Snowboard Strength and Reflection

Me Boarding at Okemo Mountain

Me Boarding at Okemo Mountain Yesterday was a very very long day. Not bad, but long.

I took a few days off for the first time in a long time and we spent the weekend with friends at Okemo Mountain in Vermont. It was the first time my girls were on skis and I was uncharacteristically nervous that it would be a disaster. I spent unconscionable hours prepping, buying snow gear, talking to them about ski school, venting to friends and my SoulCycle riders. Snow, cold, wet, wind, a 5 hour ride in the car, heavy equipment, thick layers of clothing, lots of factors that could have made it absolutely miserable instead of the proverbial slopeside fun. Too much was riding on this first trip and the usual laid back, calm mama that I am turned into a bit of a neurotic mess. Skiing/Snowboarding is just too important! It's part of the fabric from which I am made. It has shaped who I am. It brings me (and has always) unadulterated happiness. Talk about chakra opening;)

I grew up taking regular family ski trips and have the fondest, most visceral, memories of those times. I so badly want my kids to have similar experiences, vacations that keep us fit as a family, challenging and adventurous times together. I've been preaching about the importance of starting early for years...this was the time to call my own bluff.

I've been skiing since I was 3 and switched to a board when I was 13. I love almost nothing more than the fresh mountain air, cruising down the slopes, feeling the wind, speed, freedom. It is part of who I am. I crave it. I'm pretty sure I NEED it.

For a handful of years, we skipped the ski trips for warmer climes. Through pregnancies and infant years it all seemed like too much work, arguably too dangerous. We are now though back in a groove. Finally feeling family life (not babyhood) and exploring more . This one was an amazing adventure.

Richie and Avital Skiing Together

Turns out both my kids LOVED ski school. They went with their respective best friends and were such damn big girls about it! Avital, my 6yr old, even spent a morning skiing with Richie. She loved it and I love that she loved it. She was brave and strong and I'm a seriously proud mama. Bar's teacher said she was pretty badass about it all too. No crying, totally got up on her skis, skated a bit, AND I spied her walking in to ski school from their first run and she even has a swagger to her walk. It was so freakin awesome to see.

Bar's Snowy Swagger

The first morning we went out on the slopes took a bit to get everyone settled. Rentals, ski school check in, lift tickets, all that jazz. So us adults took a bit of time to get up on the mountain. Once up, the first run of the season over (always a bit wobbly), we were cruising. It's such a special thing to share with Richie. That feeling of freedom, adventure, open air, nature and the world at your fingertips (well, mitten tips).

A calm and invigoration come over me, at the same time, an excitement and nothing else is like it. Happiness.

But here's the thing, at 33 years old, I felt stronger on my board than ever! My body was capable of so much more, so much earlier in my ride than in the past. I'm pretty sure I'm in the best shape of my life and the prospect of getting stronger and better is exciting. What more can I do, without fear, full of possibility!

I was carving and cruising faster than I ever have on my second run and it felt amazing!! So here's to strength, in your body, as a family, building healthy strong bodies to let us explore this gorgeous world more confidently! Cheers you guys.

Us and Francesca on the lift

Life. Is. Good.

The world is your oyster.

Traveling with Tiny Monsters Checklist

Love Life and Lollipops- Calms Forte for kids

We desperately needed a break from all the unpacking, adjusting to a new life, cold, winter, snow, so we decided to come visit Richie’s parents in Florida for a bit and reset and rejuvenate. While nothing sounded better than some time in the sun, there’s no getting around the anxiety caused by pending travel with a 4 year old and a baby.  Each have their own needs for keeping them quiet and entertained and safe.  Doing almost anything with the two of them these days is challenging (in a fun way;)), let alone traveling via airplane.  There are bundles (literally) of things we need to pack and carry on and organizing them and making sure everything is readily available at our fingertips for potential melt downs and hunger pangs is wildly overwhelming.

On top of all that, we’re vegan and health conscious, so grabbing food at the airport is really not an option.  So we need activities, food, herbs and holistic medicines, the list goes on.

On some of the mommy networks I’m on, I’ve seen questions posted a few times about what to do with a x year old on a flight.  I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are some things I make sure to bring with us every time we fly:

  • Calms Forte for kidsLove Life and Lollipops- Calms Forte for kids
  • Hand sanitizer (I use this to sanitize the seat belts and arm rests and whatnot on the plane too.)  I like the Dr. Bronner’s lavender one or the EO brand in sweet orange (orange oil is said to be a happy sent and calming to kids…I happen to love it and all citrus scents for myself as well).Love Life and Lollipops- EO Hand Sanitizer in sweet orange
  • Lavender essential oil (calming for us all)Love Life and Lollipops- Lavender Essential Oil
  • Baby blankets (my kids still love their muslin swaddles as blankets for tv watching, cuddling, an extra layer...)Love Life and Lollipops- muslin swaddles
  • A bottle of almond milk for bar, an extra single serve vegan milk, and a travel bottle warmerLove Life and Lollipops- travel bottle warmer
  • Art projects for Avital (the Melissa and Doug prepackaged sets are great.  This time we brought the princess tiara decorating set.  I also brought crayons and a pad, tons of stickers, and one of those paint with water booklets.)Love Life and Lollipops- princess tiara decorating set
  • Tons of snacks: bananas, self serve baby food and apple sauce, whole wheat crackers, organic popcorn, last night’s leftover pasta and edamame, blueberries, cut mango…).  I have a lunch box kinda thing from Built that I bought at Whole Foods.  It stretches to pack it to the brim, has a convenient handle, and is the perfect size for kids snacks.  I also use reusable snack bags (I have a bunch of different brands, I use them for Avi’s lunch and packing snacks on the go in place of ziplocks.)Love Life and Lollipops- Lunch box from Built
  • Sippy cups (princess ones of course)Love Life and Lollipops- princess cups
  • (Seventh Generation) diapers and wipes of course.  Extra wipes for faces and hands.Love Life and Lollipops- Seventh Generation diapers and wipes
  • My iPad fully loaded with Avi’s favorite movies (which are currently Hotel Transylvania and Brave)Love Life and Lollipops- Brave
  • Headphones for AviLove Life and Lollipops- Headphones for Avi
  • Books for me (of course, in the rare case Bar falls asleep and I can sneak in a bit of reading.)  Books for the kids in case they’ll pay attention long enough for me to read to them.Love Life and Lollipops- How To Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor
  • Organic green tea bags.  And, though my best friend, Ali, makes fun of me for it, I love Starbuck’s iced green tea.  It’s organic and always easy to find.  Grab one for the flight after you go through security to bring on the plane.)Love Life and Lollipops- Starbucks iced green tea
  • Potty toppers and table toppers (life savers in public areas as gross as an airport or airplane.)Love Life and Lollipops- Potty toppers

Oh and I make sure we all take our vitamins the morning before along with extra vitamin C and an immune boosting herb blend.

Traveling with or without kids can be really taxing to our systems, it is no time to be missing sleep, eating poorly, staying to sedentary.  Bring your own food, get more than enough sleep the night before, and get up and walk a few times throughout the flight.  Moving around and getting the blood flowing helps your energy and immune system.  No one wants to be sick on vacation or when the get home from one and NO ONE wants to vacation with sick kids.  So doing a bit of extra work on the front end, preparing well, and having what you need on you makes a world of difference!

Another thing you can do that makes a world of difference while you're away with your family on vacation, is making sure you secure your home before you leave. Dealing with sick kids is one thing, but dealing with a break in when you come home is entirely another.

You can take small but important precautions like putting your mail on hold, letting your neighbors you'll be away so they can keep an eye on your house and even investing in a home security system (check out tophomealarms.com)  for better protection from burglary. We just installed one in our house.  Coming from the city where there is always someone in close proximity, I was nervous to be in the house alone with the kids.  I feel more at ease when I know the alarm is on.

And with today's technology, you can even use your smartphone to check in on your home when you're at your vacation destination. I can even lock and unlock my front door!  I've been letting in the construction workers and closing up behind them and putting on the alarm.  It's pretty cool.  So while you may not be able to control if your flight is on time or if your little ones get the sniffles, you can check in on what's happening, or rather not happening, at your home.

Jamaica Once Again

Love Life and Lollipops- Round Hill Jamaica 2012

I apologize again for my hiatus (this mommy thing gets in the way of everything, huh;)).  We were actually traveling and getting spotty internet while we were gone.

This trip has developed into a yearly thing for us and our favorite friends and doppelgängers (Michelle, Dan, Ike, and Calvin).  Once upon a time these friends lived in Brooklyn and we saw them almost daily, but they've moved upstate and we definitely don't see them enough anymore.

This trip gives us all time to catch up, hang, decompress, make up for lost time.  We all love love Jamaica for it's amazing food, sunny beaches, calm waters, friendly people...I could go on.  Each time I come back refreshed with a new perspective on the world.  Both the Jamaican air and inspiring friends leave me seeing the world in a whole new light.

This year we stayed at the Round Hill Resort.  It was appropriately beachy and rustic, eco-conscious, and totally chic.

Chef Andre there was amazing and prepared vegan food for us every night (and even one way too large lunch).  It was delicious and amazing to be able to eat well on vacation (often a challenge).  Here are some pics of the food he special prepared for us and the micro greens tasting he prepared from their organic garden!:

 

We did little more than swim and sun (and nurse babies of course) and it was absolutely perfect.  I'm happy to be home, though missing my friends already and already looking forward to next year's trip!

Nature and Art: A Fabulous Combination

I found this video through an awesome blog: Black Eiffel that I read every so often for design inspiration.  I fell in love with this clip and wanted to share.  It reminds me how special this world is and how worth it it is to protect it!  It also reminds me how much more of this world I have to see.  Travel plans in the works?!?  Richie always talks about traveling the Pacific Northwest! Take a look:

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Cape May Surprise Getaway for Richie's 30th Birthday

Love Life and Lollipops- Richie's Vegan 30th Birthday Cake

We loved this amazing vegan birthday cake! This past weekend, our good friends (Erika and Justin) helped me plan a surprise getaway for Richie to celebrate his 30th birthday.

He was totally surprised and we all had an absolutely fabulous beach weekend in Cape May, NJ.  We stayed at Congress Hall which was a supercute hotel on the beach.  We lucked out hard core with Saturday's amazing weather and our trip included vegan birthday cake from the local baker, yoga on the beach with Sharon (an amazing local instructor who graced us with a private 2 hour practice!), salt water taffy, relaxing on the beach, and an amazing piano man at our hotel bar on Saturday night.  All in all it was a superfantabulous weekend all the more special shared with great friends!

FEED 2 Kenya Bag

Love Life and Lollipops- Feed 2 Kenya Bag
This FEED Project bag feeds two Kenyan kids school meals for one full year.

Sorry again for the quiet day yesterday.  Just got home and still recovering from all the moving around, cooking, family time, and general craziness.

I did though get a superspecial present from my amazing Aunt Bonnie this week though.  She ordered my birthday present in October for my birthday in November, but unfortunately due to some mix-ups and backorders it just came.  Nonetheless I'm superpsyched and it actually came in perfect time for summer.  It's a good size for diapers, snacks, wallet, a change of clothes, toys, the whole nine!

It's my FEED 2 Kenya bag.  It's beaded and lined with plaid and supercool.  Most importantly with the proceeds it pays for 2 Kenyan children school meals for one full year.  It not only wards of potentially fatal hunger, but it allows them to stay focused and attentive in school offering them a real education.

And on top of all that, it is hand crafted by a co-op of Kenyan women and deaf artisans, so you're supporting the local culture as well.  If you're so inclined to have one for yourself you can find them here.  The site also sells tons of other cool things which all donate proceeds to worthy charities!  I'm thinking about buying us all some supercute FEED Japan t's and maybe a dop kit and another simple tote for the beach this summer.  I already own 2 of the ones that zip into a small square that I purchased at Whole Foods.  They're great for food shopping!  Here it is, the FEED 100 bag.

Keep me posted if any of you purchase and how you like your FEED goodies:)

The Napping House

Love Life and Lollipops- Napping With Avi

Napping is restorative and healing.  There's nothing better than a good nap. Ok, this isn't about the book (though we love it and read it often), this is about our house.  Or whatever house we're in at the time be it my parent's, Richie's parent's, my aunt's, the list goes on...

Napping these days is a big part of getting through the day for both Avi and myself.  But to be honest, neither of us are great nappers.  We both need the perfect environment to doze off or our minds run too fast to allow us to sleep before it's dark outside.  But the outcome is the same for both of us: post nap the second half of the day is much more pleasant than if we're working sans nap.

Yesterday we came down to Florida to visit Richie's parents and grandparents and get some much needed sun (Risa cleared me to fly after I was done with my first trimester, yay!).

We woke up a bit earlier than usual, rushed to get dressed, organized, and fed before my mom drove us to the airport (thank goodness she was there to help get us out the door...I'm in serious slow motion these days).  Avi was amazing on the flight.  We got our bags, hopped a car to the house, ate, swam, and by then we were all pooped!

I decided to do my best to get her to nap though on days we're away from home and of schedule it's a real toss up whether I can make it happen.  Richie set us up outside with some pillows in the shade and before you knew it we were both out like a light (as my dad would say).  We both desperately needed the rest and felt great after!

Sleep is healing and restorative.  It is the time when out bodies do the repair work it needs to bring us back to health and balance.  Too often we forgo sleep for other duties and we always suffer for it.  I think we should all do our best to shut down more often and let our bodies do the work it needs to do to let us be more effective and efficient.  In order to be our best, maintain proper weight, function at our optimum levels, and stay focused and clear, sleep is integral!

Do you all nap?  How many hours do you sleep every night?

Woodstock, NY in a Weekend

Love LIfe and Lollipops- Hiking in Woodstock

Let me start by saying that even in the 30 degree weather, Woodstock was absolutely beautiful. The air was crisp and fresh and totally cleansing.

That said, everything to do was closed!  Which is why we cut our trip off a bit early.  Avi could only spend so much time in the car and hotel room.

We did though eat some fabulous food (Woodstock is refreshingly veggie friendly), take a mini-hike, and I had my first reiki session at the hotel's ayurvedic spa (which was amazing!).

Thursday night we ate at New World Home Cooking whose menu was pleasantly laced with seitan options.  To be honest it wasn't the first place I'd run back to, but it was just the right thing after such a long ride.  We shared some seitan wings and then I had a seitan cutlet sandwich (basically I seitaned myself out for the month).

After dinner it was already past Avi's bedtime, so we headed straight to the hotel to hit the sack.  The Emerson Resort was in Mt. Tremper just a short ride from the town of Woodstock and it was an oasis of luxury in the middle of rustic rural land.  We stayed in the lodge part of the hotel and it was the perfect amount of clean and nice and comfy and log cabiny.

The next morning we had a greasy breakfast at a country kitchen type place where Avi had the biggest pancakes of her life.  We roamed the town a bit then went to visit some friends who recently moved up there from Brooklyn.  Their new home was on an amazing piece of land and the six of us hiked out the back of their house down to a beautiful river and it's bank.  Sophie )our shih tzu) was in all her glory.  I couldn't believe how she maneuvered all the crazy rocks with her tiny legs, but she did it with a huge smile across her little face!

After working up a hunger we all went into town for lunch at Oriole 9 which was an organic, local type restaurant.  It was so so kid friendly and Avi and I both had the most amazing lunch.  Mine was a lentil soup with garlic toast and I ordered a hearts of palm, avocado, and crispy chickpea salad.  Oh and I ordered a side of falafel too.  Hey, I'm pregnant;)  It was all amazing.  Check it out:

Vegan lentil soup and hearts of palm salad!

After a family nap time I hit up the spa for a reiki session which I wasn't sure if I believed in, but totally blew my mind.  To start it's amazingly relaxing which I totally needed.  Beyond that, when she concentrated her energy on my belly, there was such crazy movement in there like I haven't yet felt.  I wasn't sure if I was conjuring it up, but when I was done she was like: woah!  That baby was kicking away like crazy, huh?  Pretty cool!

That evening we went to dinner at Peekamoose Restaurant which was the best meal we've had in a while.  Richie was totally blown away.  We had an amazing vegan dish of local veggies piled on top of each other in a sweetish broth of sorts.  So amazingly yum!  It totally made us happy.  You know those kind of meals?

After dinner we were pooped and headed straight back to the hotel to bed.  On the way home  (or to my parents' home I should say) in the morning we hit up the Bread Alone Bakery where I went a little crazy and bought a local apple cinnamon loaf, a whole wheat sourdough loaf, 4 raisin rolls, a cinnamon thingy, and two iced teas for the road home.  Everything was scrumptious.

In the end, we had a really nice adventure and were glad to be home in the end of it!

Babycakes in My Brooklyn Bed AND at Disney!

Love Life and Lollipops- Babycakes Vegan Goodies

These treats from Babycakes were amazing and totally vegan.

I've mentioned Babycakes Bakery in passing here and here.  Babycakes is a refined sugar-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free, casein-free, egg-free, vegan, kosher bakery.  And it's damn good!

Every time we're out to dinner in downtown Manhattan I make Richie do a drive by on the way home for some post dinner goodies (thank goodness they're open late!).   This was exactly the case this past Saturday.  Avi and I picked out a box full of doughnuts and cake balls and hamentashen (for the bargain price of $20ish) and brought it home, straight into bed with pj's, and grubbed  (see above).

But that's not the only exciting Babycakes news I've got for you all!  I recently found out that Babycakes opened in Downtown Disney!  Read about it here straight from the horses mouth.  Or here from PETA.  In an effort to bring healthier options to Disney, Babycakes was one of the new additions!  And even better: in the place of McDonald's!  Yup they got the boot.  The world is making real strides when Disney World offers vegan cupcakes.  Yay!

Babycakes vegan goodies at Disney World.

Our Trip to Jamaica

Love Life and Lollipops- Rum Soaked Toast!

This past trip was Our First Family Vacation without extended family and it was amazing!  We ate well, slept well (although Richie likes to get up bright and early and the rest of us with him), drank some, and swam a lot.  It was just the right medicine to cure the serious chills we were experiencing here in blistery Brooklyn. We love going to Jamaica because the Rasta culture is vegetarian, so it's always easy (and most often deliciously filled with curries and rice and bean mixtures) for us to eat there!

Here are some pics from the trip:

This Jamaican special, rum soaked toast, was a seriously strong breakfast and totally vegan!

Jamaican Vegan Veggie Curry

Avi and I Right Before a Naptime

Reading on the beach= my meditation

Checking out the beach.