Friday, 25 April 2014

Reasons My Son is Crying (ASML Edition)

Have you ever heard of Reasons My Son is Crying? It is a hilarious website (and book) from a dad who is documenting all of the reasons his son cries. And he snaps photos of said toddler mid-meltdown. Now other parents also submit photos and captions of their crying children. I'm not kidding. This website is some funny shit.

In the spirit of this website, and since S seems to be particularly cranky as the age of 2 comes upon us, here are 100% true reasons Sebastian has cried in the past 3 days.

- I took the Cheerios off of his plate after he told me he didn't want them.
- His pile of books tipped over.
- I made him sit in his car seat instead of the driver's seat on the drive home from daycare.
- It was naptime.
- I gave him the wrong pickle.
- He had to watch his youtube videos on an iPod instead of the iPad.
- I wouldn't let him push random buttons on the keypad lock of the daycare door.
- We had to turn the iPad off and go to work for the day.
- His orange pyjamas needed to be washed.
- He wanted water when I gave him milk.
- He wanted milk when I gave him water.

(insert glass of wine here)

Want to try a fun activity? Find a mommy friend who also has a toddler and text each other each time your toddler is freaking out. #miserylovescompany

xo
Jenn

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Master List of What to Buy for Baby


Rob and I don't have any weddings to attend this year, but we have no fewer than 7 friends having babies, so it's the perfect time to share my thoughts on what is useful for the first year with bébé. 


Babies come with a lot of stuff. Clothes, diapers, swaddles, oh my! Despite my best efforts, you can find baby stuff in nearly every room of our house. Walking down the aisles of Babies R Us, it can be hard to know what exactly you actually use when the time comes. And the cost for all these things can be crazy. Like 'wedding', just tack the word 'baby' onto something and the price triples. Below is a list of what we found useful when having a baby. You do not "need" everything on this list. We never had a baby registry. This is a culmination of things we borrowed from friends, were gifted, or bought for Seb and used at some point in the first year. Try to borrow as much as you can from friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, or strangers on the street. Many newborn baby items are used for 6-8 months at most. 

Sleep
Bassinet and stand - We were able to borrow these items, and S slept in the bassinet in our room until he got too big for it, which for him was at about 2 months. Otherwise, I would have used the bassinet from our stroller. Actually, I did use the stroller bassinet for many of his naps in our living room early on.
Crib - This is what our crib looks like. We also bought the toddler guard rail, but haven't switched over yet.
Mattress and mattress pad - In terms of mattresses I think the rule is the firmer, the better.
Crib sheets - 2 crib sheets is probably enough to have on hand.
Baby monitor - This is the new version of our video monitor. Ours doesn't have wifi or Internet viewing options, but I think that's probably not necessary. I do love having a video monitor though instead of one with just sound.
Swaddles - Aden + Anais muslin swaddles are the. best. swaddles. ever. S is nearly 2, and we still use these. Not for swaddling anymore, but they make great sheets on hot summer nights. 
Sleepsacks - After S started busting out of his swaddles (around 3 months or so), we switched him to sleep sacks.  I liked both the Halo brand and the Wee Urban brand. As much as I love Aden + Anais swaddles, I found the zipper on their sleep sacks to be pretty crappy.
Baby blankets - You don't need to buy these. You'll be gifted more than you know what to do with. But they are useful so keep them around. 
Blackout blinds - We bought large pieces of dark fabric and hung them over the windows with binder clips, so it's not all Martha Stewart or anything, but it was cheaper than custom blackout blinds, and we won't need them forever.
Pacifier - This was our brand of pacifiers. S used them until he was about 8 months old to help him sleep.
White noise - So you can get a white noise machine, but we just used an app that we had installed on an old ipod. You can read more about the app here.
Pack and play - Here's our pack and play. S still sleeps in it when we're away (although I feel like he's getting kind of tall for it...). When he was a baby, it was just great to have another baby-safe zone set up in the house, so you don't always have to run to the crib when you want to put him down somewhere. When he past the newborn stage, I bought these balls and made a baby ball pit (which we referred to fondly as baby jail). This was very useful for confining mobile babies when I needed to do things like bring the groceries in from the car or pee. 
Pack and play sheets - Having one or two of these is great to go in your pack and play if you're using it for sleep. 

Feeding
Breastfeeding or bottlefeeding
Pillow - I borrowed this one from a friend and tried it for a few days or so, but honestly, I preferred using just a regular, old pillow when breastfeeding.
Glider - We bought this one used and love it. We still use it for cuddle time before bed everyday. It came with an ottoman, but I never used it too much. 
Breast pads - My mom made me some cloth ones that I could just toss in the washing machine, but I also had a box of disposable ones that I used when I was going out and didn't want to see the outline of the breast pad through my shirt. lol
Burp cloths - My mom also made me some of these as well. You could also use just regular swaddles. 
Nursing cover - This was extremely useful when feeding away from home, or feeding when you have guests that, like it or not, aren't entirely comfortable with seeing your breasts as you nurse.
Breast pump and milk storage bags - I borrowed a Medela Swing pump from a friend, but I know that you can also rent them from pharmacies as well. And these storage bags were useful for stocking breastmilk in the freezer.
Bottle sterilizer - This was another item I was able to borrow. I'm sure my dishwasher did the same thing, but a sterilizer was much faster.
Bottles - I used the brand Born Free and had at least 4 small ones and 4 large ones. They usually come with level 1 nipples, so you'll eventually need to size up to level 2 and level 3 nipples as your baby grows. 
Bottle brush - Don't have much to say about this other than you don't really need a fancy one.
Nursing nightgown - You can find nursing pjs in many places, but I like the one I have. I still wear it because it's comfy! It looked similar to this.
Kobo/Kindle, snacks and water - essentials while nursing for hours on end.

Starting solids 
A few bibs, spoons, and bowls are really all you need to get started with solids. I liked bibs with a pocket, and ones that could be easily tossed in the wash. 
Baby Bullet  - I loved my Baby Bullet! I still remember the first time I used it to make zucchini puree. I was so so so proud of myself for making homemade baby food. The Baby Bullet makes making homemade baby food really simple and provides recipes to get you started. 
Ice cube tray - Perfect for freezing all of your homemade baby food. Each cube is about an ounce of food.
Sippy cups - We use these ones, and they seem to hold up pretty well. I've had to replace them once when Seb chewed the lids until bits started falling off, but he's past that phase now.
High chair - Seb has no fewer than 4 high chairs/booster seats. We have this one at home, this one at Rob's mom's house, one like this at my parents' house, and I keep this one around in case we have guests at our house who would use it or need an easy travel high chair when visiting others.

(similar sign)

Getting Dressed
Gentle laundry detergent - We used detergent like Ivory Snow for about a year.
Dresser and toddler-sized hangers - For clothes storage.
You'll be gifted lots of cute baby clothes (Who can resist?! They can be so adorable!) so you probably don't need to buy much. My stores of choice for clothes that hold up against many washes are Old Navy and Carter's. We've received many Joe Fresh hand-me-downs as well. (note - I find Joe Fresh sizes run small so keep that in mind). Look through what you have and check for:
Onesies - I preferred onesies to t-shirts until S was walking. Otherwise, they exposed his belly and back too much for my liking.
Sleepers - Even if you have a boy, these bundle gowns were our favourite type of sleeper for a newborn. They made middle-of-the-night diaper changes so much easier. Old Navy has them in all sorts of colours.
Socks
Little baby caps
Teething bibs
Hoodie/sweater
Sunhat - one with a chin strap is great so the hat stays on!
Shorts
Pants
Booties - They're a bit pricy, but I really liked the Robeez shoes for S. They were pretty easy to get on his feet and, more importantly, they stayed on. You can sometimes find them on sale here.
Swimsuit and swim diaper - We got a Kushies cloth swim diaper, and it works great. 
Baby brush - S' hair is short and straight so we don't use a baby brush often, but I imagine mamas to little girls have a different story.

Diapering
Diapers - I'll save the cloth/disposable debate for another day. We used Pampers Swaddlers for awhile and now use the Kirkland brand.
Wipes - We usually use the Pampers Sensitive brand. The Costco brand is pretty inexpensive, but Rob always found they got stuck in the package more often. 
Diaper Genie - If you're going to go with disposable diapers, a diaper genie is a must. The cheapest place to buy the refills is Costco.
Diaper Bag Dispenser & Bags - These are actually wicked cheap at the dollar store and extremely useful for changing diapers on the go. I also use them when we're traveling, and I want to tie up the diaper and wipes before tossing them into a garbage can.
Diaper bag - I used this Skip Hop one for a long time and liked it a lot. It attached easily to the stroller and fit everything I needed.  After 2 years, I'm getting tired of carrying around a bag that screams, "See me?! There are diapers in here!!" so lately I've been using this tote from Stella and Dot.
Change Pad - We just popped this onto the baby's dresser and had ourselves an instant diaper changing station. We found the bottom of our change pad to be a little slippery, so I took the slip pad we weren't using from an old fouton, put it under the change pad and, voilà, no more sliding!
Change pad covers - I'd say have a couple of these on hand. Sometimes it was nice to even have 3 on a bad diaper day!
Baskets - When S was a newborn, we had a changing station/basket on each floor of our house. His bedroom is upstairs, so this way I had a little place to change him on the main floor and in our basement instead of running upstairs all the time. Toss in some diapers, wipes, a few plastic bags, and a portable changing pad. The portable changing pads were great for travel and are sometimes required by daycares.
Diaper cream - My preferred brand was Aveeno. It seemed to clear up any diaper rash pretty quickly.
Hand sanitizer - 'cause this diaper stuff ain't pretty my friends. 

Play
I've already written a post about the most popular baby toys in our house. I'd also add these essentials: 
Teething rings - These teething rings were a-mazing! I really think S used them as a security object instead of a toy for the longest time. He'd play with them, sleep with them, eat with them. He went through a stage near the end of his first year where he was always holding onto one of these rings. He'd chew them like crazy, and they still look brand new a year later. I'd stick them in the freezer, and when they came out, they weren't sooooo cold that he wouldn't want to hold it. A+ baby item.
Mobile - We borrowed a mobile from a friend and it was a nice addition to the nursery. Sometimes I'd just let S watch the mobile while I sat beside him as a break, and we both were so happy.
Swing - One of my very favourite things for baby. The baby swing. There were some days that Rob would say (in a not-so-joking-voice) that if the swing ever broke, he would go out immediately and buy another one, night or day. It was that essential. Buy extra batteries and have them on hand. 
Bouncy chair - Another borrowed item that we loved. We never used the toy bar piece, but S liked the vibrations and the music from this chair. I also liked it because it was an easy item to move around the house and bring when traveling a bit to visit family and friends. 
Books - We have a small bookshelf in Seb's room, and here is a post I wrote about his favourite books as a baby.
Baby Journal - My mom gave me this baby journal, and I like it because I think it has just the right amount of information to fill in, along with places to put pictures and drawings so it's also like a little scrapbook. 
Foam mats - We have hardwood floors in our main living room, along with slate tiles by the fireplace so when S started becoming more mobile we bought these foam mats to protect his little knees.
Toy storage - This could probably be a post on its own at some point. In his room and in the living room, we have a couple of small bins like these. Downstairs we have this toy storage unit from Ikea and a couple of bins like these and these for stuffed animals and books.
And to keep everyone safe.... 
Baby gates - Our house is nearly 100 years old, and the staircases are very narrow. All of the standard baby gates were just an inch or so too wide. We finally found a gate that fit here. And because we have a cat, we installed these pet doors in each baby gate so the cat could still get around the house. 
Outlet covers - We have these on most of the outlets at toddler-level. Rob hates them though, so if it's a plug we use often, the cover never gets put back in. 
Cupboard locks- We have 2 of these in our house. They suck to open, but they do keep S out of the furnace room and the bathroom cupboard in the basement where he plays pretty openly. 

Bath
Baby bath - Check craigslist for this item. I was able to find one for $5, and the woman also gave me a bag full of baby clothes when I went to pick it up.
Spout cover- Once S graduated to the big bath and started slipping and sliding around in there, we picked up a spout cover for the faucet.
Toys and books - I like Boon bath toys the best. The Odd Ducks don't hold any water so no mold grows in them. We recently got the Fleet Stacking Boats in our Little Eco Footprint box, so they have been the newest addition to bathtime. We also have a few plastic bath books like this one - Barnyard Bath.
Hooded towels - Pottery Barn has some pretty freaking cute hooded towels. I found S grew out of them quickly so we bought 2 of these ones from C-Red, and they have stood the test of time. You can find hooded towels anywhere, and they are a great baby item to have for bathtime.
Baby washcloths - You really can't have too many of these. Use them for anything and everything. I carried them with me everywhere and all of the time.
Baby wash and lotion - I discovered that one consequence of not registering for baby gifts is that many people will give you baby wash and baby lotion. Which is totally fine with me because it was one less thing I had to worry about running out of.
Baby toothbrush - At some point those teeth will eventually cut through, and you'll need a very tiny toothbrush for some very tiny teeth.

Transportation
Stroller - On the advice of a friend we bought the Uppa Baby Vista stroller, and I'm so glad we did. It's light to carry and push, folds down flat(ish) and comes with both a bassinet and a toddler seat. The toddler seat can be moved to face outwards or inwards. It also comes with a sunshade, a rainshield, a bug net (that we've never used), and the basket under the stroller was pretty big and could fit many grocery items when running errands. If you're going to make one investment for your maternity leave, this should be it. Our cost per use of this thing is pennies. In addition to the stroller, I bought the cup holder and this door mat from Ikea. We have hardwood floors on the main floor of our house, so I keep this door mat beside our couch, and the stroller fits on it perfectly protecting the floor from dirt, snow, salt and other debris from the stroller tires.
Car seat - We used the Graco SnugRide car seat to start and used the Uppa Baby car seat adapter so I could transfer it easily to the stroller. Once he grew out of the bucket car seat, he moved up to this Britax.
Car mirror - For spying on baby when he or she is rear-facing.
Baby carriers - When S was newborn, I borrowed a Blue Celery wrap from a friend and really liked it. It felt so cozy and secure when he was tiny. Then I used a cheap front carrier which was just ok that I bought without really researching good carriers. Then my mom gifted me an Ergo, and I never looked back. It's is a really great carrier. You can wear it on your front or on your back and is super strong. It's another item you may be able to find on Craigslist. 

And stay tuned for a separate post about what to stock in Mommy's Medicine Cabinet.

Whew! I think that's it. Feel free to add anything I've missed in the comments. For more new mama posts I've written (that are not nearly as long!) check out: 
What you can find on my parenting bookshelf
Post-partum Recovery Essentials 

xo
Jenn

Monday, 21 April 2014

My Spring Wishlist (aka - Mother's Day Gift Guide)




1. The Duchess Necklace - I (heart) Kate Middleton, and she's been seen wearing this personalized necklace. I've been looking for some sentimental jewelery to put Seb's initials or name on, and I love anything that helps me channel my inner Duchess.

2. Gosia Meyer Jewelery has a more delicate version. I'd get mine with an 'r' and 's', but if you had more than one child, you could do their initials together. #supercute

3. Sugar Mama Giftset - I've been eying these yummy bento boxes for awhile. I totally agree with their description of the Sugar Mama box, "Even Superwoman needs a sugar fix." What a fun gift for mama.

4. Stacking Water Waves - I recently used this link to help me colour-block my bookshelf. I think these waves would look great on the bookshelf near the blue books and double as a toy for S.

5. Jo Malone Perfume - I've read that Kate Middleton loves the Orange Blossom and Grapefruit Jo Malone scents. I'm nearly at the end of the last perfume that Rob bought me, so I'd love to try one of these.

6. The Fault in our Stars - Although I've already heard a bit about the ending, people at work keep telling me this book is great, so I think it's next on my to read list.

7. Day Designer - This looks like the mother of all agendas and planners. Each pages organizes your day, offers an inspirational quote, along with a place to write dinner plans, daily gratitude, due dates, and a massive to do list (Can I get an Amen?!). 

I've also highlighted my favourite picks from the Etsy @ Indigo collection here. Any of them would be great Mother's Day gifts.

Feel free to forward this post to your partner with a huge 'hint hint' in the subject line ;) Pregnant mamas - this includes you too!

xo
Jenn

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Etsy at Indigo

It's no secret that I love both Etsy and Chapters, so I was super excited when I got an email from Chapters announcing their new collaboration with 10 Etsy vendors. I needed to stop by Chapters last weekend anyways, so I made sure to go to the Eaton's Centre location and visit the Etsy pop-up shop.


Some vendors I actually knew of already and others were new to me. You can shop the entire Etsy at Indigo collection here online. What I love about that is Chapters offers free shipping over $25 so you can get most of these Etsy goodies with free shipping! Depending on the item, I sometimes don't shop on Etsy because the shipping charges can be a deal breaker. I loved seeing this collection in person. If I was making an Etsy@Indgio wishlist, this is what it would look like. I've also included links to their Etsy stores directly for our American friends ;)

Richwood Creations

World Map Cutting Board in Cherry - $26 (Etsy link)
This summer will be Rob and I's fifth anniversary, and the traditional wedding gift for a fifth anniversary is wood. One of these cutting boards would be a great gift idea (hint! hint!).


Studiopatró

Linen Tea Towel - DEVOUR - $24 (Etsy link)


Lily & Val

Home Sweet Home chalk art print - $29 (Etsy link)


Upper Metal Class

I Hearts Earrings Bronze earrings - $40 (Etsy link)

Lily Dawson Designs

Painted Avis Earring in Blue-Gold-Purple - $50 (Etsy link)

 

The Aestate

Gold Pump Print 8x10 - $25 (Etsy link)

Honeycomb Studio

Porcelain and Copper Dipped Vase - $35 (not listed on Etsy)


Smells Like Canada

Toronto Smoke Scented Candle - $28 (Etsy link)


Knot & Bow

I've shopped at this Etsy store before and love everything they have! From the products they're showcasing at Chapters, I would really enjoy wrapping gifts with the Tag and Twine Box in Black-and-Neon- $22.50 (Etsy link). I also think the Party Confetti Bomb in White-and-Metallic is very Kate Spade-esque and would brighten up any table (Etsy link).


The Shabby Chic Wedding

These mason jars aren't listed on the Chapters website yet, but I've been eying these painted mason jars on Etsy for awhile now. I picked up a cobalt blue one and took it to my desk at work. Painted Mason Jar - $15 (Etsy link)


Are you going to pick anything up from Etsy at Indigo? I'd love to hear about it!

xo
Jenn

Monday, 7 April 2014

What's in Sebastian's Easter Basket?



S' birthday is just a few weeks after Easter, so I'm trying not to go all crazy. Here's Easter will look like in our house.

Spiderman tattoos - S is fascinated with temporary tattoos lately. He talks about them for days after they have washed off. Plus I can cut these up and they fit into the little plastic eggs.

I Spy Bag - I'm not 100% certain, but I have a feeling a homemade version of this very cool toy may be a contribution to the Easter basket from Gran. This Etsy store (The Crafting Corner) has over 50 types of these cute I Spy Bags. There are tiny treasures hidden inside the bag, and the child needs to manipulate the bag to find the little toys that are shown on the attached card.

Who Knows Whose Nose? Game - S and I played this game at a friend's house recently, and I really loved it. It's for ages 2 and up and is a great matching and animal recognition game. It also will be perfect for learning to take turns.

Hot Wheels - I may change my mind and put this away for a bit if I see S chewing the pieces off, but I thought I could try giving him his first Hot Wheels.

Annie's Gummy Bunnies and Chocolate Bunnies - I picked up the Gummy Bunnies at Target to put in the plastic Easter eggs and then got a sample of the chocolate bunnies in last month's Snackbox, so those will be his yummy Easter treats this year.

Once Upon a Potty - At some point this year I'm going to have to bite the bullet and start potty training, so we'll get started with a couple of books. I've heard this one is good too.

I'm always looking for ideas - what are you putting in your little one's Easter basket? Specifically, what are you putting in the plastic Easter eggs? I'm finding that the trickiest part. S loves Woody and Buzz, so Rob was thinking of just printing off a few pictures of the Disney characters to put in the eggs. I actually think S would squeal in delight when he opens an egg and sees those 2 inside, so we may try that.

xo
Jenn


Friday, 4 April 2014

Splendid Messy Fridays



I saw this video of a squirrel trying to hide a nut in a dog via Cupcakes & Cashmere recently and loved it. Super cute, right? My question - how did the squirrel get into the house?

The Mask you Live In (otherwise known as the 3 most damaging words you can say to your son) trailer came out in January and made the rounds on Facebook. What did you think of the trailer? When I told Rob about it, he thought you could almost argue the opposite points. Stay tuned for a review of the doc once it comes out.

I'd also love to hear your thoughts on The Overprotected Kid. It's a long article, but so so interesting.

2 other links to help distract you this Friday...
101 Fashion Tips and Tricks
101 Ways to Indulge Yourself (Because Sarah Jessica Parker says you totally deserve it).

Happy Weekend!
Jenn

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Having It All Together

A couple of weeks ago I had some girlfriends over for movie night. We do this every few months. It's our version of a grade 7 sleepover I guess. We still watch the same movies that were popular in the 80s and 90s (this night's feature presentation was Pretty in Pink) except now we drink wine instead of pop and our topics of conversation have evolved from school and Lip Smackers to work and babies.

While we were discussing how crazy life often gets, one of my friends commented that she thought I "have it all together". I couldn't believe what she said. Me? Have it all together? She must be kidding? I replied, "Do you know that this morning I had a meltdown in the Home Depot parking lot because my jeans don't fit?"

That made me think - do people who read my blog think I have it all together? Because if that's the case, I am not being honest here. I don't want this to be a place where I complain and whine about life, but trust me, I do not have it all together. I often feel unconfident and overwhelmed at work, and I have a husband and son who I don't see as much as I'd like to. I don't work out regularly (see comment about the jeans above), and someone else cleans my house. I'm currently wearing yoga pants with pasta sauce on them, and I wonder how long I can avoid thinking about potty training. I do not have it all together.

I share in this little community not to have you think I have it all together, but to remind you that you are not alone in your own struggles. If there is any perception that things I'm sharing come from a place of having it all together, know that they often come from a place of loosely organized chaos. And I'm usually ok with that. And just like everyone else, every now and then I fall apart.

xo
Jenn


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