New York in Spring – Corona Park

What’s been going on? When Julian was asked to sum up his last week for his piano teacher, he said, “Well, I pulled out another tooth, and I found 6 dollars on the stairs at school!” So there.

The boys had their spring performance at school. They danced and sang and displayed their artwork and poems. All was “freedom” themed, and this poem here made me particularly proud.


Also, lots of bike riding, friends’ parties, dress-up, and other shenanigans. Can we talk about my little Pippi Longstocking?!


So finally it’s spring, we’ve made it through the winter. Each year come springtime I am ready to fall in love with New York City all over again. I think all New Yorkers feel the same. Best city on earth, right? And New York in spring? Heaven.

This week I went on two 10-mile runs. The first took me from work on East 23rd Street down the Westside and around the tip of the island, and home to Brooklyn across the Manhattan Bridge.


On my second 10-miler I ran to Coney Island! It wasn’t the nicest day for it, but a walk on the beach and a hot dog afterwards were a nice treat.


On Saturday we went on a big adventure and discovered something we hadn’t seen before: Corona Park and the old grounds of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fair. We rode 12 miles each way – Jeff with both boys on the back. It was a good work-out, and a beautiful day for it.

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Corona Park was fascinating! It’s a beautiful park with lots of grass to run around and play soccer, but interspersed with old relics from the fairs. There is also the Queens Museum, the New York Hall of Science, and the Queens Zoo.


We had lunch and watched a pick-up soccer game, and of course played some soccer.



Then we went to the zoo. It’s a sweet, small zoo, and it was nice to just take our time and walk around. The boys bought these stuffed animal bald eagles with their own money, and they are so in love.


We made it home in time for dinner and an early bedtime for all. Rosy cheeks included.



Snowy Day Thoughts

A month has passed since I last wrote. So much has happened, and it is hard to know where to pick up again.

We lost Jeff’s Dad to complications related to his cancer treatment last week, and it threw us all for a loop. We’ve all been so sad; it’s been all around difficult. Explaining to the children, comforting my husband, and whenever I think about my mother-in-law my heart just aches. They were married for 49 years. Lenny was such a big piece of this family’s puzzle; it is hard to imagine anything without him. Jeff wrote a beautiful obituary about his father; I’ve read it a dozen times, and it brings tears to my eyes every time.

But of course, life goes on. Julian was in a school performance this week; we were so proud.

He was so serious about it all; quite super duper heart-warming.


Jeff and I went to a performance of another kind last month: Springsteen on Broadway. Mind blown. I mean, I’ve seen Bruce close to 20 times in my life, but never have I ever heard his voice so clearly and in such a small space. It was really wonderful; the acoustics (and the man) were amazing.

Other than that, we’ve been just doing our life. Work, school. We finally got our tree. Nikolaus came and brought the boys the much desired Rescue Bots and a decent amount of chocolate. The boys have their advent calendars and are excited to get up each morning. December is a good month.


This weekend, we have one of Jeff’s old friends visiting: Inken, from Amsterdam. Naturally, we took her on a bike ride on our Dutch bikes. Of course, we also got this year’s first snow.


We let the boys run around for bit…


…before sitting down with massive jugs of hot cocoa. (Not pictured: Bloody Marys, tacos, guacamole)


Last night we made pizza, a pretty regular occurrence in our house. But in this season in particular I feel so thankful for our home, our friends, our family, and for those three people sitting at my dining room table.



Winter is Coming

Just kidding. It’s here.

The weather is changing, and we’ve been laying low. Gone are the days of endless bike rides and picnics. And for now, I am fine with that. These are the days of chess and reading, apple cider and muffins, meatloaf and red wine. I quickly moved onto food stuff there.


The boys and I have been watching the 1955 movie “Sissi” with Romy Schneider. I thought they would get bored pretty much right away, but instead, they are captivated. The romance and love and humor is not lost on them. Last night, on the couch, Julian said, “Mama, ich bin so verliebt in dich.” Sissi is working. If you’re not German or Austrian, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Moving on. (Also: naps.)


On Friday we had the annual St. Martin lantern walk with Arthur’s pre-school. They changed location last minute, so instead of walking along the gorgeous Brooklyn Heights Promenade, we found ourselves stumbling through a pitch black Prospect Park. Winter had suddenly arrived, and everyone was freezing. We took the boys out for pizza promptly thereafter. I mean, look at these faces.


On Saturday night we drove to Asbury Park, NJ and spent the night celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday at this incredible pinball arcade. It was fantastic!


Last weekend the boys rode their own bikes all the way to Red Hood. It was a big deal! We had lunch at Brooklyn Crab, and then they rode back. It was getting late, and cold, and all in all they rode a good 5 miles. I was so impressed! Jeff’s bike looks so empty without those extra 90 pounds on the back.


We’re trying to settle into more indoor time – which sometimes leads to endless bickering between the boys. But also to sweet moments, laziness, lots of reading, and dancing in the kitchen.

Last night Julian and I danced to Bruce Springsteen’s “The Wish” in our kitchen, which is very apropos if you know the song. He held my hand just the right way and twirled me around, even though I had to bend down a lot. I hope he’ll want to dance with me for many years to come. (Tomorrow night Jeff and I will be seeing Bruce on Broadway. I’m soooo excited!)


Too much!

I can’t keep up. The weather’s been so nice, and we are never home. This is my favorite season. Everything is blooming, the sun is shining, and we get to ride our bikes all over Brooklyn.

Mother’s Day came and went. It was a good one. Sometimes these days can be disappointing (such as this one!), because of all the expectations. But this year was lovely. Coffee in bed. Many cuddles.


The boys drew and wrote in my Mother’s Day book. We went for a morning walk/bike ride with the boys’ bikes, played at the playground. Then we took the big bikes for a spin and went to our favorite place, Brooklyn Crab.


After that: key lime pie on our stoop.


It was a really lovely day, and I was thankful for my people – as I am most days.

Other than that our days, and nights, have been busy. Jeff and I went to see a couple of bands perform. Here we are at Kings Theater, waiting for Father John Misty. It was fun!


I went out with some of my best friends to a restaurant in Williamsburg, Maison Premiere. It was a happy dinner for a sad occasion, because one of us is moving away.


Then there was a school performance and some very important sign holding…


….and the annual school gala/fundraiser. We got fancy! And we danced. A lot.


The kids are busy with play dates, ice cream, bikes, soccer, legos.

Most afternoons after school we all gather at the playground at the park across the school, and bit by bit many of the kids and mamas arrive. We hang out, chat, read, enjoy the sun. The kids roam around.

On Friday night, after soccer practice, we drove to New Jersey for our niece’s communion the next day. For that occasion the boys got fancy!


But then they very quickly took off their shirts and ties and put back on their soccer uniforms. Boys in their more natural habitat.


So that pretty much sums up our last two weeks. I’m so happy it’s finally spring, and on some days it’s felt like summer even. I can’t wait for the pools to open and for our many weekend bike adventures! This is our happy season.

Bike Season Opener

This weekend consisted of a so-so day, and a great day. Saturday was rainy and chilly. We had an appointment early-ish, and the boys behaved horribly. It ruined everyone’s mood and led to several conversations afterwards.

Later that day we hung out on our street for a street festival for Earth Day. Unfortunately it was rainy. Damn you, Earth!

Anyway, we were at a booth planting some basil, like one does, and one of the women from the local CSA commented, “What polite boys you have!” I almost choked. It was such a stark contrast to just a few hours before when they were everything but polite. Ahhh, parenthood.

We wrote things we’re thankful for on this “gratitude tree.” Julian said, “My school.” Arthur said, “Ice cream and chocolate.” Priorities.


We spent the afternoon with popcorn and a movie (Star Wars Episode IV) and then went on a quick walk to a BBQ restaurant around the corner, where we stuffed our faces with way too much food.

Today, we slept in. As in, Arthur and I. At 7:30am, the time we’ve deemed acceptable to be woken up on weekends (weekdays it’s 7am), the boys crawled into our bed, and Arthur went right back to sleep for another two hours. This makes me hopeful for the future when at least one of my children might be happy to sleep in, and the other one will be happy to solve complicated math problems or work on the Rubik’s Cube (looking at you, Julian).


After a breakfast of waffles and more waffles, we hit the road. Our first family bike ride of the season!


We rode over the Brooklyn Bridge and stopped for a beer in Battery Park. Exhibit A:


This right here means it’s a good day. Bikes, beer, children who are always hungry, many rounds of Uno, and my lovely, somewhat goofy husband.

We let the boys play for a long time at Nelson Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City. It’s such an awesome playground. Jeff went go to get us sandwiches, and we ate in peace and read the paper while the boys played.

Then we rode up the Westside and over to Washington Square Park.


Then over to the East Village, coffee break, and more playtime.


Then we were tired and headed home. I’m so happy that spring has finally sprung, even though it’s not warm yet. The city is glorious with all the tulips and cherry blossoms, and riding around on our bikes makes my heart so happy.

Rock Rock Rockaway

We love Summer Streets and try to do it every year, but this year it was just too hot to truly enjoy it. Nevertheless, we rode up to Central Park, met Uncle Brian for brunch on the UES and rode back down along the West Side.


After those hot, sticky 25 miles on the bikes on Saturday in awful humidity (I don’t think I’ve ever sweat this much in my life), we were all looking forward to a beach day on Sunday. Rockaway it was!


It was a perfect beach day. The weather was lovely, the water was warm, and we all had fun splashing around in the ocean.


There was ice cream. This photo is titled “Duuuuude.” Arthur was covered in vanilla by the end of this.


Everyone (except Julian) took naps. Beach naps are the best!


My favorite part about Arthur’s nap was that I could put his hair into a man bun. He normally won’t let me touch his hair, so that was fun. He didn’t ever realize it was there. Wink wink!


We ended the night over margaritas, guacamole, and tacos. And everyone slept well. After Arthur sang around 25 renditions of “Rockaway Beach” by the Ramones.


Beach or Bust

Well, in our case: Bust.

On Friday Jeff took the day off work, and we planned a beach day at our beloved Sandy Hook. We managed to pack everything we needed for our beach day onto our bikes, which included: beach towel and a big beach blanket, Bloody Marys in a thermos and a cooler of beer, beach toys, sandwiches, potato salad and lots of snacks and water, and two trusty beach umbrellas.


We had fun for maybe an hour.

But then the biting flies, who were mildly annoying initially, became just horrible. There were hundreds. Thousands perhaps? Arthur fell asleep, and we covered him with a light blanket. At any given moment there were 50 flies on him trying to get to an inch of flesh. I just spent most of my time in the water and trying to shoo them away from Julian, but at some point they became so bad that the boys just cried and we packed our stuff together while being bitten and bitten and hurried back towards our bikes.

Except. Except it was only 2pm on what was a very, very hot day, and the one and only ferry back to Manhattan wasn’t leaving for another 2 1/2 hours. So we just killed time in spots where flies were not as bad. 

We bought lemonades.


We played Uno.


…and we generally tried to keep it together. Except one time I cried. The boys, however, were total troopers. I mean, it was super hot, we were basically stranded and being attacked by flies – and they were so, so good and upbeat.

We rewarded them with very messy, tasty ice cream cones once we were back in Manhattan.


Saturday and Sunday were delightful. We did mostly nothing. We spent some time at the book store, where we stocked up on new books and games. Julian can read these “My First I Can Read Books” all by himself! I’m so excited for him.


Jeff and I played lots of chess. Julian/Kylo Ren loves to watch and is learning. I can’t wait to play with him some day soon.


We had breakfast on our stoop before the heat of the day.


The boys played Star Wars and built legos for hours.

We went out for brunch, I met an old friend for breakfast, and the boys went to a birthday party at Jane’s Carousel. It was all very laid-back and relaxing. One day I took a two hour nap.

I think once my legs stop itching from the dozens of fly bites, I’ll be able to laugh about our miserable time in Sandy Hook. Maybe.

But not yet.

Coney Island – We’re Back!

After yesterday, I am trying to get back into a happy mind frame. So let’s talk about the weekend, shall we?

We left early-ish Sunday morning on our bikes and rode 10 miles to Coney Island, our happy place. Due to Jeff’s work schedule and the weather it was our first trip to Coney this year.


We let the kids play on the beach for a while.


They love the beach. So much. I love it, too, but Coney Island beach is not the greatest. We found tons of glass there yesterday. It didn’t prevent Arthur from doing this:


Holy clean-up. It was probably the only not great part about yesterday. Also, I was mildly embarrassed when I discovered more sand in his ear at the doctor’s office yesterday. Despite several attempts at de-sanding Arthur. Oh well.

So the sand isn’t so great at Coney Island, but thankfully it has many other things to offer that make it the happiest place on earth for us. Like hot dogs. Which is what we had after beach time.

Then we checked out the mural art exhibit:


Next up: Wonder Wheel!


Julian agreed to sit next to me, but he made it clear it was more of a favor. He would not hold my hand. So I laugh-screamed without hand-holding. Fine, kid. So you’re tougher than me.

Afterwards we let the kids ride some of the kiddie rides. They loved it. And then we wanted to try the water ride. We’d never been, but the kids were eager, and so was I. What was thinking? I’m not sure. Jeff announced very last minute that he wouldn’t join us and offered to hold my bag (thanks, babe). Anyway, it was fun, and I thought we would all die only twice. The kids just laughed and loved it. This is the only picture we have where I don’t look too frantic and am not clutching my laughing children as if their lives depend on it.


After we survived this ride, the boys wanted to go on the swing carousel. Thankfully Jeff offered to go with them right away, which was great, because ever since I lost a shoe on one once as a child, I have refused to consider going on one again. Arthur didn’t meet the hight requirement, so he had to bring his “guardian” with him anyway. Jeff promised me he would sit Arthur on his lap. Because we all know he is the kid who would try to stand up in his swing just to see if it’s possible. This was the exact moment I learned that Arthur was, in fact, sitting in his own swing.


He survived. We rewarded the kids with ices.


And then it was time to go. Julian’s face says it all:


He was not pleased.

The ride home was lovely, but also exhausting. This view though!


We rode home under the Verrazano Bridge and stopped for a quick play at Owl’s Head Park. Then we had tacos in Sunset Park and finally made it home in time for baths and to…you know…crash.


This weekend was such a good one – although (or because?) we totally did the opposite of what we had previously thought we might try out: and that’s taking it easy. Last Sunday was so nice; we did nothing. This weekend we didn’t spend any time at home. In fact, each night we barely made it home for bedtime. We are all very tired. Happy, but tired.

On Friday our friends invited us over for a South African Braai, but it was a braai-turned-taco-night, so that was extra yummy. The kids just played and played, and we sat on our friends’ terrace with cold beers, good conversation, and a new baby to cuddle (theirs, not ours, obviously). Also, this. Those faces.


On Saturday we had a picnic in the park, went to one of Julian’s friend’s birthday party at the nature playground and then hit Lakeside to cool off. It was humid and muggy! The boys had a blast. I think we will spend a lot of time here this summer!


We stopped for seafood at the Kittery and sat outside over mussels, wine, and lobster rolls. It was lovely and delicious. And the children were so well behaved. In fact so much so that a couple commented on them as they were leaving. Amongst all the recent public complaints I’ve heard it was very refreshing.

Today was also really awesome. We rode our bikes into Manhattan and took the boys to the Intrepid. Last time we went was Mother’s Day 2014; Julian was scared, and Arthur was a baby. This time around it was so much fun! (And also so expensive!)


The boys were in heaven. Jets! Spaceshuttle! Things to touch!

Afterwards we hung out at a shady playground for a bit…


…before the most important part of the day: Germany’s first soccer game in the 2016 Euro Cup. We watched at a huge German restaurant in Midtown and had a great table. Arthur fell asleep on the bike and slept for the first half of the game. He takes his sleep so seriously. Except, of course, when we really want him to sleep. Like, say, at night.


Julian was mostly entertained by the game, play-doh and a giant pretzel. He was also really concerned every time I yelled at the big screen. “Mama, what? What happened?” “Oh nothing. Just A GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL!” Anyway, we won.

Afterwards more bike riding and fish tacos for the boys. Because nothing says German soccer victory like a fish taco.


Then ice cream…Look at these happy faces! It’s my favorite to watch them together and hear them make each other laugh.


And then, because it was a soccer-dominated day, we tried this:


We rode home catching a glimpse of this beautiful view:


We get to take one of these bridges home after a day filled with fun, family, and friends. We are so lucky.

Opa’s in town! (Alt. title: We ate a lot.)

Well, actually, he was in town, and I am playing catch-up.

My Dad arrived on Sunday around noon and stayed until Sunday evening of the following week. We packed a lot into the week, but also had plenty of time to be lazy (and read Star Wars books).


Highlights included our day together on Monday. Julian was at school, but Arthur, my Dad and I took a leisurely stroll into Carroll Gardens. Arthur played at the playground, and we all had a lovely and delicious lunch outside at Frankies. It’s been so nice to see my youngest and my Papa develop more of bond.

On Wednesday, we went on a bike ride to Prospect Park. My Dad, at 70, rented a bike from his hotel, and when we arrived at the park, he said, “That was it?” He is in such good shape.


It was such a beautiful day. The boys played and made friends with random kids. We ate lunch at Lakeside.


Then we played ball and took naps on a blanket in the shade.


Ice cream at Ample Hills, along with a crazy confrontation between my dad and a random guy on the street (“I will kill you!” – a lady called the cops on the crazy guy) completed our day. We ate dinner outside on our street. How cute are these two?!


The next day, Arthur and I took my Dad to lunch at Juliana’s – very good pizza place here in Brooklyn. Now that I think of it, this is basically a report of what we ate when, but that is my life, and I’m not complaining. Cheers to that.


Additional highlight: a lovely day wth my Papa in Manhattan on Saturday. An extended, you guessed it, lunch, along with some shopping and wandering around. Without pesky kids demanding things.


On Sunday then, our last day together, we started the day with a waffle breakfast at home. Because, food.


Then we wanted to take the bikes to Brooklyn Bridge Park to fly kites and then to Brooklyn Crab for lunch, which is pretty much what happened. Except: we got caught in a hail storm (in May?!), and Jeff got a flat tire just as we arrived in Red Hook.


So after lunch at our favorite spot, Jeff went to get the bike fixed – while we sat around and watched Arthur sleep.


Then we killed some time at Fairway (aka as we ate cookies and sat on shelves)…


… and then the bike was fixed!


I think my favorite parts of this visit were that my Dad got to see a new side of Brooklyn, that he was able to ride bikes with us, and that the boys are getting older and will be able to remember more.

We also had many trying times with my challenging children, some moments of embarrassment, helplessness, and frustration – but it’s always like this when the kids sense something other than their normal routine is happening, and also when someone as special as Opa is coming to visit. It is what it is. We packed a lot of fun into the week, a lot of food, and lots of quality time with Opa. Until next time!