Monday, September 29, 2008

A Chicken and Egg Situation

From Dan: Well, it looks like the stock market laid an egg again today. But here in our Little House in the Midway, we are eagerly anticipating our first eggs from our small backyard flock, which should be arriving soon. Our hens are spry young adults, with their feathers proudly poofed and layered and with their waddles coming in.

We've been improving their henhouse with the addition of nesting boxes, which are two small sheltered spaces where our girls will feel snug and cozy enough to lay. We added a golf ball and a large white marble that Riley got from The Essence of Nonsense to encourage egg laying thoughts. We'll see which works better.

It strikes me how smart chickens are. Not learned or intelligent, but in an instinctive and inborn way. They find their way back into their hutch every night. They flock and stick together. They peck only the ripe tomatoes in the garden. They know that when half a crusty old baguette is thrown to them, the easiest part to eat will be the cut end.

I don't know if the simple lives of chickens might hold some promise for calming the turmoil that our country seems to be flying into. But, it's hard to deny how much folk wisdom comes from these silly birds--almost all of which currently applies on Wall Street: The chickens have come home to roost. The fox guarding the henhouse. Don't keep all your eggs in one basket. Egg on their faces.

Maybe these birds have just grown on us, but I can't help feeling reassured that they're with us, providing sustenance while we sustain them as humans and chickens have done for thousands of years.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Bum Genius Brights!

bumGenius New Bright Colors
They're here! Bright new colors from Bum Genius: Ribbit, Moonbeam, Zinnia, and Clementine. Designed to complement the original pastel bumGenius colors, these new brights will really stand out in a crowd. Cute stuff.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dispatch from the ABC Kids Expo

From Dan: Millie and I just returned from the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas, which seemed to be about 50% bigger than last year.

Las Vegas was the same as always--hot, loud, and crowded. On Monday, we got to witness a rare thunderstorm, though, which flooded the streets up to our taxi's wheel wells. I guess they don't build real big storm sewers in Las Vegas.

The expo itself was a huge mixture of strollers, diaper bags, baby carriers, toys, and just about everything else you might buy for a kid. We visited with a lot of our suppliers that we've worked with for years, like Moby Wrap, Ergo, Bum Genius, and Maya Wrap. And we found lots of new items that we hope you'll like when they arrive in our store.

As always, the Bad Idea Fairy has been busy in the past year. We saw several products designed to help toddlers keep track of their food, including a strap that attaches a sippy cup to a child's wrist so they won't lose their juice and a silicone band that performed a similar function for bagels. The worst idea we saw was the "Baby Beehavin"--a stroller with a built in DVD player. Why look at the world around you or even at your mother's face when you can just sit and watch Dora?

We also saw dozens of products designed to solve problems that don't really exist, like a tether that you connect to your kid when you go out so that you don't accidently leave them in the car; or a sticker with a hand print on it that you put on the side of your car and tell your kids to keep their hands on the sticker while you load groceries. Well intended, both. But needed?

Finally, we saw LOTS of celebrities!!!!! Well, not really celebrities, but pictures of them either caught in the act of using a baby product or quickly photographed at some event where a free diaper bag or swaddle blanket is shoved into their hands. Some of them we didn't even know--like a soap star who was going to make an appearance at the Foogo booth to help them sell sippy cups. We paused to ask about a certain baby sling and all we got was a bunch of nonsense about how many celebrities owned it.

Hello baby product makers everywhere: We don't care what Angelina Jolie uses for diaper rash or which baby shoes Adam Sandler's kid wears when he's shopping. LEAVE THOSE CELEBRITIES ALONE! NO ONE CARES!

So, that's our report from the baby gear trenches. It was nice to come home to September in Minnesota.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More Drama in St. Paul

From Millie: We watched the Sarah Palin speech last night. I have to admit, I was more favorably impressed by her than I expected to be. She has five beautiful kids. She seems to love her husband. They seem to be handling the whole teen pregnancy with a certain amount of grace. She seems like she might be a good mom. She seems like a fairly normal person--someone with whom you could have an interesting conversation at the neighborhood block party.

All that said, I think Sarah Palin is frighteningly unqualified to be a Vice Presidential candidate. John McCain is an old man, and in spite of the fact that he keeps trotting out his healthy mother, statistically there is a very good chance he will kick the bucket in the next four years. And the thought of Palin being president for even a day makes my blood run cold. She doesn't have the education, the experience, the knowledge, the vision, or the wisdom. As far as I can tell, she has no experience of anything outside of her life in Alaska.

Now, I'll admit, I'd be happy if McCain chose Ronald McDonald as a running mate if it would help him loose the race. But still--what were they thinking?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Call me Uncle John

From Dan: This picture is from today's NY Times. John McCain greets Bristol Palin's boyfriend Levi right here in St. Paul.

Millie and I started dating as Sophomores in High School, and growing our relationship through parental expectations, school, and the realities of the real world wasn't entirely easy. But, at least we didn't have to contend with national politics or an abstinence-only health curriculum.

I can only imagine what McCain is saying to Levi and Bristol here. "Time to be a man, son. What would would like for a wedding present? A nice toaster oven?" Juno this isn't.

It seems really sad to me that these kids have been hurled into this situation. Hopefully they'll be out of the spotlight after November.