[Top Ten Tuesday] Favorite Baby Items: 4-12 Months

Is it terrible that I can barely recall this time?  I mean…it wasn’t that long ago but I am struggling to remember our concerns were, what Harry used, and what we preferred.  Initially the memories are fuzzy because you’re sleep deprived, nursing all hours of the night, and just trying to maintain some composure.  Then you realize it’s fuzzy because it’s happening so…stinkin’…fast.

A lot of the same favorite items from 0-1 month and 1-3 months stayed at the top of our list as the months continued.  The Ergo and Moby continued to be worth every little penny.  Cloth Diapers are a way of life around these parts.  We sent Coconut Oil to Harry’s new school in the place of traditional diaper cream.  And the one about Zero Expectations?  That’s not going anywhere.  The following items emerged as the year ticked on and, whether a singular item made the list or a theme emerged, these are in no particular order:

Maclaren  Umbrella Stroller – Now of course you don’t need a Maclaren stroller specifically.  We just happen to love ours a whole lot.  We debated strollers for a long time – “test driving” just about every kind you can imagine.  And as we got closer to our Chicago trip last October, we had to pull the trigger.  An umbrella stroller just made sense – it needed to break down quickly and easily, be light enough to walk around/travel with, and durable enough to withstand a lot of city walking.   Maclaren is generally a great quality stroller and I geeked out over the shoulder strap for ease of carry when it’s closed.  Throw in the fact that we scored a great deal on the floor model that we could still use a BBB coupon with…sold.

Toys/Jumperoo/Walker  – Several of the toys mentioned in the 1-3 Month Post were still toys that H loved.  Our favorite trick was to rotate through toys, hide some for a while, and then he’d flip out when he found them again.  Not books, though.  Books are always available and never in shortage.  Three of his very favorites to read through together and on his own: My Big Animal Book,  Spanish Words, and, to my heart’s delight The Very Hungry Caterpillar (surprise surprise, he loves the food). Some of the new toys we introduced at this time we kept appropriate for his developmental stage.  The Rainforest Jumperoo he inherited from his cousins was a massive hit until he was about 9 months old.  When “cruising” officially started, he wanted nothing to do with stationery activity.  His sweet friend Lucy lent him her Melissa and Doug Chomp & Clack Alligator walker and he is still in love with this guy.  He also grew more interested  in tactile toys – standouts being the B Squeeze Blocks  and good ole Stacking Rings.  The other favorite toys are the somewhat obvious balloons and the bouncy balls from the wire cages at WalMart (you don’t really need a link for those, do you?).

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Legwarmers – H’s Aunt Steph likes to make fun of his love for legwarmers.  Okay, my love for legwarmers and Matt’s inability to stop me from putting them on our son.  But the truth is that when H got more and more active, these were more than just aesthetically pleasing.   They became the best way to keep increasingly active legs warm, and change diapers as “the flip” came into play.  You know what I mean…the flip that makes diaper
changing and dressing babes SO MUCH more difficult.  With these I don’t need to go through the extra steps of pulling up pants on a babe who just saw the remote control across the room and wants nothing to do with me.  A onesie + legwarmers is my absolute favorite combo (when it’s too cold for just a cloth diaper).  They became our go-to for around the house lounging.  Okay, maybe some errands, too.

Lovey…and a backup! – I referenced this in the last Top Ten favorites as an afterthought.  Well afterthought no more…this kid is in LOVE with his bunny, Stinky.  Why the name Stinky?  Because he chews on the ears until they’re hard and crusty and smell to high heaven.   But he also walks around dragging him by an ear or arm, Stinky trailing behind him like Michael Darling and his teddy bear in Peter Pan.  It’s absolutely precious.   Some kids never take to stuffed animals but I think most little persons find comfort in something – a pacifier or blanket – and my advice as soon as you identify that object is to STOCK UP.  Stinky was getting some wear and when he lived up to his name, we’d take him from H for a day to wash and let him air dry.  When I wised up to the idea of a backup, I discovered he was discontinued and sold out.  Not cool, Jellycat.  I placed orders on random online boutiques, three times getting an email that they were out of stock and unable to fulfill my order.  FINALLY one came in the mail and with how excited I was, you’d think the bunny was my lovey.  Now we rotate them and never let Harry see that more than one exists.

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Music TableI mentioned several toys earlier but this one deserves to stand alone.  You may recall that Matt and I are anti-battery operated toys.  We’re not total grinches – we just prefer constructive toys that don’t play the same songs over and over or randomly start talking in the middle of the night (it happens…and it’s creepy).  We love BOOKS and activities that incite the imagination.  But this toy is our big exception.  You can choose different options (so it’s not always the same sounds or theme) and H was playing with it as soon as hand-eye coordination strengthened.  And it’s what kickstarted his dancing…and we love his dancing.  Do the same songs, phrases, and noises still get stuck in our head?  Of course, but his little bouncing bottom makes it all worth it.

Bath Tub / Toys – Harry always enjoyed bath time   After he fought with RSV at 4 weeks old, he even loved the warm showers we’d take with him to help him breathe clearly.  But since the time he could sit up baths have become something super special.  This boy LOVES his Primo bathtub, to the point where he refuses to take baths in a plain tub when we travel.  He’s comfortable in this one and it has been great at every stage of growth.  With toys, we’ve kept it fairly simple but H is certainly never bored – we pour water from the ducks, write out messages for Daddy, and give kisses to the fishes…to name a few activities.  Afterward we pile them all into his organizer (okay that’s mommy’s favorite part).

Sunscreen + Swim Float – Once H hit 6 months, we had a lot of pool time and we’re pumped for this year.  The basic supplies were swim trunks, a long-sleeved SPF shirt, a sun hat with a brim, this really awesome pool float (witha detachable shade!) and, of course, sunscreen.  There is a whole post or two’s worth on how we’re beginning to evaluate our skin care.  We’ve long evaluated our diet and since moving to a Real Food diet, we hit the slippery slope of scrutinizing every single thing we digest and chew.   Then H came along and we started looking at skin care products more closely.  His skin is just so perfect and beautiful, I didn’t want to put nasty chemicals on it.  I’ll refrain from the long list of things we avoid…but you learned last time that we’re obsessed with Coconut Oil.  One of the things it definitely doesn’t do is protect him from the sun.  Our latest discovery is from our awesome friend Sarah’s newest adventure into the world of Arbonne.  Basically, I trust their products on account of their high standards (WAY higher than the FDAs) and I’m pumped about their sunscreen for H.  (Yes, it’s pricey…but knowing and supporting an Arbonne consultant has benefits.  Let me know if you want to ask her questions about it!)  More than anything, I recommend reading up on ingredients to avoid and checking out your sunscreen options.

Video Camera – We dropped the ball here.  We caught some good moments on iPhone camera and more than enough pictures but given how often Matt and I watch old videos and sigh, we wish we’d taken more footage.  If you don’t have a video camera or if you’re like me and your iPhone’s memory is always filling up with pictures, I recommend a Flip Cam.  That’s our new plan.

Cooking Supplies –  Here’s the motherload of this list that demands a post of its’ own soon.  Starting at 6 months, Baby Food became our obsession and object of focus.  Where to start, what to try, and so…many…opinions.  The most amazing thing is realizing how incredibly personal this topic (just like nursing) can be for other mommies.  Here’s my disclaimer – every parent does what they genuinely believe to be best for their child…this I trust.  Some parents like to talk about other parents’ decisions in a judge-y or flippant tone.  There’s just no room for this.  We all need to support each other as we work to make good decisions for our babes with what means and capacity we have.  With that being said,  we chose to not use boxed cereals or oatmeal and make all of H’s food at home…Real Food diet from day one.  H doesn’t eat anything that we wouldn’t eat ourselves (minus Puffs…those are necessary for on-the-go).  It’s also one extra way that my full-time working self can love on H and feel solid about what he’s eating when I’m not around.  That’s only 3 days a week but time apart from him never gets easier.  So we get to pour a lil bit of love into his food and a bonus result is the fact that at this rate he eats almost everything we do (except white sugar…because apparently we’re “mean parents”).  To prevent this post from being any longer, here are the basic tools we already had on hand to get started: Jelly Roll Pan (for roasting veggies), Steamer Basket to use with pots (fast and easy way to soften veggies), Blender/Smart Stick/Food Processor to puree softened veggies and fruit (the Smart Stick is seriously awesome for convenience and easy clean up),  Ice Cube Tray and/or Freezer Storage Containers to store food after bulk prep.

Eating Supplies – The quick and dirty rundown: Snack Cup for his puffs and eye-hand coordination practice, Sippy Cup (used primarily for his daily smoothie), Favorite Animal Plates (he loves getting to the bottom and seeing the animals…clapping is typically involved), plenty of Spoons (because  they double as toys and always seem to go missing), Thermos Food Jar (for food on-the-go or warm lunch at school), and reusable snack bags (for his waffles and chopped fruit).  But our very favorite, for wherever we are: POCKET BIB.  Once Harry was sitting up, this thing got way more comfortable and also became the only bib he couldn’t rip off.  The pocket catches food and it’s super easy to clean off.  We also tried the Summer brand but Baby Bjorn is much more durable.

Some honorable mentions – our pack n’ play (Chicco…a wee bit heavy but couldn’t travel without it) and our jogging stroller (Joovy Zoom 360…another category we “test drove” at nausea).  We really do try to keep it simple and minimal.  We had a Bumbo and it was nice (especially with the tray) but didn’t stand out over time.  After seeing how quickly H grew out of things and transitioned into new phases…our focus remained on essentials and things with long-term value, like legwarmers!

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[Top Ten Tuesday] Last Ditch Bucket List for My Roaring Twenties

You guys, I have exactly TWO MONTHS left in my twenties.  Unlike some I am actually thrilled for my thirties (many thanks Charlotte from Revenge and Jennifer Garner) and can’t wait to see what’s in store.  But I still have 60 days and why not make a Bucket List?

This will probably be considered incredibly lame by many (I get a thrill with a 9PM bedtime after all) but hey, you can make your own bucket list and I’ll think it’s fabulous.

10.  Run 3 miles.  Laugh at the tiny number all you want.  I am NOT a runner.  My form, my patience, my feet…they’re all off.  But everyone who commits to it ends up loving it so there must be something there.  That and sometimes I’m a little jealous of Matt’s early morning runs.  It charges his day and puts him in a great mood, without fail.   A good workout in the morning does that for me as well but something is missing.

9. Sew A Pillow.  I already own a sewing machine and I have sewn before.  But I’m scared…scared of messing up or ruining fabric I love.  But something tells that if I don’t get to it, the lovely fabric I have piled up will be donated by my husband to someone who is not too scared to use it.

8. Paint. My sister and I have a Groupon for a painting class that we need to use, so this is kind of an easy one.  My mom just happens to be one of those incredibly talented people who can pretty much do whatever she wants.  “I love this photo…let me make it a painting!” ” Need a colonial costume for 1776?  I’ll take care of that!” (Yes, those happened.)  I didn’t inherit this talent but I did inherit an interest in all things constructive so hey, why not.

7. Read 3 Books. One book will be spiritual.  One book will be career development.  One book will be a classic.  None of them will be Harry Potter or Toddler 411.

6. Get the Four Generations of Howeth photo. Harry’s a super blessed babe to still have his paternal grandfather and great-grandfather living.  Our shameful confession is that with life being as hectic as it’s been, we haven’t gotten to introduce the two just yet.  Funny how a 4 hour drive seems just-that-much-further when you have a babe.

5. Buy Something Fabulous on Black Friday.  I have no idea what but it will be fabulous and most likely impractical.

4. Knit a Blanket.  Knitting I am much more comfortable with and though no expert, I could swing a blanket.  I have about 10 different patterns bookmarked so, let’s do this.

3. Finish Christmas shopping in November.  This should be on my list every year.  But this year I have a baby turning 1, me turning 30, and Matt’s birthday all in the first week of December.  I’m looking at you, Amazon, to help me make sure this one happens.

2. Create “Awkward Mommy Happy Hour.”  I like this the more and more I think about it and hear positive feedback and dernit, it’s going to happen.  Stay tuned, mommies…time to put on the clothes we don’t want to ruin with spit up, wear impractical shoes, and practice being non-awkward.

1. _________________.  Can’t decide on this last one…gonna need some thinking and some feedback.  Should it be daring and adventurous?  Should it be scary and something that pushes me out of my comfort zone?  Share any suggestions you’ve got!

There you have it.  90% of my Bucket List and only 60 days* to make it happen.

*This is me acknowledging that the completion of 50% of this list will be something to celebrate. Make it 20%.

[Top Ten Tuesday] Favorite Baby Items: 1-3 Months

Oh these months.  These months are a blur.  A beautiful, joy-filled, sleep-deprived blur.

A few weeks ago I listed out the Top Ten Baby Items for 0-1 month.  With the exception of the Swaddle Pod, all of these continued to carry me through the next few months.  The following are the items that began to stand out after we got to know Harry a bit better:

Feeding Supplies – Harry didn’t drink from a bottle until he was almost 3 months old.  We were so happy I was able to breastfeed that entire time but then realized we should introduce something else soon or he might refuse when I wasn’t around.  Since then, we have never had a problem with Harry taking the Green to Grow bottles (BPA free, what what!) and I love our Boon Lawn Drying Rack.  We hand wash all of our dishes so we didn’t need a container for the dishwasher but the Munchkin Bottle Brush is, hands down, the best bottle brush out there (trust me…between my sister and myself, we tried them all).

Bouncer – There are a million different bouncers out there and, surprise surprise, I was super picky.  I’m not really all about the themes – jungles, teddy bears, etc.  Some of those are pretty cute, but I wanted something simple and classic.  I considered the Mama Roo but had trouble with the price tag, especially since we were already getting a baby swing from my sister.  I really wanted something like the Maclaren Vida Bouncer but with better reviews.  Then I came across the Combo Pod Bouncer – a bumblebee! This animal I could handle.  And I have to say, it was fantastic.  It was around this time that Harry started coming into the office with me a few mornings a week.  Between the Bee and our beloved Moby, Harry was soothed and proved himself to be an amazingly content babe.   My iPhone or iPod plugged in to play music for him and though he never took to falling asleep in it, he loved hanging out in it – especially as a change of scenery from the magical Nap Nanny.

Moby/Ergo – I allowed myself one repeat from the 0-1 month list.  It was not easy to choose – the Nap Nanny was clearly a super close second.  But baby carriers might as well have a permanent spot on my Top Ten Items lists for the first couple years.  Harry always loved the Moby and he’s finally grown into the Ergo.  It’s at the point now where it just makes more sense for me to wear him whenever we’re in public than to use a stroller.  He can look around, he’s always happy in it…he falls asleep in it more easily than the strollers and I still love wearing him.  At this stage, wearing my nephew in the Baby Bjorn started to hurt my back but from  months 1-3 and through today, I’m super comfortable in both of my carriers, as is Matt.  The entire family wins.

Burp Cloths/Bibs – Of course these are handy from the start but since Harry never really had any acid reflex or spit up of any kind, these didn’t come in useful until he discovered his fist.  Harry has drooled through his outfits and sucked oh his fingers/fist since he was around two months old.  Since then, he’s been in a perpetual state of wet/sticky and having these around is always useful.  For some reason I didn’t buy a lot of bibs for him (I do wish I had purchased as least one with his name on it…not that he cares) but the Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs are my absolute favorite. They are shaped perfectly for over the shoulder and they snap together to make an actual bib for babe.  They’re not a flimsy fabric (great absorption) and, always a bonus, they’re super cute and classy all at once.  We do have a few of the Baby Bjorn Bibs but they’re not so comfortable on a tiny babe, though I’m happy to have them as we journey into solids.

Boppy –  Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think the Boppy is the best pillow for nursing.  If I wanted something only for nursing, I would have gotten a Brest Friend pillow.  But the Boppy worked decently for nursing, more effectively as Harry grew, and I definitely made good use of it for that purpose.  The Boppy began to shine in our house when Harry needed more tummy time (NOT a fan for the first month or so) and when he was able to hold his head up.  And, truth be told, I LOVE the Boppy as a laptop desk and as a general comfort pillow for me.  It’s like a hug around my not-so-tight midsection that I like to cuddle with. Don’t be alarmed if you see me using it when Harry is 15 and any other potential babes are way past baby-hood.

Cloth Diapers – Cloth Diapering is a topic that I love so dearly, it will soon have its own Top Ten list AND Mommyhood Monday post.  We began to switch over from disposables in the 2nd and 3rd months.  I was pretty nervous about it but wow, I absolutely love it.  To be fair I need to include disposables because we definitely mixed it up, especially in the 3rd month.  Now we are 86% cloth – an exact number given that Harry only wears disposables when he is at my mom’s house on Mondays.   I could go on and on (thus the future posts) but know that 1) this ain’t your mama’s cloth diapers.  No pins required.  2) We have yet to have a blowout in a cloth diaper – only in disposables.   They have held things in that no disposable could contain.  3) They’re incredibly cute.  Proof pic:

…and that’s not even the ones he has with robots on them!  We started out with BumGenius 4.0 (almost all with snaps) and now we’ve got some Charlie Banana, FuzziBunz, Bonnibuns and Oh Katy.

Coconut Oil – Another item that deserves its’ own post.  Coconut Oil is AMAZING!  Did you ever see the videos of Tyra Banks rolling around on the floor, talking about how much she loves Vaseline?  That’s how I feel about Coconut Oil. But without the Mineral Oil (because it took me 29 years to realize that was in petroleum jelly) and without the crazy (no offense) Tyra vibe.  Cradle Cap?  Coconut Oil.  Diaper Rash…even with cloth diapers?  Coconut Oil!  I love the smell of Mustela lotions but with Matt having eczema, we decided to treat Harry’s skin early on as though he would face similar dermatological issues.  We use some Aveeno products but Coconut Oil is a great moisturizer and smells like a Pina Colada (!).  More importantly, I love that it’s the all natural route.  And it has dozens of uses in our home, for all of us.   I order ours off of Vitacost – they have sales and free shipping all the time and you can’t beat the price per ounce.

Toys – As Harry moved into the more alert stage, he began to develop QUICKLY.  In the beginning he didn’t have a preference…if he could grasp it, he loved it.  But the ones he quickly took to and still hasn’t tired of are the Lamaze toys – specifically Mortimer the Moose, Olivia the Owl, and Jacques the Peacock.  I love them, too.  (I STILL want to order Rusty the Robot for Harry but Matt asked me to exercise some self-control.)  Harry also obsessed over his Skip Hop Treetop Friends Soft Book  for a while and, of course, Sophie the Giraffe.  One item that quickly rose the ranks was the Sassy Rattlin Ring, along with the Bright Starts Rattle.  Now – in the mindset of Monica the minimalist and book lover – I’ve realized that I’m the parent who would rather buy books than toys.  Especially toys that make noise and require batteries.  There are some exceptions – and at this stage that was the Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes.  It wasn’t too loud, it had a variety of classical song lullabies and was super simple for Harry to operate.  He still loves it because the noise and lights are out of the ordinary from his other toys.  And I love it because I never had to put duct tape over the speakers or take out the batteries to maintain my sanity.

Zero Expectations – There is no Amazon link in this item.  Truth be told – I had no idea what to expect when it came to our baby.  I had no idea if he would be a sleeper or colicky or would have acid reflux or what kind of temperament he would enter the world with.  I was raised around babies and have babysat/nannied since I was 12 years old.  I am no baby expert, but I was comfortable enough with babes to know that they’re all different.  And as you may have read yesterday, I had long ago come to terms with the fact that we may never have a newborn baby of our own.  So when we found out we were pregnant, we were ready for anything.  Maybe it was just our perspective but we knew that babies don’t sleep through the night.  From nannying, I knew that sleeping through the night (pediatrician’s cruel definition of 6 hours) doesn’t typically come until the 6 month mark for an exclusively breastfed babe.  Anything earlier than that was to be celebrated (and we did!).  But we took it all in stride – we cherished every single exhausting moment.  We don’t know for certain that we’ll be able to do this newborn gig again (fertility wise) so from natural labor to nights broken up by feedings every 2 hours, our only expectation was to love this little being. The ability to do that, and everything else, has been such a blessing.

Community – Again with the something you can’t buy on Amazon.  I have an incredible group of mamas around me.  From family to friends to a Facebook group that all have babes born around the same time as Harry…having other women to talk with and process with and be able to gauge how “normal” something is blesses me greatly.  A book with advice can be very, very helpful but a book can’t listen to you vent or give you a knowing, much-needed hug.  Find parents who may not parent the exact way you do but still respect the choices you’re making.  Fellow parents you can share your learnings with and who can pass along their learnings/knowledge.  Parenting is hard – it’s much easier if you are able to enter it with a team who supports and loves you and your babe.

An item not on the list but that we’re so glad we introduced was his “lovey” (AKA security blanket/stuffed animal).  I had never heard of a “lovey”, at least not referred to that way, before I was in search of one for Harry.  But I knew I wanted him to have a best friend stuffed animal.  And yes, I’m that mom who wanted to choose it for him.  We ended up getting him the Jellycat Cordy Roy elephant for Christmas and after Harry had RSV, he was Christened as “Wheezy” (we’re cruel, but funny).  At Easter we made the lovey a duo by introducing the Jellycat Bon Bon Striped Bunny (still unnamed/not yet Christened).  Who knows if he will take to them but so far, he doesn’t sleep without them.

So that’s my personal Top Ten list of Favorite Baby Items for 1-3 months.  You?

[Top Ten Tuesday] Movies About Babies

We love movies.  And television.  Perhaps a little bit too much.  In an effort to keep this under control, I had to go with movies that were only about babies or pregnancy, not family or parenting.  That’s an entirely different list.

Top Ten Movies About Babies:

Juno

The music.  The message.  The wit and humor.  It’s the little indy film that could.  Ellen Page portrays a pregnant high school junior and while never making it look glamorous, gave a lighter side to teen pregnancy.  And since I worked from home throughout my pregnancy, I basically got to dress just like her.

Quote: Couldn’t choose just one…

“I could so go for like a huge cookie right now, with like, a lamb kabob simultaneously.”

Mac: “I’m not ready to be a Pop Pop.”  Bren: “You’re not going to be a pop-pop. Somebody else is going to find a precious blessing from Jesus in this garbage dump of a situation.”

Baby Mama

Surprisingly, I didn’t really think much of the movie the first time I watched it.  The second, third and fourth time…totally different story.  It got even funnier after I was pregnant.  When Amy Pohler’s character pees on the sink because she can’t open the toilet?  I haven’t done it but I have no judgement…I hate those locks!

Quote: “If you listen to DMX, the baby comes out goin ‘Ennngghhh!”

Waitress

Though this isn’t the most morally stimulating of plots (unhappily married, accidentally pregnant and begins an affair with married OB/GYN),  I love how Jenna gradually warms up to her baby.   I also love how they portrayed the moment when mommy met baby for the first time.  Everything else just got blurry.

 Quote: “Dear Baby, I hope someday somebody wants to hold you for 20 minutes straight and that’s all they do. They don’t pull away. They don’t look at your face. They don’t try to kiss you. All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight, without an ounce of selfishness in it.”

   

Look Who’s Talking

 I’m pretty sure Walking on Sunshine was the very first song I put on Harry’s playlist.   I loved this movie as a kid and when I watched it as an adult all I could think was, “why was I allowed to watch this movie as a kid?”  You’re going to see that as a recurring theme here.   And I’m willing to confess that when I guess what Harry’s thinking, I think of it in the voice of Bruce Willis.

Quote: “Help! Help! Somebody burp me before I blow up!”

Three Men and a Baby

Another movie that I have no idea why I was allowed to watch this as a kid.  I guess it’s assumed that movies with babies and kids are safe for other kids to watch.  Watching it now – I cringe a bit when I imagine a mom leaving a poor baby on the alleged father’s doorstep.  This movie’s lucky it didn’t end up as, “Three Social Workers and a Baby.”

Quote: “Oh, this is disgusting. It’s all over and it’s… it’s sticky and… we’re going to need some kind of cleaning fluid to get this off.”

Mr. Mom

It’s been a while since I’ve watched this but we’re long overdue here.  Though I’m wondering if I should watch it as Matt will soon be solo with Harry for longer stretches during the week.   I’m not gonna lie – I’d put money on the chances of him holding up Harry to a hand dryer.

Quote: “I understand that you little guys start out with your woobies and you think they’re great… and they are, they are terrific. But pretty soon, a woobie isn’t enough. You’re out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, or maybe a quilt. And the next thing you know, you’re strung out on bedspreads Ken. That’s serious.”

Bella

Chances are you’ve never heard of this movie.  But within days of us watching it, Matt bought me a copy.  If a movie could encompass the way my heart feels, I think this is it.  There’s heartache, there’s redemption, there’s a greater plan than the sum of our “mistakes”.

Quote: Hard to pick, as a lot of this movie’s beauty is portrayed through motions, not spoken words.  But if I have to… “My grandmother used to say, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.'”

Raising Arizona

The reason this list isn’t numbered is because these last three would be tied for 1.  All three of these are movies I watched a lot as a kid (again, with the exception of Baby Boom…why?!).  Raising Arizona has scene after scene of lines that are on rotation in our house, especially since Harry came. It’s Coen brothers brilliance.

Quote: Too many.  There’s this.  But my favorite random one has to be:

“Son, you got a panty on your head.”

Parenthood

You know movies that stick with you in all walks of life?  Somehow, something in this movie is always relevant.  Lately, it’s been the scene where Rick Moranis’s wife pulls out her secret stash of Ding Dongs, taking a break from their strict diet.  Though I’m the one leading our Real Food lifestyle, I’ve definitely had daydreams about such indulgences.  I’m willing to bet Matt does, too.

(And this movie inspired the current TV show which is…awesome.)

Quote: Karen: “He likes to butt things…with his head.”

Nathan: “You must be so proud.”

Baby Boom

This one takes the cake.  The making of baby applesauce last week just reminded me of how much I love this movie.  While I was definitely given a more “ease-in” approach to motherhood than Diane Keaton was, I’ve juggled similar thoughts when it comes to being a working woman who wants a successful career, but ultimately knows that the babe will always come first.  The nanny interviews used to make me laugh, now they give me the heeby jeebies.

Quote: “I can’t have a baby because I have a 12:30 lunch meeting”


Honorable Mention: She’s Having a Baby (never actually seen it but heard great things), Hand That Rocks the Cradle (scary!), Father of the Bride II (“Father of the bride and a baby? GET OUT OF TOWN.”)

I know a lot of these are probably pretty predictable, but not without reason.  What did I miss?  What movie gave you a good belly laugh during pregnancy and during the infancy of parenthood?

[Top Ten Tuesday] Harrison Taylor

I’m aware that this is cheating.  I know I can’t default to pictures of my kid whenever I have a packed day this early in the game.  But I am.

We take the same picture on the 1st of every month for his monthly photo shoot (below).  In the beginning we were so good about getting Wheezy on the same side in the same position.  But as Harry began to move around and was no longer the same size as his beloved elephant, efforts went out the window.

To commemorate Harry’s 6 month birthday, here are my Top Ten favorite things Harry does right now:

10. While nursing, he puts his hand up on my face.  Sometimes he goes straight for the mouth but other times he rests it on my cheek.  I swoon.

9. He intently watches everything going on outside the window or when we’re outside.  Just think, we take so many things for granted but he is still blown away by a tree and is mesmerized by a bird landing on the balcony.  I wish I could hear what goes on in his head, “Did you see that?  It can FLY!?”

8. Two weeks ago, while I was wearing a sleeveless shirt, he started blowing raspberries (zerberts?) on my shoulder.  Now whenever he gets the chance, he’s all over it.

7. He pulls himself to what he wants.  Kid’s got some strong arms and his “scootching” has great intent and focus to it.  Lately, we’ve gotten some good workouts with my phone placed just out of his reach.

6. [This one’s selfish] He reaches for me.  This started a few weeks ago and I was his forever (all over again that is).  I think we do a good job of allowing others to hold and play with him in order to help him be comfortable with people other than his parents but this kid knows, he owns me.

5. He holds his bunny when he’s tired.  Never any other time, only when he’s tired.

4. He scrunches his nose when he smiles.  He’s done this for months but it’s still one of my favorites.  And this kid can smile…a lot.

3. He cracks up when I make animal noises, especially when reading from his Animal Farm book. My husband thinks I’m funny and our child thinks I’m hilarious.  I couldn’t have asked for more.

2. He grabs his feet when riding in his carseat.  He smiles at himself in the mirror and he holds those legs out for a toe-touch or into his mouth for “dessert”.  Pure bliss.

1. He talks and talks and talks but still loves a cuddle.  If he’s not squawking like a bird or screeching like a cat, he’ll curl up and let us love on him.  I can’t cherish these days enough.

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Just barely made the post for Pacific Standard Time…hope everyone had a beautiful Tuesday!

[Top Ten Tuesday] Favorite Baby Items: 0-1 Month

Tuesday is officially dubbed, “Top Ten Tuesday”.  Though today isn’t technically Tuesday, I didn’t get my act together for yesterday to not be Monday.  So, Tuesday it is.

Today’s my Top Ten baby items I couldn’t live without for age 0-1 month.  I must inform you that this is purely selfish – I did SO MUCH research into every little bitty detail around baby gear and came out really confident in the 1) quality 2) price value and 3) usefulness of everything we chose.  When it comes to these things, I err on the side of minimalism and simplicity.  Things these days have so many bells and whistles on them and while some are quite nice, all the noise can be overwhelming and just too loud.

A couple items were gifted to us or shared by my sister.  But I’m recording this list so that (God-willing) next go around, I have the list handy for quick reference. In a somewhat but not strictly particular order:

10. Smartphone – Baby Breastfeeding App/White Noise App – I’m highly aware that this is not a possibility for everyone and that this is a new development and mommies have been successful for all of time without one.  But WOW, was this a huge help and such a blessing.  For the first week, I used the paper chart that my hospital gave me but after a week or so I was DONE with the writing everything down.  I was tempted to buy an Itzbeen until I remembered, “There’s an App for that.”  And there was (win for Apple marketing).  We have a White Noise app that is super handy and the reason I ultimately chose an iPhone was for the camera.  I have an SLR but for quick pics and videos that are still high quality, it’s made me the “Mamarazzi” I am today (I’m sorry I’m not sorry).

9. Swaddle Pod – This one is misleading because we only used it for two weeks but I couldn’t make a list without it.  I LOVE swaddled babies. My nephews were swaddled and I fell in love with those tiny little glo-worms.  This is one of those items I was so excited about before Harry ever arrived.  I was sold on the Woombie (my sister’s choice) but at $30/pod, I thought I’d play it safe and get the more affordable option to see how he took to it.  Apparently my instinct paid off because after about two weeks, Harry taught us that he HATED to sleep with his arms swaddled in.  He wanted them out and he wanted them high above his head (causing this song to be on loop in my head).  We switched to sleep sacks and had ourselves one happy babe.

8. Skip Hop Pronto Diaper Changing KitBefore Harry came, I wondered if we’d actually use this.  My sister never had one or seemed to need it but I figured I’d hold onto it just in case.  We have used this almost every…single…day.  It stores diapers, wipes, and has a front pocket that we put these bags in for throwing away diapers when we’re out (to be considerate).  I’m a lot more comfortable changing Harry in random places because I know that at least this is clean. Wipes clean easily and snaps onto stroller/diaper bags/car seat.  Brilliant.

7. Infant Carrier/Snap N Go A) My sister’s biggest piece of advice for the infant car seat was to play with the harness before we chose one because you wanted it to be easy to use with a squirmy baby (hers wasn’t).  We wanted something somewhat gender neutral and classic (IE without animals or themes on it), and even though the reviews say that the Graco SnugRide 35 is really heavy, we loved the design and ease of harness.  We still love the seat and how easily the base transfers cars if we need to switch it into my parents’ car.  The harness is simple and sturdy but, the reviewers weren’t lying…this puppy is HEAVY.  B) Yes I am sneaking another product onto this one but they go hand in hand.  We managed to push off the stroller decision for a while and got ourselves something that, though relatively short term, has been a great help .  It’s incredibly easy to fold out and fold up, has a large storage basket, built-in cupholders (who knew those would be a luxury amongst strollers?) and my babe can stay asleep when we use it. Love it.

6. Sleep Sheep/Sleep GiraffeWe were lucky to receive two as presents.  Minimalist Monica was tempted to return one but wow, am I glad we didn’t.  The giraffe still lives on H’s car seat and the larger sheep on his crib.  They’re functional stuffed animals – dream come true!  We generally stay on the white noise settings (the jungle sounds on the giraffe has gotten me strange looks in Target) and to be honest, I’ve yet to meet a mom who isn’t creeped out by the whales (no judgment here…just haven’t met one yet).  My only beef with these multifunctional pets?  The longest they run is 43 minutes.  Seriously Cloud B, I’d pay a little bit more for a “loop” function…I can’t be alone on this.

5. Aden + Anais Swaddle BlanketsThese will be handy until the end of time.  They are big enough to swaddle, they’re a light cover for him or over the stroller when he’s asleep, they’re a play blanket on the floor, and Harry still shows definite preference for these as a lightweight nursing cover over the Bebe Au Lait.  We got two packs of them and still rotate through them fairly often. 

4. First Aid Supplies | Gripe Water, Saline Mist, Aspirator, Rectal Thermometer, Soothie (and on that note, a Booginhead) and Baby Emery BoardsYes, big cheat with all these supplies listed.  A lovely couple who just graduated from Med School gave is most of these as a shower gift.  Given that sweet Harry had RSV at 4 weeks, running to the store was the last thing we wanted to do and we were SO thankful to have these on hand.  And I promise you, you will call an aspirator “that sucky thing” at 3AM when you can’t find it and you’re asking your mate to get it so that your little one can breathe freely.  My advice – have two or three around (and it’s true what they say, the hospital one is hands down the best).  Also, you know you’re either a medical professional or a mommy when the words “rectal thermometer” find their way on your blog.  It’s the best read you’ll get for their temperature.  Trust me, I’ve tried the fancy ones and when baby is sick, it’s best to go straight to the accurate fact checker. The Soothie I was initially against but like most moms, after a couple weeks when I knew Harry was latching well it was just necessary and the Booginhead (AKA clip) was another gift that has come in handy numerous times when out.  I was also lucky to get the advice for the emery boards – I would never have known that newborn nails are still fused to baby’s skin and if you clip them…blood will most likely be drawn.  This led to my son getting manicures the first few months of his life (rough, eh?).

3. Mitten Shirts/Socks – Baby Clothes were really, really REALLY hard to resist.  Especially the super teeny tiny ones because they’re just SO stinkin’ cute.  But I knew that 1) people love buying baby clothes 2) he’d grow out of them SO incredibly fast and 3) I hoped he’d be swaddled most of the time.  I did allow myself a few onesies that I particularly loved but otherwise, the only newborn clothes we had were his “wear home from the hospital” outfit, a bunch of socks I know to stay on most babies feet (but size up…those feet grow FAST!) and, most importantly, mitten onesies and sidesnap tops.  These were best for protecting him from his little scratchy hands and keeping him warm (though I would size up in these too…they shrink!).   New daddy was also more comfortable dressing the Noodle-y newborn with the sidesnap tees. After his swaddling days were done, these were still our go to in that first month.

2. Nap Nanny/SwingHere’s the truth:  I was super lucky to use my sister’s Nap Nanny and swing so I didn’t actually pick these out.  I wouldn’t have even given the Nap Nanny a second glance.  But let me tell you…if my sister and I ever have babies at the same time THIS is the first thing I’m buying.  Yes, the swing was handy and I know it’s a lifesaver for a lot of mommies.  It bought me time for a couple showers here and there.  But Harry never fell asleep in it.  The Nap Nanny was another story – he still loves this chair.  He doesn’t take naps in it anymore but I strap him in and he sits with me while I work, he plays in it and he “chills” in it.  For the first month when he wasn’t a fan of his cradle, this was his bed at night.  We positioned it between us and it gave us the longest stretches of night sleep we had those first couple of months.  It was easier to pack up and take with us when we went to our families’ houses at Christmas and the first couple months of road trips to Dallas.  It’s even the backdrop for all of Harry’s monthly birthday pictures.  He’s so happy in it and after this many months, we’ve been able to mark his growth by the ratio of chair to baby.  I’ve been able to watch mommies with their babes before and after a NN – little ones who refused to nap and couldn’t fall asleep anywhere who were transformed by this thing.  Worth every (pretty) penny!

1. MobyThis is it.  The one item I absolutely, hands down, could not live without.  When we registered, we only added the Ergo and were so excited to receive it at a shower.   He has always liked the Ergo, and since then loves it more and more, but in the beginning, my baby just wanted to be held as close as possible for as long as possible.  And though I wanted nothing more than to do this, I was quickly back to working from home and needed to multitask when he was sleeping. Though I currently no longer need to wear it around the house to soothe him or get a nap, the Moby is still necessary for us to eat out and attend church.  I’ve never even had to leave Mass because he’s tucked in and every single Sunday, without fail, he passes out on my chest halfway through the service.  He loves being in it – whether it’s looking around the church or watching his crazy cousins at a restaurant.  He loves to snuggle up to me and I love being able to tuck the back of his head into the wrap and watch him sleep.  He fit in perfectly as a newborn and it was super simple to figure out how to wrap him in when he got super long.  Now recently, some have dared to say that “Baby Wearing” is an unhealthy form of attachment parenting and though I have respect for people’s’ beliefs and opinions…I shake my head at those people.  Baby wearing is a long-standing tradition for mommies and babies all over the world and there are few greater joys than a little one cuddled up to you.

Remember, this was 0-1 month.  Normally, these lists are done 0-3 months but that first month is so different from the rest.  The only other things I would give honorable mentions to are bath supplies (we have a Summer Baby Bather that’s been great but the Puj Tubs are so awesome!).  There are bath products I love but due to high risk for allergies, we use Aveeno natural and unscented products to prevent any irritation.  A beloved topic for us is Cloth Diapers…we’ve been doing it since Harry was close to 2 months and we aaaaabsolutely love it.  We didn’t use them for the first couple months because we were just getting our “mommy and daddy legs” under us but once we found a bit of rhythm, we’ve been rockin’ them ever since.

There are definitely items not mentioned here that we know have worked as crucially for other mommies as these did for us.  Do you have a top ten or even a top three?  I’d love to hear them!