“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
You may have heard about that little hurricane named Irene. After a few days of intense news coverage, she made landfall at Coney Island. We were prepared with food, water, flashlights, candles, and our emergency backpack in case we needed to pick up and go. But we really wouldn't have been able to go far since mass transit was shut down. Despite our extensive preparation, nothing could have prepared us for the aftermath.
As I was sitting in a chair in our family room, a gust of wind blew my granola bar wrapper onto the seat cushion, emptying the contents of the bag.
Little crumbly bits everywhere. And of course as I try to clean it up, those little bits just fall down beside the cushion.
We're doing well. No one was injured during Irene's wrath. We're just trying to pick up the pieces.
(I hope no one takes offense to me making light of Hurricane Irene. I know there are casualties and lots of damage because of this storm. But after so much news coverage and little damage on my street, I knew something bad had to happen. We really are lucky that this was the extent of our misfortune.)
Just when I thought I knew how to manage life with a 17 month old, reality, that cruel mistress, slapped me in the face.
I should have known. I was foolish to think a trip with a toddler would go smoothly.
Day 1 in California: Blake throws up when the plane lands after a 5 and a half hour flight. Then again in our friend's car on the way to Evan's house. Then a third time in the car. And a fourth time once we get to the house.
Day 3 in California: Blake throws up in the car on the way to this. Needless to say we turn around and head for home. Unfortunately that means our friends who are riding with us don't get to go either. Oh, did I mention these are the same friends that picked us up from the airport? Ya.
Day 4 in California: Date night with Evan and airport pickup friends. Apparently Blake cries forever before he falls asleep.
Day 6 in California: The airport pickup friend watches my barf-tastic son for 6 hours. Oh, did I mention she has a 2 and a half year old? Ya.
Evan's brother gets married in a beautiful ceremony here.
Texts from concerned friends and family about the east coast earthquake while I'm in the middle of earthquake-ville.
Functioning on a 40 minute nap, Blake does pretty well at his first wedding reception. We duck out early, get a ride home from our friends who have seen way too much of the contents of my child's stomach only to find that the front door is locked. The front door that I was positive would be unlocked is locked. A few phone calls and swear words later, I manage to make way through a dark garage and find an unlocked door. Bath time and stories follow, and then Blake drifts off to dreamland and I start some laundry so we can return home with only few dirty clothes.
Rehearsal dinner. No vomiting. Cute dress.
Day 7 in California: We board the plane and Blake refuses to take a nap despite being exhausted. After 2 hours of trying to get him to fall asleep, he finally lays down on my arm and goes to sleep for the remainder of the flight. No barf this time. Thank goodness.
On our way home, in true New York City subway fashion, the train we need isn't stopping at the station at which we happen to be, so we have to figure out a different route home. After a ridiculous amount of stairs to walk down (stupid 4th Ave-9th St station), we get on the train that will take us within 2 blocks of home. But not before seeing a sleeping man stretched out along a seat on the train with his hand down his pants.
Welcome back to reality...and to Brooklyn.
(I promise there were some fun, non-barfing moments on our trip to CA. I'll save that post for another day.)
What's better than going to the Central Park Zoo on a Monday? Getting to go for free! My friend Ashley invited Blake and I to go with her and her daughter to see the sea lions and penguins (among other animals) at the Central Park Zoo.
The last time we were in Central Park, we passed by the zoo and Evan and I tried to walk in with no tickets. We weren't trying to sneak in. We just didn't know you needed tickets. Of course we were promptly stopped and pointed in the direction of the ticket booth, but after finding out admission wasn't free, we passed on a trip to the zoo.
We started out at the sea lion tank and watched them put on a little show. Blake seemed to enjoy it but was just as intrigued by the random bird or 2 that would fly by.
Next we went to see the penguins and puffins. Blake loved watching the penguins zoom by as they swam under water.
Then it was on to the snow leopard, but apparently he was on vacation somewhere. We did get to see half of a polar bear. It totally could have been a stuffed polar bear and we would have been none the wiser.
Can you spot the polar bear?
And then we entered the tropic zone...
The birds would hop up on the railing and fly around the exhibit. Blake was adamant about touching this Victoria Crowned Pigeon, but I was afraid it would turn around and eat him. Or at least bite him. He wasn't too happy when he didn't get to chase it down and touch it.
After that we headed up to the children's zoo for a few more adventures. Blake had fun playing in the giant turtle eggs and running through the logs.
To end our trip, we hung out with the goats. Blake was almost brave enough to touch them, but each time his finger came within an inch of their mouths, he'd pull away and laugh. I was okay with him not letting the goats nibble on his finger.
We had a great time at the zoo! They even let me take home a monkey.
But after going with our playgroup and seeing that it's not really that crowded on a normal day, I figured we could do another family outing to the beach.
Blake likes to help carry our recyclables outside. He'll do anything to get outside.
I was a little worried there would be a lot of people since it was a Saturday, but we got to the beach around 10:30 and it wasn't super crowded. We walked a little ways down the boardwalk and found a nice little spot close to the water.
Apparently I was asleep during this photo op. Also, holy farmer's tan!
This time around, Blake actually played closer to the water and held his own against the waves!
Checkin' out the ladies...or a bird.
We took him out past where the waves were breaking. He was a good sport, but let us know when he was ready to head in.
So I've learned my lesson. Coney Island on Memorial Day=don't even think about it. Coney Island in the morning on a normal day, including Saturday=awesome!
I'm done. My search for a swimsuit that fits well and provides the coverage I need is over. At least for this season.
I scoured the Internet looking for an acceptable swimsuit. I thought I had found one. And I was pretty confident because the description of the swimsuit said it was suited for the well-endowed.
But only if you wanted to look bigger than you already are.
I thought the ruffles might accentuate the part of my body I don't really need accentuated. But it was 10 o'clock at night and I thought I had found the solution to my problem.
I was excited when I got the package in the mail. I was even feeling pretty good when I tried it on.
But when I skyped with my sister and modeled it for her (I know what you're thinking. Wasn't it awkward to video chat in a swimsuit? Yes, yes it was.) we both concluded that while the swimsuit was cute, for $74 it needed to be almost perfect for me to keep. Oh, and the circulation to my legs was being cut off after about 10 minutes of wearing it. It will be returned.
I found another swimsuit that is comfortable and provides a little more coverage than the halter top tankini I currently wear to most water-related activities. And it was significantly less expensive than the $74 we-think-ruffles-will-downplay-your-large-chest swimsuit.
But it still doesn't provide the type of coverage I would really like. I'm looking for next to no "cleave" here, people. Chasing a toddler when you don't feel covered up or like you could fall out of your swimsuit is not my idea of summer fun. But, I just don't care anymore. When I find a suit that covers, it doesn't fit somewhere else. When I find a suit that fits somewhere else, it doesn't cover the girls.
When my sister came to visit a few months ago, I knew I wanted to go to Serendipity 3 to try their Golden Opulence Sundae which costs $1000. Kidding. I wanted to try the more affordable frozen hot chocolate. I read on their website that they don't accommodate strollers, so Evan watched Blake so Tori and I could go.
Before we got to Serendipity, we stopped at Dylan's Candy Bar and had a little fun drooling over all the candy. And candy accessories.
After a few purchases at Dylan's Candy Bar, we headed to Serendipity 3. And waited an hour to be seated.
We were finally seated and looked over their desserts just to make sure we wanted the frozen hot chocolate.
It was pretty good! After a while though, it was sickeningly sweet. If I ever go back, I will definitely be getting their Forbidden Broadway Sundae. It looked divine!
Just some things to know before you go:
They don't take reservations if you are going for dessert only. So have them take your name and then walk around the area because there will most likely be a wait.
They don't accommodate strollers in the restaurant area. I don't know if that means you'd have to leave your stroller outside or if they have place for them. I'm guessing they don't have a place for them.
There is a minimum purchase amount for each person. They seemed lenient on it though when the couple we were with ordered the Forbidden Broadway Sundae to share.
I came to the realization recently that I was traumatized by the birth of my son. I didn't plan on having a c-section, but I wasn't really surprised when my doctor suggested I'd need one. I was a week past my due date and I had zero signs of labor. No contractions, no baby dropping, no nothing.
And when I look back on my experience with labor, I kind of resent it. As silly as it sounds, I feel sad that I didn't get to have the kind of birth that I thought I wanted. Well, that's not true. I don't think I had a clue what I wanted. All I wanted was a healthy baby. And that's what I got, so why am I so scarred by the events that took place?
As I delve deeper into my memory of those 12 hours of labor and then being told I'd need a c-section, I start to relive some of the things I was feeling:
-not in control: As soon as I agreed to a c-section I was given forms to sign, Evan was taken to be prepped for surgery, and I was told about the slight chance that I'd feel pain when they started to make the incision
-head-spinning: Everything happened so quickly. One minute I was laying in the hospital bed exhausted from a day of labor, listening to Blake's heartbeat decline with each contraction and then increase, and the next minute I was being wheeled into the operating room and told to try to move myself to the operating table.
-scared: I wanted desperately to call my mom when my doctor told me I would need a c-section. But I felt like there wasn't time and that if I got on the phone I'd immediately start crying. And I distinctly remember not wanting my doctor to see me cry. That seems so silly since he was going to cut me open and see the inside of my uterus. But I wanted to seem ok with being cut open.
-worried: I was worried about Blake's health and my health. And I was also worried that my wedding rings would get lost because the nurse forgot to tell me to take them off before going into the operating room.
-pain: After my c-section, my epidural catheter was removed before I received any pain medication. I was on a high from being able to see my little baby, but soon after that I was in the worst pain I'd ever experienced. Just imagine being able to feel the pain from a fresh incision in your skin AND your insides. It was horrible. So horrible that all I remember doing is squeezing Evan's hand, screaming at the nurse when she would push on my stomach, and asking for the pain to go away.
-relief: Finally I was given a strong enough pain medication and the pain subsided. And then I got to hold my baby.
But that relief wasn't enough to wash away all those awful feelings I had before I got to hold Blake. And when I think about having another baby, a lot of those awful feelings come back. And sometimes I can even feel a slight twinge of pain in the "beautiful" scar I get to wear for the rest of my life.
I feel like having a c-section has taken away my choice when it comes to how I want to have more children. I mean, I do have choices. But I guess I don't really like my choices. VBAC? Possible, but there are risks. Scheduled c-section? Probably easier, but then there's the issue of scar tissue and the risks associated with that.
And then there's the recovery. The recovery from my c-section was very long and painful. I've heard that c-section recovery gets easier with each one. But I can still remember not being able to stand up completely because the pain was too much to bear.
I feel like I should get over the fact that I had a c-section, not let it effect my decisions the way it has. But the memory of everything is still fresh, even after 16 months.
With such a traumatizing experience pre and post delivery, I feel just as traumatized by the memory of being a new mother. The sleepless nights, the pure exhaustion, the frustration, the needing help but refusing to ask for it, the night that still haunts me when I grabbed a piece of paper as Blake was screaming in his cradle and scribbled down how I wasn't cut out for motherhood and how I had made a horrible mistake, or the night I prayed for Blake to stop crying until he actually did stop crying. It all seems so dramatic now. My emotions were out of control and I hated it. Evan wasn't around to experience my postpartum mood swings. And I don't think any amount of explaining will prepare him for them when we have a second child.
I suppose that if I'm feeling apprehensive about having another child then I'm not ready mentally for it. And that's ok. Every once in a while I kind of check in with myself and think about whether it's time to "expand our family". I do wonder when the memory of my c-section, memories of being a new mom, and the apprehension of life in Brooklyn with 2 kids will be outweighed by the excitement and readiness to have baby #2. For now, I'll just focus on not-a-baby-anymore #1.
I am not surprised by this video for several reasons:
1) IT'S A GREAT WHITE SHARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRK!
Ok, that's the only reason I'm not surprised this shark burst through the cage.
Here are some facts about great white sharks in case you don't know much about them:
So children, what did we learn from this little blog post? Any animal whose size is comparable to a school bus is capable of pretty much whatever it wants to be capable of. Also, don't swim with sharks.
Lately I feel like I've been a lazy mom. I've lacked the motivation to take Blake to the playground because at the time of this post, we are experiencing a heat wave. And after a few days of being inside, playing with the same toys, the same games, the same books, we were ready for something new. I read that at 16 months, toddlers might enjoy scribbling with crayons. Obviously at this age Blake won't be able to sit quietly and color. In fact, sitting is never involved in anything he does except eating.
I took out some crayons and paper for him to play with the other day while I was making dinner. He spent about 2 minutes scribbling and then ran off with the crayons. Not wanting to scrub the walls of stray crayon marks, I chased him down and the crayons haven't been out since. I wasn't surprised at how our adventure with crayons went and his art work is even hanging on our fridge now.
Trying to break free of this bout of laziness, I decided finger painting would be fun to try with Blake. But with Blake's habit of tasting everything, I knew I didn't want to use actual paint. I saw a "recipe" for home made finger paint made with flour, water, and food coloring and whipped up 5 different colors for Blake to use.
I used small ziploc containers to mix the ingredients. I didn't really measure anything. I just added water or flour to get the consistency I wanted. Then I used a 9x13 pan to store all the materials we'd need. (paint, bowl of water and baby wipes for cleaning up). Then we headed outside to paint!
Instead of a paintbrush (because we don't have one), I gave Blake a wooden spoon to use.
We used the wooden spoon, a stick, a leaf, and our fingers to paint. Blake tasted the finger paint a few times, but I didn't have to freak out because I knew it wouldn't hurt him.
Overall, I think our finger painting experience went pretty well! It's definitely an activity I'll do with him again in the future.
It started to rain while we were painting, but we opted to stay outside and play. We usually walk a half mile to a playground to play in the sprinklers, so why not take advantage of nature's sprinklers, right?