a view at the very top!

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hi! we arrived in colorado a few days ago¬†and it’s GORGEOUS here!¬†and can you even believe it, we needed coats this yesterday morning when the kids woke up and went outside for a bit before breakfast! what?!

anyway, i’ll share more later but wanted to share a bit from last monday when we visited the observatory deck at the world trade center in the city. we visited the memorial last year and had a really special experience, so¬†we’ve been excited to go back to see¬†the tower with the kids and the incredible views of the city now that it’s finished.

those views of all of new york at the very top are something else!¬†the elevator ride up though might have been our favorite part. it’s maybe a 45 second ride, literally blasting you up to the top!

here’s a few photos from our monday there…

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oh man, the bottom of my shoe in this photo. welcome to new york. :/

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ps, my shirt is from here. and i had to buy it in both colors cause it’s making all my nursing dreams come true.

mon4385mon83875mon94764here is a shot of eleanor in the elevator on the way up. they show a pretty incredible time-lapse video that shows what the view from the elevator would have looked like over the last 500 years.
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these views are just breathtaking! after all these years living in this crazy beautiful city, i’m still in awe of it every day. i feel like samson every time the subway train is approaching the station, haha! he freaks out and his jaw drops and he even starts to clap! i’m the same way every time i’m in a tall building that has any sort of view of new york.

mon7984365mon74832mon05876eleanor’s sweet shirt is a new version of the hot dog pretzel NY top!¬†i mean, lo mein pizza NY? yes please!

mon864also, we are suckers for food shops and had to stop by their little dining spot at the top. this guy and his pretzels!mon9576mon9458756can’t believe these three beautiful children right here are mine and also, that they are growing up in this incredible city as their home base. all of my loves in one picture (well, josh is off to the side, and there aren’t any chocolate chip bagels in this photo either, so never mind…. a few of my loves in one picture.)

bike rides to costco!

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one of the nice things about city living is the fact that having a small space forces us to really take a good look at everything that comes in our door. ¬†we’re only going to buy things in bulk that¬†we absolutely must. ¬†we used to buy a lot more in bulk, everything from food to house hold items to cleaning supplies. but now with 5 of us in our 2 bedroom nyc apartment, there’s not a lot of room to stock up. but there are a few things we still get in bulk, diapers being one of them. we’ve learned from unfortunate experience that running out of diapers with babies is basically the worst thing ever.¬†since we’ve often had 2 of our 3 little ones in diapers at the same time, it’s kind of necessary to be prepared and buy in them in larger quantities. it’s different for each family and living situation, but having extra diapers at our home is what works for us¬†and has¬†been a good way to save!

we’ve partnered with Huggies today, which is¬†our favorite brand of diapers, a brand we have really liked and used consistently since eleanor’s birth four and a half years ago. they have new diapers out¬†called Huggies little snugglers plus¬†available only¬†at costco. one of the reasons¬†why we’ve been hooked on Huggies for the last several years¬†with our three kiddos and why we like these new¬†diapers is¬†because they are¬†soft and kind¬†to¬†our little ones’ sensitive skin. we feel like¬†these new diapers at costco¬†absorb really well¬†and are super reliable, which is kind of important with a diaper, if ya know what i mean. ;)

heading over¬†to costco is always a good idea too, because we love to make it a date (like the olden days) and get our fill of hot dogs or chicken bakes before we begin shopping. ¬†costco also carries our favorite parmiggiano reggiano cheese which josh swears is better and cheaper than¬†anywhere else in the united states, so between the diapers and the cheese (and sometimes ice cream sandwiches in bulk are a good idea, too!), it’s worth the membership. ha!

we took the bucket bike out for a costco run on our hot date a few weeks¬†ago. it’s practically a mini van by city standards, and since i find mini vans incredibly attractive, i feel like a cool mom when we take it out. ;) a few photos from our adventure below….

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^^^josh grabbed a slice of pizza on this trip. but i can’t be steered away from my chicken bake! bless you, costco!^^^

098hbab98a 9a8h9w8hbw9^^^while we were in LA a few weeks ago, our friend carissa cooked for us and used coconut oil. we picked some up to try her trick at home. we also got a big jar of almond butter to try in our smoothies for the first time. it was good!^^^

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biking by the conservatory¬†garden on the east side of central park was fun! we have still never been inside together! it looked so inviting and beautiful, too, so we put it on our list of places to check out before summer’s end.

thanks to Huggies for partnering with us on this post! you can also find Huggies natural care plus wipes only at costco as well, both of which provide “positively premium care” for your little ones. ¬†also thanks to new york for the bike lanes and beautiful weather, and to costco for making one mighty delicious chicken bake sandwich. :)

the best baby teethers, according to baby conrad.

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so perhaps teething was a big ordeal with both eleanor and samson a few years ago and i’ve just blocked it out (it’s likely), but i can’t recall for the life of me it being as much of an ordeal as it has been this past month with conrad. ¬†it’s been intense!

and i get it, i hate anything “teeth” related. going to the dentist is the worst.¬†:/ ¬†i¬†can’t imagine feeling teeth breaking through new¬†gums for the first time and having to rely on someone else to soothe me.¬†before his two bottom teeth poked through the other week, we were dealing with a lot of fevers and restless nights and constant cuddles. i tried EVERYTHING! i was so desperate. i know all little ones are so different, but these four things below have been our life savers the last month or so, so i wanted to share for any of you experiencing teethings woes in your own home!

ACCORDING TO CONRAD, THE BEST BABY TEETHERS!

mini pop molds
a girlfriend of mine had a little birthday party for her son last month and brought these mini homemade fruit and vegetable popsicles to the park for the kiddos to eat. little 7 month old conrad sat with his 1 year old friends and devoured 2 of them! i was both shocked and impressed that he was able to figure it out and enjoy it. i think it was so soothing for his little mouth and gums, he couldn’t get enough. ¬†so i’ve been making them out of pureed fruits or vegetables¬†every few nights and freezing a new batch. ¬†why i like these ones especially, is because the size of the popsicle is perfect for him. he’s able to suck and finish most of it before it’s a big melted mess all over the place! eleanor and samson have also been enjoying them.

colored rings
i was searching for new teething toy options last month and ordered a ton based off their amazon reviews.  these colored rings have proven to be his favorite of the batch.  i can loop one onto his stroller straps or his baby carrier straps so he can hold onto it and gnaw on it without it falling to the ground, which scores extra points in my opinion.

wooden rings
i remember eleanor and samson loving all things wooden to put in their mouths when they were teething, so we’ve been using some again with conrad. ¬†they’ve been great! if you can find some non-toxic wooden toys that are easy to grasp and hold (rings tend to be the easiest for conrad), it’s worth it! also, this pacifier clip¬†has been such a hit for conrad as well (wood and leather! haha! of course.) ¬†he refuses his pacifier so i don’t even know why we still have pacifier clips laying around, and¬†maybe the leather strap isn’t the best thing to put in his mouth, but it really comforts him and he loves it.

gummy stick baby gum massagers
these little gummy sticks have also been huge the last month for conrad. ¬†i think he enjoys the softer, rubbery texture of the tooth brush type top and¬†they can reach all the way to those harder to reach teeth¬†in the back of his mouth as he chews. they’ve been another big life saver over here!

eating out with littles!

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one of the things we love about living in new york city is the food! it’s all just so good, even when it’s terrible. ;) ¬† we tend to cook at home more often these¬†days with our¬†little ones, but we still enjoy eating out together! (you can find some of our favorite spots in my NYC GUIDES, ps.)

it’s fun to head to different neighborhoods and try new foods with our kids in tow, and despite what some might think, i believe new york is incredibly accommodating for families dining out (which is nice for a mama who struggles with consistent grocery lists and cooking routines, much to my mother and mother-in-law’s dismay. but yeah, new york is definitely a win-win for me¬†regarding this situation.

while eating our food¬†together can be an adventure in and of itself, for me, it’s also about the experience of going somewhere together, and having a good time with each other while we wait for our food to arrive, or as we choose which things to order. ¬†whether it’s our favorite spot to grab pizza or hummus, or a new restaurant we’re all trying for the first time, i sometimes think these experiences have helped our kids be more adventurous eaters, often¬†trying new things we don’t make at home.

i thought i’d share a few tips and tricks we have picked up over the past four and half years when taking our little ones to a restaurant. we definitely are always learning as we go, so would love to hear how you make it work for your family as well in the comments below!

5 TIPS AND TRICKS FOR EATING OUT WITH KIDS!

1. TIMING (FOR EXAMPLE, GO BEFORE THE CROWDS!)
if we’re heading to brunch on a¬†saturday morning or dinner on a weekday night, we’ll try to go earlier than typical peak times. this way, we avoid long lines or crowds and somehow the kids feel more manageable as well! and we are always conscientious of¬†nap times and bedtimes.

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2. VERBAL GAMES, CONVERSATION, ENGAGEMENT
we try really hard to keep our meals, whether at our home or¬†out,¬†entirely¬†about spending time talking and engaging with each other through conversations that include everyone or with verbal games.¬†¬†that’s not to say we haven’t experienced the kind of chaos while we’re out where we end up handing over an iPhone with a game on it to one of the littles to distract them or keep them in their seat, but that is the exception and has¬†rarely happened. we try really hard to keep our meals completely about spending that time totally¬†together,¬†and not about toys or iPads.

i’ve mentioned this before, but we love to ask each other questions. and it’s become second nature for eleanor and samson now to ask these sorts of things right when they sit down at the table! “how has your day been today, mama?” “what did you do today?” “what did your dream about last night?” we go around and make sure everyone gets a turn to answer if they’d like. and from there, more questions or conversations begin. josh and i also try to make sure if we’re chatting about anything to each other while we’re at the table with our kids, to be¬†careful what we’re talking about in front of them. ¬†these little ones are the best listeners and can pick up on our tone really well, too. ¬†that’s a whole other post though, because i have a lot of thoughts about what we should be saying, and not saying in front of our kiddos.

but anyway, right now, we love playing the¬†word association game at the table! eleanor grasps it really well and samson is catching on! it’s where i say “red” and then the next person says the first word that comes to their mind that “red” reminds them of, like “cherries” and then the following person says the first word that “cherries” reminds them of, such as “fruit.” and so on and so on. it’s so fun to see where it takes us! we’ll start with something completely innocent like “soda” and several rounds later end up on something totally crazy like “dragons!” naturally. (ps. it’s amazing how toddlers can work in “dragons” or “castle” to any kind of conversation, actually.)

we play a lot of “i spy with my little eye…” too. ¬†we try to not¬†have toys at the table (a little bit of a struggle right now since conrad really needs a few things to hold onto and put in his mouth since he’s so little), but¬†for the older two, i believe they are old enough to sit with us, and eat with us.

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(ps. sometimes, i have to remind myself to still let my kids be kids at the table though! eating rice with chopsticks is frustrating, i get it! sometimes you just gotta get into it with your hands!)

3. WIPE DOWN THE HIGHCHAIR
i feel like my kids have some of the best immune systems out there thanks to all the germs they encounter on a daily basis in this city (oh bless you subway pole that samson straight up licked last winter when i was taking him to art class in tribeca! HOW we didn’t get sick from that adventure i still haven’t a clue. but it’s a miracle.) even though we have been spared for now, i feel like highchairs in public spaces can be some of the stickiest and¬†grimiest surfaces. ¬†so i like to try to wipe it down a bit before placing conrad inside it. and since he likes to put things in his mouth right now, i try to wipe down the table edge near him and anything else within his reach. ¬†(if i’m really together i’ll bring fancy all purpose surface wipes with me,¬†but more often than not, i just use regular baby wipes. they might not even really pick up much dirt, but it gives me peace of mind. ;)

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4. ASK FOR A BOOTH OR CORNER SEAT
on this particular day while we were out, we ate outside since the weather was amazing and there was an open table, but sometimes requesting an available booth or a table in the back corner can help wiggly littles ones who have a tendency to want to run around stay in their seats a little bit better! in the kindest way possible, it almost traps them in! haha!

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5. ORDER RIGHT WHEN YOU SIT DOWN, AND ASK FOR THE CHECK WHEN YOUR FOOD ARRIVES, TOO
it’s nice to get the food on the table quickly. ¬†that’s not to say we don’t enjoy taking our time sitting together and eating our meal slowly, we do! but sometimes, it’s nice to get the order in just in case something happens and it takes longer than expected to get your waiter’s attention or the kitchen is really busy. ¬†(if we¬†haven’t had a chance to look over the menu before sitting down, we like to ask for some bread for the table so there is something handy for the kids if needed.) we also like to ask for the check once the food arrives as well, just so it’s out of the way and we can hop out of the restaurant at a moments notice¬†if necessary. ¬†it wasn’t always this way, but now with 3 little ones, sometimes it’s nice to just be ready! last but not least, tip generously. haha! i know it’s a lot to serve such a crazy bunch¬†and i so appreciate those that wait on our table in such a friendly and kind way. i know it isn’t easy for them when we¬†bring three kids along to a restaurant, so i think it’s important.

so those are pretty much our 5 biggest tricks we have discovered.  timing of our meal, games and conversations we can all participate in, wiping down the space for baby, asking for a corner seat or back booth, and ordering right when we sit down (and asking for the check when our food arrives, too.)

oh wait! i just thought of another. josh and i sometimes eat in shifts. ¬†so the food comes, and we switch off who is helping the kids, focusing on their needs entirely or holding conrad too for 10 minutes or so,¬†while the other one eats, and then we switch. ¬†that’s a minor one, and sometimes a bit of a struggle if we both ordered something hot! but it works really nicely for us.

anything i’ve left off this list that is key for your family?

my dinner in DC!

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while conrad and i were in DC earlier this week, i had the best time hosting¬†a¬†fun¬†dinner for¬†google and the google express team in at the jefferson hotel! ¬†one of my favorite things is meeting like-minded mothers who are passionate about raising their little ones¬†as well as pursuing other incredible outlets and gifts and i always leave their presence feeling inspired and encouraged. ¬†i was able to meet 30 remarkable women at this dinner and i’m still talking about them! josh is probably so tired of me weaving in yet another story about one of the ladies¬†into our conversations. haha!

it was also so great getting the chance to share my love for google express with these ladies over¬†dinner, because it’s been a game changer for us in terms of making city life easier this past year. if you aren’t familiar with their services, you¬†can order things from specific stores in your area (like costco, your local grocery store, target in a few zip codes including new york!, walgreens, etc,) and¬†even when you’re ordering 1 item from this store, and 4 items from another store, it’ll all be under one order, and delivered same day¬†to your door! i have the app on my phone, so i can do all my shopping through the app while i’m nursing conrad¬†and nothing makes me feel more productive than multitasking. ;) also, cheers to¬†anything that helps you¬†have one less errand and a few less things on your big old to-do list!

anyway, there’s a promo code at the bottom of this post for anyone who might¬†like to try google express out for the first time! and¬†you can click here to see if it’s in your area, since they are expanding and planning to serve more zip codes throughout the year.

a few photos from dinner!….

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the jefferson hotel lobby is so beautiful!

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oh hey, that’s me. standing in front of a backdrop the google express team made out of real flowers! it was so pretty.
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i had never tried red beet gnocchi before, but i need to find more! have you ever tried it? delicious.

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group photo!

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also, how great is this crate of little gifts google express put together for our guests! a few of my favorite things in there including a SELFIE STICK because you all know i haven’t shut up about mine the last few days since i got one. ;)
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so my friend (and josh’s cousin!) came in from virginia to watch baby conrad in my hotel room during the event.¬†towards the very end of the dinner¬†while we were having dessert, he woke up for her and was screaming and wouldn’t take the¬†bottle from her as she tried to soothe him. ¬†when i got her text i ran up to try to help for a few minutes¬†because i just can’t deal when my little ones aren’t okay.¬†after nursing him, he was fast asleep in my arms so i brought him downstairs with me for the last 15 or 20 minutes of the event while my friend took a break (lol! screaming babies! it’s a lot to handle, especially when they aren’t yours!). meredith, you are THE BEST! it was so fun having her come in too, because once the event was over we were able to just hang out and talk until after midnight in my hotel room (since conrad was back down for the night!) and i really needed that.

thanks again to google and the google express team for having me and to all the ladies who came! if you want to give google express a try, use the promo code EXPRESSDC for $25 off your first order for new costumers through august 5th! photos from the dinner via the google express team.