Sunday, September 30, 2012

Monday Review: Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike (first stage)

I was not paid to endorse this product, these words are my own. Affiliate link used.
For Nathan's first birthday, Jason and I decided on a Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike! We were more than excited when we saw it. Since we only have experience in assembly and the first stage, that's all I will be reviewing.

Manufacturer Description: The 4-in-1 Trike is the ultimate Grow-with-Me Trike. It offers 4 ways to ride, to accommodate ages 9 months to 5 years: it easily converts from a stroller to a steering trike, learning-to-ride-trike, and finally a classic trike. The 4-in-1 Trike features safety features for the youngest riders, including removable wrap around safety bars with cupholder and snack tray, and a 3-point harness. The trike has quiet ride tires. The height-adjustable push-handle and unique stroller-style canopy remove for older riders. The sturdy steel frame and adjustable seat ensure it will last for years.
Jason put the trike together a couple days before Nathan's birthday, and we had to take it out immediately for a walk! Nathan loves it.

Storage: The cupholder is awesome! The little storage on back is adorable but you can't fit much into it. Not sure what I could keep there.

Control: Steering is something else with this thing. You directly control the front wheel with the handlebars,  way from the back, and you must make fairly wide turns in order to direct it. There aren't really any shock absorbers so it's a bit of a bumpy ride.

Fit: If you've got a big guy like I do, it is a challenge to cram him into the holder. See? He fills it up. We have to angle him just right to get his legs where they need to be, otherwise he gets stuck on the way in. The next stage says I have to wait six more months, but I have a feeling we will be trying a lot sooner.

Safety: This may also be because Nathan is in the 85th+ percentiles of height and weight, but going over speed bumps can tip this thing. The harness system is a bit strange to me. This must be more for smaller babies, because the straps do not hold Nathan in place at all. He loves seeing the ground pass by, trying to reach it and all, so he always scoots hit butt over to one side and leans. No matter how tight the straps are, he manages to scootch. Whatever, no risk of him falling out - that plastic piece keeps him inside.

Appearance: This thing is adorable. I love the vibrant color, and the classic Radio Flyer logo and design. It looks awesome in all stages. The one exception for me is the canopy. Looks and feels flimsy. But it's only there for a short time anyway.

Quality: It is made out of high quality, sturdy plastic with some metal pieces. The directions are easy to understand, and this thing is pretty darn solid.

Overall: I believe this is a high quality product, designed for the average baby/toddler, and this is something I can recommend. I think the main focus of this product is taking a classic-style tricycle and adding pieces so that it can be enjoyed earlier. Stage One Rating: 7/10

Anything else you'd like to know? Feel free to leave comments :-)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Aloha Friday 9/28/12

Another week has flown by! I hope it was good to you all. Happy Aloha Friday everyone!

This week's question is:

What is one thing that has changed in your life in the past year?

For me, I could go with the obvious getting married, having a child, but I think it is just too easy. A product of these two, however, is the next biggest change in my life: I have finally begun to be more confident in my self. I was feeling this way before I had Nathan, but it felt like a huge step down in confidence as I panicked my way through the first few months. With research and worry and stress I somehow made it through (and so did Nathan!) and I figured out that he is not made of glass. I have a fair amount of common sense, and I know what is best for the little guy. I can do this, and have been for a long time now. Plus, I'm awesome! Come on! ;-)

So what has changed in your life? Share in the comments :-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Breastfeeding Survey #1

Hey guys, if you get a chance please take my survey about breastfeeding! It's for anyone to take, not just nursing women!

Jump to breastfeeding survey

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Review: North States Superyard Play Yard

I was not paid to endorse this product, these words are my own. Affiliate links used.
This product has been a huge help to me since Nathan became mobile. He has always been big for his age (I believe still above the 90th percentile in height and weight) and regular play yards/travel cribs did not provide enough room for him to move at all. Ever since I purchased this superyard baby jail (I say this with love, of course) I have been able to keep up with the household chores! Usually. You know how it goes.

This product is durable, convenient, affordably priced, and comes in both color and plain white. You can even purchase extra extensions to give your child even more room as he grows!

Durability: The superyard gates are made out of a fairly hard and very durable plastic. This plastic is just flexible enough that if you happen to trip over it (if you're like me, you will do this more than once) it will bend the tiniest bit instead of crashing down with you.

Convenience: The gates are attached with pieces that allow you to adjust the angle between each one almost 360 degrees. This is helpful for transport because it folds right up and you can carry it with a little handle. Also, everyone's housing situation is different. Depending on the square footage, furniture, heating vents, any any other number of variables; you  will need flexibility in how you set up this thing. It even comes with a little pamphlet that warns of the only shapes you should avoid because of risk of tipping the fence over.

Affordability: Depending on where you buy this, the price will vary a little bit. Amazon, as you may know, will update your cart if you have items in it that change price. BabiesRUs has this product listed for around $80 for the colorful 6-piece set, while on Amazon right now the 8-piece set is around $111. So, per piece, this is within $0.50. Negligible. Unless you go to BabiesRUs, and get one of those 20% off any product (except the 20 or so listed in the fine print) coupons with your receipt. You can use it on this baby gate.

Other: This gate is pretty tall - 26 inches high. This has given Nathan lots of practice pulling himself up to stand, and walking side to side. You can hang toys from any area on the fence, and it even comes with rubber grippies for the bottom to hold it in place.


Anything else you'd like to know about this product? Please feel free to ask in the comments!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nathan - the Toddler

I am truly amazed that 365 days have passed since Nathan joined our family. As much as I remember my water breaking, waiting around at the hospital, and that entire affair - I cannot recall how it was as just the two of us.

The past year has flown by, as time seems to as we age, and it's crazy to try and remember all that has happened.

Nathan as a newborn infant would not sleep unless he was cuddled up on me or Jason. I loved the closeness, and I was exhausted and napping quite a bit at that time as well.

His first bath at home was exciting - and hated by Nathan. Jason and I were worried about his temperature, about the risk of dropping the slippery baby, and more I'm sure.

Nathan's first holiday season is more of a blur than anything. We were sleep-deprived, and Nathan was too young to do much. He was very good with everyone, didn't cry once at Christmas!

I'm not sure if Jason and I even stayed up until midnight for New Year's. If so, it was probably along the lines of. "3...2...1...Happy New Year's!" Let's go to bed.

We had a half birthday party, just as an excuse to invite people over and get together.

Our first trip to the zoo - despite the huge downpour we had a fun time. Even got Nathan to fall asleep in the stroller for the first time in months!

We took Nathan swimming a few times in the pool. He loves splashing around, but got bored at being restricted to a floaty or being in our arms.

Bath time is no longer hated by Nathan - in fact he splashes around so much that more water ends up outside of the bathtub.

Nathan started sitting up on his own, rolling around, crawling, standing, and now shuffling sideways and taking a few small steps. It all ran seamlessly into the next, as if it all just really happened.

I had no idea how much love I could have for some one. He melts my heart with every smile.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Aloha Friday 9/21/12

Happy AF everyone! This week I'm wondering...

What is the best piece of advice you received in your life?

For me, the best piece of advice I received is not to take everything personally. People can be rude/thoughtless without even realizing it. And, it turns out, people don't think about you as much as you think they do, so everything they do is not based on how they think it will impact your life.

An Island Life

Thursday, September 20, 2012

KETO: PB Cinnamon Sundaes, Cauli Mash, Pumpkin Syrup, Pumpkin Custard

My husband and I have been on-again-off-again low-carbing lately. A compromise for our recently trimmed food budget, we do Keto weekdays, and not-so-much on the weekends. To avoid going overboard and just regaining anything we've lost, we limit ourselves to one carby meal per day - if that! Sometimes we just have a coffee or a pastry. It works for us. Sure, my weight loss is less since I'm not in ketosis for more than a couple of days, but I still overall am losing weight! 3-4 pounds a week! So I will take it.

Anyways, for the recipes!

Keto-friendly Peanut Butter Cinnamon Sundaes
This one really needs no recipe. Simply find a low-carb ice cream (Safeway Select and Breyer's CarbSmart are two that I know of), layer some all-natural peanut butter in between some small scoops of ice cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon! The ice cream itself is a bit too sweet for me, and the peanut butter some times just isn't much of a treat on its own. A natural combination! The cinnamon really puts it over the top though. We've been having this the last 3 nights. Last night we even whipped up some cinnamon whipped cream and put that one top. Oh man!

Cauliflower Mash
(kind of estimating on the amounts here, I usually just based on taste)
Ingredients: 1 head of cauliflower
1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese (to taste)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
dash of sriracha
salt and pepper to taste

Cut up and steam or boil the cauliflower until fully cooked. Add all of the other ingredients and mash up in a big pan. If you prefer lighter, less chunky mash then I recommend blending it in a food processor/magic bullet/blender. Reheat on low if the sour cream cooled it too much.

Keto-Friendly Pumpkin Spice syrup
Cook time: ~10 minutes, plus 15 minutes to cool

Servings: about 28
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1.5 cups granulated Splenda (not the packets!)
  • 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I thought it was too spicy - maybe only 2tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Morton's Lite Salt (or regular table salt will work, too)
  • 2 tablespoons Libby's 100% Pure Canned Pumpkin
  • 1. Combine the water and Splenda in a medium saucepan and stir until blended.
  • 2. Cook over medium heat, just to simmering. Don't boil.
  • 3. Add the spices and the pumpkin and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, for about 7 minutes, or until mixture has begun to thicken. Again, don't let it boil.
  • 4. Remove pan from heat and let it sit for 15 minutes. If a thinner consistency is desired, strain the syrup through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer.
  • Store in a jar with a tightly-closed lid in the refrigerator. May be stored up to 1 month
This tends to separate when it sits - just stir it up each time you use it! So glad for this recipe! Love Fall and the flavors and would be a lot less successful in keto if I couldn't have some pumpkin spice!
Low-Carb Pumpkin Custard

My recipe of this:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 can pumpkin (7.5oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Grated nutmeg to top
Heat the cream and coconut milk together until hot. Mix the 3 eggs, spices (except nutmeg) and pumpkin together. Add the egg mixture into the hot cream, coconut milk mixture, stirring constantly until incorporated. Pour into 5 or 6 custard dishes set into a water bath. :)
The rest of the recipe is the same, cook at 350 for 25-35 minutes
I really love this recipe! At first I wasn't sure, because it's not sweet. However, by the second bite I was definitely hooked! It taste just like pumpkin pie without all the extra sugar! I used almond milk instead of coconut milk. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

What details make clothes great for breastfeeding?

I was not paid to endorse any items in particular, these words are my own. Affiliate links used.
Since I gave birth to Nathan, I have been nursing him. As a first time mom, and one of the first to go full-fledged into breastfeeding in my immediate family, I had no idea what to look for and purchase when it came to nursing-friendly clothing. Sure, I could go to a maternity store and buy their $60+ tops, but really who can afford that? Even if I was still working full time, that is simply too much for a shirt.

The first items I bought were nursing pads and bras. With minimal research, I bought some comfortable, reusable cotton nursing pads:

 (which I love) and some Lamaze cotton/spandex nursing bras that I actually quite hated.  However, these bras were the only affordable, decently-reviewed nursing bras I could find at the time. And so I suffered. These bras were fine if I never moved. As any new nursing mother will tell you, the nipples are quite delicate until you break them in and get them used to nursing. These bras would let my boobs move just enough so that they'd fall halfway out the middle of the bra, and get stuck and scrape across my nipples. Every. Ten. Minutes. It was agonizing. I ended up tying the straps together behind my neck, even though this cut into my shoulders I preferred that over the nipple pain.

Luckily, about a month later, there was a sale at Target for some nursing tank tops! $10 apiece! They even had pretty good online reviews. So I bought 5. The fit was good, they were easy to open and close with one hand, and they covered up my tummy while I nursed! How can I ask for more?

Well, now that the hot Summer weather is leaving us, I am now asking for more warmth while still being nursing friendly. The little guy is likely to start nursing a little less in the near future, but certainly won't be stopping for a while I'm sure. Any tips you guys could offer me? For now I'll just put on a sweater over the top of my nursing tanks and call it good!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Breastfeeding a teething baby

After experimenting with several different theories and tips, over some time, I feel confident enough to post about what worked for my baby and me.
It was a drawn-out process; Nathan teething, biting me, then me finally getting him to stop. He started drooling early, started biting and being warmer to the touch shortly thereafter. I know, technically those may not all be symptoms of a teething baby. Finally, at 8.5 months he popped out his first tooth! Before this I had been bitten a few times while nursing, but it didn't hurt too much so I more or less ignored it. Big mistake!
Once baby has a tooth, or more, the biting suddenly feels like dying via mini nipple daggers. So awful! Since I wasn't on the ball before when he bit, Nathan thought it was a funny game and it took a lot more work to get him to finally stop.
I read everywhere that if baby bites while nursing, remove baby from breast and end the nursing session. If the biting continues, elevate that to setting the baby in a safe spot (like the crib) for a few minutes and leave the room. This tells baby that not only does he miss out on nursing, but also on mommy time if he bites. This worked for a while but didn't last , unfortunately.
So I began working on preventing it from happening, rather than just reacting if it does. A cold teether for a few minutes beforehand helped a lot, as did giving him painkiller when his teeth were particularly bothering him. I also read recommendations about paying close attention and watching or feeling for when he moves his tongue, since he won't bite with his tongue in the way. And so I stared at him. And stared. Weird as it may have appeared, it certainly helped.
The real big help, however, was having a teether on me, in his reach every time I nurse him. At first I was obsessive about offering it to him while he nursed. Any time he looked up at me, moved, made a noise; it was all "you want this teether?" I am sure I went overboard, but at this point I was in hardcore mode after being bitten hard enough to draw blood. After a few times of this, Nathan realized that it was available if he needed it and I haven't been bitten since!
So, if he bites you:
°Remove him from the breast and set him in a safe spot for a few minutes.
°Give him a cool teether or washcloth for a few minutes before nursing him.
°Keep a teether available while nursing if he needs a quick bite.
Any tips that I didn't mention but worked for you? Please feel free to share in the comments!

Edit: Just came across this post at Life as a Wife, Mummy, and Nurse and discovered Teething Bling! I am so psyched for when I get this in the mail. It's baby-safe jewelry that looks cute! I will no longer have to hold on to a teether and fetch it if Nathan decides to toss it. Fantastic!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Aloha Friday!

This week's Aloha Friday question is: 

What is your favorite Fall-related thing?
 It can be food, clothing, weather, whatever!

Post your answer in the comments! :-)

Review: Chicco KeyFit 30 carseat

We were very fortunate to be given the Chicco KeyFit 30 carseat and the fitting Cortina stroller by my grandmother. I highly recommend this carseat! Here is why:

The KeyFit is safe, heavy-duty, convenient, visually appealing, fairly priced, and more! 

Chicco offers these carseats in a variety of color schemes: 

These colors and more available!

Convenience - The Chicco KeyFit 30 is convenient. All you do is install a base in your car, and the carseat clicks right into it! Rather than installing a carseat, and always buckling and unbuckling your little baby into it, you can carry your baby safely until you are at your destination. This was really important to me when Nathan was first born and sleeping all the time. There are bright orange handles that are used to take the carseat back out of the car, or to adjust the handle. The carseat also clicks right into a number of strollers they offer - our choice was the Cortina. 

Safety - We wanted to be sure to get the highest recommended carseat available, and the Chicco KeyFit was definitely it! I searched sites like Amazon, Babies R Us, Target, and ConsumerReports for reviews, and felt really comfortable asking for this particular set.

One of the last times we got to use the KeyFit before Nathan outgrew it.

Pricing - For the safety, quality and convenience the KeyFit presents, this is a fairly priced item. Depending on where you buy you could end up paying quite a bit more. However, I always recommend Amazon because you can add an item to your cart and watch the price for a while. It pops up with a little notification if the price goes down since you added the item to your cart!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Let's Get Social!

Just wanted to share that we are now on Facebook and Twitter!

Discussion: Can Smoking Weed Help Some be Better Parents?

Just reading through this article a few minutes ago and I considered whether smoking weed could help some one to be a better parent.

In regards to health risks - (found here)
Argument for:

"[T]here is very little evidence that smoking marijuana as a means of taking it represents a significant health risk.
Although cannabis has been smoked widely in Western countries for more than four decades, there have been no reported cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana.
I suspect that a day's breathing in any city with poor air quality poses more of a threat than inhaling a day's dose -- which for many ailments is just a portion of a joint -- of marijuana."
-- Lester Grinspoon, MD
Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
"Puffing Is the Best Medicine,"
Los Angeles Times
May 5, 2006

Argument against:
"3-4 Cannabis cigarettes a day are associated with the same evidence of acute and chronic bronchitis and the same degree of damage to the bronchial mucosa as 20 or more tobacco cigarettes a day.
Cannabis smoking is likely to weaken the immune system. Infections of the lung are due to a combination of smoking-related damage to the cells lining the bronchial passage and impairment of the principal immune cells in the small air sacs caused by cannabis."
-- British Lung Foundation
"Smoking Gun: The Impact of Cannabis Smoking on Respiratory Health,"
a publicly disseminated report
Nov. 2002

What do you guys think? Was there a different route the author of the article could have taken in order to relax? Or was this the right choice for him and for many other parents out there?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Checking in: 9-10-12

In fewer than two weeks my little pumpkin will be a year old! I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed! I feel like I am being pulled in so many directions these days, but Nathan always manages to keep me grounded.
Currently, I am planning how to get the house ready for Nathan's party, going through our storage to donate what we don't need, falling behind on my regular housework, and working on supplemental income opportunities. Despite the long to-do list, I have been sitting with Nathan all morning.
He has recently figured out how to remove his bib. Today, after a big struggle, he finally untied it and hung it from his play yard in triumph.
He has been trying to walk, but is still working on staying upright. His compromise as of today has been this weird monster-crawl where his butt is in the air. What a weirdo! I love him so much.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back on keto!

So, after a fairly long hiatus from our low carb lifestyle, we decided to go back on keto until Nathan's birthday!
With what I learned before, I am going about this a little differently. I will be taking more measurements, keeping a closer eye on my milk supply, and a few other adjustments.
On my time away from keto I tried to keep track of the differences, physical and otherwise. I tended to eat to pass the time or just to "feel better". This was especially the case during particularly stressful and emotional times. More times than I'd like to admit I overate. My milk supply was overabundant. Especially after a few weeks of carby eating, I had overactive letdowns and leftover milk after Nathan had filled up. For the first few days after stopping keto, my husband and I noticed an attitude change. We were a lot crankier and had shorter fuses. Over time this leveled out though.
Now, we are a couple days back into low-carb and are reliving those changes. I think it is safe to assume that any major change in diet can cause a temporary mood shift. I am feeling unenergetic  and craving something full of sugar! But, just like last time, this will pass.