Monday, November 28, 2011

Vacation! (Part 1)

Good morning! It's been another little bloggy break for me, but I have a good reason. Let me start from the beginning...

As you may remember, Mr. Fantastic and I went away for the weekend at the beginning of the month, just the two of us. It was a wonderful weekend, which culminated in our rushing out of the movie theater mid-movie to head to the ER back home, where my mother-in-law had taken Roo because he was choking. WELL, during the movie (spoiler alert--if you have plans to watch "Tower Heist", this will give away part of the plot... but not the ending, because I haven't seen that part...) a robbery takes place in New York City during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My hubby leaned over to me and whispered, "We should go to that sometime." (This was literally about 30 seconds before we got the phone call, because we actually had to leave during that scene, also known as the-climax-of-the-movie. ;-) )

Well, about a week later (which, for those of you who are keeping track, was less than two weeks before Thanksgiving), he came home from work and said, "I have a new plan! I think we should go to New York City for Thanksgiving!"

I wish I could say I responded with enthusiasm. I can't. You see, there were a few factors working against me. For one, I am a planner, and two weeks before a major holiday, I already have it planned. I don't like to change plans. Second, I am sentimental and love traditions--and there is no way in which a last-minute trip to New York City is "traditional" for me. And third, we have THREE small children, and the idea of fighting for sidewalk space with 3.5 million people (yes, that's how many people watch the parade each year) was NOT appealing to me.

But I tried to be as supportive as I could in a this-ain't-never-gonna-happen kind of way.

So guess what happened next...? I got outvoted.

We alternate our Thanksgivings, one year with my family, one year with my husband's. On his family's years, it is mainly his mom that we coordinate with, and we go along with whatever she would like to do for the holiday. This was her year, and she and Mr. Fantastic were both very much on-board with the NYC thing. I decided to wait and see if we could actually find a place to stay that was close to the parade site AND within our budget, which I figured would never happen.

It did.

Now, to be fair, I did NOT go into this with a bad attitude. I expressed my concerns, I whined to a friend, and then I turned it over to God and said, "You're going to have to be in charge of this." And I decided that if we were going to go, I was going to go with a great attitude and have as much fun as possible. So it's not like they dragged me kicking and screaming.

ANYWAY, once we knew for sure we were going, there was tons to be done in a short time. Since I normally decorate for Christmas right after Thanksgiving, I decided that my decorating HAD to be done before we left. So I cleaned the house, put away all of my fall stuff (some of which was still waiting to be put out!), and decorated the entire house for Christmas, along with doing all of the normal household stuff, AND packing myself and all three kids for the trip. It was a crazy 7-10 days before we left!!!

But everything got done (well, almost everything), and we left first thing (OK, not FIRST thing... but 9 AM) on Wednesday morning. And can I tell you something? It was FAB.U.LOUS. Amazing. Fantasting. A HUGE success.

We got there Wednesdsay around 5:30, and then had a minor mix-up with the condo we had rented, so it was around 7:00 before we got in and settled. Our place was small compared to what we are used to here in Ohio, but we were very thankful to have 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms in downtown NYC. We basically just threw our stuff down, then took off to grab some dinner and see the parade balloon inflation.

The inflation event goes from 3 PM to 10 PM the day before the parade. By the time we got there it was after 9:00, and the line was HUGE. We were only able to see about a third of the balloons before it was over, but it was cool to see them up close.

Lamb & Monkey waiting to see the balloons

Buzz Lightyear was huge!

The inflation event was fun, but if I had to do it over again, I would skip it. The kids were out until around 11 PM, and then we had to wake them up early the next morning to get to the parade.

Luckily, Mr. Fantastic and his mom volunteered to get up REALLY early and be at the parade route with our chairs and blankets at 6:00 AM. They left everything set up and came back to help me get the kids ready and loaded up and head back to the route. We weren't close enough to walk easily, which was a little disappointing, but the subway was only 2 blocks from our condo. By the time we got back down there, it was a MAD HOUSE. I was really starting to forget about my resolution to have a good attitude when I realized how hard it was going to be to get back to our seats, especially when the road we needed to walk down was closed off and guarded by police...! But then a very nice officer listened to my husband explain the situation, and he let us past the blockade to go to our seats--which we found were still set up and waiting for us, even though people were PACKED along the street for as far as you could see!

We weren't right in the front (even though they had gotten there at 6 AM!), but there was only one row of people in front of us, and they were VERY nice to let our kids go in front of them to be able to see better. (Don't worry, we could still see them the whole time.) Once we got to our seats, it was only about 15 minutes before the parade began! It was SO MUCH FUN! Oh my goodness, it was great. I'm still getting my pictures sorted out so I'm not going to post a ton, but here are a couple...

Roo is ready for some fun!

Buzz looks much better "in action"

Scotty McCreery, for you American Idol fans :-)

Spiderman was the 2nd biggest hit of the day, next to...

The big guy himself! When Monkey saw him coming down the street, he started yelling, "He's real! He's real! Santa is here--it's really HIM!" :-)
 And you know what? I'm going to have to stop here for now. Roo graciously gave me a few extra hours to my day by waking me up at 3:45 this morning (and let's not forget to give some of the credit to Mr. Fantastic as well, whose snoring kept me awake even after I got Roo back to sleep), but I have used up all that time now, blogging, catching up on e-mails, and checking out some Cyber Monday deals; and now I must get back to reality. Vacation Part 2 to follow tomorrow!