Thursday, 29 March 2012

NYC ~Day Five~

Our final day in NYC was spent walking, yes more walking!  Most of our time was spent at the MoMA,  What a way to end our trip.  The MoMa would have to be one of my favourite museums ever.  The kids were in heaven looking at all things Matisse, Leger, Van Gogh and Picasso.  I saw a few school groups go through and I couldn't help but think how lucky these children are to have this on their doorstep.  When I was teaching and we studied a particular artist, we'd look on the computer or at prints but these kids have the opportunity of seeing real art works amongst other incredible pieces while surrounded by the atmosphere of the museum...lucky, lucky, lucky.

Tonight we are going to have a family dinner at a beautiful restaurant opposite the MoMA.  The past few days have been magical and we need to celebrate this city together with one last hurrah.

(I have not been able to post from our hotel because the Wi-Fi is terrible.  I am posting this from the Apple Store on 5th Avenue.  I cannot link my photos to the post but as soon as I can, I'll be back on here letting you know how we're going)

We're now off to buy a sketch book for our budding artists...

Uptown ~Day Four~

Today we continued with the get-on/get-off bus but focused on uptown.  It was such a contrast to yesterday’s travels through midtown, downtown and Brooklyn.  The contrast was particularly evident when we saw millionaires row on the Upper East Side and the amazing homes on the Upper West Side.  The rest of the bus trip took us through the interesting areas of Harlem and Morningside Heights.
It was good to hear the commentary as we wound our way through the suburbs.  Our legs are tired.  I would say that we have walked at least 25 miles since we arrived 4 days ago.  I’m not complaining because I love to walk and I think it is the best way to see the city but it just felt good to rest them for the morning. 
As soon as we got off the bus we walked down to a must do for all children who visit Manhattan – F.A.O Schwarz
From there we went to the New York Museum of Natural History.  Do you remember Dum Dum from the movie Night at the Museum?
Our kids do and loved having their photo taken with him. 

Tomorrow is our last day in NYC before we drive through New Jersey to Washington D.C. 
I know we’ll be leaving this city with a heavy heart.  It will always be a special place for our family filled with many happy memories.

Downtown & Brooklyn ~Day Three~

We have sore, tired legs after all our walking so we decided to use the get-on/get-off bus.  It was the right decision.  We still have so much of the city to explore and we can only push the kids so far.  They have been absolutely perfect on the trip however we know exactly where their limits are and we don’t want to go over it as we still have a lot of travel and adventures ahead of us.
The bus took us to downtown Manhattan – Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Soho, Battery Park and the place where we really wanted to head today, Brooklyn.  When we lived here we didn’t spend a lot of time in the bohemian borough of Brooklyn so we wanted to explore it some more.   As we meandered through the different areas we couldn’t help but notice how few people were about compared to Manhattan but there was still the constant blaring of car horns and the clattering of subways across the bridges.  Brooklyn is the most populous out all the boroughs but is only the second largest in area.  There is such a huge difference between the suburbs and the housing.  We saw the magnificent “brownstones” in suburbs like Park Slopes and Brooklyn Heights and then the polar opposite in the public housing tenements and projects.

I could quite easily live in either Brooklyn or Manhattan.  They are incredibly different areas but both have their own positives and negatives.  I asked the kids if they ever had to live here where they would choose and it was a consensus – Manhattan.  I think their decision is tainted with the accessibility of the Lego and American Girl Store at their doorstep.
A few snap shots of our day…
Getting Grace and the newest member of our family, McKenna ready to head out for the day.
Writing the obligatory postcards.
Grand Central Terminal. 

The kids wanted to see the celestial ceiling and the four sided clock.
Walking and freezing in Soho.  As much as the bus was good, walking is well and truly the best way to see the city.     
     After all of our photos from the top of the Empire State Building being deleted we decided to go to the top of the Rockefeller Centre.  It didn’t disappoint at all.  We had uninterrupted views of the city in all directions.  The only negative was it was FREEZING!  For a weather wimp like me, I couldn’t get outside to enjoy the view as much as I would have liked.  I ended up staying inside with Grace and enjoying the view through the glass.  Martin and Paddy braved the cold…brrr!
I got to the Purl Bee.  What an inspirational shop.  I have so much to share with you about the store but I will save it for a separate post when I get home.  It deserves a post of its very own.  Loved it.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Beauty of New York

I know the stereotypical image of New York is of grunge, pollution, cars, dirt, grime and filth.  In all honesty it is... 

...however, if you look beyond the negatives of the city you find beauty in the most amazing places.  The residents of the city have done an incredible job at making this city pretty, quaint and homely.  Yes, I am talking about New York!  As I turn every corner or walk down any street I find pieces of beauty.  Things that make me smile.  Something that I feel the need to share with the kids or with Martin.  These things are worth noting and holding in your heart.

Now, before you look at the pictures below, I know that it is spring and that means bursts of colour and life but my reflection is on how the residents have used nature, how they have found tiny pieces of earth or small little areas to brighten a somewhat grey city.
Our little family have found some places that make us all feel right at home.  For Patrick, we have St Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Avenue.  Below I have special spots for Martin, Grace and me.  Home!

Monday, 26 March 2012

NYC ~Day Two~

We have walked and walked and walked all day long.  We have tired but happy little bodies.  As I type, I can hear soft, slow breathing from the bed next to me.  The kids have crashed.  I don't think we'll hear from them until the morning.

Some highlights from our day.

A snuggle with my boy before taking Grace to the American Girl's Place for brunch.
Grace hugging her new favourite doll, McKenna. 

Back to my boys and visiting Patrick's favourite activity - Lego.  He was in awe of all the constructions.  Look at the Lego version of Rockefeller Centre.

A wall of Lego.  Paddy's in a dream.

Walking up 5th Avenue to my favourite part of the city, Central Park. 
My kids LOVE squirrels.  Everytime they see one they run up and watch the little creatures bob up and down in the grass.  They giggle and laugh as they watch.  I'm sure most people think that they're crazy being enthralled by squirrels but for two Aussie kids, squirrels are cute.

Sharing my favourite rock in the park with the kids.  When we lived here this rock was my go to place.  I love the view of the city from here but knowing that I am in this tranquil, idyllic place surrounded by the beauty of the park is blissful.

Look at them sitting peacefully on my rock!  That brings a smile to my face.  I never imagined bring my kids to this special place.

After a long walk through the park, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I could have spent hours looking at the artefacts and art works but the kids were exhausted and in need of lunch.  I knew that they had reached their limit.

Then back to our hotel...phew!
I'm off to bed now too. 
I need to be ready for another day of fun in the city.
Tomorrow I hope to find some time to visit The Purl Bee...hooray!
Oh, and in other exciting news for two Aussie kids, there is a possibility of snow tomorrow night.  That is one thing they really wished for when they knew they were coming to the city.  I hope their wish comes true.  Please send some positive snow thoughts for them...hee, hee.

American Girl's Place

Grace was in girl heaven this morning.  Before heading to NYC we booked a special Mummy and Gracie time at the American Girl's Place.  We were both looking forward to it and it certainly didn't disappoint.  For a little girl who adores everything doll related she was on a high.  When we entered the store, she didn't know where to look.  There was so much to take in that she was overwhelmed.  I'm talking three levels of all things doll.  Prior to going we had looked through the catalogue and discussed the budget for the day so she knew what the limit was and Mummy was not going to budge.  These dolls aren't cheap and by the time you add acessories and a special brunch together it adds up to a lot of $$$. 
Grace wanted the doll she selected to look like her. 
She couldn't decide between a historic doll called Marie-Grace or McKenna
  I can see it - the golden locks, the blue eyes, the same skin colour. 
What do you think? 

She finally made her choice with McKenna but she found it hard to select which one was best for her.  I think it was the extra outfit, books and accessories that sealed the deal.
From there we headed to the cafe for brunch.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  The set up was so pretty and I could see whole families sitting together sharing brunch with their children and their dolls.  Surreal but oh so cute.

Look at McKenna sitting at our table in her special doll chair.
All the other dolls were looking on at the cafe in their chairs, too.
I think Gracie had a special morning with me.  I know I loved it and will cherish our special morning together.  There is NOTHING like this in Australia and this might be my only chance to do something as unique as this with her so I'm glad I jumped at the chance and made a booking way back in Januray.
Look at that smile!  Priceless. 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Mr Rockefeller

I hope that this video brings a smile to your face.  We spotted this guy ice skating at Rockefeller Centre last night.  We were all mesmerised.  Unfortunately, I don't have great videoing skills so just ignore it from 1.45 minutes on.

NYC ~Day One~

Well today we were up nice and early.  In fact, we were all up and ready before the sun - 5.30am!  Our bodies are trying to adjusting to US time.  Since we were up, we decided not to waste a minute and to get out for the day.  It was so peaceful walking up 5th Avenue and finding somewhere for breakfast.  There was hardly anyone about but for a city that never sleeps, there wasn't a lot open. After walking for more than a mile, we ended up in a little cafe right round the corner from our first port of call - The Empire State Building.

Now, I have to say that I got the most incredible photos when we were up in the building but unfortunately all of my photos on my camera have been erased.  I have no idea how it happened.  It's not the first time it has happened on this camera either...grrr.  The camera stated that the memory card was full so I turned it off but when I switched it on to delete what I could, all the memory had been erased.  Major meltdown!!!  I was not happy.  All the photos from on top of the building and also some incredible ones from the 9/11 Memorial and the Statue of Liberty...grrr!  Gone!  I cannot change that they have gone so I'm not angry anymore, just sad that I don't have many photos to share from our wonderful day.
The 9/11 Memorial was a very moving experience.  Patrick has always been fascinated with 9/11.  I guess it's because he often hears the news and the fact that something so tragic happened during his lifetime (he was 2 weeks old).  He had so many questions and to see the size of the buildings and the list of names put a whole lot of questions into perspective.  Grace on the other hand had no idea about 9/11 and was in shock about the whole tragedy.  I wish I could let her live in that little bubble that surrounds her and shield her from such tragedy but the questions she had were thought provoking too.  She was more interested in how many people survived than those that died because that made her feel happier for the children who had their parents with them. Look at the rainbow we saw sparkling in the sky above the new constructions.  Awe inspiring!

I could have missed going to The Statue of Liberty.  I went so many times when we lived here when friends came to visit and the queueing is not fun at all.  We ended up wasting more than 2 hours in a queue that got us onto the boat to Liberty Island and then we couldn't even go to the viewing tower of the statue because it was closed.  Anyway, despite me not enjoying it, I know the kids did and that makes me glad.

We've just got home from dinner - another delicious dinner.  New Yorker's really know how to do amazing food in a perfect setting.  Every meal that we've had so far has been beautiful and the service is always so friendly and warm.  Everyone who has served us has deserved their tips and more. 

With all this eating, I'm glad for all the walking and I even managed to fit in a quick run between The Statue of Liberty and dinner.  Thank goodness I did with all the scrummy, yummy food.

Grace is petrified on the NYPD.  I have told her over and over again that they help make the city safe but the guns and the cuffs make her even more wary.   On our way back from dinner tonight, we spotted a smiley, friendly Police Officer and we managed to get a photo with him.  We told hi about Grac'e reservations and he really joked around with her and asked her to try using the cuffs on him.  She thought it was hilarious and now every NYPD have become her hero.

At dinner tonight - look at my tired little travellers.
I'm off to sleep so I'm ready for another busy, busy day.  I hope that we can all sleep in to at least 6am.

We've Arrived

I can't tell you how much I LOVE New York City.  As soon as we landed, I felt a wave of excitement run through me and as we drove closer to the city I knew that we were in for a wonderful time .  I know a lot of people don't like the smell of Manhattan but I love it, and the buzz, the busyness, the restaurants, the sites, the atmosphere, the fun...the list goes on and on.

The flight went seamlessly.  The kids didn't sleep a wink from Melbourne to Los Angeles (16 hours).  I have no idea why, but they both didn't shut their eyes once but they were perfect - sat in their seats, kept themselves entertained and enjoyed a movie (or two, or three). Funny thing is Martin and I didn't sleep either.  As soon as the tyres hit Los Angeles I could see their eyelids getting heavier and I knew that they were going to crash as soon as we hit customs and immigration...right!  Grace wanted to be carried as we tried to heave our bags and line up with the thousands of people in queues.  Not fun but thankfully they both knew that we had to get through ASAP to make our adjoining flight to JFK.  They were both co-operative and we made our flight with a few minutes up our sleeve.  Neither of them remember the take off or the landing.  They were out like a light.

As soon as we hit the city it was time for dinner.  We wandered up and down midtown and couldn't decided.  So many amazing restaurants but we ended up at a cozy little bistro and enjoyed our first family dinner in a perfect New York way.  The city was right at our door step so we walked for about an hour or two stopping along the way showing the kids all that we have waiting for us over the next week. 

When we returned to our hotel at around 9.30pm they were both more than ready for a big sleep.  It was so lovely tucking them into bed knowing that we have so many fun things to share with them in the coming days/weeks.

I do have photos to share but the connection at our hotel is incredibly slow so I will post some on here as soon as I get a better connection.

Friday, 23 March 2012


I have been incredibly slack taking photos this week.  

By the time this is posted, I'll be on a plane heading to the US.

I couldn't let my Friday ritual slip so I'm linking up with Life Rearranged (Jeanettg) for Instafriday

life rearranged

Grace is loving her Saturday netball.
I really enjoy watching her play.

For St Patrick's Day we had family drawing time  - Leprechauns!
Can you guess who drew the various leprechauns?

We had hungry babies.  
Apparently hungry 'babies' like cut up raw carrots and mushrooms.

Have a wonderful weekend.