Counting Down 'til Daddy

Category: Stuff I like

Have some free time and a family to neglect? Start reading these books (assuming you haven’t already).

I need to stop reading The Hunger Games Trilogy.  For a little while.  Just writing this is an attempt to do something other than read the third book.  I started the series on Saturday while getting my hair done.  I have read during almost every available moment since then.  I put my son in a jumperoo watching nursery rhymes ondemand for close to an hour and then sat in the chair next to him and read.  These books are so good.  I’m pretty sure they are geared toward people younger than me, but what good series these days isn’t (I mean you Harry Potter and Twilight).  I skipped writing a Marriage ‘Wars’ post this week in part because of these books.  The other reason is that there is a Marriage ‘Wars’ war going on between my husband and me: I have a topic I think a lot of people will relate to and he is censoring me.

The worst part about being hooked on these books is that I am boarding an airplane at 7:00 tomorrow morning with two children (and no husband) and I am nowhere near being packed and ready to go.  I did do about six loads of laundry and made lists of things I need to remember, but I’m far from ready.  All I will want to do during the five hour flight is read, but I would bet one billion dollars I will not have the opportunity.  I can read with one hand using my Kindle, so there is a sliver of hope but I’m not counting on it.

So, if you have a weekend you want to spend doing nothing more than sitting with your eyes glued to these books and you don’t mind neglecting your family for a little while, I recommend them.

It’s the first of the month… So here’s some stuff you can go spend your hard earned paycheck on

Before you continue reading this post, go to Amazon and sign up for Amazon Mom.  I promise I get nothing for recommending Amazon Mom.  I just think it is the best deal and if you haven’t heard about it you are missing out. It’s free to join and you can get up to a year of Amazon Prime benefits.  That means FREE two day shipping, no matter how much your order total is and no matter what you are buying.  Want to buy a two pack of pacifiers for $4.00 but don’t feel like spending another minute at Target?  Order from Amazon, pay nothing in shipping and have them in two days.  You get free shipping for three months and for every $25 you spend in the baby store you earn another month.  Let’s just say that I have free two day shipping until Christmas and my dog and the UPS man are best friends.

Okay, now onto the stuff you should buy after joining Amazon Mom.  In my 2.5 years as a mom and eight months as a mom of two, I’ve come across a few things that I think are great and worth spending a few bucks on.  Here is some of the stuff I am loving right now.

These table are great because there is so much for the baby to do and it grows with him.  Take the legs off when your baby is crawling or just playing on his belly and put them back on when he can pull himself up.  They feel super strong and important as they play the music and cruise around the table.

LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table

We call this guy ‘Buddy.’  There is a HUGE selection of animals to choose from and they are super soft and I kind of want my own to sleep with or to get me through long car rides.  Houston has the frog and Madeline has the bear.  I recommend getting more than one so that you can keep them clean.  If your kid is like mine he will get attached and they can get gross fast.  Some kids get attached to that dirty smell, so being able to rotate in a clean one is helpful.  Madeline is so attached that we are about to start weaning her off during the day.  Buddy will be for bed and the car and that’s it.  I’m not looking forward to this.  That’s how attached she is.  Houston started using his in his crib a few weeks ago and it’s like magic.  I put him down, hand him the frog and he pulls it to his face, puts his fingers in his mouth and its off to dreamland.

                              

Angel Dear Blankie

You need to have a place to put bath toys and this thing is great.  Yes it’s a big green frog hanging on your shower wall, but it really isn’t that hideous.  When you have kids you have to get used to ugly plastic stuff around your house.  You can scoop up the toys while the bath is still full and the water drains from the bottom.  Madeline actually cooperates a lot more with clean-up when she gets to scoop the toys herself.

Boon Pod Bath Toy Scoop, Green Frog

Reading has always been part of our bedtime routine and Goodnight Moon is a great place to start.  We read the book then say good night to everyone in the family (including the cats and the dog of course).  You will have it memorized in no time which is nice if you are away and forget the book.  Just recite the words and they will trigger the brain that its time to go to sleep.

Goodnight Moon

This is a pricey one, but if you are in the market for a good camera that is easy to use and has a fast shutter speed for catching kids in motion, this is it.  It also has HD video.  I know nothing about electronics, but a friend/co-worker of Jay’s who knows a lot and used this one to take photos and videos in Afghanistan recommended it.  I feel like a real photographer when I use it, and manage to take some pretty decent pictures without having any real skill.

Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens

Wooden blocks are just fun and when they have letters they are also educational.  Madeline loves stacking hers and building “castles” and lining them up to make the alphabet.  Houston love to knock over her castles and chew on the letters.  It’s a win win for everyone.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe 50-piece Wooden ABC/123 Blocks Set

Fact: white noise helps babies sleep.  Fact: no adult wants to be tip toeing around their house afraid that the baby is going to wake up.  No one wants to wake the baby.  The older they get, the lighter they tend to sleep.  You can buy a fancy sound machine that makes sounds like you’d hear in a rain forest or at the beach, OR you can spend $15 on a box fan with three speeds that also doubles as a…fan!  Sit it on the floor when it’s cooler and put it in the window when you want some air coming in.  When I am in one of the kids’ rooms and the fan is on I can’t hear anything from the rest of the house,  including the room right next door that may or may not house a screaming infant named Houston.

Lasko 20″ Box Fan

I spend about 99% of my time in my house.  Therefore I spend about 95% of my time in slippers.  Uggs are my absolute favorite and if you have between $80 and $100 to spend on slippers, get them.  Your feet will thank you.  I recently got the Tasman slippers and they are great because they have a real sole and can be worn outside.  I don’t wear them outdoors much, but it’s great when I need to run something out to the trash or grab something from the car.

 

UGG Women’s Tasman

These baby food pouches are THE BEST!  I feed Houston homemade purees most of the time, but these are awesome in a pinch or for when you’re out and about.  At almost eight months he is getting the hang of holding the pouch himself and sucking out the food.  There are lots of interesting food combinations and they’re organic if you care about that.

Ella’s Kitchen Organic Baby Food 

HAPPYBABY Organic Baby Food

If your baby isn’t ready to hold the pouch herself Boon makes these handy spoon attachments.  They say they are for Plum Organics pouches, but they fit on all of them.  The spoon is a little deep, but it still works well and lets you feed your baby with one hand…so the other one can type or hold your phone or the tv remote.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

Plum Organics Dispensing Boon Spoon

They make squeeze food for older kids too.  Madeline LOVES these.  There is nothing better than squeeze applesauce.  They are especially great for the car because there is (usually) no mess.

GoGo Squeez appleapple, Applesauce on the Go

Now go forth and shop. It is Labor Day weekend, and you did labor to have your baby, so why not celebrate with some new stuff?

Buy! Buy! Buy!

My review of the Beco Gemini:


Let’s just get one thing out in the open: I think you need to buy this. Click on the link and buy!  If you have a baby, know someone who has a baby or is due to have a baby, you should buy this carrier.  In my opinion, it is the most versatile, easy to use, and comfortable of all the carriers I have tried.  Most importantly (and the reason I initially fell in love with it), it allows you to carry the baby facing out while distributing the weight more evenly on your lower body.  Carriers like the Babyhawk and Ergo distribute the weight well, but do not allow for the baby to face out.  I like them for older babies/toddlers in the back carry position and the Ergo seems pretty good for little ones who still like facing mommy/daddy. Unlike the Baby Bjorn, which does allow the baby to face out, the Beco Gemini has a waist strap that makes all the difference.  Rather than carrying the weight of the baby on your back and shoulders, you carry most of it on your hips.


Houston thinks the Beco Gemini so awesome that he didn’t
 even mind his first port-a-potty experience with Daddy.



I’ve heard some criticism of the Baby Bjorn holding the baby in a non-ergonomic position. I don’t know that this claim has been substantiated, but I used it a lot with Madeline and she has developed just fine. It will still be in the rotation for my next baby because it is the simplest to use and the fastest to get on, get the baby in, and get the baby out. With a small baby it is comfortable enough. I’ve only used the Gemini in one position thus far, and it is still worth every penny. The baby is in more of a sitting position than a hanging position, so I guess that is good. I did see a woman with a teeny tiny newborn at the mall wearing a Beco (without an infant insert like the Ergo requires) and that baby and mama looked super comfy. I don’t know if it was a Gemini, but the Gemini is good for infants and toddlers 7-35 pounds.


The only other carrier that I think is as versatile in terms of positioning is the Moby Wrap. As much as I love that thing, I hate it. I have to watch the video almost every time I put it on, and there is just so much fabric. In my experience it was great to wear the baby around the house so that he slept and I could get other stuff done.  


In conclusion, I love the Beco Gemini.  I’m so glad that we bought it and I have used it almost every day since it arrived.  I’m positive (pretty sure) that I will never have to buy another carrier.

I Neeeeed This!

I recently heard about this baby carrier: the Beco Gemini. It is a soft carrier that is better than an Ergo because the baby can face out. I believe most babies prefer this position, despite Ergo’s claim that babies should not be carried facing out because they can’t turn away from all of the stimuli they will encounter. Um, have you guys met babies at the age when they face out in a Baby Bjorn? They love stimuli. The more annoying the better. Random strangers talking baby talk to them, other children running around Target making lots of noise, etc. The Gemini is better than a Baby Bjorn because you can also use it as a back carrier and is more comfortable for the wearer.

We actually own a Moby Wrap, Baby Bjorn, Babyhawk and a traditional hiking backpack, so obviously I need another carrier. But this one just seems perfect. I can take my son anywhere for a seemingly endless amount of time if I am holding him against my body and he is facing out to absorb all the world has to offer. I usually have him in a Bjorn, but he is getting heavier and the carrier more uncomfortable. Part of me thought that it would be a good idea to sell the other carriers and get this one, but they all have their purpose. The Gemini isn’t any more ridiculously expensive than any other the other stuff out there, but it is a silly amount of money to spend when I already have so many similar things. I honestly don’t know what mothers did before all of this gear came along. The best solution would be to invent a piece of baby equipment that makes a parent’s (mom’s) life even a tiny but easier and I would be rich. That probably isn’t happening in the near future, so back to the drawing board.
Does anyone out there reading this own one and is it as awesome as I am dreaming that it is? Please let me know!

These are a few of my favorite things…

This is my daughter’s “Buddy.” My Mom and Grandmom (her Grandmom and GiGi) bought the buddies (yes, there are several) before she was born. We didn’t know if she would get attached, but she did and the love is strong. I love Buddy almost as much as she does, because when all is not right in her world and Mommy can’t fix it, Buddy often can. Fall down and get hurt? Buddy makes it all better. Tired and cranky? Buddy to the rescue. I don’t think Buddy will be going to college with her, but you never know…

Ahhh, my long lost friend and best gadget ever. My husband bought me this Kindle after our daughter was born. I love it and get annoyed when I want to read a book that is not available in a Kindle edition. It is so light and so easy (a little too easy) to buy books right on the device. It also fits neatly into the diaper bag in case I find myself in a rare situation where I am out and about and have a free minute to read. I do not get to read as much as I would like now that I have two kids and one is still not a fan of going to sleep earlier than 10:00 (a vast improvement over 11:30, but does not give me much “me time”).
My phone. The first smartphone that I have ever owned. It is so great because it lets me do so many of the things I would normally do on the computer, but is so much smaller and can be used with one hand. I spent many nights up with my son reading the news, catching up on other blogs, scrolling through facebook and shopping online. WARNING: If you have a weakness for shopping online, do not get the Amazon app!
The video monitor. I honestly don’t know what people do without one. I would constantly be sneaking into the kids’ rooms checking on them if I did not have this. It is especially great for watching my daughter at naptime. She will often wake up and make noises that might indicate she is done sleeping. However, a quick peek at the monitor will show that she is still lying down (with her buddy) and that usually means that she will fall back to sleep. Anything that lets me extend naptime is a huge positive in my book.
This is a two-part favorite thing. First, it is obviously a television. I love television. I love to put my kids to bed and sit on the couch and watch tv. It might not be the most productive habit, but it is enjoyable and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

The second part is the On Demand menu that is on the screen in this picture. I do let my daughter watch tv and I have let her do this for awhile (even before she was two…sue me). The great thing about On Demand is all of the age-appropriate programming that can be accessed at any time of the day and can be viewed without all of the commercials aimed at my impressionable child. Also under the kids menu are nursery rhymes. There are usually several 10 minute “shows” available that are basically just videos of kids singing nursery rhymes. My daughter loves these and there have been more days than I count where she was in a bad mood or not feeling well and these nursery rhymes helped her feel so much better. There is just something about singing along to them that put her in a better mood.
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