Monday, January 28

baby gear that we LOVE and actually USE

While we were waiting for Sam's arrival, we were committed to not buying a lot of baby stuff (with the exception of onesies and diapers).  I did not want our house to turn into Baby Land (you know what I'm talking about - those houses that look like Babies R Us exploded?). I remember coming across a list of essentials for newborns on Babble.com, and didn't know whether to laugh or stress out when it listed 100 items.  Do we really need a baby monitor when Sam is sleeping in the next room and we can hear every little movement? A vibrating bouncer? That's an essential?

Our deal was all we need is diapers, wipes, some onesies, a car seat, and a soft place for him to sleep. Keep it simple. You don't need a lot of STUFF to entertain your baby.  Sam's current favorite toy is an empty yogurt container and funnel from the kitchen.

We've come across some awesome and inexpensive gear that we love and use every day.  Before we had Sam, Taylor and I researched a TON, and I wish I had had a friend recommend products that they used often and didn't cost an arm and a leg.  I am NO authority on all things baby (I've been at this for barely six months), but a lot of friends are having babies, so I thought this would be helpful. Or maybe you're headed to a baby shower and want to give a gift that they'll actually use!

Bonus: every item costs less than $30. 
I've attached a link to the heading of each item if you want more information.

VANDRING Burp cloths IKEA Soft against baby's skin.
IKEA BURP CLOTHS
These are HUGE, and almost the size of a swaddling blanket. You can drape one over your entire arm/front/whatever for tons of coverage.  They don't bunch up like the cloth diapers/burp cloths when you wash them, and they're super absorbent.  $3.99 for 2 burp cloths.  You'll hate using your other burp cloths after you've used these!

[Award winning] Kidsme Food Feeder (Small size) 
I got Sam one of these for Christmas, and he loves it! We bring it with us when we eat out, and stick fresh fruit inside that he can munch on without the danger of choking.  He loves chomping on melon or chicken in this.  There are similar mesh versions, but this one is a lot easier to clean (and you can buy replacement silicone inserts). It's a quick fix for a fussy baby when you're eating out and a fun and easy way to introduce them to new foods. $12.80 on Amazon.

BABYBJORN Soft Bib
BABY BJORN SOFT BIB
$12 seems steep to me for a bib (we were gifted this), but it's made of soft silicone, which means you can just spray it off in the sink after each use.  Plus, most of the fabric ones we were given bunch up when you wash them and are then too small to provide much coverage. Save yourself some laundry (I swear the amount of laundry quadrupled when we had Sam!).  

Bright Starts Lots of Links- Solid Colors

For a while this was the only toy we had for Sam, and boy, he loves them! $7.06 on Amazon, and I've seen them for $3-4 in stores. A nice quieter toy for Church, and attaches to the car seat for long drives. Sam wasn't able to really play with these until he was about two months old.



Let me tell you, it is so nice to be able to zip up pajamas at 3am rather than figure out those darn snaps when you're legally blind without your contacts or glasses (you should have seen me the first few weeks).  I love the classic Hanna Andersson pajamas.  They're a little pricey ($32), but they're thick cotton, and hold up so well from wash-to-wash.  Luckily there's a Hanna Andersson outlet in Seattle (one of only 8 in the US) where every now and then they go on sale for as low as $10.  If you ever want me to pick up some cheap Hannas for you, let me know! They fit so well, and come in fun prints and colors. I now absolutely refuse to buy pajamas that have snaps - no matter how cute they are.  Once your baby starts squirming and kicking, you're going to be grateful for that single zipper.

SLEEP SACKS are also wonderful for newborns! We were iffy about putting Sam in something that looked like a dress, but they made diaper changes a cinch (and they're so snuggly!).

CAR SEAT ADAPTER FOR YOUR STROLLER
It is so nice to be able to just snap your car seat onto your stroller and go straight from the car to the store.  Getting Sam in and out of a car seat completely stressed me out, so this was a lifesaver.  It's great for quick trips to the grocery store - I just use the bottom compartment of the stroller to hold groceries. Our adapter cost about $30. Nearly every stroller out there has a compatible adapter for your car seat.
 Precious Firsts  Made by Carters ® Newborn 4 Pack Short-Sleeve Bodysuit - White
CARTERS ONESIES
$8.99 for a pack of 4 at Target (which I think is steep, but oh well).  These really do fit the best, as they're a little on the longer side.  Buy a ton, but don't waste your money on the newborn size. Sam only wore the newborn size once: on the day he was born. I ended up putting him in 3-month onesies because it's easier to put a slightly-too-big onesie on your newborn when you're a panicky new mom and just putting on a clean onesie is a stressful, scary ordeal.

 http://lp.hm.com/hmprod?set=key[source],value[/model/2012/P01%2096800%2008107%2076%201016%203.jpg]&set=key[rotate],value[]&set=key[width],value[]&set=key[height],value[]&set=key[x],value[]&set=key[y],value[]&set=key[type],value[STILL_LIFE_FRONT]&call=url[file:/product/large]
H&M ONESIES
They come in darling patterns and colors, and they're so, so soft! They stay looking brand new wash after wash, which is a bonus. 2 for $10. Such a good deal!



 
JERSEY PANTS
I love the longer fit of the Favorite cuffed pants from Baby Gap (they go on sale all of the time - I just got four pairs at 30% off this weekend).  The H&M ones are great, too ($5!).  Babies and jeans just don't go together. Sam has more pairs of jeans than Taylor and I put together, but he never wears them because they're so bulky on him and a NIGHTMARE to get on when he's fussy. If I could wear soft jersey pants all-day, every day, I would!
 
It looks like a torture device, but it's wonderful.  We didn't use ours until Sam was about 3-4 months old, but I wish we started using it earlier.  He LOVES this lounge chair!  Stick it in the bathtub (there's suction cups on the bottom to keep it still), and they've got a nice seat in the warm bathwater.  Sam goes crazy in this thing.  He loves being able to splash all he wants with both arms and legs, and it's nice for us to be able to use both hands.  We got ours from Amazon for $17. There are some fancy (expensive) baby bath seats that fit in your sink, but I like using the bathtub and not having to worry about getting water everywhere. It also works well in the shower if you don't have a bathtub.

Summer Infant 3 Stage Super Seat
This showed up on our front porch one day (like a lot of mystery packages from Amazon - thanks, Mom), and at first I considered sending it back because I thought it seemed a little excessive.  But when Sam started eating solids, this was just what we needed.  We break the rules and stick it on our kitchen table when we're eating, and Sam loves it! It's similar to a Bumbo, but I wouldn't recommend it for a really young baby (we started using this around 4 months).  We borrowed a Bumbo from a friend while we were in Salt Lake for the holidays, but we're too cheap to buy one.  Sam loves the toys on this, and it's easy to take apart and wash in the kitchen sink when it gets covered in prunes and rice cereal.


Rhino Toys Oball Rattle, Colors May Vary
RHINO OBALL RATTLE
Sam's favorite toy, hands-down. Thank you, Picketts! This was the first object Sam was able to hold on his own, and he loves it. $8.95 on Amazon, but they're $5 at Target!
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FOOD PROCESSOR or BLENDER
Taylor gave me a mini food processor as my birthday gift last year.  I was so excited! You'll never need to buy baby food if you have a blender or food processor (our blender is terrible, so only try the blender if you have a decent one).  I had no idea making baby food was so easy.  I just saw a bag of frozen cubes of baby food for sale at the market for $9, and the ingredients were sweet potato and pumpkin pie spice.  I could make double the amount for less than $1 at home!

 
SANDRA BOYNTON BOOKS
Not a necessity by any means, but these books are darling and hilarious, which is great for your sanity.  Sam is only interested in eating books at this point, but I'm excited for the day when he'll be able to understand these and laugh with me.  I've seen them for $3-5 at TJ Maxx, and they're all available on Amazon. I just learned that you can get a customized version of Are You a Cow at Pint Size Productions. A fun gift idea?

ANYWAY, I hope this was helpful and slightly interesting. That's what I can come up with this morning - anything you would add?

Thursday, January 24

SIX months


I swear we were just assembling that crib, and now we're having to adjust it to a lower setting?  What?



MONTH SIX
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WEIGHT: 17 lbs - a little on the smaller side, but he makes up for it in his cheeks.
HEIGHT/LENGTH: 26 inches.

AVERAGE NIGHT'S SLEEP:  Goes down around 7-7:30pm, sleeps until 6-6:30am, eats, and then will usually sleep until 8am.  We're working on better naps - we try for two, but usually only total about 2 hours of total napping a day.

tay and sam reading matisse

FAVORITE THINGS:
  • DAD.  No matter how fussy he is at night, the second Dad walks in the door, he is all smiles.
  • EATING.  The second he sees a bottle in church he DIVES for it.  He eats solids like he's been deprived food for weeks.  Current favorite foods: mangoes, sweet potatoes, prunes, and banana muffins. Will only use his hands to hold his feeder binkie, but unless spoon-fed, he eats like a doggie. 
  • BABBLING. He definitely has a chain-smoker voice. People often comment on how low his voice is. His vocabulary has expanded to include agoo, aguh, aaaahhh, ggggggg, eeeeehhhhh, and bbbbbbbbbb (picture a steady stream of drool and bubbles).

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Sitting up . First Christmas . Started crawling (backward - we're working on it) . Becoming more opinionated and independent . First Museum (a really random museum, but it was cold outside) . Survived two days without heat in our home (hopefully it doesn't become THREE) .

01-19-2013 Sam at Volunteer Conservatory

PLACES HE'S BEEN: Other than Salt Lake for Christmas, the most exciting place I can think of is Volunteer Park or Portage Bay Cafe. And a rendezvous with Robin in Bellevue.

01-14-2013 Sam with mushroom

WHAT MAMA LEARNED:
  • I assumed that the adjustment to motherhood would take maybe a month or two, but it's a constant adjustment because they're constantly changing and learning new things.  If you didn't read the article from this post, it pretty much sums up the transition.
  • Laughing is a lot better than crying.  I always loved this quote, but it's really helped me lately.  I keep reading it to Sam, but he doesn't understand it quite yet.

The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. 
I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.
MARJORIE PAY HINCKLEY

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Everyday.

This had me crying 25 seconds into it.  Beautiful.


Tuesday, January 22

To the Mother With Only One Child

Every now and then I have a day where I'm a little more tired than I'd like to be, and I get down on myself.  Am I doing a good enough job as a mom?  Is Sam happy?  Am I being a good wife to Taylor?  And then I think of all the things I am not doing as well as I'd like, and I get more down on myself.  Then I feel guilty for getting down because it took us so long to get Sam, so why is this not 24/7 happiness and bliss? I had convinced myself back then that when I was finally blessed with a baby I would never have hard days because we had waited so long. Cue: additional guilt.

Thankfully this has not happened more than two or three times, but this past Saturday was one of those days.  Taylor took Sam on a run to give me some time to relax, and I came across this article that a friend had posted to her blog over a year ago: To the Mother With Only One Child.  The article is written by a mother of NINE children who talks about how having her first child was harder than her current life with nine children.  It is so beautiful, and was exactly what I needed that day.  Please read it.  It will take away a lot of your guilt, and help you pick up and move on.  I ended up reading the entire thing to Taylor Saturday night, and we sat and laughed at how true it is.

My favorite parts:

When I had only one child, I truly suffered during those long, long, long days in our little apartment, no one but the two of us, baby and me, dealing with each other all day long.  I invented errands and dawdled and took the long way home, but still had hours and hours to fill before I would hear my husband’s key in the door.

and


My husband didn’t know how to help me.  I didn’t know how to ask for help.  My husband had become a father, and I adored him for it.  My husband got to leave the house every day, and sleep every night.  He got to go to the bathroom alone.  I hated him for it.

and

Dear mother of only one child, don’t blame yourself for thinking that your life is hard.  You’re suffering now because you’re turning into a new woman, a woman who is never allowed to be alone.  For what?  Only so that you can become strong enough to be a woman who will be left.

Read it. It's wonderful.

01-21-2013 Sam in raincoat

And oh my goodness, this smile. That's all.

Friday, January 18

Fabio!

sammy with fabio 1.18.2013

Today we met Fabio.

There's a fancy grocery store right around the corner from our house.  Fabio came by to promote his new protein shake, and I knew I had to get a picture of Sam with him, so we walked over this morning.  The look on Sam's face says it all - "Mom, you're such an idiot."

All I wanted was a picture, but Fabio wanted to talk about his new line of protein shakes.  I found myself looking up at him while he talked of gastrointestinal problems and iron deficiencies, and how if we all lived off of our mothers' milk for our entire lives we would have better health.  He stroked Sam's face as he talked about mothers' milk, so I had him sign a canister of chocolate protein powder to end the conversation and cease the stroking.  

As we walked away he assured me that the protein shake was safe for babies (what about mothers' milk again?).

Tuesday, January 15

Bedtime.

01-14-2013 sammy with keys
"Will you please just put me to bed NOW?"

Monday, January 14

aaaand we're sitting up.

sam sitting 1-14-2012

Friday, January 11

Crimmus.

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Our Sam-sized tree in Seattle.

New Year's Resolution: TAKE MORE PICTURES.

Pictures I would have taken, had my brain been turned on:

A picture of our family in front of the Christmas tree.
Or maybe a picture with Taylor on our 6th Anniversary.
Or maybe Sam in his Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve.

Seriously, where was my brain?


Thank heavens we had Heather take our picture while we were in town, or I really would have nothing but awesome memories and random phone pictures to remember this great first Christmas with Sam. So here come the random phone pictures:

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Grammie T got a pony for Christmas.

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Dad's Christmas present. 

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We finally met Grayson (center).  These two were due one day apart, and sweet Brittney talked me through IVF as we went through it together.  Those two are miracle babies. Gotta love handsome Eliot, too (far left) - one of Sam's 39er buddies!

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Opening gifts with Grandma on Christmas morning.

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All dressed up with Grandma Lewis Jon Klassen-style.

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Jazz game with Lauren and Crismon and our buddy Jerry Sloan.  So much fun.  Thanks a million, Uncle Jim!

Monday, January 7

5 months. and some Christmas pictures!

MONTH FIVE
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Our nicer camera has decided not to work, so phone pictures it is!

WEIGHT: about 16.5 lbs - we gained more than a pound in a month. Sam doesn't waste time.
HEIGHT/LENGTH: definitely longer than he was last month.

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AVERAGE NIGHT'S SLEEP:  10-11 hours. And we're officially napping. Hallelujah.

FAVORITE THINGS:
- SOLID FOODS.  I'm determined to save money and make most of Sam's baby food, but he became addicted to these while we were gone over Christmas break. Watching him eat is so entertaining - at times he had a full audience while in Salt Lake City for the holidays. We love his approving moans and watching him dive for the spoon when it's not coming fast enough.
- HIS GRANDMAS.  Lots of smiles and giggles, and Grammie found some ticklish spots!
- HIS GRANDPAS.  He figured out who really holds the purse strings in our families. Such a smart baby.
- CHEWY TOYS.  Like a little doggie.
- GRUNTING.  Sam has always had a lower voice than most babies, and he loves to show it off with his groans and grunts (especially during church). It's such a low sound coming from a little baby, it's pretty hilarious. When he was a newborn he grunted himself to sleep. What a silly little man.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Eating solid foods twice daily, sat on Santa's lap, started rolling all over the place (which means he's explored and slept in every inch of his crib), grew out of 3-6 month clothing, got his picture taken by a real professional, started getting some hair back on that head, dressed up with Dad and Uncle Crismon to sing a Russian Christmas song on Christmas Eve, and FINALLY met Aunt Liz and Uncle Keith!

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PLACES HE'S BEEN:  Utah for the holidays!

WHAT MAMA LEARNED:
-  Forget the books.  Honestly, this is the #1 piece of advice I have now for friends having babies.  Those books all contradict each other, so just do your own thing and don't feel like a bad mom for not doing exactly what the books tell you to do.
-  If he wants to nurse every hour and a half, he's probably ready for solids.  Boy, what a difference solids made!  He started taking consistent naps, and was much, much happier during the day. 

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Love you, Sammers!

Wednesday, January 2

Happy 2013



I kind of liked 2012. 

We didn't go anywhere exotic, but we sure had a great time in our little house getting to know Sam. I think I'll dub 2012 The Year of My Boys. Aren't they cute?

Photo by my darling cousin Heather Pickett.