“I want to be a part of it”

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‘That’s the incredible part about your dreams. Nobody gets to tell you how big they can be.’- Rachel Hollis, author of “Girl, Wash Your Face.”

I recently started reading Rachel’s book and it could not be more timely. I know it is wildly popular, but I swear she wrote it just for me. Rachel is the kind of person who inspires you to live your best life, embrace your failures as much as your successes, and never take ‘no’ for an answer, at least when it comes to pursuing your dreams. Her book has become my life mantra as my family and I prepare to uproot our lives in the Midwest and head to the Big Apple.

A handful of our closest friends and a few family members know it has been a long time dream of mine and Brett’s to live in New York City. We’ve talked about it since we got married in 2010. It’s somewhat rare that we share this dream, since living in NYC can be such a thrill to some and a complete nightmare for others, even within a couple. Brett and I both have this inexplicable love for the city that never sleeps. Maybe it’s the energy, maybe it’s the challenge of it being so different than any place we’ve ever lived, or maybe we’ve just watched too many Romcom scenes filmed in Central Park, but regardless, we have always wanted to ‘be a part of it’ (pun intended- hence the blog title). We also knew this dream may never happen when we had our first child in 2015, but we still kept up our casual job pursuit alive whenever we found opportunities that interested us. When we found out we were expecting our second child in February, 2017, Brett said to me ‘we can’t let having another kid make us give up on our NYC dream, even if it goes on hold’ (this, of course, was after the initial shock and excitement of being 2nd time parents wore off a bit).  I remember thinking, ‘Sure, babe, I’ll go along with that but I doubt this is ever going to happen now.’ I think we both kind of felt that way because we moved on with our perfectly fine life in Kansas City.

Fast forward to today. It has been a year since we sold our bungalow and bought a bigger house in the Brookside area of KC that we love. We now have a 3 year old, an 8 month old (what!) and a pup who finally has a yard to run around in. And what are we doing? Going back to living in a small space with no yard, AND an additional tiny human.  I know, we must be crazy. We always said we would not move to NYC unless it was the right opportunity though, and now that opportunity has come. I have the chance to grow my career while our family gets to have the experience of a life time. Brett has some great job prospects too. That said, we adore Kansas City and we know we will be back.

Naturally, some family and friends can’t understand this dream of ours and have asked ‘why now?’ To us, however, the question is ‘why not?’ Our kids are not yet school age and will be able to adjust to a new place, living with less space, and a new lifestyle more easily now than they would be when they are older. When I got the job offer, we made the Pros and Cons list of going to NYC. One simple con of not going outweighed all others- the WHAT IF question. We could not get over the fact that 20 years from now we knew in our hearts we would still wonder ‘what if we had lived in NYC when we had the chance while the kids were young?’ After days and nights of analyzing, talking, and praying, and then analyzing, talking and praying some more, we knew we had to take this leap of faith.
So here we are, in a whirlwind of emotions as we quit our jobs, move away from our family and many friends (thankfully we have some in NYC too!) sell one of our cars and prepare for this crazy ride. It’s exciting and terrifying. We don’t have all the answers but are figuring them out together. Brett and I are fortunate to have our parents as examples of unconditional love and support for when Ben and Bella grow up and tell us they are pursuing their dreams that may make us go, ‘you are doing what?!’

We look forward to posting more about our adventure if you care to follow along. Please let us know if you are in the NYC area or want to come visit! For you KC folks, the BBQ doesn’t hold a candle to what you are used to, but the pizza doesn’t disappoint.

Cheers!

Fa la la la la

The holiday season is in full swing in NYC, and I can’t lie- it’s pretty incredible. Like most places these days, the city basically goes from Halloween to Christmas overnight, but in NYC the transition pretty much has to happen quickly because with so many holiday traditions and events here, there are not enough weekends to fit everything in before the new year! If you have read one of my previous posts or seen anything I’ve posted on Instagram or Facebook lately, you can tell we have kept pretty busy exploring all the fun things the big 🍎has to offer this time of year. I’ve shared a few pictures below as well.

A couple of weeks ago I took the kids to visit my parents and sister in Little Rock over a long weekend to give Brett and his brother Scott some time here sans kiddos around. Scott came to NYC for a country concert and they had a fun time (once he finally got here after hours of flight delays!). Speaking of airport/airplane fun, my flights with the kids (connecting both ways because there are maybe two airlines with direct flights to LR from any NYC airport 🤦🏻‍♀️), were about a 4 or *maybe* a 5 on a scale of 10. When they were both content (aka one or both asleep and the other one entertained for more than 2 seconds) life was good. But of course that couldn’t happen the entire time on 4 flights, and I was outnumbered. And they knew it. Needless to say that while the weekend at my parents’, which was somewhat of a surprise for my mom, was great, I definitely won’t fly solo with both of them any time soon! Lesson learned that no amount of preparation can guarantee anything about that situation will go smoothly (duh).

It was great to see both mine and Brett’s brothers last month and we can’t wait for both sets of parents to visit this month! There really is nothing better than seeing family, especially when you don’t get to all the time. You soak it up and make the most of your time together. We had a great few days with my brother John and he captured some wonderful family photos for us in Central Park, along with some other photos here and there that I shared on Facebook. Shameless plug (unbeknownst to John)- if you are in the OKC area, contact jgrammedia for all your photography/videography/business marketing needs! I’m biased, I know, but he is the best. He’s also the most positive person Brett and I know because he hilariously documented his 16 hour flight delay while trying to get home to Oklahoma and being trapped at Newark airport on Instagram. It was quite entertaining.

Hopefully our parents don’t have flight issues as Brett’s are coming later this week! We’re taking them with us to see Santa at Macy’s, and I may be more excited about ‘Santaland’ than the kids are. Same thing happened when we went to see the Thanksgiving Day parade balloons the night before the parade, but Ben still thought it was pretty cool to see Chase from ‘Paw Patrol’ up close before watching the parade on TV the next day. Yes, we live within walking distance of Macy’s and where the broadcast happens, but no, we decided not to brave the gigantic crowds for the coldest Thanksgiving parade on record with a pre schooler and a toddler. Maybe next year 😂

We bought our first real Christmas tree this weekend, and rather than wait to have it delivered, Brett offered to lug it home on the subway from the West Village after we went to a tree lighting. It was pretty comical, but he was a good sport about it. In the one box of holiday decorations I was allowed to bring from KC (see the last post), I didn’t get to bring a ton of ornaments, so the tree is still a work in progress. Don’t worry though, those of you who know me know I’m quite bummed I didn’t get to bring all of my actual Nutcrackers to NYC, but you better believe I brought all the Nutcracker ornaments I’ve collected over the years 😉

Here are a few photos of some holiday fun we’ve had so far- including the Rockettes, Winter ‘Onederland’ at 1 WTC, Thanksgiving Parade balloons, and a few more!

Settling In

I hope I don’t jinx anything by saying this, but we’re finally starting to feel more settled in NYC. It’s been over a month at Ben’s new school and he’s adjusting well and making friends. We had a blast on his first ‘field trip’ together to a local theatre last week and I got to meet a couple of fellow preschool moms (side note- I feel like I’m dating potential mom/family friends as I try to feel them out and determine our ‘compatibility’ 😂) Our nanny is working out great and the kiddos have pretty much gotten used to our new normal. It’s also getting colder (and SO windy!) as fall has quickly come and gone and winter is looming. Apparently winter has already arrived back home as KC has had snow a couple of times now! Crazy! I’m hoping we have at least another week or so sans the white stuff here since we are out in the elements way more for day to day life, but unfortunately the forecast doesn’t look reassuring. 🤦🏻‍♀️

To prepare for the cold months, we’ve bought a weather cover for the double stroller and the kids have hats, gloves, thick coats and snow boots (well, at least Ben has snow boots- Bella probably won’t be walking in the snow much even though I’m sure she’ll want to try, home girl doesn’t like sitting still 😂). We’ve also found a pair of thick waterproof gloves that remain attached to the stroller and a stroller sleeping bag muff that we want to get, as well as a snowsuit thing for Bella. We have already learned we have to be extra prepared for Old Man Winter in these parts- our kids have made it pretty clear they do NOT like being cold!

Speaking of winter, this weekend we went to the Winter Village in Bryant Park. It’s pretty awesome. I’ve never been one to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but now I’m totally in the spirit and dying to get out the one box of Christmas decorations Brett let me bring to New York. I have a LOT of stuff in storage back home- it was so hard to choose! It will be like my own little Christmas to see all of my decorations when we have the space again! Oh the things you take advantage of when you have more than 800 square feet 😉

The trade off for a big tree and lots of decorations though is that New York is pretty magical during the holiday season (and it’s barely begun!) There is so much to do, we’ve started a list of things we want to prioritize for each weekend leading up to the New Year, especially when we have family in town. Personally, I CANNOT WAIT to see the balloons being inflated the night before the Macy’s parade, the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall on Thanksgiving weekend and the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center next month. I’m also excited to take the kids to various (free!) holiday events around the city – who knew there were so many! Pictures to come as we get out there (in all of our winter gear of course 😉) and explore the Big Apple during the most wonderful time of the year!🎄🎄❄️

Feeling nostalgic

  • My baby girl turning 1 in 2 days has me feeling very nostalgic this week. Watching ‘This Is Us’ tonight didn’t help 😥. As I scrolled social media today and saw all the posts about Cerner’s Health Conference (CHC) taking place this week in KC, I find myself thinking about where I was a year ago during CHC week. With Bella’s due date a few days away, I was feeling a bit funny the first day of the conference and decided to lay low at home, but the contractions I thought I was having eventually subsided that evening. I even managed to finish choreographing the rest of my winter showcase dance routines for my substitute teacher that night ‘just in case.’ I figured it was all a false alarm though and planned to head downtown for the conference events the next day, but Bella had other plans and my water broke early the next morning. 12 hours after I arrived at the hospital (alone after dropping Ben at school and with nothing but my purse as I still wasn’t convinced it was the real deal- that’s a different story), Isabelle Marie was born, and my dream of having a daughter was fulfilled. I really can’t believe a year has passed already. And a year ago I never would have believed we would be fulfilling another dream of living in NYC and celebrate Bella’s first birthday as residents of the Big Apple. Life is crazy y’all.
  • I’d be lying if I said Brett and I both don’t have moments (weekly, sometimes more) where we ask ourselves and/or each other ‘what the heck are we doing here??’ These moments often occur when things get hard, like during a tantrum on the walk/train ride to school when all the world bears witness to our 3 year old freaking out about breaking his banana in half on accident. We have to remind ourselves that this parenting gig, while awesome, is HARD, regardless of where we are. Bananas break everywhere and would probably be equally as traumatizing if it happened in the car on our drive to school/work in KC too.
  • We miss our friends and family dearly, including our old work families since CHC was a fun week for both Brett and me the past few years. I’ll never forget Brett texting me that he bailed early on an education session to watch the Royals vs. Astros in game 5 of the 2015 ALDS. When I found out how close the game was I finished my pumping session (Ben was 6 months old so I was doing the lovely working/pumping mom song and dance) as fast as humanly possibly and sprinted from the conference to the downtown Marriott to meet him in the lobby and watch the epic win with a few (hundred) fellow Cerner associates and clients. It was one of my favorite KC memories, next to actually winning the World Series and the parade of course. 🤗
  • Amid the hard ‘what the heck are we doing here moments’ though, we have plenty of ‘wow, we live here?’ moments too. Weekend adventures definitely bring some of these, but even in the most mundane every day things I sometimes have to pinch myself. For example, watching ‘Friends’ and realizing we walk by Monica’s ‘apartment’ building regularly (it’s a restaurant in the Village called The Little Owl, actually a few blocks from Ben’s school), or the opening shots of ‘SNL’, or even the aerial views of the city during the MLB playoffs taking place at Yankee Stadium, it still feels a bit surreal to call this place home. It’s also a bit crazy that Arianna Grande lives two blocks from us across from our local pizza joint. No, we haven’t seen her yet, but we did run into Amy Adams on the subway last weekend. She was sitting right across from where we were standing with the stroller and Bella offered her her snack, because why wouldn’t you want to share your cheese crackers? Kids have such an innocent way of bringing all kinds of people together, it’s the sweetest thing. Her young daughter was adorable and we chatted a bit before I even caught on to the fact that other people were looking our direction and (unsuccessfully) sneaking pictures. But I played it cool because I mean, we’re basically related now, we even have the same last name 😂😜. Jk, I’m not cool at all because once off the train I definitely had a starstruck moment and had to share our first celeb sighting on my Instagram story.
  • We are excited to do more fun things as the fall weather sets in for good and we get more settled in our new new routine. Ben is doing really well at his new school and we know in our hearts this was the right thing for him, even if it was hard to make him change again so soon. God was looking out for us, that’s for sure.
  • Here are a few pics from the past week or so, and a pic of Bella as a newborn because I’m still in shock it’s been a year since these photos were taken and my baby is almost walking!
  • Love this candle from Brett’s former coworkers! beautiful sunset over Chelsea Piers, one block from our apt.practicing his scooter skills in Central Park! Brooklyn bus festival was a hit! Even if the kids did not feel like smiling for pictures because snacks > pics
  • Fall is here!

  • Fall is upon us in the big Apple and we’re ready for the change in seasons. Well, I am anyway, Brett would probably be ok if it was summer 24/7/365. The weather has been a rollercoaster this past month and it’s crazy how it can really affect one’s mood, especially when you are out in the elements more regularly in NYC. We all need some rain boots/winter boots pronto!
  • But enough about the weather. It’s been several weeks since I last posted and we’ve been pretty busy trying to adjust to our new normal, including what is and isn’t working in terms of our daily commutes/where to park the car and, most importantly, child care. We’ve decided to pull the kids from full time daycare and hire a nanny for Bella since Ben got into a Catholic school in the West Village (yay!) Not only are we excited about the new community we will be joining, but it will also give Ben a bit of a break from being in daycare 9+ hours every day since he was 12 weeks old- pre school gets out at 2:15 every day! It is also quite a bit more affordable to have a nanny and do Catholic pre school in NYC, which is the exact opposite in Kansas City. Hopefully this all works out, but if the trial day on Friday is any indication we feel pretty good about it. Ben asked to stay longer to play with his new friends 😊. The nanny we hired has already babysat a few times for us, is originally from Mexico (we hope Bella becomes bilingual), and is very kind and patient with the kiddos. These are all good signs that even with another round of changes coming, especially for the kids, we’ll make it through just fine.
  • Last weekend we went back to Missouri and had a great time seeing friends and family. We had a date night to see Billy Joel at Kauffman Stadium, took the kids to a carnival at Brett’s high school alma mater with our sweet friends, had a Chiefs watch party and celebrated Bella’s first birthday a little early with the Adams side of the family. It was a blast and just what we needed to see familiar friendly faces. We have several visitors lined up for the holiday season too and can’t wait to see them all!
  • I’ll try to post more regularly as we continue settling into our new routine. I’ve shared a lot of recent photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram so I won’t duplicate posting them here, but here are a few from a fun (beautiful!) and still somewhat warm fall day today in our neighborhood.
  • Chelsea Waterside Park is open again and so much fun!
  • Perspective

    A lot has happened since I last posted. Just to name a few things- Brett started his job, the kids started at their new school, we’ve had a few visitors, and we stumbled upon a giant street fair on 8th Avenue yesterday afternoon while both kids were napping (at the same time! 🙌🏻) Brett and I have even squeezed in a couple of date nights. Moving from the Midwest to the biggest city in America has definitely given us a lot of perspective. For example, while it may require a bit more coordination to navigate the subway with a double stroller, we can’t imagine how difficult it can be for someone with physical disabilities, especially when the elevators aren’t working, the subway routes change on weekends and trains don’t always stop where you expect them to, or stations are closed altogether for one reason or another. While we can manage a couple flights of stairs (Ben walks with me, Brett folds up the stroller and I carry Bella) people in wheelchairs don’t have it so easy. We also have learned what it feels like for people to try and rush in front of you for a spot on the train or roll their eyes when you are trying to squeeze into a corner and occupy as little space as humanly possible with the beast that is the double wide. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often and people are generally very helpful and accommodating, and we don’t take the stroller on the train during peak hours. But it still bothers me. Partly because I care too much sometimes and partly because it is just annoying- we have just as much of a right to take the subway with our two children (one that is usually sleeping) as any big tourist group that is probably more of a nuisance trying to figure out what they are doing, if we’re being honest. Instead of letting these occasional irritating reactions at the presence of our double stroller get under my skin too much, however, I’ve chosen to be extra mindful of things like not blocking the curb ramp on sidewalks in case someone in a wheelchair needs it, helping other parents with young kids/strollers out (we’re all in this together after all!) and just being more observant when entering and exiting elevators.

    Another thing that has given both of us perspective is how much we can let the moods of our kids (and by kids I mostly mean the 3 y/o who is adjusting to a huge transition in his life) affect our overall demeanor. We’ve had our share of trying days with Ben since moving here, but we constantly have to remind ourselves and each other to step in Ben’s shoes and try to process all the big, new, exciting and scary things he is experiencing. He went from riding with mom every day in car to the same school for 3 years to being home with me, grandparents, babysitters, aunts, cousins and dad in 3 different cities for two months before getting on a one way flight to a new place 1000 miles away from everything he has ever known. He has started a brand new school, which seems to be a good fit (time will tell of course) and now shares a room with his baby sister who is more of an early riser than he is 😉. He has had to learn he can’t be too loud since we live in an apartment and the ‘tower police’ (as we refer to the friendly front desk staff- I know, may seem cruel but sometimes you’re desperate as a parent) will ask us to leave if we get too many warnings. We’re learning patience in a big way right now, but we’re also learning to consider his perspective and not let the outbursts ruin our day or night. Sometimes that is easier said than done, of course, but we’re trying.We have definitely had a lot of fun the past couple of weeks too- going to see the Statue of ‘Wiberty’ (as Ben says), the Central Park Zoo and other fun parts of the park, more playgrounds and enjoying our building’s rooftop terrace. At the street fair yesterday we found a poster Brett has been wanting for awhile- Saul Steinberg’s ‘View of the World from 9th Avenue’ that appeared on the cover of The New Yorker in 1976. We were pretty pumped to find a cheap framed version for $25 and already hung it up. Talk about perspective. We love it because it depicts Kansas City in some far off field of nothingness, which I suppose is what some lifelong New Yorkers may think it is. One person at work made a ‘Wizard of Oz’ joke about not being in Kansas any more when I mentioned where I moved from, to which I just laughed and then explained how we are from the MISSOURI side, even though I think my clarification fell on deaf ears 🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️😂. A die-hard Mizzou fan, Brett is always quick to clarify which side of the KC state line we call home; I’ve learned it’s not always worth the trouble explaining (he vehemently disagrees of course). Guess we have different perspectives on that. 😉

    Here are a few pics from the past 2 weeks if you haven’t already seen them on social media.

    The first 10 days

    {Disclaimer: I should have published this 2 days ago when we actually hit the 10 day mark…but the kids had other plans for our ‘free time’ that night…which reminds me, we need to get that ‘Go the F*ck to Sleep’ bedtime book…we’re still adjusting to a new time zone 😴🙈}

    Anyways….in our short time here as a family we feel like we have already experienced a lot, yet have barely scratched the surface. I understand why they call it ‘the city that never sleeps’- it’s so easy to lose track of time because it seems to go by so much faster out here- even the work days (I hope that continues for awhile!)

    Brett has done a phenomenal job as a temporary stay at home dad these past two weeks, taking the kids to multiple Manhattan parks and playgrounds, navigating the subway (even planning his route ahead of time to make sure he uses the subway stations with elevators (thanks Taza!) since the double stroller is a beast. It’s safe to say he has mad respect for full time stay at home parents (that makes two of us!)- it is exhausting! The most tiring part is not necessarily trying to match the incessant energy of a 3 year old and a very mobile 10 month old, but managing the mood-swings of said 3 year old who is going through a huge transition in his life. It’s been a Jekyll and Hyde situation most days, and our patience, especially Brett’s, has definitely been tested. But Ben has been through a lot of changes the past 5 weeks, as we all have, and that is tough for a smart little guy who likes to have control when he feels like he has none. We’re hoping (praying!) that starting back at daycare/preschool next week will help him get back to his ‘normal.’

    The kids are doing better than expected sharing a room, which is a pleasant and much appreciated surprise. Ben likes to wake Bella up in the morning by putting stuffed animals and cars in her crib, and while we wish he would let her sleep a little bit longer, it’s so stinking cute we can’t complain too much. They play pretty well together too- go figure their favorite spot in the apartment is a large Amazon Prime box where they eat Cheerios and play every morning.

    Our neighborhood, Hudson Yards, is undergoing a lot of construction at the moment, but if there is one person who genuinely enjoys that it is Ben. He loves watching the towers as they are being built and all the machines in action, which means free entertainment for us! And since we’re still on the edge of Chelsea and right on the High Line, we have easy access to a lot of great spots. We’ve already been to Pier 51 Playground a couple times, Chelsea Market (Seed and Mill is delicious!), a new church, White Horse Tavern in the Village and a few other restaurants for take out since our fridge stopped working and had to be replaced 🤦🏻‍♀️. It’s also been nice to find a couple of staples like Bed Bath and Beyond and Target- it is still surreal that our neighborhood Target is next to the Empire State Building. 😉

    Brett starts his job at Northwell Health on Monday and we’re looking forward to getting our actual routine started so we can feel even more settled. As evident in the pictures below though, he and the kids made some fun memories during their first 2 weeks in NYC. We all have! 😊

    Reunited and it feels so good

    I may have started my job here 3 weeks ago, but with all the commuting back and forth on weekends, being a nomad during the work week, and all of us being separated most of July, it still didn’t feel real. Well, it’s real now. All of us, including Hoop, are here. Together. In our NYC apartment. We may be exhausted after the craziness of this past week, including, but not limited to: packing, moving out, moving in, unpacking, flying, navigating crazy flight delays, coordinating, planning, re-coordinating and re-planning, and a million things in between, but we are so happy to be here. We walked on the High Line last night and were in total awe of this beautiful city we now call home!

    We also can’t thank our families, NYC friends (forever grateful to Libby and Hill for sharing your apartments with me!), KC friends (JP and Neb especially!) enough- we will forever be indebted to you all. I’ll write more later this week after a bit more rest, but for now I’ll just invoke a fellow NYC resident- ‘‘Welcome to New York. It’s been waiting for you.” Couldn’t agree more T Swift.