Nursery Inspiration

We live in this tiny little sphere of the universe called Limbo. It’s a slightly unsettled, anxious place where the daily norm is that of the unknown. After you live there awhile, you find yourself adjusting to the feelings, and actually find calm in preparing for all the various “what if” scenarios that might unfold.

In other words, still no news on the house hunting front. There are other balls being juggled, too, that we’re figuring out, but that’s one of the biggest. So, with each week blowing by, closer and closer to the baby’s arrival in November, we’re pushing forward with any and all possibilities: in this case, turning our office into an office-slash-nursery (I kid not).

I’m hoping that whatever general scheme we go with for the space will fit swimmingly into a new place, should one pop up, as well.

See? Prepare for the future, in whatever possible incarnation it may be. 😉

That said, these are the two different mood boards I whipped up to decide between. We’re fighting a losing battle with an outdated, cheap diamond-patterned brown and tan carpet (which simply isn’t worth replacing with the crappy paint splatters someone left underneath) and, well, the fact that the place is also A (not large) OFFICE. Dave may or may not allow me to replace his fur-covered black office chair. (Beardslee sleeps on it during the day…and night…and forces Dave to abandon desk when he so pleases to use the damn thing. It’s hilariously sad to view.) But, dude, Mama needs a nursing spot, so we’ll see who wins this one. Admittedly, I used our bed the first time around which wasn’t always comfortable.

We also painted the walls when we first moved in and the color is neutral enough to help sell the house…even if it is a tad pink-ish for my taste. (It’s tan…but with a fleshy undertone, if that makes sense.) The background on these boards indicates a facsimile of the color. So, nope, we’re not painting!

So, check these out and weigh in down below (comments, please)! I’m not saying which has been floating in my head far more…so your results may have me in tears. Or not. I’m not THAT hormonal. Oh, and the inspiration colors will be accent colors that will work their way in as bedding, art, and possibly a painted furniture piece or something.


I don’t want to give either a “theme” because, well, then it turns into a whole thing. Like collecting. If you say you like one thing, the flood of “I know you like owls!” gifts begin…and continue 10 years past when you gave up on the things. So, no. But you can still guess the vibe I’m going for, right?

I’m loving the golden brass lately. If you told me I’d be into it 5 years ago, I’d have smacked you…or at least raised a cynical eyebrow. But, anyhoo, mixing it with the walnut tones we already have going on (with the crib, desk, and one bookcase…we have three, sigh) and neutrals gives some glam and texture to the space. Toss that with a deep green and fuhgetaboutit.

And, speaking of texture: can you say “DIY pouf”? Because that’s all my itchy Pinterest finger can peruse. Can’t wait to hit up Goodwill to see what sweaters they have in store. Mwahaha.

As far as art, we don’t have a TON of space, and I’d like the whole room to just accept its bipolarity and enjoy the ride – so, if there’s an inspirational wall hanging, it must inspire child and office-user alike. Throw in a vintage map and it screams “Oh, the places you’ll go!” as much as it does “this is a rad office, where’s the scotch?”

Mmm. Booze. I miss booze.


Can you tell I kinda want that Target chair? I’m still searching for something with a small footprint that’s upholstered on wheels that can be used as an office chair OR a spot to comfortably nurse, so this is just a thought for now. Hoooooly crap, am I picky? But, clearly arrows are non-negotiable. And tassel garland. Which I fully plan to make. I guess I have a thing about DIY art in a kid’s room. Maybe I need some in our room while we’re at it.

Notice the fluffy white rug, too? It’d be nice to have a landing pad on the floor and soften up the place. Plus, major points for detracting from the diamond monstrosity currently enveloping the space. I truly think that a well-placed layer like this will make the carpet read more like a neutral. #fingerscrossed

In this board, I clearly am all about the mint accents. Sure, a bit of peachy coral helps, but there’s just something about mint + brass in a neutral room lately. Yum.


So, here’s what it’s your turn! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments (and maybe even a vote or two for which is your fave). As usual, all the stuff shown depends on availability and whether I find (or make) something a million times cooler, but they give you the general vibe I’m going for.

Please and thanks for any thoughts!

Oh, and nope. We’re not finding out the baby’s gender in advance. Happy picking! 😉

Our Summer Vacation – Where and Why

So, it took us awhile to land on a vacation option that the whole family could enjoy. We were originally discussing one option, but the more I researched, the more our minds changed. Today, I’m here to share our thought process…and, of course, where we’ll be going!

Our goals were to take a few days to enjoy being a family in a fun, relaxed setting. (The “relaxed” part is relative; it’s more that we’d take a slow pace.) If it could be a relatively short drive (like, 4-5 hours or less), all the better. We didn’t want to try to fit a million things in and overbook, which we learned about last year (we did well, I think, but I did fit a lot in and still missed some stuff! Here’s one post and a second recapping our 2014 summer trip.)

We originally considered another trip to Mass., as well as other New England trips (namely, Maine). The more that I looked and realized a) the travel time would be nuts, and b) most of the stuff we’d be doing could be done locally, we turned our attention elsewhere: Pennsylvania.

My MIL had suggested Sesame Place to us awhile back and we put it in the back of our brains…way back. Hadley’s not a HUGE Sesame Street fan, but he’ll watch it if it’s on and we’ve also raised him watching the OLD episodes, so he knows Bob, Maria, David, etc just as well as he knows Abby, Elmo and Zoe. Then, his grandparents took him to see Sesame Street Live locally and meet Elmo, and he had a great time. After deciding to shift from the Maine trip, I started looking at the website and realized that he’s the PERFECT age to visit.

Here are our reasons for making a completely kidcentric vacation choice:

– The place is PERFECT for a three-year-old. He’s never been on rides and has a major aversion to getting his face wet, but the rides here seem like he can handle them and will probably love them, and the variety of water areas (gentle, wild, etc) are great to test out his fears. (He loves splashing and playing in water, so there’s a splash pad area that he should love no matter what.)

– It’s a special time, being pregnant and knowing that it’s our last summer with an only child. Yes, I have dubbed it “The Summer of Hadley” and I am totally cool with that.

– It’s not too far away. Bam.

– There are options to use local hotels that are family friendly and have a shuttle to get to the joint; the fact that we’re going for an extended weekend and won’t have to pay for parking (since there are tons of extra costs with this option) adds up. ***Since I’m preggers, I may be able to get half off my ticket when I get there since I can only do a few of the rides and the gentle water areas; fingers crossed!*** 

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I usually try to fit in some history, a fun kiddo activity (usually museum-based), animals, and so forth into a vacation. This summer, however, we’ve got this all covered with the other cheaper activities we have planned throughout the season.

Stay tuned for a blog post about how we’ll be hitting all these marks, and inexpensively

First World Issues

Today’s post is probably the most random of random posts I’ve ever shared…and I’ve shared some super random stuff. So, if you’re in a “train of consciousness” mood, follow along. Otherwise, see ya Wednesday! 😉

(No, really. You can stay. Just keep the eye rolls to a minimum.)

I’m perplexed. On my slow-but-constant quest to better this here blog, I’ve stumbled over a technological conundrum.

See, my less-than-a-year-old HP laptop suhuuucks. I had a Dell before that for numerous years and I knew I didn’t want another. Well, now I know I definitely don’t want an HP. The issue here is that I’ve had it so long that it’s not returnable (I assume; I suck at calling customer service #nopleasedontmakeme). Plus, the issues I’m having with it seem to be everyone’s issues with the thing (the touch pad decides to stop working every so often, in addition to other system crashing annoyances), so I clearly don’t want a replacement. After numerous Google searches, it seems to simply be what it is. 

I’m not sure how to dispose of (or possibly sell? Who’d want it?) this one in order to purchase a new one. Wop-wop. 

And that’s where my question turns into a two-parter.




I’ve also been saving my pennies here and there (namely from my work for Green Child Magazine which, honestly, isn’t like work at all) to buy a low-end DSLR camera. I’ve been pining about it for about 2-3 years, and I’m reaching the point where I’ll be able to make that investment shortly. Er. Maybe. 

Since I’m an overthinkerus maximus, I’ve been weighing which option to get (Canon Rebel or Nikon 3100 refurbished or 3200…or something else). But, now that I’m close, I look at the literally hours that I’ve added to working on my writing on my HP Crapfest 2000 and find myself thinking, “Uuuummmm, maybe I should get a replacement laptop instead.”

Damn.

So, here we are. My first world issues. We eat mostly organic food. We have warmth and comfort (not just in the form of cat heat). We don’t get snowed/rained/hailed on. We. Are. Majorly. Lucky. I’m a brat that I’m even concerned about this, in all honesty.

Yet, I need your help. If you’d like to enable my brattiness (j/k…kinda), please vote on what YOU would do in my situation. Plus, feel free to hit up the comments to weigh in about it, and be sure to add your two cents as to what brands you prefer (either camera- or laptop-wise). Oh, and while I’d love to have an Apple product, it just ain’t in the cards so don’t bother suggesting it. 😉 

Please and thanks!!

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Impatient Parenting

Today’s Tip – Keep It Movin’

This is part of a new series that I’m lamely calling “Today’s Tip.” I’m hoping to share little tips and tricks (or “life hacks” as the kids these days are saying) to make your life just a wee bit simpler. The topics will range from parenting to cleaning to green living to just general time savers…and anything else that pops into my brain that might be helpful.


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Happy Monday (and a happy birthday to our very own Dorky Daddy)! As my mom always asks, “Did you get much done over the weekend?” If you didn’t, don’t worry. Today’s tip is my new motto for weekends (which I’m still struggling a little bit to uphold).

On weekends, it’s easy to give yourself carte blanche to put your feet up and relax or go out and fill the time with fun. I mean, that IS why weekends were invented, right? Then, come Monday, it’s tough to get back into the swing of things, motivated enough to get anything done. And, honestly, this tip is as much for me as it is for anyone else out there. I struggle with it.


My tip today might not be a popular one (heck, I don’t like it sometimes) but it’s effective. Here it is – 

This tip isn’t about health, but we all know how hard it is to start exercising when you’ve let it fall off your radar for awhile. That’s what happens on a Monday after a weekend (or vacation) of inactivity of any sort.

I’m not advising you to give up all of your precious free time to complete housework and projects. However, by giving yourself a small list of things to do and then allowing yourself a well-deserved movie or time to chill (or whatever!), you tend to feel like you earned your downtime and were simultaneously productive with your spare time.

I know this may suck since you work your tail off all week. I understand; really! But, come Monday morning, it’s a lot easier to transition into your duties for the day and you still feel like the weekend was well-used.

The 10 Things You Innately Know from Living with Winter

So, I live in Central New York. (Some might call it “Upstate,” but I beg to differ.) It’s definitely not the snowiest place in America…but it has its moments. This winter hasn’t been the worst by any means. The snowfall, so far, hasn’t been as bad as initially predicted, but the temperatures have been pretty arctic. For those of you who happen to live in a warmer climate or who get minimal winter-ness, here are some of the things I’ve learned from being a lifelong snow dweller.

– The words fallwinter, and spring have no real definition. MWAHAHAHAAAA!!! Calendar?! Ridiculousness. Our Halloween costumes have to be made/purchased at least a size or two too large to account for the puffy coat that we inevitably wear underneath. Heck, we’ve had a snow day or two the day after. So, needless to say, our weather sticks its icy tongue out at pretty much all seasons except for summer. It generally means that we REALLY have to make fall and spring count (and sometimes spring lasts only a couple of weeks).  

– But, wait, there’s more. Just as “seasons” should always be in quotations, so is it that March 20 should not be considered the official start of spring. We often get some high snow totals late in the season (although the accumulation doesn’t always stay as long, whew). So, even when we get a nice, balmy 40-degree day in early March, it doesn’t mean that we’re out of the woods for more of the white stuff. You pretty much have to hold your breath and wait.

– Complaining is futile. Ha ha! No, really. It is. This is a big pet peeve of mine. I don’t like the “why don’t you move some place else?” response because, well, it’s not always viable and when people DO head down south (I’m talking to you, snow birds…you muckety mucks), they call or post on Facebook about how gorgeous it is. When they head back up north in the summer, they say nothing of the horrible humidity or bugs the size of your fist that they’ve escaped. I call them fickle. And apparently muckety mucks.

But, seriously, as with almost everything in life, it’s uncontrollable. Does complaining really get us anywhere? Show your class and suck it up. (I went there.)

– You can instantly tell by the size, velocity and shape of the snow whether it’s good for playing. The best snow for building snowmen and snowballs has a slightly higher moisture content; it’s gotta be packable. The light, fluffy stuff is dryer and won’t hold together. So, yeah. Useless knowledge. Thanks, NY. 

– Weight is your friend. I never took Physics, but living in a snowy spot has taught me a thing or two. I was recently following a pick-up truck (almost every pick-up driver thinks that they are immune to the slippery nature of the season, BTW; they’re often the first heard complaining about how slow others are driving). We were both behind a school bus, and while starting back up after every stop it made, I observed as the truck’s back wheels spun from side to side, along with the flatbed. I also noticed that the front was weighed down by an attachable plow.

So, scientifically speaking, this pick-up was on the small/light side. The heavier front caused by the plow blade + slick road conditions – proper weight in the back = stupid driving conditions.  

I learned this when I had a half hour drive on some very steep hills and on back country roads while driving a tiny Nissan Sentra. Before the winter hit, I always put weight (there are bags specifically designed for this purpose) in my trunk, directly over my back tires. While it didn’t solve the problem completely, it helped tremendously and allowed my tires to grip better and avoid fishtailing. It worked so well that I still do it in my 4-wheel-drive SUV. It surprises me how few of the locals I know do this. Dave didn’t when I met him, and it was totally normal for him to spin out and lose complete control over the vehicle. Obviously, he uses them now with the little guy in the car.

– Slow is a good 4-letter-word. Okay. This is a bone of contention between snow people. Some say that if you’re accustomed to the weather and have your vehicle prepared properly, you can drive the speed limit, or higher. Others feel that if there’s snow in sight – like snow banks anywhere, even when the roads are perfectly dry – you need to drive super slow. I pretty much disagree with both and fall some place in the middle. 

“Slow” isn’t necessarily a hair-pulling trigger; it’s caution and shows that a driver is actually using their head. There can be too much of a good thing, though. So, if it’s snowing and the streets have a layer of it, or the roads are a bit wet and the temps are below freezing, slow the heck down. Don’t worry about the moron riding your tail (except that when you hit an icy patch and are forced to slow, yes, they will reside in your car’s back seat). Black ice is real and it’s terrifying.  

 The day will come when 30 degrees means a party. We had this last week. Several days of below-zero weather, then out of the blue a glorious near-30 day was predicted. “Head for the drifts!” the teachers shouted to their students. A 30-degree day in the spring or fall (or in, say, Georgia) can be unbearable; a 30-degree day in January is downright comfortable. (And don’t even get me started about 40. Heeeaaaaven!!) 

– Cut the meteorologists a break (but do listen to them). When I refer to “meteorologists”, I don’t mean the national weather folks. I mean, pay attention to the ones who know your specific area. For some strange reason, national news outlets have paid a hell of a lot more attention to our weather models this year than in years gone by (and it’s not a worse weather year at all), meaning that they tend to report incorrectly and over-hype every storm. They haven’t come close in most of this year’s scenarios. At the same time, we’ve had one or two “were supposed to get something but didn’t receive a flake” busts, as predicted by our local experts. But, that’s okay. As a New Yorker, you learn that they’re doing the best they can while reading numerous, at times highly conflicting, models. They don’t deserve to be sacked. They deserve a damn medal.

So, yeah, living in a snowy area means that you learn how to read weather reports and generally prepare for the worst (as well as the best) case scenarios. And you generally shake your head every time some fool heads for social media to vent their frustrations…over weather…which not one single person can change or control. 

 This, too, shall pass. Some winters pound you with several inches of snow every other day, with darn-near constant blustery conditions. Those winters, it’s tough to get your brain out of a seasonal depression. (Needless to say, this winter is not this bad. It’s quite cold, sure, but we’ve had some sun, at least.) When those down-in-the-doldrums winters strike, I’ve always been good at reminding myself that one day, it would end. And it always does. Even if you have a flurry on your May 1st birthday (which I had when I was a kid), it will go away. That said,…

– Enjoy it while you can. This goes both for the snow and cold as much as for the sun and warmth. I guess this could also be said for life, but that’s a whole other conversation. My personal favorite of living in a 4-season environment is the change from one to the next. The first snowflakes of the season are magical and exciting. The first warm day of spring (or summer) is soul-charging. As I mentioned above, it will be gone before you know it, so take it in stride and enjoy the beauty. 

What can you add to the list, snow dwellers?
I’m sure I’m missing something! 😉

Why We Do What We Do

It’s pretty obvious that I’m sporadic about my blog post topics. Welcome to my brain! For being a boring librarian (psht, if you believe THAT, you don’t know my librarian friends…), I have a million different interests. Things that I’m incredibly passionate about. Sometimes I’ll talk your ear off about them; other times, I don’t want to come off as a lecturer, so I’m pretty silent. So, depending on what’s boiling to the top at the time, it’s what I post.

I’d like to have more focus, but ultimately it’s important for me to say this: Just because I’m not posting about it doesn’t mean that it’s fallen off of my priority list. I may be “living it” or quietly doing my thing without telling the whole world about it.

Whenever I do a reader survey, I find out that everyone reads for different reasons – yet another reason I’m sticking to my “variety is the spice of life” posting style. But, I also tend to get questions about things that I might have posted about several years ago. Namely, our green practices and eating habits.

So, today I’m getting into it. Why we make the choices that we make.


We eat (mostly) organic. Currently, we’re taking part in a challenge to try to weed out a bit of our processed foods a bit. Why? Several reasons. We’re more mindful about the food that goes into our bodies. It has value to us, unlike “Value Meal” items (which degrade the lives that were given for the meal). But, most importantly, we have read and looked into the connection between pesticides/chemicals and cancer rates (and other health issues), and would like to lessen our chances at any cost. So, yeah.

We care about the lives of the animals we consume. Believe me, I only wish we could be vegetarians. I do. Deeply. We adore animals, domesticated and wild. We’re trying to get back into a healthier flexitarian diet. But, ultimately, we do our best to buy locally-raised (generally grassfed and humanely treated) meat and poultry, but at least look for a “humane” seal on packaged meat bought elsewhere. It. Just. Matters. An animal died for your dinner. Shouldn’t it have at the very least had a non-abusive life lived close with nature? We think so.

We don’t eat locally, but we’d like to more. The main reason we don’t purchase all of our food locally is probably the reason that a lot of people don’t – convenience. With our work schedules and a little monkey to chase after, it’s a miracle that I get to Hannaford weekly/bi-weekly (and the rare times that I get to Aldi). Another reason is that it’s difficult to get to the infrequent farmers’ markets during this cold part of the year. Between hopefully purchasing a CSA share and hitting up the markets more when the warmer months hit, we hope to amend this.

We’re conscientiously green. I say it this way because we’re not yet to the height that we’d like to achieve, but we’re doing our best. We use reusable lunchware and natural toiletries, cosmetics and cleansers. We try to use rags and other reusable items and minimal disposable goods. The list goes on, but we’re far from zero waste. 

There are several reasons that I like to think of us as “green family.” When I was a teenager, I loved the old hippie movement. I idolized the motivation it took for a vast group of people to stand up for their beliefs (namely, that of equality and peace), despite the opinions of the older generations. I listened to their music, wore their clothes, and allowed many of their views shape my current thinking. I longed for my own movement to support, but nothing concrete showed itself.

As time went on, though, my life became normalized and responsible, and I grew further from the true social issues that have been bubbling and developing. I felt that I couldn’t ultimately have a say or truly create the change I had hoped for, anyway.

Instead, however, I discovered my priorities. Along with a husband who shared my views, I gradually learned that those early Earth Day lessons from elementary school had stuck, our opinions about animals were passionate, and our views on all things based in chemical nastiness had no place in our lives (or damaging our world).


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I’m sure I’m missing some things that people have wondered about over time, so feel free to leave a question in the comments! Ultimately, our lifestyle has become such a natural one (in more ways than one) that I forget to post about things that have become routine.

Cat Relationships Be Weird, Yo

A vast majority of the time, our cats ignore each other. Sure, they full-on live with each other and at rare times even make eye contact. But, for the most part, they keep to themselves and seem to pretend that maybe, just for a mere second, they’re the “only cat.” And they’re each happy with that.

But what strange, subtle relationships exist. Staring ahead blankly while your brother cat licks your butt for five minutes straight. Sleeping on the opposite ends of a bed for literally the entire day (or sometimes even curled up near each other…merely for the heat source, of course, Mama; no affection intended here). Bathing each other without actually acknowledging each other. It takes a lot of talent to act that complacent.

Other times, they use each other as a means of getting food. Lately, we are incapable of sleeping past 5am (sometimes far earlier) without one of them becoming a wildcat due to an empty belly. Wildcat is code word for bully, but as we all learned in the school yard, “if someone hits ya, hit ’em right back.” {I, for one, disagree with that logic. My cats do not.} So, we have to hiss or stomp or spray them, which only keeps them apart for juuuuust enough time to snuggle back into our warm bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. Once fed, they go back to living in their own worlds.

Yet, we know. We know that, while he lives for the moments when his tiger brothers are napping away the day so that he can rub all over us and be the little-do-they-know kiss-up of the group, Winston adores his brothers. He especially loves Hadley. He’s almost always nearby, either watching Hadley play (partly with caution, partly as if to say, “Whatchya doin’?”) or curled up near his bedroom to keep an eye on things. Highly intelligent, I think he appreciates and relates to Hadley’s innate mischievous nature. 

Beardslee watches over him, too, but in a slightly more detached way. Actually, that’s pretty much his role in the house. He’s the boss supreme. Winston may be the brains of the operation, Beardslee has control and power. While he sleeps about 90% of the day away, he’s clearly king. If you pick him up (or do anything he doesn’t prefer), he’s got enough force in his body to push an adult human on their butt. Strong. But, he’s also the soulful, kind orange tabby that reminds us, daily, that our hearts would break without his constant presence. I cry just thinking about the day that he’s no longer with us.

Jasper, on the other hand, has always worn his heart on his sleeve. He loudly springboards into the crib and sometimes shares the end of the bed (or even lays ON the little guy’s legs and belly, much as he does with Dave) for entire naps. He instantly starts to purr when he is paid the least bit of attention. It’s so easy for Winston to goad Jasper into fights; you can just look at the boy and he’ll hop over to know what he can do for you. Craves love, the poor thing. The fact that he’s not the smartest of creatures makes him seem like a foreigner who sometimes doesn’t understand what you’re saying, but who lives life with a great passion. Where Beardslee’s the soul, Jasper’s the heart of the house.

While I know that Dave and I have changed, particularly in our life priorities and life choices, since having Hadley, I am incredibly proud that we haven’t changed in our opinions of our first “babies.” Over time, we’ve either heard stories or been told that “things would be different when we had our own” child. Kind of funny, but we always balked (and were offended) at the thought. No, we wouldn’t love them or treat them any differently. And, boy, am I happy to report that we were true to our word. We spend tons of time with Hadley and try to have fun and let him know how much we cherish him, but we still steal special time with each fur boy, in the form that they each enjoy – solo time [often “naked time” after a shower for Winston (he’s very European)], simple petting and praise for Boo, and cuddling in bed every night with Jasper.

And here I always thought I was a dog person who just happened to have three super special cats (which is true). Turns out, I’m just an animal person. Dave and I can’t wait to continue raising the next generation of animal lovers. 🙂 

In Defense of Daniel

No matter what boundaries we parents swore we’d set (or still attempt to enforce), kids do an awful lot of TV watching. So, as parents to toddlers, we also ingest a ton of the stuff. Some of it’s awesome. Some of it’s pointless. Some of it’s downright stupid. Then, there’s “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”. 

There seems to be a clearly-drawn line between parents who hate-hate-hate “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and those who truly love it. I’ve seen fights erupt online (I’m not kidding) over whether the songs are the “most annoying things EVER” or if they’re useful tools to help our children learn, grow and understand how to deal with life’s little challenges. I’m usually put at ease, at least, by the fact that everyone agrees that we all miss Mr. Rogers, himself and the original show.

Image courtesy of PBS Kids

For those of you who don’t have little ones in your house (and presumably don’t have the opportunity to partake in the PBS Kids’ fare), “Daniel” is a cartoon-based show that loosely utilizes some of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe characters from “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” to teach the new generation a plethora of positive life lessons. Daniel, himself, is actually the son of Daniel Striped Tiger (the original adorable puppet character) and is about pre-K aged. His friends are the children of other known characters – O the Owl (lives with his uncle, X), Katerina Pussycat (Henrietta’s daughter), Miss Elaina (the daughter of Music Man Stan and Lady Elaine Fairchilde), and Prince Wednesday (whose old brother is Prince Tuesday, and parents are King Friday and Queen Sara).

The story lines are simple but incredibly realistic. So many of the topics – potty time, feeling left out, a new sibling, bath time, and many more – are ones that I either see firsthand with our own son or have seen over the years with my younger students.  

As a passionate fan of Mr. Rogers (the man AND the show), I was immediately skeptical a couple years back when Dave happened upon that familiar trolley sound, accompanied by unfamiliar cartoon characters. The questions arose: “Wait, are those the same characters from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, or…they’re their kids. Lady Elaine’s not a b**** anymore? Get out!” and “What would Fred think?” and “There’s something way too basic yet not at all pandering about this…” So. Many. Questions.

But, after awhile, the questions died down and we all found ourselves truly enjoying the thing. Yes, most of the songs are definite earworms that we find ourselves humming while doing dishes, but that’s the charm. They’re so simple yet so memorable that they fit perfectly into our lives, good for calming down both child and parent when an emotionally-charged moment could be turning out badly. And the GET kids. Like, really GET them. (One reason we’ve finally, after a long-felt annoyance over Caillou, given in. We like it because it’s exactly the stuff a young child goes through, said the exact way a child would.)

Plus, the show is actually produced by the Fred Rogers Company (which is also partly responsible for “Peg + Cat”, which we LOVE; that one’s just as enjoyable for the parents, if not more so). Not only is it funding the project, but it’s letting viewers know that, yes, Fred Rogers would appreciate this and encourage its use. If we can’t have Fred, Daniel’s the next best thing.

In fact, I like to think that Daniel’s “neighborhood” is actually an actualization of the world Mr. Rogers hoped to create. The kids on the show (be they animal or otherwise) are the next generation to reap the benefits of those raised on his ideals of love, acceptance, specialness and patience (among others); just as we were raised with these warm thoughts, we can pass them on through Daniel (as well as through the innate lessons we learned from him). The fact that every adult seems to universally know the exact same song for potty use may seem ridiculous to us as adults, but in fact it’s showing an environment filled with adults who all completely love, support and nurture the children in the neighborhood, giving them the ultimate sense of security. It’s idealistic, but if one can’t have some ideals, one can’t have a future worth looking forward to.

So, sure. We’re Daniel fans. We love that he’s still young enough to have his insecure, need-your-parents moments yet gaining his independence in leaps and bounds. We love that Miss Elaina wears backwards clothes and is boisterous. We love that O the Owl is highly literal and far more into books than playing pretend. We even love the ridiculousness that Prince Wednesday’s brother, although an heir to the throne, works as a babysitter and waiter. It’s all good.

And we’re sure that Hadley’s gaining from that good, in turn.

Our Kid is Healthier Than We Are

Much like my post of yore about our earth-friendly cats (just one kitty at the time of writing), it’s time to fess up about our toddler boy: he eats better than we do.


Well, for the most part. I mean, he’d still live on pickles, PBJ, mac ‘n cheese, pizza and pancakes if we’d let him, but as far as a diverse and well-rounded diet? I think he’s got us beat.

And, yes, I get the irony of the thing. I’m the one making these healthy choices for him, after all. I mean, we often ask him his opinion between two healthy options (or ask him which “meal” he wants and stick in fruits/veg as a side), but we’re also pretty lucky that he’s not a super picky little guy.

When I sit down to eat a lunch with him, I occasionally find myself thinking, “Hmm. How is his healthier than mine? Maybe I should skip the chips for an apple…” And, while Dave is a salad fiend, he’s probably the pickiest eater in the house (sorry, hon! At least you eat tomatoes!), so I find myself having a difficult time finding new recipes to try that we’ll ALL enjoy.

So, while we’re not working towards a weight-loss resolution this January 1st, one of my hopes is to get healthier as a family. As I mentioned in my “intentional New Year” post, we’re researching our CSA options (but that won’t take effect until late spring) and work towards purchasing more fresh fruits/veg and breaking our processed food habit. We’ve fallen off the farmers’ market bandwagon (we only went a few times this year), so hope to start hitting up the couple of winter market options. Soon.

The funny thing is that, while a lot of people use this time of year to focus on weight-loss and health, I find that my body starts to actually crave lighter foods. After the glut of sugar (and, believe me, I’m downright addicted to sugar), fat and generally heavy meals during the holidays, there’s nothing I want more than a nice salad or roasted vegetables. I’m hoping, also, to find a few nice vegetarian main meal recipes to throw in the mix.

Anyhoo, here’s some of Had’s advice (paraphrased) for you —

* If you love something, it’s delicious, even if it’s good for you. (Find what those delicious healthy things are and enjoy. He eats fruit and yogurt or pure applesauce as voraciously as he does a slice of pizza.)

* Try everything, at least once. (He will get three or four mouthfuls of something before he realizes that maybe, just maybe it sucks. By then, I can convince him to finish. ;-))

* Share! (I’ll often split an apple with him since he doesn’t generally eat an entire one on his own. I have to remember this when I choose to eat a pickle with a sandwich; he WILL see it and he WILL want one, too.)

* Mix-and-match. (Don’t just try to eat boring, good-for-you stuff. A sandwich or wrap is okay if it’s made with minimally-processed bread and healthy toppings, especially extra veggies. Hadman will even eat a complete salad if we drizzle a tiny bit of natural, organic ranch dressing on. Don’t beat yourself up over the “bad” on your plate; pat yourself on the back for upping your intake of the “good.”)

* Don’t drink soda. (I’m sure he would if he could…but I won’t allow it. Ain’t nobody got time for that crap. As it is, I’m trying to ween him down from the watered-down juice. Gah.)

* Treats are treats. (You’re not entitled to them — and, crap, neither am I. Hadley’s “treat” is all-fruit, all-natural fruit “gummies.” He gets them maaaaaybe once a week. Lately, he’s also been getting my gingerbread cookies a little bit, but he still knows they’re treats and that it’s a BIG deal to get them.)

   
I think it’ll be easier, in all, to remember our monkey’s relatively stellar diet the next time I start to choose a bagel over fruit and yogurt.