Friday, July 27, 2007

Announcing Fam Fare!

There are enough baby clothes out there that say things like "mommy's little angel." Don't get me wrong, it's cute - wishful thinking - but cute. On the other hand, there is also enough (too many) people who complain about their kids as if they were house guests who'd overstayed their welcome.

Can we celebrate these little bundles of joy without deifying - or demonizing - them? Absolutely. And there are plenty of people who are realistic about their kids' propensity to do whatever it is they're not supposed to - and still love them. The problem is there are not a lot of baby clothes that go along with this line of thinking. Enter Fam Fare.

Fam Fare is the newest line of designs I've created for my gift and t-shirt business, Bold Avenue. It's all about loving your family and laughing at life. Right now we're focusing on baby clothes, but we will definitely be expanding our designs and product offerings (look for cards, diaper bags and "big people" clothes before too long).

So check it out - and keep Fam Fare in mind for unique baby gifts!

Why diapers are like cars

When my Hubs and I were looking for a car, we learned that a Pontiac Vibe is basically the same as a Toyota Matrix. Everything on it except the stereo is made by Toyota. But since it's called "Pontiac," the Vibe will cost less at the outset than the Matrix and have a lower resale value. It might also take longer to sell.

Yesterday, I learned there's a similar phenomenon in the world of cloth diapers. A lot of people buy used cloth diapers since they're quite a bit cheaper than new ones. (As the Hubs put it, "Diapers start depreciating the second you drive them off the lot.") If you purchase used cloth diapers from top-selling brands, you can sometimes resell them for your purchase price - or close to it (assuming they're still in good condition). However, diapers from brands that aren't well known may save you money initially, but they'll be harder to resell once your kids grow out of them. You may have trouble selling them at all. Just like with a Pontiac, people are concerned about reliability, how much mileage they'll be able to get out of them, and whether they'll leak.

P.S. Thanks to Heather of Sleek Mama for enlightening me on this subject. I was interviewing her about her baby carriers, and we got a little off topic. I'm assimilating the rest of the information from the interview and will do a post on that next week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Coming soon: cute little clothes

I know I haven't mentioned much about my business since my first post, but I've been working hard on a new line of designs for baby clothes, which I think y'all are going to love! The new section should be in my shop this week. If you want to be among the first to know when it's up, you can sign up for Bold Avenue's newsletter (subscribers have first dibs on the Avenue's news) in the box below. Otherwise, you can just wait until I post it here. :)

Here's the sign-up box for our free newsletter, In Bold Print. Don't worry, we won't sell your email address. All we'll use it for is sending you an occasional email with information about new designs, exclusive subscriber promotions and good stuff like that. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pondering La Paz, packing, and pictures...

The Hubs and I leave for Bolivia two weeks from tomorrow!!! I might have to break from figuring out baby stuff to figure out my stuff. What to pack? Half the time we'll be in La Paz (COLD) and the other half we'll be at a warmer, lower elevation, so I need...everything.

We did go to the library and get some books on Bolivia. I'll update my list once I decide which ones I'm actually going to be reading (well, skimming - I only have 2 weeks) and which ones I'll just be looking at the pictures in. Hey, don't laugh. Maps are our friends.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Cloth diapers and the convenience factor

Environmental factors aside, I was wondering about the practicality of cloth diapers (i.e. how much of a pain they are) when I came across a post on a Des Moines Register blog that asked exactly what's on my mind - “What’s life like with cloth?” - and got some great answers.

Personally, I’m starting to think the cloth diaper thing is doable. I'd love to hear what you think! (Non-parents are welcome to chime in, too!)

Friday, July 20, 2007

147 degrees

The inside of our car actually got that hot the other day. I bring that up, not to complain about the heat (it's only supposed to be 103 today), but to demonstrate why I think this is an ingenious product.

The Cold Seat. Basically, it's a cover with ice packs in it that you use to pre-cool the car seat before putting your child in it. You can roll the whole thing up and stick it in the freezer. And they're cute. Here's their website. (The woman who came up with this idea lives in Arizona. Just thought I'd point that out.) Am I biased because I think wipe warmers are useless, but this is a must-have? Maybe.

People who have never lived where it gets really hot might have trouble appreciating the value of something like the Cold Seat, but you also probably don't need one, so it's ok.

Photo 1: Temperature reading from inside our car.
Photo 2: Cold Seat cover on a car seat.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Which diapers are best for baby - and the biosphere?

Interestingly, the most thoughtful and informative article I've read so far on the environmental and health factors of different types of diapers was entitled "The Poop on Eco-Friendly Diapers." Definitely check it out if you're interested in the topic. Here are some of the points I hadn't heard before:

  • Nothing breaks down well in a landfill - not regular disposable diapers, not biodegradable diapers, not the other stuff we're throwing in there.
  • Cloth diapers might better for boys' health.
  • Studies on environmental impact come to varying conclusions - which type of diaper is the most "eco-friendly" depends on which factors you're looking at.

Monday, July 16, 2007

How do you like your wipes?

When I first heard there was actually a product for warming wipes, I think I laughed out loud. Do babies truly prefer warm wipes? If it's hot out or if they've been all bundled up in heaps of blankets, maybe they'd rather have a cold one. (On a side note: it's due to be 114 here in Phoenix today. I think we all could use a cold one.) If not, couldn't you hold the wipe in your hand a second to warm it up? Or use cloth wipes? I finally had a chance to look into it a little more, and I haven't changed my mind. Customer reviews of a wipe warmer at this store range from "Best thing I bought" to "Save your money." So, unless someone can convince me otherwise, I think that's staying off the fave list.

Photo: My budget wipe warmer.
(Just kidding. Kids, don't try this at home...or at your friend's house....)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Diaper poll closed but the debate continues

Thanks to those of you who participated in the Great Diaper Debate poll! Overall, we had 66% on the disposable side and 32% on the cloth side and no one using each 50/50. That breaks down to half of respondents always or almost always using disposable diapers, and 16% in each of the following categories: usually disposable, usually cloth, always/almost always cloth.

I wanted to respond to Elizabeth's comment about the environmental impact of cloth vs. disposable diapers. She said...

I don't know all the details of the comment, but on NPR, they were debating eco-friendly life choices and they briefly mentioned that disposable diapers are better for the environment since they use a lot less water. They also mentioned that there are bio-degradeable diapers available as well.

I think she's referring to Talk of the Nation's story "Eco-Chic: How Green is 'Green'?" And actually, the Hubs and I were just talking with our friend Sarah about this. If a baby goes through 5 diapers a day, that's 1825 diapers a year. All those nasty diapers are just going to take up a huge amount of space. Especially since they don't biodegrade for...well....I don't know the exact figures (probably no one does)....but not anytime soon. When it comes to biodegradable disposables, Sarah brought up the fact that once the diaper part disintegrates, what you're left with is exposed untreated sewage. Not good either. (According to Wikipedia, contamination can also be a problem with regular disposables.)

Finally, with cloth diapers there is the water used and the energy needed to heat the water, etc. So I'm not seeing a really great option here. However, from a strictly environmental standpoint, I'm leaning towards cloth diapers, because I think we'll figure out how to use more renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc.) before we can get rid of all those disposable diapers.

Of course, there are other factors to consider. But that's another post for another day...

Photo: I guess it all comes down to the washer or the wastebasket.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Great Diaper Debate

Just a reminder that tomorrow's the last day to participate in our diaper poll. We'd love to hear from as many people as possible what kind of diapers you choose (or used to choose, if your kids are past that stage). So vote and/or tell your friends! :)

The poll closes July 12 at 8pm PT.

Favorite (little) things

So you may have noticed the "favorite little stuff" list in the sidebar. The one that, at the moment, says "coming soon." As I start getting this baby stuff figured out, that's where I'll list my top picks. Obviously, I'm still sorting.

However, I'm definitely a fan of these hands-free baby carriers by Sleek Mama. The fabrics are gorgeous and you can go with the sling option shown here (a "pouch") or this other style that's a cross between an apron and a backpack made to hold a baby (called a "mei tai." If you still can't picture it, go here.). I'm not sure what the pros and cons are of each style, but I plan to try some on and investigate. Stay tuned!

Photo used by permission. This is a pouch with the Stephanie fabric option. (Nice name, huh?! ;) )

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Worth carting around?

One time I was shopping with a friend, and we turned around to discover her daughter sucking on the metal part of the shopping cart. My friend told her to stop, but the second we looked away, she had her mouth on the cart again. (Yes, the daughter was old enough to know better.) Why are kids so attracted to gross stuff like shopping cart handles and food off the floor and...bugs? I don't know.

All I know is that when I first saw that they (Avon) make a blanket-type thing specially fitted for the front of a cart, I thought it was silly. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Not just because of the germ factor, either. It just looks more comfortable. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd bet a comfy kid is a kid who is more likely to let you finish your shopping. I suppose a regular blanket could do almost the same thing, but with a lot more arranging involved. So it just might be worth it.

What do you think?

Photo from the current Avon catalog.

Edited to add:
In case anyone's looking for Avon, did you know you can order online now? Yep, pretty handy. Here's a link.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Should've known

Today was allergy shot #3, which reminded me about last week's visit. The waiting room was super-packed, I guess because of the 4th of July holiday. I sat down next to a lady with three kids - I'm gonna guess their ages were around 10, 4 and 1. Since there were so many people there, the wait was *much* longer than it had been the first time I went. And much too long for the two little girls to sit still. After the youngest one tried to carry off a stranger's purse, the mom was on her phone calling for backup. I tried not to listen in, but there was no ignoring the desperate tone in her voice: "Honey, how soon are you getting off work?"

I was thinking, "Wow. I am so glad I'm starting this now, so I don't have to be here every week with three kids in tow." And I was thinking I should type up a post exhorting pre-pre-baby allergy-sufferers to find out if they need shots now, instead of waiting until after they have kids, since it would make life so much easier. But then they called the mom back, and she took the four-year-old with her. I never even thought about kids needing allergy shots.

And I forgot about life never being easy.

Photo: No, I didn't take a pic of the waiting room, but this is pretty much how it looks when it's not packed to the gills. Only no coat rack - we're in Arizona.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

I don't think he'll be participating in our poll...

...but I did hear Dave Matthews say on NPR that he uses cloth diapers. I thought I'd add that, since he's probably too busy recovering from Live Earth to vote or comment himself.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What's in your diaper bag?

Probably more than just diapers, but we'll start there. Let me just say that the more I learn about diapers, the more types I learn there are. I used to think there were disposable diapers or there were the flat white cloth kind that people sometimes use for burp cloths. Which is funny, I know, for those of you who are parents. I have since learned that even cloth diapers come in lots of variations. This week at a pool party, I learned that there are also several kinds of swimming diapers. And not all are created equal.

So I have some research to do. I'll be posting more as I get this sorted out. For those of you who already have it figured out (at least when it comes to what kind of diapers you buy), you can state your preference on the poll to the right (through 7/12/07).

Monday, July 2, 2007

What do you eat when you don't want to eat?

That's my first question for everyone. When you have morning sickness or another condition that makes you hate food, how do you get your nutrition? How about when you don't want to eat *and* you're trying to avoid dairy? Tricky, huh?! Let us know if you have any suggestions in general or for specifically non-dairy foods or drinks.

La Paz...and other places not to take your baby

Looks like we're going to Bolivia! (We applied to go with our church awhile ago, but we weren't sure if we were going or not.) I will be really excited...when it sinks in. Hopefully, it sinks in soon since we're going next month. (Yikes.)

I was flipping through our South America Lonely Planet (ok, I keep bringing up books, maybe a reading list is in order) and in the health section, I noticed all these restrictions about where you shouldn't bring kids. Certain vaccinations aren't safe for babies under 9 months, so you can't bring them to areas where those are required. They're not sure how children under two react to high altitude, so don't take them up too high either. And the list went on. It made me wonder about the kids that live in those areas, but I suppose that's a different situation. In any case, now is a good time for us to go on this trip.

So for those of you who are also in a non-baby phase of life: take the opportunity to go somewhere that requires shots or medicine for altitude sickness. For those of you with little ones: put the Amazon and the Andes on the "when the kids get older" list. You could start planning now. You could even start to blog about what you're doing to prepare in the year(s) before your babies are old enough to visit Machu Picchu.

P.S. The photo is near San Ramon, Peru - another place not to take a baby. I saw some photos of Bolivia yesterday that looked very similar.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

All you need (plus what else you need)

I came across this post on that lists the basic essentials for baby care. People get by with even less. But most babies I know have a whole lot more than that.

In The World Awaits, Paul Otteson talks about the "necessities and niceties" of what to take on an extended backpacking trip. After covering the survival essentials (clothing, cookware, etc.), he says, "Beyond the basics, there are more basics." What he mentions next are passports, maps, credit cards and things that in one sense aren't essential, but - in an indirect sense - are.