Tag: little citizens

decorating

I’ve heard that a child’s IQ is actually increased if they are exposed to as many different things as possible in the world around them. I love for my daughter Zoe to be exposed to different styles from all around the world. This is why I am absolutely in love with Tea clothing for her. It is also why when decorating Zoe’s room I decided to draw in art and other design elements from different parts of the world.

On one wall I hung a beaded folk-art tapestry from Haiti that I bought in New Orleans years ago. It is a picture of an angel and a very sweet image for a baby’s room. On another wall I put two paintings that my parents and I brought back from China when I was thirteen years old. I remember at the time that my mom said they’d be great in a child’s room someday. I had forgotten about them until after Zoe was born when my mom took them out and suggested that they be hung in Zoe’s room. The paintings show people and animals on windy roads in what looks to be a Chinese village –at work, play, home. Zoe and I love to look at them every night before she goes to bed and point out the different animals in the pictures.

On the other side of the room is a small painting from a village in India that have spent a lot of time in. It is a picture of Ganesh the elephant god and is done in the Madhubani style of painting which is common in this village. When Zoe is a little older I plan to show her this painting and others and tell her about the village and eventually I’d like to take her there. My hope is that the different styles, cultures and images in her room will help make Zoe interested in the world around her.

planting a garden

This past weekend, we spent a few hours in the backyard planting a garden with our children, Shelbi (6) and Lawrence (4). They requested that we plant a garden after watching fifth-graders breaking ground with First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. So on Saturday morning, we went to the local nursery and selected beets, carrots, red bell peppers and several herbs to plant. The kids got a kick out of selecting plants and painting flower pots for the herbs. As we were digging in soil and determining how far apart to place seeds, I realized that the act of planting a garden is educational in many ways.

By planting a garden, our children are getting a new appreciation for where their food comes from. They have always known that it does not grow at Publix, but now they understand the work that is involved with growing a vegetable from a mere seed. We also taught them how nutritious organically grown vegetables are and that any chemicals used on our seedlings will ultimately become a part of our vegetables.

We’re also teaching our children that they are doing something good for the environment. Even buying veggies from the local farmer’s market reduces the emissions created in transporting fruits and vegetables from distant locations. Growing vegetables in our own backyard is a wonderful way to participate in an ecologically beneficial activity.

Creating a garden was also a fun family activity. We had such a great time playing in the dirt and the water that my husband and I felt like kids ourselves. And one final perk – planting a garden is relatively inexpensive. The price of soil and seeds is negligible compared to the benefits of the garden itself. And in 40 – 60 days, we hope to see even more fruit (or in this case, veggies) of our labor!

learning: living abroad in france

Who says having a family settles you down? It certainly is not a philosophy that I live my life by. Even though I have three very active boys I still love to go dancing with my girlfriends. I take in the occasional Broadway show and I still enjoy those late nights alone with my husband. Because of this care free type of attitude, I found myself being whisked away from California to one of the most romantic countries on earth with three kids in tow: France.

Sabbatical is the reason I find myself here with my family. Two years in Toulouse France to experience another culture and see where life will take us. My husband, having worked for five full years at Stanford University without having “visited” another campus (something that is quite normal in his line of work, finally got sabbatical. He was all too happy to have a “rest” from the rigors of his daily life. I, having fallen in love with Paris the prior year, was surprised with a round trip ticket in the summer to have a two week break from the boys. I was also grateful for a break from the normal routine when I learned of our move to France. The fact that both of us, born with “gypsy blood”, could actually do something adventurous with our lives while still being able to feed our children, felt like opportunity of a lifetime.

From day one everything about moving to France has been out of our control. This has the fact ruling our move abroad. It is also the one that continues to test our true character. I was due to deliver my third child two months before our departure. Being left at the mercy of not knowing when I would deliver the baby, there was the possibility that my husband would have to go to Toulouse first. We would follow later after the baby had been born. After all, he had to start his job! The next issue came in the way of passports and visas. The new baby was not born yet so of course he could not get a passport or visa until the last minute! In the mean time we had to book tickets to France. We floated on a wing and a prayer and payed the money for the five of us to fly across the Atlantic. The biggest issue of all was my oldest son from a previous relationship. His father, who was upset we moved from Palo Alto from Berkeley, certainly would not want us to move to France.

In the end, though, the baby came early. We all got our visas the same day we went to the office to apply and I came to an agreement of a temporary change in custody with my eldest son. We were all able to leave sunny California together and brave the snowy winter of the North and South of France.

Yes, I said North and South. While we did stay together our first weekend in France, my husband went
on to the South to start work while the boys and I stayed on a “holiday” of sorts. Everyones’ spirits were very high and everything was fascinating and new. Oh, how I enjoyed myself. The cafes, the restaurants and the night life. Tres bien. Being a seasoned parent you would think that my eyes would have been wide open, so to speak, of how my experience would be with three little boys versus being alone. I think I must have been caught up in the whole move and the glamorous notion of France. I thought to myself I will take the boys out to the cafes, we will walk the streets of Paris at night and maybe even catch a little bit of theatre.

When my husband left, I realized that I was in Paradise with three little boys staying in a beautiful STUDIO apartment for three weeks ALONE!! Alone with the kids, I think I experienced a bit of culture shock with a dash of postpartum depression added for good measure. That is the only way to describe how a city that I loved one minute became a city that I loathed the next. If I heard one more person speak French to me or have one more person not understand the words coming out of my mouth, I was going to scream. If I smelled another cigarette or had to tackle another raining day alone with the boys, I was going to get a one way ticket back home to California.

The boys on the other hand were having a blast! My oldest son was so happy to be out of school for a short time, that we could have been in the middle of the desert and he would have still been happy. My middle son was still on a high from the plane and train rides that we had taken thus far. The baby, well, he was just happy to be nursing! I was really surprised to be honest. I thought it would be the other way
around. That I would have to encourage them into adapting into their new surroundings.

The boys dove right into the culture. Eating baguettes, getting around on foot or metro and saying Bonjour. These things were slowly becoming second nature for them. We celebrated Halloween in Paris. We found this
wonderful library called The American Library In Paris. They were handing out candies to the children and even let the boys make little pumpkins to take home with them. It is a Halloween that we will never forget! They were the only children dressed up that day and it was raining. I thought they would be a little disappointed but the were so happy.

That’s when it hit me. I do not need to have control over everything. This experience is about once in a life time moments. Whether it be being the only ones dressed up for Halloween or not being able to order a chicken properly in the native tongue. Or that your husband is five hours away from you in a new country and you feel so lonely that you just want to cry. Embrace it all. The uncomfortable times and the happy times. These are what we will take back with us when we leave and what will help to shape our memories of this extraordinary adventure. My children taught me my first lesson on this journey, it is one of many that we have learned together so far.

More to come on our adventure living abroad in France…
Bises!!

featured tea retailer: fiddlesticks, san francisco, ca

Spring is here, and so is the beautiful Tea Collection – a favorite in our store here in San Francisco… especially because they are local!

Beyond coveting this brand because of their consistent & exceptional quality, as well as the cohesive theme through and through… we wanted to share some of our season’s favorites!

Spring 1 is beautiful with it’s indigo colors. The Kasato Stripe Dress and Shirt, as well as the Heitai Sweater (which has a bit of a hip spin on a classic style) have been so well received by our customers. It’s perfect for a day at the beach…and a definite must for siblings to wear
on those family photo days!

The Santa Teresa dress (in the Spring 2 delivery) is a store favorite because it’s a fantastic “girlie” summer dress and it’s a clever translation to their brazil-samba theme.

And the jeans. The price point is spot on, the quality is present and the fit is slimming. With the increase need for skinny jeans these days.

But of course, we can’t forget Daily Tea. Always a popular grab for both our mothers and those baby shower gift givers! The price point is affordable, the quality always present & the summer styles are sooooooo cute. Especially the wave pattern for boys & ALL the dresses for the girls.

We can’t wait for our summer delivery to arrive, hard to believe it’s that time of year yet again. Hello beach and all those summer getaways….

Hurray to Tea for their consistency, clever designs, & top notch quality!!!!

-Elizabeth Leu, Fiddlesticks

daily tea sets are a one-stop shop for an instant spring wardrobe

I love the new Spring Break Daily Tea sets for boys and girls. The Kiela Set offers 5 great pieces just in time for warmer weather: a short sleeve dress, a sleeveless dress, a cute tee, sporty shorts, and great layering leggings. These 5 pieces make 7 different outfit combinations- all for only $95. For boys, I recommend the Grady Set. For $129, the set includes 7 pieces that can make 11 different outfit combinations of fun graphic tees, shorts and knit pants. I especially love the short sleeve hoodie that will be a great layering piece for spring and summer.

proud of your little citizen?

We’re looking for our first Little Citizen of the Month! Upload a photo of your little one dressed in Tea on our new Facebook Page. Each month we will select a little citizen to win a $200 gift certificate to spend here at Tea!

To win you must be on the Tea Stay in Touch list. Also, please include in your caption what you love about Tea or why your little one is a little citizen of the world.

st. petersburg, russia with two toddlers

I grew up in Missouri. My husband grew up in Russia, and this is where his extended family remained. Now we live together in the Bay Area with our kids. In 2008, we packed up our 3 and a half and nearly 2 year old children and made the trek (24 hours door to door with two toddlers is officially a trek) to Saint Petersburg. Though the trip was not without its challenges, it was wonderful to experience Russia with the kids.

Since day one, Dmitri, my husband, has always spoken with the children in Russian. They have a Russian nanny and many local Russian friends. So, the kids both speak in Russian as well as they do in English. It was such a pleasure to watch them naturally and easily interact with their extended family in Russian. They played games, laughed at their grandfather’s jokes, and chatted endlessly with their slightly older Russian cousin (age 8).

We enjoyed long strolls with the whole extended family in the beautiful parks in St. Petersburg surrounded by canals. We went to the zoo. We played in the neighborhood playgrounds. We ate yummy treats. Max discovered a pretty serious passion for Russian apple juice boxes (not really unlike juice boxes in the U.S., but in plentiful supply and at his reaching distance in his grandparents’ pantry), and both ate a considerable amount of Babuschka’s (grandmother, in Russian) borscht soup. It was a toddler paradise. The jet lag was a little crazy. Visiting almost the exact opposite point on the globe pretty much flips night and day. The kids got a little turned around. They’d be up one moment playing enthusiastically with their cousin, and then moments later crash into deep sleep. I was beyond exhausted, but I have to smile as I recall the trip. This is what it means to be a little citizen of the world – to be equally at home on either side of the globe at the tender age of 2.