Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PSA: Babies and Shopping Carts

A friend posted this tragic story on Facebook last night of a baby who died from falling from the top of a shopping cart while strapped in his car seat. What makes this story so unbelievably sad is that it is 100% avoidable. Don't put infant seats on the top of shopping carts.

There is a wide misconception that babies are safe in this position. I see it every.single.time. we go shopping. Usually more than once. It takes a lot of restraint for me not to say something to the parents I see who do this. Part of me thinks I should say something but I just know I would come off more bitchy than helpful.

I think what tricks parents into thinking it's safe is because most infant seats "click" in to cart, making it sound secure. It's not. Car seats are meant to snap in to their bases (and strollers) securely, not shopping carts.

From day one we put Harry's infant seat in the basket of the cart. I actually got a few strange looks with Harry in the basket, but I'd rather get 1000 strange looks than put him on the top. And unfortunately I think I've only seen ONE other mom do the same thing as us. It happened at Target a few weeks ago and I nearly ran up to her to thank her.

Pouty, but safely inside the basket of the cart
The only time I felt a little iffy about our shopping cart situation was at JoAnns back in February.


His seat was in the main part of the cart but the carts at JoAnns are so small. But believe me, my hand never let go of his car seat while we were shopping!


Here are some ideas of what you can do instead of putting your baby's infant seat on the top of a shopping cart.

- Use your stroller! Most strollers have a basket underneath where you can put your items. If you need more room, grab a hand basket.
- You'd actually be surprised at how much a cart can still hold without burying the baby resting safely in the basket, so you could just do your shopping as you normally do.
- Bring a friend! I've mentioned it many times on my blog before, but we usually do a family shopping trip once a week or so. It's a mini tradition for our family and it stemmed from not knowing what to do with Harry while shopping. One of us would push the shopping cart and the other would push Harry in his stroller. Now that Harry's bigger he can sit in the cart but we still all usually go shopping together.


- Go shopping more often. This probably isn't the most realistic option, but if you usually do one large shopping trip every week or two with your baby on top of the cart you could go more often with your baby in the main basket.
- Use a grocery delivery service, like Peapod.
- Use a cart with a built in infant carrier. Our Target has carts that look like this. We never used one, but it's a great idea!
- Wear your baby in an infant carrier or wrap while you shop!
-While doing research for this post I found a blogger who puts her child in the Bumbo seat in the cart basket. While I don't recommend this, it's another option and I imagine it is safer than having the infant seat on the top of the cart.

How ever and whenever you go shopping, please, please, please don't put your baby on the top of the cart. It's incredibly dangerous and there are many other options.

Fun Finds
-Grocery Headquarters: Keeping Infants Safe 
-A Dangerous Combination
-WebMD: Many Car Seat Injuries Occur Outside the Car
-AAP: Shopping Cart Dangers

And don't forget that Cloth Diaper Month starts tomorrow!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Before & Afters

Harry ate a whole plateful yesterday!

Before

After

I mixed the rice pasta with zucchini and cauliflower puree along with two egg yolks. Sounds like a gross combination to me, but Harry gobbled it up! He ate everything except a few noodles that he threw on the floor :).

Since Harry loves feeding himself so much these days I think every other day we'll do an all finger foods meal. AKA, he can feed himself on bath day! He still enjoys his purees so every other day is fine for right now.

Annnnd, Harry can now sit himself up from laying down!

Before

After
He hasn't done it in his crib yet, but I'm sure that will happen in no time. And he still hasn't crawled yet! I'm not complaining since a completely mobile child is terrifying.

I hope you all have a fun week, we've got a few plans that I'm really looking forward to!

And don't forget that Cloth Diaper Month starts this week! I've got a colossal post scheduled for Wednesday, so stay tuned.

Fun Finds (a new mini feature I'm trying out)
-25 Foods You'll Never be Able to Eat Again
-Hilarious E-mail Blunders
-Inspirational Olympic Moments

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Another Diaper

Soooo, remember how I said our cloth diaper stash was complete? Hahahaha. Silly me, cloth diaper stashes are never complete!


We recently added one more Blueberry diaper to our stash. I just love them! And the owl print is one I've been wanting for a while, I think it's the cutest.




We also purchased a case of Happy Baby strawberry puffs.


That's a lot of puffs! He goes through about a can a week so he should be set for a month and a half.

And because I haven't shared enough pictures of Harry eating already, here's one of him trying a mango in a mesh feeder.


Yum! I pureed the rest of the mango and he ate a bit of that too. If your interested in making some for your baby, I didn't steam the fruit or anything, I just cut it up and pureed it. Worked very well!

Did you all watch the Opening Ceremony last night? It was amazeballs! We were thoroughly impressed with the theatrics of the whole thing and it seemed like everything went off without a hitch, which is very impressive considering the logistics of the whole operation. I think my favorite part of the evening was the fireworks, it looked like the entire city of London was lit up!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Hopefuls

I hate sports. But, I love the Olympic Games! I will watch all the events except the traditional sport ones like hockey, baseball or soccer. Believe it or not, curling is really exciting (although that's a winter sport so it won't be featured in London).

(source)

Watching the Olympics just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Seeing all the athletes come together for their respective countries is incredible. I can't wait to watch the opening ceremony tonight!

Here is a list of stand-out Olympians competing at the London games.

Cullen Jones: A member of the US Swim Team, Jones nearly drowned on a family vacation as a kid and now spends his time teaching children the importance of knowing how to swim.
Ellis Coleman: The wrestler also known as the Flying Squirrel! Ellis is also from the Chicago area so I'll be rooting extra hard for him!  
Gabby Douglas: I just loved watching her at the gymnastic trials. Her artistry is memorizing and her skill is incredible. I can't wait to see what she does at the Games.
Julie Zetlin (she doesn't seem to have a website): Julie is the first and only American to compete in rhythmic gymnastics since the 2004 Olympics.
Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor: I'm crazy excited that these ladies are back to try and take home a third gold in beach volleyball!
Lolo Jones: She was the favorite to take home gold in Bejing but tripped during her hurdles race. I'm really pulling for her to bring it home this time! 
Matthew Stutzman: An armless archer competing at the Paralympic Games.
Oscar Pistorius: A South African who will be the first double amputee competing in track and field in the Olympic Games. There was a bit of controversy over whether or not his prosthetic were an advantage over the other runners, but he is being allowed to compete.
Ryan Lochte (there's music on his site): Probably the only swimmer that could jeopardize Michael Phelps' attempt at another eight gold medals (ETA: Phelps is now going for seven golds, not eight). He's also kind of fun to look at :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Balanced Exposure Photography Class

Last night I had the pleasure of taking a DSLR class through Balanced Exposure, a company in Schaumburg, Illinois.



I really enjoyed the class! I knew a little about ISO, aperture and shutter speed, but not much. Before I would just fiddle around with the settings until it looked right without really knowing what they meant. The instructor, Russ, gave us some really helpful tips on how to get the most out of our DSLRs. The most helpful part of the class for me was learning about the aperture and shutter priority modes. We also learned about a little contraption called the Pop Up Flip-It!, which is similar to my beloved Lightscoop. Russ said the Flip-It! was better than the Lightscoop though because you can direct the angle of the flash bounce. I've been very happy with my Lightscoop so I don't think I'll be investing in one, but if you're in the market for an inexpensive alternative to an external flash, you've got a little more research to do now!

Ant found out about Balanced Exposure through a Groupon deal and signed me up. The four hour Photo Essentials class was just $50! If you're interested in taking the class, give Russ a call and tell him you know a student who took his class and he'll honor the $50 price! He offers a few other classes and I think I might sign up for the Advanced DSLR class.

I apologize if this post is even less coherent than usual, Harry was up most of the night. He's teething again so I think that was most of it. It was awful. However, he was happy for a few minutes and I managed to put my new knowledge to use around midnight.






I love how all these turned out! They are all SOOC (straight out of camera), no editing at all. I had my Lightscoop on my camera and used a 1/80 shutter speed, 5.6 aperture and 800 ISO. The white balance was set on the "daylight" mode, even though they were taken inside at midnight :).

Hope you have a better day than we've had so far :).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cloth Diaper Month

Hi, everyone!


The month of August is going to be Cloth Diaper Month here on my blog. I'm so excited about it. I have a lot of fun stuff planned. Check out this page for more info!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cloth Diaper Accessories



Here is what I hope will be a helpful guide about all the extras you'll want to have on hand along with your cloth diapers.

The first thing you're going to need to figure out is how you're going to store your dirty diapers. There are a few different options, here's what we do at our house:

Peel and stick linoleum at it's finest!

We purchased an inexpensive garbage can and two Kissa's pail liners. I wash the dirty liner every time I do diaper laundry, so having two ensures we always have a clean one to keep in the pail. You certainly could get by with just one, though.

This system works really for us but I know some people just use a large wetbag that hangs off a doorknob.

Here are some other things you'll want to consider getting.


1. Flushable liners. These are especially helpful after your baby starts eating solid foods, just pull out the soiled liner and flush the ickiness away!
2. Cloth diaper detergent. There are plenty of detergents on the market that are great for cloth diapers. We chose to use Tide because it's readily available and will work on all our clothes. When Harry was first born we were using a free and clear detergent on his laundry but we've had no problems switching everything over to Tide.
3. Bac-Out. Bac-Out is an all-natural stain remover and odor eliminator. I always spray it on the soiled diapers and sometimes on the wet ones, too. It doesn't completely get rid of the smells but it helps quite a bit.
4. Diaper Rash Cream. Regular diaper creams like Desitin or Butt Paste aren't safe for cloth diapers. Some of their ingredients can cause diapers to repel moisture and leak. There are a few cloth diaper safe creams out there, California Baby being one of them. You can actually buy it at Target which is nice and convenient!
5. CJ's BUTTer: CJ's BUTTer isn't really a diaper rash cream, but more of a skin protectant you can use all over baby's body (and yours!). We have both the stick and original cream versions, and there's also a spray. The stick is really easy to apply but I like how thick the cream is. My favorite sent is Monkey Farts. I know, terrible name, but it smells wonderful!
6. Fleece liners. I made mine out of some inexpensive fleece I bought at JoAnns, but you can purchase purchase them pre-made as well. Fleece liners are great at wicking moisture away from baby's skin if the diaper is made of natural fibers (GroVia, Swaddlebees, etc.). It's much easier to spray off a liner than a whole diaper. Fleece liners are also a must if you have to use a non-cloth diaper safe cream like a prescription cream. If you do use a non-cloth safe cream, be sure to wash the liner separate from your diaper laundry.
7. Wet bag. A must for cloth diapering on the go! The Planet Wise bag we have is just big enough to hold one diaper. A lot of moms will tell you you need a bigger one, but it's worked just fine for us since we don't usually go out for more than a few hours at a time. If you don't have a wet bag you could use a large ziplock bag in a pinch.

One other thing we love that isn't pictured is a diaper sprayer, a little contraption that hooks up to your toilet that sprays away all the yuckiness before you do your diaper laundry. FYI, you really don't need to spray your diapers until your baby starts eating solids. Both formula and breast milk poops are water soluble so it's perfectly fine to throw everything in the wash as is.

Other accessories you might want to consider:
1. Fasteners. If you're using prefolds or fitted cloth diapers you'll need something to secure them. Snappis are the modern answer to old fashioned diaper pins.
2. Cloth wipes. Many cloth diapering parents also use cloth wipes. You throw them in with your diaper laundry so it's not that much more work. We line dry all our cloth diapers so we're sticking with disposable wipes for now since we don't have the space to hang all the wipes. Along with cloth wipes a lot of people use a wipe solution (some just use water). You can purchase one or make your own.
3. Wool dryer balls. These help reduce drying time in your clothes dryer.
4. Wool care. If you decide to include wool soakers as part of your stash, you'll need some extra accessories just for them, like a wool wash and lanolizer.

So there you have it! I'm sure I've missed some accessories that are out on the market but I'm pretty sure I've covered the main ones. 

If you're in the market for cloth diapers and accessories, check out Kissed By The Moon.


KBTM is a great store I recently discovered. They offer competitive pricing and fast and free shipping! I just became an affiliate of KBTM and I am really excited about our partnership. I had been wanting to partner up with a cloth diaper business for some time and think KBTM is the perfect fit! The selection of diapers and accessories is extensive and I love the "small business" feel of their site. Also, don't forget to check out the "Specials" section of the website to learn about what's on sale and take advantage of coupon codes and free gifts!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Playtex Drop Ins Vs. Generics

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you probably know we use the Playtex Drop Ins system. I love these bottles. The disposable liners make clean up a breeze but buying the liners month after month can add up.

We usually purchase them off Amazon but I had a coupon so we thought we'd pick up a pack at Target. The Playtex brand liners are really expensive at Target, even with the coupon they would have been a dollar more than the Amazon price. They do however, sell a generic Up & Up brand of liners (only available in stores). They're pretty cheap so we decided to give them a try.

The Up & Up brand are okay. We're currently giving Harry seven ounces of formula at a time. We use the powdered kind you have to mix and since using the generic liners we've had to switch to six ounces because seven is really hard to mix, even though they can hold up to eight ounces.

Here's a comparison of what the liners look like holding eight ounces of liquid. Up & Up brand on the left, Playtex on the right.

up & up drop ins

And not to confuse you, here the Playtex is on the left and the Up & Up is on the right. 

up & up drop ins
I added a drop of food coloring to the water :)

As you can see, it would be impossible to add formula powder to the Up & Up liners. I would say six ounces is the limit on these; seven is doable, but difficult. The nice thing about the Playtex ones is that they expand to ten ounces to make mixing nice and easy.

So, if you want to save a little money, I say go for the Up & Up liners if your baby is drinking six ounces or less per feeding. They are sturdy, BPA free and fit great in the Playtex bottles. Unfortunately we'll have to switch back to the Playtex ones since Harry is eating so much these days.

Here are the other TAW posts about the Playtex Drop Ins system:

Playtex Drop Ins Review
First Drop Ins Update
Second Drop Ins Update 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nom Nom Nom

... Just because I can't think of a better title for this post.

Yesterday Harry had chicken for the first time. Just a couple bites. He also ate some rice pasta as well. He really liked it! We bought some Tinkyada spiral pasta at Target yesterday. After I cooked it I gave it to Harry mixed with some broccoli puree. He was so excited to feed himself, off a plate no less!



This was after he ate some black beans and carrots


Last night we went to Ruby Tuesday for dinner. I hadn't been there since freshman year of college or something. It was alright. I got a grilled chicken dish with their salad bar. While we were eating a little girl sitting at a nearby table came over and started talking to Harry. It was kind of cute and Harry seemed to enjoy her.

Sittin' at the table like a big boy!

It should come as no surprise that we don't have much planned for the weekend. We're boring and we know it! Ant is hanging out with some buddies tonight so I'll be on my own for dinner.

Have a great one!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sensational Bites

Wednesday I met up with a few girlfriends at the Fox and Hound. It was the first night out I've had since having Harry! Ant's had quite a few (and is going out again tomorrow night), so I was due for a baby-free evening. It was really fun, and we actually had some great conversations that didn't all revolve around our babies :). 

Yesterday Ant came home with some cupcakes from Sensational Bites, a dessert cafe in Chicago. 



They weren't anything out of this world but good, solid cupcakes. And isn't the funfetti one just adorable?

Oh, and I totally lied in my last post. I said that Harry hadn't eaten any solid foods apart from puffs without a mesh feeder. Not true. He's tried watermelon, apples and cauliflower. Which he promptly threw up all over my foot. Just wanted to clear that up. He ate a ton of the most amazing organic watermelon with me yesterday. I also cut up some organic green grapes for him. He loved them but wouldn't pick them up himself so I had to feed them to him. And here he is earlier this week at Whole Foods.


He just looks so grown up!

Have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baby's First Pickle

Today Harry is 36 weeks and 2 days old. Harry was born at 36 weeks and 2 days. It's crazy to think that he's now been outside my tummy longer than he was inside! Well, tomorrow I guess is when he will have been outside longer. Today is also the one year anniversary of finding out that Harry was a boy!

Baby's First Pickle
Yesterday for lunch I got a sandwich from a local deli. It was wrapped with a pickle so I thought it'd be funny to give it to Harry. He's never eaten anything besides rice puffy things outside of his mesh feeders so I wasn't quite sure how he'd handle it. I honestly thought he'd get a taste and hate it. Pickles have a very strong flavor that I didn't think would appeal to babies. I bet you know what happened!



They are hands down, his favorite food to date. He wasn't able to bite off the skin so a few times I took the pickle and bit it off for him so it'd be easier to eat. Kiddo had a total meltdown every time! I think part of it was he just loved feeding himself, but it was obvious he really liked the taste, too. Remind me to put a jar of pickles on our shopping list :)

What makes the pickles even funnier is that they are hands down, Ant's least favorite food ever. As in, he can't even touch a pickle without gagging. Seriously. He wasn't too happy that I even gave one to Harry in the first place. Oops. I like them, but I don't go out of my way to eat them usually.

No swimming for us this morning. Ant wants to go look for some new tennis shoes. Not sure if I'm going to go or stay home and work on stuff around here. Or take a nap. I'm going out tonight with a few girlfriends so I think a nap will do me good. Although I must admit Harry and I have been taking short naps together after his morning bottle recently. Not every day, just occasionally.

One more thing, I've been working on a cloth diaper accessories post that I had planned for today. Then the whole pickle thing happened and the pictures I took were just too cute not to post, so look for that later this week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cloth Diaper Stash: The Final Edition

We've been cloth diapering for two and a half months now and our stash is finally complete! Well, I suppose a cloth diaper stash never has to stop growing, but I've decided we're doing buying diapers for a while. Let's see how long that lasts :). Here's our stash!

cloth diaper stash

First row (from L to R): Tweedle Bugs (red), Bum Genius 4.0 (sassy), FuzziBunz One Size Elite (kumquat), Tots Bots Easy Fit (Enormous Turnip), Imagine pocket (marigold)
Second row: Imagine pocket (emerald), FuzziBunz Perfect Size (apple green), Bum Genius 4.0 (grasshopper), FuzziBunz Perfect Size (spearmint), Imagine pocket (indigo)
Third row: Blueberry One Size Deluxe (marina), FuzziBunz One Size Elite (big sky), Tweedle Bugs (seaspray), GroVia All In One (owls), Tots Bots Easy Fit (Hansel & Gretel)
Fourth row: Imagine pocket (snow), Blueberry One Size Bamboo (swirls), Blueberry One Size Deluxe (cow), Trend Lab (beige khaki), Swaddlebees Simplex 2.0 (monkeys)
Fifth row: Tweedle Bugs (black), Sunbaby (black), Sunbaby (argyle)

(I linked to where we purchased the diapers)

It's not a huge stash, but it's more than enough since I have to do diaper laundry every day and a half or so; our washing machine can hold about nine diapers at a time. The Sunbaby diapers are our newest additions, they were delivered yesterday! They are super inexpensive and I have only heard good things about them, so I'm hopeful they'll work for us. FYI, you do have to order them in multiples of six or more, so one of the moms in my moms group organized a large order to divide up between a bunch of us. The Swaddlebees Simplex is also new to our stash, I just finished prepping it last night. It's a size large, so it might not even fit Harry yet.

It's supposed to be really hot today so I think another trip to the pool is in order this morning!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Homestyle Mac n' Cheese

I'm really picky when it comes to mac n' cheese and really just like good ole' Kraft Dinner. At the grocery store the other day I spotted a new homestyle  mac n' cheese by Kraft, so I thought I'd be adventurous and try it out.

mac n' cheese

Meh. It was alright. The cheese was like a melted Velveeta sauce and not the powdered kind that I like. Easy and edible, but I don't know if I'd get it again.


We had an incredibly lazy day yesterday. Even on days when we don't do much I at least manage to get something accomplished. Not yesterday, and it was glorious! Well, I did dye my hair last night but a majority of my day was spent watching Mad Men, I'm now on season three. I'm really enjoying the show so far!

Here are a couple random pictures I took yesterday.

Harry  napped on Daddy for nearly an hour, it was the cutest thing ever!


Doin' what he does best, walkin' around the table. 


Alright, we're off to the pool for a morning swim, have a great day!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Instagram Pic


I have to mention that Mr. Harry stood by himself for a yesterday... not holding on to anything! He was walking along the coffee table and let go. After a few seconds he grabbed the table and just continued walking. These milestones are just coming so close together it's hard to keep them all straight sometimes!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Splits

In just a few days Harry has gotten so great at walking along the furniture. However, yesterday he couldn't decide which way he wanted to go along the coffee table. So, one leg went left, and one leg went right. You can imagine how that ended up for him...


Haha! It was so funny. He's also really close to pulling himself up from lying down. Our sleep sack days are numbered! And look what we bought yesterday at Target.


Huggies Hawaiian print diapers! Yes, we cloth diaper but we like to keep disposables on hand. The Hawaiian diapers are on clearance at Target right now and are so adorable. I wasn't a big fan of the jean diapers from last year but these ones are pretty cute.

Around dinner time last night it was pouring so we decided not to go to the festival. Instead we got takeout from the Bulldog Ale House, a relativity new restaurant just down the street. We've ordered from them a couple times and their food is great if you're in the area.

We also rented American Reunion last night. Meh. I was expecting it to be better, but there were some funny parts. Some of the acting was cringe-worthy which made it hard to watch...cough...tarareid...cough.

Harry and I are on our own all dad today since Ant is hanging out with his biffles today. I think we're going to go to JoAnn's so I can get some micro fleece to make stay-dry liners for our cloth diapers.

Have a good one, guys!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ring Around the Coffee Table



After returning home from the pool yesterday morning Harry thought it would be fun to take a stroll around the coffee table. It took him a bit, but he managed to make it all the way around by himself! It was so adorable to watch him concentrate so hard and make every teeny tiny step. He also took a couple steps while holding on to my hands yesterday. As excited as I am for Harry, I don't know if I'm ready for a mobile baby!

His "don't mess with me" face




What a talented little boy we have!

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend. Tonight we're going to go to a local festival for dinner and tomorrow Ant and his buddies have plans so Harry and I will have to think of something fun to do on our own.

ETA: Here's a video I took the other day of Harry trying to make his way around his crib. 

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