Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Chocolate Celebration

Last Friday we learned that James passed the California BAR exam. Talmage's two comments were as followed: 1) Does this mean Daddy doesn't have to go to work anymore? and 2) So now Daddy's a real lawyer because before he was only a pretend lawyer? Our comments to his comments: 1) no, sadly. and 2) yes, but sadly he still feels like a pretend one!
On Saturday the boys and I decided to throw him a congratulations party at Max Brenner--a chocolate restaurant near Union Square. And yes, I said chocolate restaurant. T had chocolate pizza and Ever had a chocolate milkshake...for dinner. Because we party hard! James and I had real food, and then poached some of their desserts. Oh yeah, and then we brought home our own dessert too. Because it was a serious party, people!
I was a little nervous about bringing the kids to this place because it's nicer than our usual dining establishment (eh hem, 5 buck pizza) but the music is loud and the vibe is friendly and shoot, everyone's dining on chocolate so smiles are worn by all.

James and I went back and forth about what to order, but I ended up with the mac and cheese and holy Hannah, that was such a dang good decision. If you go there, try it. The end.

Talmage's pizza comet with an ice cream snowball, and gummy bears that survived only seconds after being placed before the kid!

Everett was ever-so-serious about his chocolate milkshake. I laughed really loud because the waiter said that the portions were not very large. Ha! Yes, that's Ever with his tiny little milkshake ;)

After having dessert for dinner, and ordering dessert for later, James was treated to a celebratory dessert at the restaurant. That waiter, boy did he deserve a big old tip (and got one!) He brought James a piece of chocolate with a candle and the boys and I sang a rousing "Congratulations to you" to that lawyer of ours. Proud is an understatement--that James is something else and we are so lucky he's ours. And you know, all four of us worked our individual tails off for that degree (and that BAR) and that celebration did a family good!

Parting was definitely sweet, sweet sorrow this time. We love you Max Brenner, and you too James!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grand Central Train Show

I was in charge of playgroup last week and we went to the holiday train show at Grand Central Station. My boys were having a rough morning, but nothing that a blow-pop couldn't 9 am! As you'll see throughout this post, Talmage dressed us all in matching clothes. He does that sometimes.  

 This exhibit was the perfect size for busy toddlers with short attention spans. My littlest conductor loved inspecting all of those trains.

The whole train area was a model of NYC, here is the Empire State Building.
 And here is a mini Grand Central Station!

 Oh yes, and Everett had to wear his train sweater, which may just be my favorite piece of clothing he owns--so cute. And since neither of them were willing to smile for pictures, I just took ones like this and pretended I meant for it to turn out like that :)
Me and the boys in our train hats! 

We ate lunch and watched the ice skaters at Bryant Park until it was time for naps. Overall, such a good playgroup.

Monday, November 25, 2013

My fruit stand

{back in better days, when parkas weren't necessary for survival}
When I lived in New York as a bright-eyed undergrad I wrote a piece for posterity about how this city had lovingly accepted me as one of its own. I felt at home here, and sobbed when I left for fear that I would never see this great city again (ha!). It's fun to read my old journals and remember all the things about New York that won my heart over some ten years ago.

When we first moved here, I would walk down the street always wondering whether the people I passed thought I was a tourist or a local (not that they cared or even noticed, but still). Actually, I walked down the street knowing darn-straight that I wasn't fooling a soul--I was a California girl that had somehow wound up living in New York, again. The city wasn't knew to me, I felt comfortable in our surroundings and we were having a great time, but it just didn't feel like home.

And then yesterday happened. I dropped Talmage off at soccer practice and took a sicky Everett Knight to pick up some vegetables I needed so that I could make dinner for the missionaries. If I'm doing a major shopping trip I'll head to a grocery store, but if I'm just looking for produce then I usually buy from a fruit stand on the street. And so it was yesterday, I went to the stand exactly halfway between my house and the temple and started throwing onions and apples in bags as Everett excitedly pointed to his favorite finds, hoping those would end up in my sack as well.

I went to the back of the stand, hoping to buy a Fuji for my friend, when I was met by one of the vendors who said, "Good afternoon, you're looking just as beautiful as always!" We talked for a few seconds about the holidays and his stand and I flash-backed to my 19-year-old self being handed a bag of cherries by my favorite fruit-man downtown with a simple, "Your smile is payment enough for me!" Both times I was touched, not by the compliment but because those friends recognized me as a "regular" to their fruit stand. As crazy as it may be, I am a local--and they knew it.  

As I slipped back to the front of the stand I saw the other vendor, cooing and talking to my Everett, that little boy whose smile mirrored the big banana that was now in his hand. "How did you get that?" I asked him, pretty sure I already knew the answer. "He gave it to me!" he said, giggling with excitement. And the vendor was giggling too, clearly tickled that Everett was enjoying the gift.

I paid for the bagged fruit and as I walked away I felt the same emotions I felt 10 years ago when my love for this place was something of the movies. This city is remarkable and it's stealing my heart once more. Yesterday wasn't the first time I realized that we were home, but it was definitely a good reminder.

And then there is Talmage, who danced all the way home from soccer singing, "Look at me, I'm the king of New York!" Yeah, I think we're doing ok.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

the most beautiful of fall days

On one of the most beautiful fall days of my life, I had two dates invite me to the park for a Sesame Street picnic (thanks be to GG for those too-cute bags). We had business take us to the east side in the form of Christmas shopping, and after that was done we decided to stay awhile and see what life was like on the other side of the park: and so we did, and it was great. To tell you the truth though, on a day boasting weather as charming as this day presented, we were going to have a ball regardless of what we did. It was really, truly a magnificent fall day. Coming from me, that means something!

We ended up at a playground on E 67th with this killer granite slide. I've been wanting to take the boys there for a while now, and you know, since we were in the neighborhood. The slide is 45 feet long, and T soon knew all the tricks of how to whish down that baby in lightning speed.

Speaking of lightning, Talmage told me this morning that he was going to name his first kid Lightning McQueen Wigginton. I asked him how many kids he was going to have and he said, "I don't really know yet. I'll have to talk to my wife and figure that out." While you're at it T, how 'bout asking her what she thinks about your name choices! I did tell him that Heavenly Father should be apart of the decision-making process as well and he answered, so knowingly, "Yes, I know. Heavenly Father is going to tell us when it's time to have a baby." Wise kid, that T.

And about Everett, you will see no pictures of him going down the slide because he didn't. Except for one time where I took him down on my lap. When we got to the bottom he said, "Dank you fo dat beautiful wide. Now I don't want to do it again." He was mostly happy just sitting on a nearby park bench eating an apple and enjoying the craziness that is Talmage Scott on a 45 foot slide.

I feel like with most activities with children, it's fun until it's not. And that window is just so very, very small. One second everyone's having a blast and the next it is extremely apparent that a nap is needed...NOW!!! And thus it was with our park day, and so we left. But oh, the walk home. I just can't imagine that a more beautiful walk home exists.

We walked under one tree and I heard T gasp, "Mom! Look up!" and this canopy of flaming red leaves covered our view of the crystal blue sky. It was magnificent.

And then we looked to our left:

Ahhh... It was just one of those days, you know. Those grateful beyond words kind. Because wow, we're blessed.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

he bakes

Banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies is what he made for me {almost} all by himself.
Gosh, they were good and boy, is that serious cat cute!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

5 Pointz

The highlight of Talmage's trip to 5 Pointz was getting to take the 7 train, because you know Talmage and trains. Never mind that we were visiting Queens, seeing remarkable soon-to-be-obsolete street art and a killer view of the city, he was thrilled that he could mark another train off of his bucket list. That kid knows his stuff. When we were somewhere under the East River he told one of our friends that he wanted to see Newsies for his birthday and she told him he should take the 5 train to see it since he'll be turning 5. Oh no she didn't! He kindly and confidently reminded her that, "Um, da 5 train actua-wy doesn't go to Times Square where Newsies is showing on Broadway. I'll probably just take da 1,2,3, or maybe da C." If she just would've spent a few hours studying the Subway map she would have known that ;)   
5 Pointz has been called the "graffiti mecca of the world" and it lives up to that title. The building is completely covered in street art, and not just the typical tagging you see on tunnels or bridges--these are masterpieces. Supposedly you have to audition and be approved to paint on this building, and it shows. Sadly, 5 Pointz is being torn down at the end of the year and will be replaced by high rise apartments so I'm glad we went to see it before it's too late.

POST-EDIT: 5 Pointz was painted over today. All of those amazing art pieces are now just white-wash. it kind of corny that my heart is seriously sad?

T was thrilled when he saw that Sister Weinberg (the new Primary President) was joining us on our outing. His first words to her were, "I'm going to play with you all day long!" and that kid never lies.



Look at how tiny those boys look compared to that light bulb guy! This place is massive.
 Heck, look how tiny I look next to that caged elephant!

Yep, going to 5 Pointz was definitely one of the coolest things I've done in a while. When we got home and showed James the pictures he just shook his head and said, "Wow, what a crazy and unique upbringing these boys are having." I took that as a compliment ;)

5 Pointz is really close to the Pepsi sign on the East River so we had to go check it out. While the boys played at the playground, I oohed and ahhed at that landmark and happily enjoyed this view:

 Why hello Chrysler Building, Empire State Building and United Nations. How are you doing today?

 And remember T's promise to Sister Weinberg? He definitely made good on it, bless her heart!

Monday, November 18, 2013

You know, Lady Gaga at Midnight

Yes, all three of us are mothers and mature adults (and btw, so not Gaga fans) but that didn't stop us from meeting up at midnight in Times Square to see Lady Gaga herself cut the ribbon for the new H&M flagship store.
 There she is, looking sort of like a mannequin wearing a tie-dye jumpsuit.

 Some people had been standing in line all day so that they could shop with Lady Gaga. While I admit that might have been an awkwardly awesome experience, we had other things to do, you know, like change diapers and make dinner, so we only saw her from afar. It was still fun.
 They also had about a zillion cameras on her so that we could watch her every move on the big screen. Not that that's creepy or anything!

Amanda, Mary Martha and Me after the confetti and screaming at midnight. Sheesh, you would have thought it was New Years Eve. But no, just another normal night in the life of Times Square.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

They went to Chicago

So, last weekend James and Everett went to Chicago while Talmage and I stayed in New York. They went to introduce Everett to Mum, his great-grandmother who he was long overdue to meet and to visit with Grandma. Talmage cried when he found out he'd be left behind...until I told him about mommy/son date nights full of movies and popcorn in mommy's bed, then he was counting down the seconds until their departure. The trip was really special for James and Ever, and it was great for me to spend some alone time with T (although seriously? why can't my date ever sleep in a little!)
One thing that surprised me was that I missed Evie way more than he missed me. I was sure that my little Momma's boy would be devastated that he didn't have me for three whole days. I mean, he's pretty much in my arms all the day long. But, psshh--that kid didn't even miss me an inch. Granted, his "Winnie" was spoiling him up one side and down the other so I know he was just in grandchild heaven but sheesh, remember us little people Ev, ok? I don't know if I should feel shafted or proud by his independence. Mostly I'm just grateful for an awesome Grandma that took good care of my little boy and his Daddy while they were away from me!
Here are some pictures of their adventure in Chicago:
James entertained Ever by taking selfies all the way from LaGuardia to O'Hare. There were a whole lot of pictures that looked a whole lot like this when I got my camera back!

Everett came home with all sorts of amazing new toys, like the fireman hat and giant coloring book above. My favorite thing is to ask him where those things came from. He says, "From Winnie, she's my Grandma!" So, so cute!

Remember how Everett didn't miss me? Well...above you will see why! Winnie had all of his favorite things ready for him when he got to her house--including bacon and "punkin patch cookies."

Three of just the sweetest of sweet shots of Ever with his Winnie!

And this picture above, now that is something really special. I am so glad that Everett was finally able to meet this delightful woman we know as Mum.

When they were about to leave Mum's home for the day Everett yelled, "No! Not yet! I need to give my Mum a kiss!" and ran to her bed to give her loves. Things like that just melt my heart.

A kinda-blurry picture of all four of them.
My cute boys posing before church on Sunday!

Their flight was delayed on the way back because, surprise, it started snowing around these parts. Say goodbye to my smiley-face because remember how me and the cold don't get along. Zero percent. But I regress, James and Everett had a lot of down-time in the airport and Everett spotted a kid watching Ninja Turtles and invited himself to the show. Soon, all of the little boys in their terminal were crowded around this kid's computer. I love that Everett has pushed himself front and center! They were home a few hours later than expected but Evie was a champ. And so was James ;)

As for me and T, we did a whole lot of undocumented fun stuff last weekend, like eating McDonald's French fries, taking Metro North an hour out of the city to see the Blaze (an exhibit which features 5000 ridiculously incredible carved pumpkins, like the T-Rex above) and attending a Diwali Celebration at the Met. It was beautifully busy and T kept thanking me for "all da fun fings you have pwanned!" But let's be real. When the boys were reunited I asked T if he was so happy to have his brother back and you want to know his response? "Yeah, 'cause now I don't have to play with you, Mom." Thanks kid, thanks a lot!