Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First Year Favorites - Part 2: The Later Months

As promised,

Part 2 of our First Year Favorites
"The Later Months"
See "Part 1: Newborn" here.

These are things that you wont need when your babe-o's a newborn but will definitely come in handy when they get a little older.

Hyland's Teething Tablets
Teething is fucking miserable. See my post here.
These are homeopathic tablets of magic.
Buy several bottles and stash them around the house. Calvin not only enjoys eating them, he likes to use the little bottles as maracas.

This was Calvin's Christmas present from Santa. He really didn't start using it until he was around 5 months old (they have to be able to touch the ground) but once we got him in there he was a jumping machine! He loved looking at all the different toys, and the lights and music (which thankfully can be switched off) kept him pretty captivated.
We don't use it as much now that he's mobile, he gets frustrated being kept in one spot. But when I need to contain him for a few minutes so I can get something done, the Jumperoo is my go-to gadget.

We have the 2G carrier which I got heavily discounted when they were discontinued. But, alas, they don't even sell that model anymore but the 4G is probably even better.
I really wanted a structured carrier for when Calvin had a little more stability in his neck
The Boba is awesome. Wear it in the front, wear it in the back, it was literally designed by mountain climbers!
Those people know harnesses. Seriously.
All I know, is that Calvin is super comfy in it and it stays in the car so I always have it with me. It's super convenient for quick trips into a store and going anywhere that a stroller might be too cumbersome.

BOB Revolution CE Stroller
This link will take you to the new version of the one we have. I know this bad boy is bit spendy. My dad works at REI and got a screaming deal at the "ding and dent sale" on a 2010 model that was practically brand new but he thinks "may have fallen off someones roof rack"...Whatever. All I know, is that he fixed whatever was broken and IT'S AMAZING!!!!
We've taken it on jogs, through grass and even on a beach through the sand! It pushes like a dream and turns on a dime. If there's any chance we might have to use a stroller outside, this is the one we bring, and it's sooo easy to pop-open and then fold compact.
If you're the least bit active I highly recommend getting a BOB.

Do you need this cart cover specifically? No. Just get one. Any one.
Look, I'm not a germ-a-phobe in any sense of the word. I think getting dirty is good for kids.
However, kids (and some adults) are little virus-growing, petri dishes, and your kid will get sick enough times growing up that shielding them chewing on the front of the shopping cart or restaurant high-chairs isn't a bad idea.

I can't begin to tell you how many hours I spent researching car seats.
It became a borderline obsession. There are so many options and price points and brands that I didn't even know where to begin.
I finally chose the Diono for several reasons.
1: Safety! It is steel reinforced and heavy as shit. My kid isn't going anywhere if we get in a crash. If you need to be convinced, read the amazon reviews, this thing is S-A-F-E.
2: It's narrow, 3 of these will fit across the backseat of many cars.
3-5: It not only converts to forward facing but also a booster, it's rated to 120lbs AND has a 10, yes 10 year expiration date (8 as a full seat, 10 as a booster)
That means, I can not only use this for Calvin but for the next kid too.
This seat will be in our lives until the year 2023, which in my opinion more than makes up for the hefty price tag.
*Cost per use = negligible*

And while we're talking about it.
Before you strap that big heavy car seat in, throw one of these over the seat to protect it.
The car seat cover I bought (without doing any research...stupid!) doesn't go up the back of the seat, which wasn't a problem until Calvin's dirty shoe-covered feet started touching the backrest.
So, once we finally take the car seat out to switch it to front facing, I'm going to have to do some serious upholstery cleaning.

Stay tuned for the Part 3: The Whole Year

Sunday, July 28, 2013

10 Months Old

Time for our monthly update!

Calvin is on the move, crawling, cruising and using his "Walk 'n Ride" to get ALL OVER the place and never holding still.

He does, however, avoid the 3 things in the house he knows he's not allowed to touch.
1. The box fan
2. The blinds
3. The wine 
Everything else is pretty much fair game.
I have discovered that I can put him in his Jumperoo with Sesame Street on and it will hold his attention just long enough for me to take the quickest shower you've ever seen (and coldest since I leave the door wide open so I can hear him). 
Don't judge. 
I reserve this move only for when I am absolutely desperate to wash my hair.

He's also just cut his 3rd tooth with the 4th just around the corner. But my kid's doing it his way and instead of getting the top front teeth next like most babies, he's getting the ones next to the front teeth. What a rebel.
He got into daddy's nightstand and was quite pleased with himself.

In other news, as of this week I'm DONE breastfeeding.
We've been supplementing for the last couple months with Bright Beginnings Organic Formula and have moved to that full time. 
The last few months have felt like a battle between my not wanting to buy formula and my body saying "Eff this!" I've run dry, stopped responding to my pump and I'm tired of fighting for every 1/2oz. So I'm packing up my nursing bras and my nips can finally heal!

While we're on the subject of feeding...
Kiddo is getting pretty sick of purees, which is great, but there are 2 problems:

1. He usually eats what we eat, but we have weird schedules sometimes and dinner doesn't always happen. Especially when it's 100 degrees outside. My meal planning has fallen by the wayside with the heat and I desperately need to find the motivation to get back into it.

2. He will shove EVERYTHING you put in front of him in his mouth all at once until he gags.
So this means trying to figure out if he's actually swallowed what he just put in his mouth so I can divy out another small portion, all while trying to eat myself.
Not an easy task. 
Is there a way to teach him to slow his roll? Thoughts and ideas would be much appreciated.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Note to our Childless Friends.

I found this on Pinterest and LOVED IT!
A hilarious blog written by the dad of twin boys that you really should check out.

PDF link

This is incredible in so many ways.
 And in case you'd like to print it and hand it out to all your childless friends, it's available as a PDF download.

We have a lot of friends that don't have kids yet. They don't quite understand that they can't just text us in the afternoon about a concert that night. Or that dinner out (with or without the kid) requires more than throwing on a cute outfit, grabbing my purse and heading out the door. I even know that some of them were not super thrilled when we announced our pregnancy because they knew we were going to fall off the face of the Earth.
And you know what? 
We did.

But that's how being a parent is.
Please know that it's impossible to completely understand until you have a kid of your own. 
We still like you. We still want to be friends.
We just can't go out to drink and party until dawn like we used to.
We have another human being that is completely dependent on us for their survival and it's not fair to pawn them off on someone else every weekend so we can pretend to have a life again.

Our lives revolve around this thing, and we couldn't be happier.
You'll get it someday.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

First year favorites - Part 1: Newborn

When I was pregnant I spent hours and hours searching "mommy blogs" and reading customer reviews to find out what I needed to buy and register for. Having a baby involves a lot of "stuff" and I didn't want to spend money a bunch of things I thought I needed just to find out they're total crap.
I wanted REAL opinions. I wanted to know what was working for REAL moms and not just what the manufacturers proclaim.
With that in mind, I thought I'd add my two cents.

This is a list of items  that I've found indispensable during Calvin's first year of life.

These are things beyond diapers, wipes and wash clothes. The stuff you might not think about right away. These are our VERY favorite items that we cannot imagine life without and should definitely make their way on to all new mama's baby registry wish lists.

I'm going to do this particular post in 3 parts.
With that, I present to you...

Part 1: Newborn Stuff
These are the items that made being brand new parents just a little easier for us.
It's a small list as your kiddo may outgrow these items in a month or two but don't let that deter you. A month or two seems like an eternity when you're sleep deprived.
Expect the next two lists to be larger.
Calvin spent the better part of the first month of his life in his Rock N' Play.
  Fisher Price Snugabunny Rock N' Play Sleeper:
 We used this instead of a bassinet until Calvin started sleeping in his own room. We have a small bedroom and this fit perfectly on my side of the bed so I had easy access for night time feedings. It keeps the baby in a reclined position to help with reflux and it's super light weight and folds flat for storage or travel. 
The Bunny version was the only one available when Calvin was born but now there are several others out there. I do recommend however, that you spend a little extra and make sure to get the "deluxe" model. There's more padding for baby's head so they're less likely to develop a flat spot on their soft little noggin's.

Infantino Twist & Fold Activity Gym:
Calvin loved this thing. I have countless pictures of him laying on it. You can hang different different toys from different heights, it has a baby-safe mirror and you don't have to worry about them rolling off it. When he got older he thought it was hilarious to kick the legs and have all the hanging stuff shake like crazy. It's not very expensive and it's great to use while traveling. We brought ours on a trip to Seattle and used it in the hotel room.
Brica Fold n Go Travel Bassinet
If you are going to travel with your baby you MUST get one of these. I wish the kiddo still fit in his. It's a tiny fold-up bassinet that weighs nothing and fits newborns to 3 months(ish). Just put it on the floor next to your bed. If the floor was hard, I'd just put it on top of a folded up blanket and he was good to go. Soooo much easier to travel with than a super heavy pack n play.
This came with us to Seattle when Calvin was a month old, and it fit in our check bag... did you get that? IN OUR CHECKED BAG! when we flew to California when he was 3 1/2 months.
 Puj Tub:
Baby's are extremely slippery when they're wet and soapy. Having him in the sink was so much easier on our backs (and nerves). The Puj Tub is made out of a molded foam that's super light weight, takes up almost no room and easily hangs to dry.
Yep, he's in there.
Baby K'Tan Carrier:
I wanted a wrap carrier without having to deal with 18 feet of fabric. This is 2 fabric circles and super quick and easy to get on. When we went to the store I would wear it in the car and pop him straight in from his car seat. It literally took 20 seconds. Plus, having less fabric made it cooler than a moby and Calvin always fell asleep in it.
Gripe Water:
Baby's get colic. They start fussing and crying for NO reason at just about the same time every day and in some cases, all day, for weeks. Some get it worse than others. Gripe water is all natural and homeopathic for when those colicky moments strike. Just be sure to read the label, once opened this little bottle expires pretty quick. Totally worth it though.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter:
 I mentioned this earlier in my post about breastfeeding (here) but I feel it bears repeating... Moisturize those nipples! After every feeding, every pumping and every shower. It will help soooo much.

What!? No breast feeding pillow?
 Meh... I have this one. I like that it has a soft side and a firmer side and I did use it several times... but to be honest, I personally found it much more comfortable to just use a regular pillow.
However, some people totally love theirs, so it never hurts to register for one.

Stay tuned for posts on the stuff for when your baby gets a smidge older and more mobile and my list of the ABSOLUTE must-haves for baby's first year.

Monday, July 15, 2013

9 month Sleep Regression

Kiddo is going through a "sleep regression" which basically means that my good little sleeper has been waking up between midnight and 1am and screaming like someone cut off his finger.
Now, if this were just a quick, "go in, rock him back to sleep, put him back in his crib", kind of thing, I probably wouldn't even mention it. 
This is a, "spend 30 minutes rocking him back to sleep only to have his eyes pop open and the screaming to resume the minute you start lowering him into his crib because apparently his mattress has become Hot Lava and there is no way in Hell he's going back in there for the rest of the night" kind of thing.
We've had a few really long nights this week. Not every night, he likes to lull you into a false sense of security by sleeping really well for a couple nights in a row. Then, just when you think the worst is over... BAM! More screaming.
Thankfully my husband is amazing and just when my nerves are about to disintegrate into a puddle on the floor, he swoops in and takes over. 
Normally, Calvin is really good at falling back asleep if he wakes up during the night. The problem is that at the moment he seems to have this subconscious reflex to sit-up the moment he wakes up. Which makes it impossible for him to fall back into a blissful slumber.
Tired kid. Fell asleep in his jumperoo. Very, unusual for him.
Everything I've read on the subject says it's just a phase that should "only" last between 2-6 weeks. He's learning so many new things and processing so much information during the day that he has a hard time shutting off his brain at night when he wakes and we're not there to help.
He's not cranky during the day, and he's still napping really well, but you can tell he's tired.
The nights seem to be worse when we're really busy during the day and his nap schedule gets thrown off. But we can't exactly become hermits for the next month just to make sure he gets his requisite 3 hours during the day.
Oh the glamorous life of a parent.... It's a good thing he cute.

He's been sucking on his bottom lip a lot. Possibly teething... It's anyone's guess.
Keeping an eye on the neighborhood
"No shit's going down on my watch!"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pintester Movement V. 2.0: Arm Knitting

I knit.
There I said it.
I knit like a grandma.
I'm good at it, I enjoy it, the employees at a local yarn shop know my name and I have a stash of yarn that my husband once described as "shocking". 
Here are some examples of things I have actually created with yarn and sticks.
Yes, I made all of these and yes, those reindeer are humping.

So when Sonja over at declared another "Pintester Movement" I scoured through her craft attempts and thought "Arm Knitting" might be right up my alley, even though her results may have been less-than-stellar. See her post here

Here is the original "Arm Knitting" post from

I already know my knitting basics and I have arms... How hard could it be?

First of all, the updated instructional video is almost 10 1/2 minutes long. That should have been my first warning. I watched it 3 or 4 times with my head cocked to the side thinking "huh???... shouldn't I understand this?!?" But I decided to press on and figure it out as I went.

The yarn I used is "Yarn Bee- Debut" in Smoke which I found at Hobby Lobby.
Usually I only buy yarn from my local yarn store, but time was a factor and I just couldn't get there.

Bear with me, as taking photos with your hands tied together is as difficult as you'd suspect so my husband had to take a few.
I "Cast On" 6 loops onto my right arm.

Trying to follow the instructional video as closely as possible, I started grabbing yarn and pulling loops thinking there was no way in hell this was going to amount to anything.

  I totally felt like I should've be doing some sort of grand Houdini-esq escape trick.

Notice there are too many stitches? This was actually from my first attempt but it was one of the better pictures we got.

I would definitely suggest using the softest yarn you can find. I have super sensitive skin and even with this bamboo & acrylic blend (which is nice and squishy) my arms were getting a bit irritated from dragging the yarn across them so much. Friction can be a bitch.

At this point I said to my husband
 "I'll be damned... It's actually working"

After I bound off, I used a crochet hook and used the loose yarn ends to "sew" the scarf ends together to make a circle.

I was honestly prepared to end up with my arms tied together in a mass of twisted fiber. I even had my scissors waiting nearby in case my husband had to come to my rescue and free me.
But once I got the rhythm down it all came together.
Frankly, I was quite surprised.

It took about a 30 min. and while it might not be the nicest thing I've ever knit, I think I just might actually wear it.

*Update: I am not quite ready for the responsibility of an Etsy shop, but because of the interest I am willing to make and sell the reindeer hat through my blog.
Please email me for pricing and a time estimate.
Thank you all!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

9 Months!

Please excuse the tardiness of this post. A crazy schedule and a week out of town has us playing a serious game of Catch-Up. 

June 28th marked 9 months for Calvin which means he's now been out longer than he was in.
He weighs 18lbs. 3oz. and is 29 inches long.

He has such a personality. Smiley and happy and always on the go. I'm having a hard time getting anything done around the house these days because he is fearless and in to everything! I can't take my eyes off him for a second.

Please note that he is only standing on the rocking chair in these pictures because he vehemently refused to sit down.
"What does that say about me?"

"Who? Me?"



Calvin's Blue Sailboat Polo One Piece