Pictures. Also, some words.

We had a great Friday night and an awesome Saturday and kind of a meh Sunday, so let’s just not talk about Sunday, shall we?

We all anticipate Friday night like nobody’s business. Jeff is home most nights during the week, but somehow Friday feels special. Because, you know, blessed weekend times. We made pizza, drank red wine, ate cookies, and made music. Sometimes it’s such a struggle to just “be together” – when children are crazed and nerves are frayed. But Friday night everything just clicked, and we were happy.

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On Saturday we spent the day on our bikes and rode to Central Park bright and early to beat the lines for the row boats. And we did! The last time I was on one of these little boats was in October of 2010, when I was just barely pregnant with Julian and feeling pretty magical. This time around I had two little boys by my side…not sure where the time went.

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Arthur sat still mostly because he fell asleep.

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And Jeff paddled while his look-out made sure we didn’t crash into any other boats. It’s a very serious job.

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We had lunch in the park and rode around on our bikes. We stopped at a playground where Julian proceeded to do THIS:

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…and hung out with Uncle Brian at a playground right across the street from his apartment on the UES.

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Also, ice cream.

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Then we rode back home over the Manhattan Bridge. It was a full, fun day with probably 25 miles of bike riding. The kids never complained until the very end when Arthur was soooo tired and ready for bed.

Other than that we’ve been scooting a lot…

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…eating bananas while checking out the helicopters…

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…smooching…

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…and building lots of trains. Arthur built this. On his own. Whenever he’s done building a train, he comes and pulls me to wherever his awesome creation is, sometimes accompanied by clapping for himself. He’s just that excited and proud.

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Also, I caught him doing this last night. Smiling in his sleep. What is he dreaming about? Trains, presumably.

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Catching up…

Gah! What’s been going on? Life, I guess. We’ve been busy. Also, we’ve been tired. Arthur has had a cold for two weeks now, and even though he is absolutely not sick anymore in any way, he still wakes up every.single.night demanding to nurse. When he was sick, I didn’t mind. Because: poor, snuggly, stuffy-nosed babe. Now: I mind. Now I want to sleep. I miss my uninterrupted sleep. And Julian and Jeff are kind of over it, too. I saw Julian on the monitor last night covering his ears, so I felt doubly bad. Arthur needs to get his act together, quick.

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What else? Julian’s school has been going so great. He has a new teacher this year, whom we absolutely adore. I think she and Julian have a little crush on each other. She is so smitten by him; it makes me so happy.

We’ve had a mix of very busy and very lazy days. Yesterday it rained all day and by noon both boys were crying and demanding to GO OUTSIDE ALREADY. It was precious. Other than that there’s been soccer and music class, lots of playground time and dates with friends.

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Today we were at a fun toddler playground in our neighborhood, and Arthur and Julian were on a play structure – climbing up, sliding down. You get the picture. I glanced over and saw Arthur trying to grab a ziploc bag out of a little boy’s hand. A bag full of, you guessed it, nuts. I grabbed Arthur and tracked down the boy’s caregiver, who seemed annoyed by my audacity to interrupt her presumably very important phone call. But you know, lady, those nuts that your charge is eating/distributing all over the play structure, those nuts could make my baby stop breathing. I was really annoyed and a bit freaked out. But frankly, I know from first-hand experience, before you have a child with allergies, you don’t understand what a discarded granola bar wrapper or a bag of nuts could mean for someone else. The other day Arthur was hell-bent to pick up a bunch of cheerios some other kid had dropped at the playground. I was trying to distract him, because, you know, food on the ground is gross. But then I saw, amidst the pile of cheerios, one little peanut. So I pretty much hate nuts right now.

The boys are so awesome together. They play and play and play. And then they chase each other and turn into lions and dinosaurs. Sometimes they annoy the hell out of each other. Yesterday Julian was building with Magnatiles, and Arthur kept destroying his creations. After a while Julian sighed and said, “Mama, I am really disappointed that you can’t watch Arthur better.” True dat, kid.

This afternoon, after naps, I am taking the boys out for a bike/scooter ride. Arthur is so fast on the scooter; it’s unreal. Tonight we’re making pizza, drinking wine and ringing in the weekend. Because weekends are our favorite. Happy weekend, everyone!

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A Day in the Life, kind of.

Today was a good day despite the fact that it could have really totally sucked. Because Arthur has a man-cold. I think we can all agree that men (husbands!) are the worst sick people. They just suffer so much. Children are also quite dramatic when they’re sick. Hence, I have come to the conclusion, that boy children are the worst of all scenarios when it comes to sick people.

Arthur woke up hourly (at least) all night long, screaming at the top of his lungs. Jeff and I would take turns with our efforts to comfort him and at 6am gave up and brought him into our bed. Arthur sighed and spread out immediately and managed to take up half the bed with his rather small body. I don’t even know how that is possible. He whimpered in his sleep, so that was definitely sad.

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Julian showed up at 7am and joined us. And then it was time to get up, even though it felt like neither of us ever actually slept. BUT! Silver lining. There was coffee. Every night we set the timer on our coffee maker – which is an annoying task at the time, when I don’t want to do one more thing in the kitchen at 10pm, but it is so amazing to smell freshly brewed coffee when I open our bedroom door in the morning. So we had coffee, and lots of it. Also apricot cinnamon oatmeal.

I let Arthur take an extended morning nap. Julian played trains, and then we lit some candles and cuddled up on my bed under the covers and read a lot of books. It’s my favorite. I love reading books with Julian so much, especially when they are not the books we kind of rush through right before bedtime when everyone is cranky and tired. Then I let him play some games on the iPad and straightened up. It was just all so relaxing! We had nowhere to be; that never happens.

When Arthur got up, we went for a walk in the rain. The boys loved it. Julian got to carry his umbrella and jump in all the puddles. Poor Arthur needs some rain boots. His sneakers were soaked. We all had a blast. Yay for rain.10684124_1536718766561238_1110443567_n

We had a lunch of scrambled eggs, corn, bagels and cream cheese, bananas and oranges. Everyone was happy. Then more play and books and blessed nap time. Arthur wasn’t actually tired again so he got to hang with me for a bit and watch me make cookies. And then both boys slept.

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Even though the sun came back out, I decided that this is officially a rainy day and we will eat cookies and watch movies this afternoon and never leave the house again. Except tonight I am going to a parent info night at Julian’s school. I’m super stoked to sit on the tiny chairs! They are so so tiny. Would it be weird if I brought a pillow for a seat cushion?

No rest for the wicked

What a week it’s been! Julian’s been in school now for more than a week (M/W/Fr), and he is loving it so much. He’s so excited to ride the train again and that he gets to bring his lunch. When the door opens after school, he comes flying into my arms, so tired and happy. Yesterday Arthur got the first hug and kiss. It still makes my heart skip a beat when I see my two boys be all lovey with each other.

Julian leaves school with artwork in hand, an empty lunchbox, and a head full of stories. I just love hearing about his day.

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I also love spending all this extra time with Arthur. We play and read books and go for walks. I let Arthur borrow Julian’s scooter…

IMG_5987 IMG_5992 …and we sit and enjoy the view from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Arthur is such a joy. And he is such a kid. I sat down with him the other day to do some sort of stacking toy, and he pushed it aside and went and got trains for us to play with. He’s so good already at aligning them and switching them around so the magnets work. And he makes a perfect air brake sound. Clearly, Julian is his no. 1 teacher.

On Tuesday my boys and I went to the Transit Museum, a place Julian loves more than life itself. Arthur’s mind was pretty much blown. He hyperventilated when he saw the busses, and then OMG! He got to be the bus driver. It was so much fun.

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We met our friends for pizza that night at Juliana’s in Dumbo. One of the best pizza places in town, if you ask me.

On Thursday Julian started soccer. To say that I was a bit anxious about this one would be an understatement. Julian is not a fan of structured group activities, cheering, or doing anything because some stranger tells him to do it. I was worried that he would spend the soccer class ignoring everyone and watching from the sidelines.

Enter Coach Evan. The second Julian put on his new soccer shirt and sat down next to his friend Elliot, he basically owned that soccer field. He had so much fun. And he has one hell of a kick, if I might say so. He was high giving the coach and following the instructions. It was also great to see Elliot and Julian reunited. They have such a sweet friendship; it’s really wonderful to see. They both stayed by each other’s side throughout soccer class, and at one point Julian put his arm around Elliot’s shoulders as they were sitting down listening to the Coach. The fact that we all went to get pancakes together afterwards was an added bonus. Here he is; my boy and his game face.

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On Friday Arthur had a doctor’s appointment near Columbus Circle. It was so exciting for him that he fell asleep while I was talking to the doctor, in my arms. It was sweet. He napped for a glorious 25 minutes; just enough time for me to get some coffee and scarf down an oven-warm, face-sized chocolate chip cookie. Then my boy and I went to Central Park. It was the perfect day.

photo 3It’s funny…Jeff and I were talking the other day how the view from the Promenade does not get old to us. Every single time I go there (and that’s pretty much every day), the view of the Manhattan skyline still takes my breath away. The same holds true for Central Park. It’s so incredible to be surrounded by trees and (man-made) “nature” and to look around and see all the skyscrapers. I just love it.

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Arthur and I had a blast. He ran around, saw a bunch of horses and birds, and climbed around on a playground. That child has no fear.

photo 4And then our lunch date joined us!

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It was delightful to meet Jeff during the day. Such a treat. And then we got to go out together again at night! We went to Locanda Vini e Olii with a couple of friends and had the tasting menu, which was delicious. I fell asleep in the cab on the way home, so full and content and happy. It was a great end to a busy, fun-filled week – and yay! We got to sleep in until 6:40am today.

Back to school!

My baby went back to school today! I had all these sentimental thoughts in my head that I wanted to write down, but then Julian acted like such a beast this week that the first day of school actually came at a welcome time. Julian was SO excited to return to his school and see all his friends and teachers again. He asked for a solid week if today was the day. So, today was the day. I packed his lunch the night before…

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…and got his backpack ready. We gave Julian some new slippers, a pillow (yup, I bought that for him) and blanket for rest time. He was stoked. And no, I did not know his slippers light up. I got a raised eyebrow from his teacher for that one. Oops.

Julian even let us take his photo on our stoop.

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Just for kicks, here he is on his first day of school EVER last year:

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There are a bunch of new kids in his school this year, but some familiar faces as well. He is no longer one of the youngest. Once we got there, he took his shoes off, found his hook, gave us a kiss – and off he went. He never looked back.

I felt neither sad about leaving him nor excited to get a break from him. I just felt very at ease and good. Thankful that he was happy and well cared for. And happy to have some time with Arthur. Although I think both of us were confused by how quiet things were around here. But I just love seeing Arthur’s personality shine through; he is so funny. Who knew eating broccoli and salmon would be this much fun?

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And then he had a really long conversation with Papa at dinner time (shirts and pants optional). On a 2005 iPod.

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Anyway, Julian was exhausted and happy when we picked him up. I was told he did great, and I loved hearing all of his stories about his day. His favorite part was lunch. He’s totally my kid.

He got a second wind when we decided to go for after school ice cream treats with his buddy Lorelei. The kids ate ice cream and played with the toys they have there at Blue Marble. Oh, Brooklyn, we love you.

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All in all a great first day! Julian is excited to go back to school on Monday. Arthur, meanwhile, is excited to get his hands on an iPod 2001. First generation, yo.

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Just thinking about you, kid.

Hey you, my sunshine boy, you. A few more days and you will be 16 months old. Every day you are turning more and more into the kid I know you can’t wait to become. You literally can’t wait. You started army crawling before you were 5 months old, took your first steps at 9 1/2 months, and now at 16 months you are unstoppable. You run, you climb, you are never still. I’ve found you standing on top of the coffee table, kneeling on the subwoofer, sitting on top of the piano. You climb up the stairs to our 3rd floor walk up by yourself. Carrying you is not even an option. You can ride your brother’s scooter. You go down huge slides on the playground on your own. You fall, and you get back up. I am seriously never worried about you. Ah, the joys of being the second child.

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You play by yourself so well. You love everything Julian loves. You play with trains, cars, busses. You’ve started pointing out Mini Coopers (no joke), and you get so excited when we see police cars, excavators, the subway, or a UPS truck. You love Thomas the Train and Elmo. You like to look at books, but only on your own terms. You have to hold the book and turn the pages. I am merely along for the ride, even if the book is upside down.

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A few weeks ago you’ve started saying a few words. You say “Papa”, “Milch” (milk), “Bye” and “Banane” (banana) – or something that sounds more like bamamamama. My favorite right now is what you say when I ask you what the dog says. You go “fff-fff.” As in wouff wouff, without any of the first few letters. Same for choo-choo. “Ch Ch.”

You make music. You play your guitar, you can play the harmonica (not in tune, obviously. After all you are your mother’s son), and you love the piano. You dance like no one’s watching. Just keep in mind: I always watch you.

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My favorite dance with you is our dance. We don’t do it nearly enough, but every now and then I will play “The Greatest Discovery” by Elton John, and you will drop whatever you’re doing and run over to me, asking to be picked up. Then we sway, your head against my shoulder. It’s my favorite.

You are wild and loud and funny. Your blond head of hair and your blue eyes make everyone swoon. You love your brother like it’s nobody’s business. I know you love me, and you just adore your Papa. So much. You give us the tightest hugs and the best kisses. But your brother, he’s a whole other league. You seek his presence constantly. You want what he has, and vice versa. Any attention he gives you is solid gold. He makes you laugh like no one else does. Every night, before I put you in your crib, you run over to Julian’s bed and give him the tightest of all hugs and a big kiss. Julian will say, “Gute Nacht, mein Bruder.” Good night, my brother. I hope you two will love each other as purely as you do now, despite any differences and struggles you might face as you grow older.

I would tell you to slow down a bit, but I realize that goes against everything you are. So I’ll just hope you take me along with you. Try to look for me sometimes when you’re having fun at the playground. Try to let me squeeze and smooch you, for just a second. Never stop dancing with me. Ok?

Ok.

As you were.

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Last Days of Summer

Friday night Jeff came home from work. I had just started dinner and opened a beer, and the kids were bouncing off the walls. He said, “You wanna go to Coney Island and watch the fireworks?” And so we went. The sun was setting as the F train was creeping towards the beach. We had Nathan’s for dinner, and Julian went on a few rides. Fireworks started at 9:45pm right on the beach. We were so close; close enough that Julian got hit by a huge piece of ash. No big whoop.

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We arrived home at 11:30pm. Arthur made it until around 10:30pm, and Julian stayed awake until we put him to bed. He even insisted on a bedtime story. It was a perfect evening. There were so many things I loved about it, but most of all that we just went for it. It’s so easy sometimes to get caught up in routines, chores, and schedules. It almost felt like Jeff and I were on a spontaneous date – with our little sidekicks in tow.

The rest of the weekend was very chill. Lots of playing, napping, ordering in. On Monday we were bored with being lazy and had ourselves a perfect little city day. We walked the Highline; Julian loooooved the old tracks. We had brunch and played on a gorgeous, shady playground. We walked around Chelsea, had iced coffee and ridiculously chocolatey eclairs.

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We’ve been talking a lot about our plans for the future, and we are so torn. Where should we live? What’s best for our family? What I really truly needed was a day like today: a hot summer day in the city we love, my naked city kids running around in sprinklers, and my guy’s hand in mine.