Hawaii: Our Happy Acciden

If you know me, the story of how our family ended up in Hawaii versus Mexico will not at all surprise you. Here's how it unfolded: a mom in our school posted on facebook that her friend's timeshare in Mexico was available for a specific week in March which magically synced up with ours. Duncan & I had both been working like crazy and agreed that this was just what the doctor ordered - vitamin d, babies in bathing suits & some computer-less days. I rushed to get Kaitlin's passport with two weeks before the trip & started planning for shorts weather. 

The night before we were leaving, we were out to dinner for a relative's birthday. My mental checklist was going & I couldn't shake that somehow I couldn't find where I placed my own passport. I had carried it all week for verification (unnecessarily) as I moved through the checklist to obtain Kaitlin's. Sure enough, Duncan & I turned the house upside down and at 3am : it was still not there. We were back at it, at the crack of dawn and still nothing. Then it occurred to us: we would not be able to go to Mexico but there was nothing stopping us from Hawaii! 

We had never purchased a time share before and while I was in a heap of depression on the couch, a light bulb went off! Maybe the timeshare broker, whose information I had in email, could assist us with another timeshare....enter Kris Shotwell. From the moment I heard his voice I had faith. He explained that he was in Florida and due to ref a hockey game that night, but he'd stay at his desk & try to get the job done. The unimaginable happened : Kris secured us an incredible time share in Mauii & United Airlines changed our flights for $50 per person. As you might remember, we purchased the first time share from a friend of a friend - at a discount. Given that Kris was able to offload inventory at the last minute, both time shares only put us slightly over budget. Our bags were already packed & after a good night sleep we were off to the airport. 

The skinny on Kanapali Beach Club


Everything I needed to know, I learned at The Biggest Baby Shower

I know what you are thinking: slow your roll, Vanessa. That's a massive statement. But when it comes to the world of babies, it's true. I do not take for granted that I started Sensible Sitters in tandem with the launch of Risa Goldberg & Leslie Venokur's genius: Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower.  Well before my first child (8 years) I could tell you which bottle was easiest on a gassy baby's belly, how to unfold most strollers in 30 seconds or less, and assist you in finding the right carrier for your build & baby. I could help you to navigate the world of gear given your lifestyle and your space constraints. That's all thanks to the informal education I received from attending a dozen years of Biggest Baby Showers! I NEVER experienced anxiety around registry or gear and if I did get anxious, I referred back to brands that Risa & Leslie's team trusted. 

Here's what I can assure you it will do for you: 

  • alleviate stress related to gadget & gear purchases - everyone is there to show you there product, with the understanding that the world of babies is not "one size fits all". You can test drive it all pre baby!
  • allow you to learn about new products that weren't out when you had your last baby - like the Snoo, for example. 
  • allow you to try on multiple baby carriers & learn what feel natural on your body.
  • allow your partner some insight into the wacky world of baby gear - you guys can do this together! Let your partner be a part of the process. The earlier you let them in, the more bonded they can be - the more helpful they can be!
  • gives you a chance to win amazing prizes! Strollers, high chairs, cribs!

The Biggest Baby Shower brings to you all the gear companies & services, under one roof. In conjunction with the expo are informational speakers on a myriad of topics. On February 7th, The Biggest Baby Shower will take place in South San Francisco from 5:30-9pm. Having started my involvement so long ago, it's really rewarding to have been asked to moderate the panels this year! Speakers will include: 

Deeanne Akerson: founder of Kindred Bravely

Laura Brown: Certified Babywearing Educator: Ergo Baby

Michelle Davenport: Founder & CEO of Raised Real

Wendy Sue Swanson: Spoonful One

Ashley George: COO Sprout San Francisco

Dr Harvey Karp: CEO of Happiest Baby

Esther Kestenbaum: CEO of Day One Baby

Sharone Nassi: Founder, Carmel Blue

Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh: Nutritional Scientist & Baby Gut Expert: Evivo

Promos for Main Street Mamas! 

  • Use the code 1mamas for a free general admission ticket.   

  • Use the code mamas for $15 any

  • Fill out this form once you buy your ticket: we are making Main Street Mamas Stroller Tags for you to pick up at our table!

Attending the biggest baby shower was a great experience. As a second time mom it was great to see new things from brands I knew and trusted but also experience new brands, test products and speak to people with intimate knowledge of the products. Aside from the numerous vendors, the ticket price more than pays for itself when you see what comes in the gift bag. My friend and I were completely blown away by not only the quantity of items but the usefulness and quality of we received. A must attend event for any expecting or newborn mom!
— - Jessica, mom to a toddler & infant twins
I loved attending the biggest baby shower as a second time mom because it gave me a chance to see a bunch of new products that have come out in the last few years. The gift bag alone is worth the visit! So many awesome samples & products to try out! I found new things for baby #2 I would have otherwise not have known about!
— Megan, mom to a toddler & infant
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Things I am crazy for right now:

brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things: 

Well Mama Cookbook: Author, Caroline Zwickson is the founder of Well Mama. Let's be real: motherhood is HARD. Especially when you don't feel comfortable in your body, or when you feel disconnected from your partner, or when you can hardly even remember who YOU are. I have an easy and affordable remedy. My dear friend Caroline Zwickson just opened enrollment for her group program Well Mama—for women want to take excellent care of their health & their hormones while reviving and re-connecting with the woman behind the mom! Check out all the program details here: http://www.carolinezwickson.com/well-mama-enrollment-id106 

Lush Ro's Argan Body Conditioner: I just re-discovered this soothing body conditioner. It is warm & almost feels forgiving in this chapter of motherhood. One less step: simply scoop up a dollop and generously moisturize while still in the shower. Rinse off and enjoy the aroma all day long! 

Rothy's: Talk about a pep in your step! These comfy and stylish shoes come in three styles: round toe, pointed & loafer. Eco conscious, they are made of recycled bottles & can be washed! Enjoy yours at work, on the playground or anywhere in between! I am jazzed that they match my holiday wardrobe! Receive $20 off using my promo: http://rothys.refr.cc/vanessawauchopewelst

Primal Pit Paste: I know what you're thinking. Really? You're bragging about deodorant? But yes, this has changed my ability to enjoy life! I went so far as to call my dermatologist about botox in my armpits when a friend recommended this deodorant. I can not believe it, but I haven't had a worry - or ruined silk shirt - since! 

Oribe Dry Shampoo: I made a big mistake and bought cheapie dry shampoo last week. After going to a meeting smelling like Calgon body spray, I'll never cheat on Oribe again! You gain a day of not washing your hair (win!) and smell like you have just left a salon! Perfect stocking stuffer for any lady in your life!

The Perfect Bar: a refrigerated protein bar that has perfect - simple- ingredients. I first fell in love while ravenous at Costco and needing a mid shop snack. The rest is history. As I load up for a solo cross country flight with two toddlers next week, I will have MANY perfect bars in my bag! 

20 Days of December Giveaway: Rossi & Rei

San Francisco Main Street Mama, Elisa Rossi, founded Rossi & Rei. Mother to 5 year old son, Lucas, Elisa has kept her family's Italian heritage close to her heart in the decisions her family has made. Her son attends an Italian immersion school in San Francisco and her business boasts artisan's from her home country. I share Elisa's story below as so many moms can relate to her re-introduction to their old self that she talks about. For the next week we will raffling off a gorgeous hand-crafted satchel , a $595 value. On Tuesday, December 12 at noon, we will be announcing the winner. 


Throughout my childhood in Italy and most of my adult life, I’ve found that the objects surrounding me are filled with a certain energy. In 2011, I was living a busy life as a Silicon Valley executive. Like most busy women, I compromised a lot when it came to my style; athleisure became my unofficial uniform. Then one day my friend Veronica, a skilled milliner who moved to Paris to open her own atelier, gave me a gorgeous, custom-made hat. I was at Heathrow airport wearing my “travel uniform,” but something changed as I worked on my laptop beneath Veronica’s hat. I felt as though I had embraced a part of myself I had neglected for too long. It was then that Rossi & Rei was born. Working with hand-picked, skilled artisans to create personalized styles, I’m dedicated to helping women who, like me, no longer want to fit the mass-produced mold of fashion and instead want to evolve a truer sense of self through craftsmanship and connectedness.

Name *
Do you follow @mainstreetmamas? If so, 1 extra entry!

Sonnet James: The Playdress, your new best friend!

I first learned about Sonnet James from a Main Street Mama: Whitney Miller. Whitney is an incredibly stylish, yet down to earth & playful mom to two young boys so when she reviewed the dress - my ears perked up. The family photographer mentioned that you could breast feed and the dress didn't lose shape. I had to explore. I reached out to Sonnet James, owned by one incredible mama, also a Whitney, and based in Palo Alto. Over the past year my Sonnet James dresses have been my goes to's for most anything where I want to be comfortable yet stylish. Some examples are as follows: 

  • I wore the Playdress - appropriately coined - below, paired with a faux fur vest & black booties to church during the holidays. Then out for brunch with the kids!  (Similar style here )      

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  • I wear this dress for everything! Park play, office days, with a shrug over it for a baby shower, or for big hugs (as seen below). The integrity of the fabric is remarkable. You can basically work out in them, they are so pliable. Yet their shape remains intact. They wash wonderfully, so don't worry about little fingers.   

The dresses are incredibly versatile, especially if you pick a solid or stripe. You can play it down with a pair of Supergas. Dress it up with fun jewelry and a bootie or kitten pump. As mentioned, they stretch very well, and also allow you to filter for maternity on their site. As you build your capsule wardrobe, these are a must have. Add them to your Holiday Wish List! 

Parenting in recovery - some tools I learned in AA & apply to every day parenting.

Someone told me when Cameron was born that I would forever have my heart walking around outside my body. It's days like today that I am reminded of how raw parenting is. How visceral your response to your child is. How hard this job is. On the other side of the equation, I feel privileged to be present to this small human being when he needs me: however distorted and cruel it may appear in the moment. 

I went into pre-school drop off knowing I would leave in tears, it was that kind of morning. I celebrate two years of parenting two children simultaneously this week as Kaitlin turns two and Cameron is a newly minted four year old. And yes, four year olds are tricky. Cam currently runs on all fours - as you would if you were a two headed dragon transformer. Or a tiger. Or (insert aggressive animal that snarls and sends your moms anxiety through the roof here). I catch myself cringing - sometimes secretly and sometimes quite publicly. Why can't my kid just stand in line? Why can't he keep his hands to himself? Will he always be a child so sensitive to his environment? 

But then I am reminded of the story that my neighbor tells of my five year old self. I sat under the pine trees that lined my driveway for a whole Saturday morning. I watched as many of my classmates drove up our hill to the end of the cul de sac. I watched as they attended a birthday party for a neighbor and classmate, my same age, that I wasn't invited to. My neighbor suggested to my father as she watched the tears stream down my cheeks: maybe Vanessa just needs to be taught to tone it down. I was twenty when my father passed away and Nancy sat with me by the water: a scene I liken to the illustrations from "The Trumpet of the Swan". She shared with me that my father never wanted to dampen my spirit. That he was adamant that no one tell me to be less or be more - that I was who I was meant to be. I was twenty one, a year later, when I got sober. It was hard, getting sober without my cheerleader. Dad always got me - he understood my quirks. I still don't know how my parents had the patience to let me be me while parenting four other children.

As I left drop off in tears, trying to stay present for the two year old who is all ears in the backseat, my dear mom friend reminded me that all four year old have their quirks. It all came together: I get to be present to honor my son's quirks. And suddenly there's a new spin on Cam and it's not such an attack on me. I remind myself frequently that I have a few more tools, as a gift of working Alcoholics Anonymous, than my parents had. If I stay present and practice self-care, I can honor my father's story and help Cam to show up for #allthefeelings.

Here's a few takeaways from my experience in recovery as it pertains to parenting: 

  • HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. When we feel uncomfortable we check in with these feelings. Have we eaten? Are we upset and we need to chat it out? Do we need to be among others? Do we need to rest our bodies? 
  • Soul Fever & Hooky Days: Sometimes our hearts just need to stay close to home. My friend Alice helped me to learn this term and I had an "Aha moment!" My father used to give us a "mental health day" and let us play hooky one day a semester. 
  • Use your resources:
    • We love our Occupational Therapist & implement her suggestions in C's steady environments (home & school) 
    • In San Francisco there is a phenomenal resource called Talk Line. Talk Line has a physical location in the Upper Haight where complimentary childcare is offered from 10am-2pm Mon-Thurs. You do not need a reason to use Talk Line childcare, but you do need to meet with a case worker & fill out some paperwork. You must stay on premise, but give yourself the moment that you need as a person to show up as the parent your child needs you to be. 
  • Find community in your tribe, and use it. I founded Main Street Mamas, which has been my saving grace, but find a parent group to call upon - and then call upon them. Maybe you need a suggestion, maybe a meal, or maybe you're in a position to be of service. 
  • Be of service. The best way to get out of your own head is to be of service. Find a way to give back in any way. Be an ear, make a meal, provide childcare to a mom in need. Today, after having a hard drop off, I enjoyed being of service by holding a 3 month old at Story Hour while his mom was present for her fifteen month old. It made me grateful for my independent two year old who allowed me to be our service to another mom. 
  • Move a muscle, change a thought. It has been scientifically proven that if you can calm the body to calm the mind. Yoga, stretching, breathing, dancing - all get our bodies moving and re-calibrating. If you are having a tough time try taking a walk around the block or playing tag - it's bound to help you all feel better.  

Now, back to my afternoon coffee while I count the minutes before Kaitlin wakes up from her nap...




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Minted Photo Op : Reviewed by Bethany

The beauty of Main Steet Mamas is the mom huddles that are continuously built around the city. As we know, this is no small feat. It comes with a lot of hard work! Minted & Main Street Mamas gifted the following photo session to Bethany as a thank you for all her hard work. She is creating a community for moms on the north side of the city that is incredibly appreciated! Thank you, Bethany!


I had received all of the mailings from Photo-Op By Minted, the emails, the online Social Media Ads and had no clue what they had to offer other than really nice Holiday Photo Cards. I had been frantically searching for a Holiday Mini Session that wouldn’t break the bank and not sacrifice quality! When suggested by a friend to try Photo-Op By Minted I was happy to look into the suggestion! WALAAAA…. just like that I found exactly what I was looking for but remained insanely skeptical because of the price and ease of booking. I’ve got to admit I’m a bit of a control freak… and this just seemed too easy! My friends have all been busy hiring photographers to capture the most perfect family holiday photo to mail off to relatives and friends… Usually spending $250-$1000. Minted allows you to book a 30 minute session and based on zip code provides you with different locations to take your photos ( In your home, Palace of Fine Arts, Chrissy Field… several others)… wait for it… for $100!!!!!!!! 


We arrived at Chrissy Field to be greeted by Brian the photographer, a friendly fellow San Franciscan who was more than happy to accommodate whatever request we had! He did a fantastic job and was even a good sport when our friend rolled up cheering behind our photoshoot in his classic car! Brian laughed and happily welcomed the car into the photoshoot to use as a prop with my husband and our 9 month old! All with the Golden Gate in the background what more could you ask for! Two days later our photos arrived and I was shocked! For $100 (Kindly gifted from Main Street Mamas) we had about 25 professional photos that we’re edited and ready for Holiday Cards! We also received the remaining unedited photos to keep! Minted also creates Holiday Cards for you based on their favorite photos that you have the option to edit and purchase! I enjoy making our Holiday cards so I have chose to personalize ours on my own using Minted. They are the same price point as the other online photo card options with a ton of sales and savings for the Holiday season! Not to mention the customer services was phenomenal! To sum this up… I booked our session on a Friday, had photos taken on Sunday, received my photos on Tuesday and now Holiday Photos and Cards are complete the week before Thanksgiving. That my friend… to me… Is a Mom Win! Follow this link to book your session for the Holidays and receive $25 off your $100 purchase! Photo-Op By Minted I just booked a session to gift our wonderful Nanny and her family because I was so impressed with the outcome! Happiest of Holiday to each of you and I look forward to seeing your favorite family photos!  -Bethany

Cabana Life...

It tickles me to be so enamored with Cabana Life nearly ten years after having met the founders. Here we are, our journeys having taken us from young entrepreneurs in New York City to established business owners and mothers. We have made decisions on behalf of our families that have taken us to Florida, San Francisco and Dallas - but you can't take the New York out of the girl.

Well before I had children, I fell in love with CL for myself & now I am even more in love for my family. I think at our very first pub lunch, Melissa hooked me with the following statistic: an average t-shirt blocks on average 7% of UVA/UVB rays. As one of five fair skinned children, I grew up with the notion that a t-shirt and sunscreen was protection enough. Fast forward 30 years, and my sister has already had melanoma surgically extracted from her leg. We need to work toward broader education, and Cabana Life is at the forefront of that. 

Cabana Life has become a staple for fashions that take you from the sand to sidewalk. The collection of 50+ UPF clothing offers a variety of sun essentials including bathing suits, dresses, hats, cover-ups, tunics, shirts and pants for boys, girls and women.

My children have been wearing adorable Cabana Life garb since they first dipped in a pool and today, we are enjoying our East Coast road trip in Mommy & Me numbers!

Through September 3, enjoy the promo code "mainstreet" for 20% off. 

Learning to love my kids differently is okay

The past two weeks we have been on a road trip: Boston, Connecticut, Long Island & now Maine. The east coast sun has been incredibly energizing & restorative, allowing me to reflect on the past year & a half with two children. I have been able to really look at the way that my children need me differently & I relate to them differently.

It sounds strange to admit that I need space from my children. But this is my journey and I am coming to terms with it as it unfolds before me. I am learning, my children have presented their own temperaments and personalities to me. I have the privilege of dancing with them. And boy, it's nothing short of a mind fuck.

When Cam turned two, Kaitlin's scheduled c-section date was 10 days a way. I had better managed expectations this time. I knew I was growing a large baby (read: 11+ lbs) and I knew what c-section recovery entailed. I had done a lot of work and come to terms with a fed baby being best, regardless of how they are fed. I had enlisted help, knowing that family was far. What I wasn't prepared for was the influx of emotions that comes with loving your babies differently. 

I show up for my children in different ways, and that's okay. Cam has always been a big personality. He's intense in an incredible way. While I know he craves alone time with me, he's super social and it took me a long time to figure out what it was he enjoyed doing in his "mommy & me" moments. The library - not so much. Trader Joe's trips to get "little nibbles" and chat to every passer by...now we are on to something. In all his fury, he appreciates routine and adores school. He likes to know his schedule and where we will go after school, so he can anticipate it all day. As awesome as he is, I am a better parent to him with some space. 

When Kaitlin was born, she nursed on the operating table. She was the attachment parent's dream baby. To the mom who has always had to fight for my cuddles, she was the koala baby I never knew I needed. And suddenly, I didn't want to give her up. I didn't want to spend my days away from her. I didn't need as much space. She didn't crave as much autonomy. 

Anyone who knows me might argue that this reads wrong, as I adore my first born. It's not that I love either of them more or less - it's that I love them different. They also love me different. Cam loves me intensely, with a bit of distance. We sing together - loudly. We run and jump and splash together, literally and metaphorically. We are the best kind of weirdos together. Kaitlin and I sit and read. She nuzzles in my lap. And in my neck. And tucks herself into a ball that can be enveloped by my two arms and tucked underneath my cardigan. She's a puppy. She needs little distance, but is enjoying navigating her own space. The word "no" is her friend, in all her toddler glory.

Given that our children spend their days somewhat separately, the summer is also an amazing agenda-less way for them to navigate their relationship. In between headlocks and taunting pinches, the photographs are what will be left. Barefoot toes and late afternoon dips in the lake, that's what summer are made of. 

#momhuddle soiree

When I first started Main Street Mamas, I didn't quite know the strength it would possess one day. I knew I needed mom friends, I knew I wasn't alone in craving community, and I knew that there was a ripple eager to make a wave. What I didn't know was the magic that we were on the brink of. Three years later, with over 6000 mom in the San Francisco circle, it was time to dig a little deeper. We did this in the name of a backyard dinner party. 

Hosted at a gorgeous residence in the Mission, we invited 20 moms from different neighborhoods to share their parenting stories with us. We were intentional in asking moms who were like-minded yet whose paths might not cross otherwise. A motherhood salon if you will. Kendra Nixon of Nomad Nixon sprinkled her magic on the aesthetics and ambiance. 

We spoke about our identities as we navigate the world of mothering and parenthood. We are now much more than a professional and a partner. We are a part of a modern day village. It was fascinating to hear how we each navigate the same city with different vantage points. While there were close couples, there were many first meetings. The result was nothing short of remarkable.

Our guests enjoyed delicious fare prepared by Freida of Sacred Weddings & Noe Valley's LeCupboard. The tables were delightfully adorned by strawberries which were provided by Good Eggs. Between these three sustainably-minded sources, our moms of all dietary restrictions were beyond satisfied. We noshed on eggplant falafel with romesco, beet salad with quinoa cashew cheese and slivered oranges, marinated skirt steak, herbed chicken, & apple skewers with dates and argon oil-infused almond butter - among much (much) more. Post dinner we enjoyed a cup of Ritual coffee, brewed by roasting mastermind Eileen Rinaldi.

At the end of the evening, giddy with new friendships and percolating with ideas, our attendees left with Lulu Frost x Lesley Piece astrology earrings. Each lady had a personalized constellation earring. I have not taken mine off yet - it's so fun to wear! Match the other side with a stud or a dangle, they compliment your outfit whether at the park or an evening out.  

We can't wait to bring simple, yet sophisticated evenings of facilitated conversation to your neck of the woods! If interested in attending or hosting, please be in touch.

Babyzen Yoyo part two: The Buddy Board!

Thanks again to being a Stroller Traffic Scout, our family has enjoyed the new Babyzen yoyo+ board. We have always enjoyed our Yoyo (see review here), but now this is our main stay! Retailing for $125, the buddy board carries up to 44lbs. Staying true to all their features - the buddy board is insanely easy to install. Its a one-handed pinch to clip it on or off of the stroller. The saddle is easily removable, allowing for your child to sit or stand. My bike obsessed toddler can't wait to jump on the board when I pull the stroller out of the car!

I recently joined a friend at the zoo who has a 5 month old & 3 year old. They had brought an infant car seat & stroller for the 5 month old and the yoyo for the 3 year old. Perfect scenario to adapt the buddy board: once their baby is old enough for the yoyo, they only have to attach the buddy board for their toddler. The best part for an environment like the zoo, is the ability for the toddler to jump on and off.  We now use this stroller for trips to the beach (it's SO light!), to the park and on every excursion! 

My only bit of feedback in the event that you are on the shorter end, is that the buddy board can make the stroller a bit trickier to steer. I am 5'6'' and found that steering one-handed, while walking to the side was easier & quite doable given how manoeverable the yoyo is. 

For reference, my children are 1.5 & 3.5 in the photos below.

This weekend: West Coast Craft, Sunday Streets in OS & Charity Khan!

This weekend is chock full of fun. Here are a few reasons to get out with your MSM community and family:

West Coast Craft: 

Summer 2017 West Coast Craft is THIS weekend: June 10 & 11, from 10am-6pm at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center! Imagine Etsy, curated and west coast inspired, come to life. With the breathe and air that the backdrop of the Bay inspires, it's an incredibly innovative environment.  

San Francisco MSM, Sara Ewick is thrilled to announce a number of new-to-West Coast Craft vendors this summer, including Counter-SpaceMazama WaresNancy PearceIjjiBathing CultureSana AlouiBaby Cats of California, and Pen + Ink Pottery (among many others--see their complete list of vendors here). 

Plus, the show is built for families, with a kid-friendly lounge set up by Mothermag.com x Lonny Magazine.  826 Valencia will also be in the lounge doing some creative writing workshops for kids.

Best of all?! It's completely FREE

Sunday Streets in the Outer Sunset!

Hooray!  Sunday, June 11 is the annual Sunset/Golden Gate Park edition of Sunday Streets, which means that from 11 AM to 4 PM families will be out west enjoying car-free fun and a slew of fantastic activities. The folks at SundayStreets have also made this great Explore Local guide, a nifty list of some of the best and brightest landmarks and businesses in the neighborhood for you to check out as part of your Sunday Streets adventure.

At Avenues Dry Goods (on Irving between 42nd and 43rd) from 11-4 they'll have our friends and neighbors from Churn Urban Creamery popping up in front of the store with their bounty of both traditional ice cream and dairy-free flavors. Stop by for a scoop or two and snap a photo. Don't forget to tag #msmmoments

Join Charity Khan as she embarks on her FOURTEENTH year of family concerts at Beach Chalet!

Once tuckered out on the Great Highway, meander down to Beach Chalet to hear Charity & The Jam Band from 3-5pm on Sunday, June 11. Reminder: drinks are easy to purchase on a crowded day but food is only served to tables, which are first come first serve. Don't be scared off: pack snacks and a blanket - as picnic-ing is welcome. At the end, you'll see the incredible (almost) sunset and scoot home in time for bath & an early bedtime! 

Using a Sensible Sitter to fill in the gaps!

As parents we have way more hats to wear than hours to switch them out! It occurred to me, 3 years into parenting, that the Sensible Sitters I have used are capable of so much more than babysitting. It was in a recent coffee date with Keatyn that we chatted about her love for keeping a house in order - from organization to laundering. Music to my ears! After share care at our house with two toddlers for two weeks, we were in need of some help in the play room so, the next week we gave it a go! 

Sensible Sitters: Solutions. (Click here to inquire about additional services) 

Keatyn arrived just as Kaitlin, our 1.5 year old, went down for a nap. I gave her a smidge of direction: I wanted the playroom to look less than like the garage sale it currently looked like and more curated. I wanted it to invite creativity. Below were the results and what Keatyn did:

  • Repurposed existing materials : nothing was bought new for storage purposes
  • Created themed vignettes in the storage cubes 
  • Put large, like minded, toys in the storage baskets so that kids could easily find what they were looking for 
  • Small pieces/toys went in small containers to be easily found 
  • created a book nook in the corner of the room with large throw pillows
  • Removed toys that were too small, which are now neatly stored for coffee hour at the Main Street Mamas coffee hour. 
  • Stored baskets of toys for rotation in the closet!
  • Simple solution: turned a basket on it's side to create a book shelf in the living room 

I knew that when my son came home from school he would be excited, but this has changed our lives in a profound way. The kids have learned to play together this week as their playroom is clutter free and they can navigate their play stations so easily. They have also taken pride in putting their things away. 

Playroom B&A

Good Eggs Dinner Kits: Take Back Dinner!

Having landed at midnight on Monday from Hawaii (more to come on our trip!), this beautiful package could not have arrived on a more perfect evening. I had taken a week off work and while the vacation was perfect, I was a crazy combo of exhausted and behind at work. The kids were conked out early, we had a glorious sunset beaming through our kitchen window, and the doorbell rang. Enter, Good Eggs Dinner Kit. Let me walk you through my experience:

  • Delivered in a box and a tote bag, I first unpacked all the greens. The fresh produce came in a tote bag - as if I just stopped by the farmers market! Wrapped in a bio bag & labeled with a sticker for the corresponding recipe.
  • As I opened the box, I was first met with a dinner playlist. No detail left unattended!
  • One of my favorite elements of the dinner kit is the theme: Take Back Dinner! A beautiful nod to this is the wooden "Buh-bye box" that is introduced on top of the refrigerated goods. It's fun to put together and reminded me of the wooden airplanes we bought as children. Now my hands were busy and the worries of the day behind me.
  • My next layer was recipes and fresh, refrigerated groceries, perfectly parsed out. As I pulled the recipes out from the envelope my mouth watered and I was so inspired by the gorgeous photography.

We decided on the spring pasta with english peas, pesto and pea shoots. It was truly as simple as it promised (20 min cook time: TOTAL) and I had zero mom guilt about not having made anything from scratch. This past week my husband and I talked a lot about the mom guilt that I attach to way too many areas of my life. Good Eggs read our minds. The need for a dinner hour full of fresh, nourishing, food and void of our ever-running to do lists. My husband and I had different worries and weights from the day, but we both left them in the buh-bye box and enjoyed our meal.

The meal kit made enough for us and both children! It was bright and cheery, with lemon and mint notes in the pesto. The pasta, sourced from The Pasta Shop, was perfectly satisfying. Garlic greens and peas, cooked together, created an fragrant dish. Accompanied by fresh greens and a balsamic dressing - this was just what we needed to center us as we settled back into life in the fast lane.

Some additional facts about the Dinner Kits: 

  • Customers who sign up for the dinner kit receive 3 meals, which can be ordered and delivered at the same time as their weekly groceries. (Subscription not required.)

  • Kit options change weekly.

  • Cost $69.99

  • 1 meal = 2+ servings

  • Each weekly menu comes with a Good Eggs Kitchen seasonal green salad mix & dressing that can be paired with any meal. (Pairings suggested on recipes)

  • This spring, there will be 2 omnivore meals and 1 vegetarian

  • Coming later this year: vegetarian and other options

Enter below to win one of THREE Good Eggs Dinner Kits. It's easy! Just follow Main Street Mamas & Good Eggs on Instagram and leave your email address. 

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Sign up above to enter to win a Good Eggs Dinner Kit!

Intentional Parenting is a job of it's own.

As a mom to two young people and a business owner, I am often in the limbo land of mom guilt. Let me explain what I mean by this. I am one foot in, one foot out. I have the ability to cuddle a baby just a little bit longer because I don't have to "go to the office." The struggle is real: do I parent or do I work? That's what it boils down to. It's not a passive job, parenting. I am not of the mindset that I can do both at once, and quite frankly I think the notion of being able is causing a larger problem.

If we look back to when we were growing up we see that the mom guilt was not as prevalent as it is now. My mom will tell you, she didn't compare herself to the next door neighbor. They did it together. Where one fell short, the other pitched in. Landlines were just that - attached to the land. Therefore, present parenting was the only option. You could engage with your children as they played or you could tend to work or household duties, but likely work happened in an office & household duties encouraged your child to learn to play on their own. 

Today, we are tricked into believing that our children can be at home while we work in tandem. Hats off to the parent whose child's temperament allows for this fairy tale scenario to play out. The reality is that our children get asked to nap longer, watch iPad just a bit more, begged to look at mom's phone while one more email gets tackled. Is this a respectful way for us to tackle either our children or our business matters? How many times have I jotted off the byline, "sorry for the grammatical errors, there are tiny toes on my lap." 

If we look at case studies of the most coveted working parent work environments, there is childcare in place. Patagonia offers childcare on site run by teachers and educators. They don't expect that you are working alongside your child, that's simple a non-reality. So now, let's look at the effect of "working with child in tow." My colleague called attention to her children being constantly appeased in order for her to mind one more thing. That one thing can be any number of needs in your life - a shower, a transaction at the store, getting through a travel day in a semblance of one piece, an email, or the laundry. We all do it, but if we always appease our children they do not learn the boundaries that are necessary to function in the world. They do not learn how to play with their toys. They do not learn that "no" is an acceptable answer. Their job is to play and engage with their environment, our job is the create that environment and facilitate interactions. No matter how you slice it, you can not be engaged in a phone conversation, email or strategic planning session - and wholly engaged with your child. That's not wrong, it just means that we need to re-assess our societal expectations. We don't expect men to bring babies to the office. It's not realistic or fair to a child. It would be fodder for a comedy. 

This morning my son stumbled upon a sour candy his father had stashed away. He assumed a slumped shouldered, pouty presence and then slowly came around to the idea of a "deal". How about this is an after school treat? It would have been easy to say yes to him in the heat of the moment - already late for school. It also would not have reinforced that we don't eat candy for breakfast or always get what we want. 

Breaking this cycle doesn't take as long as you may think. Children are very malleable and they enjoy following rules. It only take a few long conversations with little people to unlearn unhealthy habits. So today, I will cut my workday short and move on to my primary job - parenting. They are not two jobs that I feel I can do in tandem any longer, not if I want to parent intentially. 


Little People. Little Problems.

I am a firm believer that the universe gives to me what I need to hear, in that moment. Over the past month, I have heard a recurring message which has been very comforting. The message has come from elders - those who have paved the parenting path before me.

To set the stage: our children turned 1 & 3, three months ago. All of the sudden I no longer have a baby and a toddler. I still have two little people, and both my babies, but they are increasingly able. Don't get me wrong, Cameron was Kaitlin's age when I became pregnant with her and I now look at her and wonder how I ever thought he wasn't a baby at this age. That said, she's running and babbling and feeding herself. She communicates with a defiant & continuous nod that emulates a bobble head meant for a dashboard. Cameron is my bigger challenge. His feelings are big and I find myself spending a great deal of thought on how his days should be shaped & enriched. 

While Duncan and I both work, being my own boss does give me the opportunity to be with the kids in the afternoon. Life currently feels like a logistics play and the double edged sword of being accessible for the kids was starting to take it's toll. I've often wondered if it would be easier to be expected in an office and not tortured by the teething baby who wants one last snuggle. Which leads me to the wisdom that was imparted to me. 

Jenny, the mother to four children I grew up babysitting, listened to my stresses about Cameron. He started having night terrors and our sleep was rocked again. He has recurring respiratory infections and tubes seem to be on the brink. He still isn't reliably gentle with Kaitlin, and I am increasingly pained by this. Cam is really big personality and I constantly wonder if I have a low threshold for three year olds or he is actually hyperactive. I'm inclined to believe that he is an incredibly spirited child who deserves to be engaged in a very mindful manner. I also refuse to apologize for this, which is in my nature. Jen responded, "little people. little problems." 

I laugh that one of our preschool teachers swears the world can be solved with pasta and hugs. In reality, it likely can at age 3. As Jen reminded me, one day our children will have big problems with real world implications and a band-aid won't fix them. They will make choices that effect their self esteem, for better or worse. They will grow up in a society that teaches them their value is based on the likes a social media post evokes. They will have a heart break. Or vices. Or massive disappointment. They will have problems that pasta doesn't fix. 

So for today I am trying to meditate on the small moments that we are privy to and the simple answers we can offer our children. When my little people have big feelings, I am trying to celebrate their emotions and find teachable moments. After all, their small time is finite. If I remind myself of a credo that has assisted my growing up, spiritually and mentally, "this to shall pass" - and I want to be present before it does. 

Arlexa: A Sensible Sitter Extraordinaire

Sitting to write this post flooded me with more emotion than I could have predicted. The subject of my sentiments is a young woman who I have had the privilege of watching grow up. I've tried this morning to recollect my first meeting with Arlexa, as I tend to categorize folks in my initial contact with them. I love first feelings and first meetings. I am most curious about everyones' stories - and I love the details I learn in that first interaction. 

Arlexa is such a part of my life and such a part of the fabric of Sensible Sitters that I don't remember a time that we didn't know her. Here's what I do know - I know that she taught me the value of Sensible Sitters. The magic of what we do is captured in the moments families experience with our caregivers. It has a little to do with our vetting process and a lot to do with the quality of character in the individual sitters. Arlexa came to us as a high school student. Eager for a summer job and living on the western most end of the Hamptons, Arlexa would drive - sometimes hours - for a honest wage and an appreciative family. As we grew and she grew up, we found increasing responsibilities for her within the organization. One summer she worked in our Amangansett office, answering phones and learning office management skills. The next few summers she was the team leader for large events that we staff annually in The Hamptons. All the while, working toward her private pilots license. This past year we hired Arlexa as a recruitment manager in our New York City. To watch someone mature within the company I built has been one of the most amazing gifts that life has given me. Not only the impact that Arlexa has had on the families shes touches but the clear impact they have had on her.

She has navigated every unique childcare arrangement possible. summer nannied. travel nannied. Visited the swedish alps with a family. Chaperoned teens, who adored her even while she was only minimally their major. she taught herself to babywear and loved on babies as only a mother can appreciate. she loved on our babies when we needed a reprieve, assuring us that she had the situation handled. she became a fabric of our lives.

Arlexa brought to our families a joy that simply put your heart at ease. I recall the day that I transitioned from a the owner of Sensible Sitters to a customer. The porch was speckled with early morning light in the home we rented in the North Fork of Long Island.  The sun was starting to sop up the puddles that Cam, then 20 months, had created from water play. I stood, quite pregnant, awaiting Arlexa's arrival. What never left her side was the bubble that she brought that day. The everlasting smile that meets her freckled cheeks from dimple to dimple. The giggles she evokes from children and the curiosity that coddles. What is absolutely incredible about Arlexa is the way that she befriends the children she works with. 

today we say "see you later" but never goodbye to a girl we will miss incredibly, as she steps out into her next frontier. Arlexa embarks on air traffic control school next week and we marinate on the gifts she has given to us over the past six years. Arlexa, we love you.

Meet Heal : The app that allows you to meet a pediatrician in your living room!

My girlfriend had mentioned Heal in passing to me. Her girls had strep and instead of dragging everyone to urgent care of a weekend when her husband was traveling - she had a Doctor come to her. Genius. I downloaded the app and forgot it was there. Until we had a perfect medical storm... 

I had a toddler with an obvious earache & in tremendous in pain while driving home from having attended my husband's family day at work in the peninsula, an infant at home, a nanny needing to be relieved and a pediatric practice that could not see me until the end of the day. I opened up the app & no sooner did we request an appointment, Dr Chien was confirmed. She arrived promptly, was eager to learn about our son & won him over in no time. She was incredibly professional & even answered unrelated questions about our baby. At the end of the visit she referred us to Script Dash and all for the cost of both our co-pays we received excellent in home care & a prescription without leaving the house. Given the lack of time and energy we had having a 5 month old & 2.5 year old, this was invaluable. To note, Heal takes insurance. This is generally $20-30 depending on your insurance plan. If you do not have insurance, the visit is $99. This is less expensive than more urgent care or ER visits. 

Fast forward, we have used Heal for a myriad of needs. They came to assess me when I had mastitis, they have seen both my children for medical needs, they have seen my nanny at our home for a flu shot & my husband at his office for the flu shot. We have been had great luck in consistency and have enjoyed all the doctors we have met. The PA's have been incredibly sweet & nurturing - offering loads of smiles to the little ones who are generally under the weather.  

From a technical perspective, the app is very user-friendly and allows for you to review the Doctor's credentials ahead of time. You can easily amend any of your information, health insurance and add siblings as they come on the scene.

Download Heal via iPhone or Android.

Ode to my Mom Guilt

Any mom who owns her own business knows: there's no better way to feed mom guilt. Truly. It's a misconception that you can have it all and work post bedtime as needed. So, the double edged sword begins. You can soothe the baby during their endless (read phantom) teething moments (read hours) as your nanny waits for you to finish cuddling and you text-postpone yet another meeting. While friends with an office to report to button up their coats and head out the door, you are forever one foot in and one foot out. You text way too much at the playground - so much in fact, that if you were a nanny their would be a thread about you on the local mom's group. You can go to Friday Lunch at preschool, but it cuts up your work day, but you're supposed to go because that's a perk of owning your own business. RIGHT?

Enter, Little Lane.   Little Lane was founded by a Bay Area mom to two girls - soon to be three! The Class Pass for kids platform allows for you to pay for different monthly packages and drop into classes that you would not have otherwise been exposed to, or would have to purchase a series of.  A taste test if you will. 

For a long while, I chalked Cam's short list of classes up to his age. Now at three, I really want to be a part of his afternoons and I am a bit resentful that his teachers get to pique his curiosity. With a monthly membership of five classes, Cam and I can hand pick an afternoon class each week to attend together. No sooner did I start sifting through the options and I realized that this was a family conversation. Ballet, Art Class or a movie screening at The Walt Disney Museum? such fun options and I can bounce around depending on my schedule. Mom guilt, be gone. Cam and I have a Little Lane date. 

Use the following code for your free month trial of the Discover Pass(2 classes a month): MAINSTREETMAMAS17 


Austlen Entourage

Just in time for our local holiday strolls, the Austlen Entourage arrived to our doorstep. Our family has many - MANY - strollers but none are the level of luxury that Austlen affords you. We live out by the beach in San Francisco, so appreciate a stroller that can take us to the beach and the playground but can also be thrown into the car easily and taken wherever the wind takes us. That's not always easy with two children. First off, both our children (ages 1 & 3) love the Entourage. Admittedly, our 3 year old is harder to please these days and he really enjoyed that he could pop in and out of the jump seat on his own. He also really enjoyed having his own handles - faux-leather grip & all!

The expandability and ease by which this stroller expands is remarkable, With the flick of your wrist, the stroller goes from consolidated to fully extended. Once extended, you can add a jump seat or a second seat for a toddler. The under carriage allows for SIXTY FIVE pounds to be carried. That translates into a full grocery run, dog food, your dog himself, or luggage when traveling. A very smart addition to this stroller is the market tote. You can see it hanging right in front of the handlebars. It expands and one half then is attached to handlebars on the primary seat. With smart compartments, there is a spot for everyone's items. 

The canopy is very large and the seat nearly fully retracts. I always enjoy a fully retractable stroller seat as well, bc you can do a non-messy diaper change without needing to find a restroom. Just pack a changing pad for the ride, but don't forget the Entourage fabric seats are removable & washable. 

Driving this stroller feels sexy - it's like a new car that you want to take for a spin. On Sundays, we enjoy getting to our church's neighborhood - Cow Hollow - a bit early for a coffee & pastry pre-service. I had a blast pairing my new Sonnet James play dress (obsession for another post) with my Entourage. After all, isn't that what we all want - a little entourage?! I can't wait for it to join me at the Farmer's Market!