It’s that time of year again. Long pant wearing. Jacket required. Sock necessary. Fall. At least in Ohio it is. This year, I have found that I have a new problem to face with fall clothing. I have to wrangle baby socks. I have tried many solutions to no avail – the leaning tower of socks that inevitably fell over unlike the real leaning tower, the baggie of socks – who has time or the free hands to open and close a bag, and the pile of socks – has anyone seen his other blue shoe sock. However, in true obsessively organized fashion I have found a solution. Sock baskets! In my teaching days, I called them pencil baskets and many people use them to sort silverware, but they are the perfect size for baby socks and probably even toddler socks. Now, Baby’s socks are neatly placed in pairs in these baskets. Yes, baskets. No, he doesn’t have so many pairs as to require more than one, but I find it helpful to sort them by type as well. We have a basket for shoe looking socks, one for slipper socks, and one for regular gym socks. So save yourself some sanity and buy sock baskets for your little one’s drawers. And while your at it get some fun socks as well!
Wow! Time surely does fly when you add a baby to the mix. I feel bad that I haven’t written in forever but then again what can you expect from a busy mom? Life has been full of playing and feeding with sleep sprinkled in. My now 6 month old hardly naps but is a great nighttime sleeper so I can’t complain. Instead, I have become excellent at one handedly doing several tasks (i.e. folding laundry, making beds, etc.) as well as making tasks more interesting (envision the dancing and singing show stopping musical style number version of dusting the living room). I still can’t live without my ecosash carrier, though “the boy” will play by himself for a bit now. My Boppy pillow also continues to save my life or more accurately my back. I have always liked my Boppy for feeding purposes but the bigger he gets the more I appreciate the support. Bumkins Bibs are favorites around our house now too as they clean easier and are a tad larger therefore catching more spills. What will be our next adventure? Baby proofing! I’ll keep you posted as little man becomes increasing mobile and curious!
We are an on-the-go kind of family! We spend our time visiting family and friend regularly and honestly we don’t want to worry about where we are going to be when “the Boy” needs to eat. So, several years ago when we saw this travel high chair in use by a friend we knew that should we ever have children we were going to NEED one. Fast forward three years to my baby shower when the same friend who introduced us to this amazing fold-up, easy to clean and carry contraption, gave it to us as a gift. We now keep this high chair in the trunk of the car so we always have it with us! The chair folds into a nice little cube with carrying straps and takes up next to no space in the car. It is fast to assemble and it is completely possible to do so with only one hand! I also love that it is completely made of plastic and easy to clean. Another awesome feature is the tray cover; I know this seems like a minor thing but I often quickly wipe down the tray after Baby finishes eating and save the “cleaning” for later (this keeps me from monopolizing the kitchen of friends and family as well as from losing precious time with these same people). Long story short, everyone who has a child eating solids needs one of these high chairs / booster seats.
Three times since Baby was born in March, we have had unexpected family picnics. The first picnic was in a small patch of grass at a tire store while waiting on a tow truck. The next, in the grass at a truck stop while traveling to my parents’. And most recently, outside a restaurant after eating lunch while waiting for the interstate to reopen after a fuel spill. Needless to say I have been quite happy to spend this time (despite the interruption to our plans) with my husband and baby comfortable on a blanket with plenty of toys and activity to occupy our darling little boy. Most parents quickly figure out the necessity of carrying toys with them at all times; however, merely having toys wouldn’t have saved us as there would have been no where for “the boy” to sit and play. Thanks to my father’s advice when I was 16, I always have a blanket in my car for emergencies – even in the deepest heat of summer. It is this very blanket that has made our impromptu picnics a joy. I especially have found the easy fold up nature of my Nike backpack blanket to be helpful as it folds quickly, takes up little precious space in the car, and can be thrown over my shoulder by the strap for easy carrying (of both the blanket and baby)! With all the unexpectedness that life throws your way, always be prepared to slow down and enjoy even the curve balls.
Baby and I go grocery shopping together a lot since he seems to enjoy looking around at things in the store and frankly we need the food. I cook almost everything from scratch with a few shortcuts here and there so most of our trip is spent in the produce section sitting still – not an easy thing for an on the go baby. My little man still loves to play with the prop ‘n shop pillows when he begins to get bored but they can only keep him entertained so long. Enter the pacifier clip – this week I decided to loop one of his favorite toys to the clip and attach it to him while we shop (this is only possible because we use the Booginhead Paciclip that is designed for Soothies). This worked out to be a brilliant idea! He was able to play with the toy when he wanted to play, watch the world go by without having to hold the toy or throw it on the ground, and still had to hands to play with the pillows. Never once did I have to retrieve the toy from the ground or even hand it back to him! I will definitely be using our pacifier clip on every shopping trip now!
Keeping Baby out of the sun can be tricky when you are at an outdoor wedding or other event where pushing your stroller around isn’t acceptable and no matter how hard you search you just can’t find a baby sun hat to match that adorable outfit. We ran into this problem early on with our son as we had to attend an out of town outdoor wedding. As we were joking around one night about me being a “Southern Bell” for this Atlanta wedding, something was said about my having to carry a parasol to fit the part – BAM we thought our problem was solved! We immediately got on Amazon to find a suitable parasol. Wow, were there a million choices. Finally, we settled on an elegant but classic parasol that we will be able to use for all sorts of events (we have already taken it to the wedding and used it at an auction). No matter which one you choose – make sure to think about portability (ours fits into a side pocket of our diaper bag) as well as UV protection.
At first, people thought we were nuts to put our baby (as young as two weeks) into the car for a minimum of 2.5 hours to go and see family that is and was perfectly capable of coming to visit us at home, but we didn’t care and off we went. All of our trips themselves have gone off without a hitch (including the 16 hour round trip drive to Atlanta); however, preparing for the trips was a bit daunting. Now after four months of traveling experience, we have gotten the truly hard part – packing – down to a science. Below is a list of commonly forgotten items when packing for an overnight or long vacation with baby. After all, we all know to take clothes and diapers (although we often only take enough diapers to get us there to keep our luggage light).
- Receiving Blankets – We use these for tummy time as well as for a quick cover up when a restaurant or home is too cold for Baby.
- Burp Cloths – You’ll need almost twice as many of these as you think you will since grabbing a new one isn’t a quick option.
- Travel Size Baby Soap and Shampoo (if you don’t keep it in your diaper bag like we do)
- Changing Mat or Blanket – This is something I didn’t think about taking until I was trying to change our son at my parents and didn’t want to mess up the white bedspread.
- Toys – Chances are wherever you are going doesn’t have anything for baby to play with. We always take a favorite or two as well as something less played with for interest.
- Extra Pacifier – There is always the one in the diaper bag but I love to have an extra in the luggage so if we are at the hotel we can leave the one in the diaper bag in the diaper bag and not take a chance of forgetting it when we run out.
- Parasol or Hat for Baby – You need something to keep Baby out of the sun. This last weekend we weren’t planning on being outside for long but then we found an auction in the town we were staying in and stopped by for a while. Thankfully, we had our parasol with us!
- Baby Carrier – You never know when you may be headed out for a walk or a day at the museum.
Since getting my iPod Touch, I have found many useful apps for parents. Most are free and the ones that aren’t, are well worth the money.
- Baby Sleep Lite – This app make the noise of a hairdryer. I know it sounds odd but it has worked wonders more than once as it calms our baby down while in the car. Often it not only helps to calm him, but it will also put him to sleep making long journeys (even those from Cincinnati to Atlanta) more manageable.
- What to Expect Baby – This app it useful but can also be addicting and frustrating if it is overly relied upon. At first, I used it to track baby’s every move (sleeping, eating, pooping – you get the picture)and I was overwhelmed and often nervous about how quickly he ate and how little he slept; but now I only use it when I feel like his schedule is changing and I need to try to figure it out. It has also be useful for tracking his vaccination schedule.
- Smart Hands Lite – We are teaching our little one baby sign language. I have used it with children I have babysat and students in my classroom several times and truly believe it minimizes frustration on both sides of the communication barrier. This app is a quick refresher for me and a wonderful teaching tool for my husband.
- PhotoSync – This app allows me to send pictures between my computer and iPod (also works with the iPhone and iPad) wirelessly. As mentioned in my iPod post, I have no time to get on the computer but I am terrified of losing the precious pictures I take on my iPod (I also don’t always have time to grab a real camera -oh the joys of parenthood) so this app allows me to back up the pictures by placing them on the computer too. In the rare instance I do have time to get on the computer and I have pictures on there that I want on my Touch, it also works in that direction.
- Calendar – I am now running a million different directions at once and the defult calendar app is my friend. I have mine linked to my Google calendar so that my husband and I show the same appointments on our computers (not that I have time to get on one) and on our smart devices. This has more than once kept us from double booking ourselves (i.e. my hair appointment and his eye doctor appointment – who’s going to watch little guy?) and also helps us to know when we both need to be available (doctor’s appointments for Baby – I’m such a wuss and can’t watch his shots by myself).
- Grocery IQ – This app is simply a grocery list but it will sync between our smart devices and will also let me mark off what I have already put in the cart at the store even if there isn’t wifi. One handed grocery shopping is a must even with Prop ‘n Shop.
Before Baby was born my husband and I were discussing whether or not I should upgrade to a smart phone when my contract ran out. We really weren’t looking forward to the extra expense since I was going to be staying home with our little one, but synchronized calendars, email at my fingertips, and other features were calling our name. Lucky for us, my mother-in-law realized that everything I was wanting could be found in an iPod Touch (seriously where doesn’t have wifi anymore?) and so there would be no additional cost. Much to my surprise, I found myself opening the iPod for my birthday just a few months before the arrival of our son. I used the Touch often before his arrival but since he made is grand appearance I am tethered to it! With a little one in toe there is absolutely no time to waste and the iPod Touch lets me multi-task. I now check email, edit photos, write this blog, make my grocery list, and search for answers to my questions all while feeding or rocking my little guy! Since the Touch is so small, I can use it one handed (and actually with both my good and bad hand) easily. Out of curiosity my husband had me try to use our iPad one day and that was a miserable failure due to its size. We have also found that there are various apps that make life a bit easier. Long post short – if you don’t have an iPod Touch you need one!
Grocery shopping has been a chore since our son arrived in March. I seriously couldn’t go without help for the first several trips because I never did feel quite safe with propping the car seat up on the front of the cart and if you put it in the big basket you can’t fit in the groceries. It didn’t really matter anyway since he hated his car seat. Shortly after he turned six weeks old I figured out I could take him to the grocery store by putting him in my baby carrier. This worked out well as long as I didn’t have to bend over too many times to pick stuff up off of the bottom shelf – unfortunately the deals are often higher and lower than eye level. Today I decided to go the grocery store and put my prop and shop in the front of the cart. Our son has awesome head/neck control and loves to sit so I figure why not give it a shot. Sucess was had all around. He loved being able to look around at everything and flirt with the other shoppers. When he would get bored he would play with the side pillows or kick the fabric front flap. I was able to do all of my grocery shopping quickly and easily. It was also nice to be able to talk to him about what I was picking up and have some interaction in general (something I was never good at when I would carry him). I also didn’t have to worry about him getting ahold of the germy cart since all of the pieces he could reach were covered in fabric. Anyway, I will definitely be using this EVERY time I shop now!