PBS Kids Celebrate Spring with Explore the Outdoors Program

It’s finally beautiful in NJ/NYC and Spring is in full swing. Our friends at PBS Kids have a fun lineup of great programming to celebrate the outdoors and everything we love about Spring.

Group5

PBS Kids’ annual Explore the Outdoors kicks off today with a week of new episodes from those Wild Kratts and Nature Cat! I love that it’s an Earth Month celebration with a lot of STEM thrown in.

Check out all the fun new programming coming up for PBS Kids:

PBS KIDS Explore the Outdoors Program Details & Air Dates (check local listings) 

WILD KRATTS

“Archerfish School”

Premieres April 10, streaming April 10

When the Kratt Bros meet a school of Archerfish, they are taught the secret of “water droplet” archery from an Archerfish named Arrow. Soon, they are using this newly learned skill to infiltrate Donita Donata’s yacht and rescue the baby animals she has been capturing for her newest high-end fashion line.

 

“This Orca Likes Sharks”

Premieres April 11; streaming April 14

The Kratt Bros discover a message in a bottle telling them about an wily old orca who eats only large sharks. They find this hard to believe, so with the help of Aviva’s Dolphin Decoder, modified to speak Orca, the Wild Kratts go in search of the orca who likes sharks!

 

“Baby Tooth & Kid Musky”

Premieres April 12, streaming April 21

When the Wild Kratts begin to talk about predator and prey, the Kratt Bros decide to split up to investigate the lives of being a predator and a prey. But when they each befriend a young member of their respective groups and the groups collide, the gang must struggle to figure out how they react in a true battle for survival.

 

“Cheetah Adopted”

Premieres April 13; streaming April 28

Martin and Chris are creature adventuring on the African savannah when they encounter a warthog mom and her piglets. But they notice something odd. One of the piglets is the cheetah cub Spotswat! It’s up to the Kratt Bros to find out why this cub has been adopted into the warthog family and to reunite him with his mother, Blur.

 

“Musk Ox Mania”

Premieres April 14; streaming May 5

When Chris realizes that his precious creature souvenir collection is missing, the gang must travel back to the Arctic to find it. But the Arctic is now covered in a thick layer of ice and snow, so they’ll need the help of a special Arctic creature — the musk ox — and its creature powers to find it.

 

NATURE CAT

“Spring Hunter 3000/The Case of the Missing Moon”

Premieres April 10, streaming April 10

“Spring Hunter 3000” ? Spring has sprung! And it’s now time for Daisy’s favorite online game: Spring Hunter 3000! The goal of the game is to try to find as many signs of spring as possible: birds, flowers, you name it. The more you find, the more points you earn. And whoever gets the most points is deemed the queen or king of spring! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!

 

“The Case of the Missing Moon” ? Hal is so so so sad! When he went to howl at the moon, as he does every night, the moon was gone! But that’s impossible! How does a moon just disappear? There has to be a logical explanation, right? Can Nature Cat and his pals find the missing moon? Or will Hal’s nightly howls come to an end for good?

 

“Mighty Mountain Climbers/Bug Eating Plants!”

Premieres April 11; streaming April 14

“Mighty Mountain Climbers” ? On a dare from Ronald, Nature Cat and his pals try to climb all the way up to The Mighty Mountain Peak. They get all the supplies they need and head out, led by Nature Cat. But they soon find out that hiking up a mountain is hard and poses many problems, no matter how prepared you are. Will they make it all the way to the peak?!

 

“Bug Eating Plants!” ? A super-excited Squeeks shows her brand-new, homemade comic “Bug Eating Plants of the Swamp!” to her pals. As Squeeks begins to read the story, we see this action-packed adventure played out, as tiny Nature Cat, Hal, Daisy and Squeeks must make their way through the swamp while trying to stay away from the Bug Eating Plants, which proves difficult for Tiny Hal! 

 

“Flight of the Firefly/Thunderstruck”

Premieres April 12, streaming April 21

“The Flight of the Firefly” ? While looking for fireflies in the backyard, Hal catches one so the gang can look closely at it and watch it glow. Hal names the firefly George and promises to watch it and hug it and then set it free, which he does, but for some reason George doesn’t want to fly away and hangs around Hal. George seems to have something on his mind. Since no one can communicate with a firefly, they call in Houston. With the help of his firefly communicator, they find out that George is lost and needs help finding the Firefly Fiesta!

 

“Thunderstruck” ? It’s Nature Scrapbook Day today! Nature Cat and his pals are out in nature, taking photos, drawing pictures and collecting various properties of nature to put in their nature scrapbook. Suddenly, a thunderstorm causes the gang to seek shelter in Hal’s doghouse. As Nature Cat and his friends learn, thunderstorms are nothing to be scared of. They also are able to see the beauty of thunderstorms, which become the last entry in their scrapbook.

 

“Plants Got the Moves/Magnet Mania”

Premieres April 13; streaming April 28

“Plants Got the Moves” ? Daisy has being getting ready for months for the Animal Science Fair, which occurs later in the woods. Man-oh-man is Daisy ready with her terrific exhibit, which shows how bean seeds grow. But before going to the fair, a gust of wind knocks over her science fair project, ruining it. Daisy needs help to try to find another science project to exhibit at the Animal Science Fair and finds inspiration from an unlikely source: plants that move!

 

“Magnet Mania” ? Ever hear of Ole’ Lucky the Lodestone? Well, it’s only the world’s biggest magnetic rock, which can attract things with iron in them, and the final destination for the gang’s celebration of Magnet Mania! But there is one problem: how do they go north to get to Ole’ Lucky when they have no compass?

 

“Return to Mighty Mountain/Welcome to the Vernal Pond”

Premieres April 14; streaming May 5

“Return to Mighty Mountain” ? There is no giving up for Nature Cat and his pals. After failing to reach the peak of the Mighty Mountain, they are going to try to hike all the way up again! But this time, they have a surprise: help from an unlikely, yet extremely experienced, mountain climber to guide them – Granny Bunny!

 

“Welcome to the Vernal Pond” ? While playing in the woods, Nature Cat and his pals come across Fern, a spotted salamander who just happens to be pregnant and ready to give birth! But she needs help getting to the safest spot in the woods to have her babies, the vernal pond. Nature Cat knows these woods like the back of his hand, yet he has never heard of or seen the vernal pond. Fern cannot wait to show them why!

Yowie Chocolate and Toy Surprises

If your kids spend any time on YouTube, then you must know that surprise eggs are quite the phenomenon. Actually, anything with a reveal effect is pretty significant for the kiddie YouTube viewers. 

IMG 3243

Yowie, which makes chocolate toy surprises, has a different take on this fun treat. Yowie are like egg-like chocolate surprises, but instead, they’re monster-shaped chocolates with toys instead. The difference with these toys is that they’re educational toys that teach kids about interesting animals, and in some cases how to help species who may be endangered. To boot, the chocolate is delicious!

Yowie will be at the Think and Fun’s Easter Egg Hunt & Bunny Fun on April 15. YOWIE aims to “Save The Natural World” by promoting wildlife conservation and educating children about ecology and endangered species. More info herehttp://www.yowiegroup.com
If you’re looking for a fun treat to include in your Easter baskets, be on the look out for Yowie treats!
 
Yowie was kind of enough to send us a pack of surprises and my guys had a fun time devouring them! All in a day’s work.

Full disclosure: Samples were provided to facilitate this review. No compensation was received. As always, all opinions are my own.

New York Baby Show Free Ticket Giveaway

As Spring starts to roll in, so do more fun events in the City and around town. Always on the hunt for new and innovative baby and kid products, I’m thrilled that the New York Baby Show is once again docking on the West Side at Pier 94 in NYC. This great event showcases many of the coolest gear and gadgets for babies and kids. I love bringing the whole family to the show to scout out new gear for babes and the site.

26983017281 34528c308a b 2

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of my favorite parenting experts and famed pediatrician, will be one of the speakers at the New York Baby Show. There’s a long list of great exhibitors, including 4moms, Tula, Britax, Clek, Cybex, among other favorite baby and family brands.

Are you expecting or have a little and looking for the best baby gear, I definitely recommend heading to the New York Baby Show taking place May 20-21. Tickets are $30 per family or $20 for individuals.

And because we’re such fans of the New York Baby Show, I’m so excited to give away some free tickets to the show. I have 10 tickets to giveaway, and you can grab them here. These free tickets are first come first serve.

NYBS2017 Ticket Giveaway Blog 700x500 2

Once the free tickets are gone, I’m happy to share 50% off tickets to the New York Baby Show. To grab this discount, please head here. 

The Best Beauty and the Beast Toys and Dolls from Hasbro and Funko

Disney’s latest live action film, Beauty and the Beast, is debuting today with much Disney fanfare. Cue #BeourGuest and sparkly costumes!When the teaser started to show online and on tv, generations were captivated, including the generation that grew up watching the iconic animated version. Today, those kids who watched Belle and Beast’s animated tale are now parents, and of course, the new film’s appeal is reaching a new generation in an epic way.

NKTBeautyandtheBeastToystext

In celebration of the film’s release, we’re sharing some of our favorite toys and trinkets that we spotted at the 2017 Toy Fair here in NYC. The various companies that have the Disney license created magical toys to dazzle kids and engage in cool new ways.

Enchanting Melodies Belle Doll

Dressed in her gold ball gown, the Belle doll sings the “Something There” song from Disney’s live-action movie Beauty and the Beast. With one press of Belle’s stomach, she will sing of her budding love for the Beast in this classic song. Requires three A76 batteries, included. ($29.99/Available: Spring 2017)


IMG 2415
 

Dance and Code Belle

Dance and Code Belle was one of my absolute favorite toys at Toy Fair, and perhaps my most favorite coding doll. This unique and gorgeous doll is inspired by Belle’s brains and graceful dancing. With an app, kids can code Belle’s dances and movements. I thought this was such a unique way to incorporate the tenets of STEAM and introducing coding.
 
Dance and Code Belle
 
Check out a video of Belle in action, as well as the other Beauty and the Beast dolls from Hasbro’s Toy Fair Showroom
 

Disney Beauty and the Beast Grand Romance

The deluxe duo 2-Pack includes a Belle doll dressed in a removable dress inspired by her yellow ball gown, Beast figure in his ballroom attire featuring a furry textured body, and fashion accessories. ($49.99) Available Spring 2017

 

IMG 2420 2

 

 

Castle Friends Collection Small Doll Set

 Once the human servants of the enchanted castle, the Disney Beauty and the Beast Castle Friends Collection Small Doll Set features five loyal friends to The Beast. The  set features some of the characters from the live-action movie including Lumiere, Cogsworth, Chip, Mrs. Potts and Plumette. ($14.99) Available Spring 2017


IMG 2418

 

Beauty and the Beast Village Belle Doll

 The Village Belle doll wears the iconic blue dress inspired by the village scene in Disney’s live-action movie Beauty and the Beast. Kids, collectors, and fans of the timeless classic will love reliving their favorite moments and imagining their own stories. Includes Belle doll, outfit, and a pair of removable shoes inspired by her outfit in Disney’s live-action movie, Beauty and the Beast. ($14.99/available Spring 2017)

IMG 2416

 Funko Disney’s Belle, Beast and Gaston

Funko creates an expansive line of licensed vinyl figures, including many beloved Disney characters such as Belle and the Beast. I loved checking out the multiple iterations of these characters from their Pop! line of vinyl figures. With their over exaggerated animated features, these lovable collectibles are ideal for fans and kids alike. Now if only they had a LeFou character!

IMG 2072
IMG 2070
 
 
IMG 2071
 
Have you seen Beauty and the Beast yet? If so, what did you love about it? More importantly, which toys are on yours and your kids’ wishlist?

The Powerpuff Girls Launch on Hulu + Giveaway

This post is in partnership with Hulu. Thank you for supporting The Next Kid Thing and all the things we love.

What a great time to celebrate women and girls! On the heels of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating an iconic show that embraces girl power! The Powerpuff Girls is launching on Hulu. The newly reimagined Powerpuff Girls is a beloved show that’s garnering a lot of praise once again.

 

RealLifePowerpuff Graphic

What better way to celebrate the launch of The Powerpuff Girls on Hulu than by celebrating amazing girls in real life? These #RealLifePowerpuff girls are doing awesome things and inspiring others along the way, whether working in the fields of science or sports, or doing great things for their families and community. Do you have an awesome, inspiring young girl in your life? Share your #RealLifePowerpuff girl by posting a photo or video of them on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag it with #RealLifePowerpuff and #Contest. Don’t forget to include what makes her awesome and they might get shared and enter you to win a special PPG prize! Visit the official website for more information.

The Powerpuff Girls was originally popular at a time when I was trying to figure things out in life. I love that it’s back and influencing a whole new generation of strong young women. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by fearless young girls and women in my life. When thinking of fearless young girls, my 7-year-old niece comes to mind. When she was faced with some not-so-pleasant situations in school, she stood up for what was right and defended herself and her friends. I love that she embodies strength in the face of adversity and standing up for what is right.

2B5C12CB CDEA 46A0 AAFB CC47BA613E4B

The Powerpuff Girls centers on three sugar-coated superheroes, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, whose missions in life alternate between going to school, fighting crime, winning at hopscotch and saving the world before bedtime. The girls are frequently called upon by the town’s mayor to help fight nearby criminals using their powers. While their differences cause them to squabble and tease, their individual strengths combined always lead them to victory. They rely on teamwork, trust, and friendship to thwart evil (in the most adorable way).

 Giveaway

In honor of #RealLifePowerpuff National Contest and the launch of ThePowerpuff Girls, we’re giving away a 6-month membership to Hulu. Even better, all classic episodes are now available to stream almost anywhere, on any device.

Ppg BH blog v2 H

One winner receives a 6-month Hulu gift code. The code is redeemable in the US and does not expire. Please enter below to win a code to Hulu to catch Powerpuff Girls episodes and other great shows!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules for Raising Boys Who Respect Women

Happy International Women’s Day! I hope you find the time to celebrate the unflappable influence and power of women today, whether it’s at home, in the work place or amongst friends.

About iwd

I’m going to be frank with you: I had an incredible upbringing, however, I loathed the way my generation and culture expected women to sit back and let “the man” do all the work. I was told that I had to be ladylike, reserved, passive and to be a follower. Like so many of my peers, once I got older, I wasn’t having any of that.

\

E129FB13 D1A4 4DC1 B4CB 8A436B1F1695

As an English Major, I remember a turning point in college. I took a Women’s Lit class, taught by an incredible professor, who shared authors who overcame the impossible and unthinkable. These literary masterpieces were always poignant and memorable. Women have always been strong; women have always had voices; women have always been at the forefront in their own way.

As a mother to two impressionable little boys, it’s my job to ensure that my little humans go on to contribute to society in such a way that makes a difference. It’s critical that they respect and treat women as equal peers, unlike the way we’ve seen over the years. Here are just a few of the many rules that I instill at home to raise boys who respect girls and women.

 

1. Emotions Show That You’re Human

When we were kids, I remember many instances where my brothers were told that crying was for sissies. Boys are often influenced to stifle their emotions, whether it’s in school, play or sports. Showing emotion was typically frowned upon and questioned masculinity. Because we’re human, real men show emotions. In fact, according to the NY Times article, “Teaching Men to be Emotionally Honest,” research shows what early childhood teachers have always known: that from infancy through age 4 or 5, boys are more emotive than girls.  Boys should be encouraged to show emotion, rather than be shamed for being sad when hurt or whatever the case may be.

9934E868 5286 454A B081 03AF78CE7A99

Why is it ok for girls to cry when they fall or fail? Why can’t a boy be tough and still shed a tear when they’re disappointed? A product of this mindset, my husband has always disagreed with me about this. If my kid gets hurt when playing a sport, he is human, and humans show emotions. When emotions are discouraged, isolation and possibly, explosions occur. I’ve seen it happen, and it isn’t pretty.  Just because society says so, doesn’t mean how things are meant to be. In Debunking Myths About Boy Emotions, author Vicki Zakrzewski says, “By reflecting on our own emotional and relational beliefs and challenges, we will be better equipped to guide boys as they navigate the social and emotional nuances of growing up in a society that expects them to behave in ways that go against their natural capacities.”
 

2. Omit Gendered Phrases 

As a parent of a young athlete, I’ve caught my kid’s coach and other adults mutter, you throw/run/catch/hit “like a girl.” On the flip side, “man up” is often used in various scenarios to imply that boys need to be masculine to be strong. Those phrases that are meant to be offensive are often said to “toughen” the boys up. …As if girls are not tough. As if girls can’t play as well as boys. Thankfully, in our case, my son has always been on teams alongside of strong female athletes. Quite frankly, his female teammates are just as strong, if not stronger than the boys. Nevertheless, phrases that imply that girls are not strong competitors are never ok.IMG 2251

By instilling that females are equal competitors, offensive phrases will fade. Girls can do whatever boys can do, sometimes even better.
In my research for this piece, I read a NYT opinion piece that mentioned that the phrase “to throw like a girl” leads to the consideration of an influential feminist essay penned by political philosopher Iris Marion Young titled, “Throwing Like a Girl.” In essence, this piece deconstructs and analyzes the idea that the phrase is an insult, and discusses the way that embodiment shapes subjectivity. 

IMG 2256

3. Nature vs. Nurture

In the psychological debate where nature vs. nurture, we question whether nature (traits and characteristics that are inherited) outweigh nurture (qualities that are learned as we grow.) We tend to hear boys having more behavior issues in early childhood. Is this because they’re predisposed for certain behavior? Or that we expect boys to sit still when, in fact, their natural tendency is to move around and be curious about their surroundings.

F55FB8E4 0E57 4FDD A71A E45D6178D36AWhatever it may be, the way we parent and react to behaviors shape our kids. There’s no denying that boys’ behavior is different than girls. According to research, “there’s a better approach to understand where boys and girls are coming from and then use those propensities without disparaging them, as a means of helping children whatever their potential happens to be.” Instead of boys will be boys and girls will be girls, let’s just let kids be kids.

4. Be the Difference

As we raise our kids in trivial times, it’s more important than ever to help our kids to be the difference. See something that needs to be changed? Speak up. Want your community to update something? Be the change. When we volunteer and add our helping hands to the mix, our children will learn the importance of getting involved. Working alongside of community members will help boys to not only respect and gain ownership of their surroundings, but teach them to give back before expecting things to be handed to them. Be the change that you want your kids to see.

IMG 2778IMG 2784NKTJoshStrongLikeMom

5. Embrace Your Flaws

In my many trials as a parent, friends have lifted me up and complimented me, sometimes even questioned me. I’ve heard “you’re a great mom,” when I helped my little guy fight through medical episodes. When creating something with imagination and our hands, I’ve gotten, “best mommy ever.” You know as well as I do that I don’t do these things to prove my strengths as a parent, but instead, to show my guys that “we’ve got this.” As a creative, crafty and entrepreneurial type, I embrace these qualities and share them with my boys. I was a Pinterest Mom before Pinterest was a thing; and I’ll never apologize for that. 

DA3123CE F4D4 4A7E 8903 8D2129684053

Still, today, society suggests that we should have perfect homes, perfect lives to keep their perfect husbands happy. As we all know, that’s not a reality. Just as we all have our strengths, we have our weaknesses as well. I get overwhelmed, do too much and ignore the piles of laundry. I’m not the perfect person, nor is my husband, and reminding our kids of that every day is just as important as encouraging them to do their best. Because of our flaws, we work even harder to become better people.

By teaching them to respect themselves, boys learn to respect everyone around them. We’re hoping to instill that your flaws and shortcomings make you, and there’s nobody else we’d want them to be.

It’s no easy task raising young men in this day and age. So, here’s to you, fellow boy mom and dads. We have our work cut out for us.

Best Toys for 1 Year Olds + Diapers.com Giveaway

Even on the heels of Toy Fair, we always have toys on our minds. With a friend’s baby turning 1 soon, I was inspired to create a round up of the best toys for 1 year olds. I scoured Diapers.com to curate some of our tried and true favorite toys for 1 year olds.

From ride-ons to classic toys to techy toys, I gathered our favorites based on play value, durability, accessibility and whether my kids or kids we know loved them!

From ride-ons to classic toys to techy toys, I gathered our favorites based on play value, durability, accessibility and whether my kids or kids we know loved them!

1. Manhattan Toy Snuggle Bunny Baby Doll

ManhattanToySnuggleBunnyNKTTransitioning from baby to toddler, one year olds start to change their play patterns. According to KidsHealth.org, babies go from shaking and throwing toys to understanding functions of objects as a toddler. At one year old, kids start to play pretend, so toys that allow for nurturing and modeling behavior is always a hit. Manhattan Toy makes a myriad of interactive and beautiful toys such as the Snuggle Bunny Baby Doll ($17.) This soft and cuddly doll makes for a perfect first baby doll.

2. Plan Toys Sort and Count

PlanToysSortandCountStacking and nesting toys help toddlers develop hand-eye coordination, as well as cognitive development, according to an article on Cnn.com Simple, open ended stacking toys such as PlanToys’ Sort and Count allows kids to sort and stack the various pieces. This abacus-looking toy is made of Plan Toys’ planwood, organic rubberwood, e-zero glue, water-based dyes, recycled and recyclable materials, soy and water-based ink.

3. VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker

VTechSittoStandWalkerMany toddlers are learning to walk and toddling around at a year old, so walkers make a fun gift. This VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker offers a lot of play value with its many learning tools and interactive electronic features. VTech is so great at the electronic learning toys, but they’re also masters at creating toys that grow with kids. This walker can be used for kids in a more stationary pattern, as well as for those who are cruising and walking.

4. Melissa and Doug Large Shapes Knob Puzzle

MelissaandDougKnobPuzzleAccording to Learning4kids, puzzles help toddlers with important skills such as cognitive, fine motor, hand and eye coordination, problem solving, social and self esteem. Wooden puzzles from Melissa and Doug provide fun play patterns for toddlers to co-play and enjoy independence. I love the knob puzzles for toddlers, to give them extra help grasping these chunky pieces. Classic puzzles are timeless and perfect for curious problem solvers.

5. B Toys Fish Splish Boat

BtoysSplishFishBoatGood bath toys are the best for toddlers! I love the colors and creativity that B Toys inspires. This fun boat that can be used in the bath has a number of fun features that help toddlers explore bathtime and the environment around them. From the fishing pole, fish, captain and little rudder, this cool boat helpstoddlers with imaginative play while getting cleaned up.

6. Step 2 Whisper Ride II

Step2WhisperRideIIAs the winter starts to fade to warmer spring and summery days, ride-on toys will be all the craze. Step 2 are pros at the ride-on and outdoor toys, and the Whisper Ride II is one of my all time favorites. This push car is perfect for going on strolls in the neighborhood without the restraints of a stroller. Toddlers can pretend to steer while driving their ride, all the while mom or dad navigates with the handle. The Whisper Ride features a seatbelt, small storage compartment and cup holders.

 

 

 

There are so many awesome toys for 1 year olds on Diapers.com, and these are just a small sampling of their selection. Do you have a favorite toddler toy? What makes you and your kid love it so much?

Giveaway

Want to grab a few new toys of your own? We have a $50 gift certificate to Diapers.com up for grabs. Tell me what your favorite toddler toy is and why! Share your comment below.

For even more entries, check out the giveaway below to win a  Diapers.com gift certificate. This giveaway will be open for a week, so be sure to enter!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Full disclosure: this is a sponsored post in partnership with Nakturnal, with a gift certificate as a prize. As always, all opinions on NKT are mine. Thank you for supporting The Next Kid Thing.

2017 Toy Fair: Just Play Toys and More

I’ve been busy at Toy Fair this weekend, pounding the conference floor in search of cool and innovative gadgets and goodies for the site! I’ve been focusing on doing a lot more videos this year, but in between that, I’ve definitely been instagramming and sharing clips to my IG Stories.

I loved checking out the Just Play Toys’ showroom, as well as walking through Spinmaster’s booth. Aside from the larger companies, I also love the smaller and very new companies who exude passion and innovation.

As I finish the show tomorrow and Tuesday, I thought I’d share some video that I shot from Just Play’s showroom. I absolutely loved their latest innovations, including their Disney Jr. toys. Minnie, of course, has my heart, so she was one of my faves from the day!

Kids Ride Free on NY Waterway for President’s Day Weekend

Even though we moved out of Hoboken more than six years ago, we still visit the city often. When we do, we almost always park in our old ‘hood and take the ferry over. It’s scenic, easy, convenient and it’s much calmer than the other modes of public transportation. Whenever friends ask me how to get to the City, I always point them in the direction of NY Waterway Ferry. It’s really the best way to go!

523E41AB 9D7B 431F 967D D7758D76736D

Just in time for President’s Weekend, NY Waterways announced a pretty sweet special, especially if you’re bringing the kids to do some touristy activities. 

NY Waterways is once again offering “Kids Ride Free” over the three-day President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 18 – 20.  Families can link “Kids Ride Free” to NY Waterway’s Your Key To The City partner program which offers discounts of up to 56% on top NYC museums, attractions, tours and shows, such as the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museumthe American Museum of Natural History, Madame Tussauds and many more. 

  • Children under 12 can ride free on ferries to/from the following terminals: Port Imperial Weehawken, Lincoln Harbor Weehawken, Hoboken 14th St and Paulus Hook in Jersey City. 
  • Two child limit with each paying adult fare
  • No physical ticket required for a child
  • Free connecting multi-route shuttles to attractions (from Midtown W39th St Ferry Terminal)
  • Valid February 18 thru February 20, 2017

The weather’s supposed to be unseasonably warm this weekend, so make sure you head in and take advantage of this great deal!

Three Years Seizure-Free + Disney Love

Every time it happened, I can remember the way my heart raced out of my body. Instead of panic though, mother’s instinct overpowered the fear, and somehow, I remained calm every single time. 

Three years ago was no different; Josh was sitting in his Svan high chair in the kitchen with his Developmental Therapist when he had his last major seizure. Mid-session as they played, he lost control of his own body and a seizure writhed and zapped him, for what seemed like an eternity. I remember doing something they tell you not to do: I carried my two year old to the couch and hugged him until the seizure ended. Josh’s seizures were never longer than 3 or 4 minutes, but they were long enough.

F4E735C7 7B58 4AD0 9908 BE77DD51F476

Although I knew what they’d say, this time around, I called the paramedics to be safe. They arrived at the postictal state, the part where Josh is physically drained by the events. He sleeps for a good hour and is out of sorts for several hours beyond that.

CCB4CE60 E67E 45E6 B45D 134BA74BC86C

When these episodes happen, it’s hard to forget the emotions and details of the day. That day he wore a gray Puma sweatsuit that my brother and sister-in-law gave him for Christmas. I remember scooping him up after the first responders and paramedics examined him and hugged him some more. I declined the ambulance since he wasn’t in danger anymore, and sadly, because I remembered how much it would cost. This is a reality of habitual hospitalization and the state of insurance/medical care.

Josh ended up being admitted to the hospital that day so that the doctors could examine his levels and detect any other seizure activity. Since it was right before a snow storm, we knew things would get tricky and unbelievably complicated. For the first time, Josh and I were separated from Jack and Jeff for two days as we stayed in the hospital during the snow storm.

F20594EF 264E 43EF A81C 252209992988

Thankfully, Josh remained stable and was well cared for while we were in the pediatric wing. I’ll always remember the nurses who were exhausted, but remained incredibly patient with my boy. I’d always ask if they got in to work ok, and if their families were faring ok in the storm. When you have a chronically ill kid, your respect for those who work in the medical field magnifies.

5F77AFCA 8CEB 4591 AE23 39D87CA4C9A7

——-

In these past three years, thankfully, medicine and close monitoring has permitted my boy to flourish developmentally. I’ve put life on hold at times to be present physically to be a taxi to therapy two times a week, be present for mid-day school pick up and specialists’ appointments multiple times a year.

Josh has grown leaps and bounds, with the help of his educators and therapists. His vocabulary continues to grow as big as his personality and as vibrant as his imagination. He’s so social and makes friends wherever he goes. Language is definitely difficult for him to interact with his peers at times, but he tries so hard. Big bro is always his biggest champion and helps whenever he’s around.

IMG 2448

In the fall, he’s about to embark on a new adventure in Kindergarten. He’ll most likely remain in the special education program for now, but with the (possible?) changes in education, I have fears or the unknown.

Nevertheless, I’m so proud of this hardworking boy who goes to school year-round and endures 8-10 various therapies a week in school and privately.

——

When we reunited at the hospital after several days apart, Jack and Jeff gifted Josh a giant Mickey Mouse balloon that they found in the hospital gift shop. Like for so many, Disney and Mickey have always been our happy place. After what our guy has had to endure at such a young age, we always promised a Disney Cruise, or a trip to see Mickey Mouse once he was stable. Disney is our escape from reality and a reason to reunite when life gets full of distractions and complications.

5BE5CA57 409A 42A1 9A17 3771FF4E777E

I may have been invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, but our family was celebrating so much more. On this past trip to Disney World and Disney Cruise, we celebrated Josh being seizure-free for THREE YEARS!! This is huge because we get to discuss weaning him off of meds again! Go Josh, go!

IMG 2449

Whether it’s with a giant balloon or a chance set sail with Mickey, I’m grateful we have something to celebrate. Thank goodness for three years.