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Friday, April 30, 2010

dare to dream

my feet on the Brooklyn Bridge

If you had told me this time last year that our family of 6 would be living in New York, I would have laughed. Not at you, but with you. OK, maybe at you. But while we were comfortable living in suburban Colorado, it was by no means where I wanted to stay the rest of my life. Rod and I have moved around a lot in our 20 years of marriage. I guess we like adventure.

Even though we didn't know about moving to the city a year ago, we did dream about living in a city where we could walk everywhere. We used to talk about it and say someday. I thought that someday would be when the kids were grown and out on their own. But it came sooner than that and now our whole family gets to experience the wonders of New York. It's better than what we dreamed.

I'm reading a book right now and part of it talks about the importance of dreaming. I realized I haven't done that in a while. Dream about my future. But I think I need to start again. Would you like to do it with me? I'm not talking about whining about what you wish was different in your life. I'm talking about dreaming about your future. Side note: My rule is you're never too old to dream about your future.

So, let's dream together and see what happens. Let's start with one question,

Where do you want your feet to take you?

Maybe it's somewhere new to live. Maybe it's somewhere to visit. Maybe it's just into the other room to take a nap. But let's start dreaming. Don't try to figure it all out, just let yourself dream.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

i was a knish virgin

My friend Mitch and I were exploring the Lower East Side when we walked by an old bakery. Mitch stopped dead in his tracks, which threw me off a bit because he had been working a fast sprint the entire day. This is obviously due to the power of a knish. And not just any knish. This place is heralded as having the finest knish in Manhattan.

This is Yona Shimmel Knish Bakery on the Lower East side. It's been here over 100 years.

Do you know what a knish is? I didn't. I am a Presbyterian girl from Tennessee. Knish was never part of my vocabulary.

Obviously, this sign was strategically placed in the bakery for people like me.

A knish is a thin dough shell filled with potato or buckwheat groats (kasha) and finely chopped onion, but the ingredients run the gamut from spinach to blueberry cheese.

Mitch said I had to try one. And since I am not one to turn down an invitation to eat, and since it also meant we could sit down instead of continue our race through the streets, I agreed to order the blueberry cheese knish.

It was quite different than I expected. It's doughy and not very sweet. But it was really good. I'd definitely eat one again. Shocker. I know.

But what I loved the most was the actual bakery. When you walk in it seems time has stood still. There was such a sense of history lingering in the air. It's over 100 years old and has the original dumbwaiter in place to bring the knishes up from the basement ovens.

Old photos and newspaper clipping line the walls.

And a subtle reminder to tourists about tipping:

Our time was up and we had to head out to our next destination. But Mitch took my picture as we were leaving.

It's obvious that I am thrilled to no longer be a knish virgin. It's also obvious that I watched a few too many episodes of Wheel of Fortune during my formative years.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

the cats might push me over the edge

Unless you are mega-rich in New York, you have a small apartment. That means most of the people here are living in small spaces compared with the rest of the United States. It's not uncommon for an entire family to share a 1 bedroom. So I will never whine about our apartment being too small. Because I know it's bigger than a lot of them. But I have wondered what would be too small for our family.

What about you? What would be too small? Could you live in a really small space? Ok, maybe not with kids, but what if it was just you and your spouse or you and a roommate? How small could you go before you were close to going postal?

Here's a couple in NYC who recently purchased a 175 square foot studio apartment. This is their home. With 2 cats. So they not only felt they had room for each another, but they also felt they had room for cats? Two cats? Their apartment is about the size of a subway car. Let me give you a visual:

They don't cook. So their only appliance is an espresso maker. Side note: I used to wonder why a lot of New Yorkers don't cook. Now I don't wonder. This is the food capital of the world and I have the ever-growing waist line to prove it.

Because they are short on closet space, they use their kitchen cupboards to store a lot of their clothes. They leave their apartment every morning in their work-out clothes and have their work-clothes stashed at various dry cleaners around the city. Wow. They seem to have it figured out how to make it work!

Plus they bought their apartment for $150K. Pretty unheard of to own a piece of Manhattan real estate for that price.

What about you? Could you live in a space this size?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

i think i've lost another one

As I've mentioned before, my older 2 boys are not fond of the camera. And by "not fond" I mean they treat me like I'm the evil paparazzi and they're the famous movie stars who complain about how I'm invading their sense of privacy. It's not pretty.

But now my 3rd son, Jackson, is headed that way as well. It must be something that happens to boys around puberty. You know along with all those other things. Anyway, this is what happened on a recent walk.

Ugh, There is that camera again. They tricked me. This time Dad has it. I'm going to give him the evil eye to see if he understands how I feel about cameras.

OK. He clearly does not get that my life sucks because of this.

I'm going to try and out-maneuver him.

And fake to the

Dang it! He's fast for an old man.

I'll just try standing behind mom and that enormous pink scarf she has on.

Monday, April 26, 2010

bits of my weekend- volume 9

While it's true there is ALWAYS something to do in New York City, I've found that even the simplest tasks can become an adventure. What started as a simple errand to pick out Jackson some new clothes ended up being a lovely day.

Subway rides can be boring for kids. And I can only play 20 questions with Lily for so long before I start losing my mind. Thank goodness for the iPhone. As a side benefit Lily is becoming a master Checker player. Can you get a college scholarship for being really good at checkers? If so, I'm going to keep pushing this.

Once we got off the subway, we ran into a Sikh rally or parade. While I couldn't understand anything they were yelling through their microphones, I was drawn to their colorful turbans. Unfortunately, Lily was so confused that she thought we had stepped off the island of Manhattan and landed in another country.

After walking a few more blocks, we looked up and saw The Empire State Building.

A quick snack at Herald Square. It's at Broadway and 34th street. So charming with their little tables and green chairs.

Later on we headed over the the West Village to try the famous Milk & Cookies Bakery. Love the West Village! Full of great places to shop and eat.

You can also order their cookies on line. Delicious!

This weekend my son Bo turned 15! Happy Birthday Bo. When he woke up he found this taped to his door. He liked it, but then requested that I make SURE to take it down before his friends came over. be 15 again.

So what about you? What did you do this weekend?

Add your linky here. But, please link directly to your post that is about what you did over the weekend. It's great if you title it "Bits of My Weekend." But you don't have to.

If you merely link to your blog and a random post that has nothing to do with your weekend, I'm afraid I'm going to have to be mean and delete your link. Gasp! Please don't make me do that. But please share your weekend!

Friday, April 23, 2010

top of the rock

Rockefeller Center is an amazing sight to behold. But climb your way to the Top of the Rock and it's even more amazing to take in the views of the city. Rod and I took Lily and Jackson the other day and were not disappointed. Make sure you go on a clear day though so you can get a good dose of vertigo. At 70 stories up, it's much more fun that way.

Here we go!

Most people prefer the views from Top of the Rock as opposed to the Empire State building. The reason is that the Rock has glass panels you can see through for an unobstructed view. Lily managed to find the space between the panels. She enjoys freaking me out.

Dear AT& T: I am thoroughly disappointed with your cell service in NYC. But am finding it hard to forgive you for not even being able to provide one lone signal at the Top of the Rock. Once the Iphone is available with other carriers, there will be a mass exodus from Manhattanites. Consider yourself forewarned...But if there is a way you could get me a discount on the IPad I would find it in my heart to forgive you.

We spent quite a bit of time up there. I believe in getting my money's worth.

We even saw a couple exchanging their wedding vows. I had to wrangle Lily from being their impromptu flower girl. It was a romantic setting for a wedding. And quite a bit cheaper than being married at The Plaza.

Statue of Liberty off in the distance:

Central Park:

The Empire State Building:

Look! I see our apartment!

If you are in NYC, make sure you go to the Top of the Rock. It's definitely worth it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

dirty laundry equals cash

Our family of 6 produces an ungodly amount of dirty laundry each week. It's always been that way - even when we lived in suburbia. A natural law of the universe is: A lot of kids equals a lot of laundry. I bet you haven't seen that law of the universe discussed on Oprah.

But I've noticed a MAJOR difference doing laundry in New York. Now when I see hampers full of dirty clothes, I also see hampers full of dollar bills. And not the kind that will be entering my wallet. These dollars are leaving my wallet.

The harsh truth is that it cost money to do laundry now. As if the pain of washing my delicates was not enough, I now pay money for this honor. And please understand the depth of my pain because I'm not talking about paying someone else to do my laundry. I'm talking about money I spend so I can do the laundry.

I realize I am fortunate to have a laundry room in my building. So, I won't whine too much. A laundry room was actually on my list of "must haves" when we hunted for an apartment. My list included a safe place for my children, laundry in the building, and a place to pee. In private. I don't ask for a lot of frills in life.

I've figured out we spend about $200 each month for the luxury of having clean clothes. That's crazy, isn't it? So several times a week, Lily and I haul our dirty clothes down to the 2nd floor.

I will tell you that all my boys do their own laundry and have for several years. So I don't do their laundry, I just pay for it.

All in all, I knew things would be different when we moved to the city. I knew I'd miss my large capacity washer and dryer. I just didn't know I'd miss this much cash.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

wordless wednesday in the city

Monday, April 19, 2010

there were no dancing circus monkeys at this party

I thought it would be fun to have Lily's 7th birthday party here at home. And by home, I mean our tiny apartment. We'd decorate like crazy, then count the minutes until all her little girlfriends from school arrived. I thought she'd think it was special and I'm all about making a memory. OK, who am I kidding? I just didn't want to spend $1000 on a party for a 7 year old.

Welcome to New York City, the home of the best bagels, pizza, and out of your mind birthday parties for children.

In the city, you can rent out museums for sleepovers, have your own personal chef create a special meal for you and all your pre-pubescent friends, or you can learn the proper form for the downward dog at your very own yoga party. The possibilities are endless and the list goes on and on...and usually ends up costing at least $1000.

Don't get me wrong, if you have those kind of parties for your kids, I have no problem with it. In fact, please invite us. It's just that I can't justify spending that kind of cash. I'm trying to buy groceries here. And Bobbie Brown makeup. And I sure could use some botox.

So after realizing my lack of options, I resigned myself to having the party here at home- something almost unheard of in Manhattan birthday party land. When I told Rod, he thought I might be a bit crazy. But then I ticked off the financial data and he thought I was beautiful. I mean...genius. I don't care. I'll take either.

We actually had a great time. We only invited the girls from her class because there is not quite enough air in my apartment for a party with the entire class. And you know what? It turned out great. I found the key to having a birthday party in a small space is provide lots of activities for the kids to do. If they run out of activities, they will run laps in your apartment. Note to self: Need to plan about 10 more minutes worth of activities next time.

I gave you a sneak peak yesterday, but thought I'd share more pics with you today.

I borrowed this idea from Lola B. I had all the girls decorate Peep birdhouses out of graham crackers. A spring version of a Christmas gingerbread house.

Lily and I assembled the houses before the party, so the guests would just have fun decorating them with jelly beans and royal icing. FYI- It takes exactly 15 seconds to get a sugar headache from eating too much royal icing. I know this first-hand.

We used pink peeps and edible Easter grass. However, I would like to debate the word "edible" that was on the package.

It tasted quite a bit like a combination of hay and styrofoam. It was not delicious like the word edible would allude to.

The cupcakes were my only splurge. They are from Two Little Red Hens Bakery.

I ordered 18. Lily's party was for 6. I'm sure you understand the math here. They are delicious.

And a little girl's party would not be complete without the sparking pink lemonade.

This also makes a fantastic beverage for a big girl's party if you splash a bit of vodka in it. But I'm not telling you how I know that.

All the girls went home with their bird houses and these tiny gift bags full of candy necklaces, bubbles, and sparkly pens.

There you go. A NYC birthday party on a budget.

I don't think she really cared that we didn't have one of those fancy schmancy parties. Do you?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

bits of my weekend- volume 8

Who doesn't heart a pair of shoes from Targetto?

I love to watch the boats go by from my bedroom window.

We had a little party for Lily this weekend to celebrate her 7th birthday.

Please share your bits of your weekend too!

Add your linky here. But, please link directly to your post titled, "Bits of My Weekend."

If you merely link to your blog and a random post that has nothing to do with your weekend, I'm afraid I'm going to have to be the Linky Nazi and delete your link. Gasp! Please don't make me do that.

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