Heritage Keepsakes

Siella’s love for the American Girl Dolls started two months ago, on her fourth birthday. Our first trip to the store was a magical experience for her, but I think it was equally as memorable for Jason and I watching her browse all the shelves, loaded with dolls and accessories, carefully studying each and every one. We had no idea which one she would choose, and tried not to interfere, leaving the decision to her. I urged her to take her time, so she scoured every floor, and finally by the third level, she spotted a Bitty Baby with blonde hair, green eyes, and she said, with sheer confidence that she was the one. I have to say, Jason and I were expecting her to go for an older doll, but as it turns out, a baby seemed like the perfect introduction into the American Girl collection.

When asked what her name would be, Siella bellowed Heart Star. In the past, she would change the names of her dolls and toys, but Heart Star was here to stay. She totes the precious baby everywhere we go, changes her outfits daily, and cares for her special doll. I’m really proud of the way she has taken on the responsibility, which she had never done with other dolls.

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This week, I received an invitation from the American Girl store, to celebrate the launch of their new BeForever character doll Maryellen Larkin, a 1950’s inspired doll. The flagship location arranged a host of activities throughout the day, I thought it would be fun to bring Siella back to the store, along with Heart Star. Our afternoon started with brunch at the American Girl Cafe, a first time experience for the both of us. When we seated, our server brought over a highchair for her baby, and the excitement on her face was was everything. She ordered all by herself, and we enjoyed our meal, chatting and giggling the entire time.

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Once brunch ended, we headed over to check out the newest character, Maryellen. She comes wearing a sweet striped swing dress, little crochet blue cardigan, and black Mary Jane shoes. There are so many clothing options for her, but my two of my favorites include an ice skating outfit, and the classic 1950’s poodle skirt, that includes a little dog, named Scooter. The celebration was wrapped up with performance, inspired by 1950’s swing dance music, and a cool activity stations, where she crafted fun cat eyed glasses for herself and her baby.

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Our entire trip home, Siella started talking about how much she adored the “big” dolls, at American Girl. In anticipation of her continued love for American Girl Dolls, I had planned to give her her own big girl doll on her first day of pre-k or Christmas. Witnessing her excitement from meeting Maryellen Larkin, I couldn’t resist and gave it to early, when we arrived home. She totally flipped, and I made her promise to share it with Gemma, and take extra care of it. So just like that, we are now fully into American Girl heritage keepsakes in our house, and I can only imagine what her Christmas list will look like.

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And I’m even more psyched to offer the newest BeFoever Maryellen Larkin to one luck Stroller In The City reader! Good luck friends!

Newest American Girl Maryellen Larkin

 

This post was sponsored by American Girl.

Shifting The Seasons

Every year come late August, cooler temps make it feel as if fall is knocking on summer’s door. Some mornings and evenings come with a cool brisk breeze and the kids with sun kiss blonde tips in their hair are finally sleeping past 6:30am. I will miss our carefree days, the warm sunshine, trips to the beach, and most importantly, having all three of children at home with me.

While I still hold on to these last two weeks of summer, I am starting to make a few transitions in the children’s schedules, even habits so that when the start of school does creep up on all of us, we are not all in state of shock. Little things, like making their bedtimes a bit earlier, less screen time, and getting back into our bedtime stories routines are just some of the steps I am doing to prepare them for back to school.

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I’m thrilled to have teamed up with Sealy for their Back to School, Back to Sleep” campaign, which recognizes the challenges American families face, switching from relaxed summertime days, to a more structured schedule with school and different activities. Sealy has joined forces with University of North Carolina’s Department of Medicine and Sleep Science program to create helpful tips to help parents make the right choices when gearing up for back to school. Here are some of their tips for establishing a back-to-school sleep schedule.

Bedtime Shift – Starting a week or two before school starts, determine the number of hours your child’s bedtime needs to shift and gradually advance the bedtime and wake time to the appropriate time (by no more than 30 minutes per day).

Night Owls No More – No late bedtimes. The recommended number of hours of sleep differs for each age group. According to the National Sleep Foundation, school age (5-10 years) should get 10-11 hours and teens (11-17 years) should get 8.5-9.5 hours.

Boycott Late-Night Electronics: Turning off electronics in the evening two to three hours before bedtime is a good rule of thumb. Any type of electronic device that emits blue light or revs up brain activity counteracts the body’s natural transition to sleep.

The Mattress Matters – To help ensure a comfortable night’s sleep, invest in a mattress that is engineered to fully support the back and align the body.

Break up with Snooze – Don’t allow your child to sleep in. Keep wake times consistent across both school days and weekends.

The Breakfast Benefit – Make breakfast a priority and serve it at a consistent time each morning. Not only will kids be energized for the day, but a nutritious start helps them learn more effectively.

Take Your Cue – There are external cues that help synchronize our sleep/wake rhythm. The sun is by far the most powerful environmental cue, which can be used to help us orient to our desired routine. Have your child get sunshine in the morning soon after waking.

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For me, it’s easy to see how the number of hours my children sleep at night make an impact on them. If Gemma skips an afternoon nap, it takes a good two days to get her back on track. With the older ones, they are more likely to misbehave if they are lacking sleep. Sealy believes that no matter your age, finding a bed that gives you outstanding back support, that’s durable and has added comfort, is important in getting quality sleep every night. I think the combination of a great mattress for your child and proper bedtime routines, your back to school schedule will be less difficult. I would love to hear some of your tips for preparing the kids for back to school.

 

Lucky Number Seven

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Last week, we celebrated Ryder’s 7th birthday, and I’m left in disbelief trying to recall all the milestones and memories, which have passed so quickly. Seven is a big deal, he is entering the 2nd grade this year, and ties of his dependence on me seem to be slowly slipping away. When I reflect back… Read more »

A Bostonian Weekend

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When I was in my early twenties, one of my colleagues from my first job out of college was from Boston, so we made many weekend trip up there throughout the years. Having lived there all her life, she shared with us all the town’s greatest attraction, and we definitely went to our fair share of… Read more »

Sunday Styles: Michael Hill

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I have to be honest, when Jason and I were trying for our second child, I was convinced that I would have another boy. He is one of four boys and already having my first boy, I figured a little girl wasn’t in our future. And today, I still cannot get over that we have two girls only 21… Read more »

Kids Style File: Kids On The Moon

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Just in time for back to school, I discovered a super cool brand that will keep my children dreaming about our endless summer beach days come fall and winter, when we are freezing in NYC. Inspired by the depths of the ocean, Kids on the Moon is a true deep-dive. The brand is inspired by… Read more »

A Fashionable Start

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“How many more days left until school starts?” This is the daily countdown question, coming from my middle daughter Siella, who will be starting Pre-K this year. Coming off previous school which was only 3 hours per day, 3 days a week, these full day, 5 day weeks will be a huge change for her.… Read more »

These Are The Days

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I know, I know, you’re sick of me saying it, but I’m getting anxious at the thought of the summer coming to an end. I dealt with the same angst as a kid, and even more now with children who are having to go back to school. Summer is my most favorite time of year, and I… Read more »