Friday, November 17, 2017

Baby Registry: Things We Love

Here are some of the smaller items we absolutely love and used (or continue to use) daily. I'll keep toys and food-related items for future posts, this is just all the other stuff we needed.

sling


I LOVED my Moby wrap. This was a necessity when Marc was under 6 months - it was the only way I could get him to nap until we figured out the perfect combination to get him to sleep on his own during the day (white noise + vibrations + DARK). I wore it while doing dishes and laundry, on short walks to the store and whenever Marc needed a bit of quiet time. It was a bit tricky to get on at first, but once I figured it out it was easy. I liked that as he got a bit bigger, we could still use it with his legs out. The only issue is that it is a very long piece of fabric: so if we were driving to the store, for example, I needed to get it on before going.

carrier


Which is why we eventually picked up this Infantino carrier too. It's a lot easier to strap on quickly and allows Marc to sit facing outwards (or on our back, something we actually haven't tried). Pat also felt more comfortable wearing this as opposed to the wrap. It's comfortable and sturdy, so it's a great option for when you don't necessarily want to lug around a stroller.

car seat cover


Since Marc was a winter baby, we used this car seat cover all the time. It fit perfectly over his car seat, so we would get him all buckled in before heading out the door. It was perfect in the car as well as during our long walks in the spring.

bibs


I'll go into more length on the various types of bibs we use in my food-related post, but here are the ones we love for catching drool. I have to admit, while I was pregnant and for the first few months, I didn't think I would have Marc in bibs all day. He has so many cute shirts, why would I cover them up? And then the drool started... and hasn't let up yet! It is much easier to change a bib than a onesie! We started off with an Aden and Anais set (I can't find the dinosaur pattern we have, but these are similar) and this Little Unicorn set and I do love them. But in terms of fit and price, these can't be beat. We got them off Amazon in packs of 8 - one set is by ALVA and the other set is by Mabay Baby but they are literally the exact same bibs. We just searched for the cheapest sets. The patterns are fun, but what I really love is how they fit. The inside is fleece, so they're cozy; they're very absorbent; and they have 2 sets of snaps so that Marc can continue wearing them as he grows. The snaps are key - any of his velcroed bibs are ripped off in a matter of minutes. They do say to hand wash but... HA! No. I machine wash and dry and they've held up just fine so far. Unfortunately, they're all quite stained now, but that's to be expected. I highly recommend stocking up on these!

burp clothes
It goes without saying that we used our receiving blankets a lot - as burp clothes and to wipe up spit up (Marc was very pukey until he started on solids) - but these Aden and Anais burp clothes were particularly nice while I was breast feeding. Marc was a bit of a drippy drinker, so these saved my nursing bras, tank tops and shirts (I would tuck them into my open nursing bra). Another nice feature is that you can use them as bibs too; the size gives really good coverage and as you can see in this photo from a month ago, they'll fit for a while yet.

diaper bag and change pad


Obviously, every mom needs a diaper bag. I basically never use a purse anymore! I love my Skip Hop diaper bag - I chose it for both the pattern (love!) and the shape/size/pockets. It also has extra little straps so that I can hang it from my stroller handle, which is really awesome since it leaves the under-stroller storage space open for groceries, our lunch bag or towels for when we go swimming. I also picked up this Skip Hop change pad - a small one came with the diaper bag, but I like that this one comes with a small container to hold wipes as well as a few pockets. This way, I can grab just this to go into the washroom for a diaper change instead of bringing the entire bag in. Extra convenience is essential!

bath thermometer


We have this Safety 1st rubber duck bath thermometer which we still use all the time. I'm pretty sure I don't really need to use it anymore to know the proper temperature (practice makes perfect!) but it was really helpful when Marc was brand new and we had no idea what was safe. Now it's really just another bath toy!

mobile


Pat's sister found us this woodland creatures mobile for our not-really-a-theme-but-woodland-ish nursery. It's really cute! I love that it's handmade with felted wool and isn't super matchy-matchy with our woodland quilt (one of the first things I purchased for Marc's room) but does still sort of match. Marc loved looking at it spin before he could flip himself over and now he loves trying to catch them when we hold him up to it. Although not a necessity, it's a really cute addition and made his room feel more like a nursery (which was really exciting when we were waiting for his delivery!).

I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, but these are some of our essential items. What are some of the smaller items you can't / couldn't live without? 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Baby Registry: Bigger Items

I've been meaning to post a little series on baby items - things we needed, things we never used, toys we love. I know that when I was expecting, I devoured as many of these lists as I could so that I could put together a comprehensive registry (and find quality toys as he grows). First, I'm going to start with the "big" things we needed and used (or still use):

rocking chair / glider
We purchased our glider online from Best Buy (this one is similar). I love it! It's very comfortable, which was key since I was sitting in it for long periods of time (Marc was a very slow breastfeeder). It's still in Marc's room - we use it for morning bottles, bedtime stories and I'll sit in it while he plays in his room. We'll eventually move it out, but for now it's perfect.

play pen with bassinet
This Eddie Bauer pack and play is what we used as a bassinet in our room until Marc was around 6 months and we transitioned him to his crib. Now it's his bed when we travel to visit our family. Once we figured it out, it was very easy to assemble and dissemble. The nightlight/vibrator that came with it was a lifesaver: those vibrations plus a white noise app on my phone were key when teaching Marc to put himself to sleep. I originally liked this pack and play because it came with a shade (we could bring him outside in the summer!) but we've honestly never used it or the change table that came with it.

play mat / "jungle gym"
I chose this play mat because it could be converted into a ball pit and that sounded like a lot of fun! Marc loved it (especially the elephant that played music and flashed colourful lights)! It was great for him to stretch and wiggle and explore the dangling toys. Since this one is in his room, we purchased a second, smaller one for downstairs. We used both until he became mobile; then we put away the small one and converted the one upstairs into the ball pit which he still uses today.

bath
I loved this sling bath! It was small enough to tuck away in his closet and we didn't have to figure out where we would use a tiny bathtub (our bathroom isn't big enough to put it on the floor or counter to wash Marc). It made washing Marc very easy until he could sit up on his own.

change pad
I'm so glad we didn't waste money on an actual change table. This pad fits perfectly on Marc's dresser. We're still using it.

diaper pail
I chose this Ubbi diaper pail (you can see it in the background of this photo) mostly because it uses regular garbage bags. I use it for both disposable and cloth diapers (depending what I'm using that day.. or both, I just can't use the little hatch for both at the same time). It holds in the smell very well and cleans up easily.

stroller with car seat
We went with this Eddie Bauer stroller and car seat. I chose it because of how sturdy it is (it has 3 big wheels). It is big though, which makes navigating smaller stores a bit tricky, if not impossible. But for the most part, it's perfect. I like that the shade for the stroller fits over the car seat so that I can completely cover Marc if needed (awesome when the sun is in his face or when he would nap during our long walks in the spring). The car seat is easy to pop on and off the base and stroller and seems comfortable for our long trips to visit family. I have yet to use the stroller without the car seat, but once Marc is bigger I'm sure we'll get a lot of use out of that as well.

high chair
We have this Graco high chair. I had no special reason for choosing it; it just does the job well. The seat cover and tray are easy to clean, although the cover is a little stained now. The straps are harder to clean and stained as well (though I don't see any way around that). It's sturdy and doesn't take up too much space in our dining room. The seat does fit onto a chair, with or without the tray - we haven't tried this yet, but I likely will once he's a bit bigger and eating at the table.

Things We Didn't Need

Now here are the big ticket items that we didn't end up using... I'm not saying you won't need them, but they just didn't work for our very active little boy:

swing

Marc did not like the swing. Not sure if it was because he was stuck on his back with little to entertain him (which he still dislikes) or what, but we didn't use our swing more than a couple of times.

Bumbo seat

Again, Marc doesn't like this seat. It isn't good to use before they're developmentally ready to sit on their own (since it forces their little back into an unsafe curve), and once he knew how to sit on his own, he didn't want to be restrained. Marc is a mover and definitely does not like to be contained.

Jumper
Which brings us to the Jumper. I don't regret buying this because Marc does enjoy playing with it - just a lot more now that he can stand around it instead of being stuck inside it. He was content to play for 10 or so minutes, but after that he just wants to move.

Anyway, this is what did and did not work for us - what are some big ticket items you needed or ended up not needing?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sketchbook Pages: Week 44

Last week, I rediscovered the folder and tin of supplies I keep upstairs to make mixed-media pages a lot quicker and easier. I'm glad I did - these always end up being my favourite pages.

10/31 Halloween Night

11/2 Lucky Numbers + Why

11/3 Find Joy
11/4 Craziness
Materials used:
  • assorted papers (scrapbooking, recycled)
  • washi tape
  • ballpoint pen
  • Sharpie (black, white, gold, purple)
  • pencil crayon

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sketchbook Pages: Week 43

I didn't work much in my sketchbook this week, so I was going to combine it with week 44 but time is of the essence today. So here are 2 simple spreads from week 43:

10/22-23 Pumpkin Carving Ideas

10/27 Seasonal Words
10/28 Feminine
Materials used:
  • ballpoint pen


Thursday, November 2, 2017

2017 Goals: October

October is one of my favourite months, and I feel like I was scammed out of it! What happened? Where did it go? How is it already November?! 

17 GOALS FOR 2017:
  1. Read 30 books. (14/30)
  2. Finish 2 cross-stitch patterns. (1/2)
  3. Finish Amber art book and start a new one. (3 pages to finish up)
  4. Take monthly baby and family photos. (20/12)
  5. Journal or sketchbook daily. (28/31)
  6. Set a schedule for blogging (weekly) (4/4), crafting (daily) (24/31) and getting out of the house (3-4x weekly) (4/4).
  7. Make and freeze meals for post-partum. 
  8. Gather 10 good crockpot recipes. (4/10)
  9. Set a routine for exercising (3-4x weekly). (4/4 - daily yoga is my next goal)
  10. Catalogue library. (no progress)
  11. Organize, declutter, minimize, purge. (no progress)
  12. Figure out cloth-diapering (pulled these back out and giving it another go - need to buy more), nursing/pumping and making baby food (so much fun!)
  13. Stay in touch with friends while on maternity leave. (yes)
  14. Be intentional deepening relationship with Pat. Set weekly date nights. (4/4 - love playing Dominion on Saturday nights!)
  15. Go to a weekly drop-in session or mother/baby class. (4/4)
  16. Make a fabric book and a colour sorting game for Marc. (0/2)
  17. Use fresh herbs and tomatoes from the garden as much as possible and preserve them come the fall. (harvested the last of the tomatoes)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

9 Months Old

We are 3/4 of the way through Marc's first year and my mat leave. Yikes! Everyone wasn't kidding when they said that time flies! I think this period - the last month or two - has been the best so far. Marc is SO interactive now, playing with his toys and responding to things Pat and I do or say. It's adorable and I think Marc's getting cuter and cuter each day (no bias over here, nuh-uh)!
In the last month, Marc picked his belly up off the floor and truly figured out how to crawl. Of course, this increased his speed significantly, so we really need to watch out if we forget to close any of the gates (he spots those right away!). He no longer lets us help him stand - he'll go limp if we try to hold his hands and get him to walk. He can pull himself up onto anything though and cruises around the furniture like nobody's business, so I'm not sure why he doesn't want to with us anymore. I'm thinking it may be a bit of independence since he can do it on his own mom.
Marc has 4 teeth, though the two top ones (not the middle ones, but the ones beside those) have not yet fully come all the way down (you can't see them unless you pull his lip up... which doesn't happen haha). No sign of more yet. He eats very well and we try to have at least one meal a day where he feeds himself everything. Small pieces of cheese, banana and Cheerios are his favourite.
My favourite thing he currently does is "give kisses" - he's been doing this for a few months now, but lately he's associated the "nice kisses" we say with what he's doing and will sometimes do it when you ask (or give more). His kisses? Wide open mouth, "aaaaaah" and head shaking back and forth. It's the sweetest thing, especially when he grabs my head and pulls it to his face for more. *melt*
A few more favourite things: He thinks it's hilarious when I "eat" his toes. Taking off his socks is a fun game, as is peek-a-boo, hiding under blankets and behind the curtains, and playing with his many cars. He plays very well independently, going between the 6 "stations" we have downstairs: the discovery basket in the kitchen, the "garage" where all his cars are parked, the jumparoo (don't put him in it though!), the bookshelf with his toys, the toy basket in the living room and coffee table books on the TV stand. He walks his cart back and forth, exploring anything new or finding any cables or books we might have left laying around.
Right now we are transitioning from 3 naps to 2. It's a hard balance to find some days, depending on how well he slept the night, how early he went to bed and woke up and how hard he's been playing. But we're figuring it out (and I'm mourning the extra time I had to get things done alone!). No matter how hard the day has been, or how cranky Marc is, I'm trying to savour every single moment. Because I know the next 3 months will be over in a flash...