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World Breastfeeding Week

5 Aug

It’s pointless to apologize for not blogging. I do this for me and I’m glad you read, but when life gets in the way, I let it. I go back to work on Thursday, so I’ve been soaking up every moment with Liam before I have to be away from him all day. Also, my aunt is really sick, so we went to see her and that has been weighing heavily on me. I love her so much and am so sad she’s facing such a horrible disease.

On a lighter note, I did find the time to write a post for World Breastfeeding Week on Nancy Holtzman of ISIS Parenting’s blog. Please click here and check it out!

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

New Car!

25 Mar

I’ve really been wanting to get a small SUV before the baby arrives for a few reasons. First, getting a car seat in and out of an SUV is much easier than getting one in and out of a sedan (I have a two door and my husband had a four door). Second, if we want to go anywhere with the baby and the dogs, in an SUV we can put the dogs in the very back with the baby in the back seat and we don’t have to worry about them slobbering all over him. Third, our driveway is lined with bricks that go up too high for the back doors of a sedan to open wide enough to get a car seat in. With the height of an SUV, we can easily open the back doors and get the baby in and out.

However, my husband was a little hesitant to make the big purchase because of me not working and the added expense of a baby. I saw his point, but I knew we could do it in a way that might even save us money. Well, on Saturday while I was seeing The Hunger Games (loved it, but the obnoxious teenagers near us almost ruined it for me), my husband headed over to CarMax to see what they would pay him for his car, which was paid off. They offered way more than we were expecting, so he took it and started looking at their lot of cars while he waited (5 hours, poor guy) for me to pick him up. He found a car that he loved and figured out that after paying off the last few payments on my car and putting a down payment on the SUV, we would walk away with lower car payments and a couple hundred dollars to spare! He waited until I got there to pull the trigger because he knew I’d want a say, but after seeing it and taking it for a quick test drive, I was sold.

It’s a 2007 VW Toureg with only 40,000 miles on it. It has leather interior, wood grain, a sunroof, and tons of other cool features that make us feel extra fancy. Plus, it’s the perfect baby car!

The first ones who got to test out the car after us? The dogs, of course!

Look at those creepy eyes! I think they like it.

My husband is reading the owner’s manual now and is obsessed with all the fun features it has. Now we just need to install the car seat (again) and we’re ready to go!

Hand Me Downs

12 Jan

As an only child and first grandchild (on my mom’s side), I never got many hand me downs growing up. I was always the one going through my closet and handing down things I no longer wanted to my younger cousins or my stepdad’s family in Mexico. My mom called my closet the conveyer belt because I was always getting rid of old things and buying new things. I’m still like that, actually. If I haven’t worn it, used it, looked at it, or thought about it in a year, it’s time for it to go.

We started getting baby things handed down to us almost immediately after we got married, but since we got pregnant and announced the sex of the baby, we’ve been getting more and more. So far, we’ve gotten a jogging stroller, a hiking baby carrier, a baby bjorn (the exact one I registered for in perfect condition – thanks SIL), a stuffed lamb chair (something for a toddler to cuddle up in with a book), a crib (with mattress and two mattress pads), and some clothes/shoes. Many more people have offered to give us things, which we are so thankful for. Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Recently, my friend let me know that she had some clothes, shoes, and other baby things for me if I wanted it. She also gave me her moby wrap and since so many readers commented that it was hard to use, I decided to give it a try. Since we don’t have a really baby yet, I had to try it out with the closest thing around, a fur baby.

 

I think it’s pretty hilarious. Now, I know that an infant will be much different, but I was at least able to get it on correctly and if Ruby wasn’t so eager to eat her dinner, I might have been able to carry her in it for more than 30 seconds.

To be honest, I don’t keep everything that people give us. It’s just too much! We have limited storage space and we are always getting new things as well, so it’s impossible to keep everything that is handed down to us. I like to go through things when I get them and choose the items that are a) in good condition (stains and lots of wear and tear don’t make the cut) and b) our style. Yes, Mr. TTT has a say in what his son will wear and while he usually is a bit of a hoarder, he is pretty picky about clothes for the little guy. Whatever we don’t like or need goes into bags to be donated. It has been so fun hanging up teeny tiny clothes and sorting bigger things into storage containers for later.

Do you get a lot of hand me downs? Do you keep everything or are you picky like I am?

Our Registry: Gear

5 Dec

While I’m not a mom (yet), I have done many hours of research on the best items to have on a baby registry. I thought I’d share what’s on ours (and what’s not), in case any of you need some help getting yours together one day. We are registered at Babies “R” Us and Amazon.com.

Let’s start with the most researched baby registry items: Gear!

I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s worth repeating. Every time I think I might like another stroller better, I find another awesome review of this one and my choice is confirmed. I was actually registered of the black one with the red sunshade, but I realized this one with the patterned interior is $100 cheaper, so I immediately switched the color. My husband’s grandmother has already told us we’re getting this for Christmas!! I can’t wait.
I don’t NEED a car seat that matches the stroller, but it gets great reviews and it isn’t too expensive, so why not? I’ve also registered for an extra base so we can easily go from car to car without re-installing.

I know some people say to skip the infant car seat and just get one of these, but I know how convenient it is to transfer a sleeping baby from car to stroller to house with the infant one (I have a 10 year old brother, remember?), so I want both. This one we’ll save for when he grows out of the infant seat – by they way, when does that happen? Six months? A year? I can’t remember. I originally registered for this car seat in all black, but it’s no longer available, so grey it is.

We already have the Ikea Antilop highchair, but I saw this on MODG and thought it would be nice to have for traveling. I like the dark, neutral color and compact design.
A mommy friend told me to get a pack ‘n play with bassinet attachment to use right after the baby is born instead of a separate bassinet. I’m all about saving money and space, so I think it’s going to work great for us. It also matches our bedroom perfectly!
Designer diaper bags aren’t my thing. I want something that’s going to last forever, hold all I need it to, and something my husband won’t feel uncomfortable carrying. I like messenger style bags to keep my hands free and the skip hop ones all come with cool stroller attachments.
I was registered for this popular baby carrier until my sister in law gave us the exact same one! She rarely used it, so it’s in great condition and I’m so happy we get to try it out! I do need a tutorial on how to wear it, though…
I can’t wait to try this sucker out. Jenna from That Wife did a great how-to video on this and I’m excited to use it with our little guy. It seems like the easiest way to go shopping with a cart, travel, or anything else where you need two hands. Plus, I’ve read that babies who are carried in slings like this cry less.

What do you think of our gear choices? Anything we forgot?

Next: Feeding

It’s a…

28 Nov
If you remember, my husband’s 30th birthday was on Thanksgiving this year. We thought we might open our card the night before, but we were so exhausted from going to a friendsgiving dinner, that we decided to wait until the next morning when we would be fresh. All night both of us had multiple dreams about opening the card and for both of us, every time we opened the card in our dreams it was a boy.

Well…

Our dreams came true!! Right after we opened the card (which also had an ultrasound picture of the genitals that I’ve decided to keep private), I gave my husband his other birthday present.

He’s a huge Raider fan and I ordered this onsie thinking it could work for a boy or a girl, but it REALLY works for a boy.

As for our reactions? I didn’t cry right away. I think my husband did, but he’d probably deny it. Later, though, when I went to pick up the cupcakes and to Starbucks, I was crying every five minutes. I would see something that made me think of our little boy and cry. It was quite overwhelming.

After picking up the cupcakes, we decided to try some to make sure the filling was the correct color.

They got it right! Crumbs was just great about this whole thing. I definitely recommend them for your custom cupcake needs.

I just know our little boy will grow up to be as handsome and kind as this guy. I can only hope he will be as silly 🙂

Then, we headed to my parents’ house for some cupcakes and champagne, followed by Thanksgiving dinner.

Here’s our plate of cupcakes with my little question mark flags. They were super cute, but not super practical. Nobody wants to bite into a cupcake with a toothpick in it, so you have to take it out first, but with the surprise filling, you run the risk of seeing the color on the toothpick before the big bite. It was a nice idea, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I love this picture! They haven’t even seen the color yet, but they’re so excited!

Can you see my brother doing the fist pump YES! ? He was super excited, as were my mom and stepdad.

After some more cooking and football watching, it was time for dinner. My parents make the BEST turkey ever. The breast is so moist and flavorful, even the next day out of the microwave.

After dinner we played games and had underdone pumpkin pie (that I made – whoops) while watching Christmas movies.

The next day, we headed to my husband’s parents’ house for our second reveal and third thanksgiving. However, we wanted to wait until my husband’s sister, nieces, and friends arrived the next day, so we had to hold in our news. It was so hard and I think my husband slipped once, but he tried to cover it.

Finally, everyone (well, almost) arrived and we got another plate of cupcakes ready.

This time, only a couple of flags in the middle.

From left, Molly (sister-in-law), Ann (mother-in-law), Gwen (niece), Stella (adorable baby), and Caren (our sweet friend). My husband’s dad and our other niece Ava are just out of the frame of the picture.

Yay! It was so funny to see if people would bite into the cupcake or rip it in half to see the color.

This will be their first grandson (they have two granddaughters), so they are so excited.

Our friends Paul and Jackie arrived a little late, but we saved cupcakes for them!

Jackie lost a bet on this one!

Then, it was time for dinner. My husband worked hard carving out 12 mini pumpkins for a delicious butternut squash soup that Ann made from squash from her garden.

Adorable and delicious!

I wasn’t quite sick of turkey yet, but this meal might have put me over the turkey dinner edge. Delicious!

More games, toddler play time, and lots of talking about our future baby boy and it was time for bed. What a weekend!

The majority of you guessed that it would be a boy in my poll, so as a reward to all of you, even those who guessed wrong, I’m going to have a little giveaway! One lucky winner will receive 12 delicious mini cupcakes from Crumbs! They are not sponsoring this post, I’m paying for them out of my own money because I love you. Leave a comment on this post to enter and be sure you are signed in with your email address or leave it in the comment! Comment by Friday at 11:59pm.

Get ready for lots of nursery inspiration, baby boy clothes, and more fun baby related posts!!

Baby Shower Inspiration

14 Nov
The last week or so, my friends and family have been asking about shower dates, locations, and themes. I have a wonderful group of friends who all want to help my mom plan a shower locally and my aunts up north are going to plan one for family that lives farther away. I’m leaving the out of town shower up to my aunts, but I’d like to be more involved in planning the local shower. I love planning parties – especially the decorations – so why not join in on the fun with my own shower? 
I’ve been gathering baby shower inspiration for years, so here’s some of my favorites.

I love the monochromatic color palate of this shower with the sweet pom pom details. And how cute are those nesting dolls?
via Amy Atlas

The natural elements in this shower are so pretty. They sell big burlap drop cloths at the hardware store that could work as table cloths and those diaper pins? Adorable.
via Amy Atlas

I love the colors in this one. The garland and paper lanterns are so pretty!
via Amy Atlas

This one is so casual and elegant. I love the dishtowels as napkins and the mason jars as glasses.

I have loved this gender reveal party for a long time. I think the craving snack bar is genius!
via Amy Atlas

Peonies are my very favorite flowers. We had them at our wedding, but they won’t be in season for the shower. However, I love the tin cans as vases.
via Amy Atlas

This is the first of three hot air balloon inspiration pictures. I love this theme so so much. 
via Amy Atlas

Look at those puffy clouds! I die.

via Babble

Perfection.
Since I’m a teacher, a school themed shower would be cute. I know I definitely want to use chalkboards in the decor to go with my weekly bump photos.

via One Charming Party

Another school themed shower with a vintage twist. Click the link to see the invitations. They’re awesome.

via Babble

How fun is this bright and cheery pink and yellow shower? I do love lemon bars…

via Babble

Being a girly girl at heart, nothing thrills me more than pink as far as the eye can see.

via Babble

This bedtime story party is very unusual, but kind of awesome. 

via Babble

I adore this garland with lines from lullabies. It would take some time to make, but it would be worth it.

via Babble

This is from a gender reveal party, but it would definitely work for a cool gender neutral baby shower as well.

via Babble

I love camping, but maybe not enough to have a camping themed baby shower. I do love the casual rustic decor, though.

via Babble

She’s about to pop! How cute is that? And a super cheap wall decoration with the colored plates that look like bubbles.
Are you ready for my very favorite one? One that I’m totally copying? One from the one and only Martha?

from Martha Stewart via Babble

It’d called Once Upon a Baby Shower. I’m in love. I knew I wanted to do some sort of book theme since I need a lot of them for our wall of books in the nursery. The color palate of this shower could easily be changed for a boy, too! I love the books wrapped in paper and the garland. There are printable invitations and book plates that come with it, but I’m thinking about making my own. I could combine this with some of the other ideas I love, like the burlap table cloths and quote garland, and make it really special. Eeek! I’m so excited!
Do you think it’s weird if I plan the decor for my own shower? I hope not because I really want to do it 🙂

Baby Binder

9 Nov
Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
My husband is the king of the library. He has a long commute to and home from work each day, so he likes listening to audio books in the car. Once we saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound, he started checking out audio and regular books on all things baby. It’s pretty adorable to see his latest read about fatherhood in the bathroom with his page marked.
Around the same time my husband went baby book crazy, I read a post on Bee Kim’s blog about how, with her first pregnancy, she wished she had prepared less for the birth and more for dealing with a newborn and breastfeeding. So, on my husband’s next trip to the library, I tagged along and picked up some books I had heard about and some I thought would be worthwhile to check out.
Some of the books had some information I knew I would want to refer to later, when the baby arrives, but since they were library books, I decided to make some copies and put together a binder with all the most important info I think I’ll need later. I put some extra dividers in the binder so I can add to it throughout my pregnancy and I think we’ll also use it for the baby’s important information like doctor’s visits.
Here are the books I liked best:
Baby Wise is a popular book all about scheduling. While I would really like to avoid being one of those parents who freaks out over my baby’s schedule getting disrupted, I do see how important a consistent schedule can be for the baby and the parents. This book claims that 8 week old babies can sleep through the night! I know this idea is controversial and many people think babies that young need to be eating in the middle of the night, but I’d like to try it out as long as my baby is gaining weight appropriately.
The Happiest Baby on the Block focuses on calming baby’s cries and keeping him or her content. It outlines a method using the 5 S’s: Swaddling, Side/Stomach (not for sleeping), Shhhhing, Swinging, and Sucking. This method is supposed to help the baby feel the comfort of the womb and they emphasize matching the baby’s vigor when doing one or more of the 5 S’s. For example, if the baby is crying very loudly, the Shhhhhing should be just as loud. The book doesn’t advise using these methods to put the baby to sleep, just to calm the baby.
The Nursing Mother’s Companion is just what the title suggests. While husbands may giggle at the illustrations of engorged breasts, the visuals really help someone like me who has never breastfed (and is terrified). I’ve heard that reading books about nursing isn’t enough to prepare a new mother for the challenges (a lactation consultant coming to the house seems to be the best thing to do), but I like to be prepared and reading about it now helps me get my mind ready (I had a dream last night about nursing and it came very naturally to me).
The New Natural Pregnancy is a bit granola for me, but it has some really great exercises that my favorite prenatal yoga teacher does and since she’s in South Africa for a few months, I copied some of the pages so I could do them myself. It also has some good illustrations for massage, hint hint hubby.
What are your favorite books on pregnancy and infant care? I’d love to add to my binder!

The SAHM Fantasy

2 Nov
Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom, or SAHM. My mom worked a lot as a restaurant manager when I was a kid and I always wanted her to be home when I was done with school. She often had to work on Christmas and Easter and I’d spend those holidays with family and sometimes eating at her restaurant. It was hard for us and I always knew I wanted something different for my family.
See the date in the corner? That would’ve made me about 7 months old.
When choosing a career for myself, I decided to become a teacher not only because I loved it, but because I knew the schedule would be ideal for raising a family. However, now that I’m faced with the reality of going back to work after having a baby, I’m realizing it isn’t as ideal as not working at all.
Unfortunately, we are not in the position financially to lose my income. I know that I’ll have to go back to work in August when the baby is about 4 1/2 months old and I’m very aware that I’m lucky I get so much paid time off (6 weeks will be a half pay and the rest will be full pay since it will be summer break). However, I know it’s going to be very challenging for me to leave my baby at daycare or with a babysitter and go back to work. Any time someone asks me what our plans are for childcare, I tell them I’m not ready to think about that yet. We have time, I know, but I’ll also admit that I’m in a bit of denial.
I have this fantasy that my husband will get some incredible promotion or job offer where he’ll suddenly make enough money to replace my income so I won’t have to work. I dream that maybe some fantastic opportunity will fall in my lap where I’ll be able to work from home and still make the same amount of money without needing childcare.
Earlier today, Marissa wrote about how Harry Potter didn’t know his mom, but still loved her and it got me thinking about why I want to be a SAHM so badly. I realized that I’m not worried as much about the baby handling me working as I am about me handling it. I know that our child will be just fine growing up with two working parents. I only had one working parent and I think I turned out alright. Sure, I wanted my mom home more, but I didn’t love her any less because she worked. It’s possible that I loved her more because of everything she had to go through to raise me!
I do know that it will be really hard for me, though. Every time I come home exhausted after teaching teenagers all day with stacks of essays to grade, I think, “How will I be able to do this with a baby at home?” I honestly can’t imagine being able to give a baby the love and attention it needs when so much of my time and energy is devoted to my job.
For now, though, going back to work is the plan and I had better start getting used to the idea because the way time has been flying by lately, August will be here before I know it!

Shutterfly Giveaway!

29 Oct

I’m sure you’ve seen these posts going up on blogs all over the place, but that just means more chances to win, right?

Last year, we asked my mother-in-law to draw a picture of us with our dogs to use on our holiday cards. It came out super cute, but when I received my cards in the mail, the image resolution wasn’t working. Since I wasn’t happy, I contacted Shutterfly and they sent me a credit to order new cards with a higher resolution image. After getting the original drawing and getting it scanned at our local copy place, I chose a different card design and ended up with this:

Adorable, right? I’ve kept one hanging on our mail sorter all year!

This year, I think we’ll go with an actual picture. I’m hoping maybe my friend Michelle can take some pictures of us that can double as early maternity photos. Of course, we’ll include the dogs, as they are part of the family! Here are some of my favorite holiday cards from Shutterfly this year:

I love the vintage feel of this card. The photos are so fun and light and I can see us using individual pictures of us and each dog, as well as some of the whole family together.

I really like how this design is shown with a black and white image, but has a pop of color with the lettering.

Maybe if we take our photo shoot to the snow, we can do something cozy like this one.

I’m also thinking of making photo books as gift this year. With a limited holiday shopping budget (have to save for baby!), photo books make inexpensive, but extremely thoughtful gifts. Remember the one my mom made for me last year? It definitely brought on the happy tears when I opened it Christmas Eve.

Something else we’ll likely turn to Shutterfly for in the near future? Birth announcements!

I love the simple elegant design of this one for a baby boy. Also, Thomas is our pick for a middle name for a boy! Thomas was my husband’s late grandfather’s name.

This one for a girl is so modern and fresh. I love the colors and the font of the name. Ahhh I can’t wait!

Leave a comment on this post to enter to win 25 free holiday cards from Shutterfly! Three winners will be selected at random. Comments will close on Friday, November 4th at 11:59pm. Good luck!

**Please be sure to either sign in with your email address or include it in your comment so I can contact you if you win!**

Another Acronym: BLW

5 Oct


Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.

Have you heard of Baby Led Weaning? Here’s a quote from the website:

“Based on a paper written by Gill Rapley, Baby Led Weaning just means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.”


That’s right, no baby food, no purees, no mush. The argument is that babies who eat purees from a spoon fed by the parents learn how to swallow before they learn how to chew. They don’t get used to the texture of food and as a result can become picky eaters later in life. Babies between the ages of 6 months and 1 year get all the nutrition they need from breast milk or formula, so the food they eat is just for learning and exploring. No need to force them to eat, just give them a tray full of a variety of soft foods (cooked carrots, beans, fruit, etc) and let them go at it.

Our adorable niece Ava


The downside? First of all, it’s really messy. You can’t give a baby a bath every single time they finish a meal, but that’s what wipes are for, right? Feed them in nothing but a diaper and wipe them down after. Secondly, they might choke. The website says it’s better to learn what to do when a child is choking than to constantly worry about it happening. They say to make sure that risky foods are cut up properly (grapes cut in half), but really since they’re learning how to chew/gnaw before they learn how to swallow, they won’t choke as much as a baby food fed baby might.

I plan on trying out this new method of food introduction. I’m not saying it’s the best way or the only way to do things. I do think it seems a whole lot easier than buying or making baby food and spoon feeding it to a squirmy baby.

What do you think? Have you tried BLW? Would you?