And then they…

the things we do to live a better life.

Archive for the tag “baby”

Easter Photos

It’s so much fun having a daughter who is old enough to understand Easter this year.  She is starting to get the whole Jesus thing, but she totally got the Easter Bunny.

We had a great day at church, and egg hunting, and eating with friends and family.

I was fun to start a new tradition of making the girls’ Easter dresses.  These got to serve double duty as dresses for Harriet’s Baptism.

And Then They - Easter TraditionsAnd Then They - Easter Chair and BasketsAnd Then They - PeepsAnd Then They - Walking to Rory's With PapaAnd Then They - RoryAnd Then They - EggAnd Then They - RunningAnd Then They - Going for a DriveAnd Then They - Harriet was there too


Harriet’s Baptism

And Then They - WaterHarriet was Baptized today at our wonderful church.  We are so blessed to have a lovely church to attend.  We couldn’t ask for a better priest than Bingham, and are so glad that he was able to baptize both Alma and Harriet. And Then They - OilHarriet did really well.  You can see in the photo above that Alma was a little concerned about what Father Bingham was putting on her forehead.  It was oil, and part of my favorite part of the baptism ceremony.  The priest puts oil on her forehead, eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet and says:

I bless your eyes that you may see God’s image in everyone.
I bless your ears that you may hear the cry of the poor.
I bless your lips that you speak nothing but the gospel of Jesus.
I bless your hands that everything you receive and everything you give may be a sacrament.
I bless your feet that you may run to those who need you.

And Then They - LightOur dear friends Stu and Jacque are Harriet’s Godparents, and we are so lucky to have them.  Their son Edison is just 9 days older than Harriet, so it is extra special to have them be such an important part of her life.

And Then They - CelebratingNot only do we love Father Bingham, but we also were blessed to have a retired priest be the Celebrant at the service.  Father Ted was my priest all growing up, and even married us.  It was really special to have him be a part of the service for Harriet.

And Then They - Harriet's Godparents

Photo by Katrina Henry!

And Then They - Alma's GodparentsI realized that we never got a photo of Father Bingham, Alma, and her Godparents, so we took this as an opportunity to correct this oversight.  Just a couple years after the baptism.  We love Kenton and Katrina and are so blessed to have them in our lives.  They are beautiful Godparents to Alma.

And Then They - PartyAfter the service, we had lots of friends and family over to celebrate.  I love when our house is filled with so many loved ones.  Alma and Harriet are so lucky to have so many great friends who love them so much.

And Then They - Best FriendsThese are Alma’s best friends, above.  Rach was her nanny last year, and is her best friend now.  Rory is her best similarly-aged friend, who also had the pleasure of having Rach as his nanny.  This threesome is pretty great.  They are so bonded in such a fun, lovely way.  Rach’s mom came up and was able to help Rach baby sit Alma, Harriet, and their cousins on Saturday night so we could go to a concert.  They came to the baptism, also.

And Then They - In a FortRach is a pretty talented fort builder.  All the kids loved playing in it, and Alma’s cousins even got to sleep in it on Saturday night.

And Then They - Video GamesOf course, video games are always a big draw.  These guys deserved it since they had just done a wonderful job at church during the baptism.

And Then They - Sweet HarrietCongratulations, Sweet Harriet.  Your enthusiasm and joy is so wonderful.  You are so, so loved.

* All photos (unless otherwise indicated) were taken by my mother-in-law, and edited by me.  Thanks for being our photographer!

Dear Harriet – 6 Months

Dear Harriet,

I can’t tell you how glad I am that you are in our family.  You have made our family so much more fun!  Your sister, your daddy, and I love to see your sweet smiles.  You smile with your whole body, bringing your hands together in front of your body.  It’s like you’re trying to grab the joy and pull it to your heart.  I try to take it all in, because it’s so clear that you are trying to do the same.

You are an expert sitter.  You have been for quite a while.  You are happy to sit somewhere where you can see the action.  You like to be somewhere you can watch your sister run around, dance, and play.  You love it when she stops and gives you some attention and love.

You are patient and mellow, except when you’re not.  And when you’re not, you make it known.  You have a very loud voice, and you love to use it.

You sleep through the night, mostly.  You do like to wake up one time in the early morning for a snack, but usually go back to sleep for a couple hours afterward.  The other night you slept until 7:18 and I was amazed!  Let’s keep that up!

You are growing right on track.  At your appointment with Dr. B today she said you are perfect.  I quite agree.

I love you, and love everything you bring to our family.


Your Mommy

And Then They - 6 Months Already

Sewing – How I Got Started, Part 1

If you are thinking about starting a project, perhaps your first one, here’s a piece of advice.  You won’t be able to screw it up as much as you think you will.  Before my first project, I was terrified that if I mess it up, it would be utterly ruined and a waste of money and time.  I quickly learned that, yes, I would screw up.  Again and again, but it is actually very easy to fix mistakes when sewing.  Just tear about the seams, and start again.

Before I was pregnant with Alma, I had never really sewn anything.  As a child, I played around and made a few little thingies, then in home-ec in middle school I made and awesome lip shaped pillow.  Other than that, I had never used a sewing machine.

The summer before I had Alma, the nesting kicked in and I wanted to make her a quilt.  I didn’t really know how to start, but I wanted to do something easy.  I came up with the idea of doing a gradient rainbow quilt, so I went to the fabric store and bought 16 pieces of fabric in a rainbow of colors.

Then I did some math and figured out how big I wanted the quilt to be.  I wanted the sizes of each strip to vary, so I just cut out 1, 2, and 3 inch pieces of each color.  Once I had all the pieces cut out, I lined them up on my floor and arranged it so the colors would overlap horizontally through the quilt.

I then sewed 12 vertical strips with one piece of each color in each strip. This seemed pretty easy, because the pieces were only 4 inches wide, leaving not a lot of room to mess up.

Then I got scared.  I had to attach each strip to the next, which meant I would be sewing two long strips together using a continuous stitch.  This felt like a lot of ways I could mess up.  As a beginning sew-er I felt like something would go wrong for sure and everything would be ruined.  I didn’t think I’d be able to sew a straight line for such a long distance.  I probably left the strips sitting for a couple weeks before I built up the courage to attempt my long lines.

I finally got brave and sewed two strips together.  It was quick, and easy!  I was amazed!  I kept going, and soon I had a complete quilt top, and I was really happy!

Then came the next scary part – the actual quilting.  I got my backing, my batting and my quilt, sandwiched it all together and found some good tutorials online.  I thought I would do a straight line down the middle of each strip, but quickly found that a wavy line would be much easier, and actually kind of cute.  I did 12 wavy lines and all of a sudden, I had a quilt!

Then the scary task of adding a binding!  I found this wonderful tutorial and basically did what it said.  The only thing I did differently was machine sewing it on, instead of hand binding the front.  Since it was for a baby, I knew it would be washed a lot, so I wanted it to be really secure.

Holy cow, I had just made a quilt!  I was basically a super hero in my mind.  I had come up with an idea, done math, sewn a bunch (192!) of pieces of fabric together, and – poof! – heirloom!

And Then They - My first quilt - a great beginner pattern and tutorialI basically took it (and still take all my sewing projects) one step at a time.  I gave myself permission to make mistakes.  I took breaks, short and long, along the way.

What are some projects you’ve been wanting to try, but have been too scared to take the first step?

More Baby Gear… Stroller Dilemas

You know what they say about hindsight.  Well, when it came to picking a stroller, we didn’t make the right decision for our family.  As with everything else, I did a ton of research, got people’s opinions, test drove strollers, basically did everything right.  We ended up with a Baby Jogger City Mini.  And we loved it.  I mean, really, really loved it.  I would totally recommend it to anyone.  It’s lightweight, folds up beautifully, the steering was lovely.

And Then They - City Mini with Baby AlmaBUT, it’s a single stroller.  We knew we were planning on having more kids someday soon, but we still bought a single stroller.  I think we just decided to figure out the double stroller if, and when, it became necessary.

Here’s the deal.  This totally wouldn’t be a problem if you space your kids out further than we did.  With only 19 months between Alma and Harriet, I knew we would need a double stroller.  I have friends who have added a standing board for their older kids, or just had them walk.  Not an option for Alma.  And we also like to use the stroller to go on long walks.  I can’t expect Alma to walk the whole way, or want to strap a big baby or toddler to my body.  This isn’t just for the grocery store or the mall.  I basically have two babies to push around.  Double stroller necessary.

What I wish I had known the first time around:  There are stroller options that convert from single to double!  What?!  Ha!  After doing lots more research, asking, test driving this time around, we came to the Baby Jogger City Select.

And Then They - City SelectThis stroller is ah-mazing.  It can be configured a gazillion different ways.  I’ll, again, refer you to the website so you can see all the beautiful things this stroller can do.  I love that both kids can see out when they are both front facing.  Since we go on walks, I like to use that time to show them the world.  Especially when we’re down by the river, or downtown.  I also love that they can face each other.  I think they love that, too.  I also really love that it can also be a single.  This is good for quick trips, when I just need to have Alma contained, and can carry Harriet in my Ergo.  The fact that it can be a single will extend the life, too, since we can keep using it when Alma has outgrown strollering.

The down side is that it comes with a pretty hefty price-tag.  We were able to get it when they were offering a deal where you got the second seat for free.  We were also able to sell our City Mini (Baby Jogger strollers hold their value really well!), so that helped a lot.  I *wish* we had just bought the City Select single when we had Alma, then we would have just had to buy the second seat when Harriet came around.  That would have stretched the life of the stroller for us.

Well, that’s my opinion, for whatever it’s worth.  Nobody paid me anything to write this.  I didn’t get any free strollers or anything.  I just love the products, and wanted to share!

If you missed my run-down of other baby gear, be sure to check it out here.

Baby Gear That Will Last For Years – Plan Well and Spend Wisely

I’ve been mulling over this post for a while.  I’ve been trying to come up with some of the things that I would tell newly pregnant friends that they must have.  There are so many things that go into making choices when it come to everything, but it seems especially difficult when it comes to baby gear.  Probably because you get it all at once.  While working on this post, I came to the realization that our main criteria was definitely whether or not the baby would grow out of it quickly.  If we felt like it wouldn’t last for at least the first year, we tried to find another option.

And Then They - Baby Gear That Will Last For Years, Plan well and spend wisely  A list of things to buy for first time parents

I don’t think we were consciously thinking of this, but it was definitely a selling point if we could see the usefulness of an item for quite a while.  Obviously, borrow things from friends where you can, or buy used gear!

So, here are some of our recommendations:

And Then They - CribMini Crib:  While this doesn’t sound like something that will follow your baby into childhood, this is one of the best things we bought.  While it is (as its name implies) smaller than a regular crib, many mini-crib models can be converted into twin beds.  Some full size cribs can be converted into full size beds, but that doesn’t make sense to me.  Knowing the size of my daughters’ rooms, a full size bed wouldn’t be very useful.  They will eventually need twin beds, so might as well buy something when they are babies that can work for that.

I know that one of the draws of full size cribs is that they often convert to toddler beds.  I can understand the convenience of this, but not the necessity of it. As of today, Alma is still in her mini-crib.  She’s over 2 years old, and was just about 3 feet tall at her check-up last month.  She fits comfortably, and I think she will for quite a while.  She hasn’t been able to climb out of the crib, either.  I imagine when we’re ready to move on from the crib, we’ll get a twin mattress, and put it on the floor for a few weeks or months, then bring the head and foot board in to make it a real bed.

And Then They - Two in a Mini CribThe crib we bought for both girls is the Da Vinci Emily Mini.  It comes with a “mattress” that is about an inch thick, and not suitable for sleeping in my opinion.  Da Vinci also sells mini-crib mattresses, so we got those too.  They also sell a converter kit to make it into a twin bed, but as far as I can tell, it is just a long 1×4 with another ledge attached.  I think we will DIY this when the time comes.

And Then They - ErgoErgo:  There are soooo many different kinds of baby carriers out there.  I’m sure there are other great ones, but I really love our Ergo.  It has carried us (ha! that’s a pun!) from teeny tiny newborn, to full on baby, into toddler-hood and we’re still going!  We also have a Moby, but I use the Ergo much more.  The infant insert was great for when the babies are super small.  My favorite carry for when Alma got bigger is the hip carry.  It’s great because Alma can see everything, but she is still cuddled up next to me.  It’s also nice to throw the baby on my back (as seen above) for a longer walk.  I’ve even put Alma on my back like this, and had Harriet in the Moby on my front at the same time.  Pretty great if you ask me.

Convertible Car Seat:  Oh man, car seat shopping was the most overwhelming part of baby gear buying for me.  I went on Consumer Reports, made spreadsheets, read forums online.  Holy cow.  I knew this was an important safety decision, but also quite an expensive purchase, so I wanted to make sure we’d be happy with it.

We went with a Britax convertible seat.  This basically means that the car seat works from the time your baby is a newborn, until they are huge.  They can be both rear, and front facing.  They don’t come in and out of the car like infant only car seats.  This wasn’t an issue for me, since I always had the Ergo.  I do have to say that we got to borrow my nephew’s infant car seat for Harriet, and we really appreciated the convenience of it, but we have already switched to the convertible for her.  It got to be way too heavy once Harriet got bigger.  So, if you can borrow an infant seat, go for it!  I just don’t think it’s worth the money so buy two car seats when you can easily get by just buying one that will last for a few years.

And Then They - DiapersCloth Diapers: This is our biggest money saver.  For sure.  We did the math when Alma was a few months ago, and after buying 18 diapers (our magic number), we had them paid off (in terms of what we would have spent on disposables) in about 3 months.  Can you even believe that?!  We could have kept our child diapered for only 3 months with what we spent on buying cloth diapers!  Even with the extra laundry (one load every 3-4 days for us), they are way cheaper than disposables.

I know there are lots of other great reasons to use cloth diapers (environment, health, cuteness, etc) the money was really what sold us.  But they are pretty damn cute!

[Also, you can expect to see a longer post on cloth diapering and how we do it coming soon!]

And Then They - High ChairTripp Trapp high chair:  To fully understand the genius of this chair, I will refer you to the Stokke website.  This chair grows with your child.  The seat, and the footrest are adjustable, so when they grow, you can just lower it.  This allows your kids to always be able to sit right up to the table, have proper posture, and have a firm place for their feet.  The most important thing to me was having out kids at the table with us.  Dinnertime is important to our family.  Harriet is already sitting in her Tripp Trapp at our table, even though she’s not eating solids yet.  I like that both kids are right there, part of the family, not off to the side.  Clean up is easy, too.  We just wipe down the table or place mat.  I love it.

There you have it!  These are my favorite ways to save some money and spend wisely.  I have lots of other recommendations if have any questions.

What are some ways you saved some money or made some decisions when it came to baby gear?

[Note: None of these companies asked me to write about them.  They don’t have any idea who I am or that I wrote this.  These are all just my opinions that I thought I would share with you.  Some of the links are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase from the link, you are helping And Then They.]

[Another Note:  Check out what I have to say about stroller shopping here!]

Sleeping/ Sleep Training/ Sleeping?

New babies love to sleep.  It seems like that’s all they do.  So why are parents of new babies so exhausted?  New babies have some weird, mysterious way of sleeping just enough that the look like they are always asleep, but waking up just enough that their parents get no sleep at all.  It’s just the way it is.  Tricky, sneaky babies.

Luckily I no longer have a new baby.  My baby is an old baby, which means that I get to do the tricking.  I have successfully tricked her into taught her to sleep through the night, and to have pretty regular and kick-ass naps (are you kidding me?  Right when I typed this, I heard Harriet wake up…. damn hubris!) during the day.

My main advice in all things parenting is to not read any books, or if you simply must a book, please, please, please only read one.  Books are notorious for giving conflicting opinions and making you think you are doing things right, while simultaneously making you think you are killing your child.  Yuck.  My second piece of advice is to never listen to advice.  It only messes with your head.

If you want to know how we trained our daughters, I will refer you to this blog post.  I know some people think it is mean to sleep train babies in this way.  I would say to them that it is mean not to, but I’m not going to say that.  It’s just what I would say.  But I’m obviously not saying that.  I’m not trying to start any ‘mommy wars’ here, just trying to share my truth and reality.  If you don’t agree with this, feel free to close the browser, or tab, or phone, or what-have-you.  I’m not trying to change your mind, just trying to share what worked for both my girls.  Besides, if you feel strongly that what I did is wrong, your mind will never be changed, now will it?  Nope.  And anyway, that is totally not the point of this post.

Co SleepingThe point of the post is to deal with my feeling after having sleep trained.  I love that Harriet has learned this amazingly important life skill.  I love that Jesse and I were able to teach her this amazingly important life skill.  I have no regrets as to how or when we sleep trained both girls.  I am confident in all of this.  I am proud of this.  I am proud that Jesse and I are able to teach and guide our kids.  I am proud of my daughters for taking this small, no huge, step towards independence.

With Alma, we had her in bed with us every single night until she was four months old.  I loved sleeping with her, and being able to nurse her whenever either of us wanted to.  I loved the connection and cuddles.  But I was so ready to move on to the next step when she turned 4 months old and we got the go-ahead from our pediatrician.  I don’t remember feeling sad to have her out of the bed in those first few weeks.

With Harriet we had her in the co-sleeper, up against our bed every night until she was about 4 1/2 months old.  I loved this, too.  It was great having her close enough that I could nurse easily.  I loved being able to hold her little hand while we slept.  I loved hearing her little baby noises, and watching her little baby breathing.  Again, I was so ready to move on to the next step.  But, this time I have been a little sad in the weeks that followed.

Maybe it’s because she’s our last baby.

When I go to bed, and turn off the light, it takes me forever to fall asleep.  I don’t know if it’s that I miss the white noise of her breathing, or the nightlight that is now in her room, or something more visceral.

All I know for sure is that it is called sleep training for a reason.  Harriet seems to be trained, but I’m still learning.  I guess that is what it means to be a parent.  And that can’t be found in any book.

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