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.

IMG_1255

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.

IMG_1277IMG_1309

After that: key lime pie on our stoop.

IMG_1329

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!

IMG_1157

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.

IMG_1350

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

IMG_1227

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

IMG_1374

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!

IMG_1612

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

IMG_1640

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.

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.

IMG_5814

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!

IMG_6111

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.

IMG_5867

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.

IMG_6110

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:

IMG_6107

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.

IMG_6117

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.

IMG_6231

Here is Arthur right before he fell asleep.

IMG_6233

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

IMG_6232

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!

IMG_6168.jpg

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.

IMG_6197

Jeff also spent a good amount of time climbing trees…

IMG_6205

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!

Weekending

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.

IMG_4509

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!

IMG_4612IMG_4613IMG_4611IMG_4606

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!)

IMG_4684IMG_4737

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

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

IMG_4732

…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.

13442120_10154665367386029_6349877097648740775_n

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.

IMG_4731

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

IMG_4730

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

IMG_4729

We rode home catching a glimpse of this beautiful view:

IMG_4706

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

Up and down. And up again.

A lot has been happening, although nothing truly significant. Let’s see…

1. Arthur has taken the loss of his pacifiers very hard. He’s been crying every night and says that he misses them. So, we’ve been singing endless renditions of Uptown Funk and Somewhere over the Rainbow. On good nights, the boys lie in their beds and sing together into their pretend microphones, and it is pretty much the best thing ever.

2. Julian has been rather difficult. So much so that we kind of hit a wall. The next day, literally, it all magically changed. I think we needed to hit a low, where we had no patience left, Julian had no voice, and frustration levels ran high in order for us all to calm down and take a step back. It’s been much better since.

3. It appears that Arthur qualified for speech therapy through Early Intervention, although I am waiting to hear final word on that. He has, however, made much more of an effort to speak lately, and we all love it so much. He’s the happiest little boy I’ve ever met, so happy-go-lucky and adventurous, that a part of me just wants to let him be and think he will figure this out on his own. But the other part of me thinks that if he can get a little bit of help along the way, then that’s great. So we’ll give it a shot.

4. Julian has been talking about how much he misses playing soccer all spring, and so we decided to enroll him for a drop-in summer program where he could kick the ball around with his pals. We took him this morning, and he immediately became incredibly “tired” when we arrived. He refused to participate and when confronted with the option of being a part of the class and a picnic afterwards with his friend Eloise or going home, he chose to go home. Arthur and I stayed behind while Jeff took him home, and it was one of the more frustrating moments for me. I became irrationally upset over his stubborn little mind and my non-existing ability to control everything. An hour later we picked him up at home and had a lovely morning at the playground with our friends. What I should have thought is what my friend Amanda texted me later: “Love Julian for being HIMSELF always.”

5. We’ve been having some fun. A bike ride to New Jersey. Sorry, no pictures of NJ, but of the ice cream thereafter in Battery Park.

IMG_1702

My baby cousin, whom I hadn’t seen in more than 10 years, came to visit for 24 hours. The boys were stoked; we walked the Promenade and had pizza, before he and I caught up over approximately 125 beers.

IMG_1608

We took a trip to the Natural History Museum and Central Park.

IMG_1531 IMG_1530 IMG_1529

And finally, because it was a perfectly fine Tuesday, we had some fun in Brooklyn Bridge Park. We checked out the new sprinklers as part of the “Please touch the Art” exhibition, and it was fun.

facebook_001 IMG_1789 facebook_002

Except that one time when Arthur got “trapped” in one of the sprinkler sections all by himself and panicked.

We ended the evening at the Water Lab at Pier 6…

IMG_1806 IMG_1802

…and had some pizza on the rooftop restaurant overlooking the Manhattan skyline. The boys ate and then played happily while Jeff and I had a moment to just be. It’s moments like this that reconcile me with all the moments in between (see list above).

6. Last but not least, I can’t end this without even mentioning the fact that my darling husband ran over a pigeon today on his bike. The pigeon totally did not move out of the way, defying all (pigeon) common sense. I mean, the only job NYC pigeons have, pretty much, is to get out of the way. #fail

Just another day in paradise…

This morning was Julian’s last soccer class. I missed it entirely. Because in order to go, I had to drag my sick boy Arthur out in the cold, and he was accordingly displeased. Fifteen minutes into the class Arthur decided he’d had it. He started screaming. And he didn’t stop. He refused to sit in the stroller, refused to be held, refused to be cozied up in the Ergo under my warm coat. He just stood there, snot everywhere, and stomped his little feet in the devastating rage of an 18 month old.

I’ve rarely felt so helpless. Arthur was so miserable. I missed all of Julian’s goals. Nannies started offering helpful advice (“He’s cold!”), and Julian starting telling Arthur “It’s almost over; it’s almost over.” My heart broke into tiny little pieces.

After class I forced Arthur into his stroller and started the long walk home with my hysterical child, hoping he would fall asleep along the way and I could take Julian to the diner for pancakes after all. We go every week after soccer with his best buddy Elliot. But alas, Arthur wouldn’t humor me, and so I had to break the news to Julian that we had to go home. He started crying. “But Mama. I packed all the trains for Elliot and me to play with.”

When we arrived home, Arthur was so fed up he was basically trying to throw himself out of the stroller, coughing from all the screaming and his cold, and OMG it was so terrible. I tried to gather all of my stuff out of the stroller while preventing Arthur from falling on his head, when someone said, “Do you need help?” And I started crying and said yes. A woman I’d never met before carried everything up the stoop for me. She told me she had two older boys, and it gets easier. I said thank you through my tears. She probably didn’t even hear me over my screaming child. And I’ll probably never see her again to tell her how thankful I truly was for someone to come and help me in that moment.

I put my baby to sleep and made Julian chocolate chip pancakes. I promised him a date for just him and me this weekend and a new diner date with Elliot next week.

I think we’ll be ok.

IMG_1097

This week can suck it.

This has probably been one of the more difficult weeks of my life.

It started last Wednesday with yet another cold for Arthur that brought with it a high-ish fever for 3 days and general malaise around the clock.

IMG_8900On Friday my parents arrived from Germany for a 9 day visit. Arthur has been in a bad mood until today. A full week of screaming and being unbearable. Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for the guy. I do. But I also feel bad for everyone else. Our family, people around us in restaurants, our neighbors, basically all of Brooklyn. Arthur might feel sick, but the kid has an amazing set of lungs.

To add to the list of complaints is the weather (rain: suck it) and stupid Columbus Day. If my kid can’t go to school (and believe me he really wanted to go), then Jeff shouldn’t have to go to work. On Wednesday Julian was the “snack child” at his school, basically the equivalent of king for a day, and he was excited beyond measure. When he arrived at school he was sent home because of a huge fire in the apartment building across the street from his school. He came home sobbing and so so disappointed. Thursday soccer didn’t happen because of blessed rain. So basically absolutely nothing has been happening for a week other than watching Arthur rebound from his cold.

IMG_8923 IMG_8849

Back to his cold. Because I haven’t complained about it enough. Arthur’s been sick before (like, the week before last), but I have never seen such a complete personality change. He was angry all the time, throwing things, screaming with rage, and so so clingy. It was really effing hard. Mostly I really missed him! We all did. It’s like Arthur got replaced by some other kid that kind of looked like him but acted like a complete maniac. Yesterday Arthur woke up and didn’t scream in my face. I got a laugh out of him. I knew things were looking up. Today he’s been himself. He’s been playing and laughing and jumping and begging to ride his scooter and building endless trains.

I feel terrible that this is the one week my parents are here. They’ve really seen us at our worst. Like that one night at dinner when Arthur screamed the entire time (and I should add that nothing made him happy. He wouldn’t sit with me and he couldn’t possibly not sit with me) while we scarfed down a delicious meal of fish and veggies and then Julian complained of a belly ache and voila! The fish and veggies came back up. Ta-da.

I honestly could not keep my head above water this week, or barely. Despite my parents being here and kind of offering an extra pair of hands, although they were totally helpless. I had constant back pain and a headache. But last night they babysat and Jeff and I went out for some Prosecco and togetherness, and I feel cured.

Let’s try to end on a high note. Some highlights this week:

A tense game of Candyland with Oma & Opa:

IMG_9038

Playing soccer with Opa:

IMG_8938

A bike ride:

IMG_8910

Opa & Jules:

IMG_9091

These guys playing together:

IMG_9085

And most importantly! Arthur finally got his own scooter. The kid is in heaven.

IMG_9027