leaving home and coming home.

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blogutah3the littles and i flew back to new york city from utah last wednesday.

i think i’m glad to be back but i’m not certain yet. i love this city with my whole heart. it stole it long ago in 2001 when i was a little teenage girl living in the city for a summer dance intensive. i feel like after that summer, i held my breathe until i moved back here at 18 for college. i just had to get back to this city. i felt at home here. i felt most like myself here. and i felt like i belonged.

this weird thing always happens when the plane touches down at JFK after i have been away and i catch a taxi back into manhattan. i usually get this overwhelming feeling of pride to see my city and be home.  i always look forward to seeing the new york city sky line from afar all lit up in its spectacular sparkly glory from the back of a taxi cab. there is this rush of emotion because i’m so happy to see new york again. and hear all the street noise and see everyone still out at a late hour. (josh tells me how he has always had the exact same experience ever since he came out for school too, which makes me so happy… that we share our love for nyc together.)

but when we flew back in on wednesday evening, i sadly didn’t have these happy feelings as eleanor, samson, and i drove into the city. my taxi cab driver said he wanted to save gas so he refused to put on any air conditioning. he also wanted me to stop at an ATM and pay with cash instead of use my credit card (all taxis are required to accept credit cards these days). so there i was sweating with two hot and sticky babes on my lap who were both so tired and clingy because it was bedtime and we’d had a long long day of travel and they just wanted to sleep. and i was like, ‘WHAT? where is that feeling. where is it??!!’ i guess this whole situation just got me off to a bad start upon my return to my favorite city and home. right before we left for utah, my bike was stolen in front of our apartment here in the city. someone cut through the lock in broad daylight one afternoon, a bike with an infant seat attached to the back! i was really bummed that day and was even more bummed when i got home again and didn’t see it there. :(

i think after a while, sometimes the city just gets you down and you have to get back out and find what you love about it once again. it doesn’t take long, there is much to love about this city. and i do love new york, even now. but i’m in the midst of trying to rekindle a lot of those feelings and remember what i especially love about new york once more.  it’s like utah gave me a wandering eye, or something! i am so embarrassed. ha! i don’t know. i maybe had too much fun thinking how E and S could raise chickens like i did when i was little! or fetch me fresh cucumbers and squash from our garden out back. or maybe if new york just got an einstein bagel bros with those delicious chocolate chip bagels out here? well – grass is always greener.

so hey new york, i’m kinda going through it and i’m not sure what’s going on. be kind to us this week, ok? and i love you, you know, deep down… i really do. next time i come home to you, i’ll try to be just as excited as that first time we met some 12 years ago.

and now, here are some special moments from utah…

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^^^here is eleanor in the garden opening up a pea pod! what a green thumb!^^^

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^^^my family’s garden. oh so many memories of weeding that big thing with my siblings growing up. we hated it. but we’d always break out in song (something like les mis) to keep ourselves entertained and that always turned it into a good time.^^^

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^^^this face! AHH! he found these and held onto them as long as he could!^^^

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^^^feeding the chickens…^^^

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 ^^^eleanor collecting the eggs! we’d break a few each day in the process, but i think it was the highlight of her trip, being in charge of the eggs.^^^

  1. Joanna

    I know what that exact feeling is. NYC is a place that I love, that I call home, and like you, am very proud of. But sometimes, it can just break you down. Unfortunately, not everyone in NYC is as proud of it so they rather vandalize, steal, and just rip a little part of the charm away :/ in the end, we are the people who make the larger percentage of this place so we have to remember it has way more positives than negatives :)

    http://www.SimplyJoanna.com

  2. Rosie W

    Stunning Utah photos. I guess hometown glory can fade easily, but I bet after a few lovely weekends in the city you’ll be more in love than ever before.
    Rosie x | Every Word Handwritten

  3. Naomi, i so know EXACTLY how you feel :) Being in NYC single and dancing is one thing, and being there with the kids and family – is a completely different story :). though i was born and raised in ukraine, my “becoming a real person” years were spent in Western Europe and US, when i first taken the dance to a professional level at – then – barely 14. and it so turns out, that in US i have 2 homes too : utah and NYC, as i found out when we lived in both and moved away from both and i ended up missing both. so, here is my experience and thoughts on everything – maybe it will be helpful to you in some way. i LOVE NYC. and i also love UT. BOTH are unique and are like no other place. BOTH offer such amazing things, and both have their set backs. i too remember being in nyc just less then two years ago, and thinking the very same thing as you did – “where did that special feeling that i had for the city go? i know that i love it, but how come i don’t have that bliss?” though i have neither family, nor deep, close friends in UT, i missed it and was so nostalgic about it too – after all, this is where i met my husband, and created a small, but MY family. when stars aligned in such a way and the opportunity to move to UT came up, we took it gladly. and i LOVED being here the first year – i loved NYC, but i loved being in UT more. then a year passed and i started to miss “my” city more then i was loving UT, because much of the great experiences and memories that define who i am are connected to NYC too. some of the greatest and most important changes in my life happened in NY just as much as in UT. though it is NOT easy to be there with the kids ( hell, no. especially when you start talking schools and $$$$$ it costs and other things , like having MORE children there – and i knew ( crazy as it is for the dancer or not) that I wanted more kids. ) and then i miss Europe too, because it was the very first step in defining and creating the person that i am today, and then i miss my birthplace, even though it was 11 years since i was there last, and everything changed, and my parents don’t even live in the same house anymore ( and i never even seen the new area in “real life”), but i still miss it too. so, what i have learned from my last 30 years :) is this : you will miss nyc if you don’t live there. you will miss it terribly. the bad and difficult will get forgotten, and the best will remain in your memory. but so will you miss UT when not there. you will miss so very much, especially because it is your first home, it is where your roots are, where your family is. and neither place is better then the other – just like i said before , they both are unique and both have so much to offer. so, do what seems best for you and your family, and know that no matter where you are, there will always be things that are wonderful there. take one day at a time, and right now enjoy the good that nyc offers. i miss my nearly daily trips to the met, the lectures, the random Beatles concerts at the central park, the natural history museums, crazy, stinky and overcrowded subways, the very awesome union square market, the delicious ukrainian foods down on the lower east, and so do my kids. we all remember and terribly miss it. but i missed gorgeous mountains and open space UT offers when living on the upper east in manhattan, hot springs and lakes, overly friendly neighbors, clean UT stores ( and bathrooms ) and smiley workers, teens at the registers, large living spaces, etc. i try to focus on what’s best HERE where we are at the moment, and somehow something good always turns up. the glass is always half-full and it makes things much more bearable to see it that way ( though there are plenty of “downer” days and it’s ok – it’s life, it’s meant to be perfect in its imperfection) . and as to my personal thoughts for you: my hat is off and low at your feet. now that i DO have 2 under 2, and both are high demand, i don’t know how YOU did it in the city, in a small space, in HOT and HUMID climate, and kept your sanity. there is a HUGE difference between having 3 kids ( as we did then) but 3 years apart compared to 2 less then 2 years apart. 2 under 2 equal to at least 10 little ones in the demand and energy that you, as a mom , need to give to them. so, you are an amazingly strong woman. hang in there, and i am always here if you want to chat about anything – just email.
    xoxoxo

  4. Babooshka

    Hey Naomi, just had to respond to your post. Firstly, thank you for being so honest. So many people hide their feelings of disappointment and frustration of living in a big metropolis…after all, its meant to be ‘bright lights, big city’ isn’ it?

    Secondly, your comments definitely struck a note. I am a born and bred Londoner and love living in this big, complicated and diverse city. However, my family originally comes from Poland and my grandparents lived in a tiny village in the countryside. I spent all my summers growing up in their cottage tending the chickens and geese and running round with kids from neighbouring farms – it was the best! I return to Poland every sumemr and now I have a baby boy myself I often wish he could experience the same which is very unlikely to happen (sad & wistful face).
    p.s. Samson is just gorgeous, blonde streaks running through his hair, wow!

  5. Yun

    your words can also bring people to the place they can’t be, Ive never been to new york, but it has been always my dream to be there once in my life, or a period of time to experience the life there. Thank you for taking me to your sight of the city! I wish all the best with you family! :)

    http://www.rice-n-shine.com

  6. Emma

    I loved having a hobbie farm growing up. So many great memories. We had chickens and also bred llamas.

    the-little-mama.blogspot.com

  7. Kate

    Sometimes returning “home” can make us feel the most unexpected of things. Thanks for your honesty. xo

  8. Connie

    I really enjoyed this post, you have such a sweet heart. I wonder if God has put this longing in your heart and opened your eyes to see a different side of NYC for a reason. I live in Dallas which is nothing like NYC (not as big and not as fun!!) but I have this deep longing to live a more simple life in a more quaint and simple location. I’m grateful for what I have but there’s still that longing and I sometimes wonder if God is trying to woo me to a new place. Praying for you as you sift through all of these thoughts and feelings. xoxo

  9. Sometimes your life seems a little bit boring or difficult. And sometimes, peaceful places remind how big towns make time goes fast. Go on !

  10. ashley

    Lately I’ve been having the same feelings about Chicago and think how much simpler things would be in the ‘burbs’.

  11. kendall

    i hope NY is good to you this week & you find that magic again soon ;)

  12. I hope I will have such a garden in a few years!
    The last picture of E with the eggs is really really cute! I love it!

  13. Lila

    I’ve been raising 2 kids in SF. It’s definitely not NYC, but it’s been such a challenge for me! I have a love-hate relationship with living here. It’s just such a hustle to do things on some days and I feel so exhausted at the end of the day from all the walking, lugging groceries up the steps, gear down the steps, finding parking, parking more than a mile from your destination, living in a small space, no backyard (though I live right next to GG Park). We went to Southern Cal on vacation and my heart sank as we drove back home over the bridge. Instead of being excited, I felt my heart grow heavy. a week later, I’m feeling happy again. I think it just goes in waves and you have the ride them the best you can. Try and appreciate NYC while you live there! It probably won’t be forever…..though I have been here for way longer than I ever thought I would be!

    Is there any way you can go back home for a long visit home every 3 months or so? I would try and arrange that while the kids are young. It would give you a nice break….which all moms could use!

  14. Alysia

    That is what happened to me while I was in the city and those feelings kept getting stronger and stronger and now here we are in the middle of nowhere and we couldn’t be happier. The city is always a quick visit away for us, your heart will tell ya what to do:)

  15. Molly

    I absolutely love your writing, and I loved this particular piece. It’s so relatable; the mixed feelings of coming home when it feels like you may be leaving another “home”. Can’t believe how big those two babies of yours are getting! Such adorable faces and such heartwarming photos, as always!

  16. Jen Ro

    You’re so good! As someone who loves lives in NYC, I would have flipped out on the cab driver to call his dispatcher or I’ll call the cops. I always take down their cab #’s too. There are rules that they need to follow, and far too often they take advantage of people. They also have problems going to any borough outside of Manhattan. I’ve had to threaten a few of them to go Bronx Bound or no tip. I’ve even said I’d get cops involved. They know how to hustle after that and keep their mouths shut! Take it from a Bronx Girl: You got to be tough! :)

  17. Jessie

    Oh how I relate! I’m living in Chicago with a baby girl exactly Sampson’s age… and I have had the same feelings so many times. But then other days I’m in love with the city and the amazing opportunities it brings. (I also have family in Utah so know the draw of that place.) I do dream of eventually raising my kids somewhere with space- so they can be outdoors and explore and breathe fresh air. But, like you, trying to enjoy my current situation as much as possible.

  18. Danelle

    Your message hit “home” to me. :). After much contiplation & weighing out the woes & whoos of both destinations, home or home away from home, I chose home. Follow which makes your heart sing louder. I’m sure you have beautiful friends that would love to have you visit whenever you desired and in return visit you.

    To me, the idea of setting up a home base and travel to other homes away from home is the best of both worlds.

    Home sweet home.

    The best to you and yours!

  19. Mary

    Ah! Those pictures of your babies in the garden – so precious. I hope my future children will love being in the garden too.

    I’ve had some of those same feelings of restlessness in my city. My husband and I both live away from our families, and it can be really difficult being away from them. It can be tough always feeling your heart tugged in different directions, but I have a feeling looking at your little babes will help you feel at home wherever you are.

  20. Coming home from vacation is hard enough, especially when things do not go smoothly.

  21. Hayley

    taza have you ever tried paneras chocolate chip bagel? I hate to say it but I like it even better than einstein’s!

  22. Mila

    I always envy your adventure in NYC. I look at your life and think that is where I want to be. I want to be in an adventurous, big city. I guess what I don’t realize is that Utah is great too (which is where I’m from). It has it’s own adventures and perks. Everywhere you go, you’ll find things you love and things you hate. I bet, even if you moved to Utah, you would still miss NYC very much. I guess enjoy the best of both worlds.

    Xo. M.

  23. Julia

    Hi! I ran into you in Dean & Deluca last Thursday — I enjoyed meeting you and seeing your cute family. The whole time we were in NYC I kept thinking, ” I don’t think I could do this….it would be really hard to do anything with kids here….” BUT you sure do it with grace!

  24. Keep your head up Naomi! You are awesome. They way you handle things is so inspiring. Keep doing what you’re doing and Heavenly Father will bless you just as he has been doing. :)

  25. Like so many others who have commented on this post of yours-I feel the same way. I have been living in Honolulu for almost 5 years now–still cannot believe that1 My husband and I moved here a few months after we got married and are still here. We had our first baby here and he is now 2 and I am expecting our second in feb. We ask ourselves everyday, “why are we still here?” Honolulu, I hear, is much like New York. Crammed with people and full of tourists. The cost of living is unbearable and you are not paid for that compensation1 We have tried so many times to get out but something has just kept us sucked into this island life. We have adapted quite well, but frankly, I AM OVER IT. When I am feeling down like you I tell my husband and we plan a trip to Maui or another island-just to feel like we are getting away. It is not the same; sure, we come home to our life again and it usually feels all better. But we are about to have another family member soon and are having feelings like you far too often. It is tough! Good luck finding that moment again. We keep thinking about moving to where we can actually afford a house and maybe even be near family??!! We want so much for our children to grow up near their cousins and I sure miss my brothers and sisters. Life is tough. I wish you all the best. I know you will feel the love again-New York seems like an amazing city and you have yourself an adorable and loving family so hang in there!!!

  26. Stella

    Go camping once a month and get those babies outdoors. It’ll cure you ills.

  27. Lauren

    I love how open and honest this post was. You have a way of writing that flows so easily, almost like I’m reading a book, but at the same time also feels like I’m also reading an email from a friend. Love your posts and hope to run into you in real life one day!

  28. Emily

    I have been having some similar feelings lately. I have been literally telling myself “the grass is always greener” and trying to remind myself what makes my “grass so green”. I try not to hate on Utah because I don’t hate it. But, sometimes it just feels like I’ve been here for so long and I could just really use a change of scenery. It’s funny to hear you say the things you think would be nice to do with your kids (chickens, gardens) because they are great, you are right, and I’m doing them. But, sometimes I day dream about taking my kids out in the city, Giving them more culture and variety and…just exposure to more. It’s mostly just selfishly wanting a change of pace for myself. But then I walk out on my back porch, look at the mountains and realize it’s a good life. :) Miss you friend.

  29. Bummer about your bike and the stingy cab driver! :( But, I’m sure your love for NYC will be rekindled soon. Most importantly, home is where the heart is and I know you savor every moment with your gorgeous family, wherever you may make your home! xoxo

  30. Toni

    I have exactly the same feelings about London. I love it, I am always excited about coming back to its bustling energy and unique character. But working in this city every day can be tiring and draining and makes me dislike it a little every now and then. – After all I am a country girl, I grew up in a small town in the mountains of southern Germany. Like you I sometimes imagine my children growing up where I did and having the freedom and easy going lifestyle a small town gives you. But then I can never imagine leaving London because it is unique like no other place. A bitter-sweet love story. :)
    Toni x
    PS I love your blog and your sweet, sweet little family.

  31. My sister feels the same way when she leaves her old home (Toronto) and arrives in her new home (Manhattan). Her and her husband have 3 little boys and a 4th on the way and life isn’t always easy. She can completely relate to your posts but doesn’t even have enough minutes in the day to comment (so I comment on her behalf. :)). Or maybe she’s shy? We are both impressed with all that you and your family do in the city and how often you manage to get out and explore different parts of NYC!

  32. Beth

    Oh, this just happened to our little family, too. We were in Colorado & the midwest visiting family with backyards and mountains and fresh air and open skies and loving arms (and extra sets of hands) and good talks. I always get those happy belly flutters flying into NYC, but this time, my heart sank a little upon returning home – thinking of family so far, the limitations of city living, missing nature already. And, of course, we hit bad traffic coming home – all that vacation relaxation melting away. A shelf in our walk in storage closet collapsed while we were gone, so that was fun trying to clean up and fix with our toddler running around. And other fun readjustments after vacation.

    I’ve wondered where my love for the city has gone, so we’ve been trying to commit ourselves to visiting our favorite places, new places we’ve wanted to explore, eating our favorite city treats and it’s been working. The amazing weather has certainly helped.

    I’m not sure if New York is our forever home as we’re feeling pulled to more quiet, simple places, but for now we’re gonna soak up all the good sweet things about this crazy place and try to not let the bad aspects weigh us down.

  33. My heart broke for you while reading the part about the cab driver – plus you had 2 KIDS in the backseat!! What a meanie-bikini that guy was! Oh and the stolen bike w the babyseat on it – where is the love NYC?? I just visited your city this past weekend and while it was exhilarating, I honestly can’t imagine raising children in the hustle and bustle of it all and having to rely on the cabs and the subway (both waaaay too hectic for this southern gal!) for my transportation.
    However, I’m quite sure your love for your area will peak again once you start posting more of your pics where you seem to find beauty in every nook and cranny of that crazy city! This feeling too shall pass, and hopefully you’ll get an even bigger and better bicycle soon.

  34. jcicero

    not to be too much but i always feel so inspired just seeing you and your husband and all you do with your little ones… your city life, your trips, gives me ideas on ways to do the parenting thing in less suburban/ convenient environments. i was living in Utah fulfilling the “dream” i thought i was suppose to and i was just not feeling the settling down, suburban life at the moment.. my husbands from Spain ad we lived there pre kids and i just assumed those days were over. but after seeing your posts on your Italy trip i thought “hey, i can do this too with the right mentality.” and so i felt more open and excited to travel with my two little ones. 3 and 11 months, girl and boy also. and then after i saw all your city life posts in NY i felt inspired as well and got out of the rut i was feeling living in a neighborhood and we moved to Spain for a year to travel and just try the city life of Spain with kids… it has been a fun little adventure, and my kids have loved it… thanks for all you share, it must be hard to put yourself out there but i appreciate the mom inspiration…

  35. Shay

    Your family is adorable! Maybe you could live outside of the city and have your husband commute into Manhattan. Then you would still be close to Manhattan but also have your chickens :)

  36. Phillipa

    Please listen to your heart – is New York where you want to bring up your family? I’m sorry to butt in like this but it kind of feels like you are aching in this city right now. It’s an amazing city that’s for sure but it’s not as family friendly as some other places out there, including some you already know – that’s OK! Things change, priorities change – New York won’t change – it will still be there! I might be totally wrong but it kind of feels like you are aching for a move – I moved with our baby girl (now 21months) because we chose the wrong place to settle – we thought it was the right place for so many reasons but we were wrong, it wasn’t – it took a long time to realise it, even though it was kinda obvious in hindsight – but its hard to know in the moment when money/work etc play such a big part on where you live. We moved. I was happier from the first moment. If you find yourself having to remind yourself to count your blessings, if you find yourself having to talk yourself through things, if you find yourself unduly stressed by the lifestyle/world around you it probably isn’t working – its hard being a mama, you need as many things that keep you sane and ticking over as possible! When things are right they just ARE, you just know. I really love NY too but I’m not sure its where I’d want to be right now with toddlers and that’s ok. You are a lovely mama with a lovely family – listen to your heart xx

  37. Michelle

    My family and I sing Les Mis when we’re cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner. I’m pretty sure if we met in real life, we’d be friends. Love your blog!

  38. joyce

    a little sunshine and handpicked garden veggies is the best medicine. these veggie watercolor prints capture that love too. http://www.etsy.com/shop/gimbleetgyre
    more garden inspiration.