Right before we left for Hawaii Charles was asked if he would be interested in doing a rotation in NYC from mid July till mid September. It didn't take long for us to decide it would be a great experience, both for our family and for his career. He said he would go if they brought the whole family up and got us an apartment. To our surprise they said okay. So we started planning as much as possible. We had two days from the time we got home from Hawaii to unpack, do laundry, repack, get over jet lag, clean, doctor's appointment for Anya, close up the house, and leave. It was a bit stressful, but somehow we pulled it off. It was hard knowing what to pack, knowing we'd be gone for a little over 2 months. I wanted to make sure the girls felt at home and comfortable. So I brought dress-ups, toys, dolls, coloring books, movies, all of Isabelle's many pajamas, kid dishes, blankets, crepe pans, etc. It was quite tricky fitting it all in suitcases and getting on a plane and then in a taxi to our apartment, but we did it. We were quite the sight with 3 large suitcases, 2 large carry on bags, a diaper bag, Charles' work bag, double stroller, car seat and 2 kids.
Posing along the waterfront walkway
Before we came we found out we would be staying in Jersey City, right across the Hudson from NYC. It's a newly developed area called Newport. Of course I did my research on the area to see what it was like and I was very pleased. When we arrived we were even more pleased. Our apartment building is right on the water and we have a gorgeous view of the Hudson River and NYC out our windows. Our apartment is a lot bigger than we expected, which was a pleasant surprise as well. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms, so the girls share a bedroom and have their own bathroom. The Newport area is fabulous. It is full of parks, shopping, restaurants, etc. There is a waterfront walkway that is just outside our door that runs for miles, up and down the Hudson River. I love going running along the walkway, you forget you are exercising, the view is so beautiful. It's a great area to have kids and still be just minutes from NYC. We are just around the corner from the PATH station, which is the NJ subway that goes into the city. It takes Charles about 40 minutes to get to work by subway. We are very happy with our "new home" as Isabelle calls it.
The view from our apartment.
We cant get enough of the beautiful view, we leave our blinds open round the clock.
We are up on the 31st floor, so we can see everything!
Views of the marina and lighthouse from our apartment.
Several cruise ships sail by weekly. Isabelle loves to go downstairs and watch the boats pass by.
Since we don't have a car here, grocery shopping is a little tricky. Fortunately there is a Target with Fresh Foods a little less than a mile away. This was our first trip home from Target. We had the stroller all loaded up since we didn't have any essentials e.g. paper towels, toilet paper, laundry soap, dish soap, food, salt, pepper, condiments, Tupperware, foil, plastic wrap, Ziploc bags, garbage bags, etc. Anya still fit in the stroller, but Charles had to carry Isabelle on his shoulders. I've been to the store a few more times, and somehow I still manage to fill the stroller every time. I love looking like a bum pushing my stroller with bags tied all over it.
Taking the subway to church.
After going to church three weeks in a row, we finally figured out the best way to get out of the subway station and get to church. What took us an hour the first week and 40 minutes the second week, only took us 25 minutes yesterday.
When I found out we were coming here I got in touch with my old mission companion and roommate Brittany. She also lives in New Jersey, so I was excited to be able to meet up with her again. She only lives about an hour away, so they made the trip here and came and hung out with us. It was so fun to meet her kids for the first time and to watch our kids play together. We look forward to hanging out with her and her family some more while we are here. Brittany has a good friend, Maile, who is in our ward in Jersey City that she got me in touch with. It was nice to feel like I kind of knew someone going to church the first time.
Our first NYC outing- The Bronx Zoo
Maile invited the girls and me to go with her and her kids to the Bronx Zoo. It was by far the best zoo I have ever been to. What a treat! Isabelle and Anya loved seeing all the different animals.
Anya got to go on the carousel at the zoo for her first time. She is definitely a fan like her sister.
The American Girl Place on 5th Ave. The girls love it. It truly is a little girl's heaven.
One of Charles' co-workers from Orlando came to the city for vacation with her husband and daughters. We met up at the American Museum of Natural History in Central Park. Isabelle loved playing with the girls. We had a fun time hanging out with them and visiting some New York cites.
Anya likes to try new foods, even lemons.
On Charles first day off we went all over the city. We started with lunch on 5th Ave. followed by another stop at the American Girl Place, then onto FAO Schwartz, Central Park, and finished with a wild search for Garrett's Popcorn. After we found the first two stores listed in our google search had closed down, we finally found a store still open. It was a lot of walking, but it was well worth it.
At the end our long day Anya was getting pretty hungry, so we stopped in at the GAP so I could feed her. I thought I was being discreet about feeding her and then changing her diaper and getting her pajamas on in the dressing room, but Charles got a picture to show me otherwise.
We discovered a fun little water play area right next to our house. Isabelle could have played there all day. We will definitely be spending some time there during this hot summer.
One of our friends from church back in Orlando works for NBC and got us VIP passes to go see John Mayer on the Today Show's Summer Concert Series. We got there a little late, thanks to the subway, so we weren't able to get up close, but we could still see him. It was pretty exciting.
This past Saturday Charles miraculously got the day off for the second Saturday in a row. He told me not to get used to it, because he will be working most Saturdays. I sure hope that isn't the case, we already don't see him during the week since he works till 10 or 11 at night. In any case it was about 100 degrees on Saturday so we decided to do a little NY shopping so we could be inside with AC. I am continually amazed at how HUGE Macy's is. We spent hours in there and still only touched the surface.
So far our New York experience has been a good one. It can be a little challenging getting around with the two girls by myself and sometimes a little lonely, especially with Charles' long hours, but it is worth it. I have always wanted to live in NYC and this is a great way to do it without the full commitment. Some of my family is going to come and visit, so I look forward to getting out and doing more things and having some adult interaction. Laila is up first, she'll be here Wednesday. We can't wait.