Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving



I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. We had wonderful weather this year. We were also lucky to spend the holiday with some great friends and eat delicious food. Sara and John were kind enough to have us over to their house for dinner. It was great to spend it with them because they will soon be moving to Arkansas. They put together a great feast and we got the chance to meet some of their family and friends. I believe this was the first time I have ever had Thanksgiving with just friends. We missed seeing our family but Sara and John made us feel at home the minute we arrived. Thanks guys for a great holiday, we are going to miss them terribly.

I can't believe its December already. We don't get out to the playground as much lately. The weather has gotten too cold for Brody to enjoy playing outside. So as you can see here, we are all bundled up snuggling on the couch. This time of year we all start to get a little cabin fever and I have to get even more creative to keep them from bouncing off the walls. We also seem to watch more TV than ever.

Coolidge is getting ready to take the ERB's. I never thought I would be saying that. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, it is an exam that 4 year olds take to get into private school kindergarten. Yes, it is strange and I really don't have a clue on how he will do or what type of scores you should get. I may be biased but I think he will do extremely well. Coolidge is a smart boy and has an amazing memory. However, I think all 4 year olds are incredibly smart. For some reason I am not worried about how he will do because i can't believe it is the deciding factor on whether he gets in or not. Maybe that is naive of me but I am sure that is why I am not stressed over this whole process. We are checking out some public schools also and are very excited about them. I will keep you posted on how it all goes.


Coolidge's favorite place is the Natural History Museum. We have been going there a lot because of the cold weather. I try to take Coolidge somewhere at least once a week to explore. We checked out the Butterfly Exhibit and the Mythic Creatures Exhibit. Coolidge just loves dragons so it was quite a treat for him. The butterfly exhibit was amazing to see but shear torture because we had our big winter coats on. By the time we got to the exit Coolidge was asking me to take off his shirt.


I don't take Brody to these places all that much because he doesn't really enjoy them just yet. He's just like Coolidge around this age, whenever he sees a Christmas tree he starts yelling. I am afraid to put up our tree because I know he will try to pull it down. When Brody gets very excited he raises his eyebrows and opens his eyes very wide. I will try to get a photo of him doing it because it is too funny to see. We took a family photo on Thanksgiving. I thought it would be complete torture to get the two of them to sit still and smile but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Of course we bribed Coolidge and made a counting game out of it for Brody. For some reason Brody loves it when you say 1..2..3 smile. Out of about 36 shots we got a couple of good ones.

A good friend of mine has inspired me to have prayer with my children every night before bed. I have been praying to God since I was a child but never thought too much about doing it with my children. As many of you know Ben and are not very religious but I thought it would be a great way to teach the kids appreciation. We end every night with something we are thankful for and something we are sorry for. I found it is a great way for them to learn about what they have and who they have in their life. It also has given Coolidge and us a chance to think about what we wished we hadn't done or whom we wished we had seen that day. I didn't know how Coolidge would accept this new ritual or if he would understand the whole concept. All I know so far is that he loves doing it and looks forward to it each night. If I forget to do it he reminds me and if we have company he asks them to join us. He gets a big smile on his face and I think hearing our prayers is helping him to understand the deeper meaning of it all.

I have a new discovery. This may be too much information but I always feel if you find something amazing you should share it with others because they too could benefit. Anyway, it is called "Certain Dri". It is a deodorant that you put on at night and it keeps you from sweating the next day. I don't know if you are like me but I have ruined many shirts because of the combination of sweating and deodorant on my clothes. It feels much lighter and you don't have to worry about pulling your shirt down carefully in the morning. I have been using it for weeks and just love it. I never had this problem when I lived in Seattle. I think it is because here you have extreme temperatures and because of that we sweat more. In the winter we wear more clothes and walk just as much so we sweat even during the cold season. I don't know maybe I am wrong but that is my belief. If you have this same problem you should check it out.

I have some wonderful news to share. One is that a Dunkin Doughnuts is opening in my area. I know to some of you that may seem small time, but to us Harlem folks, that is big time. I am so tired of walking for blocks and seeing empty shops everywhere I look. I can't wait when everything I need is just a few blocks or so away. The other great news is that our friend Sean Archer has just gotten engaged. He traveled the United States with his girlfriend Eun and proposed to her in NY. It was quite a story and you should check it out on his blog. You can click on the link above to read all about it. I had a feeling it would happen soon because I could tell he was in love. The idea that he carried the ring with him during their journey waiting for the right moment is quite romantic. Congrats Sean, we are very excited for you.

I have already started my Christmas shopping and I have to say it is a lot of fun to shop for my kids. It is amazes me how much I enjoy looking at gifts for the kids and imagining their face when they open it. I have to start my shopping early because I send many gifts home to family and friends. My mom is joining us this year and we are all very excited to have her hear for the first time. I think she is going to love NYC at this time of year. I find that it is very romantic and full of cheer. Also we have a babysitter for New Years eve...Can I get an Hallelujah for that.

I also want to share some movies that we have seen recently. We have been lucky enough to get some friends to babysit for us. One was a the new Cohen brother's film, "No Country for Old Men." I have to say I really enjoyed this film. The acting was superb and some of their best work. I left a bit confused but still worth every minute. It was a bit violent and I thought Tommy lee Jones did a wonderful job. If you are a fan of their films you should definitely check it out. We also saw, "The Mist." I don't get scared easily but I have to say I hid my face a couple of times. It was a great thriller and had me on my toes and entertained the entire time. I am so tired of the scary movie with the creepy ghost like child that looks like they have been dead for years. If you too are bored of the same old thing and like to be on the edge of your seat you should check it out. Steven King rarely lets me down.

I am going to end this with a cute video of my sister Christie shoving cake into Brody's mouth at his birthday party in Seattle.








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Monday, November 05, 2007

October


I first want to say Happy Birthday to my gorgeous husband, Ben. He turned 40 this year but you would never know it. It amazes me that I met him when he was just getting close to turning 30. Wow, eleven years has flown by. He makes me so proud and I only hope that he is feeling and looking this good another 10 years down the road. We celebrated by going out to eat and see a movie. Thanks to Nicola we were able to get out and spend some time without the kids. We saw, "Before the Devil knows your dead." It was great and I do recommend you check it out. It was great to celebrate such a milestone doing what we have loved doing together for as long as we met. I love you cutie.

I have been meaning to write on my blog for awhile but we have had a very busy month. We are currently trying to get Coolidge into a kindergarten. One of the wonderful things about living in NYC is that we have so many options. However, all these choices can start to boggle your mind. I feel that Ben and I are handling it without too much anxiety. Right now Coolidge loves his school and I am hoping that the next one he will love just as much. It is nice to hear him ask to go to school instead of whining about having to go. Coolidge has been growing very fast lately. He had a bit of a growth spurt over the summer. His pants all of the sudden have become high waters and his shirts are barley hitting the top of his pants. He also seems to be absorbing everything around him. He has matured verbally and become more confident. Coolidge was the kid who growled at adults who spoke to him no matter how nice or how long he had known them. Now he speaks with complete eloquence to all those around him. I am so proud of him.


Brody is also changing so fast. He is quite different from Coolidge. He gets spooked much easier than Coolidge did. I finally understand his sounds of being scared and know that he wants me to remove it. It is hard not to laugh because he is so cute, but I know that he is also very serious. He is starting to say words. Just today he said dog, duck, quack quack and dada. He doesn't say much but I am amazed at how well he communicates with me. He is a very joyful little guy. One of his favorite things to do is dance. Music seems to effect all my boys and especially Brody. I am also a little sad to say that I am no longer breastfeeding Brody. However, I am just so happy that I got a chance to breastfeed him. I never thought I would be sad to stop but it was very special to me. Brody does things on his own terms and he was done when he decided. He is also eating almost all food. As you can see he has a full mouth of teeth. Which is good because the boy loves to eat.


I also want to say Congratulations to Aj. She just had her first art show in San Fransisco. She said she had a great time and it was a success. I have one of her pieces in my house and I plan to buy another one. You should definitely check out her paintings and if you are interested let me know and I could help you get in contact with her. Her website is http://www.ajoishi.com/ This is one of my favorite pieces and I hope to have it soon.


Right now I am super busy and I am also trying to read so many books. One I am reading right now is "Apartment Therapy." It is a great book for all types of homes but especially for those living in small spaces. It has done wonders for how I look at my home. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve their living space which also then helps you function more efficiently.


We just celebrated Halloween. I have to say this was my favorite Halloween with Coolidge. He just loved putting on the make-up and getting into character. In the past he couldn't wait to get the costume off. He was very smart in knowing that Dracula had black straight hair but luckily he is not that high maintenance or I would have had to get my straightening iron out with some black spray paint. Brody loved to put the teeth in and the cape but he wouldn't do it for long. It would have looked great to have them both as vampires. We put Coolidge's old costume on Brody and he looked great. He even let me put on make-up. I think because Coolidge was so free to put his on Brody too wanted to be a part of the fun. He too played the part. He was a grumpy lion for most of the time. A lot of you ask me what it is like here for Halloween. It is a lot different. Because we don't have regular homes we have many different options. there are festivals in Central Park. Haunted houses all over the city and a huge parade that I have to say is one of the best if not the best parade in NY. We also get invited every year to trick or treat in our friends building. Most kids go up and down the streets walking into restaurants, banks, rite aid, dry cleaners etc. with their costumes saying trick or treat. Most business participate and love to see the kids in costume. The streets are booming with kids laughing. It is quite the experience. We are going to add more store hoping to our next Halloween.


I hope all is well with everyone. We are looking forward to the holiday season. I will have a lot to write over the next couple months and hope you will leave a comment.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Summer Vacation



















We are already in the middle of September and it still feels like summer. We are just now getting school started and the weather is still warm and sunny. It is hard to get out of vacation mode when you spent a whole month off. Coolidge started his new school on Monday the 10th and so far he loves it. It is very different from his last school. He has a locker with his name on it and there are many other kids that are older than him around the school. His favorite thing to talk about is the 2 geckos and guinea pig that live in the class. He also loves that his neighborhood buddy Luke is in his class. So far it has been nothing but smiles going to school each day and nothing but excitement during pick up. I just hope it stays that way.

Brody has been to the school and just loves the class. I have a feeling by the time it is his turn he will be more than ready to start. He barely knows that Coolidge is gone because his nap is during school. Yeah for me. Brody has changed quite a bit over the last month. He has gone from learning to walk to running, climbing and waving hello and goodbye. He waves to just about everyone on the street. He acts as though he is on a float in a parade.
We had a great summer. We were lucky enough to spend the month of August in Seattle with family and friends. The weather in NY is usually pretty awful in August, so we were happy to head west were the weather is often cool and sometimes warm. I have to say it was one of the coolest summers I have had in a long time. I remember seeing a couple of people with sweaters on for a few days. We did so much that I don't even know where to begin. We celebrated 4 birthdays in one day while were there. We had a few friends over to my moms house to celebrate Coolidge, Brody, mine and my mothers birthday all together. The kids had a blast and we got a chance to chat with all our good friends and family. Living far away, it's hard to have the chance to see my kids play with my friends kids. I try to do something every year just so Coolidge and Brody can have some sort of relationship with them.

We also spent a week in Sun Lakes with a large part of my family. Over time our family has gotten larger and this year we took up 5 cabins. Coolidge and Brody had a blast playing all day every day with their cousins. Coolidge tries very hard to keep up with his 8 year old boys and make great strides in swimming because of it. By the end of the trip he was swimming with his face under water and jumping into the pool without anybody holding him. I couldn't believe it was the same kid who told me he was too scared to swim in the big pool. This was Coolidge's second year at Sun Lakes and Brody's first. We have made Sun Lakes a tradition for many years now. It is something we all look forward to and plan about 6 months in advance. While we were there Coolidge had a hard time because his cousins are older and can do more things than him, but overall i think he handled it well. This was also the first year that Ben enjoyed himself. I think it was because our group was much larger and we had fun things to do everyday. Ben got a chance to Jet ski. Mark brought his 2 jet ski's and took Ben out for a few rides. Through determination he got through learning the balance and then enjoyed riding all over the lake. We also learned how to play Bacci ball for the 1st time. Both Ben and

I enjoyed learning and playing that game. We don't get a chance to do these type of things in NY so it was nice to do fun adult activities. Ben enjoyed it enough that he thought it would be nice to get some guys here NY together to play once every two weeks. I don't know it he will have much luck but I do think it would be fun. We were lucky enough to have so many people join us this year. Jeremy (my new brother in law) was able to spend 2 days with us. He had to leave because he was due in California for training. He will be leaving for Iraq in January. I am so happy We got a chance to see him because I don't know when we will get to see him again. Between them living in Hawaii and him leaving for Iraq it will be hard to plan a trip in Seattle together. Please keep him your prayers. We want him to come home to us safely.

Because we stayed with my mom, Ben and I had plenty of chances to go out without the kids. I can't tell you how many evites I get for the kid's parties. When I got one from my friend's Cindy and Eric and it was for Ben and I, I never smiled so big. I got a chance to see some old friends and was able to have a conversation without being interupted by a screaming child. It was great to have a night out with my two best girls. I can't even remember the last time we were able to do that. Because the 3 of us live in different states and we are still new moms it is almost impossible to have the right time to hang. I got to give the host props for a great cocktail party. The food and drinks were just what I hoped it would be and Lee's home and back yard was absolutely amazing. I hope they make it an annual shin dig because I am already planning to be at the next one.

It was great that Aj was in Seattle during the first couple of weeks that I was there. We tried to get together as much as possible and the kids had a blast. Coolidge got to ride on Harley which was like going to Disney land for him. He also loved picking vegetables and berries out of the garden with his buddy Maya. If Coolidge could have it his way he would spend his entire day outside exploring and playing in nature. So he loved going to Maxine's so he could be nature boy and play with the Cochran girls. I wanted to take him to the zoo but I thought shit who needs the zoo, they have a horse and some goats, what else does a young boy need.


We also spent a little time at Martha Lake. I was also shocked to see that Coolidge built up the courage to jump off the dock. Not only did he do it once but he did it over and over. I am definitely getting him into swim lessons. All in all we had a great trip and are looking forward to the fall.


I would like to end this with a video that I thought was so cute. This year Coolidge got his first bike and scooter. Here is a video of the big kids riding scooters and Coolidge following behind.


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Friday, June 29, 2007

Happy Birthday!


We just celebrated Coolidge and Brody's birthday last weekend. Brody turned 1 and Coolidge turned 4. We celebrated with a few of our close friends and their beautiful children. This is a photo of Coolidge and Brody's crew. The bottom row from left to right is Brody, Sam, Coolidge, Luke, and Edie. The top row starts with Dylan, Elisha, Ian, Kate and Gareth. There are some missing little guys who were just too young to get in the group shot like, John, Martin and Rhi. All of which are siblings to the older kids. We had a picnic at the park near our home. The weather was awesome and the kids had a great time running around. I want to say thanks to all of you who came and made our day very special.




We also celebrated Fathers day this month. Ben had a nice day. He went and had a pint of beer at a pub and then saw a German film. He later met up with us to have dinner out. Ben is a wonderful father and the boys are very lucky to have such a great dad. We love you cutie. Ben has also taken on another teaching job this summer. He will be teaching middle school kids drama at Suny Purchase for the month of July. He had a fun time last year teaching film and got some great experience. He is hoping that through games, exercises, and improvisations, they will learn that actors are not just showing but actually living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. I can honestly say these kids are going to love him because of his passion for acting, and more importantly, his patience.

I also wanted to share some interesting news that I just found out. About a week ago My old elementary school (Viewlands) just celebrated it's last day. I didn't find out exactly why it had to close down but I guess it and two other schools had to do the same thing. I met my favorite teacher at that school and had some of my best memories there. I also still have friends that I met in the 5th grade. I found out that my mom also went to kindergarten at Viewlands. I am sorry to hear that I wont have that landmark to take my kids and show them where I had learned so many interesting things. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Butler was the first person to get me interested in Reading. She brought 'Ramona the Brave' to life and helped me see that I can be smart. She elected me patrol girl that year and it was a great honor. How I remember it was that only those doing well were given these jobs because they were allowed to leave class early to suit up. If you want to read about the school, you can check it out at this link

Coolidge is doing well. He got his first big boy bike for his birthday from his grandma Susan. Ben took him to the bike shop to have him fitted and to pick out the one he liked the most. He rode it all the way from the shop on 96th Street to our playground on 110th. He just loves it. He is also finishing up his last days at his nursery school. He will not be going back to the Hale House in the fall. He got accepted to the Cathedral and will be starting preschool in September. It will be a different schedule and he will be going 5 days a week instead of 3. Hopefully it will help prepare him for 5 full days in kindergarten.




Brody is also doing well. He is sleeping through the night and has been doing so for over a month now. He has also started walking. He has lost the Franken Baby walk and progressed on to the toddler waddle. Every day he crawls a little less.

Here he is back from the navy. Yes, I dressed him in a sailor suit for his birthday party. He is the best looking boy I have ever seen in uniform. Brody has also upgraded to cow's milk and is eating more big boy food and less and less jarred baby food. I am still breast feeding but he is started to like whole milk more and more so I don't think he will be doing it for long. He also moved up to the forward facing car seat. He never really liked the infant seat so now car rides with him are a lot more enjoyable.

Things are also good for me. I am enjoying being at home with my boys. I wanted to share something that I started with a few of my friends here in the city. Once a month I get together with about 6 other moms in the neighborhood for breakfast. It has turned out to be a great experience and has allowed us moms to talk about anything we need without any interruptions for two whole hours. I can't speak for them but I have to say for me it has been a joy. I look forward to it and walk away feeling great. I am sharing this because I know so many of you could benefit from the same thing in your own area.






















































Tuesday, June 12, 2007

May/June



Since I last posted we celebrated Mother's Day. My wonderful 3 boys gave me the morning off to meet my friend, have breakfast and get my nails done. They surprised me with a gift, flowers and dinner out. I am one of the luckiest mom's to have such a loving family. I also want to say thanks for having such great friends in my life who are also mothers and give me such wonderful support. I truly am blessed.

I also was given wonderful news from my little sister Brandi. She is going to make me an aunt for the 5 th time. She and her husband Jeremy are very excited to be expecting there first child. It is crazy to think of Brandi, who i once changed her diaper, pregnant. I am so happy and have started to knit a little something for the baby boy or girl.






During Memorial Day weekend my mom flew out to New York and we all drove out to Galloway, NJ. My mom traded her Marriott time share so we could all spend a couple of weeks near the beach and the pool. My sister Christie and her kids flew into Philadelphia and drove out to Galloway to join us in some site seeing and swimming. We all drove to Philly to see the Liberty Bell along with walking around this historic city and enjoyed the sites. We also made sure to eat the best Philly cheese steak with whiz at Jim's steaks. That sandwich was worth the hour car ride and getting lost on the way back.







We also made several trips to Ocean City. It has an amazing boardwalk with a great beach. The kids loved that they could spend time playing on the sand and shopping for all sorts toys, candy and junk food. My mom however, wasn't too fond of the beach because while she bought some fries, she was attacked by seagulls. Henry tried to protect her with some karate moves. I almost wet my pants when the boys told me the story.




Both of my boys conquered huge milestones during the trip. Brody became quite the toddler and toddled around the villa everyday. Coolidge who was afraid of the big pool and clung to my neck, was a swimmer by the last day of our vacation. He treaded water with just his water wings and swam all over the pool. Brody got his first dunk by my sister Christie and inspired Coolidge. Once he saw that he ran over the the kiddie pool and put just his face in the water. By the last day he let me throw him up and down into the water. I am so proud of his bravery. We call him our little swimmer. Because of his new confidence, I want to get him into swim lessons.

While we were in New Jersey we celebrated Henry's 8th birthday. It was nice because normally we don't get to see him on his birthday. Both Coolidge and Brody are also about to celebrate birthdays. It will be Brody's 1st and Coolidge's 4th. They were both born on the 13th of June. At first I thought Coolidge would not like sharing his special day but he is actually very excited. I can't believe a year has already flown by.

We are back in New York and back to our regular routine. Coolidge had a hard time getting back into school. Sometimes too much vacation can make it hard to go back to things you don't enjoy too much. We are very excited about this summer and plan to do some more vacationing.

I also want to ask all of those who read my blog to take a moment and say a prayer for Rick Bakke's family. He was a close friend of my mom and a wonderful guy who just lost his battle to cancer. We will miss him dearly.










Sunday, April 22, 2007

April


Happy Easter! Coolidge had a blast celebrating Easter. He remembered what it is was like last year so he was very excited about all the fun of finding eggs and a basket this year. I hosted an egg hunt with my friend Sara. It was a lot of fun and the kids seemed to have a blast. We got blasted with some cold weather but we still had a lot of fun.

Coolidge had his first visit to the dentist this month. I read stories to get him ready and I was amazed at how at ease he was with the dentist. He let him look into his mouth without a second thought. He doesn't have any cavities and is actually looking forward to going again. He didn't understand why he couldn't get a lollipop. He went to the doctors with me when I was pregnant with Brody and always got a lollipop so now he thinks all of my doctors give lollipops.



Brody is now 10 months old. He is changing so fast. His new thing is to stick out his tongue and say babababa. Yesterday he stood by himself for about 3 seconds. He is getting more comfortable balancing. He even tries to climb things. I told him he should start with walking but for some reason he doesn't listen.

Ben did a great job with the two plays he had in a three play series. I was lucky enough to get Nicola to babysit for me so I could go see them. One, "Pitching the Good Game," moved me to tears. I have to say I am so proud of him. I know I am a bit biased but I have to say he is brilliant. I know all the hard work he put in and it all paid off. Good job babe!

I also want to say happy birthday to couple of special kids. My beautiful niece Kendal turned double digits this year, 10. My handsome nephew turned 11. It is amazing how grown up they are now. It wasn't that long ago they toddled down the isle in my wedding.

Aj, Sean and their two beautiful girls came to New York recently. I was able to meet Aj for a couple hours for some great quality time and shopping. It has been quite a while since I have had some alone time with my best friend. They came in town during a very busy weekend for us so I only got to hang with her for about 3 hours. Absolutely not enough, and hope to get to do it again soon. They also met Coolidge and I at the Natural History Museum. It is Coolidge's favorite place and he had a blast looking at all the animals with Lily, Maya, and Ethan.
We don't have a lot going on for the rest of the month. Hopefully our weather will turn and we will get out and enjoy the park more. My mom and sister and her two kids are coming out to see us in May. We are very excited to have them here and to have some fun with them on the coast.
I also want to let you know I have added a new link to my blog. If you go up to the right you will see my list of Links. The new one is my girl Nicola. She was inspired to start a blog because of reading mine. She too has family far away and felt the need to keep them close by posting a blog. She also inspired me by her honesty and change in lifestyle. I started exercising again after reading her blog. She hasn't been great at keeping it up but it isn't easy to do. My Brother -in-law also found it hard because of his busy life. You should check out her blog when you have a chance.
I also have a book to share with you all. A good friend of mine, who is also from Seattle, has a new book coming out May 8th called, "Male of the Species." It has been getting great reviews and sounds like a good summer read. I haven't read it yet but plan on getting mine and reading it on my vacation. According to what I read it is a "collection of short stories about fathers in America, it goes behind the Hallmark card and shows the realities and yearnings of fathers and their offspring as they attempt to connect across cultural and generational divides". You should go to his website http://www.alexmindt.com/ to check out more. You can also buy it on amazon.com.
Hope everyone is doing well and don't be shy to leave comment. I love to read about what you think.