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Judith Van Atta Roenke. I am a Navy Submariner wife. Triathlete. I am the proud mommy of Henry the Fifth and Peter Tristum. Welcome to my Blog...

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Originally uploaded by roenke47

I know you are thinking "Why did she give crayons to an 11 month old?" Well, when the OT asked if he could make marks on paper with a crayon, I did my suck-in noise of shock and said, "We don't let him have crayons."
Well, oops. Apparently, he is ready for them.

Or so we thought.

11 Months Old

Yesterday was Baby Henry's 11 months birthday. We had an Occupational and Speech Therapy evaluation on the 28th to see if Henry qualified for the sate program. They found that he is at 14 months for his problem solving, on time for mobility and gross motor function and on the verge of falling behind for fine motor skills. This is because he is weak in his chest and shoulder girdle as a result of open heart surgery. He is not 25% delayed, so he didn't qualify, but we are already on OT for feeding with CHKD.
The therapists who came for the state eval were great and gave lots of ideas to keep Henry on time or ahead of the curve. recommended some toys he needs. So, naturally, I had to go shopping.
I got him Toddler crayons to be used with a parent (because they went straight into his mouth., blocks, and a shape sorter cube. We have other stuff on his wishlist.
I was going to buy a ball to use for shoulder rehab (like adults use an exercise ball), but I realized today I can just use my water polo ball. Early exposure to the sport is important.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Child Safety Tattoos

I think I found the Safety Tats thru Cool Mom Picks.... Here's the cool thing. I emailed with a question about whether they would add more allergy options (for a friend with egg/milk allergy baby) and custom tats for The Golden Pig (pacemaker baby.)

They came through!! Now available on the site are write-on tats. You can write a current phone number, accurate allergy and/or medical information. OR custom tats- just type in what you want it to say and place your order!

The turn around was really fast on this request! Thanks Safety Tat!

Golden Pig Update

This is the email I sent to family and freinds with an update on Baby H...

Heart Health: Our Navy Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Fleenor retired from the Navy and went to work at CHKD. So, our primary cardiologist is now Dr. Carr. He is a really great guy and terrific with the baby. At his last appointment, Henry was so chilled out that Dr. Carr took a lot of pictures with the echocardiogram. He noted that the left pulmonary artery had higher pressure than it did before. Fortunately, Dr. Vance over at CHKD took a look at the results and said we do not need a cardiac catheterization at this time. Good news, but possibility of a cath is another thing on the list of crap I didn’t know could happen with a heart baby.

Pacemaker: Henry’s pacemaker is working well and his heart continues to have a few sinus rhythm beats independent of the pacemaker. This means he is coming out of heart block. We use the telephone to have his pacemaker checked from home. This process only reads a minute of heart rate so they know the pacemaker is working, but not if he is any more out of heart block than in April. We go back to the Electrophysiology group in October and will get a better idea of if the connection between his Atrial and Sinus node has improved.

Eating: Henry started solids at 6 months old. He has had issues with vomiting when crying and when stuffy since he was born. When we started solids we saw this increase. We noticed that in addition to gagging on snot when he cried, he also gagged on thicker or chunkier foods. He started refusing food and ate very little. Meanwhile, he was still having his really short nursing sessions as had been his habit due to the reflux. At his 9 month appointment he slid from 50th %-tile to 3rd %-tile for height and weight. That made it clear that something was wrong. The good thing is his clothes all still fit. We have sleepers from Aunts Margaret, Ellen, and Freda that we use constantly.

Luckily, Dr Fleenor was instrumental in getting Henry a good primary pediatrician. His new PCM, Dr. Buryk is fantastic. She started him on a low dose of Prilosec, wrote a referral to a Pediatric Dietician and to a GI specialist. The dietician recommended supplementing his food and my breast milk with Similac. The food part was no problem, but and getting him to take fortified milk didn’t work. He hated the formula. She also gave us info on feeding solids and told us that the bulk of his calories should be coming from breast milk, not solids. This felt like a step backwards, but we did it.

I went to the Navy pharmacy to get Henry’s new Prilosec. I asked them if they flavored the medication, remembering how hard it was when we tried Zantac as a newborn. The Navy doesn’t flavor their meds. To make matters worse, liquid Prilosec has to be specially mixed by the Pharmacist. When they do this, the product is acidic and has to be neutralized with Sodium Bicarbonate – for you non-chemistry folks, that is baking soda. So Henry’s new medicine tasted like liquid baking soda. They gave us a syringe the size of his mouth administer it. I’m sure you can guess how well that went over, giant tube of salty liquid being shoved in your mouth. YUM. It took both of us to pin the baby down on the floor and force this huge syringe in his mouth to squirt the stuff in. He screamed the whole time. Not a great way to re-educate a kid who is already skeptical about food. I called around to pharmacies to find out who could make it with flavor, but liquid Prilosec is hard to make, so almost no one does it.

GI Specialist: We saw the GI doc a few weeks later. Dr. Kobak had so much information and knowledge, I was really impressed. He was also great with the baby. He said the baby has two different problems. 1. He has reflux. 2. He has a texture aversion causing the gagging and vomiting on certain foods. To fix these problems, Dr. K upped the Prilosec and had me get it at CHKD. Not only did the CHKD pharmacy add grape flavor for free, but they mix it in a higher concentration so we didn’t have to give nearly the volume. I don’t mind a $9 co-pay for that. PLUS, GET THIS, they will DELIVER IT to my house or to a nearby pharmacy FOR FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Definitely worth $9. Baby H wasn’t a big fan of the grape flavor at first. It took 3 weeks of switching to a skinny syringe, listening to the advice of other heart moms, and giving him Cheerios as a reward (yeah, like a dog), but he now opens his mouth for the meds and doesn’t spit a drop out. Awesome, awesome baby. He rocks.

The other fix Dr. Kobak recommended was to go to Occupational Therapy to resolve the texture aversion. Here’s the embarrassing part. I am a PT, right? I have worked closely with OT’s for my whole professional career. How did I not know you guys did feeding? I mean, I knew you did feeding with stroke survivors – as in get the fork to the mouth and such. But food aversions? Gagging? Barfing? Did not know this. Boy do I feel like a jerk. Anyhow, we got our OT referral and set it up. More on that later. (yes, that’s right. It’s a long email. Deal.)

Mobility: I’m sure the last time I wrote, Henry was rolling for mobility. See a toy? Roll there. See Daddy? Roll there. Got yourself stuck in a corner? Scream.

He learned to combat crawl around 6 months, I think. (The baby book is not filled out. Horrible, I know.) Combat (or Army) crawling is what you see in the movies where the dude is in boot camp and has to crawl thru the mud and rain on his belly while someone is yelling at him to “Git your ass moving, soldier!”. That is combat crawling and that is what Henry does. Minus rain, mud, and drill sergeant. I worked with him a little on getting up onto all fours for normal crawling, but I didn’t push the subject since many, many kids never crawl on all fours. It is usually ok to combat crawl and then walk. No big deal.

I started to get concerned that since stability in the shoulder complex is related to swallowing, maybe he needed to crawl on all fours. I asked the OT about it on the first day, and she wasn’t sure. But at our next session she had spoken with some colleagues and thought we definitely needed to work on his crawling.

Well, I gotta say, I really feel like I dropped the ball on this one. Baby H can crawl properly, but chooses not to – or so I thought. He is a genius, you know, so why not think he was making a decision about his mobility? As it turns out, the more I work with him on supporting his upper body on outstretched arms the more I realize he was avoiding it because he is very weak in his shoulder complex. This makes sense since he had his chest sliced open at exactly the time he was learning to push up and gain shoulder stability (duh.) At the time, I thought he was ‘on time’ with tummy-time skills, but it is apparent now that he didn’t gain the strength he needed. Instead, he opted to roll to places and then combat crawl. As I write this, I do think it was because of his genius. He didn’t have time to work on belly activities when he could just roll places and explore his environment. In retrospect, I should have forced him too. I am not sure I could have known it at the time.

In other mobility news, he can pull up on anything and everything. He cruises the furniture. He took 3 steps independently at Grandmas 3 weeks ago, but since then has chickened out. He cruises over to us, grabs our hands, and has us walk laps with him all over the house. It’s either laps or scream. Our choice.

Occupational Therapy: We are currently going to a CHKD outpatient OT clinic. Mandy works on his feeding and crawling. I am using my know-how to strengthen his shoulders in what is called ‘closed chain’ positions. Meaning, his hands are planted on the floor as in crawling. Boy-oh-boy, baby’s sure do have a short attention span. I get about 15 seconds of therapy before he is mad at me for stopping him from doing what he wants.

The good news is that he is now able to eat textures akin to thin rice pudding without barfing. He still gags and barfs when I give him thicker food like oatmeal, or cottage cheese texture, and occasionally gags on a cheerio.

Look who’s Talking: Ok, not really. He does say dadadada appropriately sometimes. He definitely understands ‘no’, ‘come here’, ‘danger’, ‘stop’, ‘good job’ ‘finished’ and a few more. He is vocal pretty much constantly talking or singing to himself or us. Soooo adorable. Oh, and he hollers in the grocery cart at the store causing people to look down the aisle to see what in the world is coming their way.

Sleeping: Does he sleep thru the night yet? Why is this the first question everyone asks? No, he’s not. But we sure are close. We had started sleep training with my college roomie, Dr. Lisa Meltzer , a while back. We decided to suspend training when we got the word on his growth issues. This allowed me to continue to breastfeed throughout the night in order to boost his caloric intake. Now that the cry/barf pattern is alleviated, sleep training is back on. He has actually done really well, with short cries under 10 minutes once he is in his crib. My instinct is to co-sleep and cater to his every need, but the reality is that Western-Born Judy cannot co-exist with Asian-Soul Judy. I was going nuts and getting very depressed. Sleep deprivation is very bad for depressed people. So, baby H is learning to be on his own at night, and learning it well. He still wakes and fusses a little a couple times a night, but settles down on his own for the most part. Now, we are tackling his nap schedule which is also a little off due to the frequent on-demand breast feedings required by a reflux baby. (Lisa’s sister Sharon has been really great too, she is a pediatrician and has a heart baby too!)

Speaking of Breast Feeding: I have to wean. Not my plan. I wanted to breast feed supplementaly for 2 years. Unfortunately, the sleep deprivation threw me into such a dark depression that my doctor added a new medication that doesn’t have as much research on it. I have been going to La Leche League meetings and Cathy, the leader, has been instrumental in helping me find the information on the medication and weaning. Luckily, I was able to breast feed for nearly a year. Even more lucky is that Baby H decided he will take formula in a bottle. Having to stop breast feeding was one of the worst decisions I have had to make. I went back and forth over it. I absolutely love the time the baby and I have together when he is nursing. My heart breaks when he is upset and starts nuzzling for comfort and I cannot give it. I just hate it. But, I think it is best for both of us to have me mentally healthy and reduce the amount of meds in his system.

HUGGS Group: CHKD has a support group for parents of children with congenital Heart Defects. I have never thought of my self as a support group kind of person. But I tell you, meeting these women has been so terrific. I had a bunch over to our community pool for swim time. We are making plans for other meet ups that I look forward to. Having people who understand and have been there is so incredibly helpful.

Our family has been very blessed to have the love and support of good friends and amazing family. Thanks to everyone!

NieNie recovery fund

Blogger Stephanie of NieNie was in a terrible plane crash. She is recovering from burns over 80% of her body. her husband has burns over 30% of his body.

Her sister has stared a fund for their recovery and their 4 children.

Updates on their recovery can be found here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ninja Monkey!

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Don't you want to see the kangaroos little man?

I took the little man to get his passport photos today. We are thinking of going to Australia in conjunction with one of Daddy's business trips.
When I called the Post Office to see if they would do the photos, the person hemmed and hawed about how it is really difficult for them to photograph babies. "Call JC Penny."
I called JC Penny. "Sorry, our lights are not right for passport photos, so they won't be acceptable."
Time to get out the phone book. Kinkos takes photos. Awesome. I call and the guy laughed when I asked about baby photos. He said it is difficult, but they could make it work.

Naturally, I brought his super cute vintage style outfit for the photo. Yes- my little guy got down to his unmentionables in the middle of Kinkos. Keesha, our Photographer, laughed that he was going to be trouble when she saw him whoopin' it up crawling around the store.

They hung a piece of poster paper as a backdrop and we set Baby H in front of it.

He was having none of it. Poor little man.
So, I plied him with Gerber Puffs. And wala! A perfect Passport photo.
Thank You Keesha!

#080/101: Facebook

Well, I joined Facebook. I have gotten invites in the past, but it was old high school pal Christy who convinced me.

Christy, Nikki and I were lab partners in AP bio. Ronald Ann is our rat from "The Ronald Ann Files: A Composition about Decomposition."

I can't believe I didn't join Facebook sooner. Within a few clicks, I met Goal #080: Get in touch with 4 old friends.....

....actually, I kicked that goal's butt.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Feel Pretty

Henry has been eating so well lately. Usually between 4-8 ounces of food at each meal!! He loves his beets. It is so funny because we mix his food with Simila for a calorie boost, so the beets look like Old Lady lipstick.
I grabbed the camera to get a shot of his lips.

I'm feel pretty by you.

Then he gagged on a cheerio and .... BLEP!....up came lunch. Bummer.

Why I am in Occupational Therapy. by you.

But at least he got to finger paint.

Sherpani Love

This morning I was looking at baby carrier prices online for a little budgeting. I stopped by one of my favorite bag stores, SHerpani. I love their products. I have several. In fact, I should avoid their website for risk of buying more. Like a backpack carrier.

Sherpani Packs

Some of my sherpanis.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Apple Orchard Overalls GIVEAWAY at Grosgrain!!

Grosgrain is giving away this adorable overalls!
Grosgrain: Apple Orchard Overalls GIVEAWAY!!!!

Mandy said he can have biter biscuits!

He is making progress with his feeding therapy. His OT said he can have biter biscuits. Yay!!

Er. Well, yuck.... What a mess.....!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Garden Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Kathleen at Grosgrain is giving away this adorable dress! If I win it do I keep it for a future daughter or give it to my niece? Hmm, decisions..

Garden Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

101 Things in 1001 Days

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).
Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.
Some common goal setting tips:
1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.

2. Stay Focused. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.

3. Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.

4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.

5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.
Start Date: August 22, 2008
Midpoint: January 4, 2010
End Date: May 20, 2011
My List
Completed Goals in Green
Health and a Little Vanity
001. Blog a post about each 101 (/101)
002. Run twice a week for 3 months (3/3)
003. Then run 3 times a week for 6 months (2/6)
004. Then run 4 times a week for 9 months (0/9) (2014 done for 3 months, now hip injury to rehab)
005. Swim at least twice a week for 3 months (3/3)
006. Reach goal weight of 135 pounds (In progress, down 25 since Feb 2014)
007. Get Lasik or PRK surgery (done)
008. Eat 5 fruits and veggies daily for 4 months (/120)
009. Have my teeth whitened (2014 using Sensodyne whitening for past 2 years. Good 'nuff)
010. Get glasses in new Rx (got lasik instead)
011. Weight train 2 times a week for 2 months (2/2)
012. Do home exercise program for knee pain daily for 2 months (0/2) (Change to rehab hip and shin splints once PT started)
013. Use my skin care system and otherwise leave it alone for 2 months (1/2)
Competition, Athletics, Getting Outdoors
014. Go orienteering with our son (3 times)
015. Find 20 Geocaches (8/20) 
016. Hide a Geocache
017. Compete in 5 sprint triathlons (3/5, plus 1 team duathlon and some foot races 2009) On hold for preggo. (Completed 3 in 2014 plus running races. 2015 goal 3 sprints, 1 oly)
018. Complete another Half Ironman (2016)
019. Go for run or ride on Dismal Swamp canal (done several times)
020. Take baby hiking (done - olympic mountains)
021. Take baby to neighborhood park each week (completed in chesapeake)
022. Swim with Belugas
023. Have another baby, twins or quadruplets. 1,2 or 3 boys. 1 girl. Charlie, Willy, Jimmy and Annika Louise. (Feb 14, 2011 had a baby boy named Peter Tristum)
024. Do three 10 minute sessions of therapy a day with the baby (9/1001- no longer applicable, he is ahead of schedule/milestones) (2014 'Baby' is now 7. Aspergers. New goal, daily therapy/exercises.)
025. Do baby massage 3 times each week (done, now replaced with reading)
026. Adopt a dog - on hold for 2 years per family decision (still on hold)
027. Fill out the baby book
028. Teach my son to swim (Aspergers delaying this goal. By end of summer 2015)
029. Join a mommy and baby class or play group- Kindermusik at the YMCA
030. Take baby to an aquarium (done Chesapeake)
031. Get the rest of my stuff out of my parent’s basement (still pending, complete 2015)
032. Help parents eBay excess tchotchkes (ebay, sell, donate, complete in 2015)
033. Plan my son’s first birthday party including guests, homemade cake, and fun gifts. (successful party)
034. Switch baby to cloth diapers at home - progress, bought some fuzzibunz, Abandoned, he outgrew them. Pottytraining now. (Done. Henry in some cloth as baby. Cloth diapered Petey for 9 months.)
035. Play a board game with husband each week (25/143)
Mental Health and Mental Floss
036. Finish vision board (Done 2014, revise New Year 2015)
037. Finish reading the books in my pile o’ books on the nightstand (still illiterate. 2015 read Autism books. Pleasure reading 3 nights/week.)
038. Record my dreams 4 times per week (2/572)
039. Meditate at least 15 minutes per day (while the baby is sleeping) for 2 months (0/2) (2014 purchased Tara Brach CDs, still a goal)
040. Start my day taking the baby for a walk or run instead of turning on the TV, and make this a habit for 2 months (0/2)
041. Post my blog once a week for 25 weeks (3/25) (renewing this goal)
042. Take a photography class
043. Use the library for 1 out of 3 books I think I want to buy
044. Take 5 CEU courses (4/5) (complete 2014. Goal 2015 3 courses)
045. Learn HTML - Progress: bought this book, talked with a programmer.
046. Figure out how to use Twitter - completed 8/27/08
047. Learn to use Photoshop
Sewing and Crafting
048. Make OT equipment for baby (done)
049. Sew 11 outfits (1 per 3 months) for baby (2/11)
050. Sew 3 skirts for me (3/3)
051. Refashion a vintage dress
052. Refashion a vintage skirt
053. Sew 10 quilts for CHKD (one every 2 months) (0/10)
054. Complete wedding scrapbooks
055. Complete travel scrapbooks
056. Finish mending pile in sewing room
057. Make 6 coffee sleeves (6/6 plus more)
058. Make a pin cushion with silica sand and wool
059. Organize vintage button collection
060. Embroider 6 tea towels (0/6)
061. Learn to crochet amigurumi
House and Home
062. Frame old and family photos- Progress: frames purchased, photos in process of organization
063. Embroider a quilt for our bed
064. Reupholster the antique couch and chairs with a mod fabrics (done 2012 in Washington)
065. Print travel photos to frame
066. Mop the kitchen once a week for 1 month (0/4)
067. Reupholster 2 office chairs (0/2)
068. Finish the Hurricane Kit (re-do after move 2015)
069. Go thru my magazines, cut out what I want to save, put clippings into binders. Progress: Freecycled collection of SHAPE mags and Bon Apetit, completes Aug 2010- recycled most
070. Freecycle, donate, sell or otherwise get rid of at least 2 items per week. (/143)
Be a Better Human
071. Donate to NPR (yearly done)
072. Donate to SPCA - blankets so far
073. Donate to American Red Cross
074. Donate to CHKD
075. Donate to American Heart Association
076. Donate to La Leche League
077. Resume donating blood every 8 weeks
078. Sew quilt for Dr. Gilbert
079. Use reusable shopping bags at least 75%of the time for 3 months (3/3, now a habit)
080. Get in touch with 4 old friends (4/4)
Travel to Exotic or Ho Hum places
081. Go fabric shopping at Tomato in Japan
082. Go to Australia
083. Visit brother in Colorado other than his wedding
084. Visit other brother
085. Baby and I will ride the train to Maryland to see my parents
086. Baby and I will ride the train to New York to see my in-laws
087. Go to Vancouver
088. Go to NYC garment district and SOHO to shop my favorite stores
Shop or Obtain by any (legal) means
089. Obtain a Gocco print maker (now looking at a yudu instead)
090. Find one more farm chair for kitchen (they require re-gluing every 6 months. Replaced with IKEA)
091. Choose a silver pattern that coordinates with forks
092. Get a blackberry or other mobile device (hilarious!! Have a smart phone)
093. Buy art from Etsy for a baby girl’s room (Had a boy, bought Submarine art.)
094. Buy Art from local artist in Hampton Roads, possibly from the library collection
095. Buy cute reusable shopping bags once i meet goal # 79 with the re-purposed totes I already have. I cheated a little and bought green bags from the commissary, Barnes & Noble, and a tote benefiting the Arts Council here.
096. Get the napkins that match the French table cloth (done. World Market, not French linen)
Cooking for the Gourmet and Every Day
097. Make 4 recipes with miso in my fridge (3/4)
098. Make baby’s mangos
099. Make baby’s carrots
100. Finish organizing my recipes (Finish 2015)
101. Cook a vegetarian/vegan meal once a week (0/143) (renew this goal 2015)

Baby Equipment Recommendations and a Few Tips of the Trade from a First Time Mom

I have several Preggo friends so I wrote an email to one with my recs for baby stuff. Over the past few months the email has been recycled, edited and expanded.

Here is the result...

My Baby Equipment Recommendations and a Few Tips of the Trade from a First Time Mom


The most important thing I can tell you about having a baby is how much I love breastfeeding. It was a challenge at first, but after a couple weeks it was easy. Feeding him is my favorite together time. I definitely recommend getting your hubby to do a bottle feeding of pumped milk as soon as possible and keep it up. Baby Henry won’t take a bottle since Big Henry was not available to get the bottle started. If you are going back to work right away you need to get the bottle started. The LLL recommends doing it after 6 to 8 weeks I believe. An additional bonus is breastmilk poops aren’t as gross as formula poops. But, there are lots of mommies who don’t do it at all- like J-lo. But Jennifer Garner did, and filmed a movie in the desert while breastfeeding. She kicks ass. Ok, lecture over.


We paid for access to Consumer Reports online to help us research our gear for the safest stuff. Don’t bother. The reports are outdated and don’t cover all the gear available. All the coolest strollers aren’t even rated. Some articles are available without joining. I think you are better off reading the reviews on Amazon and Babies-R-Us. I write reviews of everything we have.

The Kick-Assness of Amazon:

On Amazon you can now get a Universal Wishlist Button. Say you are on a boutique site and find an item you like, just click this button on your tool bar and it puts the item on your Amazon Wishlist. That way, you can tell people about the Wishlist for the baby and include mod/cool/hip/indie clothes and toys from little boutiques and independent sellers that aren’t on Amazon. When the gift buyer clicks on the item, they will be brought to the outside site. I wish they had this feature when we were shopping. I would have used Amazon as a registry and been able to get more of my favorite type of stuff.

Here is an example: Henry the Fifths Amazon wishlist, you can use the compact view to organize your list too.

Other smart tips:

Get one small package of each brand on diapers to trial once the baby arrives. Don’t go crazy buying lots of newborn sizes since baby could come out bigger than these. Also, try a variety of nursing pads. DON’T buy lots of bottles. Buy one sample of one brand of bottle and nipple, try it, then if baby hates it get ONE of another. We have a shitload cabinet full of Dr. Browns that H5 won’t use. We are saving them for the next baby unless they decide BPA is bad again. Don’t invest in a specific brand, you could waste a lot of money before you know what baby likes.

At the hospital:

I brought an oil infuser and room spray that smelled so good that the staff liked coming in our room and commented on how nice it was. That’s good because you want them to be happy when they come in. We had Thymes Indigenous in our room.


www.coolmompicks.com my favorite shopping site for ideas

http://mightyjunior.com/ fun daily picks for kids

www.etsy.com lots of handmade items for d├ęcor, bibs etc. if you want to avoid commercial things

www.dadlabs.com Must watch, diaper pail sniff test, poop in the tub 101 , breast pump on a man , football dad.


bloesem kids

Junior Magazine from the UK—I looked at the mag at Barnes and Noble, but didn’t buy it. I will check next month to see if I like it for sure.

Dr Sears defined the 8 principles of attachement parenting. Attachement Parenting International is a group that has information on the ideas.

Maternity gear:

motherhood maternity sleeping bras – I wore these to sleep at the end of the pregnancy and I still wear them daily. I am wearing one now. Not super supportive, but comfy for sleeping and once you are nursing they hold the pads well.

bella band, in Japan they are called haramaki and old ladies wear them. I didn’t get any Japanese ones, but they look really cool.

snoogle sleeping pillow

boppy sleeping wedge – as soon as I started to show I found this wedge helpful to tuck under my belly

funny t-shirts can be important for a preggo


What to expect when you’re expecting (they just updated to make it more modern) by Heidi Murkoff

What to expect the first year by Heidi Murkoff

Henry used this the most. Be Prepared handbook for daddy

Happiest baby on the block – I would get the book and the DVD. I wish we had this before he was born. We didn’t get it until he was 3 months. You need it right away. It would have helped a lot.

Toys: first months:



play gym they can use it from day 1. Henry loved the whale first. Now the octopus is his fave and we take it everywhere. At 10 months he goes over to it and turns on the music. He hits it until his favorite song plays.

links – any brand will do. You will need a lot. They keep toys from landing on the gross floor when you are out and we hook is favorite car to the headrest facing him so he can play in the car. And, he will just play with the links and not the toy half the time.

bla bla toys are way cute, we have the monkey. I want the rattles, but H5 is a little too old now.

Toys age 7 months:


mirror we have this in a different color. We used it from day 1, but now he really likes it. This one can stand alone or attach to the crib. He is on the floor laughing at it right now.

Musical Octopus

Toys 10 months:

Haba fish Moby, he has 2 different rainbow fish like Moby, and a frog rattle. I love Haba stuff

Pop up toys

Balls to kick

Furniture to crawl and climb on

mommy and daddy to hold his hands and walk


scrap paper or important papers to tear up, chew, and turn into perfect spitballs if only we would let him play with a straw too.


Bouncer we have the Svan one. The baby likes that we can hang toys on it with links. I liked the Oeuf one but it was being recalled so we got this. I think any kind will do, I liked the look the Svan, but it isn’t very portable. Good until the become mobile.

bumbo This is great for practicing sitting and getting strong. We got a tray too. He figured out how to crawl out of it at about 8 months I think.


We have a changing table dresser combo so he can use it longer. We got crib with a drop side since I am tall and planning to get preggo again soon. Leaning way into a crib is hard when you are tall and preggo. But, if I did it again I might get the oeuf crib because it is so much better looking. Our crib is good quality, not spectacularly fancy, definitely a step above IKEA.

Dwell crib linens are at Target now.

Combi play yard Henry slept in the bassinette until the surgery at 4 ½ months old. We also used this changing table for the first 4 months. Our 18 month old niece slept in it on a visit. It survived an airplane ride. We really like it. Unfortunately, the music feature plays some creepy Muzak that includes Celine Dion and Memories from CATS.

Eddie-Bauer-Infant-Travel-Bed We use this in his antique cradle to make it safe. We take it on trips because it fits in a large suitcase. I love this thing. We still use it at 10 months for naps. He gets in and out by himself. This was one of our best purchases.

multi use pad we lined the bassinette with these and use them on the changing table and to set him on for baby massage. We have 5. I left one at my parents house for use there.

Blankets: the hospital swaddled with 2 blankets. When we got home we swaddled with a flannel underneath and then the THERMAL-BLANKET on top because they can wrap really tight.


The first 2 weeks the kimono t-shirts are THE BOMB! We liked the long sleeve ones. After the umbilical cord fell off we liked the gowns for months 1-3. Then we switched to button or zip front footies, which is what he wears now. All his 6 weeks photos are in the same doggie footie romper because that was his only one and Big Henry always dressed him in it.

American apparel- we have several of the long sleeve t-shirts. They are perfect to layer under onsies or other outfits for winter months. Especially when you want to dress him in a cute or witty onsie but it has short sleeves. I also love the Karate pants. He has several. The California pants are thicker. He had a hoodie jacket too, but we lost it and were super bummed because it was our favorite jacket for him.

dreamsie – I love these. They come with the cutest hat and I like that they have sleeves. We also had the Halo sleep sack Swaddle when he was little. We used the swaddle part at first then quit using it. If you have AC, the microfleece are good. I think the cotton ones won’t be warm enough unless you don’t have AC in the summer.

http://www.happygreenbee..com/ I haven’t gotten these clothes yet. I just want them

Kumquat I have a couple things by them

Petit Bateau

Tea is my absolute favorite

http://www.robeez.com/ the IT shoes for babies.

www.threadless.com for awesome tees

Zutano I get these at various small boutiques and from Amazon

New Potatoes clothes are adorable. I can t find a direct link, but this store some examples. http://www.bestdressedchild.com/newpobyswpo.html I haven’t purchased from them.

http://tottini.com/store/ this store is in Seattle and stocks cool stuff

I have over 100 sites bookmarked in my Baby folder.


snuzzler – we have 2. It makes him fit in his car seat and stroller better and looks cozy and warm. He is getting big for it in the car seat now.

Car seat: The main decision about a car seat is whether to go with a car seat only or a travel system. We picked a convertable car seat that doesn’t go into a stroller because they have higher crash test ratings (especially in cars without the LATCH system like my old car.) That means that we don’t have a ‘bucket’ that we can use to take the baby out of the car and carry him around. This is bad if you are going to restaurants since you have to bring the stroller and park it at your table. A bucket can sit in this hammock thing restaurants have or in the wooden high chairs they have. With the stroller we have to choose restaurants that potentially have people in costume, if we go to cute quaint places the stroller doesn’t fit well. Buckets also can sit in the shopping cart. Without the bucket, I had to carry him in my sling or Bjorn to go to the store (which is fine with me) until he could sit in the shopping cart. Now, I think the Travel systems with the removable bucket are safe enough. We are happy with our decision, but it was not a convenient decision. The car seat decision is one that we used Consumer reports for, but honestly CR was out dated and probably made the decision more complicated than it needed to be.

Stroller: This decision is related to the above one if you get a travel system. We got this Graco Quattro. This is where Consumer Reports sucked. They didn’t have a lot of the stylish higher end strollers that I now covet. (like bugaboo ....) Now we also have a BOB Revolution jogging stroller BOB ...

Carrier: We got the original baby bjorn and the wind proof cover. The Bjorn bugs my back a little and Henry’s too but sometimes the structure of it is better than my wrap. I would look at a carrier with a lumbar strap. I have the moby wrap . I love how comfortable it is and it doesn’t hurt my back at all. If you wear it for a long time it stretches a bit and you have to hike the kid up. It is also super long, so putting it on in a parking lot is tricky keeping it clean. But I prefer it to the bjorn. I might look at slings next time, or a MaiTai.

Diaper Bag:

We got the SkipHop because it has straps that go around the stroller bar so you still have access to the cup holders on the console. I don’t always use this feature, but it is cool when I bother to switch the strap. Usually I just hang it over the bar like any other bag. My Kate Spade bag is pretty, but it has to be carried on the mommy’s shoulder. I recommend a bag that can hang on the back of the stroller. The special straps on the SkipHop are good if you think you will actually take the 20 seconds it takes to clip them on. Addendum here: I heard that Target is getting skip hops that have the stroller straps and shoulder strap separated so you don’t have to clip and unclip as much.

Happy Tushies wet bag is one of the best things I purchased. I have a large one. It stays in the changing pad section of my diaper bag. When H5 has a blow out or barfs on himself while we are out (or in an airport) I can change him into his spare clothes and this bag keeps the gross stuff away from everything else. One time I stuffed his whole outfit and my wet shirt in there. (The first couple months I needed a change of clothes for me cuz he puked a lot.) It washes in the machine and then line dry overnight. I want another Happy Tushie bag.


We are killing the earth with disposables. We like Huggies. But when he is between sizes on the Huggies, Pampers hold it in better. I have looked into G diapers and various cloth diapers but haven’t made a change. I am leaning toward BumGenius one size cloth diapers.

Diaper pail:

The diaper genie will cost you $5-13/month after your initial purchase for bags and take 2 hands to work so you can’t hold the baby. We got the diaper champ –economical, minimally stinky.

Laundry and Getting barf off the floor:

Spray n wash – I use this on his food stains (yellow and orange squash carrots etc and baby Tylenol red stains. It hasn’t bleached or wrecked any colors on his clothes and has taken out all stains. I've heard Zout is good too and want to try it.

Tide he. We used Dreft for a while, but the baby does fine with Tide and scent free Bounce.

Bissel – a carpet cleaner is great since now when I hear the baby choking and know a big barf is coming I just hold him away from me over the carpet so he pukes on the carpet and not on me. Then I just clean the carpet (eventually.)

My parents got a hard floor steam cleaner I think it is this one. Anyway, their tile kitchen floor looked sooo good when they used it. I want one once I find out for sure what they have.


Lysol To Go- this is good because when you use a public changing table you will put your changing pad under his ass. But the baby does not put his own ass in his mouth. He puts his hands in his mouth. So all the disgusting germs and other baby poops and pees that are on the sides of that changing table are getting on your baby’s exploring hands and into his mouth. So carry a mini Lysol, spray down the table where his little hands can reach, wipe it with a paper towel and then lay down the butt mat. 2 seconds, no more germs.

purell portables I think I got mine a Staples. I keep these attached to his diaper bag, my purse, the stroller. Theoretically you can make people clean up before they pinch the baby’s cheeks. Especially if the baby needs surgery.

Sani-Hands wipes. But watch out. They are alcohol based, so paper cuts on you or hangnails on little hands will sting.

Wet ones – I carry my own wipes because Grocery stores have cart wipes but Babies-R-Us and Target don’t!! WTF?

Cart Cover: No luck with these. I hated the two I tried. I have this tutorial that I need to get measurements for and just make my own.


We are still using all the bath and lotion products we got from showers. Don’t stock up, you’ll get enough in gifts. J&J soothing naturals smells fantastic.

We also use Boudreaux’s butt bath. We use Boudreaux’s butt paste. It worked better for him than Desitin.

Saline nose drops for stuffy nose – we use tons of this since he is always stuffy.

I am getting a little worried about too many chemicals. I might switch to all Burt’s Bees products once we finish what we have.

blue lizard sunscreen is really good and safe. Pricey, but it’s all we use. Lots of baby sunscreen have bad chemicals.

snapper rock is the SPF swim wear we got for him


James McKenna was one of my thesis advisors in college. He is why I believe in co-sleeping. For the next kid, I really want to get a co-sleeper.

Now, we are doing sleep training to get him to sleep longer at night. We decided to do this due to a worsening of my depression. We are getting help from my college roommate Dr. Lisa Meltzer with the sleep lab at CHOP.

Attachement Parenting

white noise machine projects fish on the ceiling, but we don’t use that. It has a freaky heart beat noise option that you can use at Halloween reading the Telltale Heart. We use the rain noise which is really nice.


Medela pump and save breast pump. Talk to the lactation consultant at the hospital at your 2 week post partum. I found out when H5 was in for surgery that the boob shields that come standard with the pump are too small for my enormous boobs, so she gave me bigger ones for free. SOOO much better. Medela’s help line is great too.

Have the lactation consultant measure your boob size. The size 24 cups are way small. When the consultant at his surgery hospital saw my boobs she was like, whoa, you need bigger pump parts. You can get bigger ones from Medela and the pump will work better for you.

foogo thermos Babies R Us carry these. They are good since they don’t have that BPA plastic and keep things safely cold longer, or can keep stuff warm too.

peanut shell cover or Hooter Hider or others. I didn’t think I needed this until my mom got me one and I realized I really like it.

Johnson and Johnson nursing pads – I like these the best. I have used Lanisoh and others. These Gerber Ultra Thin ones are HORRIBLE. They are not sealed on the edges so they suck up the milk and then redistribute it onto your bra, so if your bra is padded, it gets soaked and if its not padded, your shirt gets soaked. I tried washable reusable for earth friendliness but they leaked too. I am looking at Etsy or might order soem PUL fabric to make my own.

Glamour Mom Tank tops. I wear these a lot. Comfy, but under another shirt they cause a uniboob look.

Lanisoh cream for sore boobies.

Feeding Solids:

I am making a lot of his food. These are books I use. Blender-Baby-Food, top 100 baby puree The info is not that unique, but I like them. Follow your pediatrician guidelines though, as these books suggest fish very early and our GI specialist said to wait until 1 year.

I got the Oxo Good Grips food mill. Milling food is a pain in the ass. Just use your Quisenart or blender. Or buy Gerber or organic brands. We use that too, I just like having more choices, making food is cheaper, and my food tastes better. Because of his feeding problems, we are ending up buying more manufactured food for the smoother texture. Bummer since I wanted to cook for the baby.

High Chair- I wanted the Combi chair, but none of the stores had models to try out so we went with the Chicco ..

We used this booster at his grandparents’ house: He flopped over in it and needed a towel roll to sit up at 5 months old, now we have one and use it when the Chicco straps are drying and for travel.

Stuff to take from hospital:

Most of the stuff they have in the room has to get thrown out, so take it when you leave.

Squirt bottle for bathing

Nose aspirator (booger sucker) – the one piece kind the hospital has works way better than the two piece one we got from Safety First



Hair scrubber

Disposable wash cloths

Giant maxi pads

Soothies – make the lactation consultant give you some!!

We also got a free hand pump from our lactation consultant

Things we don’t use:

Baby powder; this is good if you use cloth diapers. With disposables the baby stays dry anyway.

JJ cole bundle me – its cool since the car seat straps go thru it to keep baby strapped in safely, but sticking the straps thru while the baby is in it is a pain in the ass. But if you leave it in the car it defeats the purpose of keeping baby warm without having to unbundle him.

Clorox anywhere surface spray: this stuff kills bacteria only, not viruses.

Stuff I want for the future:

in the pocket chair harness

CARES airplane harness maybe

Safety Tattoos

Tumbleforms – ok, a cheaper version of these. I might make something. I need something to work on crawling on hands and knees instead of combat crawling. The OT and I think he needs the shoulder stability to help his eating.

Considering a subscription to Kiwi Magazine for Green mommy-ing