What I’m Reading: When You Are Tightly Wound

In my opinion, stories like this from other moms in the trenches, sisters in “there’s spit up on your shirt” solidarity are not shared nearly often enough.  In some moments, they’re pretty much the only thing keeping me sane, reminding me that whatever it is I’m struggling with as a mom, “it’s okay” because out there are other women also staring down a house project to-do list that started a year ago and never gets a darn thing checked off. Or maybe it does but I just keep adding more that progress seems a mirage.  It’s super overwhelming.

“Isn’t it funny how parenting works out? It’s just so loud, even when they are asleep. You can never turn parenting off. It’s a good thing it’s what we always wanted, isn’t it?” – the 42-year-old mother at the library who has finally had that baby after 12 years of trying but still feels tightly wound at the end of the day

Last weekend I was in such a funk.  Trying to be a good wife, I even kept warning Mumbles about my mood, throwing him daring glances over my shoulder as I furiously washed another sinkload of dishes.  I cursed.  A lot.  And then I silently scolded myself for being short with him. In the next breath I was pissed at myself because what if I’m cursing too much and Declan is aware of my negative aura and his first words are the kind you have to bleep out?

And in a snap I was back to cussing and not caring because my fingers were turning to prunes, my manicure was chipping (said manicure was hurriedly performed on myself just one hour prior to my friend’s wedding a few days earlier…needed to clarify that point because what mom has the leisure time to patiently paint her nails?), and I was taking too long to do the damn dishes and I’m probably the one responsible for the drought in California.  Sorry. If it’s not my never-ending dish doing, it’s surely my 20 minute showers.  The showers hide the tears, folks. (Kidding! KIDDING.)

Just like the author, Kate, says: it all feels very tragic.  And it is.  Especially when I read that she hasn’t unpacked from a month ago – because neither have I, which means I’ll probably just not unpack and take the same bag with me next time we go to Havasu, and then I can rid myself of that guilt, call it time management and efficiency, and pat myself on the back.  But thinking of all those dirty clothes in that bag reminded me that I forgot to move the baby clothes from the washer to the dryer the night before so now they’re probably all mildew-y and I’ll have to rewash them. More bad words.

And that’s how it goes.  But then your baby giggles or cocks his head to the side with a smile, or does some other ridiculous thing that is so cute it breaks your heart and all the little pieces melt back together so you don’t even care that you don’t have time to put on makeup or do your hair or get out of your workout clothes (because – high five! – I totally made it to the gym!).

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Read the full article.

 

P.S. What no one tells you about having a baby.

 

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Baby Moccasin Roundup

Have you noticed the obsession with baby moccasins lately? (again, I fear I’m a little late to the party…I’m saying that a lot lately…) Freshly Picked got a lot of media attention after appearing on Shark Tank and her moccs are absolutely gorgeous. We don’t have a pair (yet) but I do think they’d be fun for Declan once he’s actually trying to walk. Anyway, if you are trolling Instagram for gently used baby items, perhaps you’ve also seen that there are plenty of other brands selling moccs for the babes.

faas design lofaas moccasins for baby

Here are favorites I’ve come across:

This red pair from Minnetonka has velcro ($21.95) which sounds genius but also a nightmare because I’d imagine Declan would think it was so hilarious to keep pulling them off!

I also adore this braid bootie from Minnetonka plus it’s an added bonus that they offer men’s and women’s styles too…so if it’s not too Brady Bunch of you, everyone in the fam can be sporting fabulous footwear together. Total bonus.

And this pair from Robeez ($25) just looks plain comfy.

If you’re looking for an affordable option, the camo pair from Max Moccs are pretty rad looking and only $33 shipped.

FAAS Design Distressed Butterscotch Lofaas (see what they did there? clever!) are perhaps my very favorite. I like that (similar to the Max Moccs version) there’s no fringe on them so they seem a little more modern and loafer like.  Buuut, they’re just as pricey as the Freshly Picked ones at sixty buckaroos. Ouch. Seriously, though, how sweet are the ballet-style or mary jane flats for little ladies?

I also see ones from Happy and The Hectic and Potato Feet on Instagram often, both of which range from $30-50.

 

Does your kiddo wear moccs? What’s your favorite brand?

P.S. This white pair of Minnetonka moccs is so gorgeous – I’d never be able to keep them clean but I must have them anyway!

[image via Faas Design]

Yay for Anniversaries!

This May marks four years of wedded bliss for Mumbles and me, and earlier this month we also went to a super fancy dinner (sans kiddo) to celebrate our 10 year dating anniversary. Whoa, you guys, that’s like one-third of my life that I’ve been with this guy!  I can’t believe it’s been that long but it makes me so excited to see what else is in store for us in the next 10 years together.

I wish I would’ve found this card earlier to present to him – it’s perfect, right?

ashkahn half the things you say card

What are you celebrating lately? If you’re married, do you still celebrate dating anniversaries?

Baby Registry Favorites

Now that Declan is almost 6 months new (seriously, whoa) I’ve had plenty of time to put to use all the items I registered for.  Here’s a roundup of products we’ve gotten a lot of use out of these past few months:

Stick Girl JAM Baby Registry Favorites 1

 

1. Aden+Anais swaddling blankets are on everyone’s list and for good reason too. They’re soft from the get go and large enough to make swaddling simple. Yes, they’re expensive blankets. Get them anyway. Sevenly sometimes has them in stock, which is neat because $7 from your purchase will benefit a worthy cause.

2. Puj Tub — What a great design! Folds flat for easy storage, has magnets so it can stay hidden propped up between a shower curtain and liner (sneaky!) or if you prefer, it’s got a hole to be hung by a hook on the wall, and it conforms shape inside a sink to cushion your little babe for bath time.  Declan has now outgrown this but we used it exclusively for bath time up until a few weeks ago. If you have a larger sink, you’ll get longer use out of it. Now we sometimes use it underneath our knees as a cushion while we bathe him in the tub in this Primo EuroBath.

3. Even if you plan on breastfeeding, sometimes you need to give your babe a bottle. This was definitely the case for us and we were happy we had some on hand in advance. A lot of people like the convenience of the Playtex drop-ins but it also means you have to keep buying the drop-in liners since they’re a one-time use and throw away type of deal. Like the k-cups of the baby bottle world, if you will. We use Born Free glass bottles and really like them and we also have a few Dr. Brown’s plastic since we didn’t know if our daycare provider would allow for glass (she does).  I also still really love these Lifefactory glass bottles that can transition to a sippy cup top, but keep in mind that glass is heavier for littles to handle (hence the silicone sleeve to protect if dropped).

4. Wubbanub. It’s so fun to say. And a clever little thing too. It’s a small little stuffed animal attached to a soothie pacifier, which helps little ones hold on to it so you’re not constantly fishing it off the floor or the creases of the car seat. 

5. Zippered Wet Bag. This is one of those items I didn’t register for but purchased for my diaper bag after he was born so we could put dirty diapers and soiled clothes in it while on-the-go.  It’s either this or buy dog poop bags and keep a roll in your diaper bag and car. (But note that if you buy the ones specifically marketed as disposable dirty diaper baggies, they’re like 5 times more expensive than dog poop bags. You’re welcome. Check out Arm & Hammer, PoopBags.com (for real, that’s a legit website) or any generic brand.  If you’re like me and shop a lot on diapers.com/soap.com just click on the wag.com tab and buy them there and save yourself some money.) I have this wet bag and we love it. We also bought this multi-compartment wet bag for daycare so they could send home dirty clothes in a separate compartment than the clean ones.

 

Stick Girl JAM baby registry favorites 2

6. I have a pretty floral nursing cover, aptly titled (and embroidered on the cover for all to see) Hooter Hiders that stays in my diaper bag. I love it because it has a wire open top to allow some air flow for the little guy. I also adore the Dria Cover, which stays in my pumping bag for work.  I have the Oslo style, though they’re all quite lovely and I wore it multiple times while pregnant. In addition to allowing you to nurse discreetly, both do triple duty as a car seat cover or blanket (but the Dria is much softer and more breathable fabric).

7.  The NoseFrida. Yes, the snotsucker. I know, I know. Sounds gross but it works. And no, you don’t get boogers in your mouth. Promise. Plus, it’s oddly gratifying to see that you’re actually getting gunk out of your kid’s nose. Especially since they’re screaming and wailing all the while.

8. Alba Botanica Multi-Purpose Un-Petroleum Jelly has become a magic elixir in our house. We use it to combat the tiny red bumps and chapped skin Declan gets from all the drooling and hand-slobbering, and to prevent diaper rash.  Even Mumbles and I keep one on our bathroom sink to use for cuticles (if your nail beds suck), parched lips, and dry skin patches.

9. Speaking of snot, Declan’s full of it. Poor kid has had a rough time getting rid of congestion so we run this cool mist humidifier almost every night to keep the air moist so it’s easier for him to sleep soundly and breeeeeaaathe. The machine is very quiet but it does provide a bit of peaceful ambient noise.

10. A Sound Machine. The rule in our house is that baby doesn’t go to sleep without some noise going on.  Because, if he’s put to bed with total silence, the smallest thing like a spoon scraping the first glorious bite of ice cream out of the bowl will wake him up. Not cool, bro.  We’ve got the cute Sleep Sheep from Pottery Barn and it does the job well, though it automatically shuts off after a while. Baaaaaa!

11. Halo Sleep Sack. Since blankets in the crib are a no-no, a wearable blanket is a must. We actually learned about the Halo from a daycare center we interviewed and it’s worked out really well for us.  We might need to get a lighter fabric for summertime, but it helps keep Declan’s feet corralled so he’s not kicking and flailing in his sleep. His arms are another story, however.  We gave the Woombie a try but once he was done with the swaddle phase, he really wanted his arms free.  If you’re looking for a swaddle/straight-jacket experience for baby, give the Woombie a go.

Stick Girl JAM baby registry favorites 3

 

12. Dressing up your kid is probably one of the most fun parts but the honest side of having a newborn is that you get really sick of changing diapers and outfits two minutes after you got your wiggle worm into the last clean one.  Enter zippered pajamas, aka the best things ever invented.  The most superb ones zip closed from the neck down so in the middle of the night when your baby is all snugly and warm, you can just unzip from the foot to belly and get that diaper changed quick. Genius!

13. I don’t know about your baby, but Declan is a spitty kiddy. I never registered for bibs because I associated them with eating food, but Mumbles and I had quite the “aha!” moment when we realized he should be wearing them for the constant drool and aforementioned spit up. Luckily one of my girlfriends gifted us this one from Cotton On, which quickly became the one we reach for first because of it’s large square size.

14. If you’re doing daycare, a backpack or tote bag (with or without your kid’s name on it) is necessary. The bag will carry extra sets of clothes, pacifier, teething ring, burp cloth, socks, diaper cream, lotion, sunscreen, etc. and if it is big enough, would also carry a cooler with bottles for the day. Throw in an empty wet bag so nanny can put soiled clothes in the wet bag and keep everything else clean. Here’s how we do it: we have this cooler lunch tote from Kipling with Declan’s name on it (so the bottles don’t get mixed up), and a wet/dry bag which has two zippered pockets – one for soiled clothes that’s empty at the beginning of the day and another pocket where we put his clean outfits).

15. Burp Cloths. Sure, there’s lots of fancy ones out there and some of our friends and family even made us some really adorable ones. Buuuut, my favorite go-to burp cloths to keep on hand are old school ones like these Gerber cloth diapers. Super cheap, absorbent and big enough to actually catch projectile grossness coming out of your baby’s face and onto the clean shirt you just put on.

 

3 Things I could live without and notes on other items:

My one big baby splurge was this Graham Glider from West Elm. I love it. It’s in our living room. It’s beautiful.  That said, if I was tight on space, I could probably do without it. Declan’s nursery is quite large so we had room to keep our full daybed in there to act like a couch/sleeping space for nights when little man needs some extra cuddle time.  It’s the perfect spot to nurse and do story time for us.  Speaking of nursing, I don’t use the My Brest Friend as often as I should. I should. I really should. And, I’d recommend you use one or the Boppy…or something.  I’ve gotten in the habit of just propping up my arm with pillows but what I can tell you is that my posture is total crap now. And my neck hurts from hunching down.  Lastly, everyone said that I must get a wipe warmer and while it’s a nice spa-like luxury on baby’s bum, truth is, Declan could really care less. When we’re on-the-go or at Grammie’s house, he’s not getting warmed wipes and he is just as smiley so I don’t recommend that one unless you find that your baby absolutely hates being changed and you need something to make the experience more enjoyable.

More…

Of course there’s a zillion things I didn’t mention like video monitors, diapers, wipes, cribs, bedding, changing pads + covers, toys, books, diaper pails, baby carriers, car seats, strollers…geesh! Little babies need lots of stuff!  If you want to pour over more baby registry roundups (I read blog posts and product reviews for hours on end!), clear your afternoon schedule to check out some of my favorites from Lucie’s List, The Wise Baby, Young House Love, 100 Layer CakeletA Cup of JoBubby and Bean, Oh So Beautiful Paper, and Mint Arrow.

 

 

Where to Buy Baby Clothes

I fell in love with this Jesus Saves, Bro shirt from Riley Clay Designs on Etsy (found via @modernminiresale and promptly ordered one for Declan in 12-18 months which he won’t be able to wear for a long while but I just can’t get over how cute he’s going to look waddling around in it learning to walk…I digress…) and came to learn that she sometimes sells goof up shirts like the one pictured below (@shoprileyclay on Instagram). Like I care that there’s a tiny white ink mark on the sleeve?  Honey, that thing is gonna be covered in spit up in no time!  Givvidame!  Also, her “Embrace Messy Hair” shirt for little ladies is adorable for moms who are just keepin’ it real. Another one on my list to buy? This Man Cub shirt and the Cali Cub tee, but I’m hoping to score them second hand because they’re pricey.  Oh boy am I in trouble if Mumbles is reading all this….

Ain't Nobody Got Time for That Tee via Riley Clay Designs @shoprileyclay on Instagram

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That Tee via Riley Clay Designs @shoprileyclay on Instagram

It’s probably not a surprise that I went crazy on the after Christmas sales at BabyGap.com (puhlease, I don’t leave the house anymore. Remember this disaster?) and JC Penney.  JC Penney??? Yes: JC Penney.  That Joe Fresh line has too much good stuff, I tell ya!  With the exception of the top gray sweater (H&M) and the white and blue pullover (from an Instagram shop), everything in the photo below is Joe Fresh.  That red & black buffalo check coat? $12. For realsies.

StickGirlJAM where to buy cute baby boy clothes

Other favorite brands to shop for baby are Peek, PrefreshSovereign Code (all available at Nordy’s), H&M and Zara — those gosh darn leggings are just toooo good! The J.Crew baby line is growing slowly but it’s still too expensive.

Where are your favorite places to shop for the bambinos?  Find more of my favorite little man styles on Pinterest

P.S. What are your thoughts on Freshly Picked moccasins?  I know, I know. They’re totally adorable and chic. But, come on! They’re $60! I want this pair but I just can’t knowing Declan will only be in them for like 15 minutes and then he’ll grow out of them. I’ll probably cave and get him a pair for Christmas this year. What do you think? Have ’em? Love ’em? 

Instagram Shops for Baby Clothes (& How it All Works)

stickgirljam instagram shopping for baby clothes.jpg

My haul from @whatoliverwears on Instagram

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen that sometimes I go a little crazy buying clothes for Declan.  Aaaand if you read my post about Poshmark perhaps you’ve noticed that I like finding ways to shop without having to actually go shopping (more on my weekend mall shopping disaster later this week)…so now, I introduce to you: Instagram shops!  Mamas out there are cleverly selling their gently used baby and toddler clothes (and sometimes stuff still in tags that they forgot about or didn’t fit!). Genius. Plus, it makes couch shopping so easy, because — let’s be real — you’re checking Instagram like every hour anyway, right?

Here are a few of my favorite Instagram shops for baby clothes:
@crewscloset
@modernminiresale‘s son Decker is so stylish.
@whatsaxonwore
@shopwrightbros will start posting once she gets to 300 followers.
@shopdaniluke
@brooklyn_lighthouse
@thepopkid
@olliepopshop puts together the cutest outfit ensembles that you can buy as a bundle. Gotta be real quick, though!
@whatoliverwears
@wornbybryson
@littlepeppermarket
@shoplittlerose
@littleboysblue
@herrincloset

If you’re looking for more shops to follow (because clearly I’m more interested in boy items and maybe you aren’t), you’ll notice that mamas on Instagram know to help others is to help themselves and they often cross-promote each other’s shops by re-gramming swoon-worthy outfits and such (a “share for share,” if you will). So, it makes it easy to find more shops to follow if you’re looking to go overboard like me.

Sound fun and want to get started? It’s easy peasy. Just get set up through PayPal and be the first to comment on an item with your PayPal email address to win.  Let me be the first to warn you, though, sometimes the competition is fierce. Like crazy fierce. So start doing thumb exercises. I’m tellin’ ya, quick fingers is the key! Here are some other tips for Instagram shopping:

  • Take note of the size of the item and price, and whether or not it includes shipping.
  • Most sellers will give you a discount if you bundle multiple items into one order and sometimes will take off $1 or more if you share their post on your feed, alerting your followers to their sale (they’ll announce this if they do).
  • While some items go very quickly – like, less than one second after it’s posted – other items don’t sell as quickly. In these cases, it’s totally appropriate to make an offer to a seller. Leave your email address and your offer and see what they say. Just don’t be a jerk about it.
  • Be a backup! If you see that someone has already beat you to an item, you can still leave your email address as a backup in case the other buyer falls through. You never know!
  • If you have a questions about an item, leave your email address first and then the question in a separate comment since it will likely take you longer to type it out. The seller should honor you as the winner and answer your question later on after they’re done posting.  If you decide to pass on the item, let the seller know promptly so it can go to the backup.
  • When a shop seller gives warning that they’ll be posting soon, take a minute to type out your PayPal email address and copy it so when something you want pops up in your feed (refresh refresh refresh!), you can simply press paste to claim your victory.

Do you have any favorite Instagram shops?

Hank Azaria on Fatherhood

hank azaria's fatherhood logo

“I am not a children kind of person. I don’t like kids, I don’t gravitate towards them, they make me nervous when I’m around them…I didn’t particularly like myself as a child.  I feel about kids the way I feel about most people, which is most of them are annoying. Children are no exception — they’re just like annoying short people.” — Hank Azaria, on kids.

Hank Azaria can’t quite understand why anyone would want to be a parent. So, he starts filming a documentary asking his actor friends about being fathers and what it’s like raising kids. A short while into the project, though, Hank gets a big surprise. He finds out he and his long-time girlfriend will soon become first-time parents themselves. Well, that changes things a bit now doesn’t it?

The first episode in this web series is fantastic. It’s full of heartwarming nuggets of advice and insight from some very famous folks like Jim Gaffigan, Mike Myers, Rainn Wilson, and Kevin Bacon.

“It’s a tradeoff; you get the joy and the love, but you also get the worry.”  — Bryan Cranston, on becoming a parent. (as if we couldn’t love him any more — his interview is totally endearing.)

hank azaria fatherhood

What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you about being a parent?