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Month: November 2014

still learning

still learning

Last Sunday morning I got a bunch of e-mails/tweets/facebook messages etc. from someone who worked at “Good Morning Britain.” She wondered if I’d be available to be on the show the next morning . . . at 2am New York time. Same old story: leaving kids home alone, blah blah blah. I checked my schedule and, aside from being the middle of my sleep time, saw no reason not to, so I agreed.

Transportation to and from was arranged, I decided to be smart and go to bed at 8:30 so at least I could pretend I got a full-night’s sleep, and at 1:30am I was in a car on my way to to same studio I went to when I did the Lorraine Show.

And then, at 2:40am, I was on. And it became clear to me that when I spoke to one of the producers on the phone earlier in the afternoon, I did not ask the right questions. Most notably: why is this in the news again?

If I had asked, I would have known that there is a mom who left her 6-year-old home and was cited for it. Now she’s trying to get the citation removed and there is talk of making a law with a minimum age for kids to be left alone. And if I had known that, I might have responded a bit differently.

Oops.

As it was, I did the best I could. And I think I did genuinely contribute and make a good point or two, but only after I picked up on the reason I was actually there.

So there’s that. I’m still learning. Next time, if there is one, I’ll be smart enough to ask why this is in the news right now.

Sigh.

I haven’t bothered to see if there’s a clip online or not, but feel free to look if you want. It was “Good Morning Britain” on Monday Nov. 10.

mary poppins day

mary poppins day

Sometimes, the boys have Tuesdays off. Well, twice in a row. Election Day then Veteran’s Day. I kind of botched Election Day, so we decided to go big on Veteran’s Day. I asked the kids what they wanted to do on their day off and Simon had a list of things he wanted to do: See the castle, go through the Ramble, check out the fountain—basically do the grand tour of Central Park’s 2nd quadrant, which he’s learning about in school.

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The weather gods smiled on New York City that day and we were blessed with 60 degrees and sunny. Elsa took a nap on the train on the way there, so by the time we got to Turtle Pond, our lunch time picnic spot, we were good to go for the rest of the day.

And go we did.
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We rambled through The Ramble.

We took Belvedere Castle.
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We soaked in the glory of Bethesda Fountain and all the talents being shared and the people watching to peep.

We scaled Cherry Hill.

And then we went searching for Balto—the last thing on our list.
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We found him, of course, and we paid our respects to the bravest dog ever. (I still have a hard time reading the kids’ book we have telling the story of Balto. Tears every time. I’m such a softie.)

I patted myself on the back several times throughout the day for letting the kids lead the way, not rushing them from one place to the next, for just sitting and watching them run and play and be kids (and for joining in when they wanted me to).
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But then we were done and we wanted nothing more than to just go home—which is never as easy as it sounds. The maps told us there were 4 restrooms really close to where we were. The maps lied. It took us forever to find one, and by that point we were in a completely different part of the park by a different train line. The natives were restless and I could feel the mutinous spirit growing.

We did make it to our train, however. Just in time to quell the mutiny. We made it home in time to make dinner.

Such was our Mary Poppins day—practically perfect in every way.

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a halloween of mythic proportions

a halloween of mythic proportions

This is what I’ve been telling people this year: Every year when Halloween costume time rolls around, Micah and the kids and I have a discussion and we sketch out some Halloween costume ideas. We say, “That sounds cool, let’s do that.” And then we get to work. Micah makes some real sketches. He tells me his plans while I stare at him uncomprehendingly. I ask him what kinds of materials I need to gather. And then, after I sit with it for a few days I say, “This will never work. Micah, it’s all on you.” And I wash my hands of it. 

Which is not to say that I actually don’t touch it any more. I still do whatever Micah tells me to do. But I do it blindly, without the belief that these costumes will be any good. Every year I am very suspicious that things will come together and that we’ll have anything worth memorializing come October 31st. And then every year, when the costumes are actually donned and everything is put in its place, I am blown away by Micah’s vision. 

This year we settled on “mythical creatures with horns” as our family theme. (It turns out that Micah mostly just wanted to make a bunch of spray-foam-and-paper-mache horns for the thrill/challenge of it.) Simon decided on a faun (like Mr. Tumnus), Oliver requested a purple dragon, and Elsa rolled with the punches and embraced the jackalope we thought would be hilarious/cute/thematically appropriate. Micah wore mythically large ram horns, and I wore a unicorn horn that proved to be especially handy when our faun ran ahead of us while trick-or-treating and used it to find his way home.

As always, Micah and I stayed up way too late several nights putting things together. The faun’s vest was a last minute addition that I thought would keep me up all night but ended up being shockingly simple (mostly because I “junk-sewed” it—no finished edges or ironing) and the perfect thing to finish the costume.

And as always, it was gratifying to hear people on our trick-or-treating route talk about how cool the “horned family” was.

Well played, Mr. Heiselt. Well played.

I wrote more about our Halloween costuming endeavors for Babble, just because I wanted to do something light and fun. :)