Origin

Katie and Girls in Kitchen cropped

I wrote this page when I first started the blog in December 2009 (here’s my first post). Since then, I’ve added an update.

I moved into this area 9 months pregnant with our first child, and we spent our first several weeks here living in a hotel.  With absolutely no friends or family nearby, having left behind my beloved job in museum education, trying to remember how to drive and navigate after years in New York City. . . it turns out that it was not actually super-fun.  I packed the tiny freezer with meals, spoke to the mortgage broker, watched Little House on the Prairie reruns on basic cable, and meditated in preparation for labor—optimistically believing those library books that explained that labor is really more hard work than pain.  The days were extraordinarily tedious.  Well, you know, except when Laura & Almanzo finally got together.

I knew that, along with figuring out how to be a mom and getting moved, I needed to “establish a life”:  find friends, become part of the community.  It was tough.  Now, some of that’s me:  I hate the phone, I dread mingling and remembering names, and I have no sense of direction.  But, beyond that, I was surprised by how difficult it was to connect with what was happening in the area.  Listings in parenting papers would were  out of date, library groups would be filled, and the Capital District has so many towns and villages that it was difficult to figure out if something was worth the trip.  Leaving the house when you have a newborn can be quite intimidating.  But I noticed that when I stayed at home, I’d end up pacing at the front window, trying not to cry when the car that came around the corner still wasn’t my husband’s.  (At this point, are you wondering, just how pathetic is she?  I am not pathetic, generally.  Today.  But, oh, I was.)  I realized how crucial it was to get out of the house every day and that became the main goal of the weekly routine.

Once I got acclimated a bit, I’d occasionally recognize other new mommies who had that same look in their eyes that I’d overcome so recently—the desperation borne of sleep deprivation and loneliness that can befall a new suburban mom.  And next thing you know I’d be sending them an email with all of the activities that I’d managed to find for moms and infants.  Later, I wrote a summertime newsletter for a local moms’ group, including a huge list of local playgrounds along with all sorts of free or cheap summer activities that were great for the infant-toddler-preschool set.  I’d gradually realized that there’s tons to do in the Capital District, but that a lot of stuff isn’t well advertised. Years later, a few moms told me that they still used the lists.  Often I groused that someone should do a website or something.  But by that time I’d been sucked into so many volunteer activities that I was just hoping that someone else would do it.

So, today, I’ve got a big girl in second grade and a little girl finishing up nursery school.  Once again, I’m finding it difficult to find out what’s happening.  My big girl has gotten shut out of scouts, sports, and a camp because I didn’t know how and when I needed to sign her up.  Now, let me be clear about this:  I am not the kind of mother who has her children enroll in Spanish class and piano lessons and phonics tutoring and soccer so that someday her child will be accepted into an Ivy League school.

I am the kind of mother who lets her three-year-old wear the same two pairs of footie pajamas to nursery school for three months in a row, a mother who looks on complacently as her child finds unintended and slightly dangerous uses for playground equipment, a mother who is not above scooping the top layer of snack debris from the car floor if we’ve reached a Snack Crisis.  But I want my kids to have fun, to do some activities that they enjoy, hopefully even find something—a sport, or something artistic, or some sort of community service—that they can be passionate about.  So I just don’t want to, you know, have them miss out on fun stuff because I’m not with-it enough to know about them.  I thought that I’d try to find as many activities as I can and put them in one place.

I’m hoping that if enough people think it’s useful, they’ll help me so that we can get tons of stuff, and then I won’t have to complain about how hard it is to find all of the fun stuff to do in the Capital District.  Because we can all find it right here.

Update:

As of Fall 2013, I have an 11-year-old 6th grader, M, and a 9-year-old 3rd grader, J. You’ll notice that I generally don’t show their faces. When I started the blog, I was trying to stay semi-anonymous, and avoiding our last name, using the girls’ initials, and only showing long-ago photos or photos of the girls from behind was all part of that. I’m less anonymous now, but it’s become a bit of a tradition at this point. Speaking of tradition, at some point my husband acquired the name Cute W.

I’m editor at KidsOutAndAbout.com, so you’ll see plenty of linking back and forth. Since starting the blog I’ve branched out with more writing in other places, and I aspire to add links to those for you. I’ll get to it one of these days. I also aspire to collect favorite posts. . . .

I answered some FAQs on my 1-year blogiversary.

I explained a little bit more about Capital District Fun and KidsOutAndAbout.com in this post.

There’s a Capital District Fun Facebook Page.

I reluctantly began Tweeting, and then, honestly? I like it. Right now I’m better at reading other people’s Tweets than coming up with anything clever on my own.