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Trip Report A family Easter in NJ (follows A family Easter in NYC April 09)

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The first part of our trip was a long drive from the Toronto area to midtown NYC, and then a day and a half in the City. DH is my dear/darn/darling husband; C&J are our twin daughters currently 6.5 years old)

The second part of our family Easter was a visit to Madison NJ, which is pretty different from Manhattan and Brooklyn indeed.

Saturday:
DH and FIl met us at the Madison NJ train station in midafternoon. Unfortunately it was *still* rainy and cold - we'd just spent the morning in the rain at the zoo...
Anyway, once we reunited, we made it back to FIL's for a snack and skipping (the girls), some board games (everyone but me), and a nap (me!). A pizza dinner and a board game rounded out the night.

C&J are having a hard time settling down to get to sleep. J claimed that she had to
go back to the Sheraton! (They have nicer bed there, she claims).

I logged on to pick up some mail from work and do some drafting while the guys watch some tv. But I couldn't get the files I wanted, and DH couldn't get J to settle down and go to sleep already....

Saturday late evening: After I'd gone to bed, I realised I hadn't put out any Easter eggs. FIL has somehow been converted to Easter baskets (an American influence? we didn't grow up doing them at home and they're not very common even now). So, it was a lucky thing that I had remembered (a) to pack the 'extra' bag of eggs which had been living in my dresser since last Easter, and (b) to put them out. Can't have Easter without hidden eggs in my experience, that's all wrong! ;-)

Sunday:
Sunday morning, the girls were a riot. They were really sleepy but woke up because of the light. Then they stayed up because of the chocolate eggs sitting at the head of their bed :-) They rushed into the office looking through the luggage for their mini easter baskets (a gift from Aunt B and M). They ended up using their Transit Museum gift bags.... The eggs were not very hidden as I didn't want them (or me) digging around FIL's place. Most of the eggs were placed on chairs tucked beneath tables, or benches, or on furniture. The one that had them absolutely stumped was the single egg balanced on the top of the door handle on the closet! It was really very funny watching them go by it time and time again. Even after we'd told them to look for something shiny, and then *feel* all the shiny surfaces, they needed more hints!

Eventually C found it and claimed it to even out the number of eggs. They then went to the kitchen to find the 'basket' of Cadbury's chocolate. (FIL gets some sort of corporate discount.)

We had some downtime after that -- DH went back to bed, I looked up some info for the drive home, and FIL looked after C&J, right down to getting them breakfast and taking them out to the park. (I woke DH up for *that*! We needed some downtime alone :-) ).

In the afternoon we drove out to Rockaway, near Dover, to look for shoes for C&J at the mall before going on a walk/hike through the conservation area. We ended up at Cracker Barrel about 10 miles away, and then at the local park near FIL's place....talk about plans that gang aglay.

We played a couple of board games in the afternoon too, and then C&J went with DH to the other park (the one they'd hit in the morning with FIL). I tried to start my drafting work but couldn't find the right files. So, I just jotted down some thoughts and checked out more shoe options for C&J...

We had leftovers for dinner, and yummy PA Amish pies with ice cream for dessert. Then FIL took care of the dishes, DH took care of bedtime, and I started my writing in earnest. I worked on and off (but mostly "on") between 7:30 and midnight. Got an email into the litigation partner and our litigation clerk by 12:15.

Then realised I couldn't sleep and checked on some minor details for our trip to Norway....then some messages from friends, and then wrote up my trip report.

Monday:
Plans for Monday were:- get up, pack up, get car packed, and drive north :-) We were thinking we'd stop at a science and tech centre on our way back -- there are a few very nice ones on our list free with our membership -- but none are close to here, they're near the middle or the latter part of our drive. Others still are closed for the holiday or on Mondays generally anyway. It may be difficult to impossible to get to any of them before they close...just as long as I can get DH to stop at an outlet or two for C&J's shoes, and maybe a larger backpack for me (mine is great for daytrips but not for overnights or trips where you're not throwing everything in the back of a car!). Oh, and I have to get my fix of cheap and plentiful Luna Bars at Target....

Actual happenings on Monday:
Got up, packed up, my office called and I had to work for a while, C&J closed the locked apartment door before we were finishing loading up the car, a neighbour of FIL's got us back in, finished packing the car, stopped by the post office to return a pair of shoes, and then were finally on the road.
Struck out at all 15 shoestores we visited at the outlet mall in PA, actually-- nothing narrow enough for any of us! Missed all of the cultural stops - couldn't get to either of the museums on time. Had a long lunch stop at Ruby Tuesdays where I finally got my fill of the vegetables I'd been craving. I'm not a vegetarian or health foodie by any means, but I do always crave vegetables and light food after I'd in the States for more than a day or two....The salad bar rocked, Dh's lunch was big enough for all of us, and C&J were well behaved until the end which point, they were atrocious and we were glad we'd finished eating, we really wanted to get the heck outta Dodge).

Our next stop was at a gas station where I snapped some adorable pics of C&J washing the car. The rest of the trip was more driving, hitting Target where the Luna bars were *not* on sale (I just got a couple small boxes of flavors I haven't seen here -- and some kids' Zbars which I haven't seen here at all, all stocking up for Norway. Yummy protein bars are our lifesavers when travelling with C&J). Found shoes for J at the first Target we went to, and shoes for C at the second. Did our usual "getting lost in Buffalo" routine (we drive through there a couple times a year on average, and still get turned around somehow! We swear the reason the Peace Bridge was twice as fast to cross as Lewiston is because there's a nefarious conspiracy to sign the route badly so that people get lost and don't cross there.... Joking, but still, it's frustrating, the signage and our history of getting lost in Buffalo.)
Got home about 12 hours after we left NJ, but with new shoes, Luna/Z bars and some Disney Princess hair sparkle for formal night on our Scandinavian cruise. It's the little things in life, I tell ya! ;-) )

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