watched the girls.  I played more of Liesl’s new Mario Kart 7 video game and managed to unlock all of the tracks so that she has the ability to drive any course that she wants.  She is a long way from winning races and we had to have a talk today about her setting the difficultly all of the way up on the game.  She is convinced that it is easier on the hardest setting and it is just making things harder for her.  Being five and playing that game is challenging enough.

After they were done with the movie, Elizabeth and I packed up the girls and drove them to Utica’s Brewery District where we met Dominica and her dad at the Celtic Harp, an Irish pub that they like to go to there.  The Brewery District is a pretty surprising little bit of Utica that is gentrifying a little bit in the middle of the city.  A nice area to go for food or a drink.  The food was quite good and very filling.  The beer selection was pretty lean for me, we just got Guinness except for Dominica who got something of Saranac’s that did not impress her.  It was supposed to be a spiced winter ale but was not very spiced for her tastes.  Liesl and Luciana were pretty restless.  We were upstairs on a high balcony and they mostly entertained themselves by looking out of the railing down on the people eating below.

After the late lunch, Dominica’s parents took Liesl and Luciana back to the house for a day with the grandparents and Dominica and I got the evening to go out shopping on our own.  First stop – the Village Toy Shop in New Hartford to look specifically for Christmas presents for Luciana.  We already have a pretty big cache of presents ready for Liesl.  Being five, Liesl is trivial to shop for.  She is into everything and can tell you the things that she wants.  Luciana, at two, is really hard to predict, especially a month away.  We found a number of things that we think that Luciana will like.  Her big thing is going to be some Calico Critters.  They are so cute and something that Liesl never had.  Luciana needs something that is uniquely hers.

We went to the mall too and hit several stores looking for toys and returning some clothes.  We found some stuff at Target including some very affordable games for Liesl’s new 2DS.  One is the new Kingdom Hearts game which is obviously for Dominica to play while Liesl is asleep as it is way too hard for Liesl and is part of a series that Dominica has already been playing.  The other is the Lego Pirates of the Caribbean game.  This one is for both Liesl and Dominica.  They have played Lego games together before and they both like them.  It will be harder for Liesl to play but we think that she can handle playing it.  She picks up video games pretty quickly.

We did a little more shopping, got ourselves a quick snack in the food court then started driving back to the house.  We were talking about Gerber’s, a new local speakeasy that has opened up downtown, when Dominica decided that it would be the perfect time to try it.  So we stopped in for Manhattans at a 1935 themed downtown Utica speakeasy.  The place was really nice and we hope to be able to make use of it when we are in town.  A very nice bar with great drinks, neat fresh menu and great ambiance.  And I love the fact that there are no televisions.  It’s a real pub meant for talking, not for ignoring people and watching TV like you were still at home.

Back home, played with the kids a little and it was time for bed.  I leave to return to Peekskill tomorrow after breakfast.  Then it is most of a week alone for me.  Dominica is going to stay in Frankfort tomorrow and head out to Peoria so that the girls can hang out with my dad on Tuesday.

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