Calling all Hayao Miyazaki fans! The acclaimed Japanese filmmaker’s animated film My Neighbor Totoro is turning 25 this year. The whimsical movie tells a tale of friendship and sisterhood that the whole family will enjoy. And the Disney version features the voices of real-life sisters, Elle and Dakota Fanning. To celebrate its anniversary, Disney and Studio Ghibli are releasing it—along with another Miyazaki classic, Howl’s Moving Castle—on Blu-ray for the first time ever on May 21.
We are excited to announce that Disney and Studio Ghibli are also letting us give away a Miyazaki Blu-ray gift basket, containing these two films along with The Secret World of Arrietty, Whisper of the Heart and Castle in the Sky, a $200 value. To enter, just leave a comment at this post. You can comment once a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. You can also read the official rules, or find additional information about the films here.
And be sure to check out this fun clip of My Neighbor Totoro:
Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!
I went to Washington, D.C. last week as an advocate for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes reproductive health and equal access to family building options for those who are battling reproductive disorders. Infertility strips you of any feeling of power or control. Not knowing when or if you will be able to have children is completely debilitating, and 1 in 8 couples in the United States deal with some form of infertility. For me and the other advocates whose lives have been touched by infertility in some way, this trip was an opportunity to get a little power back.
To be able to walk the hallways of government buildings in D.C. and visit the men and women of our government was the most incredible experience. Having recently become an American citizen, it was thrilling to be able to exercise my rights under the First Amendment. And while there are still many injustices in the coverage of infertility for families throughout the United States, I was there to specifically support The Family Act of 2011 S. 965, a proposed tax credit for costs associated with infertility medical treatment, and to push for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover veterans whose injuries at war have resulted in their infertility. As it stands today, when veterans are injured in action and that injury causes infertility, their health insurance will not cover them in this regard. After putting their lives on the line to protect the freedom of us and our children, we then deny them the chance to have children themselves.
I find myself getting quite emotional writing this (and I am still shocked that I managed to hold it together while in Washington), but this is an important issue that needs to be recognized. I feel honored to have been amongst so many courageous and moral men and women fighting for fertility rights during my trip. In one sense, I felt enamored with the government system because of the fact that I, little old me, could make an appointment—or just show up at the different state offices—and present my case to anyone that would listen. But at the same time, I was also disheartened by the long battle ahead on behalf of the rights of Americans and our military heroes who want to have children. I am no stranger to budgeting problems, and the money to fund the effects of this act is going to have to come from somewhere.
While there is still much left to be done to bring light and awareness to this issue, the chance to instill my passion and educate people with the power to make a change was an amazing opportunity. I hope that when my daughter and her friends want to have children, for the 1 in 8 of them that may be affected by infertility concerns, they won’t have to think twice about whether their health insurance will cover them for their infertility treatment. After all, it is hard enough to struggle through infertility, but to layer on financial hardship or be unable to afford treatment is something that no family in our modern society should go through.
Somewhere out there last night a mom (or perhaps a dad) became Parents magazine’s one millionth Facebook fan. I wish I could meet you, #1,000,000, but instead I must be content imagining you: You care deeply, so deeply, about your child(ren). You strive to stay on top of the latest news for families, whether it’s on serious issues like gun control and kids’ health or lighter fare like birthday cupcakes and the latest royal baby buzz. You speak your mind. You support your friends. You fight for what’s right. You poke holes in what’s wrong. And you celebrate the joys of being a parent, even as you’re cleaning up the messes. Now that I think about it, that probably applies to all of you, whether you’re fan #1 or #150,000 or the mysterious millionth.
If only George Hecht, the children’s advocate who started Parents 86 years ago could see all the many ways our community of families connects and communicates today. He would be so awed by you. Those of us who bring you Parents—on Parents.com, in print, in our tablet edition and yes, on Facebook—are awed by you too.
There’s a little treat posted now, a sample of some of our more popular posts for our fans. But we at Parents are really the fortunate ones because we get to hear from you in a way Mr. Hecht never dreamed would be possible. Whether you’re ranting, raving, supporting one another, sending us the love (or, yes, sometimes skewering us!) we value your opinions, your humor, your stories, your shares.
Keep ‘em coming! And click here to get your thank-you treat.
Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!
I am amidst a tour of baby expos, speaking, signing books, pop up stores and my favorite: getting to meet so many amazing moms, moms-to-be, mompreneurs, and Dads from around the country. When I go out on the road like this, I am fortunate to be able to bring one of my three lovely little ones with me. (Okay, that’s my favorite part if I’m being totally honest, but meeting all of you is a very close second!) As a mother of three, having that one-on-one time is invaluable and makes my work trips something for the kids to look forward to.
This time I took my youngest, Vivienne. Now that Vivi is almost one year old, she no longer instantly falls asleep once the sound of the plane engines starts roaring, and life is a little more complicated now that milk alone won’t suffice. Oh yes, how I wish the jubblies could somehow also produce a meal of mac n’ cheese with chopped strawberries on the side as easily as breast milk—wouldn’t that be amazing!
I have become quite adept at traveling with a child in tow after doing it so often and have accumulated a few tips and tricks to make traveling with a child, particularly by plane, easier for both you and your little one. Here’s my list of low-cost, quick fixes for traveling with youngsters:
1. While I recommend traveling in comfy clothes (hello flats, leggings, and a boyfriend sweater), wear as many clinky, costume jewelry pieces around your neck and wrists as possible. I can’t tell you the amount of time that can be passed looking at Mommy’s big jewelry!
2. Never be ashamed to make a shusshing noise near their ears as you try and get them to sleep amidst the hustle and bustle. Shusshing will ultimately sooth, calm, and drown out the noise around you as they try to sleep.
3. Try to book your flights for just after your child’s bedtime or during their regularly scheduled naps for the best chance of them being tired and ready for some zzzz’s once on board.
4. Take as many liquids and baby foods with you as you like. There’s no need to spend extra once you have gone through security to stock up on these must-haves. Just make sure to tell a TSA agent, and they will run the items through their own security check.
5. When the attendant announces early boarding for passengers with children, don’t do it (forgive me airlines of America). You want to minimize the amount of time you are sitting on the plane, and early boarding is a sure fire way to reach the end of your ability to entertain sooner than you’d like. Board at the last possible moment!
6. Always bring a change of clothes for you and your baby, plus something to cover those nasty changing tables they have in public places. I can only imagine what’s on them. Better still, use one of your breast feeding covers to cover your wee one on your lap while you change her diaper in a secluded corner of the airport.
7. Don’t be ashamed to think about the well deserved glass of vino with your name on it once you finally get there.
8. Use microwave steam sterilizing bags for bottles, pacifiers, and so on when traveling. Most places have microwaves, so use one to your advantage since you may encounter a lot of germs during your trip. (That’s right, I’m talking about when the baby’s bottle slips out of your bag and starts rolling around the airplane floor).
9. If your babe is less than 18 months, re-wrap some of their own toys and bring them on the trip for your kid to open. Believe me, they’ll love the element of surprise
So go forth, and travel with confidence. You will arrive…. eventually!
If you’re as sick of the Mommy Wars as I am, I’ve got something sure to brighten your day: Care Cards. That’s right, we’re going to kill the nastiness of judgmental mommies with kindness–and help kids in need while we’re at it–all without spending a dime.
Here’s the deal: the awesome people over at Johnson’s Baby Cares have launched a collection of empowering, super thoughtful e-cards to cheer on moms who need a little extra boost. (And if you know a mom who doesn’t need a boost . . . well, I’d be surprised!) When you create one, share one, or like one that someone else posted, they’ll donate a dollar to Save the Children–up to $150,000!
If you’re wondering what they’ll do with all that money–the answer is pretty astonishing. They’re giving new parents the tools to raise curious, smart, kids who will not only survive, but thrive in school and in life in general. Did you know that disadvantaged kids who don’t participate in high-quality early education programs are 25 percent more likely to drop out of school, 40 percent more likely to become a teen parent, and 70 percent more likely to eventually be arrested for a violent crime? True facts. The great thing is that we can turn those numbers around by empowering the moms who need it most. “A lot of moms think they’re not smart enough to do well by their children,” Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, told me. “It’s our job to show parents that they are their kids’ best teachers and that there are very easy things they can do to give their kids a better chance at life.”
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to hang out with some of the moms and kiddos that Save the Children helps—and my mind was officially blown. (Thanks, Johnson’s Baby Cares for making that possible!) Let me introduce you to a couple of the most awesome duos I met:
Desi and her son, Ruben
“When I was pregnant with Ruben, I didn’t know how I’d support him–how I’d get diapers for him or anything. I felt totally alone, especially since my mom’s in the hospital. She doesn’t know who anybody is, so she really couldn’t help me,” Desi said. “But you have to know you’re not alone–there’s always someone out there to help if you just ask. When I reached out to Save the Children, my life changed. They’re really helping me to be a good mom–and it’s the best thing I can think of.”
Chelsea and her daughter, Peregrine
“We’re military, so there’s not a whole lot of family here to help me figure out the right things to do,” said Chelsea. “But the woman we meet with through Save the Children has children and grandchildren of her own and can really tell me how to handle things. It’s already making such a difference.”
Jenna and her son, Jace
“I’m still in school, and being a new mom and trying to handle everything else was just really frustrating. Sometimes I’d get so mad at the world and not know what to do,” said Jenna. “Save the Children has shown me how to be a good mom, and they’ve even helped me get to know Jace better. He’s the funniest little guy. I can’t not be happy when he’s around!”
I am so totally rooting for Dezi, Chelsea, and Jenna. So for them–and moms who are trying their best everywhere–I’ll be sending out more than a few Care Cards starting today. I hope you’ll join me and Johnson’s Baby Cares by pitching in with a little mommy love of your own. I know a lot of mamas out there could use it!
And be entered to win $250! For the last 12 weeks we’ve been posting polls to find the best baby swing, best car seat, and more. I know you all have strong opinions, so please vote, and tell us in our comments why you love what you love! Here is where you can find all of our polls. Feel free to hit your favorites in each and every one of the 24 polls you can scroll through! Plus enter to win the $250 prize through tomorrow, April 30, 2013.
The winners will be featured in our October issue. This is our 16th annual awards, and we pride ourselves in getting input from real parents. As a result it’s not a collection of the latest and flashiest, but rather a story on what is already out and working for moms and dads, and definitely worth considering when you’re making your baby registry. Take a look at last fall’s winners to get ideas if you’re registering now and need info ASAP!
And thanks, new moms and dads, for voting for this year’s awards!
Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!
Tis’ the season for celebrations! Be it bridal to baby showers, weddings or garden parties, they all have one thing in common: You will almost certainly need to wear a dress, unless you plan to be ultra chic in a pantsuit—which isn’t the easiest look to pull off while pregnant if you ask me.
So many of my pregnant clients have a love-hate relationship with these events. On the one hand, these social outings can be exciting and a great opportunity to show off your bump, but on the other, it’s a little more work to ditch the leggings, tunic and flats for something a little more sassy and a lot more dressed up.
The key to selecting the perfect dress for this summer’s occasions is to make sure it’s either fabulous enough, and versatile enough, to wear to multiple events. (That’s right: When you’re pregnant, you’re allowed to repeat.) Also, make sure it shows off your current favorite asset. I know it can be tough, but pick the one thing you still like: legs, arms, boobs, tush, neck, and, if all else fails, then love thy bump! Most importantly, remember the mantra “look good, feel good,” and invest in a dress that is going to make you feel great about yourself all season long.
These are my summer style tips intended to enhance your favorite feature:
Sexy shoulders and back Show them off in a summery cut. Go bare in a strapless gown, or opt for slightly more coverage in a halter or tank style.
Great-looking legs Select a dress that allows you to show a lot of leg, but still features elements that draw the attention up towards your face. A great option is a flowy mini with a jeweled neckline, the Stella Dress in Black.
Sublime neckline It’s okay if you are still learning to love your growing body, but you can always feature a stunning neckline. Choose a dress that is flowing and bohemian to cover any problem areas, but keep it feminine with a few lacy details or accents.
Flattering bustline Choose a dress that has some extra fabric around the bust so your blossoming bosom can fill it out, yet you won’t feel self-conscious about clingy fabric. One of my favorites is the Charlotte Dress in Emerald.
Superior posterior If you are loving your derriere, then highlight it in a tight style made in a thicker fabric that incorporates spandex. Be sure to pick a dress that generally covers up elsewhere to keep it tasteful.
Beautiful baby bump Show off your growing belly in an empire-waist dress or a look that belts just above the bump.
In light of the news out of Boston, Parents.com asked mothers living within the area on lockdown to share how they’re handling the situation with their children. Sheri Gurock is a mom and the co-founder of Magic Beans, a chain of baby and toy stores in the Boston area. Gurock explains what she’s told her kids about the lockdown, and how she’s answering their questions.
They bombed our marathon, and life hasn’t been the same since. Monday was shocking. The senseless loss of life, the horrific injuries, the heroism of the first responders, the surrealism of Boston in the world’s spotlight. I will never forget trying to field frantic calls from my kids on a rapidly crashing cellular network while I was out cheering on the runners at mile 24. I was never in any danger, but they didn’t know that.
All week long, the tough questions kept coming.
“Now that we know there are terrorists in Boston, how do we know what they’ll do next?”
Good question. No good answers. Lots of hugs instead.
But with all the chaos, anxiety, and uncertainty of the last week, I never, ever thought I’d wake up to such insanity this morning.
Right before bedtime last night, I read a news alert about a shooting at MIT, right across the street from where I’d eaten lunch with my daughters that afternoon. Goosebumps. I couldn’t imagine it was related to the bombing – the two suspects had their faces broadcast around the world just hours before. Surely if they were still anywhere near Boston, they were in hiding. Still, I made sure the doors were locked before I went to sleep.
My husband woke me at 7 in wide-eyed disbelief. The whole city was in lockdown, school was canceled, the MBTA was shut down, and all residents were being asked to stay inside. Both our phones started buzzing with worried text messages from friends and family.
We’ve sheltered our youngest, a four-year-old, from any details of what’s happened in Boston this week. When he heard school was canceled, he ran to the window, expecting to see snow. When there wasn’t any, he asked, “What kind of a day is it?” “It’s a Family Friday,” I told him.
Our older daughters, almost 11 and 9 years old, are much more tuned in. When they woke up, I gave them a general update, and understandably they were scared. Here’s a threat so tangible and immediate that we can’t even walk the dog. Yes, it is scary, I told them. But we are just very small needles in a giant haystack. The likelihood of any real danger is incredibly remote.
More hugs. We’ll focus instead on the heroism, the efficiency of this investigation. It’s Friday morning and one suspect is dead while the other is on the run. The girls are impressed.
We will catch this angry young man, and I pray that no one else will be hurt in the process. Boston will heal and move on. Much has been said about the Bostonians and their tough constitution this week, and it’s all true. Even today, we are not hiding. We are doing whatever we need to do to help the people who are risking their lives to protect us.
But still. We’re in lockdown. All stores are closed, including the supermarkets. Our business is shut down. The park across the street, which would normally be full of frolicking dogs on a beautiful day like this, is empty. The TVs are showing images of places that are intimately familiar. It feels like we went to sleep and ended up inside some crazy action movie. We are all ready to wake up from this nightmare and get back to our regularly scheduled life.