Friday, April 18, 2014

Newborn Essentials

Aside from the basics (diapers, wipes, powder, etc.), I am sure that every new or soon-to-be new mom has an idea about what might be helpful to have around during those first few weeks home with their newborn. I am also sure that this list differs significantly from person to person. Some people feel that certain things are useless while others can't live without that exact same item. I hear that from my mom-friends all of the time. So, that being said, I have put together a list of things that "I" think are essential (having gone through this once before), and hope that if you are on the fence about something, you will consider giving some of these items a try.....




#1 - The Graco "Sweet Slumber" Sound Machine - We had Oliver sleeping in a cradle in our room until he was close to 6 months old (I know - that's kind of a long time!!), so needless to say, the older and more aware he became, the quieter we needed to be. Since tip toeing around isn't really an option, we found that a white noise machine was essential to our nightly routine. This one is great for many reasons: I love the "white noise" sound, but it also plays lullabies and you can plug in your iPod if you so choose. Well worth the $ and we still use it for Oliver every single night.

#2 - The Little Giraffe "Bella" Security Blanket - All babies need soft and cozy things surrounding them, and this little blankie was Ollie's "buddy" ever since day 1. He liked to rub the satin trim and snuggled up to it in his crib (as soon as SIDS was no longer a concern). He still sleeps with it today. They are pricey, but good quality. We love it!

#3 - A trusty diaper bag - This is one of those items that some people claim is a waste of money, and they would rather use a large open tote or a standard backpack to lug around their baby "stuff". I however feel that a high quality "official" diaper bag with a good amount of internal and external pockets is a must have, especially now when I am going to be carrying around baby stuff for two. This is the Marc By Marc Jacobs "Pretty Eliza-baby" Diaper Bag. Yes, it is on the pricier side, and although I haven't gone out on the town with it yet, from what I can tell, it is going to be the perfect bag.

#4 - The 4moms Mamaroo - I didn't have this for Oliver (we had a standard swing that did the job ok), but a wonderful friend handed it down to me for baby boy #2, and I am already in love. The motion and the sounds seem so much more tranquil than the ones that the swing offered. I am hoping that Julian loves it as much as I do, and I don't see why he won't.

#5 - The Turtle Bath Sponge Cushion (exclusive to Babies R Us) - The bath was Oliver's happy place. He absolutely loved being in the water from the very start, so it became part of his nightly routine right away. We had a very basic plastic baby bath tub, so this little cushion was super cozy and also helped keep Oliver warm throughout the entirety of the bath. I highly recommend using something like this inside those the hard plastic tubs.

#6 - Bath Soap - Along with the cozy turtle sponge, I love a smooth, good smelling, moisturizing baby soap/shampoo. My favorite is this all-in-one Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo.  It smells amazing and can be used all over the body/head.

#7 - The WubbaNub Pacifier - In the hospital where I gave birth, they use the patented "soothie" pacifier for newborns. Many people aren't into pacifiers, but I am a pacifier advocate. I believe that it helps babies self sooth, and there is also a direct correlation to pacifiers and reducing the risk of SIDS deaths (the sucking reflex is directly linked to the breathing one). These little "WubbaNub's" are not only cute, but I found that the added weight of the stuffed animal helped keep the paci from falling out of my newborns mouth. Definitely a must have for the first few weeks home until you transition to a regular more substantial pacifier.

#8 - The Aden & Anais Burpy Bib Burp Cloth -  I used everything from cloth diapers to fancy hand sewn burp cloths when Oliver was a baby, and at the end of the day, these were my favorite kind. The shape helped prevent it from falling off of my shoulder mid-burp, and once baby food comes into play, you can snap it around baby's neck and use it as an actual bib. I probably saved 25 of these (that held up after being washed many many many times) from when Oliver was tiny, and I am looking forward to using them again.

#9 - Bottles - I was one of the lucky ones and was able to breast feed Oliver for a long time, so I am anticipating being able to do that again this time around - BUT - one thing that I failed at miserably with Oliver was helping him become comfortable with bottle feeding (whether it's pumped milk or formula) so that someone else could step in every now again to take over for a feeding. Oliver and I were locked together for months and months with no break, and while I loved the bonding time, I swore that with my next baby, taking a bottle would be no big deal. These Como Tomo Silicone bottles seem to be the most similar to an actual breast, and get rave reviews from my friends that have used them. I am looking forward to trying them once Julian arrives.

There are a ton of other items that can be added to this list, I am sure, but those are just a few of the items that I felt were essential, and that I am looking forward to getting the chance to use again VERY soon.

Thanks for stopping by :)

-lisa

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baby Boy Goodness

As I prepare for our 2nd baby boy to arrive (Julian Jett is due to arrive in approximately 5 weeks!!!), I have been trying to get myself to an at least somewhat "organized" place in regards to what we will need ready when we bring our baby boy home. That being said, while I have saved a TON of Oliver's baby clothes (from size NB - now), shopping is my happy place, so I have allowed myself to indulge in at least a few new just-for-Julian items that I simply couldn't pass up.

When my babies are brand new (up to about 3 months old), I tend to stick with what seems most comfortable. I don't like to put jeans or button up shirts on tiny fresh skin - too rough/rigid. Long sleeved onesies with cozy cotton pants are my go to, as well as footie pajamas (& baby gowns for the first few weeks home).


**Disclaimer: shopping for boys can be a challenge. Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of "boy clothes" out there, but whether they are actually comfortable & stylish is a whole other story. Since Oliver was born, I have been getting stopped by complete strangers asking me where I buy his clothes, and the truth is, I tend to shop at all of the same places that everyone else does, I just usually go the "less traditional" boy route with my choices. I like stripes and patterns way more than I like fuzzy baseballs and puppies (meaning no offense to those that love them.)


Here are some of my favorite clothing items for NB baby boys today....



#1#2 are both from one of my FAVORITE stores, Cotton On Kids. I personally prefer to go in to the store, but you can also shop online.

#3 & #9 are by one of my fav brands, Kickee Pants! They are so soft!! You can find them in a lot of different boutiques/stores, but I typically buy mine at Diapers.com. They can be pricey, but Diapers.com has a pretty great selection of sale pieces.

#4 is from a store called Crazy 8. It is my understanding that it is the more fun/less expensive side of "Gymboree". Whatever it is, I tend to like it MUCH more -- Gymboree is pricey and is a snore in my opinion ;)

#5 is from my fail safe, Baby Gap. I can ALWAYS find cute comfy baby boy clothes there, and I never buy anything at full price. 

 #6 is from Old Navy, and again, you have to pick carefully, but I always manage to find the good stuff that fits well and is on trend. 

#7 is another favorite (more so for toddler boys than babies), H&M. They have some fun, quirky, out-of-the-box boy styles that I love. These scarf bibs are my all time favorite baby boy accessory :) (they have girl colors available too).

#8 Minnetonka baby moccasins are a must have. They are the "originals", and are still going strong. These velcro ones are easy to put on and are (in my opinion) adorable. They are especially great for those non-walking months.


And for those that are interested, here is a nursery update: 

In addition to clothing options, Julian's nursery is really coming together. It is changing & evolving everyday. I have found some really fun stuff to make his room feel cozy and current. Here are some of the newest additions.....


#1 & #2 are the fabrics that I chose to have a custom crib sheet (#1) and a custom stroller blanket (#2) made (with a gray minky-lined back)  The awesome etsy shop that I used for this is a shop called OliveAndAndrew owned by Kristen Worthington. Her shop is currently on vacation, but she will be back up and running soon and if you are in need of crib sheets, blankets, boppy covers, etc., you must check her out. I highly recommend her shop -- great fabric choices and impeccable sewing. LOVE! (email me if you'd like her contact info)

#3 is a "Metal Acid Etched Letter" from Urban Outfitters. I bought a "J" & a "V" to hang on Julian's wall. 1 for $12 or 2 for $20 = can't beat it!

#4 is one of my favorite nursery items - the <STEELE> Canvas Laundry hamper  (I picked the taller one). I found mine at Homegoods (randomly), but they can be ordered online as well. Super high quality and very functional.

#5 is also wall art from Urban Outfitters - The Venture Out wall print. It is currently sold out, but you should still check out their eclectic wall art selection. I am in love.

#6 is an alternative to the ever so famous "Sophie the Giraffe". This is "Lela the deer". Same idea, different adorable animal. A must have.

#7 is yet one more Urban Outfitters score -- The Beci Orpin Dreamcatcher.  This is arguably my favorite piece of wall decor so far.  Bad dreams go away!

#8 is the rug that I chose to help ground the space. I bought it at my favorite online rug shop rugsusa.com. It is a derivation of the West Elm souk rug, but is MUCH cheaper, and similar in quality. I am really happy with my choice.

#9 is an impeccably made blanket that I purchased from diapers.com. It is the "Weegoamigo Knitted Travel Blanket in Wilderness", and it seems like it is the perfect size/warmth for stroller cruising. It is a bit on the pricey side, but the quality seems worth it, and it is packaged perfectly to give as a shower gift if you need one. I can't wait to use it! 

So, there you have it. I am starting to get super excited to meet my little man and am finally feeling like things are coming together so that we are ready when he is. I hope these items help you feel inspired to seek out the "cool" baby boy stuff, and to veer away from the expected and traditional. Boy stuff can be fun and unique too!

Thanks for stopping by,

-lisa



Monday, March 10, 2014

My baby boy is 2!

Hello again,

So...it happened....my baby boy turned TWO on February 17th {sigh}. The amount of love that I have for our little guy is difficult to put into words. He is such a special little man with a fun spirit and happy heart. We are so lucky.






His actual day fell on a Monday (actually, President's day this year). We started the day with a stop-by from grandma Ellen (with gifts, as always ;) ) and then my husband and I took Ollie out for a day of fun.....

We went to Pretend City:





and then went to the Irvine Spectrum for lunch at Wahoo's and a couple of rides on the Merry-Go-Round:


It was a great day :)


That night, Nana, Hayden and Noah came over for some traditional "Birthday Donut Cake" and to sing happy birthday to our boy :)


His party was scheduled for a couple of weekends after, but it was supposed to rain cats and dogs, so we canceled his big park party (boooo) and went with a small family gathering at home.









(it didn't rain, of course, but the party was a big success)

Oliver's big gift this year was also a huge hit. We bought him his Little Tikes Trampoline





He jumps in it everyday!!! Best - Gift - EVER!!!!!

Happy 2nd birthday, my sweet boy. You literally warm my heart every moment (even when you test my patience) and I look forward to watching you grow and learn. I am one lucky mama, xoxo

Friday, January 31, 2014

Back again......

Ahhhh....it's been about a year since I last blogged and my mother-in-law (one of my 4 loyal readers) worried that I had lost my inspiration. Well....I kind of did (a little), but more so than that, finding a way to juggle a toddler, being pregnant again (Yay!! Baby Boy #2 due in May, 2014!),

and my general laziness that tends to trump all (Ugh - I need to change this stat) has been a challenge. BUT...here I am with some new inspiration.....Baby #2's nursery!

Unfortunately, his nursery is also our guest room for the time being, so it has a queen sized bed smack dab in the middle. I am going to try to "hide it" as best as I can, and there is still plenty of room for his nursery essentials (crib, changing table/dresser, rocking chair, etc.), but it is not going to be as grand of a room as Oliver had when he joined our family (shown in this previous post). But, alas, it will still be very fun, and like Oliver's room, it will reflect my version of a "boy's style" (no airplanes or baseball's for us over here, sorry ;) )

I plan to tackle some small DIY projects, and to re-use some things that I already have on hand. I have also acquired a few new things as well as some "new-to-me" things that have been steals of deals!!! So exciting!

This is the general idea/vibe so far......


Crib     Bumper    Chair     Blanket

I'll check in again as nursery-palooza continues, but for now, I hope you like where it's headed. I know it's not "traditional boy", but I like it so far.

Also, Oliver will be 2 on the 17th of February, and has been such a joy to our entire family. Here is some of his cuteness in action......









(I am biased, I know, but I simply can't get enough of him (on most days ;) )


Thanks for reading! I'll be back soon :)

-Lisa

Monday, February 4, 2013

{Almost ONE}

{sigh}


My little BIG guy is almost one! I can't even begin to tell you how fast the time has flown by. Everyone told me that it would, but now I know that it really really does. I am a bit nostalgic and weepy but am super excited at the same time.

This year we get to have Oliver's birthday party on his actual birthday because it falls on a Sunday. We are just going to have a casual get together at a great park near our house. Food, hanging out, playing, and eating cake! Yum!

I ordered Oliver's birthday invitations from Shutterfly. I love the quality of their products. This type of invitation can be pricey, so I waited for them to have a sale (luckily, the sale that came up was 50% off and free shipping), and I don't plan on doing these every year, but I felt like his first birthday is special, so I would splurge!

Here they are.....

FRONT:

BACK:

Cute, right!? The small photos are of Oliver from 1 month old to 11 months old :) I love looking back at his tiny face and being able to compare him from month to month. Hindsight, I wish I would have done the first photo as his newborn shot because I ended up using 2 shots from his 11 month shoot at the bottom, but ah well. It's all adorable, so I don't really care. (and one more oops . . . . can you see month 4 and the fact that it is NOT on the gray chair? Ugh. We had just moved and I forgot all about it. I am bummed, but it's not the end of the world (or even anywhere in the same ballpark - duh. I feel dumb and petty for even mentioning it).

Also, the quatrefoil pattern on the back was not part of the invitation design. I chose it for the back by uploading an image that I found online. It could have been another Oliver pic, but I figured we had enough of that going on on the front already. I'm happy with how it turned out.

Next up for my super awesome little man - trying to walk. He is pulling himself up on new things everyday and it is so fun to watch!




Happy Monday everyone!

-L

Monday, January 28, 2013

{10 & 11 month happenings}

I lag. Let's just get that out in the open right now (as if you didn't know, based on the post that has been sitting below this one for MONTHS now - ugh). I have been wanting to post a 10-month "Ollie update" for a long time, and here we are with a serious delay in posting a 10-month AND an 11-month update. Sigh. Ah well.

Moving on...

My little bug has been doing so many new things over the last couple of months. He is a crazy crawler and even goes up the stairs (crazy kiddo). He pulls himself up on things all day long. He is into everything and is much more work to entertain these days, but it has been so much fun watching him grow and learn.

Here he was at 10 months old....


...and here is my big boy at 11 months old (with his big boy haircut - never-mind the bed head ;) )....





He is becoming BIG before my very eyes. It's been a crazy couple of months for this mama who is missing her tiny baby boy but is loving her growing adorable little man.

New stuff . . . . .

**Oliver got his hair cut for the first time (the current look is in the above 11 month photos). His hair was getting a little bit (a lot)  CRAZY, and it was falling in his eyes when crawling, so it was time.

Here are a few before shots of his crazy (adorable) mop....






And here are some pictures of hair-cut day.....








(she actually went back in and cut more off of the top & back after these photos were taken, so the end result was quite a bit shorter than the above pictures)

I love his new 'do. He definitely looks older, and I do miss his crazy baby hair, but I am happy with how he looks (in fact, he is almost ready for another trim - lol).

**He has 2 teeth on the bottom and one on the top (with a second top tooth poking through as we speak). He has been a bit more fussy as these teeth come in, but nothing too awful. We rely on his teething necklace and Hyland teething tablets (dissolved in water), and have given Tylenol a couple of times to make night time tolerable. All in all, he is getting through it ok.

**He is a MUCH better eater these days. He really likes baby food now (especially the greek yogurt ones and the meaty options, like chicken noodle, chicken with rice, turkey vegetable, apple chicken, sweet potato w/ turkey, etc.) and is loving eating big boy food. So far he likes avocado, banana, chicken, rice, beans, crackers, ravioli's, peaches, pears, tortillas. It has been so fun to watch his face after he tries something new.

**He is in love with drinking water from a sippy cup. We started this at around 7 months, but he has really gotten the hang of it in the last month or so. He also loves the ones with straws. Funny enough he will not drink out of a sippy cup that has a soft tip/nipple. If it resembles a bottle nipple in any way, he wants nothing to do with it. His favorite cup is actually the take-n-toss sippy cup :/ I have bought several top-of-the-line cups, but he prefers the throw away kind. Go figure. Silly baby.

**This week we stopped using the baby bath tub (finally) and moved into the bug tub with a no-slip mat. He LOVES it and I can tell he feels so much more free. He has always loved the bath -- it has been his happy place ever since he took his first bath almost 1 year ago -- but now I can tell he loves it even more. See....




**Sleep = hit or miss. Some nights he sleeps 6-8 hours straight and then a few more after a feeding. Other nights he wakes up every 3-4 hours. I still breast feed throughout the night if he can't be calmed/put back to sleep by just rubbing his back or rocking him. I think his teeth are bugging him, so I am ok with the night-time feeding for the time being. Whatever helps to make my guy less fussy/in pain I am game for.  On the other hand, he is getting better at napping. He takes at least one 1.5-2 hr nap, and sometimes another 1/2 - 1 hour nap. :)

**We have switched Oliver into a "big boy" car-seat. I researched all of the convertible carseats out there (and believe me, there are a TON of options), and although the tried and true Britax was my initial choice, after looking into it a little bit more, we decided to try something different - The Recaro ProRIDE. Recaro is a company that specializes in race car seats/seat belts, and these seats get rave reviews, so we thought we'd give it a shot, and so far so good. Oliver loves having more room and I can tell that he loves the fact that he can see outside better :) I plan to do a separate post focused on this topic because so many moms are faced with the overwhelming choice of which seat is safest, most comfortable, etc. and I learned a thing or two during my research. So far, we are super happy with our choice. :)


**Oh...also, he can "high five" and give a "kiss", and loves to turn the pages when we read to him. Super cute!!

All in all it has been a great couple of months. Here are a few more photos of our guy just to be sure that you really soak him in ;) hehe!









And on one final note, my sweet husband was finally ready to say farewell to our beloved Bear. Her favorite thing to do was swim, so he felt that the perfect final resting place for her would be in the ocean. We went to the Dana Point harbor and let her swim free.
On the way back to the car, I found the heart shaped rock that Bear sent to us to let us know that she is ok. We locked it away in her box and will keep it always. We love you sweet Bear, and miss you everyday xo


xo

-L