Category: Life

The adventures of #daveyandkaylee

Tag, Mary. You’re it.

Something happened last night I want to put down so that I remember it for years to come.

After what felt like sleeping for 5 minutes (half-in, half-out) I woke up to the sound of a loud, quick noise.

I paused to see if I would hear it again.

Seton started crying.

She stopped crying.

Silence.

She fell back to sleep, but she must have heard it, too, right? I wasn’t just dreaming?

I took a lap around the house. Nothing. Officially crazy town in my head. I could feel Davey rolling his eyes the way only a wife can feel the eye roll from her half asleep husband down the dark hallway.

Passing Seton’s door to get back to our room, I thought, “What if the noise was the sound of her head against the crib? What if she hit it in that fatal spot on the temple, and something terrible happened?” (just a normal fear, right? I don’t even know where I come up with these things.)

I decided to just peek in and check on her.

Seton awoke to the paranoid creak of her 1942 glass door handle turning ever so slowly, ever so loudly.

She was startled and began sobbing. I tried calming her, shushing her to sleep, and sending an eye roll RIGHT BACK ATCHA, DAVEY, THE NOT-SO PROTECTOR WHAT IF WE HAD AN INTRUDER OK FINE WE DONT AND I WOKE UP THE BABY BUT YOU DIDN’T DEFEND US.

Nothing worked to get Seton back to sleep. Books, songs, laying on the couch. I tried all my tricks, Davey tried all his tricks, and it seemed Seton was going to hyperventilate. I have never NOT been able to get her to stop crying. Usually just the sight of me calms her down. I was failing.

Davey turned on the light.

Seton’s sad, puffy eyes fixated on our little statue of Mary on the shelf in our room. She stopped crying.

“May-me,” she said. She pointed to Mary.

“You want Mary?” Davey said. He brought it to her. She touched her hands, her eyes, her veil. “Do you want to hold her?” Seton clutched her in her tiny hands and pulled her close to her chest. We sat there in silence for a few minutes.

I suggested to Seton to put Mary back on the shelf so Mary can go “night night.” Seton calmly placed her on the shelf and said through calmed sadness, “nigh nigh.”

I took her back in her room, changed her diaper, read a few books, then turned out her light. I felt myself tensing in fear that she would start crying again.

And she did.

WAILING.

The thought of starting the whole process over again was overwhelming. If there was a towel, I would have thrown it in. But there is no such thing as throwing in the towel on motherhood, is there?

I whispered to Seton–while simultaneously thinking she would never hear my whisper above the sound of her cries–“Mary.”

Seton stopped crying.

“Remember Mary? Hail Mary…”

Seton put her head on my shoulder, shuddered with a few deep breaths, and fell asleep.

I felt Mary’s presence reminding me that I will fail at motherhood. There will be times when I love my best, I give my all, and I still won’t be able to control my child’s joy. I won’t always be able to comfort her, stop her from crying, make her smile, calm her to sleep. I won’t be able to make everything ok.

Mary will step in where I fall short.

I feel so good about that.

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When it’s my time

Every day I am at work I get a very intimate view into someone’s life.

The tears welling in another’s eyes always ignite something in me, (empathy, is it called?) and I experience the emotions as well.

Loneliness is a familiar one.

A mom of four sits in a dimly lit room, filled with the stench of stale air, her head hung as she mourns the loss of her previous life and longs for what used to be. I kneel next to her hospital bed, and offer my hand on her lap.

I understand, I pat. Or at least I will.

When it’s my time.

“They brought things from home today.” She points to old pictures on her wall, one an image of her husband’s grave. Her smile, recognizable by her crooked teeth, beams beneath a bridal veil. Four kids all fit in her arms, on her lap.

What was your husband like?

She tells me her most fond memories, laughing at his old jokes.

The joy of her previous life pushes it’s way into her stories, and I realize she misses my life, this time in my life. She recounts her early years of marriage, raising small kids, starting their life on the farm.

Everyone says to enjoy this stage because it goes by so quickly.

I think they are really saying, “I miss it.”

It is a really good time, and I am reminded daily that it slips by until the only way we can experience the same joy again is through the sadness of missing it.

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Podcasts, clean windows, and a new rug

So I have mentioned before that I have been working a lot out in a rural Minnesota town about an hour away. It’s difficult to be far from Seton in case something were to happen, but knowing Davey is so close to her (10 mins), I feel okay about it.

At first, I thought it would only be a week of it, but a week has turned into a month, and a month has now turned into 2 months.

And I love it.

I love the patients (mostly outpatient of all ages!!!) and find myself telling Davey stories at the end of every day the way I used to when we were first married and I was working in Indy. Seriously, it’s awesome.

I also love the drive. I listen to an assortment of podcasts, but really try to make the drive a time for prayer and spiritual enrichment.

I always like Fountains of Carrots but have to admit that the past few haven’t really caught my attention, so I have dipped into the podcast of the Jennifer Fulwiler show. Sometimes I drive really slow so I can finish the podcast before work. And sometimes I pretend like I am just talking on the phone when a person in another car sees me laughing hysterically.

One of my favorites is Jen on Female Stereotypes and Empowering Women to give you a little taste.

I love it when I can learn more about faith while laughing so hard I cry….by myself.

Alright, so what else has been going on…

Poor Seton got bullied twice in a week, so I momentarily vowed that we will never be leaving the house again. A kid at the playground kicked her off the bottom of the slide. Another kid at the library pushed her down. The saddest part of it all is that in both situations, she thought the kids were running up to her to play with her, so she was really excited…then boom.

If anyone has any tips on how to react to a child who bullies your own, let me know! I scolded the one at the playground because his dad wasn’t doing anything. Then we left because I was scared he was going to do it again.

In other exciting news…

I washed the outside of each window of our house today, and I can’t believe how different it looks! I have only done this one other time in my life. It was the summer of 2007 and my grandma called to ask if I would wash the outside of her windows. Of course I did.

It made her so happy.

So I thought a lot about her today and what a great homemaker she was. In keeping up our home and raising Seton, I feel especially close to her. When I feel a rush of love at witnessing Seton accomplish something, I think to myself, “This is how Grandma felt once.”

The other day I was deleting voicemails which I NEVER do. I noticed I had one from an unknown number and couldn’t think of who it would be.

I clicked it and listened as my Grandma’s cheery voice told me hello and she loved me and missed me. She had called me from her hospital room months ago which is why it was an unknown number.

It’s a strange thing to hear the voice on your phone of someone who has passed away. It’s almost like they are there–having a conversation. I wanted to talk back and say, “Grandma!! Keep talking!! I love you, too!”

I have to think she was somehow motivating me to delete my voicemails so that she could say “Hello” and “I love you” that day.

That was one voicemail I did not delete.

I have to end on a lighter, brighter note!

Here are my clean windows:

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AND our new rug {which I love and was so worth the persuasion it took Davey to agree it was a worthwhile purchase}!

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What other house chore do I need to do and probably haven’t thought of?!

Airplane travel with a baby 0-13 months | Tips, tricks, and packing essentials

airplane, baby, travel with baby, airplane travel with baby, plane

I have taken Seton on 10 flights (!!) in 13 months, and thought I should share some of my well acquired knowledge to save you from some awkward arguments with airport staff and dirty stares from fellow plane travelers.

Let’s start with the basics.

–When checking in, make sure you have “infant in arms” written on your boarding pass or you will have to get out of the security line and go to “Special Services” to get your ticket changed.

–If security personnel see you get in line for security, they will usually redirect you to the “family” line. If they don’t see you right away, ask one of them if there is a certain line you should go in since you have a baby. It helps EVERYONE if you don’t stand in line for 30 minutes because baby will SCREAM if you do.

–Yes, you have to fold up your stroller to put it through the x-ray.

–The person who carries baby through security will have to get their hand swiped with a small cloth by a TSA agent right after walking through.

–You will have the option to board the plane before everyone else. DON’T DO IT. Thats 30 extra minutes your baby is stuck on the airplane, so 30 minutes sooner on the flight your baby will fuss. If baby is mobile, let him crawl/walk around as much as possible before boarding the flight. BE THE LAST TO BOARD.

–Don’t bring all the toys you own. The destination is so new to baby that he will be way more entertained in a new environment than by all the toys he plays with everyday. You can make things AT your destination toys (aka if you’re going to someone’s house, you can let baby play with a spatula or plastic bowl).

PACKING

Carseat: We have both checked ours and rented one. Some (most?) airlines allow you to check a carseat for free because it is considered a traveling baby item. If you plan on checking it, I recommend putting it in a giant garbage bag with the handles exposed so it doesn’t get ripped or overly germed. You can check it at the gate or at baggage. Renting one is easy and fairly inexpensive, so if you are traveling without another adult companion, it might be the better option because you would have less to carry in the airport.

Stroller: Useful in the airport for walking long distances, but if you don’t plan on using it once you get to your destination, a baby carrier would be nice because it’s less bulk. Depending on the age of your baby, don’t forget you have to put your baby somewhere (if not able to hand baby to your adult companion) to fold the stroller up. As Seton approached 13 months, we have used an umbrella stroller that comes in a travel bag and has a basket on the bottom for extra stuff. If you have a stroller that you can clip your carseat in, then you can gate check both.

Pack ‘n Play: Depending on the airline and the mood of the person who checks you in, this is NOT considered a “travel baby item” and you can not check it for free. (WHHAAAAATT?!?!?! I know. Insane.) If that’s the case, bring it to the gate. Ask the gate attendant for a pink tag to gate check it, without showing them what the pink tag is for. They’ll assume it’s a stroller, and you’ll check it for free. You did not read that here.

Milk: You can bring any kind of milk you need for baby (read: breastmilk, formula, whole milk). If you travel with it in quantities of greater than 3 ounces, you will most likely get pulled over in the security line to have it checked. They put it in a little machine that looks like it does nothing, then hand it back to you. A couple times when I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of security, I just spread the liquid out into 3 ounce bottles and was not stopped.

Diapers: Bring them for the plane because surely baby will have a blow out during take off.

Clothes: Duh. Bring extras.

Bibs, baby food, baby utensils: If baby is eating solids, bring one plastic bib so you can wash it after each use. If you bring multiple fabric bibs, they get gross. Don’t forget baby spoons.

Diaper bag: What is in your diaper bag is often the key to whether or not your baby will go crazy on the plane. I list some things to pack in the diaper bag below. I also want to mention that we always put disinfectant wipes in one of the outside pockets of the diaper bag so that as soon as we sit down in our plane seat, we disinfect EVERY surface around us, including the little laminated pamphlets. We remove any magazine in the seat pocket because GERMS. And baby will always want the germy magazine.

SOOOOOOO

Let’s talk about the contents of the diaper bag in regards to baby’s age! These are the ages I have travelled with Seton, and these are the tips that worked for us. Seton has done awesome on all plane flights, which I attribute to the fact that she is very entertained in new environments (like every baby known to man). I say that to encourage you to continue to travel! Every baby’s personality is drastically different, and you know your baby best. Do what you wish. Maybe these tips will give you some ideas!

8 weeks: Enjoy your trip! This was the easiest flight with Seton. Chances are you will start to nurse/feed your baby at take off as recommended to avoid ear popping and baby will fall asleep. Choose your nursing position wisely as you may be stuck in that position for the entirety of the flight. Make sure baby is fairly hungry when you board the plane so he WANTS to nurse. Timing with take off can be iffy…and there are always a couple announcements that wake baby up RIGHT after they fall asleep. Bring a pacifier if you use one so if baby refuses to nurse, he still sucks away at SOMETHING during take off and landing. (Diaper bag: blanket/swaddler, paci, bibs, nursing cover, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

5 months: You’ll still want to nurse/feed baby at take off and landing and he or she may fall asleep without promises of staying asleep for long. Pack a few small, noiseless toys that baby has never seen before and that are good for teething/gumming. NEW toys are the key. Baby will be way more interested in the plane seats/window/etc than his boring old toys he plays with all the time. I recommend the banana teether I have mentioned before on this blog. (Diaper bag: teethers, nursing cover, blanket, bibs, paci, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

6 months: Similar to 5 months, new teething toys are important. Seton didn’t want to nurse much during these flights because she was so interested in her surroundings. The new toys kept her attention. (Diaper bag: board books, teethers, nursing cover, bibs, paci, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

9 months: At this age, Seton thought the nursing cover was placed over her to play peek a boo, so THAT was awkward for the 12-year old boy sitting next to me. New books kept her attention during this flight as well as the movie playing on the 12-year old boy’s iPad. She loved snacking as well. (Diaper bag: books, new interactive toys, banana to snack on, Puffs, nursing cover, bibs, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

13 months: Interactive books. Pat that bunny, baby, if it keeps you quiet. We let Seton stand on the floor at our feet because she wanted to be standing and our laps just weren’t cutting it. We were also lucky enough to get a free upgrade to the Delta comfort seats that have more leg room. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you can get a free upgrade! Our favorite interactive books: Pat the Bunny, Farmyard 1 2 3, Airplane Flight. (Diaper bag: Fruit squeezies, mandarin oranges, bananas, interactive books, quiet interactive toys, nursing cover, bibs, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

This may be my longest post ever, and I still feel like I have so much to say!! I love that Seton is a little traveller and although it may take us a little longer to prepare for our trips, visiting family and friends around the country is so worth it!

Oh, and real quick advice for traveling long distances by car: drive through the night. The only way….

Do you have any advice on traveling with a baby? Leave it in the comments!

#eatdrinkandbemerton | Alexander and Kathleen Got Married

I love when my friends get Merton….I mean, MARRIED….

Kathleen’s wedding festivities were a little too fun and left me wishing I lived in a neighborhood with all my besties and we ate ChikFilA every morning and drank champagne every night.

We arrived in DC on a Wednesday…only appropriate when we will be busy with massages, manicures, pedicures, luncheons. Gotta start the weekend early!

We shared an Airbnb with some friends. Isn’t she super cute sitting on the stoop and getting bit by mosquitos?

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Seton appropriately chose her Athens, GA shirt to see all her Georgia buddies.
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While the ladies prepped for wedding, Davey and Seton went on a LOT of walks…

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Seton had her first McDonald’s double cheese burger (go ahead, mom judge me!! I’M PROUD!)

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The weekend was a whirlwind in the best sense of the word, and there was the most fitting amount of humor, emotions, nostalgia, and excitement for the future.

On the night of the rehearsal, we had an open mic for the bride and groom per the tradition in our circle of friends. I always love an open mic at the rehearsal dinner because it gives us a chance to hear what the groom’s lifelong friends have to say about him. And they said such wonderful things that seemed to fit so well with Kathleen.

Of course, when it was my turn to talk I got emotional and had an immediate urge to abort mission and find my way back to my seat. What came out was just a quick, “I love you, Kathleen. Be good to her, AJ.”

What I would have said if my emotions and stage fright didn’t get the best of me was:

Kathleen– I know that God brought us together as friends because I prayed for you before I knew you. Before going to college, I begged God to send good friends my way in Georgia. I met you the first week of school, and you asked me to walk to church with you. It was like God was telling me, “Here she is. Here is the friend you prayed for.”

I connected with you over the service work you had done in the Bronx and recognized immediately that you were someone that had a firm foundation in your faith.

Eleven years have passed since we first met, and our connection is only stronger.

In knowing you, I have become a better person.

You have shown me what it is like to be generous, especially generous of time. You drove me back to Indiana for Christmas break that first Christmas I knew you. You helped me move into my apartment in St. Louis to start PT school. You visited me after Seton’s birth on a weekend Davey was gone so I wouldn’t be lonely. These are just a few examples. You have given me so much of your time.

You have taught me what compassion is. You love with your whole heart. You yearn to make people smile, and you can make ANYONE smile. We joke that you have a way with the elderly, but really you just have a way with everyone. Just being around you is to love life.

You have made life FUN. Parties didn’t start until you arrived. Every great memory of college includes you.

Marriage is such a gift. It teaches us to be selfless and leads us to sainthood. AJ, in marrying Kathleen you will find yourself becoming a better person each minute, hour, day, and year. Be as good to her as she will be to you–

Cheers to the Mertons!

Wedding day morning started off with a southern bride’s breakfast request…

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The girls got ready in the bridal suite. Check out the view:

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She is about to walk down the aisle!! I was a little emotional here. How many times did we wonder who you would marry? How will you meet him? What will he be like? I love you, Kathleen!

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I met up with my hubby after the ceremony for a fun kidless night!

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Dancing doesn’t stop for photos.

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See the White House to the right of my head? Thanks, Obama!

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We enjoyed breakfast the following morning with another great view of DC:

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Kathleen and Alexander, I love you guys so much and am so excited to see you grow in marriage!

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Labor Day 2K15

We had fun visitors over Labor Day weekend, but they left Sunday evening leaving just the three of us for a quiet family Labor Day. We are really cherishing any days that neither of us are working–it’s a strange season of life we are in with weird work hours (for me).

It was a beautiful day, so we wanted to spend it outside! We went on a beautiful walk around Lake Calhoun and stopped at a fun playground for Seton.

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Seton took a good afternoon nap and Davey and I enjoy a beer, good conversation, and pulled pork on our back porch. I loved our time together, just the three of us. :)

Chris, Lauren, and Skylar come to MNPLS!

Seton’s finally ( I say ‘finally’ but I guess it’s only been 13 months…) at an age where she can sit still and focus on something for a few minutes at a time. She loves to stack her blocks now rather than just knocking down MY stacks!

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And she gets very serious at our public library. She is in a phase where she takes one object at a time and moves it from point A to point B. It’s like she has a really important job to do–ha! (It was really cute until “point B” was once the toilet. ;))

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She has turned into quite the climber! We can’t turn our backs or she is on top of the foot stools or standing on her rocking chair.

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We had some fun visitors over Labor Day weekend! Chris and Lauren drove up from Chicago, and we had a blast showing them our town! We started off Saturday with a walk around our cute town of Hopkins, MN. After morning naps, we headed to Mall of America!

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The back seat babes:

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I only had about 5 heart attacks watching Davey and Chris on the escalators with the strollers.

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Chris is a great dad!

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After afternoon naps (during which the parents watched Ninja Turtles, much to Davey’s delight) we headed to Lake Harriet Band Shell for a little picnic, drinks, live music, and chasing of a one-year-old!

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I love that these girls are little buddies!

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Why is it that she cries when I leave the room in our house and doesn’t let me shower or use the restroom without standing outside the door yelling, “Mommy!” but she is VERY happy to walk-run away from us in a crowd of people?

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The Little Stinker.

I don’t have pics of Sunday (what was I thinking!?), but we took them out to the town diner for breakfast, played at our local playground and finished the day with Juicy Lucy’s at the 5-8 Club.

We were so sad to say good bye to them!

All our friends are probably getting a little tired of us begging them to move here.

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Monday Musings |Why you should marry a good man (and what I mean by ‘good’)

The combination of a wedding at the end of this week and my husband’s birthday yesterday has me thinking of love and my husband…and how much I love my husband.

I do some really dumb things, but marrying him was one of my more brilliant ideas. Here’s why:

He knows how to say, “I’m sorry”…which ends up getting said a lot in marriage. He recognizes he isn’t perfect. He admits he’s wrong when he’s wrong.

He doesn’t let me always be right. Even though I am. (j to the k). He rarely gets really upset, so when he does, I find myself hanging my head because I know I did or said something wrong.

He’s energetic. Energy in a grown man translates to the lawn getting mowed, the groceries getting shopped, the bills getting paid, the baby getting bathed. Things get done around here. (well, he always starts them and does the hard parts, and I usually finish them)

He sees marriage as something that is more than him and me. He treats me well because he considers it his vocation, not just because he thinks I’m pretty or witty or interesting (because sometimes I’m not any of those things).

He is fearful in a manly way. He is fearful of not being able to provide and in his fear, I find stability. And he finds motivation. I know my career isn’t the only thing upholding our family financially, and that’s pretty awesome.

He respects me and tries to love me the way Christ loves me.

He talks to me. If he hates doing dishes, he tells me. If he needs to be alone and watch some show (usually with people wearing dirty brown clothes i.e. Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Peaky Blinders), he tells me so.

He thanks me for loving him. He doesn’t expect love or feel like he deserves love. He recognizes his faults and sees that I love him regardless.

Which I do. I love him so much.

Photo by Honey and Salt
Photo by Honey and Salt

I wrote about 5 Things to Consider When Looking for Mr. Right 4 months after we got married! Check it out!

Friday Favorites | Miscellany

I am kind of loving these swim suits, but am a little worried of looking too momish. Thoughts?

Kindle tells me I am 68% of the way through this book, and I don’t hate it. May be my favorite summer read so far.

Baby rompers (like this one) are the cutest things to ever exist. I can’t get over the way Seton’s skinny legs and diaper bottom look in her rompers!

I’m a loyal Pinch of Yum fan and having been loving their sweet treats this summer! Still my favorite food blog!!

Current favorite lip color goes to this guy.

I can relate the most to this birth story which I wish I read BEFORE Seton’s birth so that the possibility of a failed epidural was known to me.

…and that’s all for this Friday! Happy inter netting!

Friday Favorites | Baby Gear

When Davey and I went to Babies ‘R Us to set up a baby registry, I was hormonal and overwhelmed. We left as soon as I saw the carseat department and realized I AM ALREADY A TERRIBLE MOM BECAUSE I NEVER RESEARCHED WHICH CARSEAT IS THE BEST, AND I AM ALSO CRAVING A TACO RIGHT NOW. I felt like it would never be possible to research the best stroller, the best car seat, the best crib…you get the point. Davey still laughs about it.

I ended up completing the full registry online while snacking on Taco Bell. I allowed myself to look at ONE PAGE of options. Babies ‘R Us has 4 pages of carseats with 24 seats to a page! WAAAAAY too many choices.

Here’s where I share with you our favorite baby gear we have used over the past year.

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The stroller || They see me strollin’…they hatin’… Davey came home with this stroller from clearance at Babies ‘R Us when I was about 6 months pregnant. It was about 75% off–awesome deal–but I was worried because everyone told me I would want to fit my carseat right to the stroller. I wasn’t able to find a good adapter for our Chicco car seat we had already gotten. But, guess what? It never mattered. We live in a walkable town, so we rarely drive somewhere to walk. We just head out our front door. I have never really been in a situation where I wanted to transfer her from the car seat straight to the stroller. All in all, I am so happy with the stroller. It runs well, walks well, and even hikes well on uneven ground.

The car seat || Our little peanut still fits in this car seat. We have never had any issues. The base snaps easily into the car seat buckles in both our cars (we each have a base so either one can pick her up from day care).

The crib || If you know Davey, you know he likes a good deal. We found the best deal by ordering our crib from Walmart.com. It included a mattress and free shipping right to our doorstep. I wanted something fairly light (some cribs are so bulky), simple, and easily converted to a toddler bed. I was worried about the mattress, but so far so good. Seton isn’t complaining. 😉

The Baby Carrier || One of my coworkers gave me a hand-me-down Moby wrap that has worked quite nicely. I also used the K’tan which I really liked until Seton was around 8 weeks old, and it got too small for her. It’s a fixed amount of fabric (The Moby has loose ends you tie), so as Seton grew and the fabric stayed the same size, it no longer worked. If we have another baby, I might try the Ergo because I have heard good things. I imagine I will use a carrier more with the second since I will need my hands free for Seton.

The Swing || I am a huge advocate of not putting your baby in a “container” all the time (exersaucers, swings, jumpers, etc) but I am also a HUGE advocate of Happiest Baby on the Block (best thing EVER we will swear by it to everyone we know) where I learned that the swinging motion is calming and natural for babies. I used a swing similar to this one from 0-3 months (the ‘4th trimester’) to soothe Seton. I only let her in there for short periods and never let her sleep in it all night. It was a sanity life saver.

The pack ‘n play || This is our exact pack ‘n play that we have LOVED. The first few weeks of life, Seton slept next to our bed in the “newborn napper,” then transitioned to the “bassinet” around week 5, then to the crib (above) by week 8. With each transition, I would worry that she wouldn’t sleep well. She did fine! It also packs up easily for travel. Every baby is different though; this is just what ended up working for us.

The swaddle || One reason she transitioned so well was because swaddling was a sleep cue for her the first 3 months. We used this swaddle and followed the guidelines from Happiest Baby on the Block….and she was the happiest little baby on the block. We stopped swaddling at 3 months.

The diapers || Have I mentioned my husband loves good deals? He has compared the prices of Costco, diapers.com, Walmart, Target…and the cheapest diapers are….drum roll, please…Babies R Us brand diapers. Shocking, I know. I would have never thought. It’s not really “baby gear”, but just thought I would share.

What’s your favorite baby gear? Anything I am missing or should know about?