Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gone Fishing

via Saltwater 

20 weeks today and about to jump in a car to the airport for babymoon! I am not sure what my connectivity will be (thank goodness) but I will try to check in before our return on April 2nd.

My bag is laden with Larabars and almonds and fruit so I don't get starving in airport land.

In the mean time, baby Saltwater sandals! Amazing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Packing Strategies

Dustskulker and Sealface, 2012

I am packing verrrry lightly for this trip (not quite this lightly, but nearly.)

The essentials: organic sunscreen, sundresses, swimsuit, camera, Kindle, prenatal vitamins, my favorite Hanro nightie and Deet-free bug spray.

I also picked up some summer basics at Destination Maternity, figuring that my poor old leggings will not last me through the summer or serve me all that well on this trip, in 80-plus degree weather. I found a very cute short denim skirt, shorts, and some simple tank tops when I visited their store in midtown.

When I was interviewing Rosie Pope at her boutique, I also picked up some of these tie-dyed tees, which have been making appearances in my weekly bump photos.

Since we'll be on a sailboat for 5 nights of our trip, we're only taking a canvas boat bag and a small carry on...kind of nice to be so unencumbered.

On my reading list: Operating Instructions, by Anne Lamott (which already has me weeping uncontrollably.) And for some levity, Tina Fey's Bossypants and Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? 

Sunny Dispatches


Lots of good tidings to report.

Tomorrow afternoon, we will be here!

We are in contract on our new apartment (so now it's up to the banks to magic us a loan and to the building to let us know when we can move.)

Our baby (still a boy) is doing fine and weighing in at 12 ounces. A can of Coke. We had our second anatomy scan this morning. Long, long legs!

There is still a small sebaceous cyst on the back of his head but the doctors think there's nothing to worry about and after some furious googling at home I am taking them at their word. I go back at around 24 weeks to check in on it. Most likely he will require a visit to a pediatric dermatologist after birth. Nothing too major.

Of course, I'd rather there were nothing there whatsoever. But he looks healthy and squirmy and is developing just as he should which is all I can really ask for.

Deep breaths.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring

via Cass Bird
via Cass Bird
via Cass Bird
via Cass Bird

I love these dreamy images by Brooklyn photographer Cass Bird. If you're in New York, Bird is signing copies of her new book Rewilding at Dashwood on Bond Street this Thursday. I will miss it because we leave early that morning, but hopefully our trip will capture the mood of some of her pictures.

If you can't make it, check out her very cool Tumblr.

In other news: Happy Spring!!!


Williamsburg, 2012

I was at a bridal shower over the weekend and they had a few of those games.

For one of them, each guest had to write their tips for a happy marriage. Now, I've only been an old married lady for a little over 8 months, but I have been in a very happy relationship for nearly 8 years, so it got me thinking...

My tips included: 1) Splurge on exotic vacations; 2) Give weird names to your pets/homes/cars; 3) Make your own traditions; 4) Celebrate holidays with gusto; 5) Relish your inside jokes (especially before bedtime); 6) Let him watch Family Guy; and 7) Ignore the pile of socks on the floor (we call this the "sock graveyard.")

I think number three is probably the most key (and numbers one, two, and four are all related), and it's something I give all the more thought to as we make the shift from two people to three. Among my favorite Sarah-Will traditions are our annual tree-trimming party and our breakfast dates.

I don't really know how we got started on breakfast dates, but it's sort of our version of date night (cheesy name aside.)

3 or 4 mornings a week, instead of wolfing down cereal at home, we get up and walk to one of our local cafes for a latte and a croissant or somesuch. It's usually only a 10 of 15 minute affair, but somehow our conversations are fresher in the morning and it feels like a special way to kick off the day before Will heads to work. Even if our night is a marathon of bad TV or we wind up socializing with other people that evening, it feels like we've had a little bit of time to connect.

Roller Coaster

Williamsburg, 2012
Williamsburg, 2012

It's pretty easy to set me off onto a crying jag these days. One comment, or a scene in a movie, or a line in a book and there's this tidal wave of emotion (negative, positive, overwhelming) that has very little to do with the trigger.

Of course, it's most likely hormonal. But the science of why doesn't do much to temper my emotions when they're midstream.

When people ask me how I'm feeling, I usually assume they mean physically. But so far, the physical demands of pregnancy have been a walk in the park compared to the emotional ones.

It's hard to articulate without sounding as though I'm struggling. I swear, in any given moment, I'm perfectly content, and even blissfully happy. But then in a second I experience all of these really powerful thoughts and pregnancy feels like the hardest thing I've ever done.

Suddenly, I'm reconciling thoughts about my own childhood that hadn't occurred to me in 25+ years.

I'm acutely aware that now I am our baby's family and history. It doesn't feel like that history is something that begins in August. The baby is here with me now, thumping away at my insides, and he is already who he is. There are already three of us. The wheels are in motion.

Every decision feels that much more intentional. Is this the apartment we bring our baby home to? Is this the emotional environment we bring our child home to? It even occurred to me the other day that our 7 year old cats will one day die and that our little boy will experience that grief. It's inevitable.

There's that sensation, and then there's the sensation that there's so little I can control.

The baby's not even born yet and I can't protect him from city pollution and construction dust and crazy world events.

Take all of that and mix in a dose of awe and elation and Christmas Eve-level excitement and I can't-stop-looking-at-babies-on-the-street and you have a window into how I feel in any given moment. It's pretty wild.

Monday, March 19, 2012


via Room to Romp on

We spent the weekend in D.C. visiting my mother, who has been busily Etsy-ing away the day in preparation for grandmotherhood. My mother can out-Etsy the best of them.

She introduced me to Room to Romp, a South Carolina-based boutique for handmade little boy's clothes. They are very sweet, crisp, and old-fashioned, without being too retro.

Paint Chips

Benjamin Moore Spectra Blue
Five plus years ago when we chose paint colors for our apartment, I had this vision of a seaside surf shack. The only thing that bugs me more than "renter's white" is murky, safe shades of cream, beige, and khaki, and I wanted to use color to make the space feel really happy.

We went with Spectra Blue for the long living room wall, neon green for the bathroom, and other poppy shades of blue throughout the apartment.

But now that a move may be imminent, I'm thinking something a little more grown up might be nice. I'm still picturing pops of lime green and orange.

Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue, via

Wedgewood Grey via

Dark Harbor via
The contenders so far? Benjamin Moore's Wythe Blue, Wedgewood Gray, Galapagos, and Palladian Blue. The existential question remains: are these much too sensible and serious for us? Should I make a beeline back to Spectra? Ack, and what about Dark Harbor!?

First World Problems, indeed.

11211 Love

Coffee and chocolate are serious business in Williamsburg.

The other day I popped into the newly expanded Mast Brothers shop on North 3rd Street and saw the chocolate makers hard at work preparing and packaging these lovely bars.

You can test a number of varietals and chat to the shopkeepers about how chocolate is made. I think it would make a great little excursion with kids (and don't you think their packaging is lovely?)


Mini Rodini via Sweet William
A friend recently passed along a great trick for keeping a child's wardrobe under control. Her policy? To veto buying anything with a logo or slogan and to limit patterns.

She buys mostly solids or stripes and says doing makes for a more streamlined look and fewer battles with her fickle toddler over what to wear. It sounded like a good idea to me, especially since onesies that say things like "Boob Man" seem to be everywhere these days and they make me cringe.

I do think there are exceptions to the rule. I'm obsessed with antique and vintage maps and love the notion of this little Mini Rodini onesie (they carry the version with legs at Sweet William in Williamsburg.) When I was checking out their site I also found this Bobo Choses number which is really cute and not too distracting.

I think it would be very sweet in the summer with one of those little old man style canvas fishing hats.

Bobo Choses via Sweet William

Adios Winter

Park Avenue, March 2012

I feel like we've gotten off so easy this winter (which ends, officially, this week), with days in the 60s and 70s in February and March. By this time in the season, I'm usually cursing the cold and suffering from a major case of SAD, grumbling about New York and dreaming of moving to somewhere near the Equator.

But this year has been different. It's like everyone's on heat, semi-delirious to be able to wear sandals and short sleeves sonner than they had dared to hope they might. The sidewalk cafes are jam packed and at home, my windows are wide open.

I think it's definitely made my pregnancy thus far a bit easier, as it hasn't been difficult to motivate myself to go out for long walks or galavant around the city. I've even (sort of) forgotten those blurry, exhausted days around weeks 8 and 9, when buying milk at the corner store felt like an impossible task.  

And though I know August may well be oppressive, I'm relishing these months of wearing skirts and sundresses and being out in the world. I don't do well when I'm cooped up at home watching repeats of Anderson, and when I have to bundle up it's easy to make excuses to stick close to home.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Maefield & Co. via Poppies and Posies

So, apparently I can't get enough of weird little animals! I came across this guy on Poppies and Posies' blog. He's from Maefield and Co.

Registry Fun

Plan Toys via MiniLuu

Love, love, love that Miniluu's online boutique and registry is now open. It's kind of tough to find beautiful, classic wooden toys and clean-lined baby products, but Brooklyn mom Kristin at Bon Bon Mini has done a great job (and she just announced she's in labor!) Sending good vibes her way. I love the idea of supporting a local business so I hope you will check out her lovely wares.

I've also been having a fine time setting up little registries at Giggle and now Miniluu. It may be a little early to start thinking about all of that, but it's fun be able to picture a little pile of blocks in the corner of our living room or a non-scary high chair at the dining table. To quote one of my favorite lines in Bridesmaids..."This is happening..."

19 Weeks

19 weeks, 1 day

My little bump is coming along nicely, though so far people on the subway have completely elbowed me out of the way for seats so I guess it's not that obvious? Or people are sharks? It's a little hard to believe there's a mango-size baby in there, but I definitely feel squirming from time to time. Sleeping is getting a little tricker as I just can't seem to get comfortable and, when I do, I don't love being in the same position for long stretches of time.

I've still been wearing leggings nearly every day, but in the evenings the elastic gets a bit more uncomfortable. We have our second anatomy scan on Wednesday, and I'm looking forward to witnessing the baby's acrobatics again.

Meanwhile, I have become acutely aware of babies and pregnant people. They're everywhere! I'm fascinated when I see parents and small people in cafes or restaurants. It's like I am seeing them for the first time. Little shoes! Giant strollers.

18 Weeks

17 Weeks

16 Weeks

15 Weeks

14 Weeks

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I've never really understood baby shoes. Aren't babies' feet changing size every nanosecond? We're clearly a long way from having an independently mobile child, but when we do I think these Tiny Toms are pretty fantastic. I may have to buy them in every last size and hope they last til he's 18.


Maldives, 2008

One week until this!!! Well, until we head to the tropics, in any case. When we booked our trip to the Virgin Islands I was a little worried that I'd be feeling unwieldy and uncomfortable at 20 weeks but so far (19 weeks today), I'm feeling pretty great.

This week I've been doing a lot of pavement pounding in the city, doing my best to take advantage of the beautiful weather in New York, walking several miles at a time. I've also been keeping up with training and yoga. After long stretches of time on my feet my hips and lower back get a bit sore, but I can definitely do a few solid hours of activity a day without needing a break. Can't wait to swim in the warm water and get some sun.

I decided not to buy a maternity bathing suit and am chance-ing it with a J. Crew tankini that has a sort of flowy top. Other than that I am all kitted out and starting to plot my reading list.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

11211 Love

Williamsburg, 2008

Wow. So, it's pretty obvious that things are changing around here (and have been for a long time), but today's news that Williamsburg is getting a Whole Foods is still a biggie.

I'm more of a Trader Joe's gal myself, but I can't help but be excited to have another option close to home. I think it will be more of a special occasion shop for us, but I'm all for a great butcher and fish counter for dinner parties, as our semi-annual trips to the Fairway's in Red Hook usually drive me a bit nuts.

The location is pretty wild too...N. 4th Street and Bedford Avenue, just a few blocks from where I once lived in a creaky old loft across from a recycling plant.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Flight Fight

Turkey, 2011

So I was reading this piece on Salon, about a family with two toddlers being kicked off a plane when one of their children had a tantrum.

I felt for both the family and the other passengers (nobody wants to sit next to a screamer), but I was also a bit astonished by just how undone so many of the commenters were by the thought of young children on an airplane.

In fact, a solid majority of them seemed to say something to the tune of: 'Infants and toddlers shouldn't be allowed in restaurants, movie theatres, at weddings, on airplanes, or in any confined public space where they might inconvenience other adults.' As one commenter put it, 'When you have kids, you have to be prepared to give up a few things, especially for the first few years. Things like sleep, disposable income, a social life, and travel.'

This seems like a bit of an extreme position. Parenthood sounds difficult enough without adding total social isolation to the mix.

When I see a baby in a bistro or bar, as I did this weekend at the Brooklyn Winery, I feel encouraged. We have plans to take trips with our baby this fall that will require 5-7 hour flights. We will probably take our baby to...gasp...brunch.

Children are a part of our culture, and I think they should be treated as such. You hope that the parents do their best to contain meltdowns, but you, as a bystander, can also choose not to let it get under your skin if they can't, no?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Vice Squad

Paris, 2010

I was reading one of those addictive baby boards today, and an expecting woman wrote that a Starbucks barista refused to serve her a chai latte because of the caffeine.

So far, I haven't had anyone pounce on me in that way. In fact, it's been quite the opposite.

Earlier this spring, my father in law (who lives in Europe) informed me that Will's mother drank through all four of her pregnancies. He seemed to think my teetotaling was some nutty and brand new American fad.

At dinner with French friends on Friday, my female host poured me a glass of Champagne and, when I had a few sips, seemed practically triumphant. On Saturday, another friend, who has lived off and on in South America, kept informing me I could have a glass of wine if I wanted, all the while eyeing up my glass of water somewhat disapprovingly. Then there's the acquaintance who tells you her friend/sister/college roommate was backpacking through India/surfing big waves in Hawaii/running marathons at 8 months pregnant.

I seem to be surrounded by friends prompting me to taste a little charcuterie, try a little unpasteurized cheese, or hit the ski slopes, even when I say I don't really mind giving those things a pass temporarily. I'm glad they think I'm not a fragile creature and can make my own rational decisions.

But though I will happily taste an inch of wine with a meal and drink a small latte or cup of earl grey every day, I have mixed feelings about flouting doctor's orders. It's a little juggling act I do every day. Have I had any fruit today? Protein? Enough sleep, water, sun? Am I getting jittery from that coffee? If a medical professional tells me to avoid something, I generally do my best.

So next time you feel like telling a pregnant woman what she can or can't eat or drink, maybe reconsider. Unless she's swigging Jack Daniels or bungee jumping or has cut herself off from society to live in a germ-free bubble she's made from Saran wrap, chances are she's given her choices considerable thought and scolding (from either side) just isn't necessary.

Babymoon Inspiration

The Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma, 2009
The Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma, 2009
Sonoma, 2009
Sonoma, 2009
Sonoma, 2009
The Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma, 2009

This morning's post reminded me: if you're on the west coast, I've got the perfect babymoon spot for you.

The Farmhouse Inn, in Sonoma's Russian River Valley, is total bliss. The modern, airy barn rooms are gorgeous, and at check in you can choose your very own soaps and bath salts or pick up ingredients for S'mores making by the fire. I went in the fall, during harvest season, and the cool temperatures were beautiful. If you go during the summer, there's a pool as well.

The restaurant on site serves gorgeous breakfasts and special dinners, with tons of fresh ingredients from local farms. Though wine country may not seem all that intuitive a choice for a pregnancy getaway, there's plenty to do beyond the tasting rooms. Walks through the Redwood forest, drives along the PCH, visits to farmer's markets, and fabulous, low key foodie spots like Zazu, an old fashioned road house serving gourmet eats.

The Mondays

Sonoma, 2009

I will not be supping pinot noir and checking out this view today.

When you're self-employed, harnessing the power of a Monday is really key. The "school day" feeling gives me a burst of productivity (and I find that if I don't run with it, the whole week is a bit off.)

So I have a little list of tasks to accomplish in the city and a giant stack of paperwork to plough through before I can head out and enjoy the sunshine.

Among my tasks? Ask my doctor about childbirth classes. I'd love to take the ones at Caribou Baby in Williamsburg, as I think it would be a great way to begin to meet new local parents and establish a community here. But I wonder if there's any disadvantage to skipping the classes my hospital suggests. I'm also a tad worried that taking them at Caribou will make me anxious over my hospital choice (even though I know I wouldn't feel comfortable with a home birth for my first.) I'd love to have a natural childbirth, but I'd also like to take classes that allow for the possibility of an epidural (or a C-section, if it's medically necessary) so I am not blindsided if that's what's in store for me.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

11211 Love: Colossal Media

via Colossal Media

One of my favorite things about New York is the insane street art, and I love that advertisers are catching on and commissioning work that's far more interesting than your average billboard.

Late last fall, I got to know the guys to run Colossal Media, based in Williamsburg, and visited their warehouse space on Wythe Ave. (you can't miss it, it's emblazoned with a hand painted wall that reads Sky High Murals.) If you're around the neighborhood during the day, try to walk past the space on a weekday and look at all the vintage signs and gear inside, or keep an eye out for their crew members hand painting murals around Brooklyn. Such a creative, cool local business.

You can read more about them in my article here (starts on p. 76.)

via Colossal Media

Roll With It

Venice Beach, 2008

Well, I think I can say I've definitively begun to feel the baby move on a consistent basis.

In the last couple of days I've felt a rolling sensation, nearly every hour or so. He seemed especially into Women in the World. Sometimes the sensation is accompanied by chills. It's strange...a little like motion sickness or topsy turvy little waves, coming from underneath my belly button.

I'd now say that what I was feeling at 15 weeks was movement as well, but so far it's rarely taps or strong kicks per se. Occasionally I do feel something like a pop and then nada. Still, really reassuring and happy making.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Breathing Room

Simon Upton for Elle Decor
One of the most exciting things about our potential new home is that it has outdoor space. Well, not like this, but in New York, I'm telling you, you take what you can get.

The intense color reminds me of Marrakech.

Fingers crossed that in a few months we'll be supping icy mint tea on our new balcony.

Marrakech, 2008
Marrakech, 2008
Marrakech, 2008
Marrakech, 2008

Women in the World

Hillary Clinton, Leymah Gbowee, Angelina Jolie, and Meryl Streep, via

For the last two days I've been attending sessions of the third annual Women in the World Summit, hosted by Newsweek & The Daily Beast at Lincoln Center.

The lineup has been staggering, with panels on subjects like women in combat, forced marriage, and reproductive rights. Today, Nancy Pelosi spoke up about the latter subject. In the context of the conference, I couldn't help but feel that as other places around the world are waking up to women's rights, in the U.S. we seem to be backsliding.

During my pregnancy I've been incredibly grateful to have fantastic health care, thanks to my husband's employee benefits. But I was recently speaking to a self-employed friend who has minimal coverage. Each of her prenatal appointments costs her hundreds of dollars out of pocket. She has been debating whether or not to get a nuchal translucency scan, not because she disagrees with genetic screening, but because the test will cost her so much. When she experienced unexplained bleeding, she was reluctant to go to the doctors. She can't change health insurance carriers because her pregnancy is considered to be a pre-existing condition.

All told, she is one of the lucky ones.

There are women around the world who don't even have access to the level of prohibitively expensive, rock-and-a-hard-place care my friend has. While I may worry about whether or not I will need to have a C-section or how best to parent, many pregnant women face the very real worry that they might die in childbirth.

Mine was a planned for, hoped for pregnancy. And at 33, in a secure financial position, I am still in awe of the responsibility and transition that motherhood will bring. I can't fathom that decision being forced upon me at 18 or 20 years old because I couldn't afford contraception. I can't fathom having to choose between paying for housing or having a sonogram to check on the health of my baby. And no woman should have to.

So I commend Tina Brown (my former boss) and the other hosts of Women in the World for holding this topic, and so many others, up to the light.

Les Enfants

Bonton, Paris, 2011

If the French mother debate won't go away, it's because it seems to be resonating.

Today in Babble, writer Beth Goulart explores the issue, and talks about how she feels that American mothers tend to stigmatize a more European style of parenting. I've excerpted it at length because I think it's so spot on.

"In my group, parents don’t let their babies cry, not even for a 5- or 10-minute-long “pause.” Mothers take pride in fully giving themselves over to the children, accepting that they will recover their own selves after the children are grown. I’ll confess that I even take a sort of pride in my firstborn’s delay in sleeping through the night. When I say, “He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months old,” I establish to all the other mothers in earshot that I am a devoted mother. They are, I hope deep down, duly impressed...
But now there’s this book. I’m so excited: Might it signify a change in the tide, a turn in parenting trends toward taking back a bit of identity for ourselves? Toward expecting our children to fit into our homes, our sleeping schedules, our social schedules, rather than remodeling them all around the children? If the tide is really moving away from self-sacrificing mothers and toward a more balanced model of child- and self-care, I'll be able to take pride in leaving the kids with my husband for an afternoon, in hiring a babysitter so my husband and I can go out to dinner, and even helping our youngest learn to sleep longer. If the stigma of parenting this way lifts, I may tell my friends when my youngest one sleeps through the night." 

P.S. I took the photo in this post at Bonton, a very stylish children's store in Paris near the Marais. Whatever Druckerman may say about discipline, adult time, and family routine in France, there is no doubt that the French still obsess over and adore their little ones too. Nearly every Parisian park has pony rides or toy sailboats or impressive play equipment. So it's not as if les enfants are all marching about silently in grey flannel shorts and berets, afraid to speak out of turn.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...