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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Phase 2 Coming at You!

A looooooong long time ago, we had this crazy idea to buy a house and fix it up. 

We finished up Phase 1 in December 2013.  We had gutted our home to the studs and built it back from there.  But there is still so much more work to do.  After our two year "break" from hard core renovating, Michael and I are ready to jump back on the saddle and slap this horse on the behind and giddy up!

It's time for Phase 2: the garage and mudroom.

To refresh your memory, here is what we started with:
So for the last two years now, ever since we re-sided our house, our home has looked like it had a great big white appendage sticking out of it.


We also left part of the front of our re-sided house undone because we were originally planning to build a porch onto the house last spring.  Instead, we had a baby.  :-) So now, here we are, two years later... white garage, blue house, wonkey gutters and soffits..... and super cute baby! So I'm still calling that a win, for sure!

I haven't really talked much about it here on the blog because I've been waiting until we had more of a plan set.

So here's the plan:
1. Build a three car garage onto the front of our home. 
We have gotten a lot of advice from various people who have recommended that we go big... and that we won't regret it!  It is also going to have a second floor with plenty of room for one bedroom and lots-o-storage.

Here is are the plans for the garage.  It will connect to the house on the right through the mudroom.

And yes, my husband is awesome and drafted this whole thing out on Cad.  And yes, he measured everything out that we plan to store in the garage and worked it into the plan.


2. Tear down the current garage and build the mudroom, powder room, and laundry room.
This space is going to be so important for us as a family.  Currently, when people are over, the only suitable bathroom to offer guests is in our master bathroom.  It doesn't bother us, but it does make some people feel weird having to go into our room to get to the bathroom. Further, having a mudroom will mean having coat storage (which we currently do not have) and a floor that will act as a more durable place to track mud and dirt onto - instead of my pretty hardwood floors!

Originally we were not planning to build a laundry room in this space.  But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like we would regret it later if we didn't make it happen now.  I have always done laundry in a basement, so I wasn't really against our previous plans of keeping the laundry in the basement.  But then I had a baby and our laundry increased substantially.  And it is only going to increase as more babies come.  And these babies are going to be on the second floor of the house.  So, I'm sure you can see how having laundry on the main level might be nice.  Additionally, we are adding a very large storage closet, which I'm SO excited about. When we renovated, we eliminated a lot of small closets in order to make more space for our master suite.  I don't regret that decision but it has left us with very little closet space on the first floor.  This closet will make up for it! It will be large enough to act as a broom closet/pantry.  I can't wait!!!

2. Build a second level above the garage and mudroom.
We decided to add a second level to the garage, you know, because, why not?!  The second floor of our home currently is unfinished space.  Eventually, with this addition, the second floor will include 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, a playroom/family room above the main house.  Then, above the mudroom and garage, there will be an additional 1 bedroom and large storage room.  The area above the mudroom will be a hallway but I think it will actually be large enough to give it more of a function than just a hallway.  I'll figure that out later.  But what I do know is that it will have a laundry shoot from the 2nd floor to the laundry room.  Score!

The picture below is of our plans for the space above the mudroom and the garage.  The doorway all the way to the right leads to the space above the main house. 
You may also notice that there is a stairway from the garage up into that storage area.  We think that stairs will be a nice feature for the future to allow easy access to the storage above the garage.


4. Re-Roof the entire home.
Our roof is over 20 years old and shingles are starting to blow off.  Since we will need to roof the new addition, it seems like the obvious time to reroof the whole house.



5. Landscaping
Michael and I have done very little in the way of landscaping, unless you count cutting down lots of Walnut trees, then we have been VERY active! We wanted to wait until after the garage is added before we put any time, energy, and money into landscaping.  

6. Postpone the front porch addition
Super sad, but we decided that this addition really was not going to gain us enough functionally to have it so high up on the priority list.  So now, the porch will likely come after everything else we'd like to do (finishing the 2nd floor and basement). 

Michael and I started demo by taking off the remaining siding a couple weekends ago.  And now, excavation and foundation work to started this week. EEEK! So excited!

I posted a video of the garage tear down on Instagram if you are interested!

Can't wait to share more about the details and process as we go along!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Honest Abe Turns 1!

I'm back with a little update! My baby turned one year old a few weekends ago.  And I. Can't. Believe. It.

I never really understood why moms would cry when their babies turned one.  But now I get it.  My baby is a toddler and it happened all so fast.  In a flash we sped through breastfeeding, tummy time, burp cloths, and bottles.  And now, all that is boxed up as sweet little memories of a year gone by.

Shortly after we decided on the name Abraham, I came up with the idea to throw him an Abraham Lincoln themed first birthday.  Sure he wasn't even born yet, but that's not too early to start planning his first birthday is it?  (don't answer that)

We didn't name Abe after the former president but we didn't mind making the connection with one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen.

A couple months before the big day, I came up with the invitation.  And it is my favorite.

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday
I created the invite by downloading the background image and then layering a neutral backdrop on top in order for me to add the party details.  I had some fun with the wording by looking at the Gettysburg Address for inspiration. I had them printed onto cardstock at staples.

Then I focused on the decorations.  I wanted to incorporate a patriotic, red, white, and blue theme.  I also added a bit of copper to keep it from feeling like a 4th of July party.

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue

So I bought these fun red, white, and blue fans and secured a print out of a copper penny onto one of the fans.  It was a super windy day so we secured them to the siding using Zots

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue
Meijer was selling these fun political napkins and I couldn't resist.  Abraham Lincoln was a part of the republican party but I did buy one package of the democratic napkins so everyone would feel represented.

We used cute little baskets with red, white, and blue liners instead of paper plates.  Fun!

Another way I incorporated Abe Lincoln was by creating names for some of the food.

For example:

Abra-Hamburgers
Lincoln Log Dogs

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue

Lemon-Abe
Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue
 We also served Corn on the cob (Abe's Ears), fruit salad, pasta salad, and chips.

I had made cookies in the shape of Abe Lincoln's hat that I was planning to serve too, but I ended up running out of time to decorate them before the party.   Michael suggested I set them out anyway and let people decorate their own.  Major brownie points for the hubby for that idea! MAJOR!
Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue
It was fun to have a little activity for people to participate in while we waited to eat.
Not to mention.....cookies as appetizers = winning.


After eating we opened gifts.
 

Michael and I talked about different ideas of what we could get Abe for his birthday and we finally landed on the perfect idea. A few years ago we were given a couple of wooden Adirondack chairs that I refinished.  We have them sitting out in front of our house facing the river and we really enjoy using them.  So we decided to get one just Abe's size and engrave his name on it. We bought this chair on Amazon, burned his name onto the front, and stained it to match.

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue, gift

And yes, his onesie does have a shade-wearing Abe Lincoln on it.  I made the onesie using my silhouette machine and some heat transfer paper. The suspenders I found last minute at Meijer and the shorts I bought from a secondhand store.

While opening gifts, we played a little trivia game.  In between each gift we had a little trivia game that we played to keep the adults interested.  I called it "Presidents Say What?"  First prize took home Lincoln, the movie released in 2012, staring Daniel Day-Lewis (it's SO good if you haven't seen it!) and second prize was a roll of pennies.  :-)
Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue, games

And before it was smash cake time, we had to do a little photo op with our little Abe.

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue, costume

It lasted all of 40 seconds but it was just enough time to get this picture.

And finally, it was time for cake.

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue

I found this fun red, white, and blue cake mix at Meijer.  This birthday party was not necessarily brought to you by Meijer... but it might as well have been.
Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue

I made a two layer cake and covered it with white frosting with star spangled sprinkles on top.  I made a copper "1" for the top of the cake as a nod to the penny and his first birthday. 

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue, cake


 It took him a while to get into it.

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue, smash cake 

But he finally dove in once we gave him a fork to hold.  He didn't use the fork, but he liked holding it and digging into the cake with his hands and face. 

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue, smash cake
 Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue, smash cake

The party went by in a flash, just like his first year.  But we tried to enjoy every minute.  We are so thankful for all the family that helped with the party and all those who came to celebrate with us. 

Abraham Lincoln Party, first birthday, patriotic, red, white, and blue
Happy Birthday Abraham Mark.  We love you so much! 


Sunday, March 13, 2016

A "Wild" Bridal Shower

This last weekend, one of my very best friends married a wonderful southern gentleman.  And a little over a month ago, we threw her a shower.  They only got engaged right before Christmas, and with a 3 month engagement, it didn't give us long to pull together a shower in celebration.

But.... I've planned a shower or two in my day, and I wasn't concerned.

 

The Theme: "Let's Bring Out Lindsey's Wild Side"

 

Note: Thanks to Beth Wilson for photographing the festivities.  


It's been a tradition within our college friend group to throw a "personal shower" for each other, as opposed to a traditional bridal shower.  So that's what we did! With her love for giraffes in mind, we threw her a simple shower with a hint of wild animal.  



Teal, Yellow, Tan Bridal Shower.  Classy Animal Theme Bridal Shower.

Wild Cake Topper

For refreshments, we served the bride's favorite trail mix, chocolate covered strawberries, veggies and dip, popcorn, and cake.  Atop the cake (which was incredibly delicious thanks to my talented friend Kara!), I used my Silhouette Cameo to make a "wild" statement that echoed the theme.  Lemonade to drink.  Leopard print straws, of course!


Teal, Yellow, Tan Bridal Shower.  Classy Animal Theme Bridal Shower.

The yellow, tan, and teal color theme came from the bride's love of teal and giraffes. 

The Activities:
One of my most favorite things at showers is to go around the circle and share how you know the bride and one thing you appreciate about her.  This was one of the most meaningful moments of the shower that I received as a bride and I wanted to give that to Lindsey.

Pass the tissues please!


To lighten the mood and bring out our guest's "wild side", we played a silly game of ring toss.  It's a bit of a different take on ring toss.

Ring Toss Bridal Shower Game

I made these little giraffe party hats and, with a partner, you had to throw a number of ropes around the neck of the giraffe.

Giraffe Party Hats

The hats were a hit.  :-) 

We also always play a "newlywed" type game where the bride has to guess how the groom answered a series of questions.


At my own shower, I remember being so disappointing in how poorly I did guessing Michael's answers.
I thought:
"Do I even know this guy?!" I did.  
"What if we get married and I realize we're all wrong for each other?!" We're not.
"What even is his favorite season?!" It's spring.

We also prayed together, which is another of my favorite tradition of these showers (I have a lot of favorites....a.k.a. showers are my favorite).  We prayed for the bride, the groom, and their marriage.  We prayed for their wedding, their newlywed phase, and their future.  We prayed they would grow, and forgive, and continue to seek the Lord through it all.

And of course, at the end of the shower, Michael brought the baby so he could be passed around and loved on! And also of course, we had to make him wear the hat! :-)

Giraffe Party Hats

Giraffe Party Hats

Giraffe Party Hats

 Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Wilson! We are so happy that the Lord has brought your lives together!




Monday, February 15, 2016

Registering For Baby- My Reviews and Recommendations



Registering.  Love it or hate it, registering has become an expected part of getting married and having babies.  Registering for our wedding was fun and exciting for me.  Plates, flatware, vases, towels, coasters... hand me that scanner, I'm all over this! But when it came time to register for baby stuff, things felt a bit more overwhelming. 

It can be pretty intimidating (especially at stores like Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby) walking in and seeing a billion and a half baby items stacked to the ceiling.  We did a minimal amount of research about strollers and car seats and monitors before going in to register.  That helped a little but our registry looked vastly different from the time we began the process until our first shower.  And that's ok! Don't be afraid to change your registry as time goes on! It's not set in stone!

Public Service Announcement Before You Register: Go well fed.  That's what some of our friends told us to do and that was some very wise advice.  A hangry pregnant lady, or a hangry husband for that matter, is no fun to register with. 

Now that we are 9 months into this new life with a baby I thought I would share a little bit about the things we got - reviews and recommendations.  I tried to highlight the most important, loved, and used items.  I also made note of things that were maybe not as useful - things we could probably have done without. 



- Transportation -


Stroller

We had such a hard time picking out a stroller.  Literally, I think we had registered for about 7 different ones before we decided on which one we wanted.  My mom finally gave up and just gave us a gift card because we kept changing our minds ;-) We decided on the Graco Pace.   We thought about registering for a jogging stroller, but realized we probably wouldn’t use it for jogging :-) We did like the maneuverability of a three wheeled stroller vs four.  We have been very happy with it.  It’s easy to set up, it clicks in with our car seat, it's fairly lightweight, and has ample storage.  We like that it has two cup holders and space for stashing keys/cell phones.


Car Seat 

Another agonizing choice.  We looked on Consumer Reports, which ranks the Chicco as the best car seat.  We ended up going with Graco due to a rather sizable price difference…especially if you factor in the cost of strollers (most brands usually will allow the car seat to click into the stroller- you typically want the same brand due to that fact).  I know people that have Chicco strollers and car seats and love them.  We have the Graco Snugride 30 that clicks into our Graco Pace.  The Snugride 30 also scored well on Consumer Reports, just not as well as Chicco.  We like it just fine.  No major complaints.  We also bought a mirror to hang in the car so that you can see what your baby is doing.  I LOVE being able to peek back at him to see if he is sleeping, or just to see his cute little face! :-)  And we have an extra base for the car seat so that we can easily transport Mr. Abe in either of our cars.  We just recently switched him to a convertible car seat (Graco Contender65) and have been very happy with it thus far. 



 

Umbrella Stroller

An umbrella stroller is great to have since its extremely light weight and stores easily.  We were gifted the cutest little shark umbrella stroller. (Side note: as cute as this particular stroller is, it's not super durable.  The wheels feel a bit flimsy to me so I don't see it lasting for too many years of use.) Abe and I went trick-or-treating downtown with my sister and her kids.  I dressed him up like a pumpkin and I put him in his little shark umbrella stroller.  I told people "He's a shark who ate a pumpkin!"  He was quite the crowd-pleaser!  Can you believe that I don't have a picture?! #momfail

 

Baby Carrier

When Abram was a newborn I got a Boba Wrap which I really liked for going on walks, doing stuff around the house, grocery shopping.  It's especially nice for when they are really little and can’t support their head.  We also were given the Baby Bjorn and we use that a lot now that he is older and can support his head.  He loves, and always has, being put in a carrier.  And it’s nice for us too!  There are tons of different types of baby carriers out there.  But for us, having these two different types worked well. 


- Nutrition/Eating -

High Chair 

We have the Chicco Polly High Chair and we don’t really love it.  However, we aren’t convinced that we would love any high chair.  I think they just tend to be a little cumbersome.  A feature that I really like about it, that I’m guessing is standard, is that you can recline the back.  Sometimes I will finish feeding him food and then it’s nice to recline him and give him some of his bottle.  But when you do recline the back and when you move the tray in and out, I feel like it is difficult to get them locked into the next setting.  I remember seeing some highchairs that had a storage net for bibs on the back of the high chair.  I wish ours had that. I do like that we can lift off the tray cover and wash that versus having to take off the whole tray.

Bumbo 

We opted to not get a bumbo because it doesn’t seem like it would be super useful for a significant amount of time.  Instead we registered for the Ingenuity 2 in 1 booster seat .  It’s great because it has an insert that acts as a bumbo when they are little, or you can take the insert out and use it as a booster seat when they get bigger.  We like to take it with us when we travel.  It has a built in tray too that fits into the base when you aren't using it.  Which, again, makes it easy to travel with.

 

Pump

It is absolutely imperative (at least in my opinion) to get a good quality pump.  Depending on your insurance, it will likely cover the cost of the entire pump.  I was worried about the quality of pump I would qualify for but it turns out that the Medela Pump in style advanced is one of the best. Just an FYI, insurance covered the pump and basic accessories, but not a storage/travel bag -which you will definitely want.  Having a quality pump has been essential for me.  I nursed Abram for 3 months but would pump about once a day (usually in the morning) to relieve any engorgement and to encourage supply.  I was still having a fare amount of pain with breastfeeding so I switched to pumping exclusively a little after 3 months and have been doing that ever since.  I know that if I didn’t have a good pump I would have stopped long ago and switched to formula.  Also, even if you just plan to pump at work, I highly recommend getting a handsfree bra for pumping.   It makes the process a lot less of an annoyance.

Boppy 

I know there are probably better, more specifically made, pillows for nursing, but this is what I used.  It’s also nice for when they are just starting to sit. We used it a lot to prevent him from falling back and hitting his head. 
 

Bottles

We have about 15 bottles (mainly 6oz and some 9oz) which is great.  My sister gave us all of hers and she used Playtex VentAire.  We have no complaints about them, although, we haven’t really used anything else.  I also have heard very good things about Dr. Brown bottles.  I’ve heard that those really help prevent excessive spit up.  As far as cleaning bottles go, we bought a bottle brush without a sponge (gross!) and just use a normal drying pad to dry them on.  No need for a special drying rack just for bottles… at least we didn’t think so.  We have slow, medium, and fast nipples but you may not need the medium or fast nipples if you stick with nursing. 

Baby Bullet

Another thing my sister passed on to me was their baby bullet for making baby food.  Do you need a baby bullet specifically if you want to make your own baby food?  No, you could use any food processor or blender.  But since I was given one for free, that's what we use.  It works really well, creating smooth purees for my little babe.  I don't particularly care for the plastic individual food storage containers.  They break easily.  My preference is to freeze food in silicone baby food trays and then transfer them into big freezer bags.  I also use ice cube trays for freezing food.  The bullet also comes with a helpful book with recipes and recommendations as to when to introduce certain foods.  But you can find that information easily online.  Making my own baby food has become something I really enjoy doing.  It's pretty easy, you save tons of money, and you know exactly what your baby is eating.  I think it sounds much more impressive than it actually is.  :-)


- Play Time -

Swing

Abram loved his swing but I also have heard raving reviews for what’s called a rock-n-play. A lot of people use that as a bassinet.  Abe slept in his crib from day one so we didn’t really have a need for something like that.  Although, I probably would have used the rock-n-play for naps.  I’ve heard that it really helps to soothe fussy babies, but so does a swing.  My strong recommendation is to make sure your swing plugs in and doesn’t run on batteries.  This is very similar to the one we have.  We used it from newborn to 6 months.

Bouncy Seat

A bouncy seat was another thing that was passed down by my sister (here's one that is similar).  We used it from about 1 month to 5 months.  So you don’t use it super long.  I liked it for play time or I’d put it in the bathroom while I got ready in the morning.  They are light and portable, so we occasionally took it with us to friends' houses.

Sophie the Giraffe 

Pretty much the only official teething toy we use.  I don’t know exactly why, but babies love this thing.  Abram is no exception! For a while we would bring it with us almost everywhere we went.  We also have the elephant version but he doesn't like it nearly as much.  Although, if I would have seen this fawn version, I probably would have registered for this one over all the others! So cute!



Exersaucer

Here is the one we have.  I think a lot of times you can get these second hand.  I like having it because it helps exercise their legs, keeps them entertained, keeps them upright, and keeps them contained.  I use it a lot if I need to sweep or do something where I want to make sure the baby stays out of the way for a little bit.

Learning Table

And now, more recently, Abram LOVES his learning table.  My mom got it at a garage sale a couple years ago and looks like they still sell it.  It's great for him now that he can stand. (and it's great before they can stand too because the legs come off and they can play with it on the floor.)  Lately, he'll spend most of his playtime at it dancing and grooving to the music.  And I spend most of my time watching him do that.  :-)  His cute little hips just'a movin' and a'shakin'! 

Play Mat

We registered for a play mat and I probably wouldn’t recommend it.  Not because it is a bad thing to have, just because it is not that useful for very long.  I feel like a blanket on the ground and you interacting with your baby is the best thing for him/her.  You don’t need a $50 toy to do that. 


- Nursery Items -

Baby Monitor

I went back and forth as to whether or not we needed a monitor, but in the end I’m glad that we got one.  And I also debated as to whether we really needed one with video.  But actually, we use the video aspect more than the sound.  Here is the link for the one we got.  It's nothing fancy but very reasonably priced.  It does not have two way communication which may be something nice to have in the future, but our house is small enough that we didn’t feel like that was necessary.  I will say that the range is not the best.  So if you have a large home, I would not recommend this monitor.


Rocker/Glider

One thing I agonized over was a rocker/glider.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money but I wanted something comfortable for those middle of the night feedings.  We ended up semi-splurging on one and I’m so glad we did.  It is an upholstered glider that I know will last through all of our kids.  We got it scotch guarded and that has helped keep the spit up from ruining the upholstery.  I also felt strongly that the back of the chair had to be high enough that I could lean my head against it, and I’m glad about that decision.  I would say if you are going to spend money somewhere for your nursery, a comfortable and functional rocker/glider would be the place to spend it.

Diaper Pail

We got the Arm & Hammer version.  It works well, but then again, we are just now getting into the really smelly diapers! So we’ll see! But we like it because we have figured out a way to use regular trash bags in it instead of the expensive ones that they make to go inside.  The door does feel a bit flimsy.  When it becomes very full, the diapers start to push the door open, even when it's locked, but I think that is because we rigged it up to take the regular sized kitchen trash bags.  I imagine that when it is full of smelly diapers, it may not do the best job of keeping the smells at bay.  I recently found this new brand of diaper pail (Ubbi)  that I would be interested in trying.  It is a bit more expensive but it seems like it might be worth the extra cost.  If someone has one, I'd love to hear how you like it.


Changing Station

We use a dresser as a changing table, which I love because then he can still use it when he gets bigger.  To make the dresser into a changing table, we just bought a changing pad to put on top of the dresser.  We have two changing pad covers and some changing pad liners .  I thought it would be nice to have the liners to cut down on how often I needed to change the pad cover.  But I’m not happy with how this brand of liners wears in the wash.  It would work just as well to put a burp cloth down, or towel, instead of the changing pad liners. 


Bedding

We have four cribs sheets (I love these jersey sheets) which has been plenty, for now! We probably really only need/use 3.  We did not get bumpers or a comforter.  We pretty much just have a crib skirt and sheet and that’s been fine for us.  The quilt was a hand made gift from one of my best friends. And I love it! 

Other Nursery Necessities

We put up a black-out shade for his window and I think that helps him nap better.  We also use a humidifier all the time for him - good for when they have a cold but also acts as a nice white noise maker.  LOTS-O-Baskets! We use LOTS of baskets/bins for storing clothes, toys, extra diapers and wipes, shoes, etc...

For more information about our nursery design and organization click here and here


- Baby Care Items -

 

Grooming items

-We decided on traditional diapers.  We started out using pampers but now have switched to the Sam’s club brand because they are about 10 cents cheaper per diaper.

-Lots of Desitin cream because it's awesome stuff! At the first sign of redness we put it on and it clears his skin right up.  We always apply it at night too and he's never had a significant diaper rash. Note: we were disappointed in the CVS generic brand - very runny and not very good. Other generic brands may be ok, but be careful. After we tried the CVS brand, we just stuck with the name brand stuff.

-I love hooded towels for bath time … Some small and some larger ones for when they are bigger. 

-This toothbrush.  We use it to brush his teeth and he also loves it as a teether too.

-You gotta have a baby tub and I would recommend one that has a sling insert for when they are newborns.

-Also, this is the BEST smelling bedtime lotion.  We use it every night! It's momma crack!  I could sniff it all day.


Nose Care

FACT! Babies have runny noses all. the. time.  But as a mom, it's hard to look at those runny noses all day long.  For a while we used a nasal aspirator.  (We also got one from the hospital but the store bought one works better.) He would scream and it would be a whole thing.  It worked... but it was pretty exhausting for him and me.

One day we thought we lost our nasal aspirator, so I went to the store for a new one, but curiosity got me and I bought the nose frida. Have you heard of it?  The snot sucker?  Here's a video of it. Basically you suck through a small hose/tube to create suction through a tube placed up to your baby's nose.  This tube collects the snot but prevents any of it from getting to you by way of a filter.  At first, I was skeptical.  (Snot sucking? Ew! Gross!) But then I tried it! And it works SUPER well! And he doesn't scream NEARLY as much.  And it's much easier to clean than the nasal aspirator! Win win win! Now $15 does seem pretty outrageous for a plastic tub and tiny filter but, if it works, it works! Well worth the cost, in my opinion.  We also really love these boogie wipes.  They help clean off crusty noses in a more gentle and soothing way compared to just using kleenexs or wipes.







Diaper Bag

I watched a lot of youtube video reviews on diaper bags and this one was very popular, so that’s the one I went with.  I like that it has a long strap so I can wear it cross body.  I also like the side bottle pockets.  I like that it has front pockets, and a shallow top pocket for my wallet.  The only thing I don’t really like is that it is a little lacking in inside storage.  There is not much room for an extra pair of clothes, wipes, the diaper changing pad, toys, blankets, etc.. literally all things that are nice to carry around.  It’s a hard balance between wanting all the storage and not wanting to tote around a huge bag.  I also know that Michael appreciates that the design is not overly feminine for the times where he has to carry it. 

Travel Diaper Changing Pad

This is the one we have.  We use this all. the. time.  We keep it in the diaper bag and take it wherever we go.  I use it on bathroom changing tables in public restrooms….when they are available….. and when they aren’t available, it’s great to have so that you don’t have to lay your baby on the dirty floor.  :-( gahhhh!

Blankets

Aden + Anais blankets were our favorite for swaddling.  I absolutely love the designs they offer.  The material is guazy which puts a momma's heart at ease knowing that baby can breath through them if they should happen to get a blanket over their face. They are a bit pricey for what they are but momma likes what momma likes.

Babysitter Bag

 We bought a big tote from Lands End that we use for the babysitter's.  It’s huge, but we can leave a pack of diapers, a big thing of wipes, clothes, bottles, blankets, burp clothes, his lovey and more.  It’s great because we just fill it up at the start of the week and then take it home to refill at the end of the week.  Sometimes, if we are going somewhere for the whole day, we’ll bring it too since we know it's stocked with everything we'll need.

 

 

Some things we didn’t get but maybe will get for next time: 

Bottle warmer
Extra pump connectors and shields
A hand pump to have in case of emergency

Some things we got but either returned or didn’t use:

Wipe warmer -I don’t get to wipe with something warm, why should my baby?!
Play mat -see above
Pacifiers -we got so many and he didn’t take any of them!
Teething rings -another thing we got tons of!
Bibs -We have 4 favorites that we rotate through, but we were gifted probably close to 20!
This type of car seat cover -we HATED it because it was constantly blowing around in the wind or sliding down the handles! So we returned it and bought one like this


Hopefully, for all those moms-to-be, you find this information helpful.  I'd love to hear from other momma's about what they have found to be their favorites and their not-so-favorites.  What do you swear by or what wouldn't you wish on your worst enemy?

Happy Registering Momma!