Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Williamsburg, 2015

Let the sugar high commence...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Rocket Man

Axel, 2015

Here's a peek at our Halloween shenanigans.

This is Axel as "Super Rocket Man" at his school parade today (best viewed as you listen to Elton's John's classic.) He was very proud of his costume...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Williamsburg, 2015

You know you are getting impatient with pregnancy when you start googling this...

P.S. This is a picture of Axel learning to sew at school; they are making a class 'baby blanket' in honor of all the new siblings.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Williamsburg, 2015

Here's a good read for Monday morning...I laughed out loud at the cat analogy.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Most Likely To...

Most Likely to Succeed, 2015

In the midst of our daily battles over which child is sitting in the other's chair and 'I want the milk in the green sippy cup,' and 'You broke my muffin,' and 'Oscar took my toast' (when there is plenty of toast, and no one is eating it anyway because they would rather see what happens when they pour orange juice on top of it...) I have been thinking a lot about school options and touring a few with varying philosophies. Obviously the boys are going to be genius civil rights activists, rocket scientists, architects, or entrepreneurs right?

A while back, I read The Smartest Kids in the World. In that vein, I watched the trailer for Most Likely to Succeed and have been reading the book. I'm a nerd; I like to research things obsessively years before I really need to worry about them. 

The theory behind 'Most Likely To...' is very anti-testing, even the type of international testing that's lauded in The Smartest Kids in the World, but the books aren't entirely at odds. The book's authors (grads of Harvard and Stanford, and now ultra-successful in their chosen fields) believe that kids need to be creative and even a little anti-authoritarian to make it in today's economy, and that the current school system we have (whether it's public or private, state or Ivy League) fails exactly the kinds of kids who might just be most successful in the 21st century environment.

Instead of discrete classes in Chemistry or U.S. History, the authors say students should be doing a ton of project-based interdisciplinary work that more closely resembles the real world and stokes their individual passions. Anyway, it spoke to me quite a bit and reassured me about some of the choices we're making about schools, after school activities, and all the rest of it.

And some more food for thought: "The Montessori Mafia"...

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Wall

Oscar, 2015

At 32 weeks along (and change), it can be hard to anticipate how I'm going to feel on any given day.

Mainly it's okay, I'm running around, doing errands, work, picking up one of the kids from this or that activity, feeling moderately normal. I can even squeeze in some time at the gym or scale the subway stairs with reasonable energy.

And then I hit the wall of exhaustion and feel the urge to lie down, immediately, on the nearest park bench or floor. That's how today went. A good doctor's appointment followed by "can I please sleep for 14 hours...??"

The Curious Child Brooklyn

Alison Racine, 2015

Just when you think Brooklynites had come up with every imaginable niche business out there, you stumble upon yet another great idea.

Alison Racine is a local nursery school teacher who runs a very creative after school program as well as a consultancy called The Curious Child. Her after school class, the Loose Parts Atelier, is based on the Reggio Emilia model of early childhood education while her consulting business helps parents strategize their way through behavioral rough patches. Think of her as the 3-year-old whisperer.

I had the pleasure of having tea with Alison last week and she and I have been discussing ways to prep the boys for the arrival of their little brother. She has a great energy and is clearly so present and engaged with the kids; I'd wholeheartedly recommend her services. It's definitely reassuring to speak with someone who sees preschoolers in action all the time.

She was kind enough to answer some of my questions. If you'd like to reach out to her yourself, her email address is:

Tell me a little bit about your background in early childhood education.
I have been a teacher in early childhood education for 5 years in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Previously I taught as a special education teacher in a kindergarten classroom for one year in Queens. My undergrad degree is in theatre and I find that I use this degree daily! Everyday is a performance to keep kiddos engaged. I also received my Masters in Childhood Education and Special Education from NYU.

What's the secret to wrangling 15 3 year olds? What tactics do nursery school teachers have at the ready that parents might not think of?
Consistency, expectations and love. If children have boundaries and have a high bar to reach, they will. If a low bar is set they will reach that as well. Children are so capable if given the right tools and expectations. Some families see expectations as limiting but instead they can be really freeing to a preschooler! Children are constantly trying to make sense of our world and when we help them find what are appropriate behaviors or actions through loving boundaries, children really thrive!

Do you think kids today are channeled into too many structured activities outside of school?
Yes and no. I think the best thing for parents to do when thinking about after school is to consider their individual child. If you know your child loves to be engaged in fine motor activities such as painting, drawing collage, etc. maybe an after school art class is the ticket. In contrast, if you know your little one has 1.21 gigawatts of energy after school, perhaps and activity that will support those gross motor needs such as a soccer class or swimming lessons are for your child. I also find daily value in unstructured time for kids as well. Children need to be able to have the space and time to create and entertain themselves. It’s important for children to make developmentally appropriate choices about what they want to do in their down time because you don’t want a child who later in life feels uneasy when the structured part of their day is over. It’s all about balance.

Click through to

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Little Little

Williamsburg, 2015

Some very clever person has built a site which has kids' activities in the neighborhood (plus other neighborhoods in Brooklyn) listed by day.

It's called Little Little. You can see which classes are free, which have a drop in fee, and which require signing up by the term. Genius.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Williamsburg, 2015

Love these funny guys. Also, looking back at this little pumpkin picking event in Williamsburg in 2014 and 2013...

Hmmmm, what else? Have been reading a lot of essays by Catherine Newman, the author of the book Waiting for Birdy and the forthcoming Catastrophic Happiness. This one resonated in particular.

And feeling like my body is more than a tad broken. Let's see...I've been pregnant, or nursing, for over 40 months of the last 4 years. That means I've had precisely 2 minutes of recovery time since these pictures were taken. I looked so....energetic back then!

I also watched this documentary, 'Twin Sisters', about identical twins separated at birth. One is raised in Norway and one in California. It's a little dated but really good and the footage of Norway is insane. Makes me want to go read a book here. Someday.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Maine, 2015

A few kid-related things I've been reading lately:

On the disadvantages of learning to read too early...

On parenting, perfectionism, and wine...

On adults and screen time; on kids and screen time...

On why traveling with kids is really hard, even when it's worth it...

This is also a really interesting series of interviews with New York City school teachers. And I've found some gem of wisdom in nearly all the essays here... 

Plus some neighborhood news! There's a very cool new classical music venue a few blocks away from us, called National Sawdust. There's some coverage of it here, here, and here. Plus, a new mini Guggenheim comes to Williamsburg.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Oscar: Nineteen Months Old

Oscar and Axel, 2015

This boy loved his weekend away and is always about six inches from his brother, demanding equal treatment. He is getting so grown up, hiking through the forest on his own steam; he loves balls, aggressive hugs, his art class, train sets, and his thumb.

It's amazing to think that Axel was this age when Oscar was born...(and that it's not long until this duo is a trio!)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Maine Weekend

Maine, 2015

It's a gorgeous, crisp fall weekend up in Maine, with loads of tiny country fairs, and plenty of opportunities for apple picking.

The boys are having a grand time playing with trains in front of the fire and are big fans of cider donuts. We did exactly the same this weekend last year, so it's fun to see how much they've grown since then.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Road Trip

Williamsburg, 2015

It's grey and blustery in New York and we are layering up and heading north this weekend for a short weekend of pumpkin and apple picking.

Or huddling inside while it rains incessantly and the boys duke it out over a train set, we'll see.

In any case, it will be my last road trip until we are a family of five (at which point, we may really need the above van)!
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