Wednesday, May 21, 2008

FYI, My Baby Is A Girl

Lucy is only nine months (!) old and her hair was a bit late to come in, so I shouldn't be surprised that so many people think she's a boy. (Aside: By the time Sam was nine months old he has so much hair people were confusing him for a girl.) I'm all for dressing her in feminine hues, but if she's in the stroller or just having a neutral outfit day, I get a lot of comments of the Oh-your-little-boy-is-so-cute variety. Luckily, we were rescued from a few more (wretched) months of gender confusion by Maiden America and the Parent Blogger's Network!

Maiden America, founded by Tristan Benz, hand crafts non-slip barrettes for kids and adults alike. They also make handbags, headbands and frames are soon to follow. Their non-slip technology is patent-pending even! Now I honestly say that as this campaign came my way, Lucy had just barely enough hair for barrettes, but since they said that these stay put in even the finest of hair, I couldn't resist.

I was not disappointed.

Within minutes of opening the package we had this lovely little green number in her hair. It stayed there for almost 5 hours until daddy got home so that we could show him how effing cute it was! It had to come out for bath time, though.

I literally put these barrettes in first thing in the morning when I'm getting her dressed, and they stay put all day long.

This ladybug one is a personal favorite of mine. I even put it in her hair for the monthly studio pics.

Here she is so adorable even she can't stand it!

As an added bonus, Maiden America threw in an extra little treat for us in the form of 1) a bonus barrette and 2) a cool little ribbon with rings on the end deal-ie to store them all on. I know that doesn't explain it well, but it's in the room with the sleeping baby. Otherwise I'd take a picture. But it is awesome, to say the least.

It's also nice to support a company who is pro-parent/pro-childhood. The company's name came about when Tristan Benz explained to her daughter that, "Maidens are “everyday princesses” with the freedom to learn, work, earn and do SO much more. How fortunate we are to be maidens! How sorry we feel for the princesses! :-)"

So I guess I should consider myself one of the lucky ones. I never went through the pitfalls of trying to find hair accessories that are pretty and that stay put on my little maiden's head. I'll never have to worry about that, because I'll be shopping at Maiden America.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Great-Grandmother's Dream Come True

There is no denying that we live in a digital age. However, not all of the inhabitants of this earth are technologically inclined. Take, for example, my grandparents, and probably yours as well. My uncle provides them with state of the art phones, cameras and computers but my Grammy has never once sent an email. She still answers her phone by saying, 'Who is this?' instead of learning to program our numbers. Then as soon as I identify myself she demands to know why she hasn't seen recent photos of her only great-grandchildren.


You see, I spend a great deal of time putting photos online for all of my friends and family to see. Most of them love seeing the photos of Sam picking his nose even though we live hundreds of miles away. Every Sunday my mother visits my grandmother and she tells her all about the most recent pics I've emailed to her. An hour later I get an angry call demanding prints.

The other big complaint I get from friends and family is that I send too many pictures. As a precaution I back up all of my photos to an online source (in addition to an external hard drive. What can I say? I'm nuts.) That means that my second cousin Carrie from Ohio usually has to sift through 900 random photos to find the 6 or 7 cute ones.

Sound familiar? Guess what? I've found a solution!

It's called Kinzin. It's a new family photos sharing website that takes your privacy and your non-computer savvy family members seriously.

According to the site, Kinzin allows you to 'Keep tight control over who has access to this valuable personal content,' i.e. your kids images. Now I've never been shy about putting my kids' mugs online, but as they get older it's something I think about more and more. Kinzin makes it easy (both for you and the people you invite to share with) to keep things private. Plus the site is fun. If you already have your photos in a flickr account you can link the two services up to avoid additional uploading. You can caption each photo as you upload it, so it's almost like a virtual scrapbook. And? You can use your photos to actually create an actual scrapbook if that's your thing.

As as added bonus, if you use facebook you can make your kinzin page available to people already in your friend pool as well as us non-facebook users as well. I'm sure there is a better way to express that, but since I don't do the facebook thing I don't know the lingo. Sorry! If you are a facebook user definitely check it out.

But the thing that sells it best for me is the mail service. While membership to the site is free, for just $2.99 per month you can have the ten most recently uploaded photos shipped to three separate addresses. Every month! As in real, true photos in my Grammy's mailbox every month. I haven't received my first set of photos just yet, but I should get them tomorrow. There was, however, a little mix up where I received photos of kids I don't know, and I have to say the print quality looked awesome!

Overall I have really enjoyed my experiences with Kinzin and plan to continue using it. Don't believe me? Check out all of the Kinzin reviews over at the Parent Blogger's Network. I'm not the only one who's been singing their praises!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mama Rock's Rules Proves That Mama Rock Rules!

If my mother somehow ever came face to face with Rose Rock, mother of comedian Chris and author of Mama Rock's Rules, I'm pretty sure they would become fast friends. Why? Because Mrs. Rock's Ten Lessons for Raising a Household of Successful Children are right up my mom's alley. These lessons should be required reading for any parent. I mean, she did raise ten kids of her own and seventeen foster children, so I'm pretty sure she qualifies as a parenting expert.

Now not everything in this book is groundbreaking information. In fact, a lot of this falls into the common sense category, but Mrs. Rock presents it in a humorous and warm fashion that makes it fun to read. Even when she's being serious and stern she's still hilarious, like when she suggests you 'pull out that can of whup-ass' to help change your child's negative behavior. Also adding to the book's overall friendly feel are stories from her children peppered in the margins of each chapter. You can tell her kids approve of her methods because of these contributions.

Mrs. Rock hits on many important topics like sitting down to dinner as a family, self respect, the importance of reading and even sex education and spirituality. Even though some of this information presented is stuff most people (should) know, that doesn't mean there is nothing to be learned here. For example, I loved her idea about scheduling some regular family reading time, just as you would do for any other type of appointment. This is something that would have never occurred to me, but now I plan to put it on the agenda ASAP.

I also appreciated how she handled the chapter on spirituality. We are not a religious family, so when I began reading I could feel my eyes beginning to roll. However I was pleased to find her discussion of faith fairly balanced. She also touched upon something, that as a biologist, I find very important and that is recognizing the beauty in nature as a form of prayer. I may not see god looking up at a crucifix, but in watching a seed sprout I can find a higher power.

Another nice touch, at the end of each chapter Mrs. Rock added a bullet point summary of all the wisdom imparted on the previous pages. I have to think that she did this on purpose, knowing that in moments of parental insanity having these valuable lessons summarized and at our fingertips would be highly useful!

Whether your kids are six months or sixteen, Mama Rock's Rules is for you. These are rules that have and will stand the test of time.

Visit the Parent Blogger's Network for more reviews of Mama Rock's Rules and other great stuff!