Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Stuff of our Lives

It's been awhile since I did a little product review, and I want to add to my list of baby/toddler gear recs.  I wish I got paid to write these, but so far, it's just because I found great products that really work, and I like to share my shopping successes!

Gear:

Munchkin Snack Tower - Everywhere I go, mamas and grandmas want to know where I got this.  Mine actually has 5 compartments, not sure if it's been downgraded since I bought it.  It's equally handy for pouring formula as it is for storing snacks, because there is a little funnel/lid for each compartment.  Just don't let your kids play with it, because if they throw it, it could spill Cheerios all over the mall.  Not that I know that from experience or anything.  Ahem.

Boon Twig - So you might remember the amazing dishwasher-safe baby drying rack that I reviewed awhile ago.  Unfortunately, we've outgrown it with 2 babies in the house, so bottle parts and sippy valves were just cascading off the lawn onto our counter, redneck style, yo.  I didn't want to put in a second Lawn, so when I saw that Boon came out with a way to use vertical space in the Lawn, I got a Twig pronto.  Now it holds all the little valves, leaving the Lawn free for the collars and nipples.  So glad there's a solution to my 1st world problems.

Tie Chair - I remember when the Nugget was a tot, I used to muse to Hubby that there must be some way to secure him to a regular chair with the right type of belt or scarf.  I never did jury rig one for him, and when this appeared on Babysteals, I immediately ordered one to try.  Now I'm tempted to get another.  It's machine washable and fits in the diaper bag.  I feel equally confident in securing both tiny Tater Tot and jumbo Spork.  If you frequent lunchtime playdates or if grandparents don't have the space to store an extra highchair, this is such a wise investment.  I know I'll be able to resell it easily too!

Graco DuoGlider - is my daily double stroller.  I was just terrified that it would be too bulky and impossible to maneuver, but it's been surprisingly agile for its size.  I'm not gonna lie, it takes an extra dose of muscle to heave it in and out of the trunk, and when I have to park it in the mall playspace, I feel like I have a Suburban in a world of MiniCoopers but this stroller gets 'er done.  My one complaint is that there is no snack tray (not even available for purchase separately) for the rear seat.

Aden and Anais Swaddlers - The boys didn't go for the swaddling, but Tater Tot sure did.  These made it so much easier.  I did try off brands first, but the huge size of the A&A couldn't be beat.

When she outgrew even the A&As but still wanted to be swaddled, the Woombie was amazing and so easy.  It was like a super snug sleep sack, and I got a great resale price out of it.

Toiletries and Diapering:

Little Twig Detangler Conditioner - We use a variety of products on Tater Tot's corkscrew curls (I might do a styling post later when I can post better pictures of her), but this is my favorite so far.  It's a very gentle, mildly-scented, non-greasy lotion that glides easily through her hair, makes her curls springier and easy to comb and style.  We (wait, who are we kidding, Daddy is terrified of doing her hair!) mist her hair generously with water then use it as a leave-in, but you can also use it in as a regular rinse-out conditioner.  It only takes 2 pumps to do her whole head, and it's free of parabens and sulfates.

Seventh Generation Baby Lotion - thicker and creamier than Aveeno or Burt's Bees, we're finding this one is a good value and stock up when it's on (commonly) on sale at diapers.com

Seventh Generation Overnights - Huggies seems to have changed their Overnites slightly.  Spork isn't as heavy a wetter as the Nugget was but he's still managing to fill his Huggies Overnites past capacity.  Very pleased with 7th Gen's new offering and at a fairly competitive price too!  Downside is that we can't yet use them for Tater Tot, because they start at size 4.

Despite my Seventh Generation brand loyalty, I have to say the new Babyganics Wipes blows them out of the water, both price-wise and in action.  The Babyganics wipes are slightly textured but still soft to the touch, so you one wipe cleans a lot more bum.  Plus they are an amazing value for an eco-friendlier wipe, especially when you use the Subscribe and Save or the Amazon Mom program.  But even better is when Babies R Us has a BOGO free Babyganics sale, and cases of wipes are included!

New favorite cloth diaper brands are Charlie Banana pockets (so trim, love the snaps) and Tot Bots AIOs (the prints are about the cutest things I ever did see).

Wide Shoes:

Still mourning the closing of Vincent Shoes, but See Kai Run runs wide enough for Spork's feet and offers a much wider, more modern variety than Stride Rite, plus can often be found on sale.

Tundra - offers both snow and rain boots for toddlers in wide sizes!  Huzzah!  The link leads to 6pm (Zappos' outlet), which now offers free shipping :)  Double huzzah!!





Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013


 The Nugget handed out these to his classmates.  I have a serious Pinterest addiction!  The large bouncy balls are from the Target party section (in 12 packs).  Grammy picked up the small party favor bags from Pat Catan's, and I printed in red font on plain white cardstock.  The hardest part was finding that adorable font - here it is.




Our Valentine's family tradition is giving each child a love themed book and stuffing a mini mailbox full of goodies.  The mailboxes are from the Target dollar section, and I was very pleased to see an aqua/red option this year in addition to the red, pink, and white.

The Nugget:  Slugs in Love, stickers (bought on VDay clearance last year), pack of gum, lollipop
Spork:  Tucker's Valentine, cereal bar, stickers
Tater:  Love Bug, 3 pack of bibs

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Miracle



I gave the Nugget a new job this week.  I gave him a small stack of clean clothes and asked if he could figure out where they belong in his closet.  He excitedly demonstrated that he knew where to put pajamas, shirts, and different kinds of pants.  When I explained that he would find a little stack of laundry on his bed every day to put away all by himself, he literally jumped up and down and exclaimed, "I get to do this every day?!  It's a miracle!!!"

The Nugget noticed me applying apricot oil to Spork's chapped cheeks, and immediately ran over, yelling, "I want to be a beau-hunk too!"

"Want to hear a secret honey joke?  Why can't the bear eat too much honey?  Because he'll get a tummy ache!"

Entertaining fib of the day:
N:  Did you know that I went swimming at school today?
M:  Really?  But I didn't pack you a swim suit!
N:  That's ok, because we just all took off our clothes and swam nekkid.  It was a nekkid pool.  *giggle*

My neighbor generously offered to sit in the house with sleeping babes while I ran the Nugget to school this week.  I was thanking her profusely on the way out the door and reminded her to please make herself comfortable and brew coffee or watch TV or whatever, and the Nugget piped up, "And feel free to look at the comet (aka dirty snowball) I made at Science Alive.  It's in the freezer, and you can look at it anytime you want."

"When I went for a walk, I met 2 dogs, and one of them liked to catch the snowballs I threw for him.  And I laughed so hard, and I could play that game forever and ever all day, and the next day, and the next day, and every day until I'm dead."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sleepless

Dear Tater Tot,

As I type this, you are squirming and fussing in my arms.  You were down for an hour and a half but now you're frustrated and fighting your way back to dreamland.  I know from experience that it will not be a swift fight.  Your eyes flutter open then closed again, your tiny fingers scratching, grabbing, twisting my bra strap, tangling in my hair, playing with the edge of my sleeve, desperate for some physical contact and comfort that only I can provide.  The Nugget has his giraffe, Spork has his blankie, but you take no lovie but me.  You buck and arch your back, act like you want me to put you down but you don't.  You want me to hold you tighter, cuddle you closer, so you can forget the pain your tiny teeth are causing you as they burrow through your gums.

I am tired from a long, physical day of lifting babies, changing diapers, running to keep up with the Nugget, fixing meals, doing dishes.  I want to sink into the soft couch and relax unencumbered.  But for you I have waited and prayed, filled out countless forms and attended classes, begged and pleaded to the universe.  And here you are, fighting for your sleep and begging me for a mama's help.  You cry out and fling your binky because it's not helping you.  But a few seconds later, you will fuss and reach for it, and I'll have it ready for you.

This is the dance, the tired hazy dance of mother and child, performed on an uncomfortable office chair and witnessed by the hum and glow of the computer screen.  This feels like forever but is but a blink of an eye.  This is love.