Sunday, August 29, 2010

3 kinds of fun

(subtitle: "you've all been wondering what it's really like to spend a year in sublets and traveling with kids")

Earlier this year, we had a houseguest for two weeks. Ilona is one of the physicians from the San Diego residency program where Jeremy first started out. She came to Denver for a rotation and she and I got to know each other better during the evening hours while J. was at work.

We usually ended up talking about travel because Ilona has been pretty much everywhere. In fact, once her residency is complete next June, she and her husband hope to buy a conversion van and spend a full year traveling around and finding the best rock climbing sites. We also talked a lot about our respective plans for a post-residency "year of fun" and she remembered an article that she read once that listed three different categories of fun. (The article was originally about rock-climbing, but she adapted it for my sake.)

• First: you have the kind of fun that involves sitting on a beach and sipping margaritas. It's relaxing, there is no stress whatsoever, but chances are it will not be a very memorable time.
• Second is the kind of adventure that involves a little planning and a little flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and that will probably include a lot of amazing views and interesting people, but might come at the price of a bit of traveler's stomach bugs and/or a stolen wallet or something. You might get stranded in a village with no ATM when there is a national bus strike, but hey, you'll learn some Swahili. There will be moments along the way when you start to think "why are we doing this," but by the end you will feel that it has been worthwhile and there will be tons of great memories.
• Third and finally, there is the kind of fun that only appeals to a certain few. It involves a lot of risk to your personal well-being and maybe includes sky-diving, and you may or may not return alive and with all of your limbs still attached. If you manage to live through it, "You gotta live a little, know what I mean?" becomes one of your signature phrases.

We are aiming for that #2 category of fun, and hoping to skip #3 altogether.
And so, it should not come as a surprise that I have already had a few "why am I doing this, again?" moments. Most recently, the "moment" has stretched over the course of an entire week. It probably has something to do with the fact that we are moving in a couple of days and we are now in the middle of the packing and cleaning and planning that is necessary for such things. Jeremy has to work the day we move and that makes things more complicated. Mostly, I hope we can exit this place without doing any more significant damage to the property.

When you are living in someone else's home, everything is complicated to begin with: if you break a bowl, you have to think about replacing it rather than convincing yourself that you never liked it to begin with (this is my usual mode of action and, yes, it usually works.). You also have to deal with the crayon marks on the wall immediately instead of waiting until they fade on their own (this doesn't work, but no one can say I don't try). But then you might make it all worse by all that scrubbing and leave bright yellow streaks on one portion of the living room wall. (and yes, I have tried the Magic Eraser thing. It made it worse and I think it stripped off the paint). Also: if you hate their can opener or can't find the colander, you're kind of out of luck. You can buy replacements, but that's kind of silly isn't it.

And here's another thing that happens if you have to move every few months: you have to get to know a new neighborhood every few weeks. Find out where to buy groceries, where to go to church, which ones are the crazy neighbors you'll be wanting to stay far, far away from---that sort of thing.

At least, in just over a week, we start homeschooling L. I mean, what could be stressful about that? Not the fact that we have never done this before and we will be attempting it in a teensy tiny apartment (that doesn't have room for a couch in the living area). As if it won't be enough of a challenge to keep the other two hooligans occupied (don't worry; I intend to put all pens, markers, crayons and scissors into a safe at our next place), we also will not have access to our library of children's books nor our craft supplies, all of which we left behind in storage in Colorado. So, for instance, if we need construction paper for any reason, all we have to do is google a Staples or whatever, map out how to get there on Hopstop, haul three kids on the subway and go buy it. Cake.

There are plenty of things that are easier for us this year and keeping things simple and living out of suitcases is not all bad. For instance, I will not miss the seasonal shifting-the-summer-clothes-to-boxes-to-make-room-for-the-fall-ones routine. I won't have to do spring cleaning (or much cleaning at all, really) for an entire year. I won't be thinking about decorating or redecorating a house for a full year which leaves plenty of time to read books or do something else that is more fun. We don't have to go stand in the bitter cold at 7am waiting for the school bus (yay, yippee, hooray!). And no raking leaves or shoveling snow.

As far as the kids are concerned, so far it is has been 100% awesome. Those grins you see in the photo down below---those are totally real. They pretty much never want to leave New York. And after every shift, when I ask J. how was work, he says, "Great! I love my job!" Every single time.

Still, right now, the #2 kind of fun is feeling a little more like this than like this. And we're not even to the India part yet.
At least it's guaranteed to be, um, memorable.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

summer 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

they speak:

Everytime L. swims underwater with the goggles on, she surfaces and says, "So that's what the future looks like."


Daddy was doing a squeezing contest. BR: "Yow!! I'm not juice!"


L.: "BR, don't put that water balloon in your mouth, it's a choking hizzard!"
Moi: "That's choking 'hazard.' "
BR: "No, it's not a choking hazard, it's a water balloon!"

Monday, August 23, 2010

egg-spoon races

Remember this one? Well, this time when I tried to come up with something to keep little hands busy so I could make dinner, I also tried to keep the clean-up to a minimum. Unfortunately, I had not anticipated just how many times these hard-boiled eggs would crash and just how many tiny pieces of shell would be spread around the floor.

Oh well, at least we didn't have to bathe everybody or scrub the tub this time around!

(and yes, we've done the whole live-in-your-bathing-suit-all-summer-long thing this year. Lots less laundry to do!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

India Update

We bought our tickets! November 21 is our departure date; we arrive the 23rd so it will be a nice short flight (ha ha). At least the weather will be much milder by then (we hope).

At the moment we're planning on living in Calcutta for the entire time (just about 6 months). We will stay in a hotel briefly until we can find a furnished apartment. If Jeremy needs to go down to Chennai or to some other city for a week once in awhile, we will all travel with him. And then at some point we'll go spend a week or two in Malaysia for work there! The relationship between the hospital here in NY and the one in Kuala Lampur is new so this is an added bonus that we did not know about before we arrived in NYC. We are pretty excited that we will get to see another part of Southeast Asia! (Translation: Malaysian food is awesome.)

while mama's back was turned...


* In the last 48 hours BR has torn up the neighbor's flowers, crayonned on the walls of our sublet, and painted his toes and toenails with nail polish. All of this in addition to the usual shenanigans.
For anyone who has never had the pleasure of living with a three year old boy, those include: tormenting his sisters, ignoring any instruction or correction from parents or any other adult authority figure, regular potty-training mishaps, pulling his sisters' hair, skipping naps and then waking up extra early every morning (to ensure 24-hour crabbiness), dumping out boxes of toys and books everywhere, throwing toys and books at his sisters, generally being defiant and/or arguing about everything.
Our next sublet does not have a washer or dryer. I have a feeling that the above-mentioned "potty-training mishaps" mean that we will become regulars at the laundromat. Better start saving those quarters.

Monday, August 16, 2010

it's...super BR!

BR corrected me: "I am not regular Batman, I'm a different green Batman."

"Oh yeah? Well, can you fly and go really fast in your race car?"

(whispering) "Yes, but my wings are invisible." (pause) "So, what kind of lunch do you want? There is jello for dessert."

Ahh...I see. This "different" Batman's powers are of the sandwich-making kind. How very practical.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

pen & paper

The kids might occasionally tire of coloring, activity books or stickers. But they never, ever get bored of scribbling something on any piece of paper that might be lying around.
They each have a signature style.

This is BR's "Thunder:"

A. is a master of happy stick people who "love" or are "being loved by" someone.

This next one is a great example: this is "Happy Daddy because he loves A." There are other (identical) ones of A. smiling "because she loves Aunt Jerah."
(You can tell they are "loving" someone is the heart popping out from their heads.)

She tucks the pictures underneath doorways, where we'll find them when we wake up in the morning or after a nap:

This one is of our whole family "loving each other:"

The smiley faces are so great that A. has taken to trying to imitate them. She has told me that she looks just like the pictures she draws when she makes this face:

And L, of course, still loves lists:

and she also writes notes and leaves them around for people (or fairies) to find:

Friday, August 13, 2010

what it's like to ride the subway with La Loose

"Why does this door say Emergency Exit? Why is it locked? Well, how would you use it in an emergency if it's locked? WHO would unlock it? How would he know when to unlock it? Wouldn't you fall off onto the tracks if you walked out the emergency exit? What kind of an emergency do they mean? What does 'evacuation' mean? Why are there lights on in the tunnel? Does the train run on gas? Do they ever run out of gas? What are all those ads about? What does "lung cancer" mean? Why does smoking cause it? Why don't trains in NY have those things on top like the ones in Denver did? Why does it say 'do not enter the tracks and don't cross the rails'? How many stops are we going? Where are we going next? Are we changing to another train after this one? How long will it take? What will the station be like? Will there be the silver turnstiles or the swingy door things?"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

the "stinky diaper" race

Our friend Matt came up with this game while we were killing time on Governors Island a few weeks ago (we missed the ferry, oops).

It's a three-legged race...with disposable diapers! (hey, we had to improvise, okay?) the kids loved it, but insisted on calling it a "stinky diaper" race, of course.

(it was very humid and the lens got clouded, and as usual no audio. just imagine loud squealing.)

and the fun just doesn't stop

We have had visitors and outings galore! Grammy & Papa and Aunt Mer. Our friends Matt & Melanie from California, Christine and Cam, we've seen Maria and even more folks are headed our way soon. The following are some peeks at how we wear them out...

(in case anyone thought of accusing us of not eating enough ice cream this summer, there is plenty of documented evidence)

(L. caught a firefly)


That's about a quarter of it.
I have frequently left the camera behind, so there are actually lots and lots of missed shots of the last few weeks. There have been plenty of other places we've visited, such as Highline Park, which is like this and also like this. And we visited one of the state parks at Fire Island which is "extremely awesome," as BR says, and saw the National Museum of the Native American and Battery Park and Chinatown and Washington Square and the Forbes Magazine Gallery with has 10,000 of these and hundreds of these, and we also flew kites in Prospect Park and saw --aw, heck, there's too much.

I give up, there is just no way I could possibly document it all.

Actually, the truth is that sometimes it's just all too much so we lounge at the pool, or do a lot of this

and this
So there you have it. We are taking full advantage of our summer in the city.
We are still working on finding housing for the Fall and at the moment it looks like we might have no choice but to relocate to the 'burbs (though we're still hoping we won't). As far as I am concerned, there is not much that's good about moving away from Aunt Jerah and P-roc. So we'll try not to complain.
It is small consolation, but least we would be closer to this.

a summer staple

I haven't posted one of these in awhile. Here is a recipe I have used over and over this summer:

grilled chicken salad w/ avocado & cilantro. so easy and so delicious.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

playing 'statue of liberty'

I don't know who has a better time when the kids play this--me or them. They are still, they are's wonderful.

(on this particular day, it kind of looks like one of those statues needed his bladder liberated.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

visit to Great-Grammy's

On Saturday, we went to PA to visit great-Grammy (my mom's mom) and we also saw all of these folks:

and these lovely ladies:

and we did a lot of this (great-uncle Neal is the COOLEST):

and Grammy played her organ for us and we boogied.

at lunch, we had a face-making contest.

jerah definitely won.