Back from a NY state of mind
We arrived last Thursday and went straight to pick up my nephew Jacob. When we are in NY he and Ben are inseparable so we needed to get him. From there we went to "the shop's" (that is what we call our family business) holiday party at my brothers bar. That meant immediately I saw all of my uncles - Steve, Al, Walt, Jimmy who work at the shop. I also got to see lots of cousins, my neighbor I grew up with and others who have worked with my parents for years. The kids loved the pool table best and just being in NY.
For dinner we did our NY tradition of J&F Pizzeria. This is a pizzeria around the corner from my parents. They of course have pizza but also Hot and Cold Italian subs (on good bread which is really hard to get in Cincy). I have been going there my entire life, I actually went to school with the sons of the owners who still own it (the Bruschetti family). My dad and I split Eggplant parm and Hot Italian combo (meatball and sausage & pepper parm) subs. Just delightful.
Then the "holiday" weekend began. My mom went overboard and had three gatherings planned for the house. Christmas eve was her family- my Uncle Tom, Uncle Jimmy and grandmother. After going to mass at 4pm which was GREAT timing, they came over for a Pasta dinner. We used to do the traditional Italian meal of 7 fishes, but with a much smaller crowd and Arnie's food allergies my mom doesn't do it anymore (though they still do one pasta with anchovy sauce...yuck).
Saturday brought Santa and the kids loved it. Ben got tons of sports clothes and a guitar, so he was happy. Claire finally got her American girl doll and a Cheetah pet. Sarah loved her gumball machine and Fur Real pet. We had the place almost cleaned up when my brother, his girlfriend and my sister's family came over. We had a nice dinner and more fun playing.
On Sunday, I was brave and took all 7 kids to church. My sister was having company so it gave her a break. They were all really behaved, I think I need more kids to make mine behave in church. I even go to see some childhood friends. After church not only did the blizzard come but my Dad's family came over. Not everyone made it due to illness and weather, but we got to see Uncle Steve and Aunt Gail, Aunt Nancy and Uncle Walt and lots of cousins. The blizzard was the big news. In less than 12 hours we got about 16 inches of snow, it was nutty. In NY that doesn't really "stop" things like a couple of inches in Cincy. At 7pm everyone just headed home and dealt with it. My brother-in-law came and picked up the kids for a sleep over, thinking nothing of driving it in (mind you they are less than a mile away).
Monday was our teeth day...we still use my sister as our dentist. Most years the kids and I can get two cleanings in if we head to NY in the summer, worst case it is once a year. Not ideal, but definitely made life easier getting the kids used to a dentist visit. So we all went to get our teeth done. Arnie was chauffeur and took Mimi (my grandmother) to her doctor visit. She has never driver so we try to help out when we are home. I managed to slip in a mani/pedi that afternoon with my mom and the girls before going out to dinner. My brother always gives us a gift certificate for dinner with my sister, parents and grandmother. He and Steph babysit so they get to spend more time with the kids. So we get to eat out...and no babysitter, can't get much better.
Tuesday we ventured down to Hoboken. Our goal was to see Buddy the Cake Boss at Carlo's bakery. Unfortunately we got there and it was a 2+ hour wait, which was hard to justify in 20 degree weather with the kids. So we took some pictures and went to Dunkin Donuts :). The irony was when I used to sleep at my friend Lisa's place in Hoboken all the time, back in 04/05, it was RIGHT across the street and I don't even recall it. I have since learned my friend Tara used to go there every day before getting on the PATH train into the city, she knew it was a good find way before TLC did. From Hoboken we drove back north to my niece Emily's basketball game. Good for us that she had a holiday tournament so we got to see her play, they won 60-30. We then headed to dinner in Ft Montgomery before going to the Army (West Point) hockey game - another Christmas gift from Uncle Matt. My entire family was there, 15 of us so we had a good time. They lost to the Russian Jr. National team 11-4.
Wed was NYC day. We always head down to try to get tickets to a show at the TKTS booth. This year we had another big job to do, which was go to the American Girl store. Unfortunately Grandma got really sick the night before so she didn't come, and it was her gift to the girls. So I got to go instead and took Claire, Sarah, Emily and Katie with me. The girls had a blast and spent their money very quickly of course. We all went to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular before meeting Sharon and old friend for dinner.
So an action packed week which was great. The kids had an amazing time hanging out with family and making more great memories. The blizzard made the city a bit messy and re-confirmed how much we are NOT city people. It took FOREVER to hail a cab and get out of the city. We have life so easy in Cincinnati and we will never forget it.
Of to make lunch and finalize plans for tonight. I wish you all a safe and fun New Years.