29 December, 2016

Christmas in NYC

The day after Christmas we threw a bunch of clothes in a suitcase, tossed the kids in the van, and zipped down to Manhattan for a night. 

We love New York City, but especially at Christmastime. We oohed and ahhed over the beautiful lights and giant lit-up snowflakes between buildings. 

The drive there was uneventful; we listened to some Junie B. Jones books on audible which made it more pleasant for all of us.

Here are our NYC highlights, and then some photos:

- Our Residence Inn on the Upper Eastside had a KILLER free breakfast. You can bet your buckets that I crammed as much food as I could into myself and each of the kids. Merit tasted oatmeal for the first time and loved it - probably because I stirred in a good amount of fresh blueberries and brown sugar. Mmmm.

- We loved exploring Grand Central Station. Gage especially was in awe every time he glanced up at the ceiling. It was decorated so beautifully for Christmas with giant wreaths everywhere. We ate the delicious Shake Shack burgers and fries and shared two holiday milkshakes. We unanimously agreed that the chocolate peppermint shake was the best.

- The big kids and I went to the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular! It was AWESOME! We could only get tickets to the late show, so we left the hotel at about 8:30 and took a taxi a couple blocks then walked the rest of the way. On the way there, we passed by the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree! And magic of all magic, over the super loud speakers they were playing the song from Home Alone 2 - you know "Candles in the window" that one. It was soooo magical. I made the kids pose for a billion pictures and only one turned out not blurry. Bummer. But magical moment. Once we were in the music hall, we waited forever. But the wait just built up our anticipation for the show!

- The show itself was soooo good. Kjel was shrieking and laughing with delight when the dancers came on and kicked their hearts out. We loved the nativity the most, but the kids fell head over heels for the cute dancing teddy bears, the thousands of Santas, and the 3D ride into New York City with Santa. I loved watching their excitement and how they carefully rationed their M&Ms through the show. When we got out, it was midnight and we were all pooped. We hitched a ride with a bike taxi and got home in like five minutes. So nice. 
- We decided to skip the subway this time since we were using two strollers and walked everywhere else. Including the hour-long fast-paced stroller walk across Central Park to the Museum of Natural History. The walk itself was awesome. The stars really aligned for us weather-wise because it was sixty degrees on Tuesday! We were hot by the time we got across the park, and enjoyed some delicious Wafels 'n Dinges belgian waffles with Nutella before heading into the Museum.
- Of cours, the highlight of the museum was the enormous dinosaur that we call Dinn (come on, tell me you've read Oh Say, Can You Say!) but we also loved the People of Asia exhibit. We were all freaked out by the ancient undersea animals (those things were huge) and I was enthralled by the evolution of the horse exhibit.
- Walking home through Central Park was also delightful. For about 30 minutes. While the kids were playing on the playground and not screaming their guts out. We played on some of the giant flat rocks as well. But as soon as we started our fast-walk back to the hotel to pick up the van, our family began to melt. Merit, for one, HATES the stroller and literally screamed like she was being stabbed. Finally I pulled her out and carried her while pushing Kjel in my stroller. That didn't last long and my arm might be permanently wounded. We got lost and ended up carrying the strollers up two flights of stairs just to carry them back down. Eventually, though, we found our way and simultaneously decided that life was worth living when we saw the beautiful NYC skyline silhouetted against the setting sun, with Christmas lights twinkling all around.

- We so badly wanted to go to Jacob's Pickles but the wait was just too long, so we settled for a cute little bakery called Sugar and Plumm. It was cute, but not my favorite. If you are in the area and have little kids, this is a great place for dessert, and though the actual lunch food was good, I don't think it was quite worth the price. 

- The ride home was an adventure. We tried to find a Chik Fil A in Paramus for dinner, but it was in a mall and the whole purpose was to find a play place. Then we thought we'd go to the other, farther one. It was also in a mall. Argh. I ran in and grabbed some food to go and we hit the road for home. 
And now we are back, resting and playing with all of our new things. Kjel has made us all about 3968 play-doh ice cream sundaes, and Gage finally won a round of Sushi Go with Steven and I. Life is good. Merry Christmas! 

Note: Many of these pictures are from Gage's new digital camera. They are a bit blurry as he's still figuring it out, but I wanted to include them anyway cause they're so dang cute.






































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