City Day

On Saturday we decided to take the boys to Manhattan for a good old city day. We looked at the Christmas windows at Macy’s and had lunch at a German beer hall. Then we walked up to Rockefeller Center. Julian hitched a ride for part of the way…

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We looked at the tree (surrounded by scaffolding to put up the decorations) and then made our way to the Top of the Rock.

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The views are pretty spectacular.

Arthur was kind of a pain in the you know what that day, but he made up for it when he finally crashed…

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Thankfully all kids redeem themselves when they sleep. Even this little blond tornado.

When we arrived at home, Jeff and I were both so tired that we let the kids watch TV while we both napped. It was magical. And then we left the kids with a sitter and watched our friend Joe play jazz guitar on the UWS, and that, too, was magical. And really lovely. Also, we made faces.

 

Keeping it real

It’s 9am, and I am on my third cup of coffee. (There were three typos in this first sentence that were auto-corrected. Typing is hard.)

At 5:30am my beloved second born son stood next to my bed and said, “Find frog? Me can’t find frog.”

He neglected to say that his pajamas were damp because he’d had an accident in his bed, which of course was also wet. So I washed Arthur, changed him, found his frog in his bed and let Arthur cuddle with me in my bed. Neither of us fell back asleep.

At 6:15am Arthur, his frog and I got up, and Arthur & frog got to watch me while I attempted to work out. Then I took a shower.

In the meantime, my beloved first born son got up and quietly started drawing.

Arthur snuck back into bed with Papa. Who, by the way hasn’t been mentioned yet, because he is blessed with a deep, deep slumber and was oblivious to anything that had been happening for the past 2 1/2 hours.

I made coffee, breakfast, and changed Arthur’s sheets and wiped his bed down. I sorted our laundry for the week. I made Julian’s lunch. I got him dressed.

At 7:30am I asked Jeff to please get up. Except I didn’t use please, and I wasn’t exactly asking, either.

Julian and Arthur were screaming at the top of their lungs because I delivered breakfast and milk in the wrong color plate/cup.

Now Jeff and Julian are off to work and school, and I let Arthur play iPad. A while ago I came up with a new rule to complicate my life unnecessarily, and that is “No TV during the day.” So yay.

I scrubbed the hell out of our tub. It kind of made me feel better. And then I had more coffee.

Oh. And who is Arthur’s frog you ask?

Well.

Meet frog.

(He is actually a polar bear.)

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A little while ago, the boys went to the dentist, and each got to pick out a free toy from the dentist afterwards. Arthur chose this:

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He called this lizard his frog, and frog and Arthur were inseparable. Frog came to the zoo with us, to Prospect and Central Park, to play with friends, and he got to sleep in Arthur’s bed every night. After a week or two, frog had lost his tail and all of his legs. And then, finally, Arthur lost frog at the playground. We couldn’t find him. There were tears.

So naturally I ordered a 50 pack of sticky, rubbery toys from Amazon.

This week I had to go to the dentist myself, and because I wanted Arthur to be entertained during my teeth cleaning, I gave him a new little toy. It was a green polar bear. Arthur was delighted that he had a new frog. He never entertained the notion that it would be called anything other than frog, so whatever, mama. Polar bear. Pfffft.

Anyway.

I got a little sidetracked here. Time for more coffee. I should also check on Arthur and frog.

 

Weekend stuffs

It’s been a reflective weekend, with everything that’s happening in the world around us. It seems irrelevant to write about adventures with my children, when I can’t read the news without feeling rage and sadness. When I can’t turn on the news in fear of my children overhearing the words or seeing the images.

But as it is, when you have young children who know nothing other than what’s going on in their immediate little worlds, our lives continue. They are a beautiful reason to not get lost in the bad and to side with the good, to seek out the good. To focus on it, to think it, to live it.

It was a low-key weekend with lots of bike riding and donuts…

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…and dinner at Brooklyn Crab, our favorite place.

Julian has really gotten into pencil drawing, and it’s adorable.

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Naturally, his focus is on trains, busses, and boats. Featured here are the Seastreak, the M34, M4, and J train.

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On Sunday evening we took the boys to see Disney on Ice at Barclay’s Center. Holy commercialism! Buy this! Buy that! We didn’t go for any of the light-up wands or Olaf hats, but we did enjoy some overpriced pretzels and beer.

More importantly, the boys loved every second of it. This was Arthur’s face throughout:

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His favorite parts were Mickey Mouse and Frozen. Julian loved it all, but Ana & Elsa were clearly his favorite, too.

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It was lovely to see them both so happy – and that’s what matters.

St. Martin 2015

This week was one of my favorite holidays from my childhood, St. Martin. In Germany, the kids all get together and follow St. Martin, the saint of all children, who is riding on his horse. The children are carrying lanterns and singing songs.

Julian made a lantern in school, and Arthur and I made a lantern at home. On Wednesday evening, all the kids from Julian’s German pre-school got together on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to carry their lanterns and sing songs.

It was adorable.

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I baked Weckmänner for all the kids, and we drank hot cider after the walk.

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I love that, through my children, I have found this big German community here in Brooklyn. I look forward to carrying lanterns eating silly dough men for years!

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P.S. Here are some pictures from St. Martin last year.

Boys on Bikes

On Friday Julian accomplished one of our favorite milestones to date! He learned how to ride a bike!!!

We finally took the training wheels off. He’d been ready for a while, but if you know Julian you’ll know that he doesn’t like change and that trying new things need to happen on his own terms.

But once the training wheels were off, he was off!

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He’s come a long way from this little babe!

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen Julian more proud. He was beaming all day. We’ve been telling all of our neighbors and friends about his accomplishment; he is so so excited.

With that, of course, Arthur has a renewed interest in his balance bike.

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We’ve been riding bikes every day since Julian learned his new skill, and the boys are unstoppable.

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I don’t really have any pictures of Julian riding his bike, because he’s just gone! He just rides and rides until a pre-determined spot where he has to stop, but usually I don’t see much of him. I think he loves his new-found freedom.

Arthur is kicking his little legs and is trying very hard to keep up.

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But usually we just see the dust Julian leaves behind.

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Here’s to many bike adventures ahead!

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A Good Case of the Mondays

The other day I took Arthur to the zoo in the morning after I’d dropped Julian off at school. When we mentioned it later in the day, very casual as not to make too big of a deal about it, Julian started crying silent, super sad tears and said he was so sad he didn’t get to go. It was tough to see, but I am still glad we told him because I want Arthur to be able to talk about his adventures that Julian isn’t a part of, just as we love to hear Julian’s stories when he comes home from school.

That said…Since it was a Monday that felt like a Tuesday (at the very least – Jeff had to work on Sunday and will work late nights all week), I decided to do something fun after school. Also, I can’t believe how ridiculously nice the weather is. So I took the boys to the zoo. They were stoked.

Here they are, guiding me to their favorite exhibits.

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Prospect Park Zoo is such a tiny zoo, but it’s perfect for tiny people like mine. Also, since we have a zoo membership, I don’t feel bad about showing up an hour before closing time.

We started in the petting zoo:

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The boys just loved feeding the animals. Well, mainly that bossy little goat pictured above. He bullied everyone else away from getting the animal treats. The boys talked to the animals, “Hi! How are you? How was your day? Good?” and couldn’t stop giggling when the goats licked their hands.

Then we stopped by some indoor exhibits, before we moved on to the spider web (with the help of Julian’s excellent map reading skills.)

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The boys were so enamored with this web and pretending to be spiders and then also these eggs…

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…that we didn’t look at any other animals.

It was so nice to just be in the moment and play with them, without rushing to see something and to just follow their lead.

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It was sad to say goodbye to their baby bird…

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We rode around the park…

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…and stopped close to home for burgers.

Not too bad for a Monday.

Halloween 2015

Halloween – a highlight anticipated by both boys for weeks. After fairly detailed, complicated initial requests for NYC city busses along the lines of last year’s steam train costume, we gently guided the boys to the multitude of costumes available for purchase and not involving hours and hours of labor intensive cardboard construction.

Arthur was sold right away – following his latest obsession with witches. He picked his costume immediately and was very specific: a green witch. Julian went back and forth between dinosaurs and others, and finally settled on shark.

The night before Halloween we carved our (very first!) pumpkin.

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Julian, who had already carved a pumpkin in school, guided us through the process. The boys were very in love with our creation.

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The next morning Julian woke up at 7am and ran to the window, only to declare with a disappointed face that no one was in costume.

But he quickly got over it when we met up with friends at the local playground and paraded around the neighborhood with all the neighborhood kids.

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We had our friends over for Bloody Marys and croissants and hung out while the kids played. Then we made sure the boys had some veggies and fruit in between cupcakes and croissants and the highly anticipated, holy CANDY.

After a nap for Arthur and rest time and lots of reading with Julian (we’ve been reading our way through a huge book of adventures about a little dragon named Coconut), it was time to go trick or treating.

The buckets were half full of candy by the time we’d made it down our stoop. We love our neighbors.

Here is Arthur with his kindred spirit and fellow witch, Estela.

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Brooklyn Heights is so busy on Halloween, and people go all out. It’s fun to see the decorated houses, but navigating through the candy-happy crowds can be tricky. The boys definitely got their fair share of goods.

Afterwards, Uncle Brian came to meet us and we all went out for tacos to our local Mexican restaurant.

Then the big boys jammed, and the little boys played trains. And I sat on the couch, taking it all in, and dreaming of all of the candy I would be eating once the boys went to bed…

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