Preparing for Baby: What Mama Burgher Suggests

While I am in no way an expert in raising a kid, I certainly have my opinions and ways that seem to work for my family. Obviously, every kid, parent, and family is going to be different. In the past few posts, I have been writing about the material things that worked for us while I was pregnant and while the ‘lil Burghers are babies.
These posts (like this one) are just my opinions and not in any way sponsored by any store or company. They are completely based on my feelings and experiences raising Arianna and Evan. In preparation for the first ‘Ski baby and while reading our blog, Mrs. ‘Ski tweeted:

All weekend, I have been racking my brain and trying to post the exact “necessities” for bringing baby home. Greg and I both agree that pretty much you need some clothes (and laundry detergent), diapers, wipes, a bed for baby (play yard is great), and a car seat; however, those staples aren’t going to get you anywhere when you have people who love you much and want to give you and the baby gifts. Mrs. ‘Ski, this list is not gonna be short. It is not the definite MUSTs, either, but what we found have worked for us with the kids. Space is definitely a concern—when we lived in Ford City, we truly had nowhere to keep all the extras. You just have to get creative…and sadly…give up some of your space if need be. Babies really do take over our lives.

Without further ado, here are my recommendations that should please all budgets when registering for a shower and eliminate SOME of the “Musts” recommended by the major baby registry chains. If you don’t ask for these, they are great to have on-hand. (Note, a lot of the items here, I didn’t ask for and either got at my showers or learned I needed and had to buy when money was tight on mat leaves. Just be ready!)

Yes—Ask for these:
Health, Safety and Sanity
Batteries (because you’ll need them for…)—AAA (remotes), AA (stuffed toys, flashlights), C (swings, V-Smiles), D (mobiles—seriously), and 9V (smoke detectors—please!!!)
Outlet Covers
Baby Gates (One for each flight of steps and the kitchen)
Gas Relief Drops or Gripe Water
Baby Tylenol
Destin or A+D ointment
Vaseline IN A TUBE
Cotton Swabs for babies
Rubbing Alcohol (swab + alcohol = happy belly button)
Wipes
Diapers (size 1-3 are great—you’ll appreciate being prepared, can always tape receipts to the bags)
Emery Boards, Nail Clippers, Baby Scissors, Mittens (little nails are SO sharp)
First Aid Kit (with a suction and pacifier medicine dropper—have used both with Ari & Evan)
Thermometer (for ear or forehead—the hospital will give you an armpit/rectal)
Towels (4) and washcloths (8)
Pacifiers (even if you are against them, have one. You NEVER know.)
Changing table with drawers (versus a dresser AND changing table)
Changing table pad and 2 covers
Hanger for diapers (space saver and time saver—diapers slip out of those packages)
Tub
Diaper Pail (I am a fan but only use regular trash bags in them instead of the refills)

Bedding
Crib (I struggle with this. Mini Crib? Just play yard? Convertible? Co-Sleeper? Place for baby to sleep.)
Sheet Savers (3)—In 6 weeks, we have not changed a sheet out of necessity thanks to these wonders
Sheets (3)—little laundry
Play Yard (get one with a changing table, bassinet, mobile and 2 sheets for the yard—this is ALL we’d have if we slept on same floor as the Living Room)
Swaddle Me (for sleeping) and Sleep Sacks
Receiving blankets
2-3 comfy blankies
Humidifier or Vaporizer
Monitor
Lovey. This might be a mobile, nightlight, clock, Fisher Price Seahorse—anything to keep baby happy at night

Baby Play Time
Baby Gym for tummy time
Bumbo Seat
Take Along Swing—because they take up very little room and can be carried upstairs at night if you need it.
Jumperoo (ask for this to be held until the baby is about 5 months if space is an issue)

Traveling
Car Seat, Stroller (I am a fan of the travel system, but there is a neat stroller that can hold the car seat)
–Never tried this, but I saw a “Smart Seat” advertised. This car seat converts from infant to booster and saves a lot of $ when it comes to growth. We’ve put a good amount of money into car seats already and have only had to move once with Ari.)
Extra bases (one for each of your vehicles and one for the grandparents ‘cause it makes it easy)
Bundle Me (for carseat, great for winter because jackets are bulky and don’t make car seat travel extra safe)
Sling or Wrap (great if you travel with baby)
Travel Wipes (this is like a $2 gift)
Diaper Bag with changing pad
Head Supports (for Car seats)

Nursing and/or Feeding
Chair for mom (rocking chair or comfy seat you already own for nursing)
Boppy and Cover
Burp Cloths
Gel Pads for Mom (lifesaver)
Pump Accessory Wipes
Lanolin
Nursing Pads (I did NOT like the ones the hospital provided)
Milk Storage Bags
Nursing Cover
Bibs
Bottle Brush
Formula Can (3 servings of formula or cereal can go in these)
Bottles (we like drop ins, so ask for extra nipples and drop ins)
High Chair
Standard mini kitchen food processor (great for making your own baby food)
Sippy Cups, plates, bowls, and baby plasticware (one day you will be happy)
Bottle Rack
Baby Food Organizer

For the Little One
Learning Toys
Books
“Your Baby Can Read” DVD series
Savings Bonds for Baby (series EE until they are 2 and they double in value when they turn 18!)
Gift cards—for those things you didn’t get

Clothing
Your “Team” Gear—I didn’t ask for anything Steelers related and got 2 things luckily.
Onesies
Pants—with both babies, I did NOT have enough and had to go grab some last minute.
Tights (if you are having a girl)—never fails, you have the kid all dressed for photos or Christmas service and nothing to put on her little legs.

Things you Don’t Need to Register for(ie things we didn’t use…)
Crib Bedding. Dangerous. Enough said.
Wipe Warmer (yes, used one with Arianna. My hands work better for Evan.)
Shopping Cart Cover
Décor (always turns out you get one or two pieces of this, not the whole she-bang and then you don’t have the time or money to get the rest. Pick this out and decorate yourself, or have a friend paint/draw something awesome for your baby)
Car Seat Toys
Walker (ask for a 2nd hand one if/when the baby is ready)
Door Jumpers (scare city)
Car seat strap covers (the baby will be well padded with clothes)
Bottle Warmer (Microwave water!)
Breast Pump (Ok, maybe ask for a manual. They are not costly and you can figure out if you are going to pump and if the baby is able to nurse.)
Video Monitor (You’ll still run at every little noise)
Corner guards (unless you have crazy sharp edges)
Cabinet locks (we just keep the kids out of the kitchen, thanks to the gates!)
Toilet Lock (adults can’t use the toilet very easily with these)
Drawer linens
Waterproof crib pads (use those sheet savers, you don’t want to be changing a sheet AND waterproof pad at 3 AM, and they fall apart in the washer.)
Stretch Mark Cream (hemorrhoid creams, and such—you will figure out if you need them, always can ask your nurses for these at the hospital, too.)
Formula Mixer (Shake it, baby!)
Winnie the Pooh seat (Greg and Arianna asked for this for Evan’s—ha!—it was expensive and a kid is never gonna sit in a $60 mini recliner.)

Yes, prepping for a baby is a lot of work, but typically you have nine months to plan and a lot of great friends and family willing to give you things you need for the new addition. Take advantage—but also don’t ask for things you think you won’t use. Hope you enjoyed this list–feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below!

Project 365

It seems to be the rage…starting a Project 365 look at the year in pictures. Greg and I hope to make this happen, but I am going to limit our journey to one social networking site at which I have some control over who sees what. Clearly, we are not shy about posting pics of the kids or our lives, but I want to have a little sanity I guess. So, why blog about it? Well, there may be someone out there who hasn’t heard about this timelining project. There may be someone who thinks, “why aren’t they doing this?”. Who knows–i just wanted to write a little note to say, hey, I am doing this and if you are close to me, keep me honest!

In the meantime, keep watching for more from us. We just said farewell to greg’s parents a few days ago and are enjoying bonding time with our foursome. I promise we’ll be back…the new year has already brought us fun (ie, tonight Greg lost his wedding band while in the shower) and promises lots more memories (Ari’s adoption is Thursday!).

New Years Resolutions

I am not really one to set specific goals or resolutions, but what with having weeks off to bond with the new baby, alot of thinking is going on. This year, I would like to become better at couponing, meal planning, and meal variations. (Even though I DID make a statement less than 2 hours ago that is 100% true–i could eat pizza, of varied types, everyday for the rest of my life. Frankly, if you tasted last night’s dinner, you may agree. Pics to come soon.) In order to achieve my loose goals, I want to take the following steps:
1. Faithfully organize my coupons.
2. Follow through with deals from coupon bloggers–but only ones that work for our family or or stockpile.
3. Plan ahead. 4 grocery trips a week is not good for our budget, we never take coupons or qualify for a good foodperks trip. (If you don’t get what a “good foodperks trip” is, watch for the commercials and use them when you are saved up and spending more than you’d like–i get so irritated when people use 4% on a $10 bill.)
4. Make meal calendars and stick with them.
5. Get a deep freezer.
6. Prep meals in the deep freezer–casseroles could make a comeback: see this Trib article
7. Get a food panel done for A. It would be great to know what she truly can and cannot eat. Family meals would become much easier.
Let’s see how we do this year!

Christmas Brunch Thoughts

Last year for Christmas, my parents and brother came over to share in the joy of a 1 year old opening presents. This year, my parents and my husband’s parents and sister will be able to be with us as our 2-year old and newborn experience our first Christmas as a four-some. I plan to continue the tradition to have snackies/brunch items prepared for the morning. We have not discussed timing or lunch options, but here is what I plan on making for noshing throughout the day:

Sausage Balls
Beer Bread
Veggies and Dips (Garlic, Onion, Sweet Bell Pepper are all options)
Chips and Salsa
Cookies and Treats (from my Treat List)

Let’s see where else my preggers brain takes me as we get closer and closer to the 25th! 🙂

Christmas Treat List

With 12 days and 27 minutes to go until the DEFINITE arrival of Baby #2, I can’t think of anything else but what treats I want around the house for Christmas! Here is the list that I made this morning that I would like to be responsible for making (in addition to this, I really hope my dad gets to make his mom’s Butter Cookies and Pizelles)…and pictures and details will follow as I get around to making these:

Puppy Chow (ala Chex box recipe)
Snickerdoodle Chex Mix (ala Chex box recipe)
Cake Batter Chocolate Bark (thank you How Sweet Eats!!!
Three Minute Fudge (again, thank you to How Sweet Eats)
Trufle Fudge Brownies (Tastefully Simple) with Peppermint Dip (Le Gourmet Chef)
Crock Pot Chex Mix (CD Kitchen)
Hidden Mint Cookies (my most favorite holiday treat)
Rainbow Cookies (ah, thank you Betty Crocker)
Double Chocolate Cookies (again, thank you Betty Crocker)
White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies (an amazing cookie from the ‘Ski wedding brunch and the recipe can be found at Better Homes & Gardens but is now a cookbook favorite of mine)
Cracker Candy (my mom makes this and it is amazing…but I have a HUGE craving for it, so I am not waiting for her to make it, lol)
M&M cookies (going to give this recipe a shot)
Peppermint Bark (goodness to I love me some Paula Deen)

Let’s see what I can accomplish between waiting to go into labor, spending 3 days in the hospital, bringing baby home, and opening our house to guests! Stay tuned.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our little family is very blessed to spend our third Thanksgiving together this year! Every year has been special, but this one will be especially so.  I have been looking forward to today for 9 months! No, Evan is not about to make his appearance (atleast not at THIS moment).  When we bought the house, I told my aunt we’d be glad to host Thanksgiving (little did I know 2 weeks later we’d get pregnant and I’d be ready to pop).  Regardless, I LOVE Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s all the stuffing or the fact that I can legit put my Christmas decorations out after today? Anyways, I love thinking about our blessings, eating good food, and spending time with family.  We have about 30 people coming over today, there will be 4 generations of McPhersons here for three of our families (awesome)! Also, we get to meet my cousin Aaron’s son (I’d say our little cousin, but he’s a non-stop 10 month old who is gonna give Arianna a run for her money!).  Perhaps Evan will decide to come and join in the fun? 🙂  Can’t wait to see everyone and eat all of the delicious food (mainly I am excited for the three kinds of stuffing…)!

OBX

Last weekend we had the pleasure to attend the wedding of our burgh friends Amanda and Wally in the Outer Banks, NC.  We left the day after Hurricane Earl hit and left little damage, a huge bullet dodged.  The 12 hour trip by bus was wearing on me, but worth the nice wedding. Highlights included a steeler themed tailgate (which Greg and I had to leave to deliver the bus drivers luggage, I drove on flooded pea island roads), island brunch, and setting up the hall deciding we should do this for real. The wedding itself was splendid but all too quick and we were back on the bus home. Tuesday was rough going back to work and it being my busiest day of the month, but I lived.  Since then, g and I have been allergy riden and miserable but busy planning ari’s 2nd bday. Yesterday we went to kennywood which being sick, pregnant, and having a sleepy almost two year old is interesting enough for five hours. Atleast I got to ride the train and garfields nightmare. Today is Steeler Sunday, relaxing and prepping for the week.
* meal update: we are behind a bit due to being sick and busy, but it has been very helpful and less stressful! Plus, I keep thinking of more yummy foods to add to the list, win!
* todays blog is brought to you by tussin and benedryl so my thoughts are in no way complete!

Health Care Bill & Nursing

As an expectant mom, one of my biggest fears is my maternity leave and eventual return to work. I’ve ALWAYS been hyper busy and am the one who works for the money in the house, so returning to work is not even a question—it’s happening. I’d go crazy if I didn’t! So crazy, in fact, that I’ve offered to help some school teacher friends make Literacy Stations during my leave—told you I’m nuts! But yet, I have fears. I fear that I won’t document a process well enough or train my temporary replacement how to do what I do (I am currently the only person in my department who does what I do, so can you see why I worry?) and something will go wrong (and in my mind, I am 110% to blame!). I worry that I will not have given my children enough time during my leave to truly bond with mom and they will be daddy’s kids and resent mom for working. (It sort of happened to me when I was young, I was raised by my dad while my mom worked. BUT, I have an awesome bond with my dad and a love and respect for my mother that I cannot even begin to explain—she is a super awesome hero whether she’ll admit it or not!…so I know that me working isn’t going to hurt the babies.) But most of all, I worry about how to handle my return and nursing. When I had our first child, there was no question about what I was going to do—I needed to save money and I wanted to give her everything possible I could, so naturally, I nursed. She would eat and eat and eat…and then get really gasy and sick. I kept trying for 4 weeks and finally her doctor suggested one of my fears—she was lactose intolerant and needed to be on a strict soy milk diet. Saddened, I let go of the nursing bond and put her to the bottle…she immediately showed signs of healthiness and I was ecstatic. With this baby, I definitely want to try it again, but I never had to breech the subject of nursing in the workplace because she was done 2 weeks before I went back to work. If this kid isn’t lactose intolerant, I definitely want to try again, but I am so worked up about asking for the room to block and the time to pump (I have a male boss, so I am sort of uncomfortable about that). Thankfully, even though I have nerves that might be over nothing, I read a great article in the Trib this week about how the Health Care overhaul is helping out moms who nurse: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_693157.html  So it sounds like I’ll be able to ask for a room and privacy…the only thing is that I am a salaried worker and am not sure how the bill impacts me (hourly workers get unpaid work time up to every three hours). It will be interesting to see how it all plays out—one, if the baby even gets to nurse and two, how and when I get up my courage to ask. Hey, I just blogged about it, so I can’t be that embarrassed by the fact I am giving my kid the best thing a mother can from the start, right? Stay posted.

Down, but not Out!

A long overdue post, I know. This past week has been yet another week of T’s and D’s in the journey to Baby #2.

If you’re wondering how our food plan went, well, we did the Ham Bbq’s but I made too much and we ended up having leftovers for three days. Yikes. This week, we’re working on the rest of the menu (tonight was stir fry veggies and rice, the baby liked, but with “Chinese” I am always hungry 2 hours later–never fails).  What’s left is breakfast for dinner and baked ziti.  I don’t know that tomorrow I will be in a mood for either of those, so it might be leftover rice turned into something.  We’ll see.

We had a good weekend minus my random sickness. My grandmother was able to come home, so we spent some time with her and family then went to my little cousins’ birthday party (full of Oakmont Bakery goodies…um, yum.).  Sunday I got in a nesting mood and we overhauled the playroom and nursery getting everything organized. The baby officially has its own closet and dresser…as well as 6 packs of Size 1 diapers and 6 packs of wipes. Thank you, couponing!  Need to remember to start picking up some Newborn’s too.

Friday I had the gumption to say I’d get to the library…that didn’t happen but I promise at some point I will get there. We are very much into Pretty Little Liars and True Blood, both with book series behind them. Soon enough, I’ll get there…but IDK when I’ll have time to read!

Other goals for this week include scrapping 2 pages by Saturday night. That’s not that hard, right? Here’s to a good week.