October 2008

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alex's life book

  • In early 2006, I began creating a life book for my daughter, Alex. Click here for links to articles describing my experience.
  • And for those of you who are more digitally inclined, in late 2006, I recreated key pages of Alex's lifebook for an article I wrote for AlphaMom, using Scrapblog.

    You can see the final digital result (and leave comments, if you'd like!) here.

what's been on my nikon lately

  • And you can view my favourites here.

if i'm not here, i'm here

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OMG, that is a HUGE music collection! So huge, in fact, I'm de-lurking.

My husband and I own only a few CDs that we can't part with, but sold or purged all others. We get all of our music from Yahoo Music Engine and download or burn everything we want to take with us.

I totally don't know any of the new artists these days. I've never really been hip to new music, although I'm a long-time Prince fan. At our house we listen to a lot of world music. My favorite artists are Joyce and Bia, both Brazilian singers. They're fantastic.


...I'm actually a little too far out of the loop for new artists myself, but I come in with other reassurance:

sometimes kids just...don't notice. My father regularly played the Beatles' ABBEY ROAD around the house when we were little; occasionally we ate in the dining room rather than in the kitchen, and Mom would always ask him to pick out "dinner music" and that is what he would play.

Now, this meant that when my brother and I were kids, we would hear the song "Come Together" a lot. However, I can never remember phrases like "Here come ol' flattop, he come groovin' up slowly..." meaning anything to me but "my family eating steak and potatoes."


We also have a 2 year old, Isabela, and we've been listening to a lot of Jack Johnson, Jackie Greene, Ben Taylor, Sally Taylor, Sting, and Bic Runga with her. She requests certain artists every day to listen to in the car. All of these are "safe" for her ears...and mouth.


My niece used to watch the Wiggles - and perhaps she still does... The mashed banana cold spaghetti song has been known to remain in my brain for days.

I agree on Jack Johnson. He recently came out with a CD that serves as a soundtrack for the Curious George movie. It is called "Sing-a-longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George."

Sarah Smith aka Rustic Relics

wow!great CD collection. My hubs and I have about 800+ Cd's too, we listen to music all day...something is always playing in the backround. Some artists I have been listening to around my little one are: The Weepies, Richard Shindell, Dar Williams, Sting, Jack Johnson, and Rosie Thomas....she also likes music with a great beat to it so she can dance :)


Try Jaime Cullen and Keane.

Chief Lymer

My sympathies, my sister has the same problem and unfortunately I don't think there are many modern artists kids can safely listen to. You could try Corrine Baily Rae, Amy Winehouse and Katie Melua, maybe Norah Jones or Jamie Cullen though to be fair I haven't heard all of their latest albums? My sister plays kiddy CDs in the car - seems to be the easiest way out.


As a someone who greew up in a house full of Peter Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio and Joan Baez, I totally hear you on the "music of our parents" thing. I am hugely enamored of Five for Fighting, Vertical Horizon and Lifehouse. Also Rosie Thomas and Dar Williams, both mentioned above. I seem to be the only person around who can't stand Jack Johnson. Also, I recently dicovered The East Village Opera Company, which I can only describe as opera-fusion- google them.


I wish I could be more helpful, but we are Dan Zanes and The Wiggles in the car all the time. I know that Dan Zanes has some adult music out from before he was a children's song writer, but I don't know that his earlier music is really suitable for little ears...

Hey, Jennifer - we are huge Prince fans in our house too. While I miss me a little Sexy M.F., it is nice that his recent albums don't have any cursing so it is pretty much safe for the kiddos. And it's GREAT dance music.


Dude, Prince is the BOMB. So is Missy Elliott. Sadly, we listen to very little of either now that Allie is the Parrot of all Parrots. I can just hear her warbling:

"Sexy M.F., shakin' that ass, shakin' that ass, shakin' that ass..."

to my MOTHER.


Interestingly, a lot of the artists you've mentioned I've never heard of! Where've I been? Keep 'em coming -- I foresee a huge music delivery in my future!



I am going to check out some of these suggestions, cause I could use some new music too.

I will never forget how my mom used to call out the lyrics we listened to... how about "love the one you're with"... and the Eagles' Hotel California... I think she started liking that one and I felt a subtle shift in the universe... but as an adult I question what I hear/see just as she always did. It's a good thing to be discerning!


I would have to say try a few soundtracks. Most movies that are rated G and PG usually have pretty good soundtracks. I have "The WIZ" soundtrack and my daughter LOVES it! I also have "Shrek". With the Wiz she can listen to it all the way to its end but with Shrek there’s a few songs that get a little crazy but not too outrageous.

Hope this helps!

Margaret in Germany

My daughter is in LOVE with the Rent soundtrack. There are just a couple songs that I skip (and when I do, there is a mini protest in the back seat).

Most soundtrack are safe (Jelly's Last Jam sountrack is WONDERFUL).


Well, we only have 380 CDs, so I'm not sure if I can offer any advice to someone with 800. ;-)

We, too hate country, but our 10 year old daughters LOVE it. Yuck! I detest hearing them sing along to country music (via portable cd players, so that I don't have to actually listen to it or let it corrupt anymore of my children). I really had high hopes for them. ;-)

I love Sinead O'Conner (only have to skip a couple of songs in all of her cds). I love Sergio Mendes (especially his new one with the Black-eyed Peas). Coldplay is nice and safe, as is Jack Johnson (his Curious George soundtrack is great).

A good kid musician is Laurie Berkner. I don't mind listening to her at all. The kids' favorite of hers is Victor Vito. Buzz, Buzz is also good. Under a Shady Tree is ok.

We also do a lot of soundtracks from kid movies (Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Chitty-chitty Bang Bang, etc.).

If I think of anymore, I'll post again.


I've recently discovered some songs by Juanes (http://www.juanes.net/ ). He's from Colombia and sings in Spanish, so the lyrics might not be an issue. (I don't speak Spanish, so I've no idea what he's singing about. All I know is "Volverte a ver" means "I'll see you again.")

I have to ask about the beautiful blue painted vase in the photo of you CD collection. With its two spouts it looks like the Indian wedding vase we got when we got married in New Mexico. Is it Navajo?

Tish and family

PINK!or P!NK, you'll need both spellings for downloading her music. You can get her cd's in either "adult" or "clean" versions. Now, if Queen Latifah would offer that choice, I'd be in gangsta raplady heaven. Jesse Cook for fabulous, mostly upbeat jazz guitar. Laura Pausini in Italian--by the time Alex can understand the lyrics she'll be of an age that it's ok for her to know them. My kid also loves Kelly Clarkson, but I haven't learned the lyrics as of yet.
FYI, the new Dixie Chicks was produced by a rock music producer, so give it a listen as well as buying it to support their stance.


Andrea --

Good spotting: it is, indeed, a Navajo wedding vase that we bought on our first family vacation, to Santa Fe, in 2004. You can see photos from that trip here:


It still ranks as my favourite vacation ever!



Thanks for the quick reply, Karen. Ah, Santa Fe... your photos brought back lots of memories for me. We got married in Santa Fe in 2002 and re-visited our friends there last year. It's one of my favourite places in the world.


For what it's worth, my 50-something stepmother goes around humming "don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me." I'm not sure which is worse.


Wait? What's wrong with my lovely lady lumps? I tell my husband she's talking about pregnant bellies all the time.

We just bought a Herbie Hancock cd that has lots of other artists singing with him, like John Mayer and Santana, etc. I think you'd love it.

So you don't want Alex walking around talking about her milkshake? I can't think why???


I'm not all that concerned about the lyrics my son may repeat, so most of the time listen to whatever I feel ike hearing at any given point in time. Afterall, I was a 4 year-old who skipped through the grocery store, belting out "Afternoon Delight" and "Lay, Lady, Lay", and I turned out ok. ;)

My husband did recently buy a few children's cds that feature bands like Cake, singing weird, retro tunes like Mahna Mahna. I've only caught snippets in the car, but they seem fairly decent. I like the Putumayo Playground series too.


The Weepies
www.theweepies.com for a preview
"Gotta Have You"

The Shins

Gnarls Barkley (from Rolling Stone, below:)
Gnarls Barkley's first single -- the spine-tingling U.K. hit "Crazy" -- takes an old-time spiritual and turns it into festival-friendly funk, as it eagerly jumps into the loony bin: "I remember when I lost my mind/There was something so pleasant about that place," Cee-Lo sings in his soaring, seductive rasp. There's a creeping dementia to all of St. Elsewhere, the genre-bending debut from the Goodie Mob rapper-crooner and Gorillaz beat-brewer Danger Mouse. ...And the disco-proud album closer, "The Last Time," poses a question: "When was the last time you danced?" At which point you get up and do exactly that.

though nothing beats Al Green and the Beach Boys...


I always thought I'd be safe with non-English lyrics (anything by Rammstein is a great favourite in our house) until I realized that my son, who was in grade 2 at the time, was grouped at a table with a couple of kids who went to Saturday morning German classes. I quickly explained to my son that he was NOT to sing any Rammstein songs at school. We then created a custom CD for the car that was "missing" certain songs.

So, although this comment has no suggestions for your music collection, it is meant to say that I sympathize completely with your concerns about lyrics.


YAY! I've vowed to de-lurk and post a comment on many of your recent posts, but someone always seems to start crying as soon as I start typing. Anyway, on to the music...

Zero 7 "Simple Things" "When it Falls"(This music is like falling through pillows of marshmellow cream)

Death Cab for Cutie "Plans" (weird name, I know. It comes from a poem quoted in the The Yellow Submarine movie so perhaps that gives it more cred?)

Aqualung (Listen to "Brighter than Sunshine" to decide if you like or not)

Ditto on Jack Johnson "On and On" and "Between Dreams", Jamie Cullen, Herbie Hancock, Sia (formerly of Zero 7), Cake (maybe sort of ... they've only recently grown on me)

Separately, I've also started running but can't find my tape measure so I'll have to just ASSUME that I'm losing an inch a week like you.

And loved the post a week or so ago when you gave props to other bloggers - I can't imagine my day without reading Woulda Coulda and you and I also appreciate Breed 'Em & Weep and KiWords.

There, I think that's it. I feel much better having got this backlog of comments off my chest - thank you!


Kady --

Glad you feel better! :o) And Cake is awesome -- I have three of their albums. Might be time to dust them off....


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