'Dads & Doulas' by Annie Yonkers

When I was pregnant, I had a doula. She was fantastic. I knew before I got pregnant that I wanted to have one when the time came. After I got home from my first meeting with her, however, I realized I hadn’t consulted Chris - I just kind of assumed he would be on board. I asked him about it, and even though he was trying really hard to be supportive, I could tell that he had some reservations.

His primary worry was basically that he was concerned that the doula would “replace” him when it was time to go to the hospital. I thought that was a valid concern, given that he really didn’t know what a doula was, or why I wanted one. We had never talked about it.

According to the DONA International website (which is a great resource for learning more about doulas and finding one in your area):

“The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.”

For a first-time parents, you have no idea what’s going to happen when your baby is born, and for many people that’s stressful in the best situations, and can be downright terrifying to some. Doulas come with the experience of witnessing many births, and will be an advocate for your best interests as a third party, unaffiliated with the hospital or birthing center you’re going to. They also will be with you throughout your labor. Nurses may come and go, but your doula will be at your side.

In my case, Chris (and I, obviously) ended up really appreciating having a doula, because aside from being able to support me in countless ways, it took a lot of pressure and expectation off of Chris, which made the birth experience that much more positive for both of us. It allowed Chris to be in the moment and there for me the whole time, because he only had to worry about me, while the doula could worry about everything else.

I think most people believe that doulas are only there for the mothers, and while their focus is, of course, mom and baby, having a doula present gives dad a chance to relax (as much as he can) and focus on the main event, and not everything else that’s going on.

One last doula-nugget: Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. In my experience, I would attribute this to the reduced stress and advocacy doulas provide during labor and birth. Need more convincing? Here’s a great article on reasons why dads should demand a doula.

 

#MondayMomLife (Annie Yonkers)

Greetings readers! My name is Henry’s Mom (aka, Annie) and I’m excited to be able to contribute to this awesome blog! My husband, Henry’s Dad (aka Chris) has known Craig longer than he’s known me, and will also be contributing to THD when he finally gets a free moment. Here’s a little background slash introduction to my parenting world. Our son, Henry, was born in October of 2013, and has spent pretty much every day since then smiling, learning, and exploring. We live in New Hampshire with 3 cats, 2 dogs, and my dad. (Let’s hear it for multi-generational homes for millennials!) I cherished every day of my maternity leave, but was eternally thankful that Chris worked from home and was willing and able to take on the responsibility of being a stay/work-at-home dad. He would diligently send me photo updates almost every day, share his insane stories of the weird judgement he would get  from women when they saw him alone, out, with an infant, and generally keep me posted on various types and frequencies of Henry’s bowel movements.

Anyway, flash forward to June, Chris and I had returned from our honeymoon/first family trip and I quit my job. Seem sudden and irrational? Maybe it was. But when I was on the trip with my family I came to the realization that I kind of like spending time with them. I didn’t hate my job, but I wasn’t crazy about it either, and there wasn’t a huge amount of growth potential without totally pigeonholing myself. I realized that the money I was making at my job wasn’t worth the time and moments I would be missing out on being there. So I quit.

I gave myself two months to “figure things out” and to see if being a stay at home mom would work for me. It didn’t. Not really. I love my family and I love my son, but I need something to spark my creative brain. Just when I was getting to the brink of cabin fever and starting to look for a new job closer to my home, I was given the opportunity to freelance for a friend of mine, part time. So now, Chris and I both work from home, are here for Henry, and yet still can’t manage to put our clothes away when they’re clean.

But Chris and I are figuring it out. Because we both work from home we have to manage the balancing act of “work” time and “free” time and “Henry” time, because those delineations aren’t made for us through daycare or work schedules. What’s working for us now is I take Henry most mornings, Chris takes him in the afternoons and then will also work after dinner. I love the freedom we have to go grocery shopping when it isn’t a madhouse, make doctors appointments that aren’t first or last in the day, and just being able to slow down and watch Henry turn into a kid.

Working from home hasn’t been a cake-walk, though. Would I be making more money if I went back to work? Of course. Would it be easier to figure out health insurance? Most definitely. Would it be worth it? I’m not sure. Maybe when Henry’s a little bit older, I’ll be more inclined to dust off my nice pants and blouses, but for now I’m happy in my stained t-shirt at home with my son who’s just starting to figure out spoons.

Look for my posts on THD about parenting roles and expectations from your partner. As more and more dads stay home with their kids, what other expectations have shifted/should (or should not?) shift with that role?

Puppet Showplace Theater Giveaway!

Hey guys! We are stoked to announce that we have two tickets to give away to the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, MA. You can read a review of one of our experience's at the theater here

The Puppet Showplace Theater has been presenting puppet shows by professional puppet companies for over 40 years. They have over 300 performances per year, and are enjoyed by little and big kids alike (okay- and the grownups, too).  

They have an amazing schedule lined up and the winner of the giveaway gets 2 free tickets and can pick any show they want!


You can get up to 3 entries in the contest by doing these things:

We'll pick a winner one week from today!


#MondayMomLife (Kate Foley)

Hey everyone! While I’ve posted here before once or twice, I wanted to take a minute to reintroduce myself since I’m in a completely new section of my life. My name is Kate, and I am a 29 year old single mom to three kiddos (Declan- 5, Kieran- 3 and Maeve- 1). I’ve known Craig for six and a half years, right as we both started our lives as new parents and was lucky enough to meet most of the other hipster dads at Craig’s wedding.

In my newer journey as a single mom, I have recently relocated back to the Boston area from living in Austin, TX for the past four years. In that move, I’ve been learning a lot about raising kids solo, what co-parenting can mean on different ends of the spectrum, and the true meaning of a support system.

Now, obviously I’m not a hipster dad, or a dad in much capacity (except that I suppose I’m currently filling in the “dad” shoes for my littles), but I certainly have views on dads. I want to take a minute and give a shout out to all the men that have been helping me fill the “dad” void for my children the last several months. I am amazingly lucky to be surrounded by men that will create art with my five year old, let my three year old sit in their lap, and play games with my one year old.

Here on THD, I am hoping to be able to talk about dads’ influence in kids’ lives from the mom perspective, any views on the single parenting life that people are interested in, and fun stuff to do with little ones around Boston. Let me know if you have any questions for me!

(Nearly) Seven Months into this Fatherhood Thing

Penelope was born (nearly) seven months ago and I can’t believe it’s been that long. I know seven months isn't a long period of time, but I still can't believe it.

As you may have noticed during the last seven months, I've been a terrible blogger. In fact, I haven’t written a blog article since before Spring. Even worse, I wasn't even actually a father yet the last time I published anything.

So, I’m going to try to redeem myself a little bit and cram as much into this post as I can. And since it’s 2015 and this is the Internet, I’ll mostly just include pictures.

At the Hospital

My wife delivered our daughter (Penelope Alice Montville-Quesada) at Newton-Wellesley Hospital on June 14th at 3:14am during the first round of the World Cup (I had to throw that in). She was 8 pounds 7 ounces.

Newborn Photos

Felicia's childhood friend Ashley (Cleopatra Photo) took newborn pictures of Penelope on the first day we were released from the hospital. I absolutely love how these pictures came out – and yes, the picture of her balancing her head on her hands scared the shit out of me.

Family Portraits

We again called Ashley (Cleopatra Photo) to take family portraits. We took the photos in an old mill building in Clinton, MA  I loved its rustic aesthetic. It was a brisk New England autumn afternoon and Penelope was incredibly well-behaved (which seems to be a general trend...so far).

First Holidays

Since June, Penelope has experienced a number of first holidays. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from each.

Halloween

Thanksgiving

Christmas

Other

Felicia and I are first time parents with iPhones – we don’t need a reason to take pictures of Penelope (and ourselves). Here are a few of my favorites.

And that's it...

Hopefully I'll blog more consistently this year.

-Xander

Kanye West's "Only One" feat. Paul McCartney

How can we not post about this? Kanye recently teamed up with a little-known musician Paul McCartney to create a song where he "feels like his mom sings through him to his daughter". The song is sung as if it's his mother singing to him from heaven about him, his daughter and his wife and it's damn good (unless you hate auto-tune). Think 808s not Yeezus in regards to style. 

REVIEW: "The Family Show" at Improv Boston

My niece came to visit recently and when thinking of what to do to make sure her trip to Boston was fun I did some googling. I stumbled upon 'The Family Show', a weekly children's oriented night of comedy, at the Improv Boston club. 'The Family Show' is the winner of the Nickelodeon Award for Best Children's Theater and considered by audiences to be the 'Pixar of Boston Comedy'. Tickets are $14 for adults and only $8 for children under 12 and it runs every Saturday at 6PM. I quickly snapped up the last two tickets for the show before it sold out, which I'm told it does every week as it's one of their most popular shows.

So, on Saturday night we bundled up and fought the snow to head to Central Square in Cambride, MA for the show. The place was packed with excited kids of all ages from as young as 4 to up to 14. They have snacks, juice, and water for the kids and beer and wine for the adults. It's a seat-yourself situation so if you want a seat in the first row I suggest you get their early but the room was tiny, just a few rows on either side of the room so no matter where you sit you're practically on the stage so wouldn't stress about it.

The show was hilarious and very interactive! They started by asking the crowd if they knew what improv was and explaining it in a fun way. The show then went into a series of different style improv bits all of which had the kids interacting by calling out words and phrases as well as actually getting on stage for some parts. There was situational comedy, slap stick, impressions and even a good amount of singing. It was awesome for both kids and adults and would be good for any age of child. There are enough 'over the kids heads' jokes to keep the adults laughing but nothing raunchy or vulgar what so ever. It truly is a 'family show' and really felt worth the money and time. We had an a really great evening and I would absolutely go again!

Find more info on the show and Improv Boston at their website or twitter. Tickets can, and should, be purchased ahead of time here.

Footnote: The club is located in Central Square in Cambridge, MA and if you've never been it's a great location for a night out. It's located on the red line of the subway and has tons of bus service as well. The area has every kind of restaurant you could think of (I suggest Veggie Galaxy!) and other fun things to do if you want to make a night of it.

REVIEW: The Joshua Show at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, MA

It's that time of year in Boston where outdoor activities aren't so fun due to the extreme cold (25 yesterday!) so we're always on the hunt for indoor activities to keep our 5 year old entertained. One of our favorite places to go is the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline Village which is just outside of Boston where we live. The Puppet showplace theater has been operating for 40 years and presents over 300 performances by professional puppet companies each year! Tickets are reasonably priced and the theater only holds 100 legally so the shows are always intimate and fun and make for a great experience.

We've enjoyed every show we've ever seen at the Puppet Showplace Theater and yesterday was no different. We went to go see The Joshua Show, who is described as "The Ambassador of Joy" and "A Hipster Mr. Rogers". Puppeteer Joshua Holden brings audiences a heartwarming story about friendship, confidence, and the value of being yourself. Mr. Nicholas, a sock puppet and Joshua's soulmate, makes an unnerving self-discovery that causes him to spiral down a path of loneliness and hopeless despair. How do you cheer up when life gets you down? Find out in this whimsical production featuring multiple styles of puppetry, live music, physical comedy, and tap dancing!


Joshua Holden is the winner of 'Best Performance' and 'Fan Favorite' at the Puppeteers of America's National Festival in 2013 and has been described as a "Modern day Mr. Rogers with hipster appeal" by the Boston Globe. 

The show we saw was geared at a younger age (Maybe 2-6) but we went with a 9 year old who had a great time as well... OK and so did the 28 and 29 year olds. It was funny, heart-warming and gets you involved shouting out ideas, drumming on your knees and even encourages kids to get up and dance during one of the funniest scenes, the 'Silly Dance'. After the show Joshua came out into the lobby and to the delight of the children, including ours, spoke with them, took photos, asked them their favorite parts of the show, and was just as nice as his on-screen persona.

There are only two performances left and they are today at 1:00 and 3:00 PM! Tickets are $15.00 each and can be purchased by phone, in-person or online here: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/34168. If you can't go today don't worry because The Joshua Show travels a lot and I'm sure will be back or in your city soon! He'll be in Iowa, Chicago and Atlanta next!

Follow Joshua on his Website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

THD's Favorite Photos of 2014

Here are each of our favorite photos with our children in 2014.


Craig's favorite photo

My favorite photo of the year has to be this shot from my wedding. Not only was it my favorite day of the year period but this shot just kills me. We were trying to take a nice and proper family photo and Sierra just had a case of the giggles. It really captures Sierra perfectly. She's a happy, goofy, great kid and she's always making her parents laugh.

PS. Full post on my wedding coming soon!


Don's favorite photo

So many great moments were captured this year but my favorite was captured by Alex from abostonblazer.com. I always love exploring and introducing my daughter to art and culture, on this day we were at American Field, an all american made artisan market. She decided that she wanted to be my eyes as we walked around, I tend to see a lot of the world through her eyes these days. 

     

 

 

 


Xander's Favorite Photo

My daughter Penelope was born in June this year. And while this actually isn't my favorite picture of the two of us (there is a great picture of me holding her over my head with her laughing), I couldn't NOT post this picture. She is 6 days old here and it's the day Felicia and I (finally) got to take her home from Newton-Wellesley hospital. SHE WAS SO LITTLE!


Chris's Favorite Photo

My favorite photo of 2014, Henry's reaction shows the pure excitement of the day I got to marry my best friend.


Will's Favorite Photo

My favorite photo of 2014 is this ultrasound photo (Baby due in July). I haven't been able to go to any ultrasound appointments up until this point due to my work schedule. This was the first time I got to go to an appointment and was also the first time my wife and I got to see the baby's profile rather then something that looked like a ball of gas. We watched it move and what appeared to be waving. Up to this point I haven't felt much but after seeing the live feed on the ultrasound screen and the printouts I can honestly say I feel excited and anxious to meet this person.

Boston Ballet's 'The Nutcracker' (2014)

When Sierra was 3 we took her to her first production of the Boston Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’. This was the night that started one of our family's favorite holiday traditions. We went this year for the third year in a row and it gets better each time. Sierra started taking ballet this past summer and is enamored with positions, leaping, and tutus so it was extra special for her this year compared to the last two. A combination of that and her age made it much easier for her to pay attention, really soak it in and it was really magical.

(Here is the blog post from our first year going to The Nutcracker)

Dancers: Shelby Elsbree, Lauren Herfindahl, & Maria Alvarez Photographer:  © LizaVoll Photography


Dancers: Shelby Elsbree, Lauren Herfindahl, & Maria Alvarez
Photographer:  © LizaVoll Photography

We have a lot of holiday traditions; picking the christmas tree, visiting family, special dinners, opening gifts together on christmas morning, etc but there is just something really amazing about just the 3 of us getting all dolled up and heading downtown for the ballet. Watching Sierra get so excited, pick her dress, pack a little basket of ballerina dolls, and jumping up and down is so memorable.

Dancer: Sierra Photographer:  © Mom


Dancer: Sierra
Photographer:  © Mom

The performance itself is unbelievable; from the sets by Robert Perdziola, to the music by the Boston Ballet Orchestra, and of course most importantly the dancers - it's all top notch and really an amazing sight to see. 

One of my favorite things about 'The Nutcracker', as a parent of a small child, is that it's the perfect mix of ballet and theater to keep adults enthralled but enough playfulness to make it a delight for children: most notably the dancing bear, rat king and of course 'Mother Ginger' - Sierra's favorite by far.

Today is this year's production’s last performances and if you’re close to Boston I really suggest you snag some last minute tickets and head out tonight! It’s well worth the time and money, I assure you. Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.bostonballet.org/nutcracker and the performance is at 1:00 and 7:30 PM, with a special New Year’s Eve show full of surprises!

If you can't make it today then make sure to write it in your calendar for next year. Follow the Boston Ballet on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest throughout the year for updates!

-Craig

Dancers: Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nutcracker Prince Photographer: ©Gene Schiavone


Dancers: Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nutcracker Prince
Photographer: ©Gene Schiavone

Hand made holiday shopping in Boston!

I compiled a small list of places to buy last minute hand-made / locally made / artisan gifts in the Boston area for all you last minute shoppers!

If you know of more let me know!

Sterling Silver Shiba Inu Dog Post Earrings

Newbury handmade Market (Newbury St)

http://www.newburyhandmademarket.com

Cambridge Artist Co-Op (Harvard Sq)

http://www.cambridgeartistscoop.com

Sign of the Dove (Porter Sq)

http://www.signofthedoveco-op.com

Magpie Gifts (Davis Sq)

http://www.magpie-store.com

William Carlton Workshop (North End)

http://wcworkshop.tumblr.com

7 months

Sometimes I think about writing in this blog but there just never seems to be enough hours in the day. I love going back through it and reading my thoughts, looking at the photos and remembering where I was in life at certain stages. Because I look at the blog as a journal of sorts about myself and my family I feel badly when I don't write in it because I won't have that 'time capsule' for the future. That being said it's been about about 7 months since I've written in here.

In that time lots of things have changed. Sierra is now 5, she's in K2 in the Boston Public School system, Don and I are starting a new company and Lauren and I got married! I'll elaborate on all of these items in forthcoming posts. Talk soon.

-Craig

This morning started off great!

Our pal Don Naylor (another Hipster Dad) is staying with us for the week while his ladies are back in New York as they await their new apartment to be ready (Movin’ on up!!). So this morning he, Sierra and I ate breakfast together, played with dolls and then got ready for our days. Don went off to work and Sierra and I scooted to the bus stop. She loves riding her little scooter and it makes getting to the bus so much faster / less of a hassle.

Now this is where the day starts to go down hill. Once I arrived back home after dropping her off I throw my helmet and sunglasses on and jump on my bike to head to work. About one block later I realize my tire is flat. I don’t have a working pump so I walk the bike back home and throw all my stuff from my bike bag to my regular work bag and check the next bus arrival time (hooray public transit!). Luckily one was arriving in 4 minutes so I quickly sprint out of the house and proceed to RUN for 3 blocks to the bus stop, only then realizing i left my regular non-sun glasses in my other bag. I’m practically blind without glasses so there’s no way I could make it through the day without them. So I miss the bus and walk back home, cursing the whole way of course. I retrieve my things and check the next bus time which is in 30 minutes so I say fuck it and call an Uber. Worth every penny.

This shitty morning is exasperated by the fact my Vespa scooter also stopped starting two days ago for no apparent reason. So now my scooter and my bike are out of commission on the first nice weather week of the year here in Boston. Why do my vehicles all hate me? Anyway - it could be worse but I felt like having a mini-vent session. Hope everyone else’s day is going better than mine!

-Craig

Tuesday Tunes!

1. XANDER'S SONG - Into It. Over It. - New North-Side Air – It might be a bit of a cop-out to go with the first track on the album, but this tune really resonates with me (specifically the first line about quitting smoking and focusing on family/home life). They played in Boston last week, and it was an incredible show despite my 6-month pregnant wife not exactly enjoying herself (in retrospect, she probably should have stayed home.) The album doesn’t slow down from here, and it’s highly recommended from track 1 to 12.







2. CRAIG'S SONG: Schoolboy Q - Prescription/Oxymoron -  Can't get enough of this song. Vivid storytelling style hip hop at it's best in my opinion. The breaks with his daughter's voice are haunting and really hit hard, especially as a parent.







3. MICHAEL'S SONG: A$AP Rocky - In Distress (feat. Fesaffelstein) - Most unlikely of coupling for a$ap to date, tech house producers meet the front lines of the new wave of hip hop lyricists. What's next Danny Brown x DJ Hell?




4. DON'S SONG - Glocca Morra - My Black Dog / Cosmic Being - Been jamming these guys a lot lately. Reminds me of when I used to call music "emo" and it wasn't a wack thing. Makes me nostalgic for basement shows, backpacks and rolled jeans.  

The Diaper Lab – Cloth Diapering Workshop

If the concept of cloth diapers scares you, you’re not alone.

If you don’t know where to start with cloth diapering, you’re still not alone.

Luckily for my wife Felicia and I, we live in the Greater Boston Area and can take advantage of the resources offered by The Diaper Lab in Davis Square, Somerville, MA. We attended their Introduction to Cloth Diapering Workshop over the weekend -- and it was money well-spent.

For an hour-and-a-half (and at $10 per couple), we sat in a small room with other equally confused couples and listened to Jen Patashnick discuss the ins-and-outs of all things cloth diapers  including varieties, use-cases, and laundering requirements.

Jen made cloth diapering seem easy. And fun.

She began by demonstrating the cheapest (yet most difficult) option  pre-folds  before moving her way through pocket diapers, one-size, all-in-ones, and hybrids. Each time passing around examples so the expecting parents can see what they’re getting themselves into.

As an expecting father, three key points stuck out for me:
  1. Cloth diapers are cheaper
  2. Cloth diapers help prevent blow-outs
  3. Cloth diapers make potty training easier
And for me, this outweighs the cons of having to deal with washing soiled cloth vs. throwing away disposable diapers. Additionally (and surprisingly) Felicia and I even think the more difficult pre-folds aren’t even all that difficult at all, and are a great option for us.

After the class, all couples were invited into their adjacent retail store to poke around and were each given a coupon. In addition to everything you’ll need for cloth diapers, they also carry several slings and packs for baby-wearing, diaper bags, and a small assortment of toys and stuffed animals.

Cloth diapers may or may not be a viable option for you and your little one, but if you’re interested in learning more, please check out www.diaperlab.com, or visit their brick-and-mortar store at 200 Elm St. in Somerville, MA.

Please note: The Hipster Dad is not affiliated with the Diaper Lab, but will gladly accept free samples.

“Disrupting the Pink Aisle” with GoldieBlox

In case you missed it during the Super Bowl this year, GoldieBlox won over the “parents and soon-to-be parents of little girls that want their daughters to be more than just princesses” demographic. Alright, maybe not the largest target audience for the television commercial event of the year, but it was hard for anyone to ignore this one.

Founded by Debbie Sterling, a Stanford-trained Engineer, GoldieBlox designs toys for girls that promote engineering principles while “disrupting the pink aisle.” Their product line contains building kits that focus on skill concepts such as; wheel & axle, hinge & lever, and belt drive systems. Their apparel contains their “more than just a princess” slogan complete with images of tools.

GoldieBlox earned this 30-second commercial by beating out tens of thousands of other small businesses as part of the "Small Business Big Game” contest sponsored by Intuit. Take a look at the (extended) clip below and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments! Personally, I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough for one (or all) of these kits.

 -Xander

Hello! My name is Alexander Montville

Felicia and me

Hello! My name is Alexander Montville, a new addition to the Hipster Dad family. Most people call me Xander, others (mostly family and co-workers) call me Alex -- I’ll happily respond to any variation except for Al (don’t test me).

I joined this group of strapping young lads through a friendship with Craig. His better half and mine were college friends, and the rest (as they say) is an incredibly boring history. We hit it off with similar interests in football (soccer), music, books, liquor, and (now) parenting. It didn't hurt that my wife and I lived in his beloved New Bedford for a few years, either.

I think it’s important to point out that I’m actually not a father yet.

Felicia and I were married after a 7 year relationship in the summer of 2013. We’re

expecting

our first daughter in June of this year. Needless to say we’re both incredibly excited and incredibly scared (at least I am).

Coming soon!!!

It’s funny, when Felicia and I first met I would swear up and down that I would never have children (of course, I was 18), but I could not be happier about this new addition to our lives.

I’m looking forward to contributing to this blog and leveraging the experience of my fellow bloggers for advice (I’m sure I’ll need a lot of it as a first-time father). Hopefully I’ll be able to eventually offer some valuable insight of my own. Or maybe I’ll just post a lot of cute pictures and respond to fatherhood-related YouTube videos.

Either way, I can’t wait!!

-Xander

We made our own Peppa Pig book

Sierra has recently become OBSESSED with Peppa Pig, a UK based show about a little pig and her friends and family. The other day she told me a story she made up about Peppa going to daycare so we decided to make it into a little book. Total time: 20 mins. Check it out below.

Tools needed:
  • Paper
  • Sharpie
  • Crayons
  • 3 Hole Punch
  • Yarn
  • Scotch Tape