Friday, July 27, 2012

4 month pictures

Dear Elliot,
Today you and your friends Hunter and Junie (and of course their mamas, too!) had a picnic at the park. We also decided to have a little photo shoot because clearly I just don't have enough pictures of you yet (ha!).

Here are a few of my favorites. I swear you know just how to ham it up and smile and pose for the camera--you definitely got that from me and not your dad! :)

And here are a couple of the two of us (thanks for taking them, Jenni!)

I just really can't believe I already have a four-month-old. I feel like we've gotten past the difficult, slightly overwhelming newborn stage, and life is just so much fun these days. Nursing is a million times easier, you're so much more independent and content, my hormones feel like they are almost back to normal (aside from my hair all of a sudden shedding like crazy-so not cool!). It's almost hard to remember what life was like before you were in it.

Oh, and you're growing like a weed! Almost 18 pounds and just under 27 inches at your four-month doctor's appointment on Monday. Wearing mostly 12-month clothes. Dude, if you keep growing at this rate, you're going to be bigger than me by the time you hit kindergarten!

Well you are sound asleep and Dad and I are about to take advantage of that fact by starting a little Parks and Recreation marathon. We love you so much, big blue-eyed boy!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy 4 months!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

More new things

Dear Elliot,
The last month you have been growing and changing and developing so quickly--it's impossible to keep up with you! I have to say, I think month four (you turn four months old on Monday!) has been the most fun so far. You are just so happy and engaging and an absolute joy to have in our lives. And funny. So, so funny. You make me laugh out loud like a million times a day.

I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened, but one night its like you went to bed an infant and woke up a little boy. You hold your head up all the time now and love to stand, sit (with hardly any help), and roll around (most of the time you still get stuck in the process though!). 

Standing with just a little help from Dad

About to roll over 

You also love to talk. I mean you are just babbling away constantly these days. It is so much fun to listen to you as you experiment with different sounds, volumes, and expressions. You say 'mmaaahh' a lot and I swear it almost sounds like "mom" sometimes. I'm pretty sure the day you actually say it my heart is going to literally explode with happiness. In the last couple days, you've also started getting really upset if we don't respond or talk back to you. There have been a few times where I forget to say "oh yeah?" or "you don't say!" as you're talking to me and you start to get louder, almost like you're yelling, "hello Mom! Listen to me!" It's hilarious and adorable.

 Talking up a storm

Getting all worked up :)

We've been spending more and more time with other babies (and their mamas) and it has been so much fun. I think you really enjoy being around your little buddies. You're a very social little guy and I'm super excited for you to get to the point where you're able to actually 'play' with other kids (not just, you know, stare at them and try to eat their hands, ha!)

You and your BFF Hunter at the Children's Museum this week

Holding hands at the beach (so freaking cute!)

Picnicing with Hunter and girlfriend Junie :)

Hiking around Minnehaha Falls with your friends

We got to hang out with a new friend, Oskar, this week too, and I'm super mad at myself for forgetting to take a picture of you two wearing the exact same onesie. Such fashionable boys :)

In addition to loving hanging out with other babies, you're also pretty fascinated with the cute little baby you see when you look in the mirror. There is seriously nothing cuter than watching you flirt with and smile at your reflection. I'm now on the hunt for a big baby-safe mirror that I can prop up on the floor at home--anyone out there have any suggestions on where to find one??

Another new skill you're working on mastering these days is reaching and grabbing for, well, everything. Before you'd play with toys if we handed them to you, but now you actively seek them out and get frustrated when you lose them. 

You also reach your arm out whenever you see something you would like to touch (so pretty much constantly whenever I'm carrying you around). It used to be easy for Dad and I to take you out to eat with us because you'd just sit on our laps and look around. Now, you sit on our laps and bat at our food the whole time! 

You've been super into your exersaucer the last couple weeks. I think you really like being in it because you can stand. You are getting so purposeful about grabbing at and playing with the toys attached to it and you will stay playing in it for like 15 minutes at a time (which may not sound like a long time, but is an eternity compared to your attention span with most activities!).

A video of you playing in your exersaucer (and a bonus puke shot at the end!)

And lastly, you are beginning to really enjoy reading books! You have no idea how excited about this I am. I've always loved to read (I was an English major after all!), and it makes me incredibly happy to share some of my favorite childhood stories with my son. You like to sit in my lap and help me turn the pages of your board books, and cuddle up and just sit and listen to your longer story books, too.

Future book worm

It's crazy and incredible how much you've grown in the last (almost) four months. I am so proud of you and love you more than words could ever say.

All my love,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A million baby carriers

Dear Readers,
I have been determined to succeed at the whole baby-wearing thing. I started off with what seemed like a million different carriers, and until recently, never really found 'the one.' Since I have tried pretty much all the most popular models (at least from what I can tell), I thought I would share my experiences so that I can maybe save someone from having an entire house full of baby carriers like I ended up with :)

1. Moby Wrap I had heard from so many people that I just had to get a Moby Wrap. So I did. Actually, I bought it when I was pregnant with Stevie, so by the time I actually had a baby to put in it, I was pretty excited to try it out.

Elliot, 2 weeks old

The ridiculously long wrap spans the length of our front hallway
Comfort. The Moby is made out of stretchy jersey knit cotton and once its on, its very comfortable. 

Versatile. You can tie the Moby on in a variety of different ways. I only ever tried the front carry (pictured) and the cradle carry, but it comes with a straight-up book of all the different ways you can use the wrap.

Fit. Since the Moby is essentially one big, long piece of fabric, it can fit pretty much anyone, including my giant of a husband (6'10, 300 pounds). 

Not great for bigger babies. I enjoyed carrying Elliot in the Moby when he was a little newborn, but after he hit about 12 pounds (which for us was when he was 5-6 weeks old), the wrap started to sag and stretch out while he was in it. I never felt like I could tie it tight enough to feel safe and secure.

Annoying to store/put on. First of all, the Moby is seriously like 10 feet long. It comes in this fabric bag, but I have no clue how you're supposed to get it back in there after you take it out. So you have this huge pile of fabric laying around the house--kind of annoying. I also had to resort to youtube to figure out how to put the thing on. Once you get the hang of it, its not hard, but it does take a long time. Longer than I want to spend when all I'm doing is running into Target for toilet paper, for example. 

Hot. The fabric really doesn't breath well and it covers almost your entire torso, so as soon as summer hit, I had to retire the Moby. 

Overall, I liked the Moby during the newborn stage, in cooler weather. If you don't think you are going to have a giant baby like me, who will outgrow it in a matter of weeks, it may be worth the $50.

2. Ergo I was lucky enough to get this Ergo carrier as a hand-me-down from my friend and former boss, Vicki. I really want to love it (and I know a lot of people do!), but it hasn't worked that great for our family for a couple reasons: a) it doesn't fit my small shoulders and b) it doesn't fit my big husband.

Elliot without the newborn insert, 7 weeks old

Elliot with the newborn insert, 1 week old

Elliot, 10 weeks old

Aside from the shoulder straps not fitting correctly, comfort. I'm not sure if I have abnormally small shoulders or what the deal is, but even at the tightest setting, the Ergo always feels like its slipping off my shoulders. Aside from that, its really comfy. The hip strap (the part that goes around your waist) is super plush and soft and so are the shoulder straps. The Ergo also helps distribute the weight of your baby really well so you can hardly tell you're carrying around a kid--great for parents with chunky babies!

Easy. There's really nothing to figure out--no fancy wraps or ties to perfect, just buckle up and go.

Convenient. The Ergo is easy to hang up by its straps. I also like that it has a pocket in the front--you can fit your keys, cellphone, and wallet and leave the diaper bag in the car for quick trips to the store or walks around the block.

Not very adjustable. Like I mentioned before, it doesn't fit me or Andy quite right. Too big for me and way too small for him (he can't buckle the hip strap around his waist even at the largest setting). The buckles make it an easy carrier to get on and off, but they also make it less adjustable. Its definitely not a 'one size fits all' carrier.

Not good for newborns/small babies. In order to use the Ergo with a newborn you have to use a special insert (see picture above). Honestly, that thing was a major pain to use. Like so much so that I didn't even bother with it again after the first time until El was big enough to go in the carrier without it.

Overall, if the Ergo was more adjustable and I could get it to stop slipping off my shoulders, I'd really like it. I'd suggest trying it on (with a baby inside) before you throw down the $125 to make sure you don't run into the same issues I have!

3. Baby Bjorn. We got the Baby Bjorn carrier from our good friend Bjorn :) This ended being Andy's favorite carrier to use (before you tell me about how bad it is for babies, I am aware front-carrying your baby all the time is not the best position). Andy loves the Bjorn, but I rarely use it.

Elliot facing in, 3 weeks old

Elliot facing forward, 8 weeks old

Cooking dinner with Dad, 11 weeks old

Super easy. Easy enough for my husband to want to use on his own, which is really a huge pro if you ask me. 

Compact, lightweight, and easy to store/travel with. The Bjorn is small and is very easy to throw in the back of the car or even shove in a large diaper bag.

Ability to face forward. I know front-carrying is a no-no in some circles, but Elliot REALLY likes it. He loves looking out and watching people when we're walking around the mall or taking the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. As he gets older, he is starting to get really mad when he isn't able to be a part of what's going on around him.

Its a 'crotch dangler.' According to many reputable sources, the way the Bjorn holds your baby, almost dangling from his/her crotch (rather than in a seated position like the Ergo, for example), is really not good for their hips.

Not good for big babies. Elliot's chunky thighs and arms are already pushing the limits of the Bjorn, and he's not quite four months old!

It hurts my back. Andy doesn't find it uncomfortable, but for me, the Bjorn hurts my back or gives me a side-ache after wearing Elliot in it for more than a few minutes. Rather than distributing the weight of your baby to your hips, I feel it all over my back with the Bjorn.

Overall, I'm glad we have the Bjorn because it gets Andy excited about baby-wearing, but I'm also glad its not our only (or primary) carrier.

4. Baby Hawk. I am so, so thankful my friend Jessie sent me her Baby Hawk Mei Tai carrier because in it, I think I have finally found 'the one.' I almost has the same basic concept/design of the ergo, but because the straps tie rather than buckle, its completely adjustable for a person of any size (and shoulders!)

Elliot after a nice little hike, 15 weeks old

Checking it out, 15 weeks old

The design of the Baby Hawk

Comfort. Everything I like about the Ergo (padded shoulder and hip straps, awesome weight distribution) plus shoulder straps that I can get as tight and secure as I need them (you cross them in the back). The Baby Hawk is also really lightweight and doesn't get too hot in warm weather.

Fully adjustable. The Baby Hawk comfortably fits 5'6 me and 6'10 Andy. 

Versatile. Although I didn't have this until a few weeks ago, it would work great for little newborns, and also works awesome for big babies who have good head control and like to look around. Elliot both enjoys sleeping in it, with his head snuggled into my chest, and being awake in it, with the ability to look around from side to side and take in the world around him. You can also do hip carries and back carries (I haven't tried either yet, but plan to soon!)

Can't do a front-carry. Like I said, Elliot really, really likes facing forward in the Bjorn. The Baby Hawk doesn't allow for that type of carry.

Overall, I love this carrier and have been using it all the time since getting it a few weeks ago. Highly recommend!

5. Seven Sling. My wonderful friend Bethany sent me this simple sling because it didn't fit her. Its not very supportive or comfortable for long periods of time, but it is super simple and nice to keep in the diaper bag for times when you just need to get from the car into a restaurant or something. I won't go into all the pros and cons because its just not worth it for a $10 sling :)

Its literally a circle of cotton fabric

A little support while holding a heavy babe on your hip (Elliot, almost 4 months old)

I also just tried a ring sling for the first time at our New Mama group on Wednesday. I really liked how simple it was for doing things around the house and will probably invest in one soon (because clearly one more carrier is just what I need, ha!)

So there you have it. Hopefully this will be helpful for at least a couple moms or moms-to-be as they're trying to put together their baby registries. I'd love to hear what your favorite carrier is too, so please share!

Have a great weekend you guys!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Handmade baby legs (or OMG I actually sewed something that doesn't suck!)

Dear Readers,
I am obsessed with Baby Legs but $12 footless baby socks aren't exactly in the budget right now. So when I found these awesome Animal/Muppets knee socks on clearance at Target this weekend, I knew it was time to finally try making some Baby Legs of my own. It was seriously so easy, and they turned out really cute, so I figured I'd share!

Start with a pair of adult knee socks. Target has a bunch on sale for like $1.50 right now in super fun colors and patterns. I bought all mine in the women's section because I don't mind a little pink on my guy, but you could check the men's socks if you want something manlier I suppose :)

Next cut straight across the sock, right above the heel:

You could save the bottom parts of the socks to make crew socks out of, or if you're weird like my husband, you can use them as gangsta baby hats:

Anyway, next you flip the sock tubes inside out and fold them over to make a cuff at the bottom:

Then sew a hem around the bottom:

Flip them back right side out, and you're done!

If you want the bottoms to be tighter around the ankle, you could sew some thin elastic into the cuff, too.

How cute are they on my boy??

I'm like the worst seamstress in the world and even I couldn't mess this project up. And the best part is I was able to whip up a pair in under 10 minutes! Cheap, cute, and fast? You must give it a try :)

Have a great week everyone!


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