Woom 1 Balance Bike – Is it Worth It?

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If you follow my instagram you 1. probably know I am insane and over post my life and 2. See Quince flying around on his little yellow Woom Balance Bike. This bike is Quince’s most prized possession and heaven forbid someone else try to ride it. His reaction flips between 100% freakout to frantically finding something else to give the person so they get off his bike. While he may have mastered balance bike riding – he has not mastered sharing. Priorities people Priorities.

Anyway, I hopped on this dusty old site of mine because I have received quite a few messages asking about the Woom Bike and if it is worth it. I am going to focus on Quince’s Woom Balance bike, but will note we also have a Woom 2 (Nola’s) that she is basically outgrown, but also HIGHLY recommend.

So the Woom Balance Bike. Yes it is worth it. Yes I know it is $200. ($199 if you are getting technical).

We purchased this bike for Quince when he was just over a year old. I ordered it on Amazon because I had some giftcards and if you use an Amazon CC got 5% back. That said you can also order direct from the site for the same price. I went for the Woom for Quince for two reasons 1. We had a Woom 2 and really really loved it and 2. It had one of the lowest standover height of all the balance bikes and was rather lightweight. Since Quince was tiny I wanted him to be able to ride easily from the get-go.

When we first got the bike, Quince would stand on it and move a little. I will admit he got a tad nervous after he tipped once and he reverted back to preferring his scooter. However, when his scooter mysteriously went missing, he hopped back on the bike and was cruising pretty proficiently within days. While a lot of this is access (and temperament), I also believe his comfort on the bike (closeness to the ground and the distance to the handlebars) helped him quickly master the skills needed to cruise. How light the bike is, is not only great for when Quince wonders off and leaves me to carry the bike home :),  but also because he is able to complete long rides and big hills pretty easily. Yesterday he rode on a trail for almost 2 miles with zero complaints and got his bike up some steep hills independently. He also is learning about hand brakes early, which I will be honest wasn’t a dealbreaker for me in a balance bike, BUT is a great addition.

So if you are in the market for a balance bike, we highly recommend the Woom 1 and find it is worth the high price tag. Quince is not one to “care nicely” for his bike, but it is still in impeccable shape and ready for Navi as soon as she decides that walking is a good idea. If you have a bigger kid, there also is a new Woom 1 Plus which is a slightly higher standover and has a cruiser board. We have zero need for this bike right now, but I know my bigger kids would love it just to play around on because they still find balance bikes a good time – even though they have been on a two wheeler for some time now.

I also am going to note for anyone who doesn’t plan on passing the bike down – I have seen a Woom 1 balance bike go for $150 on a local site, but easily can make half your money back because people are always on the search for a used Woom, since they never go on sale. You can purchase an upcycle program through Woom, where you can return the bike and apply the money to the next size up bike. They use those upcycles bikes to donate to local schools and community events which is awesome! I like supporting good people!

So if you have any questions feel free to comment or hop on over to Boonesoncampus on IG and shoot us a message. You can also see Quince in action over on Instagram.

Five Favorites: Warm Winter Babies

In my imaginary blog world where I actually write consistently, Friday favorites was an idea. However, we all know I am about how consistent I am in keeping up with this blog. I like to keep people on their toes and just when they can breath a sigh of relief that this blog has died I pop back up with my nonsense.

Today schools are closed because the wind chill is a balmy -40 degrees. We may not close for 40 inches of snow, but apparently the Adirondacks draw the line at negative 40. Who knew?

Having now had two babies (one 4 months old and one 8 month old) during the frigid north country winter months I have rounded out my five favorite things for keeping babies warm in the winter. I would like to say it’s having 4 kids that makes me need quick and easy, but in reality when I had just Flynn I was not one for nonsense and needed to keep it simple. Pretty much like all of us because no one has time for nonsense.

So here you have it – my five favorite baby items for the winter.

  1. This Bunting. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.13.47 AMPatagonia is my all time fav just because they are awesome people and seriously I want to work there so my kid can go to their amazing employee childcare center. That said, their products are also magical. Nola still squeezes her 5T self into 2T vest. Sure it is a tad snug, but it gets the job done. Quince is typically a 2T, however, he still is rocking this bunting from last year in a 12 month. I recently snagged a 0-3 month bunting for well over half off on a kid’s resale site for Navi and while she probably could use the next size up – it works for her at the moment! {Note: I always like gender neutral when possible not just so I can share with my own kids, but also if I ever pass it on or resell it gets more use!}
  2. These woolies.Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.15.06 AM I don’t know if you know this, but I love all things wool, especially Merino wool. My kids daily rock a pair of Merino wool base layers. They are the best for keeping kids warm and easily can layer to provide hours of outside play without the whining. Ella’s wool has a great pair for babies. I love the footie pants and how easily it is to wear alone or layer with another piece!
  3. Zutano fleece booties.Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.15.21 AM These have been my go-to since Flynn was a baby. They are a favorite baby shower gift and a piece that we have passed on from kid to kid. Navi has so many color options because pairs from all my kids are still in play and my sister passed a bunch down from my soon to be 6 year old niece. They stay on great and keep kiddos feet warm with or without socks underneath!
  4. Stroller Footmuff. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.14.37 AMWhen we lived on campus and were a one car family, I bought a stroller that basically served as our “second car”. I found a deal and while it was still WAY expensive, the stroller has been amazing for what we do, especially having two babies less than 16 months apart. Even now that we are off campus, I try to get the kids outside daily despite the weather (perhaps not -40 wind chill, but most other weather). One thing that gives me peace of mind (and makes it not a nightmare with blankets falling off, etc) is a stroller bunting or foot muff. We currently only have one because Navi was still using the bassinet function of the stroller, but as she transitions to the big seat I am scowling the internets (and gilt.com) for a deal on a second stroller footmuff. I believe they make generic ones, but we use the one fitted for our stroller.
  5. An easy hat that does not strap under the chin. Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 11.13.55 AMThis is a personal preference and really just because my babies always get annoyed with the chin strap. A good hat though is key. Navi rocks around the house and when I throw her in the carseat to pick the kids up we rock the bunting and a hat and go about our business without much fuss. Our favorite hat is one the hospital gave us when we left (a little knit cap), but this one also works now that Navi is larger and outgrowing Quince’s little knit hat.

Little Extra Savings During the Holiday Shopping Craziness

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As you can probably tell from my list of favorite things – I like expensive things. It is a bit of a problem that I believe stems from an early age. I still have vivid memories of begging/pleading/offering my mother anything and everything for a pair of overalls (purple velvet overalls) from Gap Kids in the 3rd grade. No joke they were $70. I was in third grade many years ago. I never got the overalls, but shopping with my mom over the past 31 years I learned a few valuable lessons. One is that you never pay full price (or at least rarely), be patience and lastly buy quality items that will last (and can be passed on) rather than the cheaper items that won’t make it a season. She particularly believes this about shoes and furniture, but really she will spend more if the item is well-made and will last.

While I will admit to my shopping addiction, I have done a few things over the years to lessen the blow or “fund” l my nice things habits. Last year I got into selling my clothes/shoes/bags that I no longer wore on Ebay and other online resell sites. My higher brand items obviously sold for more, but many also sold for way closer to their original value. I also used Ebay to buy a few great items for the kids on Ebay – like coats and toys- with much success.

One thing that has provided small savings that have accumulated over time – is Ebates. Essentially you sign up for a free Ebates account, then click the normal shops you shop through their site (or even better a Pinterest like toolbar button) and the savings rack up. I seriously go to a normal shopping site and if the the Ebates toolbar button will light up green if the site offers cash back. I click the Ebates toolbar button and the savings begins. It always is nice because they will show any promo codes being offered or deals of the day. While I still do a quick google and email search to ensure there are not better promos out there – I find they often have the best ones listed. The savings go right into my Ebates account and every few months the cash back savings will post over in my paypal account for a nice sweet surprise (that I can then go spend on Etsy), I mean transfer to my bank account.

As you shop this holiday season – set up an Ebates account to watch the savings flow in and sweeten the pot just a tad. Everything from Nordstrom (3%) to Uggs main site (11% cash back!) to Hanna Andersson (3%) and Boden (2%), even Gap offers (2%) and my new favorite Backcountry (5%) to name a few. So head on over, sign up and enjoy the savings.

 

 

 

Toddler and Preschool Christmas Ideas

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As you noticed with my many recent posts about the holidays – I love Christmas. I love the events, the music, the activities. And while I am an avid deal hunter and love stalking great deals – I am not a huge fan of buying things just for the sake of it. One of my least favorite parts about Christmas is giving a gift to someone that was purchased just because I need to give them a gift – not because they need it, want it or truly will enjoy the present. Even worse is having to spend a certain amount – not too much or too little – which can make finding the right present even more challenging. Every year I find that there are people I can find 15 things I would love to give them in a variety of price ranges and then there are people who I am stuck with well I guess they are getting socks and sweater again or let me just grab a gift card. While this gifting dilemma is usually reserved for siblings or extended family, this year I have found the problem with my kids – especially Flynn. Flynn plays with the same few “sets” of toys – his Disney Cars “Collection” and Ikea Rug, his Blaze Diecast Characters and his Planes guys regularly. Nola and he also enjoy playing with the kitchen set from Santa and the tent Nola got for her birthday. Then there are the other toys that get played with fairly regularly. At this point, I am not really sure what exactly Flynn (and really Nola) need. If you are struggling for ideas for your Toddler/Preschooler below are a few things we have and love or are on the list for this year.

  1. Magformers Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 6.38.20 AMThese were a Christmas Gift last year and both Nola and Flynn really enjoy them. Nola has been playing with them daily lately asking for her “mag-gets”. While these sets can get pricey, we found a great deal last year from Kohl’s of all places. They had sets buy one get one free plus we doubled up on coupons. I have not seen the BOGO deal yet this season, but I have seen buy one get one half off. If these are on your radar keep an eye out on Kohls.com and be sure to use a coupon code for 15-30% off, however, they are currently cheaper on Amazon and probably will have a drop or promo over the course of this holiday season.
  2. Marble Run Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 7.52.36 AMThis is a toy I had growing up. My mom actually still has her set from a Discovery Toys demonstration (you know back when people had Tupperware and MaryKay demonstrations) and so we added on to the fun with a new set from Amazon. Currently our 1980’s set mixes in with the 2015 version and makes for loads of fun. While we are really happy with our Discovery Toys version, there is a Hape wooden version that always caught my eye and comes with great reviews.
  3. DC Figurines Set Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 7.55.18 AMFlynn is always asking me for Batman figurines, but I have yet to find any that are the right size and not a huge pain to stand up and play with. Dominique informed it is because DC has contracts with Imaginext and while they may be great for some kids – Flynn isn’t really a huge fan. He is always looking for something similar to the Ninja Turtles Half Shells, but we have yet to find the right match. Two sets that we own that he does seem to enjoy are the Little People Super Friends Pack and a wooden set from Pottery Barn Kids.
  4. Cape and Mask Set Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 8.03.09 AMThere are a ton of these on Etsy and we scored a Batman Cape and Mask from a shop in the Outerbanks last year.My sister also sent a set of Ninja Turtle masks awhile back that are still in regular rotation. Flynn uses his capes and masks and old Halloween costumes regularly. This year he has been asking for a SpiderMan set to add to the mix and this is a gift I happily will give. I love the imagination as well as the amount of time both Nola and Flynn will spend running around reenacting scenes, even if they often result in unmade beds and messy rooms. IMG_2185 11219451_10100912446521712_5238050038777431541_o
  5. Diggin Active Box Sets Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 8.45.33 AM Last year I was able to score a Diggin Active Planes Box Set for under $25. It was a gift I wasn’t too sure about as I didn’t know much about the brand or Flynn’s, but ended up being an awesome toy. It is really well made and perfect for travel. All the pieces fit inside the box making for easy storage, clean up and best yet travel. The box opens up and becomes part of the playset with track pieces and the planes/cars included. This is a really neat toy that we play with at home often, but also pack up and carry with us when we need an easy toy on the go.

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Gifts Ideas for $20 or Less

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I know that Flynn and I just hung some Thanksgiving garland and window gel clings and that the Thanksgiving meal menu has yet to be set, but Christmas gift exchange is upon us and I recently needed to think of a few of my go-to gifts or things I would I love to gift/receive.

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My mother is the queen of having “extra” gifts on hand. She always has a closet of gifts in case someone unexpectedly shows up or she joins in on another holiday swap. As I  enter this adult-world and start to think about gifts for various exchanges, pollyannas or gifts for extended family members I have compiled a few things that fall under $20 (some may be with promo codes or discounts – sorry I love finding deals).

Some of these gifts work for moms with small children, others are universal. A few of them are things you can “price up” by adding a few smaller things. I hope that as you peruse this list you gain an idea or two or it sparks some creativity in ideas for the people on your list.

  1. Tubby Todd BathWash $12.99 (Gift set is $24.99) Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 6.53.46 AM I love natural ingredients and even more shopping small. Ordering kids’ bath wash is usually not the norm and it is nice to splurge and have a deliciously smelling kiddo running around.
  2. Tessemae’s Salad Dressing – $5.99 (Gift Set $16.50) Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 6.59.00 AMI discovered these amazing salad dressings, sauces and condiments back in the spring when I did my first Whole30. I was struggling to shake the Nola (and let’s be honest Flynn) baby weight. I also was tired, eating out of exhaustion and needed a reboot. I jumped into this, but knew I needed things quick and easy – and didn’t that take much prep time. Seriously, the Cracked Pepper Tessemae’s is an addiction. It is great as salad dressing or marinade and makes me want to eat salad all day everyday. Still. So for a foodie or someone who likes to eat clean or just enjoys delicious dressings this makes a great gift. Also, by clicking the link above you receive 20% off through the referral program! 
  3. Laundress Laundry Detergent  $18.99 Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 7.08.07 AMMy sister got me hooked on this stuff back when Flynn was a baby. It smells amazing, is eco-friendly (When EWG ratings were not good/available my sister emailed the company for an explanation. She was pleased with their response). Not many people enjoy doing laundry, but when seriously this detergent makes me want to wash my kids clothes – it smells amazing. Flynn’s old teacher use to talk about how great he smelled 🙂 There also is a deal right now on Soap.com for 2 bottles of the Laundress Signature Detergent for $24.19!
  4. Cat Studio Dish Towels – $20 Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 7.12.11 AMThese are one my favorite house-warming, wedding, house guest, random gift giving ideas. They have a variety of cities, national parks, states, college and holiday options to choose from. I love cute dish towels, but never really pull the trigger on decorative cute towels. These are fun little gift that that have  personalized feel. Another, great option is to gift a set from Anthropologie. I have received and bought a few of these and I love their design and thickness.
  5. Christmas Decor – (Price Varies, Example Below is $14.99)Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 7.31.49 AMMy mother has so many awesome Christmas pieces that she has built over time from my favorite Gingerbread cookie plate and impressive mantle display. As someone new to the Christmas game (as an adult) my decor is limited and something that I love to build year after year. For a new family just starting out – or even someone who has their own place for the first time – a cute Christmas garland, Christmas cookie tray or holiday decor may make for a great gift. For someone you may gift each year, it  can even be fun to start a set and give a piece each year.

So there you have a few ideas I have generated for this year. Many of these things do have coupons (like Kohl’s) or even cashback if you sign up for Ebates.

Scootering Around Town (Product Review Time)

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The Starbucks Red Cups have arrived, Target was putting up the Christmas cards the other morning and Christmas events emails have begun to roll in.  I usually am one to hold off on all the Christmas hoopla, but I have found in recent years, particularly with kids, that if I really want to enjoy the holidays, an early start helps. There are always so many fun activities, parties, crafts, decorations, gifts to buy… – that it is hard to narrow it down to just a few and even harder to fit it in in the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So I no longer am opposed to the early Christmas. If decorating before Thanksgiving means getting to fit in more fun outings in December than get me a tree and some felt decorations. It is a wonderful season and with two kids who are into the holidays (all holidays that is) I want to soak up every minute. Part of that fun (or in some cases chore) is shopping. I am hoping to share some of our favorite products or review a few popular items as the season progresses. I also hope to share our traditions-in-the-making and go to winter activities. One such product that is a big hit around here is the scooter.

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Flynn was (and still is) a huge lover of his scooter. We purchased the YBike Scooter for his 2nd birthday and he has been hooked every since. As Nola started to chase after him, we decided to add a second one to the mix. I wanted to just go ahead and get another YBike because we have great success with Flynn’s scooter, as well as YBike’s other products like the Pewi Bike and Balance Bike, but had heard a lot about the Micro Mini so I explored that as well.

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We went back and forth, but ultimately we went with the Mirco Mini 3-in-1 scooter because it had interchangeable bars – shorter for now and switch out to regular size as Nola grew. It also has a seat option that seemed neat. While all the options were great, Nola is currently using the regular size bar and wanted nothing to do with the smaller bar because that is Nola for you. When it came to comparing the two full size scooters, I actually think the YBike wins out in terms of ride-ability. It is a wider base that makes it easier to stand on and the wheels and brake seem slightly larger as well. I do love how the Mirco Mini has a removable bar, which I have used a few times when storing it in the stroller for longer rides. Both are easy to maneuver and Nola and Flynn quickly learned how to turn. When compared to a few other scooters this is my biggest selling point (how they turn and glide with the kiddo).

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So overall we love the Y-Bike for its larger foot-pad size and easier ride-ability, but if you are looking for something that can switch out from a smaller to a larger handle bar (or the handlebar can detach for easier storage/travel) then the Mirco Mini (3-in-1) is another great choice. With both items I have found they were worth the higher price tag, but did I wait until they price dropped on Amazon and was able to find them $20+ dollars cheaper than currently listed. Micro Mini’s site, also offers promos from time to time, which at one point was 20% off.

PS: I just wrote about these because they are seriously two of our favorite products. We don’t make any money off of this, but YBike if you reading feel free to send one of these our way 🙂

 

 

 

Five Books Not to Read to Your Child At Bedtime

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Every night Flynn picks out a stack of books to read before bed. Some nights, we read, I rub his back, he falls asleep. Other times it does not go so smooth and I have narrowed part of the dilemma down to these 5 books or shall we say type of books.

Books with Character Figurines

When you read books that also have character figurines you own you are setting yourself up for failure. The book reading will turn into a full out search party for every character represented in the  book. The sweet Level 2 Reader Paw Patrol book that was suppose to only take 2.5 minutes to read is now turning into a 25 minute playroom investigation for the missing Skye. Never ends well.

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Books with Costumes

This is very much similar to above, however this requires additional outfits, outfits that often are not conducive to sleep. For instance, I thought the lovely book titled Good Night, Good Knight would be perfect for bed. I mean heck it has Good Night in the title. Except no. This book requires hopping out of bed and quickly locating all the pieces to 5 piece knight costume, including headwear before getting to page 2.

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Books that are Longer than the Movie

This is pretty self-explanatory, but pretty much steer clear of any book by Disney that is not a leveled reader. I never know how these books get into our collection. I can thank my wonderful aunt and godparent for passing down loads of books many of which are chapter book long Disney movie stories. These stories seriously take 25+ minutes to read and midway you wonder if the author of the book just did this to torture tired parents. Or perhaps just didn’t feel like summarizing so just went with the word for word translation. Either way – they take WAY too long.

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Books with Catchy Rhythms

We got out this great book from the library that is short, sweet and Halloween oriented. Flynn’s favorite. However, this book always ends up being one of the last of the night and so the calming effect of the 45 minute Disney read goes out the window as your kid chimes in Bones, Bones, Look at the bones… OH NO. So catchy rhymes, funny voices, parts your kid likes to join in on – save those for the morning, otherwise you will adding a second 45 minute play by play of the Lion King just to get the kid to calm back down.

This book

Rabbit sleep

So many people write these reviews that this magical book put their kid to sleep. And to them that is amazing. However, with my both my kids this book was a signal that I was about to try to make them sleep. So they just got crazy and did everything in their power to ensure they did not fall asleep. Like locate figurines and costumes. The book actually had the reverse effect. Now perhaps you say my reading was not quite the way it was suppose to be, but oh no, I even played the audiobook. Those people know how to read and my kids were totally onto this Jedi-mind crap. And me, well I just felt like if I can’t even get this oh so popular book to work I must be doing something wrong. Until I whip out Disney Frozen and 160 minutes later my kids are passed out before Hans turns all nasty. Now that book – that book works magic.

 

 

Having a Baby? Heading to a Baby Shower? Must Haves for New Baby!

Just a little something to read with your morning coffee.

I hope she mentions the need for coffee!

Both of my children were born two weeks early. Not sure if it was the earliest or my laziness, but I never really “nested” with either child, however, I did freak out about testing schedules and testing data with Flynn. As a matter of fact, the day my water broke at work I was flipping out about having enough proctors for the upcoming state test because a few more rooms needed to happen to accommodate IEPS. Luckily for me, my water broke and that job fell to some other poor soul. With Flynn, I was determined to not turn my small converted warehouse loft into a Babies R US showroom and so I tried to keep items to a minimum. If I wasn’t going to use the item for a long period time or the item wouldn’t be a game changer for me as a mom, I wasn’t really interested. However, a few weeks in and a couple dozen Amazon orders later – I was covered in brightly covered contraptions – some used all the time and others not worth buying. Most of these items were recommendations from other moms who couldn’t live without or loved the item. What I have come to find is that everybody’s “must haves” are different and that taking a wait and see approach may help you avoid the laundry list of items suffocating you in your home. For example, I obsessed over this gray crib for Flynn that was backordered and would come off backorder for 2.5 seconds and then sell out again. I was devastated thinking the crib wouldn’t be here before Flynn arrived. I was able to locate a crib after much headache and time. Best part – Flynn didn’t sleep in that thing until he was over 1 and then slept in it for only a few weeks before figuring out how to jump out of the thing. Perhaps the crib will get used with Nola?

With all that being said I have compiled a list of things that are nice to have from Day 1 of bringing the baby home.

Someway to Drive the Baby

Car Seat

They don’t let you leave the hospital without one. Although, in our case, we totally left without one. Sort of. See Dominique and I (okay just me) said we wanted to avoid the infant car seat and just use a convertible. So we strolled out of Vanderbilt Hospital carrying Flynn. I think we escaped really – because I walked off the floor into the parking garage (no wheelchair, no attendant) carrying my 3 day old baby. No one checked about my car seat. No one even said anything as we walked off carrying a baby. A few days after kidnapping our son, we ordered a convertible car seat. I realized it would be much easier to eat out or transfer Flynn from the car to house without waking him and so we caved. It was worth the “extra” item, especially if you plan on having a second kid. Even if not – they are easy to sell or share with a friend.

Somewhere for the Baby to Sleep

BabyHome

Despite what I tell Dr. H, we cosleep in this house. It is the best way to get sleep for us. However, when Flynn and Nola were really little and for nap time, we needed somewhere for the babe to sleep. While a crib is what comes to mind for most people, I feel you actually don’t use a crib (even if you don’t cosleep) for many months, especially if you are nursing. So having a place for the baby to sleep is crucial. We used both the Fisher Price Rock N Play and the Babyhome Dream Home. In fact, Flynn slept in the babyhome until he was way too old for it and Nola now uses it for naps and starting out at night. It was great for traveling, comfy, not heinous looking which is always a plus and higher up than a pack n play. There are a ton of different options for a place for your kid to sleep, but whatever you choose you probably need that starting Day 1.

Something to Free Up Your Hands aka a Carrier

Ergo Carrier

I often talk about my love for the Ergo carrier. It has been a lifesaver and is great for traveling, particularly because of the zip pocket on the front. If you plan on using this with a newborn you also need the infant insert.  The Ergo is great because with the insert it can be used from Day 1 until way older. Flynn still rides in this bad boy and it is comfortable for both of us. I was looking for a wrap to add to the mix with Nola  and I have come to fall in love with the Sollybaby Wrap, as well. The Solly wrap has been great to use at the beach since it is lightweight and can easily be thrown in a beach bag. Plus it is comes in super cute colors! The Solly wrap can be used for the first year, but Flynn does ask to be “a baby” from time to time and I successfully wrapped his 27 lb self. There are so many options out there and so my recommendations are if possible try before you buy (you know borrow a kid and someones wrap), but this a must have for me from the get-go (especially with the second baby!)

Baby Wrap (Solly)

Something to Sit Baby in While You Pee

Baby Bjourn Babysitter

I struggled with this one as a must have from the get-go product because the Babyhome or Carseat really could be used for this. However, after being around some more normal children I realize some kids happily sit in these bad boys freeing you up from time to time. So a seat for the baby is  helpful from the start. Again, there are so many options out there – and you can often find swings and bouncy seats used on online yard sales or consignment shops. We have the seat pictured above and it really has held up well. While it doesn’t bounce on it’s own or have any light up fanciness, the seat can recline to various positions and you can remove the strap to use for an older kid. There also is a toy bar that you can purchase separately to make the seat more fun as the baby gets older. While pricey, two years in this seat is still in almost new condition and we have gotten our use out of it!

A Diaper Bag

Diaper Bag

I have tried many variations of the diaper bag from a backpack to duffle bag to a few “true” diaper bags. We have settled on the diaper bag posted above for a few reasons: it’s unisex, doesn’t look too diaper bag-ish, and holds a good amount of stuff. Whatever your preference for a diaper bag, I recommend getting something to use from the start. It may not be the perfect bag at first, as everybody has their own requirements for a perfect bag, but you will want to have  a diaper bag (and stock the baby boy with diaper, wipes, change of clothes) so that the first doctor appointment you have after leaving the hospital you aren’t using maxi-pads as diapers.

Burp Clothes..Lots of Them

Burpy Bibs

Just stock up on these. The simple gerber prefold diaper ones work great, but I am huge fan of the Aden + Anais burpy bibs. We have a ton of these and while some are stained (mainly from being worn as a bib) they are still in excellent condition. I love that the are thick, fabulous burp clothes, but also convert to a bib. Both of my kids spit up all the time and so I would put this “cape” on them and then also hang one over my shoulder to prevent changing outfits 900 times a day. For those of you looking for a shower gift, these are an awesome gift or add-on item, even if they are not on the person’s registry!

Swaddles Blankets

Swaddle Blankets 

Those of you reading this looking for the perfect baby gift, these are it. Even if the person receives duplicates, I have found you never can enough of these! Aden + Anais swaddle blankets are my favorite and are both my kids “blankies”. Flynn uses the basic cotton swaddles, while Nola has the bamboo ones. I did this on purpose to avoid any drama. Both kinds are perfect for swaddling and for security blanket purposes. They can also work as towels for the kids when out at the beach or pool, a floor blanket or light cover when the kids are older. Whatever the brand you choose – you want to have a few of these on hand!

A Sleep Sack 

Sleepsack

I said a or one sleep sack because you don’t really know if your kid will dig these or not. I had a two-pack of swaddler things for Flynn and he hated them. A lot. He hated his hands being wrapped up and wanted no parts of the bad boy. Then Nola was born and the chick loved these things more than life itself. We had a few of of the summer infant swaddlers, but the hospital gifted us the Halo Sleepsack when we left with Nola, and that has been by far her favorite sleep sack device to date. We have used the Aden + Anais sacks as well and then have been our second favorite as she got older, but the Halo sack was great because it had the option for her hands to in or out of the swaddler, which was a nice little feature in the beginning. I wouldn’t recommend going out and buying a whole bunch of these or a whole bunch of one kind. If you want to have a few on hand, buy/register for a few different ones and then see what the babe likes before investing in a bunch. Again, if you are here because you are looking for a good gift – these are always a nice $25 and under gift!

Bathing Items

Baby Towel

I always find a nice baby bath towel is a great gift. It also was a nice thing to have in the beginning and lasts well in to toddlerhood. I love both the 3 Sprouts Towel and the Aden and Anais set. They are big, absorbent towels that Flynn still uses. Some baby bath towels are small and a few short months laters barely cover the baby’s growing Buddha belly. Both of these towels are thick and comfy and look super cute as well. If you haven’t noticed, I am sucker for cute. These make for a cute gift and are always fun to pair with a nice baby lotion, infant body wash or bath book.

Baby Monitor

Baby Monitor

In full disclosure, I did not own a baby monitor until we moved to Philadelphia. Flynn was 16 months old. I also don’t own the monitor shown, but wish I did! I own two different monitors – one cheap camera one I found 50% off at Target and the other a cheap non camera one that was 70% off at Target purchased months later. They work fine, but if I had my choice I’d take the Summer Infant one with two cameras! The reason was pretty simple – Flynn slept in the room with us at night and during naps we could hear him as our house wasn’t all that big. However, if your house is a little larger and/or you are going to put your kid to sleep upstairs from the start – you may want this Day 1. If you are not sure your of sleeping plans and are playing things by ear – you can definitely wait on the monitor, especially with all the apps that exists these days. With Flynn, he often napped in the living room since it was usually just Dominique and me home during naps. I tried the same with Nola, but Flynn often found it fun to wake her up, so she did move upstairs a little sooner. So I go back and forth on Day 1 needing a monitor, but figured most people may want one of these from the start, especially if you want to develop specific sleep habits from get-go.

A few Comfy, Easy PJ/Outfits

Kickee Pants

You will receive outfits as presents, which is great and super helpful. And if you are here reading this because you are looking for gift ideas – I recommend some Kickee Pants one pieces or pajamas. They are soft, I mean really soft, lightweight, adorable , wash well and easy to get on/off. There are also discounts for Kickee Pants either from their direct website (especially if you follow them on instagram) or through Amazon and/or Diapers.com. I don’t recommend getting a ton of newborn outfits, as my kids always grew out of them pretty quickly (Flynn almost 9 lbs, Nola almost 8 lbs), but having a few comfy, rompers or outfits from the start is nice. I previously posted about money saving tips for clothes and if I find something at a good price, in a larger size I’d stock up. It was always nice to be like crap my kid is not fitting into anything and realizing you have an outfit or two already purchased. Most people tend to buy 0-3 and 3-6 months as gifts and so having a few 6-9 on hand is always helpful. Since this post is really about Day 1 – have a few comfy one pieces in newborn and a couple more in 0-3 months. The key in these first few months (and really always) is comfort and ease.

Mom Outfit

Loose Cute Top

Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, c-section or vaginal birth – a cute, loose fitting top is great. I love a nice, flowy top, that is easy to feed the baby in, hides the belly and can make me look feel somewhat put together even if wearing with leggings. I find tops, like the one shown above, look great with both leggings and jeans and make you feel acceptable leaving the house. They also still work as you lose the baby weight, which is great, because I hate buying clothes that I hope to not be wearing for long. Stock up on a few staples before the baby is born – black leggings, yoga pants, a decent pair of jeans, and loose, comfortable shirts that make you feel like you are not wearing PJs all day.

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Every Blog Needs a Cloth Diaper Post

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I have realized that people who cloth diaper love to talk about cloth diapering. People have whole websites dedicated to it. If you blog and cloth diaper – there is at least one post. I know. I read them either when I was deciding to cloth diaper or when I ran in to some issues with my cloth diapers. So since I cannot go against the trend – I figured I would share with you the good, the bad and some tips if you are diving in to the cloth diaper world.

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Good Stuff

  • They save you money  – how much is up to you. Cloth diapers come in all sorts of types from cheaper prefold versions to all in ones. I use Charlie Banana one size, a few Fuzzibunz and a couple of Grovias. I won’t get in to the types, but your savings depend on the kind you use (and how much you pay upfront). I never paid full prize for a diaper. Target sells Charlie Bananas (or at least they did) and I was able to find them 50% off a few times to help build a stock for two kids.
  • They are good for the environment. And you have to take the trash out less. We use Honest disposables at night and when I am too lazy to wash the diapers and it makes me feel bad about the whole landfill business. I mean I figure if I cloth diaper, then I can set my A/C to 72 and not feel bad, right?
  • You never run out of diapers. Well I mean you can run out of clean ones, but usually I will see that I just put the last cloth on so I can quick run a load. Or rely on my disposables as back ups if the wash isn’t done. Either way I never am like crap I need to go to Target.
  • You avoid Target. I mean yes you can get diapers elsewhere and I even get my disposables delivered from Honest every few months (one honest box usually lasts around 2-3 months and that’s with 2 kids using them), but I feel like needing diapers is an “excuse” to go to Target and well I don’t know anyone who leaves Target spending under $100.
  • My kids rarely had a “blowout”. Flynn rarely pooped out an outfit when wearing a cloth diaper. Actually, the one time he did it was in front of a bunch of people and quite the sight. Nola has never pooped out a cloth diaper on to her clothes, but she has in a disposable quite a few times (she got disposables a little more than Flynn did  in the beginning as I built up a stash of diapers for her)
  • They look cute. Well I mean this is debatable. Nola does look like she has an odd figure when she wears her diapers. And Flynn’s booty is quite the sight, but the patterns are cute and it is funny to see Nola rock her skinny jeans with a double stuffed Charlie Banana.
  • They say your kid will potty train faster. I don’t know about this. Flynn just turned 2 and was fully potty trained for 6 days. Yet, he hasn’t peed on the potty in three days. So I mean I am not sure he is a good case study because apparently something went wrong there.

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Not so Good Stuff

  • They take up a lot of room in the diaper bag. So this is a stupid one, but I figured people don’t always think about this. It is hard to run out with a small bag because a few diapers + wipes take + a wetbag take up some space. That being said, I do successfully cloth diaper and travel with two kids in cloths, but I tend to carry a larger bag and some disposables just in case.
  • You need to do wash at least every other day. Depending on how many cloth diapers you own, you will need to do wash every day or every other day. If you wait longer than that it kind of smells, but I suppose you could push it to three days if you had a lot of diapers.
  • You deal with poop…sometimes.  I think the biggest question people ask is what do you do with the poop? When the kid is younger ie before solids (and especially if they are breastfeed) the poop is pretty soluble. I just throw the diaper in the wetbag and then wash like normal. If it is really gross I will rinse it in the laundry tub or sink (and then wipe down the sink). When your kid gets older and the poop more solid I usually just dump the poop in the toilet (like you really should with disposables) and then throw in wetbag/trash. If it is a massive poop, they make diaper sprayers and other contraptions to make it less gross-  but I find running water over the diaper in the laundry tub/sink to do the trick. This happens not all that often and really isn’t all that gross, but still you are dealing with poop.
  • You will have times you have to “solve” the leak or smell issue. Your diapers – particularly if you don’t wash right – will get a smell or start to leak. There are ways to fix the diapers from soaking them in RLR tov changing up the detergent to letting them dry outside. Google it – there are a million fixes. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed, but it does cause a small headache.
  • People will make assumptions about you. Like you don’t vaccinate your kids. Or that you refuse your kid any food that is nonorganic or laced with GMOS. Or that you go to chick pox parties. I don’t really like to be labeled or bucketed because I suck at doing things fully. I am half assed at many things – particularly diets and exercise plans.
  • They say your kid will potty train faster. As I said Flynn was potty trained for a few weeks (fully for about a week). It was a pain in the ass. So maybe delaying potty training isn’t such an awful thing.

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Tips

  • Don’t buy a whole bunch of one brand in the beginning. Many people want to cloth diaper, but it just isn’t for them. You need both parents (and if needed the daycare or caregiver while you’re at work) to be onboard. Plus, every diaper fits a little different so you want to play around with what works best for your family. You also may be able to find different ones on sale at different times and so that helps in building the stash. Once you are fully committed and you find a brand you like then go ahead and stock up on however many you feel you need, but don’t go all in upfront.
  • Get a few small wetbags (and 1-2 big ones). When you travel you are going to need to throw the dirty diapers in a wetbag. In the beginning, I only had one, but if you don’t wash it or you forget it in the laundry basket, it gets annoying. I have three in rotation and that works pretty good. (I also stash plastic bags in the car just in case).
  • Read the directions for washing and stick to one cloth diaper friendly detergent.  I have found that sticking to one detergent (I like Charlie’s Soap) helps to avoid build-up and avoid any leakage. I have no scientific fact on this, but find a detergent that works and stick with it. Also, some diapers you are to wash on warm, others not. Read the directions.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes it may be easier to throw your kid in a disposable or just pack disposables for a long trip. We have always used cloth diapers when we travel, but we do bring disposables in case we don’t find a washing machine or get backed up from being out and about. With two kids – I have definitely lightened up a little bit and have had a few days where we used more disposables than cloths just because I was too tired to put inserts into a shell (I know, pathetic).
  • Make sure you are both on board.  Your spouse needs to be on board. And both need to know the laundry routine. And how to clean and adjust the diapers. If one person is running the show and the other is not on board, it becomes a waste. So discuss before you buy. If your husband needs some convincing have them email my husband. He is all onboard. When we had one kid and both worked – he kept up with the diapers more than I did. He loved the savings. Still does.

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So there ya go. I have  blog and now I have a cloth diaper post. I am complete. If you have questions about types of diapers, washing diapers or if it is worth it (I obviously think it is since both kids are currently subjected to a huge ass) feel free to comment or message me.