never too old to carve a pumpkin

"Daddy is under my spell"
Serious business

Left to Right: Torri's, Brent's, Mine, Paige's

My little pumpkin

impromptu game of touch football. Brent and I were strategizing

Making our pumpkin faces :) 

Hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween! 
Your candy, however, will not be sweeter than this: 


I know that I am jinxing everything by posting this but…
I seriously have THE NEATEST EATER of all time. 

I kid you not, Blythe is amazing with a spoon and food. From the first day I fed her, she has neatly accepted anything I put in her mouth. She never reaches for the spoon, or wipes her mouth with her hands. She doesn't spit food back out. She will eat for as long as I put food in her mouth. 

If she needs wiped up at all when she is finished [and sometimes she doesn't], it is because I messed up with the spoon. If there is anything on her bib it is my fault, not hers. Seriously, it is unreal. My mom marvels at it, as she has fed many, many, many babies in her day. 

THe food you see on her upper lip and bib was my fault, as I was distracted and missed her mouth
 It is truly amazing…and wonderful. I'm sure it will all change but for now, it makes feeding her a breeze as she cleans up the food in about 2 minutes or less! 

Oh baby girl, you are spoiling me! Thank you. 

And on one other note: look at this picture and tell me your heart doesn't melt into a gigantic puddle of 'oh-my-goodness'!


genetics are funny

I was sorting through pictures the other day and found some of my niece, Ellie, when my sister Kali was home last February for my baby shower. According to my calculations, Elz-a-bellz [as we like to call her, per Caroline], was roughly the same age [6 1/2 months] as Blythe is now. 

And genetics are a funny thing because these two could not be more different!! :-) 

First we have an eating picture of both of them:

Ellie has never been the neatest eater. 
And I barely have to wipe B up after I feed her. 
[If this were a competition: POINT FOR BLYTHE!]

And size:

Clearly the POINT GOES TO ELLIE here. 
I think B weighs about what Ellie weighed at two months. My little peanut. 

And smiles:

They are both adorable, in my biased opinion….

Now if we had a competition on hair Blythe would lose that one, so we'll just stop right there. 

Happy weekend, everybody. 


blogstipated and baby items

Yesterday I mentioned to Brent that I had about four blog post ideas milling around in my brain, but I just hadn't had time to sit down to write them. He said, "Ah, you're blog constipated…you're blogstipated." Lovely, Brent. Lovely.

Well here is one of those posts I've had bouncing around [it took me awhile to get all the pictures and links set up, so I hope it is helpful to a few]:

I have several good friends that are currently pregnant. It is still kind of strange to think that I am on this side of pregnancy, with my little peanut laughing at and slobbering on me all day, but nevertheless I am. I loved pregnancy.  I loved writing my baby girl letters and dreaming about meeting her. But there were moments that it was a bit overwhelming: how do I prepare for birth? how do I prepare to bring a baby home? how do I prepare to be the best mom I can be? etc. etc. etc. All unknowns.

The most helpful thing I did during that time was talk to other mothers. I asked a lot of questions. One thing I was clueless on, and I think a lot of first time mom's are, was what "stuff" was essential to have, and what baby gear was really unnecessary.

I think the items you need varies a bit, based on your lifestyle, but in an attempt to help my friends create registries or rush out and buy last minute items, here are a few things we have found essential/helpful/fun to have on hand:

Bouncy Seat
We didn't register for a fancy one…although there are fancy ones out there for sure [that turn into toddler rockers and everything!]… but this was one of our most valuable items early on. 

HERE is ours. 

Blythe loved being able to see things around her, and if she had a little gas she slept better in this than in her crib. It was also easy to throw in the car and take with us.

Travel System
This was the first thing I registered for. I obviously knew we would need a carseat and a stroller, and everyone I knew recommended the travel system. Everyone that had the CHICCO system HIGHLY recommended it, and now I know why. 

HERE is ours.

The car seat locks into a base in the car, but it also quickly and easily attaches to the stroller. The stroller can also be used just as a regular stroller [as pictured above] once the child is big enough. And like everything CHICCO makes, it is all easy to use and most things [like unfolding the stroller/ unlocking the carseat] can be done with one hand. We also love the pattern of ours! Check and see how many pounds the seat goes up to-- I recommend getting one that goes over 30. Your child should be rear-facing until over a year anyway, so the seat will last you longer that way. They are pricey…but WORTH IT!

Boppy Pillow
I haven't used this as much as some people I know, but used it enough to consider it necessary/ helpful. 
HERE is ours. 
Obviously this is nice if you're going to nurse. Blythe is/was such a tiny baby that I don't always use it, but it does save your back a bit. We used it a lot when she was tiny, to prop her up after a feeding, or lay her on her belly/arms over it and she would hold her head up. Then when she got closer to sitting up it was nice to put around her as a little extra support until she perfected it. One good hint as well: Bring this with you to the hospital and SIT ON IT on the way home [I can thank my sister for that tip!].  Register for a couple of covers as well. 

This may seem like a silly thing to some people, but it is so unbelievably handy. My mom was a little skeptical when Kali and I got these, but I think she is a believer now :). 

HERE is ours. 
The concept is basic, and I'm sure there is some time of App you can download now, but this little guy was awesome in the first months. I didn't ever keep track of diaper changes on here, but used most of the other buttons at some point. Obviously I kept track of her feedings, and it was so nice to not have to think or count or subtract…just looked at the timer. It also has a space at the bottom to keep track of which side you last nursed on-- because you will NEVER remember. I kept track of her sleep early on as well, and then I used the extra button to keep track of MY pain meds and when I could take them next…which in my early state was AWESOME! 

Diaper Genie [Elite]
The Diaper Genie is a must, in my opinion, if you're going to work with disposable diapers
HERE is ours. 
I would recommend registering for the ELITE. The refill bags cost the same, but it has a foot pedestal to open the top-- again, anything you can operate with one hand is fantastic! I know the bags are a little pricier than trash bags, but they really do completely eliminate the odor [and I used a few gift cards and bought several refill boxes and still have one left]. 

[Funny story: One of Brent's cousins had ordered this for us and it arrived on March 23rd. I drug it inside from the porch, plopped it on the coffee table, put it together, sat down and realized I was having contractions. I started keeping track of them by writing down the time on the lid of the box! It came in the knick of time :) ] 

AVENT Pacifiers
I was a little overwhelmed when I thought about registering for a pacifier. I know a lot of people that have used the AVENT pacis, but I always thought they looked HUGE for a little infant. I registered for others…but found that Blythe took to these WAY more easily. 

They are easy to sterilize and clean because they are all rubber. Also, as she has started teething [or I think so anyway…we have yet to see a TOOTH!], Blythe LOVES to chew on them :). She can also handle them very easily herself. I know others have had success with different pacifiers, but this would be my pick from now on! One of the downsides to these is that if dropped…they BOUNCE away, sometimes clear across the room! :) 

Bumbo Seat
Ah, yes, the recalled Bumbo seat! :) Another must have!
HERE is ours.[With an added restraint belt] 
Blythe helped me do many dishes, prepare many meals, sing many songs, and brush my teeth while perched in her Bumbo seat. Around 2 1/2 months she was strong enough to sit in it for a minute or two, and progressively could last longer until the point that she preferred it over her bouncy. It is super easy to wash, easy to transport, and very convenient. It was recalled recently, but you can still buy it-- now it just has to have straps. Whatever- if you watch your child and don't put them in it when they are 8 months old, you'll be alright. You can also get a tray with it for the early spoon feedings when your child is too small to sit in a high chair. 

Play Mat/ Activity Gym
This is something I did't register for but am so thankful someone gave me. 

HERE is ours [newer version of the same thing].
I didn't really want to get one of these because I thought it would take up a lot of space and not be very useful. Well I was wrong. It folds up to nothing, practically, but we never fold it up because we are using it all the time! When Blythe first started tracking toys it was great for her to lay and look. Soon she could reach for items and bat at them. It was good for tummy time to, as she could look at all the objects as she pushed herself up. Now she still loves it as she can sit and play with the items. I like that I can bring it from room to room easily. I've even thrown it in the car when we are going to be at someone's house for awhile. You don't need anything fancy, but I would recommend one. 

Boba Wrap/Infant Carrier
There are a million different versions of this wrap, but this is the one my sister and I use and really like
HERE is ours. 

Once you figure out how to tie it, it is an excellent tool! It is great to use during grocery shopping [I still put her in this when we grocery shop], going through airline security [it has no metal so you can leave the baby in it], or to go to track meets [like pictured above :)]. I liked putting her in her early on when we would be outside because then I knew she stayed a little warmer. I also like it because it is easy to stuff in a bag. Brent even wears it. It is remarkably comfortable and distributes the baby's weight evenly enough that you don't feel the strain--very unlike just carrying your child. Plus when I want to just feel a little pregnant again….:) 

Another option is something like the Chicco Infant carrier:
Here is ours. 

Brent thinks this is a little more acceptable for him to wear than the wrap. However, I find this doesn't distribute the weight as well, and another mom and I were just talking and we find it way more difficult to get the baby in and out of this thing [you almost need another person to help]. Also, Blythe wasn't really big enough for it for awhile because, unlike the wrap, she is not as secure. Still, it's nice to have…not a necessity if you have a wrap though, and I wouldn't purchase this over the wrap. 

A Good Breast Pump
If you plan on breast feeding, investing in a good pump is essential. I would not have stuck with it had I not had a good one. 
HERE is mine.

If you plan on working and breastfeeding, then obviously you'll need one [unless you can take your child to work with you!]. But even if you plan on being home, like me, you'll need one. I had a good family friend who had a relatively new one she is letting me use. It says not to share "this product", but if you clean everything properly it really isn't a problem, and could help with the big pricetag that comes with these suckers! Also, check with your insurance because a lot of times it will cover a portion, or let you use your flex spending to purchase one. 

Hand Blender
My sister was a genius and got me this and a baby food cookbook, along with silicon ice cube trays so I could make my own baby food. If you want to make your own baby food…this is the way to go. 

Here is ours. 

It is the only thing I have used so far to make all sorts of baby food. It is unbelievably easy too! It will process just about anything [here are steamed peas]. THESE are the ice cube trays. I have spent maybe 2-3 hours on making baby food so far, and have been feeding Blythe solids for over a month. It doesn't take much time at all but saves a ton of money! 

Some people will use this more than others. We haven't used ours a ton, but I think if you have a multi-level home it would be nice to use as a changing table early on downstairs/upstairs. Also if you plan on traveling a lot it is almost a must. You can also use this instead of a bassinet if you plan on having the baby in your room for a while in the beginning, as most can be raised up for when the baby is tiny. 
HERE is ours. 
We used it in our hotel room and other times traveling, but haven't had to use it at home much. I registered for the CHICCO, but ended up purchasing this one with gift cards. It was over $100 less, and has been just as great. If you plan on using yours ALL THE TIME you may put more money towards it, but I've been very pleased with this one [and really liked the pattern]. 

Other Items You May Want On Hand:
These are items that WE have found useful over the last few months.

Gas drops Gas drops Gas drops!
I know some people don't like giving "medicine" to their infants, but these are super gentle and REALLY can make a difference. We gave them to B when she was just a week old and they settled her right down. I've been giving them to her ever since! 

Butt Paste [or other ointment]
I didn't have to use mine for awhile, as B never got a rash until she started eating solids, but it was nice to have some on hand and not have to rush out and buy them. I put this on my registry as it was a good "stuffer". 

Obviously you'll need these, as every baby is going to spit up, but I didn't realize HOW MANY I would need! Blythe was a pretty mild spitter-upper too, but it was nice to have PLENTY and not have to do wash ALL the time. I would recommend not taking any back that are gifted to you, even if they seem like too many [and the old clothe diapers really do make the best burp rags]. 

Infant Tylenol
Again, some people don't like giving this to their infant, but after Blythe had her first shots [around 3 months], I checked to make sure I had the correct dosage and gave her some to bring down her fever. I have also given her some when I think that teething is bothering her. 

Lanolin Cream, Gel pads, Extra soft nursing pads, Milk bags, etc.
If you plan on breastfeeding, have these things on hand to help you get through the first few weeks of discomfort. Though it is a little more expensive, the Lansinoh brand really is the best [especially the pads], but the NUK milk storage bags are okay too. 

Infant Bathtub
I don't think this is a necessity for everyone, but it was nice to have one for the first months. We were able to set it right up on our counter and Blythe always loved her baths. 

Car Mirror
There are many varieties of these, and I didn't know if we would use one or not, but I loved having it, especially for our long road trips. 
Just make sure you aren't too distracted by how adorable your baby is while looking in the review mirror and driving to drive down the interstate :) 

 Dreft [or other gentle laundry soap]
It smells great too…and it is gentle on their fragile skin. I registered for it along with baby hangers etc. in case someone wanted to do a practical gift.

A few Bottles
Even if you plan on breastfeeding it may be nice to have a few on hand. I introduced B to a bottle at about 2 weeks when she was still fussy after a full feeding. I knew I had no more milk for her, so gave her some I had frozen. She took to the bottle right away. I use the AVENT brand. 

There are more I'm sure like: LAMAZE toys, Johnson and Johnson soap and lotion, monitors [though we hardly use ours, but this depends on layout of house probably…DON'T get SONY brand- we've had bad luck with them], changing pad, bottle brush, etc. etc. etc. :) But those are the little things…

And finally…
Every baby is different, but there were a couple things that we didn't use:

Blythe enjoyed the swing, like most infants, but I didn't want her to get used to sleeping in it so I didn't use it much. I seriously probably used it 5 or 6 times. And it took up a ton of space. Luckily someone had let me borrow theirs, so I wasn't out any money. It may be a good idea to see if you can borrow one, and if you like it, then invest in one?

Excersaucer that doesn't convert to a walker
I didn't want to get a huge excersaucer that she would only be content in for a month, maybe two. Instead we have a walker, which is sleeker, still has toys for her to play with, and moves as she becomes mobile. 

Changing table
I didn't want to invest in a changing table that we would only use for 2 or so years. SO we just bought a dresser and put a changing pad on top. It has worked very well and is longer than most changing tables which give me extra space to store diapers in a basket, and have a lamp on the dresser. 

* * *

I am going to stop there, though I'm sure there are some things I am forgetting. 

Many of you are out of the baby stage, or not new to this game: What products have YOU found useful?