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Friday, June 25, 2010

Liz and Lisa hit New York City: Day 2

Our second day in the city ended up being much more eventful than I'd expected. As I said, I did tons of research beforehand going to the city's website looking for local activities. I saw the Puerto Rican Parade listed, and just assumed it was a local parade that lasted - an hour or so.

Well, all of you New Yorkers reading this are chuckling quite loudly. I quickly learned that this parade is second only to the St. Pady's Day Parade. Essentially, it's a day-long party where most of the city's streets are closed and police are lined at every block prepared for flared tempers that tend to arise with millions of people packed in small spaces.

That morning, we walked to American Girl doll and as we were getting close to the store - we dodged onto a closed road walking where there was no traffic. Little did I know that they were keeping pedestrians away from this area too - and a Puerto Rican dignitary was being shielded by police and guards.

I was horrified when I realized they were blocking our way and wouldn't let us turn onto 5th Avenue - 4 blocks from American Girl. See, when you're on your own - it's no big deal to backtrack and walk a few extra blocks. But when you're with a little girl who was DYING to get to the store, adding an extra few blocks becomes VERY painful.

At my expression of horror, dignitary kindly let us through and asked a New York police officer to escort us the final four blocks to American Girl. Quite cute.

It's funny because I thought it was again odd that virtually NO ONE was at American Girl. Apparently, all of the other wise parents had decided NOT to go on Sunday because of the parade.

Well, courtesy of the parade, we had the place mostly to ourselves. Liz LOVED it, and this was her favorite thing about New York. She'd been wanting one for a long time and we made her wait until her 6th birthday.

She chose Elizabeth - one of the historic dolls. The whole experience was a lot of fun. She loved going up and down all of the levels at the store.

I took a picture of the tray of ho rs' derv es they brought us, because despite the outrageous prices for the dolls and the clothes, I was pretty impressed at how cheap the lunch was in Manhattan. For $24 a person, each person got a cinabon, and then shared a tray of veggies, soft pretzels, cheeses, etc.. Then, each person gets their own entree. I went with a chicken sandwich and fries and Liz had mini hot dogs, a mini hamburger and fries. Finally, each of us got THREE deserts - mousse, a cookie and a piece of cake. Seemed like a TON of food to me! And, I wasn't expecting the food to be very good. I was actually pleasantly surprised.

Another shot with the two Elizabeths. You can see the three sweets here. We ended up taking some of them back to the hotel room. They also sang happy birthday to her even though it was a few days early. It was sweet because they gave her a sticker that said: "it's my birthday." But every time someone wished her a happy birthday, she explained to them that it wasn't her actual birthday and that it was a few days early.

Gotta love the chocolate mousse. Yummy!

When we left American Girl - imagine my surprise that the parade was still going on. And yes, an hour later after we took a break and decided to head to the Central Park Zoo - it was in full force. Liz gets horribly scared by two things - loud noises and mascots - which are the most important aspects to all parades.

When we finished at the zoo, you guessed it - the parade was still in full-force. By this point, it was raining and there was no way you could catch a cab because traffic wasn't moving. Liz didn't want to walk past the parade because of the noise and fear of mascots. I decided at that point that our best solution was to walk and we ended walking about 25 blocks! She was quite the trooper. I didn't get any shots of the parade because the whole time we were near it, I had to be very vigilant watching Liz.

But she did have fun at the central Park Zoo. Here are a few photos:

At this point, music from the parade is quite loud and Liz's covering her ears!

After that L-O-N-G walk back to the hotel, we had dinner that night at the hotel. Liz chows down on some yummy bread. They also gave her cheesecake and sang happy birthday to her. Talk about lots of birthday celebration.

She slept very well that night - our 2nd night in the city.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Liz and Lisa hit the Big Apple part 1

I've been going to New York for work about four times a year and I decided to take Liz with me for my June trip. We arrived on a Saturday and stayed until Wednesday. I worked that Monday and lined up a babysitter for her in the hotel and took the rest of the week off.

We spent a long time talking about what it would be like in New York - much larger and busier even then Chicago. I was initially worried about how she'd do in New York, but as you'll see she did quite well in the Big Apple. We had a blast and she just loved it!

Our start was a bit bumpy when our flight was delayed by 1 1/2 hours on due to a thunderstorm in Chicago.

See how quickly that grin turns into an annoyed frown after our flight continued to get delayed.

Here's the yucky weather we were dealing with in Chicago.

Finally in the air and Liz took a few shots from the window seat.

Here's Liz in the air playing with my watch.

When we landed, the first spot we went to was Central Park. Liz poses for all of us!

More time at Central Park.

Liz on the Carousal at Central Park.

Her favorite spot in our room was sitting on the window-sill behind the white curtain looking down onto the city. She wooed the hotel staff when we checked in and they gave us a nice corner room with an excellent view of the city.

Liz made such an impression on the hotel staff that they sent up complimentary milk and cookies - with a hand-written note! This was Liz's expression after she'd had a cookie...or two!

Our first night there we ate outdoors at a local restaurant chain where many locals bring their dogs. Liz loved petting dogs and of course eating New York pizza.

While we travel a lot with Liz, much of it is spending time with family. So, she doesn't get to spend a ton of time at hotels. I must say the hotel experience was something she really enjoyed. I pointed out a shoe-shine kit in the bathroom. I forgot to explain that only certain types of shoes need to be shined. Sure enough, in a matter of minutes, she was shining her pink sandals. This is funny and precious - all at once.

Sandals are all bright and shiny and that marks the end of our first day in New York.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Catching up in pictures

It's been a busy few months here are some pictures from this spring.

Our local library has a neat program where kids can read to the dogs. About a month ago, Liz particpated and read to several dogs for a few hours. She loved it and had a blast.

We went to Hyde Park by University of Chicago for lunch and to walk around on Mother's Day and got some cute pictures of the kids.

And, I think we've gone too long without a picture of Liz and a diapered Chance.

Liz set up this picture and she was very proud of it!

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I can't even believe that Liz is already done with Kindergarten - absolutely amazing to me. Here she is on the last day!

I thought she looked really sweet in this one with her eyes closed.

The picture below was taken of Chance on June 1, and maybe it's just me, but I feel his hair has gotten really blonde in recent weeks. I can even tell a difference in the shade of blonde below compared to some of the picture above (taken a few weeks earlier).