Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lovebirds' NYC Valentine's Weekend

Thank you to everyone who's been so patient and gracious with me while I get back to 100% - not quite there yet, but I should be soon! 

Last week with Mr. Lovebird gone it was such a glorious return for all of us given all that was going on and Grayson squealed, "DADEEEEEEE!" when he saw him the next morning when he woke up. He really is his #1 fan! We took it slow and packed up to head to NYC for the long weekend. I always say I'm the queen of making grandiose plans and after years of doing so, I've learned not to get bummed when things don't work out but have proceeded with caution as we work our way through our agenda. This past weekend had the right mix of play and rest - it was perfect! I'm so thankful to our family and friends who are so flexible and accommodating.

We timed our trip so our first stop would be in the Bronx to visit longtime friends April and her family. Remember her son and Nia's first kiss? It was also a delicious experience partaking in real pizza, something we've missed greatly (I think it really must be the water). The chicken vodka slice at Emilio's is EVERYTHING!

Before kids April, her husband JJ, Uka and I were all in the same pre-marital growth group at our church*. It was an intense 10 weeks, but I'm so glad we stuck with it! Uka and I still revisit what we learned during that time and are thankful to our NYC pastor for that foundation.

Once we were stuffed with good food and memories we headed over to the afternoon session of Play Fair. While I've attended Toy Fair in the past (here and here) and while that event is press only, this time around with family in tow coinciding with the inaugural Play Fair, it was an opportunity to get the family in on the action. It was biting cold, but having experienced colder temperatures in New Hampshire and with the power of long underwear coupled with Uka dropping us off at the front door, we made it! 

I attended Play Fair as a guest of KidzVuz, and the event had promised interacting with the latest and greatest toys, but instead it was more coloring pages, bins of LEGOS and piles of Shopkins with a main stage scheduled with events that I know my active kids were not going to sit still for! There were a couple play spaces hosted by Nickelodeon and Razor that I know Nia would've liked, but the lines were daunting. As the event grows it would be great if they reduce the attendance making it easier to navigate, or have fewer, more quality toy experiences for the kids. I even spotted a couple fellow bloggers I know Aliah (Get Fit Diva) and Danielle (Dellah's Jubilation)!

Grayson was content to hang out in the Thomas the Tank Engine play space rockin' his new Doodlepants while Nia made the rounds with Uka.  The best feature they experienced was the Samsung  Gear VR powered by Oculus - they both kept raving about it! As a Samsung user I'm excited to learn more about this technology. 

We lasted for about 90 minutes before heading over to an early dinner in Harlem with Nia's birthday twin and his family. It's so fun now that Grayson is big enough to get in on the action and they all played together while the parents caught up!

Sunday we were up for church then Valentine's Day lunch around the corner with my sister and her beau at Sammy's Noodles a spot we've been going to for about 10 years now, and it never fails (although it did go on a health score hiatus a while back WELP!)

I took a refreshing nap when we made it back up to my sister's place in Harlem where I reportedly didn't move for over an hour. I popped up and got ready for our dinner reservation at Red Rooster and NO, it's not Red Lobster, which post-Bey mayhem a couple people thought that's where we were going! I'll give our experience its own well-deserved post, but the highlight of the evening was meeting Chef Samuelsson. I've met him before at Native when it was still around years ago, and while I've been to Red Rooster a couple times before, it was Uka's 1st time there so it was extra special to be able to thank him for dinner!

My sister Lauren, who had attended the Texture on the Runway event sponsored by Target on my behalf the night before (did you see the teaser I posted of the swag bag?), held it down with the kids watching a movie when we returned so we could watch the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead. WHOA! It was SO good, agreed? I rarely watch TV, but have 3 shows I really like (TWD, GoT and Downton Abbey), and I have to say I think TWD might be #1. 

We went to bed at a decent hour and after bagels in the morning (again, water) made it back to NH in good time and was able to get grocery shopping done before the snow arrived. Nia ended up having a 2 hour weather delay today so we were able to ease back into the week. 

I'm already counting down to our next visit to NYC...

For now, this weekend I'm looking forward to Uka and I heading to Tracy Morgan's comeback tour show in Boston! This has to be my favorite character of his (the actual opening intro clip is unavailable ARGHHH)

How was your weekend? Is it winter break for you and your kids? Nia's is actually next week and we have a fun staycation planned. Stay tuned...


*P.S. Speaking of our NYC church, it was where I met Ashley Graham! I was thrilled to see her big news about landing one of the three covers of SI Swimsuit issue. She's a real gem, and I'm so happy for her!