We've heard soooo many good things about the Thanksgiving Parade from our friends here. Last year, our first Thanksgiving in NYC, we went to the Sedgwicks house in Maryland. So, this year we really wanted to make sure we checked it off of our bucket list. And, luckily for us, the Sedgwicks were able to come here for Thanksgiving in the city!! We live on the street where the parade begins, so the excitement mounts all week long with NBC trucks lining our street and taking over the church on the corner for their big production. The balloons are being blown up the night before at the neighboring Natural History Museum and the roads are slowly . blocked off while the traffic around town gets really heavy. In order to get a front-row seat at the parade, you have to get up around 4 AM, so thats what we did- or what Brian and Dave did. :) Although, the kids were so excited when they heard Dad get up, they also tagged along for the 4 1/2 hour wait (yikes!!). We sent them with a small rope, chairs, blankets, hand warmers and a granny cart to carry it all in! They snagged a spot on 75th and CPW, right in the front and set up shop. They roped off a big space with our chairs and they were good to go for the next few hours. Did I mention that it was freezing?? It was. When we ventured out around 7:30 (and after watching hordes of people heading to the parade from the warmth of our apartment), we scooted right to the front. So grateful they all got up early and held out in the freezing cold. And, then the parade started at 9 AM with tons of clowns, bands, floats, and the highlight- balloons!! It was so exciting to watch those first banners come rolling past us.
Hot cocoa, gloves, hats, blankets and big jackets only staved off the cold for a while. We were all numb in the fingers and toes by the end.
There she is---the Thanksgiving Turkey!!
My favorite were the floats with the celebrities on them- most of which I didn't recognize- but there were a few that were really fun to wave to, like Jimmy Fallon and Leslie Odom Jr. Al Roker was doing a segment with Justin Hartley right across from us too!
Still finding confetti in the corners of almost everything we used that day.
Troopers...these guys lasted ALMOST the entire parade. They headed out early due to numbness.
We came home after the parade, warmed up, and got hustling on Thanksgiving dinner. Snuck in a shower and a quick nap too, because most of us woke up at 4:30. Also, there is no better idea than paper plates on Thanksgiving, right??!! The kids had fun coloring their paper table cloth and we had fun talking about what we were grateful for in ABC order- ha! Everything on this table was so delicious!! Jessica helped with a lot, but it was my first solo turkey, gravy and potatoes and I must say, I was pretty proud of myself the way it all turned out! We had corn, rolls, peas, jello, and Martinelli's (which we refrigerated on our outdoor balcony) The little girls made favors out of candy and ice cream cones that were so cute. We ate dinner as slow as we could manage :) and then all sat and talked about what we were deeply grateful for (not in ABC order!). It was a fantastic evening with family that we really love.
We had an impromptu talent show one night. Caleb is really talented at tickling those ivories! We also played some fun games.
The next day, we got up, exercised, and then decided to go ice skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park for a few hours. The weather was much warmer, so it was a perfect day to go. Jessica went to get tickets to Anastasia for Madi and Lucy for the following night and I took the kids to the rink. We got all outfitted with skates and hit the ice. I love ice skating- not that I am any good at it- but this rink has stunning views and is not far from our house. I pretty much hold Tessa's hand the entire time, which I love. I really get a high from watching my kids learn new things and get better and better at them. It was doubly fun to have the cousins there with us.
These three have waaaay too much fun together....
After skating, we walked down 5th Avenue by all of the famous Christmas window displays with what seemed to be every single tourist in town- it was madness. We made it to the Christmas shops at Bryant Park, where we walked around and grabbed a few snacks- arancini and empanadas!
We then walked through the New York Public Library- where I discovered what I think may be my favorite NYC Christmas tree. It was gorgeous. Astor Hall is such a pretty backdrop for a tree too, so that never hurts. We walked through all of the library's famous rooms- wood paneled great halls with tons of books and some beautiful paintings- I highly recommend a walking tour of this place!
Grabbed the subway home and ordered pizza on the way there. But, the day was not over yet! Jessica and I took our girls to see The Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center. The NYC Ballet is something else- they don't skimp on anything. Every detail is immaculate and perfectly choreographed. Its the most magical beginning to the Christmas season. The girls loved it and danced the entire way home- and laughed at a few spills that happened along the way.
The next day, the adults did a great run together in Central Park and then Madi and Lucy went to see their Anastasia and we were gifted lottery tickets to Aladdin, which Kate and Tessa were able to use. Meanwhile, the boys took the rest of the kids downtown and attempted a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge- the kids didn't last long in the cold, but they snapped some good pics!
On Saturday evening, the adults snuck in a session at the temple and then went to The Smith for dinner. The next morning, we went to church together, and then the Sedgwicks left for the drive back home to Maryland. We really packed it in while they were here and we LOOOOVED having them. It was one of the best Thanksgivings I can ever remember.