running away to nyc for 24 hours: the rest of the trip...

on the 4th of july we woke up to the sound of tandem little voices in the bed next to us- first, a groggy jude, "bay-dol?" then a chipper elle, "BAAAAGELS!" then back and forth, with some added jumping on the bed, "bay-dols! baaaaay-dols!!!!" for a solid minute.    bagel time.    it was 6:15.   6:15 is "sleeping in" for elle and jude. you want to know how to get the most out of a vacation? start your day at 6am. there you have it: bonus vacation time.
part joking, mostly serious, mornings are the best-kept vacation secret. you get the best of the best sights with zero human interaction- sometimes creepy, yet always enjoyable. 

we walked to pick-a-bagel, our favorite nyc bagel place. it's strange, and i have no idea why, but it's the best we've found (absolute included). their bagel-to-cream-cheese-ratio is spot.on. 

we walked a bit farther out to the west end highway and just started exploring. it was, again, the most perfect morning. overcast and warm- not cool, not humid- just right. the few new yorkers who lasted through the holiday weekend were there running, otherwise, it was quiet. we found more parks where the kids could play, then made a loop and headed back to the hotel to check-out...
meanwhile, elle walked on air. ^^ 
park #2 by 9am! 

and teeter totters! 

that make your hands smell like you've been playing with old pennies!
farewell, hotel. jude cried when we left. i have a video- it's priceless.

now, on to the rest of the day!
we headed to chelsea for brunch at bubby's (not that we needed more food, but it's what you do). we spent the meal watching the kids try and balance their crayons on the crooked table, and listening to the group behind us have the funniest conversation. by group, i mean one girl in particular. who is probably the most conceited person i've ever heard speak, and dominated their entire 6-person conversation; i don't mean that in a rude way, it was just absolutely bite your tongue, eyes-watering hilarious, which made mike and i stare into each others eyes and continuously laugh as discreetly as possible for the whole meal :) 
in case you're wondering, we all shared an order of pancakes and biscuits. because who doesn't need more carbs after a breakfast of bagels?
and then the high line! the third times the charm! we finally made it after two unsuccessful attempts during our previous visits to the city. 

hello, tourists and green space!

we realized the bubby's we went to didn't have a photo booth, so mike kindly agreed that it was necessary to walk to tribeca because an old photo booth is always on my must-do list. 
and it was only a mile-ish away. 
or two. 
we made, like, 8 different 1.6 mile walks this morning. 
so 1.6 miles we went, back along the west side highway... 

but that view!!!...
this is about the point jude fell asleep. 
and it started to rain. 
and we realized we were on the bike path instead of the walking path, and some guy was not very pleased with us. yikes! anger, let me tell you.
so then jude turned over and slept another hour like this! ^^ he was quite the topic of conversation among those who passed us. maybe the best part of all this travel is that our kids are finally good travelers! it did NOT come naturally or easily, but they've adapted. and it's heaven-sent.

again, that stroller? best investment ever. and yes, i don't care that my kids are gigantic and should be walking. it was, like, 1:00 at this point and we walked SO FAR with happy small people in-tow! plus they were dry. and mike and i got to share an umbrella. mind you, we walked from 79th street to 3rd street, with a whole lot of zig-zags in between, in one morning. that's a solid 8 miles. we also saw this sweet band...
and made a detour to get pizza at joe's. which is aaawwweeesome. we ran out of cash so we just got 1 slice. then i found hidden cash in my wallet so we got another slice! christmas morning!
more parks, a subway ride back uptown for more banana pudding, cupcakes (that lemon blueberry!? two thumbs up!), a stop for fruit at a fruit stand ($1.50 for every carton of berries!? we stocked up for our trip back to dc), and one last batch of hot dogs for dinner before heading back out of town...
^^ there's mike in line. hi, mikey! 

we made our way to get our bags at the hotel, and car from the parking lot- we put it in 24-hour parking, so that meant we had to pick it up by 5PM. i can't believe we squished so much awesomeness into 24-hours. we left the city hitting zero traffic (i presume everyone was prepping for fireworks by this point), and after one stop at the always-consistently-terrible nj turnpike for a quick break, we made it home to dc at 8PM in record time. we gave the kids quick baths, then headed out just in time to see fireworks from the university just outside our door! it ended up working perfectly- i have no idea how, but it did. 

cheers to the happiest of 4th's, ever!

and happy birthday, america.
part 1 here.

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