A brief retrospective

I haven't coordinated with Ian to get the nice NY pics from his camera yet so here's a look back at the recent holidays. We made the trek to the Twin Cities for the first time in a shamefully long time. The drive didn't seem overly tedious. I guess if you put an iDevice (or two) in the hands of all passengers time will fly.

First we stopped off in Oklahoma City to visit my family and celebrate our Christmas with them. Over the  years we've done various takes on name drawing or Dirty Santa - homemade gifts, used items, $25 limit - and now we've moved on to Gift Card Dirty Santa. We left for the northern leg of our trip well-stocked with iTunes, Target, Whole Foods and Starbucks cards.

After narrowly missing what must've been a tow truck driver's worst nightmare in Des Moines we made it to blustery St. Paul. It was cold like we haven't felt in a very long time. Negatives! As much as I hate the Austin summers I don't know if the Minnesota winters are any better. Heat Index vs. Wind Chill? But those Minnesota summers...ahhhhhh.  Alex was thrilled to see real snow...INCHES of it! Emma was tickled to finally have good reason to wear her warm boots. She also spent Christmas Eve in bed with a cold, but thankfully not the horrid flu that was going around. Knock on wood.

The new house is beautiful!
There was sledding and visiting family & friends and gifts and a Trader Joe's (my FIRST!). The Mall of America (SOMEONE needs to create a decent app that will let visitors plan their trip). They've made a lot of changes since ditching the 'Camp Snoopy' theme. I was also struck by guards at every entrance turning away any unchaperoned under-21s. I can't imagine the throngs of people if they hadn't been turning some people away. By 2pm it went from being merely crowded to Oh-My-God-I-Just-Need-To-Find-A-Corner-To-Rock-In-Crowded. But Emma loved every minute and we did actually score some fun deals. And the SOCK store - JUST SOCKS from floor to ceiling. Oh My.

It was a perfect holiday break. Celebrated three Christmases and still had time at home to wallow in being lazy for a few days before school started.


NYC - 2013

Heeellllllloooooo!!! It's me! Still here. I know. It's been a while...if you can call a few years "a while". But as time has been seeming to speed up lately and my memory for details has been suffering I thought I should resume recording some highlights. Since getting my scrapbooks up to date is less likely than a cooperative congressional session I will give this another shot. And I can share! With you!!

The inspiration was our recent trip to NYC. It was A's first trip and E's second, she having visited three years ago with Ian and cousin P. The kids sat down with our DK New York book from a decade ago and wrote out their "must-dos". It was a long list that the naysayer in me said we'd never get done - and we didn't - BUT we made a darn good dent in it. My feet felt like they'd been beaten and I guess they had. I forgot my Fuel band at home so have no idea how many steps we took every day but it was A LOT. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy hampered our trip somewhat - no stops at the Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island (hopped a Staten Island Ferry to get a drive-by view), the Enterprise was under repair and covered with scaffolding on the Intrepid, and rerouted subways and trains threw us off track upon arrival and when we tried to get to Hoboken to visit Carlo's Bakery.

7am - Ready to go! 
FAO Schwarz
We closed the place down.

Intrepid Air & Space Museum

At the Met

Wicked - amazing!!

Sullen-faced at Strawberry Fields.

T-Rex at the American Museum of Natural History

Cake pops at Dylan's Candy Bar. Which is totally the Disneyworld of candy shops.

He carries the world on his shoulders every day.

Cake Boss! The pastries were fantastic (Gah! The CREAM! ). The cupcake, not so much. Too sweet.

Buddy says the Lobster Claw (pastry-cream filled croissant) is their best thing and I have to agree that it was blissful. But this cannoli cake was so pretty. Wish we could have brought it back with us.

Ian has many more photos from his real camera so maybe I'll get some higher quality pics up here soon from some of the other attractions.