Coney to the Rescue

After two weeks of being back at work part-time, I have come to the following conclusions:

  • It’s easier to stay at home full time.
  • It’s easier to work full time (this is partly an assumption and partly based on feedback from my full-time working friends).

I really enjoy my new job. It’s fun to get back into the swing of things. I was concerned that over 6+ years of doing mom things, the part of my brain I’d use at work had gone to sleep. Forever, perhaps? But no. I’m wide awake! And I like being around other adults and talking about things that don’t involve my kids.

I don’t love spending 1 1/2 hours every day commuting back and forth, although it gives me time to read – which is always welcome.

When I’m not on the subway, I’m constantly rushing. Rushing to school drop-off, to the subway, to work, to school pick-up, and then I want to go to sleep.

The thing I’m struggling with the most as I’m adjusting to my new life and routines is the fact that I’m tired. Not just physically tired, but also just plain exhausted. My brain is tired. I’m lacking the patience and drive to do fun things with my kids. And that’s sort of a bummer for me because I love nothing more than doing fun things with my kids. It makes me really sad. I think I also just miss summer and the endless opportunities to have adventures.

On Thursday night I sat on the couch and cried. I was too tired to eat dinner, too tired to watch stupid TV, too tired to read. So I went to bed at 9pm. Yesterday (I don’t work Fridays) was spent with the kids, at speech therapy, doing laundry and house stuff, and at a kid birthday party.

Today we had no plans, and no Papa. Jeff had to work (bummer), so when I got up I decided the kids and I needed a day of fun. So we went to our favorite place: Coney Island!

IMG_2228

I needed a day like today. Watching the boys bounce from ride to ride and be so happy and carefree put my heart in its right place.

A Perfect Day

Yesterday was just that. A perfect day.

In the morning we bummed around at home, meaning Arthur had speech, I did five loads of laundry (at the laundromat across the street), scrubbed the tub, changed the sheets. Glamorous.

Then, after lunch, we were Coney Island bound. We started our day with ice cream and a cold brew on the boardwalk.

IMG_8669

Then the boys and I spent the afternoon at the beach. We dug in the sand and splashed in the waves. The water is now bathwater warm. Julian read his new prized possession, the latest Narwhal book.

IMG_8393IMG_8670

Then I became sleepy and thought, “What are the odds these kids would nap now?” And I just said, “Boys, let’s just cuddle for a minute.” And boom! It was divine. A nap by the ocean has always been my favorite.

 

Then we bummed around on the boardwalk with a big order of funnel cake, waiting for Papa to arrive. Also, the boys got to pick out new t-shirts. Once Jeff got there, we had dinner.

329A4596

Here they are, in front of Nathan’s, with Nathan’s both in and on their bellies.

Next up, Go Karts. Totally my favorite.

IMG_8671

Also, look at this face. The boys were pumped!

IMG_8485

Then we hit more rides.

IMG_8529IMG_8667

At 9:30pm it was time for fireworks. I think this was Arthur’s first time seeing fireworks (other than one time when he was a baby), and he was pretty impressed.

329A4638329A4653

It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

What made this day even sweeter was watching my boys together. They are just each other’s best. So many times when I looked over at them, I saw random moments of kindness. Arthur would put his arm around Julian’s shoulders while they waited for me on the boardwalk. Julian always made sure Arthur was buckled into all the rides and helped him get in and out. The way they always look out for each other is second nature, and it makes me so happy.

IMG_8668

4th of July Weekend – Round 2

On Sunday there was only one place we wanted to be: Coney Island! The boys’ cousins (and their parents) drove up from New Jersey to meet us for a day of fun at our favorite spot.

We started off strong with hot dogs for everyone.

IMG_5179

Then the usual: rides and beach time. Highlights were, as always, the Wonder Wheel – especially since I got to sit next to my main guy – and then the Spook-A-Rama. We were not scared! Just kidding. We totally peed our pants.

IMG_483419620611_10155759380501029_1826435992144705617_o

Also, one of the boys’ favorites, the Wild River. (I pretty much died.)

329A1516329A1517

The kids all had a blast. Of course, there was ice cream.

IMG_5178IMG_5166

Then the kids played in the water.

IMG_5177

The beach was insane! It was one of the most crowded we’ve ever seen it, but part of that is just so fun to me. It’s what I love best about NYC beaches: they ain’t fancy, but all it’ll cost you to get there is the $2.75 subway fare. Can’t beat it. Look at these crowds!

IMG_5170.jpg

We walked along the pier and saved a few crabs and then ended the evening over dinner at a beer garden around the corner (horrible music, mediocre food, but foosball!). Arthur finished a bowl of mussels – and half of Julian’s cheeseburger. No one fell asleep on the subway ride home, but everyone crashed hard upon our arrival at home.

Julian’s diary highlights all the most important points:

IMG_5180.jpg

On Sunday we decided we weren’t beached out yet, so we spent the day in Rockaway. Just a relaxed day spent playing, napping, eating popsicles.

IMG_5284IMG_5290IMG_5291

Also, these guys. I just adore them.

On the last day of our Five Day Run of Fun, we started out with homemade donuts. I’m particular psyched because these strawberries came from our small Brooklyn window box garden! Boys were psyched because donuts.

IMG_5339

After a sufficient amount of sugar, we were headed to Central Park. It was a perfect day for bike riding. Not too hot, just right. We had lunch at the Ballfield Cafe and then played for a long time at a lawn in the park. Then playground, then home. It was perfect!

Tired, happy boys.

IMG_5413

Beach, Beach, more Beach!

What a weekend! Jeff and I both agreed this morning that we needed an extra day to relax from all the fun we had. But alas, it’s Monday and back to the grind.

On Saturday morning we got on our bikes right away and headed to our favorite place: Coney Island! We made it to the ocean in an hour and fifteen minutes – not too bad for two middle aged folks riding two heavy bikes loaded with everything needed for a beach day. Oh, and two kids.

IMG_3112

We hung out on the beach for a few hours, ate watermelon, played in the water, and dug in the sand. The boys couldn’t care less that this isn’t the loveliest of beaches; they just have fun. And so did we.

Then we got hungry and needed hot dogs immediately. They were delicious.

IMG_3394IMG_3220

The rest of the afternoon was our typical Coney Island fun: Wonder Wheel, rides, ice cream.

IMG_3393IMG_3224

Then we rode back towards home. Right around Park Slope our legs were getting tired, so we decided to stop for dinner. We stumbled upon this lovely place, sat outside, and filled our bellies with meats & cheeses, pasta, and mussels. Arthur ate all my seafood, and I stole bites of his pasta. We were so happy and full – and very tired. We rode home as the sun was setting, showered, and fell into bed.

IMG_3395IMG_3396

On Sunday we decided we hadn’t had enough of the beach, so we headed to Rockaway. We wanted to try the new NYC Ferry, and so we rode the bikes to the Wall Street stop and took the ferry over. It was pretty smooth, but only because we got in line early. Many people who arrived after us had to wait for the next boat, which only comes every hour.

IMG_3265

We rode the bikes around Rockaway for a bit and then found us a nice spot on the beach. We stayed there all day, played in the waves, ate sandwiches, chips, watermelon. Beach life is simply the best. We all took naps, too. Delightful.

IMG_3329

Before we headed home we wanted to grab a quick dinner and randomly found this very strange place that has fast food and shakes on the menu – and an assortment of old toys in the yard.

IMG_3384IMG_3385IMG_3325.jpg

Hot dogs and shakes for life.

Then we made a mistake and rode our bikes around the boardwalk for a bit. It was so lovely out. Bands were playing, happy people everywhere. Except: When we arrived at the ferry dock, there were so many people in line already, and the ferries were so backed up that we had to wait for more than an hour. So that was fun. (Next time we’ll take the train again. The NYC Ferries are fun in theory, but so overcrowded it sucks the joy and convenience right out of it.)

IMG_3386

We killed time on the boat by drinking a beer, making silly hairdos, and playing games.

IMG_3387IMG_3388

We arrived home at 10pm. The kids were exhausted, although honestly not as much as we were. Today we all slept a little later, and even though I’m sure we’re all a bit tired still, we have made a bunch of unforgettable memories this weekend.

Coney Island

Today was the only day of spring break that we didn’t have any plans/speech/play dates scheduled, so I decided to take the boys to Coney Island. It was our second trip this year, and I plan to add at least 10 more by September. It is our favorite, favorite place. And it’s so easy to get there!

Once we arrived, even before the rides had opened, we needed hot dogs.

IMG_0293

Next up: rides.

IMG_0294

Then: Wonder Wheel.

I’m seriously so scared of the swinging cars, but the boys insist, and won’t hold my hand, so I just scream and have fun. Then: more rides.

IMG_0300

The boys went on this roller coaster last year. This time around I think Arthur became intimidated half way through the ride, because I saw him putting his head on Julian’s shoulder, and the way he sought comfort like this made my heart melt. Of course he didn’t admit that he was scared at all.

IMG_0298IMG_0290

Then we played on the beach for a good while…

IMG_0299

…had ice cream…

IMG_0301

…and headed home.

IMG_0304IMG_0303IMG_0302

Central Park & Coney Island

Somehow, after a week of feeling sick, we were blessed with exactly what I needed: a lovely, warm, sunny NYC weekend. In February. I think every winter we get one or two of these days, just to tell us, “Don’t give up! Spring is coming.”

On Saturday we took the train up to Central Park. As always, for the boys “it’s not the destination, it’s the ride.”

img_7847

The boys got to ride their scooters, and we spent the day wandering around the park and trying to run into as few people as possible.

We stopped at a playground for a long time and hung out by the boat pond over sandwiches, beers, and rounds of Spot It. Also, my boys are natural “fake” smilers. (Arthur looks like he has a side tooth of some sort, but he just has a mouth full of goldfish.)

img_7843

Oh, Jeff Bridges was there, too.

img_7846

The boys played and climbed. Helmets came in handy.

img_7817img_7844

We looked for ice cream, but it was impossible to find in February. Someone didn’t get the memo. So we had Shake Shack milk shakes, and some of us passed out on the ride home.

img_7841

On Sunday the fun continued. It was another spring-like day, so we headed to our favorite place on earth: Coney Island. We started off with a couple of beers on the boardwalk and chatted with the a couple of local guys. Oldies were playing from the stereo, one of the guys was singing along loudly, and everyone was just so happy to be there. It was one of my favorite parts of a really perfect day. Also, these guys.

img_7880_mg_9423

Then we wandered around the boardwalk and took the boys to a magic show. They were kind of unfazed throughout the show, but afterwards wouldn’t stop performing little magic tricks for us. Except, when one of the magicians performed a trick, he wrote the word “special” on one of the cards in the deck. So naturally, Arthur kept saying things like, “Do you want to see another special? I have a good special for you!”

Here is a sequence of events where I did a magic trick for the boys, Julian broke into tears because he couldn’t figure it out, I tickled him happy, and then we walked together, after I’d revealed my “secret” to him. This is so Julian. He just needed to know. He can’t stand it when he can’t figure stuff out on his own. It drives him crazy.

IMG_7953.JPG

Of course, there were hot dogs.

img_7898

We spent a lot of time on the beach. Jeff took a bunch of wonderful pictures that captured our day together.

_mg_9521_mg_9551_mg_9536_mg_9656_mg_9694

On School and Coney Island Fun

Julian made it through his first week of school with total joy. He was happy to go every day, happy at pick up, and full of stories and information about his day, much to my surprise. I learned whom he sat next to at lunch (Lorelei), whose hand he held on the way to the park, what games he played, what science projects they did, and that they danced and sang and looked at their math books. It seemed like a great, full first week.

On Friday I picked Julian up at 5:30pm after he played soccer in Prospect Park with his school friends. He was upset because some other kid had taken his water bottle after lunch, and Julian was left to play soccer in the heat without water. So that was not so cool, especially since he had spoken up and advocated for himself, but still no one took matters into their hands and gave the kid some water. He was red-faced and dehydrated and in tears. But he was over it quickly, and it was literally the only not so great thing that happened all week. Welcome to school life, kid.

I met many of the school parents at an “adult only” get-together on Friday night, and what a fun bunch of people. I’m totally excited about this year ahead, and then the many, many years to come.

The week with “just” Arthur was lovely. I missed Julian, as did Arthur (like, a LOT), but it was so nice to spend one-on-one time with Arthur. He’s definitely less entrained without his brother, but still very good at playing by himself. We went on a long bike ride (Arthur’s bike), played, cuddled, and read books. But I’m definitely ready for Arthur’s school to open its doors in early October. (I hope he will be, too.)

img_1331

This weekend was fun, too. We celebrated the boys’ friend’s birthday and went on a carousel ride in DUMBO.

img_1387

I hope this gorgeous carousel never loses its magic for the boys.

At night we went out for pizza and a stroll on the promenade. We talked to the boys about September 11.

img_1389

I had a hard time keeping it together. The boys asked clever questions and approached it all with such innocence. It makes me so sad to know that some day they will learn about the extent of bad that some people want to inflict on other people.

In happier news, we decided today we needed one more day of fun in Coney Island.

img_1459

It was all around perfect. We started off with these race cars; turns out I’m a fairly competitive racer. (Julian and I won.)

img_1746img_1747

Next up Wonder Wheel and lots of rides.

img_1749

The boys went on this proper roller coaster, first car no less, because no fear.

img_1745

Arthur stopped here and asked me to take his picture.

img_1748

We had hot dogs and ice cream and dipped our feet in the ocean.

img_1751

I can’t believe that summer is over. I would have absolutely no problem to bum around a while longer. But tomorrow it’s week two of school for my big boy, and I know at least one person who is super stoked about that (him).

Just as it should be.

Wonder Wheel Wednesday

We had no agenda today, so we decided to make a day of it in Coney Island. The ride over was fun. The boys love trains so much. With Star Wars now and the recently discovered appeal of Superman and Wonder Woman, it’s nice to see that their first love is still alive.

Look at these nutcases.

IMG_7440

We hit the aquarium first.

IMG_7443

There was a sea lion show at 11am. It was so fun to watch this show with the boys! It was something they didn’t know existed, and Julian especially was so giddy and adorable. “He can do THAT with his nose?!” “He’s clapping!” (Also the guy in the back. Hi guy!)

IMG_7442

And then the sealion danced to the boys’ favorite song (of last summer).

 

We looked at some more fish, while I tried not to lose the boys amongst the hundreds and hundreds of camp kids. Holy kids.

Then it was lunchtime, so naturally:

IMG_7446IMG_7447

Also, Arthur and his favorite animal: the jellyfish.

IMG_7444IMG_7445

Next up, of course!

IMG_7451

First, we went on the Wonder Wheel. The boys love the swinging cars, but truthfully they kind of scare me. Julian and Arthur promised to hold my hand, but Julian didn’t follow through and seemed embarrassed/annoyed when I tried to hold on to him for support. Thanks, kid. This isn’t actually to help you. It’s for you to help me. But never mind. I know mothers can be embarrassing.

 

The boys went on all the rides. Next up: ice cream.

IMG_7448

Then it was time to go. The boys asked to walk past the rides at Luna Park, just to see what’s there, you know. Of course they talked me into one more ride. And then we left for home!

IMG_7450

The ride home was unspectacular. Other than, you know, ARTHUR PRESSING THE EMERGENCY BUTTON unbeknownst to me, and the train driver coming out of his train driver box (we were in the first car) to yell at us me. All the rage put Arthur to sleep immediately.

IMG_7449

That’s the face of someone who is conflicted between really wanting to sleep and really loving his big brother who’s getting in his face very much.

What’s on the menu for tonight? Frozen margaritas and chips & salsa. And an early bedtime.

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.

IMG_5678

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

IMG_5679

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:

IMG_5680

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:

IMG_5677IMG_5681IMG_5682

Next up: Wonder Wheel!

IMG_5683

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.

facebook_001

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.

IMG_5684

He survived. We rewarded the kids with ices.

13558820_10154698439391029_2205681585130211449_o

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

IMG_5685

He was not pleased.

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

IMG_5686

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.

Autumn trip to Coney Island

Saturday was probably the coldest day we’ve had this season, so naturally we decided to go to Coney Island. Because as any proper German will tell you: There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing. The weather actually was fantastic, sunny, gorgeous. But it was a bit chilly, and this proper German is kind of embarrassed to admit, but we were slightly underdressed.

Anyway, the ride down to Coney Island was blissful and lovely. We stopped for a snack.

IMG_2088

And then we rode on…

IMG_2089

Once we got there, we had the obligatory beer and lemonade on the boardwalk.

We let the boys play in the sand for a bit…

IMG_1979 IMG_2091

Next, it was time for hot dogs.

IMG_2092

This here is a photo of happier times, where each boy had their beloved hot dog. What’s not pictured is the damn, fearless bird who stole Julian’s hot dog the second he decided to focus on french fries instead. Oh, the tears. Thankfully it wasn’t the last hot dog in the history of Nathan’s hot dogs, so we just went and bought the poor child another one.

IMG_2093

And then we hit the rides. They never disappoint.

IMG_2099

Afterwards, we took the boys to the aquarium to admire the fish. Highlight: SHARKS! I don’t have any pictures of the fish, but I have this instead:

IMG_2094

On our way out we saw that they were playing a brief Sponge Bob movie in 4D, so we decided to give it a try. I mean, it was a stupid movie with no plot whatsoever, and either way I think Sponge Bob is a bit past his prime, but Arthur thought it was hilarious. Julian was terrified and cried when the objects came “flying at him.” Yay for 3D. Jules was not a fan.

IMG_2095

After one last stroll on the boardwalk, we decided it was time to head home.

IMG_2075

The boys fell asleep immediately on the bikes, and Jeff and I decided to take a break somewhere halfway between Coney and home and headed to Di Fara‘s pizza joint in Midwood.

IMG_2096

We ate our pie, happily, but I must say that even though many say this is the best pizza in NY, I much prefer Juliana’s.

On the ride home, everyone was tired. And cold.

IMG_2097

Julian’s look says it all. “Oh, parents, how you’ve failed me yet again.”