A Look Back at My Pregnancies + Clearblue Advanced with Weeks Estimator (giveaway)

There are so many positives about blogging, but one of the very best things is that my online content serves as a time capsule. In the early days, there were no set rules; blogging was a creative outlet and a way to document the things that mattered most to me. So, when tasked to write about my pregnancies, it was fun to backtrack since my blogs and social media outlets have been my online baby books and pregnancy journals. 

 

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When I started blogging eight years ago this month, I was working as an editor in NYC. I had a lot going on back then, but life as I knew it was about to change. In fact, my very first blog post in January 2007 declared my long-awaited pregnancy.

 

Because we tried to conceive (TTC for those in the know) for two years, I was emotionally overwhelmed, but mostly in disbelief. For about two years, I charted and documented my fertile days. Every month, I would test multiple times, only to be disappointed with negative results. So, when I couldn’t get pregnant, I started to fill my free time. (Free time. Ha!) We traveled, I joined a gym, we’d go out on date nights more often—I couldn’t keep myself busy enough. I read every pregnancy book, visited every forum, but truly, things didn’t happen until we least expected it.  

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When I found out I was pregnant with my first son, disbelief was the main emotion.The night before I tested, I was at a dance class at the gym, but I remember my boobs being more pronounced and tender.  At work the next day, the day I missed my period, I just knew something was different. Because I worked in the city, there was a drugstore across the street, so I grabbed a pregnancy test during lunch.  I stared at the pregnancy test at my desk but couldn’t wait to take it, so I took it at work. So when that faint plus sign appeared, I practically screamed! I couldn’t confide to anyone at work, but I shared the early news with my online friends. Since smartphones weren’t really a thing yet in early 2007, I secretly scanned my positive pregnancy tests!  I must’ve skipped all the way to the subway that evening, I was that happy. One of the most fulfilling moments though, was taking a Clearblue test at home and to read the word “pregnant.” Even better? To wrap that test and announce to my excited husband!

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Throughout the next nine months, I continued to document what I ate, how I slept, how I felt—basically anything having to do with my first pregnancy. Everything was brand new and totally foreign with my first pregnancy. Even though I was sick up until the seventh month, I remember basking in the thrill of pregnancy. When people refused to let me sit on the subway, even at 37 weeks, I let it roll. The first time is such a glorious time!

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The Second Time Around

The thing about having multiple kids: life just gets busier and crazier!  Also? Your memory retention gets a bit foggy, and sometimes, corners are cut to make life a little bit easier.  When I found out I was pregnant with Littles, again, I just knew because my boobs were the first marker. My body started to show me signs of pregnancy once again.  Since TTC the second time around was more systematic than the first time around, I think I was a little more stressed. 

 

 

Say hello to my little friend.

A photo posted by Jen Rabulan-Bertram (@jenrab) onJul 21, 2011 at 5:16pm PDT

 

 

I was just as excited as the first time, but the disbelief was exchanged for exhaustion.  I was a little bit older and a bit frustrated that it took so long to get pregnant again. When I found out I was pregnant with Littles, I was at home, here in the suburbs. Once again, I charted and noticed the spike in my temperature. When I missed my period, I just knew I was pregnant with my second.  I remember taking multiple tests and I was able to document the positives with an iPhone and Instagram this time, rather than with a scanner like last time!  I shared the news with my husband and life truly got a little more colorful as we embarked on our next pregnancy journey! Apparently, I took way less photos of this second reveal. At least Littles was Instagram and FB official. 

Clearblue played such an integral part to both of my pregnancies. I was able to learn that I was pregnant after trying for long and I was able to use the positive tests as a way to announce these special moments.  Since my pregnancy with Littles in 2011, the technology in pregnancy tests have truly evolved.

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Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator is an OTC hCG test that not only detects pregnancy, but in some cases can detect hCG 4 days before your period is expected. This test can estimate how many weeks have passed since ovulation. For anyone that’s struggled to get pregnant like I did, you know how it feels like an eternity waiting to test!

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Pregnancy is such a wonderful time, and I’m so glad that I documented it in photos and blog posts. Even though the details are more vivid with Biggie, I’m so glad that I was able to capture the moments that mattered— even if the second kid might have fewer blog posts, we know it all happened thanks to Instagram.

 

 

Are you or someone you know TTC?  We’re giving away a Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator.

 

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Just enter below:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 







This is a sponsored post as part of the BabyCenter Blog Network. I have been compensated for my participation and time, but as always, opinions on NKT are my own.

NKT Faves: Preschooler Must-Haves

It’s been quite the hectic start to 2015. With all the snow, a stint in the hospital, a pair of birthdays AND a major transition to preschool, we had our plates pretty full with family obligations.  I have quite a few posts devoted to Littles turning 3, but in the meantime, I wanted to share just some of our preschooler must-haves.  

Since it’s been a few years since the older guy went to preschool, and ultimately because each kids’ needs are different, I found myself packing a much different backpack with a whole different set of supplies. Finding a backpack small enough for a wee preschooler, yet big enough to hold a folder is quite the ordeal. Since most guys this age are so small, I’ve found that the backpacks are smaller than 12 inches, which is the size of a regular school folder. I’m currently on the hunt for a backpack that we love, but until then, check out the things we do love!

So, without further ado, here’s what was in Little J’s backpack this week:

 

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1. Contigo Autospout Kids’ Striker Water Bottle

We’ve been longtime fans of Contigo products, so it was a welcomed surprise when Santa gifted this fun water leakproof bottle. I like the design of the bottles and how the spout pops up with the touch of a button. The detachable straw makes for easy cleaning, which is a plus. This BPA-free bottle that has a lifetime guarantee, is a perfect size for preschoolers to tote to school.  I’ve read online that this design has been getting poor reviews, but honestly, it works well for us.

2. Lunchbot trio stainless steel bento box

Lunchbots are our bento box of choice around here. This box which features three compartments is small, yet spacious enough for the littler guys. Plus, I don’t have to hunt for a ton of foods to fill the compartments, considering Littles is such a finicky eater. I love that this box is just stainless steel; there’s less paint and designs to deal with, which make it easy to share between the two boys.

3. Munchkin Lunch Bag

Even though he’s off to school like a big boy, my little guy is very much still a tot. I know he’ll be into superheroes and other characters in years to come, so I try to keep things age-appropriate. Animals and things that have wheels take top billing on his favorites list. I personally love this Munchkin owl lunch bag that we’ve been using for the past year. It’s cute, but extremely functional. It fits his full lunch, snack, and two small boxed drinks. In the mesh pocket, I like to stuff an extra straw and paper towels.

4. New Balance 750v3

New Balance running shoes have been some of my favorite athletic shoes for my little guy. With the firm soles and easy fit, even though he’s not running super fast quite yet, I know his feet are well supported. What makes these shoes a top pick is that my guy is quite uncoordinated because of low tone, but the firm fit and higher soles give him a much more secure step. The colors and design in shoes such as the 750v3 tend to complete his cute little outfits.

5. Name Bubbles Preschool Pack

Name Bubbles are, hands down, one of my most favorite labels for my kids’ things. From the designs to the cool fonts, Name Bubbles has a look tailored for every family member.  The labels are waterproof and durable, making them perfect for every day use for the kids’ gear. The preschool pack is an ideal pack that offers different-sized labels for the 3-5 year old set. My guy is obsessed with trains, so the labels from the preschool pack happily adorn his lunch box, winter gear, folders and even his little toy he brings every day!

6. Stonyfield Organic Smoothie

Like many toddler/preschoolers that I know, Littles is quite the finicky eater. So far, he’s come home with an almost untouched lunchbox every day. Nevertheless, I’m always looking for a drink or smoothie to satisfy his hunger and nutritional needs. J loves yogurt and smoothies, and Stonyfield happens to be his favorite. While we love the YoKids line, he loves this Strawberry smoothies the most.  It’s organic and has the nutrition elements that he needs. The sugar content is high, like many yogurts, but when this is sometimes the only thing he’ll eat all day, I’m grateful that it’s so accessible and easy to pack. 

7. Huggies Pull Ups

It’s a bit daunting to send your child to school every day, especially when they’re not potty trained yet. Pull Ups were a big part of our lives when my older one was 3, so, as Littles turns the corner, we’re starting to transition to Pull Ups and potty training. Every kid has their own way of learning, but I’m totally expecting this potty training phase to be quite the adventure. The cool designs and easy side tabs make these our favorite training pants. They’re absorbent and light, too, which makes for easy packing in that backpack.

Now, to find the ideal backpack for my newly-minted preschooler…

Dream as Big as the Sea: Free Whale Nursery Printable

When life gets a little foggy, I can’t help but to get creative. So, I designed this fun whale nursery printable.

My creative juices were flowing especially heavy as I was set to attend a friend’s baby shower this morning. Even though I’d already bought a basket full of baby goodies from her registry, (from Tommee Tippee, no less!) I felt that her basket was missing a personal touch. I noticed that my friend’s nursery had a nautical theme, with vintage whales as a prominent motif. Given her husband’s love of fishing and their mutual appreciation for the band Phish, their choice for a theme for their baby boy’s nursery was so sweet. 

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Coincidentally, just a few years ago, I remember pinning quite a few whale-themed ideas for my littler guy’s nursery and changing space. My ideas never quite came into fruition, but nevertheless, I love the idea of whales in a nursery. So much can be done for accent colors: grays, greens and all those beautiful shades of blue.

As I brainstormed ideas for my friend’s gift, I wanted to make a personalized print featuring whales and a relevant quote. Because my friend’s husband is an avid reader, I wanted to include a literary quote of some sort. I tried to think of a Herman Melville quote from Moby Dick, but everything seemed too heavy for a baby’s nursery. So, I chose a simple, yet bold statement applicable to any and everyone: Dream as Big as the Sea. Simple and straightforward.

 

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I zeroed in on the flow of the text and contrast of the whales.  The waves are subtle, yet significant as the statement itself. I printed this out on some shimmery paper that I had leftover from another project and framed it in a Pottery Barn frame that I was saving for something perfect.  

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I loved the way this print turned out—so much so, I wanted to share it with you. I appreciate free printables and how accessible they’ve become because of the Googles and Pinterest, this is my way of paying it forward. So, if you’re able to use this free whale nursery printable or gift it to someone, let me know! Share in the comments below or “pin” it for others to enjoy too!

Download the PDF for the free whale nursery printable below. Enjoy!

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National Bubble Bath Day: Benefits of Bubble Baths for Kids

Happy National Bubble Bath Day! After an exhausting day, there’s nothing we love more than winding down with a warm bubble bath. 

 I love bubble baths that smell fresh, but don’t have the harmful chemicals or synthetic fragrances. We’re all about bubble baths, so here’s a round up of just a few of our favorites:

 

 

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Little Twig has a bunch of great products, but the Unscented Bubble Bath is one of my favorites. With so many unsavory additives and ingredients in baby soaps and baths, I appreciate that Little Twig products boasts nothing but the good stuff.

 

So Cozy, as we’ve mentioned before is one of our favorite lines of kid products. From the shampoos to body washes, So Cozy makes bath time fun and so easy. Our favorite for bath time that gets all the suds going is the Cinch 2-n-1 Shampoo and Body Wash. My older guy loves that it smells fresh and not so “baby!”

 

California Baby Calming

Speaking of babies, California Baby is one of my absolute favorite companies in the baby realm. I’ll always associate CB with being a new mom and bathing my brand new baby. The scents are absolutely divine and i want to believe that the Calming scent really does calm down my rambunctious little boys. CB uses only the good stuff AND they have a bubble wand in their bottle to boot!

 

 

There are so many things to love about bubble baths, namely the bubbles themselves. But truly, as some parents might agree, bubble baths have quite a few benefits.

 

 

A photo posted by Jen Rabulan-Bertram (@jenrab) onNov 11, 2013 at 6:35am PST

 

 

1. Bubble baths make bath time a fun bonding experience.

When the kids cooperate, bubble baths are a great time for imaginative play for both the kids and parents, too. We love making crazy hair and mohawks with suds, and silly facial hair too. My guys have a quirky kid shave kit they like to use during bubble baths. It’s always a hoot.

 

2. Bubble baths are great for bedtime routine.

The thing about baths: they are helpful in winding down the day and even helping to calm everyone down…again, if everyone cooperates. Taking a bubble bath gives everyone a chance to exhale after a long day and it gives the kids something to look forward to end the day.

 

3. Everyone gets squeaky clean!

The most obvious benefit of a bubble bath for kids is that everyone gets clean at the same time! When you have multiple young children, one of the best things about bath time is just throwing them all in the tub and streamlining bath time by getting the older ones to help with scrubbing the younger ones! 

 

What do your kids love about bubble baths?

 

 

NKT Faves: Christmas 2014 Goodies, Lego, Disney Infinity 2.0, VTech and more

Happy 2015, everyone! Like all of you we had a busy holiday, so much so we took a mini-social media break. We seem to always have ongoing medical issues and work life consuming everything that it’s a necessity to recharge when we’re all together.

Anyway, we’re back and ready to focus on the new year.  But before I do, I wanted to share some of our favorites from Christmas.

Because we check out toys all year, as you can imagine, gift-giving can be tricky.  Thankfully, Santa and our relatives get that, and so the boys’ gifts certainly reflected this.

I thought I’d share a round up of the boys’ favorite gifts:

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Legos continue to be the absolute favorite toy in our home. Santa gifted the boys a couple of Lego sets: Duplos Joker Challenge and Minecraft Cave set. Admittedly, we haven’t assembled either set in their entirety yet, but we’re getting there. As Biggie’s big gift, we got him the Lego Movie Super Cycle Chase.

Littles got a couple of fun gifts that he’s been eyeing. He got the Fisher Price Grow with me Roller Skates. My little guy has been “skating” with his physical therapist for quite some time. As Early Intervention is winding down, I thought it would be fun to get him his own pair of skates. I love that there are multiple functions to help the kids grow with the skates. He’s currently on the first function, which lets him “walk-skate” until he has enough coordination to move on to the next level.

Another fun toy that Josh received was Vtech’s Go Go Smart Wheels Airport playset. I will never forget the look on his face when he first opened that gift! I was so in the moment, that I was too slow to catch a picture. He’s been begging for the Go Go Smart Wheels toys, but we haven’t had a chance to get it for him. Lucky guy got it from my parents. I love how smart this playset is; he can navigate the plane around the tracks and at specified points he can learn all the “smart” little quips about the airport.

The big gifts for the guys was Disney Infinity 2.0. This follow up to the first Disney Infinity features more characters than ever, including our favorite super heroes. The graphics are stellar and game play is truly an adventure. Since this game is still super new, we’ll do a follow up, more in depth review.

Perhaps Biggie’s favorite and really big gift was his iPad Mini. This gift was actually his birthday present, but we conveniently used his birthday money from relatives to pay bills or something else responsible. Since I had several Amazon gift cards, we got him his much deserved Mini, which he has been burying his face in ever since he opened. Upside: he’s learning how to type more efficiently. Downside: I get emoticon-filled texts every other minute.  Honestly? I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Hope you guys enjoyed your holidays! Looking forward to sharing more fun stuff in  2015!

 

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is a Funny Family Film

When you walk through the hallowed halls of the Museum of Natural History, there’s a certain mystique and aura that precedes the NYC institution. And then when you add Larry and his ensemble cast of historic legends, and yes, even Dexter the monkey, well, that aura gets a little crazy and downright comical. Larry and his band of wax misfits are back for the third installment of Night at the Museum Franchise, but this time, they’re taking their shenanigans on the road, or rather, across the pond. Ben Stiller and the A-list cast star in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb which follows the crew on a wild adventure in hopes of saving the magic that keeps the museum alive.

 

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Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb begins with a throwback Indiana Jones-like story that sets the Egyptian theme. As archaeologists hunt for secret tombs, a young man stumbles upon the holy grail and magical tablet—the same tablet that’s been “waking up” the museum exhibits at night. As the story forwards ahead to present time, we rejoin Larry the security guards who’s been promoted to the nighttime activities director.

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Larry orchestrates an elaborate show for a dinner party at the museum, complete with the exhibits who have come to life. Everything is going as planned until the centuries-old tablet starts to get glitchy. As the golden tablet starts to tarnish, the museum characters who are performing in Larry’s show run amuck.  Secret of the Tomb follows Larry’s quest fix the tablet in order to save his friends. But in order to save his friends, Larry must get answers from Ahkmenrah’s father who is at the British Museum on exhibit. 

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Like the previous movies in the franchise, Secret of the Tomb is slapstick funny, fast-paced and over the top. The dialogue and storyline are equally hilarious, but it’s the new faces and cameos that make the laughs even greater in this movie. Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney’s cameos were good for a chuckle. Hugh Jackman’s well-timed cameo was fantastic as well. Rebel Wilson’s gratuitous bits of misguided authority and romantic encounters were a highlight in this installment. 

 

Robin Williams’ Teddy Roosevelt was astute and upheld his regal role. Because it was one of Williams’ last roles before his untimely passing, it was inevitable to have a heavy heart, especially when Teddy reminds Larry to do great things.

 

Since this movie is geared to families and kids, I have to mention what my 7 year old thought about Secret of the Tomb. If he could sum up the movie in one sentence, he would tell everyone he knows: “This movie is so great because the monkey pees on the guys.” Beyond all the clever comedy, great action sequence with Lancelot and Larry’s son, among other fantastic special effects, my 7 year old’s most memorable part is the crazy monkey’s antics.  So, yeah…the kids will love it.

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Last week, I had the honor of sitting in on a blogger round table with some of the stars, including Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson, Dan Stevens and director Shawn Levy.  They were all gracious with answering our questions; some were more studious and reserved than I expected, others were as loquacious and commanding, exactly as I envisioned.

 

Rebel Wilson was lovely and just as funny as you can imagine. Rebel told us that she loved her role as Tilly and loved that hat just as much.  She loved the hat so much, she wanted to buy it, and it ended up costing her $600! I appreciated her poise and candor during our interview.

My friend Linda Grant asked Rebel what she thought about being a role model for young ladies. Rebel answered humbly by saying that she didn’t consider herself a role model, but is happy that her young fans find her funny.

 

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My fellow blogger friends all asked great questions, my statement and question was part serious and funny. I told the actors and directors that I appreciated how the characters understood that they were museum exhibits and that they were there to help kids learn and to educate the public. On that end, I asked if any of them had any crazy stories or shenanigans at a museum or other educational type of place.  Ben Stiller revealed that he used to skip school in high school and hang out at AMNH. Geeky me was all, “Oh that’s so cool!”  We all got a kick out of Ben’s rebellious ways, but it was a perfect way to sum up the quirkiness of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

Review: Thomas & Friends Play and Watch App

Like many other preschoolers, my little dude is absolutely fascinated by Thomas & Friends. There’s something about those quirky locomotives and their daily duties that mesmerizes their audience. 

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Designed to further engage young fans of the show, Thomas & Friends has released a brand new app from PBS Kids called, Thomas & Friends Watch and Play app.  There are three problem solving games that encourage open-ended play: Track Builder, Track Repair and Steam Team Snapshots. I totally thought the snapshot game was a photo app to take selfies. ha! Not quite. These games are fun for preschoolers to explore and create on their own. I appreciate that the graphics are just as robust on these games, as they are on the show. 

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In addition to the three games, Thomas and Friends features a video player that showcases episodes within an interactive frame that kids can pretend to be the conductor.

Thomas and Friends Watch and Play is available now for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and costs $2.99. The app is rated for 4+, but my 2.5 year old could navigate through most of the app on his own. This is the first Thomas app that offers full-length episodes, in addition to games that promote problem-solving. Waiting in the doctor’s office with a restless preschooler just got a little bit easier!

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We had a great time getting a sneak peek of Thomas and Friends Watch and Play app, and we had a lot to say about it. Check out our video as we navigate through the app for the first time:

 

Full disclosure: I received a promo code to facilitate this review. As always, opinions are my own on NKT.

2014 Best Baby Gifts

Since this year was the year of the baby within my circle of friends and family, I thought I’d share just a few of my favorite baby products from the year. Beyond all the typical baby gifts, my favorite baby gifts to give and receive are always the practical ones. So, here are just a few of my faves:

 

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1. O-Ball Linky Loops

This cool take on the classic links provide a modern aesthetic while giving babies great grasping toys to play with and chew on while in a carrier or stroller. Links are always some of my favorite toys because you can link them together and attach other toys to the carrier.

2. Cloud B 

Cloud B makes some of the coolest illuminating toys that are perfect for baby’s nurseries. The Tranquil Turtle combines soothing sounds with a relaxing glow, giving it a tranquil, almost spa-like feel for babies and kids to enjoy as they fall asleep.

3. Stokke Trailz

Stokke entered the all terrain territory with its new Stokke Trailz stroller. This sleek stroller merges that chic Scandinavian design with function. Like their other strollers,Stokke Trailz boasts an elevated seat and ample storage. This new stroller allows families to navigate all terrains, whether it’s bumpy city streets of unpredictable surfaces in the country.

4. Hape Roller Derby

Some of the best toys for babies are the ones that are kid-powered. Hape is one of my absolute favorite brands for fine wooden toys, and this Roller Derby is no exception. Babies and kids love ramps and balls, so the Roller Derby offers the best of both worlds.

5. Little Me

Perhaps some of the best gifts for babies, or rather the parents, are well-made classic clothes.  Little Me makes some of the most beautiful clothes for babies and toddlers. The fabric is soft and durable, yet classic and age appropriate. I love that you can invest in their clothes and pass them down to younger siblings or other families.

6. Aden and Anais

Aden and Anais seems to always make it onto my baby gift list, and all for good reason. I love their products and so do kids! I’m currently coveting the Dream Blanket, and will actually be getting my little dude this dream blanket for Christmas. He’s grown out of his baby blanket and has always loved the muslin blankets from A&A. This bigger size will accommodate kids and adults too!

7. Tommee Tippee

Tommee Tippee is another all-time favorite baby brand, quite simply because the products work well for us. The Truly Spill Proof Straw Cup is one of our most used kid products right now, so I am going to be getting a few more as stocking stuffers! These Sippys are one of the only ones that I know won’t leak and they use the straw design which is what I need for my growing toddler.

8. Stride Rite

Another all-time favorite practical baby gifts are Stride Rite shoes. The thing about Stride Rite is that they fit well and always look sharp. I appreciate the SRT Technology that Stride Rite employs in some of their early walker shoes, which helps to stabilize those wobbly baby feet. 

Lenscrafters Provides Total Eye Care For the Family

Over the summer, I was invited to a lovely event in downtown NYC to check out the latest and greatest in eyeglasses from Lenscrafters. Lenscrafters, well known for being a total eye care solution for families, provided an informative forum as we perused the latest offerings of glasses.

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I had the chance to speak to several eye doctors to learn about helpful information to share with all of you.

Reports show that 1 in 4 kids have an undiagnosed vision problem. Lenscrafters suggests that the start of the new school year is an ideal time to make sure kids are seeing their best. But if you ask me, the start of a new year is a good time to start fresh, too!

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And because we’re a big sports family, I found this stat particularly interesting:

Nearly 22 million kids between the ages of 6 and 17 play sports. When playing sports it’s essential for kids to have the right eyewear so that they can see clearly and perform their best, including protective eyewear such as sunglasses.

Beyond the stats, it’s always interesting to hear what the experts have to say firsthand. At the Lenscrafters event, we spoke to several eye doctors who shared great information that had me rethinking my thoughts eyewear. 

“Kids receive more than three times the annual sun exposure that adults do because they seldom wear sunglasses and their eyes are especially susceptible to UV-related harm,” says Dr. Mark Jacquot, O.D., Lenscrafters’ senior director of eye  care.

“Make sure children wear sunglasses all of the time they are outdoors, and make sure the lenses provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.”

Lenscrafters makes eye care for families easier. Not only do they have highly regarded in-house eye doctors, the glasses are put together for you there too. The turn around time can’t be beat.

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With all of the different glasses and sunglasses Lenscrafters offers, it’s great to know they have simplified things, especially for indecisive people like me. Described as a virtual mirror, the My Look App harnesses technology to help provide a better look at your choices. I love the way it lays out all the great choices on one screen, with YOUR look!

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The opticians at Lenscrafters are always so helpful, yet not too pushy. Having an app to help choose glasses makes the decision that much easier. For kids, Lenscrafters offers a variety of brands that appeal to kids, including Disney, Polo and Oakley, among others. I personally love the Disney frames with the cool details on the sides.

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As a kid, I remember hating my glasses; with choices like these, glasses for kids are much more appealing. Though my guy doesn’t need glasses, he was practically begging for the fun Disney frames!

 

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Because my prescription was pretty minimal, I went with new reading glasses and Biggie went with some super cool Oakleys. Our optician was super patient when we were going through the options. So, for indecisive customers like us, this is huge.

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In the end, we absolutely love our choices and couldn’t have asked for a better total eye care experience. For busy parents, eye care is one of those necessary tasks that we all wish could be easier, and thanks to Lenscrafters, it is! I appreciate that Lenscrafters offers everything in house and is an overall great experience. 

 

Full disclosure:

We were provided with complimentary products and eye exams to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

A Day at the New York Children’s Theater: The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess

One of the many advantages of having NYC in our backyard is that we have easy access to the arts. Even better, we have access to art programs that involve children! New York City Children’s Theater is one of the many wonderful cultural resources that’s within reach, and we’re so grateful for that!

A few weeks ago, we were invited to visit the New York City Children’s Theater to enjoy the debut show of The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess.  New York City Children’s Theater is well known for making books sing, and Barbara Zinn Krieger did just that with this production. Laurie Berkner wrote the songs and lyrics, which made this production fantastic and fun.

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The story follows the pursuits of a mime named Harvey and what happens when he encounters a spoiled princess. Harvey’s friends and the princess’ parents add some fun and giggles to the stage.  
The set was a simple stage, transformed by various boxes and lights. The main characters, Laura Hankin and Ben Laxton, engaged young children while bringing a lovely story to life. Sarah Charles and Liam Fennecken seamlessly morphed into multiple characters, bridging the best parts of the story with imagination and grace.

 

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Harvey, the main character and child mime, was fun and silly. Ben Laxton was convincing and charismatic as he made his way from the seaport in a box all the way to the princess’ home. Princess Mindy was bratty but bold. I loved her solos and animated tantrums which elicited a few giggles from the crowd. Sarah Charles’ Gert and queen characters were fun and formidable. Charles’ voice was mesmerizing and well suited for her royal role. Fennecken’s Gert and king characters rounded out the ensemble with his hilarious portrayals and regal role.

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The music and lyrics, without a doubt, were a highlight of The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess. Throughout the production, with the upbeat accompaniment and cheerful, catchy songs, it was evident that Berkner lent her talents to this wonderful play. The guitar, keyboard and percussion instruments playfully sustained the tone of the play, enhancing the fun characters and coloring the words with smiles. Berkner fans (like us) will appreciate this fun production, and even the sweet surprise song for the encore.

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The New York City Children’s Theater’s production of The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess is a treat for music and theater-loving families. I appreciate that this is a preschooler-friendly production that keeps even the littlest theater-goer engaged. It was so fun to take my 2-year old to this his production, which is based on the book called Harvey the Child Mime written and illustrated by Loryn Brantz. At just 50 minutes long, The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess was a great timeframe for kids and parents.  

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The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess is playing at the New York Children’s Theater at Theater 3 311 W. 43rd st., 3rd floor until December 7.