Consider Me Showered

Nope, this isn’t a post about reducing your water usage by showering less (although, admittedly, I do this…don’t worry, lots of quick “washing up” going on). Rather, this is about all the awesomely rad stuff I was able to acquire at my baby shower, thrown by my incredibly generous family and attended by some of the sweetest friends and relatives I know.

Just gonna start by saying that, while it wasn’t the perfect day (I was battling a sinus infection…and can we say “Target, you SUCK!” – 3 pack ‘n plays!?!?), but it was memorable and funny, a few folks worked their tails off on it, and the baby’s got some great people watching out for him/her – so it was totally all worth it. 🙂 And, really, isn’t it all about the baby, anyway? Damn straight.

Now, on to the GOOD stuff. The BABY stuff!

I never would have admitted that I wanted a diaper cake. As a matter of fact, the words “I hope I don’t get a diaper cake…” were uttered to my husband shortly before the shower. Man, was I wrong. I ended up getting two diaper cakes; one, simply made by my mom (which helped add to a ducky decor – I thought it was adorable!) and another, elaborately made by a former student/now friend, Jolene. The fact that the diapers were either cloth (which I’ll use as burp cloths OR may try my hand at the good ol’ fashioned pre-fold — she gave me Snappis, after all!!!! Either way, wicked versatile) and the rest that made up the body of the cake included well over 60 eco-friendly disposables (in size 1, the girl thought of EVERYTHING; if the baby’s anything like me, it may never need newborn sizes ;-D). I was overwhelmed at how much work she put into making this, and with all the fun goodies that were hiding inside. And the cats enjoyed batting at it for a few days before I finally, sadly, deconstructed it. I think Winston was as devastated as was I.

Of course, the pack ‘n play fiasco. These puppies ain’t cheap. They’re also a huge life-saver when you’ve got an old 2-story house and a touch of OCD about carrying a newborn up and down the stairs for a million diaper changes a day. It can be a place for them to nap or get changed or just to give you a couple of free hands for the moment – and can be packed away when traveling. We had registered for one…ONE of these…and we ended up with three. Whether someone didn’t beep the registry when it was purchased (I’m pretty sure I know at least two of the gift-givers DID this, though!) or what, we ended up with three. Regardless, we’ll be returning at least one (depends on if our future sitter will need one; both sets of grandparents already own one), which we can put towards some of the items we didn’t get…so, no harm. But, man was it embarrassing and uncomfortable for a) the folks who pitched in and gave such a nice gift and b) ME, the mommy, unopening them and knowing full well what was in each box. Regardless, it was an AWESOME gift and we’re lucky to have it. Er, them.

This thing intimidates me, but I’m over-the-moon excited at the same time. I pondered signing up for this Moby as well as a more “stable” carrier, but read such great things about it that I just went for it. And, it turns out, my incredible aunt who gifted it to me has a son who ADORES using his with his new little one (side note: the mini-cousin also gave us one of the coolest onesies ever). Glowing reviews tend to suck the intimidation out of it…a tad.

Here’s a shot of all the wonderful eco-friendly/natural toiletry products the baby got. This is about half of what we actually got. Seriously, I don’t foresee needing to buy anymore until the kid’s…well, using OUR soap. 😉 (And the ducky has a blue belly that helps you with water temperatures – which you’d think would be self-explanatory, but I really don’t trust how hot our water gets.) And here I was worrying folks wouldn’t get the “they don’t buy the traditional Johnson’s & Johnson’s” memo! It makes you feel loved when folks care that much to know who you are. 🙂

I was ecstatic to receive this gift from my long-time friend, Kelly. It’s supposed to be one of the tools that has brought cloth diapering into the 21st century (although I’m not sure how long it’s technically been around, hee hee). Pretty self-explanatory, it’s attached to the potty area and is used to spray cloth diapers before throwing them in a receptacle to eventually launder. Why in the heck did I get so excited about it? I have no clue. Perhaps I need to get a life. Maybe I’ve just read so much about the darn thing that I couldn’t help but squeal like a 16-year-old getting a set of keys for her birthday. Or, it could just be the fact that I LOVE that Kelly knows me well enough to get it. Bingo, yep. That’s the one. 🙂

This lil’ guy makes me cry…mostly because he’s a gift from his soon-to-be owner’s soon-to-be cousin (my sister’s baby girl). Plus, giraffes are apparently “our animal.” And, no, that doesn’t mean our nursery has a theme. Oh, and the BIGGER version of this (from my sister, herself) has a good ol’ musical wind-up mechanism in it that REALLY makes me bawl. She used to have a unicorn a a lot like it that our dad bought her. We played the crap outta that thing.

How about a nice representation of all the hand-made goodies we received? (This, again, is just a sampling!) One reason I picked these ones is because the light blue sweater (which came with a hat) and afghan were made by my mom…and the other sweater (along with its “apple” hat) just SCREAMS “let’s go to Cooperstown Farmers’ Market then feed some ducks at Fly Creek Cider Mill this fall”. 😀 We received more blankets and even our traditional hankie-turned-bonnet (for the christening…and for the child to use at his/her wedding one day), too, but I couldn’t show everything. Besides, as far as the beautiful ribboned hankie, “The cat won’t leave it alone!!!” (Reference, anyone?? :-))

Okay, we got several INCREDIBLE gifts from B+B (I’ve mentioned them countless times here…and still haven’t gotten around to asking them if I should divulge their names…why are they the ONLY people I make the executive decision to just say, “Let’s call them B+B.” Perhaps the mysteriousness gets across how downright cool these cats are.), so why’d I pick this over the vintage/antique (can’t tell which, but either way, AWESOMENESS) baby eating utensils? Because it’s just so. Darn. Cool. It’s a rattle of sorts. Made out of organic wood. For teething. I mean, if it was just a cool little owl toy, I’d love it. But the fact that it makes neat noises AND is organic AND is great for soothing sore gums makes it the best multi-tasker gift EVER. Plus, you guys can buy one online if you like. (I haven’t checked out the web site, mostly because I don’t care too know how much it costs. It’s priceless to us.)

Talking about gifts from best friends and I honestly could’ve done an entire post just on the jam-packed BOX o’ goodies that my BFF Beth (along with her grandmother and mother – yep, 3 generations of generosity!) brought along. (Not to mention the IKEA trip she made for us!!!) Seriously. Why’d I pick these (although she got ORGANIC blankies and other must-haves off my registry)? To give you an idea of our diaper situation. These are “wet bags.” They’re, tentatively, where we’ll be throwing wet cloth diapers (after sprayed; or, when on the go, just thrown on in there without dunking or spraying) before laundering. If we need a larger solution, sobeit, but for now these (two travel ones on the left, one awesome zippered one on the right) will work great for our needs. Besides, I figure these bags would work great for a other applications, too, if need be.

After bragging about only a handful of the awesome gifts we received, I must say that we appreciated absolutely everything we got. While the hubs was slightly overwhelmed (okay, maybe more than slightly) by the sheer numbers of everything, I found it to be just the right amount of goodies. There are still items to be bought, but none are emergency things – and it’s to the point where Mommy and Daddy want to invest in some of their own stuff. We don’t have to rely on friends and family for everything. 🙂 We’re uber-lucky, as is the baby, to have folks who are so willing to get us stuff – but, as I’ve learned from my mom, a vast majority of the stuff you simply don’t need. At least, not right away.

Becoming a Nursery

FINALLY. I finally sent in the nursery art – art which was inspired by Pinterest and tweaked slightly by moi – to Staples. Sure, I won’t be able to pick it up until I get a chance to swing by the joint (which is about a half hour away), but the prints will end up costing just over $10. I’m happy with that. An alphabet print, which I decided to use with a humongoid frame I picked up awhile back (I believe half off of $2.99; a steal for a 12×16 frame with that’s matted to 9×12) ended up costing $6.99, just due to the weird sizing, but everything else (four other graphics) were $2.36. All the frames were Goodwill goodies, so the ultimate cost is less than $20 for five pieces of art. I’m hoping they all fit the frames! Now, back to my “handmade art” projects.

We also officially have our crib set up in the nursery. Anything non-nursery-related is outta there (except for a couple of items that will be sharing the closet…y’know, a wedding dress), so we’ve just got our honest-to-goodness nursery work to do in there. Oh, and when I say “crib”, I don’t necessarily mean mattress. Still gotta pick that out. I’d like to go organic with it, but may just settle for a mattress with, for lack of better description, “low emissions.” 😉 We shall see, but it was awesome that Dave and his papa got the crib together in under 30 minutes — and I’m in love with the wood color (even if I wanted white all along; sometimes a husband and wife have to compromise…and the wife has to get creative in her decorating choices…. *wink, wink*). I’ll take pictures after things come together a tad more.

The big nursery “to-do”s include:
– A major cleaning of the wood floors (and everything else – that toy train, for example). Those floors are in rough shape, and no matter what I clean them with I can’t seem to get up the film…or the rough patches.
– Hang the blinds.
The curtains I made are already up, but our Christmas Tree Shop bamboo blinds (I believe $6 each) need to go up to block out more of the light – can you say “naptime”? Don’t worry, I’ll either replace them or find a way to make them child-safe when the time comes. I’m not too concerned about them considering that their construction is much simpler than regular blinds, and we may not even be in this house when the toddling starts – who knows?
– Sanding and painting the dresser (AKA changing table). I’d been waiting for the perfect weather, but when the sun finally shines, “other plans” coincide. Maybe I should learn how to ignore guests and just get to the dirty work while the weather cooperates. 😉 Oh, and it has occurred to me that the frames also need painting. And perhaps the bookcase. Hmm. Now, where IS that nesting instinct?
– Closet craziness. We’ll be putting up an overhead shelf (ie big ol’ board from Lowe’s), and actually shifting where the rod (currently a huge wooden dowel – use whatchya got) resides. I know this will be a crazy feat, mostly because it was when we did this in our office closet. But, who knows? Sometimes projects surprise us. 😉
– A ragin’ game of hangman. This will involve all the aforementioned art, as well as whatever else I can rock out myself. I’m still popping out more ideas, so we may simply have too much darn art for this kiddo! I don’t want to overstimulate them (there are a lot of verbal graphics going on), but if I group them in collage form, I’m hoping they won’t overwhelm. I also have some simpler art ideas, too, so it’s all good. I’ll edit if need be.
– Finishing (and hanging…again, see above…hangy, hangy, hangy) the mobile. I’m thinking of putting this over the changing table rather than the crib. Y’know. Just to rebel a little bit.
– Finishing touches. Y’know, bringing in the rocking chair (which currently resides in our front room), move stuff around, find spots for all the goodies I’ll be getting at my upcoming shower, and all the fun “final touches” decorating. Then share ’em here!

More importantly, our biggest job right now is researching our pediatrician options and putting in a phone call about a possible daycare provider. And, of course, I have to make the final cloth diaper decision (but that’s technically lower on the list). There are a million loose ends I’d like to tie up all over the house – especially outside (our curb appeal is driving me CRAZY right now!!!) – but the energy levels are diminishing while the belly size is increasing. And why is it that every time I get halfway through a sewing project, my bobbin tension goes all wacky?! Is it the Universe shouting “It’s time to call your mother” (mind you, the Universe in this scenario has a middle-aged Jewish accent, similar to Mrs. Costanza)?! Sheesh.

However, I must say that our weekend was quite eventful, between getting the full-sized bed hauled to its new home (the in-laws :-)), the crib built, a post-birthday celebration at Beardslee Castle with my favoritest people, a trip to Oneonta to visit a former student (who’s like our first child, truth be known) and stop by an awesome natural food/product store and antique shop, and heading home to do a bit of yard work (during which I had an epiphany – the foundation is okay as it is, for now…the paint chipping off of the basement windows, however, could stand some paint – much easier mini-makeover, don’tchya think?! And I can totally do that with the right cushioning…hee hee). Oh, yes, and I sanded down the dresser only to realize that we needed more wood putty and to decide on some hardware for that sucker. So, while my energy lacks for more sanding/painting, I DO think I can head to Lowe’s and grab those items…then fill some holes and call it a night. Whew. So, that’s all for now!

Kitty Pics

Why in the heck am I sifting through kitty pictures?

…other than the fact that these faces are the cutest thing in the world…
…for now. (Who am I kidding? These are our first children.)

Let’s just say that I’m working on some one-of-a-kind nursery art. And we can’t leave our “first babies” out of our “first baby’s” space, now, can we?

I’m still working out which style of art we’ll land on, but introducing our guys to the “little one” is just one more step in this crazy process. What sentimental item(s) or art do you surround yourself with everyday?

Eco-Baby

As you know, we’re all about making our best attempts at going green and live sustainably around here. Sometimes it works great and we’re able to change our habits completely (hooray for cloth napkins!!!), and other times we fall off the wagon (boo when the “baby” craves McDonald’s – yep, there’s a correlation between McDonald’s and non-sustainability – for 100 points, tell me what it is :-D). Heck, at times our CATS do way better than we do – after all, their lives are pretty much “eat, play, potty, sleep.” Not TOO complicated. 😉

So, of course, when it comes to the future Baby D (still no nickname, and the “D” isn’t a hint as it its possible first name ;-)), it’s not like we’re suddenly going to throw caution to the wind and suddenly raise the kid in an eco-less life. We feel too responsible for the future of our planet, especially now that we’ll be worrying about the future generations that will be using it. Plus, so much of living a “greener” lifestyle is also about maintaining one’s own health – it’s a win-win, as far as I’m concerned.

As far as how we’re going about our green baby journey, it’s probably easiest to simply break it down for ya:

Cloth diapers. While I read an article last night stating that cloth diapers AREN’T more eco-friendly (from a magazine riddled with disposable diaper ads…hmmm, coincidence?), I’m still fighting the cloth diaper battle. I’m still trying to decide between a million different options, and am finally to the point of asking myself, “Do I just want to go simple and purchase all one kind and brand, damn the consequences? Or should I pick a few different styles and brands (as well as price points) to see what works best?” It’s hard to determine how your kid will respond/react to each type, and I haven’t heard 100% positives from ANY one given diaper. Of course not! Kids. All. Poop. Differently. I just hope I don’t regret my final decision. Regardless, we’re doin’ this.
Cloth wipes. Depending on how challenging cloth diapering is, I’m planning on using cloth (reusable) wipes for their tushies. If it was good enough for my mom to use on my bum… Oh, and if we’re traveling or visiting someone’s house (y’know, the grandparents, aunts/uncles, friends, etc), we’ve got eco-friendly wipes.
Reusing Clothes. I’ve already got a bin of newborn-to-6 month, gender-neutral clothes, courtesy by incredibly generous sis, who also didn’t find out the sex of her daughter prior to her being born last September. Anything else I get will be icing, as far as I’m concerned. Although, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I can’t wait to find out (when he/she finally comes) whether I’ll be shopping for the modern bright pinks and chartreuse greens for a girl or finding part-quirky/part-hippie/part-preppy (think sweater vest; like Daddy, like Son) for a boy.
Decor. Okay, not only is it a huge cost savings, but finding thrifted items or repurposing old family treasures really adds massive personality to the nursery. We’re nowhere close to done, of course, but some of the ways that we’re saving AND “greening” up the place include using an antique rocker that my mother passed down to me (from my grandfather’s house – man, does this thing have personality! And I’ve already have blankets/cushions to comfy it up), putting art in cheap (yet mostly wood!) frames from Goodwill, painting a hand-me-down dresser to use for storage and as a changing table, using toys/books that we grew up with (which serve multiple purposes), and I’ve even got something up my sleeve for a sheet that has an awesome antique-looking edge (which happened to cost $2…yes, I said $2). All this is stuff that wasn’t created new just for our little space – although we’ll, of course, have to buy a handful of new items.

Cute AND politically incorrect? Sign me up!
Mmm…scallopy…

Breastfeeding. I’m by no means a praying person, but “LORD, JESUS, PLEASE HEAR MY PLEA TO HAVE A RELATIVELY UNCHALLENGED TIME AT BREASTFEEDING THIS LITTLE ONE WHEN THE TIME COMES!!!!” *whew* Seriously, though, what’s “greener” than breastfeeding? 😉 While we’re at it, I’ve registered for the manual pump, although there wasn’t really a green reason for it; if breastfeeding DOESN’T work out, for whatever reason, I don’t want to try to resell a $200+ double-boob-electric-monster. Ain’t happenin’. The eco-friendliness just happens to be perk. Oh, and when I pump (or if BF doesn’t work out), we’re hoping to get BPA-free GLASS bottles.
Toiletries. We’re trying to be “ASAP” – As Simple As Possible. We’ve done enough purging (still more to go) that simply adding to the chaos is silly. So, taking a cue from some blogger parents I’ve read, we’re going pretty darn basic with toiletries. Here’s what we picked up one day (because the prices were pretty good); I’d like to eventually keep it down to one item for washing (shampoo and wash in one), sunblock, and if we absolutely need it, lotion and baby powder; oh, and have the products as eco-friendly as possible.

Toys. We’re in love with Melissa & Doug toys (mostly wood) and other non-plastic options out there, but a lot of this depends on what we’re gifted, too. (See our little choo-choo above that belonged to my hubby’s family.)

I’m positive I’m forgetting some other eco-stuff we’re doing, but we’ll just blame that on pregnancy brain. Fun! If I wasn’t already air-headed enough… (And, yes, I realize that “Mom Brain” or “Parent Brain” or whatever it’s called hangs on for good. Oh, goody.)

There are some areas that I’m sure we could do better on, I’m sure, but it can sometimes be an uphill battle. We’re incredibly blessed to have family members who are aching to help out – so if that means not purchasing a certain item secondhand, sobeit. And there are a few convenience items (a travel-sized swing or breast pump, for example) that I just want new. But, as with everything, we try to do our best, and I’m looking forward to keeping things relatively simple around here — because things are sure to get complicated enough pretty quickly!