There is one tradition that we have that I completely forgot to tell you about, but sometimes traditions are like that. You don’t realize that you do something year after year until a few years pass and you finally make a note of it. I remember the first year we went to Ippudo after our first holiday season 4 years ago. We dropped off our last delivery in the East Village and headed over to what would become an annual celebratory dinner – our company Christmas party, ha! (and actually, did I tell you that Mia and Claudine did in fact help assemble over a hundred flat packed gift boxes this year? They took the job super seriously). Ippudo is one of those places where people start lining up at least a half hour before it opens and we don’t go there often if at all the rest of the year, so it always feels special.
Back home to hot chocolate and nibbles off this insane chocolate house my mom brought over a few weeks ago. Watching the Nutcracker on TV. Mark’s first night doing nothing on the couch in well over a month. A perfect start to Christmas vacation.
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I have to set aside these leisure days in the city every so often. It’s important. Walking around by myself aimlessly in Manhattan or sometimes with a friend – in this case, my sister-in-law. It’s easy to get caught up in your own head, your own community, your own world, when you work from home. Usually, my daily excursions include the 3 block walk to the kids’ school, nothing more. But nothing beats getting out into the world every so often to look, to taste, to smell. It makes you realize that you are just 1 small piece of the puzzle. It helps remind you why you live here, to appreciate the city which we sometimes forget to do. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a glorious 65 degrees on a late November/ early December morning.
Btw, I’m sort of obsessed with beans on toast after having had it here at Pastis in the Meat Packing District last Monday. I had it again when I took the girls out to dinner at a local English restaurant in our neighborhood, but I am craving this version again, with fried eggs and a savory roasted tomato. Yum!
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Sometimes you just have to give into your cravings. There is just no other way.
Did you have a good weekend? Ours started off well: a long overdue visit with some old friends of ours and the last outdoor Brooklyn Flea Market of the season before it retreats indoors for the winter. Today has been a confusing day though and I’m not sure what the week will bring. It’s Thanksgiving week. A big change of last minute plans. We won’t be together this holiday…still…need to think about the things we are thankful for.
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It wasn’t the Rapture, but Saturday was the one hot sunny day all week. Sunday was misty and cool and now it’s Monday morning and we’re back to rain, so who knows. Maybe there was something special about that day. Thanks to those of you who came by and said hello at the Smorg Flea. It was pretty fun (and super crowded). Hope you didn’t catch me, you know, yelling at the kids or stuffing my face with food or anything. Although I have to say, with those long lines I feel like I spent most of my time at the Flea waiting on 5 different lines to get 5 different things for each member of the family. The girls were good sports though and they occupied themselves by “helping” Mark at the table and by digging and shoveling the gravel that is ground cover into little piles.
It was a trip being at that spot though. That waterfront used to be my favorite place in the city years ago before it was developed. There used to be nothing there – no tall shiny buildings, no grass, no park, no promenade – just some logs and gravel and the best view of the city skyline this side of the East River. I hadn’t been to that spot in well over 10 years. It was cool though, and I must say, the perfect 2nd location for the Brooklyn Flea.
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We had a good weekend, did you? The forecast beat all odds and we got the crummy wet weather out of the way Friday which made way to a gorgeously sunny weekend. Mark was back at the outdoor Flea this Saturday and it was packed since it marked the first day of the outdoor season. Sold out of most things and everyone, vendors and flea-goers alike, was so happy to be back outdoors. Nothing beats being back at the original Brooklyn Flea site. It sort of feels like the first day of school where you see all your old pals again. We will, however, be at the new Williamsburg location next Sunday to check it out.
With the Flea over on Saturday afternoon, Mark had a true day off yesterday. The girls were excited to have “Daddy Day” which started off with breakfast, the farmer’s market, then a trip to the Prospect Park Zoo and Carousel. They must have clocked a couple of miles of walking at least. I left the family after breakfast was over and headed to brunch (2 breakfasts!) to meet my friend Amy. We hardly ever go to brunch – previous tight budgeting didn’t allow – but I think we need to start up again. It really is a lovely way to start off a Sunday, isn’t it?
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I don’t think I ever feel more like a parent than I do when I’m sitting with my kids’ teachers and having parent-teacher conferences (I also sort of freaked out a little when I realized that there is less than 4 months left in the school year. The time! Where does it go!). To celebrate Mia’s stellar report card (she is reading 2 grade levels ahead) I took her out to lunch after I picked her up from a half day at school. We weren’t the only ones with that idea. Seemed like every place in the neighborhood was packed, bewildering the sushi restaurant waiter and the table sitting next to us. They were visiting friends in the neighborhood and had wondered if everyday was like this, if parents in our Brooklyn neighborhood took their kids out for sushi lunch all the time (ha!)
I can’t remember the last time I had one-on-one time with Mia, just like this, sitting down at a restaurant eating a leisurely lunch. It was nice. But it sort of highlighted a bunch of “issues” she’s having with Claudine lately – so much so that I discovered she had written quite a few essays and mini-books at school about her relationship with her little sister. The word “annoying” came up more than a few times. It’s kind of amazing what’s revealed when it’s written down, even by a 7 year old. I sense that she gets really frustrated when Claudine wants to join in at every toy or game that she plays, copies her drawings *exactly* when they are sitting opposite each other at their art table, and in her words, gets more attention from us. “Claudine! Claudine! It’s always about Claudine!” (Um, is it bad that I always think of “Marsha Marsha Marsha!” when she says that?).
It’s interesting to see their relationship evolve. Right now, there is a lot of fighting. Their bickering will often be the thing that wakes me up in the morning, but it’s not all bad. I know that Mia deeply cares for her little sister, plus she told me that she’s glad Claudine didn’t end up being a boy because they can play together with all the same girly toys. It does makes me wonder how different Claudine would be if she were the first born. She copies and emulates Mia so much. I always wanted a sister growing up. Which reminds me of this little snippet of a book about siblings that I read at my parent-teacher conference today:
(a short essay with illustrations on how your sibling was born, by Mia)
First, you ask your mommy for a sibling.
Then you wait and wait and wait and wait.
Finally, Mommy goes to the hospital.
Your sibling is born and you have someone to play with.
When your sister gets older, she gets annoying.
It reminds you that you don’t want any more siblings.
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