So, first off, I have NO PICTURES. So sorry! I forgot the camera, but even if I hadn't, it's hard to carry around, and I haven't had time to download pictures, so they probably wouldn't be up anyway. My words will just have to do to paint pictures in your mind. Hopefully Uncle Henry and Aunt Marilyn will somehow get photos along to me one of these days, because we did get some cute ones by the fountain.
Well, the trip started off on Friday morning with me and the girls in mom and dad's car to Newburyport. Nick had opted to stay home with the dogs, which, considering how crazy crowded the city and crazy expensive and crowded the American Girl Doll store was, turned out to be an excellent idea. But more on that later.
I was still fighting off this awful, never-ending cold, too, so I was happy that I wasn't driving. I get spacey when I'm sick, and it's just not a safe way to drive. Anyway, when we got to Newburyport, we shifted people and luggage around so that the girls and I were with Erik, Isabelle, and Joey in the big 7-seater SUV they'd rented. Some among us were nervous about how this might go (Erik!), but it went great! Joey was in the middle row, and he was so happy to be able to look out on the girls. No tears! Except when he was hungry and that food didn't get in his mouth fast enough! Ha!
He also slept for all of 40 minutes, but that's ok! We hit a bit of traffic on 95 because we opted to follow the GPS (never again!), but still, not so bad.
Friday night we ate dinner at Uncle Thomas and Aunt April's, excellent. Mom and Dad had picked up Vanessa at LaGuardia, and we all had a joyful reunion. Henry and Marilyn came by with their girls too, and even Veronica was around.
Vanessa and the girls and I stayed at a hotel on Cross Bay, and Saturday morning we pretty much went straight out to the graveyard. Dad took Nina and Maggie to play at Charles Park and they saw our old house, then went to McDonald's and Great-grandma and Great-grandpa's. Burial went smoothly, lunch was delicious (I'm pretty sure they made the minestrone with a touch of escarole, amazing!), and we were back in Howard Beach before dinner.
Saturday night was more family, this time joined by Uncle Vito and his girlfriend Veronica, cousin Jenny, Great-grandma and Great-grandpa, and Aunt Maria and Uncle Charlie. Whew! Tons of people, tons of fun! Vanessa, mom and I even took the girls for a spin around Howard Beach to check out the Christmas lights. They weren't quite as over-the-top as they were in our day, but they beat anything we have in Maine by a long shot, so the girls were excited.
Sunday morning was yet more mad fun. Mom and I drove the girls to Brooklyn, parked at Peter's place, and took the train from there into Manhattan. We got out at Times Square, walked to Rockefeller Center/St. Patrick's Cathedral, and miraculously met right up with Henry, Marilyn, and the girls.
What a zoo Fifth Avenue was! Tons and tons of people. Times Square wasn't as bad because the pedestrian zone element gives you room to spread out, but Fifth Avenue just has the narrow little sidewalks.
We did it, though. We saw St. Patrick's, which is being cleaned and looks white and lovely on the outside, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the Sacks store windows, and then the American Girl Doll store.
Wow, the American Girl Doll Store. It was a zoo, of course, but it was so cool. It kind of looked like a museum inside, with each main character doll behind glass with all of her outfits and accessories on display. There were other displays too, like all of the look-alikes and pets. My favorite was the hair salon. A dozen dolls sitting doll-sized chairs, with doll-sized plastic hair salon smocks around their necks, ladies in black aprons trimming with tiny scissors and brushing with toothbrushes. It was hilarious, absurd, and charming, all at the same time.
Then we saw the giant tree, which didn't impress the girls so much. I guess they see a lot of big trees, so that's fair.
We ate some pretzels, froze when the sun went down, and then trained back to Peter's. There was time before dinner for a soak in the hot tub, pure luxury!
In the morning we had an easy trip back to Howard Beach to pick up mom and dad, and then smooth sailing all the way home. Fun, but exhausting!