Saturday, May 21, 2016

My Sister Rachel's Visit

A few weeks ago my sister came up for a few days. She was attending a conference in Madison Square Garden on Friday and Saturday, but we got to spend all day Thursday, part of the day Friday, and then Sunday together. It was Rachel's first time in NYC ever, so we decided to "see all the things" together. Thursday was her "cheat day" on dieting so we also decided to go big and eat all the things. 

We began with donuts from Cream in Bay Ridge:

We got on the train and stopped first at Washington Square Park, then walked up to Union Square and to Madison Square Park - stopped to view the Flatiron Building.

We hopped on the train to Grand Central and she gave her best Serena pose:

We went to the New York Public Library - which is more of a museum/ tourist spot, then did some shopping at Zara.

We also split a giant cookie in Bryant Park because it was cheat day.

We walked over to Rockefeller Plaza, Saint Patrick's Cathedral and Times Square. She saw the Naked Cowboy and I lost my MTA card and then found it (miracles exist!).

We took the train to the Upper East Side to sit on the Met steps (it was Gossip Girl day) and then walked through Central Park to our lunch destination.

Rachel's friend from Charlotte generously booked reservations and paid for our lunch at the Loeb Boathouse. It was such a beautiful and fun experience and it was SO NICE to sit down after walking all morning.

We walked through Central Park to the Upper West Side, then took the train south to Battery Park City.

We looked at the 9/11 pools, got some coffee and found a bench where we could admire the Statue of Liberty without taking the ferries because we didn't have much time left to kill.

We headed BACK up to the Upper West Side and went to "The King and I" at Lincoln Center. We had tickets on the very front row thanks to LincTix and it was really fun! Again, it was magical just to sit down after the entire day of walking. 

Day 1 we walked 11.5 miles. It was a long and very eventful day!

Friday we started the morning at MoMa and ate lunch at the Meatball Shop. Then Rachel headed on to her conference. 

Sunday Rachel saw our Sunday routine and the beauty/challenge of walking kids to church when they're not cooperating! We got $10 massages at the corner salon and then Israel and I drove her to the airport. It was a great trip with Rachel and I'm so thankful for all of the one-on-one time we had together and the memories we made exploring the city!

First Trip to Coney 2016

A few weeks ago it was a rainy morning but dry afternoon and we figured it was time to get out of the house and visit Coney Island for the first time this summer! It was still chilly so the boardwalk / Luna Park was not crowded at all. We had fun walking around, the kids rode three rides and then we headed home. Coney is only 15 minutes from us by car! 

Funny story: we decided to put the kids on this car ride pictured below without them having ridden it last year, and since no kids were on it we didn't know what it would do. When it started going it bounced up and down so hard and fast that I was afraid the kids were going to pop out!!! It was a mixture of horror/ hilarity and the kids LOVED it.

As is everyone, we are SO ready for summer. It's mid-May and still feels like spring here. We're ready to lose our jackets and play in the water this summer. Can't wait for warmer temperatures soon so we can have another great New York summer! 

PS Coney Island 2015 - first visit and with grandparents.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Trip South for Spring Break

For Israel's Spring Break at the end of April, I traveled south with the kids to see my friend Leigh in DC and my family outside of Asheville, NC. Leigh graciously let me stay with her Sunday night and Friday night. I left after church Sunday and drove 5 straight hours without stopping! The kids were great and Edith got the ipad when there was less than an hour left in the trip - so that made me feel good that it wasn't an entirely screen time trip at that point!

I loved meeting Leigh's two kiddos - both of which came through beautiful adoption stories!

We set back on the road around 9 and made a stop at a gas station/McDonalds in rural Virginia. I saw a female mullet and 2 male ponytails. Welcome back to the south!! Both kids LOVED their happy meals and ate the entire contents. I don't think Edith has ever eaten a happy meal and she loved the prize. 

We finallllly made it right before dinner time on Monday night! The kids were great in the car and even took a brief nap both days. As soon as we got inside I grabbed my chunky little baby niece Evelyn! She was born in December when we were on our trip South! She's in the best age where she will smile at strangers!

The big cousins were so sweet with my kids and gave them lots of attention. Israel loved being in the "beep beep."

Tuesday we took the kids to the park at my sister's church. It was so nice to be in warm weather!!!

After naptime we put the kids in the kiddie pool (aka "bath") according to my kids.

Lots of snuggles from my kids and Edith began her routine of snuggling mama on the couch until she fell asleep. Then when I was ready for bed, she joined me! Every night while we were gone she did this and I'm afraid she is a bit spoiled now. She wanted to be touching me all night long.


More chunky baby time and pool time for the kiddos.

Thursday morning Elmo watching and snuggles:

I went to get my oil changed and mom and Sarah took the kids to the grocery store.

More pool time! Bubbles and waiting for the rest of the cousins to come! 

Thursday afternoon my sister Rachel came in town and later that night my brother John Mark came in! We had 4/5 siblings together plus my parents. It was so nice to have family all together. We attempted a grandkid photo and I don't think you have to guess which kids of all 9 were the rotten noncompliant ones.... yes Israel and Edith!

Sarah took Israel for school pick-up several days. Israel was pretty obsessed with being in the car and loved seeing the buses. 

Friday morning I left around 9 with the kids and we arrived back in the DC area at my friend Leigh's around 6. It was a long day!

We didn't get a lot of sleep Friday night and decided to get on the road early Saturday because I was so ready to be HOME with my husband!  We made it home without anybody falling asleep so Will and I had time to unload the car and then the kids had naps!

Other notable things from the trip:

- I got to spend an hour alone in Wal Mart!
-We ate all the food. Lots of bad food choices and I'm pretty sure my kids ate french fries at least once per day. I don't own a scale so I am glad that there's no way to know if I really did gain 10 pounds.
-I taught my sister the art of Grands frozen biscuits the way I used to make them (wish I knew where I could find them here in Brooklyn!).
- I listened to a lot of podcasts on my trip, including Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Popcast, Mom Struggling Well, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Sexy Marriage Radio, Mystery Show, and my darling husband's sermons from Crossroads.
-Israel learned several new words, including Sarah, upstairs, and biscuit.
-Edith knows all the words/ actions of All Day with Elmo.
-Edith loved putting baby dolls in Evelyn's baby gear - there would always be dolls in her carseat and baby swing.
- The "Hidden in my heart" lullabye cd is amazing and put my kids to sleep every time in the car!!
-We watched Harry Potter. Lots of Harry Potter.

I loved having very relaxing down time with my family. It was a good week with them and even though it was mentally and physically exhausting being the sole parent (oh how we missed Daddy!) I'm glad I went.
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