Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekend Away

Eric & me
Eric and I went away for the weekend- to New York City for my friend Amanda's wedding.  It was our first time away together since before Charlotte was born, and our first time spending more than 1 night away together since we had kids!  It was made possible by the help of our family and friends- my parents took the kids Friday night and early Saturday morning; my sister did Saturday into Sunday; Jane and Ed did Friday night dinner, Saturday night dinner, and Sunday morning breakfast; our friend Geoff took the boys to a classmate's birthday party on Sunday.

We had a GREAT time.  It helped that the whole weekend was planned and provided for by Amanda, her husband Brad, and their families, so we went from one delicious meal with an open bar to another.
Flat Iron at sunset
We took the train up on Friday afternoon, and did some work on the train.  We were staying at my mom's cousin's apartment at 37th and Park, which ended up being a very walkable location for most of our weekend activities.  We started by walking to Rent the Runway for me to get a cocktail dress for the night- I found a dress, but we ended up race-walking back up Park Avenue to get ready for dinner.  As is the way when you're already late, everything took too long.  I needed new pantyhose and there was a line down the aisle at Duane Reade; the first train that came through our station didn't stop and the train we did get on kicked us off 2 stops before our destination; we started walking the wrong way on Canal... We did get a cab and I was changing my pantyhose in the backseat, and double-sided taping my dress to my bra while we rode!
my Friday night dress
Friday night dinner was fun- we got to catch up with old friends, and I toasted the bride and groom.  We did try to get home a little early (10:30) since we knew we had so much we wanted to do the next day, and that the wedding would go late.

Saturday was perfect.  The weather was sunny and not too cold.  First thing, I went for a 5 mile run, up 5th Avenue and through Central Park and back down again.  I got to look at the store windows decorated for Christmas without inconveniencing Eric.  After my run and a shower, we went out to breakfast together, and then walked down toward the Flat Iron district.  We did Hanukkah shopping and shopped for ourselves (but didn't get anything. I looked at the things I want most for Hanukkah- Chloe perfume and cold-weather running gear- but didn't buy).  Then we parted ways. I went to one of Amanda's husband's offices (he runs a huge company, which is impressive, given he isn't even 30 yet) where there was a company called the Glam Squad set up to do hair and makeup for everyone.  There was Prosecco, coffee, sandwiches, small desserts... Amazing.  Back in college we drank cheap "champagne" and ate who knows what as we got ready together- Amanda has clearly moved up in the world!

I have never had both my hair and makeup professionally done, not even for my own wedding, and it was great- I felt so beautiful.  After hair and makeup, I went back to the apartment where we were staying to get ready for the wedding.  My parents were there, too.  We got ready and left with what seemed to be plenty of time.
my hair- loved it
But Saturday was a big day in New York.  Not only was there a large protest/march against police brutality, it was also Santa Con, which apparently means lots of people go around the city dressed like Santa/reindeer/elves and get stinking drunk and/or high.  All this translated to: not a cab to be found.  Well, we got one cab to pull over but when we told him where we were going he said it was "too close."  So we walked.  I was in 4 inch heels.  I couldn't do it (we walked 6.5 avenues west and 6 blocks south), so I poked my head into a nail salon and paid $1 for the cheap foam pedicure flip flops.  So I speed-walked all the way to the wedding in a long gown, a vintage fur stole from my great-grandma, and pedicure flip flops.  People were laughing at me the whole way there (and I was laughing at myself!) but I had to save my feet for dancing.
cross-town trek in pedicure flip-flops
The wedding was gorgeous!  Candle light, rose champagne, natural touches.  It was especially wonderful because it was so clear that the bride and groom were in love, and that their families were happy with the marriage and all got along.  There was no tension (that I was aware of or that was obvious) and everyone seemed genuinely thrilled to watch Amanda and Brad get married.  There was endless food and endless celebration.

We had so much fun- I had to take my shoes off to keep dancing.  I also felt great. I loved the dress I had rented from Rent the Runway (and so did Eric) and I felt so beautiful.  I probably felt as beautiful as I did on my own wedding day, or more, because now I feel especially proud of myself for getting back into shape after 2 pregnancies.
the back of my dress. I felt so pretty
Sunday was a brunch (more food! and mimosas!) and we were all running low on energy.  We left around 11 and got home around 1 to a house full of love bugs who had missed us.  It was great to be home- but being away definitely felt energizing and exciting.  I think we will have to do it again sometime sooner than 2 years from now.

And one of my best friends in the world is now happily married to a great guy.  I thought a lot over the weekend about how well things have turned out for all of my close friends from college.  We have married great guys; entered into meaningful and enjoyable careers; had beautiful, healthy children.  It was a gift to watch Amanda get married; after hours and hours of phone conversations over the years about love and heartbreak, she has married her perfect match.  I was so honored to be a part of all of it.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Plague

Daddy and Asher at urgent care Thursday night
I had many other posts I had hoped to write, but we have all been taking down by a plague- or a variety of plagues.

Last weekend I started with a cold, and was miserable Sunday and into Monday.  Then Charlotte started a fever Monday/Tuesday. Then she seemed better Wednesday, but Asher had a fever.  Then on Thursday, Benjamin had a fever. On Thursday, I took Asher and Charlotte to school, and as we pulled into the parking lot, Asher said, "mommy, my throat hurts."  Being the excellent mommy that I am, I told him I was sure he was fine, and have a great day at school!  By 10 am, the school had called Eric to come get Charlotte because she had a fever.
Sweet, sick baby
By the time I got home from work on Thursday evening, EVERYONE in the house had a fever over 100.  Except me.  So we all went to urgent care.  Asher had strep (nice job for me, telling him he was fine, and therefore exposing a roomful of kids to strep), Benjamin had strep, and Eric and Charlotte were deemed "viral."  Friday we stayed home to recover; Saturday everyone but Charlotte had fully recovered, and she just had a runny nose.  Saturday night, my throat started to hurt.  I went to bed hoping that I was just a hypochondriac and not actually beginning with strep.
Mommy, Charlotte, and Benjamin at urgent care
Sunday, I woke up and knew it was definitely strep.  I called the on-call doctor from my doctor's office and explained the story- 2 diagnosed cases of strep in the house, huge tonsils with white patches, fever, dizziness... He called in antibiotics for me.  All 3 kids seemed fine, and Eric took them to Costco so I could rest. I was convinced I was going to feel fine, and we'd take the kids to Sesame Place in the afternoon.

I went downhill FAST and spent the rest of the day in bed.  Then Benjamin started with a fever around dinner time.  Then Charlotte woke up with a fever this morning.  I called her doctor's office and we were able to get in at 4 pm today, where they said she definitely has an ear infection, and prescribed antibiotics.
How a sick mommy gets to "take it easy"
Now 80% of our household is on antibiotics.  I have bleached the kitchen top to bottom, and our cleaning lady comes tomorrow- I will make sure she gets all our door handles.  We have been housebound for a week.  The kids have missed plenty of school, and it's just the beginning of December.  The only good thing is that this happened now- on our least-eventful weekend of the month, so we didn't miss out on too much fun or celebrating.  Now I hope we can all get well and stay well.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Charlotte and Eli playing together

pre-dinner cocktails in front of the fire
We had yet another Thanksgiving with much to be thankful for.  For the first time, the boys really seemed to "get" it, and came home talking about what they learned in school, and the things they couldn't wait to do.  Asher especially was excited about seeing all of his cousins from Boston and his Aunt Elana.  He made cards for all of his cousins, and carefully wrote out their names as Eric spelled them out.  Asher is definitely beginning to put things together in terms of letters/sounds, so I am excited about him reading in the near-ish future.

Today the boys were singing a song that I assumed they learned at school, which included their names, saying, "Asher's in the long house, the long house, the long house.  Asher's in the long house [insert name of activity here]."  So, the first activity they said was "chopping wood."  Then, they clearly couldn't remember what activities they had sung about at school, and began making up lyrics.  We got, "Asher's in the long house, getting naked!" and "Benjamin's in the long house, killing animals!"  At which point Eric and I exploded and told them they were only allowed to do nice things in the long house, like baking cookies or giving hugs.  So tonight, Asher began to sing it again and said, "Asher's in the long house, NOT getting naked or killing animals..."

Thanksgiving morning, I did a 5 mile Turkey Trot with my sister and my cousin.  After having run a half-marathon the Sunday before, the 5-miler was just like a walk in the park!  It also absolved me of too much pie-related guilt later in the day.

Thursday night we had a delicious and abundant dinner at Jane and Ed's house.  We had 2 turkeys with 2 kinds of gravy and stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, challah rolls, parker house rolls, corn bread, apple sauce, 2 kinds of cranberry sauce, salad, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pumpkin tiramisu, an apple cake, a pear tart, bananas in citrus syrup, and chocolate candies.  I'm almost positive that there was more food that I'm forgetting, but isn't that plenty? Everything was delicious, of course.

All 3 of the kids had fun playing with their cousins.  Charlotte and Eli played together really nicely on Thanksgiving night, and then we were all able to meet up again on Saturday at the Please Touch Museum. I was very close with my cousins growing up, both geographically and emotionally.  While my kids don't have any cousins who are geographically near, watching them enjoy their cousins' company, and look forward to seeing them, is rewarding.

As in all the years that came before, I have much to be thankful for again this year.  Primarily, of course, the health and happiness of my little family.  And to be living a life beyond what I had even hoped for 10 years ago.  I am not rich or famous, but I never hoped to be.  I have a great husband and a wonderful family, and an extended family I love and can rely on. Even if we aren't rich, we have more than enough. In every aspect of my life, I am fortunate.  I am happy to wake up each morning to my beautiful children and husband in our warm home; to have food to eat everyday; to be able to use my body without pain; to go to a job that fulfills me and where I am respected for the work I do; to come home to a husband who takes care of me and our children without complaint.  I have friends I can count on and who like me for who I am.  I am thankful for much more than this, but I don't want to be obnoxious or tedious in listing off every little thing.  I think it is enough to say, I am a very lucky girl.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

the Nutcracker


Before the show
On Saturday, my mom and I took the kids to see the Nutcracker ballet at a nearby performing arts center.  As a little girl, my mom would take me to the Nutcracker every year.  I loved the music, the dancing, the story.  One year I got a nutcracker as a Hanukkah gift.  I've never forgotten those times with my mom, and couldn't wait to make those memories with my own children.

We all got dressed up.  Charlotte wore a beautiful dress that my supervisor had given to me as a gift before she was born.  The dress had a full skirt, and Charlotte couldn't stop twirling. Adorable!  The boys wore real pants (which is to say, not sweatpants) and looked so handsome.
A girl, her gown, and her fruit snacks
Mommy and her Bear
I found myself teary-eyed at many points.  How can it be that I am getting to experience my favorite childhood ballet with three beautiful children of my own?  To think that there was a time when I didn't know if I'd ever have children.

Asher stayed engaged throughout the ballet; Benjamin was able to sit through most of it; and Charlotte made it to intermission.  Not bad- the show we went to was very low-key, with mostly young children, so expectations for behavior were low.  Towards the end of the show, the kids stood at the front of the balcony (no one was sitting there) and danced along with the music.  It was one of the best moments of being a parent, to get to experience the magic of the world through my children's eyes, and to share something I love with them.  I hope we started a new tradition with this new generation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

first field trip

I never wrote a post about the boys' first field trip!  On October 31, I chaperoned their class trip to the local fire station (the one that is halfway between our house and their school).  I was maybe just as excited as they were.  I was definitely more excited than Benjamin was, since he told me in the morning that he didn't want to go, and that maybe he was sick.  Then when I told him boys who were too sick to go to the fire station were also too sick to go trick-or-treating, he made an instant recovery.

Here are some pictures of our trip:
the class had made fireman jackets for the trip
Asher spraying the fire hose

Benjamin spraying the fire hose

the fire station gave the class fireman hats
The class on the fire truck
The class with teachers and chaperones by the truck
I left the trip with enormous respect for their teacher.  4 year-olds are not always great listeners.  Miss Carol, their teacher, seems to have endless patience with them.  She offered many opportunities for the kids to ask questions, and then everyone would raise their hand and offer up a statement of fact.  She would then remind them that questions are things you "wonder" about.  And yet she kept offering the opportunity for the kids to ask.  I don't know how she does it day after day!  After about 5 minutes of nonsense questions or statements of fact with the kids, I find myself ready to say, "No more questions! Quiet time!"  I guess that's why I'm not a teacher.  Just a lucky mommy who gets to take her boys on their first field trip.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

gymnastics


my 3 little gymnasts

I enrolled all 3 kids in gymnastics.  Charlotte is in a 15-35 month old class where I stay with her, and the boys are in a 3 y.o. - 5 y.o. class with a teacher, all at the same time.

I don't think I blogged about it, but I had enrolled the boys in the toddler class at this same gym when they turned 2.  It was a terrible experience.  The class ran 8 weeks over what was essentially the first trimester of my pregnancy with Charlotte.  I was beyond exhausted, I was nauseous, the gym smelled like feet and my nose was over-sensitive.  The teacher was nasty and didn't pay even a second of attention to the boys, except to yell at me when they weren't doing what she had asked and to tell me to take them out of the gym if they couldn't follow directions (they were 2 year old boys! what did she expect?).  We suffered through and I tried to forget that it had ever happened.

This past spring, Benjamin did a gymnastics class at the JCC, but I was not impressed with the quality of the instruction there.  One day when I dropped him off, I was pretty sure that the teacher was high.  So that's not great, either.

Finally, Asher expressed interest in taking a class, which is exciting, since he has refused any activity since soccer in the summer of 2013.  Charlotte is amazing flexible, and can already do the splits, so gymnastics it is.

Our first class went great!  The boys did their thing, and every time I glanced at them, they seemed to be following the teacher and participating happily.  Charlotte was extremely enthusiastic about her class, especially the trampoline (which the boys refused to go on when they were 2; much hysteria and screaming around that activity).  The teachers adored her, and the other moms complimented me on her ability, considering it was her first class.  After the class, the kids get half an hour in the "fun factory," which they loved.

It was a very successful morning, and led to excellent afternoon naps.  I'm looking forward to this routine for the next few weeks!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

This post is belated because, like the excellent mother that I am, I didn't take any pictures and was waiting on my friend to email me the ones she took.

It was probably the most fun Halloween we've ever had!  All 3 kids were really into it, and loved trick-or-treating, and costumes, and candy.

I posted a few months ago about the trouble I had with some friends and neighbors.  Well, our Halloween was a reminder that we have wonderful friends who value our friendship and whose kids love mine as much as mine love theirs.  We hosted 4 other families for a pre-trick-or-treat dinner, since we live in an excellent trick-or-treat neighborhood (lots of houses close together, lots of families). Around these good friends, I feel like I can be myself, have fun, and just enjoy their company.  I told Eric they are my "real" friends- I never have to worry what they think of me or my kids.  We've seen each other and each other's kids at their worst and we still want to be together.  I felt happy to have them with us, and to watch all of our kids have such a great time together.
The group before we headed out
Asher the giraffe
The group going down the street
the rush for candy
the smaller ones at the back
my two big guys in their super-cute costumes
Charlotte Kitty Cat
Sad kitty cat
I loved that my boys chose to be animals, even when so many of their friends are Batman/Superman/Iron Man or something.  I think animals are the best costumes, and I couldn't have picked better ideas for them myself!  Asher's giraffe costume got a lot of attention because of its long neck, but it started flopping over before long, which bothered him.  And I had to put Charlotte in a fleece, since it was colder than I'd anticipated and had only gotten her a long-sleeve t-shirt.  Oh well, with a face like hers, the rest doesn't even matter!

The kids got what I consider a reasonable amount of candy.  I've been using it as a bribe ever since!  Charlotte loves her candy and is constantly trying to eat something, and then I take it away, and then she cries.  Meanest mommy ever.

On Saturday, Asher told me he was going to go trick-or-treating again that night.  He was very disappointed when I told him no trick-or-treating again until next year!  We tried to find other things to look forward to, and it seems Thanksgiving will be an acceptable substitute for Halloween.

Halloween is hundreds of times better as a mommy than it was from about age 9 on.  I used to dread it or avoid it; now I look forward to it and enjoy it.  It's one of the things I love most about having kids- the chance to see the world anew through their eyes.  It reminds me of the ways in which the things I take for granted or have become bored by are truly amazing and wonderful; that the world is still full of magic.