My Uncle Rob is the bravest man I know.
First off, he can watch an entire episode of "The Desperate Housewives of New Jersey" without flinching.
Second of all, he makes driving in New York City look like absolute cake.
We had a stroke of good fortune over the weekend when the sun decided to make a long-awaited appearance.
So Uncle Rob loaded all five girls into the car and squired us around the city.
First stop: Hell's Kitchen flea market, where I discovered how New Yorkers are able to decorate so beautifully on a budget.
Though I likely risked contracting a flesh-eating disease, I scoured the $1 booth and came out with two framed vintage bird prints for Lola's room, a quirky tea pot and a lovely jewelry box (which I'm fairly certain was originally used as a Kleenex holder).
After dousing ourselves and our daughters with hand sanitizer, we headed south towards the Brooklyn Bridge. I've decided driving on Canal Street is worse than childbirth.
Lola found other ways to keep herself occupied.
The one major thing New York City has failed to figure out is accessible public restrooms.
We searched high and low for about an hour, only to be turned away by building after building.
I even resorted to maneuvering the stroller through revolving doors.
It was that bad.
We finally resorted to waiting in a 30 minute line at Dunkin' Donuts, during which period of time we became separated from Uncle Rob. But more on that later.
With empty bladders and clean diapers, we began the trek that has become one of my most beloved NYC pastimes -- walking the Brooklyn Bridge.
It's free, it's exercise, and at the end, there's always Grimaldi's pizza waiting for me.
Let's take a breather from the beautiful scenery, shall we?
Lola was loving the stroll, as far as I could tell.
She smiled, she pointed, she barked at the cars beneath us.
And then she started to smell.
I quickly realized this wasn't the kind of smell you just ignore and blame on other passers by.
So I desperately searched for a bench, plopped down a blanket and proceeded to change the most offensive diaper I've ever encountered IN. MY. LIFE.
But at least I have a funny story to tell Lola's prom date.
And the tourists who took my picture during the whole ordeal will have a fabulous anecdote to share with their friends back in Japan.
Plus, the look on Lola's face afterward was priceless.
See? I told you so.
Miraculously, we stumbled into Uncle Rob as we approached the Brooklyn side of our journey.
He led us into the Dumbo (down under the manhattan bridge overpass) area, a place I've never had the chance to explore.
Fun shops, funky restaurants, cool bookstores.
We happened upon the Jacques Torres chocolate shop, where I could feel my life's savings slipping away the moment I stepped through the front door.
I may have sacrificed Lola's education to bring Reece home a bar of dangerously dark chocolate.
We found a cool little restaurant to rest our weary legs and fill our empty bellies. (The line at my usual haunt, Grimaldi's, was 5,000-people long. Stupid Food Network.)
Lola used Uncle Rob as a pillow.
Apparently being pushed around in a stroller all day can be exhausting.
My turkey panino was quite good, but Kim's "Moroccan sausage" became the butt of every joke for the rest of the day due to its strange taste, smell and aftereffects. And watching the server pour flat Diet Coke from a 2-liter bottle into Kim and Rob's $5 glasses was definitely world-class entertainment.
I, as usual, became the butt of nearly every joke as well when I tried to break into the occupied bathroom.
Bottom line: the ambiance was cool, the food was a bit weird and overpriced and the bathroom was just downright confusing.
The highlight of Dumbo was definitely Dewey's Candy, aka Lola's personal heaven.
I can already see the dental bills.
After browsing a bit more and witnessing not one, not two, but three wedding photoshoots, we headed back over to Manhattan.
And here's the clincher.
The one that makes all the gratuitous photo taking completely justified.
It's almost over! I promise!
And then we drove to Soho where I jumped out of the back window of a moving car in a dress for Pinkberry.
Because I'll do anything for Pinkberry.
And we've finally reached it.
For now, at least.