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Month: April 2013

the best bike ever

the best bike ever

Last week I decided to start seriously looking for a bike. I’ve been casually thinking about getting one since Micah got his last summer, but now that Elsa is a little bigger and the weather is a little better, I got the itch to go shopping. The trick is that a bike doesn’t do me a whole lot of good if I can’t take my kids on it. Trailers scare me on city streets, and while it’s not too difficult to get two kids on a bike (one on front, one on back), getting three seemed a little more challenging. We stopped by a little bike shop nearby and they had one that seemed like a decent option – an extended cargo rack that could fit a bigger kid (Simon) and a seat (for Oliver) and then we’d put Elsa in a seat on the front. But then Micah dug a little deeper and found this:

And now I can think of nothing else. I really want that bike.

another runner?

another runner?

I took Simon out for his “first” run. Quotes because he’s obviously run a lot before, and he’s even run a 5K. But this was the first time he’d dressed the part. I told him we’d go around the block a couple of times if he wanted, but it was really  up to him. 

He took off at a pretty quick pace and made it a 1/4 mile before he needed to stop and walk. So we walked for a bit, then ran the rest of the way around the block. It’s a little over 1/3 of a mile. And then he said he was done. He’d had enough for the day.

So that was it. We went inside.

I’m hoping for 2 laps next time, but we’ll see what he’s up for. I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes.

sakura matsuri

sakura matsuri

Cherry Blossom Festival! Or Sakura Matsuri, for you Japanese speakers out there. We love this time of year in Brooklyn with all the blossoms blooming, but it’s the festival that we especially look forward to.

It’s held at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which is a wonderful place to be any time of the year, but is especially nice in the spring. With the cherry blossoms out and the throngs of people . . . it’s great to people watch, stroll, or get into any of the activities that are going on throughout the garden.

We learned to play Go, made some rice shakers and pinwheels, followed the river, ran into some friends and soaked up the lovely weather, which has been much too long in coming.

Success all around.

goodbye Dr. Gately

goodbye Dr. Gately

We got a letter in the mail earlier this month from our pediatrician. He’s retiring after 35 years in the business. This is the latest in a string of tragedies to befall our family.

Okay, that might be overstating it a little bit, but the truth is that Dr. Gately has been such a great doctor. His office is in his house, his receptionist is so friendly and excited to see the kids, and he is one of the only doctors (besides my own pediatrician, Dr. Allred) who I feel like has taken the time to see me and my family as people. He devotes 30 minutes to each patient and spends that time chatting and observing in a way that feels like sitting down with a grandpa rather than an interrogation about your child’s progress.

Dr. Gately is our kind of doctor. He’s the kind of doctor that is very honest about what is actually something to be concerned about and what is just something to let pass, and he’s inclined to keep things very calm and cool. But I’ve also heard him on the phone with the hospital, making sure some of his charges were admitted without trouble and without delay.

He has spoken with me on the phone when I wasn’t able to bring Oliver into the office and talked me through treatments and concerns. He’s squeezed us in on a Saturday when we had our first run-in with pink eye. And he’s educated us about scarlet fever as well. Plus he has the coolest waiting room toys ever.

I’ve been taking Elsa to a different doctor for the past several months because Dr. Gately couldn’t give vaccines any more. Elsa’s doctor is good, I’m sure, but she’s no Dr. Gately. With her, it’s not personal, it’s business. I’m sad about that, and while I can’t fault the care or the wait times (or even the waiting room toys), I’m tempted to look around some more to see if I can find someone a little more . . . personable. A little more like Dr. Gately.

9 months

9 months

The little lady is 9 months old today and hitting the milestones out of the park. Forget “pulls herself up to standing,” the girl started standing on her own a couple of days ago. She’s experimenting with some signs (milk, more, bye-bye), and says “Ma ma ma ma,” whenever she needs me/milk/comfort, and is thinking of going pro with the pincer grasp (which she’s been perfecting on my neck for the past couple of months).

She is (clearly) rocking the whale spout hair-do and, until Saturday, was a one-toothed wonder. Tooth #2 is poking up next to the first one and making the routine mouth swipe to dislodge her favorite food (paper) quite treacherous. She used to be tall (>90th %ile), but she’s now at about the 65th in height. She’s 65th in weight as well, and is looking to become about as average as the rest of our family. Surprise!

And, of course, she’s a delight. She’s delightful when she pulls all the tupperware and plastic ware off the shelf while I’m making dinner. She’s delightful when she finds the boys’ magazines and tears them to shreds. She’s delightful when she finds every single tiny bit of whatever on the floor and puts it in her mouth. She’s delightful when she chases her brothers around and when she laughs at them and when she snuggles up to me before she falls asleep. She’s a total delight. I’m not even kidding.

simon’s birthday party

simon’s birthday party

Last week was crazy. More on the marathon and the aftermath later, but for now, let’s focus on Simon’s birthday party. Obviously we saw this coming. We knew it was going to be a busy week. But we were unable to avoid putting the party plans last on the list of things to do. Which meant that it wasn’t until 10:00pm the night before the party that we started planning it.

And I may have neglected to tell you this, but Simon’s favorite mobile game is no longer Cut the Rope. For some time now he has been all about MegaRun. A few months ago it would have been the peak of awesomeness to have a Cut the Rope-themed birthday party (and super easy too), by the time the birthday actually rolled around, MegaRun was the theme of choice.

I had no idea how to execute this thing, and it became even more daunting when I asked Simon for ideas and he got into all these elaborate and complicated games . . . oy! Made me want to take a nap. So the day before the party, when all we’d settled on was a cake that looked like the fireball power-up, Micah saved me from having to put Simon’s ideas into action and came up with a genius plan for the party. He planned all the games, he made the coins, he settled on the scoring system and how prizes would be awarded. And while Oliver and I ran to the store in the hours before the party to get gifts, prizes, goodie bags, and pretty much everything else we needed, Micah cleaned the apartment, decorated the cake, and prepped the games.

By the time Oliver and I got back, half the guests were already there. Thankfully, one of the moms stayed to help me stuff candy into balloons and tie them around skewers as goodie bags, a task I was sure would take me the entire party. With her help it took about 5 minutes. And while I wrapped gifts and prepped the food and my friend took pictures, Micah ruled (and rocked) the party with an iron fist.

It turned out just fine. I don’t think Simon had a clue that we threw it together in a couple of hours. And, thankfully, afterward Micah and I were able to sit down and catch our breath for the first time last week.

on belay

on belay

I don’t remember how it started, but Simon found out about rock climbing. He wanted to know how it worked, of course, and pestered us about it for at least a week. So Micah did the only thing he could do when presented with such enthusiasm: he busted out his harness and rope and gear and rigged up a quick rock climbing wall. In the bedroom.

I’m so excited for where this is headed . . . .

peep show results

peep show results

Finally got around to tallying up the Peep Show votes, and well, this is a little embarrassing but . . . well, I won. My entry “Peep Me in the Zoo” got 18 votes.

Summer Blackhurst came in a close 2nd with her very clever “Peeping Tom” entry.

And Sarah and Paul Israelsen claimed 3rd with “The Dark Peep Rises.”

I do want to give a shout-out to Simon who’s “School Peeps” missed the top 3 by one vote. True, he did have some help in execution from his father, but the idea was all his.

Thanks again to all who participated. We’ve had a great time with this the past 5 years. I will contact you about prizes in the next few . . . days . . . weeks . . . next time I see you . . .? Don’t hold your breath, but I’ll get around to it. Don’t you worry.

a big six-er

a big six-er

I’ve been terribly delinquent in keeping up with my postings here on Knotty Strings, a situation I hope to rectify in the next week or so (including counting up the Peep Show votes . . .) but I couldn’t let the day pass without giving a shout-out to Mr. Simon who is now six years old. He’s an amazing kid, as we all know, and although being his mom is not an easy job I am happy that I get to try.

(Just so you know, he does have other shirts he wears, despite the evidence from this and the previous post to the contrary.)

two bits for a haircut (a crosspost)

two bits for a haircut (a crosspost)

First, just a quick reminder that our final Peep Show is in it’s final day. If you haven’t taken a minute to vote, please do by scrolling down to the next post and leaving a comment with your top picks.

A child, a handful of hair, a pair of scissors. This may not be every mother’s nightmare, but it usually doesn’t end up being the highlight of the day.

There was the time my sister “trimmed” my bangs and I ended up with a nice triangle shaped cutout right in front.

There was the other time my other sister, at age 5, took the shears to her own long, flowing pigtails. “You weren’t supposed to laugh!” she cried to my sister when she debuted her new self-styled hair. And while it was no laughing matter, it was one of the funniest hair hack jobs I’ve ever seen. Several hours later she was sporting her first pageboy cut.

I suppose I’m lucky then, that Simon approached me with his scissors before he took them to his hair. “What if I cut my own hair, Mom?” he asked. I could tell he was itching to see what it was like. “Not a good idea,” I said over my shoulder as I rinsed another dish. He retreated out of the doorway, and I could see that he’d been so excited by the prospect that even my not-so-harsh response had burst his bubble and brought the tears to the surface.

I looked at him and Oliver. Shaggy as lions. They needed haircuts anyway. Why not let them get started on it? So I told the boy he could cut just a little bit. He came back a minute later with a handful of hair. He’d chosen a spot on the top of his head, near his cowlick, to experiment on. I could hardly see where it was, but he was happy. Happy, but not satisfied: it was Oliver’s turn. Again, he picked a spot that was fairly inconspicuous and when Oliver was finally holding as still as Oliver can hold– SNIP! – off came a few inches. The thrill! It was awesome! He needed just one more chance to feel the power of the scissors. His eyes were on me. And since I’m getting my hair cut next week anyway, I found a spot in back that I was sure would not be noticed for him to get started on. Off came about half an inch. The boy was bouncing with joy.

And then it was done. He was finished. He put the scissors down and they haven’t been mentioned since.

I hope it stays that way. But even if it doesn’t . . . hair grows and kids learn and the pictures will be awesome.