| Arts | Stuff We Love | New Baby | New Parents

Goods and gear for kids and parents (2005)

It's spring (although in Puget Sound that's usually defined as "more rain"), and time to -- dare we say it -- allow ourselves to dream about warmer days ahead. This month we present a list that offers something for everyone, regardless of what the weather brings.

For two decades, the Baby Jogger has been a staple for moms and dads who want to keep running -- or get back into shape -- after baby arrives. New on the scene is the Q-Series Stroller, equipped with a patented Quick Folding System that enables users to fold the stroller in half using just one hand. Available in single, double and triple versions; suggested retail price for the single seat with 16-inch pneumatic tires is $349. (You can purchase a rain and wind canopy for an extra charge.) Visit www.babyjogger.com for a list of local retailers.

Stuck inside on a wet weekend? Pick up Balloon Lagoon, a four-in-one carnival game from Seattle-based Cranium. Recommended for ages 5 and up, kids solve puzzles using spelling, counting and matching skills. Reading is not required, so kids can enjoy the game on their own. Available wherever Cranium games are sold (nearly everywhere, but visit www.cranium.com for locations) at a suggested retail price of $19.95.

Message T-shirts
are the fashion rage for all ages, but we particularly like the ones at www.littleshowoffs.com -- with sayings ranging from "warning . . . i'm 2," and "it's all about the blankey" for toddlers to "i know everything" for the puberty-challenged pre-teen in your life. Another Web site for fabulously hip message T's and baby clothes is www.thecradlerocks.com, the online version of Seattle kids' clothing store Pop Tots (located at 6505 Roosevelt Way N.E.). Check out the "AB/CD" or "Anarchy in the Pre-K" toddler shirts and the zebra faux fur baby bib.

Two books that have come our way recently should be on the "must read" list for couples determined to maintain a healthy relationship post-childbirth (and yes, that includes parents of teens as well as newborns!). The first is Seattle author Heidi Raykeil's Confessions of a Naughty Mommy: How I Found My Lost Libido (Seal Press, $14.95) -- a humorous, honest, sexy account of how a couple rediscovers the passion that was lost post-baby, and advice for others seeking to balance their dual roles as parents and lovers. The second is VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework and Commitment (Simon & Schuster, $23). Written by journalist Neil Chethik, VoiceMale offers men's perspectives (as part of his research Chethik conducted a scientific survey of nearly 300 American husbands) on common relationship hot topics. The book offers some surprising revelations about what men REALLY want from women, challenging many gender stereotypes along the way.

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