Friday, October 30, 2009

Rough Week

It's Friday and I cannot believe it. This week has been a blur...
and by blur, I mean a real, honest, drug induced, coma sort of blur.

Monday I was bathing Barclay, he stood up in the tub very quickly and was about to fall on his head, and me being the super mom that I am...literally dove to catch him. In that dive I twisted my body weird and I heard a pop in my neck. Instantly my arms were numb and I had to put Barclay between my legs to hold him. I was in a lot of pain, but just figured it would wear off.
It didn't. And on the way to the night clinic pediatrician (to make sure Barclay didn't have an ear infection), we pulled over to my chiropractor to see if they could fit me in.
I've seen the same chiropractor for 3 years and he has done wonders for helping my headaches. I just figured he'd fix me. He adjusted me 6 times! All very painful. This was 5 times more than usual. I felt much worse afterwards but he assured me once my muscles calmed down, then I would feel better. The night kept getting worse and worse. And when I got up at 3 to feed Barclay I knew I was in trouble. I put him down, and went to tell Noah that I was going to drive myself to the ER, and leaving him to watch Barclay.
I drove there (thankfully at 3 am you don't have to check your blind spot very often). I was admitted immediately (praise God) because it was a neck injury. It hurt so bad that I couldn't even lay down on the bed. I was just moaning and walking. The doctor thought it could be a fractured vertebrae or a slipped disk. But after a CAT scan, it just showed up as severe muscle and tissue damage.
I was given meds and a note excusing me from work for a few days.
This was highly humorous to me, because my man boss (Barclay) doesn't really take sick notes. I was in so much pain that I decided to take the meds even though it meant not breast feeding while I was on them.
Fast forward 4 days and I literally cannot remember this week. I know my mother and sister, mother in law, father in law, and husband took excellent care of me and the baby, and I have no idea what I would have done without them. Twice I was dropped off at my mom's house, hustled to bed and didn't have to worry about a thing, I was able to sleep two nights in a row, without having to wake to feed, I was fed in bed by my mother, I was treated like a princess.
But with all the tender care, it was still painful and it was tough to see Barclay being independent of me (although I knew the day would eventually come). It was horrible to see him to to reach for me only to be told "mommy could hold him". It was awful the few times he was around me that he buried his face in my chest nuzzling for some warmth. It was terrible to in all my pain and cloudiness, to have to wake up and pump.
It was hard, but I got off the meds after two days and have been nursing exclusively again. It has not gone well.
The hard thing about breastfeeding is you are never sure how much your baby is getting. I know it will probably take a few days to get my supply back. But it's just been rough.

While Barclay was on formula, he:
-slept through the night
-napped regularly
-was always pleasant
-had regular dirty diapers
-was just a fun and laughing baby.


Now I'm worried either my milk was making him sick or that now, especially after so long without nursing, I do not have enough to give him.

I'm also tired and worn out. And I want to have another baby in the near future. Should I take the break? Should I fight it and work on another 3 months of nursing?

Am I being selfish and sacrificing Barclay's good sleep and pain free tummy, for my desire to keep him close and still nurse? Or am I worried to not look good to other mothers?
Or am I being selfish that a glimmer of a better daily life is clouding my perception that I KNOW that nursing is the best thing for him? Almost everyone that I looked to for support in breastfeeding is encouraging me to to formula feed.
I wish someone would just tell me black and white...what to do.

In my heart of hearts, I'm not ready to give up nursing. But being a mother means I think what's best for him..not me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Italy Day 3-Bridge to everywhere...

On Wednesday, we decided to visit Venice which was an hour away. We took the local train and when we arrived in Venice, we walk out of the train station and instantly our breath was taken away from us. Directly in front of us was a bustling canal with swirling waters and huge buildings towering over the water, teetering on the edge.
I've been a lot of beautiful places in my life, but nothing looks like Venice. It's a totally different feel for a city. I was hit with new sensations, and it took me almost the whole day to realize that it was because there were no cars, just bustling people. I don't think I've ever heard the sound of so many people, with the gentle rush of the water and without the noisy sounds of traffic.
When telling people we were going to Italy, near Venice...a resounding 99% said that Venice was awful and dirty and very overrated. I was ready to be disappointed, and again I was blown away. Venice turned out to be one of my favorite places in Italy.

It was beautiful! The weather was perfect. Sweater weather, no coats. We did soon realize a very terrible mistake we had made...We brought the stroller. If you are to ever visit Venice, do not bring your stroller. After the first 3 bridges we realized we were in trouble. Venice has the most bridges of any city in the world. And we probably carried Barclay, like a King on his throne, over half of those bridges. Despite that, we had a ball taking several hours to navigate alley after alley, all with beautiful and charming and cliche scenes of gondola boats gently traveling the water while Italian women hang up laundry to dry. Peaceful and charming.

This is a regular scene for us. Noah looking at a map. It's pretty funny, when we took our first trip together after getting married, it was very apparent that we traveled very differently. I like to blend in, I HATE being viewed as a tourist...and especially as a typical "American". Noah likes to announce to the world that we are there and talks regularly to strangers to get tips on the best places to visit, or directions. He regularly pulls out huge maps and takes a lot of time looking it over...while I'm hiding in a corner embarrassed to death that we have been exposed as outsiders.
Over the years, we have compromised here and there. Near the end of our trip, people were actually coming up to us and talking in fast Italian, because we blended in so well. Huge score on our parts;-)
But every once in a while, Noah had to take out the map:-)

Our little bambino!


I was overwhelmed with the photo opportunities. Every single turn of a corner provided us with scenes just like this...


We chose a little cafe to have lunch at.


Barclay and I enjoying the local food. Please notice the grumpy lady behind me staring us down. One of the 3 people the whole trip that weren't completely liquified by Barclay's charm.


The yumminess.


Nearing St Mark's square...our destination.


The doosy of a bridge that was no fun to carry the stroller over.

After hours of walking through narrow streets, it was a huge shock to walk into the square with it's huge open space. It was packed with people and I wondered how they all got there! It was very dramatic and literally made me stop breathing for a second.

The square.



This is St Mark's basilica. It's a very well known church in the St Mark's square. To be honest, churches don't really get my blood running. They are so over the top, it's hard to take even a percentage of it in. Noah waited outside with Barclay while I looked inside. It was definitely old, and definitely interesting, but after coming outside, the couple behind me put my feelings straight into words..
"Thank goodness that was free."
We did sit outside while Noah wikepediaed it on his phone. We sat there and read all about how old it was and all that sort of stuff.

One of my favorite parts of this day was this:
Noah and I were sitting and people watching (our favorite), Barclay was asleep on my chest and Noah and I were holding hands. This older couple, probably in their 70's walked by us and smiled knowingly. They came and sat by us and told us that they visited Italy 45 years ago, when they were young and in love...like us. They said that we brought back such a flood of memories to them. We talked with them for 30 minutes. They were from California and house swapped all the time with people from all over the world. They were just enjoying their retired years together in beautiful places.
As they left the lady said,
"I hope that when you're our age, you will love each other more than you do now. I hope you love each other like we do. " And they walked away hand in hand:-)


Love this picture.

I love this shot of Noah showing Barclay the boats.


After walking for about 7 hours, all with Barclay on my front or back, I started feeling really really dizzy and sick. We sat down at a cafe and I ordered, for the first time in my life...a ham sandwich. Let me tell you that I am a recent convert and enjoyed that simple little sandwich more than probably any I had ever eaten. I am now a ham sandwich eater.

On the way back to the train station, we stopped in an art gallery. It was original oil paintings by students at the university. Noah and I were drawn to one beautiful painting of a red haired lady reclining in a window. The price was way out of our price range, but we found out that we could purchase it unframed which would significantly lower the price and make it portable. We decided that if we decided to come back to Venice, and if that painting was still there, we might have to make a purchase to remember our trip by...

The train ride home was horrible. By this time, I had a full blown migraine and a fever. Barclay was crying from exhaustion and Noah was doing his best to keep Barclay quiet and keep me from puking. It was an excruciating hour long train ride home. As soon as we got home, I took three IB profen, got in the bathtub (which literally takes over 30 minutes to fill up), I filled it with the hottest water it could produce. After scalding my skin so badly, that my head barely registered, I took a short 15 minute nap and felt like a whole new woman (this by the way is my migraine routine)
I was awakened by Noah saying they had gone out and gotten Gyros. I had heard nothing but wonderful things about these gyros from Andrew and I was RAVENOUS from our day, so I excitedly took my first bite.
This gyro is currently in my top 10 meals of all time. It's got slow roasted chicken and turkey mixed with hot sauce, spicy cabbage, onions, lettuce, and I don't know what else...it was mind blowing how good it was.

A very wonderful ending to a long day of exciting adventures:-)

I'm very certain I would move to Italy if only for that amazing gyro.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Big Boy

People have always told me that time flies when you have a baby. I never thought it was true until this past month. This month has been packed full of new and exciting things every single day that Barclay learns.
He is becoming a little person, with likes and dislikes....a personality.
Oh I love him so much!

*He has recently loved sitting on my lap and letting me tickle his back. It's a rare moment of stillness but he sits there, and hunches over and doesn't move a muscle. His little skin is so soft and warm and I love this tender moment with him.
*Yesterday he pulled up onto the laundry basket (he's been pulling up for about a month) and all of a sudden he let go and wobbled standing up for about 4 seconds.
How strange it will be to see him walking one day!
*He has started to play with his toy cars. Yesterday was the first time I've ever seen him wheel them around, instead of just chewing on them.
*He can clap and it is MY FAVORITE THING EVER! He does it almost every time I do, and he just squeals with delight.
*He has two teeth now and it just changes his whole look! I never thought he could be cuter with teeth, but he surely is.
*Today he talked to a stuffed animal.
My sweet friend Catherine brought Barclay a teddy bear from Germany right after he was born. I've stuck it in the crib, the port a crib, the car with him and he's never really cared too much about it. Today I sat it up in his crib Barclay just went crazy. He sat right there in front of it and just babbled and laughed for 15 minutes! (an eternity in baby attention span minutes).
*We have inside jokes. I have these three dumb things I do (mostly sounds I make). I do them, he pauses with a smile and just cracks up. every.single.time. It's amazing.
*He looks at Noah when I ask where Dada is. He looks at me when I ask where Mama is.
*He laughs when I show him a picture of himself.

9 months ago, I held my son for the first time. He was tiny, warm and the cutest thing I'd ever laid eyes on. I never thought he could get cuter. But every day has proven me wrong.

I love you Barclay Thomas George! And I'm so blessed that God chose me to be your mother!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Italy Day 2-The Mecca of Cheese



I have imagined going to Italy ever since I can remember. I had this romantic, charming country all built up in my head. I expected to be disappointed and let down on this trip...only because it just couldn't be as charming as I had made it out to be, in my head. To my disbelief, it was everything I'd ever imagined it was.
The Italy you see on the travel channel, or in the movies...I was there. It is real!

Andrew graciously let us borrow his car for a drive to the northern, Italian alps. This, I am pretty sure was the highlight of Noah's trip. He got to drive a manual through Italy. And he got to drive up winding roads. I don't really get the joy, but almost every three minutes Noah would pipe up, "Helen Joy, I absolutely LOVE this!" The drive there was breathtaking. I couldn't believe what my eyes were beholding. Quaint little villages nestled in rolling, green hills, with magnificent mountains towering in the background. Literally the stuff of movies.


Rolling hills...


An Italian "Baby on Board" sign. This sort of cracked me up a little bit:-)

Barclay was having a hard time adjusting to the time change...or he was just crying as usual:-(

*Photo disclaimer:
I am a photographer. But I do not enjoying photographing:
a.landscapes
b.zooming in on people I do not know ( no matter how cool the photo could be)
c.standing like an idiot in front of every single touristy thing and smiling the same way.
d.taking pictures of my food
I get stressed out every trip I take because I sort of feel this pressure to deliver amazing photographs, but every time I'm experiencing things, I just want to take it all in, instead of taking pictures.
I just feel like saying...google image a picture of the coloseum...I was there...etc
But, my lovely husband loves all things touristy:-) And now that I'm home with my pictures uploaded...I'm rather glad he instisted:-) Although I will treasure my memories in my heart forever.

So sorry for the non-creative, regular pictures....of breathtaking things:-)

Back to the story...
Asiago was the destination that day. Yes, that's right, it is named for the cheese...or should I say, the cheese is named for the town.
It was pretty deserted when we arrived, everything was closed up, but what an adorable city! I think tourist season was over. Lucky for us!


The road to Asiago. I love that the sign says "STELLAR".


The beautiful grass was blowing in the wind.



We visited their beautiful WWI memorial.

Interesting fact. Italians are all about WWI...not so much WWII (because they were on the wrong side). Everywhere you look is memorials to WWI but not one to be found of WWII.


My sweet little bundle of joy at the base of the memorial, overlooking rolling hills.


Barclay and Noah with a beautiful farmhouse in the background.



Me and my little papoose. Seriously, 90% of the picture of me, I am wearing Barclay. It's great if you're feeling a little fat that day. Feel fat? Wear a baby!


Around lunch time, we then started looking for any sort of restaurant. Again, we had trouble finding one. We did stumble upon an old cheese factory.

Alberto, the shop owner (probably with generation after generation of cheese makers proceeding him).


Fresh milk...just saying that aloud makes my mouth fill with spit.


Oh the cheese!

So we ended up buying a lot of cheese, then stopping by the grocery store for bread, and a tomato. Pretty much a perfect lunch.

On the way home, we took a different route. We took the windiest road I've ever traveled (Noah was in heaven) down to a river in a valley.



The river.



The road it took to get there.


The beautiful river! It was such a gorgeous shade of blue and green.


I love this picture of me...and no baby strapped to my chest.


Smiley boy!
HANDSOME husband! Seriously, the whole trip...he just kept getting more and more attractive. I am framing this for myself for sure!

At the close of the day, after visiting yet another closed restaurant;-) We ate on top of a hill, overlooking the city. I had butter/thyme Gnocchi.

Heaven.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Italy Day 1-The Ghetto Plane

It's our last day here in Italy and I am just hit with overwhelming tiredness so we are just taking it easy and then later going to a vineyard for wine tasting.
Barclay is napping (and not in our carrier!) so I'm enjoying the silence and the break. I want to start my series of our adventures in Italy:

Last December, we reconnected with our long time friend Andrew. He is in the Arm and is stationed in Vicenzia Italy. He invited us to come and stay with him and see Italy. If there is one thing about the Georges, it's that we never turn down an adventure.
*(Every year on our anniversary, we write down our goals in a journal, and then check them off the next year. Let's just say, we don't always meet our health, financial, personal goals...but we ALWAYS find a way to take the trips we planned:-) )
Because we had a place to stay, the Italy trip was totally doable. So thanks to Andrew and his hospitality, one of my wildest dreams of visiting Italy was achieved.
Thank you Andrew!

Day 1:
We woke up early Sunday morning to finish packing. I tried so hard to pack lightly but all the unknowns had me with 3 suitcases. I didn't know if it was going to be cold or hot, I didn't know if I would have enough "stuff" to entertain Barclay on the plane...
Noah's Mom picked us up and took us to the Greenville airport. Our first flight was easy and Barclay did fine (it wasn't his first time flying). We then got to Philidelphia and had a 6 hour layover! NOT fun!
I had brought a sheet with me, I thought it would be great to spread out and let Barclay crawl around. Of course, I realized that this was not a really smart idea. Barclay wanted to explore beyond the sheet...and after an hour of constantly pulling him back, I just let go and prayed all the nursing I do would protect him from all the germs that floor held. I was beyond bored as Noah was finishing up "buisiness" on the lap top. After about 4 hours of "walking" I decided to explore another wing, only to discover multitudes of shops and restaurants...of course right when we were about to board. Oh well.
We got on the flight (which they said was packed full) and took our seats in the bulk head (PRAISE GOD!). There was a man sitting next to us and I could see the panic on his face. He tried to be polite but I could see the sheer terror in his eyes. It was hillarious. As soon as the doors closed, he bolted out of the chair and found another empty seat. We laughed so hard but were so thankful for some extra room. Little did that man know how lucky he was to find that seat!
We flew US air. Let me tell you, the condition of this plane had me worried about how it was going to fly over an ocean . Everything was falling apart, from the magazine racks, to the tray someone near me pulled out and OFF. It wasn't even attached. I also found the bathrooms to have words written in sharpie, such as "trash", "soap", etc. We flew to S Korea last year Delta and it was WONDERFUL. Everyone was friendly, everything was nice, I felt safe...
Anyhows...
We start off and the first hour isn't too bad. I'm realizing now that what I used to acquaint with flying isn't true anymore. For some reason I adore in flight movies. LOVE them. How cool is it to watch something flying over the ocean. Anyhow, I get practically giddy over them. They only played one in flight movie the entire 8 hour flight, and they chose DINNER time to start it. Like right when they are asking if you want pasta or chicken....Noah, being the amazing husband he is, took Barclay so I could try to watch the movie...but Barclay needed to eat, my food was spilling everywhere, I leaned over to grab something and my right boob completely landed in my cake with icing. I actually didn't even notice the white, square mess of stickiness till after dinner! By this time, our entire row is covered in "stuff". Of course Barclay does not want to play with toys I brought and carried all over Philidephia. He wanted to play with straws and cups...
I gave up on my movie...and actually shed some angry tears (stupid I know!) Then Barclay was getting tired. It was after his bed time. I went and asked the Stewardess (who by the way was totally rude and unhelpful and we had the only baby on the entire JET!) for the bassinett they promised us when they told us we couldn't bring the carseat on because it wasn't FAA approved. I'm sorry, but if you're in a plane crash, I doubt if ANY car seat would do any good. We were planning on him sleeping there, but agreed to the bassinet. When they finally brought it, it was a cardboard box! Literally. They did fancy it up with the word "BABY" and picture of a stork, but it was still a cardboard box. The lady said to put our pillows in the bottom and voila! Bassinet. We had to put him at our feet in this box. Whatever...then started the longest three hours of my life! Barclay screamed for an entire 3 hours. And let me tell you, being in an inclosed space like that with no where to go was torture. We were also at the very front of the plane right in front of the only movie screen. I couldn't stand up, the stewardesses yelled at me when I walked him up and down the lanes. Nothing worked, not holding, not nursing, not ANYTHING. It was horrible. People were glaring at me, I was sobbing, it was not fun at all. At one point, he was in the box, I was leaned over him like a COW letting him nurse away. My bottom was stuck up in the air and I was on all fours (like a cow) and I had a blanket over my head so no one would be offended. Frankly, now that I think about it, I think I would rather them know what I was doing in that position than to leave their imaginations open.
In an act of desperation, after 3 hours, I did what every good mother would do:
I stripped Barclay down to his diaper, and laid in the aisle and nursed him on my side. Poof...he was asleep...and I was sweating and pretty much a hot mess.
Noah is snoring away that horrible desperate snore and every one is still glaring at me. Of course, then the movie was over and I was left with reading a Glamour magazine my precious husband surprised me with. The last 4 hours were pretty uneventful. I did not sleep a wink though for fear that someone would kick the cardboard box that housed my son. It also, in some point on that flight became my birthday. I celebrated by making my husband wake up to wish me happy birthday:-)
It was a very different flight than I am used to. I guess I have achieved a new "normal".
We arrived in Venice in one piece and were so glad to be there! Andrew picked us up outside of "customs", which involved incredibly attractive men smiling and stamping your passport:-)
I wasn't even tired because I was so excited to be out of that plane and safely in ITALY!
We drove the hour drive to Vicenzia and my eyes were drinking in the beauty of fields of grapes, quaint little houses, and magnificent mountains.
We pull up to his appartement which is right next to a canal. It's exactly what you would think of if you were to think of Italy. Little balconies with ivy and flowers pouring over them, bustling streets and allies, a flavor of life:-)
We settled in and began our quest for lunch. Place one was closed, place two was closed, place three was closed, we finally found a slice of Pizza at a local mall. It was pretty funny. For some reason, at 12-2 places just shut down around here. Gas stations, restaurants, cafes.
We then walked around the little town he lives in. There is a big square within walking distance from his house and it is bustling with life! We just went and sat and people watched and enjoyed every minute of it. Children , mothers, bicyles. It was enchanting.
Since it was my birthday and I had informed Noah countless times that although Italy was a wonderful gift, he wasn't off the hook for having to think of something else. Gifts are my love language, and I just wanted something thoughtful. Even if it cost a dollar. He gave me the sweetest card ever. It made me cry and made me feel so appreciated. The also gave me a post secret book (I love reading these!) and an Christmas ornament of a mother and child. So thoughtful and precious!
We then walked to a Pizzaeria that Andrew swears is the best in the WORLD. I would now have to agree. I had house red wine and pizza with Agrugula, walnuts, and gorgozola. The owners were enchanted with Barclay and kept bringing him things. It started with a toy, then a guitar, then a water gun (in the form of a peeing boy), then a huge bottle of liquor, it was hillarious. They were quite taken with him. We then went to a Gelateria for some Gelato. I got yogurt flavor and quite enjoyed it.
We then collapsed into bed praying that Barclay would figure out the new time difference and sleep...he sort of did. He awoke four times, which really isn't too different from life at home.

To be continued...

*if you think about it, say a prayer for us tomorrow as we take the long trip back. Thankfully it wont be "nighttime" so maybe we wont have the exhausted screaming fit we did on the flight over.

Sorry for the lack of pictures...but I'm waiting till we get home to upload them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ciao!

The reason I have not updated my blog in so long, is because me and my little family of three have been exploring Italy!
I went back and forth about blogging after each day, but decided I just wanted to ENJOY every moment. I have also been BEYOND beyond beyond tired each night.
Barclay is loving all the attention he gets from EVERYONE. He has gotten pinched, grabbed, and kissed repeatedly throughout each day by men and women alike.
He has been a trooper as far as sleeping is concerned but I am looking forward to getting back to our home and somewhat of a schedule.
I will update on the travels when I return, probably day by day. But we still have one more glorious day in Italy and we are going to spend it eating and drink wine:-)

Friday, October 9, 2009

It pays to be honest...

A couple of weeks ago, on his commute into town, my husband saw a man hitchhiking with a gas can. Noah pulled over and asked what the deal was. The man explained, his car ran out of gas and he was going to the filling station up the road to get some. Noah told the man, "That filling station is actually not opened at this time of night."
The man then proceeded to say, "To be honest man, I just want to get to an ABC store to get some liquor. I just use the gas can as an excuse to get into town."
My dear, sweet, compassionate husband replies, "I appreciate your honesty. Hop on in! I'll take you directly to the ABC store."
On the ride in, Noah found out this guy does this gas can gimmick several times a week.
After waiting in the parking lot while this guy did his shopping, Noah then told the man he was going to drive him back home safely. Noah said the man was just giggling the whole way back saying, "All the people in my trailer are not going o BELIEVE how fast I got back with this liquor!"
My husband does things like this all time. Well, not helping drunks out with their habit, but being there for people that not a lot of people give a second look to.
Although, I don't think he should make a habit out of helping "gas can man", I can't help but giggle and be glad for a compassionate husband.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Random thoughts today...

1.I hate fall decorations.
(I read a lot of decorating blogs and I usually love them. But I hate fall decorations so much that I've been skipping all of them.)
I love how fall feels, hate how we decorate for it. If only the way it feels could be vividly portrayed...then I think I'd like it.
Fake ugly orange and yellow leaves, pumpkins, and scary stuff? Not my cup of tea.
2.I am absolutely sick of family dynamics right now. Both Noah and my parents are divorced. Both his parents are dating people right now, and a bunch of other stuff is going on. And of course the holidays are lovely when you have to please 4 individuals. I seriously want to go away for Christmas. Just me, Noah and Barclay and not deal with any of it. I hate divorce. Hate hate hate it.
That's all. My mind is blank.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Boobs, diapers, and a blanket....

I got pregnant. I got advice. Doesn't everyone? And because I listened to so many advices, I feel it's my God given right to dish it out now that I am a pro;-)
I try to restrain myself when I see a round mother to be in the store, or on the sidewalk. I don't want to be "THAT MOTHER".
But I am THAT MOTHER inside and I am so thankful that Kelly is hosting a show us your favorite baby things day, so that I can just get it out of my system:-)

So here it goes...
When I got pregnant, I was convinced that our house would not be littered with toys, or crowded with stupid baby things. I wanted to keep things simple and classic. Babies don't need all that stuff right?
Boy how I changed my tune after just 1 week! I found myself, literally, with no where to put the baby when I:
a.wanted to shower
b.wanted to use the bathroom
c.did anything else.

Here is a list of 20 things I think every mother should have:

1.Bouncer.
Yes. The thing that a bought at full price at target a week after the birth of my son, because I needed a place for him to just be, while I did other things. This was a little expensive...there are a lot more affordable ones, BUT it is a little piece of baby heaven. Seriously? Do they make this for my sized people? It was soft, perfectly curved and it vibrated. Plus it had those adorable lamb ears which made for beautiful pictures.
Barclay slept in it for months. Like, it was his bed. LOVE it and can't wait to use it for my other children.
http://www.fisher-price.com/img/product_shots/P2792_b_3.jpg
-
2.Exersaucer.
My baby liked to be entertained from the get go, at around 4 months, I realized that he wanted to stand up and play. So I looked for an exersaucer everywhere and ended up buying one from craigslist. Big mistake in letting the hubby go pick it up, there was NOTHING to play with on it! Weird. So my sweet friend Emily lent me hers and it has been WONDERFUL! I have to give it back since she's having baby #2 soon, but I will be on the lookout for my own when I have another baby. This particular one was so nice because you could unclip the toys on it and run them in the dishwasher.
http://www.tashatown.com/sale/exersaucer.jpg
3.Bumbo.
Soooo many people told me not to buy this. That it was a waste of money etc. Although they are a bit steep for plastic, they are worth every penny. I found mine on craigslist for $15. They are the best. When Barclay started wanting to sit up, I took it and set it in the bottom of shopping carts and he would just sit and look around. We used it at home so he could play sitting up (before he could actually sit up), we take it to restaurants and place it on the booth tables. It's wonderful because babies go through a time where they want to be engaged and sit up, but they aren't able to do it yet. This saves frustration and it is so light and easy to carry.
I also used it at the beach, pool, bath. It is awesome.
I actually bought a Bebepod chair (basically the same thing) at goodwill because we used one in the car for when we were out and one at home. Didn't like the bebepod too much. It's not as safe. Barclay can get out of it and it's less wide which prevents tipping.
http://my1.bizshop.com.au/betterbabydeals/images/Bumbo.jpg
4.Johnson's Vapor Bath.
This stuff rocks. If there is any kind of congestion going on, or even if the baby is fussy. Just put them in a bath with a capful of this stuff. It's amazing! I actually use it in my own baths now and it's so affordable. Like $3.
http://well.ca/images/large/products/johnsons-soothing-vapor-baby-bat_1213715062_LRG.png
5.Reliados.
Barclay had A LOT of tummy problems and was on all kinds of medicine. I hated giving him medicine mostly because of the mess it made. It just got everywhere and I was worried he didn't get enough, but was too scared to give more...
I found this right at the tail end of all the medicine giving but it is the best ever ever ever. It's a little expensive (I bought mine at a grocery store), but it is truly a time saver and a money saver.

6.Udder Cover.
How silly! I thought when I was pregnant. Just use a blanket and save some money!
WRONG! Babies move, it gets hot, or maybe you have to see to nurse like me. I got one sent to me by a sweet friend several months after giving birth and I wish I had it for all those awkward times before where I was in a restaurant sweating like a pig, with my head under a blanket trying to do it right and discreetly.
This has a little pop out in it so you can see down, but people can't see you.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_L_Z79NhU45Q/SqxFgZSpu_I/AAAAAAAAAzo/Dd88wsdJ3no/s400/udder+cover.jpg

7.Colorful Mobile.
I made the mistake of going simple, classic and BORING. My poor baby didn't want to watch white sailboats for hours on end. Even if it did match the nursery...
Colorful is stimulating and that is what mobiles are for!
My mom got me a great one from craigslist, and although I did have to get over it not matching, it provided hours of entertainment for Barclay...and hours of time I could get something done for me.

8.Coolababy Cloth Diapers.
If you would have told me I would cloth diaper a year ago, I would have said you were crazy! But I had a good friend who did it and told me how easy and cheap it was! I love it!
I originally bought 6 Bum Genious diapers ($18 each! Yikes!) and I did not like them. My friend used this brand called cool a baby from China and they are fantastic and about $6 per diaper. I now own 18 of those...making 24 diapers in all. It's perfect. It saves so much money and it's one size fits all. You can make them smaller or larger using snaps. And although for a few minutes while washing them, it's pretty gross, it's not any worse than changing a blow out, or getting carrots spit up on you...you get the idea.
Seriously, these are the best and they are so affordable!
http://www.momsbestgifts.com/images/Cloth%20Diaper/Yellow.jpg
9.Boppy
A must have. Take it to the hospital with you! I didn't and I wish they had! Makes nursing so much easier and the perfect thing to prop your newborn in.
http://www.doulashop.com/products/images/other/boppy/boppy-nursing.jpg
10.Swing.
As I said before, I never thought about purchasing a swing. So when I realized I needed one, I returned some things and purchased THIS
http://cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/2/0/0/125/9/AAAAAo4g7G8AAAAAASWc7g.jpg

I was a zombie mom and the words, "My 6 week old slept through the night the first night we bought this, made me click the buy it now button before I even knew what was going on. I didn't even have a coupon! Which is very unlike me. It arrived, did not magically make my crying child stop, but was very pretty. (I would definitely say if you want something in place of a bassinet, this would be beautiful, but it was not a miracle worker.)
It is now sitting in my closet, waiting for me to get a chance to put it up for sale on craigslist. Because that same zombie mother that made the purchase, didn't return it in time to get my money back. I still hear about it every so often from my husband. But seriously? How was I supposed to carry that huge box into a post office with my newborn?
A friend ended up giving me a swing that actually moved back and forth and it was wonderful.
11.Combi Stroller
It's durable, lightweight, really easy to carry, really easy to fold, and it's so cute!
http://www.travelswithbaby.com/images/combi_flare.jpg
12.GRIPE WATER
This stuff saved my life! We used it instead of mylicon. I found it to work a whole lot better. It helps fussy tummies so much. I remember the first time I gave it to Barclay, he farted so loud less than a minute later and went straight to sleep.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nLaAlbzbL._AA260_.jpg
13.Ergo Baby Carrier
My mother gave this to me and I love it! Unlike a baby bjorn or front carrier, this can be used for years and years. Front, back, or side. Infant to 6 year old. It is amazing and doesn't hurt my back. It also has a little cover that you can use and nurse while you walk, shop, cook, etc. I love mine and will be using it to trek through Italy in a week!
http://store.metrominis.net/thumbnail_images/ergo_main.jpg

And here are the things that I did wrong.

I knew right away that I did not want a stroller combo. I knew that I didn't want to be stuck with a huge stroller just to carry around that tiny car seat. I actually purchased a graco base (and returned it to get that stupid swing). I wish wish wish I had kept it for those first few months. It's so easy to snap in and go.
I did get talked into buying the Snug Ride car seat by a Babies R US employee. Should have known a teenager wasn't the best person to take advice from.
I was all set up to get a cute, less expensive, lightweight car seat. She convinced me that I should buy one that held up to 33 lbs. More pounds for your money. Made sense to me.
ummmm....Do you know how big 33 pounds is?!?! It's so big, way to big to be carting around in a car seat! My son is 19 lbs now and I would never carry him in that thing. He's been in a rear facing upright for 2 months now. When they get to a certain age, they just want to sit up.
If I could do it all over again, I would have purchased the cheaper, lighter one that fit up to 20 lbs...because that's plenty.



There are other things I don't use very much:
-Hooded baby towels...usually I forget and end up using regular ones.
-Wipe warmer. I was given three, and I highly don't recommend them. I stopped using one after about 3 weeks. Not only did it use electricity, but it dried out the wipes big time!
-Monitor. Barclay slept in our room for 3 months, and after that his room was far across the house. I was petrified that I wouldn't hear him if he needed me so I kept that monitor on for two nights. Let me tell you, I didn't get any sleep from that stupid thing turning on and off with every sigh and murmur. I turned it off and even though he was far away, I heard him as soon as he would start to fuss. Mamas are just like that.


In the end, as someone once told me...
"You only need a boobs, diapers, and a blanket..."