Museum of Natural History: The Discovery Room, Our Favorite Place

The American Museum of Natural History can be packed during the summer months with camps, tourists, and locals. To escape the crowds, we sneak away to the Discovery Room. Best part for me: They limit the number of kids in the room. Sometimes we have to wait for an hour for the next session, but it's always worth it. Best part for my kids: Putting together a dinosaur skeleton. All the bones are organized in drawers and attached with magnets. It feels and looks so real! The perfect mix of learning and fun. Thanks for helping this time grandpa!


91st Street Garden

We've walked past the 91st Street Garden a trillion times, but I always assumed we weren't aloud to walk inside the gates. Perhaps we're not, but nobody said anything the entire time. If it's prohibited, I'm sure someone would have told me to get those brats out. New Yorkers love to enforce rules in the kindest way.

I heard the garden is at the end of the movie You've Got Mail. I tried watching it this morning.  But then Meg Ryan. The way she squints and hops around like a baby mouse. It's painful. I was happily surprised to see Parker Posey in the second scene. Could watch her all day! But then Posey's scene ended and I turned the movie off minutes later. Right after Meg Ryan's character smells a bouquet of roses for the second time. I feel awful because I'm sure I'm suppose to love this movie, along with Jane Austen and the Bachelor. To salvage it, I googled "Parker Posey You've Got Mail" so I could skip to the good parts. Found it here. Where are my tick tacks? Uhhh.  Whhhhat?!  Love her.
Ella's petal collection. Gardeners fear not: She didn't pick any, these were all on the ground.

More pictures of my favorite flowers from the garden after the jump.


Elizabeth Street Interview

My daughter Ella took this picture! ha
Check out my interview today on Elizabeth Street!

I mention a tip for taking kids on adventures, a favorite tourist trap, and whether I consider myself a "mommy blogger".  Plus a slideshow with two never before seen pictures of ME.

Love love love Elizabeth Street. The layout is clean and the content is rich. I lose myself in it. Thanks for the opportunity!

Two Random Facts: My middle name is Elizabeth. I wear this stripe dress everyday. 


My Parents Are in Town: Mealtime Strategies

Minutes after my parents arrived, Oscar put them through a small experiment. He was sitting on his bed and announced randomly, "McDonald's is not healthy for you."

Grandma and Grandpa shrugged and didn't give much of a reaction.  That's all the data he needed. Hours later I overheard Oscar whispering to Grandpa, "Could you take us to McDonald's?"

It was a brilliant strategy. 

I hate myself for turning into an uptight parent who doesn't take their kids to McDonald's. It's because there's always another fresher or locally owned option next store. It takes zero effort on my part.  The movie Food Inc. is also to blame for turning me into an overly opinionated twit.  That movie had the biggest anti-McDonald's agenda, and I totally fell for it.  I haven't taken my kids to McDonald's in years. 

Oscar has been apparently searching for a way to get himself back to the golden arches and found his way with the grandparents.

I quickly realized that we had to take Oscar to McDonald's fast or else the entire trip would be consumed with, "Yeah Top of the Rock is cool-- but when are we going to McDonald's? Awesome, the Statue of Liberty! Is it lunch time yet? I really want to go to McDonald's, Grandpa! Having a great time on the boat! But let's go to McDonald's soon I'm so hungry. Ok, grandma?!"

We went yesterday to shut him up. Oscar ordered a Hamburger Happy Meal and a chocolate dipped ice cream cone. He savored each bite and hasn't stopped playing with the free toy since.  

For me, going there only crushed my dreams of taking down the man. The place was packed with a wide range of costumers, from perfectly dressed business people to families to blue collar workers. We had to go all the way to the third floor to find a table. McDonald's has obviously been thriving without my dollar.  The screen shot below of McDonald's stock value cracks me up. I don't know what it means exactly, but I can take a good guess.

Regardless, I'll never going back. If nothing else, I'm healthier for it. Plus, I haven't let go of my absurd dream that somehow I am making a difference by voting with my dollar. It's the optimist in me.

Is it also the optimist in me that thought my southern McChicken sandwich and fries tasted delicious? I hope not.

I used to take my babies to McDonald's alllll the time.  For a while it was at least once a week, maybe twice. Proof after the jump. No wonder Oscar misses it!


My Parents Are in Town

My parents are in town. Today they asked me if I liked living in California or New York better. I gave them an obnoxious and long winded answer about my current love for New York. Only my parents and the nosy cab driver could forgive me for sounding so pretentious. I wish I would have seen the above New Yorker cartoon first. It describes my feelings for the city quickly and with the perfect amount of snob.


Fake Grass on Pier 25 in Tribeca

Whenever I see fake grass, I feel like I'm living in the real life version of The Lorax movie. In NYC we manufacture our grass in factories! It's the only way to keep the dog shiz off it! Run around in bare feet without fear! If only Oscar wasn't such a purest. Really bums him out. Jackson and Walker and Ella don't seem to mind.
 Our favorite synthetic field can be found on Pier 25 in Tribeca.
Also noteworthy: It has views of the Statue of Liberty. Very tiny though. 
More pictures after the jump. 
Have a good weekend!


2 Albums Defining My Summer

I have two new-to-me albums that make cleaning the dishes or running six miles or a rained out garden party not so bad. Both albums are very different, can be listened from start to finish, and make me feel cooler than I am. Especially the one with explicit lyrics. It even has a warning label no less. My first!

I'm sure these bands are thrilled to be reaching my demographic: a 30 year-old stay-at-home-mom.  That's when they know they've made it. Success must feel good. Check em out:

Theoplilus London: Timez Are Weird These Days [Explicit]: I first heard him when he opened for Kaskade. Without ever hearing London's music before, I instantly got it. I danced and sang as if I was a lifetime fan. I just might be. This album got my marathon training off to a good start.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros: Here. Rob and Ella were practicing the song Man On Fire one night and the next day I couldn't get it out of my head. Ella showed me their David Letterman performance and I was hooked. A little hippy dippy and totally stereotypical LA, but fun. I hope they don't take themselves too seriously. From the looks of it, they just are out for a good time. I would love to see them live.

Oh, I keep forgetting that everyone probably already knows Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros from their song Home. For some reason, that song didn't make me want to buy their album or learn more about them. It was a good song and all, but too popular too quickly. I was tired of it before it had a chance.  But now I like it.

Here's Man on Fire. Hope you like.

New girl crush alert in the green pants. Her voice. I suddenly have a greater understanding for Ursala's character in The Little Mermaid. What I want from you is your voice. My voice? You got it, sweetcakes.

That's all I have. Two albums. I need more. Suggestions please!


Olympic Fever: Dress Up

Oscar has been walking around the house with these left over medals from Ella's Birthday party. I told him he looked like Michael Phelps. He responded, "You mean Michael Jackson?" No, Michael Phelps. To clear things up, I showed him a few swimming videos on Youtube. Which led me into the Youtube worm hole and I watched gymnastics clips for the next 30 minutes. It was a wonderful huge waste of time.

A great Halloween costume if you live on the equator! 
Buy the medals on Amazon. Bathing suit from H&M last year. 


Miniature Golfing on the Hudson: Pier 25

Ella went mini golfing in Tribeca with a few friends for her birthday. A dream of hers. When it was all over, Owen told me he wanted to go hocking again. It took me a minute to realize he was combining the words "hockey" and "golfing". A perfect way to describe their sport.
Ever been hocking?

More hocking photos after the jump.


Roof Top Dilemma

Cloud City on the roof of the Met
Half of the apartments in my building get unobstructed views of the Hudson River and the sunset. The other apartments get views of an alley and pay a trillion dollars less. Or more depending on the size. The disparity is insane. We, of course, live on the alley side.

I'm always trying to sneak a peek as the people on the other side come out of their front door.  The back lighting is amazing on the top of their heads as the door shuts behind them. Angelic. Like him:
The roof is the great leveler. There we all get to enjoy the same amazing view, the same sky, the same fresh air. The only problem? It's only opened for a few hours on 4th of July. The rest of the year there's an alarm and two huge security cameras on the door leading to the roof. It's so annoying. Especially for rule followers like myself.

Do you have roof access? It should be a given in NYC. There's so much usable space up there. It's green! Some of my favorite rooftops: Harlem, the Met (pictured here), Lincoln Center.

Just found: This amazing book about New York's hidden skyline! (thanks Abbey)
And finally, the view from my roof:


Rapid Tooth Loss

Ella let the tooth fairy take her tooth. Who knows where it is now? I don't.
Do your kids like to keep their teeth? 
Call me unsentimental, but I think it's so gross to save teeth in a box. ha
(Below) The last picture with her top teeth for a long long time. :)


Inwood Hill Park: A Walk in the Woods

We went to the top of Manhattan to check out Inwood Hill Park. I loved the wild trees mixed with endless paved paths, trash cans, open fields with freshly mowed grass, and an abundance of park rangers teaching archery no less. It all came together to be a magical outdoor exsperience.  

Whenever I do stuff like this I think about people who truly love the great outdoors. As a gauge, I think of this guy:
this photo cracks me up. 
Our friend Jared. My kids aptly nicknamed him "The Fun Guy". Every once in a while, his wife Liz mentions his crazy adventures in her blog. This post (pictured above) about their trip to a remote part of the Grand Canyon is a mild example.   I assume parks like Inwood Hill must drive him bonkers. Actually, not so much the parks, but people like me who come here and gush about feeling at peace with nature while walking in the trees and wildlife. I'll have to ask him.  

While I still prefer the over populated and landscaped Central Park to Inwood Hill, I found it to be a fun escape. I might even go back someday to camp under the stars and the 75,000 cars crossing the Henry Hudson Bridge. I'll sleep like a baby.
Oscar lagged behind until we put him in charge and called him the Park Stranger.
Nothing like a power trip to perk a kid up!  
Flip Flops: The best hiking shoes. 
 Photo Dump after the Jump.


Camp Mom: Are You With Me?

I'm trying to give my kids (and myself!) the summer of a lifetime, but my camp counselor skills are already starting to fade. Usually by 1pm, I need a nap. But I'm not the only one in this family!

Take our trip to The Met. I tried to over compensate my attitude by buying audio tours for all the kids. Ella and her cousins loved them. My boys were too tired to figure out how to use these simple devises, which led to griping and crying. I had no tolerance for whining by that point of the day. Luckily Aunt Emily was with us. She listened to me whine and, then, somehow she distracted my boys with a book scavenger hunt in the Egyptian room.

Sometimes I like going on outings with just me and my kids.  That way, I don't worry about my friends seeing us at our worst, I'm free to check my email at anytime without guilt, I can be late, my kids have all my attention, etc. Other times, however, I'm so thankful to have a friend around.  Our trip to the Met was one of those days I needed Emily. Desperately. 

Do you prefer to go on outings with your kids alone?  Or do you have a friend that's always up for an adventure? Those kind of friends are hard to find but so invaluable. I consider myself extremely lucky to have two up-for-anything-friends in the city!


NYC Testing Testing

On the 4th of July, Rob wanted luck to determine the events of the day. 

He had Ella write all the subway lines on small pieces of paper. She placed them in a cup. She then wrote numbers 3-12 on pieces of paper and placed them in another cup. Each kid got a turn picking a subway line and a number. Whatever they picked would determine what train we would take and for how many stops. 

Oscar was first.  He drew the D line for 5 stops.  Ella drew A train for 10 stops. Owen chose the 3 train for 11 stops. 

I was nervous about the logistics of this game and hoped we wouldn't end up in boring/frightening locations. Half way through the day, I realized his idea was brilliant. Oscar had already dropped us off in Washington Square Park, Ella brought us all the way up to the Cloisters, and I figured it out that Owen's train would take us down to Brooklyn Bridge Park. It's the coolest playground in the world. And I've been to every playground in the world. 

It was turning out to be a wonderful surprising day!
We played in the fountain in Washington Square Park until two old homeless dudes crashed the party in their underwear. (I can't say I wasn't warned from one of my readers in this post!
Taking a break in Washington Square Park before we moved onto our next stop.

The kids kept track of each stop. 
Ella's pick led us on a walk around the Cloisters. The path was oozing with butterflies and flowers. 
One of the happier moments of the day. They were making fun of the Met's security guards.  

Last stop: Swing Valley in Brooklyn!!! Good pick Owen. Must go here again. 

Rob's experiment proved the NYC public transportation drops us off in the middle of glorious places. God bless the USA and public transportation! Fun fact: I don't have a current driver's license. It's been expired for 2 years. My goal is to avoid driving for as long as I can. 

6 more pictures of our adventure the jump. 
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