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! =)