Monday, October 31, 2011

What's In A Name

There are many names.  So many.  Too many.  It can be hard for me to find something to watch on TV despite there being hundreds of channels.  Just the thought of picking a name for a baby, amongst the infinite choices, feels stressful, overwhelming and perhaps impossible.

In the hunt for the perfect name, where does one start?  Back in April, I dedicated an entire post to different methods for choosing a baby name (here).  One of those methods was choosing a name based on its meaning.  While there may be an infinite number of names, there are only about a dozen names that mean generous and a half dozen that mean sublime.  By searching for the meaning instead of the name, the choices are greatly narrowed.

What characteristics do you wish for your future child?  Brainstorm your favorite words and your most sought after traits.  Get creative.  Use a thesaurus.  Websites like and allow you to search names by their meaning.  Perhaps a "strong" and "happy" boy?  Or, a "wise" and "joyful" girl?  Maybe you want a unisex name that means friendship for your gender-unknown-baby-to-be?

"Healthy" boy names - Ken, Valentine, Valerian
"Happy" boy names - Asher, Caius, Faine, Felix, Gauis, Said, Tate

"Wise" girl names - Athena, Bena, Safe, Sophronia, Ulima
"Joyful" girl names - Alizah, Joy, Merry, Rinah

Unisex "Friendship" names - Achava, Drury, Icnoyotl, Mitali, 

Celebrities are famously choosing their children's names based on meaning.  Pink and Carey Hart named their daughter Willow Sage because willow means flexible and sage means cleansed.  Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban's second daughter, Faith Margaret, was named for the faith they kept while awaiting her arrival by surrogate.  Natalie Portman named her son Aleph, the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, which means leader.

While I'm not a proponent of us non-celebrity civilians modeling our lives after the stars of Hollywood, I think this trend is worth considering.  And, more importantly, it's a trend that narrows down the overwhelming number of choices.  There are about a bazillion names that start with "A", but only a half billion names that start with "A" and mean beautiful.

What other stories behind the celebrity baby name have you heard?  Any friends or family members that chose a name based on its meaning?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stuff People Google 24

I can't provide commentary today because I have absolutely NO idea what the possible context of this search phrase could be.  Anyone?

men baby push in water

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Top 10 List - Somewhere to Sleep

When your entire home is under one thousand square feet, you use each foot wisely.  Space conservation is a way of life.  This becomes difficult with the addition of a baby and all those baby things.  However, a baby in an apartment puts space conservation directly at odds with baby product acquisition.  A serious dilemma.  The best way to face this obstacle is to choose baby products intelligently - the most compact versions of only essential baby products.  By essential I mean diapers, not Sofie the Giraffe.

A couple weeks ago I solicited some ideas, advice and thoughts on truly essential baby products (here is the post).  Today kicks off the first of a series of ten posts about essential baby products for those of us who live in small miniature spaces.  The first edition of the series will be all about a place for the little one to sleep, an essential that quite a few New Stop Baby followers listed as a true essential.  Makes sense.

Mini Cribs   

Stokke makes a unique, oval-shaped mini crib.  It grows with the baby by adding wooden pieces to lengthen the sides ($725 - $1,000).

DaVinci makes four styles of mini cribs (Kalani below) each less than 40" in length (versus standard cribs that are closer to 55").  The prices range from $165-$199 (at

Bloom makes an entire set of euro (aka mini) furniture for a small nursery.  The crib below sells for $400, but check because I found it listed for as low as $360.

Bassinet (with frame)

Eddie Bauer makes this reasonably priced (approximately $130), highly rated bassinet.  It can gently rock your baby to sleep or be locked into place.  

Monte makes the Ninna-Nanna Bassinet ($395).  There are two color combinations in its cool, contemporary shape.  

Moses Basket (bassinet without frame)

Serena & Lily makes this canvas basket in six different color combinations, each for $250.

Giggle - This organic Moses Basket sold at Giggle ($230) is made of palm and lined with 100% organic fleece that is filled with hypoallergenic fill.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Miracle Baby

The birth of a healthy baby is a miracle.

This is something that one of my most favorite, most adored, most wisest people told me a long time ago.  Yes, I'm well aware that "most wisest" has several grammatical issues, but it doesn't make it an untrue statement.  This absurdly awesome person, in addition to being absurdly awesome, was and is an obstetrician/gynecologist.  He bestowed these great words of wisdom upon me a long while back.  I was a child or maybe a preteen.  Parenthood wasn't a distant thought because it wasn't a thought at all.  Yet, even being light years away from my current baby crazed self, I remember his exact words:

The birth of a healthy baby is a miracle. 

He said it just like that, repeating "a miracle" in a loud, serious voice.  I thought that this was a silly thing to say.  I found the emphasis on "miracle" to be overly dramatic, unrealistic and cliche.  Or, as my youthful mind characterized it - yeah right.  How miraculous could it be?  I saw healthy babies everywhere everyday.  I was a healthy baby only a decade earlier.

For a reason I'll never know the words stayed with me.  Decades later I think of them often.  Nowadays, it seems I think of them almost daily.  Babies are on my brain and the subject of conversation with so many of my friends who are trying to have them or already do.  With each casual chat and heartfelt discussion, these words weave through my thoughts without choice.

Each friend's pregnancy announcement has been a rush of excitement and each chubby cheeked baby face is breathtaking.  The joys of this time in my life, the baby crazed time, have been immense.  They have also been miraculous.  What I didn't know as a young girl, is that it can be difficult to become pregnant, not every baby survives the first trimester much less the entire gestational period, babies that are carried to full term and their mothers alike can suffer medical complications along the way and not every baby is born healthy.  There are an infinite number of obstacles and hurdles when it comes to pregnancy and babies.  I didn't know about these worrisome, painful, devastating realities.

While I'd much rather focus on the chubby cheeks than the possible difficulties, I can now appreciate the true miraculousness of it all.  I have even repeated the phrase on more than one occasion.  You've read it twice just in this post.

Wise people say the most wisest things.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thanks To a Comment (TTC)

A couple weeks back I received the following lovely comment on this post:

I came across your blog on TBB. You are absolutely hilarious! Can't wait to catch up on your posts. I wish you the best of luck on your TTC journey :) ~New follower from

I was genuinely touched by the sweet thought and wanted to respond immediately... immediately after I determined the meaning of TTC.  I decided it was a baby related acronym (fair assumption) and racked my brain for baby words that begin with "T".  My first and last guess was "tiny", so I moved onto "C".  Again, my brainstorming produced only one result: Child.  Did the acronym stand for The Tiny Child?  No, probably definitely not.  Maybe it was something blog related (versus baby related).  Could the "C" stand for craft or cyber?  I was Truly and Totally Confused.  (Side note: TBB = Top Baby Blogs, it's a website that Next Stop Baby is listed on).

My own devices left me nowhere so I turned to the internet, of course.  I started by googling the acronym itself.  That was a quick fail.  It only further confused the issue:

TTC = Toronto Transit Commission
TTC = Trident Technical College
TTC = Table Tennis Club

I returned to my initial instincts and narrowed the search with "TTC baby".  A-HA!

TTC = Trying To Conceive

Who knew there was an acronym for the term trying to conceive?  Answer: not me.  Before starting this blog I didn't know the terms DINK or SAHM either.  Apparently acronyms run rampant in the online world of pregnancy and babies.  But I think that's more about the online factor and less about the pregnancy and babies factor.  When it comes to live conversation the terms "unofficially trying" and "officially trying" and "plain old trying" remain standard.  You may remember my post on the subtle differences between these highly technical phrases (here).  

What other acronyms don't I know?  I know C-Section (DUH) and I just recently heard the term VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean).  What else?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stuff People Google 23

I don't want to give commentary today...I'm too weirded out.

mommy knows im watching her naked

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bumper Alert

Being a baby blogger has inspired all sorts of people to send me photos, products, news articles and ideas about babies.  Not a day goes by that I don't find some baby blog related idea in my email inbox.  It's fabulous.  It sort of feels like group blogging.  I love it.

It's probably an appropriate moment to thank everyone who sends me all the wonderful tidbits - THANK YOU!  Keep 'em coming!

And now, an important baby topic that I discovered thanks to multiple lovely friends: bumpers.  Not the bumpers on the backs of cars that look like scrap metal after a couple years living in NYC (writing from personal experience).  Not bumpers as in the rubber strips along the sides of a bowling lane and prevent your big ball from sliding into the gutter.  Bumpers as in the padding that lines the inner sides of a crib.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics - crib bumpers are bad.  Bad as in get them out of your baby's crib and throw them in the garbage.  Just yesterday I was directed to an article on (thanks friend!) that explained the potential dangers of crib bumpers.  They can injure or even kill (by suffocation or strangulation) a baby.  While I can't explain the medicine or the science better than CNN already has (so check out the article here), I can point you in the direction of crib bedding that doesn't include bumpers...which is somewhat hard to find.  Typically crib bedding comes in three or four piece sets: sheets, crib skirt, bumper and sometimes a quilt.  But now that we know bumpers are bad, let's not waste money on them, right?

If you avoid the "collections" and check out the nursery basics
you can purchase the crib skirt and sheets separately.  

Everything can be purchased a la carte a Pottery Barn Kids.  

Only the sheets come on there own (here), everything else is packaged in a bedding set.  Boo.

Everything comes separate at Babies R Us, fantastic.  But...the cuteness options are slim pickins.  

Where did you get your bedding?  Did you get a set or separate pieces?  Did you read about the bumper news?  Thoughts?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gray and Yellow Nursery

You probably already knew that yellow + gray = hot right now.  

From wedding trends...


to handbags...

by Chloe

to home decor...

by Crate and Barrel

It's a modern color combination that is neither too feminine nor masculine.  It's bright and fun, yet neutral - nearly any third (or fourth) color could be easily added to the mix.  So, why not use it for a nursery?  Here are some ideas.  

Sticks Pewter bedding (below) by Oilo and sold at Layla Grace ($399 for full set)

1. Houndstooth gray and yellow fabric storage basket by The Spotted Barn ($18)
2. Organic fabric basket by B*Lota Handmade ($26)

1. Giraffe Print (11" x 14") by The Pink Pagoda ($30)
2. Bunting (9') by Fresh Squeezed Baby ($32)
3. Love You Baby print by Adair Designs ($8)

This yellow and gray felt birdie mobile (below) is made by Love Felt XOXO ($39).  Head to the Etsy shop and check out the elephant mobile that's also in yellow and gray.

What color combinations are you seeing everywhere that would work well in a nursery?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Moment for Giuliana

Today is something different.  It's not an anecdote about why babies scare me or something gross I learned about childbirth.  It's not a baby shower theme or gift idea.  It's not about nursery decor or trendy baby clothes.  And it's not a weird phrase that someone googled.

Today is my non-witty, non-fluffy, non-weird post for Giuliana Rancic.  While I don't believe Mrs. Rancic is a follower of Next Stop Baby, Next Stop Baby is a follower of hers and I was very touched as I watched her on yesterday's Today Show.  I (and everyone else) was expecting her to announce that she was pregnant with her first and long-awaited baby.  Instead, she told Ann Curry that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and won't be able to pursue her dream of motherhood until she undergoes 6 weeks of radiation therapy and recovery.

You know I'm obsessed with reality television and all things celebrity gossip, so it should be no surprise that I'm a big fan of Giuliana's reporting on E! News, her Fashion Police quips and her reality show on The Style Network.  She's a class act.  As she navigates the less than exciting adventures of IVF and the more than annoying monologues of Ryan Seacrest, she always remains spirited and endearing.  I have no doubt that she'll maintain that poise through this new challenge and find her way to a speedy recovery.  I wish her all the best as she does.

Did you see the announcement?  What did you think?  Click HERE for a link to the 6 minute clip of her interview with Ann Curry.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Top 10 Ways to Get Over Being Baby Crazy

You know how funny I find the random and sometimes disturbing search phrases that bring people to Next Stop Baby (click here for my shrine to these phrases).  Lately I've been getting a lot of "baby crazy" phrases including those below:

how to get over being baby crazy

stop baby crazy

stop baby crasy

signs he is baby crazy

I combined my love of Stuff People Google with my love of Top 10 lists in today's post.  Here are the Top 10 ways to get over being baby crazy (for at least a little):

1. Change a baby's diaper approximately 3 hours after he or she has eaten a whole bunch of carrots.

2. Immediately (NOW) stop drinking coffee (and all caffeinated drinks), stop drinking alcohol (including wine) and give yourself 6 hours of sleep each night, split into 2 chunks of 3 hours.

3.  Babysit 3-month-old twins.

4. Watch the finale (if you will) of the Miracle of Life in slow motion. 

5. Ask a friend to simulate spitting up on your shoulder.  To make it as accurate as possible the spit up content should be milk or...better yet...cream.  I just gagged a little, it's working.

6. Listen to the video below on repeat, for an hour.

7. Load a backpack with 30 pounds of books, wear said backpack as a frontpack (on your chest instead of your back) and take a ride on the subway during rush hour.  Sitting is cheating.

8. Check out the Baby Cost Calculator at, which estimates how much your baby will cost you in the first year.  If just looking at that crazy thing doesn't scare the britches off you, then go ahead and try to fill it out...

9. Grab a slice of pizza at any Chuck E. Cheese around 12:30 pm on a Saturday afternoon.

10. Click here to learn the definition of episiotomy.  Get ready to read the word poontang.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Some Regrettable Booties

A quick and special weekend posting.  Quick because it's nearly over and special because I rarely post on the weekends.

I came across these baby booties on Etsy a couple days ago.  They're made from actual Crown Royal bags.  Now, maybe you think these are just about the sweetest things ever and you want your 3 month old to sport them with a purple velour smoker's jacket...but me, I thought they were all wrong, in the funniest way possible.  The product description notes that they were featured on  Have you ever been to  If not, click here now and be prepared to laugh your ass off yourself silly for the next several hours. 

brought to you by Foxy Pants

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stuff People Google 22

At first, this phrase made me laugh.  I envisioned a woman in her third trimester, waddling over to the computer in a moment of frustration and exhaustion because the nursery, and life in general, wasn't ready for the baby's arrival.  I then wondered whether there was a more genuine, serious question here.

am pregnant how to stop baby

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An Apartment Baby

I live in a small space.  A small New York space (versus a small Canton, Ohio space).  When I someday transition from baby crazy to baby mama I will have to fit my baby into this small space.  I will also have to fit the baby's things into this small space.  Cue the suspenseful music...

I couldn't find any suspenseful music, but I did find the original movie trailer for Scream.  

The thought of making room for a crib in my teeny tiny apartment makes my brain hurt.  Square peg.  Round hole.  Impossible.  And, the crib is just one thing.  There are many other things that will need to find homes in my apartment too - bottles, clothes, diapers and some tons of other stuff...I don't know what exactly that other stuff is, but I know there's tons.

The round hole symbolizes my apartment and
the square hole symbolizes the baby stuff.  Deep.
(image here)

So, what does an apartment dweller do when she has a baby?  Where does all the baby stuff go?  WHERE?

Without the pressure of an impending due date, it's a good time to consider this dilemma.  My standard method of problem solving is to separate the things I can control from the things I can't control, then focus on the things I can control.  In this problem, I can't control the size of my apartment.  Unless, of course, I move.  Assuming that's not a feasible option (because it's not), let's continue.  The baby stuff is something I can control both in terms of how much and how big.  Thus, I'm going to focus on the baby stuff.  Step one: complete.

Step two: what is the baby stuff?  I've come full circle in a mere two paragraphs, one of which was only three short questions.  Hmmm.  My method for learning things about pregnancy and childbirth is consulting wikipedia and  Unlike my problem solving method, this method is bad.  It failed just yesterday (read this and then this for the humorous details).

And so, I'm turning to YOU - What are the best baby stuff?  I'm not talking great, I'm talking BEST. What are things that were absolutely essential to the first year of your little one's life?  Give me your Top 5.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Big Wand

The things I don't know about pregnancy and childbirth are, again, catching up with me.  I say "again" because it was only a month ago that I had a preeclampsia freak out and decided that my approach to pregnancy know-how had to change.  This morning's post (The Big Reveal) included a fabulous photo of a "sonogram wand".  I had a good time making perverted jokes about its shape.  Within a few hours of the post going live, I received one comment and a couple behind the scenes communications from friends and family: the sonogram wand photo isn't a sonogram wand photo.  I guess my reliance on wikipedia and for hard facts is finally catching up with me. 

Turns out that the photo below is an internal sonogram wand.  Not the one that is pressed against a pregnant belly to determine the unborn baby's gender.  OOOPS!  I haven't delved further into this discovery - I don't know when or why this internal sonogram wand is used - though I probably should given that its image is now posted twice on my blog.

An internal sonogram want (aka not what you thought)

This photo shows the sonogram wand that is used to determine the baby's gender.  Slightly less phallic shaped.
The goop has a slight blue tint.  Interesting.
(image here)

Despite my sudden need to know more about pregnancy and childbirth, it's clear that I don't know much...and that there's a lot to know.  Does this mean that I'll break down and purchase a pre-pregnancy educational book!?!  Stay tuned...

The Big Reveal

Once you make the decision to learn your unborn baby's gender in advance, an immediate countdown to sonogram day begins.  Typically, the big reveal occurs in the doctor's office on the examination table.  The sonogram technician plops some clear goop on your pregnant belly, presses the phallic shaped sonogram wand to your skin, looks at the blurry black and white screen and says, "Do you want to know the gender?"  You've been waiting for this question and you know your answer, "YES!"

A sonogram wand (aka not what you thought).

Learning your baby's gender while wearing a hospital gown is a time honored tradition.  There's something charming about trying to find the penis or acknowledging the lack thereof in the grainy sonogram image.  I have no doubt that sonogram technician's vividly remember the best, worst and most frightening expressions on the faces of the anxious parents-to-be.

For non-traditionalist who want to take the big reveal out of the doctor's office, consider using a note.  Parents can ask the sonogram technician to write down the gender on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope.  The envelope can be opened later at a chosen destination.  A couple can open it together in the comfort of their home, over some romantic Chinese food take out and a couple glasses of sparkling apple cider.  The envelope can be brought to a big family dinner.  Get some group participation going by asking everyone at the table to first guess the gender.  After the big reveal, the winners can relax while everyone else cleans up.  People love betting.  I'll address baby pools at some point.  I digress...

The note is certainly a less classic and more orchestrated option.  It also drags out that anticipation even further, which can be a pro or a con depending on the person.  On the other hand, it preserves that major moment for just the couple to consider and enjoy.  It's more intimate without the inclusion of a stranger (aka the sonogram technician) and the couple can craft it to their style and personalities.

How did you choose to learn the gender of your baby?  How do you want to find out?  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Second and Third Gifts Were DOGtastic

The first gift was DINOmyte.  The second and the third gifts were DOGtastic, which isn't an actual word but sounded much better than BARKvelous (marvelous) or PUPational (sensational).  What am I talking about?  The gifts that I brought to a first birthday party.

I'll give a brief history of the first birthday party of which I'm referring:

1) Here, I pondered over what gift to bring.
2) Here, I pondered over what food to bring.
3) Here, I revealed the first gift that I brought.
4) TODAY, I'm revealing the second and third gifts.

Now that you're caught up, the second and the third gifts were from The Black Dog.  The Black Dog is a tavern that has become exceptionally successful at marketing it's apparel.  So much so that there are entire stores, separate and apart from the tavern itself, that sell The Black Dog sweatshirts and hats and dog collars.  I can't explain why the tavern is so great or why the apparel is so trendy because I don't know.  What I do know, is that it's indigenous to Martha's Vineyard where I recently visited.  A-ha!  Now all this rambling is making sense, sort of.

I like getting gifts for people while I'm on vacation.  Not I-brought-you-something-back-from-my-vacation gifts.  Though sometimes cool and unique, those type gifts are more often cheap and lame (for example, a t-shirt that reads "My mom went to Las Vegas and all I got was this crappy t-shirt").  I like getting real gifts (birthday, wedding, house warming, etc.) while on vacation.  Real gifts offer a bigger budget and vacation gifts offer one-of-a-kind status - a dogtastic fantastic combination.

Hence, while on my vacation to Martha's Vineyard, I bought a couple gifts from The Black Dog for my upcoming first birthday party - a sweatshirt and a stuffed animal.  I'll concede that The Black Dog products aren't quite one-of-a-kind, but certainly unusual enough for a 1-year-old from Brooklyn.  And, the stuff is so cute and comfy, perfect for fall.  I had been inspired by this jacket (below) from The Nutmeg Tree to give a gift of warm clothing.

by The Nutmeg Tree and 15% off
with the coupon code TATORTOT

Here is a cute sweater from The Black Dog.  This isn't what I got, but it's the only large image I could find for your viewing pleasure.  My purchase was the traditional sweatshirt, in pink.  Of course.

via The Black Dog

And, at last, I couldn't leave The Black Dog store without purchasing a black dog (stuffed not live, fake not real).  Head to The Black Dog website (here) to check out all the great stuff, including some stuffed, fake dogs. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

More Hats (Because I'm Obsessed)

This is the fifteenth third time that I'm writing about baby hats (here and here are two other posts).  I love hats in general and especially baby hats, which you've probably guessed by now.  Today's hat theme (there must always be a theme) is unusual, amazing and in some cases over-the-top baby hats.  Yes, that's more like three themes, but check out these hats and you'll understand why.  Bonus: Just add a matching onesie to any of these baby hats for this year's Halloween costume.

The Finding Nemo Hat by Knit Nut by JL is available in
two sizes: small (3-12 months) and large (1-3 years).

This Dino Hat by Babies Bugs and Bees comes preemie to 6 months.  
If you're dinosaur obsessed like me (more dinosaur posts here and here), 
this hat is an obvious choice for Halloween.

This Green Monster Hat by Fashion Touch is sized for newborns and is perfect 
for a Bostonian baby (it's a Red Sox reference for those who don't know).

This Little Lamb Hat by Ravel is made to order and can fit all size baby heads.
It's adorable.  That's fall-winter-spring adorable (not just Halloween). 

This Tiger Hat by Our Cozy Cottage is sized for 0-3 months.  
Add a little orange onesie and you have a Ggggggg-reat Halloween costume.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The First Gift Was DINOmyte

Last weekend, I attended my first 1st birthday party.  It was a blast, a blast in an apple juice glass...Jersey Shore anyone?  There was cake and singing and lots of clapping.

And now, the answer you've all been waiting for...the gift.  Remember my quest to find the perfect 1st birthday gift?  If not, click here to refresh your memory and then forget about all those options because I didn't go with any of them.  They were all great, but the winning choices were even better.  That's right, choices - three gifts.  Each different and each awesome.

This is the first gift.  You know I love dinosaurs (for more on that click here and here).  


Not only is the book about dinosaurs but it's touchy feely.  Not touchy feely in the prom night sense, but in the tactile sense.  Each page features a different dinosaur with a different texture - rough, soft, slippery, etc.  One year olds are all about their sense of touch.  They are learning about and fascinated by the way different objects feel against their skin.  And, with this book, they will also learn about and be fascinated by dinosaurs.  Double bonus.  

Stay tuned (next week) for gifts two and three.

Stuff People Google 21

At first glance, this phrase creeped me out.  I considered it somewhat akin to Casey Anthony googling "chloroform".  But then I imagined the following scenario: Wife catches baby playing with bucket while being supervised by Husband.  Wife yells at Husband for allowing baby to play with bucket because it's dangerous.  Husband defends his actions by stating that Wife is crazy and buckets aren't dangerous.  Wife goes to computer and searches the following phrase in hopes to win the fight.

babies dying from buckets

Ponder all this for a while, then meet me back here at 1 pm.  It's a double post day!!!  I'm going to answer a question that I promised I would.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Baby Shower Gift Giving - From a Couple

I'm again writing about how much money to spend on a baby shower gift and I'm again doing so under a lame, self-explanatory title.  I've written about baby shower gift giving in general (here) and baby shower gift giving for twins (here).  But, I'm not stopping with a mere two posts on the topic.  Over the next few weeks I've decided to discuss the following topics:

  • How much to spend as a couple?
  • How much to to spend on a co-worker?
  • How much to spend on an acquaintance versus a bestie (aka best friend)?

And maybe a few more.  Why am I beating the total and complete crap out of this horse?  Because it's a hot topic.  Seriously.  You may remember my Ode to Rosie Pope, also known as Your Burning Rosie Pope Questions.  In that post, I revealed the Top 10 search phrases that lead people to Next Stop Baby.  Back in July when I wrote that post, Rosie Pope occupied 7 out of the Top 10 phrases.  I didn't reveal the three non-Rosie related phrases, but I'll now tell you that 1 of those other 3 was "how much to spend on baby shower gift".  It's a phrase that remains in the Top 10 today (#8 to be exact).

Thus, I repeat: it's a hot topic.  I never would have guessed, but the baby crazed people have spoken.  I feel it's only fair to cater to my audience and so today I'm addressing the following searched phrase:

baby shower present, how much from a couple?

When a gift comes from a couple instead of an individual the value tends to increase.  This is true across the gift giving board, whether for a wedding, birthday or otherwise.  But, a gift only counts as coming from a couple if both members of the couple are invited to and are in attendance at the gift giving event.  Confused?  I'll clarify.  If I'm invited to a baby shower, I bring a gift from person.  This is true even if the guest of honor is friends with me and my husband.  This is true even if the guest of honor is better friends with my husband than me.  I'm the only one invited, I'm the only gift giver and thus the gift is from an individual.  That fact that both my husband and I know and love the guest of honor, doesn't meant it's a couple's gift.

When my husband and I are both invited to a baby shower, then we bring a gift from us...two of us.  And how much is that exactly?  There's no science on the matter.  But, I'll try to make some up.

I'm going to call my first fabricated rule The Anti-Double Rule.  Just because I would spend $50 on a baby shower gift when I'm invited and attend solo doesn't mean my husband and I must spend $100 on a baby shower gift when we're invited and attend together.  The gift value doesn't have to be multiplied by two just because it's coming from two people.  Rather, apply The %150 Rule (aka the second fabricated rule).  If I would spend $50 on a baby shower gift, then a gift from my husband and I will be $75 or more.  You can spend double or triple or a kazillion times more than you would have if you had been giving a gift from just you, but I think multiplying by 1.5 is a good base.

$50 x 1.5 = $75

I'm sure that some of you are now thinking that all this made up math is good and well, but how much does just one person spend?  What is the base number that you multiply?!?  Well, I've already sort of answered that question in my original post (found here).

Do you have any rules (fabricated or otherwise) about gift giving from a couple?  
Share the wealth!!!

Some Rosie Pope for your viewing enjoyment (found here).
Does her tongue look short or weird in any way?
That's another commonly searched topic.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Top Baby Blog - Vote!

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Welcome to the World

I have a birth announcement on my fridge from an April birth.  It's more like a reminder and less like an announcement after all these months.  I'm not a pack rat or a hoarder, not in the extreme sense (we've all seen at least a clip of TLC's Hoarders...).  And, when it comes to my fridge, I usually cycle through features regularly.  But, the photos on the birth announcement are so damn cute that I can't bare to throw it away.  It makes me smile every time I get the milk.

In my former, non-baby-crazed life, I thought birth announcements were a waste of good paper stock.  Today, I adore them.  I don't live next door to (or even in the same state as) many of my friends who are bringing on the next generation.  A photo birth announcement brings the baby to me and to my fridge where I can check out those chubby cheeks every morning.  And, it's snail mail, which I love.

Each of these Etsy crafters makes modern, simple and fabulous birth announcements.  All the announcements below are $15 for the digital file.  Contact the vendors directly for quotes on professional printing and to check out other great designs from their shops.

by Dena Design

by Cards Etcetera 

by West Willow 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You Know I Hate Surprises

It's shocking that I haven't yet written about today's topic.  It's a topic that women and couples consider well before a baby is ever conceived.  It's a topic that dictates so many other baby topics, like names, nursery decor and baby shower gifts.  It's classic conversation for baby crazed peeps.

Any guesses?

To know or not to know...the baby's gender.  Can you handle the surprise?  Or must you know.  One might think that a general character trait of surprise-loving or surprise-averse would hold true when it comes to knowing a baby's gender in advance.  It would make sense that the girl who loved her surprise 16th birthday party became the woman who loves not knowing whether she's carrying a boy or girl.  But, I'm not so sure.

True surprises involve a complete lack of control.  You can't worry about or plan for a true surprise because you don't know where or when IT's coming and you usually don't know what IT is.  When it comes to a baby's gender, it's not a true surprise.  You know where (in your uterus), you know when (on your due date or close thereto) and you know what (a baby).  You even know the gender to a large extent because it's one of only two choices versus an infinite number of possibilities.  It's like knowing that your surprise birthday party will be either at a baseball game or a fancy restaurant.  You could opt to wear an outfit that would work for both scenarios or nix the surprise to find an outfit that would be perfect for one or the other.  When it comes to knowing the baby's gender, sometimes the girl who loved her surprise 16th birthday party becomes the woman who wants to avoid wearing a sequin cocktail dress to a ballgame.

Keeping IT a surprise

  • Siblings - When siblings are involved, especially siblings who are old enough to understand gender, it can be torturesome for them not to know.  Sometimes a big brother truly needs to know whether he can expect another football player...or a ballerina.    
  • Baby Shower Gifts - The gifts will probably be practical.  Family and friends will avoid gender specific gifts, which are usually in the form of clothes, and keep to the essentials that are needed by boys and girls alike.  On the other hand, you might get to the due date without a single gifted clothing item.  Buying a yellow onesie just isn't as fun as a mini pink tutu or blue overalls.
  • No Mistakes - When there's no advanced notice of gender there's no chance of such notice being wrong.  It's very rare nowadays, but once in a while a little girl ends up being a little boy because the little boy hid his little mister during the sonogram.

Knowing All About IT

  • Names - Coming up with a name for one gender can be really, really difficult for some people.  A surprise gender means preparing two names, which might be twice as difficult.    
  • Nursery Decor - Gender specific nursery's feel personalized without having to splash the little one's name on every flat surface.  Also, there's just more gender specific nursery decor than gender neutral.   It can be hard to find unisex products that fit your taste.
  • Curiosity - Curiosity killed the cat.  While I'm confident it won't kill you, it could drive you absolutely nutty.  

Thankfully, there's no wrong choice.  And, in my humble opinion, sequin cocktail dresses are perfect in all scenarios.   What were your reasons for learning in advance or keeping it a surprise?  

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Gift of Wine and Animal Crackers

A couple weeks ago I shared my anxiety uncertainty about attending a first birthday party (post here).  I've never been to a first birthday party before (other than my own), so I wasn't quite sure what to bring by way of drink, food and gift.  I threw out a couple gift ideas and got some great feedback.  More to come on what I ended up choosing later in the week.

My instincts on the food and drink front pointed to apple juice and animal crackers, but before committing I consulted a friend with a two and a half year old.   I figured that after going through a first and a second birthday party she would have some practical advice.  And, she did:

Me - "Usually I would bring a bottle of wine to a house party, but this is a party for a one-year-old.  What do I bring?" 
My Friend - "A bottle of wine." 
Me - "Huh?"

Apparently adults who attend one-year-old's birthday parties still like drinking wine.  And, apparently, drinking wine is allowed if you're an adult guest.  Fantastic.  In fact, bringing apple juice to a one-year-old's birthday party could end up being an it's-the-thought-that-counts gift because it will go to waste unless there's a bunch of toddler aged guests.

Orange Juice + Champagne = delicious
Photo from Taste Spotting (cute blog). 

Then, my astute friend asked what time the party started.  I told her 11 am.  The record came to a scratching halt.  We both agreed that throwing back a couple glasses of wine at 11 am isn't standard good time behavior.  Keeping with the idea that alcoholic drinks are allowed at baby birthday parties, I asked whether mimosas, bellinis or bloody marys would be acceptable alternatives.  She suggested I go with mimosas - the orange juice could be enjoyed by guests of all ages and mimosas themselves are simple and celebratory.

The moral of the conversation is that the rules aren't all that different when it comes to baby parties and grown up parties.  The gift caters to the birthday girl/boy and the food and drink cater to the guests.  The difference is that common sense and moderation play a role at the baby parties, where as at some grown up parties...they don't.  A bloody mary while singing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes is totally allowed, but a few tequila shots before pin the tail on the donkey would probably be inappropriate.

The following version of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes would be inappropriate at a baby party or grown up party.  Watch at your own risk.