My kids just had Spring break. My husband and I put together quite the week for them. A week that I will always remember!

Our week started in Toronto. For my daughter Ella’s birthday, she asked me to go to the Olivia Rodrigo concert as her birthday present. She had never been to a concert before. I would so much rather spend money on experiences with my children vs. stuff. I strongly recommend buying them an experience for their birthday present. The concert was amazing. The hotel was amazing. My husband drove us there and hung out with us when we weren’t at the concert. It was so special for us to have one on one time with Ella. We got to have dinner with her, breakfast with her, and we took her to a special photo opp/shopping experience for Olivia Rodrigo. I would say Ella’s birthday present weekend was a huge success. Spring break was starting out well!

We came home, unpacked, and repacked to head to NYC. When I asked my kids where they wanted to go for Spring break, Max and Ella came up with NYC. I of course wanted to go back to Orlando for Spring break, but I was happy to plan NYC fun for us! Max wanted to tour colleges and Ella has a love for NYC. My youngest Lillie is a good sport and tends to be happy going anywhere. Lillie brings the party with her wherever she goes! She just wants to go somewhere!

Max asked to go to see Columbia for a tour on Wednesday and Yale on Friday for a tour. Ella asked me to squeeze in a visit to see NYU too. My freshman Ella is already thinking about college. Seth, Max and I worked together to plan out the phases of our trip. We would head to NYC Tuesday. We would see Columbia Wednesday. We would see NYU Thursday. We would head to Connecticut on Friday, and we would head home Saturday. I was super impressed with our teamwork and coordination.

My first-born Max is the epitome of a first-born overachiever. He is obsessed with Ivy League schools. Don’t worry, we will make him apply to a ton of schools and not just to the Ivy’s. I want my kids to dream big and also have other plans too. We want to manifest and have dreams and big goals. We want to encourage this for our kids. My friend said she is only allowing her daughter to go tour colleges that she got into because she doesn’t want to set her up for disappointment. I am on the other end of that. I want Max to dream big and I want to take him to see all the colleges. I also want him to know that a 5% chance to get into a school is not good odds no matter how amazing his application is. He has to have back up safety schools too. My goal is to be realistic with Max and encouraging too! It’s a balance!

We headed to the city, and I told my family that we must go to the Stardust Diner. Now mind you, it is raining, and Seth left the umbrellas in the car. In his defense, I didn’t ask
Seth to bring the umbrellas. We stood in the rain for an hour, but I am telling you that it was worth the line! What a magical place to eat dinner. I saw this place all over Tik Tok and my friend Marcy also brought this up to me. The servers sing Broadway songs the whole time you are eating, and they were amazing!

The next day it continued to rain and rain some more. I’m going to be honest and tell you that I didn’t bring rain ponchos and we didn’t go to find the car in a parking ramp to get our umbrellas. We bought umbrellas on the street, and we strongly disliked the rain and the wind. I was still able to get them NYC bagels, NYC pizza and a great tour of Columbia. After that they were toast. Notes for parents: Know when it’s time to chill in the hotel. Know when it’s time to feed your kids. Seth and I joke that we have to make sure we feed Lillie and get her water regularly or she gets very hangry!

The next day we finally got a day in the city without rain. We went to Pershing Square for breakfast. We explored Union Square, Washington Square Park and NYU. We ventured over to Rockefeller center and went shopping and we walked and walked and walked some more. I can’t even tell you how many miles we walked in NYC.

That night I had the pleasure of getting to take Ella to see Chicago on Broadway. Don’t feel bad for my family because Ella was the only one who wanted to go with me. I only wish we had gone to more shows while we were there.  Note to moms: It’s okay to do something that is for you. I wanted to go see Chicago. I love Vanderpump Rules and Ariana Madix from Vanderpump starred in Chicago while we were there. I was happy to do something that was for me, and I was super happy that Ella wanted to come with me.

Friday it was time to find our car (thank you Seth), and head to Connecticut. Yale, here we come. After NYC, Connecticut was not so impressive but I’m glad that we went. I was able to get Lillie the NYC pizza she asked for, but I wish I would have gotten her New Haven pizza too. I heard it’s amazing! If you go there, check it out and report back to me. Max liked Yale but he liked Columbia a lot better. The Yale buildings were gorgeous! I was finding it so fascinating to get to explore these schools with Max. What an experience for all of us. Max has really gotten Ella’s mind going about college and Lillie is tired of hearing about college. All Max wants to talk about is college and I am here for it. I will talk to him about college every day. I love that he is excited and motivated and wants to talk to us! Note for parents: be where your kid is. If your kids love video games and wants to talk about it – then talk to them. If they want to talk to you about Olivia Rodrigo, then enjoy whatever subject they want to discuss with you. Soak it up!

Saturday it was time to head home, and I was sad to leave. I absolutely loved the week that we planned for our family. It was quite an adventure. I think I fell in love with traveling. I am ready to book the next trip! Next up we will head to Pittsburgh to check out three colleges there! I am excited to explore another city that I have never been to. Max apologized for monopolizing our travel plans for his college tours. I told him not to apologize! I got to go to Boston, Ithaca, NYC, Connecticut and soon Pittsburgh. I am loving this!

I learn things on every trip we take, and I love to share in case it can help another family:

  • Spend the money and take the trip. Make memories!
  • Buy experiences for your kids vs. stuff.
  • Predict barriers like rain and food. I need to have snacks and water with me at all times for Lillie. She gets hangry and it isn’t pretty. I have to keep her fed and watered. I also need to have gear for all weather! Especially rain!
  • Go with the flow. If it rains, still go have fun! If there is an hour wait, wait in line!
  • Be a good example. If you make waiting in line no big deal then your kids will follow suit.
  • Ask every family member for input on what they want to do on trips. Max wanted to see Columbia! Ella wanted to see NYU! Lillie really wanted NYC pizza. I wanted to see Chicago. Seth had zero requests, but I did keep asking him! I know he had a good time because he kept thanking me for a great week!
  • Get places early and give yourself time to find things. Ask people for directions if you struggle. We got help to find the building we needed at Columbia. I was thankful for getting everywhere early so we could figure out where to go.
  • Hotels close to things make things easier. You can just walk! The less driving in cities the better! Just walk!
  • Wear sneakers! Put aside your fashion vanity and wear sneakers for all the walking!
  • If you aren’t good at something practice! I am getting more practice at travel and getting better at it.
  • Remember you! Mom, what do you want to do?
  • Make sure to build in some down time for your family to regroup!
  • Talk to your kids about whatever subject that they are into at the time. Right now, it’s all about college with Max!

I would say that I fell in love with traveling on this trip. I realized that I love to explore places. I love to get away from the normal routine and do something different. Every mom will understand when I say that I loved the break from dishes, laundry, cleaning and cooking. It was wonderful. I hope you will go plan your family their next trip! I am going to work on our next college adventure with Max. Happy traveling!

Laughing, Learning, Loving,

Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R


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