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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Flamingo Mystery

If there were ever any doubt of just how cooky our street is,  Art Holliday of KSDK put an end to that question. 
Which is exactly why I love where we live. 
Plus the proximity to the park and the phenomenal schools. 
But the people who share this block with us are pretty great too.

I love our block because
not everyone is the same
we have lots of different family configurations
single parents
two parent families
one neighbor is an immigrant mother who owns a restaurant and rides the bus to get there every day
we have a wide range of ages on our street
there are empty nesters
plus houses with lots of kids
and young people too
there are renters
and owners
there are engineers, writers, retired teachers, nuns, office workers, artists 
we have tidy yards 
and overgrown spaces
one neighbor smokes a cigar and reads his paper in his car every single morning
it's an eclectic place where we all fit.

  1. 1.
    deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

In the quiet

We arranged for an SUV with a carseat, to pick us up when we arrived late on Wednesday.  Henry, our driver, was a kind New Yorker who made the trip a breeze.  Emma and I sat in the third row and she excitedly chattered as we drove from LaGuardia to Brooklyn.   I cannot remember exactly what she said but she said but she was talking the World Trade Center and September 11th and how creepy it was that she was born almost exactly two years later and how glad she was not to have her birthday on the 11th.  I whispered that maybe we should talk about something different.  I wanted to be sensitive to Henry and for whatever reason it felt like the way in which Em was talking was not so sensitive.

Though we hadn't planned to visit the 9/11 Memorial, on Friday we found ourselves there.  It was impossible not to be moved.  I felt myself repeatedly stopping tears, which made me thankful for sunglasses.  Though the girls have heard about September 11th it was clear they'd never really thought about it.  

Their questions tumbled out as quickly as the falling fountain water.  
Didn't they know the towers would fall? 
Were there kids?  
Were there moms?  
Were there dads?
It was right here
Where were you?

Later that day as we walked down a quiet street in Brooklyn Emma squeezed my hand and asked "Do you think Henry knew someone who died on 9/11?".  I answered honestly, that I didn't know but it's possible.  She shook her head and it was clear that in those moments at the memorial she'd grown up just little, right before my eyes.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When the going gets tough....

A friend told me about a study which stated families who camp feel closer than families who do not.  We talked about that study with a good dose of skepticism. The take away from the study was, when camping, families face difficulties that they have to solve together thus eventually leading them to a close bond.   I didn't read the study but I think this could be extrapolated to include families who vacation together.  Vacations=difficulties and we faced a few.

Problem #1...3 hour flight delay, after we'd arrived at the airport and parked the car.

No one complained.  They played games and kept themselves happily occupied without any devices (though if things had gotten rough I'd not have had a single issue with handing over an iPad) until our plane left at 8pm.  Of course the pat down I endured at security provided a nice long laugh for them put them in a jovial mood.

Problem #2...Huge disappointment at American Girl

I won't go into the details of how we ended up going to the Isabelle movie premier but it was not originally in our plan.  Though we were promised it would be a great time complete with an opportunity to meet the actresses from the movie and real New York City Ballet ballerinas.   The girls were so excited!  We arrived at the American Girl store at 4pm and waited for 45 minutes for an American Girl shuttle to take up another 35 minutes to a theatre.  By the time our shuttle (chock full of other excited girls) arrived the ballerinas were gone and the actresses were seated.  We saw them from afar but whoopee, the girls thought they'd meet them.  We watched the movie and then took the subway back.  There was no way we were waiting for another shuttle.   We had some blue girls on our hands.
However it was amazing to watch them as they felt it, they named it and slowly they moved on.   I on the other hand was still fuming inside but I smiled on the outside and began to mentally compose a sternly worded email to American Girl.  That helped and then I moved on. 

Our whole evening was off kilter.  We walked to Rockefeller Center, exhausted and starving.   Past any smart level of hungry and in the danger territory.

We found Magnolia Bakery!  Carrot cake was the cupcake flavor of the day.  My favorite, unless there is yellow cake with chocolate buttercream.  Things were looking up. We were one spot away from ordering our cupcakes when I noticed just one little carrot cake cupcake in the glass case.  My name was all over it.  The woman in front of us in line did not notice my name and ordered the very last carrot cake cupcake of the day.  
No more in back. 
Eleanor looked up at me with her sweet little eyes--sorry mom!
Every other cupcake seemed to pale in comparison but I had to snap out of it.   Foucs, these are just cupcakes!  We ordered a few flavors, which were all amazing.  
We found some sandwiches which nobody was all that excited about but ate them anyway.
 Our hanger vanished and we started talking about the night we thought we were going to have versus the night we did have.
We laughed about how really bad it was in comparison to our anticipated night and somehow I felt so happy. 
I felt really proud of our girls.  
They can handle disappointment! 
 Feeling gratitude in spite of a letdown is key to happiness in life and it felt so good to see a real life example of how they handled a little sorrow.
I still wish Emma had met a real ballerina and I'd had a carrot cake cupcake.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back home

Wow, what an amazing trip!  Too short but just wonderful! 
Traveling with kids is never the easiest and sometimes as we're getting ready for a trip or even right in the middle of a crazy adventure I wonder if it's worth all the money and exhaustion. 

 It is.  

The time away and the opportunity for all of us to see something different, to get out of our own little world for a bit is worth it all.  On this vacation I learned a lot about my whole family and this week I'm hoping to write about a few of those lessons.  

One lesson I learned is that Lucy is awesome.  Oh sure, I already knew this but she was just amazing!
You don't see tons of kids under 6 or so in Manhattan.  There is so much walking!  And it's busy!  
Lucy was totally unfazed.  

For instance this is Lucy on the ferry on the way back from the Statue of Liberty.  Yes, that's the ground and no, I'm not freaking out about germs.  Everything in New York in germy and just plain dirty.  She was worn out and so she just figured out what to do for herself.  

She found things all over that she loved and made friends everywhere!  This was at an ice cream shop in Williamsburg.  She wants that backpack.  Right before this she'd seen a picture of Jesus eating ice cream and yelled..."Momma!  God eating ice cream!!!!".  The woman behind us in line grabbed my arm and said "oh my gosh!!!  she is soooo adorable!"  We heard variations of this all weekend.

On the last day we brought a stroller because her little legs were just worn out!  She figured out a way to rest.  

 I hope I remember exactly how this moment sounded and felt forever.  We'd just had a picnic and we walked over to a pier to look at the city.  Along the pier there were men fishing and Lucy was insistent that we join.  And here is the part that was amazing.  Her desire to fish led us to a conversation with the fishermen.  She draws us to people everywhere.  We talk to fishermen, and drivers, and janitors and just about everyone because of her.  She's curious about everything and wants to talk to people about who they are and what they do. 
Lucy is awesome.

Friday, July 18, 2014

New York so far

It has been great.  A little crazy and utterly exhausting but fantastic!  A quick overview....

Our flight out of St. Louis was delayed 3 hours and so we left at 8pm instead of 5pm.

  The kids were as close to perfect as travelers can get and we felt so thankful!  It did mean that bedtime though was 1am and that was a bummer!

We slept in a little the next morning and enjoyed the incredible apartment where we are staying.  It is amazing.  Right now Kevin and I are relaxing upstairs

and the kids are watching a movie on a huge projector screen downstairs.  

Anyway, after a pretty leisurely morning we headed to Central Park. 

So much fun!

Later in the afternoon we went to the American Girl movie event and I'll just say it was a bust. 

Just look at poor Kevin.  

Today we woke up tired but we weren't about to let that stop,us, today was our day for the Statue of Liberty! 

El and I grabbed coffe for us in Brooklyn and away we went!

Here we are on the ferry.  May be the only family photo we get so I'm just going to be happy with it!

Blake is here and that is making everything even more fun!

After lunch at the Shake Shack we visited the 9/11 grounds. 

It is unbelievable and I felt pretty emotional.  Emma had a million questions. 

And then there was Lucy who tried to swim in the fountain.  

We are back in Brooklyn now resting up for a little while.  Lucy was the only one who fell asleep on the subway but honestly we all looked like that.  

I love New York!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Time to travel!

It is time to travel!  
We are mostly packed and planned and very excited.
Unlike the last time when Kevin and I planned to visit New York City  the weather looks great!  

Here's what we are looking forward to:

 Flight to NYC

Central Park
Manhattan American Girl Store and Isabelle movie premiere

Statue of Liberty

Empire State Building
Matilda on Broadway

Flight home

It's a quick trip and we've tried not to over plan.  That's hard though, there are so many things we'd love to see and do.  We are staying in Brooklyn, at Jay's girlfriend's apartment which should be really nice since we'll have a little more room to spread out  than we would in a hotel room.  We're looking forward to seeing Jay as well as Blake who will be joining us from SF!  

Friday, July 11, 2014


This was the fastest week of the summer.  It was another great one!  Emma attended her first week of ballet camp and loved it!  The rest of us did our usual hanging out, swimming, library, enjoying life routine.  I don't really think it gets better than this.  Plus we ended the week with a visit from Grandpa and LoMein noodles.  It's a good life!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Fourth of July

It was perfect! 
The weather was unbelievable!  
We spent lots of time outside, ate great food and enjoyed wonderful company.  
The only problem is that it's over!

My dad and Kyra's backyard is under construction.  So we hung out a lot in the front yard!  On Thursday night when we arrived, Emma and Eleanor helped my dad put together a fire pit.  We put it to good use all weekend. Ribs, hot dogs, s'mores!

The 4th was warm enough to play with water balloons and go swimming but not so hot that we couldn't just enjoy being outside.  

Fireworks in front of the Columns!

We woke up to a cool and overcast Saturday.  So cool in fact that we headed downtown to pick up some Mizzou sweatshirts.  
What beautiful Tigers fans we have!

We spent the morning enjoying downtown.
Drinking the best coffee and hot cocoa at Short Wave.

finding a few books at Yellow Dog Books,

meeting up with this guy,

and picking up some yummy balsamic and olive oil at Boone Olive Oil.

We thought about going for a walk once we got home but only got as far as the end of the driveway before it poured!

Trust me, it wasn't a problem!

Before long, but after Sean showed up, we headed back downtown for an early dinner and our second ice cream trip of the weekend.

There were cards and a movie plus a run and Starbucks.  There was staying up late (for all of us!) and getting up late (for some of us!).  There was our favorite breakfast and friends we've not seen in a long time.   There was being so relaxed we quite literally forgot what day it was.  
It was a long weekend vacation!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Today marks our 14th wedding anniversary.  
I won't get too mushy here about how thankful I am to be married to Kevin, but I am.  
When you get married you have no idea what you're in for.  Of course you know you're in love, you think the person you're crazy about makes good decisions (hopefully you think this!) and treats you well.  But the little things, which really turn out to be the big things,  the things that make you stay in love, you don't have any idea about those.  The in and out, every. single. day. of. my. life.  things are unknowns, because face it, you don't even have those figured out for yourself, and how can you be expected to know those things about some other person? 
Well, you can't.  
Which is why when it turns out that you really did make the best decision of your whole entire life 14 years ago, you thank God.  You thank Him a million times over and then you start again.

I won't say that 14 years ago seems like just yesterday because it doesn't.  I remember details of the day like it was yesterday but no, it doesn't feel like it just happened. 
 Tonight we'll celebrate with cookie cake, because today also happens to be Eleanor's half birthday and that's what she requested!  Kevin will probably fall asleep right after dinner because he had about 3 hours of sleep last night.  He had a flight from Chicago cancelled late last night and then had to rent a car and drive home, which meant he arrived home at about 4am.  
These are the little things you can't know about.  You can't know how happy you'll feel when you see your exhausted husband walk in at 4 in the morning or how big his smile will be, even with the blood shot eyes, when he walks into the kitchen the next morning to wish you a happy anniversary and to say how happy he is to be home.