This Memorial Day weekend, we decided to go in a bold, daring (or perhaps just plain crazy--I'll let you be the judge) new direction...NORTH. That is, we joined another family and headed to New York City for a few days on an adventure. Really, all we had to do to get the kids on board was mention the magic phrase "leaving school early" and the Hype Level went through the roof before we even departed our neighborhood. Then there was stopping to pick Dad up at work (which is apparently super-fun), and the Harbor Tunnel in Baltimore, (which they just love, no matter how many times we go there), and the Delaware Memorial Bridge (ooh, look at the...tall cables! whatever, they are so easily impressed!) By the time we actually reached our hotel, you would swear we live in the middle of a cornfield, keep them locked in the basement, and never take them anywhere. These are actual words from Riley's mouth: "Wow, look at this carpet...and the view from these windows (which was the parking lot, by the way)...and these plants! This hotel ROCKS!" The party vibe continued as we allowed them to choose dinner from the vending machine, and stay up late to swim in the hotel's indoor/outdoor pool. Hey, they were living it up to the extreme, I tell you!
And did I mention, that was just New Jersey! The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel with our friends (All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet, their 5 favorite words in the entire English language) to strategize, then headed into the city through the Holland Tunnel (waving at the Statue of Liberty, of course). And from then on, it was just a dizzying whirlwind of new experiences to soak in, one after the other...
Beginning with: first ever cab ride for the kids (with a TV to watch in the backseat--probably so you are at least somewhat distracted from the illegal, obnoxious and borderline-sociopathic driving going on all around you--more on that below)
American Museum of Natural History (complete with Planetarium show--extremely cool!)
Second cab ride (featuring white knuckles and frightened gasping from us, and repeated near-grazings of pedestrians and bumpers and even a lovely f*** you from our maniac cabbie...at least he wasn't cursing AT us, but Derek was properly horrified anyway)
Walking around Soho and Chinatown, drinking in the sights and smells (in a good way, in this case!)
Dinner--the most excellent pizza ever at Sofia's in Little Italy
Mouth-wateringly delicious gelato and cannoli at Ferrara
And to top off our evening: a teeth-gritting hour of honking and inching forward and stopping (repeat) to get back out of the city. For the first time I can ever remember, I came SOOO close to calling someone a jack*** in front of my children (well, he was trying to shove his way in between my friends' car and mine--fuhgeddaboutit!). I did manage to swallow those words and just yell, "Bite me!" instead (also a first, and I'm not sure if Derek was more amused or scandalized).
So that was Day 1 of our New York field trip. We were tired, we were dirty, but we were satisfied.
Next: "Sunday in the City" (Also known as: Believe it or not, we went back for more!)