Monday, December 16, 2013

The Sweetest Time

I really want to get back to posting more often, so here's a quickie for practice.

My favorite time of night is actually bedtime, and not because Dylan goes to sleep.  It's how it all goes down.

We go into the nursery with a low light on. We sit in the rocker/recliner, Dylan in my lap. I hold the bottle with one hand and he holds onto my fingers while I turn the pages of Llama, Llama NightyNight or Goodnight Moon with my other hand.

After a few read-throughs, I turn off the light so only the night light is on (stars on the ceiling). I sing a lullaby, currently Christmas songs, while Dylan finishes eating.

At some point he decides he's done and turns himself over and snuggles in to go to sleep. This is my favorite part. I know I need to transfer him to his crib soon, but I delay, smelling his hair. Thinking about how long he's getting, as he keeps turning his head to get a better position.  It's the sweetest most innocent time ever!

Sometimes he cries when I put him down, often not. And then he's off to dream-land!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Baby Gear Review: After the First Year - Big Ticket Items

It's easy to get excited about products that you've just purchased or started using, but you need some time to truly give a solid review.

I'll give you the low-down on my bigger-ticket items after a year of use.

1) Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller - Rating: LOVE!

I was so scared to commit to a stroller, but I love the City Mini and see myself using it well through Dylan's childhood.  The number one reason I chose it over the BOB is the ease of collapsing it and putting in the back of the car.  There is a strap in the back of the seat that you grab with one hand.  I grab it with my left, have my right on the handlebar and push it straight into the back of my RAV4.  Very easy!  But there is no way I could do it while holding Dylan unless he was in a carrier.  I doubt you could collapse any stroller while holding a baby.

Opening it is a little less awesome.  Sometimes it catches and I have to pry it open.  I'm not sure if it was maybe damaged somehow, but it's not a frequent issue and doesn't change my overall love.

The control is the next best feature.  I can easily control it one-handed with a dog leash in the other.  I think the front swivel wheel is key (the wheel also locks with the push of a button).  The canopy is also very large.  The only time the sun gets in Dylan's eyes is right at sunset.  There are 3 different levels to open the canopy so you can get as much or as little shade as you want.  Last, the back of the seat drops to just about flat for naps.  We don't use this often, but it will be great for long stroller days like amusement parks.

The stroller is a big long which makes it hard to navigate in stores with small aisles, but I don't mind.  My least favorite part is the basket underneath.  You can fit a lot of small or squishy things in it, but my PPB diaper bag doesn't really fit.  I usually hang it which works, but is a tipping hazard.

We bought the infant seat adapter (which I used for a very long time), snack tray, and cup console.

2) Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack - Rating: Dislike

I wanted to love this so much, but the only thing I really love is the wipe clean fabric and the pattern.  It's tall and skinny which makes it hard to get to the things you need and it doesn't have very many pockets.  It also has a huge velcro closure which is very loud next to a sleeping baby.  There are no outside pockets for quick access of anything, so you always have to open the flap.  I still used this until very recently, but I bought a Skip Hop Bag at Costco and I keep choosing it instead.  If you still have to have a PPB Bag, buy it during Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale or at Nordstrom Rack.  I got mine for $85.

3) Chicco Keyfit 30 - Rating: LOVE

It seems that most people like their car seats, but I'm honestly going to be sad when we switch to a convertible.   Dylan has spent so much time in this seat and I think he truly feels safe and comfortable in it.  The primary reason I bought it as that it's one of the lighter models on the market and that has been huge!  I still carry Dylan in and out in his seat 80% of the time.  He's currently about 16 pounds and 29 inches and I just switched the straps to the third level.  He fits very well with room to grow, but we will probably switch within the next month or so.

The other excellent thing about the Chicco seat is the base.  It's has a bubble level built in and easily attaches to the LATCH system.  The seat just click in and you pull one lever to get it out.  So easy!

Dylan has also thrown up (very large volume - inside Toys R Us) in this seat and it wasn't bad getting the fabric off to wash.  I highly recommend this seat.

4) Graco Blossom 4 in 1 High Chair - Rating: Meh.

I wouldn't buy this again.  But I'll start with the pros.  The top tray is removable which makes washing it easy.  Also, the tray pulls out and tightens really easily.  But that's about it.  I don't know if other high chairs would be better or not, but these are my issues.

First, Dylan is small and there is a lot of space all around him which means tons of dropped food on the seat.  The fabric has a lots of grooves in it which makes it hard to clean.  I think a one-piece seat like IKEA's would be the only better option.  I guess my advice is just not to spend a lot of money on a high chair or find one used.

5) Best Chair Glider Recliner - Rating: Happy

This was probably the purchase that stressed me out the most.  It was the most expensive and the most "permanent."  I knew that I needed my glider to be cushy and to have a high back so I could rest my head (and I'm just 5'4).  I tried out so many chairs, but this was the most reasonably-priced while having the features I wanted.  I'm very happy with it.  It's extremely comfortable.  We chose a dark gray microfiber that is holding up well and I can easily wipe spills.  I don't have a footstool, but I can rock easily enough with a foot on the ground.  But most often I sit in the chair reclined.

Feel free to ask me more about any of these products!

Next up: the small stuff.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Part-time Animal Wrangler

That's what I feel like most days lately.

Diaper changes work best when I let Dylan stand on the changing while I try to maneuver around him.  But if Butt Paste or another cream must be applied, laying down is a necessity unless there is a second adult around.  (During our recent bout of severe diaper rash, it was a two-person job for many of the first days...)

The next step is to make sure you have a really engaging toy handy.  But this usually backfires as Dylan prefers things he should not chew on like diaper cream tubes, wipes cases, and lotion bottles.  So I usually give in and just give him one of those instead...right at the moment just before I'm ready to apply the cream (often it's already on my finger).

But the second his back touches the table, he twists out of reach to try to grab for something else.  I hold one leg, preventing him from fully turning as he yells in protest.  If I can get both legs bent, he's stuck and I can quickly apply the cream that is now on his legs and clothes.

But at this point the diaper is still not on.  And the cream is applied.  It's a very delicate stage.  I need to get diaper on the booty ASAP before cream is transferred from booty to changing table.  usually getting him standing again works best, but attaching a diaper to a wiggly child while standing is not easy work.  Eventually it happens.

And we move on to clothing....

*     *     *     *     *
Like I always say, I've really been wanting to blog, but I just haven't been able to make it happen.  When i do get on my computer, I usually try to start a post about feeding, but it gets complicated way too fast and I give up.  

On that front, Dylan is doing pretty well with solids and we add extra calories through butter or coconut oil or olive oil or cereal or cheese to everything he eats.  He still doesn't eat a ton of volume so we need every bit to count.  Oh and he LOVED turkey dinner!  

Dylan stood up on his own for the briefest second last night.  He's super strong and pretty well balanced.  I don't know if we'll see walking by Christmas, but he's close!

Our new nanny is a life-saver!  She cooks all kinds of amazing high calorie food for Dylan and even for us sometimes.  She's personable and diligent and I love her!

I'm leaving Dylan for 3 nights this weekend to attend a memorial.  his dad is awesome with him so I know he'll be fine, but it's still super hard!  He would barely look at me this morning before I left : (.  Hopefully FaceTime will work.

There's probably tons more to say, but I'm boarding soon...

Here's our super fabulous Thanksgiving picture that I'm in love with!