Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap of Faith

I'm a huge fan of the Bob and Sheri Show on The Link here in Charlotte.  I listen every morning on my way in to work, and then usually during the day I'll listen to podcasts of the hours I missed. Well, this morning, they decided to celebrate Leap Day by opening the phones to hear people's Leap of Faith stories. If this hadn't been right at 8am when I was supposed to be starting work, I definitely would have called in because it got me thinking about my crazy journey over the last few years.

Standing on that pier, watching J's ship pull in, after quitting my job and driving cross country with everything I owned in my car, knowing I was about to start a new life with a guy I had seen for SEVEN whole days out of the past five years, was the most terrifying moment of my life.

Less than a year later we were getting married.


This past weekend we celebrated the 1st birthday of our baby Turtle and in just three short weeks we'll celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary.

I will be eternally grateful that I made the very scary Leap of Faith. And I think I shall celebrate it every Leap Day. I texted my best friend, who also has plenty of Leap of Faith stories (the military seems to give you plenty of opportunity for them), and wished her a Happy Either-We're-Crazy-Brave-Or-Crazy-Stupid Day! So, what about you? What was your Leap of Faith?

Bringing Home Baby: A 9 Month Nice to Have List

Stand up play table

About this time, Turtle started pulling up on EVERYTHING! Grandma would joke and say, "That girl would sleep standing up if she could!" So, the exersaucer was out because it just frustrated her too much.  Although she would pull up on the outside and play with the toys.  We got this play table (or one very similar to it) at a consignment store (seeing a pattern, I'm a big fan of second hand stuff!) and it because a huge hit. Turtle was known for spending half her day just walking around and around and around it playing with all the different things.

Push Cart

Turtle also started wanting to walk around this time and this little push cart was AWESOME! Again, a consignment store find for less than half the price of retail. The cool thing about this one is that it had activity things on the front so it could be used both when she wanted to walk and when she wanted to just sit and play. We spent lots of time pointing her in a clear direction because she would just go until something stopped her (like a wall) and then get mad because she could go any further.

Plum Organic Baby Food and Twist on Spoons

We waited until 6 months to start Turtle on solid food so, by 9 months she was going strong. These squeezy style baby food containers were amazing. And the spoons that screw directly on them were a life saver for our busy on-the-go lifestyle! Also note that the Plum Organic spoons fit on any of the screw type squeezy pouch baby foods (or at least all the ones I've tried).  These aren't cheap and Grandma usually used the jarred food during the week since it was cheaper and she was home, but for us on the weekends these were awesome and worth the extra price.

Ready to feed formula bottles

Another thing that helped with our crazy weekend warrior lifestyle was the Ready to Feed 8 oz formula packs. Around this time, Turtle dropped down to only 2 bottles a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. So, carrying around a dispenser of formula and an entire bottle of water just wasn't worth it. Again, these are more expensive, but the convenience made it worth having a pack on hand just for the weekend.


While we are talking about food stuff, Puffs saved our sanity on more than one occasion! And yes, I was that pregnant woman who said, "I'll never give my child processed food." Um... yeah. Reality is a B! A few puffs can make the difference between having a fun lunch out with friends and a disaster! I like the Plum Organic ones because the container fits nicely in our diaper bag.

Soft Structured Carrier

Between 6 and 9 months, Turtle became very stable when sitting up which meant I could start doing more back carries and I discovered the awesomeness that is the soft structured carrier. I was lucky enough to have a Babywearing group in my area that had a lending library.  So, I was able to try out a couple of different carriers before buying one. I decided on the Boba 2G carrier (see link above) but there a a bunch of good ones out there including the Ergo.  Why did I go with the Boba? I like that the waist belt is long enough for my husband to use without needing a belt extender.  Other than that...personal preference. So, if there is anyway for your to try out different carriers either in stores, through friends or a babywearing group lending library, I highly recommend it! This thing gets used literally! My husband is in school 4 nights a week which means I'm on my own. One of the issues I have is how to carry everything in from the car.  Basically she cries anytime I leave her alone whether that's in the car or the high chair while I carry stuff in. So, if it weren't for this thing, I have no idea how I would get unloaded every evening. Additionally it helps me get stuff done like laundry, dishes, bottles made, etc. Turtle is perfectly happy to hang out in it for as long as I needed. I also use it when we are out shopping or doing errands.  I've become a pro at getting her in it and can do it in a few seconds. So it's great for quick trips in and out, but it's also comfortable enough to carry for longer times like at the mall or festivals.  It's also a lot easier to use than a stroller sometimes.  Every one's needs are different, but I highly recommend having a soft structured carrier in your arsenal if you plan to babywear!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bringing Home Baby: A 6 Month Nice to Have List

Toy Leashes

Trust me, these will save your sanity! About this time, Turtle learned the joy of throwing toys on the floor and watching Mommy and Daddy pick them up. I don't know what I would do without these strappy things. It's one of those ideas that's so simple it's stupid and awesome all at the same time! They are well worth the few dollars they sell for. Buy lots! Plus they work as back up paci holders in a pinch.


This thing was awesome and I highly recommend something like it. We got our at a consignment store and again, I highly recommend that route.  This is another item that is only heavily used for a few months and is easy to clean (my main criteria for buying used). The consignment stores always seems to have a few of them and there are always plenty on Craigslist as well so they are pretty easy to find. This allowed Turtle to play independently while we ate, cleaned up the house, and loaded the car in the morning.  Turtle wasn't quite tall enough when we first started using it so I put an old college text book under it for her to stand on. I knew I'd get some use out of those somehow! If I had it to do over again, I would probably invest in one like this that grows with the child. It starts out as a play mat, then becomes an exersaucer, then opens up to a play table.

Stacking Cups

These were a huge hit! I have no idea why, but they were. She played with them in the bath and out of the bath. It was months before she was stacking them, but they were still a huge help in keeping her occupied.

Shopping Cart/High Chair Cover


I found this one on a discount site before Turtle was born and we LOVED it! My only complaint is that it wasn't big enough for the larger shopping carts (like at Sams Club or the big plastic ones at Target).  What I loved about it, though was the wide, substantial built in seat belt! It supported Turtle enough so that we could start using it before she was fully sitting on her own. Again, we only used it for a few months, but it was a life saver for those few months. Eventually, Turtle started playing with it so much that it became more of a hassle than a help so that's when we stopped using it.

Pack 'n Play

This is one of those items that I wish we'd had from the get go.  Granted we survived with out it, but if I had it to do over again, I would have made sure we had one. About this time, Turtle started rolling and since she likes to sleep with us at night and with Grandma for naps, that became a problem. So, again, we hit up our local consignment store and bought a no frills Pack n Play. It stays at Grandma's most of the time and she has used it for everything from naps to blocking off the tv stand. If I was buying one for a newborn I would look for one with a bassinet feature but have heard that the "newborn napper" and "diaper changing" features are not as useful as one would expect.

Sling Carrier

As for babywearing, I was still using my sling carrier since Turtle wasn't quite stable sitting up on her own yet. I plan to do an entire post on babywearing but it's important to be careful when using a sling especially with a new born. If they are laying back in a cradle type carry you want to ensure that their chin is not resting on their chest because it can constrict their air flow. I've had three slings and must say that looking back my favorite was a inexpensive Munchkin one available at Target (see link above). The only reason why I got a different, more expensive one was because I didn't like the print (it wasn't as pretty as they one they carry now) and thought an adjustable one would be more comfortable. I found the adjustable one to be significantly less comfortable and without the ability to fold the material over my holder I found it hard to use the way I had used my sized ones, specifically for back carries. The one thing I haven't tried is a ring sling like a Maya Wrap. That might have been the perfect thing since you can adjust the "rails" separately but at this time we didn't have the money to be experimenting.
Next up... 9 month!