New York at Christmas 2012

Sunday we took MiniM.E. on our second annual trip to New York City.  We went last year when she was just two months old and our first trip was so awesome, we decided it had to become a family tradition.

Last year we went with our friends M & G, but since they're expecting their first baby at Christmas, it was cutting it too close to make the trip.  We took my parents instead, which was pretty exciting since it had been years since either of them visited NYC.

This year we drove to Beacon station and took the train in.

MiniM.E. seemed to enjoy the train...

until she fell asleep.

We arrived at Grand Central Station just before lunch.  MiniM.E. was in awe of all the people and lights and noise.  We visited the Christmas Market in the station before venturing out to the streets of the city.

taking it all in
The streets of New York:

At first, MiniM.E didn't seem too thrilled (probably because of the necessity of a hat and mittens), but less than five minutes from the station she was her excitable self again.

(Probably because she saw this:)

The entire purpose of the New York trip for me was for MiniM.E. to sit on Santa's lap at the Plaza Hotel.  I have never seen a better Santa than the one there, and I'm pretty sure he's the real deal.  So even though there are lots of Santa's helpers at malls close by, and even in downtown Saratoga, I want to take MiniM.E. to NYC every year to see the real Santa at the Plaza Hotel (where, after getting ready for Christmas ALL YEAR, he must need a bit of a break before the big day).

Here is the photo we got last year.
See?  The Santa.  And, how cute is MiniM.E.?

Now, I realize that a one-year-old is much different than a tiny baby and even though I knew she would scream and cry, I still wanted my yearly picture.

So... our first stop, while MiniM.E. was still fresh, was the Plaza Hotel.

BUT, of course, something would go wrong to upset the trip.  *Insert huge, long Santa photo debacle here.*  Long story short, their camera stopped working and they told us to come back in an hour, which, of course, would interfere with the nap MiniM.E. desperately needed.  Yet, the photo being the most important task of the day, we returned an hour later, only to be told they needed another hour.  After much arguing and pleading, we finally convinced the staff to find Santa (who was on his break) so we could take a photo using OUR camera.  I would need an entire post to write about my frustration with the Santa staff, but we got the picture, so I'm happy.

After finding out we needed to come back, we went next door to FAO Schwarz.  The toy store was most definitely MiniM.E.'s favorite part of the trip.  First we explored.
Climbing on the giant puppies

Looking at the chirping birds

Playing with the super expensive Steiff bears... YIKES!

Then we found the story area and MiniM.E. spent almost an hour playing with the toys

and reading stories.

The highlight of the toy store was the Big Piano.

MiniM.E. loved it so much that as soon as she got off she immediately signed and said "more", and most amazingly, added "mi-an-o".  Seriously?  The words this kid learns without us even teaching her...

So for the rest of the day she continuously chanted "mi-an-o" over and over.

We went back to see Santa.  We still had to wait a while, but we finally got to see him.  At first MiniM.E. just wanted to play with the tree.  Once we put her in his lap, she started out alright, admiring the fuzzy coat, but soon didn't seem quite so happy.  Her concern turned into outright terror pretty quickly.  Luckily, I snapped one good photo before everything went downhill.  I do kind of like this one though.
With the world's largest bear on the way in


and waiting... 

looking at the tree... while waiting

There he is!!

not sure about the whole Santa's lap thing...

Done.  Done!  ALL DONE!!!

All the screaming must have worn her out because after a few photos and a stop at Trump Tower,

Trump Tower.  So pretty.

she fell asleep.

While she slept, we did some sightseeing.
Christmas Market at Bryant Park

The skating rink

Our family photo

The tree... even though it wasn't lit.

She woke up for Times Square and took a break from chanting "mi-an-o" to exclaim "pret-ty!"

After Times Square we were all pretty tired and decided to head back to Grand Central.
The moon and the Chrysler Building
It was a very successful trip, and I have to say, NYC with a one-year-old was pretty awesome.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I might be a Christmas-aholic.  Every year on the day I put away the Christmas decorations and turn off the Christmas music, I start counting down until Christmas again.  This year is especially exciting because the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is so long!

I was so excited this morning that I jumped out of bed, turned on the Christmas music, and put up all our decorations after I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30, made some coffee, and finally felt human again, I was actually pretty excited to go Black Friday shopping even though that nasty cold snuck back up on me and I'm not feeling tip-top.  Fortunately, the Christmas season is pushing any phlemy-sniffly-icky feelings out and replacing them with sniffly-warm-happy-winter feelings (sort of).

This year, my Christmas shopping is almost done (online... which I never imagined would be as fun as going to actual stores... until I had a one-year-old an the thought of Christmas shopping with her in tow made me shudder), so I will fill my Christmas season baking, card-sending, and wrapping.  Amongst other things like visiting NYC, picking out a tree, and attending holiday festivities.

My type-A personality loves making lists around the holiday season, and as a heads up to my loyal readers, blog posting will probably make the list, though might be considerably lower than, say, watching Elf or eating cookie dough.  SO.... hang in there, posts might be few and far between, but you're probably busy with your own lists anyway...

We've already been busy the past week or so...

We went to NH because after all the busy-ness before the holidays, I needed a little break.

Then, this week, Bob has been home hanging with us and having Mommy-fantasy-camp.  (Which is actually nothing like my normal days, especially since MiniM.E. has been napping like a champ- she might be a little under the weather too- and we've just been doing fun things and skipping the not so fun things like laundry and grocery shopping.)
There's the occasional melt-down that comes from changing up our schedule
Really, we've been having fun and keeping busy...
petting the kitties

watching the squirrels

looking out the window

playing with toys

going for wagon rides

climbing at the park

sliding at the park

just being cute (actually, refusing a jacket)

stroller walks at the Spa Park

carrying monkeys around

and playing precariously on benches

And yesterday we went to our friends' house for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was nice that even if we weren't celebrating with our actual family, we had our "second family" to spend the holiday with.
bringing our mess of toys to another house

examining the wine cork after smelling it

watching football

...after dinner, MiniM.E. was pretty much done...

and almost fell asleep on the floor

This weekend we're kicking off Christmas with our 2nd annual trip to NYC.  And I thought going to New York with a two-month old was challenging... this is a whole new ball game!

I'm just hoping she doesn't cry so much this year that Santa refuses to hold her...