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USA 4-week Holiday for 1st timers - July versus December

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My wife and I are planning to visit the USA in 2014 from South Africa, with 2 kids (11,8)and it will be our first visit there. We're now trying to decide between visiting in July or December - December would be easier for us and allow us an extra week's holiday and more sightseeing, but we're not sure conducive the cold weather would be for a holiday with small kids (bearing in mind we don't really know cold weather where we come from!) . Any recommendations or suggestions would be appreciated. We're planning to visit New York city / North East region, California to Las Vegas/ Grand Canyon etc, and possibly Orlando, time permitting. Thanks!

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