Last week it was my son Isaac's turn for a special one-on-one trip (I took my daughter Eliza to England a while back). When I saw some round trip tickets to NYC for just $250 each, we decided it was time to go visit my brother, Eli, and family who live on the upper west side in Manhattan and have a fun adventure together in the Big Apple.
Some highlights were:
driving through Times Square at midnight right after we arrived at the airport with Frank Sinatra's "New York New York" blaring (such a fun idea of my brother's!)
visiting the Statue of Liberty (first time I've actually gotten off on the island and gone up inside, fun to share that first with Isaac) and Ellis Island (where so many our our ancestors began their new life in America)
spending some time at the somber, beautifully-done 9-11 museum and memorial (Isaac was born 2 months before 9-11 and I was clutching him in my arms when I saw those planes hit the World Trade Center on TV so it was meaningful to visit the memorial together)
walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and seeing the amazing architecture along the High Line in Chelesa
eating a lot of delicious food (bagels, pizza, gelato, Levain cookies, excellent food at Eli and Julie's house, and Eli and Juilie set up a "food crawl" for us where we had appetizers, dinner and dessert at different excellent spots one night)
hanging out with Eli and Julie and their awesome little kids as we explored the city together and hung out in their great little 5th floor walk-up apartment
And of course there were not-so-wonderful moments like when we got caught in a serious rainstorm in Central Park and it was super cold and pretty miserable or when found ourselves packed into a dense crowd of people whille trying to watch the NYC marathon and the kids were crying and everyone was hungry. But, as my mom always says, crisis + time = humor. And we were quickly laughing about those inevitable crazy moments.
After my trip to England with Eliza, I shared links to some good material on why one-on-one time with our kids is so important and how we can make it happen (in little every-day ways as well as rare big-trip ways). But it looks like the links didn't work for some people. So here are those resources again:
A CURE FOR COMPLAINING AND A SURE PATH TO MORE HAPPINESS
We have a major kitchen remodel going on right now. As with pretty much every project in the world, it's taking way longer than hoped and proving to be more expensive and stressful than anticipated. We've been living without a real kitchen for three months now, two of our bathrooms were disabled for the past two months making it so all of us have had to share one bathroom, iit is super cold in our house with a whole exterior wall removed and no finished walls or insulation in yet, and the house is constantly being covered in dust (which makes a clean freak like me crazed after a while). So there's been a fair amount of complaining around here (especially from me, I admit).
Have you noticed that it's hard to be happy when you're complaining? Have you noticed that when you focus on gratitude, life is just a lot better?
When I focus on how lucky I am to have running water, to have electricity, to have a house that us usually warm and dry, and to have food to cook in my make-shift kitchen rather than thinking about the discomforts involved, life suddenly becomes a lot brighter.
So this week, in honor of my own need to focus more on gratitude and on the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to share these resources with you:
8 Ways to Fill November with Thanksgiving - Check out these simple and meaningful ideas to help your family really feel the joy of gratitude this month. (Includes a 7-minute video highlighting the best ideas and lots of great further ideas in the comments.)
Why Gratitude Really Matters - in this week's Power of Families Radio episide, I read three popular posts on gratitude. Each post offers stories and concrete ideas to help you pump up the gratitude in your personal life and in your family and enjoy all the happiness it will bring.
I hope you'll find some ideas that will be really helpful to your family as you read and listen!