Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Playground Style: Shoes for the Sprinklers

Last week was hot.

No, seriously, like really hot.  

And in New York, where the asphalt can absorb heat and actually make the temperature rise after sundown, that is some major league discomfort.

However!  We do have playgrounds equipped with sprinklers.  Lots of them.  And you cannot keep your child out of them.

Reese generally likes to enter the fray fully clothed and emerge screaming "All wet, all wet!!"

I've taken to traveling with a towel, a change of clothes and her jelly sandals at all times.

As a side note...I have a little confession.  I love jellies. You know the little kid ones with the cage front and the ankle strap?  LOVE.  I had two pairs when I was really little (one glitter, one rainbow colored) and probably cried when my mother told me I outgrew them.  When jellies came back in a big way in the late 90's at the Gap, I jumped in hard core.  I'm still waiting for them to come back around, and I fear I will not be able to resist their siren song even though I'm way too old.  But I don't even care.  That's how much I love them.

So, one day I realized that while she was perfectly kitted out for the water, I was not.  I'm pretty much always going to have to get in there to retrieve a lost pail or dropped snack trap, and that means my shoes are going to get wet.  While flip flops are ok once in a while, I was looking for something a little more interesting and a lot more stylish.

All Wet!

1.  River Island Buckle T-Bar Jelly Sandal - I have a pair of regular sandals in this same t-bar style and I wore them to death a few summers ago.  Since the style is proven, I thought a waterproof version could work well on the playground with shorts and skirts.  Plus, I'm a sucker for hot pink.

2.  J Crew Rainy Day Bow Ballet Flats - I have my doubts about these, but people online swear by them and they've been a J Crew staple for a couple of years now.  I love the style, I mean, how can you go wrong with a simple ballet flat? 

3.  Native Shoes Jeffersons - I see these everywhere in New York.  Kids, parents, and everyone in between.  They are the jelly version of Converses.  My only concern?  A polka dotted tan foot.

4.  KG Maddy Jelly Flat Sandal - I told you I'm a sucker for hot pink, right?  I love the simple style of these jellies and the ankle strap to keep it on when you are trying to wrangle a little one into a stroller.

5.  Salt Water Sandals by Hoy - Alright, alright.  I'll stop with the Salt Waters.  No, wait.  I won't.  The only non-rubber variety on my list, these are specifically designed to be able to get wet and deal with it. Sturdy, nerdy chic, amazing.

Moms out there...what is your footwear of choice around the sprinkler? 

Monday, June 25, 2012


Hi...that was a longer hiatus than I anticipated.

So, there was the insane heat here in NYC.

And there was the unexpected and untimely death of several kitchen appliances in our apartment.

There is the pile of greens appearing in our apartment every week thanks to our CSA.

And there was also the fact that I figured out how to hack into my parents' HBO GO account and watch Girls on my iPad.

All of these things do not leave a lot of time for blogging.  However!  I did do a guest post over at DC Celine last week on packing for a weekend away and am so impressed to have been in good company with her other guest posters.  As for my own blog, more to come this week.  Mostly because Newsroom does not appeal to me.

Off to order a microwave!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Parent Life: The Mommy Circuit

There are days as a new parent when you look at the child you have created and think to yourself (or maybe even say out loud) - "What am I going to do with you all day?"

The answer is the Mommy Circuit.  The merry-go round of classes and storytimes you haul your baby to just to get out of the house and see other adults, if only for 15 minutes.  It was also a great way to meet some other mothers and not have to try to insta-bond over your birth stories while the baby is in the swings.  When I lived in Pittsburgh and Reese was concentrating hard on not spitting up and learning how to roll over, there were only a few classes to go to.  They were all drop-in and most of them were FREE.

I'll allow any of you living in NY or DC to pick your jaws up off the floor.

However, we moved to New York and had to pick and choose which classes we would take.  While there are a million options, they are also super expensive and usually require you to commit to a "semester" to join.  Here are some tips for choosing classes to round out your circuit and hopefully have fun and make some friends along the way.

1.  Free is always available.  Even in New York, where my friends always claim that you spend $20 just walking out of your door, there are free activities for babies on offer.  Most public libraries have at least a bi-weekly storytime, as do some baby stores like Giggle or Sprout.  Check those out first, especially when your baby is tiny or going through schedule changes so you don't waste money on a class where you can only sing the "hello" song.

2.  Try before you buy.  A lot of classes will let you do a free or reduced price class before you have to sign up for a full semester.  It's great to see if you actually like the class (sometimes I feel like the instructors are like the super annoying people you hated in high school) and if your child actually likes it (far more important when they are toddler age. At the beginning it was a huge coup if I could get Reese to stay awake for 30 minutes.)  For some classes, like a swim class, they might let you observe a class before you sign up.

3.  Test the waters.  Speaking of swimming lessons, there are some special tips for this one.  First, check the temperature on the pool.  It is so much nicer to take a class where the water is warm. It sounds stupid, but it's not. We go to a facility with a special baby pool with a moveable floor and it is AWESOME.  Also, check the locker room for amenities like changing tables and Bumbo seats which make the whole process easier.

4.  Sick days.  Check the makeup policy.  Seriously.  Your kid will get sick at least once and you'll miss classes.  I try to always look for classes that have a liberal makeup policy, since it allows us to not feel like I'm wasting money when we are quarantined and we also get to meet some new people when we attend the makeup.

5. Overbooked Much?  Err on the side of fewer classes.  It's nice to have something to do each day, but only try to schedule must-dos a few days a week.  First of all, it's so expensive!  Second, you'll want free days to do playdates, run errands and just hang out.  Also, keep in mind those free storytimes...they help you fill in on days you need someone else to make eye contact.

6.  Timing is everything.  Babies are always changing.  Specifically, they are always changing their nap times.  You don't want to sign up for a 4 month class based around a nap schedule that is going to change.  Again, check the makeup policy or ask whether you can switch classes if necessary.  Also, if your baby seems to be in a nap transition, choose classes that have shorter sessions.

7.  Stay in the neighborhood.  When I moved to the city, I was all, "I can totally get to a class in Chelsea!"  No.  Wrong.  Bad.  Plan on a maximum transit time of about 20 minutes. If just getting to the class is a chore, think about how much it's going to suck on the way home with a cranky baby.  A LOT.

8.  F-U-N.  That is the point of these classes.  Remember that.  People will tell you about how it's important to for your child to learn pre-Mandarin skills or whatever, but really?  You are going to these classes because they are supposed to be fun for you and your baby.  If you are not enjoying it, don't do it.  Trust me, there will be plenty of time in law school (your genius child totally went to a great college and grad school because you are an amazing parent) to take Evidence or Civil Procedure and other classes that are important.  Baby music and tumbling is just supposed to be fun.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Father's Day Gift Guide

Father's Day is always a little squeezed out.

Between the May madness of Mother's Day, college graduations, and Memorial day and then the ramp up to summer in June, Father's Day can feel like an afterthought.

(nota bene - friends of ours from Brazil say that their Mother's Day is the same as ours, but Father's Day is in the fall...a better scenario? Discuss.)

I usually find myself scrambling for a gift, but actually having a child makes that difficult.  So, I've come up with a few good gifts that any dad (or at least the one in my house) would appreciate.

Gifts for Fathers

Gifts for Fathers by caphillbarbie featuring Brooks Brothers

1. Spacepak System from Flight 001 - Packing lightly when you have a child takes on a whole new meaning.  You really want to pare down your luggage to the bare essentials, but for some reason, my husband's clothes always take up SO MUCH SPACE.  Yeah, yeah, he's a lot bigger than me.  Men need undershirts, blah blah.  Well, Spacepak from Flight 001 manages to take the essentials and squeeze them into tiny packs to fit in any small suitcase.  Give him the gift of letting you take an extra pair of shoes!

2.  Smythson Mara Brown Card Case - There is so much about having a child that makes you feel like an adult and makes you want to upgrade everything around other aspects of your life.  Maybe it's just so you can look put together when you leave the house, because you're a hot mess inside it.  Well, my husband just got his first real job (it takes doctors A LONG TIME, remember that the next time you decide that you just don't need take the recommended dose of antibiotics.) With that job came business cards, and I think he would love a sophisticated case with which to dole them out.  Heck, any man can do better than the paper clip he's probably using. 

3.  Kenyon's Old Fashioned Buttermilk and Honey Pancake Mix - WARNING: This is a sentimental one.  Every weekend, my husband wakes up 10 minutes before Reese and starts making her pancakes for breakfast.  He'll experiment with add-ins, like dried blueberries and mashed bananas and she just loves them.  He once told me it's the most important thing he does all week.  (I promised not to tell his patients that)  So, I thought a special new pancake mix might be in order for both of them.

4.  Brooks Brothers Cotton Broadcloth Boxers - Everyone could use an underwear upgrade.  While I'll tell everyone to buy the woman in their life Hanky Pankys in bulk, I'm telling all the ladies: Brooks Brothers boxers.  Buy him a bunch.

Lastly and not pictured, a great gift is to send him out for drinks with his buddies, call the bar and send over a round of high end scotch or bourbon.  Trust me.

Also, since I'm notorious for coming up with great gift ideas and then forgetting them, I've started a Pinterest board dedicated to Gifts Galore!  Check it out, follow it, and never be stumped again.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Filling a Void: Summer Sandals

This past weekend I attended my 15 year high school reunion.

Hang on a sec, I'm just going to allow that to sink in.


I'm an Aricept prescription and one tsk-tsking of a new mother to put a hat on a baby away from a nursing home.

As occasions like this warrant, I spent Reese's entire nap trying on various outfits and searching for outfit inspiration.  My high school was basically like Gossip Girl: The Alt 90's Edition.  I needed something cool and casual, comfortable and easy to stand in (and drink), but tight enough to show that I had lost the baby weight.

And nothing seemed to fit the bill.  I have lots of casual everyday clothes and dressy work clothes collecting dust.  And everything I tried on, I kept thinking...this would look really great with a chunky brown sandal.

You know, the exact thing I DON'T have in my closet.

Time to hit the interwebs!

Summer Sandals

What I liked about most of these is the lower heel, which would make them perfect for walks during the week, but also dressy enough for a casual night out.

Meanwhile, I ended up putting the skirt and top I had been wearing when I started my closet rampage with a black low heeled sandal.  It was fine, but next time...I plan on being prepared.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Memorial Memories

In a rare feat of spontaneity, we decided to meet friends from DC halfway at a beach house in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Going in with low expectations (always lower your expectations to rock bottom when traveling with a baby), we ended up having a perfect weekend.

Reese got a chance to sport her new jellies.

Despite making peace with the sandbox at the playground, Reese was unsure about the beach.

We spent a lot of time looking at the water pensively.

Until she finally decided it was ok to put her feet down and have a good time.

In the afternoon, we visited the bay side of the island where we found a swing set.

Swings make everyone happy.

We cooked some amazing dinners, including fresh lobsters.  Reese met the lobsters (or "lobbers" as she says) before their untimely end.

We enjoyed many a cocktail on the roofdeck.  I even learned to appreciate a well made gin and tonic.

The first thing Reese asked for when she woke up the next morning was the lobbers.  That was an uncomfortable parenting moment.

All was quickly forgiven once we got to the beach.  Same swing, different outfit.

Then we repeated the pensive looks at the water from yesterday.  No feet on the sand though.

My only complaint about the weekend was there was not nearly enough ice cream consumed.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend...looking forward to summer!
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