Feeling nostalgic

  • My baby girl turning 1 in 2 days has me feeling very nostalgic this week. Watching ‘This Is Us’ tonight didn’t help 😥. As I scrolled social media today and saw all the posts about Cerner’s Health Conference (CHC) taking place this week in KC, I find myself thinking about where I was a year ago during CHC week. With Bella’s due date a few days away, I was feeling a bit funny the first day of the conference and decided to lay low at home, but the contractions I thought I was having eventually subsided that evening. I even managed to finish choreographing the rest of my winter showcase dance routines for my substitute teacher that night ‘just in case.’ I figured it was all a false alarm though and planned to head downtown for the conference events the next day, but Bella had other plans and my water broke early the next morning. 12 hours after I arrived at the hospital (alone after dropping Ben at school and with nothing but my purse as I still wasn’t convinced it was the real deal- that’s a different story), Isabelle Marie was born, and my dream of having a daughter was fulfilled. I really can’t believe a year has passed already. And a year ago I never would have believed we would be fulfilling another dream of living in NYC and celebrate Bella’s first birthday as residents of the Big Apple. Life is crazy y’all.
  • I’d be lying if I said Brett and I both don’t have moments (weekly, sometimes more) where we ask ourselves and/or each other ‘what the heck are we doing here??’ These moments often occur when things get hard, like during a tantrum on the walk/train ride to school when all the world bears witness to our 3 year old freaking out about breaking his banana in half on accident. We have to remind ourselves that this parenting gig, while awesome, is HARD, regardless of where we are. Bananas break everywhere and would probably be equally as traumatizing if it happened in the car on our drive to school/work in KC too.
  • We miss our friends and family dearly, including our old work families since CHC was a fun week for both Brett and me the past few years. I’ll never forget Brett texting me that he bailed early on an education session to watch the Royals vs. Astros in game 5 of the 2015 ALDS. When I found out how close the game was I finished my pumping session (Ben was 6 months old so I was doing the lovely working/pumping mom song and dance) as fast as humanly possibly and sprinted from the conference to the downtown Marriott to meet him in the lobby and watch the epic win with a few (hundred) fellow Cerner associates and clients. It was one of my favorite KC memories, next to actually winning the World Series and the parade of course. 🤗
  • Amid the hard ‘what the heck are we doing here moments’ though, we have plenty of ‘wow, we live here?’ moments too. Weekend adventures definitely bring some of these, but even in the most mundane every day things I sometimes have to pinch myself. For example, watching ‘Friends’ and realizing we walk by Monica’s ‘apartment’ building regularly (it’s a restaurant in the Village called The Little Owl, actually a few blocks from Ben’s school), or the opening shots of ‘SNL’, or even the aerial views of the city during the MLB playoffs taking place at Yankee Stadium, it still feels a bit surreal to call this place home. It’s also a bit crazy that Arianna Grande lives two blocks from us across from our local pizza joint. No, we haven’t seen her yet, but we did run into Amy Adams on the subway last weekend. She was sitting right across from where we were standing with the stroller and Bella offered her her snack, because why wouldn’t you want to share your cheese crackers? Kids have such an innocent way of bringing all kinds of people together, it’s the sweetest thing. Her young daughter was adorable and we chatted a bit before I even caught on to the fact that other people were looking our direction and (unsuccessfully) sneaking pictures. But I played it cool because I mean, we’re basically related now, we even have the same last name 😂😜. Jk, I’m not cool at all because once off the train I definitely had a starstruck moment and had to share our first celeb sighting on my Instagram story.
  • We are excited to do more fun things as the fall weather sets in for good and we get more settled in our new new routine. Ben is doing really well at his new school and we know in our hearts this was the right thing for him, even if it was hard to make him change again so soon. God was looking out for us, that’s for sure.
  • Here are a few pics from the past week or so, and a pic of Bella as a newborn because I’m still in shock it’s been a year since these photos were taken and my baby is almost walking!
  • Love this candle from Brett’s former coworkers! beautiful sunset over Chelsea Piers, one block from our apt.practicing his scooter skills in Central Park! Brooklyn bus festival was a hit! Even if the kids did not feel like smiling for pictures because snacks > pics
  • Fall is here!

  • Fall is upon us in the big Apple and we’re ready for the change in seasons. Well, I am anyway, Brett would probably be ok if it was summer 24/7/365. The weather has been a rollercoaster this past month and it’s crazy how it can really affect one’s mood, especially when you are out in the elements more regularly in NYC. We all need some rain boots/winter boots pronto!
  • But enough about the weather. It’s been several weeks since I last posted and we’ve been pretty busy trying to adjust to our new normal, including what is and isn’t working in terms of our daily commutes/where to park the car and, most importantly, child care. We’ve decided to pull the kids from full time daycare and hire a nanny for Bella since Ben got into a Catholic school in the West Village (yay!) Not only are we excited about the new community we will be joining, but it will also give Ben a bit of a break from being in daycare 9+ hours every day since he was 12 weeks old- pre school gets out at 2:15 every day! It is also quite a bit more affordable to have a nanny and do Catholic pre school in NYC, which is the exact opposite in Kansas City. Hopefully this all works out, but if the trial day on Friday is any indication we feel pretty good about it. Ben asked to stay longer to play with his new friends 😊. The nanny we hired has already babysat a few times for us, is originally from Mexico (we hope Bella becomes bilingual), and is very kind and patient with the kiddos. These are all good signs that even with another round of changes coming, especially for the kids, we’ll make it through just fine.
  • Last weekend we went back to Missouri and had a great time seeing friends and family. We had a date night to see Billy Joel at Kauffman Stadium, took the kids to a carnival at Brett’s high school alma mater with our sweet friends, had a Chiefs watch party and celebrated Bella’s first birthday a little early with the Adams side of the family. It was a blast and just what we needed to see familiar friendly faces. We have several visitors lined up for the holiday season too and can’t wait to see them all!
  • I’ll try to post more regularly as we continue settling into our new routine. I’ve shared a lot of recent photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram so I won’t duplicate posting them here, but here are a few from a fun (beautiful!) and still somewhat warm fall day today in our neighborhood.
  • Chelsea Waterside Park is open again and so much fun!
  • Perspective

    A lot has happened since I last posted. Just to name a few things- Brett started his job, the kids started at their new school, we’ve had a few visitors, and we stumbled upon a giant street fair on 8th Avenue yesterday afternoon while both kids were napping (at the same time! 🙌🏻) Brett and I have even squeezed in a couple of date nights. Moving from the Midwest to the biggest city in America has definitely given us a lot of perspective. For example, while it may require a bit more coordination to navigate the subway with a double stroller, we can’t imagine how difficult it can be for someone with physical disabilities, especially when the elevators aren’t working, the subway routes change on weekends and trains don’t always stop where you expect them to, or stations are closed altogether for one reason or another. While we can manage a couple flights of stairs (Ben walks with me, Brett folds up the stroller and I carry Bella) people in wheelchairs don’t have it so easy. We also have learned what it feels like for people to try and rush in front of you for a spot on the train or roll their eyes when you are trying to squeeze into a corner and occupy as little space as humanly possible with the beast that is the double wide. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often and people are generally very helpful and accommodating, and we don’t take the stroller on the train during peak hours. But it still bothers me. Partly because I care too much sometimes and partly because it is just annoying- we have just as much of a right to take the subway with our two children (one that is usually sleeping) as any big tourist group that is probably more of a nuisance trying to figure out what they are doing, if we’re being honest. Instead of letting these occasional irritating reactions at the presence of our double stroller get under my skin too much, however, I’ve chosen to be extra mindful of things like not blocking the curb ramp on sidewalks in case someone in a wheelchair needs it, helping other parents with young kids/strollers out (we’re all in this together after all!) and just being more observant when entering and exiting elevators.

    Another thing that has given both of us perspective is how much we can let the moods of our kids (and by kids I mostly mean the 3 y/o who is adjusting to a huge transition in his life) affect our overall demeanor. We’ve had our share of trying days with Ben since moving here, but we constantly have to remind ourselves and each other to step in Ben’s shoes and try to process all the big, new, exciting and scary things he is experiencing. He went from riding with mom every day in car to the same school for 3 years to being home with me, grandparents, babysitters, aunts, cousins and dad in 3 different cities for two months before getting on a one way flight to a new place 1000 miles away from everything he has ever known. He has started a brand new school, which seems to be a good fit (time will tell of course) and now shares a room with his baby sister who is more of an early riser than he is 😉. He has had to learn he can’t be too loud since we live in an apartment and the ‘tower police’ (as we refer to the friendly front desk staff- I know, may seem cruel but sometimes you’re desperate as a parent) will ask us to leave if we get too many warnings. We’re learning patience in a big way right now, but we’re also learning to consider his perspective and not let the outbursts ruin our day or night. Sometimes that is easier said than done, of course, but we’re trying.We have definitely had a lot of fun the past couple of weeks too- going to see the Statue of ‘Wiberty’ (as Ben says), the Central Park Zoo and other fun parts of the park, more playgrounds and enjoying our building’s rooftop terrace. At the street fair yesterday we found a poster Brett has been wanting for awhile- Saul Steinberg’s ‘View of the World from 9th Avenue’ that appeared on the cover of The New Yorker in 1976. We were pretty pumped to find a cheap framed version for $25 and already hung it up. Talk about perspective. We love it because it depicts Kansas City in some far off field of nothingness, which I suppose is what some lifelong New Yorkers may think it is. One person at work made a ‘Wizard of Oz’ joke about not being in Kansas any more when I mentioned where I moved from, to which I just laughed and then explained how we are from the MISSOURI side, even though I think my clarification fell on deaf ears 🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️😂. A die-hard Mizzou fan, Brett is always quick to clarify which side of the KC state line we call home; I’ve learned it’s not always worth the trouble explaining (he vehemently disagrees of course). Guess we have different perspectives on that. 😉

    Here are a few pics from the past 2 weeks if you haven’t already seen them on social media.

    The first 10 days

    {Disclaimer: I should have published this 2 days ago when we actually hit the 10 day mark…but the kids had other plans for our ‘free time’ that night…which reminds me, we need to get that ‘Go the F*ck to Sleep’ bedtime book…we’re still adjusting to a new time zone 😴🙈}

    Anyways….in our short time here as a family we feel like we have already experienced a lot, yet have barely scratched the surface. I understand why they call it ‘the city that never sleeps’- it’s so easy to lose track of time because it seems to go by so much faster out here- even the work days (I hope that continues for awhile!)

    Brett has done a phenomenal job as a temporary stay at home dad these past two weeks, taking the kids to multiple Manhattan parks and playgrounds, navigating the subway (even planning his route ahead of time to make sure he uses the subway stations with elevators (thanks Taza!) since the double stroller is a beast. It’s safe to say he has mad respect for full time stay at home parents (that makes two of us!)- it is exhausting! The most tiring part is not necessarily trying to match the incessant energy of a 3 year old and a very mobile 10 month old, but managing the mood-swings of said 3 year old who is going through a huge transition in his life. It’s been a Jekyll and Hyde situation most days, and our patience, especially Brett’s, has definitely been tested. But Ben has been through a lot of changes the past 5 weeks, as we all have, and that is tough for a smart little guy who likes to have control when he feels like he has none. We’re hoping (praying!) that starting back at daycare/preschool next week will help him get back to his ‘normal.’

    The kids are doing better than expected sharing a room, which is a pleasant and much appreciated surprise. Ben likes to wake Bella up in the morning by putting stuffed animals and cars in her crib, and while we wish he would let her sleep a little bit longer, it’s so stinking cute we can’t complain too much. They play pretty well together too- go figure their favorite spot in the apartment is a large Amazon Prime box where they eat Cheerios and play every morning.

    Our neighborhood, Hudson Yards, is undergoing a lot of construction at the moment, but if there is one person who genuinely enjoys that it is Ben. He loves watching the towers as they are being built and all the machines in action, which means free entertainment for us! And since we’re still on the edge of Chelsea and right on the High Line, we have easy access to a lot of great spots. We’ve already been to Pier 51 Playground a couple times, Chelsea Market (Seed and Mill is delicious!), a new church, White Horse Tavern in the Village and a few other restaurants for take out since our fridge stopped working and had to be replaced 🤦🏻‍♀️. It’s also been nice to find a couple of staples like Bed Bath and Beyond and Target- it is still surreal that our neighborhood Target is next to the Empire State Building. 😉

    Brett starts his job at Northwell Health on Monday and we’re looking forward to getting our actual routine started so we can feel even more settled. As evident in the pictures below though, he and the kids made some fun memories during their first 2 weeks in NYC. We all have! 😊

    Reunited and it feels so good

    I may have started my job here 3 weeks ago, but with all the commuting back and forth on weekends, being a nomad during the work week, and all of us being separated most of July, it still didn’t feel real. Well, it’s real now. All of us, including Hoop, are here. Together. In our NYC apartment. We may be exhausted after the craziness of this past week, including, but not limited to: packing, moving out, moving in, unpacking, flying, navigating crazy flight delays, coordinating, planning, re-coordinating and re-planning, and a million things in between, but we are so happy to be here. We walked on the High Line last night and were in total awe of this beautiful city we now call home!

    We also can’t thank our families, NYC friends (forever grateful to Libby and Hill for sharing your apartments with me!), KC friends (JP and Neb especially!) enough- we will forever be indebted to you all. I’ll write more later this week after a bit more rest, but for now I’ll just invoke a fellow NYC resident- ‘‘Welcome to New York. It’s been waiting for you.” Couldn’t agree more T Swift.

    “Lost in the City”

    Credit for the title of this post goes to my former co-worker Cheri. It’s perfectly accurate for my first 10 days in New York. 😉

    I’m writing on this the plane headed back to NYC after being in KC for the weekend, which was definitely too short. It has been such a whirlwind these past two weeks. I’ve started my job, which I like already and am happy (and a bit relieved!) I can confidently say that. I knew when I interviewed that it felt like a really good fit, but it is still reassuring to know I am at a good company doing important work.

    I’m also fortunate my boss is very understanding about how chaotic my life is right now as we prepare to move. I’ve had to leave early almost every day last week to tour child care facilities, see apartments, catch my flight, etc. It’s uncomfortable to ask for flexibility during your first weeks working at a new place, so I am very grateful she has been supportive.

    Other things I’m grateful for-

    1. Our families, who have been INCREDIBLY helpful watching our kids while we work in KC and NYC, packing our house, sending me documents so I can sign up for benefits, taking our dog to the vet for some mysterious skin rash (because of course that happens right now), answering questions about taxes in New York State (CPA Dad to the rescue!) sending pictures of the kids and FaceTiming with me, moving heavy items like pianos and sofas to different places, and doing a million other things for us. My parents even surprised me with a plane ticket using a ridiculous amount of Dad’s frequent flyer miles so I could come back to Kansas City again next weekend. Cue the waterworks.

    2. My dear friend Hillery for letting me stay with her during my first full week of work and making me feel like I can conquer anything. From being a great listener when I was feeling all the feelings about the move and missing the fam (which was multiple times) to helping me navigate both the subway and life in NYC and sharing more than a third of her NYC-sized freezer for my breast milk, she is truly the Taj Mahal of a friend.

    3. Duane Reade (Walgreens) on every corner. I’ve stopped in multiple times for items to treat my sprained ankle and restock on bandaids for my blisters. Hobbling around on a bum ankle (let it be known I am not a hiker) is not exactly how I envisioned my first week in NYC panning out, but for a ‘glass half full’ perspective, at least the compression sock has helped protect one of my feet from getting more blisters.

    4. Starbucks on every corner. It’s a toss up as to whether I’ve visited Starbucks or Duane Reade more this week. I will be a little more budget-friendly with my coffee drinking when I have my actual coffee pot and devoted coffee-making husband here in NYC, but for now, overpriced lattes and flat whites get me through the day.

    5. Wine, which also has gotten me through most days that have been packed with commuting, navigating the subway, getting turned around when I fail to do that successfully, apartment hunting, number crunching, analyzing housing and child care options, gathering documents for apartment applications, FaceTiming with the kids, and trying to keep it together mentally, emotionally and physically.

    6. Cheap manicures and pedicures. To quote my friend Hill, ‘the only things that are less expensive in NYC are mani/pedis and flights to Europe.’ 100% accurate. Amid the chaos last week week I took an hour to get the cheapest mani/pedi I’ve ever had ($30 for both!). It was lovely.

    7. Our apartment broker. We were hesitant to use one as their fee is pricey if the apartment building you sign a lease with doesn’t pay it, but I am so thankful to have professional guidance in this process from someone who knows NYC. Side note: his name is Dale, but Brett and I refer him to as “Dragon.” Anyone who has seen the movie ‘Stepbrothers’ will appreciate that.

    Speaking of apartment hunting, here are a few ‘lessons learned’ this past week-

    1. Getting an apartment in New York is, without a doubt, harder than buying and selling a house. I thought it was stressful to buy and sell a house when we moved 12 blocks last summer, even when we sold it to our friend JP. That pales in comparison to trying to find a good apartment, with enough space, in the right price range, close to available child care, in a good/safe neighborhood, the list goes on. Then, once you find ‘the perfect place,’ the application process is insane. I’m sure Dragon thought we were adorably naive when we met up with him with a binder full of the printed documentation we thought we needed (including personal checks- apparently only banker’s checks suffice and you don’t need that until you actually sign a lease, whoops), only to find out we had to upload everything and lease underwriters are like investigative spies trying to uncover any possible reason they shouldn’t rent you an apartment. After learning from Dragon about how stringent NYC housing requirements are, it makes sense why we felt like we were under interrogation. In fact, if I ever was to be interrogated, I’d probably just cut right to the chase and admit to the crime (guilty or not) just to avoid the questioning. Talk.about.stressful. Good news is, Dragon feels good about the application we started on a perfect 2 bedroom apartment in north Chelsea/Hudson Yards. It overlooks the Hudson and is the perfect location for us, close to a train stop and next door (literally!) to a great childcare facility that has openings for both our kids. Now it’s just the question of how frequently we can afford to send them there given tuition price is that of a private college…HA! I’ll spare you all the details now, but we’re also looking into the nanny thing. That could be a separate post in itself!

    2. The LaGuardia airport might be the worst place to have a delayed flight. I have a new appreciation for our slightly outdated KCI airport after both Brett and I were delayed trying to get back to Kansas City at different times last week. The terminal for Southwest is tiny and way overcrowded, the only place to pump is the bathroom (gross), and the construction makes it a traffic nightmare. That said, please don’t let that deter any of you from coming to visit us! NYC more than makes up for one crappy airport, and there are two others you can fly into 😉

    3. Reserved parking in the city is a luxury, to the tune of $600+ a month for the SUV we are keeping. Brett got 2 job offers last week (yay! Major proud wife moment!) but one of them pretty much requires him to have a car as he would need to travel to different hospitals on Long Island. He’s certainly trying to negotiate this factor in this offer after we had the sticker shock. If you don’t pay a monthly fee for reserved parking in a garage and opt to park on the street, you have to move your car once a night while they clean the streets. We definitely aren’t interested in doing that in our already busy evenings with the kids. Hopefully we can work this out if he ends up accepting- there’s never a shortage of options in NYC, that is for sure!

    If you’re keeping score, the list of things I’m grateful for is still more than double the list of lessons learned, so even with all the stress, I’d say we’re still ahead. I miss my people again already, but getting to see them next weekend when I wasn’t going to originally is motivation to stay focused and positive! I cannot wait to have them all with me in this amazing city in 2 weeks. I know the time will fly. The kids’ book ‘The Little Engine that Could’ has never been more relevant for all of us right now…”I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…’

    Mixed emotions

    It’s hard to believe July is already here. I start my job in 3 days and have so many things I should be doing (sleeping, for one), but here I am.

    We knew this move would be hard, but right now ‘hard’ feels like the understatement of the year. June has been an incredibly emotional month- filled with lots of ‘see you later’s’, hugs, tears, planning, stress, and more tears. Coordinating a move is a full time job, which makes it tricky to do when we both have/had full time jobs (I left mine just over a week ago- that in itself brought a whirlwind of emotions after 10 years!) not to mention the whole parenting a 3 year old and 8.5 month old thing. We.are.exhausted. But the show goes on, and July isn’t going to be any easier.

    The good news- we found tenants for our home in Kansas City and feel confident we are leaving our house in good hands. Brett’s job search is looking promising with additional leads and interviews, and we have several good prospective apartments to look at this weekend. Amid all this chaos I still have to stop and pinch myself reading that last sentence- we are really looking at apartments in New York City this weekend?! Is this real life?

    Then the not so fun, reality- check sets in- mostly due to all the ‘unknown’ factors we are grappling with like where we are going to live (fingers crossed we check this off in a few days!), where Brett will work, what we are doing for childcare, all the logistics involved in pumping breast milk while commuting and starting a new job, and all the mixed emotions that go along with making big life changes and decisions. ‘See you later’s,’ while not long-term ‘goodbyes,’ are still really hard, and the stress involved in facilitating a move is tough on everyone. We are so fortunate to have amazing families willing to help- from pitching in with child care during this transition to physically hauling our stuff to NYC and helping us move in. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how lucky we are.

    Speaking of tears, the toughest thing weighing on this mama’s heart right now is having to be away from my babies for 2 long periods of time this month. Pray for me, friends. Just a week ago I vented on Facebook about how tough it is to parent a 3 year old (I still stand by that btw, he nearly flooded our kitchen yesterday) but last night I couldn’t even hold the tears back when he said ‘I love you mama.’ I held our youngest during both of her afternoon naps this past weekend because I couldn’t bear to put her down. The struggle is so real you guys. I’m very excited to start my new job and I know it is where I am supposed to be, but this month can’t be over soon enough so we can all be together again. We just have to keep telling ourselves it’s temporary, it will go by fast, and (hopefully) it will all be worth it!