These are a few of our favorite random things.

Greetings! In the spirit of January, I offer today a list of the childrens’ favorite things in the house, all of which they did not receive for Christmas, and none of which are actually toys. This moral is an oldie but goodie – kids don’t need so many toys. Okay, got it. But sometimes this point is made in my house so clearly, like when Marley builds little cities out of earplugs, that I find myself SMHing with glee.

borobaby brothers’ favorite rando things in the house, in ascending order of preference:

10. Earplugs. See above. Earplugs can be found at Rite Aid for $8 for a large vessel. Not only do they make it possible for you to get a proper nap when your partner is holding down the ship, but they are obviously also a toy. They can be dumped, picked back up again, and made into cities or other clever formations on the floor. Available in many colors.

9. Dot stickers. Also available at Rite Aid. No, not like ones for kids or even teachers – the ones for yard sales and suchlike. Maybe $3 for many, many sheets. Nice to keep in your bag for restaurant outings so that your children can decorate themselves or you or paper. Again, Rite Aid comes through with the double duty all-purpose items. Usually sold in arrays of neon or pastel.

8. The remote control to the ceiling fan. The appeal here is obvious. Disclaimer, make sure they can’t easily rip out some tiny battery or whatever.

7. Egg crates. Like the ones that contain eggs from the food store. Perfect for putting small things in, like maybe earplugs.

6. Boxes. Can be colored, painted, cut up to be made into houses, or just exist as hiding spot.

5. Crappy plastic Easter eggs from last year. I suppose these technically are a toy, but not really, and I’m sure I got them from Rite Aid. Can be placed into above mentioned egg crates and used as carrying pods for raisins or whatever the boys are trying to hide from us.

4. Clementine boxes. Can be made into just about anything. Since Julian eats about 35 clementines per day, we’ve practically built a storage system with these.

3. The salad spinner. Oh man, the boys are both obsessed with the salad spinner. It spins, it has 3 parts, you can put lots of things into it. Oh, the glory!

2. Blankets and spare bits of fabric. They are everywhere in your house! Probably in assorted colors and patterns! Can be used as hiding places, made into “clothing,” or for trying to beat up your brother (although that obviously never happens in this house).

1. Scotch Tape. Scotch tape is also available at Rite Aid. Good to buy in bulk or on sale. It’s sticky. You can stick it on things. You can “fix” things all over the house with it. You can wear it. You can color it. The possibilities are really endless which is why it earns the #1 spot.

I love buying toys and there are many toys that the boys love and treasure. But sometimes, you just sit there covered in scotch tape and dot stickers and smile.

Thanks for reading.🙂

This is the child you’ve got.

Hi everyone! I’m back (again). For those who don’t know me personally, my family now lives in Vermont and we have 2 boys, ages almost-4 and almost-2. Astoria, in the “boro” of Queens, will always be in our hearts.

I decided to start blogging again for one million reasons, not the least of which was a delightful email from wordpress suggesting that I do so. So, here I am. You may recall the look & categories of the old site – they are updated now for this new world.

This is the child you’ve got. Recently, I got a serious dose of this lesson when I tried to take Marley (almost-4) for his first ski lesson last weekend. This is a child who loves the snow and isn’t afraid of getting hurt. I feel strongly that, living in Vermont, the children need to learn winter sports as early as possible so that (a) they don’t get bored and become heroin addicts and (b) they don’t try to learn at age 26 and look like a buffoon on wheels, as I did. So there to the mountain we went for Saturday 1 of 4 for “Ski Tots” Ski Lessons.

I should have known. We went the day before to pick out our rental equipment and Marley immediately started panicking and shutting down the second he saw the ski boots and helmet. Never mind the skis. While I sat there with my neighbor (my poor, dear, understanding neighbor) trying everything to get him into the boots, I eventually just forced him in through sobs and jerking limbs. We all agreed he was tired that afternoon and would do better come the morning for the actual lesson. No such luck. He was petrified of those stupid boots, and he’s always hated helmets (awesome, right?). A chocolate cookie got us through the boots and helmet going on. Here was Marley sobbing “Please help me, mama” with chocolate all over his face while the other kids sat attentively or delighted in the sound their ski boots made as they ran in circles around the lodge. WTF, right?

At the base of the mountain, while the kids were learning to fall into their “magic circles,” Marley was face-planted in the snow refusing to move. And while every single other family began to smile and cheer as the children started skiing between mom or dad’s legs, there we were – face-planted in the snow and not moving. Ever. And it was 5 degrees that morning. WTF again and for realz. A wonderful man, one of the instructors, agreed we shouldn’t force anything on him, lest we ensure he will actually NEVER want to ski. He also suggested Marley might just not be ready this year. If it weren’t for this instructor, I would have felt like a complete failure as a parent that day. Oh, these children, our little zen masters. My lesson in acceptance that morning was a memorable one. This is the child you’ve got.

The child I’ve got does things as his own unique pace. I know he doesn’t give a flying hoot what any of the other kids are doing – peer pressure does not motivate him. This is not great for, say, potty training, but I know it will serve him very well in life. The child I’ve got is sensitive. The child I’ve got trusts his family to respect who he is, even if he can’t put it that way just yet. The child I’ve got damn well didn’t want to wear those ski boots that day, and that is okay. It has to be okay.🙂

Borobaby is back with a brand new…. State?!

Well hello out there borobaby readers! As you know, it’s been too long. Please forgive my absence, as my family has been adjusting to the many changes in our lives that have taken place over the past few months. “What changes?” you say….Well, since May:

  1. The end of my breastfeeding journey with Marley.
  2. As indicated by my last post, the unfortunate passing of my very dear mother, Sue.
  3. Becoming pregnant with borobaby #2! We are proud to announce that we are expecting another baby BOY in March! There are a couple of dear friends out there whom I haven’t been able to talk to about this just yet – I apologize if this post is how you are finding out our happy news. I promise a long talk is in our near future.🙂
  4. A hugely stressful and logistically challenging but also awesome move to Montpelier, Vermont. Yes, borobaby is now brought to you from the great state of Vermont, from the capitol “city” of Montpelier. A bit of trivia – we are the smallest state capitol and the only one without a McDonalds! Cool.
  5. A new job for my husband, which is working out quite well so far.🙂

Soooooo I’ve been a bit emotionally exhausted – it’s been hard for me to think about how to restart the blog. But, at the encouragement of a special colleague/friend today, here I am trying.  ;)

There are several things that have been on my mind that I would like to share with all of you. Here are some posts/topics you can expect to see in the near future:

  1. Adventures in Sewing. I am VERY, VERY inspired to learn to sew. Not like, with my needle and thread to repair a button and stuff like that. I mean really, really sew like with a machine like people do. For the boys, I want to make pajamas, sleep sacks, blankets, doofy outfits, hats, etc.  My main focus in the beginning will be completing Marley’s Halloween costume, which I planned to sew by hand but will try with the machine, aaaaaand some winter sleep sacks. Can someone out there please explain why they don’t make long-sleeved ones? I feel like I am always low on clean sleep sacks because I refuse to buy any more for like $40 or whatever it is. NO WAY – I will make them, I will, I will! Thank goodness I have a new neighbor up here who says she can help me to learn, and I have a gorgeous- genius-future famous designer niece whom I can ask stupid questions. Wish me luck, I will really need it.
  2. OMG I’m in Vermont. This change came as quite a shock to those who know how much I love Astoria. What about the BORO?! We knew that we’d need and want more space for baby #2, and my husband and I always knew that we’d plan a move out of the city around this time in our lives. So, here we are! We are so glad we landed in VT, and particularly glad to be in Montpelier! It’s a funky “city”/town of 8K-9K people. There is a plethora of interesting things going on, a very cute downtown with awesome shopping/restaurants, a lot of young families, and some very “colorful” hippie and not-so-hippie folks hanging around. In many ways, because of the small community feel, it is similar to life in Astoria believe it or not! Also, it is GORGEOUS here. We are surrounded by mountains and we breathe fresh air every day. What a refreshing change that has been! Anyone want to come up for a ski vacation!?😀 Oh, the food is amazing too. Yesssssssssssssss! We haven’t quite found our groove yet with the local mom groups and such, so I hope to share some thoughts about that as we continue to try to get involved.
  3. Preparing for baby #2. I want to share with my readers some of what I’ve been feeling emotionally, and how I am trying to prepare logistically. Um, I also welcome all advice on this matter because I am basically clueless.😉

Thanks for hanging in there, dear readers! What else would you like to hear about?

I hope you’re having a great birthday, Mom…

Sap alert.

This is a tribute to my mother who just passed away about a month ago now. Her 59th birthday would have been tomorrow. As many of you surely know, she was a very special person and was wonderful in too many ways to count. I do not wish to rewrite my eulogy, nor do I wish to upset any readers, but I would like to share some of the ways in which she inspired me.

Since this is a bit of a public therapy session for myself, I’ll go ahead and do what I do best: a list.

Ways in which my mother was awesome:

  1. She taught me very thoroughly and thoughtfully how to be a decent person. I have such poignant memories of my mother sitting me down to explain, for example, exactly why such-and-such a comment may have been hurtful to my schoolmate. She never punished without explanation and she never reprimanded without kindness shining through.
  2. She taught empathy and generosity through her own words and actions. She had a soft spot for those less fortunate. We would often travel to Philadelphia or New York City on the weekends when I was really little. In the 80s, these places could be pretty seedy and full of homeless folks and such. If someone looked truly hungry, she would take me into a store to buy a sandwich or whatever – always holding my hand tight and ensuring my safety. She always said one of her favorite things was when we got to shop for school supplies each coming Fall. After I went away to college, she began participating in a program to “fill a backpack” with school supplies for local children in need. She often cried for the wrongly accused – this was a special subject for her about which I believe she felt extremely saddened.
  3. She rewarded honesty above all else. Mind you, I was kind of a goody two-shoes. But if I did end up in some kind of trouble, honesty would be honored. I could tell her everything and ask any question (even through my teenage years – oy!) without fear of judgement. Even if I did try to lie, she knew immediately anyway. Moms know EVERYTHING.
  4. She expected me to achieve my personal best. Everyone looks at me with wide (and frightened) eyes when I explain that my mother forced me to get straight As in school. However, what I always must explain is that she expected this because I got As the previous semester and the one before that. “If all you were capable of was a C+, I’d expect straight C+s,” she would say. This is not an exaggeration – I would be in actual trouble when I brought home B grades in my best subjects.
  5. I was afraid of her. Yep – I admire this a LOT actually. She was my friend in so many ways, but until the day she died she could give me “the look” and I’d know I needed to shape up and improve my behavior. This woman meant what she said and she was a seriously good parent.
  6. She taught me manners. I am thankful that she took the time to impart upon me social skills and proper manners (yes, yes, haha). No really, she did. If I was rude to someone, I was forced to apologize – it was not considered cute and it was not ignored. I will always remember these lessons in particular.
  7. When I left home and became an official adult, she stayed out of my damn hair. Thank goodness for this SERIOUSLY. I have always had trouble relating when friends’ parents were any other way. Yes, this means I made huge mistakes during my college years. But as they say, those experiences make you the person you are and I am so thankful she had the wisdom to let me live my own adult life.
  8. She was loyal to me and soooo protective. There are girls that were mean to me in elementary school (Do you read my blog St. Anthony’s girls? Hello!) who were given the stink eye by my mother as recently as 2012. OH YEAH. And boyfriends/love interests, they fell into essentially 2 categories in her eyes: “in love with Sara” or “gay”. To her, there were really no other possibilities.
  9. She was so openly loving every single day. My parents were not perfect, nor was my childhood perfect by any definition. However, I always knew that my mom loved me unconditionally – she ensured that this was the case. Because of her love, I am a better wife, mother, and friend than I ever could have been without her.

Thanks for reading.🙂

Our Top Ten Favorite Baby Stuff (6-12 months)!

Of course, as always, this post is overdue.😛

Some of you may know that my family and I have been going through a lot, including a week-long fever for the baby and a death in my family. It has been such a relief (in a way) to have my mom duties to focus on during hard times. Taking care of Marley certainly does keep me grounded and (ironically) sane.🙂

What I have for you is the next installment of the borobaby “Top 10” series – Our top 10 baby products for the 6-12 month timeframe. These items have also been added (when possible and appropriate) to the borobaby demo registry.

Here they are in no particular order!

  1. IKEA Antilop Highchair – This highchair is $20 and we think it is absolutely fantastic! Make sure to buy the separate tray, and the support cushion. It does not have a fluffy ruffly seat thinger, but Marley really doesn’t seem to care. VERY easy to clean – this is a very, very important quality, people!
  2. BABYBJÖRN Soft Bib – These bibs are essential for solid food eating (or as I say “people food”). They are super durable and the whole idea is that you can treat them like one of the dishes. No laundry or rinsing out or whatever. The little pocket ma-jig on the bottom is amaaaaazing – saves a great deal of food from falling on the floor.
  3. Playskool Step Start Walk ‘n Ride – This car/push-car guy is great for when baby begins to try to walk. In my experience with Marley and his peers, they almost always get walking while holding/pushing something first. It is EXACTLY the right size and has lots of little gadgets to play with, including Marley’s favorite – the “boot” in the front where important toys can be stored.
  4. Organic baby food pouches by Ella’s Kitchen, Plum Organics, or Happy Baby – Okay, I know that Marley would not have actually starved himself if these were not invented, but sometimes I truly think so. I have met many, many other parents whose children are obsessed with these. Basically, its organic pureed fruits and veggies in this little pouch thingy and your baby can suck it out. Weird, right? I definitely know moms who have tried these and baby was not interested. However, Marley is all about them. When he first started on fruits and veggies, we got these “just for travel”, but they ended up being a staple of his every day diet. He has always wanted to feed himself, which is a problem when you are not yet able to operate utensils. Enter pouches. Now that (at almost 15 months!) he eats more-or-less grown-up food, I throw the pouches in there to ensure he’s getting enough fruits (and especially) veggies for the day. While Marley has grown to love eating fruits (bananas and berries especially), he’s still a bit dubious about veggies. However, he’ll suck down a pouch of broccoli and apples like I would a chocolate milkshake or the like (mmm chocolate…). Oh and PS – Yes we did try to make our own purees and put them in one of those odd reusable pouches you can get. Waste of money – at least in Marley’s case. He only wanted these. Thank you to the companies that make them!
  5. Stride Rite Dillan Fisherman Sandal and/or Robeez Soft Soles – I chose these shoes because they are 1. Good quality leather and 2. Easy to get on and off. The Robeez are for “pre-walking” and the Stride Rite are for walking. I must admit, I think you will do fine if you do not get the exact styles seen here, but the R2D2 Robeez are pretty freaking delightful. We have the Stride Rite in a sandal simply because Marley started really walking when the weather got warm. Any Stride Rite Baby shoe will do – they are the absolute best and have been for years. I now understand why they are all I was allowed to have as a kid.😉
  6. Green Sprouts My First Toothbrush Set and Weleda Children’s Tooth Gel – Marley actually loves brushing his teeth! He does it himself before his evening bath while we hold him up on the bathroom sink. He was drawn immediately to these little green ones (they kind of feel like a teething toy). I also made sure to have him watch us brush our teeth for a while so that when the time came he’d be eager to try. Lots of kids seem to really like this toothpaste (it’s really just for babies, as it is a non-flouride one), although I myself found it yucky.
  7. Boogie Wipes Unscented – Believe it or not, these things REALLY do pick up crusty baby boogies very easily. The Fresh Scent is okay too, but I think the Grape is disgusting.
  8. Plan Toys – Hammer Balls – My Father-in-law gave Marley this toy and I feel he has really learned from it! It’s also a beautifully made wooden toy. Can’t beat that!
  9. HAPPYBABY Organic Puffs – Oooooh the puffs. A great first finger food. Marley LOVES these tremendously. Much healthier than Cheerios or whatever.
  10. HALO SleepSack – AHH! I almost forgot to include these. These are the best thing ever – they are wearable blankets for when baby grows out of swaddling (or if you do not choose to swaddle). Go ahead and get a size (or 2) bigger than your baby measures so that you can use for longer. No one cares if the bottom is dangling. Why not a regular old blanket, you say? Well, I feel Marley needs a blanket on him when sleeping but he does not yet have the wherewithal to actually replace a blanket that falls off in the night. See? There you go!

“What I’ve learned being a mom to a one year old” or “Holy shit I survived”

As Marley’s first birthday approaches this Sunday, Nick and I have been watching videos of him that we have taken over the past year. A YEAR!!!!! OMG, right? Some of the more special ones involve me having a “conversation” with Marley at 7 weeks old and 5 minute long videos of him sleeping. I began thinking about how much has changed about our family in 12 months. Obviously, Marley has changed and grown exponentially in such wonderful ways. Something I think of often but do not always articulate is how much my mindset as a mom has morphed as the year went by. Here, I will share with you some of those thoughts.

  1. The annoying cliches are so very true that you begin repeating them to everyone yourself. “They grow so fast.” “Having a baby will change your life.” “Being a mom is the hardest job in the world.” “When you become parents, your priorities will change”… and so forth. You get the idea. When I was pregnant, this is about all I heard from my parent friends, or so it seemed. I remember thinking – what on earth!? – do they think I’m slow? Of course having this baby will change my life, DUH, etc. What I learned is that, when you become a parent, your life turns so completely upside down. Indeed, many describe it as re-learning how to live your life all over again. It IS so much harder (and so much more wonderful) than you had imagined, that you cannot help but repeat the old sayings over and over again to anyone who will listen. In fact, it became a source of comfort for me eventually. It helped me to not feel so alone and frustrated – knowing that so many others had been through the same circus and lived to tell the tale.
  2. There is a lot of garbage/nonsense/crap on the internet that is bound to make you go insane.  When I started doing research on mommy blogging, I happened upon many blogs and websites that displayed what can only be described as cyber-bullying. I respect mommy blogs. I do not respect preaching, bullying, and belittling. I saw all too many forums where one way of parenting was presented as the only way and moms were made to feel inferior because they did not, for example, make their own baby wipes or cloth diaper their babies. Don’t even get me started on these witches who make people feel like they are “cop outs” because they switched to formula or “selfish” because they returned to the workforce. I am fortunate enough to have found a way to return to work to help support my family AND I am outrageously lucky that I have an employer that accommodates pumping during the day. I consider myself extremely blessed to live in these first world conditions. Thankful does not begin to describe how I feel when I think about what moms are going through right now in so many parts of our world. Parenting is hard enough, people. How dare you!? Also, get a life. It is seriously a mystery to me why anyone would spend time belittling a mom she’s never met over the internet. This has gotten so bad that there is even a “Mom Pledge” Blog, dedicated to creating a more respectful online mom community. I cannot convey to you the despair I felt when reading some online accounts of Stay-at-Home-Moms and how terribly selfish they thought it would be to return to work. What have I learned? STAY AWAY, STAY FAR AWAY from any website or blog that makes you feel inferior as a mother. All of us are just doing our best and these people are just ridiculous.
  3. You block stuff out, thank GOD. Wow, were those first few months hard. I remember thinking that the first week of Marley’s life was the hardest of my life thus far, and Nick quite agreed. I remember this as if it were a story someone told me once – I no longer “feel the pain” so to speak. For example, I remember that I had to deal with an oversupply of breastmilk issue for the first 6 weeks. I remember what I did to troubleshoot it and how supportive my husband and certain friends/family were, etc. But I cannot recall the abundant frustration which I know I had. I’ve blocked it out. If that seems too harsh, perhaps it is more accurate to say that I’ve “moved on” to the point that I no longer have to cope with the intensity of those emotions. Thank goodness this is so, or we all would be in big trouble, and we’d all have exactly one child.
  4. Sleep is really, really important. Without boring you to death with all the details, I would like to convey how much better our parenting experience became when we all started sleeping properly. I realize that sleep strategies are a VERY sensitive subject and so I will just say this: Find something that works so that parents and baby alike are getting enough sleep, or close to it. Suffering through sleep deprivation helps no one. And for the record and for curious parties, we worship Dr. Weissbluth and don’t be cyber-bullying me about it.🙂
  5. The love you feel for your child is indescribable and very powerful. As such, I will not try to provide fancy descriptions.😉 My love for Marley is the most overwhelming and wonderful emotion I have ever known and I am changed forever because of it. When my girlfriends who have not become mothers ask me – how do you do it? How did you do all those night feedings when you were clearly exhausted? How could you stand all those poopy diapers exploding all over the place? Do you ever wish you had your old life again? My reply is this:  Your love for your baby is on your side. This is so powerful that it enables you to do amazing and seemingly miraculous things you did not know you were capable of. You can trust in this completely. Even when you feel you are failing or just going nuts (read: Opening a can of Modelo Especial at 9:30 on a Sunday morning…ahem…don’t judge), you will get through it and so will your baby because that love will somehow get you through in one piece. Hm, maybe that was a fancy description after all, but thanks for listening.

Happy Birthday to our Marley!

Raising Astoria – the new heart of our parenting community!

So really, did we ever have a winter? WOW I cannot get over how great it feels to be walking around outside today (just a bit!) in my Toms and my snazzy non-winter hat!

Local parents and parents-to-be listen UP! In case you haven’t heard, there is an amazing new store in town called Raising Astoria. It is on 23rd Ave and 26th St. Their grand opening was last Saturday and there could not have been more excitement and energy (and babies!) in the room that day. They offer new and slightly used maternity and baby clothing and gear, as well as seriously adorable new baby and toddler toys. Indeed, I have already made some very exciting purchases here: Some really awesome Adidas baby sneakers (slightly used and gorgeous), a few beautiful wooden toys and handcrafted stuffed animals to send to a new baby in the family, and one pink baby stroller. All the little girls were getting them and I thought Marley would like it. Turns out, I was right….

Additionally, the community space will be home to extremely affordable and brilliant classes and events that cannot be beat! To name just a few, they offer 2 levels of art classes for the little ones and a “Dance Party Friday”!!! How fun is THAT? Adult-centered activities will be offered too, like the monthly Working Moms’ Support Group (starting April 4 and hosted by yours truly) and Parent Education Workshops on Saturday afternoons. Marley and I cannot wait to join in all the fun!

It should not come as a surprise that this beautiful space is brought to us by Laurie and Kim – “meetup” group mavens and local mamas extraordinaire! Read this article on the Queens Mamas website about them and their ideas for Raising Astoria. Their warm and welcoming personalities carry through to the store itself, creating a positive and energetic vibe. I’m certain that Raising Astoria is to become the new “it” place for local families to connect with one another, not to mention the buying and “selling” opportunities that their consignment model allows. Thanks, ladies!

I look forward to seeing you all there!!!