Categories: Life

Way back in high school, or a little earlier, a long time ago anyway, I made a spherical pillow and put the continents on it. It’s a bit over a foot in diameter and it’s a fun little globe. Iddo loves to throw it and sit on it.

A kid 11 going on 12 was at our home recently and saw it. He wanted to know what the big stripy thing on the top was and I told him it was Asia. Then he asked if I always made things when I was bored.

He seemed real confused when I told him no because I’m never bored. I can always find something to do.

Pickles - You want to know what I do when I'm bored?

At what age do we finally figure that out? I can’t remember when I stopped being bored but I know it’s been a long time. Okay, maybe I’ve been bored standing in line at a store a time or two, but who doesn’t get bored there?

Favorite Things – The Toddler Edition

Categories: Family, Featured, Food, Life, Random

When Iddo was 6 months old I wrote a post about all the things we had that had made those first 6 months easier – Baby paraphernalia six months in. Now that she’s entering the toddler stage we have slightly different list of things we love.

Travel & Safety

Britax Marathon Car Seat – We’re still in love with this car seat. In fact, we love it so much that it’s what we’ll be buying the current model for future babies as well. She still fits great in it rear facing at 20 months even with her long legs. She just bends them or hangs them wherever she wants.

Mei Tai Baby Carrier – This I actually made (using basically these instructions). It can resemble an unruly squid when the ties get lose in a bag, but it rolls up real compact and it’s super easy to put her, even at the toddler age, on my front or my back. When we were still breast feeding I was able to do it while carrying her without any problems.


Flip Diapers – We’re still using the same covers (although they are starting to wear out a bit, but that’s because we rotate through them so often since we only have 8). We’re still using the same inserts, knowing that she needs 1 full-size and 2 newborn-size in her night diaper, and they’re working great. We’re planning on using their training covers when we get to that point.

Small Planet Wise Wet Bags – They are the perfect size for holding wipes, a few diapers, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer. It’s still what we grab most from our diaper bag. In fact I’m probably going to get some more because they are also the perfect size to keep small toys together in the diaper bag or a back-pack as well as keeping snacks in. They’re just a great all around bag.


Random Giggles | Favorite Things - The Toddler Edition: Eating made simpleFisher-Price booster seat – This has been the absolute best high-chair/booster seat. It’s super easy to clean. We took it with us this summer when we traveled and she always had her spot to sit at. We took it with us to the chili cook-off at church for Halloween and she was able to eat her dinner while we ate ours and didn’t have to balance her on our laps or switch off who was eating. It’s great!

Sassy Grow Up Cup – We got tired of trying to clean the no-spill valves in her sippy cups (because it’s almost impossible to really get those clean), but she hasn’t yet mastered the art of drinking from a normal cup. Enter this incredible invention! It’s an around-the-rim sippy cup. She drinks from the rim just like a normal cup but it has this rubber ring with ridges on it that she has to suck through and it keeps it from spilling unless she flings it in anger. She caught on to how to use it as soon as we gave it to her. It’s brilliant!

Munchie Mug – By far the best spill-proof snack container. It has overlapping fabric pieces that she sticks her hand through to grab the largest handful of Cheerios and craisins (our current snack of choice) that she can and doesn’t spill when dropped or carried upside down. It comes with a separate lid you can screw on to keep snacks fresh but we’ve never used it because we don’t keep it in the diaper bag unused for that long. But if you did, it has that lid. The handle in the mug makes it real easy for her to carry around with her too.


Squigz – Yes, these say they are for kids 3 and up, so we just watch her when she’s playing with them. Because Iddo’s been getting a kick out of them for several months now. You can stick them to your forehead, the window, mirrors, each other. They are made from food-grade silicon and are easily washable. The hard round knobby parts were perfect for her to chew on when she was teething because they gave her some resistance to her gums. I have yet to meet a person of any age who doesn’t like Squigz.

Random Giggles | Favorite Things - The Toddler Edition, Playing with Squigz & Bilibos

Moluk Bilibo – We have a big one and two little ones. The mini Bilibos were perfect this summer when we found ourselves at a mountain stream and needed something fun to float down the stream. They also worked great at a lake beach. You can put them on your head. You can put things in them. They’ve been the perfect size for her little hands. Now that she’s getting bigger she’s enjoying her regular sized one as well. She likes to sit on/in it or stand on it. It’s great for sticking Squigz in. It’s fun to throw balls into and watch them roll around. I’m sure we’ll find dozens of other uses for these as her imagination grows.


Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blankets – These are still a favorite. And now that she likes having her toys swaddled, it’s wonderful that they are thin enough that I can actually wrap them around a toy and have it be tight enough that they don’t come unwrapped for days or weeks at a time. They’re also the perfect blanket for throwing in the diaper bag because they don’t take a lot of room and sometimes you just need to play “Where is she?” (Iddo’s version of peek-a-boo) on the go.

Momo Baby Soft Sole Leather Shoes – Have you ever seen a kid learning how to walk wearing shoes with regular soles? It’s like watching a dog wear shoes. It’s awkward. We bought Iddo a pair of these a month or so before she turned 1 when she really started being interested in walking around holding our fingers. They are one of the few shoes approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association because they protect baby and toddler feet while still letting them feel the ground and allowing their feet to develop naturally. In October after she’d been walking for a few months her feet had grown and she’d actually worn out the toes on her first pair (she dragged her toes a lot when she was starting to walk), so we bought a second pair. She’ll probably be outgrowing the second pair by her second birthday this summer. But by now she’s gotten the walking thing pretty much down so we’ll most likely be moving on to more traditional shoes next. But we’ve absolutely loved these shoes. And she can’t pull them off so her socks stay on.


It’ll be a lot of fun to see what new things she’ll introduce us to in the next year.

Lunar New Year!

Categories: Food, Science & Tech

With the new moon happening at 4:47pm local time yesterday, today is the first day of the new year in the lunar calendar. The year of the sheep as they’re calling it. I think I’ll need to knit a lot this year in honor of it. We did have stir fry for dinner tonight to celebrate.

What are your favorite stir fry vegetables? I love snap peas, water chestnuts, and baby corn.

The new moon on Wednesday also meant that the moon was basically up during the day on Monday and not at all at night. It rose at just before 5am and set just before 4pm and it was very much a waning crescent with only 7% visible. Which was a problem this week.

We go for a walk after dinner every Monday as a family and Iddo was really looking forward to saying hi to the moon and stars on our walk this week. She spent the first almost quarter mile having a bit of a fit and crying because she couldn’t see the moon to say hi. Us telling her it was sleeping didn’t help any. Neither did pointing out all the stars she could say hi to. It was actually rather funny.

This coming Monday it will be a waxing crescent with 30% visible and definitely up when we go out for our walk. That should make her much happier.

Where I get my lunar information: Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Books. Measles. Enjoyment.

Categories: Books, Health, News, Relationships

What do books, measles, and enjoyment have in common? Not much except I’ve read some interesting things about all of them recently.


They announced the Newbery and Caldecott winners last week.

I’m excited to read this year’s Newbery, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, mainly because it’s an entire novel written in poetry, and not just one long epic poem either but different types. I wonder if it’ll have me speaking in meter like I found myself doing when I read Skellig (review) several years ago.

My dad has been helping us build our Newbery collections every year for several years now. Looking at this year’s Caldecott winner, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat, I think we need to start building our children’s Caldecott collection. The illustrations I’ve seen are just gorgeous. Add in the fact that I’ve never read a book from the perspective of an imaginary friend before, and I’m very much intrigued.

In the non-children’s book department, I’ve just been made aware of the book Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen, and it’s now been added to my list of books I’d like to read. As part of my alphabet non-fiction challenge I read a book about the history of words in the English language – The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English by Henry Hitchings (review). This book is the history of the letters in the English language. It would probably be a good idea to read about the history of the letters that make up the words I’ve read the history of already. That, and it would make for some fun non-quantum physics small talk topics.

And then there’s this piece of awesome book related music. Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison with The Doors singing the Reading Rainbow theme song.

YouTube Preview Image


I thought Scientific American’s explanation on the level of vaccination needed for different diseases to keep them from becoming epidemics was interesting. I had never heard of how they calculated that, or even that there was a way to do so. I was especially surprised at how contagious measles is to other diseases. It’s one of the highest.

And in light of the dropping vaccination levels in our country, I liked the brief summary NPR did on how doctors should approach vaccination questions with their patients and the parents of their patients. I didn’t go to medical school. The majority of parents did not. But our pediatrician did. And I am capable of reading actual research (not scare blogs, on either side) on the topic. After the research I’ve done and continue to do, I’m trusting our pediatrician.


And finally, if you want to enjoy something, do it with people you enjoy. It’s the shared experience, and the ability to continue to share it in memory, that makes the experience extraordinary. Put this in the category of things that it seems like we shouldn’t have needed to research but someone did the research on anyway. Because of course it makes sense that humans, extremely social creatures, would need the social experience to enhance the emotional experience. Even as an introvert I can get behind that conclusion. It’s just that as an introvert I’m good with sharing an experience with just a small number of people, like 1 (hi Brett!), and not a larger number.

Thanks for sharing this blog experience with me.

You are never too old, or too young, to learn

Categories: Education

Last week I read two articles that stood out to me, for their similarities and their differences.

The first was about the world’s oldest first-grader. Kimani Maruge started school for the first time at the age of 84 in 2004. Before that he’d been too poor to attend school in his native Kenya. He lived his life as a farmer and fought in the army for Kenyan independence, hoping then the government would stop charging fees to go to school. Even after independence though the government continued to charge fees till 2003. At the age of 84 school was finally opened to all, not just those who could afford it, so he went.

It’s never too late to learn. It’s never too late to chase your dreams. It’s never too late.

The second article was about learners on the other end of the spectrum – newborns, how their brains process new knowledge and the knowledge they already come with. I’m always fascinated by studies showing just how much newborns know and understand and the ways scientists are finding to measure their intelligence since they aren’t exactly adept at filling in bubble sheets. The first year is an intense period of growth physically and mentally for humans and it’s amazing all we’ve learned about that period, and all we still don’t know.

It’s never too early to start learning. We shouldn’t wait till the time seems right or the process seems easier because the process began before we even knew it.

Things we wonder about

Categories: Health, Learn Something

There are things a person wonders about from time to time but never cares enough about to actively go searching for the answer. This weekend the stars aligned so that I could find one of those answers.

Thursday I started catching what would turn out to be an amazingly nasty cold. Thursday the Kleenex box in the front bathroom also ran out. I’ve often wondered if I had colds bad enough that I could use an entire box of Kleenex all on my own. But the start of a cold, the start of a new box, and my ability to completely monopolize the use of said box, never worked out before. At 5:30 this morning I pulled the last Kleenex out of a box of 160 count. That means I averaged 40 a day. Yikes! At 7:30 I started box #2. I’m hoping this thing passes before I finish the second box. But now I no longer need to wonder if I ever use that many Kleenex again.

Now I’m wondering what it is about orange juice that makes it taste so incredibly good when you are sick.

Here are some things other people have wondered about and been a little bit more active in finding the answers to:

What things have you wondered about recently?

7 Years

Categories: Life, Random

Seven years ago this morning my mom and I pulled in to Tucson with all of my stuff after driving all night from Utah (a drive that would’ve been a bit shorter if we’d had a GPS or a better map). We got the keys to my new apartment and crashed on the floor for a few hours before starting to figure out how to settle in. That evening a large group of young men, organized by Brett (who promised I, the new girl in the single’s ward, would have food), completely emptied my moving van in under an hour, before the food even arrived. Two weeks later I declared myself officially unpacked, even though it wouldn’t be till last year that I finally opened the last box I brought down with me. Such is packing.

Seven years. They’ve been good to me.