Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"C" is for Confusion

It's official.  I have "Mommy Brain."  I am constantly forgetting and confusing things.  I have to laugh at myself sometimes, as it is getting more ridiculous every day.  Here are a few examples.

MB Moments #1 and #2
I drove to the mall a couple weeks ago to exchange a few clothes for Tully that weren't the right size.  This was one of my few "alone" outings with Tully.  Usually I can talk my mom into going with me, which is super helpful.  So we get to the mall parking lot, and Tully decides he is hungry.  I nurse him in the back seat.  Twenty minutes later I unload the stroller, diaper bag, and Tully.  I get him strapped in the stroller and do a last minute check to make sure I have everything.  Diaper bag? Check.  Baby?  Check.  Water for me? Check.  Wallet? Check.  Cell phone? Check.  Diaper bag and baby?  Just making sure.  Then I look for the bag with the clothes I need to exchange.  I realize they are at home.  Ugh.  So I reload Tully, the diaper bag, and the stroller and head home.  I decided it wasn't worth another trip again that day.

Two weeks later.  Repeat.  I wish someone would have strapped the bag with returns to me, so I would have stopped forgetting it.  Luckily I had my mom with me the second time, so we did go back home and eventually made the exchanges.

MB Moment #3

Two days ago I had the great idea to download a book to listen to while I jogged, like a book on CD but on my iPhone.  I've been lacking motivation to get back out there, so this seemed like the ticket.  So I get on my iPhone and start browsing iTunes for good books.  I find one I like, and $10 and 10 seconds later it's on my phone.  Excellent.  I plug in my headphones, grab the dog leash, and quickly realize I just downloaded a book book, not an audio book.  What am I going to do? Read while I run?  Geez.

As a side note the book I downloaded is called "The Help" (coincidence? I think not.  I need help in more ways than one.)  I've been mostly reading it on John's iPad, since my iPhone screen is pretty small for reading.  It is an excellent book so far!

MB Moment #4
As a little back story for this one, "Nanny J" is helping us out with Tully in July while I'm back at work full-time.  She has to return to her regular teaching job in August, so we are looking for a long-term nanny and are setting up interviews this week.  This was part of my phone call with a potential new nanny yesterday.

ME: Can you come in for an interview one evening this week?
NANNY X: Sure.
ME: What is today?
NANNY X: Tuesday.
ME: And what day is good for you this week?
NANNY X: Thursday
ME: OK.  What time?  How about 6:30?
NANNY X: Sure.
ME: (to John in the kitchen) Can you be home before 6:30 tomorrow?
JOHN: Sure.
ME: (to Nanny X) OK.  Tomorrow at 6:30 is good for us.
NANNY X: Well, I have something Wednesday, so Thursday is better.
ME: No problem.  So tomorrow at 6:30?
NANNY X: Tomorrow is Wednesday.
ME: Ugh!  Sorry.

MB Moment #5
This morning.  This one takes the cake.

ME: (opening fridge, looking at empty spot where milk should be) Are we out of milk?
NANNY J: I don't think so.  You had a whole gallon on Monday or Tuesday.
ME: (peeking into recycle bin, seeing an old empty carton) How in the world did we finish a gallon of milk in a day or two?
NANNY J: (pointing to half full gallon of milk on kitchen counter) What about the milk you have out by the cereal box?
ME: Oh, the milk I got out and had ready to pour on my cereal?  Right.  Thanks.

John has confirmed that I do these types of things repeatedly throughout the day.  I can only imagine what my co-workers think when they talk to me on the phone or read my emails.  I am sure I don't even know my mistakes more than half of the time I am making them.  I am undoubtedly losing my mind.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"C" is for Caper

ca·per  [key-per]

1. a playful leap or skip.
2. a prank or trick; harebrained escapade.
3. a frivolous, carefree episode or activity.

Tully got quite a kick out of playing with John on his playmat.  His eyes got huge every time John blew air in his face.

He also had fun with Grammy frantically looking at the lights on his new toy.

I promise we have clothes for the kid.  I happened to catch these two videos just before bath time in the evening.

In other fun news Tully rolled from his tummy to his back today!  John got to see it, so I'm jealous, but I'm really excited that Tully continues to develop new skills every day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"C" is for Country Living

Extreme Moving: Home Edition

This is what I followed on the way to my parents' house the other day.  I wonder if they had to use a U-haul or could leave everything boxed in the house.  Ahhh, country living!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"C" is for Child (cont.)

Tully turned 3 months old this week, so we took the obligatory photo with Lambsy.

3 months
At one point Tully decided he no longer wanted to share the chair.  Move over, Lambsy!

Here are some of the exciting things in Tully's life:
  • Cooing
  • Smiling
  • Laughing
  • Making eye contact
  • Recognizing mommy (!)
  • Watching the fan
  • Sleeping through the night (8:30pm - 7:00am)
  • Outgrowing clothes
  • Getting excited when someone talks to him
  • Batting at toys with hands and feet
  • Grabbing toys with hands and feet (He has his daddy's crab toes!)
  • Putting toys/anything he can get a hold of in his mouth
  • Being more content in car seat (whew!)
  • Protesting when milk is taken away
  • Throwing a fit when he is full or sleepy
  • Drooling, drooling, and more drooling (I'm guessing teeth are coming soon!)
Total diaper count = 1398

"C" is for Car Trip

We traveled to John's parents' house for the 4th of July weekend.  This was our first long car trip: 9 hours.  We cheated a little bit and stopped at his sister's apartment in Dallas.  This made for a nice break/half-way point.  I didn't have a total meltdown, and neither did Tully, so overall I'd call it a success.

4th of July at Lake LBJ
Tully didn't mind the swing.  I bet he really gets into it next time we visit.
John found a lizard on the fence who put on a little show for us.

Tully played patty cake with Aunt Sassy.  He loved it.

Tully had his own mini-bedroom, complete with light and vent.  The closet in our bedroom was nice and quiet for him to rest, and it kept me from hearing every little noise he makes in his sleep.  We didn't lock it, so you won't have to report us to child services.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"C" is for Checklist

I started this list for a friend, but I figured other moms-to-be might find it useful as well.  I should caveat this whole post by saying, THIS IS JUST STUFF.  You will accumulate more baby STUFF than you know what to do with.  If you get most of these items as gifts (like we did), they are nice to have, but few are totally necessary.  If you don't receive something as a gift, consider buying consignment to save money  I highly recommend checking out a "Just Between Friends" sale near you.  Click here to find one.

Most items were on my registry, which can be accessed here for easy reference.  A big caveat is that every baby is different, so some items may or may not apply.  I am a breastfeeding mom and my friend is planning to breastfeed, so many of the items on here are specific to that.  Moms feel free to post your favorite/most used or not used items in the comments.  I've updated this post a couple times now that Tully is over a year old.

Stuff I use every day/often:
  • DIAPERS - We used roughly 15-20 per day at first (0-3 months).  This tapered to about 10 per day (3-7 months) and 5-10 per day (7 months+).  I strongly prefer Pampers Swaddlers over Huggies Little Snugglers.  They fit better with no leaks.  Newborn size was useful for the first 6 weeks for an 8 lb baby.  Size 1 shortly thereafter.  Amazon used to have the cheapest prices by far.  I used Amazon Mom and Subscribe and Save programs to save 30%.  Shipping was free and fast--2 days, even though they didn't always guarantee it.  As of June 2012 the S&S program combined with Amazon mom offered a 20% discount, which is about the same as buying with coupons in the store.  It was more convenient for me to have the diapers delivered at the click of a button and not have to clip any coupons, but as of November 2012 we have switched to Sam's Simply Right brand diapers.  We haven't experienced any blowouts or leaks, and they are less expensive than Pampers (18 cents/diaper vs 26 cents/diaper).  I'm planning to start baby #2 in Pampers and will consider moving to the store brand later.
  • WIPES - I like Huggies Natural Care Fragrance Free wipes.  They are thick and don't smell.  Again, I save 30% 20% by purchasing from Amazon using Amazon Mom and Subscribe and Save.  I tried out out Pampers Sensitive wipes to earn more Pampers rewards in conjunction with diaper purchases.  The price for Pampers and Huggies wipes were the same, but the Pampers Sensitive wipes felt slimy.  Huggies feel more cloth-like, so we're back with Huggies.  As of November 2012 with the switch to Sam's Simply Right store brand diapers, we switched to Simply Right Premium wipes as well.  They come standard as fragrance free, and they are thick.  I am as happy with the Simply Right store brand wipes as Huggies, and they are cheaper (less than 2 cents/wipe vs 2-3 cents/wipe).
  • DIAPER CREAM - I like Boudreaux's Butt Paste Natural.  It works, goes on smoothly, and doesn't smell medicine-y. 
  • INFANT CARRIER - Any brand will do.  The cheaper the better IMO.  We only used it for the first few months.  When Tully weighed over 12 lbs, it was too heavy to carry.  The best use I got out of the infant carrier was during air travel.  We checked it for free at the ticket gate, and picked it up with our luggage.  We could put it in the rental car, a friend's car, or taxi, if needed.  And since ours wasn't expensive and didn't match a set or travel system, I didn't worry about damage or loss from the airline. Note: Most car seats expire after 6 years, so be sure to check the manufacture date, if you buy consignment or borrow. 
  • CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT -  This will hold the baby through toddlerhood and up to 70 lbs.  We use the Britax Boulevard 70 CS.  Tully easily fit in this from 3-12 months rear-facing before we flipped it around.  These seats are wide and bulky, but I think Britax makes some of the best ones on the market.  A big downside to our Boulevard 70 CS is that there isn't a compatible cup holder.  If I had to do it again, I would consider a Diono Radian -- good ratings, lightweight, and comes with a cup holder!
  • BREAST PUMP - Sadly I didn't like the first one I bought (Philips AVENT Duo), since it was not efficient or comfortable.  I do highly recommend the the Medela Symphony, which can be rented from the hospital ($2/day) or purchased on Amazon.
  • BOTTLES - I like Dr. Brown's.  Lots of parts to clean, but they seem to work nicely when we do use them.  No major gas problems or nipple confusion.
  • BOTTLE DRYING RACK - Especially for Baby.  This one is totally functional and just the right size (small).  I didn't register for a drying rack originally, but decided I needed one once I started pumping and doing some bottle feeding.
  • BOTTLE BRUSH - Haven't found the ideal one yet. Let me know if you do!
  • STERILIZER BAGS - Munchkin.  Cheap and get the job done.  These can be used for bottle parts, pump parts, pacifiers, etc.
  • MATTRESS PAD COVERS -  I cut the plastic liner from the underside of the mattress pad cover and used just the cotton part.  The plastic doesn't breathe well and can make baby sweaty, and honestly a diaper, clothes, and sheet usually do a pretty good job catching messes before they ever make it to the mattress cover.  I've never had anything leak through the mattress cover to the actual mattress.
  • BREAST FEEDING SUPPORT PILLOW - My Breast Friend recommended over the Boppy for more solid support for newborns.  Your arms and back will thank you in those first few months.  After Tully learned to hold his head up, I usually just grabbed a nearby pillow, since the Breast Friend was such a hassle to strap around me.  My support item of choice now is a king-size pillow that can be used to support my head as well as his in the event we fall asleep in the rocker.  I did end up purchasing a Boppy for use with baby #2 for when she is 3+ months.
  • SNOT SUCKER - We started with a bulb syringe but switched over to the NoseFrida.  If you can get past the idea of actually sucking snot out of the baby's nose with your mouth, the NoseFrida is awesome.  It totally gets the job done.  Love this product. 
  • DIAPER BAG - Or any regular bag that can serve as a diaper bag.  My Petunia Pickle Bottom "Cake" bag is OK for day trips, but it's more cute than functional.  You have to really dig around to find stuff, and the diaper storage is on the bottom of the bag with a zipper, which isn't very convenient.  Who wants to dump their bag upside down to get to the diapers?  It holds 5-10 diapers, wipes, changing pad, two burp cloths, a blanket, nursing cover, extra outfit, sling, my wallet, sunglasses, water bottle, cell phone, and lots of miscellaneous items (e.g. chapstick).  A bigger bag is needed for trips lasting more than a few hours or a day.  I received a monogrammed, plastic coated canvas bag at my shower, and it's really useful for longer trips.  After the first 6 months or so, I did away with the diaper bag completely.  I throw a couple clean diapers, some wipes, and a toy or two in my regular purse, and we're off!
Petunia Pickle Bottom "Cake" Society Satchel
Plastic coated canvas bag
  • STROLLERS - I LOVE the BOB Revolution for jogging and walking.  It rolls like a dream and is very easy to control.  Cons for BOB: minimal under storage, purchase accessories (cup holder, infant carrier adapter) separately, and doesn't fold/travel well.  We skipped the regular-sized stroller and purchased a nice umbrella stroller for non-exercise outings.  The Maclaren Techno XT is the perfect size for travel, day outings, etc.  It's not too big but has enough storage, folds easily, and is easy to operate with one hand.  It was the perfect compromise between a regular stroller and a cheap umbrella one.
  • SWADDLE BLANKETS - This one is really baby dependent, since not all babies like to be swaddled.  Tully loves it, and I love our Petunia Pickle Bottom swaddle blankets.  They are lightweight and have the perfect amount of stretch to get a snug swaddle.  Runner-up: Aden and Anais.  Also lightweight and over-sized.  Con for Aden and Anais: my wedding ring catches on the fabric and causes loops/tears.  Pro for Aden and Anais: their bamboo blankets are amazingly silky and soft--worth the extra couple bucks for sure.
Petunia Pickle Bottom Swaddle Blankets

Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets

  • CLOTHES - Enough clothes for an entire week without doing laundry (2 outfits/day * 7 days = 14 outfits).  You do not need a ton of clothes for a new baby.  If you get a bunch of clothes as gifts, I suggest keeping the tags and receipts to return and go buy things you'll actually need.  Outfits for daytime and for nighttime-- for boys, rompers are my favorite daytime outfits, since they make diaper changes easy (like onesies) but look more like a complete outfit without having separate shorts.  I don't do shirts that don't button at the bottom: they ALWAYS ride up on babies.  Long-sleeved, zip-up, footed pajamas are my preferred nighttime attire, since they help keep Tully warm at night (no blankets in the crib at first, remember?!).  For newborns, anything that buttons up the front is 1000x easier to put on and take off than those items that have to be pulled over the head.  I think as they get older this changes: buttoning 15 buttons on a squirmy baby is tough!  Ralph Lauren clothes run almost 6-months too small, and Carter's run 3-months too small.  I noticed when he hit the month marker indicated on the clothes, he had just outgrown it.  Other brands (Gap, Gymboree, OshKosh, etc.) seem to run true to size or slightly small.  Tully is not a very big baby (50th percentile for weight).
Footed pajamas
  • BURP CLOTHS - My favorite kind are handmade (Thanks, GiGi!) and seem to be the most practical.  They aren't too thick, are absorbent, and can be used as a bib or to wipe up spills, spit up, or anything else.  Also, they fit nicely in the diaper bag.  If you don't have a crafty family member or friend, try buying some on Etsy.
  • CANVAS TOTE - I got two of these as gifts, and we use both (one upstairs, one down).  It holds diapers, diaper cream, and lots of other miscellaneous baby items.  They are also nice to take when traveling to see the grandparents.

  • VIDEO MONITOR Summer Infant Day and Night.  I intentionally registered for this older model monitor because it runs on the 900MHz frequency.  The newer monitors run on 2GHz but so do most other wireless electronics.  I get little interference with my older monitor, while there are significant complaints about interference on the new models.  Also, the display on this is great, and the mic is super sensitive.  With baby #2 on the way, we ordered a second camera to use with the same monitor.  Another good monitor many of my friends have is the Summer Infant Baby Touch.  Same benefits as the Day and Night monitor but also has remote access to pan/tilt the camera and 2-way talk feature.
  • WIPE WARMER - Especially for Baby.  I didn't originally have this on my registry, but Tully is not a fan of cold wipes.  We do use this and have not had any issues with it turning the wipes brown like other reviewers have stated, probably because we keep a bottle with water nearby to keep wipes damp.
  • CHANGING PAD and COVERS - I registered for the Nightstar Eco Friendly changing pad, and it does the job.  The store brand one we bought at Babies R Us works just as well.  Boppy or Carter's changing pad covers are big and fit nicely on the pads.  I suggest at least two covers or using the removable liners.  We constantly had to wash these the first few months.
  • ADULT CAR SEAT COVERS - Kiddopotamus.  I wanted to protect my leather seats.
  • BIBS - Plain cotton bibs with a small neck hole are great for bottle feeding.  Embroidery and appliques look cute but take away from the functionality IMO.  The Tommee Tippee Explora bibs are the best ones I have found for toddlers/babies eating solids.  The pouch catches the mess.  The are super easy to clean.  They can't be pulled off.  We use them over and over.  Love this bib.
  • BATH SOAP and LOTION - Johnson and Johnson.
  • BABY CONNECT iPhone APPLICATION Baby Connect.  Good for tracking feeding, diapers, medicine, sleep, and growth stats.  Input = output, and unless you're pumping you have no idea what input is in those early days, so you have to keep track of diapers.  I'm not a pencil and paper kind of gal, so I LOVE this app.  Also, I could never remember what time I took my meds or what time I gave him his in those early days, so this was a lifesaver.  The app syncs wirelessly to an online server for backup, and other caregivers can download the app and input info for your baby too.
  • BOOKS - board and cloth books are nice for when they are little.
  • HIGH CHAIR Eddie Bauer "Charter"Atlantic Blue
  • NURSING COVER/BRAS/CAMISOLES Hooter Hider.  I like the half moon structure at the top, so I can see down, but I ended up not using this much at all.  I felt like it drew more attention to put a cover on in public.  The least obvious thing for me to do is wear nursing bras with clips and a tank top or shirt that can be pulled down from the top or unbuttoned instead of lifted up exposing the post-baby belly.  Breakout Bras offers some great nursing-friendly products with thorough reviews.

Here are some things that are nice to have.  I've listed the actual brands we own as a reference/recommendation.
  • SWING - Fisher Price My Little Lamb.  Some babies love the swing, some don't.  Tully was indifferent.
  • BOUNCER/ROCKER - Tully loved his Fisher Price rocker.  When he kicked, the toys moved.  Tully did NOT love his Baby Einstein bouncer, which is similar to this.
  • HEAD SUPPORT - Kiddopotamus.  This kept Tully's head from flopping around in the infant carrier and stroller.
  • BABY SEAT - Bumbo.  Tully didn't care for this.  I'd skip it.
  • HOODED TOWELS Bearington Baby Collection "Lamby" and several others we picked up consignment shopping.
  • BATH SLING - Tully slides down on the one I own, but it will only be used for a short time, so I'm not buying a new one.  This one has better reviews.
  • BABY CARRIER - BabyBjorn Synergy carrier (most useful for 2 mos+) and Petunia Pickle Bottom sling (most useful after 3 mos+). USE AN ERGO!  My full review here.
  • DIAPER GENIE - Love the Diaper Genie II Elite.  Compact and easy to use foot pedal action.  Get some refills too.
  • DIAPER BAG DISPENSER  Sunshine Kids Bag It Bags.  This dispenser is great to keep in the diaper bag to temporarily dispose of diapers when you're on-the-go.
  • PACIFIER - Playtex Binky.  Not a huge fan of pacifiers, so these could wait or not be purchased at all.  I preferred to comfort with the breast or to let Tully self comfort by sucking his fingers, but I did find a use for these during car rides.  Tully is not a good passenger.
  • PACI CLIPS - Bella Tunno.   It's nice to have these to help keep track of the pacifier.  Tully's favorite paci clip from Bearington doesn't clip worth a darn, but he loves to hold the lamb and rub it on his face when he goes to sleep.
  • CAR SEAT MIRROR - Brica.  It's nice to be able to see his face while I'm driving.
  • CLOTHES HAMPER - Koala Baby
  • PLAY GYM - Infantino Boogie Woogie Bug Gym.  This thing is awesome. 
  • CD PLAYER and CDs/iPod/NOISEMAKER- I like to rock Tully to sleep at night, and we listen to Fisher Price's Twinkle Twinkle Little Starfish CD. Also, we needed white noise to help Tully sleep, so I made a 75 min CD from a blow dryer mp3 that we could put on repeat.  We ended up buying a $20 sound machine from BuyBuyBaby.  I wish it had louder volume, but we pick the noisiest sound and crank it up.
  • VITAMIN D - Breastfed infants are supposed to have a Vitamin D supplement. The Enfamil sample my pediatrician gave me was terrible for several reasons.  It smelled and tasted bitter, and one dose was an entire dropper full.  Tully would not take the large dose from the dropper, so this meant we had to mix it with a bottle of milk, which seems a little counterproductive when you're trying to breastfeed.  Get the Carlson brand: 1) doesn't smell and 2) one drop on the nipple, and you're done.
  • JUMPER - Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo.  Tully loves this.  We started using it at 3 months old.  We put a pad or box under his feet, so he can push off to move the bouncer.
  • PACK-N-PLAY - Eddie Bauer "Charter" Atlantic Blue.  This one is easy to set up, and it comes with a very handy attachment, which acts like an adjustable height crib.  You don't have to bend over and pick up the baby from the bottom of the pack-n-play when they are too little to pull up or stand up.  This is great for travel with a toddler who isn't sleeping in a full-sized bed yet too.
  • PLAY MAT - Imaginarium Foam Puzzle Mat.
  • POTTY CHAIR - BabyBjorn.
Things you don't need to buy:
  • EXTRA INFANT CARRIER BASES - Infant carriers fit in cars without the base, so I kept the base that came with the carrier in my car, but I did not purchase a separate base for John's or my mom's.
  • INFANT CARRIER ADAPTER FOR BOB STROLLER - Obviously this only applies if you use a BOB stroller.  Since you only use the infant carrier for two months, you'll only need the adapter for the BOB for two months, so borrow this, if you can.
  • BOTTLE WARMER - We heat up water for 1 minute in the microwave, and then warm the bottle using the hot water for a minute or two.
  • THERMOMETER - The hospital gave us the one they used in the room.  It's a basic thermometer that reads in Celsius, which is what the doctors and hospitals use. 
  • SHOPPING CART COVER - Buggy Bagg.  Received as a gift but we never use this.
Hope this is helpful.  I'll try to update and add items, as needed.
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