Stormy weather ahead...checklist of what you need March 13 2017, 0 Comments



Growing up in California storms are big news and sometimes over hyped and the ones that do live up to the predictions are disastrous. I’ve been ignoring the possibility that we may get a blizzard (Denial? Yup, I think so) then I realized last night it is better to be safe then sorry.

This list via Red Cross is quite a lot, for apartment dwellers you may not need what someone with a home may need. Although this list may seem extreme ..remember not all of us took Sandy seriously. So gage what you think you may need for your home especially since we have kiddies to take care of.

  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
  • Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit 
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
  • Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members
  • Ample alternate heating methods such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves.

    For a pdf of this list that includes during and post storm, click here.



    Photo: Garance Dore


    DIY-simple ways to upgrade a kid's room... March 05 2013, 0 Comments

    This photo says it all with the colorful bed and fluffy rugs and pillows. If you’re in the market to change up your child’s room or take it from a nursery to a toddler room a few stylish touches can do the trick. I love looking on pinterest for inspiration. HGTV also has affordable tips on chaging up a room.

    Photo, Remodelista

    Journey To Motherhood, My first year being a mama... February 22 2013, 0 Comments

    Today’s Journey is a dear friend who happen to be pregnant at the same time as me. Our due dates were days apart from one another and I basically copycat followed Bruna’s lead, I went to her yoga class, child birthing class and join the same mom group she joined after her son was born which led to my friendship with Jessica. I was nervous and clueless on so many mom issues, thankfully Bruna shared her mom wisdom with me and now shares her first year with Motherburg today!

    Name: Bruna De Araujo

    Hometown: Brasilia, DF - Brazil

    How long have you’ve been living in Tivoli? 10 months

    Occupation: Business Owner, The Barn in Tivoli

    When did you first Become a Mother? Summer 2009

    Before becoming a mother, what did you know about motherhood? Was the reality close to your personal image/idea? I knew nothing about motherhood before pregnancy. I am an only child who came to live in NYC by myself when I was 19 years old. All my cousins were having kids in Brazil and I was not part of anything. All my Europeans friends went back to their countries to have kids and none of my New York friends were having kids. I was pretty much by myself in this arena.

    How would you describe the first year? The first year was tough but the first weeks were the toughest. Is he breathing? Am I making enough milk? Is he going to get whooping cough? All the questions, doubts and fear plus the no sleep turned me into a neurotic stress monkey.  Thankfully all the love I felt for the little being transcended these mundane preoccupations, at least for a nano second of relief so I could carry on.

    Pregnancy was heaven, beautiful and perfect. I took off work to just understand about what was going on with my body and this beautiful life I was creating. I took pre-natal yoga, read many amazing books, and watched birth videos. I went to seminars where I met midwives and holistic doctors who were in synch with what I was thinking. I created a top notch team for my perfect home birth. Once my little one came out, nothing I had learned made too much of a difference. There he was, all red, wrinkly and crying, only caring for my heartbeat and milk. It was nerve wrecking, specially because I did everything differently then what the status quo tells a mother to do.

    Did you have support such as family or friends?  My mother and step father came right before birth and stayed for a month. They did take me out of the house for lunches and for summer walks. My mother was the one who gave me the incentive to go meet the other mothers at McCarren park, the group who eventually launched Brooklyn Bambinos. Watching and hanging out with these mothers gave me ease of mind; my baby is normal and I’m ok. It took me a long time before I hired help with my son. The biggest, real support was my awesome and dedicated husband, Andrew. I always knew I could not do this parent thing alone.

    You moved out of Brooklyn, where and how is it different? We moved up to the magical mid Hudson Valley last Spring to a village called Tivoli. Last winter we had bought a car and while our son took naps we drove around Brooklyn with the trulia app looking for buildings for sale. We looked and considered many options in the hood but none of them excited us. This is when we received and email from an old friend; she was selling her property in the Valley. This was a special place where my husband and I had started our relationship years ago. It also had a business and 5 acres attached to it. We looked at each other and said, “let’s buy it!” After many adventurous trips upstate (car accident involved), deals and financial transactions, we finally did.

    In a way the mid-hudson valley is very similar to Brooklyn. A sort of “back to the land” vibe where people are very conscious of what they eat, of community and the planet at large. We are right next to the prestigious Bard College with its museums, the Frank Gehry Center for the Performing Arts- so our village is full of hip art students and international professors. The best part is all the space we have, our huge backyard with pond, stream, beautiful trees and daily wild visitors - from skunks to the blue heron. It is also amazing to be off oil for heating, we use a wood burning stove, to get all our food from the nearby farms, have our son in one of the best Waldorf schools around and get our own water at the spring. Plus there are no lines - for anything - even the coolest Wau Wau Sister shows at the Spiegeltent in the summer. My life is very luxurious!

    The funny thing is that 98% of my friends up here also moved up from Brooklyn! I call it the New Brooklyn and am actually going to start blogging about life in the Hudson Valley.

    Tips for new moms? 

    All your baby needs is you, your skin, your smell, your milk, everything else is superfluous. So take care of yourself, your sleep, follow your instincts and eat your kale!

    Journey To Motherhood, my first year being a mama... January 04 2013, 0 Comments

    Our journey today is Sarah from Small Things NYC. A post-partum doula, babywearing expert, infant massage instructor and the newest member of the Caribou Baby sales staff. I found Sarah while researching babywearing during winter and her wealth of knowledge and expertise is immense. Stop by Caribou and say hi. 

    Name: Sarah Longwell-Stevens

    Hometown: Nashville, TN

    How long have you been living in Brooklyn? 10 years

    Occupation: Postpartum Doula, Babywearing instructor, early childhood educator 

    When did you first become a mother?  Somewhere between August 2008 when iIgot pregnant and April 2009 when my son was born.  My husband clearly became a father when my son was born and I clearly had become a mother sometime before that,  I’m not quite sure when it happened though.  But I didn’t really get the true depth of motherhood until I first held my son in my arms.  I was blown away in that moment by the power, strength, and sacrifice of motherhood and I had only tasted the tip of the iceberg.

    Was the reality close to your personal image/idea? Not at all.  I’m not sure what I envisioned when I look back at it.  I didn’t realize how much of my personal self motherhood would take.  I think I thought my life would be the same and I would be the same, only with a child to tote around and less sleep.  I had no idea that I was turning over almost all control over my existence to a small helpless creature.  Or that I would both love and hate that process as much as I did. When I had my second child I was truly shocked at how easy newborns are to take care of.  I realized then that what had felt so hard about becoming a mother was not so much caring for a new baby—they are pretty predictable beings, at least when compared with a toddler.  What was difficult was really this process of becoming a mother and accepting that my life was no longer quite my own.  That I didn’t get to choose when I slept or ate or showered.  That everything could suddenly become chaotic in a matter of seconds.  That it suddenly was soooo hard and took sooo long to get out the door (or do anything normal really).  By the time I had had my second I had long given up the illusion of control and was much better about going with the flow of how things actually were rather than how I wanted them to be.  So little about having kids is how you want it to be.  And so much of it is a million times better than you thought it would be.

    Before becoming a mother what did you know about motherhood? I knew that mothers loved their kids but I really never truly understood the depth of that.  I read somewhere that having children is like putting your heart out into the world to walk around without you being able to fully protect and control it.  Scary and powerful stuff.

    How would you describe the first year?  It was so many different things it is hard to describe it any one way.  Exhilarating to watch this person grow and emerge.  Sheerly and utterly exhausting—my son didn’t sleep more than 3 hour stretches until he was 14 months old.  Extraordinarily painful—I herniated a disc when he was 6 weeks old and struggled with a great deal of pain until I had back surgery for it a year later.  Quiet—it’s funny to spend so much time with another person and yet still also be alone most of the time because that person isn’t quite a person yet.  Sometimes I long for that quiet to return to our house with a chatty 3 year old!  Fascinating—I always say I should be able to write off parenting as a professional expense, I learn so much about child development and education just sitting back and watching.  Humbling—I learned a lot about letting go.  I’m a perfectionist and a control freak about things I set my mind to and it was hard for me to not have everything be perfect.  I would make up a plan for how I would like things to go and them my son would have other ideas.  I would spend a bunch of time trying to convince him my ideas were the way to go.  It was painful.  Finally I learned that most of my plans were pretty silly.  If the kid is getting enough sleep why obsess over an early bedtime because the books say that’s how it should be?  We we all much happier when we just let things be.  My son always wanted to conk out at 11 and sleep in till 11.  Honestly, that was my preferred sleep pattern too.  So why was I trying so hard to change it?  I started ignoring advice books and just doing what worked for us, only changing things when we were actually being driven crazy by a real problem rather than a perceived one.  

    What helped you to get through it?  Well, I didn’t really have a choice!  Sometimes you just have to keep on plodding forward.  I often thought about how hard parenting is and yet how totally normal it is.  Women have been raising children forever.  If they have managed for centuries then I could get through it too.  But most of the time I tried to just find the sheer joy in each really hard moment.  I remember one point when my son had been waking up to have what I like to call “dance parties” around 1am and staying awake for about 2 hours.  It continued for about a month and there didn’t seem to be any way to change it.  During one of them I watched my son discover shadows as only one can do in a room lit by a bedside lamp.  We had an hour of family shadow puppetry that I will always remember.  I really don’t remember the tired, hard, painful feelings anymore.  But I do remember the smiles, the discovery, the cuddles, and the joy.  During my daughter’s first year I tried to remember that in hard moments.  Like when she wanted to nurse for four hours straight every night I tried to just think the whole time about how nice it was to hold a small baby for so long instead of thinking of all the things I might rather be doing.  I knew I would have years to do all those other things but only a short short time to hold my daughter while she was small.

    Did you have a support system near by?  No.  Our family lives far away.  Though I did have more of a support system than I realized, took advantage of, or sought out.  I’m bad at asking for help and taking care of myself, and I should have done that a lot more.  I spent a lot of time thinking I needed to do things a certain way because my baby needed it and it was not healthy to ignore myself in this way.  My back was aching for a while during that first month but I insisted on wearing him constantly and doing this vigorous twisting rocking motion to get him to sleep because it was the only thing that worked.  But ignoring my body’s messages and not taking my own needs seriously is what led to my injury.  I should have taken breaks.  i should have found a different soothing strategy.  Afterwards I had a lot of excuses for not dealing with it that seemed very real at the time—too difficult to get to a doctor, couldn’t leave the baby, couldn’t afford a babysitter, etc.  In retrospect they were crazy and I should have sought out more help.  I should have paid for more help—chiropractors, acupuncture, babysitters, mother’s helpers.  I’m sure there were things that we bought we could have gone without.  The support we could have had would have been far more valuable.

    We really love your blog, Small Things NYC. Can you share a bit about how it came about?  I started it when I began my website for postpartum doula work and it sat there for a long time gathering dust.  One of my mom friends told me she liked talking to me about kids a lot but wished she had more time to do it.  ”Write me some blog posts so I can hear your ideas more,” she said.  And so I did.  I decided to just start writing down all the various things I think about as I go about staying home with my two kids.  So some of it is from a practical perspective of things we do to stay occupied.  Some of it is from my musings as a postpartum doula and obsessive babywearer (and babywearing instructor).  And then a lot of it is from my early childhood educator gears whirling as I watch my kids grow and develop.  I’m always learning and thinking about new things as I watch them and also as I talk to parents who don’t have a teaching background.  Parenting is really one of the most important jobs we ever have and most people come to it with absolutely no preparation.  I wouldn’t say I’m prepared for it by any means but I do have a theoretical and practical background to fall back on.  As I move through conversations with other parents I realize how helpful a little information on how kids learn and develop really can be.  Everything from staying sane, disciplining effectively in the heat of the moment, to choosing toys for your kids.  Parents are the most influential people in children’s lives and our culture has built parenting up into this act of sheer terror.  It feels like at any moment you could take a misstep and ruin your kids forever.  I want to take that terror down a notch with real information.  For the most part we all need to relax.  But it is hard when you really aren’t sure what you are doing and you want to be perfect!

    We also know you’re a post-partum doula, can you share how you came about that profession & what you love about it?  After I had my son I spent a lot of time informally doing postpartum doula stuff for friends or on various online groups.  I decided teaching was going to be unsustainable with a toddler and new baby in the house and wanted something with more flexible hours.  Actually, when I was pregnant with my first I remember saying to my husband “you know I’m going to end up having to become a doula or something” jokingly.  But then when I was pregnant the second time it became a real thing.  A lot of my work as an early childhood teacher was supporting parents and I see my postpartum doula work as an extension of that.  I want parents to really find their strength and confidence!  Learning to read your baby and trusting your instincts are really key to this, but it is so hard in a culture where new parents are bombarded by an incredible amount of conflicting information.  Particularly when many people become parents with very little experience being around children at all!  I love watching parents blossom. 

    Tips for new moms? Relax. You won’t break your baby.  You are the perfect parent for this little creature.  Do what feels right to you and what works for your family and change it when it stops feeling right and working.  Other people’s families are different and their babies are different and no one else has ever parented this unique human but you.  You can listen to the advice that everyone gives or not as you see fit.  Don’t put so much importance on every tiny thing you do.  Your child has a long life ahead of them and you will make many parenting decisions that will thrill you, and some that will not.  But there is very little you can do with a baby that cannot be undone.  They do have a need for closeness and warmth and food but beyond that relax.  Your baby will change so many times in the first three years that you will look back and this teeny person will be almost unrecognizable to you.  If something works wonderfully now, it will change.  If something is incredibly hard now, it will also change.  Some things will always be hard and some things will always be beautiful.  Focus on the beautiful as much as you can.  And snuggle that baby a lot, because they really do grow up so fast.  But also, absolutely and unapologetic take some time for yourself—it is hard work to work 24 hours a day!

    Journey To Motherhood, my first year of being a mama. July 13 2012, 0 Comments

    Last night at a work event I ran into a new mom with a six month baby boy. This new mom shared with me how tired, busy and lack of a social life she was now living. Of course, this all sounded quite familiar and it wasn’t lost to us that after working a nine hour day we were still working! The first year is the hardest we start to hear as soon as we announce that a baby is on the way, just how hard is it? What I have learned it is different for everyone, some breeze through it, for others- not so easy. This is why we will be sharing a new series on Motherburg- Journey to Motherhood. You’ll read about many of your fellow moms and their first year which is why It only seems appropriate to start with ourselves! Check out my Q&A with Jessica on her first year.
    If you’d like to share your first year with us, feel free to comment here, our facebook page or send us a tweet! We’d love to share your story!
    Name: Jessica Glorieux
    Hometown: Greenpoint, Brooklyn
    How long have you’ve been living in Wiliamsburg/Brooklyn: 7 years
    Occupation: Co-owner of Motherburg NYC
    When did you first become a mother? July 11, 2009
    Before becoming a  mother, what did you know about motherhood? What was your idea of what you felt your life would be like?
    In retrospect, I knew very little about babies. I knew a lot about children as I used to teach Montessori but babies are a totally different ballgame. I’m not sure I knew what I was thinking! 
    How would you describe the first year?
    My first year was stressful and chaotic. I just had no idea how consuming a baby would be and while I had mom friends, I still felt very alone; like I was doing something wrong and everyone knew what was right or how to have a baby but me. I’m sure that I had some mild post-partum depression and having a baby who didn’t sleep very well didn’t help matters. 
    How did you get through it?
    I have no idea! Ha!  I did a few coaching courses and therapy- That was pretty big in terms of getting through. Also finding a few close mom friends I could tell the whole truth to helped too.  
    Did it help having a family member close by?
    Yes! My sister was a huge help in terms of babysitting and letting me go to mom’s night out! 
    You’ve been a mother for 3 years now, what lessons have you learn?
    Wow - 3 whole years. Feels like I’ve always been a mom! Here are the top three things I deal with the most in my practice & what I tell new moms:
    1) Relax. Relax and Relax.
    2) Define your own values and start there. One of the exercises I do with new moms is really looking at their life and deciding whats valuable and making choices from that place vs. from where you think you’re supposed to be. There is no perfect, there is no one right way and there is no such thing as ‘having it all’. Have what you want
    3) Get support when you need it and be honest. You aren’t alone & everything you’re feeling someone else is too. 
    Tips for new moms?
    Self-care! Massages, mani/pedi’s, yoga/exercise class, educational lectures, support groups or therapy, mom’s nights out: Schedule 15 minutes daily and at the very least 1 hour weekly. Make it a family priority- It will make all the difference in the world. Mammas are the lighthouses and their light needs to stay bright! 
    Photo, Jessica Glorieux