Friday, June 20, 2008

One sweet gift

For Mother's Day Mike bought me a rose. Well, not just a rose...a rose bush to keep forever! The variety is called Belinda's Dream. It is supposed to be extremely hardy and easy to care for. It is a "very double," very fragrant pink bloom. It finally bloomed for the first time last week! How thrilling!

Here are a few photos from the 3 day blooming process.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

There's a lump in my throat.

Maggie received a bridal dress-up set for her birthday from Aunt Bronwyn. These photos actually brought tears to my eyes, because I know that one day she will dress up in a gown for real and walk the aisle.

Click the photo to go to Flickr and see the rest of the photos. Maggie also wanted to use a roll of cooking parchment paper she found to make "that red cloth you use when you're marrying." This translates to a red carpet runner. You can see her walking the aisle she made in the other photos. Enjoy. Try not to cry.

One more awesome baby item

I belated remembered one more great baby product. It's the Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer. I know, future parents, you are secretly (or maybe not so secretly) hoping that you won't ever have to insert a thermometer into your baby's you-know-what. I thought I wouldn't do it. You will, though. It's completely and utterly inevitable. Since you have to do it, you may as well have the best tool for the job. This thermometer lights up for use in the dark, recalls the previous temperature reading, has a short, flexible tip for safety, has a unique shape that makes it easy to use, and gives a quick reading. Yeah, it's awesome. And how creepy is it that something like a rectal thermometer would make me use the word "awesome"?? Wow.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Favorite Baby Products

I have some friends having new babies, and one is poised to have her very first bundle. I also recently discovered that I let my friend Alysia's babies get too old for Robeez baby shoes without ever telling her about them. This has given me an idea to share a list of some of my very favorite baby products. I am not being compensated in any way (of course) for endorsing these products; but of course if any of these great companies want to send me a big check, they should feel free. :o)

Because I am verbose and my friends are busy, I have bolded the key point(s) about each item to facilitate skimming. :o)

Leave me a comment with your favorite baby product(s)!

Robeez baby shoes

I love Robeez (pronounced like "Robbie's" after the creator's son) soft-soled shoes for babies. Modern-day studies say that babies should go barefoot for as long as possible to help their feet develop optimally. Robeez soft-soled shoes are the closest thing to going barefoot without actually going barefoot, so they are great developmentally. They also are the only shoe or bootie I have found that my kids couldn't take off, so their socks actually stayed on their feet. They are also stinkin' cute.

Table Topper disposable placemat with adhesive

These are great for eating out. When baby is too small and unreliable to have a plate or bowl (because the plate would just go flying), Table Toppers cover the table and provide a place to feed baby. They adhere directly to the table and are disposable. We keep a large pack of these in the car all the time.

Crumb Chum

The Crumb Chum is awesome. It's basically a bib, but it's so much better than a regular bib. The Crumb Chum is huge and covers baby from neck to ankles and around the sides. You can take your baby or toddler (or even preschooler with the bigger size) straight out to lunch after church and not worry about destroying the church clothes. It has a pocket, but unlike other bibs, the pocket actually "puckers" open while baby wears it so that it actually collects what falls. The fabric is the same fabric that umbrellas are made from. It never stains. You can rinse or wash it in the kitchen sink and it will be dry in minutes instead of hours. You can also machine wash and dry it. I think every parent should have at least 2, if not 3 or 4. Keep one in the diaper bag.

My Brest Friend

For breastfeeding moms, I highly, highly recommend My Brest Friend. It is way better than the Boppy for nursing. It was so essential that for a long time, I wouldn't nurse without it. When we left ours in Augusta, Mike had to go and buy me a new one the very next day. We even carried it out to the mall and shopping. It has a flat top for baby to lie on (rather than a round top), it is wider than the Boppy for a more stable surface, it goes all the way around your back, it has a backrest cushion, and it even attaches securely around you so that it can't slip. I recommend the one with the plastic clip rather than the velcro one (which can wake a sleeping baby when you remove it). It even has a little pocket in the front for storing whatever paraphernalia you may need. I still use ours for our bedtime feeding. This is a must-have item for nursing moms.

Ultimate Wipes Warmer

I like having a wipes warmer in the nursery for the changing table. Of course baby can't always have warm wipes--when we're downstairs or on the go--but it's nice when you're at the changing table. What makes this wipes warmer different is that it keeps the wipes moist and prevents browning or yellowing. Our old wipes warmer always caused the wipes to dry out, and it said explicitly that you couldn't add water. The ones at the bottom always dried out and turned brown. I felt like we were wasting a lot of wipes. Well this one changed all of that. It has these "pillows" (absorbent pads) that go in the bottom. You saturate the pillow with water. The wipes stay moist and neat and the pillow dries out and yellows. You just resaturate the pillow once a week. You can use the same pillow for 3 months, which I think is a great value. Hints: Let the pillow soak in a sink of water to get it really saturated, rather than just running it under the tap. If the pillow gets dried out and hard (or if you open a new one that is hard because the package had a hole), it is no big deal. You can still soak it and it will return to normal.

The Miracle Blanket

The Miracle Blanket is so awesome. This is hands-down the absolute best swaddling blanket in the whole wide world, bar none. Forget the one with the velcro. Forget receiving blankets. The Miracle Blanket continued working for swaddling Jackson until we, the parents, were ready to give up swaddling. We ultimately only stopped using it because we thought it was time for him to learn to roll over and we didn't want him to be restricted. With Maggie we had to stop swaddling her at just a few weeks because she was able to escape. With the other blankets we used Jackson got too big for them. This one is truly a miracle. It swaddles neatly and securely and even an older baby can't kick his way out. Try it. You will love it.

Buggy Bagg

The Buggy Bagg is a shopping cart seat cover. To be honest, I haven't tried any other brands of this type of product. I loved it so much that I didn't see the need. When Maggie was a baby, we borrowed one from the Cones. When Jack was born we bought our own, and I didn't even care too much about the price (something like $50-60). It was worth it to me. The Buggy Bagg is very padded so it's comfortable for baby. It's very secure, strapping to the shopping cart in two places and also strapping baby. It has a huge pocket in the back (which zips closed) for diapers, wipes, toys, etc. When you are going into the grocery store, you don't need to bring your diaper bag. It has loops sewn in for attaching toys (so they don't end up on the floor). It rolls up and stores neatly, AND you can install and remove it one-handed (you know, because you're carrying your baby in the other hand). And importantly, it COMPLETELY covers the whole shopping cart seat and surrounding area--handles, sides, and back. I love ours. It is even padded enough that in a pinch you can lay a small baby down in it so she can sleep. You can even use it in restaurant high chairs, though it is a tight squeeze just because it has such great padding. It's a big help in the high chair with babies that are just learning to sit up, because the padding provides extra support in the chair. You used to be able to buy it directly from the website, but now it looks like you have get it from a retailer. The website can help you find a retailer near you.

Halo Sleep Sack

The Halo Sleep Sack (the wearable blanket, not the swaddler version) is a great cold-weather blanket. It zips onto baby like clothing, but allows plenty of room for movement. It's very warm. You don't have to worry about it covering baby's face or coming off during the night. We used this with Jack after he was too big to be swaddled, but before he started pulling up. Once baby can stand, get blanket sleepers instead.

That's all I can think of for now! If I think of any more, I will blog about them later. Don't forget to leave me a comment with your favorite baby product(s) or favorite baby gift item.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Video of Jackson

I am experimenting with some video we took on the DVD camera that Gran got us for Christmas. Here is my first attempt at uploading video. If it works, this should be a video of Jackson taken a few days ago. He was quite tired at lunchtime and decided he was finished. He got rather angry and took it out on the Chef Boyardee. :o) I know it's probably a bit too long, but I haven't tried any editing yet.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

We enjoyed our first visit to the Dacula Memorial Day parade. You can see the best photos from the day on Flickr.

Memorial Day Photos on Flickr

Monday, June 9, 2008

Helpful things I've learned as a mom

One of the best ways to learn about being a parent is to listen to other parents. Here are some of my favorite parenting techniques or ideas. I'm not a genius by any means and I don't think I know everything. Pretty much all of these I learned from someone else and just tried out and found that they worked for us. Of course, all kids are different. :o)

  • When giving directions or asking a child to do something, don't end by saying, "Okay?" Instead, end by saying, "Understand?" Example: Instead of saying, "Take this to your room, okay?" you would say, "Take this to your room. Understand?" This is good because it gets you the acknowledgement you are looking for without seeming like you are looking for the kid's approval or agreement.
  • Instead of saying, "That's not nice," say, "That's not okay." The reason is that the child might not particularly care about being nice right then. It leaves you open for comments like "Well she wasn't nice to me." By saying "That's not okay," you take feelings out of it and just set a standard for behavior instead.
  • Mealtimes: I read a great article once that said something like, "Remember your role at mealtime. Your role is to offer healthy foods in appropriate quantities. It's your child's role to decide what and how much to eat from what you have offered." This has saved me a ton of headache with Maggie, who doesn't care too much about eating. It's not my job to "make" her eat. I just offer the food and she decides what to eat. If she eats all of her bread and doesn't want to eat anything else, that's fine. It doesn't mean I will provide her more bread. She can decide if she's hungry enough to eat the other food or not.
  • Try to offer a lot of choices. This gives kids a sense that they have control over their own lives. It can be hard to be a kid where everything is dictated for you. Like adults, kids need to feel that they have some say-so in the way their lives run. The key is to offer choices on things that don't matter all that much to you. "Which cup would you like to have your milk in?" (I choose the drink while she chooses the cup.) "Would you like to brush your teeth or your hair first?" (I choose the activities, and she chooses the order.) "Would you like to clean up now, or would you like to play for five more minutes and then clean up?" Etc.
  • Similarly, warn kids what's coming next. If you're planning to leave the park at a certain time, give kids a heads-up that they have 10 minutes, then 5 minutes left to play. Imagine you're at the park and you're thinking, "Well first I'm going to slide a few times, then I'm going to chase these kids around over here, then I'm going to climb up on the equipment, and I'm going to save the swings for last since that is my favorite." Now imagine that you only got as far as chasing around the kids when someone says you have to leave. You might be able to see why a kid would throw a tantrum. Giving them a countdown lets them know to go ahead and head for the swings before it's too late. This has saved us many a tantrum.
  • A great phrase I read in Parenting magazine and taught to Maggie is, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." This saves us from tantrums over things like which cup she got at dinnertime, who got the biggest piece of cake, etc. Sometimes I even combine this with the warning of what's coming next. I will say, "If there's a juice box left in the fridge you can have it, but if there's not you just need to say to yourself, 'I get what I get and I don't throw a fit.'" I try to help her anticipate times when she might be upset and prepare herself mentally. I also taught her the phrase "Take it in stride." Same idea.

Well those are the ones I could think of for now. I hope they are helpful to someone else as they have been to us! :o)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Floating Germs! ...and other silly things

Last night at 4:00 a.m. we were awakened by Maggie at bedside complaining that there was a "floating germ that changes colors" in her room. She was very scared. I assured her that you can't see germs, so she said it was a "white thing" instead. I walked her back in and put her back to bed. Mike's coworkers found this hilarious. They joked that while other children are afraid of monsters under the bed or in the closet, ours are sick so often that they are afraid of germs instead.

Today we went to the pediatrician for an ear check for both kids. Jack's have cleared up nicely (did I mention that he had a double ear infection despite having functioning ear tubes??). Maggie has lost her second T-tube and her ear drums are healing nicely. As we walked out I said to Maggie, "Well both of you kids are well. How long are you going to be well for this time?" Maggie did a loud, fake burp as an answer and said, "That many minutes." Should I be more concerned that my child measures her wellness time in minutes rather than days or weeks...or should I be more concerned that she so enjoys fake burping? (And in fact, uses them as a means of counting!)

And finally, on the way home from errands this afternoon I was talking with Mike on the phone when I suddenly became aware that Maggie had been singing quite loudly for several minutes a made-up song that consisted of just the words "I love you" over and over again. I said, "Aww, Maggie, we love you too!" To which she replied, "No, Mommy, I'm singing my ice cream man song." She sure loves that ice cream man.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Cafe Press Stores

Hello friends! I came up with what I think is a cute design for a baby onesie, so I opened a Cafe Press store in case anyone else agrees! :o) Take a look if you're interested. There are two links because I had to make two shops--one for the pink design and one for the blue design. The design is below, and you can click to see it larger. The smaller print says, "My parents worked it out mathematically." There's pink/chocolate, blue/chocolate, or the black shirt has pink/white or blue/white.

"Pinkie Pi" Shop (pink design):
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"Southern Chick" Shop (blue design):
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