Saturday, April 28, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things :)

Being new to parenthood, we have developed a love/hate relationship with the immense amount of baby paraphernalia that has taken over our home, car, and life in general. Don't get me wrong, Claire is more than welcome to take over every aspect of our lives and all our belongings (i.e. our couch that has been victimized by a few to many bodily fluids to count), but there are some things we thought "we couldn't live/be parents without" that are nothing more than dust collectors. Here is a collection of our favorite things that have been nothing short of lifesavers!

1. Chicco travel system- We love our Chicco car seat! From it's simple base installation, wonderful newborn insert (Claire is actually still using), and #1 is its simple strap tightening. The stroller harness is still a little big, but we have been able to use it as a 3 point harness and with the car seat. Best of all, it one of the highest safety rated options for newborns :)

2. Fischer-Price Rock n' Play sleeper- This has been a life (well at least sleep) saver! Our sweet little snuggle bug fights sleep into the wee hours of the morning due to her waking up every time we would try to lie her down.  Plus, she still has a tendency to spit up if she is flat soon after eating.  This snugly cocoon, with its mesh sides, provides a safe, inclined, cozy sleep spot where she is happy to lay when our arms aren't available. Another great feature is how compact it folds for easy portability- we toted it from house to house on Easter to give Claire a cozy familiar place to relax :)

3. Boppy pillow- This thing is incredible! We use it for everything- from positioning while she eats, plays, enjoys story time, sleeps (this is a no no- only allowed when I am sitting there), and most recently it is our tummy time pal.  We have one pillow and two covers, which meets our laundry day needs, ensuring it is always available :)

4. Bamboobies- Sorry if any Dad's are reading... These are wonderful for nursing Moms. They are so amazingly soft with the velour side, great absorbency due to the hemp layer, leak-proof (they really are!), and who can resist the heart shape (which actually fit quite nicely). Best of all- they can't be seen through clothes!

5. G diapers- It took a lot of convincing to get Jason on board with the idea of cloth diapers, at least until I found this hybrid diaper.  They are so easy to use and really not as huge of a burden to launder and care for as anticipated.  The best part is how wonderful they are for Claire's sensitive bottom- they are so breathable, we have not had a single rash while using them! Plus, I love the flushable inserts for when we're on the go as opposed to toting around a dirty diaper. You also cant beat how adorable they are :)

6. Chicco You & Me Deluxe infant carrier- This infant carrier wins out for one big reason- lumbar support! I know she is still small, but I can carry her for prolonged periods in this without getting even the slightest backache. Also, the several adjust options (carry high or low, forward or backward facing, etc.) make it something that can really grow with her.  The other huge bonus is how easy it is to get her in and out- we have strapped her while sleeping and she was none the wiser :)

7. Babyganics product line- In the beginning, we had a love/hate relationship with this company due to its name and branding leading consumers to think they were organic products, which is not true. Reading more on the products we learned they are a natural derived product we prefer to the highly chemical alternatives. Best of all, they work wonderfully! One of my favorites is the stain remover which even removed set in stains from a year ago. We also use the dish soap,fabric freshener, multi-surface cleaner, and diaper creme (made her rash  from wearing Pampers in the hospital disappear in less than a day)

8. Aden and Anais muslin blankets- These blankets are so amazing! Beyond being to softest we found (they actually get softer wash after wash), they are a great larger size. This makes for super easy swaddling or a substitute nursing/car seat/stroller cover.  They are on the thinner side, but I feel this makes them that much more versatile- we fold them for a warmer blanket and keep them a single layer when only a light blanket is needed. We use them more often than all her other blankets combined.

9. Skip Hop Via Messenger bag- After much searching, we finally found a diaper bag that met both of our (very picky and particular) needs.  Jason insisted on a messenger bag in a neutral style, while I insisted on simple organization and durability- this bag meets both! It looks great, has pockets galore, easily wipes down, and has a great strap design (padded shoulder and stroller attachments). I don't mind at all packing my purses away to sport it :)

10. Bebe Au Lait nursing cover- Again, sorry Dads... This cover is wonderful! It is a great size to provide plenty of modesty, bowed neck to keep an eye on Claire, two terry cloth pockets (great for storing bamboobies), and several great patterns available. Even with the plastic bowed neck, it folds small for great portability.  The thicker fabric is great for it keeping its shape and staying in place, but can get a bit warm at times.

11. Bright Starts Ingenuity Automatic bouncer- This is one of the only entertainment toys Claire will actually calm with.  We were skeptics, but it really does bounce on its own! The soothing sounds and hanging toys help her to love it that much more :)

I hope this list can be a help to new parents, as well as those with experience, in the market for baby products. I am sure there will be many more products we come to love as Claire (and we) continues to grow and has ever changing needs- we will be sure to share when we find others we find amazing :)

Crystal and Jason

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Claire is 2 months old!

It's official- Jason and I have been parents for 8 weeks now! It is incredible to think that our sweet Claire has already been here that long. At the same time, I cannot seem to remember being pregnant, much less life before she entered it and changed everything :)

I must brag a little and say that Claire is still the most amazing baby with the best disposition. She rarely cries-only if she is hungry (an easy fix since she nurses like a champ!) or bored (which is quickly fixed with a snuggle, kiss, playtime, and walk through the house). Claire is also incredibly aware of her surroundings! She loves staring at artwork on walls, intently listening to whom ever is speaking, looking for the source of any sound, and if there is light in the vicinity, she will find it! This makes for great entertainment when we take her out on the deck. Claire also enjoys spending time each day on her play mat, reading books, as well as playing with all her rattles and toys. I hope all this is sign of future intelligence :)

Claire is also sprouting in her physical abilities. She is a rock star during tummy time- that is as long as she isn't flat on floor which quickly turns into nap time :) We have resorted to tummy time on the Boppy pillow or Dad and Mom. She is quite the climber, too! She will lay on our chest and push off our hands with her legs until she makes it up as far as she can our shoulder. This climbing ability got a little scary the other day when I let her sleep on her tummy (I know- tisk, tisk! but I was in the room watching her like a hawk) and she first turned herself sideways, then shifted all the way to the edge of the couch! Needless to say, she now only naps on surfaces with walls ;) Claire spends some time each day practicing "standing" in Dad's lap, as she loves to straighten her legs.

Here is a fine example of her climbing/self positioning skills

Here is her enjoying tummy time on Dad and the Boppy pillow

Claire's personality is also exploding! She wakes up everyday in an incredible mood full of smiles and talking. She has perfected scowling (which is often the result of Daddy making silly noises), raising one eye brow (usually used to look at us like we are crazy when talking to her), and pouting (new just this week, usually followed by the sweetest whimpers). Her sweet little "talking" noises have doubled in frequency.

Here is one of our favorite videos of her :)

She has so sweetly been (kind of) sleeping through the night the last couple weeks. I say "kind of" because it is 6-7 hours at most, usually 3-4 nights a week. I will take anything over waking every 2-3 hours around the clock like she had been doing since birth. She still has yet to spend a night in her room, but has taken naps in her crib during the day. We have been using the Summer Infant "Rest Assured" sleeper when she is in our bed and the Fisher Price "Rock N' Play" sleeper in the living room- both of which I highly recommend.

Overall, parenthood has been the most wonderful gift I could have ever received! I have grown and learned more about myself during this short time than I would have ever imagined. It is amazing to look at our sweet little girl and know that she is truly a piece of us, something we created. The level of selflessness, patience, and love that goes into everyday with her has made us truly appreciate what a blessing and miracle life truly is. We are looking forward to continuing to watch her grow and conquer this new world she has blessed with her presence :)

Crystal and Jason