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Month: October 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

You might think that having a major hurricane blow through here a few days would alter our plans for Halloween night, but I believe that parents of young children who have been cooped up because of a storm need Halloween more than anyone. Plus, with the trains still down, the best thing to do with your time is walk around telling people how awesome they look and sharing candy with them. Right?

So that’s what we did. With our fruit bats.

And a little morsel of fruit, too.

Everybody wins! Happy Halloween!

sandy sandy sandy

sandy sandy sandy

I’m going to admit that as this storm approached, we were a little bit more concerned with getting the boys’ Halloween costumes finished than we were with stocking up on food and candles. (We did refill our water storage.) We justified this confusion of priorities with the knowledge that, having just gone through our 72-hour kits a few weeks ago we could eat all those MREs if we got desperate. Other than that, our food storage basically consists of pasta, popcorn, dry chickpeas, and cocoa powder at this point.

But the costumes turned out awesome, so it was worth it. Right?

Being housebound by necessity is a lot different than being housebound by choice. Necessity seems to have some connection to “nesting” which meant I spent a lot of time baking and cleaning up after the boys, who were intent, it seemed, on getting out all the toys. And then forgetting about them.

And as recent hurricanes go, this was definitely worse than Irene last year, at least as we could see it from our windows. We actually heard the wind this time. And a tree in our neighbors backyard fell down. Our lights were flickering all evening, but we never lost power. This was a mixed blessing because as long as we have power, Micah can still “go to work” which meant that he didn’t have the day off. Good thing we are used to having him home but unavailable all day. (Boo. Hiss.)

This morning we went out to see how thing were around the neighborhood. A couple of trees were down, but mostly lots of leaves and sticks all over the ground. Many stores were closed, and it seems like they may be for a few days if the trains are down for the predicted 4-5 days.

We know that we are very lucky to live on relatively high ground, and even more lucky that we don’t have to wonder how long it will be until we get power back. I know that a lot of people along the coast are without power and dealing with crippling damages. It seems callous to say that the storm wasn’t so bad when, for a lot of people, it was/is about as bad as it could be. I hope that in the next few days we’re able to get back on our feet and help in anyway we can, just like we did last time.

But I am also very grateful that the worst thing we had to deal with was simply entertaining the possibility of damage and making plans in case something happened.

elsa at 3 months

elsa at 3 months

I’ve been told there are not enough pictures of Elsa on the blog. So allow me to inundate you with photos of the beautiful babe.

It’s fun to see the other babies in our ward who were born about the same time. They all are looking more like real people these days. Meanwhile, I think Elsa looks your classic, generic, Gerber baby. Very babyish.

The boys have been really excited to see Elsa roll over since she celebrated her 3-month day last week. Last night we put her on her tummy on the bed and watched as she very slowly (like, over the course of 20 minutes) rolled over. We tried it again right away and she rolled over in about 20 seconds. This morning she was kind enough to reward the boys with another good, solid roll.

She is smiling more and almost laughing, and is happy to give someone a smile if they smile at her first. But for the most part, she still seems content to sit quietly and observe. I can relate to that. I appreciate it.

And, as always, she is a good sport about the brotherly love she receives. Even when it means she’s being steamrolled or rocked like metronome dial. The boys like to include her in their games as much as possible, and she rarely complains.

She’s a good baby. A good, good baby.

parading our costumes

parading our costumes

For years now we’ve been griping about how our neighborhood really isn’t that great. And, to be honest, it’s not. But it’s getting better. The schools still are nothing to get excited about (which is why I’ll be homeschooling), but everything else is on the up-and-up. Pretty much everything else, anyway. There are lots of people working to improve the neighborhood and there are lots of businesses opening up close by that are trying to do the same. And since it looks like we may be here for longer than we thought (we thought we might try to move to a neighborhood with better schools), we’re happy to start doing our part.

Today, our part was to participate in the Franklin Ave. costume parade. Small, but fun. It started right down the street from our house, so there was no excuse for us to not be in the thick of it. And in the thick of it we were. Simon took it up on himself to not only be front-and-center of the parade, but also to co-opt a horn and honk it every few seconds as we made our way down Franklin Ave. to . . . Candy Rush – a fun little store that sells, you guessed it, CANDY! And ice cream, donuts, waffles, crepes, and pretty much everything that is so bad it’s good.

The boys’ costumes were a hit. I’ll post better pictures later, but as you can see, they were fruit bats. And, as is tradition, Micah and I stayed up until 2:00 in the morning working on them in preparation for today and our ward’s chili cookoff. They were a hit there, too and well worth the effort and sacrifice of sleep.

Little Elsa was the fruit (her costume is a bit more abstract), and Micah and I were the (even more abstract) trees. But we got the important costumes perfect, and that’s what really matters, right?

oliver’s big day

oliver’s big day

For the past week Oliver has been wondering if everything we do and every place we go is for his birthday. But after a week of the answer being, “Not yet,” he gave up and didn’t care any more. He was also really sure up until today that he was turning 3. But when someone asked him at church today how old he was, he said, “Kind of two.” And then tonight the answer was, unhesitatingly, “Five.” By the end of the night he had it down, though. He’s 3. Solidly, unquestioningly 3.

And all that being 3 brings, for better or worse.

We are slightly unused to having a child whose mind is more changeable than, say, Simon’s is. We’ve been asking Oliver what kind of birthday cake he wanted for a few weeks, and initially the answer was a green airplane cake, inspired by last year’s masterpiece. Then he wanted something with food coloring and cherries. And, finally, a snowman cake with pink frosting. Some of us still have a little bit of hesitation with boys and pink, and so we gave Oliver as many chances as we could to rethink that choice, but he did stand firm in that decision. Micah was able to work out a solution, however. We did frost the snowman cake in strawberry cream cheese frosting, but then we covered it in coconut so it would look more like a real snowman. Brilliant, no?

If we’d been paying a bit closer attention, we may not have given him too much say in the cake at all and gone with a general theme of “bugs” and modeled the cake after that. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until he was dead set on the pink snowman that we realized we were giving him a hexbug and Simon was giving him a Cootie game. It all worked out in the end anyway. Oliver liked the cake, and the hexbug, and the Cootie game, and didn’t mind in the least that we didn’t exactly have a theme for his party. He successfully turned 3. (Although the transformation has been coming for several weeks now, as evidenced by the discovery of his whiny voice.)

I just hope he keeps asking if every trip to the grocery store, or library, or playground is for his birthday. It’s more fun if you can stretch it out as long as possible. And make everything a celebration. Oliver is good at that.

micah’s big day

micah’s big day

You have no idea how difficult it is to shop for Micah.

Okay, some of you have an idea of how hard it is to shop for Micah. He’s the kind of guy who knows exactly what he wants and would prefer not to settle for what you thought he might want. Also, he has strong opinions on all things, but mostly on how things look and feel and work. I’ve been wracking my brain for months on the perfect birthday gift that he might actually be excited about and would not have to pretend (or not pretend) to be excited about.

The answer, my friends, was pickles.

Yes, pickles.

I got him a jar of pickles (which actually has been gifted in my family before), but to go with the jar of pickles, I got him a seat in a pickling class. And you have no idea how happy I am that I thought of it and that he didn’t even have to fake excitement over it. Then again, Brooklyn is all about artisan pickles, so of course it was going to be well-received.

In addition to opening jars of pickles, we spent a few hours at the MoMA, enjoyed a bit of a walk when the train had troubles, blew out candles (all 34 of them) and had cake (angel food roll with mango curd and freshly whipped cream), and then Micah and I went out to dinner while Abby (once again) watched the kids.

I think the birthday boy enjoyed his special day, but to be honest, I was pretty proud of myself for pulling it off. Especially the pickle thing.



I love the fashion choices this girl rocks. And I love that I get to make those choices, even if I’m far too old to wear a magenta-plaid skirt myself.

what we do when fall comes

what we do when fall comes

It’s truly fall.

In which we curl up under our thick comforter at night.

And zip up jackets every time we go outside.

We’re happy to have a reason to crank the oven up to 400 degrees because the boiler as gotten a jump on one of its handful of yearly fails.

We look for reasons to go out and bask in the glory of such a beautiful blue sky, but are also happy to go in where it isn’t quite so crisp.

And we gather bouquets of fallen leaves to greet Dad with when he comes home from work.

pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

Most of the time I love that we don’t have a car. I love that we can get to where we need to go on the train and not worry about parking or street sweeping or tickets or whatever. But it does cramp our style every now and then. Like when we want to leave the city just for a few hours. To pick berries or apples or pumpkins or whatever.

After wringing my hands all week trying to figure out how to get from here to a pumpkin patch all week, things fell together last night. There was a pumpkin patch within walking distance of a Long Island Railroad station. We could get there in just over an hour. So we did. Thank heaven.

It was kind of a chilly day and our little group (Oliver’s pre-school) had the whole farm practically to ourselves. A few animals, a hayride, a playground, pie, pumpkins. Just big enough to be worth the trip. Just small enough to not be overwhelming.

And then we caught the train and came home to pumpkin turkey chili and hot chocolate, feeling refreshed from a few hours away from the city and relieved from not having to drive to do it.


abby’s birthday

abby’s birthday

Saturday, aside from being Simon’s first 5K, was Auntie Abby’s birthday. Since the girl knows how to celebrate, she was in Brooklyn first thing to run the race as well, and was, of course, there to help bring Simon down the homestretch and cheer him on as he broke the tape.

And then, because we know how to celebrate, we went home and had cake.

Pumpkin cake with brown-sugar frosting. Quite tasty . . . but if I were to make it again, I might halve the amount of frosting. Delicious, yes, but also very sweet. A little goes a long way, and the recipe makes more than a little.

Anyway, we’re super lucky to have Abby living close by. She’s a champion aunt and babysitter and it’s awesome to have her around.