Sunday, June 30, 2013

Unattended children ...

Saw this poster at a cafe downtown and laughed my arse off. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My version of the Walton Mountain.

We are very lucky parents. When left to their own devices my kids will play very happily together most of the time.

However when electronics are introduced without fail the relationship and behavior deteriorates.

This brings me to my growing atavistic urges. I have a hankering to get back to living a more natural life. A house that needs work to work. When I lived in Poland (in a wood) I had to find fallen trees to drag home to chop up to use in the fires and stoves to eat and survive the cold. I loved it!

Today we managed to go to a restaurant and come home, pay bills and fight over screens.

I don't want to go back to the Poland wood lifestyle - it gets tiresome quick in the snow and cold. I would love to have a house or cottages somewhere that had a garden. We could open the door and go outside and just play. Unstructured and undersigned and uncluttered and un everything.

We would have a pool too but it would be behind a HUGE fence and be rigged with audio guards and we would have a full time life guard at the pool just in case. OK maybe no pool. Maybe we go to the local pool.

Yeah, we go to the local pool and then the little local pizzeria after the pool where we all share a pie and feel tired but happy. Then we ride home, bath, grab some books and curl up till bedtime.

Summer sucks in NYC when it rains.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Back to ... photo' s from the vacation

View from a window

Our hill top hike

Down in to Smugglers Cove

Harry Potter train

Walk into Robin Hoods Bay (walk out was leg killer!)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dreaming and scheming in Pioneer Valley

It's long been our plan to retire to Amherst Mass. There are 5 collages in the area and we can both teach part time to supplement income and keep ourselves nice and mentally awake. We have an elaborate plan to have a book/coffee shop called Rosy Cheeks which has a photography/ screening room for DH.

This is based on the usual amount of common sense and research (I read an article about Pioneer Valley in NYT  having more bookshops than anywhere else in the US and knew that was where I was going)!!

We are lucky enough to live in a great catchment zone for public schools at the moment which is really great but BUT BUT they only go up to Middle School. Then we either have to move or pay for private which I would hate to do.

So, I was noodling around the internets looking at real estate in the pioneer valley and look what I found

If this is your home then I am sooo jealous!!

Inside there are rich wood floors, film ready kitchen and appliances and that white building at the back - that would be a separate apartment - which you could rent out to pay for stuff - right!

I mentioned this to my husband who told me that he was ready to go tomorrow. He wants a college town life. It sure is tempting.  We could trade our apartment living for this house and actually have lots of cash left over. The local schools? I can only think with 5 uni's and all those academics that schools would be pretty good - right???? 

Imagine living in an actual house. A lovely one. In a town that has free transport if you teach at the uni's.  That has more coffee shops and book shops than any other business. That has tree's and stuff near by. That has snow that stay white for more than an hour. That doesn't smell like pee in the summer. 

What are waiting for!

Do you live in a collage town? Do you live in MA or in Pioneer Valley? Please let me know what it's like. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

view from my ...ear infection!

This was the view from my front door ...

... and this was the view in front of the cottage

How could you not love this place! 
What you can't see is the sea and the castle in the distance. It was about 5 miles from the beach. Oh how wonderful. 

The air was so clean and fresh. The meadow behind had the lambs and the one to the right had calves. I swear!

The question posted yesterday was how SIL tried to ruin things. Well, she made up a fake school trip so that my nephew had to go back to school half way through the holiday week.  She also turned up at the cottages. Now, to put this into perspective I haven't actually seen this women for over a year including recently when my dad went to hospital and my mum was chair bound.
To top it all off she insisted we go out for lunch (there were 9 of us in total) and then walked out when the check arrived so I ended up paying. Then they announced they would stay the night so we should go out for an evening meal in the local pub. I declined.

Now, we are home my little Pip is down with an ear infection. I haven't seen him this sick for a while. You know what - I'm not stressing. I don't have to go into a hateful job. I can look after him day and night ( he's not sleeping so I am not sleeping). He's a trouper. He even said 'bye doctor, thanks' when we left her office in his tiny little boy voice. I gave him his first dose of antibiotics at 12 today and this evening he is matching his sisters crazy act.

More photo's to come once I get my act together with the camera. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Holiday photo's part 1.

This is beach ware for June in the north of England. Actually, to be fair we did have some lovely weather, just not all the day! On the days it was sunny we made sure to be out and about so we came back with a tan, which is so funny.

So, the holiday was lovely. The cottages were great and I shall post photo's tomorrow once my jet lag allows me to think again. We hiked, went to museums, went to a play, had donkey rides on the beach, ate fish chips nearly everyday and swam in the pool for hours.
Yes, SIL tried to ruin things but failed and an annoying friend turned up but was dispatched pretty quickly. The friend we traveled with was amazing. I love her more now than when we set off!!

When we arrived I let my folks know I would be coming back and forth and my dad said 'no way'. He insisted we stay and have a proper holiday for the kids. The one day we did make a visit was exhausting for the kids - granddad knows best.

Their health is improving I am delighted to report.

Oh it was so lovely to be off the grid and taking life slowly. So much so that going to the park today I wondered if we shouldn't reconsider the New York and kids thing.  I'll get over it I'm sure :) I was able to throw them outside into a green garden when they annoyed me, I mean, when they needed some exercise.

One thing I noticed on vacation was that the serving sizes in the UK rival US servings. I was totally crap at balanced eating although everyone else did very well. Next visit we decided to start the day with a 3 hour hike to balance off the lard and deep fried potato!!

I now have a mountain of washing, cooking and general post holiday stuff to do so signing off.

More photo's tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

And we're off...

Tomorrow is D day. Good lord, traveling with this many people is hard work :) I have just got home and put my clothes on the bed. I am so shocked at how much weight I have eaten on in the past 12 months. Actually, past 8 months because I was doing amazingly well till just after Sandy. I put on my summer jeans and they don't fit. Not tight. Just the wrong dang size. YIKES. Good luck I always drop weight when I go to England.

Ah well, what goes up ....

I'm a bit nervous about the kids on such a long journey now they are vocal. Before, if they cried I could soothe them. Now? Not so sure.  We are keeping Mimi's Binky in reserve for take off, landing and
screaming fits. We have a secret stash of little cars for Pip. I do hope that works! For me? I would say chocolate but that strategy hasn't fared so well this year. So I downloaded soft, airy piano concerto by a fave composer of mine. If it all gets a bit loud - earplug in :)

Thanks for the pointers on how to handle the family drama.  I decided to speak to my brother face to face when I see him and then minimize my exposure to the centre of all evil - my SIL.  I sent out the time table of visits to the various feuding families. We get my nephew for half the week coz he has a school trip that he  has to go on half way through the week but that is long enough for some fun. We bought him a catchers mitt and soft ball. We'll take him to the Harry Potter train and if the weather cooperates a nice long hike on the cliffs.

We are going to Scalby, North Yorkshire - for those that asked.  Nr Scarborough. Oh yes, we are that classy. Think Conney Island in bad weather for my American friends :)

The traditional present one brings back from the seaside is called 'rock' or stick candy I think its called here? We also speak an old dialect: Na than (hello) Ey up (hello) Seethee (good bye) Ah Kid (relative).

So, Seethee then, ah kid. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013


What is it about immediate family?!?!?

So, here's the background.

We saved, plotted and planned to take my clan + friends to some cottages in the UK and meet my parents and my brother and his son to enjoy a week of hiking, swimming and seaside and celebrate my dads 80s birthday.

Well, then dad went into hospital three weeks ago with a life threatening disease.
My mother became chair bound.
Dad came out of hospital but has had major surgery and can't travel.
Mum, chair bound.

OK, we can make this work, we will shuttle between the cottages and my folks home. Four hours of driving per day but OK that's really not too bad.

My brother called today.

He has to let the school know that my nephew will be out of school and he's not sure they will let him out of the school for the week AT THIS LATE NOTICE. And even if the school agrees,  they aren't sure they want him out of school.  This holiday has been planned for 3 feckin' years. THREE???? I hired extra large people carriers, the biggest cottage so we can accommodate my nephew.

We saved for two years to pay for it (yes, we could have put it on a credit card but I hate debt).

Oh why is it never easy?

You know what. I don't care. I am taking my clan to the seaside. To sleep in old cottages where you can not only hear the sea but you are next to a wonderful national park. My kids will be on holiday and they don't notice or care about shenanigans and neither will I.  It will be cold and probably rainy and that is what an English summer holiday is all about.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Electronics for kids, part two

Thank You for the great info and advice. We have opted for ....

2 old smart phones fully loaded with kid crap and in hard knock cases (there are times when it is great that your husband is a techy nerd)
Ipad which I'm hoping I can download all of Game of Thrones season 3 to take away with us. 

A nook (super nanny's) fully loaded with kids crap. 

I think we have it covered?!

Feeling very excited about the trip. Fir the first time in my life I will be away from work for a whole week. Mind you, 'work' is my company now (hence the setting up of an emergency contact system). We are going to North Yorkshire.  It's a glorious area, very beautiful. We are staying in a farm compound (have I described this before?) that also has an indoor pool (which is the height of luxury in the UK). We are also 5 mins from the seaside. The English seaside. In the north. It is going to be a hoot. My New York kid running around the quiet English countryside and taking donkey rides on the beach. If it isn't snowing. 

I still feel a bit of a fraud as a mum. I feel like I haven't quite earned the title yet. I guess its a process of having such an amazing nanny and working in an office for the past two years. Or not.  I do know that having kids has had a negative effect on my career which is infuriatingly sad. I hear men my age wax lyrical about their offspring and it is seen as great steps forward in equality. If i mention my kids people start talking about work life balance and not 'leaning in' to my work. I really hate the leaning in movement. It's a fine corporate smoke screen. Once again, its up and the responsibility of the individual to succeed. But imagine if we actually took the time to look at the structure  that runs the system? Free childcare, lets start there. 
Oh I seem to have stumbled on a soap box forgive me. 

What is your best advice for traveling with two 2.5 yr old overnight? 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

electronics for toddlers

The kids love our iphones. They love the ipad also. It strikes me that on our forthcoming trip we should equip our phones and ipad with toddler approved entertainment.

However, what if they drop them. Sorry. What happens when they drop and break them.

So, is there an alternative out there? I've seen various 'ipad' like objects that are designed for toddlers but are they any good?

Your opinions and rants please.