We're a NY family that thrives on movement. Routines flew out the window a long time ago ~ this is the routine.

Oct 1, 2012

5 Falls

Just a few then-and-now moments to start the week. Man I love fall in New York. 
September 2008
September 2012
September 2010
September 2012

Sep 29, 2012

One On One

Soccer practice on Saturday mornings has introduced a new routine that I'm really digging. Leni's practice in an hour before Ash's, so one of us takes her while the other stays home with Ash and then we swap kids an hour later. It gives both of us a chance to spend one on one time with both children as a kick off to the weekend, and it is awesome. With work being as busy as it has been for both of us the weekends have provided some much needed moments to catch up on things like hugging each other, hugging the kids, going for runs and bike rides, and finally taking the kids to the Intrepid museum to see the Enterprise space shuttle. It wasn't as cool as we had hoped (they don't even let you inside!) but Ash is currently building a Lego space shuttle so he was stoked to see the real deal.

With Leni hitting so many milestones lately it's felt significantly *easier* to parent the way we want to parent and live the way we want to live. She's past the two year mark with most of her teeth so can eat/drink pretty much anything, she's toilet trained (I changed my last diaper over a month ago!), and she falls down a whole lot less. Balance. Finally. And Ash takes every opportunity possible to teach her the next trick, show her the next move, and push her to keep up with him because he actually wants to play with her. And since she wants absolutely nothing more than to be exactly like her older brother she responds by doing just that - keeping up.

And we get to watch all of this happen. One on one time with each of the kids, one on one time with each other while the kids are off trying to figure out how to climb on to the roof of the jungle gym, and even one on one time with the voices in our heads that have been reminding us for a few years that there will come a day when it will be possible to have self while being parent.

We have a mini-vacation coming up soon and the only thing the children know is that we're going somewhere but they don't know where. It's going to be the first time that Leni will actually recognize the cast members and I cannot wait to watch Ash drag her around the parks to show her everything he's been waiting for her to be old enough to finally get excited about. Because the one on one time between the two of them is over the top ridiculous and 4 days of watching it all go down is the recipe for a happy soul.

Sep 27, 2012


I need one. Because unlike my children who when given a large open field will run endlessly until they find a gigantic tree to climb until they find an unattended ball to kick until they...you get the picture... Anyhow, unlike them my motivation to move comes from someone shouting at me to MOVE OR DIE. I searched for something on YouTube that might accomplish this so that I could play it on the iPad while running, but the results were slightly frightening so I settled for a Madonna playlist on Pandora. It wasn't quite the same but managed to do the trick for 30 minutes and 14 seconds. Just enough time to be convinced that I can actually get back in to this, it will not kill me, and maybe just maybe I'll be able to fit into that super sexy black dress in time for New Years.

And then we realized that Ash's library book was due at school today and his buss was going to arrive in 2 minutes and we had no idea where the book was hiding. About 6 seconds after he boarded the bus I found the book, and given that this was Ash's first book checked out of the elementary school library and there was NO WAY I was going to set the tone for returning library books by returning the first one late, I chased the bus. All the way to school.

Because mornings should totally be about shouting to Madonna songs on a treadmill and chasing school buses in a minivan. 

Sep 26, 2012


Ever since the German Ethiopian intern stayed with us for a few months earlier this year we've grown in to the habit of actually cooking dinner at home during the week. While he was here I think it was a way for us all to relax and enjoy a decent meal at the end of a long day and get to know each other outside of the world of photography, and then after he left we just never feel back into the restaurant routine - at least not with as much frequency as we were eating out this time last year. So when Ash declared that Tuesday evening is a special evening this week because it's the day before a Jewish holiday and that means he doesn't have school which means we should go somewhere special for dinner, well, I didn't disagree. We decided on sushi where Leni ate most of my seaweed salad and Ash ate all of my shrimp tempura roll. They've apparently both outgrown their standard avocado roll preference and I apparently need to pay closer attention because halfway through the meal I realized they were devouring my dinner and I got stuck with the avocado rolls. Live and learn.

And of course, given it was the night before a holiday and all, the kids got their own small bowl of popcorn in bed after stories. Because somewhere along the line Ash completely worked us and whenever he can smell popcorn being made after bedtime It's become standard procedure to bring him a bowl in bed. And now Leni too.

First the fish, then the popcorn. Next week they're going to be requesting coffee and the NY Times in bed.

Sep 24, 2012

Eat Some, Pee Some

We spent Sunday strolling. Through Brooklyn, on the riverfront, with various (insanely delicious) food stalls nearby to keep us and the littles licking our lips. The only inconvenience worth mentioning is that the Brooklyn Flea Smorgasburg (in DUMBO) offered ridiculous amounts of delicious eats and drinks, yet only two bathrooms. Total. So basically Brooklyn decided to draw all of the locals to the most tourist visited location in Brooklyn and supply endless scrumptious food and drink stalls...all while forcing the entire crowd to stand in line to pee into 2 available bathrooms.

Perhaps this would be less scarring if I wasn't the mother of a recently potty trained two year old. Perhaps my faith in Brooklyn was pumped up by the immediate graciousness of others in line to let my two year old go back and forth (and back and forth) between which of the two potties she had to make poopie in. And then they waited for her to make those poopies and sing the washing hands song, all the while innocent eaters and drinkers crossing their legs outside.

Brooklyn impressed.


Sep 10, 2012


Summer really doesn't start for us until the end of August, which I know sounds weird but the fact is that the kids go straight from end of school year activities into summer camp activities (which are really just an extension of the school year for working parents that we attempt to mask as NEW! and EXCITING! summer adventures) and we all run as fast as we can until the summer activities come to an end. An end that marks the 2 weeks between the time that summer camp ends and the new school year begins. Two weeks without drop offs or pick ups or packing lunches or washing a swimsuit for the 4th time in a week because someone isn't terribly talented when it comes to alternating between eating his PB&J and jumping in to the village pool (where, of course, he's watched with close eyes by the camp counselors because we're stuck in the office. Ho hum.). Unfortunately work life doesn't slow down for us during these 2 weeks, but we have been fortunate to be able to give the kids 2 weeks of unstructured all-fun time with extended family while we do our best to be present in the evenings and on weekends. We're lucky. Of course there are moments when I read about families lounging away the summer days together in the yard or at the beach or on a mountain somewhere when I wish the industries Mike and I work in would just go on hiatus for July and August. But then I realize how much that would make September suck and count my blessings that we're able to sneak in as much time with our children now as we do. 
So the kids enjoyed their summer programs and soaked up loads of fun with their MN fan base, including a crazy number of trips to parks and farms and painting Easter eggs with the grandmas and eating cheese curds at the MN State Fare and exchanging tips for catching the biggest walleye and just hanging with their papas. It's hard to worry about whether you're doing summer "right" when your children are having such an amazing time.
Though, I will admit, one of the most special moments of summer happened the evening we returned home, ready to start the new school year, just the four of us. The two-hour drive home from the airport was one magical sentence after another. We're going home, right? I'm going to elementary school on the bus, right? Mommy, I go pee pee on potty! (which we were very happy to repeat given she'd devoured dinner just before getting in to the car for the two hour drive...). And then, just like that, a new year was launched, and my boy started kindergarten.
And just like that, our lives returned to the same whirlwind of chaos that rarely allows for a focused snapshot where both children are present. Which, if you ask us, is just exactly the way it should be.
Life should come with a guaranteed amount of blur. It would make you hate Pinterest less.

Aug 15, 2012


This is what I would like to spend most of my time watching. These two, sitting/playing/rough housing/goofing around, the constant presence of pure childhood'ness. I was able to take Ash out for ice cream, just the two of us, and such a simple pleasure ended up giving me such a ridiculous amount of enjoyment. Sitting and enjoying an ice cream cone, hearing him say at the end "I'll save this last bite for Helena so she wont be sad that she didn't get to come with us", going to get his sister and watching her rush past me and nearly knock over her brother with excitement to see him. And then of course they fought the entire way home over who's foot was touching who's backpack or some other random quibble, but even that ended once we arrived home and Spiderman was offered as an option while I prepped dinner. Yes, I let my children watch TV. And yes, when I do allow them to watch a show those 30 minutes tend to make all of us happy.

Leni is done with diapers. Ash bought a new backpack and lunchbox for the start of kindergarten in a few weeks. We're finally upgrading the BK apartment to include a sofabed for when guests (aka, the grandmas) come to visit. I finally feel like we're making connections in our village that could turn in to the sort of friendships that go a long ways towards increasing the happiness of life. Yes, it's taken us a long time. Apparently we emit foul odors and folks aren't keen on fried squirrel making the weekly dinner rotation. Or maybe making new friends just isn't as easy as the characters of 90210 would like you to believe. And yes, the fact that I reference 90210 does serve as evidence that I actually watch the show. In fact, when I went to put the season premier on my calendar and realized we'll be enjoying Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that evening I was a little bit sad. And then I googled "10 step program to overcome the urge to watch crap TV."

If this sounds like a hodgepodge of words that's probably because that is exactly what it is. Hodgepodge pretty much sums up our summer, actually. A little bit of this and a little bit of that and a 2 second random decision to book $300 flights to Israel. Like I said, hodgepodge.


Aug 3, 2012


By this time last summer we had taken the kids camping twice for two wonderful long weekend adventures. This year the only time the tend has made it out of the bag was one night which feels like months ago at this point, and we wound up camping in the backyard instead of the planned lake excursion due to rain. This summer has been gorgeous, wonderfully sunny days it seems all of the time other than the days when we've booked campsites. If our name is on a reservation list at a campground then it's pretty much guaranteed that it will rain LOTS. So for the most recent cancellation we decided that we'd do the NYC thing in a way we haven't for quite some time. No phones, no obligations, all attention just on us, the family, for the whole weekend. OK fine we both had our phones with us at all times, but we had to have something handy to snap some pics, and honestly - who carries a camera nowadays? Psh.

Living in NY and having access to a city like NYC is a privilege we don't take lightly. And after this weekend spent entirely together we've decided that we need to set the occasional reminder on the calendar to just drop everything and enjoy it this freely more often.

We leisurely strolled through the shops in the Chelsea Market, rocked out to some live music on The High Line, ate oysters and french fries, participated in a children's day at Lincoln Center that included an interactive art exhibit called Tangled (the pics below paint a pretty clear picture of the meaning behind the title), strolled our neighborhood and only got caught in the rain a few times but were actually prepared with multiple umbrellas, and polished off the weekend with a day at the Bronx Zoo. Seriously, we need to schedule Drop Everything & Enjoy Life weekends more often. We'll call them DE&EL weekends because that's just how creative I am.

Oh, and one mandatory part of DE&EL weekends as pictured in the final image below. Sunday evening you get to hire a babysitter and go out for dinner. I highly recommend not skipping that step.

Jul 20, 2012

Costa Rica

We strapped the kids in, flew for 5 1/2 hours, and landed in Costa Rica. And that's all you'll ever hear about the flight there. See, this was Helena's first flight where we actually had to purchase her a ticket (she's 2!), which means she had her own seat. And Holy Hannah did she use the s*#! out of that seat. It didn't matter that she had spent the entire day playing with friends and exerting all sorts of energy, or that it was WAAAAY past her bedtime for the ENTIRE FLIGHT. She had energy and chose to use it as a weapon against me. Not the other patrons of the flight, just me. Because she loves me like that, and knows that once we've landed and checked in to our hotel and slept for 3 1/2 hours and driven 4 hours to the tree house where the volcano lives that I'll forget the torture she clearly intentionally gagged me with for 5 1/2 hours the day before. After having bought her a ticket. Her first ticket that didn't say "lap baby".

Girl, watch it or next time you might find yourself being checked with the other baggage as a slightly hyperactive Cocker Spaniel. But like I said, that's all you'll ever hear about that because I am the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious ROCK STAR OF moving on. So there.

 Once we made it to our tree house and hit up a few volcanic hot springs I hardly remembered the moments on the flight when I considered duct taping my 2 year old to floor in front of me. Though I must give Ash some credit here, as he eventually realized that his power over his sister meant that he actually had control over what she did. And lucky for me, he chose to use that power for good'ish. Which means that he held her hand before tossing her to the waves, reminded her to tie her shoes before pushing her down the stairs, and told her to hold on as he determined which part of the swimming pool would be the best part to push her in. Though she came through in each scenario with a "thanks bro" sort of sarcastic enthusiasm, she also still seemed to hold true to her undying trust in her older brother. Which was ridiculously cool to watch.
And then we drove from the volcano and cloud forests for another 3-4 hours to Manuel Antonio and the beach and checked in to La Posada and started to make friends with the crabs. They hung out in our hammock, scurried across our floors, and in general just seemed to enjoy being a part of things.
Because who wouldn't want to be a part of a thing that includes restaurants where swings are the seating space around the bar?
And then we made it to our mountain top where I reconsidered the whole duct tape thing. Because our balcony just dropped off. OFF.

And that was Costa Rica.