Saturday, October 4, 2014

On my way

L. isn't super into watching TV. A good thing, I know, but sometimes it would be nice if he sat still for a few minutes. He has shown a growing interest in Barney*, but mostly for the songs. When there's no singing, he's back to his bucket list item of stepping on the cat.

Thursday morning I got a call from the daycare - L. has a fever, come pick him up. Suddenly, I found myself with a surprise afternoon with my little lion. What to do? First I thought we would go to the post office, but one major meltdown as I opened the door and I knew it wasn't in the cards. Enter: YouTube.

L. has never shown any interest in Sesame Street, but I recently started downloading apps to entertain him on our upcoming flight to London, and one of them is an Elmo singing thing. And he loves it.

So, Thursday afternoon and I'm browsing Sesame Street's YouTube channel, playing various Elmo songs for him. And I played this for him: Janelle Monae, "Power of Yet":


Listen, the boy is obsessed. There are about 420,000 views of this video, and 20,000 are us. He's completely transfixed on it, and at the end will stand up and clap. What is it? Yes, Elmo is there, but he also likes seeing all the puppets at the end. Mostly, I think he likes the song and Janelle Monae's cool moves (and tux, maybe).

Personally, I prefer this one: Feist "1, 2, 3, 4":


L. likes this one too, but there's no standing ovations at the end.

*I thought watching Barney over and over again would be more awful. Maybe I'm immune, but I don't really think it's that awful. However, Baby Bop and B.J. make me feel punchy, and I find myself weirdly fascinated by the kids on the show, and wondering where they are now.

Monday, September 15, 2014

street meat

By my count there are 106 days left in 2014, and that's 106 days to cover about 64 posts as promised in my goals for the year. So, with a little side-eye to myself, let's be optimistic about that.

I've been thinking for awhile that I should write a post about our neighborhood in Brooklyn, and our favorite spots. Surely that day will come sometime, but not today. Today is just a glimpse.

We live in Sunset Park, in Brooklyn, which may or may not be up and coming, gentrifying, hipster-fying, or yuppify-ing, depending on who you ask. Well, I have many thoughts on it but now is not the time. What you should know in the immediate is that Sunset Park is a very Hispanic (largely Mexican and Dominican) and also very Chinese, with a huge Chinatown. Hey, you might think, that's quite a mix. It is. Some argue that this is the neighborhood to visit when you went the best tacos in the city, or the best dumplings.

Anyway, on Sunday the neighborhood B.I.D. organized a massive street fair along 5th Ave, the neighborhood's main retail stretch. I once read that there's a street fair every weekend somewhere in NYC, and I'd believe it. And if you've ever stumbled on more than one you might have noticed that they are always the same. The same gyros, the same plastic fruit magnets, the same everything. But the one in our neighborhood is slightly different, because the local business have a much larger presence, so the neighborhood is actually represented in the street fair. Fancy that.

Here, I present to you, a glimpse at Sunset Park's 5th Avenue Street Fair, September 14, 2014.




from this stand we bought an overpriced "Viva Mexico!" pinwheel for L.


Somehow we missed the pony rides though. Shame.

Friday, September 12, 2014

What a week

Yes, what a week. Thank Jeeeeebus it's Friday. Let me fill you in quickly.

Well, one nice thing. Last Saturday my best friend since the age of 3 had a baby, so yay! Anyway, the rest of the week sucked.

Sunday, L. woke up with a fever of 103.5. That's high, and while he was ok mostly, he was very clingy and needed his mama, poor thing. And that night he had to sleep in our bed, which meant he slept but us not so much.

Monday, still feverish so home from daycare, and I was home from work. He was even more clingy, wasn't able to nap for more than 20 minutes at a time, and increasingly grumpy, so it was a hard day. On top of that, I had some work things that needed immediate attention. I'm proud to say I figured out how to make an animated GIF in Photoshop, one handed while holding a napping sicko.


Tuesday, no fever but even more clingy and grumpy. Major meltdowns. A visit to the doctor: nothing wrong. Tuesday night, almost no sleep. Screaming meltdowns at all hours.

Wednesday, grumpiness reaches all time high. Climax of grump.

Thursday, things mildly better. As I am heading home from work, walk down stairs to subway, step on shard of glass that goes through the sole of my show and punctures my foot. Blood ensues. I hobble back up the stairs into a drug store and buy a first aid kit and sit on the pedestrian plaza applying antibacterial gunk to my foot and imagine what life will be like when this foot needs to be amputated. Get L. home from daycare to discover a rash all over his neck, cheeks, back. Panicked mom calls the doctor, but it's nothing to worry about - common after fevers. But still, FML.

Friday, well things are better. Tonight he was back to his sweet, funny self. Thank you Jebus.

Oh, and where the hell did August go? Where was I? I don't even know. Maybe I took a summer vacay. Here's a breakdown.

Early in August we spent a weekend in Bethlehem, PA and attended Musikfest, a 10 day music festival. Well, we just attended two days. I grew up going to Musikfest, and spent many a boozey, beery eve with my BFF there in my 20s. I saw some pretty stellar acts over the years - Ray Charles, Little Richard, Tom Jones, the Village People, HALL & OATES.

'Festing
'Festing with a tot is a different story. We saw about ten minutes of a Rolling Stones cover band before we had to abort mission. But we ate gyros, chipwiches, fried food.

What else? Kitten drama. One morning while heading to drop L. at daycare, I noticed two pretty (adult) cats sitting on the sidewalk. This isn't common in my neighborhood - you see feral cats all the time, but these two looked cared for. L. loves cats, so we stopped and admired them, and then I noticed they were sitting next to a box in the garbage (it was garbage day). I looked in the box - two kittens.


Someone had put them in the garbage, and I assume the two adult cats were their parents. Well, I did what any catlady would do: I took them. I brought them up to the apartment. Then I did what probably most catladies would not do: I took a bag of breastmilk out of the freezer and fed it to them via dropper.

in my work clothes

I know you can get cat formula, but this was about 7 am and I don't keep kitten formula on hand. I didn't know how long they had been in the box or when they had last eaten, so I wasnted to get something in them.

Anyhou, I then spent the morning trying to find a place that would take them, but was told they were too young for shelters because there aren't enough fosters. So, I bought some formula, some cat baby bottles and tried to figure out what I was going to do. Thank Jebus for social media, because friends started sharing the story and I was able to find a home for one of them that night. The other one, who was weaker, died the next day. I think they were just too young to be taken from their mom. Poor baby.

What else. Well, we have completely re-arranged our apartment, and now have a dining table and dining area. In the olden days of this blog I would have blogged that shit immediately, but now... well, I'd have to clean my apartment so it's difficult. But here's a sneak peek?


No chairs yet though.

In other news, L. continues to grow and walk, run, & climb. He knows his animal sounds, and does a mean fake sneeze - achoo! You'll notice no photos: I am having that internet age-old moral dilemma of sharing his photo online. I'm unsure of my decision. But I do share his gorgeous mug on Instagram and Facebook - both locked up. So, I don't know where I stand yet.

H. and I have managed, finally, to take up running again. We stopped when I was about 10 weeks pregnant and was advised not to by my doctor. Now, almost two years later it's good to pick it up again, though much harder to get in the time, not to mention having to go by myself while H. stays with the babe.

OK, long rambling post, all to say it's September, guuuurl.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Souvenirs

I didn't really shop much on this trip to Toronto. I often go and load up on CanLit, or shop at Canadian stores like Jacob (aw, sad), but not this time. However I did pick up a couple small souvenirs in Kensington Market.

It had been a long time since I visited Kensington.

Photos by Ronny Jaques, via the Kensington Market Historical Society

Well, maybe not that long. But I can tell you the exact date. August 14, 2003. I remember because it was the day of the 2003 blackout, and my friend and I went to Kensington, then tried to have lunch at the Red Room, but were thwarted by the blackout. We then walked all the way back to my parents' house in Cabbagetown, past all the streetcars stalled in the tracks, and the random people directing traffic. We also popped into the Hydro Building (now Ontario Power Building, apparently) to use the washrooms, and it/they were open though the place was completely dark.


Incidentally, I can also remember my first trip to Kensington Market. I was in grade 9 and I went with my friend Luisa to buy some cool duds like flannel shirts and army surplus jackets. I'll even wager that I was wearing a flannel shirt and jean cutoffs. Just a guess.

Anyhou, I digress. My point is that had been a long time, and yeah it has changed a lot. I seem to remember Augusta Street being kind of uninteresting. That's changed.

We went into Kid Icarus, and I'm sure everyone in Toronto is like ' yeah, we know that place is awesome', but I didn't know. I didn't! And it is. If my child hadn't been on his way to a heat-induced temper tantrum, I would have spent a lot longer in there, and a lot more money. There's always next time.

I picked up these few little souvenirs there, though:


I love them all. H. also got something, but he's already taken it to his office to keep at his desk so it's not included. Anyway, how cute are these? Canada buttons, which I have no intention of sharing, a Guelph magnet for memories of the big G, and a little Toronto notepad. In all honesty, I never even use notepads, but I will bring this to my (new!*) office on Monday and keep it on my desk.

Anyway, let's digress again, where were you during the great blackout? Don't you kind of wish it would happen again?

* Yes, a subtle mention that I am starting an exciting new job next week. Yay, me!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Progress/Non-progress

Oh, hey.

It's July 10. More than halfway through the year. Maybe I should visit my 2014 goals. And, spoiler alert, it ain't going well.

Before I get to that, we recently had a chance to spend an extra long weekend in the hometown.

Hey good lookin'.
H. had been complaining that we only go to Toronto when it's cold. True. When we do go in the summer, it's usually just a pit stop on the way to the cottage. So, we flew up and got to spend some time with my family, visiting Riverdale Farm, the Toronto Islands, browsing used bookstores on College Street, walking through Kensington Market, playing Taboo with my wildly smart friend, and even got to attend my nephew's 3rd birthday party! It was pretty pretty great.

L. especially had a nice time in the T-Dot. I'd say his favorite parts were: hugging my parents' very patient cat, morning walks in Riverdale Park to look at the dogs and the Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens which seemed to bring him endless joy. And all the delicious, fresh local strawberries. 

Also while in the 416 my father lectured me on my poor blog grammar and my mom complained that I never post on my blog. Ouch. Well, thanks for reading, Mom and Dad!

OK, now my mid-year progress/non-progress. Here are my goals for the year.

1. Get a driver's license. 
Nope. No progress. HOWEVER, I do have an appointment at the DMV tomorrow to get a new learner's permit, because mine expired like 2 years ago. So, that's kind of progress?

2. Learn Photoshop. 
Nope. 

3. Write more bloggy posts. 
Well, I have posted more than this time last year. And my goal of 100 this year is not impossible, although I did want to hit 50 by July 1, and only got to 31. I can do it, I think.

4.  Go a month without sugar. 
Hahaha! I've dabbled in sugarless living, let's say. I went about ten days. And then I went to Toronto and basically lived on an all-cake diet. I keep making excuses, like 'this event is coming up and there will be cake', or 'we are going on vacation and I have to enjoy'. But no more! Maybe the time has come? But maybe not, because we really are going to an event in a few weeks and I will have to eat ice cream.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

One

Somehow, my baby turned one yesterday.


We celebrated with family, and strawberry cake (a hit!).

I can't believe this little lion is already one.

After he was born, when H. and I were sitting in our hospital room marveling at this little fellow, H. pulled out his phone and played this song. Obviously, I felt all the feels and possibly sobbed happily. At this point, I'm sure it's a cliche for the parents of a little boy to be warmed by this song, but there you are.


Happy Birthday, my beautiful boy.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Savannah Shopping

I scored a whole bunch of treasures when we were in Savannah. Maybe too many treasures. But there are so many great shops in Savannah that I couldn't resist.

First treasure: I found another Rosenthal vase in an antique mall! As you may recall, I inherited two and bought another on eBay a couple years ago. I always keep an eye out for them, but I never find them, so I was stoked to find one!


A little research shows that this is a design by Bjorn Wiinblad. Here's a close up of the design:


I found the vase on our first afternoon in town at the Wright Square Antique Market. That's where we also found these Junior Deluxe Editions of classic children's books. I love the designs and now want to buy dozens of them for an adorable library for L.


I've found a bunch on Etsy and eBay now, so library forthcoming.

On Saturday we drove out to Keller's Flea Market.


I didn't really find much there, but it's fun to wander around and look at junk. H. bought a couple records, and I bought this weird cat plate.


Junk!


Back in town we went to ShopSCAD, which sells art by students, alumni and faculty of the Savannah College of Art and Design.


If you visit Savannah, I highly recommend you pop in here. They had lots of great and beautiful things, including paintings and prints, ceramics, scarves, toys, etc.

That's where I bought this pretty little Irene McCollam vase.


Which means I'm now hoarding white vases.



Which is cool, I guess.

Somewhere we looked but didn't buy anything was The Paris Market, which has a huge assortment of pretty and nice smelling things. I wanted to go back there and buy things, but we didn't have time. So, nothing to show, but worth a visit.

We also drove to the Habersham Antique Market. Once again, I didn't buy anything, but not for lack of coveting. Everything I liked was kind of big, and my suitcase was kind of full, and H. totally antique-blocked me. But treasures abound!

With all the boutiques and antique stores, Savannah is a tchotchke-hoarder's dream.


Savannah!

Guys, I am moving to Savannah! I wish.

Have you been to Savannah? Did you know it's awesome? I kind of knew, but didn't totally know.

This one is for sale!

H., L. and I spent 4.5 days in Savannah recently. Just a short holiday/extra long weekend. And what a lovely, lovely place. I guess everyone knows it's beautiful, but what I didn't expect is just how nice it all is. The people are friendly, the shops and boutiques are enticing (too enticing!), the food is delicious. It doesn't feel small - it has the sophistication of a big city, but yet feels small at the same time. It's just a really, really nice place.


If you were the kind of person who, say, enjoys sitting on a patio all afternoon leisurely having a sip of wine, this would be your heaven. Unfortunately, if you are the kind of people who have a wee child and getting day-drunk isn't an option, you can only watch those patio-sitters with a little bit of envy.

We booked a little cottage in the Historic District via Airbnb, called Laura's Cottage. And it was totally perfect.

Laura's Cottage - our home away from home for a few days
As I mentioned earlier, Laura's Cottage is allegedly haunted. I didn't know this until after I booked it. Eeeps! I'm happy to report that I saw no ghosts or experienced anything very spooky. However, on our last evening at the cottage I read other people's reports of sightings and paranormal experiences and then I got a little freaked out. That night, in the middle of the night, L. woke up and was pointing at something in the corner, and I admit that I was kind of spooked. But L. is really into pointing and points at everything, so he could have been pointing at a light or a picture frame or a speck of dust or an otherworldly apparition. Could have been anything.


The people of Savannah seem to love babies. Walking L. around, people would smile at him and make comments about him, or stop and chat with him. He loves dogs, and points at all dogs he sees, and people would bring their dogs over so he could have a closer look or pet them. H. and I were taken aback at first - maybe New Yorkers just really don't like babies and people outside New York really do. But L. got a lot of attention from strangers. Then again, he is the cutest.

Ghost hunter

Eating and Doing:

Traveling with a baby, we mainly ate out only for lunch, and made breakfasts and dinners in our cottage. This also saves money! But here are some good spots for eats:

Soho South Cafe - this was actually my favorite meal in Savannah. Not only is the space bright and airy, but the food was really good.

Belford's - This restaurant is pretty touristy, but that didn't take away from it being good food. They also had a nice patio for eating and people-watching, a waitress who my small child was clearly in love with, and they were pretty nice after my small child made a big mess.

The Crab Shack (Tybee Island) - Again, this place is very touristy, but was a really nice place to sit outside. And it was perfect for entertaining L. who was happy to watch the many cats that roam around and the dogs that are allowed to sit on the patio. And if you like mountains of crab and shellfish: this is your place!



Mostly we walked around town and admired the homes and squares. We moseyed.


We drove out to Tybee Island and climbed the lighthouse.



We also visited Fort Pulaski while we were out that way.

We visited Bonaventure Cemetery.

We (I) did a lot of shopping and window shopping. Good stuff! But I'll save those details for a post of their own.

We did not, actually, tour any mansions or go to any museums. That's kind of weird, I know. We will do it next time!

All in all, a good time was had by all. On the way home I tried to convince H. that we should move there and open a small business! I was only half-joking.

(All these photos were taken with our phones, because I forgot to bring my real camera! Dang!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

11 months


How is it even possible that soon I will have a one year old? A boy after my own heart, he loves pizza, strawberries, bananas, pancakes. Must be fooled into eating a vegetable. A mini me, truly.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Travel Bug



By the time L is one (next month!), he will have been on 12 flights, to 5 states and 4 countries. By the time he’s 13 months old, it’ll be 14 flights. This fact blows me away, since I didn’t go on my first flight until I was 8 years old (from Newark airport to the Toronto Island airport – back in ’88!). 

I hope that we’re able to continue to show L the world, as traveling is one of life’s greatest experiences, and I want him to grow up with the same wanderlust that his parents have. 

L. looks down over London as we land.

At the end of next week, we’re off on a short trip to Savannah, GA. People keep asking us why we’re going there, and there’s really no reason. It is supposed to be beautiful. It’s warm. It’s interesting and historical. It’s new to us. It’s not too far away. The flight was on sale. Those are the reasons. 

We’ve rented a small 200-year old cottage in the historic district for our short stay. After booking it, I’ve discovered that it’s allegedly haunted, though I feel like Savannah is one of those places where everything is allegedly haunted. I’ll let you know if we spot any ghosts. Ghosts – if you’re reading – no need to drop by. 

Next month we’ll be celebrating L’s first birthday in Pennsylvania with my parents and H’s mom. It’s another long weekend trip on the schedule, and I’m looking forward to getting out of the city, sticking my toes in the grass and eating cake with family. Lots of cake and also ice cream.

We’ve also just booked a long weekend in Toronto in July. H feels like we’re only in Toronto when it’s cold, or on the way to the cottage, and he hasn’t really had much opportunity to explore Toronto. So, we’re going to spend 4 days introducing the husband and babe to the home town. I’m thinking we’ll go to the islands, since I haven’t been there since about 1995. Any other fun summer in Toronto suggestions?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day 1, Day 2, Day 1 (Again)...

One of my goals for the year is to go for a full month without sugar. That time is not now. But I am working on a dry-run.

I've always had a sweet tooth. I love cookies. I mean, I really love cookies. And I don't have any willpower. I wouldn't say I had any strange cravings when I was pregnant, I just wanted the things I always love more. So, I wanted more bagels, more burritos, more donuts, more cookies, more sweet treats.

Before I was tested for gestational diabetes, I asked my doctor if I could give myself gestational diabetes from eating too many cookies. It was a very real concern for me. Luckily, I passed my gestational diabetes test, and then I really embraced sugar full-on for the rest of my pregnancy. And pretty much every day since then.


So, now I am right in a full-on sugar addiction, and am trying to regain control. Not for the sake of my weight, or my teeth, but for general health.

So, Monday I had no sugar, and Tuesday I had no sugar... until I went to work event and there were cookies and I ate two. So, yesterday I had no sugar, and today (so far) no sugar. I'm not aiming for 30 days at this point. We're off a a mini vacation later this month to Savannah - and I'll be damned if I don't enjoy all the spoils of vacation while there. And then, L's birthday is next month and I'll be damned again if I don't eat cake and ice cream. But I figure I can try and go for a week or two without sugar, and see if my insanely powerful cravings dissipate. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tetris

Here's my favorite Steve Wozniak fact:
His favorite video game is Tetris.[58] In the 1990s he submitted so many high scores for the game to Nintendo Power that they would no longer print his scores, so he started sending them in under the alphabetically reversed "Evets Kainzow".[59]
From Wikipedia.

What's yours?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Working, Leaning In and Publishing (random ranting ahead)



I realize this is a bit random – I rarely talk about work here (and this isn’t really about my job, anyway), and I rarely get into very deep thoughts on anything other than credenzas, but I just thought I'd use my little space to complain for a moment. Or to think out loud, rather. 

I recently read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. It’s not the kind of book I normally read for various reasons, but after about 3 glasses of wine one night I downloaded it. There’s a lot to be said about it – good and bad and indifferent and unsurprising. She makes some good points, but she’s also kind of preaching to the choir (why write this book for women, why not write this for your fellow corporate executives?). But that’s not exactly why I bring it up. It made me think a lot about how this applies to me, my job, my industry. 

Random photo added for visual stimuli
 
I’ve mentioned before that I work in publishing – an industry famously dominated by women (76%, according to Publisher’s Weekly), however still lead largely by men. According to PW’s most recent salary survey, male respondents reported an average salary of $85k, while female respondents reported an average of $56k. This is largely because of the prevalence of men in senior management roles, and the average male respondent having been in the industry for 19 years, compared to 9 years for female respondents. 

One of the (many, many) concerns I have about staying in this industry is that I look around and don’t see many women past about age 40. Where do they go? According the PW survey, 30% of female respondents were under 30 and the average age of female respondents was 35 (compared to 45 for men), and 38% of women respondents said they thought they would change companies or careers within 2 years’ time. 

There are about a thousand reasons for a woman of a certain age (ahem) to leave the publishing industry. Bad pay? Check. An industry in flux? Check. Too few women in leadership positions, or too few promotions for women? Maybe. Bad/terrible family leave benefits? I’m going to say check. (yeah, I’m going to whine about the lack of maternity leave in this country again).

In her book, Sandberg writes:


“Forty percent of employed mothers lack sick days and vacation leave, and about 50 percent of employed mothers are unable to take time off to care for a sick child. Only about half of women receive any pay during maternity leave. These policies can have severe consequences; families with no access to paid family leave often go into debt and can fall into poverty… Too many standards remain inflexible and unfair, often penalizing women with children. Too many talented women try their hardest to reach the top and bump up against systemic barriers. So many others pull back because they do not think they have a choice. All this brings me back to Leymah Gbowee’s insistence that we need more women in power. When leadership insists that these policies change, they will.” (pgs. 211-212)

I’ve often wondered about the publishing industry: there are so many women in it – a majority of employees - but why don’t more publishers provide better policies for women, particularly women with families? Why isn’t that 76% of the industry better served? I can only think of one or two publishers that offer a maternity/family leave policy that is much better than the bare minimum of what is legally required (and this is America, so the “bare minimum of what is legally required” is basically little more than nothing whatsoever). Publishing has notoriously terrible pay, and try to mix that with miserable/no paid maternity leave – it’s actually an unfriendly industry for women with children to progress in. It’s hard to make it work in this city, in this industry, with a kid (or more than one! Yikes!) What is the point of staying in a low-paying career when faced with the too-soon return to work after having a baby? The rewards are too few. And what effect does that have on the potential for more women to become senior management in this industry?

nothing to do with anything
 
I won’t share what company I work for, and I have nothing negative to say about my company. It has a very standard policy on family leave*, and I have been given some flexibility in my return to work, for which I’ve been grateful for. And, in fact, there are a lot of women in leadership and senior management roles at my company – including our ceo. However, it should also be noted that those women are almost exclusively in the UK, which of course does have paid maternity leave.

And this is ‘Murica, and publishers and the publishing industry are just one of many that don’t offer paid parental leave for any length of time that would benefit working mothers. I personally feel that the lack of paid maternity leave, and especially that lack of time a mother is given with a new baby to develop, recover and adjust, forces women out of the workforce. How many women would remain in the workforce – to be promoted and take leadership roles - if they were given up to 52 weeks of leave? I don’t know. I suspect it would be significantly more.

Sandberg writes that “The more women attain positions of power, the less pressure there will be to conform, and the more they will do for other women. Research already suggests that companies with more women in leadership roles have better work-life policies, smaller gender gaps in executive compensation, and more women in midlevel management.” (pg 214) Interesting.

I know: I have chosen this industry, I have even chosen to live in this country, and I chose to have a family and keep working. I know, I know. But I still have to wonder why publishing is so heavily dominated by, and yet seemingly so unsupportive of women.

* In case you’re curious, I received 12 weeks off thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which protects the job of an employee for up to 12 weeks (unpaid) for the birth of a child (if the employer has more than 50 employees). I was paid for 6 weeks, partially, due to New York State’s “short-term disability” insurance, and my employer topped up that partial pay so that I received my full pay for 6 weeks. I also used some vacation time (paid), so that in all I took about 14 weeks off. So, in fact, I was actually incredibly fortunate compared to many (most?) American working moms.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Me likey

Ever since I came into possession of some bisque vases a few years back, I've added bisque ceramics to my regular searches. I'm not simply looking at bisque vases anymore, but a variety of ceramic objets. Here are a few I've been ogling lately.

Vintage Porcelain White Owl Vase - Wolf Karnagel for Rosenthal Studio Linie from 1001vintage
Ball-shaped mid-century Eschenbach vase from Designclassics24
Bisque Eschenbach from wohnraumformer
Then I found these ladies. Oh la la! Or, whatever the German version of "oh la la" is.

G. Schliepstein Rosenthal Swimmer Nude Porcelain Figurine Art Deco 1936 from StevieSputnik
Antique Rare German Bisque Nude Bathing Beauty Figurine 4710 1920s from Swansdowne

Now, if I only had all the monies. And all the shelves. And a professional do come and dust all my tchotchkes.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

10 Months

This little lion recently turned 10 months old. He crawls, he pulls himself up. He grabs, so, soooo much. He calls for his mama. He claps and waves!


Friday, April 18, 2014

More Roar

When we decided on L's name, I told H. that he would forever be given things lion things. It's hardly the worst animal in the world to be associated with - who doesn't appreciate a large bearded kitty?

But who knew that I would be the #1 culprit at buying those lion things? I can't resist sometimes. So, here's a collection of lion paraphernalia that I've favorited recently (or flat-out bought already - though I haven't justified the $100 pillow yet).

Clockwise: Lion shirt from Mini Boden (no longer available), personalized little lion print from LeoLittleLion on Etsy, Robeez Curious Lion soft-soled shoes, hand knitted lion toy from Karenhandmade on Etsy, gold lion baseball tee from IndieNook on Etsy, Jonathan Adler Needlepoint pillow
Oh, and I can't forget one of the most important lion-themed items in any boy's (or girl's) collection: the Snoop Lion shirt.

From OuttoPlayKids on Etsy

When L. was born and we told our doctor his name, my doctor asked if we named him that because we love cats so much. Well, I'm thrilled that my doctor recognizes the catlady in me, but no. Depending on who you ask, he's named after either McGarry or Tolstoy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Traveling to Iceland with a Baby

You know that thing where a blogging person has a baby and then they only write about their baby on their blog and become a MOMMY BLOGGER? (dun-dun dunnnnn) I am trying not to do that. At the same time, I want to share my experience, while also not try to portray myself as some kind of parenting expert just because I've been at it for almost 10 months. That said, I was looking for info when preparing for the trip, and found it a bit hard, so wanted to share my experience. So, if kids bore you (and I understand, I really, really do) - feel free to skip on to the next post in your reader. If you're interested in traveling with a babe in arms, read on. 

When we were doing our research for this trip, I did a lot of Googling about traveling to Iceland with a baby. Pickings were slim. There's one guy who answers just about every question about travel to Iceland on those travel message boards, and he seems really grumpy. I think he even said it was "irresponsible" for someone to travel to Iceland with a baby in winter. Jeebus. Nobody needs your judgement, buddy. I think that baby's parents can decide what they and their babe can handle, not some grumpy travel forum troll. Anyway, here are my own tips for traveling to Iceland with a baby. Let's hope the SEO is good on this one!


First off, L. is 9 months old. And he's not new to traveling. By the time he is one year old, he will have taken 12 flights (10 so far). So, he's kind of a pro. He's also a laid-back, easy-going baby. He's also the cutest. So, I know we kind of have it easy when traveling with him.

We traveled in late March, and it has been an unusually cold and snowy winter (here and there). More than the temperature, it was very windy there - and that wind was bitterly cold. For evening walks, L. wore his fleece bunting AND  his little fleece-lined puffy coat. During the day he was happily bundled in just his coat, a sweater and a warm stroller sleeping bag thingy (we have a Jj Cole Original Bundleme ).

Car Seats

Let me first say I know nothing about Icelandic law. But, from what I read online, babies must always be in car seats, in cars, taxis and on coaches/buses. American car seats are apparently not allowed. However, most coach companies (including the Fly Bus at Keflavik airport and the Grey Line bus tours) have car seats that you can use. And taxis do as well, though you may need to book ahead to reserve one.

You can book your Fly Bus ticket and car seat online before you go. We didn't do that, but still had no problem getting a car seat when we got to the airport, but they only had one available. It was an infant rear-facing seat, but it didn't actually fit into the bus seats.

Here's the odd thing about the car seats. We used 3 Icelandic car seats (which were all Britax car seats). None of them really fit properly, nobody helps you install them, and it didn't seem to matter if your baby was big enough (or too big) for the seat you were given. I'm pretty sure my American car seat would have been safer.

Facing forward, it's cool.
A little research tells me that US car seats aren't used in European cars because the seat belts over there don't lock. You can buy a Metal Seat Belt Locking Clip for just a few dollars that will lock the seat belts, but I don't know if this will make your own car seat ok in Iceland. I'd be willing to risk the heavy hand of the law for it though, because at least your child would fit into the car seat.

Sight-seeing

We did a lot of walking around Reykjavik, and mostly used our stroller. For the record, we have a Baby Jogger City Mini , which is lightweight and folds up easily, so it's great for traveling. Some people opt to buy an umbrella stroller, but I don't need to buy another stroller when I have one that I like.

We brought our stroller just about everywhere, including going up, up, up Hallgrímskirkja church. There is an elevator up, but then there are quite a few stairs, so the stroller could only get up to a certain point - not all the way up. We just took turns going to the top.


As I mentioned the other day, we also did the 6-hour Grey Line Afternoon Golden Circle Tour. We booked a car seat ahead of our tour, and picked it up before getting on the bus. I booked the shorter afternoon tour, because I thought it would be easier with the baby. However, there is no less travel/bus time on this tour, it's just shorter stops at each of the sights. I didn't feel rushed, but if you're wondering which of the two might be better for a kid or baby, that's the difference between the two.

While we were able to stow the stroller in the luggage compartment on the bus, we only used our carrier for each of the stops. It was unusually snowy and icy when we visited, and some sights - like the Gullfoss Waterfall - have a lot of stairs. When you get to the bottom of the stairs, only a low rope separates you from certain death. I didn't go near it, because of the ice - and if you're traveling with a more mobile kidlet, be very careful.



The cafeteria at Gullfoss has changing facilities, but seemingly no high chairs.

In Reykjavik, we stopped by the little pond Tjörnin where they feed the ducks, thinking L. would enjoy it. However - being geniuses - we forgot to bring bread. Whoops. However, L. still enjoyed looking at the ducks and geese.



Eatin'

L. is pretty good in restaurants, but we still aimed to eat at places that seemed child-friendly. We also ate earlier than the dinner-rush. Everywhere we ate was accommodating to us, and our stroller, and as I recall, all had high chairs available.



One place that deserves special mention is the Laundromat Cafe. Leave your strollers with the others out front, but this cafe had nice breakfast, and has an AWESOME play room in the basement for kiddies. L. was too young to appreciate it, but it was a great playroom. They also had a sign that I really appreciated that said something along the lines of "go ahead and breastfeed, we likes babies and boobs". Sometimes it's nice to know you're in a safe place when you're breastfeeding.

Sleeping

I mentioned in my last post that we stayed at the Hotel Odinsve, which was great for us. We were on the ground floor (room 11, holla!), and had lots of space to stretch out and dump our junk. And lots of space for L. to practice his crawling.

I'm not really qualified to advise on babies and time zone adjustments. It all depends on your babe. We took a short overnight flight, where L. slept most of the way. He also slept on the 50-minute bus ride from the airport to the hotel, and then snoozed in the stroller while we explored Reykjavik in the morning. Usually he goes to bed at 7pm, and obviously he stayed up much later on this trip, and we didn't really try to stop that since it worked in our favor when the morning came round.

(Re-entry for this little space oddity hasn't been so easy though, as he has gotten so used to sleeping in bed with us that we're having to re-sleep train him and get him acclimated to crib-life again).

And there you go. Just a few tips I would have liked to have known about before we went! I hope it's useful to you!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...