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Tuesday
Sep232014

So Then That Happened (And a Giveaway!)

This post was sponsored by Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Please tell me you've read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. We all have, right? Because it's one of those books that everyone reads at some point.

And now it's a movie.

I haven't seen it yet since it won't be in theaters until October 10th, but I am super duper looking forward to taking Alexis. She has read the book and LOVED it, especially the part where Alexander gets all sorts of icked out when there is kissing on TV. She is completely on board with thinking kissing is icky right now, but she's on board with it in the way that causes her to fall over giggling as she yells "EWWWWWWW!"

I'm about to turn on the 24/7 Kissing Channel just so I can entertain myself watching her.

Speaking of entertainment fun, I have a giveaway to celebrate the release of the movie. See all that stuff in that photo up there? The poster, mug, alligator stress toy, highlighter, and reusable tote bag? You can win it! Just leave a comment on this post telling me about an annoying thing that ruined your morning and made you late for something. For example, if I were entering, I would tell you about the day that I tried to leave for work only to have Mila puke all over my shirt. While I was changing, she decided she had strong opinions about her own outfit and destroyed it as well. And then the dog escaped and chased after Alexis' school bus. Good times!

I will close comments and select a winner on Sunday, September 28th at noon Eastern. Good luck!

Saturday
Jul262014

Levana Video Monitors Rule

There is a loooooooong list of things that people tell you that you need for a baby, but it's pretty much a lie. Fortunately, a wise person told me that before Alexis was born, so we never spent money on things like a wipes warmer, a "legit" changing table (a dresser with a pad on top works fine), a bottle sterilizer, and various other little things. Sure, some of them might come in handy once or twice, but they aren't a true need.

One thing I was wrong about needing with Alexis was a baby monitor. I was absolutely certain that was a "need" item, but our townhouse was a whopping 1200 square feet. If Tiny Alexis wanted someone's attention, she could get it by breathing loudly because we could hear everything no matter what part of the house we were in.

With Mila, I figured things would be different. Our current house is a lot bigger, so an inexpensive audio monitor went on the registry. I didn't think we would need anything fancier than that.

But.

But then we received a Levana Keera video monitor for review. I'll admit, I was planning to write a review basically saying video monitors are pointless and audio is enough. Don't spend your money! Blah, blah, blah!

I was wrong. I super duper love having a video monitor.

The reason is simple -- with a video monitor, I can find out when Mila is awake, but hasn't remembered that she is starving yet. That means I can get to her before she screams that it's been too long since she last ate. Preventing meltdowns is always a good thing.

Before I admit the other reason I love the video monitor, here are the pros and cons of the Levana Keera:

Pros:

  • It works in the dark.

  • I can pan/tilt the camera in case Mila moves.
  • The receiver works from a really good distance - I have tried it as far away as our neighbor's house and still had reception.
  • It works via a hidden wifi network, so it can't be detected by creepers and hacked.
  • It has a battery save mode that lets it last a long time. Basically, you have your choice -- you can have the video on all of the time (the battery lasted 5 hours that way) or you can have the video turn on only when the Keera detects noise. It's pretty sensitive, so I've found that if Mila starts kicking/shuffling around, that's enough to get the video to turn on. Thus, I see that she's starting to wake up before she figures out why.
  • It came with two cameras, so I don't have to move it around all of the time. It can be expanded to four cameras.
  • The little blue light in the photo above? That changes color based on how much noise the camera detects. If it's blue, all is quiet on the home front. If it's yellow, things are getting a little louder. Red means ZOMG THAT CHILD IS MAD. That means I can have the sound muted and still know how serious things are on the other end.
  • It came with rechargable batteries. Just plug it in from time-to-time, and you're good to go. There's also an alarm that lets you know the battery is low so it doesn't die without you knowing it.
  • It can record video and images. I haven't gone that far yet, but I'm looking forward to doing it.
  • I can talk through the monitor. It's not just that I can hear Mila, she can hear me as well, if I want her to.
  • It can play music.

The cons:

  • Sure, it can play music which is SUPER handy (way better than a wind up mobile that stops at the worst possible time), but it plays it in 15 second loops. It's maddening listening to the same 15 seconds of a lullaby over and over and over. I do it anyway because Mila genuinely seems to be soothed by it, though.
  • It didn't come with an instruction manual in the box. Rather, I had to go online to read it. I like the eco-friendliness of that, but it took me two weeks to actually go find it. In the interim, I mostly figured the monitor out, but there were definitely features I missed.

That's it. Those are the only things I don't like.

Now, for a confession.

My absolutely favorite thing about the monitor? I CAN USE IT TO HARASS THE CATS AND DOGS!

It's an ongoing hobby of mine, but I have already used the monitor to give Kiara a complex about getting up on the kitchen counters. I set up one of the cameras in the kitchen. I occasionally flip to that camera at night. If Kiara is on the counter, I yell at her through the monitor.

She can't figure out what's happening.

The Cat Who Thinks She Owns This House looks around wildly trying to figure out where I am, but only after she has jumped to the floor and scrambled for dear life.

It's so fun. For me.

Next I'm going to give the dogs a complex about getting into the trash cans. Weeeeee!

Thanks to Levana for sending the monitor for us to review. While the monitor was provided at no cost, the opinions expressed here are my own.