Whew - I thought I'd never get these posts done. So here goes, We5Kings Love NYC: Day 1. We covered a LOT of ground this day (literally, we walked 12.8 miles total) and it was so worth it!
We are super lucky to have such dear friends that let us stay at there Manhattan home (I say that intentionally, because they just moved to SanFran so I now have a bi-coastal friend. Crazy. And awesome) which is a mere 3 blocks away from Central Park. So we slept in by our standards, ate some breakfast, enjoyed some coffee and headed out for a stroll.
They could definitely get used to this morning routine. The girls would have sat on that ledge and watched those ducks all morning, perfectly content to make up stories about their family and which one's the "mommy", "daddy", "little sister", "big brother", and of course, "cousins, aunts, and uncles".
Pinch me. Because this is my heaven and I'm not sure how I got so lucky as to have it here on earth.
We made our way to the playground and Radley informed me that "it's exactly like I remember" which basically made me sob because I really just love this city. I love the sights and sounds. I love the potential it holds. I love the things you get to experience and I really love that those things don't have to be crazy expensive. You can do NYC on a reasonable budget and STILL get to live it up. I mostly love that this girl was with us out of my tummy this time. Our last adventure here, I was a little over 20 weeks pregnant and she has heard all the stories of when we got to go to New York City. She had been so excited leading up to this trip and she just had a blast!
And this girl was just a BABY on our last visit. She was so cute to watch with Landry, helping her climb and getting her to go down the "fast slide". Seriously, where does the time go?
Radley wasn't as interested in the playground this time as all the rocks and boulders. We got him some waterproof boots for the trip since the forecast called for rain and he kept saying, "Mom, I have my rock climbing shoes on, so I'm going over there." and pointing to the highest places he could find. He climbed these same rocks last time but with help - this visit he was at the top before I could blink.
A little man with an entire world to explore surrounding him. What big things await him - discoveries, lessons, losses and victories and I get a front row seat to it all.
We could have stayed in that park all day long and they would have enjoyed every single second, but we continued our way out making stops along the way at some of my favorite little landmarks. The most adorable British man that ever was took this picture of us. He seriously took 25 pictures and after each one I would try to walk forward to grab the camera and he wouldn't let me...he kept changing the angle and zoom and layout until he felt like he got it right. I could have kept him with me the whole trip. He just oohed and aahhed over the kids and gave me and Ryan such compliments for our family. Darling.
And then I tried to make Sarah proud.
(Note: Y'all - MOST of the pics from our trip I did in my manual settings. I know. Totally a professional.)
And then Radley insisted on taking some of us.
We finally arrived at our next stop - Times Square. We wanted to stop by the TKTS booth to see if we could score some tickets to Aladdin but they were only selling for the 2pm show which we knew we weren't going to make.
Instead we snapped some pics, grabbed a snack and explored the Disney store where the girls decided that's where their one treat from the trip should come. We had given each kid Toys R Us gift cards for Christmas to spend, but THEY CLOSED THE TIMES SQUARE LOCATION (and saved $42 million/year on rent) so instead they just got cash. They picked these dolls (Belle and Snow White) which are even more adorable in person and have had a blast playing pretend.
Then we hopped on the train to make our way to Brooklyn.
And I do need to take a minute and give some virtual fist bumps to these kids - such troopers, great listeners and tiny travelers.
We couldn't pass up a photo op next to a real-life FDNY truck before heading into lunch.
A late lunch by adult standards; an extremely late lunch for the kids. But TOTALLY worth the wait.
I think these three would agree - we only had two slices left!
But only because they wanted to save room for dessert, and in case you're wondering... they were major fans of the first cannoli. So much so that there may be been a **moment** where I looked up and they were fighting over it and I had to threaten to leave them there if they didn't start being a bit kinder.
After a meal like that, we of course needed to walk it off a bit and clearly there was no better place than our next stop...
As many times as I've visited the City, I've never walked across the bridge.
And I'm so glad that my first time was with them.
The kids had fun walking around and exploring and looking at that Manhattan skyline.
And then all of a sudden, we looked down and Landry had crashed.
But these two were wide awake.
Tourists took a cue from Paris and have started a small love lock movement in NYC; although there aren't nearly as many it was fun looking through them all and thinking of the stories behind them. Hopefully it won't become such a problem as in Paris, since locks were removed for damaging their structure.
Radley loved them, he kept looking for ones with writing or really unique and old locks.
I love this stage - his eagerness to learn and explore. His contentment in what is happening right now and getting less of the asking what's coming next.
He's a fantastic travel buddy.
Even when he's rolling his eyes at his sisters. :)
Because he still holds my hand.
We made our way across that mile long bridge and started looking for some coffee and treats to warm us up and just happened to pass St. Peter - mass had started so we didn't want to go in and make noise but the kids took some peeks inside of this beautiful parish.
After a quick rest and caffeine fix for me and Ryan, we walked to our final planned stop for the evening, the Reflection Pools at Ground Zero. We didn't make plans to go to the museum this trip since the kids are so young, but we did talk to them about the day and those events, we spoke of the fear and sadness surrounding the loss of the WTC and we answered their questions as we walked along. Seeing the names of the victims made it more real for Radley, especially when we spotted "Gregory" and "Gerard" so close to each other - my dads first and middle names. I pray in their lifetime that they never see such hate as those events, but I also pray that when they do, their faith, courage and love will carry them through.
We made our way back to Times Square to see the lights at night and to check on the 8pm Aladdin show. Ryan and I decided that the girls should probably just go to bed after such a long day, but Radley was interested in seeing it. I asked him one last time and then he looked up with hesitation, "...Mom, ... will you be sad if I just want to go to sleep?"
Sweet boy, of course not - plus - that's an excuse to come back!
So we made the walk home for one last surprise...
The tree was still up! They were so excited to see "Buddy's tree" and the sweet woman that took our picture is married to the lead electrician that handles all the lights.
We had a fantastic first day in the city, filled with discoveries and fun and I love knowing that this world of ours is all theirs... A banquet before them waiting to be devoured.