Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Set of Wheels

When our white one broke down on the side of the road, I knew it was time for a new set of wheels.

As I considered all the color options, my eye was continually drawn to the candy apple red.

I know what they say about red ones. You tend to go faster...you get more speeding tickets...your insurance will be higher.

Maybe it's an early mid-life crisis. Maybe I'm looking to stand out in this city. All I know is that I couldn't resist Red's siren cry. I paid cash and took it home that day.

Now I'm thinking of getting a personalized license plate.

Isn't she a beauty?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Maybe They're Taking Some Cues From Rabbits

I just finished pruning Steve's and my closet in preparation for the move.

5--no, 6! kitchen bags full of unused/ill-fitting/outdated clothing are going to the Salvation Army.

What is slightly puzzling is that I really have not bought much in the way of new clothes this year. And when we moved from MI last summer, I gave away at least half of my existing wardrobe. So where did these bags full of clothes come from?

Might they have been multiplying somewhere in the depths of my closet?

More likely the answer is this: Steve and I have become accustomed to wearing around 5 outfits a season, because the rest of our clothing is tucked away in a moderately inaccessible place in our apartment. Out of sight, out of mind. And now we're giving away those neglected sweaters and turtlenecks because we never wear them.

Note to self: Be more intentional with wardrobe next season. We are moving a few blocks away from the What Not to Wear studios, for pete's sake.

Friday, July 27, 2007

'Cuz There Ain't No Party Like a Birthday Party

We've been celebrating at a multitude of birthday parties recently.

And while the kiddos are always giddy when an invite arrives in the mail (or, more recently, via Evite), and we almost always have fun and make or renew friendships at the parties, I can't help but notice--

We are dropping some serious coin on birthday gifts.

In Michigan, The Opening of the Gifts was a crucial part of the party. The children gathered around, and everyone ooh-ed and ahh-ed as the gifts were unveiled. Here, however, the gifts are whisked away for the birthday person to open in the privacy of their home, and I wonder why...
Perhaps it's so that all the guests don't do the quick comparison as the gifts are opened? (Who spent the most? Oh, that must have cost a fortune...). Perhaps it's so the star of the party doesn't have to go home with new toys which are now broken or lost due to the negligence of other party goers.

I'm sure there's a good reason for it.

But I also wonder if there is value in giving a child the opportunity to learn how to accept a gift graciously; to learn to be grateful and tell the giver to their face, "Thank You," and mean it (even if you already have two of those already or you stopped playing with these 2 years ago).

And frankly, I miss the Ooh-ing and Aah-ing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I'm Still Working This One Out.

Steve and I, we've had conversations about how we should start packing.
We nod our heads and agree with each other. Yep, it's a good idea to start packing.
Our move is only a little over two weeks away, and with both of us working full-time, that means there are not many packing hours between now and then.

I even went so far as to look into ordering some moving boxes last night. I visualized myself putting items in the boxes, taping them shut, labeling them neatly--and that's where I was stumped. What would I do with the boxes after that? Put them in big piles somewhere, sure. But where? Not the living room, we wouldn't be able to get around them to the bathroom and the front door. Not the bedrooms, it would block our paths to the beds and the dressers. Suddenly the horrors of our initial move into this space washed over me...clamoring over box obstacle courses to find a place to lie down for the night...the movers saying to Steve, "I really don't think we can fit another box in your apartment. They're stacked 5 feet high everywhere,"...telling the kids to play up in the loft and to not come down for at least an hour, maybe then there would be somewhere for them to sit... It wasn't pretty.

How do we do that in reverse--and still manage to live here for another couple of weeks?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ahh, New York Hospitality

It's almost on par with Southern Hospitality.

But not quite.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Scenes from a Summer Saturday Afternoon

The weather being as delectable as it was, Harry Potter lovers certainly could not be expected to remain indoors while they poured over their books. (In truth, the only reason I did not have my copy with me in the park is because I was out-voted 3 to 1 by certain family members who requested my full attention. I'm happy to give it to them.)

Chloe nails the monkey bars. She's getting so tall that she needs to lift up those gams to keep her feet from scraping the ground.

Is it National Take Your Parrot for a Walk Day? No. This bird, Toby, has an owner who believes in a daily constitutional for him. Jonathan didn't want to get too close--something to do with a beak being within striking range of his ear.

Riverside Park was bursting with butterflies yesterday. Chloe was delighted when a dancing pair waltzed around her head and alighted for a brief moment.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Now That I Work in the Educational System...

...articles like this catch and hold my attention.


Monday, July 16, 2007

One More Reason I'm Glad to be Moving Downtown

In addition to the doubling of living space, it's exciting to watch the rebirth and renewal of Lower Manhattan. Our new home is about 4 blocks away from the World Trade Center site; I'll most likely be walking by it each day on my way to the subway. And new restaurants and shopping centers are opening daily (case in point: Tiffany and Co.). My favorite, though, is the public-use green space that is sprouting left and right.

This Very Cool Thing is being built right now...

(I know. I want to hop on, too. Let's just say the kids need us to go with them. I call the seahorse.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Glad Tidings and Insidious Happy Meal Toys

We were approved for the apartment. (I'm resisting the urge to put multiple exclamation marks and some smiley faces behind that statement). We'll move mid-August.

The last time we moved, we were downsizing from a 5 bedroom house to less than 600 square feet of space. We had to give away, throw away, and sell about two-thirds of our possessions.

This time around, we're moving to a bigger apartment. (Again with this desire for multiple exclamation marks and smiley faces).

Yet we'll still have quite a job of going through everything and deciding what is worth taking with us. I've tried to be diligent with my "One Thing Comes In, One Thing Goes Out" rule during our time here, but I'm afraid there are some things that slid in under the radar. Happy Meal toys, for instance. Also Steve's books--'twould be sacrilege to suggest The Rule in that case. The kids' outgrown clothing. My shoes (above the law, you see). DVD's. More Happy Meal toys and their kind.

I'm looking forward to the pruning.

!!!!! :) :) :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

And Now We Wait

We applied for an apartment in the Battery Park City neighborhood of Manhattan on Tuesday.

It's a nice, fairly usual 2 BR. The kitchen is "homely " (the word my mother has always preferred to the harsh-sounding, straight-up "Ugly"), and the bathrooms have a commercial feel to them. The glory of the place is its living room, which is large enough for us to host small groups and have dinner parties and other marvelous sorts of entertaining (and, when you visit the city, there is room for you to throw down the Aerobed and sleep to your heart's content. Well, maybe not that long, as my kids will most likely wake you up by 6:30 so they can watch cartoons. The good news is that they'll share their Poptarts).

Like most places, this building requires the applicant's annual income to be 40x the monthly rent. Suffice it to say that our income is not...we're hoping that Steve's housing allowance combined with good references combined with the fact that the leasing agent and I hit it off famously will be enough. I have confidence that this is in God's hands; that if He wants us to live in this apartment, then it will work out. If it's not in His plan for us to live here, well then, we're better off living elsewhere anyway.

Then again, I'd really like to know where we're going to live.

The agent said it would be a few days; they run credit checks, verify bank statements, etc. Maybe we'll know by Friday? And then we'll move sometime in August.

May I ask that you keep this in your prayers?
I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

He's Ready for Team Mission Impossible

The voice of Jonathan filtered up from underneath the covers: Chloe! You can't come in here. That's because I'm hiding.

Chloe's half-interested reply from across the room: I could too come in there.

J: No you can't! You can't enter the secret code!

C: Well, what is the secret code?

J: Five.

C (still across the room): Ok. I just entered five.

J: No! It's a different secret code now! It's four!

C: Ok. Four.

J: No, Chloe! It's a secret code. It's seven.

The Code That Couldn't Be Cracked

Saturday, July 07, 2007

How often do we miss the point entirely?

Perhaps too often.

From Simply Christian, by N.T. Wright (as he writes about Jesus' sometimes indirect answers to his apostles' questions)

Many of the questions we ask God can't be answered directly, not because God doesn't know the answers, but because our questions don't make sense. As C.S. Lewis once pointed out, many of our question are, from God's point of view, rather like someone asking, "Is yellow square or round?" or "How many hours are there in a mile?"

Goings On

All in a row

We're back in the city after a week's visit to West Michigan. Our time there was loaded with all sorts of Michigan summertime fun. Things like tubing behind the boat at Grandma and Grandpa's cottage, "riding" motorcycles with Uncle Jason, playing with cousins from 6 in the morning 'till 9 at night, and consuming vast amounts of pig roast delicacies at Grammy and Grampy's have left us satiated but perhaps a bit ragged around the edges.

Next Up:
Chloe is planning for Jonathan's 4th birthday tomorrow.
When Mom is too tired to help bake goodies for a party, what's a gal to do but bring on the markers and get the job done herself?