“C” is for Cherry Blossoms!

No ABCs of Washington, DC book would be complete without a colorful ode to DC’s iconic spring blooms: cherry blossoms!

Even before writing and illustrating the ABCs of Washington, DC board book, Baby Ventures authors and illustrator Lisa Hall and Golzar Kheiltash knew the letter C would represent cherry blossoms – those gorgeous, ephemeral blooms that bring our nation’s capital to life each spring and most famously, line the banks of the Tidal Basin overlooking the Jefferson Memorial.

The aesthetic beauty of the cherry blossoms is undisputed. For Baby Ventures – a children’s book company – so is the beauty of what these blossoms stand for:

  • Kindness and Friendship: The cherry blossoms were a gift from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC in 1912. This gift marked the beginning of a lasting friendship between the US and Japan.
  • Welcoming and Inclusive Spirit: Every year, over a million tourists flock to the Washington, DC area to experience the cherry blossoms first-hand. Our city welcomes them with a vibrant, internationally-inspired National Cherry Blossom Festival for all ages to enjoy (for emphasis on enjoyment, check out these insider planning tips from KidFriendly DC).
  • New Season, New Adventures: The cherry blossoms are one of the first to bloom around DC. They usher in the spring and all of the wonder-filled adventures awaiting little ones around DC (boat tours on the Potomac, stroller rides through Rock Creek Park, out and about just sightseeing – check out MommyNearest DC for more!).

This year, a tardy cold snap disrupted the cherry blossoms’ peak bloom period, throwing tourists, DC families, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival into a scramble trying to reassess the viability of the blooms. Much to our relief, the National Parks Service recently reported that while the snow hurt many blossoms, those lining the Tidal Basin are still going to bloom!

More good news: if your family missed the cherry blossoms this year, don’t fret – you and your tots can experience C is for Cherry Blossoms year-round with our ABCs of Washington, DC board book! And if you’re in the greater DC area, stop by one of these one of a kind local specialty shops for your copy!

From the Baby Ventures Team in Washington, DC: Happy blooming spring adventures!

 

 

Hold on, Fall – It’s Still Summer’s Turn!

It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end – it seems like just yesterday that we kicked off the season with our little ones, summer bucket lists in tow and eager to check off beach days, camping trips, and all the ice cream we can eat. Now school is starting, and Halloween feels like it’s around the corner (or so we’re told upon entering every retail store these days).

But before rushing into fall, we want to take stock of the season we’re still in – summertime is such a magical part of childhood, and we’re loathe to short-change our little ones even one day of it. Sure it’s often sticky, icky, and hot, but those aren’t the things you remember as a child. Whether it’s an impromptu beach adventure or just a lazy afternoon with the whir of the A/C and a cold treat from Grandma, the freedom a youngster feels to get lost in the moment is what makes summertime unlike any other time of the year.

So put down the back-to-school to do list. Resist the pumpkin patch search. And forget about Halloween costumes…there’s more than enough time for fall’s many adventures! In these last few weeks of summer, all our tots really need is to be in the sun-kissed moment for just a little bit longer. We know we have to say goodbye to summer soon…we just want our “five-minute” warning before we do! So here’s to this last bit of summer, and to teaching our children (and ourselves!) to linger in the moment.

What was on your family summer bucket list this year? Share a story and pic with us for the chance to be featured on our sites!

The Adventure Girls: Spotted on the National Mall!

This summer, our Baby Ventures Adventure Girls made their debut in our ABCs of Washington, DC board book: They popped up on the National Mall on page “V for Visitors!”

The greater National Mall area in Washington, DC offers a world of educational fun for little ones! Looking for some family adventure ideas? Here are some of our tot-approved favorites:

  • Enjoy live jazz in the Sculpture Garden (with toes dipped in the Grand Fountain) at the National Gallery of Art, then head inside under the light-studded Multiverse in the Concourse walkway to the Children’s Shop, where little ones can relish in the  unique books and gifts that the Museum offers!

The Adventure Girls appear in every Baby Ventures book – where are they heading to next? We’re guessing locales that are home to very unique friends (hint, hint). Stay tuned, and happy DC adventures!

 

ABCs of Washington, DC Board Book Now Available!

Hot off the presses! Our highly anticipated ABCs of Washington, DC board book is now available! Perfect for a bedtime read or stashed in a diaper bag when you hit the town, your little one is sure to love this literary tour of our nation’s capital! From kayaking in Georgetown to boat tours on the Potomac, we hope our ABCs of Washington, DC spark some memorable family adventures of your own!

Happy summer adventures!

Adventures in DC Photo Contest Winner

Congratulations to the Afshar family for submitting the winning photo in our Adventures in DC contest, and receiving a free copy of our ABCs of Washington, DC board book! We love this vibrant shot of winter holiday fun at the DC National Zoo!

A big thanks to everyone who submitted their adventures in DC family photos. Stay tuned for more contests coming soon!

DC Photo Contest: Win a Free Book!

Looking for one-of-a-kind board books to introduce your little ones early on to the wonder-filled world around them? We were too: creating vibrant, adventure and diversity-inspired board books was the impetus behind our family-owned company, Baby Ventures!

We’re thrilled to kick off our book series with our new ABCs of Washington, DC board book, set to arrive this June! In this distinctly native take on our nation’s capital, your tots can explore the A to Z of DC with bright colors, cool shapes, and lots of adventures (Boat tours, anyone?).

Have some of your own DC family adventures to share? Whether you live in or have visited the nation’s capital, email us a pic and a brief description for a chance to win a free copy of the ABCs of Washington, DC, and be featured on our sites! Submissions must be received by June 1st.

Happy DC adventures, Baby!

Last Chance for Free Shipping on the ABCs of Washington, DC!

Be among the first to take your tot on a literary tour of the Nation’s capital with Baby Ventures’ brand new board book, The ABCs of Washington, DC!

Each fun-filled page brings DC to life for little ones, combining vibrant artwork with a distinctly native take on letters of the alphabet (including D, J, and R, to name a few!).

Pre-orders are still available, so order today – free shipping is extended until June 1st!

Happy reading adventures!

The Kaisers’ Ultimate Family Adventure

At Baby Ventures, we believe adventure is the cornerstone of a thriving childhood. Our good friends, the Kaisers, are on the ultimate family adventure in Ethiopia! Andrew was offered a job in the capital, Addis Ababa, and he and his wife, Emily, decided to move there with their two young children, Ando and Sefi. They have already been there for a year and a half, and we have relished in hearing their stories.

What are some of the best experiences you have had as a family living in Ethiopia?

We’ve loved seeing animals of all sorts in their natural habitats. These include huge (20+ foot) crocodiles, zebras, warthogs, ostriches, gazelles, foxes, camels, and baboons (which are seemingly everywhere). Watching the indigenous and endangered Abysinnian Wolf hunt mole rats on the plateau of the Bale mountains was a rare treat. We’ve also greatly enjoyed the natural beauty, particularly in the months directly following rainy season where everything is super green and full of life.

What is life like on a daily basis? What challenges have you had?

I wake up early to go to work and our son Ando goes to school. My wife Emily works remotely part-time, so she either works from home or goes to the Sheraton nearby to work from there, taking advantage of their reliable internet (and swimming pool!). Our wonderful nanny arrives at 7:30 am to help take care of our daughter Sefi. After a typical workday, I’m home at 6:00 pm for dinner, books, and bedtime for the kids. As I’m sure many parents can relate, early evening can be ‘witching hour’ with the kids tired from their day’s activities and hungry for their dinner. Sometimes the power goes out when we’re about to cook dinner, so we bought an at-home generator, which helps keep both power and internet running.

What are some of the most memorable excursions you’ve had with the kids?

We’ve taken trips to some unforgettable places such as Lake Langano, Awash, Arba Minch, Bale mountains, and the crater lakes of Bishoftu. Probably our favorite getaway is Bishangari resort on the back side of Lake Langano, which is surrounded by forest and small villages, and has excellent hikes and birding. The kids love swimming in the lake, and the natural habitat is stunning. You have to be a bit careful though as the baboons will often stare at you right through the glass door of your cottage window, looking for food to swipe. They’ll also swing from the trees and jump on your roof, which can be a bit startling in the early morning hours.

What tips do you have for anyone thinking of moving overseas with young children?

Do it! There are pros and cons for sure, but it’s an experience of a lifetime! While we certainly miss some of the comforts from back home, the pros of living abroad, particularly the ability of having lots of close-knit care and support during the more difficult years of raising young kids (ours are 4 and 2) make it well worth it, especially when one considers all of the memories we’re creating. My wife Emily and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary by taking a hot air balloon ride floating over rustic villages in the Ethiopian countryside. Who could ever forget that?

Explore animals who live in East Africa! Check out the Baby Ventures Safari Party canvas art featuring elephants, lions, zebras and more!

Welcome!

At Baby Ventures, we believe that exploration and adventure are the cornerstones of a thriving childhood. We hope you visit us often and share in our communal conversation on the importance of expanding a youngster’s worldview from day one!

Check out our trail-blazing guest bloggers (like the Kaisers’ Ultimate Family Adventure) or our Illustrator’s Corner series, which features our very own co-author and illustrator Lisa Hall. Or just pick up some fun activities to do with your little ones!

Speaking of fun activities: submit a short post of your most memorable family adventure (could be from Belize or your backyard) to team@babyventuresbooks.com and if we choose it for our blog, we’ll send you some fabulous Baby Ventures gear!