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Archive for July, 2008

VAMPIRE Mania: It’s Twilight Time

"Breaking Dawn"It’s official. Vampire fever has swept the nation. Stephenie Meyer‘s fourth YA novel about teen Bella Swan and her interesting choice in men – a hunky vampire and a hot werewolf – hits bookstores tomorrow night at midnight, and 29 book stores in the Bay Area alone are hosting vampire proms, masquerade balls and other book release parties. Looking for a book fete near you? Meyer’s Twilight Saga web site has a Google map that lists them all – vast portions of this country appear as a fluttering sea of red party flags. Meyer is also hosting a “Breaking Down” Concert tomorrow night at 4 p.m. Pacific time – check out the webcast here. We’ll be blogging from one of the East Bay book parties tomorrow night – and we’ll be very curious to see how many moms are there with their daughters – but we want to hear about the festivities where you are too. Snap a pic, dash off a description and share your experiences. (E-mail us the jpegs and we’ll post them, or click “comments” and jot down a few lines.)

For more Meyermania, check out this morning’s Times story on the books’ appeal, the trailer for the new “Twilight” movie, and this morning’s interview with Stephenie Meyer on Good Morning America.

Posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2008
Under: Books, Twilight Saga | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Circus Vargas (Dan Honda, Contra Costa Times)
1. Clowns, flying trapeze artists and other Circus Vargas excitement lands at Richmond’s Hilltop Mall today through Aug. 4, before heading to San Jose, San Francisco, Hayward and Oakland. ($15-$40)

2. Join the Exploratorium folks tonight for a Total Solar Eclipse slumber party, complete with Chinese Uyghur dancers, horizontal harps and Chinese storyteller. Pack your sleeping bag and camp out on the museum floor at the party ($11-$16), or watch the webcast online.
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Posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2008
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

BABY BORROWERS: Who’s still together, who’s apart?

As finales go, “Baby Borrowers” looked like a snoozefest. Sure, it had a few zany one-liners and heaping teaspoonfuls of sentimental moments, but on the entertainment front, it lacked punch. Until the Where Are They Now snippets rolled.

In a word: stunning. Rock solid, relatively mature Jordan and Sasha — split. Vastly improved Alicea and Cory — separated. Sweet Kelsey and Sean — kaput. Which of the teen “parents” are still kind of together? The two least-likely-to-last couples.

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Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
Under: Baby Borrowers | No Comments »

FORGET Lead Paint, Soaring Toy Prices to be the 2008 Horror

Shanghai Toy FairAnd to think that last year, all we could think about was purging our toy boxes. Now comes a warning that strikes directly at the pocketbook. Toy retailers are anticipating a 15 percent hike on the price of playthings this fall. Not just swanky toy shops, either – we’re talking Toys R Us, K-B Toys, even Costco. Blame energy costs, downgraded dollars, increased labor expense – does it even matter at this point? And it’s not just toys. You can expect to pay significantly more for holiday ornaments, luxury items and all those things you wrap in pretty boxes each December.

So what’s a family to do? Shop Christmas or Hanukkah in July? Make homemade gifts? Click “comments” and tell us, what will you do? And if it’s homemade gifts, we definitely want to hear about those.

Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
Under: Finances | No Comments »

WAITING FOR BABY: House cleaning, anyone?

20080624-5-Kids-routine(“Waiting for Baby” is a closer look at adoption and my family’s personal experience as we go through the process. It will appear every Wednesday in the aPARENTly Speaking blog.)

My house has never looked this good. The towels are all neatly folded in the linen closet. My clothes are color coordinated in the closet. I’ve lined every single cabinet and drawer in the kitchen, bathrooms, even the laundry room. Next up: the habitually neglected garage. This has become my life since we officially went “live” in our search for a prospective birth mother. I’ve heard of nesting while expecting — who knew that adopting also would unleash the hidden housekeeper within.

Technically, we’ve been “live” only three months. Feels more like an eternity. And considering the average wait time is 10 months, we have a long way to go before we adopt a baby. Honestly, no amount of time would be too long. But that doesn’t make the process of waiting any easier. “Keep busy” was the advice other adopting parents gave my husband and me. And as is my nature, I never like to do anything halfway. Just ask my house.

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Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
Under: Adoption | 1 Comment »


text Well, we knew it was bound to happen. Medical experts in Wales are warning that teens who text, i.e., all teens, are at risk for repetitive stress injuries from cell phone use. A new survey in that country found that 16 percent of texters had symptoms of TMI, which stands for Text Message Injury, not Too Much Information. Excessive texting, they said, can cause thumb and wrist tendons to swell, causing pain that may spread, in the most extreme cases, all the way up the arms and into the shoulders and neck area.

The solution? You know how us grown-ups are forever griping about text message abbreviations? LOL, OMG, LMAO and other little phrase condensations? Doctors say those are good. Very good. They shorten the amount of time you or your teen spend thumbing the teeny tiny buttons on cell phones.

Their other suggestion was terrible: bigger cell phones. Like, OMG.

But we found this part charming: when it comes to sharing good news, teens were most likely to text their moms first.

Posted on Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
Under: Health & Safety, Technology & Video Games | No Comments »

Who’s a moron? Michael Savage feels pinch over autism remarks

savageMichael Savage is a moron. Earlier this month, the conservative talk show host suggested on his syndicated radio show that autism is over-diagnosed and the result of incompetent or absent parents. That was bad enough, but then he dug the knife in deeper by neglecting to apologize, instead claiming his words were taken out of context. KNEW and Talk Radio Network essentially endorsed that excuse in deciding not to suspend or fire him.

Now, all sides are getting what they deserve. Major sponsors AFLAC and Home Depot have pulled their ads. On Sunday, parents, politicians and other protesters picketed outside the KNEW radio station office in San Francisco. I’m all for free speech, but even I can see just how far over the line Savage stepped. Take this for example: “I’ll tell you want autism is,” he said on the July 16 show. “In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is.” Or how about this one: “They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, you idiot.’ ” Still not convinced? Then listen for yourself and decide if outrage is more than a knee-jerk reflex.

Posted on Monday, July 28th, 2008
Under: Health & Safety | 90 Comments »

DR. SEUSS Game Giveaway

Horton Hears a Who gameRemember Horton, hearer of Whos? He’s the inspiration for the new “You to the Rescue” game for kids ages 4 to 8. Players take turns rescuing colorful clovers – and therefore Whos – with their Horton trunks. Very, very cute. And it could be yours! All you have to do is click “comments” and tell us your favorite Dr. Seuss book. (This contest is now closed. Congrats go out to Shay, the “Hop on Pop” fan who won!)

Posted on Monday, July 28th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

WILL FERRELL’s Parenting Tips

MovieWeb – Movie Photos, Videos & More

Will Ferrell, SNL funnyman and veteran of more than 30 movies, including the new “Step Brothers,” offered up a little parenting advice recently to Parade Magazine. Among his tips:

“Don’t let them play in old abandoned refrigerators. Let’s see, what else? If you’re flying with your children, it’s better to book them on the same flight as you and not on a separate one just so they can have more leg room or something. Travel as a family.”

Ya know, that’s pretty sound advice, but we think it needs more cowbell.

Posted on Monday, July 28th, 2008
Under: Other | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Preteens, KidPower & More

Communication (Heather McKinnon illustration/MCT) “Childhood Matters: The Emotional Lives of Preteens”
July 27 at 9 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and 105.1 KOCN-FM
Childhood Matters’ Rona Renner and panelists talk about parenting issues.

“KIDPOWER: Practicing Self-Protection Skills”
July 28 at 7 p.m. Redwood City Main Library, 3rd Floor Community Room
Sponsored by the Redwood City Mother’s Club. Free. For details, e-mail Holly.
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Posted on Monday, July 28th, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »