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Baby Gear Obsessions: Transportation

This is the first post in a series about baby gear I’m lusting after. I haven’t purchased/used all of these products so these posts are not reviews but rather an overview of research I’ve done. I’m planning on three posts that I’ll publish over the next month or so. Transportation is first (obviously, because that’s what you’re reading right now), then Eating, then Home. Eating will cover stuff like breast pumps, bottles, support pillows and high chairs (which I know we won’t need for awhile but hey, might as well cover it while I’m thinking about it). Home will include our top crib choices, changing table, diaper stuff, bouncy seats, and play accessories like mats.  See, there’s a whole bunch of stuff! And I think I’m pretty minimalist!

Transportation includes a car seat, wraps/carriers, diaper bags and bike accessories (but no strollers as I’m quickly moving toward the anti movement).

Car Seats

Here’s what I think is important in a car seat:

  • Safety, of course. A good side-impact rating is a must, since we drive a minivan.
  • Snap-in style so we can leave a base in the car and take the seat out (although I don’t see us using it as a carrier very often).
  • Doesn’t need to be convertible because we’ll probably want another seat in a year or two anyway.
  • Preferably an ergonomic handle if we have to carry it around.
  • Of course, aesthetics do play a role. In other words, it must be a least a little bit cute!

This is what I’ve chosen for pick #1:

The Britax Chaperone Infant Car Seat in Cowmooflage

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  • First, this car seat is top-rated for side impacts. It also has this anti-rebound bar which apparently “stabilizes [the] seat by minimizing rotational forces associated with front and rear collisions.” (Description from Amazon.)
  • It snaps in to a base (the anti-rebound bar stays with the base) so we can take it out and into the house at night.
  • So far the reviews have claimed that it is easy to carry from a ergonomic standpoint. They also say it is a bit heavy, though. I’m okay with this since I don’t see us using it as a carrier too much, not with all the great options below!
  • Um, how adorable is the cowmooflage print?!
  • Aside from the weight, the only other con I’ve read is that the whole thing takes up a lot of room. This also doesn’t both me because we have a large minivan. I imagine that the seat which holds the carrier will need to be on a side of the van that is used for baby only – no crawling into the back seat from that side.

Car seat pick #2 is… okay, not chosen. Mostly because I’m really in love with the Britax! Moving on…

Baby Carriers/Wraps

Wow, there are SO many carriers out there now – way more than nine years ago. All we really had back then was the Baby Bjorn and DIY options. Now there’s so much more – carrier style, wrap style, sling style, soft structure, framed structure, mei tai, ring sling, the list goes on and on!

The important traits of each carrier varies a bit by style, but mainly they have to be:

  • Safe
  • Comfortable (duh)
  • Easy
  • Versatile (newborn to toddler, multiple wearing options, fits both me and Mr. Handsome – and maybe even Kiddo1!)
  • Stylish
  • Extras (like pockets) are always nice!

Here are my top choices, one carrier style soft structure, one (or two) wrap style and one ring sling.

Ergo Baby Organic Baby Carrier

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  • It’s safe! Baby is right there in front of you. No worries! Plus the straps are secure, sewing quality is great, etc.
  • All the reviews are unwavering on the comfort factor, with reviewers testifying about multi-hour excursions with their Ergos without a back or shoulder problem to complain of (at least not related to the carrier!). This is a step up from the Bjorn. Plus I just want to snuggle the soft organic cotton!
  • It is comfortable for baby, too, as baby is supported in a natural seated position as recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
  • It’s very easy – nothing to wrap just strap it on.
  • It will fit newborns down to 7 pounds (babies 7-12 pounds should use the Heart2Heart Infant Insert, sold separately) and toddlers up to 45 pounds! Plus you can wear it on your front, back or hip. The adjustable straps help it to fit all sizes.
  • It is definitely the more masculine-looking carrier of the three so it’s the one I see Mr. Handsome using most frequently. It comes in a range of colors but I’m partial to the black because it will go with my mostly black-based wardrobe and it’s more manly than the star or flower prints.
  • It has the nicely-sized pocket in the front which could probably carry a diaper, a couple wipes, and ID. All you need for a quick walk to the store or for an emergency when you’re separated from your diaper bag for some reason.

Moby Wrap or Boba Wrap

Okay I have two in the wrap style category. I’m having a really hard time deciding between the two. Let’s compare, shall we? They’re both great in the important traits I’ve chosen so not a lot to compare there, but I’ve added a few tangible differences that I noticed in my research:

PhotobucketMoby Wrap PhotobucketBoba Wrap
Safety No complaints Same as Moby
Comfort Even weight distribution (entire back and shoulders) Same as Moby
Ease Takes practice at first, then easy (but wrap before you leave the house) Same as Moby
Versatility 5-35 lbs, endless carrying options, can wrap to fit almost anyone Same as Moby
Style Endless print options Not quite as many prints/colors as the Moby (that I’ve seen)
Length 18 feet long 16.5 feet long
Width 23 inches wide 19 inches wide
Material 100% cotton, same look/feel on both sides 95% cotton 5% spandex, “right” and “wrong” side to the fabric
Weight lighter fabric, not as hot heavier fabric

Speaking of comparisons, the Eco-Friendly Family blog also has a fantastic list of nearly all the brand carriers and their characteristics.

Ring Sling

I haven’t made up my mind on this one at all, the field is as wide open as for the wrap-style carriers, but I’ve registered for…

Maya Wrap

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  • Good safety ratings
  • The one-shoulder design doesn’t look as comfortable as the two-shoulder options, but…
  • The ease of not having to wrap it may make up for that?
  • Fits babies up to 35 pounds, doesn’t seem like there are too many wearing options but the reviews state otherwise, the medium size fits people 5’2″ to 5’9″ so it probably wouldn’t fit Mr. Handsome.
  • Nice colors!
  • It has a pocket! Reviews state that the extra bit of fabric is also great for a nursing cover.

You might be able to tell, from my lack of enthusiasm with this one, that I’m not completely sold on the ring sling yet. I’m sure it has it’s place, though. I’ll keep thinking…

Diaper Bags

We don’t do fancy diaper bags. First off, Mr. Handsome does day duty while I work (he works in the evenings) so we don’t want some girly, fancy bag. I don’t want a bag covered in butterflies or ABCs or something, either, because I’m an adult, not a child. Therefore, we use one of the many backpacks we’ve accumulated in our lives.

PhotobucketMy preferred backpack is similar to the one pictured here: it is by Eddie Bauer (except ours is hunter green and doesn’t have the suede bottom) and I’ve had it for 13 years. It still looks brand new even though I’ve traveled internationally with it, used it all through college (it’s even pictured in the bike seat section below!), used it as a diaper bag for Kiddo1 and not treated it nearly as well as I should have.

It has all the things a diaper bag has and more:

  • Outside pockets to keep things like bottles, wipes, toys, pacifiers and other placidifiers at hand.
  • A big main pocket for lots of diapers, a blanket, change of clothes, snacks, etc.
  • TWO straps so you don’t have to wear it cross-body (which can conflict with the baby-wearing), you can stay hands-free and all that goodness.
  • Not “mommy” looking.
  • A use beyond the diaper phase.

I like to get a diaper changing pad to put in my bag, too, because changing diapers on those public fold-out things grosses me out a bit. I have two options in mind here:

Skip*Hop Pronto Changing Wallet

PhotobucketThere are lots of different kinds of these that basically do/are the same thing: they fold up to the size of a travel-size wipes container and unfold to a mat on which baby can be placed for a changing. We registered for this one because a) I think the print is cute and b) it’s the one Target had. Not a lot to it, really. The baby pictured here looks happy, right?

Another bit of awesomeness is that you don’t have to wipe down the public changing facility if baby, say, poops a little extra or gives you a “bonus pee” mid-change. Sure you still have to worry about the wallet surface but, if you’re in a hurry, just get going if needed (except for maybe mopping up the excess pee, because no one wants to carry around pee).

A tad more all-inclusive option is the Ergo Baby Changing Pad

PhotobucketThis one is cool because it’s like a mini-diaper bag. It has pockets for stuff like a wallet, keys, small toys, a spare diaper or two, etc. It probably won’t fit too many diapers or a blanket or change of clothes but it will work if you’re just running a quick errand or something. PLUS it hooks on to the Ergo carrier!

It still folds out to a changing surface but it is a bit bigger than the wallet.

I’d love both of these but if I had to pick one I’d probably go for the wallet simply because it’s smaller and will fit in the backpack. Once we don’t need as much stuff to be carried around (change of clothes, etc.) then I’d most likely go for the Ergo.

I’m not even going to get into the plethora of wet bags that are out there for the retreat of soiled cloth diapers back to the washing location. There are so many. Shoot, I’d probably use a ziplock baggie most of the time though – just wash it out and reuse it right? We’ll see how that works…

Bike Seat, Trailer

Mr. Handsome does a lot of biking during the day while I have the car at work (I have a long commute, public transit takes 90 minutes one way, there are lots of reasons why I drive the car). We like to bike in the evenings and on weekends as well, especially in the summer. We’re going to need some bike accessories to keep this up after Baby2 arrives.

It’s important to note that most bike accessories can not be used until baby is at least one year old and can sit completely on their own.

Here’s what is important in bike accessories:

  • Safety
  • Ease of use: it can’t be too hard to get Baby2 in and out of it
  • Convenience: taking it on or off the bike should be easy (in the case of a trailer; we probably won’t take the bike seat off very often)
  • Versatility: again, more of a trait for the trailer – can we put groceries in it if one of us runs to the store sans kids?

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppWe had a Wee Ride Kangaroo bike seat for Kiddo1 before he could ride, which I completely plan on getting again. They still make these (yay!) and you can get them from WeeRide.com or Amazon, of course.

Here’s Kiddo1 and I with the seat when he was a couple years old. We used it every day to get to preschool for him and college classes for me. People would actually come up to me in their cars and ask me about the seat – I think it was pretty new back then. Kiddo1 loved the seat because he had an unobstructed view to the world. We would sing together on our rides. That was good times!

Some great things about the seat:

  • It feels way safer than the seats that go behind you. For one, you can see your child while you’re riding so if something needs adjustments (say they wiggle an arm out of the safety straps or something) you can quickly stop and make them as opposed to turning around all the time to check on your child.
  • It’s super, super easy to get your child in and out of plus it’s easy to attach to the bike. There’s a single flat bar that attaches to the posts that hold your handlebars and seat. The bar is fully adjustable so it can fit any size bike. The baby seat attaches to the bar with a simple thumb screw so you could take the seat part on and off whenever, if you wanted to.
  • I never found the seat to be much use for anything other than carrying my child. (I tried to carry my backpack in it once and the straps got all tangled in my handlebars and I feel over. On campus. During the height of the mid-morning class rush. On one of the main malls. Em-bar-ass-ing.) I wouldn’t even call this a con, though (the fall was a con, for sure).
  • I actually can’t think of any cons about this seat. People on Amazon complained about the safety straps being difficult but I don’t recall having any issues with this. They also complain about not having a lot of room for their legs but, again, I found this not to be the case. To each his own I guess!
  • Children must be one year old and the weight limit is 40 pounds.

InStep Trailer

InStep makes a good line of bike trailers that are very cost effective. Trailers can get expensive quickly, but these are all priced under $200, some even under $100. We had one of these with Kiddo1 and it came in very handy for all sorts of things. We got rid of it (gave it to my parents) after he started riding his own bike decent distances, but we totally should have kept it for the grocery shopping/errands on a bike potential. This time we won’t make that mistake again!

Notable things about trailers:

  • Safe: baby/toddler is all strapped in back there and covered, just in case the straps wiggle loose. They can’t climb out either because of the aforementioned cover. They’re close enough to you that you can hear cries if they need help.
  • Pretty ease to load up the kiddo if I remember correctly. Ours also had a spring mechanism so you could take it off your bike quickly. The only con is that the main anchor stays on your bike and there’s usually only one so you can’t really transfer from bike to bike. I suppose you could look for another anchor piece if you needed though.
  • Trailers are super useful for carrying other stuff. Like I said, we used ours for the grocery store and my parents still use the one we gave them for that purpose even several years later. I’ve also seen dogs carried around in these things which I’m not sure is advisable. Basically any cargo can go in here, up to the weight limit (probably 100 pounds or so but don’t quote me on that).
  • Children must be one year old and the weight limit is probably 40 pounds like with the bike seat, but I’m not completely sure so again, don’t take my word for it.

Whew! There is a LOT of gear for transporting a baby! And that’s only one category – there’s still SO much gear to talk about!

Next post in this series: home gear!

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To Do List: End of Second Tri Update

With the second trimester officially ending at the start of week 28 on Friday, it’s time to revisit the to do list again. We’ve gotten a lot done, but there’s still so much left to do! I’m trying to pace myself and not let it overwhelm me; in the end, none of this stuff could get done and I (suppose I) would be okay with that. Anyway, here it is…

 A recap of the First Trimester list, all complete:
  • Research hospitals and choose a midwife, with birth plan in mind COMPLETE, and I’ll post about it in a couple weeks once my regular appointments begin
  • Start a pregnancy journal STARTED, and this Sunday I’ll post about the journal I selected
  • Start a photo journal STARTED
  • Find a social pregnancy group FORMED MY OWN
  • Download pregnancy apps for iphone DOWNLOADED (three!)
  • Schedule first appointment/ultrasound FINISHED
  • Write down questions for midwife QUESTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED
  • Get on a kegel schedule SQUEEZING CONTINUES FROM TTC
  • Get on an exercise schedule (cardio) COMPLETE (although I’m struggling to stick to it, but I cardio it up when I can)
  • Plan meals/eat well A WORK IN PROGRESS (but I’ve made vast improvements over my pre-pregnancy habits)
  • Start a blog COMPLETE!
  • Decide whether or not to do the NT scan COMPLETE (and we declined)
  • Find some books about the next few months/year COMPLETE (and book reviews will begin on Sunday)
  • Start a name list BEGUN

The Second Trimester list, let’s see how we did:

  • Budget evaluation (let’s make adjustments now where needed) COMPLETE, plus we figured out how much money we need to save between now and July so we can pay hospital bills and make up for my company’s disappointing maternity policy (see below) so that I can take a least 10 weeks off work.
  • More diverse exercises (yoga, swimming) STARTED, I love prenatal yoga and I started water aerobics last week, which I hope to post about soon.
  • Research childbirth class and sign up – We’re being major rebels here and opting out of a class entirely. We’re reading so many dang books and we’ve been through this before. I understand that a class would help, but I see it more as icing on the cake than a fundamental piece of the puzzle. Controversial! However, we are taking a waterbirth class in June through the midwives, which I’m really excited about.
  • Evaluate maternity wardrobe COMPLETE and I think I’m set for a least another couple months. I’m only nervous about the last month or so because I know I’ll be absolutely huge then.
  • Prevent stretch marks PREVENTING as best I can!
  • Check out classes such as bf, baby wearing, cloth diapering, etc. – Cloth diapering COMPLETE, breastfeeding and baby wearing classes are coming up in late May (we’ll miss the April classes, sad face).
  • Brush up my knit and crochet skills and start some projects STARTED some ideas. Projects pending. Currently they’ve been tabled due to all the nursery prep I’ve been doing; I didn’t anticipate getting into it so much!
  • Research maternity leave policy COMPLETE but the policy is pretty disappointing. I get six weeks paid 100%. I could get up to 13 weeks paid but I’d have to have a medical excuse. Lame! I’m going to take 10 weeks regardless, though.
  • Dog training (stop jumping, door management) STARTED, Max is getting used to going to his crate when the doorbell rings (his crate is right by the door) but we do need to work on his responsiveness to “come.” It’s a safety thing at this point.
  • Learn the sex of our baby! GIRL!
  • Doula? COMPLETE; we had a lot of good conversations about this and how we both felt about what we need and want. Ultimately we’ve decided not to use a doula. Mr. Handsome is an amazing coach and I am a very independent personality. I know we’ll have to be our own advocates in the hospital this way, but we know what we want and don’t want and aren’t afraid to ask for it.
  • Register – COMPLETE! We’re on Target and Amazon to appease our families, which are all out-of-state.
  • Nursery Ideas COMPLETE, projects started and quickly snowballing out of control.
  • Living Will IN PROGRESS! I’m so glad we got started. We outlined our final wills, we just have to fill in Baby2’s name and birthdate, once we have those, finalize who our executors will be if we’re both deceased (is it okay to use the guardian we’ve selected as executor, too?) and get a witness, sign and notarize. Then we need to start the living wills, too. Progress!
On to the Third Trimester list:
  • Finalize birth plan
  • Hospital tour, preregister
  • Plan for when labor starts
  • Plan for Kiddo1 and Max while we’re at the hospital
  • Find out what the grandparents’ travel plans are
  • Baby Gear, clothes
  • Baby book
  • Decide if we want pregnancy photos
  • Fill out cord blood donation paperwork/register
  • Install car seat
  • Pediatrician
  • Make some frozen dinners
  • Wash baby clothes, blankets/sheets, diapers
  • Set up nursery/baby spaces
  • Prep Kiddo1 for “culture shift”
  • Plan baby welcoming party for mid-August
  • Research c-sections and inductions, just in case
  • Birth announcement (email, mail?)
  • Familiarize myself with contraction-timing apps
  • Pack hospital bag
  • Trial run to hospital
  • Clean house/have cleaned

Friday Update: Week 24

PhotobucketContinuing with last week’s baby’s-size-is-a-shoe theme, this week baby is about as big as a shoe box at almost 12 inches long! Here’s a picture of a Rocket Dog shoe box because I love my Rocket Dog flats!

This week I have noticed some nesting starting. Very light nesting, and it is mostly interior decorating thoughts than cleaning and organizing.I can feel myself starting to obsess – I know it’s bad when I have dreams about the supplies I’ve bought and the things I want to do with them. Fabric has been dancing in my head – it’s taking over!

Next week I’m off work for Spring Break, which is probably a catalyst because I want to get so many projects done in that time. Here are some of the things I’m hoping to accomplish:

  • Frame two new posters: I bought two new Degas prints because I didn’t think any of the art I already had fit the color scheme we’ve chosen for the nursery. Also, my currently held prints and general vision for the space isn’t very girly, so I figured some whimsical Degas dancers would feminize everything a bit. I’m excited to post pictures of those when I’m done!
  • Start the giant mobile that I’ve been talking about: I have a bunch of paper lanterns being delivered today and I already bought fabric for the poofs so it’s time to get started. I have two lanterns that I dion’t have to do anything to, two lanterns that I’m covering in a specific color with tissue paper, two lanterns to make poofs of and two that I’m going to cover in paper flowers.
  • Make a crib skirt (I foudn yet another awesome online tutorial): After weeks of obsessing and searching, I finally found what I think is the perfect fabric for the crib skirt, pillows and who knows what else. I ordered it from Mountain of the Dragon on Etsy. Monica was awesome and helpful, plus it looks like the shipping will be really fast. I was going to buy a crib skirt already completed from this fabric, but I wound up getting twice the fabric AND a used sewing machine on Craig’s List for even less than I would have paid for the crib skirt.
  • Since I want to make a crib skirt I’m going to have to buy a crib: I kind of wanted to put this one off, mostly because it’s going to take up space and looking at an empty crib for three months could be kind of weird. However, we need a place to put the stuff we’ve started to accumulate so I guess an empty crib isn’t so bad.
  • Get started on a crochet project.

I think that should keep me busy, but if it doesn’t I do have a few things to finish from my second trimester to-do list, including writing our living and final wills with Mr. Handsome. Plus doing a bunch of fun stuff with Kiddo1! Visiting the zoo is a given, probably the science center, taking the dog to the park, building legos, reading, bike riding, getting exhausted just thinking about it all, you name it!

Anyway, here are some things that actually happened this week (as opposed to things I’ve just thought of):

  • Total weight gain: 18 pounds (maybe 19, but I’m probably low-balling again this week). At least a full pound of that is all baby though, depending on which pregnancy app you trust the most. Baby will gain a quarter pound a week (!) for the next six weeks or so. Good luck to me in keeping my pound-a-week goal.
  • Cravings: Junk food, any and all matter of junk food. And not just the chocolate stuff but fried foods, cheesy/creamy foods (Mmmm, Panera Mac ‘N Cheese…), processed foods, all the good stuff. I’m forcing myself to eat a big salad for dinner tonight.
  • Coolest symptom: I feel like baby kicks have dominated this bullet for the last few weeks. This week they’re still pretty darn cool and I have noticed that they’re getting a bit higher in my abdomen. Other cool things also include the thicker nails and softer hair that I noticed a couple weeks ago. Mr. Handsome would probably put the huge boobs in this bullet too.
  • Lamest symptom: The linea negra is totally here, as I had speculated two weeks ago. This isn’t really lame, but it is the lamest thing I could think of. I had a very dark linea negra with Baby1 so I was expecting this! Also, the last two nights I have been woken at 2 am with what I can only imagine are Braxton Hicks contractions. I need to look into this further…
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes): 215 minutes! This week I got a much healthier balance of cardio, yoga and weights, too, with 105 minutes of cardio (all elliptical except for 20 minutes of vigorous vacuuming), 90 minutes of yoga and 20 minutes of arms.

Finally, Baby2’s happenings, courtesy babycenter.com:

Your baby’s growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him or her at just over a pound. Since your baby is almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he or she cuts a pretty lean figure at this point. But your baby’s body is filling out proportionally and it will soon start to plump up. His or her brain is growing quickly now, and taste buds are continuing to develop. Your baby’s lungs are developing “branches” of the respiratory “tree” as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help air sacs in the lungs inflate once your baby hits the outside world. His or her skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

Donating Cord Blood

Donation has always been an act that is near and dear to my heart: might as well let someone else reap the benefits of my unused and/or unwanted stuff! I’ve donated my time, my son’s toys and clothes, my office-wear, my hard-earned dollars, I’m a registered bone marrow donor and I plan to donate my body to science when my life is over. (For real, med schools struggle to find cadavers and they are such a useful tool for the students. I took an anatomy class once and I learned far more in two days of lab than I did from the books!)

So when I read about donating cord blood while we were TTC, it became a goal of mine to get involved. If you’re pregnant and don’t plan on banking your baby’s cord blood (we don’t feel that it is right for us), then you’ve got to check it out. Follow the link for more info as there are some restrictions.

Benefits:

  • Help save a life
  • No waste!
  • Feel good about giving
  • It’s free!
  • It’s painless!
  • All you’ve got to do is give birth! Easy, right?

It’s also quite possible that, if you eventually do need the cord blood that you donate, you can find your deposit again. At the very least, you are likely to find a match within the public cord blood bank.

Mr. Handsome and I are really excited to take advantage of this option this time around. We’re supposed to register with Be the Match about a month prior to delivery, so just to be safe I’m going to inquire around late May/early June (I tried to register already but I was told that paperwork changes limit registration times). Hopefully our cord blood will be of use to someone, somewhere!

The Name Game, Rejected Names: Girl Edition

Naming a person is hard work! It’s something that you really don’t want to get wrong for several reasons: the name sticks with your child for his or her whole life and apparently has effects on all facets of his or her life including first impressions, grades, friends, jobs and promotions, etc. AND if you get it wrong it’s difficult to have a “do-over.” I feel like I’ve seen all kinds of articles about the effects of impetuous baby-naming lately – there was even one in “The Week” last Friday (it is a magazine Mr. Handsome and I get delivered weekly; a brother-in-law hooked us up).

To add to the troubles of naming, it seems like I always have great ideas for the sex opposite of what we’re having. I remember back when I was pregnant with Baby1 – before we found out we were having a boy I had all kinds of thoughts about girl names. It was so, so hard for us to find a boy name. We combed through probably every name book the library had (um so the internet wasn’t as popular nine years ago… and we didn’t own any computers back then!).

This time I feel like I had some good, solid boy names on my mind (which I posted about awhile back) and then we find out we’re having a girl (which don’t get me wrong I’m over the moon about. We couldn’t be happier to have one of each now!). Of course I have no idea what girl names I thought of nine years ago and, if I did, I probably wouldn’t like them now anyway. It’s been so difficult for me to think of girl names that I love! And that flow well, fit with our last names, etc.

I do like the names that I suggested in my last post, but that’s not what this post is about really. This post is about the names that I don’t like. Because at least I know that half of the decision!

Before I get into it, allow me a disclaimer: these are names that I don’t like by my own personal preference. I am not offended by these names (except for maybe the first one there!) and I do not at all mean to insult anyone who has, has used, or loves any of the following names. Please don’t let me offend you. Also, all names listed below were taken from the Social Security Top 500 names of 2010, so they are legit.

The below lists also loosely tie back to my naming rules that I posted last time I talked about names. These include no creative or “smoosh” names, no misspelled names, no names that require a nickname, and no names that are “too girly.” At this time I’d also like to add the following constraints: no boys’ names, no place names, no virtue names and no Top Ten names.

Is there anything left after all those “nos”? Yes, but none of those names will be on these lists…

Names that are “too creative” or “smoosh” (a “smoosh” name is two names blended into one):

  • Nevaeh (Yeah, we get it, it’s “heaven” spelled backward. Great. But HOW is it #25 most popular on the SSA?!)
  • Annabelle, Annalee, Annalise, Annalisa (“smooshes” of Anna and other names)
  • Mariana (“smoosh” of Mary and Anna – Anna seems to be the target of most “smoosh” names…)
  • Julissa (“smoosh” of Julia and Alyssa)
  • Adison or Adeline (you just took the “M” off Madison or Madeline. Not very creative but I still think it falls under this category.)
  • Brielle (you just took the “Ga” off Gabrielle)
  • Cadence or Lyric (these are made-up names stolen from musical terms. They are nouns, not names. It’s like naming someone “Crescendo” or “Adagio.”)

Names that are misspelled:

  • Kyleigh (there’s really no great spelling of this name, in my opinion)
  • Londyn
  • Emely
  • Melany
  • Madisyn
  • Rebekah

Names that scream out for a nickname (Mr. Handsome is against nicknames):

  • Alexandria
  • Elizabeth
  • Samantha
  • Josephine
  • Catherine
  • Alessandra

Names that are “too girly.” What do I mean by this? “Too girly” is a name that is super cute on a little girl, which is great, but let’s say this little girl grows up to be a business executive, a doctor, a judge, a board chairwoman, etc, etc. I don’t feel like a “too girly” name will allow her to be taken seriously, like these:

  • Isabella, Bella or Ella
  • Sophia
  • Daisy
  • Luna
  • Anastasia
  • Layla
  • Lucy
  • Bianca
  • Ariel
  • Aurora
  • Anastasia

Names that belong to the boys’ team:

  • Avery
  • Riley
  • Drew
  • Hayden
  • Peyton
  • Jordan
  • Emerson
  • Kenley (this Gaelic name means “Wolf Head”)

Place names:

  • Brooklyn
  • London
  • Sydney
  • Paris
  • Savannah
  • Dakota
  • Madison

Virtue names:

  • Honor
  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Destiny
  • Serenity
  • Harmony

Also, it can’t be too popular, such as the names in 2010’s Top Ten:

  • Isabella
  • Sophia
  • Emma
  • Olivia
  • Ava
  • Emily
  • Abigail
  • Madison
  • Chloe
  • Mia

One Nursery Project Down!

I’ve started to get a little antsy about starting to prepare the nursery for Baby2. I know we have another four months to go so I’m trying to curb my enthusiasm a bit, but I can get some preliminary sorts of things started right? I know I could just do it all now, there’s no harm, but I feel like I would be getting ahead of myself. Might as well stretch out the fun you know?

This past weekend I tackled a project that I’ve been wanting to do for YEARS. I have a whole bunch of art poster prints that I’ve been wanting to frame for so long. Mr. Handsome and my bedroom walls are covered in college-esque posters (still in their plastic wrap for ultimate preservation) of Picasso, Kandinsky and Munch. One of my favorites is Le Repos by Picasso. It hung over Baby1’s crib oh so many years ago. I wanted to use it for Baby2, too, but now that we’re a little older and wiser I thought I could make it look better.

I took the print to the local framer and they wanted to charge me almost $300 to frame it! Sure it’s fairly large at 24×36, but still. I eventually got them down to $150 for basically a “do-it-yourself” option where they cut the mats for you and dry mount your art and you put it together. A good savings but still out of budget.

My education is in Architecture so I spent four years of my life cutting mat board to build models. I figured, I got this. So I went to the art supply store and bought two mat boards and a mat cutter for $40. I also got a frame from that same shop for $20, and it’s a nice sturdy wood frame with glass so the price was really fantastic. I don’t think I should really count the mat cutter in the total price because I will use it again for other projects, but if I do count it the total investment tops out at $60 which is less than half of the frame shop’s even cheapest price.

After I bought the mat board I went back and forth with the color. Kiddo1 and I sat down and went over the colors we thought that would be best. He was really interested in helping with this project which was awesome! He had some good input too. Ultimately he decided that the mat color I had chosen was the best, so I felt better about that!

We also thought that the colors in the painting would be good for the whole nursery. Here’s what the finished product looked like (which I need to get hung ASAP):

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

There’s so much glare from the glass… But I think this is pretty good for my first dabble in framing!

So the nursery colors will be a deep red, mustardy yellow, a deep turquoise and perhaps a splash of purple or maybe even hot pink (“because she is a girl,” says Kiddo1).

My next project is to start on the giant mobile piece. I have fallen in love with these – they’re so much more of a statement and focal point than your standard mobile. And I feel like baby can see the bright colors and big shapes better anyway. Here’s some of my inspiration from Pinterest:

PhotobucketPhotobucket

I like how the pink one mixes the paper lanterns and “poofs,” the latter of which there is a tutorial for here. I’m currently looking for the best place to buy some cheap paper lanterns (from the above pictures I’m thinking I’ll need about a dozen). I found this site and am searching for more.  Martha Stewart makes the accordion-style ones but I’m not sure if the blue set really fits the color scheme perfectly.

In the meantime, I have to find the perfect fabric to tie all these colors together. I’m swooning over the prints at Modified Tot on Etsy. Crib skirts (which is what I intend to make) are available but they are so expensive! So I will sharpen my DIY skills once again – too bad I sold my sewing machine four years ago when we moved.

And back to framing, hopefully I’ll get to one or two more posters before Baby2 arrives. I’ve got Von Gogh’s Starry Night and Kandinsky’s Composition No. 6 for candidates!

To Do List: Mid-Second Tri Update

We’re about half-way through the second trimester right now, so I thought I’d revisit our to-do list and see what kind of progress we’ve made. Everything from the first trimester list was done on time and the second trimester list is looking pretty good! Just a few more things to do in the next several weeks…
A recap of the First Trimester list, all complete:
  • Research hospitals and choose a midwife, with birth plan in mind COMPLETE, and I’ll post about it in a couple weeks once my regular appointments begin
  • Start a pregnancy journal STARTED, and this Sunday I’ll post about the journal I selected
  • Start a photo journal STARTED
  • Find a social pregnancy group FORMED MY OWN
  • Download pregnancy apps for iphone DOWNLOADED (three!)
  • Schedule first appointment/ultrasound FINISHED
  • Write down questions for midwife QUESTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED
  • Get on a kegel schedule SQUEEZING CONTINUES FROM TTC
  • Get on an exercise schedule (cardio) COMPLETE (although I’m struggling to stick to it, but I cardio it up when I can)
  • Plan meals/eat well A WORK IN PROGRESS (but I’ve made vast improvements over my pre-pregnancy habits)
  • Start a blog COMPLETE!
  • Decide whether or not to do the NT scan COMPLETE (and we declined)
  • Find some books about the next few months/year COMPLETE (and book reviews will begin on Sunday)
  • Start a name list BEGUN

The partially complete Second Trimester list:

  • Budget evaluation (let’s make adjustments now where needed) – I suppose this is a work in progress right now, so I won’t mark it as complete yet.
  • More diverse exercises (yoga, swimming) STARTED, I love prenatal yoga!
  • Research childbirth class and sign up – We’re looking at a couple but haven’t committed yet. The hospital class is $250 and 6 weeks, which I think is a bit much. The search for the perfect class continues.
  • Evaluate maternity wardrobe COMPLETE and I think I’m set for a least another couple months. I’m only nervous about the last month or so because I know I’ll be absolutely huge then.
  • Prevent stretch marks PREVENTING AS BEST I CAN (link)
  • Check out classes such as bf, baby wearing, cloth diapering, etc. – Baby wearing and cloth diapering are coming up in April/May. I’m looking for a good breastfeeding class though.
  • Brush up my knit and crochet skills and start some projects STARTED some ideas. Projects pending.
  • Research maternity leave policy COMPLETE but the policy is pretty disappointing. I get six weeks paid 100%. I could get up to 13 weeks paid but I’d have to have a medical excuse. Lame!
  • Dog training (stop jumping, door management) – we need to get this started.
  • Learn the sex of our baby! GIRL!
  • Doula?
  • Register – I started an Amazon list awhile back, but Mr. Handsome and I need to dig into this together now.
  • Nursery Ideas COMPLETE
  • Living Will – I downloaded one of those eLegalForms things so Mr. Handsome and I just need to sit down and do it. Still not complete just yet.
And, to come, the Third Trimester list:
  • Finalize birth plan
  • Hospital tour, preregister
  • Plan for when labor starts
  • Plan for Kiddo1 and Max while we’re at the hospital
  • Find out what the grandparents’ travel plans are
  • Baby Gear, clothes
  • Baby book
  • Decide if we want pregnancy photos
  • Fill out cord blood donation paperwork/register
  • Install car seat
  • Pediatrician
  • Make some frozen dinners
  • Wash baby clothes, blankets/sheets, diapers
  • Set up nursery/baby spaces
  • Prep Kiddo1 for “culture shift”
  • Plan baby welcoming party for mid-August
  • Research c-sections and inductions, just in case
  • Birth announcement (email, mail?)
  • Familiarize myself with contraction-timing apps
  • Pack hospital bag
  • Trial run to hospital
  • Clean house/have cleaned