Sunday, July 05, 2015

Day 3: The day that nearly killed us

It's hard to put into words how exhausting this last day of the trip was... but I'll try. It was super humid, sunny, 90+ degrees, we walked over 10 miles while each taking turns pushing the double stroller that had over 55 lbs of kids in it and we were in Manhattan. I think the picture is pretty complete now. It should be noted that the girls were quite good under the circumstances, they just got a little cranky once and a while.

 Harriet loved taking the subway and holding on to the poles instead of sitting.

We started off at the High Line, a place we have been many times. Above was a cool lego building thing they had for everyone to participate in. The High Line is in it's last phase of construction and so it was longer this time, but there is much work to be done. Problem is now if you go to the very end it shoots you out in the middle of nowhere. 

Here's an art installation that looked like pop cans all stacked up. 

So we kept walking and moving and went to Bryant Park. Everyone was out for lunch and it was bustling. We rested here for a bit by taking our second carousel ride in two days. This time Eloise wasn't sleeping so she gave it a go. She appeared to take it just as seriously as Harriet had the day before.
Steve really wanted to go to Carnegie Deli for lunch to check it off his bucket list so the rest of us grabbed lunch and we kept walking north. Only to find out that the deli is closed for renovations. 

Here's a full shot of that beast of a stroller with Adam and me trudging along. I borrowed it from a friend for this trip and it was an absolute necessity. We clearly couldn't have covered the ground we did with just a single stroller because Harriet wouldn't have made it. The trade off though is a sit 'n stand stroller that is cumbersome and not easy to take up and down the subway stairs. Most of the time it was easier to just keep walking. Adam was really a trooper to help us out with this and push it and haul it up and down the stairs when necessary. How do new yorkers with two kids and no car get around you ask? My observations were that they kept the smaller kid in a light stroller and the older kid was always on a scooter. Genius. Ok, enough about strollers, back to the trip...
Next stop, the Plaza Hotel. When we started out the day we hadn't planned on stopping here, but we just kind of happened here as we kept walking. Most everyone is familiar with the Eloise books and lots of tourists were here (like us) taking pictures.
We were all hot and tired and Eloise needed a nap so we took her to Ari's parents' place on the Upper East Side. Steve stayed with her while she slept while Adam and I took Harriet to an Egyptian-themed splash pad in Central Park right next door to the Met. We were there for hours and she loved playing there and just cooling off. Pretty sure this was the highlight of her trip.

After work was done we met up with Ari in Central Park. She looks so fresh faced compared to the rest of us who look hot, sweaty and somewhat defeated from the heat.

It's fun to look at the comparison picture of Harriet two years ago when we were at this same spot.  She looks a lot more grown up and plus, now Eloise. Before we headed back to Brooklyn we ate at this cute diner called Neil's Coffee Shop on Lexington, just what we needed to sustain us for our ride back.

So in summary, we had a great trip and loved seeing our friends and family and we would do it all again. We had lots of wonderful experiences and saw a lot, but it was just a lot logistically to deal with everything that goes along with bringing two little kids on vacation. Naps, finding a rental car big enough to hold our stroller, a carsickness incident, hauling all this stuff around with us and a lost baby carrier at the airport that I had to sprint back for at security before the plane was almost done boarding to go home (to name a few things). You get the idea here – it is tiring just being a parent in our own environment and vacationing just brings it to the next insane level.

It was nice to be back in our beds after seven nights of all sleeping in the same room together. At the beginning of the trip it was a bit rocky all being together, but by the end we were just fine and probably too exhausted to notice one another and slept well even in tight quarters. It's always nice to be home.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Day 2: Brooklyn Parks

The first part of our day we spent at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is (once again) a very kid-friendly area with tons to do. Phased construction began on this expansive park in 2008 and it looked like it was near completion with some new condos still being worked on. The park is made up of six piers that have been converted into different areas of recreation. One has sand volleyball, another soccer, another basketball, weight lifting, rolling skating, racquetball... you get the idea.

Shooting some hoops while Jay Z's New York state of mind blares on the loudspeakers. Below, not a bad view from the playing field! 
 Eloise found a buddy with the same sense of style.

As you walk along between the piers there are parks for kids, a swimming pool, art installations, splash pads, a carousel, beautifully-landscaped walkways, cafes and all with a view of Manhattan.
I loved the art all around as we walked. This water tower structure above and the house on the top photo were done by the same artist.

Mirror labyrinth is an art sculpture that was in the shape of a nautilus shell and was a real mind bender. You keep thinking you see someone, but then it was just their reflection. Pretty awesome, unless you are a person trying to keep track of your little kids in there.

Harriet took her carousel ride very seriously. I forgot to take a pic of the glass building it was housed it, but it is pretty cool looking.

A new location to fly her kite.
These benches seemed to be everywhere and the artist even make a scavenger hunt for people to find all 12 of them. They were done by the same artist who did the mirror labyrinth.

After a long, hot morning going through the park we had lunch at an amazing pizza place. Then walked through a lot of more Brooklyn, before kind of giving in to the heat and getting a Uber.

At the end of the day we were hot and so we went to a splash pad in Prospect Park. It seemed more like a giant concrete slab with a couple arches of water on the edge, but it was both enjoyable and refreshing. Harriet, more so than Eloise, was just thrilled about it. 
Dusk at the pad. Ari wandering in the middle.

After this thing shut down, we headed over to Celebrate Brooklyn, one of a series of free concerts throughout the summer. We listened to a little reggae and then headed home. Once again, exhausted.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New York Day 1: Governors Island and Manhattan

Next up: family time! We drove back to New York and went to visit Steve's brother and our soon-to-be sister-in-law Ari. Ari had to work during the day, but Adam was able to find a little time to hang out with us, which was great.

The first day we headed to Governor's Island. The island has a long military history, but within the past few years has been restored into a family-friendly destination. It is a 15-minute ferry from Battery Park and costs $2. Once you are on the island there quite a bit to do.

Adam was nice enough to watch the girls for 45 minutes while Steve and I took a bike ride together around the island. The island is now 172 acres, but was originally only 69 acres, before material was deposited from excavating a part of the subway back in 1912. So it is pretty easy to cover the island on a bike in a short amount of time. Part of it is still being renovated and is scheduled to be done next year.

There are cool art installations on part of the island as well as a putt putt course.

Some of the original buildings.

Newly manicured landscaping in front the main building.

Eloise loving the day.

Interactive art.

 They had interesting playgrounds for kids. This swing looked like a bird's nest. 

Harriet flying her kite. 

Resting on the hammocks with a beautiful view of Manhattan with the Freedom tower in the background. 

Back in Manhattan, we pretty much only had time to visit the 9/11 memorial before heading back to Brooklyn. The place was packed with tourists, as you can imagine. We had a great day and by the end we were all exhausted.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Back to Connecticut

At the beginning of this month, we took a trip to Connecticut and New York. We did this same trip almost exactly two years ago. Although this time we reversed the trip. We flew into New York on Saturday and headed to John and Louise in Connecticut straight away since logistically it worked out better. This time the trip was a bit different since there were two new kids since last time. We had a wonderful time, as usual. It was fun to see improvements and how much the landscaping had changed since we were last there.

John and Eloise sharing a sweet moment book reading.

We went on a hike one day to get out of the house and explore.

Mae and Harriet are exactly two years apart had a great time together. Mae went back with John on the train on Sunday night so we were there with Louise and baby Olive until Tuesday.

So we did a little sightseeing on Monday. We went to the White Memorial Conservation Center, but we forgot to take pictures. The girls really liked it and they had an interesting museum about nature geared towards kids. The weather was a little iffy so we didn't hike around at all. We drove to the nearest big town, Litchfield and tried to shoot Eloise out of a cannon.

Action shot! The girls loved hanging around the house and playing with all the new, fun stuff.

Some new landscaping on the grounds.

Harriet loved baby Olive.

We went out to ice cream in Bantam. Weird tidbit, the Arethusa Farm Dairy is owned by the people who own Manolo Blahnik. Really diversifying, I guess.

On Tuesday we headed to Brooklyn, but before we left Connecticut we came across this weird structure.