Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesdays - BFF's

And we keep trying to tell Turtle that her bib isn't as effective if she keeps wearing it like a cape.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bringing Home Baby: A Nice to Have Newborn List

Now that you have a handle on the things you "need" to bring home a new baby, what about those things that make a new parent's life easier? Here are some of my favorite products when Turtle was a newborn.

1) A Swing or Bouncy Seat

Finding a safe place where you can put the baby down while you use the bathroom/brush your teeth/fix something to eat is essential. We bought a swing similar to the one above used and loved it. Granted it didn't help to sooth Turtle if she was upset but it was a safe place to put her if I needed to fix a bottle or something. Most people can put the baby on a blanket on the floor but we have a puppy we don't trust around her so the floor was off limits for us. If space is an issue then they make small travel swings that I've heard lots of good things about. Boucey seats are another wonderful thing. But like so many things you never know what you baby will like. Some babies love a swing and hate a bouncer. Some love the bouncer and hate the swing. Some love both or hate both. If you can borrow one until you figure out what your baby likes then go for it! If not, then check out consignment stores and

2) A stretchy wrap like a Moby (there are lots of brands)

I debated on whether to put this in the Essentials list or the Nice to Have List because it really can make your life easier, especially depending on what kind of carseat you get. Since we choose to forgo the infant type carrier carseat we needed a way to carry Turtle when we were out. This was awesome and I used it all.the.time! It looks intimidating to wrap but once you get the hang of it, it's super easy. I would wrap it before I left the house and then just wear it while I drove. During Turtle's colicky phase, she practically lived in this thing. If all else failed I could head to the mall, pop her in this thing and walk around while she slept. We also used it when we went out to eat. It allowed her to sleep on me and for me to still have my hands free. I'm not sure what I would have done without it! There are lots of positives to "babywearing" and although I'm not an activist about it, I do feel that wearing you baby can help them transition to the outside world. And no you're not going to spoil them. It's impossible to spoil a baby in the first few months of life.

3) Bottle Drying Rack

Although not essential, if you are doing any significant bottle feeding (either pumped breastmilk or formula), a drying rack can help so much! I was just using a hand towel for the first few weeks, but wow! That drying rack made it so much easier. We have a small, super cheep one but it works. I'd like to have a more expensive one but since I only have experience with ours I can't say if it's worth the extra money or not.

4) A Good Bottle Brush

In the same vein as the drying rack, you'd be amazed at how exciting a good bottle brush can be! We have the Dr Brown's bottle brush and love it but there are lots of different ones. What I love the most about it (and something I'd recommend in any brush) is the suction cup holder thingy. I love knowing that it's not sitting on the counter and can dry completely between cleanings.

5) Sleepy Sheep

This thing is like baby crack to some babies and saved our sanity on more than one occasion. Basically it's a stuffed lamb with a white noise pack in its back. It plays things like a mother's heartbeat, the ocean, the rain, whales, etc. White noise can be very comforting to a newborn because they are used to hearing the sound of the mother's heartbeat, blood rushing through veins, etc.

6) Happiest Baby on the Block DVD

This is another one of those things that I debated which list it should go on. We actually didn't get it, but man I wish we had! Basically he teaches parents how to make the outside world feel as much like the womb as possible to help sooth their babies and help them transition. The only thing I don't like is that he present the techniques (which are all AWESOME!) in a way that makes them sound like a sure fire formula for a calm baby and our experience has been that sometimes babies just cry for no apparent reason. So, don't think of these techniques as a miracle formula but more as a tool box of techniques you can pull from when your little one is upset.

7) A Diaper Bag

You can absolutely use any bag you have on hand, that's why this isn't on the Essentials list. Throw a puppy pad in your old college back pack and you are ready to go. But I have absolutely loved the diaper bag I have. It is a Vera Bradley and was a huge splurge that I got as a birthday gift and what I love the most about it is the plastic lining on the inside which helps me not fear leaks and all the pockets, including two on the side just perfect for a bottle and a thing of water.

Although there are wonderful manly options for dads out there now, Jay decided to use one of his own bag . For Christmas I got him the Diaper Dude Changing Station which folds out to a changing pad and holds diapers and wipes.

He can slip this down in any bag he already owns and it suddenly becomes a diaper bag, a discrete diaper bag that is. ;-) The main thing you want to think about when purchasing a diaper bag is the weight of the actual bag. Some of the messenger styles bags are really cool looking but they weigh a lot by themselves.  Add diapers, wipes, bottles, milk, water, a change of clothes, etc, etc, and you have a bag too heavy to carry for any length of time.

8) Baby Wash Clothes and Towels

I know the baby stores don't want you to know this, but it is in fact NOT illegal to use full size adult wash clothes and towls for babies. Hehe. But I will say that I love, love, love baby wash clothes. We have just a cheap pack of Gerber washclothes from Walmart and love them. They are small and thin which I think makes washing a wiggly baby easier. The hooded baby towels are soo cute and we have one we love but most of the ones out there are thin and cheap (and yet expensive). So, don't feel like you need to stock up. People will most likely buy you some anyway because they are just too stinking cute to pass up.

9) Baby Bath Tub

Until the cord stump falls off you'll want to give the baby sponge baths and all you really need to do that is a fluffy towel folded up beside the sink. I'm a little "eh" about the whole baby bath tub thing because we have never really liked ours. Turtle has always been a wiggle worm and and we've spent most of our time with one person holding her up while the other soaps her up and then sprays her down. I've heard good things about these foam mats that sit in the bathtub and might have gone that direction if I had it to do over again. Right now we have a dish pan in our kitchen sink that we use as a bathtub. It's not big enough for her to slip around too much and seems to be working pretty well.

10) Microwaveable Serilizing Packs

These things are awesome!! You stick your pump parts, paci's, toys, etc in the bag with 2 oz of water and pop it in the microwave for 30ish seconds and ta-da! All sanitized! Love, love love!

11) Breast Pump

This is a difficult topic for me because we had to abandon breastfeeding at 2 1/2 weeks due to low supply and my mental state. I was so thankful to have a pump that a friend had sent me though. It was a lifesaver a few times and gave me another option when I was having problems. They are SUPER expensive though so I'm hesitent to say you should have one on hand. It depends a lot of how you feel about breastfeeding and such. Know that it might be covered by a Flex Spending Account so that can help cover the cost. You can also rent them from the hospital until you decide if breastfeeding is going to work for you. This is one of those items you don't want to buy off Craigslist though. The manufacturers will tell you not to use a used one at all, but I was comfortable using one from a close friends. It's up to you really.

I think those are my major Nice to Have Items for the newborn stage. What were your favorites? I'll probably update as people remind me of things.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter... or not.

I really like listening to audiobooks. I've had an account at for a while and just recently started downloading books about parenting because I realized there was no way I was going to have the time to read them any time soon. But I have a 30-45 minutes commute each way every day. That gives me plenty of time to listen and absorb as much information as possible.

Right now I'm listening to one of the best books I've ever read/heard. It's called, The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence by Rachel Simmons.

I suspected it was going to be good, but it has completely blown me away! The basic premise is that so many of the things our society admires about "good girls" (such as passivity, putting other before herself at all costs, doesn't rock the boat, doesn't speak her mind) these things do not serve her well as she grows up. In fact they often cripple her as she moves into the workforce and adult interpersonal relationships.

As I listened to her describe the "good girl" I realized that I come from a long line of "good girls". We play the martyr then sulk because no one acknowledged, we get mad at those closest to us because they couldn't read our minds and anticipate our needs, needs we don't voice because we feel they aren't as important as others, and the list goes on and on! As she talked about the difficulties these traits present in adulthood I knew what she was going to say before she said it because I live it! At that moment, I came to a difficult conclusion.

I do not want Turtle to grow up to be like me.

I hope she never stands in a crowd and feels overcome with anxiety because she truly believes she doesn't deserve to take up space in this world and because she can't make herself small enough to get out of every one's way.  I hope she never shakes with anger because she feels she can't speak up when she feels disrespected.  I hope she never shies away from a challenge because she's terrified of failure.  I hope she never shies away from conflict because her self worth somehow rides on her need to be perfect.  I hope she never stays in a dysfunctional and unhealthy relationship because she's allowed that person to make her feel inferior. While we're at it, I hope she never gets into a dysfunctional and unhealthy relationship because she doesn't feel that she deserves anything better!

The thing I love the most about this book, though, is that the author presents the information in a freeing and empowering way. (Which is much better than the last book I tried to listen to which was just alarmist, depressing, and infuriating!) She makes you feel like it doesn't have to be like this and gives you tools to use to help your daughter become a "real girl" instead of a "good girl".  I am actively working on retraining the "good girl"/"good mom" in myself and releasing the "real girl". Hopefully that'll make it easier for Turtle to become the real, true, authentic girl she is meant to be. Because I know that no matter what I say, if I act as if I don't deserve to take up space in this world or that my needs aren't as important as others... that is what she will ultimately learn.

It's not going to be easy, but between Grandma, Mama, and Turtle, I think we can figure it out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In the Mean Time

I've been working on some pretty intense blogs about baby gear and what is really necessary to bring home a baby lately and there is lots more to come. But in the mean time, I wanted to share this awesome pic my brother got this weekend. He got a new lens for his camera and needed a willing model. Turtle is always willing and she even had on one of my favorite outfits. I call it her Punk Princess outfit. I also love that you can see a couple of my tattoos.

I'm sure I'll post a bunch more from this shoot but this should hold you over. Look at those chubby cheeks! I die! If you want to see more of my brother's awesome photography check out his Flickr account. If you kids are looking over your shoulder beware though, his primary love is car photography and sometimes with cars come scantily clad girls. Just a heads up. Have a great day!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bringing Home Baby: A Budget Newborn Survival List

Just like planning for a wedding, planning for a baby is all about priorities. There isn't enough money in the world to purchase all the products the baby industry tells you you "need". I'd like to tell you that I understood this from the beginning and approached our registry and baby gear purchases sanely and methodically. That would only be true though if we lived in opposite world. I'm embarrassed to admit that about 15 minutes after peeing on a stick I was researching nursery decor (and that's only a slight exaggeration). Within weeks I was drowning in contradictory product reviews, must have registry lists, and enough opinions to make my head spin. I think it was mostly my way of channeling my anxiety over being a first time mom and having what I was doing.

Eventually I realized (with the help of my husband) that one way of prioritizing everything was to focus on what we would need to bring the baby home first. This helped a lot, which is why I'm choosing this topic to start the baby gear discussion. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of baby gear, there are two major things that you need to understand.

One: Remember that stores will be open after the baby comes!

As our lactation consultant laughingly said, "It's like new parents think Target is closing for good after their baby comes." I realized that I was acting as if I believed that. You do not need to have everything under the sun by the time the baby is born.


Two: Remember that regardless of how much research you do, you will not know exactly what you need until that little baby gets here!

And this applies to every aspect of parenting. So, even though I'm going to give you my take on the Newborn Must-Have list, know that you can only figure it out as you go along. As one of my besties told me a few days into this bliss called motherhood, "Welcome to parenting by the seat of your pants."

Truthfully, and don't tell Babies R Us that I told you this, but there is actually very little that you NEED to bring the baby home. Here's my bare bones budget list.

1) Carseat

This is a non-negotiable item and one I feel should be prioritized very close to the top if not at the top of the list. We spent more on our carseat then we did on any other item. I'm going to do a whole post on new vs. used items but this is not an item you want to get used if at all possible. Granted any carseat is better than none, carseats should be destroy after an accident and also have expiration dates on them. Therefore, unless you are getting one from an extremely trusted friend, a new carseat is recommended. Also, keep in mind that all seats (from the $35 basic Cosco brand convertable to the $300+ Britax) have to meet the same basic safety standards. Therefore every carseat sold new in a store is safe for you child to ride in. Most of the variation comes in ease of use features and comfort features and the safest carseat is the one that fits your car the best and that you will use consistently and correctly.

Now there are two major kinds for babies. The infant carrier style and the convertible style. An infant carrier has a handle and a base. The infant can be loaded in and out of the carrier in the house and then snapped into the base which stays installed in the car. Infant carrier style seats are only rear facing and have a lower weight limit. With a convertible, the carseat stays installed in the car and the baby is loaded in and out in the car. Convertible carseats can be used rear facing or forward facing and therefore have a higher weight limit. No matter what anyone tells you, both types are equally safe! Ultimately, you will need a convertible at some point in your child's life so that's a given. The question then becomes do you want to invest in an infant carrier.

We chose not to. Turtle came home from the hospital in a Britax Boulevard 70 CS and it will probably be the only carseat she ever needs. Would I do this again? Yes and no. If I had it to do over again, I'd still invest the money we did into the Britax, but I would have purchased a basic, inexpensive infant carrier for the first few weeks. She was so floppy when she was first born that it was difficult to get her buckled into the Britax and the hassle it entailed kept me from going out and doing things when I was on maternity leave.

2) Somewhere for the Baby to Sleep.

This could be a bassinet, a pack and play, or a crib. At 4 1/2 months, Turtle is still in her co-sleeper bassinet. I've loved this thing and am so glad we bought it (purchased used by the way). The third side folds down so you can attach it to your bed or it can stand on its own and serve as a free standing bassinet. I've had it both attached and unattached. I recommend having the baby in your room whether you put the crib in your room, use a basinette or pack and play. Getting up in the middle of the night is so much easier when the baby is right there at your bedside. However, you certainly can put the baby in a crib in his/her room from the very beginning. It's up to you.

Along with whatever you choose for baby to sleep in, you will need a couple of sheets (at least two but I think three is better: one for the basinette/crib/pack and play, one for the dirty clothes and one to have in the linen closet). It's always nice to have one clean at all times for those middle of the night diaper leaks or spit up lakes. Layering is awesome. On Turtle's bed I have it made up like this: waterproof mattress pad, sheet, waterproof mattress pad, sheet. This allows me to strip one layer off in the middle of the night without having to put another one on. Since she hasn't slept in her crib for the night yet, we haven't had a chance to use this system but I do wish I could do this on the co-sleeper. It would make things easier but the special sheets don't allow for multiple layers.

3) A Wearable Blanket

Pretty much everyone agrees that babies should be put to bed on their back without any lose covers or stuffed animals or anything else in their sleeping area. This creates a problem with keeping baby warm. That's where Sleep Sacks come in. Sleep sacks keep baby warm without the worry that they will get tangled up in their blankets, impeding their breathing. We got the one with the swaddle wings and it worked wonders!

4) Something for the Baby to Wear

Footed sleepers are awesome! Newborns sleep so much of the time that these make life really easy. I've heard that the zippered ones are the best since sleep deprivation and snaps don't always go together, but we managed just fine. Now as for sizes. Some babies will be born wearing "newborn" sized clothes. Some will be too big and will go right into "0-3" which is usually larger than "newborn". Note that Carter's clothes are sized a little differently. Their size 3 is actually a 0-3 and their 6 is a 3-6, etc. Now just to make everything more fun, not all newborn sized clothes are the same size. Grr! So there's really no way to know ahead of time. My recommendation is to have a few footed sleepers (maybe a 3-pack or two) in size newborn and 0-3. When the baby gets here you'll know better what sizes to buy and can purchase more. I know some people who bought truck loads of newborn clothes that their children never wore and then others who had to go out and buy newborn sizes because all their baby was too small for the 0-3. There's really no way to know.

5) Something to Put on Their Butt

We like the Pampers Swaddlers and Pampers Wipes which were used in our hospital but everyone swears by something else. This is another one of those things that you won't be able to know until after the baby comes. Some babies react better to certain brands and some fit better than others. So, bottom line... don't stock up before the baby and any boxes you buy, keep the receipts (one friend would tape it to the side of the box) so that you can exchange them if necessary. I recommend one box of newborn size and one box of size 1. That is of course if you are doing disposable diapers.

If you chose to use cloth diapers that's a whole other ballgame. Since we decided to only use disposables I don't know much about cloth, but there is lot so good information out there!

6) Somewhere to Change Their Butt

You can get a dedicated changing table, put a changing pad on top of a dresser, or simply pick up some puppy pads. I don't recommend a changing table since it's such a unique piece of furniture and is hard to use after the diaper stage. Putting a changing pad on top of a dresser is an option a lot of people are going with, or you can simply use the floor/your bed/the couch/etc. Whatever you choose to do, I recommend getting a pack of puppy training pads (available at Wal-Mart, Target, grocery stores, etc.). These make anything a changing pad and they work. Turtle peed without her diaper on when I was changing her on my bed. The puppy pad absorbed everything and my bed was no worse for the wear. Even if you get a changing pad, this will protect the cover so that you don't have to wash it as often.

7) At Least One Bottle

Whether you decide to breastfeed or formula feed have at least one bottle on hand when you bring the baby home because you never know how things are going to go. We had a hard time breastfeed and my poor husband had to run out to the drugstore to get one out of desperation.  However, just like so many other things, you won't know what bottle type your baby likes until he or she is here so don't stock up on one type, or at least keep the receipts and don't wash them all. We use the Dr. Browns and love them even though they have a few extra pieces. Don't get overwhelmed by the bottle section at the baby stores. They are all equally acceptable and it really just depends on what your baby likes. I know people who swear by all the brands.

8) Pack of Gerber Tri-Fold Cloth Diapers (as burp clothes)

These are the best burp clothes out there, in my opinion. They are larger than the pretty ones, thicker and cheaper. Love, love, love them. You can use them as for all kinds of things. Trust me, just get a pack. You'll be glad you did.

9) Nursing Tanks

If you choose to breastfeed I highly recommend having a couple of these on hand. They make frequent breastfeeding sessions quick and easy and throw a cardigan or sweater over top and you're ready to accept guests. The ones I have are from Target and I love them but there are lots out there.

10) Boppy Nursing Pillow

We have used ours every single day since Turtle came home from the hospital. It is so helpful not only for breastfeeding but for general baby cuddling. I don't think we could have survived without ours.

So, there you go, my Top 10 Newborn Survival List. Next I'll do a Newborn Nice to Have List, but this should get you started.

Edited to Add: A good friend of ours, and new father, had a wonderful suggestion after reading this on Facebook. He recommends having a couple houndred dollars in the bank when the baby comes home because as you can see from above, there are so many things that you can't know you need until the baby is here! I would add as well to save those gift cards! If it came down too it, as long as you have the few things on this list, I'd save any giftcards you have and as much money as you can until after the baby is here and you can know what they like and don't like. I know we spent a good amount of money the first few weeks because we realized what bottles she liked and needed a few more, what paci's she liked and need a few more, she was smaller than we'd anticipated and needed more newborn sized clothes, and we realized that even though I'd scoffed at the swaddlers and said, "Oh! I can do that with just a blanket. I don't need no fancy velcro swaddler" our little swaddle Houdini had other ideas.

Bringing Home Baby:

1) Introduction
2) A Pregnancy Must Have List
3) A Budget Newborn Survival List

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesdays

Sitting on Grandma's back porch watching squirrels while Grandma drinks her coffee. It took everything in me not to leave work and join them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bringing Home Baby: A Series

As I mentioned in a recent post, one of my besties is pregnant and it has really caused me to reflect on what I've learned over the past year and change. So, I've decided to start a series called Bringing Home Baby because writing it all in an email is just not nearly as much fun. I'm considering this post the first in the series.

Pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood is overwhelming.The baby gear industry alone has exploded in the last few years. A friend of mine just had a baby and was amazed (and kind of appalled) by how much more stuff there is now for babies than there was just 6 years ago when her daughter was born. My mom is amazed by the maternity clothing options we have now. She used to wrap a hair band around the button hole in her jeans so she could wear them a little longer. Now there is a whole line of products to do that for you.

As a very decisive person, I was shocked to find myself so adrift when it came to what Turtle needed. My mom says it's a drawback of our information saturated society. Sometimes too much information leads to confusion instead of clarity. I tackled our baby registry with the same fervor as I would a college research project... and about drove myself crazy!

Just like planning a wedding, preparing for a baby is all about priorities. So that's why in the next little bit, you'll see posts about registering, what you need to bring the baby home vs. what can wait, new vs. used, and what I thought would be important vs. what actually became important.

Before we get started though, there is one major thing you must know. The most important thing I've learned since becoming a mother is this simple truth: Every baby is different, every mother is different, and every day is different. So, what worked for me and Turtle may not work for you. Something I deem to be a must-have may be on your useless list and vise versa. For instance, I think wipes warmers are a complete waste of time but our good friends swear by theirs because cold wipes make their daughter pee for sure. So, take everything I say with a grain of salt. This is what worked for me, Jay and Turtle.

And just as a general note. When it comes to baby gear there is a wonderful book called Baby Bargains that I recommend for anyone having a baby. It really helped me, and a lot of people I know, sift through the crap and find the diamonds. It ranks different baby gear, lets you know what companies have had the most recalls, and gives you options in different price ranges. I clung to it like it was a life raft.

I hope you enjoy this series and I promise I'll still post plenty of pictures of Turtle while I'm at it.

Bringing Home Baby:
1) Introduction
2) A Pregnancy Must Have List

We Interupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programing...

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programing of fart stories and letters to the rubber ducky maker people to introduce you to an awesome new blogger. The Mama Shannon is one of the funniest women I know. Her ability to retain her sense of humor (and amazing style) in the face of some extremely challenging circumstances really gives me something to strive for. Shannon is a single mother of two beautiful children. Her oldest, Olin, now 6 years old was diagnosed with sever autism at the age of 2. Instead of wallowing in self-pity she has risen to the occasion, learning everything she can about autism and becoming her son's biggest advocate and cheerleader. Shannon also has a daughter named Ruby who is 2 going on 22 and her antics are priceless.

So, how did I come to recommend you add this blog to your probably already over crowded Google Reader? Well, Shannon is one of my best friends although we've never actually met in real life.

The short story is: she used to be married to one of Jay's old Navy buddies.

The long story goes like this: Shannon married one of Jay's best friends in the early years of his Navy career. Jay spent many nights hanging out at Shannon's house and she was kind of the designated Mama of all these ragamuffin sailors. Olin is like Jay's adopted "first born" since he spent so much time at their house and helped out a lot after he was born. Shannon even introduced him to the girl he was seeing when we got together (or that I stole him from depending on who you ask). ;-) This combined with the fact that Shannon and her family had moved back to California before I moved to Virginia combined to mean that we never actually met. Over the years though, through Facebook and text messaging. We've gotten to be very good friends and it's a little scary how similar we are. One of us will post about how we like something totally obscure (and usually dorky) and the other will comment on how much we like that too. She's really introduced me to the autism issue and I've gained so much knowledge and understanding through reading her posts and the things she links to. It's because of her humor and perspective that I'm so glad she has decided to enter the world of blogging. Hop on over to her blog My Not-So-Mundane Life and see what you think. You won't be sorry.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bringing Home Baby: A Pregnancy Must Have List

I just found out that one of my besties is pregnant with her first. I decided to put together a Survival Kit for her and it's got me thinking about the things I learned through out my pregnancy and what I recommend for others. I decided this would be something fun to post about so that I can reference it when other friends get pregnant.

1st Trimester

Prenatal Vitamins!!!!!!!!

This should be one of the first things you think about after finding out that you're pregnant. Consult your doctor about which ones are the best but anything is better than nothing. My doctor wrote me a prescription but you can get them at many stores. If you think they are making your nausea worse, consider trying a different brand or type or taking it at a different time of day. Some of the girls I know had good luck with Targets gummy prenatals. I set an alarm on my phone and it helped me take them almost every single day I was pregnant. Always consult your doctor though!

Cracker Packs!

I've said for a while that the pregnancy test people should get with the Lance Cracker company and make a combo pack because if the test is positive you should go ahead and put a couple packs in your purse. ;-) The first few weeks the nausea was pretty bad, but I could manage it if I kept something in my stomach. Eating every couple of hours became very important. I also found cereal to be really helpful because I could eat a little or a lot. If we were meeting friends for dinner but wouldn't be eating for a couple of hours, I could eat just a small bowl when I got home from work and it would keep me from getting too nauseous while we were waiting for a table. Also, servers are usually pretty helpful and will bring you some crackers or something if you need it. I had to do that a few times while I was figuring the whole thing out.

Jolly Ranchers or Preggy Pops

Some people find sour things settle a nauseous stomach. I found that they made me want to throw up even more. But a lot of girls I know swear by them!


This was probably my way of incorporating something sour, plus I got dehydrated really easily. This was my go to when I knew I needed to up my fluid intake, plus it's caffeine free. The premeasured powder packs were awesome too!

Ice Water with a Straw

Don't ask me why this seemed to help the nausea and why it was one of my biggest cravings. But since I'm a non-water drinker when not pregnant, I was just thankful!


Growing a human is E-X-H-A-U-S-T-I-N-G! Get as much sleep as you can and don't apologize for it. If you partner doesn't want to go to bed that early then get used to going to sleep by yourself. I know it's not very romantic but trust me, you'll be glad you did when you can function the next day.

Pregnancy Books

I definitely recommend that you pick up a book about pregnancy, if not 30. Learning about what my body was doing helped me feel more in control. BUT... be careful which you you read. The most popular, What to Expect When You're Expecting should really be retitled What to Freak the Freak Out About While You're Expecting. I found it to be way too anxiety producing. My doctor gave me Your Pregnancy Week by Week and it was much better. In my opinion, pregnancy is kind of like water. If you're going to be on it or in it, you need to understand it and respect it but not fear it. If what you are reading is making you fear pregnancy and childbirth talk to your medical professional or other moms and find an alternative.

2nd Trimester

BeBand (Bella Band or other brands)

This thing is awesome and a life saver! When you start showing it allows you to wear your pre-pregnancy pants (unbuttoned) for a while longer. Plus by the end even your maternity shirts will have a hard time covering your bump and the waist band of your maternity pants. This extends your shirts and helps you feel all covered up.

Body Pillow (Regular and Pregnancy Specific)

I just got a regular body pillow from IKEA, but there are many options. I thought mine was ok but since I didn't have any others I can't really compare. The pregnancy specific ones get really expensive but seeing how important it was towards the end, I can see investing in it. As your belly gets bigger it needs a little bit of support to make sleeping possible. A body pillow supports the belly and also helps with hip pain. Whether you buy a pregnancy specific pillow, a standard body pillow, or use multiple pillows you'll need something by the time you get to the end of the second trimester/third trimester.

A Good Body Lotion

People swear by different things but from the research I've done stretch marks are genetic. Either you are going to get them or you're not regardless of any products you use, so I don't recommend putting too much time and effort into finding that miracle cream. I didn't have any problems, but some of my friends had problems with their bellies itching and burning as they stretched to accommodate the growing human, so a good, basic body lotion really helped.

3rd Trimester


During the 3rd Trimester, my biggest complaint was indigestion. I really had to start watching what I ate and cut out as much fried food, anything with tomatoes, vinegar, or too much grease which cut out almost everything I eat. Oops. By the last few weeks I was beginning to wonder if one could live on nothing but TUMS. I recommend buying a few small packages so that you can have containers in different places. I had one in my office drawer, one in my car, one by the couch downstairs, and one by my bed. After you get your smaller containers start buying them in large containers and just refill your small ones or you'll go broke. Note though that you can overdose on TUMS so don't eat them like candy. Plus they'll back you up for realz which most pregnant women don't need any help with. ;-)

Baked Potatoes

The only thing I found that would consistently not give me indigestion was baked potatoes. I guess in the grand scheme of things that was a fairly healthy thing to crave. I think the starch calmed down the acid but that's just my guess. Most people don't know that Wendy's sells various baked potatoes including a broccoli and cheese one. I think I single handedly kept the Wendy's by my office and house in business. I probably had a baked potato 5-7 times a week. Thankfully Jay's Irish so he loves anything made from the potato. Don't know if this will help anyone else, but it certainly helped me.

Classes and Hospital Tour

This is the time for taking as many classes as you can (in my opinion). Check with your hospital to see what they offer but you can also take classes other places. I'm a big fan of classes. I took Breastfeeding, Infant CPR (should have been renamed, 1001 Ways Your Baby Can Die but still good), and the Car Seat class through our hospital and then we took the Hypnobabies Childbirth class. I'm glad I took the class, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to a first timer. It focuses on eliminating the pain of childbirth through hypnosis to the exclusion of everything else. So, if the hypnosis doesn't work for you during labor, you don't have a lot of techniques to fall back on. Regardless of whether you decide to have an epidural or not, I highly recommend a childbirth class of some kind. Childbirth is difficult and painful no matter how you approach it. Even if you get an epidural you will most likely feel contractions for hours before you can get it so knowing how to cope is essential. Plus it is unlike anything you have ever experiencing and that unknown can be very scary if you don't understand what's going on.

I think that's the best advise I can give. I'm sure I'll have to do another post soon because I'll think of a million other things. It's amazing, it's only been a few months since I was pregnant, but it feels like another lifetime. I can't even imagine a time when Turtle wasn't with us.

Ok, Mamas. What's your go-to pregnancy items?

Bringing Home Baby:
2) A Pregnancy Must Have List

Friday, July 8, 2011


In honor of the end of 4th of July week, and because I discovered it this morning... I present Katy Perry's Firework for your Friday enjoyment.  I am both pained to admit that I like Katy Perry and embarrassed that I'm so late to the party.

I want to raise Turtle to be a firework. I know that will mean she'll probably bump heads with me first, but that's ok. I want her to know how to speak her mind and express herself. I want her to be someone who stands up for what she believes in even if it's not popular (and even if it's not what I believe in).

'Cause baby you're a firework.
Come on show 'em what you're worth!

Oh! And I want purple hair like her's!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Rubber Ducky Maker People

Dear Rubber Ducky Maker People,

On a recent trip to my local Target (long live Target), I decided that what my baby daughter desperately needed to make her bath time complete was one of your delightful products. My eye was immediately drawn to one I thought was a female superhero. Upon further inspection, I realized that she was in fact a cheerleader. Ok, not the role model I'd like to have for my baby daughter's bathtime, but no big deal. As I looked for alternative "girl" ducks, I was shocked to find my options limited to the above mentioned cheerleader, a princess, and a mermaid (complete with seashell string bikini top). To my horror, I also discovered that the "boy" ducks were a fire fighter, a police officer, and a cowboy (all fully clothed). Now, I know I have been accused of being one of "those" feminist types, and sometimes a rubber ducky is just a rubber ducky, but I am appalled by your pigeon ducky-holing of young girls into roles based primarily on their looks while encouraging boys to be heroic and productive members of society. I am outraged by your utter lack of postive female role model rubber duckies! I demand that this problem be resolved!

Concerned Mother

Needless to say, we went with a plain, old fashioned, yellow rubber ducky. Which Turtle seems to have no interest it other than chewing on the packaging it came in. :-/

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

To Sleep, Or Not to Sleep... (Weeks 18 and 19)

That seems to be the question around our house! We've gotten a handful of nights were Turtle goes down at 8ish and doesn't even stir until 6ish when we wake her up to eat. And then in between there has been a few nights where she doesn't want to be in her bassinet at all and she tosses and turns in my arms all night alternating between spitting out her paci and whining for me to find it. It's been super fun! (You know there really needs to be a font to indicate sarcasm. Could someone please get on that!)

Thankfully, I think we've gotten the no-sleeping thing figured out. We really need a dual a/c system for our house, but that cost moneys and we don't have moneys right now because we have a baby and it seems like you can only have one or the other. Anyway... in order for the upstairs be cool it would have to be down right frigid downstairs, so we usually just deal with it being a little warm upstairs. Apparently we hadn't realized that it had gotten a little too hot upstairs in the last few days. So, in a fit of desperation, I discussed the possibility of the temperature affecting her sleep with Jay. He agreed and bumped the temp down a little. (I do not touch the thermostat if possible. This comes from years of being yelled at by my dad (and ex-husband) for turning it up or down too much. It's a thing. I should get over it. I don't really care.) Anyway, we also turned the ceiling fan up a notch and ta-da! Like magic she slept through the night! Woohoo! Just like her Mama, she can't sleep if it's too hot. Lesson learned.

This weekend was also monumental because Turtle laughed for the first time ever! Now she's a very happy baby and has been squealing and making happy noises for a long time, but I've been waiting for that rolling laughter for a long time. On Sunday I went to Dunkin Donuts for a quick chocolate fix (read: chocolate overload!) and when I came back Jay said, "Please don't be mad!" Hehe. I wasn't mad. I was so happy, and so happy that he got to experience it. Apparently, the puppy had been scratching on the couch trying to get to one of his toys. Jay snapped at him to stop and Turtle thought it was so funny. Well, needless to say we spent most of the evening snapping in an effort to get her to do it again. The poor puppy is so freaking confused. She only did it one more time and it was, again, when the puppy was getting into something and Jay was snapping at him to stop. It was the best sound ever!!

One of the other things we've been trying lately is eating at the dinner table. We put Turtle in her high chair and let her play with her toys while we eat. It's been so fun to interact as a family of three and gives me a glimpse of what it will be like in the years to come. We don't do it every night. It really depends on whether or not I got to see Jon Stewart's The Daily Show before we sit down for dinner. :-) Priorities? What are those?

We also got Turtle an Exersauser this weekend. She wants to stand up all.the.time! This gets old. So, I figured it was time for a big, obnoxious, over-priced, plastic thing to help her do that. So, we went to the local consignment shops and found one in good condition. She loves it. Well, for about 10 minutes at a time, which I can sympathise with because that's about as long as my attention span is too. Poor girl.

I also started experimenting with putting Turtle in the shopping cart and restaurant high chairs. It was a huge success! She's not quite sitting, but she does pretty well with a little help from us. We do have to teather any toy she's playing with otherwise we end up spending half the time playing the pick up game.

I think that about hits the highlights for the past couple of weeks. I've taken lots of photos though, so get ready for cuteness overload!

We love our Bumbo. I know some people aren't fans because they can be expensive and the babies grow out of them so quickly, but we got ours at a consignment shop for about half price and it's been well worth it. I take it to restaurants so that we don't have to hold her all the time. (Although this weekend we put her in the highchair and it seemed to work pretty well.) My mom also uses it a lot during the day at her house since she doesn't have a high chair yet.

"Red White & Cute" How cute is that onesie?!?! I loved it so much that I had to get a few pictures of it. And I love having Daddy help with the photo shoots. You can see in the first picture that I took by myself that it's like she loses me when I put the camera up in front of my face. In the second one she's looking at Daddy. Oh how I love that!

She's also starting to do this thing called "tripoding".  It's when they sit up and balance themselves on their arms. It's a pre-sitting milestone and helps them learn to sit up. She'll be sitting before we know it!

These are a couple I got in the yummy morning light in my craft room. I realized thought that if we ever get the guest room cleaned out, that will probably become my studio because it gets the most light of any room in our entire house.

Have a great week everyone!

Happy 4th Everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! Even though it didn't go as planned, we did at our house. But I know you are all chomping at the bit to see our Old Navy Flag Shirts 4th of July Family Picture! Well... maybe chomping at the bit is a little bit of an overstatement.  Anyway... here it is!

Yes, I'm well aware that you can't really see all our shirts. But when we started taking pictures we realized that besides matching t-shirts we were also sporting some matching pudge and so as the Super Parents we are, we decided to stick Turtle out front and we'd just hide behind her. Baby fat is cute anyway, right? We did discover that getting a 4 month old to look out at an empty yard and a camera on a tripod while her parents sit behind her is a challenge to say the least. I thought we were going to have to call Grandma to come help, but eventually I started sticking my fingers out in front of her and clicking until the last possible second. I think next year we'll try to enlist some help though. :-)

We had big plans to meet friends for fireworks. We'd even bought hot pink ear protection for the babies so they could enjoy the fireworks. But that was not to be had. Right as we were heading out, the weather turned bad. By the time we got to our favorite little town the heavens opened up. We ran into the Bojangles to sit out the ran, hoping it would just blow through. But by the time our friends got there, we could tell that even if the rain did stop, it was going to be too wet to do much of anything. So, we hugged and assured each other that we'd entertain the babies with the bubbles and sparklers next weekend. The upside was we got home at a much more descent hour.

So, how was your 4th of July?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Friday

I puffy sparkle heart Fridays! In fact they are one of my favorite days of the week. Saturday is my actual favorite day of the week, but Friday doesn't run too far behind. Why you ask? Because every Friday is payday for me. I'm lucky enough to work in an office where we get paid every week and boy do I take advantage of it.

See, I REALLY don't want to be working. I mean, it's not nearly as bad as I thought or feared it would be and I definitely like being able to go to the bathroom by myself whenever I want and staying relatively spit up free all day, but if the oportunity presented itself for me to be a stay-at-home-mom, I'd jump on it in a heartbeat. With the bills we have and the access we have to affordable childcare (i.e. Grandma) it's really not an option for me to stay home right now. Because of this unexpected turn of events (I always assumed I'd be able to stay home after having children), my husband and I have made a deal.

Every Friday, either at lunch or after work, I get to go buy something small for Turtle, most likely something she absolutely dose not need in any way, shape, or form (I mean, how many paci's could a kid possibly need??? Says my husband,)... and I don't have to justify it or feel bad about it. Last week it was new paci's. (But, honey, these have a Turtle on them and she doesn't have one that has a Turtle on it, duh.) This week... I'm not sure. I'm thinking about a new outfit.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend! We are hoping to take Turtle to see fireworks on Monday so I'll let you know how that goes!