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Ilana Wiles  #Lifewithdaughters in NYC, traveling whenever we can. Author of "Remarkably Average Parenting." Also find me at: @averageparentproblems & @pinkinnyc

We are now in the middle of our third month living in a studio apartment, while we await the completion of our renovation. To clarify, for those of you unfamiliar with apartment living, a studio is not a one bedroom. It is ONE ROOM. Living, sleeping, eating, etc. is all done in the same place. Thank god for the bathroom door. I go in there sometimes at night when I need to get work done after the kids are asleep. And Harlow has co-opted a large box as "the only place I can get privacy." There is also a kitchen, but it is so tiny, there is no room to cook in it. And we don't have stuff to cook with, so there's that too. Still, we've managed to make the best of it and it's been kind of a grand family experiment in how to survive and make good memories while living here. The other night, Mike decided that in place of the coffee table (which collapsed in spectacularly grand fashion on top of Mazzy's foot one morning), we should blow-up our extra mattress and stick it in the middle of the L-shaped couch, creating one huge bed. Then, since no one is actually sleeping on it, we took an old blanket, laid it over the whole thing and told the kids we would be having a @RedBaronPizza party picnic on our new blow-up bed couch. We watched a movie, inhaled two pies, played a board game after the movie was over and had one of the most fun nights we've had as a family in this small space to date. You can read all about our current living situation on the blog today! Link in bio. #NeverFlySolo

So, yesterday I totally geeked out on a behind the scenes tour of #SesameStreet, where we met the characters FOR REAL. 🤩🤩🤩 We actually got to sit on the stoop and watch them film a few segments with Elmo, Rosita and Michael Che. Mazzy was Elmo obsessed as a toddler, but doesn’t remember her obsession quite as clearly as I remember mine. As a kid, I watched Sesame Street every day, probably up until I was about ten. That was back in the days when everyone thought Snuffleupagus (my favorite character) was Big Bird’s imaginary friend. It used to drive me crazy that everyone thought he was making him up! Our whole day is up on my story now, or at least, what I was allowed to show. They are very protective of the magic behind those puppets! Understandably. Thank you to @chrysler who invited us to the taping. Sometimes I really don’t know what I did to get so lucky to have these experiences with my kids. ❤️

We are getting really close to moving back into our place! But FYI, it’s not going to be completely finished yet and it might be a few more weeks before the big reveal (we don't want to bring our new furniture in until everything is done), but we miss home and are happy to go back nonetheless. One thing I can't wait to get back is our NYC view! I took Harlow by the apartment to assess the cleaning job we need to do and test out the new WINBOT X from @ecovacs_us. It's a cordless window cleaning robot that picked up months worth of dust while we just sat back and watched. Yep, that's right. The future is here! You can enter to win your own ECOVACS WINBOT X through the link in my bio! #evovacspartner

At Harlow’s parent teacher conference, the teacher showed us the first full sentence that Harlow had written all on her own with no help. She pushed the paper across the table. It said: “Mazzy makes me happy.” 😭😭😭

Mazzy’s shirt says “Follow Your Dreams” and because everyone always asks, it is @landsend. Her sunglasses were stolen right off my head. Last weekend, our whole family was treated to a shopping spree at the new Land’s End store launch in Staten Island, which was super fun because we’ve been buying their clothes online forever. I originally discovered Land’s End before I had kids, when I decided to buy a floor length puffer jacket one winter, because I was fed up with the bone chilling cold. Someone suggested Land's End because their floor length puffers look quite literally like you are wearing a sleeping bag. The next winter, I remember telling a co-worker that it doesn't get nearly as cold as it used to and he said, "You only think that because you walk around in a sleeping bag! It's freezing!" My next Land's End purchase was when Mike suggested them for the kids' winter coats. They make thin colorful puffer jackets that can be easily stuffed in their backpacks. Then we realized that Land's End also makes great swimsuits for kids and they became our go-to online shop for the summer too. Then one desperate day, right before we went to Mexico for spring break, I decided to check out their women's selection of swimsuits, and HOLY CRAP— did you know how many awesome one-pieces they have that are actually supportive and slimming??? Anyway, you can read all about my longtime love affair with Land's End and their real life store openings at the link in my bio! #mylandsend

Usually I post pics on Instagram all throughout the weekend but lately, life feels like it has been moving too fast to document it thoughtfully. I think when I stopped blogging as often, I started posting longer captions here and then by doing that, I lost the quick and easy way to say, “hey! I’m in a park! It’s pretty!” Social media takes up a lot of time. Sometimes it’s hard to be good at it and good at life simultaneously. ❤️

We stumbled upon some #subwaytherapy in the Union Square station yesterday. The idea is to post positive messages to help people feel more connected. The last time this same wall was covered with post-its was the day after the 2016 election, when people really needed it. Mazzy and Harlow stopped to add a few of their own messages, but my favorite was the last one Mazzy posted. Just as we were about to walk away, she said, “Wait! I have an idea!” Then she jotted something down, ran all the way to the end and attached her post-it to the lowest place possible. Swipe left to read it. ❤️

In case you can’t understand Harlow speak: “I’m gonna tell you when my birthday, it’s in this many days, then soon it’s gonna be in five days, then in four days, then in three days, then in two days, then in one day and then it’s gonna be Thursday and IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!” November 15th, here we come 🎉🎉🎉

I’m excited to join @merciChocolates for their #14DaysofGratitude! Today, I’m thanking my sister Myriah, who I don't think realizes how truly helpful she has been to my family over the past few months. She has given us a place to stay while our apartment is being renovated (as you know, that has gone on way longer than we anticipated!) and for that alone, I will be forever grateful. Being a caring sister, my best friend and my go-to expert for all parenting questions (she's got a doctorate in school psychology) is just a BIG FAT BONUS. She's usually pretty camera shy but I got her to take a photo in exchange for @merciChocolates. I encourage you all to start your own 14 Days of Gratitude to thank the meaningful people in your life! Visit the link in my bio to see how merci Chocolates is saying ‘thank you’ during this season of gratitude. And let's keep this gratitude chain going— hey, @leeannebenjamin! Who are you thankful for?

When you’re trying to take a photo with your new mattress and your husband is too comfortable to participate ☺️🤫😴Thank you @casper for sending us the new Casper Wave! As someone who always wakes up in a sweat, my favorite part is the anti-humidity layer which keeps you cool as you sleep! God knows, parents need all the help they can get to have a good night’s rest. Also, the way it unrolls and magically expands after delivery is very impressive! #sleeplikemike

Thank you to everyone for your positive response to Harlow’s breakout performance in our Stainmaster video 😎 FYI, Mazzy picked up this plate and handed it to Harlow to show me. Harlow is just learning to read and has no idea what it says. 😂😂😂

Yesterday, at school drop-off, I saw a wall of collages called “Profile of Me” hanging outside Mazzy’s classroom. This is Mazzy’s collage. You’ll notice that along with a unicorn, a doughnut and a puppy is the word WARRIOR in large letters on the bottom. Well, WARIOR to be exact, but same thing. This word wasn’t just cut out of a magazine. It was so important to Mazzy that she cut out the letters to form the word herself. If you look closer and blow up the little red rectangle right above warrior, it says, “rising.” That’s what my daughter thinks of herself. Even at school, when I’m not there. She’s a “RISING WARRIOR.” When I was in fourth grade, I would have cut out unicorns and magic to represent myself too, but this language of empowerment is something new we are teaching this generation of girls. When the phrase “the future is female” became popular a few years ago, I loved it and used the hashtag, but I’m not sure I really believed it. Now, with an 8 year-old daughter, I see the impact of our words on how we are raising our girls. The promise is real. This morning, Mazzy walked into the kitchen as we were watching the news, which happened to be talking about how the Democrats didn’t gain control of the senate. She turned to me with a look of concern and said, “Mom, we’re losing.” I said, “Mazzy, you listen to me. Over 100 women were elected to represent us last night. That is more women winning than ever before in history. We are not losing. We are right on track.” #thefutureisfemale 💙

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