November 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
This past weekend, we got to celebrate Halloween and Henry’s second birthday!
Since Henry’s still a bit young for trick-or-treating (plus he doesn’t like candy), we spent the afternoon at Social Pants‘ Halloween party at Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park. They did a great job! We saw so many amazing costumes!
Including Henry’s Curious George, which we weren’t sure if he’d actually wear, but was a very good sport about putting it on for a few hours.
On Sunday, we had an apartment full of people for Henry’s birthday party.
Since all of his invited two year olds buddies besides little Zack couldn’t make it, it ended up being mostly adults, plus Henry’s BFF, 8 year old Caylan, and 2 month old Eloise. It was a nice balance though – very manageable!
Henry handled being serenaded with the birthday song from about 20 people very well and enjoyed eating just the strawberry from the top of his birthday cupcake.
This gift-giving event was the most prosperous to date in Henry’s short life. Our apartment is officially covered in trucks of all types and sizes! Here he is, eating his dinner after the party with his new bulldozer.
Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate, and loved ones who made that extra effort to send Henry their best wishes in the mail. We love you! Here’s to our third year of #DailyHank!
August 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
For five years, I have been watching San Francisco’s Spoke Art Gallery put on annual Wes Anderson-themed art shows enviously. My favourite director PLUS really great art! When would I get the chance to see one??
Such good company.
So many different mediums for appreciating the art in Wes Anderson’s movies!
I could have just moved in to this space and lived there, surrounded by so many of my favourite things.
Thanks, Spoke Art, for finally bringing your Bad Dads show to New York and giving me an indisputable reason to go out on a Friday night!
July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
I’ve been dreaming of a simpler time – last summer when all Henry could do at the playground was swing.
These days, he’s big, mobile, and curious enough to do pretty much everything, though never while unsupervised. I can’t say the same for some of the parents of kids around here though. Every day at any number of the playgrounds we frequent (and we have three within a 10 minute walk) it’s a lesson in sharing, patience, and that some kids are adorable and wonderful and others… less so.
Since private outdoor space is rare around here, everyone heads to the playground. And now that school’s out, all of our spots are swarming with kids. This is great because Henry gets to see so many other kids every day. We’ve been fortunate to meet some kids around his age who are very sweet and pretty much in the same boat as Henry when it comes to sharing and playing together, meaning they’ll come up to Henry who is playing with a toy and want it, then I’ll offer them the spare toy I always bring for this situation and they’ll play alongside each other. But then there’s the unsupervised 3 and 4 year olds who will actually stalk around us until they get a chance to grab Henry’s toy when he’s not looking or it’s slightly out of reach and run away with it. There’s also the older kids who declare a portion of the playground “theirs” and that Henry can’t play with them or go up onto their structure. And then there’s the kids who zoom around the park on their scooters, knocking toddlers over with parents nowhere to be seen and then talking back to the parents of said toddlers.
I however, am always around and will always be in Henry’s corner to make sure he’s safe and happy (no matter how exhausting it all is).
I am curious – is this a common scenario where you live? How do you handle these situations with your kids? Do you let your little guys do their own thing or do you stick close by them too? How do you control your reflexes to grab 6 year olds on scooters when they’re headed straight towards your 20 month old? (I have yelled.) Any opinions welcome!
June 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
After a very wintry winter, it’s finally a summery spring and the visitors have been coming in droves! Every day, I see what I assume are parents of Brooklynites being led around Greenpoint and taken out to cute restaurants for brunch.
This past weekend, Nick and I enjoyed an evening with one of our favourite couples/fellow parents, Kate and Bryan. We ate a ton of Indian food and had a few drinks afterwards at Habitat, so that Bryan could watch the hockey game while the ladies caught up.
The next morning, my parents arrived!
Despite having not seen his grandparents since Christmas, Henry jumped right in to giving them hugs, kisses, and playing with them. He’s usually a very cautious boy who takes a minute to warm up to any visitor. Maybe it’s the Pinhole Press family picture book we made for him or maybe he can just tell they’re important people – or maybe he just remembers them! Either way, he knew they were special enough to bypass all the usual courting he requires.
We all went out to lunch at our favourite neighborhood sandwich spot, Eagle Trading Company, then went to the playground so Henry could show Grandma and Grandpa how good he is at playing in the splash pad.
Henry usually NEVER wants to hold hands, by the way.
My Mom is an amazing Grandma – she got Henry to lie still with her on the couch for quite a while by rubbing his back while he held his school bus. It was very sweet.
On Sunday we had lunch at Brooklyn Label before they had to head to the airport. Henry enjoyed both his grandparents’ company and the ceiling fan overhead.
Although Sunday’s storm gave them some serious delays (and cancellations), I’m so glad they came to visit. Next time we see them will be in August, when we will take our first road trip with Henry to drive to their cottage!
May 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
My second Mother’s Day was fantastic! (Much better than my first.)
Nick got home from his week-long trip to London on Friday afternoon and spent the rest of the day with Henry and I. He also brought me peonies and British chocolate. Anything else that would happen would just be icing on the cake at this point!
Early Saturday afternoon, Nick filled in on bass for two songs with his friend’s band down the street, so I attempted to bring Henry in the Ergo, with his noise blocking baby headphone things. We hung at Saint Vitus for a bit, but unfortunately, his first show was not his dad playing. That’s okay. After Nick was done, we all went to the park as a family.
Today was a jam-packed, but perfect day of yoga, a quick morning visit from our friend Will, then Nick, Henry, and I took the East River Ferry to DUMBO.
Henry hadn’t ridden the boat since early last Fall, way before his new boat obsession, so he had a great time. He even got to stand out back with dad on the way there!
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, we saw a POLICE BOAT!!! (Please excuse Hank’s sunscreen-filled, sweaty, Harry from Dumb & Dumber hair ;)
When we got to DUMBO, we took Henry to the cool pirate ship-themed playground to let out some energy. I realized I’d never been to this area of Brooklyn on a summer weekend before — it was so packed with people, mostly families, that it was like the Disney World of NYC! The name DUMBO had never been more appropriate.
After Henry got to watch trucks and the subway drive over the bridges, I got a Jacques Torres ice cream sandwich, and we saw enough people to make us want to hide in our apartment, we caught the ferry for a ride back home.
Thanks to Nick and Henry for a wonderful Mother’s Day. I’m so fortunate to be Henry’s mom and Nick’s wife!
February 25, 2015 § 1 Comment
New York is losing a wonderful collection of people to Nashville today – my good friends Kate and Bryan and their “menagerie”.
Kate and I met in person in 2007 during my first visit to New York. We both worked for The Agency Group and I wanted to check out their office while I was in town. We began to see each other at shows, festivals, and bars when I was in town, and once I moved here, she was one of just two friends I had (not counting Nick, of course).
As twenty-somethings, we would plan nights of dining at tacky-but-tasty Indian food restaurants then tour the bars of the East Village for PBR and Jager specials. That morphed into trying to find Manhattan’s hidden speakeasies and sipping fancy cocktails.
We started to become actual “adults”. We saw each other get married – they even asked me to be their wedding photographer!
Then we were fortunate enough to be pregnant together, Kate just a few months ahead of me, and discovered that trading drinks for dessert was the way to go. (One evening at Eataly, we had gelato after dinner and both wondered out loud “What have we been doing? This is much cheaper and more delicious!”)
The past two years have been a mix of family get togethers and one on one visits. The 5pm Sunday dinner at Brooklyn Label with 4 adults and 3 young children became our new favourite tradition.
No matter what the activity (or stage of pregnancy), Kate was always fun. Always positive, rational, kind, outgoing, and welcoming. Kate and Bryan have been parenting role models to Nick and I – we have been lucky to have them 5 months ahead of us in child rearing and love to hear how they handled the sticky situations we currently face.
Rocco and Royce (and Ponch, Gucci, and Gambino) are fortunate to have such great parents, who care so much about them that they wanted to leave this remarkable city to bring them up in a proper house with a yard, two cars, and less pollution. New York will miss them all, but the city understands it presents some serious challenges for families (who aren’t millionaires ;)
Good luck to the Vastanos – I’m sure we will head south to visit you sooner than later!
July 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
Ever since the nice weather began, Henry and I have been spending a lot of time outside. We have a nice little routine going where we hit the most popular playground in the neighbourhood at least once a day, between nap times. This playground seems like the place to be – both for meeting other babies as well as other parents. When I realize Hank hasn’t seen another baby in a while, I decide it’s time to go have some time on the swings so he can check out some cute boy or girl his own size.
It’s also great for me to get out and socialize with like-minded people since my only departure from taking care of Henry is a 10 hours a week in which I have a babysitter, but still work at home. And when I use the term “like-minded”, it really only applies to the parenthood portion of our lives, which when you have a baby, is about 90% of the present life pie chart.
These encounters with other parents (or sitters/nannies) always start the same way:
“Awww, he/she is a cutie! How old is he/she? What’s his/her name?”
From there, it takes off into a conversation of comparisons and contrasts. Are they teething? What foods are they eating? Do they sleep through the night? Are they walking or crawling? And before long, you find yourself telling a stranger about your birthing experience or listening to a woman who loves the convenience of breast feeding, but her boobs are just too huge now. The best part: “Oh, by the way, I’m Christina. What’s your name?”
I laugh every time it happens, while reminding myself to make sure I introduce myself before either of us unload what would be TMI for a childless person. Luckily, I have met a few cool people there and everyone seems very friendly and ready to talk about what’s going on in their personal parenting life.
Does this happen to anyone else, or is it solely a New York/big city thing?