Long (and sometimes loooooooong) weekend

May 30, 2007

Sorry for being gone so long… I intended to do this update last night, but we finally had a chance to watch the season finale of Lost (I’ve got just one word – wtf?!?!)

This weekend, some friends and their 2-year-old came to visit. I knew it would be interesting having 2 two-year-olds in the house. Granted, they were 9 months apart (my daughter being older), but they were still two-year-olds, if you know what I mean.

Two things surprised me. The first was how quickly and how much they took to each other. My daughter especially. It usually takes her a while to warm up to other kids. Well, at least other kids who are coming into her territory house and playing with her stuff. But she took to little, let’s call him Ian, right away. And little Ian was just as excited.

The other thing that surprised me about having them both in the house was just how much my daughter needed to show off. And not in a good way. At two years old, many kids are trying to prove they are the boss and are in control. They are, but as parents, we’re not supposed to let on.

My daughter took many opportunities to throw HUGE hissy fits when not getting her way. And, about the dumbest stuff — not getting to ride in the same car as Ian (during this fit, I was told I was “a bad guy” and that my daughter didn’t want to “ride in my car ever ever ever again”), having to wear socks, not getting to take a bath, etc.

More after the jump…

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Stroller Decision: Update

May 25, 2007

Ms. Kaz was catching up on the blog the other night, and we were discussing the BabyPlanet strollers, and I mentioned how certain environmentally friendly “features” were no longer mentioned on the site. “Why don’t you ask them?” she said. Duh. Why don’t I?

So, I wrote to them, and Pete Myers, the President of BabyPlanet responded that night. In fact, I had follow-up questions late (for me, at least) that same night, which I was surprised to see a response to early this morning. I bring this up before I go into the meat of the conversation because I’d like to add a plus to BabyPlanet for customer service.

The reason for the omission of previous statements? Well, the MBA in me can certainly empathize — availability and cost, just as I had suspected. Mr. Myers wrote:

“The further we went into sourcing our products and working with our manufacturers, the more we found that the materials we are searching for aren’t as readily available as we had hoped or that they come at a price that really pushes the retails out of reach for many consumers. In effect, we found that if we wanted to produce products that can reach most consumers, we’d have to start out with fairly traditional materials.”

This is not to say their commitment to the environment has wavered — see the recycling program — as they hope to be able to continually improve the environmental friendliness of their products:

We have an ongoing initiative to find and use planet friendly and/or recycled materials, to use materials that are friendlier to baby, to encourage our manufacturers to produce with planet friendly practices and to do all we can to effect post consumer waste.”

And I hope they do, because, based on features and aesthetics, I think they have a good product, and I appreciate their desire to do what they can for the environment. I think more and more manufacturers will recognize that parents, and consumers in general, value these ideals, and we will see not only more environmentally friendly products (and for manufacturers, supplies) at at a reasonable cost. Again, Mr. Myers:

“Over the next few years I believe many more manufacturers will start listening to what consumers, retailers and experts are telling them and more and more will start pushing green initiatives. We will be very vocal, going forward, to encourage our own competition to adopt the same programs we are, as it’s not a competitive edge, it’s just the right thing to do. Eventually the suppliers will come around, but it just takes a little patience to allow for the evolution of things.”

I don’t mean to talk them up too much — I don’t want you to think I’m on the payroll (I’m not), but I do appreciate the time and attention BabyPlanet gave to my questions. And since I publicly created some doubt or questions about how “green” their products are, I thought it was only fair to give them a voice to respond here. And Mr. Myers sums up the change nicely:

Because of this dilemma, we felt it was best to stop promising until we knew we could come through with the promise. I hope you can appreciate the situation we are in and understand that we still plan to continue this trend, but in fairness to all consumers we only want to discuss what we are doing, not what we hope to be doing.”

So, thanks again to Mr. Myers for responding, and allowing me to pass the update on to my readers.

Also, if you’d like to see more of the BabyPlanet strollers, there is a video from JPMA here.

It’s a…

May 25, 2007

So, we had our second semester ultrasound the other day. The technician asked if we wanted to know whether the baby was a boy or a girl, and of course we said, “of course!”

So now we know baby Kaz will be…

Okay, at the risk of sounding as annoying as Ryan Seacrest, you can find out after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Stroller Decision: The Mac

May 23, 2007

Our current lightweight stroller, well, okay, really our only besides the freebie umbrella stroller Ms. Kaz keeps in her car, is the Maclaren Quest Mod (the circles design, not the current squares design), and we’ve been pretty happy with it.

It handles very well, especially with one hand. The folds well, although, after a couple years, it doesn’t fold quite as easily with one hand as it used to. The storage is adequate, at best. And the suspension is just okay, compared to, say, a Bugaboo.

We rarely use it. But when we do, we are happy with it.

Maclaren Twin TechnoThis is why the Maclaren Twin Triumph stroller is one of the ones we are considering. And when I say “we”, of course, I mean me. We see a lot of these around our neighborhood. I don’t know if that says more to their worth as a double stroller, or as a bit of a status symbol. Take a quick glance our my window at the rest of the internet, they seem to get good ratings. So maybe it is a little of both.

Of course, there are the standard double-stroller “must haves”, such as independent seat positions, suspension, back hood windows, lightweight. This stroller does claim to be appropriate for newborns, which is a plus.

I think perhaps the biggest surprise, though, was the claim that it fits through standard-sized doors! Of course, I don’t know if this just means more shoving and “she’s on my side!” from the kids.

I can find ’em for around $230. And I don’t have to get to a Buy Buy Baby to check ’em out.

I could also “upgrade” to the Twin Techno and get, amongst other features, adjustable leg rests. But I lose the “fits through a standard door”. And I lost an additional $170 (Twin Technos start around $400).

So… any opinions?

What I am not writing about…

May 22, 2007

Well, okay, I haven’t really been writing about anything the last few days, but…

… I am not going to write about the parents who starved their baby (google it, you should be able to find it). You know, the parents who happened to be first and foremost, stupid, and secondly, vegan.

I don’t think it is because I am being defensive because I am vegetarian. Personally, I think eating a balanced diet as a vegan is too much work. And I like pizza too much. But, contrary to what many people have been commenting, it is possible to eat well as a vegan.

Does that include being vegan and pregnant? Or raising a vegan baby? I don’t know. But I would guess there probably is a way to do it right. Again, it takes a lot of work.

But let’s remember, this baby died because the parents were not cautious enough. Not because they were vegans. Anyhow, I am probably just inviting more misinformation to be spread in my comments section.

And I probably should provide helpful links for vegans, but, well, this more of a “get it off my chest” kind of post, and hopefully I can dig up some links if I get less annoyed. Or maybe if I get more annoyed.

*sigh* I’d much rather be thinking about strollers, people…

Wait. I what now?!?

May 17, 2007

Man, I’ve put this off a long time.

And, I am still not going to follow the rules. Sorry.

Anyhow, I was stunned when L.A. Daddy, whom I personally think is a much more interesting blogger than I am, nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award. Apparently, I make him think. And it isn’t just thinking “Thank goodness I’m not him!

The rules, according to L.A. Daddy are that I am supposed to nominate 5 blogs. Uh.. what? That’s a huge number! Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t 5 blogs that in some way make me think. Just about all the ones I visit do. Otherwise, I wouldn’t visit them.

But I was challenged to think of some that really make me think.

So, I thought of two:

Rude Cactus: I’ve read Chris’ blog for quite some time now. In fact, he’s probably one of the bloggers who inspired me to start blogging (that’s right, blame him!)… I guess the way he makes me think is that he inspires me to work on two hobbies of mine because he seems to be so good at them. I’ve always emjoyed the photography he’s shared with his readers, and I’ve always thought he was an engaging, interesting, good writer. He also plays guitar, which I like to pretend I can do well. He makes me think about how to improve on all of these hobbies of mine, especially my writing skills.

Pirate Papa: Pirate Papa was one of the first blogs to link to mine. I hate to admit, but lately, I’ve fallen a bit behind on keeping up with this blog. His blog’s tagline is “A Journal of Anarcho-Green D(o).I(t).Y(ourself). Parenting.” As one might guess from this, his views, style, whatever you wish to call it, ma seem a little more radical to some parents. But he maked me think. While we may not agree 100% with the views of others, we sometimes agree, say, 60% or 20% or 1%. But even when I may not agree 100% with Pirate Papa, I respect that he parents how he wishes to, and stays true to his beliefs and ideals. And it is these ideals and beliefs that make me think about my own. Sometimes I am swayed. Sometimes it just makes my beliefs stronger. But it almost always makes me think.

I don’t know if these guys will participate, and that’s okay… it was fun to be able to let them know that I felt they were worthy of my nomination. If they do, here are the participation rules, as cut & pasted from L.A. Daddy:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).

Stroller Decision: BabyPlanet Unity Sport

May 17, 2007

So, why do I like side-by-side? Okay, maybe it is mostly for looks. And if it is mostly for looks, I blame BabyPlanet’s Unity Sport.

This double stroller is pretty new, so reviews (at least by people who have actually bought it) are a little scarce. I can tell you that it won the JMPA 2007 Innovation Award.

Unity SportI’d like to check one out in person, but I don’t live that close to a Buy Buy Baby store.

Anyway, the things I like about this stroller, besides being side-by-side and the nice styling on it, are (and remember, I am just going based on the company’s description) that it is lightweight, and has an “ultra-compact fold”. It features a large storage area underneath and two cupholders

The Unity Sport also offers a unique steering system which supposedly makes this double stroller easier to steer than others. Easy steering is one of the things we like about our Maclaren stroller.

The other thing that I think the BabyPlanet strollers have going for them is the company’s commitment to the environment.

When I originally wrote about this stroller here, the company stressed their commitment to using earth-friendly, hypo-allergenic, and/or organic materials. However, I am not finding this information on the company’s website anymore. If this information has changed, that would be disappointing.

However, the company does still maintain a dedication to recycling, and to that end, they offer a stroller recycling program. When you are done with the stroller, you can print out a shipping label to send the stroller back to the company (so save the box it comes in!). The company will then clean it up and donate it to a charity “in need of children’s products.” If they determine your returned stroller is beyond hope, they will dismantle and recycle as much of the materials as they can.

These guys have the green edge…

(BabyPlanet’s Unity Sport strollers can be found for around $290)

Hump Day Quickies

May 16, 2007

Just a couple updates on some stuff…

  • City Mama adds her thoughts on double strollers over at Strollerderby. Sounds like she obsessed about it more than I have, and her research and thoughts may save me a little obsessing. Thanks!
  • My daughter’s fever finally set in Monday night. We were giving her a bath and she complained she was freezing. After we took her out, she started shivering. She got better Tuesday, but last night was still a rough one. She refused to go to sleep, then woke up several times. This morning, she was back to her old self, and back at Big Girl School.
  • Also at Strollerderby, Mike Adamick mentions I Hate Snaps as one of his daily reads. Thanks! Although, I am not sure saying that I have “big, meaty hands” is going to drive too much traffic here!
  • I’ve also seen some traffic arriving here via Wikifray. My double stroller post is listed there under “Recommended”. I have no idea what a wikifray is. I tried to research it, but, well, I am still confused.
  • Sorry it is just a quicky post today, but I was busy at lunch hanging out with Jon Bon Jovi. Take that L.A. Daddy.

Growing Pains

May 15, 2007

A few weeks back, Ms. Kaz and our daughter were in Target, when our daughter spotted a flower kit in the $1 bin. The kit came with a little flower pot, some seeds, and a little disk of dirt for growing daisies. Ms. Kaz bought it as a fun little “project” for our daughter.

She helped add the water to the “dirt disk” and add the seeds. She was very excited about her “project”.

“Can I see my project?” she would eagerly ask, several times a day. Even though it was still too early for anything to grow.

* * *

Then one day, as I am reading with my daughter, I hear a noise from the kitchen. I look in there, and I don’t see the flower pot on the sill. An “uh-oh” escapes my lips.

“Was that my project?” my daughter asked.

Apparently, with the window open, the wind knocked the pot off the window and into the sink, spilling most of the soil.

“Yeah, it was, sweetie,” I said, then fell back on the parental, “but we’ll fix it.”

* * *

I stopped at Target on my way home from work a few days later to pick up a replacement kit. Just like a parent will replace one generic goldfish with another, I was hoping to find more seeds. Of course, they were out of daisies. I hope my daughter doesn’t remember, because she’s going to get marigolds.

A few nights later, after my daughter goes to bed, Ms. Kaz replaces the “project”.

* * *

For Mother’s Day, all the kids at my daughter’s Big Girl School planted seeds as a gift for the moms. Of course, by Mother’s Day, it was still just a decorated “cup” full of dirt. I wasn’t even sure if there were seeds in it. But I watered it, and set it in the window next to the other “project”.

* * *

Last night, I noticed my daughter’s Mothers Day “project” was starting to sprout. I told Ms. Kaz, and she mentioned her original “project” also had several sprouts.

In the morning, after breakfast, I showed them to our daughter. “That’s pretty cool!” she said. She was happy. And considering how sick she’s been the last 36 hours, I was happy to see her smile.

Now, how to keep the cats from eating them…

Stroller Decision: Back-to-front, Side-to-side?

May 14, 2007

One of the things Ms. Kaz and I discussed when discussing a new stroller when the baby comes is whether to get side-by-side (which I like), or front-and-back (Ms. Kaz).

I like the look of side-by-side, and I think it is easier to access children in.

Ms. Kaz thinks front-to-back would be easier to handle.

Basically, we don’t know who is right.

Phil & Ted’s Sport - doubleI did, however, get advice from someone who’s opinion on gear I trust. And he recommended the front-to-back Phil & Ted’s (Sport).

Personally, I think this is a little strange looking, in that the kid in back doesn’t have a whole lot to look at. But, it does seems very flexible, accomodating babies (including lying totally flat), toddler and baby, toddler only, and two toddlers. It even appears that the second seat is easily added and removed, if need be.

Hmm… I think maybe I am liking the Phil & Ted’s a little better. Although I still think their side-by-side (E3) is a little nicer looking. I need to find a place to check it out in person; see how it handles, how it looks, how it folds, etc.

Looking around on-line, they seem to get pretty decent reviews, too.

The Sport is available for around $400, plus $90 for the second seat add on.

Anyone have any opinion..?

[Kaz: p.s. thanks to everyone who mentioned the standing board option on many strollers. I will have to research and review these as part of my quest for the perfect stroller!]

Meanwhile, for your enjoyment…

May 14, 2007

… courtsey of boingboing, here is a flickr set from a preschool picnic, showcasing works by the young’uns. The topic? What happens to people when they get old. Enjoy – this will happen to you some day!

(Thanks, boingboing!)

Another lovely Monday…

May 14, 2007

Sorry, all — I had several ideas for posts this morning, but the daughter got sick, or something, last night … I got a couple hours of sleep before she started waking up every 10-30 minutes until we gave up around 6am and just got her up. She’s not really eating much, is cranky, lethargic, and wants to be held…

I ran into work to clean up a few things, then will be spending the rest of the day with her.

Hopefully, she’ll take a nap today. If she does, and I don’t fall asleep, then I can update.