HOT or NOT? Elaborate Paternal Photography

So I’ve labelled this one a “Hot OR Not?” because while I know that it’s something that I would enjoy,  I’m not so sure whether Joyce or the New Kid On The Block would endorse it.

The popularisation of high quality digital photography and the Photoshop revolution  has really broadened the horizons of what a dad (or a mum) with a penchant for  photography can do with their kids.

As Jason Lee shows, it’s now possible to transcend the ‘Kodak moments’ of the past and create some truly awesome family photos:

As you can see, a little bit of preparation and digital magic can create some really striking family pictures (Ok, so maybe it helps if your kids are really smiley and cute).

I think that it would be a fun and educational Daddy-Daughter project to plan and produce some elaborate and creative family pictures.  However, I suspect that Joyce has reservations about the potential for it to degenerate into an Ann Geddes-esq mess of twee. It’s a fine line, but I think I’m going to be able to win her by showing her that’s it’s possible to be creative and hip as well as cute….

Via: Geekosystem, My Modern Met

NKOTB arrives!

via Allan Peters, AIGA Minnesota

You may find that blog posts are not as frequent in the next few weeks due to some exciting news.  We had a little baby girl, Miss A,  on at 5:45am on Saturday 13/2/2011 (the day before Valentines’ Day )! The New Kid On The Block has arrived!

She’s 3.7kgs of Eurasian cuteness. Blue eyes, double eyelids and thick dark hair.

Everyone is healthy and happy and thank you for all your good wishes and congratulations.

HOT: Cycling while pregnant – Part 2

Earlier on in my pregnancy I wondered out loud via this blog whether it’s a good idea to cycle whilst pregnant.

Well, having now reached 40 weeks + 5 days I can say unequivocally the answer is YES.

The photo above was taken at 40 weeks + 4 days in front of my obstetrician’s surgery. Yes, that’s right, despite my doctor’s suggestion to stop riding at 20 weeks, I have been riding to almost every appointment and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Most people seem shocked or bemused when I tell them that I’m still on the bike and I have never seen a pregnant woman on a bike myself. So for those of you who are unsure about whether or not cycle whilst pregnant, I want to encourage you by saying that it’s absolutely possible if you feel comfortable with the idea and if you’re used to day to day on-road riding.

Cycling has allowed me to be mobile even in the last throes of pregnancy.  Since 36 weeks I’ve developed a bad case of cankles and walking isn’t much fun, what with the swelling and the weight of the baby in the front. Even walking a couple of blocks to the tram stop is uncomfortable. With wheels I can just roll my way door to door from home to the supermarket, the post office and the movies. My panniers also mean that I’m able to carry heavier stuff around, even if it means leaving it at the bottom of the stairs when I get home and getting my husband to carry it up for me.

Cycling to do my errands also allows me to fit a little bit of exercise into my day. While I know that swimming is great exercise for pregnancy, I really don’t enjoy swimming, but I do love cycling and I think it provides the same ‘weight-off-your-feet’ benefits as swimming . I’m sure that cycling has helped keep my energy levels up even when heavily pregnant and I’m hoping that it will help with bouncing back from 9 months of weight gain.

I haven’t felt unsafe on my bike, either from traffic or a lack of balance. As you can see, I ride fairly upright so it’s a very comfortable position with a big belly and I haven’t found pregnancy to affect my balance at all. As for traffic, I do a lot more travelling on the footpath now. I know it’s technically illegal but I figure who’s going to stop a heavily pregnant lady from cycling off the road.

There are a couple of concessions I’ve made to my normal cycling routine. I no longer wear heels as I need to be able to have a firm grip on the pedals or the ground if need be. I travel only short distances eg less than 20 minutes at a time. I avoid big hills at all costs and ride very, very slowly. I carry deodorant and a water bottle everywhere as I get hot and puffed (and a bit smelly) a lot quicker.

Will I be cycling to the hospital? Hard to say. I don’t think so, mostly because my hospital bag is a wheelie suitcase and having never had a baby I’m not sure what my tolerance for contractions will be. But I do take inspiration from this Montana woman who biked to hospital the day her daughter was born.

I somewhat reluctantly got on the bike and, to my surprise, enjoyed every minute of the ride, even when I was having a contraction. Despite all the dire warnings that I would crash my bike when the pain hit, I found that I could power through it. In fact, the contractions on the bike were the easiest to bear because I was distracted and doing something I love.

HOT: Teaching Daughters to Love Science

The video above garnered quite a bit of attention in the Nerd/Geek/Parenting blogosphere recently (now there’s a niche community!). And why not? Any two year old who can pretty well remember all of the Periodic Table is an impressive sight to behold. In fact, a two year old who is able to focus anything, let alone  the Periodic Table, for close to ten minutes straight is impressive in itself!

But the thing I liked the most about this video was that it showed parents being rewarded for making a concious effort to encourage their daughter to engage with science. As someone who’s working IT/telco for most of my career, I’m very concious that for whatever reason, relatively few girls go on to study or have careers in science/technology. It’s difficult to work out why, but I suspect at least part of the cause is cultural/societal. So I want to pay particular attention to nurturing an interest in science and technology in NKOTB from a young age.

I’m not sure that I’ll go to the extent of deploying Periodic Table flash cards, but I salute the intent!

The Periodic Table of Elements flash cards in this clip are available here.

Via: Nerdist and Boing Boing.

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NOT: Children’s Safety Vests

Gah! It’s products like this that have led Joyce and I to become fully paid up members of the Free Range Kids fan club.

Here’s the product description:

Increase your child’s visibility on their way to school or at playtime with this reflective children’s V-Shape Safety Vest. Made of 100% Yellow polyester material, this safety vest is washable and reusable. You can be sure your “dearest ones” will be safe while out having fun.

The vest will fit little ones of any sizes. This is the ideal safety item to have on hand for your children for outings, schools or at playtime. Children are safer walking or riding bicycles when wearing this safety vest as they will be more visible to traffic throughout the day and into the night.

Oh yeah, that’s the way to raise a healthy, well adjusted kid – force them to walk to school looking like a miniature council worker! And I’m sure there will be heaps of kids wanting to play with your ‘dearest one’ if you’ve dressed them like an extra from a Beastie Boys video clip:

Amazon tells me that the vest is reduced from $20 to $2 – but no matter what the price, the cost to your child’s psychological development would be immeasurable.

Via: Parent Hacks

NOT: Russian Kid’s Playgrounds

While modern Australian children’s playgrounds often look like they were designed by the nanny state’s fun police (how on earth did all of us survive playgrounds without padding when we were kids?!), they are at least better than these creepy Russian playgrounds!

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