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Seattle Center Next 50

14 Jun

People often forget that much of Seattle Center is public space. There are some fantastic activities within the Center grounds that require a fee for entry, but there are also tons of ways to enjoy yourself for free. There are also two businesses as of June 2012 that sell beer–Pie and the burger joint. Many events feature beer gardens, which will not allow your kid but can be navigated if you plan your visit with extra adults. Lots of  potential happiness!

We almost always take the Monorail, because it’s cool. It’s cash only, so be prepared. Get a round trip ticket only if you can remember where you left your ticket stub… Kids under 4 are free.

These are 50 ideas I came up with off the top of my head/with a little digging on the Seattle Center website. What will your next 50 visits to Seattle Center be like?

    1. Learn more about the history & current activities at the Seattle Center via a self-guided tour
    2. Watch people wander the grounds
    3. Picnic in the grassy areas (or inside on one of the adorable toddler tables)
    4. Run in the grass
    5. Watch a free outdoor movie 
    6. Winterfest trains and more
    7. Watch skaters do tricks at the skate park
    8. Enjoy a great workout as part of the Seattle Center Fitness Programs
    9. Build a tower or slide down a slide in the family room upstairs in the Armory (formerly known as the Center House)
    10. Attend a Concert at the Mural–FREE live music brought to you by KEXP!
    11. Play in/around the International Fountain (big fountain with great music)
    12. Check out some art 
    13. Splash in the Fountain of Creation near the Vera Project
    14. Watch the elevator go up and down the Space Needle
    15. Climb on/jump off rocks
    16. Watch buskers perform all year round
    17. Bite of Seattle (free admission)
    18. Seafair Torchlight Parade 7/28
    19. Indigenous Cultures Day 8/18
    20. Seattle Symphony Community Celebration 10/21
    21. Community Created Events:
    22. June 2nd – Robothon
    23. June 21st – Go Skateboarding Day
    24. June 24th – Seattle Bot Battles 10
    25. July 14th – Spirit Walk
    26. July 19th – 31st – Seattle League of Arts – Art Show & Sale
    27. July 29th – Hispanic Seafair
    28. July 29th – Shakespeare in the Park
    29. Sept. 23rd – Arts Crush Kick-Off
    30. Oct. 7th – Buddy Walk
    31. Northwest Folklife Festival + 19 other FREE festivals throughout the year as part of Festal
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Folklife 2012

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Dress for Success

12 Nov

How do you dress to take a kid out in a Cliff Mass worthy storm (or even just an average November afternoon)?  Here’s what we’ve found works well, but I’m curious how others manage.

Layers: a young baby needs to wear at least 1 layer more than you. She’s not walking or hauling another person around.

Minimize: toddlers and older children should have the maximum warmth/waterproofing with the minimum possible number of items. Carry extra clothes and expect to lose socks, hats, rain pants, boots, and other items that you don’t expect to but will somehow lose. Better yet, invest in a small sturdy backpack and have them carry these items (along with snacks, toys, etc–another post).

Focus on top and bottom: both the head and feet leak heat and both are easy for baby to uncover. I always stash a hat in my pocket and dress the kid in a jacket with a hood. If she loses two hats, at least we have some protection. Same with socks: a pair on the feet, a pair in my pocket, and footie outerwear. (Our fuzzy pants have puppy faces…aww!)

Use your pockets: you might not even need a diaper bag if you have enough pockets. Inside jacket, vest, raincoat–more than enough space for everything we need. I carry a small collapsible shopping bag for bringing home any purchases.

Product mentions: the Ergo Baby carrier has great pockets and a built in rain hood. You can also buy additional items that attach to the carrier–a diaper bag & a carry pouch.  The Moby is easier to wear when you don’t plan to take the carrier off for a while and it adds a layer of warmth. I found a vest and poncho on Suze’s Kinder , a site that specializes in outerwear for baby wearing. So far, I like the poncho. The vest has arm holes and can be used when carrying baby on the front or back. I like it, but I’m concerned that the zippers might not last long.

Parties, potlucks, and play dates

8 Nov

Stay in touch with your friends.

Invite people over–even when your house is a mess and you have no food. You can always order in. True friends will understand if you ask them to pick up take out or grab a bottle of wine on the way over.   When people ask you to bring the baby over, take them up on it. Always say yes to invitations and don’t worry about being a little late, not having a hostess gift or perhaps having not showered. Friends understand.

People with kids seem like a logical choice for spending time around your little one, but don’t forget those in your life who don’t have kids in the house. Your life has changed, and maybe it seems all you talk/think about is your child, but spending social time with other adults helps you connect with other parts of your identity.

Babies are great ice breakers.

We live in Beacon Hill, an incredibly diverse neighborhood currently experiencing a baby boom. There are 3 babies under one year on our block and at least 20 kids under 5 in a half-mile radius. Since the baby was born, we’ve  met lots of new friends and had the opportunity to pass around baby clothes and gear. We’ve also met baby sitters and learned survival tips from seasoned parenting veterans. When you see someone with a small child in tow, smile and introduce yourself.

It’s not cheating to order online

Would you like to host a play date or holiday party but you’re overwhelmed by the idea of shopping? Place an order with Amazon Fresh while the menu is fresh on your mind (or monitor) and it will be delivered to your door on the day of your choice.  If you plan to be home during the delivery, you can even order beer or wine.  I’ve pre-ordered my Thanksgiving items to be delivered the Monday before Thanksgiving, giving me plenty of time to realize what I’ve forgotten.

Regular scheduled deliveries have been a life saver for essentials like coffee, baby wipes, and other items we can’t go without. Every Wednesday morning, grocery essentials appear like magic on the porch. For the critters, we have a monthly delivery from Smiley Dog , a friendly local business that delivers high quality pet supplies–never run out of cat litter again!

Thinking of holiday gifts? Gift certificates for deliveries make great gifts for new parents and busy people in general.

If mama ain’t happy…

16 Oct

There’s an old saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.” Recent research shows this is true: children with depressed mothers do not meet developmental milestones and are at risk of suffering attachment disorders.

The best thing you can do for yourself, your relationships, and your child is to get out into the world. Explore new places and bring your baby to your favorite coffee shop or library branch. Integrate this new person into your life and stay connected with your world.

Isolation is a major risk factor for depression. In most cultures, multiple generations live together and extended family shares in child rearing. Children are seen, heard, valued and integrated into all aspects of life.  This is good for developing baby’s immune system and helps spread the responsibility for socialization across society. Parents and babies receive input about how to get along with the rest of the community.

This type of support also helps reduce the risk of postpartum and post adoption depression.

Many things can trigger and/or worsen depression, and there are many ways to cope with this debilitating condition. If you or someone you know suffers from depression, seek professional help. Talk to your primary care provider about counseling, medication, and other ways to feel better–for your sake and for the well-being of your entire family.

Resources for new parents after the jump… Continue reading