Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My New Favorite Things

It has been nearly four and a half years since we've had a newborn in our house, and all I can say is wow, what a difference four years makes:).  I'm a different person than I was four years ago.  I'm more relaxed as a parent, though still very involved.  I'm much more health conscious now, but I don't let my quest to be healthy cause as much stress as in years past.  Instead of having a toddler and a newborn, I have a Kindergartner and a Preschooler who are amazing and intelligent and independent in their own ways.  Instead of trudging through each day as a stay at home parent, I'm finding joy in the position.  (And that joy is a result of connections I've formed with other Moms facing the same daily, and oftentimes mundane battles, as myself.  Also, that joy has come from the realization that I don't have to completely lose my identity in the role of motherhood.  I can pursue my passions and be a mother at the same time.)  Moreover, instead of fighting for the life that I had planned, I am embracing and rejoicing in the life I've been given.  And that life sure is beautiful!

On a lighter note, another area I've seen great change in the last four years is the baby gear market. Wowsers!  I might not have noticed as much had we saved any of our baby gear from our 'Bigs', Lucky and Charm, but we unloaded it all through the years because of the storage burden it presented and also the emotional burden as well.  It's no fun to walk past an old nursery filled with baby gear you may never use again when the thing you want more than anything is to have a need for that baby gear.  With Clover, we started from scratch with a goal in mind to keep it simple, which is admittedly much easier to do once you have the experience to realize that most of the gear first time parents purchase is unnecessary or utilized for such a short time period, that it's basically unnecessary:).  With that in mind, I thought it might be nice for someone out there to see my list of 'favorite things' that are helping to keep me happy during these newborn days.

Here goes:

I was introduced to this tea in the hospital, and I just love it.  It's loose leaf and wonderful, and I really feel like it helps with milk production.

I picked up a Chicco Keyfit car seat/stroller combo on clearance at Target this fall.  It  came with a Cortina stroller which seems nice but is huge and heavy.  I needed a lighter alternative to help me get around with ease while recovering from a c-section.  This stroller is 11 pounds, can be opened and closed with one hand, and has tons of storage room underneath.  The cup holders are great, the handle adjusts for tall people, and there is still room in the back of our car for purchases when the stroller is there!  It worked great during that time period when I was okay to carry Clover, but not Clover in a car seat.  I still would have to lift him briefly, but the stroller did all the carrying work!  And I still love it, 9 weeks out.  (Remember, Buy Buy Baby has 20% off coupons!)

Love this pillow!  It is not as cumbersome as a boppy and you can maneuver it into all different positions.  We call it the pirate pillow in our house, because if you turn it upside down, it reminds Charm of a pirate ship.  Clover is cat napping on it on my lap while I type this:).

4.  Owl Mug

I ordered this mug after Clover was born when it was on clearance with an additional percentage off discount.  I had a gift card that covered the cost, and it was one of those little things that just makes me smile.  I drink my nursing tea in it:).  Bill, however, doesn't like it because it's hand wash only and he has assumed the majority of the dish washing duty these days (Thank you Bill!!).

I pretty much live in these tank tops.  I wore them throughout my pregnancy with my cardigan sweater and legging combo.  I continue to wear them during the day, and even at night, because they make nursing so easy.  There are super stretchy, but they don't stretch out, if that makes sense.  I just love them.  I think I own 8 of them, thanks to a buy one get one 50% off sale at Target in December, I believe.  Even at the full price of $12.99, they are worth it!!

I love this station!  The kids love the this station!  We play it on our tv (using a Roku device) all the time!  Lucky loves to dance to the music in our great room, and one of my favorite things to do is watch her dance.  If you like Jack Johnson, The Lumineers, and Mumford & Sons, you'll like this station. They also play oldies, and children's songs performed by favorite adult artists.  

Apologies for the blurry image.  I'm just getting back to this blogging thing, and Eddie Bauer's larger images don't seem to be super copy/paste friendly:).  Regardless, I LOVE this sweater.  I wear tank tops to sleep in, and when I wake up to nurse, I'm chilly so I always put my sleep sweater on.  It's so soft and so cozy, and for some reason it makes being woken up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night not so bad.  I purchased it awhile back, and I see now it is on super clearance and has limited sizes available.  I probably would have picked up a second one, had I noticed the sale earlier.  Perhaps EB will come out with something comparable next year?

8. Mama Mellace Smores Snack

This snack is SO good.  Sinfully delicious....and for the first 6 weeks after Clover's birth, I looked forward to a small cupful every night during midnight feedings.  My Mom found it at Sam's Club, and it's priced at $7.50 per 32 ounce bag.  It is a fantastic ice cream topping as well!

9. Blog Reading

I heart reading blogs in the middle of the night.  Sometimes I love it too much, and I stay up longer than needed because I'm so engrossed.  I finally updated my 'favorites' side bar for easy reading for me.  There are so many amazing blogs out there!  So much to read, so little time.

10. Aden and Anais Blankets and Wash Cloths

We love this brand of swaddle blankets and wash cloths too.  They are perfect for swaddling, keeping baby warm in the car seat, burp towels, tummy time mats, changing pad covers, etc.  

These are my go to pants for Clover.  They are SO cute.  They look like jeans, but are actually more like sweatpants.  I'm tempted to scoop up a few in every size, because I know they will be a staple in his wardrobe for many, many months to come.  And you can't go wrong with the price either, especially when combined with a Carter's coupon, and when don't they have a current coupon or sale promotion, really?:)

Okay, so this container falls under the nice to have realm of baby goods, and I'm well aware of that, but it is so convenient!  We use Earth's Best wipes and it's so handy to put the wipes in this dispenser.  It includes a weighted disc that allows the wipes to come out one at a time and it seals really well so the wipes never dry out.  I realize many wipes come with the plastic containers that do the same thing, but this seems like a super durable version of that.  It allows for one handed wipe pulling which was such an upgrade from struggling with the plastic wipe packages.  Need to have?  No way.  Does it make midnight changes easier for us?  You betcha!

13. Grocery Delivery and Amazon 

I used to think grocery delivery was only for the really wealthy or the really old or the really sick, but now, I think it's for the really smart:)!  We started getting our groceries delivered when Clover was about two weeks old, and it has been SO nice.  Grocery shopping from the comfort of your own home?  Yes, please.  Our groceries are delivered about twelve hours after ordering (We usually order on a Friday night and they are delivered by noon Saturday.)  Our local grocery delivery service offers new customers four free months of delivery, and we are taking advantage:).  This winter has been brutal, and I've tried to make as few excursions with Clover as possible, so this helps greatly!  The company we work with runs sales like other stores, offers a free product every week, and the prices are fairly comparable to what we are used to paying at a normal grocery store, though they are not Trader Joe prices:).  Regardless, we love the service and it has definitely made life easier for us as of late.  Same thing goes for Amazon.  We've been Amazon Prime members for a while, ever since we stopped our cable service and switched to Hulu/Amazon for tv watching, and we have been so pleased with their service.  We get our toilet paper, paper towels, diapers and wipes delivered to our door monthly and whenever I'm in need of a present or household item, I order from Amazon and receive my items two days after ordering.  You just can't beat that kind of service.  I love being able to read reviews and select the product that is going to work best for us!  Which leads me to numbers 14 and 15, both items I discovered on Amazon not so long ago.

I really like having a mirror to see what my little guy is up to in the car.  And he seems to find reassurance in being able to see me as well.  We actually picked up an Eddie Bauer car seat mirror at Target after Clover was born, but it was horrible because you could strap it on, but you couldn't angle it to get the view you needed of the baby.  All I could see was the side window or the back of the front seat. This Britax mirror, on the other hand, is a fantastic car seat mirror.  You strap it on the headrest and then it has a pivot mount that allows you to adjust it.  It's easy to install, and easy to line up the mirror.  And this purchase was made easier by the number of good reviews of this mirror on Amazon.

I had used a car seat cover with Lucky and Charm that was similar to this one, except it didn't have a built in flap to cover their faces when outside in the cold.  I always just put a blanket on top, which was annoying because the wind would blow the blanket around.  This time, I wanted to find a seat cover that was easy to get Clover in and out, but that had a flap to cover his face to protect him from the wind and cold.  This cover got great reviews, and although I still add an extra blanket or two to help him stay warm in the extreme cold, it's been working out really well.

16.   My Bed.  

I love it so!!  It took me at least 1 week and a half to two weeks (maybe's sort of a blur now) after surgery before I could lay down in my bed to sleep AND get myself out of bed on my own.  I spent all those nights sitting in a rocker recliner, which is not the same thing as laying down in bed at all.  I am a belly sleeper normally, and it has been so amazing to sleep on my belly in my bed.  I'm telling you it's all about the little things, really:).

And that wraps up the run down of my favorite things right now:).  Hope you are having a good week!  More to come soon:).

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