April 29, 2010

The cutest freaking baby

Here's the deal...we entered Miloh in a "Cutest Baby Contest" in the Star Tribune...it's for the cutest baby who lives in MN or WI.

It's pretty much one of those popularity contests, although the judges have 55% weight in the competition.

But I'd still love to rock that 45% and I'd love it if you can help.

Voting for the round he's in starts Friday the 30th at 10am CST and you can vote once an hour...and how fun would it be to do that? I'm guessing super freaking fun.

You need to register on the site before you vote, but that's pretty easy. Then beginning at 10AM CST on the 30th go here, log in if you aren't already. Then vote.

There are a few rounds of voting, so I may ask for your help again soon. Thanks all.

And I want you to know I'm not saying he's cuter than your baby, that would be ridiculous...

Gear Thursday: Fraggle Rock puppets

Now you can stick your hand up a Fraggle's ass...how sweet is that. This weekend I saw these awesome hand puppets from Manhattan Toy (I think they are brand spanking new.) Not much I can or need to say about them except they look sweet (better in person than they are in the pics.) Images link to the Amazon pages. They also sell these at Creative Kid Stuff.

April 26, 2010

Observations: I'm getting all Montessori

One of the things I learned from Staci about the Montessori way is you should observe the child. And I've been doing that...not because of the Montessori thing really but because I'm kind of fascinated by baby's brains.

Here's a few of the things I've noticed, I'm sure all kids do these things but I'm having fun watching them happen.

He's starting to put things in his mouth. He's been grasping for a little bit and now he decided he's bored with that. So when he grabs something he starts to bring it to his mouth. The thing is that his hand eye coordination is not exactly where it will eventualy be...he's about 1 or 2 inches off. It's kind of cute. Depending on the thing it goes to his eye or cheek. Then, if it's the right thing, he'll get it into his mouth. He can get this Manhattan Toy teether in is mouth every time. But it's the Manhattan Toy Skwish that screws him up a bit...too much going on.

He loves the mirror...I guess most kids do. What's really interesting to me is he seems to get it. I think I heard long ago that babies don't realize it's them until a certain age (if anyone has that info I'd love to have it.) We have a bell hanging in front of the mirror. He lays under it and rings it by hitting it with his hands. Like I said he's sometimes an inch or 2 off and he misses. But what really is cool, and what I mean by 'he gets it' that when he's looking at the mirror he is able to get the bell almost ever time. It's either pure luck or he is understanding what's going on with the mirror...it's cool to watch.

He loves sleeping on his left side...he'll get all fussy until he rolls to that side. This is how he goes to sleep. Once asleep if he rolls on his back he'll be fine, but he won't really crash at night until he gets on his side.

He really thinks it's hilarious when he farts in my face. Well he's only done it once. I was smelling to see if he had a dirty diaper, something I thought I'd never do, and he farted on me. It made him giggle and smile like crazy. He was the only one that thought it was funny.

He used to get fussy after a long period of tummy time...but that no longer happens. Now it's tough keeping him on his belly. He's like a weeble wobble...every time we put him on his tummy he flips right to his back...he's come a long way form his first roll.

Miloh's also crazy observant...he looks around at everyone and everything...this includes the TV. And we don't want him to become the TV junky I am, I work better with a TV on than without. So we're a lot more conscious about when the TV is on...which I guess is good because we DVR more and watch less pure crap.

Also he loves books and such. Whenever we read to him he really checks out the pictures, one of the interesting things I've noticed is that he more often looks from the right to left, which makes me think if all kids do this. And if they do, which I don't know, is it an innate trait? Because some older languages like Hebrew and Arabic are read that way.

One of the books he's loving is Baby Read Patterns. It's a bunch of black and white patterns. Again I have dorky observations about this. He really prefers patterns with circles and patterns that are organic vs symmetrical. Other things he's digging include Warhol and Shepard Fairey's Obey stuff (the bright color prints not his collages...also I realize most is not for kids.)

So, yeah maybe I'm over analyzing things, but the inner arm-chair psychologist in my is geeking out on his goings ons. I'll probably have more of these things later as I'm really digging watching him do his thing.

April 22, 2010

I caved and decided to do a vlog

I've been seeing a few mommy and daddy bloggers doing vlogs. I'm not a huge fan of being on the lens side of a camera, let alone a video camera. But I sucked it up and I'm posting a vlog. Enjoy.

A little warning I was handholding my 7D and it's a bit shakey and let's say the focus is soft for artistic reasons.

April 20, 2010

Holy shit I have a kid

I could probably keep this as a recurring post title.

I think it all the time. On my way to get cash from the ATM. When I'm hanging downstairs while he's sleeping upstairs and I hear him on the monitor. When I go to feed him in the middle of the night and he yawns and stretches backward in my hands. When I'm making coffee. When I see Staci in the morning. When I think about what we're doing on the weekend. On my walk to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. When I hear Indian music and subsequently want Indian food for dinner. When I'm a few blocks away from home on my scooter.

Pretty much all the time it hits me that I have this awesome boy. It also hits me how incredibly tiny he is and how he's starting to get a personality.

And I think about what he's going to be like when he's older. I can't wait to see what kind of person he becomes, but I don't want to rush things...however I am so curious. I also think about when he's 12 and 13 and such and he's a total pain in the ass.

Holy shit I have a kid..and that's pretty cool.

April 15, 2010

Giveaway Gear Thursday: Paper Culture ($25 coupon code)

Gear Thursday is back this week with a giveaway from a great company called Paper Culture and I'm giving away $25 coupon codes to two different winners.

I found Paper Culture on my search for some really well designed birth announcements. Being a designer I probably should have designed them myself but the chaos of a new baby made that impossible. When I saw their announcements I was psyched...we ordered the one below.
We were super happy we went with them over some of the other places we've found. A few reasons for that...their designs are great and pretty much the style I would have designed, they are printed on really nice stock (a matte 130lb thick paper), the cards have rounded corners which makes them look nicer and real people lay out your cards.

That last one was kind of important to me. You plug in your info and a designer lays it out and sends you a proof in a couple days. You can OK it, make a change or decide not to go with it...there is no obligation. Everyone was easy to deal with and a reorder was simple (we gave out more than we thought because they were so nice.) We preferred the thick matte finish to the thinner gloss that you normally see.

And there are some other things that really separate Paper Culture from the rest.

They offers announcements for everything from baby showers to births to birthdays and bridal showers and more...a bit of a circle of life thing going on there. They also make some really cool thank-you cards and personal stationary.

They're also really eco. Paper Culture has a no cutting policy so all cards and envelopes use 100% post consumer recycled paper. Also in a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation they will plant a tree for every baby announcement ordered before the end of this month.

And one of the coolest things they do is offer free mailing and addressing. You send them a list of who you want to receive the cards and pay for stamps and they will address and stamp them. We didn't use that service this time but I think it's awesome.

You can see all those details and a chart that compares to their competitors here.
Now for the giveaway.

Winners have been chosen. Congrats to Stephanie (number 20) and Parenting in Progress (number 23) Thanks to all who entered.

Also I should mention that I was able to get a $25 code as well...with that we're going to pick some of the personalized stationary up for Miloh.

April 14, 2010

A need to ask you all for a little favor (part 3 of 3 in my GTTOD series)

Part 3 of my GTTOD series, part one is here, and part two here. This is the one where I get on my soapbox and ask for a favor...the favor will come later...it will be in obnoxious all caps and in a horribly bright color. But first let me tell you why I'm writing.
This is really about my mode of transportation to work now that it's getting nicer out. I'll be on my scooter a couple days a week...also I'll be biking around my hood more.

Which brings me to an article that inspired me to write this post. I saw a tweet from RoadID that linked to and article about a cyclist who was killed by a driver. I don't know the details of what happened, so I can't speak to it at all...but it's a tragic death.

But it does make me think a bit more as I get out on the road. That's because I see so many people not paying attention to what they are doing when they drive. You tend to notice it a bit while driving but I think you get a different point of view when on anything with 2 wheels. That's because you really need to be a defensive rider. I pretty much assume every car is trying to kill me. Also you can actually see into cars a bit more to see what folks are doing.

I've seen the cliche dude shaving, woman putting on make up and person brushing their teeth. I've also seen folks read the newspaper, one totally ingrained in a book and even a woman flipping through carpet samples while driving.

That stuff is just ridiculous, but the biggest thing that pisses me off is folks on phones. Which brings me to my plea, mostly for Twin Cities folk, but really for all.


That includes bluetooth, through the car stereo and all that...it's been proven that it's the conversation, not holding the phone, that leads to distraction and therefore accidents.
Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah via distracted.gov)
Mythbusters proved that talking on the phone is in fact more dangerous that driving under the influence. And I'm not even going to go into texting while driving because you'd have to live in a hole to not hear about how dangerous that is.

And here's the deal...I guarantee that the phone call that you're on when you drive will not save anyone's life, but there is a chance it can take someone's life. Yeah, some calls you'll get will be emergencies, like your kid spiking a fever (see yesterday's post) but I would bet that 99.44% of cell calls are not emergencies.

Plus I read somewhere recently that every time you talk on a phone while you drive an angel loses it's wings.

But seriously think about it, most of you are parents, know parents or even perhaps have parents. How horrible would it be if one of those parents was killed because of distracted driver. Killed because of something that is easily preventable. What if it's a child that is killed?

Sorry to get all gruesome but it needs to be said, and people need to change. This shit happens every day. Driving while on the phone is common place, I've done it. But it is so dangerous.

So please, please next time you're driving and you get a call think of your kids, or if you don't have them think of your family or your friends kids. Please don't pick up the phone. And if you really feel you need to please pull over to take the call.

Also please look out for folks on two wheels. The most dangerous times for a motorcyclist (and cyclsits) are when they are going straight and an car makes a left turn into them.  

So, yeah...the post is a bit more sober than my usual posts...but I really want Miloh to grow up with a dad. I try my hardest to be safe while on the scoot (full face helmet and armored jacket) and on my bike (helmet) so now I'm hoping to cut down on the distracted drivers. One thing I suggest for any biker, cyclist, runner or really any (blank)-er is to get a Road ID or similar ID in case something does happen when you're on the road.

Thanks and Miloh would thank you if he could.
Think of this face when the phone rings.
Also since I am a fan of bookends I figure I'll link out to a couple blogs I dig like I did in my first post of this trilogy. The first is The Lame Sauce by Greg, he's a dad and a cyclist. The second is Bike Snob NYC, he's a cyclist that is sarcastic and critical like me...he takes on some of the absurdity of cycling including the asses that don't seem to care about the rules of the road...good stuff.

And to ramble a bit more and beat a dead horse, Greg from The Lame Sauce just sent me a link to a post he did on his other blog District Cycling. It also talks of the dangers of cycling and cars. I think it's a good and important read.

April 13, 2010

Work travel (part 2 of 3 in my GTTOD series)

Here's my second installment of the GTTOD series. The first post can be found here. This is a bit of a two part post.

Part One – Travel:
A little over a month ago I took my first post-Miloh work trip. I was psyched for the trip because it was to Toronto, a city I have a bit of a crush on, and because we were working on some cool stuff. I was a bit apprehensive because I was leaving Miloh at 5 weeks old.

I also felt a bit of guilt to leave Staci all alone with him and with a semi-high maintenance dog. So I sent a tweet out to a bunch of mommy bloggers asking what I should do to help Staci out. I got some great ideas.

Here's a short list of the suggestions:
  • Get a cleaning person to help her out so she doesn't need to think about it.
  • Order her favorite dinner and have it delivered to her 
  • Stock up on her fave foods
  • Get her a gift
  • Put the dog in a kennel
So here was my plan. I was going to order Chinese food from the place near here that delivers (the place I now boycott because they put huge slabs of meat in my tofu dish) and stock our house with popcorn, Staci's go to snack when I'm away. I didn't need to worry about a cleaning person because we have one and she was coming while I was out...I suggest it for everyone, it's worth the cash. Kalli was booked in the "spa" she goes to. and I was going to find some goodies to bring back for her.

Here was the reality...she stayed at her parent's place to get a little extra help, so that was awesome. But that also meant that the food delivery and stock of popcorn was not needed. Kalli was at her spa. The cleaning person came. So that left the gift...I failed on that...but I didn't have much time. I did however grab some Roots stuff for Miloh including the obligatory beaver logo one, because I wore that as a kid.

So I kind of screwed my first trip up...the second I screwed up worse. Staci was going to go to her parents but her dad had strep...I should have stocked up on the popcorn and goten the take out but honestly I was so exhausted that I spaced it...sorry Staci.

So I need to step it up for future trips. That includes leaving notes or cards for her like I used to do...or notes on fake apples which I did once. We had these fake apples that she hated so they were supposed to be thrown out...but I was leaving on a trip (pre-Miloh) and decided to write notes on each one with a number (X of 5) on them. I hid them all over the house to drive her a bit crazy and make her smile. I succeeded on both fronts.

Part Two: Funny things happen when someone is away.

I did a post a bit ago about how every time Staci is out of town Kalli, our dog, gets injured somehow.

Well when I'm out of town something happens to Miloh. On my first trip away I got a bit of a frantic call about how Miloh fell off the couch and on to his head...he was brought to the clinic and all was good.

On my second trip I got a frantic call that Miloh spiked a fever. It was few days after his vaccinations so we were told to watch for it. Staci felt that he was hot and took his temp, which was high, and called the hospital. They said to bring him in. Her mom came with her for support but it was prett traumatic for them. But Miloh didn't seem to care much as he was poked and proded for blood and had a cathatar used to siphon some pee...he's a calm kid.

The good thing is all was good, he was fine. Actually his fever went down by the time he arrived at the hospital.

Which beings me to some advice for guys out there. Do not ever ask your wife and/or Mother-in-Law if they added a couple degrees onto your child's temperature just so he can be seen by doctors. It doesn't go over well. Then let's say you ask the question, don't ask if they are lying.

So I'm wondering which trip costs us more, Staci out of town and us being stuck with vet bills, or me being out of town and us being stuck with hospital bills. I fear it's when Staci goes out because vets are crazy expensive and Kalli has been maimed pretty good.

April 12, 2010

GTTOD: Go to the office dad (part one of three)

About a week ago I was chatting with a friend about being a working dad. I was saying how it's not easy but we're not really supposed to talk about that...he agreed. So I decided that I'd take this week to write some posts about being a GTTOD or Go To The Office Dad.

I should start by saying I know it's tough being a Stay At Home Mom, and if you check out this great post from Heir to Blair you can see her thoughts on being a Working Mom. Then if you check out some of the comments you can see a lot of the crap she got for stating how it's not a walk in the park.

Staci now wears the Working Mom badge...it's not easy for her to be away from Miloh, but luckily in a year and a half he'll be in her school so it will make her 9-5 easier. I know that's a long time away.

Next there are the guys...there are Stay At Home Dads. Dads are in that role for various reason but since our economy has gone to shit the demographic is growing. I can't give that perspective but it is a good one...you can hop over to Portland Dad or Stay at Home Dad in Lansing to get a peek into their lives.

Being a GTTOD that's all I can speak to. I wouldn't want it any other way...I get paid to concept, solve problems and draw...not to bad. Also I like where I work so that's a huge plus, and like Staci I'm in a really supportive environment.

But as much as that rocks it's not easy being away from Miloh all day...and as a guy I don't think I'm supposed to say that. I think we're supposed to go and make the donuts, come home and shut up...but I have no filter so...I will talk about it.

I got to hang with Miloh for his first week of life, then it was back to work. The first couple weeks were exhausting. With all of the unknowns of a newborn baby and my late night shift I wasn't getting much sleep. That was expected but while my mind knew it would be like that my body didn't.

Then adding to the exhaustion was my frustration of not really getting to hang with the little dude. My days consisted of me getting up and getting out the door in about 40 minutes, although I once did it in 10 and the next day in 8 minutes. Then I'd head to work on the bus, do the work thing, take the bus home and I was on...it was my turn to hang with Miloh. (I'm using past tense here because now I get up about 15 minutes earlier and have gotten used to the routine, otherwise it's about the same.)

I was exhausted and Staci felt as if she was dumping him on me, but she really wasn't. I wanted to hang with him...I was jealous of all the time she'd spend with him. So I'd scoop him up, feed him and keep him up kind of late. I probably got a bit possessive of him, like it was my time...but I also wanted her to have a break.

Also I was being a bit selfish...keeping him up to the point of over exhaustion because I wanted to see him awake (it wasn't until later I realized he was over exhausted.) Then I'd put him to sleep which didn't work so well because of the exhaustion.

For the first month and a half one of us would sleep in his room while we were on duty because we were worried parents. But I also did it because I wanted the time with him even if he was asleep. It was hard for me to give this up because it was the most time I'd spend with him...which seems weird because I was asleep too.

I was also bummed because since I wasn't around I didn't know how to calm him. I didn't see Miloh roll to his side the first bunch of times he did it in preparation to his first rollover...I did get the videos but that's not the same. I was however lucky to be there for the first roll over, but I thought I'd miss it.

I kind of came to the realization that I'd miss so much of his life and I guess that's normal for every working parent, but it sucks. It won't be a big deal once he's in school at about 16 months, because I'd miss that anyway. It's the time until then that really bums me out, and I still get a bit frustrated because I don't know what to do with him when we're hanging...I am figuring it out.

Now I get how friends with kids get up crazy early (that's before 7am to me) to spend time with their kids in the morning. And why they go to sleep crazy early (any time before 11pm and usually 12am for me) in order to get up early. And I realize now what everyone means when they say things like "you can't imagine the was your life will change until your kid is here."

I am making those changes...I'm waking up earlier not only to help Staci out because she's back to work, but also so I can hang with little dude. And I'll get to the point where I can actually get to sleep a earlier to make that morning rise less painful.

I didn't want to be one of those "I just want to hang with my kid all day" kind of people. One who changes his life around, maybe misses out on something he wants just to put his kid to bed. But I did become that person. And right now I'd rather feed him a bottle and put him to sleep than go to a show, unless it's Iron Maiden because I saw them a few years ago and it lived up to every expectation I've had since I was 12.

April 6, 2010

Best laid plans revisited

Back in July when Miloh was still a pre-kid I did a post about some of the things we planned on doing once it (now he) was born. Since I'm working on some bigger posts for next week but don't want to look lazy I thought I would check in on those things to see what we are doing and what we're not.

Cloth diapers, what we said: for me it's environmental reasons for Staci it's that and it helps for potty training. (FYI I hate the word potty.)

Cloth diapers, what we're doing: we've been using regular diapers for now because his butt is freaking tiny and his poo is disgusting. Once he grows a bit and the poo is solid we plan on going cloth. Maybe at about 6 months.

A floor bed, what we said: floor bed instead of cribs are popular in the Montessori community and we plan on following some Montessori stuff since Staci is a teacher.

A floor bed, what we are doing: he's in his floor bed. We put him in there when he was a couple weeks old. He digs it but it was a little nerve racking at first...especially because he rolled over early.

We want to make our own baby food, what we said: it sounds like a good idea because we'll know what's in it and it seems easy.

We want to make our own baby food, what we plan: Still plan on doing this.

The baby will be vegetarian, what we said: I have been vegetarian since I was about 14 and Staci was for a bit before the pregnancy.

Miloh will be vegetarian, what we plan: We're still planning this...Staci still eats some meat but very little...my thought is once he's older and out with friends he can do whatever he wants. Until then no meat.

The dog will not be ignored, what we said: everyone says it happens.

The dog will not be ignored, what we're doing: Kalli has actually been upgraded...we're more lenient with her being on our bed and she's really taken to being an older sister.

Date night, what we said: after about 6 months we'll make Saturdays date nights...no kid.

Date night, what we are doing: I was wrong on the timing...it was supposed to be after 6 weeks. We have done a date night about twice a month and Miloh tags along to restaurants and such with us and friends so we are getting out, and that was the point.

Free time, what we said: after about 6 months we each get a free night: I.E. I will watch the baby every Wednesday so Staci can go out or rest...then we'll switch it up on Thursday or whatever.

Free time, what we are doing: I was wrong here too. It was supposed to be 2 months. It's not really happening because we don't want to be away from him. It was especially hard for me because I was working all day while Staci was at home...so I really wanted to monopolize his time. Now Staci is back to work so it will be hard for her to be away from him.

We do both get out when we need to.

No commercial characters, what we said: Dora, Teletubbies, Disney Princess etc...they are kind of evil. We'll allow non-commercial stuff like Ugly Doll or things from my friend Jesse LeDoux (awesome illustrator)

No commercial characters, what we're doing: Still no licensed characters.

No classic Pooh stuff, what we said: I didn't include this in the characters because I like that stuff...Staci doesn't.

No classic Pooh stuff, what we did: no pooh (lot's a poo though...but that is unrelated)

Style Guide, what I said: I've made many for clients so why not make one for the baby? I love my family, Staci's family and our friends etc. but we all have different styles. The style guide will include room and bedding colors, info on what we don't like as far as clothes and stuff about toys...the Montessori community is not a fan of plastic toys. Some people, including Staci think the style guide is kind of a dick move...but I think it's funny.

Style Guide, what I did: Well that didn't happen. I started it but my Mac crashed and then I never got back to getting around to it...but I'm doing the infographics so that's keeping my baby/design mind happy.

Conclusion: So far we're pretty much doing what we said...diapers got pushed back a bit but all in all I think our plan was good. I'll check back into this in a few months when he starts eating.

April 5, 2010

Week ten in numbers

Random thoughts: goings ons and stuff

One: Staci went back to work today...I know it won't be easy for her. A bit ago I did a post about finding a day care provider. We actually backed out of that in-home day care and instead will have a family friend watch Miloh at our house. Miloh already knows her and this will makes things much easier for us.

Two: I swear to the Cocoa Puff bird that Miloh say's 'Hi.' He really does. I know he's not saying it like we say it...he doesn't know what it means but he says it. What makes it better is he's said it after I said hi.

I also felt like I heard him say 'Kenny' once but I was super sleepy at the time.

Three: I tried to get a 'hi' on video but I got nothing...well I got some smiles. So that the few minutes of him not saying 'hi' adds to the hours of video of him not rolling over (he's done it at least 3 times but refuses to do it on camera except for the first one.

Four: Little dude screams like crazy when he's hungry and there is no bottle in him. Before he would just cry a bit for a bottle and maybe get fidgety when we burped him. Now he goes nutso if we burp him while feeding...all hell breaks loose. But I hear this is normal

It's also weird that he cries tears. This started happening a bit ago but I don't think he had tears the first few weeks. The tears only add to the guilt/devestation of a wail even if we know they're not because he's upset.

Five: Below is the video of some smiles, but sadly no 'hi' other than mine in a falsetto that I was hoping would make him happy. Notice that in the end he tries to hit me...just saying. Also I know that last time I said my next video would be of him staring at a grape...this is pretty much the same thing.

Six: Staci and I have developed a bit of a Keurig addiction...we got a machine for our home. It kind of sucks because there is a lot of waste, but I try to use the thing where you use your own beans. Plus it's probably less waste than a cup and lid from a coffee house. Plus the coffee is good.

Normal drip coffee makes me sleepy. I once heard, from Laird Hamilton in an interview, that drip coffee has less antioxidants and more toxins in it than espresso because of the amount fo time the water sits on the grounds. I'm thinking Keurig is closer to espresso in that respect because the water is pushed through the grounds quickly. Either way it tastes good and I don't get sleepy.

Took awhile... Here's an infographic of MF's first year

I finished this about a year ago just for my personal use but thought I'd share it. It's a visualization of MF's first year in n...