Thursday, August 30, 2012

Children, Photos, and the Internet; Oh my!

The internet is like a big room filled with people shouting. Some can feel a sense of security in the noise and reveal more information than they would otherwise in a face to face environment.  Others can feel overwhelmed in this giant room of people and crank their privacy settings to 11.

Some days, I'm comforted by the noise as I peruse through news, photos, and gossip. On other days I want to shout my own opinions and share photos of my beautiful daughter and hot husband. But on days like today, I hesitate. I don't mind being open about my experiences. I don't mind sharing my personal photographs. But would Joanna mind?

The biggest fear circling child safety on the internet is often about pedophiles coming to abduct our children. Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, told the New York Times that, "Research shows that there is virtually no risk of pedophiles coming to get kids because they found them online." [New York Times] Reading this brought a huge sigh of relief.

Then I kept reading. "The real danger is that a photo is appropriated and mistreated." A lightbulb went off: that makes total sense. The act of saving a photo to one's computer takes mere seconds. The act of creating a social profile using said photo takes minutes.

Again, my mind jumps to "what about the pedophiles?" Thankfully, Professor Finkelhor addresses my fears: "The possibility always exists that pedophiles are lifting such pictures, but it is not something [I have] encountered... it’s unlikely for a disconcerting reason: actual child pornography is so readily available that pedophiles aren’t likely to waste time cruising social networks looking for less explicit material."

First of all, it is incredibly sad that child pornography is available at the click of a button. It makes me want to adopt all of the kids that are being sexually exploited. It also makes me want to castrate those that are exploiting them. My heart breaks for those girls (and boys) that are lied to and abused for the sake of money and perversion.

Professor Finkelhor's comments about pedophiles reshaped my hesitation in displaying my child's photos. Although I doubt anyone would believe that a 10 month old has their own Facebook profile, it brings a new perspective for parents to consider before posting pictures without privacy settings. And the concern doesn't just apply to bloggers. Whenever I enter my child into a Cutest Kid contest, I could be giving that company permission to use my image at their discretion. Whenever I share a meme on my Facebook page featuring a kid I've never seen before, I'm furthering the use of a photo that the parents may not know is floating around. Whenever I upload my images to a website, I could be allowing that company to use my photo in their advertising. Although this may excite some stage mothers, I won't get modeling gigs from that image. I won't even get credit for the photo because I checked that little box before hitting 'submit'.

So what's a mommy blogger to do? I'm not going to stop taking photos of my daughter. I'm not going to stop uploading her ridiculous faces. However, I may take more photos that focus on her hands or cankles (not a typo). I may also greatly limit posting photos after her first birthday. Or maybe I'll put a paper bag over her head (with air holes of course.) She'll be running at that point anyway so I doubt I'll even have time to find the camera.

What do you think? Do you post photos of your children in a public forum? Do you have your privacy settings tailored to your taste?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ten Months

Doughy Joey is 10 months old! 

I just realized a few weeks ago that I should start planning her one year birthday party. Because it will be so close to Halloween, I would love to do a costume party of some sort. She'll probably get tired of Halloween themed birthday parties, but she can't complain yet. My favorite idea so far is that we'll be a Little Shop family - Jonathan as Seymour, myself as Audrey, and Joanna as Audrey II. She already growls and tries to eat people.

At 10 months, Joanna babbles, sings, hums, screams, spits, complains (mamamama), wines (bwabwabwabwa), and laughs maniacally. She loves being around people and especially loves participating in conversations. She's good at answering questions and laughing at jokes. We're still working on her actual vocabulary, but whatever.  She is extremely close to walking. I fear that her next monthly update will be delayed because I'll be chasing her around the house.

Squishy McDoughnut eats solids at every other feeding. I'm making most of it but I love being lazy and just opening a container of whatever I have in the cupboard. I was thinking about doing baby led weaning but by the time I got my act together, she was already eating baby snacks and feeding herself fruit pieces. I guess she led herself anyway?

Also, instead of sleeping 12 hours each night and not napping, she now takes 2 naps and sleeps for 8 hours each night. Yay!

Big thanks to Jonathan for helping me wrangle her while on a rocking chair. Perhaps we should have staged the monthly photos on a stationary surface...?

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I was going to write a post about her mastering the art of crawling, but I was interrupted by her learning to pull herself up and drop down with ease. Crap.

I blame Jonathan. He's the one encouraging her to move around. If I had my way, she'd still be rolling around. Children are much more portable when they are blobs. Ah well - I guess that's what I get for having a supportive husband that loves his child.

It didn't take long for us to remember putting remotes and laptops in the back corners of the couch before standing up to do something else. We also quickly reinforced our baby fence. The contraption is perfectly made for babies to scale.

Standing with her raptor feet at 7 months
Standing on daddy's legs at 8 months
Adelaide is both terrified and overjoyed that her best friend can rise to greet her on the couch. She's looking forward to guest blogging soon. Between tail pulling and face petting, Adelaide has much to say on the subject of Joanna's mobility.

Although she's a mover and a shaker, Joanna still loves to cuddle. And for that, I'm thankful. I cherish the snuggle times with my squishy.

I'm thankful that we find comfort in each other. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Nuby Microwave Sterilizer

If you're new to the blog, then its news to you that I didn't have a dish washer. Well allow me to fill you in - I was the dish washer for a few years. Now that we live in a house that has appliances from this century, I was thrilled to be able to wash my bottles in a machine!

My celebration of said dish washer was short lived. I quickly learned that bottles flip and nipples fly when the high-speed, hot-water-spewing jets go full blast. I tried the cage that can go into the dish washer, but it didn't hold everything I need to wash. I tried putting a noodle strainer on top to "catch" them and keep them from going air born (or water born?) This resulted in a melted nipple that flew off and lodged where the hot water spews. Not to mention that we had to wait to dirty enough dishes to run a load in the first place.

But hark! A fantastic product has come to our melted nipples' rescue! I don't have to wait all day for a full load! I don't have to wait 45 minutes for the load to get clean! I don't have to fish for lost items or carefully dump the flipped bottles out in the sink! Huzzah!

The Nuby Microwave Sterilizer takes 4 minutes. It's incredibly easy to use and very effective. Even if you don't use bottles for your little one, this sanitizer is great for pacifiers, sippy cups, plastic toys, baby spoons, bowls, etc.  The unit is in three pieces and looks like a tupperware cake holder. The bottom tray holds 7 ounces of water, the plastic rack fits perfectly on top and can hold a myriad of items, and the lid easily latches onto place. 4 minutes later, I have freshly cleaned bottles, nipples, lids, and whatever else I put inside.

What a steamy picture!

And now YOU can own one, too! I'm excited that Nuby is giving away a Microwave Sterilizer to one of you lovely people. Even if you don't have a little one to clean up after, this will make a great baby shower or Christmas gift.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cloth Diapers: Week 42

42 is the nerdiest of all numbers. It is, after all, the answer to the ultimate question. If you don't have the foggiest idea what I'm talking about, don't worry. All you need to know is that we still love cloth, we have increased our fluff by 30%, and we still saved money.

I mean just look at those colors! Fuzzibunz knows how to melt my jewel tone color loving heart. I love coordinating Joanna's diapers with her dresses and shirts.

When I was pregnant again, we realized we would need enough diapers for two kids at the same time. We spent $100 of our diaper savings to buy 11 one size Fuzzibunz and bumGenius covers and inserts from a friend of mine. Even though I'm no longer pregnant, we still love using those additional diapers. The increased supply means I wash every 3 days instead of every 2. I also stopped using Tide concentrate on all of our clothes - we only use it on diapers now.

One thing I may end up doing is converting the velcro bumGenius (the left 4 covers in the photo) to snaps. There's a WAHM at ConvertMyDiapers that can put them on for me. For now I may just use them as swim diapers and not use an insert.

And now my favorite part - here's how much money we've saved! I'm changing the weekly number back to $15 instead of $20 because she's needing a change less often at this age. So saving $15 a week for 12 weeks means we're adding $180 to our saved money!

At 30 weeks:
Total Personal Investment: $263
Savings To Date: $554 
Return On Investment: + $291

Now at 42 weeks: 
Total Personal Investment: $363
Savings To Date: $734
Return On Investment: + $371

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Nuby Tub Time Turtle

I'm really excited about a few things.

First of all, Joanna loves baths now! It's a Christmas miracle!
Secondly, I got my package of Nuby products to review!
Thirdly, I'm hosting my very first giveaway!

What do all of these have in common? Tub Time Turtle (or Tubby for short).

Joanna's love/hate relationship with bath time has been well documented in photographs and on my blog. I've gotten very good at giving her 90 second baths. Now that Tub Time Turtle keeps her entertained, it's so nice to sit and watch her play.

This floating, smiling, waterfall creating creature is a baby girl's best friend. Her usual bath toys were dust in the wind compared to this shiny new turtle. It has rounded hard plastic that's great for teething gums as well as a squishy head that's fun to nom as well.

I also like that the purchase of this product helps benefit the Deaf Children's Literacy Project. One of my closest friends is deaf and she had an amazing support system growing up.  She is strong, independent, and doesn't allow her disability to interfere with living a full life; most people don't even know that she's deaf. The Deaf Children's Literacy Project reaches kids at the critical stages of learning - I love that Nuby is contributing to their project through the sales of this item.

And now YOU can own this wonderful product! That's right folks! My very first giveaway is this adorably durable bath toy that your child/grandchild/niece/nephew/sibling will love.

The winner will be chosen at random on August 17th.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

What's Short, Blonde, and Pink?

Women have a tendency to change their hair as a reaction to major events. Some chop their hair after they get married, others chop their hair after having a baby. Some women dye their hair when they want to rebel against their parents while others dye their hair after finding their first grey.

At this point in my life, I was growing out my hair. I don't remember why I was doing it but I didn't bother to cut it. Because it's so dang hot outside, and because it takes nearly an hour to dry and style it properly, I kept wearing my red hair in a pony tail or a bun. Sometimes if I was feeling saucy, I'd put a twist braid in the front. Very saucy indeed. 

After losing Buddy, I lost all sense of control in my life. I know God is in control and I am so thankful that He is. Yet I still yearned for something I could do to improve myself. One thing I knew I could control is my hair. But what to do? I knew I wanted to cut my hair soon. I knew I wanted to go blonde before I turned 30. I knew I wanted to have some kind of fun color in my hair at some point in my life. Rather than decide which to do and when to do it, I did all 3 last week.

The whole process took nearly 3 hours. My friend Salem saw the color I wanted, understood I wasn't sure what kind of cut I wanted (just as long as it didn't look like a mom-cut), and she gave me a peekaboo pink strip (or a pink-a-boo) that I can hide or show off. 

When I got home, Joanna didn't recognize me. I spoke to her and picked her up before she really realized it was me. Strangers now say she looks more like me than Jonathan! Yay! I feel like myself again. I've gone short, blonde, and had a pink streak before but I'd never done them all at the same time.  It's SO fun :) I do more things with it now that its short, too:

Twist braid to show off the pink
Headband that hides the pink. Joanna is thrilled.
I love it love it love it :) 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Product Review: Nuby Icybite Keys

This is a review I created when Joanna was 9 months old. 
My how time flies! 

Joanna's nine month old mouth now has eight teeth. Rather than have a missing finger, I gave her a Nuby teething toy a few months ago that can go into the freezer for added numbing power. It's perfect!

This teething toy has 3 keys attached to a key ring that can link to other things. The keys have a gel that freezes like an ice pack so its perfect while her teeth are celebrating their arrival.  I've attached them to my baby carriers, stroller, car seat, or restaurant high chair. I can also wash them whenever I wash her bottles so they stay clean.

Joanna has discovered that she can make noise by shaking and hitting things. These keys don't disappoint. As you can tell from the first photo, she enjoys shaking the keys almost as much as biting them.

I personally like that it has bright colors that are gender neutral. I'm a huge fan of primary colors when it comes to kid items - pastels belong in a museum. A child's world is bright and full of new things - their toys should be bright and interesting, too!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Giving and Remembering Buddy

We were given some things for Buddy. The frugal part of me was thinking, "keep it - just use it for the next kid". The emotional part of me was thinking, "It will always remind you of him and you won't use it for anyone else. It will just sit in the drawer and make you cry." The anti-horder and gift giver in me was thinking, "Hey! ______ could totally use this! They would love it." The gift giver won.

I am nearly done giving things away that were meant for him. I bought 11 cloth diapers from a friend to help me diaper two babes. I bought them with Joanna and him in mind, so it's not as hard on me to use them for Joanna.

The last thing for him is a Captain America onesie - I'm not ready to give it away. It's the very first thing I bought for him. I bought it nearly a week before we had a positive test - I knew I was pregnant. Maybe I could frame it? We don't have any photo of him. The only visual memory I have of him is the sonogram I had in the ER - with no heartbeat. That's no way to remember a child. It's like keeping a photo of a casket. I have the photo of our positive pregnancy test, but it's kind of weird to frame something I peed on.

I miss imagining what he'd be like.

I'm certain he's wearing a super hero cape in Heaven.

In other news, I had my blood drawn again today. My hormone levels aren't back to normal yet - my body still thinks I'm pregnant. That means my body isn't done with the process yet. A part of me finds comfort in knowing a part of him is still here. It gives me more time with him before I have to completely say goodbye. I think God did that on purpose. He does everything on purpose.