slacker here.

27 01 2012

So I’m a blogger slacker.  This new year has already been crazy busy, after this month things will hopefully slow down and we can get back into the groove of things again.  Eric and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary soon in the Bahamas.  I have been really looking forward to it, but dreading it all at the same time.  Which led to my/our New Year’s Resolution.

Eric and I had a big talk.  I’m a big talker, and while I was pregnant I vowed not to be one of those moms who sleep with their kids and let their ENTIRE worlds revolve around their kids and leave their husbands in the dust.  But I became one of those moms, it’s so easy to just become what you never wanted to be.  I have not been neglectful to Eric, just not as attentive as I should be.  After all, my marriage to Eric was created in the eyes of God and it is what I will have long after Tucker and his unmade unborn brother(s)/sister(s) are out of our house.  I adore my husband, he’s such an amazing man, but I am just plain old exhausted at the end of the day and we are both so busy at night that when we find a babysitter it’s so I can run to council, do volunteer work, get stuff done for church, do stuff for work or a very rare night out with the girls, and Eric in the winter Eric works at night, so we use our babysitters for life events, very rarely do we use them for us time.  Well this year we are going to make it a priority.  We have set aside one night every month for just us.  I bought a groupon for tubing at a local ski hill for our February date night (:  We also talked about getting away for a night with just us at least 3 times this year.  Doesn’t have to be anything too fancy but we are really needing time for us.  We both love eachother everyday and like eachother more days than not, but knowing that isn’t just enough.

There’s a country song called, “the best of intentions”.  An ex-boyfriend once told me that song was written about him, he had all the grandest dreams to give me so much that he said I deserved.  Well the song was right, he did always have the best of intentions, but if they never become reality, what good are they?  I wasted 5 years with that loser, and until I met Eric I had no idea that guys gave more than intentions, they give their everything.  I found a box of old cards that we have given eachother while I was looking for our marriage and my birth certificates, and I remember when it was puppy love, but the amazing thing is, is that our cards have just gotten more sincere, and the words written in them more meaningful when our actions behind them have made our wonderful reality we have today.

A few years ago Eric called me at work and asked me if I could get a couple vacation days so we could go out to NYC for one of the last Yankees games, I told him I’d see.  I ‘like’ sports, when I know the teams and when I’m there in person, but to go out to NYC pay money for nosebleed seats and watch 2 teams play baseball who I only know 1 player wasn’t my cup of tea.  I called my mom to discuss (which is what I do for just about everything) and she said something that rang so loud in my head I have never forgot it.  “Patty Lou, do you know just how lucky you are?  You have a husband who adores you and wants to go with you on a trip like this, when your father and I were your age, there’s no way I’d be the first person he’d ask to go on a sporting trip.  Go, and enjoy yourselves and bask in the fact that he loves to be with you and wants to invite you into what he likes.”  I am one lucky girl, I know that.  I love my husband, I love my baby, and I love my dog.  My life is great and I give thanks to God for all that we have been given.

Dear Tucker,
I can’t even begin to count the blessings that God has given me.  Before you were here, I promised so many things that I would and would not do.  I guess if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans, right?  It’s so easy to cast my opinions about what we will and won’t do as parents when we aren’t ones.  Now we are and I had begun to forget about what was first and what will be here long after you’ve grown up, your dad and I.  We are so lucky to have him in our lives.  He’s a great man, he takes such good care of you during the day, and keeps the house in order.  He makes me feel special and just by being him, I remember how great my life is.  Just because Dad and I are going to start taking more time for ourselves doesn’t mean that we don’t love you as much, we’re spending time together because we love you so much!  And there are so many other people that love you and want to spend time with you that we want everyone to get their chance.  I love you to the moon and back Tuckey-roo!

First year of baby our love em or hate em product reviews

5 01 2012

As we celebrated the first year of Tucker I have begun packing up clothes and things.  Some have been AWESOME and some have well, not.  I’m gonna pay homage to the things I love and well explain why we didn’t care for the things we well, didn’t care for.  Mind you this is MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION, what has been great and not so great  for us with Tucker…the unmade unborn baby 2 could be a TOTALLY different story.

Top baby items we received or bought and flopped in the Gitter household…in no particular order:

1.  The Mamaroo Swing.  This was my BIG splurge when it came to things for Tucker.  He maybe slept or hung out in it 2 hours total in the entire first year.  The concept is AMAZING, but the seat is not conducive to a newborn, too up right even in the most reclined position.  It wasn’t very cushiony compared to the Little Lamb swing which I originally had on our registry that was about $50 less and I’m sure Tucker would have gotten a lot of use out of.  Who knows…maybe he just wasn’t a swing baby and the next will love it.

2.  The Boon Spoon.  I tried this once.  The baby food has to be VERY finely pureed to come out and the cover doesn’t stay on and I find it difficult to clean it out.  A good old fashioned baby spoon did the trick very well.  To us this technology wasn’t better.

3.  The Chicco KeyFit 30.  Let me start by saying Thank you to my SIL for letting us use this which was hers.  But we both feel the say way about this infant carseat.  If you’re still toting your 30 lb kid in a bucket seat, I just don’t know what to say.  It is designed to hold your kid until they are 30 lbs and therefore constructed bigger and doesn’t fit in anything that usually can fit a carseat in (grocery cart) safely – it’s also a lot heavier.  It doesn’t seem like it when you’re holding just the seat, but when you’re adding the extra weight of a baby in there…it’s a pain in the ass on the arms and makes it difficult to carry anything else.  We moved Tucker into a convertible rear facing Britax Boulevard 70CS Memorial Day Weekend (5 months old), it was just too much.  Great seat, just an overkill – will borrow a friend’s Chicco Keyfit for the next one – Godwilling there will be.

4.  Suction cup car window shades.  They barely cover the window and it never seemed to shade where I wanted them to.  I got the kind that stick to the window like a sticker.  I have to put them up – right now I have jerry-rigged 2 suction cup ones on one window and it just isn’t holding up.

5.  The bassinet.  Again something that was bought by someone else (thanks Bunny!) but never really got much use out of.  Tucker was 9.4 lbs and 22.5″ long he was almost too long for it when we brought him home.  I slept like crap when he was next to me – he wasn’t making noise I’d freak out – he was making noise I’d freak out.  The bassinet was a lose lose for us.  We moved Tucker into his own (very nice and expensive crib) at 3 weeks old.  For us best decision.

6.    The Britax Boulevard 70CS – the CS part was the biggest waste of money!!!  A good friend told me that but the sales chick talked us into it.  Silly first timers here!  The CS stands for Click Safety.  It clicks when it’s tight enough…or so it thinks.  Every time I can get it at least 3 to 4 fingers between Tucker’s chest and the buckle.  I have to hear it click 2 – 4 times before it is actually tight enough.  It was about an extra $20 or so dollars – save it you’ll need it for diapers!!

Top baby items we received or bought and the Gitter household couldn’t have gotten through this year without them…in no particular order:

1.   The NoseFrieda.  Tucker has had a cold more days than not in his first year.  Sad but true my baby has learned to sleep and breathe through snot 70% of his first year.  The bulb syringe is great and we use it sometimes but it doesn’t compare to the NoseFrienda’s power for sucking the loose snot out of that little nose.  It sounds gross but the snot NEVER NEVER NEVER got any where close to coming in contact with my mouth…you’re sucking your kids brain out their nose if snot is making contact with your mouth – just saying.  I love this investment, one of the very best!

2.  The Sleepsack Swaddleme.  The velcro swaddlme part comes off the sleepsack and we wrapped that around Tucker’s arms in his normal pajamas.  He often would wake himself up when he was little by smacking his face or keep himself awake rubbing his face and eyes.  Swaddling just his arms was such a great answer for us.  We loved this, as all things we didn’t use it too long but when you’re living life that first year the moments are forever but the whole year just flies by.  It was totally worth it for us.

3.  The Summer Infant Slim & Secure Handheld Color Video Monitor.  The best best best baby item that we got.  This product is not just for people with big houses, we have a ranch and for the most part can hear through the wall when Tucker is moving in his crib as it bumps the wall, but there are so many moments that we would have missed not being able to see him when he didn’t know we were watching.  For example a few nights ago we’re working on putting him to bed drowsy but awake and Tucker was not having it – he was screaming and throwing a temper tantrum stomping his feet in his crib.  I flipped on the camera and watched him stomp off his pajama bottoms and flail them around like a lasso – one of the funniest moments at 3 in the morning.  The video gives me a sense of security being able to see him, there have been a few times that his limbs have gotten caught in the slots (and yes we have a brand new crib) and I could run in before something bad happened.  This is not an Anglecare Motion/Breathing dector by any means, but I can usually see Tucker’s chest rise and fall where we have the camera placed.  We both love this monitor Tucker TV is my favorite channel to watch.

4.  A baby carrier.  We were fortunate enough to get both these as gifts and Tucker really did like to be baby-worn. These were soooo handy when were out and about and a stroller wasn’t an option or I needed all the room in the grocery cart for stuff or I wanted to vacuum, steam mop the floors, do laundry, or in the right time of the year walk the dog.  We kept the Moby in the diaper bag it was nice and compact and super easy to wash.  I was sooo leary about it at first but am a firm believer in the Moby.  The Ergo offered better back support for me but didn’t fit on me right away where the Moby did.  I didn’t realize that the gray would have stars embroidered on it, Eric wasn’t too thrilled about wearing it but he did a few times too.

5.  The Medela Freestyle Breast Pump.  Things to splurge on – if you’ve decided that you can BF then a GOOD pump is worth it’s weight in gold.  I LOVE my Freestyle – well it’s more of a love/hate but for what it does, it does an amazing job.  The hands free worked great for me while I worked, and it’s totally portable and doesn’t require a plug to work (just to charge).  It’s super light and often just put it in the diaper bag with bottles and tops.  We spent so much time together I affectionately named her Frieda Freestyle.  I wouldn’t say that I was sad to pack her away but did so with a great feeling of accomplishment.  Also medela has the best customer service!  I had some issues with my pump and they sent me a whole new one!  I was pleasantly surprised.

6.    I know that this is an expensive and to some silly toy, but we had tons of toys and teethers and Tucker loved the Sophie the best.  We got a really good deal on it, so I didn’t feel too ripped off when I first bought it.  Sophie is created in such great proportions for a small child – just small enough to grab but too big to get stuck or choke on.  Tucker loved to squeeze it and hear the noises it makes.  I’m not a big organic/green person but the fact that everything on it is chemical free makes me happy.  Overall Sophie soothed a number of what would have been loud church services for us.

7.  The Britax Boulevard CS70 – The actual carseat…it’s awesome – minus the CS (see above) we also have an Safety 1st Alpha Omega Carseat in our other car, and man almighty this one takes the cake in terms of ease of in and out, buckling, also the pieces that are around his head (for some safety impact thing I’m sure) help hold his sleeping head in an upright position.  He’s a much happier baby in this seat and the construction of anything Britax is top notch and technology driven using higher standards than other brands.  It wasn’t cheap by any stretch of the means but Tucker’s safety is our first priority ALL the time.  Save the $20 and just get the 70 loose the CS.

8.  Changing pad.  Tucker’s nursery isn’t very big at all.  So we knew we didn’t have enough room for a dresser, cube storage, crib and rocker AND a changing table.  So we got a changing pad to put on top of Tucker’s dresser.  We are the kind of parents who always change Tucker in the same spot.  I can’t remember the last time we were at home and didn’t change him on his changing table.  Maybe one or two times downstairs in the man cave.  We have covers for it, started with 2 but fast learned that we needed more especially at the beginning.  Not saying diaper changing where ever around the house is wrong, it’s just what worked for us to always do it in the same spot.  We put A&D on everytime and have only  had 1 very minor diaper rash that Desitin cleared up right away – it’s just easier to have everything we need right there in one place.  It’s how we roll (:

9.    The bumbo seat.  We loved the bumbo, we think it helped build up Tucker’s core and helped him sit early.  He’s always been ahead of his milestones and sitting was no different.  Although again, it felt like we used it forever, we in actuality only used it for about 9 maybe 10 weeks, but honestly that’s an eternity in baby time especially in the first year.  He loved to sit in it and we fed him, he watched bogey and at Easter he was our center piece (:  hehe.  It was great for us.  My my niece though, she hated it, so to each their own.

10.    The Eurobath.  A friend from Church gave us one and my mom and dad one for their house.  Honestly I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this bath.  Tucker has been able to be in this bath since he could be in one (after the cord fell out – still kinda grosses me out that people keep this) and I have been able to have both hands to wash him.  He is now almost 13 months and is still using it.  We begin on the reclining seat side washing hair and body then turn him to the ‘big boy’ side where he plays with his bath toys.  It will be a sad sad day when he out grows it.  Mel and the boys were over one night and we gave the triplets a bath in there at the same time…insane but so funny!  Only negative is the size it doesn’t compact so we just store it in the shower and take it out when we use the shower.  But overall one of my most highly recommended baby products.  If you’re interested in one let me know I have a contact who sells them for less than the stores.

11.    The Valboa Blanket.  I have STOCKED up on these. They are Tucker’s comfort thing.  Every kid has one – my godson had the lovies (little blankies with the animal heads) and Tucker’s is this blanket.  I have a ton of these with different designs on them and one or two at each grandparents house.  When he’s sad or tired or frustrated his bla bla settles him down.  I know a few grown men who still love their blankets.  I won’t name any names here (: I have heard from a number of people that their children grew attached to something and by the time it was ‘dead’ there were no more to replace it.  So we have a lot of Valboa blankets, along with other kinds too that he thinks are fine.

12.    The Genius NUK pacifier.  This is the only pacifer that Tucker will take and calm down with.  He plays with the box ‘o binkies we have but these are the only ones that he will keep in his mouth.  They are also $5 a piece!!!!!!!!!!!  But what’s the price of sanity?  NUK says they are superb because they provides optimal oral development, are extra soft, extra thin, offers maximum softness and flexibility thanks to integrated soft channels, the pressure on jaw and teeth is reduced to a minimum, the additional cavity space maximizes space for the tongue, the NUK AIR SYSTEM vent enables air to escape from the nipple, thus ensuring that the pacificer is particularly soft and liable, and the natural shape stimulates mother’s breast while breastfeeding…I’m not sure about all that but I know that Tucker loves them and knows the difference between all the others.

The baby items we received or bought and that Eric and I are ‘eh’ about or one of us is ‘eh’ and the other loves it:

1.    The Diaper Champ.  It has it’s days where it’s a great thing…but man it reeks up the whole room when you open it to put another diaper in it, it goes away kinda quickly but man – can my kid lay a stinker.  I still stand by the fact that we have a ranch and an attached garage and we could walk them out, but it is quite convenient to not have to do that.  I got some dog poop bags at the dollar store and am going to start packaging the soiled diapers in them and then into the diaper champ.  Hopefully it will help the odor…and this is a more so recent thing, it has not been smelly since we got it.  So maybe it’s just time for  a new one.

2.    The Breathable Bumper.  There were 2 days in a row that Tucker’s legs got in between the slots in his crib and he started screaming, checked the monitor and saw that his foot was stuck and he was squirming to get loose potentially doing major harm – so I immediately ordered a breathable bumper.  Eh, it doesn’t really stay up above the mattress and it isn’t very tall so it doesn’t offer all the comfort that I thought it would  bring.  It works fine, I don’t by any means love it, but I also don’t really hate it.  I’m so so about it.

3.    The Babytrend jogging stroller.  I should be honest here…I don’t jog.  I hate running but the park that we speed walk with bogey has trails that are filled with gravel and the regular stroller just won’t cut it.  This one works great when it works.  The toggle in the front (to change from jog to walk) often gets stuck in limbo and the front wheel wobbles making it difficult to push.  It’s huge and difficult to fit in the trunk without some McGuyvering.  (my mom warned me about this) I love the fact that I can play music from my iPhone while I’m walking though.   I like this stroller but would have rather used that money towards something great like a BOB (I borrowed Eric’s cousin’s for the Brigg’s & Al’s Run/Walk for Children’s Hospital and immediately felt the difference and theirs was 10 or 11 years old.  When and if we’re so blessed as to have another baby we will make the investment of a really good double stroller.

4.  The Boppy Pillow.  Eric used this more than I did.  I had the issue of MAJOR milk production and had to get inventive in the ways I could BF Tucker without him choking and getting drenched (sorry that’s prolly tmi).  I worked with my nurse in the hospital who is a lactation specialist, to find interesting ways to BF him which where NOT comfortable for me but better that than a choking child.  With that being said I don’t think I used it after my milk came in…I did in the hospital when I made colostrum though.  We also used it for Tucker to sit/lounge in many times.  So I would say that we’re glad we had it, but not a LOVE or HATE thing, just a nice to have thing.  For most of my BF’ing friends though this was a staple item – again to each their own.

5.  The Baby Bullet.  Overall I’m glad I got this for $35 – a deal of the day from Target.  I made my own baby food.  It’s not hard it’s just putzy.  I overall felt really good knowing that I knew which piece of fruit or veggie his food was made from.  I knew that each one was cleaned thoroughly and made the way I wanted.  With that said, when we began solids, this was great I could make small batches of foods and store them and test them with Tucker to see how he liked it and more importantly if he has any reactions to the foods.  But when I really got into making the food, I made big batches in my mom’s Blendtec major blender.  I wasn’t too impressed with the date dial containers, 3 or 4 of them broke one of the feet off of it and it doesn’t stand unless in it’s holder, and the silicone tray portions were too big at first and then not quite big enough when Tucker was really into eating solids.  I did love the grocery guide book and the recipe book that came with this though.  The commercial says that it will make baby food in 2 minutes, well that’s a real stretch because, yes it only took 2 minutes to blend but it took FOREVER to steam, boil, or bake the food.  If you’re really into making baby food making easy – get an all in one steamer and blender it’s worth the money, and go to Bed Bath and Beyond and get a silicone ice cube tray.  the cubes are just under an ounce but they are so easy to get out of the container and you’d rather have small cubes and pull out more than big cubes you have to fill less or cut down.  I wouldn’t pay what they’re asking for now.  I got a MAJOR steal on this one.

I think that is the best, worst, and blah of our first year with baby.  There are a million other things that aren’t on here, but these are what came to mind.  I hope you enjoy your first year with your baby as much as we did, each dollar spent was a lesson learned, and with our next who knows, we’ll prolly have to relearn them all over again!

Dear Tucker,
Man almighty have we gone through a lot of things with you this year.  You have been pleasantly surprised us and utterly disappointed us in some of the things you’ve loved and hated.  You’re a typical Eric/Patty child in your desire for things that are much more expensive than the other brands.  All in all kid I can’t believe that you’re still striving – we didn’t break you trying all these crazy contraptions and baby things, you’ve made us very well rounded parents, a little on the broke side, but well rounded none the less.  I have loved trying all these new and wonderful things with you this year and am loving that we’re both at a new stage in toys and products – I hope it keeps getting better and better. Love you tot!