Friday, June 26, 2015

The nightmare known as camp.

I went to camp.

Yes.  Camp.

I went with Big the summer between her Kindergarten and 1st grade year.

So, this year I went with Bug.

The three of us.  One big happy family.

It was terrible but I put on a brave face.

It was hot.  I got chigger bites.  I had to clean toilets and public shower mats {gag}.  AND this was my dinner the first night...

Gross.  Just freaking gross.

On the first night, we did a nightly devotion as a cabin.  We were laying in our uncomfortable metal beds.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to call Beau and tell him I was done and to come get me.

Then the little 19 year old camp counselors were all like, "What was your favorite part of today?"

They went around to each of the 12 metal beds asking mothers and daughters.

I was 3rd to go.  "Mrs. Hailey, what was your favorite part of the day?"

Without hesitation I sang, "SHOWERRRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSSSS!!"

Giggles came from all around.

It was true.  That shower was pretty awesome.  Not as good as the shower after you give birth but it was definitely the number 2 best shower of my life.

Other mothers and daughters answered.

"My favorite part was being with Maria."

"My favorite part was being with Sadie."

"My favorite part was spending the WHOLE day with Lucy."

Blah. Blah.  Blah.

Big turned to me, "Thanks.  All the other mothers said their favorite part of the day was being with their daughters.  You said SHOWERS!"

I kindly explained to her and Bug that I enjoyed being with them but that the shower I took after climbing mountains was honestly my favorite part of the day.  I may have also thrown in that the other mothers just didn't have anything else to say so they had to say they enjoyed being with their daughters.  Suck-ups.  *eye roll*

Reason 8,420 my kids will need therapy.  Sorry girls.

As retribution for my shitty response to my favorite part of the day, I dissected dried up owl vomit.  I even found of biggest rodent skull in the whole class.

Suck on that other mothers.

Big opening her tin foil of owl vomit.

Bug with the biggest rodent skull in the class.  You are welcome little nugget.

PS- I am probably never going back to camp.  Thanks but no thanks.

Friday, June 12, 2015

NYC: Day Four

I woke up that last day silently wishing our plane would be delayed and we would have to stay just one more night.

For breakfast, we headed to Ellen's Stardust Diner.

I had heard from a friend that this was an awesome place to take kids.

HELLO?!?!  Home of the singing waitstaff??  DUH!  It's going to be awesome.

The waitstaff sings the entire time you are there.  It is so fun and awesome.  It is a 50s theme diner so that was even more cool.

The girls LOVED it and had the best chocolate chip pancakes EVER.

I had the Brooklyn Bagel.  2 scrambled eggs and bacon with melted american cheese on a toasted bagel with a side of fried potatoes.

On our walk back to the hotel, we found a little place called Caroline's.

Caroline was stoked.

We stopped at M&M's World which was neat.  They have every color M&M you can think of.

Of course, we brought home M&M souvenirs.

By the time we got back to the hotel and grabbed our bags, our car was waiting to take us to the airport.

Have I told y'all how much I LOVE a car service?

I had been anticipating our flight all morning.

Note to self: Next time I fly, I need heavy medication.  Very heavy medication.

I felt like I was going to vomit in this picture.  For realz.

When we made it to the airport, I had one mission on my mind... find a beer.

Of course, we were on the side of the airport with NO alcohol.  I had to go back through security with 3 kids for Five Guys and expensive beers.

It was worth it. It calmed my nerves.

I was able to get on the plane without feeling like I was going to explode or rip my face off.

I sat with Bug.  We sent Beau a selfie to let him know we were coming home.  :-)

By this time, I was silently singing in my head... "I'm coming home... coming home... tell the world I'm coming... HOME!"

It was a decent flight.  I don't know if it was the alcohol or if it was actually a good flight.

There were clouds right below us the whole time which was a huge plus for me.

You can totally lie to yourself, like I did, and tell yourself that if the plane starts going down... the clouds will catch you.

I am crazy.  I know.

We had a rough landing.  Imagine this... you are on a roller coaster that keeps dropping and a boat that is rocking back and forth.  That was our landing.

This cute little nugget...

... blew chunks all over everywhere when we landed.

The pilot even came out and personally spoke to us.  He jokingly said, "If you had had a better pilot, this would have never happened."


We were back on NC soil.

We missed New York already but we were ready to see Beau.

Guess what I saw as soon as I got back home and ran to the grocery store?

A truck full of dead chickens.

I was definitely not in New York anymore.

Welcome home, Hailey.  Welcome home.

UP NEXT: Things we wanted to do but did not get to

Thursday, June 11, 2015

NYC: Day Three

After planning this whole trip for my girls, I had one day that I planned more for me.

Downtown is my favorite place in the whole city.

Downtown is a whole different feel.  There is the same hustle and bustle but somehow, it is slower down there.

We woke up Sunday with plans to go downtown.  Yay!!

BUT, we woke up to rain.

Yuck!  Rain in New York is NO fun.

We wanted to do breakfast at Bubby's in Tribeca on Hudson at North Moore.

This is my Mom's favorite place in the city.  Bubby's is where John Kennedy Jr. frequented for many meals.  His apartment was around the corner from Bubby's at 20 North Moore Apartment 9E.  Yes, my Mom has touched the door handle and had her picture made on the front steps.

I was so looking forward to breakfast at Bubby's.  I had been to 20 North Moore but never Bubby's.

I picked up my phone to check what time they opened.  We were jumping out of our skins to get there.



Yes, CLOSED for renovations.

Rain + Bubby's is closed= DEVASTATED!

This did NOT dampen my spirits.  I was in New York that is all that mattered!

We chose to take the subway downtown.  I wanted the girls to experience it all.

They enjoyed the subway UNTIL a man got super loud on the train.  He was preaching and my girls were NOT a fan.

Our first stop was the 9/11 Memorial.  Even in the rain, it brings overwhelming emotion.

The fountains are beautiful.  The names surrounding it are beautiful.

We also found the tree that stood through both buildings collapsing.

Caroline had a request for our visit downtown.

She LOVES Cupcake Wars.  She also LOVES the judge on the show, Candace Nelson.  Candace is the founder and pastry chef of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world's first cupcake bakery.

Caroline HAD to go!

We went to the Sprinkles at Brookfield Place.  It is located in the Hudson Eats Food Court.  It was a little hard to find but after asking a hip downtown mom pushing a Bugaboo for help, she pointed us in the right direction.

We ordered cupcakes and glass bottle cokes.  I had the red velvet.  Insane.  So good.  It should be illegal for something to be so delicious.

After finishing her cupcake, Caroline shyly went up to the server and asked if Candace Nelson was there.  So sweet!  She had actually JUST left New York the day before.  We had just missed her.

Caroline was starstruck and I loved it.

We traveled as far as we could using The World Trade Center West Concourse.  It is a beautiful underground passageway which was AWESOME since it was raining.

We went as far as the concourse would take us and headed back out into the rain.  We went to Century 21 on Cortlandt Street.  I held a few Louis Vuitton bags and then made my way to the more reasonably priced items.

Next, we headed to Bleecker Street.

I mean look at the Bleecker Street subway signs.  Fancy, huh?  Coolest street in the city.

We walked down Bleecker and had lunch at John's Pizza.

It is claimed that this is the best pizza in the city.  I have to agree.  It was the best pizza I had ever eaten.  Delicious.

We headed back out in the the rain.

For dessert we decided on macarons.  I really wanted to try Magnolia Bakery but we had already eaten cupcakes earlier in the day.

We stopped in Sugar & Plumm.

I had a beautiful salted caramel macaron.  It was so light and airy and AMAZING!

We headed back in the rain.

Rain.  Rain.  More rain.

Back to the hotel we went.

After resting and changing into dry clothes, we decided to go back down to Chelsea Market.

Big & Bug are standing under this amazing Christmas light display.  Can you find them??

Nestled in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, Chelsea Market was on my list of places to visit because it is known as one of the greatest indoor food halls of the world.

HELLO?!?!  Heaven on EARTH!

It was full of people eating lobster tails at little silver tables and fabulous artisan shops.  It also holds a two story Anthropologie!

I would love for me and Ryan to go back and taste from every vendor in the beautiful brick building.

Like the website says, "For foodies and even casual tourists, it is possible to enter the Market at one end in the morning and not exit the other until lunchtime, without ever growing bored—and certainly without ever going hungry."

DONE!  It's on my bucket list.

We sampled a few things at the market but decided on Mexican in Midtown for dinner.

We took a cab to Hell's Kitchen.  At 9th Avenue at 51st Street is a little Mexican restaurant called Arriba Arriba.

Their margaritas were amazing and come in 3 sizes... Bebe, Papa & Mama.  I suggest just splurging and getting the Mama.  You will not regret it.  27 ounces of pure happiness.

Full of margarita, chips, salsa and food, we headed back to the hotel.

We realized it was our last night in the city.

Our heart ached for more.  Just one more walk to Rockefeller Plaza.

I walked past St. Patrick's Cathedral at least twice before I saw it on our last night.

Seeing it at night was breathtaking.

The GE Building was also beautiful.

One last trip to one of my favorite places...

On our walk home, we spotted Radio City Music Hall.

We made it back to the hotel soaking wet but so happy.

One last sleep and we would have to go back to NC.


UP NEXT: Day Four- A few last minute trips and our plane ride home

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

NYC: Day Two

Waking up in the city is nothing short of amazing.

The city is never quite even when you are 23 stories in the sky.

We woke bright and early on our second day in the city.

There is a Dunkin' Donuts one block up from our hotel on West 48th.

My mom walked down (in her PJs and a coat) and got coffee for us and hot chocolates for the girls.

I had decided against breakfast at The Plaza Hotel before we went to the city.

The reviews online said it was overpriced and there was really no "Eloise experience".

Wrong but I will get to that.

Luckily, we decided to go for breakfast anyway.

We quickly called and made a reservation.  By some magical chance, there was a reservation available.

We quickly dressed, hailed our first cab and we were on the way.

Big and Bug were not in love with cab rides.  We had not prepared them for the crazy driving and the nastiness that comes along with cab rides i.e. their cab driver opened his door at an intersection and hocked and loogie on the street.  *gag*

Fifth Avenue is a whole new world.

Everything is shiny and beautiful and grand and perfect.

We arrived in front of the hotel and I immediately got butterflies.  I am at The Plaza Hotel.  The freaking PLAZA HOTEL!!

We spoke to the doorman who I fell in love with.  He was the epitome of a Plaza doorman.

I walked in and silently gasped at the grandness of it all.  It was beautiful.

This is the floor when you first walk in

Despite all of the beauty, I kept thinking about that doorman.

I needed a picture of my girls with him.  He was perfect and I loved him and I wanted my girls to take their picture with him.

We trudged back outside in the cold.  He happily obliged to a picture.

Be still my heart!!  Look at all of the preciousness.  I mean he even has on a FUR HAT!!

We went back in and looked around.  The Palm Court was beautiful and I was overwhelmed by the fact that we were going to be eating there in just a few short minutes.

We walked around the hotel.  We were on a mission to find the Eloise painting.  We spotted it and  had pictures with it.  {Hint: it is in the hallway to the left of The Palm Court} Next, we had to find the Eloise Boutique.  We made our way downstairs.  We stopped along the way to admire the beautiful sweets.

Breakfast was delicious!  The girls got their very own PINK Eloise Breakfast menu.  Here it is in PDF format.

Bug had the Central Park Pancakes with warm syrup.  YUM!

Big had the Perfect Parfait.  It was not her favorite.  The yogurt was not flavored and she was not a fan of plain yogurt.

Here is the adult breakfast menu.

I had the choice of 3 fresh baked pastries.  OMG!  I chose the seasonal scones,  pain au chocolat & cheese danish.  SO DELICIOUS!!

Mom had cold cereal with skim milk.

Marion {mom's BFF that went with us} had the Homemade Bircher Muesli and her daughter had the adult entree of buttermilk pancakes.

The $12 glass of orange juice {which we did NOT realize cost $12} was amazing.  Like, the best orange juice I have EVER tasted.  6 glasses and $72 later, we still wanted more.  Good thing we stopped ourselves.

After stuffing our faces with the most delicious food, we headed back downstair to shop at the Eloise Boutique.

Eloise is a fictional character who lives in the "room on the tippy-top floor" of the Plaza Hotel in New York City with her Nanny, her pug dog Weenie, and her turtle Skipperdee.

She has always been one of our favorite characters.  Her books & movies are great!

The girls picked out gifts, wrote Eloise a letter and even sat on the plush couch and watched a little bit of the Eloise movie.

This is a DEFINITE if you go to the city with girls. They will love every second of it.

If you don't want to do the grand experience of The Palm Court breakfast, you can always just eat downstairs at The Plaza Food Hall.  It will not disappoint.  Promise.

After The Plaza, we headed across the street to FAO Schwarz.

We took pictures with the soldier that holds the door.  He even suggested that the girls do two poses.  Super nice guy that really loved his job.

Sadly, FAO Schwarz in Manhattan will be closing its doors in July.  So, if you want to jump on the big piano like Tom Hanks or you want to meet the soldier standing gaurd at the door, you better go now.

What else did we do?

Well, the upper east side holds a 3 story candy store known as Dylan's Candy Bar.

Dylan Lauren {yes, Ralph's daughter} opened this flagship store in 2001.

You name a candy, I promise you will find it here.

AND everything is made of candy.  Not.even.kidding.  The STAIRS are even made of candy!

Dylan's portrait made of candy

After our sweet visit, we had to make our way back to midtown.

We had tickets to see Matilda.

We hailed a cab because walking from the upper east side to Times Square is a haul.

When we got back to the hotel, the girls were hungry.  We found a little tiny pizza joint {standing room only} and got them their very first slice of New York pizza.  AND we found Dr. Pepper for them.  {They had been craving Dr. Pepper since we left the South}.

Matilda was wonderful!!!  It was a great show for kids and my girls LOVED it.

We went to Restaurant Row to find somewhere to have dinner.  Restaurant Row is on West 46th Street between 8th & 9th avenues.  It is conveniently located to all of the theaters so it was a perfect time to head down there.  Restaurant Row is a street packed with some of New York's best restaurants.

We decided on Da Rosina... a cute little Italian place.

I had Farfalle Cacciatora.  It was a bowtie pasta with onions, peppers, mushrooms & chicken in tomato sauce.  The girls had Tortellini alla Panna-- a homemade tortellini filled with ricotta cheese in a cream sauce.

After dinner, we were all exhausted.

We walked back to the hotel and tucked ourselves in our warm, cozy beds as the rest of New York buzzed away 23 stories below us.


UP NEXT: Day Three