Happy Friday! This weekend is project exercise. I am going to look into classes, memberships, apps, videos… all of it, in search for a winner. As a former ballerina (meaning I took some classes for a minute 2 decades ago), I am drawn to dance based things – so maybe a barre class or Ballet Beautiful. Yoga was amazing during my pregnancy and would probably be helpful with repairing my separated abdomen (for real). The YMCA offers free childcare with a family membership, BONUS. And pilates has always seemed like something that I might enjoy. But it is time to get these lazy winter bones moving.
Sight: Are you guys watching The Bachelor? We haven’t missed a season… ever. But the dude this round is pretty boring.
Smell: Two perfume samples (this and this) arrived the other day and I’ve been rotating them, along with some samples from Lurk. Sometimes a little dab of a lovely scent can totally change the way you feel about yourself.
Sound: This is terribly exciting. February 13th, two girlfriends and I will be seeing SWV, Bel Biv Devoe, and Tony! Toni! Toné! in concert. Yes, I am serious!!! Also, if you are ready to get your weekend started, you better follow those links. You’re welcome.
Touch: We are in desperate need of sheets, only owning one crappy set is no bueno. I love these and they are on sale, but I feel like I’m always disappointed by sheets and would rather hunt out the best, crispiest, cool, long lasting kind.
I wish I could say that the past few months were a welcomed break. That I spent my time away from this space frolicking in fields with my family and getting awesome shit done. But the reality is, I don’t know what happened. Work got crazy, my baby turned into an energetic boy, and next thing I know I’m one of those “busy” people. Like that is somehow an acceptable answer when someone asks you how you are. It’s not. The thing is, we all get busy, we take on too much and then complain about it, when it’s mostly in our control. I have the added problem of incorrectly prioritizing when things start to inevitably fall by the wayside. Last year around this time I set goals for 2014. While some of the goals were met, the putting myself first was most definitely not. As a mother, I’m sure this is going to be a goal every year for the rest of my life, but let’s give it another shot for 2015. How do you find time for yourself amidst the chaos of life?
photograph: The Billings (from the awesome family shoot we had done back in October, I’ll post more from that soon!)
This one is a little late. Which makes sense, because at 13 months you turned into a wild child. You are on the move constantly. And not just crawling and cruising anymore, these days you are taking steps. Sometimes just a few off the couch heading for the dog and other times you run between your papa and I, flinging your body into our arms and laughing. There is a lot of laughing. You discovered how to make us laugh. It’s usually by doing something strange. Like holding your toe like a hook as I try to put your sock on. We laugh and you get a little smirk and do it again, this can go on for a while.
Along with all the laughing there have been more tears. You want to do so much all the time, and aren’t very happy with me when I suggest we do something different. Like when I suggest instead of crawling through the cat door into the disgusting laundry room with litter boxes, we play with your toys or read a book, you don’t always think that’s a good idea and express your aversion by laying on the ground and pounding your fists and feet… and sometimes your head. You are pretty dramatic, but it’s short lived. My passionate little buddy.
The flipside of those dramatics is your usual laid-back nature. You are such a joy to be around and a pretty chill bud. I love being able to take you anywhere and not worry. Sometimes you and I go out to lunch just the two of us and it always seems to take people by surprise. But I really enjoy this time with you, sharing a meal and people watching.
Sight: Oskar loves Yo Gabba Gabba. I know, he is probably too young for tv, but whatever. The kid dances his face off when it comes on and it’s wacky, tolerable, and has musical guests I’m familiar with.
Smell: We are trying these wipes. I like the insanely minimal ingredients, but they don’t come out of the package very easily.
Sound: His musical instruments are by far his favorite toys. He has been really loving the drum set he got for his birthday. And according to Nick he has perfect technique… great, I can live with two drummers!
Taste: I love these spinach cakes. They are so convenient and perfect for him to eat on his own. Plus they are packed full of spinach. I want to try to make these muffins too. Any tips on sugar replacements?
Touch: Any tips on how to keep socks and shoes on? He whips them off the second he’s put in the carseat. So far converse have worked well, but they take a while to put on… and I’m already missing one. I was thinking about getting some tights for winter to layer under leggings or pants.
We are in desperate need of storage over here. Many of our books and decorative items (pottery… tons of pottery) are still in boxes piled high in the garage. Since essentially one side of our home is glass (eeeeek! I know), we are limited on wall space. The solution is a badass built-in. The one above is from the most recent Domino magazine of Emily Henderson‘s house. I’ve seriously been counting down the days for this thing to be released so I could see that bad boy. I would love something with a combination of closed storage and open shelves, and bonus would be a built in desk area. Kind of like this. Here are some other shelving options.
There are people who have a look. Not just a style that is their own. A very specific part of them that never changes. Their trademark. The same haircut, same glasses, even people who only wear one color. For almost 10 years I only wore white nail polish, but then I branched out and it was awesome, so many choices… too many choices, I still go back to a shade of white more often than not. Part of me wants to be that person, the “white nail polish girl,” the “curly hair with bangs girl,” it’s probably the same part of me that really enjoyed wearing a uniform to school. The other part of me gets bored and craves change. What type are you?
They say you’re a toddler now. Although it’ll be hard for me to not think of you as a baby anymore, it’s probably more fitting since you’ve never been into the baby thing anyway. You are in-de-pe-nd-ent and always on the go. Patience will be key for all of us during this time as your body catches up to your brain. You want to feed yourself, but aren’t that good at it, so there are big messes… but messes can be cleaned. You want to read your flip books by yourself, but get too excited, so sometimes the flap rips off… but we can buy some tape. You want to move around, but sometimes you go too fast, so you fall on your face… but we can put down more rugs and get lots of bandaids. I will try my best to let you do things on your own so you can learn and grow, and hopefully we can get through with minimal damage.
The subtitle of this post should be “what is that?” It is all you say. And you say it 500 times a day while pointing at different objects. Now in different ways… what’s that, what is that, what is it, whats this. The ‘that’ has gotten really long and drawn out. I spend the majority of my days saying “dog. fan. light. fan. still the fan. light switch. that’s the fan again.” (maybe this means we’ll escape the classic “why?” stage… probably not)
I couldn’t possibly explain how amazing this past year has been. It’s almost as if your one year mark is my one year mark as well. Like there was no before. This past year seems to have gone so quickly, yet so much happened. You went from a black and white photo that people told me was a picture of the inside of my enormous belly to a smiling, head banging, busy little boy.
This weekend we head to Wheatland. Your first festival. You won’t remember this or anything from your first year. But hopefully this sets the foundation of being a family and doing things together.
Sight: Oskar loves reading books all by himself. He looks back and forth and turns the pages while babbling away. Its painfully cute. Some favorites of late are Bobby Bear’s ABC, A Book of Sleep, and Happy Baby ABC.
Smell: We use disposable diapers at night and just tried this brand. I love them. Natural, no leaks, and no rash. And for wipes I want to try these.
Sound: Finally tried a sound machine app over the weekend while we were staying at my mother-in-laws. His cousins were also in town and the naps weren’t lasting very long. We played brown noise from some website on computer speakers. Seemed to do the trick!
Taste: We’re getting crazy over here. Oskar drank milk over the week and ate a scrambled egg for dinner last night.
Touch: He’s not walking on his own yet. But he may be the fastest crawler around. The knees of his pants are really taking a beating.
No one seems to want to acknowledge that you are 11 months, it is always “almost 1.” Which yes, this is true, you are almost one year old, but I don’t want this month to be a countdown. I want to celebrate THIS month and THIS age. Alright, alright… I may be a little sensitive about the upcoming birthday, but you have a few weeks of 11 months left, so lets focus on that and forget about all that mushy mumbo jumbo I’ll end up writing next month.
You point at everything saying “whasat” and sometimes “whasis” so I’m obviously convinced you mean “what is that?” and “what is this?” You like your toys just fine, but they are no match for your dad’s phone charger and Mischa’s water bowl. Thankfully, these two things have not been played with together. But you’re quick and I’m often distracted, so it’s only a matter of time.
There is a lot of walking with your IKEA cart, giving kisses, screaming as the cat runs by, and annoying the dog. We take a walk every morning and often see deer, and recently the baby deer. It’s so exciting when you spot them all by yourself and get really excited.
You are a wild child, Oskar. Your smiles and silliness make up for the exhaustion and chaos. Being a work at home mama is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but anytime I feel like it’s all too much I think about how lucky I am to spend my days with you… and then I look into halfday daycare.
Sight: Sometimes I let Oskar join me in watching my guilty pleasure…. So You Think You Can Dance.
Smell: When we use disposables, I’ve been using these wipes. I really like how soft and not overly soapy they are.
Sound: Loves playing his xylophone and turns everything and anything into a drum, just like his dad.
Taste: Watch out, this kid wants to steal your snacks. Pretzels, veggie chips, whatever it is, Oskar wants it.
Touch: The past few nights I’ve noticed as Oskar lays down to sleep he grabs and cuddles his blanket, it’s so sweet.
Getting ready to welcome a baby? I’ve put together this list of what we have used and loved or wished we had (for the first 10 months). We tried to take a fairly minimalist parenting approach. The theory was to start with less and add more if we felt it was needed. So you won’t find any noise machines or whoozits here, but it is still pretty thorough.
I tend to be a little OCD with this stuff. When we were getting our baby registry needed, I created a spreadsheet (nerd alert) broken down into categories and then marked where I would register for it, if I was getting it as a hand-me-down from family or friends, or already owned it. Maybe I can find a cool way to share that with you as well! We registered at Target and Amazon, Target is especially nice for those people who want to go to a store and get something – but there are usually some great local store options if most your family or friends live in town. In Ann Arbor I like to shop at The Little Seedling and Elephant Ears, both have registry options. Also Craiglist is a major go-to, but hard to use when it comes to registering. Otherwise the Amazon Baby Registry is awesome. Here’s our [edited post baby] baby registry…
Changing Pad & Covers - We have a changing pad on a dresser, it works just fine. More than one cover is totally necessary, especially if you have a boy… Crib - This is our crib and it’s solid as a rock and super cute too. Mattress Organic Cotton Mattress Pad Crib Sheets - We actually have ones from Target, but I’m not too impressed. Even though they are “all the same” some fit and others don’t. It makes no sense. Plus they are pretty rough. I think springing for a couple good ones and using “crappy” ones when you need to is a better idea. Crib Blanket or Quilt Bassinet or Co-Sleeper - Oskar slept in our room for the first 3-4 months. Makes night feedings a heck of a lot easier and I loved being able to see my sweet sleeping baby. Swaddle Blankets – These are worth every penny. We still use them as a light blanket, changing pad, cover for the crib/car seat during naps, everything. Woombie Cocoon Swaddle – Oskar hated or broke out of every swaddling contraption we tried (and we tried a lot). This won hands down. He was able to move more freely and get his arms by his chest but still be snug. Hamper Hangers
Even though we use cloth, I still kept/keep disposables on hand for when laundry gets backed up or we are out and about or out of town. Our big ol baby left the hospital in size 1. So if you have a family history of substantially sized babes, I would skip or go light on the newborn size.
ERGObaby Baby Carrier – Use everyday. No joke. Would die without it. Wrap – Saved my life when he was a newborn and used a lot for the first 6 months. Sling – I love my sling. SO easy throwing on to run errands or around the house. Having a harder time with it now that he is bigger, so I need to go back to the store and have them help me adjust it properly. Stroller – This could be a post all on it’s own. Strollers are very specific to you and your needs, and as my sister-in-law warned, you’ll end up with more than one. We have the Britax B-Ready and the phil&teds Smart Stroller. The Britax was our first, I really wanted the UPPAbaby Vista but a friend recommended the Britax and it has worked out well. The Smart Stroller I got recently at a warehouse sale and it is the one that stays in the car now. After going to Chicago we really wanted something slimmer, lighter, and easier. So far we’ve liked it, but the nontelescoping handle is a little (a lot) short for a tall person (to be fair, Nick is 6’6″ – most things are too short). In the beginning the features we enjoyed were: clipping in the carseat, the deep recline, ability to face in and out and switch between the two easily, big sunshade, big basket, and a cup holder… of course. Craigslist has great used options, though you can’t register there, you can always return and buy used. Infant Car Seat – We were lucky enough to have one passed down to us. Convertible Car Seat – The research process to pick out a carseat was insane. I am happy with ours, but my first choice was this one. Travel Crib – We went without for a while, but so happy we have one. It makes traveling so much easier and is great for when we are at a friends house late. Plus this one you can wear as a backpack and only weighs 13 lbs. As a tip, have your baby nap it in at home sometimes before you try it out on the road. Car Seat Cover – A must for the infant carseat in the winter. Bouncer - A good bouncer is the best thing in the world. I also have friends who swear by the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper
I almost exclusive breastfeed, so not the best person for advice on pumps, storage systems, or bottles.
Baby Monitor – We have one and never use it. Trust me, if that kid is crying, you don’t need a monitor to hear him. But if you have multiple levels or it’s good weather and you want to sit outside, I think it could be useful. And personally, we think the video monitor is a tad overkill. Nosefrida – It seems gross, but it’s awesome. Just do it. Trust me. Don’t forget extra filters Thermometer Nail Clippers – We have the scissors and I don’t like them, but a ton of people do. I would get both and find out which works best for you.
Bath Sponge – I took baths with Oskar until he was old enough to sit up on his own. I just used the sponge to lay him on while I got out or for the occasional sink bath. Cheap and a HUGE space saver. I don’t know where I would have kept a giant plastic tub. Towels – Most hooded towels are too small and not absorbent. I would get a few nice ones or just use a regular towel that you keep separately. Washcloths Shampoo
Most of these aren’t main necessities, but nice additions. Things we really loved or maybe wished we had.