Oh yes we did!

You could see the looks from a mile away.. You could hear grunts and groans and whispers..  "Oh no they didn't.."  You could cut the tension with a knife.  As if there wasn't enough stress in the world on this day, we were adding to it by the minute.


We were "those people", in all ways possible.
Those people at the airport, on Christmas day, with an infant. 

Yeppers, we decided to brave the traveler's own h-e-double hockey sticks and head to DTW, eastward-bound.  Thomas' sister and biffles live in Edgewater, NJ, not too far from NYC but way too far from any tan-eriffic, fist-pumping, short-fused shore people, which is what I really wanted for Christmas.  *sigh*




We arrived to the airport on time which, in and of itself, deserves an award.  We made it through security with a bag full of more than three ounces of medicine, supplements, formula and perfume.  We even got a smile from a TSA person.
To celebrate, we grabbed some Tuesday's for lunch, and a beverage.

Don't judge... you know you're stressed just reading this.
 Eli was a wonderful little buddy, as usual.  He sat in his Sit-n-Stroll in it's booster seat option, and enjoyed rice pilaf and peas.  The Sit-n-Stroll is Uh-May-Zing, btw.. if you plan to travel, you should check it out.

Where are the treats, woman??
We made our way to the gate and had a few minutes before boarding.  To keep Eli busy, we kept the wheels open on the Sit-n-Stroll but dropped the handle so he could hold it.  Bam!  The five in one sensation gained a sixth function:  a walker!  Kept him busy until it was our turn.  Tired him out a bit, too *smile*

We did not reserve a seat for Eli, thinking we would just hold him.  But once we got there and were already exhausted just from walking down to the gate, we decided to ask if there were any empties, just in case.  Hopes were not high.. it was a little plane, only three seats per row, and it was Christmas afternoon.  To our luck, there were a couple open  *smile*  We boarded on time, "making friends" along the way as Eli's stroller bumped elbows all the way down the aisle.  Our adorable flight attendant, Evan, carried him down while I closed it up and made it into it's FAA approved flight seat.  (Having Evan on board, a man that was oh-so-comfortable with his feminine side, was about as good as having a grandma on call.)  Eli got the window, momma took shotgun next to him, and daddy sat across the aisle in the single.

This was at 3:25, just after boarding

Happy Chos

 And this was at 3:35

Sleepy Cho
Could it really be that easy?

So we were on our way.  We took off, we hit cruising altitude, we got to read and relax a bit, and it was well after the seatbelt sign went out before Eli woke up.  He fussed a bit, but no more than normal.  We were halfway through and preparing for descent and he enjoyed peekaboo and playing with the lights until we landed.  

Viva Laguardia!
Thomas' friend Jaisun picked us up and dropped us at his friend Taemin's house to then head to his sister's for Christmas dinner.  Ahrham had an amazing dinner waiting... I'm talking, all-day-cooking amazing.  It was all Korean, all delicious, made with love and Eli loved everything.  He tried about seven new foods in that meal alone.  I gave up on the four day rule.. If he'd have swelled up I'd have been royally screwed.

Eli and his Gomo
With Uncle Taemin and Aunt Jenn

After we left there we headed back to Jaisun and Minji's for their Christmas party.  There was a full house, complete with all of Eli's favorite things:  puppies, breakables, and beautiful Asian girls *giggle*  He made some new friends, was pawed all over by both the puppies and the ladies, and eventually rubbed his eyes so it was bedtime.  Though we were in a small space, no pack and play, no turtle night light, nothing familiar, the little champ still passed out and slept until he normally woke up.

In the meantime, I met Roju

Liquid Sin
All I'm going to say is, anything that comes out of a jade colored tiger shaped bottle is meant for invoking ninja skills and super powers, not for casual drinking on Christmas night.  Still, we indulged.

Eli woke up to join the festivities.  We usually would give him his bottle and rock him back, but we brought him out to say hello, and he was certainly the highlight of the second leg of the night..

Soaking up the love
Thomas and I just sat there smiling, misty-eyed and bragging like any other tipsy and love drunk parents would.  He really is the coolest thing in the entire world.
He passed back out shortly after, and the night continued.  Sans photographs, and with good reason.

The next day was the start of the blizzard that hit the east coast.  It started slowly enough that we could make our way out for food.  I tried ox bone soup, or seolleong-tang, for the first time.  Incredulous..
Eli slept through this whole date, too.  I wanted him to try some, but the man had a late night of partying so we let him snooze *giggle*  We napped afterward, and only headed out into the snow a second time for dinner with everyone, and to meet with Bernard and Janice, who came from Cali to see family and meet Eli.  Talk about some troopers.  They took the ferry, in the storm, from Long Island, just to have dinner and chill.  Thomas' friends are just awesome people.


Soooo ready for Kalbi!
With mama and Aunt Minji, aka, Border Patrol
Everybody, and what was left of an amazing dinner

The next morning we were up to see the white-washed city and meet with more friends and family.



Hmm.. I doubt my stroller will morph into a snowmobile..
It looked sick outside.  Drifts were tickling the edges of windows and cars were completely covered.  People were trying to walk as the wind whipped around the buildings and threatened to level them.  The news was going crazy and I guess Home Depot had record-breaking sales for shovels, snowblowers and salt.  You'd think these people had never seen weather before.  It was pretty funny.  We packed up to go anyway..  Crazy Chos


The first shot of Times Square was pretty nice.  What was usually a busy intersection was surprisingly gentle and empty, with children climbing the piles left from the plows.


Snow Day!
Eli was sleeping, again, only this time in his little kangaroo pouch that daddy made.  See his little feet sticking out?  *smile*


Oh the looks we got for this haha
We froze almost immediately.  Well, I did.  I was doing good in the middle areas, but my fingers and feet were little stumps of ice.  I borrowed Minji's Hunter boots, and my toes were bone dry, but my doubled socks were not cutting it and they were also ice cold.  And the gloves she lent me?  Oh yeah, dumbass move number 732:  they were in my lap because I was snapping pics of the skyline like the tourist I am and I lost those as soon as I got out of the cab.  So we added a trip to Bloomingdales' accessory department to the list..

Since we planned to head to SOHO anyway, we just made our way there, hitting Rockefeller Center on the way.  

Cold child in the city
And upon finding the right train to head that way, Eli graced us with his presence!


Good Morning Sleepy Cho!


Aaand upon finding ourselves in Queens, we realized we had just traveled the wrong way ::palm hits forehead::


Are we there yet?



Back on track, we finally make it.  
If there is one thing I love about New York, it is the way that different parts of the city at different times of the day can make you feel like you just traveled to a new country.  By the time we reached SOHO, the sun was competing with the building tops and we were in the gloomy calm of this spunky shopping district.  And even more cold.. 


Brrrr


We stopped into Eastern Mountain Sports to get some toe warmers for my poor little piggies.  As soon as they started to thaw I was ready to go again.  Good thing because the cabs wouldn't even take us down sidestreets to meet Thomas' cousin Sejun at his restaurant.  Not even with Eli's feet hanging out of the coat.  Yes, we hoped that those would score us special treatment~not in the concrete jungle, my friends.. it's pretty serious up in there.  So we planned to walk.  In the meantime we managed to find Ahrham and her friend Randall, and we headed to Woo Dae Oak for even more Korean food.  It was quite yummy, and while we warmed up and enjoyed our dinner, Sejun found a way to stop in for five minutes, just to say hi and hug Eli.  I'll say it again:  Thomas' friends and fam are amazing.

All smiles with his Gomo

While we waited for our cab back to Jersey, I snapped a picture of the NYC snow removal system.  Pretty impressive, as I was curious about how they cleared so many streets so quickly and may I add, pretty darn well.  A little team they are, all lined up, staggered just right to push snow from this side to that side, and the "little salt truck that could" sprinkling behind.   I couldn't get the last plow and salt truck but you get the idea..

Yes, I'm from Michigan and love to critique snow removal

After all of this.. the wind, the lost gloves, the frozen toes, the trip to Queens.. Ahrham suggested we leave sleepy Eli with her and we head to the sauna to relax and unwind.  
How exactly do you say "angel" in Korean?  *smile*
The catch, though?  It was a Korean sauna.  I will stop here and link this to it's own rightfully deserved post later on down the line.  That sure was an experience to remember.  For anyone that doesn't know the difference between American and Korean saunas, I'll preface it by saying this:  You know that dream you have, where it's your first day at a new school, and you can't find your locker or homeroom, and everyone is looking at you, and you're naked?  That REALLY happened to me, just add the fact that I don't speak Korean.  Awesome..


I slept like a baby though.  We all did.  We snuck in late (sorry again Jaisun and Minji!) curled up together and snored and dreamed after conquering the city during the blizzard of 2010.  


Now the only thing left to do was catch our flight on time, or at all, since many were still being cancelled.  We only had a slight delay~two hours~and Eli was a delight in the airport amongst little demon children that were causing passengers to break out into hives as they played the "which flight are they on?" game in their heads.  He smiled at everyone, walked with his stroller, drank some juice and watched his new favorite cartoon, Pororo, on our phones.  
When we finally boarded, there was no extra seat, but little man eventually passed out belly down across our laps, and he slept from take-off to landing.
Best. Baby. Ever.


Seriously, two hour delay?  Shot of Good Start over here, straight up, please!
Summary:  it was an amazing time.  We spent Christmas with family and friends.  Eli flew for the first time, and over the three days he tried about a dozen new foods.  I met some of the most important people in Thomas' life.  I fell in love with my boys all over again.


I missed home and my family dearly, but it was a blessing to share this holiday with even more people that love Thomas and Eli so much.  We were altogether excited and happy, exhausted and thrilled, grouchy and hungry, thankful and overwhelmed with love.  Despite her indirect attempts, even Mother Nature couldn't keep us from thoroughly enjoying each minute.  It was a whirlwind of emotion this Christmas, and one for the books.  We hope yours was just as wonderful *smile*


Merry Christmas!
Love, The Cho Family

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