Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Favorite Baby Must-Haves!

Not that long ago, I remember trying to figure out what baby items I wanted/needed to buy when I was pregnant. At times it was frustrating because I wanted to make sure I had EVERYTHING I needed before Mary Catherine arrived. A friend of mine wrote on her blog about some of her favorite things, and that really helped. I finally felt like someone I actually knew, liked or disliked certain products I was considering buying. It was nice to hear an opinion from her rather than just reading reviews online from strangers.

A couple of months ago, I was shopping at Babies R Us when I noticed a pregnant girl arguing with her mom. As I went past them, I heard the girl say, "All of this is just so overwhelming! It's like, if I don't buy the perfect pacifier, or blanket, or bottle, or whatever, I'm a horrible mom! How am I supposed to already know everything I'll need?!?"

I wanted so badly to say, "I'll help you pick out stuff!" But I'm sure she would have thought I was some crazy lady with way too many opinions. So, I realized that I wanted to share all of my favorite products without being a weirdo in a baby store. I figured the best way to do that would be to write a blog post about it, just like my friend did when I was pregnant.

Hopefully this post will help any mama who needs somewhere to start with their registry, or who just wants to read an opinion about something from someone familiar. Whatever the case, I hope this post helps! :)

My Must-Haves:

1. Nap Nanny

This is by far, my favorite baby item!

The first night we brought Mary Catherine home, I tried to put her to sleep in everything! You see, at the hospital they make it look so easy. Like, just swaddle your baby up and put them in something, and they're out. Not so much at home. I tried to swaddle Mary Catherine at home and she hated it! I thought for sure she'd fall asleep swaddled up in the Summer Infant Rest Assured Sleeper, but no. So then I tried the bouncer...nope. I tried the swing...nope. Sigh. But then, I decided to unswaddle her and put her in the Nap Nanny. She went right to sleep! You can put it on the floor right next to your bed and still have your baby right next to you. We ended up using her car seat head positioner to give her a little head support while she slept. Another thing that's nice about the Nap Nanny is that it lets the baby sleep at an incline. This is perfect for babies who have reflux. Another awesome thing, the Nap Nanny is easily portable. I'm sure that a lot of people have success with bassinet co-sleepers, or even just a crib. But the Nap Nanny helped Mary Catherine "sleep like a baby". She was sleeping 7-9 hours through the night at 3 months!

So, this is an amazing product, but........there's one problem. The company that made them has gone bankrupt. (ugh!) They had to file bankruptcy because of being sued from parents whose infants died because of improper use. The Nap Nannies were placed in cribs (which the huge warning label says not to do), the babies were not strapped in (the huge warning label says to AWLAYS strap the baby in) and there were soft, loose blankets in the crib. It's so sad that a company has to shut down because people want to blame the product. The deaths of the infants were a horrible tragedy, but that doesn't make it right to sue the company when the parents used the product incorrectly. You can read the whole story on their website: http://www.napnanny.com/

So basically you can't buy them in stores anymore. Which means I look at my Nap Nanny now like some priceless treasure. I wanted to tell you about them though, because sometimes you can still find them on Craigslist. And before you get grossed out about it being used, the whole cover is machine washable. So no worries. If you find one, make sure it's the Nap Nanny Chill model. They had to recall two prior models because of lawsuits where people used them improperly (of course). The Nap Nanny Chill has a snugger fit and the straps go all the way through the back.

2. Snuza Hero Movement Monitor

This monitor helped ME to sleep through the night! It's a little monitor that you clip onto the diaper so that it can detect breathing movements from the baby's belly. Which means, if it detects that your baby has stopped breathing, an alarm will sound. I thought about getting one of the movement monitors that goes under the mattress, but I liked this one so much better. We rarely got false alarms with this monitor. With the other kind, I read that people got false alarms all the time. Also, this one is portable. It's a bit pricey, but I actually found a brand new one on Craigslist for about half the price. I don't know about you, but I love a good deal. And for me, when we had to start buying all this baby stuff, Craigslist became our dear friend.
Snuza Hero on Amazon

3. The First Years Sounds For Silence Premium Sound Machine

So, apparently this sound machine has horrible reviews. I will say it's not the best sound machine ever, but I do like it and feel that it is definitely a must-have for me. The sound options are a bit strange, and we only use the true white noise one. The other ones sound like a heartbeat, a car horn (seriously), a sucking sound and two other unclassifiable ones. But, I love that this sound machine is LOUD. Mary Catherine is a light sleeper, so we needed a loud one. I had the Sleep Sheep, which is very cute, but it was not loud at all. It was almost as if we weren't even using a sound machine. That's why I got this one instead. It also has a night light and little classical piano tunes that I turn on when we're playing in her room. It's also portable, but has a plug in that you would normally use. There may be much better sound machines out there, but this one works great for us.

4. Footie Pajamas

I am a sucker for footie jammies. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE smocked dresses and hair bows, but there's nothing like a cuddly newborn in some footie pajamas! And it's not like you're going to be taking your newborn out and about all the time. So, I would stock up on all the cutest newborn size footie pajamas you can find! Carter's is my favorite brand, and they're not expensive. They're comfy for the baby and easy to get on and off. Plus, there will be lots of exploding diapers in the beginning, and I'd much rather stain inexpensive pairs of jammies rather than pricey outfits!
Carters Baby Boy Pajamas       
Carters Baby Girl Pajamas

5. Video/Audio Monitor

This is an obvious one and I don't really have a specific brand to brag about. We actually found an older Summer model on Craig (we're on a first name basis now) for about 50 bucks. It works great, even after I dropped it into the shower...while the water was on. I'm not sure which brand is the best, but you can always read the reviews to check on each one. If you buy a new one, make sure to use a coupon or wait until they go on sale. If you buy a used one, make sure to meet somewhere like a Starbucks so that you can plug it up and see that it works fine before buying it.

6. Fisher-Price Cradle Swing - My Little Snug-a-Bunny

We loved this swing! At first, Mary Catherine didn't like it too much. But the more we put her in it, the more she loved it. She would even take 3 hour naps in it! At first, you only need to swing it on the low setting. But when your little chunky monkey gets bigger, you'll probably have to put it on the highest setting to get it going. It's really soft, it plays music and it has a little mobile for the baby to watch. It can also swing from side to side or front to back. You'll never guess where we bought ours...yep, Craigslist. It was in brand new condition and I only paid half price. I took off all the soft parts and washed them. Michael scrubbed down the metal and plastic pieces with Clorox wipes and we were good to go. Mary Catherine used this swing until she was 6 months old! But whatever brand of swing you buy, make sure it can be plugged in! Otherwise you'll be replacing batteries all the time.

7. Evenflo - SimplyGo Dual Electric Breast Pump

This is one thing I didn't splurge on. I leaked pretty easily anyway (sorry if that's TMI), so I figured I'd buy a cheap one in the beginning. If it sucked, well actually if it didn't suck, I would go out and buy an expensive one. Well, it ended up working fine. The pricier ones might work much better, but I like this one just as much as the expensive one I used at the hospital. However, I only needed to pump every once in awhile. If you're going to be pumping around the clock, I would invest in a Medela model. They seem to have the best reviews.

Ok, so those are my must-haves! I hope that this post makes some new mama's life a little easier! And if you ever have questions about any other products, I'd be more than happy to help! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mary Catherine

Wow! It's been awhile, and a LOT has changed!

Michael and I had our beautiful baby girl, Mary Catherine on March 24th this year!
On Monday she'll be 9 months old! Where did the time go?!?
I just realized that she's almost older than the amount of time I was pregnant.
That is crazy. It feels like just yesterday she was a tiny, snuggly newborn sleeping on my chest...

1 Month                                                        8 Months
I always turn into a complete mess when I think about how quickly she's growing. She is now cruising while holding onto furniture! And she just started standing without support for a few seconds! She can also say "Mama", which of course just makes my heart melt. :)

I am so happy that I am able to stay home. I miss my coworkers at school, and I miss the joy of actually teaching. But nothing is better than being home with my girl.The time I get to spend with her is so precious.
Each day slips by faster than the one before.

She is our everything. She's our hearts deepest desire and our answer to prayer. I love her more than I ever imagined I could. It's such a blessing to be her "Mama". <3

♫ Mary Catherine, Mary Catherine, I love you, I love you,
 You're my little baby, Pretty little baby, Yes you are, Yes you are ♫

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My 99 in 999!

So, for my very first blog I've been inspired to create my own 99 in 999. I've come up with 99 goals I want to accomplish and I've only got 999 days to get them done! Starting tomorrow I have until November 2, 2013 to complete my goals. Wish me luck! :o)

* The ones in white are incomplete.
* The ones in black are in progress.
* The ones that are crossed out are complete.

       1.       Be debt free by 2012 (other than a mortgage)
2.       Buy land
3.       Build a house
4.       Have a baby J
5.       Focus on getting my business off the ground (Quality Care Connection)
6.       Lose weight to be at my goal weight- 125 pounds
7.       Save $10,000
8.       Travel to Washington DC and visit the Smithsonian
9.       Stay in a beach house on a private Carolina beach for a week
10.   Take more pictures and upload them to albums
11.   Create a blog and post at least once a week
12.   Find a beer that I like
13.   Learn a new language…
14.   …and travel to its respective country!
15.   Run a 5k (not walk, not jog, RUN)
16.   Keep my fingers off my face for a month so that I won’t breakout!
17.   Don’t wear any makeup for a week (except for mascara)
18.   Drink only water for a whole month
19.   Send out thoughtful cards to special people  (0/20)
20.   Send out Christmas cards!
21.   Get more involved in a church
22.   Begin a writing journal (ideas, dreams, stories, memories, etc.)
23.   Go to the midnight showing of the last Harry Potter movie
24.   Read the Harry Potter series before the last movie comes out
25.   Read the Twilight series before the last movie comes out
26.   Read 10 other new books (0/10)
27.   Go to dance classes with Michael
28.   Take an art class
29.   Complete 10 art projects (0/10)
30.   Get sexy calf muscles!
31.   Go to another Duke basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium
32.   Volunteer 30 hours of community service with Michael (0/30)
33.   Start taking piano lessons again
34.   Finally play a game of laser tag
35.   Get Michael to teach me how to drive a stick
36.   Learn how to quilt
37.   Beat an easy Sudoku game on my phone in less than 2 minutes
38.   Ride on a plane with Michael
39.   Get pen pals from another school, state or country for my students
40.   Get a pedicure every month for a year (0/12)
41.   Write 20 poems (0/20)
42.   Try 20 new restaurants (0/20)
43.   Hike up a mountain with Michael
44.   Buy a new Bible and read it from beginning to end (0/66)
45.   Frame my college diploma
46.   Eat a healthy breakfast every school day for a month (0/20)
47.   Pray on the way to school every morning for a month (0/20)
48.   Begin saying prayers with Michael before we go to sleep each night
49.   Don’t lay down in the shower for a month
50.   Make some jewelry
51.   Buy a nice camera and try to take some artsy pictures
52.   Learn about and understand my health/dental insurance benefits
53.   Buy a gun (a pink one maybe?)
54.   Learn how to shoot my gun
55.   Take a self-defense class
56.   Buy all my favorite Disney movies off EBay (?)
57.   Buy a whole bunch of my favorite children’s books off EBay
58.   Pay for someone behind me in a drive-thru line
59.   Leave a 100% tip to an amazing waiter/waitress at a restaurant
60.   Create a recipe book that includes all the family favorites
61.   Try 50 new recipes (0/50)
62.   Cook dinner for my parents once a month for a year (0/12)
63.   Buy a king size bed and a Tempur-Pedic mattress
64.   Donate blood (something I’ve never done since I’m afraid of needles!)
65.   Buy art from a local artist
66.   Watch a sunrise and a sunset on the beach with Michael
67.   Write letters to my parents telling them how much I appreciate them and love them
68.   Buy a bike on go on regular bikes rides with Michael
69.   Donate all the clothes and shoes I don’t wear to Goodwill
70.   Organize and go on a Craddock girls trip
71.   Go on another cruise
72.   Swim with dolphins
73.   Make a family history book with the help of ancestry.com
74.   Donate $100 to a good cause
75.   Buy a sweet grass basket in Charleston
76.   Go skydiving
77.   Keep my van clean and get it washed once a month for year (0/12)
78.   Keep my purse trash free
79.   Plan a niece/nephew day for each niece and nephew (0/10)
80.   Make my Caribbean chicken dinner for Jessica and Chiman
81.   Plan a mother/daughter day for Mother’s Day
82.   Plan a fishing trip with Daddy for Father’s Day
83.   Don’t eat French fries for a month (this will be very difficult!)
84.   Find some comfortable shoes to wear during the summer other than Rainbows
85.   Take Callie Hall to see the last two Twilight movies (0/2)
86.   Help Daddy in his garden
87.   Plant my own garden
88.   Convince Michael to ride the drop swing with me at Carowinds
89.   Take some cooking classes
90.   Tithe
91.   Bring 15 different people to church (0/15)
92.   Volunteer at church
93.   Finish decorating each room in our new house
94.   Make 2 memory boxes (0/2)
95.   Take family photos with Michael each year (2011, 2012, 2013)
96.   Organize a Craddock family photo
97.   Find some married couples to hang out with J
98.   Start getting breakfast with Michael on Fridays
99.   Help plan an amazing gift for Momma and Daddy’s 30th anniversary in March 2013