July

It’s been too busy to write, and I have a feeling the rest of the month will be more of the same. Don’t you hate blog non-updates like that? I’ll be back eventually, but in the mean time have 2 months (to the day!) to my defense, am teaching an intensive summer course, have some awesome friends visiting, and am spending every spare minute I can possibly grab to cherish my dear family and friends. The best is that I get to chase this wonderful little boy ?? from the sand to the ocean to the river to the aquarium to the carousel to the dirt in the flower beds.

“I swim in the ocean.”

“I make a firework.”

Seals at the New England Aquarium

Carousel in Boston

Heritage Crafts Day at Van Cortlandt Manor

The rain couldn’t keep us from having a picnic by the river and then checking out the Heritage Crafts day at Van Cortlandt Manor. The event showcased crafts like dying wool, making butter, working with tin, blacksmithing, and open air cooking. It seems all we do each weekend is visit some sort of historic farm or museum! When you’ve got a toddler who gets excited about a haystack, and you’ve got a membership to Historic Hudson Valley, it’s really a no-brainer.

Walking down the hill to the picnic grounds.

Throwing stones into the river.

The blacksmith demonstration.

Was the sausage in the foreground there as decor or was it their lunch?

Playing the triangle.

Abercrombie & Fitch pose.

Jax interrupted his run to the hay to point out the “airplane sky” he probably thought didn’t fit in with the 17th-century surroundings.

New favorite game: jumping or falling down objects or stairs to be caught. He’s very trusting!

April Florida Trip

When we heard Seth’s parents and sister were headed to Florida for a week, we decided to join them for part of their vacation. There is so much to do there which makes a great place to meet up. Highlights of our trip were a waterslide park, trips to the beach, and a full day spent in Key West (my first time there), where we visited Hemingway’s house and of course indulged in some Key Lime pie. We loved the laid-back atmosphere of Key West and would love to return for a longer stay. But we were also satisfied with taking it easy in the sand and walking along the boardwalk in Hollywood Beach.

Thanks for all the fun, Ron, Carol, and Renée!

Ice Cream Sandwich

Can you spot the baby frog? There were teeny, tiny frogs *everywhere* on the beach at the lake near Seth’s parents’ place… and tadpoles in the water!

Fun with Aunt Née

Snack Break

Ernest Hemingway’s House

Southernmost Point of the continental U.S.

Train Excitement

The trip back from Key West

May Festivities

May has always been special to me, since my birthday is the 13th. But now with Mother’s Day as well, I have another great excuse to celebrate spring! What have we been up to?

Playing soccer in the backyard:

One Saturday, while the boys did this:

I did this:

These table linens were embroidered by my great-grandmother. My aunt Diane gave them to me on our last trip out to California. That table cloth in the back was Seth’s grandmother’s. I was able to get them looking crisp and new by pre-treating decades-old stains with OxyClean and then drenching them in sunshine after washing. These are so special to me, and I’m glad they add a touch of history and elegance to our meals today!

A tag sale benefiting the local historical society was held almost literally in our backyard, at our neighbor’s. Knowing the neighbors and having seen their awesome 1920s house, I knew the stuff would be good. As predicted, I came away with many treasures, including this 22-carat-gold-plated china set made by Limoges USA (I know, American Limoges?!), from the 1920s:

I’m almost embarrassed to say how much I paid:  it would have cost more to see a movie in New York City.

I also picked up the most cheerful vintage recipe box:

and a pretty bowl, which I assume to be crystal because it weighs four tons:

Ah. I live for tag sale season.

Jax grew me a Mother’s Day gift at preschool:

He loves watering it and sometimes dumping out the excess water when it gets a little full.

Jax helped Seth mow the lawn on the morning of Mother’s Day:

For lunch that day we treated ourselves to delicious Mexican food. The table-side guacamole preparation was captivating:

While not a huge fan of the taste of guacamole, Jax did enjoy the cheese quesadillas and refried beans:

A big, quesadilla-filled smile!

For dinner that evening, we used one of my great-grandmother’s white tablecloths:

Seth gave me the beautiful rose plant I’ll be enjoying for months. It has since sprouted even more blooms.

Jax helped me open my Mother’s Day gift, a necklace with a charm that says “jax”:

Last weekend we used my birthday as an excuse to get together a bunch of local families with Jax-aged kids we’ve come to know. We had a picnic that lasted something like five hours, with friends coming and going all afternoon. It was great!

I have been so spoiled for my birthday and received many wonderful gifts that I so much appreciate. I now have Martha Stewart’s Craft encyclopedia and some great movies I’ve been meaning to watch and now can. There are also new treats from France and some fun new accessories I’ll be enjoying well beyond my birthday. So sweet!

My present to myself was finishing the last chapter of my dissertation.  Now on to a summer of editing and rewriting, interspersed with many more picnics and some short trips to see friends and family. Happy times!

Proud

A couple of weeks ago Seth started a new endeavor to blog about Google for Fortune Magazine’s online tech section. Although he is still working around the clock on his original brainchild, 9to5mac.com, ironically he’s now spending most of the 9-5 time slot in midtown Manhattan covering Apple’s formidable competitor. {Thankfully, he is a much more prolific blogger than yours truly.}

To launch the new blog, Fortune is featuring him on the Fortune.com page of the current print issue of the magazine.

What’s that you say? You’d like a closer look? In case you live in a city where one of my family members has bought every last copy of the magazine, here’s a close-up of the Q&A, so that you, too, can enjoy Seth’s comments on Google, Apple, and blogging.

Things I learned from my mom

Happy mother’s day to you, Mom! I didn’t get your gift to you on time (and I know you don’t even expect anything, which is why you deserve it even more) but I *can* give you this list of lessons I’ve been remembering as I continue my adventure of motherhood as well. I love you!

~Rachel

Things I learned from my mom:

1. Singing “Oh what a beautiful morning” when you wake up really does make any morning beautiful.

2. You also have really fun hairdos first thing in the morning.

3. People who stutter need to be patiently listened to, not spoken for.

4. Don’t bring chips, sugary cereals, or store-bought sweets into the house on a day-to-day basis, but never host a party without home-made chocolate chip cookies or carrot cake.

5. Let kids slather onto vegetables as much butter or ketchup as they please, and they’ll develop a liking for the vegetables themselves.

6. When conflicts arise, deal with them immediately and head-on, hug to make up, and never, ever hold a grudge.

7. The smaller the child, the larger art space they need.

8.Give kids only primary colors to work with and they’ll have fun discovering for themselves how to mix all the colors of the rainbow.

9. Everyone should know how to sew on a button (bonus if you know how to make a wedding dress.)

10. As ye sew, so shall ye rip.

11. Class has nothing to do with money or stuff.

12. To give means to take pleasure in knowing the receiver will do as they please with the gift, no matter what that may be.

13. To receive is to remember that first and foremost, it is the thought that counts. Be grateful for the people who care about you.

14. Candlestick salad is a fun treat: take a round of pineapple, stick a half banana in the middle, and put a dollop of peanut butter on the top.

15. You are precious.

16. Laugh lines are infinitely better than the alternative of taking yourself ?? and life ?? too seriously.

17. Some situations require the presence of a whoopie cushion.

18. Being a part of your children’s activities is one of the most important things you can do.

19. Choose water or unsweetened iced tea with lemon.

20. Tackle home repairs yourself first. You’d be surprised at how easy some projects (like painting or resurfacing a driveway) can be.

21. Don’t act like a prima donna (but know that you are immensely important to this world).

22. Who are you saving the good china for? You and your family are worth it: bring out the porcelain for everyday use.

23. Go outside.

24. Stand up for what and who you believe in.

25. Say “I love you.”

Welcome to the World, Leif!

I’m an aunt! Leif Charles was born April 5 at 4:36pm.

8 pounds 5 ounces (3.78 kilos), 20.5 inches (52 cm)

Look at his hair – so blond! I love his little ‘do.

How about a little flashback to what Leif’s sweet parents looked like as babies?

Baby Jeff

Baby Monica just days old, which looks like Leif in this picture:

Leif Charles is named after my dad, Charles. The musician of the family, my dad is teaching Monica all about the recorder.

We are all so excited to meet Leif at the end of the month, when we’ll travel to Minnesota to visit.

Easter Brunch

Hope you are having a wonderful spring weekend! We hosted an Easter brunch this morning with friends. On the menu:

~ Broccoli quiche
~ Asparagus in a delicious vinaigrette (brought by friends Amanda + Jon)
~ Fig + goat cheese crostini (also brought by A + J)
~ Salad
~ Coconut bird’s nest cookies
~ Sugar cookie eggs to decorate yourself

Bunny finger puppets greeted each diner.

We filled Jax’s eggs with fruity bunnies (by Annie’s) to distract him from the chocolates. Not that cereal that is basically fruit loops is that much better, no matter how organic the whole grains it’s made with! Jax got his hands on some candy anyway, and would not have any of the other real food – and he only picked at the special bunny-shaped macaroni and cheese! *But* it turns out, he is a huge fan of goat cheese. I’m constantly surprised by his taste in strong cheeses. He’s napping now so I hope some of that protein is sustaining him through his sugar high and inevitable crash.

Jax’s cookie egg creation. We didn’t dye eggs, but I thought this was a more age-appropriate egg decorating project anyway.

We walked to the playground after eating to burn off some of those chocolate-peanut-butter eggs Jax got his hands on (and chewed like crazy, foil and all – fun times fishing that out).

He now goes down the big slide all by himself!

Back home: time to water the plants

I’m proud of the flower box I put together yesterday (I found the box in the garbage last fall – you know how I can’t resist wooden trash!).

I put new geraniums into the hanging basket by the door. Geraniums survive the winter in Paris, but apparently do not in New York.

Even the yard is perky these days.

Happy Spring!

18 Months

Last Wednesday Jax was 18 months old! He is really becoming a little boy now, with more words than I can count and a little big personality that loves to joke around.

We wanted to celebrate the occasion at our favorite baby- and kid-friendly restaurant, Wobble Café, but alas, they are closed Wednesday evenings. After bouncing off their door, we thought we’d head up to an Indian restaurant we had been wanting to try. A couple wrong turns later and we remembered a diner we have also wanted to check out. We have been lovingly calling it the “Nuclear Diner” since it’s just down the road from Indian Point, a nuclear power plant we are in denial about living so close to. What a pleasant surprise inside, though: a really friendly staff, great prices (even as far as diners go), and best of all, a big toy train! running around the middle. Perfect.

The all-important coloring placemat

Noodles and Meatballs: I can eat by myself!

This is my favorite: Jax makes this silly face to get huge laughs from us.

A new favorite pastime at the table is playing with ice.

The train! Choo choo!