baby registry

baby registry and baby gift suggestion & information

Monday, August 14, 2006

baby registry: Business Notebook: Celebrating the first 20 years in business

By Roger Gavan

Warwick - If being almost impossible to find a parking spot along Hidden Meadow Road in Warwick on Saturday, July 15, was any indication that the patients love and admire their chiropractor, there could be little doubt that they do.

Dr. Margaret Verhagen, who opened her practice on Kings Highway in Warwick in 1986, the year that she graduated from New York Chiropractic College, was celebrating her twentieth anniversary with a backyard party and barbecue. And all of her patients were invited.

The party was held at 11 Hidden Meadow Road, her home and office for the past eight years.

“This is not just a celebration of my first 20 years,” Verhagen said. “It’s a party for my patients and my staff and a way to show how much I appreciate them.”

During Verhagen’s distinguished career she served a term as president of the New York State Board for Chiropractic. And recently, the Sarah Wells Girl Scout Council and the YWCA Orange County announced its 2006 list of women in Orange County who have made a difference to the community in their professional lives. One of those distinguished honorees, named for health care, was Dr. Margaret E. Verhagen.

‘The Ultimate

French Baby Shower’

Celebrations Extraordinaire owner and event planner Jane Gyulavary recently teamed up with BiNK Essential Baby Gear owner Maura Peddle to host “The Ultimate French Baby Shower” at the La Petite Cuisine restaurant on Railroad Avenue in Warwick. The event, held on Thursday evening, June 22, highlighted BiNK’s Baby Registry and launched its affiliation with Celebrations Extraordinaire to offer exclusive custom-theme baby showers complete with specially designed cakes from Cakes by Nicole in Greenwood Lake. Celebrations Extraordinaire provides innovative special event planning and consulting services in the Warwick Valley. Call 988-0580.

Affordable vacations

Once a pastime for the rich, cruising is now considered to be an affordable and practical way to enjoy a vacation.

“When you take into consideration the cabin cost, all the meals and food you could want, entertainment and quality service,” said Warwick resident Roseann Lander, “you will find that in most cases, cruising is a better value than a land based vacation.”

Lander and her husband, Gary, are both certified cruise specialists and members of the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA). They are also independent agents for Cruises Inc., one of the largest retailers of cruise vacation packages in America.

“Because of its size,” said Lander, “Cruises Inc. has tremendous buying power in the industry. And by working with their affiliated Cruise Lines, I can pass along great pricing and still provide full service in all areas of cruising.”

Lander explained that through Cruises Inc., she also is able to offer special programs for groups including family reunions, organizations and businesses. And, although they are cruise specialists, their agency can also handle land-based vacations.

Lander is also willing to appear as a guest speaker for any club meeting.

“I am very knowledgeable in this field and familiar with many destinations, especially Alaska,” she said. “I would be happy to share this experience and educate people about the differences between various cruise lines and cruise packages.”

For more information call 651-1555 or visit

Changing goals

After more than 10 years, Melinda Burgard, of Melinda’s Music, will continue to pursue sharing music with the Warwick community, but in a different way.

“After sharing my passion of music with hundreds of parents, infants and preschool children,” she said. “I’ve accomplished my main goal. They love music.”

Burgard, a Certified Music Therapist who earned her Master’s Degree at New York University, is now pursuing her current passion, Music Therapy.

As a New York State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, Burgard explained that she assesses emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses. She currently specializes in dementia (including Alzheimer’s), Palliative Care and Children with Special Needs.

P.S. If you are still yearning for more early childhood music from Melinda, her CDs are for sale locally at the Toy Chest and BiNK’s. For more information, call 477-0451 or contact Melinda M. Burgard at

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

baby registry: Parenting 101: Your first pregnancy - A strange new world

By Kristi Hockemeyer 07/27/2006

When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2006, the last thing on my New Year's resolutions list would be to start a family.

I was a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University with less than 40 credit hours until I obtained my degree in Communications, with a focus in Public Relations. I just made a career change as managing editor from FGCU's school newspaper to freelance reporter for the Marco Island Sun Times. The change offered at least equal pay for a considerably less amount of time and stress.

But some unknown force had other plans for me.

By February, I had been burning the candle at both ends, school and workwise. I loved every second of it because the assignments were fascinating and it allowed me to interact with several different people I may have never bothered to think about talking to before. That's when I became "sick."

It was like I woke up one morning, just feeling extremely fatigued and nauseous. I forced myself to cut back on school and work, and hoped that I would feel a million times better by the end of the week. When the second week came about and there were no changes, I spent most of that free time doing nothing else but watching shows like TLC's "A Baby Story." I finally saw one too many episodes when I thought "Uh-oh" to myself.

Sure enough, there I was... 22 years old, and expecting my first son in late October.

My initial reaction was mixed, but for the most part, it felt surreal. It seemed hard to realize that I was carrying a human life inside of me.

The past six months have been quite a bumpy ride and I'm sure the uneasiness will continue as I tread into unfamiliar territory.

The pregnancy did leave me to alter my current life plans a little. I crammed as much coursework as I could at FGCU, and now I only have to complete four classes for my degree. However, with my baby due on Oct. 27, I felt it was best just to take one key course where I have friends who will help me through.

Until I could recover from the morning sickness, working wasn't much of an option for me. I'm happy to report, that in spite of the incredibly hot weather, I feel now decent enough to stare at a computer for hours and continue doing what I love the most: writing about information that is important to local residents.

There have been so many lessons learned within this period of time.

It took me three months of working on my baby registry. I ended up registering at Babies R Us, Target and Wal-Mart. To choose just one store was impossible! I spent hours at a time browsing the Web, debating the "Baby Snoopy" bedding offered at Babies R Us and Wal-Mart. Car seats? Don't even get me started - I'm still confused.

I'm now facing the biggest political debate of my lifetime: the custody battle of who will get to host my baby shower and where it will take place. I finally just wrote down an impromptu invitee list, handed to my mother and said, "Just tell me when and where to show up."

Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned is to never become pregnant in late February. The majority of my pregnancy is happening not only during the hottest time of the year, but also hurricane season. I've been studying the Weather Channel daily, crossing my fingers that I will not have to sit around in a non-air conditioned building for even one minute during this pregnancy. Just going from the outside of my house to my car kills me for the day.

The truth of the matter is that I'm not just unfamiliar with pregnancy, but Marco Island as well. I know Southwest Florida because I have lived in East Naples for the past 20 years. When you live in Naples, most people don't have much of a need to travel south to Marco or even north to Bonita.

The biggest question I found myself asking was, "Where do I go for what in the area?" I had to search for a great obstetrician (you don't want to settle for anything less than "great"), places to shop for baby supplies (both the practical and impractical), labor education, social benefits... yada, yada, yada.
At least as a Neapolitan, I know I have access to all the businesses I will need, but it made me wonder: "What do the pregnant women on Marco Island do?"

What medical services are offered on the island? Where are the best places to shop for baby/maternity needs? What are they doing to help keep themselves cool during this summer heat? How do they feel about driving all the way up to North Naples when it's time to deliver?

Most important, where do these expecting mothers (and don't forget fathers) turn to for emotional support?

I would like to begin exploring these important topics. Preparing for a new arrival is a very exciting, but hectic experience. Perhaps by sharing my ups and downs with the Marco Island community, I may be able to assist others who are trying to answer these same questions.

Kristi Hockemeyer welcomes all suggestions and comments from expecting and experienced Marco Island parents. Please feel free to contact her at to share your stories.

©Marco Island Sun Times 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

baby registry: Setting up a baby registry

Setting up a baby registry

Real moms

Is it ever too early to register for baby gifts? Some moms who are early in their second trimester talk about how they're planning ahead, and where they're setting up their registries!

"I'm getting really excited and so is our family, and we will probably register the day we find out what we are having! We will probably register at Babies R Us & Baby Depot, or maybe Target... I can't wait!" - Kara

"I am registering probably in 3 weeks (around 21 weeks). I am going to register at Babies R Us just because I live out of state from my family and Amazon is really easy for online registry access and shipping. I can't wait -- I have been looking around already!" - Kel
I will register at Babies R Us and a couple of specialty baby furniture and accesory stores, Be Dazzled, and Bellini Baby, where I am buying the crib and having the bedding made. I am having three showers in three different cities, so I have to make sure something is accesable to everyone... I guess that would be Babies R Us. But I will be registered here in Dallas for the shower here. I will register at some local stores where my parents live, too. I want to cover all the bases and make sure to spoil this baby boy rotten!" - Angela

"We're registering at Bellini for furniture and bedding when I'm 20 weeks, Bloomingdale's for the clothing, and BabyStyle for everything else. We're finding out the sex soon, which will make registering so much easier!" - ashley29
"Well, my little single mama to be will be registering at Wal-MartWal-mart and Target. Those stores are everywhere! I love Target and my brother works at Wal-MartWal-Mart. I feel kinda low class compared to some here -- wow. But since babies could give a hoot less about what they wear and what their nursery theme is, I guess I luck out." - Tina

"I think that Babies R Us has the easiest, most comprehensive online selection, so I'm going to go there. I have been thinking about starting to register any day now! It can be a long process." - Marian
"We've already registered for the big stuff at Babies R Us. But I wouldn't use us as examples. We had to do it early because we are going to be apart for the second half of the pregnancy, so there just won't be any other time to do it. I don't think anyone is doing it too early. If you are picky and indecisive like me, it takes a lot of time!" - Noel

"I will be at Babies R Us and Target -- Target for most of the stuff and BRU for things that I am particular about that Target doesn't have. If my family and I had a local Babies R Us near us, it would probably be my primary, but the closest is 30 miles away... I've registered for a couple of things as I do research and find particular brands that are recommended (so I don't forget), but I'll be doing the serious registering after I get the results of my amnio." - Tricia
"My husband and I registered yesterday because he is about to start a new job where he will be working Friday, Saturay, Sundat and Monday, so there won't be anytime for us to do it on the weekends. (He's a police officer). I'm 19 weeks and 3 dats today. I know it might be a tad early, but we wanted to do it together. We registered at Babies R Us and Target. I have a lot of family out of state and Target is more accessible to them than Babies R Us." - Kristen

"I'll be registering for the majority of baby's items at and a local specialty store. Babies R Us will be for the odds and ends. I already have a crib, stroller, bouncer and moses basket. I plan to make the crib bedding so I can personalize it." - Erika
"Well, since I am doing Precious Moments, it's hard to find certain things, so Wal-MartWalmart is mainly the room decorations, but we have Target, Babies R Us, and" - Katee

"We registered this weekend at Pottery Barn Kids for bedding and a few accessories. Some of our family will probably think we are snobs for registering there, but their bedding was comparable to a lot of what we saw elsewhere. I think we will register at Babies R Us [in a couple months] before the first shower invitations go out. I have been keeping a list of things we need and the brands we will be registering for as I've been reading." - Rebecca
"I registered when I was only eight weeks pregnant! We haven't gotten anything yet, but I was just anxious. We chose Baby Depot, cause the prices seemed lower than Babies R Us, and we knew they had one near where most of our family lives. We did have some issues when we were there -- we took the little scanner thingy around to scan things in, but if we spent too long looking at something, it erased everything we'd already put in! We ended up going around and making a list and then running around the store like mad to get them all in the machine in less than 10 minutes! I'm kinda glad we did it so early, cause I don't think I could move that fast now anymore! We're planning to add more toys to it and clothes after we find out the sex." - Melanie

Sunday, August 06, 2006

baby registry: Birthday registries turn parties into a buying game

Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, July 25, 2006

We've had more than 80 years to get used to the concept of a bridal registry since an American department store introduced it in 1924. It makes sense for a couple putting together a household for the first time to offer gift-giving wedding guests some guidance. Guests are relieved of the pressure of choosing the "right" gift so their fruit plates or serving platters won't be duplicated, returned or "regifted."

The same may hold true for the later innovation of a baby registry. Responding to clear direction on exactly what crib set or high chair is preferred satisfies both giver and recipient.

But the latest development in gift-giving seems to take pragmatism a step too far. We're talking here about the birthday party registry. Several children's stores now provide a service that ensures the birthday boys or girls get what they want.

At Scholar's Choice, a London, Ontario-based toy store with 24 outlets across the country (but not in British Columbia), celebrants visit the store before the invitations go out, and -- while wearing a crown for some reason -- sweep through the store filling a "birthday bucket" with things they want. These are then itemized and added to the registry. Guests are notified of the registry on the party invitation and can pick a gift pre-selected by the recipient.

No more embarrassment for children or parents over duplicate or unwanted gifts. No more stress trying to choose a present for children you don't know. No more time wasted shopping for toys. Call ahead, order from the list and pick it up gift-wrapped and good to go.

It's sensible, it's practical and it's efficient -- but it just doesn't feel right. As one mother put it: "It rubbed me the wrong way, and I'm not really sure why."

Perhaps what troubles us about this is that it sends the message that having a birthday party is mainly about getting gifts when what we hope to convey is that it's about marking milestones with friends and family. Having fun is supposed to be the reason for having a party. The gift should be incidental, a token of appreciation, as when dinner guests take flowers or a bottle of wine for their hosts.

Unlike wedding or baby gift registries, the birthday registry turns the party into a commercial enterprise. A gift from the list becomes the price of admission.

As a marketing tool, the birthday party registry is a stroke of genius. In filling a need that didn't exist until now, the crafty shopkeeper scoops up all the business a party generates. And with a Thomas the Tank Engine expansion set retailing at $50, it puts plenty of tinkle in the till.

A child with 20 classmates will be invited to many parties over the course of a year, which -- for parents -- translates into a significant commitment in time and money.

The trade-off for the convenience of the birthday party registry is our discomfort with consumerism as a credo. Can kids have fun without consumption?

The birthday party registry risks a major escalation in the cost of hosting a party. If parents are obliged to buy designated gifts, they may well expect that their children attending the event will receive value for money in the quality of food, entertainment and loot bags.

The event planning industry must be watching the evolution of children's birthdays with anticipation.

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

baby registry: Online age helps mothers-to-be with baby registries

By Kristi Hockemeyer 08/03/2006

It has been a lifelong dream of mine to set-up a baby registry. What doesn't sound appealing about spending a day opening presents given by friends and family while enjoying a Carvel ice cream cake?

This end result may seem fun, but I've found that just compiling a list of everything I need - and want - all of a sudden is quite a chore!

As soon as I announced my pregnancy at eight weeks, everybody wanted to know where I was registered. I would reply, "The baby is the size of a lima bean. It's too early to be deciding whether or not I want a Diaper Genie. Let me at least find out the gender first."

Six weeks later, the doctor told me I was having a boy... and that's when I really got to work.

A mother can walk into any store and work on their registry, but thanks to the innovations brought by the Internet, many stores now encourage online shopping.

For the expecting Internet junky, establishing a baby registry online can be beneficial due to:

* At-home convenience. There is no need to drive around town, fight traffic and wait for employees to assist you with your account. The computer becomes your own personal shopping assistant by providing "similar purchase" recommendations based on items placed in a registry.

* Research. A parent can learn a lot about the quality of baby products that are for sale. If registering through Babies R Us or Target, you learn about the product's description, but you can also read reviews by parents who have already used the item. This way, parents have a better understanding of what is actually practical for their needs.

* Creating a specialized registry. Babies R Us and Wal-Mart only teased me with their supply of "Baby Snoopy" nursery merchandise (one offered a diaper bag; the other offered the bedding through their online store). But neither sold the entire nursery line at their stores! I didn't want to do the typical Winnie The Pooh, baseball, fire truck nursery theme. "Baby Snoopy" is not only different, but also encompasses all of the great memories from my childhood of watching "Peanuts" cartoons. I 'googled' for the Snoopy nursery theme and - Voila! - I found (a Web site that leads to several businesses that can help parents create a unique registry). I went from having two or three things for my nursery on my Babies R Us, Wal-Mart and Target registries to having 14 items of Snoopy-only goodness on

Despite the advances of modern-day technology, the Internet cannot replace a mother's need to see the merchandise first-hand. I found myself completely changing my online registry after having a chance to see - and touch - everything at the store.

Some places, like Babies R Us, reward parents for setting up their registry at their store. Parents receive a welcome packet filled with tips and coupons. When I registered, I was able to take 50 baby shower invitations for free. These were pre-printed cards stating "The mother to be is registered at Babies R Us," which comes in handy when you're mailing out over 25 invitations. I found more than enough room on the cards to add my Wal-Mart, Target and registries.

I would recommend that expecting parents utilize both the Internet and local stores in order to have the most comprehensive baby registry. You may find the greatest things at the store, but not online. And vice-versa.

For Marco Island women, visiting the stores may be a bit more complicated due to the distance. However, I still feel these are the top three places that are worth making the drive:

Babies R Us - This store is 100 percent dedicated to the needs of expectant parents. The closest store is located in Estero, Fla. at 10002 Gulf Center Drive and will take Marco Islanders about 50 minutes to an hour of travel time.

Wal-Mart - This store provides a lot of different options and often at the lowest price. The closest Wal-Mart is only a 20 to 25-minute drive, located at 9885 Collier Boulevard in Naples. Eventually, the drive will be even shorter once the new Super Wal-Mart is completed near the intersection of Collier Boulevard and Tamiami Trail.

Target - A little more expensive, but the store is better organized with their merchandise and they offer a higher quality of nursery furniture that's still cheaper than Babies R Us. The store is about a 40-minute drive from Marco and is located at 2322 Pine Ridge Road in Naples. In addition, Party City is located right next door. Why not get a head start on planning the baby shower, too?

Speaking of baby showers, I'm currently in the process of planning for my Aug. 19 party. Perhaps that'll make an interesting topic for next week's column. And maybe by then, I'll become a little more organized!

Kristi Hockemeyer welcomes all suggestions and comments from expecting and experienced Marco Island parents. Please feel free to contact her at to share your stories.

©Marco Island Sun Times 2006