Category Archives: musing

The wilds of Brooklyn

When we moved out to Brooklyn a few years ago, I was okay with our neighborhood, it was close to the train and Park Slope and friends. When we moved farther down the line last summer, I got a little freaked out. While it was only a subway stop further, it felt FAR OUT. It is far out. Park Slope is suddenly a shlep and takeout places don’t deliver here. And while this past year has been a whirlwind of renovation, pregnancy, long ass winter, more pregnancy, soggy spring, here we are, and I finally feel at a place where I can start to appreciate where we live and make it our home.

Last weekend we joined our local community garden. Membership includes a key to the garden, two containers to grow stuff (and we’re waitlisted for a small plot) and access to the compost bins, herb garden and a lovely green ENCLOSED outdoor space. I went over with the boys and we tried to see the fish in the fish pond, looked for snails and chucked unripe apricots at the compost bins, a lovely way to spend an hour. I’m so pleased to be a member of this garden, not only because it’s one step closer to feeling like we actually live in a community, but because my kids will have the chance to learn how things grow, to have respect for that which does grow and lives outdoors and know how to get their hands dirty.

We also live a few blocks away from the Kensington Stables. Actual horse stables (you know those horses you sometimes see in the park, this is where they come from) where one can go in and look at the horses and feed them carrots and for $3 take a pony ride three times up and down the block. Here is H riding his first pony. Sniff.

A few blocks from the horses, we found a guy who keeps fancy chickens in his front yard. I have no idea what breed of chicken Mel and Ed are (they are fancy looking, Mel is white, Ed is black) and the guy sometimes lets H feed them and has told us they scare off the cats and any other predators they might have. It has reinforced my desire to have chickens. Some day. On days when I can’t stand the idea of going and looking at horses standing around, we will go see if the chickens are out in the yard.

And a few blocks away from that, is the Sean Casey Animal Rescue Clinic, they specialize in rescuing reptiles and in their courtyard they have three huge Sulcata tortoises (I only know they are called Sulcata’s because we once owned one. We were those terrible people who bought a tortoise not knowing what we were getting ourselves into and once he got too big for the apartment, we had to send him down to Florida to find a new home.) Visiting the turtles is endlessly exciting, even though for the most part they are sleeping or eating lettuces. Sometimes, we can go inside the shop and look at the snakes, gerbils, parrots, grubs and occasional cat and dog.

Hansel, our Sulcata

And I can’t not mention the Prospect Farm, a small plot of land that is being turned into a working farm on Prospect Avenue, across the street from the fruit grove (somebody has fig, peach, pear, plum and apple trees in their yard) and the dude who makes his own maple syrup and sells it on the sidewalk on weekends.

Sometimes I feel weird that we live in NYC and I have seemingly stopped taking advantage of what this city offers, but the other day I realized that given where I am in my life right now, there is so much more to enjoy right where I am. This weird little neighborhood wouldn’t exist if the most fabulous and wonderful people didn’t live in this city for whatever reason they have to be here, and for some reason have decided to make this little corner of town into a veritable farmstead, an urban country. And in my continued effort to exist in the present, it’s a pretty good place to be.

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Filed under Brooklyn, Healthy habits, musing

Is it wrong?

That all I really want for Mother’s Day is to have a day to myself, go to the movies, get my nails done, eat something yummy and have a really good margarita?

I love all those boys I live with to death, but I spend all day every day with them. And I’ve been wanting a fine margarita since about month two of being pregnant.

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Filed under mom stuff, musing, stuff that makes me happy

Getting real about household toxins

If you’re a progressive mom type, or someone who considers the benefits of clean living you can’t have missed the amazing amount of info posted lately about the amazing amount of toxins that we live with in our homes, our makeup drawers, our laundry room, basically a whole host of poisons that we breathe in and rub over our bodies and expose our children to that weren’t around when we were kids and we just use willy nilly without thinking about it. Okay. I need to get real about this.

I spend a LOT of time trying to avoid toxics in my family life. Our dairy and most groceries are organic, the various soaps and shampoo we use are all earth friendly and don’t have parabens and lecithin, we don’t drink bottled water and wear mostly cotton, but OY, can you make yourself crazy with all the warnings out there of what to avoid. If I listened to all the warnings, I wouldn’t ever leave the house, well, really I would have to move to the country to avoid the bus fumes that are poisoning my unborn child and making him 2 IQ points dumber than his non-city dwelling counterparts, compost my own dirt to grow my own vegetables, invest in baking soda and vinegar stock for all the cleaning products I’ll be making and start washing my hair and everything with Dr. Bronner’s (a delightful product that serves a purpose…just please don’t ask me to brush my teeth or wash my hair with it).

The health warnings can be really alarming not to mention overwhelming. And I don’t believe that it’s all hype. I do believe that we should be concerned with what we put on our bodies and clean our counters with and I suppose I could try making my own all purpose cleaning agent, but I feel like it will get made, used once and then sit in the back of the under the sink cabinet along with the carpet cleaner and HA, I don’t even know what else is back there.

okay – to be fair – I recently read about one eco-friendly cleaning tip that I would try – oven cleaners are nasty. Even if you don’t buy into the whole non-toxic cleaning agents theory, any product that suggests you leave the house while using can’t be good for anyone.

To clean the oven spray the bottom of your oven with water. Sprinkle baking soda over the area. Spray with a little more water and let it sit overnight. Spray it again with water in the morning and wipe away baked on grime. Apparently this also works for baking sheets. I’m skeptical, but next time I feel the need to clean the oven (or ask my wonderful hubs to do it) I’ll give it a go.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is, it’s really tough to wade through all the warnings. I don’t want to expose my kids to more chemicals than they have to encounter just living in this city on a daily basis, but I’m also not willing to live with composting worms under my sink (where would the homemade cleaning agent live). We all have to draw the line in the sand somewhere and do the best we can and make the best choices we can that will help promote cleaner living and a healthier planet and kids.

So for now, I’ll probably continue wearing my toxic mascara and sleeping on my toxic pillows, but I’ll think twice about where my fruit is coming from and maybe I’ll learn how to grow an herb garden in my kitchen window.

There’s a great website, Healthy Child, Healthy World that has all sorts of great info about this kind of stuff. I was inspired to write this post by this Green Checklist, because I do love a good quiz.

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Filed under Family, Healthy habits, musing

Nobody said this was going to be easy

Hi online world -Full disclosure, this is not the first time I have tried to start this blog. But the first few incarnations were written from my exhausted state of mind and sounded overly whiny and maybe a wee bit angry.

I solemnly commit to leaving out of this here blog all anger and whining, unless it is completely justified or I get less than 5 hours sleep and for some reason feel the need to post something.

I also commit to updating you faithful readers on all sorts of relevant fitness, Brooklyn and mom-specific information.

But it’s not going to be easy for me. Mostly because I really like to start things and then am super lousy about the follow through. Having a kid really does put a stop to that. There is no “not following through” with it. From the time that baby popped, there he was, completely and totally dependent on me for everything, for comfort and love, for nourishment, for companionship and entertainment and transportation and keeping him clean and clothing him. There is no, oh, listen baby, mummy is kind of tired so would you mind sitting here for a few hours while I go catch up on my reading, thanks. And for all that, there is also perfect and complete love. Who else lights up when I enter a room and comes running full tilt boogie at me to be lifted up and gives kisses on demand. I probably shouldn’t go on too much, otherwise I’ll start bawling here at my keyboard.

My point, raising kids is not easy. Nobody ever said it was. It is the hardest thing I have EVER done in my life. And aside from that, starting my Stroller Strides franchise hasn’t been easy either. It’s no raising a child, but it has it’s similarities.

Similarities include; the same constant need for attention and love, a reason to go outdoors and have fun every day, a way to meet new moms and babies and create a whole new circle of friends.

Of course, one is cute and cuddly and makes me laugh my butt off every day and the other is sweaty and tough and make me work my butt off every day. So they’re not completely similar.

Add to all that the need to keep one husband happy, manage a home, try and see some friends every now and then, visit with grandparents and be pregnant on top of it. I know nobody said this was going to be easy, but sheesh. This makes commuting on the 7 train look like a treat. okay…maybe a slight exaggeration, you get the point.

Ok. I suppose that is long enough for rambly post #1. Stay tuned dear reader for what I hope is much more to come.

Besitos

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Filed under mom stuff, musing