Monday, October 8, 2018

Family Vacation To...New York City! {Part 1}

Our travel philosophy has always been: Have kids, will travel. We've traveled to a ton of places with our kids, but over the last year or two we've kept our travels pretty close to home. Now that B.C. is a little older we felt we could venture outside of our little southern box as a family. 

My dad's 60th birthday is in a few months, and last year we decided to do a big surprise family trip to New York City. He is from the city, and has always wanted to take the entire family to enjoy it. We've all been various times for different reasons, but never together. And my kids have never been. 

Day 1: Away We Go!

After a year of careful planning, it was time to kick off the surprise! We told my dad part of it for Father's Day, but not everything. Our Fall Break came and we were off! 

B.C. has never been on a plane before, and she was so excited! When we got on the Parking Spot bus to head to the airport she was pretty underwhelmed by the whole process. 

The big kids are pros by now, and knew fun was on the horizon. 

| Girls Dresses | Girls Shoes |
 Go through the airport was a lot easier than I envisioned with three young kids, but I think having the older two have a few flights under their belts helped, and cutting down on what we carried so we had hands free. Everyone got a backpack they were in charge of, and the rest we checked. 

And just like her siblings, B.C. realized just how awesome the airport was. Seriously, I've never met three kids who love the airport as much as mine. It might have something to do with the moving sidewalks. Or the train. Or the restaurants and candy around every corner. While getting through Hartsfield can feel like it takes forever (because it does), it has its advantages. 

Once boarded, we claimed our row. B.C. acquainted herself with every passenger with in five rows, opened every tray, pouch, and crevice she could find. She made buddies with the flight attendants, and then settled down to read and inquire about snacks.

The pros got their headphones out and fired up their iPads. 

| Good Luck With That | Grey Jeans | White Top | 

I brought some reading material, but I only was able to get about 20 pages knocked out. B.C. was for the most part great, but I was busy being the snack distributor, headphones adjustor, potty break supervisor, and then before I knew it, it was time to land. 

| Dalmatian Back Pack |
 When we hit turbulence crossing over Hurricane Florence, rather than freak out in terror my youngest squealed with joy and shouted gleefully, "So FUN! Again!" 

Needless to say she loved every second of her first flight. All of my kids were in awe of New York City as we landed. They've been to Boston and Chicago, but New York skyline is something else. They couldn't believe how many tall buildings there are. 

It was about a 45 minute cab ride from the airport to our hotel. I won't mention our hotel, or recommend it for families because it was way too small for a family our size to be comfy. Most hotels in New York have smaller rooms, but something a little bigger would have been nice. 

We immediately dumped our bags in the room and headed out to explore. We were the first of my family to arrive so it was just the five of us and the city. And like a billion other people. 

We were staying close to Bryant Park, so we let the kids explore. There was actually a ton going on at the time so they thought it was fun to see. We popped over to the carousel and their love affair of New York officially began. The ride was only $2/person so Mr. Cute and I were happy to let them enjoy probably the cheapest thing we would do all week. 

After the carousel, the kids had fun seeing some of the performers in the park. 

I feel like the sleeping guy and I are soul mates. 

After everyone worked up an appetite exploring we made our way to the first restaurant that didn't have availability after 8:30p.m. 

We stumbled upon this little gem - Parker & Quinn. It was delicious and had such a fun atmosphere!

It was probably a nicer restaurant than our three kids needed to be brought to after a day full of travel and exploring, but with a little assist from the iPad I forgot to take out of my bag, we made it through. #nojudgment 

It was a delicious meal and the perfect way to end our day! 

Day 2

Most of my family arrived late the night before, and then my youngest sister and her boyfriend arrived early in the morning. So by the time we all dressed and ate breakfast everyone was together and ready to explore the city. 

| Boys Tee |
All my kids were fascinated with NYC, but I think L.C. might have loved it the most. She soaked in everything everyone was doing, and loved stopping to pose with all the other tourists. 

| Girls Striped Dress
We didn't have any concrete plans for the day other than to just walk around. We spotted St. Patrick's Cathedral and decided to do a quick visit. 

If you've never been it is quite breathtaking. It holds a ton of history since it's construction in the mid-1800's. 

But to me it's size and beauty are so worth seeing. 

Once the girls began regaling tourists and church members with their vocal skills we decided it was time to depart. Luckily everyone thought they were cute singing songs (...and thankfully they were church appropriate.  T-Swift and Post Malone don't quite fit the St. Patrick's vibe, you know?)

L.C. cracked everyone up about her "city posing". My dad got in on the action. 

But apparently New York's next top model is closer than you think. 

| Dress | Cardigan (similar) | Shoes

St. Patrick's survived our crew, and then we headed out to Bryant Park for some lunch. For some crazy reason my dad wanted all of us to try some street food. 

Now, I'm all about experiencing things, but this wasn't going to be one of them. Been there. Done that. I'm only here for the donut cart. 

The kids however, the kids were all about the street cart food. 

After everyone refueled, we made our way towards Rockefeller Center. 

It was Saturday, so Top of the Rock had a super long wait. So we decided to pass on that tourist attraction and just hang out for a bit. 

The kids took this opportunity to point out the American Girl Store and the Lego store. We felt like Legos was the cheaper way to go, and let everyone pick out a little something. The kids were amazed at the displays though, and we learned that the new Harry Potter lego line was a huge hit. As fast as the employees were putting them on shelves it seemed like they were scooped up. 

Next stop: Times Square. Times Square was by far the busiest part of the city we saw the entire trip. We almost stayed in a hotel in Times Square and after seeing how crowded it was, I was glad we had gone another route. 

It was also the most tourist-trappy. This super cute photo of Cute and the Batman gang almost cost me $20. They walked up behind him as he was posing and asked if they could hop in. Cute was all excited so I snapped his pic. Next L.C. jumped in, so I snapped another. Then they promptly held up a card and told me they wanted $5 per kid per photo. 

Sorry Bat people. Wasn't happening. 

I threw them a $5 and told the kids if any characters offered pictures from here on out just say no. Doing the math I think Disney would be cheaper. 

The next character happened to be painted ladies, and the kids weren't the ones who I had to tell no. Mr. Cute and my dad were told to just keep walking. 

But just a heads up if you go with kids, and kids who like characters. There is every kind of character you can think of dressed up and staged around the square - Disney, Paw Patrol, super heroes, etc. - fair warning should you go and they want to see them. It's a gimmick and keep walking. 

Unless you want to earn a little shopping money...throw on that Elsa costume from last Halloween and have at it. 

We did a little shopping and then we let the kids pick out some treats from the M&M store. 

My big kid picked out some treats too. 

After this we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for dinner. 

We hopped in a cab to do a little pre-birthday dinner for my dad. He chose Angeletto and it was so so good! 

I actually think my meal here was my favorite meal of the entire trip. 

It's not the best food photo ever, but if I could recreate that dish, I would. I would have no shame in eating it every single night. If you find yourself dining at Angeletto, do yourself a favor and try the Spaghetti with Italian Sausage in lemon sauce. Follow it up with the Tiramisu, and then realize what a little piece of heaven tastes like. 

That wraps up our first few days in New York City. Tomorrow I'll share a little bit more. We packed a lot in over the next few days, so be ready for even more of a photo overload! 

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