The mom: Lots (and lots) of Philly families know Manayunk-based Carolyn Clement as a family photographer extraordinaire. After nine years in the business, she’s extremely well known in the area for her work with babies, moms, kids, whole families. “My clients are super busy, so I help them with everything from what to wear to how to best display their gorgeous photos in their homes. I also spend a lot of time reassuring parents that I’ve seen it all, and their kids don’t need to be on their best behavior.” She’s a natural with kids .. perhaps because she’s also mom to Elliott, who’s five-and-a-half.
Did you grow up in Philly? I was born and raised in Halifax, Nova-Scotia, Canada. After several moves (Ottawa, San Francisco, New York), we moved to Philly almost 5 years ago and I love it here!
Where does your little one attend school? Our son just started Kindergarten at the French International School of Philadelphia (EFIP) and so far, we’re very pleased with the school. I am fluent in French and it was important that Elliott have the opportunity to connect with my French Canadian family. How awesome that Philly has just the perfect school for our situation!
Best way to spend a Saturday afternoon as a family: Anything that pairs being outdoors with food and kid-friendly activities! We love Winterfest at Penn’s Landing in the winter months and Spruce Street Harbor Park in the summertime.
Date night: We just celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary, and my husband brought us to iFly in King of Prussia. It was amazing! Such a cool, high-adrenaline experience to share with your spouse!
Special find for families in or near the city: Last year, we did ice-skating lessons at Dilworth Park (City Hall). It was such a cool way to spend a few weekends in the winter. Some ice skating followed by coffee at La Colombe – yum!
Rainy day go-to: Movie theaters — either Movie Tavern in Flourtown or AMC theaters. Now that our son is older and capable of sitting still for an entire movie, it’s becoming a favorite activity of ours.
Favorite app for parents, or favorite app for kids: I LOVE Zappos!!! Zappos has changed the way my family shops. If my son needs new sneakers, I select my favorite options (between 5-10), Zappos ships them insanely quick, we try the sneakers on in the comfort of our home and those that don’t make the cut get shipped back the very next day, free of charge! It’s seriously my favorite way to shop!!
Family-friendly restaurant: Tomato Bistro in Manayunk. We have several food allergies in our family, and the Tomato Bistro is always able to accommodate us. Their vegan cheese pizza is a hit with my little guy.
Favorite cultural activity or event in Philly: Living in Manayunk, we love the Philly Bike Race and always hang out on the “wall” to watch the cyclists make the climb. With all the neighbors out enjoying the day, you can feel the positive energy.
Gear you can’t live without: We put so many miles on our BOB jogging stroller and would recommend that stroller to everyone! So durable and practical — it was a lifesaver for our family.
Indulgence you can’t live without: Sleep! I need my sleep, and it’s always been one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I think everyone feels better when mama’s well-rested 😉
Place for baby/children’s gifts: The Little Apple in Manayunk — great selection of unique gifts.
Favorite children’s book right now: Huge fans of Elephant and Piggie books. The illustrations are wonderful. The stories are easy for beginner readers to follow.
Fun kids’ party spot: Lulu’s Casita — we had a birthday party at Lulu’s in Ardmore and everything was great. It was so nice to have someone else handle the decorations and cleanup! We were able to relax and enjoy the day, and the staff was terrific.
Best piece of advice you’ve gotten about parenting: When Elliott was 1, I was talking to a mom of a 5-year- old. I mentioned to her that I was trying to treasure all these little moments with my 1-year-old, knowing from other moms how quickly children grow up. She smiled and reassured me that every stage is fun and exciting, not just the itty-bitty stage. Her comment instantly changed my perspective — instead of clinging to stages that continue to come and go, appreciate what currently IS and trust that there’s still more greatness to come! She was right, raising a 5-year-old is fun and exciting in such unique ways.
Favorite parent hack: After spending many long days out in the city and our kid falling asleep in the car on the 20-minute drive home, we’ve been packing pajamas and a toothbrush for as long as I can remember! Now there’s never an excuse to not brush his teeth or for him to have to sleep in uncomfortable clothes. A quick transfer into the home and back to bed without a hassle!
Favorite toy in your house right now: Hot Wheel tracks and NASCAR matchbox cars. Races are ALWAYS happening in our house!
One thing you wish Philly had that it doesn’t: An easier way to take the train into Center City from Manayunk. The trains run so infrequently that we usually drive instead. I long for the trains in NYC…
Best part of raising kids in Philly: Best of everything! We’re near the city, near the country, a short drive to both the beaches and the mountains. All the benefits of a big city with great museums, restaurants and events. Plus, I love the people here – the community we’ve created with other mamas and their families has made raising our son in Philly a very positive experience!