Friday, December 6, 2013

The Carrs Take Manhattan

If you don't know that I stole my title from The Muppets Take Manhattan, then we are not friends anymore.

I feel like I should blog about our trip to New York. It was a great trip and even though I like to take pictures of some of the cool things we do, I have a hard time just sitting down and talking in detail about them, because well, who likes that? But I keep having this fleeting thought that Adam will probably remember this trip (isn't that a lot of pressure, when your children get to the age where you can legitimately scar them?) and I'd like to sit down and make some sort of record about it because I will never scrapbook (pulpuslaceratapohobia) and I forget everything. I seriously forgot which side I part my hair the other day- I'm still not sure I made the right choice. (Also, the paper cuts thing is a joke. I will never scrapbook because I can't cut in a straight line.) (Also, that is true, but also a joke. I will never scrapbook because I don't want to.)

Jeff's uncle has a place in Manhattan (I feel very posh just writing that) and a few months ago as we were preparing to move, there was some talk of spending Thanksgiving there, but nobody (including Jeff's parents) seems to remember said discussion and so we had no Thanksgiving plans. We've had Thanksgivings far away from family several times, but this year felt lonelier than usual and we like adventures, so with Uncle Greg's permission, we decided to go up by ourselves. Jeff and I have spent a good little bit in the city, but we have never taken the kids, so this was a big deal for us. We were pumped and then...

I got my usual affliction of feeling really blue about being away from family over the holidays. I grew up far away from family and so I do really have this intense desire for my kids to know all of their relatives well. But it's kind of a tall order to ask people to abandon their plans and fly across the country, so I was blue. I kind of brooded about this silently for a little while till I had the brilliant idea to invite my brother Tim to come. This was a good idea for several reasons- Tim, who probably wouldn't appreciate me characterizing him as super wealthy to a bunch of people on the internet, at least does well-enough to afford a plane ticket and secondly, my mother always seems sort of relieved when people drop out of her Thanksgiving dinner because I really do think she secretly wants to just go out to eat.

Tim said yes, and so we planned to meet him and his girlfriend, Katelin (who is totally wonderful, FYI) on Wednesday in New York. We thought about taking the train, but ultimately liked the freedom that driving would give us. The drive from Reston to Manhattan is supposed to be 4 1/2 hours. Can I just say-BAHAHAHAHA. It took us simply forever. I don't even want to remember the details. We drove to Trenton and thought we could just park there and take a simple ride into the city. Can I just say- BAHAHAHAHA. (Did you know that I am actually counting out how many "HA's" I write?) The train ride was the worst. It was an hour and a half (local train, not express) Avery had diarrhea and both kids just were close to losing it. But we made it- I'm only writing about it because I want to remember to NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. (Also, a few people who know me well will be interested to know that I drove all over the state of Delaware- a place I have been uneasy about since a dream I had as a young child. It was about a gorilla from Delaware. Ironically, no issues with gorillas have ensued.)

Greg has the best view of the Empire State building. It's just wonderful.

We got up early on Thanksgiving and went to the parade. I probably should mention that there are different levels of commitment to seeing the parade and we fell pretty low on the list. It was freezing that morning and we didn't really have the desire to camp out to get a good spot because well, we have kids and we're recently of California. But we did get a nice balloon-spotting vantage point near Macy's and Jeff and Adam stayed for the whole parade. Avery lasted about 20 minutes and so we walked back to the apartment and watched the rest on TV. Every few minutes she would shiver and say "No!" as she very obviously remembered standing outside. She does not seem to enjoy the winter, clever girl.

At the parade. Avery's face doesn't adequately express how downright mad she was for the whole thing.

Happier inside.
Coloring after the trauma.

I had no idea what we would do for Thanksgiving dinner. I only knew that I  didn't want to cook. There are a ton of Thanksgiving dinners that you can order in the city, but apparently that's the kind of thing that you have to not wait till the afternoon of to order. Who knew? We ended up just walking to a really awesome little grocery store that we've been to on other visits here and they had a Thanksgiving buffet. Seriously, that was the best decision ever because it was 10 times better than I could have whipped up and we displayed it all on some fancy platters, so it felt more festive than the average deli. Also, we walked past a macaron shop and I legitimately freaked out and spent 20 bucks on 8 cookies. You do the math- I'll be too busy dreaming of macarons.

Pretty long list of things to be thankful for in this picture.


For Thanksgiving dinner, Avery just chomped on an apple and colored Elmo. I was charmed by her manners.
After dinner, Jeff and Adam went with Tim and Katelin to see Time Square. He loved it, of course. I'm really bummed that Avery and I stayed home- I love Time Square. It is the biggest bunch of lights and crazies that you will ever encounter.

We took a bath instead.

I love the pure joy on his face and also the random pedestrian.

Friday was Katelin's birthday and we celebrated by going to the Empire State Building. Jeff and I have been to New York a few times and this is really one of  the only big tourist things we haven't seen (that and Statue of Liberty- which I actually am dying to see and still eludes me). We really wanted to go because Adam loves big buildings and elevators and landmarks in general. And so we went and I've got to say that I'm not completely sure I'd recommend it. It's about 20 bucks per person (kids are free- hallelujah) and we waited in line for about 2 hours. I think if you're willing to spend the money on it, make sure you don't go on a holiday weekend because there were just so many people. The view, however, was incredible.

Oh, and yes, Avery fell asleep randomly at 10:30 in the morning while we were walking to the Empire State building, thus becoming sleep/dead Avy once more. People always have a lot of comments on this, and I forgot to answer the recent ones. When she does this, I usually try to hunch over so she looks more natural- it's pretty uncomfortable for me, but it's better than the alternative. There is a shade cover on the Ergo, and we used it a lot when she was a baby, but she doesn't like it now that she's older- I think she doesn't like to have fabric near her face, which I can relate to. She wakes up immediately when we put that on, so we usually just bear with sleep/dead Avy because she never sleeps that way for long. People do stare, but usually they just laugh. In New York, everyone was just really delighted by it. It's hard to explain sleep/dead Avy unless you've seen it with your own eyes, it's funny not only because she is randomly so out of it (and so dramatically), but also because she usually wakes up really happy and social. She's fine, don't worry. It's a very rare and short occurrence, since neither of my children are much for sleeping in public.

I was hoping she'd stay asleep for the whole time we were in line, but we were in line for a billion years.
Jeff and Adam at the top. Adam could recognize the Flat Iron building and Greg's building from up here. I tells ya, he's a landmark genius.
Pretty view of downtown.
Me and Avery uptown.

How she reacted when anyone else held her that morning.
How she was even when I held her that day. (Uncle Greg's apartment is the gold dome on the right.)

Adam probably wins the award for happiest person on the subway. He, like all little boys, loves mass transit.

.We spent the afternoon recouping and then went out again in the evening. Tim and Katelin went shopping on 5th while we decided to go much more upscale... FAO Schwartz. I love FAO Schwartz. I wish I could live there. The kids loved it too.
Avery stopped in the doll section for about 10 minutes and just yelled "BABIES" over and over in a really threatening voice.

They did the giant piano and adored it.

Neither of my children could set off the lights or notes very often because they are both ridiculously little.
This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I put a puppet on his hand after my very impressive show and he was really surprised that it didn't do anything. "Mom! Mine doesn't talk!"
This is Avery and I walking along Central Park. She looks disgruntled, but we took the picture because of how friggin delighted she was by the central park carriages.
We came back and Katelin blew out the candles on her huge red velvet cake and Adam took a slice down to the doorman, who he loved. "Hey! You're back! I noticed you were gone. I'm three and a half!" (A real conversation.)

Saturday was more mellow because Friday really took it out of us. We tried to go to the 9/11 memorial, but tickets were sold out, so we just walked around lower Manhattan. It was actually kind of fun. I like days like that. We saw Wall Street and Adam used the bathroom at Trinity Church and then we caught a pretty intense street performance at Battery Park. Also, Adam had this theory that a specific pigeon was following him the whole time and well, that was hilarious.

Adam and Katelin made a gingerbread house and she was just so good with him. 
Avery and I walking around Bowling Green park after seeing the Bull of Wall Street.

She still was a little upset when anyone else would hold her.

But I guess she got over it.

The Statue of Liberty from Battery Park. Maybe next time?

That night, Jeff and I went out on a date, which was probably the real reason we invited Tim and Katelin along. (Haha!) It was so so so fun. Jeff adores the city, he just lights up when he walks around. I devised a date night that would combine a couple of different Sarah and Jeff things. We went to Greenwich Village (We've never been there before- exploring new parts of New York is a Jeff thing.) and saw the Friends house (or the exterior shots of a place that they show in Friends- a Sarah thing.) we wandered around Washington Square Park (and saw all of the chess tables- Jeff thing, but also a Sarah thing because they're the ones in Searching For Bobby Fischer and seeing things that are in movies is a Sarah thing) until we found a place to eat (a vegetarian soul-food and Asian fusion restaurant- trying new things is a Jeff thing), and then we went and saw Catching Fire (a Sarah thing, but also a Jeff thing, because he totally read them too). The time we wanted had sold out, so we wandered around a comic store (probably more of a Sarah thing, but they had a lot of Futurama memorabilia, which is a Jeff thing). We loved the movie and sauntered home very late. During the walk home we saw a drunk man fall over a bike rack and some rats, but it was still a pretty magical date.

Washington Square Park. 

Friends house. 
Sunday was just busy. We had a lot to do and getting home was a wee bit terrible and I was pretty darn tired and grumpy from literally carrying Avery all over Manhattan, so I'd like to block most of Sunday out. Except for the part where we got Shake Shack! That was delicious.

Also, it's in DC. Which is good, so very good, to hear.

Saying goodbye. Adam has such a soft spot in his heart for his Uncle Tim.
We are so grateful to Tim and Katelin, for spending all of this time with us and so grateful to Greg, whose continual kindness has set our children up with a lot of happy childhood memories to negate the one time this pigeon chased Adam around lower Manhattan.


mcampbell said...

That was one of the most entertaining trip recaps I've read in a long time. Also, your kids are great. You and Jeff too. Merry Christmas!

Elizabeth said...

Loved all the pictures and stories. But especially Adam's encounters with he doorman and pigeon! He's definitely going to remember this trip!

Val said...

Oh my gosh, I laughed so much during this post! You are so funny.