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RESIST HATE: A FEW THOUGHTS AND AN ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

Resist Hate Love is Love T-Shirt to benefit ACLUI want our kids to grow up in a world where everyone gets affordable healthcare and a quality education. Where their friends with two moms are considered a typical family. Where no one thinks twice about the girl in a hijab sitting next to them in class. Where hearing someone speak another language makes them want to learn that language, not shun that person as an outsider. Where climate change isn’t a polarizing partisan issue but a recognized side effect of human existence that can be collectively reversed. Where every person has the opportunity to earn a livable wage, not just to put food on the table or make the rent from month-to-month but to enjoy life and make it better.

I want my daughter to know her brain is more important than her waist size and her hard work and opinion is as valuable as her brother’s. I want my kids to know that no human being is “illegal.” That no skin color is better than another. That their kindness is worth more than their belongings. That their lives are no more important than anyone else’s.

I want our children to be guided by a shared sense of humanity.

We do not currently live in this world I want for my children. But I believe it’s possible. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

Despite the chaos, confusion and fear, I’m heartened to see friends who previously loathed discussing politics now getting actively involved. People are calling their members of Congress, joining grassroots groups, donating to worthy causes and staying informed. I believe less in what I’m going to call the “Facebook approach” to the shit show unfolding in Washington and more in the idea that every single action, big or small, counts.

I have three of Sen. Pat Toomey’s office numbers on speed dial (and here’s the White House comment line: 202-456-1111). Chris and I regularly donate to causes we care about. We read enough news from a variety of sources to stay informed on what’s happening beyond the 140 characters dominating entire news cycles. We vote in every election (we’re coming for you 2018, however unlikely the odds). And we’re trying to get involved locally in ways we hope will have a big impact in the long run.

Avoiding politics is so 2016.

It’s this notion that every little action matters that leads me to my t-shirt and the point of this post.

My friend Ben Pinder is an artist who’s using his talents to respond directly to this new administration’s policies. Ben created an online shop called Resist Hate to sell clothing emblazoned with original designs featuring messages of both solidarity and resistance, and is donating 100 percent of the profits to the ACLU. I asked Ben what motivated him to create and sell his designs for the ACLU and what kind of impact he hopes they will have on those who wear and see them.

Here is what he said:

“I started Resist Hate for two reasons. First, I wanted to fund the ACLU because they seem best at fighting for people and groups threatened by Trump (which includes many, many different types of people). Every penny I make I donate to the ACLU. Second, I wanted to visually amplify resistance to the Trump administration by putting protest slogans on clothes people could wear every day. It can feel risky to wear a shirt supporting, say, Muslim Americans or LGBTQ rights if you’re in a red state or county. But it’s important for people to realize they are not alone in this. We are the majority! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, so visual reminders are important. I try to keep things positive and not dwell on snarky messaging. A collaboration with my friend Jenny, of  Your Soul Style, helped keep the focus on love and rising above.”

I picked the “Love is Love” design (from Ben’s collab with Jenny) specifically because I thought Isla would love the rainbow and ask me about it. I was right. This simple t-shirt sparked an adorable and important conversation with my three-year-old about love and acceptance. I’d say that potty talk (we have our most in-depth conversations while potty training), was worth every penny.

Ben is both a working artist and a stay-at-home parent, which makes his decision to donate all profits to the ACLU pretty incredible — if you ask me. Thank you, Ben, for using your talents and precious time to raise money and awareness for a worthy cause.

(Note: This t-shirt was NOT a gift and this is  NOT a sponsored post in any sense of the word. That would be ridiculous. I purchased my shirt to benefit the ACLU and I’m featuring Ben on this blog because I hope to see his designs walking around Philadelphia and beyond.)

{Resist Hate shirt; Old Navy shirt; Gap jeans; Sam Edelman boots (on sale); Made by Mary necklaces (Lana bar + charm); Ray-Ban sunglasses}

Resist Hate Love is Love T-Shirt to benefit ACLUResist Hate Love is Love T-Shirt to benefit ACLUResist Hate Love is Love T-Shirt to benefit ACLUResist Hate Love is Love T-Shirt to benefit ACLU

Life

FAMILY PHOTOS WITH KATE LEIGH

Family Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia

Way back in October, Chris and I hired photographer Kate Leigh to capture our family out and about in Philadelphia in honor of Theo’s first birthday. We had professional newborn photos taken of both kids and did a one-year shoot for Isla so we really wanted to document this milestone with Theo, too. I also have literally thousands of photos of the kids but not many of the four of us. We’ve done professional photos in our home and at a studio, so this time we wanted to use the city as our backdrop. Philadelphia is so beautiful and we loved running around the museum properties and streets with the kids. It felt more natural and they cooperated much better being out and about rather than posing in a studio. Wild (city) animals in their natural habitat! But, really, I give all credit to Kate. She was incredible! These kids did not want to sit and smile and I was certain she’d come back and say, “Sorry, I only got five photos with everyone’s eyes open, and P.S. your kids are total monsters!” Nope! She worked her magic and I had a really hard time narrowing down which photos to share with you because there are so many and they are gorgeous. She was great with the kids and it shows in their relaxed smiles!

Thank you, Kate, for capturing our family and helping us commemorate our little guy’s first year!

Family Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia Family Photos with Kate Leigh, PhiladelphiaFamily Photos with Kate Leigh, Philadelphia

Kids

BRITAX B-READY DOUBLE STROLLER REVIEW

Britax B-Ready Double Stroller reviewRemember that time I was trying to decide between three double strollers I thought would work best for our life in the city? Well we picked one and after six months of using it I figured it’s a good time to let you know what we think. {Please note: We bought this stroller. Britax was not involved in this blog post or our purchase.} 

If you recall, the top three double strollers on my list were the Britax B-Ready, the Phil & Ted’s Navigator and the Baby Jogger City Select.

We ended up going with the Britax B-Ready with the second seat and we absolutely love it (as much as you can love a double stroller). Here are some random thoughts in no particular order …

1. Easy to Maneuver. It’s not exactly light, especially compared to our single stroller (the Britax B-Agile), but it’s on the lighter side compared to other doubles. That being said, it’s incredibly easy to maneuver. The weight doesn’t seem to affect my ability to push this puppy all over the city. And if I take Isla out of the bottom seat, I can easily lift it up the steps into our house and into all the local shops in our neighborhood with stoops/steps. Getting it into the trunk of the car is not fun though. It’s no impossible, but not fun. Luckily we rarely drive anywhere.

2. Compact. I wasn’t sure how Isla would feel about sitting below Theo, but the side-by-side stroller was not an option for us. For starters, I can’t imagine maneuvering a side-by-side through the city and in and out of doorways, but we also don’t have space for it in our narrow townhouse. I imagine the kids will eventually trade-off between the upper and lower seats, but for now both seem perfectly happy. Isla can climb in and out on her own and likes to reach up to tickle Theo’s feet, even though she can’t really reach. It is also longer than a single stroller but it still feels compact.

3. Lots of Configurations. There are a bunch of different positions for the seats. For the first four months we had Theo in the car seat in the top position. Easy peasy. Now he’s in the regular seat and we switch him around so sometimes he’s facing us and other times he’s facing out, depending on where we are.

4. Great Canopies. Lots of sun coverage.

5. Easily collapsible. It collapses easily with the second seat attached. This was key. The last thing we wanted was for a second seat to take up extra room in the car and in the house when collapsed.

6. Compatible with our Car Seat. We already have a Britax infant car seat (here’s the newer model of the one we have) so we didn’t need an adapter to attach it. Those things can get expensive so this was a selling point for us. It just snaps right in and pops back out.

7. Both Seats Recline. Isla doesn’t recline much, but it’s nice to have the option. Theo, on the other hand, can sit straight up when he wants to see the animals at the zoo, or lie back for a nap. And there are a few reclining positions to choose from.

8. The price is right. Double strollers can be incredibly expensive. Oh, who am I kidding? If you want to spend a million dollars on a stroller you could find a way. The B-Ready is affordable and worth every penny.

9. Limited Storage. The only place to store things is in the bin at Isla’s feet and she is having none of that. I tried to put a gallon of milk down there once on our way back from the grocery store and she kicked it so hard in anger I thought it was going to bust open. We use a carabiner to hang lighter things on the hand rail but for the most part I just carry a backpack.

10. Cup Holder is Lacking. We don’t use the cup holder that came with it. It doesn’t stay in place, is in the way and isn’t super functional. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s in Isla’s toy box somewhere. We use the Britax stroller organizer, which we’ve had since Isla was born. Love that thing. I mean really, really love it. Panic when I don’t have it attached.

Overall, the Britax B-Ready is a great double stroller. The upper/lower seat configuration is exactly what we needed for the city and though it’s a little heavy to lift, it’s incredibly easy to maneuver. We don’t really use it as a single stroller unless I’m taking Theo to the grocery store and storing the bags of groceries in Isla’s lower seat (that’s a bonus actually). We still have our Britax B-Agile for when one of us is going out with just one kid. While I don’t love having two strollers in the house, we aren’t quite ready to give up the single.

In the end, we’d highly recommend this stroller!

And now, who has a stroller board? I’m thinking about getting one for when Isla doesn’t want to sit or walk (or when her seat is filled with groceries) but I’d love your thoughts first.

Please also share your favorite strollers in the comments!

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Kids

THE GREAT DOUBLE STROLLER DEBATE

The Great Double Stroller DebateWhen we were preparing for Isla’s arrival we tried our hardest to buy things that were gender neutral and would last through multiple kids. So imagine my surprise when we started making a list of all the things we need for baby no. 2. Currently, somewhere near the top of our list is a double stroller. While I plan to do a lot of babywearing in our SollyBaby Wrap and Ergo for trips to the park, etc, living in the city means we almost never drive and our stroller is our livelihood in terms of getting out and about. The most important feature we’re looking for is a single stroller with a sibling seat add-on — a two-in-one or convertible stroller, if you will — so that I can easily remove the sibling seat and put Isla in the stroller and the baby in a carrier. The last thing I want is to be pushing a double stroller around with only one kid in it. Tied for most important feature is a tandem set-up as opposed to the side-by-side. City sidewalks and double wide strollers to do not mix, not to mention I have no idea how I’d get that thing in and out of doorways, including our own! Okay and price is really important, too. You can spend upwards of $1000 on these things if you want to, but we do not want to.

We currently have the Britax B-Agile single stroller (with the Britax B-Safe infant car seat) and it’s been very good to us. It’s lightweight (only 16 pounds), easily maneuverable, comfortable for Isla and easy to fold. I really don’t have any complaints, except that it’s eternally a single stroller with no option for a second child, which means if we love our new purchase, we might be selling it on Craigslist. We shall see.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on double strollers … the ones you love and hate and why. Here are the three we’re currently considering, in order of which one is winning and with some pros and cons for each I’ve found while researching.

Britax B-Ready ($399) w/Second Seat, ($120-150).
PROS:
Can be used as a single or a double
Agile and easy to maneuver (through the store at least)
Tandem set-up saves space and doesn’t feel bulky when pushing
Weight in the rear so easy to maneuver up curbs
Collapsable with second seat attached (most others require second seat to be removed first)
Stands on its own when folded
Can fit two car seats, a toddler and a car seat, two toddlers, or a toddler and a baby
Don’t need adapter for our Britax infant car seat; car seat can fit in either position
Rubber tires (no air filling necessary)
Canopy for both seats
Various positions for both seats possible (i.e. back-to-back, face-to-face, etc)

CONS:
Single stroller is heavier than most, though doubles weight is comparable (26 lbs as single, 34 as double)
One kid is looking at the back of the other
No space to hang groceries or bags on handle with carabiner
4 wheels instead of 3
Need car seat adapter for lower seat position

Phil & Teds Navigator w/Second Seat ($499-$650, depending on color)
PROS:
Can be used as a single or a double
Agile and easy to maneuver; 3 wheels, not 4
Tandem set-up saves space and doesn’t feel bulky when pushing
Weight in the rear so easy to maneuver up curbs
26 possible configurations
Large, rotating canopy
Auto stop feature so your stroller won’t roll into the street (especially good for people who live in hilly areas)

CONS:
Must remove second seat to collapse
Does not stand on its won when collapsed
Air-filled tires could require refilling and I’ve read they sometimes pop
Single stroller is heavier than most, though doubles weight is lighter (26 lbs as single, 31 as double))
One kid is looking at the back of the other
No canopy for second seat
Approx $130 more expensive than the Britax
Position of front seat cannot be turned around
Requires car seat adapter

Baby Jogger City Select w/Second Seat ($499 on sale)
PROS:
Can be used as a single or a double
Both kids get a great view
Can hang groceries/diaper bag on handlebar
Multiple positioning options; 16 seat combos, including two car seats
Second seat has its own canopy
Rubber tires (no air filling necessary)

CONS:
Bulkier and not as agile as the other two
Front heavy and harder to get up curbs (so say reviewers)
Must remove second seat to collapse
Does not stand on its won when collapsed
Heaviest single of the three (28 pounds as single, 34 as double)
Requires car seat adapter

Right now the Britax is our first choice. The price is right, we like the configuration, it’s easy to maneuver and we like the single stroller option just as much as the double. Plus, we already know and love the brand, so that’s a good selling point. I do love the Phil & Ted’s, but the air-filled tires are the main concern. I use our current stroller multiple times each day and the last thing I want is to end up with a flat tire.

Now it’s your turn? Tell me everything you know and love and hate about your double stroller experiences.

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Life

FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND

Washington Square Park, PhiladelphiaHappy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dad’s out there! We had a great weekend celebrating in the city. We spent Friday evening running around Spruce Street Harbor Park on the waterfront, followed by a pool day with Chris’ family on Saturday, then Father’s Day brunch at Talula’s Garden and some playtime in Washington Square. It was the perfect weekend.

Washington Square Park, PhiladelphiaWashington Square Park, PhiladelphiaWashington Square Park, PhiladelphiaFather's Day Brunch at Talula's Garden, Philadelphia Strawberry Blinztes at Father's Day Brunch at Talula's Garden, PhiladelphiaAmazing warm strawberry blinztes (with sweet ricotta, scent of cardamom, local strawberries, fresh baby basil and crunchy almonds) from Talula’s Garden. We also tried the fried pie (filled with sweet summer nectarines, a hint of jalepeño and bacon-black pepper gastrique) and Chris got the farm fresh egg omelet (with charred summer corn, butter braised sweet onion, Lancaster pepper jack and house potatoes). Mmmmmmm. I officially recommend brunch at Talula’s Garden.

Father's Day Brunch at Talula's Garden, Philadelphia Shuffleboard at Harbor Street Park, Philadelphia Harbor Street Park, Philadelphia Shuffleboard at Harbor Street Park, Philadelphia Legoes at Harbor Street Park, Philadelphia Port FedNuts Chicken Sandwich at Harbor Street Park, PhiladelphiaThis Port FedNuts chicken sandwich was just what this pregnant mama needed.The beer was not mine, obviously.

Pool Day Pool Day