Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flower Planting

I might have mentioned this before, but I regularly have to give my self a pep talk to get motivated to get outside with my kids during the day. The reality is I'm just more of a home body, however, I know it is good for us all to get out and do things. And once we are out, it is usually a good time. We actually have plans this afternoon after naps to meet up with one of our old neighbors for a play date, so I didn't want to leave the neighborhood, since we'll have to do that later. You may be wondering why I didn't want to leave the neighborhood. Leaving means having to use public transportation, the subway. I don't mind at all taking the kids on the train(and we do it very regularly), but 90% of the stations do not have elevators. I have two 25 lb. kids in a stroller, plus our stuff, plus the weight of a stroller (plus Jack when he is on the kickstand) to push around and get from place to place. I obviously can't load that down subway stairs alone, so I always have to wait and ask someone who looks willing and strong enough to help me carry the stroller down and up stairs. Whew... it's just a lot of work, but that's how it goes in this great city and now you know why I don't choose, for the fun of it, to do that for more than one outing a day.

So, I've been telling Jack since early spring that we were going to plant some flowers in the flower pots on our balcony. It never happened, two seasons later I decided that today was the day. Just for the fun of it I took my camera to document our outing.
Here we go...

This is Jack making his way down the hill.
He had to stop for a minute to admire his shadow.
This little man on the right is sitting in this exact same spot every morning. He always waves and says "Hola! Good morning America." It's cute and funny because he has a thick accent. Jack has started waving and yelling "Hola!" as soon as he sees him. So today I asked if I could take his picture. Jack unfortunately got an attitude, so it is documented as such.
This is Danny Boy. He is a local, been living on our block his whole life. I don't really know what to say about him; He loves our family, he is crazy(not crazy, crazy, but crazy enough), he can't believe Jack and Elliott have bluer eyes than his, no matter where he is when he sees us he yells "Oh my god it's Jack!," he helps me push the stroller up the hill when it is loaded down with kids and groceries, and he keeps us up to speed with all the latest happenings. Usually if we don't see him around his usual corner Jack asks where he is.
There are junk stores like this all up and down Broadway in our neighborhood. Jack likes them. We never go in so I don't know what's in the store. Our stroller would never fit in the door of these places and I'm sure Lillie and Elliott would have the whole store destroyed from the seat of their stroller.
The first florist we came to had one mum. It was a pale purple, it was pretty, but I wanted red, so we passed it by. Finally 11 blocks from our apartment we found a florist that had 3 mums, red, yellow, and white. I forgot to take a picture outside the shop. Jack picked the red and yellow. This is the man putting them in a bag for us.
So, now we are 11 blocks from home and for the majority of the trip Jack has been riding on the kickstand. Now I need the kickstand to sit the mums on and I needed to load the bag of dirt under the stroller, so Jack had to walk the whole way back home. He does fine. I would not make him do that all over the city. We were a little over half a mile from home.
Just for fun we stopped at McDonald's to get our lunch. We always have to take it home to eat, because this McDonald's is 2 story. You order on the first floor and eat on the second. No elevator. There is one small table on the first floor but we would be in the way, so we can't sit and eat. I'm thankful here in the city they give you drink bags that hook on your stroller.
There is a little "park" out side of McDonalds. Jack likes to run through it on this little sidewalk, I stay on the sidewalk by the street. We part ways ( I can see him the whole time) and meet again at the end.
Oh the hill. One of the reasons I need motivation to leave the apartment... because this is what you have to climb/push the stroller up when you come back home. I make Jack walk, it's too much to push him too.
Danny Boy lives in the building you see on the left in the above picture. He showed us the other day this huge stuffed tiger that he found somewhere and brought it back to his buildings courtyard. There is no telling what all is back there. Jack likes it and has to check in on it every time we pass the little alley between the buildings. We can only see it through the fence.
We're home!
Lunch time.
A frustrating part of any meal with Lillie and Elliott. Trust me when I tell you they get punished for this. They don't really seem to care. And they each encourage each other in this bad behavior. I'm trying to stop it... any suggestions?
Two flower pots were on our balcony when we moved here. This one was a brownish color. I had a little bit of black spray paint so I painted it real fast to make it match a little better.
Let's plant!
Huge mess. Very small space. Three kids. I wish I could tell you it was all nice and peaceful. I wish I could tell you I did not get frustrated. Lillie and Elliott had to leave the party early and go back inside to play... it was too much.
At last, the finished product. I realize they aren't the prettiest mums you've ever seen. And I know that a bigger, red one would look nicer in that big urn, but really the whole point of this trip was for us to go out together, buy a few plants, then plant them together. And now Jack is the official water boy, so it gives him a job each day. There are much better selections of flowers in other parts of the city. Every Sunday morning we walk through the Flower District on our way to church and they have beautiful, healthy looking flowers and plants, but remember I'm was not leaving the neighborhood today! We enjoy having an outdoor space. Typically in NYC you don't have the option of getting to do this at all, so it's nice for now. And we'll enjoy the little bit of color it adds when we look out our sliding door. And our balcony just got a new paint job. The stucco was so nasty, now it's nice and fresh looking. And since we let our kids use sidewalk chalk on that part of the balcony, they have a nice, clean slate. You can see a little bit where they've already added some new work!
Now everyone is napping. I'm going to get cleaned up... we have another outing to make in a few hours.


rescue me from myself said...

I love you guys! And miss you all dearly!!

Katie said...

So the question is did you get a big mcflurry to reward yourself after all of that?! Goodness, I have heard that NYC isn't child friendly and now I see what they are talking about. Eventhough I still want to bring the boys up there to visit sometime.
It was a hard day, but your are making memories for your kids. The boys look great...and isn't spray paint the best invention ever?!

Donna said...

I enjoyed your post. I know the kids enjoyed being out. I felt like I had spent the day with all of you myself and the mums look pretty. Tell Jack I will be checking them out when I come for a visit to see how much the flowers have grown. Love, Donna

Melcy said...

Great blog Susan! Danny boy told me where your apartment was the first time I came to see you.. =) I didn't know he was such a local figure.
I don't know how you ever get the motivation to take the subway with 3 kids... I barely can find the motivation to do it with 1!!

Anonymous said...

This trip has worn me out but I enjoyed every step of it. Just wish I was close by to help push the stroller. Jack, your plants are beautiful. Lillie and Elliott, enjoy your ride while you can. Your day of walking up the hill is closer than you think. Love you all so much. Great Gran

Angela said...

Thanks so much for sharing! Such a fun post!

kathy said...

I took every step with you! Remembered that McDonalds and Jack's detour through the little park. And was worn out after pushing that load up the hill! Thanks for sharing your outing with us! The flower pots look good! Love, Mom

B.J. Caulfield said...

Wow! You are Super Mom! I love it! I love going on outings with my kids despite the frustration because I know it will be something they will always remember. :) Your kids will have the most awesome memories!

Anonymous said...

I also have three babies (3 year old, 20 months and 9 months) and I completely understand how you feel about going out especially alone. By the time you get them ready, get yourself ready, pack the diaper bag or whatever you'll need for them, and then load that up in a car or stroller you're ready for a nap. I've always wanted to live in NYC but now that we have three babies I doubt that I could manage all three and subways. love your blog.