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Baby Stuff 1 year+

Thanks for the feedback Friday, I hear ya. SO we are going to get back to the old days with a Baby Stuff post. I cannot believe that y’all would want baby advice from the mother of a child with a broken baby leg, but  I am happy you do. I haven’t done one of these since March which was 5-7 months. And I can’t really tell you what happened between then and now, in life or in baby stuff. But that’s ok, most baby stuff is just for parents to create the illusion of control, methinks. Illusion or not, feeling like you know what you are doing as a parent because you have the right sippy cup? I totally get it. So here are the things that have been working for us lately.

At 1 year we ditched the bottle. Which made me really sad at first, it seemed like such a big step away from babyhood. I had anxiety about it, and if Gracie would miss it. But she did not care at all. I tried weaning her, but she decided after a day she was just over it and it was sippy cups for life.

This is our favorite. Although sometimes it kind of gets a weird pressure issue and leaks? But it is sturdy, the weighted straw dangle thingy means it is good to the last drop.

I am not sure if I mentioned this one before, but she loved these eggs at like 6 months and still loves them.

Also this peculiar toy we were gifted around 6 months. You program it with your childs name and supposed favorite thing and he sings about them.

She loved it then, and is still obsessed with it. And it always freaks people out when Gracie’s toy calls her by her given name. Which is fun.

This one might blow your mind.

But a ball. A good, old fashioned ball. Gracie loves the dogs tennis balls which is disgusting. But any bouncy ball blows her mind.

This one is another kind of fancy and expensive “toy”.

Go to target. Or walmart. Or the dollar store. And procure yourself a large plastic pitcher with some sort of top.

Give pitcher to your child.

Watch as they put it on their head and crawl around. Hillarious.

Put all of their toys in it and shake it like a morocca. Hillarious. Turn it upside down and place pony gently atop it. Hillarious. You get the idea.

The best real presents Grace received were a few 1st Birthday gifts.

From her mommy and daddy. Classic. And she is legit obsessed. She likes to push it. Sit and have a quiet, reflective moment in it. Put her toys in and out of it. This was one of those few gifts that I built up in my mind to be so amazing that actually delivered.

This shopping cart…

She was given a few push toys and for some reason only had time for this one.

She likes to ride in it too.

As a rule I think electronic toys are kind of garbage. With the exception of this which saved our lives from 1-8 months. And the dog above. But otherwise, once they figure out the trick, babies are kind of over the electronics. Or at least mine is. The things that have been the most long term crowd pleasers have been things like blocks, balls etc. When she was brand new she would grab them, then chew on them, then stack them, throw them, and now she likes to put them away and dump them out. BUT this toy that her best friend Mary gave her for her 1st Birthday has been unexpectedly mind blowing.

It drives when you push a button and sings Old Macdonald, and then the animals make their animal sounds when you put them in their proper spot. I don’t know why, but she has been playing with this one non stop through several battery changes for months now and her enjoyment has not dampened.

This is one of the few designy-cute toys that she actually likes.

Howdy!

Look at what a dork Gracie is playing with her TI-83. Nerd alert! :)

That, and her jellycat bunny. All jellycat stuffed animals rule. Designy-cute, super soft, and babies love them. We have them at Biscuit, for sale online soon, but bunny is her favorite.

Bffs.

And finally…Never underestimate the power of Elmo.

We almost had a situation on our hands when this precious baby showed up as Elmo on Halloween in our music class.

Our iPad is stocked full of Elmo’s World, and our iPad holder has a kick stand so it can rest up on its own. This set up allows us to have family dinners out of the house on an occasion. And yes, I realize that a few paragraphs back I said I did not favor electronic toys, but I also clearly am full of grah-doo. The rules are, there ain’t no rules, Kennickie!

So that’s the “stuff” from let’s say 10-15 months? We are now contemplating Christmas. Anything I left on this list we should know about? Any Christmas ideas?

Comment, and ye shall receive. We have a few design posts this week coming up, some gift guides soon, maybe even a giveaway? Peppermint Bliss is BACK!

Gracie Girl

It has been one year.

I have very few words to describe it. Our hearts are truly full of Grace. Full of her beauty, full of the hope she represents for us, full of the reminder of the mercy and miracle we experienced.

And because she brings us so much joy, and I know so many of y’all helped get us here with your support and prayers and advice and positivity, here is a little highlight reel of our first year with Grace. I hope it brings you a bit of joy too.

Happy First Birthday, goofy Gracie girl, we love you so much!

Baby Stuff: 5-7 Months

The last guide we did was at 5 months, right before Gracie started sitting up which changed the whole game. And now she is on the verge of crawling, so I know my whole world is about the get turned upside down again. So this guide is for that sweet spot between sitting and crawling. Also known as the best time in babyhood (thus far).

If your baby is anything like Gracie, sitting up made her a whole new happier baby. I don’t blame her, who wants to have to lay down everywhere like an adorable little slug? Once she started sitting up she was much happier entertaining herself for periods of time, and since she can’t move anywhere yet I got to give my momma arms a break, but didn’t have to be the vigilante I know I will have to be once she is on the move.

I tell you this because the first few months of babyhood can be hard, and it helps to have things to look forward to. I remember the first 6 weeks were the hardest, everything is so new. Then after that 3 months was big, Gracie started engaging more, smiling a little, and was sleeping through the night. And now I am here to tell you, in our family, 6 months has been everything. Gracie is like her own bizarre, hilarious little person now. She laughs constantly, speaks in her own dinosaur squeal language, and reaches for you when you go to pick her up which is by far the best feeling ever.

So now the stuff, including the stuff I found most helpful while traveling solo on an airplane with Gracie girl.

First up, eating.

Gracie is a full on eating monster now. We went on a highchair testing spree, and just finally committed to one:

The Boon. As much as I loved the simple practicality of the ikea I was worried it wasn’t sturdy enough for Gracie’s ninja maneuvers. I liked this one because it wasn’t overly padded so it isn’t a gross food sponge. It has an adjustable height and it is moveable. I will let you know in the next guide if it lives up to our expectations.

For feeding these bowls and spoons are awesome. The bowls suction cup onto the table so Gracie can’t knock them over, and trust me, she tries. The spoons are rubbery which was great because when she was still refusing to eat we gave her the spoons to play with and teeth on to get her used to the idea of a spoon entering her mouthpiece. We got a few extra spoons for her to bang on while I feed her with the business spoon.

These bibs are so cute and so practical. They are seriously soak proof, they are a good size for coverage, and they have so many  fun patterns and colors.

Last week we took Gracie out for sushi wearing her kimono and her sushi bib. Gracie loves a theme.

Gracie still likes her sprout single flavor guys I mentioned in the last post, but we have really expanded her food repertoire with the Ella’s purees. They have tons of funky combinations that are ALL a huge hit with her. Peas were on a total ban until their broccoli, apple, and peas combination. Now that she has gone through all of these we are starting to do our own combinations. These are also good for travel because of their cap and squeezey capabilities. You can squeeze a little bit onto a spoon or directly into babies mouth for traveling on the move.

These are a miracle. For traveling. For eating out. For adorable baby watching. Stick a whole piece of fruit in here, like a slice of apple or pear or berries. Freeze ‘em for teething relief. Baby can go to town on this for hours. Quiet, silent, happy hours.

Play

First off, Gracie still loves her mat, her office, her bouncy swing, and her chair. Those are the VIP toys. 

Now that she is sitting up Gracie really loves blocks. Specifically these  blocks. They are rubbery, which feels good in her mouth, and they make a little squeaky noise which is always exciting. 

For some reason these wooden beads are a hit too, which is good because they don’t really make much sound. Good for traveling.

These nubby balls…don’t ask me why, she loves it though.

Xylaphone. Loves it. I loves it. I can’t explain why, but it is the MOST hilarious thing ever watching her bang away on this guy.

Gracie has become quite musical, in fact. These rattles are awesome.

Marraccas.

Mozart Block. Obsessed.

Books…

This book, and the like (there are a few, if I were a hippo, if I were a cow…) are a huge hit. She likes swinging it around by her tail. She likes putting it in her mouth, and since it is a board book it is pretty indestructible.

This book is for me. Pete’s dad gave it to Gracie for her christening and I weep EVERYSINGLETIME I read it to her. I have memorized every word.

Oh, also, we finally broke the swaddle. It was time and Gracie sleeps much better with her arms above her head, just like her mom.

We are doing sleep sacks, and although the aden & anais ones are great, she keeps busting the zipper with her karate kicks. We were gifted a squishy one that snaps at the shoulders instead so I am going to do more investigating into the best of those.

Travel

So I definitely don’t have traveling figured out after one flight, but I have learned a few things. Firstly, most strollers won’t go through airport security. Which I was really bummed to hear because I REALLY super didn’t want to have to buy another stroller situation.

But I was encouraged to buy a snap and go base for our carseat and do it that way, which I think was probably the best decision. Firstly, it folds up really easily. It has the storage area on the bottom where I threw my bag. You can bring your carseat to your destination without it really being an extra piece of gear. On the way there since I was by myself and nervous I bought an extra seat and planned to put Gracie there in her carseat while she slept like a little angel. Which she did for just long enough for me to order a cocktail, and upon delivery of said cocktail, she awoke screaming and spent the rest of the flight in my arms. Cocktail was returned. You live and you learn.

I also got a new diaper bag for the trip, and let me explain to you why. I loved our old diaper bag, but all of its goodies were contained on the insides. It had organizing pockets, but you still had to dig around in the same dark cavern for everything you needed. On this guy, the bottle pouches, diaper/wipe storage, and mat compartment are all on the outside for easy access. Which frees up the inside for toy storage. I stuffed in a few of her rubbery blocks, beads, the most important toy of all time, some ear plugs for fellow passengers, stuffed animals, packed it to the brim with toys.

My other key travel advice is probably obvious, but if at all possible, choose a flight the takes off during a feeding, preferably before a big nap. Gracie feeds at 12 and then has a 2-3 hour nap. On the way back we took off at 12:15 and landed at 3:00 and I fed her during takeoff, she feel asleep straight after, and it was way easier than our flight there when we took off at 1:30. Again, you live and learn.

So that is my guide on 5-7 month baby stuff. Anyone have anything else to contribute? Either for 5-7 months, or the immediate future? I would love to hear what is working for you guys!

6 Months!!!

Guess what!? Guess what!? Guess what!?

It’s February! Which means it is my Birthday month! And Pink and Red month!

AND GRACIE GIRL IS 6 MONTHS OLD TODAY!!!

Wha?? How did that happen?

6 Months has been a major turning point. Baby girl is giggly and smiley and goofy and can sit up on her own! Everyone told me 6 months would be when it got really fun, and so far I will say for SURELY it is.

And I realized, I never showed y’all her super cute birth announcements!

Red and Pink! And hearts! Her theme! ‘Cause you gotta have a gimmick.Our sweet friend Sarah took some pictures of her when she was just a little brand new bean, but even from the very beginning she had the wisest eyes.

Our little Valentine.

Awww

5 Months of Grace…and Stuff.

We haven’t done one of these guides in awhile. In the beginning we did really well without too much stuff. Then, around 3 months the stuff sneakily starts to proliferate. Because, you see, for us at least around 3 months Gracie really went from a primarily dormant creature, to a real little person. And that is so exciting, to finally have your little baby be engaging and want to do things, that we at least got suckered into every little activity/brain stimulater out there.

First of all, this is what we have continued to use from our one and two month guides. We are still swaddling, I know I know, I tried to break it about a month ago but then she straight up stopped sleeping, so we are taking it slow. The aden & anais are good, but we have had to replace ours as they tend to shred after about 2 months of heavy use. The soothies are still essential, and we are using her carseat and baby bjorn chair.

From the two month guide I am surprised and impressed that she still loves her chair. We never got a big fancy swingy rocker, and I kept expecting that we would regret it, but this guy is still one of the favorite activities in her circuit. I also keep expecting her to get sick of her mat, but she keeps discovering new fun ways to play on it.

She also loves this owl by the same company.

Now above, I mentioned Gracie’s circuit. We have a sort of baby gym set up in our playroom where Gracie goes through her daily exercise machines. There is the mat and the chair, and around 3 months we added her office.

She absolutely adoooreesss her office and gets all of her best work done in there. I highly endorse this particular office, as we had one before that I thought was cute but that just didn’t work for Gracie. So I went on a research mission and this one came out the winner.

The final activity in her circuit is her bouncer. We have this in the doorway between our kitchen and playroom and Gracie loves to bounce and twirl around and watch me cook.

Now I am highly aware that is a lot of gear. At first I was like “no electronic toys” “no gear”…and now I am way over it. This stuff works and she LOVES it and I love having new ways to interact with baby girl and watch her grow into her own little person.

On the smaller toy side of things she is enjoying

This pink unicorn Santa gave her for Christmas. 
As well as this picnic basket full of rattles and squeezies. Both from Melissa and Doug who pretty much make the cutest toys, and are  non-electronic, classically cute, and anti-chemically as well.

Now this.

This is the most important baby tool we own. I read about it over on one of Modg’s guides, she swore that it was a miracle worker as her baby would not take a passie and this was the only thing that calmed him down. Sweet. I’ll take 20. I don’t know why, but this guy has the same affect on GrayBaby. She LOVES it. She is mesmerized by it. She can be in the middle of a Level 10 ragefest, and this little thing puts her back in her happy place. We try to limit its use, because we don’t understand its power and don’t want to abuse it lest it loses its effectiveness. But. Just get it.

Also, I want to backtrack a bit and talk about strollers. I ignored all warnings and went with the cutest one I found. And it is super cute. But now it lives with my mom for when we visit her house. I would take Gracie on the trails around Austin with it and felt like I was on the Iditarod pushing a 1000 pound load.  And chick weighs like 15 pounds. And then I looked around and noticed that literally every single person had the same stroller. That was not mine and looked nothing like mine. And had one front wheel. And looked lean and mean.

So I tested it out, and duh. That is because the Bob is the best if you actually plan on doing anything outdoorsy or athletic with your baby in tow. Which, to be honest, is not one of my primary priorities, but when the urge hits I need to be well prepared. The other thing I like about the bob is that the carseat attachment so that I can push Gracie in her carseat just attaches onto the regular stroller seat. You don’t have to take one thing off and switch it out. Which would be particularly handy when traveling for instance, so that you could bring your carseat and your stroller and just hook it all together. Two in one is the goal of all baby gear.

The baby carrier is the other item I did some considerable research on and we are a huge fan of the Beco Baby Carrier

It’s the only one I found where you can position your baby to face front, or into your bosom…On your side or back. Gracie likes to face front and take on the world, so that versatility is a must for us.

Finally…and this one is big. Gracie is finally eating “solids”. By the way, whoever came up with calling this stage in baby eating “solids” is confused. STILL, we are so excited to be here. Gracie has always had bad acid reflux, and even though we got the pain from her reflux under control she still is like a baby geyser spit up machine. We go through about four totally soaked outfit changes a day. Both of us. So I have been looking forward to getting something “solid” in her tummy to hopefully hold things down a bit ever since I got the go-ahead from the pediatrician at four months to start introducing foods.

But as usual, GrayBaby had other ideas. I pureed peaches, bananas, roasted and mashed sweet potatoes, butternut squash, rice cereal, pears…nada. And let me tell you, preparing sweet potatoes for baby consumption is not a quick process. After about a month of rejection, I switched to these prepared baby foods so at least when Gracie told me to shove it, I wouldn’t have spent an hour cooking and cleaning to get to that point. 

Sprout is organic baby food backed by Tyler Florence. The packaging is eco friendly and is part of their up cycling program. All of these things are nice, but what really matters is that their apple puree finally ended Gracie’s food ban at 5 1/2 months. We have now also tried their pears and they are a huge hit as well. Gracie LOVES this food, is spitting up a lot less, and I now get to enjoy watching my baby eat “solids” which is one of the most hilarious baby activities yet. I will retry doing my own purees once she has moved through a few more of the Sprout packs, but these are great if you aren’t interested in making your own, and for traveling etc.

Because we had such a slow start feeding I still haven’t invested in a high chair. So far we have been using the Bumpo with its tray attachment, but I am thinking she is ready for a big girl chair. 

I have been tempted by all of the cute design-y fancy high chairs out there, but all of my friends SWEAR this Ikea chair is the way to go. Good price, easy to clean, easy to maneuver. Not bad looking. I’m goin’ for it. 

We also love this bib- it catches the food that doesn’t make it into Gracie’s bell, and its silicone and easy to clean.

Finally, and this one is kind of silly but we like it. My friend Melanie gave me this necklace…

They are called chew beads and they are rubbery, non toxic, in our experience non-breakable jewelry that your baby can chew on. Since Gracie has been a teething fiend and everything goes in her mouth these days, they are a big hit.

They come in different styles and colors, and are actually pretty cute for what is essentially a wearable baby toy.

OK! So that’s all we got for today. Now it is your turn. What are some other great baby toys/tricks/products for 5+ month old babies? Your beach baby tips were SO helpful, because of weather we only spent one day in the pool but all of your diaper/sunscreen/toy tips were spot on. So help a sister out again!

Also…I enjoy doing these but they are time consuming. Is it worth it? Do y’all find this helpful or are the majority of you not into all the baby talk? Let me know!