Tag Archives: little citizens

June 17, 2011

A Perspective on Fatherhood by the Diaper Dude

In celebration of Father’s Day this weekend we asked Chris Pegula of Diaper Dude to guest post about his company, his style, and his perspective on being a dad.

Becoming a dad was a life changing experience for me on a number of levels.  For instance, if someone were to tell me 11 years ago that I would launch a company called Diaper Dude and design gear for dads, I would have told them they were nuts!  Go figure.  But I have my kids to thank for that.

It’s crazy how the role of dad has changed dramatically since I was a kid.  My dad was a successful businessman. On any given day, he would be seen wearing a  suit & tie and dress shoes.  I, on the other hand, have totally rebelled against this more conservative style.  My typical attire consists of jeans (usually from AG), a pair of Converse (red leather is my absolute favorite) which I’ve actually had custom made:

I’m usually wearing a T-shirt (often from Aviator Nation) and a hooded sweatshirt.  If I need to dress it up a bit, I throw on a navy pinstripe sport coat.  Perhaps 12 years of a suit and tie in catholic school had a negative effect on me?

Currently living in Los Angeles, I assume a much more relaxed lifestyle than the one in which I was raised. Weekends consist of heading to the beach with my family for the day or hiking the Santa Monica Mountains.  Of course that is when baseball, volleyball or soccer games do not interfere.  Skate boarding the neighborhood or biking to the park is another past time I enjoy with my 3 kids.

It thrills me to acknowledge that my life is even more enriched since my 3 children were born.  I always feared that it would never be the same when I became a dad, and that a part of me would be lost in this new role.  I quickly discovered that was not the case.  I think it’s similar to the fear most guys experience when they get married. It’s “say goodbye to the old life and prepare for the new role of husband”.  I have to say the new life has been way more exciting than the old.  I had this idea that parenting meant being serious and playing this grown up role that was all work and no play, but in reality it’s just the opposite.

Allowing the kid in me to surface when I’m hanging with my kids makes parenting a piece of cake.  Don’t get me wrong, boundaries are a definite must as well as positive discipline.  But I find that when I’m more relaxed and having fun with my kids, I cannot imagine being anything other than a dad.

So as Father’s day approaches us this weekend, I encourage you to summon up the inner child in you and have some fun!  I’m sure you’ll soon discover (if you haven’t already) that there’s no better job than being a dad.

May 26, 2011

2 Continents, 3 Countries, 2 Weeks, 3 Children (Part Three)

Kimberly Brambilla is guest posting on Studio T this week, telling the story of traveling with her three young children to Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Read parts one and two of her family’s journey!

From Morocco we took a ferry back to Spain, and hopped a bus to the city of Malaga, where we fell completely in love.  Even though it’s a large city it has a small town feel.  We enjoyed walking along the cobblestone streets, listening to ringing church bells, strolling past beautiful fountains and sitting at outdoor cafes.  I was ready to move there!   It was difficult to leave this city, but we eventually headed by train to Madrid.

In Madrid the highlights were visiting The Prado and seeing flamenco dance performance.  The girls were mesmerized by the dancing, the music, and the energy of the performers.   Olivia was a bit confused at first when no flamingos came on stage, but she still enjoyed the show! Afterwards we walked around the city, and the girls were thrilled to find a flamenco dress in a souvenir shop. They put on quite a few shows with that dress once we got back home.  In the end, there was still so much of Spain I wanted us to see.

Was it difficult taking a trip like this with children? You better believe it! Was it worth it?  Absolutely.  The girls had some major meltdowns and tantrums along the way but considering all of the flights, train rides, taxis, buses, ferry ride and all of the walking we subjected them to I think they were remarkable.  This experience was priceless, and I would encourage anyone who is given the opportunity to travel with their children not to pass it up.

Here are just a few tips that might be helpful if you are planning to travel with children.

*Talk to them a lot about your upcoming trip.  I have always found that preparing my children for what is coming, no matter what it is helps.  Get them excited by reading books & watching movies that pertain to the destination.  I also talk to mine about the parts that won’t be fun – the waiting in long lines, heat/cold, tiredness, etc.

* Learn the cultural dos & don’ts with your children. By doing this, as well as learning a few words & phrases in the native language, you will be treated better & respected much more than if you assume everyone everywhere speaks your language.

*If you are a family of 5+, consider renting an apartment versus staying at a hotel. Many hotels in Europe require 2 rooms for a party of 5+.  The price comes out to about the same & you have the convenience of a kitchen, washing machine & more space!

*When traveling in large cities, take a double decker style bus that drops you off and picks you up at the sites.  It’s an easier way of getting around & seeing more with children.

*If you’re like me, you’ll want to see everything but that isn’t always possible with kids.  It’s important to keep them happy too.  In Barcelona, my kids could have stayed at Catalunya Plaza for hours, not because of the architecture or the great people watching but because of the multitude of pigeons. Stopping at a park is a great way of giving children a break from touring.

May 25, 2011

2 Continents, 3 Countries, 2 Weeks, 3 Children (Part Two)

Kimberly Brambilla is guest posting on Studio T this week, telling the story of traveling with her three young children to Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Read part one of her journey here!

Chiara, Gisele, and Olivia with their cousin in Italy

From Barcelona, we flew to Italy.  My husband grew up in Mezzago, a small town close to Milan.  He’s from a large family so there are many aunts, uncles and cousins.  It wasn’t the first time our girls had been to Italy, but it’s always a bit of a culture shock at first. They’re greeted with tanti baci (many kisses), hugs and tears.  There’s a constant flow of family members and neighbors that come to see us.  It can be a bit overwhelming even for an adult, but it didn’t take long for the girls to warm up. We were so proud of their willingness to communicate with the family. Their Italian is rough but they sure try. My oldest, after playing and having fun with cousins, told us “I like speaking in Italian”.  That brought quite a smile to my husband’s face!  It is one thing to tell the girls about their Italian heritage, but it’s another to let them experience it firsthand.  It was sad to say goodbye after being smothered with much love, affection and pasta, but in the end we set off for Morocco.

Morocco is unlike any place I’ve ever been.  Many of our friends and family were concerned about us traveling there, but I am so thankful we did, because we learned so much.  We took a short flight from Italy to Tangier, Morocco.  When the doors on the plane opened it felt like we were a million miles from home and from everything familiar.  The short cab ride from the airport to the hotel confirmed for me that the world is so much larger than the small space I occupy in my little Florida town.  My girls loved  seeing stop signs written in Arabic, hearing Arabic on the radio and holding Moroccan coins.  Upon arriving at the hotel we went to the rooftop terrace for mint tea and cookies.  The girls loved this!  Chiara began making plans of how she would make her own tea once we returned to Florida with mint leaves from our garden.

The next day we toured the medina (city) as well as the outskirts of Tangier with our guide Cherif. Our first visit was to a rug store where we were able to see the process of Moroccan rug-making.  The girls loved the experience of being given mint tea and their own “magic carpets” to sit on.  We also rode camels, an experience which my daughter Olivia had been patiently waiting for!

The next day we visited the quiet town of Assilah.  In Morocco you can hire a taxi not just for one trip, but for the day.  The driver will wait for you while you explore, or accompany you, but most of the drivers speak little or no English.  Our driver Unes was wonderful.  He showed us around Assilah, ate lunch with us, and taught the girls a few Arabic words. He even bargained for Moroccan slippers for the girls at the marketplace, and we were all a little sad to say goodbye at the end of the day! It’s amazing how quickly you can connect with people even if you don’t speak the same language.   The next morning as we packed our bags to leave, Chiara sat at the window looking out onto the street.  She got so excited when she spotted Unes as he picked up more tourists in his taxi, and I was thrilled when I heard her say to him “Ahlan (hello) Mr. Unes”!  I knew in that moment that the goals I had set when planning this trip were becoming a reality.  My kids were learning about new cultures & peoples and embracing them as well.  Beautiful!

May 23, 2011

Being a Mother

For our recent Vosges/Tea Sweepstakes we asked the question “What do you love about being a mom?”. Although an answer wasn’t required to enter the contest, over 2/3 of the participants chose to share their stories. The responses were funny, touching, and sweet and we wanted to share some of our favorites here.

I love that in my boys’ eyes I am the one with the answers, they look to me to show & tell them about everything from a tiny little frog in our backyard to how to write their names! Every day is a new adventure with them & I wouldn’t change that for anything. - Shannon G.

One of my very favorite things about being momma to Lucy (age 3) is that I get to raise my child in the greatest city in the world – New York.  I relish the joy that our city adventures bring us! - Ashley D.

I love watching my daughter become her own person. Seeing her figure things out, express herself, and develop her personality brings me great joy. - Wendy W.

Everything! My favorite is waking up next to my daughter on our days off and laying in bed laughing and talking. -Christina B.

I am holding my new baby, so at the moment I love everything about it. - Vilfreda C.

Feeling those tiny little arms give me a big hug, even if the hug is around my leg! – Jessica R.

I love seeing my daughter become the clever, level-headed little comedian I recognized the moment the doctor laid her on my chest. – Karen S.

I love the way my kids have reminded me what is so wonderful about life. It’s not just a walk to the grocery store; it’s a treasure hunt. It’s not just popping in a DVD; it’s hosting a full-fledged movie night. It’s not just baking a cake to satiate a sweet tooth; it suddenly becomes the best un-birthday cake ever made! - Yen R.

The moments when my little guy puts his head down on my shoulder and snuggles into me. – Candace B.

The chance to raise socially aware children who are not just focused on themselves but give back to help their neighbors and community. – Faith K.

On a daily basis my view of the world, how it works, and what words we use to explain it are questioned by the comments or observations my children make. – Heather C.

It is the most challenging thing I have done.  I have traveled the world, rafted many rivers and being a mom is much harder and rewarding then all those things.  But I can’t wait to show my girls the world and teach them how to kayak and all the other adventures out there. - Tracy D.

I love the simple, everyday moments that sometimes go unnoticed or undocumented.  I love the “it’s morning” shouts from down the hall, the little snuggles before bedtime, the kisses that make boo-boos all better…and so much more.  Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget to enjoy life’s simple moments!- Melissa S.

Being a mom is like having a second childhood- it’s discovering the world around you with an enthusiastic partner! – Christi S.

And this one – not by a mom, but representing the Grandparents of the world:

Being a Grandpa, not a Mom, is awesome. You get to spoil the kids, watch them grow, and still get sleep at night. I wish I could put into words the desire to live longer so you might be at their College graduation, Marriage, and birth of their children. Power to Grandparents! – Mark D.

February 25, 2011

Tea’s Stylista Project

A couple of months ago we heard a story about one of our former models, a girl named Francesca.  Francesca, we were told, has an avid interest in fashion–watching shows like Project Runway and What Not to Wear, devouring fashion magazines and constantly playing games of dress-up with her friends.

The stories of this little fashionista inspired us at Tea, and we decided to invite her to our studios for a photoshoot. How would a 9 year old style and fashion our line of clothes? We set up racks of our clothing, laid out accessories from previous photo shoots, and gave her free rein to design, style, and model her own outfits.

francesca 1

The result was a fun and energetic photoshoot, which gave us a whole new perspective on how Tea could be styled. Above: Francesca models our Fall 2010 Cord Cargo Pants, a Spring 2011 top (stay posted! coming out soon), Sanuk flip flops, and her grandfather’s cap. Below: She wears this season’s Painters Plaid Tunic, Fall 2010’s Stretch Slim Cord Pant, and Sidewalk Surfer Shoes.

francesca 2

The whole experience was so much fun, that we thought we’d  bring the challenge to you!

stylista image

Official Rules and Regulations, as well as a list of Participating stores can be found here.

 

February 9, 2011

Visiting Museums with Kids

art-museum-children

Growing up in Santa Fe with an artist father, I experienced my fair share of galleries as a child. My dad would drag me along Canyon Road on nights with lots of gallery openings, and my attention would be held for about 0.2 seconds in each space before I got restless. It must have paid off though, as now I love galleries and museums and any opportunity to see art. But how can we help make viewing art, especially in museums, interesting and fun for kids?

Red Tricycle has a great article about visiting San Francisco MOMA with kids. They recommend visiting on Family Days, where there will be other kids to interact with, and signing up for museum tours that are specifically catered to children.

Many museums cater specific programming and events to be kid friendly. You can get information on the following museums below:

SFMOMA – San Francisco

De Young Museum – San Francisco

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York

Museum of Fine Art – Boston

Museum of Contemporary Art – Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago – Chicago

Walters Art Museum – Baltimore

Baltimore Museum of Art – Baltimore

Getty Museum – Los Angeles

MOCA – Los Angeles

What are you favorite ways to share art with your kids?