Monday, January 2, 2006

The Baby "Stuff" We Actually Used

Yes, we have been "those" parents who bought a ton of baby gadgets -- even though the practical side of my brain resisted, the mommy part of my brain bought everything in sight. Here is a continually updated list of things we actually used and would recommend!
  • Car Seat: Buy one that you feel good about. Spend the money. It's worth it for the peace of mind. We bought a "travel system" -- but honestly, I wish we hadn't. I love our car seat, but have seen so many awesome strollers out there. I wish we had purchased seperately so that we could have a cooler stroller.
  • Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper: I love having Ledger right next to me. I love that it actually hooks onto the bed, so my feet never have to touch the floor for night time feedings. And I love that it is neutral in color and half the size of our pack-n-play, so it's pretty unobtrusive in our bedroom.
  • Gas Drops (Infant Mylicon): Seriously, we should have bought stock in this stuff. It's like a magic syrup that soothes fussy babies.
  • "Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD: We watched this about a month before Ledger was born and have put the principles this DVD preaches to use every day since his birth. Learning how to swaddle and soothe has been a life saver!
  • Home-Made Swaddle Blankets: A few days after we got home from the hospital, we realized that the huge stack of "receiving" blankets we had gotten as gifts weren't big enough to swaddle our 8-pound baby. The expensive pre-made-with-velcro versions didn't fit quite right either. So my mom bought some cheap, light, cotton fabric and made 40" square blankets. They are perfect for everything and we are trying to talk her into making more of them!
  • Footie Pajamas (or "Sleep and Plays"): Even in the hottest months of summer, I put Ledger into footie pajamas to sleep. Usually we have the air conditioner on and a fan blowing on us, and he just gets too cold otherwise. I am always looking for these in the clearance aisle of every store.
  • Boppy Pillow: Ideally, I would like to make some changes to the boppy pillow -- including making it with different sized openings for plus-sized mommies, including a strap that you could wrap around you to keep it from sliding off of your lap, and I would like it to be thicker. But even with all of those little things, we use this pillow ALL the time. And don't bother buying a whole bunch of Boppy covers -- you probably won't take the time to change them out.
  • Craigslist & Ebay: I wish I had thought of this when I first got pregnant. I know how easy it is to want to buy everything new for your baby... but it really is more practical to buy gently used items. Especially the things that they grow out of quickly.
  • Dr. Brown's Bottles: We tried 4 different types of bottles before we finally found the Dr. Brown's bottles. They are the ones that Ledger likes best. My 2 nephews also preferred these bottles over the other ones.
  • Swing/Bouncy Chair: We used both of these items daily until about 2 weeks ago. Now Ledger wants to sit up all of the time and these are both reclining, so we only use them on occasion. This is a good item to buy used or borrow from a friend... some babies don't like them at all!
  • Diaper Champ: We returned our Diaper Genie and bought a Diaper Champ after getting some advice from a friend. It was the right choice. It traps the odor, keeps the dogs out, and we don't have to buy expensive refills. Yay! I wish it were a little bigger... but overall a wonderful diaper pail.
  • Fisher Price Car Mirror: We bought 3 different car mirrors before coming to this one. It has a big, clear mirror and doesn't require much adjusting to be able to see your baby.
  • Infant Carrier Toy Bar: We hadn't had any luck with carrier toys until we bought the "Bright Stars Hop Along Carrier Toy Bar" from Wal-Mart. Ledger loves this thing and it keeps him happy in the carrier!
  • Bumbo Seat: I wish we had 2 of these. It is SO handy to be able to sit Ledger down to do dishes, cook lunch, go to the bathroom. The Bumbo seat is safe and stable and oh so convenient.
  • Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper: Ledger LOVES this jumper seat. Every couple of weeks, he is developmentally ready to experience something new on the seat. It's wonderful and grows with him. We will be sad when he finally outgrows it.

Here are a few baby items that are a waste of money:
  • Infant shoes: I know it is really hard to resist those little teeny, tiny shoes at the store. Which is why we have 8 pair of infant shoes that have never been worn. He's already grown out of most of them!
  • Hanging Car Seat Toys: Some day in the future, these might actually come in handy... but for now, they are just in the way and make it nearly impossible to move the handle up/down on the baby carrier. UPDATE: We did eventually put these to use with our baby jumper seat -- but never used them on the car seat.

Items to stock up on:
  • Diapers (obviously)
  • Pacifiers -- you can never find one when your baby is screaming!
  • Burp Cloths -- these should be stashed everywhere... otherwise all of your clothes will be stained
  • Gas Drops -- get mutltiple bottles and put them everywhere

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Our Favorite Links

Local Links:
Salina Journal

Salina Animal Shelter

Baby Stuff:
What to expect - I love the message boards!
Craigslist: Kansas City - We love a bargain!
Stephanie Meier Photography
Photos by Kira

Chris' Favorites:
World Wrestling Entertainment

Kendell's Favorites:
Facebook - Our preferred social networking site
Photoworks - I love the photobooks

About Us

Chris and I were married in 2007. Chris is a 4th grade teacher at Heusner Elementary School and I am an associate veterinarian at Ewy Animal Hospital. We love to travel and have visited Rome, Paris, Maui, and Orlando on recent vacations. During the summers, you can find us out on the lake -- wakeboarding, tubing, or just enjoying a boat ride.

Ledger James Michel was born May 5, 2009. You can read his birth story here. His birth changed us forever. He made us "mom and dad" instead of just "Kendell and Chris". He also inspired us to create a blog that would document our daily/weekly revelations as parents and to keep our friends and family updated on his growth.