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Monday, December 22, 2008

NYC at Last!

Finally, our trip to NYC!

You can see the grown up pictorial of our trip HERE.

Declan's view of the trip is HERE.

And Finn's view of the trip is HERE.

Here's a rundown of what we did:

Monday, December 8
-Drove to Denver in a driving snowstorm.

Tuesday, December 9
-Went to KOOL 105 FM and taped a segment for the Make-A-Wish Colorado radiothon that was scheduled to air on Monday, December 15.
-Visited our Denver clinic to say hi and Merry Christmas to everyone. Finn's little buddy Joshua happened to be there that day getting his chemo and IGG!

Wednesday, December 10
-A limo picked us up at the hotel in Denver at 5:30am. The boys didn't know that we were going to the airport via limo, so it was a fun surprise.
-Our flight ended up being delayed because of heavy rains in NYC (nice), so we landed about 45 minutes late.
-Yet another limo picked us up at LaGuardia, and George, the driver, graciously detoured us to McDonalds so we could get something to eat since they starve you these days on planes.
-After a lunch stop, George took us on the "scenic" route and drove down the east side of Central Park on 5th Avenue on our way to the Plaza Hotel.
-It was pouring rain.
-We got to the Plaza and Mickey, who works outside, met our limo and whipped open the door with a flourish, welcoming the boys to the Plaza Hotel and showing them both where Kevin (Macauley Culkin) pulled up when he arrived at the hotel. We were ushered in with pomp and circumstance--the manager came out to greet the boys (and us) and were all very nice.
-Eddie, a bellman who was there when Home Alone 2 was filmed there, escorted us to our room. He was so great our whole stay, paying special attention to the boys and showing them around.
-When you stay at the Plaza, you have a butler. Isn't that hilarious? So even though there was a plate of cookies and candy and milk for the boys and a cheese and fruit plate for us, our butler also brought us complimentary drinks. I think I had water. Crazy, I know.
-We headed out to find some dinner. In the pouring rain. Ended up getting slices of pizza because places right around the hotel didn't look too kid friendly (read: expensive).
-We did a lot of walking. The boys did a lot of complaining. I immediately missed the BOB stroller, which we had sold via Craig's List and the woman picked it up from us when we were in Denver the day before. Come back, BOB, I miss you!
-When we came back from dinner, Finn complained that he didn't feel too well. . .
-We all piled into bed and watched Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. What else would we watch? I think I fell asleep before the boys did because I woke up later and had to turn off the TV, which was a struggle because it's this high tech panel system that the boys had already worked out, but I hadn't.
-Around midnight, Finn woke up screaming and crying and clutching his left ear. After trying to soothe him for about 45 minutes, I woke Eamonn up and told him we needed to get Finn to a doctor. I called the front desk where I was informed that a doctor could come directly to the hotel. . .for a minimum charge of $800. Hmmm, what are our other options? Urgent care about 30 blocks away--which Eamonn pointed out is only about a mile and a half away, but it seemed like much further. The good news is that when you're traveling through NYC at 1am, there isn't much traffic so your cab fare is pretty reasonable.
-Three hours and a double ear infection later, we were back at the Plaza. We all laid back down at about 4am.

Thursday, December 11
-We all slept in.
-Instead of going out and exploring in the morning, per our original plan, we stayed at the hotel to maximize our time at the Plaza!
-Eddie gave us a behind the scenes tour of the Plaza that is closed to the public because it is now private residences. Finn enjoyed sliding across the floor to the elevator like Kevin.
-At noon another limo picked us up and took us to John's (I think) pizzeria where we picked up a cheese pizza and ate in the limo. . .just like Kevin. Unfortunately, Finn was still a little under the weather and didn't enjoy any pizza.
-We drove to FAO Schwarz, which is ironically across the street from the Plaza so we just went in a big circle in the limo (which took an hour because of NYC traffic!).
-Finn rallied while we explored FAO Schwarz which was, of course, crazy crowded.
-Our driver on this day, Carlos, was waiting for us when we came out, and took us to our new hotel, the Doubletree. Can I tell you how cool it is to have a driver waiting for you on the street? I could get used to this!
-Originally we were supposed to go to the Empire State Building, but we figured Finn's head might explode on the elevators, so Make-A-Wish rescheduled that visit.
-It was pouring rain.
-So instead, we went to Macy's and ate chicken soup, which thrilled Finn to no end, mailed letters to Santa to take part in the Macy's donation to Make-A-Wish for every letter put in their Santa mailbox, and then we went to Santaland. I remember going to Santaland on the 6th floor of Lazarus in downtown Columbus growing up. This was reminiscent of those days! I loved it! So did the boys. Declan sat on Santa's lap. Finn did not.
-Then we went outside, in the pouring rain, and looked at the Macy's windows, which were my favorite of all we saw.
-There was a huge line of people to get a cab, so we took a pedi-cab back to the hotel. That guy worked hard for his fare with four of us piled in there. At least NYC is relatively flat.

Friday, December 12
-Up and out early to the Today Show. Eamonn left at 5:45am to secure a spot, but called by 6am to tell us that we needed to get there ASAP to be sure we got in. I had to rush everyone out of bed and we took off. Then there was the wrong turn I wrote about in the earlier post. Sigh. Such a great way to start the day. Combine that with being hugged by a giant mouse and Finn was none to happy. Declan was all about getting on TV though.
-After the Today Show, we went back to the hotel and gorged on the breakfast buffet.
-The rain had cleared away and the skies were beautiful at last. We went to Central Park and took a carriage ride. Finn wondered if he could ride in the trunk-like thing at the back like Kevin. We said no.
-After our carriage ride, we enjoyed several hours walking around Central Park. The boys played in the park and we walked to the Dakota Building and Strawberry Fields.
-We all went into Tavern on the Green to go to the bathroom. Eamonn and I both took boxes of matches so we could say we'd been there.
-We ate lunch at a hot dog stand. Disappointing. The hot dogs have shrunk!
-We were due at Rockefeller Center to go ice skating at 2:30pm. We got there a little early so we went for hot chocolate at a deli on a side street. Coming out of the deli is when we had our James Gandolfini Encounter.
-Skating at Rockefeller Center. It's fun to say we did it, but it's chaos! Thanks to Make-A-Wish, we didn't have to wait in the huge lines outside, but you go down to this room smaller than our basement that's full of a zillion people trying to rent skates, return skates, and put their stuff in the bag check area. I'm sure a million fire laws were being broken in there. But once we got through that melee, being out on the ice itself was fun. The big tree is right over the rink and everything is decorated, so it's a great atmosphere.
-Friday night we met my cousin, Michael, and his wife, Kim, for dinner. We went to a local Irish pub and the boys behaved in a manner that I feel certain will cause Kim and Mike to not have children.

Saturday, December 13
-Ate breakfast at the hotel again. Each day our server was so nice and would give us extra Doubletree chocolate chip cookies for the boys to take with them as a snack for the day (as if they needed more sugar).
-We were scheduled to be at the Statue of Liberty at 10am. Again, big crowds, but because of Make-A-Wish, we didn't have to wait in any lines! Someone met us at the ticket booth and escorted us straight inside. Security there is tighter than to fly on an airplane--seriously. We had to take off our belts, barettes (me, not Eamonn), and not just coats, but any sweaters, etc., as well.
-Jeremiah (Eamonn's cousin) and his friend, Christie, were also in NYC that weekend, so we had planned to meet up at the Statue of Liberty. We were on the ferry ahead of them.
-If you have plans to go to the Statue of Liberty, you can no longer actually go up inside it (since 9/11). You can get there early and get special tickets into the base of the monument, which is a good museum. You can then walk up to the top of the base (sounds weird, I know) and have a great view.
-I wish I'd taken a video of the boys when they saw Jeremiah. They screamed his name, ran and jumped all over him, and then he picked them both up at the same time and swung them around. Too cute. But I need to work on my quick draw to get my camera out fast enough to capture these Kodak moments.
-From the Statue of Liberty we took the subway to the Empire State Building. Again, star treatment. This was Finn's favorite part of the wish! Eamonn and Finn stayed out on the observation until after the sun went down. They're both "warm" people. Declan and I, with our reptilian tendencies, got cold and had to come inside to watch the sunset.
-We then took the subway on up to Washington Heights to visit with Eamonn's cousins, Mary, Kaitlyn (Mary's daughter), Gerry, Gerry's wife, Mary Jane, and Aunt May. We had a great evening with them and it was fun to see the inside of a New York apartment. Mary drove us back. I don't know how someone drives up in that traffic, but they grew up doing it!

Sunday, December 14
-Our last day! Finn was distressed it was time to go home.
-We took another walk to Central Park and rode the carousel. Then we walked to see Balto's statue and roamed past the zoo.
-Mary had told us about a model train display in a building near our hotel, and so we went to see that. It was amazing and Finn was in hog heaven.
-Another limo picked us up at 2:30pm and it was back to the airport for an uneventful flight back to Denver.
-We landed during snowy weather and yet another limo took us back to the hotel. We got to bed at about 11pm.
-It was hard to sleep without all those taxi horns. Kidding. I don't know how people in NYC sleep at all. I guess you just get used to it. Oh yes, I'm a small town girl at heart.
-We called into the radio station and did a post-trip interview LIVE, which meant Finn didn't get to talk. Apparently they are familiar with the adage: don't work with children or animals--because really, I have no idea what he might have said.
-By 1pm we were home.

And thus ends the trip of a lifetime for us all!

I waited for a limo to pick me up and take me to the grocery store that afternoon, but no one showed. What a letdown.

8 comments:

Cate said...

Glad you had such a good trip and that Finn wasn't sick for too much of it.

By the way, it's more because kids tend to clam up on radio and few will talk when put on the spot.

MakesMeSmile said...

What great pictures! Looks like a good time was had by all. I can see Declan has grown. Limbs are getting that 'too long for his body' look that boys get. Finn looks healthy and that smile of his is disarming, to say the least. Glad you had a good trip,

Frannie
Grove City OH

Kristie said...

I know what you mean about waitin for a taxi that never showed. After our first cruise, the night we came home and had dinner, I kept waiting on someone to put my napkin in my lap and then clear my plate when I was done. It's amazing how quickly we can get used to superstar treatment, isn't it? :)

Glad you guys have a wonderful trip -- loved hearing about it all!

Beth said...

It sounds like Finn had a great time on his Wish! The rain and traffic were crazy that week! I was imagining you on the Hansom cab ride in the pouring bitter rain! Glad you got to enjoy some of the nicer weather.

Happy Anniversary too!

Mountain Mama said...

OH, how fun! I am exhausted just reading all that you did. What great memories.

ashley

1dreamr said...

Great photos! Glad you were able to make lemonade out of lemons (i.e. Finn's double ear infection) and create some fantastic memories. These pics are screaming to be scrapbooked!

Mom on the Run said...

Cool trip. My kids have watched Home Alone 2 three times this holiday season. We were in NYC this past weekend. We watched Home Alone 2 on TV in NYC on the day we walked to the Plaza to see the Eloise painting and went to the Central Park Zoo. Wacky!

Leeann said...

Natalie,

Girl, that trip sounds FAB! I am really sorry that Finn was ill but at least it was an ear infection that antibiotics could zap rather than a flu or something.

You all packed A LOT into just a few days!

Welcome home and MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you!!

xoxo,
Leeann