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Feb 10 2014

A Hawaiian Vacation is So Romantic… Unless You Bring Your Baby

By at 9:47 am

hawaii

When you think of Hawaii, you think beautiful beaches, hula dancers, volcanoes, and– perhaps most importantly–ROMANCE!

There’s a reason the tropical islands are among the top honeymoon destinations year after year, right? Lying on the sand, snuggling up with the love of your life, watching a beautiful sunset while drinking your fourth Mai Tai–it is paradise.

But that’s not how it panned out when I went to Hawaii with my husband, my 13-month-old daughter, and my parents recently. Actually, “romantic” was the last adjective that came to mind. Somehow the getaway felt more like a business trip. Just as a business trip can include a gorgeous location, phenomenal people, and delicious food where you leave learning a bit more about yourself, a trip like this was–for me–more than a bit of work. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 24 2013

Take a Staycation, Seriously

By at 10:14 am

beach goers under umbrellaSummer is yet another opportunity to feel bad about the places you haven’t traveled because you have young children and it’s too hard/expensive/logistically challenging. But I am here to tell you that there’s an answer, and it’s called “Take a Staycation and Send Your Kids to School/Daycare/Camp.”

Jon and I recently did just that. Much as we’d have liked to be back in Botswana, trekking in the bush and spying on elephants as we did when we were young and newly married, or at a B&B in the Berkshires drinking fair trade coffee and gearing up for a hike or a concert at Tanglewood, or in Guatemala boating on Lake Atitlan, we have toddlers and a bank account to consider. So instead, when a vacation week rolled around recently, we decided to try something different, something–I can’t believe I’m about to say this–just for us. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 25 2013

How to Vacation Without Your Kids Without Missing Them the Whole Time

By at 10:07 am

bed and breakfast“I want to hug that couple’s baby. Is that weird?”

I asked my husband this as we are sat poolside at our condo last year in the Turks & Caicos. Little Man and Bun Bun were 9 months old at the time and were staying with Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie while we took some much needed R&R. I was thrilled to be away, but suddenly, here was this little blonde Austrian baby-man, a doppelganger for my Little Man, and all I wanted to do was scoop him up in my arms, give him belly kisses, and maybe even wipe his cute little nose boogies.

Yeah, that wouldn’t be weird. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 29 2013

Five Things I Learned from a Disney Cruise with Four Kids, My Husband & My Parents

By at 11:34 am

jordana horn disney cruise princessThe late David Foster Wallace wrote a hilarious essay on his maiden cruise voyage entitled, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” the gist of which is aptly conveyed by the title alone.

I think the Caribbean sun melted my sense of sarcasm, because not only was it fun, but I’m definitely going to do it again. Really. I feel tanned, rested, and ready, because I have learned the following things from the past week.

1. Do not fear the words “Disney Cruise.” Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 18 2013

How in the World Do I Pack for Four Kids?

By at 2:51 pm

suitcase packed for vacationWhen I finish packing for this [expletive deleted] cruise, I will need a vacation.

That is what I found myself muttering as I brushed my hair back out of my eyes. In doing so, I wrote on my face with the permanent Sharpie marker that I’d been using to label Ziploc bags full of clothes in every size, for every possible sort of climate. Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo ain’t got nothin’ on me.

This Ziploc thing is me fighting my nature: I am a naturally disorganized person. I am definitely one of those people who sees my messiness as a sign of my creativity and latent genius. My lack of organization (or, as my mother has called it somewhat pejoratively, “slovenliness”), never bothered me back in my pre-child life. When I was looking for my black lace bra, I’d know it was probably on either the chair in my bedroom or under my dresser. Problem solved. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 22 2013

The Surprising Best Part of My Father-Son Weekend

By at 9:54 am

roller coasterIt all started with a simple invitation.

“I’ve got a movie in the Orlando Film Festival,” chimed an old pal, “and I’m bringing Ari [his 6-year old son] with me. How about you bring Gabe [my then 5-year-old] and we’ll make a father-son weekend of it?”

Sounded great to me. I was fired up for our first solo getaway, picturing an iconic weekend of roller coasters, cotton candy, pictures with the characters–the full Disney treatment. I’d create a memory to last a lifetime. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 23 2012

The Best Digital Cameras for Taking Photos of Your Kids

By at 12:04 pm
stacey ilyse photography

Courtesy of Stacey Ilyse.

Hey, I’m Stacey, a mom to my crazy drama queen little girl, Remy, who is almost (gasp!) 1 year old! I also happen to be a professional photographer. The lovely ladies at Kveller have so kindly brought me on board to share tips, inspiration, guidance, and more during your adventures in photographing your kiddos. I specialize in weddings and also, my passion, lifestyle family/children photography. Feel free to check out my work here.

In the meantime, have you ever wondered what the right kind of camera would be for your photo taking needs? Here are my suggestions, based purely on my preference (i.e. nobody’s paying me to say it).

I recommend two different cameras, both made by Canon. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 30 2012

Labor Day: How to Relax Over the Long Weekend

By at 6:08 am

mother and baby daughter on beachIt seems silly to call a trip with your toddler-aged children a “vacation,” right? I mean, we all know what “vacation” literally means — “freedom from duty, responsibility” — and hence, flying to the sunny shores of Florida with two 16-month-old children definitely shouldn’t qualify, right?

Wrong! I am here to tell you that I did indeed take a vacation with my husband and our twin 16-month-old toddlers last week. And no, it wasn’t always pretty, but YES, I did manage to relax and enjoy my time, despite their presence. So, if you’re planning a last summer hurrah over Labor Day, here are a few tips:

1. Snack cups. Seriously, the girls love these things. I don’t know if it has to do with being “in charge” of something, or an ownership thing, but the girls love to walk around with their fists clenched tightly around a snack cup (full of snacks, obviously). So we gave them snack cups at the beach, in the car, at the pool, etc. This occupied them far longer than you might expect. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 19 2012

Embracing My Fellow Russians of Brighton Beach

By at 3:59 pm

brighton beach vacationIf my life had followed the statistically expected trajectory, after leaving the Soviet Union in 1976, my family would have settled in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, home of the United States’ largest Russian-Jewish community. (It’s also very possible that I might have gone to Stuyvesant High School and thus met my husband about 15 years earlier. When, we both agree, I wouldn’t have given him the time of day. But, that’s another story for another time.)

We didn’t, though. We ended up in San Francisco, CA, instead. I stayed in California until the last week of 1994, whereupon I finally packed up and relocated to New York City. But, to Manhattan, not Brooklyn. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 5 2012

My Baby is a Better World Traveler Than Me

By at 11:48 am
geneva postcard

Bonjour, Geneva.

Traveling overseas is intimidating. And I say this as someone whose last several international destinations have included Ghana, India, and South Africa.

I hadn’t ventured abroad since early 2010, for a fairly obvious and adorable reason. But my husband recently learned that he needed to spend nine days in Geneva for work. I didn’t like the idea of our being separated (with a toddler, four hands beat two), and Lila and I had no pressing engagements, so I suggested a family adventure. Read the rest of this entry →

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