Archive for the ‘ Kids ’ Category

Thanksgiving 2017

The greatest of all holidays for me, with a focus on food and family, providing an impetus to feast in finest company. We congregated in Cumberland, Maine with the entire Taylor Clan, from Mimi and Papa to the littlest Lucy and enjoyed a modern traditional spread from a James Beard award winner and his stellar chef de cuisine, who crafted some insanely tasty deserts! The cousins are entering perfect social play ages, creative, joyful and exuberant, while the grownups relax and wax nostalgic. It is truly one of my greatest pleasures to spend time with my family, and when the occasion arises to assemble the Brooklyn branch of the family tree with my parents, brother, sister and their respective accumulated members, it is bliss. To many more!

Winning Winter

It has been months since I’ve been able to sit a write, partially due to a computer failure, and mostly due to a long stretch of work and life business. The high and lowlights from the Chill:

• Patriots win Super Bowl LI with impossible comeback. Down 28-3 with 2:00 left in the 3rd quarter, it looked bleak (and that was being optimistic). But some textbook mental toughness and Tom Brady being the greatest ever, they complete the most fantastic comeback in Super Bowl history. Legendary.

• I have been dealing with a Lyme disease diagnosis and have been through several rounds of anti-biotics. I was very sick and my right knee was wildly engorged and immobile for about a week before I went to the doctor and asked to be tested for Lyme. I spend a fair amount of time in The Hudson Valley, the Lyme disease capital of the world, and have pulled ticks off of my skin at various times, so I have been somehow expecting this affliction for years and have likely had a relatively mild case of it for quite a while. While the AB treatment was effective in resurrecting me from bedridden cripple, my knee has never fully recovered and I recently visited the preeminent expert on the disease, Dr. Zhang, who prescribed me herbs in pills and acupuncture. It is, unfortunately, something I will likely have to monitor indefinitely.

• Our president is a disgraceful embarrassment, hellbent on destroying our government, our environment, our health, our science, our education, and our Truth. All of this for the price of enriching himself and corporate profiteers. It is simply horrifying and we probably have not seen the bottom yet.

• But Skiing! Big snow and great skiing in Vermont and Utah! A couple of storms brought the goods to Vermont just in time for our arrival in February and we were able to enjoy a few days of skiing. Magic Mountain was nearly perfect and for the first time in 3 years, Black Chair was carrying people uphill. I even got to ski the never-open lift-line trail, Black Magic, which is as challenging as anything on a New England trail map. We spent a few hours on Sunday at Okemo with Ivy and she was actually managing to keep herself upright on her own skis, which was a dramatic improvement from our previous attempts and made me incredibly happy to be sharing time on the slopes with her! Monday (Presidents’ Day) we went for a family hike/skin/snowshoe on Mt. Ascutney, which was closed for years but has recently been acquired by the town and reopened with a free rope-tow and backcountry access. It is a perfect place for our family to explore with the kids in backpacks and I hope to spend more time there in the future!

And then Utah! Last winter, as I came to the realization that my ski season was truly sad and unfulfilling, attributable to a new baby and some of the consistently worst conditions the East has ever seen, I proposed that Alaina and I treat ourselves to a Western ski trip next year. After roping our parents into babysitting duties, we planned three days in the most accessible spot with some of the best mountains to play in: Salt Lake City. Snowbird is as steep and burly as any lift-served terrain in the world; Solitude and Brighton have endlessly varied terrain; Powder Mountain has zero frills and infinite vibe. All three days were 50 degree bluebird days with soft spring corn. While I may fantasize about storms of snow, the carefree weather that we received was truly ideal for this easy escape and perfect date trip.

Luckily, two days after we returned from our trip, a gigantic blizzard pulverized the Northeast and set up Stowe with four feet of snow, just in time for the annual Stoweravaganza. Saturday involved a backcountry tour with blissful, effortless turns through the trees followed by delightful apres-ski pizza and beers and music and friends in the greatest classic ski house I’ve ever seen. Sunday was Ivy’s day, and she skied with me, which is, again, as much happiness as I will ever experience on the slopes. I feel like I get to begin my ski life all over again, sharing this activity with her, and hopefully she will love it even a little bit as much as I do!

• It is now officially Spring and I can feel the warmth approaching rapidly. Windows are opening and spending time outside doesn’t require battle gear anymore. We are shifting modes and new activities are on the horizon. This Winter was challenging, painful, exciting, euphoric and beautiful. I look forward to tomorrow and every day I have remaining to enjoy this life fully!


Halloween

Tonight was one of my all-time parenting highlights; watching Ivy spend 2 hours handing out candy on our porch and 1 hour trick-or-treating around our block was absolutely amazing. I have never witnessed such a dense swarm of people, mostly kids, in our neighborhood like that; there were times when the line stretched from our porch 30 kids deep down our steps and walkway to the sidewalk, each waiting for Ivy to drop a piece of candy in their sack. It was a constant flow of candy from bowl to bags and we ran out way before we anticipated, even including a run to the store to replenish supply, due to severe underestimation of the throngs. Ivy handled her duty with a seriousness and focus that I have never seen from her, carefully picking a candy from the assortment and placing it in a waiting receptacle for each child. She was sad when we ran out of candy and had to tell the costumed revelers “Sorry”, but as soon as we started walking down the block, and she understood the concept of receiving the candy from neighbors, she was as joyful as I’ve ever seen her; with every piece of candy she was given, she came bouncing back to us beaming and proudly showing off her loot. She was amazed and enthralled by the lights and decorations (E 4th St. contained some of the best displays I’ve ever seen), and I was able to share with her the phenomenon known as “Ghostbusters” when our neighbor installed a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with video projections of Slimer in the windows — so she is now an expert at singing the call and response theme song! I felt a beautiful and euphoric combination of nostalgia, wonder, excitement and bliss watching her enjoy Halloween as I imagine I once did.

Back On Schedule

      1. Basement - Supergood

School commences! After three months of reduced work commitments and one month of none whatsoever, I was obligated to report to Poly Prep Lower School at 9:00 am on Monday for orientation. Today was the introduction for the new Head of School at the upper campus, and after a few rocky years within the board and administration, it felt like a greatly needed fresh start for the faculty. Audrius Barzdukas delivered a passionate and inspiring speech on the nobility of teaching and moved an audience that has been bracing for this transition with deserved skepticism. Hopefully, as he put it, we can get back “to making the main thing, the main thing”. Teaching truly is a joyful and inspiring occupation, and our institution is filled with amazing faculty who love their work immensely and wonderful students and families who offer everything to the community. I am grateful to be a part of it and look forward to sharing music with kids next week.

But wow, just hanging out with my family is pretty much the greatest time I’ll ever spend. It has been quite a Summer, Miles’ first, and we enjoyed having him along on all our adventures. Ivy is an incredible sister, and we have what I would consider to be the most perfect family in human history!

 

Sweetness

Summer is accelerating quickly! We have been Capeside for our annual 4th of July family weekend, bigger and greater than ever with the two newest Taylors, Miles and Julian. We spent a weekend camping in Vermont, had some friends to The Land, and enjoyed some pool and beach time in Bellport. We are headed up to Lake George on Thursday for a reprise of last year’s raucous weekend with 20 of our closest friends, then a wedding and a week in Maine. And so soon, in a short paragraph, my Summer is complete.

But these few sentences don’t really do it justice. It has been a phenomenally deep and textured few months, and it is the details within these days that make it so incredibly rich. Taking Ivy to watch her first fireworks, assisting in the construction of a tree-house, playing our first multi-day festival with Land Band, and seeing Miles instantly love swimming are just a few of the moments that may have been brief, but will never be forgotten.

I was also excited to perform some Supergood improvisation for an audience for the first time, which was recorded and will live here for interneternity!

      1. Land 07.15.16 - Supergood

Six Weeks

Miles joined us 6 weeks ago and it has been a wild and wonderful ride. Although we went through this process with Ivy 2 1/2 years ago, I seem to have forgotten (or blocked) how intense it is. Constant awareness is required and needs must be promptly satisfied or the abyss awaits! Most of the time he is a fantastic baby, quietly eating, sleeping, or chilling, but occasionally, he demands full attention with his primal siren scream — a hideous wailing frequency that heightens the urgency of any request taking longer than a couple of seconds to complete. It is pure survival instinct and it is always enough to pump my blood faster and seek an IMMEDIATE solution. It is challenging and frustrating at times, but I know that we will find a rhythm and that living with this small creature will get easier and more fun as he grows. I have moments of wondering about the mystery of his future, what interests and callings he will follow, and how his path will evolve… I am so excited to share the values and passions I have established in my time, while giving him as many opportunities to find his own meaning in the infinite possibilities of life!

 

Who are you Miles Acadia Taylor???


  
  

Looming and Reminiscing Excitement

We are approaching Due Day here, with a baby arrival sometime in the next three weeks. The anticipation is growing while the drama and mystery of when it will begin is becoming more real every day. Alaina is feeling aches and pains that I can not imagine and will soon go through one of the most intense physical human experiences. All I can do is watch helplessly and offer sympathy. She is the bravest hero I know and is doing it all for Love.

Despite the imminent appearance of the newest Taylor, I risked a jaunt out to The Meadowlands to see the Patriots-Giants game on Sunday. I was blessed by a last-minute ticket offer and could not possibly have picked a better game. It was an epic matchup; two teams with a history of amazing championship fights and this contest lived up to the billing, with plenty of long drives and lead changes. In the end, Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 54-yard FG to win by 1 and I was ecstatic and elated. Although my outward celebration was tempered out of respect to the mob of Giants fans surrounding me, I was as thrilled inside as I could possibly be from watching such a savage battle. The Pats are now 9-0 and chasing their ghost…

One day at a time.

Three Months Pass Fast

Wow. Since my last post 88 days ago, written in a moment of great leisure on vacation in Barcelona, I have been through a vortex of time and space. It has been a wonderful but somewhat delirious 3 months of my life and I have had zero seconds to compose an account of it, which I will finally do here and now, sitting in my new studio in my new home with free time that I now have since school ended last week. Things are different now: Alaina is pregnant again and we moved into an amazing home in Kensington, Brooklyn. The move has been a dominant daily feature in my life for most of the past three months and will continue to be, in some way, for years. The boxes and home improvement projects are endless and I can think of a few that are calling my name right now, but I need to make me time too.

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School has been another major black hole of time. I had the pleasure of teaching every student in the school, Nursery to 4th Grade, this year and I loved it. It was a challenge with great rewards, as I learned from and was inspired by each student. I have been teaching music for 13 years and almost all of it has been with kids under 5. I was working with kids up to 11 this year and I am so impressed by the skills and passion they are bringing to music. I was interacting with some phenomenally talented children, whose instrumental abilities are infinitely beyond what mine were at that age and who demonstrate unadulterated excitement for all aspects of music. It has really been one of the most interesting and fun work experiences I have ever had and I will miss it next year when the esteemed Ms. Nelson returns from sabbatical and resumes her position. While I will miss the job, I won’t miss the long hours, typically 10 hour days, that I’ve been working over the past year. I would love to have more time to spend with Alaina, Ivy and the incoming baby, as well as a few more hours per week to make my music and maybe write about how great my life is. This blog has, I realize, just become insufferable gloating about my awesome life, but I can’t help it. I feel so lucky to have great people, homes, vacations and sports teams in my life and I need to express my gratitude somehow.

Ivy is really fun. She talks a lot and some of it is indecipherable, but when she can communicate a food or activity preference or a song request (we have listened to Bop To The Top and Let It Go hundreds of times in the past three months) I am truly amazed at her growing ability to shape her life experience and fascinated by the choices she makes. The one aspect of Summer break I am looking forward to the most is not traveling or composing music or visiting friends and family, but simply spending five days a week with her. She is joyful and always learning and exploring, teaching me about basic survival and a world of wonder. I feel my Love expanding every day and I look forward to sharing my life with another baby soon!

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Busy

The fact that I have not written here in over two months speaks to how fast time has accelerated recently. I am working more than I have ever worked and doing my best to learn new skills and techniques of teaching older kids. It has been a challenging period for me, but I am enjoying it immensely. Seeing the musical abilities of children rapidly improving through the elementary years is awesome and inspiring!

Unfortunately, this schedule has made Ivy time increasingly rare. During the week, I see her from too-early in the morning until I leave for work. She is usually asleep when I return, so I cherish the hour or so I do spend with her, even in my typical morning zombie mode. Because of my limited Ivy-hours, I enjoy the weekend even more than I did when I spent those days in party zombie mode. Last weekend was a bit of a throwback to the olden days of my younger self; a Friday night Halloween kids parade followed by 5th Ave bar crawl and a Saturday night with Dean Ween band at Brooklyn Bowl, and a trip to Foxboro with Dad and Bro on Sunday where the Patriots stomped all over the Broncos and reasserted their dominance in the NFL. It was an epic party weekend with a confluence of amazing events! This weekend was more low-key and the past three days were wonderfully family-centric, sending me back to work tomorrow with great memories of time shared with my favorite people. I had Friday off and took Ivy on a tour of Brooklyn parks; we took a walk in Prospect Park, then Sunset Park and the brand new Bush Terminal Piers Park, where Ivy was recognized as the first baby visitor! Saturday was a Geisler/Taylor family adventure to the beautiful Storm King Sculpture Park and a trip to The Bronx Zoo and Sunday was a stroll through local Greenwood Cemetery and some quality time with Ivy’s bestie, Maisie. October weekends included a Vermont excursion and celebration of Grandma’s 90th birthday with four generations of Herters! Of all the amazing things I get to do in my life, there is nothing better than simply sharing time with Alaina and Ivy!

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Summer’s End

It has been creeping ever closer, and yesterday was D-day: the start of school. It begins and Summer ends, with all the freedom and travels and family time replaced by institutional regulations. I have always loved my schools and the learning and teaching that occurs within the walls, but will eternally dread the return to regimented schedule!

Summertime was fantastic while it lasted, and we left Brooklyn every weekend but one. Bellport, Warwick, Osterville, Chester, Portland and a phenomenal final week in Bar Harbor made Ivy’s first Summer a Northeast classic. I love these places so much and loved introducing Ivy to the world that I have grown up in!

Although the change is abrupt, this school year is highly anticipated with a particularly exciting new job involved: I will be working full-time at Poly Prep teaching all music classes Nursery through 4th grade. I have been teaching for 12 years and almost all of it has been with children ages 0-5; now I am working with kids twice as old. They change! I hope to learn as much as I teach and look forward to sharing music with these young humans!

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