NYC with toddlers

so this past monday was our 7th anniversary! cal and i had a trip planned to the highlands to celebrate it. it was going to be a nice quiet getaway filled with champs, spa days, fly fishing, and relaxing. then cal started looking at flights to nyc... and we found the allegiant flights...O...M...G....$80 a person round trip!!! cal asked if i wanted to bag the mountain trip and trade it for an NYC trip with the whole family. i didn't bat an eye... "OF COURSE!!!" i come from a long line of flight lovers: my mom is a flight attendant, her dad was a semi-professional sky diver with his pilot's license (even built his own stearman), my dad has his pilots license and attended the air force academy. we grew up with him flying us fun places! the kids had never been on a plane and i couldn't WAIT for them to fly. 

everyone told us we were absolutely insane to take 3 toddlers (3 and under) to NYC but cal and i felt differently. you know whats insane? loading and unloading 3 toddlers in a singular row of crammed carseats 239473297 times on the weekend. not to mention, we wanted to try and see what it would be like to live more organically... like instead of getting in the car with a destination in mind, we wanted to walk around and see what we walk by that looks like fun to try....and you know get exercise just doing life. life was easy in nyc.

HOW DID WE MAKE IT EASY?

well nothing is "easy" with three toddlers, but i think life in nyc was just about as easy as it gets. the beauty of flying into newark was that we never got in a car our entire trip aka NO CARSEATS NEEDED!! we flew into newark and took the free air train to the NJ transit train, then took the NJ transit train to the subway at penn station and subway to our hotel. it sounds complicated but its not! and $50 round trip total for the whole family! an uber with 3 carseats round trip was going to cost more than the flights! 

the flights were direct and short (1.5 hourish) ...we loaded up their kindle fires with movies and got some headphones.  they all got a quick roll down the spine with my young living tranquil roller and then the kids did great on the flights! 

we packed all our clothes in one checked bag (the best bag money can buy with a lifetime guarantee) and put all the kids in the stroller, the uppababy vista with rumble seat and piggy back (the best stroller money can buy). we stayed in a midtown hotel close to a subway station with elevator access. the hotel was super affordable and also provided us two pack n plays for the twins to sleep in for free. 

WHAT MADE IT HARD?

only about 20% of subway stations have elevators...so while we tried to plan to get off at stations with handicap access, it wasn't always possible. sometimes we got to stations with elevators and then the elevators were broken! while cal and i can (and did) carry the stroller up and down the stairs, handicap people don't have that option! it made me really sad for them. i can't imagine how frustrating that is for them. carrying the stroller up the stairs wasn't fun, but it was a good workout! it was only REALLY bad going to and from the airport because cal had our luggage. a couple nice guys helped me carry the stroller and at one point we had to have simms stand at the top of the stairs with the luggage while cal helped me carry the stroller up.

another super frustrating thing was people using the elevators that were perfectly capable of walking up the stairs...crowding the elevator or making us wait even longer on one. one day a teacher got on with an entire classroom of kids. she could see cal giving me a look and she said something to cal like "is there a problem?" and cal said "i'm not sure why you guys aren't using the stairs?" and she said "THEY'RE CHILDREN!" sooooo they take gym class, have recess, and play sports but can't walk up stairs? what a terrible thing to teach impressionable children. i would rather teach my kids to always take the stairs...but thats just me. 

WHERE DID YOU GO?

we really tried to make the trip about the kids and focus on things they would like. on our first day we took them to ellen's stardust diner. it was around the corner from our hotel and so much fun! the waiters and waitresses take turns performing songs. it was REALLY loud and perfect for kids. they were entertained the whole lunch. the food was overpriced but worth it for the experience.

after lunch we took the kids over to williamsburg. we hit up east river state park and let them run around. we grabbed a few quick pics of the nyc skyline and headed to one of our fav pizza spots, vinnie's.

after dinner we headed back over to manhattan and walked the kids through times square and, of course, to the m&m store. it was a huge hit! we grabbed some champagne, beer, and chocolate and put the kids to bed. i have to say, as crazy as it sounds, one of my favorite memories from the trip was sitting in bed drinking champagne and seeing the lights and hearing the sounds of NYC out the window. cal and i talked about how comforting it is to have so many people near by. in all the chaos, theres a strange peace.

day two we woke up and had the kids favorite, bagels! then we headed to rockefeller center so the kids could go to the lego store. they each picked one toy and then we jumped on the subway to go to the museum of natural history. YALL. i had no idea the size of that place. it could be it's own city. we only spent a couple hours there but you could spend literal DAYS. we just hit the highlights (dinosaurs, space, rocks, and animals):

after the museum we walked down central park to columbus circle and met my friend shelley for lunch at cancun. vance had the best chicken fingers i've ever had in my life there. we spent the rest of the day down in tribeca/soho/lower manhattan while the twins napped in the stroller. i secretly hoped i'd bump into something navy and my life would've been made right then and there....we never saw her but i just felt cooler even being in her neighborhood! we decided last minute to walk across the brooklyn bridge...it didn't last long because simms was about to pee in his pants and refused to "pee like a doggie" so we only made it about halfway.

after the brooklyn bridge we headed to dinner at a place called cafeteria. i had read they had mac and cheese egg rolls and KNEW thats what i wanted for our anniversary dinner. it was perfect. amazing atmosphere, great kids menus, awesome food and drinks! highly recommend!

WOULD WE DO IT AGAIN?

HELL YES! i actually don't know what i would do differently, except maybe never leave haha! it was such a fun getaway for all of us. cal proposed to me there and it was neat to have our whole family in a place so special to us. it really gave me some confidence in flying with the kids too. heres a few more photos from the trip:

xoxo-hannah