Sunday, November 18, 2012

India's 1! (tomorrow, celebrated today)

India's busy year - go go GO from arrival Nov. 19, 2011

We celebrated our little chick's bday today with a small party, close friends, cupcakes, cake 
and balloons. India digs balloons.

Claudia and her boyfriend surprised us with this video.
No better gift:

We are so grateful for our India...

hugs to all

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pics from life, recent

God bless the new Iphone for simplifying many things, like taking pictures and having them handy, and damn it for all the extras it brings into my life - all the technological temptations that come bundled and the projects that spin out...

Here's a smattering of photos - lots more to come.
In short: all's well, India's nearly 4 months, a charming cutie who sometimes sleeps at night and Wyeth's loving letters like a mini-academic-in-the-making.

And parents doing great, happy for spring and minding the crocuses, planting pansies...

India, with attitude, at lunch in Great barrington

Wyeth and the baboon, Prospect Park Zoo

Wyeth and the feathered, prospect park zoo

Wyeth (and Rus) in the rotunda at the Prospect Park Zoo

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Announcing India

In plenty of time for Thanksgiving, and a healthy 2 weeks before her due date,
on November 19th, at 4:28am,
weighing in at 6lbs 12oz,


arrived safe, sound and cute.

Since arrival she's:

Filled tiny diapers
Opened eyes long enough to gaze on brother Wyeth

Repeated above - on a 24-hour clock of her own keeping.

She's lovely, sweet, gamely bundle-able into Ergo and a remarkable feeder for one so small...

Wyeth is mostly pleased, and proud to show her off at school,
Ruslan is truly pleased but will probably be more pleased when we find a rhythm and he gets his wife back and

I'm very very pleased, relieved to have her out and healthy, and catching an hour's sleep here and there.

And we're ALL looking forward to Christmas as a newly minted family of 4.

Sending love and thanks for all we've been given,

Cheers from

Courtney, Ruslan, Wyeth and India

Friday, September 09, 2011

First day at the Co-Op School

Our brave-ish, small-ish, intellectual hit the board books at the Co-Op School yesterday. His first day as a Rolly Polly.

Wyeth was all business and activity on arrival - investigating the toys, room, crossing legos with a few classmates. When R made move to leave, there were tears and demands that Daddy "sit", then the same when I headed off, but he survived and received a glowing report for the day. The principle herself, a thoroughly hands-on school-head, emailed me late morning:

Hey Courtney -
Wyeth is doing much better - I know its hard to leave him when he's crying!
We sat together at Circle Time and he's been on the playground.
There are still a few tears but in between bursts of action and play:)
Hope your having a great day.

Leaping cushions towards Wyeth's own 'W' with moon and star cushion - set up for circle time.

When I picked W up at 4, he + Rolly Polly classmates were in the second floor playground, absorbed in bumping and backing up in their Little Tikes cars. Not one child ran to his/her parent - to a child they all kept on bumping and playing with a wave here and there.

(W in car but mid-summer in playground, not at school.)

With relief and an exhausted but proud little guy ready for a full 3 days next week,
love to all.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Brooklyn Summer

To follow: Wyeth, on a series of sweltering afternoons, amidst the cooling wonderfulness of Underwood Playground's summer sprinklers.

The wonder of this local playground is I like going to it with W - a playground first for me. Clinton Hill's Underwood Playground has the elusive playground magic combo of shade and layout and kid/parent mix to render it consistently fun.

Fun for Wyeth - very much yes, but also fun for me. It's also what any urban planning/civic-developing soul would hope for with its mix-it-up of ages, races, apparent incomes, caregiver-profiles...More dads also. More grown-ups joining the kids, getting sopping...

In cahoots with the drain-blocking-swimming-pool-making crew.

Refreshing shaved ice break

Just frolicking

Brooklyn's great, we all think so...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We did indeed

Last Weekend: Us and/at/with IT (17 Lefferts that is)

We signed!

And, being unable to not,
though there's a fireplace to open, carpets to un-tack and walls to paint
before we lay our heads there,

(Wyeth's laid his - 3 fine on-site naps to date),

we started feathering and picnicking
and buying lots of local coffees and pastries (Rus),
kicking balls clear across living room/dining room without repercussion (Wyeth),
and toting non-needful but home-ful by subway from the city, then loving the house with candles and little dishes for rubberbands and twisties and well-turned out soaps and fresh toothbrushes and bringing my sad little light-starved plants by subway from darkness into the home's great light.

In photos then, evidence of this.
Tomorrow, work begins and feathers fly.

Rus + my room-to-be (when it will not be pink)

my command set-up on a counter vamoosed to basement tomorrow,
looking on the dining room that shall soon be not red

living room with just exactly as many furnishings as Wyeth would like always.
He's visible in last bookshelf opening by palm, testing each shelf with his car

Monday, January 31, 2011

the last night

the unexplored territory (of new home's front hall)

without a Brooklyn address.
For tomorrow,
we sign.

And so will begin the
of little Family Chilov in Clinton Hill
and all the life-shifting,
washing-machine-of-our-own claiming,
grill-on-deck having,
no-super-to-call-so-leak-be-gone wishing,
"it's upstairs/downstairs" stating,
happy + sun-loving plant nurturing,
backyard-a-clutter-with-children's-crap evolving,
BUY IN BULK-adopting,
room-for-more (books, shoes, umbrellas, large pot, king-size bed, dining table, child) toasting,
stuff that lies ahead.

So, mr/ms 17 Lefferts Place. Get ready and gather your skirt + wits about you, there'll be a new (family) of sheriffs in town...


With love from Manhattan's Upper West Side, for now.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a frog's measure, in a boy's estimation

taking the measure
of the frog

Wyeth's skepticism
Frog's smug stoicism...

(who knows who won the face-off.)


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Further proof (of business/focus)

Dad's collection of stone eggs transfered bowl to drawer, while Hudson plays with top

Dad's glasses case, decoded

Re-Potting Pens

Our busy, busy man (in Portland for Thanksgiving)
We talked melon and menus, Wyeth got down to the business at hand - re-potting pens.

Unbridled, focused, business.

Current object-crush: magnets. All types, including the dishwater dull magnet-grey discs from Staples. Fridge is stainless steel, so our garbage can and cast iron bathtub are his canvas.

Wyeth's top 3 list for 2010: balls, crayons and magnets.

Stay tuned,
More pictures + reports to come,

Monday, November 01, 2010

our lobsterman (catch + release)

(Elements of outfit not shown parts because they either fell or were cast off:
  • Rubber boots,
  • Authentic/child-sized S'Ouwester Hat as you'd have seen on Gordon's Fisherman for which I searched on-line, ordered with rush delivery and which, in the end, our little Lobsterman refused outright
  • String bag of 12 plush lobsters)

The aftermath, candy-count and sticky strip.

Nice halloween, fun kid holiday. However, not sad that holidays ahead require no costumes.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ignore the clown

Friday at the Westside Y (where Wyeth attends Tender Care a few days a week), Looney Louie to perform for the little people.

In attendance (with teachers), sitting nicely behind the masking tape and besotted with Louie, riveted by his humor - were all the other school kids. Ages ranged from 8 months to, say, 6 years.

Wyeth is 1.4 or so and showed no interest in Louie. He is scared of balloons but getting braver. Mostly, he likes balls and ball-like things and crayons. When he wakes, as soon as his feet hit the floor he's either squatting beside his tin of seedy, broken down crayons and launching a masterpiece or yelps "baa" (ball) and starts kicking the nearest orb.

Anyway. This video should illustrate. We will not attend the circus for now. Not till Wyeth can be convinced to stay in the stands.

This evening, Wyeth will hit the streets as a Lobster Man ( Gordon's Fisherman look but catch-and-release variety). Having not done a dry-run of the costume, not at all sure that various lobsterman elements will make it (S'ouwester hat, yellow rain pants, boots, and a string bag of 12 fuzzy lobsters c/o ebay). Will record results and post.

Happy Halloween to all.
Holidays way WAY cooler with kids. Planning snacks for Santa and the reindeers already....



Joining the exodus - Brooklyn it is.
And here will be the home-base: Clinton Hill, Lefferts Place, pretty house.


Early next year. And, till then, we dream of backyard and storage.

c + co

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer, ohhhh

We spent a healthy chunk of summer at this beach - Quogue Long Island.
A Hampton, sort of, but more a secret, not good-shopping and not celeb-spotting, close-ish (by our warped standards - 1-1/2 hours vs. 4 to Montauk at the end of the island...)

Got sandy, got brave, got waves and got way happy.

I know I'd want the first summer of my toddling life to be spent here...

Hope Wyeth will agree when he sees the albums...

Love, more posts too, soon.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

newly chic, they gather

In eras past, textile collectors were a musty bunch. Murmuring of wefts and weaves, brandishing Naga marriage cloths and fingering thready Coptic fragments they'd an air of the library carrels about them, and gone-thither look in their eye.

Their official meeting place (when not burrowing in the backrooms of textile dealers, Damascus to La Paz) was the Textile Museum in Washington DC.

In the past few years, their citadel's been stormed.

Central Asia's textiles - the ubiquitous suzanis and ikats - have trickled down so far that their bold patterns currently appear in Pottery Barn bed spreads, the ragged edges of the ikat showing up in Forever 21 t's.

Good for business? Good for the world? For Central Asia's weavers and dyers and the women of the households for whom suzani's were a life's work and legacy? Hmmm - why not but no, unlikely.

This fall the Textile Museum's hosting a symposium: Tying the Rainbow, Reexamining Central Asian Ikats. This is awesome and a sure crowd-pleaser. I'd love to go to lecture:
At the crossroads of Eurasia: The Changing Central Asian City and Textile Producton in the 19th Century and dream Marco Polo dreams of Samarkand and Bhukara in a darkened theatre. I won't, oh well.

But I will be wondering this October, what sort of crowd has gathered to celebrate the now-ubiquitous textile and whether the textiler-s of ages past will present a nattier front to the newly-intrigued world at their gates.

Warp, weft and weaving-ho.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

my other life

Initially, perhaps I wouldn't be the one who 360-ed a blog from looking outwards and onwards to one that focused,
on a baby.

Of course I couldn't, wouldn't and, to my mind, shouldn't have resisted.
And, lo, I did not.
And since roughly June 23 2009, fromacafe has become, for all intents,
or welcome to the small small world that orbits my baby Wyeth.

Who knows if I've lost readers as a result.
Or gained?

But with our boy now being one and forging his own wobbly path in the world, I'm going to try my hand at occasional grown-up things here.
Like showing some of my recent photos of the maine house,
talking about houses in Brooklyn loved + lost,
mentioning a blogging-on-design job I applied for (cross fingers),
finally market the silver shell necklaces I've created but never sold,
re-introducing the semi-languishing Circa Trade...

Which is not to say there won't still be TONS of Wyeth here. Blogger-bias after all.

So, with that little piece of house-cleaning - on + off we go.

love to all

Where we were

And wish we were still...


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Micah's Afghan Photos

I am lucky, our family lucky, to be friends with an incredible man named Micah Garen. His skills are many, heart huge and knowledge of the Middle East - Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey in particular, is breathtaking.

He is also a genius photographer.
He is also incredibly brave and, more so or plus plus, he has a way of friending (more direct than be-friending) and gently working his way right into a culture, a place.

Baby Wyeth's been the lucky subject of Micah's camera.

But more recently and more relevantly on a world-scale (even a mom can admit this), Micah's been in Southern Afghanistan with his Wisner 4x5 camera where he's shot the inhabitants of Marja - poppy farmers to bomb-sniffing dogs - and Vanity Fair is featuring them.

We're very proud.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

we're busy

Busy not-yet walking but making tracks everywhere anyway.
Copying sounds, matching pictures and getting the whole shoes-goes-on-foot thing.
Changing-up favorite-food: yoghurt tumbles -unseated by blueberries, pasta loses favor, waffles gain momentum.
Telling everyone, everything, just not intelligibly just yet.
Going to the beach, often, and stirring buckets of saltwater and sand.

Photos of the past few weeks are here

And in meantime, we play...



Monday, June 21, 2010


Our not-quite 1 year-old boy

It's Wimbledon again, and Father's Day and boy was life/the world (ours) a different place one year ago.

(Official birthday Wednesday, June 23rd but more fun to party/picnic on a Sunday afternoon...)


where we picnic-ed 'neath the trees

More big thoughts on the very big first year will come - first, must compose them and will need Wyeth's input.


Sunday, June 13, 2010


Me + W - he in Scotland jersey (c/o cousin Hudson and no, Scotland wasn't/isn't playing but how many small fellow even have jerseys?) and me without. Rus does have (Bayern Munich) but he didn't get in the shot.

Saturday: watched US-UK with friends in Brooklyn.

Rather, Wyeth ate some banana, foodled with the ball, climbed the stairs, stood on his chair, pushed around a tomato, gnawed on bread with avocado, tried to get my beer, tried to pet a dog, yelped, fidgeted, then - when all of the crowded cafe erupted in cheers after UK's goal - looked terrified and he and I took ourselves for a long wandering, Fort Greene-exploring walk.

For the record - he does a sort of dribble-crawl move with his ball that shows enormous promise.
World Cup 2030 or bust.

and a dribble

Monday, June 07, 2010

of men and dog(s)

Rus + Wyeth + dog at Rila Monastery

Wyeth LOVES dogs and is FEARLESS.

Fortunately, Bulgaria has lovely dogs including well-mannered strays without the grim/needy temperaments and weedy, splotchy, bedraggled appearance of strays I've known elsewhere.

That's it - not a big post, just had something nice to say about dogs and Wyeth requested a dog post...

c (woof)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

on baptism

I'd saved this.

From amazing book GILEAD by Marilyn Robinson.

Speaking is a pastor in his final days, writing a record of his life for a young son he'll soon leave behind.

"There is a reality in blessing which I take baptism to be primarily.

It doesn't enhance the sacredness, but acknowledges it, and there is a power in that. I have felt it pass through me, so to speak.

The sensation is of really knowing a creature, I mean really feeling its mysterious life and your own mysterious life at the same time."


(yes yes)

we went to Bulgaria and baby's been baptized

Last week, our threesome, plus Dad and Sarah, joined Vladimir and Maria Chilov in Sofia Bulgaria.

Wyeth's first and second trans-atlantic flights (and, were it possible, last till grad school),
first (and second) Heathrow transit,
first shopska salad and kufte, and, in the banner event of the week,
his first (and only - unless in later life he wanders into something else altogether) baptism took place on Monday, June 24th at the St Sofia church.

He handled like a pro, if there can be such a thing.
(Babies are stunningly game. )

Photos of the 10 days are here.

Now we're back in New York and Wyeth's maintained that just-baptized glow...
We miss Bulgaria though.

love, and more reports soon

Thursday, May 13, 2010

sheeps below

"Troupeaux de Moutons" Tapis

In an ideal world,
(once the babes are loved, clothed and fed,
the lonely befriended and the hurting un-hurt),
Wyeth would grow up with this troupeaux de moutons 'neath knee, then foot...

By husband-wife team (lovely) Francois-Xavier Lalanne - have a way with the wooly ones.

(For auction at Sothebys, soon.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

cut 1

We went for Wyeth first hair cut yesterday.

How sad! and how cruel to stop nature's work in its follicular tracks...

Ah well, eternally tucking and brushing back from the face and pinching banana in gluey clumps had worn me.

Did his eyes light up at the fire-engine salon seat, Elmo on the TV, Elmo on the lap, a lollipop, balloons, two women singing and cheerios? Nope, it was rough right on through.

(big tip)

c + w (shorn)

Monday, May 10, 2010

mother, i

Mother's day - my first on the celebrated-side of the fence - and I'm amazed just how poignant.
(They like us, really really do - or today they make a point to mention it, with flowers.)

I also attended the baptism of a beautiful baby-friend (Heidi) and so happened to be in church (!) on mother's day. Fortuitous. Rus was home with Wyeth (who's had a run of fussy days as we await tooth 2) and so had some quiet pew-moments of ordered peace, and god-sanctioned praise and truly felt the guts of the holiday.

And, because I was tired and the minister wasn't above the emotion of it all - he was baptizing babies for god's sake - I had a little cry for my mom (lost to ALS in 2002), my sister (lost in childbirth 4 years ago, mom-in-making) and for all moms - also lost or uncelebrated and for the celebrated ones too, we all deserve.

Could I have know 17 months ago (Wyeth now 10 months so 10 + 9) what this would give/take/entail/provide?

Yee gods no.

But it's a daily miracle and MOTHERING - the daily as well as the extraordinary of it - should be an all-caps verb.

Here's a note from my diary of Feb 18 2009 - having just found out Wyeth (just "baby" then) was/is a boy):

Finally, 37 years-in and I hand over the reins.
Miracle of universally-sanctioned growth, of ownership with the strangest price and extraordinary in the mostly-till-now ordinary of my body, interloper in dialogue of me.
A being, or state, so far beyond mere body-hood, so much more and intrinsically divine.
I will have a boy.

Happy Mother's Day all.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

he moves too

Can't stop, won't stop
must (got to)

(Commando-crawl's given way to full-blown, text-book, CRAWL.)

Stands too.

c - who thought baby-proofing was a take-or-leave proposition and now sees apartment as the fraught collection corners, sharp objects and oven doors that it is

Friday, April 23, 2010

Baby's got a tooth (and it's spring)

baby swings on a slightly overcast city day

Okay, this one's been waiting in the wings (draft-form) and never got posted.

Since its inception, the tree-bound blossoms are pretty much over (save for some lilacs), peonies for a king's ransom just hit the corner deli selection, daffodils given way to the next, slightly less flamboyant rounds 2 and 3 of the spring roll-out and we (Rus + Wyeth + me) have been south to Sea Island for my Grandpop's memorial.

But - without further ado - photos of the spring underway:


art! (and open floor)

Besides the tooth, celebrated daily, Today is: Wyeth's 10 month birthday.

What with the tooth and travel and playing, we've got big hopes for months 11 and 12.

Here's to our baby, babbling...