Love It

Full of Awesome

My good friend, Amy, a mother and designer of 4March and Meenooma fame, just shared this awesome post from Pig Tail Pals, a blog I hadn't heard of before now that is all about redefining what it means to be girly. It always inspires me when I see people spreading the messages of power and strength for girls and women. Read the post, which is a poem, and think about how full of awesome you feel. I think I'm in the category of "getting it back."

And, in the same vein, I just saw The Help a couple of nights ago, and thought NOTHING was missing and that it was a beautiful adaptation of a beautiful story. And it brought this back for me, which I am highly considering starting to say every day with my own children:

You [are] kind

You [are] smart

You [are] important

 

Well, you are!

 


Love It: Stride Rite Early Walkers

We all know that barefoot is best, but sometimes barefoot isn't possible or practical (e.g. outside in the cold or on the playground). Stride Rite's new line of Natural Motion System (NMS) Early Walkers provide protection for your little one's feet and a thin, flexible sole to help their feet grip properly. They are also somewhat environmentally friendly (made of 30% recycled rubber, water-based inks, and natural stitching).

As a member of Mommies Clique, I was given the opportunity to try out the new line. This couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. When we got the shoes, HD was an almost-walker, always-stander, and shortly thereafter he became an early walker. We received a pair of monkey shoes like the one pictured below. How cute is that? But that's not the only reason why I love these shoes.

Strideriteearlywalkershoes

My favorite part about these shoes, aside from their cuteness, and the detail under the back flap that actually says, "cheeky monkey," (I love when designers think of details like that, even on a kid's shoe), is how easy they are to put on HD. He has a couple of pairs of shoes of different brands, and I do like them all, but none of them are nearly as easy to get on as his Early Walkers. The tongue of the shoe comes all the way out, so he can almost step into the shoe. Then you fold the tongue back and cross the velcro strap over the top and they stay securely on his feet - even when he runs an "air" marathon in his car seat.

We decided not to get boots this winter since HD isn't really walking that much and the amount of snow and ice is so difficult to navigate even for adults at this point. Instead, we've put him in his Early Walkers with his snowsuit on our snow outings. They're not intended for this use, but they have held up wonderfully well. His feet have stayed dry and the shoes still look new after several rounds of sledding and romping in the snow.

One last note: we went to the Stride Rite store to get HD measured for these shoes. This was a great thing to do because we found out that he was two sizes bigger than we thought (meaing he was two sizes bigger than the shoes we were cramming his little feet into at the time). So, if you're in the market for shoes for your early walker, make sure to get them measured.


Love It: Little First Act Discovery Toys

What happens when a company that makes musicical instruments translates their expertise into a toy line for young children? Beautiful harmony - literally.

As a member of Mommies Clique, I was recently given the opportunity to review a new line of toys from Little First Act Discovery, a division of First Act, a brand previously unknown to me, and a brand that I now love. Actually, it was HD (14 months old) and his friends that were responsible for the product testing; I just get to write up what they wanted you to know: The Drop N' Play Piano rocks!

DropNPlayPiano

Here are just some of the reasons that HD, his friends, MY mom friends, and I love this toy:

The Music
The music is soft and melodic and prompted many of my mom friends, unprompted, to say how great it sounds and how much different and better the sounds are than a typical music toy. In addition to four single notes, the Piano plays four different refrains (I can't really do them justice in writing, but to give you an idea):

  • "Me, me, me, me." Picture a chorus of really happy ladies warming up for a concert
  • "Mmm, ba, ba. Pass the bananas and the grapes and you and me good friends we'll make. Let's have an apple or a pear and you and me good things we'll share." Included with the Piano are three clear balls that have bananas, grapes, and pears in them, respectively.
  • "Row, row your boat...."
  • "We like to sing, we like to eat, let's clap our hands and stomp our feet."

Versatility
Unlike HD's other musical toys, we've never turned this one off, but if you wanted to for any reason, the toy can still be played with by putting the balls in the hippos' mouths, and/or taking them in and out of the drawer, both of which amuse HD to no end. When the toy is on, in addition to the music, the hippos actually make munching noises when you put a ball in any one of their mouths (my husband's favorite feature). How cute is that? The balls can obviously be used with the toy, but for a boy who loves balls, he can carry them all over and use them everywhere he goes, with or without the hippos.

Look and Feel
It's sturdy, compact, easily portable from room to room, and has a drawer for those balls to be put away in the right place at the end of the day for all of my fellow OCD moms out there. The colors are bright without being TOO bright and the hippos are as cute as plastic hippos with their mouths wide open could ever be.

Other Tidbits
The Piano is labeled for six months and up. There are a variety of toys in the line that are appropriate from six months through the preschool years. Each instrument/toy comes with a tip card to give you ideas to extend your child's learning with the toy.

Little First Act Discovery was awarded two Greatest Products of 2008 by the iParenting Media Awards group for their Crawl N' Go Drum and Shake N' Stack Instruments, two items that are part of the line.

In case you need another reason to buy a musical toy for your child, there is a continuously growing body of evidence that supports music's positive benefits in other areas of learning, including math, reasoning, language, and stress reduction. If only playing with these toys could help eliminate MY monotone-ism.


Love it: Totseat

Totseat My favorite neighbor - a mom to two tween-aged boys (can boys be tweens or only girls?) - sent me a link to  this cool seat featured on Daily Candy way back in November, actually 2 days before HD's birth. I was finally cleaning out my email from months of build-up (a daily stress for me as the list gets longer and gmail does not allow me to categorize or create folders to clean up my mess), and I found the email, checked the seat out on-line, including lots of positive reviews, and ordered it. I don't usually make purchasing decisions so quickly but I was drawn in by the positive reviews and yes, I was wooed by the fact that it was a "European thing." I love it already and have used it at other people's houses and a restaurant. We travel frequently and now I don't have to worry about bringing HD with us to places that may not have high chairs or places where the high chairs are all in use (as was the case this weekend). And so far, HD likes to hang out and play in the seat too. He becomes more mobile every day and I do wonder when he'll just hate being "tethered" no matter how cool the seat. I'll keep you posted.