Saturday, April 18, 2009

The April Post

This city mom has been a busy mom (aren't we all?), so much that I had to hurry off the phone with my own mama to take advantage of a child-free moment. Evenings have found city dad and I typing away on our separate lap-tops, and when we encountered each other at home at lunch time yesterday, we were both on the phone with other people.

My part-time gig at the Montessori preschool has expanded into several substituting days, and now more than ever it feels like a home away from home. I am in the honeymoon period when the kids are so excited to see me, so my days are full of hugs and customized drawings. They are wilding out on the spring weather. Margot is blooming at her daycare and now that the sun is out we are enjoying the slightly longer walk there.

After work/school yesterday we enjoyed a mug of beer (the girls had milk) in the biergarten at the Brew Works, then a delightful chance meeting at the Deli Plaza with some Emmaus friends. Their daughter did some amazing tap dancing on the sidewalk. Our neighbors and their extended family were gathered on their stoop blowing bubbles, and the girls and I stayed out with them on our own stoop while city dad and city dog walked to pick-up our take out. Amelia clamored for more stoop hang-out time for the rest of the night.

We are spending part of our day working at the Community Garden at 2nd and Chestnut in Allentown.

I am spending a quiet morning gardening my own backyard. It is beginning to look beautiful!

Our backyard daffodils are finally blooming.

Tonight is the spring thaw potluck for the Old Allentown Neighborhood Association

I am spending my waking hours recruiting farmers for the Allentown Plaza Growers' Market, and doing all sorts of alien things like meeting with health inspectors and cooperative extension directors. I feel nervous and invigorated.

I'm trying to write a native plant ordinance.

I'm applying to graduate school (again) and financial aid, and scholarships.

I get to meet my new nephew next weekend!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

City Envy

Margot celebrated her 2nd birthday, twice, in Annapolis MD and Washington DC. The weather was brilliant and we came away with serious city envy. While we've carved out a walkable lifestyle here in Allentown, visiting a place like DC underscores that we don't have nearly as much to walk to. The comparison isn't fair, of course. Allentown is much smaller and lacks major universities which provide the youth population. A house like ours in DC would be 10x as expensive. We probably couldn't afford all of the cute places we could walk to. And yet. The patio seating at the numerous breakfast joints, the gorgeously restored rowhomes (we have that HERE folks, for cheap!) the museums. swoon.
Back to the reality check. If we moved to DC, we would be working so hard to cover living expenses that we probably wouldn't be appreciating the museums every day - so I'll appreciate that my inexpensive little city is adjacent to some really cool big cities. So we can have our grapefruit mimosas on the patio and drink them, too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Free time and more walking

In January I started working very part time at Amelia's preschool. The girls love it and it gets us out of the house during that early evening witching hour that every parent dreads. With Margot on the cusp of her second birthday and her increasing anguish over Amelia going to school in the mornings without her, little M started her own school this week. Theoretically this would give me some free time (2 mornings a week) to take care of long neglected household duties (and regroup the scattered pieces of my sanity). However, during the first two days of Margot daycare this week I was able to fill in as a substitute at Amelia's school.
As an aside, 3-6 year olds are probably the coolest little humans on the planet.
So here is the cool part. Amelia's preschool is 2.5 blocks from our house. Margot's day care is 2.5 blocks away from Amelia's school. Matt's work is 2 blocks away from Margot's day care. We aren't relishing this situation as much as we should be due to frigid, frigid temperatures, but come spring the bike trailer is coming out!
On our walk to the the preschool yesterday afternoon I met two young police officers that are starting a new beat downtown, including my block. They had a tour of Amelia's preschool and took information for their own families. It was great to see officers on their feet in the city, rather than racing by in cars. I understand that they may be using bicycles as the weather warms, as well.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

so much for that hour a day....

This A-town mama's blogging skills are in serious question. While I can't sit here and suggest I never get an hour of down time, I can safely say said down time occurs when my brain is officially fried. So very fried that I can gleefully enjoy the technological brilliance that is Netflix on Tivo.

Events that have been keeping me from typing include stomach viruses, sub-freezing temperatures, Margot starting her mornings at 530am, seasonal affect disorder (self-diagnosed), cabin fever, paint and feathers and sequins and glue to address said cabin fever, death and sorrow, a ridiculously messy house, a very part-time job, inspiration to return to school upon discovery of the perfect second career, elation related to this new plan, frustration by the red tape that inevitably pops up when all other stars are in alignment.

Oh yes, and an almost 2 year old that climbs into my lab to pound away at the keyboard if I ever dare to sit here during her waking hours. There is only a small bag of googly craft eyes between her and the destruction of this non-entry.

OK, googly eyes are now being consumed

Friday, January 2, 2009


Whether or not this becomes a coherent blog remains to be seen. My original intent was to blog daily, to carve out an hour to myself and be able to write something substantive. Those free hours are rare, and I often have too many ideas or too few. I have felt a bit melancholic the past couple of days, a combination of food coma, mild new years hangover, and sleep deprivation due to sick kids. What I can come back to, however, with gratefulness and even joy, are our friends here. We are hopelessly nomadic, and when we bought our home almost 5 years ago never intended to be here this long. We thought it would be hard to meet people, having had a safety net of graduate school colleagues we instantly clicked with in our last two moves. How thrilling, then, to have this vast and diverse group of friends, unfortunately too many to fill our cluttered home on New Years Eve. We had 8 adults and 8 children to celebrate the occasion (mind you, not ring in the new year as kids had to depart for bedtime long before then). We met Jeff and Karen on the street, and Andy and Krissy at the farmers market, and Holly and Dave through Matt's work. Our first friends here, Jill and Chris, we met through Friendster (remember Friendster? that was before myspace and facebook). Our first cup of coffee with them occured 3 days before we had Amelia. We now have 3 kids between us and another on their way! On Jan 1 we babysit for Ken and Liz, Liz who I stalked through La leche league. Despite a mild eggnogg hangover I marveled at our 4 daughters on New Years morning, happy to have them in our home. Today I took the girls to the Allentown Art Museum with Karen and her 2, and ran into John and his daughter Lucia, who we met through preschool. How great to run into friends at the art museum, right!? Instead of Chuck e. Cheese or some such nonsense.

So talking with Karen at the art museum today, I mentioned my unrest with 2009. Every year we seem to have something big around the corner; a move, a new baby, a new job, something. This year there is nothing monumental, so I feel lost. Can we just settle down and create a routine? a life? So I come back to these friends, these new, unexpected, delightful friends, and realize if we ever left Allentown it would be just as achingly hard as any of our past moves. And conversations and picnics and BBQs are going to be big enough, and fulfilling enough.

The other thing, because this is a citymoms blog, was the realization, when these 16 bodies were packed into our narrow rowhome, with dusty corners and squeaky hardwood floors, that everyone here lived in a rowhome, or twin, with various levels of dust and delightfully small backyards. With squeaky floors and limited parking. Its ok to live urban!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trees Vs. Treeless

I mentioned in the comment section of "We got a tree!" that the TreeVitalize grant was voted in during a re-vote at the last commissioners meeting. 7-2. YAY! I received emails from two of the nine commissioners, and felt good that my voice was heard. I know a lot of people stepped up that day and called and wrote and attended the meeting. I just wanted to post a couple of pics from opposite sides of the same street. Which side would you want to live on? One big, gorgeous tree was cut down recently on the now treeless side of the street, because it was messing up the sidewalk. Um, the sidewalks all over the city are a disaster, with or without tree roots contributing. The tree is gone but the sidewalk is still in shambles.

Walking and biking to school

I have at least a dozen posts swirling around my head regarding urban schools. Our temporary haven is the Montessori preschool downtown, but just this week it is mired in tumultuous parent-driven ugliness and insanity. I am not going to post about that, though. I need to escape it and have faith that the bulk of the parental community is not bat-shit crazy and are happy to support and question the administration in a healthy, respectful way. This is Montessori, after all.

We had our first sticking snow last night, and school was postponed an hour. A significant number of parents come from the suburbs, and on icy days like this I appreciate that we can walk instead of drive. This was M's first real experience with snow, and she loved it until she realized it is freaking cold. The refusal to wear mittens didn't help, so the idyllic walk quickly deteriorated shortly after this photo was taken.

On other days A rides her bike or scooter, and when she goes on foot she gets to ride home on the back of dad's bike. Awesome.