My Babies {4/52}

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“Crafty Concentration” :: I like to buy the little wood crafts at Michaels for Elijah to paint. He really gets into it. We still have a bird house that we painted last year hanging on one of our Aspen trees. It’s green and orange paint is faded. The premises are vacant. I am not even sure if a little bird could even fit through it’s hole. I have to say that this new bird house’s colors are my favorite yet…I think they complement each other quiet nicely. And a certain little boy is insistent that we put some bird food in it before we hang it on a tree. I suppose it’s kind of like when a realtor encourages a homeowner to bake chocolate chip cookies before a showing…except not because I am not even sure if the prospective birdhouse dwellers could even smell the proverbial bird cookies through such a small opening. Nevertheless, the paint job is a darn good one. 😉

“Sleeping Beauty” :: Of course I would title Ella’s picture that, right? My girl is such a good little sleeper. I am SO thankful for that quality in her. She goes to bed at 730-ish and wakes up around 830-ish. Then she takes a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. She falls asleep easily and wakes up happy. It’s just the perfect combination. Oh, and she is one of those kiddos who you can actually transfer from the car to her bed during her nap. It’s truly a miracle. You know what else is a miracle? The blanket that she is sleeping with. It was mine when I was little. It still looks amazing AND I didn’t throw it away. I have a really bad habit of throwing/giving things away so that I am not even close to being a hoarder. But since the blanket somehow made it through…I can now listen to Ella talk about the animals that I remember studying when I was little. Priceless.

Baby {item} Recommendations

As Elijah’s 12 month-old birthday looms in the distance, I thought I should reflect back on some of the things that I could not have lived with out while raising this kiddo. You know for all you readers who are currently prego or may end up that way one day. Or for any of you who are looking for the perfect baby shower gift.

(click on the numbered item to see what brand and style that we purchased)

1.) Medela Advanced Pump In-Style — aka my constant companion.

I planned to BF/pump for as long as I could or until E was 1 year old–it appears that I will make it to the 1 year mark. I usually pump 4 times a day and there was even a time when I would use it every 2-3 hours {ahhh, the memories!}. When I had to go back to work {Elijah was 6 weeks old}, I decided to exclusively pump to make things more consistent. And truthfully, I am not sure my milk supply would have kept up as long had I not used it religiously. I am very happy with it’s ease of use and dependability.

Initially I didn’t think the battery pack was worth the trouble but it has made my life easier on many occasions. For instance, there have been times when I pumped in the car on our way home from the Springs or if I needed to pump and we were out running errands and didn’t want to drive all the way home. I could have purchased the car adapter {to save batteries} but I found that I got about 8-10 good pumping sessions for each pack of batteries.  I have used the same pumping accessories from the beginning and they are very easy to clean. I have the shoulder bag version; and while it is a little bulky and heavy at times, I appreciate that it has room to store the ice pack, accessories, and storage bottles without much effort.

If anyone every has a question about pumping, don’t ever hesitate to ask me. I may not be a pro at breast feeding but I do know a lot about pumping. If you are considering pumping at work or to help keep your milk supply up, I wholeheartedly recommend this pump.

2.) Bottle Warmer

We use the bottle warmer to heat every bottle that E takes. Because I store all my breast milk in the fridge {to keep it fresh}, it is pretty cold. Elijah loves himself a warm bottle. We have this one but I am sure that any brand would be well worth the investment.

3.) Boppy

I don’t use it at all now but those first few months it was a MUST. I completely depended on it for breast feeding and it was a great place for E to snooze when he was on that eat, poop, sleep schedule. David also used it quite frequently when he would get up during the night to feed Elijah. It is a must for any baby registry.

4.) Playtex Advanced Ventaire Bottles {wide mouth}

Our little guy was not initially known for his blue eyes but his frequent regurgitation. Yup, he loooooved to spit up and often cried those first few weeks of his life from horrible gas pains. Once I decided to pump exclusively, he did a whole lot better. He spit up at least 75% less and the crying virtually stopped. I credit these bottles {and fervent prayer, of course}. They are wonderful!

I recommend getting the gift pack {as it gives you an assortment of sizes} and then you may need to get a few of the larger ones as your little one grows and drinks more milk. They are very easy to keep clean. I used the wide mouth nipples so as to help with nipple confusion.

5.) Car Mirror

Not only does it help me to see what Elijah is up to in the back seat, it also helps to keep him entertained. Babies are so vain. 😉 The mirrors are not that expensive to buy so they make a great gift.

6.) ExerSaucer

A huge thanks goes out to my friend Michelle! She let us borrow her daughter’s so that we didn’t have to buy our own. I started off hating it because it was so big and wasn’t easy to hide. But once Elijah was old enough, it was a life saver. It definitely helped to strengthen his legs but most importantly it gave me a safe place to put him where he was entertained for hours. I would say that I got the most use out of it when he was 6-10 months old. He still sits in it some but he tends to get frustrated because he can’t move like he wants. If my friend has another baby around the same time as we do, then I know I will have to find one for us. They are great.

7.) Instrumental Music

I almost forgot this one!

I bought Elijah a CD before he was born that had instrumental worship songs. Some of them I can recognize the tune and some I have never heard before. Nevertheless, since he started sleeping in his crib, we play that CD all night long. We even use it for nap times. Secretly I am hoping he will become somewhat musically inclined since neither David or yours truly can sing to save my life! It is really great to have this CD because it provides a calm atmosphere in his room and also gives some consistency when we travel. All we have to do is load it on the ipod and use our handy little speakers. yeah!

I know all babies are different so please don’t send me hate mail if you disagree or think I am way off.  I do hope that all you moms are willing to share your own favorites {in the comments section} since I am sure that I am leaving something out or maybe even be missing out on some great baby product.

Operation find a car seat *yesterday*

We finally found a car seat for little man after my parental fail.

It isn’t the most expensive or even the one that most of my Facebook friends recommended.  Just call me a rebel. 😉

Of course my biggest help was Google. But it was very important for me to find a car seat that I could check out before purchasing. You know, I wanted to be able to get Elijah’s opinion: Smile = He loves it. Frown = No way.

Along with that criteria, I had a mental list of some of the things that I hoped to find  {not necessarily in order of importance}:

1.) Affordable–a high price doesn’t always mean that a seat is MORE safe and we are on a budget around these parts.

2.) Safe–I was looking for the seat to definitely meet and hopefully exceed all government safety standards.

3.) Easy and simple to install {which also includes being easy to transfer between our two cars}–I am not a fan of long directions.

4.) Small enough to fit comfortably in the middle, backseat in the rear-facing position–that is the safest place for E in the whole car and I  know it makes a difference.

5.) Recline–E loves to sleep in the car and lets face it, reclining is so much more comfortable than sitting straight up. Just think about an airplane seat…

6.) Positive customer reviews–I know not everyone will LOVE everything about a product but I was looking for a healthy number of positive reviews from people who had already bought it so that I could feel confident in my purchase.

After finding a couple potential seats online, E and I headed to a few stores.  I happened to run into a very resourceful mom and salesperson at Babies R’ Us who gave me some great input as well {Bonus!}. After trying some seats out and failing to finagle a 20% off coupon from anyone, I decided not to make a purchase even though I had finally decided which seat I was going to buy.

When I got home, I went to work on line trying to find it on sale.

Google came through for me again!

Here are the numbers:

Babies R’ Us: $216.19 {with tax}

Albe baby: $159.99  {free shipping and NO sales tax}

Total Savings: $66.20

You all know how I love a good deal!

I decided upon the Evenflo Symphony 65:

I know everyone now days seems to love Britax and they are great seats. But for what I was looking for {see above}, this is the seat that worked best for us.

And thankfully, I have not been disappointed. E loves it. It was SUPER easy to install and fits great in our car.

Anyone else find any great online deals lately? Or have any great tricks of their own to save some cash? I would love to hear ’em.

Mission Impossible: a 70×70 table cloth

I never knew how difficult it would be to find a table cloth for my trendy square, raised kitchen table. Boy, if I had known, I may have reconsidered the purchase.

Initially I only used place mats when we were eating and dressed it up with a table runner from time to time. But I am starting to notice some wear and tear {with the addition of Elijah} and I would like to have the option to cover it when we have guests or when I don’t want to fight a losing battle with dirty fingers.

I went to Target one day and tried to wing it. Bad idea. I purchased 3 table cloths that didn’t fit at all. Apparently the square size is not standard and take it from me, you can’t make it work with a rectangle one either.

So I ended up measuring it and trying to find something online.

Well I had no luck on etsy, amazon or any of my other general go-to shops.

So I had to google it.

I found a few options that were OUTRAGEOUS!  $100+ for a simple table cloth. NO WAY.

Then I stumbled upon this website and ordered a dark brown one.

The total after shipping was only about $15 which is pretty close to the price I would pay at Target. Unfortunately it isn’t anything very original or cute but after only finding one other website with a 70 x 70 inch table cloth option under $50, I am not complaining.

Friends, it is times like these that I wish I knew how to sew.

I will let you know how it works out. But take it from me, be sure to consider all the obstacles you may face when buying a square kitchen table

Anyone else ever have this trouble? Or do you have your own story of buyers remorse? I would love to hear it.

Dear David,

I would like one of these for my birthday (this year or next). Please????

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Love your adoring wife,

Ali

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Welcome to the world sweet Kamryn Grace (what a pretty name!)!

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After my friend Michelle had her baby shower on Sunday, she went into labor when she got home and gave birth on none other than Labor Day (1 week early)!

We brought her and her hubby Chick-Fil-A for dinner last night (hence the Bronco shirt = free Chick-Fil-A  on Labor Day).  And yes, I did choose to wear my pink shirt in honor of Miss Kamryn.

We also happened to be her first visitors (which means we will forever be engraved her notorious baby book).

She is only 4 hours old in these pics and so photogenic:

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I think I will need to visit her again today. 😉

You’re Invited!!!* {but not really}

Boy oh boy, my creative juices were flowing today.

Normally I am more of a left-brained person but  it is evident that the amount of hours I have been putting in at work has officially done some damage. I must have used up all those left-sided brain cells {working 125 hours in two weeks} and  the right-sided brain cells are now happily setting up camp!*  Wait until you see the pillows that I bought to match my new rug…oh wait, I wasn’t going to tell anyone about that. Shoot!*

{I digress}

Well, my friend Michelle will be giving birth to her first little peanut {a girl} within the next month and I am helping to throw her shower.

I love wedding showers and baby showers and hot showers so if you ever  need one, I am game!*

One of my tasks for this shower is invitations. So yesterday I went to Hobby Lobby to get supplies. Now when you imagine me making invitations please imagine a computer, a printer, some scissors, ribbon, good ole scotch tape, stickers, my tongue {only used to lick the envelopes} and those handy brain cells on the right-side. Do not imagine a die cutter, ink, stamps, an embossing gun, glitter, a paper cutter, calligraphy pens or a Bachelors in scrapbooking.

If you imagine the latter you would be mistaking me for Cassie or Alicia.

I am not them.

After I got all my supplies out {and gave them a pep-talk}, I started the 4 hour long process to perfection.

Be hold the most wonderful baby shower invitations I have EVER!!!!!* made :

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Now I would love all of you to think that I actually made every part of this invitation but most of it was truly Hobby Lobby’s brain child.

All this…

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their idea.

But from their idea…I decided to make this:

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The ribbon, the sticker, the font, the size of the tag–all my original idea

Well in essence it may not be an original idea but you can refer to me as the “creative-copier.”  I am OK with that.

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Aren’t they precious?

I am one creative girl!!!*

Now I am off to set up camp with my right-sided brain cells in the happy land of denial.

* please note that all the exclamation points used in this post were for my friend Mo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

New Birth

Today my heart is full for two reasons:

1.) My friend Amber had her baby this week and… “it’s a boy!” All of my friends having babies lately have been having girls so it is nice change it up a little bit.

Isn’t Caleb Matthew handsome? 🙂

2.) One of the guys that is on David’s Golf Committe for his tournament this June gave his life to Christ last week!!!! David was so excited that when he called me he must have been talking a mile a minute {I adore my husband}.

It is the first time that we have seen the fruit of our labor here in Parker and let me tell you, it makes everything worth it..everything! I know the Lord is doing many things here that I have yet to even see.

Lord you are SO good.