Happy Camper

I’ll admit it, as a kid, I despised, loathed, HATED camping.  It was pretty much the worst thing my parents could do to me.  Maybe second only to cross country skiing (I’ll save that story for another day).  The bugs, and the being dirty, and the squatting to pee.  *shudder*  I have very vivid memories of feeling rocks burrow their way into my back as I lay on the cold, hard ground, counting the seconds until it was time to wake up and go home.  (Melodramatic, much?  Ha.  I was a teenager… what do you expect?)

And yet, now that I have some kiddos of my own, when Joel suggested we take the boys camping, I immediately jumped at the chance to subject them to the same torture my parents had inflicted upon me expose them to the wonders of nature.

The weekend prior to our camping adventure, Joel and I did a little Set Up the Tent dry run, which really proved to be helpful in allowing us to set up the tent on actual camping day without A) Wyatt running around and on top of and inside the tent the entire time and B) knocking Calvin to the ground. And hey, a giant bag of marshmallows turns out to be exactly the right thing to keep a toddler happily occupied.  So, there we were, winning at life, enjoying the weather and the lake and our picnic lunch.  We magically convinced the kiddos to nap, taught Wyatt how to pee on a tree (I’ll give the credit to Joel on this one), made dinner over the fire and ate s’mores.  (side note: Wyatt seriously kept asking, ‘some more what?’ no matter how many times we explained that no, that’s just what they’re called:  ‘Do I want some more WHAT?’)

And then we turned in for the night.  Aaaaaaannndddd, cue worst night sleeping in a tent ever.  Seriously.  I wanted to go back and find my wimpy. whiney teenager self who whimpered and cried because, ‘camping is so haaaarrrrddd’ and tell her to shut it.  Because well, one, it was cold!  So so so cold, and we had not prepared for that.  And, before you even ask, yes, we had sleeping bags, and no we couldn’t use them properly because I was sleeping with Cal in my bed and I was afraid of smothering him the entire night, so I lay there most of the night shivering and covering his freezing hands and ears and making sure his face didn’t suffocate in the blankets.  And, all night long I wanted to cry and kept thinking, no way in hell are we staying another night, I am FREEZING.  But, then came morning and sweet Wyatt popped his head up and looked so dang adorable and Calvin started laughing at his awesome older brother and I shut my trap.  I turned to Joel and said, “Well, morning is nice.  We can stay another night if you want to.”   And, darling that he is, he said, “No way.  I’m not doing that again.”

So, we ate and we packed and we drove home.  But, believe it or not, I want to do it again.  Just maybe with a pair of socks next time.

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Flo-Rida

Many months ago, because he’s awesome, my husband took me on a surprise trip to Florida. Did I tell you this story already? Yes, yes, I did, because, that’s right, this is the second time he has surprised me with a trip to Florida!

This time we brought Wyatt along and introduced him to the wonders of Ft. Lauderdale, sunrises over the water, and how incredibly amazing it is to get out of NYC in the dead of winter.

We went to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, and let me tell you, anniversary celebrations with kids are slightly different than without kids.

Pro:
We woke up early and watched the sunrise on the beach.

Con:
We woke up at 5:45 and hung out in the hotel room until it was light enough to actually go outside.

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Pro:
We watched Wyatt discover the joys of playing in the ocean, eating sand, squawking at sea gulls, and making fish faces.

Con:
We went to bed every night at 7pm. But, since we were in a hotel room… that meant me hiding in the bathroom while Joel put Wyatt to sleep in the crib and then ran out of the room to order us dinner and sit at the bar by himself until our food was ready. Then, he’d creep back into the room, sneak into the bathroom and we’d eat dinner and watch a movie on the bathroom floor until we were ready to go to sleep.

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It certainly made for a memorable, and truly incredible way to commemorate 6 years of married bliss.

Dirty Thirty

I turned Thirty!! What better way to celebrate my entry into adulthood than partying big time in the Big Easy. Partying with my husband and one year old son on Bourbon street in New Orleans looked a little something like this:

Dancing to live music in the street:

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Getting wasted on beignets and waking up covered in powdered sugar:

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Walking around the city, taking in the sites, and hitting the hay at 8:00 pm.

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Turning thirty was no big thing. It was just the first time in a year that I’ve gotten 9 consecutive hours of sleep. As in, in a row. AKA: it was a blessed miracle of a weekend.**

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**Aside from the weirdly approving stares Joel got from drunk men partying at 6:00pm as he pushed Wyatt around in the stroller (seriously, they looked at Joel, looked at Wyatt, and then thumbs upped Joel… What’s the big deal people?? We’re just starting the mom-dad-son partying early. Who’s up for clubbing next week?)

Michigan

Just call him Farmer Wyatt.

IMG_7629Didn’t anyone ever tell this kid he was born and raised in New York City (said in an over the top Texas accent, a la Pace Picante Sauce commercials)?

But, seriously, isn’t he the cutest overall wearing, apple eating, farmer wannabe you’ve ever seen?  On our recent trip to Michigan, we spent a bit of our time over at the old farmhouse where my mom and her sibs grew up.  Wyatt reveled in the wide open spaces, pranced around the apple trees, and then picked one up and had some lunch.

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Oh yeah, our actual reason for visiting was my cousin’s wedding, where this very special picture was taken. Oh how perfectly it captures the sibling dynamic. Me, trying to be good and obedient, while my bro and sis are whispering secrets and plotting their evil doings (which they’ll totally get away with) in the back.

IMG_7725(Hi, my name is Leah and I’m a middle child).

Before returning to the wedding madness, where we partied so hard Wyatt ended up with a few shiners (seriously, this kid is a party animal), we snapped one last pic of the next generation. Cute as a button, the whole lot of them.

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My Son, the Pillager

Aside from the few times my cousins and I would creep around in their neighbor’s yard to pick berries, I have never had a fruit picking experience. Every Fall our friends go apple picking, in the Spring the Farmer’s Market has signs up for something picking, and yet we always seem to say we’ll go, but never actually go. Until now!

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A couple of weeks ago we took the Bub blueberry picking in Vermont. It was a beautiful day. I held Wyatt as I picked blueberries and tossed them in my bucket. As we went deeper into the rows of blueberry bushes I noticed some low hanging fruit and decided to let Wyatt stand so he could pick some berries himself. I leaned over to set Wyatt on the ground and my bucket swung down in his direction. Without a second thought Wyatt reached into my blueberry bucket, pulled out berries by the fist full and jammed them into his mouth. I sat him on the ground and tried to stand up, but that little boy had my bucket in a choke hold and refused to let go. He wouldn’t even look at the bushes – instead he kept pillaging that bucket of blueberries. No amount of pleading or yanking could get that boy to let go of his bucket of blueberries.

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After some careful negotiation I was able to educate Wyatt in the fine art of blueberry picking, and we took home about 11 lbs. I’m going to guess Wyatt ate about 10.

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Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 9.32.34 AMSeriously Wyatt, be more like your cousin!

Scranton

Scranton, PA.  Home to Dunder Mifflin, Jim and Pam, and just one of those places I always wanted to visit.  I jest.

Scranton, PA is actually the (temporary) home of my two favorite twin bubbas.  It’s been three long weeks since we saw the boys and since they’re in Scranton, to Scranton we will go.  Turns out this sleepy little town is beautiful.  Stunning views, old houses, and magnificent parks.  And, we got to spend a little time with the guys.

Come home soon boys!  We miss you.

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Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 8.23.28 PMTree House at Nay Aug Park

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Camp Eckroth the Third

We were in the Poconos for this year’s installment of Camp Eckroth. It was the year of firsts at Camp Eckroth: I caught a fish we could actually keep and eat and Anabell went into labor and delivered two beautiful boys. I dare say it was our best camp ever.

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Chi Town

I’ll admit it.  Joel and I are in the market.  We’re shopping around.  Soon and very soon Joel and I are going to buy a house, settle down, pop out some kids (wait, already did that part)… the only question that remains is where? (and when, I suppose!)

First stop on our potential future home locals: The Windy City.  The heart of the Mid-west.  Chicago.  The first place since NYC that I’ve actually considered as our next place of residence.  I love this city and our awesome friends who live there.  Chicago here we come?

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If I Ran The Zoo

If I ran the zoo I’d invite my whole family to enjoy the sites and the treats,
I’d include an elephant that performed tricks and amazing feats.

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I’d insist we have a red bearded man at my zoo,
no, not one, there must be two!

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If I ran the zoo I’d look at everything I could,
and I’d love to do it in my parents’ arms, because don’t you think I should?

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If I ran the zoo I’d probably get tired and need a nap,
I’d ask my mom to carry me in the Ergo backpack.

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I’d giggle and laugh and count to ten,
and then I’d do the whole thing all over again!

A Merry Capitol Christmas

Okay, so this post was supposed to be about how the weekend of our Christmas celebration with my family (in the DC area) just happened to fall on the exact same weekend as the inauguration and how we went and we saw and we cheered and we cried.  Except, I’ve come to realize, having kids changes everything.  Seriously, everything.  I was really looking forward to trekking it out in the cold (okay, maybe not that part exactly) to whoop and holler and celebrate since I’ve kind of been kicking myself for the past four years for being on the East coast, SO close to DC the last time and not making the effort to watch history in action… and then I realized, using up my hard pumped milk to be on a crowded subway, crammed in an unruly (I’m guessing) crowd, just wasn’t my cup of tea.  Seriously.  I’m not even kidding.  I said to Joel, “I know in 30 years when we look back I want to be able to say I was there when Obama was sworn in rather than say I had 80 oz of milk in the freezer…”  But, I made my choice.  I’m pathetic.

Despite the fact that the more milk there is in my freezer the stingier I become… this kid is adorable and in 30 years I’m going to look back and be glad that he got to spend the week with his cousin (and that I was there the whole time).

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Only a red corduroy jumpsuit will do when it’s your first Christmas

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Easy there, tiger

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Cousins give the best hugs

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Walking In An Arizona Wonderland

Three weeks in Arizona has me asking the question: Why do we live in Brooklyn?  No, I’m kidding… But seriously, the weather in Arizona was beautiful and sunny and amazing.  We hiked, discussed the hazards of the cactus and the importance of sunscreen.  We swam and were the whitest people Arizona had ever seen.  We swung on the swings for the first, second, third, and fourth time ever.  We Christmassed and weddinged to our hearts content.  We got schooled in the art of ping pong.  We got cuter and happier and soaked up as much vitamin D as possible.  It was our little cowboy’s first introduction to the wild, wild west and I think he is smitten.

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Baby’s First Road Trip

In the final days before the big election a trip to our nation’s capitol seemed absolutely essential. What better place and time to begin W’s education on our history? As we toured the monuments we reflected, we laughed, we cried, and we learned all about the democratic process. Okay, I’ll admit, it was a little too much for the little guy who decided that sleeping through the entire thing was the best strategy… that’s okay, if I could have snoozed my way through this election process I would have too.

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Snoozefest on the train

 

I Would Do Anything For Love…

Boats + me = serious unpleasantness for all

Boats + Joel = pure bliss

Exhibit A: Whale watching in Iceland.  4 hours on a boat.  No whales.  Me, a sickly shade of green, my husband, having the time of his life.

Exhibit B: Snorkeling in Australia.  Hour long boat ride out to the reef.  Bobbing in the water trying to look at pretty fish.  Me afraid I’m going to be THAT person who pukes all over the Great Barrier Reef.  Thankfully made it to the boat in time, then, puked my guts out.  Joel snorkels for hours and hours and then scarfs an enormous lunch while I look on in queasy silence.

Exhibit C: The ferry to Governor’s Island.  Sitting on the ferry for 5 minutes waiting for the passengers to finish loading, my husband turns to me and says, “This is such a short ferry ride, there’s no way you can get sick.”  Me, already spinning and looking for the nearest barf bag.

My point?  Despite the fact that barfing is my least favorite activity, after all the wonderfulness that is my husband, I’d live on a boat to make him happy.  And, it turns out that Joel was right; the ferry ride to Governor’s Island is seriously the shortest boat ride I’ve ever been on (Thank you, Jesus!).

It also turns out that Governor’s Island is pretty awesome.  With beautiful views of the city, awesome artwork, funny bicycles, and peaceful fields to nap in, it’s kind of the perfect place to spend the afternoon.


There she is.

View of Manhattan from the ol’ Govna

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Endless seas of green grass

 

 

 

My favorite ferry

 

 

Free At Last

“Well—well!—All I can say is –if this is my time in life—MY TIME—to say goodbye to these goddamn cracking walls!—and these marching roaches!— and this cramped little closet which ain’t now or never was no kitchen! …then I say it loud and good, HALLELUJAH! AND GOODBYE MISERY…I DON’T NEVER WANT TO SEE YOUR UGLY FACE AGAIN!”  – Ruth, A Raisin In The Sun

Okay, so perhaps this is a bit strong of a reaction to the school year ending… but we can’t help how we feel, right?

I am no longer a slave to my 5:00am alarm.  I no longer take 2 trains and walk 2 miles just to get to work each day.  I no longer go to bed before the sun goes down.  I am free.

Free to finally tackle all the things I’ve been wanting to do.  Like actually write a blog.  Here’s a brief list of the things Joel and I have been up to over the past few months:

1. The Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

2. Montauk

3. The Cloisters

 

4. Chicken & Waffles in Harlem

5. Jones Beach