Julia was on spring break this week and we decided to do some special one-on-one activities with her. Wednesday was her Daddy/Daughter date. Chris gave Julia a lot of choices on where she wanted to go and decided on bowling followed by lunch at IHOP. Julia still loves her pancakes ;-) After lunch they went to the pet store to pick up some things for our goldfish and because Julia loves to look around the pet stores at all the pets. We could really while away a good portion of an afternoon in one! She was excited that she got to pet a ferret. The store they went to didn't have any cats or dogs, but did have fish and apparently had ferrets. It was a great Daddy/Daughter date and I'm so glad that they get to spend so much quality time together.
Thursday was my day with Julia. It was a special day for us and one that has been in the works more or less for a few months. I've been thinking of taking her to New York City since Christmas but kept putting it off because that city just exhausts me. Last week we talked about everything we could do during spring break and we decided it was time for a Mommy/Daughter day to the big apple! We booked tickets on the Megabus - a low cost bus service that runs between various cities. I was a bit worried about it because the reviews were pretty widespread between just awful experiences and pretty uneventful experiences. I am so happy we had a pleasant journey on Megabus and I think it was a great way to go. I know I was really excited to sit back and relax after our day on the town and let the driver navigate us home. I think it would have been a really exhausting day for me if I drove up and back in the same day, plus with the gas, tolls and parking in NYC it was likely a lot cheaper for us to take the bus. And the fact that Julia thought the bus was an exciting part of our trip is a huge bonus.
Our first stop was the American Girl Place store on 5th Avenue. Let me just say - My, oh my! They must be selling a LOT of those dolls to have such a large piece of real estate on 5th Ave. in NYC. Julia loved the store and wandered all around it taking her time in deciding which outfit she wanted to get for her doll. She oohed and aahed over all the puppies that you could get to go with the dolls, completely fell in love with the horses, checked out the wardrobes, beds, and camping ensembles they sell and finally decided on the perfect outfit and book to take home. I have to admit that I loved every minute of watching Julia flitter around the store and when she found out she could get an outfit and a book, well, she was overjoyed! She picked a beautiful blue and white silk-ish dress that came with blue shoes and a white flower headband and the book she chose is about an American Girl who decided to raise a service dog. She chose the book because there is a puppy on the front and I was so happy when I read the blurb on the back about the story. I think we'll really enjoy reading the book together! It was a lot of fun to browse the store especially since there were only about 20 people in it when we were there. I hear this is rare, though, and that it is usually very crowded so I'm happy we went at an off-peak time since I am not fond of crowds.
We left American Girl and headed towards 3rd Ave. and 60th St. to visit Dylan's Candy Bar. Julia wanted pizza for lunch so we stopped at a place on the way and she ate the entire huge slice of NYC pizza. All that shopping must have really worked up her appetite! We passed the store with the Soup Nazi who is famous from the Seinfeld episode and I had her stand by the cardboard guy so I could take a photo. I think she was wondering if I lost my marbles because she couldn't figure out why in the world I would want a photo of her with the cardboard person. She was a great sport and stood there anyway and then we headed to the candy store. The store has a cafe and bar on the third floor so we went there first and had some dessert. The major attraction of this cafe was the fun lights and the cupcake shaped booths that brought a megawatt smile to Julia's face. Oh, how I enjoyed watching her enjoy her slurpee while sitting in the cupcake booth! Julia has been wanting a slurpee for ages and she finally got to try her first one there. After about three tastes she was done and decided she would save the rest for the bus ride home. Needless to say I was not walking all over NYC with a blue slurpee (!) saved for the bus ride home so we said farewell to it in the cafe before we looked around for some souvenirs. We found little candy holders that say Julia's Candy and Emma's Candy and put them in our basket. Julia was so excited to find them and wondered if Aunt Trish had called ahead to tell them Julia and Emma's names so they would have them for us and I told her it is possible she did just that - so cute! We also found a tin of strong mints with Chris' name on it and picked them up for him and rounded out our purchase with a peanut butter carmel flavor chocolate bar for the bus ride home.
We left the candy store and took the subway to the American Museum of Natural History. Julia took the map and decided we needed to see the Ocean Life exhibit and then proceeded to direct me there. My girl sure does love her maps! She loved it and I was happy to see they had an elevator in that hall since it was a two floor exhibit (just in case we bring Emma next time). We also enjoyed the universe exhibit and were thrilled my friend Trish could meet us at the museum. Overall, though, I found that there were many exhibits closed for special events - either members only parties or office/weddings? - and the museum was not very easy to navigate even for us seasoned museum-goers who can usually find our way around fairly easily. I made a mental note, too, of some possible accessibility hassles. One whole section of elevators was not working due to renovations and this caused very long lines for the elevators that were working. Again, we didn't need to use the elevators at all (and, I didn't see anyone in line in a wheelchair!) but it is something I will keep in mind should we decide to bring Emma for a tour. I'll definitely call ahead to find out the status of the elevators.
On the bus ride home we talked about our next visit to NYC and how we would want to come as a family the next time and maybe even stay the night. Julia also asked me about how I remember some things from when I was younger and I told her that she is now 6 and I think she will remember our trip to NYC for a long time now that she is "older". I love making special (and not-so-special) memories with my girls. What a wonderful day!