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Friday, 1 July 2016

Color Splash

A lovely day off to spend with Little Boy O and our new Nanny T. Almost a year back at work and over the last three weeks we’ve learned a few important lessons. Firstly, no matter what when we pull together as a family we will get through it. A big thanks to Mah Mah for uprooting herself to come play with this little pickle. Secondly, always get an ‘in case of emergency’ number. Thirdly, remember and have faith that everything is always working out for us. 

 

Toddler with roo bag on back

Off to KV with favorite roo bag

 

Toddler playing at red water table

Water table fun

 

Toddler painting on blue wall

The don’t call it Color Splash for nothing

 

Toddler with color sponge

So proud of himself

 

Toddler at playground with nanny

More splish splash fun whilst mummy and Mah Mah get a mani pedi

 

Toddler with nanny in hallway

Hallway soccer on a rainy day

 

Alphabet on carpet

Spelling bee fun

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Hou Mei

Another fun Family Day Saturday. We played stickers, play doh, drawing and dancing at home. Went to the Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs and African animals – roar! The little one ran wild with all the open space. Snacked. “Hou Mei, Hou Mei” Baby Boy O’s first words in Cantonese as he was scoffing down a freshly made crepe. Took a trip down memory lane as we walked across to the east side, through Central Park. Picked up groceries at Whole Foods and home to play some more. A wonderful day out, capped off by a Cristmas present massage and early night in bed. Heaven. 

 

 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

I Choose To

I was mindful of the subtle but important difference between “I have to” and “I choose to”. The former forfeits the right to choose and the latter exercises the power of choice. Reminded of the discipline of Essentialism by a dear colleague, I focused on making choices, which meant defining what trade offs I’d be happy with. It wasn’t easy. Having to remind myself that I can choose to respond to another email, or choose to get up and stretch. If I responded to the email, I would also be choosing a stiff back. If I got up to walk and stretch, I would be choosing to finish later. I chose my body and my health. That email can wait. 

The result was today was more positive that yesterday. I felt less of a victim of calendar circumstance and more empowered to say yes or no to things. I did recognize that it is easy to slip back into the “I have to” mode. I have to submit my 83(b) form, I have to sanitize this document to share and so on. Equally it was also easy to make choices that made me happy. I choose to play flash cards with Baby Boy O. I choose to break for dinner with English Hubby. It wasn’t perfect, but reminding myself that I have the power of free will and choice is refreshing. 

 

Baby walking down hallway

Morning walk

 

Baby playing with music station

My Bonnie lies over the ocean

 

Christmas card for baby

Little mementos

 

Baby at gate

First day back blues

 

Street at night

Finishing later because I chose to take a stretch break

 

Flashcards

Choosing a game of flashcards

 

Monday, 4 January 2016

I Have To

First day back in 2016. The day was packed. Packed with commuters, packed with meetings, packed with tasks and emails and to-dos and have to’s. Too much to do, and not enough to time. Not enough energy. Such a contrast from yesterday. The day wears heavy, let alone the thought of the rest of the week, the month and the year to come. Need to sleep and reset  

 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

The New Normal

Our neighbor came round tonight to use our spin cycle, have a glass of wine and chat. The New Normal was a phrase she heard at a yoga class. The notion that someone jogging 40 years ago would make people wonder who they were running from, yet today we don’t even bat an eyelid. It seems we have slid into a new normal. Early mornings, picking up food thrown on the floor, tidying up toys strewn all over the living room, out for a walk before a meltdown occurs, playgrounds, groceries, errands, admin, cook, eat, sleep, rinse and repeat.

It all seems monotonous when it is written down or said out loud, but here is a beautiful simplicity in what my life has become. I like the predictability. I like knowing where I am and what comes next. I like the freedom it gives me to enjoy the moment as it is. Soaking up every ray of sunshine as it bounces off Baby Boy O’s gleaming smile. Enjoying time on the couch with English Hubby. Simple. Normal.

 

Baby eating squeeze pack

What an amazing 90 weeks!

 

Baby drawing monkey with crayons

Drawing his beloved monkey

 

Window sill

A moment of quiet

 

Baby in orange puffer jacket at park

Play time at the playground

 

Baby at playground

Big world for a little boy

 

Thank you letters

So many presents, so many thank yous

 

Friday, 25 December 2015

Daily Pics: Baby’s First Christmas

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Daily Pics: Play Date Crush

A scorching Sunday. Perfect for an early morning play date and splash at the local playground. Baby Boy O met up with his usual crew, along with Miss M and Master Z. I brought coffee, cake and a bubble machine. Everyone was amply entertained. Baby Boy O and Miss M have a mutual adoration pact in full swing – a bonafide play date crush. A welcome day before the weight of work returns tomorrow. A half day, toe dip back into the shark tank. To bed early we go.

 

Quick to anger advertisement

Perfect breeding ground for this clinical study

 

Water play

Loves the water

 

Baby boy o with miss m

Loves Miss M too

 

Grey dress

Back to school

 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Daily Pics: IKEA Torture

They say one person's heaven is another's hell. I love assembling furniture, playing with power tools and McGyvering a fix. So today was four hours well spent, resulting in a six-dresser drawer. English Hubby however prefers white collar labor, his tools of trade include a keyboard and mouse. His only consolation is that the flat pack didn't contain a gazillion pieces and take eight hours to assemble like our last foray with a desk. You can see who has the callouses in this family!

 

IKEA furniture

Laying it all out

 

IKEA furniture

Strutting our stuff

 

English hubby with IKEA furniture

Man at work

 

English hubby with IKEA furniture

Earning his keep

 

Trapped in a corner

No way out

 

English hubby with power tool

Power (tool) has gone to his head

 

 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Daily Pics: Playground Sunday

Baby Boy O has a fascination with roadwork, fueled by his favorite book and the abundance of construction in our neighborhood. Which is why I couldn't resist adding a digger, dump truck and bulldozer to his already abundant collection of toys. Falling head first into the modern day parenting trap. Too. Much. Stuff.

 

Cat trucks

A boy and his toys

 
 

Trucks

Learning to share

 

 
 

Baby boy o eating

And he's eating...again

 

Man and clock

What's the time?...

 

Hammer

...Hammer time

 

 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Daily Pics: Playground Sunday

Baby Boy O has a fascination with roadwork, fueled by his favorite book and the abundance of construction in our neighborhood. Which is why I couldn't resist adding a digger, dump truck and bulldozer to his already abundant collection of toys. Falling head first into the modern day parenting trap. Too. Much. Stuff.

 

Cat trucks

A boy and his toys

 
 

Trucks

Learning to share

 

 

Baby boy o eating

And he's eating...again

 

Man and clock

What's the time?...

 

Hammer

...Hammer time

 

 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Daily Pics: May The Fourth Be With You, English Hubby

It's English Hubby's birthday today. Fireworks have been arranged and everyone gets the day off to celebrate. Birthdays are special. What comes to mind is Sheryl Sandberg's beautiful and tearfully honest Facebook post:

“I have learned gratitude. Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before – like life. As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted. When a friend told me that he hates birthdays and so he was not celebrating his, I looked at him and said through tears, “Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.””

We spent the day together, really together. Family snuggles, cards and presents in bed, a walk to our new neighborhood breakfast place, an aborted trip to the Intrepid Museum and the High Line, naps at home, cream frosted carrot cake, fried chicken, giggles, cuddles, kisses and more. A befitting way to celebrate the birthday of the most amazing man I have ever met.

 

Birthday cards

My H.H.

 

Baby giving card to dad

Who's your daddy?!

 

Lemsip

Lots of thoughtful presents

 

Baby cuddling daddy

Birthday cuddles - not sure who's enjoying them more!

 

Baby playing with spoons

Experimenting with spoons

 

Birthday cake

Someone's eyeing the cake

 

Connect the dots

It's all about the journey

 

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Daily Pics: Screaming Blue Murder

I always knew this day would come. The day where I have to fight every instinct and bone in my body in order to leave my hysterical little boy at play school. Baby Boy O cried blue murder. It wasn't an “I'm upset where did you go” cry. It was a “you've abandoned me, I'm all alone and so very scared in this strange place” shriek. They type you yourself would bellow out if you woke and found yourself strapped to a bed in a mental asylum.

I left the room, then hid around the corner, heart breaking as his cries grew wilder and out of control. I waited, then left, then came back again to ask Director K to check on him for me. She checked, he cried. I womaned-up and left the building. Then called back an hour later, then an hour after that. Yes, I'm now that pain in the butt over-concerned over-protective parent.

The good news is that Baby Boy O eventually calmed down…four hours later, which apparently isn't unusual, but feels rather cruel. We picked him up and he was unnaturally quiet for the first 45 minutes. Not sure if it was the post traumatic effect or him giving us the silent treatment, perhaps a mix of both? Gathering strength now for round #2 tomorrow. Have mercy.

 

Journaling

Journaling like mummy

 

Snack packs

Preparing for a hungry boy at school

 

Director K checking in

Director K checking in on him, whilst mummy hides around the corner

 

Spying on baby boy o

Spy cam shot from the window yonder

 

Corner cafe

Staying close at the corner cafe

 

Ball

He says ball

 

Play mat

Playing in between a few sobs

 

At the playground with daddy

So much happier to be with dad and to see mummy

 

Brushing teeth

Bed time after a very long day

 

Caribbean dinner

Best part of the day thanks to Nanny C!

 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Daily Pics: Standing His Ground

It is so very interesting to watch a personality emerge from its little shell. This tiny person has likes and dislikes, preferences, favorites, attachments and frustrations. We had a curry lunch and a play date with Little Boy E where strawberries and toys were shared. Little Boy E has the advantage of walking so could move much more independently and ran circles around our cheeky little guy. But at the playground when his territory came under challenge, Baby Boy O stood his ground and issued a stern outstretched hand warning. When encroachment continued he dished out a strong little shove, not once but twice. Not mean, but fearless. My little man stood his ground. His space was his, and within it he was reading his book. English Hubby thinks he was protecting his mummy who was sitting on the other side of the altercation, but I think it was more his favorite Roadwork Construction book.

 

Red rolling ball

Uncontrollable giggles

 

Two dads

Daddies meet for a curry

 

Baby Boy O with rice all over face

Showing Little Boy E how it's done

 

Two babies with car

Learning how to share...sort of

 

Two boys with car toys

Enough to go around

 

Lost monkey

Impostor monkey, as another one bites the dust

 

Baby boy o eating large plate of pasta

Working up an appetite after the altercation

 

Baby boy o having eaten his pasta

Needs his carbs to grow big and strong

 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Daily Pics: Library Citizen of the World

We were in the jewelers and a perfect stranger cooed at Baby Boy O and offered the following piece of advice – the days are long, but the years are short. So very true. It feels like only yesterday that we came home with a tiny little baby, yet each day we plunder through milestones big and small. Today Baby Boy O got his own library card. A bonafide citizen of the NYPL. We also visited the Secret Garden in Central Park, ran errands, went to the grocery store, practiced walking, read books, made food to freeze, did work, prepped for play school and so much more. Long days, short years.

 

Walker in hallway

Beep beep, coming through. Watch out!

 

Grumpy holding sunglasses

Pre-nap grumps

 

Streets of Spanish Harlem

Streets of Spanish Harlem

 

Meditation spot

A spot of mediation

 

Conservatory gardens

Ahhh...Central Park

 

Pink blooming flowers

In bloom

 

Nypl card

Card carrying public library citizen

 

Baby shoes

On sale!

 

Cheesy dinner

Cheesy dinner

 

Eating mac and cheese

Yummy in his tummy

 

Mac and cheese

More for us, thanks Nanny C!

 

Shoe box

Long days, short years, fond memories

 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Daily Pics: Contain Yourself

There's something about The Container Store that just sucks you in. Boxes, gadgets, hangers, storage, things to hide wires, drawers, hooks, shoe racks and so much more. What they sell is promise, an ideal that life can be organized and contained into neat foldable interlocking perfect squares. So much temptation lies there, especially when our home right now is a mess. It took willpower to exercise contraint and not buy a shortcut to organization nirvana.

 

Week 58

Another week under his belt

 

Messy diaper station

Cheeky little monster

 

Big smooch for mummy

Making up for it with a big smooch for mummy

 

Funny boy

Funny for Nanny C

 

Container store shopping

Just the essentials

 

Play school stuff

Adding to Baby Boy O's play school box

 

Walker in pieces

Where's Mah Mah when we need her help to put it together again?!

 

Walker

Thank you Mah Mah ang Yah Yah

 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Daily Pics: Exhale

The price of lifting baby and boxes has caught up with me again. Even Superwoman needs a good massage every once in a while. Baby Boy O went with Nanny C to hand in his enrollment forms. My little boy is going to play school.

 

Roadwork book

New favorite book

 

Stroller with monkey

My little big baby boy. Off on a long walk with Nanny C

 

Madison Avenue

Could get use to being an UES mummy

 

Banana peanut butter muffins

Baking banana peanut butter no sugar muffins

 

Clean floor

So grateful to have Nanny C

 

FedEx redelivery notice

FedEx, you slay me

 

Yah yah, pa and me

Three generations. Happy birthday dad

 

Oven roasted steak dinner

Dinner for one and a half

 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Daily Pics: First Pair of Shoes

Off to get a pair of big boy shoes. Thankfully Aunt S knows where to go. We walked away with a pair of very cool shoes, size 2.5 and orange bits too. Daddy will be pleased. A perfect day in the park. So New York to picnic by the Met, soak up the Sunday sun and make a friend for play dates.

 

Peekaboo hallway

Peekaboo hallway

 

Colored containers in dishwasher

Whole new world

 

Baby boy o looking up through stroller

Room with a beautiful view

 

Measuring up feet

Teeny tiny feet

 

Trying on new shoes

Walkabout

 

Big boy shoes

First pair of big boy shoes

 

Central Park near met

Fell in love with NYC so many years ago, looking out

 

Baby boy o sitting on grass

Who would have though this would be?

 

Grass and toes

Grass between his toes

 

Picnic with Aunt S

Aunt S, so very knowledgeable

 

Baby E at Central Park

Hey buddy! Sharing a ball and bananas

 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Daily Pics: And Pick You Up Again

Lady Luck is on our side. I was sitting at the bank just about to cancel cards and switch over to new bank accounts when I received the call from Delta Baggage Services. They had found my carry on bag. New York City was testing what we were made of – kicking us in the teeth yesterday afternoon and picking us back up again today.

 

After a cab ride out to Terminal 4, a big hug to Vicky, Mimi, Lee and the Delta team, our stuff is back in our possession. Passports x3. Check books. Birth certificate. Laptop x2. Ipad. Phone. House keys. RV keys. Money and more. Although this stuff has a big impact on our lives, we came to realize that this stuff isn't our lives. We were all still ok. Passports and everything else can be replaced, yes, undoubtedly a major inconvienience, but not a tragedy. Thanks to all the people (including customer service Cindy) at Delta.

 

 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Daily Pics: Rough Landing

Welcome back to NYC. We arrived after a good flight, all intact, with everything, minus one very important carry on laptop bag. In the flurry of disembarking we left it in the overhead compartment. If it were any other item missing, it wouldn’t be as big a deal, but this one contained all our very important documents. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. Passports, birth certificates, house keys, check books, laptops (yes, plural) the whole enchilada.

After two hours pleading with Delta baggage services, we left the airport empty handed and crestfallen. The bag is lost, possibly stolen. The missing stroller made it to the baggage pick up area, but the carry on didn’t. What next? It’s out of the jurisdiction of the 13th precint police. We have to return to JFK and file a report with the Port Authority police. The additional catch being that to file a report we we need to inform our respective embassies of our lost passports, but to do so requires us to file a report. Go figure. My head is about to explode. New York City has a way of kicking you in the teeth, just when you think you may have landed on your feet. At the end of the day it is a major inconvienience, but we are still happy and healthy, and we have the resources (and perhaps the strength after a good nights sleep) to deal with this dilemma. Upside is that Squee and Fatty Patty are with us.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

English Hubby To The Rescue

My blog got hacked again. I don't understand why the cyber universe has decided to pick on my lowly space for musings. I haven't offended any dictators, I don't ask for credit card details or transact, I have no state secrets worthy of prying open. Evil hackers please leave me alone. All I can say is thank goodness for English Hubby. My techno-geek-double-spacing-hero. This is the best post-date night present you could give me: ousting my digital trespassers, sorting out my maps and (hopefully, once they reply to my ticket request) restoring order to the blog pic universe.

 

Baby boy o playing in the morning

My little ray of sunshine

 

New Mexico border patrol check

Border patrol ID check

 

Baby boy o sleeping with finge in ear

Not listening to you!

 

English hubby cleaning the RV bathroom

English hubby on a cleaning mission

 

Baby boy o crying from teething pain

Teething is no fun

 

Baby boy o sleeping through pain

Poor little one, finally napping

 

RV park in lordsburg New Mexico

Dust bowl stopover

 

Laptop backing up blog

My hero

 
Yesterday's post:
Tomorrow's post:
 
 

 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Daily Pics: Puppy Dog Tales

A restful day at the campsite. Some work, some admin and lots of playing with the little one. The sun finally arrived so we went for a few walks by the river and along the trails. Baby Boy O is now keenly aware of fuzzy four legged friends. Every time he sees one its a “woohf whoohf” greeting. 

 

Man making green juice in RV

Morning green juice made by English Hubby’s fair hands

 

Cricket the dog

Woohf woohf Cricket

 

Rvs parked in campground

Coming back from a morning stroll to the river

 

Baby asleep in RV

Down time

 

Baby with look of concentration on his face

Pure concentration

 

Trees and grass with blue sky and sunshine

Finally the sun comes out to play, after four foggy rainy days

 

Cute baby wearing baseball cap

Friday afternoon family walk

 

Man and baby walking with deer on trail

Dear spotting

 

Puppy dog book

Puppy dog tales

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Daily Pics: What A Difference A Day Makes

Hong Kong has really turned on the glitz. The sun is shining, the mist has cleared and the sky is blue. It is a completely different city of concrete angels. We went from sea to sky on the Big Bus. Stanley for lunch and Sky 100 in the afternoon to view Hong Kong from the heavens. Then back to basics with dinner at ABC Kitchen. So very grateful for good health, good friends, good weather. 

 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Daily Pics: Big Bus Small Dumplings

It’s so much fun playing tourist in Hong Kong. Although I’d lived here for the best part of a couple of years, there were many parts of Hong Kong that were left untouched. Taking the hop on hop off Big Bus is a superb way to see (what we could through the mmist) the new and old of this incredible city. We rode on the open air top deck and feasted on the sights and tastes of Hong Kong island and Kowloon. Baby Boy O qualities for the best baby in the world award. He rolled with his oldies, out all day, sneaking in two on-the-go naps and being a charm magnet. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Daily Pics: Visitor From Berlin

Last year Schoosching and Scoobes came to New York to Christmas with their very pregnant sister. This year we have the pleasure of seeing Schoosching in England for some very special Aunty bonding time. Family bonds flex and bend, but they can never be broken. Seeing my sister in her own skin, with her nephew, is just so beautiful. A precious gift. 

 

Baby in high chair eating watermelon

Building up his energy for a very special visitor

 

Aunty and baby meeting at the gym

Quick session at the gym where we bump into another Aunty!

 

Sevenoaks church

A walk through town to give the little one a nap

 

Woman with cupcakes

Spoilt for choice over lunch 

 

Baby and Aunty saying hello

He finally wakes to say hello to Aunty Schoosching 

 

Woman and baby with wooden spoon in mouth

Sharing a wooden spoon moment

 

Baby lying on woman sitting on couch

Who’s this person who looks like my mummy?

 

Woman carrying cute baby

Off for an afternoon walk into town

 

Baby standing in supermarket

Having fun in Tescos

 

Baby on checkout conveyor belt

Price check on aisle nine


Husband with beer

Grandparents babysitting whilst we chow down on curry

 

Man with beer

With Ruff Fred

 

Sister with beer

And Schoosching

 

Curry dishes on table

Superb meal at The Spice Club

 

Yesterday’s post: It’s Starting To Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Daily Pics: Have Wooden Spoon Will Travel

It’s true what they say about kids and their toys. Forget the expensive stuff. Bring on the wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and wooden spoons. Thankfully Aunty Ali had an abundance of spoons we could take with us on our walk along the Thames. We had a lovely day exploring the neighborhood, walking along little side streets and imagining how this part of London would have looked, felt and smelt (not great I suspect) a hundred years ago. One thing I love about London is that people take pride in preservation. From the grand buildings to the little delectable gastropubs, they are all refurbished so very tastefully. 

 

Baby in stroller with wooden spoon

Taking his wooden spoon out for a walk

 

The Thames river at low tide

So much history the Thames must have seen with every rise and fall of the tide

 

Red telephone box

Do these still work?

 

Grand gates of Kew Gardens

Grand gates of Kew Gardens

 

Baby on grey carpet with wooden spoon

Study of a wooden spoon in grey

 

Christmas craft project

Afternoon Christmas craft project

 

Woman and baby playing musical spoons

Musical spoons

 

Woman and baby playing with wooden spoons

Spoons gone wild

 

Dinner at the city barge

Out to dinner at The City Barge with Aunty Ali and Cousin Kim

 

Fat hot chips

Scrumptious food. It was a toss up between the aged steak and soft shell crab brioche

 

Foxs party rings

This country is marvelous!

 

Flaky pastry biscuits and cup of tea

An English nightcap

 

Yesterday’s post: British Food Fest

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Daily Pics: British Food Fest

England has changed in lots of different ways. According to English Hubby, everything has shrunk to a toy land size. Perhaps it is the stark difference between driving a 32 foot RV through Texas, the land of the big, then inching our way through the streets of London in a Honda Civic. One thing is for sure, the British sure can do a mean curry and a peshwari naan. 

 

Baby holding a bottle

Baby Boy O finally got the hang of drinking from a bottle

 

Baby in high chair eating watermelon

First course watermelon. Thank you Tesco for cut up finger fruit

 

Baby eating apricot in high chair

Second course squishy apricot

 

Baby with chocolate mouse on mouth

Dessert course is chocolate mouse

 

Baby in diaper

Next comes the hose down

 

Woman with baby sitting on couch

Then off to Aunty Ali’s and dinner with Daniel-San

 

Yesterday’s post: Friendship

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Daily Pics: Bend and Stretch

The little one has regained his appetite after yesterday’s fever. This morning was a messy face stuffing session. It’s been a few days of people and places, and today is a welcome slow down. With a walk into town, meditation in the garden, gym session and coffee. It feels nice to bend, stretch and breathe. 

Baby in high chair stuffing his face

How much can I fit into my mouth at the same time?

 

Sun rising over house

Sunny meditation

 

Baby in hat rugged up

Feeling much better today

 

Decaf coffee

Delicious decaf

 

Baby with grandpa on couch

Just hanging with Yah Yah

 

Yesterday’s post: Sunday Fever

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Daily Pics: Life

It’s worth contemplating how you measure a life well lived. It’s not the material possessions accumulated, that often we hold so tightly to. Having things may make you more comfortable but not necessarily bring true and lasting happiness. Perhaps it is the connections made with family, friends and perfect strangers. The invisible ties that bond humanity together. From chance meetings with Roger Doger in the local pub, to life long relationships. Today we visited dear ones who are are exemplar of those bonds. Beacons who shine, for one day if we are lucky enough, we will each be walking these paths with grace.

 

Man and baby

A welcoming cuddle from Dear John

 

Visit to the nursing home

Our beautiful Tea Lady

 

Baby touching lady

 

Baby eating pate and crackers

Pate and crackers for lunch at the pub

 

Visit with great great aunt pat

Working his charm on Great Great Aunt Pat

 

Baby with camp Charlotte

The lovely Camp Charlotte – she would have kept him if she could!

 

Biscuits

Tea, cakes and biscuits

 

Smiling great great aunt

Always smiling, and so infectious

 

Yesterday’s post: Swimming and Bouncing

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Daily Pics: Go!

Today’s our last day in the USA for the rest of the year. Off to London tonight, the first leg of our round the world expedition. Closing one chapter and opening another. Escaping the freezing weather. Thankfully we had our London clothes with us which helped shield us from the 40 degree drop in temperature.  Ready, set, go!

Baby in bothers

Started the day with a little swim in the hotel pool…still waking up after too many episodes of Master Chef Junior. Addicted and adoring Oona!

 

Mum and baby in a pool

Little dip in the pool

 

Baby and dad in the pool

Always time for thumb sucking

 

Family pool selfie

Family pool selfie

 

Baby floating in a pool

Just chillin’ out

 

Stroller bag

Pack and go! Love this stroller bag

 

Lunch at the cosmic cafe

Cosmic Cafe two days in a row. Yum!

 

Mail in car

Grand Prairie mail run, mobile banking from the car, picking up sunglasses from LensCrafters and buying a big pillow from Walmart. Done.

 

Baby in stroller with luggage

Someone’s excited!

 

Mum and baby in airplane

Somewhere above the Atlantic

American Airlines strikes again…

 

Yesterday’s post: Go!

Tomorrow post:

 

 

 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Daily Pics: Digging Dallas

Best ways to get to know a new city is to eat and walk. We found a local gem (thank you Yelp) of a place – Cosmic Cafe – a Himalayan vegetarian restaurant. Good for the body and soul and even had a meditation center upstairs to boot. Our inner Om connected with our stomach yum.

We had a lovely lazy morning in the hotel room, I had some me time at the gym, off to lunch then a walk along Dallas’ Katy trail green belt area. Just soaking up the glorious Dallas winter sun. 

 

Baby with love me sleep sack

Love me…so easy to do

 

Christmas tree at the Hilton Anatole

It’s starting to feel a bit like Christmas

 

Gym

Feels so good to exercise

 

Baby watching babies crawl on iPad

Teaching Baby Boy O to crawl by showing him how

 

Indian food platter

Cosmic Cafe Om and yum

 

Happy man with Indian food

One very happy English Hubby

 

Baby eating naan

Baby Boy O getting in on the action

 

Buddha painting

Loving the vibe

 

Sunshine on trees by creek in Dallas

Winter sunshine

 

Katy Trail Dallas

Stumbled across the Katy Trail

 

Before I die list

Not sure eating a panda would be on my list

 

Bar

It’s thirsty work walking the trail. Had to stop for a cold one

 

Baby smiling

So happy to be outdoors

 

Baby asleep in cot

Out cold after a big day

 

Yesterday’s post: Speed Bumps on the Road to Dallas

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Daily Pics: Buc-ees and Popeyes

And so continues our crazy manic round trip to San Antonio and back to Houston. A day of driving and high fructose corn syrup excitement with a pull over in the rain stop at Buc-ees. This little beaver has been taunting us for miles, inviting us to stop in. Only Texas can come up with something this cheesy, so we curbed and spent some money on sugary fake food. If the glycemic index hadn’t already shot through the roof, we would send it sky high by finishing the day with an infamous Popeyes fried chicken with all the trimmings dinner. Heaven have mercy on our waistlines. 

 

Baby and dad cheek to cheek

Y’all have a great morning

 

Morning cuddles with grandparents

More morning cuddles

 

Man eating campground breakfast

Campground breakfast on classy foam plates

 

Baby smiling wearing winter hat

Still a barrel of sunshine even though it is wet and yucky out

 

RV at Buc-ees

Buc-ees, Buc-ees, Buc-ees. We wanna stop at Buc-ees

 

Man and baby at buc-ees

No turning back now!

 

Dad with cowboy hat and baby with Texas hat

Only in Texas

 

Aisles in Buc-ees

Aisles and aisles of crap

 

Beaver nuggets

Beaver poop

 

Popeyes chicken

Fried chicken heaven

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Daily Pics: This is How We Roll

Time to say farewell to New Orleans, crisp white sheets, rainwater showers and housekeeping. Back to the reality of life on the road, lunches in Walmart car parks and exploring the big wide world, notching up hundreds more miles under our tires heading as we head west along the scenic plantation route toward Houston. This is how we roll! 

 

Baby lying on bed talking to grandpa

Morning chat with Gong Gong on Skype

 

View of French quarter from 14th floor

Not a bad view from the 14th floor – trains, paddle steamers and so much to see

 

Mum and baby having breakfast buffet

What a big mess a small baby can make

 

Four adults and one baby in a cab

Jenga style packing, but we all managed to fit in one cab back to the RV park

 

Grandpa holding baby in Walmart carpark

Packed up and headed to Walmart to buy groceries, cabin linen, a vacuum and a baby play center

 

Yesterday’s post: Snap Happy in the French Quarter

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Daily Pics: Snap Happy in the French Quarter

Whilst English Hubby and the In-Laws were off on a cemetery and swamp tour, Baby Boy O and I had a marvelous time wandering around the French Quarter on a photography safari playing with apature, shutter speeds, perspectives and angles. Natasha talked about the ‘establishing shot’, one that gives the audience a sense of place, an understanding of what makes it special, a recognition of newness with a dash of familiarity. It occurs to me that life feels like a series of estsblishing shots. Everyday on our road trip we’ve had to mentally take one to ground ourselves, and at the same time appreciate our new surrounds. 

Beignets and coffee

A delicious way to start the day at Cafe du Monde 

 

St. Louis cathedral in New Orleans

Situating shot one – St Louis Cathedral, it’s importance accentuated by the sky

 

Statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback

Our first photography assignment using the light (this one done with an iPhone camera, not the DSLR) 

 

Photography tour group

Photography safari, a great way to practice photography and have welcome help to push a stroller

 

Baby asleep in stroller

An absolute angel and the best photography buddy you could ask for. He soon became the subject 

 

Photography gallery

Taking in the galleries 

 

Foot massage in New Orleans

And a little break for sore feet

 

Bluegrass band

Bluegrass beats on Royal St

 

Baby listening to bluegrass

Listening intently

 

Streets of New Orleans

Soaking up a sense of place 

 

Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles to the blues

 

Natchez paddle steamer

Off to dinner on the Natchez paddle steamer

 

Jazz band

Jazz on the Mississippi

 

Steam engines on the paddle boat

Powered by Thelma and Louise

 

Paddle steamer

Pushing forward

 

Yesterday’s post: New Orleans Culinary Experience

Tomorrow’s post:

Monday, 27 October 2014

Daily Pics: Mammoth Caves 250 Feet Underground

Mammoth Caves National Park rocks! Pun intended. We descended 280 steps, ducking and weaving our way 250 feet underground to the largest cave system in the US. A maze of tunnels 400 miles long, created by water seeping its way through limestone over millions of years. Baby Boy O did remarkably well spending near to two hours strapped to the front of dad. Thank goodness for good hearted National Parks guides and their torchlight tricks.  

 

Sign for mammoth caves national park

Loving our national parks

 

People waiting at entrance to mammoth caves

One of the many entrances to the cave

 

Cave rocks

Subterranean  

 

Baby with dad in mammoth caves

My little adventurer

 

Baby and dad in caves

Ducking and weaving

 

Frozen Niagara mammoth caves formation

Frozen Niagara formation

 

Stalactites and stalagmites

Stalactites hold tight to the ceiling and stalagmites might grow up to the ceiling one day

 

Mammoth caves bus

Baby Boy O wakes as we get on the bus back to the visitors center

 

Beautiful trees

We go for a lovely walk on the heritage trail as we wait for English Hubby to finish is second tour down in the caves

 

Yesterday: Shoney’s Sunday

Tomorrow: Corvettes and Chevys

 

 

 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Daily Pics: Kentucky’s Finest

Kentucky sure is proud of its bourbon heritage. Two tours and several tastings later I’ve come to intellectually appreciate the art of bourbon making, however the enjoyment of the drink itself still eludes me. Nevertheless loving another glorious day in the sunshine.

 

Sign for awesome flea market

Hard to resist, but the Kentucky Bourbon Trail awaits

 

Man and stroller in front of Jim Beam center

First stop, Jim Beam. 95% of the worlds bourbon is made in Kentucky and 50% that comes from here

 

Man pouring corn into hopper

English Hubby giving them a hand

 

Bourbon barrels

It’s all about the barrels

 

Washing bourbon bottle

Giving a hand to wash…

 

Baby touching bourbon bottle

…and bottle

 

Bourbon making process

Making this stuff is a piece of cake 

 

Collage of Jim beam

Thanks to the Beam family 

 

Standing on the devils cut

Walk in a straight line please ma’am

 

Kentucky farmland

Back roads

 

Makers mark distillery

Trying out a smaller distillery

 

Tour group at makers mark

History lesson 

 

Stream flowing through makers mark distillery

Beautiful grounds with the right water being the key ingredient

 

Vat of bourbon mash

A matter of yeasty chemistry

 

Baby with makers mark label

Baby Boy O having a taste…of the label

 

Man tasting bourbon

Now for the real taste test, finished off with a chocolate bourbon ball

 

Makers mark advertisement

Cheeky

 

Baby kissing mummy

A different sort of cheeky, with a big serving of slobber

 

Yesterday: Louisville Surprise

Tomorrow: Shoney’s Sunday

 

 

 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Daily Pics: Louisville Surprise

Lexington was what we pictured it to be. Louisville was not. It was way cooler! To our surprise there is a great vibe and a laid back feel. As Maria the ex-New Yorker said, “it is a city with small town culture”. Loving Louisville.  

 

Main Street Louisville

So very Main Street

 

Airstream coffee trailer

Stumbled upon a pop up space

 

Pop up food stall behind mound of grass

Hand crafted local beer, pulled pork and more

 

Lunch in Louisville

Perfect for a bite

 

People dancing

And an after lunch Nia session

 

Plants growing in bottles

Green scene

 

R2D2

R2D2 came to visit!

 

Mirror with lots of reflection

Look closely…what do you see?

 

Solar powered trash cans

What a great idea

 

Dummy grenade sign

What a dumb idea

 

Large baseball bat on side of building

Off to the Louisville Slugger factory

 

Holding Mickey mantles bat

Batter up! Holding Mickey Mantle’s bat

 

Baseball bat factory

Hands on in the factory

 

Baby with miniature baseball bat

Little little league

 

Statue on main st Louisville

Art on the streets

 

Limo covered in spots

Kitsch

 

Horse statue with feather boa

Kentucky chic

 

Baby in stroller giving thumbs up

Thumbs up to the coolest kid in town

 

Material art

Gallery in C21 hotel

 

Gallery space in C21 hotel

Hotel with a twist

 

Family selfie

Modern day family selfie in the elevator bank

 

Louisville skyline

Louisville skyline

 

Ohio river

Meeting of the rivers

 

Muhammad Ali museum

Quick visit to the Muhammad Ali museum

 

Quote

An interesting character

 

Shadow boxing Muhammad Ali

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

  

Yesterday: Year of the Horse

Tomorrow: Kentucky’s Finest

 

 

 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Daily Pics: Winners!

Kentucky is the proud Horse Capital of the World, so it would be rude not to make a small wager at the track. We spent the afternoon at Keeneland Race Track and walked away with a fist full of dollars…$13 to be exact!

 

Mural on building

Deja vu lunch at the Lexington Diner. I asked the waitress to surprise me, and got a yummy Kentucky cheesesteak with coleslaw

 

Drive in wagering sign at Keeneland race track

I’ve heard of drive through fast food, ATMs, liquor stores and now wagering!

 

Entry to Keeneland racing track

Well timed race meet in October

 

Greeter at Keeneland race track

Met the lovely Tamryn who gave us the inside scoop and a race program 

 

Watching horses saddle up

Pole position for the parade of horses and saddling up

 

Betting ticket and horse

Slow start with number 7 coming second last

 

Baby and me with wagering ticket

Doing better in race 5 and 6

 

Starting gates

Setting up – da da da dah, da dah – is actually played by a real bugle guy! 

 

Horse race

Off they go! 

 

Horse race finish

Here they come!

 

Woman with winnings

Fist full of winnings!

 

Yesterday: Ouchies 

Tomorrow: Year of the Horse

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Daily Pics: NYC Babies Who Lunch

Soaking in the NYC vibe. It’s true, I’ve missed the unique charms of the city – wafting sewer smells, crazy cab drivers, jackhammers on Second Avenue, that “24/7 I’ve got somewhere important to be, so get out of my way” look that steels most New Yorkers’ faces. Before taking off on the road trip Baby Boy O made sure we experienced the city that never sleeps (…through the night). Today he’s reunited with his womb buddies, and we reconnect with our Bradley class comrades.

 

View up second avenue

I heart New York

 

Baby being carried, looking out the window

Morning cuddles with Aunt Steph

 

Pm an with stroller and picnic blanket on ground

Picking our picnic spot

 

Man wearing dad T-shirt and baby on his lap

Who’s your daddy?

 

Eight babies lying on a picnic blanket

What’s the collective noun for babies? Gaggle, storm, wail, spew, swarm, dribble or headache?!

 

Brooklyn bridge view from cab window

Running late as usual

 

Pub dinner on the table

Babysitter for the boys and yummy gastronomic pub feast with N+C in Park Slope

 

Yesterday’s Post: Salvation Taco and Pizza

Tomorrow’s Post: 2,444 Frequent Flyer Miles

 

 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Offline

Back in 2005 when we did our first road trip across the US wifi was rare, mifi was unheard of and cellular data was not yet for the common people. Connecting to the world – which usually just meant picking up emails – was done through a good old telephone lead plugged into the laptop, or at savvy places like Starbucks who would provide free wifi which justified paying for overpriced bad coffee.

English Hubby and I shared a single laptop, and we would fight like teenage girls over who would get to plug in to the magical-inter-world-wide-wonder-web first. After a few “you got to use it longer” “but I need to finish this email” squabbles we came to an agreement that a timer would be set for 30 minutes and like the contestants in Master Chef, once your time was up, it was hands in the air and your fingers could no longer touch the keyboard. This was the only way to equitably ration precious stopover time at Starbucks, as a lot was at stake – the connection to the big world beyond just the two of us.

Our friends who pioneered a road trip before us kept in touch with the world at large by phoning a special service that would read out emails that were sent to a specific email address. It didn’t take long for Uncle Phil’s brother to realize he could have a bit of fun with this bleeding edge technology and started leaving provocative messages that a robotic voice would then relay!

Fast forward nine years and everyone who’s anyone is walking around with a mini supercomputer in their pockets. We now have Facebook, Instagram, Skype, MMS, texting, FaceTime, IM, personal blogs and the list goes on. Between the two of us (Baby Boy O doesn’t count in this one) we have nine devices – two iPhones, one Samsung, two iPads, two laptops and two kindles – and still only two hands each with which to operate them all. With 10 gigabytes of data that we can play with each month, this is a whole lot of connectedness.

 

Tech devices including laptops, phones, kindles and more

Tech frenzy

 

With a touch of three buttons, a photo can be taken, uploaded on Facebook and shared with all and sundry. Feedback is near instant with likes and comments whizing back at the speed of light. It makes me wonder what being so available and connected actually means?

There are countless articles and opinions written on this topic, from all different angles and schools of thought. Mine is just a personal first hand account of what’s different between our first road trip and this current one.

Firstly, it is a slippery slope from sharing a significant treasured moment with loved ones to performing like a well trained dolphin. I’m a big subscriber of being in the moment. Appreciating a scenic view with all your senses before reaching for a cell phone camera to click and capture. Regardless of actively practicing mindfulness, I find myself slipping into performance mode. It gives me a thrill to know that my audience is applauding (a.k.a. the number of likes on Facebook) and enjoying my theatrics. Isn’t this cool – snap. I’m having so much fun – snap. My kid just made a cute face – snap, snap, snap. You know you’re on that downhill slide into instant gratification when you are constantly checking Facebook not for new stories from friends but rather for notifications of who liked your post and what comments you’ve received. Been there, done that, and now in a self imposed quarrantine to restore the balance in the Facebook enabled narcissistic universe.

Secondly, I’ve realized the value of a secret. In September of 2005 English Hubby drove me out to the middle of nowhere Utah, sat me on the edge of a cliff with a 1000 foot drop and proposed. We were engaged under the stars with only a cheap disposable wind and click camera to memorialize the occasion. It was an excruciating three hour drive back to civilization and decent phone reception before we even had the option to tell anyone. We chose to hold our moment only between the two of us for a little while longer before breaking the news to our eagerly awaiting family and friends. The wait made it even more special. It was ours and ours alone. It wasn’t broadcast instantly, replicated across channels, pinned, tweeted, posted or liked. It wasn’t for anyone but us. But now in today’s world there is an underlying current that sweeps along even the most diligent of us and that few would openly admit to…so here it goes – like the proverbial tree falling in the forest on deaf ears, if events aren’t shared, do they legitamately exist? I fear we have forgotten the art of treasuring a secret, holding a moment in our mind’s eye for no other reason than to savor it ourselves.

Thirdly, being offline for the last three days feels like what I imagine rehab to be. We are currently staying at a campground where the promise of wifi is more a dream than a reality, and there is a hole in AT&T’s data coverage. This means patchy to no email, Skype, text, Internet and the other usual accoutrements that accompany our connected lives. I’m getting jittery, crusing locations for a hit of unprotected wifi. No more weather app. Instead we actually have to step outside and look at the sky. No instant blogging. Instead I have three days to think and refine a piece to make it worthy as opposed to a free flow of random, hastily thrown together thoughts. And no more delegated decisions or crowd sourced thinking from Yelp, Google and other information wells. We actually have to take a chance on a restaurant with an outcome unknown, or even worse, actually have a conversation with local folks and ask them where they go.

At the end of three offline days, these are just my observations, not an opinion on good or bad, right or wrong or even whether we have moved forward or backward. I personally would not turn back time and trade in today’s connectivity. I like it, I need it, I want it, but I do choose to be conscious and mindful of how it can sneak up and dilute the moments that really matter. At the end of the day it is a choice, and I choose to kick some old digital habits and mindfully cultivate new ones.

 

Previous post: Long Walks in Owl’s Head and Rockland

Next post: Lookout at Camden Hills State Park

More musings…Crazy Messy Love

 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Daily Pics: Ice Bucket Horsing Around

Managed to tip a bucket of icy water over my head in the name of charity this morning (thanks Mommy Wolfe!). So thankful for a hot shower in the RV afterward. It was a point A to point B road travel day, getting us to the mid Maine coastline by nightfall. We no longer move as fast with a four month old in tow.

Bucket of ice water

Ice ice baby

 

Woman tipping a bucket of ice water over herself

Stepping up to the plate for the ALS ice bucket challenge

 

Grassy area with pine trees

Staying with one of English Hubby’s customers

 

Lama behind a white fence

A sight you don’t see everyday at a campground

 

Man standing in front of a horse

Having a relaxed morning just horsing around

 

RV in traffic

Stuck in traffic on Route 1 North

 

Baby with a big tear on his face

Big tears from Baby Boy O

 

RV at a gas station

It was a long travel day and we were all in need for a desperate refuel stop

 

RV on a road heading over a bridge

Pushing on, miles to go

 

Yesterday’s post: Old and New in Maine

Tomorrow’s post: Giggles Along Mid-Coast Maine

 

 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Crazy Messy Love

Being invited into someone else’s family is like watching a reality TV show. You know the people, you get to sit back and be entertained and there are clear moments of truth that cast light on your own life. We’ve just spent dinner and breakfast with our old friends Amazing Mom and Christmas Pudding Dad. The last time we had met they had one sprog, now they have four wonderful healthy fun-loving game-playing kids.

Waffles on a plate

Tacos for dinner, homemade waffles for breakfast

 

It’s a household where there is always someone talking, laughing or fighting. Sometimes all three at the same time. A home where the washer and dryer is always running, the playroom creeps into every corner of the house and shoes are constantly being outgrown. Where imagination runs wild, crafts are done, toys are broken then put together again. It is a place of raw beauty and reminds me of my own crazy messy family.

Watching the kids – minecraft, sweet tooth, eyeball and Spider-Man – at play today was a trip down memory lane. Growing up with three sisters can be described with every adjective in the book. There was never enough room, yet we all managed to create our own space. Meals were at the dining table, but it was like feeding time at the zoo. Noise was a constant – whining, screaming, shushing, negotiating – and smiles could turn into floods of tears and back again in mere seconds. New alliances and enemies made, battles own and lost. Yet at the end of the day blood is always thick.

Girl on sofa with kids in background

Saturday morning family fun

 

In the midst of growing up with all this crazy I remember wishing for order and neatness, matching plates and cutlery, and non-plastic cups. That perfect family you would see in the movies that would make civilized polite conversation, then listen to each other’s reply. That other grass lawn seemed so green, yet now I would trade it all in a heartbeat.

Today was a time warp circa the 80’s. Dear friends, enjoy sitting on your big green couch making rainbow loom jewelry, playing with marbles, setting up tower after tower of Jenga on a Saturday morning.

Girl making a rainbow loom bracelet

Weaving a beautiful rainbow bracelet, ring and necklace

 

Cherish the scrap fights, button pushing and wearing of pajamas late into the day. For one day your siblings may be scattered to the four corners of the world and even endless sessions on Skype cannot recapture those magic moments where you live on top of each other and anything you say or do will be forgiven in a heartbeat. A time when moments would weave seamlessly together and life felt messy in a good way.

 

Previous Post: Detours

Tomorrow’s Post: Treehouse Fun

 

 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Detours

So the original plan was to pack up the apartment, put everything in storage, pick up the RV from the dealership, head to Cape Cod and keep motoring north through Massachusetts and Maine. In some strange time warp continuum this would ideally happen in 10 days. How wrong we were!

Man and baby looking at full storage unit

Packed to the rafters

 

Of course we had a Plan A (aforementioned), Plan B and Plan C. Little did we know that we would run out of alphabet as we shifted gears from city living to life on the road.

Missing paperwork meant we would remain RV-less for a few more days, so we headed up to the Cape via old fashioned automobile. Thankfully so, as the road leading to the vacation house would never have been able to accomodate a 32ft long, 11ft tall RV.

This detour also gave us the opportunity to swing back past Manhattan to check on the painters who were patching up our apartment, ready for tenants. Luckily so, as we had discovered they had unplugged the washing machine drain pipe. Major flooding avoided. Phew.

Paperwork eventually came through, check was handed over and we finally became proud new owners of a tiny house on wheels. We spent a couple of nights camping in the local area to test out all the RV contraptions before we hit the road full pelt. Surely enough the “need to take back to dealer to fix” list steadily grew. Add to that a tire recall, putting our Go North plans further on hold.

RV parked at a tire repair store

Getting new wheels

 

Gratefully our lovely friends SydneyGal and Jaybo took us in for a night, which quickly extended to two. Our impromptu Monmouth Beach detour was a perfect opportunity to reconnect with old friends, break bread, explore a beautiful town and enjoy the sun and surf with fabulous company.

 

Beautiful colorful flowers in a box

In full bloom at the Monmouth Beach farmers market

 

Even in our wildest dreams we could never have imagined a moment like this a year ago. Two mummies, two strollers, two babies. How kindly fortune has smiled.

Two little babies in two strollers

Stroller friends

 

So now we are two and a half weeks behind schedule, and about to finally head north. Although itching to get on the road and make the most of the Summer, I can’t ignore the feeling that it is the univese’s way of allowing us a much needed refuel, restock and recouperate break.

Tomato, eggs, bacon and avocado breakfast platter

Well fed and watered by our lovely friends

 

It is nice to know that things don’t always work out as planned…sometimes they work out even better.

Road leading to river with stop and caution signs

Wherever the road may lead

 

Previous Post: Magic Happens

Next Post: Crazy Messy Love

 

 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Magic Happens

A year ago magic happened.

Two cells became four, four became eight, eight became sixteen and on and on and on. Life took hold. Our long awaited Little Baby O came to us. So wanted, and much loved even though we had not yet met him. We knew him in our dreams and now he is so much a part of our lives.

 

100 cell zygote

Just the beginning

 

It has been an exciting year, and many years leading up. Looking back, the journey felt like a rough voyage across an ocean, searching for the fabled lost continent – out there, but without guarantee of ever setting foot on land. It had never been plain sailing, but with time it is easy to forget the wave after wave of sadness, the depths of despair where it felt like I could not breathe, the countless interventions of which none were pleasant.

Box full of used syringes

Happiness comes with three pricks a day

 

My saving grace came in two forms, English Hubby who held my hand every step of the way, and a little friend called perspective who in my darkest hours allowed me to remember that we have so much to be grateful for regardless of the outcome.

Halloween costume of X-ray with baby

Shouting from the roof tops

 

Fast forward through more injections, cravings, borderline narcolepsy, thankfully no morning sickness, misread ultrasounds, seven weeks of bed rest, ups and downs, midwife, doula, sadness, fear, happiness, the best OBs in the world, deep breathing, cesarean birth and three months later here we are.

Little baby sleeping

Our bundle of joy

 

I cannot thank the universe enough for the twists and turns, roadblocks and speed bumps, rough and smooth that led our son to us.

 

Previous Post: An Ocean of Kindness

Next Post: Detours

 

 

Monday, 4 August 2014

An Ocean of Kindness

In a world where news headlines scream death, destruction, war, planes that fall out of skies and so much sadness, it is nice to pause and be reminded of everyday kindness and love.

The Dalai Lama once posted (yes, on Facebook!) that at every moment countless mothers (fathers and caregivers) around the world wake to feed their babies, regardless of how tired they are, they nurse and provide for their children. These moments don’t make headlines. The true depth of this love and kindness may not even be noticed or fully understood until the child one day becomes a parent themselves. And it just happens, minute after minute, day after day, year after year, since the very beginning.

We have been the recipients of an ocean of kindness of late. Aunt Steph who babysat Baby Boy O, giving us a precious last New York City date night out. Irish Lass and English Andy who poured a much needed glass of cold white wine, dished a delicious dinner and prepped a cosy bed for the night after a very long day of moving. Family style fun with JJ, N + C in Cape Cod. Stylish sixth floor neighbors who housed our extra boxes and fussed over us endlessly.

Table set with dinner

The way to one’s heart

 

Add to that the random acts of kindness from people – the girl at the supermarket who held the door open, making it easier to navigate the beast that is our stroller, kind words from little old ladies, a great suggestion from the waiter. The list could go on and on, and for every dear family, friend, acquaintance and stranger mentioned there are a hundred more who deserve to be shouted from the mountaintops.

In the quicksand of sensational and ‘newsworthy’ headlines, this is what I wish to remember – acts of kindness are always there and may they help us keep in perspective all the things that happen around us.

 

Previous Post: Happy Times in Cape Cod

Next Post: Magic Happens

 

 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Happy Times in Cape Cod

We’ve been invited to Cape Cod by our dear friends JJ, N + C. It’s a magical way to begin our journey, hanging out with people we love. We arrived on Tuesday and the days seem to have blurred into a flowing rhythm of wake, play, eat, beach, fun, laughter and sleep. It feels like the long luscious summers we use to have as a kid, where each day was whole and simple, each moment true and pure. That precious period before the concept of time and grown up priorities seeps in. A time when you remembered to make lists of things that make you happy.

Book on a shelf

A great reminder

 

So in an ode to this tradition, here is a sprinkling of the big and little things to celebrate and cherish:

Steak, salad and a bottle of 2004 St Hugo’s.
An ability to wind in ‘particle accelerator’ into any conversation.
Throw back to the Miami Vice theme song with Crockett and Tubbs.
Learning random Trivia Pursuit facts, like Massachusetts, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Virginia are Commonwealths, not States.
Shooting stars.
Red crabs.

Baby on floor with two toy red crabs

Crab attack

 

Decaf coffee.
Fresh baked morning glory muffins.
Grapes.

Muffins and grapes on a table

What’s the story morning glory?

 

The thought of Gerard depardieu in a speedo (cringeworthy, yet strangely funny).
Spending quality time with dear friends.
Delicious 14 month old cousin E.
JJ’s orange PJs.
Red adirondack chairs.

Red adirondack chairs on a deck

Prime position

 

Sun deck, which miraculously transforms to a star deck at night.
Baby boy O in a Baby Bjorn rocker.
White linen pants.
Long lashes on a sleeping baby.

Sleeping baby

What it looks like to sleep like a baby

 

Old fashioned General store.
Fresh corn on the cob.
Pomi diced tomatoes.
Freshly baked baguettes.
Drivers who indicate before turning.
Coolers with giant wheels.
Ham, tomato, sweet pepper and Swiss cheese sandwich with waffle chips on the side.
Cold coconut water.
Boppee cushion under a beach umbrella.
Sand between toes.

Sand on baby toes

New sensations

 

12 year old girls who are fascinated with babies.
A dip in the water.
Green balls.
Sharing photos on Facebook with faraway family and friends.
Art.

Painting of a bouy on a blue background

Visual delights

 

Nice hot showers.
Nice smelling moisturizer.
Fruit bowls and fresh vegetables.

Avocado and red peppers in a bowl

Shiny and bumpy

 

Taking photos.
Travel crib.
Drinking water.
Cheese and crackers.
Playing Bocci.
Big family style clam bake dinner with steamers, big juicy lobsters, baked potatoes and butter.

Big red lobster with baked potato and corn on a plate

Not a good place to be a lobster

 

Peanut butter ice cream.
A game of salad bowl where Clarissa and licking of lips prompted the answer Hannibal Lecter, crazy lady from Alaska = Sarah Palin, that punk kid = Justin Bieber

Names written on pieces of paper

Who am I?

 

Falling into a deep sleep.
Sunrise.
Smell of sun dried towels.
Ham and cheese croissant.
Breakfast all over cousin E’s face and hands and nose and hair and chair and floor and…
JJ’s mums boy racer car.
Swimming in a fresh water pond.

People sitting on a beach beside a pond

Dip and swim

 

Freshly fried clams.
Lobster rolls with a side of coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

 

Lobster rolls, chips and coleslaw

Really not a good place to be a crustacean

 

Afternoon naps.
Breeze on the deck.
Conversation.

People sitting under a sun umbrella on a deck

Early evening soirée

 

Trees.
Chirping birds.
Sunset.

Sunset from a balcony

Scintillating ball of hydrogen gas

 

Glow worms.
Chicken with amped up barbecue sauce.
Grilled asparagus.
Perfectly cooked hamburgers.

Hamburgers on flaming grill

Flaming goodness

 

Dancing.
Live music.

Drink and limes on cutting board

Night cap

 

Requests for Tom Petty that go unrequited.
Dream feeds.

It may not be a list of 14,000 things, but it is a good beginning.
Previous Post: And Away We Go
Tuesday, 29 July 2014

And Away We Go

Over the last 24 hours our lives have changed. We are now of no fixed abode, we are owners of fewer possessions and we are reveling in our new status as nomads as we hurtle down the I95 toward Cape Cod.

Ziplock bag with chocolate cookies and snacks

Travel snack pack from Irish Lass

 

It’s hard to imagine that just this time yesterday we were swimming in a sea of bubble wrap and packing tape. Nerves fraying faster than the bottom of overpacked boxes.

Crying baby sitting on boxes

Little Baby O summarizes exactly how we feel

 

They say life teaches you lessons everyday. Here’s what I learnt:

  • Moving isn’t fun. It is a temporary form of hell (sort of like a six day root canal). But everything will be okay…eventually.
  • It is well worth the extra two seconds to put the scissors, tape and fat marker pen back in the same place after use. Playing the ‘where the *fudge* is the <insert item here>’ game quickly wears thin.
  • If in doubt, throw it out.
Moving men packing and moving boxes

Even after a big cull we have more stuff than we need

 

Here’s what English Hubby took away from the experience:

  • It’s a bad idea to schedule a long overdue check up with the dermatologist on the same afternoon as moving and vacating the apartment.
  • A hungry wife with screaming baby who just had a daiper blowout is a lethal combo.
  • Staying hydrated is important.

At the end of the day there weren’t too many casualties, plant life excluded.

Two pot plants with dead herbs

Thankfully the only casualties

 

As dear friend, Irish Lass, wisely counselled – This is just one day which will all be a distant memory very soon. You will soon look back on it and laugh.

Little baby sitting in a rocker in the middle of empty apartment

And we’re ready to leave

 

Previous Post: And More Stuff

Next Post: Happy Times in Cape Cod

More musings…The Road Less Travelled

 

 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Daily Pics: And More Stuff

When will it ever end? How did we accumulate so much stuff? More packing, this time attacking the kitchen with a little picnic interlude with Big Red.

Lots of packing boxes stacked high

The forest of cardboard boxes grows

 

Kitchen pots and pans on a floor

Did we ever need all this shiny stuff?

 

Soren sliced malt loaf

Delicious picnic on Wards Island with Big Red. A welcome reprieve from packing

 

Previous post: Getting Nostalgic

Next post: And Away We Go

 

 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Daily Pics: Getting Nostalgic

Already getting nostalgic. There is much we will miss in New York City. It is farewell for now, not forever.

Apartment with boxes and items piled along the walls

Closing one door, for now

 

Farmers market on street

Will miss the local green market every Thursday

 

New York subway train pulling into the station

And even the sounds and smells of Manhattan

 

Yesterday’s post: No Longer Our Home

Next post: And More Stuff

 

 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Daily Pics: No Longer Our Home

Packing up our life – pictures no longer hung, walls are bare, boxes boxed. Our apartment no longer feels like home.

Man walking down hallway

Going…

 

Man walking down hallway

…going…

 

Man walking down hallway

…gone!

 

Previous Post: The Road Less Travelled

Tomorrow’s Post: Getting Nostalgic

 

 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Road Less Travelled

It’s 4.30 in the morning and the gravity of what we are doing has just hit. Why not have a baby, take a 15 month career break, vacate your comfy Manhattan apartment, sell your worldly possessions, leave your dear urbanite friends (and substitute family), buy an RV and drive off, destination unknown. And throw in for good measure a three month old baby. English Hubby and I must be nuts. That, dear reader, is the closest we have to a plan.

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. Right now, it’s pitch black.  Surrounded by boxes, packing tape and general chaos. To-do lists on post it notes. A fridge full of food that needs to be consumed.

Packing mayhem

Packing mayhem

 

Questions unanswered, from the mundane (where should we forward our mail, and how do we collect it on the road?) to the sublimely important (how do we get Little Baby O his periodic vaccinations?). That being said, the done bucket is slowly expanding.

Find an RV. Check.
Sell furniture on Craigslist. Check.
Arrange for storage. Check.
Pick up rental car. Check.

Rental car pick up

Rental car pick up

 

I guess we have 12 more days to work out the details before we take possession of our tiny house on wheels and hit the road. The rest we may just have to figure out along the way.

Here’s to the road less travelled, and may it take us far, yet bring us closer to all we hold dear.

My boys, my heart, my life

Happiness

 

Next post: No Longer Our Home