Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

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This is a view from the toddler bed. My son’s new favorite toy is a strobe light flashlight. This little light casts huge multicolored prisms on the walls, and our faces in dark rooms. Tonight he wanted to take it with him to bed. Night night!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

Tuesday’s With Ale: Snow

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New York City had its first real snow fall today. We headed out to experience the winter wonderland. Ale enjoyed stomping in it and catching it with his hands. There is nothing like a toddler to remind you of the magic that surrounds us everyday. His “Wow!” was pure joy and delight.

Fire Fight Slippers

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Last week Ale had a cold with a fever. He walks around our apartment barefoot. My husband and I decided to get him a pair of fun slippers. I went to Macy’s children’s shoe department and saw a pair of Stride Rite firetruck slippers. They were perfect for Ale! They even had lights that flash when you walk. He would love them! I could hear his little voice “Fire Fight! Fire Fight”. Sadly, they only had one pair and it was a size much too big for him.

I left Macy’s on a mission to get Ale this pair of slippers. I scoured the shoe stores in Midtown Manhattan and I had no luck. On my way home feeling defeated I passed by a shoe store in my neighbourhood. I entered. The wall in the back had the entire line of Stride Rite children’s slippers. It was a children’s slippers paradise. They had the firetruck slippers! Whoot Whoot!

Me (Heart beating fast with excitement ): Hello. Can I have a pair of the firetruck slippers in a size 7/8?

Shoe Seller (Looking through the firetruck slippers) : I’m sorry ma’am I don’t see them in that size.

Me: Can you check the back?

Shoe Seller (Climbs a ladder to reach a box precariously placed on a high shelf. He goes through the box while the ladder shakes): I’m sorry we don’t have a 7/8 here either.

Me: Really? Can I look through the box?

Shoe Seller: Ma’am we really don’t have that size? How about the Elmo slippers, or the puppy dog?

Me (rolling my eyes): No! My son does not like Elmo or puppy dogs! My Son loves firetrucks! He would be so happy with the firetruck slippers! Ughh!

Shoe Seller looks at me blankly.

I run out the store, whip out my iphone and buy the last pair off Amazon. Why did I not think of that earlier? Silly me!

Two days later the firetruck slippers arrive!

Ale wakes up from his nap. I have the box in the living room waiting for him. He peers into the box. “Wow!”, he says. I take them out of the box, sit Ale on my lap to put the firetruck slippers on his feet. He starts screaming. “NOOOOOOOO!!! FEEEEET! No Feet!!!” My husband and I wrestle him to the floor and put the slippers on his little feet to keep them cozy and warm. He runs away screaming, “NOOOOO!!!!!”. He is not even impressed by the flashing lights. He suddenly stops and is frozen. He wants those dam firetruck slippers off. He is still screaming “No! Feet!”. Tears are running down his face, snot is pouring out of his nose. I reluctantly admit defeat and take off the slippers to put Ale out of his misery. With his feet out in the open again, he smiles and lifts his right foot toward me and says “Feet!”. He walks off as if nothing happened.

That night, at bedtime we read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”. Ale apparently saw a lot of feet. He pointed out the “feet” of each of the animals and wiggled his toes in my face when imitating the sound of the horse.

I have come to the conclusion that my son has a foot fetish. He likes barefeet. The firetruck slippers have subsequently been placed into the closet in the hope that I can reintroduce them in the coming weeks. Will I succeed……?

Wait, my toes feel a draft. Oh, its Ale. He has pulled off my socks. “Feet! Mama! Feet!”
I gotta go…..

La Siesta

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The siesta time is taken very seriously at my mother-in-law’s home in Sevilla. In the morning you get all that you have to done. By 2:30pm you must be at home. This is when lunch is ready and on the table. Lunch is usually a delicious feast- gazpacho, lomo, jamón Serrano, salad, boquerones en vinagre, meatballs, shrimp, cheese, bread, wine, beer and water. For dessert there is fruit and some times ice cream for special occasions. After we are sufficiently stuffed my mother-in-law ushers us out of the dining room and tells us to “echar una siesta” – take a nap. She takes hers in an easy chair in the living room where she will dose off for about thirty minutes. For the rest of us we go to our bedrooms and we can happily sleep for up to almost two hours.

Ale, my husband and I are on vacation so this is a great welcome. Our first day here the three of us climbed into bed and passed out for an hour and a half. We all slept deeply for that time. We were exhausted. Exhausted from the trip to Spain from New York, but also exhausted from our lives in New York. We don’t stop. We just keep going, and going. Even Ale who naps all the time sleeps better here. He is not picking up the stress of our daily routines.

When the siesta is over it’s like a new day begins. We might have a cup of coffee and a piece of pound cake to get us going again. Then we are off to the park, or strolling around the city. We finish off the night with conversation and a dinner that was meant to be light. My mother-in-law wants to make sure we are all well fed and jolly. Then it’s bedtime again around midnight. Ale goes to bed around 10pm instead of his usual 8pm. He wants to join in the fun as well and play with his cousins and laugh at his uncle’s jokes, (Mama, he’s funny!).

It’s impossible to replicate the Spanish way of life in bustling New York but I can learn from this. We need to just stop, rest and take time for ourselves to recharge our batteries. To take a moment or two to just stop moving, running, planning, thinking, or whatever. Just stop and breathe and have a siesta moment. It’s ok. The planet will keep spinning. I have to record my mother-in -law her to remind myself- “Venga! Hala! Iros a dormir!” (Go, go on! Go to sleep!).

Photo from Hotels Monte

Welcome to España!!!

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A few days ago we arrived in Madrid, Spain. We are here visiting my husband’s family. This has become a yearly pilgrimage now that Ale has come into our lives. I want him to know his family better beyond faces that appear on the computer screen via Skype. I am also hoping that he will pick up a few more words in Spanish.

International travel with a toddler is cruel and unusual punishment. Ale is a fantastic little traveler but the first days were very hard. The jet lag made him very sleepy and super confused He would wake up and not know where he was and would ask for Grandma- my mother- and his friends from daycare. Then he would walk around the apartment looking a bit lost. Last night he took his backpack and said he was going home.

My fear of Ale getting sick almost became a reality. Our first day here poor Al ate half a shrimp and came down with a low grade fever and hives covered his body. The solution was ibuprofen and Benadryl. My husband and sister in law had to go out at 11pm to the 24hr pharmacy to get these meds. Since then he has been ok but I’m still nervous!

Yesterday, Ale had the best time of his life. We went with his Aunt to the Museo del Ferrrocarril (train museum). Ale was in heaven running, jumping and dancing for joy! So many trains!! We even had a snack of potato chips and pineapple juice in an antique dining car. The best snack ever!

Today we are on the train going to Sevilla to see la Abuela- my husband’s mother. More adventures await!

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Fall Weekend

The last few weeks I have been stressed with work, looking into preschools and now I’m also planning Ale’s second birthday party. This past weekend was like an oasis for me. I had both Saturday and Sunday off from work and I made the best of it.

On Saturday my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. We got tickets to take a beer tasting cruise on the Clipper City sailboat that goes around lower Manhattan. Grandma came to look after Ale while we were away.

It was a perfect fall day. It was sunny but not hot. The beers that we tried were fantastic sand the views were spectacular. We had a lot of fun on the two hour sail.

We generally don’t go on date nights together. We don’t even really have a babysitter so it was fantastic to get away and remember ourselves without Ale.
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The following day, Sunday, we went to the Queens County Farm along with grandma. This is one of the largest surviving farms in New York City. What a delightful place! Ale loved the animals especially the chickens and the sheep. We went on a hayride and picked out a small pumpkin. To round out the fun the fall weekend I made an apple cake when we got home.

These are the kinds of days that keep me going!

Now I can go back to the grind- with a smile on my face.

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Tuesdays With Ale: Spiral Slide

The last few weeks Ale has been running to the other side of the playground where the older kids play. I would run after him and shoo him back over to where the babies and small toddlers would play. Each visit to the park would go this way.

Today he again ran off to the side where the bigger kids play. He jumped across a bouncy bridge, climbed up a few stairs than got on line for the spiral slide. The slide where he almost tumbled over while going down two weeks ago. I don’t want to be a helicopter mom so I stood back a bit. Ale maneuvered his way down the slide. At the bottom he smiled proudly and exclaimed, “That’s Fun!”. He went down the slide about ten more times laughing and saying it was fun each time. Most importantly….. he never fell once!

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Bloglovin

Hi Fellow Bloggers!

In my quest to expand my mommy blogging audience just joined Bloglovin.

You can also follow me there!!

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/10759505/?claim=2b6rtjbm3vs”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

 

Cheers!

 

Leibster Award!

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On September 8th The Winding Road nominated me for the Liebster Award! I have not been able to sit down and respond until now. I love getting awards and I love to pass them on. Please stop by the Winding Road’s beautiful blog about a mother and her two children.

Rules: Display the award logo, thank the blogger who nominated you  and link back to his or her blog, answer the 11 questions that your nominator asks you, post 11 random facts about yourself, nominate 11 bloggers of your own, with under 200 followers, whom you think are as awesome as you,  and create 11 questions for your nominees

Here are the 11 questions from The Winding Road:

11 questions for your nominees.

  1. What is your favorite beverage? Wine. I have a glass of red wine each night. 
  2. How many hours do you sleep at night? Sleep? What is that? I get 5-6 hours a night. 
  3. What do you eat for breakfast? Coffee, cereal, toast, fruit, yoghurt. 
  4. Do you like to cook and why? I do like to cook. I love The preparation and making something delicious.
  5. How do you spend your “down time?” Blogging, reading, getting a pedicure.
  6. Do you play a musical instrument? No.
  7. Are you superstitious? Not really. 
  8. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Introvert. 
  9. Do you like to camp? Camp? Me? Too many bugs and it gets too dark.
  10. What is your ideal vacation? Any vacation turns into an idea vacation as long as I can be away from my work! It should be at least two weeks. I need to be close to the water, and it must be sunny. I’m not hard to please.
  11. What is the most recent book you have read? Gone Girl. Skip it. It was a waste of time.

Here are my nominees! I like to break the rules every once in a while. I have nominated eight blogs instead of eleven. But please nominate eleven more bloggers. Don’t let the blog loving stop here!

Kukolina

What The Mom?

Pen & Stink

Magical Chaos

The Educated Nanny

Broken Condoms

Autism Mama 76

Her 30’s

 

Here are my eleven questions for my nominies:

1) Do you drive fast or slow?

2) What talent do you possess?

3) What did you have for dinner last night?

4) Where will you next vacation be?

5) Have you traveled without your children?

6) Do you prefer the summer or the winter?

7) Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

8) What is your favorite song to sing to your children?

9) What was the last book that you read?

10) When did you start blogging?

11) What is your favorite blog post that you have written? Add the link if you like!

 

So excited to see your answers!

All the best!!

 

 

Pre-School’s Don’t Like Working Families

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A week ago we went to a birthday party of Ale’s friend who turned two. It was a lot of fun. The kids were running and playing together. There was a woman who did face painting and made balloon animals. The parents were having beers and chatting. I spoke to a mom who’s daughter just turned three. Her little girl left Ale’s day care and was starting pre-school the following week. This was the moment the party ended for me. I learned that the applications and process to attend pre-school next fall starts now.

We live in New York City. I love New York. I am from New York and I suppose my family will be here for many more years. Unfortunately, New York’s education system is a mess and it’s very much divided by class. If you live in a wealthy school district your public, private and parochial schools will most likely be good. If you live in poorer areas the opposite will occur. Yes, the city has improved over the years to shorten the gap but this is still an issue.

I am fortunate to live in a fantastic school district. My local public school is excellent. As a plus it has an early drop off and after school until 6pm. Unfortunately, it does not offer pre-K and to get into a public pre-K class somewhere in my neighborhood I essentially need a hope and a prayer as the seats are few next to nothing. If my son were to attend a pre-school next year then stay for pre-k for the following year I would have to pay a pretty penny. There are few options for middle-class working families.

This week I made a preliminary list of the pre-schools in my neighborhood. So my hunt is still fresh. There are a few that I like and I know that Ale would thrive in. They are pricey. What upsets me even more than the cost are the hours. Most pre-schools start at 9am and end at 3:30pm. Doors close. Goodby kids. My husband and I both work. I must be at work at 7am and I don’t get home until after 9pm. My husband works 9 to 5. Who is going to drop off and pick up Ale? I would have to hire a nanny – another cost. Some schools offer earlier drop off and extended afternoon hours at an additional cost. Even more money.

Excuse me for this rant but it’s so hard to be a working parent in New York City. I want the best for my child. My husband and I need the two incomes. The pre-schools appear to not want to assist families like mine.

In the end, I know this will all work out because my husband and I will make it work out. We are determined to find a pre-school that is right for us in terms of cost and that will meet our schedules. Until then, we are on the bumpy road to pre-school. Or…. maybe Ale will stay in daycare one more year. Will that really lower his chances to getting into an Ivy League University? 😉