Monday, December 1, 2014

New York City

A few months ago we found out that my sister, Ange, and her family were coming to the Northeast for the Macy's day parade. New York City is about 3.5 hours from where we live so we knew that we wanted to plan a trip there, if possible.
About a week before, we started mapping out our path. We knew that we didn't want to drive to the city so we planned to drive to New Jersey, stay at a hotel (with a pool) and then take the train into the city. We figured this would make the most sense with the family. We set off on our journey once Jason got home from work on Friday (4pm). The kids weren't thrilled to be in the car but we packed enough entertainment for them to keep the peace during our two hour drive.
The second that we got to the hotel, we were in our swimsuits and in the elevator headed to the pool. Amelia talked about the pool during the entire drive and Barrett loves water so we knew that a pool would be a hit. The pool wasn't warm enough for the adults but the kids didn't seem to mind. They were swimming and splashing with all the other little kids that were staying at the hotel.
Once we finished swimming, we tried to get the kids ready for bed. Our bedtime routine was really thrown off since we were all in the same room but we tried to make the best of it.
I'm pretty sure that we were up every hour on the dot and it was PAINFUL. We were exhausted and grumpy when the alarm finally went off at 6am. We wanted to catch the 7:45am train so we needed to get up, grab breakfast and get to the station. I took Barrett with me to the breakfast station to get him some milk and he watched Frozen while I took a bath. Amelia, Jason and Nannie didn't want to get up so they took a little longer for their feet to hit the floor.
Once we ate breakfast, we decided to cancel our second night in the hotel. We didn't care what time we got home, we just knew that we couldn't handle two nights in a hotel.
We got to the train station with plenty of time to board the train and to get good seats. The kids were in heaven. They were so excited, they couldn't hardly sit still.
We made it to New York-Penn Station at 9:33am and we met up with Ange, Chris, Ana and Brock. They immediately got us to the subway so we could start exploring the city. Barrett wasn't in Ange's arms for two minutes and he fell asleep.
We went down about five stops and came out at Central Park. This was a perfect first stop for us because the kids could run around!
We got to see the view of the city from a different angle and to visit the Belvedere Castle. The castle was a major hit in Amelia's eyes. She thought it was Elsa's castle...she's so smart!
Can you see Jason and Barrett in the picture above? Barrett finally spotted us on the castle roof and he was fascinated with us.
We left Central Park and headed towards Times Square. The subway was a mess with two kids, two strollers and two bags but we survived with all the hands that were eager to help. We finally made it back up to the city and the amount of people and traffic was crazy. These stars hanging in Columbus Street mall changed colors and they were beautiful. I'm sure if we would have seen them in the dark, the view would have been even better but they were stunning in the daylight.
Times Square was crazy. In a lot of ways it reminded me LA and London combined...the number of digital billboards, dress up characters and people was insane.
We left Times Square, walked down 5th Avenue to see all the decorated windows and headed to Rockefeller Center.

I was expecting Rockefeller to be at a dead-end, to be grand and to be so amazing that it stopped traffic. That wasn't necessarily the case. If Jason wouldn't have pointed out the tree, I would have walked right past it. Do you see it nestled in between those buildings?
We walked back towards it and it became more grand but at first glance, I was a little let down. The lights are on the tree but they aren't lighting it until December 3rd.
I would have loved to have seen the tree all lit up. I guess that just means another trip to New York is in our future!
We left Rockefeller and our kids decided that they had enough of the city and they were exhausted.
Both of them slept during our next walk/subway trip to 58th Street and FAO Schwarz. I was so excited to visit the toy store and to see the big piano from the movie "Big".
The kids slept until we got there and then they woke up but didn't feel like playing with any of the toys. The previous night's lack of sleep finally caught up with them.
We left the toy store, walked by a few more stores and then decided to catch the 3:45pm train back to New Jersey. 
We said our goodbyes before we boarded the blue train to Penn Station. It was so good to see some family during the holiday season...it was a little bittersweet but it was great.
The train ride home included a lot of snacking, sleeping and giggling. I'll let you guess who was doing what....
We finally made it New Jersey at 5:30pm and we were in our garage by 7:30pm. It was a long and intense day but we were so glad to collapse in our house with separate rooms on Saturday night.
New York City was so enjoyable to see during this time of year. I'm not sure that it's the ideal place for two little ones in 40 degree weather but we made the most of it and we came out on the other side a little more determined.

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