Wasn't this a great summer? I guess it's technically over now that Labor Day has come and gone. School starts up for us out here next week and I'm seeing sweaters in the shop windows. Like crazy people, we decided to celebrate Labor Day in Coney Island, spending time on the beach and getting us a dang hot dog. It wasn't as nutters as I expected it would be. (One year for the Fourth of July we went out to Coney Isalnd for the hot dog eating contest and were nearly crushed to death by the onslaught of humanity. Suffocation via millions of people's armpits is not the most dignified way to go out, hash tag short girl problems.)

While sitting on the beach watching Huck dutifully run shovelful after shovelful of sludgy sand from the shoreline to the waves, I started having all sorts of terribly profound thoughts about things. I suppose this is the risk you take when you take me places. 

It is busy season right now at Brandon's work, which is a huge bummer. No one wants to ramp up to crazy hours at work at the end of August when everybody else is on vacation, that's just backwards. It's always really taxing on him (hah--taxing??!) (get it? he's a tax attorney) (bloop); even this year when he's had a few years of busy season experience under his belt and he knows what he's doing + he knows how to manage his team and his clients and his schedule, it will still start to wear on him eventually, and before you know it the things that bother him only slightly some of the time, are suddenly bothering him to deathly levels nearly all of the time, and he's about to kill someone if they roll their eyes at him one more time (ah hem, that would be me). So I was staring at the sea after having a good talk with my B and realizing all the ways in which I could be a better spouse + partner, and remembering our lives at this time last year, at this time last month, at this time ten years ago... and watching Huck race back and forth under the late afternoon sun, his shovel full of who even knows what nasty crud (Coney Island = not terribly hypoallergenic or whatever). The waves were coming in harder and faster, beating the sand and bringing the tides in for the evening, when I was just really struck by all of it. Bear with me, this part is hokey, but what do you really expect from me by now?

You know, I wonder sometimes about it, but I don't suspect the waves really know what they're doing when they rush in in the evenings and recede out in the mornings. I don't suppose they know why they're doing it, either; they just know that the moon moves them in and the earth tilts them out and on they go, doing what they do. Does it hurt? No, it's water. But, does it? Does the evening rush-in feel differently from the morning rush-out? For all the brain cells we humans are supposed to have and for all this critical thinking we're supposed to be capable of, we sure are predictable little buggers. In and out. Up and down. Pretty regularly, too, when you stop and notice it. The same things cause us pain and the same things bring us joy, yet it's always surprising, and always so new, and always so complex, when really, we're just the tides. We're just the moon. We wax and wane, the tides come in, the leaves turn gold and down they swirl, and all the kids go back to school (I think those last two lines are from a song I used to sing as a kid :). With every month I feel fine and then sexy and then bloated and then achy, over and over and over. Every year Brandon feels relaxed and then not so relaxed and then slightly crazed and murderous and then mostly fine all over again. I read somewhere the other day that we should aim to be like the climate, not the weather. The weather is erratic and goes up and down. The weather is hurricanes and tornadoes and tsunamis and hail storms. But the climate keeps on, changing only very slowly, with regular intervals of warm and cold, and freeze and thaw. Regular and even, from a far-off view; even if it's chaotic and bizarre when you get in close.

This time right now is an especially full time in my personal lunar cycle or whatever we're going to call it. The tides aren't too low, the tides aren't too high. I can wade in the water and the sunshine is mild and the freckling is even. Soon it will be cold and the winter will suck and I'll wonder to myself, was it ever any easier? Will I ever feel any better? It always was and I always will, though I might not remember it in the moment. And yeah, I'm not really talking about the weather right now. But you knew that. So for those future moments of frost, I want to remember myself right now, right here, where it's really pretty great. When it's good, it's good, so I'm shoring it up while it's around. Hopefully I'll have plenty to cling to when it's not. 

Anyway, a few photos from our day, so this post can triple in length. I know, it's pretty thrilling.

Huck was the busiest little ocean worker all day long, bringing sea water to the sand and then taking sand to the sea water. Accomplishing much, I am sure. Someone told me once that the only difference between boys and girls at this age is how much they move. I don't know if that's true or not but Huck is never sitting still. Sometimes it's exhausting but mostly it's just really fascinating. His head must be such a fun place to hang out.

Burying himself in the sand. (Brandon later came along and helped him get all the way in. Haha. Dreams do come true.)

The board walk! The board walk looks great after Hurricane Sandy. And they seem to have a new souvenir shop with some surprisingly cute tees that I thought about wanting for a half second before remembering I'm supposed to be going super minimal these days. (Oh yes, right right, carry on then.)

There were hot dogs, there was potato salad... there was Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs on the restaurant TV. (Why do I love that movie so much?)

I'm finally wearing my Bens more often now that I've hidden nearly every other pair of my shoes from my sight, and every time I do, I think, Hey, I love these shoes! I'm really pretty predictable.

Never going on that Wonder Wheel, you can't pay me enough money. (Do you like my botched photoshop job on the corners there? I know, now that you see it, you can't un-see it.)

We decided to play some games + ride some rides once the clouds covered the sun and the waves got too choppy. Every few minutes the N train circles around the amusement park and it made me so happy every time. What a neat place this filthy old city is.

And with that cotton candy in his fist, Huck's to-do list had been accomplished, and all was right with the world.

It occurred to me while standing on line with Huck for this puny circus roller coaster that Huck will always grow up with memories of riding the tame rides with Mom, and the fun rides with Dad. And that's just how it should be, if you ask me, because I'm a big old wimp. Now that I'm an adult I'm allowed to be a wimp and nobody can stop me, and this whole line of thinking made me feel kind of silly with happiness for a quick second.

This ride was really puny and I enjoyed myself immensely. 

Crazy swings fall under the way-freaky umbrella. Huck needed some pep talks for this one, and I was so glad it was Brandon there because I would have been all, You're right, Huck, this is madness, the minute he looked at me with those big brown eyes. 

But log flumes! I own you, log flumes!!

Wait wait--close up on Huck's face, because, oh holy priceless.

The kid in front of us too, with whom I happened to coordinate hats! I felt so bad that he was riding by himself, with us, so when I'd say things to Huck, like, isn't this fun?! I'd shout it extra loud so he could hear me too, just in case he needed it. I don't know, it made me feel useful. And then I had another dorky moment remembering the scary rides with my mom (my dad did the puny rides, as it should be), and her ridiculous whooping sounds she'd make during the scariest parts. I always suspected she was whooping extra loud to help me feel like everything was okay and I was safe. And as I did this same thing for Huck I kind of thought, Awwww

(If you know of anyone more ridiculous than me, I'd like to meet them. It sounds like we'd be friends.)

I don't know that the other Yankees hat enjoyed this ride as much as I did.

Anyway, in closing: 

From one hot dog to the rest of you pork chops, I hope you had a real nice summer. Now let's do this, September!

The End!

Thank you to ACCOMPANY for my Jean Paul Gaultier amfAR summer tote! 100% of the purchase price goes toward AIDS awareness + help fund the search for a cure.

Past Coney Island visits... HERE, HERE and HERE.


  1. this was fun! glad to see you had a really nice summer... glorious summers are vital to us people living in the north!

  2. I love his little swim shorts!! It's a little sad that summer is nearing an end… even though fall has lots of things to celebrate, as well.

  3. love those bens! and love this post and how funny and moving you can be!

  4. I bury my legs in the sand just like Huck did every time I sit on the beach, haha. Bye bye, summer!

  5. Gosh you're my favorite.

  6. Love your style! Where'd you get the watch you're wearing in these pics? Thanks!

  7. You really are the best!

  8. Your thoughts about the moon and weather versus climate are so eerily similar to a passage from a book I'm reading, that I feel compelled to share them because perhaps they might stir you, or at least reinforce some of your thoughts about How To Be. Here's the quote:

    “We must strive to be like the moon.' An old man in Kabati repeated this sentence often... the adage served to remind people to always be on their best behavior and to be good to others. [S]he said that people complain when there is too much sun and it gets unbearably hot, and also when it rains too much or when it is cold. But, no one grumbles when the moon shines. Everyone becomes happy and appreciates the moon in their own special way. Children watch their shadows and play in its light, people gather at the square to tell stories and dance through the night. A lot of happy things happen when the moon shines. These are some of the reasons why we should want to be like the moon.”
    ― Ishmael Beah (A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier).

  9. Nothing can beat those pictures of you and Huck riding all those "scary" rides! You seriously are the rockstar of motherhood!! ;)
    xo TJ

  10. I was at Coney Island earlier this summer and totally thought I got some good shots... but these are greater than great shots! I'd love to go back before it gets too cold out, but I don't think I'll make it. I guess it'll just have to go at the top of my list for next summer.

  11. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is probably one of the greatest films in history.... That movie is TOTALLY underrated. Everyone who reads this, trust me, watch it immediately! If no one reads it, well, I'll just have to watch it three times this weekend thank you very much!!!

    This was a fab post. Do you have a new camera (or perhaps a new lens? or a new something? come on i'm basically a detective ;) )

    Huck's face on those rides is reason alone to have babies. That face is worth it! Also, props to kid wearing matching hat. Hilarious.

    Natalie you are wonderful.

  12. Hahaha fantastic post.
    In all honestly, I used to LOVE all those crazy (and I mean crazy insaaaane) rides. But I haven't been on one in at least 5 years. I have NO idea how I would react to one these days.

    Valentina Duracinsky Blog

  13. You and this post are just fantastic. Also this line "Suffocation via millions of people's armpits is not the most dignified way to go out, hash tag short girl problems" made me laugh until I cried/couldn't speak. Hashtag short girl comrade in arms.

  14. Fun post to your 'end of summer'. I love coney island no matter how dirty it is! haha! love the look on Huck's face on the log ride. Can't believe summer is pretty much over, and that school resumes in a couple of days! Take care Natalie!


  15. those! water! log! shots!! had me cracking UP. love it, looks like such a fun day :)

  16. You are such a sweet mama. My B is only 5 months, but I cannot wait to share that bond that you have with Huck now.

  17. I feel all melancholy about the end of the northern hemisphere summer. So glad you had a good one. I can't wait to live the heck out of southern hemisphere summer in a few months (australian reader here!!)
    Also, pretty sure I'm every bit as ridiculous, so we can be friends. Those ferris wheels (don't know if you call them that there too?) no. Just no. tamest ride ever, but so high and slow. I don't do that.

  18. Omg the look on his face seriously just had me laughing so hard.

  19. I have never commented before (loooong time reader and lurker) but I was charmed by this post and the other Yankee hat I just had to say something. Whooop whoop from this pork chop.

  20. I love the thing you said about the waves and if they hurt or not and how are we humans so arrogant as to think that we know that they don't.

    I love the thing you said about the climate and the weather.

    I love how you are honest and smart and compassionate and funny.

    I love your bensimons.

    I love this post.

  21. You make me smile, so thank you :)

  22. Really love your pictures and I enjoy reading your posts :)
    Miki xx

    If you would like to, please check my little blog:

  23. what a great feeling knowing you can take your son to all of these places that most kids dream of going to as a child! just another day in the life, I suppose ;) cheers!

  24. How sweet. I loved reading, and loved the photos- especially of you guys on the log ride! Priceless expressions right there. ;)

  25. i LOL'd at the zoomed in photo of huck's terrified face, buddyyyyy! looks like your whoops and hollers successfully assuaged his fears by the end though. now the other yankees fan... poor guy!

  26. This post was so incredibly thought provoking at times and then laugh out loud funny at others. Seriously. Coffee shop blog surfing right now, and tooootally lol'd several times. People are staring. Too bad they don't know what kind of comedic gold I'm enjoying ;) So glad you've had a great summer Natalie. Wishing you a great fall and winter too!

  27. I read this twice and cried both times. Beautifully expressed, and exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.

  28. this was beautiful and just what i needed heading into my freshman year of college. thanks. i loved it.

  29. This looks like so much fun!! I've never been to Coney Island but now I want to take my son when he's older (he's only two months but never stops moving, so I know he'll be nuts when he's Huck's age).

  30. You look gorgeous! Your hair plus that lip color = perfect! And omg Huck's face on the log flume is the best

  31. ..."millions of people's armpits" !!! ahahaha!

  32. aww, it sounds like you guys had a great time at coney island this year! i have never been and really want to go now after reading this post.

  33. what great fun! you guys are all a couple of cuties!

  34. I am equally ridiculous, and I know we would be friends in real life. I'm super curious about the minimalist...maybe if you're successful I can work it too.


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