Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

The line from “Hamilton: An American Musical” keeps running through my mind right now as I sit here reflecting on the insanity of the year that was 2016. This year has been a whirlwind of ups and downs. And yes, there have been many downs but we are still here. We ARE lucky to be alive right now and to enter 2017, fierce and strong and ready to meet challenges like the badass people we have proven to be. Yep, I am talking about YOU! Go get it my friends!! =)

Sorry, I haven’t written in awhile, one of the resolutions I hope to keep is to get back to my writing. It really does soothe my soul and make me happy.

I have spent the last few days of 2016 with my girls and Memphis. I was lucky enough to get the week off of work and we spent Christmas in Bedford celebrating with good friends and meeting new people in a beautiful setting. We have also had some quality time chilling at home binge watching “Gilmore Girls”.

This time of year is still a bit tough, I find myself with a bit too much time to think and reflect. Not necessarily a bad thing unless I start being a little too hard on myself. I have to remind myself to take a deep breath. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. This year we said goodbye to Dopey dog but it also brought us Memphis. The girls and I have become closer, we are our own little family unit. I have a job that I enjoy, it is chaotic and crazy, it forces me out of my comfort zone. I don’t see my extended family and out of town friends as often as I would like but they are doing a-okay and that makes me smile. Here in the big city I am surrounded by my NYC family and these friends are the glue that hold all the pieces together. My heart is full. For that I am so very humbled and grateful.

I do feel a little uncertain as to what 2017 holds, but I do know this, together, we will be okay. Kindness is key. And love really is the answer. Be well my friends. Happy, Happy, Happy 2017!! -Sandra xo

(I leave you with a few pics from the last few days of this year- Enjoy!)


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It has been a bit of a crazy week for Ottawa reunions. Just back from a fabulous weekend in Montreal with three cherished girlfriends from Ottawa, I had another wonderful friend visit NYC for a couple of days from the Nation’s Capital. Alison and I had a great couple of days just catching up, reminiscing and exploring. She had fun checking out my new life as a Manhattan dweller and I loved hearing about her adventures back in Canada. Alison even had the chance to witness my New Yorker attitude as I yelled at a passing driver who nearly ran us (and numerous other pedestrians) over at a cross walk. The expression on her face was priceless. Oh ya, I’m badass!! 😉

Alison and I at Fort Tryon Park

The great thing about my friend Alison, is that she is a planner and came with a list of things that she would like to do for her limited stay in NYC. We ventured to St. John the Divine Church, Magnolia Cupcake, The Lego Store, FAO Schwarz, The Disney Store, Rockefeller Center, strolled through Riverside and Central Park and walked up and down the streets taking it all in. But, the coolest place she wanted to go to was Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters. I had never heard of these two places and was eager to head out and see them.

We hopped on the A train and headed to 190th street. It was an absolutely beautiful day- sunny and high of 60’s. When we arrived at 190th, we (I) made the mistake of exiting through the tunnel and we ended up at the wrong entrance but we were able to see the beautiful rock wall ridge and a very unique subway entrance in the process.

Subway entrance built into the side of the rock wall

We headed back into the subway and took the elevator up and exited on to a beautiful and peaceful setting- the entrance to Fort Tryon Park. Fort Tryon Park is truly spectacular at this time of year and I am sure it is amazing at any time of year. Right now the trees and flowers are starting to bloom and it really is an incredible escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life. There are winding, wide open trails, beautiful gardens and pathways that have majestic views over looking the Hudson River. I fell in love instantly.

View looking out over the river with the George Washington Bridge in the distance

Tree lined pathways

Towards the end of the sprawling park is The Cloisters Museum. The Cloisters “is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe”. It is an extremely quiet and serene place where you can see works of art, sculptures, treasures, tapestries and architectures from the Middle Ages. I loved wandering through the cool, peaceful, castle-like setting. Alison described it as escaping to France for the morning. It really did feel like we had left Manhattan and were visiting a the European countryside. I didn’t hear a single siren or car horn 😉

The Cloisters Museum

Cuxa Cloister

Gothic Chapel

One of the incredible tapestries on display

Statue in the Late Gothic Hall

It was a fabulous new find. I love it when people come to visit in the city and they show me new places. I am adding Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters to my “must do” list of things for people who come to NYC. Next week, the girls and I will definitely venture out to explore the park during spring break. They will love the wide open spaces to run around. It would also be a great spot for a picnic lunch and a good book. Right now, I am gearing up to see a couple of more visitors from Ottawa and family are heading our way too. I can’t wait to see everyone, but I have a feeling that in about a week or so after all the visitors leave and the girls are back at school I might be sneaking back to the park for a bit of peace and quiet =). Enjoy the weekend everyone!!

Not a sign you see very often in NYC!

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On Friday I had the pleasure of going to the Appleland Market in New York City.  It was a very exclusive, by invitation only event.  It was held in R’s kindergarten class!! It was absolutely one of the CUTEST, most ADORABLE events I have ever attended. R’s class has been working on an Apple unit since September. You may have remembered from earlier posts that they have visited the Farmer’s Market and gone on a field trip to the Queen’s County Farm Museum. So, this was the big final event, the cumulation of all of their hard work.

The Appleland Market Staff with their matching shirts

The class created the market in their classroom.  As the parents, friends, family and other guests arrived we were welcomed by greeters at the door.  We then entered the market area where we went down the line and were able to purchase items such as various apples, home-made gift cards, bookmarks, cookbooks and apple muffins. The children diligently checked off how many items were being purchased.

The Market Line

R & M ready to sell their Apple Muffins

Hard at work!

The market was incredibly well organized and there were separate areas including an efficient check-out that only accepted quarters so that the students could do all the transactions, a cafe area as well as an area for re-stocking of items. The local grocery stores could really learn something from the professionalism of this class of five year olds!! Each child took his/her job extremely seriously and knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing. When it came time for us to leave, R barely said good-bye as she was so immersed in her duties.

The Check-Out Area

Stock Area

Getting ready to re-fill the apples

The Cafe

R came home from school on Friday over the moon with excitement. She loved the experience and I am sure it is one that she will not soon forget.  I am reminded how lucky our transition has been… such an incredible school with amazing teachers. Just another slice of life from the Big Apple 😉

Happy Appleland Market Customers!!

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Wanna Be My Friend?


It has been three months since our BIG move to New York City and every once in awhile it hits me that this is real, that this is our new home.  I know, I am a slow learner 😉  I have been extremely busy making sure that the children are adjusting to their new school, that they are meeting people and are involved in various activities.  As a parent, it is my first priority to look out for my children. They were our number one concern when Ron and I started talking about the move in the first place.  The thoughts that kept running through my head were “Would they fit in?”, “Would they find friends?”, “Would they adjust to city life?”- And they are doing fine.  Better than fine. They love their new school, have had play dates and birthday parties. We are getting organized and settling in.  I can stop worrying about them, well, as much as a mother ever really stops worrying…

Maybe it is time to worry about me.  Or at least, think about me.


Did someone mention cupcakes??!!


I am feeling a bit nervous today because I am starting a running class tonight.  I have two reasons that I am feeling anxious.  One, I am worried that it is going to be a killer work out and that my ass will be handed to me. But that is the exact reason why I signed up in the first place, so I should just suck it up and stop thinking about it.  The second reason I am nervous is that I am branching out and starting something new where I know no one. This may surprise some of you but sometimes I get a bit freaked out when I have to meet new people.  The old insecurities from high school creep in and I just hope that someone there will “like me”.  This is when it hit me- that like my daughters, I am the NEW KID.

I have been soo worried about the kid’s transitions that at some point along the way I kind of forgot that I was transitioning too.  I have been very fortunate to meet some wonderful people in this city. I am also incredibly lucky to have already had some friends in New York.  I did not have to move here, totally on my own with no one to reach out to.  However, that being said, I am one of the “new” mommies on the playground and that can be extremely stressful.  The other night I went to a social/fundraising event for the school.  I arrived a bit early and walked into the lobby where a group of women who clearly all, already knew each other were standing.  They turned and looked at me (gave me that up and down look) and then turned and continued on with their conversation.  Not a great way to start the evening.  I mean really, I have taught 13 years of high school and way back when actually attended myself, when will women stop being evil to one another?  At this point I was tempted to leave but the mature woman in me reminded myself that I wouldn’t want to be friends with women like this anyway and waited patiently for other people to arrive.  Sure enough, soon after, other women arrived and were friendly and reached out to make me feel welcome.  In fact, I ended up having a great time.


Oh girls, why can't we all just get along?


It is tough being the new kid, it is not always sunshine and lollipops.  I am not going to lie, while I am having fun meeting new people, it can be exhausting.  There is something to be said about that friend that already knows you, that you don’t have to hope beyond hope will like you, because they have already seen you at your worst and still love you for it.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still going to talk to everyone I can, even if inside, my stomach is doing little nervous flips, that is just who I am.  And hey, unlike my high school self, I also realize that life is too short to try and make everyone like you.  Some people aren’t really worth the effort anyway. This new kid is going to be a-okay.  This afternoon I am heading out for my own play date at Starbucks… just the way I like it 😉


True Friends =)


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Today has been a very strange day for me.  All day I have been going through the motions but I have been feeling like I am missing something.  It is the day after Labor Day or Labour Day if you are Canadian, and that is the day that I usually start back to work. But today I didn’t.  For the first time since well, I guess since I was four, I did not start school today.  I have always gone back to school in September, as a student and then as a teacher.  Last night I actually had a good night sleep. Normally I can’t sleep the night before  school because I am excited to meet my students and I have the first day jitters. Not last night, I slept like a log.  It was weird.

My girls don’t start school until tomorrow- It’s a NYC thing.  So, we spent the day in Central Park meeting kids from A’s third grade class.  I felt like I should be somewhere else, doing something else.  It was a weird feeling.

For the first time in my life, since I was old enough to work, I don’t have a job.  I will get to go with the girls to school tomorrow and walk with them to their classes.  I will get to pick them up. This year I will be able to volunteer and be part of the parent’s association.  I won’t miss all of the little things because I am in class at the same time that they are.  I won’t have to take a personal day to see a Christmas Concert or attend a Kindergarten Breakfast. It is a weird feeling.

Perhaps this will be the hardest challenge for me in this big move to New York City.  So often a job defines who we are.  I am not sure how I really feel about it, I am sure it won’t even seem real until sometime in October.  Right now it just feels weird.

A & R Walking to the Bus Stop on the First Day of School Last Year

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When we were first even considering making the big move to New York City my first thoughts revolved around the children.  How would they deal with such a big move? What would life be like for them? We would be moving from a house in a community surrounded by green space and a big backyard to an apartment with no outdoor space and very little room to run around. What would their new school be like?  Could they handle the constant noise, fast pace and frenetic energy? How would I cope with two young children and the traffic, small spaces, distractions and the crowds of people.

Put quite simply, it has been a learning experience for all of us.  I shudder at the thought that I have actually said “Do NOT lick the subway pole”.  Yet, it was only last night that I came to the realization, that the kids are adjusting just fine.  As I was chilling out in the bathtub (a spot where I do all of my best thinking) I reflected on our NYC day.  That morning we had done our back to school shopping in a very crowded Macy’s, dragged our purchases home on the subway, and then visited a local Asian restaurant for dumplings and noodles.  Back in Ottawa, my children would never have suggested dumplings for dinner. Here in NYC, they seem to have adopted a much more open mind, I think you have to.  After dinner it was a truly glorious evening. Ron and I walked through Central Park while the children rode their scooters up ahead.  They manoeuvred through the throng of people like old pro’s and they never once complained that they were tired.

This is the thought that struck me last night.  The kids are no longer complaining about the walking.  They have found their NYC legs.  For those of you that have ever visited NYC or live here, you will know exactly what I mean.  It is impossible to not come home after a long day of pounding the pavement and not feel it in your tender tootsies.  Over the last couple of weeks the kids have stopped complaining about not having a car and put on their running shoes and go.

A reading to R on a subway ride

Now, trust me, things are not all sunshine and lollipops and I would be lying if I said I did not have days when I feel like having a meltdown because one of them has to pee and there is absolutely no clean place around to do so OR when they have a moment of homesickness for friends OR one of the children just breaks down because they have had a really long day in a City that can sometimes be very unforgiving.  And I am sure that there are many challenging moments ahead. But, all in all, these moments are outnumbered by the many positive adventures and by the fact that I still think to myself, “Holy Fuck,  these kids are growing up in NYC- what an amazing opportunity!”  A truly amazing opportunity indeed.

A different day, a new adventure!

Now, as for the dogs… well it would be going a lot smoother if Dopey would just get over the whole pooping on pavement thing… but I think I will save that story for another day! 😉

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