Monday, August 3, 2015

Nice little Saturday

Ah, my once monthly blog post.

I said a few months ago that I was having a crisis of conscience about showing L's cute face publicly on the internet. Oh well, that's all out the window because I can't resist showing his cute face.

We have such a lovely summer weekend, that I wanted to share. It was gorgeous summer weather - hot but not humid, and perfect for lots of outdoor time.

L. has been admiring bikes for months, but living in a fourth-floor walk-up, with no storage and no outdoor space, we weren't planning on getting him one. Recently, he looked at another child's bike and said "L. want bike". Obviously we melted and died inside. So, I did a little research and found foldable trikes for toddlers which looked like just what he needs. I settled on the Bugatrike and it is perfect.

As you can see, it has no pedals - and he doesn't miss them. He scoots around on this thing like nobody's business, and it makes me so happy to see how much he enjoys it. It folds up super small, and it's lightweight, so easily carried and stored (it even fits underneath the stroller when folded).

As you can imagine, this weekend we spent a lot of time outside on his bike. We went to the playground and the park and the playground again and the park again.

On Saturday there was a block party - which I guess we kinda crashed because it was not our block but the next one up. We took L. there to ride his bike on the closed street, and lo' and behold, there was an open fire hydrant.

We have tried to entice L. into jumping into open hydrants on hot days, or sprinklers, or the splash pad at the park - all to no avail. He is seriously suspicious. But the mix of other kids, a big puddle to jump in (and probably a certain episode of Thomas & Friends that involves puddles), and the excitement of the new bike: and he jumped right in!

After changing into dry clothes and shoes, we headed back out to the park to enjoy an evening picnic with a view.

View from Sunset Park
This is the second Saturday in a row we've had dinner in the park - which is just about the best summer evening tradition you can ask for, if you don't have a yard of your own. This particular park is hopping on a Saturday night, too - as you can see.

Tacos with a view.

Anyhou, an all-around lovely weekend. And bonus, H. took these lovely pics from our roof on Thursday night. Sometimes, living in this city has its perks.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

San Francisco and Yosemite

A few weeks ago I had a work trip to San Francisco, and we took the opportunity to make it a family vacation - San Francisco, a trip to Yosemite National Park, and a few days in the Bay Area with H's extended family.

This was the first flight where L - now two - had to sit in his own seat, with a seat belt, and... it was trying. There is no way to keep an active two year old busy for 5.5 hours, especially one who isn't very interested in zoning out to movies or shows for any length of time. To all those people on that flight that he/we annoyed: well, welcome to economy class.

I don't really need to tell you how lovely San Francisco is: you know. Even if you haven't been there - you know. It's lovely, and after the humid and 90+ degree temps in New York City, the climate was just right.

After 4 days in SF where I was mostly conferencing, we picked up a rental car and headed to Yosemite. I had never been, but H. has. We stayed just outside the park ("just outside" = 20 minutes outside + 30 minutes to the valley floor), and drove in for each of our 3 days there.

One of my favorite sites was actually not in the park, but through and on the east side of it: Bodie State Historic Park is a former mining town, current ghost town and state park. It's preserved in the most remarkable way, and I've never seen anything like it.

Houses, churches, shops, hotels - 170 buildings remain, though it was abandoned in the 1940s and became a state park in the early 60s. If you are going to Yosemite, I *highly* recommend you plan a day to drive the Tioga Pass and over to Mono Lake and Bodie. This adventure will take you all day, but it's worth it.

L. is certainly discombobulated when we go on trips these days, and he was a bit confused and clingy and wasn't eating much/at all for most of it, but he was such a good kid. What a dreamboat.

We have one more major vacation this summer - next month we are spending a week in Maine with my parents, my best friend, her husband, daughter and mother. I cannot wait to spend some time by the ocean eating lobster and putting my feet up!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

What a way to make a living

What is your dream job, and do you have it?

I think about this a lot.

Not a week goes by where I don’t try to convince H. that we should quit our jobs and move to some amazing, giant, old house I’ve spotted on Old House Dreams.

When I was in university and thinking about my career direction, I had two ideas: 1) the publishing industry and 2) the Canadian government. Can you imagine – career dreams of the Canadian government? Well, I was interested in politics and it offered good, steady and potentially interesting jobs. One long summer working one of the student jobs offered by the Canadian government rid me of that idea, and a summer internship at a publisher in NYC set me on the path to where I am now.

No richys here.
I don't dislike my job. In fact, I like it a lot.

People warned me that publishing wasn’t as glamorous as it appeared (true), and that the jobs were low-paying (ouch; painfully true). But, it’s hard to deny that there is a caché to it, and I do enjoy it. However, when you spend as much time daydreaming of moving far away from New York City - as I do - you have to wonder what you can do outside of publishing. And what else you might enjoy doing.

As far as I can tell my top five careers don’t exist:

1)    Puppy-petter
2)    M&Ms Eater
3)    Professional Napper
4)    Internet Snoop
5)    Burrito Ambassador

So, what then? What am I looking for? In my daydreams I work from home, which appeals to my anti-social tendencies. No colleagues, no photocopiers, no meetings, no office politics! Dreamy.

Izzy shares my anti-social feelings.
After we went to Savannah last year, I tried to convince H. that we should move down there and open a bookstore, which shows you my business sense because bookstores are a booming business, aren’t they? But doesn’t it sound divine? You’d do a lot of online used book sales, mixed used and new book sales in store, lots of readings and community events… You’d have a dog in the store. The scene is perfect.

Or, I daydream about buying a big old house in the country, or a small town, maybe in Maine or Vermont or upstate New York. Somewhere cheap (house and cost of living) and from there I sell junk I find in thrift stores on eBay and Etsy. Now that is the life! Combine my interest in junk with my interest in living somewhere quiet!

Ready to blow this pop stand.
Lately, my desire to not live in the city has gone into overdrive. It was already pretty high, and having a toddler pushed it further. Continuing problems with our building push it further: heat problems (too much/not enough), hot water problems (not enough), and the businesses on the first floor of our building make it an increasingly unpleasant place to live.

How did I get from dream jobs to gripes about this city? Well, my job/industry is closely tied to New York, or a few other cities, so they are hand in hand.In fact, I'm so ingrained in this way of thinking that often I can't even think or understand what jobs exist outside of the city, except lawyer, teacher and doctor. What do people do?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Checking things off

My mom, this past weekend asked, "why don't you write on your blog anymore?" Well, I guess I'm boring, for one. For two, it requires me to open my laptop, and with an almost 2-year old around that's an invitation to press buttons. And three, I admit that my iPad is like an extension of my hand and arm, and turning on anything more complicated is too much to bear. Alas.

But here, Mom, for you: an update.

We spent this past Memorial Day weekend in Bethlehem, PA with my parents.

Well, that's all there is to report. We spent a lot of time at the playground. We ate cake and had an early birthday celebration for L.

We walked all around town.

We surveyed the land.

Oh yes, and I drove all around town. What was that, you ask? Yes, I drove and automobile, because since we last spoke I went and got a driver's license. Something to check off the old list!

Friday, April 17, 2015

From the rooftops

I didn't take any of these photos myself, H. did. But they are so nice that I thought I'd share (anything to get to 100 bloggy whispers in 2015, right?)

This one if from last week, at a park nearby (Owl's Head Park in Brooklyn).

These ones were taken earlier this evening from our roof. I don't like to go up there - I'm afraid of heights. But H. takes everyone up there who is interested in the view.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Eggs

When I was little I loved Easter. My mom would buy me a fancy dress, hat, shoes and gloves. So prissy! We'd paint eggs, the Easter Bunny would swing by, and we'd go to church in our Easter best. My dad would hide all the Easter eggs and we'd have our Easter egg hunt.

Now that I'm grown, I didn't think I would introduce Easter to L. We didn't do anything last year, and I felt a bit sad about it, so this year I decided we would do all the Easter, without the going to church.

All the traditions associated with Easter (besides the church part) are fun. I love painting eggs! I love Easter egg hunts! I love Easter Bunnies!

So, we planned to attend the local Easter egg hunt in a local park. I prepped 20 eggs filled with treats to contribute.

And on Saturday morning we went to the park.

This is the only photo from the event. It was VERY windy, and cold, and L. was unhappy. About 0.5 seconds into the hunt, L. had a meltdown. I picked up an egg for him, he wouldn't take it. It was clear this wasn't enjoyable for him, so we left. I gave him our one egg again, and he threw it. It blew away.

Epic fail.

Anyway, we did manage to paint eggs in the afternoon.

I bought one of those Paas kits, but I also tried with food coloring, which actually worked better.

Try this: 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 tbsp of vinegar, 15-20 drops of food coloring.

All the eggs turned out well. At first my plain jane senses were horrified when L. kept putting eggs in multiple bowls of dye, but they turned out beautifully.

With my food colored eggs, I tried marbling them - dye them as above, let them dry. Prepare some more (darker) colors the same way, but add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Swirl around, drop egg in.

Marbled ones on the left.
You probably don't actually need that much olive oil. They are a bit shiny.

Fun was had by all. Mostly me, probably.

Sunday morning, L. discovered that we'd been visited in the night by a Rodent of Unusual Size.

Friday, April 3, 2015

How to entertain a baby/young toddler on a plane

As promised, here are some tips for entertaining your baby or young toddler on a plane.

L. does not watch things - he likes short videos, usually songs or short videos about trucks, but he's not about to sit down to a movie or a show longer than 10-15 minutes. So, the key to keeping him happy on a flight is variety.

1. Books

Since his first birthday, Leo has really enjoyed the Roger Priddy books like First 100 Words Lift-the Flap

Full of pictures and flaps for him to explore, I've bought a few of these to keep him occupied.

2. Soft baby puzzles

L's at an age where he enjoys a challenge, and I've found two soft, lightweight puzzles that are perfect for a carry-on bag.

3. Apps

L. is a big fan of a few iPad apps for kids, so buy a pair of kiddie headphones and give these a try:

The World of Eric Carle / On the Farm
Elmo Loves ABCs
Dr. Seuss Treasury
4. Good old activities

Increasingly, L. loves to color, so a coloring book and a bag of markers, crayons and stickers captures his attention for about 15 minutes.

And there you go, about 30 minutes of a flight filled. Good luck!

Do you have any recommendations of your own? We have another west coast trip this summer, so would love to hear what works for you.

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