an afternoon of play at ny kids club

There is lots to love about the onset of fall... it's always been my favorite season in NYC. The added bonus of jeans and layers to cover "Yes, I'm blaming it on the baby" extra pounds agrees with me, what can I say. As a parent, though, the season starts to worry me a bit. Because beyond those gorgeous fall leaves and trips to the pumpkin patch, there are seemingly endless COLD months ahead. And the question of how to entertain the children and keep us all from getting cabin fever abounds.

Thank goodness for places like the New York Kids Club. A few weeks ago, I was invited to an afternoon of play and classes at their space on 22nd Street by MamaDrama Consulting. I brought Baby Sister with me and it was such a special afternoon... we haven't had a lot of quality time just the two of us, so I appreciated having an excuse to take the day off and enjoy some Mommy and Me time with her.

New Yorkers have a real appreciation for space, and the New York Kids Club facility is downright roomy. The play area is filled with cushion-y flooring and tumbling equipment (gymnastics is among their many offerings), and the place itself is squeaky clean. You'd never know there were kids running around everywhere- ha! A group of bloggers and I were invited to check out 3 mini classes that NYKC will be hosting this fall:

Cuentos Musica y Arte: a Spanish immersion class for ages 18-36 months, which encompasses music, storytelling, art and play. The instructors were friendly and engaging, and the class was conducted entirely in Spanish. Ole!

Infant Milestones: How I wish I'd known about this one when my girls were brand new! This class centers around the developmental patterns of infants through music, movement, tummy time and gentle massage, and the supportive environment is as much an asset for new babies as it is their mamas.

Musical Tots: Baby Sister hit the jackpot with this one -- she loves music, and this class is perfect for her age group (0-24 mos). This class takes your favorite songs and nursery rhymes and keeps them upbeat and fun, led by a guitar-playing and singing duo that might be trying out for Broadway on their off-time. Lotsa fun!

It was a perfect afternoon with my little gal, and I owe that all to the generous and loving staff at the New York Kids Club. Such a positive environment for our growing kiddies; I encourage you to check out their offerings!

Disclaimer: As mentioned, I was invited by MamaDrama Consulting for an afternoon of play. All opinions expressed are my own.


Lucky #13

Recently, I was asked to become a Kids Club 13 Ambassador... such FUN! Accepting was an obvious no-brainer. For starters, where would my life be without Dinosaur Train, Sid the Science Kid and last but not least, Sesame Street (my childhood & personal favorite). I owe a lot to this channel. Starting with the amount of time it occupies my toddler in the morning. I might still be taking a shower and getting dressed if it weren't for Elmo and the blessed words of "Dinosaur Train"... All aboard!

While on "assignment," so to speak, I will be checking out Channel 13 Partner venues (like the Rubin Museum of Art and Brooklyn Children's Museum) and highlighting their programs for kids throughout the year. I look forward to sharing with you even more of the amazing opportunities for children in the city... the number of which truly boggles my mind and keeps me excited about living here with little ones.

Now, on to the best part. As part of this partnership, I can give one Kids Club 13 Membership away to an NYC family who, more than likely, wakes up to Buddy the tiny T-Rex every morning just like I do.  The specifics of the membership can be found here, but let me highlight them for you:

-- You and your family are invited to 13 fun and fabulous events throughout the year (next up in September: Field Station Dinosaurs!), and at the duration of each event, you'll go home with a filled-to-the-brim gift bag (see Member Benefits). In a word: awesome!

-- Discounts at participating children's venues, museums and restaurants throughout the city. Hello, savings.

-- Your child's birthday will be seen on the air, more than likely while you're having your morning coffee and your kiddo is still in his pjs. Prepare yourself for the screaming that may ensue (possibly by you).

The membership regularly costs $75 and includes 2 adults and up to 3 children. Hurrah!

2 easy ways to enter via Rafflecopter: "Like" Baby Meets City's Facebook page and follow @KidsClub13 on Twitter. I will announce the winner in two weeks. Please leave me a comment with your email address so I'll be able to find you.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


officially counting down the days...

So, I haven't posted that much lately.

Life, and an increasingly busy work load, keep getting in the way of my computer time. I haven't even officially shared my excitement at being named a Kids Club 13 Ambassador (yippee... more on that later)! And the summer has managed to fly by, which while I'm ranting to all of Internet Land, seems horribly unfair.

Baby Sister continues to grow leaps and bounds and will likely be walking before the temperature cools. Toddler S has decided in the last month that she'd like to show me what being a "Terrible 2" is really like... how kind of her! While she's nearly potty-trained (hurrah) she's become increasingly jealous of her little sister, and the results make me question A) the best way to discipline B) how to keep my own temper in check and C) the closest place to purchase wine by the case. Thankfully, "this is just a phase" keeps ringing through my head. And for all of you who shared that pearl of wisdom with me... I'M HOLDING YOU TO IT!

Oh, and Husband decided to abandon the family for 5 weeks to work at the Olympics (almost the title of this post). Okay fine... "abandon" is a little strong. He's working for NBC, bringing you coverage on Olympic highlights, saying "cheerio" a lot and drinking free Starbucks coffee as he works the 6pm-6am shift. Ouch. Despite the hours, it's been an awesome experience for him. And being the supportive partner that I am (except on issues of taking out trash and remote ownership), I was 100% behind his going... until the date of his departure neared.

Then I started to panic.

Like all parents, we have a system down... you do this, I do that, when it comes to the girls. I was especially worried about being able to get ready in the morning, bedtime at night, and the long, LONG hours to fill on the weekend. I was nervous I wouldn't be able to do it all by myself.

While "success" seems like a strong word (especially after last night's adventure with bedtime, ending with one daughter in bed with me for the night... two guesses as to which one), we have persevered. We have managed. We've had some wonderful moments, and some truly trying ones. I might have cried. Twice. But the knowledge that I CAN do it, despite being so bleary-eyed that I can barely walk, is an achievement of sorts. And my respect for single mothers has gone THROUGH THE ROOF. My hat (and glass of vino) will be forever tipped to all of you.

We escaped to Georgia for a week to my parents' home (travelling through the Atlanta airport = not recommended with children), and I'd love to share a few of my Instragram pics with you. In the meantime, we're counting down the days till Daddy gets home (that would be 8, for the record). All ax murderers reading this, please disregard.

Helping Granddaddy feed the animals. Pretty sure we're not in NYC anymore.

Mozart in training?

When in doubt: poppers on steps & strolling babies on porch is entertainment.

Working on hippo impression.

Story time with Grandmama

Bath time!

Homemade peach pie & freshly churned vanilla ice cream -- thanks, Mom & Dad!


the family photo

We all want those perfect family photos, right? The ones where each child smiles adoringly, their cherub-like faces glistening sweetly in the sun with nary a trace of dirt in sight or hair out of place (looking lovingly at their parents is an added bonus). Because that actually exists, right? We have some wonderful photos of our cuties, don't get me wrong. I love snapping away and playing with Instagram (come find me!), but I enjoy letting a professional take over every now and again.

I was so pleased to meet Katie Marquart, a NYC photographer who specializes in lifestyle portraiture that truly encompasses it all -- from engagement sessions like this one to maternity and families (I challenge you not to sniffle a bit at these precious photos!) Originally from Wisconsin, this Midwest gal and her husband made their way to Manhattan's Upper West Side a few years ago, and have fallen in love with the city in the process. Katie's enthusiasm for NYC and its landmarks seeps through in her photography -- I love this family session on The Highline and in the Meatpacking District. Adorable! Katie's subjects shine as well as their surroundings.

Katie's background in childhood education is a real asset when photographing children. When we met with Katie last month in Fort Tryon Park (just up the street from Casa Baby Meets City), Toddler S was, shall we say, acting like a 2.5 year old. And not in a cute/fun way. On top of which I, with my stellar mothering skills, had forgotten to pack water. As the morning grew increasingly warmer, the Little Gal's mood went from grouchy to less than pleasant. Oh, and she's going through a "don't take my picture" phase. Great timing! Thank goodness for Katie -- she was funny, engaging and gentle with the girls. She got on their level and connected with them, snapping a few lovely photos in the process.

I'm not sure if "perfect" really exists, but these come pretty close. Here are some of my favorites. Thanks for a wonderful session, Katie!


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