Today was our family’s first day back from holiday and I spent the day wondering how I can make our normal routine more like our holiday routine. What is our vacation routine like? I guess at it’s best on vacation we slow down and we find space in each day that must always be there, but we just don’t see it in the fog of war. I’m not sure it’s possible but I’m trying to hold on to that awareness of space as long as I can. A friend of mine has a co-worker who takes a week of vacation every quarter without fail – no matter what project or crisis is brewing. I respect that discipline, that she makes space in every year like that.
One of the new books in heavy bedtime rotation around here is Water in the Park – I highly recommend it to anyone with kids who spends time at playgrounds in the park. Emily Jenkins has done a lovely job capturing the rhythms of the day in a park and both Alex and I find it soothing at night.
Update: I purchased the nap blanket, the wash clothes and the napkins. I have been really happy with the nap blankets and the wash clothes, the quality is really good. The napkins were a little bit of a disappointment. Sort of cheap looking and hard to wash. My star obsession got a nice boost this morning when, while looking for a washable/cotton nap blanket for school, I came across these starry goods at H&M Home. Washable because the blankets come home every week to prevent lice and other preschool vermin (!!). Duvet $25, Baby Blanket $25, Wash Clothes $6, Napkins $4
A Paris Cheat Sheet
We just came back from two weeks in Paris with our four year old son Alex (see my other post on all the design I saw). This the second time we’ve gone to Paris with Alex. It is a city we know pretty well from travel prior to having kids (and in fact, we’ve stayed in the apartment we rented before we had kids, so that helped us have courage to try it with Alex). There is something magical about experiencing a city through the eyes of your children. [click to continue…]
This snow shovel is probably the #1 most played with toy in our house (for the last two years — winter and summer). In the summer it’s all about the sandbox, in the winter it’s all about snow removal (outside our house, mostly). Alex’s favorite game is summarized in the photo above — I push him in the stroller while he “snow plows” — we get mostly adoring looks on the sides walks of the upper west side. And, I have to say, I feel pretty kick ass when I come to a slushy, impassable street crossing and I whip out the shovel and get down to business. NB: The shovel slides into the back of our MaClaren perfectly for storage or long block hauls.
From a parenting perspective, the snow was great for about 45 minutes – because that is exactly how long Alex wanted to be outside sledding. Two year olds, three year olds, four years olds — it’s tough to figure out how to keep them from bouncing off the walls when its cold outside. My friend Anika always has something new up her sleeve every time we head over there for a playdate. One day it was Cloud Dough, the next shaving cream party in the shower and she mentioned casually that they had a blast with glow in the dark paint and a black light!!!
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This children’s book (Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats) is in heavy rotation at bedtime (I think I’ve read it 8 times in three days!). It’s a really sweet story of a lonely old man who has four cats move on to his boat; It has a gentle cadence and we love the illustrations! It reminds me of The Sailor Dog, another boat favorite in our house (which happens to be by Margaret Wise Brown!).
I grew up in a rambling and slightly dilapidated farm house in Vermont. I remember summers as hot, languid and awesome. As a parent now myself, I can’t believe how my mother made every day of summer interesting; how she was always making something out of nothing. My mother is one of those insatiably curious people who has spent her whole life learning (I don’t think it is a coincidence that she has also been a teacher for most of those years). She always has a project and current passion; dying yarn with natural dyes; pressing flowers; drying flowers; making terrariums; gardening and preserving; painting furniture; feng shui-ing the house; making Ukrainian eggs; knitting; sewing; watching and making experimental videos (my mother has a background in television production). If there had been blogs in the 1980s my mother would have torn it up. So I’m so pleased that say that this summer my mother has agreed to guest post some of her favorite summer activities for kiddos. First up is one of her favorites: building (and most importantly — racing!) twig boats.
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Tim recently found In The Town All Year Round at the library and it’s been a major hit in our house. Alex (and I) love children’s books that are really densely illustrated. This book has no storyline, or at least not a written one. Which is a relief since as readers who are parents will know that reading and rereading favorite books to toddlers can get old. This way we can all just look at the illustrations together. The book follows the life of town through the seasons, which is very soothing and teaches a lot in a very gentle way.
We’re also huge fans of Richard Scary’s Busy Town, Where’s Waldo, and The Book of Cities. Any others to suggest in this “genre”?
We gnomed it up this year with an amazing costume from Etsy seller Lauren Bauer.
We headed to Storm King last weekend and Alex, while a little puzzled by the sculptures, had a great time running around and rolling in the dirt.
I’m filling this tool storage/part storage away for our next house. I’d love to use these in a pantry or a children’s room. It’s about $240 for the blue unit pictured. Which is expensive but I’ve spent more at Ikea on storage stuff.
Then, I love these red part bins ($3.50 each) for toy storage in Alex’s room. An 8.5 inch and a 4 inch bin will sit side by side in our Ikea shelves. I particularly like that you can add inserts to customize the storage — so a section for matchbox cards; a section for various play tools.
A dear friend recently had her first baby (a girl!) and we wanted to send her a care package of some of our favorite baby things.
1. These swaddling clothes saved us; they didn’t have this camo print three years ago, but, I’m tempted to buy us some right now. I’d use them as a scarf!
2. Egyptian Magic is the best diaper cream out there. As a bonus, its a great nipple cream, rash cream, facial cream.
3. These Kid O City and Country Blocks are a favorite around here and have been since Alex was a tiny baby. (Remember this shot of the living room?)
4. I used one of these LLBean Camo bags as a diaper bag and still carry one as my work tote (I got the medium size for my friend).
Rocket balloons are all the rage on the UWS playgrounds. Alex and I have spent hours chasing after them in the park. I highly recommend them! My cohort is firmly into round two (and sometimes three!) of babies and this has been my go-to gift this summer for the siblings of all the new babies. For those of you in the city, State News on the East side has them for $3 and West Side Kids has them too.