Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!!!

Why couldn't the Daddy ghost father a baby ghost?  Wait for it...because he had a Hallo-weenie!!! Get it?!  HAHAHAHAHA!

I decided to save this week's update (25 weeks already??!!??!!) for tomorrow because it's Halloween and I wanted to show you some hilarity in photos (LOTS of them).  We were hoping for lots of trick-or-treaters this evening but guess how many we got?  2.  Since I basically bought Wal Mart out of all of their candy, I expect to have gained 20 lbs this week alone when I have to weigh in at the doctor on Friday...we have so much left over and my will power has disappeared...I can't seem to stop eating it.  I think it was partially this nasty weather and partially due to the fact that apparently my neighbors are fun suckers because there were only a few porch lights burning on our street.  Sigh.  Maybe next year!

Anyway, we got in the Halloween spirit last night by carving our pumpkins...better late than never, yes? 

Dan and Layla were really excited for pumpkin carving: 
 Pumpkin guts, ew:
 The inspiration for my pumpkin, thanks to the idea I stole from Steph and the stand and deliver blog and which two people who shall remain nameless (Dan and Meagan) judged me for:  :-)
 
 Time for carving...Dan hovered the whole time and was worried because I'm so clumsy.  Worry wart!
 Action shots...



 Our cheerleaders:
 What Dan wanted his jack-o-lantern to look like.  I have no words.
 Meagan getting in on the carving action:

 Layla got really thirsty...PSYCH!

 Finished products!


 


See the pink inside the pumpkins?  Hilarious story: I somehow had no tea lights and we therefore had to use candles from Bath & Body works as our pumpkin lights.  At least our front porch smelled delicious!




I feel that I need to preface the next set of photos.  Normally, we do something for Halloween (i.e. go to a party).  When we were discussing what we wanted to be this year and couldn't decide, my Mom says, "Hey, we still have the pumpkin costumes we wore when I was pregnant with you!"  Suffice it to say, one look at these things and we had to have them.  They are hilarious - straight 80's.  My Dad called to tell us that we had to "wear some of those black leotard things and a black turtle neck underneath."  I think I broke his heart when I told him no one wears turtle necks anymore.  Anyway, obviously Layla had to have a matching costume.  I put Katy to work to find a picture of Mom and Dad when they wore these 28 years ago, but she didn't have any luck.  If I find any next time I'm home, I will post, not to worry.  In the meantime, enjoy what will surely come back to haunt us at some point:













While we were anxiously awaiting trick-or-treaters who never showed, I was busy in the kitchen working on the following:


Yum, homemade chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese.  I die.  Hope your Halloweens were as awesome as ours was!

Until tomorrow...

Sarah

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Operation Registry: Complete!

Happy Sunday, followers!  I hope everyone has had a fantastic weekend.  The weekend at the Baum household was a busy one indeed, but I am feeling better having marked one huge thing off of my list of things to obsess over worry about.  That's right, yesterday was registry day.

I have been worried about this day for a while for several reasons:
  1. I wanted to get it marked off my to-do list.
  2. Based on our only previous registering experience (wedding), I was worried that one of us (Dan) would not come out alive.  We basically both have an opinion on everything, so I was worried it would be very trying and had already lined up girlfriends to help me dispose of the evidence in case an emergency homicide took place.  :-)
  3. Just walking into baby stores is overwhelming, so I knew registering would stress me out.
As a result of said worries, I spent a LOT of time preparing.  I did tons of research (I mainly used consumer reports, Amazon reviews and other Mom friends).  We also went and visited baby stores quite a few times before registering so that we could make the big decisions (read: stroller, car seat, nursery furniture, etc. as blogged about in previous posts) before registering so that it wouldn't take as long.  Although I'm sure Dan was annoyed to have  missed a few Saturdays/Sunday afternoons of football, we were both actually really glad we did this.  It gave us time to think about it, do more research, and make informed decisions AND I think it caused the registering process to take a lot less time than it otherwise would have.  I was exhausted after every visit, so breaking it up worked out well.

All in all, the registering process went a lot better than expected.  I felt like my research paid off, even though I can admit that I am borderline ridiculously OCD.  The first thing we did was decide on where to register.  In the end, we went with Buy Buy Baby and Amazon Baby Registry for several reasons (If you want to skip the rest of this paragraph, here are the non-long-winded summarized reasons: [1] not ghetto, [2] better selections of brands we were looking for, [3] awesome coupons and price matching, and [4] return policy).  First, last month sometime we went to the Babies R Us closest to us to look at strollers, because the BuyBuy Baby closest to us at the time was around 45 minutes away (in Durham).  Not only did BRU not have any of the strollers we wanted to look at, but it was seriously ghetto.  I was afraid that I was being overly dramatic when Dan turned to me and said, "I'd rather make the drive, this place is gross."  Obviously, this is not the case with all BRU stores.  I have heard that the one in Durham is very nice; however, since we were making the drive to Durham, we decided to drive a little further and try the BBB since they carried a lot of what we were interested in looking at.  Turns out, BBB opened a Morrisville store about 3 weeks ago, so it worked out perfectly - close to us and brand new (read: not ghetto).  A second reason I like BBB is because of the coupons.  They are owned by Bed Bath & Beyond and therefore have the same coupon system: they send out 20% off one item coupons via e-mail and mail on a regular basis.  The only difference is, at BuyBuy Baby you can't use expired coupons like you can at Bed Bath & Beyond, BUT they will accept Bed Bath & Beyond coupons that aren't expired on all items except furniture.  Score one for us, as well as any gift givers.  We were able to use a 20% off coupon for each piece of furniture we purchased, and it saved us a lot of money.  Additionally, they will price match any competitor coupons or sales prices.  Some people have said that sometimes things are slightly cheaper at BRU, but since BBB price matches, I'm ok with it.  Can't beat the awesomeness of this store, I'm telling you.  One final reason that we chose BBB over BRU that I hadn't even thought about until hearing about my bestie's experience is their return policy.  I am sad that she is having to deal with all of this, but glad that she told me about her experience so that I could ask about it when we registered.  In a nut shell, they have had several showers and were given a lot of gifts with no receipt.  BRU will only let you return/exchange items without a receipt up to $75 per year per address.  So, for example, they got the high chair that they registered for but were hoping to return it to get a different color - over $75 so they can't.  I understand why stores like BRU, Target, etc. are doing this, but it still stinks.  And really, it's not like you can go back to the sweet church ladies and be like, "Hey thanks for what you bought me but do you by chance have the receipt?"  When I asked about it at BBB yesterday, they said that we would not have that problem in their store.  They said that since we registered, even if an item was not purchased off of the registry, our registry serves as our receipt and we will not have to worry.  Score again.  Additionally, one of the other Moms registering yesterday told me that usually if whoever bought you the gift uses a 20% off coupon, it isn't run through the registry, so if you are returning sans receipt you get a store credit for the full amount of the product, not taking into account the 20% off.  Loves.  Added bonus?  They have a SWEET gift wrapping station.  Possibly all baby stores have this and I've never noticed but I was impressed with it anyway.

***UPDATE: Steph just told me after reading the blog that I made up the $75 amount for BRU (pregnancy brain?) - it is actually $250 per household.  She also said that the problem arose with people who didn't buy from their registry, not those who did buy from the registry.  Just thought I'd share in the interest of full disclosure!***

We arrived to register, and due to the yucky weather yesterday, we hit the only snafu of the day: everyone else had the same idea.  There were literally 6 other couples who showed up around the same time as us wanting to register.  It didn't end up being a big deal - just took a little longer than it would have had we gone on like a Tuesday afternoon.  Part 2 of this snafu was that since the store is brand new, so are the employees - so the woman who was assigned to help us was slightly clueless on the registry process and as a result created a registry for us 3 different times.  So, those of you who are curious and did a search for ours and saw 3 come up: ours is the last one listed, #12522220, and they're working on deleting the others.  We also registered at Amazon because they have a huge selection of everything you could possibly ever want.  Additionally, the pack 'n play was the only thing Dan wanted a say in, and the one he insisted on of course cannot be found in any store.  Both have great benefits, return policies (Amazon's is 365 days!), completion discounts, etc. so I'm really happy with both choices.

I have mentioned to all of you before that I am seriously crazy/OCD.  The proof lies in the following photo, my registry preparation materials:
Not kidding.  I started with the BBB book that they give every couple who registers - I requested mine on one of our earlier visits when we were looking at strollers so I could begin my research (ugh, nerd).  I also printed out all of the e-mails and blog comments I've gotten from girlfriends with must-haves (special thanks to Emily, Lindsey, Andrea, Diana and Carly - you were all so helpful!).  Since there wasn't a ton of room in the registry book to make notes, I transferred the checklist into an excel document and added a column for which specific brands we'd decided to get, based on our research as well as recommendations - and then I included a column for checking things off.  To be safe, I also turned this into a Google document and e-mailed it to both Dan and myself so that we could take the iPad in case that was easier.  To be fair, this part of the crazy was suggested by Dan, but considering that I was mad that I hadn't thought of it first, I guess we're even.  We did not end up using the iPad - my dorkalicous handy dandy excel checklist worked just fine.  Also, thanks to Steph for suggesting that I take water - I would have never thought of it.  I took a bottle, but they also gave us as many bottles of water as we requested while registering - score yet another one for BBB. 

This is getting long, so I'll try to wrap up quickly.  Registering went very smoothly - there were no arguments, so I was surprised.  He won on several items, I won on several others - compromising at its finest, folks.  Towards the end, I realized that the snack supply I normally keep in my purse had been depleted the day before in an emergency situation, so I got crabby, but that was the worst of it.  I let Dan be in charge of the scanner gun, so I knew there was no telling what would show up on the registry - and we had some cleaning up to do anyway (i.e. things we scanned and changed our minds about but couldn't figure out how to delete, things we realized we forgot but I was hungry and NOT going back through the store, etc.), but we took care of most of that today.  The whole process, from the time we started scanning, really only took around 2.5 hours - so that was a bonus of having gone in several times before to test some things out, I suppose.  I'm sure that I will do some editing between now and my showers - I have plenty of time - but all in all I feel a lot better having just gotten that marked off the list.

One more thing we were able to mark off?  Purchasing the glider!  I'm so excited about this one.  It is so comfortable and so pretty (as well as neutral so that it can be used in future nurseries), and I can't wait to rock baby girl to sleep in it:
The color pictured is the one we went with (I guess there are several pictured, but it's the cream-colored one with the swatch book laying on the ottoman) - you can't tell, but it's textured - they almost look like little squares.  I took my nursery fabric samples and laid them out on the ottoman to make sure they matched, and they look perfect.  Anyway, it's really pretty.  It was in stock but we decided to wait and have it delivered with our furniture (whenever it comes in) since neither of us have a huge car.  Using the handy 20% off coupon that my future brother-in-law got for us by signing up for e-mails (thanks Joshie!), we got a great deal.

I guess I've bored you enough with this post.  Today, Dan has a retreat all afternoon for one of the boards he's a member of, so I'm going to do some grocery shopping, clean up the house, and have a delicious pot of chili waiting on him for dinner when he gets home.  Yum!  Then we're carving pumpkins, and I'm really excited about it.  Better late than never, right?

Hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend!

S

Friday, October 28, 2011

That Kind of Day...

You know the kind:
That kind of week, really.  Glad it's over!  Tonight I'll be enjoying a glass of wine (no judgment!) by the fire (I know you can't really see it but it's there) with my feet propped up.  My definition of Heaven.

Tomorrow is the big day: registry day!  I'll report back on how it goes.

Happy Friday!

Sarah

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm FAMOUS!

So sorry for the lack of blog posts the past few days - work is crazy and I'm exhausted! 

So today I had my first foray into fame: OUR EPISODE OF THE PRICE IS RIGHT AIRED!  You don't have to watch the whole thing, obviously, but PLEASE if you don't watch anything else, fast forward to around the 5:15 mark and watch Dan get ignored in his request for a high five (we are right to the right and just behind the contestants).

I was trying to put the video on the blog, but I can't figure out how since I can't find it on youtube soooooooooo just click here.

Hope you find this as hilarious as I did.  We will be signing autographs upon request.  :-)

Sarah

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Great Bumper Debate

For those of my readers who are not women and do not know (likely very few if not none of you), the above is a picture of some nursery bedding.  No, this is not my nursery bedding, just an image I found on the online.  What I want you to focus on in the above picture is the bumper: the piece that goes all the way around the crib railings with the birds on it.  Cute, right?

Bumpers used to be popular because quite a few years back (like when people my age were babies), the slats on the cribs were far enough apart that a baby's head could become trapped in between.  Today, this is not an issue, as there have been laws passed which regulate the length between slats, making it impossible for a head to fit through.  However, bumpers remained popular - some people like the way they look, others are worried about limbs getting caught between the slats and causing injury.  A lot of doctors and research groups maintain that an infant would never hit his or her head hard enough on a crib to cause bruising or injury.  Still, I know what it's like to be a worrier.

I hadn't ever given much thought to bumpers - I would say that 95% of bedding sets that come pre-packaged these days have them, although some are starting to package them so that the bumper is separate and you can choose whether or not to use one.  I like the way they look and the way they can tie all of the rest of the bedding together, and figured it was good to have extra padding.  I never thought anything about it - my Mom used bumpers for all three of us and we're all fine - but recently, I've heard more and more girlfriends talking about the risks associated with them.

Mom sent me this article last week.  In case you don't want to read it, here's a quick recap: the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that bumpers are not used in cribs, and it's the first time they've ever taken this stance.  Anti-bumper sentiment is growing in the medical community - who knew this was a hot topic?!  The recommendation by the AAP is based on several factors, but mostly it is due to a study that was published recently which reviewed deaths and injuries attributed to bumpers.  Basically, using information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for 1985-2005, medical examiners reports were reviewed and 27 accidental deaths of children were attributed to suffocation when they became wedged against a bumper or strangulation by a bumper tie. 

To me, while the article was informative, 27 deaths over a 20-year span makes it seem like they're being a little drastic by issuing this opinion.  I am not sure how many infants were born in this same time period, but I am guessing that the percentage of deaths would be minuscule in comparison to the number of births.  I guess they have to cover themselves, and it is better to take a stance one way or another...who really knows. 

My question is this: what do you think?  Are there any Moms out there reading who either have or have not used bumpers?  As mentioned above, I don't really have a reason for needing a bumper other than I like the way they look, and I thought that it would be softer for a baby to run into one of those rather than the crib rails when they start to wiggle around more.  Of course I want to do what is best for my child, but I also can't decide if I just think all of these reports are simply issuing really conservative opinions with the sole purpose of turning me into even more of a worry wart in order to cover all of their bases.  Thoughts?

Hope you're all having a great week so far.  Hump day tomorrow, woohoo!

Sarah

Monday, October 24, 2011

24 Week Update

I can't believe it's already time for another update...the weeks are flying by!  We are making progress on our "to do" list, but I still go back and forth between wanting the time to fly and wishing it would slow down.  Of course I'm excited to meet our baby girl, but we also still have a LOT to do!  I have a case of the Mondays so I'm going to try to keep it short.  Without further ado, I give you week 24 stats:

Size of Geronimina: Still growing!  She weighs just over a pound this week, and is almost a foot long - roughly the length of an ear of corn.  An ear of corn is living in my belly!  Lots going on this week in the way of development: she's steadily gaining weight (Don't get too big baby girl, Mommy's lady parts hurt just thinking about your arrival!  Side note: please do not read this and judge me, of course I want her to be healthy. I'm just saying, the thought of pushing is already giving me anxiety.).  Her brain is growing quickly, her taste buds are continuing to develop, and her lungs are branching out.  Also, her skin is starting to thicken a little so that she's not so see-through.

Weight Gain So Far: I am not sure about this one.  I weighed over the weekend and it was less than it was the last time I weighed, so I'm wondering if something's wrong with the scale.  Frankly I have been afraid to step back on it these days to investigate whether there's a problem, so we'll stick with last week's 10.5.  :-)

Cravings: Still sweets, but this week I am craving salty as well.  I am putting off buying Halloween candy for the trick-or-treaters until the last minute because I don't trust myself in the same house with it - there is not currently enough chocolate in the world to satisfy my cravings.  As for salty, I have been digging cheezits (only the BIG ones, of course - trust me, they're better) and popcorn.

Aversions:  None!  Unless you count the terrible gas Layla had last night.  Shoo, Layla!

Symptoms: Same old story here.  I have noticed that I have gotten a LOT hungrier in the past week, if that is possible - not sure that counts as a symptom.  Congestion when I first wake up, random hair growth, fatigue, breakouts - you know, the usual.  One that isn't really "new" but I don't think I've blogged about it before because it has only gotten noticeable/painful recently is a cramping sensation - apparently this happens when you're uterus is growing and stretching out.  Oh and HEARTBURN.  Can't remember whether I put that last week, but I swear I get it from everything.  They say this means she'll have a full head of hair when she makes her debut.

Movement:  Still a dancing queen, our Geronimina, but moreso when I'm still.  I guess when I'm moving it rocks her to sleep, but the second I sit down or lay down to go to sleep she is wide awake.  Let's hope she reverses this habit when she makes her entrance.  :-)

What I Miss: Can't really think of anything to put here this week, just enjoying the pregnancy.

Things I am Thankful For: The weekend at home to get some things accomplished!  I was of course sad to miss ASU Homecoming and Heather & David's couples shower for their baby boy (coming SOON!), but we made a lot of progress this weekend in marking things off our "to do" list.

What I’m looking Forward To:  Registering in the upcoming weekend!  I'm really excited about it - whether I should be worried based on past registering experiences with my  husband remains to be seen.  We have been doing a ton of research (Don't even say it, I know it's dorky), and I asked for a list of suggested items when we were in BBB last week getting our furniture.  In addition to that, I have been printing out suggested items lists from all over the online as well as asking for advice from all of my girlfriends who already have kids, so I think we have a good idea of what we want, which I'm hoping will make the process go pretty smoothly.

Signs of a Bump: Yup.  Here she is:
No denying it now for sure!  We got an iPad over the weekend, and Steph turned me on to this super groovy Pampers app which shows you the actual size of the baby!  I ganked her idea and tried to take a picture of it in front of my stomach so you could see, but our phones and the lighting weren't cooperating.  Here it is, but be warned that it is not a great picture:
I'll try to get the flash situation fixed before the next update.

Next Doctor Appointment: Next Friday, November 4.  Just a check up, and I'm actually not even meeting with a doctor - just the nurse practitioner.  I need to go ahead and take my forms in for work and have them filled out, so that is exciting/scary.

I guess that just about wraps it up!  Time to fall asleep on the couch watch football with my husband.

Until tomorrow!

Sarah

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Planning Family/Seven Slings Coupon Code

Two posts in one day - what is going on?!  Just wanted to let all of my Mom followers in on a code I got in an e-mail today:
That's right, Planning Family has partnered up with Seven Slings once again to give away a free baby carrier.  I may actually get another one of these now that I know that Baby B is a girl, because they're pretty nifty.  Just enter FAMILY2011 at checkout and it's all yours!  You can use the promo code more than once - you just need to open in a new browswer.

Enjoy!

S

The Great Debate: Nursery Furniture

Nursery furniture has been a pretty big decision (much like all of the others) in the Baum house.  The problem that we're having is that Dan is cheap "likes to get value for his money" (his words, not mine), where as I will find the only $100 item in a store filled with all $1 items and have to have that one like pretty things and probably don't pay as much attention to price as I should.  One thing is for sure: nursery furniture is a LOT more expensive than either of us anticipated it being. 

We weren't really sure where to start, so we began by just looking at things we liked online to get an idea of style.  We did this mostly on furniture websites.  Luckily, we agreed on style (which I never thought would happen), but when it came time to price things we liked, we were shocked at some of what we saw.  Just birthing a child is so expensive, even with deductibles and maximum out of pockets, so the problem we were having is that it was going to be really hard to justify spending $2,000 on furniture.  The nursery is a special place, one in which we will be spending a LOT of time with Baby Geronimina, so you can see why I want it to be beautiful.  However, while furniture truly is an investment, the furniture itself is just the beginning of the nursery - $2,000 just seemed ridiculous when we still hadn't considered bedding, a rug, decorations - anything else. 

SO, back to square one.  Let's start with the nursery wish list.  In the nursery of my dreams, here is what I would have wanted:
  • Crib
  • Dresser/Changing Table Combo
  • Hutch for Dresser/Changing Table Combo
  • Armoire
  • Glider
Obviously, a baby does not need all of these furniture pieces - those are just on the wish list for the nursery of my dreams slash when the money tree starts producing $100s.  Realistically, I knew that the crib and changing table were most important, with glider in a very close 2nd (3rd?) - I am planning to breast feed and every Mom I've talked to said that a glider/rocker of some sort is as must. 

Once we decided furniture stores were probably more than we wanted to spend, I started looking online for furniture at both BuyBuy Baby and Babies R Us.  Babies R Us has a lot more to choose from online, but they do not carry the stroller we're registering for (yes, we finally decided on a stroller!).  We set aside some time yesterday to go to both - BuyBuy Baby (from here on out known as BBB) to look at strollers for the 18th time and Babies R Us (from here on out known as BRU) to take a look at furniture.  We swung by BBB first and were pleasantly surprised at the amount of furniture in store.  After looking at all of it several times and picking out our top three, we were finally able to come to an agreement.  Yes, an agreement!  Behold, our nursery furniture:
Crib


All Available Pieces
When I saw this crib, I fell in love - isn't it so pretty?!  Part of it was the legs.  I don't know why, but I love how they are rounded at the front.  Anyway, we ordered it in dark wood.  I like the idea of white, but in our current house, when we have more than one child they will probably share a room, and I just for whatever reason felt like dark wood would be better.  Espresso was the exact color we chose.
We debated a lot about convertible cribs.  We didn't have too much of a choice - 99% of what's out there these days is convertible (but you can choose not to purchase conversion kits).  Our dilemma was this: they tell you to go ahead and get all conversion kits up front, because a lot of times furniture will be discontinued, the company will stop making the conversion kits, or they will change their wood and then conversion kits won't match your furniture.  In addition, we found ourselves wondering if it was realistic to expect furniture to last for 18+ years.  I have heard from several Mom friends that babies/toddlers can be pretty rough on their beds, so did we really think we could go 18+ years with the same furniture?  Additionally, there is the dilemma of when baby #2 eventually comes: do we then spend the extra money and get the convertible bed for that baby as well, or do we just use it as a crib and get different furniture as we need it?  It's a lot to think about.  In the end, we decided that we are going to register for the toddler bed conversion kit.  Here is how it looks as a toddler bed:
Converts to Toddler Bed
This way, Baby Geronimina will stick with her same bed until she's a toddler, and then we'll cross other bridges as we get to them.  The sales associate did tell us that if we didn't get the kit that converts to a full bed but decided later on to go that route, all we'd have to do is get a full bed frame and drill it directly into the headboard.  Excellent to know - it's always nice to have options!

The pieces we ended up with were only two off of my original wish list: the crib and the convertible dresser/changing table (in the picture, it's the shorter dresser with the hutch).  I really, really, R E A L L Y wanted that hutch (cannot express to you how much I want the hutch), but couldn't get Dan to budge.  All we could agree on is that we will put it on the registry.  It is definitely not a necessity - I just think it looks nice.  We briefly considered getting the second, taller dresser, but decided we would see how it goes and if we need it we can always order later.  My dreams of an armoire were crushed because they are stupid expensive, but maybe when our money tree sprouts in the back yard I'll go back for it.

The only other thing we should still need for the nursery, furniture-wise, is a glider.  I am currently trying to convince Dan that I am not, in fact, being high maintenance, and this is something that is a necessity, not a want.  I sold the furniture that's currently in that room this week, so I'm hoping I can talk him into putting our proceeds towards a glider.  We're going back to register next weekend, so fingers crossed that I can talk him into it before we go back!

All in all, we had a very productive weekend and as a result I am feeling a lot less stressed about where we stand.  We got a great deal on this furniture and were able to use 20% off coupons in addition, so we spent a lot less than we originally anticipated, and we're really happy with that.  The only downside is that we had to special order the furniture, so they told us it would be 16-18 weeks before it arrives.  Newsflash: baby girl is due in 16 weeks.  They assured us that 16-18 weeks is the worst case scenario, and that most of the time the furniture arrives earlier.  Fingers crossed!  I'm sure we will have a bassinet that she can sleep in if the furniture doesn't come in, but y'all know how I like for things to just be done.

Next weekend, we're planning to register, so that will be one more thing to mark off the list - lots of research to do this week!  Then, it's back to nursery decorating: we need to make a final decision on bedding, and I need to get Dan on board with my vision.  So far, he has put his foot down that wall paper is not allowed (even though I only want one wall!).  Not to worry, I'll keep trying!

Happy football watching!

Sarah

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Primp My Pram: The Winner!

I am sure you have all been waiting with baited breath to know what we finally decided about strollers.  I can assure you that I did not keep you waiting on purpose - we didn't make a decision until today!

If you remember my last post on this topic, the Baum house was divided on this issue as usual: Dan was Team Britax, and while I wasn't opposed to the Britax, I was still Team Uppa.  The bottom line was this: both the Britax and the UPPA are pretty expensive.  If we (or those who love us) are spending this amount of money on a stroller, we want to make sure we love it.  And as much as I loved the Uppa, I felt uneasy about the price and just wasn't sure I could justify it.  The Britax wasn't a ton less, but I figured every penny counts.  I did a LOT of research on those two (y'all know I have OCD tendencies and like to be prepared), and I won't bore you again with all of the details, but I kept seeing another stroller mentioned in all of the reviews on both of these.  Behold, the Baby Jogger City Select:
Now, I will admit that originally when this kept coming up in reviews, it did not even cross my mind to consider it.  Why, you might ask?  Because of the word "jogger" in the title.  No, that is not a joke.  Those of you who do not know me well may not know that while I go to the gym all of the time because I am constantly trying to lose weight (or in my current state keep active and healthy and minimize the gain if I can), I hate to run.  H A T E.  I would literally rather do anything else.  Including drive my car off the nearest cliff.  I really wish I liked to run, because people really seem to enjoy it plus it's kind of trendy these days and there are lots of cute running clothes, but sadly I do not.  Anyway, I assumed this was a running stroller much like the super trendy and awesome Bob and decided it wasn't for me. 

It wasn't until I got an e-mail from my girlfriend Emily with their stroller experience that I reconsidered.  She told me that like us, she and Grant researched strollers to death and finally went with the Baby Jogger.  She said they liked it the best because it is truly for a family "on the grow," in that instead of having the regular stroller seat and the rumble seat like the other two we were considering, you can fit 2 regular sized seats on it.  Not only that, but there are approximately a million and one configurations with which to attach the two seats.  Behold:
The only downside, she said, was that you end up having to buy a lot of the parts separately (especially if you want the bassinet), so it ends up being closer to the price of the UPPA than the Britax.  I forwarded Emily's e-mail to Dan along with a link to the website, and I think it was love at first sight.  Instead of seeing my name pop up in his inbox and immediately choosing to ignore or delete like usual, he sent me approximately 10 e-mails about how cool it was and spent a good amount of time watching the videos on the website about all of the different configurations.  He's a nut.  I will say that while I was originally annoyed that he cared about what stroller we got, in the end I've been happy with his involvement - he has consistently brought up things I hadn't thought about.

So, we went back to the store today to take a look and see what we thought in person, and ended up doing a comparison to the UPPA.  This post is getting long, and I don't want to bore you, so I will instead do a quick (at least I'll try to make it quick) synopsis and declare a "winner" in each category that was important to us:
  • PRICE: Tie.  UPPA is slightly more expensive, but not enough for it to really matter.  You have to buy the infant carseat as well as an adapter separately for both strollers.  The UPPA comes with the bassinet, but you have to buy it separately for the Baby Jogger if you want it, so that's what makes the price close to the same.  Honestly, if we go with the Baby Jogger, I'm not sure we'll get the bassinet anyway - the sales associate helping us today told us that you can only use the bassinet attachment for both strollers for 3 months, and that most babies outgrow it length-wise before then anyway.  Disclaimer: I have not researched this claim, but if it's true it seems silly to spend the money.
  • WHEELS/STEERING:  Both are very good, but UPPA has the edge and is therefore the winner in this category.  The turning was slightly smoother which made the stroller slightly easier to maneuver.
  • WEIGHT:  The UPPA is slightly lighter in weight.  HOWEVER, that is because it is also a little smaller.  The Baby Jogger has a longer/wider frame, making more room for the toddler seat, which makes it a few pounds heavier.
  • EASE OF USE:  Baby Jogger, by far.  The UPPA took us forever to figure out, and even after the sales associate came to show us, it took a few tries to fold it.  The Baby Jogger, in our opinion, was much easier - press one button and it folds right down the center, piece of cake.  User-friendliness is going to be key with the grandparents, I can assure you.
  • ROOM TO GROW:  Baby Jogger.  We both liked the idea of making an investment on a stroller that can hold both baby and toddler, as Baby Geronimina will likely have a sibling sooner than later (not immediately - don't get any ideas, Mom).  This is originally what drew me to the UPPA, but after we saw the rumble seat we were a little more hesitant.  I am sure plenty of parents use it and love it, and I have plenty of girlfriends who have this stroller and love it (none with two children yet), but it just seems so small and cramped when you have the carseat attachment on.  The bigger frame on the Baby Jogger allows for an actual full toddler seat which can be configured quite a few different ways, and there is a lot more room.
So, a tie.  Awesome.  In the end, ease of use and room for the toddler seat was very appealing, so we decided to go with the Baby Jogger.  I know this seems like a silly decision to have stressed so much over, but it truly is an investment.  We will be using this stroller for a long time, and for the amount of money we will be spending, we just wanted to consider every possible aspect to make sure we were choosing the right one.

We also decided to go with the Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat.  The safety ratings speak for themselves on this, and we liked the fact that these seats can be used on any of the strollers we were considering - very versatile.  Additionally, the fabric that's used seems like it will be very easy to clean.  I think we'll probably go with a black stroller, and I am leaning towards either the green or yellow car seat.

So, that was the first accomplishment of today - it may seem small, but just having made the decision decreased my anxiety by a LOT.  Other accomplishments of the day: deciding on nursery furniture (more on that in a later post) and a successful trip to the Apple store as an early Christmas present to each other.

Whew, that was a long one - hope I didn't bore you!  Several stresses knocked out - not too shabby for a Saturday.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Sarah

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baby Gear

The very first baby-related purchases I made (outside of pregnancy literature) were as a result of a promotional e-mail that both Diana and Steph sent me from a website they were subscribed to - Planning Family.  The promotion was for Moms who were planning to breastfeed, and the product was for an Udder Cover (very similar to the Hooter Hider...not kidding). 

An Udder Cover is just something that you can wear when you need to nurse in public.  According to their webiste, they allow nursing in style and comfort - anytime, anyplace.  Catchy, right?  Through the promotion, I was able to get the Udder Cover for free (a $32 value) - all I had to do was pay for shipping and handling (which I think was like $5).  A steal, yes?  I didn't want the code to expire, so I placed my order before we knew that Baby Geronimina is a girl.  I tried to just pick a neutral one - it came out looking a little more boy-ish than I'd hoped and dreamed, but it is still cute.  I was actually really excited when it came in, and therefore I decided to model it just for you:


Please disregard my lack of makeup and cuteness today.  I'm tired.  I tried to get Layla to help me model this, but she does not love laying on her back and I might have almost dropped her but we won't mention that so the photo didn't quite work out.  It was funny while it lasted, though - I figure leaving you with the mental image will suffice.

After I'd placed my order for an Udder Cover and it was confirmed, a new offer popped up through that website.  Using a code that was given, I could also get a sling from Seven Slings for the same deal - just pay shipping.  I was a little hesitant about slings because I always worry about what if I don't tie it right or it comes off, etc. and I drop my child (I know, total worry wart), but these don't tie or velcro.  And anyway, who can beat a $48 value for only $5 shipping?  Again, I tried to go with something more neutral since we didn't yet know what we were having.  For your viewing pleasure:



I am still not sure how I got Dan to agree to model with Layla, but if you even try to tell me that's not the funniest thing you've ever seen, I will call you a liar.  I honestly think I might have peed in my pants a little bit from laughing so hard when all of this was taking place. 

Anyway, the point of this seemingly pointless post is that both of these arrived on my doorstep this week.  I actually ordered them so long ago (almost 8 weeks now?) that I had forgotten about them, so I was excited when they came today.  I should note that both are machine washable and therefore easy to clean.  Can't wait for this little girl to get here so I can test them out - I'll report back on how I like them via a product review after I've used them.

Finally, I will finish off this post with a hilarious story.  My friend Lindsey called me today.  I was in the middle of something at work and missed her, so she left me what may be the most hilarious voicemail ever.  In order for this to be funny, you should know that Linds has two girls: Addison (toddler) and Amelia (baby).  She talked for a short while about what she called about, and then out of nowhere at the end of the voicemail she said, "Oh, and by the way, I've told Addison that there is a baby in your belly and Jesus put it there, so just go with it."  Honestly, I laughed SO hard at my desk.  It was the hardest I'd laughed all week until Dan and Layla modeled the Seven Slings.

Hope this post made you laugh as much as I did!  Almost the weekend, wahoo!

Sarah

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To bank, or not to bank? That is the question.

Howdy, followers!  Hope everyone's having a great week so far.  Today I would like to discuss with you a kind of new topic: cord blood banking.  Ever heard of it?  I hadn't either, until I was pregnant.  Brace yourselves, a boring intriguing discussion is about to ensue.

Cord blood is the blood that stays in the umbilical cord after it has been cut when the baby is born.  It contains unique stem cells that can be used in some medical treatments.  Often times, it is discarded.  OR, these days, you can save it...for a price.

The stem cells that are found in cord blood can be used in many different medical treatments to regenerate healthy blood and immune cells.  It has been used to treat life-threatening diseases including leukemia and other cancers.  Additionally, there have been a lot of recent studies which show that it may have the potential to treat conditions such as juvenile diabetes, which currently have no cure.  Basically, by collecting the cord blood after the baby's birth (which is apparently simple, safe, and painless for both Mommy and baby and must occur within 15 minutes after birth), you will have the peace of mind that should a medical emergency occur for you, the baby, any siblings, etc., the cord blood may be able to help with treatment.

Blah blah blah, I know this may all sound totally boring - but it is a relevant and very prevalent discussion in the medical community today.  My Mom actually brought it to my attention the other day - she works with someone who is pregnant, and this woman is on the fence about whether or not to bank her baby's cord blood, so Mom asked me what my stance is.  Truthfully, I'm on the fence, too.  When my Mom's co-worker talked to her doctor, the doctor told her that as of today, not enough research has been done for the cord blood to be as valuable as the banks want you to believe, because it currently has limited uses (with hopes for improvement in the future).  The doctor described it as more of a marketing ploy, and advised her not to bank the cord blood.  It is a good question, and something to think about.  I have had it on my list of topics to research, but I hadn't even thought of asking my doctor - I think I will the next time I go, just to see what she says.

I discussed a lot of pros to cord banking above, but one big con is that it's pretty expensive to bank your baby's cord blood.  According to the research I've done, it can cost anywhere from $900 - $2,100 initially, with an additional annual storage fee of around $100/year.  I know that in the long run it doesn't seem like a lot, especially if there are a lot of break-throughs for usage; however, up-front, it's a lot to spend - particularly when you add in all of the other expenses associated with a baby.  I've said it before and will continue to have nightmares fret over this fact: babies are not cheap.  Even if I was given everything I could ever possibly  need for this baby and didn't have to spend a dime on furniture, a stroller, clothes, accessories, etc. it is expensive to even give birth - and that's with good insurance. 

One alternative that I haven't yet discussed is the option to donate your baby's cord blood so that another family can use it.  I still have a lot of research to do, and I still want to talk to the doctor, but I feel like at the minimum I would probably be willing to donate - can't hurt to try to help save someone else's life, right? 

So, there you have it.  Thoughts?  Do any of my Mommy friends out there have any experience with this?  Did any of you bank your child's cord blood, or donate it?  If so, can you offer any advice?

That's all for me tonight - Layla and I are having a girls night.  I just ate Lucky Charms for dinner (When's the last time you had those?  It has been years for me, and once the thought crossed my mind I couldn't live without them), and it was delightful.  Now we're going to watch some girly shows while Dan isn't here to hog the remote!  :-)

Hump Day's over - not long now until the weekend!

Sarah

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gift Post in Pictures

I am so behind on gift posts and thank you notes, so since I'm still pretty wiped from vacay and have an early gym appointment in the morning, I shall show you in a short photo post all of the recent things Baby Geronimina has gotten.  She is so loved, and I can't wait for her to meet our wonderful friends and family!

For some reason this picture won't load the correct way, even though I rotated it before uploading.  Anyway, Aunt Andrea gave us this sweet little hat that her friend makes.  Love it!

Gift from PawPaw (my Dad) - Geronimina will be ready to cheer on those Mountaineers at her first football game!

Is this the sweetest frame you've ever seen?!   Aunt Niecey gave it to us, and I can't wait to put it in the nursery.

Y'all KNOW I love cupcakes.  Cousin Erica picked this out just for Baby B, and I know she will love it as much as I already do!

Tried to get creative with my photos here - sweet little shoes from Pat and adorable Tutu from Ryan & Erin.  I die!

Toy from Joyce.  This little thing is so cute, I know Baby B will love playing with it!

Lee gave this to us - his sister-in-law makes them.  I wish you could feel this blanket, it is literally the softest thing I have ever felt.  It's gorgeous, and so cute!  It's called the Ultimate Baby Blanket, and I cannot wait to use it.

Clothes and Bibs from my Mom and Dad (not sure if Mom's decided what she wants to be called yet, so for now we'll call them PawPaw and Grandma Jeanne).
Again, thank you all so much for your generous and thoughtful gifts.  This little girl is already very spoiled!

Last but not least...remember how I was allowed to buy "a few things" since we were on vacation?  Well we visited the outlets in Palm Desert and were in luck, as there were lots of excellent sales.  I won't bore you with all of my finds, but instead will show you just one photo of what I got (Let's just say "a few things" accidentally turned into "I am worried my suitcase will be overweight."  Oopsie!):

Can't wait for Baby Geronimina to model all of her sweet new outfits for all of you.  She's going to be soooo stylish!

Bedtime for Layla and I - we can barely keep our eyes open.  See you tomorrow!

Sarah

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