Archive for August, 2008

Summer Streets

August 29, 2008

Mayor Bloomberg opened up Park Avenue three Saturdays in August and we managed to make one of the dates. The Summer Streets event closed the road to traffic and opened it for walking, biking, running, and skating.

We had a great time frolicking along Park Avenue, and it would have been even better if we could’ve brought our bikes. (We had to take the train to get back in time to pick up our vegetables from the CSA.) The best part was that we got to walk the bridge and tunnel that usually take taxis flying around Grand Central station.

It’s not often that you get a photo like the one above. Normally standing right there would get you quickly smooshed by fast-moving cars.

This was one summer event I was glad we didn’t miss.

Governor’s Island

August 29, 2008

There is so much to do in the city in the summertime that we, of course, didn’t get to it all. (Next year for the Victorian Gardens amusement park in Central Park, I swear.)

But one of the cool things we did get to do was visit Governor’s Island.

We took a ferry from downtown and landed on the old Army barracks, which is surrounded by the invigoratingly salty smell of the Hudson River estuary and views of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty. We saw some dancers, played some putt-putt, experienced some art, and walked through the greens. It was a beautiful day, one of those cool, sunny, blue-skied summer days that make you happy to be alive.

Here are a few shots and short video of my little rascal.

A dozen stitches

August 29, 2008

Look at my bruiser.

Monday morning, at about 6 am, Charlie was running from the bathroom back to the bedroom when he tripped and landed on the corner of our wooden bed frame, with his forehead.

It bled. A lot.

The cut was so deep I couldn’t bear to look at it without wincing.

So we took him to the ER, where he was a very cooperative patient, up until the surgeon began stitching his head. (I can’t say as I blame him, surgeons are notorious for their poor bedside manner. This one was no different. He kept saying, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” as blood spewed from my baby’s forehead. That was so not okay.)

He got four deep stitches and eight exterior stitches. He had a black eye and a swollen “boo-boo” that gave him a headache.

But he was up for donuts soon after the stitches, and hasn’t complained at all about changing his bandage once daily (at least).

That’s my bruiser.

Of course, now my heart beats way too fast every time he runs, even when it’s in the middle of an open green field, like this afternoon.

I had to bite my tongue to keep from yelling, “Don’t run!” Because the park, of all places, is the place to run.

I hope we both recover from those stitches.

Ew, ew, ew

August 20, 2008

This afternoon, I had what then seemed like a good idea. Charlie and I would take the F train to Coney Island. It was 4 pm on a summer Tuesday. I thought it would be less crowded. I imagined we would find a little spot to build sand castles and play with the waves.

Sure enough, it was less crowded. But less isn’t saying much, I learned.

And the beach….

EW!

Plastic bottles, metal bottle caps, plastic caps, plastic utensils, old chip sacks, cigarette butts, and loads and loads of broken glass, in every color. I tried not to notice anything nastier, though I’m sure it was there.

We found a tiny, relatively clean spot, but Charlie—as I had imagined—was eager to run around the beach, exploring everything. The water line was muddy and littered with who knows what. The stuff he kept picking up was so gross…he had a grand time, but I was completely stressed out, imagining all the deadly diseases lingering in this trash midden of a beach.

Needless to say, we didn’t stay long.

Next time, we’ll stick to shooting the freak and watching the bumper cars when we go to Coney Island. As for finding a clean and enjoyable beach near NYC that doesn’t require a car, well, maybe next year.

Librarians with attitude

August 20, 2008

I’ve written before about our local library: the storytime so popular they had to call in a security guard and the often unhelpful staff.

I can’t say that I’ve gotten used to the poor service at our branch in the year that we’ve been here. I’m still spoiled by the librarians of my childhood who were always tolerant, helpful, and who actually wanted us to check out books.

But today’s librarian’s witty comment was too good to leave unblogged.

Charlie and I went to storytime. We survived. And then we were excited about books and ended up with a crazy stack of nearly a dozen to check out. As we were teetering to the counter and waiting our turn, we saw a librarian stacking some thrillers and other fiction on a shelf. A couple of the covers looked interesting, so I said, “Excuse me, are those ready to be checked out or are they on hold for someone?”

The librarian looked up at me and with no hesitation whatsoever replied, “These are adult books.”

“I know,” I said with a laugh. “I was thinking of them for me.”

Ah, Brooklyn librarians. Your charm astounds me.

Me and the chickens

August 20, 2008

Last Thursday, Charlie said, “I love you, Mama.”

“I love you, too,” I said.

“I love you, Mama.”

“I love you, too,” I said again, giving him a squeeze. Then, wondering what answer I would get, I asked, “Who else do you love?”

“Chickens.”

Our road trip vacation

August 10, 2008

We’ve been very lucky this summer. We’ve had two long trips so far, and we still have one to go. Jesse and I have both always liked to travel, and it turns out that Charlie likes it, too.

It took me a very long time to get all these photos and videos uploaded, so it may be a bit before we get our most recent trip online. In the meantime, enjoy the mementos below. Going over these photos made me fondly remember the fun we had. Can I go on vacation again, right now?

In mid-June, before the kids in NYC were even out of school for the year, the Boyd-DeWitts took a road trip. We’ve traveled by car for many Christmas and summer trips since Charlie came along, but this was the first one that truly felt like a road trip. We didn’t just have overnights at hotels, we had fun planned at every stop.

We left NYC after work on a Friday and headed to Baltimore, MD, where our friends Mary and Elliott bought a house several years ago, after they realized living in Brooklyn was too difficult and expensive. (Yes, they are our smart friends.) We arrived at their little townhouse around midnight, and Charlie began a chase-and-run relationship with their cat.

He’d chase and the cat would run. Then the cat would come for him and he would run.

We slept on a pallet and woke the next morning for a short walk to the local farmers’ market, where we got three pints of amazing strawberries and Charlie soaked his shirt in red juice. Then, Elliott, who is a former chef, made us waffles on their backyard waffle iron. (Some people grill out, some people waffle.)

By noon it was time for Charlie’s nap, and time for us to get as much driving done as we could. The longest stretch was ahead of us: from Baltimore to High Cove, NC.

We made it deep into the hills by ten o’clock that night, and Jesse’s former professor and thesis sponsor John Moore welcomed us inside. He settled us into a modest guest room and fed us good food. Then he kept up the yummy vittles and interesting conversation for the rest of our two-night stay. During our time at the High Cove lodge, we rode on a tractor and viewed the plots of land that will one day contain houses and a village; we sat on the porch and watched hummingbirds; we hiked up a viney path covered in stinging nettles (I was the only one afraid, because I was the only one wearing short pants); we drove to the Penland School of Crafts and the neighboring small towns via wonderful winding roads (Charlie still thinks that if we get in the car we’ll see cows); and we enjoyed a solid night’s sleep (even Charlie) due to an absolute lack of ambient lighting and the sound of nothing louder than the cicadas. The cicadas make a prominent auditory appearance in the two videos below, both taken on our hike.

(Watching these videos again showed me how quickly my kid has changed. Here, just two months ago, he was only beginning to ask What and Where questions. Now, we can’t get him to stop.)

After High Cove, we made a day stop in Asheville where we checked out a small portion of the active downtown. Then it was on to Sevierville, where we rented a condo with my family: Nanny, Pawpaw, the aunts and uncle and all the cousins.

After the wilderness of High Cove, the suburban condo wasn’t as relaxing as we wanted it to be. The management was constructing the next phase of development right next door, which disturbed our view (though Jenna tried very hard to take pictures of the nice parts of the scenery) and woke us up at 7 am each morning. And one morning at 4 am. We managed to ignore that drawback and enjoy time with our family. We visited Dollywood, Gatlinburg, the pool and the arcade. We saw the Black Bear Jamboree, fished in the Pigeon River, and got a great deal on camping supplies at the Coleman outlet store. Charlie was attached to Kathryn’s hip, and he, Ethan and Kathryn ran up and down the stairs for our entire stay. We all had a really good time.

After a last breakfast indulgence at the Apple Barn restaurant, Jesse, Charlie and I headed out for the halfway point on our return home: Shenandoah National Park.

We arrived just before dusk, as the fog was rolling in. We got a really good look—from our car—of a black bear, some deer and a turtle. We set up our campsite amidst the smells of woodsmoke and the laughter of families. I never knew how wonderful campgrounds could be until we first stayed in them on our post-college cross-country trip. This one-night experiment with family camping brought back a lot of good memories and Charlie loved it. He even took his ten-minute Nebulizer medicine in the camp bathroom without any fuss.

Coming back to NYC after all that fun, wilderness and togetherness was difficult. Luckily, we had another trip to look forward to. We’ve got lots of pictures from that one, too. Coming before Christmas, I hope.

Maybe

August 7, 2008

We’ve returned from our cross-country voyage intact, and as soon as we landed back in the boroughs Charlie began using some new words.

Now, he has mastered the power of uncertainty. Charlie’s every other answer is “maybe.”

It’s really adorable most of the time, like just now.

We read Green Eggs and Ham, along with many other books, after his nap this afternoon. Each time Sam-I-Am asked the cat if he wanted to try green eggs and ham, Charlie said, “Maybe!” He knows that the cat says no, no, no only to eventually say yes. So, yeah, that’s a maybe.

Also, today, when riding home on the bicycle, he asked if we could go see the “bunny-turtles” at the pet store. I said no. It was lunch time, and he was already getting punchy after our hour at the public pool.

“Maybe?” he asked.

I laughed. “No. Not right now.”

What power he has discovered, to no longer be trapped by yes or no. Now he can ‘not know’ or ‘wait and see’ or ‘think about the possibilities.’

Maybe is a whole new world.