They’re Just Like Us

Growing up in the city, I’ve definitely seen my fair share of celebrities. But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get giddy each time. As a kid, I remember walking with a friend through Chinatown when we saw some trailers. I shamelessly knocked on the door and found out that Ben Affleck was inside. We ran to the nearest bodega, bought a disposable camera and camped out the rest of the afternoon. When he finally came out we ran over to say hi but he just kept walking. I took a picture of his back. It was the best day.

In eighth grade, on the way home from a field trip our school bus pulled up at a pizza shop. Right in front of us was a trailer and Tom Hanks was standing at the top of the steps. Apparently, they were filming You’ve Got Mail. Well, I shouted “You’re Forrest Gump!” and he waved. At me. Forrest Gump waved at me. (Confession: I hadn’t actually seen the movie yet.)

How about the time I exited the elevator near my apartment and saw Hector from Ghostwriter coming out of my neighbor’s apartment (OMG, does anyone remember that show???) —  now that was way too close to home. Hector was friends with my neighbor? Wow. That somehow made us friends as well, right?

Or did I mention that I interned for Rachael Ray in college? Every Tuesday, I would slowly walk past the holding rooms and read the names on the doors. Half the time I had never heard of them, and this was before smart phones so I couldn’t quickly google enough info to strike up a conversation. One day I saw “Jeffrey Dean Morgan” on the door. That name sounded familiar and then I had my OMG moment — it was Denny Duquette from Grey’s Anatomy! He was supposed to be dead! I may have hugged him. I was totally shaking; it was actually the best day.

There have also been all these little run-ins, like the time I saw Tim Gunn buying his coffee on the Upper West Side, Jennifer Garner at the zoo, Rachel Dratch in the sandbox… okay, I know I’m doing a lot of namedropping, but I’m almost done. Let’s see, there was Marc Ruffalo who watched me nurse Lisi at a restaurant, Padma’s daughter who played with Annie while popping bubbles at Washington Square Park, Katie Holmes shopping at Crewcuts (they’re just like us!) and loads of reality-TV stars who probably don’t count but they totally do.

As awesome as all those sightings have been, nothing compares to yesterday.

It was a Sunday afternoon at 16 Handles on the West Side, and Craig was starting to get cranky since he had been dragged shopping. We’ve reached that milestone where Lisi now requires her own bowl of ice cream, so juggling the three kids and five bowls of ice cream isn’t exactly stress-free. And then we were in line for the toppings. As I was finagling with the hot fudge dispenser, Craig mumbles “There’s Paul McCartney”.  Oh, another thing you should know about me: for all of the celebs I’ve actually seen, there are about three times as many celebs that I’ve thought I’d seen. So when Craig told me he saw Sir Paul, I quickly nudged my friend and asked if it was actually him. It was.

We all immediately hop off the 16 Handles concession line, none of us actually paying attention to the melted ice cream (I know, they insist on calling it yogurt, but come on) or the children who were helping themselves to healthy portions of gummy bears. I went over to him and a friendship emerged:

Me: Can I get a picture?
Paul: No, sorry, I don’t do pictures.
Me: Well, can you sing something?
Paul: Sorry, I don’t sing.
Craig: Yeah, he was only the drummer.
Paul: Actually, I’m just a body double.  You really think he would just walk into a 16 Handles?  Naw, he sends me instead.
Craig meets paul
^^^^my friend managed to capture the moment.
OMG, he’s so darn cool! Waaaay nicer than Ben Affleck was! He even turned around and waved good-bye to us on his way out. I mean, that Paul, what a mensch!
Repercussions? Craig has been on cloud nine ever since. Literally, the man is still floating. And then life goes on.
PAul cab

More Boobs

Did you know that this week is World Breastfeeding Week? Is it marked down on your calendar? No? That’s ok, it’s not on my non-existant calendar either. I only know about it because I’ve been getting lots of coupons from companies that sell nursing gear (I’m not holding out on you, the best coupon was like 10% off a purchase, lame). Even though Lisi is my 3rd, I’m still new to all this breastfeeding fun. As I mentioned a few months ago in Boobs, I only nursed Judah for 3 months so I didn’t really have high hopes for nursing Lisi much longer than that — and here we are. I’m also amazed at how much money I’ve saved!


She refuses to do bottles, sippy cups and even kiddy straws. It must be a grown up straw and she loves Coffee Bean!

A friend of mine recently started a blog where she posts pictures of herself nursing EVERYWHERE.  It’s pretty cool, check out Crunchy Mama in the City, it’s really fun! And boys, don’t get too excited, there aren’t any nip-slips!

Happy Breastfeeding Week!

Never Mess with Sleeping Babies

I’m lucky that my kids are decent sleepers. They go to sleep at a reasonable hour and for the most part they’re not up too early. Can we define “early” for a second? Once upon a time when it was just Annie and she would wake up every morning around 5:30, I’d have a bottle with formula ready, I’d stick it in her crib and we’d both sleep until 9. Anything before 9 was early. Once she switched to a bed, she was able to come and go as she pleased and 8 became the new 9. Let’s fast forward a few years/kids. Today, anything before 6 is early, 7 is fine and 8 is like a vacation. 9:00 wakeup is but a distant memory and that’s fine, my body has gotten used to it.

Most mornings I wake up to:  “mama… mama…. Mama (at this point I’m up but pretending to be sleeping) Mama… MAMA…. MAAAAAMAAAA….. MAAAAAAMAAAAAA!!!!”

Hey sweetie, good morning!

Um, um, Mama, um, can I got to the bathroom?

Jeeeez, yes!

We pick out her clothing the night before so usually while she pees and gets dressed, I feed/change Lisi, get their breakfasts ready and have my coffee. Just as an aside, I’m not a coffee snob. I LOVE coffee, I think I drink too much but my standards are low. I do instant with raw sugar, tons of milk, ice and a fun straw. The straw is crucial because I love munching on that raw sugar. I crave this daily.

Then Judah wakes up. He’s a grump in the morning just like his daddy [EDITOR’S NOTE: unlike his mommy, who wakes up with a smile on her face and herring on her breath]. He usually has a really wet diaper, a bloody nose from over-picking and one arm through the neck-hole of his shirt. It’s kind of adorable and pathetic. I yank off his diaper and then he gives me a two minute hug. Like head on my shoulder, hands gripped around me really tight and letting out a whimper every couple of seconds. This is a really sweet moment we share in the morning and it’s great until Lisi comes in and wants in on our hug time. Like most two year olds, Judah doesn’t like to share.

And that’s pretty much how our day starts. Our night routine has also evolved over time. I’ve never been strict about naps. Selfishly, I can’t plan my day around nap time. I have this condition where I can’t sit still and I must be outside whenever possible. Well, it hasn’t been officially diagnosed but you get it, right? Annie and Judah gave up their naps way before they turned two, which made some days feel really long but there was a solid stretch where I had them in bed by 5/5:30. It was nuts and I can’t believe I ever pulled that off. That won’t fly anymore. Now it’s more like 6:30/7:00. The little ones go down just fine because they’re still in their prison beds (cribs). Annie will come out a few times but she’s smart. She’ll be like mama (I’m pretending to sleep) mama, I just want to give you one more kiss. How can I say no to that?  Now I started bribing her with gum. It totally works. Annie, if you go to sleep nicely and don’t come out I’ll leave you gum by your bed. Bonus: she chews/plays with it in the morning so I get a few minutes of extra sleep!

But finally, when everyone is sleeping and it’s really quiet, I check on them. I think sleeping babies and children are the most peaceful thing one can ever witness. They should make a spa where you are surrounded by sleeping babies. Aaaah, totally the best! Imagine getting a massage and watching sleeping babies. Am I starting to sound creepy ?

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Eventually Craig comes home and we watch them sleep together. There’s always that BRIEF moment of let’s wake them. NO. You never ever wake a sleeping baby. Ever. No matter how cute they look, you just don’t do it.

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Sweet dreams to all!


Summer of Lisi — Week #4

Le Churro

Ok, this place is becoming a weekly thing this summer. Lisi fell asleep one day and normally I would take that time to go shopping as fast as humanly possibly, but we passed the churro store and I couldn’t help myself. I ordered the filled churros with dulce de leche (mmmmmm dulce de leche). When they asked if I wanted it to stay or go I thought for a second and decided that I was just going to sit and enjoy my churros quietly. It was great.


Pickles and Olives

This place is next door to Le Churro. They have pickles and olives, hence the name but also fun dips, herrings and all that fun stuff you might crave after stuffing your face with churros. Definitely worth checking out. Bonus: there’s a salad there called the “Big Al” — I think it was a Russian salad with cheese or something? I’ll have to go back and find out!


Sandbox dance

I saw this one on mommypoppins. I misread the schedule and thought it was in Ancient Playground on Monday. It wasn’t. It was up at 110th street. Oops. So take 2: Tuesday at Adventure Playground. Turns out that it’s geared more toward kids ages 3-5, and Lisi showed no interest in the African drumming. She was just splashing in the sprinkler with the drumming in the background. Looked like fun for the bigger kids!

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Fountains at the AMNH

I really love this place. More on it here.


Union Square

Checked out the farmers’ market. It’s huge and there are often free samples. I did several drive-bys around the cucumber stand. Those farm-fresh cucumbers are better than I imagined.

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Eating alone

Inspired by my Le Churro experience earlier in the week I realized that I feel a lot less tired when I actually sit down and eat, rather than grabbing food and stuffing my face with one hand as I walk down the street, pushing my stroller with the other. I tried timing Lisi’s nap around lunch time and it worked out really well. A friend told me about this new vegan restaurant. I’m always up for new foods, so I checked it out and they had a really nice baked goods display.

Me: Hi, which cookie do you recommend?
Girl: The magic cookie.
Me: The magic cookie?
Girl: It’s our best seller. Coconut, pecans, chocolate chips, oats, carrots….
Me: Um, I’ll have the chocolate chip cookie.
Girl: Ok, but that’s not our best seller.
Me: Ok, I guess I’ll have both…..

Trust me, there was something magical about that cookie. Yum. I can’t stop thinking about the magic.

There is no picture of the magic.


The Highline

There’s nothing more Instagrammish than the Highline on a cloudy summer day. The last time I went there I was annoyed by all of the slow walkers taking up the pathway. This time, I wasn’t really in a rush and we kind of just chilled. There’s an area that’s a little like a moving puddle, about a quarter of an inch deep. I stuck Lisi in and sat down to watch. She was the main attraction for those 30 minutes — the slow tourists couldn’t get enough of her! She loves water that doesn’t splash in her face so this was perfect!



And that was our week! I can’t believe that day camp is halfway over!

Summer of Lisi — Week #3

Here’s the thing: this week wasn’t particularly exciting.  I knew it was going to be a little rainy and I had a bunch of errands to run. And I’d fallen behind on laundry and Real Housewives. I also didn’t care to go out of my way to go on an excursion just so I’d have something to write about.

I did try to pimp out my lame plans but it still wasn’t anything crazy. If you want to read more about my dull week, carry on. If not? We’re still cool, I promise!

Walk through Central Park

I had to cross the Park to get to the Upper East Side. I don’t usually cross at 86th street since I tend to get lost, but I managed to do it the week before so I was feeling good. I also stopped in Le Churro. I love that place! I just discovered the pizza churro (a churro with cheese and sauce) and the children love it.

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Chelsea Market

I had to do some returns at Anthropologie so I went to the one in Chelsea Market. As I left I smelled a wonderful aroma from the bakery next door. There was a lady giving out free samples of these heavenly butterscotch cookies. I went in since I’ve never been inside and…. Wait for it….. All of the packaged baked goods were kosher! Best news ever, right? Their specialty is those pretty frosted cookies, you know, the ones with the hard frosting that you lick off because the actual cookie isn’t really spectacular? They also have plain white ones that you can decorate with markers (all edible). I will definitely be bringing Annie and Judah here on a rainy day. Or the next time I drag them to Anthropologie. There’s something for everyone!

Bryant Park

I grabbed pizza from Bravo for lunch. I love their pizza but the store is so chlostriphobic, especially during lunch time with a stroller, so we met Craig over at Bryant Park. The have a little kids’ area with cute little chairs and plenty of books, a game area for grown ups, a carousel and a Talenti stand. I’m still mad at myself for not stopping at the stand. Talenti stand, we’ll be back, and be sure to save us plenty of napkins!

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Flatbush, Brooklyn

Every now and then I head over to Brooklyn to buy meat and other kosher products that I wouldn’t necessarily find in the City. Exhilarating, right?

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So yeah, that sums up my week with Lisi! Here’s hoping for an exciting week #4!


Summer of Lisi — Week #2

I’m sure everyone wants to hear what I did with Lisi this week, right?  If the answer was no, you probably shouldn’t be reading this. The week was fun — more for me than her, but I think she was happy to come along for the ride!

Public Pool

I know what you might be picturing: grossness, hepatitis, huge crowds, sweaty bodies pressing up against yours and more hepatitis.  Just so you know, you’re wrong. NYC takes its public pools very seriously. And while  getting in to the pool can be worse than airline security, if you follow the rules you’ll breeze right through. Here are some tips in case you plan on going:

You MUST wear a bathing suit. If you plan on wearing a coverup it MUST be white. Solid white. Trust me.

You MUST bring a lock (I think it has to be a Masterlock). They won’t let you in if you don’t show it to them.

No food allowed. They’ll take away what they find. I asked if they at least have staff parties with all the food they take away, but they don’t. What a waste.

Most pools open at 11:00, get cleaned 3-4:00 and close at 7:00 (check before you head over).  I recommend going when it first opens and there’s barely a crowd — it’s awesome.

If you’re coming with kids, there’s stroller parking outside — you can store your food there if you need to!

Swim diapers are a must, you have to show it to them before you go in.

Everyone has to shower before going into the pool. It’s not because they think you’re dirty. Ok, it is.

New rule for this year: No plastic bags. Not sure I get that one…..

On the pool deck you can ONLY bring a towel, water and sunblock. No phones allowed. No pool toys. No floaties. Do not try to pull any shenanigans; you will get caught.

They do give out lunch, which is great.  I didn’t want my ham and cheese sandwich so I gave it to the people sitting next to me. They were grateful! I also got a milk juice box, a peach, a bag of baby carrots and a packet of mustard and mayonnaise. The carrots and the mayo were delish!

I managed to sneak in a picture of the pool. Please do not report me.


This was at the Highbridge Pool on 173rd and Amsterdam Avenue (1 train to 168th and walk, there’s a farmer’s market on Thursday’s on 175th and Broadway if you’re in the area).

Pier 51

I know I talk about this place a lot. It’s actually my first time there since last August because of the construction. There were still a few glitches but it felt great to be back!


Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop-up Pool/Beach

Same rules as other NYC pool (although I did feel a little less violated). I arrived at 11:15, at 11:30 everyone lines up and the first 60 people get wristbands for the 12:00 slot. You get 45 minutes of pool time. While you wait there’s a cute little pop up beach with umbrellas, chairs and sick views of the city. On the way back we took the ferry to Wall Street.  It was $4.00 and literally 2 minutes!

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Rooftop Garden at the MET

Ok, I don’t love museums, especially the MET. I had a project back in college and I literally went there 1-2 times a week for a semester and I told myself I’d never go back there once I finished that project. Until now. Ok, maybe once to use the bathroom in 2010 but that was it. When I heard about the new installation I figured maybe it was time to go back. As I walked through the museum in search of the elevator to 5 there was art EVERYWHERE. I got chills. Ew. Once I got to the top I was safe. It was a quiet, pretty, AstroTurf-covered deck with great views of 59th street. There was a stand where I thought they were selling iced coffees — which would have been a nice touch — but instead it was a bar. Even nicer touch but not so much at 10:30 in the morning.


Spector Playground

Made a quick stop on the way back so we could have lunch and cool off in the sprinkler. Lisi preferred the “big kid” sprinkler because she liked hanging out where all the water was draining. I liked it because I could be in the sprinkler without actually getting soaked.


And that sums up week #2 of the summer of Lisi! Good night to all!


Summer of Lisi — Week #1

With Annie and Judah in camp full time, it’s just me and Lisi. It’s been over 2.5 years since I’ve had just one kid at home.  When it was just Annie I was still learning a ton — I was new to mommying and just figuring out the how to navigate the city with a child. And when I finally got the hang of it, along came Judah. I was always wearing one and pushing a stroller or using a double stroller — not exactly subway friendly. Then came Lisi. I wore Lisi a ton and would usually have Judah in the stroller and Annie riding on the boogie board, or maybe I’d bring the double and Annie would ride. I became more and more reliant on elevator stations, and there was no chance I’d ever take a bus. Now, navigating the city with one 17 pound child is pretty awesome.

It would be very easy to sit on the couch watching TV all day eating brie cheese and lychee nuts, but I can’t. I’m too antsy and I like to get out, plus Lisi is at the age where she’s discovering mischief: like, Hey, is that a pile of freshly cleaned laundry? I should really sit on it just as my diaper is about to explode! or Oooooh a box of baking soda. I wonder what that would look like on the floor? or Is that the chocolate milk Judah didn’t finish a week ago? Let me drink it and throw up on that pile of clean laundry I just soiled! Point is, it’s a lot easier for me to stay out all day and binge on brie and watch Honey Boo Boo after everyone is sleeping.

Anyway, here are some highlights of our week together!

Doctor’s office

One year checkup @ 11:30
I arrived at 11:29 and the receptionist tells me I’m more than 20 minutes late so my appointment is canceled.
Um, you got it all wrong, I’m actually a minute early.
Your appointment was actually at 11.
(I quickly search my emails as we reschedule)

Trader Joe’s

It was fairly crowded, and Lisi was flirting with an elderly woman.

Elderly woman: Aw, he’s such a cutie!
Me: Thanks! It’s a girl…..
Elderly woman: Oh, I just assumed based on the outfit.
Me: I dunno, that’s pretty girly.
Everyone else in the elevator: Yeah, that’s pretty girly!


This actually wasn’t the first this happened and don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the compliment. She’s pretty cute.

 The Zoo

Feeling a little impulsive I joined the zoo. Not like becoming an attraction at the zoo, more like got a membership. I splurged on the kind that lets you bring a guest so if anyone wants to come with, let me know!

Ok, let me be honest. I’m not totally a zoo person. I went to the zoo because I heard there was a Dippin Dots there. I found the stand outside the zoo but they only had banana and birthday cake. They told me there was another stand inside the zoo but I’d have to get a ticket. So I joined.

Sad part was that inside they only had banana so I eventually settled for a snow cone. Lisi got jealous.

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We did check out the penguins. I think she thoroughly enjoyed it.


I mean, how can I not?

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She has plenty to learn but there are still 6 more weeks! Happy summer!




Have you seen this Always ad yet? I cried. I don’t know why — I’m not a raging feminist or anything.  I first saw this on mommyshorts, quite possibly the most hilarious mommy blogger out there. This was followed by a hashtagging trend of tagging girls doing something awesome to get rid of the stigma that girls are weak and tagging it #likeagirl. I’ve seen some good ones. Now there’s one for the boys, tagging them doing something totally girly. Um, I can relate.

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My question is: how about old people? There have been times that I’ve had hour long conversations with friends about our doctors and various ailments and then we’ll be like OMG, we sound like such old ladies. Well, why does it have to be like that? Perhaps the folks over at Depends can come up with a similar ad campaign?  I challenge everyone to tag pictures #likeanoldlady. I’d like to see pictures of old ladies doing awesome things. Perhaps skydiving? Skinnydipping? Something crazy, not old ladyish.

Ok, on second thought, that would probably never work. It would actually be quite dangerous. Please don’t ask your grandma to pose on a zip line so you can hashtag her. Here’s a picture of my fabulous, vibrant grandma doing exactly what grandmas do.

She’s kind of the best. Last week Annie introduced her to the selfie.


On second thought, forget about #likeanoldlady.  I’m thinking #loveanoldlady instead — we sure do!

New Favorite Place

I’ve mentioned that last summer’s MVP was Pier 51. It was totally my happy place and I was looking forward to going back all winter. For better or worse, they are renovating a bit and have yet to reopen. While I enjoy the Chealsea Waterpark a few blocks north, I found that it was a bit far from the subway and the avenues seem never-ending down there. I needed something new just to hold me over until Pier 51 reopens. Exactly a year ago we checked out the patio (“splash pad”) at the American Museum of Natural History. Here’s the thing: I was literally 9 months pregnant, so 85-degree weather and strong sun just wasn’t ideal at that point.

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Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time but it took me a year to get back there. To start, we got off the 1 train at 72nd street (elevator station, wahooooo) and went to 16 Handles and Coffee Bean along the way, obviously. This time it was totally different. We got there at around 11:30 so there was still plenty of shade and it was hardly crowded. So what exactly is the splash pad? It’s really just a large patio with 4 sprinklers coming out of the ground and a drain at end for all the water. Now the drain is where we like to play. It’s kind of like a wading pool and is kind of awesome.



The craziest part is that we had such a good time that we literally went 4 times in 10 days — I even spent my birthday here! This is just one of those places where I can sit and relax and watch everyone play. In conversation I’ve heard this referred to as a hidden gem and  one of New York’s best kept secrets (as far as play areas go, at least). So true. I’ve gone at different times, weekdays/weekends and the place is never really crowded.

To sum up. There’s no equipment here, just the 4 sprinklers, a drain, grass and picnic tables with umbrellas. If you want a nearby playground  check out Diana Ross Playground on 81st and Central Park West or Tecumseh Playground on 78th and Amsterdam. I recommend heading over earlier in the day because it does get pretty sunny. Also, the best place to enter is by going down the path at 79th and Amsterdam and through the doors by the labia. When you see it, you’ll know what I mean.


Anyway…… Hope you enjoy!

Lisi is 1

You know how people say “labor really hurts but then you forget about it”? Yeah, not so much. I still get flashbacks every time I’m on the FDR (which luckily isn’t often but still), and my ovaries kind of hurt every time I think about it. That said, Lisi has been a fabulous baby and totally worth the pain. Am I scaring anybody? Totally not my intention. In case you missed Lisi’s birth story, check it out when you get a moment. The whole experience was pretty life changing and has turned me more hippie than I ever thought I’d be. Not saying I’d ever home birth or grow out my armpit hair, but who knows?

Remember how I turned 30 this week? Crazy, right? So far so good. I mean, it feels exactly like 29. Maybe it’ll sink in the next time I fill out a questionnaire and instead of checking the 25-29 box, I’ll be checking 30-35. No big deal. Over the last few months I’ve had many conversations at the playground about 30 and realized that most of the moms I hang out with are in their 30s and beyond — and they’re still cool. So I’m really feeling good about this. I’m totally ready.

Since Lisi’s birthday is only 3 days after mine, I admit that it’s been pushed on the back burner. I was thinking of just not doing anything and then writing her a note that says something like: Hey sweetie! Since I barely acknowledged your first birthday I owe you one. This coupon is redeemable for one treat whenever you want. Kisses! But I vetoed it and made some cupcakes.

After Lisi was born I started an album on my phone called “A Lisi a Day” which was really just a picture of her everyday. I was going to make a photo book or something out of it but then I got a new phone, the album disappeared and I forgot about it.  I will not bore you with 365 pictures of Lisi but here are some highlights of her first year!

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Okay, so one of those are Annie.

Final thoughts:

-Avoid the FDR drive whenever humanly possible.

-30 is awesome.

-I will owe Lisi a treat at some point in the future when she realizes her 1st birthday cupcakes were a complete afterthought.

-Happy Birthday Greasy Lisi! (Note: must come up with a better nickname by the time she’s 2)