About a month ago, I booked us all on a flight to New York for the first week of the new year. Gui and I had been thinking about taking a quick trip somewhere to break up the monotony of the 3+ week winter school break. We never really settled on going anywhere because the thought of all the planning, reserving, renting, etc. that we'd need to do ahead of time kept us both in that talking phase and incapable of moving into the action phase. Planning for trips is so exhausting now. I remember when Gui and I would make a decision to go somewhere, book a flight and jump on a plane within a few weeks without so much of a misplaced hair to show for it. Although it's easier now than it was with younger kids, I will say that planning trips for 4 instead of 2 is not something I ever look forward to doing. 

Nevertheless, the itch to get out of town was unrelenting, so I checked flights to NYC on a whim and found some pretty decent ones. But, the trickiest and most expensive part of travel for us is choosing where to stay. So, when I searched for a room big enough for the four of us that we could cover with points, I was thrilled to see lots of availability for our brood for the first week of the new year. 

So, we spent four days in one of our favorite cities. Although lots of our favorite spots are no longer there (RIP City Bakery and the marshmallow at Daily Provisions), we were still spoiled for choice with food and treats. And we were able to stop at some of our favorite spots and eats around - like Xian Noodles, Supermoon Bakehouse and Jane's Carousel. I was also introduced to a new favorite spot where I ate the most delicious oysters while drinking a perfectly-mixed version my favorite cocktail. It was pretty dang chilly, though, and I think we'd all forgotten how much the cold really bites! We tried to sprinkle some tourist stops into the trip this time, and had fun riding both the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and the Dumbo Ferry to get back to the Financial District from Brooklyn. 

The best part of the trip was being able to meet up with Gui's uncle for an incredible dinner and seeing one of our favorite recent transplants to the city twice in 24 hours. The last time we were here, the kids were so much younger and required so much more attention and equipment to get around. It was great to be back with bigger, more capable kids, walking up stairs and from park to park without a complaint of tired feet. I think all that practice over the last couple of trips to Europe really trained my usually vehicle-dependent children to embrace long city walks, and I'm really glad for that.

I will say that packing and preparing for even a short trip is still an exhausting endeavor. And despite the overall excitement and joy of getting out of town for a bit, there was still a lot of whining and complaining to deal with, particularly from someone who requires a sometimes unreasonable amount of attention and constant action. Somehow, after all this time, we’re all still figuring out how to spend full days together without too much incident. I guess that’s how it goes when we’re all continuously growing up (some faster than others) and changing as fast as the seasons change. I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, though and can’t help but think about how [I hope] it’ll be even easier the next time we all set out for a spontaneous adventure.