7.29.2014

Best of Baby Gear Series: Part 2, Baby-wearing

If you missed part 1 of the series, you can read about my picks for baby gear for the early months here.


Okay, so I love baby-wearing.  It's such a sweet feeling having your baby so close to you, it promotes bonding and attachment, and it's so convenient.  I never really thought too much about baby-wearing before getting pregnant.  I saw people here and there wearing their babes, but I didn't really know all the choices that are out there.  I did some research and read lots of reviews before choosing the three carriers I have - thank you baby shower gift cards!  I have used and loved all three of these for different reasons (Liv loves them all too!), so here we go.


I purchased my Bjorn from Craigslist for $25 before Liv was born.  I wasn't sure how much I would use it, so I didn't want to buy it brand-new if I didn't have to.  I actually ended up using it way more than I thought I would.  I kept it in my car and used it almost every Sunday at church for several months and for trips into the grocery store or Target.  Also, I never wore her facing out because of all the things you read about their hips, but many people do and like that option.  I mainly used this for Liv from age 2-6 mo.  After that, she had chunked up quite a bit and it darted to hurt my shoulders.

Pros:
Light-weight
Fairly affordable and/or easy to find on craigslist or yardsales
Very easy to put on and take off - easiest of all three carriers by far
Nice for babies who can't hold their head up well or when they fall asleep
You can unclip one or both sides of the top headrest and fold it down for your baby to look around

Cons:
Not great on your shoulders once your babe gets heavier
May not be the best carrier choice if you only can get one type
Max weight 25 lbs - but I think that would be really hard to carry a baby that heavy in this

Overall, I loved this for when Liv was smaller, especially for the convenience factor.




The only wrap I had heard of before researching was the Moby.  I've never tried it, so I can't speak to it at all, but I love the Solly Baby wrap.  I first saw someone post about it on instagram, and I loved that it is a family-run business with a great reputation, comes in wonderful, high-quality fabric and such pretty colors.  Although if you know me well, you'll find it no surprise I have the grey one in the photo above from their site :)

Pros:
So so comfy!  For you and for baby
Makes you feel like your hugging your baby all the time
USA-made fabrics, super soft/breathable and high-quality
Two ways to wear baby - newborn and classic
Super portable - you can wrap it up into itself and toss in your diaper bag
Easy to wash
Easy to sit in

Cons:
A little hard to figure out - took me lots of practice!
For me, this one was much easier once she was able to hold her head up
Not as convenient for quick trips in and out of a store
Can be a little pricey

I still use this wrap a lot and love it.  I recommended it to several friends as well, and they all love theirs too.  Go check out their beautiful website - they have lots of how-to videos and facts about their company - I love that.



If I had to only choose one carrier for whatever reason, this would probably be it.  I have already gotten a lot of use out of it, and the great thing about it is you can use it for years.  I am definitely glad I bought this one - again, thank you baby shower gift cards!

Pros:
Super versatile - front/back/side carry
Very comfortable - never hurts your shoulders
Convient sunshade
Great for walks or long periods of time baby-wearing 
Lots of colors, styles and types to choose from
Max weight 45 lbs
Heavy-duty, durable fabric

Cons:
A little hard with a small baby/newborn with the infant insert - we did use it, but it wasn't the easiest
More pricey than the others
A little uncomfortable to sit down and relax in - I would use the wrap for those times
Kind of bulky and harder to travel with when not in use

Overall, I love the ergobaby - you really can't go wrong with this one.  I use it several times a week don't see than changing anytime soon.


Happy baby-wearing!

7.27.2014

Happy Sunday

But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
Psalm 146:5-6
NLT


I read this verse this week during one of my quiet times, and it was one of those times that scripture seemed to leap off the page at me.  Ever have those moments?

It took me back to a lot of feelings and emotions I felt during our infertility journey.  There were times when I was so discouraged and spiritually dry.  Time after time, I felt let down, like my dreams were being built up in dramatic fashion to only be crushed 2 weeks later.  Infertility can be a long and lonely road (so if you know someone struggling with it, give them some extra love and grace).  This verse was a beautiful, gentle reminder to reflect on one of the things the Lord graciously taught me during that time in my life - that placing my hope in anything other than Him would leave me feeling empty and sad (even if those things were good things), but when my hope is in Christ, that is when I get to experience true joy that is not dependent on my circumstances.  

And that last part of verse 6?  Well if that doesn't fill your heart with hope / joy, I'm not sure what will.  We have a mighty God who is our helper, and he keeps every, single promise (big and small) forever!  

Happy Sunday friends!
ps - isn't my sweet niece adorable?!

7.17.2014

Best of Baby Gear Series: Part 1, The Early Months

I researched and read a ridiculous amount of information about baby gear while pregnant with Liv.  After 8 months, I can definitely narrow down a list of things that we love and that have been must-haves for us.  Since looking back on those sweet newborn days is so fun (they go by so fast!), and I always love reading things like this, I thought I'd gather up my favorite baby gear items and share them with you all in a series of posts.

First up - our essentials for the first few months:


Bassinet (on wheels!)

I'll be honest, this was not something I thought I needed at first.  I originally planned on using our pack-n-play in our bedroom until Liv transitioned to her crib, but a very sweet doctor I work with gifted me several baby items she no longer needed and was going to donate otherwise.  This sturdy wood bassinet ended up being one of my favorite things for those first 12 weeks.  It was small enough for her to feel safe and cozy in, it didn't look obnoxious and it was super easy to pull right up to my side of the bed and then move against the wall during the day.  Hands-down one of the most useful things during those early weeks.  This one is similar to ours.

A Good Glider Rocking Chair

I did not (and still don't) want one of the traditional-style nursery gliders.  They just aren't my style.  We originally bought a less-expensive, cute and smaller rocking chair, but after actually spending so much time there, we had some gift cards left and went and got a nice, comfortable one.  This is our's - it has been worth every penny.  You will spend a lot of time with your little one there, and trust me, you want to be comfy.

Swing

Liv literally napped in this thing every day (she still does on occasion - ha!)  Yes, it is one of those things that takes up a lot of space, but it was so worth it for us.  I had planned on getting the 4moms mamaroo, but this fisher price swing was gifted to us, so we thought we'd try it first.  We've never put it on higher than the lowest setting (it goes kind of fast), but it has always soothed her right to sleep.  It has rain, birds chirping and lullaby music buttons as well.  The fabric is very soft and easy to remove and wash, and it plugs into the wall, so no replacing batteries!  Overall, this has ended up being one of the best, and probably the most used, baby items to date.





Liv has slept in a sleep sack since we brought her home from the hospital.  I wanted her to be as safe as possible when asleep, and these things have gotten great reviews.  Liv got her little arms and hands out of every other swaddle blanket we had except this one.  She always loved being swaddled, and these were really easy and always made us feel comfortable that she was safe.



Love love loved these.  Best baby clothing item we have owned thus far.  She slept in a long or short-sleeve onesie without legs and these booties in her sleep sack every night for the first 5-6 months or so, until it got warm enough to leave her barefoot at night.  She also would wear these with little leggings or pants during the day.  Baby socks do not stay put, especially at night.  These always did.  And I mean, how darn cute are they?!





We used these to swaddle Liv during naps, lay her on on the floor, as a nursing cover, to wipe up spit up, a carseat cover, etc.  These things are awesome and so soft!  They wash really well too.



We have 4 4-oz. ones and 4 9-oz. ones (you may not need that many if you don't mind frequent washes).  I cannot say one bad thing about these.  They are safe, cute, durable and really good for baby's tactile senses.  I could go on and on.  We still use these all the time whenever she's with someone other than me.



So easy to use, looks cute, is safe and fast.  We even bought our sitter one, because the glass bottles take longer to warm up just sitting in warm water.  It's also really affordable and fits most every bottle out there.


Liv had a paci within hours of being born.  It has never caused her a problem with nursing or taking a bottle.  This is the only kind we've ever tried, and she loves them.  We have 2 of the lambies as we call them, and we don't go anywhere without one.  She mainly only takes them now when she's sleepy, but they sure did their job and soothed her during those early days.



Other Items We Loved (and still do!)

Diapers and wipes - the Honest Co. and Pampers Swaddlers

A good sound machine that plugs in - we have this one and love it

A nursing pillow - I got a cute pink one from here with a free promo code and have ended up loving it.  It's really soft and pliable, so it's easy to stuff under your arm and very light-weight

Plenty of button-up footie pajamas - she pretty much lived in these from 0-3 mo.  I hated the ones that zipped, because they bunched up at the top and touched/irritated her chin.

The hospital nose-sucker - you will use this daily, trust me

Plenty of burp cloths - we use the white, gerber cloth diapers

7.06.2014

Adoption Update

It's been a while since I've done an adoption update - yes we are still adopting!  For those of you who might be new, we started the adoption process in January 2012 with Uganda, and we were placed on hold during our pregnancy up until Liv turned 6-months old.  We are approved for ages 0-4.  This blog was originally started to chronicle that journey, and while it still will, it will also be a place for me to blog about motherhood and our lives in general.

Liv turned 6-months old in May, and we officially went back on the waiting list for a referral.  We had to update our home study and get re-fingerprinted with the USCIS.  You get one free fingerprint renewal, so hopefully we'll be in process by the time this one is up!

We've moved up 2 spots since going back on the list, but it is really impossible to say how long we might be waiting.  It could be months before we move again.  It all depends on so many factors out of anyone's control, and we're at peace with that.  We're just enjoying this precious time with our sweet girl - as any parent knows, it goes by so fast!  We are so thankful in hindsight that our agency's policy is to put couples on hold when they are expecting.  New parents really need time to bond and enjoy their new baby, and I'm really thankful we've had that with Liv.  I know once we adopt our son, no matter his age, he will need a lot of bonding time with us too.

It can get a little overwhelming when I begin to think about all the details that will have to fall in place with travel and work once we actually get a referral, but I just keep reminding myself I serve a faithful God who is interested in those details, and everything will come together when it needs to.  There's no use wasting time in worry.  Like He knew Liv was coming all along, He knows who our son is and we're trusting Him with those details and timing too.

7.03.2014

Sharing My Story: Infertility

GloriouslyRuinedYou guys, I am so honored to be guest posting today on my dear friend Wynne's blog, Gloriously Ruined, as part of her Fertility Friday series.  She has been such a sweet friend to me throughout my infertility and adoption journey, and she has recently been sharing her infertility story on her blog.  She has inspired me to be brave and share some of mine as well.  I truly hope it encourages someone, so hop on over and read my guest post