Tuesday, April 2, 2013

NYC Spring Break

During the boys' Spring Break from school, we packed up and drove to NYC.  This was our first real family vacation, with just the four of us.  We had so much fun!  And then we had the stomach flu.  But we still had lots of fun.  This post will have tons of pictures, and if we're friends on facebook or instagram, a lot of them will be repeats for you.  Fair warning.  (And for unknown reasons I didn't get one single picture of Megan.  Sorry about that.)
Top o' the Roc

At the time they claimed to hate it but later they talked about how awesome it was.

Our home for the week.

We stayed with friends in Midtown Manhattan.  You can't beat that.  I loved seeing Megan, Marty, Penny, and Ike.  Every single word out of Penny's mouth is the cutest thing ever.  And Ike is super adorable too.  One time his mom was in the shower and he started to get upset that a strange woman (me) was talking to him.  I knew that Party Rock was his favorite song so I turned it on for him and it worked!  A baby calmed by Party Rock.  Come on --- that's wonderful.  Megan and Marty were the BEST hosts, taking time off work to hang with us, cooking delicious meals for us, graciously overlooking our follies like when I broke Penny's bed or when S ralphed all over everything.  Thanks, guys!  We love you!
T, Nate, S, Penny, Marty, and Ike watching the Party Rock video.

Penny and Ike at breakfast.

T and Penny saying hello in the Met cafeteria.

Penny and T chatting in the library.

Cutie pie Ike.

We visited with another dear family as well.  Janna, Sam, Sonia, and Sal made the journey over from Brooklyn several times to hang out with us.  I was and am so inspired by Janna, who explores every corner of the city with her kids.  I want to try to capture that spirit in just the tiniest way this summer and take the boys into Chicago once in a while.  I'm not ready to commit to a number.  It was amazing to see how Sal has grown since we last visited him in Cleveland over three years ago.  I loved getting to know him as a bigger kid.  And I loved meeting Sonia for the first time.  Such smart and independent kids.

Sam, Janna, Nate, and coffee.

S, Sal, and T in St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Janna, Sonia, T, S, Nate, and Sal hanging out in Grand Central after Nick Cave performance.

The kids in Grand Central Station.

Janna and Nate, talking about math and/or mathematicians. 

Sal and S at Imagination Playground.

Sal and S with giant foam weapons.

Speak softly, carry a big foam axe.
Sonia, Sal, S, and T by the water.

We didn't do a ton of stuff.  In a place like NYC where the options are pretty much limitless, it can be overwhelming to choose a plan for four days.  And I wanted to go at a pace that would be fun for the kids, and not grueling.  Our highlights were Central Park, The Met, Grand Central Station where we were lucky enough to catch this art performance, the New York Public Library, several boss playgrounds, and Top o' the Roc.  There was more in there, but those were our main stops, I would say.
Checking out the sculpture hall in the Met.

Showing us his favorite thing in the Met, the Egyptian temple.

Beautiful Grand Central.  This photo does not do it justice.

Grand Central prettiness.

I was so proud of the boys on this trip.  They complained very little, a lot less than I had prepared myself for, honestly.  They walked a ton without questioning it.  And they loved New York.  T kept asking when we could move there.  By the time we left, they were both planning on attending colleges in NYC.  Nate and I are all for it.  We'll visit much more often than the boys want us to, I'm sure.

Playing in the sand at Imagination Playground.

Central Park explorers.

Central Park view of the city.
Central Park boat pond.

S and T going down a stone slide in Central Park.

We had a couple of stressful moments, when we couldn't agree as a family on what to do next.  But overall I felt like we worked as a unit beautifully.  I experienced a sense of accomplishment throughout our stay, I think because we were all having fun, our moods were mostly in sync, and we were just enjoying our time in a new place.  S and I broke out of constant bickering mode, and that felt great.  There was not the same level of push and pull that can dominate our normal life together, when we are constantly trying to get the boys to cooperate and move on to the next item on the list.  I really appreciated the break.  I didn't know the warm-fuzzy potential for family vacation until this trip.  Now I am really excited about traveling more with the boys.
Rocafeller Center.

Had to go to the Lego Store.  Twice.
Nick Cave: Heard NY performance.  Beautiful dancing horses.
After the performance, the horses transform into standing sculptures.

One reason to love great cities: Public art all over the place.


Giant slide at Teardrop Park.
Walking walking walking.  I think the building straight ahead is the new World Trade center.

Instead of driving straight through on the way back, we stopped to visit Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.  We absolutely loved the tour of that amazing house.  There is a minimum age requirement for the tour.  No kids under six are allowed inside.  I was a little concerned about T as he just made the requirement, but he did great.  I don't know if he enjoyed the tour as much as the rest of us, but he kept his hands off the furniture and for that I was grateful.  If you are at all interested in Frank Lloyd Wright, architecture, or even just art, and you ever have the chance to visit Fallingwater, do it.  You'll love it.
We're here!

Family photo!

The boys on the bridge.

S.  :)

The last leg of our trip was the hardest, as Nate and I were just beginning our rounds with the flu. Driving all day when you feel lousy is not fun.  But we made it home in time to pick up the cat before the office closed (we boarded him with our vet for the week).  The boys were overjoyed to see him.  The next day our flu was over and we were happily reminiscing over our trip.  Such a good one!


Nara said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time. I'm so glad to hear that the trip was more harmonious than you had feared. It's so great when you don't have to be places at specific times ... lets so much of that tension off! If only travel didn't involve ... well, TRAVEL ... we'd do it way more often.

Megan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Megan said...

Aww shucks, Laura. That was a sweet post. Don't worry about getting a pic of me, I am as elusive as Bigfoot when it comes to photographic evidence of myself. Can't wait to do it all again someday!