Busy Bag for Toddlers

Now that Chico is 2 (and some change) it's getting a lot easier to go out to eat with him. We seem to be past the screaming and not wanting to sit at the table while Adam and I scarf down our food and take turns crying.

Just kidding...kind of.

Our usual safety net is the phone or iPad because honestly he just doesn't eat that much so you can't distract the kid with a plate of food unless he happens to be starving that day. But even the iPad can be problematic if the restaurant doesn't have WiFi because heaven forbid he not be able to watch Peppa or George on Netflix (I know eye rolls). 

I decided that I was going to put together a backpack of goodies that will be his to play with only when we go out to eat. This way it is new, fun and exciting for him to dig into his backpack aka "busy bag." 

Here's what's in Chico's backpack and keeping us sane:

1. Coloring Book - Target $1 Bin

2. Fisher-Price Doodle Pro Travel - A non-messy way for kids to "draw," especially if you don't wanna deal with crayons getting tossed across the room. 

3. Baggie full of plastic dinos, trees and a mountain - Target $1 Bin

4. Kinetic Sand - I know, I know...servers everywhere are giving me major side eye for bringing this into a restaurant but I swear we clean up after ourselves. Plus worst case a little bit gets on the floor and it gets vacuumed up at the end of the day. 

5. Sip Snap - This is not Chico's choice it's Mamas. This thing is amazing! It's a universal lid that fits on any cup and turns it into a "sippy cup." Oh and it comes with that carrying case you guys! BPA & Latex free and can stretch onto any cup without leaking. I'm a huge fan because I hate carrying sippy cups with us and Chico plays with straws until water goes everywhere. It's maddening. 

6. Hello Magazine by Highlights - Chico has had a subscription to these since Birth. They are great and have laminated pages so if they get food or water on them it wipes right off plus the pages don't tear. Perfect for 0-2.

7. Puppet - Cost Plus World Market - a favorite little gem from his Great Grandma that tends to get lost in the toy shuffle here at home but when he has it outside of the house it really holds his attention!

8. Monster Truck Activity Book - Target $3 Bin - This thing was a total score - it comes with stickers, crayons and is a coloring book too. 

9. Thomas Train - Big Lots

10. Mp3 player - Baby Einstein - He's had two of these since birth and believe it or not he's still entertained by it! Best part - it has a volume setting so it's not like you have to choose between LOUD A.F. or off. 

11. Pressed Coin Collection - Yup my 2 yr old is 100% nerd just like his Mama! He is obsessed with pressed pennies. This started at our jaunts to Disneyland and has extended anytime we see a penny press machine. He has coins from the zoo, travel town, Little Tokyo, etc! He can sit and examine his collection for a really long time you guys...it's bizarre and amazing all at once. 

So there you have it! Maybe you will be inspired to put something together for you tot. You don't have to spend any money on this - just collect some of their favorite stuff that you wouldn't mind keeping in the car at all times. We are trying to make our lives easier - so don't use stuff that your kid is going to miss having inside the house. I would say main pointers would be try to find things that will keep their little hands busy (stickers, drawing, etc), items that aren't crazy loud, and stuff that they can use by themselves or with only minimal help from mom and dad. The point is for them to keep themselves occupied so you can eat! 

Have fun with it and remember - this is a frustrating time but won't be forever. There will be a day where we will all be able to eat with our families at a restaurant in some sort of peace without having food and utensils thrown at us or at the poor innocent folks seated next to us.

So until that day - get creative and breathe!

Things I Said I'd Never Do...

...Wear a Teething Necklace! _DSC3263

When I was pregnant with Chico I spent a lot of late nights on the internet "Googling." I Googled everything from maternity clothes, baby clothes, parenting theories, and general baby/mom stuff.

One night while I was in bed next to my snoring husband, I fell down a big ass Google rabbit hole of weirdness. It started with looking up Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces and then I saw these silicon teething necklaces that are meant for Mom to wear.

Ew, wtf. So you're saying you want me to wear a string of slobbery beads that my son can suck and chew on at will?

Pass...

Fast forward to having a 5 month old who has transformed into the worlds biggest distractable nurser while simultaneously teething.

To deal with teething I strapped on a Baltic Amber Necklace, used Teething Tabs, had him chew on cold rags, teething toys, comfort nurse - you name it - I have done it. But as far as the distracted nursing goes I was a little stumped - so what did I do? GOOGLE, DUH!

Where does Google lead me back to - sigh... you guessed it, silicon necklace of beads...20130720-112712.jpg

And I bought them.

And I don't care that they are ugly and don't go with anything unless you are Wilma Flintstone.

Why?

Because wearing this necklace while I am home and while Chico or in his sling is a small price to pay for my baby to be happy. See this is something I didn't think I'd do - sacrifice style for comfort!

I also would have done anything to stop the smacking, scratching and general tomfoolery that goes on during our nursing sessions now. I had tiny razor thin scratches on my chest that look like I'd been attacked by a feral cat.

Now he nurses and grabs onto the beads and yanks them around. When he is drooling and uncomfortable wtih teething issues he gums the hell out of the necklace. Because my Teethease necklace is made of FDA approved medical grade silicone, free of BPA, PVC, latex, heavy metals, phthalates and meets the highest international safety standards - I don't have to worry that Chico is ingesting toxins.

Also a plus is that despite my almost OCD-like attempt to keep his teething rings off the floor and cathair free, it is nearly impossible. Having my son's chew toy...I mean "teething necklace" around my neck ensures that it won't be covered in cat hair or gunk from the bottom of the diaper bag.

And all that sounds pretty damn good to me.

Chico's Room Featured on Apartment Therapy!!

Chico's Room Featured on Apartment Therapy!! I am excited to announce that Apartment Therapy has featured photos of Chico's room on their site - HERE! Check it out, along with what I wrote about creating a space for your child that suits their personality, doesn't break the bank and isn't cookie cutter!

xx.

Chico's Nursery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A bit overdue, but I finally got around to taking some decent photographs of Chico's room and have been dying to share all the hard work we put into his living space (even though he doesn't even sleep in his crib yet!).

So when it came to our baby’s room, Adam and I knew a few things for sure – we didn't want a typical “themed” nursery and we wanted it to reflect our unique and eclectic style; which includes all things mid-century and our love of toys.

The first two things we purchased were the mid-century pieces: his crib and his dresser (which doubles as a changing table).  The crib was the most expensive item of the entire room, which we are very proud of.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My husband is a painter (fine art and by trade) so he had free-range to do what he wanted with my color choices which were grey and yellow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe knew we wanted one wall to be a “vintage game wall” and covered it with vintage toys. Some are from my childhood, some were purchased from Etsy and some are even my father’s from the 1940’s

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA"Ernie and Bert Can..." the first book I ever read, mostly from memorization. The "Barnacle Bill" tin toy was my fathers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll of the toys on this shelf are things from my childhood that my mom saved for me. Does anyone recognize those cars with the McDonald's characters? They were from Happy Meals from 1984 or 85. See! Hoarding does pay off sometimes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a bit of a problem when it comes to collecting Aden & Anais Swaddlers for Chico. Since I was investing so much in them I thought instead of folding them in a drawer I would display them! We purchased a curtain rod from Target and I just tied them onto it. This isn't even all of them. Don't judge me...

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbove Chico’s crib I made a mobile made of paper cranes, washi tape and a branch off of last year’s Christmas Tree. It was a fun project for me to do towards the end of my pregnancy when getting around wasn't so easy anymore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALastly we purchased the awesome handmade animal “busts” from artist Amy Ortiz. This is probably my favorite part of Chico’s room because it encompasses his Papa and I – artistic, humorous, a little weird and never taking ourselves too seriously.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to share my son’s room to show that a child’s room can be full of style and personality without breaking the bank. Parents shouldn't feel boxed in to buying only items/furniture from children’s stores and should really think ahead – would my child still like the style of this room in 5 years? I think Chico will love his room for many years to come!

 

Source List:

Crib: Giggle - $980

Dresser: Sunbeam Vintage - $300

Bookcase: Martha Stewart for Home Depot - $50

Floating Shelves: Lowes - $14.99

Rug: Martha Stewart for Home Depot - $150

Mobile: Made by Mama - $30 in supplies (washi and origami paper)

Animal Busts: Amy Ortiz 

"Gentleman" Print - Etsy - $30

Hello Kitty Deck - Girl/Carroll Limited Edition $50

Skor-it Pinball Game - Etsy - $50

Circus Puzzle - Etsy - $19

For Sale - Aden & Anais Swaddler

swaddler If anyone is interested, I purchased the Limited Edition Hello Kitty Aden & Anais Swaddlers and am selling the bright pink swaddler to anyone who would like it for $12 plus shipping. As I mentioned it is a Limited Edition item. It has also never been used and has been in the box since I received it.  I am keeping the two white swaddlers with the Hello Kitty print on it, but am going to pass on the pink - as I feel like I'm already kinda pushing it wrapping my baby boy up in HK!

Let me know if you are interested - would like to use Paypal for this transaction.

 

 

Things I Said I Would Never Do...

Things I said I would never do #2:Cutesy Clothing.

I present to you Exhibit A: carters-infant-halloween-costumes

"Just because they are babies doesn't mean they have to be dressed like it's Halloween," I would say...

Fast forward to Chico's first Easter this year and you better believe I was counting down the days because I was ready with a full on bunny suit.

Were we going to an Easter Egg Hunt? No.

Were we visiting with family? No.

Did I just want him to be in his bunny suit all day because it was Easter? Hell yes.

I really wanted to see him with ears and a cotton taill. Is that so wrong?

 

Another strong opinion I once stood by "Pre-Chico," was that I was not going to put my child in clothing with cutesy phrases on it.

I present to you Exhibit B:

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I'm mostly talking about all the Carter's onsies, rompers, sleepers, etc. that have: "Mommy's Little Guy," "Cute Like My Daddy," "Captain Cutie," etc. going across everything. You might be thinking - she sure knows those Carter's catch phrases really well!

Well I do.

Why?

Because I dress Chico in that shit on the daily! Not only did we receive baby clothes like this at our baby shower, but we totally bought it as well!! Why have I gone back on what I originally said? Because seriously, who cares. My baby is cute as shit and somehow he looks even cuter when it's spelled out across his chest. It makes us smile, it makes other people smile and again - who cares? He's only going to be an infant for a short amount of time. He's supposed to look effortlessly cutesy. He is cutesy with or without it being spelled out. I'm not going to go out of my way to shun clothing that I think is really cute because it says, "I Love My Mama" on it.  He does love his Mama dammit!

You really don't know until you know - you know?

High Chair Research is Serious Bizz.

Ikea highchair So luckily high chairs aren't something that you really "need" until your baby starts eating solids (4-6 months). This has given me time to research what kind of high chair best suits our needs. My high chair preferences are: simple & modern (aka no wacky prints), easy to clean, can fold up and be put away (one less baby item taking over our house!).

I was pretty sold on this IKEA high chair. It is only $19.99 (I KNOW!) and it's just hard plastic that cleans up in a snap.

Then I saw this gem today on one of the many Mama Blogs I follow and am pretty much in love! Check out the video and peep the Specs on this Phil & Ted Poppy High Chair!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfgUTA__wJU&feature=player_embedded]

It is $100 more than the IKEA High Chair ($119) but they can use the damn thing until they are 3 years old, which sort of makes me feel better about spending more. Also it folds and the IKEA chair doesn't. They are out of the neon green which I kind of like, but the blue is pretty good too. Also - is cranberry more red or pink? I like it too, but can't tell if it's kind of "pinky."

Pretty much sold! I am going to check out reviews, but it's brand new so I'm finding it difficult to find anything yet. Not like I don't have time before we really need a high chair for Chico anyway!

Things I said I would never do...

Before I had a baby I had a lot of opinions, bottom lines and staunch ideas about what I would and would not do as a parent. Two months in and all of my big ideas have pretty much completely crumbled. This officially will begin a series of posts that describe me doing things I said I would never do...like ever. Thing I said I would never do #1 - Use a wipe warmer. warmer

"Ridiculous," I proclaimed! Way to spoil your baby's ass into thinking he/she always deserves a luxuriously warm wipe at ever turn! Once they have one warm wipe that's all they will ever want! You would have to be an IDIOT to use one.

After a month of Chico screaming like he was being stabbed every time I used cold wipes in the middle of the night, it hit me. Oh my God - this is why people do it. Also - having a baby boy who has a cold wipe touching his penis in the middle of the night means immediately being squirted with piss. The poor kid pissed on me, pissed on his jammers and once he had pissed on his own face I'd had enough.

So we have the warmer now. Chico doesn't scream bloody murder in the middle of the night. He also doesn't freak out that he has "regular" wipes during the day (so there goes my spoiled on warm wipes theory), he hasn't peed on anything but his own diaper since and to top it off the warmer has a tiny little nightlight that I'm super into.

Case Closed.

Babywearing - My Opinions, Tips & Tricks

Moby Okay I admit it - I have a problem. I am obsessed with wearing my baby and I want to own every baby wrapping device ever created.

Phew! Feels good to get that out! Anyone else in the same boat?

It's such a great feeling - to have Chico close in a way that mimics him being in my belly again. It is comforting for him and I suspect almost as comforting for mama. I received a Moby Wrap from my mom before Chico was born. I purchased a Baby K'tan when he was a few weeks old. I received a traditional "ring sling" from another mama I met on Instagram and lastly - I purchased a Solly Baby Wrap last week!

It may sound ridiculous to have so many different wraps (and to have plans to buy even more!) but I will explain how all of these wraps work for various situations and are totally necessary (Okay not really, but maybe you'll think I'm less crazy)!

For those of you who are new to the concept of "baby wearing," let me first give you a quick breakdown of why baby wearing is such a great thing:

1) It frees your hands and you can get stuff done around the house! When you are breastfeeding and a new mom getting used to the fact that this little person needs you 24/7 for survival, you can start to feel kind of kooky. It's so liberating to strap that sucker on and have hands to do the dishes! Holy moly, did I really just say that... 2) Leave the car seat and stroller in the car! Walk around without having to lug all of that with you - which means you don't have to look for elevators, simply take the escalators with the rest of society! 3) Relieves the colicky/gassy baby. Chico really struggled with gas issues around three weeks and it lasted until maybe a week ago (not gone completely but that's a completely different post). Sitting in the wrap while I walked around with him was very soothing for him, got him to burp and was also soothing for me because the best thing about wraps.... 4) BABIES CRY LESS!! Studies prove it - In cultures where babies are continuously held, babies cry far less than cultures who push babies to self-soothe, stress this idea of raising the "independant baby," or worry about "spoiling" a baby by holding them too much. 5) Encourages healthy attachment between baby and mama/papa. Builds trust and assists baby in forming trust and security.

For further baby wearing education I recommend checking out a site called "The Baby Wearer," which has everything you need to know about baby wearing all in one spot!

MOBY WRAP: This is the wrap I am wearing Chico in up at the top of this post. It is one long (LONG!) piece of thick cotton fabric. It can seem rather daunting at first but isn't too bad once you get the hang of it. It can be used from Newborn to 35 lbs.

PROS: One size fits all wearer. Very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Comes in organic fabric and colours that are pleasing to both men and women. Feels VERY secure to have baby in this wrap and is a good "stater" wrap.

CONS: Fabric is thick and if it's hot out you will sweat for sure. Extremely long and may be daunting for someone shorter than 5'9. You have to find the perfect tightness/looseness or you will risk re-wrapping until you get it right. The reason? The fabric doesn't have a lot of "give." Bulky and doesn't fit in smaller diaper bags.

photo (1)

Pictured above is the BABY K'TAN WRAP. Please excuse the ridiculousness of this photo - it was my birthday, we were in a military surplus store and I was losing my mind being out in public for the first time in a few days. The K'tan is great for someone who is turned off by the Moby and finds the process of tying one long piece of fabric just too much trouble. It consists of two pieces - one piece is two fabric rings that are connected by a loop and the second piece is the "safety belt" sash piece of fabric that gives your baby extra support for certain holds. It can be used with Newborn to 35 lbs.

PROS: Simple as pie to figure out how to use. Baby feels incredibly secure and you feel safe because there's really no "wrong" way to use this - whereas the Moby has more ways you could use it incorrectly. Affordable - I believe it was $45 on Amazon. No buckles, no snaps, NO WRAPS! Folds up into itself with the sash doubling as a carrying bag.

CONS: You must purchase the K'tan in your own size - so most likely you and your partner will not be able to share one - not the most economical purchase if you plan to share one wrap per couple. Fabric is similar to the Moby and can feel a bit thick on hot days - but definitely less fabric then the Moby.

Lastly we have the "SOLLY BABY," which I am pretty much in love with. First of all - the packaging is super cute. I appreciate the attention to detail here folks - photo 1

I wanted to try this wrap out because the fabric is so thin and lightweight. Chico and I tend to run a little on the hot side (damn you pregnancy hormones that are still messing with my temperature regulation abilities!) I've only had it 2 days and I'm pretty much obsessed. Here's why:

PROS: Fabric is super lightweight and stretchy - can be tucked into my small diaper bag easily. One size fits all - my husband and I can share! It's striped - my fav - need I say more? You can't tie this one too tight - so unlike the Moby, the object is to tie this sucker really tight and because it's so stretchy you don't ahve to worry about crushing your baby. Wrap is made of organic cotton and is incredibly soft - similar feeling to the Aden and Anais bamboo swaddlers. There is a sweet little hidden pocket at the end of the fabric that can fit keys, paci, etc. This wrap can also fold up into itself.

CONS: The only con is that it only holds up to 25 lbs (I'm assuming due to the lightweight fabric). This means I can't put Chico in this until he's in 2nd grade...BUMMER!

photo 3photo 5

The Ring Sling is a whole different beast. Despite watching tutorials, having my husband assist, etc., I haven't been able to wear it in a way that I feel confident that Chico won't fall to his death. Until I feel sure enough, we will not be hitting the town in the ring sling. I haven't given up though because I love the idea of it. There just isn't a lot of time to play around with new toys when you have a 7 week old infant. Proof? It has taken me almost 4 hours to write this damn entry because Chico needs me.

Clearly I'm no longer running the show over here.

What are your thoughts on baby wearing? What are your favorite wraps, slings, etc.? I'd love to hear what you mama's are into right now!

The Wonder Weeks.

via Instagram http://instagr.am/p/XG2oc-oceo/

Loving this app! It lets you know when you can expect a rough patch due to developmental and physical changes your baby is experiencing and really breaks it down. So very helpful! I am going to have to get this book off Amazon and get more details. So far it's beyond accurate!

What parenting apps do you use? Do Tell...

Honestly...

photo 1 I had heard a lot about The Honest Company - Jessica Alba's eco-friendly company that sells baby products, bath products and cleaning products. I didn't really give the line a second thought due to the fact that she's a celebrity. Unlike most consumers who are attracted to products endorsed by celebs, I am sort of the polar opposite. I feel like they have more to prove being a celeb and this is why I brushed The Honest Co. off, despite the fact that am the type of consumer who would buy organic, eco-friendly, non-toxic when at all possible.

Upon doing more research I learned that you can order sample packs of certain products before committing to purchasing the monthly bundles or larger bundles of products. I ordered one sample pack that included - detergent, body and shampoo combo, lotion, hand soap, and healing balm. The other sample pack that I ordered was the diaper sample kit which included a small pack of their hypoallergenic wipes and six diapers. The diapers were what I was really excited to try. The website boasts that they are: non-toxic, chlorine free, plant based, contain a corn/wheat based absorbent core and the best part - they come in adorable prints (see picture above of the "boy" sample prints).

I was concerned that they might have sacrificed cute prints for a lower quality diaper, but I have been pleasantly surprised so far. In the past 3 weeks since I've been in this baby game - we have used some Huggies New Born that we got as a shower gift as well as Pampers Swaddlers. The Huggies were good because there was a cut out for the umbilical chord but I wasn't crazy about the fit around the legs. I love Pampers Swaddlers. Not only are they the softest things ever, but they hold large amounts of pee and poo and the best part is this blue line that appears indicating that your baby has wet the Pamper. May sound trivial but when you are running on 2 hours sleep and you can just look at the diaper versus taking it off to check - it feels like the best invention since electricity.

So back to the Honest Diapers. At first I was concerned because they seem really thin, but he has done his bizz in them and no blow outs or leaks. I like the fact that they aren't bulky and feel like they'd probably good to ward against diaper rash because of the almost cloth diaper consistency.

We currently have plenty of size 1 Pampers, so I have time to decide whether we will switch to Honest Diapers and just get them shipped monthly. The site states thatt their diapers break down to about $20 a week for diapers and wipes.

IF you are interested in a price comparison to your normal diaper choice click HERE.

If you like Honest products I'd love to hear from you. If you haven't - Try Honest for yourself by clicking HERE and signing up. If you do I'll get $20 credit and then you can do the same with your pals!

xx

[Financial compensation was not received for this post - all opinions are my own]