On The 11th Day of Christmas

On the 11th day of Christmas we went to Macy’s Santaland in Manhattan.

You have to book it and you could get a spot as early as 15mins. But we booked a week ahead. Seeing that it is a very popular experience during the holiday season for tourists and locals, we chose a Tuesday after school slot thinking that the queue (line) won’t be too long.

It was long. The total experience despite being on a Tuesday was about 2.5 hours.

There is a restaurant just in front of Santaland to sit down, get a coffee or snack and wait for your time slot.

I saw this beautiful lady and Mama was really her name! I asked if I could take her picture for my website and she smiled and said yes ūüėĄ

The food was very tasty and good value for money considering how everything else is expensive in New York City. After grabbing something to eat we proceeded to the Santa express. It was very long and tiring for the parents but the kids didn’t really complain so they must have loved it more.

The elves were cheeky, funny and brilliant!

There were lots of fun things to see and do along the way. So waiting wasn’t so boring.

Finally it was time to meet the big man himself.

You can request to see a brown Santa from the gate but I don’t really mind. We told the kids the original Santa was brown but we just love whoever puts on the suit.

The elf taking photos was very kind and if you ask him to take your pictures he will. Despite capturing this on my phone I still got the professional prints. It was our first time and I wanted it done properly. Maybe next year, something like these would be enough. Can I also point out that the final prints were very lovely. Even for rich ebony skin, it was beautiful. I never used to order prints from non brown photographers because of how they capture our skin tones especially those done on the spot but this one was perfect. So don’t worry, you can try one and I’m pretty sure you would love it. The whole photo package was very affordable.

Overall it was a very busy, tiring but extremely exciting day and we got to create some new memories.

**I wanted to take a quick nap before writing up the days experience after the baby slept, knowing she usually wakes up every few hours at night for feed and comfort. But tonight was different. She slept for 6 hours straight and I slept off too. Just woke up to feed her and maybe for the next blogmas I would share what I noticed made the difference tonight. It wasn’t because we were all tired, I always try to wear her out but it never worked. But this trick which was totally unplanned, did it. So come back for the 12th day of Christmas and hope you are getting into the Christmas feeling!

5 Tips for Sunny Hot Days In NYC

Are you visiting New York City this summer? if so you are in for a good time – you just have to learn to cope with the hot weather first especially if you are coming from a much more cooler region. Temperatures can go as far as 83 F and even more. Having originally come from a warm climate but later acclimatised to colder weather when we moved to Europe, I find the New York weather very hot, too hot in fact. perspiration is high and I am constantly looking for shades or indoors with cooling system. Hear are few tips on how we have being coping with the heat.

  1. Keep your cool. Quite literally you should try and stay cool. Fan, air condition, cold shower, pool. Open windows for fresh air to come in, go to public places with cooling systems. The shopping mall, go see a movie in the cinema (theatre) or read a book at the library. Drink lots of water. In extreme case put wet flannel/towels on forehead to cool temperature down.

playing in water fountains and sprinkles to stay cool

  1. Wear lighter clothing. This may look like a no brainer but some of us who love to stay modest and cover up (even in summer) may find it hard to wear lighter clothes. Bear in mind that there is difference between wearing lighter clothes and wearing revealing outfits. Sometimes the heat will supersede modesty! Linen material tends to be summer friendly. even if you want to cover up, try using net like material of soft silk like kimonos for example. For work suits, try blazers with little or no under lining.

  1. Use sun protections, including suncream Рwhen you are going out. Top it up after few hours, sunglasses to protect your eyes and an umbrella for shade. Finally add a little style with a sun hat!

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The London Mom In Fire Island New York.

Memorial Day weekend could not have be better spent than with family and friends away from the city in an idyllic island called fire island.

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the holiday beach house we stayed in with friends, had no tv, there were music, books, newspaper, magazine, toys, board games and although there was internet, you would find yourself switching off and relaxing. Being one with nature.

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The Island is like a community were everyone almost knew one another, they visited each other, and there was a certain chilled out atmosphere around. so relaxing that people walked and rode their bikes barefooted. We were overdressed for it!

There are no cars on the island. The only mode of transportation was cycling or walking. There are bicycles everywhere, different colours and designs.

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A lot of the people are friendly, saying hello as you passed by, some even going as far as stopping to have a chat, we found this man and he picked from the kids ascent that they were from the UK, it turned out that he was from Ireland himself but migrated to the states about 20 years ago. He was explaining the history of the island to the kids.fullsizeoutput_1670IMG_7814IMG_7810IMG_7789

The little island is nestled between the Long Island bay and the Atlantic Ocean, making it an ideal location for the whole family. If you wanted to surf the big waves or skinny dipping in the bay, there is something for everyone.

The island has one fire station, doctor, chapel, post office, a town hall where people meet or socialise and a shop that sells both fresh and cooked meals.

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A yacht club

There is a large playground for kids, basketball court, tennis court.

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two lifeguards on duty watching the bay. It is safe fun and all round a beautiful island.

3 months old baby update

fullsizeoutput_1638fullsizeoutput_1636IMG_7726IMG_7727you know how they say how time flies when you are having fun? well that is true. I cannot believe that our little rainbow baby Sophia is three months old already. I must agree the sleepless nights, body aches , fever, leaking boobs, picking dinner out from your bra because you’ve been eating standing up with child strapped to your chest. no that part of being a new mom all over again is not fun. but what has been fun has been the smiles they give you with their toothless mouth.

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their first giggles when you make a funny face, you realising that they can actually now see you from across the room and follow you with their eyes. them crying and as soon as you pick them up and they stop then you realise they were calling out for you, that your smell, your touch comfort them. that your voice soothes them that they are yours and you are theirs. it is truly a wonderful  feeling of love.

three months have come and gone, in these three month we have learned on each other for support, whenever I feel like it is getting too much and im having a bad day, I look at her, she smiles at me and everything is right with the world again.

she loves to talk, babble I know but I call it talk, we chat together, I let her take turns, when she stops, that is my cue to talk, and she loves it, because she smiles. I try to read to her even though it feels weird because how can she properly understand what im reading to her. at first she only kept her gaze on the book for five seconds, now, she focuses a little longer. im not sure if its the sound but I do know she loves the pictures. she looks at the pictures, boy does she look a lot.

she would look at the trees, cars and buildings on our way to the park. she would look at her hands, at everything and anything, I catch her looking at me when im not looking, she’s examining my face looking at every angle every wrinkle. when im smilling she smiles. she gets jumpy at sudden loud sounds. she tries to grasp for human contacts when she sleeps facing up, I put her bunny rabbit close to her but she still want that human touch.

she is being weened from swaddling now, especially as the weather is getting warmer at nights. she can’t hold objects for long but she tries when I attempt to give her a toy. when I help her and put in into her grasp, she can only hold it for few seconds before letting it go.

she loves to put things in her mouth, she sticks her tongue out to feel things, including my body and clothes. she drools a lot for someone who isn’t teething, she makes bubbles with her saliva and I can bet she actually enjoys playing with the bubbles.

she has lots of wind, it was bad initially and I changed my diet a little bit. avoided food that gave me gas especially diary. she still gets gas but it is less painful. if I let her, she will scratch her face with her nails which tends to grow very quickly.

she had cradle cap (flakes in the hair from dry scalp) and she had dry skin (eczema) after seeing her pediatrics I asked if it was ok to use the British brand of moisturiser I used with the older kids on her and the doctor cleared it. since using it, it has been better (will write more about it in another post), but for now her skin is much better.

she doesn’t sleep through the night but it is much easier than before, I get a good six hours at a time if I go early. she goes down by 7am, wakes up for a feed by 1am, 3am and 7am. so if I go to bed early, I sleep more.

she co-sleeps with us in the bed and I find that easier for breastfeeding her in the middle of the nights when im tired and worn out.

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I tell her I love her only a hundred times a day. its true. I really love and like her. she has such a sweet personality, calm, easy to love.

because she breastfeed, her diaper change is now less frequent as supposed to before when it was up to six times a day. she goes two days sometimes without doing a poo.img_7322

The Accidental Park Party Crasher

we’ve only been used to the America school system now for three months. there are still some things that we are trying to get used to. this week I got an email and a flyer from the school saying that they were having a dual language school picnic at the dinausar park in the upper west side of manhattan. we later got another email saying to bring food and snacks in contribution. the picnic was in celebration of cinco de mayo that had happened over the weekend.

 

the weather was lovely and we had had a rough night thanks to colic in the baby so I thought the fresh air and the chance to see my older two kids again that afternoon would be nice. I horridly got up, got dressed, got the baby dressed, made a quick simple cheese sandwich and left the apartment for the park.

on getting there, there were lots of kids playing around, climblng the cute dinosaur statues in the middle of the park, some where on the swings, some running around the sprinklers where water sprays out from. some kids were sitting down eating, some queuing up (which I found out was a lingo some Americans were not familiar with, I asked another mom “is this the queue?” and she looked at me probably pondering what I was asking her, im getting used to that look by now, that look that says I hear you but I don’t understand what you mean’. so I went on to repeat myself, maybe it was the accent. ¬†no, still not getting it. the next thing to do is to rearrange the verb or look for another verb to replace the one you used. so I asked for the third time, “is this the line” “oh yes!” she exclaimed smiling, the joy of finally understanding was too cute to miss. I smiled too and made little remark about the English English and the American English. we both laughed about it as I went. on to join the now long food ‘line’ (not queue).

I looked around hoping that my kids would see us and come give us a cuddle while they run back to play, as they typically would do. but no one came. then I looked around for any of their classmates that I have come to now recognise . still no one. then finally I looked around for their class teachers, no? ok now this is not funny were are they? I told the lady behind me to please hold my spot while I go and look for my kids. I was worried this time. I sent them to school, walked them inside so what is going on? I had little comfort from not seeing their classmates and teachers. maybe their class wanted to use the loo ( almost all. the parks in manhattan has toilet – big big points to the Americans there!) but no one was lining up around the toilet area.

I went on to ask a lady wearing the school badge. at least now I know this was definitely my kids school. I asked about other kids and she then went on to explain that this was for the dual language program. But I choose this school for its dual language programs. one of the schools that teaches in Spanish and English. my daughter comes home everyday speaking Spanish to me, so what do they mean by “this is for the dual language programs” I thought the whole school was a dual language program. she went on to explain. I will try to explain because it still somehow confuses me too. so public schools in American or should I say in New York city (thats were I’m experiencing), have the general typical classes and then sometimes have specials programs running in the same school. this programs are not after school clubs or breakfast clubs. its like having a school inside a school. a school for special kids with a form of learning difficulty, a school for gifted and talented kids and in this case a school for dual langue. I say school to understand it better but its the same school, same principal. different teachers, different curriculum maybe and different classes. but all in the same compound. this was new to me. the only time I experienced something like this was at university. post graduate and distance learning students for example all shared campus with us but were somehow different.

anyway just to be sure that my kids were definitely not here I called the school and was told they were in class. I was relieved. I’ve gone past feeling disappointed stage now because this and many more will happen. moving into a new city is bound to set you confused over things but the joy is that its all part of learning the new way of life there. its all part of the adventures and memories you will have with you. I still remember going for my first job interview in London.

I went back to tell the kind lady holding my spot on the line that I won’t be needing it as I got my wires crossed. she said not to worry that I should stay and have lunch and join them in the celebration. I love food and I love music so I wasn’t going to say no to free fun!

that was how I found myself celebrating cinco de mayo in the park with students, teachers and parents who were not in my kids class. I was glad to be there because there was so much fun!