Saturday, December 17, 2011


So it's Christmastime!! That's pretty wonderful. Michael, Alice and I have been enjoying the season. We put up our beautiful Christmas tree last week, and hosted an open house for Michael's students. We put on "holiday" carols, baked oodles of sweet goodies, and made some delicious Parsnip-Potato-Leek soup.

We both had a string of holiday parties last week. Alice loved hugging all the babies.

We've been trying to keep warm. Alice is wearing adorable leg warmers now:

And one other major highlight - a couple of weeks ago, Michael and I went to a work function, where we got to see the mayor! And then we went OUT to a bar. FOR DRINKS. Like grown-ups do. It was a real highlight.

So that's just a basic outline of the past few weeks. There's more to share, but I'll save it for another post.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Dear Alice,

Happy holidays, my sweet!! We just celebrated an amazing Thanksgiving, full of great food and family. Your PapPap, GG, Grandma, Grandpa and LeeLee came all the way up to New York to mark the holiday with you. They showered you with love and attention, spending every last minute making sure your every need was met.

At dinner, we went around the table sharing what we were thankful for this year. Everyone agreed - you are the greatest blessing. Your PapPap and GG both mentioned being grateful for having spent time with you, getting to know you and witnessing your personality develop. Your daddy and I cherish every minute we have to share you with this lovely family.

I love you insanely, my sweet baby girl. Happy holidays!

Lunch: Parsnip Soup

Roasted Turkey with Citrus Rosemary Salt
Harvest Bread Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
Green Beans & Carrots in Charmoula Sauce
Roasted Asparagus

Pumpkin Pie
Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie

Too Much!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I've been in a mood lately. I'm the first to admit it. A whole lot of factors contribute to this thrilling version of me, but mostly I have been feeling a little stuck. I've been trying to make some changes in my life lately without much success, and it has just been getting me down.

I have a vivid memory of the first time I heard Tom Frieden, our former Health Commissioner and the current head of the CDC (a God among Public Health folks), speak. The very first thing he said was, "Do you know what the only proven cure for depression is? Physical activity!" So, with that ringing in my head, I've been trying to get to the gym this week. I'm committing to 2 times a week from now until the end of December, or I have to quit the gym. Will it work? I sure hope so. And so does my husband!

And my sweet husband brought me flowers tonight!!! YAY!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Alice & I have taken to sitting on our building's front stoop. Neither of us get enough time outside, and developments over the past several months have limited that time even more. My office's move from a lovely, lively downtown to a rather ugly neighborhood in Queens in April keeps me indoors much of the work week. In order to get home in time for family dinner - which been pretty committed to since Alice started eating real meals - we ride the train home rather than walking from daycare. We just can't seem to spend enough time outdoors.

So, we sit on our stoop. Thankfully, a lot goes on right outside our building. Alice loves watching the trains come and go. We have a lot of dog lovers in our neighborhood, so we almost always see a friendly pup. There are plenty of kids in the neighborhood for Alice to wave to. A few of our neighbors just love Alice, and occasionally we will all sit together outside, chatting about this and that. And we get some beautiful sunshine just outside our building. I've been surprised by how pleasant the experience can be.

This is just another way that Alice is growing up as a City baby. I find the differences in our upbringing so shocking sometimes. Alice knows how to wait for an elevator, how to hail a cab (the CUTEST thing ever), how to steal some sunshine and fresh air from just outside a building. Amazing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Happy Night

Dear Alice,

Tonight was a lovely night. I picked you up from John & Anna's, and you were happy to see me, though a little sad that it meant you were leaving Naomi & Penelope for the evening. On our walk home, we stopped to pick up a bread role from the bakery just down the road. You impressed everyone, walking into the bakery, holding the bag with your evening treat, saying "Thank you" before we walked out the door.

At home you played patiently while I cooked dinner - pork chops, roasted broccoli, mac & cheese and salad. You, Daddy and I enjoyed a relaxing dinner, and you even made it through the WHOLE meal in your own seat! After dinner, we did the hokey pokey and ring-around-the-rosie. You pretended to sleep, and then jumped up to surprise your daddy and me.

You are too cute for words these days. You learn 10 new words a day, it seems, and love mimicking your Daddy and me. You want to be a part of everything, from cooking dinner to doing the laundry and carrying groceries. You love to read, and dance, and sing, and eat.

I love you more than anything ever!


Chatty Cathy


Monday, October 24, 2011


So, I haven't created these at all, but look at this awesome ad campaign our office launched today!

And you can see the ads here.

All Quiet

Sorry it's been all quiet on the blogging front lately. October has flown by!

Michael has been working particularly long hours lately, as naturally occurs when you work in an academic institution. Between his late nights and mine, we've had few nights together as a family this month. Thankfully we've had some lovely visitors, including my mom and Michael's parents, and savored our weekends together.

I've been feeling particularly flabby and gross lately. Too much time running around, too little time to take care of myself. I miss the gym, but not enough to find a way to make it happen. My poor husband is sick of hearing about how I miss it. Perhaps I need to set some real goals for myself - 2 visits per week for the next month or so. Something with a punishment. Or a reward.

Alice is super cute these days. She mimics everything we do, and insists on helping me with groceries. Here's a little something from last weekend - too cute!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Just because she's so cute!

I woke up at 5:30 this morning, jumping out of bed to get a shower before our hot water turned off at 6 (oh, apartment living...). I was shocked to see just how dark it is at 5:30 am.

This summer, I wrote about my internal debate with waking early enough to get some quiet time in the morning versus sleeping in to get some rest. When it was light out, I chose to wake up, practice some yoga, enjoy some quiet time before my day ran away from me. But more recently, as the morning light drifted later and later, I stayed in bed longer. I've noticed that I can actually stay awake at night with my husband. I'm definitely more rested when I wake up, and think I'm a little less moody than I was before. But I've also been consistently late for work, pushing my dinner prep time to after Michael & Alice leave the apartment in the morning. I've felt more frantic from 6:45 AM until 9:30 AM. And I definitely haven't done any yoga in weeks.

I guess this is just another balancing act, like so many others. For now, I'm enjoying some extra sleep and think it is worth the sacrifice. But I'm also already excited for lighter mornings and early rises...

(PS Is this the most boring post ever?!?)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

As if on cue...


This morning, Alice woke up early. After a few sweet minutes of play, she went bananas. Broke my glasses. Cried for an hour. Brought me to tears.

Please let today improve. Please let tonight be better. Please.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Today was a hard day. Leaving work I was giddy to see Alice. Michael had to work late, so I knew I would get some quiet time with her. But from the second I walked in the door to the last cries before she fell asleep, the baby was just a total nut with me. She had utterly adorable moments (for example, she helped me load the washing machine with clothes tonight, gently picking up items from the pile I put at her feet and shoving them overhead into the machine). But she also broke down into fits of tears at least four times in the two hours we spent together.

Days like this are really hard, because I am just aghast that we spend oodles of money to have a woman spend the best parts of the day with Alice, while M & I get stuck with the grunt work. It feels like hiring an intern to take all of the work that requires your brain, relegating you to data entry and filing. I know that it is all for the best, for both Alice and for me, but days like today make me wonder why we run this crazy race.

So, to make me happy, I watched this:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What a Day

So much to say, but here's a funny thing that happened today - I met a bunch of guys who were on "The Biggest Loser"! They joined us for the Largest Zumba Party in NYC History, celebrating the launch of the mobile enhanced version of Pretty random. Pretty cool.

Biggest Losers Mark Pinhasovich, Frado Dinten, Danny Cahill & Patrick House

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Autumn Snack

Apples, cheddar cheese and Fine Cooking magazine. Lovely!

Fall & Other Musings

It's 8:40 AM on a Sunday morning. My sweet, angelic daughter is still asleep. So is my sweet, angelic husband. The house is quiet, and I'm enjoying the cooler, fall air, the warmth of my morning tea and cuddling up with my brother's birthday present. It's perfect.

Fall is officially here, given our morning started with a cool 56 degrees. It's a gorgeous morning - sun shinning, sea gulls crying, the hum of traffic as quiet as it gets in NYC. I'm looking forward to a day with my family. Hopefully it will include a trip to the farmers market (which we never get to anymore), a long walk in Riverside Park, lunch out and about.

This time of year is hopelessly romantic for me. I've written about it in the past, and yet the feeling of anticipation and anxiety and possibility always takes me by surprise. We shake off the summer doldrums and reconnect with what's happening in the world, feeling like something meaningful might change. I never quite feel like I take full advantage of the fall, but hope I do better with each passing year.

And now, back to my book, the quiet, and my morning tea...

(Oh, and PS, did I mention we found a new nanny yesterday? She starts tomorrow...)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Today was not the best day, either. The main event: our nanny quit. With 2 days notice. She has asthma and J & A's cat has been making her pretty sick. So it wasn't a huge surprise. But it is disappointing, and stressful.

But there was this:

And then this:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Today was a bad day. It started with nightmares about losing Alice on the A train. It continued with my mom spending the day in the basement of the American Embassy in Kabul, trying to stay safe during the attacks.

I did not handle this news with grace or dignity. In fact, I cried. Gross, ugly, mildly embarrassing cries. To date, I think I've been able to ignore the realities of where my mom is working, pretending that she is safe and sound, acting as the Peace Corps Director in some new and unexplored part of the world. Instead she's in the middle of a war zone.

My mom is safe tonight, and I am so grateful. There are so many other people in this country facing the same reality - loved ones far away, sometimes safe, sometimes in harms way. I can never know enough to keep her safe and protected. I can't love her enough to keep her alive. And I think today's brush - however brief - with mortality was more than I wanted from the day.

The truth is that we all face dangers every day, right? Today I drove on highways and flew in a plane and took a taxi and lived in New York. There are risks with each of those decisions. But somehow the distance, or the uncertainty, or the boldness of living in Afghanistan... It makes me scared. Proud. And scared.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Today was one of those days when I questioned my loyalty to New York. In chronological order:
  1. This morning I attempted guided meditation using my new favorite obsession, I haven't been getting to the gym regularly, so I've started doing yoga at home using classes streamed on this site. I've been meaning to try meditation, so this morning I settled into our play room - the sunniest, most pleasant space in our apartment - and pushed play. Unfortunately I couldn't hear the pearls of wisdom streaming from my computer because the trucks and train noises just outside our apartment were too loud. I turned off the computer in disgust.

  2. Michael and I have been battling a mouse problem. For about a month. Our super finally came in to identify where the mice are entering, and we have a hole behind the dishwasher. Oh, and there are several gaps between our floor and the baseboards on our walls. Oh, and by the way, there are mouse droppings in my kitchen. Yuck. [Of course, at least I have a super. If I were a homeowner in Virginia, for example, who would check this out for free?!]

  3. I took Penelope, Naomi & Alice to the playground today. While there, a little boy about Alice's age wanted to play with them. This boy looked hungry, and sick, and in desperate need of a bath and some grown up attention. I gave him some of our snack and the girls would occasionally invite him to join. It made me sad. This isn't an experience directly related to New York, but somehow it felt like this City contributed to this boy's situation.

  4. It's just been a noisy, noisy night. Loud music from some neighbor's car. Trains and trucks and taxis galore. No crickets. No birds. No cicadas. Just transportation.
Obviously I still love New York. I just need to go out and enjoy the parts that make it worthwhile before I drive my husband bananas.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Dear Alice,

This weekend, you, your daddy and I went to Rehoboth Beach. It was your first trip to this heavenly destination, and I'm happy to report that you loved it! We spent the weekend eating Grottos Pizza, playing in the sand, watching the waves crash, and enjoying some quality time with your Grandma & Grandpa, who also came up to visit. And, my sweet love, we took you to Funland.

You loved your first trip to the beach, and we loved sharing this special place with you. Your daddy and I both grew up with family vacations, and it's a thrill to start this new tradition.

Your vocabulary is growing by the second. You can now say car, ball, please, blueberries (kind of), milk and a smattering of others. Your favorite books are "Llama Llama, Red Pajama," "Goodnight Moon," "My Big Golden Counting Book," and "Goodnight Gorilla." You love to help open and close doors, and are very happy to walk to the elevator all by yourself. You enjoy dancing.

When we say goodnight now, we give kisses between the slots of the crib. And then I say a silent prayer and hope you find this joy in your life.

I love you more than anything ever!


Too Cute