Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

"Don't you just love New York in the fall?"

When Luke and I were tossing around ideas for what to do for Thanksgiving, we came to a mutual decision that we should go to NYC! Why not?? We were there for Easter and had such a blast with the kids. With it only being a 3 and a half hour drive, it really made a lot of sense! We headed up on Wednesday afternoon and checked into our hotel, which was just a few blocks off of Times Square around 5pm. 

We quickly got our things unloaded and settled and then left to go to dinner with David, Luke's real estate partner (which he is doing part time, on the side in his free time) He took us to a nice Italian restaurant that did not look too family friendly... BUT! The kids were so well behaved, I was so grateful. Casey played games on Luke's phone, Owen poked around with the salt shakers and silverware and Hailey just people watched, talked to me, and sat quietly daydreaming. Owen also made friends with the table behind us with his shameless flirting. Telling the ladies all about seeing buses!!!!! and going through a tunnel!!! (the Lincoln tunnel on the way into the city)

On our way back to the hotel we were strolling along the busy sidewalk with taxis flying by, horns blaring at random intervals and Hailey says to me, "I love New York City, Mom." I asked her why do you love it and she responded, "Because you brought us here." My heart was so happy and I smiled and told her that I love family trips too!

Thursday, after a yummy continental breakfast, we walked to 6th Ave to find a spot to watch the parade. We paused near Times Square to get a quick family pic of course.

The route for the parade was pretty packed and we were attempting to find a spot in the middle of the parade route. We ended up finding a really good spot near a coffee shop (hello bathroom for children with small bladders) and watched the whole thing! From the opening Macy's star balloons to the closing Macy star balloons! I really didn't know if the kids would last the whole time, but they really enjoyed it and only asked for a snack from their backpacks once. 

I loved seeing the turkey floats, it was Thanksgiving!! Hurray!

After I took this pic, he asked, "was that good cheese, Mom?" haha

The wonder of children is the best. 

Family Thanksgiving pic!!

And let me just say, the stroller saved our lives. We put the brakes on and the kids took turns standing on the cup holder ledge in the back, and the cup/ food tray in front. We also happened to be against a wall which was perfect for the person standing on the back cup holder ledge to lean against. They had the perfect view! That stroller, gosh, just a humble Graco...and it's no worse for the wear whatsoever.

Ronald McDonald, he was so huge I thought his foot was going to touch my face. 

They were so big!!! Seriously impressive.

What can I say, Thomas was kind of the main event for two boys I know and love.

My little beauty tends to be a bit camera shy so I was so excited when I saw this gem of a picture that Luke took.

Hi Paddington!
I loved the slow progression of floats from Thanksgiving turkeys and pilgrims to Christmas trains and lastly....

Santa!!! The kids were SOO excited and started asking, "are those presents???? Is Christmas today!?!?!?

After the parade we walked a quick 10 minutes over to St. Patrick's Cathedral for noon mass. We were on time which was amazing and mass was so peaceful and lovely. I was really excited to see the cathedral since the restoration was complete. It was beautiful. When we were there for Easter everything was covered in scaffolding.

As we walked back toward our hotel, we grabbed a slice of pizza for lunch at a market where we also picked up some flax milk for Owen. He had finished what I had at home right as we left the house. I had faith that we could find it in the city though, and the city did not disappoint.

Back at the hotel the kids and I napped from 2-4 (turned away housekeeping who knocked half way through naptime! Someone, ahem, me, forgot the Do Not Disturb sign. Oops) Luke watched the game down in the lobby lounge and came and woke us up a little after 4. We had tickets for the 5pm Rockettes Christmas show, and while trying to quickly feed the kids a snack we realized we would not make it in time if we walked. We got downstairs as fast as we could, walked down the block to a bigger intersection and hailed a cab. Phew. We got there in plenty of time.

(Incidentally, it was my first cab ride ever. And the kids. Very amusing since it was my first ride at age 31, and their first at ages 5, 4 and 2. I kind of like that we will always share that ride as being our first)

Seeing the Rockettes perform was a long time dream come true for me since I was about 8 years old taking tap lessons. I was bubbling with excitement like a little kid.

waiting for the show to begin!!
And wow, it was spectacular. And the PERFECT show for the ages and attention spans of our kids. It was 90 minutes long, straight through, with lots of music, singing, dancing, incredible sets and lighting effects, Santa!! A Bus! And a train!!

 It was amazing. Casey sat on the edge of his seat the whole time, Hailey laughed out loud a couple of times when Santa was being silly and Owen loved the bus and the train. But the best BEST part of all, was that the show ended with the narrative of the Nativity story complete with angels, shepherds, wise men, REAL LIVE CAMELS, a lamb and Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. It was so beautifully done. Luke and I kept looking over at each other with our jaws to the floor. They could have ended it on a totally secular opening presents under the tree that Santa brought....but no. They sang, "oh come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord" and all the wise men and shepherds bowed and adored Jesus as the curtain closed. Remarkable.  

As we were walking out, Owen said to me, "that was fun!" Once outside he started pointing to all the taxi cabs saying, "ride that car" "get in" over and over. Apparently he was a fan, haha. Maybe because it's yellow or maybe because he got to sit on my lap. Probably both.

We walked home in perfect mild weather stopping on the way to stroll through Bryant Park and watch the ice skaters. Back at the hotel, I fed the kids hot dogs and mac and cheese for dinner and Luke went to a nearby restaurant to get he and I some take out.

Casey by the ice skating rink
Friday morning after eating our fill at the hotel continental breakfast (scraping out the very last bit of oatmeal for Owen from the bottom of the pot, thank goodness because it was the only thing he can safely eat)... we got an uber ride to the upper east side to stroll through the metropolitan art museum. We got to see all kinds of incredible paintings...including Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Matisse

The kids got very antsy which we expected would happen, so after about two hours we left and took them to a playground in central park which was only two blocks away. They needed it and loved it. It was so fun to see them scooting from here to there in a row - Hailey, Casey, Owen - in the crazy throng of kids. The stayed together the entire time, helping Owen up difficult parts. They are such a unit, those three. They played for an hour and then we let Casey have a turn in the stroller (even reclined him hoping he would fall.asleep but he didn't) and put Owen in the ergo on Luke so he could nap for a bit, which he did most readily. And central park was beautiful. My phone died so I didn't get a picture, but the trees still had a ton of colorful fall leaves. I was so so happy we got to experience the city in the fall.

Our next stop was another thing I have been wanting to do for the longest time!! Visit Cafe Lalo! The cafe in You've Got Mail, where Kathleen Kelly is supposed to meet NY152, but in walks Joe Fox and he doesn't tell her it's him. It was so charming, my heart was swooning the entire time I ordered my machiatto. I love that movie too much :) 

I told him I love my "Tom Hanks", complete with sleeping toddler on his chest :)

Afterwards, we started the hour long trek back to our hotel, stopping in briefly at an H&M, (after all, I was in NYC on Black Friday!!! I had to attempt a tiny bit of shopping, but I had no luck). Then gauging everyone's exhaustion, Luke wisely got us a ride with lyft the rest of the way back to the hotel. I gave the kids spaghetti leftovers and Luke again went out to pick us up some burgers. (This is totally irrelevant to anything but just so the kids had started watching Planes the night before while they ate their dinner and were upset they didn't get to finish it because they had to go to bed. Well, it happened to be on tv again while they ate, and they picked up pretty much right where they had left off (so crazy) and they got to finish it. Could not have planned that better if I had tried.) 

on the streets of New York, getting dinner for his love!
 After Luke came back with our food and we ate and put the kids to bed, he went out to meet up with David for drinks. 

Saturday morning, we took it easy, moving slow getting ready and repacking our stuff, taking our time with breakfast...and Luke was able to book us appointments for massages at a spa on the other side of town for 11 and 12pm. They were extra sessions in a package David had purchased but wasn't using so he wanted to give them to us. I was so grateful. It was amazing. My whole body was aching after all the walking and stroller pushing!

such troopers!! And gosh, I love those backpacks. Owen is now a proud owner and part of the Skip Hop backpack club!
 After our massages, we walked down to the Old St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was so pretty and peaceful. And had many tributes (plaques and statues) for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the work she and her sisters had done there when they first came to the city. It was always so fun to live in Emmitsburg with her national shrine down the road and to go up to the city and find so much of her there too :)

Our last stop was an authentic deli where we got subs for lunch, then caught another uber ride back to the parking garage to pick up our van. We quickly checked out of the hotel and began the drive home! The drive home went so quickly, seriously 3 and a half hours feels like nothing anymore, and the kids immediately fell asleep.

It was an incredible trip. But coming home is always good...Casey asked me on Friday when we were going home to "the house with the bricks." He loves everything and anything that is fun and exciting, but boy, he sure loves home. I can relate, and I hope our kids always feel that way about home :)