Archive for October, 2011

Happy Halloween

Now get out there and get some candy!

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This weekend we went to a friend’s house for a pre-Halloween party (thanks to Marcello and his cool moms!) and we got to give our costumes a bit of a ‘test drive’ before trick-o-treating in the streets. Problem is, Ezra and Zoe refused to wear their costumes even though all the other kids at the party were wearing theirs. I have to say, I was hoping we’d get a chance to dress up a day or two in advance so we could work out the kinks in our costumes. Ezra’s frog costume was inspired by his swim goggles, green swim top and green bathing cap this summer… but when it came right down to it, these things were all too flimsy to wear in the cold weather. And frankly, when he was out of the water he just looked like a kid ready to swim. We found this simple and kid friendly tutorial for a warmer frog costume at activitytv.com, and Zoe will get to reuse Ezra’s lobster bunting (legs out the bottom and ties added to the back) — making her the cutest shrimp ever. I will have to see if I can put together some kind of costume to join in on the ‘water friends’ theme by Halloween night– but for now here’s a sneak peek of the kids decked out (and shots of some of the adorable decorations at our friends’ fun party – just to get you in the mood).

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I wish I had seen this 2 years ago when I was trick-o-treating with Zoe in my belly. Instead I dressed up as a cow (because that’s how I felt), but this is so much more fun and flattering to wear! Check out how to make it here:

Are there any pregnant mommas out there who can use this?
And of course there’s one for dad too ..

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Beautiful morning

Photo credit unknown, via Pinterest

Happy fall, and happy weekend

All this getting up in the early a.m. is fairly new to me. The last time I had to consistently be somewhere at 8 a.m. was when I was in high school – no joke. My husband and I have generally had flexible schedules ever since we started art school in college. My son Ezra came along and changed all that for me – he loved to rise at 6 a.m. (sometimes even earlier) and would come over to my side of the bed, put his little hand under my hand and say ‘I scoop your head up’ ever since he could talk. I would try to pull him in and get him to sleep more but to no avail .. he just had to get on with the day.

Even with this early waking time, we’ve always lounged around in our pajamas for a few more hours. But that’s no longer the case. Now with school started – Ezra and I rise at 6:30 and man oh man is it dark outside. It seems like it’s still nighttime. But this doesn’t deter Ezra. He still talks up a storm, searches the kitchen for breakfast, and says ‘I love you momma’ about a hundred times in his hazy, fuzzy morning post-sleep state. I ask him to talk quietly (so as to not wake his sister) but love hearing it regardless of the volume.

This is a good age – this being 5 years old. He’s big enough to sleep through the night, play independently, not get too crabby and tantrums are somewhat over. Yet at the same time he is incredibly cuddly – he asks to snuggle for a few minutes after we wake. He loves to hold my face in his little hands and give me nose kisses, and he says lovely things like ‘momma you make my heart feel good’. It’s officially a beautiful start to the day.

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When I first met Samarra Khaja via the local parent list-serve – we met on a street corner as I ran to work one morning. She was eager to meet me half way in delivering an Ergo insert that I no longer had need for, but wanted to pass on to someone. I LOVE the list-serve for this. Less wasted baby stuff in landfills.

I know I’ve met her earlier in the year at a friend’s brunch, but we never got to chat further about what makes her tick. I had no idea that she creates things CONSTANTLY. She runs a blog, a line on Etsy, a Spoonflower fabric shop, and has a designer profile at Timeless Treasures. She designs, photographs and draws her way around the 4 hours of sleep a day that she might get while tending to 2 small boys (her youngest is well under a year old – hence the need for the Ergo insert).

As a small example of Samarra’s genius I give you Toothy. (There are just too many other amazing sewing projects on her blog to put them all here, but I might try to eventually.) Toothy is a pattern for a stuffed ‘tooth fairy plushie‘ with customizable backpack on his back. You place the baby tooth in the backpack, put Toothy under the pillow for the night and – viola! – baby tooth is replaced with the tooth fairy’s reward by morning (wait, that’s YOUR job as a parent to add – coin not included). Samarra created the adorable illustration you see here on this fabric, which you can purchase and then cut/sew to create 4 Toothy tooth fairy money holders. There are 4 different colors per pattern.

Take out your sewing machine folks! Or better yet, I think you can even sew this one by hand if you prefer. I can’t wait for my kids to lose some teeth!

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I didn’t even know that Smurfs had made a come back, but I’m delighted that they did. Isaac’s mom always makes the most delicious organic eats for Isaac’s annual birthday party in Astoria Park. It was a beautiful brisk day for the occasion and there was even a recycled-box-Smurf house for the kids to play in, and hand made smurf hats! The birthday boy took a good whack at the Smurf pinata, dumping out more glow sticks and fruits leathers than any kid could hold. Best of all, we got to see all the folks from Astoria that we’ve known since Ezra was about 5 months old. Happy 5th Isaac!

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Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens has a great autumn festival every year. We were back here to play around the sculpture while children got their faces painted, and could use recycled materials to create costumes at various outdoor craft stalls. An amazing Cuban-jazz band called the Drumadics kept us dancing for awhile – and there was even a Canine Costume Contest! When the festival was over, we hit the Farmer’s Market for kabocha squash (which looks like a bumpy green pumpkin; only sweeter than acorn squash) and other yummy root vegetables for dinner.

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Since I cannot see much in the way of foliage on the trees, I agreed to let Ezra and Zoe make their jack-o-lantern a little early. The kids loved having their hands inside the pumpkin, and we warmed up the apartment while baking the pumpkin seeds. Here’s hoping our jack-o-lantern (who somehow got named ‘Laffy’) lasts until Halloween. If not, for now it makes a nice ambient night light to stare at after dinner.

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Where is the foliage?

Try as I may, I cannot seem to find trees bursting with red, orange and yellow leaves. The city still has lush green trees, with a handful of brown or yellow leaves slowly starting to hit the ground. The temperatures did dip however – and we had to run around this weekend with coats on for the first time. I tried to force some ‘autumn feeling’ out of the weekend by letting the kids decorate and cut up the pumpkin early (I hope it doesn’t shrivel by halloween). Here are some scenes from our search for fall:

Bryant Park setting up its ice skating rink – amidst lush green trees. Me and Zoe’s feet romp in lots of green grass, with a few brown leaves.

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Well, this is really for the ‘parents’ in all of us. If this post seems like a non sequitur, I can explain. It’s a.) about kids, b.) about beautiful things/photography and c.) about the magical yet awkward transition into new parenthood. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with this photographer – Phil Toledano – before, so when I saw this honest and amazing account of welcoming his daughter into the world I was even more moved. This series takes us from his bewildered starting point of fatherhood to what he calls becoming a “blithering idiot of love”. Anthropologie (yes, the woman’s clothing line) started this inspiring website to give ‘back to those who stir our senses’ – and they were clever enough to find Phil’s hilarious and beautiful series to add to it. Put the kids to sleep so you can read all the text, and enjoy.

Click here to see the tale of Loulou.

“Even eating was completely incomprehensible. Her animal ferocity, and afterwards, the extraordinary satisfaction. She would slip into an opiate slumber, mouth agape, food dribbling down her chin. I wish eating would have the same effect on me.”
Photo and quote by Phil Toledano

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