30 April 2011

Celebrity Birth Announcement: Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon's boy/ girl twins were born today. So far, the news is that they are both healthy: according to this People article, the "girl was born first weighing 5 lbs., 3 oz., and was 18 inches long; her brother was next, at 5 lbs. 6 oz., and was 19 inches." Congratulations!
Photo from one of their weddings [apparently getting married every year is their "thing"]
I can't wait [though I'm a little afraid] to hear what their names are and I'll post back when they're announced. Previously, Nick commented on their chosen names, saying "They won't be crazy names like Carburetor or something," he promised. "But they're definitely unique."

If either one is named butterfly, I'm going to cry.

29 April 2011

January Jones is Pregnant!

I am supposed to be sleeping but I can't help but get excited for the royal wedding [I didn't think I cared but apparently I do!], so I am still awake and just read People's announcement that January Jones is going to be a mom. I've been a fan of hers for a while and since her character on Mad Men is rarely shown anymore, I only get to read about her in magazines or on TMZ.
January Jones Images
Photo here
Her representative told the magazine that she's "...happy to announce that she is expecting her first child this fall."

 It doesn't mention any specifics in regard to the father [I didn't think she had a boyfriend so I was curious] but People's source tells them that January is "really looking forward to this new chapter in her life as a single mom." I'm hoping she will come forward at some point and discuss it because there is still such a stigma surrounding single mothers.
Photo here
As far as names, Jones is a nice, plain last name so I'm thinking she can get away with a more unusual first name. Maybe Magnolia or Tiberius? Those aren't on my personal lists but I'd consider them if I had a super-common last name. In any case, congratulations to her and I'm sure she'll be a very fashionable pregnant woman.

28 April 2011

Smocked Dresses on Zulily Today

For those who like smocked dresses, Zulily has some great things by Candyland on sale today. Here are a few of the styles they have available:
Strawberries $74 $39.99
Golf $74 $39.99
Sailboats $74 $37.99
Octopus $74 $37.99
Mermaid $74 $37.99
Frog $74 $37.99
Sailboats sleeveless $74 $37.99
Frog sleeveless $74 $37.99
They have several more dresses and some boys styles as well.

Also, for anyone who can't get enough smocked kids' clothes, you have to 'like' Smocked Auctions on Facebook. They have auctions every Tuesday and Thursday nights at 8:30 CST. Their dresses are from brands like Anavini, Vive la Fete, etc. and are 50% off with free shipping. I am waiting on my order from a week or so ago and will post pictures when I get them.

27 April 2011

My Current Wishlist: Felt Letters and Numbers

I waited too long [she was over 2 weeks old] to order stuffed felt letters to use for monthly photos of Bay. I had to get them ASAP so I ordered these die-cut felt letters and numbers from SunshineAnnieDieCuts:
I do like the idea of stuffed felt letters, though, and when I made some a year or so ago, it took me forever. I think when Bay starts getting interested in the alphabet and spelling, I will buy some of these to help her learn. Here are a few of my favorites:
Memory Game- "Garden ABC's"
Garden ABC memory game by MamieCo
Stuffed Felt Alphabet Letter Set in a Drawstring Bag - Mixed Upper and Lower Case Set
Stuffed alphabet by MiChiMaLand
Stuffed Felt Alphabet Letter Set in a Reusable Drawstring Bag - Upper Case Set - 2 inch
Stuffed felt alphabet by MiChiMaLand
Stuffed Felt Alphabet Letter Set - Black Upper Case Set
Black with white vowels by MiChiMaLAND
Alphabet Letter Coins Scallop Circles Wool Felt
ABC letter coins by AMarketCollection
Stuffed Felt Magnetic Alphabet Letter Set
Multicolor alphabet magnets by CuddlWithMe
Needle Felted Alphabet Balls
Organic felted alphabet balls by jacksbeanstalk
They also have many other languages available
Stuffed Felt Spanish Alphabet Letter Set in a Drawstring Bag - Lower Case Letters
Spanish alphabet by MiChiMaLand
Stuffed Felt Swedish Alphabet Letter Set in a Drawstring Bag - Upper or Lower Case Letters
Stuffed felt Swedish alphabet by MiChiMaLand
I think these would be a great tool for teachers. I also like the magnetic math set that would be good to put on a magnetic board in a kid's room or on the refrigerator:
Magnetic Math Set - Stuffed Felt Numbers Magnet Set

For little babies, there is even this ABC mobile to get them started early:
Now I Know My ABCs - Decorative Hanging Mobile - Stuffed Felt Alphabet Letters
Hanging alphabet mobile by MiChiMaLand
Happy shopping!

22 April 2011

The 2010 SSA Baby Names List is Almost Here

Every year around Mother's Day [recently it has been the Friday before], the Social Security Administration releases their list of the previous year's most frequently given names. It lists the top 1000 for each sex, in order of popularity. You can also download the full list for all names with more than 5 occurrences but I choose to leave that up to Nancy.
Here's what the Top 10 looks like right now
Anyway, that day is just over 2 weeks away and this post reminded me just how soon that is. Every year, baby name websites give their guesses for the fastest-rising and fastest-falling names. People who aren't name-obsessed probably think it's completely random but I'm always amazed at the accuracy with which they are forecast before the list is available.

Here are my top 3 guesses for each category:
Fastest Rising Girls: Harper, Charlotte, Violet
Fastest Rising Boys: Jasper, Milo, Henry
Fastest Falling Girls: Tiffany, Britney, Amber
Fastest Falling Boys: Jeremy, Steven, Todd
neil patrick harris tweets baby photo twins gideon harper twitter 224x300 Neil Patrick Harris Baby Photo: NPH Tweets Pic of the Twins with David Burtka
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's twins Gideon and Harper
They're obviously not easy to choose but for me, the risers are easier to pinpoint because the falling names are ones that nobody really thinks about anymore. Also, when celebrities use names that are already becoming popular, that makes them even more likely to rise quickly.
Violet Affleck
 Violet, for example, was already being revived in 2005 when Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck named their daughter that. It ranked #586 the year before and shot up from there:
The last 10 recorded years of Violet's popularity
With the botanical name trend combined with all of the renewed 'grandmother-era' names, it's no wonder Violet -along with Lily, Daisy, Willow, and Hazel- is back in style.

Another thing that I think can influence a name's popularity is negative celebrity attention associated with the name. Here's why the very 80s name Amber is on my list:
Amber Portwood Mug Shot
Amber Portwood mugshot
Amber Portwood is known for being on the shows 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. Oh yeah, and also for going to jail for beating the crap out of her ex-boyfriend Gary [which almost made my falling list for different reasons] on camera. I actually think she's pretty hilarious on the show but obviously with her violent outbursts and legal issues, she's not someone I'd want to name my daughter after.

Amber's popularity was already falling long before all of that so I think it may just be the last straw for that name.
Last 10 recorded years of Amber's popularity
I can't wait to see how my predictions turn out. I really wanted Silas on the list but in the end I took it off in favor of Milo because of the baby on Gossip Girl and its popularity in other countries. I'm going to be sad to see how much Oliver has risen. It's the one popular name that I can't bring myself to remove from my future boy list. Last year it broke the top 100 and I know it's only going to go up.

For the first time, I am also super excited to find out which new names show up in the top 1000, specifically nature names. I think it will be a long time before Bay makes it up that high but it was a popular search last year on Nameberry according to this post. I wonder how many of those were from people I know wondering what the deal is with our daughter's name.

21 April 2011

Celebrity Birth Announcement: Jane Krakowski

30 Rock* actress Jane Krakowski gave birth to her first child last Wednesday! It's a boy and his name is Bennett Robert Godley. The father [and apparently the inspiration for Bennett's middle name] is her fiance, Psycho Bunny [am I supposed to know what that is?] designer Robert Godley.
Photo here
I was actually shocked to find out that Jane is 42 years old. For some reason, I didn't think of her as being in her forties. In any case, I love the name Bennett [though it's gotten really popular in recent years] and am happy to see a traditional, inherited middle name.
Jane and Robert
*If you don't watch 30 Rock [NBC on Thursday nights], you've got to tune in. It's one of the funniest shows on television -unless you happen to be my mom who "doesn't understand the humor"- and it's definitely worth your time.

In completely non-baby news, Adam Lambert currently looks like this:
Adam Lambert Sister Act Beard 02 2011 04 21
Photo here
It's supposedly for his part in Sister Act [now on Broadway]. Either way, I'm not feeling it and am actually a little frightened by those eyebrows.

20 April 2011

Kate Hudson, Tina Fey, and Maternal Age

I just came across this article where Kate Hudson [who's pregnant with her second child at 32] discusses having a baby now compared with age 24 when she gave birth to her son Ryder. Here are some excerpts:

“When I had Ryder... I didn’t feel like I was having a baby young... to me it just felt normal.” She later noticed how young she really was compared with her friends who had children later in life or were still waiting to start families. “As I started getting older, as he started getting older and I was 28, 29, I was like, ‘Wow. I’m a young mom.’ It started hitting me.”
Picking up some pastries
She now appreciates that she had Ryder when she did, saying “I’m so happy that I had a child so young. He is my buddy... I have a lot of girlfriends who are in their thirties, haven’t been married and don’t have a kid, and it’s difficult for them because they really want a family.”

 For an older mother's perspective, Tina Fey was on Ellen yesterday discussing her "advanced maternal age" and pregnancy at age 40. Her daughter Alice is 5 so her first pregnancy in her mid-thirties was probably considered old to a lot of women.

She said "I've been lucky. Pretty easy pregnancies both times. But it's funny because now I'm oldie, olderson... They treat me very gingerly." Maybe it's because of her character on 30 Rock or all of the other things she is involved in, but Tina doesn't seem old to me.
US Weekly article here
 Tina recently spoke about how her daughter Alice is the only child in her class without a sibling. She thought that it wouldn't be an issue raising a child in New York, but she was still "stricken with guilt" over it, especially when Alice would mention having a baby sister.

I personally was 23 when I had Bay but I didn't feel very young at all, I think because I had prepared to be a mom for such a long time. I also know lots of women who didn't have kids until their 30s who seem a lot younger than I do because they're very active. I think it all depends upon your lifestyle and obviously the most important thing is being prepared, no matter what age you are.

Do you consider a certain age too young or too old to have/ adopt children? Do you have an ideal age in mind? If you are a mom, do you feel like you had your child[ren] at a good age?

Animal-Friendly Easter Candy

A couple of years ago, I posted suggestions here for animal-friendly Halloween candy. Below is an updated list of candy I recommend for vegan Easter [or anytime] treats. The italicized ones are organic.
[I buy this brand at Whole Foods]
Supreme Dark Chocolate [Chimpanzee] -this kind is my favorite!
Dark Chocolate with Cranberries & Almonds [Wolf]
Dark Chocolate with Blueberries [Sea Turtle]
Dark Chocolate with Raspberries [Grizzly]
Dark Chocolate with Mint [Rainforest]
Dark Chocolate with Cherry [Koala]
Dark Chocolate with Orange [Zebra]

Other Candies:
Blow Pops
Dum Dums
Hubba Bubba Gum
 Jolly Ranchers [hard candy and suckers only]
Laffy Taffy
Mike and Ikes
Now and Laters
Smarties [not to be confused with the European chocolates]
Sour Patch Kids
Super Bubble
Swedish Fish

That's not all, check out this full list for more candy and lots of other snack foods.

I tried not to include candies made by Mars or Nestlé, so if I did by mistake, let me know! More on that later. For now, happy candy shopping!

19 April 2011

Natursutten on Sale and $10 Off

The Mini Social will have Natursutten on sale beginning Tuesday, April 19. They have 2 packs of pacifiers in either rounded or orthodontic for $9.99 each and a 2 pack of teethers for $15.
I just did a quick search for a free shipping promo code and found something better: The Mini Social is offering $10 off orders of $10 or more with code LUCKYKIDS. You do have to pay shipping, which I believe is $6.95 to most states. I have no idea how long the code lasts [it was still valid at the time of this post] so if you see something you like, buy it while you can save!

18 April 2011

Celebrity Babies and Moms: Sandra Bullock

I can't believe I haven't posted about Sandra Bullock yet. I'm not even going to go into her divorce and all of that because everyone knows. What I do want to post about is her son, Louis Bardo, the kid at the top of my if I had to steal a celebrity's baby list.
World Exclusive: Meet Sandra Bullock's Baby Boy! | Sandra Bullock
I love seeing pictures of them together. From what I have read in interviews and can see in photos, Sandra seems like an awesome mother who is very protective of her son.
Sandra Bullock and Baby Louis Leave NYC
Photo here
Photo here
Sandra and Louis in Anguilla
Actress Sandra Bullock plays with her son Louis at a park in downtown Manhattan in New York City, NY.
Walking on his own- I can't wait for Bay to do this!
He is so adorable! I can't wait to see him grow up. I also hope that as more and more prominent celebrities opt for transracial adoption, it can eventually be seen as normal by the rest of society. There are certainly differences [cultural and others] that have to be addressed when white parents raise black children and vice versa but I believe in most cases they are outweighed by the positive aspects of being raised in a loving family.
Photo here
I think Sandra Bullock is a fantastic example of a caring mother who loves her son no matter what race he is or who his biological parents happened to be.

15 April 2011

Kid Things You Won't Want to Hide in a Closet

I was searching Etsy for a hopscotch mat [found it!] and came across some other awesome things for kids. They're also a refreshing change from all of the annoying, battery-operated crap most retailers try to force on parents. These items are so adorable and fun, I will let the photos speak for themselves:
Hopscotch Mat
Hopscotch Mat by CoolSpacesForKids
Bay has these Twig Colored Pencils from Anthropologie
Ships and Maps
Teepee by Littlebyjenny
Tablecloth Play House
Tablecloth Play House by CoolSpacesForKids
I love these fabric-covered classic books at Anthropologie
Chunky Heart Conversation Scribblers -Set of (7) 2nd Chance Crayons
Conversation heart crayons by JugieBeeCrayons
Imaginative play and creativity are so important for children's development that I think it's imperative to encourage it with the right atmosphere at home.