Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Tricks

Axel, 2013

Someone is getting a bit more sure-footed these days.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just Another Sunday on the LES

New York, 2013

It's amazing how much action you can fit into a day when you are up and on the move at 7 a.m.

Today we had bagels and read the paper at our local cafe, walked down to the waterfront and watched the vendors setting up for the Flea, walked over the bridge to Soho to look at porch furniture, had a very civilized lunch at the Crosby Street Hotel, saw an uber-serious game of bike polo on the Lower East Side, and checked out the Brazilian mayhem at Miss Favela, where people were salsa dancing at 4 in the afternoon.

Once in a while, we talk about what it might be like to live in a more mellow city. But then again, where else would you do all of the above and stumble upon so many odd and wonderful things in such a short span of time?

We then we walked back over the bridge to Williamsburg. Tired feet, lots of fresh air, and some plans afoot for our outdoor space (I'd say it was a productive day.)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Gear: Six to Nine Months

Axel, 2013

The biggest change in months six through nine? Mobility.

Though we were pretty prepared for a newborn by the time Axel arrived, I feel like we were able to get away with a certain degree of minimalism for the first few months of his life. We had a baby shower, got tons of hand me downs, bought some things second hand, and eventually assembled the nursery. But we certainly didn't go crazy either.

At around the six month mark it seemed like Axel was growing like a weed and also so much more into toys, blocks, anything that made noise when you dropped it on the floor; he required a certain amount of new stuff.

We've had to ramp up the big purchases lately, though hopefully a lot of them will last through his toddlerhood.

1. Skip Hop Playspot Foam Tiles
I tried to find the least offensive foam floor tiles possible. The Skip Hop ones in green seemed to do the trick. Axel can spend hours trying to take them apart and since we have hardwood floors, they were a good option to have when he was learning to roll, sit, and crawl. While he's all about pulling up on the furniture these days, he still recognizes his floor tiles as his little play area, and it's nice to contain some of the chaos there.

2. Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo
This thing is pretty darn ugly, let's face it. But when Axel tried it out on a playdate at a friend's place, he was so clearly loving it I couldn't resist. We borrowed ours and will probably give it back in a month or so, as Axel is starting to balk at feeling contained by it. It's still pretty good for 15 minute periods when you need to make breakfast or are just exhausted from baby wrangling.

3. JJ Cole Outdoor Blanket
We just had a lovely picnic on our building's green roof and I can tell this waterproof blanket will get a lot of use for the rest of the spring and summer.

4. Old Navy Baby Clothes
I love artful and original baby clothes, but as Axel grows like a weed, I can't really argue with $7 pants and $10 onesies.

5. Farm to Baby
I've extolled the virtues of our baby food delivery service before, but this was a great way of easing the transition to solids. We've also stocked up on pouches from Ella's Kitchen for when we're in transit.

6. Maxi Cosi Pria 70 Carseat
We went to Mini Jake and basically got the only convertible car seat they had (I trust their judgment.) It's much comfier than the hand-me-down infant car seat we had, and it served us well on our last 7 hour road trip.

Nature Baby

Axel, 2013

Scenes from our Saturday roof picnic (care of the Bedford Cheese Shop, though Axel mostly ate grass)! And a glimpse of his nicely healing scar.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Little Man

Axel, 2013

Oh dear!

Ahhhh, Paris

via Hip Paris

Today was one of my first iced coffees of the season, which has me thinking of summer, which has me thinking of Paris.

This is the view from the little apartment we're renting on the Place des Vosges this July, and I can't wait. I found it on Hip Paris, and it's teeny but perfect. We'll be there for a few days after attending our friends' christening and belated wedding party in the south of France.

Although we've had a good bit of extended family time this year, we haven't taken any big holidays as a family of three. I'm imagining Axel enjoying the swings in the little park, chomping on baguettes, and toddling around with all the oh-so-well-behaved French kiddies.

It will also be Will's birthday and our second wedding anniversary, and since we spent part of our honeymoon in Paris, it seems appropriate. We had a blast, as you can see.

Paris, 2011

Dinner, Solved (Part Two)

by Diana Yen for dcuisine

I mentioned a while back that I had been working on a food-centered project.

That project was dcuisine, which delivers really stellar flash frozen soups and entrees to your door; they are made by a certified Master Chef (a big deal in the foodie world if you don't know about the certification process.) You prepare them in boiling water (they come in a sous vide-style pouch) and it's a really simple process.

This endeavor was my first foray into the world of e-commerce, and it was a really interesting journey. Along the way, I got to meet the chef and taste and test nearly all the meals. My personal favorites? The butternut squash soup, beef bourguignon, and spicy Thai chicken soup.

The founders are really obsessive about making beautiful food and the meals, which use top-notch, organic ingredients and are created in small batches, show their attention to detail.

Their site is now live, and I'm pleased to offer free shipping for Williamsburg Baby readers. You order any combination of 8 soups or entrees at a time, and can keep them in the freezer to use whenever it suits you.

Just enter FRIENDS at check out between now and May 15.

We definitely could have used this when Axel was a newborn and when I'd leave meetings with a few packages to test and re-test, I'd feel a huge sense of relief because dinner was solved, and it wasn't terrible-for-us delivery food.

Dinner, Solved (Part One)

via Serious Eats

A friend had a code for a free week of delivery from Blue Apron, a subscription service that sends you the ingredients and recipe cards for three complete meals a week.

I had all but forgotten about signing up to give it a try it until the rather impressive box arrived yesterday (handy, because we had exactly zero plans for dinner and hadn't been able to get to the grocery store because we were away over the weekend.) You can sign up for a meat and poultry service or a vegetarian service.

We wound up making a delicious chicken satay with rice and a green tomato salad. My pictures didn't really turn out, but basically, everything in the recipe is pre-portioned like this:

via Katie at the Kitchen Door

You can check out Katie at the Kitchen Door for another review. The meat comes from Pat LaFrieda, a very fancy butcher in New York. It was all very straightforward and I liked the fact that we weren't going to waste any produce or esoteric oils (so often we have a giant bunch of cilantro that wilts in the fridge because we just needed a few sprigs.) The tiny bottles of things like sesame oil or mirin were pretty darn cute as well.

Will and I love to cook, and so this service suited us; it feels like you're really making dinner from scratch (but without any advance planning required.) We were saying a month or so of this would be the perfect gift for someone with a new baby, with the caveat that they'd have to like to cook in the first place to find this a real time saver.

I felt a bit guilty about all of the packaging that arrives with it, but I was glad to hear the box lining is biodegradable. In any case, the results were far better than my usual there's-nothing-in-the-fridge go-to, turkey tacos. The meals are portioned for two people, so the one drawback is no leftovers.

Like Farm to Baby, our baby food delivery service, this is definitely a luxury I'd only really justify because I'm working full time. Hey, whatever gets you through the week, right?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Day in the Life...

Axel, 2013

Is it my imagination, or did Axel look at our apartment after a weekend away like, "Ahhhhh, I know this place!"? "My beleaguered cat, my board books, my monkey toy, my play mat, here for the disassembling...."

And after all the craziness and upheaval and hard decision making that came with going back to work, and with traveling for nearly a month with a pretty tiny baby, and with Axel's surgery and recovery, I finally feel like all of us are starting to settle into a week-to-week routine at home that feels almost manageable.

Eight months on, I feel like I know what most days will hold. Axel is his sunny, determined, sociable self: a force to be reckoned with when he wants something, but always game for a laugh, with minimal crying and an easy demeanor. He's more demanding than he was at five or six or seven months, simply because he is on the move, but he's still game for playing in his crib with his crinkly cow book for ages, and he's also still pretty flexible when we make changes to his day-to-day routine.

Granted, some days hew more to my ideal of "manageable," whereas some days I feel like I'm just holding my head above water. But either way, life has become more predictable.

So what's a (work) day in the life like with Axel at 8 months old?

7:15 a.m. Axel's been babbling to himself for about twenty minutes now, and I hear him on the monitor, saying "Bababababa," sternly, as if he's giving his stuffed penguin a serious lecture. Occasionally, the babble gets sing song-y, and it cracks me up thinking about the imaginary conversations he must be having. I glance at the clock wondering if he'll be able to amuse himself for another 15 minutes or so, but his voice is starting to get a little screechy. More often than not, Will is the first to leap out of bed, and I lie under the comforter listening to him chat to Axel as he changes his diaper and makes his first bottle of the day. A few minutes later, I'm up, putting the kettle on for tea and heading to the play mat to let Axel do some crawling and climbing.

8 a.m. Axel's been busy, and there's no such thing as multi-tasking when he's on the move. I glance at my email and check Facebook, but usually I'm on the floor, a few feet away from him as he practices pulling up on his bouncer, a chair, the cat. I don't want to hover, but I'm still nervous about his healing scar, as we've had one trip to the ER when he bumped it (which caused some scary swelling), and I just can't handle another trip to the hospital. He's still interested in his toys to an extent, but he really wants to caterwaul across the apartment, and is obsessed with standing, supported by anything that he can find (my leg usually does the trick.) There's the occasional face plant, even as we hover nearby.

8:30 a.m. I think about all those parents, back when Axel was a newborn, who'd say "Enjoy this! It gets harder, just you wait" with varying degrees of strain in their voices. Well, it was easier checking email, or making a phone call back when Axel was three months old and I could leave him on a blanket under his little wooden pyramid and go about my business, knowing he'd stay put. But now that I'm sleeping at least 7 hours a night most nights, I feel like I can handle the trade-off. Every month is different, that's the only certainty with a baby.

8:45 a.m. We either trade off with showers or pack Axel up in his stroller and take him to the local coffee shop. He loves seeing all the new faces and Will and I get a few minutes to catch up on what's ahead for the week.

9:30 a.m. Back at home, the doorbell rings and our nanny arrives. The last two hours have been pretty full on, down-on-the-floor playtime, trying to get ready for work, somehow, in the midst of it all. But when the nanny is here, I know he's in good hands, and he gives her a big smile when she arrives. She puts him in his high chair for some pureed berries and baby yoghurt and I organize myself to get out the door, waving goodbye as I go (Axel hasn't yet mastered the wave goodbye, but he seems amused at my peculiar hand flapping.) Then it's onto the subway, and the non-baby-centered world out there...

6:45 p.m. I'm usually home by this point, and love hearing how Axel spent his day. There are epic playdates, trips to the library and the park, lots of practicing of his latest trips, maybe a sink bath. We play for twenty minutes or so until Will gets home, and all of us are in a rather silly mood. We do little apartment tours, checking out the sunset, walking from room to room, Axel looking at himself in the mirror and cracking himself up, getting wound up by his papa...maybe a book or three. If I have to read Good Night World one more time I might go batty.

7:15 p.m. We begin the first of maybe three attempts to put Axel to bed. It used to be a no-fuss proposition. At around four to six months old, we could trick Axel into sleep by putting him in bed with a few of his stuffed friends, and he'd soon talk himself to sleep with barely a whimper. Lately...not so much. He sees his crib as the next best thing to a jungle gym these days, so I'll walk out of the room, all will go quiet, and then I peek in the door and see him standing up like a jail bird behind the bars, flashing me a mischievous grin when he catches sight of me. When I attempt to walk away, there's a few rounds of the-world-is-ending-sob-sob-sob-how-could-you???!

8:00 p.m. He seems to be losing stamina, and starts furiously sucking his thumb, as Will and I start rifling through the fridge to see what we can make for dinner.

9:15 p.m. Is it too early to go to bed? I struggle to get through a New Yorker article or two and drift off in about 30 seconds.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Axel, 2013

Axel did really well on our road trip north (and back south.)

It's a 6-7 hour drive, so that's no small feat. I think the trick is to drive at night, around or after what would be bedtime. At least that worked well for us, and the little guy basically slept all the way there and home again.

We got him a comfy new car seat a few weeks ago, so he looked like a little old man stretching out in business class.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Getting Out of Dodge

Maine, 2013

My thoughts on this week are pretty much summed up here and here. Hence the lack of posts.

I remain convinced that this is a blog about our family life with Axel, and not the place for politics or rants on the state of the world. And yet when there is so much going on, it can seem self-obsessed to post about baby milestones and everyday moments of silliness. Then again, that's what this space was intended for.

In any case, this week weighed on me, and all of us, and I'm still a little frayed and jumpy (and very sad for the victims, needless to say.) Though it was nothing compared to Boston, New York was also on high alert for several days, and as my office is near Times Square, it was constant sirens and police and compulsive news watching and nerves everywhere.

This weekend we are spending some time in Maine, and glad for the break. Silliness to ensue.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Greenpoint, 2013

I thought this post on the pressures of social media was pretty great, by the by.

In it, the author of SFGirlbyBay does a great job of articulating a subject I was circling around here. I've never really felt alienated by lovely blogs, but once in a while you do get carried away by the impression that this person who is hand crafting pinatas for their children's birthdays and making pomegranate guacamole really has their stuff together...refreshing to hear the other side of it.


Brooklyn, 2013

This weekend we explored the new Greenpoint pierrevisited Saraghina (Axel is a big fan of the pizza crust), checked out the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, had dinner at Parish Hall, and wandered through the Flea.

Thanks to Will's cousin, we also discovered a bit of local family history. Will's maternal grandmother, who was born in 1910, lived at 174 Prospect Place in Park Slope as a child. Fun knowing exactly where the family was rooted in Brooklyn and picturing the area back then...

I found some great pictures of Manhattan and Brooklyn from 1905-1910 here. Amazing!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Music Appreciation

Axel, 2013

Seems like all those jam sessions at The Knitting Factory and Caribou have made an impression on Axel! Either that or the guitar looks like a good climbing frame.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...