Sunday at the Botanical Gardens’ Orchid Show

We’ve been up to a lot of traveling and work, and looking forward to more free time this summer! I’ll eventually post updates about trips to California and Florida, as well as life in general, but for now, how about some photos from Jax’s first trip to the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx?

A chance to splash around in water is always the highlight.

Jax stared at this spout for the longest time ‚?? and stuck his hand under the water, too. He thought it was an impressive attraction.

A chandelier of orchids.

This orchid walk was inspired by the New Amsterdam Theater in Manhattan. You can see Jax getting a closer look on top of Seth’s shoulders.

The stars of the show.

A cool scene from the second level of the rain forest.

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Yesterday Jax and I went with friends Amanda and baby Grace to the annual Sheep to Shawl festival in Sleepy Hollow. It’s an event held at Philipsburg Manor, a 17th-century Dutch farm which now serves as a living museum, with a working mill, cows and sheep, and costumed tour guides who are actually really quite fun to speak with.

The first stop was the all-important sheering of the sheep demonstration. The 17th-century trimming scissors made us a little nervous, but this woolly sheep got his winter coat removed without any harm.

The last time we went to Philipsburg Manor the cows were all inside, so it was fun to see them grazing in the field.

The sheep herding demonstration was one of the most exciting for Jax.

“Dog. Doooooog.”

Next up was spinning: I learned in chatting with this guide that we’d only see knitting and weaving in the 17th century, as crochet hadn’t been invented yet: Crochet arrived in the States in the mid-19th-century and it had only been developed in late-18th-century France.

The dying of the wool was done in boiling water over this open flame.

On the left, onion skins are dying the wool a bright yellow. On the right is a deep red produced by tree bark.

We took a quick stop into the mill.

Weaving demonstration

The guests of honor! Jax was so excited to look into the barn and see these guys. He kept shouting “baaaa!”

Then one sheep stuck his head out and yelled “baaa!” back. I don’t know if Jax ever thought that would be coming.

A tour of the stable

The walk back

Sunday at Sunnyside {now with more photos}

Last Sunday we put our Historic Hudson Valley membership to use and spent the morning at Washington Irving‘s riverside retreat, Sunnyside. The author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irving is still quite the local celebrity, putting Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown on the map (there is now a neighboring town called Irvington as well). In his time, he was a world-famous best-selling author and was also supposedly the first author to live off of his writing alone. We (OK, Seth) can relate to that feeling of accomplishment!

After spending the first 52 years of his life crashing on other people’s couches (he was a traveler), Washington Irving built Sunnyside to mirror places he’d visited, with influences reminiscent of Amsterdam, Spain, and England. He had to add on to it, too, since he was living with an entourage of something like 7 unmarried nieces (he never married either, his fianc√© having died of yellow fever leaving Irving heartbroken).

I particularly loved the vines and hope to visit in the next month or so to see them all in bloom. Its’ a great place for a walk and a picnic, too. Next time we’ll make a day of it! I wish I had remembered to bring the battery for our camera so I could take more shots than just these, especially of the view of the Hudson and Irving’s pond…

It was a fun way to spend the morning and reminded me I’d like to read Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. We all are familiar with the stories, but I’ve never actually read them!

This weekend the fun continues: a friend, our babies, and I are heading over to the old Dutch Philipsburg Manor for a “Sheep to Shawl” festival, a day combining costumed tour guides, old breed sheep, and yarn. Can it get any better? More to come!

~Updated~¬† Photos from Seth’s camera:

A Day in Cold Spring

We spent yesterday in Cold Spring, our go-to destination when we want a taste of something different but don’t want to travel too far and have nothing more than a spare diaper or two on us. In other words, our plan when we haven’t planned.

Cold Spring is lovely for so many reasons. It’s a little town with a sloping hill of a main street ‚?? lined with casual restaurants, caf√©s, a few galleries, and several antique shops ‚?? that leads to the Hudson River.

There are plenty of shops of all kinds, and the general mood is pretty laid-back. One of our favorite places to eat or have a drink is called Silver Spoon. We didn’t make the stop there this time, but it’s been great for catching sports games, grabbing a quick bite (and not just the typical bar fare either), and pretend you’re a local (seems to be filled with regulars). It’s also kid-friendly. Whew.

This storefront is for rent and I hope whoever rents it will keep this cool painting on the facade. It depicts the Hudson River just north of Cold Spring, and that building on the little island is an old over-grown abandoned armory I’ve only seen pictures of.

Once you reach the bottom of the hill, an old passageway leads you under the train tracks and over to the water side. But first, we had to stop at one of our favorite low-key, kid-friendly outdoor restaurants.

The old Cold Spring train station is now a restaurant called the Depot. Every 15 minutes or so a train passes by on the tracks right next to the terrace. At first Jax was scared, but then he and Seth made looking for trains into a game.

This table and little walkway are actually part of the adjoining park. We took a stroll through this passage to take the underpass (that brick structure in the back left of the photo below).

Out on the other side is a pretty jetty with spectacular views of the mountains across the Hudson. It’s remarkable how high ‚?? and how close ‚?? they are at this spot.

More train-related fun: a long cargo train passed us along the other side of the river.

The ducks were a little too friendly and had Jax running for cover.

There’s also some more green space along the river.¬† This is a great field for flying kites or watching the sun set over the mountains.

Good bye for now!

The Return of Sunny Weather

Between daylight saving’s and temperatures reaching 70, suddenly in a week’s time we have found ourselves into spring. Every time we thaw out and have sunny weather well into dinner time I have a new outlook on everything: yesterday was an amazingly productive day for my work, and we fell in love once again with our little village on the Hudson. Taking a walk yesterday evening along the river felt like such a treat. To think, we’ll have months and months of these walks to come! This is why we moved 40 minutes north of our beloved Manhattan.

Half Moon Bay

The Martha Show: Halloween Special

On Friday my friend Curran and I were audience members of the Martha Stewart Show’s Halloween special. We were told to wear home-made animal masks or dress up as an animal in honor of the Where the Wild Things Are theme, and our masks were no competition for some of the creations we saw. There was some amazing stuff, especially a couple of full-body felt owl costumes. Among the highlights of the show were a black vodka cocktail, furry masks, and Jimmy Fallon having his hand put in a bowl of meal worms.

If you missed it, there should be clips in the next few days found here, and there are already photos on Martha’s blog.


I’m a pheasant and didn’t realize the birds had such a weird face until I googled an image of one. They really look like this, I swear!





The feathers coming out of my hair in the back were the bird’s “body.”


**Squint** Can you see me in the back row? I’m visible just to the right of the woman with the horns.

I’m in this photo, too, but far, far away!

I’m the fourth person to the left of the bunny ears.

What’s going on in my world

We had a fabulous weekend in Milwaukee for a dear friend’s baby shower. What a wonderful occasion to catch up! Jax and I successfully traveled alone, though upgrading to business class definitely made the experience go more smoothly than expected {thank you, Air Tran, for the affordable option!}. Here’s some other stuff going on:

~ Laura and Corey are in Bangkok! Follow their adventures here. We are desperate to figure out how to visit them at some point during their 6-month south-east Asian adventure. Can we swing it with a toddler?  This post about a dad traveling with his little girl in India is somewhat promising.

~ I am going to be an audience member on the Martha Stewart show next Friday and need to make a wild-animal mask of some sort. Shall I delve into papier maché? That is the big craft question of the week. I may just go the easy route and be a pheasant (most feathers you can buy in craft stores are pheasant ones). Monday is my deadline.

~ Yesterday was picture day at preschool and Jax was apparently all smiles. Can’t wait to see his first school pictures!

~ Oh yeah, did I mention I am working on my third dissertation chapter? Woot! When the choice is writing about 19th-century studies of hysteria and blogging, I’ve had to choose the former, but it’s been interesting. I have been slowly collecting house pictures, however, to give you all a virtual tour in my next post.

In the mean time, some snapshots of what we’ve been up to:


We made pudding together.


We went to a wedding in Brooklyn via train and subway.









We tried on a Halloween costume.




We played in the backyard leaves.




And yesterday, had quite an artistic experience with paint!


Sunday Afternoon Apple Picking

Autumn is in full swing here, but some beautiful summer-like weather on Sunday meant we could partake in fall’s activities under a warm sun. We decided it’d be a day to take advantage of one of the benefits of living in Westchester County: its proximity to some family farm fun.¬† This one-year-old thought it was a fabulous idea!


We started the day with a pumpkin craft: I cut a piece of finger painting paper into the shape of a pumpkin, taped it to Jax’s highchair, and then put two little blobs of paint onto it. Remembering what my mom learned in a young children’s art workshop, I stuck only to primary colors to have Jax discover the result of mixing all by himself. So with a red blob and a yellow blog and lots of messy play, he made orange! I then used a leaf-shaped paper puncher to punch out colorful paper leaves in yellow, red, and orange, and added those to the mix. The result:


After some delicious bagels at our neighbors’ (we have the nicest people living all around us!), we headed out to Stuart’s farm to see the real thing and pick our own apples.



Try as Seth did to show him how to do pick apples, Jax mostly just studied the technique rather than try it himself.





He knew all about tasting them, though.











When our bag was full, we headed over to the pumpkin field and let Jax crawl all around.







Then we finally found the perfect pumpkin to take home:


So Jax waved good-bye as he crawled away:


On our way out I took some shots of the random vestiges of farming’s past (Stuart’s Farm has been around since 1828):


as well as its present day:




That building to the right is the bakery, where we tasted a freshly-made doughnut. It was a totally new species of pastry to me.


On our way out I snapped some photos of the autumn colors in their many forms.


Coney Island

Here’s a little SAT prep for today: Paris is to France as Coney Island is to _________________.


the world! of course.

We had lunch and spent the afternoon in Coney Island today, stopping by the New York Aquarium for the first time. It was a great day, although we still miss the batting cages that have been razed in preparation for some sort of yet-to-be-revealed development. Other institutions like Nathan’s hot dogs and the “Shoot the Freak” game were still thriving, so all was not lost!




What? no dog?






Only in Coney Island do aquarium inscriptions include the word “jackass.”












There’s a photo of this snack bar currently being sold at CB2 in SoHo.


Not sure if we’ll make it back for the Mermaid parade, but we’re glad we trekked out before moving from the city.

May into June



Here are some things we’ve been up to as May has turned into June:


“Signing” thank-you cards to babysitters.


Asparagus Quiche

Washington Square Toddler Park

Hair do

Central Park



Wreaking havoc


Reading on a new yard-sale quilt.



Pulling up and pushing (no “walking” yet ‚?? the feet stay put)