Sunday, June 22, 2008

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

We have finally returned from our latest vacation adventures and I am ready to document some of the highligts and lowlights. It was one for the record books...

We endured a record number of delayed and cancelled flights on this trip thanks to American Airlines, now known as "the devil people" in our house. And a record number of hours on planes, since we got put on the runway for 4 hours in Dallas-Fort Worth ,on our way to New York, before they cancelled our flight and let us off to find another flight to NYC. Super LONG day on airplanes!

We spent WAY too much time looking at this view to even believe we didn't end up on a foreign adventure. Over ten hours total on planes going there and no passports required!

The day after our return, Yahoo! had an article about the 20 worst airports in the nation for delays and cancellations. Numbers 4 and 5 are LaGuardia and Dallas-Fort Worth. Go figure. We spent a record number of days in Texas when it was all said and done, and we have NO PLANS TO RETURN.

We had a record number of "firsts"on this trip.

First time on NYC subways. Rachel was terrified before the first ride, thinking it was a "scary ride." We may have overdone it a bit at Disneyland in March...oh, well. All's well that end's well. After the first ride all the kids walked through the train stations like they owned the place. It was concerning that they didn't have a bit more fear. We rode the subways A LOT since we stayed way out in Queens at a Sheraton that was a steal using our 'starwood points'. The time we spent on subways may have been a record for a family of five visiting for the first time.

First time to Ground Zero. The museum is worth seeing with kids. After seeing the plans for the future and seeing the progress they're making, just walking around the whole site is inspiring.

First authentic NY slice. Just kidding about the Sbarro's! There's an episode of "The Office" that has Michael going to NYC "for an authentic New York slice" where he is in front of a Sbarro's . We couldn't resist a picture when we saw one. In fact we took a series of them throughout the trip.

Times Sqaure Sbarro .....................Dallas-Fort Worth Mall Sbarro

First trip to the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center). This is another great place to go with kids. The subway lets you off right in Rockefeller Center and there is a Ben & Jerry's on the ground level to enjoy after taking in the great views. An employee at Ben & Jerry's even gave Rachel a huge glass of milk for free after she said "Water is not a drink. I need milk." Very nice and not at all what you expect in the big city. And the Coconut Seven Layer Bar ice cream is amazing.

First trip to American Natural History Museum. Probably the biggest museum my kids have ever visited. Can you tell I bought a tourist book for families? This was a great match for kids. We saw a show in the planetarium and toured every floor. It is just like the museum in Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller. We followed this up with a walk around Central Park's Bramble and then rented a row boat to cruise around The Lake. Because Dave is an "elite athlete" he was able to show us all how to row properly. This $12 1-hour rental may be some of the cheapest entertainment anywhere, especially in NYC.

First trip to Statue of Liberty and first adventures with our girl cousins. We've visited with Hailey and Kayla before but we've never been on an adventure with them. As you can see, it was so much more fun sharing our day with Grammy Lois and Aunt Carrie and our cousins!

The American Girl Cafe is where the girls all dined for lunch while the boys found a deli and the Nintendo Store. Fun for all. And I must send a huge shoutout to my sweet nephew, Trent. He was the most awesome 10-month-old you could ever ask for as a travel companion. Let's do Disneyworld in 2010!

After a busy three days, we headed to Connecticut for the weekend and lots of parties. Three parties in two days, to be exact. Which may be a record. Thanks, Mom for all the work and planning and love! The other records established in CT include: number of laughs shared with cousins, number of hours spent up in trees, number of stains incurred on new clothing(I'm pretty sure there's a correlation there) and number of days Dave was sick. He spent five full days eating almost nothing.

Ben received his first faux-hawk; like a mohawk but not so extreme. Thanks, Kurt!

We visited Papa Bob in the hospital on Father's Day. Rob's blog has all the details of the accident. Get well soon!

And after cancelled reservations, delayed flights, cancelled flights, a hotel room, several meals at the airport, a trip to the outlet mall in Texas, more delays, we finally, finally made it home. A great trip in spite of it all. Too bad it's so far and sooooo long to get there for a visit! American Airlines can go to HELL. We'll visit again in two years and we won't connect through Texas, no matter what. Thanks for the memories.

Which brings me to the last record. The kids behaved miraculously well. The amount of patient, good behavior exhibited by my kids (not by Dave and I) was unprecedented. Through all the exciting adventures and hard-pushed days of vacation, as well as airport nightmares, everyone kept it together. Rachel learned a new favorite expression through it all; she now says all the time, "Can we work it out, Mom?" Yes, Rachel, I suppose we can.


Bret and Sarah said...

I just have to say that I immediately thought of Michael from The Office when you said authentic NY slice, before I even read the Office comment! Oh man, I am so good!

Bret and Sarah said...

Oooh...I almost forgot to add that I want to just squeeze rachel in the pic that she is wearing sunglasses. Could she be any cuter? eeewww! Just wanna kiss her and pinch her!

Becky said...

So jealous you went back to NYC without me!! How could you?!? But I guess after my European jaunt I should let you have your fun (excluding American Airlines, of course).

Coon Family said...

Wow! and more Wow! I am amazed at all that you were able to do! Great memories, and some not so great (but still something the kids will not forget). I had no idea you were an Office fan!!!! That is an all time favorite in our household!! Good to know I can talk to someone about random office events in the future.

Annee said...

Wow. What a post. It must have taken you three days just to get it published! I would think that after all the hours you spent on airplanes and in airports that you should have definitely been to Korea by now! I wish you were. Looks like a great trip! Can I just say that personally I am most jealous about lunch at American Girl!

Lori said...

You Newtons really know how to have fun!

Seth and Kim said...

Wow, looks like you guys had a great trip, aside from the actual traveling part anyway. I can't believe how much you packed into one week.

Kim said...

The funny thing is, this was a mellow trip for us. If Dave had been at full-tilt we would have done even more. He is the driving force and he was not feeling well for several days. If you ever want to get completely exhausted on your vacation, take Dave. That guy likes to play hard, and work hard, I suppose...

Anonymous said...

your pictures are sooo cute. I have
your CD but forgot to mail it before we went to rhode island.

we're back, pretty mellow vacation in comparasion to yours. Great overveiw of NYC. Miss you guys already can't wait to see you next summer,thinking about driving out!!! Love ya Mom

Rachel Z said...

I am so impressed by this mega trip you took to New York! I'm sure your kids will remember it for years to come. Some of the crazy airport experiences of my childhood are my favorite memories

Kim said...

Welcome, Rachel! Good to know that a 38-hour trip from NY to CO will not scar them for life. Now that it's over I can see we might look back and laugh...maybe.