Monday, March 31, 2014

Thoughts on Baby Products

I made a post about a year ago on products I was thinking of buying. Now that I have a 9 month old, I'm going to revisit my list and update with thoughts on whether we needed these things or not.

Nursery Furniture/Bedding
My step-mom bought our crib, but honestly, we rarely use it. We regret the fact that we didn't start baby sleeping in the crib, because now he has no interest in being in it. We are still trying and eventually I'm sure he'll be sleeping in there. Regardless, it's a beautiful crib! We didn't buy the matching dresser and nightstand (waaay too expensive), so we found a dresser with changing top and a nightstand at a local antique mall for $120 (for both). We painted them both white and they've functioned very well for us. I also bought a white, 4-drawer cabinet from Target that sits right next to the dresser/changing table. I use that to stock diapers, wipes, burp/spit rags, bibs, etc. The rocking chair we got from my dad (used to be my grandpa's). I used it for the first couple weeks, but honestly, now, it just takes up space in Brady's room. I think it's time to move it to the basement. The crib bedding my mom bought - and like most people say - pretty much a waste of money. It's cute, but most of it was never used in any sort of way, but my mom wanted to buy it, so I let her. The lamp matches the bedding...it's cute and overpriced, but it was a gift and we do use it early in the morning when I don't want to turn on the bright overhead light.

Carseat/Stroller
I bought the Graco Snugride 35 Infant Car Seat. We've gotten our money's worth out of it, but at 9 months, he's only a couple weeks away from outgrowing it. It HAS been useful and I'm glad we decided to go for an infant seat to start instead of a convertible. He sleeps very well in the car and it was nice to be able to remove the seat and let him continue to sleep.

As far as strollers go, I have 3. I bought a Graco frame that worked with the carseat for $20 on a local sale site...used the heck out of that thing, especially when he got too heavy to carry around in the seat, which was pretty early on (that seat is unwieldy). My father in law splurged on the City Mini and I'm so glad he did. It's so lightweight, easy to fold and unfold, and steers amazingly! Can't wait to actually use it now that this crappy Michigan winter seems to be over.

My mom also bought an umbrella stroller from a rummage sale. I don't really care for it...I'd rather use the City Mini...but she likes it.

We just recently bought a Graco Headwise 70 convertible seat for my car and a Safety 1st Easy Fit for DH's car. I like the Graco so far...and we have yet to install the Safety 1st.

Portable Crib/Pack 'N' Play
My mom bought us the Rock N Play Sleeper and we used that thing SO much! He slept in it almost exclusively for the first 3 months of his life. He loved it...and we loved how easy it was to sleep next to him and feed him while he was still in it.

We also got a Pack n Play. I didn't want it at first because it was so large, but of course, now that he's bigger, he needs it. I admit he still sleeps in it at night in our room. So definitely glad we got it. We bought an expensive one and it was housed at DH's mom house until she bought an actual crib. Now I think it's in DH's trunk still lol. My mom got one for $25 at a mom2mom sale that she had planned to keep at her house...however, Brady is rarely ever over there, so that's the one we use at our house. I recommend buying one locally for way less. The one we use has sounds and vibration which is nice, but it doesn't have a changing thing or anything else extra, and it works perfectly for our needs.

Swing/Bouncer
I had no idea what to do on this one originally. We ended up getting both as gifts at our shower. DH's grandma bought us a Graco 2-in-1 Glider Elite. LOVE THIS THING! And Brady did too for his first 3 months. When he was super fussy, sometimes only the swing would calm him down. And he napped in it a lot, too. It was pricey, but definitely worth it. We're saving it for our next baby. Here's the one we got:

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=17197676&cp=&parentPage=search

Brady hated the bouncer early on...I think he didn't feel swaddled enough in it. But by about 3 months, he started to enjoy it. He slept in it A LOT and sometimes just relaxed in it. We had this one. And even bought the same one as an extra at a mom2mom sale for $10. So if you can get one of these at a garage sale or local site, definitely do so. They don't used very long and you can save a lot of money by buying a used one.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4449502&cp=&parentPage=search

Baby Carrier
I had no idea what to do on this one either. I ended up buying an Ergo on eBay shortly after he was born, but after putting him in it one time, he hated it. I wasn't overly fond of it either, so I ended up selling it. Never bought anything else. I'm good with either just carrying him or using the stroller.

Bathtub
We used the large plastic whale tub for the first 4-5 months and it worked great because it had a hump in the bottom for him to sit on. Once he started sitting up by himself, we moved to a similar type plastic tub without a hump in the bottom. He's still using that now and probably will for a little while longer. Will probably move to just using our tub sometime after he's 1. The Puj tub I originally wanted would've been too expensive and wouldn't have lasted very long.

Changing Pad
We bought a changing pad with removable covers and also changing pad liners so we don't have to remove the covers as often. Works great and still using it, but he likes to roll around a lot now, so we will probably stop using it soon. But definitely necessary (IMO) with a newborn.

Clothes
I wasn't sure what to buy. I hadn't planned on buying any newborn sizes as I thought he'd be able to fit in 0-3 months right away. Wrong. Luckily DH's mom went out shortly after he was born and bought a ton of newborn sleepers. That's pretty much what he lived in for 2 months. After that, he moved almost right past 0-3 months and straight to 3-6 months. He almost skipped 6 month sizes entirely and went to 9 months. He's 9 months old now and wearing 12-18 months tops and 18 months bottoms. I'm lucky that I have a co-worker with two boys, 2 yrs and 4 yrs, and she's not having any more kids, so she's passing everything onto me. I also pick up a lot of stuff at Salvation Army and eBay. I never buy brand new baby clothes.

Safety
I ended up not registering for this stuff (with the exception of a $100 extra wide gate, which my work family bought) and just recently bought most of the rest myself. I already bought door knob covers, drawer and cabinet latches, and a gate around our huge living room tv/entertainment stand. We got a baby monitor from DH's mom. Had we not gotten it from her, we wouldn't have bought one. We have a small house and all the bedrooms are right next to each other. We honsetly don't need one. He's just now starting to crawl and get into stuff, so we shall see just how useful most of this stuff is in the coming months.

Feeding
I had planned on BFing but by the time he arrived, I changed my mind. I wanted DH and other family to be able to help with feedings. And I'm so glad I chose this route. I ended up dealing with postpartum depression and issues related to that, so I ended up going on meds and wouldn't have been able to BF anyway. I got bottles from my shower (Dr. Browns) and although they have a lot of parts, I love them! We decided to use Up & Up brand sensitive formula from Target. Brady tolerated it well and it's cheaper than Similac. Bottle warmers - didn't buy and wouldn't use. Money saved!

Diapers & Wipes
We didn't get near as many diapers and wipes as I thought we would at the shower. Which was good because it gave us the opportunity to try out various brands. We had Pampers (Swaddlers) in the hospital, but tried Huggies when we got home since we already had a pack. The very first one leaked urine all up his back. So we went back to Pampers (Swaddlers) and stuck with those while he was in newborns and size 1s. After that, family stopped buying them, so we moved to Luvs or Up & Up...whichever ones happen to be on sale when we buy. We are happy with both brands. Wipes we've tried Pampers Sensitive and Huggies and Babies R Us brand, and they all work well. Probably will stick with BRU brand in the future since they are cheaper. Or Up & Up.

Diaper Bag
I had planned on a Vera Bradley one, but ended up getting hooked on Ju Ju Be bags...I now have 4-5 diapers bags and some matching accessory bags!

Other Useful Stuff
There are some things that I would've never thought to buy beforehand that have been useful:
Formula Dispenser - We bought the Munchkin one!
Diaper Organizer - We bought the Prince Lionheart Table Top one. I still use it and it just keeps my diapers and wipes in one location and all organized :)
Bibs - Can never have too many!
Jumper - He got one for Christmas - he still loves it. The boy seriously loves to JUMP!

Waste of Money (for us)
Humidifier. I admit we should use it, but we just don't. It just sits in the corner.
Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail. Great at first, but then the lid decided to make this awful noise any time you tried to close it, even if it wasn't too full. We chucked it and got a Diaper Champ. Also buyingthe A&H refills was getting costly.
Pacifiers - Great at first! (but he did grow out of it and now we have a ton of pacis that he won't use)
Shirts that you have to pull on over his head - Especially when he was a newborn, but even now - he hates it. Prefer button or zip ups...and most onesies where the necks are super stretchy.

Trip to Tennessee

Been so busy lately. I know...what's new?!

Went to visit my dad a few weeks ago. He was in the hospital with extremely low calcium and vitamin D levels. Thank goodness they got it figured out and he's much better now. I was so worried about him, that I decided to go visit after he got out. He had just moved to his new house in Tennessee, so it was a fun mini vacation with my mom and Brady!

Here is a pic of my dad, step-mom and Brady. This was taken on their deck...it's so beautiful down there!


Mom and Brady and I went to the Knoxville Zoo one day and had a blast!









 


Chewing on his Mickey :)


Hanging out in Grandpa's living room:


Dad found this old picture of his sister, brother...and him as a baby. We think Brady looks exactly like him as a baby!

One day we drove to Pigeon Forge...the mountains were beautiful!


We ate at a place called Applewood that had amazing apple fritters. Brady got everyone's attention in the restaurant by clearing his throat continually. He's such a flirt!


We drove back halfway and stayed overnight in Dayton. This was at Panera Bread that night:


The next morning we stopped at Waffle House before driving the rest of the way home.


This was taken just a few days ago...eating some yogurt, but most of it's on his face.


And a sneak peek into Brady's first birthday party theme...Mickey Mouse!









Friday, March 7, 2014

Updates

I'll say it again, I've been so busy that I just can't find the time to post. On top of working full-time, taking care of Brady, keeping up with the housework and now starting back into an exercise routine, I barely even have time to sleep. But, as busy as I am, life is grand!

Brady is getting around quite well. No traditional crawling forward, but he goes backwards and spins, sits up from crawling and vice versa. He's a mobile little guy! Our routine is pretty set. Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, my mom comes over and I go to work. Tues evenings we take him over to DH's mom's house to spend the night, then she watches him Wednesdays on her day off. She also usually takes him Saturdays. We're finally getting into this routine and has helped him sleep better at night too. He still has some rough nights with teething and if he gets overtired, but we've gotten a few nights where he sleeps 8 hours straight, wakes up to eat, then sleeps another 2! Heaven compared to the newborn days!

I've also started planning his first birthday party...yes, already! It's only 3 months away...I can hardly believe it. It's Mickey Mouse theme and I'm making a lot of the decor myself (centerpieces, food signs, banners, invites and Mickey ears). It's so much fun, but I've already spent so much money. It adds up quick, but I know it's going to a blast and so memorable!

In keeping up with the housework, I feel like I'm in a constant state of trying to get organized. In light of that, I really want to try this challange:

http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days-2014/

Even if I don't get to 40 bags, at least I have a goal!

I've also started exercising again. So far just lifting weights, but once it's warm enough outside again, I will start running. I'm currently 150 lbs. and hoping to lose 20-30 lbs. It's going to be a work in progress but my goal is to be down 10 lbs. by Brady's birthday party in June and 20 lbs. by the end of summer. I also have an 8 mile road race planned for September around Mackinaw Island...but may add a couple 5Ks in during the summer! I just got my Garmin Vivofit in the mail yesterday and so far I'm loving it. It tracks calories, steps, miles and sleep. If you have been inactive for an hour, a red bar appears prompting you to get up and do something. You have to walk a certain distance to get it to go away. Pretty cool and wearing it all the time reminds me to stay active.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thankful

The last 8 months have gone by SO fast...and I have learned so much about myself, my relationship with my husband, my baby and about life during that time.

For one, my love knows no bounds. I never realized I could love a person as much as I do Brady. It's indescribable! I love seeing him smile at me when I walk into a room. I love hearing him laugh. And I love watching him learn and examine everything around him. He is the greatest gift!

My relationship with my mom is as strong as its ever been. We've always been close, but we are even more so now. She babysits Brady four days a week while I'm at work and also visits at least one day on the weekends, so we are in constant contact pretty much every day. I have a greater respect for her as a mother and everything she has done for myself and my brother over the years.

I've become obsessed with cleanliness and organization! That's not to say that I was a slob before. I've always enjoyed organizing things...but that need to feel like everything is in order has increased ten fold. I'm constantly thinking about what chores need to be done on a daily basis...and how I can organize areas so that they are as functional as possible.

Although I get irritated with my husband about a few more things now than before we had a child (which is bound to happen), he is most often very helpful and understanding. It annoys me sometimes that he seems to have no clue where I keep extra diapers, diaper pail bags; or how to wash bottles effectively. It drives me nuts sometimes that he counts on me to pack Brady's bags when we go out. BUT, he does alternate nights on baby duty so we both get some sleep. He spends quality time with Brady, and he is a great father. He's just not as interested in the organizational aspect as much as I am.

I appreciate my job a lot more than I did before. Well, I am always grateful for it, because we have been through rough times when we've been out of work. But getting away from mommy-hood during the day really helps my life feel balanced. I look forward to coming home to see Brady's smiling face every day!

Most of all, I feel like this is the most important job I have ever had...or will ever have! And I'm so glad that I am lucky enough to be Brady's mom!




Friday, January 10, 2014

2014

2014. Seriously, where to start?

I have fallen off the wagon as far as blogging goes...and most of the time, I am ok with that. But then I realize that I really want/need to document a lot of these early years in Brady's life. The ironic part is that I am so busy living and enjoying it, I don't have time to write about it.

2013 was the most amazing year in my life thus far. God has blessed us with Brady and I seriously cannot imagine life without him!

I sometimes just stare at him in amazement. That we made him. That he is all ours.
I love watching him grow and learn. And teaching him things. He is so amazing! The love of my life. Truly!

At my step-dad's bed & breakfast at Christmas-time


Trying to crawl (1-9-13)

Looking at his grandma (1-10-14)
MilestonesRolling Over - started in November 2013. Has it mastered and rolls all over the room.

Sleeping Through the Night - Nope. Ocassionally has stretches of 6-7 hours straight without waking, but generally wakes every 3-4 most nights.

Teething - started in November/December 2013. 12/23/13 Grandma Y. discovered his bottom left had poked through the gums. The bottom right poked through a few days later.

Sitting Up - mostly unassisted January 2014. But will still tip from time to time.

Fine Motor Skills - Picking up toys. Passing them back and forth between hands. He's very smooth and steady now. Most of the time won't drop toys unless he loses interest.

Laughing - loves to laugh...especially when you change his clothes or give him a bath. Also enjoy funny faces and looking at himself in the mirror.

Babbling - loves waking up at 4am to babble. Just recently (last week or so) started babbling da da over and over again!

Discovered Feet - Sometime in December 2013 he found out this his feet are a fun toy. Doesn't chew on toes though...not sure if he can reach?

6 Month Stats
Weight: 19 lbs, 2 oz. (77 percentile)
Height: 25.25" (17 percentile)
Head Size: Can't recall measurement, but 99 percentile)



Thursday, December 12, 2013

First Visit with Santa



Brady met Santa this past Saturday. Honestly though, I don't think he even looked at his face. He was so distracted by all the decorations and commotion going on in the mall. I'm just glad he didn't cry for the pic :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sleep Baby, Sleep!

So lately, Brady has been throwing a huge fit about going to sleep. He's tired and doesn't want to sleep. Or the feeling of drifting off scares him. I don't know. But it's so frustrating.

Upon reading some old blog entries from another blogger, I came across one of her entries and it describes this whole scenario perfectly!

http://babymakingmerrygoround.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-note-to-my-son-re-bedtime.html

A Note to my Son re: Bedtime.
Baby, thank you for passing out at 6:30 last night, suddenly, with no crying.  I asked you earlier yesterday to be nice because daddy was out of town and you were such an angel!

But why two days before that did you also get tired at 6:30, but then cry until a little after 8:00?  I got you ready for bed and we took a nice long walk and I gave you a bottle and I offered your pacifier and I swaddled your legs and I bounced you and I rocked you and I sang songs and I used white noise - the sleep sheep AND the white noise machine - and I turned on your mobile and I took you outside and then I fed you again and walked circles and circles and circles around the rug in your room and no matter how tired you were, you still didn't go to bed until 8:15?

I mean I watch your cues.  I know your bedtime is usually around 8:00.  But when you start yawning and rubbing your eyes at 6:30, I just want to make sure you are comfortable.  I was having grandiose (that means basically means big) visions of getting you to sleep with no tears because I was so carefully paying attention to you.  Sure, I was also thinking "Sweet! I can watch Jeopardy tonight," but I would have been okay with starting bedtime later.

You're the boss...you just have to decide what you want.  How hard is that?

And while I'm asking questions, how can you tell whether I'm standing or sitting?  I rock you just the same in both positions, don't I?

And how come sometimes when I give you your pacifier, you pass out in 30 seconds and other times it makes you an angry monster?  (A very cute angry monster...I just mean that you get very upset.  I don't mean to offend you.)

I'm not even trying to impose a schedule on you.  I'm trying to let you call the shots.  And you're pretty "regular" to start with so I think in general we're doing ok.  I just get confused when you take a late nap or an early nap or when you look tired at a totally different time of the evening.  I just don't know what to do!

Should I let you fall asleep at 5 or 5:30? Will you still go to bed at a decent time if I do?  If you fall asleep at 6:30, will you still stay asleep until 6:00 in the morning?  That seems like a really long time.  And if you just ate at 6:00, should I feed you again at 7:30 before you sleep?  Or should I do a dream feed at 8:30?

I just have so many questions running through my mind ALL THE TIME!

So just tell me ok?  I'll listen.