Monday, October 29, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

We spent this weekend trying to enjoy the calm before the storm.  We figured that we had better do our best to get out some kinetic energy before we'd potentially be cooped in the house for 3 days straight (Sandy, you are testing my new East Coast motto--There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.  I promised Claire a trip to the corner market to buy a lollipop after nap time.  I would have preferred to do it before nap time but the colossal meltdown that took place while we were trying to put on shoes ensured that a nap had to happen first. Trip to the corner market during a hurricane?  That's just the way we roll around here with our new East Coast motto) 

In order to prepare for the storm we took a bike ride on the loveliest little trail right by our house this weekend.

And we snuggled

And we stocked up on markers and play-doh.

It's 2:30 and so far all we've had are some gusty winds with light rain.

I'll keep you posted

(and if things get really bad I'll take a video.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Good Parent/Bad Parent

I'm thinking of starting yet another brilliant new blog--this time about highs and lows of parenting.  I haven't really worked out the kinks yet but here's a rough idea

Bad Parent:
My 2-year old cries out, moans and screams in her sleep--the scariest thing Claire has ever seen was an episode of the Mario Brother's cartoon at a friend's house.  She started crying the second Koopa walked in and they immediately turned it off.  What is it that is so haunting her dreams that she cries and cries in her sleep.

Good Parent:
This same 2-year old walks around with her baby doll (Baby Dora) tucked under her arm constantly kissing her head and telling her she is a good baby.

Here's a picture of Claire holding Dora in her baby carrier (which is actually a nursing cover)

Here's another.

Good Parent:
I'm doing a pretty good job of remembering to take pictures of baby number 2

Bad Parent:
He's already working on his Karate moves

Think about it!  We could each admit our parenting fears and the horrible things we do and then at the same time brag about the awesome job we're doing.

Quite truthfully I think it would be therapeutic.

Let's hear your best Good Parent, Bad Parent moments.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Two Walking Tours

This week my dad asked me to take some pictures around the neighborhood so he could get an idea of what it's like.  Yesterday the kids and I set off for a walk to the park and I had my phone in hand to snap some pictures along the way.  I told my mom that we live in the ghetto.  And that's an exaggeration (but not by that much).  Our little town is one freeway exit from the Bronx.  It's a working class neighborhood and the majority of the people are either the 1st or 2nd generation born in the United States.  We love it.  At church on Sunday Claire went to her little class (she is the only kid her age...ahhhh.  In our last congregation there were so many that they had to have two classes) with Sandra, her teacher.  Sandra is an older African-American from South Carolina who prayed thanking Jesus for putting his love in their hearts to start off class.  And with that I knew that even being the only person in class Claire was going to be just fine.  When I went to go pick her up at the end of church she and Sandra were brushing the tails and manes on the My Little Ponies and Sandra turned to me and said, "We have somethin' in common.  Both of us loves brushing hair."

Looking out the back window of the house

another back window shot.  Our house is just like the one on the far left.

Looking out the front door and down the street.  I met the neighbors yesterday.  Frank and Carlata.  Not. A. Joke.  

The bottom of our street looking up

Looking up our street (we live at the top of the hill).  I don't know what happened to this picture.  It was just starting to rain and the color turned all funny.  There was a woman working above the grassy wall to the left.  She stopped me and in broken English told me I had a beautiful family.

The busy street on the way to the park.
Other one of the same street

At the park.  Don't ask about the pass.  We've had some backsliding

While we were on our walk Claire held the camera when I wasn't taking pictures.  When I opened the camera later that night I found a whole different walking tour of the trip to the park.

Yes I was wearing sweats in public.  I know, I know.  The number 1 sign that you've give up on life is wearing sweats in public.  Sadly, that is true.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Picture Perfect

This article has been making it's way around the internet.  I read it a couple of weeks ago and since then I have mentioned it in conversations with varying people more than a couple of times.  I've read follow up articles and I just can't seem to stop thinking about it.  The article is entitled "the mom stays in the picture" and it's all about a mom who realizes that she doesn't have pictures of her with her kids.  As I scanned the article looking for a perfect quote I was seriously tempted to just quote the whole thing.  It's a good article and if you have a love/hate relationship with your body or you find yourself always being the person behind the camera you should read it.

Here's a little snippit.

I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here -- and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now -- but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.
When I look at pictures of my own mother, I don't look at cellulite or hair debacles. I just see her -- her kind eyes, her open-mouthed, joyful smile, her familiar clothes. That's the mother I remember. My mother's body is the vessel that carries all the memories of my childhood. I always loved that her stomach was soft, her skin freckled, her fingers long. I didn't care that she didn't look like a model. She was my mama.
So when all is said and done, if I can't do it for myself, I want to do it for my kids. I want to be in the picture, to give them that visual memory of me. I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are.

There are more than 700 pictures on my phone.  I am in less than 20 (and half of those have bee taken since I read the article and decided that I was going to better document my involvement in my children's lives). What's most horrifying is that I know there were more than that.  I regularly scan my phone and have been known to erase photos that are unflattering and videos where I sound annoying.

And the experiment to take more pictures with me in them (and not erase them when I look chubby or awkward) has been humbling and not very pretty.  There are lots of shots that look like this:

There I am with some part of the family holding my phone out at arms length trying to get us all in the shot as well as capture a little bit of the scenery (you can see that I've been a little obsessed with the changing colors this fall.  It's the first fall that I've seen in 3 years and you better believe I'm going to enjoy it).

There are shots that are just horrible.  

Like this TOTALLY unflattering picture.  Scarry hair and face and no makeup, bags under my eyes and huge diet coke in front of me.  But here's the thing about that picture.  There is something valuable there for my kids to learn from this picture.  I hope when they see it they won't focus on the scary view of mom but will see that even after what was clearly a long night when I was living on diet coke we were still snuggling and smiling together (or trying to smile in my case)

And shots that are so dark you can hardly make out who is there.

But I'm not erasing the bad ones even though I really want to because like Allison Tate I want my kids to have photographic evidence of what their childhood was like.  Of what it was like to have a mom who stayed home with them and was almost annoyingly involved in their lives.  I want them to know that I snuggled them and cuddled them, made silly faces with them, laughed and tickled them.  But mostly I want them to see that I love.  Love.  Love them.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Just a Boring Blog Post

This is a blog post for my mom and anyone who wants to feel superior about their housekeeping skills. So try to either look past all of the random items that still haven't found homes and the dirty dishes, or focus on them and feel good about how your house looks and enjoy a few pictures of our new house.  You'll note that we don't have blinds or window coverings and we have a lot of windows.  Turns out in New York you typically have to put in window coverings every time you move.  And we don't have a couch.  Our beloved couches were getting holes so we tossed them in a San Diego dumpster before we left.  

This is the park right by our house.  It feels like a scene right out of Law and Order
Living room: Soon there will be a couch here too
A close up of our new chair. I know it's a little tacky and gaudy but if you know that then it makes it okay right? And I just love it.

Claire's play area at the back of the kitchen

Kitchen and play area

Dining area

Our room has mostly been taken over by a crib (which is way better than a having a new born take over your bed) but here is a little shot of the new rug that I am totally in love with.  Forgive the bad lighting, Noah was sleeping but the background is mostly grey.

Three bathrooms that all look like this

And the study/guest room

Life here is good.  Of course maybe I can only stay that because I'm walking around the house and pretending that wearing yoga pants counts as getting dressed.  This afternoon I saw a bald eagle soaring over our house and the leaves are just starting to change.

Not too shabby

Saturday, October 13, 2012