6 to 9 Month Must Haves!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

This has been the most fun list of "must haves" to put together! All the developmental changes that happen in the 6 to 9 month range totally blew my mind as I watched my helpless infant suddenly become mobile and her craaaazy personality come out! This list is of things that have kept us sane and encouraged her development through the past three months. If you missed the first two posts, here are my Newborn to 3 Month and 3 Month to 6 Month lists! :) Oh, and I just thought I'd mention, since I haven't before, that I post pictures of what exactly we have on here and some of them are girly, but all items also come in a boy or gender neutral version!

The first time I saw this thing was at Target I totally squealed, "She needs it!" Baylee's Mimi (Godmother/Auntie Nicole) is absolutely obsessed with lions, so whenever there's an age appropriate lion toy out there it's pretty much guaranteed that she will get it. ;) She loves all the sounds and music that it makes and has been practicing pushing it around for a couple of months now. She walks for a few steps, gets tired, and then pushes it the rest of the way on her knees. Sometimes she just sits and plays with all the toys and buttons on the front, and it keeps her busy for a while which equals a happy Mama!

This swing is probably my favorite thing on this list! We put it up once the weather was nice and it has been the best distraction ever during her cranky times of the day. Even when nothing will make my child happy, I know we can swing for about 15 to 20 minutes and she will completely calm down. You really can't beat that price either! The only thing is, it only comes will metal hooks on the ropes, so you have to purchase the hardware to hang it separately. We went to Home Depot and got the hardware that you use to hang a porch swing that way its super sturdy and swings nice and smooth.

As many of you know, I am a total Eddie Bauer snob when it comes to merchandise for baby! I love how everything is designed to be functional for babies, but yet is classy enough to have in your home and not look like it doesn't belong there. So, when it came to picking out a high chair I knew this was the one. It adjusts to multiple table heights, has a 5 point harness, and the top tray snaps off so that it can be put in the dishwasher if necessary. I also love the grey and teal plaid cushion. It's super easy to wipe off, it's removable incase you want to toss it in the wash, and is gender neutral incase we have a boy one day! We have a pretty tiny house, so it's also nice that it has wheels with brakes and folds up for easy storage incase we need the extra room. It's basically perfect. ;)

 Finding the right convertible car seat was quite a chore for me. I researched for weeks and sought the opinions of a lot of my mom friends, and a majority of the best reviews were all for Britax brand. They are known for creating safe, sturdy car seats and are even recommended by police departments. I was sold! The price wasn't really what I had in mind to spend, but at the end of the day you can't put a price on safety; especially when it comes to your kiddo! I ended up finding it for sale on diapers.com, and also found a coupon code, so in the end I got a pretty good deal. The giraffe print is freaking adorable...the picture doesn't do it justice! Baylee loves her new ride. She can sit up like a big girl and look out the window, and the padded shoulder straps are comfy incase she falls asleep. (Which is pretty much every time we go for a drive longer than 15 minutes! lol) It's both rear and forward facing and can support a child up to 65 pounds, so we will definitely be getting a lot of good use out of it. Worth every penny!

A few months ago, the day I had been dreading finally hit. I went in to Baylee's room and found her rolled over on her belly in her Baby Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit. Damn. Since the manufacturer recommends to stop use once they start to roll in it, I knew our sleep suit days were over. Now what? We had received a Halo Sleep Sack at our shower, so we decided to give it a shot. Turns out she absolutely loves it! It keeps her warm and gives her enough room to roll around the crib and do all her sleep ninja moves. Once I zip it on her, she knows its sleepy time, so it's a perfect little bedtime association tool. 

I had honestly never thought about a security blanket until I read about it on another parenting blog. We were having a lot of trouble getting Baylee to self soothe. I personally don't believe in the "cry it out" method. I know it works for other parents, but it just doesn't work with my parenting style, so we don't do it. However, getting up to rock Baylee back to sleep 4 and 5 times a night was getting a little old. Insert the security blanket. Literally the first night we had the blanket it worked like a charm. Whenever she wakes up she cuddles it and rubs the satin on the edges and goes right back to sleep. Yesssss! It's made out of breathable muslin cloth, so I never have to worry about her suffocating if she puts it over her face. My only complaint is that after you wash it some threads do come out, so you have to let it hang dry. I do love that it comes with two, though so when one is in the wash baby can still snuggle the other!

Once baby is big enough to sit in a shopping cart or restaurant high chair, one of these covers is a definite must! It keeps baby cozy and germ free, and so far ours has fit every cart and high chair that we've put it on. They're a pain to put on one-handed though, so if you're shopping alone with your little one, park next to the cart return that way you can put it on a cart before you even get baby out of the car seat. Easy peasy!

This thing is seriously the mother of all baby gates! We have a very wide and awkwardly shaped opening from out front room to our kitchen, and this gate fits perfectly. I love that it has a door that swings open, and Baylee thinks the mesh is so fun to play with! It fits openings 65 to 86 inches, and if you get two it becomes a freestanding play yard. So cool! 

Hope you enjoyed these must haves for the 6 to 9 month range! I can't believe I will only be writing one more of these posts for Baylee's first year. I teared up today because I had to pack up all of her 9 month clothes and put the 12 month clothes in the wash...why do they grow so fast?! 

Until next time! XoXoXo

9 Months With Baylee!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

So am I the only one who can't believe we are already halfway through April?! Before we know it, it's going to be summertime! I am definitely looking forward to all the fun summer things that we will get to do with Miss Baylee! For now though, I'm totally in disbelief that I am typing out her 9 month update! In just 3 short months, my sweet baby will be a toddler...this can't possibly be!

Getting this wild one to sit still for a picture is pretty comedic these days. This was the best we could get this time, but I think it's still pretty dang cute. I can't believe how huge she is on her blanket now! She weighs 20 lbs and is 26 inches long. She is still in 9 month clothes, but will probably be moving up to 12 month in a few weeks with her appetite! ;)

Food has become one of Baylee's favorite hobbies for sure! She loves to try new things and experiment with textures. I've pretty much started feeding her whatever we eat, but cut in to bite size. Her new favorite things are cottage cheese, ground beef, shredded chicken, steamed carrots, and pinto beans. She also had spaghetti for the first time last week and was pretty much in baby Heaven! She's getting the hang of her pincer grasp, but if it's something she really likes she just uses the grab a big handful and shove it all in strategy. Oh, and this smart cookie can already drink from a straw. Yep, my kid is a genius!

We had a nice little random heat wave at the end of March, so we decided it would be fun to take Baylee for her first dip in a pool. It was heated, so she loved it. Her chubby thighs and belly in her bikini pretty much killed me! So cute! I have a feeling we will be doing a lot of swimming this summer.

We also took Baylee to the L.A. Zoo for the first time! It was a girls trip with my Mom and sisters, and it was so nice to spend time with them. Baylee was kind of a crab after a couple of hours, so we didn't stay long, but she seemed to enjoy herself. Her favorite animal was the big male lion. When she saw him she screamed and started waving like crazy! 

Her milestones this month have been my favorite so far. She finally woke up one morning with the most adorable little tooth, she can wave hello and bye bye (when she wants to...not always when she'd told to lol), she is starting to walk very well with her little lion walker, and my most favorite is that she gives the sweetest open mouth kisses ever! I tell her "give Mama kisses" or "give your bear kisses" and she totally does it...my heart melts every time! Oh, and I don't know if it's really a milestone, but screaming is her new thing. If she's excited about anything at all, you better get ready for a high pitched shriek that could break a window! It's adorable until she does it in your ear and you can't hear out of it for 5 mins. ;)

As for our daily fun stuff, I have been trying to incorporate some learning into our fun! There are a ton of pinterest articles with ideas for sensory play, so I have been giving them a try on days when we get a little stir crazy. So far we have played with dry rice and finger painted with purees. Every time we try something it keeps her busy for about 45 minutes or so, which is incredible. Her attention span is usually that of a goldfish these days so anything that can keep her entertained that long is a win in my book!

We also finally got to put up her swing now that the weather has been nice and we swing in it almost every day! It's become my go-to whenever she starts having a melt down. It gets her happy and smiling again like a charm! Books right now are her fav toys. She loves to pull them all out and look at the pictures. Her favorite book is Peek-a-boo Sophie. It's all about Sophie the Giraffe and has pages that flip open to reveal different characters "peek-a-boo"-ing. She squeals with every new page and kisses Sophie on the cover when we are done reading. :)

We also upgraded Baylee to a big girl car seat! She was getting squished in her infant seat and car rides were becoming terrible scream-fests, so I knew it was time. I had heard rave reviews about the Britax Marathon, and so far it has totally been worth every penny! She is finally a happy camper in the car again, and the giraffe print alone is reason to fall in love with it!

Such a big girl! We have been super excited around here because any day now Baylee will have her first little cousin! I will try to get another post up this week, but if I don't it's because I'm too busy snuggling my new niece! ;) 

I leave you with Baylee and her very first quad from Daddy! Until next time! XoXoXo

Baylee's 1st Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2015

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend! Baylee's first Easter was a total blast. She is at such a fun age right now, and even though she has no idea what's going on, I like to pretend she cares. ;)

We started out on Easter Eve having a little BBQ with our friends and former roomies, Amber and Jeff. Baylee had so much fun playing with them, and Mommy finally got to enjoy drinking some wine with a girlfriend! After good food and drinks we decided to carry on our Easter Egg dying tradition. I can't wait until Baylee can help...maybe next year! The adults, however, had no problem participating and we got pretty artistic if I do say so myself! 

Easter morning didn't go exactly as planned, (what does when you have a baby?) but it ended up being great! We had a late night and Baylee went to bed past her bedtime. Anyone who has kids knows the dreaded curse of the "Late Bedtime = Early Riser" and thats just what happened. My kiddo was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:00am, so I knew it wouldn't be long before she would hit exhausted melt-down status. Instead of taking her to Mass right as she would hit her cranky point, we decided to let her open her basket and presents, fed her breakfast, and got her straight into the car for her nap. It worked out very well and she was a happy camper the rest of the day. I'm sorry Jesus! I know God understands that this Mama needed some grace this time around. ;) Next year we try again!

We let Baylee crawl over to her basket and gifts from other relatives and she went nuts! Every time she would take something out, Brian and I would shout "Yaaaay!" and she would scream and wave her arms! So cute! She even kept her bunny ears on...she's a festive girl of my own heart!

She made out like a little bandit and had no problem diving in to play with her new stuff!

We made some quick eggs and toast for breakfast, and as soon as she was done eating she turned into a straight up Crank Monster just like we had anticipated. It was time to load up and get this girl to sleep...we still had a long day ahead!

We picked up my Dad and one of my sisters and headed out to Disneyland! It was a gorgeous day and so much fun! Thunder Mountain Ranch had a whole Easter set up that was totally cute. We decided to take Baylee to meet the Easter Bunny since she did so well with Santa, but apparently 4 months makes a huge difference in trust issues. She wanted nothing to do with him. So we got a classic family picture with a huge pout on her face. Priceless.

We had some Gumbo and Clam Chowder bread bowls for lunch, and then decided that it would be fun to take Baylee on the Mark Twain! She loved that Daddy held her and danced with her to the music, but it was apparently a little too relaxing because by the end of the ride she was crashed out. It was starting to get busy anyway, so we let her nap in the stroller and headed back to the car.

We had an early dinner at my Dad's and then headed back home so that Brian could do studying and homework (an EMT students work is never done!). It was a nice relaxing day and I'm so glad everything went so smooth. It's hard to believe that Baylee only has a few more "first" holidays before she is a year old! July is coming so quick! 

Until next time! XoXoXo

15 Things I Wish I Had Known About: The Newborn Days

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy April! It's officially baby month for my sister-in-law and I am ridiculously excited to meet my new niece! Thinking about her giving birth brings me back to those first few weeks with Baylee. It was so tough, but those newborn snuggles made it oh, so worth it! There are, of course, a few things I learned, so that brings me to part 3 of my "15 Things..." series!

1. That I was going to learn to function on very little sleep. Seriously, nothing can prepare you for the lack of sleep that you experience with a new baby. I was lucky to get 2 hours straight at any given time. The human body is miraculous, though and you really just push through. It's not until that first night that the baby lets you get 5 or 6 hours straight that you even remember what it's like to get real sleep!

2. That the first few days newborns need to be woken up to eat. So, you're exhausted from laboring for 26 hours and all you want to do is sleep once you finally get settled in to your post partum room. Think again. Your little baby is going to knock out from the long day she had too, but you gotta wake her up to practice breast feeding and get some of that golden colostrum in her little body every two hours! Luckily, they usually go right back to sleep after they eat. What I didn't know was that she wasn't going to alert me that she was hungry. I accidentally let her go 3 hours between feedings the first night and my nurse gently explained to me about the two hour rule. Also, it is very helpful with getting your milk to come in!

3. That I was going to find out the true meaning of "paranoid". When the internet is filled with stories about families who lose their babies to SIDS or other illnesses, it's hard not to feel like that can happen to you too. I was overly paranoid about her safety. Was she breathing? Too cold? Too hot? That feeling of knowing you are responsible for keeping this tiny little human alive is enough to drive any mama crazy! Of course, the paranoia wears off and just becomes a perpetual state of worry. But that's just what
moms do...they worry. :)

4. That breast feeding is a roller coaster. I had big breast feeding dreams, and they just didn't quite pan out like my vision. I pictured my baby having a perfect latch and being able to breast feed for a minimum of the first nine months. Insert fake smile here. Oh, such a pretty dream, and for some it totally comes true, but it was definitely not the case for me. We started out great, but as soon as my milk came in and I was super engorged in both breasts, it totally threw Baylee off. Then, when I was still trying my hardest to make it work, Baylee had to be hospitalized for her jaundice. The pediatric nurses wanted to measure her intake, so they made me pump and feed her with a bottle. As soon as Baylee used a Nuk nipple for the first time she was hooked. The boob was a thing of the past, and I had no choice but to start exclusively pumping, which, truthfully, is basically twice the work. I hated pumping with a passion, but I wanted my baby to have the best! After almost 6 months Baylee started rejecting my breast milk completely. (I got my cycle back so it may have changed the taste is what I learned.) So yes, for the last three months we have been on formula. At first I felt super guilty, but I'm totally over it. Other than the fact that it costs an arm and a leg, today's formula is actually super great for baby's growth and development and has iron which they can't get from breast milk. Plus, it makes leaving her with a sitter a total breeze. Ultimately, I'm very proud of myself, and with baby #2 one day I will try, try again!

5. That the most helpful hands were the ones bringing food. Eat. Sleep. Poop. That's all newborns do, but they do it all day long. There was no time for me to make food for myself; not to mention I was so sore that going up and down the stairs was completely out of the question. Whenever someone came into my room with food I wanted to kiss them. Breast feeding makes you as ravenous as a teenage boy, so you want to eat ALL the time. Ever wonder what you can do to help a new mom? Bring food.

6. That my first day alone with her, I would be just fine. The last day of Brian's week home with us I cried all day. I was so scared that I wouldn't be able to do it by myself. But you know what? I did it! And when Brian came home at the end of the day we were both alive! I wish I had had a little more faith in myself. Then again it could have been those crazy post partum hormones. ;)

7. That I should have moved around and walked more and sooner. I was so sore that I spend the first two weeks in bed, but looking back that was probably the worst thing I could have done. The rest was good for me, but I bet I would have healed faster and felt a lot better if I had moved around more. Next time around we will be coming back to our own house instead of staying somewhere else, so I think that will make it a lot easier for me to get going sooner.

8. That the baby weight doesn't just "melt off". Please. I wish. Everyone told me that breast feeding burns so many calories that I was going to lose the weight quick. Fast forward 8.5 months later and I STILL have 6 pounds to go until I'm back at my pre-pregnancy weight. I guess everyone is different, but for me the weight didn't come off until I stopped breast feeding. Now I know not to stress about it though. It eventually comes off, but it took 9 months to gain the weight...it's not going to go away in two weeks.

9. That guests and advice get annoying. In the beginning, it's so great to have family and friends around to lend a helping hand, but a few weeks in you get to a point where you're pretty over it. I had to learn to just demand some alone time with my baby. As far as the unsolicited advice goes, sometimes you just have to smile and nod and then do it however you were going to anyway. 

10. That my maternal instinct would kick in like crazy. I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy worrying that I was going to be a mediocre mom. I had no idea what I was doing...how could I possibly be a good mom? But suddenly you have this little creature, and your body just knows what to do. Its so amazing how in sync you can be with your baby! 

11. That teaching my husband things about caring for a baby would bond us even closer. Brian really is the sweetest dad, and from the get-go wanted to make sure he knew how to do everything correctly. I loved how much he cared and it totally made me fall more in love with him.

12. That there's nothing wrong with doing nothing for a few weeks. I'm so glad I sat back and just soaked Baylee in when she was brand new. We snuggled and cuddled and I still remember her perfect newborn smell. If there's anything that I advise a new mom to do, it's nothing. Just sit and stare at this perfect new life you made. For all too soon they are wanting off your lap to go explore their world!

13. That I was going to be very emotional. She's so cute! *cry* I'm still so fat! *cry* She won't latch! *cry* You get the picture. Raging hormones make you super sensitive after you give birth and it takes a while for them to level out. Just go with it, but don't keep it to yourself. Luckily, my family was ready to listen to my craziness, and sometimes a good cry was all I needed to get back to normal.

14. That as much as it bonded my husband and I, we were going to encounter our first challenges as well. When you're hormonal and sleep deprived, it's really hard to remember how this baby came to be in the first place. I was definitely lacking in the showing love and patience toward my husband department. I would think about him all the time, but when he came home from work all I wanted was a break from caring for Baylee. I had to remind myself that I was not just Baylee's mom, but Brian's wife too. It's a balancing act, and I'll probably never get it right, but I think communication and effort are the key!

15. That it goes by way too fast! I honestly don't know how almost 9 months has already gone by! It feels like just yesterday I was holding my little 7 pounder, and now she's almost 20 pounds of pure energy! :) Take your time and enjoy every moment with your new little life. 

I have loved doing this three part series so much that I think I will continue it! I have some ideas up my sleeve. :) I'm also going to try to blog at least weekly now that Baylee takes longer naps finally! Yay! I'll be back on Monday to tell you all about Baylee's 1st Easter! Until then! XoXoXo