soaking up the end

In less than 24 hours the official start of year nine of teaching begins. Am I ready for it? Yes, I am excited about the start of the year. The students are always buzzing with excitement as they reconnect with their classmates and settle into their new classrooms. Am I sad for my summer vacation to end? YES! This was a good summer. With each day and week that ticked by, we got “better” at being mobile, heading out, packing the right number of snacks, tackling fun with errands or house chores, and reveling in our time together as a family. I always worry about rebuilding my teacher muscles. It is hard to go from talking with my kiddos and husband to talking to dozens of students and faculty a day. It is hard going from tackling laundry, cooking, and fun times with the kids to doing all of that AND working full-time. Tonight I feel overwhelmed. Tomorrow I am sure things will feel normal-ish but right now, I am anxious to see how we manage it all again and just keep telling myself, “We did this only 12 weeks ago!” Instead of dwelling on these tumultuous feelings, I am going to focus on my boy squad and sneak away to swing at a playground because tomorrow will inevitably arrive. Today though is for summer vibes.

Baby Products: If I had to do it again…

Currently there are 5  mammas growing babies that I know! Can you believe it! So many loved ones are expanding their families which is amazing and awesome and I am over the moon excited for them. One of the things I love most about all these babies-to-be, is when their moms reach out with bump updates, funny little texts about the ins-and-outs of their pregnancy, and questions about baby gear. Having had two little guys pretty close together, I am crazy about having the right gear. David and I have a pretty minimalist style about us (we barely have things hanging on our walls and never have items out all over the kitchen counters). So when it was time to upgrade our family to 3 and then 4 humans, I was freaking out about ALL THE CLUTTER!  For such a tiny, little thing a newborn needs a lot of stuff (or so it seems!). Did we make some purchasing mistakes in our three short years of parenting: Oh, Heck yes! Did we nail some gear decisions: Oh, Heck Yes! So I thought I would take a moment to just share what I would put on my registry today knowing what I know now (which isn’t everything or anything really!) but what I have learned from my two boys. I stress the my because every family will have their own flavor but I spent a lot of money (even wasted a lot of money) on stuff frankly that we didn’t use or didn’t need. So if it is not on the list below, I personally feel you don’t need it (of course you can want it!). And if some magical pregnancy fairy came down and told me, guess what you have baby 3 coming, I would branch no farther than this list of items.

First on my list would be the Solly wrap. A cozy wrap that is still breathable for wrapping up the tiniest newborn for those first ventures out of doors or to hold your baby close while you try to do something around the house like fold laundry. I had one of the Moby wraps but it was such thick, hot material that this Italian girl sweat like a beast.

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In the same family of baby-wearing, I would also get the ErgoBaby 360. Why? Why would I just not streamline my minimalist list and choose one wrap. It might seem silly but the Ergobaby is a much better product for baby once it is over 4ish months. It has better back support for you and you can wear it into a lake and then throw it in the wash which makes summering easier. Baby can sit in every position possible and I totted Owen around in it until he was almost 17 months old! The only reason I stopped wearing him was because he finally decided walking was the only appropriate means of transportation.

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Then there are the staples: A carseat and a stroller.

I like the Chicco brand for carseats. I know other people love the more expensive lightweight carseats but the Chicco one was just fine for the boys, it comes apart fully and so easily so I could wash it all without messing around with it too much and it is always ranked as one of the highest for safety. For strollers, boy do I have opinions. My personal favorite stroller that we had was the UppaBaby Cruz. It was lightweight, adaptable, sleek and I just loved how it looked and felt. We travelled all the way to Amsterdam with it and it still looked brand new when we sold it. Why did we sell it? We had two babies pretty close and the Cruz does not adjust for multiple little ones. For this situation (or if you are planning to have two babies close), I recommend our second stroller the Baby Jogger City Select. The stadium seating was great for the older kiddo to look out and not be dragged underneath like some strollers, and the basket under the seats was HUGE. I could have carried David under there! The last stroller we will ever use is the MaClaren Umbrella Stroller (our current). It is lightweight, the boys sit side-by-side, you can wash the whole thing, and it is a good travel stroller with a nice under basket and the seats recline all the way in case someone decides to nap.

Other items I would register for:

A bassinet like the Halo, so that baby is close in your bed and you don’t have to get up or go too far to get the little one to change or feed. I am interested in the Dock-A-Tot, though we have two dogs so I would not have felt safe with baby in the bed between us and with them about.  And I don’t know what pediatricians say about the product as a bed (online the company seems to make a clear distinction between using it for monitored sleep (i.e. naps) vs. using it as a true bed), so if you are thinking about it, please ask talk to your pediatrician first! And then tell me what they say and what you think.

Then these swaddles by SwaddleMe, because every Momma I know has said, “My baby just didn’t like the swaddle,” while that very well might be true. Those buggers are strong whether they like to be swaddled or not, and we got great sleep from both our boys using this sucker. They would push against it but they pushed against me in the womb and after a few minutes of wiggling about and settling into the swaddle position of their choice they always passed out and slept deeply until feeding time! And I would probably get one packet of swaddles by Aden&Anais because they are so beautiful and soft and every baby needs something like that to be held in sometimes and we also used them as a sunshield on their carseats.

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If you are planning to pump, I would snag a Medela Pump and Go Style along with some of the Medela Bottles and Dr. Brown Nipples sizes 0, 1 and 2 because depending on the force of your let down, your baby  might actually need/want a bigger size opening than a 0. And you can get a little bottle drying rack or just use one you have at home already.

We used the following items a lot for each boy and therefore I would want these on my registry again too: a swing, a pack n’play, and a baby mat. For a swing, we were very fortunate to have parents who bought us the 4moms Mamaroo. I liked it a lot because it did the job of swinging the baby back and forth, it did not take up much room at all, and it had so many variations to keep the baby from being bored of it and you could turn on a white noise machine to help baby ease into a noisy house. For a Pack n’Play, we travelled a lot when Henry was just born and we are still visiting family often. We continue to get every penny out of this travel pack n’play by Lotus and it is awesome because it is so lightweight and folds up into a backpack.

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For a play mat, I would just pick out one you like that has a couple configurations to keep baby entertained while it lays on its back and looks up and swats at toys. I always like Baby Einstein for this kind of stuff.

A few more items left:

Boppy: You want some pillow if you plan to nurse. I liked the boppy because it was easy to put on by myself with a toddler and screaming baby, easy to clean, and the baby could use it as a prop for tummy time and when he was learning to sit.

Burp Cloths (like 15!): It doesn’t matter what kind but don’t go crazy and buy out the store but get 15 so you don’t have to run the laundry all the time.

Bath insert:  It is important because you don’t want a crusty baby, but don’t overthink it. Something like the AngelCare Bath Support is perfect if you are placing baby in your tub.

Pacifier:  Don’t buy out the store but definitely think about having one handy in case your little one likes to suckle. Henry was crazy for his and he just used the soothie from the hospital. Owen was never interested.

Monitor: This is where we splurged a bit and bought a motorola baby monitor where we could see and hear the baby. It was awesome for sleep training. Instead of just hearing the baby’s cry and going in, we could watch the baby and see what exactly was going on. Was the baby frantic? Hungry? or just tired and so so so so close to falling asleep on his own. It helped us hear the differences in the cries and respond accordingly.

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Bouncer: This is obviously for when the baby is older and becoming more active but a bouncer is a great option for when you are trying to cook dinner, go to the bathroom by yourself, or just want the baby to get out the wiggles. I liked the Baby Einstein one again because the baby could bounce himself about and it had a lot of little toys and gadgets to play with.

Diaper Bag: I have tried a bunch of different diaper bags and I really like the one I have now by little unicorn. If you are a bottle feeding momma, you might want something else as it does not have a side bottle holder but if you are nursing then it is a great bag to keep your hands free, it packs a ton and I like it because it looks good and you can wash it.

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Rocking Chair & Pouf: Not every momma or dadda might want a rocking chair and pouf, but I use mine everyday and have for three years. I like it so much, I cannot wait to move it into my bedroom and turn it into a reading chair. So many late nights were spent rocking my babies while they ate, cried, and were falling asleep. So many nights, I fell asleep in the chair too. I bought this one from target and this one from etsy.

2 leather bibs: You can buy a dozen cloth bibs and wash them endlessly until they get dingy and you need to replace them, or you can get a leather bib set from Mally Bib on Etsy and have them forever! The two leather bibs we still use everyday were from my niece and nephew. Just wipe them clean and go! (and the clasp in the back is a magnet so you can hang it on your refrigerator).

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 3.03.18 PM.pngGood luck with the little one you are waiting for or the little one you are currently raising! I would love to hear what are some of your favorite products that you could not live without! This raising babies business is tough sometimes but when you hold that little one close the whole world melts away and none of this really matters after all. Cheers!

 

Summer locks

I might take 1,000 photos a day of the boys. Watching them romp about just melts my heart and I want to capture all the moments for now and for when I am old and rocking in my nursing home. I am waiting for Google to create a camera for my glasses so I can stop pulling out my phone to snap these little gems and just blink and have the photo take and stored for me. It has to be the next thing right? Is it out all ready?


It is nap time here and after plugging away at my one letter of recommendation quota for my job, I got lost in my photo feed and smiling about how cute the boys are. This summer their skin got tanned by the sun and Henry has little freckles all over the bridge of his nose. Owen looks like my little Italian baby and as my Nanny would say, “he is as brown as a berry.” They have had so many baths from the dirt and mud that they played in and probably ingested. It has been a wild summer of boyhood and it is exciting to think about what next summer will look like with both of them just a touch older. But what I noticed the most in their photos was their hair. Neither little one had a hair cut all summer it seems. They were left wild to grow and tangle. This morning after playing at one of our favorite playgrounds, we stopped over to the little kid hair cut spot and stood in line with at least 15 other boys (no lie!). The store was teeming in little boys with outgrown hair. It seemed like every mom in there just let the wild locks reflect their wild days in the summer sun. I watched each boy get called up, sit down, and have their hair trimmed. It felt a little sad watching this ritual and the hair fall to the floor. They are only this little and feral for a short period of their life. When my boys were called, I placed them in the seat and watched their summer fall to the ground too. Six days is all that is officially left to our summer home full-time together. I might have cried a little in the car ride home.