April 30, 2016

Adventures in the Big Apple

During our April vacation we decided to take the boys on a mini-trip to NYC.  Since they are all preforming in the Jr. version of the Lion King, we thought it would be fun for them to see the show on Broadway!  So we packed up the car and headed to the Big Apple!

We're off!
We left early Tuesday morning and met up with Omi, Grammy, Auntie Kristin and GG at a rest stop in MA for lunch.  Then it was full steam ahead until we got to the Bronx where our hotel was.  It was a gorgeous hotel and it came with FREE parking which is pretty much unheard of in NYC!  We didn't mind the distance because we knew the boys would enjoy the subway!
Hanging in the hotel!
The only downside to the hotel was not having a pool for the boys to use, but it wasn't the end of the world.  We found a chain restaurant at a shopping mall plaza for dinner since parking was a requirement and most of the local places had only street parking.  Then after our dinner we got some ice cream.  By the time we got back to the hotel it was pretty much bedtime for the boys anyway.

The next morning we got dressed and all met down in the lobby for the FREE continental breakfast (another hotel perk!). After that it was time to head out and catch the subway into the city.  My mom has never been to NYC before so this was a huge treat for her and we had plans to hit Time Square before going to the theater for the show.

First NYC subway ride for Grammy and Shaun!
We got off at Grand Central Station to show the boys the famous landmark in some of the movies they have seen.
Grand Central Station
We also walked by the public library to show them the big lion statues!

Grammy enjoying the city so far!

After some quick site seeing we needed to grab some lunch.  We decided to get some burgers at the Shake Shack!  Charlie and I had met for lunch here when we came during his conference so we knew it would be yummy and fast!  We still had one quick stop to Times Square to make before getting to the theater.


Grammy and Omi enjoying their milk shakes and burgers!
Charlie and me too!
After lunch we headed into Times Square.  My mom had never been before so I felt like Ed Asner's Santa from Elf when he was explaining the rules of the big city to Buddy!  "Mom, there will be people dressed up as different characters...do not take your picture with them...they just want your money!  It's not FREE!"  Ha!  She was in awe and can now cross another one off the bucket list!

Me and my Mom!

It was the boys first time here too!  They had been to Rockefeller Center and FAO Schwartz before, but never Times Square or Broadway!
So then it was time to get ready to go to the theater!  The boys were so excited and I was excited to see their faces when they walked in!

Shaun, Auntie Kristin, Grammy & David
Charlie, Evan, GG & Omi
Theater selfie!
Shaun is so ready for the show!
The show was everything we hoped it would be.  I had seen it in Boston before, so I knew what to expect but watching the boys faces when they saw the opening scene of Circle of Life was the BEST!  Especially David, who will be attempting to walk on stilts as a Giraffe in his second round of being in the Lion King, Jr.

After the show!

What an amazing experience!
We still had some time to kill before our dinner reservation so we popped into a souvenir shop so that my mom could grab a NYC sweatshirt.  Then we decided to see if the restaurant would maybe take us early so we headed over and sure enough our table was ready!

Dinner at Mama Mia 44sw!
The dessert place we wanted to try didn't have any seating and they were out of a lot of the selections so we just grabbed something small and took it to go.  It was going to be a long trip on the Subway back to our hotel and we had plans to pack and go to the zoo in the morning.

The hotel was near the Bronx Zoo so after a quick breakfast, we packed all our things up and headed out.  The weather was going to be much cooler than the day before in the city so we bundled up a bit more.  The boys had a blast at the zoo and we ended up staying until close.

Ready to see some animals!
The boys got a kick out of the peacocks
Grammy and Omi in the Butterfly Pavillion

After some walking around and seeing some of the animals, we had some lunch and then the boys got a ride on a camel.

Evan was too nervous to go alone, so Dad was the hero of the day!

We never have to worry about losing Grammy?

We got to the tiger area in time for a feeding demonstration!  It was cool to see the lion up close like that.

Taking a ride on the Bug Carousel!
That was the last thing of the day.  The boys quickly stopped at the gift shop and then it was time to head out.  The plan was to try and get out of the city as quickly as possible and then find somewhere to eat in CT.  We managed to find a Cheesecake Factory near a mall and got our dinner and dessert before saying our goodbyes to everyone.  We hit some construction traffic, but otherwise it wasn't an awful ride home.  We made it home at midnight!  We were so exhausted but the trip was totally worth it!  I can't wait to take the boys to another show!

March 28, 2016

2016 Easter Festivities!

Easter felt like it sneaked up on us this year.  Although I generally feel that way when Easter falls in March.  We tried to make the best of it though and even though it wasn't as warm as we though it would be on Easter Sunday, there was no snow, like last year, when Easter fell in April!

We decided to color eggs on  Friday, since my MIL had come up to help me get the house ready for our festivities on Sunday and I thought she would enjoy it.  Turns out she had not colored eggs in years and was excited to make a few with the boys.

Saturday was spent running errands and getting all the food that I needed to make the delicious food that we were going to eat on Sunday and the kids were such great sports since they had to come along for the ride.

On Sunday morning the boys were excited to see what the Bunny brought.  They were happy to see some new baseball gear, books and some candy.

New Disney Infinity character and some baseball pants!
A new baseball gear bag and the Chris Grabenstein book.
Batting gloves and a Disney Infinity character!
They also got some pool toys and giant water bottles for the days we spend at the ball field.
Charlie had to work, so dinner was planned for later in the day.  That gave me plenty of time to prep the meal and get some yummy appetizers in the oven.  We had a nice spread of hot and cold munchies, including the crowd favorite stuffed mushrooms, which rivaled the delicious bacon wrapped tator tots that my Aunt brought.

My sisters cute jelly bean garden cake!
I have pretty much perfected the Easter meal and have not deviated from the menu because it works and I know how to prep everything so that it's all ready together.  We had 2 different styles of ham (a whole smoked ham and a spiral ham), an herb roasted leg of lamb, mashed potatoes, spring pea medley and sweet potato casserole.

Pioneer Woman famous baked ham with Dr. Pepper glaze!
Garlic and Rosemary crusted leg of lamb!

After dinner we sent the kids down to the cul-de-sac while we hid the eggs for the annual egg hunt.  It was nice to not have to worry about the snow this year and the sun had finally come out so it was a bit warmer than it was earlier in the day.  

Shaun checking out his loot!
Everyone gets one big egg and 10 small eggs
One big egg has $5 inside, David was the lucky winner this year!

My happy family!
Another Holiday celebration success.  I love hosting my family and I am already looking forward to the next one!