Category Archives: BabyMort

Birthday Celebration: Our NYC Adventure

A couple of years ago, we decided it would be fun to take our kids on a trip of their choosing, without their sibling, when they turned 10. Chloe wasn’t sure where she wanted to go. She narrowed it down to “the mountains”, “the beach”, or Hoboken, NJ. Since Hoboken, via NYC, was the only specific location she mentioned and also the least likely location we’d visit with her brother any time soon, it seemed like the right choice.

We tried to fit as much into our time in New York City as we could. I had never been, so selfishly, I wanted to cross some items off my list too! We got in mid-afternoon on Saturday, settled in our Airbnb in Jersey City, and then Uber’ed into the city. (Sometimes I felt guilty about spending money on Ubers, but it was a balancing act between saving money and saving our sanity!) We headed to a restaurant that had been recommended to us because of their mac & cheese cones – which were delicious – but I was thrilled with the location. We were on a patio next to the river and could see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. When we were done eating, we walked over to the 9/11 Memorial and the One World Observatory.

At the 9/11 Memorial, I thought it was really special that they take the time to put a rose in someone’s name on their birthday. Since we were there on C’s birthday, we read the names of some of those who she would have shared a birthday with. Then as we were heading up to the top of the One World Observatory, there was a really powerful animation shown on the sides of the elevator that shows the changing skyline. It starts in the 1800’s and ends in the present day. If you have the chance to go, the twin towers appear, and disappear, on the right hand side, as you’re facing the back of the elevator.

On Sunday, we had tickets to see Aladdin on Broadway. We spent the morning and early afternoon exploring the area near Rockefeller Center and Times Square, before heading over to the theater. FAO Schwarz, the M&M and Disney stores, and a slice of pizza – folded in half, of course – were highlights. After the show, thanks to the friend of a family member’s nephew (thanks 6 degrees of separation 😉 !) we were able to go backstage at the theater. It was interesting to learn about their sets, props and costumes and Chloe wasn’t even a little shy when it came to checking things out!

Monday was the big day! You might think that a Broadway show would be the highlight, but no. Carlos Bakery, the bakery featured in Cake Boss, was THE REASON we traveled to NYC. During our trip, we also managed to visit several other bakeries connected to TV chefs – Sprinkles, Jacque Torres Chocolate, and Milk Bar. And because the trip may as well have just been a tour of desserts, we also enjoyed treats from Devon & Blakely (solely because of the name!), cheesecake from Junior’s, a waffle with cookie butter from Wafels & Dinges, shakes from the Shake Shack, and cookies from Levain. The lobster tail from Carlos and Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie from Levain were probably my 2 favorites – although I really wanted to add several others to the list as I typed this out! Chloe’s favorites were the lobster tail and cheesecake and Aaron, who wouldn’t have gone to nearly as many bakeries, if any, on his own, liked the Chocolate Peanut Butter cookie from Levain and the strawberry shake from Shake Shack. We walked a total of 35 miles in 4 days, so we felt totally justified in all the yummy food we ate!

When we weren’t eating, we rode the Staten Island Ferry, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, visited Grand Central Station, and explored Central Park. We looked liked tourists and I didn’t even care. I know that we barely even scraped the surface of what there is to do and see in the city, but I feel like we had a successful trip!

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Double Digits for Chloe!

My baby girl is 10! How did this happen?! I can still remember those long, hard nights her first year – bouncing and singing to her at all hours of the night in hopes she’d sleep for just a bit on her own. I can remember the endless chatter when she first started talking and the hours she’d spend on the swings during her toddler years.

These days, she’s writing her own original stories and reading chapter books that are hundreds of pages long. She can bake homemade buttermilk biscuits by herself and make her own lunch (when she feels like it…) I’m thankful there are still many times when I see the kid in her – when she comes in from playing outside covered in mud or spends hours playing a game with her brother, full of made-up family members. But sometimes it catches me off guard when I see glimpses of the adult she might become!

For her 10th birthday, we told her we would take her on a trip anywhere she wanted to go. AND that we would leave her brother at home. Eventually, she decided on New York City, because she wanted to go to Carlos Bakery in Hoboken, NJ (from the show Cake Boss.) We also asked 10 friends, family members and teachers to write her a letter and we shared those with her throughout the trip. Mine started with:

“There is something about you turning 10 that has me feeling all kinds of feelings. I’m sure you haven’t noticed this, because I’m keeping it well hidden, but it’s true 😉  As you get older, you’re gaining independence, but you’re still a kid, which I know that isn’t always easy to balance. There are some things I want you to know and remember as you get older. Hopefully some of it helps.”

I followed this with advice, most of which she’ll probably forget, but I’m hopeful that bits and pieces of it are floating around in her brain now and will come in handy someday. It was fun watching her discover who the next envelope was from (and it was a great distraction, at times!) and I hope that years from now, she’ll look back and appreciate the letters even more.

This girl is a creature of habit, so even as we were in the airport on the morning of her birthday, she was asking me when I’d ask her the 20 birthday questions. She has the love of planning and the memory that pre-kids Blakely had 🙂 Thanks to her, we got the questions answered on her birthday.

  • What is your favorite color? Purple and aqua blue
  • What is your favorite toy?  Dollhouse
  • What is your favorite fruit?  Pear
  • What is your favorite TV show?  The Voice
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Mac & Cheese and fish sticks
  • What is your favorite outfit?  Anything with Harry Potter on it.
  • What is your favorite game?  Codenames
  • What is your favorite snack?  Nutella banana wrap up
  • What is your favorite animal?  A fox and a dog
  • What is your favorite song? Rewrite the Stars –from The Greatest Showman
  • What is your favorite book? Land of Stories and Harry Potter
  • Who is your best friend? Nya
  • What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman
  • What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Play in the mud.
  • What is your favorite drink? Vitamin water with sparkling water mixed in
  • What is your favorite holiday?  Halloween
  • What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Tangled blanket and dog
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  German pancake with butter syrup and strawberries
  • What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Ribs with mac and cheese
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A baker or a writer

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Chloe is 9!

Oh. Chloe Mae. I cannot get over the fact that this is your last year in single digits. A friend pointed out that you’re halfway to adulthood, and I would have preferred if she’d kept that piece of information to herself 🙂 You wear size 6 (!) shoes, love to remind me that your hair is longer than mine, and are ready to jump on the “I’m almost as tall as you” bandwagon any day now. You fit the role of big sister well. You’re a great caretaker, a rule follower and can be a little bossy at times.

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You enjoy traveling and seeing new things, but can be a creature of habit like your mama. You ate cheesecake for 4/4 desserts on the train ride out to San Francisco! We spent your birthday trying to cram in a few last sights before our trip ended – and filled it with yummy food, including crepes and rolled ice cream.

I know the coming years will be trying at times, as you perfect the eye roll and test the limits of your independence, but I can’t wait to see who you become!

  • What is your favorite color? Purple
  • What is your favorite toy?  Drawing stuff.
  • What is your favorite fruit?  Raspberries.
  • What is your favorite TV show?  The Voice
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  “Anything that’s not leftovers. Just kidding. Maybe fish sticks and mac and cheese. That’s better than leftovers. Unless the leftovers are leftover brisket. Then that’s my favorite. Remember when I ate that as a leftover for lunch like 5 days in a row?! Ok, that might be exaggerating. But still.”
  • What is your favorite outfit? My sequin flip shirt and Justice jeans.
  • What is your favorite game?  Clue
  • What is your favorite snack?  Nutella banana tortilla wrap up
  • What is your favorite animal?  Monkeys….and dogs. And flamingos.
  •  What is your favorite song? Rewrite the Stars and The Other Side– both from The Greatest Showman
  • What is your favorite book? Cupcake Diaries series
  • Who is your best friend? Nya
  • What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman
  • What is your favorite thing to do outside?  “Play cowgirl. It’s me and Devon’s game.” A few questions later… “Will you go back to the outside question? Put down floating steps. I like doing those too.”
  • What is your favorite drink? Sparkling lemonade iced tea
  • What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas
  • What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  “Tangled blanket and George. And Olaf. And my pillow.”
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Bacon and…. bacon.
  • What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Biscuits and gravy.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A baker.

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And Just Like That, She’s 8

Oh, my. Every year I’m taken aback by all the feels on my kiddos’ birthdays. I so enjoy watching them grow and change, but I’m not quite ready for the getting older part that comes with it!

My little girl (she’s still little – okay?!?) is in limbo these days – wanting to be treated like a “big kid” and enjoy all the perks that come with being big, but still not quite ready for all the responsibilities that come with it. Being in this limbo comes with a lot of big emotions – that we’re all learning to deal with.

These days, Chloe is most passionate about art, cooking and baking. Pretending to cook and bake, as well as playing outside (when it’s warm – she totally gets that from me!) and reading are also high on the list. She loves time with friends and enjoys playing with her little brother, about 75% of the time 🙂  When we have littles over to our house, she is nurturing, loving and entertaining. When we have bigs over, she is full of energy and loves to play elaborate games.

While she sometimes has lofty goals, she still loves the little things in life. Today, she loved the candle in her biscuits and gravy at breakfast. We had lunch at Daddy’s work, and stretching out in a lounge chair was one of her favorite parts. On the way home, I stopped at Caribou on campus and she was thrilled to get her very own hot chocolate. Her presents from us included an outdoor rocking chair and a toothbrush that lights up for 2 minutes. They were both on her list of 8 things for her 8th birthday and she was ecstatic. We finished the day by celebrating with some of her friends at Hickory Park. Her favorite part was making up names for her french fries before eating them.

I am thrilled to have such a wonderful, smart, silly girl to be raising. Listed below are the answers to the 20 questions we ask every year – more silliness and simplicity.

  • What is your favorite color? Purple
  • What is your favorite toy?  Kitchen stuff
  • What is your favorite fruit?  Bananas
  • What is your favorite TV show?  Odd Squad
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Leftover Pizza
  • What is your favorite outfit? Dresses
  • What is your favorite game?  Clue
  • What is your favorite snack?  Cheese and crackers
  • What is your favorite animal?  Dog
  •  What is your favorite song? Shake if Off – sang by Rosita and Gunther in Sing
  • What is your favorite book? Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew
  • Who is your best friend? Nya
  • What is your favorite movie? Sing
  • What is your favorite thing to do outside?  “Play cooking things in the sand”
  • What is your favorite drink? Lemonade
  • What is your favorite holiday?  Halloween
  • What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Tangled blanket, George and Monkey
  • What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Biscuits and gravy
  • What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  “Maybe breakfast if we weren’t going to Hickory Park.’
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A cook 

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Kindergarten – Half a Year in Review

It has been fun to see Chloe learning and growing the last few months. She loves to write and illustrate stories, practice her math and play school as often as possible. With a little work at home as well, C has become a reader. It’s great to be able to go to the library and pick out books that she can read ALL BY HERSELF! In addition to the basics, she also spent the last month or so learning about the traditional celebrations and customs for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. To finish up their studies, the class put on a musical performance for the families yesterday afternoon. Since our school doesn’t do any sort of music concert for elementary students, this was a treat! C did a great job learning all the words and actions and it was a lot of fun to watch them perform. Here they are singing, “Up on the Rooftop.”

Today marks the start of C’s 2 week winter break and the end of the first semester, which means my baby girl is halfway done with kindergarten! She’s also done with full days at school. Starting with her return to school, we have dual (public school and homeschool) enrolled her so that she will be in school in the mornings, doing her reading and writing, and at home in the afternoons when we will work on math, social studies and science. As much as C loves pretty much everything about school, she is pumped to start half days!

If all goes well, we’re planning on homeschooling full time next year. The kids are super excited about homeschooling. C loves that she won’t miss out while she’s at school all day and that she’ll get to help decide what she studies. D is looking forward to having his sister around more and getting to join in on the learning. This mom is also excited – although a bit hesitant, because I still don’t have a firm plan in place. For an organizer like me, this is unnerving. However, I have discovered that there’s a great homeschooling community here and I have a few friends who homeschool that I know will be great resources for ideas and support.

So, for now, we enjoy Christmas and time with family 🙂 In 2015 though, we’ll be full steam ahead into the world of homeschooling!

Oh , and C and her class wish you a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.

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Momcomplishment – Eating a Hot Breakfast

In typical mom fashion, I rarely get to eat a hot breakfast, especially on weekdays when Daddy isn’t here as back-up. So this morning as I sat down with my pancake (reheated from the freezer) and saw that C had quickly scarfed down all but one bite, I sighed and said, “I suppose you’ll need me to get back up and get you more food?” It wasn’t my best moment, but I was hungry! So when C responded with, “No, I’m okay.” I was relieved that I could eat my food.

Then 20 seconds later, she told me she was hungry. *sigh* I suggested that she get a banana to split with her brother. That bought me a minute. Really, just one. These kids can eat very quickly (when they want to.) But then something amazing happened.

C got down from the table and walked over to the freezer. As she was opening it she said, “Are pancakes 30 seconds?” I was confused at first. “What’s happening here? What is she talking about?” Then I realized – microwave time. So I told her yes, then grabbed another bite while I watched her reseal the ziploc bag and close the freezer. I took a drink of my tea as she moved the step stool over to the microwave. She opened the microwave, put her plate in and closed it back up while I had another bite of pancake. Thirty seconds later, with some more of my breakfast gone, she opened the microwave and came back to the table with her second pancake in hand.

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I got to sit for several minutes in a row and eat my still hot breakfast! I just knew it was going to be a good day 🙂

To be fair, right after C sat down, I had to get up and help D make himself another pancake ‘all by himself.’ But the promise of kids who can do for themselves is there. This might just be the first in a long line of hot, fresh meals for this Mama!

**In other news, by the looks of this picture, C had learned the art of the duck face.**

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Filed under Eating, Milestones, Parenting

My Favorite Bleach

I actually hate bleach. I prefer to stick with more natural, less toxic cleaners when possible.  Every now and then, when there’s a stubborn stain that just won’t come out of a white shirt or when the diapers start to look really dingy, I briefly consdider getting some bleach.  Until my good friend appears:

 

Chloe ate spaghetti for lunch the other day at MissK’s while wearing her “C” shirt and I’m pretty sure that her friend gave her a big spaghetti hug when they were done eating, because the front AND back of the shirt were completely covered in spaghetti sauce.  I pretreated it with a stain stick and threw it in the wash.  The stain didn’t come out though, so in to an Oxi-Clean soak it went for the next couple hours.  Then I washed it with the diapers – about 2.5 hours of cleaning time with pre-soaks and extra rinses.  Still there.

As a ‘last ditch’ effort to save the shirt, I put it out on the clothesline for the day.  When the shirt came in at the end of the day, there was no sign of a spaghetti hug.  So the shirt lives on to be worn again by my cute girl and I was reminded, yet again, of my love for the sun!

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