NYC and Philly, September 2015

By | Posted February 2, 2016

Posted in Catholic, Family Life, travel | No Comments »

I have to say hands down, this trip was my favorite of 2015.  I feel horrible saying that because I had an amazing year with the kids and without them…NYC with Lance, Chicago, the road trip with the kids and mom that ended in DC with the entire family.  Plus, just the relaxing trips to Austin and NB.  It was a great year.  I was spoiled.  The kids were spoiled.

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But this trip was IT for me.  Sharing NYC with my kids and seeing the Pope with them?!  I’m not sure it gets better than that!  My mom accompanied us on this trip and again proved to be the best travel companion.

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When the Papal trip was first announced, my cousin who lives in Philadelphia said we were welcome to come stay with her.  I never forgot that offer.  So for over a year, I’ve been planning.  I got tickets to Newark months in advance, but had us departing too early the Sunday of the Papal Mass.

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School started for the year and I realized that the kids had a holiday the day before I planned to leave.  Our original plan had been to go to Philadelphia only.  But then this summer we discovered Something Rotten.  The kids loved the music as much as Lance and I loved it.  We talked about taking them to see it one day.  When I realized we had an extra day, I was on a mission.  Begging, pleading with Lance to let me take the kids to NYC for the day. We were already going to have to change the plane tickets home as it was, so we would be paying an extra $200 per ticket anyway…let’s make it count.  I’ll use my secret stash of money.  I won’t use my secret stash to pay for the change if you don’t let me go.

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After much pleading, Lance okayed the day in NYC.  And then he surprised me with tickets to Something Rotten.  When I travel I want to see as much as possible.  I’m not a “live like the locals” when I travel.  I wanted the perfect trip for the kids with sightseeing and time to relax since they aren’t me.  NYC is my favorite place, and I wanted to make sure my kids loved it as much as I do.  They did.

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We left on a 5 am flight and thankfully, the kids fell asleep right away.  For a little bit.  Due to timing, I couldn’t take any xanax, but did manage a strong drink by 5:30 am, a first for me.  It allowed me to settle down and fall asleep for a bit.  We landed early enough to have a full day in the city.

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We went to the American Museum of Natural History and did the Night at the Museum tour.  We walked Central Park and played for a few hours, we went to Rockefeller Center and the Lego store and then busted ass back to the hotel to get ready for the musical.

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We met Barry for a quick dinner and then I watched my kids watch the musical.  They know the entire thing by heart and know when to cover their ears.  They were so excited.  They behaved so well.  And then Barry got us a pass to go backstage.  We met Alec’s favorite guy in the musical immediately.  Took pictures, asked questions and just reveled in  being there.

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Afterwards we waited outside for the two stars of the show.  The kids and well mostly me told them about the reason for the trip, the pope, and how this was their surprise.  Brian D’Arcy James was so cool and sweet to us.

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The next day, we took the subway to the Staten Island Ferry so we could see the Statue of Liberty, came back and walked the Brooklyn Bridge, went to see the Little Chapel That Stood and the 9/11 Memorial.  We caught a glimpse of the Empire State Building and then it was time to leave.

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I have to say the kids loved NYC and are ready to go back.  Me too.

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We picked up our car and headed to Philadelphia, an easy drive.  We managed to get downtown in time to see Independence Hall and Liberty Bell.  We barely made it to Liberty Bell; we had five minutes to see it.  Then we went to my cousin’s place.

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My cousin has one daughter who was a month away from turning four at the time.  The kids played hard.  They had such a blast with her.  They live in a beautiful area and have wonderful property.

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I am pretty close to my cousins, and I love watching my kids play with my cousins’ kids.  They played all morning Friday and then we went apple picking.

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Mason and I have been dying to go apple picking since our magical pre-school year.  It was everything we hoped for except we couldn’t take as many apples as we wanted.  The night ended with my mom making us drinks.

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Saturday was full of waiting.  Once we got into the city, we scouted areas to sit and wait.  We waited and waited.  But this was where the fun happened.  We met so many people while there.  We exchanged pictures and numbers.  My mom met someone who has a street named after them in Barton Springs.  We talked to a high school teacher who listened to me talk about all my trips with the kids and told me I was doing it right!  I loved hearing that!  We met people who had driven across the country and were sleeping outside.  All to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father.  This holy man who brings so much excitement to Catholics and non Catholics, he brought all of us together.

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And then the Holy Father came by- and wow!  It was just so special.  Sure it was quick, but I will never forget seeing him drive by so close to us.

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Sunday it was just my mom and the kids.  Another day of waiting.  This time though we knew when the Holy Father would be driving by and the time of the mass.  Thank God we left early because we waited at security for over three hours.  And my kids amazed me.  They were so good.  They didn’t complain at all.  We had snacks, books, music and each other.  We made it inside and managed a quick lunch before heading to find a spot to catch the pope before the mass.

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I have to say the mass was so well done.  And listening to the Holy Father speak on family was beautiful.  He’s just so wise.  His words make me think.  I want to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and person.  I’m such a diehard for social justice so this pope really speaks to me.  The fact that he spoke with that nut job doesn’t phase me.  I want his words to touch everyone.  They aren’t just for people who agree with him.

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I’ve seen another pope twice before and I cherish those memories.  But this trip, sharing the Holy Father with my kids was completely different.  Something about being a parent just changes everything.  I am so grateful we had the chance to take this trip.  I really hope my kids remember that time mom took them out of school to see the Pope.  And Something Rotten.

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I told my FlL that the goal for the trip was not to lose any kids, I didn’t, and not to cuss too much.  Alas, Texas lost in the last minute, maybe 90 seconds of the game.  I had been following on the phone.  Texts came streaming in…and seconds before the Holy Father drove by, I lost it.


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