The big chow down is tomorrow! Oof, I’m getting full just thinking about all that pie.
Since we know you’ll be busy preparing for the big Thanksgiving feast all day, we’ve put together a few fun activities that your little ones (or friends/family members) can enjoy, and that will help them, well, “stay out of your hair/mashed potatoes/pumpkin pie.”
Just click on the images to download the full-size color pages to print.
We just returned from an awesome European vacation that involved our 16-month-old surviving 10 plane rides within 2 weeks and us surviving her struggling to survive those 10 plane rides. Some parent friends thought we were insane to attempt such a feat, but our Little D took it in stride.
1) Los Angeles to Chicago
2) Chicago to Stockholm
3) Stockholm to Paris
4) Paris to Nantes, France
5) Nantes to Amsterdam
6) Amsterdam to Stockholm
7) Stockholm to Vaasa, Finland
8) Vaasa to Stockholm
9) Stockholm to Chicago
10) Chicago to Los Angeles
Yeah…We’d be crazy to even pull that off and enjoy it sans child. It wasn’t easy but I’d do it all over again, because during those 24/7 days with my husband and daughter — the most time we’ve spent together since she first came into this world — I fell even more in love with her and him again. (Maybe not the first 3 days when we wanted to kill each other due to jetlag, but by Nantes, France, most definitely.)
Our secret to keeping our toddler content?
We certainly have to thank tablet-loaded videos of her favorite explorer (need I say who? D-d-d-d-d…), a lot of nursing for comfort, our loved ones in each city who made the trip so memorable and the power of music.
Interestingly enough, most of the music that got us through the trip had a common theme – royalty – which also ties together many places we visited: the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Château des ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) in Nantes and the Finnish city Vaasa, which was named after the Royal House of Vasa.
The music that made our trip:
* “Royals” by Lorde: Little D likes to sing “royal” and the “oh-oh-ohhhhs” * Anything Prince: to dance to! * “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen: She is currently obsessed with the Muppets’ video of the song, watching it over and over and over again.
And our friend Stéphane playing guitar each night in France didn’t hurt either. We thank you for being the soundtrack to our incredible getaway. It was truly magnificent.
What is your child’s magic song?
Today we’re giving you the royal treatment with a FREE download of our lullaby rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
We talk a lot about rocking out (gently) here at Rockabye Baby, but you know what great music gets people to do? DANCE. So we pulled videos of some our favorite guys doing just that…dancing like there’s no tomorrow.
“Weapon of Choice,” Fat Boy Slim, featuring Christopher Walken
Before people saw this video, few people knew that actor Christopher Walken had trained as a dancer. And, boy, does he have moves. Check it.
“Dancing in the Street,” David Bowie and Mick Jagger
You either hate or love this song and video with two of rock’s icons. It’s pretty silly, but who else could pull off such ensembles or moves? By the way, did you know Van Halen also covered this song?
Daddy-in-Training dancing to “Indigo Blues” by Llorca featuring Nicole Graham
And we were going to mention the famous Footloose dance scene, but that’s too predictable. Plus, we think this ’80s dance scene from Breakin’ beats it by a longshot.
Now, for today’s giveaway, we want to know:
What song do you have to dance to?
Tell us what song (or songs) make you get up and dance to enter to win this trio of lullaby renditions of artists whose dance moves made them music legends. Post your answers by Sunday, Sept. 29, 8PM PT, to be entered!
Our name is something that comes to define us. And yet, for something so personal, we have no real say in what it is. Our parents name us quite often before we are even born, using only the knowledge that we are either a boy or a girl. They use family names to carry on tradition, names they’ve loved since they were little themselves or pop cultural references that were important to them at that time. Next to making sure mom and baby are healthy, coming up with a name is probably the most important decision you make when having kids.
In the UK, royal names like Harry or Victoria are forever popular. In China, fathers traditionally have the final say on what the baby’s name will be and a decision isn’t made until the child is born, because the birth date carries a lot of significance. German parents have to choose from a list of “approved names” and the registrar’s office can decide if a name violates a child’s rights. They have to follow naming guidelines, which include rules like no unconventional spelling and nothing deemed offensive or ridiculous.
And as we all know, all bets are off when it comes to naming a baby born in the United States. While lots of parents still stick with traditional names, it’s grown more and more popular over the years to name your child something interesting or unique. Celebrities seem to be leading the charge when it comes to different names. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian recently had a baby girl and named her North. Gwenyth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s daughter is named Apple. You would be hard-pressed to find those names on license plates at any amusement parks.
My parents named me after an Irish princess, Sarah; she and I share the same middle and last name as well. I never really liked my name because I thought it was too common. (It was in the top 10 most popular girl names the year I was born.) I’ve had lots of friends with the same name over the years. When I was in college I attempted to start going by my middle name, but that proved to be too hard. Historically, middle names were always lineage-related, typically using the maiden names of mothers or grandmothers. As the custom grew more popular, different types of names were given, often as a way to honor a relative or important family friend. Now middle names can be used as a way to differentiate people with the same or similar first name. I always liked middle names, because it’s a fun way to make your name even more unique and special.
Deciding on what to name your child is an important and personal process. I don’t have any kids (yet), but when I was a teenager I was convinced that if I did have a little girl, I would name her Roxanne. Yes, after the Police song. I’ve changed my mind on that name since then (still love the song, though), and have some ideas on future names for future “little mes.”
Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself before you commit to a name for your baby: Does it fit well with your last name? Can any weird nicknames be derived from it? What will the baby’s initials be? All things to consider. Whatever name you decide on, you’ll surely know as soon as you hear it that it’s the perfect fit.
Trying to decide what to name your future Rockabye Baby? Check out these releases for some inspiration!
It’s time for another edition of Small Talk, our column that features different personalities we dig, giving us the lowdown on their lives and loves with their little ones.
For most parents of newborns, “nightlife” is a blur of wakings, feedings and changings — and, maybe on a good night, you eat a bowl of ice cream and pass out on the couch. For Jason Scoppa those precious (a word you only use when they are over, right?) moments are punctuated by staging private shows for Prince or The Black Keys at L.A.’s famed nightclub, The Sayers Club.
Jason, the co-creator and curator of Sayers, works six nights a week and has assisted in bringing artists such as Bruno Mars, Capital Cities, L.P., and Rumer Willis (currently in residence on Tuesday nights) into the limelight. In the last four years, he’s opened three venues, married publicist Stephanie Fessler and had two kids. For reasons of both passion and practicality, Sayers feels like an extension of the couple’s living room — an intimate, thoughtfully designed space where one can see top-notch musical talent and eat gourmet pizza (a family favorite) without any fuss — provided you’re on the list, of course.
Originally from Detroit, Jason started creating live music nights first at Hollywood’s Green Door, then at Bardot, which became the exclusive hot spot for in-the-know crowds until Jason partnered with SBE to open The Sayers Club two years ago. Sayers continues to gain fame, especially for Jason’s handpicked “Sessions” on Thursday nights where he pairs artists with cover songs. Another Sayers Club opens in Vegas as part of SBE’s SLS hotel and casino in fall 2014.
My brood: 3-year-old Olivia Faye and 4-month-old Ella James
What surprised me most about being a dad: My mom used to say, “Just wait until you have your own kids and you’ll understand what love really is.” And she was absolutely right. It’s fascinating how much you can love another human being. You never know until you feel it. And then it’s like, oh, this is why I’m here. It defines you.
How parenting changed my work: I’m better at it now. I’m more effective. I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m proud of my work and the fact that it helps take care of my family.
Schedule wise, things have changed absolutely. I used to be at the club from 10 am to 2 am, now I work from home any chance I get (even though I get less done). If there’s time to go home, like between sound check and when the club opens, I go home to be with my family. There’s never a moment when I’m not working except the time I’m engaged with my kids. Also, we just recently opened a bar and restaurant in the front section of Sayers, which is great for parents because it allows us to add an earlier show. Now you can have dinner, see a show, and be home by 11. As a parent, I love that.
Good song for kids: I don’t know if it’s good for kids but Olivia loves The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather” right now. She sings it all the time and inspired me to put it on the set list for this week’s Sessions.
My second ear: I always test songs on Olivia — when I’m thinking about a song to put on a cover night and I’m trying to decide between two different ones, I play them for Olivia. She’s either going to dance or she’s not. And if she dances, I know it’s got more pop sensibilities. That girl always has a song in her head — and she loves everything, all kinds of music from indie rock to the classics like “Wheels on the Bus.”
Things I can’t live without as a parent:
- Hearing my kids breathe at night — it’s a sound that I love. I love listening to those kids sleep — it’s so soothing and calming. At night when they are sleeping I just sit and listen. And then, I go to bed feeling peaceful.
- Stephanie’s boobs — I can’t live without them and neither can the little ones.
- Rocking chairs. I love sitting with both girls in either of my rocking chairs in the house. I am a rocker — always have been. When I stand I rock and I think my kids are cursed — oh, let’s say blessed — with the same issue. The last thing Olivia and I do before she goes to bed is reading her stories and having her zonk out and I owe it all to this rocking chair.
Things my kids can’t live without:
- For Ella, it’s Stephanie’s boobs. That’s the main thing.
- For Olivia, an iPad. You can go both ways with that thing, but I see her learning so much from that damn iPad. She can open all the apps and I’ll get emails for random iTunes stuff she bought. But she learned to draw the alphabet from an app. And there’s an app for Candyland, a game I had as a kid that I’m obsessed with and play with her all the time.
- Legos. We both love Legos and try to recreate buildings we see. We built a couple of towers last week.
- Hummus.I don’t think Olivia could live without hummus. She loves hummus. When I was a kid, I don’t think hummus had come to the States, at least not Detroit.
Favorite thing to do with my kids: We had a great time camping or, recently, renting a house in Palm Springs and just getting away and spending time together. Or going to my mom’s lake house in Michigan and seeing the family. Any time we can be with family and I can see my girls surrounded by our extended family is great because we live so far away.
But honestly, there’s so much wonder to what they do every day that you don’t need to go anywhere. Selfishly, the best time for me is the time I get to spend with my kids at the end of the day, everyday.
On having two kids versus one: You just have to make sure this little one stays alive. But absolutely, it’s harder. No doubt about it. But it’s not so much harder, there’s just more to do in every facet of it.
Best parenting advice I’ve heard: I’m a worrywart by nature; I’m the guy who wants to sand down all the corners of tables. And I’m constantly saying, “She’s gonna fall — she’s gonna fall, she’s gonna fall. Oh, why do we even have that toy?”
My mom heard me freaking out and told me that my worrying about my kids was never going to go away, so I’d better just relax some so I wasn’t always jumping around trying to save them. Kids have to fall. But the worrying doesn’t go away — it doesn’t matter if Olivia is five, ten, twenty, or thirty years old, I’m gonna worry about her. So you gotta just get used to it.
If I wrote a book on parenting, the title would be… Learn How to Surf and I don’t mean the sport; you gotta be able to surf with the energy. You could read every book on parenting but really it’s all about being engaged — just listen and pay attention. It’s not that scary if you are really there and listening to what your kids need. You’ll be just fine.
Or I might also just call it Stephanie because she’s really good at this.
You’ve got to admit, one of the coolest ways to show someone you care is to make that person a mixtape.
It’s not something you can just throw together in a second; it’s something that takes time (much more in the cassette-only days) and thought. It’s been a while since someone made me one — though Rockabye has some pretty awesome playlists that I’d like to think have me in mind — but I haven’t given a mixtape to anyone in years, either. That’s going to change…
I dug into my collection recently to pick a couple of my most treasured mixtape gifts that brought back some great memories: all-nighters, incredible road trips, amazing friendships and, no doubt, amazing music. I was introduced to most of my favorite bands this way, not through the radio, but through friends.
Case in point: The Bunnies Candy Chews mix my friend Derek gave me when we were in college. It was definitely the most uniquely decorated mixtape I ever received. But, man, check out these songs and artists:
Fast-forward a bit to the rise of the CDs, and among my most treasured mixes are from my friend Kris, who made me not one, but a two-volume “mixtape” that I played the hell out of.
Are there some songs you dig on these mixes? I must thank Derek and Kris and so many other friends and family who shared the music they loved with me. Best. Gifts. Ever. (P.S. That’s my friend Anne’s painting in the background. She didn’t do mixtapes but she gave me great art that was mixed media.)
For today’s giveaway, tell us below:
Share a memory of a mixtape that you treasure and why.
Feel free to even post the song/band list! Share your mixtape stories with us by Friday, Aug. 30 at 6 pm ET to enter our random giveaway for our special “Mixtape Trio” package: Lullaby Renditions of Pixies, Prince, and a CD of your choice. One winner will be selected.
Enter as many different mixtape memories as you like, whether it’s one you’ve received or made. The more you enter the greater your chances are of winning!
If you win, you just have to promise that you’ll use them to make a mixtape. Got it?
When I was younger, I was a bit of a loose cannon. I wasn’t a total hellion, but I got myself into some . . . situations every now and then.
For example: One summer evening, a month or so before my 3rd birthday, I locked myself in our upstairs bathroom.
My mom recalls that she was either outside mowing the lawn or in the kitchen and went upstairs looking for me, but didn’t find me in my room. She went to her bedroom, then the spare room, but I was nowhere in sight. She walked over to the bathroom to check there. The door wouldn’t budge and she could hear the water running.
Knock, knock. “Babes?” (That’s my nickname)
Knock, knock. “Babes??”
“Can you come over and open the door?”
I had decided to have an exclusive pool party in our tub that NO ONE else was invited to (except my dolls). And to ensure no one else would crash my bash, I locked the door.
My mom asked me again to open the door and I told her I didn’t know how (which was probably a crock). She tried to explain what I needed to do to unlock it, and I tried a few times (or at least it sounded like I was trying) but failed. Not quite being 3, I guess I didn’t totally grasp that anything was wrong and ignored her instructions. Plus, I had that sweet Barbie pool party going on in the tub that I needed to get back to.
After pleading with me for about 15 minutes, my mom realized I was never going to unlock it myself and her heart did a huge “drop.” With her first born locked in the bathroom, the tub possibly filling to the brim, and no way of getting me out, she panicked. I’ll mention that she was pregnant with my little sister at the time, too, so her instinct to just ask me to move aside so she could bust the door down was out of the question.
She took a moment to weigh her options. She could take the hinges off . . . but she’d rather have my dad do that and since he was out in the field, who knew when he’d be home. Again, she wasn’t going to take down the door with her body . . . so there was only one other thing she could think to do.
Knocking on the bathroom door to get my attention again, she said, “Stacie, do you think you can open the window?” I complied (but first I made her listen to me sing a few inaudible lines of my favorite song, “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid).
As soon as she heard the window start to open, she bolted out to our garage and got a ladder. She propped it up on the side of the house next to the bathroom window, and up she went to the second floor; my pregnant mother climbing to my rescue. Unfortunately, once she reached the top, she noticed that I had only opened the window about 2 inches. She likely rolled her eyes and pulled it up the rest of the way. Then she crawled inside, shut off the water in the tub that I was sitting in (fully clothed) and unlocked the bathroom door.
The woman knows how to crash a party.
I’ve asked her numerous times if she thought climbing up a ladder, while pregnant, was really the best option, and her reply has consistently been, “Well, someone had to do it and your father was nowhere in sight!!!” So that’s that.
Do you have a story of your little ones (or your “little” self) getting into a “situation?” Tell us in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!
Our beloved “Purple One” celebrates his 55th birthday today! To honor the day and continue our Before They Were Rock Stars series, let’s learn a little more about Prince before he was a rock star.
Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 7, 1958, to Louisiana transplants, jazz singer Mattie Shaw and pianist John Nelson. Prince’s father played in a local jazz band under the moniker “Prince Rogers,” which is where his parents got the idea for his name.
Both Prince and his younger sister, Tika, showed great interest in music early on and were encouraged by their father to refine their skills. Prince began playing piano at only seven and penned his very first song, “Funk Machine,” on his father’s piano. In his early teens, he taught himself how to play guitar and drums, too.
After his parents separated, Prince bounced back and forth between living with his father and his mother and stepfather, eventually moving in with a neighbor family, the Andersons. He befriended their son, Andre, and together they started the band Grand Central. The band later changed their name to Champagne and was fairly successful in the Minneapolis music scene, but push came to shove and the group disbanded.
In 1975, after a brief stint with a local band, 94 East, Prince, at only 18, began recording his own demos with producer Chris Moon in Moon’s Minneapolis studio. With these demos and the help of ad businessman Owen Husney, Prince caught the attention of A&M Records, Columbia Records and Warner Bros. Prince signed a recording deal with Warner Bros. soon after and, well, the rest is history.
But wait! There are a few snippets of Prince’s life before the big time that you still not might know!
4 Things You Might Not Know About Prince
1. Prince’s childhood nickname wasn’t “The Kid,” it was “Skipper.”
2. Prince played basketball in high school and, according to the former assistant principle, was “a darn good player.”
3. During school lunch hours, the music teachers would lock the music rooms so he could practice without interruption.
4. As a self-taught musician and producer, Prince played all 27 instruments on his first album, For You.
Baby’s cries making you wish a hero would save you? Fear not, parents, for these peaceful renditions of Nickelback’s best-loved songs will remind you what quiet sounds like. This is your child’s very own lullaby.