We packed quite a bit into a three day weekend.
Saturday morning started with a couple of promised purchases for Danielle. A friend of ours won a Wii last week and since she already had one she gave it to us. Very nice. Of course it’s the kind of present that costs you money because my wife then wants the WiiFit and we need an extra controller and a Hannah Montana game, but still, a nice gift. So we had promised Danielle that we’d get the stuff Saturday morning.
We also promised that we’d get her a hula hoop (after you’ve promised Wii stuff, the $7 hula hoop seems like the deal of the century). At Danielle’s school, being an urban school, recess is on the roof. They have a nice playground there. And they put out a bunch of hula hoops. This is one of those remarkable things about having kids. The last time I saw Danielle try a hula hoop I think she was four and couldn’t do it. We saw her last week doing it at a friends house. She’s a total expert. She barely looks like she’s moving and she can keep it up for hours. So we promised to buy her one.
OK, a quick trip to Target in the morning (trip being a euphemism since it’s four blocks away). Done.
Next we were going to visit my wife’s sister. This is the traditional holiday get together. But our no car experiment continues. All week I had been trying to pin down my wife on whether we were going Saturday-Sunday or Sunday-Monday. She can’t make a decision.
One of the obvious problems with ZipCar is holiday weekends. The whole thing works on the premise that only a small percentage of people need a car at any given time. On Memorial Day weekend, everyone wants one. So planning ahead is crucial. We did not.
My wife just said, “we’ll take the train”. Now the train is actually pretty convenient to her sister’s. But when we go up there with two kids we tend to bring a lot of stuff. Scooters, stroller, toys, etc. So I was skeptical. But ZipCar was booked, so we had little choice.
We went with maximum minimalism. Change of clothes. Pampers. Three books, two DVDs, cards and snacks for the train, Victoria’s blanket and two stuffed animals that she sleeps with. It all fit in one small suitcase and a backpack.
Oh yeah, we took the hula hoop too.
I’ve never traveled with kids and so little stuff. It was awesome. And the train was great. The train ride from Grand Central to my wife’s sisters is about 10 minutes quicker than the drive. But you have to get to Grand Central and it’s about 15 minutes from the train station to their house. So overall about 30 minutes slower.
We took a taxi to Grand Central. It’s Memorial Day weekend so everyone has cleared out of the city. No traffic, we’re there in 10 minutes. So early, we get some snacks for the girls. And drinks for us. We show Danielle the “whispering gallery” in Grand Central which she, of course, thinks is the coolest thing ever.
Then we get on the train and head up. I’m sitting with Danielle and my wife is with Victoria. I play a few games of cards with Danielle and then she watches out the window for a while and then she says she’s tired and lays down with her head in my lap. Normally I’d be fighting traffic. Instead I’m relaxing on the train, drinking a beer, with my daughter napping on my lap. I’m starting to like the train.
Of course a visit to my wife’s sisters would not be complete without a soccer tournament. Matthew (15) was playing on Sunday at one of those soccer fields that can only happen out in the ‘burbs. Six huge gorgeous soccer fields, nice facilities, even a playground for the kids. Matt’s team won 1-0 and the girls had fun at the playground (the finals would be the next day after we left – in the championship game Matt took a cleat to the head. 34 stitches. But they won).
We took the train back Sunday around 5:00. Again, very pleasant. The ride goes right down the Hudson and is quite pretty.
Monday was Wii day. I set it up in the morning and played with Danielle. Thankfully she likes the sports games more than the Hannah Montana one.
But it was a gorgeous day, so we weren’t staying inside. I took the girls to our favorite park. The sprinkler were on and they ran wild. We had Italian ices and capped off the day with an early dinner at a Mexican place that we like and is kid friendly.
Then home for a bit more Wii.
Overall an excellent weekend.