Friday Top 5, About Traveling & Kansas

Well, we’ve been back from our trip to Kansas for four days now, so I guess I should write something.  I have quite a few pictures to share, but haven’t got around to editing them yet, so that will come next week.

Kansas and Traveling Top 5

1) Bribe Your Kids

Kind of, not really, but kind of.  I did, if you want to call it that.  I packed our carry-on bags with TONS of snacks, and electronics. Lots of electronics.  Coloring books, markers, fun stuff, iPods, iPod touch,  a Kindle Fire HD, Kindle keyboard, candy, Nintendo DSI, books, and more candy and snacks.

Seriously, it really works.  I will always travel like this, because the kids stay quiet and entertained and give me less of a headache trying to entertain them.

One thing I also bought was “ear planes” ear plugs for all of us, which helps reduce pressure when you land.  We all suffer from sore ears when we fly, so these are a lifesaver.  Look for them on amazon or at your local drug store.

2) Airports kind of suck

Coming from a giant wonderful airport called SeaTac, to a dinky airport called Kansas City International, I was in for a big shock.  First off though, SeaTac… the kids and I got to the airport early, and with plenty of time to spare, just like I planned. There was no line at security, and we walked right up to the TSA officer.  He got our boarding passes scanned, checked my ID, and just as he was about to wave us through…an alarm went off and the airport shut down. Yeah, completely shut down.  We were waiting there for a half hour before the all clear came through, and then we were able to go through the metal detectors.  Thankfully I had enough time to spare, or we would have been in trouble.

Second…Kansas City International is the world’s worst airport.  Tiny, cramped, and their bottled water tastes like garbage.  Not to mention, $4 for a 1 litre of water was ridiculous. What really frustrated me was that we had problems at security again, but this time the TSA agent didn’t like how our boarding passes had printed out.  She made us leave the line, go all the way back to the Alaska desk, and have our boarding passes re-printed, and go through the line again.  Ugh.  We were running through the airport at this point.  Then once we got through, we had nowhere to sit and the airline didn’t let families with small children board first, so everyone went before us.  Ok, I can understand boarding by row, but come on…families with any young kids should be allowed to board first. I’ve never had any problem doing that elsewhere, but had to wait a half hour this time.  Kids take time to board, they need to get settled and get their stuff out, and in disallowing us to do that, you make other passengers wait.

3) Kansas is great

Not going to lie, I really liked it this time, even more so than January.  It could be that we got a few little “privileges” with the housing office, and explored the area a bit more, but I felt more at home.  And perhaps it was because it was my second time visiting too.  Either way, I am looking forward to moving, and counting down the days. Washington will always be home, but home truly is where your heart is, and my heart is with my husband.  I can’t wait to make a home with him when we move there.

I’m sure Andrew was a little annoyed with me, but I INSISTED we visit our house a few times.  I also insisted we go to the housing office to see if we could get a tour inside, but since our house was being fixed up after the previous tenants, they let us see inside the model home…WOW!!  It is about 250 sq feet smaller than what we have now, so we will have to downsize, but the houses are really nice. Our bedroom furniture will also fit quite nicely into the master, and we have a huge closet too! I love all the storage space, there are a TON of closets.  He didn’t think they would let us see a home, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease 😉 It pays to ask sometimes!  After we saw the model home, we drove down the road to our actual house and peeked in the windows.  It looks great, and we are pretty excited to fill it with our furniture and memories.  And on the plus side, we’ll be getting a few new pieces of furniture including a new kitchen table/chairs, and new washer/dryer, and a new desk.

4) Homesick

I really miss Kansas. I really miss my husband.

I was on our local Army post yesterday and I didn’t like it nearly as much as our new home in Kansas.  Kind  of funny because everyone wants to get stationed here at JBLM, but to be honest…Ft Riley is a bit better.  Much less “civilization”, which does take getting used to, but it’s not as crowded like JBLM.  We have a lot more limited selections where we will be living, and no Panda Express/OldNavy/Sephora/Target within a 10 minute drive. “Sad Face”.  We will adapt though, and it’s not the end of the world.

What we do have is the awesome Wizard of Oz museum a half hour away, which I have visited twice and just love.  Target and some major chains are about 20 minutes away, and we just got a Starbucks! Woohoo!! There is a huge lake nearby for swimming/camping, and the post has a ton of pools to take the kids swimming.  Ft Riley is a very family friendly post, and I like that.

I just really miss being in Kansas.  I like Ft Riley, and I like that I will have my husband home every night (usually).

5) Always Come Prepared, and Never Assume

Ok, this is a friendly little love jab at my husband, and I can’t help but say it. I should have brought pots and pans with me to Kansas, because he didn’t have what I needed haha. I cooked twice for us while we were there, and dinner one night was almost a disaster.

He had requested I make Ziti, which is a family favorite, and on the way back the apartment, I found out he did not have any spices.  No spices? who doesn’t have spices? I can’t make my ziti without spices!!! Specifically rosemary, thyme and oregano.  Really Andrew? you didn’t have spices!!!!  So off to Wal-Mart we went to get the spices, and then while at the apartment, I started cooking the sauce.  I casually remarked to him, “where is the pot so I can start cooking the pasta”. Ummmm….what? you’re using it.  I had a minor freak out to be honest, and was pretty frustrated.  He only had a saucepan/frying pan, so I had to cook the sauce first, transfer it to a separate bowl, and then cook the pasta on the stove top in a sauce pan. Oy.  It would have been much easier if we had a pot! How does someone not have a pot?  You’re a bachelor honey…and you still don’t have a pot? talk about being a minimalist…or would that be just relying (too) heavily on your George Foreman? 😉

Thankfully dinner turned out delicious, regardless of cooking the pasta in a saucepan, and he had tons of leftovers.  And thankfully we wont have that problem anymore, because next time we’re there, I’ll have my own cookware!

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Top 5, New York City…again?

Ok, maybe I’m running out of steam this week.  I don’t know if I should write about our honeymoon in NYC, some weird Korean skin care I just got in the mail, or random crap. Maybe a mix of all of those? Ok.

1) Korean Skin Care

I subscribe to Birchbox, and a couple of months ago on the birchbox blog, they mentioned some new Korean skin care that was becoming all the rage.  In particular, a Caolion mud mask that promises all sorts of wonderous things.  I’m a sucker for that, so I patiently waited to order the Pore minimizing pack from Peach and Lily.  It came yesterday, so I am going to use it this weekend I think to see how well it works.  I was just reading that I should have got the steam pack with it too, but oh well! I will just do it after a shower I guess.

What was really neat were all the samples that came with the package. I think I received about 7 of them!  The samples I received were Peptide 500, All in one SNAIL repair cream (good to have, just in case my snails break down or gets sick, or something), Watermax Aqua Gel Cream, Returning Starfish Cream (just in case my starfish runs away, I can put this cream on him when he comes back), and Vichum.  Oh, and I also received a Mizon Peptide Face Mask, and one time use of the Steam pack I mentioned earlier.  Peach and Lily really go above and beyond to make their customers happy!

I’m not going to lie, some of this stuff really scares me, but I will try it.  Apparently Koreans are at the top of the game with skin care, and they have some great products, so it never hurts to try.  I really want to try the peptide 500, but a full size purchase of that will have to wait as I just bought a serum from Bare Minerals that I am loving.

2) Hoteling It.

One of the hardest decisions for Andrew and I to make when we travel anywhere is where we will sleep. Yes, we’ve had disagreements on this.  I think it’s a combo of myself wanting so sleep somewhere nice, but also on a budget, and Andrew wanting to make his wife happy, but we’re both so pig headed with each other we fail to realize that we never really needed to get pissed off in the beginning.  This happens all the time, for real. We are pig headed with each other.  I think that comes from him being a bachelor for so long, and myself being so independant, even before Barry passed away…and more so now. But we always make up in the end 🙂

Anyway…hotels. Where should we stay in NYC? We have a tentative list so far that I have put together, the two favorites being Distrikt Hotel and The Bryant Park Hotel.  I’m also possibly looking at the Hilton Garden Inn in Times Square and the Waldorf Astoria (which surprisingly, is within our budget!).  I would like to stay below $300 a night, perferably with tax included in that price.  That might be a huge amount to some of you, but for a nice hotel in a central location, you need to be able to spend a little bit of money.  I think that $300 is doable for us, but I am not comfortable going much higher than that.

Any suggestions?

3) NYC Itinerary

If you’ve been to NYC, give me some pointers, PLEASE! I need help!

The “tentative” plan so far is that we will fly out of Seattle the night of July 9th and take a red-eye to JFK, and we land at 7:30AM.  We’ll either subway it, or hire a cab to take us to the hotel, and drop off our bags.  Hopefully they will have a room ready for us so we can freshen up and have a quick nap. If not, we can do a quick change in the bathroom, and go eat brunch somewhere.  Then we will be doing Central Park the first afternoon.  I really wanted us to do something “easy” on our first day so we weren’t too pooped.  We’ll find somewhere to eat, and then spend the rest of the night in the hotel probably.  We really won’t get much sleep at all the night before, unless we can sleep part of the time on the plane, so I know we are going to be tired that night.

Day 2 we plan to get up early to see the MONH (Museum of Natural History) in the morning, and then probably TOTR (Top of The Rock, aka Rockafeller Center) after lunch to see the gorgeous views.  I imagine we’ll explore the building a bit too, and we might take an NBC studio tour, not sure yet.  We have to find a great place for a pre-show dinner (I’m thinking Peter Luger’s steakhouse if we can get reservations), and then off to see Wicked for a 7PM curtain call.  After that, we’ll be in Times Square for bit, then off to the hotel.

That’s all we’ve got so far 🙂 More will come with time, but our must sees are DUMBO/walk across the bridge, 9/11 Memorial, Ellis/Liberty Island or a circle line cruise (this is all dependent on when both islands open up and if we can get tickets, opening day is set for July 4th).  I also want to go to Lauduree, Katz’s Delicatessen or Carnegie Deli, Tiffanys (hey a girl can dream, right?) and MAYBE do a bit of shopping.  I’m not too worried about shopping at all, I just want to take pictures and spend time with my husband.  We’ll probably skip the Empire State Building, but will probably see Grand Central Station and the NYC Public Library.  We’re not big art people, but the only piece I might want to see is Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (which is my most favorite painting ever) at MOMA.  And Andrew wants to eat pizza in New York 🙂  Oh, and we will do TOTR at night too.

As for restaurants, again…we’re simple.  We just want one nice dinner out, before we see “Wicked”, and that will do us good for the entire trip.

We need an itinerary for days 3-5, and we will fly out of JFK at 7PM on the 14th.  I’m so excited to spend time with my hubby 🙂

4) De-Cluttering Challenge

Just a quick update on this, as I am sure you are all getting tired of hearing about it.  I’m almost done! I don’t know when I started it, but I know it hasn’t been 40 days yet.  Some things I am just not mentally prepared to tackle yet, like my desk.  It’s a black hole, really.  I’ll get that done eventually.

Yesterday I worked in the garage, and filled up my Honda Pilot with goodwill donations.  I’ll be dropping those off today.  Among the donations were about 350 DVDS, a dvd shelf, exercise equipment, pillows, blankets, books, and clothes.  I love just tossing stuff, it makes me happy to see less clutter.  I still have more to do in the garage, but if I do it all at once I get burnt out.  My de-cluttering will resume when we get back from our trip to Kansas!

5) I’m out of ideas for this week

I asked my husband to give me ideas for #5, and he told me to write about “the virtues of douche cleansing” and what jobs I want our kids to have when they’re older. UGH! Men!

This might be my last post for awhile unless I have free time next week, which I probably won’t It’s vacation time!! I’ll catch up again after we get back from our trip.

Top Five, Better Late Than Never

FYI…this is a LONG post, be forewarned.

If you recall past posts, we were trying to figure out what to do about a honeymoon. Everyone bailed on us for watching the kids, and I can count on less than one hand, the amount of close friends I have here. So that left us with no one, as my family is all out-of-town too.  I was really trying not to be depressed about not getting a honeymoon, but yesterday the sun broke through the clouds…

My wonderful amazing sister gave up her vacation with her friends to spend 5 days with our kids.  I don’t think I could thank her enough for giving up her time for us, as we won’t get the time alone for years.  She knows how much we love her for it!  Love you Sissy Poo! She’s like a second mother to the kids, so it will be special for all of them.  I know I have to get to the Top 5, so without further ado..my Top 5 is about…

NEW YORK CITY  and Honeymooning

1) Honeymooning

Some couples don’t place a huge importance on honeymoons, but I totally believe that every couple deserves and requires time alone at the beginning of their marriage/or without kids, to nurture and invest in your relationship.  Your relationship will suffer over time if you do not put the work into it, and Andrew and I have made a point since we started dating to carve out alone time for ourselves sans kids.  We still do that now that we’re married, and we will continue to do that. Kids won’t suffer if their parents are gone for a weekend, or a date night, but they will suffer if the marriage is not nurtured.  Date nights and trips are essential for a health marriage, and it helps keep you in love with each other. Plus, sex in a hotel room on a vacation with only you and your spouse is sexy.

Think of your marriage as a beautiful flower that you lovingly plant.  As time goes by, you have to keep watering and giving it food, or else it’s going to die.  If you don’t give that plant the love and food, it’s going to wither beyond all recognition and become an empty shell. But if you do feed it, love it, water it, then the plant will continue to flourish as the years go by, and it will grow such deep roots that you can never tear it apart. Dates, sex, honeymoons, flirting, weekends away (if you can find a sitter)…those are all food for your marriage.

2) WICKED!!!

Oh my gosh, I am so freaking excited to see this musical on Broadway.  I read most of the “Wicked” series by Gregory Maguire, and fell in love with Wicked.  We missed it in Seattle this past October, but now we get a chance to see it on Broadway! Score!

The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie of all time, and I have always loved the Wicked Witch.  I really can’t wait to see this, I don’t think I can say that enough!!

Wicked The Musical

3) Statue of Liberty

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I know that as of right now Ellis Island is closed due to Hurricane Sandy, but we can still take a harbor cruise to see it.

Being a newly minted United States Citizen, this is at the top of my list. Not much else to say than that…it pretty much explains itself.

4) Museum of Natural History

Dinosaurs! History! More Dinosaurs!!!!!

Another one on my must see list, I have fantasized about this forever ever since I read “Relic” in high school.  I loved that book!  Do you know how excited I am to walk through this museum and see a T-Rex skeleton? I often wanted to study paleontology/archeology when I was growing up, and history has always fascinated me.

5) Alone Time/Central Park/ 9/11 Memorial 

I wanted to write about all three of these, so I’m lumping them all together.  I am excited for alone time with my husband, and especially to travel with him sans kids.  I’ve never done that before, been on a vacation with the man who I love, ever, so this is going to be super fun. An Adult vacation!  I can’t wait to explore NYC with him, and to walk hand in hand through Central Park.  Maybe we’ll take a clichéd horse and buggy ride, or maybe we’ll rent a boat and paddle across the lake, or just sit on a bench and people watch as we eat an ice cream cone.

Andrew’s one request for this honeymoon was visiting the 9/11 Memorial, and I am happy to go visit that with him. Being a soldier, 9/11 was the turning point in his career, and it means so much to him to see this…and I’ll be the forever supportive wife who holds her husband’s hand as we go there.

P.S….yeah I know this Top 5 was all over the place tonight, but oh well!