New York: Our First Visit In 3 Years

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Last Wednesday, we took a late night flight and flew our family of five to my husband's home state.

We arrived in the frigid New York fall just after sunrise and as I took in the air, I knew it was going to be a great trip. We made our way to hertz (my all time favorite car rental company), checked in at our hotel shortly after (The Homewood Suites), and settled in for what we knew would be such an incredible week. The night we arrived, we took my mother in-law to the Texas Roadhouse. She had never been and we where in for a real treat. The kids got to see their grandma, we all got to watch some line dancing, and just being able to enjoy a meal together was the start of a great vacation. We closed out the night with three very sleepy babies and one very jet lagged mama (this would be the trend for our entire trip, at least for me). The next day we woke up later than normal, took in a continental breakfast, and made the hour drive to see Justin's Nana. 

Nana lives in such a rural area, but the drive is always smooth. You can see the mountain from her house and I never tire of her view. We ended up picking up my mother in-law and meeting Justin's brother, Daniel, and his girlfriend, Sarah at Nana's as well. Spending the day coloring, chatting, eating lunch, and making new memories -- there is no other way I would have wanted to spend our Friday. The kids aren't afforded these kinds of memories with Justin's family all the time, so when we are in a position where they can, we take full advantage. After a full day at Nana's we headed back to our hotel and did a little swimming. I swear all three of my kids are little fish. None of the babies wanted to get out. 

That Saturday we were able to spend some time with Justin's youngest sister, Rebecca, and her two beautiful little girls. Guys, let me tell you, watching my kids bond with their cousin was such a treat. We come from a family with dozens on dozens of cousins, but Ariana and Nova are their first cousins. The only first cousins they have. That's special to me. They played together as if they'd done it a hundred times before and my heart just felt so happy in those moments. Justin and I got to love on and hold our newest niece, Nova... she is perfect in every way. I also had some major baby fever strike (but we'll save that for a different day). We were supposed to take in a city parade and some annual festivities too, but we ended up spending the entire day with our nieces and their mama! Zero regrets. 

Sunday afforded us an opportunity to ice skate for the first time ever! We met up with Justin's brother, his girlfriend, and Justin's mom. I think it's safe to say that we were all a little worried about how this might go. I'm happy to report that it went beautifully and everyone really had a good time. Miss Ava and Olivia started off with guard rails and by the time we were done, they had ditched the rails (Olivia tried to) and skated on their own. Ava fell a couple of times but it was so awesome to watch her get right back up and try again. That's Ava though. I'm so in love with her spirit. Watching Justin's mom on the ice was pretty fun too. She shared laughs with her sons and grandkids... that was truly the essence I hoped would set the tone for this trip. We got lunch, paid a visit to Daniel's home (he bought a home), and then headed off to spend time with Justin's father. The kids' grandpa Chris. 

Monday we made the drive back out to Nana's to finish up Thanksgiving shopping. I knew there were a couple dishes I wanted to make and I wanted to have everything ready prior to Thanksgiving. The kids got to see a good amount of New York snow, frozen ponds, and chilly winds like you wouldn't believe. We spent the day helping Nana decorate her Christmas tree, cooking dinner, playing with the house animals, and just enjoying one another. We like to fly Nana out annually, so I'm hoping we get to fly her to Seattle next Spring. Nana's never been to Washington State and I think she'd have a real blast out here. 

Tuesday we picked up our eldest niece from school and we took her to see Frozen with our kiddos. Juggling four kiddos wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it'd be and we enjoyed ourselves completely. The girls all wore matching frozen outfits, Liam had on Olaf pajamas, and it was just such a great time. I wasn't terribly crazy about the movie, but the memories will last a lifetime. The girls wanted to play in jump houses after the movie was done so that's what we did. 

Wednesday we spent the day with Justin's mom, dropping in on Howland family friends turned family (Aunt Cindy) and visiting Papoo's memorial headstone in four years. We wanted to take Liam to meet his namesake. It was a pretty emotional day. Watching our son smile when he touched his great grandfather's headstone was pretty awesome. In that moment, I was so glad we were able to make this trip happen. Seeing that full circle was just everything.

Thursday we made sure to head out to Nana's early for Thanksgiving and we were able to spend time with family I had yet to meet (Justin's cousin, Taylor). Justin's sister Ashley came by and the girls got to spend some time with their Aunt. We ended up eating Thanksgiving dinner a little early but all in all it was such a fun, and easy going day.

We made the journey back home early Friday and I'm thankful we did because just a day later, New York was in a state of emergency from all the snow they got. Don't worry, all of Justin's family is safe! Making this trip to New York one of our most memorable to date.

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