2015 – Carie’s Birthday Wish

Many of you know that I started a new job earlier this year.  It takes me to New York City at least once each month (I’ve been twice in 3 weeks, but that’s another story).  For her birthday this year, Carie talked repeatedly about wanting me to go to the Today Show Plaza in New York and hold up a birthday sign during the Today Show.  I thought she was joking at first, but she continued to mention it.

When I found out that I had to be in New York on her birthday week, I decided what the heck.  Madison & Mackenzie conspired with me to create the sign.  I snuck it into my luggage and made plans to hit the Today Show early one morning of my trip.

I showed up before dawn today not knowing what to expect.  Turns out, I was the first person in line.  I grabbed a spot on the rail and hoped that I’d get in one of the camera shots.  The girls tipped Carie off and they recorded the show and watched for the birthday wish.  I’ll figure out how to save the video off of the DVR, but in the meantime here are a few photos of Carie’s Birthday Wish.

Here’s what it looks like to be first in line.  You line up at this random light pole, cause that’s what the security guard told me to do.


Here’s what it looks like to be first in line

One of the producer’s took this photo for me.  The sign says “Happy Birthday to the real Carie Bradshaw”.  (Part of it is hard to read.)


Here’s me and Al Roker wishing Carie a Happy Birthday!




Men don’t ask for directions… unless they can use technology

In preparation for our recent trip to New York City, I spent some time looking at maps and generally pondering how I was going to navigate the concrete jungle.  While perusing a New York City tourism site, I stumbled on an application that is/was the answer to my dilemma.

This website allows you to input an address, intersection, or notable landmark as both a starting point and destination.  It will then provide the best means of making the trip while taking into account your preferences for walking, transfers between bus & train, etc.

Here’s the best part.  There’s both a mobile version of the site for those with smartphones, and for those without it will deliver directions to your phone via text message.  In either scenario, you’ve got step-by-step directions in the palm of your hand.

Sadly the app is only available for the largest metropolitan areas, but if you have a trip planned to one of these locations I highly recommend you check out http://www.hopstop.com .


Home at Last

We actually returned home on Friday evening, but I’m only just now getting around to wrapping up the trip from a blog perspective.

We had a great time.  The girls got to see a lot of cool things, experience the hustle & bustle that is New York City, and see some family including their Grandparents, Aunt & Uncle, and cousins.  They have already begun to talk about visiting New York at Christmas time some day.  That would be cool, but we’ll see……

I’m always amazed at how well the girls travel.  I guess it’s partly due to the fact that they’ve done it since they were infants.  Planes, trains, & automobiles;  they just take them in stride.  Of course it helps when you try to keep them occupied. 🙂

So I’ll wrap up the blogging about the NYC trip with shots of the travel home.  These were taken in Newark Airport where we had a >2hr. wait for our departure.


The Little Mermaid & Times Square

Our last night in New York City included a Broadway show.  We took the girls to Disney’s The Little Mermaid.  This was also my first experience at a Broadway Show.  I was struck at how intimate (small) the theatre was.  But that made the experience even more amazing.

The girls sat wide-eyed during most of the performance.  They clapped, giggled, & cheered at various parts of the play.  We went to look at the orchestra pit during intermission and they were amazed that there was an entire orchestra playing and sitting completely out of site.  Of course, the American Girl Dolls had to make the trip with us.

Afterward, we hit the Hardrock Cafe for a late snack.  We didn’t actually end up eating, but I did get a classic Mackenzie picture in front of a wall of guitars.

Finally, we learned that it’s impossible to get a cab in Times Square at 11:00pm.

All in all it was a great way to end the trip, even if we did have to walk 14 blocks back to the hotel. 😦


Degas’ Ballerina

We enjoyed a morning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday.  We spent most of our time in the gallery of European artists.  There we saw the works of Monet, Picasso, Degas and others.  It was a pretty moving experience.  The place was as quiet as a church, but my girls really enjoyed themselves.  Every time I snapped a photo, I got a pose from at least one of them.

They both had read about Degas’ ballerina sculpture and were excited to see it. When we found it, I got quite a pose from Mackenzie.


American Girl(s)

This morning we awoke with a 6:00am wake-up call so we could be at the American Girl Store at 7:45.  The girls had an appointment for a workshop on how to do their dolls’ hair.  They opened the doors 15 minutes prior to the class and began the session with about a dozen girls and their dolls at 8:00am sharp.

Afterward, we shopped around the store until time for our brunch reservations at 9:30.  The cool part about the wait was that we were the only people in the store for quite awhile since the store doesn’t actually open until 9:00am.  We had the run of the place for ~ 1/2 hr.

The kids shopped and spent their allowance and report card money.  They came out of the place with giant shopping bags, walked down 5th Avenue, and hailed a cab.  It would have been hard to find two more “American Girls” in all of New York City than that!

Tonight, a Broadway Show!


Up on the roof

Wow, we covered a lot of ground today.  We met up with the in-laws for an early bagel & a little more baby time before jumping in a cab and making our way to the Museum of Natural History on Central Park West.  We spent a couple of hours there before heading out for Times Square.

Times Square is amazing.  It’s bigger and busier than you can imagine based on anything you’ve seen on TV or in the movies.  We only had a little time to kill before meeting up with Carie’s cousin, but we’ll explore more of this area tomorrow.

The highlight of the day was meeting up with Carie’s cousin, Julio.  He was such a gracious host.  His office is in the Empire State Building, so we were able to leverage his standing as a “tenant” to afford us quick access to the observation deck.  Apparently the wait was on the order of 3.5 hrs.

Afterward, we hit Grand Central Station where we caught a train to Westchester County.  There, Julio & his family welcomed us into their home.  The kids played together, we enjoyed a nice dinner, and he was kind enough to drive us back to our hotel as it was getting late.

It’s amazing how kids react to other kids when you tell them “These are your cousins”.  You would have thought that the kids play together every week, the way they took to one another.  If we were anywhere else and our kids asked to play on the roof I’m sure my wife would have reacted differently, but in this case it was okay (?).  The kids crawled onto the roof of the garage and got acquainted.

So between the observation deck at the Empire State Building, & the garage in Bronxville, NY, the kids spent a lot of time “Up on the Roof” today.

Empire State Building - Observation Deck

Empire State Building - Observation Deck

Up on the roof

Up on the roof