June 24, 2008

Enjoying the Cousins

Devon & Isabella

Devon took the two photos above. I thought he did a great job!

Roman took these two photos. Notice the smudge: little fingers on lenses.

Weekend in Connecticut

Waiting for the train

Early riser: we were up before anyone else, so we enjoyed the fresh air, morning dew and birds singing.

A 30 mile bike ride to celebrate the summer solstice. It was reminiscent of our 300 mile/6 day ride four years ago (Pittsburgh to D.C.).

Fun Moments

Stroller entertainment...Whatever works!

Isabella loves the moon.

Almost got it!

Isabella loves to help me in the kitchen. She now pulls the chair up near the counters and "helps". Luckily the faucet is a great distraction when I need to use knives or work at the stove. Speaking of knives...I lost a sharp pairing knife a few weeks ago. Not exactly the thing to loose in a house with a toddler, but I've search everywhere (in the kitchen). I feel like I'm loosing my marbles too! Totally weird!

We went to the zoo too!

Of the four of us moms and babes I'm the last to post about our adventures in animal land. You can see almost the same exact posts here, here, and here.

Isabella's favorite animals this time were the sea lions...she kept asking for "more".

Big Apple BBQ

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in Madison Square Park. We got there the last 15 minutes or so before the vendors closed up. Brian and I separated and picked up the best barbecued meats right before the lines closed. I loved the pulled pork sandwiches. I highly recommend going next year and going late in the day. We ate from Ubon's from Yazoo, MS; The Salt Lick from Driftwood, TX; and Blue Smoke from NY, NY. Unfortunately, The Pit was already closed when we got there. Two years ago we ate from them and it was fantastic (also the longest lines).

And then we finished off with some Red Mango frozen yogurt. So very delicious!

June 18, 2008

Picnic Ideas

One of the few blogs I check on a regular basis is {frolic}. And I really, really like the ideas posted today for a rowboat picnic.

I really, really like picnics. Is there really anything much more grand than munching on delicious fresh food with friends mingled on blankets in the green grass on a beautiful summer day? I think not!

June 16, 2008

"Honey?" "Yes, Sweetie."

Andrew's Local Honey is a new(er) vendor at the Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesdays. They were handing out samples of their creamed honey and it is fantastic! It is so thick that it is hard to spread, but Brian and I spoon it out and eat a little at a time. It's like candy. Love it!

KAAS Plates

The last time we were wandering the West Village I hopped into a tiny, intriguing shop that sells decoupaged plates. The work Kaas does is so beautiful and unique! The plates are much prettier than the photos.

"Our work involves the art of decoupage under glass. Each piece is put together by hand using reprinted images that we have collected from frequent trips to flea markets, antique shows and estate sales."

June 8, 2008

Mini 10K

Can you see me?

On Saturday I ran my first race of the season, the NYRR New York Mini 10K, a women's only race. It ended up being the hottest day of the year (so far) and very humid. I thought I would average just under 9 min/mile since my longest runs this year were only 4 miles and I figured the heat would slow me down. But I did really, really well.

My finish time was 52:48 and average pace was 8:30 min/mile. There were 4104 participants and I placed #675 and in my age group there were 1492 women and I placed #248. Not bad, eh? The Olympic womens running team was also a part of the race; which I thought was pretty cool.

The best part of the whole race was around 2.5 miles. I had just conquered the huge hill of Harlem Hills and was heading down when I spotted Isabella on top of Brian's shoulders. I waved and blew kisses as they cheered me on. I loved it more than anything!

June 6, 2008

Will Power

Sun Run on May 19, 2007

This article from the NY Times got me thinking about my will power. I use to be really good about self-control, but it seems to gone the way of ... I don't know...but my self-control definitely isn't as strong as it use to be.

I really like the idea that the article mentions how if we exercise our will power muscle in one area, it can strengthen it in others as well. So, I've been putting it to the test.

To have my will power work well I've had to put together a good schedule and stick to it most of the time.

Here's my morning schedule that I've been doing for about a month:

5:30am wake up
6:00am outside running
6:30am read scriptures
7:00am wake up Brian (and baby usually wakes up too)
7:30am make healthy breakfast
8:00am shower

My goal is to be in bed by 9:30pm (although it is usually 10pm, which is still really good for me).

With having a baby there are never guarantees of a schedule, but I'm doing pretty well so far. I've been feeling fantastic, happier, healthier, and more energized . Which makes me a much better wife and mother.

Since I've started running on a regular basis I've been much better about not giving into my cravings for chocolate, and sweets in general. For a month I had a chocolate fast. And felt great. Then more recently I went without any refined sugars for a week. Which was much harder, but I had so much more energy. There was a stronger part of me coming from within. If I can choose to not eat sugar, I can do anything. I felt very empowered.

The same carton of ice cream was in the freezer for weeks. That hasn't happened in years.

Here's a good blog from a Columbia student who is going without sugar for a whole year. I'm very impressed. I'm thinking of trying it for a month. Baby steps, right?

CSA Here I Come!

Photos from Roxbury Farm's website

Yesterday was my first time to pick up from our local CSA, which comes from Roxbury Farms. I was kind of nervous, kind of excited. I love the idea of eating fresh, local food. But I have high expectations and hope to get great produce. Although, I really didn't know what kinds of food I would expect to get yesterday.

I grabbed some escarole and made this dish last night for dinner. I've never used escarole before, so I was excited and proud of myself.

Now I have to figure out what to do with the broccoli rabe.

We also got a large bag of mixed greens and 7 Mutsu apples. We eat apples, but not that many.

But I'm super excited to eat all this fresh food. I've been contemplating starting a new goal of eating at least one serving of leafy greens each day. I think my weekly visits to the CSA will guarantee it.

Gayle & Tamara's "Cookie-Off"

I had so much fun with all the ladies (and kids) at the "cookie-off" yesterday. And I had chocolate chip cookies coming out of my ears. Boy was I stuffed!

June 4, 2008

Dining Out

Outside Doughnut Plant

Enjoying ice cream while waiting in line at Grimaldi's

While my mom was here we went to some of our favorite restaurants/eateries. But there are still so many I want to take her to, so she'll have to come back soon.

Ghenet--our favorite Ethiopian restaurant (and we've tried many)
Grimaldi's--one of our favorite pizzerias (Lombardi's is also good, Angelo's is good for Midtown, when I meet Brian for lunch)
Tabla--good, flavorful food. American food with Indian spices.
Doughnut Plant--I'm not a huge doughnut eater, but these were, um, AMAZING! The coconut creme was the most fantastic doughnut I have ever tasted.
The City Bakery--just for a couple shots of hot chocolate, of course.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory--while waiting in line for Grimaldi's
Hummus Place--so good and so cheap!

June 1, 2008

Walking in the City

Ellis Island

On the ferry to Ellis Island

Lunch on Ellis Island

View of the city

My mom requested a trip to Ellis Island while she was here. It was my first time there and it was pretty cool. The lines were crazy and the school groups dizzying (we went early Thursday morning), but I learned a few new things. Like, most of the immigrants that came to Ellis Island were from Southern Europe, so the chances that my ancestors stopped there is pretty low. Northern Europeans mostly went through the Battery Park "checkpoint". (What do they call it?) It was great to hear so many of the stories of the immigrants; so sad, scary, amazing, and inspirational.

Going Gorillas

The Congo exhibit at the Bronx Zoo is the best, coolest, most amazing exhibit! If it wasn't for my sweet bundle of joy running everywhere I could just sit and watch the gorillas for hours, I'm sure.

Keep your eye on the peacock

Isabella refused to face the camera for a photo of us near the peacock. She really didn't trust the bird. But who can trust something that is so showy and makes sounds like a crying baby.

There were tons of them all around the Bronx Zoo and every time they would make their call Isabella would make the signs for "baby" and "crying".

More photos of Isabella at the zoo will be posted soon on her blog.

City Mouse, Country Mouse

My mom lives out "in the country" in northern California and loves her open space. The last time she was here was right after I had Isabella (so we were mostly home bound), we lived in a 400 sq ft apartment, 4th floor walk-up, in Hell's Kitchen (very busy) and she (my mom) said she felt claustrophobic. I felt like she didn't like NYC, which was hard for me because I LOVE the city. So, this time around I vowed to show her some of my favorite city gems, and I think she began to love the city too. Well, at least I was completely worn out by the time she left. It was so much fun!

The above photo is us at the Bronx Zoo with the bison. Not buffalo, or even American buffalo. We had quite the debate about what the right name is for these really cool creatures.

Wikipedia's quick explanation:

The American bison (Bison bison) is a bovine mammal, also commonly known as the American buffalo. 'Buffalo' is something of a misnomer for this animal as it is only distantly related to either of the two "true buffaloes", the water buffalo and the African buffalo.

P.S. I really like the word misnomer. I could say it over and over again. Kinda like, oxymoron.

Mother's Day

I know it has been, like, a month since Mother's Day, but it has been a very busy, busy month. Tons of birthday parties and then my mom came to visit for 10 days. Finally a chance to post.

On Mother's Day we were going to go visit the Carini's in CT but Brian was a little sick and didn't want to spread his germs to his family, so we stayed in the city. But since we had already told everyone we were going to be out of town, we didn't go to church (I know, the cat's outta the bag!) but went and toured Brooklyn all day. It ended up being quite chilly but we had a great time exploring new parts of our wonderful city. I really loved Fort Greene. It was a great feeling neighborhood. We caught dinner at a small Italian restaurant off the beaten path (in Carroll Gardens, I think). I loved their fennel salad (and I've never liked fennel) and their bruschetta was awesome.

The photo is actually taken on a subway platform while we waited a long time in the cold breeze for a train to come. It was a great day.
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