Monday, August 8, 2011

New York/ New Jersey Part 1

This begins the New Jersey trip. We started out at 4 AM on a Saturday. We made it about halfway through Virginia before stopping in Harrisonburg. The next day, the kids were excited to see all the big beautiful pines and huge rocks to climb on. We arrived at my Aunt Barb's house at about 1 on Sunday.

The above picture with my cousin Julia was shortly after we arrived. On Monday, we had a day in Manhattan. The above picture is in New Jersey with New York in the background. We rode the PATH train to New York and then took the Subway to get to the Museum of Natural History. My uncle worked in the World Trade Towers until 9/11 and was luckily out of town on business that day. He works in New Jersey now but still goes into the city for work sometimes and my aunt was a fashion designer and lived in Manhattan so luckily, they knew how to get around easily and knew the city amazingly well.

Sam was very excited about riding the trains. The Museum of Natural History was very crowded but amazing to see. Here are the kids in an oyster shell, Brianna in front of an elephant tusk, Kate in front of the giraffes, Sam with the panda, the dinosaurs, and meteorite. It had so much to see I think we only scratched the surface. Next, we went to Central Park, had dinner in the city after walking through the city and then continued walking to FAO Shwartz. Those pictures will be in Part 2.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New York/ New Jersey Part 2

Here is a park inside Central Park that we walked to after the Museum of Natural History. Then off to the famous statues. We have a picture of my brothers, sister and I in front of the Alice and Wonderland statue when I was little. We called my brother, Chris, the Mad Hatter because he wore hats constantly so we got a picture with it on one of our trips to New York. Sam was asleep at this point but we got a picture with all the kids and the statue.

Then, we were off to dinner after lots of walking through 5th Avenue and all the famous stores, we were having trouble finding food. We finally walked far enough to find a very yummy place to eat dinner. After dinner, we walked to FAO Schwartz which was not far. We could have spent much more time there but after only 15 minutes or so, they announced that they were now closed. We didn't even have time to see the top floor or let the kids play on the big piano that Brianna wanted to see. We did quickly get their picture on it but it was closed.

We got pictures with the Barbie fashion show, their favorite animals, and the incredible lego statues and dinosaur. To top it all off, we took a taxi back to the PATH train, really 2 taxis because there were so many of us. The kids were so impressed, train, subway, taxis. I don't know how any tourists do the city without a tour guide. Just our one day was hectic and I would never have been able to get around without Aunt Barb and Uncle Mike. The girls also didn't complain about the walking because they were holding Julia's hand.

We spent the next day (Tuesday) relaxing after walking so much the day before. Then Wednesday, we were ready to go to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The kids weren't too crazy about Ellis Island. I remember wanting to leave while my dad was busy reading things as a child too so we didn't stay long.

They loved the boat rides and then we went to the Statue of Liberty. Our tickets were actually for the ride and the base of the statue but we didn't go inside. They were content to see how big it is and play on the grounds. We had a great time. My aunt bought each of the kids a mini Statue of Liberty that they are so excited to show everyone.

New Jersey/ New York Part 3

Our last 2 days in New Jersey, we just relaxed. We went to the pool and a really cool local playground. My aunt originally had a packed schedule of activities for the week but then heard the gospel story of Martha and decided to drop some activities and just enjoy us being there. While all the activities sounded fun, the vacation was a perfect mix of relaxing and getting to the main tourist activities we wanted to do. Heath and the kids had never been to New York and I think they got the New York experience. Heath and I also had time to read, time to talk to each other and to Barb and Mike, and even time to go to lunch by ourselves. On our way home, we decided to take a route that was one hour longer making the trip 15 hours and go through Washington D.C. Here are some pictures of that.

Lots of random people came up to us asking to take our family photo so we actually have several of those.

We saw the Washington Monument, the front and back of the White House, the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and much more from afar. The kids were complaining about walking so much this time. The pool in between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument was all torn up and a big mud hole. That is your tax "recovery" dollars at work. It was really neat though and the kids kept posing with the promise of each of them making a trip scrapbook.

We were on the way home and stayed in Bristol, VA on the Tennesse/ Virginia border. We get up to our room of the hotel and Brianna looked out the window and said, "Look there's the Statue of Liberty". So we looked out the window and you could see this statue. Our hotel is the one in the background. There was also a Brooklyn Grill we passed after church at St. Ann's in Bristol and it also had a statue of liberty in front of it. What an appropriate town to stay in!