How to Recycle Your Old Changing Table

We stopped using my daughter’s changing table around the time she started wearing pull-ups, but we kept it for months afterwards because it was working well enough as a mini dresser. The bins were easy for her to access and the socks & undies drawer underneath the pad was high enough to keep little brother from pulling everything out over & over again (his favorite game elsewhere). But that big open space on top was WAY too convenient – it was a magnet for junk, so I knew we had to get rid of it. It was also time O got a real dresser anyway – those bins were looking smaller and smaller every year. (P.S. I took the picture below after I had already started trying to peel off the reusable stickers – there used to be 2 on the drawer as you can probably tell. There was also a third bin on the top shelf – snatched by a child at picture time – and a soft green minky changing pad cover that looked really nice all together).

changing table before

The Changing Table: Before

As you may remember (and if not, click here), our changing table already went through one small transformation when we painted it white. So I was all ready to give it a touch-up and find someone else with a new baby who could use it. But once I took the pad off, I noticed that we must have exceeded the weight limit at some point because the wood base underneath the pad was totally cracked and near collapse – scary! The drawer was also in worse shape than I thought (probably from rough toddler handling), so I was resigning myself to having to throw the whole thing in the trash when my husband came up with a brilliant idea…

The Changing Table: After

The Changing Table: After

Yeah, he cut it in half; and it literally took less than 1 minute with a power saw. Now we have a brand new coffee table/ train table (which coincided well with a certain Christmas gift) which has a handy rim to prevent rolling vehicles from escaping AND storage underneath for toys. Since our previous outside-the-bedroom storage solution had been a giant tupperware bin (which you can actually see in the photo below), I was very happy with this new upcycle. The giant bin would have fit underneath the new coffee table, but we thought the smaller bins would cause less frustration (and, fingers crossed, less mess) when the kids are seeking and removing other toys. I am still on the hunt for prettier bins though – the green and blue bins we previous had there (which I like a lot more) were moved to the top of O’s new wardrobe since they match her room really well.

changing table collage

Coffee Table: hideout and butt elevator? yoga positioner?

My son obviously has other ideas about the new changing table coffee table. (And no, he didn’t fall. He crawled off the edge, positioned himself as so and stayed that way for about 5 minutes). Whatever makes him happy. :)

I was hoping to turn the top half of the changing table into something; it was too big for a doll bed, possibly a play kitchen somehow? But due to space constraints, weather too cold to work outside in, and the already damaged frame, although I was sad to do it, we had to throw out the top. However, if you do something similar and come up with a good use for the top half of your old changing table, I’d love to see it!

Until next time, Happy New Year everyone.

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4 Reasons All Baby Boys Should Wear Girls Leggings

tight pants collage

So stylish and he doesn’t even know it

I just had an epiphany so I’m going to keep this post short and to the point. Skinny jeans are in for everyone but apparently leggings didn’t make the cut. Whatever man-rules there are about tightness in that general area, I’m sure they don’t apply to a baby in diapers.  So here’s why all baby boys should wear little girls leggings (at least until they start making boys leggings):

baby losing his pants

Losing his pants while getting into mischief

1.   No more rolling up your son’s pants to keep him from tripping on them. And/Or no more pulling up his pants over and over (and over).

It’s inevitable that when your child begins to walk, he’s going to step on his pants. Sometimes my son even did it on purpose. And even if you’re sure you’ve finally got the perfect roll this time, his pant legs are probably going to fall back down in about 5 minutes. Some boys pants have elastic or ribbing at the ankles, but I’ve found they stretch out during wear and even those end up falling over my son’s toes. Crawlers can have problems too: they’ll land a knee on one wide pant leg but won’t let that stop them from moving forward and down goes the trou. Or their pants will wrap over their feet and, while trying to push for momentum on the carpet,  they will simultaneously pull their pants lower and lower. But add leggings and all these problems magically disappear.

2.   Instantly avoid the kick-out-one-leg-the-minute-you-try-to-put-the-other-leg-in-the-pants trick. Often performed on changing tables.

Stretchy cotton shorts help somewhat because you can pull those up pretty far on one leg and still bend the other leg into the remaining hole, but there are no long boy pants on this earth that can prevent my son from Houdini-ing himself out of them before I can get the second leg in. I usually have to put one leg on, then stand my infant son up against me to get the second leg partially on, then half pull half bounce the pants up to his waist, then put him back down flat to try to fix the zipper or snap before he turns himself over. Phew. It’s not easy. Girls leggings, however, are much harder to kick out of (though not impossible, unfortunately). Usually I can get my son’s second leg in while he’s turned the first leg inside out but still hasn’t gotten it completely off his foot – which means I can right the first leg easily and pull the pants over my son’s butt while he’s still flat on the changing table and he’s clothed in seconds instead of minutes.

3.   In the winter, no more cold chills blowing up your son’s pant legs (also noteworthy when in carriers or slings).

When my firstborn was a baby and the weather started turning cool, I noticed how often we were readjusting and pulling her pants back down as we held her. We wore her in a Baby K’Tan wrap carrier a lot and that little bit of fabric pulling her securely towards me was enough to make her pants ride up too. Even sitting down in a shopping cart could expose skin in most pants. But since leggings are tight enough to never fall over her toes, we could put my daughter in pairs that were a little big so that there was more length to prevent ride-up and protect her from the elements without worrying about her tripping over them the minute we got back inside. When my son was born, I’d already learned these lessons.

Even when your baby’s pants don’t ride up, the cold could still be sneaking up around their legs and most boys socks aren’t long enough to significantly combat the problem. Add some leggings, though, and problem solved! Plus you can layer the offending pants over the top of your leggings when the weather gets a little more chilly. P.S. don’t discount full tights either, just think of them as leggings with built in socks – why they don’t make tights for baby boys who have outgrown footie pants I still don’t know.

4.   Boys in tight pants are hipster cool.

Wearing girls pants doesn’t mean you have to parade your son in pink – although, if you do, more power to you. Grab a pair in basic black or better yet, stretchy girls jeggings, and watch your kid rock play group.

Planning our Itsy Bitsy Spider First Birthday Party

spider label collage watermark

Unbelievable. It’s almost time for Number 2 (aka Oren)’s first birthday. I admit I used to roll my eyes a little every time someone said it with a nostalgic sigh, but one day it’ll hit you – the time really does fly! Funny thing about time though: when you’re looking forward to something it can move faster or slower depending on what you don’t want it to do. Ten more minutes until the school bell rings takes forever because you want the day to be over. But I’m so excited to be planning this party and loving every minute of it and then all of  sudden I’m like, “Wait… what?! It’s already Thursday?!! I only have how many weeks left?!”

Anyway, Grandpa in California decided he wanted to throw the big 01 party this year and we needed to check off a long-overdue visit on our end, so that decided things quickly. Nana Mark’s monster theme is going to be spectacular but I obviously don’t want to miss out on a second opportunity for cake… I mean, I don’t want to miss out on having a party with my east coast friends masquerading as a party for my one year old who won’t even remember it (except in pictures – which is what I have to keep reminding my husband to prevent it from turning into a lame single balloon and sheet cake type of event). So… we’re having 2 birthday parties; bi-coastal celebrations!

P.S. Since I’m so cool to be having an east and west coast party for my son, I’m also going to pretend to be a movie star as we schlep car seats, a stroller, diaper bags, gobs of toys, suitcases, 2 children and god knows what else through the airport. I’m pretty sure all I need is a funky new infinity scarf, big sunglasses, new books on my Kindle and a secret Godiva stash. I have an excellent imagination.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider theme for the east coast party came about because it’s the first song that ever really caught Oren’s attention – stopped him from squirming on the changing table or fussing while getting into a car seat – and it became a favorite. Unfortunately, the minute we stop the song he usually goes into hysterics, so there have been some memorable never-ending musical adventures. Plus spiders are cool (and my 3 year old is totally into bugs right now – every time we go outside she tries to force an ant to hitchhike on her hand to destiny unknown).

Sorry this post has serious ADD! Anyway, when I started buying things for the party, I realized that most of the adorable shops I love that sell printable invites, etc., didn’t offer Itsy Bitsy Spider themed items. For such a popular nursery song, I was really surprised. Most of what I could find was in Halloween oranges, purples and black – not the happiest colors. But I had already fallen in love with the spider idea and nothing else seemed right for Oren.

So, I made this Pinterest board and decided to emphasize the “out came the sunshine” and “down came the rain” parts of the song. First, I made the color scheme bright blue and yellow – nice, happy colors for a little boy’s birthday party. Then, I focused on those 4 visuals: rain, clouds, sun, spider (I’m pretty convinced there’s no way to make a water spout look good on anything but the invite). There are actually lots of “You are my Sunshine” themed party printables so I tagged a few as something I might be able to use with slight alterations (just add spider, right?). But eventually I decided to enlist the help of a talented graphic designer on Etsy to design something original and adorable for me. Etsy has this great feature where you can request a custom order from sellers that are willing to do accommodate them – so no matter how crazy your idea, someone out there will probably help you make it happen. Luckily my idea wasn’t so crazy (for once).  ;)

Here’s what Mia at thepartyfairydesigns on Etsy, came up with for me (also pictured at the top of this post):

spider party xtra collage watermark

clockwise from top left: invite, t-shirt iron-on design (!), treat bag toppers, party hat

And this is just a VERY small part of what I got for only $32 ($12 for the invite and $20 for the rest of the custom party package). Mia even made me a personalized coloring book page for Oren and his little guests, a welcome sign, a custom happy birthday bunting, and more. Click here to see the amazing amount of stuff she’ll make for you in a custom party package.

So the decor is mostly done, just need to do some printing and cutting, buy a tablecloth, plates, streamers and such. Now I can move on to trying to figure out what we’re going to serve our guests to eat. I give Mia total credit for coming up with rainwater as a beverage idea (and I’ve got a cool label to go with it) but I’ll need a bit more than that. Wish me luck! And please, comment if you have any ideas – I’d love some suggestions!

Boring Babies

first easter

I was looking at my adorable little lump of baby flesh the other day, wondering when he will start being a little more person-like. My mom laughs at me for this. I love babies, but if I’m totally honest, I think they’re a little boring. Of course it’s not my baby’s job to entertain me, but I just love watching their personalities develop and I’m obsessed about milestones – I look forward to each new milestone like it’s Christmas. I try to enjoy these fleeting baby moments that disappear faster than you can imagine, but I can’t get rid of the “I can’t wait! I can’t wait!” feeling bubbling around inside me.

There’s nothing better than the moment your child really starts talking: being surprised at the words they copy in their babyish tongue and later the actual, independent thoughts that come out of their little mouths (!), listening to them chatter to themselves while playing, and the silly things that make them collapse in giggles (my preschooler still thinks that covering my face with my hair and watching me pffft it away from my face is about the funniest thing on the planet). Almost every day I write down something new or funny my daughter has said.

In second place for the best baby moments of all time, I’ll put the moment they start being mobile. A lot of parents shared sympathetic looks with me when they saw O starting to pulling herself up on chairs and said, “Oh, here comes the hard part – when they start moving around on their own!” Usually I murmur something agreeably, but in my head I’m shouting, “Are you kidding me?! I am SO excited! This is the part I’ve been waiting for!”

I get the sympathetic looks even earlier now. When we’re out and my preschooler is walking next to the stroller, it’s like everyone feels they must warn me of the hell that is assuredly coming now that I have 2 children. If I tried to explain how I really felt, I’d probably come off like an evil scientist rubbing her hands together with a manic smile – “It’s going to be amazing!”  Of course there are also times when I want to rip out my hair in frustration (the tantrums, oh god the tantrums). But they don’t last long, I forget about them just as quickly as my daughter does (squirrel? squirrel? sorry, Pixar joke) and even the worst episodes I’ll look back on one day with a sigh about the “good times.”

So, anyway, I was looking around for information personalities characteristics manifesting in babies. I remember O was just always such a happy baby – she honestly didn’t cry unless she was hungry or tired (even being wet didn’t really bother her, something that has actually backfired now that we’re at potty training time…) – she took a regular 1-2 hour nap twice a day would entertain herself happily for blissful amounts of time. I guess because it was always just so easy to say she was a happy baby, it was easier to feel like I knew her. Now that I don’t have a simple, one word explanation for my second baby’s personality, I’ve been asking myself what Number 2 is really like? Do I know him? What kind of preschooler will he be? The quiet, shy child who hides behind my legs? The kid that runs circles around his parents and never seems to stop moving? Is it too early to know this stuff?

Parenting.com had this article about the 9 traits researchers believe babies inherit and which reveal themselves from birth and over their first few months of life. But no mater what type of personality your child has, the article states, knowing this “you can help him realize his full potential by providing him with the opportunity to experience and discover what best suits him.” The traits are:

  1. Activity level
  2. Regularity
  3. Sociability
  4. Adaptability
  5. Intensity
  6. Disposition
  7. Distractibility
  8. Persistence
  9. Sensitivity

Going through these with Number 2:

  1. high activity level definitely – he’s bouncing at every available moment and wants to be entertained 24/7. We’re lucky to get 5 minutes of self entertaining
  2. pretty regular in his eating and sleeping habits
  3. he’s not around a lot of other people since we’ve been winter shut-ins but he definitely has moments when he wants his mommy and no one else (like the minute I take him from Daddy or Mimi, he stops crying)
  4. he seems to tolerate changes pretty well: falling asleep in places other than his crib, accepting new foods, etc
  5. very intense. He goes from laughing to omg-I’m-going-to-die-of-hunger screaming in 1 second flat
  6. it’s fairly easy to get him to smile but he also seems to be an observer. Especially if his sister is in eyesight, he’s always watching her and mirroring her emotions.
  7. I would have said very distractible earlier, but lately he’s been having clear favorites/interests and voicing his displeasure when things are taken from him.
  8. I’d say not very persistent. He seems to get easily frustrated when he can’t reach a toy but this might change once he can move around better.
  9. He is fussy but I’m not sure whether it’s because he’s sensitive to his environment

I’m still not sure how to collect all that information into a single word or even a basic idea about what it means for Number 2’s personality, but it did give me lots to think about. The article on Parenting.com concludes, “In the end, it’s your perceptions and reactions to his traits and behavior that will go a long way toward shaping your baby into a happy, well-adjusted child…”  Absolutely.

Infant Car Seats VS All-in-One Convertible Car Seats

I think most first time parents, or at least all the ones I see waiting in our pediatrician’s office, go for a basic infant car seat like we did. You know the ones I’m talking about; it’s got the handle on the top and the base that stays in the car. We got a Graco SnugRide 32 for our first baby. Well, infant car seats are great for a number of reasons:

Graco Snugride 35

Graco Snugride 35

  1. Portable – If baby is asleep when you park the car, you can pop the whole car seat out to carry baby undisturbed into the house. You can also easily stick most infant car seats on a travel-system stroller without disturbing them if they’re sleeping or just in a good mood (we found that getting in and out of the car seat was generally the most upsetting to our babies).
  2. Fast – It is a lifesaver to be able to adjust baby’s straps and buckle them in nice and cozy before leaving the house (especially if you had a 2 door car in the beginning like we did – what were we thinking?!). Once you get to the car, most infant car seats come with a base that allows you to secure it by setting the car seat on top and aligning it with a click. It takes about 5 seconds and you’re good to go.
  3. Winter Bonus – If you’re trying to avoid dressing your baby in bulky winter wear while strapped into the car seat, there are lots of covers for infant car seats that let you ensure baby’s warmth and optimum safety.

With time and experience, we figured out what worked best for us and what didn’t. Here’s what we did not like about our infant car seat:

  1. Heavy – There are lots of different ergonomic handle designs and arm pads you can attach, but all infant car seats are bulky, heavy, and hard to carry – it’s why they’re so safe. Remember, even the lightest car seat won’t be light once your baby is inside – and babies put on weight so fast! I dreaded carrying it just from our house to the car.
  2. Short Lifespan – Even though our daughter was a tiny thing, she couldn’t use her infant car seat for more than a year (and even if she could have fit, she really began to hate being so reclined – she wanted to see the world, look out the windows, etc.). I have noticed some new infant-style car seats with fancy multi-position bases that allow you to use them rear facing up until age 2 (or the seat’s height and weight limits) like the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 Infant Car Seat. It’s pretty amazing but still requires you to get a new seat after 2 years instead of 1.
  3. Expensive (comparably) – Our Graco Snugride 32 retailed for approximately $150. After one year we had to buy a second toddler car seat which retailed about $300 (we bought it for less on Amazon though). Luckily, our toddler car seat (more about it below) is a convertible seat and can also be used as a booster later (up to 120 lbs), so we won’t have to buy her anything else in this department.
  4. Little Resale Value – Most experts advise against buying used car seats so you may not have many takers if you try to resell (or they’ll want a steep discount… like they’ll give you $20). It is wise advice though because car seats that have been in a car accident may have hidden damage and no longer offer adequate protection. Car seats also have expiration dates because over time the plastic can weaken and safety standards can change. When you’re dealing with something that could mean the difference between life and death for your child, it just isn’t worth it. I recommend taking your infant car seat into a Babies R Us during one of their Great Trade-In Events. From the company’s website: “The Great Trade-in Event places an emphasis on specific baby products, such as cribs and car seats that, due to safety concerns, may not be the best candidates to be handed down or resold.” At least you get 25% off something new that way!
Diono Radian RXT

Diono Radian RXT

So, as you probably guessed, we did not buy an infant car seat for our second baby. We were actually so pleased with O’s toddler car seat, the Diono Radian RXT (formerly Sunshine Kids), that, seeing the acceptable weight range started at 5 pounds, we just started him out in the same model his sister loves. We’re done buying car seats for his whole car-seat-needing life!

To be honest, there have been many times I’ve wished I didn’t have to unstrap Number 2 to take him out of the car, knowing he’d wake up the minute I did. But there’s no guarantee he would have stayed blissfully asleep in his car seat like his sister used to either. So, no regrets. We upgraded to a 4 door family car a while ago (thank god), so buckling baby into his seat no longer involves folding myself into origami (the infant car seat was so annoying to carry, we sometimes left it in the car). And, as with my first, I prefer baby wearing (Baby K’Tan shout-out!) to using a stroller while they’re tiny anyway.

If you do decide to start your newborn in an all-in-one convertible car seat like we did, there are more and more appearing on the market now (like the Graco Smart Seat All-in-One Convertible Car Seat) so you’ll have a lot of choices. But, before you start shopping, I have to mention a few extra things about the Diono Radian RXT car seat that we really loved:

  1. The Diono Radian RXT can be rear-facing up to 45 lbs which makes it the highest rear-facing seat available in the US. That’s nothing to sneeze at. (heh, who says that anymore?) According to this article on CNN from Parenting.com, a study “found that children under age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. Another study found riding rear-facing to be five times safer than forward-facing.” And just so we’re all clear, I hope everyone knows that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that all children be rear-facing until age 2 (or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their car seat). In her Diono, our daughter O was happy rear-facing until almost 3 years old – seriously, leg squish was not a problem.
  2. The Diono Radian RXT has a very slim profile that the brand says allows you to fit 3 across the backseat of most standard size cars. Now, we don’t have 3 kids, so I didn’t think this would be important until we tried putting O’s old Graco Snugride in the back next to her Diono (before our second was born while we were still in research mode). There was NO WAY anyone would have been able to squish into that third seat. We tried every configuration. Amazingly when our second Diono arrived, we put Olyla by the window, Number 2 in the center, and our third seat was usable for an adult.
The backseat of our car

The backseat of our car

If you’ve fallen in love with a particular All-in-One car seat, definitely share the name of it in the comments. As I said above, there are lots more brands creating their own versions since the AAP changed their safety recommendations.

*I was not compensated in any way by Graco or Diono for this review.

Hello Again!

someecards.com - Sorry I kept you up all night, mommy. On the bright side, we get to do it all over again tomorrow!
Hi again everybody! Sorry it took me so long. While I only took 12 weeks maternity leave from work, it look me quite a bit longer to completely regroup enough to make time for blogging again – having 2 children and working full-time is WAY harder than it was the first time around with 1 baby! Plus I really wanted to devote every free moment for a while to getting to know my new little baby boy and introducing him to my preschooler and the family :)

Here are the highlights from my time away from here:

  • Number 2 (which was his pregnancy nickname – we’re still waiting on something better) is holding steady at about the 50th percentile which (I’d forgotten) is still much bigger than his big sister was. While O was always a little behind the clothing sizes (at 9 months, she’d still be wearing her 6 month onesies), Number 2 at 5 months is comfortably wearing 6-9 month outfits. In comparison, he’s huge!
  • O has taken to being a big sister like a champ – my only real fear is that she’ll accidentally smother him during a hug.  We made her the official diaper disposer, a job she takes very seriously. And O often asks if she can play with the baby, meaning she wants me to put him on the floor next to her in her room while she places all her toys around him one by one (asking approval from me for each toy in case some are too small – adorable).
  • Number 2 goes from fine and happy to head-on-fire screaming in 2 seconds flat. No warning whimpers or warming up. It’s fun times.
  • I’m pretty sure Number 2 has a milk sensitivity so I’ve given up (most) dairy until I stop breastfeeding. I’m not positive that’s what was causing his fussiness, but it didn’t bother me any since I like soy products anyway.
  • O corrected me when I tried to call both my babies my “honey bunnies” so I’ve lately learned my nicknames are no longer interchangeable. “No Mommy, baby’s Sweetie,” she said. So I guess that’s that. Sweetie wasn’t necessarily the nickname of the hundreds I probably use daily that I would have picked to stick, but clearly it’s not my choice. (Luckily it’s still my choice in the blog so Number 2 wins out over Sweetie for now).
  • I swear Number 2 makes this high-pitched coo that is identical to the canned baby sound used for TV shows.
  • It may be just the difference between personalities or it may be because of their gender, but while O would lay happily on her tummy time mat or in her crib and just play to herself for 20 minutes at a time, Number 2 wants to be entertained constantly.
  • In related news, I’ve found I can do tons of stuff one-handed that I never thought possible. For example, when both my children decided they were dying of starvation at exactly the same time, I discovered I have the Olympic ability to nurse my baby while standing up and making lunch for my preschooler.

Our New Baby Boy!

Oren Calloway
7 pounds, 1 ounce &  21 inches


Ocean Nursery Update 4 – Under the Sea Crocheted Baby Mobile

We had an ocean themed nursery for our first baby, and we’re continuing that theme for our second. Since I crocheted O’s baby mobile, and since I think it’s still comforting for her to have it hanging from the ceiling above her bed (it has been there all her life), I didn’t think it was really fair to cheat baby number 2 out of a mobile of his own. Of course, I decided this way too late so I’ve been crocheting every night until my hands ache. But at least it paid off and I (just barely) made my deadline (yes, I’m hanging the mobile the night before my c-section).

So, first I needed to come up with a new list of colorful underwater creatures that weren’t entirely impossible to crochet. The first mobile had: a lobster, mermaid, humpback whale, octopus and a striped fish. After much debate and pattern searching, I decided on: a sea slug, angler fish, stingray, starfish and seahorse (lot’s of S’s strangely). After deciding on a way to hang the mobile, I ended up needed a few more creatures so I added in a penguin and more starfish (since they were easy and looked good in lots of different colors).

my sea slug

my angler fish

Don’t you love how my sea slug looks like he might also be going to an underwater disco? (I used Martha Stuart Glitter Eyelash yarn). On the angler fish, I used glitter safety eyes from this site and a cool lace for his teeth to make him a little more friendly. The stingray below has pipe cleaners in his “wings” and tail to give them a nice shape.

my stingray

my seahorse

my penguin

my starfish

If you’re crafty-inclined and want to try out some of these patterns too:

  • Sea Slug – $4 pattern from edafedd on Etsy (well written, easy to follow patterns!)
  • Angler Fish – free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn, taken from the book 75 Seashells, Fish, Coral & Colorful Marine Life to Knit & Crochet.
  • StingRay (or Manta Ray minus the mouth flaps) – free pattern from Roman Sock
  • Blue Starfish – free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn
  • Seahorse – free pattern from Mausica’s Magical Menagerie
  • Amigurumi Penguin – free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn

And here are pictures of the original ocean mobile I crocheted for O (email me if you’d like links to the patterns I used for the first mobile and I’ll try to dig them out for you):

octopus (well, pentapus)

whale

lobster

striped fish

mermaid

O’s mobile

The second thing I had to figure out was how to hang the mobile. Ah memories… I remember giving my husband and his work friends the next to impossible task of drilling holes of equal height and equal distance from one another into a large wooden egg for mobile number one. I’m so proud of him for totally pulling it off! But I think he’s already has enough “fun” project memories from this pregnancy, so I wanted to hang this second mobile in a more simple way. I think the easiest hanging options are a wooden cross or a circle or maybe multiple tiered wooden bars (there I go getting complicated again). I found some hanging examples below on Etsy (and, by the way, if you click on the pictures, I linked back to Etsy where you can purchase them):

by LovelySymphony on Etsy

by Yarntoybox on Etsy

by Lovelygiftforkid on Etsy

But, as luck would have it, I came across a gray Pressa Octopus Clothes Drying Rack from IKEA that I’d had lying around the house for a while (it was in my Christmas stocking) and my mom suggested I use that for the mobile… brilliant!!! (and also – duh Nicole!!!). I took off all the clip hooks and I just used the existing plastic loops to hang the mobile pieces from.

Drumroll please…

Ta-Da!

And the all-important baby view of the mobile – a purple starfish is going in the empty spot

Ocean Nursery Update 3 – The Squid Dresser

We’re getting close to the finish line with this pregnancy so I’ve been insane about finishing up all our little projects for the nursery (also called nesting)- the good news is that most of them were started long ago and are just waiting on a few final touches. For example, the dresser. The dresser was delayed because of super humid days and lots of rain which didn’t work out so well for airbrushing with water-based paint (i.e. on humid days, it seemed hours of work could come right off if you just breathed too strongly on it). Luckily, the weather finally cooperated!

The dresser re-do only had 4 steps:

  1. changing the ugly drawer pulls
  2. painting the dresser blue
  3. airbrushing a cool design
  4. clear-coat to protect it and seal in any VOCs from the airbrushing

The drawer pulls were originally brass but are pictured below right after we tried painting them blue to match the dresser. Still ugly and too busy looking, so we decided to replace them with really simple round knobs. Also my husband and I both hated how noisy drawer pulls like these are (especially when your toddler figures out how to lift and drop the handles). Unfortunately, the screw holes from the original drawer pulls were too large (and although we could have suffered, the outer holes seemed too far apart and the inner holes too close together) so Nick drilled new holes for our knobs and puttied the old ones.

New dresser knobs

old dresser handles – didn’t like them in blue either

Step number 2 was to paint the dresser blue in our fabulous No-VOC Mythic Paint (we went with the Blue Cadet color). I love how just changing the color made it immediately look so much happier! I was originally voting for a white dresser but I’m glad I let Nick change my mind. And I never really noticed the cool scrolling on the bottom of the dresser until after we’d painted it – kind of like some edgy design you’d see on a piece at IKEA. (yes, I love IKEA).

dresser and daughter in blue

And the final step was my husband’s vision. He decided on a squid, in keeping with our ocean theme, and when I mentioned that the white splatter-like detail on his tentacles reminded me of a view of the universe from space, he was inspired to add some stars as background (also our little Muffin absolutely LOVES stars).

finished squid on dresser

Forgot to drill holes for knobs on the test drawer – oops.
And sorry about the lighting (we have a yellow sun light in the bedroom) but Ta-Da!

Infant Sleep Safety – Only 31% of Blogs Contain Correct Info!

I received a newsletter update from BabyCenter.com with a link to a story about infant sleep safety and thought I’d check it out:

“According to a study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, Google internet searches related to infant sleep safety often do not reflect AAP recommendations.”

By the way, AAP stands for American Academy of Pediatrics. The article continues that:

“Blogs, retail product reviews, and individuals’ websites most often provided incorrect information on infant sleep safety. Blogs were only about 31 percent accurate.”

Wow. And even only 80% of government websites were accurate – that’s really scary. But this definitely motivated me to try to get some more correct info out there in cyberspace!

Unfortunately, the article posted at BabyCenter.com left out a key piece of information – where parents SHOULD look for correct information about sleep safety for their babies!!!

Luckily, a quick search on The Journal of Pediatrics website allowed me to locate the original article abstract which contains this info:

“Dr. Moon suggests the following websites as good starting places for infant sleep safety information: Health Finder (www.healthfinder.gov), Medline Plus (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus), and Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch/HONcode).”

And of course, I would assume the AAP website itself and their sister site HealthyChildren.org (both of which I found are much easier to navigate).

But just so we’re all clear, here are the updated Infant Sleep Safety Guidelines (taken from this article on the AAP website and this article from the Healthy Children site):

  1. Always put your baby on their back to sleep (I’ll always remember the campaign slogan I saw in a subway train once: “Face up to wake up.”)
  2. Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep. Also do NOT put baby to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, or cushions.
  3. Don’t put anything in the bed with your baby. That means NO: blankets, soft objects, toys, stuffed animals, crib bumpers, quilts, pillows, comforters, sheepskins or loose bedding
  4. Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  5. Don’t allow smoking around your baby
  6. The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  7. Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS
  8. Infants should be immunized. Evidence suggests that immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
  9. Once again, Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
  10. Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  11. Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
  12. Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Here’s to sweet dreams for everyone.

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