Our trip according to Charles
Our story begins as all good stories do. We spend months planning a road trip and apparently we forgot to include Henry in the planning because he decided to get intensely ill the day before we were to leave. The downside: Occasional throw up. The upside: He slept almost the entire 6 hours there. Charlie proved his potty training is real on this road trip! He said he needed to potty so Annette reached back and put a diaper on him while he was in his car seat (try that in your next Minute to Win-It!). However, he refused to use it. He held it until we got to Rentschler Field and found a port-a-potty. The picture below is of the family under the tent eating hamburgers and hot dogs at the the Cougartown tailgate party.
After the boys met the cheerleaders (who scared me because they looked so young) and Cosmo (who scares me because all mascots are scary) we attempted to buy shirts at the BYUStore tent, but they ran out of the good stuff in our sizes. We went back to the parking lot which was CRAWLING with UConn fans and we had to talk to many people in order to clear the way of their games, grills, tents, and other tailgating novelties. Luckily, UConn and BYU have the same colors and they were all so drunk before the game started that they probably didn't even realize we were from the opposing team. Annette and the boys stayed at the hotel and watched the game on her computer. Henry saw Bronco Mendenhall and thought it was Daddy. Charlie was disappointed that there were no cougars at the football game. I was disappointed as well. I walked to the stadium from the hotel which felt like two miles. UConn can feel much better about their beating now that a school like Texas got an even worse beat down. I kid you not, it looked like there were 10,000 BYU fans! We took up roughly a quarter of the stadium. Our section was densely packed while the UConn three quarters were sparsely filled. I found an old friend from a singles ward who lives in the Boston area and we talked for the whole third quarter since nothing happened on the field.
The outskirts of Boston are pretty. We forgot Annette's camera, so the one below is from my phone. Parking was a mere $25 (the equivalent of 39 bacon maple donuts). We walked along Freedom Trail to the 16 historical sites. Most were just old churches that you could wander through. We didn't do any of the ones that cost money, mainly because we didn't have the time and we had three little kids. Charlie declined sitting on the donkey, but Henry thought that sounded fun. We hope this isn't a foreshadowing of political affiliations. We wanted a map of Boston and Annette found one in a bathroom stall. While she was in the stall, the boys watched street performers dancing to some music. The sidewalks were cobblestone and by the end of our trip we could still feel our bones vibrating from pushing the stroller. We saw statues, like a huge one of Paul Revere, which Annette thought was great, but I hate statues. We didn't make it to MIT, Harvard, or other colleges on this trip :(
There may be more to see in Rhode Island than we saw, but we only drove through so no real commentary there.
Annette's favorite part of the trip was going to the beach. There was a boardwalk which may have been destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, but whatever the reason, they were re-building it. People thought the kids were super cute which is always nice to hear after your car seats are puked on.
We went to church in CT where one person guessed CT is about 1/3rd the size of UT. I refrained from correcting him and just laughed about what the world map must look like in this person's head. Utah = 85,000+ sq mi. CT = 5,500+ sq mi. You do the math. The sister missionaries there knew Brent Meservy, Annette's cousin! He's serving in that mission.
Our third and last hotel was in the city of Elizabeth New Jersey. Annette's middle school band teacher used to comment on their marching skills by saying that they weren't in New Jersey where you have to turn right to turn left. Now that we've been there, we totally get it. You really do turn right to turn left. I think it's called a jug handle turn or something. We can ask my Aunt Al who lived in Hoboken for a while. We made lots of wrong turns even with the GPS. Their roads rival Pennsylvania's for being messed up. I tried to pump my own gas and I kept getting this guy that insisted on pumping it for me. At first I thought he was just trying to be helpful, but later I suspected that they're messed up like Oregon and you can't pump your own gas. That was later confirmed by my coworker who grew up there. Good thing he guessed correctly that my truck wasn't a diesel...
We parked in Staten Island and took the Staten Island Ferry across to Lower Manhattan. This was the waiting area for the ferries and the boys LOVED watching the big aquariums that were there.
The ferries are multi-million dollar four-level (I think) boats that ferry about 60,000 people into and out of Lower Manhattan every day. That's about the same amount of people in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
We got to see the Statue of Liberty out the window. You can see the billions of people lined up below the statue to go to the top. I'm not that interested. Maybe some other time when I can make it to the front of the line.
We saw a Nine West and I wanted to buy Annette a souvenir pair of high heels, but alas, they were closed. Like Boston, NY has terrible sidewalks, but they're a step up from cobblestone sidewalks and they were much wider. And that's TWO steps up from having no sidewalks at all which is our current condition in PA.
We saw the bull on Broadway St. We swapped taking family photos with another family that was milling about.
We just had to get the Broadway and Wall St photo.
There's George Washington and part of my cute family.
Here's us by the Brooklyn Bridge. It's really far between the landmarks. Maybe it just seems long with three kids and a stroller, but you really have to work to get between these little destinations.
Near the beginning of the trip (we hadn't even hit the World Trade Center yet), pretty much all of the kids decided to be grumpy simultaneously. It was really hot and humid so we tempered the situation by cooling down with some smoothies.
To whine about distance again, we walked from Lower Manhattan up to Central Park. It took us 3 hours and I was moving! Even the surrounding adults were not walking fast enough for me and I ended up getting a monstrous blister on my heel. I was also not very smart and wore brand new dress shoes.
After that last picture, the camera ran out of battery so we didn't get to take pictures of other things. We went through Times Square which is just like it is on TV. A Jamaican guy said that Elizabeth looks just like a doll which I assume is supposed to be a good thing even though I think dolls are creepy. At one point, while Annette was pushing the stroller, she tried to pass a lady who inadvertently dropped her cigarette butt on Henry's lap. If you've never seen Annette mad (and chances are, you haven't), this would have been one not to miss. Another precious moment was when we saw a group of people flocked around two women who were wearing nothing but tiny g-strings and the rest of their body was painted like American flags. I guess that's somehow legal because we were right next to a police station. Is America going to pot, or is this actually a step in the right direction from America's Woodstock days? After that, Annette gave up on nursing with a blanket since she wasn't showing anything and because it was so hot we felt like we had gained 30 lbs of sweat in our clothes. Overall, we were disenchanted. Perhaps we would do things differently if we went again (like hire a babysitter), but NYC gets an F- grade for handicap accessibility. We had to carry our stroller up and down about 10 flights of stairs to get to the subway to get back to Lower Manhattan and each time we had to go retrieve Henry who is still slow on stairs. The pictures below are on the subway (aka, choo choo train) with my cell phone.
First real family vacation that wasn't visiting family where we had to plan everything and book lots of hotels. We learned lots. Especially that vacations are harder with three kids. Maybe we'll buy one of those little collapsible campers like Annette said she had as kid...