Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Break: Part 1

Last week our family loaded the van and headed north! Most people head south for spring break, but since Grady had business in NYC for three days, and since most of his extended family is in New Jersey, we decided to make it a week of family fun and head north with him. My dear husband agreed to a 10-hour road trip with three kids rather than a quick and quiet flight directly to NYC. What a man, what a man. What a mighty fine man.
The boys rode like total champs! It was eerily quiet in the back of the van - they hardly talked the entire drive and sat so well while watching DVDs and playing Leapster games. Maybe it was the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch more than the usual one hour of TV a day. Maybe it was the unending suply of snacks I kept passing back. Or maybe they've just reached a new milestone in traveling etiquette and realized that yelling and whining and trying to wrestle in the car isn't a lot of fun for anyone.
Annalyse, however, was another story. She slept a grand total of 25 minutes the entire drive and she cried for a good, long, and loud portion of the rest of the trip. I can't blame her, really. She's too young to watch DVDs, play Leapster, care about coloring, or playing with Play-Doh. After her sixth lollipop and numerous bags of Goldfish crackers, she made it clear to the rest of the family she was so over the excitement of spring break travel. Lots of wailing and tears, but to compensate, we had lots of loud music and ear plugs.
The boys always get a kick out of the things we see during our road trips: big bridges, long tunnels, high mountains, cool cars, and police cars pulling other vehicles over. After seeing a few police cars, Micah asked, "How come you don't want to let a police man chase you, Dad? Don't you think it would be fun?"
Driving north to New Jersey always confirms why we have nothing to complain about regarding traffic in North Carolina. Traffic is painful on I-95. I don't remember there ever not being massive construction or intense traffic or long standstills. But, when all was said and done, we arrived without incident and the kids were excited to see their Nana!
This blurry, fuzzy picture is of my boys running like wild men around my mom-in-laws backyard. We pulled in the driveway, they gave a hug and a hello, and were off and running and kicking and jumping around the yard until it was too dark to stay out. I guess 10 hours on a five year old and four year old hind end will do that.
The next morning my sis-in-law and nieces came to spend the day and play. Nana enjoyed board games and coloring Easter eggs with all her grandkids, and I enjoyed the chance to see my six-month pregnant sis-in-law who is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Baby Boy. (Eeek!) So excited to have a nephew to love and my boys are hoping that when the baby is born "he will want to wrestle and race cars." Poor kid has a tight agenda and he's not even here yet.
Later in the afternoon, Grady and I packed up and took a bus from NJ to NYC. Goodbyes to the kids were quick and simple - Grady was ready to get settled into his hotel and and prepared for the next few days of work, and I was excited to explore NYC for a day without kids!
After using the bus and experiencing how clean and easy and simple it was to get to NYC, I'm eager to make the trip again, but with the boys. I'm scheming of how we can make this happen the next time Grady is slated to be in the city. Or, maybe I'll think back to how wonderful it was to enjoy a quiet dinner, swanky hotel, and city lights with just my husband and forget about bringing the boys.
After catching a cab from our bus stop we checked into the hotel, dropped our bags, and headed out for an evening on the town. We explored the area around his hotel, taking in the sights and sounds of Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and 5th Avenue. 
I can't explain it, but the city energizes me. So much to see and do. So many people to watch. So many things to explore. Grady and I got sappy and reminiscent about our long-lost days of living in downtown Chicago. Ah, those were the days. Things are a tad different now: we drive a minivan and live by a cow pasture. A far cry from the 30th floor apartment we had and the taxi's we depended on.
The next morning we enjoyed a great breakfast together before parting ways. Grady headed to the office and I headed out to explore. I grabbed a Starbucks coffee and took off toward the NBC studios hoping to get in on the Today Show action. Sara Palin was a guest host that day and security was extra tight. Since I wasn't on the plaza bright and early when the show started taping, I wasn't able to get up close and personal so I have no television debut behind Ann Curry like my husband did several weeks back. No problem - 5th Avenue had fun stores to wander until it was time to catch a cab to my bus stop and head back to NJ.
When I arrived back in NJ, my kids hardly noticed I was back because they were too busy having fun with Aunt Becki, Jenna, and Nana. Three doting family members meant one-on-one attention for each kid! It didn't take long for my kids to realize they had a "My wish is your command" type of scenario happening in their favor.
After a full day of soccer and playing at the park, it was time for stories and cuddles with Nana before bed. This was the end of day three in our visit and Nana had a full and fun schedule for the rest of our week. Despite late bed times for everyone and random nap times for Annalyse, my kids held emotions in check and kept up with the swing of things. All melt-downs averted: win!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like SUCH a wonderful, fun trip! I'm so jealous of the little get-away to the city! I was just thinking today how different our life is now than when we were first married & living on the 35th floor of a high rise! Now, I wouldn't change a thing, but I don't know if we could have imagined then what was ahead & how full life can be! Both seasons very wonderful, but very different! I love all the pics! It is wild to see ice skating since it has been like 80 degrees here for months!