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Our Trip to New York City : the Last Two Days

There was a lot of walking this past weekend.

walking the streets of nyc

In between wedding events on Saturday, we meandered the streets of New York City. A highlight of our sightings was this shiny, red engine that had just backed into its garage right before we walked by, lights and sirens blaring. Evey was in awe.fire truck nyc

Stephen was part of the wedding party so we dropped him off in the morning to prep and feast while we went on our own adventure. We found ourselves at Central Park for a little picnic in the gorgeous spring weather.

picnic in central park

picnic in central park

Even did a little swing time…

swinging in central park

….with a beautiful view of the city.

swinging in central park

These were my seat mates as we waited for the ceremony to begin inside the gorgeous St. Malachy’s chapel in Midtown.

Lucie at St malachys

Evey at St. Malachys

I managed to snap a few pics inside the chapel before the girls awoke from their naps.

st malachys

st malachys

Lucie attempted to sing with the choir throughout the ceremony, but otherwise, was well-behaved.

wedding at st malachys

wedding at st malachys

wedding at st malachys

wedding at st malachys

bride in nyc

limo to reception

reception at copacabana

The reception was at the Copacabana Club, on their rooftop lounge.

reception at copacabana

With a gorgeous view of the city from the top.

rooftop of copacabana

True to form, Evey couldn’t wait for the dancing to commence so she was swinging with her daddy before others got out on the dance floor.

dancing with daddy

dancing with daddy

dancing with daddy

dancing at the copacabana

And, just like her mama, was one of the first out on the floor when the party got started. 😉

dancing at the copacabana

She kept escaping back onto the floor to bust a move.

dancing at the copacabana

dancing at the copacabana

at the copacabana

She was also very fond of the mother-of-the-bride and tried to hang out with her every moment she got.

L and Daddy at the copacabana

Lucie was not as easily entertained.

L is not impressed

sisters

Unless Evey was around. 😉

wedding cake sparks

The cake cutting. Spectacular.

wedding cake sparks

************************

On Sunday, our flight didn’t leave until 5:30 in the evening so we escaped back into the city for one last adventure….to the second-largest bookstore in the US!

strand nyc

And a tasty treat at Dean & Deluca in the New York Times building.

dean and deluca nyc

Bye-bye, New York! See you next time.

bye nyc

bye nyc

Back home on west coast soil, a bit bleary-eyed, we still had a 2+ hour drive home. The girls conked while Stephen and I loaded up on caffeine to make the drive back.

home to sf

Our Trip to New York City : the First Two Days

Our crazy, adventurous spirits compelled us to make a trip cross-country last weekend to New York City with our girls to attend the wedding of one of Stephen’s law school friends. Originally, we were just bringing Lucie as she’s still nursing, but we couldn’t stand to leave our little Love Bug, Evey, at home, and I’m sure glad we decided to bring her along too. 🙂

traveling by plane

riding on the plane

We rented an apartment through HomeAway in Union City, New Jersey to avoid the high prices of NYC hotels and have a little, quiet space all to ourselves. It was a good move with the girls. Despite being just on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel, the only downside was the extra time it took traveling into the city each day. Sometimes the traffic made for a long commute.

Almost immediately after touching down on New York soil, we made our way to the bus stop to head south to Hoboken where we could pick up the PATH train into NYC.

On that day, we managed to ride a plane, bus, train and taxi!  The only thing missing was a ferry.

dinner at Les Halles

The PATH dropped us at the train station just outside of the World Trade Center, a few blocks from the restaurant we were meeting friends, Les Halles Brasserie. {This is the restaurant where Anthony Bourdain was head chef for a time.} They feature some fantastic French dishes, including the leg of lamb both Stephen and I enjoyed, and our girls couldn’t get enough of.

study abroad friends

Shortly after graduation from college, I studied for a summer in Paris. A couple of the friends I made while studying there now live in NYC, so a French dinner together was a perfect reunion. A longtime friend, Justin, also works and lives in NYC {for the same company, coincidentally, as one of my friend’s from Paris — Warby Parker}. He met up with us too. 

daddy and E strawberry pastry

After catching up on Zzzzs a bit, we made our way into the city with our first stop at a French pastry shop. Stephen and Evelyn shared a strawberry puff pastry filled with cream. Cuties. 😉

pigeon watching

Lucie enjoyed watching the pigeons in the park.

Bryant Park children's area

Bryant Park has a seating area with all sorts of board games to play. It was a bit difficult to take part with the little ones in tow, however. The park is lacking in a playground but they have a beautiful carousel to make up for it. Both girls had a blast riding.

carousel Bryant Park

Evelyn chose the ‘kitty cat’ immediately. Girl knows what she wants.

riding the kitty cat

carousel Bryant Park

Lucie was thrilled to take part in the action. Up and down, up and down….hold on tight!

carousel Bryant Park

Those high-rises!

Bryant Park

The city parks were covered in blooming flowers. NYC’s springtime is just beginning and it certainly is gorgeous to behold!

spring in NYC

smelling the flowers

Adjacent to the park is a branch of the New York City library.

NYC library

But not just any branch — it’s the one that houses WINNIE THE POOH!

the REAL winnie the pooh!

She was in awe of her favorite friend. 🙂

meeting Pooh Bear

We took some downtime to read a few good books with Daddy.

reading with daddy

Lucie was happy to get down and explore. Opportunities for this were few and far between in the city, but she was a good sport.

hanging in the library

Ready, set….GO!

taking off

The girls nodded off for a nap while Stephen and I explored the halls, some of the other rooms of the library, and made a few purchases in the gift shop.

nyc library halls

The architecture was stunning!

nyc library halls

The periodical room was my favorite. The only sound: the swish of newspapers as they were being turned by readers. Kind of magical.

periodical room nyc library

Good ol’ Thomas Jefferson promoting the library. 😉

nyc library dedication

Next stop: St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

st patrick's golden light

Bathed in the gorgeous golden light.

candles st patrick's nyc

Daddy and Evey lit a candle, praying for friends and family back at home.

baby in st patrick's

Lucie got to explore from her ‘chariot’.

scaffolding st patrick's

Much of the altar and nave area are covered in scaffolding while they do some cleaning and repairing. {Stephen and I were in awe of the whiteness of the exterior as the last time the both of us had been there it was about 20 shades darker. They recently completed that project.}

st rose chapel st. patrick's

Evey and I lighting a candle at the altar dedicated to St. Rose for all those we know who claim her as a patroness.

st patrick's architecture

Love me some Gothic architecture!

st patrick's architecture

And a trip to NYC with kids would’t be complete without a stop by FAO Schwarz!

fun mirrors fao schwarz

She was lovin’ on the pandas. {Get’s that from my mom. ;)}

panda hugs  fao schwarz

Dancing with my daughter on the BIG piano. So fun!

big piano fao schwarz

big piano fao schwarz

Natural musician.

big piano fao schwarz

big piano fao schwarz

We picked up a few souvenirs, then headed to the rehearsal, followed by the rehearsal dinner at Angelo’s Pizza with some of the tastiest wood-fired pizza we’ve ever had. {Sorry for the lack of photographic evidence.}

Stay tuned for the rest of the trip!

They Are People Too

traveling by plane

Traveling across country with two children this past weekend was an eye-opening experience. Not because of the difficulties inherent in the process {we were anticipating those}, but because of the imposed stigma of society as we dared to travel with our young children.

Apparently, it’s not something our culture really approves of.

An article published this morning by Verily addresses this issue of the disgust many in society aim at parents and their progeny as they integrate themselves in the normal routines of daily life.

“Simple things like parents with young children being allowed to board a plane first so that their babies don’t have meltdowns in long queues are not signs that society is valuing parents more highly than anyone else, it’s just an acknowledgment that parents have different needs and that children are worthy of participating in society.”

We actually weren’t allowed to board first. We asked; it didn’t happen. Those needs weren’t acknowledged, or at best, were brushed aside. The elderly and handicapped were allowed to board first, but then those who had paid extra {about half the plane} were allowed on before we could go through the gate.

It seems common sense to me to let young children and their guardians board early as it takes more time for us to move through the process. Isn’t that why they allow elderly and handicapped through first too? Truly, I’m expecting them to be brushed aside as well.

Making money will become the ultimate motivator, not quality service for those they serve. Not seeing to the best for every customer based on his or her individual needs. That will be subsumed by the wants of the whole and only be allowed if they agree to it. Those who will be first will be the ones who paid for it because money can buy happiness if it comes in the form of boarding a plane five minutes earlier than everyone else.

I won’t even go into the sideways glances we received while attempting to bring babies onto the plane. The How dare you impose your child’s noise on me? looks. I’m sorry, I don’t appreciate your loud snoring as you rest either but that doesn’t disqualify you from riding on a plane.

There were also many sideways glances as we walked down busy city streets. Many comments that implied, Why would you subject yourselves to such an endeavor? 

Perhaps because we are hoping to instill a love of travel in them just as we do. Perhaps because we love to spend time with them and want to do so whenever possible. Perhaps because we want them to be able to delight in the joy of meeting new people, adventuring in new places.

The baby spent most awake moments in her stroller squealing with delight as we passed people on the sidewalk, trying to capture their attention. She likes people. She likes to be outside. Sure, walking is slower with a stroller. It takes longer to get places. It is often more cumbersome. But should I deprive them of the joy of the journey because it is more difficult?

The toddler was beside herself meeting the REAL Winnie the Pooh, her favorite character on the planet. She beamed from ear-to-ear as her daddy held her and read her whatever books she chose off the seemingly endless rows of books in the massive library collection. {MUCH larger than anything we have at home.}

We couldn’t make it to as many things as we would have on our own but we delighted in the few things that we could.

 

The reason we were traveling was to attend the wedding of friends. I arrived early with the girls to find a good spot near the side toward the back so I could make a quick getaway to the vestibule if needed. But as we were sitting there, the priest officiating came up to me and said, “Babies cry. Don’t feel ashamed if your baby is crying. You don’t need to leave.” He joked, too, saying, “Please do find out what is wrong if the baby is crying because that is why the child cries is to let you know something is wrong. But don’t ever feel ashamed that your child is crying because that is what babies do.”

And you know what? Despite my littlest trying to sing along every time the choir broke into song, I didn’t feel the need to leave because he made me feel like my child being there was just as important as every person there.

I pray the tides turn and more people come to realize that our little persons are important people too.

Ten Fun Toys for Entertaining Toddlers on a Plane

flying with E

We’re headed to New York City next month for a few days which will require a long cross-country flight with our girls. We’ve done a flight that long with Evey before when she was about 7 months, and she did fairly well. {Probably better than we did, actually. ;)} But we’ve got two this time — both at very active ages — so I’m filling up my bag o’ tricks in the hopes that things will go smoothly with a steady stream of entertainment for the flight.

L & friends

Here are a few things I’ll be adding to our travel bag:

Madeline Magnet Characters – I used to love these and felt boards when I was little. The possibilities for storytelling and imagination are endless. {I also have a small copy of Madeline I can tuck into my bag as well so we can read the story along with acting it out on the board.} And don’t miss this company’s fridge magnets of different varieties — they have ABCs, NumbersFruits and Vegetables, Farm animals, Babar, Andy Warhol, Eric Carle, and many others. We have the ABCs and we LOVE them!

Flash Cards – Mudpuppy makes a great variety of themed flash cards all attached with a ring to keep them together. I really like their Counting Fruits and Veggies and Animal ABCs.

Animal ABCs Mark Place Mats – This silicone place mat comes with wipeable markers so we can color the picture again and again. Because we like that sort of thing. 😉

Tegu Magnetic Blocks – These little blocks come in their own sealable pouch so they can be contained when not in use. And major plus on their magnetism! This will, hopefully, keep them from tumbling off whatever surface we are working on whenever their is turbulence.

Our Lady of Fatima Shining Light Doll – The girls both love to play with our Shining Light dolls which are a perfect size for slipping into backpacks for on-the-go. It’s a great way to introduce them to our heavenly friends.

Classic Wooden Vehicle Lacing Beads – Lacing beads are a favorite pastime for little fingers around here. These ones and others by this company are great because the shapes can be played with separately too.

Toy Camera – Evelyn likes to “take pictures” on our travels too. This fun, wooden camera is perfect for doing just that.

Story Box Circus – The box this comes in doubles as a stage for the circus characters. Another great win for imaginative play on-the-go!

Winnie the Pooh character toys – I know these are listed as bath toys but ours have never seen water. They are tons of fun for entertaining and chewing on for teethers.

Travel Magna-doodle – If you take nothing else, this is a must. Evelyn has had hers for about a year now and it has saved us numerous times on long car trips, during mama’s shower time, and when she’s just in a plain, bad mood.

Any other recommendations for good travel toys to bring for little ones?

holding giraffe

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