Friday, April 17, 2015

From the rooftops

I didn't take any of these photos myself, H. did. But they are so nice that I thought I'd share (anything to get to 100 bloggy whispers in 2015, right?)

This one if from last week, at a park nearby (Owl's Head Park in Brooklyn).

These ones were taken earlier this evening from our roof. I don't like to go up there - I'm afraid of heights. But H. takes everyone up there who is interested in the view.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Eggs

When I was little I loved Easter. My mom would buy me a fancy dress, hat, shoes and gloves. So prissy! We'd paint eggs, the Easter Bunny would swing by, and we'd go to church in our Easter best. My dad would hide all the Easter eggs and we'd have our Easter egg hunt.

Now that I'm grown, I didn't think I would introduce Easter to L. We didn't do anything last year, and I felt a bit sad about it, so this year I decided we would do all the Easter, without the going to church.

All the traditions associated with Easter (besides the church part) are fun. I love painting eggs! I love Easter egg hunts! I love Easter Bunnies!

So, we planned to attend the local Easter egg hunt in a local park. I prepped 20 eggs filled with treats to contribute.

And on Saturday morning we went to the park.

This is the only photo from the event. It was VERY windy, and cold, and L. was unhappy. About 0.5 seconds into the hunt, L. had a meltdown. I picked up an egg for him, he wouldn't take it. It was clear this wasn't enjoyable for him, so we left. I gave him our one egg again, and he threw it. It blew away.

Epic fail.

Anyway, we did manage to paint eggs in the afternoon.

I bought one of those Paas kits, but I also tried with food coloring, which actually worked better.

Try this: 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 tbsp of vinegar, 15-20 drops of food coloring.

All the eggs turned out well. At first my plain jane senses were horrified when L. kept putting eggs in multiple bowls of dye, but they turned out beautifully.

With my food colored eggs, I tried marbling them - dye them as above, let them dry. Prepare some more (darker) colors the same way, but add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Swirl around, drop egg in.

Marbled ones on the left.
You probably don't actually need that much olive oil. They are a bit shiny.

Fun was had by all. Mostly me, probably.

Sunday morning, L. discovered that we'd been visited in the night by a Rodent of Unusual Size.

Friday, April 3, 2015

How to entertain a baby/young toddler on a plane

As promised, here are some tips for entertaining your baby or young toddler on a plane.

L. does not watch things - he likes short videos, usually songs or short videos about trucks, but he's not about to sit down to a movie or a show longer than 10-15 minutes. So, the key to keeping him happy on a flight is variety.

1. Books

Since his first birthday, Leo has really enjoyed the Roger Priddy books like First 100 Words Lift-the Flap

Full of pictures and flaps for him to explore, I've bought a few of these to keep him occupied.

2. Soft baby puzzles

L's at an age where he enjoys a challenge, and I've found two soft, lightweight puzzles that are perfect for a carry-on bag.

3. Apps

L. is a big fan of a few iPad apps for kids, so buy a pair of kiddie headphones and give these a try:

The World of Eric Carle / On the Farm
Elmo Loves ABCs
Dr. Seuss Treasury
4. Good old activities

Increasingly, L. loves to color, so a coloring book and a bag of markers, crayons and stickers captures his attention for about 15 minutes.

And there you go, about 30 minutes of a flight filled. Good luck!

Do you have any recommendations of your own? We have another west coast trip this summer, so would love to hear what works for you.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A West Coast trip (+ some tips on flying with a baby)

Last week we flew out to the west coast and visited Portland and Seattle.

It was a work trip for H. and I - I had a conference in Portland, and he had one right afterwards in Seattle. Of course, we brought L. along. When both your parents work in academic publishing and travel to conferences, how long until you attend your first conference? Well, I guess about 21 months...

This was an end-of-day visit, not booth staff.

We managed to balance work and fun for L, attending the zoo in Portland (big hit!), seeing airplanes, trucks, buses, choo choos and all variety of construction vehicles of interest to tots.

L. loves airplanes, so loves flying. Good thing, seeing as this was flight numbers 19 & 20 for him. And, most likely, his last 2 free flights before he turns two and we have to purchase a seat for him (either I need to have a lot more money or we will need to travel a lot less going forward).

Not to venture too far into mommyblogging, but I have been asked how to handle their babies on planes, since we've become experts at it. So, let me offer a few tips:

Flying with a baby is far easier than flying with a toddler. I'd say that until about 1 year, it was pretty easy to fly with L.

1. There's the basics - nurse or bottle during take off and landing (the swallowing helps their ears).
2. Flying at about bed time works best for us - he'll sleep for most of the flight (note to baby-holder: go to the restroom first).
3. Aisle seats are key so you can easily get up and out of your seat if necessary.
4. Time zones! Well, going west I recommend a bedtime flight. When you arrive, wake them up and let them stay awake awhile, then have a "second" bedtime. That's worked for us. Flying east - red eye. They are miserable for you, but easiest for them.
5. Every airline we've flown has allowed us to gate check a car seat, a stroller, and bring a carry on for the baby (in addition to your own).

I have some recommendations for ways to amuse your toddler on a plane too, and I will share those in another post (stay tuned!).

L. is also recently obsessed with cars. We don't have a car, and don't spend much time in them - but on this trip we did, and L. loved every minute of it. We basically bribed him with a promise of going in the "vroom vroom car" (it worked). Only a kid that spends as little time in cars as this one could possibly love being in them as much. When we got home and had to take a bus to daycare he was practically in tears.

This was L's third time in Seattle. My brother and his family live there, so it was nice to spend time we them. We visited the Pacific Science Center (which has a toddler section!), the amazing Goodwill, and visited my best friend's new baby. All in all, a successful trip.
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