Gear Thursday: The Happiest Baby on the Block

By kenny friedman on Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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So this went up early but it is Thursday in New Zealand and Australia and I have some great readers there so this one's for you.

Well I was going to do a wrap up of the baby room but we just watched The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and I decided the room can wait because the DVD had some great info.

We heard about Harvey Karp, a pediatrician from Santa Monica, and his Happiest Baby philosophy from a bunch of friends who said it completely changed the way they calm their babies.

He starts off talking about the idea that since babies (the human kind) are born much less developed than other mammals the 1st three months of life are really considered a 4th trimester. Then he speaks about the calming reflex which is when a baby instantly relaxes upon receiving cues similar to what is experienced in the womb.

To get those cues of the womb he suggests the 5 S's:
  • Swaddling – recreates confinement in the womb...he shows you a simple fast way to do it.
  • Side/stomach position – it was crazy but once these kids were swaddled and tipped on their sides they instantly got calm. He does stress that this is only for when you are holding your baby and that it should always sleep on it's back.
  • Shushing – you should shush louder than you'd think to recreate womb sounds...you should be as loud as the baby is crying.
  • Swinging/jiggling – recreates the movements of the mother walking while baby is in the womb
  • Sucking – use a pacifier or your finger

That's the simple list of what he talks about but the video is great because he really talks about why these things work and how to do them correctly. On the DVD it says it's over 2 hours...this must include the extras like the Q&A and such because it seemed like a much painless 30 minutes.

I thought I'd hate it but wanted to watch so I can get the technique down...I actually loved it because I like the science of why these things calm a baby...and it will be great to have this info as ammo when our baby starts crying.

In addition to the DVD Karp has a book that we bought, Staci has started reading it and loves it...I was planning on not reading it but after what I saw I will check it out.

I do have one disclaimer about the philosophy...if you do it and it works for you DO NOT tell anyone on your block about it. If you do there could be some crazy quantum problem because both kids can not be the Happiest Baby on the Block. And what happens if your neighbors kid knocks yours off that pedestal? That would suck. You should only tell friends who live in other neighborhoods.

And last I usually like to try out stuff before I talk about it on my talk about it on my blog and although friends rave about this DVD we don't have a baby to try out the 5 S's with...so I used our cat Zoggs as a surrogate...here are my findings...I hope to have them published in a veterinary journal soon.


  • Cats can be swaddled much easier than you'd think
  • Cats do not like being swaddled
  • If you are able to swaddle a cat they don't like being on their side
  • If you have swaddled a cat and gotten it on it's side it will not like being shushed
  • A cat who has been swaddled, put on it's side and shushed will not want you to come anywhere near it for about 10 minutes
So we never got past the 3rd S with Zoggs and the philosophy was a complete failure...but I do trust our friends so we'll try it with our baby.

And really last the DVD has some soothing sounds on it. We played some of those sounds and learned that dogs are a bit weary of sounds of the womb.



Ready to Go

By kenny friedman on Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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In 2 days Staci is full term so you never know when she'll go into labor. Since she's a planner, which is good, we've packed a bag, prepared all info for how to get our dog Kalli to the spa, it's actually called a spa, and packed her bag as well.

In Staci's bag is the usual things you'd see in birth bag or whatever it's called. I only have a pair of sweats and a shirt in there. I could get in to all of the contents but other people on the interweb have written that better than I can so I suggest a little Goggle search. I do however have what I consider to be the most important bag packed. My camera bag.

In that I have:

  • 2 bodies (Canon XTi and 7D)
  • 3 lenses (the nifty 50 f/1.8, Tokina 12-24 f/4.0 and the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8...I had the craptastic 18-55 kit lens in there but as I was writing this I realized it's so bad and I don't need it.)
  • 580EX II flash
  • Kodak Zx1 HD video camera
  • 2 back up batteries for the XTi plus 1 in camera
  • 1 back up battery for the 7D plus 1 in camera
  • 10 AAs for the flash
  • 2x 4gb CompactFlash cards, 2x 2gb CompactFlash cards
  • 1x 256mb SD card for the video cam (need more memory)
  • Chargers for the Canon batteries
  • an extra pair of pants
  • a sweatshirt
  • a pack of cards (always in there)
  • a tiny bottle of Tobasco sauce (always in there)
  • an X-Games wrist band from when I shot the X-Games (always in there/never used)
  • thumb drive (always in there)
There might be a bit of overkill here...I wonder if I'm missing something...ohh yeah...soft cloth for lenses...

...it's in there now...wonder if I'm missing anything else.

To quell any thoughts that I'm going to be too busy shooting and not paying attention to Staci I can tell you that won't be the case. I just want to be prepared for some good pics. I will try to photograph some of the birth...no naughty bits...just emotion on folks faces, environment and so on. But if it gets in the way the camera will be put down.

However I gotta say that I'm completely able to take photos while paying attention to something else...it's probably a gift from my ADD...I actually take some of my best photos when I know what I want to shoot but then barely pay attention to what I'm doing while I shoot.

In writing this I already changed the bag. My XTi is now out of the bag and will be in the car with me if I'm driving around the city. On it will be the craptastic 18-55mm lens. I don't want all of my gear with me at all times as it's about 15° (Fahrenheit) outside and I don't want my good stuff exposed to extremes. I'm just carrying this around in case we're totally surprised. My in-laws who are bringing the dog to the spa can grab my camera bag on the way.

Maybe once I'm back at work, we're of until the 4th, I'll start carrying the 7D around with a nice lens then have the plan be that the in-laws grab what's left of the bag when they grab Kalli...or maybe I just give them the bag to bring to the hospital.

Shit...what to have in the bag and what to have with me at all times might be the hardest decision we need to make about having this kid.

P.S. in case you;re wondering I use a Naneu Pro Alpha bag...it get's bad reviews on Amazon, but there are only a couple reviewers. I love it and mine has held up really well in the three years I've used it. I love that it opens in the back for security. Burton and Dakine make great bags that open the same way. I'd link to them but I have to run and take the car to the auto body place to get that dent knocked out.



Gear Thursday: Veggies on the go – MiYim's stroller rattle

By kenny friedman on Thursday, December 24, 2009

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When I was a boy I don't think we had stroller toys or rattles. I think I just played with my mom's keys except when we went grocery shopping. Apparently when I was in grocery stores I would play with Jello boxes and bread eating through both of their packaging.

Warning: it looks much nicer in person.

Now there are a bunch of things out there Velcro® onto a stroller to keep your baby occupied. We just received this cute rattle the other day.

Made by MiYim: Simply Organic it's a cute little pea pod stroller rattle with a small elastic piece that connects to your stroller. We have the Under the Nile Veggie Crate and this is a great way for the little MF to take his/her when we're out.

It's super soft and the color is really nice. Miyim dyes the organic cotton in a water bath with dyes from plants and minerals. As it says on the packaging it's "free of harmful substances, from start to finish."

Here is a quick low down on their organic cotton collection
  • certified organic cotton fabric (unprocessed)
  • certified non-toxic & chemical free coloring
  • low eco impact dye process
  • environmentally friendly
  • non-irritant to sensitive skin
  • MiYim has an ethical labor policy
We're buying a lot of organic and fair labor stuff for our pre-kid. In fact he/she will have more of that type of stuff than we have. I think it's easier to do with a child because we're starting fresh but also a bunch of smaller companies are out there making organic products for kids.

It makes sense to me because most of this stuff ends up in their mouths. Although I'm not all freaky about everything out there. I was probably chomping on lead paint as a kid and I'd always play with mercury when a thermometer broke. Still if there is a cool alternative and I can support a smaller company I'll do it.



Another pregnancy update post: he said/she said version.

By kenny friedman on Monday, December 21, 2009

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How far along? 34 weeks and 5 days.

Total weight gain/loss: I don't understand the question.

Stretch marks? Nope. 

Sleep: Nope.

Best moment this week: Baby passed the biophysical with flying colors...8/8.

Movement: Tons.

Food cravings: Anything edible.

Gender: Either a boy or a girl.

Labor Signs: Head down (the baby's).

Belly Button in or out? Sort of looks like the Snorks from the cartoon from the 80s.

What I miss: Sleeping on my stomach.

What I am looking forward to: Kissing the babies itty-bitty toes.

Weekly Wisdom: It's OK to admit that while this is amazing it's not always easy.

Milestones: So close to full term.



How far along? Just under 35 weeks, according to the voodoo math.

Total weight gain/loss: Down another half pound which makes the total 3.5 pounds...I've slacked a bit.

Stretch marks? No.

Sleep: I've been falling asleep an hour and a half earlier but getting up a half hour earlier so it's about an hour more than before.

Best moment this week: Folks at my job threw me a surprise baby shower and they had my favorite drink there...salty dogs which are greyhounds (vodka and grapefruit) with salt on the rim.

Movement: A lot, and it's still freaking weird

Food cravings: I invented a snack that I'm going to patent...but I'll let you know...it's 1 part kettle chips and 1 part Frito's Scoops...put in a bowl and enjoy.

Gender: If it's a girl it will be grounded from dating for the first 20 years of her life.

Labor Signs: No, I'm all good...thanks for asking.

Belly Button in or out? Same as it ever was.

What I miss: Knowing the tells on Wii Punch-Out...I just bought it and love it...a lot of the characters are the same as the original Nintendo version of the game but I forget the secrets...I know I can Google them but I want to figure them out again.

What I am looking forward to: Hanging with the kid.

Weekly Wisdom: I'm a bit stressed out...I know women have it rough but guys do too even tough we're not carrying around a little being inside of us...and I've been on edge the last couple weeks so sorry to all (especially Staci).

Milestones: I put a dent in my In-Law's car...it was the first time that's happened so I think that's a milestone, right? And then I left a door ajar or something so when I needed to pick them up to drive them to the airport the car wouldn't start...banner week.

This post sponsored by Jesse LeDoux.



Gear Thursday: 2 gifts from our shower

By kenny friedman on Thursday, December 17, 2009

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We had our baby shower last weekend and Staci and I both bought gifts for the pre-kid. So I thought I'd show those because I like them.


I bought a Sex Pistols 'God Save the Queen' onesie. It's a super soft. The crown in her hair, and the safety pin in her lip are metallic ink which is a nice touch...I was just schooled by folks at work for just saying metallic and not metallic ink...hence comment number 1. It also comes in baby shirts.


Staci got an Ebulobo Woodours Daddy and Baby Bear stuffed toy. She wins because her gift is awesome and it was sweet that she wanted to get a dad and baby toy.

The baby bear, which has a rattle inside, lives in the daddy bear's tree trunk stomach. The Daddy bear holds a removable fishing pole and flower. The flower has crinkle paper inside. The dad carries a bag that has a fish in it, you can pull the fish, which is on a string, and it wiggles back in the bag.

This video shows how everything works. While I don't understand French I believe it says that since the baby bear has velcro on it's hands you can make it choke the dad's neck or try to suffocate the dad by squeezing it's nose.



Ebulobo also makes a cool red riding hood wolf toy and more that you can see on their site.



Random shorts

By kenny friedman on Monday, December 14, 2009

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One:
Some of Staci's friends threw her a baby shower this weekend. A bunch of our friends came as well as her mom...and my mom flew in for a special appearance. We got some awesome stuff so I wanted to thank all the people who came, and her friends for putting it on.

Staci and I both got gifts for the pre-kid...I'll post them Thursday.

Two:
The baby room is just about done. I have to frame 2 pieces of art...then we need to get some sheets for the mattress. We started early...the slacked off...but it looks like we're finishing on time.

Three:
The baby turned head down and dropped. Since it wasn't head down in our last ultrasound Staci was able to get another to make sure all was good...in the pics they saw a full head of hair...kinda cool they can tell.

The pre-kid's freaking huge...you can feel it's butt and head and see arms, knees or feet pushing out.

Of course I mean huge based on it's current housing situation. Staci is worried that we'll blow through newborn clothes too fast. I'm a whopping 5'6" and she clocks in at a tremendously tall 5' even.

If our child is good at basketball it may have a chance at being the next Muggsy Bogues, but I doubt it will even have a chance at being the next Spud Webb...so I think it will get good use of newborn sized clothes.

Five:
This is our last Hanukkah without a baby...and we've been bad because our menorah isn't even out. Although we each had a latke that a friend made so that should be enough. Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate it.

Three:
We got a pack and play from Sears...for free...it's because they screwed up so many times with delivery of a washer and dryer and then repair of the dryer. When they screw up they send you gift cards...a friend has a theory that it's pretty easy to get $150 each time, but I think $75 is cake, $150 takes more skill. But that's also because I get super pissed while he is calm...and Staci is calm to so she was able to get $150 for their second mess up.

So if you ever have a problem with them you should call or email...you should get a gift card easily.

And yeah the pack and play isn't super Montessori-like but it's going to be our bassinet until our kid moves to the floor bed.




Gear Thursday: some of our favorite Etsy finds.

By kenny friedman on Thursday, December 10, 2009

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I get emails almost everyday, sometimes a couple times a day from paypal letting me know that I've paid somebody for something. It's because Staci is a bit addicted to Etsy.

I thought I'd share with you some of our fave finds...there are of course a lot more, but these are rising to the top to me right now.



The first is Urban Thimble they have super cute onesies/bodysuits. Minimal felt graphics on good quality clothes, the one we got was American Apparel. Sadly I just found out she's giong out of business so if you're digging this from you should head to her store and snap some up.



Staci did find Finch Design and they offer similar stuff. The baby bodysuits (what's the difference between a body suit and a onesie?) are all fair trade which is awesome. You can check out the Finch Design stuff here.





Next is One Lucky Baby...maker of cool, super soft blankets and little stuffed animals called tweets. We just grabbed a the blanket shown, but might pick up some tweets, because they are cute...we need to see how the room goes first. That blanket however is awesome...the minky side is that crazy soft fabric that didn't exist when I was a kid, and the other side is a great vintagey pattern...a ton of patterns and color combos are available here.



And last, one of our all time faves and sponsor of my first contest is Orange Rhino. Super simple awesome designs on high quality American Apparel gear...my fave is the Brown Owl hoodie. Their Etsy store is here.

Well a bit of a down and dirty post because I'm laying low this week as we jam to put the final touches on the baby room and get ready for a baby shower this weekend.

And if you have 1.6 more seconds please click on the banner below. It will give me a vote and all you need to do is click it. Thanks.
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I rank 5th in a google search for 'businessy'

By kenny friedman on Friday, December 04, 2009

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So this is going to be a businessy post in hopes that I increase my rank in searches for 'businessy, ' which probably no one searches for anyway...and has no relation to my blog...but I feel this will be my ticket to making billions.

Some day I'll do a post on the crazy searches that take people here, but besides businessy I can tell you I get quite a few people here from a search of combination of the words: squishy, fruit, plums, nectarines, pregnancy. A lot of people apparently search that stuff. It comes from my post about Staci's cravings.

Any way google searches aren't the only reason I'm doing this post.

I have an update on my giveaway for the book ABCs for Expectant Dads. Everyone who entered won. The author was kind enough to give signed copies to all the folks who entered...that's awesome. Congrats.

I have another awesome giveaway going on. It's for some Kid Basix gear; first place gets a Safe Sippy2 cup and a Safe Starter bottle while second place will receive a Safe Sippy2. They are lightweight stainless steel and BPA free. Value of 1st prize is around $30. They'd also make great gifts so head over here to enter.

And last, my blog is up for an award. If you dig my blog please click the badge below to vote for me. I can win a $50 gift card to BabyGap which would be sweet because we have bought few clothes in as much as we don't know what variety of baby we're having.

mom2be blog awards by Pregnancy Corner.com



Gear Thursday: my thoughts on cameras (and video recorders)

By kenny friedman on Thursday, December 03, 2009

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With the holidays coming up a lot of friends have been asking my opinion on what camera to get because they are looking to upgrade. Most questions are what's coming up? What looks good? And what's the best for them? I try to stay current but I admit I'm a bit behind since I bought my last camera a few months ago.

I'd love to do a post about what would be a great camera for all my readers...but since you all have different needs that would be tough. Plus there are dedicated sites out there that rock...I'll get to them later.

There are a couple of things I always look for when searching cameras..I'll share that info here. This is high level so you can use this as just a starter guide. I won't really get into what is the best.

A lot of folks look at megapixels and think that more is better...this isn't always true. Yes 10 is better than 6.  If you're never print over 10x6 you'd be fine with 6MP, however what if you get an amazing shot? You'll be bummed you can't print larger. Design 215 has a good guide on printing sizes of different MPs.

However if you go above 10MP on a consumer camera you start degrading image quality because there are too many lenses on a small sensor. 12MP is okay...more than that is a waste...actually not a waste, it's bad. One exception is the Canon 7D DSLR...they figured out a new way to arrange 18MP on a small sensor and keep image quality. I just bought one and it's awesome...highly recommended if you want to drop the cash.

Another thing I look for are batteries. With a point and shoot camera I want AA batteries. The reason I like AAs is because you can get them anywhere. If I'm traveling and I run out of batteries I can go into any store and grab batteries. Plus AA rechargeables are super cheap compared to proprietary camera batteries.

Sadly it's getting harder to find cameras that take AAs one reason is it makes for a large camera and everyone wants a camera that can fit in their jeans. Also the camera manufacturers make a lot on batteries.



Years ago I got a great Fujifilm camera that is 9MP, shoots raw and uses AAs. Sadly they killed that line of cameras. There is one really nice Canon point and shoot that uses AAs. The PowerShot Sx20 IS. It also has image stabilization, takes HD movies and has 20x optical zoom. It is 12MP but has received some good reviews on image quality. It's not super cheap at $370 but it is really nice.

If you do go with a camera that has proprietary batteries you should get at least one extra, if not two...how much would it suck to be without batteries when your kid is being cute?



Another Canon I'm eyeing is the Canon PowerShot G11...you'll see a lot of pros use this or the Leica D-Lux 4 as their walking around camera. What I love about the G11 is Canon downgraded the megapixel from the 15MP G10 to make this 10MP...the really worked on image quality and realized that is more important than the pixel war. Both of these cameras allow for an external flash so you're getting close to DSLR image quality and control with a lot less cost.

Before I got my Canon 7D which takes awesome HD video, we purchased a mini video recorder. It won't go to waste because it's pocketable while the 7D is not.



The most popular of these style camcorders are the Flips. I went for the Kodak Zx1 for a couple reasons. In reviews it got better grades than the Flips for image quality. Plus it uses memory cards while the Flip has built in memory. Again let's say you're out and your kid is being super cute, you want to take some video and you hit the built in memory limit...and like most people haven't downloaded in a bit...you're screwed. With memory cards you can buy a lot of back ups as they are super cheap...but you need to keep them on you. Plus the Zx1 uses AAs and you already heard my thoughts on that. Kodak just launched a new camcorder on their other line. It's called the Zi8. It uses memory cards but not AAs.

So those are some of my thoughts. I hope it helps if you are trying to make a decision buying a camera or video recorder.



A bit of a scare but a lot of learning

By kenny friedman on Wednesday, December 02, 2009

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2:00 A.M. Sunday morning Staci woke me up because she had some pains in her bellyish area/ribs. I comforted, cuddled her and took care of her in every way possible.

Okay let's start this over a bit. I am not a morning person...at all. I can go to sleep whenever but I can't wake up early. And when I'm woken up I'm not happy...I don't talk...if under duress I will only grunt or spit out short sentences. That's why we have a plan that once the little dude/dudette is born I will be taking care of it late night. So here is how it actually went down.

Staci told me she was having some pains...I said something like "yeah?" and went back to sleep. About a half hour later she told me she was still having pains...I told her they were Braxton-Hicks....and went back to sleep. About 15 minutes later she was writhing in pain...I asked if she wanted to go to the hospital...and told her it was probably Braxton-Hicks. She went down stairs and grabbed her coat. I took the dog to pee since we weren't sure how long we'd be gone.

Then I went to grab my keys..they were MIA...no biggy because she has keys. Then I went to find my money clip...it's where I hold my credit cards, if there is ever cash in it I keep the big bills on the outside...and those would be singles.  Couldn't find my clip...Staci had her cards so we didn't need mine. But I have a really big thing on leaving without ID and credit cards...so I'm running up and down the stairs looking for my money clip and some good luck...I found my keys. Then one more trip upstairs and I found my money clip.

Oh...this just in..we have a guest blogger...Staci is going to tell the story in her words.

I woke up in the middle of the night, about 3 in the morning, with soreness and stabbing pain. Sat up, went to the bathroom because that is what I do about every 20 minutes now adays...the pain was horrible.  I woke Kenny up, said "Kenny I'm in a lot of pain." He said "oh" and went back to sleep. I sat up again to see if it would go away and told him I was hurting, he said "Braxton-Hicks...its Braxton-Hicks"
I went downstairs to the couch while Kenny slept. The pain got even worse.  It just didn't feel right. I decided to call the on call OB.  I explained what was going on and she told me to go to the ER.  They said it sounded like my gall bladder or preterm labor.
I yelled up to Kenny who was still sleeping (soundly) and said...we need to go to the ER.  I was pretty much ready.  I grabbed my shoes, purse and waited for Kenny.  All I heard was..."where is my wallet" "have you seen my keys?" "should I take out the dog".  From the couch I yelled to him, "take out the dog in case we don't get back in a few hours, I have keys and my purse - lets just go..."
Then I heard Kenny brushing his teeth (which takes forever).  I thought this must be a joke.  Then he seemed to be muddling through the laundry saying something about his wallet and asking me if I have seen his money clip.  Then he asked me what jeans he wore last night (because maybe the wallet was in there)...meanwhile,  I was on the couch in terrible pain just waiting.  I reminded him that I had everything we needed and I had to get to the ER.
After about 10 minutes Kenny came running down the stairs.  He still muttered something about having to put on his shoes, find his keys and take out the dog...time passed and I just sat there watching him run around looking for his things, trying to get the dog ready (which is quite simple), etc.  It was actually comical. 
Finally after about 20 minutes, I got up off the couch and went to the car.  He eventually got his stuff together and we headed to the hospital.
It may have happened a bit more like her story but there is no way to tell for sure.

Any way, now we're at the  hospital. She was admitted to the ward that she'll give birth in so it was good to see it. Her doctor wasn't on call but they all work closely together so she was in good hands.

Since they had originally thought gall bladder, I guess it can go wacky when pregnant, she got an ultrasound for that and it wasn't the problem. So they hooked her up to a heartbeat monitor for the pre-kid and a contraction monitor. Then doctor after doctor came in and tried to figure out what was going on with her. It was kind of like an episode of House...pretty cool from my side because I geek out on science...Staci wasn't loving it.

Well after 12 hours they figured she was having contractions...but it wasn't really like pre-term labor because the was no dilation and the baby wasn't ready. Did you know there is some fluid they can test for that if present means the baby will be born in 2 weeks? Well there is and that wasn't present...but here's the deal...how did they figure that out? Did they test people every week of pregnancy for every fluid and such? Probably...and the first person to figure it out was amazing...that's why I love science.

That episode was a bit scary, but she's better now after a couple days rest. Not great, but good.

Here's one of the things I learned because of this trial run. I have some suggestions on goodies to pack in the hospital bag...things that you may not think of. So here are some additions for your bag:

A camera – I know you're probably thinking of bringing a camera...but let's say you/your wife/friend (depending on reader) is in labor. You will grab her overnight bag but will you remember the camera? Maybe not. I forgot mine and what would have happened if she was early? So put the camera in the bag now. Only have one camera? Get another...that's what the 2nd Amendment is all about...people think that they mean guns when they say arms...they mean cameras and lenses and it's the 2nd Amendment because to stress the need for a second camera...that's a fact.

You need extra batteries for the camera...if it takes proprietary batteries buy at least one extra...you will be bummed if you run out.

Toothbrushes – In case you aren't able to brush your teeth on the way out. One for each of you...and toothpaste is a good thing too.

An iPod

Phone cords – get extras if you can...put them in the bag now...you'll want your phone to work.

Some snacks – the preggo one will get food at the hospital and probably won't be able to eat outside stuff...the non-pregnant one can eat whatever they want. I hate hospital food, and I am not a fan of vending machine food so I'm gonna bring snacks. If you like hummus check out the Sabra's hummus cups to go with flat pretzels. Not the best hummus in the world, but good and super easy to transport...I'm gonna make sure I have some on hand for the next couple months.

Also if you're delivering a short 10 minute drive from Little Tel-Aviv in St. Louis Park, MN your friends and relatives can pick you up a falafel sandwich (no tomatoes) and fries, with some hot sauce on the side. Please take note friends and relatives.

Miscellaneous – something that will make your wife smile...because if the rumors are true labor isn't super fun. I packed a fake apple. When we move to our new house Staci bought 5 fake apples for the table...I'm not sure if they ever actually went out. She hated them soon after bringing them home. Every so often I'd put one under her pillow...she hated it but it made her laugh. Then one day she threw them out...but I found them. So I wrote notes on all of them and stuck them all over the house when I was out for a week long business trip. Only one is left but I break it out every once in a while...that's what I brought. She smiled.



And last...keep your keys and credit cards, IDs and med cards handy...we use these Key Holdersto hang our keys...as unorganized as I am you'll usually see the 'His' one in there, but you will never see the 'Her' one in there.

The moral of the story is I've been banned from saying Braxton-Hicks.



Random shorts: things I've learned or have been thinking

By kenny friedman on Tuesday, December 01, 2009

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One:
On Wednesday Staci learned that she had Gestational Diabetes. So on Friday we headed to a class to learn how to deal with it through diet and such. I was kind of dreading the class. Then I saw a clear tub with fake plastic food in it...wow...fake burgers, pizza and rice can't lead to good things. Luckily since it was the day after Thanksgiving we were the only one in the class. When all was said and done it was actually an interesting class. Of course a lot of info was basic but there was good stuff on carb servings vs. actual serving. It made me really think about when I order curry fried rice, eat the whole thing and fall asleep hard..maybe it's too many carbs.

Thanks to all the twitter folks who gave me info on GD.

Tomorrow I have another story about our adventures this weekend...that one includes 2 words I'm no longer allowed to say.

Two:
I wrote a guest blog for Jen over at MOmMy bRain it's about some of my new irrational fears including the crazy floppy necks of newborns, the soft part of the head and loser boyfriends if we have a girl. Jen's blog is great to so look around while you're there. Great info there, and great stories about raising her daughter Jane. She's tells it like it is too, which I like. 

Three:
I have 2 giveaways going on now. One for a great book called ABCs for Expectant Dads. That one ends tomorrow December 2 so enter here.

Then check out my giveaway for a Safe Sippy2 travel cup and a Safe Starter bottle from Kid Basix. Both are BPA-free and lightweight stainless steel. 2 winners so enter here.

Four:
I got another of those blog awards, this time from Hayley who writes a great blog I follow called Little Pinwheel. There are a lot of amazing images...her husband is a great photographer...and great stories. She also gives readers a heads up on some of the stuff in her store. I'm not going to do another post for the award...you can check my original here.


Five:
Please click this link to vote for my blog. I ask that a lot, I know, but you can click once a day. All you need to do is click to help keep this little daddy blog in the Top 10 of the baby blogs. Thanks
Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs



Gear Thursday with a Giveaway: Safe Sippy2 from Kid Basix

By kenny friedman on Wednesday, November 25, 2009

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If you've been reading this blog for a while you may remember I did a post about the Safe Starter from Kid Basix. It's a stainless steel bottle with a silicon sleeve and is a great alternative to plastic bottles because it's sturdy and BPA free. Check out the original post for all the info.

Kid Basix actually has a full line of great products all of them stainless steel and BPA free. One of their newest products is the Safe Sippy2.

I had to move some of my reviews off this blog so please click here to see the whole thing...it's easy.



A little blog award

By kenny friedman on Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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Last week I was awarded a blog award called the Kreative Blogger award. Carli from MiniLaLa gave it to me...thanks Carli.

There are some things they tell you to do when accepting the award so here they are:
1. Copy the picture and post it on your blog.
2. Thank the person that gave it to you and link to their blog.
3. Write 7 things about yourself we don't know.
4. Choose 7 other bloggers to pass the award to.
5. Link to those 7 other bloggers.
6. Notify your 7 bloggers.

So here are seven things you all probably don't know about me:
1. I geek out about science and I came really close to adding Physics or Anthropology on as a double major to my Photo degree...but that required too much school.
2. In 1991 I made the last call for the first season of MTV Real World.
3. A couple years ago I got to hang out with Maya Angelou at her house while art directing a photoshoot for Target. Kwaku Alston was the photographer. Dr. Angelou is amazing.
4. I learned to whistle by watching the The Breakfast Club.
5. I broke my left collarbone at some point in my life but have no idea when...I found out when I had my right shoulder x-rayed for a re-injury to a separation.
6. Two days after my wife had sinus surgery I accidentally elbowed her in the nose in the middle of the night...it was horrible.
7. I was an awesome drawer until I took my first photo class...my drawings suck.

Here are seven blogs I dig...I have put some baby blogs on here before so I'll buck the trend and let you know what inspires me:
1. Wooster Collective – great street art
2. Public Ad Campaign – they take on illegal outdoor advertising so we can take back our public spaces and add art...some cool campaigns
3 Oh Joy! – design, inspiration and awesomeness in general
4. No Legacy – design, art, fashion, photography, architecture and culture
5. Fresh 365 – awesome vegetarian recipes
6. Design Sponge – design and more
7. Look at This Fucking Hipster – hipsters 

Hope you enjoy these blogs..thanks again Carli.



Another Fantastic Fox...I'll get there eventually and then go on another tangent.

By kenny friedman on Monday, November 23, 2009

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Fair warning...this post is long and goes all over the place so here is a spoiler: I think the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, coming out Thanksgiving day, looks awesome. That being said you can stop reading and go about your day.

Two weeks ago I did a post about a cute stuffed toy called Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox stuffed toy we got. This week the caliber of fox I'm writing about is even better.

Last week I got an email from a marketing agency that is working to promote the new animated movie Fantastic Mr. Fox. They found a bunch of bloggers and offered them the opportunity to have a conference call with Jason Schwartzman, one of the stars, to chat about the movie. I wasn't able to participate because it was during my 9ish - 5ish.

At first when I got the email about the call I was super psyched...I'm a fan of Schwartzman and I think the movie looks awesome. But the same day I got the email about the call I was bombarded with about 15 other emails about products that people felt would be "perfect fits" for my reader's interests. People wanting me to pimp their stuff sometimes for free sometimes for lucrative partnerships and sometimes for swag...I kind of felt dirty.

But let's rewind a bit. I started writing this blog four months ago on the suggestion of a friend who thought I had a unique outlook on becoming a father, and was amused when I'd say things to Staci that normal men would self edit.

I had zero expectations for the blog, had no idea what I'd write...I still have no idea where this is going or what direction it will take and that's why I like writing it. I wasn't sure if anyone would read it, I didn't know how it would be received and I didn't expect the warm response from folks like you, yes you...no seriously I'm talking about you, not the other people who are reading this.

Shortly after I started the blog emails would trickle in from people giving me a heads up on their products. Some totally didn't fit the blog...some were pure crap and some may have fit the blog but weren't my style.

Later the emails picked up...a lot more folks had awesome product that would be a perfect fit for my blog. It got to the point that when someone sent me an email saying that his friend thought I'd enjoy a video he linked to, I was weary that it was some marketing ploy...that he was selling something. But really he just wanted to share an awesome video that I will be posting later.

Last week, maybe because of the holidays, I got a lot of emails. Like I said earlier one day I got about 15. And again most were things I wasn't interested in. But a couple were cool. So I had to think about what I want this blog to be. It's really about my experience of becoming a dad...it's about that journey and will soon be about the next step of being a dad.

I do talk a bit about gear because as we started to prepare for our baby I found some cool products. I wasn't expecting to geek about about baby stuff and when I did I decided to start Gear Thursday to show the cool things I found. But that is a small part of this blog.

While I like sharing what I find I don't want to just become a shill for companies who are looking for free press. I understand companies that want to get there products out there to a targeted audience..that's cool, and if one contacts me about and I geek out on their product maybe I'll share here. But I don't want this blog to lose it's real purpose...to share my story...it's not to market products.

My whole struggle comes from the fact that I make my living in marketing. I love marketing...but I'm super cynical about it. And since I get paid to build brands during the day I don't necessarily want to do it on my off time...especially for free. Not that I'm asking folks to pay me for reviews or posts...I'd feel weird about that because I find it hard to trust paid reviews.

That being said I'm digging the new blogger rules that require disclosure of payment. I will fully disclose if I got swag or such for any posting or payment for review...in 2 reviews (this being one, the other is coming up soon) I got some swag. And I'm also not saying that I wouldn't take cash to partner on a promotion, I'm not gonna shoot myself in the foot and lose out on something good. But it would have to be good, feel like a natural fit to me and something I think you'd all care about.

So like I said earlier I got the email about Fantastic Mr. Fox. Maybe I'm looking into this too much, taking this too seriously maybe I'm being too self aggrandizing. But I'm torn because I really think this movie looks cool, and I was thinking of doing a post about it anyway because I love the choice Wes Anderson made on the style of animation, but like I said I don't want to sound like a shill...I don't want you all to think I'm writing about it because I'm getting paid, which I'm not.

But I thought about it and I really do want to talk about the movie because I love that it bucks the current trend of animation.

When I first heard that all animated movies moving forward would be in 3D I was kind of bummed. I thought all movies would have that saccharine look of Wall-E or Up...I enjoyed both those movies but I was bummed because I thought there would be no variety in the style.

It's awesome that Wes Anderson decided go the stop motion route. I think most directors would have opted for the easy route of the new 3D animation. His choice is similar to Spike Jonze's choice of using real people in costume for the Wild Things and using CGI just for the mouths. They are both fantastic directors and I love that they took a chances. Even more so I like that the movie companies gave them a chance...I know that Where the Wild Things Are was almost killed but someone at Warner Brothers got the balls to stand behind it.

I can't really write a review on the movie because I haven't seen it, and although the audio of call with Schwartzman was interesting what was said will probably be in other blogs or news articles.

So instead of talking about that I think I'll just show some behind the scenes shorts that were shared with me...because this is the stuff I really love about stop motion. I'm fascinated with the way these movies are made.

The Puppet Shop with Wes Anderson and Bill Murray


Mr. Fox's World


I also thought it was super cool, and kind of crazy that Anderson acted out all scenes by himself so the animators could know what to capture and how to create realistic movements.


I don't want to bore you with all the stuff you can read on sites that are better at movie reviews...but the cast looks awesome. I am a fan of Clooney, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray and Willem Dafoe...and Jason Schwartzman is pretty freaking cool too.

If you dig Schwartzman I suggest checking out Bored to Death on HBO...it's one of my favorite shows. I actually wanted to hate the show before even watching it...but decided to give it a chance. One reason I wanted to hate it because I want to hate Zach Galifianakis...I think because his beard makes him look like a hipster and I'm not a fan of hipsters...one on one I can handle them but as a group...meh. However his stand up is freaking hilarious...he was awesome in The Hangover and he is so good in Bored too...so good. I promise that someday I will find a reason to hate Zach...maybe I can hate him for not being hateable.

Another reason I wanted to hate Bored to Death was Ted Danson...I had my fill of Sam Malone and Becker...but he too is awesome in Bored (and he's great as himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm too.) And I suppose since I'm trying to be a total hater about this show I should hate Schwartzman too. He does look like a guy I went to high school with, but he's a friend so I don't think that's a strong reason to hate an actor. I'll figure out why I should hate Schwartzman and update later.

So that's my little review on Fantastic Mr. Fox...it's pretty freaking sad as reviews go but I hope you like the videos...you can see more here. The movie comes out Thanksgiving...I'll proabably see it 2 weeks later because I like less crowded theaters.

I did mention I'm getting a bit of swag for posting this it's a silly little foxtail tie. I was able to shed my mandatory work day tie earlier this year so this will go to my child when it's old enough.



Gear Thursday: Retro Fisher Price

By kenny friedman on Thursday, November 19, 2009

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I was out of town the end of last week through the beginning of this week so I didn't have much time to review anything for this week...but I did find some goodies online.

Fisher Price has released some of their retro stuff including the Chatter Telephone pull toy. It's pretty much the same one that was around when I was a kid, although I assume there is less lead in the paint...hopefully no lead. The eyes still roll up and down, the mouth chatters and the dial still rings. The funny thing is kids will have no idea what it is.

When I was a kid this toy was a great primer on how to use a telephone...now it should really be an iPhone with wheels and a pull cord (patent pending by me.) Maybe you can get this for your child and then take them to a history museum and tell them how much it sucked to call a friend who had a lot of zeros in their phone number.

The only negative I saw in the Amazon reviews is that the phone cord is super short...I'm assuming that's a safety thing.



I also noticed that Fisher Price released some of the classic Little People...my fave was always the mean looking kid with the red hat. Prices of the 4 packs of these are crazy...the 4 pack of the bottom row is $21 while 4 pack of the top row is $6.50 and the 4 pack with the king, queen, dog and girl is $14...hmmm.

Fisher Price also released a retro version of the Play n' Go Barn but it got horrible reviews...it's smaller than it used to be, comes with less stuff, the doors don't open and worst of all it doesn't moo. My favorite part of the toy was the moo...I used to be able to imitate it perfectly. So if anyone from Fisher Price reads this please do us some good and release the original barn...thanks.

Oh and I know we said we weren't doing a lot of plastic because the whole Montessori thing...but this doesn't count.

One last thing...it's a fact that if you make a wish and then click the banner below your wish will come true...and I'll get a vote on Top Baby Blogs. You don't need to do anything but click. Thanks.
Vote For Us @ topbabyblogs.Com!



Trying to figure out what babies are thinking

By kenny friedman on Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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I just got back from a trip to Chicago to see some old friends. While there I stayed at with friends who have 2 kids.

Their youngest is 13 months...he's just on the verge of talking. He'll say small words like dada and up. I was semi fascinated by him.

He's at that age where he's to young to speak but also too young to get frustrated that we don't understand him. I have never actually spent good time with a kid that age. I'm used to that stage he'll be at in a month or even a few weeks. That stage where they really know they are saying things but we have no idea what they are saying.

I'm totally geeked out by human development...that's actually one reason kids really used to freak me out. Their brains are sponges and I think babies are relatively more intelligent than adults...different knowledge but they have crazy brain development and learning ability. Plus they observe and judge everything they see...it's intimidating.

Any way it was so cool to see him so happy with life and just speaking whatever he wanted. His mom could start to understand some of the things he was trying to say..I can never understand kids. However I asked him if he still believes in Santa Claus. Then I said something like 'you don't even understand what I'm talking about.' I swear he said "I understand."




Gear Thursday: Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox by Bird and Little Bird

By kenny friedman on Thursday, November 12, 2009

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Well I was going to talk about strollers this week and mention how we went with a Maclaren Easy Traveller because we heard from so many parents that this simple, lightweight system is much more convenient than regular all in one strollers. But then the recall went out. While I'm sure the fix will be fine I am going to hold off until I get the hinge guards and reevaluate then.

So here's something more fun anyway...Staci found it on Etsy. It's a custom made fox toy made by Annie who goes by Bird and Little Bird. The fox is made of all natural materials and filled with organic cotton.She also offers a custom bunny and patterns for both.

While Annie does offer some ready made foxes what's cool about her stuff is that she works with you to customize it to go with your nursery or whatever you want. The body is linen but she will send you pictures of swatches to be used for the ears, arms, legs and scarf.

There are buttons on the arms and legs so maybe it should go on a shelf until you're child is old enough to be around that stuff.

It takes about a week from when you decide on the fabric to when it's shipped. Last week we received the one we bought and we love it. I'd show pics but you'll have to wait until I show more pics of the room. I'm really behind in taking photos.

You can also check out her blog here.



New Giveaway: ABC's for Expectant Dads - 10 awesome copies

By kenny friedman on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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Winners have been picked for the giveaway. Todd was so nice as to give all who entered by the deadline a copy of his book. Thanks all who entered...I sent an email to you for your info. Please email me (info on the header) if you don't get that email. Rommel I could not find your email...please let me know your contact info.



A bit ago I found Todd Lieman in Twitterland and he sent me a copy of his book ABC's for Expectant Dads: The Ultimate A- for Dads-in-Training. I'd looked at a bunch of expectant dad books and I thought most were terrible. I did pick up The Expectant Father and I liked it but I haven't looked at it in months.

I think it's tough for dad's because we're just reading about what's going on with the mothers and it's easier to hear it from them. Staci is reading so much that she keeps me up to date on things I should know and I'm sure most expectant moms are the same. I'm also luckily in that doing this blog has connected me to a bunch of great moms, new-moms and expectant-moms so I'm getting tons of good info.

The books also offer a lot of info on support and taking care of yourself but that seems like a no-brainer to me.

So when I got this book I was expecting more of the same...I was expecting to be bored. Then I looked through it. I think it's truly awesome. I actually wrote Todd to let him know this would be the book I'd write if someone was fool enough to pay me to write a book. (Please use the email tab above to contact me about that book deal...thanks.)

It's basically laid out in a desk reference or encyclopedia style with the chapters from A-Z. Each letter/chapter has all the terms you need to know with short definitions each. It has serious stuff like; Ectopic Pregnancy, Cutting the Cord and every blogger mom's favorite Mucous Plug. But the book also has personality by talking about: Free Time (not having any,) walking on Egg Shells, and two of my faves Potty (having to say it) and the Due Date (the math being fuzzy.) Todd also touches on products, family and social changes. It ranges from before birth to the first few months with baby.

Trust me, it's a great book for expectant dads, new dads and even expectant moms...Staci learned some stuff from it.

Here's the deal with the giveaway...Todd has been incredibly generous and is offering signed copies to 10 lucky readers of this blog.

Prize: 10 signed copies of ABCs for Expectant Dads (one copy per winner...10 winners.)

How to enter:
I'm going to make this easy with 2 ways to enter, both involve leaving a comment:

Method 1: just leave a comment below about who you'd give the book to. Is it for you, your friend, husband or whoever. Please include your email in the comment if you don't have an email connected to your Google Connect account. You can format it like: whoever -at- wherever - dot - com, or whatever way you want.

Method 2: tweet about this contest. In the tweet add @smonkyou and a link to this contest. Then leave a comment below letting me know you tweeted and please add a link to the tweet. Please include your email in the comment if you don't have an email connected to your Google Connect account. You can format it like: whoever -at- wherever - dot - com, or whatever way you want.


The contest will run 3 weeks and will end December 2. I will announce the winners (picked via random.org) on this post. Good luck!



Random thoughts: a trial run, time and pseudo science

By kenny friedman on Monday, November 09, 2009

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This was once again written on the bus so pardon the typos.

One:
We had a 24 hour trial run as parents this week when a friends 2 year old son stayed at our house. We've had kids over but only when their parents were staying over. And Staci's watched kids a lot but no one has left their child in my care before....

It went well. I realized I'm not as bad with kids as I thought.

Part of that could be because I thought you had to talk baby talk or talk down to kids so I had no idea what to say. But I just spoke normally and it was easy. Sarcasm didn't go over well because when I asked if he wanted to fix the thermostat in our dryer he got excited.

That's when I learned the most important thing about caring for a child...you need to use misdirection.

Look at woof (what he calls are dog) was all it took to get him on a different train of thought.

He was super easy to play with and take care of. He's already potty trained which was awesome because although I'll be doing 50% of the diaper changing when we have a kid I'm not to big on changing diapers that I don't have to.

One thing that was tough was TV. He doesn't watch any so ours was off. That turned out to be a good thing.

Staci however did the lion share of the work. She is awesome.

Two:
The first three months of the pregnancy dragged on for me and we didn't even know we were pregnant for the first. That's because the 12 week appointment is so vital. 

The next 2 months went by pretty fast and that of course leads to the milestone of the 20 week appointment. The month after went by crazy fast.

Now it's dragging for me again. It seems like the due date is painfully far away. Although this is kind of good because I still need to paint the room.

For the guys out there you might not want your pregnant wife know that the time is going slowly. I made the mistake of doing that.

Three:
The baby is still head up, if that's how you say it. So the doctor wants to watch to make sure it turns in time, I know it has a lot of time so we're not worried. 

But I was thinking about it. What makes the baby know to turn head down so it's not breach? I'm sure there is some evolution there but I think there has to be more to it. Is it a conscious move? Something initiated maternally?

I shot out the question on twitter and gravity came back as an answer because the head weighs so much. Sounds pretty good but if anyone knows for sure I'd love to hear. I'm going to ask the doctor next time we see him.

Four:
If you're in Chicagoland this weekend stop by Rotofugi on Friday the 13th. My friend Jesse LeDoux the illustrator mentioned a couple times on here is having a show there. His new stuff is awesome.



Gear Thursday: Road ID Fixx

By kenny friedman on Thursday, November 05, 2009

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For this Gear Thursday I chose something that isn't baby related because I think it's a great product, and although geared towards active adults I think it would be great for kids too.



It's the Fixx ID dog tag made by Road ID. They make 6 different styles of identification but I went with the Fixx ID because it's the one that's easiest to wear all the time and it fits my style.

Identification is good to have because first responders look for them if there is an accident. They are usually looking for any kind of medical bracelet or necklace but they would see that your ID has your info and it could help them out and save time. They speak for you if you can't.

I got mine 4 years ago when I got my road bicycle and started going for long rides. Then I started wearing it while snowboarding. Next I got a scooter and just started wearing it every day so I don't forget to put it on. Now that my family is growing I find it even more important to have my info at hand in case something happens.

You can customize the back by adding 7 lines of info or go with a new "interactive" style that has a phone number, web address and unique ID number so first responders can call to get you most up to date information. When I bought they only had the original so I added my name, Staci's phone number, my in-laws number as back up, drug allergies and donor info.

In addition to putting your info on the back you can choose to put one of 227 images on the front. I chose one they call Location Earth. It's a modified image of the plaque that was put on Pioneer 10 to let aliens know where we are. I guess the image was originally made by people who were afraid of alien abduction and thought it would be good to have a map back to earth on the back. While I don't believe in alien abduction I don't mind hedging my bet just in case. Plus I like the image. The real plaque is below.



Friends of mine recently received a different ID bracelet for their son. It really got me thinking that I should get one of these for my child when it's old enough to wear it.

The Fixx costs $25 while their other styles are $20 or $30. Check out Road ID.com for much more info than I can put here including some testimonials.



Anticipation of things to come

By kenny friedman on Wednesday, November 04, 2009

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Originally posted on Dad Camp:

I’m not sure how I got my views of what raising a newborn will be like, but apparently they are pretty off.

I realized it when my wife and I were discussing ditching cable. She said it would be great to have at those times our baby won’t sleep and we have to be up with him/her. I told her I’d just play some games on our Wii while I get they baby to sleep…so I won’t need cable.

I guess I kind of thought you just pick the child up when it cries, it stops, you keep it close to you for a bit and then put it to sleep. You see the only experience I’ve had with a baby waking in the middle of the night happened less than a year ago when we had friends in town and I was left with baby.

When he woke up crying I totally freaked out and called Staci to ask her what to do. She told me to figure it out. I did…I grabbed him from his pack and play at a full arms length in case of wetness. When I realized we were all good there I put him on my lap and swiveled in a chair for a few minutes. Then we both fell asleep. It was a piece of cake.

Well, Staci let me know I was lucky…it wouldn’t be so easy…there would be no Wii playing while I have our baby on my chest. Instead there will be crying, pooing, peeing more peeing, bottle filling and more. From there something clicked in my head. Something that has not gone away. Something probably equally as wrong as my first impression. I turned a complete 180.

Right now I’m expecting the first couple months to be a M.A.S.H. style meatball surgery war zone. I now picture our child, due in January, as the king or queen of total chaos. I picture zero sleep, a bunch of crying, pets freaking out, me running around like a fool looking for bottles, diapers and the baby I misplaced.

Staci and I do have a plan for taking care of the baby. I go until 3 A.M. since I can go to sleep at any time but if I wake up a minute early I’m completely useless (fair warning to my employer.) We’ll also have a ton of bottles so misplacing all of them will be hard, but I like the challenge…I think I can lose them all. I misplace things like a pro. I also have a plan for having diapers on both floors of the house so they are always ready to go.

Still although we have plans for the things that I irrationally feel will happen I can’t shake the feeling that the first few months will be M.A.S.H.-like. Super crazy, emotional, scary yet pretty hilarious to the outside viewer. I’m hoping in the next three months I can get another idea of what it will be like stuck in my head. I don’t care if it’s wrong, I’d just like the anticipation to be of a little less chaos.



Random shorts: things I've learned or have been thinking

By kenny friedman on Monday, November 02, 2009

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I was pretty sick over the weekend so I didn't think about what I was going to write. And right now my head feels like it's in a vice because of sinus pressure and I can't concentrate when I'm like that...so this will be really random.

One:
I've really been improving on the comfort level with kids thing. I again talked to a 5 year old and felt pretty comfortable. I was even engaged in the conversation and asked questions. If you've been reading you know that's a huge step for me because kids kind of scare me and until recently I could only ask them about their shoes (because Staci told me they like when you ask that.) I think that makes it a total of 3 kids that I didn't know that I felt comfortable with. Huge number.

Two:
A little setback in the above area socialization. My office had a halloween party and people brought their kids. I hid at my desk.

Also we didn't give candy out this year at home because I was feeling crappy so we hid out at the in-laws. But we planned on it. I actually really like Halloween and get excited about the candy and kids trick-or-treating. Then when it comes down to actually giving out the candy I freeze up and call Staci to the door.

She's so good with the kids asking what they are, complementing their costumes, asking them to say trick-or-treat and such. When I answer the door I just say 'Here' and give them candy.

Three:
Since I was sick I had time to catch up on movies I DVR'd. I saw Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags which is a story of the garment industry in NYC from the 60's until now. It's actual a cool look at the industry and also at our economy in general.

I also watched Who Killed the Electric Car. Both movies, coupled with a bunch of friends of mine being laid of from my old employer,  really made me think about businesses and where I want my cash to go.

I also saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Four:
Staci and I also watched Marley and Me. She had wanted me to watch it ever since she got pregnant. I didn't really want to see it because I thought it was a chick movie.

It was so good. I'm man enough to say I was crying, hard, at the end. We got a dog 3 years ago and now we're, obviously, expecting so their were some similarities there.

But it also reminded me of my awesome cat Lemmy (not from Motorhead) who died a couple years ago. It sounds weird but I was always excited to have a kid so he could meet it. I think he'd have been a great brother to a baby. But he taught Staci and I to love something that depends on us which prepared us a bit for having a baby. I suppose the dog also helped in that way but she came later.


Five:
I got a new camera this week, a Canon 7D. It was an upgrade from my xTI. I plan on taking a lot of picture of the baby. Plus I want to take pictures in the delivery room, from the waist up. I'll pretty much shoot all I can until it get's to the point where Staci tells me to put the camera down or it'll mean divorce.

If you're looking for a camera I really recommend it. I haven't played a ton, maybe when I do I'll do a post, but my initial thoughts are good. Great features, nice autofocus, I took some test shots at ISO 3200 and the the noise actually looks like film grain. Plus it takes HD video and since you're using a real lens that means you can rack focus during the video...pretty cool.




Gear Thursday: Daddy Diaper Bag Round-Up

By kenny friedman on Thursday, October 29, 2009

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I'm really into good bags. Bags that not only look cool but also work well for what they are made for. For me it's about Form and Function. If a bag has both I'm a fan.

When I started my search for a diaper bag I had low expectations...I thought I'd have to get a women's bag in black or grey. I didn't realize that they make them in styles for men. Then I started doing research and realized there are some daddy diaper bags out there.

I found 4 bags that are geared towards dads....there are more but if you're looking for a daddy diaper bag I think this round-up will be a good start. These are order of when got to check them out.




Billboard series messenger bag by Dad Gear


Dad Gear actually makes 4 styles of bags; the satchel, messenger, backpack and courier. They all come in a bunch of designs but the first three are available in the billboard series. What I like about the billboard series is that each one is unique...and they remind me of Freitag bags. The front flap is made from the vinyl of recycled billboards and since billboards are meant to withstand the elements these should withstand day to day use with no problem. You can check out their site from the current styles available...they change often.

The actual bag seemed really well made and well thought out. It's made from a sturdy polyester material that should last you a while...it was pretty thick.

I was really digging the two bottle pockets that are accessible from both the inside and outside...what's cool about that is there is quick access when needed. A cooler feature is the that under the front flap is a pocket with a wipe window...it allows you to grab wipes without having to open any pockets.

The bag has the standard features too, including: changing pad, a lot of pockets and a strap so it can hang easily from a stroller. This messenger bag was quite spacious but not too big.

The only thing I wasn't loving was that the front flap, the part with the billboard image, was stuck on with Velcro. I asked the manufacturer why it was like that and they let me know it was for easy cleaning (I can see these things getting pretty dirty) and so you can change up the design if you want. I do have to say that the Velcro on this flap was some crazy industrial strength and I wouldn't fear it coming of by accident.

The billboard series Messenger bag sells on their site for $99. Other styles of the messenger are $82.



Original Diaper Dude bag

Diaper Dude seems to be the most ubiquitous of the daddy diaper bag brands. They have a good number of styles available like a messenger bag, a Diaper Dude deluxe, backpacks and this original Diaper Dude style. I was really looking to get my hands on this bag.

Once I did get ahold of it I wasn't digging this bag at all. I had seen it after the Dad Gear bag which was sturdier. This bag is made from a thinner shiny polyester and I am not sure how it would hold up. In addition it was rather floppy and small. It might be large enough for a couple hours but I'm not sure I'd be able to stuff it with the necessities and add a camera to the bag....and I carry my camera around a lot. Maybe some of the other styles are nicer but the stores around only sold this style.

The Original Diaper Dude has the standard features too: a stroller strap, changing pad, three exterior pockets and one main pocket. It didn't have a dedicated easy access wipe pocket like the Dad Gear one...but I wouldn't have missed it had I not seen it on the other.

This bag sells for $55 while some of their other styles sell for $99+...like I said maybe some of those are better.



Dash Deluxe by Skip Hop

I'm just going to keep this one short...didn't love it...to be fair I didn't give it much time. It was kind of flimsy and pretty small. There wasn't much to it and it looks like a women's bag, but stores will put the black or camo one's in the men's section. But like I said I'm kind of picky...people gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon...




Fleurville DJ bag

Fleurville has a bunch of styles of diaper bags but they are all pretty femme except for this DJ bag. When I first saw it it reminded me of  my favorite urban day pack...the Dana Design Double Shot that Staci bought me 8 years ago...it's so well made I still have it and it looks great. Sadly Dana Design was bought by Marmot and while I'm sure their tech bags are great I'm not excited by their urban packs.

This bag has some great features that are not on the others including two fleece lined pocket for sunglasses and such...that would be awesome if I could find any of the many pair of sunglasses I have bought. I realy like that there is a removable insulated beverage holder. And it has a easy wipe access pocket...although it doesn't have a window like that Dad Gear one that rocked.

Other features include: an offset zipper for quick access to diapers, a good size interior space with 2 pockets and an expansion zipper that increases space by 25%. It does not have a stroller strap.

My favorite accessory of this bag, is that it's PVC free...that's cool but I kind of wish it was made of the material they call Re-Run which is made from plastic bottles (Diaper Dude has an eco bag made of a recycled bottle material.) In addition Fleurville was named as San Francisco Bay Area Green Business. When I have a choice I sway towards eco because to me it just makes sense...and I think it's worth the extra cash if any. You can check out their eco practices here.

I do have to mention that Fleurville was bought by JJ Cole...I don't know much about either company but I hope they don't lose this bag when they become one.

The Fleurville DJ bag runs about $89 to $120 on Amazon depending on the color.

Conclusion

Dad Gear's Bill board Series messenger bag
Pros: Sturdy, good storage, awesome access to wipes and nice front flap design. I think you could use this as a personal bag when your kid is older. 
Cons: Front flap is Velcro-ed on...but I don't see it falling off.

Diaper Dude Original
Pros: not a lot maybe their other styles are better but I couldn't get my hands on them. People on Amazon give it 5 stars... 
Cons: it felt flimsy and was super small.

Skip Hop's Dash Deluxe
Pros: not much here either...I didn't give it much time. People on Amazon like it. 
Cons: it seems femmy, nothing really stood out at me as a wow feature.

Fleurville DJ Bag
Pros: eco, I like the sling bag, unique design and sturdy. Would easily convert to a day pack when your kid is older. 
Cons: no stroller strap, material seems like it will get dirty...but you can spray it with stuff.

It was a hard choice for me between the Dad Gear messenger and the Fleurville DJ. I wound up going with the Fleurville because it felt super comfy to wear and reminded me of my Double Shot. Plus Jon Stewart supposedly uses one.

Oh...one last thing. There is a lot of chatter these days about blog reviews and such, which ones are unbiased which ones are paid etc...I am going to write up my disclosure info soon and add it to my f.a.q. but here's the deal on this post. I didn't get paid by anyone for these reviews. I did borrow some bags but didn't get any free bags...the borrowed ones are back where they belong.





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