Beach Day!

photo (11)I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to have a beach day. We LOVE the beach. The thing is, I was a little nervous to go to the beach without Matty, because here’s what you need to bring to the beach – bare minimum – with two kids:
• bag with 3 beach towels, sunblock, dry snacks, swimmies, sun hats, swim shirts
• bag of beach toys (buckets, shovels, strainer, etc)
• 3 beach chairs
• shade tent (or umbrella)
• cooler with sandwiches and cold snacks
• cooler with water bottles
We tend to carry this stuff in a large roll-y cart that gets significantly less roll-y on sand. Because it’s also virtually impossible to leave the house with two small children before 9:30 am, we didn’t get to the beach until a little after 10:30, which means we had to park in the auxiliary lot, an extra 500 yards away (still $20 though).  The important part is that we made it, and it was awesome.

We went to Wingaersheek (thanks, local friends who weighed in). The water was absolutely perfect, the flies were minimal, and the low tide created an awesome little sand bar and shallows area that the kids loved playing in.

Sure, this tent seems really great now. #foreshadowing
Sure, this tent seems really great now. #foreshadowing
She's smiling because I told her she looked like Ariel on the rock.
She’s smiling because I told her she looked like Ariel on the rock.
They're smiling because I yell,
They’re smiling because I yell, “Smile!” at them until they do. Just kidding. Kind of.
How many calories does digging a one foot moat around a three foot sand castle burn and is it enough to cancel out eating ice cream every other day?
How many calories does digging a one foot moat around a three foot sand castle burn and is it enough to cancel out eating ice cream every other day?
Favorite part of sand castle making: sand castle destroying
Favorite part of sand castle making: sand castle destroying
The Not-Napping Phase lasted about an hour.
The Not-Napping Phase lasted about an hour.
It might've helped if I hadn't kept taking pictures of the Not Napping Phase, but he looked so cute.
It might’ve helped if I hadn’t kept taking pictures of the Not Napping Phase, but he looked so cute.
“Mama, make me into a mermaid.” Nailed it.

Remember that “great” tent? Here’s the advice Matty gave me for folding it up: “one thumb up, one thumb down.” Here’s my review of folding that goddamn tent: two thumbs wayyyyy down. After about 10 minutes of watching me wrestle that thing, the family camped next to us took a break from laughing at me to try to help. The mother and teen daughter jumped in, and the three of us managed to somehow jam it back into its tiny carrying case. The woman jerry-rigged it shut and I prayed it wouldn’t pop open in the trunk. Matty, I’m sorry, but this bad boy will be waiting for you on the lawn.

F&*king tent
F&*king tent, temporarily shoved in bag
F&*king tent, currently misshapen on our lawn
F&*king tent, currently misshapen on our lawn
Did I mention that I also couldn't flatten the roll-y cart? There's that jerk, taking up the whole trunk.
Did I mention that I also couldn’t flatten the roll-y cart? There’s that jerk, taking up the whole trunk.

Aside from the Tent Incident and the Roll-y Cart Incident, I did it! We’ll be back, beach, hopefully next time with some reinforcements.

The Good Life

Yesterday, I watched my kids float on a raft on a beautiful pond while I had a beer with my childhood friend, Ali. They were sweet and funny and they didn’t crush either of Ali’s two adorable children with the giant rocks they were collecting and pushing off the dock. I’m not a religious person by far, but I felt, and I still feel, so blessed to have this summer with them.

From this far away, even if they were whining, I wouldn't hear it.
From this far away, even if they were whining, I wouldn’t hear it.

In the morning, we did stuff around the house and played a little. The kids’ new game is playing movie theatre with Hazy’s puppet theatre. You pay for your ticket with a Crazy 8’s card, and then you get a (different) Crazy 8 card as your movie ticket. It’s as exciting as it sounds.

Taking his job very seriously.
Taking his job very seriously.

Then, we headed down to Spectacle Pond to visit Ali, and her sweet kids, Violet and Adam.

I will make nature lovers out of these kids if it kills me. Unless there are bugs, then I'm out.
I will make nature lovers out of these kids if it kills me. Unless there are bugs, then I’m out.

At one point, Hazy tried to help the two littler kids with the raft (Adam was napping), and they turned on her. I told her, I don’t think they understood you were trying to help. She replied, little people never understand me.

This time the boat's in the water!
This time the boat’s in the water!
Two members of the 1992 ABRHS "Dream Team" state  swimming champions. (Ali, no joke, we heard "We Are The Champions"  this morning in the car.)
Two members of the 1992 ABRHS “Dream Team” state swimming champions, parents of 4 kids who can’t swim*. (Ali, no joke, we heard “We Are The Champions” this morning in the car.) *more than 2 feet
Ever the romantic, George pulls Violet's boat so she can pick lily pad flowers.
Ever the romantic, George pulls Violet’s boat so she can pick lily pad flowers.

Even though it was late, we had promised the kids Kimball’s (our childhood ice cream joint), and a promise is a promise. Also, ice cream is ice cream.

This was a bad time to not have wet wipes.
This was a bad time to not have wet wipes.
Violet, you are an artist.
Violet, you are an artist.

It may be all the ice cream, but I’m starting to really dig this stay-at-home mom thing. Both kids ended the day with 7 minutes one-on-one time, and it was just right.

 

 

Return to the Zoo: Double the Action, Double the Van Damage

Guys, I know we’ve already been to the zoo and so this is like a One Summer At Home rerun, but keep in mind, this is my real life,  I’m running out of ideas here, and also, we have a zoo membership.

But, rest assured, we did some previously un-seen things at the zoo today, including: buying a penny for 51¢ and feeding the budgies.

But first, we started the day with Hazy’s new hobby: practicing to be the new One Man Band:

Thank you once again, Misong, for the drum.
Thank you once again, Misong, for the drum.

Then we went back to the zoo, but we tried some new things, like whining about having to see “animals” and wanting to go to the playground. We also tested our long jumps.

Kangaroos can jump 20 feet; George can jump 3.
Kangaroos can jump 20 feet; George can jump 3.
Hazy can jump 4 feet and convince everyone it's 6.
Hazy can jump 4 feet and convince everyone it’s 6.

Felt a peacock feather:

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Found someone worse at hide & seek than George:

Nice try, dummy.
Nice try, dummy.

Got a penny for the bargain price of 51¢:

Plus labor.
Plus labor costs.

And, we fed the budgies. I don’t know what took us so long to do this, but it’s awesome.

I make them carry their own backpacks with water and a snack, because it's two less things for me to carry and also, cuteness.
I make them carry their own backpacks with water and a snack, because it’s two less things for me to carry and also, cuteness.
Some people look adorable while feeding the budgies.
Some people look adorable while feeding the budgies.
Some people, not so much.
Some people, not so much.

I always try to get one shot of all of us on each outing for posterity, even when I’m sweaty and gross.

Their new thing is both getting as close to the camera as possible, like they're David Paterson in an SNL sketch.
Their new thing is both getting as close to the camera as possible, like they’re David Paterson in an SNL sketch.
George got edged out of this one.
George got edged out of this one.

Then we hustled home for lunch and nap time. (George is this little bunny from Robin Hood.)

I'm waiting, Georgie. Always.
I’m waiting, Georgie. Always.

I’d love to say Hazy and I did some deeply enriching craft project while George napped, but we watched half of Thumbelina (one Thumbelina down from Hazy) and then she watched My Little Pony while I napped.

When Matty got home, he brought our first cucumber in from our garden! We all celebrated, as if we each helped grow it, while in reality, it was 90% Matty and 10% Hazy.

We* did it! *2/3 of we
We* did it!
*2/3 of we

We’re going to the beach tomorrow. What’s your vote among Wingaersheek, Crane, and Good Harbour?

We Went On Vacation A Trip!

We went on vacation last weekend!

We're on a boat!* *on land, but it still counts
We’re on a boat!*
*on land, but it still counts

We went to our friends’ gorgeous house on the Hudson, got spoiled with delicious food, and let our kids entertain each other while we discussed important things like how we just screwed ourselves by staying up talking past midnight. Only, turns out it wasn’t a vacation; it was a trip, according to this brilliant and handy blog post my friend Cindy just shared with me.

So let’s see, vacation or trip:

1) We got there by car = TRIP.

Tip: Don't give your kids McDonald's hot fudge sundaes in the car.
Tip: Don’t give your kids McDonald’s hot fudge sundaes in the car.

2. We met up with friends = VACATION!

Total DIL#s. Welcome to the dad club, Hotass.
Total DIL#s. Welcome to the dad club, Hotass.

3. There was a kitchen and I may have sort of half-helped empty the dishwasher once = TRIP.

But it was an amazing kitchen, and we had some much-missed NY bagels in it.
But it was an amazing kitchen, and we had some much-missed NY bagels in it.

4. No forts, no aquariums, no jigsaw puzzles (unfortunately) = VACATION!

Is this technically a fort?
Although, is this technically a fort?

5. I’m currently a stay-at-home mom = TRIP

Sure, technically I'm still
Sure, technically I’m still “at work” as a mom, but I’m telling you, when there are more kids your kids’ ages and more parents, it’s actually less work. #mommath

6. Kids were definitely there. Not just our kids, but twins Hazy’s age, a little spitfire who’s a little younger than George, and even a new baby, swoon, but still…TRIP.

There was a pool:
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DSC_0522

There was toddler tumbling:
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DSC_0539

There were races & fireflies and s’mores:
DSC_0403
DSC_0421DSC_0411DSC_0419

And there was seeing our friends as new parents, meeting their adorable little baby, and showering him with gifts like custom made onesies:
DSC_0446 DSC_0454 DSC_0435 photo (10)

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My little girl reading her old baby books to their new recipient.

So, I guess it wasn’t a vacation, but it was a really, really good trip.

Anyway, I go on vacation every day, according to this quote from Louis CK:
“Parents live for the tiny vacation from their kids. When you put the kid in the car and you close the door. That little walk around to your own door, it’s like a Carnival Cruise.”

DSC_0456
I’ll leave you with this shot from the Baby Bachelor. (Paloma, far left, is totally getting the first impression rose.)

Washed Up Swim Instructor’s Daughter Learns to Swim Despite Mother’s Ineptitude

Confession: I taught swim lessons for five years, but I CANNOT TEACH MY KIDS HOW TO SWIM. Side note: I just looked up the awesome day camp I used to work at, Camp Nashoba, and caught this little blurb during the search, “Developed in 1957 on the site of the Nashoba Indian camping and burial grounds.” Um, WHAT? Did you know about this, Lindsay? We were teaching swim lessons in Poltergeist?

Anyway, it’s been maddening that I can’t teach Hazy and George to swim. Mostly, it’s that I don’t want to force them to try things they don’t want to do. But guess what? That’s what you do when you’re a swim instructor. You think anyone wants to do 100 bobs in a lake on a cold Monday morning? But that’s not what you do when you’re a mom. At least, not this mom.

BUT, we’ve been going to Grammy’s and Oma’s respective pools every week, and yesterday, this happened:

Actual swimming. Underwater, too.
Actual swimming. Underwater, too.

I am so, so, so happy. She still can’t swim with her head above water, but, details.

George has made some strides too.

Sure, it looks like he's just being splashed by his grandmother, but the key here is that he's getting water in his face and laughing, not crying.
Sure, it looks like he’s just being splashed by his grandmother, but the key here is that he’s getting water in his face and laughing, not crying.

That was the big highlight of the day yesterday. That, and we got to have my parents’ won tons. You know, the food Hazy chose to eat every day for the rest of her life in a game of Every Day, One Day, Never.

George = official won ton sealer
George = official won ton sealer

Today, we’re playing, cleaning, and heading off to Westchester to see some friends.

Every Day, One Day, Never

What’s Every Day, One Day, Never? It’s a kids’ game I made up in the car today. It’s basically the family friendly version of FMK (you know, F-intercourse, Marry, or Kill), where you’re given three options, and you have to choose which one you’d play with/eat every day, which one you’d play with/eat for one more day, and which one you’d never play with/eat again for the rest of your life.

For example:

Every day, one day, never: Baroccoli Obama, Pooh Bear, or Scout?
Every day, one day, never: Baroccoli Obama, Pooh Bear, or Scout?

Both chose to play with Scout every day, Pooh one day, and get rid of Baroccoli.

We also chose between:

Eating… won tons (Hazy’s every day), mac & cheese (George’s every day), pasta with butter (both kids’ never)

Playing with… Magna-Tiles (both kids’ every day), trains (George’s one day), and dolls (Hazy’s one day) [By the way, I’m in no way sponsored by Magna-Tiles, but I totally should be. Cough, cough, Magna-Tile people.]

Eating… ice cream (every day for everyone), Oreo cups (one day for everyone), popsicles

Eating… American cheese (both kids’ never – shock!), cream cheese (Hazy’s every day), or shredded cheddar cheese (George’s every day)

Listening to… Got a Mooch Got A Mooch, aka Bohemian Rhapsody (every day for George & never for Hazy); La La La, aka Can’t Get You Out of My Head (every day for Hazy & never for George); Roar (my never)

After this fun-filled ride, we got to Grammy’s house, where we had pool time, went to a local farm and fed some animals, had a great dinner, and got treated to ice cream (thanks, Grammy!).

Jumping!
Jumping!
Snuggling!
Snuggling!
Don't worry, I fed Braces up there.
Don’t worry, I fed Braces up there.
Nailing her "feeding livestock" pose.
Nailing her “feeding livestock” pose.
This guy would kick his hoof on the fence until I fed him.
This guy would kick his hoof on the fence until I fed him.
They looked like they were destroying these.
They looked like they were destroying these.
But they were, in fact, bringing great shame to our family. Amateur hour.
But they were, in fact, bringing great shame to our family. Amateur hour.
Quick floss while watching half a Jake & the Neverland Pirates, and we out.
Quick floss while watching half a Jake & the Neverland Pirates, and we out.

Quick Every Day, One Day, Never choice: Facebook, Instagram, or Words With Friends?

I won’t even miss you, WWF, and it’ll be an epic last Instagram.

A Day In The Life Of, Well, Us

It’s not all about epic farts (well, it’s mostly about epic farts), it’s also about trains, Magna-Tiles, PB&Js, time outs, nap time, artwork, and importantly, shandy time by the pool. But we’ll get to the pool later.

This was a tough #momstaysinthepicture occasion.
This was a tough #momstaysinthepicture occasion.

Here’s something you won’t get from every other mom blog: a completely honest account of a day as a stay-at-home mom. Caveats:

  • I’m a temporary SAH mom. I’m sure full time pros do things a little differently/better.
  • We didn’t do any special outings today, so this doesn’t represent a “typical day” of our summer so far. But this is much more realistic, I’m realizing, as I’ve exhausted myself the last three weeks doing special activities every day.
  • I may have retouched some cellulite out of one photo, and if I knew how to use Photoshop, I would’ve done more.

On this awesome morning (Monday), both kids slept in until 8. If you want the secret to having your kids sleep in until 8, it’s this: sun + chlorine + cousins + Grammy + mom away on girls’ weekend. Strong work, Matty.

When they wake up, Hazy usually dresses herself and hangs out for a few before coming into our bedroom. George, on the other hand, yells, “I’m awake! Mama! Dada! I waked up!” until we come get him. I kind of like that he doesn’t think he can leave his room. Anyway, it was probably 8:30 by the time we went downstairs.

8:30 – 9:30: Breakfast, tooth brushing, toy pit time

Once in a blue moon, it’s quiet in the toy pit and no one is silent crying/drawing on the walls/unconscious from a train car to the head.

playing nice
This was one of those times. Hallelujah.

They played with trains and Magna-Tiles, and no one got any minutes off. Then, it was time to do some momming.

9:30 – 11:30: Toy Pit Family Time

I love playing with my kids, but I hate playing Teacher. Teacher means sitting on the rug and getting reprimanded non-stop for talking out of turn, i.e., at any time. Two hours of playing teacher is like being waterboarded with the grossest Gatorade, lemon-lime.

Luckily, I got to be teacher first. My pie chart question:
Luckily, I got to be teacher first. My pie chart question: “How many pieces of pie do you want?”
George: 1
Hazy: 5
My wonderful, beloved students. Except for Belle, I don't trust her empty eyes.
My wonderful, beloved students. Except for Belle, I don’t trust her empty eyes.
I thought it was cute that Mr. George can only write an H, for Hazy, of course.
I thought it was cute that Mr. George can only write an H, for Hazy, of course.
Mr. George also got up mid-lesson to say,
Mr. George also got up mid-lesson to say, “Now I”ll put on some music so you can dance.” I like this teacher.
A lot of kids got put in the Quiet Corner at school, including Pooh Bear and a Happy Meal toy.
A lot of kids got put in the Quiet Corner at school, including Pooh Bear and a Happy Meal toy.
Beatz was tardy.
Beatz was tardy.
We didn't get shushed once! Although George did get sent to the Quiet Corner.
We didn’t get shushed once! Although George did get sent to the Quiet Corner.

Then George and I applied the tattoos Ms. Hazel gave us.

I chose a more tasteful ankle placement.
I chose a more tasteful ankle placement.

This was a particularly good game of Teacher, but even a good game is not great, so I managed to convince them to spend some time reading.

If we’re at home, George delays getting out of his jammies for as long as humanly possible. In this case, a little before noon.

Please, sir, if I could just put on your pants.
Please, sir, if I could just put on your pants.

11:45 – 12:30 The outing! (It took us 15 minutes or so to round up, get George dressed, and put on shoes.)

After securing pants on this one, we went to Boomerang’s, a local thrift store that benefits the AIDS Action Committee, to shop for Uncle Marco’s birthday. This was literally the only time we left our house/yard all day.

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch Break

Lunch, the epic fart incident, putting G down for his nap.

How many consecutive days did we decide are too many to give your kids PB&Js?
How many consecutive days did we decide are too many to give your kids PB&Js?
No one appreciates a good book* like Georgie. *about trains or trucks
No one appreciates a good book* like Georgie.
*about trains or trucks

1:30 – 3:30 George’ nap; Hazy & my special time

George’s nap is really Hazy and my time to do big kid stuff together. She’s really into her acrylics and canvas these days, so after a pedi for Hazy, a few episodes of My Little Pony (read: nap time for me), she did some painting.

Anything to avoid watching Flutter Shy.
Anything to avoid watching Flutter Shy.
I was about to compliment her ladybug when I saw the letters C-O-W. Close call.
I was about to compliment her ladybug when I saw the letters C-O-W. Close call.

3:30 – 5:15 Yard Time

Post nap, we went to our second favorite pool, our own. Usually pool time is my Shandy time, and I just sit back and watch the kids splash around. This time, I decided to leave my phone and shandy inside and be a part of the action. I was encouraged by the fact that it was about 95º out.

Felt like a kid again.
Felt like a kid again.
Showing me how it's done.
Showing me how it’s done.
I did not, however, participate in the horse riding portion, except to ride in the ensuing waves.
I did not, however, participate in the horse riding portion, except to ride in the ensuing waves.
Getting air!
Getting air!
HE may be
He may be “spirited”, But George is also very sweet. Here, he’s sharing his water with Beatz.

After the ensuing mud pit we created on the lawn when we emptied the pool, it was bath time.

5:15-5:45 Bath Time

My American Idol will always be Kelly and my Little Mermaid will always be Hazy. Suck it, Ariel.
My American Idol will always be Kelly and my Little Mermaid will always be Hazy. Suck it, Carrie/Ariel.
Everything's great about bath time until SOMEONE GETS SOAP IN THEIR EYE. Note: water also counts as soap.
Everything’s great about bath time until SOMEONE GETS SOAP IN THEIR EYE. Note: water also counts as soap.

 5:45 – 6:30 Cooking/Toy Pit

I treat the toy pit like the Coliseum when I’m cooking. The gladiators have to work it out on their own. Two kids enter, okay fine, two kids leave. But it’s either to go to their rooms for time out or to come set the table and wash their hands.

We’ve been occasionally doing Blue Apron, which I like, but it’s a constant blow to the ego, like when it says it takes 25-35 minutes to prepare and it takes me 50.  So on this occasion, we had a late dinner. Matty got home around 6:00 and played with the kids, who greeted him like a king. I also had to go to a quick doctor’s appointment.

Dr. Hazel diagnosed me with Medipedia
Dr. Hazel diagnosed me with Medipedia, which isn’t as scary (or informative!) as it sounds. p.s. I dig the hairbrush in her pocket.
Then she had a consult with another doctor, and told him he had to
Then she had a consult with another doctor, and told him he had to “put a tube in me”. The other doctor and I had a good laugh about that.

6:30 – 7:00: Dinner

Yep, we eat fast. Sorry if we don’t “have conversations” and “chew our food” like some of you fancy pants. Usually, we give the kids whatever we’re having, but I wimped out because the Blue Apron was North African Beef Tagine, and made them mac & cheese. I’m ashamed of myself. But I don’t feel that bad, because they totally would not have eaten North African Beef Tagine.

7:00 – seeming infinity: Bedtime ritual (Full confession, I snuck out from 7:05-7:25 to get my bangs trimmed.)

Flossing (ugggghhh), brushing (ugh), thank god they’re already in their pajamas from bath time, reading, and 10 minutes one-on-one time for each of them (good job, guys!). Since Matty and I were both home, we split it up so that Hazy had 10 minutes with Matty and I had 10 minutes with George (we alternate). As dinner was so late (curse you, Blue Apron! Just kidding, I can’t stay mad at you after the Ponzu Steak), bedtime went a little late too. But phew, we were done by 8:00, because…

8:00 – 10:00: Unwinding

Did I say unwinding? I meant speed-washing the dishes so I could watch The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All and force Matty to do the same. (Although I didn’t have to twist him arm that hard.)

8:20 – Me, grasping distended belly: “I ate too much tagine!”

9:30 – Matty, looking at me eating chocolate-covered yogurt pop: “Weren’t you just saying you had a stomach ache from eating too much?”

Me: Continues to eat popsicle.

Today was much the same, except instead of Boomerang’s, we went to the post office, where George ran so far off that he was already at the automatic doors, practically outside, before some woman in line said, “Ma’am, he’s all the way over there”, shaming me at the post office. Also, Hazy turned into a teenager in front of my very eyes.

Excuse me, ma'am? Oh I'm sorry, you're a 6-year old girl.
Excuse me, ma’am? Oh I’m sorry, you’re a 6-year old girl.

And today, George went into the pool solo while Hazy and I made mustache straws. As you do.

Back to our back to back grandma days tomorrow and Thursday. Hooray for grandmothers and Opa! If you have any good, simple arts & crafts projects, please leave a comment. Thanks!