A New York Minute

Sometimes you need to treat yourself to a $25 cocktail.

In New York City.

My kids and I love reading about New York. That does not mean we took them on our 10th wedding anniversary trip to the Big Apple.

But we thought about them a lot (but had fun without them.)  I had to take advantage and visit some places we had read about.

Upon arrival, after walking in the wrong direction for several blocks, we visited The New York Public Library. It was a thrill for me to see the Library Lions and visit the children’s section.

In the children's section of the NYC library, these Lego lions reign.

In the children’s section of the NYC library, these Lego lions reign.

Oh my Lawd, I also had to go visit The Plaza where Eloise lives.  (Read about her in a past blog post.)

We explored the magnificent structure and visited the Eloise gift shop where the shop attendant told me the parents are usually more excited to visit than the kids.

I found Eloise at the Plaza.

I found Eloise at the Plaza.

We then had that $25 cocktail. I sipped a pink cosmopolitan, so I could channel Sex in the City and Eloise.

Eloise lives in the tower with Nanny.

Eloise lives in the tower with Nanny.

I don’t know if Max and Calvin were that impressed that we visited the home of Eloise. They were mostly concerned with finding out what we bought them. (An Eloise highlighter and New York City bus for Calvin; a Lego Chrysler Building and Yankees hat for Max.)

I can’t wait to go back.

Here are a few of our favorite NYC books:

This is New York by Miroslav Sasek (I’ve mentioned this one a lot but we love it!)

Eloise by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight.

B is for Brooklyn by Selina Alko (Read a past blog post.)

The Wicked Big Toddlah Goes to New York by Kevin Hawkes (Read our thoughts on Toddie here.)

Statue of Liberty

Just for fun, here’s my shot of Lady Liberty.


And now they are six

Calvin and a birthday book.

Calvin and a birthday book.

Most kids (and adults) like hearing their birth stories. For my twins, it’s mostly the story of how Calvin got things started and that they were born eight minutes apart.

My husband Eddie and I thought they sounded like goats.

My little goats, I mean babies, celebrated their sixth birthday last week.

Indulge me. It’s been the best and hardest six years of my life.

Legos, Star Wars figures, buses, games, and an abundance of other gifts were involved in the birthday celebration and of course, there were books.

We had to have a conversation before their family party.

If you don’t like something DON’T SAY IT, Eddie and I advised. Just tell us later.

Kids. They have the charming, horrifying habit of telling the truth.

On to the books –  Calvin received two London books: This is London by Miroslav Sasek and We Completely Must Go to London by Lauren Child.

For Max, more Star Wars Yarns (see a prior post) and Ed Emberley’s Big Purple Drawing Book. Max loves Emberley’s books and has checked the Purple one out several times from the library. The appeal of this one is it teaches you how to draw a pirate ship.

Max and the our other birthday boy, Baby Cecil.

Max and our other birthday boy, Baby Cecil.

Later, as Max and I read one of his new books he confessed.

“This is one of the things I didn’t like but didn’t say. But now I LOVE this book!

Score one for parenting!

We have another birthday boy in our family. Cecil, or Baby Cec as my boys called him, turned one this month! Named after my husband’s father, he is our great nephew.

Baby Cec had to have a book too. I chose Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert.

I learned of Chicka when I interviewed my friend Erin for this blog. My boys knew about it from preschool and would chant along with it, much to my surprise. This classic provides a sing songy way to learn the alphabet.

Here’s to September birthdays! And reading! And cake!

(About the cake – Max had Darth Vader on his cake; Calvin a MegaBus; and Cecil a Teddy Bear.)

More books suggestions
Thanks to our family and friends for the following books.

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

Little Bear (a family favorite and classic) by Else Holmelund and illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester

When I Grow Up by Weird Al Yankovic and illustrated by Wes Hargis.

And thanks to all my new subscribers!


Taking my blog on the road

My book club and I are gaga for Ann. (Center. In the DRESS.)

My book club and I are gaga for Ann. (Center. In the DRESS.)

I took my blog on the road last week. On my way to the Tribe Conference in Franklin, Tennessee my fellow writer and friend Melissa and I stopped at Parnassus Books. The store is a literary mecca in Nashville, Tennessee.

Author Ann Patchett is the co-owner of the store. She’s also the author of my book club’s first read Truth and Beauty. We celebrated our tenth anniversary and love of all things Patchett by hearing her speak at the Cincinnati Mercantile Library’s Niehoff lecture in October.

May I digress? Ann talked about the importance of independent owned bookstores. We met her during the cocktail hour and she shared that her fabulous dress was a gift from her friend Liz (author Elizabeth Gilbert). We smiled, gushed, and probably spit like teenagers with braces when we told her that we love her work. She was gracious, engaging, and an intriguing speaker.

The Queen, her beefeaters, and corgi take off.I try to make it a point to hit independent bookstores when traveling with or without my boys. I found some gems at Parnassus. It has a beautifully stocked and comfortable children’s book section.

For Calvin I found, The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony. Calvin has an obsession with buses and cities. His beloved London double decker buses and London Bridge feature large in this tale about the Queen losing her hat on the way to visit a certain baby. (Can you guess?)

Calvin also scored This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek. This was gold, pure gold, since we were there in June (see my blog post California Love) and he adores Sasek’s This is New York.

Max loves all things Star Wars these days. He was happy to get Star Wars Epic Yarns: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Yarns: A New Hope by Jack Wang and Holman Wang. These clever books show Star Wars figures made of yarn and the one word a page are great for new readers.

Melissa, me, and my gold handbag visit Parnassus Books.

Melissa, me, and my gold handbag visit Parnassus Books.

The Tribe Conference (for writers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs), the bookstore, and a little time away from my two kindergartners left me feeling inspired!

Ps. At the conference we were challenged to ask for email addresses for our blogs. I got around 60! Thank you to all who responded!

Where to find the books and other info

Check out your local bookstore or library for all the titles mentioned above or visit Powell’s City of Books for the The Queen’s Hat, and This is San Francisco.

Star Wars Epic Yarns: The Empire Strikes Back can be bought from Chronicle Books.

Read my friend Melissa’s blog post about The Tribe Conference. (Hint..she writes poetry.)

Elizabeth Gilbert will be at Parnassus Books on October 21 with her new book, Big Magic.