“If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry – Part 3 (Diapering and Bathing)

After reading Part 1 and Part 2 of my baby registry series, you have everything you need for strolling, sleeping (in babyland, this IS a transitive verb!) and clothing your munchkin. Read on to find out what you need for changing those poopy diapers (yay!) and for bathing your bundle of joy.

Diapering

So, here’s the not so fun part! … Although with the right diapers, it won’t be too too bad. After trying just about every diaper out there (Pampers Swaddlers, Pampers Baby Dry, Honest, Huggies, CVS brand, Babyganics, Earth’s Best), I’ve decided my favorite diaper is Target’s Up and Up brand. I like everything about them. They not only are soft and (usually) don’t leak, but they are also pleasing to the eye and the wallet. I wish I had discovered them sooner. We used Pampers Swaddlers until recently, and they are definitely my runner up, but Up & Up diapers are almost half the price, so look no further. Put 2 giant packs of sizes 1-3 in your registry, and once you’re done with those, subscribe to have them delivered to your door so you’ll never run out.

Tip: Whatever you do, never try Pampers Baby Dry. They’re so horrible, I’m not sure why they even exist.

As far as butt cream goes, I’m very sorry to say this, but Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, you suck! We use a German brand called¬†Penaten, and we like it the best. We like it because it works, and it’s the right consistency – not nasty and pasty like so many others (Boudreaux’s). It’s expensive ($20 on Amazon right now) unless you have friends and family bringing them to you from Deutschland. ūüôā If this is not an option, opt for¬†Aquaphor Baby Diaper Rash Cream.

We’ve also tried many a butt wipe (Babyganics, Pampers, Huggies), and I’m not sure how any wipe could be better than Water Wipes. They’re super wet, they don’t smell like anything, and they’re 99.9% water.

We honestly use any hand sanitizer, but we’re switching to Babyganics alcohol-free foaming hand sanitizer since it seems to be safer to put on baby’s hands, which I occasionally do when Pookie’s hands go wandering during diaper changes! Oy! Put some of the¬†on-the-go ones into your registry.

Now, where should you change your baby’s diapers? We went with a nice white dresser from Pottery Barn Kids, and I can’t say it has been perfect. I now wish we had gone with the Stuva Changing Table from Ikea. It’s great because you can change your baby from the front without having to move over to the side of the table. I love that there’s plenty of space on the surface for the changing pad and your diaper caddy and plenty of storage with open shelves and drawers down below. Even better, the changing table converts into a desk for when they get older. AND it looks cute. I think it’s perfect.

We got the Keekaroo peanut changing pad, but I don’t see why people love it so much. It’s not soft and cozy for baby, and ours actually stained our dresser somehow! If I could go back, I’d just get a regular changing pad like this one by Colgate.

You will also unfortunately need to change diapers when you’re on the go, so register for a travel changing pad. We’ve had no complaints with ours from¬†Skip Hop. You’ll of course also need a diaper bag. I’d say definitely go with a backpack style so you can more easily hold it AND your squirmy baby. We went with the Skip Hop Forma, which is fine, but I’d go with the Swish Baby¬†if I could go back.

As far as diaper pails go, you may or not feel you need one. We were so lucky to be gifted the Ubbi diaper pail off of our registry, but we did eventually stop using it. Our apartment is so small that we found it was easier to just put the diaper into our regular garbage can. Of course, if you do this, you’ll want to take your garbage out very regularly. ūüėČ If you do decide to get a diaper pail, the Ubbi is the cream of the crop!

Bathing

We went with a basic baby tub with infant sling, but found it pretty cumbersome. Today, I would get this adorable Blooming Baby¬†flower thing for bathing babies 0-6 months in the sink and the cute and compact¬†Schnuggle Baby Bathtub for when baby gets bigger. We also discovered this hard to find (Read: not on Amazon) bath seat by Keter while we were in Germany and highly recommend using it until you’re comfortable putting your munchkin directly into the big tub.

Don’t forget to add some super soft hooded towels to your registry and some nice lightweight washcloths like these by Spasilk. You’ll need some soap/ shampoo, so go with this nice gift set by Burt’s Bees that also includes lotion, diaper rash ointment, buttermilk soap and keepsake box. Also, grab some rubber duckies, any of these awesome looking bath toys, a faucet cover and a bath tub toy caddy.

We obsessively measured the bath temperature in the beginning, and I’m thinking you’ll want to as well, so put one of these bath thermometers in your registry.

Now that you have everything you need for bathing your munchkin and for those middle of the night poop-splosions, check out Part 4 all about feeding that hungry little munchkin!

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“If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry – Part 2 (Clothing)

After reading Part 1 of this series on compiling the perfect baby registry, you feel confident that you have everything you need for you (ha!) and baby to get a great night’s sleep as well as the right gear for getting around town with your little one. Now let’s discuss everything you need for dressing your munchkin.

Sleep Sacks and Blankets

I’ve put sleep sacks first in this post because they are SOOOO important. I’m sure you’ve heard all about swaddling babies for safe and comfortable sleeping, and if you’re like me, you’re terrified that you won’t be able to do it correctly. My advice to you is… don’t do it! Why swaddle with swaddling blankets, when the Miracle Blanket and the Halo Sleepsack exist? I highly recommend getting two miracle blankets and using them for as long as your little monkey still fits in them (probably for the first 3-4 months) and then using Halo Sleepsacks. You might as well get at least one Halo in each size (Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large). You’ll be so sad when munchkin no longer wears a sleepsack. I mean, look at Pookie as a burrito baby in the Miracle Blanket and then as a flying squirrel in his Halo Sleepsack.

While you may not use them as swaddles, you should definitely get several multi-purpose muslin swaddle blankets. I like the Aden and Anais blankets and recommend getting no fewer than 3 of them.

Pajamas

Pookie lived in footie pajamas his first few months. My mom was always saying, “When are you gonna put clothes on that baby?!” I was thinking, “Aren’t pajamas clothes?” Anyway, he was very cozy in his pajamas, and I highly recommend getting at least five in the 0-3 month size and a few in the 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 month sizes. The Babysoy pajamas were by far our favorite. We also liked the Carters Sleep N Play pajamas that snap or zip down the middle. But once I realized that most brands don’t make footie pajamas beyond the 9-12 month size, I panicked and, after much searching, found Leveret pajamas. Now, this is all we buy, and since they make footie pajamas all the way through toddler size 5, these are all you’ll ever need.

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Actual Clothes

When I did my in-store consultation at Buy Buy Baby, my consultant insisted I needed a billion¬†white onesies¬†of the short-sleeve, long-sleeve and sleeveless varieties. But, why??????? I did get them, but I barely used them because why ever go with plain white, when you can always go with something adorable? So, my advice here is… chill out on the white onesies. I suppose a pack like¬†this¬†in each size is a good idea for layering, but no need to go overboard.

And then go overboard on different colored and patterned onesies and pants. Don’t get too much clothing in the newborn or 0-3 sizes because your nugget really will be in pajamas all the time in the beginning. For each of the 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 month sizes, get around 5-7 short sleeve and long sleeve onesies, 5 pairs of pants and a few sweaters/ hoodies/ cardigans. I personally didn’t find the¬†side snap/ kimono onesies¬†necessary since our munchkin lived in pajamas while he still had his umbilical stump, but if you think you’ll need them, Aden and Anais makes¬†these¬†and they look so nice! If you’re having a girl, of course go nuts on dresses and tutus (I try to ignore that adorable stuff since I probably shouldn’t put them on Pookie).

I recommend Gap and Old Navy for clothes. They have cute stuff and amazing sales. Amazon and Target have an amazing clothing selection as well. People also love Zara and H&M. Remember that you can easily put clothing items from Gap, Old Navy, Zara, etc. into your Amazon Universal Registry if you install the Amazon Assistant button on your browser.

You can also try subscribing to Target’s Cat & Jack‚ĄĘ Baby Outfit Box, which is basically like Stitch Fix for babies. I haven’t tested it out, but it seems like a lot of fun! When you sign up, you receive 7 surprise clothing items in your baby’s current size. You keep what you want and return what you don’t want, and then you automatically receive a new box for the next season and size. I think it’s a great idea. If you’ve tried it, let me know about it in the comments below.

Hats, Socks, Mittens, Shoes, Jackets, Snowsuits

We love Pookie’s super warm 7am Enfant hat. The mittens haven’t been so helpful since he absolutely refuses to keep them on, but maybe you’ll have better luck! You also can’t go wrong with one of these cut knit hats with EARS (!!) from Gap.

Get these awesome scratch mittens by Goumikids that actually stay on.

It’s amazing the amount of time I’ve spent looking for socks for Pookie. But I always end up coming back to Old Navy’s great 8-packs of¬†socks, so I’d say get some of those!

It took me forever to find shoes that fit Pookie’s extra fat feet, but you can’t go wrong with shoes by Old Soles and Stride Rite.

Depending on where you live, you may need a baby jacket (I like North Face) or even a snowsuit. Carter’s has this nice solution that combines both.

Now go have a blast filling your registry with these Pookie-approved things and whatever other fun clothing items you find!

Next up: Part 3 (Diapering and Bathing)

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I think he looks like an astronaut ready for lift off here in his 7am Enfant hat.

No Jacket Required – Pookie Moment of the Week

On Wednesday, Pookie got to play outside for hours without a jacket on. Yes, that’s right. On February 21st, 2018, the temperature got up to 75 degrees in Brooklyn, and this was without a doubt Pookie’s moment of the week. Just look how happy he was.

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It’s a good thing he enjoyed it to the fullest though since it was very short-lived. In fact, poor baby has been cooped up for the last two days because winter has returned with a vengeance.

A Swing-Set with a View – Pookie Moment of the Week

On Wednesday, I needed to go to the West Elm store in DUMBO, so Pookie and I boarded the East River Ferry (or as Pookie calls it, the “boatie”) headed downtown. I think this was the first time he associated the “boaties” that he sees from our window with the ones that we ride in since he was really able to see the boat approach before we got on it.

After 10 minutes, we got off the boat and arrived at West Elm. Who knew that a furniture store could be so toddler-friendly? After I checked out some sleeper sofas, I let Pookie run around (with me right behind him of course), and wow, did he ever run! He absolutely loves couches and beds, so this place was Pookie heaven. This was the most he had ever walked without falling, and he just had a blast.

I had noticed that this West Elm had a Brooklyn Roasting Company in it, so I thought I’d check it out. It wasn’t too cold this day, so I thought the Maple Shay, basically just an iced latte with maple syrup in it, would be right up my alley, and it was! Actually, the Maple Shay made it onto City Guide NYC’s list of best seasonal coffees, and I can see why!

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Then Pookie and I headed to Brooklyn Bridge Park to hit up the swings. I put him in one of those baby buckets (as RR calls them), and started pushing him while facing him as I always do. Then all of a sudden, Pookie started screaming “boatie” and pointing, and I realized how jaded I am. I had my back turned to the most incredible view. This swing-set sits right next to the East River and has a view of all of Lower Manhattan. You can see the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and all of the many “boaties” going up and down the river. So, I thought today I would stand behind him while I push him in his baby bucket.

Thank you, Pookie, for reminding me what an incredible city we live in.

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A New York Mardi Gras Love Story

It has always felt a bit strange to be in New York during Mardi Gras. There’s no build-up to the big day like there is in New Orleans, where 63 parades roll BEFORE Mardi Gras day. So, all of a sudden, you’re going about your life, and you’re like “Woah, it’s Mardi Gras day.” And for a second, you’re like “Yay! Let’s do something!” And then you’re like, “Never mind.”

It’s true that you can find Mardi Gras-themed events in New York, but they’re usually ultra cheesy and offer something like unlimited jambalaya (so clich√©!) and diabetes-inducing hurricanes for $50 a person at best. No thank you. (That said, I’ve found a few options that seem worth your time this Mardi Gras in New York, and you can check them out here¬†and here.)

Basically, Mardi Gras in New York is kinda sad because it barely registers on people’s radar, and you walk around like “don’t you know it’s Mardi Gras,” “Where’s your Big Ass Beer,” and “Why are you wearing clothes?” Ok just kidding about that. I’d really prefer that most people remain clothed. Basically, it’s just completely impossible to recreate the vibe of Mardi Gras in New York, so it just ends up being lame.

However (and this is a huge however), one year Mardi Gras in New York was magical. Check it out.

Twelve years ago, Jen√©esaisquoi asked me if I wanted to go to a Mardi Gras party at a bar in the West Village. For some reason (well, perhaps for all the reasons stated above), I didn’t feel like it, but I wanted to hang with my girl, so I threw on a “The best girls are southern” t-shirt and indulged her.

The party, if you can call it that, was at the Town Tavern (a frat boy-type bar that no longer exists), and it basically consisted of people drinking beer while wearing Mardi Gras beads. We were with another Louisiana friend, who had brought a king cake, so at least there was that. The same friend won $300 that night for having the most Mardi Gras beads, so there was that too.

But suddenly, the party became a party when I spotted this tall drink of water in the back of the bar and promptly recruited Jen√©esaisquoi to help me flirt with him. I had never picked up a guy in a bar before, but I was not messing around and just went for it. Well, me going for it consisted of me going up to him with my wing-woman and offering him a piece of king cake. Of course he had to ask “what’s king cake?” So we explained that it’s a cake that is only available during Mardi Gras that has a plastic baby Jesus inside of it. I’m pretty sure we had RR at “plastic baby Jesus.” I mean, what’s not sexy about that? Twelve years later here we are preparing to move our butts (and our baby’s butt) down to New Orleans for this next stage of our lives.

I love that the only time I tried to pick up a guy in a bar the guy became my husband and baby daddy. I also really love that we met on Mardi Gras day. And I think that it means we were meant to end up in NOLA.

The moral of the story is… Just because Mardi Gras in New York sucks doesn’t mean you should knock it because you never know when a lame ass Mardi Gras party could become your New York Mardi Gras Love Story.

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Va-LENT-ine’s Day Schmalentine’s Day

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I just realized that Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday this year! What to do? Haha! Just kidding!

I mean, if you really do observe Lent, then I guess you can try any of Simcha Fisher’s hilarious¬†suggestions as to how to “keep the Lent in VaLENTine’s Day” (carob truffles, anyone?), and I guess you could go to some romantic vegetarian restaurant and drink club soda with two straws. Maybe you can even add some apple juice to that sparkling water! Dang!

Well, RR and I plan to share a big ole steak, drink champagne AND wine and finish it all off with a heart-shaped chocolate cake!

What are your plans for Va-LENT-ine’s Day?

Photo credit: Jamie Street on Unsplash.com

“If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry – Part 1 (Mobility and Bedding)

When you’re expecting your first little one, it’s exciting to create your baby registry, but it’s also frustrating. You’ve never done it before, so how would you know which stroller will fit your lifestyle best or which nursing pillow makes life easiest? I will go over the best of the best in each category and tell you what you can leave off your list as well! I hope this helps you create your perfect baby registry!

First comes first: where to register? I registered at BuyBuyBaby and Amazon, which was fine, but looking back, I think the winning combination is… drum roll… Amazon and Target. I had no issues with BuyBuyBaby, but I definitely got a bit jelly when I checked out a couple of my friends’ Target registries. A good barometer is the fact that these two stores continue to provide me with everything I need for Pookie, so it makes sense that they would’ve been a great place to start! Start your registry at Amazon and¬†Target¬†today!

In-store consultation- useful or a waste of time?

I had an in-store consultation at BuyBuyBaby, which I found a bit fun, but also annoying. I definitely felt pressured into registering for things I didn’t need and ended up indeed not needing. So, if you do go for this kind of thing, do it just for fun, and don’t let them pressure you into registering for silly crap!

Let’s get started!

Part 1: Mobility and Bedding

This sounds like a strange combo, right? Well, you’ll see why it makes sense!

Stroller

One of our favorite and most used registry items has to be our UPPAbaby¬†Vista¬†stroller, which comes with a bassinet for the first six or so months (when baby should lay flat) and a toddler seat (for when baby has more neck control). It also comes with a rain shield and bug net. As a stroller, I think it’s perfect. It’s got incredible wheels for handling whack sidewalks. You can even jog with this stroller, and you never have to inflate the wheels! It takes the cake when it comes to storage space, which is key if you live in a walkable city and plan to do a lot of shopping on foot with baby. But here’s the kicker…

It doubles as an actual bassinet! Pookie was so cozy in the bassinet that we used it as his bed. You can get the UPPAbaby bassinet stand for it, and voil√†, it’s a bed! In my opinion, there is no real need to get a separate bassinet when you have this stroller, especially if you live in a shoebox!

Oh, and for those fun pee, puke or worse accidents, get an extra mattress cover for the bassinet mattress! That came in handy many times for us!

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Here is Pookie snoozing away in the UPPAbaby bassinet. Here we didn’t even bother putting it on the stand.

Co-Sleepers, if you insist

Ok, let’s face it. For the first few months of your baby’s life, your main obsession is how can we all get some sleep, so if you have the space, you might also want the following items: the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper and the DockATot. The HALO sleeper is perfect for those middle of the night feedings because baby is right next to you without being IN bed with you. You can (duh!) swivel her so that she practically is in bed with you, but not. For the HALO, you’ll also want to get a mattress pad and some¬†fitted sheets. And then there’s the DockATot! Even if you insist that baby will never be in bed with you, chances are it’ll happen in the middle of the occasional desperate, sleepless night, and when it does, you’ll be happy to have the DockATot! I mean, wouldn’t you love to sleep in that thing? It’s basically a super cozy little docking station for your baby to sleep more safely in bed with you or to feel cozy and happy when being transitioned into the crib. My friends who have this are obsessed! (I think they’re just living vicariously through their baby! It looks that comfortable!)

Crib

Here’s an important tip. Don’t even think about getting a mini crib!! We got one, thinking… actually, I don’t know what we were thinking. It was a total waste! Pookie became too big for it in no time, and we had to get a regular crib, which we had to get either way. Take my advice, when it comes to cribs, just go for the full sized crib. If you want a sleek (small-ish footprint) crib, go for the Bloom Alma Papa Crib. We love ours!

Mattress and other bedding necessities

I had a super difficult time selecting a mattress. Of course, we wanted the best, most hypo-allergenic, non-toxic, organic mattress possible without having to spend a fortune, and, after hours of research, we went with the Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Eco Friendlier Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton Cover. What a mouthful! Don’t forget sheets (any will do, but these by Burt’s Bees look so nice, and they’re organic!) and an organic mattress protector like this.

So, I know a lot of sites say not to get a¬†bumper, but I disagree! Pookie kept bumping his head on the bars of his crib and getting a foot or hand stuck between them. Before we got our bumper, out of desperation, we wound a towel between the bars because we didn’t want him to hurt himself, but then said “this is stupid. Let’s get a bumper.” Good decision. We got the BreathableBaby Breathable Mesh Crib Liner, which I guess is called a “crib liner” because the word “bumper” has become so taboo, but it’s essentially a lightweight bumper that baby can breathe through if indeed she buries her entire face in it, which she likely won’t do anyway. We love it, and, since we got the safari print, we have fun every morning talking to Pookie about the “mommy monkey and baby monkey,” etc.

I recommend also getting a sound machine for your munchkin’s room. We LOVE and absolutely recommend the Mybaby Soundspa Sound Machine AND Projector. We use it every night, for naps and we travel with it! We use the rain setting as his “white noise” when he sleeps, we use the songs like “twinkle twinkle” sometimes when he wants a little music before bed, and we use the projector function just for some fun. He loves it!

Car seat

As you know, you need an infant car seat in order to leave the hospital. We borrowed the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat from a friend and found it convenient. It connects to the UPPAbaby stroller without an adapter, so for quick shopping trips or if baby falls asleep in the car and you don’t want to transfer him into the stroller, just pop the car seat onto the stroller base, and you’re good to go!

Once Pookie grew out of the Mesa, we got a Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat and are very happy with it. Pookie approves too.

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This was back when the Pookster still fit in the UPPAbaby infant car seat. Look at those cheeks!

Second Stroller

Most people can’t get away with just one stroller. We wanted to get a light-weight stroller for traveling, for taking Pookie on the subway and for quick errands. We got the Maclaren Mark II, and while it is ultra light and does the job, if we could have a do-over, we’d get something else. I would go with the Babyzen 2017 Yoyo Stroller. I like it because it folds up super compact and light, but it is also sturdy and easy to push. Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to the slightest bump, I’m just not sure how to get the Maclaren over it, or up stairs for that matter! It’s pricey, but it’s worth it since you’ll actually use it! We don’t use our Maclaren, and it was also expensive!

Baby Carrier

So, Pookie hated each and every baby carrier that we tried (and we tried SO many!), but I think that’s because we didn’t put him in it earlier enough. Either way, if I could do it all over again, I’d go with the LILLEBaby Six-Position All Season Carrier, and I’d put him in it as early a possible. One of my friends who has two kids and has tried many carriers swears by this one, and Mommyhood101 rates it as the #1 carrier. This is the one to get! ūüôā

Extras

For the UPPAbaby Vista, you’ll want to get the snack tray! It’s great for meals or snacks on the go. And of course you need a parent organizer/ cup holder like this one.

And you of course need a mobile for your baby’s crib. We have a giraffe theme going on in our family, so we got a giraffe one, and Pookie loves it.

For frigid winters, you absolutely must get a 7am Enfant 212 Evolution Blanket with matching Warmmuffs¬†to keep your hands toasty. These are necessities! With the blanket, which is really a bunting, you don’t have to bundle up your baby with crazy layers only to have to take them all off each time you enter a joint. And, most babies hate snowsuits! Well, at least Pookie does! And the Warmmuffs are truly the best invention since sliced bread!

Lastly, you’ll also want a bunting for your infant car seat. The JJ Cole Bundleme works great!

Let me know if I’ve left out any bedding and mobility registry must-haves and if you agree or disagree with my recommendations! Stay tuned for Part 2 of “If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry!

 

Dear Dad – Letter Six

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It’s blurry, but I just love your expression in this pic. We were at Lakeside Camera taking the last couple of pictures on the roll of film before we dropped it off to get it developed.

Dear Dad,

This is just a quick note to tell you about last night’s dream. It was a short and simple dream, but it made me feel good.

RR and I were in my bedroom with the door closed, getting dressed for the day I suppose. All of a sudden, I heard your voice. You called to me from downstairslike you have done so many times before. You said, “Tiny (that’s my alias)! Open the door so that I can see you!” I turned to RR and asked “Did you hear that?” RR had heard it too. I flung the door open, thinking for some reason that you would be standing there. You weren’t there.

That’s it for the dream. It was short and sweet. It may sound sad, but it wasn’t. I woke up feeling so happy that I had heard your voice after not hearing it for so long, and I just wanted to tell you about it.

I miss your voice.

Love,

Tiny

New Yorkers Are Lovely – No, Really!

You may remember my post about my frustrating experience of having to re-park the car with Pookie. Well, today could have turned out even more exasperating than that day, but it didn’t thanks to the kindness of New Yorkers.

We have had some issues with our 1998 Chrysler lately. Actually, I need to give the car a little more credit. The problems surprisingly have little to do with the age of the car and everything to do with the fact that we left a light on in the car, which drained the battery. Because we have put off actually taking the car to the shop, every time we have to move the car (roughly twice a week), we have to count on the kindness of strangers to jumpstart our car – because the meter maids (I know – not PC at all) don’t care if your car is on fire. They will still ticket you. Or will they…?

So, today I had to move the car at 8am, and I had no babysitter, so Pookie came along. I packed up his breakfast, and we headed to the car. I thought maybe the car will miraculously start. But that was wishful thinking. I parked Pookie on the sidewalk, got out the jumper cables, opened the hood and put on my most desperate expression. After five minutes, here is what happened.

I saw a meter maid, actually a meter dude, placing tickets on the windshields of cars that no one had moved yet. He clearly had figured out my situation and did not give me a ticket, which is normal since they don’t ticket you if you are present. But then I thought why not ask him for advice. Given that he had already passed, perhaps I wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of getting the car jumped and moving it after all. He had a great idea. He said he would put a fake ticket on my windshield so that no other parking enforcement officer (I found the proper PC title for these folks) would give me a ticket.

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This ticket made our day!

Just as I was thanking him profusely, a car pulled up next to mine. Voil√†, more ultra friendly and helpful New Yorkers. They told me that they had seen me standing there with a baby and jumper cables and had driven around the block to come back and help us out with a jump. I thanked them profusely as well and told them that I fortunately didn’t have to move the car after all thanks to the loveliest parking enforcement officer ever.

So, instead of having to get the car jumped, move the car and have¬†breakfast in the backseat until we could get out of the car, I got to head to Starbucks (Shhh… don’t tell anyone) with an already cranky Pookie, and we had breakfast there. Not only was it much more pleasant for both of us (I got to have an Iced Reserve Hazelnut Bianco Latte!), but I also got the warm and fuzzies thinking about just how nice New Yorkers really are.

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Muji – Great for gifts and killing time

My rating: ♥♥♥♥♥/ 5

The other day, Pookie had woken up a bit early from his nap and turned into a cranky mess by 4pm. I needed to find a way to survive the next few hours before bedtime. I also needed to get a birthday gift for “Igor,” so we (I) decided to hit up Muji.

I managed to get Pookie’s jacket and shoes on and stuff him into his 7am Enfant Blanket 212 Evolution¬†and, because the new Muji store opened up two blocks from our apartment, we arrived in no time! The walk over there chilled him out a bit, and by the time we entered, Pookie was a new baby.

I LOVE Muji! And so does Pookie! So, what is it? The name Muji is short for Mujirushi¬†RyŇćhin, which means no-brand quality goods in Japanese. They carry everything from skincare products, clothing and snacks to furniture, dishes and stationery. They set themselves apart with their excellent, but simple designs, high quality and reasonable prices.

Did I mention that they carry stationery?? Woah. Among so many other cute and useful office supplies, they have notebooks of all sizes, materials and varieties and pens in all colors of course, but also every tip size you can imagine so that you can find the best one for your handwriting. And you can test them all out on scratch paper, which means you can easily spend all day there!

Pookie and I had only been there for five minutes when “Ellie,” a friend of ours, walked in with her three-year-old. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who had decided to spend the witching hour there. Her kiddo (obviously) loves the stationery section and had a blast testing out pens and markers.

I knew I would find Igor the perfect gift in the stationery section. Not only is she one of the most organized people I know, but she also appreciates cute crap as much as I do, so I thought she would enjoy a selection of Muji office supplies. First I picked out a couple pens (one in black and one in sky blue). Then I had to get her a clear tip double ended highlighter¬†in pink because seriously I’ve never seen such a cool highlighter tip. I also chose some fun cat sticky notes, some to-do list sticky notes in two different sizes, and a pad of weekly schedule sticky notes.

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Then Ellie gave me the best tip ever. She pointed out that you can purchase a notebook and decorate it at their stamping station. I obviously had to personalize a notebook for Igor.

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So, I’m not completely happy with the finished result. I got a little nervous because the pressure was on to not mess it up, and meanwhile cranky mess had returned. Pookie wanted to keep ALL of the stamps, which made the process a bit frustrating. At least he never figured out how to open the stamps! Even if it’s not perfect, I think Igor will appreciate the effort!

This place gets 5 hearts for so many reasons: their beautiful and clever products, their use of little or no packaging, their low prices, their stamping station (!!) and their kid-friendliness. Pookie enjoyed the hour spent at Muji, and I feel that in a year or so he will enjoy it even more.