Do you remember back in December when I mentioned our super fun trip to New York? If not, it’s okay, I’m about to divulge all of the sparkly details of our time in the city. The trip was actually a Christmas present from my mother in law. Now would be a great time for me to sing the praises of my mother in law. She’s an exceptionally giving, beautiful, selfless, bright light in our lives. I have to pinch myself regularly when I think about the amazing mother AND mother in law God blessed me with. Two women for me to model and imitate and love and be spoiled by, I’ll always be thankful. Anyways, I can still remember the day she told me about the trip. She was sitting on my living room rug playing with Hattie when I mentioned taking a group trip back up to Natchitoches the week before Christmas just like we had done the previous year. She scrunched her nose and said “I have a better idea, why don’t we take a girls trip to New York for Christmas”! Hook, line, and sinker. I was sold at “better idea”. I always dreamed of visiting New York-specifically at Christmas. My mother in law (Honey) had been a couple of times before, around Thanksgiving but never Christmas. My sister in law (Rachael) had been many times, but also, never at Christmas, and the same with my MIL’s mother (we are going to call her Nanny from now on), and Hattie and I would be making our grand debut on Broadway! Seriously, our hotel was on Broadway, I don’t tell stories. I left the planning to the experts, and counted down the days! Hattie would be taking her first cross country trip…on an airplane. We slept in NOLA the night before our flight so that we wouldn’t have to wake her too early, which was perfect, since she slept through the noise of all of us dressing the next morning, rising only 15 minutes before we shuttled it on over to the airport!
Starting our trip with a hotel stay in NOLA and a double shot of whole milk.
We rose bright and early, grabbed a bite of breakfast at our hotel, and hopped on board a shuttle to the New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport. They had it decked out in Christmas lights, and trees. I was already in New York…in my mind at least.
I was wildly calm about Hattie and her first trip in the air, and I’m glad that I didn’t spend time fretting, because she flew like a champ. She sucked her bottle during take-off to keep her little ears from popping, and played with her toys/ate snacks for the first few hundred miles. She ended up taking a nap about an hour and a half before landing, and it was the sweetest thing, to be able to hold her for the entirety of her nap. I took Erin’s advice from her first plane ride with her little and brought treats along for our flight crew. They loved the thoughtfulness, and gave Hattie her own honorary “wings”, let her sit with the pilot, while we were on the ground, obviously, and asked us a handful of times if we were okay. Chocolate does the world good. I also bought her this little toy plane to commemorate her first plane ride. I didn’t give it to her until we were waiting to board, so it kept her entertained a bit. I waited until we were on the plane to give her this book as well. I had been wanting to try this series (super cute by the way) so we had two new fun things to keep her curious fingers busy!
We grabbed lunch and loaded into our personal shuttle at the Newark airport and headed into the city. I’m usually quite the TomTom, but my navigational skills and geographical knowledge took a back seat as I kept asking our driver if we were passing certain landmarks. For example “Is that the Brooklyn Bridge up ahead?” his response, “Ah, si, no no no, das’ far, not ere”. Me: “Cool, where is it exactly then?”. He didn’t seem very comfortable answering my extremely touristy questions, I’m still surprised that he didn’t throw a map at me and yell, “Read et’ an you learn”. For a first time New York traveler, I expected everything to just lie in my field of vision for me to soak in at one precious moment, so you can assume my shock when Lady Liberty, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Plaza, and Central Park weren’t perched at wait ready for me to arrive. I won’t make that mistake again, trust me.
We made it to our hotel, which was magnificent. It was literally 25 steps away from the Times Square jumbo-tron. It was like a neon stage waiting for me to play on. Rachael and I had to “run down the road” obviously as soon as we arrived (for baby toothpaste and lemons. duh) and it felt like the dead of noon at 7 P.M. Lights as far as you could see, so real and crisp, and perfectly astounding. Curtains. Holy crap. Curtains. Will we have any? I got a leeeetle worried. we live down a country road, where the only light comes from fireflies and the moon. Okay, and maybe from the security light we had installed last month….I keep thinking about how my daughter would NEVER be able to sleep here. Our hotel room was situated adjacent to the Earth’s equivalent of the sun.
Their blackout curtains were phenomenal however. No harm done. Props to our hotel for thinking ahead. And for the warm cookies. Did I mention that? They kept warm cookies at their front desk for us to snatch each and every time we passed. Their customer service got an A+ in my book. Their other high point was keeping some groceries that we pre-ordered from a local market refrigerated in anticipation of our arrival so that Hattie’s milk, cheese, and yogurt wouldn’t spoil until we were able to check in and put it in our room’s ice box. And the bottled water that they would gladly bring us everyday. And…well, everything. Even our cleaning lady was fantastic.
We ended the evening with a quick shopping trip through Soho, mostly to Zara, H&M, and Sur La Table where I scored some espresso powder that I had been pulling my hair out trying to find, and copper cookie cutters…swoon.. We topped off the night with dinner at Balthazar’s. A famed French restaurant, on a bustling corner, where the wood, brass, and warm glowing hues stand out, and the captivating smell of seared butter, and truffle oil leaves your mouth watering. Their french onion soup was D.I.V.I.N.E. and our sweet Honey even called ahead to have them bring Rae, Nanny, and I our own little gravy boats filled with ice cream, sorbet, and candles to celebrate our birthdays, which had recently passed. It was perfect! We headed to our hotel soon after to rest our eyes and prepare for the days ahead. With the help of Bluetooth speakers, and box fan apps we all slept sound in our beds (and cribs) while visions of 5th Avenue danced in our heads….
On day two we made the short walk to Rockefeller Center so that I could gasp over the enormity and beauty of the Christmas Tree. Ya’ll. It was so gorgeous, and real. I don’t know why I never imagined it being real, with falling needles, and an enticing sappy smell, it’s branches even sagged a little, like most real trees do. Especially real trees that are upwards of 70 feet tall. It was beautiful from every angle. We spent the majority of the morning shopping to our hearts’ content. My biggest worry about this trip was Hattie’s nap schedule, but my dear napped for nearly 3 hours during her scheduled nap time in her stroller. Score. We hit up Zara again, but this Zara had a baby section. I’m not drooling as I type this, I promise. I had scoured their website for baby clothes and ogled my findings many a time, but I didn’t want to order something with the uncertainty of how their sizes ran, but I was finally here in the flesh, and boy oh boy, did we have fun with daddy’s money!
We topped off the evening with Sushi at Blue Fin in the W Hotel (yum!) dressed in our Broadway best, heading to Wicked soon after. I was in heaven, I ALWAYS wanted to see Wicked when it came to Houston, but never made it for one reason or another, but I was going to see it on the actual Broadway stage! At the last minute Honey announced that she and Hattie were going back to the hotel for the night because children weren’t allowed to see Wicked, and because I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy a 3 hour Broadway play with an overtired toddler. I almost cried, and I felt horrible, but Honey told me that she didn’t tell me until the last moment for that very reason, and since she had already seen Wicked, she wasn’t the least bit disappointed. I still felt terrible…until we made it into the Gershwin theater that is. As soon as Glenda started belting out the first act however, I completely forgot about my guilt. It. Was. Awesome. Outstanding, amazing, uplifting, colorful, sensational, and any other synonym that you can think of. I cried at the end. I don’t know why. I think it was because it was so beautiful. Just a few glistening tears kind of cry, nothing crazy. I cannot wait to take Hattie back to the city in a few years and let her pick out a Broadway to visit. Your first Broadway is certainly a landmark moment in life.
I forgot to tell you the best part about our Broadway night, other than Wicked and the sushi. The bike ride to the theater. You heard me. Bike ride. In 25 degree weather. Driven by a Jamaican man who was more than happy to up his gears and pull 3 women in his bike carrier taxi. To be fair, there were NO cabs that were picking up passengers, much less going “downtown”, instead they were all full, or heading “uptown” (before coming to New York I thought all taxi’s were yours for the taking, but they are mighty picky about who rides in their backseats and what their destinations are….I may or may not have guilt-ed a few into picking us up with, “But I have a baby”.) I’m fairly certain it’s a tourist attraction type of deal, like scooters at the beach, or a carriage ride through the park. However, Nanny and Rae begged to differ. They thought that this was a legitimate form of taxing through the city and that we should be able to go 6 city blocks through traffic in ten minutes on this bad boy. They were both disgruntled to discover that the sweet little biker boy was letting us take in the sights, while almost making us miss the opening act. We stopped him just short of the theater and ran to catch our show, in heels, and Nanny is 50 + 20 years old. Woman has skills mind you. This was all after they both tried to jew his price down from $40 to about $15. He was so confused, and so were they. I paid him off and dragged them towards the theater. No time for games. Wicked was starting, and I wasn’t about to miss out. Little did we know, we were only about 3 blocks away from the theater to begin with, but at least we saw the sights on the way
We walked back in case you were wondering.
That’s enough for this post. My word count is getting excessively long (we’re nearing 2,000). Part 2 coming at you soon!