where i work {a.k.a. the fiery pits of hades}

When people ask me where I work, my simple answer is, "The city." Because when you live in the suburbs of New York, there is no need to name it. Around here there really is no other city that matters. New Yorkers are a fairly geo-centric lot. And, I think I may have just made up that word/phrase.

The real story and the long answer to the question of where I work is a bit more complicated. New York City has five boroughs (and no, Long Island is not one of them) and I work in three of the five: Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Manhattan is my favorite for so many reasons because, hello, it is Manhattan people. I can take the train which allows me to either work or read. The office is in the financial district right on the water with fabulous views, amazing choices for food (ahem, Pump and Crumbs) and people watching. While it is about a 90-minute commute door to door, relying on subway and train schedules, it is relatively easy to get in and out.

Brooklyn. The Brooklyn office is in the middle of godforsaken nowhere and it takes over 90 minutes to drive the 26 miles from our house. Say what? The highway portion of the drive is easy but, the last five miles is the commute from hell with upwards of 50 traffic lights, millions of pedestrians and the need to dodge horribly driven dollar vans. There is nowhere for me to sit at this office. Ever. Which makes pumping an interesting feat that goes something like this, "Hi, I hate to bother but, would it be at all possible to kick you out of your office for the next 15 minutes so that I can express my baby's next meal?" A lovely conversation for both parties. But, this location does have one redeeming quality. It sits right next to a brand-new Target. And, how can you truly hate any place that neighbors the beloved bulls eye?

Then, there is my home base and the office where I spend the majority of my working days. The Bronx. More specifically, the South Bronx which I will refer to today as the Fiery Pits of Hell or {FPoH}. The location is just bad. Bad as in, no way I'm parking my car on the street past 5:00 pm as I like having four tires. Bad as in, turn your engagement ring toward your palm and stick your hand in your pocket lest the sparkle catch the eye of, well, pretty much anyone you may pass. Bad as in, the deal on the street right now is 3 pair of riveted, spandex hotpants for $5.00. You read that correctly.

Riveted. Spandex. Hotpants.

I would have taken a photo as proof but, weighed the consequences if someone were to see me and decided against it in about a nanosecond. B.A.D. My husband will be happy to read that there will be no shopping on my lunch hour because even on the best body image day of my life I would not be caught dead in those hotpants (sorry babe!) so unless I have a need to browse the aisles of Rite Aid or Staples, my cash stays in my wallet. Then, there is the food. Street carts with suspect meat, chain fast food places where even the lettuce is wilted (really, Subway, have you no standards?) or places pretending to be just like the popular chains but missing by a mile (Twin Donut). Have I mentioned that this location is bad? Oh and, I have no office space of my own here yet, either. It's in the process of being built and will be finished sometime before the end of this year. Maybe. However, there is still more space in general here and finding a private office for the day is usually not an issue.

The upside? I enjoy working with the people here. I've been with this company a long time, believe in it's mission and the services we deliver and am grateful that they valued my experience enough that I was able to come back from maternity leave as a part-time employee. Doing this, terrible locations and all, allows me to be home with our son the majority of the time while still contributing to our family income. With good reason, when asked where I work I generally stick to, "The city."


we have a teether...

Our little guy has had a runny nose and has been drooling more than usual for the past week. I've been trying to figure out whether he's had a mild cold, was reacting to ragweed season or maybe, just maybe, he had started to teethe. Today, at dinnertime the answer was apparent in his smile. I noticed a tiny slit on the front of his bottom right gum and, sure enough, when I ran my finger over it there was a bit of a tooth poking through

Yes we are all stocked up on infant acetaminophen, baby orajel, teething tabs and cold teethers which are kept in and rotated through a glass bowl in our fridge.

Other than waking earlier than normal the past few days, he's been his normal happy self. Our tough little guy!

G is 8 months, 1 week.


eight months of you...

My sweet George,

When I used to imagine ahead to this point, I pictured you as a still dependent infant relying on Mama and Baba to carry you around and attend to your every need. You had other plans in mind and lately, several times a day I catch glimpses of you as a big boy. You are on the move, crawling, cruising and exploring your world. You still look back to make sure we are there with you and count on us to catch you from falling but, you are quickly gaining independence and are growing and changing at a rate that makes me both extremely proud and more than a little wistful.

Until today, I've been able to take your monthly photos all by myself. Those days are now gone and you do not like to sit still for more than a moment. Baba and I carefully set things up today to be as sure as we could to snap a few pictures in just seconds, knowing you'd be off in a flash. That's about how we do things now. Plan as well as we can, baby proof and follow you around and around and around. Such a busy boy!

At eight months you:
  • are crawling. A few weeks back you decided it was time to move beyond rolling and started a half crawl, dragging one leg (mainly your left) behind or tucked up under you. Within days, you figured out that being on all fours was much more efficient and have now mastered the crawl - and fast!
  • are cruising! Crawling was not enough though. As soon as you had that down, you were pulling yourself up to standing on anyone and anything and now are cruising along the edges of furniture. Be still my heart.
  • are such a good eater. You are adventurous and will try anything we give you from purees, to snacks to semi-solid foods.
  • are still toothless. Being all gums hasn't slowed down your eating at all though! In the past two weeks you've eaten watermelon, meatball and cupfuls of puffs and Cheerios.
  • love music. You have started to bounce around when you hear songs you know and will bang your hands on a surface along with a tune. You particularly love your two toy pianos right now.
  • enjoy Mama's singing voice (though I wonder why!). Your favorites are "Itsy Bisty Spider", "Bingo" and "The Wheels on the Bus". If I need to get your attention or you get restless during a car ride, any of these will help right away.
  • wave hello and good-bye.
  • are growing in more hair, little by little and, it's so light! We're still trying to figure that one out.
  • really like Sesame Street and watch an episode each morning as Mama gets ready.
  • love to swing! As we walk toward the park, you get very excited and start cooing and kicking your feet as soon as the swings are in sight.
  • have fun with the climbing train at the park - especially the portholes. You love peering through the round openings, especially if one of your favorite people is on the other side.
  • play peek-a-boo with a blanket, a toy lovey or around someones head while being held. It's your favorite game right now.
  • enjoy watching other kids play and watching dogs and cats. You fell in love with your great Aunt Patty and Uncle Joe's collie, Murphy at camp - especially as he chased his frisbee.
  • are a happy, smiley, giggly boy. You have the sweetest disposition and the best smile around. Your dimple just melts me!
  • are wearing 6-9 months clothes, although you have plenty of room to grow in them. You can still wear a lot of your 3-6 month onesies and shorts. You have a longer torso but are still lean through the middle.
  • have deliciously chubby thighs, arms and cheeks...we kiss them all the time!
  • love the water in any form - sippy cup, baths and swimming. You are a water kid and love to splash around.
  • are a people person. You love to meet new people, study faces and have a quick smile for anyone you meet. You tend to charm even the grumpiest of strangers when we are out and about.
  • are fascinated hearing Greek. Your Yia Yia and Papou only speak Greek to you when you are with them on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while Mama is at work, and Baba speaks in Greek to you at home much of the time.

You are the very best part of every day. I love you to the moon and back little guy,



weekend at the lake...

Last Friday, George and I traveled upstate to the lake for some family time. We had some cooler but beautiful weather and it was incredible to see how much more George enjoyed himself from our last visit two weeks before now that he is so much more mobile. My aunt and uncle have a gorgeous collie named Murphy and G was completely enamoured with his new found furry friend.

My camera was, as usual, close at hand and I finally swapped lenses and decided to give my 50mm 1.4 prime a workout. Love! Begged the question - why haven't I been using this much more all along? Lesson learned.

George exploring the dock:
Kisses from Yia Yia:
Good morning Sunshine! Not quite awake but quite a happy boy:
Quality time with great Uncle Dick who was in from CA:
Playing on the deck:
A guiding hand from Pop:


wordless wednesday: morning at the park

can wings be (temporarily) clipped?

Since I am working late tonight, I was able to spend the early part of the day at home with G. The weather cooperated and gave us a cool, slightly overcast morning - perfect for our now well-loved local park. Arriving just when the park opens at 9:00 on a weekday allows G to explore all on his own without the need to compete for space with other children. He loves crawling on this train structure (with Mama right on his heels!).

On the train, there are a few levels separated by small steps. Today, G decided crawling around wasn't enough. He was determined to tackle the stairs. He put his hands on the first step and rocked back and forth for awhile, trying to figure it out and then, in a flash, he was up the first step and then the second. He turned around to grin at me with a look that shouted, "I did it, Mama!"
In an instant I was both beaming with pride and utterly saddened. My little guy is proving to be sharp, fearless and a very quick learner. All wonderful things except for one small point...I'm not ready to let go of my bitty baby.

He is asserting his independence and testing his wings (er, feet) far sooner than I ever could have imagined. Just this weekend he decided to full on crawl rather than scooting around. Within a day he was pulling up to standing on, well, everything (good-bye glass coffee table! drop that crib mattress!) and now stairs? I think this is just the beginning of a wild ride.

George is 7 months, 3 weeks.


most definitely an outside kid...

Could he be any happier than this? Late afternoon at the park closest to our house, just after finishing his dinner. Forget that it was overcast (makes for better photos anyway), drizzling and the coolest day in many months. He soaked it all up and loved every minute we were there. Took in so much in that short time that the second time we put him in the swing? He fell fast asleep...zzzz...


(nearly) wordless wednesday: the power of a dress...

Today, in this $20 dress from the store with the bulls eye, I'm feeling okay about my reflection in the mirror. It's a change from my at home mama uniform of shorts, a tee and flip-flops. This 7.5 month post-baby body of mine is not so bad. There is an actual waist and nearly normal-for-me curves (and yes, hair that is badly in need of a cut). Forget that everything is still soft, slightly shifted and kind of askew underneath. My body worked hard for all of that. Today, I'm good with the dressed up me:


1st vacation: at the lake...

While it was only a couple of days due to our work schedules and little available time off, we made the absolute most out of those days and your first vacation. Your great-aunt and uncle have a beautiful house on a huge lake upstate and graciously shared it all with us this past weekend. We had a hunch you would love swimming in the lake because of your obsession with bathtime but, your reaction was even better than we'd hoped. You loved it, splashed in it, soaked it all up.

Your very own float!

We were so proud of you and happy to enjoy this time together...

The reason we chose the weekend we did was so that you would be able to spend time with your only aunt and first cousin. Your aunt got to meet you when you were just two days, then visited again when you were three weeks for a few days but, your cousin was too young to visit while you were still so tiny. Unfortunately, we all live far away from each other and meeting him hadn't been possible before now. I happen to think that it ended up perfect this way. You are so curious right now and so interested in other kids that it made your introduction a great pleasure.

C and G, finally together (C is almost 4 years, G is 7.5 months). Their faces say it all :-)

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