My Online Shopping Tips and Tricks

I’ve mentioned before that I like love online shopping. Online shopping just suits me well. I like to take my time and do research to make sure that I find the just the right product, particularly when it comes to big ticket items. I also tend to have expensive taste, so finding good deals is key. Now that I have Rylan, it is more difficult to get out to the mall or other stores, so being able to click a button and have something delivered to my door is, frankly, amazing. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.  Here are some ideas for maximizing your online shopping experience:

 Amazon.com

Although we’ve always been close, Amazon.com has become one of our best friends since Rylan was born. You can seriously find almost anything on Amazon, from gluten-free groceries to LCD TVs. If you are a frequent Amazon shopper, it makes sense to become a member of Amazon Prime. For one annual fee of $79, you get free two-day shipping on anything sold or fulfilled by Amazon, and one-day shipping for $3.99. You also get unlimited movie and TV streaming to your computer. It sounds like a high price initially, but it pays for itself quickly.

If you have kids, you can also sign up for Amazon Mom, which is a free membership for parents and caretakers. By signing up you get Amazon Prime shipping benefits (no instant streaming, though) for three months, and you can extend it up to a year- the time frame is extended with every purchase from the baby store. You also get 20% off diapers and wipes when you do the Subscribe & Save option. When signing up for Subscribe & Save, you select how many boxes of an item you want to receive in a given month. You are alerted when items are about to ship, allowing you to change or cancel a shipment as necessary. We buy our diapers and wipes through Amazon Mom Subcribe & Save, which 1)is a great deal and 2) we never have to run out for diapers in the middle of the night. We also now get toilet paper, paper towels, etc. through Subscribe & Save.

Check Daily Deal Websites

There are a lot of daily deal-type websites out there, including Groupon and Living Social. These deals are offered generally daily, and allow you to purchase a certificate for a local or online business for a significantly reduced price. There are so many different offers- everything from a month unlimited yoga to a four-hour photo booth rental. These are great deals, but remember, they are only good deals if you actually are going to use them. While I receive emails and check the deals almost daily, I’ve only purchased a few things: JC Penney Portrait Studio Package, Whole Foods gift certificate, etc. On Living Social, if you get three people to purchase the deal through your link, you get your deal for free!

There are also other daily deal websites that offer products.  The ones I currently check are baby-related, but there are others, too.  BabySteals, BabyHalfOff, and GreenBabyBargains offer one deal at a time.  BabySteals offers two steals per day- at 9AM and 9PM MDT.  BabyHalfOff and GreenBabyBargains offer one deal per day.  TheMiniSocial and Zulily offer multiple deals per day.  Caution- these site offer awesome deals, but they are addicting!  If you really want to save money, be realistic about what you need and would buy anyway, and not just buy something because it is a good price.  A onesie that was $40 and is on sale for $25 is still a $25 onesie!

Use Coupon Codes

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS do a quick Google search for coupons before you buy anything online. Don’t waste too much time searching (I once searched for 2-3 hours and ended up saving 5 or 10 dollars..worth it? Probably not), but do a quick search including the name of the website and the word “coupon”, “coupon code”, or “promo code”. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to save 10-25%. Might as well, right? Also, some websites, like Kohls.com, allow you to enter multiple coupons. If this is the case, pay attention to the order they are applied (for example, enter a code for 25% off first, then one for an extra $5 off).

Email and Social Networking Alerts and Offers

I have a separate email account that I use just for signing up for websites. So many websites now require you to sign in, and I don’t want all this spam in my regular email inbox. I do, however, like the coupons and sale alerts that you get sent once in awhile. So, I just use my “spam” account, and then check that account once a day or every other day to see what is going on. Also, if you follow businesses on their social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, sales and deals are often broadcast that way as well.

Research first, then compare prices

When I go to purchase something, I like to research first. For example, when I bought my digital camera, I spent awhile searching different blogs, forums, and ratings websites to determine the model that I wanted to buy. Once I find what I want, I go to Google and type in the name or model number of the product. Then, I click “Shopping” on the left-hand side, or on the toolbar at the top of the page. This brings you to the comparison shopping page, where you can sort by price and find which website offers the best price.

Lastly, pay attention to taxes, fees, shipping rates, and return policies

 Although I like to use Google Shopping to find the lowest price, I consider other factors as well, including taxes, fees, and return policies. When I bought Rylan’s high chair, I purchased it from a website that I hadn’t bought from before, as the high chair was $20 cheaper than on Amazon.com. If I had purchased on Amazon.com, I would have had the high chair two days later, and would have been able to return it no problem if I changed my mind. With this other website, I ended up waiting 2 weeks (which seems like FOREVER when you are spoiled with one and two day shipping from other sites) and returns were a little more hassle. I felt like that was worth it to save $20, but I likely wouldn’t have done it for only $5 or $10 savings. If you buy something and want to return it, but can’t, you didn’t save any money. Good websites for great prices and excellent shipping rates and return policies are Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and Diapers.com (sisters with Wag.com, YoYo.com, and Soap.com).

Do you have any online shopping tricks up your sleeve?  Know of any good websites for deals or great shipping/returns terms and conditions?  Please share!

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Rylan TV

As this week marks the start of Fall season TV programming (yes!), I thought it was fitting to share what we watch in the evenings- that is, in between Modern Family, The Middle, and NCIS of course.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we love our video baby monitor.  Video monitors were recently mentioned in an article on Yahoo titled 10 Things New Parents Don’t Need.  I don’t think I need to elaborate on what the article actually said…  While I agree that video monitors aren’t a necessity, they also aren’t worthless.  Ours gives us (Me, really) piece of mind, allows me to check on the little man without disturbing him, and provides entertainment for us and any guests that we may have over.  I decided to take some pictures to document an evening of “Rylan TV”.

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My Top 10 Baby Items

My Top 10 Baby Items:

1. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light: We have the traditional Pack ‘N Play, but decided to get the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib prior to our Orlando trip.  This travel crib is smaller, lighter, and ridiculously easy to assemble.  There is actually an entertaining video on the Baby Bjorn Website showing how easy it is for a dad, sister, and grandmother to put together.  The case is rectangular, so I was able to put the whole thing in my large suitcase and there was still plenty of room for all of Rylan’s clothes, toys, and other necessities.  This just made it easier on us to carry everything because it was one less thing to carry (we also had the stroller, car seat, another large suitcase that Jared and I shared, diaper bag, purse, and backpack) and protected the crib a little more.  This crib does not have all of the extra features of the Pack ‘N Play, such as a changing station, bassinet, music, etc., so the Pack ‘N Play or another brand of portable crib would still be helpful for at home or Grandma’s house.  However, if you are just looking for something simple strictly for sleeping/napping on the go, the Baby Bjorn is the way to go.

2. Bath Luvē-This was an awesome gift from my mom- one of those things that you wouldn’t really think of until you are a mom yourself and are struggling to give your baby a bath.  It is essentially a washcloth shaped like an animal that you wet and drape over your baby in the bathtub.  It was designed by a mother to make bathtime more enjoyable for the baby since it keeps them warm.   Rylan has always loved it, although now he is into playing with it and sucking on it.  It is also great to cover up little boys so you don’t get squirted.  You can buy them through the website or at Kohls. 

3. Muslin Swaddle Blankets: There are two great muslin swaddle blanket brands:  BambinoLand and Aden + Anais (I chose this link because most of the blankets are on sale).  Muslin swaddle blankets have really taken over the swaddle blanket category because they are so large and breathable.  The large size really allows you to get a tight swaddle that stays put, and the breathability helps so that the baby doesn’t get overheated (so nice for our warm southern California weather).  Plus, the blankets are really versatile- they scrunch up really small to fit in your purse or diaper bag and can be used for everything from a nursing cover to a car seat drape for a sleeping baby.  Once you try muslin swaddle blankets, believe me, you won’t go back.  My only wish is that I found them sooner.

4. Muslin Sleeping Bags: Aden + Anais also has some really awesome cotton muslin sleeping bags.  They are similar to the Halo SleepSacks, but made out of the same soft, gauzy cotton muslin that you’ve grown to love from the swaddle blankets.  I love the idea of the sleeping bag because they keep babies warm while they are sleeping without the risk of blankets being kicked off or pulled over their faces.  The breathable cotton muslin is again, perfect for our warm southern California nights.  The Aden + Anais sleeping bags come in two weights: the classic sleeping bag is one layer of cotton muslin and the cozy sleeping bag is four layers for extra warmth. 

Note:  You may have noticed that as Aden + Anais blankets have become more popular, they have become available in more places.  Target offers an “Aden +Anais for Target” set of four cotton muslin blankets.  I have heard that these blankets are slightly smaller and may not be made out of as high a quality fabric as the blankets offered elsewhere.  I ran into the same issue with the sleeping bags I bought at Kohls.com.  I got a good price, but the sleeping bag just didn’t feel the same and ripped the second time Rylan wore it.  It might have been a fluke, but he has others that he has been wearing for a couple months with no problems.  Now, the cotton muslin blankets and sleeping bags aren’t cheap, and I am always one to look for the best price.  However, for Aden+ Anais items, it seems that you get what you pay for, so I’d be wary of products with low prices (unless it is a sale of course).

5. Baby Carrier/Wrap: I have both the Ergo Baby Carrier and the Moby Wrap.  I love them both and use them for different things.  I used the Moby Wrap a little more when Rylan was smaller as he wasn’t big enough for the Ergo (though I know there are infant inserts).  It is comfortable and secure, and Rylan would easily fall asleep in there.  The way it wraps around your back and shoulders really distributes the weight so that it is not taxing on your back.  It is a little daunting at first when you open the package and pull out this ridiculously long piece of fabric and say, “how the heck do I use this thing?”  But, once you put it on once or twice it is not too bad.  I think some people really get quick at putting it on, but I am still a little slow.  And, if anyone knows how to put on the Moby without the fabric hanging all over the floor, please let me know!  For these reasons, I also have the Ergo carrier.  Although in a comparison of pure comfort, I would score the Moby slightly higher, the Ergo is still very comfortable and is easier for me to use.  For occasions like grocery shopping or going through the airport when you need to be able to take the carrier on and off quickly, the Ergo is my preference.  However, for around the house or a prolonged outing with help (again, to prevent the fabric from being pulled all over the ground) I’d choose the Moby.  At the end of the day, both of the carriers allow me to comfortably carry Rylan and have my hands free.  I know there are also other brands out there of both carriers and wraps.  If you are looking for a carrier, I’d recommend that you look for one that has a hip belt, so that the weight falls on your hips and not your back.  Babies are small, but they are certainly not light when you are carrying them for any length of time.

6. Graco Snugrider Infant Car Seat Frame Stroller: I did quite a bit of stroller research while I was pregnant, and the consensus of many mommy websites and blogs was to go with a snap in car seat frame stroller instead of the full travel system that comes with the car seat, base, and stroller.  The rationale was that the stroller that comes with the travel system is fairly large and bulky so you end up purchasing a different stroller for when they get older anyway.  Therefore, you might as well just get the frame stroller, which is smaller, lighter, and easy to push around.  I am so glad that we chose this route because the car seat frame stroller is really easy for me to handle, get in and out of the trunk, etc.  We still love this stroller and still use it even now that Rylan is 7 months old.  Many of the major car seat brands have car seat frame strollers, and some fit multiple brands- just check the description. 

7. Breastfeeding Pillow:  Most new mommies now have heard of the Boppy brand nursing pillow.  It is a U-shaped pillow that fits around your waist for breastfeeding.  The idea of the nursing pillow is simply wonderful and is so helpful, particularly in the first few months.  Although the Boppy is really nice (I have one at my parents’ house), there are other brands out there.  I have heard a lot of good things about My Brest Friend as it snaps around your waist to prevent it from sliding out.  At home here, I have the Nesting Pillow by Blessed Nest.  The filling is buckwheat hulls, so it conforms to the baby’s body like a bean bag.  You can shape it for added height that a newborn needs.  Also, the inside pillow is made of 100% organic cotton canvas from a US mill. I love it and have gotten so much use out of it. So, there are several great options, but regardless of which you choose, get multiple slipcovers- just trust me on that one 🙂

8. Video Monitor: This was something that we didn’t feel like we initially needed.  We thought the traditional sound monitors would work just fine for letting us know when Rylan woke up.  I mean, your baby is either asleep or awake, right? ………..Wrong!  Watching Rylan on that tiny two-inch screen (which is black and white most of the time because it is dark in his room) is fascinating.  He puts his little security blanket across his face, pulls his legs up and touches his feet, rolls to one side, pulls the blanket off his face, yawns, touches his feet again, and puts the blanket back across his face.  Not always in that order, but you get the picture.  The reason Jared initially got the video monitor for me was when we introduced the security blanket at four months and I didn’t like that he kept putting it over his face.  It is only 12X12 inches and is designed for babies, but still… The monitor allows us to see when he falls asleep because sometimes he is awake for awhile but quiet.  If the blanket is on his face, I go move it.  I actually don’t do this much anymore because he is good at moving it around by himself.  I did it quite often over the past two months, though.  I guess we don’t actually “need” a video monitor, but we definitely love it. We have the Summer Infant color video monitor, but I’m sure the other brands are great, too.

9. Disposable Changing Pads: These are not fancy or complicated, but make life so much easier in certain situations, such as diaper changes in public restrooms.  Now, I am thankful that most places do have changing stations these days.  However, as you can imagine, some are cleaner than others.  Some are spotless, and some are covered in a crusty layer of grime.  I carry a reusable changing pad that I use most of the time, but I always keep a disposable one on hand just in case I know I’m not going to want to put the reusable one back in my purse.  They also come in handy when you have a blow-out or expect a mess that you don’t want to get on anything else.  Just fold everything up together and toss in the trash.  The throw-away pads are generally larger than reusable ones, which is an added bonus.  There are several different brands- you can find them at Babies R Us and Target, as well as Amazon of course.

10. Carter’s Cotton Sleep and Plays: Infant one-pieces/sleepers are nothing new, nor are they hard to find.  They come in all different shapes and sizes, colors and fabrics.  I can’t claim to have tried them all, but I have tried quite a few, and my favorites are the Carter’s cotton sleep and plays.  They are soft, fit well as Rylan grows, inexpensive, and easy to find.  Note: Carter’s also makes some polyester sleep and plays, but I do not care for the material as much- it is just not as breathable, soft, and stretchy.  Also, some have snaps and some have zippers.  If you can, go with the zippers.  It’s nice not having to deal with matching up the snaps when you are changing the little one in the middle of the night.

Bonus: I found this product just as I was finishing up my post, but felt it was worth mentioning.  The Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy is a strap that has various snaps that you can use to secure a toy, a teething ring, a sippy cup, or anything else you can think of to a car seat, stroller, or high chair.  They are an inexpensive way to keep everything off the floor as babies conveniently have mastered the skills of dropping and throwing.  Then you can easily rotate the toys as the straps will fit most anything that has a handle or circle to snap onto.  The snaps aren’t super strong and the straps can be slightly long, so I wouldn’t leave a baby unattended, but for supervised play, they are a lifesaver.

What items are in your top 10?  I’d love to hear from you about items that you love!

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Nursery: Part II

And now, the continuation of Rylan’s nursery… Ok, I’ve been watching a little too much Hell’s Kitchen lately…  But, here it is anway: (see the previous post Here for pictures)

Dresser:  Since we splurged on the crib and mattress, we decided to go for a more inexpensive dresser.  We just bought a bedroom set from Ikea last fall and love the dresser, so I went to Ikea.com to see what else they had to offer.  The Mandal dresser was exactly what I was looking for.  It has a modern edge to it, which I really like as it offsets the very traditional looking crib.  I love the two-toned finish as it gives a little more visual interest.    The length and height (since we were going to use this as a changing table) were right, so we went down to our local (if you call Burbank local) Ikea to pick one up and save the high shipping cost.  Of course, they were out of stock.  We looked at the other options that we could have driven home with that day, but they were either too long (length-wise), too short (height-wise), or more expensive than we wanted to spend.  We ended up going home and buying it online, and I’m really glad we did.  I really like this dresser.  My only complaint is that the drawers can slide back in a little too fast.  There are cut-outs for your fingers, but I am a little concerned about Rylan getting his fingers caught sometime.  I think I will send Jared to the hardware store to see what he can add some dampers.  It appears that Ikea has realized this is an issue as they just came out with the Nyvoll dresser.  It is really similar to the Mandal, but has built-in dampers. 

Changing Pad:  We got the Naturepedic 4-Sided Changing Pad.  I don’t know if you can really love a changing pad, but I love this one.  It is much more comfortable than those thin ones that often come with sets, and it is of much nicer quality than those covered in vinyl.  The sides are a little shorter than some of the others I’ve seen, but they’re not meant to leave babies unattended on anyway.  There are fasteners to attach the pad to the dresser.  I also put a small square of a non-skid rug pad underneath to keep it in place.  There is a fitted cover that you can purchase separately (which I did), but other standard covers also fit just fine.  We actually don’t even use the covers anymore because they get so dirty so quickly and the waterproof covering of the pad makes cleanup a breeze.  I got mine on Kohls.com and was able to use two coupon codes (most websites only take one), so ended up getting it for about 45% off.

Chair: I looked around quite a bit before deciding on what type of chair to get.  Babies ‘R Us has a large selection of gliders, but I just wasn’t into them as they are quite expensive for what you get, and I didn’t think we had quite enough room in the nursery.  I also sat in one of them, and along with the glider ottoman, felt a little nauseous.  (This apparently was just due to pregnancy as my parents have a glider and haven’t had that problem since using it more recently) So, I looked into a variety of options: I checked out Craig’s List, I found $800 Amish hardwood rockers online, and, of course, perused the Ikea website.  Nothing (in my price range) stood out to me. 

Then one day I was driving on 101 and saw the La-Z-Boy store in Agoura Hills.  I didn’t stop, but looked them up online.  Many of their products are Made in the USA and they have environmental initiatives regarding integrating sustainable business practices and reducing the environmental impact.  La-Z-Boy does have an EcoComfort line, but it was too pricey for me to consider.  However, as a whole, they are EFEC registered (Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture) and one of their areas of focus is the use of low VOC coatings, renewable lumber, low-emitting resins, minimal composite wood formaldehyde, no PBDE’s in foams, and eliminating lead in leathers.  I got to thinking that a recliner would be really comfortable for those late-night feedings, so I went to the store to see what they had.  I was able to find several options on sale for $399, and then the sales associate was able to knock off an additional percentage (always negotiate at furniture stores), so we walked out of the place with a $600 recliner for $327.   When we picked it up the following week, it totally had that new upholstery smell (I am just generally hyper-sensitive to smells), so I ended up closing the door and keeping the window open for a good month to air it out.  That was annoying, but we did have the time, and it is super comfy, so overall it was a good buy.

Book Shelf:  This was the last big item for the room that I needed to get.  After finding so many great options for everything else, I thought, how hard could it be to find a natural wood or non-toxic finished bookcase?  Apparently, they are hard to find, and the ones I did find were ridiculously expensive for a few pieces of wood glued together.  I could have just gone with some decent ones made out of MDF from Target or Walmart, but I think of purchases as voting with my dollars for good products, so I was determined to keep looking. 

I ended up finding Room Doctor and was able to order the unfinished pine three shelf extra wide bookshelf for $39! (Plus $30 shipping, but that is still a great price)  I was really excited about it. Unfortunately, it took several weeks to finally get it in the room because the first one I got arrived damaged, and the replacement was the wrong size.  The third one finally was perfect.  Although it was an annoying process, the customer service at Room Doctor was really great and the representatives I talked to were really helpful.  And really, the price was right.  We were thinking of painting it, but it looked great unfinished, so we just left it.  As I was looking for the website for Room Doctor to put in this post, I came across another website for The Woodland Mills.  I don’t know why I didn’t see this website before, but the products look really nice, the prices are reasonable, and they have free shipping on most items.  I might be looking into their wine racks sometime soon…but, not for Rylan’s room of course 🙂

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Finally…nursery pics and so much more!

I had good intentions when I started this blog a little less than a year ago, but as many have found, it is hard to keep up.  Ok, so I failed miserably with only three posts, but I’m turning over a new leaf here.   Some of my friends have been asking for recommendations on baby gear since I know so many pregnant ladies right now.  Those of you that know me well know that I 1) am a major researcher and 2) buy everything online- literally pretty much everything from diapers and wipes to my most recent purchase: an 8×10 foot rug for our living room.  I love to look up reviews, product specs, and pictures of products so that I am completely satisfied with my purchase.  I spent hours deciding on the perfect camera and laptop backpack, so you can imagine the time I put into purchasing all of Rylan’s “stuff”.  I also look up coupon codes, sign up for email offers, and search for the best prices, so I will try to share some of the things I have learned.  Please note, my intention is not to convince you to buy any of the things that I discuss; I am just sharing my thoughts and opinions so that you have more information in order to make your own decisions…or at the very least, so that you can get a kick out of the (borderline ridiculous) process that I go through when I purchase something that I feel is important.  Don’t worry…I enjoy it 🙂

Today, I’ll start with the nursery, since I had promised to post pictures of Rylan’s room once it was fully furnished and decorated. So, here they are:

I am a big believer in natural and organic products, and I tried to make his room as healthy and chemical-free as possible.  I do realize that people have been living a long time without these types of products, however, if there’s a choice, I say why not go organic.  Anything that could possibly reduce the risk of cancer, infertility, and other health problems in the future is a plus in my book.  The only thing it may hurt is perhaps your wallet, because many organic and natural products are more expensive.  Sometimes, “green” products are actually much nicer and well made than others, so they really did cost more to produce and are worth the added price.  Other times, businesses are capitalizing on the fact that “green” is trendy right now, and the products are really not worth the markup.  Also, just because something says “natural” or “organic”, you really have read what you are purchasing, because it doesn’t always mean that product is better or safer.  Companies can market a product using the term “organic” even if there is one organic component, so you want to look for “100% organic“, if possible.

Crib:  We decided to purchase the Pacific Rim Natural Maple Crib from Green for Bedroom & Baby– really great tiny shop in Thousand Oaks.  This was definitely a splurge as the crib and mattress cost about as much as we paid for our entire bedroom set from Ikea.  However, it is a beautiful, solid, well-made piece of furniture that will last forever.  Even Jared was impressed.  It is solid wood and unfinished, so no formaldehyde-containing MDF or chemical finishes.  I didn’t do a whole lot of shopping around on this as I loved it as soon as I saw it in the store (yes, I did actually purchase this from a store, but I found out about the store online).

Mattress:  If only purchase one organic item, go with an organic mattress.  There are so many chemicals used in traditional mattresses, and we spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping on them (babies obviously sleep even more).  Therefore, this is one item that I believe is truly worth the additional price.  We went with the mattress that was sold together with the crib from Green for Bedroom & Baby.  However, there are many other brands out there that I’m sure are great, too. 

Wool Pad: If an organic mattress is not an option, then I’d suggest at least using a wool pad as it will provide a barrier between the baby and the mattress (that is what we have on our bed because our old mattress still has a few good years left in it).  Wool is naturally water-resistant and antimicrobial.  I’d recommend moisture or “puddle” pads from Pure Rest, Natura, and Holy Lamb Organics as I purchased one of each of these (for the crib, bassinet, and travel crib).  They are more expensive than other waterproof pads, but you really only need one if you put a cotton mattress pad over it to soak up any leaks.  Good websites are The Ultimate Green Store , Diapers.com, Babyearth, Holy Lamb Organics, Organic Sleep Products , and, of course, Amazon.  Tips:  Holy Lamb Organics has a list of clearance items that have a slight defect.  The list says what the defect is, so you can decide whether or not it will meet your needs.  They usually have to do with a discontinued fabric, or a slight size difference.  Just send them an email requesting the list.  Additionally, if you actually call and place an order over the phone with Organic Sleep Products, you can sometimes get an additional discount.  This is because companies regulate the prices that their goods are offered for online, but the owner is willing to charge slightly less.

Bedding: Although there are so many cute bedding sets out there, I wanted organic cotton (it just didn’t seem right to spend so much on a natural crib, organic mattress, and wool mattress pad and not use organic sheets).  Plus, I wasn’t going to use the bumper, so I decided to skip the bedding sets and go with a sheet and crib skirt from Kate Quinn Organics.  They have really cute clothes, blankets, bedding, etc. and I was able to get the sheet and skirt on sale and then also use a coupon code, so I got a great deal.  For additional sheets (we all know that babies tend to go through them pretty quickly), I got solid color green and off white organic sheets from Diapers.com and Babies ‘R Us.

Due to the length of this post, I decided to divide it into two pieces.  Stay tuned for Part II with details about the dresser, changing pad, chair, and book shelf.

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Goodbye office; Hello nursery!

Well it’s been awhile since I posted…I’m still getting used to this.  Anyhow, things have been going pretty well, although I can’t believe how fast time is going by.  It seems we have been flying through the holidays.  Halloween was low-key with our traditional chili, the movie Hocus Pocus, and all of 3 trick-or-treaters.  Jared first felt the baby kick that night, which was neat.  We had a really nice Thanksgiving at my Auntie Karen’s house (complete with Black Friday shopping) near San Diego.  And now it is officially Christmas season!  Now I just need to get out Christmas cards and finish decorating.

The baby is continuing to grow, and I am getting bigger! Below is a picture of me this week at 30 weeks.  I’ve been feeling well for the most part, although over the past few days I’ve really started to notice that things are getting harder and I’m tiring much more quickly.  Those of you who know me well know that I am a night owl, but I think I went to bed before 10 at least 3 or 4 times this week! 

Recently we’ve been busy with a number of small household projects.  The biggest change is that we cleared everything out of the office/second guestroom to make way for a nursery!  We decided not to repaint as the room was already blue and we still like it (we painted it 3 1/2 years ago when we moved in).  We moved the desk into the guest room- it’s tight, but it works- and sadly had to get rid of the futon.  Erik came over and was a big help with the moving and assembly of furniture.  Here are a couple pictures of nursery-in-progress, as well as a comparison with before.  We have the crib and dresser, we will get the chair on Wednesday, and are now hunting for a small bookshelf or something for under the window.  It’s pretty cool, but is taking some getting used to…I keep catching myself trying to go in there to use the computer until I realize it’s not there anymore 🙂 .  I will post more pictures of the room when it is all finished and decorated!

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Travel and Ultrasound

I am happy to be back home now after a wonderful two weeks away.  I was a little nervous about the travel- just not knowing if I would feel any differently, but everything turned out fine.  I wore my support socks and got up to stretch my legs every so often.  I also took Emergen-C which was great in helping to stay hydrated without drinking cup after cup of water.  I ended up checking my regular suitcase for the first time in a very long time (I even took only a carry-on bag to Europe to four weeks) but it was worth it to not have to try to manage lifting my suitcase in the overhead and pull it into the lovely restroom with me all the times I needed to go.  🙂

I first was in Chicago for New Manager Training for work- it ended up being  good experience and it was fun to connect and re-connect with friends and colleagues.  We were at an airport hotel, so I didn’t go into the city, but that was fine because Jared and I had just been there in July.

From there I flew to Seattle to spend a little over a week with my parents and sister.  Jared flew up as well.  I hadn’t been up there since last Christmas so it was really nice to spend time there- the Pacific Northwest is such a beautiful place.  My mom and dad had it so nice for us and we had the perfect combination of relaxation and day tripping- including Snoqualmie Falls, Poulsbo, Leavenworth, Space Needle, Ivar’s, a salmon bake, hockey game, ferry rides, picnics, bakeries, and of course….coffee (decaf for me).  I also got to see Annie’s adorable first grade classroom.  In Poulsbo, we bought our first things for the baby- I got a light blue sleeper made with bamboo and Jared picked out a book.  That’s all we’ve bought so far, but I’m sure that will change very soon.  Here’s a few pictures from the trip: 

We came home on Sunday and had a nice leisurely day- we were excited to get Tucker from the dog ranch- we sure miss that guy when we’re gone!  He was “hungover” all day yesterday and today, meaning exhausted from too much fun.  I’m sure he’ll be back to his normal self tomorrow.

Today we had our second trimester ultrasound.  It’s so neat to see how the baby is growing.  The doctor said everything was looking good and we “graduated” from the perinatologist, so we don’t have to go back there anymore.   Our little one is definitely still a boy and was moving and sucking his thumb.  He kept putting his hand in front of his face when they tried to get a picture.  A handful already.  They estimated his weight to be about 14 ounces.  I’ve been feeling more movement recently, especially in my lower abdomen, which makes sense as his head  up and feet were down.  Now we’ll just have to see when the kicks get strong enough for Jared to feel as well!

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