We are home!!!!! Many of you probably didn't even know we were gone, but this past week, Jonathan and I went on a seven day getaway to New York City to celebrate our sixth anniversary! We had such a wonderful time experiencing all of the Big Apple for the first time together. Can I just say, I have never walked so much in my entire life! There is so much to do, so many things to see, and even though you get so exhausted, you feel like you can't stop and rest because you want to squeeze everything in in the seemingly short time that you are there!
Jonathan's parents so graciously kept Liam and Nora for us, and Aunt Mames (Amy) came over several days to lend a helping hand. The kids did great! They slept great, ate great, and had a wonderful time with Granna and Granddaddy. In fact, while we were gone, Liam got lots of practice with walking while holding onto things and pushing objects. So much, in fact, that I really think it may not be long before he's taking off on his own. He seems to have grown several inches while we were gone, too!
I have so much to tell about our vacation and all that we saw and experienced in NYC, but for now, I'll leave you with a few pictures and a few thoughts that really stuck out to me while we were there. One day while we were riding the subway, I got to thinking about several things that I would like to blog about regarding the trip. In a stroke of genius, I decided to write some of these thoughts down because I know myself all too well, particularly my tendency to forget! Here are some of the ideas about NYC that I jotted down:
1. Map reading skills are ESSENTIAL! I like maps. Not geography, per se, but I do enjoy navigating and reading maps. Good thing! We used our subway map and our little tourist map and a few iPhone applications so much during this trip, and it made me realize that map reading skills are a must. Definitely something we want to make sure our kids are good at!
2. NYC= Sensory Overload. While walking down the street in the middle of Times Square (or anywhere in NYC, for that matter), you must be prepared to be greeted with at least 100 different smells in a matter of mere seconds. Just walk down the street with me: urine. exhaust from the twenty or so buses nearby. oh, would that be horse poop from the NYPD horses that crossed the street ahead of us. hot dogs grilling. grease. the smell of all things fried. chicken kabobs. grease. exhaust. Oh, pleasant smell, we just walked in front of a bakery. Thank you, Jesus! Oh, we're back to the kabobs and the piercing smell of burnt pretzel salt. Onions. Grilling onions. Exhaust.
And on and on and on. It's all part of the experience, but, if you happen to be pregnant, I imagine this could be a cause for serious morning sickness.
3. Good shoes are a must.
4. There were so many people of different ethnicities/countries. Now, I am from New Orleans which has historically been referred to as a melting pot culture. There are lots of different races that live there. But, this was even more apparent in NYC. Also, I noticed a ton of tourists from Europe.
5. I like to people watch. That's probably how I came to the conclusion above. Also, a prime place to people watch is one the subway, but you have to try to be subtle about it or people might think you are a serial killer or something. Lots of fun people-watching went on in NYC.
6. We DEFINITELY looked like tourists on this trip. You know when you go somewhere new and you try to blend in....yeah, well that was NOT happening on this trip. Well, we did blend in with the hundreds of thousands of tourists. But, I definitely did not look like a New York City native. We had the tennis shoes, the back pack, the cameras, the shopping bags. And, on the day we went to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, we wore the bright yellow I Love New York PANCHOS! (Panchos, people!!!) because it was raining cats and dogs and our baby umbrellas just. weren't. cutting. it. I'll try to post a picture soon.
7. I am so thankful I live in Knoxville. I am so thankful that I am raising kids in a quaint house in Knoville. I am so thankful I don't have to live in NYC. I am so thankful I don't have to raise kids in NYC. Crazy!
8. Apparently, calorie counting is a big deal in New York City. For every meal at every restaurant. Every drink. Every pastry. Every slice of cheesecake. Even at McDonald's you will find the calorie count for every food item posted. Jonathan thinks that they should do that everywhere because it will make people think twice before ordering.
9. I am totally intrigued by the subway system. It is AMAZING. Seriously, I am going to try to find a documentary or something on the history channel that I can watch to find out more about it. How long has it been there? Who came up with the idea? How do they get two and three floors BELOW ground level? How are they maintained? How do they not run off track and crash into the walls? Do they every clean the subways? Seriously. It's so cool. Also, there is beautiful tile displays at every stop telling the name of the street above: GORGEOUS! I think the tiles have been there for decades! Who did that? Let me know if you have any ideas of where I can learn more about this!
I am a nerd. yes.
10. It's true. Starbucks is on every corner.
11. Pastries: Divine. My favorite: Au Bon Pain. Cheese Danish. "Nuff said.
12. Fernando the Cabbie: We are BFF. He basically tutored me on how to drive a cab. He did such a good job that I kind of felt like I could take off and start my own career in cab-driving right away. Sweetest man alive.
13. I think I experienced the best Italian food of my life at a restaurant not far from Times Square called Patsy's. Two Words: Shrimp Marinara.
14. Soho. Soooohoooo much fun.
15. I was not so impressed with Chinatown. I know! What's wrong with me. But, I will admit that I didn't even so much as think about purchasing anything while we walked through there.
Okay....there's so much more to come, but these are just a few random thoughts that I had to share.