Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Anniversary-- 4 years

Four years.  
Four really incredible years.  We had the most beautiful Seattle wedding, then started our marriage traveling together.  Just our way. Now, 4 years later, we've visited 14 countries together, taken some really amazing weekend trips, had the most beautiful baby we could dream of, bought a car and sold two, lived in Costa Rica, moved to New York City, started graduate school, and launched an etsy business!  

We were just saying today how thrilled we are that this is only the beginning of our adventure together!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


1.  I got a key duplicated at a sketch, local place yesterday.  I brought it home and the key didn't fit.  So I went back in today to get it remade.  The hooded guy who helped me yesterday was there with a man in a blue puffy coat.  I had seen him walk in at least a minute before me.  But when they saw me entering, blue coat man shuffled some things back into his bag and acting like he'd JUST walked in saying "Oh, so you're closing at 6 today, good to know..."  Nice try, buddy.  I know a drug deal when I see one.  (This isn't the unbelievable part, in case you're wondering.)

The employee made a big deal about how he was going to give the new, working key to me for free, but that I better not tell his boss.  Of course he gave it to me for free- the first one didn't work!!  He was just making it right!  But I let him feel good about his generosity since my outcome was the same regardless.  Anyway, we chat for a few minutes while he's cutting the new key, and on my way out I say "Well, you have been very helpful, but hopefully I won't see you again tomorrow!"  (Alluding the fact that I want this key to work so I don't have to come into that dank, sketchy place again.)  His reply was "Oh, well you feel free to come by just for a visit anytime at all!  ........   I'll even pay you for the pleasure."  Unbelievable.

2. I do my big shopping trips to Trader Joe's on 72nd these days.  There is an elevator there, so my only concern is getting my baby and my food up the stairs at our stop.  People have been less eager to help me this last few months than when we first came to NYC (probably because I look less pathetic, generally) and so I asked a few people to help me up.  Two people refused me, and then this tired looking lady who was already carrying about 5 heavy-looking bags offered to help.  She rearranged her own items so she could lift the front of the stroller for me.  Pretty unbelievable!

3.  It was a very cold day and we'd been waiting at the 96th street station for at least 5 min for the next express train.  People around me surely noticed that T was restless, asking for snacks, kicking her blanket off, throwing Lambie out... the whole bit.  When the train finally came, I saw through the window that there was an empty seat by the aisle- the best place because it's more convenient to put the stroller beside me there.  I was first in line at the doors, ready to move in once everyone was finished coming out. Then out of nowhere, this lady who had watched me struggling with T swooped passed me and plopped into the only open seat.  She seriously shouldered me out of the way to get to the seat first, then had the nerve to look up at me as to say "Tough love."  Unbelievable.  People around literally dropped their jaws as they saw this unfold.

There are TONS of unbelievable things that happen every week.  Some good, some bad, some funny.  Every time I leave my apartment I wonder what the day will hold for me.  :)  Hopefully I'll stick to my plan of posting a few unbelievable things at a time every few weeks!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How I Almost Got Arrested at Key Foods.

To go straight to the juicy story, start reading below the photo.  If you're in for the long haul, begin here:

The most convenient, yet highly priced and minimal selection store near us is Key Foods. It is between our house and the subway, so it's easy to pick something up on my way home.  We have a C-Town within a few blocks which has a bit more selection, but it is still only half a block long and carries say, 2 cuts of beef and 4 salad dressing choices.  There are several other little bodegas- corner stores, if you will.   Each bodega carries different things and the prices really do vary.  If I want to spend as little money as possible (which I very much do) I could go to 7-8 different places to find the cheapest eggs vs. the cheapest cereal vs. milk.  Cereal is literally $5.49/box which is more expensive than Costa Rica!  We used to eat cereal as a cheap breakfast- now it's a total luxury!  There is also a fruit stand which gets the extras from the stores which is cheaper and usually good quality. I used to buy a carton of strawberries over the summer for $1 which is a win since I used to pay 2/$5 in Utah.  

Usually every other week, I'll walk 1.5 miles to Fairway-- the biggest and best grocer in New York.   They sometimes have good sales, but the main reason I go there is because they carry a wide variety of food options (have I told you about PopCorners?  World's greatest chip?) and good quality meat for the cheapest I've found (other than Costco, to which we don't have a membership).  I shove, squeeze and balance all my goods into the stroller for the uphill walk home (so dramatic, right?)  Sometimes I even make Tatum hold the milk.

Here is a little sneak peak from our photo shoot the other week.  We love the photos and have a Christmas card winner!!
In order to avoid the walk in the cold (have I mentioned it's cold here?  Thanksgiving day/My birthday has a high of 33.) I went to Rite Aid for a 2 for 1 deal on Cheerios.  They didn't bag my items, but knowing that I'd stop by some other stores who also carry Cheerios, I cognitively stowed my receipt so as not to cause a scene.  I think we can all see where this story is going...

I exit Rite Aid, pay cash for a few veggies at a stand outside and head over to Key Foods. The 2 cereal boxes and bagged veggies were in the bottom of my stroller, and I put all my Key Foods items in the reusable grocery bag I'd brought from home.  When it was time to check out, I placed my bag of groceries on the conveyor belt, made eye contact with the checker to tell her that since my stroller won't fit through the narrow check out line, I was going to walk around the front of the store and come around to pay, and collect my food.  I then hurried around toward the entrance, and back to my checkout line.  

Once I got there, the manager was looking me up and down and looking under the stroller.  "You're trying to get out without paying for these, huh?"  I was so prepared for this issue that I calmly said "Oh no, I actually bought those on sale at Rite Aid earlier today."  "Oh yeah?  What's in that black bag then?" I told him it was produce from the stand, and "Not to worry, I have the Cheerio receipt."  "Well where is it, then?" At this point, Tatum was crying, it was time for me to swipe my card, and now I was being interrogated by the manager and assumed a thief.  I quickly looked through my stroller console for the receipt, sure I'd put it there.  The manager was now calling over his friends, and making hand signals to the person in the booth, overlooking the store.  He asked me why my eyes were darty.  Obviously, because I'm in a stressful situation.  Times were tough.  Now, I'm scrambling, trying to calm T and find that stupid receipt!  I felt flustered and with each passing moment, I felt more and more like a criminal, even though I knew I didn't do anything wrong!  

The men started to circle around me, and I had visions of them taking my baby under custody and handcuffing me right there.  I finally found the receipt (right there in the console...) and showed him they were in fact paid for at another store, and I even told him that I'd bought a Dominican avocado, which Key Foods doesn't even carry.

I strolled T out, very frazzled and grateful to be going home.

Once I got home, my sister Heather called for the details.  She was basically outraged that he interrogated me like that and asked me questions to intentionally get me frazzled.  She thinks it was a shame that I apologized to HIM about the situation, and that I didn't tell him that "I will never shop here again and I'll tell all my friends to do the same."  Well the truth is, I will shop there again.  It is the most convenient place, and who knows how long we'll live here.  I don't want to burn bridges in the neighborhood.  Especially in Harlem, if you know what I mean.  

Scott got home from a long day, took off his shoes and started to relax.  When I finished the saga he got right up, put his shoes on, ready to march out the door and tell that manager to apologize to me for assuming me a thief and tell him a thing or two about how to treat me, and customer service in general.  It took all my pleading to stop him from going- like I said, I don't want enemies.  It was already a big enough ordeal, I don't want to make it bigger.

In other news, I now primarily shop at Trader Joe's to save money.  Who dos that?  I do, now. TJ's is about a 20 min subway ride each way, but the quality of the food and the price are both the best around!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Want to Know Why I Haven't Blogged in a Week?

No internet.  For 7 long days.  The internet kind of rocks my world.  
Anyway, we got it fixed tonight.  T was charming as ever with the repair man, toddling after him everywhere he went and waving "hi" and "bye bye" non stop.  I totally love her!  

This has been a good week.  Many frustrating moments-- 2 hours each day that I spent on the phone with the internet company, and possibly even worse than that:  The WIND.  It is seriously, seriously cold here.  The air is cutting me.  After walking 2 blocks you feel like you can't breathe--shortness of breath if you know what I mean.  You're probably wondering if I am dressing appropriately, and the answer is No.  I can wear all the sweaters and wool coats I want, but I need goose feathers.  This may all sound very dramatic, but it is true.  I've emailed a few trusty fashion consultants of mine as to which of my 2 best options are the better of the two bad (big black and puffy) choices.  Surely you will see the outcome in photos because I am sure that once my coat arrives, I will not take it off for approximately 5 months.    

In other news, T got caught up on her immunizations (FINALLY) which was a very traumatic experience for both of us.  I can officially eat my words about nursery because her first sunday was a fail-- she cried and screamed and regardless of my desire to go cold turkey, the nursery leader asked me to stay with her.  We will see what happens this next week. 

I spent way too much money on groceries this week partially because I didn't want to walk the 2 miles to the cheaper store (did I mention it is COLD?) and I bought juice for the first time since we've lived here.  Man is OJ delicious! 

Both Scott and I got callings in our church- we are a Relief Society teacher and an Elders Quorum teacher-- 2 of the very best callings in the church, in my opinion!  My first lesson is in 2 weeks, and I have no idea when Scott teaches.  

We are really liking it here.  

 It is pretty funny being here with all the tourists.  All these people stopped on a normal walking path to photograph
pigeons and squirrels.

HA!  And then I did too. (Just for the sake of this post, I assure you.)  I've been thinking of starting a weekly post called "UNBELIEVABLE" showcasing all the truly unbelievable things that happen here.  Really, it is unbelievable the things people do.

T and her BFF Fiona.  There was 1 more girl at church her age, but they are moving this month!  
 And, last but not least, Lambie and Blankie still run the show around our house.  
That's all for now!  It's time to go buy my coat :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Long Island Day

One of our favorite New York days wasn't in Manhattan (Gasp!)  We're suckers for the beach.

We took a drive out to Long Island last Thursday.  One thing about being married to Scott is that you NEVER know what will happen once you get in the car.  You could think you're going to the beach, and the next thing you know, you need a snow coat.  (That really has happened.)  He thinks I'm crazy for packing so many car snacks, a change of clothes for T and a few extra things, but it's a good thing I did last Thursday, because we ended up driving out to the very point of long island!  

Brenda is so good to hang with us, baby toddler and all.  Our first stop was in a cute little town- East Hampton.  As in "The Hamptons." Brenda thought she was kind of a big deal :)

 Like I've said before, this is the story of our lives.  Both Scott and I thought we were the star until T came around:
This photo marks the first day *ever* that T has willingly held my hand.  I've always wished she was a bit more affectionate and then one day it happened!  She just reached up and grabbed my hard to walk along together.  Total butterflies :)
 And then we found the beach.  A sandy, warm, empty beach.
It was heaven.
We'd been on Manhattan island just short of 3 months and we had the itch.  The day trip wasn't nearly long enough, but it felt SO SO GOOD to look far out on an empty space and to feel the breeze and the sand and the earth.  Manhattan has a lot of good to offer, but open spaces isn't one of them.
 We need to get this girl back to the beach asap.  (Preferably the Caribbean :) She LOVES running in the sand and taking off for the waves.  She just laughs and laughs and runs and runs.  This is heaven for our baby girl.

She spent a fair amount of time collecting shells and sticks.  I swear, everything she does is "the cutest thing" to me!
 Always eager to pet the "DOG!"
A stop for fish and chips was a must.  Really good, fresh fish!

And we ended the day with a drive out to the point, Montauk.  The lighthouse was pretty cool, especially once it started hailing.  It was the first lighthouse in New York State built in 1792.  It looks like they've kept up the paint!
This was a day for the books!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Mini Pumpkin Carving 2013

Carving pumpkins almost passed us by this Halloween.  I don't usually let things like that happen, but this year I just kind of thought T was too young to enjoy it and it is messy and our 3 pumpkins are cute just as they are.  But, we had an hour to kill before bedtime this week, so we decided to dig in.  Get it?? :)

She was a bit confused at first, but quickly got the hang of it.  Also, this is kind of a good shot of those teeth- there is a molar coming in right where that hole is on the bottom.

Pumpkin guts don't taste that good, apparently.

P.S.  Can you believe how much she's grown since last year?  Can you believe we put her in a pumpkin?  Still tallying that as a good decision :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween in NYC-- 2013

One of our best resources for things to do in the city is "Mommy Poppins."  The site is constantly updated with fun, and often free or cheap things to do with kids.  And without kids for that matter. So we hopped online and found a parade going on at Washington Square Park (We're huge fans of August Rush, so any chance we get to go here, we do!)  
 We ended up at the end of the parade route before it even began, giving us first dibs at the popcorn, cotton candy, and other freebies.  T ate two bags of popcorn, clutching the bag with a tight fist.  She's a lot like me and her grandma "Besta" in her love of popcorn. 
When we took away the popcorn for a picture without the prop... not a happy Oompa Loompa.  She can keep the popcorn!
 We joined in the parade for as long as it was fun, then cut across the park for some time with the band and a ride on the (very fast) carousel.  

Take a good look at Scott's bowtie in this pic, I'll break down the cost of these costumes later...

T must have had at LEAST 50 strangers take pictures of her today.  She was a total star.  The costume isn't really that extreme-- it's all about the green hair.  She was loving the attention, but did get nervous once when a gang of 15 circled around her with 5 cameras flashing in her face at once.  We are really proud that she is ours :)
Here's the deal on the costumes, get excited for a few victories:

1.  Scott has a velvet black coat in his closet.  It's from a vintage store in Long Beach years ago, and it's come in handy more than once since I came into his life.  Now that we live in NYC, I think he can get away with wearing it for real!  

2.  His bowtie:  Purple. Sparkly. Totally Willy Wonka.  I passed a random little fabric shop near my house, and of course popped in to see what it had to offer.  With bolts falling off shelves and strewn across the floor, I literally bumped into this fabric and bought 1/4 yard for A QUARTER.  Steal.  

3.  I found a black top hat for $8 at a shop nearby. But I thought I'd email the moms in my church group to see if any of them had something before I bought the hat.  Within 10 minutes I had not one but TWO hats at my disposal, and both were in my hands within an hour of me sending the email.  Thank you Harlem moms group-- you totally pulled through for me!

4.  T's costume sewed up in 30 minutes with fabric I already had on hand, and a few buttons from my stash.  She wore a black top she already had and those precious shoes are from my mom.  They were PERFECT for this costume!  The green hairspray cost $4 and our friend Brenda met us today with orange and white face paint to work some make up magic. Amazing. 

5.  On my way home from the subway I passed a corner store being restocked.  They had already broken down the boxes so I just asked for one piece.  No searching for an exacto knife or dulling my scissors.  Win.  I had gold spray paint from other projects and used ribbon from my stash to call it good.  I do wish I had gold leggings, but let's be honest-- the Ooompa Loompa is the star anyway, so let's focus on her! 

All in all, the costumes for the three of us came to $4.25!  That's less than a round trip subway fare.  Hooray!

The carnival part of the party wasn't as crowded as I'd anticipated.  We only waited 2 loads for our turn on the carousel!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Warning: NO PHOTOS in this post

Yep, it's true.  Most of my day to day photos are on Insta these days, but I still do value a venue to write... so, without further ado:

I spoke too soon.  T cried on and off through all of (our informal) nursery class today.  Her first Sunday is coming up, and now I'm nervous.  The moms in there today said that she couldn't be put down and was whiny/weepy the entire hour.  OH GREAT.  2 months ago, even 1 month ago she was fine, and now that nursery is here she gets all attached.  The other moms are really sweet saying they've all been through it "Just leave her."  And so I did.  But my yoga practice wasn't as relaxing today.

I know many of you asked what day to day life is like in NYC.  I've been trying to pay attention to give you something new and different... but there isn't THAT much new and different about daily life.  Walking everywhere is the biggest thing.  2 miles to the grocery store?  No big.  Across 5 avenues to get to your destination instead of waiting for a bus on the weekend? (Weekend schedules are very unpredictable.)  No big.  You need to mail a large package at the post office?  You walk.  Balancing the package with a stroller.  So mostly it requires planning ahead and not feeling sorry for yourself.  As long as you do those things, everything is peachy :)  I feel really REALLY lucky to have laundry in our building so that I can just go down 3 floors to switch loads instead of camping out at the laundromat with my toddler for 3 hours. That makes a big difference.

Speaking of the post office, I went there today to pick up a package.  There were 6 people in front of me in line, I thought "Not too bad..."  T had a few snacks left and I was really on a roll singing songs with actions. But then I saw the man behind the counter *literally* walking as slow as a turtle to get one parcel at a time.  And re-checking about 7 ID's per person. And to pass a package through to the owner, the post man had to push several codes and lift a few levers because of all the bullet proof glass.  Everyone in line was getting vocally frustrated. I was worried there would be an outbreak.  People get crazy.  Including T.  And including me.  It really was ridiculous. In all, we waited an hour and fifteen minutes for only 6 people to get their packages.  It's crazy business!

You know all the blogs that give "DIY decorations on the cheap?"  Well I need DIY decorations for FREE.  I'm really tired of our front room having barely any decor.  I'm about to get really creative and hopefully not too tacky since my budget is literally zero.  I've tried to slip some money from other departments into the decor budget, it's not really working out.  Here goes nothing!

And lastly, we are having soup tonight.  I think I better get my rear in gear and go carve another mini pumkin so I can serve our sausage tortellini soup in pumpkins!  And also?  Is it okay to call it "sausage" tortellini soup if i'm using ground beef with lots of flavor?  I went to 3 different stores in search of Italian sausage and still found none!  I'm sure it will all work out :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tatum's 18 month Update

At least 20 strangers took Tatum's picture at Central Park last week. 20% ask, 80% don't, generally speaking.  This woman did ask.  And for payment, she stood behind me waving and laughing and acting like a goon to get T to smile for 5 minutes :)  WIN.

One man I passed in a corner market told me that "her hair must've been spun with GOLD!"
 She is reading for much longer periods of time these days.  She is only getting more and more fun as she understands and responds to things going on around her.  T is a lot of fun to have around! (Would I have said this last month during her SCREAMING phase?  Probably not. But we loved her then too!)
 Today on the subway, she was hanging out in her stroller, smiling and waving when the lady across from us says to her friend in Spanish (assuming we couldn't understand her) "So, do you want to procreate?" 
Our little lady is an ambassador for the family unit!  Proud mama right here!
Anything with a strap is a purse for our little girl.  Grocery bags, air mattress case, library tote.  Anything.  She stows her chapstick, sometimes her kitty beanie baby, or a shoe in her purse.  When I try to release her pincer grasp to go out for the day, I hear about it!!

We were watching a show with her the other night and when a scary-ish part came on, she started biting her nails!  It looked to us like a cause/effect relationship.  Ah, she comes by it honestly.

This little ham turns 18 months in 2 weeks and we are she is incredibly excited for nursery!  I've left her in the nursery with ~10 other kids during a mid-week yoga class at the church and she's done just fine.  I have no qualms about dropping her off and leaving her there until 2pm!  I know she'll have such fun copying the other kids, singing songs and especially having snacks.  But I do wish she'd miss me just a little!
Seriously, SUCH a ham.
Speaking of church, today during Sunday School she found a pink scooter against the wall.  She decided her calling in life was to roll and stand and push and scoot that scooter all around.  I had no idea that at 1.5 years, babies are already riding scooters.  What???

And following in my sisters' footsteps, some word art:
We are so lucky to have Tatum in our lives.  She is really a joy and she gives my life meaning and purpose.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

NYC as a Tourist

Scott had class the first day the girls were here.  So, I mustered up the Subway Leader inside of me and took them to Shake Shack (it's still good!) and over to Central Park.  T ate almost all the fries and at least half the chocolate shake.  Oh geez.
Presenting the Princess:
On the walk over to the lake, Christina and I voted SueAnn to be our rower.  :)  It was tough in the beginning, but she got the hang of it in no time.
We relieved her of her calling just a few minutes in.  SueAnn REALLY loves being a Grandma.  And this is one of my favorite pictures of T and Christina!
Our group shot in Central Park.  The forecast kept predicting rain from about Wed - Sun but it never came!  It sprinkled one day, but we packed our rain coats and umbrellas every day for nothing!

Every time we go out there is some new adventure or thrill for T girl.  We really do have a rich life here in NYC.  There is so much to explore and experience.  

And, if you come to see us, we will no doubt take you to Chelsea Market.  Probably on your first day.  We really love tasting the variety of food and wandering the Highline before eating the goodness.  

T is basically a hipster now:
Our don't-miss-it food item so far is the Lobster Bisque from The Lobster Place, but we also adore Num Pang Sandwich shop, the pasta place up front (Chocolate ravioli, are you serious?) and Amy's bread.  Oh, and Scott really loves the chocolate milk at the Milk Bar.  Well let's be honest, we all do. 
A good solid day in the city!