Monday, November 5, 2018

A girl strolls in Brooklyn.

Fun fact: When I was little, I used to wish my middle name was Lynn, so I could share a name with this borough I had never even been to. 

One of my dreams is to be magically dropped into a city I have never been to before and to have a day by myself to explore it. In my mind, I imagine that a giant magically picks me up with his thumb and pointer and puts me in a new place, and the only thing on my agenda is to wander (we’ve been reading The BFG, which I suppose is where I got that image from). On this trip, my dream came true. Matt’s work conference was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Brewery, so we took a car over from Manhattan in the morning with our luggage in tow, and I had the day to myself. I ate a delicious breakfast at Egg and read my book, wandered aimlessly, found street art, walked along the water, sauntered in and out of shops just to peruse, drank a perfect cappuccino at Devocion, and then visited Mast chocolate to pick up a present for Matt. All I really need every once in awhile is about five hours alone, and then I’m ready to be with my people again.

I met Matt back at the Brooklyn Brewery after my day of wandering, and then we headed to the airport to go home.

For someone who considers herself a traveler, it was a bit surprising to me that this was my first time on a plane in three years. At the airport on our way home I was reminded of one thing that remains the same, though. If I see a tearful airport good-bye or reunion, I will become tearful myself.
This is the Mona Lisa of Williamsburg with the Williamsburg Bridge in the background (based on a photograph by a seventeen year old):

Williamsburg Bridge:





Living walls make me happy. I wish I had one in my house, but I was glad to see this one in the coffee shop:

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Fighting off those post-Halloween blues.

When you have the post-Halloween blues, so you dress up as an astronaut, ballerina, pirate, butterfly, ladybug, superhero, all at the same time.

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Cambria: Keeping the Halloween spirit alive. Wearing all the dress up clothes and having a parade in the backyard. Carrying her candy bag around, dumping it out and putting the candy back in at least twenty times. Making candy trains and cars and towers while I try to convince her that candy is just a toy to play with, not a treat to eat.

Everett: Asking what holiday is next and when we can start making decorations. 

Me: Trying to figure out how I can magically make all the candy disappear. Debating whether or not we should skip Thanksgiving and just move on to making decorations for Christmas.

***


***

She is giving her skittle a hug before she eats it:

She is starting a parade:

The parade continues on a tricycle:

The parade continues on a scooter:

Friday, November 2, 2018

Halloween.

The family that slays together stays together. (“The family that practices nonviolence together” just didn’t have the same ring to it.)

This year our costumes were directed by Everett. He wanted to be a red dragon. Cambria then wanted to be a dragon, too. At the last minute, Matt and I joined in on the fun. 

We have yet to make it further than our street while trick or treating, but Everett loves to hand out candy as much as he loves to go door to door. 

The morning after Halloween we all woke up a little sad that it's over. I feel like with the way Halloween encourages family bonding, getting to know your neighborhood, and making adults act like kids, it’s something that should happen at least twice a year.

Luckily, we try to drag our holidays out as long as possible, so it felt like we have been celebrating Halloween for awhile now. 

Leading up to Halloween, we checked out piles of library books and spent lots of time making decorations. I have never been one for decorating for each holiday, but somehow I’m raising two kids who LOVE making decorations.

Some traditions stayed the same like carving pumpkins (thank goodness Matt enjoys it), going to the pumpkin patch, and making art. We added a new tradition this year: going on a hike in our costumes the week of Halloween.

Now, it's time to move onto Thanksgiving.

(I already posted most of these photos on Instagram, but I wanted to journal here anyway. Just not ready to quit the blog yet.)
Confession: this might be blasphemous, but I actually don’t like carving pumpkins (Matt does though, so our kids will still have a decent childhood). It’s messy and time-consuming, and then you have a masterpiece that only lasts for a few days.
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I’m always looking for other things to do with pumpkins, and this is a fun one that has become a tradition for us.
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For the past two years, we’ve attempted to grow our own pumpkins. Each year, we’ve taken a pumpkin we’ve grown and made this weird spider web with a spider on it. ⠀

The best part is Everett did it almost all by himself, and he even let Cambria help a little. He named his spider Big Girl, after Cambria, because that’s what she calls herself.⠀
She moved this chair by her bookshelf to read her “bookies.” Upon finishing her pumpkin art, she stood on the chair and repeatedly yelled, “I love my pumpkin!” She definitely has a healthy self-esteem. This girl is so proud of her art every time. ⠀⠀

This boy is in a phase where he wants to write letters and draw and paint all day, and it’s fun to see what he creates.
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This is his painting of a pumpkin patch and he’s explaining to me how “some of the pumpkins have little baby pumpkins in their tummies.”

I took these dragons on a hike. I’m thinking this may just become a new Halloween week tradition for us. ⠀⠀

I’m not the mom who will spend hours hand crafting a beautiful homemade costume, but I am the mom who will excitedly take my costumed kids on an adventure.

As a mom, I’m learning to embrace what makes me happy, and let go of the rest. Let’s spend more time feeling good about what makes us who we are and less time feeling guilty about the things we’re not.





Because even dragons get tired and need to rest on a hike:
Until next year...

Monday, October 29, 2018

Pumpkin Patching.

When I am old and gray (which could describe me in two years or in thirty years), this is the type of morning I will think about. I can already see myself feeling nostalgic about days like this both when Everett goes off to kindergarten next year or when he goes off college. These are the kind of little adventures I will look back on fondly and miss from this season of life. 

We arrived at the pumpkin patch when it first opened, and we had the place all to ourselves. 

Everett is in a phase where he is a little scared of things he hasn't done before, so he wasn't sure about the hay ride and the corn maze, but he felt brave and went anyway. He loved them both so much. We were the only ones on the hay ride, and then the only ones in the corn maze. It was just the three of us. 

We fed some carrots to the goats, and then headed out to the field of pumpkins. While the kids were about to each choose their own from the patch, Everett said, "Mom, I have a great idea. Since we already bought pumpkins from the store, instead of buying pumpkins, let's go on the hay ride and in the corn maze again." I was totally fine with not purchasing expensive pumpkins, so we left the picturesque scene behind to go on another hay ride and corn maze adventure. Again, the three of us had it all to ourselves. The second time through the corn maze, Everett's goal was to find all the dead ends instead of make it out. Each time we made it to the exit, Everett turned around and pretended we were still lost, finding more turns that led to nowhere. Cambria and I happily followed his lead. 

We spent a few hours at the pumpkin patch, and upon returning to the car, we were all covered in dirt and it was magical. It's been a rough patch of parenthood for me lately, so I needed a day like this.

Sometimes I wonder why I quit my job to be a stay at home mom. By society's standards (and even my own standards), my life feels like it lacks purpose sometimes. But it is days like this, a quiet weekday morning, when it feels like we are on a special adventure just the three of us, that I know I am in the right space these days.
My determined little girl:

 This is his go to face these days:








 Everett wanted to take a photo of Cambria and me:

Saturday, October 27, 2018

New York.














In the city that never sleeps, we slept eleven hours straight our first night. We walked a half marathon worth of miles each day. We ate too much delicious food; we drank fancy cocktails. We saw a Broadway show, wandered the streets past midnight, and ended up at a rooftop bar at one in the morning.

We lived our best kid-free life.

We had the lucky opportunity to go to New York together this October. Matt, being the innovative and inspiring educator that he is, had to go to a foundation meeting at the Brooklyn Brewery (really tough spot for a work meeting) for the grant he writes and receives each year. If you know anything about being a public school teacher, you probably know that travel perks aren't a part of the job, so we made the most of it. I tagged along, and we had a few days to ourselves in the city.

Here is what we did each day and some photos to go along with it.

Day One:
We arrived at night and then checked into our hotel, the Arlo Nomad, had dinner and cocktails at Henry at the Life Hotel, and then we wandered around and experienced the buzz of nighttime in New York. This meal was definitely the most interesting food we ate, but everything was delicious (it was a Pan-African menu, influenced by the African Diaspora with African, Latin, and Caribbean dishes).

Day Two:
We walked from our hotel to get bagels (Brooklyn Bagels) and coffee (Ace Hotel) and then walked the High Line. Once we made it to the end, we wandered up Fifth Avenue to Central Park. Then, we went to the theatre and got last minute inexpensive tickets to Wicked on Broadway. Before the show, we went to As Is, which is a good beer bar in Hell's Kitchen We finished with a late night dinner at Shake Shack, and then we wandered around the city at night (confession: I don't really understand the hype when it comes to Shake Shack).

Day Three: We got some pastries (a bit overrated in my opinion) and walked down to Greenwich Village to explore. We ate lunch at Joe's Pizza, had a beer at Blind Tiger Ale House, and then explored street art near East Village. Then, we had a delicious cocktail and dinner at Freemans, which was a hidden treasure of a restaurant down an unsuspecting alley. After dinner, we tried to get into a comedy show with no luck, had an amazing negroni at Dante, and then walked back to our hotel with a stop for dessert at Milk.

Day Four: One of the many things that we loved about our hotel was that there were free bikes to use. We got some bagels and biked to Brooklyn. We loved biking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Then, we biked to Williamsburg to meet Matt's colleague at a Torst for delicious beer. We biked back to our hotel across the Williamsburg Bridge. Then, we brought in dinner from Xi'an Famous Foods, which had delicious Asian dishes with homemade noodles (that I wish I could eat right now).

Day Five: Matt had his conference at the Brooklyn Brewery, so we took our luggage there, and I had about six hours to wander around Williamsburg.

Other things we wanted to do but didn't make it to: Top of the Rock, The Met, a comedy show

Day Two:
View from our hotel:


The High Line:





Bryant Park:
Central Park:

Times Square: It's full of tourists taking pictures, but does anyone actually like Times Square?
Hotel rooftop:

Day Three:
Photo booth pictures from the day before:
Hotel rooftop:
Fun hotel decor:
Washington Square Park:
Greenwich Village:

Street Art in East Village:








Day Four:
Biking the Brooklyn Bridge

Dumbo:
Biking to Williamsburg: