“These are a few of my favorite things…”

By the time we were awaiting the arrival of baby #2, we had already learned a lot about what to do and what not to do (sorry Harrison). When thinking about what we needed for this second baby, we didn’t need a lot besides bedroom furnishings, thank goodness, but there were a few items that we picked up. Many of these were things we just didn’t know about until Harrison was already passed that stage, or it didn’t make sense to buy another item when we already had one that worked perfectly well. We also needed a couple of things we already had before because, well, they got lost in the shuffle of our move. Before I share my list, I want to make a point to say that’s all it is. My list. I don’t expect these to be things everyone needs or wants, or even agrees on. I also want to say that I wasn’t paid or perked to talk about any of these items.

1. aden + anais (anything, really) blankets, burp cloths, and sheets. We had a couple of swaddles from Harrison, but they weren’t that breathable since he was born in November and it was colder weather. We decided on the aden + anais blankets after many people raved about them. They work great because they are stretchable and very breathable, being made of muslin.

The burp cloths are very absorbent. A few times after Beckett has spit-up all we’ve had to do is rinse it off in water and wring it dry. You’d hardly know it was wet.  The designs aren’t bad, either.

Same with the crib sheets. I love how soft they are. And they only get softer with each wash, which we’ve had a few of after some major soakers. I definitely recommend these.

2. NoseFrida Snot Sucker. This has been wonderful. So much better than a bulb syringe! I wish I had known about this with Harrison. So much easier and more thorough than a bulb syringe. I like that you just suck at the base of the nose, too, and you don’t have to stick anything in your baby’s nose. And, don’t worry, there’s a filter you put in that prevents anything you suck out from going into your mouth.

3. Medela Swing Breast Pump. Obviously, this one is not for everyone. I had a Medela breast pump with Harrison, and it was a double pump. It was an older model that worked fine, but wasn’t what I wanted or needed anymore. I am going back to work, but only part-time. I also needed something more portable and that could use batteries, too. So, when my mother-in-law asked if there was anything I needed this time around, I mentioned the Medela Swing. It’s quiet and efficient. I can easily pump in 10-15 minutes.

4. Skip-Hop Pronto changing station.  This isn’t the design I got (it’s cute, though), but I highly recommend it. I found mine on clearance at Target, which is what inspired the purchase. This one stays at home, and we use it for changes around the house. It was especially handy when Beckett slept in our room for the first month. I love it because it’s wipeable, and we don’t have to worry about getting a mess on our bedspread, a blanket, or the floor.

5. Life factory glass bottle. This is a personal preference, of course. It’s just a decision we’ve made as far as being “greener” around here. I like these bottles not only because they’re glass, but also because they convert along the way to sippy cups and water bottles.  We only needed a couple because I mostly nurse Beckett, and he only gets a bottle when I’m gone or need a cup of coffee.

6. bumGenius 4.0 one-size stay dry cloth diapers. What can I say? I love these cloth diapers. We didn’t start cloth diapers with Harrison until 6 months for some reason, but we started out right away with Beckett. We did have to wait until he was 8 pounds, so he was in Seventh Generation diapers until then. We asked for a few more at Christmas since we thought we might have two in cloth diapers, but it turned out Harrison was potty-trained before Beckett was born. We are still happy we asked for more, though, because there are lots of messes the first few months. We have 23 now and wash every other day. Beckett doesn’t go through all of them in that time, but you need some while the others are in the laundry. At the recommendation of someone else, we picked up a few with velcro closure  for those late-night changes. Very handy. As for cost, these are well-worth the upfront investment. It was amazing how many diapers we went through in that first month with Beckett. We spent at least $100. Cloth diapers pay for themselves in a few short months, and your child is in them for at least 2 years (typically). You end up saving thousands.

7. Munchkin Safety Baby Bath Cradle. This has been great for those early sponge baths and awesome in the tub, too. We had a special baby bath for Harrison we received as a gift, but it took up a lot of space. At $6 or $7 (I can’t remember), this is so cheap and really all you need. It stuffs into the closet easily to be out of sight and is nice padding for Beckett during a bath.

So, those are the items that we have found to be particularly functional and helpful. What items are in your repertoire that you can’t live without?

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Witchcraft

… is sometimes what I think I should adopt so that I can claim a craft. I have so many friends who have a “craft” – whether it’s photography, knitting, sewing, baking (the list goes on). I often find myself coming up with grand ideas but not being able to bring them to fruition.

It gets worse once you’re a mom. I feel like it’s a full-time job just to care for, let alone entertain, a baby, so I’m wondering where these other moms find time to do all of these other things. Don’t get me wrong; David does his fair share. Somehow, I just end up with scrapbook paper, fabric, ribbon, glue… you name it in bags and bins in the guest room closest. Many of my friends got craftier after having children. How is that possible? A picture of Harrison isn’t enough anymore. The picture has to be well-lit and not posed. The sweater he’s wearing has to be knit. The birthday invitation handmade (it’s not by the way. I considered it and then just found a good compromise at Target. I mean, I couldn’t even find the type of sticker I wanted or the right stamp).

It’s as if having a baby brought out hidden talents (my talent was delivering Harrison naturally) or made the talents even better. Skipped me, the craft gene did :).

So while I’m busy with laundry, cleaning diapers, making food, playing with Harrison, making sure Harrison doesn’t fall and hit himself on something too many times under my watch, running errands, having a job…somehow my friends are doing many of these things and getting crafty. A lot of the times I just feel like I am good at being witchy ;).

*Witch image can be found here.

Something cute: WubbaNub ™

So, I had never heard of WubbaNubs(tm) until a week ago. Harrison and I made a trip to Chapel Hill to meet my friend Heidi and her son, and he had this cute little monkey attached to his soothie. I don’t remember if she named it or not, but then I also saw a picture of another baby with one on a blog I follow. It says they are for infants 0-6 mos (so I guess Harrison is past one), but I don’t know how I went so long without hearing about these. This dragon one has me tempted.
Dragon WubbaNub (tm)
It may be silly, but I am seriously thinking about purchasing one for future baby Bunge or maybe to see if Harrison would still use it. I don’t know if they come pre-attached or if you can switch out the paci. This would’ve been a huge help when our little Houdini’s pacis were disappearing right and left. Anyway, this has been filed away under “something cute”.

Fruit and Flowers

That’s the traditional gift for the fourth wedding anniversary, which David and I just celebrated on June 3. It’s hard to believe it’s already been four years. While I can’t say it’s all been wedded bliss (at least with a straight face), it’s been more than I could have ever imagined and hoped for. I’m going to get sappy and say I am so blessed to share every day with the wonderful man who David is and even more blessed now that we have a son to share our lives with. We have lived in our house for 3 years now, and I could not be more thankful of that every time June rolls around and we’re not moving to a different apartment because the rent is cheaper. It’s also nice to know your neighbors and not always wonder who the people walking by you every day are. But I digress…

This year was a bit tough for me. I am all about being creative, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do for David given that “fruit and flowers” was the gift. I love coming up with gift ideas and giving people gifts so it was particularly depressing that my creative juices were not kicking in. I am also more than a bit ashamed that when David mentioned his mom was coming a few months back and said she would be here on June 3 so we could go out, I didn’t immediately think of our anniversary :(. It’s not that I wasn’t cognizant of our anniversary being on June 3, it was just that other things people have been on my mind. Who could that be? David gave me a hard time about that one since I pride myself on knowing important dates  not just for us but almost everyone else (David’s side of the family included). I mean, I even know the anniversary of my parents’ first date. My younger brother knows my birthday is in July sometime :).

I finally came up with an idea. I will say it still was not my best ever. Originally, I thought to get the fruit element in that I would make blueberry waffles or pancakes for breakfast, but since our anniversary occurred on a Thursday, this wasn’t possible. (Sorry honey, but not waking up earlier than 6 am no matter how much I love you.) I then thought about making a strawberry cake, but then had no idea when this would take place and where it would go so David wouldn’t find it before our anniversary. Huh-rumph! I wasn’t satisfied with saying dessert at dinner would count. Plus, who’s to say David would want a fruit dessert anyway. Beside that, he had made reservations somewhere, so that would be infringing on part of his gift. I mostly just went the flower route. I made us reservations at Iris, the restaurant at the North Carolina Museum of Art and got us tickets to go see The New Pornographers. I figured this was a great gift because it would be another night out for us in addition to our anniversary.

David, on the other hand, was able to include fruit and flowers. Side note: my husband is one of the best gift-givers I know. He’s a very good listener and picks up on things I might just mention in passing. I sometimes drop hints but not usually. Mother’s Day was a prime example. I never said I wanted a new camera. I had talked about how great this camera was that one of my favorite blogs had purchased and how good the pictures were that my co-worker took, but didn’t say I wanted one. And this past Christmas, I had to be forced to come up with gift ideas. Basically, I rarely say, “I want this.” Okay, back to David’s gift(s) to me. He gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and some chocolate covered strawberries and cherries. Yummy! He also got us tickets to Biltmore Estates in August when they have their annual flower extravaganza. I don’t think that’s what it’s really called, but basically the flowers will be beautiful. Finally, he had arranged an evening for us at the Fearington House Inn for our actual anniversary. Just another example of how wonderful my husband is. Back when I graduated from UNC, I had wanted to go to Fearington House for dinner since my mom and aunt were in town, and several people had talked about what a wonderful restaurant it was for special occasions. Well, I didn’t mention anything to David until two weeks prior, and apparently the restaurant is booked way in advance for graduation. David had remembered this and decided it was time we actually go there.

So this is where my psychic abilities kicked in. Yep, I’m psychic. I had been thinking just that day that David planned something overnight. I was thinking this because he was talking to his mom on the phone about our anniversary and I couldn’t think why he would need to do that. I knew she would be here and watch Harrison, but she knows what his schedule is so he wouldn’t need to fill her in on that. When he told me the plans, I sort of freaked out. Not because I hadn’t been away from Harrison or didn’t want to spend an evening with David, but because I had never spent a night away from Harrison. I will admit that tears ensued and a bit of panic. This had nothing to do with Nana’s capabilities or fear that Harrison would miss me. Although, two days earlier he had started crying when I was out of sight. I just love being near my little man. I knew he would pretty much be asleep the entire time we were gone since he goes down around 7:45 and doesn’t wake up until 7:30, but I was still crying.

I eventually got over it, and I was so glad I did. The meal was superb and just relaxing for an evening and waking up just the two of us was wonderful. The bed definitely was a bonus. I woke up and told David I wanted to take it home with us. I had not slept the night before because my right arm was giving me trouble, and I slept without interruption Thursday night. (Little did I know how great this was. Harrison would decide to wake up at 4 the next morning ready to play and 6:30 the following day). Oh, and I love my baby boy, but there are times when parents miss being just two people. You feel a little guilty, but then you understand things like this are vital to a healthy relationship, which only fosters a better relationship with baby. I was refreshed and ready to see my baby the next morning. As an extra bonus, we were headed to the beach later that day to spend the weekend with Nana B., Aunt Katie, and Suzette. What a wonderful anniversary weekend!

To go or no to go…

Every weekend, I face the decision of whether to go somewhere with Harrison. Not because he isn’t good at being out and about but because we are rarely gone for just waking hours unless it’s a run to the grocery store or Target. Waking hours are limited because now that Harrison eats solids, feeding time takes longer. By the time he eats, gets cleaned up and we get him ready to head out the door, an hour of the 2-hour wake time is gone. And, unless we are just hitting the grocery store or Target, it’s highly unlikely we will get to where we are going in under 15 minutes.
Take today, for example. We decided we would grab lunch and make a trip to get some wine after Harrison had his 11:30 feeding. Well, we weren’t out the door until 12:30. By the time we hit Panera, it was 1:00, and Harrison had fallen asleep (this happens in the car when it’s close to nap time). He woke up around 1:30 because we were eating outside and there were cars driving by, people talking, etc. The problem with this is that he was now awake when he should’ve been going to sleep, and I knew he wouldn’t fall back asleep since he is now so interested in his surroundings. This isn’t a problem until he realizes how tired he is, but fights going to sleep because of all the stimuli. Before you ask, “Why don’t you just close him off with the canopy on his car seat and stroller?”, I will tell you that we do try this and he just becomes upset that he can’t see us or anything else when he hears things going on.
The real problem is when we get home. It was just 2:30, so at least an hour of nap time was salvageable. Try telling this to Harrison. David took him upstairs, changed his diaper, swaddled him and set him in his crib. Little man just quieted down (now some 20 minutes later), but I’m not sure if he’s asleep or not. If I go check and he sees me, all hope is lost.
I know you may think that in the long run, all of this is trivial; however, my little man needs his naps. It’s sort of a vicious cycle when you think about it. If he does sleep, “yeah!”, if not, “boo!”. If he doesn’t, he will eat at 3:30 and then look tired already because he didn’t nap much. This means, he won’t be as interested in solids after nursing. And this means, even though he will get tired and fall asleep for a late afternoon nap, he will likely wake up before 7 and be hungry already because he didn’t eat enough earlier. If he doesn’t nap, he will just be a grouch because he’s tired but can’t go to sleep because he’s overtired and overstimulated. See what I mean?
I do not want us to be confined to our house on the weekend or have it where only one of us can go out at a time, and we don’t do this, but each time I end up feeling guilty when it negatively impacts Harrison’s schedule. I feel like a bad mother for not giving him a nap. He’s past the newborn stage of sleeping whenever/wherever and fully in the exploratory stage. Unless really tired, Harrison will not just conk out anywhere/anytime. He needs someone to cue him that it is nap time. He is not picky about where he sleeps (doesn’t have to be his crib), but he will no longer just doze off in the stroller. He will rub his eyes and fuss, telling me he knows it’s nap time, but he is just a baby. And a very curious, investigative baby at that (very Sagittarius from what his baby Gap onesie says 🙂 ).
Just wanted to share my constant weekend conundrum and see if anyone had any thoughts or ran into the same thing. I know I’m not a bad mommy, but it’s just a something I struggle with. To go or not to go…

Oh, and we got ourselves some wine and a few good beers, which is good in case I really need something to drink later.

Feed me! Feed me!

Come here so I can eat you

I wrote about how much Harrison is enjoying solids, so I thought I would let you know what some of his favorites are. He will slurp down as many bananas as we will give him, but he’s also loving some of the combinations Mommy has made for him. Most of what Harrison eats is just steamed and pureed and features one fruit or vegetable. When I do combine things, I have been using recipes from a cookbook I picked up in the bargain section at Barnes and Noble when I was pregnant entitled, Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook. I think the edition I have is an older one (hence, bargain section), but I would highly recommend it.
The two recipes I have used are for Baby’s First Vegetables and Bananas and Berries. The first recipe calls for carrot, potato, peas and corn cooked in olive oil and then pureed. Harrison loves this! The second recipe has you boil water and then add bananas and any seasonal fruit with some rice cereal (for thickness). I have been adding blueberries. Since it has bananas, Harrison cannot get enough of this.
I have been doing all organic with Harrison, so most of the fruits and veggies I buy frozen unless I see a good deal on fresh, in season produce (like a bag of carrots for .89 at Trader Joe’s).
Oh, and I must say, I know you can just as easily use a food processor or blender but I splurged and bought a Beaba Baby Cook baby food maker. I was hoping to get it for a shower gift, but that didn’t happen. It has been well worth the investment in just the 2 short weeks I have had it. I love that it can steam and then blend and there is little cleanup. David was all about the purchase after watching me cook the veggies and then blend them and then take the entire blender apart to clean it. The Beaba baby cook is awesome because it’s an “all-in-one” and all I have to do is run it under some water and occasionally do a descale with vinegar.
Anywho, those are just a few of Harrison’s favorites right now. We just introduced avocado yesterday and he loved it! That doesn’t surprise me at all, though. I love how my little man loves to eat :).

*I was not asked or paid to gush about the Beaba Baby Cook. I was just talking about my own personal infatuation with it.

Mommy, Wow! I’m a big kid now.

Our little man is 22 weeks; quickly approaching 23. So this blog post is more than a little past due. I posted after his 2 month check-up on his development, but have failed to post about him in detail since. Well, let me tell you, Harrison is a growing boy in all areas. At his 4-month well-check he was 15 lbs, 4.5 oz and 25.5″ tall. I imagine he’s bigger than that now, but not sure how much bigger.
I will try to follow what I wrote last time with a few additions.
1.) The hair: definitely more present, but that little bald patch is staying strong. It’s stubborn and doesn’t want to leave yet even though little man is moving all the time and barely laying down unless asleep.
2.) The eyes are blue! I realize it can take a long time for eye pigment to truly stabilize, but David’s mom, a pediatrician, told us we can likely expect for those baby blues to remain.

3.) Baby boy continues to be a good sleeper. We definitely have our challenges (rolling over, squirming out of swaddle, congestion), but for the most part, we are napping 2x/day for 2 hrs/nap and sleeping 11-12 hours at night. We did have to put a bumper pad in because our little Houdini would hook his feet behind a crib spindle and flip himself over and spin around. Quite a sight, let me tell you! Plus, we felt bad letting him try to work it out only to discover 10 minutes later that he was pressed up against his crib. It made us feel like a bad mommy and daddy. I was a little worried at first because he slept so soundly without any issue immediately after we put it in, I had to go check to make sure he hadn’t pressed his face into the bumper pad.
4.) Harrison was just rocking when I last posted an update on him. He has since been rolling over from tummy to back and back to tummy. He started rolling over tummy to back at the beginning of February and consistently rolling the other way since late March. Now, I find him off his mat and halfway to the kitchen in the blink of an eye. It’s crazy how much he moves.
5.) Jump up, jump up, and get down: We got Harrison a jumper almost a month ago after his sitter told us he was enjoying the one at her house. She said he would even start moving up and down in her arms in anticipation of being put in the jumper. He gets better in it each week. We don’t need a pillow in front of him anymore to stabilize him and keep him from leaning forward too much and he rotates at times to reach other items around him.
6.) Head control is awesome. Harrison can sit in his booster and eat with his head straight up and he holds his head up while sitting supported to look around. We place him forward in his carrier and can sit him up in his stroller without placing him in his car seat. Little man loves to look around and see the world.
7.) Jibber jabber: Harrison is doing all kinds of things with his voice and mouth. He smiles all the time and laughs! He does this in response to us or initiates to get our attention. The best is when he smiles big when he sees us come in the room. Love it! He really watches our mouths, and we see him move his lips and tongue trying to imitate us.
8.) Harrison is noticing different textures. When we were home over Easter, he kept stroking both grandpas’ facial hair and would pull on beards. Speaking of pulling… Harrison is grasping, pinching and pulling. Pulling hair, glasses, and earrings and pinching anything that fits between his fingers. The neck pinches aren’t too pleasant.
9.) Harrison is a full-fledged solid eater! He loves him some food. Here is a list of what he is eating now (besides still nursing): applesauce, bananas, pears, prunes, sweet potatoes, carrots, vegetable medley (carrot, potato, peas, corn), rice cereal/oatmeal, and blueberries with bananas. He started on Gerber and Earth’s Best organics, and I just started making his food myself. I keep thinking I’m getting ahead and making a lot, but I’m just keeping up. An example of my big eater’s appetite: Yesterday he took 10 oz of milk with cereal and applesauce in the morning; 9 oz of milk with cereal and applesauce plus carrots at lunch; nursed and had two things of carrots at 4, and then slowed down and had 6 oz of milk and some pears for dinner. Whew!
Harrison constantly changes, and we are trying hard to take lots of pictures and videos to document everything. We don’t want to miss anything. It’s such a joy watching him grow, but it all happens so quickly. He goes for his 6-month well check in just a few short weeks, so I’ll let you know what he weighs and how tall he is then.

Keeping it solid

We fed Harrison his first bit of cereal today. He’s been showing some signs of being ready: sitting up with minimal assistance, increased head/neck control, hungry even following big feedings… At the suggestion of one of the OTs I work with, I decided we should take the plunge into solid foods. I picked up some organic, whole grain rice cereal and organic baby applesauce (for flavor) and whipped up some lunch for little man this afternoon. Most of it ended up on his bib, but he handled it quite nicely for the first go around, and he tolerated the cereal nicely. I know that the AAP is now suggesting 6 months for starting solids, but I’ve done my research, and I also know from my work environment, that some babies are ready earlier than others. I think Harrison is one of those babies. He’s already on his way to 14 lbs and he is so strong. Plus, he’s always acted like an older baby (he thinks he can do so much). We’ll keep trying a little bit the next few days after his regular feedings and see if he takes to it. If not, we’ll just wait a little bit longer.