That First Summer

vadas first summerChildhood is built on holidays, vacations and summertime.  My fondest memories growing up almost always involve one of those three things, and when I dreamed of being a parent, summertime seemed magical. We are finishing up Vada’s very first summer, and man was it a good one. When she was born in November I remember being excited that she would be sitting up and crawling by summer, and how much fun we would have. This summer did not disappoint.

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SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS:

-Celebrating our first 4th of July with a walk through Cornwall park, a visit to the Splash Pad, a BBQ, and an early bedtime so mom and dad could stand in front of our house and watch the fireworks go off.

-Swimming in our baby pool, at the Aquatic Center, in a bucket, and Lake Padden!

-Eating tons of peaches and fresh Raspberries from our yard, and so many blueberries!

-Going to the Elizabeth Park Concerts.

-Having Nana visit while mama and papa worked a big wedding.

-Lots of workouts at Continuous Motion

-Play dates at the FIG, Perch and Play, and Boulevard Park

-Front yard lounging on the big quilt.

-Bells Baseball games.

-First trip to the Fair

-Eating everywhere and everything!

-Spending afternoons at the restaurant.

-Happy hour with Grandmas at Jalapenos, Pepper Sisters and Rock N Rye.

-Trips to Semihamoo and Birch Bay to play in the sand.

-Eating Mallards ice cream and Fat Pie Pizza.

-So many walks to the park, to swing on the swings.

-Play dates with Avery, and Birthday parties with Lucas and Kendall, and BBQs with Katy and Charles.

-Visiting papa at work, and at weddings.

-Petting and kissing lots of dogs, and kitties, and even a turkey!

-Strolling around the Farmers market.

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I know this is just the beginning of all the cool things we will get to do with Vada, but I’m a little sad her first summer is over, and that the days will be getting shorter and colder and darker. We are planning on staying busy this winter so we don’t get bored and depressed. We have a BIG FIRST BIRTHDAY coming up, and the holidays, plus music lessons, swim lessons, and play dates galore.

I feel so lucky that I’m getting to spend so much time with Vada these days. There are times when I am burnt out, annoyed and just want some relief, but mostly I am thankful for our lives and for my family. My 29th birthday is coming up on the 12th, my last year in my twenties, it flew by. I know this year is going to be extra challenging, and so full of emotions, being pulled in different directions. Work more? Work less? Working on budgets, and balancing time with Mr. Gaunt, with Vada, and with myself. Continuing to work towards self fulfillment, and comfort in motherhood. The never ending goal to be happy and content and to step back from frustrating situations and look at my life as a whole. To not let anxiety and guilt debilitate me, to stay positive. To cherish Vada’s youth, her memories, her life always. To continue to respect my husband, to hold his hand, to be his equal, and to settle more comfortably into our “with children” roles in this relationship. Let this fall bring warmth, joy, and excitement that will carry us through the winter with plentiful happiness.

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Because I’m an Expert: Summer Baby Supplies

See my lists for BABY FAVES, and NEWBORN FAVES.

Summer is upon us! I’ve been dreaming about summer with Vada since the day she was born, at the very start of a long winter. I just think summer is the making of childhood memories. There are so many fun things to do, and see and experience. Mr. Gaunt and I always try to do lots of stuff in the summer, go outside, hit up happy hour, go to festivals. With kids, there are even MORE things to do. It’s our priority in life, we are people who like to spend time together doing stuff.

So before I get into items that you can purchase, I want to note a few other things that we are loving this summer!

-BABY SWIM LESSONS: We are on round 2 of baby swim lessons, we love it so much. We go at 5:15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s a half hour class, and focuses on floating, blowing bubbles, kicking, splashing, chasing toys, and all things getting comfortable with the water. Vada LOVES it! Usually Mr. Gaunt goes with her, I have gone a couple of times, but I tend to be a distraction for her, and she can become fussy and obsessed with me. So I sit on the side and make videos of her (: We plan to continue lessons through the winter. We don’t have a pool available to us outside of lessons, and we really want her to be water comfortable.

-FRESH FRUITS AND VEGGIES: We do a local Organic Delivery Box,  as well as keeping the fridge stocked with lots of good stuff for the whole family, especially Vada. At home she still nurses/formula at least 5/6 times a day, plus breakfast and sometimes dinner of solids. Lots of organic scrambled eggs, fresh raspberries from the yard, yams, blueberries, zucchini, she loves it all. When we go out to eat we try to offer her little bits of whatever we are having too.

-FAMILY TIME: Lots and lots! We read books together, sit in the front yard in the evenings drinking wine and watching people stroll by. We hit up (baby friendly) breweries with friends, the park for playdates with other moms, garage sales, park concerts, and sunday mornings in bed. We are soaking up this sweet stage of baby curiosity and filling our days with all the family time we can. Sometimes we are too busy, sometimes we are frustrated with each other, sometimes we are poor, but we focus on spending time together and making the little joys in life a priority.

-CAMERA: We continue to love our Canon Rebel t3i, as well as our iPhones, to capture all the memories!

On to my Summer Must Have Items:

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1. SWIMSUITS: Vada has swim lessons twice a week, and we play in the baby pool in the back yard too. For a swimsuit I wanted something that was modest, simple (minimal ruffles, and flowers as these distract her), had good shoulder straps that stay on, and was affordable. The geometric shape suit is Marimekko ‘Polsku’ One-Piece Swimsuit (was around $50) which I LOVED but just couldn’t spend the money on. So we went with this cute bow suit from GYBOREE ($14.97), and I really love it! It fits so well, and although the teal has faded slightly from the chlorine, I think it will last a while. To be honest if you swim a lot, a suit really only lasts about one summer anyway.

2. REUSABLE SWIM DIAPER: We have an iPlay Swim Diaper  (from Target), and a The Honest Co. swim diaper. I don’t really know why people pay so much for the disposable ones? I can attest that a proper fitting reusable swim diaper will hold in the poop. Then just hose em out, toss em in the wash. So easy.

3. SUN HAT: We bought the Flap Happy Infant UV 50+ Floppy Hat in Eyelet, and LOVE IT! We got it at Kids Northwest (which we also love!!!). This has been such a  great purchase. It stays on (even if it comes untied) it folds up nicely to stick in a pocket, the brim ALWAYS stays up, and its way cute, and not dorky. It also WORKS so well. We have sat in the sun for 3+ hour with no sunscreen on the top of her head (it’s so hard with the wispy hair) and no burn. I LOVE this hat and wish it came in my size. Only downside would be that she does put the strings in her mouth so they are a little dingy. I kind of wish it maybe was velcro? but really I love it.

4. BABY ROMPERS: When the weather gets warm, these stretchy adorable rompers are our go-to outfit. They are cool, easy and don’t require me finding top/bottoms that match. Plus I find that they are roomier than just shorts for fatty-cloth diaper booties. I really like Baby Gap, Target and Old Navy’s styles, but honestly I do 90% of my clothes shopping at Value Village, so they cost me less than $5 a piece.

5. BABY ZIP UP HOODIE: Vada has a couple zip up hoodies and they are perfect for Washington summers. In the evening I throw one on over her romper, or tank top or swimsuit. They are easy and so cute. I definitely prefer a solid/adult style zip up over a really cutesy one with animals or flowers. A few of my faves are: American Apparel $18 (pictured) Old Navy $15, Andy & Evan $28.99, GAP $24.99.

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1. SNACKS Happy Puffs are our go to Organic fast-easy-mess-free baby snack. Plus I can get them almost anywhere, Target, Grocery Store, online, wherever. They are also really safe, Vada has crammed a bunch in her mouth and not choked (we always watch her though).  (from them): HAPPYBABY Puffs are nutritious and delicious organic finger foods that melt in baby’s mouth. Always organic, never any artificial flavorings. Our puffs are made with organic whole grains, fruits and vegetables. We support sustainable agriculture. No pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Our Sweet Potato and Strawberry puffs do not contain diary, corn, gluten or soy.

2. BIBS: I made the mistake of buying cheap bibs from a grocery store, and regretted it with stained clothes. That’s the whole purpose of a bid, right? Keep them from staining their clothes. Welp don’t buy cheap bibs. So far I really like the Skip Hop (love everything they make!!) Zoo Tuck Away Bib in CAT (duh).  Its lightweight but stays down, the velcro stays on tight, they are machine washable, they don’t have any fabric on them to get nasty, and they fold up into a tiny pouch that I can clip onto things. WIN! I also really liked our Now Designs Laminated Bib (which we purchased locally at Greenhouse) but the fabric trim gets a little gross, but otherwise they stay down great and collect all the food droppings like a good bib should. Plus these ones spray off and air dry really nice. I will probably buy more of both of these.

3. MUM MUMS: if you’re a Mum, then you have probably bought Mum Mums. They are the absolute best first baby snack. They are somehow both safe, and mess free. It’s like it just vanishes in their tiny drooly mouthes, unlike most baby teething-cookies that get all nasty and soggy. Vada can’t get enough of these. We buy Banana and Vegetable, and Organic. I’m not stoked on the ingredients though. While mostly just powdered rice and vegetables, there is also sugar in them, bleh, and they are from China, double bleh. I like this post that Kath did on making some, or not making some, but the comments are interesting to read. I wish that the Happy Family company would sneak into the Mum Mum factory and steal their recipe, make it organic, healthy and GMO free, and sell em!  Alas, we try not to do too many of these, but damn the babies love em.

4. MESH FEEDERS: There are a few different brands, we have the Munchkin Mesh Feeders, but I like the look of the Baby Safe Feeder brand too. We put organic frozen fruit (mango, strawberries, blueberries) in her feeder and it’s like a tiny baby popsicle. They are kind of messy if they really suck on them for a long time (which my kid does) but they are safe and way fun. I’ve read reviews that they are a pain to clean, but I’m use to washing everything by hand (no dishwasher) and these really don’t seem bad. I just use the sprayer to spray off all the food inside out. I also feel comfortable sending these with her to her nannies with a ziplock of frozen fruit. She can feel like a big kid when they get frozen treats. I kind of wish they had a cap to go over the mesh so I could load it up on the go. Get on it Munchkin!

5. SNACK HOLDER: We have a few of these Munchkin Snack Catchers, and we like em. Vada usually manages to hold the inside flap down and shake out snacks, but they also mostly stay in. They don’t spill in a purse either, and its kind of a toy for her. I would assume when she gets bigger that we will upgrade to something like the Munchie Mug,  (watch review here) which has a lycra-type fabric that you reach your hand into to retrieve snacks, eliminating the ability to shake things out, or crumbs spill in your purse. It’s on my wish list. Snacks in summer are a must. We are on the go a lot, and they keep her busy, happy, and entertained. I always offer a toy first, but if that isnt doing the trick, then a few snacks really help.

6. ORGANIC PUREE POUCHES: Let it be known that my husband would eat these…or has eaten them. At home we do mostly solid foods, not purees. We are doing the Baby Led Weaning route, so no spoon-feeding. However 4 days a week Vada goes to a nanny for 3 hours, and I like to send her with some food. I just don’t have time to cook her a lunch, and I don’t want to have to worry about her nanny having to prep any food for her (know what size and how soft food should be, but her nanny doesnt, so it gives me piece of mind), so I send a pouch with her. There are so many great organic baby food pouches out there, and they really aren’t that pricey, under $1.50 usually on sale. I tend to pick ones that are veggie heavy, as oppose to fruit (Look at the ingredients and make sure that APPLE/PEAR isn’t the first listed ingredient). So far I havent done any meat, grains or dairy ones, Id prefer we do solids for those items. I’ve read a lot about these pouches too, searching out negative reviews and articles so I have a rounded idea of what I’m giving Vada. My opinion is that these should NOT be used as the majority of babies food. Even thought they are organic and vegetables, they are convenience food. Not REAL food. I think it is so important that babies learn all about what REAL food looks like, how to handle it, chew it, squish it, everything. REAL food is not pureed, and although I know many parents start babies with purees, it’s completely unnecessary to continue purees once a baby is 9+ months. I especially think toddlers and bigger kids should not be eating these pouches very often, definitely not full-grown husbands. But like I said, we like them on occasion for trips to the beach or when she is being watched by someone else. They are very handy.

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1. BEACH BLANKET: We have an awesome quilt that came from Target a few years back. Its durable, washes well, is heavy enough that it stays down on the corners, it doesn’t really stain, and its large enough that all of us can lay on it, but light enough that I can fold it up and carry it while carrying Vada. It’s perfection. However I can’t seem to find a link to the one I have. This Skip Hop one looks pretty great too though! And it folds into a little pouch. It’s a bit small for our large folked-family, but would work great for kids. We drag ours in the front yard, lay it in the back of the car, at the park, the beach, anywhere. It’s a must have for summer.

2. HOODED TOWELS: We were gifted 2 of these adorable Pottery Barn Hooded Towels, and love them. Id skip any towel sized just for a baby, and do a kid size one. I’ve heard the baby ones are too little, and its nice to have a lot of towel to wrap them up in after pool/bath.

3. BABY SUNSCREEN: I’m paranoid about Vada getting a bad sunburn, so we do lots of sun protection. That being said, we also love to play in the sun. I read a lot about sunscreens and love this cheat sheet from SafeMama on which ones she recommends. We went with BADGER, and although its expensive $15 for 2.69oz, I LOVE the way it smells! It’s a little greasy but not too bad. I will say that you need to reapply it every 1.5-2 hours. The other day we were out for 3+ hours and Vada got a slight burn on her arms (I nearly cried) overall though I really like it. As for the price of safer-baby sunscreens, I think its worth it. I’ve blown $15 on all kinds of stupid things, and your baby’s skin is so important. I also think I have so rarely gone through a whole tube of sunscreen before it expires, so I HOPE I run out of this stuff! I will say thought that when my sister asked if she could use some I cringed….”sure…sparingly…its liquid gold!”

4. FOAM BATH WALL APPLIQUE: This was a fluke favorite toy. I bought a big bag of Circo Brand Jungle themed foam wall bath toys a while ago, and then one day I opened them and gave one to Vada. She’s obsessed, and I love that they are waterproof, safe, chew-friendly, washable, cheap, and there are a million of them in a pack! I think I might get these Boon Dive ones (also love this brand!). They are great in the tub, pool, car seat, anywhere.

5. BUCKET: We got this bucket at a birthday party as a favor bag (thanks Jen!), and its been an awesome summer toy receptical! I fill it with small toys to take outside, to the park, beach wherever. I can clip the handle of the bucket onto my diaper bag, and it becomes an easy toy travel case from car to park. It’s also safe, easy to wash and fun. Sometimes its the easy cheap things in life.

 

Well there yah have it! I’m sure we will discover more fun summer things, and we are working our way through BellingFAM’s awesome summer Bucket List.

A Summer Cabin

Hello June!Hello Summer!

I don’t plan to have a super summery-summer this year. For one thing I’m almost 5 months pregnant, which means no cocktails, no floating the river (I’m sure I could, but it seems a little dangerous), no big vacations (this is more a money-saving thing, any savings we have is going towards medical/baby expenses). Plus I quit my job and bought a restaurant….seriously. So yeah, my summer will be spent preparing for a baby, and opening a restaurant. Crazy right? Needless to say, I just don’t see a lot of  “fun in the sun” this year. Which in all reality is totally fine. I don’t feel all that cute these days, nor comfortable, and heat is not my friend, so a laid back summer of working inside and just taking it easy is really ok by me. There are a million summers to come.

In planning for our new baby, and thinking of our future “with kids” I really want to start focusing on more family traditions. My own family is not big on tradition, they just don’t care much about holidays and birthdays, and things like that. Not that we didn’t celebrate those things, we did most of my childhood, but as we have gotten older my family is the first ones to sign up for “no Christmas gifts”  or “nah lets not get together for x holiday this year” things like that. For Mr. Gaunt and I, these things are kind of a big deal. We just really like it, and have consistently tried to create and honor our own traditions. To be honest its one of the best parts about getting married, you basically get to have your own family, and do whatever the hell makes your family happy. Mr. Gaunt and I are really into decorating for the holidays, were also into birthdays, vacation traditions, taking lots of photos, collecting keepsakes, that sort of stuff.

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34916_10150219096130618_5007875_nOne thing my family did do every summer though, is made at least one vacation trip to our family owned cabin in the south Puget Sound (pictured above). My Grandparents built the cabin when my mom was a small child, and it stayed in our family until I was 17 when they sold it…sob!! My absolute best childhood memories were of going to Harstiene for a week around the 4th of July every year. When we were older we got to bring friends, and I even went alone with some friends when I was 16.  Anyway it was just such a nostalgic place for me. I got to take Mr. Gaunt there in 2010 (the week we got engaged!) my mom rented a nicer cabin on the same island, and it was so much fun!

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The cabin we rented in 2010

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I just think going away for a week or two every summer with your family is so “old fashion American fun!” ha ha, that’s my traditional side coming out lol! It’s just something that I think is really special, and a tradition I want to carry on with my own children. So my plan is for Mr. Gaunt and I to try to rent a cabin for a week each summer (hey maybe one day buy one!) and take a little family vacation there every year! Our baby will be 9 months old next summer, perfect age for first family vacation! I can’t wait!

Tonight Mr. Gaunt and I have a cloth diaper class, then next Friday we have our 20 week ultrasound! Last week at work too! Happy summer planning!

 

Dress May

It’s May already! That basically means its smooth sailing to summer…seriously.

Mr. Gaunt and I went for a lovely 2 hour alley walk (where we walk the alleys of our neighborhood, its awesome, people are slobs) and then tonight we went and got Menchies, which resulted in the owner recognizing me from this post, which NEVER happens to me, so I’m all sorts of blogger giddy.

Anyway, all around the states its warming up. In Colorado it’s been in the 70s and 80s, in Missouri its in the 90s, on the East Coast people are having high 70s. Here in little old Bellingham Washington we are looking at the next 10 days under 65 degrees. THAT my friends is a little something I like to call SPRING!

Spring is this great season full of rain and bursts of sunshine…hope. Its the light at the end of long wet winter, it’s the tip toe into summer. Spring is prepping the gardens and growing the tress. I feel bad for all the states that miss out on Spring. Yes sometimes I think I too would like some 80 degree weather, but I know there is a time and place for 80 degree weather, and its in July, not in May. I know to appreciate 80 degrees you need 2 months, not 5 month of it. To prep your lawns and vegetables, and rivers for those hot summer days, you NEED spring.  Spring I welcome you with open arms, and I accept all the rain you want to give us. My Succulents are lush and happy and my car is clean. (:

Another great thing about Spring is that it gives you time to window shop for Summer! And window shopping I am. (click photos for source)

Of course I can’t afford any of these clothes or accessories. Which is fine. It’s fun to see what prints and styles I’m interested in, and to obviously keep my eye out for similar styles that are more budget friendly.

HAPPY MAY DAY!

July is in Da House

I’m gangsta, did you not know?

I can’t believe its July already! Where the heck did June go, seriously! I suppose it’s these long work hours and having no life that made June flash by me, not even saying HELLO! No matter. JULY IS HERE, JULY IS HERE!

Weirdly despite my hate for Heat, I LOVE July! Mostly I really love the 4th of July! Not because I’m overtly patriotic, but because it means GOOD TIME FAMILY SUMMER FUN! All of it! The colors, the food, the weather (com’on sunshine!) the fans and flags ans sparklers! Oh it is all so much fun!

July is also our Engagement month! We got married July 10th of last year. I hadn’t originally planned on having such a long engagement, but because we wanted a fall wedding we had to. Well I suppose we could have had a crazy shot engagement, but that’s not how I roll. Anyways I’m hoping Mr. Gaunt and I can sneak off to our engagement spot at midnight on the 9th. It is our last un-married July…sigh. I love July.

I’m going to Old Navy today to see if they have cute 4th of July tees for Mr. Gaunt and I. Its sort of a tradition between my made of honor and I to do these every year, I’m making Mr. Gaunt join in on the fun. These are last years…

July also signals that I have only a little more time to get in shape for the wedding. I definitely did not lose 10 pounds in June. Again my scale is broken, but I know without it. I’m sad, but its ok. However this means I have to work that much harder in July! Alright time to get the boy up and throw on some flip flops because it is JULY!

 

Yesterday We Were Drunk

Yesterday consisted of Alcohol and S’mores.

However I did walk 4 miles and weeded my whole garden and painted some furniture. So we’ll call it a wash.

Today Mr. Gaunt and I went on a slightly shorter walk through shady Cornwall Park, because it HOT! When I woke up it was hot, and its only getting hotter. In actuality it’s just under 70 degrees…lol! But the humidity makes it feel hotter. Plus I have a sunburn.

I also for the first time washed two loads of laundry and hung them on the line to dry! So pleasing!!!!!

Alright we are off to drop Tank off then get Sunscreen and iced coffee, then to the Scottish Highland Games! I know…be jealous.