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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think that Einstein may have gotten it wrong when he tried to describe the relationship between time and energy as quadratic. The kiddos will gladly take the Nobel Prize once we can figure out the math to explain how quickly this year passed, and how much everyone changed.
My favorite was the three-week trip we did with the kids across Egypt, Italy, and finishing in the UK. They handled the heat incredibly well. They learned a ton, and to this day can quote the things that they learned. The time they spent with the family was incredible. As they’re getting older, and better able to retain the memories, it’s amazing to see them create richer and richer moments. Theo learned how to scare the shit of us in the pool, but bravely jumped in anyway. It was an amazing trip.
I’ve found that 2nd Grade is a hard year regardless of teacher or child. But both 1st Grade and 3rd Grade were quite wonderful. I don’t know what it is about 2nd Grade. We had a teacher tell us that it’s the first year that the kids aren’t babied, and that it makes it a tougher year. Whatever it is though, it’s caused lots of emotions to flow out.
We’ve gotten incredibly lucky with preschool whether the 2s program in SF or the preschool programs all the kids have been through. Theo loves his friends, his teachers, and school in general. He’s the most amazing story teller. He’s got the best laugh, and he still cuddles us. He’s a grown up baby in so many ways. If only we could kick that damn bottle.
Birthday parties spread out from Chuck’e’Cheese to rock climbing to laser tag. Swimming in the river and bowling upstate. The big two discovered that they like to ski. Theo discovered that he likes me pulling him up and down the tubing slopes. We still can’t really get them to go for a hike, but I’m sure we’ll tackle that one soon enough.
Amelia has picked up acting and gymnastics, and loves both. She’s been willing to trade away rock climbing. Luka gave up soccer, and hasn’t found a sport, but he’s a Pokemon card player with his whole retinue of friends. Theodore hasn’t hit the activities scene yet though sneaking him into art class was great, and he seemed to enjoy it (and they him).
Biggest family hack was getting Theo into Cooking Camp this year. Not only did we get him in under the age limit, but then the big kids told the teacher he was allergic to tomatoes all week to only find out at the very end that they’d been pulling her leg. That’s how you know they’re related to me.
It was a horrible year on many fronts, but on the kids front it was wonderful. Maybe the best it’s been yet. And I hope it only gets better from here.
This weekend we headed up to Mechanicsville, NY to have a go at a Pokemon League Cup. All three kiddos hopped in, and I joined as well (though we competed in different divisions).
In competitive Pokemon there are three point generating levels – League Challenges, League Cups, and Regionals. There are also International Cups, but I have no idea how those work, and so they’re outside my world view 🙂
Luka has been the one in the family with the most success so far, and he looked to continue that streak. But Amelia and Theo both are getting much better – and the fairy deck I inherited from Amelia is one I’m finally figuring out how to play better.
When all was said and done, Luka finished 2nd (out of 4), Amelia 3rd (out of 4), and Theo 4th (out of 4). I finished 22 (out of 28).
The real chaos though came in building the decks mere moments before the tournament started. You see only certain cards are legal, and I totally botched which ones were allowed and weren’t allowed. Poor Theo had to build a whole new deck in the 10 minutes before the tournament started, but he was such a great trooper. We also had a bunch of other Poke Parents help us out, and that was a huge help. It’s a really amazing community from that point of view.
I was bummed out for Luka because he won his first match, and then ended up playing much harder competition than the rest of his peer group. The result was that they had better results than him though he had beaten them in head-to-head competition.
It’s definitely a bug in the Pokemon tournament system I’d love to see resolved.
And the shop where the tournament was hosted was amazing. It’s an old gaming store with old NES, SNES, arcade, and other games. Did you know that a functional version of Mega Man 5 for NES is worth $110?!? Because I sure as hell didn’t!
It was a great Saturday for all of us, and I think we’ve all got some good ideas about how to improve our decks, and move into the next chapter of this season. Maybe I’ll even win 2 matches at the next tournament!
Here we are – one month out until Theo turns 3 years old. It’s really hard to imagine being done with babies. The stages are fun, but they’re hard. The days are long, but the years are short. <insert another cliché here>
And so I’ll just soak up the moments I do get because there are a lot of lasts (last diaper, last formula, last potty training). The best part of it though is that I get to do it with this wonderful guy.