Happy early holidays! We just got back from a week in Hawaii visiting family and communing with the ocean. It was wonderful, despite the long and painful (even with amazing grandparent help!) flights. Now we’re battling jet lag while also trying to speed-shop for gifts and pack up for Christmas in Maine. While I procrastinate mailing holiday cards (FYI Sesame Street stamps—thanks Olga for the hot tip), here’s a short list of things to close out December.
Two bedtime helpers: The perfect storm of time difference, sickness, and a new baby brother has resulted in some epic bedtime battles with Lilly. Our pediatrician recommended giving her Zarbee’s Children’s Melatonin about 30 minutes before bedtime and it really helped calm her down. Plus they’re berry-flavored gummies so we didn’t have to convince her to eat them. We also put this cute Owl-shaped nightlight in her room to keep her company; it has a bunch of different color options and she loves choosing one each night.
Tidy travel toys: Between frequent car trips and our latest long-haul flight, we’re always on the hunt for travel-friendly toys that are compact and entertaining. My dad found a few winners recently: this Magnetic Fun set which lets you create different scenes with magnets (tip: anything magnet is great for travel because it’s harder to lose); mini Fisher-Price DoodlePro, which is like an Etch-a-Sketch only with a pen that is conveniently attached; and these Purple Cow mini magnet puzzles, which were a little difficult for Lilly but fun to do together. And should you find yourself on a flight without enough toys: Lilly was obsessed with the safety card and spent a good hour looking at it with my dad.
A streamlined baby carrier: My love of the Solly wrap is well-documented, but as Finn gets bigger, I’m starting to wear my structured carriers more. I used both the Ergo and Beco with Lilly (both take some getting used to so it’s really about preference) but this time around I have been loving Colugo‘s carrier. They sent me one to try and I’ve been using it a ton; I like that it’s extremely easy to put on (you slip it over like a t-shirt) and is less bulky than others. We have the navy but only because I couldn’t convince Rob to rock the microfloral.
Cookie party MVPs: In anticipation of being away for most of the holiday season, I had some friends over in early December for a cookie decorating party. It was my first time hosting one so I pestered my friend and food expert Emily for tips. One: Lots of sprinkles. I used a mix of Supernatural all-natural sprinkles (check out their adorable holiday blends) and traditional ones from NY Cake, a baking wonderland. I bought fun silicone muffin liners to keep the sprinkles organized and they cute and useful. Two: Tiny squirt bottles. I bought them at NY Cake but they’re available online and make it super easy to apply royal icing. Three: Royal icing. I used this Bon Appetit recipe and it worked like a charm. Four: Simplify where you can. In theory I would have loved to make my own but, hey, two kids. I bought a bunch from a Betty Bakery in my neighborhood and they were great.
Two delightful reads: One paragraph sentence into Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s review of Kevin Wilson’s Nothing to See Here (“…it’s wholly original. It’s also perfect.”), I had downloaded the book onto my Kindle. It was as good as she said—a funny, weird, transfixing story about a wayward 20-something caring for twins with an uncommon ailment/superpower. It reminded me of George Saunders in the best possible way. I’m now halfway through Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls, which I originally avoided because it’s set in New York City and I didn’t feel like reading about my home. Silly me—it’s an exuberant, vivacious portrait of a young woman moving to Manhattan in 1940. It makes me want to trade my sneaks for heels and go see something on Broadway.
A good-for-your-brain app: I’m surrounded by crossword fiends:My mom and Rob text about the Sunday puzzle and my sister is addicted to the New York Times crossword app. I’ve never been much for puzzle/game apps but really liked this one—smart design and very satisfying to play.
Finally, if you love holiday music as much as I do, you’ll want to listen to the playlist Rob made me a couple years back. He needs to add some new tracks but it’s very, very good.
Happy holidays and see you in 2020!