New York, New York ⇒

We haven't really ever been on a big family trip; France when Elise was 7 months old, San Jose 5 or so years ago and Toronto with my family (parents, etc). Never a big trip with just us, with both kids, so last week we went to the Big 🍎!

We found a nice AirBnB in the Bed-Stuy Brooklyn neighbourhood; an area "in transition" but perfectly fine for us. Being near the C and J subway lines made it really easy to get in and out of Manhattan. And on our last night there, we ran into a block party with a great jazz band!

Day One - AMNH

We didn't want to do a ton on the first day, so we wandered around the American Museum of Natural History for a few hours. I could spend days here; we walked for 4 hours and say maybe 40% of it??

We saw the Rose Center for Earth & Space, a few of the mammal and reptile halls, and of course, the dinosaurs.

Day Two - Broadway

I think our Broadway day was the highlight for most of the family. We walked Times Square on our way to Ellen's Stardust Diner. Ellen's is the cafe staffed with folks who'd like to be on Broadway, so throughout your meal the entire staff breaks into amazing songs, either as solos or a group. We were treated to a staff rendition of One Day More from Les Miserables that was amazing, as well as several great solos, including a "waiter" doing the Muppet's version of FOrget You!

Then we were off to see Wicked! We got very lucky and got to see Jackie Burns do Elpheba. She's the person who has done it the most and when she was raised to the rafters for Defying Gravity...took all of our breaths away. I have never heard anyone sing so powerfully before, simple amazing.

The entire show was perfectly cast and amazingly well done. We all left with huge grins on our faces.

Day 3 - On The Water

We took advantage of a slightly (only slightly!!) cooler day to do the Circle Line's Landmarks & The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

The boat tour was a great way to see many of the great NYC landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, One Work Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and several bridges.

One of my highlights was the many cool plans and behind the scenes looks at how an aircraft carrier worked, not to mention getting to see a Space Shuttle up close! Not a ton of pictures here; spent too much time just wandering around with my mouth agape.

Day Four - Central Park & Sticking It To THE MAN

The first part of our two part Central Park adventure was an hour and a half bike ride around it. What beautiful park. No pics here, spent the time enjoying the sites and sounds.

Earlier that day Christine went to the TKTS in downtown Brooklyn to see if there were any 1/2 price tickets to a show we were interested in. We got lucky (again) and School of Rock was available with great seats (row 5)!

This show is so much fun! It's all about the kids and in this show, the kids actually play their instruments! To find kids this young (10-13) that can act and sing AND play instruments is an amazing accomplishment.

While you aren't allowed to pose with the kids (understandably), we did get a great picture with Dewey.

Day 5 - Central Park & NYPL

Took a chill day and spent it leisurely walking through Central Park, enjoying all scenery and activities. We found Turtle Pond and spent time following the turtles' journeys, found Alice in Wonderland and shared a picnic lunch, and found The Mall and enjoyed all the art and music.

It has long been one of Nella's quests, to go to the NY Library on 5th, and today was the day we made that happen. We even snuck her in to the Rose Reading room! The crazy thing about this place is that it has always been the library; it was built in grand fashion as a place citizens could come and learn.

Day 6 - Science & The View

Can't go to New York and not go up the Empire State we did! A great way to see the whole city and learn a bit more history.

On our way out, we asked a local where to eat, and got to introduce the girls to some classic NY pizza pie.

We then discovered NYSCI, New York's "Science World" and spent a nice few hours on some cool math/optical illusion/animation exhibits. Girs enjoyed learning how to draw Wile E Coyote.

Day 7 - Muppets and The End

We saved one of the most anticipated attractions for the very end, the Museum of Moving Image aka the one with the Jim Henson exhibit. We actually meant to go to this earlier, but their air conditioner broke and they were shut down for a few days, so we were glad we could actually get there before we left.

This museum is in the Astoria Studios, a famous, but still active, studio where Sesame Street (among many others of course) is filmed. We went because of spectacular Jim Henson exhibit (Christine is a loooooong time Muppets fan).

Their other exhibits are around how movies/shows are made, the cameras, the sound, the makeup, etc. Super neat to see progress.

From that museum we went directly to LGA and flew (uneventfully) home.

A great time was had by all.

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Middle Eastern Adventure ⇒

Today I head to the Middle East, Abu Dhabi specifically. My company decided to attend ADIPEC, one of the largest Oil & Gas trade show in the world. Over 100k attendees! We chose to go because Export Canada has this great program where they assist companies looking to expand overseas, so they're actually covering 50% of our costs.

I've never been to the Middle East, and I'm really looking forward to learning about new cultures, foods & activities.

Thankfully we have a full day before the trade show starts, and I had a friend recommend some activities:

She also mentioned that people over there don't sleep much so most of the activities are open until the wee hours of the morning.

Then after the show ends, we're going to Dubai for 2 days. Plans there are to eat a lot (got some amazing food recommendations) and:

I'm going to try to remember to take a ton of pictures so I can remember this trip!

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Oregon Coast ⇒

The last time Christine & I had more than 2 days with no kids we went to Australia. This time we went a tad closer, to the Oregon Coast.

Christine found us a nice VRBO in Seaside and on Monday (July 27), we headed down.

First night was just a quiet walk around the town w/ dinner at Lilikoi's.

We did find a treasure that night, an amazing candy store, Schwietert's which started a great tradition...late night fudge.

Day one was strolling around Cannon Beach looking at the shops and going for a really nice walk along the beach to see Haystack Rock.

Wednesday we went on a hike that turned out to be quite challenging. It was very muddy and we had the wrong footwear & both of had foot/hip injuries that made it much harder than we had anticipated. Ended up taking us just over 4 hours to do the 8 1/4 mile hike.

Thursday was Astoria, which is the oldest settlement west of the Rockies, founded by Lewis & Clark. Met my long-time friend Clayton for lunch then off to the neat Columbia River Maritime Museum.

We only drove 1/2 back that day and stayed in Olympia and headed home the next day.

Oregon Coast is an extremely pretty trip and highly recommended.

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Kids Are Away, the Adults Will Play ⇒

Last weekend something rare happened, both kids were away for nearly 3 days1!

This meant that Christine and I could actually go away and do couple-y stuff for a bit. We ended up going to Seattle because my Crossfit coach, Joe Scali was competing at the Crossfit Regionals - West in Tacoma and I wanted to watch.

Laying in bed Thursday night trying to figure out what to do, I searched 'events in Seattle this weekend' and one of the top hits was the Kids in the Hall show! It was sold out, but fortunately we found some tickets on Craigslist.

kids in the hall paramount signage

Erin getting crushed

I didn't know quite what to expect, not having seen them before, but the show was great! I don't know how many of their skits were new vs old but they sure were funny. And they seemed to be having a good time, messing up skits, making each other laugh. Thankfully they did end on one of their best pieces.

I'm crushing you

Saturday morning was breakfast at Lola's, a nice walk around Pike Place Market & Capitol Hill where we found a cool bike shop.

The afternoon was off to the Crossfit Regionals - West to cheer on Joe. It was surprisingly exciting to watch people workout (really fast and hard, of course) and Joe did great. Finished day 2 in 4th position.

We ended the evening with dinner with some dear friends and a stroll to the famous Gum Wall.

On Sunday we did the tour of the Boeing plant, which was wicked cool. No photos, sorry, but you can't bring cameras or phones in at all. Well worth going to see though if you like planes at all. The plant is monstrous; all of Disneyland can fit inside it!

Was nice to hang with the wife again...she's a great lady.

  1. District Brownie Camp ↩︎

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