Florida Vacation, im a shitty blogger, life comes at you fast, drink lots of water!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WOW, I suck. Craig has been poking and prodding me to blog and I have a plethora of material floating around both my hard drive and my brain drive and I just cant seem to find the time to write it all out. Every time I sit down I get sucked in to my business, digging for music, escaping with fantasy purchases on craigslist (most commonly searched: convertible, motorcycle, macbook pro 8gb, 5d, more useless shit I dont need but want), or mindless banter with people who caught me with my FB chat on..the worst. So here it is, my blog post, I was advised that I should do it in 2 posts because I have around 25 pics to put up, so this is part uno (that means 1).

VACATTIIOOONN!!! My gracious in-laws were kind enough to offer airfare for my family to travel to Florida, Boca Raton to be exact, and stay in my Grandfather-in-law's (is that real?) winter place. We obviously snapped at the chance and one giant suitcase and a ton of logistical planning later, we were off! We looked at cheap umbrella strollers and ended up taking our Quinny Zapp because it folded just as small, if not smaller then the umbrellas and is a lot more durable. Aside from that we ended up bringing our car seat as well because we didnt trust having one down there (good call considering the car situation..which you have yet to read about, shit.) and it strapped to our one gigantor suitcase.

We flew out of the Worcester Airport on Direct Air, NEVER AGAIN! They were horrendous! I called the day of to confirm our flight and it had been changed by an hour, no phone call!! THEN the plane took off over an hour late! This screwed our entire day/night up, bastards. Once we landed in Boca the weather helped, but it was MIDNIGHT! We headed over to the car rental place only to find a massive line, one person working it, and it was all useless. We booked with Hertz and it hertzed, bad. Apparently they only accept debit cards "once in a while" and my wife and I are very anti-credit cards. Lesson learned, we caught a shuttle to the place we were staying and cabbed it around from that point on, which was actually kind of fun!

Grapmys place is right on a golf course and wreaks of Boca Raton, in a good way!

 The boys playing with Hendrix

Adrianas family arrived the second day we were there and we hit the pool first thing! The best part of the place, aside from the fact that its 10 mins from some amazing beaches, is the pool, observe:

 Adrianas brother, Mark, and Christian getting wild! (note the goggles)

 Hendrix fell asleep after an afternoon snack!

After a long day in the sun we all decided to order in and crash out early! The following day we had plans to hit the beach, cook out, and do some more swimming in the pool! Our goal was to take it as easy as possible while down there and spend as much time doing as close to nothing as we could get, and we definitely reached that goal! I will follow up with part 2 and the rest of the photos tomorrow!

GUEST DAD: Tyson Stiles (Cleveland, OH)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I am Tyson Stiles, a 30 year old single, soon-to-be married, father of the hippest 4 year old boy ever, my son Trynter.  We are from the Cleveland, OH area, which basically means we spend most of our time indoors staying dry, shoveling snow, playing Batman and Robin, making music, and wrestling.  This is a little post about what it means to me to be a father.

Someone once told me that kids just want your time.  It’s really that simple; give your sons and daughters your time.  In our life that means dressing up for Halloween together, dive bombing off of my bed (no major injuries…yet), or maybe veg’ing out and playing some video games.  The activity itself doesn’t really matter; what matters is that we spend time with our children.    

Being a single father has had its rough moments and I do believe it’s helped in creating a huge bond between my son and I that may not have been as strong otherwise.  We’ve now spent many hours together over the past 3 years and that bond grows tighter and tighter every day.  Just recently I was finally able to bring Tryn with me to one of my band’s concerts (we played a youth retreat…he doesn’t go to the bars with me!) and we had a total blast.  It was such a special moment for me to look out in the crowd and see my son dancing with a glow stick waving above his head, rocking out to his dad’s tunes.  Want to know the best part though?  When we’re driving along, heading to wherever, I hear this four year old voice in the backseat of my car saying “Hey Dad?  Remember your concert where you played guitar and I was dancing?  That was super cool”.  My heart melts because I know (since I was a son once myself…) that specific memory is burned into his soul.  

Dads:  we are larger than life to our children.  Our sons and daughters will never have a bigger influence in their lives, no greater impression will ever be made, and no one could possibly replace you.  Continue to be there for your children, be the sidekick, be the punching bag, and be the largest person at the tea party.  Most importantly, continue to be there.

If you'd like to read more from Tyson please visit his blog "Live.Love.Appreciate". Tyson is also in the band The Hearts which rule, check em out!

BOOK REVIEW: "Alternadad: The True Story of One Family's Struggle to Raise a Cool Kid in America"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Since the fateful day I was told: 'Read the Baby books or Die' I hoped and wished for the "hip-dad" equivalent to the famed "What To Expect When You're Expecting". When i heard about Neal Pollack's "Alternadad" with it's hand drawn cover art featuring tattoos, nose rings and an Aqua Bat's tee I rejoiced thinking I had found the holy grail of the hip how-to. Although an interesting read, it's falls short of expectations.

The main issue I have with the book is it's outright dumbing down of a father's role in parenting. Within the first 5 pages his wife says "Entertain him!" Now!" to which he replies "He didn't need to be entertained; he needed to be pacified. I turned on the TV". The stereotyping of the 'idiot dad' does not stop there, Pollack goes on to talk about how during his wife's pregnancy she read every book, began eating healthier and stopped attending events where people may be smoking. While on the other hand he began drinking more heavily, attending more rock concerts and smoking more pot. The book is written well but I am not a fan of anything that makes Dad's seem like unhelpful, incompetent idiots.

The book describes the journey from over privileged teenager to a beatnik writer in his early 30's who finds himself married and broke with a kid on the way. It is a quick read with lots of funny stories and insights into new parenting covering topics such as naming, circumcision, picking a school and the general up bringing of new baby. Although entertaining I found myself appalled at some of the things Pollack did as a parent, that he was so proud of he felt the need to write a book about it. I am in no way trying to claim to be the 'perfect parent', but some of the stuff in the book was so bad I almost stopped reading. I won't ruin the book for you but some examples that really stuck out to me were bringing their sleeping infant to loud parties (as long as the party goers smoked outside of course) and leaving his wife and three month old infant to go to Amsterdam for a poet's convention where he got so high he poured water on his head on stage and then publicly insulted a fellow poet's ethnicity. Another one was when he left to tour the country with a band he had started leaving his wife and child at home yet again, and don't get me started on "Daddy Time" and "Mommy Time" and the arguments that broke out about who's 'turn' it was to play with the baby.

I kept waiting for that moment in the book where he would realize how shitty he was being and change his ways and become a Dad worth writing a book about, but it never came. His wife, Regina, was no saint either who for the first year of their son's life realized that she could watch entire series of TV shows and complete video games front to back all while nursing, the book literally reads "i did nothing but watch TV", what a great way to bond with your child over the first few months. There were however shining moments where I said "aww", moments where he seemed like a good Dad such as "Music School" where he taught his son Elijah about rocking out, moshing and what he considered good music, but the cons outweighed the pro's too heavily for me to really enjoy this book or recommend it to anyone. I would be interested in a sequel to see if things have changed for the Pollack family because like I said I enjoyed the writing style, just not the content.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Getting a full night's rest made waking up on Sunday a lot easier than the previous day. We woke up, took showers, got dressed and headed to Aroma for coffee. Aroma is unfortunately a chain (I swore off chain coffee shops, read about it here) but chain or not it was the closest coffee shop to the apartment and the coffee and customer service was great. After coffee we headed for the R train to Columbus Circle to switch to the L train to head to Brooklyn. Now before I get to Brooklyn let me talk a bit about the MTA.

As a Bostonian I have a love/hate relationship with our undependable and slow MBTA, but with my exposure to the NY Subway system as a parent, I now hold a much greater appreciation for the T. If you are a parent of a small child or a person with a disability - FORGET ABOUT IT. We made the mistake of bringing her stroller with us, little did we know the MTA hasn't been updated in about a million years and has no elevator service at most stations and the turnstiles are too small to fit a stroller through. So using the subway involves carrying your stroller down multiple flights of piss stained, slippery, narrow and over crowded stairwells and then having to set off an alarm off to go through the 'service entry'. The alarm is loud, draws attention and annoying. The MTA and it's lack of help for parents and people with disabilities is the main reason I would never move to New York. Ok now that the rant is out of the way:

This is our friend Blaine's apartment / dog we were watching after!

So the first day as you read we did some stuff uptown and outdoorsy but todays weather was a bit more gray and gloomy so we decided to do some indoorsy things. We started off the day by heading down to Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Flea and the Bedford Ave shops. Here we are on the dreaded MTA! Once we got into Brooklyn it was already noon and we were STARVING so we went to "Bliss" per one of our vegan friend's suggestions. (p.s. said friend works at an awesome bakery called Champ's so check it out if you're in the area! She also writes an awesome blog about vegan pastries here!). So I have mixed feelings about Bliss. As a young vegan guy, it's AWESOME. As a young vegan parent, it is horrible. The food was pretty great, fairly priced and they played great music. The atmosphere was cute, quaint and full of interesting people. I would avoids this place however if you have children. They do not have any high chairs, or even the room to accommodate one. The service was very poor and I felt like we were annoying the waitress by being there. So needless to say we ate with Sierra in our laps and although the food was really tasty the experience was unenjoyable.

The vegan nachos/chili was AMAZING.

Lauren went the safe route with another tofu scramble breakfast burrito, which I shared and loved.

I went with the "Tofu Club" which wasn't that great but gets an A for effort.

After lunch we headed out in search of The Brooklyn Flea: Artists and Fleas which wasn't hard to find considering the same middle aged chain smoking hipster gave us a flyer for it three times. The market was in this really old mill building with high ceilings and exposed brick everywhere, I'd live there if I could. This wasn't the 'normal' Brooklyn Flea, this one as the title "Artists and Fleas" says is more around artists and independent makers, which was awesome! It was geared more towards the ladies with it's wide assortment of jewelry and clothing but we all had a good time and saw lots of really interesting people and objects. My favorite part was as busy and full of stuff and vendors as it was they somehow mad the aisles wide enough for our rather big stroller, which was key since this was when Sierra decided to take her nap.

Lauren is checking out the Reliquarium - http://www.reliquariumart.com/ - Which was my favorite vendor at the market. The artist Jackie Mock puts found objects into hand made frames and boxed (made from the object itself in some instances) and created beautiful pieces of art with deep meaning and careful craft. I loved almost every piece she had for sale but buying original art work wasn't in the budget for the weekend, although next time we head in that direction I won't leave without one as I already regret it.

Here is some more of the interesting things we saw including antlers, hand blown glass with little mini-eco systems in them and lamps made from found wood and piping.

After the flea we decided to explore Bedford Ave which is a long strip full of independent shops, restaurants and cafes -think Thayer St (Providence) but 10x bigger and better. The people who liter the streets are young, hip, fashion conscious, chain smoking, bike riding, pbr drinking, guitar playing new yorkers at their best. It was a very interesting area that makes Allston look like the 'burbs. I found countless record shops, thrift and consignment stores and coffee shops, a.k.a. I was in heaven. On top of all the daddy-likes there were tons of baby shops which surprised me, our favorite of which was 'the flying squirrel' which is a half new / half consignment baby store carrying things from toys and strollers to rain boots and mini skinny jeans. The shop keeper was friendly and couldn't compliment us enough on our sleeping toddler or her Janie & Jack strawberry raincoat (which Sierra got as a 1st birthday present from the lovely Just By Living a.k.a. Michael's wife). After seeing just about every shop we wanted to it was nearing 4PM and we wanted to see the MET as Lauren and Sierra had never been. When we arrived at the MET Sierra was obsessed with the fountain out front and by the time we actually got inside the line was SO LONG we would have got to walk around the museum for about 20 minutes before closing time, that paired with the thought of being in a long line with a cranky toddler caused us to skip the MET and go to the nearby "Ancient Playground" instead.

By the time we got there both Lauren and I's iPhones had died of exhaustion so excuse the stolen photograph. Although I was sort of bummed about not being able to visit the MET it was fun to watch Sierra go down the slide and as soon as she hit the ground say "GAIN? GAIN? GAIN?", she really loves the park and playground and I love taking her there.

By the time we left the playground we were getting very hungry for dinner so we went back to the apartment for a bit, recharged our phones, bodies and Milo's food bowl and then headed into the Village to try Quantum Leap which we found through a google search for "soho vegan". Interestingly enough this restaurant was the only one that did not come to us as a suggestion from a New Yorker, and it happened to be our absolute favorite of the weekend. The service was great, the food was fast, tasted like heaven and the price was right.

We started off with our norm the chips + guacamole (Sierra's favorite). It was probably the best guacamole I've ever tasted.

Lauren got the Mediterranean Platter which she loved.

I went with a classic (sort of), Spaghetti and "Meat" Balls. My mouth is watering just looking at the photograph. Yum.

After dinner we went and got Milo for his night time walk and we left the house stroller-less to explore the Village and Soho areas as our last goodbye before heading back to the city. After the whole weekend of hustle and bustle this hour or two was probably the most memorable and favorite of mine. Sierra was in the best mood and very playful with the dog. Walking hand in hand with Lauren watching our daughter and (borrowed) dog chase one another up and down the sidewalk in front of us was just a perfect moment for me and for a a moment I wanted to live there and recreate that moment as much as possible.

All and all it was an amazing weekend and I couldn't be happier to have shared it with my beautiful partner and our perfect daughter. Without getting too mushy gushy on the internet, it's the moments like this that make all the working, bills and hardships worth it.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday morning Milo and I woke up around 8AM and let Lauren and Sierra sleep in a bit. Exploring Soho with a dog in the early morning was really nice and relaxing. New York is very different than Boston, not only in the obvious ways like amount of businesses and people but the whole 'feel' of the city is different, the smell, the look, the people - just about everything. When Milo and I returned home we got ready and headed out in search of breakfast and coffee. After about 20 minutes of walking around aimlessly we settled upon 'sNice which is a vegan/vegetarian coffee/foodery that had so many delicious things it was hard to choose from. We ended up with a Tofu Scramble Wrap, a Grilled Cheese (yes a grilled cheese for breakfast, judge us!) and a everything bagel with tofu cream cheese - all three things were shared and loved by everyone. Oh yeah, also tons of coffee obviously.

Sierra enjoying the complimentary sugar cookie that came with breakfast! p.s. I totally ganked this photo from Lauren's tumblr here: http://laurenmissesyou.tumblr.com

As you can clearly see, we hated breakfast.

After our delicious breakfast we walked up and took the D train to 59th street / Columbus Circle and spent a few hours enjoying the beautiful day in Central Park. We found this amazing playground that is almost as big as the town Lauren is from. It had a gigantic sand box, climbing structures, tons of swings and just about everything a child could ask for. The sun and the heat were pretty intense compared to the past few weeks in Boston so we went in search of shade and we stumbled upon "The Ramble" which we didn't know when we got started but is is basically a rocky, dirty, long, steep and sometime stair filled HIKE. We were wearing Toms, had a toddler and toting a huge stroller, needless to say we were unprepared for "The Ramble". Once we finally made it out Sierra had passed out in her stroller so Lauren and I got some snacks and found some shade. Lastly we hit up Strawberry Fields and then jumped on the C train to West Village for some lunch and shopping.

Here we are resting in Central Park after The Ramble. It was a perfect little moment. (photo also stolen from Lauren's Tumblr, whoops, don't hate me Lauren!)

Here is a short little video of Sierra enjoying the swings in the Central Park playground, her favorite part was kicking over the camera man (aka me)

For lunch we decided on "Vegetarian's Paradise 2" that a friend had told us about. We kind of went all out and got Buffalo Wings and The Roll Sampler for an appetizer and the "Seafood" Extravaganza and Chicken Curry for entrees. If you're a vegan who trys to eat somewhat healthy I'd avoid this place, it's just a "fake meat paradise" and I was underwhelmed with it in general, although I can't lie that chicken curry was amazing. Once we were all full of soy and tofu we headed to Generation Records which was AMAZING if you're in NY and a vinyl nerd do not miss this place. We also went to Clementine Consignment, Hamlet's Vintage and a few other neat shops.

The Buffalo "Wings" - VERY tasty.

The curry "chicken" and potatoes. Also very good.

The "seafood" extravaganza. YUCK! We barely touched it, they actually took it off the menu without us even complaining, they just noticed we didn't touch it or ask to take it home, good customer service :)

Sierra's favorite part of the meal obviously, Mint Chip Ice Cream and Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream. It made the trip to this place, and New York, worth it. Mmmm.

Although I think my favorite part of the day was how happy Sierra seemed. She seemed to love the hustle and bustle, the people, the dogs, the cabs, the runners and bicyclist - yeah we have all that in Boston, but like I said earlier it's very different here and I could see the excitement in Sierra's face. At least two dozen people stopped and said how cute she was and one full grown man with dreadlocks and an 8 pack played peek-a-boo with her for a full three minutes. It makes me happy to see her happy and to see her make others happy. All and all it was an amazing day and I'm excited for tomorrow. Tomorrow we are planning to get to Brooklyn and explore the Brooklyn Flea, Bedford Ave and the Botanical Gardens.


Saturday, May 21, 2011


Once upon a time I had a boss named Blaine who eventually left our company and moved to NYC for a new job. Blaine and I stayed in touch and when she said she needed a dog / apartment sitter for this weekend we jumped at the chance to have free lodgings for the weekend in a swanky soho loft apartment. The apartment is beautiful and the dog, Milo, is super cute and this was just the little weekend get a way we needed. 

Friday morning started like any other Friday for us which means rushing around the house like maniacs trying to get dressed, coffee'd and out the door by 7:30AM to get Sierra to daycare and Lauren and I to work. Except this Friday I didn't go to work, I went to a park near The Massachusetts College of Art and Design to graduate. Yes people you heard right, I JUST graduated from college yesterday, no I am not 22, I'm just a very late bloomer! So the ceremony was beautiful, I felt happy, accomplished and all that other mushy gushy stuff you're supposed to feel on your graduation day. After the ceremony my parents took Lauren, Sierra and I out to lunch at this place we love called The Otherside Cafe which caters to vegans AND meat eaters. It's great, if you ever find yourself in Boston I suggest you look it up. After lunch my parents threw $100 in our gas tank as a graduation present and we headed up to NYC. Lauren drove the first two hours until we stopped at a Mobil somewhere in Connecticut for the bathroom break from hell:


So after we were back on the road we were making good time, not traffic, good conversations and a happy sleeping toddler. This was until we hit the F.D.R. which was the worst nightmare of my life. Traffic up the wazzoo, stand stills, honking, single lanes and a SCREAMING toddler. After about 45 minutes of that we finally arrived at the apartment where we basically through the pack n play together and all passed out. --- stay tuned for SATURDAY some time tomorrow! 


Thursday, May 12, 2011

While on my way to drop off Lauren this morning she read a tweet from Kaitlin Maud regarding these new "Shape Ups For Girls" by Sketchers. We both began FUMING in the car about how disgusting and appalling this was. I am outraged that a company could think this was 'great'. Although A Skechers spokesperson said the shoes are not made in preschooler size (that they start at size 2 the average size of a 7-year-old) the ads are running on the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon during programming aimed at kids as young as preschool age. The commercial features a few skinny young girls singing  "Heidi's got new Shape-Ups, got everything a girl wants. She's got the height, got the bounce. She's lookin' good and havin' fun 'cuz Heidi's got new Shape-Ups." Later in the commercial this Heidi character is chased by three lethargic boys dressed as a hot dog, a cupcake and an ice-cream cone.

As if the pressure on women to be thin wasn't bad enough with television, magazines and advertising now they are pressuring pre-school girls? Even more interesting the company does not make their shape ups for young boys, just girls. What kind of vile company is telling 7 year olds to tone their ass, it is disgusting and I hope none of you even consider purchasing these. 

Shame on you Sketchers, shame.

EDIT: I did a bit of digging around and found this interesting little tid bit of information: "A 2010 University of Wisconsin study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise compared exercise wearing rocker bottom shoes and regular running shoes. The study found there was no fitness benefit to wearing rocker sole shoes. The study was cited in a 2011 class-action lawsuits alleging false advertising by New Balance, Reebok, and other manufacturers." --- So now not only are they pressuring girls to be skinny when they are in 1st grade, they are LYING about the shoes health benefits to make a quick buck. They get paid and the girls get a complex. Thanks Sketchers.

Sign the Petition against this product on Change.Org
Huffington Post Article
Sketchers Twitter @SKETCHERSUSA
Rocker Bottom Shoes promote FALLING

Sierra's 2nd Birthday!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When I was a kid birthday's seemed so easy, eat a bunch of cake, get a bunch of toys and then take a nap but now that I'm the one throwing it, it seems a lot more stressful. Sierra's birthday is in mid-august and I've already started thinking about what theme we will do, where it will be, who will come, etc. Although sort of stressful it's also so much fun, I had a blast planning last year's and am excited that Sierra will be older and enjoy herself more this time. Does anyone have any good suggestions for themes? I'm at a loss!

Sierra's first birthday was a MONSTER PICNIC and it went so well that I feel we have a lot to live up to! At the time we were living in a small apartment in Somerville that had no backyard so we held the party in a local park and it was a beautiful day. I handmade all her invites, each one was different and they were a ton of fun to make! Mama made the cake and cupcakes from scratch which were so delicious my mouth is watering even a year later. A lot of people bought us "monster themed" gifts that Sierra and we loved. It was a really fun day and I hope this year is just as much fun and then some. Here are some super cute photos from it:

This was the handmade cake by Mama, I made the letters though!

There were tons of babies in attendance, including the other ½ of The Hipster Dad's baby, Hendrix, who was just learning to walk as you can see --- FACEPLANT!

Sierra loved her cake but was a little confused why 40 people were staring at her when she was eating it.

Here are some of the invites I made! This is Freddy and Samara (of The Ring)

Frankenstein and Vomit Breath

Dracula and Frenchie

The information for the party was on the back of the puppets.

Our buddy Kaitlin even brought a cute bunny!

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sierra is currently down for a nap and Lauren is enjoying a LUSH bath bomb in the tub, I figured it was a good time to write a little Mother's Day blog post. I speak for both Michael and myself when I say we couldn't have picked better ladies to put a baby in. Both Lauren and Adriana are wonderful mothers who share the same values as Michael and I and make perfect companions in our child rearing (I've always hated that phrase). They are both smart, beautiful and great mamas and we couldn't be more lucky that they deal with our bullshit and pretend to like us. Thank you and we love you.

Franklin, MA

For the first 9 or 10 months of Sierra's life she and Lauren lived with Nana & Pépé in Franklin, MA (I will write a post about why we all didn't live together right out the gate at a later date BTW). But anyyyyyway we visit from time to time and it's a really nice break from the city sometimes. We went there a few weeks ago for Easter and here are some photos of us enjoying 'the great outdoors':

Teaching Sierra how to play baseball, "ball" was one of her first words but it sounds more like "Bah... Bah.. Bahhhhhh". 

One of the things I miss most about Franklin is "Choate Park" which is this awesome playground, nature walk, woods and pond a few minutes from the grandparents house. It is a really neat little playground that has a pot-luck collection of ride on toys in additon to it's "big kid" and "little kid" play structures.

This is how most of our 'cute' photos look, me trying to kiss Sierra and her being less than enthused, I swear she loves me, just not when it's picture time hah!

Raising your kid as an artist.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

As soon as I was old enough to hold a crayon I was always making art. I went to a vocational high school where my concentration was art and after that I went to college at the Massachusetts College of Art. Art is a big part of my life so when I found out I was going to be a Dad I had all these visions for how I would shape my daughter to be cool and unique. Then she was born. I quickly realized she would be the one shaping herself and thats what would make her unique, not me buying her Johnny Cupcakes t-shirts and playing Cursive records around the house.

Something I realized about 'good parenting' is knowing the difference between steering your child in what you feel is the 'cool and right' direction and just trying to make a "Mini Me". I'd like to think I'm the former in that category and not trying to make a Lil' Craigina. That being said, we're a very art-friendly family. By that I mean we have paintings hanging in our apartment, have turned our sun porch into a mini-studio for myself, Lauren has a sewing/knitting desk and we attend museums and galleries at least a few times a month. Sierra has an art table in our dining room with pens, pencils, markers, crayons, paints and plenty of paper. I don't think that is 'pushing her' into being an artist, as much as it is saying "Hey kid, check this out!" I want Sierra to make and appreciate art so I expose her to it, but if she turns 6 and says "Art sucks Dad, I don't get it. I like baseball.", I'll support her and gladly buy her a glove. So I want her to make her own decisions but it's also up to me to instill what I feel are good values into her.

Here is Lauren's Sewing Table (when it was first set up, I assure you it isn't this clean anymore haha!). Lauren has become quite the sewer and has made Sierra a little apron and a cute sundress this month. Check out her blog for photos!

This is a beautiful painting by a family friend, Annie Rebola, we have hanging in our home. We have a lot of art but this is our only 'original' and I love that Annie was nice enough to donate it to us. Click the link above to buy some of her paintings!!

Here are a few shots of our room, incuding all these neat old windows we got off craigslist for free.

I have read countless books about art education and how it is helpful in the development of a young child's brain and I think Sierra's development as a mini-artmaker is perfect and healthy. If I wasn't tired as shit after a long work week I'd drag out my plethora of art-teacher books and throw some facts at you, but like I said, I'm tired as shit so I found some info on a UMass Extension website instead. It discusses how art can help with Physical, Social, Cognitive and Emotional development as well as develop healthy habits in Imagination and experimentation. Read the details here.  Not only do I think art should be practiced in the house with young children but I am a very big supporter of keeping arts and music in schools. I went to school for art education like I said and I could write an entire books worth of thoughts on that subject but I won't bore you, check out these cute photos of my little artist instead:

Sierra loves art so much she even eats crayons. (This was not allowed btw, she had somehow snuck a crayon into the car and we were on an hour long drive when she did this - I should have known when she was being so quiet she was up to no good)

This is Sierra and our friend Annie (the artist who did the painting above), Annie is the nicest person ever and babysits for us from time to time, she is also a licensed art teacher and wonderful painter, what better baby sitter could you ask for?

Sierra and her sketch book. 

Here are some of Sierra's drawings. (Note: Sierra reading Goodnight Gorilla 

Sierra working very hard on a new drawing.

Here Sierra is at CafeNation, this awesome little coffee shop in Brighton that regularly houses local artists , Sierra loves looking at the art on the walls and points to the ones she like's best.

The toddler age is not only a great time for art making, but a great time for exploration of materials. Most people (teachers included) only allow crayons at that young age but Sierra has experimented with lots of materials: markers, pens, pencils, paints, collage, etc.

This was just last night at the Institute of Contemporary Art's new exhibit "The Record" this was a video piece, but as you know if you read this blog we are anti-TV with her so we let her listen but no video just yet little one. I know headphones aren't the best for kids, but I pick and choose my battles; the audio was soft and it's art not the new Lady GaGa single.

This was when we went to the Mark Bradford show also at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art.

Heres a photograph of the baby and I working on some drawings together.

This was a drawing Sierra and I made together.

ClementineArt - Natural Soy Crayons

If anyone has any good thoughts about art for children, projects they have had success with or products that you think are awesome please leave a comment below! Would love to hear people's feedback. -Craig
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