Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy Half Birthday!

I know it's been a week since I've posted, but I just wanted to give y'all an update. In the past week we have received and unpacked most of our shipment, hosted two seperate sets of visitors, and I've travelled to Missouri and back. I've got a backlog of blog posts to get to, but until then I just wanted to write a quick note wishing our little man a very happy half birthday! 

I've always been an avid celebrator of my own half birthday, so it's appropriate that I make a big deal out of this milestone for little Forest. He's working on his own guest post and I've also got some words I'd like to say on his behalf. Unfortunately, it will still probably be a few days before I get a good chunk of time to write down my thoughts, but I promise that it's high up on my priority list. Until then, feast your eyes on this handsome *6 MONTH OLD*!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Forest Firsts: Easter

Forest was born right at the beginning of a long holiday season. Within his first 6 months of life we celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, St. Paddy’s day, Mardi Gras and Easter (as well as Guy Fawkes Day in the UK). However, Easter was the first one we really made a big deal out of. It’s fitting that this holiday should be met with pomp and circumstance since it represents the cornerstone of our entire belief system. 
And now that Forest is nearing the 6 month mark, he’s much more of an active participant than he was during those other holidays. We started our Easter celebration with a visit to meet the Easter Bunny. I feel like these awkward photos are completely representative of the typical American childhood so I totally had to have one of Forest. 

On Friday afternoon we headed to the nearby Stoneridge mall for our photo op. Forest was totally patient and content while we waited in the impossibly slow line for our turn. 

When we were up, I think Jonathan and I both held our breath in anticipation of our son’s reaction to being handed off to a giant rabbit. Never fear, he was totally fine and became fast friends with the mutant bunny. He even obliged and looked right at the camera for that perfect childhood shot. 
He is such a ham and you can totally tell he knows what a camera is! In addition to the Easter bunny tradition, I also decided to put together a little basket for him to receive after church on Easter Sunday.  How perfect is this fox basket for our little Forest-man? 
I was a little skeptical about whether I would be able to find enough non-candy goodies to fill up his basket, but of course Target delivered! We The Easter Bunny bought him two board books, two bath books, Easter themed freezable teethers, a vibrating chickee stroller toy, egg shaped bubbles, bunny ears and some random dinosaurs. Nothing says Easter like a purple stegosaurus.
When Easter Sunday finally arrived we had a nice snuggly morning and headed off to church after Forest’s first nap. 
Baby boy was so stinkin cute in his white linen Ralph Lauren overalls! 

He was surprisingly well behaved in church and only made a murmur or two toward the end.  Not bad for a teething little monster! After church we gave him his Easter basket and took more obligatory photos.

After all the church/basket excitement, he passed out for another nap and afterward we went to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. I couldn’t bear to deprive him of a bite of momma’s ice cream, so on his first Easter, Forest had his first taste of heaven: Baskin Robbins mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

It was just a spiritual day all the way through! 

I hope your Easter was also full of joy, snuggles, ice cream and awkward photos!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Survival Guide: Three- Six months

Y'all, can you believe I have an almost 6 month old?!?!? I never thought I'd say this after the rocky newborn phase but time is really flying by fast. With his 1/2 birthday just around the corner, I've been reflecting a lot on this parenthood thing.
When Forest was 6 weeks old I wrote a ‘6 week survival guide’ on The Aberdeen Wife about all the items I could not have done without in those early hazy days. I planned to write a follow up post 6 weeks later, but it turns out that 6 week olds and 12 week olds are still pretty similar in what things they need. After 12 weeks though, things start to change rapidly and get a lot more interesting. So here is my 3-6 month survival guide: 
1) Activity Mat/Gym. 
Before he started rolling like a madman, the activity mat was a great way to stimulate Forest and entertain him while I worked on various house tasks. As the weeks went by he quickly learned to roll, and to use the hanging toys to pull himself up or over. I really think that having some of the toys just out of reach was very pivotal in motivating him to finally roll over from back to front. Now he won’t stop doing it! If I put him on his back I literally cannot count to 3 before he has flipped on his belly. Wild child! 

2) Jumperoo/Exersaucer. 
Buy at Target
Ohmygoodness, so much fun! Since Forest still suffers from a bit of reflux, I always put him in his exersaucer after meals to help his milk stay down. 
He has a ball grabbing all the toys and loves to jump up and down to the music. This baby has some rhythm. 
Right now I have this contraption just off the kitchen so he can keep an eye on me (and vise versa) while I cook/clean/email etc. After 30 minutes or so he’s ready for a change of scenery, but for a solid chunk of time he is happily amused which lets me get some things done around the house. 
3)The Ergo carrier. 
Buy at Target
We didn’t use this much in Scotland because it was too stinkin’ cold, but in California we’ve been using it almost on a daily basis. While baby boy is prone to an occasional hissy fit while in the stroller, he has never complained about being in his ergo. He’s a snuggler! 
We’ve taken him hiking a few times and he is as happy as can be cuddled up next to dad. I usually strap him in to the carrier when I go shopping. It makes grocery, outlet mall, and Target shopping so much easier than having to navigate a stroller around. Plus it helps to give me my fill of baby snuggles. 

We recently bought an infantino carrier which allows him to face out on our excursions. 
He loves the view but it’s not nearly as comfortable for us as the Ergo is. For now, the infantino is just for short walks or shopping trips while the ergo is for longer treks or daytrips.  
4) The BOB Stroller. 
Buy at Target
This stroller is the best thing on the planet. It’s so easy to maneuver and such a smooth ride for Forest. We usually go for a walk on the neighborhood trails every evening and I also toss him in the stroller for our daily visits to the park. 60% of the time, he loves his stroller. 
But he has this new thing where he cannot fall asleep for a nap without crying for 5-10 minutes first, so if naptime hits when we are in the stroller it can be quite embarrassing . 
Boy has some lungs on him and I hate disrupting our neighbors on their peaceful walks, but ce la vie. I haven’t jogged much with the jogging stroller just because the hills here are pretty intense. It’s definitely enough of a workout just to walk them! 
5) Tadpoles foam mats. 
Buy at Target
We bought a large alphabet one and a smaller dino mat, one for upstairs and one for the living room. 
This yet another item that is great with his reflux because it’s super easy to wipe up spit-up incidents from the foam surface. It also gives him a safe space to work on his motor skills. He loves to sit up and play with his toys, interact with the dogs, and just observe his little world. 
He also loves/hates tummy time where he practices his crawling technique. 
He isn’t quite there yet (thank goodness!) but he’s definitely on the brink. The mat is also good for hosting play dates since it gives all the babies a good surface to explore on.   

6) Bibs. 

This one is kind of obvious but bibs deserve a shout out nonetheless. Our favorites are these giant terry cloth ones from Carter’s. 
Buy from Carter's
Their obnoxious size helps to keep his clothes mostly clean while he slobbers up prunes/carrots/green beans/etc. 

They also help with the spit-up. Seriously, when do they outgrow reflux???? 

6) A sun hat. 
This is season specific but we use this on a daily basis in California. In addition to making Forest even more adorable,  it protects his perfect complexion from that warm California sun. 
7) Disposable Waterproof underpads. 
Buy at Target

We drape these over our changing table to catch the impact of any rogue pee incidents or explosive diapers. Now that Forest is a bit older and eating solids, he usually only does a number 2 once a day(TMI???).  But when he goes- oh man- it gets everywhere. Seriously. From his toes to his ears. I'm not exaggerating. EVERYWHERE. These pads help to absorb most of the damage so we don’t have to wash our changing table or changing mat cover every day.    

8) Sassy Highchair Wheel Toy. 
Buy on Amazon
By far, Forest’s favorite thing to do is throw all of his toys off of his high chair tray. He’s a professional and can have 10 toys on the ground in about 45 seconds, which means I have to stop whatever I am doing and replace each said toy, and repeat, over and over again. So when I saw this toy with a suction cup on the bottom to explicitly prevent babies from tossing them, I knew I had to have one. Now when he tosses his loose toys over board, he at least still has this stalwart toy standing the test of time. 
He actually gets a bit frustrated that he can’t remove it but it keeps his smart little brain occupied long enough for me to clean up after meal times. 

9) Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair. 
Buy at Target
Speaking of high chairs, we (and Forest) love his Fisher Price Space Saver chair. 

It fits on top of any chair in the house so it’s easily moveable and travels easily. It also has a recline feature which means babies can use it from birth. It kind of serves the same purpose in the 3-5 month range as a bumbo seat, but then goes on to be useful for months/years afterward so in my opinion it’s a better buy. 
Forest loves to sit at the table while Jon and I eat, and he will stay content after his breakfast while I clean up the kitchen/fold laundry/ect. As long as he can see me (or Bailey) from his perch, he is generally happy to sit in his chair for a good 20-30 minutes just playing with his toys and watching the world go by.

10) His car seat mirror. 
This isn't the exact one we have but this is one sold at Target.
A funny thing happened when Forest was about 4 months old- he started HATING car rides. This simple contraption solved that issue right away and every day I am so happy we bought him this. 
All it is is a mirror that straps to the head rest of the car seat so he can look at his reflection while we are on the go. He loves to watch himself and entertains himself by blowing razberries, sticking out his tongue, and just babbling away. He also has a mirror toy that hangs on his car seat that is pretty fascinating to him as well. 

11) Board books. For the first few months we avoided reading to Forest. It broke my heart but the activity just seemed to over-stimulate him and leave him hysterical. Recently, we’ve tried again and he’s been loving it. In fact, books are his favorite toys. 

Granted, right now he’s more interested in using them as a teething apparatus, but hey, whatever gets kids to read, am I right? But seriously, he loves to flip through the pages and look at the pictures. 
He also loves his crinkly books which also provide some neat sounds and textures to keep him entertained.  
These are super easy to take along on outings so I recommend stashing a few in diaper bags/car seats/strollers/etc. 
Well there are countless other items that have helped us through the 3-6 month period, but these are just a few that were most critical to our survival. Any of y’all have any other must-haves? What are some things I should go ahead and stock the house with for the 6-12 month phase? 

P.S. I have a few posts in mind that I will try to publish over the next few weeks, but the next two weeks will be super busy for us, so no promises! Our shipment arrives Tuesday, I will be traveling to Missouri for the weekend for my grandma's memorial service, and then we have our first visitors the next week. Not much time for blogging but I'm sure I'll rack up a few topics to talk about once things settle down again. Hang in there! I know y'all are just lost without my regular blogging, right???;)