Consumer Reports Recalls Their Car Seat Report

Recently Consumer Reports published a study on rear-facing car seats. There was a fairly big brouhaha about it, because nearly every seat failed their side-impact tests. This sent many parents (including CincyMommy and I) into a bit of a panic. How could we have bought this seat? If we get hit in the side our baby is going to go flying through the windshield. That’s not good parenting.

Well, apparently they may not have been using the correct tests.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had a bad feeling about those initial tests. Something just didn’t seem kosher to them. After analyzing the results more completely they found that the tests simulated an impact in excess of 70 mph instead of the 38 mph claimed by Consumer Reports. That is a very big difference.

I must admit I’m pretty disappointed in Consumer Reports. Faulty testing really doesn’t instill a lot of confidence. But at least they are admitting it and are now redoing the tests.


I’m a trend setter

It seems that I’m the trendsetter in my family. My brother can’t seem but to follow in my illustrious footsteps. And that’s odd, too considering that I’m the younger brother.

Growing up I’ll admit that I always thought my brother was cooler than me. He had more friends, and seemed to do more cool things than I ever did. But now the tables have turned and I’m leading the pack.

Basically it boils down to the fact that I grew up before him. While he was still out partying and “being young”, I was knuckling down and getting a job, getting married, buying a house, and starting a family. I’d like to think that being beat to the punch by his little brother got him to thinking about his own future. Once he heard that I was engaged he realized that making big life decisions might not be that scary after all. So it broke down like this: I got engaged, then he got engaged. He got married, then I got married (only beat me by a couple months). I bought a house, he bought a house. My wife got pregnant, and now his wife is pregnant. Back and forth we go. I think its pretty hilarious. For so many years growing up we never wanted to be the same, and now we can’t seem to help it.

The Countdown has Begun

Well, we’re not really close, but we are going to the doctor every 2 weeks instead of every 4 now. A little more than 7 weeks to go.

We haven’t even started the nursery, but I’m not concerned. When CincyMommy’s family gets moving, they get things done fast. I’m talking “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” kind of fast. Let me share an example.

When most people move into a new house it takes a few weeks (maybe months) to unpack all the boxes and get everything into a good place. With the help of the family we took 3 days! Yes, 3 days after moving in it looked like we had lived there for 5 years. It was amazing. Everyone just picks a job and gets it done, and with 30 or so people that’s a lot of jobs getting done. Of course that also means very little oversight. I’m still wondering where some of my kitchen utensils are. I’m sure they’re somewhere that seemed “right” to someone.

We also did the baby registry thing. Boy that was a little nerve-racking. All I kept thinking was “Is this the best ‘x’ available?” And how can you know? It’s impossible to pick out the best version of everything. No matter how much research I do, I’ll always run across one or two bad reviews and that will make me rethink everything I’ve read. But we made our choices, and hopefully they’re good ones. No one would make a product that was inherently dangerous, right? So we couldn’t have picked anything too terrible. All the same, I’ve subscribed to the  Consumer Product Safety Commissions recall feed just in case.

New Priorities

I’ve just realized I’m becoming a completely new person because of this baby. Well, more specifically my outlook on life has changed. I’m starting to care about things I never did before.

Like politics. Sure, I voted in presidential elections, but I never really thought about politics or who stood for what, or any of that. Now with the recent mid-term elections I’ve learned that I care. I care a lot. I actually studied the issues and had heated discussions, and got very pissed about all the shady electronic voting machines. This is all very new to me.

Like the environment. I never actively tried to hurt the earth (no littering, dumping stuff in sewers, etc.). But I also never made an effort to lessen my impact on the environment. Now I find myself researching my county’s recycling program, and looking into environmentally friendly baby products (like gDiapers).

Once I realized that I really had changed my thinking on a lot of things, I started to wonder why. I think it boils down to bringing this child into this broken, messed up world. When it was just me, and then me and CincyMommy, I didn’t much care about the rest of the world. I knew what I had, and what my life was all about. As long as everything was going OK, then I was OK.

But now…Now I don’t know what my little girl is going to do, or where she’s going to go. And I want to try to make the world a good place for her, no matter what she decides to do. I guess that’s a little crazy, but I can’t stop myself from trying.

Begin the Buying!

We are a consumer’s nation. I know this, and yet I can’t quite fathom the spending spree that has already begun.

This child will put me in the poor house, won’t it? The more I think about all of the things she’ll need, the more I can’t imagine how we’ll pay for it. Basically we have to provide everything. She comes out naked and hungry, and that about sets the tone from then on. Feed me, clothe me, protect me, entertain me, educate me. Sheez!

On the other hand, at this early stage we can actually decide (somewhat) how my money gets spent. For now we can choose the clothes, the toys, the books, and basically everything else in her world. That won’t last forever.

The first thing we picked out was this whimsical bedding set.  We’re going for a nursery rhyme theme, so it will work perfectly. Best of all it has a cute little humpty dumpty pillow like the one I  had when I was a kid. My mom will tell you that I loved him to death. She even says I thought about taking him to college. I don’t recall that, but hey you never know. I bought the set from because they were the cheapest. They said the shipping time could be 3 weeks, but we ended up getting it in less than 1 week. Being our first baby purchase, we were ecstatic when it came so much earlier than expected. It’s perfect!

We also picked up a used high chair. My wife liked the idea of an old wooden high chair like her mom’s. I didn’t have a preference, so we started scouring the local used baby stores. (Baby stores that sell used goods, not stores that sell used babies). We found one in pretty good shape, and it will look a lot better in our house than some huge plastic monstrosity.

So, so far I’m feeling pretty good about all the purchases. Next up on my list is this little gadget, the iCrib. Might as well instill a love for gadgetry straight from the get-go, right?

You Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello

What a roller coaster the last few weeks have been. There is a lot to tell, so I’ll start at the beginning.

This past summer my grandmum was diagnosed with terminal cancer. At the time they said she had about 6 months to live. This hit me very hard. My grandmum had a very large part in raising my brother and me. My mom and dad are divorced and Grandmum became our daycare center a lot of the time. We would have picnics underneath the tree in her front yard. Or walk down to the swimming pool and then to the library. Every day with her was a wonderful day. A day filled with fun. She also taught me a lot of useful things like table manners and respect for your elders. She is a huge part of who I have become today.

She died this past Tuesday.

The couple weeks leading up to this past Tuesday have been quite hectic. The last week in September my whole family went to the Outer Banks for a week. It was a great time to reconnect with my family since no one lives particularly close to anyone else. We had a great time eating, drinking, and playing together. It was also a good time to gather strength for the coming hard times.

Toward the end of the week we got a call that Grandmum had taken a turn for the worse. Oddly enough that seemed to fit in with Grandmum’s style. She loved to have things planned well. And what could be easier than to die when everyone was already together and close by? As it turned out she did not meet her end so fortuitously.

Instead CincyMommy and I drove all the way back to Cincinnati to wait for the eventual call to go back. During the week in between I managed to be brought down by a bad case of food poisoning. 5 days of being weak and spending too much time in the bathroom was a great way to come back from a vacation. Thankfully I didn’t have to add a funeral into that mix.

So its been a crazy few weeks. And I don’t know quite how to feel these days. I’m so sad over losing my Grandmum, but I’m so excited about our baby that’s on the way. And at the moment I just can’t seem to get back into “normal” life. I hoping I’ll get there soon.

Quick To-Do List

I just realized I’m missing the following important items: a will, life insurance, and power of attorney.

Oh shit…

I suppose this realization is the beginning of thinking about the Speck above all else. Up to now, it wasn’t too big a deal if I keeled over. Sure CincyMommy would be a little put out probably, but give her a few weeks and she’d be back to normal. But now, well soon, there will be a helpless child who probably doesn’t want to live in the poor house if I happen to get wiped out going to the grocery store.

With that said, I’m not sure where to start. Obviously I’ve never gotten a will before, or even talked to a lawyer. Do I actually need a lawyer? And I don’t know much about life insurance, except that folks usually get it before they die mysteriously. It’s all a little confusing. I suppose I should get used to having no idea what I’m doing. Comes with the fatherhood territory, right?

Any suggestions for good references?

New Babies Cause Stress?

I just read through this wonderful post over at Ask Moxi. It’s all about how the stress of a new baby will totally drop a bomb on your marital relationship. As of yet, I hadn’t really thought about that, and it was good to get a heads up.

I spend so much time thinking about what the baby will be like, that I don’t spend any time thinking how the baby will change what CincyMommy and I are like. Apparently we’ll have exactly zero time to deal with our own issues once the little Speck makes his/ her appearance. With that said the post goes over some suggestions on how to ease the stress, and in true blogosphere fashion the comments are a goldmine for more good advice.

I’m definitely glad I read it.

Letting Kids Discover the World

A post over at The Bradstein Household pointed me to this Washington Post article. Basically the article is about parents today not letting their kids play unsupervised. Parents will point out that the world is sooo much more dangerous and kidnappers are on every corner. What a load of crap! The statistics point out that most kidnappers are relatives or at least acquaintances of the child. And the number of kidnappings has stayed relatively consistent of the past few decades.

It really boils down to all the negative stories that qualify as news these days. If all we ever see is the bad, then that is all we’ll ever expect to get.

I have fond memories of wondering the woods in my neighborhood for hours. Completely unsupervised!!! Or riding my bike to the next neighborhood to play with a friend. For a lot of parents today, this is unacceptable. I hope that when my child grows up I won’t feel the need to schedule their lives and will be able to let them explore on their own. Exploring will build self-confidence, independence and foster a love for searching and learning. Bad things will always happen, but remember the good that can come from taking acceptable risks. – The Place to Find Handmade Items

I don’t know if I was the first to think of this or if a lot of couples work this way. I like to have a couple stores, or websites, that only I know about. Stores where I can get wonderful, unique presents for my wife and she’ll never be able to figure out where I got them. I think of it as hiding treasure for later recovery. They’re so secret that I tend to keep them completely to myself. However, I’ve found a new website that I think must be exposed to as many people as possible. Its so wonderful that I have to share it, instead of keeping it like a secret.

That site is

Right off the bat, I’ll admit that I have no idea what the name means, but lets move right past that. Etsy is basically a place for people who appreciate handmade products to buy and sell beautiful handmade products. There are crafts in almost any niche you can think of. And I only say almost, because I’m sure some smarty-pants out there could think of something.

In addition to crafts themselves, the site design is also beautiful and well-crafted. They’ve created fun ways to browse items, such as a browse by color option, or a browse by the most recently added items. The color option is particularly fun because you never know what you’ll get (except that it will be that color). Of course you can still search via categories or keywords. And as with all things Web 2.0, all items are tagged profusely.

Etsy has become my new secret weapon for finding the perfect gift. I hope you can find something too.