Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

The hubby is super lucky to get the whole week of Thanksgiving off. So, when he also received a nice bonus at work, we decided it would be the perfect time for a family vacation to Disneyland. I'm a big fan of Disneyland. It really does feel like such a magical little place. The attention to detail is just amazing to me. The fact that it'd be our little bean's first visit just made it extra special. We left last Friday night with our 2-day park-hopper passes in hand!

 {Yay! Day One}

 {the snowy icicle covered castle}

{Our first ride- Dumbo}

 {it's so hard to get a good picture of this girl. she loved the teacups! it was my favorite as a little girl}

 {little door for a little girl}

{We're excited!}

On our first day the focus was to enjoy Disneyland park as much as possible. We had a great start; nice and early, and were able to enjoy quite a few rides before heading back to our hotel across the street for Amélie's nap. After a nap (for all of us!), we went back and really took advantage of the day. We rode as many rides as we could and fortunately none of lines were longer than a 20 minute wait. We watched the Christmas parade and were able to sneak onto Small World toward the end of the show and avoid the ridiculous 40 wait that it had all day! I have to say it was probably my most favorite ride of all. Amélie LOVED it. She was fascinated by everything and was smiling and clapping the entire time. The park and many of it's rides were decorated for the holiday season and Small World was especially beautiful. I also told the hubby we should stay for the special fireworks display and snow(!!!) that night, which was well past Amélie's bedtime, but we're so happy we did because once we got back to the hotel with a passed out Amélie in the stroller (she never sleeps in the stroller!), we realized the weather report called for rain the next day.

 {having fun with hats. Amélie did end up getting the traditional Mickey ears}

 {she was actually having fun. getting close to nap time}

{darn handle!}

{just cruising}

With the weather report in mind, the next day our goal was to get to the park at opening time, ride as many things as possible and then head over to California Adventure since we'd never been there; hopefully before the rain started. Well, we did alright. We did get there on time, did ride as many as we could before nap time, but we never made it to California Adventure. It started pouring as soon as we started having lunch before nap time. We went back, slept, and then decided on braving the cold and rain to ride Space Mountain, Peter Pan, and the Haunted Mansion. Just three rides...we could do it in the rain, right?! Well, we accomplished it, but it was definitely an adventure. Amélie's at a stage now where she cannot lose sight of me. So, when Eric and I switched in order for me to get on Space Mountain, Amélie started crying immediately and didn't stop until I got back. Then, we found out Amélie doesn't like being in the rain (even with a raincoat and umbrella) and during the time we were waiting in the portion of the line that was in the rain for Peter Pan, she whined and cried a little. Fortunately, she was totally into the Haunted Mansion and she pointed and clapped throughout the ride. With our goals completed, we headed back to a warm comforting dinner, bath time, and on-time bedtime. Overall, our trip was a big success and we had a wonderful time.

{beautiful lit up castle}

{christmas lights. love.}

{the only picture on our camera from our rainy second day}

We of course took lots of pictures with our phones too, but I'll post those on Facebook since it's easier that way. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Momma Must-Haves

I spent a good portion of Amélie's nap this past Saturday writing up this list with lots of details for a relative. As I got about half-way through, I wished I would have typed it out because I have lots of friends that are going to be new mommy's. It'll also be good for me to look back on and perhaps edit when we prepare for our next frijolito.

This list includes things that I've tested/used and absolutely loved.


Stroller: We used the Uppababy Vista and the City Mini by Baby Jogger. My fave, hands-down, is the City Mini. It's super light, unbelievably easy to fold, and it maneuvers fabulously. It has an attachment you can purchase in order to use it with the infant seat. I'm already thinking that we might get the double one if the next bean comes along while Amélie's still interested in riding along. We also have a BOB jogging stroller and it's the best.

Car Seat: We did our research using a handy little guide, Baby Bargains and it was really helpful when it came to deciding on the infant car seat. We went with what they suggested at a reasonable price-point and got a Graco Snugride. We decided to go with the one that goes up to 35 lbs, just in case.

Baby Bargains Book
Good Helper

Crib: We purchased the "Gulliver" crib model from IKEA. It received high ratings in the book and it's been great. I wanted a white crib, but they have it in numerous colors. It has a smallish footprint, it's simple, and it's really affordable. I have heard Walmart has some pretty snazzy styles for great prices.

Mattress: I purchased our eco-friendly mattress at Target. Nothing super fancy; just a mattress. They do suggest that they be firm for baby's safety. I got our pad there as well.

Bouncer: This is one of the few "fun" accessories we wanted for Amélie since we heard so many good things about having one. We used it a lot! It's easy to move around the house and Amélie found it really enjoyable. I selected ours based on a simple design and color scheme. I'm really not into bright colors. Fisher-Price is the leader in these things.

Noise Machine: We did get the cute snuggly Sleep Sheep, but it didn't play as long as we'd like it to. So, we downloaded Hawaiian white noise from iTunes on the pod and play it on repeat the entire time Amélie is sleeping. We have a fancy shmancy dock for it that Eric got through work.

Monitor: We registered for the Sony Baby Call Nursery Monitor and it worked just fine. I feel like my mommy instincts are more superior to any monitor out there. Your hearing is amazing when it comes to baby!

Carrier: We could not have survived without the Ergo. During the month that Amélie only wanted to be carried in order to fall asleep, this saved us; big time. But, that's not the only reason we love it. It's soft, holds your snuggly newborn in close and keeps them warm, and has the best lower back support. We did purchase the newborn insert and it was super. I used it to grocery shop when the bean was too small to sit up and I still use it whenever the stroller isn't convenient. I can't say enough good stuff about it.

Pack N Play: We bought ours from Craigslist and it's been great having it for visiting friends and family or when we have another baby sleeping over.

Bassinet: I highly recommend this for the newborn stage. They're up so often, it's so convenient to have the little one right next to you. We used this universal stand.
Chairs: We bought a high chair from IKEA and it's been wonderful. I can't remember the model name, but it's black and all wood. We wanted something simple and this works. Without the tray it fits up close to the table. The Bumbo is great too. I still have yours Stephanie!

Diapers: We tried a number of different brands when Amélie was a newborn, but what we ended up liking the most are Pampers. Since Amélie was a preemie, we needed to use preemie sized diapers and they offered them. We started out with the Swaddlers and are now using the Cruisers. Hopefully, we won't be using them for much longer! We also have found Desitin to work the best for baby booty rashes.

Changing pad: I don't remember what pad we bought, but I think I probably debated about getting the natural version or the other one. I think I just went with what was a reasonable price. We've been using it on top of Amélie's dresser from day-one and it's worked out perfectly. We also have this little number by Skip-Hop. I keep it stocked with diapers, wipes, and a spare outfit (onesie) and it hangs out in my trunk. It's great for an emergency situation and for quick trips. 

Skip Hop Pronto Diaper Changer Kit
Diaper Bag: Our first diaper bag was a Petunia Pickle Bottom. I loved it because it made sense and is super cute, but honestly, I don't love it. It's bulky and doesn't have enough pockets for me. I hate digging through a dark bag with a smallish opening trying to find the one thing I need. It drives me nuts. So, I use it mainly for trips. I used a couple different things until I found this Skip-Hop Duo Deluxe Diaper Bag. It has LOTS of pockets, comes with a changing pad, and is affordable.

Skip Hop Duo Deluxe Diaper Bag - Cherry Bloom.Opens in a new window
Mine has dots (this isn't exactly the same model), not cherry blossoms. But this one is CUTE!

Diaper Disposal: Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail. It does the job; keeps stink in the bucket.

Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail, White

Soft Things

Sleep Sack: All the sleep sacks Amélie used are by HALO. We especially loved this version with the swaddle built in. Amélie is a bit of crazy sleeper, like her daddy, and this always kept her snuggled up so she could sleep all night.
HALO Newborn Micro-Fleece Sleepsack Swaddle
Swaddling Blankets: Aden + Anaïs. Super duper fabulous!!!! They're BIG, made of the softest muslin (which is very breathable), and can be used for lots of other things too. Cover for the stroller on a breezy day? Bam! There you go! They also have cutie patterns. We got the stars ones. They sell them at Target, but their patterns are not as cute and they're not quite as big as the ones you buy elsewhere. 

Sheets: Buy lots! I bought ours at Target and B r Us. 

Hooded Towel: Not only are they cute, they're functional! I'm going to add washcloths in here with this one. Carter's = good. 

Onesies: Gerber's are the sweetest, cutest, little things on a baby. Ooohhh....sooo cute!!!

Pajamas: Eric loves babies in pj's and I totally understand why. CUTE! Amélie slept in footie pj's for a long time and now sleeps in top/bottom combos. I really like ones that open up from the bottom for a quick diaper change. Like these by Dwell.
If Breastfeeding

Boppy: Awesome! It saves your arms, big time! It also works for tummy time, sitting up, giant neck pillow, and sweet snuggling. 

Nipple Cream: Motherlove. I tried Lansinoh and it.was.painful. I purchased the Motherlove cream at the lactation center at our hospital and thought it was wonderful. As wonderful as nipple cream can be. =) It's obviously safe for baby and it has a really smooth texture that goes on easily.

Nursing Bra: My fave were by Bravado. Our lactation center sold them, but I also found them at a little shop called Natural Expressions in SF.

Nursing Tanks: I wore them under my shirts in order to not expose myself completely and also to keep me warm on chilly days.


The Happiest Baby on the Block (although we watched the DVD) Dr. Karp's tips are fabulous and very effective.

A Nursing Mother's Companion It's nice to get some wonderful advice and not feel like a loser because it's sooo hard.

The Baby Whisperer Yeah, I pretty much followed every single word in this book. It helped that Amélie's what she calls a "textbook" baby.

First Aid

- saline drops or spray ( I also really love Boogie Wipes)
- aspirator like the one they use at the hospital
- baby nail clippers
- thermometer
- baby acetaminophen
- humidifier

Other Bits

Wipes Warmer: Not really necessary, but I was convinced by my mommy when she told me she used to warm mine up when I was a baby. So sweet. My mommy did it. We have the model below by Prince Lionheart.

Premium Wipe Warmer

Detergent: We used Dreft and it smells like baby. 

Bath Time and Lotions: We only use Aveeno baby products.  My fave is this bath soap and the lavender lotion. We use it for sleepy-time bath time. I also really like their bath + shampoo. All their products smell really good and are all natural. I love the way Amélie smells. 
Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Bath, Lavender & Vanilla, 18-Fluid Ounce Bottle

Bottles: We used Avent from the beginning and never had any problems with them. I really love the fact that they sell sippy cup spouts to replace the nipple once they're older. We still use them. 

Breast Pump: I went with the Medela "Pump-in-Style" and it worked out great. I used it a lot and it's still working. 

Baby Tub: Agh. What a waste of money! They have those super fancy "spa" tubs and they are soo not necessary. We stuck with a storage tub that got used for storage once Amélie outgrew it. We added in this sponge to keep baby in place. For five bucks at Target, it was totally worth it. 

Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge

Pacifiers: I suggest trying out a few and finding one the babe likes best. Amélie favored a specific brand when she was younger and then we stocked up on them. They tend to disappear. We only use it when Amélie sleeps in order to avoid a paci addiction. 

Okay, so I'm out of steam now. I'll probably come back to edit it, but this is what I would consider to be the stuff you really need. 

Hope it helps! =)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Fun

Yup. I've been a bad blogger. I have a really good excuse, though. We've been having a lot of fun. Life with our little bean is so great. It's really amazing to see that little toddler brain working and then getting to enjoy the wonderful things she comes up with.

Amélie is a big "talker" lately. She's always saying something and we have some great conversations where we really connect and she chuckles, then I laugh, and it all ends with a laughing fit. She's pretty hilarious. Her favorite words to say are currently "baby," "nena" (baby girl in Spanish), "hey/hi,""agua," "leche," and "mama." But, she understands soo much (although almost all in Spanish). I can ask her to do something and she does it! Amazing! What happened to my itty bitty baby?!

We're doing all kinds of things and laughing a lot while at it. As fall in kinda here, we've visited a few pumpkin patches, but today, we visited the patch or all patches! It was huge and beautiful! I mean, look at the picture. That was just half the entrance. I felt like it was the Disneyland of pumpkin patches.

We went with Amélie's little buddy, Josie and her mommy, Chris. We had so much fun riding on the train, carousel, one of the hayrides, and taking in the beauty around us. They had the most amazing marigold fields that they plant individually by hand each year. Soo beautiful! I'm already planning on visiting again next week. 

Amélie and Josie in their Halloween headbands.

enjoying the carousel

marigolds galore

riding the train. I love that face. 

hanging gourds while on the hayride


beautiful! I just wanna lay in the middle of that field.

enjoying the ride.

I'm so excited about fall and especially for Halloween. I'm working on our costumes this week and I can't wait to share them. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011


If I was still working, my summer would just about be over and I'd be heading back to work next week. Eek! How summer just flies by! Our summer has been packed with lots and lots of activities and fun. Although, there have been not-so-fun things as well.

{Amélie and her cousin Corbin}

{dressed up for wedding #2 of the summer}

Luckily, August has so far been the slowest of the months thus far. In reality, it hasn't been that slow. But, our busy summer will be finishing off with a trip to Pennsylvania for the Ruttenberg wedding and mini-vacation where we're planning to also visit with the hubby's brother; then quickly upon our return we'll be enjoying a long weekend with two weddings! My brother will be getting married (yay!) and some of our good friends will be celebrating their marriage with a white wedding. Everyone is being asked to wear white and it will be our first big event without Amélie. She'll be staying at home with grandpa! That will be the grand finale to our summer.

{unhappy, hot baby}

Amélie and I have been keeping busy taking lots of day trips, visiting museums, thrifting, crafting, having play-dates, and just hanging out. I enjoy every day with my girl, but there's been some tough day sprinkled in between. She got her two top teeth and boy was that fun. My sweet girl was a big cranky pants and that made for some really long days. Also, as usual, Amélie got a fever after her vaccinations, but this last time her fever lasted three days (!) and my poor baby was miserable. She didn't want to leave my arms and was scorching hot. Then, once her fever went away, she got a rash all over her body; starting on her face. Her fever usually only lasts a day and it really scared me to have it continue for so long and then to be followed with another thing. It was horrible. When she eventually recuperated a week later, it was so nice to have my happy girl back. I really missed her usual self.

{at Gilroy Garden's on the day she got her fever. poor sweetie.}

The hubby's summer has also been really busy as well. He's been so busy at work and has spent many evenings working late. For a few weeks now he's also been expected to work six days a week because they have to many things to finish at work. Fortunately, there haven't been very many long weekend work days, but there's the constant work email and phone checking. He's expecting things to slow down in the fall. Thank goodness.

{after a fun-filled afternoon, the girls fell asleep 
on the way back from the museum}

{part of my garden}

{my first two zucchinis} 

Summer also brings lots of birthdays! Our sweet girl's first birthday was perfect. The hubby and I were having so much fun that we didn't get a chance to take very many pictures. The only pictures we have are from her cake eating and opening presents. It was so wonderful having so many friends together! Then there was my mom's, Amélie's girlie friends', the littlest brother's, Eric's brother, two nephews', my daddy man's, and tomorrow is the hubby and my birthday! Birthdays galore!

{the only one where's she's looking at the camera and sitting still. 
it's HARD to get a picture of this moving toddler!}

Now, for fall...I love fall. The clothes, layers, leaves, crisp weather, new planting, pumpkin bread, running a half-marathon, selling at a craft fair, our anniversary, and less work for the hubby- I can't wait for fall. Actually, I can wait for my marathon. I've been slacking on the training. I'm excited though because my brother, Gabe and I will be running together. It'll be fun either way and it's right here in San Jose so I don't have to drive anywhere.

{a thrifted afghan that perfectly
 matches Amélie's room. score!}

{one of the pretty features at Gilroy Gardens}

Summer we love you, but we're excited for fall.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's hard to believe...

this itty bitty 5lb.5.oz. baby girl...

grew to this a few weeks later...

then to a sitting up baby girl a few months later...

and now to this crawling, big-eyed, toddling, babbling, pancake-loving, silly, music fanatic, silky-haired, happy, snuggly, mommy helper/buddy, exploring, giggly, wonderful, sweet baby girl.

I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful daughter. She's made me a better person and made my world a million times better. My pores ooze unconditional love for this little girl and just when I think I can't love her anymore, my heart grows a bit bigger.

I love you to the moon and back a million times over, my chiquita. 

Happy First Birthday!

Just a little size comparison. =)