Oh the city I miss so much! It’s been 3 years since we moved away and so many days I spend thinking about being back there, retracing walks or remembering days that we spent there. There are times I feel like it was just a dream that I actually lived there for school. Tony and I have our love story there. It’s just so special. The whole time we’ve been home we’ve been looking forward to the day we go back.
In October, we finally did for a quick visit. We originally were gonna do a little bit longer of a trip and go to Indiana in the beginning and then get there for New York Comic Con but we ended up having some scheduling difficulties and ended up there just for the Con. As much as I love going to Con’s I told Tony, I missed the city so I am going to go to the city instead of being stuck in an endless crowd. Nonetheless, that wouldn’t be fun for Riley either.
I started thinking about my list of things I wanted to do with Riley while he was attending the con. I wanted to go to the Brooklyn Bridge, The Bronx Zoo, visit my old work, visit our old stomping grounds, take her to Rockefeller. Perhaps take a trip on the Staten Island Ferry so she can ride it. Go visit Pratt and let her run around the campus. Hopefully see a teacher or two and say hi. I made a list of people I wanted to try to see. I wanted to take her to Central Park and play in the fields. I knew she would get a kick out of the guy who does the giant bubbles in the park. The more I thought about it, the list just got longer and longer and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit everything. We are definitely just going to need to come back sometime.
Preparing for the trip, I knew it was going to be a bit more complicated since I wasn’t nursing anymore. I also have a crazy toddler who loves to run so I needed to come up with some activities for her. I started browsing Pinterest and saw some activities people made to keep toddlers quiet on planes and I decided I wanted to make something extra special for her. I also love being able to practice shapes and numbers and wanted to make something I knew would appeal to her more. I started making a list of some activities I saw and thought about how I could make it better for her and created a busy box. Everything fit inside and it had about 15 quiet time activities. I will say this was a HUGE hit on our vacation and was even a great for quiet time in the hotel. Don’t worry, I will write a whole post about the busy box. Click here for more about the Busy Box!
When we landed in New York, we took a cab to our hotel in Queens. Riley slept the whole way there after being away for a good portion of the second flight. Once all checked in, I got everything ready for us to take a walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. My hope was to get there before sunset so we could let her run around Brooklyn Bridge park for awhile but we ended up not getting there until shortly after sunset. So we took a few pictures then went to grab dinner at Shake Shack. Oh how we missed those burgers and cheese fries! After we went to 34th St, and went to Tony’s old work. We couldn’t believe how much the city had changed in those few years of being gone. Then we went to Times Square and Riley loved seeing all the lights. We walked through the Disney Store, M&M store and we just had to go see the new Gap store. We couldn’t believe how different it was compared to the awesome Toys R Us that it was when we left. After that we started to feel the jet lag catching up to us so we went back to our hotel.
The next morning was the first day of the Con. We got some corn muffins for Riley which were a hit surprisingly and got on the train. Riley really liked going on the trains and wanted to be a big girl every time. No stroller in the train for her. Which was probably a good thing since it took up less space folding it up. We did have a little laugh thinking about how much harder catching and going on trains is with a kid to how we used to do it just the two of us. In fact, it took a couple tries for us to come up with a system for the trains to the point where Tony didn’t even want me going alone. But me being determined asked him to let me try. I think there is really a feeling the kids and sense when they need to absolutely follow a direction or when they can play a bit cause while is definitely a wanderer, but when I told her she needed to listen for train riding, she had no problems doing as she was told. Thank God.
We spent the morning gathering some exclusive items for resale on eBay. Strangely enough, Riley knocked out shortly after we got there and took a very long nap until around noonish. She was so knocked out in the stroller I think she was finishing up her sleep and was majorly jet lagged. I did one train ride with her sleeping down to SoHo so I could go see my old boss and say hi. People were so nice and helped me down the stairs with her. She woke up while we were in the train station and boy when I got to SoHo I was so confused. There was a gas station by the train entry and it was GONE. A lot of the stores that I used to see were all new stores. I started to almost wonder if I got off at the wrong stop. I started walking down and I could see the little park by my work but dang! So many new food places opened up! I wish they were there back then so I wouldn’t have to eat ham and cheese sandwiches or subway sandwiches every day at work. We said hi to my boss and Riley got to see all the photo equipment. One of the new works even helped Riley scan a couple photos. It was just the cutest thing.
Next we headed to Central Park. But as we were walking to it (I got off at the wrong stop and decided to walk the rest of the way haha) it started to drizzle…Then it got harder and harder so I stopped at store and grabbed a cheap umbrella. I hoped it would be a passing shower so we continued. It went back to a drizzle for a little bit so I let her out of the stroller and let her climb some of the rocks. There was a playground I always wanted to take her too so we swung on the swings a few times then we found a bigger playground I don’t remember being there but we played. It started to pour and all the parents and most of the kids were hiding in this shelter but Riley and this other little girl was running around in the rain. Soon it stopped and they played hide and seek and ran around a bunch. Tony joined us at the park and we walked a little more before deciding to go get some Chicken and Rice at the Halal Guys. We grabbed the food and we thought it would be fun to take her to Rockefeller. Well she knocked out so we had a peaceful dinner at Rockefeller and we picked up a donut and another muffin for her to eat later. We laughed cause it was perfectly timed with nap time if we were home. When we got home she ate the donut and then was running around the room. We let her play until close to 11pm before forcing bedtime which she was not a fan of but hoping it would get us back on to a normalish time.
The next morning was probably my favorite day of the whole trip. Tony sacrificed a day at the Con to go to the Bronx Zoo with us. It was just the most perfect day. It was our coldest day while we were there but cold in a way where it felt like we were walking in an air conditioned zoo. Which felt like the best since the zoo is usually a hot sweaty experience. There was also barely any people so we could let her run around freely without getting in the way of people. We took her on the tram, walked through the rainforest, walked through africa and pretty much hit every single spot except for the mouse house. Partially cause when we realized we missed it we didn’t wanna turn back from being a bit tired already haha. She loved all the animals especially the lions and the monkeys. I was sad to see they lost their polar bear kinda recently cause she was excited to see one. She did not like bats or crocodiles. She was very adamant about NOT seeing those animals. Her favorite part though was probably the petting zoo cause she got to feed the goats and sheep. We spent quite a bit of dollars on letting her feed them until one llama got a bit aggressive haha. She also thought going through the prairie dog tunnels was a blast. If you have never been to the Bronx Zoo, you need to put it on your kids bucket list. Seriously one of my favorite zoos ever! One of our favorite moments though was being able to redo some pictures we took from our last visit pre parenthood and living those words we talked about taking our future kids here.
As we finished up, we let her choose one new toy and she chose a Koala bear. It is January now as I’m writing this and she has probably slept with it every single day since then. We headed back to the con to check in with a couple friends before heading to Chick Fil A. Oh I wish we had a Chick Fil A here! Riley loved the fries and milkshakes just as much as I do. That night when we got back, I got to go have some alone time with one of my best mommy friends. So we grabbed a couple drinks at a bar near by and then headed back to our babes.
The next day was another day at Comic con. I couldn’t believe that a few days in now and Riley still knocks out within the minutes of entering the show room. We gathered some more comic books and items that we needed to get and then I left again to take her to Central park. She amazingly slept all the way to the park. She had no idea but it had started to sprinkle again. I was like maaaaan, why does it always have to be rainy on our way to the park. Luckily it just stayed misty the rest of the time on our adventure.When I got to the first spot I wanted to show her and she was still asleep. I started to wonder, what if she doesn’t wake up haha. So I thought I would do a sleepy Riley adventure and I was just going to take pictures at all my favorite spots. I figured it was better than nothing. We got to our second spot and she started to wake up, I picked her up and climbed on the rocks that you always see in like every single New York movie ever. One of my favorites personally is Friends with Benefits and there is a scene with the lead and her mom sitting on the rock talking about relationships and such. I found someone to take a few pictures of us up there and oh my goodness they are just my absolute favorite.
As we walked further she started to get excited by seeing the horse carriages. We walked to the Mall and she wanted to get a snack so we shared her first ice cream bar. Then we found the guy doing the giant bubbles. She found it so amazing how big they were! She also loved all the music and artists over there. We walked to the fountain and she got so excited to see it and demanded we get down there fast! I always loved how that area had someone playing music that just fills the air over there. We went down and someone had left a heart made out of roses and she actually jumped in and asked me to take her picture. Then we went to the fountain and I gave her some pennies so she could make wishes. We watched the ducks swim in the pond and she really wanted to get in a boat. I hope maybe next time I can take her on one.
After we continued to just walk in the park so she could burn some energy. She thought it was fun running around with the camera and letting the timer run out and checking on the picture. We played until the sun started to set. We met up with Tony in Union Sq and walked through the park. We showed her our old favorite dog park and walked to Barnes and Nobles. She loved the how big the store was and how many books. Her favorite part though after we read some books was they had a train table so she played until closing time. After that we grabbed another bite to eat and headed back to the hotel. Since I had my evening out the night before, Tony got his turn and he went out to the same bar for a couple hours.
For our last day in New York we spent the first few hours at the con getting our last minute signatures and sending things off to CGC. Once we were done, we left and sold our passes to get a little bit of extra cash and we headed back into Queens to see our friends for a brunch. We went to this place called the Thirsty Koala and had some amazing pancakes and steak. Riley was really not having brunch and didn’t eat anything besides whipped cream. When it was over we went to a park near by and let her and Sebastian run around. They had an absolute blast and it was so much fun seeing our friends again. While there were many people we didn’t get to see, it was nice to see a few of them.
As the sun started to set we headed to Jennifer’s house since she decided to let me and Tony have a date night. We dropped them off and then headed down to Brooklyn to the Way Station for the Doctor Who premier. After having a few drinks and watching an awesome episode we went and picked up Riley and went back to the hotel to pack. We packed the suitcase and got a couple for short hours of sleep before waking again for the airport. Riley was NOT having wake up time and kept turning off the light on us trying to get ready haha!
We got to the airport and got some breakfast and let her run around this pretend airplane for the kids to play in while we wait. At our gate I told her she needed to get her wiggles out and she proceeded to do this adorable butt wiggle all around the chairs and run around. This really helped cause in all honesty the second we got on that flight we were wiped out. We set up Riley with her ipad and Tony and I got some rest. I woke up to find her also knocked out so we gave her a pillow and blanket and she got a few hours of sleep. The second flight she played a lot with her busy box and with the screens on the plane but I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better flight experience. Thank you Jesus!
All in all this vacation was so much fun! I really hope I can take her back again soon. I must say it was interesting for us too cause we felt so much time wanting to be back there. As we left we both decided that while we still really miss the city, we made the right decision to move back home. There are things we’ve definitely enjoyed doing being at home that we know we wouldn’t have there.
Until next time New York!