Kids Summer Style starring Sunuva

 When the sun is out and the weather is warm, our kids are mostly naked in our backyard. That said, as much as I love bare bums, it is vital that our kids stay safe in the sun for at the beach and long afternoons by the pool.

Enter Sunuva.

Our dear friends Sabrina Naggar and Emily Schwartz started this stylish UV protective swimwear collection a decade ago when they were frustrated by the lack of cute swimwear that does its job with protective suntops – and also looks cute. Thank goodness as in London, sunwear was needed on vacation, but certainly wasn’t needed in rainy London – but in Los Angeles, we are literally LIVING on the beach or by the pool – and my kids’ wardrobe needs to be full of protective swimwear. It is a new way of life and this entire collection is adorable AND sun safe.

To launch my website, Sunuva is kindly offering my new website readers (YOU!) an opportunity to win a $100 gift card to use at Sunuva.

Make sure to register for your Sunuva giveaway and also, here are some of favourite SUNUVA looks below – happy shopping:

I am soaking up these little rolls for as long as I can, knowing that they disappear soon enough

Our Little Elephant

Sweet Sandy Sadie (I can’t get enough of this bathing suit and hat combo!)

Max showing us his shark teeth – to match his Shark top

How to enter: Follow @sunuvaswimwear and @marissahermer on Instagram, like my Sunuva post, and fill out the form below!

Enter To Win $100 Giftcard



Raising loved, valued, and confident children with MAD days

My husband Matt and I just celebrated our 7 year anniversary – and in what seems like a blink of an eye, our little duet is now a party of five. Our crew now includes Max (5), Jake (3), and Sadie (1).  People often ask me how I make it all work – and the truth is that I’m totally winging it (with caffeine in the morning and wine at night to bookend the chaos). As COO of our Hermer House, I operate our home as a triage unit and whoever is bleeding the most (more metaphorically speaking than literally, although with a house of toddlers, this is also sometimes literal) gets the attention. There isn’t a ‘balance’ to it all and though I wish I could pie-chart out my day to give each child the same about of time, this isn’t always the case. Our baby gets to sit on my hip more than her older brothers and our eldest, being the most verbal and also the loudest, usually gets the most airtime. That said, even in the madness of raising a household of young children, there is something to be said for special one-on-one time with each of the munchkins.

Growing up, my own father would pick me up every Friday from school for a MAD Afternoon (Marissa And Dad) – we would do different activities and just have special Father Daughter time. He did the same with my brother Ben (BAD Afternoons). It made us each feel valued and also gave me some time just to connect with my dad, outside of the daily operations of family life.  Thirty years later, these are the some of the fondest memories I have of both my childhood and my father.

The other morning, our eldest son Max climbed into bed with me and as I was stroking his head and telling him stories of when he was a baby, and he responded “and I was your ONLY child? You had attention for just me? Can we do that again?” There are pros and cons to being a member of a toddler triumvirate and about a year ago, I started to feel it was important to start giving each child their own time with Mommy.

I’ve started taking out the kids to one-on-one breakfasts (Max on a Monday, Sadie on a Wednesday and Jake on a Friday) – and after awhile, having seen the benefit to each of our children’s growth and also my own relationship with them, Matt has now started Saturday morning one-on-one breakfasts with the children for his own dose of Daddy time. This is also incredibly impactful as of course Mommy time is very different than Daddy time. Matt has also noticed that the conversations he has with the kids and the time spent are extra special – and we have seen that the children feel they are valued individually – not just as a gang, and though of course they are part of the mix, that we always have time for their individual thoughts and feelings.

Of course breakfast doesn’t always work – I might have to travel for work or there is a conflict – and breakfast might not work for your family… but doing simple things like finding childcare backup for the other siblings (husband, nanny, inlaw, aunt) and talking a walk around the block or a special morning at the park might work.

I’ve also found that if we actually name these one-on-one times moments (similar to what my father did with MAD days and BAD days) – calling it ‘Max & Mommy Time’ (we even have a song that goes along with it, which we sing at the beginning of one-on-one time) communicate that this is special scheduled time – it hasn’t just happened but Max (or Jake or Sadie) is WORTH the scheduling of the special time – they are valued.

We’ve seen that one-on-one time:

Gives each child a moment to share their own individual thoughts and not get crowded out by their siblings.

For now, our children are young, and so the main issues that come up are that someone snatched a toy from him at summer camp or that he doesn’t like carrots anymore. But later on, as our munchkins grow, there will be larger issues and hopefully our children will feel comfortable in sharing bigger issues with us during these times.  We are giving them a platform and a listening ear now – for the carrots – and later, for whatever else comes their way.

Makes each child feel really special and valued individually.

Any mother’s attention is always divided, whether it is another child, a husband, work, dinner on the stove, any number of the thousands of things we are constantly managing. In these one-on-one moments, the child gets 100% of the mother’s attention – there are no other distractions and this is the most impactful time in shaping a child’s understanding of himself – he is worth it.

Gives them a break from competing with their siblings for our attention

There are so many other voices to talk over in our kitchen – and often times our quietest child won’t fight for airtime. During our one-on-one times, he actually is incredibly verbal, when given the space to talk and share.

Here’s to more MAD days and BAD days (and to raising strong confident children).


I wish I had read this when I was navigating the tortures of sleep deprivation – but here it is for you dear tired readers:

Kids go through phases in their sleep routines – and any change in their lives can affect their sleep cycle. When we moved to Los Angeles, obviously our munchkins had to get over jet lag, but they also were acclimating to new schools, a new house, a new bedroom, a new life! That combined with growing older (our Jake turned 3 – and it is just around this time where kids start to get scared of the dark or generally have fears) was the perfect recipe for a sleepless stew.

Jake was waking up sometimes 7 times in the night – and when he woke up, he also woke up his brother and sister. Matt and I were constantly going into Jake’s room and calming him back to sleep.  I was often sleeping next to Jake in his bed just to keep him asleep and comfort him – or sleeping on the floor of his room. By day, Matt and I were zombies, and by night we were being tortured by lack of sleep – AND I was sharing a bed with our 3 year old rather than my husband. We had to tackle this issue head on.

I met with a sleep therapist (yes, this exists) and after trying several methods, these are the tricks that have worked for us:

1. Get a Night / Day Clock. We have the Gro-Clock  which is a UK clock but you can get it in the US – but any sleep clock will do. Your child is taught (and trained) that he can come out of his room when the sun is on the clock (which you’ve preset to come on the clock at 7AM) and that it is bedtime when the star comes on the clock (at your preset time – ours is 7PM).

2. Buy a special Mommy Bear. Your child will have a cuddly toy however buy a NEW Mommy Bear – this bear stays with your child in his bed all night long, and if he needs a cuddle in the night, rather than coming out of his room to come get you for a cuddle, he can cuddle his Mommy Bear. The Mommy Bear is for cuddles in the night as his Mommy (you) are in bed sleeping.

3. Write a Good Sleep Book. This does take awhile to make but it is the one thing that really changed how Jake sleeps soundly through the night. Write a book (it can just be typed out / printed out) and take pictures of your child doing whatever it says on the page – and put it in a binder – and read it with your child every night before he goes to sleep. You can write whatever story you like but it should go along the lines of the below:

  • page 1. Jake has a comfy cozy room. Jake’s bed is so comfy it feels like he is sleeping on a cloud. *take a picture of your child in his bed and print out the picture and tape it on the page in the book*
  • page 2. Jake has a new Mommy bear that stays with him ALL night. If Jake wakes up in the night and needs a cuddle, Jake can cuddle his Mommy bear. (*take a picture of your child cuddling his Mommy Bear and tape it on the page in the book*
  • page 3. Mommy and Daddy decided that we are going to help Jake be a good sleeper, like we know he can be, because if you are not getting enough good sleep, you will be CRANKY! Mommy will be cranky! Daddy will be cranky! (and list everyone else in your family.) Everyone will be sleepy and no one will have enough energy to play during the day.  (rather than taking a picture of your cranky tired family here, instead DRAW a family of stick figures of everyone in your family – with cranky faces…)
  • page 4. SO… after you have your bath, we will put on your pyjamas. Jake will go to the potty and we will put on Jake’s nighttime nappies. We will read you a story and then we will read your Good Sleep Book (this is your Good Sleep Book) and then we will give you lots of kisses and cuddles and we will sing you a song.
  • page 5. Mr. Blue Star will be turned on (this is where you turn on your Night / Day Clock to the ‘Night Scene’) and its time for night night. (take a picture of the clock in the night scene and tape it into this page of the book)
  • page 6. Mommy and Daddy love to cuddle Jake before bed and will continue to do this before bed, but when it is night night time, Mommy and Daddy will give Jake one last hug and then it is time to sleep.  If Jake calls out for Mommy or for Daddy, one of us will check on you, but we are all done with holding your hand or sleeping next to you, cuddling you or rubbing your back because it is time for everyone to get some sleep.
    • *Through our process of getting Jake to learn to sleep, we learned that he thrived on touch through the night – if he knew that he was going to get a cuddle when he called out, then he would continue to call out – but if he was told that he wasn’t going to get cuddles in the night, then he stopped calling out and learned how to self-soothe. It is important here to understand that of course you give your child a LOT of cuddles during the day and before bedtime – and even one last long one before bed – but when it is sleep time, there are no more cuddles until the sun comes up again on the clock – and then roll on the cuddles.
  • page 7. We can leave the door open as much as you want but this is the last question that we will ask you before we leave the room. We will say, Jake, how far do you want me to leave the door open. The answer will always be yes! But with repetition, your child will know that this is the last question that he can ask and then the door will be left open and then it is sleep time.
  • page 8. If you miss Mommy cuddles a little bit during the night, Mommy Bear will stay with you in your bed all night long and you can cuddle Mommy Bear (take another picture of your child cuddling Mommy Bear and tape it in here).
  • page 9. How does Jake know when its time to wake up in the morning? Mr. Yellow Sun will come on and it will be time for everyone to start our great day! (take a picture of the Night / Day clock turned to the ‘Day’ scene and tape the picture on this page).
  • page 10. And since Jake is working so hard to sleep in his bed all night without calling out for Mommy or Daddy AND to stay in his room until Mr. Sun comes on his clock – he gets to put a sticker on his Good Sleep Chart in the morning. When Jake gets 10 stickers on his Good Sleep Cart, he gets to choose a toy at the toy shop.
  • page 11. Everyone is so happy when Jake can sleep well at night! (take a picture of your entire family smiling and tape it in here).

Plan on reading this book every night – for weeks. You will have it memorised very quickly and your child will look forward to the book – and he will quickly understand that was is in the book is how it all works.

4. Good Sleep Star Chart. We are ALL about Star charts. We have them for everything from learning how to use the potty to being nice to your brother to getting ready for school all by yourself. By far, the most impactful was the Good Sleep Star Chart. We found that it was most impactful to tape the Good Sleep Star Chart on the inside of the bedroom door – so that the boys would look at the star chart when they were debating coming out of their room before the predetermined time, and that when 7AM came, the boys would bound out of their rooms and we would reinforce their good progress with a star on the star chart. 10 days later, and we had good sleepers through the night!

The key here with these tricks is consistency. The bedtime routine needs to be the same nightly for at least 10 days (certainly when you are doing the star chart) and after that, your child will understand how it all works.

Let me know how it goes – and if you have questions along the way. AND sleep well!

Summer Picnics

Of course we love this time of year – mornings at the beach, afternoons in the pool and endless summer nights. BUT sometimes there are endless summer days as well – schools out and camp has ended and what to do with these empty endless days and a crew of toddlers to entertain?

We’ve made forts, we’ve sold lemonade, we’ve made play-doh animals of every species. This afternoon I was running out of ideas until I opened a box from Masala Baby and ta-dah – SUMMER PICNIC! 

Days like these I LOVE our Los Angeles life where I can throw open the doors to a lawn – and magically turn lunch into a fun activity. We made some Chunky Monkey Roll-ups (take one banana, smother it in almond or peanut butter, roll up handfuls of sprouts in a Coconut Wrap, and slice into rounds), gathered up our favourite cuddly toys to join us, and ate lunch al fresco. Maybe endless summer days aren’t so bad after all.