Baby Registry – What You Really Need

“What do I need to buy for my baby?” “What brands do you recommend?” “What could you live without and what are you glad you had?” These are the questions I often get from new mommies and daddies who are entering the world of parenthood. After reading a blog from a fellow twitterer, I finally have decided to blog about what I think you need and what brands provide the best buy for you and your baby 🙂

Before I begin, I want to thank my best friend, Vanessa, for helping me prepare for my babies. She gave me a lot advice and wisdom, and so I hope to pass it along to you. Let me begin with car seats, this of course is one of the most important since your baby cannot leave the hospital without one 🙂 I have tried a few brands – Britax, Costco, and Graco. The best infant seat is Britax. It has won many safety awards, and it has stylish prints. It might cost a little bit more, but well worth it for the peace of mind.

Next comes the complex area of strollers. There are so many types, weights, looks and prices of strollers that you can become overwhelmed. First, I would NOT recommend the travel systems. We never bought one, but my friends who did ended up buying something else because they felt it was too bulky. I would recommend a car seat stroller. They are cheap, light and compact. After the baby could hold up his head, we bought an upgraded light stroller. After carrying around the infant seat, I was ready for something light and easy to travel, and the Maclaren strollers were just that for our family. We originally had an all-terrain stroller, but I needed an SUV just to transport the stroller, so I ended up selling it. Personally, I am all about convenience 🙂

In our family, mommy and daddy carried their own diaper bag. I had my stylish Kate Spade bag while my hubby enjoyed his Diaper Dude. Having your own bag is less stressful for you and your family – take it from me 😉 My hubby also wanted to have a baby carrier. He used it a lot especially when we took walks through the park and the zoo. It is so easy to use when traveling instead of bring the stroller. The Baby Bjorn is the one we had and loved!

Finally, for the first two months of our kiddos’ lives, we use a co-sleeper next to our bed. I am too lazy to get up out of bed and do late-night feedings. After our babies slept through the night, the kiddos moved to their own rooms. For the kiddos’ rooms, I would recommend a convertible crib, a changing table and a glider. We chose neutral furniture that our kiddos would grow into, so we did not have to buy furniture at each childhood milestone. I consider myself a savvy shopper, and I hope these tips will help you as your prepare for your bundle of joy!

She walks in Beauty

I absolutely love British literature, and I wanted to share a wonderful poem that I came across by Lord Byron titled, “She walks in Beauty.”

SHE walks in beauty, like the night
  Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
  Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light          5
  Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
  Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
  Or softly lightens o’er her face;   10
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
  How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
  So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,   15
  But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
  A heart whose love is innocent!

“What is beauty?” This question I hear from children to adults from men and from women. There really is no easy way to define it because it as unique as you and me. The one thing I do believe is that inner beauty is mirrored by outer beauty. Our outer beauty might attract a mate, but it’s our inner beauty that will keep him forever.

Travel: A Honeymoon at Cape Cod & the Islands

It was 7 years ago that my new husband and I set out on an adventure to the wonderful area of the country known as Cape Cod. We had met overseas, married in the desert of Arizona and now it was time to relax and enjoy the Cape and the Islands. Little did we know that there would be some many things to see and do on on the 70-mile peninsula.CapeCodTravelGuide

There are a myriad of activities available, like a trip whale watching or an afternoon of deep sea fishing. But, we were newlyweds and enjoyed walking on the sandy beach at low tide. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, the beaches along Cape Cod and the Islands have breathtaking views, massive sand dunes and interesting walking trails to enjoy. In the town of Falmouth, we window shopped in the antique boutiques and creative art studios, and we started our first holiday tradition where we bought our first Christopher Radko ornament for our tree and then a Cape Cod adirondack chair ornament to remember our time at the Cape.

A Cape Cod Honeymoon
Picture a cozy room in a sea captain’s house with a canopy bed, a fireplace and in the morning the delightful aroma of fresh baked cinnamon rolls … the perfect honeymoon location. There are many choices available to make your dream trip a reality. The service all along the Cape and the Islands is phenomenal, where they pamper their guests. If you want to stay on the famous Martha’s Vineyard, we highly recommend staying at the Harbor View Hotel. It is a beautiful bed & breakfast that is close to all he great shops and eateries, but private enough to enjoy with the one you love.harborviewhotel

A Black Culinary Experience
We were tickled to see a theme regarding the food along the Cape, a lot of restaurants with called Black insert an animal name. First, we came across Black Cat Tavern in Hyannis. And, this fresh seafood restaurant left us in awe of the culinary cuisine on the Atlantic Coast. The maiko shark was “the best I have ever had,” said my husband and still to this day, it is the best. Black Cat is good-value seafood that will not disappoint with its nautical-theme right on the Hyannis docks. A couple of days later, we took the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard, where on the recommendation of my posh aunt and uncle said to stop by Black Dog Tavern. “You won’t regret it.” Ok, why not?! Black Dog has a special place in my husband’s heart, as he enjoyed the freshest, sweetest lobster in whole entire life. It was so good that in the middle of our meal, he calls his best friend to tell him all about it. Yes, I was sitting across from him, but I was also disgusted by the slurping of him when pulling the meat out of the shell. That being said, Friday is lobster night: A complete lobster dinner will cost you $20. On sunny days, try to get a seat on the outdoor patio next to the harbor. You can also find a restaurant called Blackfish in Truro and Black Sheep Bah & Grill in Yarmouth, not be confused with Black Sheep grocery on Martha’s Vineyard. Like I said, Cape Cod & the Islands have a unique black culinary experience for you to enjoy.BlackCatTavern blackdogtavern

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my travel board on Pinterest here!

Daily Prayer

“…Teach us almighty father, to consider this solemn truth, as we should do, that we may feel the importance of every day, and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what thy goodness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past…” Jane Austen

Setting a Routine

I prefer to use the routine than schedule. In recent times, schedule has had mixed connotations linked to the word. Some moms love scheduling, and others feel confined by it. Because of this, I prefer “setting a routine” for me and my children. I found setting a routine very helpful for my family. Both of my children like a routine, and they prefer me to stick with it. If I don’t, they usually communicate their dissatisfaction through crying or whining.

When I begin setting a routine, I focus first on when my children need to eat – breakfast, lunch, dinner and maybe a snack or two between. After this, I determine how much sleep my children need. My infant needs between 2 – 3 naps (2-hours each) daily and my toddler needs 1 (2-hour) nap. After I have determined these two things, then I have set up their routine. My question to you – how many well-fed and well-rested children throw tantrums?

Poisoning our Children?

Yesterday, I receive another warning that there are possible dangers from plastic baby bottles (e.g. Avent, Dr. Brown, etc.). This is driving me mad. As a mother, I try my best to provide all for my children, and even that is not enough. Toys, baby bottles, food – what is next? I feel like the quality control is diminishing in the states. I having to research everything that my child touches. This is concerning and exhausting.

OFF SOAP BOX
Here is the information that I have collected regarding these concerns. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a substance used in the production of polycarbonate plastics that has estrogenic properties and has been shown in animal tests to cause a host of health problems such as cancer and male and female hormone disruption in lab animals. Both parents and manufacturers are starting to catch onto the idea that safer plastics and even non-plastic materials can be used to make durable and attractive baby bottles and toddler cups.

Preferable Plastics

You can identify better plastics by the recycling code numbers stamped in them. Look for reusable bottles made of:
#2 (HDPE, high-density polyethylene, the most widely recyclable)
#4 (LDPE, low-density polyethylene) or
#5 (PP, polypropylene).
These plastics have not been found to release BPA or phthalates.

On the other hand, most single-use water bottles are made of #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE). These bottles, if old, reused or heated, may release phthalates, which are possible human carcinogens, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Also avoid #3 and #7 plastics as polycarbonate has been found in some tests to leach BPA when heated.

ON SOAP BOX
Lead-Free Toys

* Wood toys with or without non-toxic paint
* Rubberwood toys
* Made in America toys since we have strict lead-free guidelines

Daily Routine

William Blake states my daily routine so eloquently. I love mornings! It is truly the only time of the day when I can hear my thoughts. I enjoy sipping coffee on my comfy sofa with no noise or distraction. Then, 7 a.m. comes. It is nonstop preparing food, changing daipers and playing with the kids that sometimes I forget that I have not eaten all day. My husband is quick to remind me of this because my patience is a little short. Ahhh! By the time I am finished with dinner, I am ready for bed. Poof, my head hits the pillow and off to dreamland I go. Until the next morning 🙂

A Little Vignette

Being a “mama” is very difficult. I’m used to being an independent woman. The first year of motherhood was hard for me. I didn’t really know my place, influence or power I had over my young little family. I felt like every day was a chore. I hated cleaning. It felt like it was a never-ending job. I am sure you know how it is — you clean everything until all is spotless and beautiful and, within minutes, the house looks messy again. Cooking was not quite as bad. I missed conversations with adults and dining out whenever.

We have all heard of thankless jobs before. When you have little children a mother’s work seems thankless, indeed. I didn’t realize at the time that I was at the beginning of a journey — A journey to find nobility in motherhood. On Mother’s Day this year, I decided I needed some “mommy time” to step away from the daily mundane things and write about my life – the good, the bad and the ugly. This blog is a documentation of how I am learning or growing as a “mama.”

Disclaimer: Please forgive my simple language. Did I mention I have little adult conversation?