Weekend Edition

This weekend was another good one.

On Saturday I had the urgent need to buy a basketball. So we did.

Then we had brunch at Alma, one of our favorite spots.

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Then we had to work off all that delicious Mexican food by playing basketball in pretty humid temperatures. It was so fun! But then we were thirsty. So we headed to Brooklyn Crab for beer and lemonade.

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It pains me to say it, but I think Brooklyn Crab is over. At least for us. It’s been our favorite spot for years, but now it seems to also be everyone else’s favorite spot, and that makes it too crowded and annoying. So we need a new secret spot!

I started Sunday with a morning run. Over the Brooklyn Bridge, through Chinatown, and back home over the Manhattan Bridge. It felt so good! Perfect weather, too.

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Then we were off on our bikes. We headed to Astoria. After 10 miles on the bikes, we arrived at Astoria Park Pool. We’d been wanting to check out this giant pool for years, and yesterday we finally made it. It’s New York’s oldest and largest pool!

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After all this activity we were hungry. So we headed to the Astoria beer garden.

Then we let the kids play in Astoria Park while we did this…

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After ice cream, we snuck home on the ferry.

It was a good day! A good weekend!

Each day ended like this: my boys reading in bed. Not much makes me happier than that. Julian has recently discovered the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Last night he read a good 50 pages, and I had to tell him to turn off the lights. I love that so much.

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Meanwhile, Arthur cuddled up next to me and asked, “Mama, why didn’t you want me first?” I was confused…but then I realized, he meant why wasn’t he born first. I told him that he was already such a big boy and how he fits so perfectly into our family, but he replied, “But Julian is always bigger.” And so it is. Sometimes it’s hard being the littlest, I suppose.

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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.

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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.

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We played Uno.

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…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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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).

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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.

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

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

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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?!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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… and then the bike was fixed!

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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!

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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Spring weekend – finally

After months and months of snow, wind, and waiting for better times, it has finally arrived: spring. And with that: bike rides and ice cream.

We spent all weekend on our bikes. On Saturday we rode over the Brooklyn Bridge, covered Battery Park, Washington Square, the West and East Villages, and rode back home over the Manhattan Bridge. The boys were squealing with delight and also shivering from the gusty winds. But nothing some ice cream can’t cure…

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We saw helicopters, boats, firetrucks, and subways; squirrels, music in the park including a grand piano; we had sandwiches and coffee in the sun, played on playgrounds and were all around happy.

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Arthur napped on the bike while Julian played…

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These guys.

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Saturday night we had our dear friends over for pizza…

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…and lots of wine. The boys were so excited and acted like they don’t get out much, when in fact they had been out all day. It was a wonderful, late night full of good food and better company and lots of laughs.

Sunday, round two. A tour of Brooklyn. We rode a good 20 miles all over our lovely borough: Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Brownsville, Midwood, Prospect Park. We stopped at various playgrounds along the way. We saw the oldest farm house in New York, the Wyckoff House (built in 1652), and had lunch at the picnic tables next to the old farm. It was another perfect (and tiring) day. We all got some sun.

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We ended the day with a cold beer and a couple of power naps at Lakeside in Prospect Park. Yes, Jeff and I took turns sleeping in the sun. It was delightful.

There is nothing that I could possibly say that can adequately express how ridiculously happy bike riding makes us. We see so much, we’re outside, we get some exercise in, and we’re all together in the city that we love. It’s the best. Thanks, spring, for finally showing up. We adore you.

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