Alison Cohen, LD

Pretty shortly after turning 16 I went to the DMV to get my learner’s permit. I took a driver’s ed class and went driving with an instructor and friends for about 20 minutes a week. All I remember is that he let me drive on the highway and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Other than that, I had no additional practice so I never ended up taking the road test.  Then I turned 21 and my permit expired. I renewed it but had no intention of learning to drive. Then I turned 26. It expired again and I renewed it again. The idea of going for my license was so daunting and I really didn’t see a need for it.

Cars are expensive! Between parking, insurance, gas, and the cost of owning or leasing a car all sounded like a headache I didn’t need. I buy most of my groceries online and whatever is missing I buy at the Key Food down the block. I shop at Trader Joe’s when I’m near one, and if I’m really up for a treat I’ll go to Brooklyn. I love buying meat in Brooklyn. And herring. So much herring. And I’ll shove all those purchases into my stroller. That thing is better than a bubby cart. I digress.

If there’s one thing I’m awesome at, it’s navigating the NYC subway system. I’ve mastered it. I’ve been riding the trains since I was 13; I was riding the bus for years before that. I’m very used to it and it’s normal for me to lug my stroller up and down stairs without thinking. Occasionally I don’t feel like taking the train so I’ll hop in a cab instead — no big deal, I’ve saved plenty of money by not owning a car!

I was laying in bed one evening this past July when I decided to get my license. The next day I signed up for lessons. Not sure what pushed me, I just felt like it. Kind of like the time Forrest just felt like running. About five lessons in I took my five hour class, then two weeks ago I got the phone call saying that my road test will be October 27th at 7:30 am. I quickly took five more lessons and then it was the 27th.

The last time I set my alarm was the morning I was induced with Judah. That was also the last time I sat and ate an uninterrupted breakfast. When I was done I quietly left and grabbed Starbucks. It was still dark out and oddly pleasant. It had me thinking that I should set my alarm more often, but I have no doubt I’d snooze it if I set my alarm for fun.

I got there at 7:15 and met my instructor, Jimmy, who was going to drive four of us to the test site in Riverdale. I was the first ones there so I got shotgun. All of the cars line up, but no more than two drivers are allowed to go per car. If you’re not one of the two, your car gets sent to the back of the line. Guess who got sent to the back of the line? Around 10:15, after nine other cars took their tests and three bathroom trips later (I probably shouldn’t have had that coffee) I was sitting in the driver’s seat. I was buckled in, seat adjusted, ready to roll. The examiner stepped out of the car ahead of mine and, just as I thought she was heading my way, she left for a 30 minute break.

10:45, let’s do this.

Me: Good morning!

Examiner: Permit.

End of pleasantries, I guess. She wasn’t much of a talker. I executed some serious judgment by not making a that’s-what-she-said-joke when the examiner told me: “Pull out when it’s safe and go straight.” Really glad I didn’t say that out loud!

I turn on the engine, adjust my mirrors, look around, wait for the cars to pass and then I’m ready to pull out. The car didn’t move — it was still in park. Dammit!

Me: Ok, let’s start again!

I’ll save the details, but after she hit her breaks twice I totally thought I was done for. But then I parallel parked like a champ. My final turn was very wide, so much so that she commented on the width of it.

Me: I’m so sorry. Actually I’m not apologizing to you, I’m apologizing to myself.

I turned the car around and we drove past the line of cars waiting to take their road test. She slammed on the brake once more as we arrived at the end of the line. Then silence. Like ten seconds of the longest silence ever.

Examiner: Here’s your permit back. You should be receiving your license in 2 weeks; you passed.

Me: Seriously? I’d hug you but I doubt that’s okay.

Examiner: Probably not.

Me: Okay, well thank you so much. I have so much respect for what you do — you risk your life everyday.

Examiner: Wow, thank you, no one has ever said that to me before!

And just like that, I became Alison Cohen, licensed driver.


They’re Just Like Us

Growing up in the city, I’ve definitely seen my fair share of celebrities. But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get giddy each time. As a kid, I remember walking with a friend through Chinatown when we saw some trailers. I shamelessly knocked on the door and found out that Ben Affleck was inside. We ran to the nearest bodega, bought a disposable camera and camped out the rest of the afternoon. When he finally came out we ran over to say hi but he just kept walking. I took a picture of his back. It was the best day.

In eighth grade, on the way home from a field trip our school bus pulled up at a pizza shop. Right in front of us was a trailer and Tom Hanks was standing at the top of the steps. Apparently, they were filming You’ve Got Mail. Well, I shouted “You’re Forrest Gump!” and he waved. At me. Forrest Gump waved at me. (Confession: I hadn’t actually seen the movie yet.)

How about the time I exited the elevator near my apartment and saw Hector from Ghostwriter coming out of my neighbor’s apartment (OMG, does anyone remember that show???) —  now that was way too close to home. Hector was friends with my neighbor? Wow. That somehow made us friends as well, right?

Or did I mention that I interned for Rachael Ray in college? Every Tuesday, I would slowly walk past the holding rooms and read the names on the doors. Half the time I had never heard of them, and this was before smart phones so I couldn’t quickly google enough info to strike up a conversation. One day I saw “Jeffrey Dean Morgan” on the door. That name sounded familiar and then I had my OMG moment — it was Denny Duquette from Grey’s Anatomy! He was supposed to be dead! I may have hugged him. I was totally shaking; it was actually the best day.

There have also been all these little run-ins, like the time I saw Tim Gunn buying his coffee on the Upper West Side, Jennifer Garner at the zoo, Rachel Dratch in the sandbox… okay, I know I’m doing a lot of namedropping, but I’m almost done. Let’s see, there was Marc Ruffalo who watched me nurse Lisi at a restaurant, Padma’s daughter who played with Annie while popping bubbles at Washington Square Park, Katie Holmes shopping at Crewcuts (they’re just like us!) and loads of reality-TV stars who probably don’t count but they totally do.

As awesome as all those sightings have been, nothing compares to yesterday.

It was a Sunday afternoon at 16 Handles on the West Side, and Craig was starting to get cranky since he had been dragged shopping. We’ve reached that milestone where Lisi now requires her own bowl of ice cream, so juggling the three kids and five bowls of ice cream isn’t exactly stress-free. And then we were in line for the toppings. As I was finagling with the hot fudge dispenser, Craig mumbles “There’s Paul McCartney”.  Oh, another thing you should know about me: for all of the celebs I’ve actually seen, there are about three times as many celebs that I’ve thought I’d seen. So when Craig told me he saw Sir Paul, I quickly nudged my friend and asked if it was actually him. It was.

We all immediately hop off the 16 Handles concession line, none of us actually paying attention to the melted ice cream (I know, they insist on calling it yogurt, but come on) or the children who were helping themselves to healthy portions of gummy bears. I went over to him and a friendship emerged:

Me: Can I get a picture?
Paul: No, sorry, I don’t do pictures.
Me: Well, can you sing something?
Paul: Sorry, I don’t sing.
Craig: Yeah, he was only the drummer.
Paul: Actually, I’m just a body double.  You really think he would just walk into a 16 Handles?  Naw, he sends me instead.
Craig meets paul
^^^^my friend managed to capture the moment.
OMG, he’s so darn cool! Waaaay nicer than Ben Affleck was! He even turned around and waved good-bye to us on his way out. I mean, that Paul, what a mensch!
Repercussions? Craig has been on cloud nine ever since. Literally, the man is still floating. And then life goes on.
PAul cab


Feeling Juicy

Ok, so I’m trying out something new. I’ll be straight up with you guys because if you’re reading this I like you. A lot. In an effort to pimp out this blog a bit I’m doing a giveaway. Wait, what? A GIVEAWAY? Yeah. Here’s the story: I received an email saying I can run a giveaway on this product. Ever hear of Citrus Lane? I kind of did — it pops up in my Facebook ads, but other than that, not so much. So I did some research and it looks pretty cool.

Basically you get a gift box every month full of products that you’d likely enjoy for your little one(s). And these gift boxes actually look pretty amazing. Some brands include Skip Hop, Melissa and Doug, Plan Toys and lots of other awesome companies.  Go to (my computer is acting a little wonky and won’t let me link things up or add pictures. weirdo.), plug in your kid’s age and pick whichever subscription you want! As I write this I’m tempted to sign up. This makes a great gift as well!

Since this is practically my first giveaway, I hope it works! I’m giving away a 2-month gift box subscription —- that’s a lot of stuff!

Contest ends Wednesday, October 22. Good luck!


Oh, and if there are any spelling or grammar errors I take full responsibility. Craig usually edits but he’s out like a light!

Subway Etiquete

Here’s the thing: I was fully prepared to do a post on subway etiquette. I was thinking along the line of subway dos and don’ts. That is, until I committed what is apparently one of the most offensive sins one can do on the subway. During rush hour.

Before I begin: I love making myself herring sandwiches (when I have time) for breakfast. Fresh Direct has these awesome frozen everything bagels; you just pop ’em in the oven for five minutes on 425. Unbelievable. Then comes the cream cheese. I hate paying for scallion cream cheese. Where I shop it’s a huge ripoff so I just make my own. Totally better. Trader Joe’s has the best lox. Did you know you can freeze it? Then I throw in arugula, tomatoes, sometimes capers and, wait for it, herring. If I’m on the ball (or as the natives call it, geshikt) there will already be chopped onions marinating in the herring juice. Heaven. Seriously.


What was I talking about? Right, subway etiquette. The other day I prepared myself this sandwich but didn’t have time to eat it, so I took it to go. Seemed harmless. I rode on the subway with Craig and Lisi. He was eating his breakfast bar and Lisi was nursing (yeah, we still do that), so I figured it was a perfect time to whip out my sandwich. I unwrap my aluminum foil and start savoring each bite, and then Craig looks at me.

Craig: Seriously? Is that smell coming from you?

Me: Huh? Oh, you mean my sandwich? Yeah! Isn’t it awesome?

Craig: No! If I didn’t know you I’d be giving you dirty looks right now!

Lady sitting next to us: Oh, that actually smells really good!

Me: See!?!?

Lady: But I’m going to have to switch seats.

Craig: Great, now look what you did.

Ok, so that was a big no-no. Guilty. And that’s why I’m in no position to rant. I’m sure I’m generally an offender on the subway — I mean, who doesn’t like my Hummer-sized stroller presenting a fire hazard? Or my kid that talks at a really loud decibel? Or my other kid that likes to hold on to the pole and run in circles? Or our stinky diaper situation?

But since I ride the subway a lot, I’ll just lay out the basics:

– Please try to only take up one seat. Your bag doesn’t need a seat of its own. Did you pay $2.50 for your bag? No? Than put it on your lap!

– Don’t block the doors! I hate when everyone has to walk single file because of the schmuck that doesn’t want to lose his coveted door spot!

– Let them off. Seriously. Let everyone out before you push your way though. It’s just rude.

Stick to the rules and the subway will be a happier place. Especially now that it won’t smell like herring sandwiches.


Happy Coffee Day!

I totally remember Lisi’s first sip of coffee. It was one of those moments where I wasn’t sure if she knew how to use a straw so I let her have my coffee. Little did I know, I’d never have a coffee to myself if she could help it.


One time at the playground she was sipping my iced latte and judgy mom was all like “she’s really drinking coffee?” I’m like “yeah, but don’t worry, she’s down to one cup a day”. Judgy mom clearly not getting my sarcasm “really? Well I hope it’s decaf”. It wasn’t.


Whatever, there are worse things to be addicted to!

Happy coffee day to all!


Not Another Birth Story

For those just tuning in: I’m usually funnier and specialize in playgrounds, poop and boobs.

Everyone loves to share their birth stories;I know I do. They’re exciting and crazy and have happy endings. Blah blah blah it’s like the most pain I’ve ever experienced in my entire life blah blah and it was totally worth it, blah. Exhilarating. But I feel like we’re doing a disservice by not sharing our, umm, un-birth stories as well.

A couple of months before Annie turned one, I found out I was pregnant. I was thrilled. So thrilled that at five minutes pregnant, I went online and ordered some maternity panties I had found on sale. I entered my estimated due date on Baby Center, so that I could get weekly emails telling me whether my fetus was the size of a kidney bean or an avocado. About ten minutes after finding out, I went to Dunkin Donuts and ordered a decaf coffee. The barista (or whatever they’re called there) asked me if I was pregnant and I was like “maybe a little bit” and she be like “girl, you either are or you aren’t — no such thing as a little bit”. Okay, maybe I used to go there way too much. Since my pregnancy with Annie was really quiet and not exciting at all, I didn’t think anything other than that could happen to me. Well, at around six weeks I went for my first appointment expecting to see a little heartbeat on the screen but nothing was there. There was a sac, but it was empty. My doctor said that maybe I miscalculated and there wasn’t supposed to be anything, but I totally knew. I had some more blood work done and she called me later that night to tell me that this pregnancy wasn’t happening.

I was bummed. I wanted to give Annie a sibling, I wanted them to be close in age and now I’d have to wait even longer. I started to feel really empty and even a little bitter. I was jealous of all the pregnant people I’d see on the street, and I even wished gestational diabetes on a stranger (karma is a bitch: I had gestational diabetes with Judah). Totally not one of my finer moments. We had a vacation coming up and I didn’t want to be hemorrhaging dead baby tissue, so I had a D&C (basically, having your uterus vacuumed). It was highly unpleasant. The next day my maternity underwear arrived. I found myself avoiding Dunkin Donuts because I didn’t want to be asked how I was feeling (and who am I kidding, their coffee isn’t great). Then I opened an email telling me that my baby was the size of a blueberry. Uuuugh.

About a month later I found out that I was pregnant with Judah, but I didn’t let myself get excited. I spotted and thought I had miscarried. I went to the doctor and since there was no heartbeat I assumed the worst. My progesterone was low and I had to take suppositories (it was as gross as it sounds). I did some genetic testing and got wonky results. Throughout the pregnancy I kept expecting something to go wrong. That miscarriage made me realize that sh*t can actually happen to me and I’d never be completely happy until I was actually holding the baby. Not the greatest way to spend nine months but there was a happy ending that time (hi Judah!).

A few months later I woke up in the middle of the night with that nauseous feeling. I was sure the timing was wrong but I took a pregnancy test just for fun (they were so cheap on Amazon, I bought a box of 50) and it was positive. I was a little wary because it didn’t make any sense. I had some blood work done and I was in fact pregnant. I went to my OB for an ultrasound but we had no clue how far along I was, so we didn’t expect to see anything. But there was nothing. Like no sac, literally nothing to see. It was really odd. I went to a radiologist for a closer look but he didn’t see anything either. So I had some more blood work done. And more ultrasounds. And then even more blood work.

As you can imagine, it was a very confusing time. I felt pregnant, but I wasn’t, and yet somehow I was. I went back to the radiologist and after a lot of poking around he finally found the sac, but it wasn’t where it was supposed to be — it was growing in my right fallopian tube. I’m not a science person but that didn’t sound good. I went straight to my OB and I remember doing a happy dance in her office. At least we finally found the little booger! I had a shot of methotrexate in my buttocks that was supposed to get rid of the sac. I needed to have blood work done every three days to make sure that my numbers were going down, and they were going down beautifully.

Now, this where it gets fun. And by fun I mean really not fun. It was a Wednesday morning, maybe ten days after my shot, and I was feeling crampy so I called my doctor. She told me to get to her office right away. Of course, I heard that as take Annie and Judah to a music class, then make your way downtown. She did an ultrasound and told me to get to the radiologist ASAP. I was wearing 4-month-old Judah in the carrier and had Annie in the stroller. She was like “you’re not taking the train, right?” Ummmm, I was going to, but cab it is. Craig met me at the radiologist and I had the ultrasound. The sac had burst. My OB told me to come straight to the ER at Mount Sinai and she’d meet me there. On my way out the radiologist said “you’re really lucky you came here, some women don’t catch this and just, well, you know, leave.” Wait, where do they go? Ooooh.

The whole experience was insane. Just that morning, I was singing with a bunch of toddlers. I had my right tube removed that evening. I actually consider myself fortunate that we caught this, otherwise I might have “left”. And there’s a happy ending here, too. A few months later Lisi happened. It was an uneventful pregnancy with no bumps in the road, unless you count the time she was almost born in a taxi.

I know it might seem like I’m over-sharing, but one of the reasons I wrote this post was because the topic really isn’t talked about enough. It’s been nearly four years since my first miscarriage and it’s not something I think about often (or at all). At the time, I didn’t think I’d ever get over it. The great part — and I know that this sounds bad — was that some of my friends had also experienced miscarriages, and hearing them tell their similar stories (and happy endings) got me through some of the darker times. So maybe this post is paying that forward.

And that concludes one of my more serious posts. Up next: back to school week!

Big Al’s Top 10 Playground Round-up

Who doesn’t love a good list? I put this list together based on playgrounds I’ve visited this summer (and left out the ones that I didn’t care for) in Manhattan. I tried to include kosher food nearby, although I quickly realized that I often plan my destinations around the nearest Coffee Bean so there’s a lot of Coffee Bean in this list. So here it is, starting with the southern tip of the island:

1) Robert F. Wagner Park

20 Battery Place

Grab sushi and a cheese danish from Cafe 11 (located in the lobby, open Monday through Friday) and then sit on the grass and overlooking the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty and Jersey City — I know, it doesn’t sound so appealing, but it’s beautiful from far!

From now until October 29, 2014 they have Interactive Preschool Play on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00 – 12:00. It’s like a giant outdoor playroom.

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(Bathroom on premises!)

2) West Thames Park

West Street between Albany Street and West Thames Street

Grab an iced coffee (or any other snack, they just happen to make excellent lattes!) from Battery Place Market and head on over. I only discovered this one a few weeks ago and it’s instantly become a favorite. It’s located practically in the shadow of the Freedom Tower, along the West Side Highway. There’s a great climbing structure, sand, sprinklers, a tire swing, a small basketball court and a great lawn right outside! I love it because it’s just the right size for little ones and even Lisi was able to keep busy!

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3) Imagination Playground

2 Fulton Street 

Sure, I only rediscovered this one on Labor Day, BUT the staff informed me that the sprinklers will stay on for another few weeks so we’re good. We actually stumbled on this park walking back from the Governor’s Island ferry. It was like 90 degrees out and this was exactly what we needed to cool down. There’s sand, sprinklers and sprinklers in the sand (a staff member brought it over), which wasn’t as gross as it sounds — it was the perfect amount of sprinkler for building a sand castle! There’s also a cute little roof deck (great if you lose a kid, just go up there and scan the whole playground!) and of course those giant foam blocks so the kids can get creative. Not to mention plenty of seating for the grownups which is always a plus in my book!



(Bathroom on premises!)

4) Pier 25

On the water at North Moore Street

We’ve just done the playground but there’s lots to do on the pier. This is a great water park — there’s a full sprinkler area so get ready to get wet! There’s also a crazy climbing structure, swings, sand and fun little pieces of equipment along the way.  If you keep walking, you’ll find mini golf, a skate park, beach volleyball and more!

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(Bathroom on premises!)

5) Washington Square Park

5th Avenue between Waverly Place and West 4th Street

You can likely spend the entire day here. There are four play areas, the Fountain, the Arch, chess and some awesome regulars (music, pigeons and bubbles!). There’s a Coffee Bean over on Macdougal and Bleecker, get yourself a latte and macaron and head on over. There’s so much to do, see here for more!


(Bathroom on premises!)

6) Horatio Street Playground

Hudson Street between Gansevoort Street and Horatio Street

I’d passed this one a bunch of times and finally got around to popping in. It’s kind of hidden among the basketball courts but it was pretty solid. If your kid likes climbing this is a great one. There are also swings, sprinklers and shade!

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Bonus: only a few blocks from the Coffee Bean on 14th and 9th!

(Bathroom on premises!)

7) Pier 51

Horatio Street and West 12th Street

I admit that this one was my favorite last year. The main reasons I loved it were the view and the fact that it was close to the train station and the Coffee Bean on 14th Street and 9th Avenue. Convenience-wise it’s still up there, but after seeing what the playgrounds south of this have to offer it got bumped down a bit on my list. Don’t worry, it’s still a great one! You get your sprinklers, sand, no swings (which is good and bad) and this giant spiral structure to run on. The park was under construction this summer but everything should be up and running next year!  More on the this gem here.

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(Bathroom on premises!)

8) Splash Pad

Roof Deck at the American Museum of Natural History (enter through the pathway by 79th Street and Columbus and take the elevator to the second floor)

You got me, this isn’t a playground, but I felt that it definitely belonged on this list. First, it’s directly across from the Coffee Bean on 79th and Columbus (hollllaaaa). It’s literally a roof deck with 4 sprinklers coming up from the ground. There’s seating with tables, some shade and a view of the Planetarium. This was an MVP this summer and one of NYC’s best kept secrets (did I just blow it?).


More on it here.

9) Discovery Playground

Around 162nd Street and the Hudson River

I love this one but there’s a pretty big BUT: it’s located at the bottom of a huuuuge hill. I don’t do hills very well. I don’t like feeling as if I might not make it back home. Whenever we go I tell them to enjoy it because we probably aren’t going back. And yet, we keep going back because it’s so good. This one is nature-themed, complete with a tree house, mini zip-line and a giant climbing structure. There’s also sand, sprinklers and swings (the playground ‘s’-trifecta). I hope I’m not scaring anyone away, but that hill is quite the pain. On the flip side, it’s never really so crowded!

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More on our trip here.

10) Dolphin Park

180th Street and Cabrini Boulevard 

 And the best for last. This one is a hidden gem. But really a hidden gem. If you don’t live in Washington Heights there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of it. You might even make the trip up to Washington Heights and be like, what’s the big deal? Well, this one is the best. It’s only for children up to 5 years old, but they don’t check IDs so Annie will be back next summer. It’s a small park with monkey bars, a sandbox, a sprinkler (which is really a seal, hence the name of the park. Wait, no, why is it called the Dolphin Park?) and an activity table. Judah has taken a liking to that table this summer. He sits there playing games, coloring and chilling with the staff. The park is run by the Port Authority and volunteers. There’s a beautiful view of the ramp leading to the GWB (fine, that might be a little subjective). BUT here’s the the thing. The park is only open from May to September, between 3:30 and 6:30pm. I don’t even know why I’m teasing everyone because it’s not open anymore. I just thought it was appropriate since we come here at least twice a week. It’s the best!

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And there you have it, the top 10 playgrounds I’ve visited in NYC this summer. Only 264 days until the sprinklers go back on!

Keep Climbing, Kid

For lack of a witty opener, I’ll start with a picture:


See that stick figure in a green bathing suit at the top? That’s Annie. She made it to the top! It was a really big deal because she’s been monkeying around on these things the entire summer and this was the first time she made it all the way to the top. What you can’t see in this picture is me having a minor heart attack because holy crap, she’s at the top. It took every fiber of my being not to have a panic attack and remind her that maybe it would be a good time to focus and be careful. I figured that my warning would distract and that’s when she’d fall, so I took this picture instead and then turned away because I couldn’t watch. And I didn’t want her to smell my fear.

On our ride home I asked what her favorite part of the day was. Not surprisingly it was the fact that she made it to the top. She told me that she just kept climbing and didn’t realize how high she was until she was at the top. She was really proud of herself. And I was totally proud of myself for keeping quiet, otherwise she might have just panicked and dashed over to the sandbox instead.


And while I might still get a bit queasy looking through some of these pictures, I’m cool with it, I know she can do it. Keep climbing kid!

A Special Night

The last time we took Annie for a night out it was her birthday. We had such a nice time that I promised myself I’d make a point to do it more often. It’s kind of hard when I’m having to decide between spending time with her or taking my late evening nap. But Annie is a bit older now and not going to sleep as early as I’d like (is 5:30 really unreasonable for a 4.5 year old? Okay, I know it is), so I decided that we may as well go for it.

I’m terrible at buying Groupons. One of a few things happen: I didn’t read the fine print. I forget about it and then it expires. Or I end up getting ripped off because it isn’t an item I’d normally buy. All of that has happened to me at some point so you can imagine my hesitation in buying a Groupon ever again. Well, earlier this summer they were selling tickets to the Victorian Gardens amusement park in Central Park and I just couldn’t pass it up. I’d never gone — it seems pricey for what it is — but this was an amazing deal and it ended up costing me about 25% of the regular price. The catch? It has to be used between Monday and Thursday. Kind of hard considering that’s when camp is generally in session, but I realized that this would be a perfect opportunity to take Annie out on the town.

 When I first presented Annie with the idea she was less than thrilled. She was like “I don’t want Judah and Lisi to have a babysitter, I want them to come.” So sweet. Then I showed her pictures and she immediately changed her tune. Every day for the next week “Mama, when is the babysitter coming so we can go to that place you showed me on your computer?”  “Mama, are we going to that place after camp today?” “Mama, are we ever going to that place?” Then, the day came. It was cloudy for a good part of the day and raining on and off. My backup plan was a trip to Target. But then suddenly, right when it was time for the babysitter to come, it turned gorgeous and sunny outside so off we went!


I admit I was kind of nervous. I mean, Annie gets car sick. She throws up almost every time she goes in the car and vomit is not my department. Annie has never really been on any rides at an amusement park. Those rides on the sidewalk where you put a quarter in (or 2 quarters!) and it plays the Bob the Builder  theme song were never a favorite. We did the whole Sesame Place/Disney thing way too early for her to appreciate it and I said I wouldn’t go back til she’s 7. When we arrived at Victorian Gardens Craig was totally swamped at work (bless him for working his butt off) and he couldn’t meet us, so we ended up with 2 extra tickets. The family behind us in line got VERY lucky and they even paid the tax for us (see, fine print!). Off we went to the rides.

Remember how I said it was rainy earlier that day? Well the clouds started rolling after we arrived. I guess that was a good thing because my guess is that there were no more than 35 people in the entire park, which meant no lines at all. Now that was good and bad. You see, I haven’t been on any amusement park rides in about 8 years. Eight years ago I loved rides. The bigger the better. The more drops the better. The faster the better. That lose your stomach feeling was the best. BUT that was 8 years ago. I thought Annie would be too scared to go on the rides alone so I tagged along. We did the airplanes and the cups that spin. OY. As I got off the rides I felt like the ground was moving underneath me. The last straw for me was the frog ride. It started off by going around and around, higher and higher and then it started hopping. HOPPING! WHY IS THIS HOPPING? Right, it’s a frog. Dammit! Okay Annie, you’re on your own.


That right there was a huge moment for me. It was the moment when I felt like I was too old for these rides. I had to sit down with my Coca-Cola fountain soda and keep applying it to my forehead to help with my cold sweat situation. It was also a big moment because Annie totally had this under control. She went on all the rides herself (she was exactly 42 inches, the magic height) and had the biggest sweetest smile on her face the entire time. She was such a big girl and totally didn’t need me. I was so proud of her. There was one ride I kept avoiding — it was this ride where you lie down on your stomach and it spins you around until you feel as though you’re flying in circles around Central Park. The problem was that she needed to be accompanied by someone over 48 inches. We did it, and pretty soon we both looked at each other hoping it would finally stop. It was a perfect last ride.

We stayed at the park until it closed. Her highlights included winning a stuffed pig playing whac-a-mole and getting to drink a blue Powerade. I’d be lying if I said this night was meltdown-free, however. I’m only sharing this because no outing with Annie is complete without a minor meltdown when we use public toilets and I’d love to get some help with this one. Annie is TERRIFIED of toilets that have automatic flushes. I’m not sure when this fear first started, and I can totally empathize with it to an extent, but let’s get real for a second. That’s what toilets do now. It’s the way of the future. You now don’t have to touch the dirty handle. It’s a good thing. Guess what? Victorian Gardens only has toilets that flush themselves. You should have heard the screams coming from the bathroom stall. We were both screaming. BUT she finally did it! It was the second proud-mama moment of the evening.

Afterwards we met Craig for dinner. Annie ate really nicely because I told her that if she did, I’d give her a quarter for the gum-ball machine. I also ate really nicely because that’s what I do best. All in all our night out was a success. I think we really needed it. And by “we” I mean “I”. I totally needed it. But next time I’m imagining something more my speed. Like a chocolate dipping class or Swedish massage.  Too far? I do that sometimes.

Note: After having such a great evening I decided that I don’t hate Groupon anymore!

Summer of Lisi — Week #7

Huge game changer this weekend: Lisi started walking. Like real walking, not just the let’s count how many steps she just took kind of walking. Actually taking so many steps we stopped counting because she’s truly walking! The crazy part is that now all she wants to do is walk around and explore (read: get into trouble). And so that chapter of her life begins. 

 Battery Park City

We kicked off the week with a baby White Party. It was interesting. There was an Instagram meet-up and I thought it was a good excuse to get downtown. It was really beautiful! There were crazy views of Jersey City, the Verrazano Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. There was also excellent sushi nearby in the lobby of 11 Broadway. Who knew?  I can’t wait to get back down there with the Annie and Judah once camp is over!

Office visit

 Since it was the last week of camp I had to get some things done without Lisi (namely getting my annual skin check), so I sent her to the daycare at Craig’s office. I like to think that it’s a lot of fun for her. She hasn’t told me otherwise.



I stopped at Craig’s office to eat lunch. I had eggs and tuna in my salad so he kept spraying (possibly toxic) compressed air my way to divert the odor. I totally didn’t take that into account when deciding what to put in my salad. You live, you learn.

A Jog

See, when I say jog it’s hardly a jog, it’s like a fast walk. I jogged to Target even though I didn’t need anything. Normally when I do that I end up leaving with about $150 worth of things that I don’t need. Now that I’m hooked on Google Express it was more like $26 worth of things I didn’t need. #winning

All proud of myself for not spending money on things we don’t need, I thought we’d have a celebratory lunch at Caffeccino. They have the BEST cheese danishes!

Lincoln Center

 I’ve passed this place like a bajillion times but never really just sat and chilled…..until last week! It’s an easy place to just stop for a few minutes, it’s right in between the Time Warner Center and Trader Joe’s! It was the most beautiful day outside ever and I didn’t mind the occasional mist from the fountain.

 And now that she’s walking it was a great place for her to stretch her little legs!

Tots Playground

This playground re-opened about a year ago. Lisi is the perfect age for this playground. There’s no real equipment, just lots of things to climb on and of course swings, sand, sprinklers and benches. You can never have too many benches.

And just like that the Summer of Lisi is over. 

I hope everyone enjoyed and I’m always open to new suggestions! Up next is 3 weeks of mommy camp. Yikes.