April 29, 2013

things we couldn't live without: newborn edition

I love all of the lists that you can find on Pinterest that help make your life easier. Things like, "the 10 things you must have in your diaper bag" or, "all the crap I packed in my hospital bag for delivery and didn't use". These lists (mostly written by other bloggers) were sometimes the only places I looked for suggestions of what to buy, register for, or pack for the hospital. I found them to be a quick way to get Amazon-like reviews from other parents who had used and abused the products I was interested in :)

So...I've decided to make one of my own. Maybe someone will stumble across it and it will make their life a little easier :)

1. Halo sleepsack swaddle: If we had to narrow this list down to just one thing we couldn't live without, it would be the sleepsack. Our hospital used these for every baby right from the beginning and we got attached to it quick! Alden really seemed to sleep well and to be comfortable in it so we bought one to bring home. Little did we know that it was going to be the only thing he would sleep in for the first 3 months of his life :) Seriously, he still sleeps in it every night and we swear it helps him to stay asleep longer since he can't flail around and wake himself up. We have 2 fleece and 2 cotton- Nick likes the fleece better because he says they swaddle tighter but when it gets really hot, we'll only use the cotton to help prevent overheating. We bought one in our hospital gift shop (no where else had the newborn size at the time) and bought a couple more over time at Target when they had them in stock.

2. Nuk pacifiers: We had four different brands of pacifiers at home to try and Nuk ended up being Alden's favorite. We tried Soothies (by Avent, the ones the hospital will give you), Tommy Tippee Closer to Nature (both small and medium sizes) and some other Avent ones that have a snap on cover. Alden never took the Tommy Tippee, they just never fit his mouth quite right and the plastic mouth shield was really big on his face. He likes the Soothies but when he was really small, they were hard for  him to keep in his mouth since they're a little top-heavy. The Nuk ended up being the easiest for him to keep in his mouth and the nipple shape that fit his mouth the best. Really, though, pacifiers will depend on the baby. I can say that these are made really well, the handle on them is big enough for a pacifier clip to fit through easily and the hospital grade silicone holds up well to being washed and sanitized frequently.

3. Carter's blankets: These blankets are a versatile weight, great for the carseat when it's cold and to use inside when they just want something to cuddle in as well. We have 4 of them and I keep one in the diaper bag at all times, one for him to use when he's in his swing, one in his room and the other is strictly a swaddle blanket. We use the swaddle to calm him (using Dr. Karp's method-see below) when he's really upset and this is Nick's favorite blanket by far. We also have the Aden & Anais organic bamboo swaddle blankets (which are highly recommended both online and by friend of ours) but Nick hates them. He says they're WAY too big and stretchy for him to get a good, tight swaddle. Since Nick is the resident swaddle expert at our house, I trust his opinion :)

4. Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Cradle Swing: This swing is big, plastic and obnoxious and Alden loves it. There is a light that shines through a globe that has water and little shapes in it and stuffed fish hang from a motorized mobile. We call them his fishies because he loves them so much. He will stare and stare at them and, often times, the movement of the swing is the only thing that will chill him out long enough for him to fall asleep. We got this as a gift and had no idea whether he would like it or not, so we got lucky, but I would definitely suggest some kind of swing (even though which one might vary from baby to baby). We have discovered (the hard way) that the key to a swing being effective for Alden is that is move fast and have exaggerated swinging motions- he does not tolerate things like the mamaRoo or other bouncers when he's really upset, they just don't move enough for him.

5. Bassinet: We have a neutral-colored rolling bassinet that my parents found at a children's consignment shop for around $50. It's a very nice brand and it's specifically made for children who need to sleep on an incline and it has a kind of mesh "hammock" that you insert when they need the incline. Alden slept with the insert in for the first 2 months or so since it cradled him closer than the regular bassinet did and he seemed more comfortable but we have since taken out the insert and he still sleeps right next to our bed, perfectly happy :) There are a million brands to choose from and you can find bassinets at every price point under the sun. Pick one that you like but I would recommend spending as little money as possible to get it. You use it religiously for the first few months but then you'll pack it away for years (unless you have other children...but still). I wanted something that would work well, wasn't totally obnoxious looking and that I wouldn't feel bad getting rid of when Alden grew out of it- a consignment shop was a perfect fit.

6. Travel bassinet: We have the Brica Fold n' Go Travel Bassinet (seriously, who comes up with the names for these things?!). It doesn't seem like something you would need but we use it every day. We originally bought it to take out of town when Alden was only 8 weeks old and had never slept anywhere but his bassinet at home. We knew that when he had a lot of space to move around in, he often threw out his arms in surprise and woke himself up. The travel bassinet was our method of giving him a smaller space to sleep in in the pack and play so that he would feel more confined and sleep better while we were away. Mission: accomplished. In fact, it works so well that the bassinet now lives in his crib and he sleeps in it every night. Plus, it comes with it's own little mattress, a sheet and it folds up flat for super easy storage.

7. Boppy: Get one! Maybe two (upstairs/downstairs, bedroom/nursery). And buy at least two, if not three, covers. These things are amazing and you'll use them for everything. Nursing, sleeping (for both baby and yourself), propping the little one up for tummy time, providing a "chair" for them as they get older but are still unable to sit up on their own, etc. I used mine for every nursing session for the first 2 weeks while we were still perfecting our breastfeeding methods and I use it almost every day with him now to give him quality tummy time and to read him books. I would say to definitely get multiple covers since milk, spit up, saliva and countless other liquids will get spilled on it and you'll want to change the cover before it starts to smell like the garbage can ;) <- anything...="" experience="" from="" i="" know="" not="" or="" p="" that="">*Note: there is also a new Nursing Boppy which I highly recommend! Look for my thoughts in a separate breastfeeding edition of "things we couldn't live without".

8. Total Baby app from iTunes: This is $4.99 in the iTunes store which, in my book, might as well be $100 since I would never in my right mind spend $5 on an app for my phone (we're a free or occasional $0.99 app purchaser family). But having a new baby will quickly convince you otherwise. We could not live without this app (well, not literally, but we sure do enjoy it). It makes keeping track of everything from feedings to diaper changes to doctor's appointments and growth charts a breeze! We even use it as a simple electronic baby book of sorts since you can input milestones to the log (i.e. the day his umbilical cord fell off, the first time he slept through the night, and the first time he rolled over). My parents would probably make fun of us since the app is only useful if you have your phone with you all the time and, to them, starting a nursing timer on your phone while you're breastfeeding seems ridiculous...but, it has taken so many things off of the running "list" in my head and allowed me to not freak out if I don't remember exactly what time it was when he ate. All I have to do it check the app and it tells me exactly when he nursed, on what side and for how long. It has proven invaluable for pediatrician appointments as well- I can easily tell our doctor how many nursing sessions we have on average and she immediately knows if we're on track or not. This is great because I feel like we're getting the most accurate information for our baby instead of having to guess. Also, there is a pumping log and milk inventory which has made the app even more important now that I'm back at work and need to pay a lot more attention to my milk output.

9. White Noise Baby app from iTunes: This one is not expensive, $0.99, but it's another one that has completely changed our lives. The app has multiple types of white noise to choose from (a huge selling point- our favorites: hair dryer, pink noise and grey noise) and even has a screen with bouncing balls, cool colors and fun sounds for baby to play with. Alden sleeps with white noise every night. When he was first born, it was the only thing that would keep him from waking up every time he wiggled. It helps him calm down when he gets overstimulated and provides much needed "noise cover" when he's napping and we need to do dishes or clean the house. We have used this app at home, in the car, at Target and even while cuddling him in the doctor's office- it really is amazing. We refer to it like a drug in our house since Alden can be screaming at the top of his lungs and the second he hears the white noise, he's all cracked out and chill :)
*Note: this would only be useful if your baby responded well to white noise in the first place. Not all babies are as attached to it as ours so you may want to try a free app or some other form of white noise first to see if it's worth the purchase

10. Happiest Baby on the Block: This is a short movie you can buy from the iTunes store (or, I'm sure, rent it from many other places- maybe even Netflix has it). It's an instructional video made by Dr. Harvey Karp that teaches you his method for soothing infants called The 5 S's. Our midwife recommended it (especially for Dads) and praised the method enough that we bought the movie so we would be able to watch it more than once. The method is great since it's something anyone can do and is promoted as a great way for Dad to get confident soothing his baby. So often it's assumed that the Mom is the best at calming the baby (especially since she has the food...) and the Dad gets a little left out and loses confidence in his ability to make the baby happy. The movie is short but very informative and, honestly, it has been an important part of every "freak out" since we brought Alden home. Nick is a pro at the 5 S's and most of the time he's better at calming Alden down than I am. We are such avid followers that we refer to Dr. Karp as Harvey in our house :)

11. eMeals subscription: This is a meal subscription service that sends you a meal plan and accompanying grocery list every week and takes all the hard work out of planning your family's food :) We got a Groupon for a year's subscription a few weeks before Alden was born and we have really enjoyed it. Those of you who know us know that we are pretty into food and have always fallen squarely in the "foodie" camp of the world. We were hesitant at first because we felt like we were going to miss out on the exciting, yummy foods that we were used to but eMeals has numerous plan options (like Clean Eating, Gourmet, and Classics) that make it easy to accommodate your specific tastes. Meal planning for the week used to take us at least two hours (picking out recipes from numerous cookbooks or our "recipe box", making the grocery list, etc.) and now it takes us about 10 minutes (long enough to read the plan for the week and decide if we want to substitute any nights for other meals). The plans also aim to keep your weekly grocery bill low and will tailor the meals it suggests according to the weekly sales at certain grocery stores (we go to Publix) so it's a really easy way to save some money, as well. There is an app for your phone that even creates the grocery list for you and there's a new crockpot plan that we've been doing for the last couple weeks successfully. I'd say about 90% of the meals have been really tasty and the other 10% have just been OK (not gross, just not things we'd try again). We probably won't use this forever but with a new baby around and schedules all over the place, it has surely been worth the money so far.

April 19, 2013

friday funnies.

I think maybe "friday funnies" will be a weekly thing. I like it :)

Here's a video to brighten your day...we call it:

Alden's Big Flop

Alden's Big Flop from Laura Wiese on Vimeo.

*note: no babies were harmed in the making of this video :)

Have a happy weekend!

much love, L&N

April 15, 2013

baby on the way!

Haha! You probably thought I was talking about me and you probably spit out your drink and sputtered at the screen, "Whhhhaaaatttt?!?!"

Sorry about that. Kind of ;)

Nope, I am not with child. But...my cousin, Anna, and her husband, John, are having a baby!!

Anna and John, the day they got engaged

the day they got married :)

and now, their baby :)

We are so excited for them and are even more excited that Alden will have a cousin (well, really, I guess they'll be second cousins) that's only about 10 months younger than him. My cousin, David, and I are about that far apart and it made for tons o' fun growing up. (Interestingly, David is Anna's brother so apparently our families are good at keeping things in the same 12 month period- haha)

Anna and John, we are so happy for you both and can't wait for you to experience the incredible joy and happiness that your new addition is sure to bring. We are in love with parenthood and can't wait to share this journey with you!

Congratulations to the Holcombs!

much love, L&N



This post is a little late, but better late than never!

For Easter weekend the whole family (dogs included) went to visit my Nana & Papa in Alabama. My parents were visiting as well so it was a great time to see everyone and give my grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins a chance to meet Alden.

The drive to Scottsboro is normally between 4 1/2 and 5 hours, almost always 5 when we have the dogs. This time, it took us 6 1/2 hours to get there due to some of the WORST traffic we have ever seen in Atlanta. I was nervous about Alden's first road trip to begin with but this made it even more nerve wracking.

He has never liked his carseat very much so the idea of having him sit in the carseat for 5 hours at one time was a little hard to swallow. We tried to time the day around his eating schedule so that we could capitalize on his napping but the traffic totally messed us up. We were planning on being able to get over halfway there before we had to stop to feed him again but we ended up only getting to the other side of Atlanta...

He actually did surprisingly well for a 6 week old stuck in a carseat all day and only got really fussy the last hour or so.

We had a wonderful visit, even though it was short. We got to see my Aunt Lisa and Uncle Kevin and my cousin Anna and her husband John. We all ate dinner together on Friday night after we got into town and spent Saturday hanging around the house, playing with the baby and cooking. We even had time to go down the road to see the house that my parents are moving into in June. (It's being renovated and it's always fun to see the progress when we're over there) Then, for Easter Sunday, we had a yummy Easter dinner and headed home. The drive back was much better and Alden did great until the last 15 or 20 minutes.

I was dreadful at taking photos over the weekend but we did manage to get some Easter Sunday photos with the family while Alden was in his special Easter outfit :)

playing with Nana

Hanging out with his Nana Debbie

I just love this one

Nana & Papa gave Alden this adorable Easter bunny so we had to get some photos :)

Four generations

my mama and my boy :)

1st restaurant! (he slept the whole time)

the whole family at dinner

Alden drove us home ;)

It was a great weekend! We can't wait to visit again :)

much love, L&N

April 12, 2013

friday funnies.

Since it's Friday (wahoo!) and since this blog has recently been taken over by a tiny little guy's activities, I thought I'd give you a little peek into the non-baby related lives of Nick and I.

Selected text conversations from this week:

(background: I got pumpkin bread at a local bakery, Ike and Jane, for breakfast this morning when we stopped for coffee; I also got a pumpkin muffin at Panera a couple weeks ago) 

(I had voiced my interest on this topic the night before...Nick was obviously not as interested as I was)

(I was trying to get all the different coffee drinks straight- I like cafè au lait, but Starbucks calls that a Misto. always gotta to be confusing, Starbucks. but props on providing health care to all employees. that's pretty cool of you.)

Have a happy weekend! :)

much love, L&N

April 10, 2013


I have always loved the song "Make You Feel My Love". Written by Bob Dylan (whose version is pretty great) and made even more amazing by Adele, this song has always been a lover's song to me. A proclamation of all of the things one person will do for another so they know how much they are loved. It is a wonderful song with such touching sentiment. 

I now see this song in a completely different light. 

I would do anything to make sure Alden knows how much and how unconditionally he is loved. 

This is my promise to both of my boys:

Nicholas & Alden, 

I will do everything I can, every day, to make sure you know how much you are adored. I cannot imagine my life without you and am so lucky to have been given two such beautiful souls to spend my life with. You make me happy to wake up in the morning and grateful every night before I go to bed. 

Love, Laura (Mom) 

                                                       "Make You Feel My Love"

When the rain is blowin' in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong.

I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawlin' down the avenue
No, there's nothin' that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love.

The storms are raging on the rollin' sea
And on the highway of regrets
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain't seen nothin' like me yet.

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
There's nothing that I would not do
Go to the ends of the Earth for you
                                               To make you feel my love. 

April 9, 2013

Alden's Second Month

Our second month as a family of three was wonderful. Nick & I are finally feel like we're getting in a groove with the baby and even though Alden is totally not on a schedule yet, it's definitely easier than it was.

We love to cuddle with our little man in the mornings when he's wide awake and really alert. We get a ton of smiles and have great conversations full of coos and squeals :) Going out into the world is getting easier by the day, especially now that Alden is enjoying being "worn" more often. I have a Boba wrap that is taking some getting used to (for the baby) and we also have a Boba carrier that he seems to really like. It's not surprising that he's wary of being in the wrap since it holds him tight like a swaddle and the boy has been fighting swaddles since he was two hours old :) I think he will really take to being worn for longer periods of time when he's big enough to have his legs out and he can hold up his head. He is so interested in the world, anything that keeps him from interacting with it is simply not acceptable; and he lets us know!

my favorite picture :)

first nap in the Boba wrap

Alden has started sleeping for longer stretches at night (normally between 4 and 5 hours, which at this age is pretty much as "through the night" as you're going to get) which has made getting back into real life a little bit easier :) Little man is still sleeping in his bassinet in our room at night but we've transitioned into him sleeping in his crib for naps during the day. We have a foldable travel bassinet that we set in his crib so that he's more "contained" and he's been sleeping in it pretty well. When we lay him down in the crib without the bassinet, he freaks out with all the extra space. He throws his arms out around him and wakes himself up- it's funny and frustrating at the same time :)

We had his 2 month check up at the doctor last week and the report was great! He weighs 11 pounds 8 ounces and is 24 inches long. He grew 2 inches in 6 weeks. Crazytown. He has outgrown most of his newborn clothes and is even too long for his 0-3 month footed pajamas and pants. He's long and lean so, right now, he's either wearing newborn clothes that are a little too tight or 0-3 month clothes that are the right length but too baggy around his body. It makes us laugh that he either looks like a sausage or a clown :)

lumberjack baby! 

such a cute little belly :)
Alden got his first round of vaccinations last week and I'm super proud of both of us. Him because he barely cried and myself because I stayed in the room and didn't cry :) Although it was pretty miserable seeing my little boy in pain.

Breastfeeding is going really well. Alden is, obviously, gaining weight at a good speed and is perfectly healthy so far. He's gotten much more efficient with his feedings so that when he eats he's only nursing for about 10 minutes total. This is good news since one feeding took about 45 minutes when we first brought him home! We've only had to nurse outside of home a few times and each time it's gone smoothly. I know this is one of the things that make a lot of new moms nervous, myself included. One thing that has made me less intimidated about nursing out in public is that Georgia has a statute protecting breastfeeding mothers from harassment. Breastfeeding in public is such a polarizing issue and I'm happy that we live somewhere that supports this natural, healthy way of nurturing our babies.

A couple weeks ago we took advantage of an event a local baby shop hosted and got Alden's silhouette cut by a silhouette artist. It was so fun and I'm so happy we had it done. My mom had silhouettes of me and my brother and I'm excited to continue the little tradition :)

Here are some photos of our outing to ReBlossom for his sitting.

We started daycare this week and (only two days in), it seems to be going beautifully. Alden likes his teacher (evidenced by his smiles and coos in her direction) and seems to be pretty happy throughout the day. We are lucky to have a teacher that keeps in contact with us through text messages and photos during the day. It makes me feel so much less disconnected from what he's doing and makes us feel very secure leaving him there every day. Yesterday, his first day, Sylvene (his teacher) sent me 3 photos and lots of little updates without me even having to ask :) I'm sure she was worried that I was going to be in tears all day since there were definitely tears when I left him that morning...

He had a great day, slept in his crib by himself, without white noise, without a swaddle, in the middle of the day, in a noisy room (can you tell that this is a big deal?!) for over an hour and had three bottles. He was in a great mood when we picked him up and since he was so tired (the kid never wants to take naps...), he slept from 7:00 last night until 2:00 am when he ate for 10 minutes and went back to sleep until 7:00 this morning. It was probably the most sleep I've had in one night since I was 6 months pregnant!

dropping him off for his first day!

hanging out with his teacher
sleeping in his big bed!

playing at "school"
First day= success!
Some of Alden's favorite things to do:
stare at ceiling fans and lights


or sitting straight up.

especially while cuddling :)

play on his Boppy

and suck on his arm :)

Overall, month two was great and we are both excited and a little sad to see our boy grow up so fast. You never really understand what your parents mean when they say it went by in the blink of an eye, but now I get it. I really get it. I already get a little teary when I look back at photos of Alden in those first bleary days at home and realize how tiny and precious he was. We barely knew each other but we already loved him so much- and to see him change every day only makes it better. He is the coolest kid on the planet. Seriously, so cool :)

much love, L&N