Last Days Of Summer: Sand & Serenity

beach day jones west endA few short days left until the unofficial end of summer. Where does the time go? A last minute city escape to seize the day…alone, with only the surf, sand, and sun.

Baby free. A rarity. Traveling with one bag filled only with my needs and one agenda– to have none.  A long walk through the dunes to my private paradise. No one in sight, just a long stretch of sand, a big sky and deep blue sea.

 

Advertisements

A Play Day: No Devices Required

What was supposed to be a beach day for us, is starting out as a rainy morning. So, Aria and I are exploring play time. I’m encouraging INDEPENDENT play, which results in Aria seeing how many animals she can pile up on the play Ikea couch or simply sitting on it herself for a laugh (better than pulling all my credit cards out of my wallet- her usual game of choice).play day

I was chatting with a mom the other day who sends her kids to a Waldorf School which does not allow any student to watch TV (ever) in order to foster imagination, creativity and play. Since the first words out of Aria’s mouth each morning are “Barney” (we’re working on “good morning”), I’m not so sure this will work for us.

It is an issue worth exploring though. In the age of youtube, ipads and kindles with endless apps for little ones and the programming that goes far beyond sesame street, are we are actually taking away from our kids by exposing them to so much?

Aria’s dad sent me this article a while back. It’s worth reading.

Clouds are breaking… time for the beach, or at very least River Tots.

Unexpectedly Star-struck At STK

I rarely get star-struck. In the old days I would interview celebs and notable folks and have never asked for a single autograph and rarely even snapped a pic. Living in NYC, I feel like I cross paths with celebs all the time- Maggie Gyllenhaal on the sidewalk in Soho (so nice), Hugh Jackman walking the river w/his fam  (just the other day), Prince Harry having cocktails at Soho House, and always Martha Stewart  who makes regular appearances at our playground (her grandkids live in the hood). If I do a double take, that’s a lot, but forget about approaching.

STK RooftopThat’s why my behavior at STK last night caught me completely off guard. I was standing at the elevator waiting to go back up to the roof and down the hall I spotted Rory McIlroy (yes, some of you reading this probably don’t even have a clue who he is. I know I didn’t before meeting Aria’s golf fanatic dad). Before I even caught myself, I was calling his name and walking over to him like we went way back. I was that girl– spotting a “celeb” (can I even call him that?!) and pestering him on his way into the bathroom (embarrassing!) He was ever so gracious, had a chat and asked if I was headed to the roof (which I was), and said he’d come up and take a picture.

I went back up to our table and sent Aria’s dad a quick tweet about my encounter. He, after all, was the real reason I got so excited about spotting the PGA golfer. Rory did in fact end up coming up to the roof. I spotted him over my second course,  but by then had regained my senses (and dignity) and decided to leave the poor guy alone.

Just a little NYC moment… now back to reality and following Aria back and forth to the bathroom a hundred times when she says she has to go potty (but doesn’t).

 

I Pick Up Moms On The Playground

Seriously, I do. Or at Starbucks, or at the park, or on the street corner.  Gone are the days of scoping out the hot guy across the room at Soho House, I’m now passing off my number to new moms. It’s just something about that baby carriage that can’t keep me away.

So, yes, I am naturally social, but as a new mom you need to be— for your sanity. My biggest piece of advice for those new to the club (including Carol who I chatted up this morning over my Blond Roast) is find other new moms who get what you’re going through (your single friends will not– believe me.)

My mom-group kinda saved me those first few months. I had gotten hooked in because a fellow mom blogger (Arielle) and I chatted each other up on the corner of 7th & Bleeker, exchanged info and planned a (play) date. She had already met a fab group of new moms through the neighborhood Parent’s Association (check those out too), and our weekly play dates, lunches, swim lessons, library runs, etc kept me sane.

So next time a mom on the playground catches your eye, go over and say hello. You never know where it could go.

5 Must-Have Baby Products For NYC Living

Ok, I love NYC but there are some drawbacks and limited space tops the list. All of a sudden our small 2 bedroom seemed WAY too small for the two of us and one little baby (incredibly these little beings need a LOT of stuff), so I had to get going and find the smartest and most space saving products out there.  Here are my picks:

Rock and play fisher priceFisher Price Rock N Play: This has to be one of my all time favorite products for baby’s first year. As a newborn Aria spent most of her time in it. It’s the perfect seat/lounge for baby during the day, and Aria even slept in it her first few weeks (it’s the perfect height to fit right next to your bed). Babies seem to LOVE it (I always recommend to it to my new mom friends) as they can get a gentle rock by moving a bit, and it fold super slim for easy storage when not in use (but seriously, you will use it all the time). If I were to buy it again, I would but this one because it also has the infant insert for their first few weeks.

infantino matInfantino Twist & Fold Activity Mat:   An activity mat and tummy time are essential those first few months and this one provides plenty for the little one’s senses and also easily folds down for storing. We got two mats when Aria was born (this simple Infantino and one with tons of bells and whistles including walls that could be inserted– we never used them). I would choose this compact mat one any day.

joovy high chairJoovey High chair: It’s stylish, durable, has a nice big tray and is super compact when stored. In reviews you’ll read about the gap that may exist between baby and tray hence making for a messier meal (and there was one when Aria first started using it but no big deal), but the super compact slim fold of this seat makes it totally worth a dropped spoonful here and there. Also, the leatherette seat is super easy to wipe down and stylish. No gingham or monkey prints in my living room.

graco door jumperGraco Door Jumper: At the county house we have this massive Fisher Price Farm jumperoo, but there was no way I was having one of these take over my already crowded city living room.  A great alternative is the door jumper, and the Graco is sturdy and safe with the bumper (I tried the a different brand and it was terrible– flimsy and no bounce!). You also can hang fun little toys on the Graco for added stimulation and, of course, it stores super easy!

baby bjornBaby Bjorn Active: Sometimes it’s just easier to strap baby on then have to maneuver a stroller around (subway, walk up or double doors anyone?) I had a couple different carriers but loved this one because it was provides a ton of back support (this will really matter as they get bigger). Plus, it lets baby face in or out. Bjorn also makes a custom cover for cold winter days.

City Eats: Le Pain Quotidien

Aria ana photo

So, the other day I met my fabulous friend Ana for lunch at one of my-go spots in the WV (top photo courtesy of her– she just has this way of capturing the best pics!)  My lunch and coffee dates have not ended now that baby is in tow, but they definitely require a bit more thinking.  Suddenly I gravitate towards the “baby friendly” spots that I know will have room for the stroller, high chairs, etc, but still have good food and  some degree of atmosphere.

On of my favorite lunch w/baby spots here in the West Village is Le Pain Quotidien on Hudson. The Belgium bakery chain has a wholesome menu of good salads (my fav is the quinoa salad), tartines, organic options  and breakfast items . They also have a kid’s menu with great healthy options including hummus, turkey, guacamole, etc. Aria is a fan.

le pain quotidienLe Pain quotidien bakery west village kidsle pain

The thing I like best about this spot is that it indeed is very baby friendly. There is a ramp to access (steps and double doors are my biggest stroller annoyance here in the city), plenty of room to park the stroller table side, high chairs, crayons and a usually cooperative & friendly staff (no noses in the air when mom friends and I truck in with 3 little ones — although I waitressed in my younger days so there is no way I am leaving behind a mess). As an added bonus they also have a very large & clean private bathroom with a changing table (suddenly, and somewhat sadly, now a very important detail in my dining life). Oh, and in summer they also have nice sidewalk tables outside. Très bon indeed.

I’d love to know your favorite spot in the city. Please share!

le pain quotidien west villagestaticmap

Why I’m Moving Slow Like Molasses

slow down and enjoy via flickrIt’s a wet rainy day here in NYC and I rushed through the rain to make it to Pure Yoga in time for my Vinyasa class. Scurrying up Amsterdam, I met the gaze a young girl just moseying down like she had no where to be, seemingly enjoying the grey skies and sound of drizzle on her umbrella. How odd, I thought to myself to see someone in NY who actually wasn’t in a hurry. Weird… but nice.

I, on the other hand arrived 3 minutes late to my class, but get the nod from the instructor, Kay Kay (my latest healthy crush) that it was still OK to come in join.  While moving into our first Warrior 1, she instructed us to “move like you’re moving through molasses”, meaning slowly and with intention, focusing and being precise to “pull the nourishment” out of the pose.

Perhaps it’s the lessons, and often the instant application to my life, that are the reason I love yoga. Immediately, I flashed back to the scene in the rain that started this post, and again was reminded that sometimes I need to just slow down.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t slowing down to get to class  (I don’t travel north of 14th for too much) but I did take the lesson to heart. Too often I am rushing– rushing though or rushing to, or if not actually moving, already thinking about the next thing I have to do or place I need to be. But, I know this is counter productive. Because in the calm, in the focus and in the present is  so often where the clarity, direction and real happiness come.

So today I will move slow. Slow like molasses.