Our schooling for the week consisted of major field tripping in NYC and Philadelphia. It is no small task to get 8 children around the big city, and we did it with few mishaps and to prove it, we are all home now and alive and tired!
Last saturday we drove down through Brooklyn and Queens to Statten Island where we took the ferry to Manhatten. Our strategy for all of this was to have the 3 little boys wear flourescent yellow shirts, the 3 bigger boys wore matching neon blue and white striped shirts and the girls had matching pink and purple tie dye shirts, but it didn't really matter because the oldest wore her sweatshirt over the top most the time. My husband wore an orange shirt and the backpack with diapers, change of clothes, water and snacks and pushed the baby in the umbrella stroller, he would lead the way through the city and I brought up the rear holding the twins' hands most all the time. That way when we got to stairs he could easily hold the baby and carry the stroller because it's fairly light. The matching shirts made it easy to see that we had everybody and that system worked pretty well for us.
We were able to see the Statue of Liberty pretty close up from the ferry which was free although there were a lot of people. Then we took the subway to Times Square, walked around a bit, we had some street falafel sandwiches, then we walked on over to Grand Central station and had dinner. They had an amazing assortment of all different kinds of food and it was all good, Iwa s glad to get my salad and be able to buy fairly healthy stuff. Then we walked over to Trump Tower and looked around because we have watched a few seasons of the Apprentice. It was starting to get dark, but we were able to walk to the edge of Central Park and take the subway back to the ferry station. One of the lines was closed though and we didn't realize it, so we had to do some backtracking, but we did make it.
We headed on over to our timeshare trade hotel/condo in Pennsylvania, it was about 2 hrs. away and we couldn't find the check in office and it was late enough that they were closed and not answering the phone, that we had to get a hotel, so our cheap week, they gave us ended up not being so cheap, but I chalk it up to travel learning-- make sure of their hours and make sure you know where you are going. The other places we've stayed with our timeshare have had 24 hr. check in, so that was not wise of me to assume in this case, but oh well.
We were unable to check in to our condo until 10 am so we missed church, but we were all pretty tired so it was ok. The town in PA was actually pretty weird. It was a beautiful place but the people there were just strange, really not helpful and hard to communicate with, it was just weird. But the condo ended up being nice and big and the pool was saltwater so that was nice since it was indoor, we swam a lot.
On Monday we drove 2 hrs. To Philadelphia. The tours for Independence Hall were completely booked probably because of school field trips, but we did get a tour of where the Congress met and where the the first passing off of the presidency took place. It was actually pretty cool. Then we walked over to the Liberty Bell and the visitor center. I really enjoyed the film they showed. We were not impressed with the overall presentation of it all though, security was very meticulous and the attitude of the rangers was authoritarian and a bit joking. They didn't seem to have the same appreciation we saw displayed in Williamsburg. That was all we really had time for, but there is a lot to see and do there, we went to Trader Joe's and got food for the week and drove past the Museums and the planetarium which looked pretty cool. We also drove along the river, I think Philly is an alright place.
Tuesday, my husband worked online, which is why we could just take off, he can work from anywhere. The girls did some of their online school and the boys slept a bunch. My brother and his family got into town that evening and we had a good time hanging out with them. It was really nice to be able to do that sort of thing again. I am really glad they were able to meet us, it was a last minute thing, and it worked out pretty well. I did a little bit of schooling with the kids on Wed. and we went swimming. Thurs. we explored the area and got muddy in the Delaware River and played mini golf and Friday we swam a bunch and cleaned and packed.
Then on Sat. again since my husband didn't have to work, we were headed home and decided to hit the Metropolitan Mueum of Art in Central Park in NYC. The place I looked at to park said it would charge $15 extra dollars for oversize vehicles, which we have a 15 passenger van, when we got there, the guy said his garage wouldn't fit our van. I asked him where we could park and he directed us to a garage just down the street. That garage could fit us, I got out to talk to them and make sure. The manager didn't want to take us, but when I asked him where else we could go, he said they might charget riple and I said fine, we need to park somewhere, he reluctantly said OK! I was so relieved because I think his garage was not even online and I don't know how we would find one that would take us.
We walked about a mile to the museum and through Central Park. It was much more relaxed than the previous trip and more like what it would be if you lived there. So it was nice for the kids to have this new perspective of NYC. We ate bread and oranges for lunch in Central Park to save money and time and then we walked on overt to the museum. There were tons of people outside on the steps and food vendors in front and lots of people inside, but the museum is HUGE, it really didn't matter how many people there were. I wanted to make sure and see the Renaissance paintings so we went there first. It was so cool! It was really nice when saw one we recognized from our studies. I was more excited than the kids though, but I was really glad we could take them there, because it is going to make our studies more meaningful and will give them points of reference when we study them again. I think we will put more emphasis on art study now, especially with the access to art museums we have now.
For each of the areas of the world, they had large displays to make it feel like you were there, a cathedral type space for Europe, a pyramid type space, actually a couple, for Europe, a Roman villa, an Indin temple with an amazing ceiling, a Japanese garden, etc. I really liked being able to walk through many cultures and periods of time of the world all in one place, I hope the kids remember and it gives them perspective now as we continue to study history. So cool, we only lasted about 4 1/2 hours before the kids were just too tired to go on. We really just walked through most of the museum, we skipped most the American and Modern stuff, but we saw most of what we wanted to see. I think the kids especially liked the Anciet Egypt displays, but it was all fantastic and nobody complained til the end when their little legs were so tired. Even the little guys were interested, there was so much to see.
On the way home I saw we would be walking past The Candle Cafe of which I have their cookbook and everything I've made from it is super good, so my family graciously stopped there with me and waited in the rain while they made us a $15 vegan quesadilla. Then we made it to the parking garage, got our van and gave the guy a huge tip, he was only going to charge us $20, my husband gave him $40 and his response was totally worth it, he was pretty happy and told us it was no problem for us to park there.
All in all it was a great trip, I'm so glad we could go.