Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer in the Country


I admit that this may be going overboard in seasonal wear.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Urban Gardening




One of the good things, in my opinion, about living in the city is that we don't have to spend every weekend doing yard work. I do love having a little yard and I NEED the wide green spaces in the park but I don't enjoy weeding, planting, digging etc.

To make up for our lack of gardening space at home, the boys have been gardening at the Children's Garden at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for 3 years. They really love it and the instructors make it interesting and fun for them. They just finished the Spring gardening class and they were so proud to show me the plots that they each planted. Each class made a salad to share with the parents out of the early crops that they could harvest.

They are excited to garden with Mema this summer too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Standing Up!


It has been a long time coming but M finally pulled herself up to standing today! It was very exciting for me and her siblings. We clapped and yelled "yay M" and then she sat down and grinned at us and clapped and said "yay" too. Then she got back up, reached into the bathtub and used a little pitcher to pour bathwater all over her clean pajamas. M will be 14 months on May 21st.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So glad it is finally warm.







What a great day it was yesterday. The girls and I were out from 11:30 and we all got home at 6 pm after a picnic lunch, visiting several playgrounds, having a great walk through Brooklyn, picking up the boys and enjoying our first "icee" of the season, and seeing the flowers and playing in the botanical garden.

The boys are loving their gardening class again and did lots of planting yesterday. I am always a little irrationally annoyed...to see my beloved garden crowded again after I've been enjoying it practically empty for the whole winter.

Friday, April 3, 2009

IKEA Brooklyn



We were the last ones in Brooklyn to finally check out the new IKEA. It was fun for the whole family...tasty lunch with a view, "Smaland" for the kids" (It has a BALL PIT!), a million trillion cute home furnishings and a great walk along the water afterward. I am slow blogger. This happened last Sunday.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nothing Like the First Birthday

The whole first year of baby girl's life has been amazing. She is a darling and a delight.

March 21, 2008.



March 21, 2009




Thursday, March 12, 2009

Student of the Month


I have no idea what type of schoolwork or behavior earns the "Student of the Month" honor but you get a t-shirt and a certificate as your reward. I am very proud of my big second-grader and his acheivement. At first he was shy about sharing his news but after I made a big deal about it...I could tell that he was proud. He also lost a top front tooth!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Latest Checkup


P had a checkup at his oncologist today. A checkup includes a blood count, height and weight check, and an examination. For the first time ever P's blood count was totally normal. It has been "fine" before, given his circumstances, undergoing chemotherapy or taking a break from chemo or just finished with chemo. He finished treatment four months ago and his CBC report had no numbers at all in the "out of range" column. Very exciting! He also had an echocardiogram because in some rare cases there is heart damage in some patients that have one kind of chemotherapy that P had at the beginning of treatment. P's heart was also pronounced normal. Yay for that!

It was on my mind to complain bitterly to the doctor and anyone else I could find about the 20 calls that I had to make between my pediatrician and the pediatric cardiology office over a 3 week span in order to finally make sure that the proper referral was in the right hands so P could have the echocardiogram...but after hearing so much good news...all my anger and indignation melted away and I sailed right out of the office. Sorry...that was a very long sentence!

M was an excellent little traveler as usual and is welcome to attend any and all further medical appointments that P has. K, however, required constant attention from everyone she met all day long. She asked the echocardiogram tech about 5 times if she would get a "prize" and "is that prize ready yet?" and "what could the prize be" and "do you have any prizes for girls?". I'm going to have to find another destination for K when P's next appointment comes along.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Love NYC

First...my trip to the dentist...but I'll get to the loving New York City part. I hadn't been to the dentist in 18 months and I knew that I needed at least one filling. It is cliche..but...it is hard for me to escape and take care of myself. The plan was for me to go our dentist in lower Manhattan ALONE (yay!)...Mark would meet me there with the girls at the end of my appointment. My appointment went better than I expected but I do have to go back for more fillings.

I was done at 11 a.m. and had 4 hours until I needed to pick up the guys. The girls were tired and I didn't see any reason to go home when I was already in Manhattan on a beautiful day. I thought I might go to H&M to get some merchandise for my little ebay micro-business. I decided to walk from Wall Street up Broadway to midtown. I knew the girls would take a nap on the way.

Wow! I love walking! I feel like I've been locked inside the house for decades. I love seeing all the people of Manhattan...working people rushing to meetings, film crews setting up, tourists everywhere, moms and nannies like me with fancier strollers, young hipsters in irridescent ballgowns.

I saw new stores that I'd never heard of, stores that I'd always heard of but never had a chance to check out (Uniqlo) and old favorites that I hadn't visited in a while. The sun shone and the snow was melting. One church had yellow ribbons tied on their iron fence in honor of hundreds of U.S. service men with name tags for each one. I saw some old-timey cobblestones a couple of times and some famous landmarks that I always enjoy running into...Trinity Church, City Hall, Flatiron Building, Grace Church, Empire State Building.... I think I walked 40 blocks but I'm not sure. It took about an hour and K woke up at 34th street. Anyway...yeah...it is nice to just walk in the city.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow Day in NYC


It was the first snow day in New York City in five years and the first one that my kids ever experienced. It was also really cold and windy. I was GLAD when a friend from down the street called and invited C and P to go sledding with her and her kids. I just couldn't picture carrying M in the baby carrier for hours while watching everyone else sled. I COULD easily imagine the 9+ meltdowns that Kate would have for no apparent reason while traipsing around in 8+ inches of snow. I did feel a little bad that I couldn't take the kids out myself. I thought about my own childhood and realized that my mother never came outside and played with us in the snow. We lived in the middle of nowhere (no cars, no shady people and big hills for sledding everywhere) so she just sent us out alone and hoped we entertained ourselves for a LONG time.

It will be great though...when K and M are bigger and we can all go out and play in the snow together.

K and I baked brownies and we had two moms and three neighbor friends over for macaroni and cheese lunch and brownies after the sledding...then they all played and watched a movie while the Moms visited. What a nice day!

I did have to cancel Patrick's blood count and echocardiogram for the second week in a row though. Oh well...we'll get there eventually.

Is winter over yet?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Almost Finally Crawling


Baby M seems very strong and rolled over around 4 months but she is by far the slowest to crawl and she still doesn't really sit up unassisted. She has been rocking on her hands and knees for weeks...if not months and does get around the house by doing a combination of rolling around and pulling herself along on her belly. It is pretty funny to watch. I don't mind her reluctance to go mobile at all! I wish time would slow down so I could enjoy her babyhood a bit more.

I am nervous that after all this procrastinating...she'll just jump up and start walking one of these days. How is it possible that she is almost 11 months?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Windy Wall Street!


I am a junior member of a committee that is applying to bring a charter school to our neighborhood. The proposed school would have a focus on environmental science and would open in 2010. The committee is currently working on a 500 page charter application that is due in mid-June. I am in way over my head and think of myself as support staff. To that end...M and I dropped K off at nursery school and then set off for Manhattan and the NYC Charter Center.

It was so windy in lower Manhattan that I was afraid the stroller would get away from me. Our destination was at 111 Broadway in a building that I have always wanted to go into... right next to Trinity Church. I worked in near there before my current occupation and frequently walked by. The lobby did not disappoint...ornate elevators, old-fashioned lighting...

It was weird to be in an office! I felt out of place. M wasn't as cooperative as I had hoped so I printed and copied as much as I could of two previously approved charter applications as fast as I could. Everyone was very nice and I had asked in advance if I could bring M but I think they were a little relieved when I took my squealing girl back out the door.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Homework Blues


For some reason...it takes C about 17 hours to do his homework. I've tried leaving him to do it himself so he won't be distracted. It doesn't make him work any faster. I usually sit right there with him so that I'll be ready to help...if he needs it. He doesn't need any help though! He needs someone to tell him every 5 seconds to keep working on it...and not to fidget, talk to himself, look at his pencil, look out the window, run around the room, talk to anyone else etc. I took these pics one day when it took C, 1 hour and 45 minutes to do about 30 minutes worth of homework. Sometimes I resort to begging him to just focus and finish. I point out that all his playtime is being wasted but it doesn't seem to help.

I know that I shouldn't compare my sons...but I'm pretty happy that P comes home, sits down and completes his homework before I even realize that he's working on it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy to be Inside








It is sunny but COLD outside and K, M and I are SO happy to be home for the day! Mark is picking up C and P so we don't have to venture out at all.

Yesterday was a different story. I was on the road from 8 am until 4 pm with children in tow. P, M and I set off for Manhattan through the newly fallen snow. Wind was blowing in our faces and we were cold by the time we got to the end of the block and went into the subway. We warmed up for awhile at P's oncologist office. His blood counts were all normal. Yay! I had been worried because he has lost weight, had a couple of fevers and seemed a little tired. I'm always thrilled when I find out that I am worrying for nothing.

The three of us walked from 3rd avenue across town to 6th avenue to get a faster subway back to Brooklyn and take P to school. Okay...I admit..we made a quick stop at H&M to return some furry booties that wouldn't stay on M's feet. The snow wasn't really accumulating but it was still blowing all around. We got to school at 12:30 and then M and I had 2.5 hours to kill before picking C and P back up. What to do? There isn't really anywhere to just hang out indoors and we couldn't go to the playground. I decided to go and check out the clearance sales at the "other" Target (not my usual one). The 35-minute walk there took me past Brooklyn College which was a flurry of activity for the "State of the City" Address given by Mayor Bloomberg.

M had some milk and I some coffee, we walked around Target and then set off back to the elementary school. By this time, the sun had come out and the wind had died down but it was still cold. I felt like I had been out in the weather for days by this point but C and P were thrilled to play in the snow when they got out of school. I must be getting old.

Back to the subway to go towards home and pick up K from her pre-school. She wanted to know if I had the car outside. Ha! I do have a license but I NEVER drive in the city.

We got home at 4 and the kids wanted hot chocolate. I was exhausted so I gave them a chocolate truffle instead and sent them to the basement to play. I do make hot chocolate sometimes though!

Anyway...yay for a day inside. We made cinnamon cookies this morning...as requested by K. She needs her purse to make cookies. See photo.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

After Dinner Dance Party

Now this is family fun. Check out these moves!


video

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Belated Birthday Post





K turned four on December 28th! We celebrated with a party on the 27th. Three of her very best friends from school came and our christmas guests were still in residence so we had a nice crowd for snacks, games and cupcakes. K really had a blast. I think she enjoyed playing freeze dance the most. She is suddenly so much more grown up...articulate and imaginative...she is a great big sister to M and a loves to play pretend games with P. Her teachers say she is a "delight" and a friend to all in her class. She has developed an interest in the more traditional "girly" stuff in the past year...dolls, lip gloss, purses!!! (K's purse obsession is a whole separate post)...and her very best friends are girls. She isn't immune to drama...she cries at the sight of something I've cooked for dinner at least once a week.

According to New York State...she will be ready to attend Kindergarten next year. The cutoff is Dec. 31 so she would be the youngest in her class. Why, oh, why didn't she just wait a few days and enter the world in January? Through my semi-extensive research I have determined that NY and CT are the only two states (that I can find) that have that late cutoff. Most states have Sept. 1st as the date by which a child must be 5 to enter Kindergarten. I don't think the I would be so concerned if our school's K program wasn't so intense academically. K will be expected to be reading by December...really right at or before she even turns 5. Some european countries don't even teach reading until children are 7 years old. Additionally...Kindergartners only have recess 2x a week and full-day kindergarten is mandatory in New York City. Kindergartners have homework most nights.

I've been weighing the pros and cons for months and I have no answer. K is tall so she won't appear young if she does go. I have no idea if she is ready academically. She pretends like she can't count in my presence and then I hear her counting with her dolls...up to 20. She is loving pre-school but she only goes two days a week. She does have some anxieties about change and being away from me.

I think that some parents are perceived as wanting to give their child a leg up in school by holding them back. This is not my motivation. I just really want K to go to school when she is ready.

The boys did just fine in kindergarten but it was a big adjustment for C. He was stressed by the schedule and had a hard time focusing on another 1-2 hours of homework after 6 hours of school. He had no recess at all. P has really embraced every part of school...but he was also the oldest at the start...being 5.5 in September.

I am up way too late and I'm thinking that this post makes no sense! The kindergarten question will be there tomorrow.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Baby M Has Teeth!



Another milestone for my last baby. She was nine months old on December 21st and had no teeth but we could see that they were coming. On Dec. 26th...I checked and still none had emerged. The afternoon of Dec. 27th I could feel two teeth had broken through...one on the bottom and one on the top. Two more have since arrived for a total of four. She was toothless a week ago and now has a mouthful! The "firsts" (first tooth, first step etc.) are always thrilling. This time it is a little bittersweet. I feel like time is rushing by and I am trying to suck up every moment of M's babyhood and no matter how hard I try...I just can't get enough of it. Thankfully...she still isn't really crawling and she loves to cuddled and held. There is no doubt that she will soon be moving though...crawling, standing, walking is coming quick and I'll be excited and happy for her when it happens. I just hope that she wants me to hold her and cuddle for many months (years?) to come.