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.

Our Day at the Botanic Gardens

We live so close to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, really just a short bike ride away, and yet I somehow manage to miss the much anticipated and celebrated cherry blossoms almost every year. This year I was determined to see them!

Julian is on spring break this week, so we’ve had more time to just be and less sticking to schedules…This morning, after Arthur’s speech therapy, we headed out. I packed a lunch and many snacks, because somehow my children are always hungry and begging for food.

When we arrived, Arthur was sound asleep on the bike. It was 11:30am. The line of people trying to get in was endlessly long. But! I remembered my fancy NYC ID card, and I got myself a free membership to the BBG without having to stand in line. Success!

We headed towards the cherry blossoms. They were gorgeous. Look, children, how beautiful! I took you here on the bike so we could enjoy this!

Children were grumpy. Julian was wearing his hood, hands in pockets; he was cold. Arthur was tired, also known as “Mama, please carry me.”

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So, I decided we needed lunch first in order to function. I emphasized how their sandwiches and big bowls of fruit were giving their bodies energy. Because….right?!

It kind of worked.

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But then!

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We started wandering. And once I got over the cherry blossoms and adjusted my expectations (but also took a few moments to just look around and feel at peace and forget about my children, because nature is beautiful! Even cultivated nature in the Botanic Gardens) – everything was fine.

We found rocks to climb on.

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There were sticks to play with, many many sticks. And then we found the kids discovery area. Naturally, Julian and Arthur pretended that everything related to Star Wars (“Don’t fall in the lava!” “This nest looks just like the Millennium Falcon! This is the gun bay.”). But within their imaginary world we did lots of exploring. We saw fruit trees, smelled flowers and herbs, and did some of this…

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We did a big loop around the gardens. The boys walked a lot. We spent a lot of time watching the fish and turtles at the Japanese Gardens. And then it was time to head home. But not before we had some of this:

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(It looks like they are excited to be eating ice cream. In reality, they just saw a boy wearing a Darth Vader sweater.)

And then we rode home. Julian fell asleep on the bike, and I carried him upstairs. A week before he turns 5, it was a sweet reminder that he is still my little boy.

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Exploring our (not so personal) backyard

Friday has been our day to venture out, so I was excited to explore Prospect Park today with the boys on our bike. The colors are so beautiful this time of year; I just can’t get enough.

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We wandered around the paths of the Ravine and explored. We saw chipmunks and squirrels and bugs. Also: a waterfall. Arthur was obsessed with the possibility of running into a fox, so he was really tense for most of our walk.

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We collected leaves, pinecones, gumballs, and sticks. The boys jumped and poked things with their sticks and climbed on everything.

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Then we rode over to a “nature playground” in the Park and stayed a while.

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We ate almond butter and banana sandwiches in the sun and explored some more. There were little tree houses to hide in a stumps to climb on.

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For no reason at all, we hadn’t been to this playground all summer. And now, in the fall, it’s just perfect. I love Prospect Park so much. I love that we’re a quick bike ride away from all of this; it was so wonderful to let the sun shine on my face today while I sat on a giant tree stump and my boys played all around me. It was so relaxing that I almost fell asleep.

Summer in the City

This weekend was a hot one in the city. So far we’ve had a very mild summer, but this weekend we finally had some higher temps and abundant sunshine. So naturally, we went to our favorite place on earth: Coney Island.

The boys were stoked to take the subway for a change, rather than the bikes.

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Jeff’s parents drove up from Delaware and met us on the boardwalk. We ate Nathan’s…

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Then we walked around and went on rides.

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Ice cream was next.

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Once we got home, we met up with Uncle Brian. The kids adore him times a million.

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Because we hadn’t eaten enough, we went out for some BBQ. After that everyone was sufficiently stuffed and tired.

Today we rode our bikes into Manhattan. We took the boys to Hamilton Fish Park Pool on the Lower East Side. After the drama at Red Hook Pool last week, we were cautiously optimistic. At Red Hook, the boys deemed the water, and hence the entire experience, too cold and simply unacceptable. Today, however, was a good, hot day, and the water was lovely. The boys loved every minute of it. I got even more excited for the rest of our summer.

The pool is great, and huge. It has a very large area that is awesome for kids because the water is only 3 feet deep. Julian can stand in it. But it’s deep enough that parents aren’t freezing or wondering if they are standing in a puddle of chlorine flavored pee. So anyway, it was really fun.

Afterwards we rode our bikes to Washington Square Park, where some of us did this:

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I swear, we are either raising some really easy-going, flexible kids – or homeless people. I just don’t know.

While Arthur napped, the rest of us ate sandwiches and drank lemonade.

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Then we hit a playground. Julian thought he was hot stuff and discovered he could do this:

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Afterwards we let the boys splash around in the fountain. Which I think has clean-ish water? Either way, they loved it. Until Julian said, “Mama, look! A nut!” And he started picking out walnuts out of the water and from the side of the fountain. Walnuts are the most dangerous nuts for Arthur. I threw them aside and wiped him off, as he had touched them, too. My heart started beating a little bit fast, but our guy was fine.

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We had beers and ice cream near the Hudson next and then headed home. It was a lovely, sunny day.

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Happy Birthday, Baby!

I would have written about my husband’s birthday weekend much earlier, but he decided to update and “reboot” (?) my computer, so it’s been doing computer things for days now, hence the delay.

Anyway. We spent Saturday in Prospect Park with friends. Julian, his pre-school buddy Shirine, Arthur, and Shirine’s little sister, Lily, had fun splashing in the water at Lakeside. The cute thing is that Arthur and Lily will be the only new children admitted to Julian’s pre-school next year, and they will be the only two year olds. Luckily neither of them, being younger siblings and all, care much for children their own age.

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After water fun, we had a picnic and let the kids (mostly Arthur) frolic in the grass. He actually got to run around nekked for a good while, and I can’t say I’ve ever seen him happier.

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Afterwards, because this wasn’t fun enough already, we took the boys for a pony ride. Did I say this was Jeff’s birthday weekend? Just kidding. Once you have kids nothing is about you ever again. Congratulations.

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Then we stopped for ice cream. Which required some concentration.

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Because clearly we hadn’t provided our children with enough stimulation. Julian showed his appreciation with a meltdown of epic proportions.

But none of that matters, because that night we had a babysitter, and Jeff and I went out for a lovely dinner. And a midnight bike ride through Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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The next morning Jeff got a special breakfast of bacon and eggs – and cake.

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Then we got on the bikes and took the ferry over to Governor’s Island to the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party.

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We love going and looking at everyone in their fancy, oldtimey outfits. We had a picnic and tried not to let the boys annoy us with their bickering and jumping into the guacamole. Some days they are the best of friends, like 6 out of 7 days, but that one day. That one day. I have no pictures of the picnic. The boys were crazy. But here are Julian and I listening to 1920 tunes. Or were we checking out the the swimsuit competition?

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Anyway. Since it was Jeff’s birthday, we decided to go to our favorite place on earth to share a pitcher of beer: Brooklyn Crab.

We had the boys go to bed early (or on time?) and ordered Five Guys for dinner.

I can’t speak for Jeff, but it sounds like it was a pretty good birthday weekend. If you’re under the age of 5 – or closely related to someone in that age rage. That’s us! Yay!

Happy Birthday, baby. We couldn’t love you any more!

Saturday on Staten

We’ve been meaning to go to Staten Island for a few weeks now, and yesterday we finally went! It was a perfect day. It started with the highly anticipated ride on the Staten Island Ferry:IMG_1219

Then we rode over to Snug Harbor. It’s just lovely there. We had planned on going to the Children’s Museum right away, but it was just too nice, and we got distracted.

There was a maze! It led to a little secret garden. The boys thought it was “magic.”

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The park was beautiful.

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Then we had a picnic of muffins and fruit and crackers and salami and cheese. We found the perfect spot.IMG_1355IMG_1300 IMG_1287

And then it was nap time, so naturally we decided to go to the Children’s Museum instead. We’re blessed with children who will sleep anywhere but are also happy to power through until a little bit later.

The museum was great. Highlights were a giant firetruck and boats to play with outside.

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Then it was finally time for a nap. The boys slept on a blanket under the trees. I cuddled with Julian – such a treat. I don’t get to do it enough.

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It usually takes the boys a good while to wake up. Which is always nice.

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After naps we rode around for a bit and then went to dinner at a German restaurant. Spätzle, Schnitzel, sausage, oh my! We were happy. Also, ice cream.

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We rode the ferry back to Manhattan in the dark. The boys looked out the window, at their city all lit up. It looked gorgeous.

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We rode over the Brooklyn Bridge and were home by 10:30pm. Everyone was so tired. Tired, but happy.

Birthday Week

Oh my. Our birthday marathon is over. We now have a four and a two year old living under our roof! So far four has been whiny and quite a bit of work, and two (for the one day that he has been two) has been sweet. We’ll see how it plays out for the rest of the year.

We celebrated a few days early so that all of the Delaware/New Jersey family could make it. The boys got to invite a handful of friends, but with siblings and family we ended up having 14 kids under our roof. We adore all of those kids so much. The kids played and decorated/ate cookies, and everyone had a good time.

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We sang for the boys separately this year because I was still guilt-ridden by the Happy Birthday song at their first joint party last year when Arthur turned one….”Happy birthday to Julian! …. and Arthur.” Arthur was so happy this year (not that he cared at all last year), and I totally shed a tear. My baby.

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Oh, also, there was cake.

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Julian got a bike and the M4 bus for his birthday, as requested he had wished for. He is in heaven. Arthur got (Julian’s old – sorry second kid!) balance bike, a kid vacuum cleaner (huge hit), and a truck from us. He is also pretty pleased.

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Julian got to celebrate his birthday in school with his friends, and he brought cupcakes.

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After school we took him to the playground of his choosing, treated him to strawberry lemonade, and ended the night eating pizza and playing with friends in their backyard. It was a perfect day.

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Not to be outdone, Arthur also had a terrific birthday. We went for a bike ride in Prospect Park, hit a playground, and had a picnic. The boys got filthy playing in the dirt and climbing and jumping and doing boy things. Just as it should be.

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Then we went to our favorite place on earth, Brooklyn Crab, where we spent a few hours eating peel & eat shrimp, fries, ice cream, and drinking beer. It was so relaxing. Arthur agreed:

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I think our boys were plenty celebrated. Now on to the most important day of the year: Mother’s Day!

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(If you’ve made it the end of this, woah. Holy birthday shenanigans. Thanks for reading!)