Monday, August 22, 2011

In The Meantime.....

We are slowly ticking off our summer checklist one by one...hopefully to have most of it completed by the end of summer. Since we home school year round, our "summer" is really just the hottest months of the year...not when we are on leave from school. Honestly, summer is my least favorite time of year. It's so stinkin hot here in Central Florida. It rains almost every single afternoon as well. Everything is crowded because EVERYONE seems to be on summer break. But this time of year (end of August and all of September), while everyone else is heading back to the scheduled life, the kids and I get to enjoy some much needed down time at the parks, playgrounds and museums. So, we have a lot of fun things coming up that I will be sharing with you all! For now, though, let's look at some more of our summer fun that has happened these last few hot and sticky months!

We hung out at Sea World.

Had some fun at Busch Gardens.

Went tubing at Kelly Park (a freshwater, cold spring).

Like I said, it's been a fantastic summer so far!!!! Hoping to pack a whole lot more in this September!

Ho Ho Ho!!!

Every year we say we are going to have a big Christmas In July party and every year we forget. Not this year!!!!! Ok, it wasn't "big" and it wasn't exactly on the 25th...but it was still fun!

With Christmas music playing in the background, the lights twinkling on the small tree and turkey roasting in the oven, the boys awakened to the return of our beloved elf, Jingles! Jingles came from the North Pole for a little vacation in the sunshine state before the mad rush of toy making for the holidays. He came bearing gifts, as well!

I don't have any pictures of our turkey feast (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, mac and cheese, corn, and Christmas cupcakes for dessert), I do have a pic of our appetizers!

After watching a few holiday movies, we moved our CIJ fun to Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf! The boys played 18 holes of Christmas golf while I snapped a few pics and laughed along with them.

We got home much too late for the littlest one to decorate cookies or play a Grinch board game, so we saved that for the following day.

And we ended our festivities by decorating cookies with lots of icing and sprinkles!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Marry me Selena?

Where do I even begin with this post? If you know my son, you know his love for Selena Gomez has been ongoing for year. YEARS. And he's only 10. It first started when he saw her on Spy Kids and immediately started crushing on her. By the time she was on Wizards of Waverly Place, it was a full fledged case of puppy love. He's followed her every move for almost 4 years, obsessing over her beauty AND brains. He doesn't just love her because she's beautiful, no. He loves her for caring about kids (UNICEF). He loves her because she helps protect the environment. He loves her because she's funny. But most of all, he really does love her because she's also beautiful. LOL Don't worry...If I ever see any "Lindsey Lohan type behavior" coming from Selena, I will try to sway him away. So far, so good. :)

I've often thought about taking him to a concert, but Selena never seemed to perform in Orlando. When she was rarely here, it was for a taped ABC special or because she was passing through. I had even thought about getting tickets in PA last year, but they were sold out before I even had the chance to consider FLYING to see her. Then, we heard the news! Selena was going on tour! Unfortunately, we were vacationing in NYC when her tickets went on sale. Fortunately for us, my parents were on the phone and the Internet trying to score these coveted tickets. As luck would have it, they scored 3 awesome 3rd row seats to see her in St. Augustine for her 3rd concert of the tour. So, then, we waited...and waited...and waited.

Finally, we trekked to St. Augustine with my Mom to see her, live and in person. The anticipation was really getting to A. He was nervous, excited and even a little scared. It made me nervous, excited and even a little scared!

We waited, not so patiently, outside the venue to be seated for the show...along with about a million other St. Augustine preteens and their parents. A's shirt was seen and talked about by many, as he was one of the only young males in well as the only boy I saw with a message for Selena. The front said, "Marry Me Selena?" and the back said, "Selena's Other Man".  Once we were let inside, the ushers directing us to our seats even made comments! Oh, the excitement was HUGE at this point.

Before the show, waiting outside the venue..glow sticks in hand

Slowly but surely, we made our way to our seats alllllllll the way at the bottom of the steps. We were given green wrists bands so we could go in and out of the pit area without showing our tickets. And then we found our seats. HOLY MOLY. We were so close, it was crazy! We had the end of the aisle as well, and since the way they situated the seats was in a unique way, no one was in front of A! He could practically reach and out touch the person on stage if he wanted too! Also, the stage had a T shape, so she would be walking down the runway to our right...also extremely close (4 seats away). We settled into our seats, and A started to get a little nauseous. They showed some pretaped Selena videos for us to watch and sing karaoke along with. It was pretty neat and we were SO ready for this concert to start!!!!

Finally, after what seemed like forever, the show started with Christina Grimmie (incredible) and then All Star Weekend (also very good...never even knew who they were before this). One of the band members took a liking to my Mom. It was very odd and weird. He was MAYBE 18 or 19...flirting with my mother. LOL

Thank you, weird kid, for making us all uncomfortable. :)

Could your pants be any tighter? And, he was wearing ankle socks with anchors on them. So, they were tight AND too short.

At around 8pm, the lights dimmed. We heard the beginnings of the song "Year Without Rain." I started to cry when I looked over at my boy....smiling ear to ear, standing and clapping and cheering for his lady love. And then...the moment. He caught a glimpse of her, and he immediately looked at me. Somewhat embarrassed, somewhat shy but a whole lot of happy. I hope he remembers that moment of seeing her forever. His first real crush.

He was tearing up here...about to cry. It was the moment right after he saw her on stage. And yes, he's wearing earplugs...he has some issues with loud noises.

As Selena approached the front of the stage, A got EXTREMELY nervous. He was clearly agitated and upset. He said he was worried she'd see him (and she clearly could), and he was concerned she wouldn't "like" him. So, he was rather grumpy for a few songs...but as time went on, he got more and more into the concert and let his fears subside. By the end he was once again standing, clapping and smiling. At one point, we are fairly certain Selena smiled at him...but she most definitely could see us. Could she read "Marry Me Selena?" written on his shirt? I don't know....but A is convinced that, yes, she did in fact read it. And she broke up with Justin because of it?! I'm going to let him think that for the time being. I told him though that she can't be his girlfriend til he turns 18, so she'll have to wait until then. :)

Sorry the pics are blurry...I wasn't allowed my big camera and she moved A LOT. There was a lot of dancing. But I may have gotten a lot of video for the kiddo to look back on. Shhhh....

As a Mom, this was one of the happiest moments of my life. Being able to do something like this for him is beyond words. Yes, it's a case of puppy love of a teen idol by a 10 year old. It was so much more than that though. If you are a parent, you will know what I mean. Seeing the huge smile on your child's face that is so pure and so real...well, THAT is worth millions.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York City: The Final Day!

Today was our last day of our little getaway, and it was so bittersweet waking up in the morning. We were sad to end our vacation, but happy to be flying back home to Am today! We missed him so, so much while we were away.

We packed up the rest of our stuff, trying to find a place for all our souvenirs we had purchased, and we each took a few minutes to look out the window and take in the sights one last time. I'll never forget our time with our oldest boy.  I hope he remembers the special alone time he had with us, and the experience of taking in the city at nearly 10 years old.

We had to leave for the airport around 9:30am but first we had a little reunion! Stephen's brother, Calhoun, lives in the area;  so he drove up to have breakfast with us at the hotel restaurant. It was so nice to chat with him over eggs, fruit and pastries. I think A misses him more than any of us (He'll always be Uncle Racoon to the boys). It was sad to say goodbye, but we will see him again hopefully in December!

Before we left the W, we hung out in The Living Room of the lobby for a few minutes to take some pictures. Isn't it pretty?

Earlier in our stay, I had consulted with the concierge and they booked us on a return trip to JFK using their car service. He was right on time, picking us up in a "luxury SUV". We hit a few traffic jams, but our driver was great about finding some side street in Manhattan, and then again in the outer boroughs, to get us to the airport on time.

Check in was surprisingly easy at JFK. Jetblue has it's own security line and terminal so there was absolutely NO ONE at check in or security. We breezed through and immediately grabbed some drinks and snacks at the food court. We browsed in Borders and the airport store, and A picked up a few small trinkets for everyone back home. Oh, and he bought himself ANOTHER souvenir. LOL
A Jetblue plane. :)

We had nearly two hours to kill, so A played on the netbook while Stephen and I took turns walking around the terminal a little bit.

Notice the Jamba Juice next to him? Yup, that's mine. I have an addiction!

Our flight home was rather uneventful. We watched a lot of TV (LOVE Jetblue's seat back TV consoles), took a few pictures and tried to take a nap.

Yes, my lips are chapped. I'm not used to the cold!!!!! What?!

The best part of the day? Walking into our home and seeing our favorite little toddler!! Am was so excited we were home as well, but I think he was most excited about seeing his big brother. We gave him all our gifts, talked to my parents about our wonderful trip and looked through all the pictures using the Wii. New York City: we miss you, but Orlando: it's good to be home!

Final Thoughts:
1.Staying in Hoboken was definitely the right choice for us. We felt safe and secure in our rooms, the views were amazing and it was just as convenient as staying in Manhattan. The rooms were quite large (hard to find in the city) and the staff was fantastic!

2.Eat at Shake Shack. Period

3.A day in Central Park is one of the best days I've ever had in the city. Take the time to really explore the park and all it has to offer. I wish we would have had even more time to do more exploring! Next time we'll be sure to take the boys to the zoo (I've been, but the boys haven't).

4.My love for Jetblue was reaffirmed on these flights. Wish I could take them everywhere!

5.You'll never be able to see and do everything, no matter how much you plan.

6. I'd pick Top of the Rock over the Empire State Building again, no contest. Lines are shorter and the views are better.

7.The American Museum of Natural History is BIG. Instead of spending our entire day here, we took the time to research beforehand what we really wanted to see and did those areas first. Also, the admission is pay what you wish. You don't have to pay the suggested what you are comfortable paying. We used the subway entrance, and there were no lines.

8.Next time, I won't rush A quite as much as I did this time. What I mean is, New Yorkers are statistically the fastest walkers in the US. I was constantly telling A to walk faster (except in Central Park, we were slow pokes here). I regret that now. I wish I would have slowed down and just let people complain that I was walking too slow.

9.I wish we would have had time for the Roosevelt Island Tram, Serendipity 3, South Street Seaport, Gray's Papaya, the High Line and more street food!! Next time!!!

10.New York City is kid friendly!!!! I promise! Enjoy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

New York City Trip Report: Day 3, Part 3

After our delicious dinner at Shake Shack, we walked a few blocks to the Path Station and we were off for Hoboken in no time. The train was crowded, but we snagged a few seats in the front car.
Back in Hoboken, it was still pretty early in the evening so we decided to take a stroll up to Carlo's Bakery. The boys had no interest in the TV show, but I had seen it a few times in the past. I figured while we were here, we might as well walk by the bakery from the show.

Downtown Hoboken is a really lovely town..if you are ever in the area, you should certainly stop by and see it for yourself! I wish we had more time to do some shopping or get a dessert at one of the little cafes, but we were just so tired from all the walking in the city. We headed a few short blocks back to our hotel, but decided to take a walk down to the pier to see the lights go on in the city. The views were spectacular...I'm so glad we took the time to walk down there.

We had a lot of fun out on the pier and took a lot of silly shots of either other with the camera.

When the sun had finally set and it was dark, we walked back to the hotel to pack up our stuff and watch a little TV before bed. I think we all pretty much fell asleep seconds after our heads hit the pillow!

Next up: Saying hello and goodbye to an Uncle, a happy reunion, and final thoughts!

Friday, June 10, 2011

New York City Trip Report: Day 3, Part 2

Stephen and I had seen the Statue of Liberty, up close and personal, on our honeymoon. It was a fantastic experience, but not something I was in a rush to do again. The lines are long;  it can take alllll day just to see her up close on the island.  We just didn't have that kind of time on this trip, but A still wanted to see the statue. We decided the easiest way to see Lady Liberty and have a little fun at the same time was by taking the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island and back. The ferry gets very close to Liberty and it's FREE. Let me say it again. FREE. IN NEW YORK CITY. So, yeah, that's what we were going to do!

On our short walk from the subway to the ferry, we walked around Battery Park a little bit and checked out all the different artwork and statues. It was a really beautiful day...not too chilly, just a light wind. I could have spent all day people watching here. But, we finally made our way over the terminal and waited for the ferry. There is no security to wait through, no lines or anything like that. The ferry is so large, I would doubt it would ever get extremely full (maybe at rush hour). We waited for the masses to board the boat and then we climbed aboard. We found a whole bunch of seats on the lower level and sat next to an open window. The views were amazing.

We were asked to deboard at the terminal in Staten Island, and along with almost the ENTIRE group who travelled there, we exited and made our way back around to reenter the boat. It was quick and painless, and before long, we were headed back to Manhattan. We passed by Lady Liberty again, but A was more interested in playing his DSi. Apparently, it's enough to see her need to see her twice. LOL

Back on dry land, we took a quick restroom break (take advantage of the public restrooms when you see 'em in NYC...they are hard to come by) at the terminal and then found our subway back uptown. It was just outside the terminal, and no one was underground. Within minutes we were seated on a train to Madison Square.

Our destination: SHAKE SHACK. I've heard so much about this place, we just had to go on this vacation! It seemed like every celeb I follow on Twitter has tweeted about the place, and I read tons of good reviews about it. Shake Shack is located inside Madison Square park. It's an outdoor, permanent booth that sells burgers, shakes, fries, etc all year long, rain or shine...sunshine or snow. I've heard about the extremely long lines, so we were pretty prepared for a wait. A spotted a an outdoor table under a heat lamp (the sun was setting and it was getting chilly), so we snagged it quickly while Stephen waited in line. I'd say he was only in the line about 30 minutes....from start to finish.

I should have taken a pic of the was LOOOOOOONG.

We chatted a little bit with the family next to us while we waited. Turns out, they were from NJ but came into the city for their son's birthday. All he wanted was a Shake Shack burger and fries for his birthday! LOL

Our order was finally up and we chowed down!!!! A had the cheese fries and a chocolate shake. Stephen and I both ordered the Concrete Jungle (vanilla frozen custard, hot fudge, bananas, and peanut butter blended together..YUM) and a Shack Stack (crisp fried portobello mushroom burger on top of a muenster and cheddar cheese burger topped with lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce). Let me just tell you what it was like biting into this burger. PURE HEAVEN. HEAVEN, I TELL YOU!!!

I'm so, so, so thankful we decided to make this our last dinner in NYC. It was delicious and certainly worth the price and time. After our yummy dinner, we walked around the park and the Flatiron District for awhile.

Recognize it??

Next up: A Cake Boss and a walk in the park.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New York City Trip Report, Day 3 Part 1

I woke up super, super early this morning. The sun was just barely rising over the city and as I checked out the view from bed, I noticed a gigantic cruise ship was about to pass by on the river. It was pretty neat, and made me realize just how wide the river is and how humongous downtown Manhattan truly was!

Just as I was about to jump back into bed for a few more zzz's, I heard a faint noise out in the hallway. A quick check through the peephole revealed a young woman, dressed in a formal gown and no shoes. She was yelling on her cell phone, obviously crying and very angry about something! I listened for a few minutes (yes, I'm nosy) and I realized she was talking to her mother. The night before had been this woman's bachelorette party, and her sister had done something really, really bad. I have no idea what, but clearly the mother was taking the side of the sister. All of a sudden, the girl screams a bunch of obscenities into the phone and kinda goes a little nuts. I was torn between opening the door and a)Asking her to shut was only about 6am.  b)Asking her if she needed help or c)Telling her to be quiet and then calling security. It was a very bizarre scene. By this time, Stephen had also woken up and I filled him in on the "excitement" in the hallway. Just as I was about to phone down to the lobby, the girl's friend appeared in the hallway and took her back to her room. Thank goodness. I have no idea if the girl was having a mental breakdown or if she was just crazy.

We decided to let A sleep in a little this morning. Poor kid was exhausted and was sleeping through all the commotion. In the meantime, I did a little packing and watched some morning news. Once again, it was going to be sunny and pleasant...good thing because we once again had a lot of walking to do!

After a couple of hours, we finally got A up and around and we headed out the door to the Path station. We took our time today, and walked to the station via the waterfront park in front of our hotel. The train was pretty full this morning, but we only had a few stops on the train to go. At the 23rd St. station we disembarked and started walking towards Washington Square Park.

There were a few musicians in the park that morning, including a man playing a piano he wheeled into the Square. It was pretty cool, and we had a good time taking in the sights and sounds of the city. We exited the park and started walking towards Broadway, taking left or right detours to see some shops and NYU. We walked the streets of the Village and Soho for awhile, and this worked up a pretty good appetite. We hadn't had a street hot dog yet, so Stephen and I grabbed one each (with the "special sauce" of course) at a nearby cart. A, once again, opted for a giant soft pretzel instead. We sat on a stoop in Soho and ate our little lunch in the warm sun. My hot dog was super yummy, and as soon as we got home in Florida I ended up buying the "special sauce" at Publix (Sabratt Onion Sauce). haha

All along Broadway there are a ton of shops and restaurants to check out while you are in the city. We only went to a few, as A isn't quite into shopping yet (unless it's toys for him). We did spend a few minutes in the Scholastic Store where we purchased more Lego mini figures for A, a wooden subway train for Am and Blueberries for Sal for both kids. Am is a blueberry fiend so I just had to get it, plus the story and illustrations make it a must-have for any home library.  After leaving the store, we stopped in Pearl River Mart to browse through all the wonderful Asian goods. I believe we only purchased candy, but it was fun looking at all the cool fabrics, toys, housewares and clothing. A was especially intrigued with the swords.

By the time we hit Chinatown, A was super,duper crabby. I think all the walking was finally starting to get to him. I have no pictures of Chinatown for various reasons. One being no one was in the mood for pictures. Two, it was so incredibly crowded I would no way risk taking out my camera at this point. And three, unless you wanted to see wall to wall people, it wasn't very photo worthy. I would have loved to take some pictures of some of the storefronts, etc but A was not about to venture down some of the side streets. All he wanted to do was sit down, and to be honest, I didn't blame him. Luckily there is a McDonalds on just about every corner in NYC, so we spotted the one on Canal Street near where we were and headed in. Unfortunately, it was also incredibly crowded in here as well. Stephen bought some chicken nuggets and fries for everybody, while A and I found a quiet table on the top floor. It was a much needed break for all of us. I don't think I would have picked McDonalds, but it's A's favorite and he was so cranky, we decided it was better to make him happy than deal with the nastiness the rest of the day. It did do the trick (for the most part), so it was worth it in the end!

After our little pit stop, we quickly found the subway station and zoomed down to the southern tip of the island. We had a date to see the Statue of Liberty! This is a picture of of our subway station exit/entrance in Battery Park.

Next up, Lady Liberty and the best burger EVER.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

New York City: Day Two, Part Two

As we were heading out of Central Park, we made our way over to the Plaza. Again, Alex and I have watched Home Alone 2: Lost In New York so many times...we just had to take a peak inside. It actually reminds me of the Grand Floridian in WDW. It's just a tad to frilly and gold and over the top for our tastes. But it was still fun to take a peak inside.

My kid is so weird.

After goofing around for pictures at the Plaza, we crossed the street to shop at FAO Schwartz. It was super crowded (like always...I've never been here when it wasn't crowded) so we pretty much just looked at the Big piano (Alex has also seen this movie) and decided not to pay to play on it. There were just too many people to really enjoy it. We found some cute NYC Duplo toys for Aidan and checked out some of the displays. Alex was a bit annoyed he couldn't find anything to purchase (I mean, he wanted some Legos..but why pay twice as much for the EXACT SAME LEGOS at other stores?). Instead, he decided to purchase a huge soft pretzel from a cart outside.

Our next destination was Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock. Just up a few blocks, make a right, and you're standing in front of 30 Rock! They were still ice skating at the Center and we people watched for a few minutes. The boys then decided to walk over to Nintendo World. Gaming isn't really my thing, so while they shopped for a few minutes, I walked around the area and people watched some more. I walked over to 6th Ave to get a falafel's sandwich from a street cart. I talked to the vendor for a few minutes (he was a friendly guy and recommended some places for dinner in the area) and happily munched on my falafel.

By the time I was finished, I met up with the guys in front of 30 Rock once again. We made our way to the entrance to Top of the Rock and purchased our tickets. I'd say we had to wait about 10 minutes to get the tickets and reach the top of the building. Such the opposite experience of the Empire State Building. I had waited once for hours and hours just to get the tickets. It was ridiculous. Anyway, we boarded the elevator to the Top of The Rock. I was nervous for Alex, as he had JUST recently gotten over his fear of elevators. He was still a little nervous about them, but he barely flinched when the elevator started to ascend. The cool thing about these elevators is that they are glass topped...and they light the inside of the elevator shaft. You can watch your whole trip up and see the sky at the end. It was really neat! Once at the top, we walked out to see the view of the city.

The first level you step out into is walled by glass with large gaps in between the glass. But we wanted to see it unobstructed, so we climbed the stairs to the top level...and the view was AMAZING. However, Alex started to cry at this point and wanted down NOW. I had no idea why he was so upset at this point. He wouldn't tell me what was so upsetting. He had never really had a fear of heights before, so I couldn't figure it out. I snapped a few pics....and we went back down to the first viewing area.
In front of the glass wall...he was still upset.

So, we took him inside the little waiting area inside the building and had a little talk with him. Turns out he was afraid that planes would crash into the buildings. Not that he was afraid of falling, not afraid of heights...he was afraid the tragic events of 9/11 would happen all over again, right here at Top of The Rock. I felt so bad for him. I pointed out some passing helicopters and how far away they were...that no plane was anywhere near our building. I explained that I wouldn't have taken him up this building if I had thought that something awful was going to happen to us. He perked up a bit and went back outside to see the view.

Again, with the goofball face.

After hanging out here for around an hour, pointing out the sites (we found Times Square, various buildings, our hotel in Hoboken, etc) we headed back down the elevator and out the doors. We decided to head back down to Times Square to do a little more shopping. It took only a few minutes by foot for us to make our way to a very, very crowded Times Square. It just so happens we stopped for a few minutes to get our bearings straight and I realized we were standing right in front of the EarthCam on 46th and 7th Ave. I called my parents and soon enough, we were waving to the cameras. I can only imagine how awkward and weird we appeared to other tourists....standing and waving at what appeared to be just a wall of a building. Anyway, talked to them via cell while they watched us on the Internet. We blew some kisses and said goodbye after a few minutes and walked over to the red bleachers in the Square.

We stopped into a few stores (including the Disney Store...which I was really disappointed with) and purchased some cute things for Aidan.

It was getting pretty late in the day and we were starving at this point. Our feet and legs were starting to feel the long day, so we headed back to the Path Train at 6th and 34th St. On our way we passed a Crumbs Bakery and I just had to go in for a cupcake! Alex didn't want one (he's strange haha), Stephen got a Oreo Cupcake and I got a Peanut Butter Cup cupcake to take back to the hotel.

This night, we easily found the Path train and we were on our way to Hoboken in no time. We had made plans to eat at Grimaldi's Pizza....but there was a pizza place right outside the exit of the train. Our feet couldn't walk even one more step, so we went into Roma Pizza instead of hiking it to Grimaldi's. The pizza was still phenomenal and was exactly what we were looking for: a NYC style pizza. It is so hard to find this style of pizza in Florida!!!! I kept promising Alex that this pizza would be the best pizza he's ever tasted. I was hoping I was right. And, indeed, I was!

It didn't take us long to gobble up this pizza....I had been dreaming of it for months! Dreaming of the thin crust that you fold up just so all the cheese and sauce and grease (yes, grease) doesn't slide off the slice before you can eat it. YUM. Now I'm back to daydreaming about this delicious pizza again!

Our walk back to the hotel was short and sweet and we all practically fell into the bed. We said goodnight to our city, and soon enough, we were all out like a light.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New York City, Day Two, Part One

Day Two!

We had originally set our alarms for 7am, but Stephen and I were both up before they actually went off. I guess we were just too excited to get the day going! The TV news promised us a sunny, warmer day and we wanted to take full advantage! We had plans for lots of outdoor time today.

We were quickly changed and ready to go! The walk to the PATH station was quick and simple, and before we knew it, we were at the 9th St. Station. There were sooooo many stairs though to street level...we were all out of breath and needed a tiny rest on a stoop. Seriously, there must have been 6 or 7 flights of stairs. We are so not used to stairs. haha.

We got our bearings straight and started heading towards Waverly Place, walking by the famous Gray's Papaya joint. I wish it had been later in the day;  I would have tried the "recession special: 2 hot dogs and a papaya drink for $2.99". Anyway, we spotted the Waverly Restaurant at Waverly Place across the street.

A is a TAD obsessed with Selena Gomez, star of Wizards of Waverly Place on the Disney Channel. The TV show is about a family in NYC running a restaurant at a sub station at Waverly Place. When he heard there was an actual Waverly Place that had a restaurant...well, we just had to go! No, it looks nothing like the TV show, but it was fun to pretend. We didn't see any wizards, but plenty of people! The place was very busy. It's a small restaurant, and there were no tables available this beautiful Saturday morning. We were allowed to sit at the counter though, and it actually made it a little more fun for us!

Our food was prepared fairly quick, especially considering how crowded the restaurant was that morning! A had chocolate milk and the breakfast fries. It's vacation...who doesn't want fries for breakfast? LOL He did say they were delicious, so that's all that matters. :) Stephen had a breakfast skillet, which included sausage, eggs and cheese. It also came with a side of toast. He happily ate his in a matter of minutes. Guess it was good! I had the eggs benedict with Canadian bacon. Can I just tell you that it was the most delicious eggs benedict I've ever tasted? Oh my word, it was beyond yummy. I highly recommend the Waverly Restaurant in the Village if you are ever down that way!

Right outside the restaurant is the subway train we needed to catch, and soon enough, we were headed uptown to Central Park! I had been dreaming of taking A here for so long, and it was finally coming true! I was so super excited, I could barely stand it! Within a few minutes we were at our stop, and we headed upstairs. This particular station sits directly below the Dakota, the former home of John Lennon where he was shot and killed.

There is an entrance to Central Park directly across from the Dakota, so we ventured in! There were a ton of pedi-cab drivers begging us to take a ride at the entrance. I guess the camera gave away the fact that we were tourists from a mile away! LOL We declined and walked into the park. Strawberry Fields is near this entrance (with a memorial to John Lennon) but we decided to skip it this trip. Stephen and I had both seen it in the past and knew A probably wouldn't be interested. Instead, we took a left down a pathway to see the Bow Bridge. You might have seen it in a bunch of different movies.

See, I was there!  (I hate my photo being taken)

It was still pretty chilly out, but the boy really wanted a drink because he was "so hot and sweaty." He was totally lying, but I wanted a drink too. We found a nearby cart at the Bethesda Fountain and grabbed a few drinks and snacks. 

From the fountain, it was a short walk to the Conservatory Water. A and I had read Stuart Little by E.B. White together a few years ago, and we've seen the movie a thousand times. If you aren't familiar with it, Stuart and his brother go to this pond to race model sailboats. One of the draws for coming to Central Park for A was being able to rent a boat just like the fantastic scene in the movie and book.

The Conservatory rents the boats for $11 for half an hour at the boathouse, and it was one of the best well spent $11 ever. A had a ball, and we had a great time watching him. A launched his sailboat #22 into the water and he quickly learned how to sail his boat. The remote controls the sail and the rudder of the boat.  It took a few minutes of getting used to, but he got the hang of it pretty easily. I could have sat there all day long watching him laugh and sail the boat on the pond.

While Stephen and A were sailing the boat, I was able to call home and check on Am. All was well in Florida, and Am seemed to be having a lot of fun with his grandparents. I missed him so much though, especially in Central Park. I could just see him having a blast at the playgrounds, the carousel and the zoo. Next time, Am! I promise!

After our time was up, we walked around for a bit  (A refused his picture being taken at the Alice In Wonderland Statue) and tried to find Pale Male...a red-tailed hawk that has been living near the Pond. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find him after looking for a few minutes. The walk was quick, though, to Literary Walk and the Mall. Again, I'm sure you've seen it before in movies.

Every time I visit here and see the beautiful elms, I think about Kramer Vs. Kramer, the movie starring Glenn Close and Dustin Hoffman. I picture the little boy running from his daddy's arms into his mother's after a long separation. Is there a movie that instantly pops into your head when you see this area?

We stopped to listen to a band, people watched and viewed the different street vendors' goods as we took in the sights of Central Park. It really was a dream come true of mine:  to take Ato Central Park. I'm not sure why I've always wanted to do this, but I'm glad I was able to make my dream come true. It's a day I'll always remember. The moment that will stay in my head forever? This.....

The views from the cliffs behind Wollman Rink are incredible!!!! We sat there, on the cliffs, for a long time watching the skaters below and taking in the beautiful sites of midtown Manhattan. Truly breathtaking.

The last thing we had to see in Central Park was the Gapstow Bridge at the Pond near 59th St. It was featured in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. Does it look familiar? It's where Kevin meets the bird lady for the first time and at the end of the movie. It was really a beautiful, quiet spot with lots of ducks and geese.

From here, we exited Central Park at Fifth Ave. Up next: Top of the Rock, Conquering fears and a night in Manhattan.