Monday, September 28, 2009


It's been a very busy year, and the blog has not been forgotten, but pushed onto the far end of the back shelf for a while.
Most of our time is currently dedicated to our new baby boy. Today's musings are about babywearing. There are only so many ways to carry a baby, yet there are so many carriers to choose from! Sifting through the options can be a bit daunting.

Some of my favorite articles discussing the various babywearing devices are at This is a huge resource for different types of devices used all over the world, and also has links on how to make your own baby carrier. There is a lot of information here!

If you are short on time, and just want a quick summary to guide you on a purchase of commercially available carriers, then this article is very helpful.

My babywearing experiences so far:
Moby Wrap
My favorite carrier by far is a wrap carrier, The Moby Wrap. It is simply a very long piece of cloth, about 18 yards long and 22 inches wide, with some tapering at the ends for ease in tying. has directions to make your own, but I have been very happy with my purchase, as I don't own a serger to hem all the edges perfectly. It comes with an easy to follow instruction book. It actually is very easy to tie, and once you learn it, you can put your baby in the carrier in a variety of different ways. He's been in it since he was a newborn, and during the day he sleeps much longer in the moby than anywhere else. Between the cozy swaddling newborn position, the wearer's heartbeat and walking motions soothing the baby, and truly having your hands free to do chores, blog, etc, this has been indispensable. We ended up buying a second one for times when we suddenly needed to wash it, but still wanted to wear him cosily. Having the spare moby has also been very handy for passing the babywearing back and forth quickly.

Pros: comfortable, distributes baby's weight evenly for much less body strain, fits everyone (both baby and wearer) well, many positions to wear the baby, machine washable, less expensive than many other carriers ($39.95)
Cons: too hot in hot weather, people are hesitant to use it because they think it will be too hard to learn, ends drag on the ground when you are putting it on

New Native Carrier
The New Native is a very simple, non-adjustable sling that you purchase in your size. It is a tube with a curvy end at the bottom for a little extra pouch space for the baby. As with most carriers, you can wear your baby in front, on your hip, or on your back, but I find that I only use this carrier to have the baby sit in front, and near my hip, as he is not the right age/size for any of the other carries. I found that in my proper size carrier, I cannot easily wear the baby heart-to-heart. To wear the baby higher, I made a sling out of an old, stretchy t-shirt pictured on the right (just cut horizontally, so that you have a tube). It doesn't reach down as far, so the baby sits up high in a more natural position.

Pros: very easy to use, you can pass the baby to another person or into the carseat without disturbing him, comfortable in hot weather, machine washable, compact for travel, less expensive than many other carriers ($42)
Cons: not comfortable for long episodes of wearing as the weight is on one shoulder, must buy the right size which may limit who can wear it, fewer carries available

Baby Bjorn
The baby bjorn carriers are a structured soft carrier, with buckles and straps which adjust the carrier to the wearer. There are currently five models to choose from, some which provide more lumbar support, others which are lighter weight. Prices range anywhere from $54 to $160.
I find it takes a while to adjust the carrier the first time, but once it is adjusted, it is fairly fast to put on and take off. If you are sharing the carrier with another wearer, then you end up wasting a lot of time adjusting back and forth. Once in a while you will also need to adjust the carrier to the growing baby too. I find the carrier fairly comfortable, as the straps are wide and padded. My husband complains that the center of gravity while wearing the baby is not as comfortable as in the moby wrap.

Pros: somewhat comfortable, fairly easy to use (step by step illustrated directions were on the inside of mine), wide price range to choose from
Cons: adjusting between users is a chore, limited ways to wear the baby (only able to wear in front, facing in or out)

Next carrier to try:

Mei Tai
The mei tai, or Asian based carrier (ABC), is a simple unstructured soft carrier that is easy to use. It ties around the waist, then around the baby and shoulders. It's not as good for newborns because it doesn't swaddle as well, but now that the baby is 3 months old, that is no longer an issue. Since it's been hot lately, I am looking for a less warm carrier, and the mei tai fits the bill. I'm also getting ready to try wearing the baby on my back, but I don't feel comfortable wrestling with 6 yards of moby wrap. I've ordered a beautiful used one from ebay, and am eagerly awaiting it's arrival.
Here are some links on how to wear it:
Great youtube video showing front and back carries

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mandala mosaic on our magnetic wall

It finally arrived!

So happy to get my fractiles! Got them on our magnetic wall quickly and easily.

The geometry is pretty ingenious. There are three different pieces, each with four sides. There are six different possible angles, 1/14, 2/14, 3/14, 4/14, 5/14, and 6/14, thus providing sevenfold rotational symmetry (per package description).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Furoshiki: The art of using square cloth for carrying stuff

An old art being re-popularized by the movement to use fewer plastic grocery bags. Thanks to mom in law Judy for the link!

How To Carry Groceries With A Square Of Cloth

For more types of wraps/carries, check this out
(Courtesy of the Japanese goverment):

Monday, July 21, 2008

Magnets, and more magnets!

A substantial portion of our weekend was spent turning a wall, and 3 bedroom doors into magnet friendly canvases. Check out Brad's blogpost for pics and more details.

In other magnet news, I just learned about an amazingly versatile and fun magnet toy/puzzle, the NeoCube.

The video is mesmerizing.

Here's more magnet videos that Brad found, from Supermagnet Bead Tricks.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Did you feel the earthquake?

For those of us who live in earthquake country, this question comes up in conversation with regularity. Often, smaller earthquakes don't make it to the headlines so we're often left debating whether it really happened.

Fortunately, the USGS has gathered up local, recent earthquake data for California and Nevada at:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Inflatable electric car with great mileage, floats in floods!

I'd love to see this actually happen. Somehow reminds me of bumper boats...

According to physorg, XP Vehicles Inc. is designing an inflatable electric car that may go into production as early as 2010.

Main excerpts from the physorg article:

It's hard to say what the most intriguing thing about XP Vehicles' inflatable car is. Maybe it's that the car can travel for up to 2,500 miles on a single electric charge (the distance across the US is roughly 3,000 miles).

Or maybe it's the fact that you buy the car online, it gets shipped to you in two cardboard boxes, and the estimated assembly time is less than two hours. Perhaps it's that the car is made out of "airbags" - the same polymer materials used to cushion NASA's rovers when they landed on Mars. Then again, it could be the company's claim that you can drive the car off a cliff without serious injury, and that it will float in a flood or tsunami.

Together, these features characterize the Whisper, XP Vehicles' solution to the oil crisis. The company doesn't expect the car to be in production until 2010 at the earliest, but when it is, it will hopefully be an extremely affordable $10,000 or less. XP Vehicles envisions four body styles, along with a special low-priced model for the Southeast Asian market. As the San Francisco-based start-up explains on its Web site, the miracle behind the 2,500-mile range is a "hot-swap XPack Multi-Core Battery/Fuel Cell power plant" invented by the founders of XP Vehicles. Or, without the hot-swap technology, the car can travel up to 300 miles on a single charge, thanks to its light weight.

In the future, individuals may also order online, pick out their desired features as if customizing a PC, and receive the car by a common carrier. Options will include iPod mounts, 20 colors, trim, decals, roof/no roof, car covers, solar mounts, stereos, integrated pumps, home connections, GPS, battery clubs, alarms, and more. Two adults with a high school education should be able to unpack and inflate the car in less than two hours, according to the company. And, if you don´t have enough room in the garage, some models even fold up after assembly for storage. Other models "can change bodies" (details on that are sparse). Different models of the car will be made of various polymers, carbon fiber, and/or other strong, ultra-light-weight materials - the same stuff that protected the Mars rovers´ sensitive electronics as they fell and bounced along the planet´s surface. XP Vehicles claims that the car will be one of the safest on the road for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. "Research shows that the metal in your car is the largest cause of death and injury," the company explains on its Web site. "The shrapnel, body compression immobility, lung compression, dismemberment and other serious results of a crash are most often caused by the inflexibility of metal and the permanent deformation of the body of the metal car around or into your body. Hence the need for, and name of, the Jaws of Life." For another thing, the car won´t "blow off the road," due to a special ballast and aerodynamic design features which make the car very stable. An inflatable car might even provide additional safety measures in certain circumstances, such as if someone were to accidentally drive it off a cliff - although the company says that it´s not intended for this use. If you´re concerned that an inflatable car may be too tempting for a tire-slashing juvenile delinquent, XP Vehicles says that their car bodies are actually pretty difficult to pierce. The cars have multiple chambers, so a single slice wouldn´t pop it like a balloon - "somebody would really have to go at it" to cause major damage, the company says. And, in the case of vandalism, you can repair it yourself.

If you have faith in them, you can even invest from their website.

Almost time for a Summer of Free Concerts at Stern Grove!

Stern Grove has been hosting free concerts every summer since 1938. This is a lot of fun.

Check out the amazing lineup this summer!
Sundays, 2:00 p.m.
June 15 – August 17, 2008
Stern Grove 19th Ave. and Sloat Blvd.
San Francisco


June 22 SEUN KUTI AND EGYPT 80 Sila and the Afrofunk Experience

June 29 SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY James Gaffigan, Conductor

July 6 ALLEN TOUSSAINT Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue


July 20 ALONZO KING’S LINES BALLETFeaturing Pharoah Sanders



August 10 ONE HAWAI’I Featuring Na Leo, Ernie Cruz, Kaukahi, One Right Turn, and more