Moxie Jean–Buying

Baby clothes are cute aren’t they?  Everything comes coordinated so you don’t have to find that perfect shade of blue to match the shirt that you fell in love with but have nothing that goes with it in your closet.   And while everything is coordinated, everything also looks the same.  Brands seem to pick a theme and everything in the store for that season looks like that theme.  It makes it easy to mix and match, but it also means that every kid in daycare is wearing the same thing.

Sometimes, if all the kids in day care are facing away from the door when I walk in, I can only (initially) pick out my kid by what she’s wearing.  If she’s wearing the same thing (or has the same thing—I’m tired when I dress her, so I don’t always remember what got picked for the day), then I run the risk of going over to the wrong child initially (not that I’ve ever done that of course, not ever).

I am also cheap, so I have a hard time shelling out $15 for an outfit that she might ruin right away or grow out of after one wear.  Because kids grow out of things so quickly you go through clothes a lot in the first year, so there are a lot of perfectly good clothes in second hand stores.  The baby section in my local goodwill is not great, but we do have a Once Upon a Child (which is a chain of second hand baby/kid stuff).  I have gone there and found some good buys, but the racks are jammed packed so it’s hard to get a good look at stuff and it is really narrow in our local store so it’s not the most pleasant shopping experience (especially if you are carrying around a baby or if you have a stroller).

I started looking at second hand clothes on ebay, but the pictures of the clothes were never any good and it seemed like people wanted to charge a million bucks to ship a t-shirt, so I quickly became disillusioned.  Then, somehow, I stumbled across Moxie Jean.  Moxie Jean has dubbed itself “upscale resale” and wants their shoppers to feel like they are in a little boutique and that is exactly what it feels like when you are shopping online.  All of the clothing is categorized neatly so it’s easy to find the specific things you are looking for without having to sort through a bunch of junk (I’m looking at you eBay).  You can search by gender, and then search by size, type of garment, and also look through their clothing collections or shop the designer room.  The collections are organized into specific styles, so if you tend to dress your kid in a specific style (preppy, retro, frilly, whatever) you can just look at the clothes that match that particular style.  I will say that their collections are dangerous if you find one that you like because a lot of stuff will end up in your shopping cart.  One of my favorite things about their site, is that each item is displayed in a cute way

Like this:

Moxie Jean

(screen shot from Moxie Jean)

I mean…come on.  How can you resist baby clothes when they are displayed this like (and I would totally buy this outfit if I didn’t already spend my clothing budget).

I ordered a bunch of stuff because my daughter has moved out of 6 month clothing and into 9 months and was able to use a 20% off coupon because I signed up for their mailing list (they don’t e-mail a lot, so I don’t feel inundated by spam) and received everything very quickly.  Once I got my package, I found that they packaged everything very sweetly and tied raffia bows  around the sets of clothing I picked out.  It was fun to unwrap everything and admire all of my purchases.  Everything was clean and in great condition.  One small criticism is that I wish they had the sizing charts for the brands they sell on their website.  I picked out an adorable overall outfit and when I got it, it was much, much, much bigger than what I would expect for 6-9 month clothing.  It would probably fit a 1 year old easily, which means I will set it aside for later, but I wanted to but her in it now.  The overalls were a brand that I hadn’t bought before (I mostly stick to Carters and Old Navy and Target stuff) so I had no way of knowing what the sizing would be like.  It would be nice if they had the charts on their site rather than having to hunt them down elsewhere on the internet.

Overall, I was very happy with my purchase and I thought the prices were very reasonable.  I did request a mailer bag to see if the selling part of Moxie Jean is just as nice.  I currently have a bunch of clothes just waiting for me to ship them, so hopefully I get make act together soon and do it!

Playskool Rocktivity Sit, Crawl and Stand Band Activity Arch

Most baby toys have annoying music.  Grating, even.  They all seem to have the exact same selection of songs which play over and over and over and over and, well you get it.  We got this gift for Christmas and I have to say, while it looked fun, I secretly hoped for an off switch. 

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I mean, look at it.  It’s entire purpose is to make noise—lots of noise.  My husband put it together one morning while I wasn’t at home (so I couldn’t talk him into setting it aside for later), so when I got home, there it was, lurking in the corner waiting to be annoying. 

I sighed (I do a lot of sighing as a wife and mother and human being in general) and sat the baby down in front of it and switched it on.  I touched the various buttons to show her what it could do and the music was actually kind of fun. 

I was most impressed that when a song was playing and you pressed another button, the sounds complimented each other.  So instead of a jarring combination, or one sound just interrupting the other, it sounded good—like a band—like someone had thought about a parent having to listen to this thing over and over again. 

There are like 3 different songs that you can start by pressing one of the keys on the keyboard on the right side of the arch, and then, if you hit the other buttons—say that one in the center–it is programmed to coordinate and add to whatever song is being played.  This means you don’t get some jarring trumpet sound overwhelming a lullaby.  Or vice versa. 

The star in the middle can be pushed and applause and cheering starts—my baby loves that.  She will press it over and over again and because it blends in with the music, it isn’t annoying. 

It also comes with a couple plastic CDs that you can drop into the other side of the arch to start some more songs, but for now the baby just likes to chew on them. 

My baby is on the small side, so she can’t easily reach the toys on top (she isn’t standing unassisted yet), so that kind of sucks for kids who are only sitting and haven’t started pulling up.  Bigger kids might be able to reach, but I only have my own for reference. 

Right now, this is a favorite in the house.  She likes it because it makes neat sounds and lights up and it has little buttons she can push.  I like it because the sounds aren’t annoying.  Win win.

Miracle Blanket

My baby has been a pretty good sleeper for the get go.  Even as a newborn she would reliably sleep 3-4 hours in between feedings, which I quickly realized wasn’t something to complain about to other new moms.  Even though she was sleeping great, partly in thanks to the halo sleep sack, I wondered if she could sleep even better—like through the night.

Do you know that when most doctor’s ask if your baby is sleeping through the night, they mean for a 5 hours at a time?  Sleeping for 5 hours is not sleeping through the night.  In my opinion, it’s just a long nap.  For me, my baby needs to go to bed and then not wake up until I get up in the morning (I usually sleep no later than 6:30-7, so not that unreasonable).  Currently, she goes to sleep at around 7-7:30 and then I get her up at 9:30 for a bottle, and then sleeps until 3 or 4 for another bottle, then gets up around 6:45 so we can get her ready to go to daycare.  I am really looking forward to the 3 o’clock bottle not being needed anymore.

Anyways, like I said, I was hoping I could get her sleeping even better, so I thought that there must be some sort of magical product that I didn’t have that would help me achieve this goal.  I brought up Google, and typed—How do I get my baby to sleep through the night (just like millions of parents before me) and one of the results—after many complaining about their baby not sleeping at night, at all, was a link to the Miracle Blanket.

My baby loved to be swaddled, she would settle down right away and fall asleep.  I thought that if I got this Miracle Blanket, she might sleep even better (read as: longer).  I ordered the Miracle Blanket, slightly disappointed from the get go that they didn’t have very many cute color combinations to choose from, and waited with bated breath.  The Miracle Blanket got here and I waited eagerly for nightfall.  I scanned the directions and tossed them aside, confident that it wouldn’t be that hard.

Cue bedtime.  I unraveled the Miracle Blanket and set her on top it and I am immediately confused.  What is going on with all these flaps?  I dragged the directions out of the trash and studied them intently.  It seemed like I essentially needed to pin my baby’s arms to her side and then apply a straight jacket of wrappings around her.

mbdemopicsm

The pictures don’t make it look that hard, but holding a baby’s arm to their sides and then trying to tuck flaps around them and underneath them is not easy.  After trying and re-trying for 20 minutes, I finally got her bundled up.  I laid her down and she fell asleep just like any other day.

She didn’t sleep any longer though, about the same length of time.  At that time, she was sleeping in a pack n play at the foot of our bed, and I could hear her struggling against the swaddle most of the night in her sleep.  She was in there and not breaking free, but I couldn’t help but think how I would feel if my arms were pinned to my sides.  I tried again the next night, and the next, and the next.  I got faster at putting her in the swaddle, but I still dreaded having to take her out of it for diaper changes in the middle of the night, but she still struggled against it at night.

I got fed up one night and put her back in her Halo swaddle sack and she immediately quieted.  I decided immediately that I was just going to stick with what worked for her and having her arms pinned down to her side wasn’t what worked.

Graco SnugRide 35

I spent a long time trying to pick out a car seat.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get a convertible seat from the get go, or if I should just get an infant seat and upgrade when she grew out of it.  I have no friends with babies so I only had the internet to ask for help, and eventually decided on getting an infant seat because I didn’t really understand how convertible seats work.

I was deathly afraid that I would buy a car seat and then she would grow out of it in 3 months, so I decided to get the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 35.  Here it is:

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Handsome isn’t it?  I was intent on getting one that didn’t scream girl or boy, so this one fit the bill nicely.  It came with one base and the instruction manual.  I read the manual and even though I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, I could not figure out how to install it.  Perhaps it was my pregnancy brain, or perhaps I was just terrified by the dire warnings throughout the manual that told me if I did even one thing wrong….well, bad things would happen.

Enter this person:

I watched the video once and understood what the manual could not get through my thick skull.  She does a great job discussing how to install car seats and actually shows you while she does it so it makes sense!

It’s a great car seat.  I feel like it’s secure, it is really easy to install, my baby has lots of room to grow in it and the fabric has stood up to washing (although we will not talk about the horror that is trying to re-thread that harness—somebody should make a good video of how to do that too).

However, it’s big.  Really, really, really big.  I didn’t understand how there could be such a size variant in infant car seats, but there is.  I initially figured it wouldn’t matter because I would just take my baby out of the car seat and go wherever I was going.  I could do that, but then I would have to wrestle a possibly sleeping baby into a carrier or just hold her the entire time.  The car seat has to come with me, at least occasionally, but it was so heavy—-even without baby weight in it.  It is also considerably wider than other car seats so I can’t bring it onto the airplane that we are going on next month because it won’t fit in the seat, and it also doesn’t fit onto the bench of a booth in a restaurant, or in any of those little car seat holder things that some places have.  Now she can sit up in carts so it isn’t as much of an issue, but it’s cold and I don’t like taking her out of the seat to run into the store, so I am still dragging along the car seat too often.  My arms are getting a good workout, but sometimes I think it’s at the expense of my sanity.

Old Navy Little Bundles Sleepers

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http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1007290&vid=1&pid=936365052

When people found out that I was having a girl, I got a lot of clothes.  A lot.  She is almost 7 months now and I am finally running out of new clothes to put in her dresser (note to people who wonder, if you are going to a baby shower and you want to buy clothes, buy them in 9 month plus because EVERYONE buys the cute little newborn outfits).

I mostly get her stuff at Once Upon A Child because they have good quality used baby clothes at a decent prices.  I’m not crazy about how much they buy your stuff for, but I realize the have to buy low to keep prices reasonable.  They also have a great variety so you aren’t trapped into buying whatever theme is popular this season.

I do get her some new stuff though because baby clothes are hard to resist.  They are cute.  And small.  However, I am not always thrilled with how the clothes FEEL.  Especially sleepers.  If you buy the ones that come in packs at a reasonable price, they feel scratchy to me—so I wonder how they must feel to her.  Enter Old Navy Little Bundles.  I was lucky enough to come across a Little Bundle set at Once Upon a Child and immediately bought them because they were so SOFT.  I stored this fact in the back of my mind (labeled “justification to buy more baby clothes”) and then moved on.

One night she fit into her 6 month sleepers and then then next night she was suddenly too long (how do they do that?).  I hopped on Old Navy because it was night time and found some Old Navy Little Bundles Sleepers.  I was thrilled because they had some cute gender neutral stuff (I get tired of pink for girls, blue for boys) and because you can get 2 for $18.  Old Navy is almost always having a sale and you can usually find coupon codes so I think I got these for around $10.  I was a little worried about receiving them because I thought maybe the ones I found in Once Upon a Child were soft because they were washed a bunch, but there was no reason to worry because they were so soft and cozy.  The print was super cute and they have held up well despite being washed constantly.  They also have little grippy things on the bottom of the feet, which is nice because even though the little one isn’t walking yet, eventually she will be and those sleepers can be slippery.  The Little Bundles clothes are basics (onesies, sleepers, gowns, pants), but I find that I reach for these clothes way more often than some of the other outfits that are fancier.

I just need to find out if Old Navy makes sleepers in that fabric for adults.

Sleep like a Tiger

I love to read, and I want the tiny one to love to read to.  I started getting books for her when I wasn’t that far along in my pregnancy, because I want her to have a lot of books.  I firmly believe that if you start reading to babies at an early age and they grow up around books, then you have a better chance of encouraging them into becoming readers.  I tended to search for books at thrift stores and flea markets because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on books that she would likely rip the pages of.

One day, when I was in an actual bookstore with my husband and my best friend, I stopped by the children’s section and browsed for a bit.  I had no intention of getting anything, until I came across this book:

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http://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Like-Tiger-Mary-Logue/dp/0547641028

With a cover THAT gorgeous, I really couldn’t resist picking it up.  I generally have no issue with picking up a book, thumbing through it, admiring it, and then setting it back down again (I am picky when it comes to books), but I had to buy it once I got the general idea of the story and saw the illustrations, I had to buy it.

It essentially about a little girl who is refusing to go to bed and her parents are encouraging her to stay up as long as she wants, but she should still put her pajamas on and clean up and get in bed.  As this is happening, the child is peppering her parent’s with questions about sleep and how animals sleep.  The writing is so lyrical that it makes a wonderful and soothing story to read at bedtime.  The illustrations are all wonderful and so detailed, that I kept finding little things in them that I hadn’t noticed before.

I read it every night to my baby for the first couple months of her life because I wanted to create a bedtime pattern for her that was recognizable (we read lots of other stuff now), but I never minded reading it again and again.  It was such a part of her newborn time that if I start reading it, I can’t help but have memories of snuggling her to sleep when she was a brand new baby.

Parents Choice Diapers

I’ve been pretty lucky on the diaper front and haven’t had many blow outs and the tiny one doesn’t seem to be overly particular skin wise.  I had started stocking up on diapers pretty early in my pregnancy and mostly stuck to getting pampers because I heard they work really well with newborns (they do).  I also had some huggies and some miscellaneous samples from other places.  After about a week of having the baby home, I realized that a diaper is a diaper, so if I can save money in that area I should, so I broke open the pack of parent’s choice newborn sized diapers that I had previously gotten at wal-mart.

I put one on and it seemed ok.  I didn’t particularly care for the plastic-y feel of the outside, but I figured that maybe I had been spoiled by pampers (pampered by pampers??) and I should just get over it.  I also figured that like with people it’s the inside that matters and as long as that is sucking stuff up appropriately then I can deal with anything if it will save me some money.  It was summer so I re-dressed the baby in just a onesie and called it good.  About 30 minutes later I realized that her diaper looked weird underneath her onesie while I was feeding her.  I waited until she was finished eating and then unsnapped her onesie and realized that the diaper tabs had both come undone so it was only by the grace of God that she didn’t pee all over her outfit.  I assumed that I was still not very good at changing diapers so it must be user error.  I got a new diaper from the stack and put it on, making sure to stick the tabs down very well.  They came off again 10 minutes later.  I changed her diaper again, left her onesie off and put her down in her swing for a nap and as I gazed lovingly at my beautiful, perfect baby, the tabs on the diapers slowly began to become undone until they were holding on by the barest amount of sticky-ness.  I knew—no, sensed with my new materal powers–if that the baby so much as shifted, the diaper would pop completely open.  I then had to debate with myself—did I want to take the chance of waking my sleeping baby by changing her diaper again or did I want to just hold my breath and hope that it stayed relatively in place.  I, of course, decided to let my sleeping baby lie and then had to wash the swing cushion because the diaper leaked.

Needless to say, I never made it through the pack of parent’s choice diapers.  I don’t know if it was the product or that I just wasn’t careful enough when putting them on, but I figured that I didn’t want to have to use a diaper that had to be carefully put on every 2 hours (or more) for my own sanity’s sake.

 

The Halo Swaddle Sleep Sack

I thought that I would be taught to swaddle when I was in the hospital–after I had my baby, but I wasn’t–which was good because I probably would have been terrible at it.  I tried swaddling my cat once, and it didn’t go well, so I was a little gun shy.

Right after I had my baby, I held her for a while, then the cleaned her up, and then wheeled us into our room.  They gave me a couple of onesies and then handed me 3 of these:

halo

It made things so much easier in that early 1st baby period where things are confusing and scary and you’re tired.  You zip them into it (it zips from bottom to top for easy diaper changes) and pull one wing over their body from the right side and tuck it under and then pull the left wing over and velcro it to the other flap.  My baby loved to be swaddled and depended on it to fall asleep, so it wasn’t something that we could go with out and except her to sleep.  She used it at night and for naps during the day.  I have also used it if she is being fussy or is being a distracted eater and it calms her right down.

It’s also easy to transition them out of when they are ready.  Little one needed to be swaddled until she was about 5 months and then she started fighting it a little bit when I first put her down.  I then started swaddling her one arm in, one arm out.  After she started breaking out of the one in, one out, we just swaddled her middle, with her arms free.  I tried a bunch of different swaddlers, which I will review at some point, and never found one that I liked better than this.  It is incredibly easy to use, you can vary how tight your are swaddling them for easier transition, and they are really durable.  She used the newborn one we got at the hospital until she outgrew it length wise at 23 inches and now she is in the small, which is good until 26 inches.  She is just about too long for it, so I am going to get the sleep sack that doesn’t have the swaddle feature.  She is a summer baby, but we have always used the micro fleece one (we keep our house at about 70-75 in the summer) and she never overheated, but it still seems to keep her plenty warm in the cold Wisconsin winter too.

I have two and wash them both frequently and they are in great condition.  One is pink and the other is white and despite being in close contact to a baby for a large part of the day, and having two cats sleep on it periodically, it is still white because it cleans up so well.  She also has one at daycare that have been a lifesaver in getting her to nap there.

The Wubbanub

I didn’t really understand the point of pacifiers before I had a baby.  I figured the kid would just suck on their thumb or something, but once I had the baby I realized that some newborns (like mine) want to suck on something all the time.  Also, newborns have, like, no control over their limbs so thumb sucking isn’t going to happen for some kids right away (if at all).  I quickly realized that a pacifier was the way to go with her and although I had initially though pacifiers were kind of dumb (what did I know as a non-parent), I got some.  I chose to get the soothie type

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http://www.amazon.com/Philips-AVENT-Soothie-Pacifier-Months/dp/B0045I6IAO

and luckily my baby seemed to like them–although your baby may want something different.  I hear they can be fussy about things like that.  Quickly, very quickly, I realized that these pacifiers go missing all the time and it always seems like they disappear when the baby is crying–never when you have a chance to look at them.

Then I came across the WubbaNub (why do baby things have such weird names?).  The WubbaNub claimed to solve the disappearing pacifier problem, because it has a small stuffed animal attached to it.  You know what?  It does.  It also makes it a lot harder for the pacifier to bounce on the ground and roll under the couch.

I have this one:

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http://www.wubbanub.com/prod_giraffe.html

I’ve had it since she was a month old and she is now 6 1/2 months, and I’ve never lost the thing.  If it falls out, it doesn’t go far and now the baby can pick it up and put it back in her mouth on her own—-at night!  It also survives the wash really well.  I have had to throw it in the washing machine several times, because the baby does slobber on it and it does get gross, but it comes out good as new.

The cutest thing is that she actually seems to like the giraffe it’s attached to and if another just boring old Soothie pacifier in within her reach, she will always go for her Mr. Giraffe instead.  Always.  She also looks super cute when she strokes its ear while she sucks on the pacifier.  She also sometimes strangles it (lovingly, of course) and while it’s beginning to look a wee bit worn around the neck, it is still securely on there and is no need of needing replacement soon.

Baby Stuff

After trying for so long to have a baby, I finally have one and she’s great. I also have realized that I love shopping for and buying baby stuff.   I figured that after trying out all this stuff I would actually use my experience to point out what I thought was awesome and what I wish I had never bought–and I can buy more baby stuff in the name of research!