Monday, September 24, 2012

Movin' on up

I think I did mention our quest for the new car seat on here ... just coming back with an update.

Prompted by my super duper friend, The Car Seat Lady, I was starting to get anxious about our seat maxing out at 40 pounds, plus the new LATCH rules that go into effect in 2014. This kind of thing drives me crazy ... I understand it takes time for car manufacturers to change their supplies and such, but basically it's like a news story that says, Hey! Your kid probably isn't safe in their car seat - that might get better in two years. Ugh.

Anywho, after much searching on Consumer Reports, polling of friends and reading reviews ad nauseum I decided to go with the Britax Marathon 70, which I now see was just retired on the Britax website. I swear, you just can't keep up with this game. When I did the side-by-side comparison about 6 weeks ago it was still on there (of course). The Britax Marathon 70-G3 appears to be the replacement and, as far as I can tell, the only difference is their Easy Buckle System. I've been jacking around with car seat buckles for years now and don't feel that it is a major issue for us. Also, for what it's worth, our old convertible seat (the Britax Diplomat), was also retired in favor of some newer version. We never had an issue with it and the seats are "good" for 6 years past their retirement date, so our kids will be out of them by then anyway.

We got a good price on the Marathon 70, not much more than the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1, which was highly rated on Consumer Reports and recommended lots of places. When it came down to it, I had Ellen sit in a floor sample of the Graco and it just didn't seem to "fit" her very well, especially for a seat that she could be in for a few more years. I like the feature of converting to a booster, but I figured that boosters aren't that expensive anyway, and we'll have a second kid to use this seat when it's time for Ellen to move on.

There are definitely Britax car seats that have more gadgets and safety features, at a much higher price, and at the end of the day I feel that some of it is just marketing. OF COURSE I would pay whatever it took to keep my kids safe in the car (I'm kind of a freak about car seat use), but it is hard to compare seats across different manufacturers and a lot of the side impact features aren't tested or rated on any kind of standard. Plus you have the variable of the safety features of your own car and it just gets too confusing. It isn't feasible for us to buy two new car seats every time they come up with a safety innovation, nor do I think it is feasible for most families.

I do subscribe to the "keep your kid in a 5-point harness as long as possible" philosophy. I think based on age alone Ellen could go to a high back booster pretty soon, and maybe even based on weight, but she is challenged with height, so that just isn't very safe. She doesn't complain, so for now it's fine.

Here is the link to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on car seat stuff. And I came across this site on Pinterest and I think she has a good real-world description of car seat issues: Lucie's List - Real World Car Seat Installation Tips.

And, speaking of car seats, it's just about time to get our infant seat out and installed again. Yikes. There goes my back seat, along with a lot of other things (sleep, showering, free time .....)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

So much ....

So much time, so little to do.

Wait, reverse that.

(Willy Wonka, anyone??)

Anywho, we gots a lot going on, just like, oh, everyone else I know.

I came across this post on my very favorite Dinner: A Love Story, which you must already be reading because I post about it all the time. Just in case, though ...
How to Nurture Talent (Without Being a Psycho Parent)

I would like to read this book (someday when I start reading again) and I must say that a quick skim of the article rang true to me about the "pay attention to what your kid stares at". Ellen participated in dance this summer - 1 hour and 20 minutes of tap, ballet and an art project. We dropped her off every Saturday morning for like 9 weeks and weren't allowed to watch, so I have no idea what transpired there. We would ask her how dance was, or to show us what she learned, and she never engaged. (The first rule of dance class is not to talk about dance class). She almost never talked about it outside of Saturday mornings, though did comment repeatedly on the art projects she brought home. I asked her if she wanted to continue for the rest of the year or if she would like to try something different ... she thought art class sounded better. :)

(We are not enrolled in art class, but that is a story for another time).

Also, to bastardize a quote I read (sleepily) last night in Parents Magazine, "behavior is the language that your child is most fluent in". Totally caught my eye and seems totally true to me. I am the parent of an EXTREMELY verbal child, but even still, I think most kids express their core desires / wants / needs in behaviors and I need to do a better job about reading into the meaning behind the whining. See a similar post here from Motherhood Uncensored about The Other Side.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Petite Monet

Our little Ellen is quite the prolific artist. We have gobs and gobs of masterpieces that come home from school, and are made at home, and end up in piles in her playroom before I recycle them.

I really don't feel bad about throwing away the ones that are "scribbles", for lack of a better word. I do keep all the "project" type items that come home from school, and some especially nice paintings or the first drawings of people or letters, for example.

But, how to keep them for the long term?

I have seen tons of great ideas online and on Pinterest. Coffee table "art" books of your child's art. Or scanning the artwork and then creating a big poster. Rotating the pieces in and out of a wall of frames.

I really like the coffee table art book idea the best, though I am sort of paralyzed when it comes to taking a good quality photo of the art to begin with and getting the lighting correct and more or less standard from picture to picture. Our scanner is super old and smallish, so really won't work for this kind of project.

I also saw this new app on Cool Mom Tech this week - ArtKive. It sounds like a similar idea -you can take pictures of your child's artwork and it stores them in some way, then eventually you can make a book. I haven't figured it all out, but it's free to download for a short period of time, so I downloaded it and will figure it out later!