Tag Archives: New York City

Big Apple Firsts

At the beginning of the month I whisked myself away to experience New York City. Whisking allowed me to see the city as an adult, not as a mom with 4 precious children in tow. It wasn’t better, per se, just very very different. I think I needed both to really begin to start to think about possibly maybe someday understanding such a place. It was a trip filled with firsts. Most of them were small and mundane but it was an amazing adventure. First off: first canceled flight of my life.

Me and my boots waiting and then eating and then calling my husband and kids to turn around and re-drive an hour to pick me up after my flight was canceled due to weather. First time eating Five Guys fries. All. By. Myself. I’ve had them before but its a whole new level of bliss to not have to share even one.

Me and my boots on our very first Amtrak train bound for a destination more than an hour away. I’d ridden the train with my Dad (We went to San Juan Capistrano and saw “Zorro.” Could not have been more perfect atmosphere) but this was 11 hours of pure uninterrupted reading time. I finished the two books (Homeschooling books, of course) that I’d brought. They changed my life and that right there was worth the canceled flight drama. Naomi was gracious enough to loan me her lunch box.

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Saying goodbye to Mommy, take two. For the record, I married an amazing man. He single handedly took over the farm and the homeschooling and the bathing and the hair brushing and not only merely survived, but out did himself as a dad. He’s my favorite.

The rest of the trip will be related in three parts, Food, Art, My Mom and Sisters.  Things I can not possibly love any more than I do. Ahem.

My Mom and my sisters are locals now and they knew the places to go. We did Colombian, and Mexican, and Thai. I got to ruin bacon for my sisters…store bought will never live up to my homegrown cured and smoked stuff. We hit up the commercial bakery down the street from my mom’s that has tasty and dirt cheap baked goods…chocolate swirl cheesecake with a healthy dollop of apple butter and a side of madeleines (another first). There is a bakery in Manhattan called “Magnolias.” Their chocolate banana pudding made me seriously consider licking the inside of the cup (dignity and class be danged) and I need their lemon bars in my life daily. Huzzah for good food!

Art must be seen in person. Full stop. No other way to really “get it.” For the first time I had a chance to really see these iconic masterpieces. Did you know that One: Number 31 by Jackson Pollock has places where the paint is shiny??? Did you know that there are places on the canvas where the paint was absorbed at different rates creating a whole new level of depth and complexity??? Turns out Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory is super tiny…what?! and I saw the real Starry Night. People. There are maroon strokes in that cypress tree that I have never really seen because I’ve only seen glossy reproductions. I saw the edge of the paining, where Van Gogh decided to stop painting. I saw paintings from an artist I studied in high school and loved but forgot about. Art. I loves it. I also got to experience other forms of art. Daffodils in the middle of the city, stone steps on an early morning walk by myself just because I could, and a cold frosty sunrise because spring hadn’t totally started up north. Sigh.

I love this woman and these weirdos. This was the first time we had a chance to start to get to know each other as adults. Usually I’m in full out mom mode while they are working magic in aunt mode. Doesn’t leave lots of time for deep conversation. Laughing and fun, of course, but not deep “who are you really under all that” discussion. They make me so happy. And I’m pretty sure my mom is the coolest mom out there. True story.

Mom said this kind of sister/mom trip needs to be an annual thing. Not just because I came home with my proverbial batteries fully charged and ready to turn life upside down (in a good way) but because we all need to get to know the many sides of the people we love. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is a unique, autonomous person under all the hats we wear. Sigh. I might just learn to love New York after all.

 

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Filed under Food stuffs, Holidays, life the universe and everything

big apples and seventh birthdays

Do you love New York City? I had never been before a few weeks ago when we went there on Naomi’s seventh Birthday. It was not a specific trip just for that, the timing just worked out as part of a larger excursion (next post will cover the rest of those good times!) As a farm girl and homeschool mom who relishes her space and crowd free life, I wasn’t sure how it would be spending a day in The City with my family in tow and no real plan. I needn’t have worried. Lessons were learned that day and seven years of life were celebrated in a way that was perfect for Miss Birthday Girl.

Not to sound finicky right off the bat, but I like London’s “Mind the Gap” better. More flair and style. Because I need flair and style…riiiight…We did love the trains though and I learned that people on trains are both nice and super tolerant of high pitch excited squeaks coming from my girls and my boy.

Crowds were no worse there than in Vegas so we were golden. I learned that it raises a place’s awesome factor if you can go from impromptu naked water play at a hidden park then go to a primer art gallery in 5 minutes and 100 yards. We were walking through Central Park (after an over-priced and under-quality hotdog on the grass) and we saw a park. That was a good solid hour of bliss for everyone. Bliss makes me brave and we attempted The Met.

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Three words. Bed Knobs and Broom sticks. Am I right? We hit ancient Egypt (Naomi’s request) and arms and armor for the boy. Samurais were imitated and Mummies were grimaced at. I learned my kids take on museums like champions.

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My mom said we had to get Mr. Softee soft serve ice cream. So I put it on the list. I asked at the museum and they said yeah the truck out front. Great, asked the guy in the truck and he said yes of course this right here (pointing to swirly ice cream cone picture) this is what you want. I learned that I’m a naïve tourist and you aren’t really in the club until you get hoodwinked by a local. Well. I’m in the club now. To be fair, it was still the best soft serve I’ve ever had.

There is a book called “Micawber” by John Lithgow. We love it and it’s the only reason I even knew that there was an old carousel in Central Park. Since Micawber, the art loving squirrel, lives in the top we had to go and check it out. I learned that kids do not even see crappy paint and hear awful carnival music. They truly experience things as they should be expierenced…no judgement, just joy in the moment. Pretty sure little man said this was the best thing he’d ever done. Like three times. The kid has been to Disneyland, but that didn’t matter in that moment. img_1694 Because we had just walked 8 millionty miles from The Met to the carousel, we crashed on the grass before embarking on more subway travel back up to Harlem for an IHOP dinner (birthday girl’s request of course). I learned that Central Park is stupid big. Like kicked my trash big. My poor sweet husband and children. They love me, even when I don’t deserve it.

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Her birthday was complete the next night with collective cake decorating, ice cream and presents. Everyone did a bit of decorating while Naomi consulted her sketch of the cake and bossed I mean managed the whole deal.

Munchkins have been missing their aunts and it was nice to cuddle and have some down time.

New York City was great. It was exhausting being a mom with 4 littles, no idea what I was doing, and a whole day to fill. But I had my husband who navigated all subway travel and overall we had a great time. Obviously, I know we only scratched the surface, but that just means we might have to go back some day.

This girl though. She pushes me and challenges me in ways no other human being on earth does. It’s good and bad and I’m sure someday she will have her own little Karma child to mold her into a better mother and person. I know the adventure is only just starting and I’m equal parts terrified and eager to see what else she brings to my life and the lessons she’ll teach me. Whew.

Next up the rest of our Ohio / New York trip!

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Filed under Holidays, life the universe and everything