Sam rain-2

It’s hard to believe that a year ago today, Hurricane Sandy swept through the Northeast corridor, flooding New York City and leaving many of us powerless for days.  It was a surreal experience to hear in late October that yet another Hurricane was gathering strength and heading towards our city. Just the year before, we were hit by Irene, which caused minimal damage, but had thrown me into a panic. The night Irene landed, labor pains started, and I was forced to dial around town for a hospital that was still admitting patients. My hospital had closed earlier that day and hell or high water, no pun intended, this baby was coming.

Hectic birth stories aside, many of us New Yorkers anticipated Sandy with a healthy dose of cynicism because Irene had quickly turned from a roaring lion into a virtual kitty cat. “This is it?” I remember Anderson Cooper asking as he walked around downtown New York during the heart of the storm, the worst of the storm surge lapping gently over the barrier.

And so, like many NYC families, as we heard about Sandy’s approach, we did little to stock our apartment with adequate food and water supplies, flashlights, and size D batteries. The boy had cried wolf, and we wouldn’t be fooled again.

Lesson learned. Storms are unpredictable, and when they hit, they hit hard. I will never again be unprepared for an event like this. That is, if it ever happens.

Early before Sandy’s arrival, we tried to enjoy our last few moments outside, knowing that we’d likely be stuck indoors for a day, maybe two.

Once we were officially quarantined for the evening, we did what we do best: cracked open a bottle of wine and hung out with the kids as they played in the hallways.

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And of course we watched CNN.

I have a love/hate relationship with CNN. It’s the only channel worth watching in the face of impending doom. Who doesn’t love to watch the reporters as they brave Mother Nature, yardsticks in hand, ready to measure accumulated pools of rain, wave height, and beach recession. Feet firmly planted, winds lashing their faces, soaked from head to toe, they warn us to “STAY INSIDE”. It’s courageous and unnecessary all at the same time. Do we really need to watch our reporters get blown away by gale force winds? I think the answer is yes, because CNN specializes in news as entertainment, and on nights like this, the entertainment is thrilling.

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We even had a little bit of fun surfing the winds that came through our window.


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Halloween is just around the corner. That’s right parents, it’s the season for getting your little ones geared up with some cute, wild, and occasionally strange outfits. I have to say, that I’m a costume buyer myself. It’s shameful to admit it, but I’m never on top of my A game when it comes to making Halloween costumes ahead of time. So I usually take the easy way out by bringing my kids to one of the Halloween pop up shops that seem to sprout like weeds in our neighborhood at this time of year.

But for those who have the time or energy to make costumes from scratch, I’ve done some research for you. I’ve searched through Pinterest, and have found what I think are the best of the best in a number of important categories.

First up, the cute costumes. Best for babies and young toddlers – is there anything cuter than a little ones dressed up as snap peas in a pod, a bumble bee, or the quintessential Mary’s little lamb. And look at this little dude on the left – Yoda? So sweet.

The cute_FeedMeDearly

Next in line, we have the awesome costumes. Parents, please make sure that your child has at least one year dressed in one of these types of outfits. It takes confidence to pull off, but the payoff is significant, resulting in a higher than average candy pull.

The awesome_FeedMeDearly

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If you’ve read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen and enjoyed the dysfunctional banter between family members, you’d have thoroughly enjoyed a visit to our family farm over Thanksgiving weekend.

We left New York last Thursday, Ontario-bound on our favorite mini airline, Porter. Settling into the plane, we found ourselves in the usual seats. Me and my three kids occupying all four seats across, with Rodney in the luxury seat behind.


In all fairness, he does end up with his share of work when we travel but I definitely got the short end of the stick on this leg. Fortunately the beverage cart came quickly, giving me some liquid stamina for the ride.


At long last, we arrived at the farm in Caledon, an hour north of Toronto. The sun was setting, and after a late dinner, we settled in for the night.

The next morning, my Dad got the tractor out of the barn to give the kids a tour of  the property. I’m not sure what my Dad was thinking when he set up the scarecrow over the vegetable patch (top right), but to me it bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael Myers from the Halloween movies.


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We had guests at the lake this weekend, yes, those crazy two “Roby & Rihanna” with their little munchkins. I love it when people visit. It means having an excuse to drink excessive amounts of wine, eat lots of good food, and watch our kids hang out with their friends.

We were a little concerned that the weather might not cooperate despite the decent forecast for the weekend. Gray skies and fog greeted us when we arrived on Saturday morning.

Undeterred, Rodney got to work mowing the lawn in his favorite lawn mowing outfit. Those would be sharks on his pink shorts. I bought the shorts for him in Nantucket one year and he looked at me like I was crazy. They remained balled up in the closet for years, but I kept the faith, knowing that one day he’d come around. Because quite simply, they’re awesome.


While Rodney mowed, I started prepping a few ingredients for the weekend. Sam, ecstatic that I’d bought him a new basketball, was incredibly disappointed to find out that these were in fact just really big beets. I’ve been such a vegetable pusher these days, I’m sure that he knew he’d be facing that thing on his dinner plate sometime soon.


Roby and Rihanna arrived and were greeted with a plateful of olives. It was the least I could do given that I didn’t have a gin & tonic waiting, as promised. Rodney nixed the idea because it would set the wrong tone for the weekend. I don’t know who he’s trying to kid, but that sets the exact right tone in my book.


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This was quite the weekend, I must say. We had a snap of warm weather which made us all a little more adventurous than usual in late September.

We started things off with a visit to our local farm in Northern NJ to go apple and pumpkin picking. As soon as we’d raided the apple orchard and pumpkin patch for some choice fruit & veg, we were off to bigger and better things.

First off was pony racing where Emma decided to be the first in line.

“Who are you going to race?” I asked, confident that she was going to pick her brother or her sister.

“That guy”, she responded, pointing at her handler.


“That one, over there, the one with the….


I don’t know what was more shocking, the fact that she knows the word “mustache” or that she knows how to use it in a sentence. And a sentence that involves thrill-seeking no less.  This one is going to be a handful as a teenager, I can see it already.

Next, we headed over to a contraption spotted earlier, otherwise knowns as the “Eurolaunch.” And it did  exactly what you think something with the name Eurolaunch would do . It gave each kid a massive  wedgie and launched them, screaming and begging for mercy, into the air.

Lauren was up first, showing off some of her gymnastics moves by entering into a frightening sequence of flips:


And then Emma was back in there, yanking on my sleeve to do it too. So I gave in. Her response….


You would think that our family’s adventures ended there. But no. Feeling nostalgic about the end of the summer season, Rodney encouraged us all to get in the boat for one last waterski. And in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, the water is no longer a balmy 75 degrees.

There we were, acting like a bunch of Yahoos with no wetsuits. To remind our neighbors that we are not, in fact, degenerates, I tried to fall as gracefully as I could.


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