Week 5, 2023 – From surviving to thriving
The gap in the last two weeks really says it all. Micky was sick. I was super frustrated at work. The kids kept hustling like they always do, but it still isn’t easy.
I think Eevee even understood the moment was exhausting.
But we got through! Micky and I found a good Italian spot on Atlantic Ave for our first proper date night of the year. And we turned the energy around.
Last Saturday we were in Catskill for a Pokémon tournament while the girls went skiing. Today I’m at a Pokémon tournament in Orlando while the girls go to Universal Studios 😂😭😂
Luka took his Mark Twain test on Sunday to kick off the week. I hope he did well, and he seems pretty happy with it.
Micky headed out early Tuesday morning for a week away which is always tough. I made it worse by going to the Lakers game the night before and it just meant I missed her more. Also, Lebron didn’t play and so that was a bummer.
Amelia’s doing the news most mornings and she’s out the door by herself. Makes lunches the night before. The emergence of an independent person is amazing. Even if it’s happening a bit too fast.
This week she joined the hip hop dance team and all I can say is thank goodness I have rhythm I passed down to her. I’m excited to have her bring some new hip hop into the house though the first set of songs are all 00s classics.
Work took a positive turn this week, and I think we’re on the verge of something really grand. Still trying to get the little pieces settled and the big picture written down, but feeling a renewed sense of urgency that was missing before.
Micky had a huge presentation this week, and she says it went well. The outfit she bought was Carolina blue so it couldn’t have gone that well 😂🙃
Oh and the house. It’s finally making proper progress. I think we’re gonna start to see doors go up. Tiling will finish soon.
There are still some open questions that make no sense to me as to why they’re still open, but the finish line is near. Much nearer than it has felt for a long, long time.
It’s been a good week after a few bad ones. I’m glad the balance is shifting back in our favor.
Week 2, 2023 – Doruk’s book reading
The highlight of this week was Doruk’s book reading in Minneapolis.
I flew out Thursday, worked all day, and then when that was said and done we got into book reading mode. The event was fantastic. All of the authors crushed it. Afterwards we went out and we laughed and laughed and laughed.
On Friday, I came back and we toured the house. We’re finally making progress. It’s feeling more and more like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m learning a lot about things I’m sure they never intended for me to see, but with the project as late as it is – we don’t have time to use the traditional playbook.
I’m really optimistic that we made a huge dent this last month or so. I’m really hoping that big swaths of this project are done now, and we can start the sprint to the finish line. There’s still about 1/3 of the race to go, but I think we’ll get to the final 10% quickly now.
Kids are doing great. Amelia brought home a few graded projects – all of them A’s of some sort. We’re finishing up From the desk of Zoe Washington and it’s getting really exciting.
Theo is starting more playdates with his crew, and I’m really excited about that. Even as who his crew is fluctuates the most important thing is that they are his chosen people and not the siblings of his siblings friends.
Amelia and I went upstate this past weekend and brought down 1 gallon water bottles. We’re all drinking more water as a result, and I think it’s going to be great for us!
First ski run this weekend though I think it will be just the kids. Let’s see how much snow there is.
This was a good week. I hope there are many more like it!
Week 1, 2023 – Of course chaos rules the day
The week saw us leaving Catskill to start back at work, get Mike back to the UK after he broke his wrist, and get a new school semester kicked off.
No Angelica meant that it was even more complicated, and Micky ended up back in England with Mike for 3-days as well.
Moments like this are really where the kids shine – and I also realize how impossible having a fourth child would be in our lives. They got up and made their lunches – including Theo making an all candy and goldfish lunch one day 😂. After school they were patient with me forgetting or being late. We had playdates and good energy through the week.
On Friday, I went to get food for dinner and came back to a scene in the backyard. I thought they’d locked themselves out, but no. They were cleaning up a ton of Eevee poop in the backyard and Theo refused to pick up any poop 😂😂😂 we figured it out in the end, but it was hilarious.
Amelia and I are gonna head upstate for the weekend while the boys do Brooklyn play dates.
The house is also making a lot of progress. HVAC should be close to done. Plumbing is moving. We’ve gotta get electrical moving and I’m getting the utilities updated. Roof is almost done. Back wall is making slow progress. I think there’s a path to March, but we’ve gotta get it done right. Let’s see if we can pull that off.
I’ve decided to skip CES this year, and I’m bummed, but hanging out with the babies is the right choice. The times are definitely changing.
Though chaotic, it was a pretty Önvural start to the new year, and a sign that 2023 is going to be memorable- for what reason I don’t know, but let’s see ❤️
Week 42, 2022 – Back together again
Micky and I got back from the Okavango Delta in Botswana on Thursday, and found the time away both incredibly revitalizing, and also an incredible mechanism by which to refocus. Finding this kind of space and time has been so hard – especially with Micky’s new job, constantly moving between houses, and Amelia starting her middle school routine, and the insanity that was a major launch at Stripe.
We got to go on a safari every day starting at 6am, and would spend 4 – 5 hours driving through the wilderness trying to find interesting animal moments. There are impala everywhere. They’re known as the McDonald’s of the savannah because they are fast food. You’ll see zebra and you’ll often see elephant as well. Finding the predators is hard, and seeing the animals do something besides grazing is hard as well. And in that time you’re left with your thoughts quite a bit. It was fantastic, but I could also imagine that it would be overwhelming for those who hate being with their thoughts.
The time in between was spent eating, swimming, napping, and occasionally figuring out the solution to the world’s problems – or at least how we hoped to survive the next 6 months or so.
The afternoon safari would always be shorter, a bit harder to find things, but would afford a sunset that was – on a daily basis – awe inspiring. There is so much dust in the sky that you can look almost directly at the sun – a large, red circle that lights the horizon in shades of pink. Having an afternoon tea while a gorgeous sunset falls behind a watering hole is incredible. One night, as we’re turning a corner on our way back in the dark, a herd of elephants was hanging out and digging for roots. We just slowly drove through as they focused on the meal in front of them.
The nights were filled with planning. Planning the next set of trips. Figuring out Luka’s middle schools to apply to. Planning for the house – which had great progress made on it while we were gone. Planning for how to retire sooner and just keep traveling as a full-time job.
When you have hippos barking in the background with the bell frogs and the baboons it really puts into perspective how much of our time is spent doing the default as opposed to doing things purposefully.
Our trip home was a short flight, a short flight, a 16-hour flight across the globe, and then a short flight. Being home with the babies who spent time with Doruk, Hanna, and my mom was incredible. They seemed to have an incredible time. It made taking the time off much easier knowing that
Week 11, 2022 – How can we be this tired, and this happy all at once?
A lot has happened in the 10 weeks since my last post.
Micky started a new job. We’ve applied for Middle Schools for Amelia. We’ve added Tennis to the Soccer and Gymnastics mix. Masks are no longer required at schools – though COVID numbers are on the rise once again. And we’re in a building mode – which has been really great.
The first big build in our lives right now is the house. India came into town last week, and she and Micky really made a big dent in the interior design list. We’ve picked out a cool tub, rugs, colors for walls, toilets. At the same time, the back wall is going up, and the framing of walls and rooms with it. It’s really starting to feel like the shape and pieces are coming together.
We’ve had our first major setback though – windows. Delivery is going to take much too long. Move-in date is at risk. But I’m sure we’ll find a way – we always do.
We’ve also built a gaming computer! We went to the local Microcenter, and got all of the parts. We had to glue together a bunch of YouTube videos. I’ve never built a computer completely from scratch before, though I’ve upgraded computers in the past. And some pieces were both generic and easy. And then some parts are just so damn confusing. And getting the cords just right is quite hard. But we got about 90% done ourselves, and then had them help us with the last 10%. And it’s colorful, and great!
And now – we’re building lots of fun things for Tech Day at school. So far we’ve built a water bottle rocket launcher. And a mouse trap car. And it’s so much fun! While the boys and I are knocking that out, the ladies are upstate having a fun weekend as well.
So it’s hectic. It’s tiring. I’m exhausted. But it’s also so full of joy. And spring is right around the corner.
Week 1, 2022 – Starts with chaos
Amelia, Luka, and I got back from the UK Monday, but due to COVID restrictions Micky and Theo got stuck.
It’s an incredibly tough situation to figure out as they’re both past the point of being infectious but unable to test negative. Maybe a doctor’s note is the solution, but why would a doctor write the note? It’s 2-years into COVID and our solutions are still so elementary.
So the trio landed, got to Whole Foods and shopped for a week’s worth of lunches and snacks. We got home. Unpacked. And crashed.
Despite the split start, it was a good week. We were up early every day due to the jet lag. I’ve kept my daily Peloton going with a mix of bike, meditation, and yoga.
I have to say that the yoga classes are quickly becoming my favorite. The feeling afterwards of having dynamically stretched for 30 minutes is amazing.
But back to the week. Theo – despite being in England – seemed to be having an amazing time. Especially with his partner in crime Odys the Dog
The kids are back in their rhythm with school and we weren’t late to school once.
The big adventure this week was figuring out how to get to CES for the annual pilgrimage. Amelia decided to stay in NY with her BFF Louisa while Luka has joined the men for the pilgrimage. Photos to come!
The snow storm didn’t make it easy as many a flight got canceled. But as I type we’re on our way!
So despite the distance and frustration – a good week.
What a year you were 2021
In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy – “Well that escalated quickly didn’t it?”
I have this desire to write that 2021 didn’t bring the promised relief of 2020, but when I look at it objectively that isn’t true. As a family, we’re vaccinated, fully employed, and living a relatively pre-pandemic life.
From the point of view of those three things – 2021 was a massive win.
But there’s still a weight to the year that I wasn’t expecting that seems to be just hanging over us. While acknowledging that, and wanting to write about it more, instead I’ll kick off this year’s weekly family updates with a highlight of the things we most enjoyed from 2021.
- Hanging out with her friends – Louisa, Maelle, and Anya
- Being able to go to England for Christmas
- Hanging out with his pod and going back to school
- Playing quarterback for his flag football team
- Going to school with his friends
- Getting to build legos
- Our trip through California this summer
- Being able to spend time with friends and family who then moved away from NYC
- Spending time with those who were there and stayed as well
Here’s to a healthy, happy 2022 for all of us.
Week of birth celebrations – Powered by people
This was the best birth week I’ve had in a really long time – if not ever. It was filled with memories and people, and – very happily – no presents to unwrap.
- Tuesday -> Warriors vs. Nets basketball game in our amazing seats. I also didn’t eat all day so I could go all out on chicken tenders, popcorn, and french fries
- Wednesday -> Dinner at Bowery Meat Company on one of the final warm evenings of the year where we sat outside, had way too much food, and enjoyed every bite of it
- Thursday -> My uncle decided to come into town somewhat randomly, and we got to have a great family dinner together
- Friday -> D&D Day 2 of what will probably be 20 instead of 10 because the boys can’t focus long enough to finish anything. It turns out introducing them to the Leeroy Jenkins meme was a horrible idea because now the answer to every question is simply them yelling – “LEEEROOOOOYYYYYY JENKINS”
- Saturday (my actual birthday) -> Soccer, food, seeing Greg and meeting Christina, and seeing the Dune movie. So many thoughts on the Dune movie, but that’s for another post and another day.
- Sunday -> COVID test (negative), pizza/salad with Theo, Bronx Zoo, Holiday lights, Benihana
I mean – just so many people, so much awesome, and so much joy. When we moved to NYC I didn’t know if we’d be able to pull this off because making new friends is just so hard at this point. But we’ve found our people, and we’ve also found our rhythm as a family to celebrate and be celebrated.
And it was truly a wonderful week.
2020 – Kids in Review
I think we all know what went wrong last year, but I think I’ll appreciate writing down the things that went right to look back on over time.
This was a year of immense growing up for the kids. In so many dimensions – academically, emotionally, socially – they’re all completely new people in a way I don’t think I’ve noticed before.
Amelia has an incredibly strong group of friends. It’s much smaller than what I remember having in elementary school, but the quality of the connections is much deeper. They’re around each other constantly which worries me. Won’t they grow tired of each other? But honestly – they don’t. And it amazes me.
It’s incredibly hard to be a father to a modern girl. You have to instill in girls confidence that they don’t inherently have. Not push the spunk out of them even though it can drive you crazy. Amelia and her gaggle of friends have random fears of the world that make no sense to me. So how do you push them through those fears without turning them off to experiencing life? I haven’t figured it out.
Amelia has fallen in love with gymnastics. She swims like a fish. Piano, singing – we’re trying to find an art, but we’re not quite there yet. I wish she would read and write more, but she did play Belle in the Spring Production of Beauty and the Beast.
More than anything though, she’s becoming a highly opinionated, strong willed young lady. And before too long, she’ll be ten years old!
Luka spent the year amazing me and driving me crazy simultaneously. Fewer opinions, but moody as hell. Smart as a whip, but the street smarts of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. Obsessed with things at a level that fascinates me, but laziness that drives me crazy.
It’s equally hard to be a father to a modern boy. Especially one who is as sensitive as Luka. I really need him to toughen up a bit. The world is cruel. But he carries the world’s emotions with him. He makes himself responsible for the well being of everyone else – almost always to the expense of himself. It’s hard to watch, but on the flip side it makes me incredibly proud of him. How much he cares. How much he nurtures.
Luka had one line this year that I just won’t ever forget. They were talking about marriage with Laurel, and he said – “You’re supposed to marry your best friend, and so I guess I’ll marry Reeves.” There was no stigma. No real concern about the comment. Just pure love for his friend. And I think it captures the Luka of this moment perfectly.
Luka is obsessed with football and Pokemon. He plays Minecraft. Incredible reader and mathematician. Lazy as can be when it comes to writing. Plays a small bit of piano. We might even start a Christmas tree business this summer together. I really love this guy – even if I’m scared of how the world will abuse him one day.
And then there’s Theo. He’s absolutely the extreme of everything. Screams at you one second. Cuddles you the next. Bites you. Then he wants to play a game with you.
Theo spends way too much time being asked to copy or live up to what his siblings are doing. That’s where we’ve failed him the most. But as we establish his own friend group and his own patterns his own personality is really starting to shine. He’s got his pod, and his buddy Owen, and they’re great together.
At one point during the early lockdown a family with another five year old was up in Catskill with us. The two of them escaped everyone else, had their pizza, and then walked together to the playground. They were just desperate for friends their own age. And it was so incredibly delightful.
Theo is incredibly smart. Loves to swim. But his mean streaks are intense. No one in our family loves Eevee the way he does. They’re often together in her kennel. Or seen wrestling in the living room floor.
We’re building a board game together, and I think I get the most 1-on-1 time with him relative to the other kiddos. He really is my last baby, and I’m feeling the baby phase disappear. That’s hard because I don’t feel done, but we’re not going to have any more children. But I’m enjoying the hell out of this last baby phase.
It hasn’t been an easy year. It has been a year of transition. A year where the kids really grew up, and while growth has pains it’s also a wonderful journey to travel. Especially with these three.
Let’s see what 2021 brings us.