Monday, September 24, 2012

Why Lily Agreed to the Whole PA Adventure

Lily loves TLC.

Not touchy, feely love.  TLC--The Learning Channel.  Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings, What Not to Wear--all DVR'd and ready to watch at a moment's notice.  But her favorite by far is Buddy from Cake Boss.  While I planned the trip, Lily brainwashed her brothers into lobbying with her for a stop in Hoboken at Carlo's Bakery.  She put together a two-page persuasive essay and begged every day without fail.

I acquiesced, and planned a three-day trip to see a few more sights as well.

Our first stop was Easton, PA--home of the Crayola Factory.

 This car was in the entry, and kids could autograph and draw to their hearts' content.
 We watched a demonstration on how crayons are made. (Remember that episode of Mister Rogers?  Just like that.)
 It was creative heaven.
 Surprisingly, Hyrum is my most artistic child, and he would have spent hours drawing with the glow-in-the-dark markers.
 The other kids, however, got bored quickly, and I was stressed out with all the kids swarming everywhere and my kids running off in all directions.

After a quick lunch at . . . you guessed it  . . . McDonald's (I was so sick of McD's by the end of this trip,believe me), we drove to New Jersey.  Because of a little scheduling difficulty, we ended up spending the night of July 4th in a NJ hotel, sleeping, instead of watching fireworks and participating in Smalltown, USA, parades.  The kids didn't miss it, and neither did I, frankly.

Lily was so excited that night that she could hardly sleep, because on the morrow, at 6:15 am, we were leaving for Hoboken and Buddy.

I was pretty good with directions for most of the trip, but I did get a little disoriented as we navigated through New Jersey.  It was a beautiful morning, and we had planned to be at the door of the shop when it opened at 8 am.
 We were parked, paid, and in front of the shop by 8:10, but that wasn't early enough, I guess.  We waited in line for almost an hour.
 Lily didn't care.
Micah was pretty upbeat about the whole thing, too.
 Evie was satisfied to sit and watch.
Hyrum caught a bad case of the crazies and he was wild and hard to keep track of for that hour.
 Notice the hats and the red shirts?  I did that on purpose.  Ever since losing four-year-old Ben at a summer movie, I have learned to purposely dress my mobile boys in something that is easy for me to see from a distance.  I made the boys wear those hats every second, and I must say that they came in handy more than once when they would wander too far away.

 Lily spotted the delivery truck and had to run after it for a photo . . .
 . . .and entertained herself and her brothers by drooling over the confections in the window.
Carlo's Bakery is managed like a Disneyland ride.  We waited outside for almost an hour, then, when you're at the front of the line, the staff will call you into the shop in small groups to wait to place your order.
 We met Buddy (kinda).  We did meet Mauro, Lisa, and Grace.  For real.

It was insane in that small shop with four small kids--it took forty minutes for us to wait for our number, place our order, then pay for it.  People were purchasing hundreds of dollars' worth of pastries and cakes.  I limited the kids to one treat and six cupcakes (and a t-shirt for Lily--bragging rights, you know?).

Just before we left the bakery, Evie began crying that she was hungry, and kids had to use the potty.  We wandered into a nearby Walgreen's and piled all five of us and the stroller into the world's tiniest elevator to use their bathroom, then bought some fruit, juice, and yogurt to tide us over on our next leg of the journey.

Little did Lily know, but the main reason I conceded on a stop at Carlo's was this:  Tucker's mission office was only about forty minutes away.  We packed a box with new white shirts, candy, letters, etc., and we drove through the Holland Tunnel to Long Island.  I must admit that I was worried about driving my huge Suburban through NYC--I mean, who does that, right?  But it was smooth and easy.

We made it to the mission office. It was weird and cool and surreal to be in the place where Tucker has been serving for over a year.  I was breathing the same air and talking to the same people.  One missionary pulled out his camera and showed us some pictures of Tucker when they had served in the same area a few months before, and the kind senior missionaries took our picture in front of Tucker's zone. One of the missionaries told me that he had just hung up the phone from talking to my missionary just ten minutes before--a broken AC unit was plaguing them.  And, did I know that he was less than a mile from where we were standing?

In all honesty, it was thrilling to be there--to show the kids where Tucker was serving and meet people he is serving with, but I wasn't tempted for even a second to find him.  I knew all five of us would be a huge distraction, plus I knew he would be so mad if we infiltrated and interfered.  That made it much easier to just drop off the package and leave.
 This seemed like as good a time as any to pull out the Carlo's delicacies, so we found a deserted corner of the mission offic and I opened up the boxes, only to discover that Micah's and Hyrum's cookies had been forgotten in the craziness.  Although sad, they drowned their sorrows in cupcakes.

 Evie wanted that pink/red frosting, but she is very particular about getting her fingers all sticky.  A little lady, that one.
Lily and I had ordered chocolate cake, filled with a chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate frosting and chocolate shavings.  It may be the best cake I've ever eaten in my life.  Really.

I plotted the quickest route out of the city and we were on our way for a quick three-hour drive to Lancaster, PA, our stop for the night.
Micah had told a few friends that we were going to see the Statue of Liberty.  Does this count?
 We could see the scaffolding and steel beams of the new building being erected in place of the World Trade Center.  I talked to the kids about 9/11; since Lily was only one when it happened, they had many questions that I was happy to answer.

Here is where my luck ran out, folks.  On our drive clear across the country and even down to NYC, we hadn't encountered any traffic or delays or anything. I had picked the wrong route.  WRONG!

The freeway off Long Island was under construction, and it took over an hour to make it across the bridge to Staten Island.  Then . . . it got worse. Staten Island was under construction from east to west, and it took another 45 minutes to traverse that small borough.
 The kids were good, since they were so used to long drives.

Then, when we got to the New Jersey Turnpike, things were looking up.  Wrong again.  There was a semi rollover that delayed us ANOTHER HOUR, and by this time I was ready to scream.  SCREAM, I tell you!  Lucky for us, it was only meant to be a short driving day--that turned into a long, frustrating day for mom.

What did the kids do?

I've never been so happy to find a Walmart and a Redbox in my life.

It was a long day.


  1. You've got guts my friend. I get sweaty just thinking about driving in NYC.

  2. I'm wih Laraine. I lived in that area for a couple of years and I wouldn't drive - it's crazy! My dad used to take the train into the city every morning and I well remember the Hoboken stop. So glad that Lily got to see the bakery of her dreams. The cupcakes looked scrumptious!

  3. Oh, you are brave. You said you parked, paid and waited in line. Do you have to pay to wait in line for the bakery?