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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4th of July Weekend – Round 1

We’re in the midst of a long weekend. Jeff is off Friday through Tuesday, and we’re so happy to have him home.

Yesterday we started the weekend by heading off to one of our favorite pools in NYC, Hamilton Fish Park Pool. We like it because they have a shallow pool where this year both boys can comfortably stand, and a bigger, deeper pool. They also have a separate area with shady benches for snacking and bumming around. We stayed for a good while, and especially the last couple of hours were fun when the boys became bolder and splash-ier.

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I loved seeing all the kids having fun at the pool. So many teenagers! It made me hopeful that they chose to hang out with friends at the pool instead of sitting at home and playing video games.

After hours at the pool we were starving. So we looked up a good hamburger joint – and were not disappointed.

The ride home over the Williamsburg Bridge was a killer. It shall not be repeated anytime soon. It was especially exhausting for some of us who did no work whatsoever.

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Today we had no plans but a lot to cleaning, laundry and straightening up to do, so we did that in the morning. In the early afternoon we headed to Brooklyn Crab for some beers and lunch. We saw the Queen Mary 2!

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Afterwards we headed over to Fairway since it was raining a little. We wanted to conduct an experiment. Each of us had to pick one item we hadn’t tried before, and each of us had to give it a try once we bought it. I picked crunchy, salted peas, Jeff chose sardines, Arthur some dried tropical fruit and Julian some candied lemon slices of sorts. It was fun! We liked everything. (We also bought a lot of junk. We got a bit carried away.)

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On our way home we stopped by a playground, where Jeff took a nap (I’m not kidding), and the boys got soaked. Because what else is there to do on a hot summer day in the city.

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On to Round 2 next! We’re Coney Island bound tomorrow.

Memorial Day Weekend

Jeff has been busy at work, so a four day weekend was very welcome. Julian had school on Friday, but we took Arthur for a long bike ride on his red cruiser to Brooklyn Bridge Park and enjoyed the good weather.

The other day I took both boys and promised them a lemonade at the little beer/hot dog place at Pier 1.

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The closest thing to a lemonade was a Mexican Orange Crush – and oh wow, did I create a monster. This was the first soda the kids have ever tasted, and their minds were blown. Naturally, Arthur was begging for more when we were down there again on Friday.

We obliged, along with some hot dogs. Arthur experienced an Orange Crush sugar high – it was pretty funny.

I had friends in town visiting from Germany. Andy is one of my oldest friends in life and one of the few people I still connect with from my high school days. He and his wife Alex met us in Dumbo, and we strolled around. Arthur got to ride the carousel, and we all had whoopie pies from One Girl.

On Saturday, we met Andy and Alex for a day of bike riding in Brooklyn. We had a picnic in Prospect Park, played soccer and baseball and just hung out. It was so fun. The boys loved every minute of all the attention they were getting.

It was so lovely to have one of my best friends here and to see him play with my kids and get to know them. It was really special.

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Despite a flat tire, we found our way to Brooklyn Crab for beers, crab legs, and ice cream.

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Our friends gave the boys some new Legos. Have I mentioned that they are Star Wars and Lego obsessed? I probably have.

On Sunday we tried (again) to check out the big boats for Fleet Week in Red Hook, but the lines were ridiculously long. So we had brunch at one of our favorite spots, Alma, instead.

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We rode around Red Hook, explored, played, ate cookies.

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Sunday night I met Andy for dinner in the West Village. Dinner turned into many drinks, and somehow we stayed out until 3am. Which is so fun because I got to spend such a good chunk of time with my old friend and very not fun because I was obviously dead the next day.

We spent Monday being lazy at home. Julian was bummed that he didn’t have science that day (because no school), so we made a volcano and cleaned some pennies with vinegar. Success.

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Later that night we met some of our friends at Dinosaur BBQ. We ate pounds of meat, and a good time was had by all. Especially by these little firecrackers.

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P.S. Memorial Day 2014, 2015, and 2016.

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.

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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.

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After that: key lime pie on our stoop.

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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!

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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.

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

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

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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!

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

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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.

Last Hurrah

Well, we’ve made it; the summer is almost over. Julian starts school on Tuesday, and I’m feeling all the feels.

I’ve truly enjoyed this summer with the kids. No camp, no major distractions, a couple of trips to keep things fresh (Avalon and West Virginia). But mostly we created a mix of fun and laziness that allowed us not to kill each other. Instead, I enjoyed every day with the boys. Sure, there were challenging moments, but as opposed to relieved I feel kind of sad to see the summer come to an end.

Also, my baby is starting Kindergarten, so that’s kind of impossible. Except not. He is ready. And so am I. (Arthur won’t start pre-school until October.)

This past week we’ve started preparing for school. We’ve stocked up on lunchbox fillers…

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…and we’ve talked about his first day with anticipation.

We had some fun with friends on an adventure day in Manhattan…

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We played soccer and rode bikes…

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(yes, I set the goal up upside down, whatever)

We did some art, and Arthur said goodbye to his wonderful blessing of a speech therapist. She will be so missed.

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On Friday we met our friends at our favorite spot, Brooklyn Crab. It was a lovely summer night.

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The kids had such a blast. We had shrimps and mussels and corn dogs and many, many laughs.

As the sun was setting, the kids were running around on the pier. It was magical.

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Then, when Julian was tired from all the running, he sat down with me on the ground next to the bikes for a rest. Arthur was already in his bike seat and requested a drink of water. Jeff handed him the water bottle, it slipped, and fell straight on Julian’s finger.

The next morning: confirmation of a broken bone. My poor guy!

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Julian has been so tough. He never complains about his finger, and it hasn’t slowed him down at all. I am thankful that it didn’t affect his right hand. In 6 to 8 weeks he should be as good as new.

Yesterday, after our visit to urgent care, we rode our bikes to Forest Hills, Queens. It was a fun ride through different neighborhoods, which is one of my favorite thing about bike riding in the city. We get to see places we might otherwise not get to see, and I think that’s great. There is always something surprising or interesting along the way.

The actual forest was great. We hiked with our hiking sticks/lightsabers and completely inappropriate footwear.

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There were many things to climb on and jump from…

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And then it was time to head home.

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On the way home, we bought our boys the obligatory ice cream, especially for this one with his sad broken finger.

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Two more days until school starts! (I hope I won’t cry. But I probably will.)

Weekend Kick-Off

We have some fun things planned for the weekend, but we wanted to kick it off at our favorite place. We hadn’t been in a few weeks, and I’ve missed our lazy hours of lounging around, drinking beer, and watching the kids play. So Jeff left work a bit early, and we headed to Brooklyn Crab.

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We played corn hole, the kids played in the sand, and we played our new favorite game Spot It. Arthur hadn’t slept well was very tired and a little mopey. That’s the downside of no more naps for him, but he just won’t go to bed otherwise. Anyway, he hung in there.

So happy to spend some time with this guy in our fashionable lobster bibs! Crabs for him, lobster for me.

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Julian, who’s been known to cry at the sight of a lobster, is now a lover of all seafood. We shared shrimp, crab, and lobster. And he worked for his food, too.IMG_8148

After dinner we rode our bikes around the waterfront.

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It’s so lovely down there. Jeff and I always say that we’d be happy to live in Red Hook one day – well, if it wasn’t for the fact that we love our neighborhood so much and also for the lack of public transportation in Red Hook.

We followed the tunes of the ice cream truck and got these:

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Then we watched the fishermen at dusk on the pier, and Jeff snapped some photos. These boys!

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Fun, fun, more fun!

Welcome to the endless recap of fun.

Because we’ve been having some fun lately. On Wednesday NYC outdoor pools opened for the season, so we went down to the Pop-Up Pool with some friends.

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The boys are total fish. Arthur especially is completely fearless and jumps in without me holding him. Julian is getting good at swimming, and I really want him to learn how to swim this summer. It was so much fun; we stayed for hours. We even snuck into a little local news segment!

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Bonus: The boys were so tired that they were in bed by 7:15pm. Winning all around.

Other than that we’ve been laying low, playing, getting stuff done.

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Julian has started to write. As in actually write. He’ll sit forever and write random words we come up with into his notebook. His spelling is pretty good!IMG_5868

On Friday Jeff was off work. We were lazy in the morning and then rode our bikes to Red Hook and played soccer with the boys at a playground. Then we hit Brooklyn Crab.

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We just love it there so much. The boys and I have been playing Uno; I love games that aren’t Candyland. Jeff and I read the paper. We smooched, and Arthur tried an oyster.

Julian took this:

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Then we rode around, unsure of when the thunderstorms would hit. So we hit the bookstore and picked out a new summer read for me, now that I am almost done with the four book series by Elena Ferrante. These books, by the way, were so good.

We decided to go see a movie. We took the boys to see “Finding Dory” – it was cute.

Saturday morning we headed to the park for a water gun fight. Yes, I finally bought the boys the much desired water guns. By accident I bought two that were way too big; so naturally Jeff suggested we keep them for ourselves. Our water fight was epic. We were all soaked, and the boys were in heaven to have all four of us playing together.

The rest of the day was dominated by soccer.

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Germany played Italy in the Euro Cup. We watched the game in a German beer hall in Manhattan. Uncle Brian joined us, much to the boys’ delight.

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Here is Arthur right before he fell asleep.

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Because what’s a better place to sleep than a noisy beer hall with hundreds of anxious/happy/frustrated/loud soccer fans?

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Anyway, we won.

Because of over-time and penalty kicks we had to rush home because we had a babysitter Saturday night. So Jeff and I got on our bikes and tried a new bar for cocktails before heading to Alma for some Mexican food and margaritas. And this view!

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We came home and found everyone cozy and asleep. Well, not the babysitter. She was still awake.

On Sunday we went on a long bike ride to the North end of Central Park, where we met Brian and Katherine for a picnic. We played baseball, frisbee, soccer – and had many water gun fights.

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Jeff also spent a good amount of time climbing trees…

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It was so fun. But oh man, towards the end of our ride home I was so tired. It was a solid 25 miles we rode that day.

Today was a day of rest. And packing! Because tomorrow the boys and I are headed to West Virginia to see our lovely friends. The boys are so excited to play with their buddies, and I can’t wait to hug my friend and meet her newest baby!

Memorial Day Weekend

I would love to write a glowing review of our Memorial Weekend, but in truth the start of it – Friday – also happened to be the highlight. We rode our bikes over the Brooklyn Bridge and then took the Staten Island Ferry to, you guessed it, Staten Island.

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We spent a lovely day in Staten Island at Snug Harbor and in the Children’s Museum.

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Hey look! It’s Julian in a maze.

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The museum was fun, and we could have probably stayed there all day.

But in reality, who wants to do that. We had more important things to do, also known as eating German food at a German restaurant. Arthur was way into it.

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The ride home was beautiful.

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The next day we left for New Jersey to celebrate the cousins’ birthdays, and that was also lovely. Mostly because the kids had so much fun. There were water balloons and slides, and lots and lots of toys and kids to play with.

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Driving sucked. We all hate being in a car. On the ride there, after 10 minutes, Arthur proclaimed he was tired of sitting.

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Bedtime in New Jersey was interesting, because one 3 year old, two 5 year olds, and one 7 year old wanted to have a sleepover. I think they had fun? But oh man, all the adults were ready for them to be quiet. At, you know, 10:45pm. Note: both of the boys’ cousins are wearing noise-cancelling headphones. Because Julian and Arthur are just that pleasant to have around at bedtime.

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Once we returned to Brooklyn, we all took naps. Then we went to our happy place, Brooklyn Crab.

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Afterwards, ice cream.

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Then today, the last day of the long weekend, was the low point. We decided to ride our bikes to Sunset Park to play, have a picnic, and listen to a free concert at Greenwood Cemetery.

Look! Isn’t this lovely? The view! The happy, eating children!

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In reality, I was hit in the face by a lightsaber more than once, and my children were pretty much deaf to just about anything I said to them. Also, the playground we had planned on playing on had been demolished since the last time we were there two years ago.

Then, at the concert, the children were horrible. No one listened (to the music or us). Julian kept harassing his brother. Arthur kept walking all over us, literally. When I wanted to take Arthur to the bathroom, he fell down a couple of stairs, and as I hugged him to comfort him, he bit me in the shoulder with full force. I cried from the shock, the pain, the defeat. When we returned from the restroom, Jeff was rushing towards us with a screaming Julian, two backpacks, and a picnic blanket that was folded in a huge hurry. He said, “We’re leaving.” It’s only funny, because while I was away with Arthur I had come to the same conclusion.

A lady paused to comment on my husband and screaming son that she was sure he was going to grow up “to be a fine young man” – and it was just the thing to push me over the edge. Thanks, lady. Be careful or I will drop both children off at your doorstep and they can bite your shoulder and be a pest all they want. You’re welcome.

We rode home bitter and silent. The children had many, if not all, privileges removed. We fed them leftovers, are planning on an early bedtime, and look forward to eating take-out and watching Game of Thrones. The good thing about all this? We have each other.

P.S. Memorial day last year and the year before.

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!

Bike season has begun!

This week reminded me of all the good things: iced coffee on a park bench in the sun. Watching my boys speed away on their bikes.

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Sitting on our stoop with the paper while the boys “shoot” innocent passersby.

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And now … the best of all! Our first bike ride of the season.

Last year our first ride was in April. This year, since the winter was so mild and spring seems to have come early (fingers crossed!), we took our bikes out of storage earlier than usual. We had big plans…a ride into Manhattan, a day of exploring and playing. Except…my bike didn’t seem to appreciate being unused for a few months, and none of the gears were working. We took it into a shop around the corner from our storage in the Navy Yard, and they had to keep it there for the weekend to get fixed. We were so bummed. Then the mechanic came outside and offered to loan us a bike for the day. So yay! Off we were.

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Instead of a big ride into the city we decided to stay in Brooklyn and rode into Red Hook instead. We had lunch at our favorite place, Brooklyn Crab (photo by Julian).

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We played by the water…

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…and then the boys fell asleep on the bikes as we rode home.

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The rest of the weekend was kind of underwhelming. Jeff worked mostly and was stressed. I cleaned and straightened up and rearranged and tried to bring spring into our home with some new plants and flowers.

The small glimpse I got yesterday into the spring and summer that’s ahead of us made me so happy. The feeling I have when we’re on our bikes, Jeff and I together, with our happy kids on the back, singing along to the songs from the speaker – it’s truly my favorite.

It’s so easy to get stuck in every day stress things. Like shopping and carrying stuff and whining kids and tired legs and the constant begging for snacks/food (are everyone else’s kids constantly asking to be fed?!), the CONSTANT lightsaber fights that are really getting on my nerves (I keep hiding the lightsabers, but they just fight with anything else they can get their hands on. Today we were making colorful noodle necklaces, and naturally the red, blue and green noodles turned into lightsabers in a matter of seconds. Gahhh, Star Wars. Gahhh, boys.) Anyway, I digress. On the bike, because that is what I wanted to talk about…when we’re on the bike, I feel none of that. Never. I don’t think about what’s next or who needs what or where we should be or need to go or what we need to do – none of that. Everything I need is on those bikes, we’re exactly where we should be, the wind in my face, music playing, children happy, my husband/best friend by my side.

I guess what I’m saying is that I like spring and summer so much better than winter.