Breaking in the Dining Room Table

I had such high hopes of being able to blog almost daily now that we’re in the big town, but I was thwarted by a week full of sick kids, a sick husband, and some pretty nasty headaches and fevers of my own.

Thankfully, the worst seems to be over and we ended our first week in White Plains with a visit from some hometown friends.  J. and R. (Emily suggested that I blog-name them Rock Star and Cat Woman-henceforth, it shall be so) were in the area visiting family and friends and tying up some post-wedding details.  We convinced them to drive in to see our new “deluxe apartment in the skkkkyyyyyyy”.

The kids attacked them before they could even get into the building.  By the time we’d made it upstairs, the gender split had been made and CatWoman was wrapped up in cat fur and little girls. 

CatWoman and Wee Girlies

Dave and Mr. Rock Star immediately sank into fantasy-gaming land, and we lost them for quite a while. Since they were well occupied, CatWoman (I crack up and think of black latex every time I type this, by the way) and I walked the kids down to B&N and were pleasantly surprised when an employee told us there was something special to see in the back of the store and lead us directly to ….this guy….

Hatted Cat

The kids rounded up armloads of new reading material (Teacher Appreciation Week- 25% off nearly everthing) and we ventured back up to the 32nd floor. After depositing the kids with the guys (who were still chatting D&D) and making plans to break out Colosseum, we adult ladies made a snack run to Target and left the boys to set up the boardgame.

A very tense and boat-less game of Colosseum later, Dave was declared winner, with the other three of us very closely positioned quite a few steps behind him on the score track.

Colosseum

After the game, R. and J. had to head back to dinner with R.’s family, and I ran out to pick up dinner for the 5 starving Chens. There were baths, late night stories, and a very early bedtime for the kids. Overall, it was a wonderful Sunday.

Our Big City Lives (Part 1)

Our neighbors from the ground up

Today was our first full day as city dwellers.  I woke up very early (before 6) because Nate was running a very high fever, so I ran out to Walmart in the wee dark hours to grab some more Tylenol and Motrin so I could alternate them throughout the day. It was peaceful, quiet, and calm outside our building and I enjoyed the few fleeting moments of stillness before the city woke up and started moving.

Emily took some photos of the view from her room today.  It’s tall, busy, and we’re still amazed by the crazy things on TOP of some of these buildings.  You know, swimming pools, helicopter landing pads, tennis courts, and fully astroturfed yards with swingsets and kids bicycles.  We’re among the tallest buildings in the city, so we look down on many interesting places.
View from Emily's bedroom

By 9am, I was realizing how very out of our depth we are in our new surroundings.  There was something surreal about watching our neighbors load into their limousines with their fancy drivers (I have driver envy, it’s something I NEED) to head off for whatever their day held in store.  I actually held a very nice conversation in the elevator with a lady who was taking her 13 year old dog downstairs to meet his “nanny” before she hopped in her chauffered car to Manhattan.  The nanny would then be responsible for walking the dog, letting it potty, then entertaining (her word, not mine) the sweet puppy for the rest of the day. 

So, yeah, a different world here.  Before lunch, the whole family went down for some time in the pool and hot tub.  The two smaller kids did all of their swimming in the hot tub because it was more shallow and the floatation belts I ordered have not yet arrived at the building. 

I made 9 trips out today to Target, Walmart and B&N.  We ate leftover pasta and meatballs for lunch. 

Then, the city decided that our arrival was so wonderful that they would through us a parade to celebrate.  And, what the heck, since they were celebrating our move they might as well do a little recognition of Columbus, the Italian-American culture and Moose(Meese?) Lodges.

Chris and friends

Moose

After the parade, there were long naps and more shopping. Some television watching and recovering from illness were also on the agenda. Tonight everyone went to bed early to recover from the busy month past, and to anticipate the exciting week ahead.

I’m fairly certain this is going to be a roller-coaster ride of crazy for the next 6 months.

Boys and their crazy toys…

When Nate got up at 6am to accompany Dave and me over to the Kinnally homestead, he never imagined that he would find himself playing fireman for the morning, complete with high-pressure hose and whirring sirens.

Fire Truck

The Papa Kinnally (named thus by Anna, never just Papa Kinnally…always THE Papa Kinnally) is a volunteer fireman in his town, and does a weekly drive and test of the equipment. While the boys were busy building a bonfire, putting the pig on it’s pit, and messing about in the yard, the Papa Kinnally decided to drive the grass truck down to the farm for some showing off.

Nate smiling in the grass truck

Nate took a spin around the farm. This included some fun off-roading through the woods with the lights and siren roaring. His smile got bigger every minute that he spent in the truck. By the time that the truck stopped, he was bouncing in the seat and giggling wildly. When the door opened, he jumped out and did his Snoopy Dance of Extreme Joy.

Nate's Snoopy Dance

Uncle Ryan helped him wait for the hose to fill….Ryan and Nate

And then…BAMMMM….there was water! Nate and Dave with the firehose

The boys had a great time testing their shiny, big toys. Nate explored the truck, played with the fire brooms, and then got to put out an actual fire.

You know it’s going to be an interesting weekend when you here, “This is the best day of my LIFE!” before 8am on Saturday morning.

Swimmingly Good Times

The big kids celebrated their birthdays last weekend in a joint YMCA swimming pool party. We had a small crowd, mostly girls, and lots of great fun. The PisecoClan came, with PisecoBabe hauling her wonderful camera. There was great enthusiasm about the swimming, the home-made cakes, and the gifts.

Those wacky Pisecofolk also gifted Emily with the promise of a future Daisy Rock guitar (shipping times were lagging and it did not arrive for the party) to match the Hannah Montana wristwatch in her gift bag. She was ecstatic when she found the note on the back of the watch after the party was over.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend an evening celebrating the completion of one more year of crazy living for two of our growing monsters.

Kung Hey Fat Choi/Gong Si Fa Cai

May you all have a happy, prosperous and wonderful New Year.

Anybody else celebrating Chinese New Year tonight/this week? We had a wonderful New Year’s Eve tonight, and my kids finally crashed after midnight which, according to tradition, means DH and I should live long lives.

Tomorrow we’re eating a huge veggie feast and playing games all day. I’ve hidden the brooms, knives, and scissors and gotten the last of the dishes clean before putting out the disposable dinnerware. Everyone bathed and I’ve ironed and laid out the new clothes for morning. There are 2 dozen GORGEOUS roses on my dining room table, and a stunning orchid in our living room. Oranges, clementines, mangos, coconut, sesame balls, lychee, and candy are tucked in into their red and gold boxes on the table.

The kids went to bed happy and tired, and clutching their lai see (hong bao if you’re Mandarin-speakers) in their hands. According to them, they’re “richer than kings today”.

Tomorrow there’s no cleaning or cooking and I’ll be trying to abstain from internet since I’ve promised myself that I’ll try my best to be completely in the moment with the family during this holiday, which is the most important one of the year for most of our family. It will be good to feel almost obligated to simply enjoy time with family and not be rushing around to sweep up crumbs or wash dishes or do another load of laundry. Of course, I’ll pay for that on Saturday when I have a 2 day backup of everything….but that’s Saturday and today is the first day of the New Year so I’m not going to dwell on tomorrows until I’ve fully experienced today.

Here’s a link to see the dragon:
Dragon Dance

Sweet dreams and, again, Happy New Year to all of my friends!
~L

What a crazy, cool day.

Since our swimming lesson was tossed aside due to parade blockage of the road, we tossed all our plans for the day up in the air and winged it completely.

We went to The Spot for a delicious lunch, then drove out to Black Bear Winery and picked up some booze. On the way back from the Winery we stopped at Coldstone Creamery for some super-de-duper ice cream creations.

It was a super-expensive but incredibly fun afternoon.

Post-fun time, I mopped the kitchen and took a reading break. Then we loaded up the van full of kids and headed off to Wegmans for groceries. After spending even more money, we came home and absolutely crashed. The kids ate random bits and pieces of leftovers and filled in the corners with rotisserie chicken.

There has been some watching of DVR’ed television and some wishing for sleep to hit the kids.

Through all of this, there’s been a tiny electrical spark of excitement because it’s less than 24 hours till the Piseco Clan end up in Guatemala to pick up their baby girl.

Oh, what a wonderfully tiring day.

~L