Yes, the last post was about our impromptu vacation last week and this post is less about our misadventures and more about the great family time we had! We did a little visiting with Jon and Caroline in Seattle; a little visiting with the Sugi clan in Albany; and, we even managed a mini-vacation on our vacation to visit Shabana and Brent in New York City!
We are SO lucky to have family and friends that open their houses to the 4 of us. At three, Josh is not so gear-intensive anymore (we just have to make sure we have some new toys for the plane ride!), but Avery still requires us to pack a punch. I guess I should say that I wouldn't feel like I had all the stuff I needed for her if I didn't bring everything including the kitchen sink! And really, because of my sister's resourcefulness and great friends (!) we didn't have to pack as much as we needed!
Just as an aside: keep in mind when you are travelling by air these days that airlines are now starting to charge for check-in baggage. I thought we were getting a screaming deal flying from Seattle to Albany, but once you tack on the US$140 to get our bags there and back, it doesn't seem like such a great deal anymore! And that was for a mere 3 suitcases for the 4 of us!
So, anyway, I have to mention how thankful we are to everyone for hosting all of our (my) dysfunction. You guys all really made our trip so much easier than I was making it!
I have a whole stack of pictures at the end of this post, so instead of going into great verbal detail about our trip, I'll leave you with some of my reflections:
* Travelling with 2 kids is TWICE as hard as travelling with 1 kid.
* Take time to be tourist in your own surroundings. We don't live in Seattle, but we visit Jon and Caroline often. We don't do many of the touristy things, but when we do, it's always fun.
* When you need to get somewhere in a timely fashion, listen to your gut and not the guy telling you about a shortcut.
* My sister is truly a super-mom. Her typical day involves getting up early to get her 4 kids to school. Then, she works for a few hours (at home as a medical transcriptionist) in the morning until her littlest gets home from kindergarten. She entertains the little one and gets chores done until her second kid gets home from elementary school. At this time, there is usual one (if not more) extra child that comes with her own kid because my sister does after-school care in addition to the medical transcription job. She makes sure the 3 or more kids are fed, happy, doing homework for an hour or so until the last 2 kids get home from middle school. This is when the real fun begins! On any given day, it is now a balancing act getting the kids to dance, tennis, piano, tae-kwon-do lessons, matches, tests and everything else you could throw your child into to insure they grow up to be well-rounded, responsible individuals! Oh yeah: AND she needs to find time to cook and get food on the table so when her famished family gets home, they can eat. I KNOW all you moms out there are impressed. Believe me, I am too!
* Adirondack-country is beautiful. And it's only a couple of hours to get to NYC by train. How convenient is that?!
* When you are on vacation with kids, check to make sure the activities you are doing are kid-friendly. For example, did you know that you cannot tour the Boeing plant in Everett, WA if your child is under four feet tall or if you have a baby that needs to be carried? Also, you cannot take a tour of the UN with a child who is 5 years old or under. This includes babies that are carried in a baby carrier and will sleep the entire time. There are no exceptions.
* I would lose all my baby weight if I lived in NYC. Walking is the best way to get around - it's so great!
* My girlfriend, Shabana, doesn't realize it, but she is a GREAT tour guide for NYC. All the little facts she knows about the city as she shows you the sights are fascinating!
* Vancouver is not a huge city but it's not a small town either. I feel like a small-towner when I visit NYC.
* Next time Bri and I visit NYC, I hope we can leave BOTH kids with my sister in Albany and really see the city! (hint! hint!)
Space Needle in Seattle at dusk
Josh loved to look at the Space Needle from the ground and loved watching the elevator go up, but the actual going up and being up top took some getting used to!
Avery didn't care too much either way - just as long as she was being carried!
We're actually on vacation!
Beautiful view looking out west from the top of the Space Needle
Taking time for some rides at the base of the Space Needle
The little hill in the Sugi's backyard. Cass was a seasoned pro, but Josh, not very experienced with snow, needed a hand with the incline
He managed to pick up this part pretty quick on his own!
And he loved the ride down!
Cass and Tess wanted to do some face painting. Josh takes it to a whole new level!
Cass as a "tiger"
Arriving at Penn Station - in front of Madison Square Gardens
Wall Street - in front of the NYSE
Grabbing the bull by the...
Brian's impression of Vance Munson
Ground Zero today
Brian was relieved when he discovered he didn't have to do without it for a week!
New Amsterdam, Manhattan, New York
Statues amidst building restoration
One of the few times you actually see Avery in NYC!
Brian in Times Square (the New Year's ball is on top of the building with Yahoo)
Target wishes the atheletes luck in Vancouver!
ALL of us took turns with the Avery-carrying
The lights on Broadway
The red steps of TKTS in Times Square
The ice rink at Rockefeller Center
Yet another break to feed Avery
The sign that best describes our trip!
Posing outside the City Grill with Omar the famous dog (?!)
A photo with Brent, Shabana's new hubby!
Avery in her bed at Shabana's
Yes, it IS a dog bed, but it's a tempurpedic bed!
The flag from the UN embassy in Iraq
Posing for a shot outside the UN despite the rain