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Deerfoot Dropoff

All packed up- not much stuff for 2 weeks (they don’t do laundry)

My sweet boys

I thought that dropping Ishaan off at camp this year would be easier for me than it was last year. I guess in some ways it was since I knew what to expect in terms of registration, meeting the Chiefs, and other administrative details. It was easier because it is Ishaan’s second year and I don’t have to worry about whether or not he will have a great time.

Quick stop on the way to camp

It was easier for a lot of reasons, but then why do I have a horrible sad anxious feeling deep inside. Why am I pacing around wondering what to do with myself? I guess dropping him off for two weeks of wilderness camp will never be easy, but hopefully each year will be just a little bit easier.

Ishaan already meeting people and making friends

An amazing thing happened at drop off- we ran into two old friends from New York. Both of their boys were going to the same session and none of us knew it. One of them still lives in NYC and the other moved away shortly after we did so it was pretty neat for the boys to all see each other, completely unexpectedly, again.

I know from last year that I shouldn’t expect much in the way of letter writing and since there is no phone communication, once again I will have to wait unit he gets back to hear about it. Two weeks without talking to my boy seems like forever!

Andy took the girls on a father-daughter camping trip with some others dads and daughters from our church so he wasn’t around to take Ishaan. He was disappointed  that he would miss out on going to Deerfoot but it was important to have that special time with Ulka and Ila. They were so excited about the weekend- it was so sweet to watch them pack up their backpacks and giggle excitedly about how much fun it was going to be.

So yesterday we dropped Andy and the girls off to meet the van and everyone said their goodbyes there.

Andy’s mom babysit Kairav for a couple of hours so that I could take Ish out on a date to pick up the few things he needed for camp and go out for dinner . It was such a sweet time with my amazing boy.  Now the count down begins until we have him home again!

Summer Daze

Well, there is no doubt about it. Summer is in full swing here in the northeast. Temperatures consistently in the high 80s and low 90s and no rain.

I’m still here and I’m still not blogging regularly, but I am flossing so that’s a good thing. Our summer days are just as they should be- hazy, lazy, and full of fun. Sometimes I feel like we need to have more of a routine and rhythm to our summer days but then I think of the planning and scheduling I have to do during the school year and I quickly abandon that idea. Perhaps our days would be a little better if I planned more, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I try to do one fun activity everyday and anything more than that is a bonus.

I have been trying to remember what my summers were like as a kid. I know they were tons of fun but I can’t really remember what exactly I did. I swam a lot in my friend’s pool, went to the beach, biked to the playground, and just did a whole of nothing. I think that is probably why they were so much fun. The lack of structure and the permission to laze around is part of what summer is all about. Andy sometimes has to remind me of this when I say to the kids “come on, do SOMETHING!”  He’s right, it’s summer and it’s ok if they do nothing sometimes.

I’ve certainly relaxed this summer. I find myself sitting during the day! Actually sitting down, relaxing, and not doing much of anything. That can be a hard thing for me. I have trouble sitting still and not being productive. I do have to interrupt my idleness with spates of weeding here and there, hanging out some laundry, trying to stay on top of the house work, and attempting to throw together some meals, but I’ve slowed down a whole lot, and I have to admit- It feels great.

So what have we been up to? We started the summer with a surprise trip to Boston. We don’t go away often and it was a real treat for everyone. I love to surprise the kids, so we didn’t tell them anything until the morning we were leaving. The night before we left,  we packed their bags and backpacks and brought them downstairs. We had put together a sort of scavenger hunt of places and landmarks they had to find in Boston and put them, along with $10 each for spending money, in envelopes next to their breakfast plates.

They were wonderfully excited and it was such fun to watch their little faces light up as they figured it out. Kairav was just excited about the new water bottle with a straw at his place.

Through the kindness and connections of someone else, we got a great deal on a hotel right off the Commons! It was a super nice place and we had a suite, so we were completely spoiled. We haven’t stayed in a hotel since my brother’s wedding 4 years ago so it was new and exciting and the kids thought it was pretty much the best thing ever. Even though the hotel was nice enough to just lounge in all day, we did lots of other stuff too.

On the Ferry to the USS Constitution

On Old Ironsides

Boston Commons. Make way for the Jerabeks!

I lived in Boston when I was in graduate school, but I was so busy that I hardly left my little corner where my apartment and campus were so I had a lot to see too.

We also took a short trip to Plattsburgh while my aunt was visiting from England. I love Plattsburgh in the summer and we spent one day at Rouses Point Beach.

My (not so little anymore) brother and his wife and sweet baby came back East from California to visit and stayed with us for a night on their way between Plattsburgh and PA.

It was Lulu’s birthday and we had the honor of celebrating with her!

Little Star that Ulka made and embroidered for Lulu’s birthday

I miss them terribly and don’t get to see them nearly as much as I would like to.

I went ahead and invested in the season pass for our local town park pool.  It really is a wonderful place and the kids love it. I can take the kids in the early afternoon before naps and then we can go back in the evening with Andy- I feel pretty spoiled really.

There is a great big kiddie pool perfect for Kairav and Ila, an Olympic pool that sectioned off for laps and free swim where Ishaan and Ulka are safe to play, and a diving pool, plus super cool fountains for the little ones. Sometimes I wish we could just spend our days at a creek or a lake but this is five minutes away and very easy and honestly with 4 kids under 10 close and easy are big pluses.

Other than that our days have been mellow. A bit of hiking,

some berry picking,

track meets,

spending time with friends, gardening,

and a lot of biking riding up and down the street since Ila learned to ride without training wheels!

What have you been up to this summer?

Blogging is like Flossing

It has been a really really long time since I last posted an entry here.  Not because I haven’t had anything to share as a lot has happened here in the last several weeks. At first I was just busy with school wrap up and gardening and all kinds of other projects, and then honestly I just fell out of the habit and it seemed so overwhelming to get back into it. It’s like flossing. You know you should do it but if you are not in the habit of flossing everyday it is easy to put it off for later when you feel more like it.  Once you are in the habit of flossing everyday you realize how easy it is you can’t imagine going to bed without doing it. My record for flossing every single day is 9 months, then we ran out of floss and just like that I was out of the habit it about 3 days.  It’s possible that you don’t really care what my flossing habits are. My record for blogging every day is 7 days and that was when I was doing my “week in the life” project. I never intended to blog everyday, but at least once a week is a realistic goal.

I do intend to few a few “catch up” posts in the next couple of weeks. We ended the school year really well and the summer is off to a great start. Lots of swimming, cooking out, gardening, ice cream eating, running, bike riding, and general fun and relaxing.  How is your summer shaping up?


A Week in the Life – Day Seven

I wish we could sleep in or at least laze around in our pajamas drinking  coffee on Sunday mornings but that is not the case in our house. We have to be up, dressed, breakfasted, and ready to be out the door by 8am for church. We could go to the 11:15 service but then we don’t get home until 1:30 and we feel like it’s a waste of our day. We are late for church about 100% of the time, but hey, at least we make it.

When we get home we get some lunch on the table, put Kairav down for a nap and proceed with a relaxing but hopefully productive Sunday afternoon.

It’s blood orange season!

Lately with my increase in students I’ve had to go out in the afternoon to tutor for an hour or two which I don’t usually mind. Today I really really really did not want to go, but I just kept reminding myself that every hour of tutoring is a cello lesson for Ulka, or a month of YMCA membership, or part of an iPad. A little motivation goes a long way.

I did get to squeeze in some cuddle time with my favorite 4 year old before I left.

Ulka, my own little live-in mother’s helper, got Kairav ready  and put him down for his nap.

Ulka does not have any idea how to relax and be still. For her doing gymnastics is relaxing.

On her beam that Andy made her for Christmas.

Ishaan could literally read all day if we let him.

While I was out at the library Andy and Ishaan made a shelf for Ishaan’s bedroom wall.  Ishaan is a collector of treasures and he needs a place to keep them where they are not in my way and out of the reach of curious little hands. It came out super great and he is thrilled with it.

Sunday night is pizza night. No pizza here even approaches real Brooklyn pizza and frankly it’s just not worth buying.Andy has become an expert dough maker, though he hasn’t yet mastered throwing it up the the air and catching it to stretch it out! Although our homemade pizza doesn’t really come close to Brooklyn pizza either, it is it’s own thing and we quite like it. It’s fun to experiment with toppings. Today we made a leek, mushroom, and garlic with herbs and feta (no red sauce) and a spinach, garlic and tomato for our family. We also made a pie for our neighbors who just had a baby and delivered it piping hot.

After dinner the kids watched the 1950s version of Cheaper by the Dozen on the computer. Movies for them are a real treat so they were super excited.

I spent some time working on those blasted colored pencil rolls. Ulka’s is almost done and Ishaan’s is well on it’s way. And now after I’ve finished this post I think a glass of wine and an early night is in order.

I am sure that over the last seven days you have noticed a pattern to our little life here. Homeschooling, making stuff, cello, gymnastics, reading, and cooking. That is how we spend most of our time- at least in the winter. I am planning to make this a seasonal project so watch for the spring edition!

Well friends thanks for tuning into my little experiment here. I appreciate every one of you and all your kind and encouraging comments. It’s been a little bit exhausting documenting everything  and blogging every day for a week and I’ll be glad to have a little break!

Good night!

Ice Skating

It has so far been quite a mild winter here in upstate NY. However, the last week or so has been really cold and we finally got some snow yesterday and that’s nice too. It is winter after all and cold  and  snow are to be expected and it makes the kids  happy when there is snow.

We moved up here from Brooklyn exactly two years ago and one of the things that Andy was most looking forward to was putting a skating rink in the back yard. Very close friends of his family owned the house before us and he grew up skating on their rink and was excited about carrying on the tradition. The children who used to live here have long since grown up and moved away, so it had been a very long time since the house looked out onto a skating rink. Last year Andy did lots of research and talked to a couple of the  boys about how to go about it, and it turns out it is actually not as complicated as it seems. Though I’m not the one responsible for the assembly or the maintenance, so maybe I’m just clueless to how much work it really is.  This year we increased the size by close to 70%, making the rink about 90′ by 30′.

Andy got most the wood free from Craigslist but had to buy new plastic this year. He also found 10 strings of those big bulb christmas lights on Craigslist for next to nothing so it is quite festive out there.

So, it is finally cold enough that the ice is frozen solid and the kids have been having tons of fun out there. Ishaan and Ulka are pretty good skaters already after skating all winter last year.

Ila was nervous and not that into it last year, but has been eager and excited this year. The first time she went out she pushed a little plastic chair around, but abandoned it quickly. Now, after a week she’s not bad at all. She’s not racing around with her hockey stick like Ishaan and Ulka, but maybe next year.

We even put little Kairav on skates, though at two he would rather be pushed around sitting in the chair.

Lots of friends come over to skate and the rink is open anytime to the neighborhood kids how would like to skate. Sometimes the mud and traffic through the kitchen and all the skate tying  gets a bit frustrating, but it is a good way to build community and relationships in a place where we find that can be challenging.

I was a little skeptical about the whole idea at first. I wasn’t sure how much the kids would use it or how much work it would be, but it has been really great for our family. We spend a lot of time out there and it’s a great way to keep moving in the winter and have fun as a family.  If you have the space and the inclination, I highly recommend it! If you need any encouragement or pointers, I am sure Andy would be happy to help.

Soup of the Week

One reason I love winter, is that it’s soup time. Wait, that’s a lie. I hate winter. One thing that makes winter more tolerable to me is soup.  I love a bowl of hearty delicious soup.  I find myself cooking soup for my family at least once a week during the cold months, so I thought I would start posting my favorite soup recipes in a weekly post. Sometimes they are taken entirely from somewhere else, in which case I will link back to the original recipe (if I can find it), and sometimes I’ve just thrown things together and made it up.  I like to include lots of veggies in most of my soups so that I don’t have to make a salad or a side vegetable to go with it. After all, part of what I love about soup is the fact that it’s a one-pot, easy clean up meal.

Here is my first soup of the week- this one doesn’t have tons of veggies, so I usually make a yummy salad and I can usually get Ishaan to make a killer skillet cornbread to go with it!

Spicy Black Bean Soup

olive oil- just enough to sauté the onion and garlic

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

2 medium onion, chopped

2 carrots, grated

4-5 chopped tomatoes, or 28 oz of canned tomatoes.

28 oz of canned black beans or preferably beans that have been soaked overnight and then cooked in the morning (but sometimes I just don’t plan that well)

a generous amount of cumin- at least a tablespoon

6 cups of veggie broth or water and bullion (I prefer something called Better than Bullion– it’s like a thin paste that comes in a little jar available at most coops or natural food stores)

salt and pepper to taste

a splash of cream or 1/2 & 1/2 if you are feeling decadent

chopped cilantro

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño- cook until the onion is translucent, but take care not to burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Cook for a few minutes. Add the beans and broth. Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Remove about half the soup and blend it until fairly smooth in a blender then put it back in the pan with the rest of the soup. This thickens up the soup without making it completely smooth. If you are adding cream, do it now (at the end), but really just a splash as this is intended to be a hearty, spicy soup.  That’s it!

I got the inspiration for this soup off the epicurious website, and then changed it up  a bit.

Friday Moment

 {A single photo every Friday that captures the week, or a special moment to remember. An idea created by SouleMama}

Friday Moment

{A single photo every Friday that captures the week, or a special moment to remember. An idea created by SouleMama}

Friday Moment


{A single photo every Friday that captures the week, or a special moment to remember. An idea created by SouleMama}

Friday Moment

{A single photo every Friday that captures the week, or a special moment to remember. Created by SouleMama}