Posts tagged ‘baby’

Baby rocker with heirloom potential!

My favorite part of pregnancy is fantasy shopping. I do this by scanning magazines and cool sites for baby objects that are well out of my league but well within my style parameters, and imagine that they might one day be mine.

So tonight, while perusing an older issue of Pregnancy, I came across and am still sort of swooning. Because have you ever tried plugging “modern glider” or “modern baby rocker” into Google and seeing what pops out? The same one or two decent pieces, and a half dozen things that you’d be embarrased to keep past the nursing phase.

Is it so hard to design a rocking chair that has the potential to become a family heirloom? Something you might want to look at without feeling like you settled on the biggest minivan eyesore in town?

Few companies seem to do it, but I think NurseryWorks has hit the nail on the head with their Sleepytime Rocker. At $700-$1250, you’d have no choice but to declare it a family heirloom. But maybe it’s worth it…

February 5, 2011 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Let Your Baby Sleep Outside? Surprising parenting wisdom from Scandinavia.

One of my favorite parenting sites,, recently published a story I wrote about our summer in Denmark!

You can read Let Your Baby Sleep Outside? Surprising parenting wisdom from Scandinavia here. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments!

January 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm Leave a comment

Going natural: how I mom-stocked my beauty shelf

In all my 28 years, I never thought organically. Not in the kitchen, not in the bathroom. I never saw the point of paying more for organic foods unless there was nothing else around, and thought Clinique and Estee Lauder were great because of their free gifts. My life was so simple.

But then I got pregnant. And the moment that happened, I went into mad hormonal research mode. I found Skin Deep, a site that shows the risks of various ingredients – and then, much to my amazement, discovered that my bathroom was filled with garbage!

My cosmetologist had been going on and on about awful parabens for months – but it had never crossed my mind to look into it as I honestly just figured it was part of the usual cosmetologist “buy my line” marketing ploy. But alas, it appears that parabens have estrogenic effects (my interpretation: what you put on your face messes with your hormones, freaky) that could have something to do with cancer. I put that info together with the constant newsfeed about increasing cancer rates, and figured I might as well go natural.

And “natural” is key here. Not “organic.” Because as far as I can tell, organic products can still have loads of garbage in them (as in 92% organic ingredients, 8% nightmare). Anyway, whatever the label, the trick is to learn about the biggest culprits and make sure they’re not on the label.

Come to think of it, one of my reasons for avoiding the natural cosmetics isle at Whole Foods is I was wholeheartedly convinced that stuff didn’t work. But then I bought some Zoya nailpolish on Amazon (awesome stuff, stays on and comes in a dizzying range of colors). And after over two years of inexplicable face horrors exacerbated by the pregnancy hormones, I found a German line called Lavera Faces that has been doing no less than wonders for my destroyed skin in just a matter of days. “It’s not the product,” my cosmetologist friend asserted, “it’s just your hormones changing.” So I went back to Clinique for 3 days – and with it right back to what my Dad affectionately called my “Pepperoni Pizza Face” back in the chicken pox days.

So I’m convinced. No parabens. No salicylic acid. And a whole bunch of stuff that they say you shouldn’t use when pregnant that I’m quite sure you shouldn’t use when you’re not pregnant.

Note of warning: the ladies at Macy’s and Nordstrom’s cosmetics counters won’t tell you a darn thing about ingredients. Before I knew what was good for me, I let one of their smiling faces convince me to get this wildly expensive brown Estee Lauder glass bottle with a pipette that’s supposed to restore your skin to baby butt quality (“and is used by burn victims!”) I came home and discovered that just about every ingredient was in the danger zone. With the $70 or so I got back, I could buy about 3 months’ worth of my Lavera calendula stuff.

Just don’t ask me for before/after photos just yet. While my skin might be improving, my expanding “baby fat” face is not the stuff of web posts.

November 22, 2010 at 3:47 am Leave a comment

A Perfect Big Apple Baptism

When we were moving to New York, we knew pretty much nothing about pretty much everything. And it would have been helpful to get some tips on some of the major things on our white-board To-Do list, such as “Baptize the baby.” So here is our very sincere recommendation for a great church our Godmother-to-be found in downtown Manhattan. It’s Episcopal. We’re Russian Orthodox and Protestant and got married in an Anglican church, so we were looking for a place that was welcoming and open and perhaps close to Anglican, which is as far as we’ve experienced close to everything.

We had the baptism at The Church of the Transfiguration – which sweetly dubs itself “The Little Church Around the Corner.” It’s beautiful inside and out (and, in true Manhattan style, set among more modern and tall and industrial buildings – a real Big Apple landscape).

There’s a lovely courtyard in front that I’m sure would be a great mingling or reception place on warmer days (we had the baptism on a frosty November day). Bishop Andrew St. John is one of the warmest, friendliest priests we have met in NYC – and happens to have a great sense of humor and charming Australian accent. A week before the baptism, I met with him to go over the entire service. Services here can be on the longer side (this was the last one before advent so it was one of the longer ones and I think it all lasted about 1.5-2 hours), with baptisms about half-way through. There was another baby being baptized at the same time, though sometimes there can be as many as seven. It all went very smoothly – it helped that we all arrived early with our Godparents in tow so we all knew what to expect and where to walk and what to say in unison.

In case anyone is wondering about special baptism clothes: the whole idea occurred to us 2 days before the event (we’re a spontaneous family). Everything online was a) expensive and b) took a loooong time to get delivered. So we went to Toys R Us in Times square and got Oliver dress pants and a white dress shirt and tiny little black velvet boots and a bow-tie (yes, it was awesome – he looked like a little 007) – and it all cost under $30 – about a quarter of the price of gowns he would never wear again. He wore the outfit again for Christmas and New Year’s, and looked trendy as could be, so we’re happy. Andrew St. John was happy too – he saw no need for special gear.

What to do after the baptism…

…if you don’t feel like dragging baby to a mid-town restaurant? Our party of 15 came back to our apartment and had a very informal party with catered food from Whole Foods at Columbus Square – another experience I can highly recommend. Whole Foods can do no wrong, it seems. Their antipasti and sandwiches and cakes were perfect for the occasion.

January 11, 2010 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Beach Vacation with Baby, Anyone?

When the snow reached nearly a foot (we’re spending Christmas in Denmark), we decided it was time to start researching our next beach holiday. It’ll be in March, Spring Break week. And though we’ve both been to all-inclusives in the Caribbean (Aruba, Jamaica, DR) – choosing a place to go with baby isn’t so easy, it turns out. We’ve contemplated cruises but have no idea what to expect. The prospect of visiting 7 different islands is exciting, but being on a boat – no idea what that’s like. And someone just told me you apparently have to share tables?! Ehhh. I’m a fairly social person, I think, but like the options of being a bit of a hermit with just my family on vacation.

One thing that seems certain: looking for a baby-friendly place is a priority. I can’t imagine spending a week at a place where everyone looks at you with a mixture of anxiety and annoyance when you stroll in with your adorable 9-month-old.

Here are some interesting/useful resources we came across in my research:

  • For cruises, Carnival comes up as a top choice for families.
  • Parents’ Magazine has a list of Top 10 Caribbean resorts for families.
  • The New York Times recently had an interesting article – On a Caribbean Vacation, Baby Makes Three – about St.Martin, where the author and his family rented a villa for the unthinkably low price of $650/week. Check it out.
  • I also know that Beaches is the family-friendly sister of Sandals, but we did Sandals on our honeymoon (Jamaica) and were less than impressed. It was so ridiculously commercial, all about selling more and more and more even though it was theoretically an all-inclusive.
  • ClubMed gets great reviews but is a bit pricey for our student budget.
  • Our family friends with two small girls (2 and 4) just came back from the all-inclusive Tamarijn in Aruba. They loved it. I went there 14 years ago with my family and we loved it. No other all-inclusive I’ve been to (DR, Jamaica) has come close – and it seems it’s still top-notch and was recently renovated. I’ve got great memories of a Jeep safari around the island – and of the excellent food and great entertainment at the resort. The fact that so many of the properties (if not all) are literally right on the beach, so you walk out and step onto the sand – is pretty amazing, too. Sometimes you can find good deals for this (and other resorts) at

After loads of research (done by my husband) and several spreadsheets (how we love’em – no major decision in our house is made without one), we decided to try out Curacao and stay at the Hilton. The kiddie pool was a big selling point for me. The property is beautiful, there are two beaches, Hilton breakfasts are usually great, and you can apparently walk to quite a few restaurants. Plus, it got a very high recommend rate at I’ll post a review in March.

December 26, 2009 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

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