Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013

video
Thanks Google+ for making this for me. It actually does a pretty good job of hitting the highlights from this year. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You Know You're In the Rayel Household When....

...you hear:
          "don't eat the floor"
          "don't eat the wall"
          "mmmmmm! carrot!" (said the same way Cookie Monster says "mmmm! cookie!")

...doggie is included in most activities that go on - especially our evening rosary. Doggie is learning to make the sign of the cross. Joseph is his most excellent teacher.

...you see Joseph hijack John's monthly photo shoot.

...you see John's face light up when we go get Joseph from his afternoon nap.

...you see Joseph's face light up when John opens the door to get Joseph from his afternoon nap.

...the boys willingly pose for pictures together. Say "cheese!"

...you see John crawling around with one sock on his foot and the other in his mouth ... and then you see Joseph imitate his little brother.

...in the middle of saying our prayer before meals Joseph looks over at John, realizes he has a Cheerio in his mouth, leans over and says "first we pray!"


Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 53)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about isolation, Chardonnaydo, and the creepiness of Furbies (vol. 232)

1) A Wegman's is opening near us, and I just signed up for my Wegman's card today. Word on the street has it that I should be excited ecstatic. I guess I'll have to wait for our store to open to see how I feel about it, but I have a feeling I'm going to like this little enormous store :)

2) John is growing like crazy. He is now crawling all over the place, pulling up and stealing Joseph's toys. Joseph is fine with the first two accomplishments, but isn't too keen on having his little brother take his toys (even the ones he isn't playing with).
I guess it won't surprise you that one of Joseph's current favorite words is "mine!" We've been working on sharing a lot around here. Very often Joseph will say "mine!" then he'll look at me, realize I'm watching, tentatively offer the toy back to John and say "share." It's a work in progress. Sharing is seriously hard business.

3) Most of the time, though, the boys play well together. It's especially sweet when Joseph tries to play games with John. Recently he's started crawling really fast across the kitchen and John giddily follows. They go back and forth and back and forth laughing the whole time. It's really cute to watch.
Joseph decides he needs to have his picture taken, too.
He jumps in during John's "6 month photo shoot."

4) Our mom's group took a little field trip to the fire station a couple weeks ago. All the kids loved it. Here are a couple pictures from the trip.
 

5) We went to a train museum near us for Labor Day and Joseph loved it. When I say loved I'm not even a little bit exaggerating. It was a small museum that had one large room with a display in the middle and one small room with a fairly large lego display. Granted, the displays were interactive in that you could push buttons to make the trains or people or various objects move, but still it was only two rooms. We spent two and a half hours there. Crazy. We met up with some friends at the park afterwards and one of them said "I can't believe you were there for two and a half hours!"

6) Joseph started Preschool last week. We joined a homeschool co-op that meets once a week for a few hours. So far he's loving it (not surprising). I'm excited for Joseph to have this opportunity. And, as much as I balk at the idea, it's been good for me to have a little more structure to my week.
Sadly, I was a terrible mom and didn't take the obligatory "1st day of (pre)school" photo. I didn't even dress him in particularly cute clothes for his first day. Ah well. You live and learn. Maybe next year.

7) We've been enjoying a few of the warmer days at some local fountains. So much fun!

Thanks for hosting, Jen!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

For My (Not So) Newly Pregnant Friends

I started this post about six months ago when I first found out that one of my best friends was having her first baby. Fast forward six months and here I am realizing that she's due in one week!!! I needed to finish it ASAP so all my sage wisdom ramble-y thoughts wouldn't go to waste. The post got long, so I've split it up into two posts. This is my "opinions and thoughts about everything but sleep" post. I hope it's helpful to my first-time mom friends!

If you plan on using disposables, Target diapers are the way to go. I love them because they're cute, inexpensive and work as well or better than every other disposable diaper I've tried. The only caveat to this is I prefer Pampers diapers for the newborn stage simply because they're "green line indicator" works much better than the Target "disappearing blue dots indicator." But once they're into size 1 diapers you don't need the indicator anymore - you're going to know when they peed.

Joseph is all smiles while sporting his
adorable cloth diaper :)
I have a love/hate relationship with my cloth diapers. I love them because they save me money and contain blowouts infinitely better than disposables. And did I mention they're adorable on baby bottoms? They are. BUT! They do require more work. You have to change them more frequently (those disposables can hold a lot) and you have extra loads of laundry. The laundry really isn't a big deal to me - I don't mind doing laundry. The extra changes were a big deal to me...until I recently discovered hemp liners. My hemp liners have helped me fall back in love with my cloth diapers. Before I discovered the hemp liners I had to change each cloth diaper ever 1-2 hours (basically every time one of the boys peed which meant changing 2 diapers every 1-2 hours....that's a lot of diaper changes in one day!). Now they can go 3-4 hours without being changed. This makes a huge difference when you're trying to diaper a toddler who doesn't want to sit/lay still for any diaper changes. I didn't use our cloth diapers for many moons because I got tired of fighting Joseph to change his diaper. Now I'm back into it, and since I discovered the hemp liners I haven't looked back.
Note: I do still use disposable diapers at night and when we're on vacation and sometimes when we're going to be out all day simply because they're so easy to use. But I'm trying more and more these days to use our cloth diapers as much as possible - especially if we'll just be out for the day.

If you have a boy make it a habit to put a wipe over his "master of surprises" as soon as you take his diaper off. You may still end up with a puddle under baby to clean up, but that's a heck of a lot better than trying to find the pee that spewed across the room and/or in their (or your!) face. You will probably only need to do this for the first few weeks, but until then....beware!

A fussy baby isn't necessarily a hungry baby. There are so many reasons babies cry. Many of these reasons are obvious (dirty diaper, hunger, tiredness), but others aren't quite as obvious (gas, over stimulation, too hot or too cold).
An easy way to deal with gas is by pumping baby's legs in a bicycle-type motion to help the gas move through their system. Burping baby during and after each feeding will also help with gas.
It's ok, John. Joseph won't hurt you :)
Feeling baby's ears is a good way to check baby's temperature (or so I've been told).
Knowing whether your baby is too hot or too cold can be hard to figure out. I will often feel my boys' ears and hands (and sometimes feet) when I'm trying to determine if they're too hot/cold. Either extreme can make baby quite fussy or interrupt their sleep (the worst!).
Over stimulation can be a big cause of fussiness in babies. I didn't learn this lesson very well until we had John. Sometimes John would be fussy and I would go through a mental checklist as to why he could be fussy and then I'd think - "hmm, he slept recently and is fed and changed, but Joseph has been running around like crazy and making a lot of noise. Maybe he's just over stimulated." Sure enough as soon as I took John upstairs for some quiet time with mommy he would settle down. It was nearly instantaneous. So, especially during those first weeks/months be aware of baby's stimulation. Less is more in their world.

If you plan to breastfeed...
        1) Don't let baby fall asleep at the breast. This is one of those things that is easier said than done, but it is so important - especially in those first few weeks when baby is developing their sleep associations. It's probably going to happen now and again, but do your best to make sure baby doesn't fall asleep at the breast otherwise you'll have to break the habit later on (which can be a painful habit to break!).
        2) Nursing is going to hurt (for a while), but don't let that dissuade you from breastfeeding. I know lots of lactation consultants say it isn't supposed to hurt, but I have yet to meet a mom who breastfed who said they had no pain in the beginning. Give yourself a few weeks to adjust and the pain should start to alleviate after a few weeks. Until then, you just have to grin and bear it :( I recommend using Lanolin to help protect the nipple and once the pain subsides you can also express a drop of your breast milk and coat the nipple with that - it has similar protection as the Lanolin (and is so much easier and more convenient). I've also heard great things about cold compresses (like this or this), but have never used them myself.
        3) Pacifiers are not the devil - use them if you want. From my experience (and that of my friends) it won't affect your breastfeeding success.
"Don't even think about taking my paci." - John
With Joseph we had to greatly encourage the pacifier. He was nursing something like 8-10 hours a day and not sleeping and super fussy. So, after about 2 (or 3 or 4??) weeks of being a human pacifier and me reaching pretty close to my breaking point (because Joseph almost never slept more than 2 hours at a time - even sleeping 2 hours straight was rare for him) my dad suggested we try giving him a pacifier. Oh - we had tried to give him one before, but he wanted nothing to do with it. But, we kept offering it...over and over again we would offer it. And he did eventually take the pacifier. He gave it up around 5 months, but by that point he was at least consistently sleeping in 2 hours chunks - sometimes even giving me 4-6 hours of (broken) sleep each night! Woohoo!
John was the complete opposite. From the moment we offered the pacifier he loved it. If he felt it near his mouth he would reach for it/your hand and pull it to his mouth.
Both boys have been great nursers and neither have had "nipple confusion." Needless to say, I'm a fan of pacifiers.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Beauty in Motherhood

It's amazing to me that each day can bring out so many different feelings and emotions. These days that are filled with love and laughter, exhaustion and exasperation. I sometimes find myself wondering how I got to this wonderful place in life, but I'm quickly reminded that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God's grace.
I love my boys very much, but there are times (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes entire days) where I wonder how I'm going to get through. Times when I know I should be laying on the floor playing with them, but the selfish side of me takes over and all I want to do is putter around on the internet and read about how to be a great mom (or wife or whatever). But reading about these things doesn't make me a good mom. Slowing down and spending time with my boys - reading to them, building "big, tall towers" over and over again, wrestling with them, changing their diapers, feeding them - this is what makes me a good mom. But I struggle. Daily I struggle to be the mother they need me to be.
I feel like I've been struck over and over again this week with how much my boys need me to be present to them and how much I need them to help me to heaven. All the seemingly small things I do for them help me die to myself and serve Him more perfectly.
I've read several posts this week that have really made me think about my life, and about my role as a wife and mother in particular. Jenny at Mama Needs Coffee articulates so well this season of life. I could really relate to everything she said. And Msgr. Charles Pope sure gave me a lot to think about with this recent post. And, finally, Dwija over at House Unseen introduced me to this beautiful depiction of Jesus with his mother. I can't get over the beauty of that picture. It's such a beautiful reminder of how important this work of motherhood really is.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Joseph's 2nd Birthday

Joseph was a lucky boy this year - he got three (!!!) birthday celebrations! His first party was with my family while we were on vacation in Ohio. We were so blessed to be able to spend time with them during the week of July 4th. We live far away from everyone in my family, so we don't get to see them very often. It's such a treat when we're all together.
Joseph really enjoyed opening presents with his cousins.
Let me show you how this is done, Joseph.
I got this, Adam. See?
Joseph's second celebration was with our little family on his actual birthday. We had dinner and a special dessert for Joseph (blondies - yum!) along with a few presents from us and Will's side of the family. I really liked having a small, family celebration. I think it might soon become a tradition for how we celebrate most birthdays around here.

Thanks, Grandpa!
Getting birthday wishes from Grandpa Rayel.

Joseph's final birthday celebration was with friends. We had a (very) small "friend" birthday. Last year we invited a ton of people, I made the cake and everything for the party along with all sorts of other insanity and was stressed to the max. This year - I went verrrrry simple. I had a friend make the cake (it was adorable and delicious!), I bought a few simple decorations, did simple goody bags and a simple meal of pizza, fruit and veggies. My stress level was in check this year. And you know what? Joseph enjoyed this party as much as he enjoyed last year's. Mommy lesson learned.



I forgot to take pictures again this year. Luckily, my friend, Liz took over and at least got some pictures for me. Thanks, Liz!

Happy 2nd birthday, Joseph! Now on we go to the terrible terrific twos!

Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 52)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 226)


1) This past Wednesday I went to the Like Mother, Like Daughter Crazy DC Meet-Up. It was so great to be able to spend the evening with Leila, Sukie, Deirdre and all the other women who came. I was so excited from the moment I saw the post that they were planning the meet-up. I really enjoyed hearing "Auntie" Leila's thoughts on building community, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that much of what she talked about I either already knew or is already being done in our community. We have been so blessed with a loving, supportive community. And I'm glad I was able to hear a few new ideas for what I can do to build up the community around me.

2) I recently joined Blinkbuggy and love it. I really like that I can record quotes and little snippets from our day so easily. I haven't done too much with pictures yet, but just having a journal of memories that easily accessible. I'm still figuring out how everything works, but hopefully I'll be able to share what I post on there with friends and family soon.

3) Have you ever thought about compiling a cookbook with all your favorite recipes? I dream of having time (and motivation) for such things. I would love to have all my favorite recipes organized into one book that I keep in my kitchen. Then I could just store all my cookbooks (or give them away!) and have that much less clutter.

4) I've been enjoying the challenge of posting every day this week. I've been able to get a few posts finished that have been languishing either in my draft folder or in my brain. So far I've posted a bunch of pictures of my two sweet boys - in story format :), talked about my thoughts on baby contraptions, listed my five favorite meals for new moms and gave a little update on what Joseph has been into lately. I'm hoping to do a post about our vacation in Ohio next. Here's a little glimpse of our week:




5) Diet Coke without Caffeine (aka: Caffeine Free Diet Coke) is like chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips. It's just an abomination. I (not-so-recently) took some diet coke that I had acquired after a potluck to a friend's house. We were having a little play date and I was feeling tired so I took some diet coke to wake myself up. When I got there and we were having lunch I got out my diet coke only to realize that it was caffeine free. I didn't even know what to do with myself. I was so upset. Who buys caffeine free diet coke? Why? WHY!?!?

6) I have a question for cloth diaperers: Does anyone have experience with Hemparoo inserts? Particularly with Fuzzi Bunz? I'm about to buy some off Craigslist, but want to make sure they work well before making the drive and spending the money. I have a couple Hemp Babies liners that I really like. I'd love to get more Hemp Babies, but these Hemparoo liners are being sold for $1 each. Are the Hemparoo liners worth my time and money?

7) This guy:
Love.
Him.
Thanks for hosting, Jen!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Joseph, Joseph, Joseph

Whew - today has been crazy busy. Here are a few Joseph-isms as of late.

- Joseph's current favorite song to sing is "Are You Sleeping?" I think because of the "brother John, brother John" part, but I could be wrong about that.

- Joseph is really into dipping his food lately. Give him ketchup, hummus, syrup, "pink a budder" (peanut butter) - anything! - and he'll dip, dip, dip away.

- Joseph is slightly obsessed with holding John. He asks at least once daily to "hold Don?" So, I oblige.

It's especially cute when he tries to pick John up off the ground and informs be that John's "too hebby" (too heavy).

- Joseph got a pebble in his sandals once. I stuck my finger in to get it out. Now Joseph randomly stops, sits down, sticks his finger in his shoe then after about 30 seconds says to me "dat bedder?" (Is that better?) before getting up and continuing on his way.

- Joseph LOVES talking on the phone.
Talking to Granpa Rayel on his birthday.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Five Favorites - Vol. 1


This is my first time joining in with Five Favorites, and I'm so excited to join in on the fun! Usually it's hosted by Hallie at Moxie Wife, but this week Grace of Camp Patton is guest hosting - head on over to the Camp for more favorites.


Since having my first baby just over two years ago I've started to develop some favorite recipes for new moms. I love recipes that are simple to put together , taste great and freeze really well.
Here are my 5 favorite recipes for new moms (to take or have brought to me) .


1 - Shrimp Pasta
I randomly found this recipe in the October 2011 issue of Parenting magazine. I often find recipes in magazines and think to myself "oh - that looks yummy!" but almost never actually make the recipe. For some reason I decided to give this one a try, and I am so glad I did!
The recipe I linked forgot to list bread crumbs in the ingredient list - don't forget those! They're very important. I alter the recipe slightly by using medium, frozen shrimp (which I thaw before cooking), doubling the tomatoes, using a very generous amount of bread crumbs (probably more like 1/3 cup) and just throwing a bunch of spinach in (sometimes a whole bag). I also use vegetable broth if I'm making it on a Friday.
My only caveat for this recipe is that it has lots of steps. The whole process makes a big mess in the kitchen (read: lots of dishes), but it's totally worth it! And once you've made the recipe once or twice you get the timing down and can have it ready in about 30 minutes (45 or so with littles running around).

2 - Ravioli Lasagna
Ravioli Lasagna Recipe
source
I just recently discovered the concept of ravioli lasagna through a friend and found this recipe (that I love!) online. I love it because it's so simple to put together, freezes really well and can be doubled easily - and it tastes just like lasagna!

3 - Salmon
My husband and I both love seafood - especially salmon. I discovered a version of this recipe while we were dating, but I lost the recipe at some point and just went with what I remembered while switching from pan searing the salmon to baking it. This recipe is super easy and delicious. I often make it for special occasions or to treat a brand new mama (especially if I'm bringing the meal on a Friday!). I particularly like salmon with some couscous and fresh green beans.

4 - Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Pot Pie IX Recipe
source
Who doesn't love a good chicken pot pie? I love this recipe. It isn't the easiest recipe in the world, but it's not particularly difficult either and it tastes great. I haven't tried freezing this particular recipe, but hope to soon (I'm a sucker for a good meal that I can double and freeze).

5 - Chicken and Wild Rice
I discovered this Chicken and Wild Rice recipe shortly after John was born. My dad came up for a visit and asked if he could cook for us. I had several freezer meals pinned that I wanted to try so I had him whip this together for us. I've since made it on my own. It's delicious and seriously easy to make - and it's a freezer meal, too. Win, win, win!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Baby Contraptions

This post is somewhat of a continuation to my Baby Stuffs post. A couple of my friends are pregnant for the first time and have asked for my advice/thoughts on various baby topics. I decided to write up a few posts explaining all my thoughts and opinions for them.
So - without further ado - all you ever wanted to know about tripping hazards baby contraptions.


There are so many baby contraptions available nowadays that it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what you need when you're having a new baby. I have a couple friends currently sorting through what they want/need for their soon-to-arrive babies. I love me a good baby contraption and I love to talk about the pros and cons of each. I'll try not to bore you too much, but here are some of my thoughts on what to consider when purchasing some baby contraptions of your very own.

I think when you are trying to decide what (large) baby items to buy you first need to consider how much space you have. It is so easy to let your house be overridden by baby stuff (just ask my husband). But if you think ahead and plan you can keep the clutter at bay.

Baby contraptions seem to fall in a few different categories - there are lots of different ways these could be broken up but this is how it makes sense in my head.

Are you lookin' at me?
First, there are the bouncy seats, rockers and bassinets. All of these serve a similar purpose - they are a safe place to lay and entertain baby. Some of them will have mobiles or toys attached. I would recommend getting at least one item from this category as it's super helpful to have somewhere to lay baby when they're sleeping or when they're just happy to watch you as you go about your chores. Keep your eye out for these on craigslist or at baby sales because you can find them at a fraction of their retail price and it's super easy to clean their covers.
I have this bouncy seat and this rock 'n play. I bought both used and have been happy with both. If you buy a used bouncy seat just make sure that it still sits up at a good angle. The seat will begin to sag as it gets used more and more (and as baby gets bigger and bigger).
I have friends who LOVE their rock n' plays, but I'm a little partial to the bouncy seat because it has the vibrator and toy attachment. I just recently bought the rock n' play when I found it for a good price. I wanted something to keep upstairs so I wouldn't have to lug the bouncy seat up and down the stairs all the time. Some of my friends even use the rock n' play as their bassinet for the first couple months before they move baby to the crib. So, if you're looking for an item that can serve double duty you should definitely take a look at the rock n' play.

Once baby wants to sit/stand more you move into the realm of jumpers and exersaucers. These allow baby to do a little more standing and a little less laying, and they have lots of toys attached to entertain baby. Baby needs to have very good upper body control - especially head control - to use these. Most of my friends would say getting something from this category is a must as it allows you to get things done around the house while baby is awake. However, space can be a big concern with these, so if you're tight on space I'd go with an exersaucer or a jumper that hangs in the doorway. If you have a little more room you can go for one of the larger jumpers.

Fun for all ages!
Another great baby contraption is the swing. I've heard some people say their babies didn't like the swing, but both my boys have loved theirs (and John still does!). Joseph slept in the swing pretty well but generally wasn't interested in it otherwise (except for about a 1 month span when the mobile kept his attention). John loves the swing, but isn't quite as interested in it lately. He used to *literally* sit in the swing for 4-5 hours a day and he would cry if you took him out - he LOVED it - he would sleep for a couple hours, wake up, watch the mobile or enjoy his reflection in the mirror, go back to sleep, wake up, repeat. This is the swing we have, and I love it. I splurged and bought it new, but I was looking for a swing that I could plug into the wall so I didn't have to constantly replace batteries. I also like that you can change the direction the seat is facing and that the seat has two different reclining positions. I also happen to be pleased with the songs the swing plays. If you have the space I'd definitely recommend this swing, but I wouldn't recommend our swing if you're tight on space. There are plenty of other space-conscious swings out there that you could look into.


There are other miscellaneous play items like a play mat or a Bumbo. I really like our play mat and would recommend it to others, but definitely don't feel like it's a necessity.
I also like the Bumbo, but if I'm to be completely honest it doesn't get used all that much. I'm really glad I only paid $18 for it at a baby sale. The Bumbo is certainly something you can do without - especially if you have large babies. For smaller babies it can be great, but the overall consensus among my friends is that they're a waste of money (unless you plan on using it to feed baby, then it *might* be worth paying full price).

This high chair has 3 (three!) different trays layered one on top of the other.
It was great for those days where I just didn't seem to get the
tray cleaned before the next feeding time.
Speaking of feeding there are so many options for high chairs, booster seats, Bumbo seats and so on. You should really look at how much space you have in your kitchen. If you don't have extra space for a high chair you should consider getting a booster/high chair that attaches to one of your kitchen chairs. Also keep in mind how easily the chair/tray can be cleaned - because you will be cleaning it. A lot. I got this high chair after one of my friends (Hi, Julie!) recommended it. She did a lot of research and by the time I was ready to buy a high chair I just didn't have the energy to analyze all the different options. We had extra space in our kitchen for a full high chair, so this worked for us. I love that it has so many different options for seating your child. We actually keep the booster portion of the high chair at my parents house for when we visit (although I may take it back if we ever have a need for 2 boosters + a high chair).
The only thing I don't like about this high chair is the fact that the sides of the seat cushion can be unattached....by a baby. Once Joseph figured out how to undo the seat cushion he did it at every. single. meal. Since then, he's been banished to this booster seat. I originally bought it for extra seating when my sister was coming to visit with her toddler because it was so cheap, but I LOVE it. It definitely isn't for babies who are learning to sit because it doesn't have the shoulder straps, but it's really great for toddlers and super easy to travel (in a car) with. We even take it with us to pot-lucks at church - because an un-contained Joseph at meal time is not a pretty sight.

Cute baby. Awesome stroller.
Magic Kingdom here we come!
We're all about containing small children in our household - so let's talk about strollers. Oh strollers. There are so, so many options here. Do you want a snap-n-go? An umbrella stroller? A jogging stroller? The list goes on. Unfortunately, your budget probably doesn't, so you really need to evaluate your needs here.
A snap-n-go stroller is really nice for small babies who sleep a lot. The ability to transfer them in and out of the car without having to wake them is a huge benefit. Snap-n-go's are also generally inexpensive (although when I just looked them up they were much more expensive than what I remember), very light weight and fold up compactly - but this kind of stroller will only last you as long as baby is still in their infant car seat.
If you plan on running with baby, then it's probably wise to look into jogging strollers. Just be aware that these strollers tend to be very heavy and bulky.
Umbrella strollers are nice because they're generally inexpensive, lightweight and fold up very compactly. The one major drawback to these is that they generally don't have much room for storing baby paraphernalia.
My parents graciously bought us our City Mini with the car seat attachment. I loved the snap-n-go capability with Joseph. I took him on walks and out shopping a lot, so I really liked that I could just transfer him from the car to the stroller or vice versa (I didn't use the car seat attachment with John at all - I just reclined the seat all the way back). I also love that the stroller is lightweight and folds up compactly (and can be folded with just one hand!!!). The stroller also steers really well. I loved my City Mini so much I ended up getting the Double City Mini when John came along. I could be a sales rep for Baby Jogger and sell City Minis - that's how much I love this stroller. I feel it's the best of all the stroller worlds - lightweight, has snap-n-go capability if you buy the attachment (for about the same price as a snap-n-go stroller), folds up compactly, and has plenty of storage.
I do have lots of friends with various other strollers, and they're all happy with their choices so don't let my blathering on fool you. There are other strollers in this universe.

Finally, we've got pack n' plays. I don't have too many thoughts on pack n' plays other than they're great for travel or having an extra place for a baby to sleep when a friend with a baby comes to visit. I've never used ours for playing, but I suppose you could do that - it is called a pack n' play after all. Bottom line - get a basic model for travel. You don't need all the extra stuff that will only drive up the price. Something simple, like this, will do just fine.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Brother and Me

2/7/13 - Who is this person?

2/10/13 - This is my brother, John.

2/11/13 - See? I can even hold him!

2/12/13 - And I can sit next to him.

3/23/13 - I can even buckle his car seat.

4/3/13 - Sometimes we like to make silly faces together...

4/20/13 - ...but other times we just hang out.

4/20/13 - I like to give my brother, John, hugs.

6/10/13 - I really like to hold my brother in my lap (mommy trusts me to do this now!).

6/11/13 - Being a big brother is the best!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

7 Posts in 7 Days

My blog has been...languishing lately. I'm so glad Jennifer Fulwiler over at Conversion Diary is having the 7 posts in 7 days challenge. I'm excited to finally finish up some posts I've been either working on or thinking about and do a little free writing in the process. I hope you'll join me for various thoughts and updates.
This week will include lots of updates on the boys and out family, some thoughts on baby contraptions, favorite recipes for new moms and various other things I haven't yet figured out :) Stay tuned for more.