Play Hard!

I have a kid who likes to play hard. He likes to debate, he likes to tussle and he likes to win. He is also funny and generous and...well, I am dreading keeping an active boy indoors for another winter. We have signed him up for two winter sports and we will make an effort to try skiing again. I predict lots of playdates, wrestling matches and couch cushions turned into forts.

Gratitude Reminder

Sometimes I get too caught up in the tomorrows. I close my eyes to the present and focus too hard on  preparing for the future. I want to speed things along or figure out the answers right this minute. I have to remind myself that life is about right now. This hour, this minute. The seasons unfold for a reason. And so I remind myself to be grateful for today. To breathe and not lose these precious moments in ponderings of the past or predictions of the future. Life is more beautiful with our eyes wide open.

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Thanksgiving this year was a bit different. As Christmas will be spent with family next month we decided to spend the night in Manhattan and watch the Macy's balloons being inflated near the Museum of Natural History. The entire process is well watched over by NYPD and we thought it very well organised given the extreme crowds. It was literally just walking around the block (or two) and the weather was lovely.

Dinner was a laid back affair. The Shake Shack at 77th did brisk business that night and it was nice to visit the playground next door to run off a bit of energy for our overly excited child. Bouncy castles and monkey bars at night - what's not to love?

It was very cool to see the enormous balloon inflation and so strange to see them folded beneath nets in preparation for their big day. Although crowded, everyone was very nice and it was just a fun family event. Only posting our favorites here...

                                                                      Papa Smurf!

Elf on the Shelf (who should be arriving for his annual visit soon)
Buzz Lightyear!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (We've read nearly all of these)
                                             As well as the star of this attraction - Santa!

It felt very special to wake up in the morning right in Times Square. We bought a ton of extra hotel points on sale this month so the stay was a bargain. No early morning train and no crowds on the way in! In fact, we found Times Square basically deserted - a prime opportunity to explore. We had a quick breakfast and then stopped into any store Monkey wanted. Which meant, M&M, Hershey, Disney fact we barely even saw the parade as we were having too much fun away from the massive crowds (have I mentioned that I dislike crowds?)

A really fun moment came when we "played" on the enormous live DunkMe photoscape in Time Square. It looks a bit like Where is Waldo, yet we are somewhere in this photo...

and here as well (hint - we are in the top third of the image and a kiss is involved)...

Our photos from the actual parade are not that great so I won't bother to share. Far away or only parts of an attraction. We took the train home and I cooked a massive feast from scratch, trying not to nod off over the scalloped potatoes. We spoke with family and friends and held hands to share everything we are thankful for this year. The evening was capped off with green tea and a Christmas movie - peaceful and perfect. All in all it was a fantastic Thanksgiving and I recommend watching the balloon inflation to anyone at any age. Great memories!

A Good Egg

I just read an article from Psychology Today about personality assumptions 
and was struck by an observation of the author, Jena Pincott. Nature vs. nurture is irrevocably combined - much as the chicken and the egg, the two cannot be unscrambled. I know that I certainly see clear traits of both of my parents within myself, perhaps even grandparents - yet I am just as surely a culmination of my life's experiences and choices.

I admit to being ravenously curious about how my son will turn out. Who will he be at 15, 30, at 50? The thousands of hours we have spent from even before his birth to plan the most nurturing, stimulating environment does not supersede the true lessons in life, which are the failures. Although he has my strong sense of fair play, desire for organization and fear of making mistakes (my apologies), he also as my husband's easy going nature, fearlessness and love of spontaneity. He is also very much a unique soul that is perfectly his own.

Eventually time and his own choices will allow the rest to unfold, with our guidance a steady foundation to draw from. Ultimately, we cannot steal his lessons and I hope he learns well from what life offers. Regardless of his path, we know he is a good egg - scrambled or not. It is the journey itself in becoming who we are that is the best part.

May the Force Be With You

I was introduced to this Yoda fountain at LucasArts in San Francisco 
and had to take a picture for my young Star Wars fanatic. 

In a perfect world I would have this in my front yard 
as a reminder to " or do not. There is no try."
 Especially on gym days.

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy really did a number on our area. So many others have experience true tragedy and so gratitude is first and foremost in my heart when I consider this latest storm. For us it meant no electricity, school or heat for five days. We ate, drank lots of wine (grown ups), made lots of fires and watched a movie a night by laptop or iPad (highly recommend the family movie 'Paris Cat' for anyone who hasn't seen it). Wifi was hard to find yet my Blackberry was a lifeline for work. We powered up wherever we could - even venturing into a mall, which is not usually my favorite place to spend time yet it somehow felt nice to be around other people in the same boat.

Although the memories of petty inconveniences will fade, we truly are sorry that this is the second Halloween in a row that Monkey has really missed. Hurricane Irene took out the lights in my entire neighborhood until very late on Halloween night last year. Although we made do and tried to plan fun activities with friends, childhood is so brief. Those silly moments of careening crazily from house to house in search of candy is enjoyed so briefly in childhood. A license to dress up and ask strangers for candy? The fun of opening the door to happy laughing children bent on mischief? Not to be missed - although the value of a safe and healthy family is without measure.

So we've been reminiscing about Halloween's past. And we did enjoy the weeks leading up to it. I just can't stay away from Lowe's or Home Depot when they start bringing out the fall decorations.

...and we did have fun carving pumpkins before the storm arrived.

We were lucky to avoid long term damage. We also did try to make the best of thing - such as using our camping stove to fry up a mess of potatoes, onions, turkey sausage and eggs one morning. The toast was not such a success but having hot tea on cold nights felt like a luxury by firelight. Most importantly we loved just being together - although Monkey did say we needed a break from each other by day five. Cue power!

I hope next Halloween is uneventful but for ridiculous amounts of fun. I hope this winter is mild and that the power lines hold. If they don't, I will definitely learn my lesson and hide the Monopoly board (20+ rounds with a gleeful, cheating boy). Grateful for our blessings, regardless.