August 20-23rd we had a big trip scheduled for a combination of things. When Austin's grandmother died, she, being the good Atheist and non-conformist that she was, donated her body to science and forbade a funeral. That didn't leave anyone in the family a real reason to get together and mourn/remember her, so somehow we ended up doing it August 20th for dinner. I have no clue, I would have probably picked planting trees or serving dinner at a shelter or something, but we did dinner at a super nice restaurant in New York (also not sure why, Emily lived in New York, but 4 of our party live in NH, 1 in California, and 5 in Virginia, so I feel like we could have met anywhere for dinner and at least skipped some hotel costs, but I think we were supposed to have had more of Emily's friends join us). We got to see Gail, though, so that was fun!
We started our trip SUPER early on Saturday morning and drove to New York to the hotel. When we got there, we met up with Kagen and Eliza and their daughter Zianna. Anne (Austin's mom) and Nate (Kagen's dad) lived together for many years and Anne remains very close with Kagen and Eliza and considers Zianna to be her granddaughter. The 8 of us decided that we would go check out a walking trail while we waited for Anne and Jordana (Austin's sister). The kids were super cute playing together, and Zianna is the closest thing to a cousin their age they'll probably ever have, so we enjoyed watching! :)
Once Jordana and Anne arrived we talked about going to a playground near Emily's house, but ended up going to a place the concierge recommended which had a very interesting combination of amusement park and pay beach. We skipped the amusement park but had a lot of fun humming at periwinkle snails and coating Aunt Jordana in muck.
Anne had made really early dinner reservations, so we left to get everyone scrubbed and dressed. We ate at an amazing place that was part of a wine bar, and I didn't take pictures but should have. My little gourmand, Logan, had an especially great time and loved how the food was presented. I had lemon ricotta ravioli with sunflower shoots and a trio of creme brulees that I shared with our only New York guest, Anne's half-sister Barbara, who was very fun to be around. The kids kept going and singing with her and had a fun time. Riley had root beer braised spare ribs which included the large marrow bone au gratin, which he ate with great gusto. Emily would have been proud. We didn't really do any reminiscing or anything at dinner, but I ordered my water softly with very little ice and think she would have been proud ;)
When we got back, Austin fell asleep but Anne took some time to go through wedding pictures from Emily and Elkan's wedding, which I had asked for, and she also very graciously gifted Savannah and I each a strand of Emily's pearls.
Sunday morning we went to mass at St. John the Divine, which is probably melting from having me celebrate mass there, (I love me some Anglicans, but I'm way to conservative for the Episcopalians) but either way, I've always wanted to see the cathedral. We had to go to the first reading of mass, which didn't have a choir and was only about 20 people. It was strange to be in such a large space with so few people! There were ROWS of them filling up for the next mass before ours even ended, even though ours ended at 10 and the next one didn't start until 11!! Sitting in the nave, you can see 3 different types of architecture, it's really cool.
Our super-contemporary seeker-friendly church-I-don't-love but go to for my unchurched husband doesn't do communion but once a year, so even though I don't consider myself in communion with the Episcopal church, and it probably makes me a heretic, we went up for communion. When we walked back I almost cried because Logan saved half the host and handed it to Austin saying "here Daddy, I want you to do this with us". Austin palmed it back to me, of course. Sigh.
Anyway, then we met up with Gail (Austin's Aunt who is one of my favorite people) at the Bronx Zoo. It was a bit of a mess getting around since we all ended up at different gates and some of our party are more walkers (or runners!) than others, but we managed with minimal frustration. Anne needed to get off her feet at one point and so we took a monorail ride, which prompted both Austin and Savannah to fall asleep:
"Oooh, we iz interesteds"
It worked out well that the Bronx Zoo is OVERRUN with peafowl since I had hoped to have time to see the two that reside at St. John the Divine's courtyard, but we were running behind. The kids loved seeing these beautiful animals, and they were everywhere just walking around in the open!
Peacock says: You shall not pass.I don't know how I didn't end up with a picture of Riley and Gail, but they were best buddies this trip! Riley held Gail's hand and escorted her around and was just adorably loving with her. I did, however, score a picture of Logan with a butterfly from Jordana!
In all honesty, he's the only one gentle and still enough to have this happen.
After the zoo we had dinner in Chinatown. In the pouring rain. Not my favorite, but the kids enjoyed it and scored a new blanket from it since they were shaking half to death in the air conditioning while we waited for Jordana and Anne to arrive and the junk shop next to the restaurant had cheap ones. We then drove to Langhorne, PA, where Jordana later met us, to go to Sesame Place.
I can't think of tons cute to say- Savannah had a great time, Riley was a good sport about the whole "baby" thing, and Logan was super fun to watch running around with Riley. It was fun that Jordana got to join us, too! (FYI, when I found out about the earthquake, I was in line for a AbbyCadabby's Treasure Hunt show and then freaked because my mom texted me and the phone lines instantly shut down and I couldn't get ANYONE on the phone. Thank God everyone was fine!) So, in lieu of me typing more in this insanely long post, pictures!
Aunt Jordana and Savannah in the lazy river before Auntie left. FYI- this water was FREEZING cold.
In the hotel- the kids have commandeered Auntie's things.
Good shot of the hair feathers ;) and Logan with Auntie.
Riley being not-so-lazy in the river and getting ahead of everyone.
Savannah Lynn with Zoe at the Character Breakfast- she was at such a perfect age for this and very cute to watch!
Momma and the munchkins on the walk back to our hotel.