Thursday, November 28, 2013

NYC, The City that Never Sleeps

A few weeks ago, we were running errands around town and Cody said that we needed to talk about something important... My first thought was, "Oh Lord, he saw how much I spent at Target." While I was trying to come up with a valid reason for the clothes I bought our children, (I can't go to Target without shopping for my kids. I can't.) I heard random phrases like, "Need to start pumping... Mom is looking at plane tickets..." (I tuned back in at that part.) Then I heard, "It's non-negotiable. I bought us train tickets to NYC and we're going to see Wicked on Broadway."

I literally sat there stunned for at least 10 seconds before I was able to form the question, "Are you being for real right now?" .... And then I started freaking out and mentally planning every outfit that I would take on our trip.

I am going to start off by saying that we absolutely L.O.V.E.D it.

My MIL, our Gimme, came in a few days before we were scheduled to leave so that she could get used to the babies' schedules and what-not. She shopped with me for last minute things, sat through a mini-fashion show to approve all of my outfits... You know, normal MIL things. :) I had a little bit of anxiety leaving the babies. I had never been away from Cason that long, and Cate was only 2 months old. I promised my husband that I would try not to worry the entire time, and I knew Gimme would take great care of them. We made sure she and the babies were all set, and headed out around 5a.m. Thursday morning to catch our train.

So Thursday morning, a lieutenant that Cody works with, LT Quadrino, picked us up from temporary housing on base and drove us to Union Station in D.C. to catch our train. The train ride was awesome- extremely comfortable and the whole experience was pretty laid back. We ordered breakfast from the food car and enjoyed the 4 hour trip into the city. As soon as we arrived, we walked to our hotel, taking pictures and making comments like... "Everything is so tall." We stayed at the Paramount Hotel on Times Square. The location was amazing. Staying right on Times Square is definitely the way to go if you are going to visit NYC. We checked our luggage since we weren't able to get into our room until later that afternoon, and then headed out to find lunch. We had heard from my sister, Sarah, about a Texas themed BBQ place that serves 3 major Texas things.. 1. Brisket (No one up here knows what brisket is. Bless their hearts.) 2. Shiner Bock 3. Blue Bell Ice Cream. My husband doesn't drink, so he enjoyed 1 & 3. This girl had all three. Yum! Cody had Big Red with his meal, which is another thing you can't find up here. That meal was delicious and exactly what my husband needed before his 7 month deployment. Afterwards, we headed to Central Park to walk around. I had told Cody, while we were planning our trip, that we weren't allowed to go to Central Park at night- only during the day. My love for Law & Order: SVU has taught me a lot and, basically, I saved our lives. (You're welcome, Cody!) To make this even more funny, Cody brought this up to LT Quadrino when he was driving us, (He's a native New Yorker.) and he said, "Oh, she's definitely right. DO NOT go there at night." A-Ha! I was right! (Me being right is a rare occasion, so I'll take what I can get.) We loved walking around Central Park. It was absolutely beautiful. It rained a little, but it couldn't put a damper on our mood. It's so neat recognizing things from shows and movies. After spending a couple hours walking around, we decided to head back to our hotel to check into our room and get cleaned up before heading out to dinner. Since our hotel was right on Times Square, we were able to walk through there on the way back and see a lot of sights and cool stores. We went into M&M World, the Hershey Store, & the huge Disney Store. (When you become a parent, on default you always look for your babies instead of yourself.) After we cleaned up in the hotel, we headed out to dinner. We ate at Planet Hollywood on Times Square. It was delicious, and the atmosphere was fun! It was the first time for both of us to eat at a Planet Hollywood, and I definitely see us doing that again. After dinner, we got a Starbucks, (We got SB at LEAST 3 times a day, every day, while in NYC.) and headed to the Empire State Building. This part of the trip was one of our favorites. We went up to both floors, the 86th observatory/deck and the 102nd deck. The view at night was breathtaking. We walked all the way around both decks, very slowly, pointing out all the buildings and landmarks we could spot. It was freezing, but we didn't mind! We didn't want to rush the experience, so we snuggled and enjoyed. :) When we finished there, we headed back to the hotel- taking in more of Times Square along the way.

Friday morning, we woke up, bought Starbucks, and jumped on the subway. First thing on our agenda was Ground Zero. On the way there, we enjoyed a few other sights. One was St. Paul Chapel. This chapel hosted George Washington on Inauguration Day, survived the 9/11 attacks, & is the oldest Manhattan building still in public use. We also were able to see the new World Trade Center. Since we bought our tickets online, and scheduled to go as soon as it opened, we didn't have to wait long to get into the 9/11 memorial. I honestly don't even know what to say about this part of our trip. The memorial is beautiful, and they did a phenomenal job with the design. We experienced many emotions- sadness, loss, anger... but more than anything else, pride for our country. The memorial does an amazing job honoring all who we lost. I wish we could've gone in the museum, but it doesn't open until 2014. Cody made the point to say, "We're coming back and bringing the kids. They need to see this." I definitely agree. After the memorial, we headed to Wall Street and over to see the Charging Bull. I took a picture with the bull to send to Daddy B. :) Not many kids grow up playing Stocks & Bonds with their dads, and can tell you what a bull/bear market means before the age of 10. We then grabbed lunch at a nearby Chili's, and headed over to jump on the ferry for the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. The ferry stops at both destinations, and you can get off to walk around and take pictures... So this is definitely a day-trip. We didn't realize how much time we really needed for this part, and we had to make sure we weren't late to our Broadway show.. (And it was freezing and the lines to get back on the ferry were ridiculously long.) So we decided to stay on the ferry, enjoy the view from there, and plan on seeing more of these places during our next visit. It still was amazing to be able to get that close to the Statue of Liberty- and to (here comes the cheesiness..) history. To think about all of the families that came to America and had to go through the immigration inspection at Ellis Island... Nuts.. We decided before we go back, we want to research our families and see if we had any relatives whose names we can look for next go-round. Once our ferry ride was over, we took the subway over to the Brooklyn Bridge. We didn't walk all the way across the bridge, or even halfway. We just wanted to be on the bridge- so we got our picture and turned around. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to get spiffy for Wicked. We thought about getting cocktails and appetizers before the show- but didn't want to be late. So, we got to the theater early and had drinks there. If you know my family, you know that we have seen multiple musicals, but this was Cody's first time. He LOVED it. Yes, you read right! L.O.V.E.D. It was by far the best musical I've ever seen as well. We laughed throughout the entire performance, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Cody was very impressed with the orchestra and the set, while I kept daydreaming about the musicals I had a part in during my high school years, and wishing I could have played the part of Elphaba. So. Awesome. I was so sad when it was over and could have easily sat through it all over again. (Casey, I know I sound nerdy. I don't care! Don't make fun of me!!!) Afterwards, we had a late dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, took another stroll through Times Square, and headed to the hotel.
World Trade Center
Saturday morning... Starbucks. :) Then off to Rockefeller Center. We decided to do "Top of the Rock" during the day since we saw the night view of the city from the Empire State Building. Great choice! Central Park was beautiful, and the view of the city during the day was amazing. We did the walking all the way around, pointing out different buildings and what-nots, thing.. Taking a ton of pictures! After that, we headed down to see the ice-skating rink and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. They were in the process of putting it up... and we added, 'come back when tree is up and lit' to our next visit bucket list. Once we were done at Rockefeller Center, we headed over to Radio City Music Hall and then to the United Nations. This part wasn't as great as Cody was hoping, it's literally just a random building way out of the way... But we can say that we've seen it, so that's cool! Then we stopped for lunch at Korenet Pizza. NYC pizza is the BEST. Pizza is my husband's favorite food and he'd tell you that that pizza was the best he's ever had. This place was recommended to us by a friend and we highly recommend it to all of you. If you're planning a NYC trip, make Koronet's a must-eat-at place. After the pizza from Heaven, we headed back to Times Square to do last minute shopping, (We took the subway and planned it to where we went to Grand Central Station and walked around some there.) and we had some time to kill-- but not really enough time to go too far from our hotel. So, we headed to a movie theater right on Times Square and watched the new Thor movie. (We don't get to go to the movies often... Ok, more like ever. We don't get to go ever.) So, yes. We went to the movies while in NYC, haha! After our movie, (which was awesome) we grabbed our luggage from the hotel and went back to the train station to catch our train home.
We absolutely loved our trip. With Cody deploying, it was really nice to have time for us- even though we did miss our babies like crazy. I'm so thankful for my husband surprising me with this trip, and making it so perfect. We have zero regrets. We saw everything that we wanted to see and had a blast the entire time.. And a HUGE thank you to Gimme for taking amazing care of our hearts while we were gone. I will remember this trip forever. So, Cody, thank you for planning this. I'll miss you terribly while you're gone... but I'm SO proud of you! I love you so much, and I'm so excited to start planning our next 'adult' trip for when you return. (Vegas, baby!) Xoxo

(All the pictures are from my phone- we took a lot more with the camera, but those aren't uploaded yet!)