Baby Gear

We are moving again very soon (in 30 days or less), and we did a pretty good job of purging items at our huge garage sale back in May. I took at look in the basement today and noticed the majority in storage is baby gear. Things Lucas has outgrown, but I am holding on to for when we have another baby. How long do I keep baby gear and what do I keep? Decisions, decisions…

When I was a new mom, I researched every item like a crazy person.  I hope this post is helpful to any new mommies out there trying to put together their registries. (note- I have no affiliation with any of these companies or products.  Just sharing my own thoughts on what I liked/disliked).

Baby gear I love:

Love it

Start left upper corner, going clockwise:

gDiapers– these are hybrid diapers that can be used as cloth diapers or you can put in a disposable/flushable insert. We used these exclusively when Lucas was a newborn (0-3 months old).  He did not have a single diaper rash with gDiapers. Daycare was not willing to take part in cloth diapering of any kind, so when I went back to work we tried Pampers disposable diapers.  And then came his first diaper rash!  When we don’t use gDiapers, Target brand is my favorite disposable diaper.

Aden & Anais Swaddles– stretchy soft muslin cotton, ahhh, so lovely.  Just the sight of these blankets gives me baby fever. Possible uses include swaddling (of course), but also sun shade cover over car seat, drool wiper, burp cloth, nursing cover, etc. If you are going to a baby shower, this is the gift to bring.

IKEA Gulliver Crib– we resisted the urge to get a fancy crib.  This one costs $99 and is doing great after 2 years.  . I love the clean modern lines- it works for a boy or a girl. It also converts to a toddler bed.  However, we did not use it as a toddler bed.  When Lucas was almost 2 years old he was getting too long to sleep in the crib, so we transitioned him straight to a twin bed.

Maxi Cosi Mico Infant Car Seat– mine is all black and very gender neutral. It is light weight and clicks easily into its base in the car. The weight limit is 22lbs, so Lucas only used this until he was 5 months old. There are infant carriers with higher weight limits, some as high as 35lbs. However, would you actually want to carry a car seat around with your 35lb baby sleeping in it?  Didn’t think so…just switch to the convertible car seat when your baby gets that big.

Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper– this device is magical and probably the most convenient piece of gear ever.  Basically, it is a place to set the baby down. It can be easily carried all over the house with one hand, while carrying your baby. We used this every single day from 0-6 months. And Lucas slept in it at night from 0-3 months (yes, it is approved for sleeping unlike a swing or bouncer).  After my c-section, it was the perfect height for picking him up for night-time feedings out of bed or the couch. It is not a swing- there is no motor, no music, no lights.  Just a little taco for your baby to rest. You can rock it with your foot or hand if needed. This is not the prettiest piece of baby gear, but recently they have come out with better looking versions.

Combi Cocorro Convertible Car Seat- we bought this car seat for our Honda Civic because it is very compact and space efficient.  We now have a huge vehicle (Chevy Traverse), so the space-saving features are less important.  However, it is a solid well-made car seat that I’m sure we’ll use for next baby.

Green to Grow BPA free bottles– we used these bottles for daycare for about 9 months. They went through the dishwasher countless times and still look brand new. These bottles only have 3 parts to wash- bottle, nipple and cap.  I also liked for daycare that we were the only family who used them so there was less concern about Lucas’ bottles getting mixed up with another kid’s. These bottles are very simple, sturdy, and awesome.

Mamas & Papas Sola Stroller– this stroller just makes me happy with the fun green color. It is extremely sturdy and lies completely flat for a newborn.  Lucas and I took many walks during my maternity leave in this stroller.  It is a full-size stroller, so it folds down but not as compactly as an umbrella stroller. I looked at some other comparable strollers- Britax , Uppa Baby , etc.  The price of this one was much better at $399 and it still has a solid metal frame. The seat can face forward or towards you- it is really easy to change the position.  It also works with most infant car seats with the right adapter.

Baby gear I can live without…

Unsure

Starting in upper left corner, going clockwise:

Medela Swing Pump– Its smaller, portable and recommended for travel. Plus it has the great Medela brand behind it so I thought it was the right choice.  However, I regret this purchase.  Some mammas take to breastfeeding and pumping very easily. And some do not. I had to fight for every ounce. Next time, I’ll be renting a hospital grade pump from a lactation consultant or hospital.  It will weigh like 22lbs, but that is okay because I work from home.  I won’t be dragging the pump outside of the house very often. If I do have to travel, I’ll bring a hand pump.

Ergo Sport– these carriers are much-loved by many people, but I have to say it did not work for me.  Maybe it is my short torso and this is a pretty bulky carrier? I did not love it and I’m thinking about selling mine or passing it along to another Mommy.  It would be a good carrier for my husband to wear because it looks manly, but I don’t think that is going to happen.

Maclaren Triumph– this stroller is so frustrating to me.  I got it on clearance and heard great things about Maclarens.  But I just really don’t love it.  The recline minimal- no taking naps in this stroller.  The canopy is easily bent, it never folds up right and the strap gets tangled in everything.  The basket is difficult to take items in and out. The only thing I like about it is the height of the handles.  I’m considering something else in the future….

Joovy Nook– this high chair was great for our first house, which was just 672 square feet.  Every inch counts in a house that size, and this high chair folds up compactly and we could store it in a closet when not in use.  However, now that we will have an eat-in kitchen, this probably will not work in our new house.  The legs are really wide and it cannot pull up to the kitchen table easily for meals with the family.

PPB Sojourn Sling– this sling is extremely comfortable. I bought it when Lucas was about 5 months old.  It was perfect for that age so I could carry him on my hip without the full weight in my arms.  I will probably keep this for future kiddos, but it has a limited timeframe of use and babies grow out of it quickly.

Bumbo– I felt like I needed a Bumbo, but the whole contraption sort of scared me in general.  Lucas is a really tall baby so by the time he was ready for the Bumbo the height of it was not as supportive as it needed to be for his size.  I’m sure mamas with smaller babies could get a lot of use out it, but we sadly did not.

Travel Swing– we got this to see if Lucas would take to a swing.  He hated it, so it was rarely used.  Even if he did like to swing, the height was so low to the ground it was hard to use after a C-section.  If I decide to use a swing for future babies, we’ll probably get a full sized one instead.  Otherwise why not just use the Rock n’ Play?

Boppy– it just felt a little stiff to me for breastfeeding. I preferred to use pillows or actually my c-shaped maternity sleeping pillow which I would wrap around me like a cocoon and set the baby on top. It worked fine for the first 2-3 weeks but Lucas grew really fast and the Boppy could not contain him 🙂

And some items that I really want for our next baby.

Want It1

Just to be clear, I am not even pregnant yet but I like to plan things in advance.  These are some of the bigger items I may purchase when we are ready for baby #2.

Glider– oh why did I not buy a glider for the first baby?  I spent so much time bouncing and walking and so did my husband.  Lucas loved the glider at Grandma’s house, so next baby I am definitely getting one.  We probably did not have the space in our first little house, but this is a must have for next time.

Chicco Lite Way Stroller– for the next baby, I’d like to get one of these to replace the Maclaren. The price is good, it has a full recline and folds up compactly as an umbrella stroller is meant to do. The Liteway Plus allows you to click in your infant car seat.  If that had been available when Lucas was born I probably would’ve only gotten this stroller and skipped the larger one.

Arm’s Reach Co Sleeper– this pulls right up to your bed so baby can sleep safely next to you. Oh I wish I had one of these when Lucas was born. If I have a repeat C-section with baby #2 this is a must-have item.  Getting out of bed for feedings was so painful right after delivery anything I can do to stay lying down is awesome. This is also perfect for lazy breastfeeding mamas like myself. Just pull the kiddo closer to you for feedings and put him right back to bed without ever getting up.

IKEA Antilope High Chair– this high chair is $25, including the tray.  Why spend a ton of money on something that is going to get covered with baby food?  It wipes down easily and pulls up to the table. I also like the design of it and how non-baby it looks. There is actually a sale going on through Nov 27 and this high chair is just $10 for IKEA family members.

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Pumpkin Carving 2013

Pumpkin Carving 2013

The hubs did an amazing job on our pumpkins this year. He ended up carving every single one of them with input and direction from us. The left one is for Lucas with the big eyes and sideways smile. The middle one is mine, something I saw on Pinterest and thought it would be a good excuse to break out the drill. And the right one is Mr. Mitten’s and he was inspired by those scary fish in Finding Nemo with the sharp teeth and lights.

How did your pumpkins turn out this year?

NYC, Detroit & weekend recap

Last week I was in New York City for work, and it was a busy/quick trip.  But, I did find the time to see Big Fish on Broadway with my boss. I love musicals, so I’m glad it worked out.  The usual star of Big Fish was off that night, so we saw Ben Crawford as Edward Bloom. The ending was very sweet and I cried, as usual.  I cry at commercials sometimes, so it only takes a bit to get me going! My hotel this visit was in SoHo. I took a walk around the block in the early evening on Thursday and found a bakery/coffee shop called The Frog’s Crown. The staff person working told me to try their coconut latte.  They make their own coconut milk blend in-house, that I might experiment with at home to recreate. Very yummy!

Frogs Crown Just around the corner was Anthropologie, my favorite “chain” store. Their sale section at this SoHo location was huge. I saw a couple of purple Rivulets Quilts on sale for half off. I wasn’t sure on the color and it would not be easy to bring it home with me since I flew Spirit Airlines.  They charge for every bag, it is insane. But it was a great price on one of their very popular items. Anthro I got home from NYC on Friday and spent the weekend enjoying this little guy. Lucas Tigers Hat

When I picked him up from “school” aka, daycare on Friday he said “my miss you mommy”. Aw, melt my heart.  I missed him too. Saturday mornings Lucas has a class that he takes which introduces the kids to all different types of sports.  This week it was parachutes and balance beams.  After sports class, we stopped at the local fire station because they were having an open house for fire prevention week.  It was like a convention for 2-5 year old boys.  There were so many kids!  Lucas has seen fire trucks up close a few times this year. But he has never held a fire hose, until NOW! With help from Daddy and the fireman, of course:

Fire Hose 1 Fire Hose 2 Just look at that little smile!  He is thrilled… Fire Hose 3 Fire Hose 4

 

The fire helmet Lucas is wearing was purchased at a Halloween store in the area. Lucas had worn a helmet he received at another fire house event earlier in the summer, but it was cracked and broken. We decided to get him something a little more sturdy. The cashier who checked us out at the Halloween store told me that he was also works as a firefighter with the Detroit Fire Department. He works two jobs because his salary as a firefighter is not enough. He said that the DFD would love to put on events for kids and give helmets, coloring books, etc. but they just don’t have the budget. That conversation has stuck with me over the past few weeks.  I thought of him when we were at this event at the Canton Fire Department over the weekend.

Detroit Police are actually telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“. The documentary Burn shows an up close look at what the Detroit Fire Department is dealing with in our declining city. There are so many stories to read about Detroit’s bankruptcy filing.  The question the day is Detroit eligible for bankruptcy?

Where I live in the suburbs of Detroit things feel different. We are isolated from the city and carry on with our own lives continuing to distance ourselves.  My family and friends are moving away to places like Washtenaw, Oakland and Livingston counties. I want my son to have a safe, warm and educational upbringing. Detroit is not a place where that can happen now. Did you know the murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City? The violent crime rate is 5 times higher than the national average.

I read statistics like this and feel saddened, but yet curious about a solution.  How can we help Detroit? What does it take?

Little fireman at the Henry Ford Museum

Lucas’ grandma watches him on Mondays and Tuesdays while I am at work.  He goes to daycare the rest of the week. Today Lucas and Grandma took a little field trip to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Lucas insisted on wearing his fireman coat, hat and boots to the museum:

fireman lucas

The Henry Ford Museum has a large area dedicated to automobiles, naturally! Grandma texted me a couple of photos throughout the visit.  The museum has an interactive exhibit that allows kids to practice taking care of the cars. Here’s Lucas under the hood, checking out the fluid levels:

Lucas Henry Ford Car 2

And it seems his fire hat needed to go back on for this part of the inspection:

Lucas Henry Ford

I’m sure we’ll be back again soon to visit the cars.  Next time, I hope I can come too!

PS- can anyone guess what Lucas will be for Halloween?

Blue & Orange Toddler Boy Room

Big Boy Room Collage

(start upper left, clockwise)

Starburst Wood Mirror– is also from Target. It originally retailed for $49, but I got it on sale over the summer for just $15. Source.

Light– looks industrial and will swap out easily for the builder grade ceiling fixture. Source.

Airplane Propeller– such cute décor item for a boy. This one pictured is from Restoration Hardware and way out of my budget. I found something similar at Homegoods, but unfortunately don’t have a photo to link to just yet. Source.

Inspiration room photo– I saw this on Pinterest many moons ago and just loved it so much it was my inspiration for pulling together Lucas’ big boy room. Source unknown.

Mid-Century Bed- we bought this for Lucas at the Pottery Barn outlet over the summer. It is a West Elm bed and normally retails for $699. I paid just $150 because it was a floor sample and was missing a few pieces of hardware. Source.

Rugby Striped Quilt– I ordered this from Creative Seams on Etsy. The quilter, Jill, is from Ann Arbor and makes just about any color combination you can dream up. Source.

Orange Link Ottoman/Pouf– I found this at Wal-Mart actually and was surprised to see an ottoman like this for under $30. Perfect for a kids room! Source.

National Parks Map- is adorable and has stickers to mark off the places you’ve been. Lots of fun for a little boy. ElloThere on Etsy has a great version.  Source.

Airplane Pillow– very boyish and affordable on Etsy. Source.

Modern bed sheets– are from Target and are currently on sale! I am thinking about picking up an extra set before they sell out. Source.

 

 

Visit to Calder Dairy & Farm

We were invited to celebrate Madison’s 2nd Birthday at Calder Dairy & Farm in Carleton, MI today.  Lucas had so much fun, he did not want to go home.

It is a real working farm and it is absolutely free to visit. Well if you don’t count the gas it takes to drive out there.  Or the mandatory ice cream cone you can’t leave without.  But seriously no admission fee and you can bring in your own food. If you are looking for an inexpensive, fun day out with the kid(s) this is a great option.

We buy the glass bottles of Calder’s milk at Busch’s or Holiday Market when I shop at those stores. It is fun to see the cows that actually produce the milk and know that you are supporting a Michigan business:

Calder Dairy Farm

Lucas met some cows, of course:

Calder Cow1

And he was brave enough to pet one of the cows!  This is his excited face after walking away from the cow:

Lucas smile

Lucas also met an amazingly large pig:

Calder pig

He explored more of the farm with his cousins:

Calder wander

And we saw some sweet little baby cows!

Calder cows 2

At 3pm each day kids can help feed a baby calf.  We missed it this time, but MUST come back again to experience it.

At 4pm each day, you can watch the cows being milked:

Calder sign

There is an enclosed viewing area to watch the cows being milked.  (Lucas was more interested in his new toy car he received at the birthday party, which you can see him playing with on the bench):

Calder viewing area

We saw the truck that makes home deliveries in Wayne, Washtenaw, & Macomb counties weekly. Lucas is all about cars, trucks, and motorcycles at the moment so of course he loved this:

Calder dairy truck

And he loved the kids’ version of milk truck in the play area:

IMG_1425

Lucas drove the little truck and it was the happiest moment of his day:

Lucas driving cow truck

Before you leave,  you can stop in at the general store to take home some Calder milk or ice cream. I just loved the old-fashioned cooler they store the bottles in:

Calder Milk IMG_1418

Madison’s birthday party was held in the room next to the general store.  This photo was taken as everyone was singing “Sto lat”- the Polish song for good wishes, good health and a long life:

Bday song

Lucas was sad to leave.  He had so much fun and told me he wanted to drive the “cow truck” home.  It was a great day on the farm.

Lucas fake cow

Happy 2nd Birthday, Miss Madison!