Monday, December 14, 2015

If we could just take a sock break for a few days

If my family could just take a few days off from socks, maybe 3-4 sock free days, that'd be great.

We could really get ahead of the curve on our clean sock reserves, and it would also save a ton of time in the morning.

Instead of digging through last night's freshly deposited pile of clean laundry for a matching pair of socks, we could just pull a already paired set from a drawer and throw them on.

We could call it our sock sequester.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Things to spend top money on if you're having a baby

It is daunting as a new parent and you need to buy so many things you have no idea about. Which features do you want out of a stroller, or car seat, and conversely, which things are you willing to sacrifice to save money? After surviving the first year and a half with my first child, there are a few things that I think are worth the money.

  1.    A Premium Car Seat

My wife and I were lucky enough to have friends lend us a really nice infant car seat set (Chicco), but we did end up buying our convertible car seats (one for each of our cars).  My wife's car is our primary weekend and traveling vehicle, so we put a very nice Chicco Nextfit car seat in her car, and a less nice (i.e., cheap) car seat in my car.

It was clear from the installation that the cheaper car seat was just not on par with the Chicco was far, far superior.  

The cheaper car seat was, I believe, a "Safety First" brand we got from Costco that was on sale.  Hey, we love Costco and they generally carry very nice items, but this was a $70 car seat and it felt like it.

2.    A Great Camera

Yes, you will use your iPhone, or Galaxy, or whatever smartphone to grab most of the pictures you get of your kids.  It's hard to beat the convenience of grabbing a quick picture of your toddler and within seconds have it uploaded to Facebook - or to shoot a text with video to close friends or family. 

And you wouldn't be all that wrong to argue that smartphone cameras are getting pretty good these days, so go ahead and invest in a top quality smartphone.  Probably 90% of the pictures I take of my family are on my smartphone.  
But let me explain why you want a top-notch stand-alone camera as well 

First, and most obviously, smartphones aren't going to be able to match a high quality camera's sensors any time soon.  From the features, to the sensor, to accessories, a quality camera is going to destroy a smartphone, ceteris paribus. 

Secondly, think of the times when you will be viewing the photos in other formats.  When you take a picture on a smartphone, then text it or post it on Facebook, chances are the folks viewing it are looking at it on their own smartphones, so the quality will surely be fine.
But when you go to print out pictures, or throw them up on a big screen for everyone to see, some of the flaws of the smartphone cameras really start to stand out.  

This past summer, my wife and I took our Canon G1X Mark II to our niece's 2nd birthday party.  Everyone was taking pictures with iPhones and other smartphones.  Lots of great pictures.  But when looking back at the day and sharing pictures between friends and family, the pictures we took were clearly of a different magnitude of quality.  

Televisions, smartphones and other devices are starting to use higher and higher definition screens, so over time, those old pictures you took with your iPhone 6 are going to show their age.  Try to future-proof yourself with a great camera.

With a quality camera, simple trips to the park and birthdays turn into near-professional grade photo shoots.  Just carry along your camera and take 5-10 minutes to grab some good photos.  If you're kids are having a birthday, just pass the camera around and let folks take a few shots with it. A good camera is not cheap, but neither are professional photographers.

I recommend the Canon G1X Mark II, as it is very easy to use.  The Canon G1X is not as complex as a DSLR, nor is it as bulky.  You will be fine shooting in automatic mode for everyday use with this camera and the shots you take will be fantastic.  That's basically all I do, just point and shoot.  It has wifi, so you can add an app to your smartphone and transfer the files quickly.