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Preview: The Adventures of Greg, Jen and Atticus Baden

Baden Family Adventures

A place to ramble and keep in touch with friends and family...

Updated: 2017-11-14T13:04:50.394-06:00


Emotional Weekend


For me, parenting is not particularly enjoyable.  I know there are highs and lows - blah blah - and while it's not really acceptable to say out loud, it's been a tough journey for me.  I love my children to the moon and back, but at the end of the day, I still don't enjoy parenting.  I see all the Facebook posts about how someone's child was the bestest and most amazing thing that ever happened in their lives and I think, hmmm.... that's just not me.  I love my children, but I'm not all googly eyed when discussing being a mom.

But - I still am ferociously protective and want nothing but the best for my kids.  It's weird.  I should probably see a therapist to discuss further...

So, I found out that Atticus was purposefully NOT invited to one of his "friends" birthday parties last Friday night.  My heart was crushed.  Atticus considers this boy to be a friend.  Atticus would never think to not invite him to our parties!  The silver lining is that we were in Boston and couldn't have gone anyways -- but just knowing that he wasn't invited was a blow to the chest.  I may not enjoy parenting, but I still want to shield him from the cruelty of the world and mean kids.  I know we can't always invite everyone to our parties, it's not practical, it's not the real world, it's not always financially optional -- but to exclude someone on purpose hurts.  It hurts when you're 9.  It hurts when you're 40+.

But the weekend continued...

We drove back to NY so that Atticus could race on the 12th in a qualifier race.  To qualify, Atticus needed to be in the top 30 finishers (out of 107 runners) or his team needed to be in the top 5.  Neither of those things happened.  Atticus had a good time of 15:51 in his 3k which put him in 77th place out of the 107 runners.  Tailwind B Team of 9-10y Boys came in 10th overall.  Tailwind did absolutely amazing as a whole.  45 out of the 49 athletes competing on the 12th qualified for the meet this weekend in Rhode Island.  Which meant that 4 kids didn't make it.  How absolutely gut wrenching.  This travel meet in Rhode Island was going to be Atticus's last hoorah with Tailwind.  He was looking forward to the camaraderie much more than the actual race -- but we just assumed that Atticus would qualify!   And then he didn't.

News came today that one of the other 9-10y boys can't make it this weekend to the race which has opened up a spot for Atticus.  He's going to be over the moon excited when I tell him after school.  I don't really have the time to be jetting off to Rhode Island at the moment - but it would have been crushing to not go.  Atticus is looking forward to swimming in a crappy hotel pool.  To having a team dinner.  To sleeping at a hotel.  To racing with his friends...

So, here's a toast to being a good parent -- and to Rhode Island.  I've never been to Rhode Island.  I suppose we can check that off the bucket list now...

The Treat Fairy


They're seriously still falling for this stunt?  

The night of Halloween, the kids leave a bag of candy out for the "treat fairy".  The naughty fairy visits overnight, eats the candy often leaving a huge mess... and then she feels terrible and gives the children a gift in exchange for the candy she's eaten.  

This year, the treat fairy left Atticus the Toilet Trouble game.  A horrid game where you spin the roll of toilet paper, and then flush the handle and hope you don't get sprayed in the face with water.  

While I wasn't looking, Atticus decided to build the game all on his own.  Somewhere along this process the flusher stopped flushing.  Not that I was going to complain, but since I'd just spent $18 on the thing at Target -- I kind of wanted it to work!

So, after trying two different sets of new batteries, I figured the thing was defective and off to Target I went this morning to exchange the game.

Now that I'm over getting yelled at by the random angry dude on Boston Post Rd -- I'm going to try and set up the new game before continuing on with my day!  

Here's to a working toilet.  Oy vey.

Road Rage


Wow.  I was just on the receiving end of my first bout of road rage.  I was returning home from Target where I had just exchanged our Toilet Trouble game (more on that later).  A fire truck was backing up and doing something in the middle of the road - and the firemen stopped me and another car so that the truck could do whatever it was doing.  During this time, the light for me turned red and then turned green for the oncoming traffic.  A man, I won't call him a gentleman, drove up within inches of my car, rolled down his window, began screaming at me and waving his arms.  I smiled and pointed at the firetruck blocking my way.  This did not amuse him and he continued screaming and laying on his horn.  I smiled.  I waited for the firetruck to move and I kept heading home, singing to the radio...

I hope someone pays him a random act of kindness because goodness knows he could use it.

Perspective people.

Where's My Timeturner?


I know I say this often - but holy moly, life is moving at the speed of light right now!

Let's see what's going on right now...

Organizing the upcoming author visit for grades 3-5 this Friday!
Arranging the pack and load of the storage unit.
Arranging the pack and load of the house.
Drafting a letter to the current landlord to see if he's okay with the proposal of subletting.
Figuring out upcoming track schedules.
Looking for new sports teams in MA.
Looking for a new orthodontist.
Looking for a new oncology team to monitor me.
Purging.  (Did I say that yet?)




It's time to admit it.  Me (and by default - nearly all of my friends) are now adults.  There are a few things we need to be doing...

Create a Savings Account.  You should have a rainy day/emergency fund.  This is something we've been working on with the kids for a few years now.

Create a Monthly Budget.  It's nice to know where you're spending money, so that you can appropriately utilize the savings account (and keep saving perhaps) and maybe, just maybe, plan for a vacation or two!

Create a Will.  You have things.  Monetary things.  Sentimental things.  Children.... there needs to be some sort of record of what should happen to these things in unfortunate circumstances.

Let's get to it folks... people are depending on us.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words


I was given the opportunity to show my children that even people you know don't always do the right thing.  It sucks.

On Friday afternoon I arrived school to start setting up for Scare Fair.

2:07 I texted Greg a photo of a bike that was in the used sports good sale asking if we should get the bike for Wren.

2:15 I spoke with the Dad in charge of the bike sale and said I was interested in a bike.  He said great.

3:00 In anticipation of Greg's response, I wrote "SOLD BADEN" on the tag hanging from the handle bars.

3:10 Wren came over excited that she saw the SOLD sign on the bike.

3:59 Greg replied OK.

4:00 The kids and I had to go to Wren's taekwondo belt test.  I did NOT take the bike with me.  I figured that I had written my name and SOLD on the tag.  I just didn't think about it.

Saturday morning at 9:15 I arrived at school to do the heavy set up for Devilish Delights.  I walked through the sports good sale with my arms full of bake sale items and noticed the bike was missing.

I spoke with the Dad who looked a bit mortified and said he may have sold the bike to another mom.

We figured out who it was sold to and I went to talk to her.

I calmly explained that I had written our name and sold on the tag.  She looked me straight in the eye and first claimed that she actually bought a different bike.  She didn't.  Then she said that it didn't say my name on it.  It did.  Then she said that she'd already brought it home with her (totally my fault for not taking it at 4pm) and that it was hers?

Now I have to explain to Wren that her friend's mom took the bike I bought for her home and that she's not giving it back.  That sometimes, people don't do the right thing.

Apple Picking For The Win


On a whim, after seeing some photos from friends - I decided to take the kids apple picking.  I mean, who doesn't need 15 pounds of apples?  There are so many amazing farms within 30-45 minutes of our house, it seemed silly not to go.The plan had us headed to Harvest Moon Orchard.  I knew the traffic would be a bit crazy, so we took the prior exit and used Waze to wiggle over.  And well, after following a line of cars, we ended up at Outhouse Orchard!  Eh - that worked out well too.  The map of the day said that we'd be picking Macintosh and Idared varieties.The kids were smarter than me and both wore baseball caps for the day!  He dropped the one he had been eating!The highlight of the afternoon was using the 10 foot long apple picking stick!Hayride?  Sure!  We were able to see more of the orchards this way.Singing cowboy, Orville Davis was along for the hayrides.I just did a quick google on Mr. Davis and it seems he's done a right plenty in his time here on earth.  Here's an article on him in the New York Times. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Now it's Monday morning and I'm staring at a huge bag of apples.  The kids each took an apple in for snack today and they each brought one for their teachers as well.  I've also spent about an hour peeling apples and tossed them into the crockpot with some sugar and cinnamon to simmer for the day.  Hopefully we'll all be having applesauce for dessert.  Tomorrow, I'll branch into apple cakes and apple muffins...[...]



What a way to wake up.  The news pouring forth over the news is horrendous and terrifying.  I find it even more upsetting as our family just attended Yom Kippur services the day prior.  My kids and I have spent the past 10 days since Rosh Hashanah talking about being a good person and what that means, how to be a better sibling, how to be a better friend, how to be a better person in society.

When will the majority of this country start talking about mental heath and gun control instead of what they perceive as an insult to the flag?  I just can't imagine the horror of being at the concert last night.

Do something good today.  Prove that there are good people out there.  Smile at a stranger.  Hold the door for someone.  Something.  Anything.



We have a new rescue.  His name is Jango.  He's orange and fluffy and looks like a little lion.  And he purrs like no one's business!

Little Jango had quite the adventure getting to the Baden house.  He was found outside of MacKenzie and Casey's house in Oklahoma!  Then there was a quick jaunt down to Texas.  Then a few hour flight up to LGA.  Whew.  And now he's settling into life indoors.  I think he likes it.  :)

Welcome home Jango.

Tzedakah starts at home


The past few weeks have given us plenty of opportunity to talk to our children about giving back and helping others.

I wish we could help everyone, but I'm happy knowing that we're trying.

Atticus and Wren planned on having a lemonade stand to raise money to go to Rye Playland which is a small local amusement park.  Then came the hurricanes.  Hurricane Harvey hit several of our friends hard.  Several had damage.  One college friend lost her home.  My cousin works with two nurses who lost everything.  The kids and I talked and we decided that any money raised at our lemonade and bake sale would go instead towards gift cards to help our friends rebuild.  In exchange, Greg and I promised to take the kids to Playland without them having to spend their own money.  (Little did we know the theme park was already closed for the season!  That part stinks as it still feels like summer outside and we totally could have gone for a day of fun.)


Other friends also decided to hold a lemonade stand.  Then, a local benefactor sent us an additional $100!  We were able to send a grand total of $400 in gift cards to our friends.  

Super proud of of all the local kids who are helping do good things!

Moving at the speed of light


Well, it seems that the owners have accepted our offer.  Next up - finding a home inspector.

I'm a little nervous that we were only in this house for a grand total of 15-20 minutes before making an offer, but at the same time -- it was definitely one of the best ones we viewed.

I'm already making plans and updating a few things in my mind.  Things like relocating the office and the guest bedroom.  Adding a shower to the half bath that's on the main level so that we can have a main floor guest room.  Adding a half bath to the lower level so the kids aren't having to traipse upstairs every time they need the loo... Yes, I do want to redo the kitchen layout - but for now, I'll work with what's there and see how it goes.

The other big decisions require a floor plan, graph paper and some creativity.  What goes in the great room?  What should be in the formal living space?  We don't need a formal living space?  Is there enough room for a library instead?  Do the funky columns in between the dining room and the formal living room neeeeeeed to be there?

There's a lot going on to say the least.  It's going to be a busy end to 2017!

On the Move, Again...


I know.  You're shocked.  Surprised.  How can it be you think?

Greg has accepted a job as the General Counsel for a small(ish) software firm in Andover, MA.  Since we're leaving firm life, we've got fingers crossed that moving in house will bring a bit more stability to our day to day lives.  A little more family dinners and a whole lot less weekend stress.  That's the game plan.


Never thought my kids would grow up in Boston, but then again - why not Boston?  I am definitely drawn to college towns and relatively large cities.  If it's by a body of water, even better.  The  Boston area definitely checks all the marks.  Oh, and there's the added bonus of some pretty cool US history too.

Now, it's as much a mental leap as it is a physical one.  Sure, there's the usual drama of packing, unpacking, trying to rearrange furniture that was bought in one location into another... but it's the mental game that has me up thinking these days.  Will I find friends?  Andover is much more rural than I'm used to.  I mean currently, I can walk to a plethora of coffee shops, pizza, bookstores, the train.... How am I going to cope when I put the kids on a school bus and then that's it?  No walking the kids to school.  No bumping into other moms outside the flagpole on a daily basis.  Eeeek.  I guess we'll take it day by day and just keep swimming!

Usborne Book Lady


I've gone and done it.  I agreed to become a distributor for Usborne books.  There's a decent back story to my love of these books.... ok, not really all that interesting, but here goes:

I lived in London for two years with my husband and our two young children.  I frequently visited the  bookstore, Waterstones, on St. John's Rd nearly weekly.  I fell in love with Usborne books - the sticker books, early readers, the travel sized activity books.  Seriously, right up my alley.

I've been back in the States for a little over a year now and I was always looking for something similar here without luck.  Then, I was contacted by my friend Lacie Glenn who also lived in the UK for a while about hosting an online Usborne book party on FaceBook.  Hosting a what?  I said...

That's when I learned the secret.  Usborne books are available here in the US if you know a distributor!  Woot woot.

I also learned they have amazing books for the older crowd which is great as my two are getting into science and grammar etc etc.

So - I bit the bullet and I've signed up.  I don't know yet if I'll be hosting all sorts of online things or just doing a table here and there at book fairs/science fairs -- but if you want a great book for your little one, or baby shower gift, or something that isn't a toy for your niece/nephew - give me a call.

x. Your new book lady

Breathing is Overrated


I'm going to keep repeating this mantra until my cold/allergies/sinus infection goes on it's merry way out of my head.  For the love of goodness - how many cups of hot tea can one drink in a day?  How much Vick's is needed to get a decent night's sleep?  Oy vey!  Granted, in the grand scope of world problems -- I am on the minor nuisance since of issues.  But yet, I grow weary of not breathing.  It's bloody annoying.

Also slightly annoying... the fact that it was 75 degrees yesterday in NYC and today the high is 53.  Normally - not a problem.  But guess what?  (Chicken butt) Today is Halloween and my daughter wants to be a ballerina riding a unicorn.  She's going to look like Elsa in Frozen with icicles hanging off her if I can't convince her to cover up in her ballet tutu!  

Speaking of dressing up - it's 1pm and I probably should go look for my costume before the little people arrive home.

Road Update


It's fixed.  Halle-lujah.

No more hole.  No more metal plates.

Just the sound of regular traffic... I'll take it.

Thank you very much!



Not the personal type of waterworks however I'm about to cry if the road isn't fixed soon!

Westchester Joint Water Works.

While Joe, who I've spoken with several times seems like a nice guy - I'm soooooooo over the bloody roadworks that have been going on literally at the end of our driveway.  I'd show you a series of awful photos, but after one of our Mac updates, I can't access my photos.  (That's another source of frustration and potential waterworks!)  Trust me when I say, they've had diggers and massive machinery tearing up the road on at least 3 occasions.  And now, for the past 2 F'ing weeks we've had metal plates covering the "hole" that was dug up.  The problem with these plates is that with EVERY single car that drives over the plates, I hear a whack/whack sound.  Thump, thump.  Whatever or however you wish to describe the awful sound - I'm so ready for it to STOP.

I spoke with Joe today and if it stops raining, they'll be out tomorrow to patch the road.  I'm holding him to that schedule.

Full Speed Ahead Captain!


We're off and running.  All the clubs and after school things mentioned earlier are going, going, and going!  Swimming isn't our favorite activity yet -- but at least I'm feeling more confident that should our kids find themselves suddenly in the water, they can swim to the edge and get out without panic.

Tailwind Track Club has been amazing.  I've said for the past 7 years that Atticus's favorite thing in the world was running.  While I for the life of me don't understand that passion - I'm going to support him and let him run like Forrest Gump until he can't run anymore!  This however is difficult too because it requires dragging a sassy six year old to track practise at 7pm -- in the rain, in the snow, in the whatever may come...

Tae kwon do is also going really well.  I love that both kids are enjoying it and that we've been able to recruit a few school friends to join too!  It's a great group of instructors and they do wonders with the kids.

As for Greg and I (or would it be me?) - we're hanging in there.  I'm volunteering at the school library, I'm on the science committee which is planning for our STEM nights, I'm involved in a few other PTA events.... Greg is working like crazy.   I'm hoping life slows down for him a bit!

My mom underwent knee replacement surgery earlier this week and I feel terrible that I'm so far away.   After her fall earlier this summer, the break in her tibial plateau just wasn't healing and a recent MRI revealed that there was too much damage to the ligaments and tendons.  Booooo.  So, while I wouldn't wish knee surgery on my enemy - I'm truly hopeful that this is the end of a long road and recovery for her!

Don't Tell Me It's Mid September!


So, there's actually been quite a bit going on lately I've just been too swamped to keep track of it all for you!  How about I start with current events and work my way backwards a bit? Kid are in school.  Halle-freaking-lujah for getting back into routines!  Since school only takes us through 6.5 hours of the day, I thought it would be great fun to make myself nuts and sign the kids up for a bunch of activities!  The current breakdown looks like this: swim lessons 1x a week (only 7 more to go).  Taekwondo 2x a week for both kids - naturally since they're different levels, they go at different times.  Track 2x a week for Thing 1 -- at a high school that's about 15-20 minutes drive from here.  Ballet for Thing 2 only 1x a week for now, but I'm sure she'd go more often if time allowed!  And then Hebrew School for both of them on the weekends too just because we have so much free time.  I'm not exactly sure how we're going to squeeze in track meets around the current schedule, but we'll see!! All these activities of course are just for the kids... I've also taken on quite a few responsibilities in the PTA at school.  I'm volunteering weekly at the library.  I'm organizing the Class Photo Day for the school, I'm co-chairing the STEM Committee to bring tinkering nights and other science and technology things to school and I'm one of the class moms for W's classroom.  Phew.School... kids are settling in.  A few minor bumps the first week, but we're adjusting.  I'm happy to report that similar to the meme floating around FB I'm super proud of my daughter for being the one to sit with the new kid at school and make friends.  She was so nervous for the first day to not have her bestie with her, but she made two new friends from the first day!  Bonus, one of them lives a few doors down the road. We finished off summer 2016 with a trip to Texas to see my folks.  The kids wanted to visit the water park in the neighborhood every day and I'm happy to report we did visit 10 out of the 11 days we were there.  Not too bad!  Hopefully, it makes the upcoming swim lessons a bit easier knowing they're slightly more comfortable in the water! Here are the kids getting their wings for the flight down to Texas!Two pictures of the amazing community pool and splash park!Of course there were some fun games at Bubbe and Pops' house!  Here's our first attempt at Pie Face!There was even a lost tooth!  A baby tooth, don't worry!  It took much convincing on my part, but Wren finally pulled it out herself!  [...]



Over the years, I've had really good luck making friends.  That's pretty impressive considering the amount of times I've moved recently... but sometimes, you land in a spot where it's just hard.

New York does not seem to be my state.

Sometimes, everything just clicks.  Perhaps because everything was just seamless in London, living here seems so much more difficult.  I miss having friends close by that I could just call on for no reason.  We could knock on their door just because we were walking by -- no other reason.  Our house was the same... there was as good a chance as not that some of us would meet up for a cup of tea, an impromptu play in the park, or just and old fashioned play date on the weekend.   San Francisco was like that.  Dallas/Austin was like that and London definitely so.

I don't have that here and I miss it.  I don't think I realized how much I missed it until I read this in an article yesterday.

I want to go to the grocery store with you. I want to see where your kids go to school and see them run and hug you when you pick them up in the afternoon. I want to sit with you in your kitchen, and cook with you at your stove. I want to sit in your living room and chat and have tea, and I want to walk out your front door and see what scene greets you every day. I want to see where you work, and what sits atop your office desk. I even want to know what your spring coat looks like, for goodness’ sake. Because I want to soak in your everyday, so I can tuck it away for the next time we talk. I need pictures in my head, and to know the sum of your days, because I miss you, old friend.

So today, I'm missing old friends.  Here's to seeing you soon...

Just A Sprain?


Last week, as I was getting a cavity filled, apparently my daughter and her friends were jumping off a bench at camp.  Here's the story as I've put together...Around snack time, Wren jumped off a bench.  Then two other friends jumped off the bench.  When Wren went to jump the second time, she landed on her friend's foot causing her to roll her ankle outwards.  She went to see the EMT on staff at received an ice pack.  The EMT says she wasn't crying and was still walking at this point.  By later in the afternoon, Wren returned to the EMT saying her ankle still hurt and she wanted the camp to call me.  She received a second ice pack and was told camp was ending soon and that they wouldn't call me.  A sternly worded letter to camp and the Town of Mamaroneck is to follow. When I showed up a little before 3, one of the lifeguards was holding Wren and carried her out to the car.  It was obvious that she was in pain and she was actively sniffling/crying.  We dropped our stuff off at home and when I saw her ankle, we drove directly to the urgent care center down the road.  By this point Wren was in hysterics and couldn't stand and even the bumps in the car were causing pain.  The urgent care center wasn't exactly prepared to do X-rays on a screaming 6 year old.  Even putting her heel down on the table was causing pain.  We tried at first to do the x-rays while she was laying down, but that didn't work very well.  Next, they had her sitting in her wheelchair, foot propped up on a tissue box and trying to hold/balance the x-ray plate!  Needless to say, I'm surprised the doctors could see anything! The doctor couldn't see anything on the x-ray but still suggested that we follow up with a pediatric orthopedist the following day.  So, a temporary cast was fitted and we were sent home with some crutches and instructions to call a pediatric doc. Well, the pediatric orthopedist that was recommended didn't take our medical insurance!  So, I got some recommendations from friends and called the Greenwich Hospital.  Alas - they are an off shoot of the hospital in New Haven and if we wanted to be seen, we had to drive to New Haven!  It's only about 40 miles or so -- but driving there took just shy of 2 hours!!!  (Oddly, coming home was only an hour.)The pediatric ortho decided to not do X-rays again just yet.  He said it's possible that there is a hairline fracture somewhere in the growth plates but that for now, it appears to be a bad sprain.  He went on to say that severe sprains in children are unusual but not impossible.  Wren was fitted for a new walking boot and we'll go back for X-rays on the 16th to confirm that there isn't a break.  For now, she seems to be doing well with the walking boot. [...]

Things That Drive Me Nuts - Today's Grievances


Going back to the fact that there was no walk-through when we moved in here...

The fact that the pulls to change the speed of the ceiling fans are broken.  Of the FOUR fans in the house, only ONE has both a working light switch pull and a working fan speed pull.  And that ONE fan is in the kitchen by the fridge.  The fans in the living room, A's room and in our bedroom are either on or off.

The blinds are terrible.  Thank goodness our housekeeper has been able to get most of the grime off of them -- but at least half of them lack working wands to open/close them, or they pull in all sorts of crazy directions when you attempt to raise them.

First world problems, I know... but it's driving me nuts today.

I'd really love to put the fan on low in the living room to move some air -- possibly from an open window, but that is impossible.

My other grievance of the day you ask?  I emailed out lawn care company requesting that 31 July be our final date of service.  I then included a written note in the last payment envelope requesting that 31 July be our final date of service.  Today, the lawn care company showed up and mowed the lawn again.... G'ahhh...

Ok, done whining.... off to do something more productive.

Wren Goes Rock Climbing!


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Atticus Reaches the Top!


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Jump Jump!


This weekend, we went to a classmate's birthday party at Rockin Jump.

Wow.  Hot.  Sweaty.  Fun.

No pictures of blurry jumping children, but I did get some on the rockwall.  Atticus made it to the top to ring the bell!

Happy Birthday Atticus!


We opted not to throw Atticus a wild birthday party this year.  He's had two extravagant ones while in London and this year, we went more subdued.That said, there was still plenty of fun starting with Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, a full day of camp, a tub of frozen yogurt, dinner with the family and of course presents!!!  Since there wasn't a big party - he instead got a LOT of big Lego!  I think it worked out well. May your days be filled with sunshine and warmth.  May your smile bring comfort to those around you.  May your generous spirit never dampen.  You are inquisitive (still), a somewhat picky eater (what kid doesn't love cheeseburgers?), a lover of all things with wheels, sirens and buttons and your imagination continues to grow everyday.  I love your spunk, the freckles on your nose, the way you help others without being asked... I love you to the moon and back little man.[...]