Adventure, Baby, Family Travel, Motherhood, Travel

Doing New York City – The Baby Way

When I first moved to New York City I got lost at least a dozen times. . . in my first three days! I would walk off the subway, confidently walking in the direction I was sure was correct, only to end up calling my husband to come find me on his way home from work. Once I at least got my sense of direction I then had to navigate my timing of when I would leave for things, how much time it would take (always give yourself an extra 30 minutes at least), and of course, my husband’s favorite, pre-walking to the ideal spot on the subway for the quickest exit.

After a year I felt pretty confident in Manhattan. I even knew my way better than my husband who always knows where he is going ;). And then I had a baby and everything I had learned, had taught myself, was gone. Now almost another year has gone by and I feel like some of that confidence has come back. With that confidence I would like to share the best I have learned, as it can be just slightly overwhelming to figure out what you are doing, how to get there and what to take with you when you have miniature people traveling alongside you (yes, for those of you who are Manhattanites, you have your ways down I’m sure, but for those coming for a visit, it may help).

  1. Subway No-Go Hours: the subway is a wonderful, easy way to get around the city. However, traveling this way during peak rush hour is very ill advised. Traveling at this time is almost certain to induce nausea, anxiety and overall unhappiness. Not to mention that if you are traveling with a stroller (more on that decision in a moment) you will be looked down upon and few, if any, will offer you help. So between the hours of 9-10:30AM and 5:30-7PM be warned.
Subway baby

Roo has her subway riding skills down.

2. Stroller Travel: I have been pleasantly surprised with the ease of which this city can be navigated with a stroller as well as how accommodating almost everywhere is with them. Almost anywhere you go will have either a parking spot for them or will just let them be, no fuss. And while having a stroller with you is a great thing, there are definitely times when you do not want one if you have a carrier to use instead

  • The Subway: Really, it is so much easier to travel the subway with a carrier. Think about your trip – if you can get around with a carrier, use it!
  • Chelsea Market: Unless you are in the city at a more slow paced time of year, this place is a mad house and is much better off just walking though, navigating with just your body, baby attached and all. But I highly recommend this place, I love going there and then adventuring along the Highline for a bit!
Stroller Chill

We make this stroller travel look good!

Carrier baby

Mom, can we go for a walk now!?

  • Museums: Ok, so this one is a bit of a toss up but I have found, after doing some museums both ways, that the carrier is much easier. For example, the Museum of Natural History has A LOT of stairs. Sure, it has elevators, but those things take forever (really, I waited for 10minutes at one). It is also much easier to navigate around some of the displays with just yourself and not a stroller.

3.  Breastfeeding: This one is easy. Anywhere you need to. Nobody cares or bats an eye. Besides, there are plenty of other crazy things to look at besides a woman taking care of her child 🙂

4.  Other Food: There are markets everywhere, Whole Foods, Food Emporium, D’Agostino, etc. There is also a Duane Reade on every single corner, maybe even two of them! For those who are not from the East Coast these are Wallgreens/Rite Aide. They have those fantastic food packets for kiddos of all solid food ages. So if you realize you forgot to pack your mini’s food, pop into one of these and hangry crises is averted!

Soccer baby

Taking a little food break down in Battery Park

Some other things I have learned from other moms that I think are great are just general rules. Being such a large place, the thought of being separated is probably very real (my child is 10-months-old so I fortunately don’t have this fear yet). Moms tell me that establishing meeting places is key. For the subway, tell your child that in the off chance you get separated, they are to either stay at the station right where they are (if you get on and they don’t) or get off at the next stop (if they get on and you don’t) and wait right there. If a cop is nearby at the station, point them out and tell them to go hang out with them until you return. A police officer is always a good person to go to if separated. While walking around, introduce your kids to them for an official NYPD picture! Hold hands always walking across the streets, but let them hail a cab for you, or run loose (by like 10 feet haha) in Central Park.

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My husband and nephew being too cool for school.

This city really is great for children and moms and dads and families of all sizes. There is so much to see and explore, and it is all so accessible.

These are my little tidbits from what I have gained thus far. I have no doubt that I will learn 1,000,000x more things in this next year as my daughter goes from 10-months to 2-years as this city shows me more and more with every day. If you happen to be traveling this way and there are other questions you have, please don’t hesitate to comment and ask!

For a mountain town who keeps hoping for a mountain baby, she does well with the city (much better than her mountain mama) and makes this city even more of an adventure than it already has been!

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Baby, Life Changes, Love, Mom, Motherhood, NYC, SAHM

The Start of the SAHM Life

I have been meaning to write this for almost 8-months now, but every day I say I’m going to do it, the day ends and merely the thought of writing is all that has happened. Such is the life of a newly inducted SAHM (that’s Stay At Home Mom for those of you who don’t know).

I didn’t always think I would be a SAHM right off the bat. I mean, I wanted to be one eventually, after I had all the kids I would have, but right away – meh. Then my Little Roo was born. Really it was even before that moment that I knew I would be beyond 100% satisfied with my life if I stayed home. And did I know it would be hard? Yeah. I had no doubt that when people told me it was one of the hardest jobs they have ever done that they were telling the truth. But to actually experience that personally took that belief to a whole other level.

 

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I’ll be honest – I already don’t remember what my job entailed those first couple months. I was a complete zombie who apparently kept a very happy demeanor (according to my husband, who didn’t tell me that until after, just in case a comment like that made me explode, haha). Once my husband went back to work I was sure I would be able to keep up with my old schedule. I mean, the baby just sleeps 90% of the time, right? Well, all I could ever answer when he would come home asking what I did for the day was. . . “I don’t know”. As along as it wasn’t too negative temperature-wise outside I knew we went for a walk, but the rest of it – well my memory decided to go the way of Dory.

Fortunately for my sanity (that was probably on the brink with the lack of sleep, even if I wasn’t aware of it), we were blessed with a good sleeper who was sleeping through the night by 8-10 weeks. That was at least one really hard part out of the way, but that by no means made the list of hard things smaller. I tried making a schedule, writing down exactly what I wanted to accomplish (I’m a total list person). I pinned everything on fun things I could do with my Roo, and yet I still felt like I was being inadequate as a mother. My job was to stay home, enriching her life but also make the home clean and comfortable for us all – why was this so overwhelming!?

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Almost 8-months have gone by now, and while there are still days I feel completely overwhelmed, desiring to do nothing more than to crawl into my bed and sleep everything away, I wouldn’t trade any of these last months for anything. Being a SAHM is the dream job I didn’t fully realize I wanted but it’s a job I can’t imagine not having and not giving my absolute everything.

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Dating, Moving, NYC, The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons Test

I used to joke with some of my girlfriends that you had to date a guy through all four seasons before even considering marriage. How else are you going to know their different habits in the winter vs the summer, the things you can’t stand or even the things that make you that much more attracted to them? New York City and I have made it through four seasons. We have survived each other and have found numerous likes and dislikes, but I think we just might get along – for a little while at least.

FALL 2013 – Our first couple months were a whirlwind of moving, fun and fall. Living in the Financial District for our first month was entertaining and scary – I don’t think I was able to go home the same way once, it’s so confusing down there! But he did have fun running around the point of the island, experiencing Oyster Fest (our first weekend in New York, way to draw us in!), going to Governor’s Island and more. When the end of October came we were moving into our midtown east apartment, talking jogs through the millions of paths in Central Park and getting a small peek at an East Coast fall (I have since heard the real ‘East Coast Fall’ is really experienced by traveling upstate or up north a bit). As overwhelming as it all was, what with the millions of people everywhere, New York had given us a great introduction and we were quite excited to see what lay ahead.

WINTER 2013-2014 – We were excited about what lay ahead. . . until winter came. At first I was just laughing a bit quietly at others. When the first “storm” came in, the meteorologists predicted a snowfall of three inches. Psh, three inches. Well according to the completely empty shelves at the grocery store and the 1hr check-out line (that’s Not exaggerating!), three inches of snow may have well been the start of the next ice age. Really I was most sad that my backyard of mountains was gone, that skiing would not be available to me within 10minutes when I wanted (how spoiled, I know) – and then came the wind and wet. I have been cold before. I have stood in a full body spandex suit in -27 degree dry temperatures. That pales in comparison to the wet wind that whips through, around, over, under, really any and every direction possible, through the streets of Manhattan. I HATE New York City Winters. In the four seasons test this was truly a potential breaking point. I have let it pass this year because I had to be fair – I had to give New York City the full year to see where our relationship would end up.

SPRING 2014 – Thank God New York Winters are not as long as Utah winters. While I almost went crazy, I can handle (at least I think I can, ask me again at the end of this winter) 3.5months of gray-brown snow and bitter cold (compared to the Utah winter of 6months, which I actually Love!). I cannot begin to express my delight as the snow and cold turned to rain and milder temperatures. Birds began singing (in Central Park that is, I don’t hear birds elsewhere), buds began blooming – the city was coming to life again. I began braving running outside again (my outdoor running threshold completely changed here, I will completely admit I became a pansy and learned to almost like the treadmill). While I was dreading the summer coming (all I heard was how hot and humid it is), I was really thoroughly enjoying this East Coast spring. If I wasn’t going to get my spring skiing, I certainly could enjoy a true spring of flowers and green and things that Utah just sometimes seems to miss.

SUMMER 2014 – The months creeped away and suddenly it was summer time. I would look out the window of my apartment and take a guess at how quickly I would just sweat through all my clothing. . . but then it never really came. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was humid for me, but that’s not saying much. When it is 25% humidity in Utah I feel like i am going to melt whereas in New York City people say, “oh it’s only 65% humidity, it’s really rather dry” – HAHAHA, dry. Funny. But those 95 degree temperatures combined with the 98% humidity never came. I avoided the state completely for the month of August just to avoid this dreaded, ‘East Coast Summer’ but going to the mountains and all I missed was beautiful, perfect weather. And then the beginning of September came. . . if September is all I have to deal with for a New York Summer, I will easily and gladly survive. Yes I felt like melting a couple days, but they were nothing worse than what I would experience visiting my grandfather in Houston, Texas (you want humid, melting death – try a day down there!). Summer, you made me like New York quite a lot – this relationship, while taking awhile, is slowly getting stronger.

FALL 2014 – Here we are a year later. The ‘Four Seasons Test’ is complete – so where does our relationship stand? Well I’m not ready for a breakup yet. New York, while she took awhile, finally introduced me to some amazing new friends, given me mostly good, enjoyable weather, and above all has introduced me to an experience that I will be proud and enjoy sharing no matter where we end up down the road. However, even after a year has passed, I am not ready to say we are in a fully committed relationship, I’m not ready for those, ‘three big words’. I do know that we are in a long term relationship, and while I know it will not be forever for us, I still look forward to seeing how long of a commitment this City pulls me in for and if she will every pull those ‘three big words’ out of my mouth for her.

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9/11 Memorial, NYC, Uncategorized

My JFK Day

As I was about to turn off my radio to head to school the host starts laughing and says; “get this, some idiot ran their plane into the World Trade Center in New York City. Buddy, those are pretty big and hard to miss {chuckling with co-host}. . . . . . . oh wait, we just heard this is quite serious, we will keep you updated as we know more.” The time was 6:55AM in Utah (8:55AM in NYC).

Every T.V. in our cafeteria was on, every student was silent. They were replaying the second tower getting hit over and over. It wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. The T.V. stayed on in my first period class for about 10min before my math teacher decided there was no reason to watch anymore. We argued then proceeded to ignore everything math related until a science teacher came by to tell us that the Pentagon was just hit and nobody was teaching.

My generation had just encountered it’s JFK day.

Sept 11 Mem

Walking down the stairs I feel a breeze rush past me. “Just get out and run”. Some pillars still stand, adorned with patches and pictures, memories and an unmistakable pain and burden. Videos are on, surrounding you, calling out all the details over and over. You want to move on but you can’t, but there is more so you do. Going deeper the blood starts flowing faster, harder. Whispers, echos, penetrating and yet emanating from everywhere. A quilt with words of encouragement from an elementary school in Colorado lines one wall. Behind, the whispers become louder. Closer, louder. A mother, a brother, a son, a sister. They all have something to say. A memory, a message. Every face, all 2,977 of them smile down on you. You want to smile back, but it hurts so much.

Deeper still, reaching past the heart and into the soul. But there is one corner that seems it should be reserved for Hades. It’s dark, it’s filled with doom. It is the worst thing you have ever witnessed. ‘Turn away, it’s not right to look’, you tell yourself out of respect, but you can’t. They stand outside windows, waving t-shirts of white, searching for a savior that will never come – and so they jump. They fall, they plummet, they know what’s coming. But it’s only their bodies going to meet Hades at Styx, because the moment they took that last step their soul ascended, free from the smoke and pain and fear.

The details are endless. You could go through 100 times and still see something new – and each time will not be easier, but harder. They tell you to give yourself 90minutes to go through. But how can you only give this 90 minutes of your time? It will take days. It will take reading every little detail, it will take telling everyone around you to go see it.

Eventually I will be bringing my own children here. They will probably come home from school one day, asking what I remember about that day. It will strike me how strange it is that they don’t know. How could they not know? Then, while I tell my children everything, I will pray that they never have to experience anything like this. Yet in my heart I think I know this isn’t true. For every generation seems to have their day in their history that shakes their world, so I will just hope that they can take it all in and remember it all like I have. We can build a memorial and a museum, make documentaries and docu-drama movies to be passed down through the generations, but it is up to the individual to hold those memories in their heart. To never forget but always remember without the aid of a memorial.

The true memorial should always reside in your heart.

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NYC, NYC Subway

My Internal Compass Needs Work

I have grown up always knowing that east was where the mountains were, therefore, I could (almost) never get lost. In the last three days I have been yearning for those mountains so I could pretend to have some sense of direction. I have none.

wasatch uofu

Who needs an internal compass when you have this!?

My first day coming back from work I took the 1 express down. All of a sudden everyone is getting off and they are announcing that if you want to get off at South Ferry you MUST be in the first five cars. I don’t want to go to South Ferry. 40 minutes later I am still walking around, hoping somebody will notice this lost looking person walking and turning on the same street – nobody does, and I’m too stubborn at this point to ask for help, I can do this damn it!

Subway map

Day two I get off at the 9/11 Memorial. I think, “I’m home early, I’ll go see Ground Zero then just walk home”. So wrong. Almost 45minutes go by and my husband calls to make sure I’ll be home. He left his keys at the office. I inform him that he may just have to come find me and then we can both go home together. He chuckles, reminding me that I told him I was on my way home at least an hour ago. Thanks for rubbing it in, I feel slightly more inept now, ugh.

Today I head out feeling confident. I now know I have to transfer from the 1 to the 2 or 3 to ensure I get to Wall St. I know that the Kilarny Pub is just two right turns from where I get the subway. All I have to do is get off the subway at Wall St. and I’m safe, right? Haha don’t make me laugh. I am talented enough to walk out a completely different area than where I entered. Why can’t the Wall St. stop just come out on Wall St. only!? I am proud to say that it did only take me 15 minutes this time – and only one frustrated phone call to my husband. I’m getting better!

wall st sub

Wall St. is very neat for many things. The Bull the Bear, more suits than you will ever see in your life (and at all hours of the day too – who goes to a bar at 10:30 with their suit still on, briefcase still in hand!?). You can almost feel the power pushing on the doors. The flags almost seem to fly a little stronger, a little harder – they know they are somewhere important. But Wall St. you are horrible at giving me a sense of direction. No grid, no numbers, just a million streets, all getting smaller and smaller as you reach the tip of the island at Battery Park.

Now you may say, ‘you have a smart phone Chelsea, use it’s smarts’. This is true, and I have used it. But when Siri tells me to go north on Pearl St. I turn in a circle and realize I don’t know which way is north.  I must also admit my stubbornness here and say that I want to think I can find it on my own. Foolish in this smart technology age? Probably.

I huff down on our couch, venting to my husband about how I have decided I really don’t like this area and all it’s confusion. ‘Did you know the two bodies of water used to be referred to simply as the East and West Rivers?’ I gripe. Too bad from the middle of Manhattan (at least in the Financial District) there appears to be only towering mountains of metal. He just smiles and tells me I’ll dominate it come Monday.

I knew I would miss home, but who would think the first reason I would miss those mountains was because they provided me with my ‘internal compass’?

Bring it on Monday. Bring. It. On.

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