Archive for August, 2006|Monthly archive page

Etsy.com – 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 Etsy.com

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.

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Muddling with Middle Names

We are having a heck of a time trying to decide on middle names for girls. We’ve had boy’s names locked up for awhile now, but the girl names are more difficult. At the moment we are thinking about Meghan (possibly Megan) and Anne (definitely not Ann) as first names, but we can’t seem to find any good middle names. I’ve tried some quick googling (oh crap, I’m going to get sued by Google now) for help picking out middle names, but I haven’t found anything too helpful.

You want it to sound beautiful with the rest of the name. At the same time you want it to have enough weight that it sounds menacing when used with the mom/dad voice. You know what I’m talking about. When a parent uses your first and middle name (or worse, all three) you know you’re in trouble. So far, nothing has matched those criteria.

I know its hard to make suggestions without knowing the last name, but I’m hoping someone out there can give some advice on how to pick a good middle name. Can I get some help?

We’ve Got the Beat!

Yesterday, we heard the heartbeat!

I was excited like a little schoolgirl, and I’m not too ashamed to say it. To me it seemed like an eternity waiting for the doctor to zero in on the heartbeat. Later, CincyMommy reminded me that Speck is only about 2 inches at the moment, and that makes the heartbeat a little tougher to find. But once I heard that unmistakable rushing/thumping sound I was running for my laptop. We got a great recording, and I’m planing on sending it out to the folks. I hope they’ll get a kick out it!

Hearing the heartbeat is really bringing this whole baby thing home for me. It’s starting to seem possible that there is, indeed, a life growing inside my wife. It seems impossible, but it’s true. I heard the heartbeat, so it must be true!

Every week we sit down and read through what’s happening with Speck. And the more I read the more I believe this whole process is a miracle. To quote CincyMommy, “How can anyone not believe in God when they see this?”

The Whole Story

I mentioned in an earlier post that CincyMommy and I had some bad times before. Earlier this year, CincyMommy became pregnant. Unfortunately the same day she found out, we also found out it was an ectopic pregnancy. In her case, this meant the egg had implanted itself in her left fallopian tube. Needless to say this is a very dangerous occurrence. Thankfully for us we found out very early, so there was little danger of her fallopian tube bursting. However, we had to terminate that pregnancy.

Afterwards we went through a lot of disappointment, guilt, and fear. We didn’t know if that would be our only chance, and if there was anything we could have done differently. It was a hard time for the both of us.

We decided to keep trying, and hopefully we would have better luck next time. And we have!! But our initial pregnancy experience made us wary of getting too excited, too quickly. We decided to wait until the 2 month mark before letting the rest of the family know. It was hard, but luckily the majority were out of town. It was great when we finally got to tell everyone. There was so much yelling and crying and hugging, it was awesome! Having a loving, supportive family network will make this whole process that much easier.

Monday we get to hear the heartbeat. I think its going to be pretty surreal.

Life without Wife.

For the past week, CincyMommy has been vacationing down in Florida. That’s right I get left up here, while she suns it up. I just wasn’t able to justify taking the time off right now. I’ve taken way too much time off this summer as it is.

It’s been tough not having her around. She grounds me, and keeps me focused. Without her, I just wander around the house. I’ll start a project and then get distracted. Or I’ll spend too much time trying to devise a schedule to keep me from being distracted. All in all, nothing is getting done.

The cats are starving for attention, too. There isn’t enough lovin’ to go around. When I get home, they become attached to me. And of course having two cats following your every step makes it hard to get things done, too.

Thank goodness she comes home tomorrow, and this house can get back to normal.

Science Says, “Keep Pushing those Kids!!”

I just finished reading an article at Scientific America’s website called The Expert Mind. It covers scientific research into the minds of experts. What makes an expert perform better than anyone else in their field? How is that a Grandmaster chess player can play faster and better than their opponents. According to the data it has almost nothing to do with inate ability and everything to do with practice. It turns out the old joke about Carengie Hall is right. You just need practice, practice, practice.

To me this article sounds a death toll for kids being kids. The earlier you start a child in a particular field the farther they will progress. The more you push them, the faster they’ll succeed. Its a nightmare scenario. Here’s a good summary quote from the article.

Thus, motivation appears to be a more important factor than innate ability in the development of expertise. It is no accident that in music, chess and sports–all domains in which expertise is defined by competitive performance rather than academic credentialing–professionalism has been emerging at ever younger ages, under the ministrations of increasingly dedicated parents and even extended families.

Unfortunately the authors see it as a positive discovery. They suggest educators should ask, “Why should there be anything in the world he can’t learn to do?”

My answer is “Because sometimes a child needs to play instead of practice, and create instead of memorize, and to explore without expectations”