Saturday, January 7, 2012

Favorite things for Baby #2.

I know you have all been anxiously awaiting this one. I have been bouncing this post around in my head for a long time, but am just getting around to composing it. Here is a list of my favorite things for my second baby. Some of these would also have also been good to have for my first baby too but I didn't, so they are new favorite baby things.

Britax B-Ready Stroller I can not tell you enough how much I love this stroller. This is my SUV for the city streets. I won't lie it is BIG, its got one heck of a footprint, but even fully loaded with upwards of 80lbs on those wheels it pushes and maneuvers like a dream. I LOVE how versatile it is. I can have both kids on it, or if I drop Colin off at school and go shopping I can leave his seat off and just carry Meghan's car seat in the top position. I can also leave Meghan's car seat connector on and Colin rides on it like a buggy board. Meghan's car seat can face forward or back, as can the front seat but not while the car seat is attached. When she outgrows the car seat we have a second seat that will fit it the lower position. LOVE IT. I also got a really good deal on it thanks to the free ride event. We got the second seat free and if you recall I got the car seat at 40% off. Awesome! I probably should have gotten it the first time around and saved some money, but I resold Colin's old stroller (that I got an amazing deal on) for $80 so I didn't do too bad.  One of the best features of the stroller is how well it deconstructs for transport. I was able to it it with all our luggage in the car by removing all the parts (including the wheels) and stuffing them into whatever space would fit. Did I mention that I love it?!?

Nosefrida Baby Nasal Aspirator .  Trust me, when I first learned about this thing I totally wrinkled my nose at it. Since Colin didn't get sick until he was almost a year old I never really needed it. Thanks to Colin being in preschool, Meghan got her first cold at two months old. I looked this up and bought it right quick! Holy Cow it works like nothing you've ever tried. One go around in each nostril and she is a happy camper again (not during, no she hates it, but after...ahhhh!) I highly recommend it. You just have to trust me on this one. Sean fears I will suck her brain out, but I'm pretty sure that isn't possible, the filter makes it pretty difficult to suck too hard.

Ergo Baby Carrier plus ERGObaby Infant Insert (which i was able to borrow). I had/have a few different baby carriers and this is hands down the best for traveling and maneuvering in the world. I have a Moby but out of the house it is a bit too cumbersome for me. The Bjorn is a back killer if you are using it for more than 20 minutes and my hotsling is good for a bigger baby but not a little one. This one is great. In fact, it has a weight limit up to 40lbs I think, and I kid you not I have put Colin in it in a pinch. I was already wearing it but had put Meghan down. Colin had an epic meltdown over something silly and wanted to be held. Since we were in a cafeteria like setting I still needed to push the stroller and carry a tray of food, if I couldn't pick him up he would continue to loose his marbles so I just picked him up, pulled the straps up and moved on with life. He wasn't exactly thrilled about it (more than likely because I said something to the effect of "if you are going to act like a baby I'm going to treat you like one") but he calmed down and I set him down, we paid for our food and off we went. My new mantra is "Roll with it." This carrier helps me do just that. Even Sean prefers this carrier now, despite the bulky look of it.

Primo Infant Bath Seat For Colin, we had a small stand alone bath tub that fit in the kitchen sink. We liked it but I sold it long ago and felt we needed something that would go in the tub so we could bathe the kids at the same time (presuming Colin is healthy). This tub fit the bill and I love it. We even bought a second one to live at my moms house (at $12 its worth it). We use it in and out of the tub when I just need a place to set her down briefly (e.g. to help Colin in the bathroom). It is still great now that she is semi-stable while sitting up. I can help her sit up and this seat supports her really well (obviously she is still unsteady so I generally keep a hand on her to make sure she doesn't topple forward). It is really a great little bath seat. It is supposed to fit in the kitchen sink too, but I'm just skieved out by the idea of her touching the same surface raw chicken (or other gross things) touches. Plus, in our house, the bathroom is warmer than the kitchen and this allows her to be deeper in the water than the old tub did.

Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper Bassinet. Colin's bassinet was a hand-me-down which was no longer sturdy enough to reuse for Meghan. A friend in the neighborhood was selling this bassinet after both her kids didn't like it. I replaced the mattress in it and it has really worked well for us. I use it simply as a bassinet instead of attaching it to the bed, and I love that it has a higher weight limit than most other bassinets (23 lbs). We only have a 2 bedroom apartment so when Meghan graduates to a crib she goes in the room with Colin...I'm trying to put that off as long as possible in fear that they will wake each other up or Colin will decide to share something inappropriate (a pillow for example) with her in the middle of the night. I'm thinking she is going to get too long for this before she gets too heavy! I have also appreciated its potability, it folds like a pack and play so we have brought it with us for trips to the grandparents houses. I really like all the storage too, although the cats seem to have taken over the bottom shelf (bunk beds!). In fact I think a small portion of the customers use this bed for their pets!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vacation Rewind!

WAY back at the beginning of December (the week after thanksgiving to be exact), Sean had a conference in Chicago, so the kids and I tagged along. I had never been to Chicago and wanted to visit so while I realized a week in a hotel with two kids wouldn't be easy the idea was preferable to staying home alone with two kids! Sean and I really enjoy traveling together, as we have very similar if not identical travel persona's (go go go, see see see, do do do) and we both like exposing the kids to new and different things. So when half the trip is paid for as a business expense its a win win. I didn't take very many pictures because most of our non-travel days it was just me with both kids and wielding a camera proves a bit challenging but here are a few pictures to give you the gist. Overall, despite the December chill I really loved Chicago and would like to go back.
"Sorry Meg you'll get used to all the pictures"
Our first solo day we took a cab from our hotel to the Shed Aquarium. LOVED IT! I have very high zoo and aquarium standards and this is a good one. The main section is older and not as awesome but the newer part (the part you pay more money for) was really really great. The person who took my money told me Colin didn't look three and therefore didn't charge me for him..I don't think she could tell than I also had Meghan in the bottom of the stroller or I might not have gotten them both in free. This is the only picture Meghan is actually in!
This show pool was really stunning with the windows overlooking the lake. So cool. The show included a visit from Santa flying in and onto the water. Colin was fixated. Unfortunately, no flash photography was allowed so non of the pictures came out.
OOps I used a flash for this one (I thought they just meant during the show not in the entire aquarium!) and got yelled at. The white blob in the water next to Colin was a beluga. Colin really loved just standing and watching, very usual behavior for a three year old (even for THIS three year old) but he is my son! Meghan chilled in the stroller or Ergo baby carrier and was happy as a clam. Sean joined us for lunch and after the cab ride home, I decided to take a break from cabs. (crazy drivers = car sick mama, not to mention the whole lack of a car seat for C)
Day 2: I took the kids to the Chicago Children's Museum. WOW. We didn't have to pay since we are members of the NY hall of science but I would have paid twice the price for this museum. I couldn't believe the number of cool things Colin could do. Unfortunately he was feeling a little inhibited by the mounds of school groups that were there but after a snack he warmed up a bit. Here he is driving a fire truck.
And now he is driving a car. There were tons of other cool things that didn't involve driving vehicles but when I look back at the pictures it looks like Colin only drove things. This is likely because he was contained and not needing to be followed and therefore I could pull out the camera. Here he is driving a car in kid town. He also filled the gas tank and changed the tires.
Driving a bus! There was even a street light in front of the bus which is just visible in the picture. Colin loved pretending to stop and go, and I even showed him how to use the gas and break pedals. I should mention that we took the subway here, which involved some know-how since I needed to have elevators for the stroller, but I was really quite proud of my ability to navigate without much trouble. I guess once you know one subway system the rest are easy to figure out. I did have to walk a mile or so each way to get to and from the museum but it was totally worth it.
Another view of driving the bus. We had a ton of fun. I had to pull him out of kid city to get him to see the rest of the museum which included a place to dig for dinosaur bones! We didn't even get to half of it.
This was an indoor forest room with a tree house. There was a ball ramp along two walls that Colin really got into, and a place to go fishing with magnetic fish. We had a problem with another little girl hording the fish while her mother threatened to make her go home if she didn't share but never actually followed through on that particular threat so Colin got a bit frustrated that he couldn't play with that.  What was I going to do wrestle her for them? The muesum is in a mall and in another section of the mall was a large Thomas the tank engine like ride on train. Colin LOVED that!
Later that night Sean met up with us and we went to visit the bean, which likely has another name but I don't know what it is. Here is the best photo I got of the city in the reflection of the bean. It was very pretty. It was about this time that Colin's behavior took a turn for the worse while in a restaurant. But really? What did we expect. This was his second week in a row of travel (Thanksgiving in Syr the week before) and we were eating 2 meals a day out. Its a lot for a little guy. We rolled with it and just ate dinner in the room the next night. (go go go, see see see, do do do has to be flexible to accommodate a preschooler)
Day 3: This day I had pre-booked us some tickets to "If you give a cat a cupcake" This was actually something I was very nervous about because of Meghan. If she pitched a fit I would have to take her out and I wasn't sure what I would do with Colin in that scenario. Thankfully it didn't happen. She didn't sleep peacefully but she didn't scream. I spent a lot of time bouncing and shushing in her ear but Colin just LOVED the show.  Our seats were LITERALLY on stage.
The stage was actually the floor and the seating when up from there, our seats were front and center. This was one of those cases where Colin looked terrified during the whole show but as soon as we walked out of the theater he asked to do it "again sometime" and then talked about it for a long time. The cat character was rather loud and spent some time actually engaging the kids in the audience (at one point he pretended to take Meghan from me, without actually touching her at all) so I think he made Colin a little nervous but overall it was a TOTAL success and I look forward to taking Colin to other shows here in the city.  Later this day we wanted to go to a different museum but Colin definitely had had enough, so it was back to the room for a nap and some Chicago style pizza which I famously ate four pieces of before digging into my dessert. All that walking left me with quite the appetite.

Over all we all had a great time. The flights were a little trying. There were only two seats to a side, so I had Meghan with me (next to a stranger) and Sean had Colin across the aisle. Sean definitely had the harder job even with jet blue's tvs. It is just hard to keep Colin from kicking the seat back in front of him and keeping him entertained for three hours. Meghan was good but not easy, she basically just wanted to be put down and obviously that wasn't an option, but no one screamed (much) so it was a success. Next time I go to Chicago I might like to see some of the more adult focused activities but hey, this is my life right now and I embrace it.
Fun times.