For “Family Home Evening”, we made a NYC bucket-list. And, with two weeks left in the city, and Aunt Amelia with us for the duration, we set to work!

ROCKAWAY BEACH is a long bus ride from home, but body-boarding on the waves made it worth the trek. Though visiting this beach was not a new experience for us, the children insisted it happen once more before our move west,to a landlocked state.

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MAGNOLIA BAKERY has long been a Blanchard Family favourite in NYC. And, conveniently located outside Bryant’s Rockefeller Center office, it was an easy treat to procure, and an easy check mark on the bucket-list.

GOVERNOR’S ISLAND. We had planned a trip to Governor’s Island in years past. But, until that Saturday before departure, we had never made it out to this NYC gem.

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The fun began on the free morning ferry to the island. Once off the ferry, we enjoyed via surrey, views of the Statue of Liberty, charming shops for souvenirs and treats, playgrounds and music, vegetable gardens and free children’s activities, and an incredible dumpster. YES! The children spent over an hour at the dumpster!

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A dumpster? The City calls it an “adventure playground”. And, after signing wavers, of course, the children were set free, to play with tires and broken umbrellas, hammers and wooden pallets, ropes, old furniture, dollies, tarps, buckets, and whatever else (safely) belongs in a dumpster. No parents allowed. I’ve never seen anything like it. The children didn’t want to ever leave.

EMPIRE STATE BUILDING is an attraction almost all tourists visit. Locals? Not so much. With Amelia’s helping hands, and two hours until the next play date, that changed for the Blanchards just days before we flew out of NYC.

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FREEDOM TOWER didn’t happen. A reason to return!

FOOD TOUR in SOHO was, admittedly, my idea, not the children’s. But the guided tour and the guide himself, were incredible, and ever conscientious of the children, too.

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SPEED BOAT AROUND STATUE of LIBERTY was a Groupon purchase. Yay! And it correlated (almost) perfectly with J‘s birthday. Score!

DOLLAR MOVIES was entirely the children’s idea. And it entirely didn’t happen. No worries. I am sure Utah has some dollar movie options, too.

CONNECTICUT. We took the children camping one night, one summer, in the backyard of our Connecticut friends’ home. And the children have, ever since, wanted to return. Our dear friends made it possible, in conjunction with the 4th of July.

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CANOEING in CENTRAL PARK. We got to Central Park, but we didn’t get to the canoes.

HALL OF SCIENCE. Check. (Worth a blogpost on its own.)

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ROOSEVELT ISLAND. Nope.

CONEY ISLAND BEACH and WONDER WHEEL. It had to be done!

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In addition to our bucket-list, we thought it important to spend what time we had left in NYC with people – friends, neighbors, family, etc. And, so we did, almost every day before our departure.

One afternoon we invited the ladies in our building to a luncheon. I did the cooking and the children provided the entertainment. L played Little Indian Boy on the piano. E played Gavotte in G Minor on the violin. And J recited the longest tongue-twister he’s memorized. The ladies clapped and clapped.

And our final Sunday in New York was spent with the members of our Rego Park LDS church congregation, in our home, with rootbeer floats.

We have always told the children that “home” is where our family is – together. But it felt a lot like we were leaving “home” when we got out of that NYC taxi for the last time, at the JFK international airport. We checked our bags. We made it through security (no small fete, with four children). We arrived at the gate, with a bit of time to spare.

I cried. It was not a peaceful departure, the day of. It seems that stress robs us of peace, and I had given in to stress that Monday.

But today is another Monday. And I am feeling content.

Another chapter of our lives is beginning.