Sunday, January 31

Charm City Mama's BIG Baby Gear Review

I've been promising this review for some time, but wanted to make sure I only recommended products that have really helped me in these first 5 months or so of motherhood.

There are many more things than I have listed here that have also helped us survive, but I thought I would narrow it down to the most helpful items. Some of these things I discovered on my own. Some were recommended from other moms; some gifted. All are wonderful. Enjoy!

Toys: Momentary Bliss
1. Soothe & Glow Seahorse - This was a gift that Olivia has had since birth and soothes her right to sleep. It's portable and it glows for light utility and babies are drawn to light. It has multiple songs which I have memorized in order. It's hard to believe she used to be nearly the same size as this little thinkg and I would support her back with it during her naps.Washable!
2. Sassy O Links - Also a gift that keeps on giving. These go everywhere. The stroller, the activity jumper, the changing table, the car. EVERYWHERE. She loves grabbing them, biting them, shaking them, throwing them and they link togethe to connect to anything. Buy multiples!
3. Baby Einstein Lights and Melodies Discovery Center - Another gift! I was skeptical about this one, b/c I thought it would be the same as her Boppy play gym, but this thing is ANOTHER LEVEL. An experienced mom, gave me this and told me that this would give me a solid 20 minutes maybe more. She is a genius and I silently thank her every time I use it. It also grows with baby--love that!
4. Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper - This was Olivia's gift from Santa. Thanks Santa. We decided on this jumper over others, because it folds and can be put away--although we have never put this puppy away and never will. We love music, so Olivia has learned to dance in this jumper when we dance in front of her or clap. It's so cute.
5. Cloud B Sleep Sheep Sound Machine - I use this interchangeably with the seahorse and prefer the on-the-go version over the big one for its versatility. It has a 20 min or 45 min timer settting. Volume control is great. Washable! It velcros to the bed and gets packed on all overnight trips. I like the ocean sound the best. Charm City Daddy likes the whale sounds best. Olivia likes them all!
* Honorable Mention: Little Lamb Swing - only an honorable mention because I wanted to only choose 5 items, but this one is easily my favorite item, particularly in the early days for all of the sleeping newborns do. Now the toy attachments and mobile are great distractions for momentary bliss.


Feeding: When Hunger Strikes
1.  Baby Bjorn Bibs - Gift. When Olivia started solids, this is the only bib that makes sense to use otherwise you'd be piling up laundry with crusty cloth bibs. Who wants that?  The "bucket" on the bottom is handy. This contours on her comfortably and wipes clean. Love that!
2. Prince Lionheart Bebe Pod Plus (Orange) - Gift. While this resides in the kitchen now, it started off in our bedroom b/c that little "Price Is Right Wheel" that snaps into the tray is a wonderful, wonderful thing. The toy occupies baby while you prepare food (hers or your own). The placemats make for easy clean up, and the little nob make the pod a versatile seat for anywhere in the house. Did I mention how wonderful the wheel is? Absolutely wonderful. Only setback, Olivia's fat legs may not fit under the tray for much longer.
3. Similac Ready-To-Feed 2 Ounce Bottles - Lifesavers! Church. Restaurants. Mall. Car. You name it. Nipple ready and perfectly proportioned in 2oz increments, so I can just open them in rapid succession until the hunger is satified without wasting any! Yay! Don't leave home without them.
4. Avent Trainer Handles - You can buy these separately or you can just pull them off of Avent Magic Sippy Cup like I did and put them on your Avent bottle. Either way, you will be one step closer to giving yourself and your baby independence in holding her own bottle. Freedom is around the corner.
5. Boon Squirt Baby Food Dispensing Spoon - Great for at-home OR on-the-go. To me, it doesn't make sense to put baby food that's already in portable plastic containers in this spoon, so I prefer to use it for cereals and oatmeal. I mix them right inside the orange handle and serve without messing up other dishes/utensils. It works beautifully with one hand leaving the other one free to text message, feed yourself, or place squarely on your hip for sass and has a cap for portability or saving food for later.

Go Gear: Go Baby Go
1. Joovy Kooper Umbrella Stroller - Yes, that's right. I am recommending this stroller over my other one. OMG! It's portable, lightweight, easy to use/fold, stylish, enormous canopy, lots of storage. The manufacturer says don't use it until your baby is 6 months, but I reclined it all the way back and inserted a #5 and Olivia was perfectly safe at 2 months old on the streets of New Orleans.
2. JJ Cole Bundle Me/ Bundle Me Lite - I recommend and own both of these mini sleeping bags. One is like a fleece lined windbreaker (Lite) the other is like faux shearling coat.  I've used them on strollers and the infant car seat. It's tough enough getting your babe buckled up without bulky coats and this solves that by providing warmth/protection over the baby. Many use blankets that fall and get nasty. Make the investment in this folks. You can also pull it over the baby completely too--a lovely little cocoon wherever you go.
3. Baby Bjorn Carrier - Pregnant couples (mostly dudes) stop and ask us if we like this thing all the time. They are most concerned with whether it is comfortable for men's broad shoulders. It is. It is very easy to use. We have two. I think that says it all.
4. SafeFit Baby In Sight Mega Mirror - Recommended by a fellow mommy. You may wonder how does seeing your baby help if you are driving anyway? Get it, and you'll understand. It allows you to quickly see what the problem is so you can FIX it: lost pacifier, sun in eyes, toy out of reach, tired, hungry (rooting). Yeah, just get it and thank me (and the mommy who told me about it) later.
5.  (not pictured) Kiddopotamus Snuzzler - I've used this a lot more than I thought I would, particularly when traveling and the car service shows up with a toddler car seat for your 2 month-old. It pretty much stays in the Joovy stroller.
* Honorable Mention: Baby Bjon Carrier Cover - If you own the Bjorn Carrier and live in a cold climate, owning this is not an option; it is a necessity. It fits snuggly and fastens on so it ain't going nowhere. We use it shopping, and even used it today at Nationals Park for fan day.

Well that's it! Still with me? A review of cloth diapers is also coming soon. Lots to talk about there, so come on back.

*I was not compensated or gifted any items to review for this post.

Wednesday, January 20

Five Months Old

...and just a big butterball of FUN!

Giggling loudly. Growling with a gutteral raspy "rooaaar"(where did you get that from?).  Eating solids--loving applesauce and the spoon airplane. Wearing cloth diapers and pooping like a champ. Passing objects easily from one hand to the other. Putting your pacifier in your mouth all by yourself without thought or hesitation (yet another reason mommy needs to get rid of it). Helping mommy turn the pages of books we read at bedtime (sometimes before I'm finished reading the page). Taking daytime power naps (well that is plural on a good day) for not longer than 30-minute stints and driving us all crazy and tired. Failing to stay awake past 7 p.m. and asleep past 7 a.m. Playing with the bath water and splashing it with reckless abandon. Recognizing your name and turning your head when we call you by it. Mesmerized by music so much so that it stops you in your tracks and listening like you are dissecting the composition. Enjoying cartoons on Saturday (and sometimes weekday) mornings in the middle of mommy and daddy's bed while they catch extra Zzz. Ducking from daddy's overwhelming kiss fests.  Demanding to be held constantly if we don't push you around the house in your stroller or sit you in your bouncer. Loving dancing with mommy on her hip. Loving the drama of when mommy face plants into her bed spread eagle just to get a reaction from you. Lacking any knowledge of your new earrings, but hating when mommy has to clean them each day. Growing more kinky naps and thicker hair every day and losing more in the back from the crib rub. Whining anytime you see a bottle or water bottle and reaching for it. Ballooning to new heights in baby obesity and making mommy proud with every little roll on your fat legs. Making us proud with every new talent, skill, and sound. Teaching us to be flexible parents and enjoy every little moment with you as you grow up before our eyes.

Monday, January 18

In Honor of the "Dream"

...if you haven't already, please make a minimal monetary donation to Haiti relief.

I texted "QUAKE" to 20222 to donate to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. You can repeat it up to three times.

Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 15

Put a Sling On It!

Have you seen this wonderful absurdity?

(Courtesy of Marvelous Kiddo)

(*the little boy's reaction in front to all of the dancing and hand gestures really sealed the deal for me)

I've found best way to unwind after a long day at work is to turn up my iPod boombox and dance (full-out) with Olivia in my arms--and sometimes for a good 30-minute stretch. She loves it and I tell myself it's my mini workout.

Anyway...we haven't jammed to this one yet- we mostly do Rihanna and Black-Eyed Pea-but I am kicking off my weekend with this little number tonight!

It's been a crazy busy work week. Be back soon with updates.

Sunday, January 10

Loose Ends...

Hey folks...please pardon the hiatus.  It's gonna be a busy week.

I have many loose ends to tie up this week both at work and for my pending graduate school application. I think I've mentioned it in passing here before, but I am going back to school to get my masters. Yep, because adjusting to motherhood wasn't enough of a challenge and lifestyle change--NOT!

While I don't need the degree for my career right now (although it won't hurt down the road--I do work in higher education administration after all), I feel as though I am at a point where I need do it now or never. The longer I wait, the more babies, the more responsibilities and less I will be inclined to take the plunge.

So! When I return, hopefully I would have figured out how to graphically design that baby gear review the way I've pictured it in my head. I also owe you some "after" pics/stats as I have long lost that final 10 lbs post-baby. It all melted away as soon as I stopped breastfeeding actually. And whatever else I have promised you but haven't yet delivered on. What am I forgetting? Tell me.

Be right back!

Wednesday, January 6

Bye Bye Crackberry...

Helloooooo iPhone!

To my darling Crackberry:

The time has come for us to go our separate ways. I can't believe I am saying this, but I need more---or actually LESS. I've grown tired of carrying around my work smart phone, you, my ipod, and worrying about what calendar appts, contacts, pics, music are synchronized with my macbook or work PC or you or whatever I'm carrying. I need simplicity--and iPhone will give me that. One phone. One calendar. One set of contacts. All of my emails, pics, videos, and music in one pretty place.

You did a great job of handling all of my email accounts (work and personal) and made texting and emailing a breeze on your perfect little qwerty keyboard. In fact, if there is anything I will miss most about you, it will be that lovely shiny keyboard of yours--oh and the many lists I kept in memopad, oh and documents to go! You were like my little thumb drive.

I will miss the good times we had. We've been faithful friends for what--4 years now? I even got your latest edition the Bold 9700--and it was a fun little ride, but honestly--even with the new touchpad, you've lost your sheen.

At any rate, I think this new iPhone will be better for me and my new role as a mom. There are apps that can teach Charm City Baby her ABC's, foreign languages, and so much more. So you see it isn't you. It's me!


Charm City Mama

I Call This Look... homage to the exquisite Kimora Lee Simmons

Headband+ Kimono style top + NO bottoms! + Pastry Sneakers = Yet Another Nanny Creation.

This was what I came home to on Monday....and it gave me PURE. JOY.

Saturday, January 2

Fashion. Drama. Fabulous.

"Fashion, Fashion, Fashion. Dram-er, Dram-er, Dram-er. Fabulous, Fabulous, Fabulous."  -Dwight from the Real Housewives of Atlanta

I have had so much fun with Olivia's outfits during this little winter break!

I bought her some little pink fur boots the other day at Sassanova and couldn't wait to pair them with everything in her wardrobe. Then it snowed again and it helped make my case to Charm City Daddy of why she NEEDED these boots!

They were perfect for her juicy jumpsuit--which was a hit at New Year's Eve noon service at church.

And today she was a real ghetto bunny. I mean ready to break dance and '"pop n' lock" at any moment--complete with Pastry's. Too cute.


Hey she's happy--"do you boo boo." lol.

Beauty Hurts...

(blog issues...if you've partially received this post..I apologize for the error (ahem--THANK blogger!!--back to business)


Olivia's ears are pierced! Aaaahhh! I am so glad it is over. I have worried and stressed about this day from the moment I asked O's doctor when we could get her ears pierced. She recommended to wait until 4 months--after two rounds of shots, but young enough that O wouldn't yank at them.

Charm City Daddy and I were so excited..then I almost cried just before it happened. We picked out the earrings first, "genuine diamonds" according to the case (lol) and the biggest her little ears could take. She was strapped her to daddy in the Bjorn carrier (b/c mommy's heart can't take shots or anything that hurts baby). I was armed with a blackberry for pics/video and a lollipop just in case a pacifier didn't do the trick and THANK GOD because there was a slight snafu with the piercing gun (it jammed and didn't clip the back of the earring on) and this caused the woman to prolong the piercing of O's right ear, which caused poor Olivia's wail to hit new heights. As soon as the gun jammed I looked at CCD and we both had this huge look of guilt---and felt like awful parents. It was all we could do not to scream at the lady but both of us remained silent as she got it together very quickly. It was so hard to watch---but I videotaped in case we would have to take this BIOTCH to court. Don't mess with my baby! It all ended well and they look perfect--thank goodness.

It is amazing how different she looks with these little gems poking out of her ear.