In a New York state of mind.

In the majority of special events in life I like to take some time to reflect.  I find it to be a useful tool for me in examining the good points, to help me learn from the bad but mostly to fully appreciate the experience that I was given. 
My recent New York trip was like none other; it was quality time spent with my mom and sister while enjoying a wonderful city that is different every time I visit it. 
I would encourage you to take a chance on New York. It is surprisingly clean, friendly and easy to navigate and now that I've been there a couple times, I'm becoming even more efficient at managing my time while visiting. I really don't think this will be my last trip to New York because I usually start craving it every couple of years. There's something about that city that gets me every time...... Here are some of my favourite pics and a quick video, documenting our adventures. Have a most wonderful weekend!  
New York from Dee on Vimeo.

A little bit of this and that

I had intentions of blogging from my laptop in NY, but when I went to turn it out, I found that my power cord was broken. Stupid security and luggage handlers.  So I had to do quick blogs from my phone- so annoying.
A couple extra things that I neglected to include:
1- We had MANY celebrity sightings on this trip.  Our list includes: Marlo Thomas (mom was super pumped about this one..Kyla and I had no clue who she was until she informed me she was Rachel's mom on Friends), some top 10 contestant from American Idol. Asian. Guy. I don't watch that show, so again it was mom being giddy. And lastly, my favourite, Troy (Donald Glover) from Community.... he was actually on our flight and I locked eyes with him.  I wish I would have been on the ball instead of awestruck and sung: "Troy and Ahbed in the moooorning".  

2- I did manage to take some video and will be working on a compilation to hopefully debut on Friday's blog.  But I'm also battling a pile of corrections that I neglected, a 2nd birthday party to prepare and some major quality time with my kids.  We'll see what happens. Oh, and our school flooded because of a water main things are kinda interesting there. If I wanted to get ahead with my corrections, I couldn't even do that because we're not allowed in the school. Urg.

I'll leave you with a cute email I got from Dan whilst I was out gallivanting.

Last night was rough.  Worked late again and Willis’ sheets weren’t out of the dryer yet, so I put him to bed in our room.  As he goes to bed he tells me “Don’t worry dad, if I have to pee I’ll wake myself up and go to the bathroom.”  Around 11 I take him to the washroom and move him to his bed anyway.  Around 12:30 he wets his bed.  I’m heading to bed anyway at that point, so I switch him to our bed after another bathroom stop.  Around 3 I wake up.  No Willis.  I look around the house – he had gone downstairs, got the big orange blanket, brought it up to his room and was sleeping with it on his pile of teddies.  Cute.  Then this morning Lucia wakes up just after six – I go to bring her to our bed to try to sleep a bit more.  Then I see the big pee spot where Willis had been.  Yeesh.   
But things got cute pretty quick this morning…

Took the kids out very early to let the rest of the house sleep.  Made a bunch of errand stops, and I ask “where to next?”.  Lucia throws up her hands in the air and yells “Shopping!”. 

Then we went to Tim’s for breakfast (“Hortons!” according to Lucia – she’s on a roll this morning).  Pretty empty at that hour, yet Willis walks up to a table of police officers and tries to pull up a chair.  Odd, but they laugh.  We get the table right beside them.

At breakfast, I tell Willis we forgot Grandpa’s birthday.  He puts down his breakfast sandwich mid bite.  Thinks for 15 seconds and says “Dad.  This is very bad.”  Thinks another 15 seconds.  “We better make Grandpa a pink birthday cake.”  I guess that makes it extra special or something.

We called Grandpa when we got home from shopping around 9.  Willis sang him happy birthday, Lucia said hi.  We’re going to make a trip to PA tomorrow to bring him his birthday cake.

The NYC finale

Our last travel day of adventure we won't against our normal Park-isms and didn't plan a thing. I know- crazy, hey. I can hear Dan gasping from here. I'm a planner, Kyla's a planner and mom's a planner. It is so deep rooted in my soul that there likely isn't a minute of my day that isn't on agenda. Being a teacher doesn't help this. Another thing deeply rooted- the inability to be late for something. I hate being late and prefer to be early for being early.
Anyway- today was a play it by ear day- mostly because the weather was rainy to start with. It was refreshing to go with the ebb and flow of the city vibes, hoping on a hop on hop off bus at various stops. It was pouring off the bat and we were cold and soaked so naturally our first stop was a shoe store.
It only made sense.
After we were cozy dry, we made our way back on the bus and to the World Trade Memorial. It's crazy how much has been built on that site, among it 2 beautiful waterfall pools on the footprints of the original twin towers. I'm glad we took the time to check out this work in progress- it was beautiful.
We then toured our way back up to the hotel where Kyla and I dropped the old lady off for some quiet time (a book and a coffee) and we went and nabbed us some half price tickets to an evening show. Totally unplanned, entirely liberating. Our choices were Mamma Mia, Rent, Ghost or Phantom. We went with Phantom. I last saw this show 20 years ago as my very first musical. It was a grade 6 school trip and I likely was more excited for a bus ride with my friends and boys and a trip to the mall but the musical also created a love for me that still burns. I also remember Jason stealing a hat from the mall and getting in serious shit.
With that our trip comes to an end and we're back to our sweet little families tomorrow. I can't wait to hug my kids and cuddle with my hubby!!!!

Travel day 4

I'm losing track of our days....
When Kyla, Sara and I went to NYC 4 years ago, we had 3 full days. It was good but a little rushed. So this trip we decided to have 4 full days. I'm glad we went with this, it feels just right.
Yesterday we learned and had a fantastic educational tour en route to Harlem on the Harlem Spiritual tour. The history of manhattan was covered and we ended at a Pentecostal mass which was so very different to anything I've ever lived. Singing, dancing, tambourines....
Next we went to Sister Act- more singing, dancing and joy joy joy! It was a good musical. Godspell is still hands down the best I've ever seen.
Our evening was spent giving mom a wardrobe overhaul at Macy's à la what not to wear.... Lots of giggles there.
Finally we did the Empire State building at night- a first for me- seeing the city lit up just added to its beauty. We ended the night at a fantastic French brasserie, les Halles, once again at 11pm.
Today is our last full day of NYC...what oh what shall be in store....

Travel day 3

If Friday was a day to pay homage to the shopping gods, then Saturday was easily the day spent with the gods of art. We spent the good part of the day gawking at monets, manets, picassos, van goghs and renoirs.
It was like a dream seeing all the original paintings from works I have admired much of my life. Highlights? 1-The two girls at the piano by renoir. This hung in my piano teacher's studio where Kyla, rob and I spent much of our childhood.
2- Starry Starry nights by Van Gogh- also another all time fave.

We also decided to break up our day with a pedicab tour of Central Park. It was a beautiful day in New York and the Park was packed with people enjoying life. We even got to witness a proposal and a wedding. Quite lovely!
Other excitement in our day was the huge toy store, FAO Schwartz where I got Willis a backpack for kindergarten and Lucia a 2nd bday present.
Another great stop was Rockefeller Centre where we went to Top of the Rock and enjoyed a cupcake or two from Magnolia Bakery.
Tonight we took in a play, Harvey, which was mom's choice. It apparently was a childhood fave so we had to see it and it turns out that Sheldon from Big Bang, Jim Parsons is starring in it. Bonus! It was a very funny play and I enjoyed seeing bits of Sheldon's voice up close and personal.
Once again we had supper at 11pm....Tis a crazy life we lead!

Travel day 2

Today was epic. I could not have written a more perfect script, thankyouverymuch.
Our fantastic day was spent at the outlet malls getting our shopping itch taken care of right off the bat so we could chill. If Park girls do anything the same- its shop: purposeful, thoughtfully and with as much zest and zeal as possible.
Things were bought, not gonna lie. While we were making our purchases- I was picturing Dan at home, with a live feed of the visa bill-slyly commenting at each purchase. My image of him was so real that I even made some of Kyla's purchases for her- just for entertainment's sake.
Banana republic, nine west, Marc jacobs, dkny, bcbgmaxaxria, Clark's (mom,duh) apparently I'm a shoe snob and too good to shop there....Oshkosh, lulu were all represented. With much joy, I might add.
Our evening was capped off with a moving performance of Godspell. The very first musical I ever fell in love with I found it so hard not to sing along as I still have the harmonies ingrained in my heart. We had front row for this intimate performance and I can't say I've seen anything as incredible. It was so good in fact that all 3 Park girls were in tears by the end and had it not been front row, I'm sure I would have broke into an ugly cry. It was that beautiful.
Because we are in the city that never sleeps, we felt the need to have supper at 11pm at a Hell's Kitchen restaurant: 5 napkin burger.
A really great day over here. Hope you're having a great weekend - we are missing our families too - in case you think we have forgotten they exist.

Travel day 1

4 a.m is early to get up regardless what you're doing. It does however, get more enjoyable when you're hopping a flight to New York City with your mom and sister.
Thursday was a long day of travel with a flight to Regina to Chicago then finally we were at our hotel in Times Square by supper time. The Westin Time Square is a superb choice so far for its cleanliness (it passed mom's check) and for its location. Also we're on the 44th floor of 45 and have a fantastic view.
We took it easy last night, strolling through the busy Times Square, stopping at a few shops, where mom made the trip's first official purchase- a Fossil watch- and then for a fantastic supper at the popular Toloache. It's a highly recommended Mexican eatery with authentic dishes. I had Camarones Toloache and they were superb. They also served three house guacamoles- one normal, one spicy and one with fruit.
The nuit was grand and we were quite tired and happy to snuggle in for a good night's sleep.

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