Saturday, May 31, 2008

12 years of BLISS



To my Evan, I dedicate this post. 

(the rest of you can read ahead if you want or just listen to the music!)

You:

...have been up for all of my crazy adventures. Remember going to Nashville and Florida on a whim? What fun!
...are great at pulling together wonderful meals out of "nothing" in the fridge.
...are so supportive with all of my ideas. Like using leftover slate tiles as table chargers.
...are a true friend. Thanks for all the texts, emails, calls and notes.
...have shared your shoes with me.  Can you believe we wear the same size?!
...make beautiful kids. 
...are adorable when I catch you fibbing or sneaking things. Like food in the sunroom!

...complete and perfect me.

You're my "everything!"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fun in the BERKSHIRES


Last weekend was a hit with the kids and the adults alike!  We spent the weekend in the Berkshires which is a mountain range in SW Massachusetts.  The geography and drive were reminiscent of Southern Germany.  Lots of rolling green hills, meadows, quaint farms and just plain loveliness!
Benton Brook Farm Egg Hunt--Otis, MA


The first part of Saturday was spent on the farm of some people we know from Westchester.  They hosted an egg hunt and picnic that got snowed out due to the weather in March this year.  The setting was just beautiful on this 100+ acre farm in the middle of somewhere.  The kids enjoyed the egg hunt in the rolling hills, tractor rides, bingo in the barn and just plain outdoor freedom.  The adults enjoyed great food, conversation, laying on blankets in the meadow and the relaxation!

The coincidence was that we have some other friends that just bought a 200 year old Inn next to Butternut Ski Resort that was on the SAME road as this farm where the egg hunt was and they had invited us up for Memorial Weekend!  We were so excited to see what Peter and Caitlin had been talking about these last few months.  We anxiously arrived to a quaint old Inn formerly known as The Turning Point.  

The Inn


Caitlin and Peter don't plan on being Inn Proprietors, but rather use it as their ski house for the winter months.  It had endless rooms and bathrooms, a chef's kitchen, a great backyard for the kids to roam all day and the lovely fragrance of lily of the valley wafting about when you walk outside. Caitlin's already been busy fixing the rooms up to her liking and making it into a fun weekend hideaway.

The McNally/Smith Clan at Bash Bish Falls, NY


Along the hike, Wesley had to do this bridge over and over!
I think it was the element of danger that got him.



Sophia was in heaven playing with Cricket & Grace


Peter, Me & Caitlin in their chef's kitchen


Evan entertaining us with one of his "original" songs

We had a blast over the weekend with hiking to waterfalls with Luke strapped to our backs, playing guitar, making and eating scrumptious food, and just kicking back with great friends!  The goat farm we visited had the most deliciously fresh cheese. Sophia is in heaven and I keep packing it in her lunch.  I'll bet she's the only kid in the 1st grade that has goat cheese and tomatoes for lunch!  She would literally sit and eat it like ice cream if I let her. Wesley fell in love with a few kids (baby goats) at the farm!

Rawson Goat Farm-- Monterey, MA

We went on a little hike on an old part of the Appalachian Trail.  Luke fell asleep right before we were heading out, so I just left him in the stroller and figured we'd go as far as we could with the stroller and I'd head back.  I went about a 1/2 mile up and then Evan, Peter and the kids continued on. When they got back, Wesley had the most adorable manhandled bunch of dandelions he had picked for me in a meadow.  He is such his Mamma's boy!

So glad Evan captured my flower picker on the hike!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Meet my WALKER!

This video was taken a week or two ago, but I think early walking is just so precious.  He's up to 3 or 4 steps now. I love to see the progression day by day.  I love to see how the competence waxes and wanes. I love to see how Frankenstein is alive in every toddler.  I love to see the perseverance. Fall, get up, walk, fall, get up, walk, fall, get up...  


I think we have a lot to learn from toddlers.


video


And I couldn't resist adding this video too! 
Luke provides a lot of entertainment for our family!!!





video

Way to go, LUKE!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day Bronx style


Mother's Day was a very good day!  The morning was started with one of my favorite grown-up breakfasts--crepes and lemon curd & cinnamon sugar.  Then I was presented with some darling adornments picked out by my kids--some flower earrings and a turquoise color flat bead necklace. (Thanks, Evan, you're getting better every year!) I even got a mid-morning nap in!

We started a very humorous tradition a few years ago in that we spend Mother's Day afternoon on City Island at the end of the road at a place called Johnny's Reef Restaurant.  It's like a combination of Coney Island Boardwalk and the New York Stock Exchange Trading floor. (I'm not kidding!  You have to experience it on a busy day!)  It's really the antithesis of what most other people's Mother's Day's version is, but our family loves it.  Evan said he just couldn't wipe the smile off his face the whole time we were there.  The funny part is that it's mainly DEEP FRIED Seafood and all of you that know me, know I'm not a fan of any sort of seafood, yet, their chicken is good and the atmosphere is like no other, so I'm good with it.




We really stood out!


The "dining room"

All in all a great Mother's Day!  I felt honored and once again I cherish my kids, especially when they don't whine at me all day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

To Mothers: Past, Present & Future...


In celebration of Mothers, 


To my grandmother, who continues to nurture, show patience and peacekeeping: I have a lot to learn from you still!  91 and still going strong. Thanks for letting me tease you, "old lady"!  I love you, Grandma Buddy!

To my mother, who has instilled a love of entertaining, homemaking and travel.  Many of my adventures, I owe to you!  Remember a midnight pizza run in Siena?  Nothing could have tasted better that night!  Thank you for teaching me so many things, Mom! 

To myself, who has realized that there are many seasons to life and this one is particularly tiring, and particularly endearing with the abundance of learning and milestones.  May I get a good nap soon and treasure the mishaps of the days! (and there are many!)

To my Sophia, who has so many budding qualities of mothering I see everyday.  I am so proud of you and your love of your brothers. You are on the road to an amazing journey of motherhood!  Your sweet and spicy personality are a perfect complement!

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

xoxo, liz

Monday, May 5, 2008

Officially CRAZY for flowers!




In case you didn't know, Megan Sibbett and I are out of our minds!  We had the brilliant idea the other day to go down to the wholesale plant market.  Only thing is : A) It's only open from 1AM to 10AM and B) It's located in the deep Bronx  and  C) The best pick is right when it opens.  My impressions:  Yes, you get good deals and yes, the plants are wonderful quality and yes, it's worth the disruption of sleep.  I was and still am pleased with all I got, but overall, we had a sidesplitting time when our minds weren't functioning quite so clear due to the wind chill, the hour and the darkness.  It's literally in a dark parking lot at the Hunt's Point Fish Market.  

It was so funny to watch as the trucks would roll in and the masses would clamor to the approaching cargo and some would literally take their pick as the carts were being wheeled off the backside before they were even placed in their spots.  

The prices were pretty much what they dictated with little haggling tolerated.  I did manage to get one vendor to lower his prices by $2/flat, but most would say, "My prices only go up, lady, so don't mess with me!"  I would say the vast majority of vendors were selling for about 30% below retail, some even more.  

It was so interesting to see this underground culture emerge at 2AM.  Most were shop owners, lots of Koreans snatching up the hydrangeas for their corner markets and some Russians I heard and very few like me and Megan which are homemakers trying to save a few bucks and have a NY adventure!  The funniest part of the evening (and there were many) was the fact that it costs $5/car to enter the lot, so we decided to leave my car outside while we checked out the goods and before we committed another $5.  We never actually exited to retrieve my car, instead, we just put the excess that wouldn't fit inside Megan's car on top on the roof racks and you wouldn't believe the incredulous looks we got as people were shaking their heads envisioning the two giggling novices driving all the way home that way.  Little did they know were were going 100 yards outside the tollbooth to my car to make the transfer. I'm all for giving people a laugh! 

Overall, we learned a lot about Market etiquette (don't put aside what you're not going to buy an hour later or you will have the wrath of "Vinny from Jersey", have lots of cash on hand, bring a flashlight -- dark purple under sodium street lights is really neon pink during the day, it's ok to ask lots of questions about shade, water and planting, get there early and be prepared to wait for several trucks until you get what you want!  Can't wait to post the progress of my flora in a few weeks!  

Thanks Megan, you're a hilarious date!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I HEART Dolly!



Had a great night with Dolly! She rolled into Radio City today and we were lucky enough to get tickets to the sold-out show thanks to cousin Josh. She is one hot mamma! A great entertainer. A witty comic. And her self-deprecating humor is so charming. In the beginning of the show, she thanked every single person in the audience for choosing to spend their hard earned money on her. Then retorted, "And I really need the money...it takes a lot of money to look this cheap!!!" And her delivery was always impeccable. The jokes never ended. So funny when she started talking about the tabloids and referred specifically to several of the articles about her over the years. It takes a strong, genuine person to sail through all that with such candor! I have always been a fan because above all she is always kind and kind-hearted. Dolly, thanks for bringing God and Jesus into NYC tonight! The world needs more Dollys!