Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weekend in NYC. Happy Mother's Day 2015!


Mother's Day has passed, but I have to highlight the awesome gift I received from Jeff and the kiddos - a solo trip to NYC!

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Jeff booked the tickets to coincide with the Memorial Day weekend, which also happens to be a long weekend in Bermuda. With the kids and Jeff both off from work and school, I was happy to fly off relatively guilt free. 

Check out the fabulous view of Times Square in the morning, taken from the concierge lounge at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel. 

And check out the other ubiquitous NYC shot- pidgeons, per Jordan's request. 

"Mommy, take a picture of the NYC pidgeons!"  

He still likes birds. NYC pidgeons deserve their own screen time, I guess. 



There you go, Jordan. I wonder if he remembers the story I told him about the time I saw a flock of them ripping apart hot dogs in the street that someone had tossed from a hot dog cart. 

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The trip didn't start out too well. I guess everyone on the island was trying to get off that day, so I wound up literally in the back of the plane.  I mean, exactly the back of the plane.  Right next to the toilet. 

Ugh.

Double ugh, was the fact that the passenger sitting next to me took up almost half of my seat.  I tried hard not to look miffed about it, because I'm sure she was just as uncomfortable as I was.  There's got to be some easy way to break the tension in situations like this. There's no ignoring the obvious size issue. We're both annoyed - neither of us is comfortable, we're both crammed in. What's the point of being a jerk about it? Everyone on the plane is miserable. What can you do?

Turns out, the absolutely horrific turbulence we experienced wound up breaking the ice as we both sat there panicking out loud.  Each time one of us gripped the arm rest, sharing looks of fear, the minor issue of lack of space became meaningless.

When the passenger seated across from me started throwing up from air sickness, I really started praying.  So was my seat mate. Nothing like a shared plane crash to initiate a friendship.

We landed, thank God, and as soon as possible, I charged out of there - ready to start my adventures.

People approach NYC trips differently.  Some go for the Broadway shows and tourist stuff.  I go to see friends, shop and eat.

A lot.



My one desire was to indulge on these guys. And loads of them.  Fresh oysters are non existent in Bermuda, at least to my knowledge. When I've asked about it, I've been told they bring them in frozen. 

Not the same. 

I also haven't had any as last seasons pregnancy got in the way of my normal eating habits.  

Needless to say, this craving has taken on a life of its own. 

So, after checking into the hotel, I headed downtown about twenty blocks to Chelsea. Home of one of my favorites: John Dory Oyster Bar
 
It's a great oyster place that I managed to visit twice in my weekend in NYC.  Yes, twice.  So gluttonous.  Jeff and I went there once on a rare kid free weekend. It wasn't quite the same without my oyster buddy.

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But I soldiered on. He would be proud.

That first night, I met up with good sorority friends/ex housemates from college.  



 One of the main reasons I stay active on Facebook is because it's a great way of maintaining connections when you live abroad. With the ease of a few messages  to friends, I was able to set up the weekend. I'm lucky enough to have a handful of friends who actually make the effort too. They are the best!

Of course, it's a little tricky fitting in everyone and everything into just a couple days. Which is why I clearly need to do trips abroad more often!

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My Leonia girls met me out to celebrate among the rooftops at sunset.  I suggested this place I read about called "Gallow Green."

My Jersey girls hit the rooftops. #gallowgreen

Really lovely garden setting atop the old McKittrick Hotel. The Highline is right next door and it's a gorgeous spot of foliage in an otherwise urban landscape. 

Doing some damage as the sun sets. #gallowgreen

We did some damage, as we caught up on town gossip and eyed the hipsters around us.  Ok, we may not be 20 something whippersnappers, but we're obviously comfortable enough in our dotage to command an entire table for hours on end and rate a chilled wine bucket from the bartender. We got some looks on that one.

 No standing in line at the bar for single beers for us, thank you.  We're old, tired and have earned the right to sit down. 

The departure however, was slightly more macabre than I am used to. Remind me to read up on interactive theatrical productions ("Sleep No More" is the show being performed downstairs) before I drag my poor unsuspecting friends through one of these again. Oh NYC, you never disappoint.

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Sundays used to mean brunch for us. So what better way to spend it than with this guy- who trained it in from CT.   We had a lovely, chic lunch at the Nomad hotel.  It was so chic that I had to go get more food immediately after.

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Yes, that's me.  Eating my second brunch.  Secondies?  At John Dory again. 

It's especially convenient because it's right next to this place!!

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EATALY!!  The lines turned out to be too long, so we wandered further uptown and found a gelato place that was just as good.

Eating my way through NYC continued that evening as I met some friends out for    dinner in the west village. Oysters first, of course. At a tiny little niche called "Virgola."


It was a challenge finding the place because 1. I have no sense of direction; and 2.  Because it is a tiny place. 

But if you can get there (28 Greenwich Ave x 9th ave)  the oysters are worth it. The manager was also incredibly nice to us. First, he discussed oysters with me in a way that helped educate me without being condescending. And despite the fact that the reservation I made was for two only, he didn't make a fuss when two more friends showed up just to sit for a bit, drink prosecco and leave. Very gracious as the tables are right up on each other and seating was coveted. We tipped accordingly. 

After, we headed over for dinner at Agave  - a lovely Mexican/Southwestern place not far from NYU.  A friend picked it out and my only criterion was "I want a place where the maĆ®tre d' isn't telling me that I am being too loud."

It delivered. Great food, great company. And they stuck us in the back so I could cackle to my heart's content.  I have a loud laugh. What can I say?

Of course, in between all this gluttony, I did do the very specific shopping I had in mind (running shoes and American Girl merchandise for my daughter's upcoming birthday). 

The American Girl store deserves it's own post, no doubt. I was overwhelmed. I did manage to buy the things I knew my birthday girl has been asking for since last Christmas. So I hope she will appreciate that I used my very limited overseas duty exemption to cart this stuff back on the island. 

Without a doubt, one of the most extravagant Mother's Day gifts ever. I have the best family ever!


P.s.  

As an addendum, for those of you confused about how to behave on an air
plane and why, read this:  How to be a good person on an airplane
 

I cracked up. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Last day of school, June 26, 2015

A year of changes indeed. From his arrival on the first day to nine and half months later. 

The big kids look different too, especially miss bean who looks so poised. 

Jordan still refuses to brush his hair. That combed look is courtesy of his dad, who took the brush to his head right before the picture. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

June Happenings, a/k/a the week I home schooled my kids

June.. the last month of school. With only a few weeks left, and nothing but endless class parties and beach trips to look forward to, I was gearing up for the final stretch. Unfortunately, the universe was not on board with my plan, as I soon discovered.

"Mrs Trimarchi, can you please call me back as soon as possible? We need to discuss something urgently. There's been a confirmed case of chicken pox in your daughter's class this week," said the chirpy voice on my phone message.

Most kids these days get the chicken pox, i.e Varicella/varivax vaccine early on, and a booster at roughly 5 or 6.  Mina had both of them before we moved to Bermuda.  So I wasn't too worried about her. 

#Queenofthehouse. School projects in June. Make a chair.

Unfortunately, there's this guy to worry about.  He can't have a live virus vaccine like this one.  As a transplant patient, chicken pox is considered "life threatening" according to his cardiac transplant team, whom I immediately consulted.

"Dessert is very precious. You should take pride in your dessert." #wordsofwisdom

"You'll have to pull him out of school, to be completely safe.  If he is exposed, he will have to be hospitalized and given antibodies to fight it off.  It's preferable to keep him home."

And so we did.  In an abundance of caution, we kept Mina home too.  Just for a week, to see how severe the virus was spreading in the school.  The lower primary school had 16 confirmed cases, which then made it up to the upper primary through siblings.  Jordan and Mina are at the upper primary, so I was hoping their exposure during the incubation phase was minimal.

I edited this pic with PicLab @piclabapp #piclab

Of course, I was also worried about this guy, who is too young to get the shot.

Leyla's cookie mix in a jar. Birthday party favors in a mason jar the kids made today.


So, with all three kids at home, and unfortunately no sitter that week, I created a school plan:

Reading
Math
Science/I.T. (computer work)
Practical skills
Music
History
Art

Each day, we got to it.  It wasn't easy, but the kids rallied and actually did the work.  They read daily, practiced their instruments, worked on art projects, including one Mina had due in school the next week.  We studied a history lesson (Bermuda Heroes Day) and learned how to research a topic online using multiple sources.  The kids learned about the history of vaccines, and as part of their computer work, created a narrated power point presentation which we sent to their teachers.  We got a field trip in as well to the local aquarium (a first for Theo).  For practical skills, they learned how to do their own laundry and read a recipe and make it from scratch.  And to celebrate, had a beach day on Friday.

Best parts:
No rush out the door in the mornings, so Mina could sleep in.  No lunch packing or yelling to "Don't forget your water bottle!"  We got to decide when we wanted to do what lesson, and the kids could choose what they felt like working on.  If they wanted more time on something (Mina's 3D chair construction) then they could do it, as long as they worked on the rest of the items later.

Worst part:
Having no real clue what I was doing and winging it.
Nagging, as usual.
Juggling baby through various tasks while supervising big kids working.  Still finding time for the daily grind of grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.

But, we survived.  Kids are back in school now for the final days.  A couple more cases of chicken pox, but I think they made it through the worst of it (fingers crossed.)

God bless the teachers, and especially those who manage to do it at home with their kids. 

You are amazingly patient human beings.  One week was fun, but I can see the novelty wearing off very quickly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Theo food

Things have changed in the world of feeding since I had my older kids. Back when Jordan and Mina were babies, I was told not to introduce potential high allergy foods like nuts until two years. Since then, the thinking has gone back to early introduction (ie nine months for us.)

My reaction was disbelief. 

"So, you want me to bring him into the office and try out peanut butter here?

"Oh no, Mrs Trimarchi. Just put some on bread and give him a little at home and just watch him.  He'll either throw it up immediately or it will be undigested in his diaper. Don't worry. He won't stop breathing."



Fast forward, Theo has been pretty much eating everything that winds up on a plate. 


Father's Day cinnamon rolls were a big hit. 

So was the chicken tikka masala and rice, the broiled halibut with butter and herbs, hamburger, ice cream, apple butter spread, pancakes with chocolate chips, cheese sticks and French toast. Not all at once. 

He's also happy to eat my daily English muffin with peanut butter and some basic things like bananas and nectarines. Pretty much any fruit is a big hit. 


Having lived through one very picky eater, I am over the moon with this new relaxed approach to eating. Fingers crossed it lasts! 

I think back to when Jordan was this age.  Oy. The tears, the sighs, the eye rolling, the weepy visits to the pediatrician. 

That was me. 

Jordan would just turn his head every time the spoon approached his mouth.


Gratitude all around for the third baby charm. 

Nine months


Monday, April 20, 2015

iphone snippets in Bermuda

Random shots.. good memories.

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The view from the outdoor seating at the Waterlot Inn, one of the oldest restaurants in Bermuda.

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Pretty signage.

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Just the two of us!

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My daily walking view with Oscar and Theo.  Fairylands dock.

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Me and Bean selfy-ing out to dinner at our fav - Portofino's.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Spring Holidays 2015

The kids are back in school after a two week Spring break, and here's our recap of the holidays.  We got in a good dose of Bermudian traditions as well as a few of our own for the perfect masala.

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Good Friday here in BDA is known for kite-flying.  The beach is the best spot as winds are up and power lines are nowhere to be seen.  This is the first year we did Kitefest at Horseshoe Beach.  Getting there early, we claimed our spot along the perfectly manicured sand.

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Armed with codfish cakes, hot-cross buns (two other quintessential Bermuda Easter items) and reject macaroons (more on that later,) we settled in to watch the kites soar in the blue sky.  Theo was suitably impressed.


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Of course, us being us, celebrating one holiday is never enough.  We were lucky to be invited to our friend's annual Passover Seder.  Desert is my thing, so I was happy to bring along a couple. 

Experimenting on my good friends is what I do, so when I saw this recipe for Tira-Matzah, I had to do it.  It's layers of matzo crackers soaked in espresso, coffee and rum, along with sweetened marscapone cheese and cocoa.  I adapted my version from the recipe at evilmadscientist!  It's good - not as soft as a traditional tiramisu (ladyfingers, zabaglione, etc.) but yummy and different.

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I also made coconut macaroons.  It took three attempts before I finally got this batch that had minimal puddling along the base.  I started with a recipe given to me by Jeff's cousin.  I recalled hers from many a Passover dinner in the US.  Hers come out perfectly!

Mine were a disaster.  This is one of those recipes that is deceptively simple - just a few ingredients, but be warned.  After consulting various sources, I finally got the proportions of coconut right and achieved some semblance of stick to it by using meringue powder.  All the rejects tasted good, but they didn't look right.  Which is fine.. my kids devoured them the beach.

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Dipped and drizzled with some chocolate ganache, and we were set to go.

Easter lillies from Amaral farms... such a great fragrance! Bought a bunch from the roadside stand en route to picking kids up.  The next day, the car stilled smelled like them.  (Big improvement.)

Simple Easter Dinner at home: Suvir Saran marinated lamb chops, roasted potatoes with olive oil and rosemary, and chocolate ganache covered pistachio cake.

By Sunday morning, you would think we would be taking a detox.  Oh no. 

Sunday was Easter morning, and my kids were ready for the hunt.  While they ran around the back yard with our neighbors' kids, the moms (and Jeff) sat down for a semi-civilized brunch on the back porch.  Some strata, chocolate croissants, hot cross buns, and mimosas on the rainy morning were a nice start to the day.  I think my kids ate chocolate Easter candy.  I don't know.

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That evening we had a quiet little family dinner at home - Suvir Saran marinated lamb, roasted new potatoes with rosemary and olive oil, and Pioneer Woman pistachio cake.  Shout out to Supermart on Front Street for the best butchers in town.  When I asked them to give me 2 pounds of rib chops, they delivered in style.  Great cut of meat, nice and thick and they handled the heavy Indian seasonings perfectly!

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Theo wanted some, but I told him to get back to me when he has some teeth.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fast forward ten years.

A quick trip to Warwick Bay playground..

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I remember when I used to push him on the swings.

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And when he was scared of going down the slide by himself.