Tag Archives: seattle

Lottie’s Lounge

17 Jun

Geraldine’s is a default destination for breakfast/brunch for the parenting crowd in SE Seattle. I enjoy the bright colors & comfort food at Geraldine’s, but even before we had a kid I couldn’t handle waiting in line. Now it’s not an option; if there’s not a table available when we arrive, we find somewhere else to go.

What many parents don’t realize is that Lottie’s Lounge–right across the street–also allows minors. Brunch is good and generally not nearly as crowded. The staff are welcoming and the stage space is perfect for playing with cars or coloring at the table. Bloody Mary Brunch features 6 Bloody Marys and 6 takes on the Mimosa. Good stuff.

I usually prefer to make my own brunch because I can eat in my pajamas and let the kid run around in the backyard. When I go out, it’s for early dinner (aka Happy Hour). This is where Lottie’s really shines. Specialty cocktails that change seasonally and good beers on tap. Good food to nibble while you enjoy your drink(s). Ingredients are locally sourced, fresh, and often organic.

Lottie’s happy hour runs from 2-6pm daily. If you’re out with a non-foodie kid (and/or you really like dairy), they have a heavenly mac & cheese, cheese bread and/or grilled cheese sandwich. The hummus plate is  a dependable choice and all their sandwiches are good.

Plan ahead: there isn’t a changing table or flat surface for changing diapers. Bring a cushy blanket (or use your jacket) and use the floor if you must. Take stinky diapers home with you. It’s not a big space, so if there’s any kind of crowd please fold your stroller & stash it. Lottie’s is a lounge–understand that while kids are allowed outside the bar proper, it’s not aimed at families. It’s a watering hole. As always, please tip generously, keep your child contained & entertained and–for the love of all that’s holy–clean up after your kid. I’m going to say it again: tip generously.

Before or after your Lottie’s treat, explore the rest of the area. There’s a lot to love in Columbia City: nice library, cute toy store, outstanding kid’s consignment shop and a fantastic farmer’s market. The Seattle Gymnastics Academy has a variety of ways to tire your kid out. Avoid driving if you can, because parking is tough. It’s a pleasant walk from the light rail station to the business district (especially in nice weather). Columbia City boasts at least a dozen very good restaurants and a growing number of venues to see live music. Good times for all ages.

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Free Fun

1 Aug

Seattle Public Library

Reading groups, toddler time, Begin With Books and more! The Central (aka downtown) Branch is a great place to nurse and/or change a diaper.

Seattle Parks Department Community Centers

Many community centers offer indoor play times, perfect for both rainy days and those (rare) times when we need to seek air conditioning in Seattle. Also ideal for families with multiple kids–toddlers can burn off steam while the baby sleeps. Summer schedule here.

Seattle Center

Getting there can be half the fun–who doesn’t love the Monorail? Be sure to carry cash–no cards accepted for Monorail rides. Lots of places for indoor & outdoor play, including the International Fountain and a great fountain/pool near McCaw Hall. Changing tables in multiple bathrooms.

Parks

A Year Of Seattle Parks chronicles one mom’s experiences exploring our awesome outdoors. Wherever you live in Seattle, you’re not more than a mile away from a park. Explore!

Where do you go to have fun with your little one without breaking the bank?

Cafe Flora

14 Apr

Cafe Flora is my new (rediscovered) favorite place.

High chairs/booster seats: More than I’ve ever seen in one place.

Happy hour: oh yeah. One of my favorites. 3-6pm, good prices on great selection of small plates, plus drink specials.

 

Activities & safety issues: Good selection of toys and crayons. Kid books for sale. The fountain is both entertaining and potentially dangerous. Near the arboretum and Birth & Beyond.

 

Food/drink (for kids and adults): Great vegetarian food and incredible cocktails.

Transit access and/or parking: 2 lots, one about a block away. Street parking if you’re patient. I’m not a fan of transit to Madison Valley, but there are buses.

Accessibility for strollers & little legs: Please leave the stroller outside. Walkable for toddlers & bigger kids.

Restrooms and changing table: Comfy inflatable changing table, step stool for washing little hands.

Overall welcome (or not) towards kids & babies: Unbelievably friendly. Not just tolerant, but welcoming and engaged.

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.

Highchair Happy Hour

28 Oct

Happy hour is my favorite time to dine out. It’s cheaper and often less crowded than the usual dinner hour. Small plates mean I get to try more items on the menu and dinner at 4pm fits our schedule well (I usually eat another small meal around 8pm). Before baby, we frequently ate an early happy hour dinner downtown.

Where can you take a baby for happy hour? Hotel bars/restaurants are perfect! The women’s restrooms are usually large and comfortable, perfect for changing a wiggly baby and/or nursing in privacy. Spacious lobbies offer a place to walk around with the baby or let your little crawler stretch.

Our favorite hotel happy hour is at  Sazerac in the Hotel Monaco.  Located across the street from the fantastic Central Library, Sazerac serves strong cocktails, thin-crust pizzas, and an amazing selection of small plates. The acoustics are poor, which makes it a little loud for intimate conversation–perfect for those of us with a vocal baby! Sazerac extends the happy hour menu into the regular dining room, and will seat you in a cozy booth if you get there early.

Looking for something smaller in your neighborhood?

Tidbit Bistro on Capitol Hill (corner of Broadway & Union) also has a great happy hour and incredibly tasty food. The owners are friendly and welcoming to babies, too.

Tasha’s Bistro has happy hour Thurs-Sat. Great wines and really tasty food in a family-friendly environment.

Baja Bistro has happy hour specials from 3-7pm.

Island Soul Caribbean Cuisine features fantastic food at a range of spice levels and outstanding cocktails. The bright decor and welcoming smiles make baby and mama stay long enough to enjoy a slice of coconut cake.

Calamity Jane’s in Georgetown has food and drink specials at happy hour. Kids allowed in main dining area.

Not all restaurants extend happy hour into the main dining area. When in doubt, check before you go.

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