The Christmas photo shoot, take fifteen


This is our second attempt at the amateur living room holiday photo shoot. Last year Robby was able to be propped up against the couch and sat there and looked stoic while we snapped away. He tipped over once and found it funny.
Overall, last year was a nice experience. This year = completely different.

Robby is a ball of energy. To think we’d be able to keep him on a chair by a Christmas tree full of ornaments was stupid. Even putting on his sweater was an aerobic workout.

(Note about the sweater, purchased at Baby Gap, my favorite children’s store BY FAR. Yes, I know not the cheapest store in town, but his Baby Gap clothes have best survived the multiple washings, wearings, stains, etc.) I digress.

Back to the photo shoot. The chair shots were snapped between ornaments in the mouth, standing on the chair, bummed that ornament got taken away, happy to get ornament back, attempt to get ornament on tree, and throwing ornament across the room. For those of you receiving our Christmas card this year, I hope you appreciate the work it took to get two far less-than-perfect shots. Maybe next year we’ll do a video card. That would be way more entertaining.

Happy Holidays! The Pierre family.


Kids holiday gift guide


Tis the season to give and get gifts! I decided to put together a little guide to some of my favorite kid and baby products. These are all Made in the USA and ALL under $50!
Happy Holidays and happy shopping!

Tree. by Keri Lee
Clock $36

A clock is a nursery necessity! This clock feature a vintage toy image with contrasting numbers on raised wood circles. 4 available 7" square.

Purchase or see more neat items here!

Pixel Organics
Organic Longsleeve bodysuit: $28

Pixel Organics first ever holiday collection features our classic lap tee bodysuit in Poinsettia with Snow trim. Custom designed "Reindeer" embroidery will brighten up a winter day. Featuring 100% Certified Organic Cotton dyed with low impact dyes all made in the USA.

Buffalo Games
Likewise Party Game: $23.99
Likewise! is a thought provoking party game where it pays to think alike. In this game, individuals are presented with a random pairing of a Description and Subject Cards. The pairing might be "Exotic - Car", or "Massive - Breakfast Food" or something like that. Next, players write down or doodle their answers in secret. Finally, they flip their paddles, reveal their answers (and a little bit about themselves in a way).

Mary’s Softdough
Softdough play set: $18.50
Mary's Softdough is a soft, non-crumbly modeling dough that is fun to play with It holds up well to lots of creative play and when stored in it's containerwill last up to a year. Marys softdough is available in our classic solid colors and Rainbow tub versions. In addition, Sofdough also comes in new scented andglitter playdough. Also check out our wonderful and exciting glow in the dark play dough.

Circus Teethers: $12

DANO2’s Circus Teethers are made in the USA out of the same medical grade materials that hospitals and dentists trust for use in their equipment.
Each set contains three variable-sized rings, 3 textures, colors, and sizes to allow babies options for what feels best on their sore gums. A stylish, compact case to keep rings together and clean. An opening on the large, green ring so that kids can hook them together for fun! PVC-, BPA-, and Phthalate-free. Dishwasher safe too.

Hemp Trekkers: $29

Natural hemp uppers lined with organic cotton
Non-slip, durable Toughtek® soles
Machine-washable, machine-dryable
Easy slip-on design doesn't slip off
100% animal-free, and very hip!

Fabric Books and Toys
ABC Activity Book: $46

This cool book contains fourteen pages that teach both upper and lower cases of the alphabet. Also teaches how to read short words that describe the item for each letter. 2-5 years. A perfect 'quiet' book for church or car rides!

CBH Studio
Chloe The Cat Backpack: $29.99

Meet Chloe the Cat. Little Packrats’ new “Tuxedo cat” is always dressed for a formal occasion. This dapper black and white cat will be much loved for her suave appearance and friendly personality. Adopt her today on this “tote-ally” cool cat backpack. This 9″× 9″× 3″ easy-care backpack features a cat collar with jingle bell, beaded zipper pull and adjustable straps. Perfect tote bag for car trips. Ideal size for snacks and toys

Stuffington Bear Factory
Funky Monkey: $24.95

A strong climber, this guy he really loves monkey business. Our Funky Monkey loves to jump and make noise, so he’s perfect for little trouble makers.

Michiko Baby
Chalkbook: $18

This Chalkbook provides a compact, portable
chalkboard to help keep little minds entertained anywhere! With a generous drawing surface of approximately 10 inches by 10 inches, room for 4 pieces of chalk and a pocket for the eraser. It folds to just 5 inches squared and snaps closed! Easy to stick in mom’s purse or into their matching backsack! Includes matching flannel wipe and 2 pieces of chalk.

Happy Holidays everyone!


Review: Saratoga Children's Museum


The Children's Museum in Saratoga Springs is a really fun place for kids of all ages. We took Robby for the first time recently and he loved every minute of it. Below is Robby enjoying just some of the cool exhibits they have at the museum. I think we're going to ask for a membership this Christmas. It's only $85 for a three person full-year membership. The three of you would only have to go five times to get your money's worth. (I think I did the math right...)

I highly recommend a visit to the Children's Museum at Saratoga. It's most appropriate for kids ages 7 and under, FYI. Regular admission is $6 per person, and their winter hours are: Tuesday - Saturday: 9:30a.m. - 4:30p.m. Sunday: 12 noon - 4:30p.m. Closed Monday and most major holidays.


The age that makes you want more


18 and tattoos? No. 21 and drinking? Nope. 28 and wine and chocolate? Close, but no. 16 months and kids? BINGO! *and I mean that in a , B-I-N-G-O kind of way. I feel like lately I’ve been under the spell of my 16 month old. Like any minute he may turn into a raging and wild toddler but if we kept time frozen at 16 months, I would give Octomom a run for her money.

I don’t know how else to say this; I want more kids! Did you hear that honey? Maybe we can even get one that sleeps through the night sooner than 9 months! Robby, our late night rendezvous’ were cool and all but now that you finally “sleep like a baby”, life is even more fun!

Here’s a montage of my favorite autumn moments. Playing in the leaves with daddy, making hot beats in the new hat, kicking back with a magazine, and scaring everyone as a dinosaur for Halloween.

Turning the clocks back this weekend was a bummer, but spending that extra hour with my little man made it slightly more bearable. I'm enjoying the fall more than I ever have. Just think what it could be like with two...
Twice as much fun! :-)


Baby to boy


My husband Jude adores this brown striped knit hat. The first frost on the windshield and out it came last week making its fourth winter debut.

Last January I took some pictures of Robby wearing the hat, and last weekend I took more to compare. Robby’s face went from baby to boy! It’s amazing how much they change, practically overnight.

New words like "outside", "diaper", "pumpkin" adorn his vocabulary. Actions like carrying heavy things, running, and jumping fill our days (with stress sometimes). And that little baby face is looking more and more like daddy's each day.

There are certainly things I miss about those little baby days, but we are enjoying every entertaining minute with our growing boy.


A few of my favorite things: children’s books


I must confess, I am not an avid reader. I am super envious of those people that can juggle everything; working, raising a family, dinner, laundry, chores, and finishing novel after novel after novel. Those people love to chit chat about their most recent “page-turner”, the “keep you up all night” suspense-filled crime drama, or their seventh “how to get rich and do everything perfectly” book in a row. They even read the same book multiple times!

Whenever I even attempt to read a book at night, I stumble through a few pages and then my eyes say “no way, not tonight” and shut down. Enter the board book! Board books are so fulfilling and you can usually finish at least a few a night. They are typically characterized with bright picture-filled pages, large rhyming words, melodic, sing-songy rhythms, and clock in at around 6-10 pages. You will definitely read the same one multiple times until you can recite the book from memory ANYWHERE. You may even find yourself reciting stanzas on your drive to work or during an important meeting. That’s okay! There are some really great board books out there, and here are my top three…

I Love You Stinky Face
Author: Lisa McCourt
Illustrator: Cyd Moore

I loved this book from the start because when Robby was born he would make a mean face without even crying and we used to call it the stink face or stink eye. What makes this book awesome is that if you’re really in the spirit, you can play different roles. For example, the little boy is talking to his mother and asking her if she’d still love him if he were a “skunk that smelled so bad that his name was Stinky Face?”, or a “swamp creature” or a “meat-eating dinosaur”, etc. You can use your little kid voice for that part, and then when the mother comes in you can switch it up. In all honesty, the illustrations are beautiful, the story is endearing, and the message of unconditional love is wonderful for any child to hear.
This book retails for $5.99 and is sold on Amazon and probably at any local book store. There are a few more Stinky Face books like Merry Christmas Stinky Face, I Miss You Stinky Face, and It’s Time For School Stinky Face. I haven’t read the others yet, but I’m sure they’re just as witty and cute.

Ten Little Babies
Author/Illustrator: Gyo Fujikawa

A cute counting book with brilliant illustrations of babies doing all sorts of cool things; eating marmalade, riding on cars, climbing frozen trees, going to the beach and many more scenarios. Ten babies start out, but they lose a baby each page until there’s only one left, a sort of ‘survival of the fittest’ tale. Fujikawa is a wonderful illustrator and his books are timeless. So much so, that I have a few from when I was a baby.
Pick up Ten Little Babies online for $5.95 at Barnes & Noble

I Love You Because You’re You
Author: Liza Baker
Illustrator: David McPhail

A sweet and endearing book, “I Love You Because You’re You” is a quick read with great illustrations. The premise is simple; anything the child does, no matter what his mood, emotional state, circumstance or other, she will still love him unconditionally. “I love you when you’re happy, and grinning ear to ear. I love you when you’re sleepy, and want to snuggle near,” you get the point. McPhail’s illustrations are sweet depicting a mother fox’s love for her little fox son. A fox has never looked so friendly before! This is a great bedtime or anytime story. Robby loves the rhythm of the text and the bright and cheerful graphics.
Buy the hardcover book online for just $6.29 at the Scholastic store.


Adirondack living


A good friend of ours owns a beautiful home a few blocks from the Saratoga Racetrack. Her front porch is a prime spot to hang out, have some drinks, and enjoy the evening. She even has a little Adirondack chair that fits Robby perfectly.

It’s ironic that I found an Adirondack chair made by Little Colorado, but this chair, like all LC stuff is made in the USA and not outrageously expensive. To me, an Adirondack chair made in Colorado is still WAY better than one made in China. This one is reasonably priced at $69.95 plus $10 shipping.

The Little Colorado website, while not very user-friendly has some great items for kids. Step stools, play kitchens, toy boxes, personalized peg racks and much more. Check it out!

I just love this peg rack or a nursery or child’s room. Boys, this comes in primary colors too. It costs $34.95 plus $7 shipping for up to nine letters.


A few of my favorite things - bath & body


Earth Mama Angel Baby: Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash

It dispenses easily (with one hand!), lathers nicely, rinses clean, makes skin feel so soft, and smells almost good enough to eat. Oh, did I mention that it contains no petrochemical or synthetic surfactants or foaming agents like sodium laureth sulfate or cocoamidylpropyl betaine? If that means nothing to you, just know that this product is made with only pure and safe ingredients that the average person can actually pronounce, like organic coconut oil.

I’ve been using this shampoo on Robby since day 1 and have loved it ever since. Despite using it on an almost daily basis, I am still surprised sometimes at how good it smells. Another added bonus, you don’t need to use a ton of this product, so it lasts a super long time. Friends, this product is worth it in every way. You can purchase a three pack on Amazon or the directly from the EMAB website.

Carol’s Daughter: Shea Souffle in Mango Melange

Believe it or not, my dad was the first to buy me this product. That sounds really weird, so let me explain. My dad takes an annual trip to Las Vegas with several other guy friends to watch the Superbowl. There’s obviously a little guilt associated with this trip, so he makes a redemptive visit to Sephora to pick up gifts for his girls. While there, he heavily relies on the store clerks to guide his product purchase and one year they suggested this Carol’s Daughter shea butter. Fantastic score for me! This stuff is super thick and emollient, smells amazingly good, and makes skin feel like silk. What I really love about this product is that is so penetrating that the smell stays with you almost all day, eliminating the need for perfumes. It is paraben, mineral oil, and artificial color free.
At $30 for a 16oz. tub this is definitely not a cheap thrill. Despite the hefty price tag, this product is damn good and one that I highly recommend.

Trillium Organics: Organic Body Polish
I purchased this on a whim based on the claim from Trillium Organics’ website that this body polish “moisturizes more than a lotion, cleanses more profoundly than any soap, and promotes healthy skin in balance with nature, and in balance with the body it protects”. Slight pause…add to cart, SOLD. Upon the arrival of my Clementine/Clove body polish, I was pleasantly surprised by its clever packaging and wonderful aroma. I couldn’t wait to shower with this little miracle and become a believer. I’ve fallen for my fair share of As-Seen-On-TV gems, and while this one doesn’t fall into that category, my hopes were as high as Tony Little (see left).
My first shower with the body polish and I probably don’t need to continue as this post is called “A few of my favorite things”, but this stuff rocks for real! My skin felt like it had been wrapped in a satin sheet. For a minute in my bathroom I actually starred in my own Caress body wash commercial! While I would hesitate to call anything a miracle product unless I was getting paid to endorse it, this product comes pretty damn close to its lofty claims.
You can purchase this on the Trillium Organics website.


Nature Boy


Rarely am I inspired to do any type of physical activity. I do enjoy taking Robby out for a little run in the park after work, but all it takes is one miniscule hang up and my running dreams are dashed. I’m talking really little things like: last time I took Robby running he got two bug bites on his face. Or, I have to be home in time to make dinner and get him to bed by the time Megan Wants a Millionaire starts. Or, I got a paper cut at work which may impede my stroller handling ability. On those rare occasions when the stars are aligned, I do take Robby running and we really enjoy ourselves. Or rather, he enjoys throwing his sippy cup overboard and watching me struggle to bend down and pick it up while maintaining my little-faster-than-a-walk pace.

A few weeks ago Jude and I took Robby hiking on the trails of Moreau State Park. The smile plastered on his face for nearly the whole hike is inspiring me to get outside and hit the trails again! Granted he may have been smiling at my renditions of Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald, but it seemed that he truly enjoyed himself.

Living close to the Adirondacks is something we often take for granted. Having grown up in Brooklyn, my husband Jude is certainly no Eagle Scout. He can’t really swim, hadn’t mowed a lawn until age 30, has never been camping, and can barely start a bonfire in our yard! He’s quickly developed an appreciation for the outdoors and has even climbed several high peaks during the past few years. I’d like Robby to have an appreciation for nature too, which means I need to suck it up a little and get him out.

I’m not going to let a few bug bites stop me, Jude and Robby from enjoying nature in our own backyard and beyond.


What would Einstein do? (wwed)


Now that Robby’s a year old, I have an itch to learn everything about how to raise a perfect child; how to properly discipline, keep him happy and engaged, teach him, nurture him, and I need to learn all of this stuff yesterday.

I’ve been busy surfing the internet reading reviews on the best books out there to tame my appetite for child-rearing perfection before the ship leaves and I’m standing on the shore with a screaming toddler throwing toys at my face.

Are tantrums inevitable? Is it possible to say ‘no’ too much? How many times do I have to take that sharp metal object away from Robby until he learns? Is he sticking his hand in the garbage to spite me? When will he stop laughing at me when I try to be firm with him?

Clearly my mind is swimming with questions. I asked my mom about books and she recommended a book from a doctor by the name of Fitzhugh Dodson. The book is mad old but I trust a guy with a name like Fitzhugh. That’s a no nonsense guy.
Another book that was recommended to me is called Einstein Never Used Flashcards. It gets great Amazon reviews, which typically is a good sign.
I am currently trying to make it through Dr. Fitzhugh Dodson’s 1970’s classic and then I’ll choose a more modern selection to round it out. Once I acheive child-rearing perfection, I'll let you all know the secrets. In the meantime, I'll do the best I can with my limited knowledge and hope that motherly instinct will kick in and take over!
I kind of liked flashcards as a child... granted I'm no Einstein!


Toys rule!


As promised, here are a few more birthday party shots of Robby showing off some of his new toys.

Veronika and Jermaine got Robby this great Green Toys Sand Play Set. Here's Robby modeling the rake.

I've admired Green Toys as a toy company for a long time. They have a strong commitment to the environment, their toys are all BPA-free and made in the USA to boot!

Check out their site for more info.

Another cool toy that Robby got from our friends Seth, Sara, and baby Grady was a four-wheeled Kawasaki ride-on thing. (I'm sure it has a more proper name than that. He totally digs it and I think he looks pretty damn cute riding it.

Because a little boy can't have enough ride-on cars, Grandma and Grandpa got him this cool Push Around Buggy by Step 2.

Robby loves going for rides in this and has this goofy perma-grin on his face the whole time while holding super tight to the steering wheel.

Mean mommy took some of Robby's new toys and put them away for a little while so we can focus on a few new things at a time, and then appreciate the rest later. I used the savings bond philosophy. It sucks to get a gift that you can't use right away, but you'll appreciate it even more later. Thanks to all who made Robby's birthday special and awesome.


Yummy cake


I’ve been so bad, and haven’t posted in ages.

Robby’s first birthday was celebrated in a major way on Sunday, July 5th, 2009. We had a Luau party at our house and over 50 of our closest friends and relatives were there to celebrate with us. Poor Robby had just woken from a long nap and was ushered downstairs in a Hawaiian print shirt to find his home invaded. He was a great sport through the whole party. Here’s Robby enjoying his cake.

I’ll post more very soon, I promise!


Hair today, gone tomorrow


Robby's hair has grown from straight, shiny black wisps to an adult-sized curly coif over this past year. I remember when Robby was a newborn how Jude used to comb his hair every day to make it straight and perfect, shiny and smooth. Over time it started to curl a little, and despite Jude's straightening efforts, we could not fight the curl.

My dad (who sported an afro back in the day) has this crazy hair that grows out instead of down. Robby's hair is behaving in a similar way, which is why we took him to my Uncle Jim's barber shop. It's called Star Barber Shop and it's right behind the new Rite Aid on Route 9 and 146. Uncle Jim made Robby feel relaxed and comfortable for his first cut. Robby cracked a few early smiles, but was ultra serious during the cutting process. Uncle Jim made fast work of the coif, and the end result is fantastic as you can see from the pictures below.

Robby tell Uncle Jim "just a little off the top"

Robby digs his new 'do'. (and standing on the barber shop chair)


Putting the 'date' in playdate


Robby spent an afternoon recently with a beautiful baby girl named Syriana. Like Jude and I, her parents are of mixed race. Robby and Syriana had very similar features; big brown eyes, full lips, somewhat flattened noses, and curly afro hair.

Robby can be kind of a bruiser, so Syriana was timid at first as Robby thrashed through her toys with delight. She warmed up after a while and the two of them settled on a toy piano with room for two sets of tiny hands.

The picture on the top left was taken when both of them were still in playful bliss. Soon after, Robby started acting strange and made some weird noises that made Syriana roll her eyes in disbelief. He sure took the love out of loveseat.

Overall it was really cute to see the two kids together. Robby's finally starting to pay attention to other babies and actually have fun playing. I'm looking forward to another playdate with some other friends this weekend.
In other news, Robby is getting his coif trimmed for the first time tomorrow! I'll be sure to post some pictures.


Some good eatin'


A recent delicious takeout dinner from Augie’s Restaurant in Ballston Spa somehow ended up on Robby’s forehead. Augie’s has a way of taking food and making it so yummy, that you just want to put your face right in it. Robby did, and this is what it looked like...

He loved that eggplant dish so much he just kept eating it and evidently smearing it all over his face. Maybe he wanted to save some for later. Too bad grandma had to go and ruin the plan by wiping his face off.


Fun at the hotel pool


For our recent anniversary, Jude and I spent the night at the Courtyard Marriott in Saratoga. What a nice hotel! Everything was spotlessly clean and the decor was lovely. We checked in early so we could take Robby to the pool which was small but perfect for us. Robby was a little timid and unsure at first, but after a few minutes, he was relaxed as can be. We took the lifeguard floaty thing which was a perfect size for the little guy. After our fun swimming adventure, we dropped off Robby at my parents house so Jude and I could have a night to ourselves.

The coolest thing about our night at the hotel was that I actually won it from the World Awareness Children’s Museum in Glens Falls. They had a Sweetheart Raffle around Valentine’s Day and I entered and won this hotel stay and a host of other great prizes! This museum does some amazing work in the local community and the world. Check out their site to learn more about them.
I love that a museum of this nature exists in our community to help our children learn more about different cultures. You can even order reprints on their website of artwork from kids around the world. Robby has this print in his bedroom that I love. It’s a beautiful illustration drawn by a 10 year old in Africa depicting a street scene. I wonder what Robby’s ‘Malta Street Scene’ picture would look like. Hopefully by the time he’s ten it will look better than it does now!


Bang on the drum all day


There are very few commands I can tell Robby that he actually listens to. Two that work are "Robby, go play the piano" and "Robby, go play the drum". He will rarely play either instrument if not asked, but as soon as you mention it, he will glady comply.

His gentle baby touch for now isn't doing these instruments any harm, but I can only imagine Robby at age four going to town on the drum and banging the hell out of the piano.

Don't tell Robby, but for his first birthday next month, I decided to get him some instruments of his own. Remo drums makes a cool line of products for kids that aren't too "kiddy", but are still kid-friendly if you know what I mean. I purchased this floor tom which looks awesome and I think he's going to love it. I'll share pics of Robby and his new drum later. Knowing Robby, he won't play his own drum because he's so spoiled by mommy's djembe. I may have to trade him for his floor tom.