Monday, August 8, 2011

What I learned from a weekend in NYC...with the family

Since we had not had a family vacation yet this year, we decided to get away for a few days and go visit my BIL in New York. Many of you already know the joys and perils of vacationing with small beings, but I thought I'd impart to you the things I gleaned from this little adventure.

1. When you take a road trip with 2 wee ones, no one thing will keep them both happy. While the DVD player acts like kryptonite to Nate's crazy, it does nothing for Arielle. Fortunately (unfortunately??) food works for her. I'm pretty sure she ate 11 boxes of raisins on our 4.5 hour journey.

2. When in the passenger seat, keep your FREAKING feet off of the window. The chance that traffic will come to an unexpected halt, causing your wife to slam on the brakes, is pretty high at some point in 4.5 hours. If said passenger has their foot on the window, and tenses up when said wife slams on the brakes, this can happen.....

3. If the family members you are visiting live in a studio apartment, odds are you will have to find somewhere else to stay. You could pay over $300 a night for a hotel in the city (NYC rates obviously)or you can be smart and check out Hands down the best idea ever! I found this site a few years ago when we went to San Francisco for my other BIL's wedding. I, for one, have no desire to share one room with my kids. What am I supposed to do when they go to sleep at 7:30, just sit in the dark? The first time we used this site, we rented a house for 6 of us to share and this time we rented a 2 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn that had a full kitchen and separate living room. We stayed 3 nights in NY and the grand total was $405 bucks! You can't beat that!

4. No matter where you go on vacation, parks will always be an acceptable activity...even if it is a substitute for going to the zoo. With temps in the high 90s and humidity right up there too, I was not going to a stinky zoo with a million other tourists. The kids got to run around to expend some energy and apparently my 28 pound daughter can hold her chubby little self up on the rings. Who knew?

5. If your child is not sleeping well at home, she will not sleep well on vacation. This should have been a no-brainer but hey, a girl can hope. Also, a 4 yo sleeping in a new place will probably get scared and wake up in the night too and then all 4 of you will end up sleeping (being a relative term) in the same bed. A queen size bed.

6. I will always be included in exactly 1 picture. I will always have to ask someone to take this lone picture.

7. The stroller pictured above has been one of my best baby/toddler item purchased to date! I wanted a Phil and Ted's stroller when Arielle was born, but my husband vetoed it because it was so expensive. I fought the good fight for how much I NEEDED it, but in the end I lost. I was going to borrow my friend's stroller to go to NY and, for some random reason I decided to look on Craig's List and found one for $75!!! I snatched it up so fast and it is as awesome as I'd imagined. I now know why I saw so many women with these in NY. They are a must have if you have to do that much pushing a kid (or two) around.

8. The drawback of the stroller in NY??? Not every subway station has an elevator and we ended up having to carry the stroller up and down the stairs. While this was great for exercise sake, it would suck if you were by yourself.

9. Kids on a subway. Not fun. Do I even need to elaborate??

10. Another awesome discovery I made on this trip was Yelp! I downloaded the app to my phone and then was able to search for restaurants and things to do. Everything was rated and people gave detailed reviews. It was so helpful. We found the BEST tapas restaurant in Brooklyn by using it (El Mio Cid if you care). You can search for things surrounding your current location so it was so easy to find good stuff nearby.

11. Your husband may balk at your instructions to stop the car (so you can take a picture) when you see one of the Real Housewives of NY walking down the street with her family. No matter how loudly you yell. Or how much you pout.

12. The Ferris wheel inside the Toys'R Us in Times Square is not as  fun to ride as it looks. Trust. Just ooohh and aww about it and save the $4.50 per person it costs to ride the dang thing. If you ignore my advice and chose to ride anyway, pay attention to the fact that kids 2 and under are free and don't buy a non-refundable ticket for your 20 mo old. You're welcome.

13. When you haven't been out for adult time (read alcoholic beverages) with other adults in a long time. You may be willing to pay a large sum of money for a nanny to babysit your kids for the evening. It will be worth every penny!

14. If you drive in NY, and you are not from there, you will probably get pulled over. Just sayin. The cop may have pity on you and let you go....if you look lost enough.

15. This is what Natey does if you tell him to "look excited".

16. You can survive a road trip with small children if you have enough snacks, books, toys, DVDs, crayons, coloring books, drink filled sippy cups, and advil.
**This post was in no way sponsored by any of the sites or bands I mentioned. These are all of my own opinions***