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Thursday
Feb272014

Baby "Essentials" 

Oh the conveniences of parenting. I’m not saying we need all or any of these things. But I am saying that these things made life a lot easier. Here is a list of some of my favorites. 

SLEEP

Summer Infant SwaddleMe: These velcro swaddle wraps are pretty ingenious. No hassle, no fuss! These were great for the first eight weeks and then my son started to break out of them.

HALO SleepSack: Around 10 weeks we started using these sleepsacks instead of swaddles. It took a couple of days for my son to get used to having his hands free from a swaddle but once he got used to it, these worked great because I knew he’d stay warm.  

Maclaren Rocker: The rocker is at a slight recline and my son mostly slept in it until we sleep trained him. He hated laying down flat. It vibrates too, which helped calm him at times.

PLAY

Bjorn Babysitter Balance: I like that there are three different positions - play, rest, sleep. So after feedings and burping I felt super comfortable placing my son in there to chill while I took care of things -- dishes, laundry, dinner, a shower!! etc. Babybjorn also introduced a new Balance Soft last year.

Baby Play Mat: This one is similar to the one I have. It was fun to see Greyson inadvertently swat at the toys hanging above his head. The mat is also good for practice tummy time.

FEEDING

Boppy: I remember thinking “What the hell is a boppy?” when I was pregnant the first time around. This nursing pillow is great, especially for those long nursing sessions in the middle of the night. I have also heard great reviews about My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow.    

ComoTomo: Love these bottles. The bottle is squishy and the nipples are a bit softer and more flexible than others I’ve tried. It’s the only bottle he’ll take.

ON THE GO

NüRoo Pocket: I had the pleasure of meeting the two founders over coffee when Greyson was just weeks old. They explained how they designed a babywearing shirt that promotes skin to skin. And explained all of the benefits of skin to skin. I remember one day in particular when my son was super fussy, which was rare for him. I stripped him except for his diaper and put him in my NüRoo Pocket. Within minutes he calmed and fell asleep. I was so relieved because to this day I still remember that feeling of pure exhaustion. This would make a great gift for any new mom.

BabyBjorn Carrier: I’m glad I registered for a Bjorn Carrier during my first pregnancy. I loved it and used it until my daughter got too heavy for me to carry. Many MommyBeta readers suggested the Ergo, which provided more support as the babes get older and heavier. Since then however, BabyBjorn has come out with the BabyBjorn Carrier Miracle, which provides more back support and BabyBjorn One Carrier, which I’ve tried and will share my thoughts on in a separate post.

Snap N Go: I kept this snap n go frame in my car so that I could snap the baby’s car seat in and go. Good for quick trips when the baby + car seat gets too much to carry.

TECH & ELECTRONICS

Instacart: A nice service for grocery shopping & delivery online. I used it for the first few months after bringing home my son and then stopped once I was able to master grocery shopping with two kids. Basically you choose the grocery store you want (from a list), select groceries, pick a delivery time and someone will drop off your groceries.

Baby Log: This iphone baby activity tracker app is handy indeed! I mainly used it to track feedings - both nursing and bottle. You can also track diaper changes and sleep.

Marpac White Noise Machine: I swear by these white noise machines. We live on a main street with constant traffic including fire engine sirens, loud motorcycle engines and garbage trucks - and this little machine blocks out a lot of this street noise for my toddler. We ended up getting a second machine for my son’s closet nursery to help block out some of the sounds from my toddler.

What are/were some of your essentials? 


Wednesday
Dec112013

A Fun Gift for Parents - A Night In

As a parent, date nights aren't extremely plentiful but a new service has found a way around those nights where childcare isn't available. Confetti is a clever new service that sends fun date nights that parents can experience in their own home after the kiddos are in bed. As they put it, "we create in-home date experiences that make 'staying in' feel like 'going out.'
Yes, it's not exactly the same thing as a night on the town but there are some really neat experiences and the bonus is that if you want to drink, you don't have to bicker about who is going to drive home. You're already there!
Each date is carefully designed and made with handcrafted components and luxury ingredients to give you and your partner a night to remember. We received The Great Indoors confetti date.

I felt this was appropriate since we just moved to Colorado and would be a great warm up to any future camping trips. I was excited when the mystery box arrived on my door step and it was fun to open and explore it as well. They try to heighten all your senses through all the activities and they do a really great job. Our came with freshly picked pine needles and other items from the forest and a flashlight to create the feeling of a campsite in the woods. They had three fun activities that were pretty cute and got a chuckle out of me and my husband. All in all we enjoyed the experience and would love to go on another confettidate. You can join their subscription service for $50 or purchase dates individually for $55. You can also purchase an abbreviated version of the date with the Just Desserts option for $25. The prices might seem high at first but when you think of the cost of a night out with dinner or the movies, it's pretty similar and you're probably doing something that you haven't done so it makes for great memories. 
Confetti has let our readers in on a 20% coupon code. Enter confettimom in the promo code box. Hope you find a confetti date under your tree this holiday season!
Note: Confetti sent us a date to test but my opinions are my own. 
Monday
Nov182013

My Tootles, My Elle

Well my little girl, my first baby, turned three a month ago. How did that happen?! So much has changed in the past year. Not only with Elle but also with our family. A new brother, a new home in Denver, preschool…so much change and for the most part, she’s done well with it. Probably much better than me. It’s hard not to squeeze her and give her a big kiss on the cheek when you’re near her…I’m sure most of you feel that way about your little ones.

When did my little toddling toddler turn into an expressive, high energy, pink-loving, lipstick/makeup/fingernail polish- loving, bug loving, Ipad/TV/book addict and yes, a little big of a drama queen? 

Two was SO much fun. It will be a year that I will always cherish. From the constant hugs, to laughs, to new words and a bigger vocabulary to excitement about everything, I loved everything well mostly everything (we did have tantrums) about two. Three on the other hand is proving to be a little above my parenting skills but more on that later. This is about two. When Elle was turning one, I wrote a quick little summary about my favorite memories and things about that first year so since I’ve become terrible at writing in the baby book, I’d thought I’d share them here.

I love hearing the pitter patter of your little feet running into our room in the morning.

I love how you never meet a stranger. You have no whims about saying hi to other kids or their parents and telling them something special about your day.

I love that you know my real name and that you know how to say your formal name – which I never taught you – and that love you to tell people, “that’s my mommy. Her name is Jennifer. That’s my baby brother. His name is Reid. Say hi Reid!”

I love you how you have to do the same three things before going to sleep: I have to pretend to do your makeup, then little piggy and then tell you everyone who loves you

I love the funny ways you pronounce words like “Stool” is sootle

I love how you ask if I love something just so you can say, “Me too.”

I love how you tell everyone you meet about your best friends, the triplets.

I love how you love to wear dress up and accessorize your clothes

I love how everything has to match

I love hearing you say, “mom, I love you.” out of the blue

I love hearing you play pretend

I love how you call every bug cute and give them silly names like friendly and lovey

I love how polite you are, saying excuse me and thank you without a thought and saying, “Sorry brother” when you accidentally knock him over or something

And the list goes on and on but I very special and blessed to be my little girl’s mama. This has been a year that I’ll always cherish. 

Wednesday
Oct092013

More Love...Less Time

 

I've been struggling to figure out how to balance writing about all the crazy things that go on having two kids - I think about writing, I want to write, but at the end of the day, my mind is shot. What is left of my energy at the end of the energy goes into catching up with what friends have been doing online or decrompressing with a TV show if I can even squeeze that in. 

It's funny to think back how different things were 8 months ago before Reid was born. Looking back at my blog posts I think, boy I had WAY too much time on my hands. Some of the things I pondered seem silly now but hey, I was just living life and trying to do the best for my family. That's something that hasn't changed: I'm still trying to do my best as a mom; make the right choices; enforce the right choices. That's tough with a willful 3-year-old and a curious dare devil baby. 

Do I make my baby food again? Well, I try. Do I always apply sunscreen? No, but I try to make myself remember. Do I always do a bath every night? No, but I make sure I do if they look dirty or smell dirty. Ha! What have I given up on? Well, I let my daughter win the clothes battles...if she wants to wear her princess dress out to brunch so be it. 

I read something the other day that really made me sit back and think about the time I have with the kids. I think it was something like, "Right now is your child's childhood. Make it count." So in between my struggling to get places on time, juggling bottles and snacks, I've been trying to make sure there are some good, playful memories in there. So far it's working - just need to keep reminding myself of this!

Wednesday
Sep252013

Alphabet First Birthday Party: A to Zachary

 

At a 3 am feeding when Baby Z was three weeks old, I had an epiphany. The theme for his first birthday party would be A to Zachary. Though deliriously tired, I somehow remembered this lightning bolt idea and almost a year later, we had an alphabet birthday party for our little boy.

The party was full of family, fun and smiles. But I know what you guys are here for. Pin-able party pictures! Without further ado...

I used a Cricut to cut a lot of letters for this party, especially for this sign in on our front porch (yes, I realize now that the C is upside down!). I also had a silohuette made on Etsy of my sweet little boy (I used this on the invites too).

I made this wreath years ago (for Jennifer's baby shower for Elle!), and I update it for the seasons or parties that I host.

Nic and I worked together to melt down old crayons and pour them into a silicon letter mold. These crayon favors were a bit more fragile than I had hoped, but were fun to make.

This is one of my favorite things about entertaining at our new(ish) house. I can WRITE ON THE WALL! I have horrible penmanship, but chalk is SO forgiving. I fully recommend sidewalk chalking your house for a big party impact (test an area first to make sure your chalk will wash off).

 

More letter decor. The Lego letters were a last minute addition to hold down the tableclothes in the wind. Grampy and Nic had fun putting those together the morning of the party.

 

I used letter cookies from Trader Joe's for Z's name and filled a cookie cutter with sprinkles for the 1. Then I filled the ring around the cake with more sprinkles! Inside, this is a funfetti cake.

BabyBetas Reese and Elle seranade Z!

Z enjoying his personal, dairy-free funfetti smash cake!

Happy family celebrating our birthday boy.