New York City {Day 5: Happy Thanksgiving & Remembering Matthew}

Happy Thanksgiving from the big apple!!!

Day 1: 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Mickey: The True Original Exhibition, Eataly
Day 2: Greenwich Village Food Tour, Old St. Patrick’s Catacombs, Black Tap
Day 3: Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, Oyster Bar & Hamilton
Day 4: Harry Potter, Central Park, Tea at The Plaza, Balloon Inflation, Da Marino, The Ride
Day 5: A NYC Thanksgiving
Day 6: Macy’s Santaland, do, Dylan’s Candy Bar & Sarabeth’s
The Intercontinental Barclay in New York City

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

We were so, so close to watching the parade on TV but a note from a friend changed that.  I’ll explain more later.  We slept in and headed just a few blocks down from our hotel to 6th to watch the parade around 9:15.  We walked up just as the first floats were reaching that location at 9:30.  It was frigidly cold, but I will always be so thankful that we went.  It was especially neat to see the floats in action, after seeing them being inflated last night.

Magnolia Bakery

About half way through the parade, we took a little break in Magnolia Bakery.  It was wonderful to warm up with hot chocolates and see a little more pass by from inside.  When I told Honey I wanted to head over there for a treat he seemed completely uninterested.  Then I told him it was Chip and Jo’s place and he practically beelined for the door.  We couldn’t resist also getting a few cupcakes to go.  They were later enjoyed from the comfort of our room.  :-)

(I now know this is not the Magnolia Bakery I thought it was.  It doesn’t change the fact that it was delicious and was a respite from the cold.)

Rockefeller Center

After the parade, we took in the sights and scenes around Rockefeller Center.  Everything was perfectly festive and all of the people were in such merry moods.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by such happiness!  We even got to explore the new FAO Schwartz Store.

Somebody loved that fact that all of the Saks windows had poodles in them…

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

We thawed out in the room for a little bit and got ready for the rest of our day.  I abandoned all thoughts of dressing up in our nice Christmas attire for the evening events.  The coldest Thanksgiving in NYC for the last hundred years or whatever was not meant for sport coats, bow ties, lace dresses and heels.  LOL.  I looked around for a Thanksgiving meal a few months ago and they were all so pricey and just not quite right.  So, I figured we would do something completely unconventional instead – and off to Ellen’s Stardust Diner we went!

We waited in line for quite some time – taking turns taking the boys in the nearby shops to warm up.  But, it was so worth it!  The food was good and the singing waitstaff was fantastic.  Again, it felt so NYC!

They sang everything from oldies to Disney.  Both Honey and John were singled out at separate times, much to the enjoyment of Whit and myself.


After lunch we did a lot of browsing around the Times Square area shops.  We hit the kid highlights like the m&m and Disney stores.

Christmas Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes

Our evening ended with the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

The theater was so beautiful inside!

And the show was quite literally spectacular.  I can’t imagine a more festive or more New York way to kick off the Christmas celebrations.

Bryant Park Winter Village

After the show we walked over to the Bryant Park Winter Village.  We observed more ice skating while we sipped Max Brenner hot chocolate (which might be the best I’ve ever tasted).  We got a bag of ramen and dumplings to go from one of the vendors and brought it back to enjoy in our jammies in the room.

Those of you that have been around for a while might remember that today is the eleventh birthday of our stillborn son, Matthew.  November 22, 2018, today, is Thanksgiving Day just like it was in 2007.  I delivered him early that morning and was sent home with empty arms, a hole in my heart that I thought would never ever heal, and a body that thought it had a newborn to take care of.  It was devastating.

For the last eleven years, Thanksgiving has been the hardest day of the year for me.  Yesterday I got really, really nervous about today.  I thought … how can I go to a parade on Matthew’s birthday?  How can I just march on and pretend like that never happened?  And so, I told my family it was too cold (it was) and I posted to my friends on Facebook that we were so happy we got to see the balloon inflation (we were) because we probably wouldn’t be going to the parade due to the weather and our lack of warm clothing (this is true).  It was a selfish call that I am almost embarrassed to admit.

Well, I got up without an alarm around 8 AM and saw where an old friend commented on my post that we should try to go. She was the only one that called me out in it.  She’s been my neighbor (both in our current location AND previous neighborhood) and shared my job with me for years, so she knows me well.  It made me remember the year that SHE went to the parade – something that was born out of a great challenge in her life at the time, in fact.

So, for the first time in a really long time, rather than feeling sorry for myself, I said a prayer for the son I don’t have here on earth and I rallied my troops.  We each put on everything we could scrounge – tights under jeans, two hoodies, scarves, gloves, coats, etc.  And, we had the best Thanksgiving in more than a decade!  We missed our families immensely, and won’t make a habit of traveling in the future, but I think this was just what we needed and something we were finally ready for.  I only cried once today, when I saw the mesmerized and beautifully innocent faces of my children during the nativity scene in the show tonight.

I want all of you that have lost a little one to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers today and that I am always here should you need a friend that’s been there.  I find solace in knowing that while Matthew lived an incredibly short life, it was one filled wholly with love, joy, wonder and adoration.  And, until we meet again, I will continue to spend my time trying to fill the days of the two boys I was able to bring home with smiles, adventures, and unconditional love.  We have so much to be thankful for, and so many happy new memories to carry along side the sad ones.  My only regret from today is one I can live with – I didn’t get a single picture of the four of us!

I am so very thankful for all of YOU today as well.  Thank you for coming here and reading this blog and sending your love year after year on Thanksgiving day.  It means the world to me.  <3

Everything New York

As a Virtuoso affiliated travel adviser, I have global connections with the best hotels, cruise lines, airlines and tour companies, and I secure exclusive amenities for my luxury clients at destinations like NYC.


17 thoughts on “New York City {Day 5: Happy Thanksgiving & Remembering Matthew}

  1. I thought of you today while preparing Thanksgiving dinner. I had the parade on TV in the background and wondered if you would venture out. It was SO cold that my guys didn’t run in our local Turkey Trot like they always do…but I am glad to hear you pushed yourselves for such a memorable day. Even though it was cold, the sun was shining and it looks like you all had a wonderful time. I am always so inspired at the way you take advantage of every special moment with your family. I know that Thanksgiving is so hard for you but I am sure Matthew can feel your love. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your precious family !

  2. I’ve been reading long enough to know that yesterday was Matthew’s birthday, and I said a prayer for you and your family yesterday morning. I’m so glad you went to the parade, and I’m certain Matthew was looking down from heaven with a smile. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  3. Long time reader so prayers were said for you and Honey the day before and also the morning of Matthew’s birthday. The trip sounded like a balm to your soul…and a springboard to the holiday season. (((hugs))) from afar…..

  4. Thought of you over the last few days. Knowing your house is decorated and ready for when you get home. I’m so glad you went to the parade. What a sweet memory for you all. I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since Matthew went to heaven. You continue to be my guide thru this all and inspiration! xoxo

  5. Sweet friend, I thought about you several times over the day. I’m so happy you found a way to celebrate the day and honor Matthew’s memory that felt right to you. You have been and continue to be an inspiration to me. xo

  6. I have been a long time reader of this lovely blog and knowing that Thanksgiving is bittersweet for you, I was so happy that you took this trip away with your sweet family. That was a big step and you took an even bigger one by going to the parade. You are BRAVE and on top of that, a wonderful mother! Sending love and prayers your way from a Southern girl in London. xoxo

    1. Thank you so much! Thank you for following along, and for your love and prayers. I sincerely appreciate both.

  7. I always think of you the week of Thanksgiving. I say a prayer for you when I look at my Matthew who is 12 now. Fathers Day is always hard for me since I lost my dad 10 years ago but it does not comparet to the loss of your precious angel. Your boys will always remember what a fun Thanksgiving Day y’all shared!

    1. Thank you so much Christy. I think when these losses happen on a holiday, it makes both the actual day and the holiday so hard. I will think of you next Father’s Day. <3

  8. Your Matthew’s story always gets me. I love that you share all of your stories with us.
    The Rockettes did their Christmas Spectacular in Nashville for several years recently and I was able to see them 3 times. The nativity is always so beautiful.

  9. What a wonderful way to celebrate and remember as a family. Saw the Macy’s parade ornament on their site and wanted to pass it along. Thank you for sharing your family, your home and your travels with us. I always enjoy your posts.

  10. Amanda,
    Each time I read about your Angel Matthew, it brings tears to my eyes. I am glad you were able to honor his memory by spending the day with the other 3 loves of your life. I am glad you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

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