Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's in New York

We get to thank the Skidmore family again for a great tradition! On New Year's Eve Day we did a "Chelsea Piers Blitz" and took advantage of all the recreation that place has to offer. We did bowling, batting cages,  the toddler room, the golf driving range, ice skating, rock climbing. Stop the madness! We were there all day and had a blast. They are a great family to do things with and best of all the kids wore themselves out. 
Did we go to Times Square? No. We just watched the ball drop 50 blocks away in the warmth of our apartment, basking in the gratitude we have for it, our children, and the optimism and hope this new year will bring.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What Hard Work and Pride Look like...

McAllister got the "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull" Lego set for Christmas from Grandma and Aunt Brenda. It took Daddy and McAllister 3 full days to put together. That kid worked on it with such focus, along with his daddy (I don't know who was into it more among those two!)
End result:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

This morning we woke up, looked at what Santa brought, got bundled up, and went ice skating. The rink opened at 8:30, and we were there! It was fun, a great tradition. It made the day last longer, because after we ate breakfast at a diner we then came home and opened the presents. Daisy didn't like ice skating at all, but the other kids loved it and played tag until 10 when our session closed. yay New York City.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Today Jason had the day off (he's off until January 5th!) and so we picked the kids up from school and took the subway up to 53rd and Lexington to the Citigroup Building, where for the past 21 years they've had a miniature Holiday Train display. This is the last year, Citi will stop funding it as of January 2009. (Sign of the times).
But we had a blast. It was the most intricate train display we'd ever seen. About 8 lines of different trains, going through 4 'Seasons' and eras of Upstate New York (1940s and 50s). The pictures don't do it justice. The kids were amazed by the trains going in and out of tunnels, passenger trains with their lights on and off according to the lighting of 'Day' or 'Night' (It changed every 3 minutes, at 'Night' the neon signs would light up, the skyline would light up, then at 'Day' the drive in movie theatre would stop playing its movie (Gary Cooper's 'High Noon'). The miniature kids were swinging in swings, the detail was so much fun. We looked at it for an hour (+ a potty break). 
We are happy to be here during this magical time.

Monday, December 22, 2008

WHO YA GONNA CALL?!? uh, the whitings...

Today for Family Night (after school, while the sun was still out) we walked 10 blocks up to North Moore Street, to the Fire Station. (The one featured in Ghostbusters, hence the logo below - just a bit of trivia) Right next door is Police Precinct 1, the first in NYC. But our focus was on the firefighters today. (And frankly, every cop I run into is rude and crass and yucky and always giving me parking tickets!)  
So we went to the firefighters and brought them sugar cookies with crushed candy canes on top. Yummy. McAllister is really growing up- he is usually a bit shy, but he said he wanted to be the one to talk to them, and he wanted to tell them, "Thank you for keeping us safe." So that's exactly what he did. And London said Happy Holidays. The guys were very nice and appreciative. So tonight our lesson will be on service and love and even though the kids froze, they loved the idea of approaching people they didn't know and showing appreciation. This will definitely be a tradition we do every year.


Afterwards, London took a picture of what I look like every day, all day - Daisy in her 'cocoon', the plastic cover that we thought would only be used for rain but is actually great for fighting wind and cold, and me in my North Face coat, gloves, and hat. I forgot to mention that the high was 26 degrees today, which translates to about 15 or 20 with the buildings and shade and wind. Usually I have to fight to get Tass to wear his scarf, but that fight has ended and he wears whatever layers he has willingly! I need to go the the nearest outdoors store and buy sub-zero camping clothing, as if preparing to climb Mt. Everest. I am already wearing longjohn underwear and Sorel boots, but today I was walking to school and someone was actually wearing a polypropylene ski mask with only their eyes showing. I did a double take (it was a lady in a business suit) and thought, hmm... not a bad idea!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gingerbread and Friendship

We are still trying to figure out what our new New York traditions will be, so far we've just scheduled ice-skating on Christmas Morning at Rockefeller Center. But this afternoon we had a great time sharing a tradition with some good friends who we admire a lot! They live on the Upper East Side so we don't get to see them that much. So every year they invite 2 families to their home to hear the Christmas story and decorate Gingerbread houses. So each family sat down at their table with a pre-assembled (but still homemade) gingerbread house and went at it. The whole afternoon was a blast! Truly put us in the Christmas Spirit, helped us to stop, play, and reflect on our blessings all at once:

For Family Home Evening we are going to take cookies to our local Firestation, incidentally the one featured in Ghostbusters on North Moore Street. We will be home for the whole break and we are looking forward to resting, bonding, relaxing, and playing. Probably posting a few pics too.  

(p.s., London got glasses, she picked them out herself! Cute tortoise shell, isn't that sweet?)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In All Things Give Thanks

You know, I've thought a lot about this blog lately, what it's purpose is and why I put any energy into it. I realized that I created this blog from a "Hey I'm moving to New York, let me tell you about my culture shock" angle. Now that I've been here 6 months, I noticed that in an effort to sound interesting, I have tried to mock or criticize my life on this blog, either to make it more interesting or funny, or to show how different it is from the past 10 years of my life. I had it all figured out, then we pulled the suburban rug from under our feet and are standing bare feet in a truly unique place. A place that I have fallen in love with, in spite of its difficulties by comparison to the aforementioned cozy rug.

Truth is, I am grateful to be here. And my job hasn't changed one bit. More has stayed the same than has changed, my purpose in my family, with my kids and my husband. But here in this city I have a chance to enjoy my blessings just a bit differently. 

I become increasingly grateful as I realize that my husband works 10 minutes away, that unlike many dads who work in the city, our children are so central to his life. I'm grateful for the diversity my kids are experiencing. Their integrity and their values are being poked at, at such tender ages, and their armor will be stronger because of it. I'm grateful that when standing among the other moms, I am off the hook. Whether they work 60 hours in an office or 10 at home, or like me, have confidently stepped out of the professional world to raise children, I don't judge them and it has stopped occurring to me to even try.

I am just grateful for my healthy kids and family. I'm grateful that they've transitioned well and that I get to tell them as much as I do how much I love them. I have a husband who loves me and understands me, which is no small feat. 11 years and it still feels new! 

Happy Holidays. I will post pictures soon.


By the way, if you try in the future to read it and it doesn't let you in, just email you and I'll re-invite you. For some people it kicks them off the invited list after a month or so.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Uh, is this Times Square or did you just light up your tree?

We got our tree yesterday. Actually, Jason got it with the kids in Brooklyn. The tree we were looking at here in Manhattan was $125, but my friend told me to cross the bridge to BK and the trees were cheaper. So with the minivan, Jason found the exact same tree for $50. Cha-ching!
We made a whole family afternoon of it today, decorating the Christmas tree.
So the tree is up, but there is something seriously wrong. I got the L.E.D. lights, and instead of an ambient glow of twinkling lights surrounding the ornaments, it's like bla-DOW! Hot-white lights reminiscent only of Times Square (in a BAD way) or a criminal's inquisition ('We have ways of making you talk...') Not what I was going for. But getting the lights required a subway transfer and a lot of awkward bumbling around with a stroller and a cumbersome bag of 7 boxes of Christmas lights- going back to the Home Depot on 23rd is not an option. So we may go blind, but at least we'll have a well-lit tree. Where's that Christmas Cheer when you need it? Can it be delivered?

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Found a Costco THAT DELIVERS. It is called and I think it might just be saving my life and my Saturdays from now on. I'm so excited to fulfill my need for buying in bulk, all without schlepping it back from Brooklyn. Best tip I have gotten in the city so far.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Living The Life Vicarious

I got to live my dream of being an ice skater through my kids tonight; they were in the Chelsea Piers' Sky Rink "Holiday on the Hudson" Ice Show. They just started taking ice-skating lessons in September, and this was a show that the Skate School kids got to be a part of, along with other, shall we say, more seasoned performers. They skated to a Jingle Bell Rock, covered by Rascal Flatts, so they dressed in cowboy-themed clothes. Tass was non-plussed; he's just biding his time until he can play hockey. But London loved it and wants to take more than one lesson a week, which is no easy feat:
Words cannot express how physically demanding it is to get to the ice rink. It's in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, but oh kiss of death, is 3 long avenues away from a subway stop. So instead of walking 20 minutes with 2 sets of skates, school backpacks (since we leave directly after school), and a 3-year-old with a stroller that would need collapsing and carrying up and down subway stairs, along with her bag of snacks and my purse, all in frigid 35-degree weather, we hail a cab and I pay fares both ways. OR I go to the garage, get my car, drive and park (on the street, free, but unpredictable, or in the rink's garage, $20). Either way, stress, cash, and sweat. And a few swear words, hopefully only under my breath. (!)
Every week I wonder if it's worth it. Tonight with the fun they had performing, I think so.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sound Advice

This weekend we had a special conference with one of our church leaders. For those of you not a member of my church (see, we have restored the same organization that Jesus Christ had while he was here during His ministry, including 12 apostles. Anyway, one of those 12 apostles came into town. To accommodate the huge amount of members here in NYC we met in the Hammerstein Ballroom, on the same street as the Empire State Building. That in and of itself was remarkable to see the church members in one spot. Rarely happens in our stake since no chapel can hold us all.
The name of this church leader was Jeffrey R. Holland. He said many things that touched my heart, including his testimony that whatever we have or are currently suffering, Jesus Christ suffered too. We can have faith in the Atonement that He knows what we're going through and can let Him take our burdens for us. Elder Holland also referred to when the original apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, were on a fishing boat and there was a violent storm that overtook them. He referred to the apostle Marks' account and reminded us that the Savior quieted the storm. But then Elder Holland gave some really sound advice: In the midst of all the storms surrounding us now, both globally and personally, now is not the time to jump out of the boat. "Stay in the boat," he said. "Stay closer to the Lord (cling tight to the boat) than ever- Now is not the time to do your own version of a 'doggy-paddle' amidst all the storms in this life. Stay in the Boat."
I have to admit, that counsel touched Jason and I very deeply. As we're living through our own challenges right now we were reminded of where we need to put our efforts and our faith.

We took the subway home- here are some pictures:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Have Smile, Will Travel

Today is going well. It's raining cats and dogs outside, but it hasn't gotten old to me yet. Rain still brings a cathartic quality to my outlook. I'm sure that will change as winter progresses, maybe that's why I'm posting now. I've been walking an 8-block circle running errands and transporting kids and I'm soaked (gotta get better rain gear!). Among other things I went to school and picked McAllister up for a lunch date, and I treated him to McDonald's. He's finding his place among established friendships at school, and has been feeling left out. So inspite of my McDonald's indigestion, I feel good about letting him know he is loved. It is good (albeit very difficult) to make me slow down like this. 'Lunch hour' was a success.
I picked Daisy up from preschool, and when I took her coat off at home I looked at her and decided to take a picture. A mini New-Yorker- I laugh because it wasn't intentional. Anyway, like her big sister, she immediately started posing. Here is the result.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tribeca Trick or Treating

There once was a 'hood in The City
Which for Halloween gets crazy-busy!
All through the night, holy cow, what a sight-
The stores open up for the kiddies!We started the fun after school,
At QUARTER TO 4! To be cool,
The grown-ups got dressed, in their Halloween best,
Along with those that, well, share their gene pool.
It blew Uncle Matt and us away,
To see thousands of people this way,
With the streets all open, the boutiques all hopin',
To give all their goodies away.We lost our sweet Daisy just once!
She was three stores behind, she's no dunce.
She was mixed with the children, not one bit bewildered,
(but mom will have nightmares for months)!
London, she was a real pro,
Ent'ring store after store with gusto,
McAllister, leary, of strangers was fearing,
To enter a store all alone.We did do some more trick-or-treat,
In our building, after cruising the street.
We'd become such gluttons, but still we pressed buttons,
To the floors of our neighbors' retreats.
One thinks that the party stops there,
But no! That just starts it, Beware!
For New Yorkers who dress every day to impress,
Halloween night is a serious affair.So Mommy and Daddy went out,
Thanks to Sami, our sitter, who without,
We'd miss our great time, at St. John the Divine,
The cathedral with much spooky clout.

With live organ music a-playing,
We watched a silent movie displaying
"The Phantom of the Opera", all the melo-da-ra-ama,
"A masterpiece!", critics were saying.

So exhausted and full all are we,
The urban Whiting Family,
We'll need to discover, a way to recover,
From our Halloween in N.Y.C.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Celebrity Sightings...

Abigail Breslin, August, in Madewell Store
Ron Rifkin, on the street, October; I thought he was our attorney from our closing and did a half-hi when he responded with a half-hi as well.
At the gym: Wendy Williams, of D-list talk-show fame, working out the same week she had that on-air spif w/ Omarosa
Best so far: Will Arnett. Works out at my gym. I've seen him so often I thought he was one of our trainers, 'til finally it clicked today. We worked out right next to each other on the circuit stuff. I made eye contact then avoided him the rest of the time. (Cause, really, who cares? What do I say, "loved 'Arrested Development, you're much taller in person'? naaaah....) What's even cooler, is that he's married to a very preggers Amy Poehler.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Overheard at the Field Trip...

One of the chaperoning dads, while walking home from London's Brooklyn Bridge Field Trip today, talking to his group:
"Well kids, on the news, when they say "Main Street" they mean anywhere that isn't New York City. When they say "Wall Street", that's another way to say New York right, there are real 'Main Streets' in some towns of the country, but some don't have a real 'Main Street'. But when the news says "Main Street" they still mean 'everywhere else but here'..."

I didn't know that it was that simple. So we just call everything outside of our city limits: "Not New York City, USA. Example: Not 'Des Moines, Iowa', rather, "Not New York City, Iowa". Not 'Chicago, Illinois', but "Still Not New York City, Illinois". Maybe shorten it to SNNYC, Illinois or something? (All together, now: "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?")

I guess we are us, and they are them. And I'm not sure that this ideology is something one should admit to adhering to. Boy do I have a lot to learn. Heaven help me if I do.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I love my kids, a bushel and a peck!

Look at me, in touch with nature! A big thing that is fun to do around is to pick apples, berries, etc., at the farms outside of NYC. I know you can do it in VA too, it just never appealed to me when going to Giant Grocery Store worked just as well. But it's an excuse to leave the city and see real grass and sky. We had a blast.
We went to an apple orchard a little over an hour away from the city, with a good friend and her 2 boys. When we got to the trees and started picking, even Daisy got in on it. She asked me after about 2 minutes, 'Mommy, can I eat one?' I told her she could and her eyes lit up. So she parked it right then and there and ate an entire apple. Then she said, 'Mommy, can I eat another one?' To which I replied, 'Uh, sure...' She picked another one and ate it as well, down to the core. Then she worked a little bit, playing around mostly, then, 'Mommy, can I eat another one?' She ate four entire apples! In every picture, there she is, chomping away. So cute.
McAllister was over it in about 10 minutes. London totally got into it, trying to climb trees to get to the apples. After we paid I got introduced to Apple Cider Donuts, which throws my penchant for Krispy Kremes out the window!
We took home a huge load of apples, and kept them in the fridge. I made 4 apple crisps at various times, with my nifty new peeler my friend gave me. The kids helped me, and while I can honestly say I ate my weight in apple crisp, the kids didn't like it as much and just ate the apples fresh like candy.
Yay Autumn-time! This is definitely going to be something we do often.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mom Does a Field Trip, Take Two

This time I went with my boy McAllister to Central Park Zoo. We did the subway (again) to get there. It seemed more complicated herding 1st graders versus London's 3rd graders. More stressful. But I gloated to myself as people were annoyed when we boarded the subway car and took it over. Kids live here too, you people!
McAllister is doing a unit on snakes and so we got to study them in the great zoo that we have right here in the city! We had lunch and played at the Tirsch Children's Zoo, which I loved. Here is a picture of the whole class sitting on the giant Spider Web. Do you believe we have all this just a few stops away on the subway? I love it. McAllister had a blast. I don't think he noticed me much though. :)