Top baby items we’ve loved and where to find them

As first-time parents, we were obviously open to advice and hand-me-downs from friends and family. What we have learned since (in the 8 months of our daughter’s life), is that every baby and their needs are different, and you have to be flexible. For the planner in me, that has been difficult! I’d like to think I’m learning to let go and be more adaptable 😉

Along the way, we have found some items that we’ve loved, that have definitely made life easier. So I wanted to share links, and some pictures, with you in case it may help you in the future! Awwww, look at us…on the way home from the hospital with our baby girl… we had no idea what we were doing! Thankfully friends and family have helped along the way 😉

Ikea changetable/dresser – $150
We bought the 3-drawer Hemnes dresser (white), that is actually no longer available! I couldn’t find it on their site, which is unfortunate because it’s the perfect height and fits a change pad and wipes on it.

Love to Dream, Swaddle – $38
When Elizabeth was about 7 weeks old, I was tired of fighting to keep her swaddled at night. From day one, she liked to flail her arms in bed. After a nighttime feeding, I would wrap her in the muslin cloth as tight as I could, and by the time I got back to bed, her arms were out. I would nudge Troy and ask him to go wrap her up. Which he would, and usually she would stay in it. She loved her arms up close to her face, so when a friend told us about this one, we thought it didn’t hurt to try! She stayed in the small, then the medium, until almost five months old! The zipper saved my butt from having to try and swaddle her up!

DIY Mobile – $21 and $6 on some ribbon
Ok, so mobiles are expensive. Like, $60-100. And they all seemed rather tacky for the baby girl’s room I had put together. When Elizabeth was about three months old, I ordered this Victsing Mobile Music Box Baby Crib Mobile Bed Bell Toy Holder Arm Bracket + Wind-up off of Amazon, and then had some twine and ribbon that I fashioned through the loops. I liked this one because the song is “You are my sunshine” and that was the first song I ever sang to Elizabeth on our car ride home from the hospital when she was crying uncontrollably! And it worked. I am happy with how it turned out. She is now trying to reach for it lots so we shall see how long it lasts!

Mamaroo – $350 – borrowed
A friend was kind enough to lend us their mamaroo, and hands-down, it was a lifesaver! We had it in our dining room or living room. I remember one night, in the first couple of weeks, we tried for HOURS to get her to sleep in her crib and it just wasn’t working. Finally, around 1am, we brought her into our room in the mamaroo and she slept 5 hours straight! Mommy, on the other hand, was waking constantly to check on her, but, baby slept! She eventually grew out of it and became bored with it, and I reluctantly gave it back, knowing it was a phase of her little life that was now done!

Backseat mirror – $18
Okay, seriously, how did people cope without these a few years ago? I LOVE being able to see what she’s doing or if she’s sleeping. A must have, for sure. We got ours at Babies ‘R Us, but on Amazon they are about the same price.

Bath tub – $50
I love this tub from Babies ‘R Us, as it props her up just right, and is a 3pc. So as she grows, the tub grows with her. We can have it on the counter, like we did in the beginning, or now it sits in the tub just nicely. She’s almost outgrown the seat in it ! 😦

Pacifier teething/soother clip – $12
Elizabeth has never been a big fan of soothers, but I was ready, just in case 😉 I have this one, from Etsy, in her carseat. She likes to chew on it or play with it now and again. I loved the color options!

Headbands$7
I love me some headbands! I finally found these recently on Etsy, and I love them because they are made of ladies’ nylons, so they don’t make a harsh mark on her head! I also got this one in black and white. They match with almost anything!

Britax stroller/carseat travel system – $600
The stroller/carseat was the one place we splurged a bit more. Troy was great at picking this out, ensuring it would be something easy enough for me to lift in and out of the trunk. The only thing I would change about this is to have a bigger bottom basket and a plastic tray with it. I bought a canvas cup holder (cheaper) and had a Starbucks spill on our maiden voyage out! Otherwise, this Britax system is easy to fold and we love it!

Breast pump – $150-300
This was another hand-me-down necessity from a friend. We have the Lanolin brand, which I’m not sure they make anymore, but it has worked great for me! I bought a breast pump kit with new attachments from Amazon and it’s been great! So if you think borrowing someone’s pump is gross, then just get this kit and you’re fine! These Medela steam bags have also been great to sterilize and quickly clean soothers, bottles, etc.

Boba baby wrap – $60
This was also a gift, quite literally! I loved wearing Elizabeth around the house, though learning to tie this thing was a YouTube journey! She had many naps in there while I had two free hands to do things around the house. Love love.

We also went simple with our crib (Ikea), rocking chair for nursery (free, hand me down), and most of the nursery decor I made or thrifted aside from a few printables I bought off Etsy! I don’t consider myself crafty, but I do like to challenge myself to make something beautiful on a budget 🙂

We didn’t get a conventional diaper bag, as neither of us really like them! We wanted to find something we could use for our next baby as well, so wanted something fairly neutral. We ended up getting a navy blue/leather Fossil bag on clearance that seems rather large, but does the job! I bought a diaper bag insert that has 7 spots for stuff, so it makes the bag seem more suitable as a diaper bag.

If you are expecting, hopefully that little list helps you narrow down the multitude of options there are for baby things!!

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A letter to our baby girl: sweet one, keep looking up

You do this thing where you look up to the ceiling when I burp you. Enraptured by our gallery wall or the lights, you could stare for days. I wonder what goes on inside of your sweet mind, and marvel at your cuteness.

You have completely and totally changed our lives in the nine weeks since you arrived, and the adventure has but begun. As the spring rain finally pours down outside, you sleep softly next to me – wrapped in a pink afghan as The Piano Guys play softly. I count not the days anymore, but the hours to your next feed. Everything is now done quickly – eating, showering, laundry and the few minutes of exercise I try to squeeze in before you call to me again!

I’ll admit, I was afraid of post-partum depression or falling apart in trying to hold you together. Yet God’s peace has sustained in such a perfect way. Oh baby girl, there were days, and still are, where I cry in wonder or tiredness.  There are also amazing sweet moments where Daddy and I laugh and melt at the sight of you, and scary moments like last night where I just did not know what to do; feeling helpless, I called out to Jesus. I find this new parenting thing to be a constant dance of embracing and letting go. The dance of grace; I will teach you the steps one day, darling.

You are growing far too quickly, yet that is a sign of health, so I don’t wish it away. I can see in you a sweet personality developing, and that makes my mamma heart so happy. I could just kiss you all over. And do.

Since time is of the essence these days, I find myself most encountering the Lord as I sing Jesus Loves Me over you at night, more than the daily devotions and habits I had so established before. Part of me struggles with that, and then I remind myself to receive God’s good grace to find a new normal as your mom. And that Father God will meet with me right where I am at.

You know what anchors me when I feel unsure of what to do, my little girl? Knowing that you are a gift, straight from God to us. Your name means “pledged to God” and in the moments when I don’t know what to do or feel overwhelmed, I remind myself that God gave YOU to US and He will enable us to be your Mommy and Daddy!

In fact, I was counting my blessings yesterday, you being one of them, and realized how I am living my dream with your Daddy. I have an amazing husband, you an amazing Daddy, we both enjoy our work, own a home, have you in our lives now, we are healthy and love our families. What more could we ask for? Sometimes in the hustle I forget that you were once what I prayed and asked God for. With you in our lives, we are living our dream, Elizabeth.

So Daddy and I will continue to sing praises over you, continue to lean into grace, and continue to love you with all of our hearts. I look forward to more shopping trips like yesterday (as you smiled at me in the change room, as though approving what I had chosen to model), adventures in the kitchen and beyond, and watching your little personality take flight sweet one.

Elizabeth Grace, we will keep looking up, just as you do so very often. You are a good gift, from our very good good Father. We love you baby girl!

Our sweet little girl has arrived: Elizabeth Grace

Just a short post to say … we are parents!

Elizabeth (“pledged to God) Grace Lupul
March 23, 2016
10:50pm | 8lb 3oz

Troy and I are just over two weeks into parenthood, and loving our little girl to bits. With all the friends we’ve had go before us as parents, there really is nothing you can do to prepare for what delivery is like emotionally and how you’ll feel when you see your very own child for the first time. Troy and I both cried, of course, but I think it was the afternoon we brought her home when it hit us – we’re parents! As we entered the elevator, a giddy excitement filled my heart. We stopped for smoothies on the way home, and Lizzie started to fuss and wail in the back seat. Knowing she was likely just hungry, I tried to buy some time by singing You are my sunshine… and it worked! New mom for the win! As we had our first evening at home, we felt such peace and thankfulness that delivery was over, she was healthy, I was fine (well, healing 😉 ), and we were now at that ‘next stage’. Troy is the proudest Daddy ever, he could pop a button every time he looks at her. It’s pretty adorable I must say 😉 Love you babe, and am so excited to do this journey of parenting with you!

When we get our newborn photos back I will share, but here is a look back at my pregnancy with Elizabeth Grace, and a few first sneak peeks at our little girl and new life together…

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We love you Elizabeth Grace and thank God for the gift that you are to us! xo

~ Mommy & Daddy

 

Distracted by you

 

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Little one, I hope you know, that you are a treasure.

You came into our life, with hope beyond measure.

And the Lord blessed our prayer,

For we all wanted you to be here.

 

Now here you are, growing inside of me.

Every time I sit and ponder, it’s more of you I see.

Rolling like a waterbed across my growing tummy.

You dance inside, reminding me, I am soon to be a mommy.

 

Though I toss and turn at night,

It will only get worse, they say, as I hold my stomach tight.

I know that God has gifted you to us,

To help you become all you were meant to be. A trust.

 

Though it’ll be a transition for all, of that I am sure.

I choose to believe for joy and peace amongst the newborn blur.

Because this newbie mamma is letting go as we speak.

To someday show you that strength unbridled is not for the weak.

 

So this, my girl, I promise you, just two months before we are to meet.

That I will aim for grace, not perfection, and stand upon His feet.

To search for Jesus in every midnight feed and smile we share.

So that you, my girl, will always know how much we care.

 

Soon we will see you, as they lay you on my chest.

The long awaited glimpse, of who you resemble best.

With love we will welcome you, into your new home.

And cherish every moment as we watch you become.

 

For every dance, every song, and every sunrise yet to see together.

Will be a reminder that life with Him is always so much better.

Be brave little one, dream big and sparkle with all you’ve got.

Distracted we may be by you, we sure love you a whole lot!