Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Road Trip - Connecticut and New York City!

As we prepared our schedule this year to go back to Boston, we had a slight change to our usual plans.  This year, since one of Aidan's best friend's lives in New York and Liam's best friend was moving there, we decided to add a roadtrip to NYC into the mix.  I found it amazing that my kids have been all over Europe and yet, haven't been to NYC, a mere 4 hour drive from Attleboro.  But now we had reason to come visit and I think that it will become an annual tradition as both kids loved the city (Aidan actually wants to move there).

This was a great teaching opportunity for the kids as well.  For quite some time, Aidan was a bit confused over whether he could have friends in more than one place.  He seemed to think he had to give up his friends in Attleboro to have ones in Barcelona.  It's only been this year that he has understood it's ok and a great thing, to have friends all over.  And here was a moment where he could see that just because his friends moved doesn't mean they aren't still friends.

And bonus, we got to spend some time with our friends in Connecticut as we would be staying with them while taking the train into New York each day.  We arrived in Connecticut on a Monday evening with the plan to spend some time with our friends, the Yeatons and then on Tuesday we would head in to NYC to meet up with Aidan's best bud, Django and Liam's best friend, Henry.

Waiting for the train to take us to NYC

Showing our Boston pride - watch out Yankees ;)

We took the train from Bridgeport down to Grand Central.  Aidan was immediately smitten with Grand Central and asked if we knew we were going to be in an airport - it was just so huge!  We met up with Django and his mom Laura at Grand Central and had to make a revision to our original game plan because we weren't planning on a total deluge of rain that day.  Not the way we had intended to spend our first day in New York City!

The reunion between Aidan and Django after a year was so sweet.  They gave each other a huge hug and just fell right back into their usual groove.  Aidan had been anxious about whether or not they would still be close after so long but there is no doubt, friends forever!

So happy to be together again!!

Because it was raining so hard, we planned to meet up with Henry and his mom Shellee and sister, Stella, at the Natural History Museum.  However, it looked as though every single person in NYC was also doing the same thing.  I have to say that I like the one in London better though.  We got thru the line pretty quickly and secured tickets for everyone but it took close to an hour to track down Henry, Shellee and Stella.  It felt a bit chaotic trying to get everyone organized, but once we were all together, everything just fell into place for the rest of the day.

Henry and Liam - best friends reunited!

Aidan and Django

Being explorers

Check out this HUGE frog!

The look on Aidan's face is priceless!

Holding cockroaches... yes cockroaches... yuck!

Dinosaur exhibit

Beyond cute!

We spent a few hours at the Natural History Museum and since it was easy, ate lunch their too.  However, after the museum, the skies were lightening up and we decided to head over to Central Park which was nearby and see if the kids could run off some energy... and... Aidan was determined to find the building that Disney's "Jessie" was based on.  

We didn't find the Jessie building but Shellee did point out the Ghostbusters one to the boys and they were thrilled having seen the movie.  After a little exploring, Aidan and Django headed back to Brooklyn to stay over at Django's for the night and the rest of us did a bit more exploring in Central Park and then headed to dinner as we walked towards Grand Central for Liam and I to head back to Connecticut for the night.


Liam and Henry in Central Park

Up on a HUGE rock that I could not scale (and they knew it!)!

Love this picture of the two of them!

Ghostbusters building

Snowcone?  Never heard of it, but I don't just like it, I LOVE it!!  Ahhhh, deprived American kid!

Smaller than our climbers in BCN but I'm cool with that and he feels triumphant!

Liam only got to see Henry one day but had such a great time.  Liam is social and plays great with others.  However, with Henry Liam plays exceptional, not just well and we will miss seeing Henry all the time but look forward to visiting him again in NYC next year and hopefully when we move back at some point, they will all come up to Boston to visit us too!!

With only 2 full days to spend in the city, Liam and I headed back in the next day with the intention of going to Central Park Zoo and perhaps the Childrens Museum.  My city senses were off and we headed the wrong way down 5th - what was I thinking?  So we made our way back uptown towards 65th.  Liam was a total trooper the whole day and you can tell he is a city kid - he walked no less than 50 city blocks that day and it wasn't til the last 4 that he threw up the white flag.  Not a complaint the entire day!

We happened across FAO Schwartz on our walk towards Central Park so of course, we had to stop in.  So not impressed.  Sorry, but I wasn't.  The Toys R Us in Attleboro had significantly more selection than this famous toy store.  Regardless, Liam still managed to find a few trinkets for him and his brother (whom we were meeting up with later in the day).  It was great getting some quality time with just Liam as we don't get that very often and I think it was a big reason for the lack of complaining on his end that day.

"What the heck" do you mean we went the wrong way???  Liam's "what the heck" face...

In front of FAO Schwartz

A Minion, yet no minion toys...

Central Park Zoo was a huge disappointment to both myself and to Liam.  We both wished we had gone to the Childrens Museum instead.  I think we were both hoping that it would be bigger.  Our zoo in both Attleboro and Barcelona are significantly more impressive!!  We had fun regardless!  And then we spent a little time in the park just enjoying nature and running around, Liam in his General Grievous mask.
Getting up close and personal with the seals

Giving me a goofy face

Famous Central Park Zoo clock

Ah yes, the mask - Liam got it in FAO Schwartz and like his King's cape in London, pretty much refused to take it off the rest of the day.  Thank goodness Aidan wasn't with us until dinner because he would have been downright mortified.  Liam thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread!

Playing in Central Park

At Rockefeller Center with and without his General Grievous mask

Liam and I met up with Aidan, Django and Laura for dinner right across from Grand Central and caught up on all the events of the day.  Aidan got to do some fun touristy stuff (awaiting pictures!) and more importantly got to spend some quality time with Django.

Aidan and Django throwing rocks in the East River

Dinner was good and in typical American style, fast, but the kids finished before the adults and we told them they could play right near us as we were on a street that was blocked off from traffic.  They went across the sidewalk and were hanging out on the "sill" of a building, jumping on and off the wall area.  A security guard yelled at them and said they can't do that.  Then they were playing paddle ball in the blocked off street, not 5 feet from where we were.  Nope, can't do that either and a different security guard yelled at them and asked where their parents were (less than 5 feet away of course!) and that they aren't allowed to play that here (um, in a public street, really???).  Ahhhh back to the land of rules.  And paranoia…

Speaking of paranoia.  Being in a huge city like NY brings back the helicopter parent in me.  I needed Liam to hold my hand pretty much at all times.  I'm paranoid someone is going to snatch him right off the sidewalk next to me.  This is such a strange feeling now that I've lived in a city for almost 4 years and never worry about these things.  It does not make me feel warm and fuzzy about our eventual return.  In Central Park I was a mess when I couldn't see him for less than 5 seconds at one point, totally hovering over him.

Anyways, back to Aidan and Django, they had such a great time and it was heartbreaking to separate them knowing it would likely be a full year before we would see them again.  Aidan asked me if when we move back to the US if we could visit every weekend since it's close - I told him it's close but not that close - perhaps we could do a once a quarter thing which I would be totally cool with doing.

Just a side note but on the trip back to CT from NY that night, the train we were in was a peak train with extra cars.  Because of this, we had to move back a few cars in order to have doors that opened on the platform.  I counted one and a half cars before it looked to me before we couldn't move back any more.  However, the conductor told me I still had to go to the next car.  I opened the door and no joke, the sides were wide open to the elements.  Like a mother cat, I grabbed each child by the scruff of the neck and tossed them to the other side.  Nothing like traveling at significant speeds and crossing train cars in the open.  James Bond, we are not!

I loved that I had my evenings with my friend Kath for those few days we spent in the CT/NYC area.  It wasn't nearly enough but it was quite, adult time when the kids were sleeping.  Originally when I made the plans to be in NYC, I figured the kids and I would stay in town, but in the end, I'm glad it worked out the way it did and it was so great to be able to catch up with my friends each night!

So now the kids are hooked on New York City, both loved it.  I guess that means we'll be going back again next year!  Good thing there is a lot left for us to see!


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