Liam’s First Theatrical Experience

Liam had his first movie theater experience this week!  We’d been holding out for the release of Toy Story 3 and for Nanny Karen to get here to join us for the big event.

Liam at Toy Story 3

Liam was so psyched about being in the big theater he could barely contain himself through the previews.   After each of the previews, he’d ask me if it was time for Buzz now.  All was going well once the movie started until the toys found themselves in peril.  I won’t spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, but some of the content was quite intense for a 4 year old.  Liam climbed into my lap and told me he wanted to go. Eventually Rob had to take him, with big tears streaming down his little face, out to the safety and calm of the theater lobby. They returned once the toys were out of danger for the final 10-15 minutes of the movie.

Liam's 1st movie

He finished watching the movie and the experience ended on a positive note, so I’m sure he will be wanting to go to another movie soon.  Even days later, he still brings up some of the scenes where the toys faced “peril” when he’s playing with his Buzz & Woody plushies, so unfortunately, I think that kind of stuck with him.  I wish the movie would’ve been more like the other ones and not had been so intense and at times frightening for him.

I’m curious to know what you thought of it. Please post a comment and let me know how your little one(s) did with the movie!

Sunscreen Sundries

sun scale
Summertime is in full swing and you’re probably having lots of fun in the sun but there’s nothing more sure to spoil your fun than a nasty sunburn. So, in addition to reminding you to Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap as you prepare to head out the door, I thought I’d also share some interesting sunscreen trivia & info:

  • The ancient Greeks used olive oil as a type of sunscreen, although it wasn’t especially effective.
  • The first effective, mass-produced sunscreen was invented in 1944 by airman turned pharmacist Benjamin Greene who was looking to protect World War II soldiers stationed in the South Pacific from the sun’s harmful rays. Greene tested the sticky, red substance which he called “Red Vet Pet” on his own bald head. After the war, he refined the formula and sold it under the new company name, Coppertone.
  • Sunscreens work by either blocking or absorbing ultraviolet light. Opaque minerals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide physically block or scatter UVA (the “aging” rays) whereas chemical blockers like avobenzone and Mexoryl SX absorb UVB (the “burning” rays) and dissipate that as heat. You should select a sunscreen that combines these two approaches for a broader spectrum of protection—look for one with at least 7% of one of the physical blocker ingredients (zinc is better!) and an SPF of at least 30.
  • SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, was introduced in 1962 as a measurement of a product’s ability to block out the sun’s burning rays. Note that more is not necessarily better with SPF. Stick with a product with an SPF of 30-50. Sunscreens with an SPF of 70, 90, or even 100+ certainly sound impressive, but they’re only marginally better, if at all.
  • The FDA has proposed a “star-rating” system to identify the level of UVA protection found in sunscreen, with 1 star indicating low and 4 stars indicating the highest UVA protection available in an over-the-counter product. The proposal also mandates that sunscreens which do not provide at least a minimal level of UVA protection must bear a “no UVA protection” marking on the front label near the SPF value.
  • Researchers suggest the most effective protection is achieved by generously applying sunscreen 15–30 minutes before exposure, followed by a reapplication 15–30 minutes after the sun exposure begins. But you also need to reapply every 2–3 hours and after swimming in order for the sunscreen to remain effective.
  • There’s mounting evidence that sunscreens containing retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) should be avoided because when used topically, this ingredient may actually increase your risk of skin cancer. For more info on this and much, much more, be sure to check out the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide. (Link updated for 2012.)
  • Cover up! Although UV rays can still penetrate them, using a wide-brimmed hat and clothing made of tightly-woven fibers can significantly boost your sun protection. And don’t forget to use sun-blocking lip balm and UV-protectant sunglasses!

Bonus trivia: Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in water to stay cool. But while the water prevents the lumbering mammals from getting overheated, it doesn’t offer much in the way of skin protection. So the hippopotamus produce their own sunscreen! They secrete a highly-acidic, blood-red, gelatinous, oily fluid from glands underneath the skin that protects them from UV rays and insects.

Productivity Is At An All-Time Low!

We finally closed on the sale of our old house and work continues at Kirkwood Manor with painting and other minor improvements.  However, our productivity has taken a nose-dive with the arrival of triple-digit temperatures and an all-inviting swimming pool tempting us every time we look out the window.  As you can imagine, the pool is winning!

We promise to post more house progress photos in the near future, but for now we’re beatin’ the heat!

Liam and Crush

Rob and Liam Swimming


Dolphin communicating via an iPadNot content with just conquering the human market with their wildly popular iPad, Steve Jobs & co. are apparently now wooing other mammals as well. You guessed it—even dolphins love Apple gadgets!

Research scientist Jack Kassewitz of SpeakDolphin (who was recently also featured in a post here on 2Dolphins about CymaGlyphs) has introduced the Apple iPad to a young bottlenose dolphin named Merlin in early steps towards building a system of communication. Merlin, who lives at Dolphin Discovery in Puerta Aventura, Mexico, was able to successfully recognize and touch pictures on the screen with his rostrum (nose) to match objects he was shown. Yup, the iPad’s touch-based interface is so intuitive that even nonhuman species can use it!

Merlin plays a simple game where he’s shown an object, such as a ball or a rubber duck then has to point to an image matching that object on the iPad’s screen. (Kassewitz notes that dolphins respond especially well to the color yellow)

So, not only is the iPad “dolphin safe,” it could also play a key role in the advancement of a complete language interface between humans and dolphins. Genius, Steve Jobs, genius.