Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fun at Children's Museum of Manhattan

New Christmas books for our babies and toddlers

Our new Christmas books & hoping to make them annual reads! More to come! It's good to introduce books to your baby or toddler that can become keepsakes to look forward to each year as they grow. Don't be afraid of longer books, we have a growing collection of books that are longer and have more detail in the story which are perfect for naptime and bedtime...anytime! 

Give your baby some books this Christmas...what books are you buying and sharing with your little ones this holiday season and New Year?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Weekend fun

Weekends for us always involve discovering something or seeing something new.

Here are some Facebook and Twitter updates on family moments from the weekend:

was at the Kidville
 event this morning...Rockin Railroad concert, pizza and gym time :) Phoenix loves flinging himself into the "lava pit" I call it, jumping on the Tumbl Trak (and he sat SOO well at the table for a snack, which most landed on the floor but we had a nice time.)

Yesterday we did a family photo-shoot in Central Park: When you do a family photo-shoot with your infant or toddler, remember, you only have about a 20 sec interval to get the shots. And babies only typically have about a 20 min tolerance before they are done. HANDS are a big thing when holding a baby in a family group shot, have one of you hold the baby and another gently stand close and touch your babies arm or hand or your spouses, a bad positioned hand can ruin a shot. Practice in front of the mirror before shooting or have a plan...a few different concepts and QUICK position changes are key!

We were at the Frogs exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History

Our new books! Trains, Cookies and Snow! Reviews coming soon!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

My homework this weekend is to learn the name of these trucks. Phoenix has been eyeing the construction on 2nd Ave and has seen a few of these...I need to be ready to say...that's a bulldozer next time! Plus it's a good book, very creative and great rhymes through the story and the pages feel good in my hands too. Production wise it's also a beautifully done book. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More city adventures with Phoenix

Along with our music and gym classes we have been having so much fun this fall, from Phoenix's 1st Birthday and Apple picking, to Strawberry Fields in Central Park, to Apple Seeds Playground, milk shakes, to Art Farm in the City, and enjoying the sculptures in Central Park and the leaves, this fall has started out very memorable.

Phoenix turned 1 on Sept 27th!
Strawberry Fields in Central Park
After Phoenix's 1 year doctor's apt we celebrated with milkshakes!

Apple picking at Applewood Orchards, such a fun time

The Art Farm in the City spying on rabbits

First haircut at Sharkey's in the Upper East Side

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Without books how do you get your kids to bed?

WTHECK!  Only "one in three parents (33 percent) read bedtime stories daily with their children" ! SAD :( I get it when your kids are old enough to read to themselves and support a calm down and read and get ready for bed time plan. Playing games on your phone only keeps you up, I know this because my husband does it and it doesn't relax the mind...or ease our energy.   How do these parents get their babies, toddlers and kids to sleep, for us the book is like what we do, Phoenix just under a year hands us the book to read to him already, he wants the book.

Sad that parents aren't having these precious moments and memories with their kids...reading is more than words and pictures, it's an important bonding time and kids really love that closeness that happens when snuggled with a book and their parent/s.

Isobella & Phoenix

Morning Music Session at Museum of Motherhood with Moey's Music Party this morning

Checked out the @MOMmuseum (The Museum of Motherhood) this morning & @MoeysmusicParty both rocked & we will be back at the MOM museum soon 

We will be back to check out more events and open play at The Museum of Motherhood.

Thanks to for spreading the word and keeping us in the know.

POM POMS Mom? Okay I will give it a whirl and represent the boys/ aww my little prince

anything able to be opened or shut, I'm on that!

~Isobella & Phoenix

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Two new children's books with leaves for fall 2013 to add to our bookshelf

Oh yes, I let my baby run through the leaves, why not. CRUNCH CRUNCH, leaves make such a fun sound. I grew up jumping and playing in the leaves and lately we've been using the words: Leaf and Leaves on a daily bases. I look forward to sharing the changing leaves and the pretty colors of fall soon, I love the fall landscapes of yellows, orange and maroons. On a recent trip to Barnes and Noble I recently picked up Leaves by David Ezra Stein, with Phoenix running all around I only had a few seconds to flip through it but I liked the illustrations and the bear element reminded me of The Bear Snores On (one of our constant bedtime reads) since the bear hibernates after seeing the leaves fall. This board book is a quick read before naptime or bedtime and has a sweet drifting to sleep like the leaves drifting off the trees vibe and then welcoming spring after the long winter. My favorite part: When the bear tries to put the yellow and red leaves back on the tree but it doesn't work and is sad for a moment but gets savvy and uses the leaves for his cave. It's sweet when we see other animals passing by the bears cave and they notice a peek of the leaves, or don't because of the snow. You'll like how the bear celebrates the leaves and it's a sweet book to share with your baby about the changing seasons.

(Phoenix opening Leaves by David Ezra Stein)

We also recently received the book Leaf by Stephen Michael King, and I'm still figuring it out but enjoying this book for it's innocence and meaning of the leaf. It's a book without words, the pictures tell the story or more like you (the reader) creates the words. The story starts off with the boys mother wanting to cut his hair and he runs outside, as if saying "Noooo!" Outside he plays with his dog and a bird poops on him, well I that what I thought at first but then I thought maybe it was a stone, a pebble or something that PLOPS on the boys head and a leaf appears, growing out of his head.

Perhaps the boy is trying to water the leaf and have it grow and he takes his dog on an adventure trying to get wet. Or maybe they are just really enjoying the rain and water and love getting all soaked! He has a scary dream about other plants hurting the leaf on his head and big clippers coming at his head and wakes up and plays some more but finally accepts his mother's clippers and let's her cut off all his hair.

It was sad when the boy's hair is all cut off, I'm thinking WHY while reading this to Phoenix, is his mom THAT mean? Does he have Cancer? What? Why all the hair gone! But I smiled when the boy uses the hair that was cuff off to create a nest for the leaf that he plants in the ground and it becomes a big tree and we see the boy through the ages, like The Giving Tree.

~Isobella & Phoenix

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Little man got to see my book in the bookstore

Today we popped into BN 86th street and the little man got to see my YA book Careful in the store :) we also bought some awesome books, can't wait to share them with you. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mommy what is 9/11? Um..

One day he will ask what is 9/11? I don't yet how I will answer but I know one day I will tell Phoenix about the darkness of the world, I'll be honest and not sugarcoat it. I will tell him that mankind has hurt people, animals and the world. There is hatred and selfishness and it's horrible. I will also tell him that the world is great, life is great and the land is breathtakingly beautiful and there is compassion and trust and love among us, and I will tell him sadly but honestly that unexpected terrible things happen sometimes in this world which is why each day is special and to be careful with himself and others. Tomorrow is not promised and today is a gift. Use it and do it with love.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Are baby classes worth it? Experiences of a NYC new-mom

Phoenix and his muscles at My Gym.
Living in New York City with a baby (for 11 months in a one-bedroom apartment) I quickly realized how important baby classes are. Not just for my child's development but for my own sanity.

Our first stop was the library.

When Phoenix was just 6 weeks old we attended a free baby laptime at the library (gotta get their early to get a ticket though now since to popular), and continued to attend the sessions and will be experiences the toddler program soon at the Upper East Side Libraries. (We are new to the Upper East Side -two bedroom!-and having a blast discovering all the fun for families here. So lots more to share soon about the area and what we love about it, our favorite hot spots and the baby classes we are taking up here.)

So, we first enjoyed the Children's Center on Fifth Ave off 42nd street on the side of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, it's not the entrance of the two big iconic lions, on the right side of the building, then we started doing trial mommy and me classes at music classes and different classes around the city.  (Upset their aren't as many signature Daddy and Me but more on that later.)

After Googling and doing some online research Phoenix and I tried out music classes and playtimes and story times at Kids at Work, Music for Aardvarks, Gymboree, City Treehouse, The Scholastic Store, FAO Schwarz, baby swimming class at the YMCA and quickly ventured in baby gyms, as Phoenix started being ambitious to walk and waddle around at  9 months!

I didn't grow up with baby classes. I grew up in a backyard making mud pies and was totally happy with that but if you live in the city I do think baby classes can be ideal if they fit your budget. They are not cheap. I found a music class for $15 per class but that is unlikely for most. Apart of my wants to think this is "extra stuff" but it's also "important stuff" that I'm thankful we can afford because I really enjoy it, my mood enjoys it and  I look forward to taking Phoenix to these classes. Or sometimes I have a babysitter take him to the open play and I will work for an hour on my book.

We've seen a lot in a short time because I'm eager to stay busy, being at home stresses me out more than being out, we do art proejcts and read lots of books of course at home, but I love our baby classes and our schedule is busy...but not too busy...

We've done sessions at Jodi's Gym, My Gym and liked them a lot, we still do My Gym and this week start Kidville gym!

We will hit up the Art Farm in the City drop in program throughout the year because it's so precious how Phoenix reacts to animals, he lights up around them.

Along with The Carl Schurz Park playground, the Ancient Playground at 85th street and 5th in Central Park, John Jay Playground and many others.

Parents who think the city is not for kids are crazy, the city is PERFECT for raising and active child if you research and get out! Beyond classes, we visit Central Park almost every single day. There are so many great playgrounds and a lot of free fun too! And we especially love our Zoo membership!

At the Central Park Zoo earlier this week

We also love Madison Square Park (nice playground too) and Bryant Park (take a fun carousel-ride and check out the children's book reading nook), both have great open areas for your baby to crawl around and discover and you can sit down for a sec and relax!

Union Square as a great playground too across from Barnes and Noble.

This summer among all the playground sandbox adventures and being soaking wet daily with Phoenix in the many, many playground sprinklers we had an amazing 11 months of fun and discovery and the summer was AWESOME!

Our fall classes start this week. We are taking baby gym at Kidville and My Gym (my husband takes Todd on the weekends for some chillin with Dad time and I often take Phoenix to the open plays during the week. And we are planning to take music class at Sprout.

I really don't like paying more than $25 per class. But we have. I love it when I find a ten week session for under $300. For forty-five minutes or an hour of fun, discovery and learning,  it's not a cheap thing, and here are some tips on choosing a baby class and why classes can be ideal and why these classes save my sanity too.

*Find a class that fits your baby's stages and interests. Even a baby 4-6 months can start taking baby classes, sometimes even newborns, there's also great baby and me Yoga at Karma Kids Yoga. Music class is a great start for baby classes. The babies become so alert and intrigued by the guitar and music sticks and shakers. (*Of course they will want to chew them. It will happen, it will so I find it's best to get your baby to chew on the same musical instrument during the class or a few of the same ones so not every baby has chewed on every toy. You can't stop germs, it's life, strengthen their immune system, they might get a cough or running nose, it's annoying as a parent but not enough reason for us not to attend.)

I also like a music class with the instructor singing with a guitar or instrument, not a cd player. Um, show me something I can't do at home for my kid!

*Let's be friends! Your baby will get used to being around other babies and making friends, sharing and taking turns, and it will melt your heart when your baby hands another baby his music shaker and wants to share. Or watch as all the babies sit on the BIG drum or lean against it and feel the vibrations all together. It's great for your baby to SEE other babies and different adorable faces. :)

Phoenix at Kids at Work music class.

*Find a class YOU want to attend, for me baby classes keep me upbeat, bring out my peppy-side and I get to bond with my son and share the experience with him, which is fun. Music classes involve sitting down with your baby and a teacher/singer instructs the class. It's more relaxing and calm experience.

It keeps us busy and keeps us moving, we don't sit around we are always go, go, go. Unless we are at the library or a storytime or Phoenix is letting me duck into a Sephora or store for a few minutes. :)

-I think music class also teaches your child how to listen, be observant, notice their surroundings, allows them to touch and feel the vibrations of the drums, shakers and guitars, great for motor skills and social skills too as your baby plays with the other babies and shares the instruments.

-Baby Gym is very hands on you have to watch your baby, it can be very busy, crowded, lots of other babies exploring, it's sort of a work out for you as a parent because you will be also running around up the ramps, through tunnels, breaking a sweat while running around the room keeping up with your kid or trying to inspire your baby to get up, crawl, and MOVE!

Phoenix (10 months here) at Jodi's Gym.

* Parenting can be stressful, VERY! For a new-Mom and Dad. Baby classes force a parent to be a bit less stressed, because you're sort of forced to be happy and chill out with your kid. The atmosphere inspires a togetherness and calmness.

Classes inspire parents to be patient and be alert and teaches parents how to also "be silly and play" with their baby in an educational and developmental way that is fun and easy. Also, at the class every other parent is also staring at you as you all sit in a circle or whatever, so it inspires you to want to be relaxed and have a good experience and do the best to help you both enjoy the class. There are other babies around you, 10-12 sometimes, so yes if your baby pukes up or starts screaming and crying everyone will see and it actually forces you as a parent to take a deep breath, "...awww, it's okay baby and it's okay mommy, we all have been there, we all are in the same boat." Because you can't scream also OMG! :)

We bought Phoenix a set of drums and a tambourine and shakers after seeing his response to how much he loves music, now at 11 months he dances! He shakes and moves whenever music is heard.

*You can make some Mommy/Daddy friends. I don't have many friends with kids so the baby classes are a place for me to chat it up a little about being a parent and discuss also what's trendy in babyland.(But not chat a whole lot though, I don't like parents who ONLY go to baby class to chat with other moms, WTF, not for me and it's rude when we are in the middle of class and parents or nannies are chatting about whatever they are chatting about.)

Instead of looking for the hottest place to eat or go out for a wild night I'm obsessed with finding baby classes and events and deals!  Here are some places I visit daily:

~Isobella & Phoenix


Thursday, August 15, 2013

We are moving tomorrow to the Upper East Side

These are the books we've been reading this week while packing up the place. All our books are packed! except these, these are the ones we have left out and are reading this week. We read many of them often, the favorites stay unpacked until the last hours 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The title of my YA novel shows up on Sesame Street this morning!

Awww cool! this morning on Sesame Street Casey Afflect shared the word Careful, which made me smile because it's the title of the first book of my YA book series!

Do you watch Sesame Street with your baby too? I like Oscar the Grouch and Grover best.

Here are our morning nap reads, Phoenix fell asleep while I was reading The Fantastic Flying Books of  Mr. Morris Lessmore, books like these are longer and meant for an older set but they are perfect to read to your babright after you've shared some ABC's books and Color and Shapes and Animal books, they are perfect books to relax them to sleep before naptime and bedtime, remember it's really your voice and the way you are reading the story that puts them at ease though.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Library reads, Happy, Trains Go, Clip-Clop, Very Grand Things and Meet me at the Moon

Have you been reading this summer to your baby? 
At naptime I pick a few books for Phoenix ( along with Brown Bear Brown Bear in the mix) and we recently read Nightsong by Ari Berk and Loren Long, we also read Happy by Mies Van Hout which is a creative and cute book about emotions but the illustration of the fish representing the emotion "confused" or "glad" "surprised" etc. on the page doesn't do it for me, the reader should be prepared for some add-on sharing of how the emotion fits into your child's life...or your's. :) Mommy was *proud of you when you started walking...Mommy was *shocked the first time you lifted the toilet seat and stuck your hand in the water and swished it all around.
Here are more of our library reads this week.

Cowboy Small, this book is like a brother to The Brave Cowboy, he is busy on the range and roping and branding horses and fixing fences and living the cowboy life, only this cowboy isn't holding a gun in his holster.
Happy by Mies Van Hout is a book all about expression and emotions and it involves different fish showing you the emotion on the page. A simple but beautiful book that can become a conversational piece for you and your baby while you read together.

Trains Go by Steve Light (also a summer reading book at the New York Public Library),  this is a good book involving the different types of train and the sounds they each make. SWOOOOSH was my favorite sound.

Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee, the animals on the farm have a fun ride with their friend Mr. Horse and it's a cute book of the clippity clop sound that will inspire you to act like a horse and trot around your living room.

Very Grand Things a Winnie the Pooh book illustrated by Andrew Grey is a cute look and find book, on one page there are some very good things for a picnic, a bath, having a dinner with Pooh and his friends, and on the other side is the picture of it. Your job is to help your baby find the items on the page...can you find the brush...there it is...can you find the pot of honey...there it is.

Meet me at the Moon  is a sweet book about a mother who has to make a journey to the mountains to ask for rain and must leave her baby elephant for awhile, she tells her baby to notice the wind, the stars and the moon, to feel her Mama's presence. There are beautiful illustrations that share the bond of this baby and mother through the Wind, the Stars, the Moon.

We hope your summer reading adventures have been exciting and memorable.

Isobella & Phoenix

Have you got your baby a library card yet?

Find us on Twitter

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Adventures in the City


Phoenix started his weekend outings going to class which is LOVED!
We put him in the waddlers cause he is on the go

He got to hang from gymnastic bars and balance on a beam and had a blast!

PUNK to PARK: PUNK to PARK: The Punk Exhibit at the MET & a perfect run through the grass in Central Park

Sunday: Introduced paint this morning to Phoenix, just showing him the brush and paint and letting him touch it, sharing with him what it can do.

Went to the Central Park playground to play with the water fountains, the baby/toddler section has a great fountain that sprays at a level that is suitable for wee ones.

Then we went to the Children's Zoo at the Central Park Zoo to visit the goats, sheep and pigs. :)

Just bought dinner via the grand central market so cute. Grillin up some lemon chicken and zucchini tonight