Monday, January 27, 2014

Helpful Baby Products 0-6 Months

I don't like saying these are 'must haves' because in all honesty, babies really only need food, clothing, and shelter. Still, these are products that I find pretty useful for us. We are very minimalistic (no crib, no stroller, etc) so I have no doubt that if I found them to help, you will too. Count on it. :)

1. Moby Wrap
Using the Sleepy/Moby wrap on Noah, 8mo.
 Both Gabe and I used this Moby wrap almost every day from Noah's birth until about 3 months when he could fit better in the Beco carrier. There are several different kinds of this wrap (I have one called the Sleepy Wrap.) but they all have the same concept. It's pretty much a long jersey material that you wrap around yourself and the baby. It takes some getting used to but once you figure it out, (Youtube videos helped a lot!) it's not so bad. The only down sides are the long length making wrapping it very tedious and that it tends to hit the ground while wrapping. I found this carrier to be the most comfortable for my bad back and really like that there are so many different ways to wrap it.

The Beco Carrier in action.
2. Beco Baby Carrier
The Beco is very similar to an Ergo carrier. While this fits newborns, we didn't really start using it until about 3 months when Noah could wrap his legs around our body in the sitting position. We also call this Gabe's carrier because he prefers it to our other carriers (Mei Tai, Moby, and sling). I have worn it and it worked fine but it just wasn't as comfortable to me and my small body size (5' 1", 95 lbs). Noah loves the carriers and almost always falls asleep and does not complain to get out.

Psst, Mamaroo is off to the right too. :)
3. Fisher Price Activity Mat
This activity mat plays music and rainforest sounds and lights up. It was great at keeping Noah's attention up until he figured out crawling. And even now at 9 months old, he found it hidden in the corner and started playing with it again. I would normally put it in storage but I have found that if I lay him on this, he will stay still long enough for me to change his diaper without having him roll over and try escaping.
4. 4Moms Mamaroo
A swing and bouncy seat in one. I saw this five years ago when Christian was a baby and wanted one but the price was holding me back. When I was pregnant with Noah, we were given some gift cards to Babies R' Us and we used them to get this and let me tell you, it is amazing! Well worth it. It has many different motions and sounds, plus! you can plug your ipod into it and play anything you want. When Noah became mobile, I used it and still do (mostly when I really need to do something (like make dinner)) to keep him in a safe place. It's just a bonus that he falls asleep in it. :)
5. Bumbo
Out of the seven different products on the list, this was probably used the least. Not because it wasn't useful or loved, but because babies quickly grow out of it. As soon as Noah had good head control (around 3 months), we started using it. It was a perfect place to put him when he wanted to sit up but we couldn't hold him at the moment. As soon as he started becoming mobile and more active we had to put it away because he would lean over and try to get out. When they do that, you run the risk of having it tip over and that's no good.
6. Nursing tank tops and bras
This is pretty self explanatory but if you are breastfeeding (especially those of you who nurse 1+ year) I highly recommend you invest in some good quality nursing bras and tanks. I wear them every single day and have several different brands. These Le Leche League nursing tanks are my favorite and you can find them on often times. I do not like the Motherhood Maternity tank that I own as the quality is just not great. 
7. Coconut Oil
You scoff all you want but this stuff is amazing for so many reasons. You can't get a more natural product to use than 100% coconut oil and it's safe to use around babies. When Noah was first born he had a red bum for a couple of days and we rubbed some coconut oil on with every diaper change and it was all better within a day or two. A little of this goes a looong way. We use it on dry skin (hello soft heels!), diaper rash, burns, and any other 'ouchie'. When the kids get hurt, they run for this stuff first. If you haven't heard of all the other great benefits of coconut oil, do some research and you will find hundreds of links.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Vegas Baby!

I'm sorry the blog has been so slow this month. I've been spending more time away from the computer which has resulted in less posting.

Anyway... In the six years we've lived in Arizona, I have tried many times to convince Gabe to go to Vegas without success. Well, he got a business trip there and I jumped at the chance to go! He had to fly with his coworkers there and I drove the kids and myself (much cheaper) (still need to write a post on driving with kids) (what's with all the parenthesis?).

We didn't get to see and do everything we wanted but we still had a good time. Working around Gabe's work schedule, we managed to visit the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef, see the Bellagio Fountain show, swim in the hotel pool, visit the Coke museum and M&M World, enjoy games and a show at Circus Circus, and visit the Fremont Street Experience.

I'll spare you a long monologue and just let you enjoy the pics.

Giant wall of M&Ms? Yes, please!
Fremont Street Experience Light Show

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Noah - 9 Months

 Weight - 18 lbs You are now the weight that Alena and Christian were at a year.

Height - 28 in Getting long and skinny.

Appearance - You have blond hair and blue eyes. I finally snipped a little bit of your hair on top because it was starting to get in your eyes.

Eating - You nurse every 2-3 hours, generally closer to 2. I can not nurse you in public because you will constantly unlatch to see what is going on. You are eating table food with us and are very good about eating everything.

Sleeping - You sleep from around 8 or 9pm - 7am (although you will sleep until 8 or later if we don't have to get up early) usually waking up once, sometimes twice to eat. You sleep in our bed but I'm beginning to think you want your own space. You have set your own napping schedule which is pretty much just napping about every three hours. I have been putting you down to nap (instead of holding you the whole time) and you have done well with it.

Sizes -  You wear 6-9 month, some 12 month clothes, and size 3 diapers. You rarely wear shoes but they are size 3.

Milestones - Not only are you standing on your own but you have started taking STEPS in your last week as an 8 month old.

You started signing! You would bang on your highchair while eating and we taught you the sign for more which you picked up quickly and now use!! It's so exciting that you are communicating with us like that.

You have really started trying to be in on the action. When daddy and the kids start horsing around, you get right in there and "wrestle" with daddy too.

You are mimicking us. You mimic bouncing, waving, roaring/screaming (anything loud pretty much), and head movements like tilting side to side and nodding.

You had your first trip to Las Vegas January 12-15.

 Likes - wrestling, being outside, Ernie (the cat), food, taking a bath, chewing on everything, watching Alena and Christian play, looking out the windows and doors
Dislikes - having things taken from you like toys or something you shouldn't be having, when you have a dirty diaper, diaper changes, driving in the car at night

 Noah, what an exciting month! You had Christmas (you didn't care or notice), New Year's (slept right through it), and a trip to Vegas. Not to mention that you took your first steps and are well on your way to walking. When you try walking, you can get up to three steps and then get overly excited, flail your arms, laugh, and lose your balance in all the excitement. I can't believe that you are 3/4 of the way to 1. Your older siblings have really started to play with you this month and even though they don't like to admit it sometimes, they truly love you to pieces!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Peanut 'Butter' Scotch Candy

As I mentioned in another post, I made these candies and gave them out as part of the kids' teacher gifts. They take a grand total of only TWO ingredients and roughly thirty minutes of your time.

Ready, set, here we go...

What you'll need:

1 bag Butterscotch chips
3/4C Peanut Butter

Double boiler or two pots
mini muffin pan
mini muffin paper cups

I do not have a double boiler so I used a large pot half filled with water and a smaller pot sitting inside with the butterscotch chips, like pictured below.

Have your stove on medium heat and begin melting the chips. It takes a while to start but once they begin melting, make sure to stir frequently to prevent them from burning. But while you wait, you can put the paper cups into the muffin pan.

Once they are at least 2/3 or more melted, add in you 3/4C peanut butter and finish melting the chips.

You with me? Of course you are. Now that it's melted, simply spoon a tablespoon(ish) amount into each little cup. Continue until mixture is gone and boom. You're done.

The hardest part is waiting for them to harden. Those of you in the cold weather can set them outside for an hour or so. And for us in the warmer climate, just stick them in the freezer for an hour. Now you can enjoy!

P.S. - For you chocolate lovers, you can melt some chocolate once the candy is hard and put a small layer on top. YUM!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

WOW! What a year it has been.

In January, I started my third trimester, we started a big new project, and there was SNOW.

In February, we completed the playroom project.

In March, we attended the rodeo and had a small scare.

April was a HUGE month. There was waiting (and waiting) for baby and then finally, Noah's birth.

May and June celebrated Noah turning 1 & 2 months.

July was filled with lots of family time when we drove to Michigan and Ohio.

August brought us a new school year and major hair cut for Alena.

Christian turned 5 in September.

In October, Noah turned 6 months and continued to surprise us. We had a great Halloween, too.

We made a fun craft in November and celebrated Thanksgiving. Plus, I shared this excellent Pumpkin cookie recipe.

And finally, December. I DIY'd a Christmas wreath, shared some gift ideas, and had a great merry Christmas.

It's been a heck of a ride and I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for us!