Thursday, September 30, 2010

Check this out

My friend Brian does these blog posts sometimes where it's just a bunch of links to things - things he likes or wants or dreams about. It's fun. Tonight I'm going to do that to tell you about my day.

Today was a stellar day.

It started with a Rumble and Tumble class at the Y, during which E went crazy in an environment like this.

Next we walked home through the park, playing in puddles and picking up interesting looking twigs and such, and spending quite a bit of time ogling and petting these.

After a very restful and rejuvinating nap, mom went to work cleaning the apartment while E decided to forgo lunch and just snack.

Later in the afternoon, I spent a magical hour doing something I never do anymore. I chatted on the phone to one of my very favourite people.

I made this for dinner.

And this for dessert.

And now I'm going to go watch this with the hubby and go to bed.


What Elle's sayin'

I can't sleep. So let me tell you how cute my daughter is.

Yesterday we were at the Copy Cottage, a quaint little shop that has mailboxes, copy services, etc. and usually a cute little bunny rabbit in a giant aquarium (sans water) that keeps watch over the whole operation. Yesterday, said rabbit was conspicuously absent.

Before I had considered the possible repercussions I asked: "Where's the rabbit?" Fortunately, it turns out he had gone to live with one of their customers. No, I didn't ask if this mysterious customer lived "on a farm". I believe my response was "Oh. That's too bad." And we left.

Well, all the way home, and again later that day for dad's enjoyment, E kept throwing her arms in the air proclaiming "Bunny rabbit GONE! Sad. Poor guy! Poooooor guy", with a sad little shake of her head. Priceless.

She has also figured out how the world of supply and demand works. It used to be that when we were out of something she wanted, I would inform her of this and, after some minor voicings of displeasure, we would find a suitable alternative. Not so anymore. A few days ago she asked for grapes. She always asks for grapes. She loves grapes. On this day we were out of grapes. I let her down gently, then tried a hard sell for the delicious pineapple I had just purchased.

Her response: GAAAAAAPES!!!
Mom: I'm sorry honey. We're out of grapes.
Elle: Buy some!

Oh. Right. There's always that option.

One more for the road.

E is working out our schedule. She loves to do laundry. Every time we walk by the laundromat she yells "DO LAUNDRY!!!" In an effort to keep her informed of our habits, I figured I'd tell her what days we do laundry. Now she knows that we do laundry on MUNNAY! Also on Munnay: JI-TTER-BUGS! When is yoga? TUE-DAY! When do we see AB? FIE-DAY! Soon I won't need to write down my to-do lists anymore. I have it all stored in my own personal voice recorder. If only they made one that I can fit in my pocket.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Date Night!

J and I went on a date on Monday night. We were celebrating J having written his last exam...well, for another year or so. It seems like he has chosen a path that involves never being able to say "I will NEVER EVER write an exam EVER again!!!" It's too bad. I remember how good it felt to say that.

I can count the number of dates we've had in 2010 on one hand, and there's still a thumb left over. I can't tell you how nice it was to linger over dinner. To chat and eat slowly and not have to worry about keeping the third wheel happy. The food was fantastic, the mojitos were some of the best we've had, and the company - of course - was a treat.

Not once did I hear HEY! MORE! or ALL DONE! AAAALLLL DOOONNNNNE! while I was trying to squeeze in a mouthful. No one decided, once our food was put in front of us, that we wanted something DIFF-INT! No one squirmed in the chair, trying to break free to run amok through the restaurant. And I didn't have to clean anyone up afterwards.

Date night, indeed. The next one is already scheduled, and October 16th can't come soon enough!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Some Kind of Wonderful

Today I hobnobbed with a celebrity.
Celebrities, in fact. It turns out that husband and wife are both Hollywood players.

I am starstruck by celebrities. It's a fact. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. Sure, it's much cooler to take the "They're just regular, selfish people who have been led to believe that they're better than everyone...yadda yadda yadda" stance. Yes, to a degree that's true. Some celebrities definitely don't deserve the status they've been given. I find them interesting and I'm not hunting down anyone's home address or lurking in the shadows of their children's schools. Heck, I'm not even the type that will ask for an autograph or a picture. I just like to look at them and enjoy a little proximity to them.

The way I see it, I struck up a conversation with a mom in the park, just like I do on an almost daily basis. And I certainly wouldn't ignore a normal mom based on what she did for a living. Take that, anti-celebs. Sure, I gushed a little more than I usually do. There were probably a couple more self-conscious giggles. And I don't usually tell the moms I meet that I think they're "fantastic"... although maybe I should do that more often.

And it was lovely. It felt just like I was talking to a "normal person". A friendly mom who probably (hopefully) didn't mind hearing that someone thinks she's swell, and who played along well enough to leave me with a smile on my face for the next few hours. Sure, it's a bit silly to get all girlishly excited over a complete stranger, but there it is. I am not cool.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Potty Mouth

Conversation overheard between J and E last night, while E was on the potty:

Jeff: What was that? Did you poop?
Elle: No. Just Farts.
Jeff: What about that? Was that a poop?
Elle: NO! Farting!
Jeff: Do you have to go poop?
Elle: Yah. And pee.
Jeff: You have to poop AND pee?
Elle: Yeah! Pee AND poop AND fart!

That's one for the wedding toast for sure.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just doing it

I'm finding little inspirations everywhere this week. The weather has been perfect - sunny, warm with a crisp breeze. My daughter has been perfect - smiley and cheerful and ready to have fun. Things are just running smoothly this week. We made it to yoga for the first time in 3 weeks, J has been home early enough every evening to play with E while I cook dinner. We've been up early enough every morning to walk Dada to work and get Ralph's exercise in. At the end of the day, my To Do list is checked off and I feel accomplished.

I just feel good. A lot of it has to do with this new challenge Marca and I have been up to. It's forcing me to tackle all of the things that drive me crazy on a daily basis. But it's also forcing me to be more productive, and I'm happier when I'm productive. It's so very easy to let things slide and do nothing when I can get away with it. But instead of feeling rested after a bout of inactivity, I just feel more drained. Because I know I've wasted time and the opportunity to make things better.

This morning I filled a sink full of hot soapy water, donned my new pink rubber gloves and washed the coffee pot, wiped down all of the appliances on the kitchen counter...there are two...washed the Brita and changed the filter, all while E was working away at her blueberries and yogurt. She was right in front of me, so we could chat and I didn't feel like I was ignoring her. It took 5 minutes that I would normally have spent sitting down watching her eat. Now every time I get a cup of coffee today or refill my water glass, there's no little voice on my shoulder saying "Are you going to get to that today? Because you were supposed to do it yesterday and it's not like you haven't had time and it's just getting dirtier and..."

What a difference 5 minutes can make.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

There's no Mom in Self

E has been working on spoon control. She had her 19 month appointment last week, and it occurred to me that - although she is operating at Genius level in almost every capacity - she should probably be better with her utensils. It turns out, much to my surprise, that I'm the kind of parent that is always trying to "help" the point that I forget to let her learn for herself sometimes. I help her up the stairs, I help her build block towers, I help her eat with a spoon and fork. Sure, I'm a nice mama and all, but am I really doing her any favours? Luckily, she has started letting me know that she wants to take care of some of this stuff on her own. One of her favourite new words is "Self". When she wants to do something she usually announces her intentions. I used to take that as a request for help. Now I ask her if she wants to do it herself or if she wants help. To which she responds with either "Self!" or "Help you!". (Next we'll work on our pronouns.)

This morning she enjoyed feeding herself some yogurt and blueberries, naked but for a diaper and a bib. Breakfast #2 was some yummy oatmeal with homemade applesauce and mashed bananas and she showed marked improvement in mess management. I give it a solid B for execution and, as usual, an A+ for style.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tornado you say?

Wow, that was a doozy. It didn't last long, but it sure made an impression.

I remember thinking a few times yesterday that it looked like rain, but figured it was just a grey fall day. We spent much of the day outside, so I was happy not to have to deal with umbrellas and rain covers and being splashed by passing cars. But around dinner time, just after J had met his girls at the park and as we were walking home together, we heard thunder, saw lightning and thought...perhaps we should toss the girl into the stroller and skidaddle. Thank goodness for aligning stars. We managed to walk in the front door approximately 3 minutes or less before all climate-related hell broke loose.

The sky was actually green. My first thought was: Hey, doesn't the sky turn green during a tornado? My second thought was: This would make a great video! Enjoy...

Of course, the video doesn't do it justice. It was violent, it was loud, it was a bit scary, and it was all over in about 15 minutes. Our couch was soaked, there are trees down everywhere, but otherwise it's a beautiful day and you would never know that trailer parks were flying through the air last night. Just keeping it exciting here in NYC.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Aaaand, she's back!

My girl is back in the game. The little one sweated it out all night last night and woke up in fine form. She smiled, she informed me that she dreamed of "Anabelle, Evan and Erin" (friends of ours) as well as "Dada, Evan, Erin, Anabelle" (she can be repetitive sometimes), and later in the day sauntered up to me and said "Hey Melanie!". Oh man.

And how's this for a little mid-week cuteness:

I know, right?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This is what my day looked like...

At least, that's what it looked like after the I changed the OJ-puke-stained sheets on the bed, and after I managed to extract myself from the four-hour stint of being E's pillow. I think her fever might be breaking. I just hope she doesn't wake up at 10pm, ready to party. She may be getting some good rest today, but her parents are working on 3 nights of negligible sleep. I want to write something witty here...but I think witty went on strike after 2 nights.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Attack of the SICK BABY

Our girl is so predictable. And yet, I continue to be slow on the uptake.

She's a good kid. Sure, she's not the most laid back of characters...she has her opinions and is quick and emphatic in stating them...but generally speaking if you do what you're told it's smooth sailing. Until it's not. At which point mom should really start figuring out that it probably means she's sick. But I don't. Until I pick up my screaming, flailing sack of grumpy and realize that she's one hot potato.

This is what happened yesterday. We were having a lovely Skype conversation with Grandma and Papa when things started to go south. That was the first warning. Of course I just figured she was a) hungry or b) tired or c) bored, so I figured I'd take her to the park for a little outdoor distraction. When I asked "Do you want to go to the park?", which usually has the same response that asking "Do you want to go for a WALK?" has on Ralph, her face crumpled and she yelled "NOOOOOOO!". Hmm...too tired for the park? Second warning ignored.

Well, let's push on. So I cut up some grapes, filled up her water bottle, packed some diapers and a sun hat, all while listening to a cranky tirade and trying to bolster her mood by talking about all of the fun things at the park. Poor Ralph is getting more excited by the minute, but E is determinedly focused on expressing her dissatisfaction with the way things are going.

Eventually it was time for the pre-outing diaper change. After the inevitable "Okay, let's change your diaper!"/"NO WAY DUDE!" routine (she actually says that), I scooped her up and thought...hmmm...she's awfully, wait a second...and she's up to speed folks. 102.3 farenheit.

Since then it has been a roller coaster of fever up/fever down, morale up/morale down, E up/coffee down and I'm just trying to ride this thing out. I can't seem to get her in the crib tonight. She's passed out on the bed right now (on J's side, thankfully), and my two attempts at a transfer were met with half-delerious nonsensical shouting and one long tortured wail. I think if she's still like this tomorrow I'll just try to roll with it a bit and see if I can at least fry an egg on her to save on the gas bill.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dimmy sum of that....DIM SUM!

E has always been a good eater. Considering her parents it was pretty unavoidable. One of my biggest fears about having kids was having a picky eater. Whew.
While she likes a whole lot of different foods, and even though she'll tell you that her favourite dinner is "PIZZA!", I've found that the two meals she really gobbles up more than any other are pad thai and dim sum. I don't know why, but I sure am happy about it. Those are two meals that J and I rarely get tired of ourselves.

We finally got around to checking out Brooklyn's Chinatown on Labour Day on our way to the beach. It was there that we found this place, where we stuffed ourselves silly and still had leftovers...for a grand total of $10.50. Now that's what I call a deal. In NYC. Who knew?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Day at the Beach

Unlike her friend Z, E doesn't get a lot of beach days. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit that she hasn't stepped foot on a beach all summer. And it was only a few weeks ago that we discovered the sandbox in one of our neighbourhood parks. Once I explained to her that it's fun to have sand in your shoes, she was sold.

So when I started thinking about what to do on a rare holiday where J doesn't have to study, it didn't take long to decide that we would spend the last unofficial day of summer on the beach. And where do you go for a beach day when you live in Brooklyn? Why, Coney Island of course!

She had a blast. Well, except for the waves. Not a fan of the waves.

But the sand? She was digging the sand. (See what I did there?)

She could have dug to China.

Our little beach baby. We'll make sure to give her more opportunity to flaunt that beach body next year.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Something New-er

When I started this blog 2 years ago, my very first post was titled "Something New". As with most of my writing ventures, it has been a bit stop-and-go, but I've stuck with it and feel like I'm really getting rolling now. So I figure, why stop there? Strike while the iron is hot!

It's not a surprise then, that my good friend Marca and I got to talking recently about our writing and where we're headed and what we would like to be doing. After all, living in New York City tends to give people the impression that the world is their oyster.

Well, it turns out that Marca and I have similar thoughts about a lot of things. One of those things is the deep-seated need to live an organized, uncluttered existence that allows us to feel at peace with the world...along with a propensity for feeling overwhelmed and a tendency toward procrastination. One afternoon in July, while commiserating in a local bookstore, we discovered that we had both purchased the same book, on the same day no less. Of course, neither of us had quite gotten around to cracking the cover just yet. But it had only been a week.

Fast-forward to late August. Marca and are I eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking coffee in my apartment. The subject of the book comes up again. And again, neither of us has made much headway. But this time, we decide to throw down the gauntlet. Enough messing around. We're going to start this book, and we're going to finish it. And we're going to do it together. 52 weeks to complete organizational nirvana.

The 52 weeks starts today. And just to prove that we're serious about it, we're blogging. So you can all follow our valiant attempt to succeed at something we've both been chasing our whole lives. I'm really excited about it. And I'm really not a fan of falling on my face in front of an audience.

The blog is called 52 weeks to leave your clutter, and you can find it here. Wish us luck!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How cool is this?

It's the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline that someone built for the tree outside their stoop in our neighbourhood. Pretty cool, huh?


Have I mentioned before how brilliant my daughter is? Because she's brilliant. She literally blows my mind several times a day. And it's the kind of stuff that people without kids just don't get, and people with older kids probably forget is cool. But for all you out there who are as madly in love with my little girl as I am, or have little ones around who keep blowing your mind with their toddler genius, here is a glimpse into Dr. E, PhD, MD, MBA, BBQ - The Early Years...

1. This morning, she looked at her crib sheet and declared: "Polka dots!" I didn't know she knew about polka dots. She does.

2. She can tell the difference between an airplane and a helicopter by the sound they make.

3. She's onto 2 and 3 word sentences these days. And now that she's discovered the word "and", it's going to go exponentially from here. Last night for dinner she was enjoying "Sour cream AND tomatoes AND chicken AND sour cream AND tomatoes AND corn AND sour cream..."

4. She says "excuse me" when she wants you to move...although it sounds more like "Foo-Fee!"

5. I can ask her "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" and she'll answer, in French if she knows the French word, or English if she doesn't.

6. She makes up her own songs by combining lines from various songs we sing. And she can carry a tune!

7. This isn't so much smartness, but it's up there on the cute factor. Now that she's saying a lot of multi-syllable words, I've noticed a trend. There's often a full stop after the first syllable(s), a pause heavy with concentration, followed by emphasis on the last syllable, which adds an element of excitement to statements that may otherwise seem mundane. Example: Rac.COONS! Te.le.PHONE! Toi.LET! Polk.DOTS!

It's just amazing to me how babies learn so much so quickly. I keep thinking that if I just landed in some foreign country - and I mean completely foreign, not France or Italy or Spain, but somewhere like Uzbekistan - and someone just started talking to me, how long would it take me to figure out what the heck he's saying. I'm pretty sure I'd never figure out "polka dots". Sometimes I feel like I'm just not challenging her enough. I mean, how much more could she learn if I wasn't so darn lazy??? It's probably best not to go down that road. I can't afford therapy.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Celebration, Cowfam Style

J just rocked his exams. He's so smart. To celebrate, his parents told us to make a dinner reservation somewhere, on them. So we went to Peter Luger's Steakhouse. It's where you go if want a serious steak with no messing around. Just in case you're about to disagree and tell me that you would go to The Keg, take your head out of your butt and have a look at these:

The steak comes out pre-sliced into juicy slabs of perfectly cooked goodness. They put the plate on an angle, so the butter that the steak is swimming in pools at the bottom and is easy to scoop up.

And see that right there? That's our appetizer. A thick slab of bacon. BAM!

E was in a stellar mood, just chomping at the bit to charm the pants off of everyone. She likes this place.

The waiter put bread on the table. "Bread! Eat! WOW."

The waiter came by to put water on the table. "Hi-iii!"
He left. "Byyyyeee!"

She even had the notoriously grumpy waiters cooing over her in the corner and entertaining her with coin tricks. Her review of the meal? "Tasty!"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Laughed 'til we cried

J has a crooked smile. At least it's crooked whenever you point a camera at it. Otherwise it's fine, lovely in fact. But when it comes to picture time, it looks like someone is pulling him offstage by his mouth with an invisible cane. Who knew that this affliction would provide us with one of our most enjoyable moments together?

It was during our trip to the Bronx Zoo this summer when we found a Bug Carousel. Man, did E love it. "BUGS! BUUUUUUUGS!!!" During the ride an employee comes along and snaps a couple of pictures that you can purchase afterwards - the usual money grab. Of course, we're suckers and had a great time so we thought, why not? How expensive could they be? $2? $5? I'm afraid not. One wallet sized photo = $13.99. For this, we managed to keep straight faces. Then we saw our pictures.

I still regret not buying the picture, because there is just no way to describe Jeff's face. Eyes open so wide as to be demonic, teeth bared, and one side of his mouth pulled so far over to the side as to almost fall off his face. Meanwhile, E and I are grinning prettily, unaware of the beast in our midst.

J and I burst into a spontaneous fit of gregarious laughter that quickly turned into the "ugly cry" and didn't subside until we were well away from the carousel. I assume the cashier took that to mean that we were just going to the ATM. Fortunately E is too young to be humiliated by us just yet...I think.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To Move or Not to Move?

Okay people, I need some help. Here's the deal. The apartment above us has been vacant for quite some time. Several months ago the landlords did a bunch of work on it and offered it to us for an $300 more than we're paying for our apartment, even though he had rented it for $600 more to the last tenant. Recession, yadda yadda. We took a look and we couldn't justify (read: afford) spending more than we were already paying, so we respectfully declined.

Fast forward to present day. I called the landlord to ask about a few things. We need radiator covers and our bathroom needs some serious attention (new floor, bathtub and showerhead). He offered the upstairs apartment again, saying it would do him a favor because then they could come in and overhaul our apartment once it was vacant like they did with the upstairs unit. To sweeten the deal, he came down with the price again, so that we would only pay an extra $150 each month over what we pay now.

Here are the pros and cons:


1. Brand new bathroom floor and fixtures
2. Extra cabinet space in the kitchen
3. Great view (above other buildings, not looking into someone's living room)
4. Large storage hallway outside of unit (storage is a BIG issue for us)
5. Ceiling fans
6. Bedroom has a free-standing wardrobe that we don't have (no closet in bedrooms)


1. No bathtub (stand up shower) for bathing baby
2. Same layout, same ridiculously small kitchen and bathroom
4. More money
6. An extra set of stairs (total 3 flights)

Another thing to consider...we have no idea where we'll be after March 2011. Maybe here, maybe elsewhere in the U.S., maybe Canada. So it's possible that we'll be moving away in 7 months.