My Favorite Things for 5 & 6 months (Better late than never)

Hey y’all. Life is happening over here- and blogging is taking a back seat to working, mothering, and wifing. (not wifi-ing, but wifeying. Wifery?) Anyways, I still intend to put together our monthly favorites for you. Thanks for reading and showing interest. I know everyone has to figure out what works best for their own family- and this is what has worked for us!Image

1. Graco Blossom High Chair (4 in One)- Love this chair because its adjustable to be high enough at our kitchen island bar, and will also lower to our table. Also will conveniently grow with her as she begins to eat at the table with us. Mostly easy to clean- the tray is dishwasher-safe and part of the back pad also is washable. The only part that is tougher to clean is the stitching on the arm rests. Still love it though. Also- love that it has a 5 point safety strap to keep her wiggly booty in her seat.

2. Bowls and Lids- I got these Gerber/ Nuk Bunch-a-bowls at Target. Great for heating up homemade food, or taking cereal on the go. I’m sure we will use these for a while. They also stack well. Others that I have tried were all different sizes and don’t fit in the cabinet as easy.

3. John & Johnson Hand & Face Wipes- Always awesome. They already made the cut for an earlier edition of Favorites, but they are so helpful after mealtime so I am adding them again. Perfect size to pack in the lunchbox or diaper bag too.

4. The Foot Book- Dr. Seuss is always a favorite. Short and sweet. And she loves her feet. So its perfect! (And doubles as a teether!)

5. Boon Feeder- This feeder is a little different than the mesh ones. Easy to throw hold, and way easier to clean. Doesn’t hold as much food as the mesh ones.

6. Nuby Mirror Toy- She loves the mirror in the middle and the different textures to chew on or play with. Perfect size for little hands.

7. Tommee Tippee Sippy Cups- I like these because they are small and easy for her to pick up. And most of Tommee Tippee’s clear lids are interchangable, which is awesome. She used this one around 6 months. (note- the link provided has a different pink spout- ours were clear. We bought them at Babies R Us.)

8. Animal Texture Cards- She got these at Christmas, and she loved them starting at around 4 months. But around 5-6 months, she wanted to hold them, flip them over, and chew on them. I called these her “homework” because they look like flashcards. These are great distraction items to keep handy by the changing table.

Hope this helps! Am I forgetting something? Feel free to add on to my list!

Happy Tuesday!

Allie

Gender Reveal Party: One Year Ago Today!

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Dear Sweet Lila,

One year ago today, we got to know you a tiny bit better. We found out you were a girl, as we were surrounded by our friends and family, making it a magical night. It was casual in my parent’s backyard, decorated and transformed by bright pink and turquoise pom poms in the trees. Daddy grilled hamburgers, Pop Pop ran around “entertaining” everyone with how high Conrad could jump for a treat, and the great-great grandparents sat in Adirondacks probably thinking the whole party was a hoot because “in their day…” I digress.

I had invited everyone to wear pink or blue to make their guess on whether you were a girl or boy- but we also had festive leis to wear as a vote! We tallied the votes and took pictures. We had pretty even teams! Yes, in some pictures I do have on a blue lei, but that’s only because I thought you were a boy. (Stupid pregnancy dreams!) I hope you think that’s funny one day. Thanks to Gigi’s quick thinking, I am in both team pics, luckily.

After we all ate, it was time to cut the cake and do the big REVEAL! We were so nervous and giddy holding the knife together as we had at our wedding 3 years before. I will say that Daddy was quite impatient and tore the cake instead of slicing! Then we held up the honkin’ piece of pink cake that we had managed to slice. I love that we didn’t know beforehand, and that these pictures truly show our excitement and raw emotion. I couldn’t stop crying I was so excited!

This was also the night I announced we were pregnant on social media. (Will you think that’s lame when you are my age?)

When we went two days earlier to the big 18 week ultrasound appointment, we had the ultrasound tech put your gender in an envelope and I took that to the Blue Cake Co. We had already planned out the cake, and the instructions were to have pink or blue cake based on the envelope’s contents. So we were just as surprised as everyone else. It was really really hard to not peak! (continued below…)

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We are truly blessed to have you in our lives. One year ago, it was hard to imagine the baby that we were going to have. Now we can’t imagine you any other way. It has been fun to watch you grow- laughing and learning. You make us happy when skies are grey. We love you dearly, Lila Gray.

Love,

Mommy and Daddy

My Favorite Things: 4 Months

Better late than never! Here’s a list of our favorites from when Lila was Four months old. Drum roll please!LMN favorite things 4 months1. Sassy Baby Books- These soft books feature a lot of black and white, which she loved. Then, once she was seeing color, you could tell, because she liked more of the pictures. Was fun to watch. They make excellent chew toys as well. One is even a photo album, where you can slip some photos in for her to look at.

2. Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes- This is her iPod. First, at three months she would stare at the lights and really get excited about one or two of the songs, and it was a great distraction for fussy times. Then it quickly become a favorite when she learned how to press the button and hold it by herself. Now, at seven months, she likes to chew the caterpillar handle.

3. Jaques the Peacock- His feathers crinkle, have different textures, a mirror, and a squeaker! Plus, he’s a cutie.

4. Oball Rainstick Ball- This ball is really light- she can kick it, throw it, and play pass with Daddy.

5. Sophie le Giraffe teether-  A MUST HAVE. A rubber giraffe that squeaks. She loves chewing on the legs or ears. Sophie has remained a favorite to this day, now she even talks to her.

6. Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Lotion- We love this lotion because its very calming. Very bedtime appropriate. One more step in the beloved bedtime routine.

7. Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo- Lila got this for Christmas, but we didn’t put it together for a few weeks (lack of space in our den!) Once she was holding her up pretty well, we decided to give it a try. She was so proud of her first bounce! Music is activated by bouncing, there are 2 options for music, and 2 volume levels, as well as OFF. :) She still likes jumping in it at 7 months old, and only just now we have adjusted it to the next height setting. Supposedly it folds up, but I’m not sure how that happens. Probably more of a store-til-the-next-baby-comes folding, not lets-fold-this-up-when-people-come-over thing.

8. Sassy Rink of Links- She loves these. Great to link in a long chain in the beginning (swatting mode) and fun to chew on later. Even fun one link at a time. Buy lots of these!

9. Summer Infant Babytouch Color Video Monit0r- We waited until we were ready to start putting her in her crib to purchase. We love the night vision, and the battery lasts an acceptable amount of time. I read in the manual that you should keep it charging all the time, as that would drain battery life, but at night I like to have the screen on. So I keep it on the charging unit at night…yikes. FYI: the first couple of times I used it I was having “signal” issues, but these were quickly resolved by calling the manufacturer and then my internet company. Apparently, its a common problem that is easily fixed by having your internet “frequency” changed by your provider. It has worked like a charm ever since!

Hope all this makes sense. If you have any questions or suggestions to add, please comment below! All are welcome.

29 Years Old with a 29 Week Old.

The key word here is OLD.  So the weeks just keep rolling by. Wasn’t it JUST March? My newborn will be 7 months old next week? Are you kidding me? And I’m how old? But I still get carded all the time?!? Maybe I really am still 19 in a weird time-warp. I still look at Lila sometimes wondering who she is. Is this real life?

I have finally gone back to work and I haven’t had a chance to post anything lately except on Instagram (@allienott or @thepaintedpig) or Facebook! Sowwy! I’m an instant gratification gal in most cases, so really that’s why. I like to post on the go, and the further behind I got on here, the more I knew I just couldn’t do this post from my phone. Isn’t this pic funny? She would lay her head down like this and then up again to play. She only did this for about a week. It’s exhausting being 6 months old.

I'm le tired. Please don't make me play any more. It's nap time.

I’m le tired. Please don’t make me play any more. It’s nap time.

The week of my birthday (& Easter) I went to a friend’s house for a BABY PARTY!  It was so much fun getting together for a play date with other new moms, and seeing other babies! Lila was the oldest in this pic, (a couple older babies left before we got a chance to document it) and the ONLY GIRL. Seriously? Where are all the baby girls!?!? It will be funny when they are all older to see how they interact. Hopefully we will be invited back soon! I was sick last week with horrible allergies when they all went to the park. Bummer. This picture makes me laugh because she looks huge compared to the rest. (We are in the bottom right).

baby party

Happy Birthday to me!

We went out to eat with friends at US Pizza one night, then out to eat with family on my birthday night at Tokyo House to eat suuuushi. Yum. And there were cupcakes and presents…oh my! I got a little creative with the cupcakes. Love the matchy-matchy. Thanks to all who helped me celebrate. It’s my last legitimate birthday because – weird- I will be turning 29 next year as well.

Cupcake matchyCupcake Bootie.

I am kind of obsessed with the side bun right now. This was my birthday hairdo. I may be am rocking it right now. Messy but still cute, right? eh? eh?

side bun

booze baby

Some of my friends with Lila, who was kind of obsessed with the beer bubbles…

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN THE WAITRESS STEALS YOUR BABY AND YOU DON’T BREATHE FOR A MINUTE OR TWO…. Is this a thing that happens? I would never dream of touching a stranger’s baby, but I have had it happen several times in the past weeks! I even had a lady pull her paci out to “get a good look at her” at an downtown gumbo cookoff. This was one of those moments when my husband said he thought I was GOING TO KILL HIM. I was surprisingly calm, but wierded out. She was sweet, but clueless- just like our waitress.  I took this as evidence in case she ran out the door with her. (just kidding…)

Did she seriously just grab my baby out of my husband's arms?

Did she seriously just grab my baby out of my husband’s arms?

Lila’s First Easter

Lila's Easter Basket 2013

Baby’s First Easter Basket:
Board Books
Carrots (baby food)
Bunny
Lamb
Pacifiers
Mesh Feeders
 Gel Ice Teether
Boo Boo Bunny
Bibs
Sippy Cup

Lila’s favorites so far are The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss, and the Mesh Feeders (with frozen bananas). Isn’t her basket cute? I bought it from Target and had it monogrammed here in town at Mrs. Polka Dot.

Easter 2013

I think Lila had fun, she certainly was more into it than Christmas. She kept tipping the basket over to spill everything out. Which was hilarious, apparently. Later, we went to church and then dinner at my parent’s house. Fun family time!

Notice anything awesome about this pic? Oh- that we are all conveniently looking decent? I made this pic out of about 3 pictures I had from my camera. I used an app on my iPad to combine them MAGICALLY. Its called Group Shot. It doesn’t save as high res as I would like, but is great for this & Instagram. I am a little obsessed. If you have a kids, dogs, or people that ALWAYS talk through pictures (my family), I highly recommend it. Don’t look too closely, I could have done better, but its my first one!

Easter 2013Lila Easter 2013

Lila’s “Simba” moment.

Next up: I think I will share photos from Lila’s Gender Reveal Party. Can’t believe its been a year since that! Stay tuned.

Lila is 6 Months & Blog Hippity Hop

So I’m a little freaked out that time is passing so quickly. I haven’t had time to gather my favorite products for a post for the past couple months, so I’m going blog hopping and finding some for us. I love seeing what has been tried & tested by other mamas and what the coming months may have in store for us.

Lila's 6 Month photo shoot

Lila’s 6 Month photo shoot

First off, our March Bluum box arrived today, and I can’t wait to try some of the new products. Here’s a peek at our box. It was catered to Lila’s age, which is a new feature for March.

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We got a book, homeopathic teething medicine, a rattle/teether, some skin cream, diaper rash cream, tooth wipes, and some coupons. I think I’ve gotten at least 4 different diaper rash creams in all my Bluum boxes, but Lila has never gotten a diaper rash, so I haven’t tried any of them. Can I substitute a toy or book for next month’s diaper cream?!?!?! If you want to check out Bluum, go here.

At Little Baby Garvin, blogger mommy Jessica (can we be Bloggies? or Moggies? jk) is really funny, down to earth and obsessed with holidays. You might be familiar with her chalkboard baby bump pics that spread through Pinterest like wildfire. If not, check this out. She has great ideas and makes being a work-at-home mommy look so easy! Here are her favorites for month 5 & 6.

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Little Baby Garvin’s favorite things

I think I might have to pick up the Aden and Anais lovies. I introduced Lila to a lovey last Friday and she keeps covering her face, which makes us nervous. She had been trying to cuddle her bumper pad, so I gave her a lovey and she instantly was cuddling it. She even spit her pacifier out she was so content. (Good advice, mom!) I agree about the fabric books, Lila loves smacking them on the floor or her lap, chewing on them and covering her face with them. I also hear the Easter bunny is bringing some fruit and veggie mesh feeders….

Lila and her snuggle bunny

Lila and her snuggle bunny

Little Baby Garvin's 7 Month Favorites

Little Baby Garvin’s 7 Month Favorites

The next blog we are swinging by is Dream Book Design, where Adri has gathered some products for 6-8 months. I do need a shopping cart cover and can’t wait until Lila is sitting in the cart and not in her carrier (in the cart). That will be a momentous day- and I think it is quickly approaching…

6-7-8 Month Favorites by Dream Book Design

6-7-8 Month Favorites by Dream Book Design

Tiny Sneakers Blog features the Ergo, which I love and got for Christmas, but Lila wasn’t a big fan of it. She much preferred the Balboa Baby sling. Here we are with the sling. I honestly haven’t tried it but a couple times. I think she wanted to see out, but maybe couldn’t? I should try it again and see if she will like it. Otherwise I’ll MAKE her like it. Just kidding. or not. I also have great ideas for our new downstairs Family Cave that involve the puzzle foam floor. Love that. We will definitely be getting that. And #3 & 4, to learn how to climb and cruise holding on to something.

6-12 Month Favorites by Tiny Sneakers

6-12 Month Favorites by Tiny Sneakers

Hamming it up for the camera, as always. Just like her mama, according to some.

Hamming it up for the camera, as always. Just like her mama, according to some.

We got dressed up on St. Paddy's day for a Tea Party Bridal Shower for a friend.

We got dressed up on St. Paddy’s day for a Tea Party Bridal Shower for a friend.

Thank you to my fellow Bloggies/Moggers/Mommy Bloggers who let me steal borrow your monthly favorites! Visit their blogs and be inspired!

Peas were a hit.

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We mixed some peas in with some rice cereal tonight. She loved it! And was unsure. And shuddered. Then smiled. Awesome!

It was a dried pea mixture by Nurturme that was in my February Bluum box that came so late I can’t remember if it was actually the March box…. We will give them one more month to get their ducks in a row. I’ve enjoyed 3 boxes prior to this one.

Also, I realized today that I have a hand held black & decker whisk & blade that will purée her food. Ready. Boom.

This solid food thing might just work out. :)

Poll: Baby Food Processors

Lila is quickly approaching the 6 month mark, (her half birthday! So excited!) and we are excited to start experimenting with solid foods. I would love to make my own baby food, and it would be nice to have something to steam/chop/puree for me. I am interested in making small batches, and some of these contraptions come with storage cups for on the go, which is nice.

Lila is loving her Rice Cereal!

Lila is loving her Rice Cereal! She gets concerned when the spoon takes a break.

Did you use any of these products? I would love to know any tips you have!

Thanks, y’all!

Love Allie

**UPDATE**
After getting a lot of feedback from my Facebook followers, I was encouraged to not buy any of these- I had a Black and Decker handheld purée /whisk (forgot I had it!) and it works great! I use ice cube trays to freeze the small portions. It doesn’t grind food as small and smooth as the Stage 1 baby foods you can buy, but if you add a teeny bit of water then it thins it a little. Lila never had had a problem and likes the texture better than store-bought I think. :)

It’s a candle festival up in here

Layered Candle Upcycle

Layered Candle Upcycle

My Half-Burned Candles

My Half-Burned Candles

Yesterday we started spring cleaning. Along the way, I noticed I finally had enough half-burned candles to combine into new layered candles. I pinned this awesome idea on Pinterest about a year ago, and I am so excited about the results. See picture below for link to Happy-Go-Lucky’s original post about this, which I followed.

Happy-Go-Lucky: Easy Candle Upcycle

Happy-Go-Lucky: Easy Candle Upcycle

Boiling the candles

Boiling the candles

Mason Jars

Mason Jars

Supplies: Candle Wicks, Pencil or Pen, Clean Jar or vase

Supplies: Candle Wicks, Pencil or Pen, Clean Jar or vase

You have to wait for one layer to dry before adding the next layer.

You have to wait for one layer to dry before adding the next layer.

I had several candles going at once!

I had several candles going at once! The pencil kept the wick in the middle as I poured.

My mom gave me a couple candles that were not in glass- so I re-used a vase I had already emptied to heat up the candle.

My mom gave me a couple candles that were not in glass- so I re-used a vase I had already emptied to heat up the candle.

Labels

Layered Candles Complete!

It smells awesome in my house today now that I am finished- it smells like a candle factory!

It took a little longer than I expected, because you have to wait for each layer to dry. I tried to keep the scents within the same family. Florals, Clean Smells, Holiday…Also, I have made a mental note to buy more colorful candles- mine were mostly shades of white and tan! Cute labels would have been nice if you were going to give these as a gift. Ta Da!!!

Love Allie

My Favorite Things: For Mommy

For all you new Mommies & Mommy-to-be’s, here is my list of things I couldn’t live without for the first 4 months. Half of them I didn’t even know about until after she was born. So hopefully this list helps!

Lil' Mama Nottingham's Favorite Things: for Mommy

Lil’ Mama Nottingham’s Favorite Things: for Mommy

1. Philosophy Amazing Grace Body Wash- I used this all through my pregnancy. Very clean smell. I still love it.

2 .Purell Hand Sanitizer- Please don’t touch my newborn with your dirty hands. We have this in the den, in her room, in my diaper bag. Call me OCD, I don’t care.

3. Kalencom Diaper Bag- I got 2 of these as gifts, and I love them. Big enough to carry diapers, wipes, extra outfit just in case, a couple toys, burp cloth, and also my essentials so I can leave the purse at home. I have always carried big purses- so this isn’t a huge transition for me. It comes with a changing pad, bottle carrier, and zippered pouch. Plus the patterns are fun and cute.

4. Chicco Keyfit Caddy Stroller- I was on bed rest the whole month before Lila was born, and a stroller is one thing we didn’t get around to buying before she got here. My OB actually recommended this to me for quick errands and shopping. It’s really light, and is easy to unfold and collapse in my Jeep. My Chicco Keyfit 30 snaps right into it. Graco also makes one like it for it’s infant seats.

5. Nursing Tanks- I love these. I got a few from Target, and they are awesome. If you plan on breastfeeding in public, then your midsection remains hidden. Brilliant!

6. Medela Calma Nipple- This makes it easier to switch back and forth from breast to bottle. The baby has to “work” for the milk to come out, and doesn’t get lazy! Also, no spills. It isn’t cheap, but it is my choice for when we use bottles. We got one for $17 from the hospital shop, but Babies R Us had a set for a few dollars more that also included (2) 8oz bottles. Plus Babies R Us has tons of coupons and sales, so I bet you could get it cheaper.

7. Medela Milk Storage Bags- If you are pumping, milk storage bags are a necessity. I like these, and storing milk in 2-4 oz portions helps cut down on waste.

8. Lansinoh Nursing Pads- Next time around, I am making or purchasing some fabric ones off of Etsy. But if you want disposable ones, these are comfortable and cheap.

9. Pumpease Pumping Bra- I got mine off of Zulily, and it’s basically a strapless bra with holes in it. You can also take a sports bra and make one easily. Hands-free pumping is so much easier, trust me.

10. Baby Bargains Book- A mom friend reccomended this after I told her how overwehelmed I was with shopping for cribs, car seats, and other essentials. THIS BOOK IS AWESOME. I consulted it before every major purchase, even last week when we bought a high chair. It has everything you could imagine and is updated every year. They also have BABY 411 which is a good book to reference every time your baby sneezes, poops, or hiccups. Just kidding, but not really.

So thats it! Enjoy. BUY THE BABY BARGAINS BOOK. (I swear no one is paying me to say that).

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Remodeling Project: Man Cave to Family Room

When we bought our house in 2009 it felt huge! We had our living room, kitchen, dining area, “master” bedroom (maybe in the 50′s it was big- but now it’s a joke…), spare bedroom (now nursery), and an office. The previous owners had finished the basement, which had a large living area, back yard access, and then a hall to the laundry room, and my studio. On our list of must-haves for our house was a studio for me (I bring a lot of projects home and it’s messy!), a man cave for Joey, and a suitable entertaining area. I did not get some things on my list with this house, such as, a covered front (or back) porch, fireplace, large master bedroom/bath. But I settled for a back deck off the kitchen, and the possibility of combining some rooms to make a bigger master. I’m already making my new list. How much you learn the first time you buy a house! We loved all the space this house had. And it did have a lot. But there is a phenomenon that I didn’t quite understand till now. Like a goldfish that is put in a pond or bath tub, your “stuff” will grow to fit your space. (Weird).

Giant Goldfish. Click to read how this is actually a myth.

Giant Goldfish. Click to read how they say this is actually a myth.

So we decided last January that we would gut the downstairs and make a Master suite and move my studio upstairs to our old master bedroom. Great idea. We ripped all the paneling off (and by “we” I mean Joey and his dad of course!) which we had to do anyways because we were having water leak issues (long and boring story) and proceeded to rip down walls, built-ins, had a big yard sale with extra furniture, yada yada. Then we found out we were having a baby- and the whole project got put on hold to make a nursery.

Manly Man Cave- great for watching Football! Go Hogs GO!

Manly Man Cave- great for watching Football! Go Hogs GO!

Mancave1

My old studio

My old studio was going to be our new closet.

Taking out the wall, paneling, built-in cabinets

Taking out the wall, paneling, built-in cabinets

Wall coming down

Wall coming down

Ripping out the Hallway

Ripping out the Hallway

Laundry Room

Laundry Room

Inside this wall we found the house blueprints!!

Inside this wall we found the house blueprints!!

Looking Good

Joey thinks this is the easy part!

Project supplies.

Project supplies.

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This is the view from the stairs before the tv and cabinets were taken out.

New Floors!

New Floors!

We ended up having to get new floors because the one we had from Home Depot were discontinued, and we needed one more box to patch where the cabinets had been. So we ended up getting some laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators that I just love.

So it was almost October after Lila was born, that we decided that we didn’t want the master suite downstairs, since her nursery is right next to our room now. And we are now putting the downstairs back together.

Our 2600 sq foot home has been missing about 700 square feet of living space and we are going stir crazy tripping over dogs, cats, bouncers, jumperoos…. So we are resolving the water issues, we paid someone to finish dry walling, and Joey and his Dad are finishing putting the floors in this weekend. We will be picking out colors for paint soon. I’m excited. I have great ideas for the space. What color would look good with this deep brown wood? 

I will post more progress pics soon. Stay tuned!