Summer’s sweet end… holiday weekends in NYC… and beyond.

Despite it being well over 90 degrees (as I write this the sweat is pooling under me), I’m told summer is unofficially over. Aria begins pre-k tomorrow, and I’m trying to wrap my head around that, and the fact that the lazy days of summer are virtually behind us (not to mention that I’ll be a mother of 2 next month!).

We spent a good part of the Labor Day weekend in the city, taking full advantage of it being a bit emptier and the weather being absolutely beautiful– a perfect combination of warm sunshine and cool breezes. Aria had her dad chauffeuring her all over Manhattan via bike– with trips up and down the west side highway bike path (the Hudson River Park has so many amazing kid-friendly spots).

Saturday stops included the carousel just north of Chelsea Piers, and plenty of time at her go-to neighborhood playground. We even made a last minute run up to Turtle Cove Golf Range in the bronx, for some extra daddy-daughter time. It was so sweet to get to see them have so much time together– and both enjoy it so.

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Sunday the biking twosome even journeyed around the tip of southern Manhattan, catching the ferry across to Governor’s Island. They romped around, hitting the playgrounds, eating lunch in the shadows of the old fort, and capped it all off with ice cream cones and silly selfies. She was spoiled, and so was I since I got  a few hours of time to just to relax my increasingly limited pregnant-girl body.

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We all dined out, trying places we’ve long been meaning to– like The Clam on Hudson (scoring a sidewalk seat with no reservation). We didn’t do quite as well when we attempted to drop in at Grand Banks (a cool schooner turned oyster bar) at sunset. Apparently, there were enough Manhattanites left in the city to leave the line winding longer than our limit with a toddler in tow. It was a gorgeous time on Pier 25, the sun setting low casting a warm glow over all,  so no hard feelings. And obviously (pic below), Aria was sleeping off her fun hangerover, so perhaps it was best.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 2.34.58 PMOn Monday, we got the treat of being invited out to a friend’s beautiful golf club, where the guys got in a round, and a good girlfriend and I had the chance to catch up over a leisurely lunch, followed by a cart-ride along the back nine to join the boys. (She also took the beautiful shots of my girl below — thank you Ana Photo!)

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Of course Aria had a blast– taking every opportunity to run through the greens’ sprinklers when they popped on (ah- to be a kid) and, of course, soaking in her dad’s golf skills (we’re hoping it all rubs off and she’s the future of the LPGA).
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She also insisted on “driving” the cart on my lap, which resulted in a few near misses, and far too many pushes of my hands off the wheel. She was adamant she could do it herself.  Little Miss Know It All is not quite the master driver…yet. hamilton farm golf feast

We capped it all off with an amazing seafood feast overlooking the course, and watched the sun (and summer) fade away over the greens.

Adieu summer. You will be missed.

See more of our weekend pics (and my lounging belly!) on my Instagram page @vanessaalfanotv

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To Swim Or Not To Swim

SoScreen Shot 2015-04-10 at 11.41.09 AM, the YMCA has been our go-to for swim lessons the past couple years. Aria and I have done two sessions of Mommy & Me classes, and just this past March she began swim on her own in the Pike class. Well, kinda.

The reality of the situation was Aria had zero interest in getting in the water by herself. While the other 3 & 4 year old girls in her class had the time of their lives, bobbing on noodles and jumping off the side into the instructors arms, my little one wanted no part of any of it. The first class she refused to even go in the water, and only after some serious bribery agreed to go in– which in reality meant permanently attaching herself (in a death grip)  to the instructor. The whole class.

Class #2 was exactly the same, and whenScreen Shot 2015-04-10 at 11.40.46 AM we got to class #3 she complained and cried the whole day leading up to swim, and insisted she just wanted “sign out” (btw-I have no idea where she got that from, but good on her for figuring out that that was even an option). This presented a bit of a conundrum though, since I feel like there’s a time to push kids (knowing once she got over her fear, she’s be a full on fish), but  also a big difference between pushing/encouraging and forcing.

In the end Aria got her way (she quite often manages to), and we agreed to postpone lessons until the she feels a bit more positive about the whole situation. We really wanted her to learn to swim since we live on a lake for a good part of the summer, but ultimately I don’t think it works to force our kids in fearful situations. So, we’ll keep on with the water wings and letting her do her own thing for now. Some battles just aren’t worth the fight.

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 Incidentally, the McBurney YMCA is doing SWIM WEEK from April 6-10 and offering FREE SWIM LESSONS for members.

Check out more info here!

Lions & Tigers and… Snow Days.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 7.09.43 PMSo the snow has been in abundance as of late, and despite reminiscing longingly about our warm days in Florida, we’ve been managing to make the best of it.

In the city, I’ve definitely found plenty of go-to indoor activities for us.  Last week, we ventured out to the Museum of Natural History which was a wonder-filled day for Miss A. And, seeing it again through her eyes reminded me how amazing it all is, and perhaps a bit frightening (her first encounter with the bears lead to more than a few “yes, I’m sure they’re not alive!” reassurances).

Aside from all the lions, and tiger and bears, the museum also offers a weekly story hour.

discovery-room-overview_imagelargeOn Monday mornings, children 2 ½ to 5 years of age are invited to join for a story hour. Space is limited and tickets are distributed at the Discovery Room on a first come, first served basis for sessions at 10:15 and 11:15.

Summer In The City…

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Having fun at Pier 25 Sprinkler Playground

A full list of Hudson River Play areas here.

We also still love to do this at the river.

 

 

 

 

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Scooting all over town on Mini Micro Scooter

 

 

 

 

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Girlfriends and bubble parties in the courtyard.

And when it’s REALLY hot… these work too.

Baby It’s Cold Outside: Great NYC Classes & Programs For Toddlers (that won’t break the bank)

So, it’s FREEZING here in NYC again, and that means no braving it on the playground (although we’ve been known to do it when no other kids would dare!) Having the temps drop, means having to figure out indoor spots to entertain the littles. Here are a few of my neighborhood favorites (& ways to save when visiting).

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CMA– The Children’s Museum of Art offers classes and activities for children of all ages. Toddlers can paint, color, play in their bouncy ball gym and enjoy creative art exhibits.  Thursday afternoons are “pay as you wish” and a perfect opportunity to visit and check out the offerings.

Karma Kids Yoga: I LOVE my yoga and Karma Kids has the most offerings for the little ones. With two studios centrally located not far from Union Square, they offer kids yoga and dance classes, mommy & me and pre-natal classes, and fun events and themed classes  like Shark Yoga  and Pajama Glow-In-The-Dark Yoga.  They also have a great FREE story time twice a week and discounted community classes. 

Integral Yoga: Another great yoga class for kids. Instructor Lakshmi Pidel takes toddlers (and moms) through simple poses using singing, music and props to enliven the experience. Classes are 45 minutes and just under $20. You can also try it out for FREE (first timers only), and the studio is included in my favorite yogi money saving resource, the Yoga Passbook, so you can access two more classes using that.

NY Public Library: The NYPL offers a variety of toddler and baby classes and story times. The Hudson Park branch used to be our go-to (they had a great big play area with lots of toys), but they  are closed for renovations until spring (hmgh) so we’ve been heading over to Jefferson Market for story time which is a fun hour of stories and crafts. Libraries throughout the city are a great FREE resource and programs are offered throughout the year.

YMCA: I wish I had known all the great stuff the Y offers sooner! They have programs for kids– from swim to dance to pre-school prep classes, all at a very competitive price– in fact cheaper than anywhere else around the city. You can sign up for classes alone (most require commitment for a term), or join as a member and take advantage of the gym, pool and other amenities. My local Y is super nice with state of the art work out equipment, group fitness classes and (most importantly) Child Watch services that allow parents to drop off their little ones to be watched while they work out…for free.

City Find: Yoga At A Deep Discount

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So, Oma came in the other day and gave me a break from the little one.  Since no yoga studios seem to offer child care, the first thing I do when I am baby free is try and get in a class. My go-to is PURE, but seeing as I only had a limited time I decided to stay downtown (much to my chagrin PURE has yet to venture down to the best part of NY city).  I had also purchased the Yoga Pass Book (one of the best deals in the city) and still had a slew of studios to check out before it expires at the end of the year.

Aria and I had spent the morning on the playground in Washington Square Park (btw– Aria seems to have graduated from the little toddler playground there to the big kids one — but I love that there are two options),  so when my mom met us, I decided to head over to Yoga Vida, which is just a few blocks away.  Because the timing worked, I ended up going to a “50/50 Community Class” which is “pay as you wish” (awesome), and also has the studio contributing 50% of the class proceeds to charity (even more awesome). That being said, I ended up not even using the Yoga Pass Book pass and just paid my way.  (Side-note: bring your mat or a few extra dollars because they rent their mats– kinda weird but OK)

The class itself is taught by a teacher who is in or has just graduated from their teacher training, which I am all about having gone through it myself.  I found the flow good and the studio space is great (spacious with lots of light and great floors). The only drawback is they are right on Broadway, so you do hear the occasion truck horn or subway rumbling down. Once the music was on it was all good, and the whole thing was totally worthwhile.

So next time your looking for a low cost yoga session and a way to give back, check out Yoga Vida. They have two locations downtown (one on University and one on Broadway), and offer an array of classes (community classes typically are at 2pm). For more info head to www.yogavida.com. OM on!

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