New Digs!

We did it–we found a home! Woot woot!  Happy 3 year anniversary to us! It’s in the Upper West Side’s Manhattan Valley, dubbed “suburbia with subways” and one of NY’s “next big neighborhoods” by NY Mag last year.

Mike’s brother got a feel for the neighborhood for us (such a good guy…used his lunch two days this week to scout it all out on the hottest day in the city yet this year, befriended our land lord, and dealt multiple times with our broker), and felt confident about it.  We’re satisfied.  And excited!

To top it off, it’s a close walk to everything we wanted–Columbia, subway station, Whole Foods, and Central Park. I’m hoping I’ll be telling you in a few weeks that we’ve discovered Manhattan’s best kept secret. Fingers crossed.

We used PadMapper for our search and I totally recommend it if you’re on the hunt, too. It’s awesome.  And I love their slogan, “Making Apartment Hunting Suck Less.”  Seriously, though, I wish we wouldn’t have wasted time going through any other site.  It includes a comprehensive search from multiple listing agencies and is super user friendly, plus it gives you the option of getting hourly email updates of newly available pads.

Also while I’m thinking about it, you guys, do yourself a favor and join meetup.com. I’ve used it during each of our moves to find mom groups to get involved with, and I’ve never been disappointed.  It allows you to search thousands of topics/special interests to find a group that best fits you.  I’ve already joined a moms group in NYC and have received loads of recommendations on everything from gear to schools to fam-friendly vacation spots to you-name-it.  And it will give me immediate play-date options when we get to the city.

Ahh!  It’s all becoming so real!

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Momma’s Ruby Slippers by Kendra Canty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Momma’s favorite daddyism: a buzi hit

buzi hit
noun /boo‘zhee hit/
A dose of that warm, tingly, wonderfully intoxicating, melt-into-mush feeling obtained by simultaneously kissing Kate’s soft, chubby little cheek and smelling her sweet baby breath.

It’s a term my hubby coined.  He’s an addict. And he would kill me if he knew I was telling the world about it. Buzi is the Polish word for kiss (it’s the word his grandma used when he was little).  He wants to find a way to bottle these buzi hits.  That might be one of the main reasons he’s going to business school.  He’ll learn a plan to market and sell them.

Daddyisms. Aren’t they such an added bonus of motherhood?  I hope you had a wonderful weekend celebrating the daddies in your life.  What are the daddyisms that warm your heart?

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Momma’s Ruby Slippers by Kendra Canty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The Hunt

Yep, this is me looking not so impressed.  This beauty was one of the apartments we were shown last weekend in NYC on our search for the perfect home.  But let’s be honest. We are not going to find a home that’s even close to perfect.  I know I don’t have room to complain. I was fully aware of this when Mike convinced me to spend the next two years in the city, but I was definitely picturing something nicer than what you see above.  At 800 square feet, can you guess how much it’s going for?  $2900 a month. Yes, you read that right.

The first apartment we looked at was missing a living room.  Two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, and a teensy space to dine.  When we asked where the living room was, our broker and the building’s superintendent  looked at each other and smirked.  “Welcome to New York.”

I’m used to small spaces.  We’ve always lived in apartments.  The one we live in now in KC is a grandiose 1100 square feet.  But we pay $950 a month for it.  For 1100 square feet in NYC on the Upper West Side, we’ll have to pay around $3400 (which is relatively inexpensive compared to other swankier parts of the city). And we’ll be very lucky if a washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher are included.

I read an NY Times article a few weeks ago that said that you need to be making around $130K in NYC to live like you’re making $50K in most other places in the US.  That was made very clear in the rent requirements we were given by a few brokers.  Here’s what we learned is needed to be approved to rent just about any place in the city:

a) Proof that your yearly income is 40X the monthly rent.
b)  Or a full year’s rent-payment up front.
c) Or a guarantor who has proof that he/she has a yearly income of 80X the monthly rent.

If Mike was making 40X a $3400 monthly rent, I’m not quite sure he’d be getting out of the Army.  Luckily, we were able to save my (measly) paychecks when I was teaching and a chunk of Mike’s when he was deployed, which is what will get us through these next couple of years.

So, to get back to the point of my post, we’re still on the hunt. We looked at four apartments and weren’t satisfied.  They were either too far from Columbia, too expensive, too small, or too ratty.  And apparently, we started looking way too early.  They say 4 weeks is the max amount of time before move-in that you should start searching since it’s such a transient city.  We went at 6.  So our plan is to keep an eye out for something online and then beg one of Mike’s brothers to check it for us in person.

But despite our apartment blunder, here are a few incredible aspects of the city that made me so excited for our move.

Anonymity.  What struck me about this scene was less that this woman was walking around with a parakeet on her shoulder, and more that I was literally the only one who noticed.  There isn’t anything that is considered out of the ordinary in this city. (Although, I did get quite a few glances for having an actual baby with me).  I can’t wait to people-watch.

Our new lunch date spot. At least during the warm months.  Columbia’s campus is gorgeous and is such a perfect space for Cam to find some freedom within the confines of the city.  Hopefully the kids and I will be able to stop by frequently during Mike’s breaks.

Vegan non-dairy pizza in a flash.  I’m still nursing Kate and have eliminated dairy from my diet (it makes her gassy and fussy).  While we were in the city, we stayed at Mike’s brother’s apartment in Greenwich Village and ordered this, no problem.  Do you know how hard a pizza made with dairy-free cheese would be to find where we live in KC?

Family.  What could be better than chatting the evening away over pizza, beer, and wine with a few of the people you love most on a pretty NYC apartment terrace?

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Momma’s Ruby Slippers by Kendra Canty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Father’s Day Sneak Peek

Super fun and quick Father’s Day card!  Bought the letters D, A, and Y from Hobby Lobby and then did a little photo shoot with the kids.  I uploaded them onto Mixbook and modified a premade template.  Poof!  Special keepsake showcasing the cutest babies around. 🙂

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Rocky Mountain High

Last weekend, Cam, Kate, Mike, and I took a much needed vacation to Colorado Springs to see our dear friends, Brice and Missy.  We wanted to get away one last time before things get crazy in a few weeks.

I’ll simply say that I am in love with the mountains.  They make me feel whole.  I’m the me I’m supposed to be when I’m there.  And I absolutely adore spending time immersed in nature with Cam.  He could have happily spent the entire day hunting for pine cones, tossing them into the stream, and watching them make their way through the obstacle course of stones and branches that rippled the water.

And I could have happily spent the entire day watching and helping him.  Mike is more of a coast guy, and don’t get me wrong, the beach can be a nice getaway, too.  But there’s just something about the mountains.  My most vivid memories from childhood are of times spent hiking through the woods or trailblazing a path through Garden of the Gods on family vacations.

When I was a little girl, my Uncle Mark and Aunt Nancy babysat me and my sister and brothers during the summer.  Mark would often take us on hikes through the timber behind their farmhouse and carve tree branches into walking sticks for us to use as we explored.  One autumn day, he brought out a pumpkin that he had precarved (we didn’t know it at the time) and pulled out a worn and long lost map of a trail that led to a magic pumpkin seed hidden in a secret place.  We trekked through the trees with our walking sticks, picked at the soft mica under a stream that marked a turn in the path, and found the magic seed that had been hidden under a special rock.  Although we weren’t in the mountains,  there was something magical about being surrounded by the trees and sounds while we explored.  These are adventures I would love to take my own kids on some day.  I’m hoping I can convince Mike to make the mountains our home after our two-year stint in the city.

Another high of our Rocky Mountain weekend was watching Cam make a new friend. He and Britton,  Brice and Missy’s son, hit it off immediately.  Cam socializes frequently, but I’ve never seen him as comfortable with a fellow kid as he was this weekend.  I could not get enough of seeing these two wresting, hugging, and just being rowdy little boys together.  They were like long-lost brothers!  It was a really special bond to witness.

Brice and Missy also took us on a  trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo where Cam got to pet and feed the gigantic “jaffs” (typically accompanied by a “raaahhr”), which was just awesome.   Animals and their sounds take up a significant chunk of his growing vocab, so experiencing and touching one that he’s only seen in pictures or from a distance was exciting, to say the very least.

Typically, he won’t keep a hat on for more than a minute, but since his new bud, Britton, was wearing one, Cam wanted to be just like him. 🙂

And finally, we got to spend time with our friends.  In my experience as a military spouse, I’ve been able to meet an amazing group of women.  Missy is one of those.  Having often lived in places where our families weren’t–including our husbands since they were frequently deployed–we’ve relied on each other in ways most women who are married probably haven’t.  Brice and Mike have stayed close friends throughout the years, too, which is such a perk.  You know how it goes.  Typically, either the wives are closer friends than the husbands or vice versa.  So it’s awesome to have a close couple friend who has babies the same ages as ours.  They just get it.

Our friends, Alison and Steve, made a pit stop to visit, too!  It was awesome to catch up with them and see Alison’s adorable baby bump.  They’re expecting a boy in September! 

Next week’s adventure: flying to NYC to apartment hunt!  Send us good vibes for a spacious, affordable, close-to-school-and-subway apartment.  I’ll update you next week!

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Momma’s Ruby Slippers by Kendra Canty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Hush little baby…

So, we’re taking this weekend to get our baby girl to SLEEP. Because, for the last almost five months of her life, her longest stretch of sleep at night, on average, has been two and a half hours, and during the day, 45 minutes.  And trust me, she gets enough to eat.  Take a look at her thighs. 🙂

Unfortunately, I have to blame myself for this one. Since she made her debut in January, I’ve used every prop in the book to get her to sleep, from walking and rocking to shushing to strolling to swaddling to nursing and, finally, to bouncing with her on an exercise ball. And the exercise ball is what worked.  So….for the last five months I’ve been bouncing and bouncing and bouncing….and bouncing even in my flippin’ dreams.

You see, she’s a cryer. When she was born (and Cam was the same way), the nurses’ first words were, “Wow she’s really got a temper on her!”  Both Kate and Cam were literally THE loudest babies in the hospital.  And I can’t take crying.  So I’ve relentlessly worked my butt off to get her to sleep without crying.  And I’ve paid the price for it. Now she absolutely cannot soothe herself as she cycles through sleep.  She completely relies on me.   And I’m wondering how I got here.  I did the exact same thing with Cam (strolled him around in his carseat, which is where he slept until he was 7 months old) and the transition to the crib with him was a nightmare.  I SWORE that my next baby would be in the crib from the minute she was born.   But, like I said, I just couldn’t take the crying.     One of my favorite momma bloggers, Alice Callahan, PhD, expressed it best in her blog, Science of Mom, when she wrote, “I believed that my success as a mother was tied to my ability to stop my baby’s cries, as quickly as possible.  If she cried, I felt that I was failing.” Yep.

I miss Cam, though!  And I feel like I can’t be the mommy I want to be to either of my babies since I’m still getting such little sleep at night.  I’m exhausted and irritable with my whole family, and our current situation just isn’t healthy for any of us.  Kate and Momma both need sleep.  Both babies need a more patient and productive Momma.  Cam and Momma need more one-on-one time.   So I’m finally putting Alice’s sleep research to use after having read her article about  listening and responding to your babies cries  over a month ago.  Basically I’m letting Kate learn to self soothe by letting her cry, but by sitting by her crib the entire time and offering frequent reassurances.

Yesterday was tough.  She cried for close to 45 minutes before she fell asleep for her first nap, but the crying time gradually decreased for each nap throughout the day (and one of her naps lasted an hour and a half!).   Luckily, my parents offered to keep Cam for the weekend, so I’ve been able to sit by her crib for the entire time.   Her longest stretch of sleep last night was 8 hours. I repeat, 8 hours.  Put her to bed at 6:00, nursed her at 9:00, and she didn’t eat again until 5:00.  She did fuss now and then between those times, but I waited five minutes before going to comfort her, and by the time I got out of bed, she was asleep again! It was literally a dream come true.

I’ll keep you updated on her progress! Send good vibes our way that we conquer this before our big move!

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Momma’s Ruby Slippers by Kendra Canty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Well, hello!

Hello!  Thanks for stopping by my new blog about mommyhood and such. You’re probably wondering about the title I chose.  Let me explain.

I’ll begin with the fact that my family and I are moving to New York City!  I know what you’re thinking (I’ve thought it, too).  NYC with two babies?  Good luck with that!  Mike, my husband, is finishing his Army career and will be a full-time student at Columbia Business School starting in August.  Although a couple of other schools were in the running, we decided that NYC would be best for us for a few reasons.  All three of his brothers live there, and as busy as he’ll be in these next two years, family support will be essential for the babies and me.  It’s been so amazing to be near my family in Kansas City this past year and to see their relationship with Cam and Kate.  Now, my babies will get to bond with their Canty side of the fam, too, which is super important to us. We also thought, when will we ever have the opportunity to live in NYC again?  It’s something both Mike and I would like to experience, and I think that after doing it with two babies in tow, I’ll feel like I can accomplish anything.   Besides, as a military spouse, I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone many times and it’s always presented the best opportunities for growth, learning, and friend-making.

Understandably,  it’s been hard to find a library of helpful advice on making the move.  Two very intense years of hubby being immersed in studies and networking, without an income, in the most expensive and cramped city in the US is a challenge not very many people try to tackle with two babies in tow.  So, I’m hoping to come out of the experience with tips for future adventurous NYC/CBS-bound families. I’ll be writing about the transition process, our breakthroughs, our bumps in the road, and our evolution as a family. This blog will act as my ruby slippers,  giving me perspective and reminding me that “there’s no place like home” (and by home, I mean my hubby and babies) amidst the tornado of changes coming our way.

Life with two under two can seem like a whirlwind in and of itself, and it’s often hard to make time to sort out my thoughts.  Writing has always been empowering for me;  it’s my meditation, my outlet, and a process that, like Dorothy’s slippers, keeps me grounded when the journey seems overwhelming.  And it’s something I don’t do enough.  So, with that in mind, I hope you’ll enjoy reading my thoughts and experiences as much as I’ll enjoy writing about them.

Thanks again for stopping by. Cheers to lots of learning!

Kendra

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Momma’s Ruby Slippers by Kendra Canty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License