back on the bike

back on the bike


I’ve been nervously anticipating Felix’s birthday for several months knowing that we could then get back on the bike and ride around like we like to do. Only now, there are 5 of us to fit on there. Hence the nervousness.

We had a nice day this week and I decided somewhat last minute to just go for it. I didn’t want to think too much about it, so I just rode the bike in and hoped I’d be able to get us home without too much trouble.

I told the kids we might have to get off the bike and walk up the bridge if I couldn’t pedal us up. And I warned them that if we did make it to the top on the bike, there would be a photo op. We had to buckle the boys’ backpacks to the bike (they usually wear them) because the cargo hold was a little cramped with 3 kids back there. But other than that: smooth sailing.

I won’t say I wasn’t huffing and puffing up the bridge, but I credit that partially to the 2+months of no running (stress fracture) and the loss of some of my lung capacity. It really wasn’t as hard as I anticipated, and while it took us just under an hour to get home, that wasn’t too far from what we did before Felix was born.

Of course, the good weather didn’t hold so our triumphant return to the bike was short-lived. But when it returns, we’ll be ready to ride all over it.

a year of Felix

a year of Felix

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All of a sudden, Felix is one. And all of a sudden, he’s acting like it. Meaning: falling and hitting his head every day, using almost-sort-of-words (mostly “DA!” and maybe, “Mamama!” and possibly, “Nana” —banana), doing that walk with his hands in the air, poking pictures in books, and throwing blocks and balls. Those things.


He also crawl-sprints for the door every time someone opens it, loves to be outside, and can’t get a decent nap or night’s sleep to save anyone’s sanity. But at least he puts himself to sleep.


His actual birthday was . . . kind of the worst. He fell and hit his head first thing (big bruise on his forehead), then got two shots at the doctor’s office and had to get his finger pricked twice to verify that he does indeed have anemia (just like his siblings), and he is losing ground in the growing game, having fallen a couple of percentiles in both weight and height to put him even farther down in the “pretty scrawny” category. But at least his head is decently big.

Despite all that, the most traumatizing thing at the doctor’s office was the exam table. He totally freaked out about that. I assume it was the paper they line the thing with.

Oh, and it snowed. And he had a fever. (Just a small one.)

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I had hoped to take him out for ice cream but it was cold and he was tired. It just didn’t seem right. So we put that plan on hold and tried to get him to open his gifts before plopping him in his bed and letting him sleep.

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The next day was his party and while he was still very clingy and tired, he was not feverish or cranky, so we went ahead with his birthday party. We just had a bunch friends over and had a “block party:” block shaped cakes, jello blocks, blocks of cheese . . . because Felix likes blocks. Or throwing them and knocking them down. And putting them back in the drawer occasionally.

He was such a champ about the whole thing. As long as he was being held he was happy, and we were happy to hold him so it all worked out fine. His siblings helped him blow out his candle and he was very gracious about staying awake for his guests.

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It may not have been the best birthday he’s ever had (though maybe it was! I’ve heard being born can be quite traumatic!) but at least we got to celebrate this sweet young thing. He certainly is worth celebrating.

brooklyn tarts

brooklyn tarts

In seeking to legitimize and professionalize my hobbies, as I am wont to do, I inadvertently helped create a cross country pie baking club.

It happens.

We are called the Brooklyn Tarts, because the idea originated with 3 women who know each other from Brooklyn. We then added 3 more from Brooklyn, and a couple more from the new homes some of the ladies now live in. All told, we have members in Brooklyn, Arkansas, Utah, Washington, and California.

Each month one of us is in charge of picking a pie that we all bake. Then we bake it and review it, sharing tips and tricks. January was my month to pick. I chose a savory supper pie from The Hoosier Mama Pie Book I got for my birthday. It was a very involved pie (I did it in several pieces over a week), but it was well worth the time spent.


Februrary’s pie was a pear cardamom pie with almond crust. I anticipated it going wrong at various parts, but it also surpassed my expectations.


Believe it or not, these pies also turned out to be the most photographable pies I’ve made yet. Or maybe I’m just learning something about lighting. Either way, they do taste as good as they look, if not better.

urban v. rural

urban v. rural

Oliver’s class is working on their community study, learning about urban and suburban and rural communities. After my Grandpa died last month and Ms. Plummer, Oliver’s teacher, asked me to let her know if there was something she could do, I was determined to take her up on the offer and find a way for Oliver to learn more about his Great Grandpa, and the community study seemed like a good in.

So we worked together to find some ways urban and rural communities are similar, and some ways they are different. The hope was that Oliver would be able to see how he and Great Grandpa were alike in a lot of ways, and for him to imagine Great Grandpa as more than the man in the pictures or the person whose funeral we went to.

I was surprised at how excited Oliver was for the the project. I was anticipating doing most of the work, but Oliver really took ownership of it—especially when we got to the classroom. (Elsa was an amazing silent assistant and Felix did us all a favor by letting Ms. Plummer hold him the entire time without so much as a peep.)

Some of the things we talked about were that people in rural communities often work outside—no matter the weather, while people in urban communities often work inside.


We talked about how both urban and rural communities have beautiful views. (Which, Ms. Plummer pointed out, is an opinion question and went right along with their unit on persuasive writing and using evidence to back up your points.)


We also talked about how people in rural and urban communities need to be creative and resourceful—like using a dog to pull your wagon if it’s a far distance, or like building a playground in your bedroom.


But my favorite was this comparison right here:

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There are people in both urban and rural communities who will try to fit as many kids on a horse or bike as they can. :)

valentine’s day is CANCELLED

valentine’s day is CANCELLED

Next year, anyway. Or it should be, based on the behavior of certain members of our family this last Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s were given, Valentine’s were lost, siblings were blamed, siblings needed to be PUNISHED. Profuse apologies were offered. Apologies were ignored in the repeated demand for PUNISHMENT. And the lesson of the day was forgiveness. Which, I suppose, is as good a lesson as any. And I suppose Valentine’s is as good a day as any to learn that lesson.

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But if it hadn’t been for that unfortunate incident, and the continued crying, complaining, and whining, I  would have said this was one of our more successful Valentine’s in one particular way: we are getting very good at coming up with quick and easy Valentine’s that are homemade and not too cutesy, which is exactly where I like to aim my cupid’s arrow.

I made a sheet pan of strawberry flavored marshmallows, cut them into hearts shapes, and slipped them into little bags. The boys added tags with their names on them and we were done. Actually, we had to take some of the scraps and make chocolate covered marshmallows to get the right number, but again, super easy.

Actually, now that I know we can whip up some passable Valentine’s Day treats with not so much effort, maybe I won’t cancel it next year. Forgive and forget, right? Or maybe I would have forgotten anyway, so I may as well forgive while it’s still on my mind.

mid-winter/springish break

mid-winter/springish break

I never know what a week off from school will be like: lots of fighting? Too cold to go out much? Or loads and loads of activities and fun times? This time we were blessed to have Micah with on on President’s Day, which made the rest of the week feel much less long and much more manageable.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

And with Micah having a day off as well, we lived it up and went to the Guggenheim, which we have seen of course but felt like some place not quite for us. Well, we’ve lived in this city nearly 10 years and we can go anywhere we want to go. So we went. Thankfully we got their early enough that it wasn’t super crowded and we took our time exploring the spiral and its off-shoots, including the place where they sell the chocolate croissants. Even if most of the art is modern, there were some pieces I really enjoyed and would have found a place for in my own house if I had the resources the Guggenheims had

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Really though, one of my favorite things to see was this:


Felix may not be quite big enough to keep up, but they are good enough to not leave him behind.

The other big accomplishment of the week was to not play video games or watch much tv/movies. I did succumb to strep throat on Thursday afternoon (after we spent the morning at the Botanic Garden with friends) and with the aches and chills and headache . . . well, I wasn’t up for playing anything except a movie. On the one hand, it was beautiful weather Thursday afternoon and Friday, which made it an awful time to be sick. But on the other the kids were out of school so I was actually able to rest instead of taking charge of pickup and such. I guess we’re even.


The good weather/sick combination was also a good reminder that we actually can just go out in front of our building. The kids wanted to draw with sidewalk chalk, but we couldn’t find it, so they resorted to jumping rope and drawing pictures on paper while Felix mastered (more or less) the ups and downs of stair climbing and crawling as quickly down the sidewalk as he could.

Tomorrow, life begins again. I’m sure it will be a good break from our break.

cat eyes

cat eyes

Grandma had a secret pair of magic glasses that look good on everyone.


There’s no point in asking who they look best on because I already know.

snow play

snow play

While we do get snow in Brooklyn, it isn’t always so easy for us to take advantage of it. The park is more than a mile away and while the parking lot across the street and the stairs in front of our building will work in a pinch, there aren’t any great places to sled.

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So we take our snow play where we can. Which, this winter, seems to be in Utah. Lots of snow on both our trips there meant we got some sledding, some snowballing, and some snow-personing. (We were calling it a snowman, but Elsa had something to say about that . . . !)


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Thankfully, we were fairly well outfitted for such endeavors and so we had quite a time. Life is so much more pleasant when you are dressed for the occasion.

baby steps

baby steps

Literally. Felix took two small steps this week.

This comes less than a week after he first stood on his own for a few seconds.

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Which happened to be the same day that he said what clearly sounded like “nana” when there was a banana he wanted to eat nearby.

And then there is the tooth, which became visible just two days after we heard that his cousin—only 2 1/2 weeks younger than him—was already sporting a little nub of a tooth. (I assume he decided he couldn’t be beat by Elora.)

He and I share toys.

(Felix and I also share toys.)

This is all happening so fast. Or maybe not so fast as some of these things we’ve been looking forward to for months, but definitely all at once.

But I guess that is how things often happen. Slowly, slowly, slowly, and then BAM! There it is.