Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New bike!

Sebastian surprised us with his wholesale enthusiasm for his new, big boy bike. He is usually so tentative about new experiences, especially ones that might lead to physical harm. But he has been talking about his bike since we ordered it on Saturday and he was beyond excited to pick it up yesterday. We went out immediately, and he loved it. He even got right back on after a small crash and fall into some bushes. Even more, he requested that we remove the training wheels. (!)  I can't decide if that's a good idea or not, but he's pretty set on having a bike that looks just like mine.  He woke up this morning and asked to go out before work/daycare, so we had a 7 am trip around the block. What a boy. We're so pleased.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring morning at Rockefeller Park

I sometimes think I could be a better indoor mom. I'm not very crafty or artistic, and thus never come up with cool ideas for projects. And my imagination often falters when playing race cars or construction trucks. But I feel very confident in my outdoor mom self. I take the children out a lot, I have lots of fun ideas for outdoor games, and we're never bored and rarely grumpy. And we're often dirty, which in my mind is the hallmark of a good time. We spent the morning at Rockefeller Park, throwing rocks into streams, tramping through grasses, clambering on boulders, blowing bubbles, playing harmonicas, watching our pinwheels twirl, and picnicking. We got very dirty. It was glorious. Both children ate big lunches and collapsed into naps. (P.S. 3 hours for Liesl, and 2 hours for Seb!)

Fierce concentration on the rock throwing enterprise.
Tramping through tall grasses.

Liesl scootching down a steep embankment on her bum. She really wanted to reach the water.
Why do they always go for the biggest rocks they can physically manage?
Running away from the huge splash.

Again, the biggest rocks....

snacktime: raisins, nuts, cheerios, apples, water.
Bubbles!! Liesl is our new bubble-blowing champion.
Seb ran and ran, so he was our running champion.
dancing girl
Bubbles in the hollowed-out tree.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

riding on the bike!

Click for the video!!!    From Spring 2012

Liesl got to ride on the bike with me for the first time yesterday. I was super excited about it. She liked it - wasn't afraid in the way that Sebastian had been the first few times - but wasn't thrilled about the helmet. Seb rode his Skuut bike next to us on the way out, but then ran all the way back home (over a mile!).  At the halfway point we played in the grass, blew dandelion seeds, and played a game of peekaboo/chase around a big metal sculpture.

In the afternoon we went to the Tarrytown bike shop and bought Seb a big bike - 16 inches, with training wheels, bright yellow. Whee! And then, since we were in T-town anyway, we went to Main Street Sweets and got ice cream for the whole family. Peach for the children, and chocolate for the big people. Yum. Feels like summer.

the end. or, a new beginning

For the last 4-5 years, we've had a really decent work/childcare/family arrangement. Steve has worked part-time, 80% time for 80% pay, with a really flexible schedule and a lot of telecommuting. I've worked full time, but with Wednesdays a work-from-home day and an earlier departure, at 4 pm. The children (from 8 months old on) have been at a great daycare center, where we trusted the teachers and made good friends, from 8 to 5. It's a long day for everyone, but it is a schedule that allowed both me and Steve to be around in the mornings and evenings, making and sharing breakfast and dinner with the children. And Wednesdays were great for errands and chores - laundry and groceries and the library and random odds and ends.

Starting next year, all of our various arrangements appear to be ending. Steve has been at his firm for seven years, and he needs to either commit to making partner - which would entail not only a full time schedule but evening obligations as well - or leave entirely, finding a new job. I was told on Friday that beginning in August, all flexible work arrangements were being terminated, so I will have to be physically present Monday-Friday, 9-5. I really don't understand why Columbia has made this decision - it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the quality of my work or complaints from my students or colleagues. But if I can't leave work until 5, I can't pick up Liesl until 6, which is a real problem given that daycare closes at 5:45.  Additionally, Sebastian is starting kindergarten in the fall, so we are trying to figure out after-school and vacation/break child care arrangements for him. If I don't pick up Liesl until 6, does that mean I have to pick him up from somewhere else at 6:15? When do we get home, and what do we eat when we arrive, all famished?  And finally, I just learned this morning that our daycare's landlord had sold the building and they are thus looking for a new space for the center. I fear it won't be as convenient for my commute as their current location and that the community of families and teachers will change, as some will not make the leap.

So now what? New jobs all around? New daycare? Hiring a nanny/babysitter? We have a lot to figure out.  But it's clearly the end of what we have had, and we are trying to be just thankful that it lasted as long as it did - getting us almost all the way through Sebastian's first five years and Liesl's first two. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

the Easter bunny visits


We had a really nice Easter weekend, complete with Easter baskets and an egg hunt and lots of treats. The children woke up to find baskets with toys and books and chocolates and eggs, and then we went out to Long Island to join the Raabs. The four cousins (Rio and Hana, plus our two) had a great egg hunt together in the yard - both of the babies really got into the hunt and wandered around looking for and finding eggs.

Friday, April 6, 2012

At Halsey Pond

Despite a nasty cold, which has felled 3/4ths of our family, we had a lovely little afternoon adventure at Halsey pond in Irvington. We looked at geese and ducks, climbed to the top of the castle, walked along an old stone wall, hopped back and forth over a feeder stream, and poked sticks thru a drain into the water. I love spring.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


There are a lot of times that Sebastian and Liesl seem to delight in driving each other batty. Seb will steal L's bunny Fufu, or take away whatever she's playing with ( even if he has previously displayed zero interest in said item, like a doll). Liesl will deliberately knock down his block or Lego towers, or steal one piece of a puzzle, or grab one of his favorite cars and run away. If one is getting parental attention or cuddling, the other wants some too. Some days they make me crazy- they can't play nicely together, but they insist on following each other around and interfering with the other' s game instead of finding their own.

But then there are these magical moments, when they crack each other up and giggle about nothing. Or when Seb really delights in his role as a teacher and helps L do puzzles or try out new words. They love to play chase around the apartment and at playgrounds. She will always agree to whatever he suggests - she's game for anything, and her automatic response to Seb's "Liesl, do you want to do X?" is to nod vigorously yes.

This past weekend I took them to Leaping Lizards on the rainy Saturday morning, and they were amazing together. Seb stuck with her the whole time instead of running off on his own. They flopped around in the ball pit for a really long time, laughing and throwing themselves and occasionally piling on each other and hugging. When they moved on to the slides, seb was wonderful. He would climb up to the top of the stairs first and spread his arms wide, saying "Come to me! Come to me!" Liesl would eagerly scramble up after him and they would hug at the top. And then they walked hand in hand to the slides, where Seb would call down to me to make sure I was ready to catch Liesl before she dove in, head first. They did this a dozen times, and I was so touched and proud the whole time. I hope they continue to play together, and to love each other. There's nothing in the world like a brother/sister bond.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Monday, April 2, 2012