Saturday, February 23, 2013

NYC Day 2: Trying to see it all!

After a very good nights rest (seriously our room was SUPER quiet, if you are ever staying at Park 79 request room 118!) we were up, bright eyed, & bushy tailed by 7:30. J-Bird was of course starving so we got dressed & ready for our only full day in the city.

For breakfast we stopped in at the Amsterdam Diner, (between 82nd & 83rd) for some challah french toast! This is the boys favourite thing ever & they were so excited to see it on the menu. The staff were very friendly, the service quick, & the food was very tasty. Two plates of french toast (four pieces each) and one plate of home fries was more than enough for the three of us to share.

Today we had three stops to make, the Jewish Childrens museum in Brooklyn, F.A.O Schwartz, & the Empire State Building. I used  the Hop Stop app to get around the city, between that & my phones compass we never got lost. (it is a free app & can be used in a few other large cities) I had to use the compass because I don't have a built in ability to figure out which direction is SE blah blah blah & will apparently pick the wrong direction to walk every time.

We took the 1 train to Brooklyn, and it let us out right in front of the Childrens Museum, the boys were ecstatic. They kept saying LOOK there is a Jewish person, OH & look there is another Jewish person. I had to tell them several times that they were in Crown Heights, which is a very Jewish area to live. (I am so glad we made the trip because I thought it was very exciting to see as well) They even got to experience a tiny bit of Purim, Matanot l'Evyonim (gifts to the poor) & giving Tzedakah.

Chavi was enjoying the kosher super market.

Honey & Apples for Rosh Hashanah

Simchat Torah

Arts & Crafts

View from the roof, during our golfing

Giant Floor Clock

The museum itself is a very nice size, tons of things for little people to touch & experience. The admission price includes a free art project & putput golf on the roof. They also give you a wrist band so you can leave & re-enter. The museum gift shop is not open yet, but Mendy's deli is in the museum and the food was great. Not cheap but the portions were large so you don't need a meal for everyone pick a few things & share. I had 1/2 a pastrami on rye & a bowl of split pea soup, Chavi had chicken, J-Bird had a hotdog.


After the JCM, we took a little walk around just to look at things we popped into one shop Chavi picked out a new kippah, & J-Bird picked out a small clip picture of the Rebbe. Then it was time to get back on the subway & head to F.A.O Schwartz. This time we took the B train and got to enjoy going over the water instead of under it. Another fun thing that happened was a small group of dancers got on the train & then did some amazing hip hop dancing.

The view from the train

When we got to our next stop, the boys saw the horse drawn carriages, the man called out "carriage ride around central park miss?" & I looked at the boys they had HUGE puppy dog eyes. I sighed, "do you really want a carriage ride?" They did & since they were both being so well behaved I said alright. We were able to enjoy the park scenery & the boys had a street vendor soft pretzel for a snack.

It was chilly, but relaxing

Central Park

Just before we crossed the street to go into to F.A.O. Schwartz who should we happen to meet? BIG BIRD! Both boys were over the moon & J-Bird kept saying "this is were they MAKE Sesame Street, this is where Big Bird LIVES!!!! "

Big Bird

Finally we made it to F.A.O Schwartz which was remodeled in 2004 & looks nothing like it did when I was a teenager. We spent over an hour in there just looking at everything Chavi loved the Lego section, & the books the most.  J-Bird's favourite things were the dollhouses, Playmobile, & the Calico Critters. I loved the Tonner Doll Company dolls & the Barbies, they were so pretty.

Chima Tower

Giant Box of Nerds

Tonner Dolls

After F.A.O Schwartz we went into the Apple store because my phone was dying! This Apple store was so cool its a glass square you go in & then you go down a glass staircase into the store. They saved the day because we would have been lost without the phone!

Our last stop of the evening was the Empire State building, because it is winter there was no line to deal with! We got in & right to the top, spent about four minutes outside on the observation deck but between the wind & the cold we had to go back in right away. The boys got to see the view though & it was long enough to snap a few pictures.

The View from 102 stories up

Fancy pants Walgreens on the way out of the Empire State Building

We grabbed some McDonalds (the boys picked dinner) and then hopped on the subway to go back to our hotel room, day 2 was done!

HopStop app

The Jewish Childrens Museum of Brooklyn

Mendy's Kosher Deli

F.A.O Schwartz NYC

Empire State Building

Thursday, February 21, 2013

NYC day 1: Natural History Museum & I really Needed a Nap

After the train ride down, we successfully rode the subway to our hotel. We stayed at Park 79 on the Upper West Side, for its very decent price & the location which could not be beat.

This was the narrow pass through from the sitting room & bedroom, it was a very cozy room.

The view from my sleeping area, J-Bird was so excited about these pigeons.

The view from the sitting room, our room was very private & extremely quiet. While The Park 79 may not have bells & whistles our room was very comfortable to stay in. (we also had an en-suite bathroom with a shower/tub combo.) The staff was very friendly, & over all it was a lovely place for the boys first visit to NYC.

Our first stop after checking in was lunch we ate at Ray's Pizza King. I had a slice of white pizza it was extremely good.  Sorry I was hungry & forgot to take a picture!

Then it was time to walk across the street to the Natural History Museum. This is may be one of the largest museums I have ever visited. It was also one of the most confusing, we got turned around more than once.

Tons of amazing things to look at, we could have spent two days wandering around just in here. The Journey to the Stars Planetarium show was really cool, I am so glad it came free with our City Pass. J-Bird was so tired that  he slept through most of the show, I might have dozed off for a teeny bit too.

J-Bird was hard to snap pictures of most of this outing. He is more of a speed looker when it comes to museums, always wanting to see what comes NEXT.

The boys learned what an adventurous person Teddy Roosevelt was, & all the interesting things he did during his lifetime.

We came to New York City but we got to see a little bit of our home state: Tucson, Arizona. The dioramas in this museum where out of this world, just gorgeous displays.

The best part though was all of the dinosaurs, a whole floor of nothing but dinosaurs. The boys were in heaven & now they want to be paleontologists when they grow up.

Which brings us to dinner, I had planned to eat at China Fun because of their dim sum that didn't go according to plan. When it came time ot leave the mueseum it was around 5:00 pm, the boys had been up since 4:15 am. Jacob rebelled at the idea of walking to go get dinner. Anyone who knows him, knows that this child does not skip meals. He was so tired that he would rather go back to the hotel & skip dinner if that meant he had to walk any further than the hotel.

I convinced him to walk to China Fun, he agreed if we could take it to go, I said sure. See I was thinking when we got there he would want to sit down & eat because he was tired. Nope when we arrived he was very serious about taking it to go. I myself was so exhausted I could barely focus on the menu so instead of dim sum we ended up with Hong Kong street noodles, sweet & sour chicken, & some chicken fried rice. I did get a bowl of delicious miso soup though. Then we schlepped it back to the hotel & were in bed by 8pm.

Chavi was a HUGE help all day long! His behaviour has been spot on this whole trip, and I know how hard that can be with his ADHD & so much new stimulation swamping him. I did buy him a special treat as a thank you for being so helpful while we were at FAO Schwartz. (that is NYC Day two though)

Park 79
The American Museum of Natural History
China Fun

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All Aboard! aka Next Time Just Drive Your Car

For winter break I had this insane idea that the boys & I would take the train down to NYC. In retrospect I should have realized that J-bird would like train travel as well as plane travel. Which is to say he does not enjoy it at all; too noisy, too much motion, too much people coming in & out of the door. As he said it so well, it is too much, muchness. I thought he would like it since he loves Thomas & he travels so well in our car, I know better for next time. Currently he is now content laying underneath our seats, & you know what I am going to let him stay there if it means the second half of the ride goes more smoothly for him.

We woke up SO SO early to get to the train station, up at 4:15 am & out the front door in the car by 4:43 am. (This is like AMAZING for me because I am almost always running behind) I wanted to be certain of finding a spot in the garage for the car and now we have a spot right near the train entrance so it will be easy to find when we come home Friday evening. The only problem with needing to get the garage so early was that meant we would have a bit of a wait for our train. We had some breakie in the little train cafe, & then it was up to me to help kill time. Mostly this was accomplished by me telling J-Bird what time it was a googleplex amount of times.

Finally it was time, they yelled ALL ABOARD, whoop whoop! After walking the whole train & starting to feel anxiety about seating arrangements. The rows are two seats each, but every one was sitting alone so I couldn't find a spot for us! We passed the conductor at one point & then when we were turning around to re-check he came to me & said he had a spot for us! Now we have a nice little four seater section (two seats face two seats) & my stress level went down enormously. Our train journey as about 3/4's done we are passing Bridgeport, CT as I type.

Please J-Bird take a nap

Chavi, he is being such a good helper today
As difficult as travel can be with J-Bird, my 10 year old is being an angel today! *breathes huge sigh of relief* He is going to deserve an extra special reward if he maintains such good behaviour like this for the whole trip!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Today, I am frantically rushing around doing the last minute little things to get us ready for our NYC trip. (SO SO very excited) Naturally, I thought NOW is a good time to dye my hair! I opted for the new Olia formula by Garnier (4.0 dark brown). My goal was just to cover up my red streak & the silver strands that seem to be everywhere lately.

Speaking of which WHY are there so many different kinds of hair dye? It took me forever to make a choice, because I can never make a choice when I don't know the product. Does this happen to anyone else? I get so overwhelmed when I go to buy a new toothbrush, deodorant, or what not. They never have what I usually use & then I have to find something else but they have way too many options. Sometimes I just look for a few minutes, turn & walk right back out of the aisle without a thing.

Anyway, I finally made a choice, grabbed a box & went on my way. It was only when I was in the middle of getting the job done, that I realized I needed maybe 3 boxes instead of my one. I managed to slather the not enough dye around & then I was just hoping for the best. Considering I was just going with my natural colour give or take a slight shade difference, I was pretty sure it would work itself out in the end.

The Olia was around $15 and if I need three of them well it just makes no sense for me to attempt to save money by doing it at home. Next time I need my hair dyed I will just go back to Ranew Salon & my trusty, dependable hair stylist. This worked really well in a pinch though, I wanted the silver hair covered for our trip, & it is.

If you are ever in Newport, RI & you need a beauty treatment I highly reccomend Ranew Salon. They are amazing and always give their clients the star treatment. I am going to miss them when we move this summer.

As for my hair it came out all one shade YAY!

Olia by Garnier

RaNew Salon

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Keep on Shoveling

Yes, what I needed was more snow to shovel! It is starting to feel like I won't see my yard again until March at this rate. I am also sad that this recent storm made me miss my Sunday yoga class. Out of all three yoga classes I take this one is my favourite. It puts me in the right frame of mind to deal with the new week, & I love the loopy yoga high it gives me.

Which brings me to my Monday yoga class, I have decided that I can not go back to that class. From the instructor answering her phone mid class, to the fact that she doesn't instruct (her eyes are closed 95% of the class), to her doing the same exact thing every week. I was leaving MORE stressed than when I got to class & that is not why I practice Yoga. I have tried it four times, I think that was more than fair. Instead I switched to a Wednesday & Thursday class on top of Sunday.

A new thing Chavi & I have been doing is family yoga on Tuesday evenings. He is hyper flexible, yoga seems to come naturally to him. I also think it is a much needed boost of ego for him, & it gives us some nice bonding time with out his little brother (who tends to be much more demanding on my time). J-Bird joined us for one class but he would rather go run around in the child watch room at this point then take a 60 minute class. I am hoping he will want to try it again because it can really help his low muscle tone and inflexibility. Yes my children seem to be polar opposites LOL. I think yoga is so beneficial for children (& adults), it helps you to focus on just that moment & to be fully present in it. I also find joy in my body being able to do so much more than I was aware it could do.

Which brings me to an amazing give away** that OMazing Kids is doing with Teaching Children Meditation. The grand prize is a book called Calm Kids & free access to the Calm Kids level 1 course, there will be a second winner who will win the book only. So if you have time check out the give away & both the websites involved.

OMazing Calm Kids Give Away

Teaching Children Meditation

**I get nothing out of sharing this give away, I only wanted to pass along the information.