the happiest time of year

There's no place like NYC at Christmas
 So the holidays are here (taking a moment to let that one soak in. Yep, still seems pretty  unbelievable). While I come to grips with how FAST this year has flown by, it makes me all the more determined to embrace every moment with the girls this season. I've always loved Christmas, but let's face it, kids make all the difference... their delight over every little thing (especially now that Millie is 3 and really starting to "get it") is fabulously fun and infectious. Truth: I'm kind of giddy just writing this post.

Another activity that gets me in the spirit is going through old holiday cards. And yes, I've saved them all... (insert pack rat joke here). I can't help myself -- I love looking back at old cards and seeing how my friends and family and their children have grown over the year. And being a lover of all things paper, I just adore looking at the card itself. Throw on a little Bing Crosby, make me a cup of cocoa and hand me a stack of Christmas cards and I am one happy chick.

This year, for our own card, we're choosing among the selections at Minted. ONE PROBLEM. I literally cannot narrow down the choices... there are SO many fun options. How do I love thee, Minted? Let me count the ways...

1) Easy selection: narrow your choices based on how many photos you want on the front of your card.

2) Choosing your card shape: How adorable that you can select what kind of edge your card will have -- from bubble scalloped to a waved frame. Now this is taking your holiday card to the next level, people...

3) Backer options: LOVE this. You can choose to add more photos, write a synopsis of your year's activities or just a quick holiday message. You also have the option of picking a coordinating pattern that goes with the card.

4) Design: Minted card designs, quite simply, speak for themselves... check out some of my favorites below. Now, which to choose?!?!?! 

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. Minted.com is providing me with credit to purchase holiday cards, but all opinions expressed, as always, are my own.


big apple books: the little red lighthouse & the great gray bridge

The Little Red Lighthouse and The Great Gray Bridge
by Hildegarde H. Swift

Let me start by saying that I'm a little partial to this story... I look out on "The Great Gray Bridge" (otherwise known as The George Washington Bridge) every day from my living room window, and it is one impressive piece of work. I love to see its beams lit up at night, and the GW is eerily beautiful when covered with fog in the morning (Millie often thinks she's disappeared altogether!)

First published in 1942, the themes within this children's classic are still relevant today. Essentially, everyone is important. We each have a role to play; something about us that makes us special and unique. And we must work together to get things done. It was the book's popularity that saved the Little Red Lighthouse when it faced being torn down in 1951. Amazing, right? The power of words never ceases to amaze me. There's even a Little Red Lighthouse Festival every year, where fans gather for tours of the lighthouse, a reading of the book and other related activities. I look forward to sharing this story with my gals when they're a bit older... we've made several trips to the bridge and lighthouse since moving nearby, so it will be fun connecting the three together.

Sunset views of the GW Bridge from my rooftop


fabulous FAB kids... & a giveaway!

I'm all for convenience these days, and when it comes to shopping, that means making most of my purchases online. Sort of ironic when I happen to live in one of the shopping capitals of the world... but there you have it. As a mama of two little gals, I could literally spend hours perusing the Internet. The degree of cute stuff out there is overwhelming, and if you find me in rags at some point in the near future while my children are dressed to the nines, well, don't say I didn't warn you.

My latest online discovery is Fab Kids. The website features adorable, interchangeable outfits for girls ages 2-8 years old. Sign up for their "Monthly Outfit Club" and an adorable 3-piece outfit will be sent your way each month, or skip a month and buy when you want. I love the fact FabKids' designers have created the outfits with style and playfulness in mind. Many of the separate pieces can be mixed and matched which makes for easy dressing in the morning. Hurrah!

After signing up, you'll take their "Style Quiz," and FabKids will choose outfits for your child based on your answers. Each 3-piece outfit costs $39.95, but you can try your first outfit for just $25 -- and did I mention free shipping and returns? This is a great deal and truly, a fun online shopping experience. I also love the fact that Christina Applegate is involved ("Up All Night" is one of my favorite shows!) -- she's FabKids' Creative Partner and is personally involved with style decisions. Lastly, I adore that FabKids was created by a team of parents whose aspiration is to empower young girls to express their individuality through fashion while making the shopping experience easy for busy moms like me.

Millie in her new FabKids top -- love the flower!

Now for the exciting part -- FabKids is generously providing 1 free outfit to a Baby Meets City reader. Hurrah! See Rafflecopter below for 3 easy ways to win:

Create an account on FabKids and tell me which outfit is your favorite.
Follow Baby Meets City on Facebook.
Follow FabKids on Facebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclosure: I was provided with a FabKids outfit for purposes of this review. All opinions expressed, as always, are my own.


a birthday recap...

Happy 3rd Birthday, Millie!
The little gals' birthdays are 8 days apart. Some might call that poor planning on the parents' part, others might say no planning at all (if you chose the latter, you would be correct).... which officially makes the first half of October a BIRTHDAY BONANZA at Casa Baby Meets City.

I must admit I do enjoy party planning, but two weekends of birthday parties and a whole lot of prep makes me think quite strongly about a little thing known as the joint birthday from here on out. What do you think? Is it cruel and unusual punishment? Comments, theories and suggestions welcome...

This year, however, they got their own celebrations. Vivian's included dinner at our apartment with a few friends and a birthday cake, with grandparents on both sides participating by i-chat and Facetime (we are a modern, high-tech family, after all). She was teething that week, so between her fever, watery eyes and general crankiness, it was a rockin' good time.

This will come as no surprise to anyone, but the Tot requested a dinosaur-themed birthday.... and away Mama went to Pinterest, Etsy and Google, oh my! After a little research, I quickly learned there is a LOT one can do with prehistoric creatures.

But first, a moment for my first born, Amelia "Millie" Perrin (I'm "divulging" names on the blog in honor of their birthdays this year -- and quite frankly, "Tween S" doesn't have much of a ring to it). Millie has truly grown so much in this last year... I don't know if it has to do with having a younger sibling, but she just seems like such a BIG GIRL all of a sudden. In the last few months, she has developed an opinion about everything, enjoys "helping" in the kitchen and for the most part, plays really well with Vivian and is very protective of her. Millie has a really sweet disposition, her laugh is infectious and GOOD GRIEF does this girl have some energy. As any parent of a toddler can attest, she has her moments, but life truly wouldn't be the same without her.

Now, on to the dino party! Thanks to Zazzle, Oriental Trading and a few different shops on Etsy (including Emily's Shop, where I found Millie's reversible dino/daisy dress-- too cute!), I was able to find party supplies like personalized "thank you" stickers, invitations, cupcake liners, and party favors. Recipes and party food ideas came courtesy of Weelicious and Pinterest. We had so much fun!

"Dino feet" as you entered the party space 
I split the food up by "Herbivores," "Carnivores" and "Dessertivores"
Dino toys come in handy for decorating!
"Volcano" cake with personalized "Millie is 3" cake topper from Zazzle
Wall decal which I personalized myself (from Zazzle)
This photo wall is just wrapping paper! The pictures against it turned out really cute...
(party hat from Oriental Trading Co.)
Well, here's where it all went downhill (temporarily) - she cried when we sang her "Happy Birthday"!
Adorable "thank you" stickers which I put on her goody bags to friends
(from Zazzle)
Happy Birthday to my sweet 3 year old!
(mask from Oriental Trading Co.)
** Please note there were actual people at the party, I just didn't feel comfortable plastering other kids up on the blog without their parents' permission.

** Please also note that I wanted to "take to my bed" and sleep for a few days after 2 weeks of entertaining, but as the old saying goes, there's no rest for the weary... or mamas.

As a result of this birthday bonanza, it appears I now have a 1 and 3 year old on my hands. Wow... time is flying by, and I'm doing everything I can to slow it down as much as possible.

Happy weekend!

Disclaimer: I was provided with product from Zazzle for purposes of this review. I purchased everything else myself, and as always, opinions are my own.


7th generation's new baby care line (& a giveaway!)

Isn't it funny how becoming a mother makes you look at the world differently -- I find myself inspecting every little thing now, especially when it comes to what my children put in their tummies and on their skin. I read labels from start to finish, and then read them again because in most cases, I've never heard of half the ingredients.

Simply put: I'm very careful about what my children eat (although let's not be crazy, they had fish sticks for dinner... though they were organic!) -- AND what goes on their skin. With all the choices out there, it can be hard to find a product that is pure and natural, good for your precious one and the environment.

That said, I'm so excited to spread the word about Seventh Generation's new baby care line, which includes sunscreen, foaming shampoo and body wash, diaper cream and body lotion.

Some of the new line highlights:

- First complete line of USDA-certified biobased baby care products
- Endorsed by Healthy Child, Healthy World
- Products are gluten-free
- No synthetic fragrances, phthalates, parabens (all ingredients of concern)
- Tear-free, no worries about getting in eyes
- Non-toxic, biodegradable formula
- Made with natural ingredients that come from plants and minerals
- Extra-virgin olive oil to moisturize and protect

*Having tried the line myself, I also want to add that the scent is fresh and light without being too "perfume-y" (which I hate in bath products)

Bath time!
Additionally, I sat in on a very interesting call last week with representatives from Seventh Generation, The Motherhood and founder of Liddle Kidz Foundation (a children's health and nurturing touch organization), Tina Allen. We discussed Seventh Generation's commitment to safe products and the benefits of baby massage, which is known to deepen bonding between mother and child, improve communication, contribute to development and helps baby to sleep better.

Here's a quick video on the benefits of infant massage:

Now, ready for the exciting part? I'm giving away 2 Seventh Generation baby care gift baskets via Rafflecopter (see below), worth approximately $50 each! Woohoo!

2 easy ways to win:
-- Follow Baby Meets City on Facebook
-- Follow Seventh Generation on Facebook

I'll pick a winner next Thursday, November 15th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with compensation and product by The Motherhood and Seventh Generation. Opinions expressed, as always, are my own.


how you can help...

I have to admit something. I thought all the hoopla over the approaching storm last week was a bit overblown. Sandy is such a nice name, after all -- I mean Olivia Newton John, for crying out loud! In fact, I was sure we had another Irene in our midst (last year's tropical storm that didn't end up amounting to much).

What a mistake I made. Though my neighborhood in Upper Manhattan was extremely lucky with no loss of power or water, I unfortunately can't say the same about other parts of the five boroughs. Lower Manhattan lost power for a week (some buildings still don't have heat or water), and Staten Island and the Rockaways in Long Island were mercilessly hit -- there is loss of life, flooding, countless homes destroyed and many, many families left trying to pick up the pieces.

I've never been so wrong in my life.

It's particularly hard when devastation strikes so close to home, but equally inspiring when you see so many people helping their neighbors -- and that is what I have chosen to dwell on in times of struggle. There's a quote by the beloved Mr. Rogers that I find comforting:

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."

At the risk of just repeating the same info, I want to refer you to some local listings by other NYC bloggers that have done a great job of providing pertinent info on how to donate goods, money or your time.

Won't you help?

Mom in the City posted 30 Ways NYC Families Can Help After Hurricane Sandy.

MomTrends is partnering with Baby Buggy on a diaper drive for families with young children.

Stroller Traffic offers a comprehensive list of donation ideas, including giving to K.I.D.S. (Kids in Distressed Conditions) -- I wasn't familiar with this charity, but am so happy to know about them.

Mommy Poppins highlights 5 Ways to Help Out -- somehow I missed that the New York Aquarium ENTIRELY flooded -- ugh!

Thanks to Motherhood in NYC and The Mama Bird Diaries for their thought-provoking posts sprinkled with humor. We have to remember to laugh even when the world is a mess, right?

Lastly, between today and Friday, November 9th, please bring diapers, baby formula, baby food and blankets to any New York Kids Club location.

NYC will come back -- it always does. But a large part of the resilience of this city is due to the people who live here. Let's all do our part, shall we?

the cover of this week's New  York Magazine
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