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Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Big Apple, day 3

Day 3 started off with a bagel; we paid $6 for The Unicorn at Boxkite Coffee, and it was worth every penny. (In fact, we drank coffee at least twice a day, and no Starbucks for us! Super awesome for me since I gave up coffee 6 weeks ago. It's definitely back in my life after NY.)

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One of the first things to happen on day 3 was my metro card stopped working. You know, the one we paid for that should have been good for 7 days. Metro workers were not particularly helpful, but we managed to get where we needed to go. It just wasn't quite as convenient.

We walked in hushed silence through the 9/11 Memorial and cried many tears. Really, it was incredible. We were there with hundreds (maybe thousands) of other tourists, and everyone was  quiet, respectful, emotional. Much-needed tissues were available in many of the viewing rooms.
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One piece of hand-painted paper - one for every victim - reflecting the color of the sky on 9/11. To give an idea of size, these pieces of paper are 8.5x11 (the display was enormous - 2,977 victims).
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We saw George Washington's pew in St. Paul's Chapel and briefly stepped into mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
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While Becky and Liz toured Madison Square Garden, mom and I browsed through Chelsea Market, an enclosed urban food court and shopping mall (by far the busiest and most expensive place we visited). More importantly, we managed the subway without Becky.

We rested in Bryant Park and had waffles and shakes before visiting the NY library. At this point in day 3, our poor feet just needed to be still.
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We observed multiple wedding photoshoots. How do you make that happen and how much does it cost?
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We browsed 2 of the 10 floors at Saks on Fifth Avenue and giggled at the $3,000 dresses and purses.

We went to the top of the Rockefeller Center right before the rain began to fall. You can see St. Patrick's from this view (the same St. Patricks as mentioned a few paragraphs/pictures above). We had planned this trip to coincide with sunset, but there was no sun!
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We had our only major subway mishap on our last evening and spent 60 minutes traveling instead of 20. I'm pretty sure we were headed to Harlem. And then walked 4-5 blocks in the rain and missed supper because of it.
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Just a few random notes:

We stayed at the Hepzibah House, an old brownstone established in 1893 that allows ministry leaders to stay at a reduced rate. The downside is our room was 78 steps up on the 5th floor. As in, Becky and I had to carry our luggage up 78 stairs and then climb those stairs every. night. On our last evening, we desperately wanted Tylenol because our legs and bodies hurt so badly from the walking but couldn't bring ourselves to walk down the steps to find any.

Despite staying right next to Central Park, we never made it to Central Park. Becky suggested including it in the schedule but the rest of us newbies decided there was no possible way we could miss it since we stayed so close. Yep, we missed it.

I think our biggest source of laughter came from all of Becky's plans to just "meander" around. We quickly realized that there is no such thing as "meandering" in NYC. There is making a mad dash and walking many, many blocks, but not meandering.

We have planned and talked about this trip for years. I think we're all a little sad at how quickly our time went, but we made some memories that's for sure. It's been fun, even in just the 3 weeks since we've been home, to notice all the NYC sites on TV, books, and movies and to recognize them as somewhere we have visited. We're already planning next year's mom/daughter trip although it might be a trip with significantly less steps. You know, maybe a staycation in Nashville where we can eat our way through the city.


The Big Apple, day 2

(I am so far behind posting these that it's a miracle I remember any details.)

On Day 2 we started ditching everything non-essential and went down to wallets and phones. And the selfie stick. I ditched the camera after day 1, which is probably good since we had rain off and on.

Day 2 was supposed to be a little less strenuous than day 1, although that did not really happen because we just had too much we wanted to see and do. We had a lot of laughs about how "easy" day 2 and day 3 were going to be. 23,000+ steps did not feel easy, however.

We ate breakfast at Urban Space market, realized it was National Donut Day and ate donuts from Dough. Yes, two breakfasts. Fueling up for the steps.
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We visited Grand Central Terminal. The market (and coffee shops) were amazing. We had coffee twice in the space of about 2 hours.
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We spent 4+ hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then took a timeout at the Temple of Dinder, laughed hysterically and tried to cool our battered feet on the marble floor. Right after this particular picture, we were reprimanded by a security guard about the selfie stick (even though there were no signs posted anywhere and many others had a selfie stick as well) and then a couple next to us loudly applauded the ban on selfie sticks . . . even though they had just taken a selfie as well. It was bizarre and our only strange run-in with people. Otherwise, New Yorkers were very customer-service driven, helpful and friendly. Often, strangers stopped to ask if we needed help with directions.
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We spent Friday afternoon in Greenwich Village eating a calzone at John's Pizzeria, a macaroon at bisous, and a cupcake at Molly's Bakery. Y.U.M. Definitely our best food day (peanut butter cupcake with nutella filling in case you were wondering and a blood orange macaroon with chocolate ganache filling). Not only was this our best food day, but we loved browsing in this neighborhood. It wasn't touristy at all, just full of community. This is also where we saw an urban basketball court/game. Just like on TV.
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We rode the Staten Island Ferry.
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We finished up Friday with a late-night stop at The Shake Shack where we ate ice cream (I told you this was our best food day) and took advantage of their wi-fi and shared pictures.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Five on Friday

1. We instituted a summer schedule this week. I'm giving the kids some guidelines on screen time, but also more freedom in terms of how much media time they're allowed for the summer. To counterbalance, there's a big chore chart and the media freedom is directly determined by their attitude and personal responsibility to complete those chores. Because Camden is nothing if not my own child, he thanked me for the organized schedule because, "I do love being organized." Because independence is Rory's number one goal in life, she approaches the chores with much enthusiasm and commitment to excellence.

2. We (as in Camden and I along with group texts with Becky and Liz) have been watching the NBA playoffs/finals now for the last 6ish weeks. I have no idea what I'm going to do with the extra 12 hours a week that basketball has been occupying. Oh, and we're Cavs fans so we think the comeback story currently happening is pretty fun. Also, Bleacher Report app? Rabbit. Hole.

3. Brian and Camden are gone on a backpacking adventure (with no cell service so I have no idea how it's going) this week. Rory and I stocked up on American Girl movies, and we've been trying to stay out of the heat by browsing the mall. Yesterday I sat down and watched her try on every single glittery, sequined high heeled shoe she could find in her size. And there are a surprising number of shoes in this category that fit a 9 year old.

4. I have been reading a gargantuan true-crime book on the Charles Manson murders, but once Brian and Camden left town decided I needed something lighter. I picked up a fluffy Morgan Matson book which turned out to have a dying father (not so fluffy) and so I moved to The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks. That should fit the bill of light fare.

5. One week after getting new lenses for her glasses, Rory's frames broke (just past the warranty and yet too early for insurance to cover them, of course) so as of Wednesday, she's sporting a new pair of glasses.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Big Apple, day 1

Our trip to NYC passed by in a blur of subway rides, laughter, and 70,496 steps. In less than 3 days (let that sink in). It was everything I dreamed that it would be from the shared laughs and time with mom, Becky, and Liz to the overwhelming bigness and busyness of the city. We didn't see crazy in NYC, but we did see  beautiful diversity, buildings, and sites.

Here are just a few snippets and pictures (mostly from my iPhone because the big girl camera did not agree with the crowds/heat/70,496 steps) in 3 parts because . . . 3 days.

We left before daylight (4:30ish) Thursday morning. Our first selfie and we were photobombed (this guy was great).
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Just after arriving and headed out for the first time. Notice our cute make-up and how smooth our hair was. There is significant deterioration in our looks as the days went on.
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Whyyyyyyy were we in sweaters?
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Wall Street
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We laughed and laughed later on about splitting a vegan cookie from this spot. Because that totally fueled the 25,000+ steps we took that day.
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NY had the best chalkboard signs outside of the restaurants and shops.
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We rode Jane's Carousel, built in 1922. We also laughed really hard at my mom's attempt to get on and off the horse.
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We walked the Brooklyn Bridge and were grateful a cyclist didn't take us down. These pictures do not show the crazy.
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We walked through Chinatown for hand-pulled noodles in a hole-in-the-wall spot (and, yes, we're as tired as she looks).
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We ate Italian cheesecake and cannoli in Little Italy.
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We sat on the 16th row for Fiddler on the Roof. My mom especially was in heaven.
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We marveled at Times Square at night. And tried not to be frustrated when I couldn't possible capture a picture that adequately showed the scope.
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