Archive for April, 2014

April 30, 2014

Odds and Ends

The morning sickness has been easing up some. Alas I seem to be trading it in for pregnancy migraines. At least they’re not as bad as last time. Between the migraines, fatigue, and morning sickness, however, I really haven’t been up to blogging as often as I’d like. Confession time: I typically go to bed shortly after Nicole these days.

So here’s what’s been going on with us:

* Our house is officially on the market! It was listed Monday. Yup, that’s a full six months after we moved. Our first open house is this weekend.

Domingo had been using his lunch boxes to move the last of our belongings out of the house. Yup, that means we have a ton of boxes around again. As you can probably guess, my desire to spend any energy unpacking is extremely low. Part of me wants to just hold off until that nesting instinct kicks in again. Someone should seriously bottle that stuff.

* I haven’t picked up my camera in a month. Technically, that month ran from middle of March to middle of April. I did take a couple of photos of Nicole at Easter time, but only after seeing my mother in law with her camera and feeling guilty about slacking. I was doing so well with F/stop, Iso settings before my impromptu break – but alas, old habits die hard. I really do need to keep up with the practice if I want to improve.

I can’t blame the lack of picking up my camera entirely on the pregnancy. I have been feeling a little under inspired lately, which is why I was experimenting with lighting tricks a little while ago. I haven’t even really been taking many instagram photos lately. My last instagram was April 3rd.

* Grad school is officially complete, I’m officially a doctor. I wrapped up the work part a while ago, but recently received my diploma and the hard bound copy of my thesis. Even with the physical proof that I graduated, it still hasn’t sunk in yet. The other day I was talking to Domingo and said something to the effect of “if I was a doctor” to which he replied “you are”.

* Nicole seems to love the fact that she’s going to be a big sister. She loves her big sister and new baby books, and requests them every night. I think daycare has been playing up the new baby. I am in love with the idea of sharing our news on social media by posting a video of Nicole saying “Big Sister!” Every time I read “I’m a big sister” I emphasize the “big sister” part. She will repeat it back to me, but it sounds like “big zeze!” While darn cute, I don’t think many people will understand.

April 17, 2014

Rethinking Baby Gear

I think I’ve talked myself out of buying a second crib.

We’re planning on moving next spring/summer. Our lease is up around the fall, just before Ziggy is due. I really don’t want to add moving stress to the mix, so we’re planning on waiting until Spring to start house hunting again.

Another move means disassembling the new crib, and I’m a bit gun shy about it. Besides, Nicki is already in a toddler bed. It wouldn’t be a big deal to switch her to another toddler bed, or maybe even a twin bed with a safety rail, and convert her bed back to a crib for Ziggy. This time I made sure to save all the parts! I do question the safety of a 3 time reassembled crib (or at least of our crib) for an active older baby, for a mostly immobile newborn I’m sure it will be fine.

Our thinking is that we’d ditch the crib when we move, rather than reassemble it an additional time. If we move in spring/summer, Ziggy will be between 6 and 9 months old. That’s possibly crawling and standing up. With a more active Ziggy I will feel more comfortable with a new, once assembled with all it’s original hardware, crib. We’d probably get a very simple/cheap crib for the new house, since I’m not sure how much use we’ll get out of it. Who knows, Ziggy may be an early climb escape artist like big sister Nicki!

Another item I’m scratching off my list is the breast pump. It turns out my health insurance covers the cost of a breast pump (a new perk this year thanks to the health care law.) A double electric breast pumps even! It’s not the same brand as I was thinking of getting, but I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Besides, as much as I liked the old one it’s always possible this other brand will work out even better for me. It’s not like I test drove a bunch of different pumps last time…

I’m adding to my previous list two new items we didn’t get last time: a boppy and a bouncy seat.

With Nicki I was on the fence between the boppy and the breast friend pillow. There were a number of reviews that said only one of the two pillows worked for the reviewer, and I wasn’t sure which one would work for me. Time got away from me while I was debating and the next time I knew Nicki was a few months old and too big to breastfeed on a pillow. I didn’t want to purchase something I wasn’t going to fully utilize, even though the boppy kept being useful at daycare, first as a tummy time device, then for sitting support. I figure even if it doesn’t work for breastfeeding, we’ll get use out if.

Last time we didn’t use any kind of bouncy seat or swing for Nicki. She was held _a lot_. Obviously Ziggy will have to share parental attention. Having a safe place to put Ziggy down with an active toddler around is a must.

Disclosure: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission with each affiliate link click. For more details please see my full disclosure about blog profit.

Our Amazon gift cards have arrived, and I’m distracting myself from my morning all-day sickness by thinking about baby gear, and bargain hunting.

I used my previous post as a starting point, and set up some price watches. Right now we’re leaning towards the Baby Einstein Neptune Ocean Adventure gym. I decided I wanted a change it up a bit with the gym theme. While I liked the water concept, and was very happy with our Lamaze Space Symphony Motion Gym
, the pond version just wasn’t as neat.

Of course setting up price watches didn’t take long, and I soon found myself thinking about other types of gear specifically for baby number two.

Additional Monitor

Hands down the best baby gear purchase I made was for a video baby monitor. It’s been useful at all stages, from newborn days to now in the toddler bed. We can hear Nicki just fine without any monitor – in fact, the audio has been off for over a year now! – but the ability to see what is going on is a sanity savor.

We have the Motorola MBP36 Video Baby Monitor which has an option for an additional camera.

Amazon’s lowest price for the additional camera ($79.99) does not beat Buy Buy Baby’s price with 20% off coupon ($79.20). Depending on what Amazon’s price is in November, I might be able to get a better deal with the registry completion code. The 15% completion discount would make the price tag on amazon $81.16. If the price in November is better than average, I win by waiting, otherwise I don’t. Roughly even odds, I’d say.

The other thing we’ll need is a new battery. The current re-chargeable battery doesn’t hold a charge for too long any more. Either that or a second power cord.

Second Crib

I’m kind of at a loss with this one. I like symmetry and the notion of having the same crib for each child is aesthetically pleasing to me but I’ve been really frustrated with Nicki’s crib, with the non-standard parts and all.

On the one hand I think I’m being overly critical. From what I’ve read and been told by folks at the hardware store, that’s pretty common across all furniture makers. So I’m not sure I will have a better experience with a different manufacturer. Besides, I’m partially to blame. I should have been more diligent about saving all the pieces. I just never thought I’d switch it to a toddler bed. I figured we’d get her a new toddler bed when it was time for the crib to have a new occupant.

Then again the price is up nearly 30% on the same crib! Looks like the price is all over the map! I’ll probably end up with the same selection process this time around as last time: add four acceptable cribs to the registry and see which has the best price when I receive my registry completion code.

Double Stroller

I think I’m going to pass on this one. If I was a stay at home mom, a double stroller seems like a necessity. In our current arrangement, I don’t really see myself taking the kids out on outings by myself. Two single strollers seems like a adequate solution when you have two sets of hands to push and are just out for an evening walk.

On the other hand, a double stroller seems much more convenient than two single strollers in crowded situations. My childhood zoo did not allow strollers inside the buildings, only outside when walking around. If we ever make a trip out to disneyland, we won’t be able to take the stroller(s) in the attractions. Having one stroller seems much more convenient when you have to check it. But these places also rent double strollers for very reasonable prices. The zoo rents them for just $10 a day! Going to the zoo will give us a nice try-before-you-buy feel for the value of double strollers.

April 7, 2014

Hallmark 2014 Plan

Last year I made my Hallmark ornament shopping plan on April 4th. This year, I paid to join the Keepsake ornament Club (KOC), which was supposed to come with early access to the dreambook. I signed up on March 5th. Today was the first morning my KOC account worked – 1 month and 2 days after I handed over my credit card information. Not a happy customer am I.

It looks like Hallmark launched a whole new website for club members today. I know from my multiple conversations with customer support that their websites are designed as independent silos, with separate databases. (Every time I called they said the website administrator just needed to “enter my number into the website” for it to work. Keep in mind, the KOC number was automatically generated – by the website – when I signed up. Apparently the website that takes your credit card, and the one with the member’s only section are not the same.) Presumably tech support knew they were switching over websites and didn’t feel the need to put my KOC number into the old website’s database. That’s my theory at least. Regardless, for the first time I have access to the dreambook.

High on my list is Present-Packing Penguins. The Unofficial Kris Penguin series has been a favorite of mine. Present-packing penguins has two of the pengins in a sleigh delivering a present to the third penguin. I just wish the price tag wasn’t so high. $17.95 for a single ornament? Yipes! That’s a 20% increase from last year’s Penguin ornament, Playful Penguins.

I was on the fence with Happy Little Elf gumdrop, this year’s miniature gumdrop ornament. It’s a red gumdrop, and I already have Goody Goody Gumdrop which I liked better. I was thinking of trying to snag this one in an after Christmas sale, but Domingo swayed me. He likes the little elf holding a peppermint, and it’s his tree too.

We’ll probably get Baby’s First Christmas. I wish it was more in the style of the rocking horse, but at least it’s not like some of the other Baby’s First Christmas that are totally not our style. It’s not a 100% porcelain like the rocking horse. The stocking trim is fabric. I’m not sure how much I will like it in person.

We’ll be either passing, or waiting for after Christmas sales for most of the rest of them.

I’ve been collecting the Snowball and Tuxedo series, a series featuring a polar bear and penguin friend. For this year’s I think I’m going to wait for an after Christmas sale. It’s a cute idea; snowball is cheering as Tuxedo makes a snow angle. In the head on photo in the dream book you can’t tell Tuxedo is making a snow angle. He’s laying flat on his back. Snowball is looking down at him with his paws in the air. A polar bear, paws extended, staring down at a penguin flat on the ground? Maybe the 3D version will be more appealing, but the 2D photo reminds me of “when polar bears attack”. I had a similar visceral reaction to the 2007 Here’s the Scoop ornament. Tuxedo is lying on the shovel that Snowball was using. It’s supposed to representing playing around in the snow, but I can’t help but think it makes Tuxedo look like a jerk.

Cookie Cuter Christmas is another cute idea that I think could have been executed better. The mouse is in a bell shaped cookie cutter singing Christmas Carols. I don’t feel particularly compelled to get it. I loved last years, and since the series doesn’t have a date I only want to spend money on the ornaments I love. Or at half price. I love half price!

April 4, 2014

Soon to be Four

familyof4

Domingo, Nicole and I have a secret – we’re expecting a new addition to our family this November!

Introducing Ziggy!

We are super excited!

We decided to share the news a little differently this time around since this could be my last pregnancy. I want to savor every minute, and for me that includes blogging about it. It’s been challenging staying away from new baby related topics this long, and we’ve only known for 3 weeks!

I’m also already showing, which makes keeping this secret secret even more challenging! I had some pretty significant pregnancy bloating around weeks 5 & 6 and had to borrow some of Domingo’s t-shirts as mine were all stretched around my mid section. I looked further along than when I was 20 weeks with Nicole!. Now that the bloating has subsided I’m that could-be-a-baby-or-a-borrito-belly phase. I admit I don’t mind showing early, even though I’m still trying to keep the pregnancy a secret at work. Although I do hope it becomes more obviously baby soon. I loved my big pregnant belly last time. It goes to the whole ‘savor every minute of it’ aspect.

So I mentioned that we’re sharing the news differently this time around. Last time we felt comfortable sharing our news to individuals at 10 weeks, after listening to the heartbeat twice and held off on any kind of public announcements until 13 weeks. We’ve heard the heartbeat already and while we’re comfortable sharing the news here, we’d like to hold off on sharing our news to facebook until 13 weeks again this time around. After all anything could happen, and if it does I will need my blog as an outlet. To be honest, there are far fewer eyeballs that see my blog than my facebook page, which makes my blog feel more private, even though it’s public. That’s why I feel more comfortable sharing the news here.