For Christmas we planned our first big cross-country trip with Alina to fly to New York. My brothers are there and my mom and dad were nice enough to fly out to meet stay with us.

We packed two huge suitcases making sure each was under the 50 lb limit. Plus the car seat, plus the pack and play. With all of the luggage we had it looked like we were moving to New York permanently. The skycap struggled to get the bags on the scale, but we made it...48.7 lbs and 49 lbs.

Once on the plane we had a very nice trip over. Alina didn't have any issues with ears popping and mostly we just kept handing her back and forth between eating, sleeping, and playing. At the end of the flight the attendant gave us a special certificate for her first flight. Depending on how much we go back to Ohio/New York Alina might be Gold status by her 2nd birthday!

Alex drew the short straw and made the late night trip to pick us up from JFK to go to New Jersey. The normal series of travel, luggage, etc delays made this a truly late night/early am run and he had to work the next day. Tatyana's mother even had borscht ready for us when we arrived! We settled in and

For Christmas we went to Manhattan. One of Chris' friends generously offered the use of their prime-location meatpacking district apartment. From there we went ice-skating at the Standard hotel. Took the Hi-Line walk. Ate, drank, shopped and generally just enjoyed seeing our family and spending time in the city without having a list of things to do.

For Christmas Eve we went to Chris and Kitty's place. They had a tree all decked out and while I was initially worried about having enough food, they had more than enough. We tried to impose some rules on buying presents. Small, stocking stuffer, gifts for everyone, and then a Secret Santa style drawing for one gift for an individual. Andy came up big with many pairs of shoes. Alina received many cute outfits and toys. Mom won the big prize with an iPad from Chris. We all had a good time and went to midnight mass later in the evening.

The Sunday after Christmas a blizzard hit the city and we were slowly snowed in. My parents encouraged Tatyana and I to take a break from the baby stuff and go out. I volunteered seeing the movie Tron which was playing near Union Square. Normally a 20 min walk. Little did we know how rough the conditions were outside. The wind was blowing strong, and hardly anything was shoveled so we worked our way through the sidewalks and streets as best we could. Later that evening my dad and brothers had to flag down a random guy in an SUV and paid him for a lift cross town as there were no cabs and the subway had stopped running. We survived the blizzard and after the streets were cleared a bit were able to make our way to New Jersey and then to Brooklyn for New Years Eve.

Random 'best-of' pictures:

wedding house

grand canyon outcrop

little blue house