Sunday, December 16, 2012

west coasters unite...on the east coast

We had the opportunity to visit our dear friends from California, David and Kristen, at Kristen's parent's house in Connecticut. Her parents were gone for the weekend at a wedding and they were so gracious to let us invade their home! 

It's a pretty quick 3 hour drive south. We stopped for dinner at a sketchy McDonald's about 2/3 of the way there where Ryan is quite certain he witnessed a drug deal go down in the bathroom but we made it out alive.

We arrived on the 13th and the devastation in Newtown (the town right next to them) struck the very next morning. We spent that day wandering aimlessly through Target  listening to updates via strangers on their cell phones and continuous news streams on the TV. It was later that night we learned a 6 year old girl from their church congregation was one of the victims. My heart just hurt for these families. We definitely hugged our five and six year olds (and the younger ones) a little tighter that day.

Later that night, we went to dinner to celebrate our two students accepting the jobs of their dreams. David and Ryan used to work together at a financial valuation consulting firm in Silicon Valley. They both left the same month to pursue their MBA degrees - Ryan at Dartmouth and David at UCLA. They both figured, two years later, they'd accept high tech jobs most likely back in the Bay Area. 

Ryan is working for John Deere and David for Taco Bell. But we all couldn't be happier with their decisions and their hard work that got them there. So cheers to Ryan and David! 

The following morning we jumped on the train to head to New York City. It was a first for both Leah and Kate to be on a train and a first for Kate to visit the big apple! As you can see, Ryan and Leah found the train ride thrilling. We spent the entire day jutting around the city on mass transit and our little legs (and wheels). All the kids did so well. Probably my favorite transportation moment was on the subway. I was making faces at Sydney and Austin, and they were making faces back. Only Austin's goofy face of choice was to lick the hand rail. I'm just waiting to hear what disease he contracts first. 

Our first stop was ice skating at Bryant Park. Kristen and I sat on the sidelines with Em and Kate while the boys took the older three on the ice. They all loved it and we had a great time watching them. 

Next stop was walking north through Times Square and then to Five Napkins on the lower west side to eat. Yum. It was so delicious! And we passed probably 500 Santas on our way. Turns out Santa Con was happening that day. Good thing the kids just thought it was great that a bunch of Santa's helpers were walking around, not that it was a pub crawl and most Santas they saw were pretty much wasted. Some even stopped for a photo shoot. Kristen stumbled as she crouched down and ended up sitting on one Santa's lap. No fear, Kristen was a good girl this year. 

After lunch we jumped on the subway and headed north to the Natural History Museum where we met up with some other good friends from California who now live in New Jersey. It was such a fun reunion! Kate loved the bears. Leah loved the dinosaurs. And Emery loved the off-limits displays. So much that she decided to duck underneath some chains and tip toe on the sand, setting off all the alarms. I just pretended like I didn't know her. 

By this time it was getting pretty late. We headed back via Rockefeller Plaza to see the tree. So beautiful. So crowded. 

Then we booked it to Grand Central Station to catch our train. We missed the one we wanted, but found the next one and got all settled. Minutes before the train left the station, the conductor announced the stops - and he forgot to mention ours. That, or we were on the wrong train. Sadly, it was the latter. So, we rallied the troops and ran off the wrong train - and onto the right one - just in time. It was here we learned that Kate has excellent hat hair. 

We made it home, ate a quick dinner and tucked the kids in bed so Kristen and I could go shopping and get Cold Stone (for the second night in a row).

We spent all other down time chatting, riding the golf cart, getting gel manicures, playing Mario Bros. and just catching up. It was so wonderful to reconnect for a few days even if we do live 3,000 miles apart. 

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