Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
for whom I am VERY VERY excited!
I'm compiling some advice for you and whoever else is interested:
Obviously, every family is different and to a certain extent you’ve really got to make choices based on your own situation. But, I have really gotten a lot of useful info from other parents and reading reviews has helped me a lot (although eaten up a lot of otherwise valuable time).
A huge piece of advice that I have found helpful is buy used when possible. For instance, my dad bought a swing for us for $15. It was absolutely invaluable for a very short time. I would have been frustrated to shell out $60 on it, but for the price it was great. We were able to re-sell it for the same. It’s a good idea to decide what you want new and what you are open to buying used. The consignment sales will be coming up in the next few months and they will have tons of great stuff, some barely used, but it is mind-boggling if you don't decide ahead of time what you are looking for.
Here are a few “biggish” things that I think you will need one way or the other:
1) Crib---several options: convertible, or not; there are even these awesome round cribs, some sides raise and lower, others don’t. You may not need this right away, and could use a pack ‘n play or bassinet for a couple months before investing in the crib. Obviously, you know all this, but anyway…
2) Carseat---several options on this front too. Most people get infant car seats with the handles, and then a bigger one down the road. Other people get convertible car seats that can go from infant way up through toddler. It may depend on the size of your baby…mine were too little for those at first. Personally, I think having a handle so you can carry the whole seat while baby is asleep is invaluable. Many different price points and safety features. You’ll probably need to research this.
3) Breast pump---you will probably want to get one of these ahead of time. They can be rather expensive and if you are going to pump while at work you want a pretty good one. Double electric is the way to go. Manuals are stupid and singles are stupid. Single manuals are just idiotic (in my humble opinion ;-) Mine wasn’t that great but you are welcome to borrow it; you buy all the fresh tubing and pump parts so it isn’t gross to share!
4) Pack ‘n Play----most everyone needs one of those these days. Depends on how much you may use it on the features you will want. If it’s just for traveling, a simple cheap one will work fine. If you want to use it a lot at home too, then they have nifty ones with changing tables, mobiles, diaper stations, bassinets and tons of cool stuff.
5) High chair----of course you won’t be using this until baby is 6 months old, so you can hold out and look around. I really really wish we had bought nicer convertible chairs that could be used for a long time: http://mamaslittlemonkeys.blogspot.com/2008/04/searching-for-high-chair-i-could-go-on.html
6) Stroller---another thing you will want to research. So many options are available, especially for singles. Some important functions for me are lightweight, basket underneath, cup holders, and maneuverability. Also, consider air-filled tires (like bike tires), v. plastic tires. It’s important to have a good canopy that actually covers the baby. You may want two, a cheap-o umbrella stroller, and a more heavy-duty jogger for outdoor use. Travel systems allow the infant seat to snap in to the stroller, which is pretty awesome. Some jogger’s have this option as well. Here is one that intrigues me: http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Jogger-City-Single-Stroller/dp/B000WG5M1E/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1218115818&sr=8-2
7) Diapers: Cloth vs. Disposable. A lot to consider here too. A big issue is who/where you will be getting childcare. Some people are NOT into doing CD, and may insist on “’sposies’”. A neat place to learn about CD and other natural baby options is: http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/index.php You will have to register to ask questions and make comments but it is quick and free. I’ve gotten a lot of useful info here. Two other ones I frequent are: http://www.windsorpeak.com/vbulletin/index.php and http://www.mothering.com/discussions/index.php My user name is Melaine if you want to look for me there.
8) Bathtub---here is the one that we have and LOVE: http://www.amazon.com/Primo-340B-PRIMO-EuroBath-Transparent/dp/B000LCDUUY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1218116415&sr=1-2 We still use it today.
9) Changing table----we just put a changing pad on top of a dresser. Works great. Most of the time we changed them on the floor, anyways, and at least this is a piece of furniture that will be functional for a long time.
10) Nursing pillow---we had boppys, they are great. You are welcome to borrow “my breast friend” which is great for BFing but isn’t useful for tummy time, etc. like the Boppy.
11) Bedding, etc. you will need crib sheets. They have nifty ones that zip on and off but they seem pretty expensive. We got most of ours used so we would have plenty all the time without shelling out the cash. We used the same sheets for the pack ‘n play; most worked just fine. Receiving blankets seem like a popular gift, it’s nice to have about 8. Whether or not you’ll need thicker ones, I don’t know, since your baby will be a spring baby. SwaddleMes and Halo Sleep sacks are also great. We loved them and still use Halos ALL the time. You will need burp clothes, the cheap-o cloth diapers work great for this. Also bibs, you can start out with just a few and see if your child needs 1000000 like mine did. Maybe you’ll be lucky and 5 will be enough.
to be continued....
Love, Your Baby Consultant Extraordinaire
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Check it out, you can win one of the Oopsy Daisy baby products; it's very easy to enter!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”-Romans 8:28 God uses the good, the bad and the ugly in our lives to make us into the beautiful creations He has planned us to be. While all we may see is the tangles and knots of our confused existence, God sees the whole. And it is good. For He has dreamed glorious things for you and He will make it happen in your life. So do not despair in the heartbreak and do not grow faint in the fire; He is melting your heart to reshape it into the very heart of God. For He has began a good work in you and He will carry it on into completion. Praise be to His glorious grace!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Here are some words that the girls say relatively coherently. There are probably more that I have yet to decipher:
mama, daddy, sissy, dessy, doggy, baby, uh-oh, bye-bye, no, yeah, hi, hey, pray, gone-gone, go, car, cookie, cracker, coffee, banana, bread, ok, bear, frog, bunny, puppy, kitty, bird, turtle, duck, quack, cow, moo, go away, ball, yo-yo, bug, yummy. We have really been working on "I love you", and sometimes it sounds almost recognizable. A few other words have come and gone and I'm probably forgetting some, but you get the idea. They are 20 months old as of yesterday...it's hard to believe!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Then to come home to a much-missed husband and father who has cleaned the house and left a 2 liter Dr. Pepper on the kitchen table! (Did I mention I gave up the soda-fast?)
It doesn't get much better than that!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
That's right...yet another attempt at carbonation de-tox. Yet again, I decided that I am consuming way too much of the poisonous (high fructose corn syrup---google it) substance, and realize that limitations are not possible in my world. It's all or nothing (remember the disasterous and ineffective coffee de-tox of '05?) so it, apparently, must be nothing.
My strength has been surprisingly unwavering. Well, yesterday when I unwittingly ordered a cherry limeade at Sonic was the exception. Did you know those are fizzy? I pictured limes and cherries instead of lemons like in lemonade; NOPE! It's a suprisingly strong addiction for me, I find it difficult to focus on anything else when in the presence of the substance, it's draw is so strong and intoxicating. I think of how happy it will make me feel and the instant high of caffeine seeping into my bloodstream. Ahhh...I'm making my own mouth water!
But, I have to do this....for my childrens' sakes. One day, I will sit them down for the talk about addiction. "Don't even experiment with this stuff", I'll say, "It may taste good, but risking a lifetime enslavement is just not worth a few moments enjoyment. You just don't know what your own weakness will be: something like Mountain Dew can immediately bewitch your sense, or even the seemingly harmless Sprite could become your downfall!"
Until that talk, I'll try to walk the walk, and order more intelligently during Happy Hour at Sonic.
My name is Melaine....and I'm a Dr. Peppaholic.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I noticed right away that the cups are very cool to the touch even without ice. So, I was pleased to discover that those old promotional can cozys fit them perfectly and also distinguish between which belongs to Red and which to Curly, although there will no doubt be confusion on that topic in the future. They might be a little large and heavy for a younger child to grasp, but at 19 months my girls don’t seem to struggle, and the design is functional in shape, allowing for little hands to grasp right under the mouth. They have been very easy to keep clean so far, although I’ve been washing by hand rather than the dishwasher. I really like that we can switch out the caps and they can use them forever....so I think we've found a winner here. We ordered a second set and I intend to get rid of all the old plastic sippies. Oh what a relief that will be!
Originally, I started sleeping with these “tools” in order to mask the other sounds around me and combat my identity as a severely light sleeper. I bought my first sound machine when I was in my early teens. The white noise would cover the sound of the dog clicking around on the hardwood floor with his little nails, or my dad waking up early-early to go in to work, or my brother sleep-walking around the house, mumbling and tripping on stuff. Then the addiction set in and now I cannot even sleep in what most would consider a completely silent environment. In fact, like most addicts, I am not even satisfied with what I am currently using. I am always pondering the idea of more fans, bigger fans, or a better sound machine. I am convinced I could sleep better and have a higher quality of life if I could just lull myself into slumber with even more quiet and less silence.
So now, I am trying to log online to e-mail the power company after 18 minutes of this infernal silence. Then I realize even the internet doesn’t work in total absence of power. Rats!
Friday, May 16, 2008
The girls have been trying to “help” me by unloading the dishwasher (I may need to look into steel-toed shoes), pushing the laundry into the dryer (they particularly enjoy slamming it shut), and occasionally even putting a toy or two away. I’m catching a glimpse of how truly helpful they will be in a few years, and find myself imagining what wonderful little baby sitters they might be to a future child.
Ahhh…my always overly optimistic expectations of the future.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Apparently, some kinds of plastic are ok, so aren't. This involves a rather complicated and not always applicable number system you can try to find on the bottom of the bottles or cups. I've decided the simplest and least stressful option for me is to try to eliminate all plastic, however slow this process may be. After reading tons of stuff and simply trying to find something A) safe and B) relatively inexpensive for me and kids to drink out of, I found a few possible options:
These are probably my first choice quality-wise, with no ambiguity about their ingredients and highly recommended from consumers. Stainless Steel, pure and simple. Unfortunately, they are expensive from $15-$20 each and possibly involve extra accessories (sippy lids for the kids). However, from what I can tell they do accomodate Avent lids which is a good thing, however you still need to purchase the "sippy adapter" which will run another $4 or so. I am trusting at this point that the Avent sippys I have are safe according to what I have read. By the way, these Klean Kanteen seem to be selling out all over the internet, but I still have a lot of trouble getting past the "K" spelling. I HATE when people do that.
These are undoubtedly the coolest and prettiest that I saw and seem to have a huge following of dedicated users. However, I found just a little too much controversy about the lining to be completely sold on this option. Just too ambiguous for me to buy for the kids (although the patterns are SO cute) since the manufacterer refuses to reveal the specifics of the liner while still maintaining it is completely safe. These will still run about $20 each anyway.
Those first two options were easy to find and are both very popular. Now, here are the ones that required a little hunting and, for all their apparent virtue, unfortunately have less reviews to determine long-term quality and customer satisfaction. But...money-wise, they deserve a closer look!
These are also stainless steel with NO inner liner and come in really cute patterns. I was excited when I saw them because they seem to have the pros of both Klean Kanteen and Sigg bottles, and their own fabulous pro of being only $10-$13! They also carry "wrapz" (again "cute" spelling that drives me nuts) to insulate, grip, and further personalize the bottles for only $2.50. Each bottle includes a clip to carry it, which is a nice feature. My main concern is when looking it up I found virtually NO customer reviews, (presumably because the product is new). Also, the company seems to carry only
These are also stainless steel, come in different sizes and are reasonably priced at $10. I did read a few complaints on Amazon about the painted outside wearing off. Then there were other fans who had never had the problem. My response would be to purchase the solid stainless steel to avoid this possible issue. They also offer a 12 oz cup that looks identical to the small Klean Kanteen for kids, but without the option of sippy cup. I am trying to determine via e-mail to the company whether the sippy lids might still be compatibleThe reviews on Amazon were not as positive as those for Kleen Kanteen, however I'd rather buy two $10 bottles then one $20 so that I will have a back-up on at all times. I found these on clearance online for even less, and will send the link in anyone is interested. . The icing on the cake (for some people anyway) is these were recently featured on Oprah during Earth Week. I expect her only endorse quality products, so I'd definitely be willing to take the plunge.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
My girls have no concept of pottys or bathrooms other than a place to take baths, so this may be a long road. And I don't have any delusions of "elimination communication" or early pottytraining, just a desire to end the use of diapers by age 3, which seems reasonable. Today however, the girls seemed very interested in the picture of the little girl on the pack of diapers, sitting on her little purple potty. So I explained that she was a big girl and sitting on a potty, then whipped out the little potty chairs and asked if they wanted to sit on them. Red, as usual was interested in obliging and started by putting her foot right into the seat. Curly tried sitting down and, finding it uncomfortable, jumped into my lap and started reading a book, as if to distract me. After I helped Red sit on the seat in the traditional way, she seemed to find it quite funny and spent a few minutes there pointing to the pack of Huggies and the "big girl" on it. Then we tried letting the baby dolls potty, then the big pink and purple doggies pottied. All very amusing to Red, who pointed and laughed, while Curly seemed suspicious that I was trying to trick her into something not in her best interest.
I think the next step will be to buy a couple of books about going to the potty. And who knows, maybe someday they'll even be willing to sit on the potties without their diapers. Until then I guess we'll continue to prop their baby dolls up and praise them endlessly for "going potty".
By the way, here is a link to the Pull-Ups Potty Training free DVD offer:
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Starting our dating relationship was a very serious decision for us. We knew how we both felt about dating, relationships, and marriage, and how much weight we put on friendships in general. Moving to that new level was a big step for us, one that we didn't at all take lightly. In turns out, for us dating was almost a bigger decision than marriage. Don't misunderstand me here, what I mean is: we put a lot of time and prayer into the decision of becoming a couple at the beginning, and God really blessed that for us. It wasn't long into our relationship that we both realized we had found "the one" we were meant to be with. I was really thankful that God made it crystal clear to me, and for once in my life, I didn't feel indecisive! So happy Cinco de Mayo, and may God give you clarity in all your relationship too!
Saturday, May 3, 2008
So, as I gather the clutter and pile it into our garden tub (sadly out of use since our water heater can't keep up with the demand), I am reminding myself of what I learned as a yard sale customer, now that I am becoming the yard sale retailer:
1) Be neat and organized. Nobody wants to kneel on your driveway and sift through the wrinkled clothes you stuffed in an old box. Sort by category and do your best to hang clothes or at least fold them by size, gender, etc.
2) Signs can be vital. Use big, neat writing and HUGE arrows pointing in the direction of your home. Don't clutter it up with lots of descriptions and lists. Just make sure they can see it and follow it to your location.
3) Organize items by price: This box 25 cents, this table every item is $1. Offer a discount on bulk purchases (buy 5 shirts, get 1 free). Random, mismatched or repairable items can be placed in a FREE box close to the road to draw in customers.
4) Don't forget to have LOTS of change; or the first customer may give you a twenty for a $.50 item. As a general rule, it is a bad idea to take checks. Offer to hold an item for someone to go to the ATM and get cash.
5) Price reasonably. Hardback books 2 for $1, softbacks 4 for $1. Pants $1, shirts 50 cents. If you have more valuable brands or collectibles, it helps to print out a price from the internet or ebay to give a customer an idea of it's value. If you have an electric outlet available to test items, you're more likely to sell them at your price. When it comes to completing the sale, always be willing to negotiate. Yard sale-ers are expecting a bargain and won't be shy about asking for it.
Those are just a few tips for planning a yard sale. It's kind of overwhelming, but it can be worthwhile, and actually fun. You may meet some really interesting people too! I've had some really insightful and encouraging conversations with people I've met along the way. At the very least, you'll make some cash and clear out some space so next Saturday you can haul in your own treasures!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Yes, it is gorgeous. It is adjustable, holds from baby to an adult, comes in many colors, and is made from beechwood (eco-friendly) in a country that is not China! I'm not going to go into all the details of my research but a few alternates to check out if you are interested:
http://www.hipposmile.com/ The Hipposmile chair is the closest copy-cat of the original Stokke. It looks virtually identical and will soon (next week I'm told) have very similar color choices. Apparently the only place to find these in the US is on Ebay.
http://www.keekaroo.com/herihich.html?gclid=CKfX-ruA9pACFQ8qgAod2RFrwg The Keekaroo is also similar but comes in only one color (not as pretty). It does have an optional tray (they run a free tray promotion often as well) which might tempt parents of younger children.
http://www.kettlerusa.com/page130.html Kettler makes a couple of options: the Tipp Topp, and the Junior chair. These are quality products worth looking into, but the price point is a little high for what is still a lookalike of the original product.
Well, you see where I spend my time! Hopefully someone searching out the options will take a look and find them all in one place!
And for those of you I know and love who feel terrible whenever you confuse my little look-a-likes, please, let go of your guilt. Today, I actually started administering Curly's antibiotic to Red at the kitchen table. Fortunately my dad happened to be present and noticed my mistake. Also fortunately those little eye-dropper dispensers are ridiculously difficult to use so I hadn't actually gotten very much out yet. If anyone finds an antidote to Mommy Brain please pass along the secret. Assuming I wouldn't give it to the wrong person.
But at least I get to lie in bed in the middle of the day---sometimes.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
1) My first plan is to use fewer disposable grocery bags. I was really surprised how much you can put into the larger reusable totes and how much more comfortable they are to carry then those flimsy plastic ones. Kroger is having a design a bag contest, and you will receive a free bag just by designing one. It's fun! http://www.designagreenbag.com/design-a-bag/ By the way, Kroger has a fabulous organic foods and produce section, and my very favorite thing is their grocery carts hold TWO toddlers!
2) My second plan is to start composting our food scraps. I'll just throw them in a plastic container (with a lid; probably an old coffee container) until I put them on the pile in the back yard. Ok, it's true that I don't exactly have a green thumb (despite those years pulling weeds at the Nursery) but it will STILL reduce the garbage we send to the dump each week. Also, it occurs to me that leaving those items out of the trash will only decrease the odor of the trash can. Fabulous! http://www.compostguide.com/composting tips.html
3) Here'a a great tip to save money and protect the earth: alter your cleaning habits. Vinegar is one of the best cleaning agents available, and it's so much safer for kids than those overwhelming fumes of expensive cleaners. Here's a website with some other helpful green-clean recipes! http://www.alaw.org/pdfs/green_cleaning_resource_list_brochure.pdf
I feel better already! One change at a time....things are looking up!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Comical, yes, but those feelings may come close to the way my husband and I felt when learning at my 20 week ultrasound that I was having not one baby, but two! Shocked, thrilled, and frightened, only begin to describe the emotional rollercoaster we were embarking on as new parents of twins. Looking forward to all that we would experience, we couldn't begin to imagine what having two babies at the same moment would be like! The fun was about to begin and we had no idea what to expect!
Now my little monkeys are 18 months old, and I have to say they are the most adorable little girls in the world. As their mother, I can truly say they are also two of the biggest challenges I have ever been faced with. I want to share some of the things I've learned so far, some of the new things we will be dealing with soon, and the lessons that probably apply to all parents anyway!