Thanks for the Mentions!
May 29 2008

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Trish and I were pleasantly surprised at the number of people who blogged and tweeted about our partnership with eMail Our Military that we announced just before Memorial Day weekend.  We are forever grateful for them in helping us spread the word about Babble Soft giving free subscriptions to Baby Insights and Baby Say Cheese to active duty military with newborns who are members of eMail Our Military!  We’d like to thank each and every one of them! 

Please check out their posts and leave them a comment and let them know how great it is that they picked up a partnership created by two entrepreneurs who are trying hard to make a difference in the world.  :-D

If you’ve blogged or tweeted about it and we missed it, please let us know and we’ll add you to the list.  Even though it’s past Memorial Day, if you are only now finding out about our partnership, please continue to tell everyone about it because the partnership is ongoing and Father’s Day is just around the corner.  We will still link to your post!

Blog Posts

Fred Wilson at A VC – Memorial Day

Jeff Nolan at Venture Chronicles – Markets are Communities

Maryam Scoble at Maryamie – Memorial Day

Lauren Vargas at This Mommy Gig – Serving the Homefront

Robert Hacker at Sophisticated Finance – Memorial Day

Barbara Ling at – 77 Great Resources for Memorial Day (she links to www.eMailOurMilitary.com)

Jeremy Bencken at PR4 Pirates – Anatomy of an A-List Blog Mention

Omar Gallaga at Austin 360 – Post-Memorial Day Web catch-up

Ashlee Allen of Mama Speaks – Keeping in Touch State Wide

Nicole Johnson at Pick Nick’s Brain – Quick Tip – Logging Sleep

Tweets

Pistachio – Challenging: newborns. More challenging: while your partner’s on active duty. @emailourmilitary @aruni memday help http://tinyurl.com/5gmmrs

KeithBurtis – (aruni)Happy Memorial Day! Help us spread news of @MailOurMilitary (aka @Dayngr) and @babblesoft partnership http://tinyurl.com/5gmmrs...

MikeChapman – Two of my favorites! @MailOurMilitary and @babblesoft join forces post http://tinyurl.com/5gmmrs

TroyTurner – @aruni , @dayngr FYI – I just fwd’d your offer to some insiders at Walter Reed, Ctr for the Intrepid-BAMC, and Naval Med Ctr-San Diego.

MackCollier – Retweeting @aruni: @MackCollier @MailOurMilitary and I have positive news to share too re: Memorial Day http://tinyurl.com/5gmmrs :-)

NewMediaJim (we know he tweeted but can’t seem to find the tweet now)

Hametner – @aruni @mailourmilitary Glad to see the partnership between www.BabbleSoft.com and www.eMailOurMilitary.com, looks like a great fit!

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby, baby care, baby insights, baby say cheese, blogging, entrepreneurship, twitter | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Memorial Day – Babies and Our Military
May 23 2008

I met a gal on twitter who tweets by the name of @MailOurMilitary and @Dayngr.  Her real name is Trish.  We got to tweeting and emailing and then talking. 

Since Trish had gone through the hardship of being away from her husband when her first child was born, we both thought it would be a great idea to join forces to offer members of her non-profit organization, eMail Our Military free subscriptions to Babble Soft applications as well as access to a discount code for 20% off purchases for non-active military and friends.

So please let the military families you know about our offer and encourage them and others to sign up at eMail Our Military.  We know there is no way to make up for the lost time and touch of a parent who is away but now they have access to a free tool that can help bridge the unavoidable physical gap between two parents of a precious newborn.  We wanted to give people another reason, which is often overlooked (i.e., being away from their baby), to remember all those men and women who have put their lives at home on hold and/or laid down their lives to protect our freedom.

You can see the press release below, on our site, on PR Web, and on eMailOurMilitary’s blog.  Trish also wrote a more personal blog post called Baby Memories, Milestones, and Our Military where she mentions her experience as a new mom whose husband has to leave one week after her baby was born!

Happy Memorial Day everyone! 

Babble Soft and eMail our Military Join Forces to Offer Free Subscriptions to Babble Soft Applications for Active Duty Service Members with Newborns

Just in time for Memorial Day, Active Duty Service Members with Newborns now get free access to Babble Soft’s web and mobile applications through their membership at eMail Our Military.

eMail Our MilitaryAUSTIN, TX; MIAMI LAKES, FL – May 22, 2008 – Babble Soft and eMail our Military are partnering to offer free subscriptions to Baby Insights and Baby Say Cheese for active duty service members with newborns. 

“We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with Babble Soft.” said Trish Forant, Founder and President of eMail our Military. “My husband was called into service only one week after our first child was born.  I had very few friends and family to turn to for support where we were stationed and it was difficult for me to convey to him what I was going through with our new baby.  I would have loved to have the online tools Babble Soft provides to communicate to him how often and when our baby was feeding, sleeping, etc. as well as important picture milestones!”

 “Our goal at Babble Soft is to help strengthen and enhance connections between family members during that wonderful, yet chaotic time after a baby is born.” said Aruni Gunasegaram, founder and president of Babble Soft. “We support our troops and know how important it is for new parents who have to be away from their newborns to feel connected to what is going on at home.  Partners can share experiences and photos with each other through Babble Soft’s unique web and mobile applications. As an added bonus, members of eMail our Military will have access to a discount code to purchase gift subscriptions for their other family members who may or may not have military ties.”

Baby Insights helps caregivers keep track of baby’s breast & bottle feeding, sleep periods, diaper changes, medicine doses, immunization records, as well as mom’s breastfeeding, pumping and medicine intake. Having important information stored in one location makes communication between parents, their nanny, babysitters, grandparents, or doctors seamless and reliable and gives new parents insight into their baby’s patterns to help with crucial baby care decisions.

Baby Say Cheese lets you create a wonderful online baby’s first year photo album with milestones such as ‘first crawl, first smile, first word’ and family tree that you can share with friends and family.  You can even send a fun, cute picture postcards of any of your baby’s milestones to anyone with an email address!

About eMail our Military, Inc.
eMail Our Military was created in 2001 as a response to the DoD’s cancellation of the “Any Service Member” and “Operation Dear Abby” mail programs. As a safe alternative, eMOM picked up where these programs left off. eMail Our Military is composed of volunteers from all walks of life who understand that regardless of our political views, our military service members deserve our respect, support & encouragement. Website visitors can join and take part in a number of support projects ranging from sending eMail on a one-on-one basis with a service member to year round support projects that are open to the public. For more information on eMail Our Military, please visit http://www.eMailOurMilitary.com

About Babble Soft, LLC
Babble Soft is based in Austin, Texas and creates products that help make the transition into parenthood babblesoft-babyeasier.  Whether you need breastfeeding support, are experiencing baby sleep issues, are expecting twins, or taking care of a premature (preemie) baby and would like to create your baby’s first year album, Babble Soft offers unique, easy-to-use Web and Mobile software solutions that improve communication between caregivers.  Babble Soft makes a great baby shower gift that you can easily send via Email to any new parent anywhere in the world!  To learn more and purchase Babble Soft applications, please visit http://www.babblesoft.com.

For more information, please contact:

Trish Forant
eMail our Military, Inc.
(786) 228-7096
Info(at)eMailOurMilitary(dot)com

Aruni Gunasegaram
Babble Soft, LLC
(512) 961-6002
aruni(at)babblesoft(dot)com                                                                                   

 

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby, baby insights, baby say cheese, baby sleep, breastfeeding, diversity, entrepreneurship, father, FYI, national holiday, parenting, twitter, working father, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Missed Baby Camp But Still Got Some Goodies
May 5 2008

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Camp but fortunately they sent me some goodies.  My kids aren’t babies anymore so some of the items I’ll probably give to some friends with new babies or maybe even use them myself!  They wrote a nice note saying they were disappointed I could not make it to the camp and sent me some of their classic and new products:

Baby lotion
Moisture care baby wash
Baby cream
No more tangles® shampoo + conditioner – straight hair
No more tangles® shampoo + conditioner – curly hair
2 bottles of no more tangles® leave-in conditioner

Smelling the scent of their classic line brought back memories of when my kids were babies.  Sigh.  Nice for a moment of nostalgia, but I’m thankful those early days are over!  We still have an almost empty bottle of their original baby shampoo that we sometimes use on our daughter.

Here are links to some of the posts other bloggers who attended wrote about the baby camp:

Mom’s Favorite Stuff: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Plain Jane Mom: So why did J&J send me to New Jersey anyway?

SoCal Stuff: My Mommy Went to Baby Camp and All She Brought Me Was This Lousy Lightup Mirror

Maryamie: What happened at Camp? Johnson’s Camp Baby Report Day 2 and 3

From dates to diapers: Camp Baby

Marketing Roadmaps: Camp Baby Post Mortem Part One: The Mom Bloggers’ Perspective  (a long, but good one!)

The LadyBug and her Blogging Mama: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Wow, I even found the Flickr J&J Camp Baby pictures and J&J Camp Baby blog they set up for the event!

I’m sure there are more posts out there about Johnson’s Baby Camp, so please leave the link to your or someone else’s post in the comments below and I can add it to the list.  I would search the Internet endlessly myself, but I’m home with a recovering sick kid and wondering how I’m going to get caught up on all of my other work.  Plus, I’m feeling a bit achy myself.  Bleh!

I only have one request for J&J. Please give me more than a few weeks notice next time because I will take any excuse to get pampered! :-D

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

7 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
Apr 26 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To check out more baby advice, check out the baby tips category

7 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
by Aruni Gunasegaram

My now 5 ½ year old son was born by emergency c-section making my post birth recovery time challenging because a) I was exhausted, b) he didn’t seem to sleep very much and c) I developed a breast infection.  Now a) and b) are par for the course when having a baby but c) knocked me senseless.  I didn’t want to take any more medication given that I had just come off of several after the c-section so I waited to see if the pain would go away.   When I reached the point where I would wake up from a restless sleep with tears in my eyes from the excruciating pain and I began having thoughts like “I wish I could die right now, but I can’t because I have to feed my baby,” I began a round of antibiotics.  Within a week or so I felt sane again.

Now part of the reason I contracted the breast infection was because I wasn’t breastfeeding correctly.  It took about 7 to 10 days for my milk to come in and then because of the infection probably 10 weeks for me to quit wondering how the human race survived before bottles and formula!  I ended up breastfeeding our son for about 7 months and our daughter about 9 months when it was apparent to me that we were ready to move on to the next phase of our mother/baby relationship.  Here are some tips that helped me establish a successful breastfeeding relationship with my children.

1. Mentally prepare yourself that it can take up to 8 to 12 weeks. Some insightful person…maybe a nurse or my lactation consultant, told me “Give it 8 to 12 weeks before making a decision on whether you want to quit breastfeeding.” So I told myself ‘this is a marathon, breastfeeding is important to me and my husband, and I can’t quit before 12 weeks.’ I remember saying that to myself almost every day and when I was 10 weeks into it I realized “Wow, this isn’t so bad. In fact it’s pretty darn neat!”

2. It’s OK to supplement! I know I will be chastised by the pure breastfeeding advocates for saying this, but in my opinion it is OK to supplement with formula especially if you feel something is wrong with you or your baby. I was so afraid to supplement because I was repeatedly told that supplementing was the worst thing I could do, which of course made me feel like an awful mom. But let me tell you, if you are exhausted and your baby isn’t gaining weight, it is one of the best things you can do. After feeling guilty for a week because my milk wasn’t coming in and my baby wasn’t gaining weight, and trying to survive a breast infection, I decided to supplement just a little bit and what a relief because it helped me gain my confidence back. I had more confidence when our daughter was born 2 ½ years later. I smiled at the nurses who said I shouldn’t supplement and did it anyway for the first few weeks of her life.  UPDATE: Based on a reader’s comment below, it wasn’t clear that even though we supplemented in the first several weeks, I also continued to pump.  It is so true that if you quit pumping, your body will think you need to produce less milk. So I pumped and I took time to rest a little longer to build up my milk supply and that’s why my milk came in! Supplementing is not for everyone but in my opinion the sanity and health of the mom and baby are of utmost importance!

3. Don’t be afraid to take that baby off! Some well meaning nurses told me that when the baby is finished he will fall off. They didn’t know my son. He would stay on for over an hour on each side just suckling half asleep if I let him. I remember breastfeeding sessions that would last 90 minutes which when I had to start over again in an hour and a half reduced me to tears. I believe not pulling him off when I thought he was done contributed to my getting the breast infection. With my daughter I produced so much milk that after 8 to 10 weeks I was able to take her off sometimes at 7 to 10 minutes!

4. Keep a breastfeeding log. So that you have an idea of how much time you are breastfeeding and maybe even what position you are breastfeeding in, keep a breastfeeding log. When our son was born I used a form I created in Microsoft Excel to jot down often illegible notes. Fortunately when our daughter was born, we had an alpha version of our mobile software program, Baby Insights, available. I could easily keep track of my pumping and breastfeeding schedule which helped me understand her feeding patterns and how much milk I was producing.

5. Drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating well, and getting good rest is a huge contributor to successful breastfeeding. In fact a vast majority of breast milk is water. Keep a bottle of water next to you when you breastfeed.

6. Ask and/or pay for help. Whether it’s a lactation consultant, a post-partum doula, your significant other, or a friend who has breastfed before, ask for help. A good lactation consultant can give you great tips on how to get your baby to latch on and feed properly. If you can afford a post-partum doula a few hours per week, they can be a god-send with both household and breastfeeding support. Ask your spouse to help you keep the breastfeeding log, bring you water, fresh fruit, snacks, and the baby!

7. Relax. I know this is easier said than done, but I found the more relaxed I was, the more my milk flowed. Lack of sleep and stress actually reduces your body’s ability to create breast milk. And worse you may start to resent the process and maybe even your baby! Watch a funny show or movie. Take a nap. Take a leisurely walk. Chat with a friend. Or just bawl your eyes out…we all know what a stress relief that can be!

Once your milk flow is established consider donating to a Mother’s Milk Bank near you.  I donated to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin with my daughter and it was a wonderful feeling knowing that my milk was going to help sick and premature babies.

______

If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

Increasing Breast Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

15 Tips for Surviving The World’s Youngest Insomniac by Rose at From the Park Bench

Why Keeping a Daily Journal Is Important for Moms and Nannies

How To Properly Swaddle A Baby 

Tips on Co-Sleeping and Ways to use a Co-sleeper

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby advice, baby care, baby insights, baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, milk banking, nursing, pumping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut
Mar 25 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category

Now here’s a guest tip about kid’s haircuts by Michelle Breyer.  Michelle is the co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com.  NaturallyCurly.com sells hair products for people with curly hair and also provides a place for them to socialize online.  Check out their page for kids with curly hair.

5 Tips for your Child’s First Haircut
by Michelle Breyer of NaturallyCurly.com

curly-hair-1.gifI remember taking my daughter, Emma, for her first haircut. It seemed like no big deal for me. I was more concerned about saving a lock of hair for her baby book than anything else.

But that first haircut turned into a temper tantrum. Since then, I’ve learned there are a number of steps that can make that first trip to the hair salon a good experience rather than one filled with anxiety and tears. If done right, it can set a positive foundation for a child’s feelings about future haircuts, as well as their hair.

“It’s uncharted territory for parents,” says Cozy Friedman, who owns three Cozy’s Cuts for Kids salons/toy stores in New York City.

One of the biggest questions for many parents is when to get the first haircut. Some believe you should wait until their first birthday.

“There are no rules,” says Jody Mackenzie, owner of Banana’s Salon in Fort Myers, Fla. “You should get their hair cut when you think they need that first haircut. If it’s growing horizontal rather than vertical, or getting in their eyes, it’s probably a sign that the time has come.

Then it’s important to find the right place to get that first cut. Kids aren’t necessarily welcome at every hair salon, so make sure the place you choose knows how to work with children, and understands the difference between baby and adult hair.  Many parents – and children – favor children’s salons. In addition to being designed around the needs of children, they usually are chemical free.

At Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, children sit in a jeep, watch a video or play their favorite video game. There are balloons, lollipops, free toys and all the bubbles they can blow. When getting that first cut, the child receives a “First Haircut Certificate” with a keepsake lock of hair.  “My goal was to make it a place to feel really happy,” Friedman says. 

At Yellow Balloon in Studio City, Calif., there is a popcorn machine, a large play area with a mini-arcade and miniature toy boxes at each salon chair.  “Our stylists have had years of experience with children before coming here,” says assistant manager Christina Kirilova. “They curly-hair-2.gifentertain the kids with stories, toys and even magic tricks so they forget why they are here.”  For the baby’s first haircut, the Yellow Balloon includes a framed Polaroid picture commemorating the occasion, a certificate and a lock of the baby’s hair in a special envelope.

Maria Navarro of Classic Kids Hairstyling in Camarillo, Calif., puts colorful gel in little boys’ hair, and does special braids or twists in little girls’ hair.  “You want them to feel special,” Navarro says.

At Houston’s Playhouse Cuts, the stylists sing and dance and play with the kids to make them feel at ease. They also understand the limitations of their young clients.  “You have to have patience,” George says. “A kid’s tolerance isn’t that long. Even though they’re moving and wiggling, you have to keep going or you’ll never finish.”

Before ever getting the first cut, try to take the child by the salon before the day of the actual cut to make them feel more at ease.”Even a walk-through prepares them for it,” Friedman says.  Over time, it’s best to stick with the same stylist. That way, the child will develop a comfort level, and the stylist will understand the needs of the growing child.

When it comes to cutting curls, it’s a good idea to ask for a stylist who is experienced in working with curly or kinky hair. Make sure the stylist understands that curly hair shrinks – as much as three to four inches.  The right cut depends on the texture of the child’s hair.

“There is no one perfect haircut for every child,” Friedman says. Often the stylist will work with the parent on a strategy for their child’s hair, especially if the baby’s hair is just coming in. It may mean cutting the bottom layer over time to let the newer, top layer grow to the same length. “Have a goal, especially for the first time,” Friedman says. “It’s setting the groundwork for years to come.” With curlier or kinky hair, stay away from bangs, says Jami Walker of the Hairy Elephant in Ballwin, Mo. “They just kink up too much,” Walker says. Bangs can be a big commitment, and can be difficult to grow out. Many stylists encourage the parent to work on growing the child’s hair to one length or long layers.

Be an active part of your child’s haircut.”You may want a bob, but every stylist has a different interpretation of what a bob is,” Friedman says. “Be very descriptive. Bring pictures.” Make sure you’re realistic about what you want. If your child has tight curls, a pageboy haircut probably isn’t the right cut.

Finally, remember that the first haircut is a chance to make your child feel good about the experience, and about their hair. If the parent is anxious or talks about the hair as if it’s a problem, the baby picks up on it.  “Parents forget that children are sponges,” Friedman says. ”

5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut

  1. Always make an appointment. Otherwise, the child may have to wait.
  2. Try to get the first appointment of the day so the child can get in and out.
  3. Stay away from the word “haircut.” That can be scary for children, who associate cuts with pain. Instead, use the word trim.
  4. Bring snacks. A hungry child is unlikely to cooperate.
  5. Take the child at a time when they’re most relaxed. For some it might be after a nap. For others, it might be right before a nap.

_____

If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane by Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby tips, parenting, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

5 Parenting Trends That Affect How We Communicate About Childcare
Feb 26 2008

5 Parenting Trends That Affect How We Communicate About Childcare
by Aruni Gunasegaram

new-family-with-baby.jpgThe more things change the more they stay the same.  We have all heard that saying, but what we sometimes don’t realize is that even though things stay the same, the ways we go about doing those same things change.  For instance, 100 years ago when we needed to get to work most people would walk, ride a horse, take a train, or take a trolley to get there.  Now we still need to get to work but most of us drive a car or take a subway.  50 to 100 years ago if we needed to get a message to someone we would send a telegram or a handwritten note.  Now we still might send a handwritten note but more often than not we send them an e-mail!

In the “old days” a mom would get advice and tips through the network of family members and friends who more likely than not were in the same town or village and within a short distance from her.  With families and friends being spread across the country and the world, moms are now using the Internet to bring back aspects of that network.  As moms rely on the Internet for information, they are also looking to the Internet for ways to share and manage their busy lives.   Here are some of the trends I see with regards to moms using the Internet when it comes to childcare.

  1. Since word-of-mouth from other moms is the greatest influencer on a mom’s purchasing decision, she is turning to Internet forums and baby-related sites such as BabyCenter and iVillage to ask questions, seek out answers, and look at product reviews.
  1. Many women who wait until they are older to have children are experiencing higher instances of multiple and premature births.  They tend to be more concerned when having to make the decision to leave their baby in the hands of a nanny or other caregiver.  They want to know what is happening to their baby and they want to know as quickly and easily as possible.
  1. Many moms are busier than ever and often don’t have time to think in between working and trying to get sleep so they seek out tools that will help them with baby care decisions.  They have less time than in the past to deal with these problems and are therefore looking for quick and effective ways to get the information or advice they need to handle their unique situations.
  1. Many moms are returning back to work earlier but want to continue breastfeeding and want to know how their baby is doing during the day.  They are hiring baby nurses and pumping at work.  This means that keeping track of how much she pumped, when her baby ate, or how much her baby ate as well as who did what and when becomes critically important in order to ensure the proper nutrition and health of her baby.  
  1. More and more moms are finding and hiring nannies over the Internet and nannies and nanny agencies are reaching out to moms via the Internet as well.  Nannies are given access to and are using the Internet at their client’s home and are using it to do their jobs better, check their email, and communicate with their peers.  Nannies and moms are also spending more and more time communicating by cell phone and email in order to schedule visits and coordinate other childcare activities.

Some changes take a long time and many seem to happen overnight.  Since the beginning of humanity we have taken care of our children but the ways we take care of them has changed drastically with the introduction of diapers, formula, baby safety related items, and most recently the Internet.  Who would have thought that over 36.6 million moms in the US will be regular Internet users in 2010? (source: eMarketer.com). The Internet enables her to do research so she can be a better-informed parent and a savvier consumer (51% of the moms surveyed say the Internet changed the way they get information about products and services) and allows her to network with other moms, as well. 

The overall trend is clear: more and more moms are using the Internet to communicate with each other and to get the information they need to take care of their babies.  Nannies and nanny agencies are participating as well and are using the Internet to reach out to moms and their employees.  With families spreading out and moms finding it hard to get the one-on-one face time with baby, family, and friends, the Internet is stepping in.  It is a tool that is helping make parenthood easier and bringing back some of the familial and social relationships that are so important in helping parents raise healthy children in a safe environment.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  The tools we use to aid in childcare are different now, but the goal of safety, health, and love are still the same.  Are you ready to embrace the change?

The author of this article, Aruni Gunasegaram, is the President/Founder of Babble Soft, which offers web and mobile software applications that facilitate communication between caregivers by helping them to keep track of  breastfeeding and bottle feedings, mom’s pumping, baby sleep patterns, diapers, immunizations and medicine doses as well as baby’s first year photo album.

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby sleep, breast milk, breastfeeding | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Networking And The Stay-At-Home Parent – Guest Baby Tip
Feb 21 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  :-)  To read other great baby tips, check out the baby tips category.

Thom Singer, our very own Austin-based networking guru, bravely accepted my invitation to write a guest baby tip.   Thom Singer is the director of business development for vcfo in Austin, Texas. He is also a professional speaker and the author of two books on the power of business relationships and networking: “Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships” and “The ABC’s of Networking.”  He is currently working on “Some Assembly Required for Women” with co-author Marny Lifshen. He also blogs at Some Assembly Required.  And now here is his fabulous baby tip:

Networking And The Stay-At-Home Parent

thom-and-family-crop.jpgHaving children changes everything. It doesn’t matter what kind of life you lived before or how your family handles the arrival of your bundle of joy(s), introducing kids into the equation shakes up all of your priorities.

When my first daughter, Jackie, was born I was thirty years old. I was working in a sales position, making decent money, and building my professional reputation and network of contacts. I was ambitious, and did not think that being a parent would make my life all that different. My wife had planned to quit her job and stay home with our children, and I figured I would continue along my career path un-affected by fatherhood.

While on maternity leave my wife received the word that she was being promoted to the job she had desired for seven years with her employer. While she did not make as much money as I did at the time, the opportunity was too good to pass up, and after much discussion and soul searching, I found myself quitting my job to become a stay-at-home dad for two years.

Being a full-time parent is hard work. Don’t kid yourself unless you have taken on this responsibility for more than a few days. There are no days off, no coffee breaks, no business trips, expense accounts or anything else that is an accepted corporate perk. I had never thought growing up that I would be a stay-at-home dad, as there was no such job description or role models who did such a thing. In the late 1990′s the concept was still even more rare than it is today.

I found this time to be very challenging, but also extremely rewarding. Eleven years later Jackie and I have a very close relationship and we share a wonderful bond from those early days of always being together. However, I also knew that this was a temporary role, as my wife would have preferred to have been at home, and I longed to have a blossoming career. Thus I spent much of the time continuing to network and cultivate relationships that would allow me to one day return to the work world. Although there were some naysayers who warned me that my professional career would never recover from the two years away, the reality was because of the active networking I was able to bounce right back into my career when the time was right.

Whether you are a man or a woman, if you decide to take on the role of stay-at-home parenting while your children are young, you need to keep your professional relationships alive. This will not happen by accident, and it takes time and effort (things in short supply when babies are teething, learning to walk, getting sick, and just being cute as all get out!), but neglecting your network can make it much more difficult to transition back to the workforce when that time arrives.

I was very proactive and made sure I had one breakfast and one lunch meeting each week. I was lucky, as Jackie was a very agreeable baby who was happy to sit quietly on my lap or in her stroller while I talked business with friends and former co-workers. While some people are self-conscious about bringing their kids along to business meetings, I never looked at this as a negative. Caring for Jackie was my job, and it was just as important (or more important!) as being a lawyer, accountant or financial planner. As she got older and was more mobile, I would often need to be more creative on setting up these meetings, working around my wife’s schedule or trading babysitting with a neighbor in order to have such appointments. However, there is always a way when you realize that something is a priority.

When it came time to return to work it was easy to put the word out that I was looking for a job as I was still a visible part of the business community. This was as much a state-of-mind as it was a result of my actions.

Choosing to leave the work world to be home with your kids can be both difficult and rewarding. The isolation of not having other grown-ups around can leave one feeling very disconnected. If you can relate to these feelings, then you need to take charge of your networking efforts and get back out into the world. Your future opportunities will all come from people, so you need to make, grow and keep your business relationships.

Have A Great Day.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these great ones too:

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble at Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols at DadLabs

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby tips, networking, parenting, stay at home dad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Guest Baby Tip: Keeping a Baby Food Journal
Dec 19 2007

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)

The last baby tip was by Carole Hayes on wonderful, well-researched ways to increase milk supply and now we bring you…

Keeping a Baby Food Journal
by Neena of A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

baby-hippo.jpgI am honored that Aruni has asked me to do a guest post here on entrepreMusings.  As a “seasoned” mother of four the Baby Tips category is right up my alley and a hard one to pare down (I have accumulated a lot of advice over the years – 11 to be exact!).  In later years, when our other children were ready to start solid foods, we were much better prepared. By being slow and meticulous we were finally able to have fun with the introduction of solid foods.The key to our success is what we called a Baby Food Journal. 

 

When our babies were around six months of age, and we made the decision to start the solid food phase, the journaling would begin.

Everyday, I would record the time of feeding, the amount, and the babies reaction to the taste (this one was for fun).

After the feeding, I would make notes of any unusual observations and the time they occurred. These would include skin rashes, health issues, upset stomach, gassiness, or general fussiness.  babybeingfed.jpg

The next day the process would be repeated. If the food seemed to agree with the baby then it was time to increase the amount and again record my observations. If I saw an unusual reaction a call the pediatrician would be in order. And if I was unsure whether the reaction was indeed caused by the food, something like fussiness for example, then I would feed the baby a small quantity of the same food and watch for a repeat reaction.

Only introducing one new food per week in the first few months of starting solids was my rule. If things were going well I would reduce the time between new foods to three or four days.

Keeping a Baby Food Journal took a lot of stress and uncertainty out of the feeding process. And it was good documentation to give the pediatrician if things weren’t going well.

*photos used in this post by belgianchocolate and joeltelling, respectively

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Check out Neena’s blog.  She has a lot of great things to share…with 4 kids she knows more than most of us about raising kids! :-)  Since her kids are older she never had the opportunity to use Babble Soft applications and she told me that when she was writing this guest tip, it crossed her mind that Baby Insights might help people keep track of solid feeding.  We will be adding that feature in the future but  interestingly our families often use the Medicine Dose pages to keep track of baby’s and/or mom’s food intake to discern patterns in baby’s reaction to foods or breast milk.  Go figure.  Our families are so awesome and so creative!

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby tips, breast milk, food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Jacob’s Family and Baby Insights
Dec 11 2007

To help illustrate how different people use Babble Soft web and mobile applications, we have created family user stories.   I am grateful to the families who are willing to share their time, pictures, and energy to write/edit these case studies with us! To see our other user stories please check out our Testimonial page or click on the user stories tag.

Jacob’s Family: (pdf)

jacob334x222.jpgMother:   Lea (Financial Reporting Manager)
Father:    Chris (Partner/Marketing Consultant)

Baby:   Jacob
Born:    September 2007
Place:   Newport Beach, CA

Browser Used: Mozilla Firefox v2.0.0.11
Website:  http://www.fullmixmarketing.com/



Situation

Jacob, Lea and Chris’s first child, was born via unplanned C-section after a long and arduous labor.  While in the hospital, Lea was asked to keep track of Jacob’s feeding and diaper activities using generic paper hospital forms.  She had planned on entering the information into Baby Insights, which she had already set-up prior to Jacob’s arrival.  Unfortunately the papers were lost in the shuffle between the hospital and home, so she started entering information into Baby Insights four days after Jacob was born.

Prior to leaving the hospital, Jacob’s pediatrician recommended formula supplementation as Lea was concerned about breastfeeding following the c-section.  Lea’s milk did not fully come in for over a week, and with breastfeeding, pumping and formula feeding, using Baby Insights was tremendously helpful in keeping track of Jacob’s feeding schedule and intake.  Baby Insights was also very helpful in tracking Jacob’s diaper activities.  A feature of Baby Insights that Lea wasn’t initially aware of, but came to use extensively, was medicine dose recording.  She was taking three separate pain medications to aid in her recovery from the C-section.

Lea’s Experience

The information I got from using Baby Insights was so helpful!  I really liked the fact that I could go to one place and see all of Jacob’s information at a glance. In hindsight, I wish I had bought a PDA or smart phone before Jacob was born to make entering the information easier!  Some of the benefits I gained from using Baby Insights are:

  • Since we were supplementing with formula, it helped to see how much formula versus breastfeeding time he was receiving.  It’s been fascinating to see how the two amounts have changed over time.  The Daily Summary report was beneficial as it calculated the total amount of milk we gave to Jacob.
  • It was great to see how much I was pumping to get an idea of how much he was getting at each feeding.  Knowing this helped me make decisions about how often and how much to supplement.
  • As a first time mom, managing my time throughout the day can be quite challenging.  Baby Insights helped me see how much time I was spending breastfeeding and pumping so I could better plan my day.
  • Tracking my pain medication using Baby Insights was particularly helpful during my recovery from the C-section. I was taking 3 different pain medications at varying times and being able to view my medication schedules became one of my favorite Baby Insights tools!

—End—

If you are interested in participating in your very own user story, please activate a FREE Babble Soft Account. If you find that Babble Soft applications work for you, you want to tell the world about your great experience, and you are interested in being a part of our media campaign, please email us at info at babblesoft dot com for more information and a hook-up!  :-)  We plan to do a family story every one to two months so please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested.

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby, baby care, baby insights, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, pumping, user stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How to Trim Your Baby’s Nails: Baby Tip by Babble Soft
Oct 23 2007

Since I babble about business, babies, and parenthood here on this blog, those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies.  For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  :-)


 

babytipteether

When our son was born we were told to cut his nails while he was sleeping in his crib.   Being the sleep-deprived, paranoid mom that I was, following are the reasons why this did not work for me:

  • This boy barely sleeps and you are asking me to risk waking him and losing my sanity to cut his nails?!?  No freaking way!
  • What if he’s lying on one side and I can’t get to the hand or foot I want to get to?  Then refer back to item #1.
  • What if some of the little nail cuttings find their way into his mouth, ears, nose, or belly button, and he can’t breathe and he and I both go into shock?  What if one of them simply pokes him…then refer back to item #1.
  • What if I accidentally cut too much of his nail and cut his skin…then of course refer back to item #1.
  • How do I lean over his crib or bassinet with a huge post-partum belly and conduct what to me seemed like minor surgery on my precious baby without breaking my back or having a let-down?

So being the resourceful parent/entrepreneur that I am, here’s what I did:

  • Put him in a reclining bouncer (with neck support if needed) and either a) wait until he fell asleep or b) put on a Baby Einstein video (back then it was OK to watch Baby Einstein videos).  I also occasionally did this while he was still in his infant car seat.
  • If he fell asleep and I didn’t think he would wake up (usually from age 0 to about 2 months), I would get some Kleenex tissue and place is strategically under his hands or feet.  I would then gently press the nail down so just the part that needed cutting would stick out over the end and commence trimming with the Safety 1st nail trimmer, which we still use today, that you can buy here at Amazon.com.   I would collect the trimmings in the tissue and throw them in the trash when I was finished.
  • If he didn’t fall asleep (2 months to present), I would do what I did in item #2 above but with a video (e.g., Baby Einstein) I knew he could not take his eyes off of.  I would trim the nails on his right hand, take a break then move to his right foot.  I would repeat on his left side.

To this day, I cut both of the kid’s nails in front of the TV.  It is a much less nerve wracking experience for all of us to do it while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than while they are asleep.  :-)

Happy Nail Trimming!

***

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion. Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

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A Record I Do Not Wish to Break! Quintuplets.
Aug 2 2007

In nearby Cedar Park, Texas a couple just had quintuplets (yes 5 babies).   I wish them luck and will contact them to see if they would like a  a free subscription to Baby Manager.  I wonder if she will try to breastfeed or pump…

Cedar Park couple gives birth to record-breaking quintuplets

Babies and mom are healthy


AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Cedar Park woman gave birth to quintuplets Tuesday morning, breaking a national record in the process.

The three girls and two boys weighed a combined 21 pounds, 7.2 ounces, besting the previous heaviest quintuplets by 6 ounces, according to doctors at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix.

MORE ON THIS STORY

Dave Cruz

Rachelle Wilkinson of Cedar Park says hello to one of her newborns moments after delivery Tuesday morning at a Phoenix hospital.

Rachelle Wilkinson and her babies were doing well after the Caesarean section birth there, family members said, and people across the country were already calling Tuesday to congratulate and offer donations.  

It’s Central Texas’ second set of quintuplets; the first was born in 2002 to a Kyle family. “It was kind of overwhelming,” said the babies’ father, Jayson Wilkinson.

“They started bringing all of these babies, and they were all crying and wiggling. It was one of those sort of surreal things to think all of these kids are mine.”

The couple already had two young children but had been trying to have another baby since early 2005. After four months, Rachelle Wilkinson, 31, was told by doctors that she was not ovulating and would need to try fertility drugs. Every night, Wilkinson injected a shot of Gonal-F, a hormone that stimulates egg production, into her leg.

They knew there was a chance for multiple births. Twenty percent for twins, 5 percent for triplets, they were told. The prospect of quintuplets never came up.

In December, the couple learned Rachelle was pregnant. Three weeks later, they went in for her first ultrasound. When the doctor started moving the device over Wilkinson’s belly, one beating heart appeared on the monitor. He moved it again, and another appeared.

“After a few seconds of looking at it, he just kind of held out five fingers and said, ‘There’s five,’ ” Jayson Wilkinson said.

Shock followed.

“I said, ‘How can this happen?’ ” Rachelle Wilkinson said. “There really isn’t even a word to describe that feeling when they tell you have five babies in there.”

The couple quickly contacted Dr. John Elliott, an expert in multiple births in Phoenix. Elliott has helped deliver 88 sets of quadruplets and seven sets of quintuplets in 20 years.

In April, Rachelle Wilkinson moved in with family near Phoenix so that she could be close to Elliott and his staff.

Her belly soon ballooned so big that her 4-year-old daughter, Kaiya, couldn’t get her arms around it. Instead, Kaiya would kiss it five times.

Though the average time for quintuplets to be in the womb is 28 weeks, Elliott said, Wilkinson wanted to carry the babies for 34 weeks to ensure they were healthy. That lengthy term itself was just a few days shy of another record.

Family and doctors say all of the infants are healthy — two are on respirators, and the largest has been moved to the regular hospital nursery. The smallest baby weighs 3 pounds, 6 ounces, and the largest weighs 5 pounds, 1.2 ounces.

The Wilkinsons said they expect to stay in Phoenix for two weeks before coming back to Cedar Park.

Jayson Wilkinson plans to take a little time off from his job with National Instruments, an Austin software company, to help care for the babies. Rachelle Wilkinson used to teach statistics at Austin Community College but plans to stay at home for now.

A fellow mother of multiples, Susan Friar of San Antonio, has some advice for the Wilkinsons: create a schedule, and remember that each child is an individual.

“Life with multiples is so much fun because of the bond that they have together — and the fact that it’s rare. You’re like a traveling circus everywhere you go,” said Friar, a mother of triplets and a board member of the San Antonio Area Mothers of Multiples group.

In 2004, 86 sets of either quintuplets or higher were born in the U.S., according to the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club, a support group for families of multiples.

Rachelle Wilkinson said she and her husband always wanted a family that was big enough to fit comfortably in a minivan.

“I guess we’ve outgrown that,” she said.

Learn more

To contact the family or make a donation, visit www.wilkinsonquints.org.

mmixon@statesman.com; 246-0043

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby manager, multiples | Comments Off

Musings of a Texas Gal in NYC
Jul 26 2007

I figured if Fred Wilson can blog about his musings on being a VC in New York, I can blog about my musings on being an Austin, Texas based entrepreneur visiting New York. I’m still here and will blog more about my trip when I return next week, but I have to say it’s been fantastic!

I made tons of great connections at the Working Mother Multi-Cultural Women Conference I attended and I believe many of them will prove mutually rewarding.

I have also been able to help my cousin with her new, very cute baby by taking ‘big brother’ to the park, distracting him from time to time, feeding him dinner sometimes, doing a few dishes, and holding the baby sometimes so she could rest.  It is great hanging out with her and my aunt.  We have also been catching up on all the family news and drinking a lot of red wine.  My aunt is a brave woman because she watched all four of us kids for several summers when we were growing up.

I know those first weeks that a baby is home can feel isolating and I remember it was always nice to have someone I felt comfortable with around to talk to. Hopefully my cousin feels the same and I was sufficiently helpful.  Since my aunt is here also it’s been easier to help out plus she’s a great cook. :-)

All in all a good trip! More details to follow…

Aruni

Author: | Filed under: baby, blogging, entrepreneur, networking, new york city | 2 Comments »

Baby Tip by Babble Soft – Sleeping – July 16, 2007
Jul 16 2007

babytipteetherLearn how to sleep standing up.  Just kidding!  I found that when I was tired and our son didn’t want to be put down right after feeding, that laying him on my chest would relax us both.  I was always nervous wherever he slept when he was a newborn but when he was on my chest and I knew he wasn’t going to fall off I could rest a bit easier.  I’m not sure I ever really fell asleep but I knew that if he needed me I was right there. :-)

Aruni

Picture my husband took of me and our son when he was just a few weeks old:
sonsleeping

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Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers.  Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby.  If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to babblesoft blogger for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted.  If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip.  We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’  We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby tips | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments »

Silicon Valley’s Baby Boom
Jul 13 2007

I just found out from reading Burningbird’s post called The Strk Commeth (or is that Stork?) that there is a site/blog called Valleywag (a gossip like blog that seems to be about the Valley’s tech entrepreneurs and investors).  Valleywag just did a post on Silicon Valley’s Baby Boom.  Seems like there are several new babies that have arrived or are arriving in the Bay Area including parents-to-be from Flickr and big time bloggers Robert and Maryam Scoble.  They just bought a real iPhone…not a hand knit one.

I’m in Austin, Texas which people sometimes refer to as Silicon Hills.  I wonder if there would be any interest here in having an Austinwag.  Hmmm.  I’m not sure if we’ve reached the same drama level as Silicon Valley though. :-)

Aruni

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Use a Liner When Changing Diapers – Baby Advice by Babble Soft
Jul 2 2007

babytipteetherFor the newbie parents out there, here’s a tip on diaper changing: use a liner on top of your changing pad/cover for those inevitable messy situations.  It will help you avoid having to wash your changing pad cover 5 times per day.  We had 2 changing pad covers (terry cloth) with our son and 3 with our daughter and let me tell you if you don’t have a liner you will be doing laundry twice a day!  We used PeeWees Disposable Multi-Use Pads and found them to be thin enough to put on top of a changing pad, easy enough to take with us when we were traveling, and very cost effective.  They were so useful that you might even want to check out the 3-pak because you’ll probably need them for at least the first 6 months of baby’s life.  8O

Aruni

 ***

As a reminder, these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers.  Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby.  If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to babblesoft blogger for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted.  If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip.  We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’  We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby tips, diaper change | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »