November 30, 2011

Our Play Space

It's kind of funny how things happen sometimes.  I really enjoy browsing blogs on my downtime (rare, but true).  Blogs are quick bits of inspiration that don't require a time commitment.  Perfect to do while nursing or waiting on the subway platform.  One blog that I enjoy, Childhood 101, began posting readers' play spaces a few weeks ago.  It was fun and inspiring to see "normal" people's spaces.

Every time I looked at our disheveled bookcase, crammed with kids stuff, I thought, "Maybe I'll clean it out one day and send in a photo."  And that thought morphed into, "If I do organize our stuff I will send in a photo."  Which would be a fun way to share a bit of our space with a group of worldwide blog readers.

I had begun to mentally clean out the kids' shelves a few weeks before my hands were free to do the work.  I cleaned and organized for just about an hour (a benefit of a small space) before it looked good.  I snapped a few photos and submitted it to Childhood 101.  A few days ago I noticed our space was featured on Childhood 101!  It's so fun to see it there; our little home.  Hopefully it will inspire others who live in tight spaces.  You can see the bit I wrote about our space on Childhood 101 or view other play spaces on the site as well.

November 29, 2011

Scenes from Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend in Connecticut with Brian's family.  The weather was beyond perfect (the mid 60's?!?!) and we spent a lot of time playing outside.  We had so much fun and I took tons of photos.

Here are a few a lot of my favorites:
waiting for the turkey

soaking up the warm sunshine


 Saturday Night:
roasting marshmallows
(cozy campfires are awesome)

Thanksgiving Eve

I never knew the eve of Thanksgiving could be so exciting and fun, until I moved to the Upper West Side.  Specifically, to an apartment along the Thanksgiving Day Parade route.

(She's being goofy.)
Isabella's school had huge inflatable slides in the school yard when we picked her up from school (as a fundraiser).  We played there for a little while, until the kids were sufficiently cold, wet and cranky.  Then we went across the street to see the parade balloons being filled with helium.  We ran into some old friends, visiting from Washington D.C. about the time all my kids started screaming because their fingers and toes were frozen.  (It was one of those moments when I realized I was the only one around with a 1:3 ratio; adult to child.)

I asked a stranger to snap a photo, promised the kids hot chocolate, and plowed my beast of a stroller through the crowds.  I flashed my i.d. to the cops and got past gated areas because I'm an Upper West Sider.  It pays to spend a gazillion dollars in rent sometimes.  We settled into the overcrowded Starbucks, wished neighborhood friends a happy Thanksgiving, sipped hot cocoa and got chatting with a touristy family.  Tourists from Farmington, UT who figured I might be Mormon.  I guess we kind of stand out with the mom to child ratio, in New York City.

We dashed home and had to stop the steady stream of toursits flowing by our apartment door so I could heft our beast of a stroller down the 5 steps to our ground floor door.  It was my way of putting on a show for the visitors.  I am sure they were thinking, "Crazy New Yorker!"  Once inside our cozy little palace, I wrapped the kids in warm blankets and finally exhaled!

If you give a boy a cookie...

Simon is an amazing little napper.  He sleeps a solid 3 hours every.single.morning!  Once Isabella started school those morning hours have become my time to be with just Oliver.  (I have to be very careful because it is all too easy get in the habit of doing dishes, cleaning house, making phone calls, etc. during that time. It's tricky finding the balance!)  A few days ago I realized I have never made cookies with just Oliver.  Oliver loves to help me cook, but sharing that time/space with his older sister can be difficult sometimes.  When I asked him if he wanted to make cookies he ran to the kitchen with a fervent, "A-HA!"  It was so much fun (and a whole lot easier with just one helper)!

He watched over his baking cookies diligently while browsing one of his favorite books.  He then enjoyed chocolate chip cookies while I read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to him at least a dozen times.

November 28, 2011

Preparing for an Activity Advent

Christmas 2009
I'm putting together an activity advent calendar to do with the kids this year.  I love the idea of it, but I'm not sure if i want too feel "committed" to do something every-single-day, so I may make it more of a checklist.  Or decide each activity the day before.  Although, I can already hear myself saying, "Another Christmas movie tonight kids!" as I order pizza for the 3rd day in a row.  I'm great at planning, but sometimes exhaust myself in the implementation.  But, in case you want inspiration here are some ideas I've jotted down so far--in no particular order.

  1. See the tree at Rockefeller Center
  2. Church Christmas concert  (Dec 3)
  3. Go to the ward Christmas party (Dec 10th)
  4. See Christmas windows along 5th Ave & Macy’s
  5. Winter’s Eve Festival at Lincoln Center (Monday, Nov 28 5:30pm)
  6. Rent a car and see the lights (Dyker Heights?)
  7. Visit Daddy for lunch (while Isabella’s on school break)
  8. Celebrate Simon’s birthday (Dec 14th)
  9. Make Christmas cookies
  10. Deliver cookies to some of our favorite neighbors
  11. Make ornaments for the tree (idea links 1, 2, 3, 4)
  12. Find the “secret subway station
  13. Get a Christmas tree
  14. Decorate tree
  15. Make a gingerbread house (a la Trader Joe’s)
  16. Read the Christmas story
  17. Make a garland (popcorn, buttons, felt squares and/or cranberries)
  18. Hang and kiss under mistletoe
  19. Visit Santa?
  20. Visit the beautiful trees around the city (go to the Met for sure)
  21. Read Christmas themed storybooks (check out from library)
  22. Make snowflakes
  23. See the model trains at Grand Central
  24. Go ice skating
  25. Teach kids more Christmas songs
  26. Go on a hot chocolate crawl
  27. Make Christmas cards
  28. Watch a Christmas movie (or two)

November 23, 2011

Scenes from the High Line

When the permission slips came home for a field-trip to the High Line Isabella begged me to come.  It was obvious she really, really wanted me there, so I made arrangements for the boys (thank you, Lauren!) and was able to spend a beautiful, cold morning with my little girl.  I really loved it.

The kids are doing an overall study of parks.  The teacher incorporates a lot of learning opportunities (math, science, reading, etc.) into their parks studies.  And, it should be noted that Isabella's teacher is absolutely amazing.  She puts 110% into all she does for the kids and class.  Ms. Wu has arranged a field-trip to a park (to make observations in nature) every Friday morning for the last 6 weeks.

November 22, 2011


Yes, I know it is two days before Thanksgiving and I'm finally posting photos of the kids on Halloween!  But they are too cute to not share.

The weekend before Halloween I took advantage of Old Navy's sale and got a costume for Simon.  The costumes were only $3.50, so I picked up a bunch for the kids dress-up box.  Isabella was going to be Supergirl, but decided on a bumble bee instead.   Oliver was going to be a monkey, but was a shark at one celebration and a dragon at another.

I love how the city opens its doors, literally, to kids on Halloween.  I love that we can walk down Columbus Avenue and trick-or-treat to all the shops.  Hoity-toity boutiques excitedly welcome the costumed, sticky youngsters for just a few hours every year.  It's so much fun!

Halloween + Kids + NYC = Awesome!

The first two photos were from the church Halloween party the Saturday before Halloween (the day of the big snow).

The kids went trick-or-treating to the classroom doors at the church.  Oliver passively watched Isabella at the first door.  It was fun to watch the lightbulb click in his little mind as he quickly opened his bag.  He was in sweet, sugary heaven. 
Getting ready to trick-or-treat on the Upper West Side.

Meeting up with friends.
Isn't he delicious?

Trick-or-treating on W 69th St.  They close down the whole street, decorate and let the little ghouls run amuk.
Running into a gazillion friends along the way.

November 18, 2011

Right now

Isabella is taking her first school bus ride and she's so excited. We are on a field trip to the Highline. A classmate just asked Isabella, "Why do you want to sit next to your mom instead of me?"

Isabella's reply, "Because I love her."

My heart melted and I almost cried.

November 16, 2011

Simon: 11 Months

I know I say this every time, but this time I really, really mean it!  Time flies!!!  How in the world can my baby almost be a year old?!  He will celebrate his 1 year on Dec 14!  I'm doing a double take on the last year of my life; it went lightning fast.

Here's a quick update and fun photos of Sweet Simon:

  • He just started clicking his tongue.
  • Just a few weeks ago he generously gave kisses to everyone.  Tight lipped, humming, leaning forward.  It was completely adorable.  He stopped doing it last week.  Which is very sad.
  • He threw a mini tantrum yesterday...he was quite tired at the time.
  • He is topping the charts as our most squirmy baby--ever!  
  • He sleeps wonderfully.  Finally!  Thank heavens!
  • He has said, "mama," "dada," and "lala" (Isabella), but won't do it on demand.
  • He spends 90% of his awake time at my feet, in my arms, in the carrier, or in the stroller.  The other 10% is spent laughing at/with Isabella and Oliver.
  • He loves his mama.  But as long as he's fed he often leans into daddy's arms.
  • When he hears the gate shut outside he crawls very excitedly toward the door, expecting Daddy.
  • He loves peek-a-boo.
  • He loves it so much he will sometimes just look away and back at you and start laughing hysterically.  It's adorable.
  • He can now drink from a straw.
  • He squeals like a little piggy when he doesn't get his way.
  • He loves to dance with Daddy and be tossed about.
I love and adore Simon!  We all do!  He's so funny, sweet, and kissable!

Welcoming Daddy home.
First haircut.
When I make dinner, he goes through the recycling.
Expert climber.
I LOVE this baby boy!

Falling in love with Fall.

Yesterday, after school, the forecast was threatening rain.  But the kids needed to run around so we headed to Central Park.  I am so glad we did.  It was spectacular.  The crowds were sparse, the clouds grey and low, the colors vibrant.  I certifiably have a new addiction: taking photos of my children with the fall leaves.  It's almost as bad as my addiction to taking photos of my kids on the beach.

As the kids were running freely I thought, "Why didn't I do this everyday last fall?!"  (Last year was the first fall we had an apartment a half a block away from The Park.)  But I quickly remembered, Oh yes!  That's right!  I was 8.5 months pregnant with Simon, Oliver was only 16 months old and barely walking, I lived in a 4th floor walk up, and I was preparing to move apartments.  In hindsight, it was one of the most difficult seasons of my life, physically.  (You saw that big baby belly!)

But now...Now?  Today.  This week...I LOVE this season!  I mean, really, really love it!   I love Central Park!  I love my kids rolling in the leaves!  I love the fresh, cool air!  It all feels so perfect and wonderful.  I've always agreed that fall is, indeed, very beautiful.  But it might, possibly, be my new favorite season.  Definitely tied with summer!

November 10, 2011

Who's Who?

I was going to post photos of the kids on Halloween, but I can't seem to find them!  I'll get my tech genius on that right after he gets home from work...and after he kisses me...and eats his dinner...  I'll find those photos!

But I was comparing photos of my oldest and youngest.  Can you tell which one is Simon and which one is Isabella?

November 5, 2011


Just finished the NYC marathon!

Just kidding!!!  Actually, the marathon is tomorrow. :). (And I'm not running in it.) But it is fun running in central park with lots of excited foreigners in spandex. Since they are just leisurely jogging, preparing for tomorrow, I felt like a champion passing them during my 3 mile run this morning.

Finishing 26 miles never felt so easy!
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