Monday, March 31, 2014

Ten Signs That You're Ready for Baby #2

It's been far too long since my last Top 10 list (check out old ones here and here and here). With the founding premise of Next Stop Baby shifting to the new premise of Next Stop (Another) Baby, it seemed fitting to list signs that one is ready to add "another" to the mix. In case you're not sure that you're ready for baby number two, here are a few signs that you may be closer than you think.

1. As your toddler is throwing scrambled eggs, screaming "MAMA!!!" at a deafening volume and kicking the underside of the restaurant table, you whisper to yourself with genuine joy, "Your little brother or sister is gonna think you're so funny." 
2. You learned to knit and are geared up for a baby blanket project. Maybe even a hat.
3. When your toddler passes out in your arms (exhausted from a raging tantrum that was instigated when you refused to let him stick keys into an electrical outlet), rather than transfer him to the crib, you slowly lay down on the couch and gently scoot his body so that he sleeps on your chest. 
4. You've successfully taught your toddler to change a doll's diaper. A little tweaking and she could handle a one month old. 
5. Your toddler has transitioned to a bed. The crib needs to be sold, put in storage or... 
6. When talking about the sleep deprivation you suffered during the first three months with your first born, you say, "It really wasn't that bad" and you believe it. (Your first born didn't sleep for more than 3 hours at a time until she was 5 months old and didn't sleep through the night until 1 year). 
7. Your memory of delivering your first born is spotty with a few happy, painless, foggy details. 
8. You finally broke down and upgraded to a mini-van. 
9. Those size 5 diapers are huge. You miss the little ones. 
10. That "ready" feeling you had the first time around - you feel it again. 

Dan Osborne (UK reality TV hottie) with son Teddy.
There's nothing better than a baby sleeping on your chest.
(image source: Dan Osborne Twitter)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sherbert Inspired Nursery

It's Friday, which seems to be moodboard day. Today I was inspired by the Sherbert crib bedding from The Land of Nod. It's a simple stripe pattern, but the range of color presents so many decorating options. You got pinky/coral, light gray, turquoise, muted lime and a touch of lavender. I focused on the pinky/coral, turquoise and lime, but there are so many delightful combinations. Or, you could just go buck wild and decorate with all five.

image sources below

Where to Get These Sweet Finds
Sherbert Striped Crib Bedding from Land of Nod
Baby Owl Clock by LeLuni
Today is Great Pillow from Serena & Lily
Senegalese Storage Basket from Serena & Lily
Turquoise Heart Art by Of Carola

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Maternity Clothes Mistakes

I recently unburied and inspected my large plastic bin of maternity clothes. This is not a pregnancy announcement...what a lame announcement that would be. I'm just getting them organized to loan out. With a couple newly pregnant friends, it's time to share the wealth (read: moderate financial means) of my maternity wardrobe. 

In going through my various dresses and pants and extra long tank tops, I started to think about mistakes that I made in my maternity wardrobe purchases and things I will do differently for round two. It also made me realize that much of my maternity wardrobe may be completely useless for round two, depending on the season during my most pregnant months. So, I've made this list for myself (and for your pleasure) about things I'll do differently in round two. Before I get started, a quick note that none of the clothes and brands that I'm about to mention are affiliates of NSB (i.e I get no kick backs of any kind). I genuinely like (or dislike) them.

Maternity Underwear

I learned about these enormous, beastly things mid pregnancy and I refused to bring myself to purchase any...until about month eight. By month eight, I was begging for these enormous, beastly things. There are two options when it comes to maternity underwear: below the belly fit or over the bump fit (like a pair of full panel maternity pants). When I caved in month eight, I got two pair of the below the belly kind from the GAP. I liked wearing full panel pants, so full panel underwear would have been overkill. Next time around, I won't wait until month 8 and I will buy more than two pair.

Fancy Shmancy Blouses

During my pregnancy, I was in a full-time job that required formal business attire. Yes, I had to wear maternity suits. Yes, it was awful. In an attempt to keep up my professionalism, I focused a lot of my maternity wardrobe purchases on cute tops. Mistake. There's no such thing as a "cute top" when you're super pregnant. Everything is just a tent that drapes in one way or another with some cinching that attempts to flatter. After several regretful blouse purchases, I realized that I looked the best (and felt the best) in a simple, cotton, form fitting shirt...also known as a t-shirt. 

I loved my GAP pure body maternity t-shirt (above).
It held its shape better than a comparable one I had from Liz Lange (designer for Target).
(image source)

Extra Long Tank Tops

Target sells super cheap, super long tank tops. They are not maternity tank tops, but they work just as well. I was gifted one and it was fantastic (held up better than my GAP maternity tank top and fit just as well), yet I never thought to get a couple more. Mistake. I will get more next time. 

Maternity Jeans

I'm a jeans wearer. Aren't we all? In the summer I live in dresses, but for 9 months of the year, I wear jeans (remember, I live in New England and my prior residence in NY wasn't all that different in terms of weather). So, why, pray tell, did I purchase only one pair of maternity jeans? Why? And they weren't even a great pair of maternity jeans. At the time I couldn't stand the idea of spending big money on clothes that I would wear for 5 months. With a little perspective, I've come to realize that it's really important for clothes to fit and be comfortable during those 5 months, more so than other months. And it's especially important when it comes to jeans because I wear them so very often. I also realized that those clothes will be worn for future pregnancies and, in my case, by friends who borrow them. Next time around, I will get a nice pair of maternity jeans. That way I'll have my mediocre ones from last time and a shiny, new pair.

This fashionable mom-to-be is wearing Boden maternity jeans, which are a bit nicer (and better quality) than what you will find at Old Navy or Target. And yet, they won't break the bank. Most are priced between $50 and $100. (image source)

Online Shopping

I'm an online shopper. So, of course, I made many maternity clothing purchases online. Mistake. When you make a regular online purchase and it doesn't fit or isn't exactly what you wanted, you mail it back and get another size or move on. When you make a maternity clothing purchase online that doesn't work out, its a huge time waste. The two weeks it takes to get the top, decide you don't like it, return it and wait for a new top to arrive is way too long when you only have 5 months to wear the top. I will do my future maternity clothes shopping in stores.

Even considering all my mistakes, I still did pretty good with my first round maternity wardrobe. I used a belly band for the first few months and loved it (though I have friends who strongly disliked it), I relied on dresses a lot because they felt the most flattering and comfortable, and I borrowed whenever I could. I plan to do all three of these again. For those of you without formerly pregnant friends to borrow from, check out Mine For Nine. It's a maternity clothing rental website, the preggers equivalent of Rent the Runway. I think this is an especially great option for formal events.

How about you - any favorite maternity clothing stores? Or favorite pieces? What mistakes did you make in your maternity wardrobe?

Monday, March 24, 2014

What Should You Register For (That You'll Actually Need)

Back when I was pregnant...two years ago...I had almost no knowledge of baby gear. Some people say that, but it my case it was the truth. So, I borrowed a book (Baby Bargains, loved it), scoured the internet for reviews and, mostly, relied on friend's recommendations. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most thoroughly researched purchases, I hit an 11 on most items. I over did it a tad.

Yet, even with all that prep, I still made a couple bad picks. But, more than bad picks, I got things that I didn't end up needing. My daughter is well into toddlerhood and I still have unused baby shower gifts. I know, shameful. I should have returned or regifted or donated by now.

Between looking at those medicine dosage kits that are still in the original packaging and a recent slew of newly pregnant friends who have asked me for advice (full circle moment), I was inspired to write a sample registry. My sample registry includes the necessities, not the luxuries and not the fun stuff like clothes, books and toys (though I'll address that at some point). Because just the necessities are plentiful, this will be a two part post with today's part handling the Furniture, Sleeping, Gear and Diapering needs. Part Two will include Feeding, Bathing, Health & Safety needs.


  • Crib - I've previously written posts about choosing the right crib for your needs (here) and about the crib that I chose (here).
  • Crib Mattress - Considerations here are the materials that it's made of and how much it weighs. By total and awesome accident, I got a lightweight mattress. Changing the sheets, whether at 3 am or 3 pm, is a piece of cake.
  • Changing Table or Dresser - You don't need a piece of furniture that is specifically called or designed to be a changing table. You do need a piece of furniture that can store the babies clothes, diapers, ointments, sheets, towels, blankets, etc., and possibly be a surface for diaper changing.
  • Changing Pad - You can change your baby's diaper anywhere: on your bed, on the couch, on the floor, on your dog...wherever. Nowadays, I almost exclusively change my daughter's diaper on the floor because she's too big and wiggly to do it at any elevation. But, in the beginning, we used a changing pad on a dresser. Changing a diaper at dresser height is so much easier on the back than other options. If you plan to use a dresser or changing table, you'll want a changing pad to cushion the baby on the flat surface and because changing pads are curved to help prevent the little guy from rolling off. 
  • Changing Pad Cover (2+)

TIP: Bassinets and co-sleepers are not necessities in my opinion. You can set up a crib in your bedroom, you can use the bassinet that comes with your stroller (if your stroller comes with one) or you can use a portable crib (which I do think is a necessity).

The Bugaboo Donkey comes with a bassinet that's perfect for strolling and perfect for bedside sleeping.
(image source)


  • Mattress Pad - You don't need a fancy one, but an extra absorbent layer is a good idea. The mattress will be waterproof, which is great, but it is the multiple layers of absorbing fabrics will help prevent the baby from actually sleeping in a puddle of her pee or spit up.
  • Crib Sheets (2+)
  • Portable Crib Sheets (2)
  • Wearable Blanket/Swaddle Blanket (2+) - Some like to swaddle, some don't. Some like to be swaddled, some don't. Whatever yours and your baby's preference, you'll probably need to give the baby layer of warmth while she's sleeping. I say probably (and not definitely) because it'll depend on the weather in your part of the world and because I have friends who just layered their little ones with more or less clothes and never used a blanket. 

TIP: White noise machines are great, for some babies. If you think you want to use one, borrow before buying to make sure that it'll be worth the money.

Cloud b makes this plush sheep sound machine as well as a giraffe, monkey, sea turtle and a bunch of others.
(image source)


  • Car Seat - Assuming you have a car, you'll need a car seat. It's the law. Most kids will be in a car seat until 4 years old and then in a booster seat until 8 years old.
  • Car Seat Stroller Adaptor - This is a bar that allows you to attach your car seat to your stroller. Technically this isn't a necessity because you can just remove your baby from the car seat and put him/her into the stroller. But, 9 times out of 10 your baby will fall asleep in the car seat and 9 times out of 10 when you make this transition you will wake up your sleeping baby (*statistics are based on personal experience and not scientific research). The adaptor lets the baby stay put, and sleeping, in the car seat while you get on your way with the stroller.
  • Stroller - Whether you live in the city or the country, the north or the south, the mountains or the ocean, you probably want a stroller. For some, it'll be your primary means of traveling with the baby. For others, you'll stroll for leisure or weekend trips. Either way, it's a great parenting tool. If you are one of the parents who will be using it day in and out for everything from grocery shopping to daycare drop offs, you will probably want to spring for a pricier model that has some bells and whistles. If you will use it once or twice a week or mostly in the summer, then a modest model will be fine.
  • Rain Canopy for Stroller - This is only a necessity for those city dwellers and individuals who plan to stroll on a daily basis. But, even if you think you'll use the canopy sparingly, it's a pretty cheap buy (as low as $9). If you end up using it just once, it'll be the best $9 you ever spent. Check before registering because many strollers come with this accessory.
  • Carrier - I think it is a necessity, but I might lose a debate on the topic. Whether to hike or shop in stroller-unfriendly places or be hands free around the house while enjoying some snuggle time, carriers are great. There are many different kinds of carriers with many different prices points, so think about your needs before automatically registering for the Baby Bjorn. 
  • Portable Crib - If you plan to travel with your baby overnight, you'll need one of these. Again, you can use the bassinet that comes with your stroller (if you stroller comes with one), but that'll only be good for a few months. 

TIP: Certain strollers are more (and less) compatible with certain car seats. For example, the Graco Snugride and the Baby Jogger City Mini don't work well together. Do your research for these items in tandem.

This is the Graco Snugride in Pasadena (Pasadena refers to the the fabric pattern). If you're shopping on Amazon always check the cost of each fabric pattern, some are inevitably less expensive than others.
(image source)


  • Diapers - People are shy to register for diapers. Why? Whether you're going the reusable route, the semi-resuable route (i.e. gDiapers) or the disposable route, you will need diapers. Actually, I take that back. I recently heard of a potty training method that begins at birth, it's called Infant Potting Training or Elimination Communication. 
  • Wipes - These might be wash clothes or pre-moistened packaged wipes. Either way, you'll need a bunch.
  • Ointments - This include Aquaphor, A+D, Balmex, Desitin, Butt Paste and a host of others. You don't need all of them because you don't know which will work best for your baby. Start with one or two options.
  • Diaper Pail - Any old trash can will do, but a diaper pail is designed to be odor blocking and, sometimes, it actually is. If you go with a diaper pail (i.e. Diaper Genie or Diaper Dekor), make sure to stock up on the special bags/liners that fit in them.

TIP: Not all disposable diapers are the same. I was very surprised to learn that disposable diapers "work" very differently brand to brand. Talk to friends about their preferred brands before buying any economy sized box.

These are gDiapers. If you're thinking of reusables, but a little intimidated, check these out. They are a hybrid.
(image source)

That's all for today. I'll finish this up later in the week. Happy registering!

What other products do you consider 100%, absolutely necessary? Your credibility is shot if you say Sophie the Giraffe...even though I kinda agree. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Foxy Little Bedroom

I'm still of the mind that hedgehogs are on the brink of baby decor hotness. But, for the moment, foxes are the ruling trend. Here are some unique finds to decorate your baby girl or boy's bedroom.

(image sources below)

Where to Find These Whimsical Treats

Storage Bin from Giggle
Faux Fox Taxidermy by Kelsey Davis Designs
Knit Rattle from Land of Nod
Printable Art by Two Moons and a Fry
What Does a Fox Say Crib Sheet by Babiease

And, just because:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Friggen Torture Chamber

The following parenting adventure was experienced by my friend, Jane*, mother of two:

It's a lovely winter morning in New England. Lovely means 25 degrees with the wind chill making it feel like 10 degrees (above 0, yay!) and just enough sunshine to identify the ice on the road. Jane and her two daughters head to meet Mary and her two sons at an indoor playground. Jane's daughters, Jennifer and Amy, are 2.5 years and 4 months, respectively. Mary's sons, Robert and Michael, are 3 years and 1 year, respectively. The plan is to enjoy the ball pits and ride along cars for a while, then get pizza for lunch. Jane and Mary haven't seen each other in a while, so they're looking forward to catching up while the kids tire themselves out and work up an appetite.

The indoor playground is packed, to an insane and slightly intimidating extent. Everyone must take off their shoes and put on a wristband before entering. Then, the free-for-all begins. The volume and sheer chaos makes it impossible for Jane and Mary to hear each other, much less talk. It also makes it impossible for Jane and Mary to successfully monitor their kids. The little ones, Amy and Michael, are strapped to their mother's chests in carriers, but the walkers are off and running and out of sight.

After an hour of losing both kids, repeatedly, Jane decides that she's had enough and explains to Jennifer that it's time to leave. Jennifer decides that the fun has just begun and launches into a vicious tantrum, refusing to leave. Within seconds, Jennifer's hysterics are beyond anything that Jane has previously experienced. Jennifer screams and kicks and flings a plastic toy. The toy bashes sleeping Amy square on the head, waking her up and launching her into a fit of her own. Embarrassed and shocked, Jane grabs hysterical Jennifer with one arm and drags her to the entrance. It's a full blown wresting match as Jane tries to get Jennifer's shoes on and then her own. Meanwhile, Amy is still hysterically crying from unknown cranial damage. At some point during the tussle, Jennifer grabs Jane's iPhone and unintentionally FaceTime's one of Jane's friends. Amid the noise of a bazillion kids "playing", Amy sobbing, Jennifer screaming and Jane struggling to get on their shoes...and coats and hats and mittens...Jane looks down to see the face of her bewildered friend who is watching the scene unfold. Jane says nothing and ends the call.

Somehow, Mary sees Jane and the wrestling match and corrals Robert to the front as well. Only luck can explain how they all exit the premises with no major injuries and no lost shoes. Because the mothers had no opportunity to catch up at the playground, and because they're complete masochists, they decide to get pizza as planned. At the restaurant, the younger ones are back to a calm state, but the older ones are climbing everywhere. Rather than tire them out, the indoor playground has brought out endless, psychotic energy. When the pizza arrives, they all inhale a couple slices and Mary asks for the check. It's around this time that Robert barfs all over the table. Several times. He covers himself, Mary and the surrounding area. It's everywhere. The mothers try to clean up while soothing Robert who is now sobbing, calming Jennifer who asks, "Mommy, what happened?" no less than 50 times, and not puking themselves.

The story basically ends there. They clean up as much as they can and part ways. My friend, Jane, described the indoor playground as a "friggen torture chamber" and the entire experience as a nightmare, but also said that she had to laugh. It wasn't a fun afternoon, but it was memorable one. And, in retrospect, it was really funny.

*Names have been changed for the privacy of these heroic mothers and their children

Monday, March 17, 2014

Get Your Paws Off My Kid. Please.

When it comes to babies and pregnant women, people can lose sight of common, reasonable, decent boundaries. They say things they shouldn't. They touch things they shouldn't. They behave in ways that they shouldn't. I've written about this several times (here and here), but from the perspective of a non-parent. Now that I'm a parent, I have different (read: more intense) feelings about it and I also have personal experience with it.

Here's a recent story. I'm walking out of LLBean. I'm holding my daughter on my hip. It's cold out. My daughter and I are bundled in our puffy jackets and mittens and hats. A man, probably mid-forties, approaches us. He starts by addressing my daughter, "Hey Champ! Hey Champ!!!" It didn't bother me that he called my daughter "champ", which is typically used to reference boys. It was kinda funny and kinda awkward, because she was dressed from hat to boot in pink, but not bothersome. Next, he grabbed her hat by the front edge, on her forehead, and shook it back and forth while shouting "Grrrrr! Grrrrr!" It seemed like he was trying to growl at her in a playful way, but it came off friggin' crazy. And the shaking of her hat, and thus her head, was just wrong.

This story is one of several that I've collected. Thankfully, I don't have a ton of stories and none are jaw dropping bad and my daughter has never been upset by an encounter. But, regardless of the frequency or level of intrusion, it drives me nuts when a stranger touches my daughter. Even if it's the brim of her hat. The guy in the story above never would have grabbed my hat and growled at me. Imagine that?

I'm still working on my reaction in these situations. So far, I haven't said much (or anything). I usually try to just avoid the impending touch when I see it coming. I swoop in and pull my daughter away or back up a couple steps or turn my grocery cart sharply to the left. But, I'm going to have to develop a response, something that doesn't upset my daughter (i.e. not overly dramatic), yet succinctly notifies the offender of their wrongdoing. Because some people don't get it - it's not okay to touch a stranger's baby. It's totally inappropriate. Unless you have explicit permission or exceptionally good reason, keep your paws to yourself.

Do you have one of these stories? How did you react? Do you disagree and think it's okay for strangers to touch your baby? 

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Most Dramatic Bachelor Finale Ever, Seriously

Warning: The following has absolutely nothing at all to do with babies or siblings or parenting. Nothing at all.

Monday night's Bachelor finale was some of the most uncomfortable and most amazing television I've watched in a long time. After three full hours, which ended up being two full hours if you were lucky enough to fast forward through commercials, I was left with some questions:

  • What exactly did Juan Pablo say to Clare in the helicopter?
  • What happened 2 weeks ago that "drastically changed" Juan Pablo and Nikki's plans? 
  • Did Juan Pablo really tell the producers that he had a surprise planned for the After The Final Rose segment? What was the alleged surprise?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how much did Chris Harrison want to punch Juan Pablo?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how much did viewers want Chris Harrison to punch Juan Pablo?
  • Why was Brooks there and what product does he use in his hair?

Look at Brooks' flowing locks. That's a nice head of hair. (image source)

Most of those questions were answered for me by Reality Steve. But, bigger questions about love, life and humanity remain unanswered for me. Perhaps the biggest question of all is why Nikki Ferrell allowed herself to be minimalized and demeaned, repeatedly. Maybe she could get over the fact that her supposed BFF, Andi Dorfman thinks Juan Pablo is total scum. Maybe she could get over the fact that Juan Pablo slept with her arch-nemesis, Clare Crawley, days before sleeping with her...and that he really enjoyed it (he made no secret of that). But, I'm having a hard time understanding how she got over his inability to say a single kind thing about her or about their relationship with the weak exceptions of "I like you a lot" and "we're happy".

Rumor has it that Juan Pablo actually loves Nikki and he's told her so and his bit on the ATFR was intended as a big "suck it" to ABC. Fine. I'll buy that. It's no mystery that ABC and their Bachelor had a significant falling out around the time that he made those awful homophobic comments. But, even if Juan Pablo's performance on Monday night was completely choreographed to be the final blow to a very salty relationship with the show's producers, it was done at Nikki's expense. He proved his point and she looked like a total fool as a result. That's not the stuff that long-lasting relationships are made of.

If you haven't seen it, there's is a YouTube video that Juan Pablo, himself, posted for Nikki. Because a montage of photos set to music makes everything better. Who knows, maybe it does. CLICK HERE to watch.

image source: Juan Pablo Galavais YouTube channel

What did you think about the finale? What would you say to Nikki Ferrell if you could (and she cared)? Will you watch Andi as the next Bachelorette?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Three Years of Blogging

It's been 3 years and 1 month and 3 days since I wrote my first post on February 8, 2011. In 2012, I commemorated my first full year of blogging with a little look back (aka a blogiversary post). I didn't do that last year because I was on blogging hiatus at the time. And, at first, I didn't think it was appropriate to do this year because, frankly, there's not much to recap. Not much has happened on NSB during the past 12 months. But, that's silly. Right? It's not important how much or how little happened. I'm blogging again so I should be blogiversary-ing again!

Let's start with a quick timeline of the last year on NSB:

February 2013 - I managed two measly posts (here and here). The arrival of my daughter at the end of 2012 had, understandably, altered my free time and my priorities. Blogging took a seat in the way, way back. Ever seen the movie The Way, Way Back with Steve Carrell? It's great.
March 13, 2013 - I finally posted a "Proper Farewell" in which I admitted that I needed an official break and wouldn't be posting for a while.
December 2013 - I randomly stopped by NSB and after some perusing, realized that the This Blogger page needed some major updates. So, I updated it and posted about the update. I've since updated it again.
January 13, 2013 - My quick December post got me thinking about blogging again. When the new year hit, it felt like the write time to get back on the horse. So, I did. But, before I could really get started, I addressed the need for an update to the blog name. So, technically, Next Stop Baby is now Next Stop (Another) Baby. Though you'll notice that I still use the NSB acronym because NS(A)B doesn't flow, it doesn't.
February 7, 2013 - While I didn't write a blogiversary post, I did write a "refresher post" to remind myself and my readers what we could all expect on NSB.


The most read posts on Next Stop Baby seem to be driven by pop culture - what's everyone watching on TV and at the Movies, and what's the latest trend in baby shower themes. Posts about Teen Mom 3 command three of the Top 10 favorite posts. Here's the full Top 10 list, with #1 being the most viewed post of all time.

Since I've been blogging again in 2014, the favorite post is The Perfect Double Stroller. This is not hugely surprising. Everyone relies on the internet for product research and reviews, so I am happy to have provided some (helpful?) info.


Readers come to NSB from varying sources on the internet - google searches (the #1 source), subscriptions (by email or by blog feed), Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook, and other blogs. Readers also come from varying places in the world - US, Canada, Poland, Germany, UK, Russia, Australia, France, Sweden, Ukraine name the Top 10 countries in order of most pageviews. I find it super interesting that non-English speaking countries rank higher than some english-speaking countries (i.e. more people in Poland read than people in Australia). The Polish People and I are kindred spirits and I dig it.

Once again, special shout out to WW who is a tried and true reader, commentor, and lover of NSB. And I am a lover of her. Did that just get a little creepy?

Meanwhile, I miss commentors like The Mrs./The Mom and Whitney M. who had previously been staples.


Guest Bloggers - Haven't had a guest blogger since January 2012. Maybe it would be fun to do a follow-up with some guest bloggers to catch up and see what's changed in their baby-related worlds. 

Suburbia - I don't live in NYC anymore, which is a bummer in some ways, though a wonderful thing in many more ways. In terms of blogging, my travels on the NYC subway system and encounters with disgruntled New Yorkers provided quite a bit of fodder for NSB. Will there be a large, sewer cap sized hole in NSB's content due to my new locale? No, there won't. I can already tell you that suburban Massholes are going to provide plenty of great posts as well...stay tuned.

Baby Names - I love I peruse the website with great frequency, and probably always will. And I even exchange tweets with Nameberry here and there. BUT, I need some new name inspiration. It's time to spread my wings.

Crafting and Nursery Decor - Over the years I've made a fair amount of moodboards for nursery decorating ideas. My inspiration has been whatever is trendy. While I'll continue to do this, I'll also be moodboarding from a more personal place. I'm in the process...the very beginning of the process...of decorating my daughter's bedroom. I'm pinning like crazy (love Pinterest) and all over design/DIY blogs. I also plan to venture into crafting territory, which you got a taste of on Valentine's Day. I'm starting simple. VERY simple (as you saw).

Happy Blogiversary to me and thanks for reading. It's going to be a great year.

For other blogiversary posts click herehere and here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Where To Get Your Baby Gear for Number Two

If you read the title to this post and thought to yourself, "she's going to post another list today", then you thought correct.

A couple weeks ago, I gave you a list of baby gear that you may need to purchase/borrow/steal for your second baby. Today is a sort of sequel to that post. You likely have less money to spend on this bambino. You already stretched your budget to incorporate the first mini person. Stretching your budget further may not feel feasible, especially for costly items like a second crib or a double stroller. The other big factor for baby number two is that there's no baby shower. Last time around you relied on incredibly generous family members and friends for the lion's share of your needs. Well, that was a one time deal. You're on your own this time. But, rather than throw everything on a credit card and close your eyes, here are some money saving ideas.

And now, for the list:

Craigslist - Some of us get an itchy feeling when we hear the word Craigslist thanks to some of its unsavory forums and some high profile, high scandalous users. But, Craigslist is actually an incredible resource for secondhand shopping. For big ticket items, like double strollers and car seats, you can find very new products (1 or 2 years old) with minimal wear and tear. I have a friend who scored a 2013 Bumbleride double stroller, that had been used a whopping two times with some accessories still in the original packaging, for half the price of retail.

eBay - Same shpeel as above. You can get some fantastic, near new (and sometimes actually new) baby gear for super cheap. Just pay close attention to seller ratings and the location of the seller (i.e. is the item coming from Columbus, OH or Shanghai). 

Borrow from Friends and Family - This is the obvious one. Email your friends and family with the list of your needs. Even if they don't have what you need to borrow, they each have their own network and they may be able to connect you to someone who does. 

Facebook - I've seen many a Facebook post asking for anyone who has unused baby stuff up for grabs. On the flip side, I've seen posts from people who want to sell or give away their old baby stuff. You don't want some old co-workers junk, but you never know what gem is out there and it's nice to know the previous user (versus Craigslist/eBay). A quick "Anyone looking to get rid of their double stroller?" post could be the best thing that Facebook ever does for you. 

Register - You don't get a baby shower for your second baby. But, that doesn't mean that you can't register for stuff. Pottery Barn doesn't know whether you're having another baby shower (and I'm pretty sure they don't care). If you want those pink Penelope sheets, why not register for them and then use your 10% registry completion discount to buy them? I don't recommend making a registry for every item you want for your children throughout their lives in order to get a discount, but I think a registry for another baby is totally legit. 

Secondhand Baby Stores - These may not be your thing, but they are certainly worth a peek. Especially the fancy versions that only except high end, brand new or as-good-as-new stuff. These boutique stores are typically more prevalent with better inventory in the city (versus the burbs) and I recommending reading some reviews on Yelp before you made the trek. 

What creative place did you get your baby gear? Any horror stories?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Apollo, ScarJo and Celebrity Baby Soccer Tournaments

It's Friday again (NICE) and it's again time for a weekly summary of celebrity gossip, baby style. My last roundup can be found here, in case you missed it.

Our week started, on Saturday (3/1), with the birth of Apollo Bowie Flynn Rossdale. Apollo is the third son for Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Between all three of their boy name choices, this one is only moderately unique. Their first born, Kingston James McGregor, is the most standard, their second born, Zuma Nesta Rock, is the most creative (obviously) and Apollo sits in the middle, leaning toward standard. Gavin Rossdale's Twitter birth announcement and explanation of the name's meaning is...confusing, upon first read. Does Apollo have more than one mother? Does Gwen Stefani have more than one maiden name? No and no. Bowie is Rossdale's mother's maiden name. Flynn is Stefani's mother's maiden name. I'm guessing most of you figured this out right away. I didn't.

Scarlett Johansen is pregnant. She may not have beaten Ryan Reynolds to marriage number two, but she is officially going to beat him to baby number one. Unless I've missed the news that Blake Lively is pregnant as well? I'm interested to watch this one progress. I can't picture her pregnant, though I'm guessing her bra is going to give Kim Kardashian's bra a run for its money. And I wonder what kind of baby namer she will be. Will she bend to the Hollywood pressure and try to find the last unique name in the world or will she surprise us with an Emma or Jacob?

Last, but certainly not least, Fraser is going to be a father for the sixth time. He will be officially even with the Jolie-Pitt squad, except that the age range of the Grammer brood is significantly more expansive. There will be a 21 year difference between the oldest and the youngest. In a couple years, when baby Grammer is walking, they should do a Grammer versus Jolie-Pitt soccer game or something. 

Happy almost weekend.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Happens at a Baby Shower

What happened on your sophomore year spring break in Cancun stayed in Cancun. This is, of course, assuming that your sophomore year spring break happened pre-Facebook. For your sake, I hope it did. While (fingers crossed) the happenings in Cancun remain a mystery, baby showers aren't so mysterious. They're pretty simple - the mom-to-be opens a ton of gifts and guests cheer her on. I've been to many and they all follow the same sequence of events. There's some fun DIY decor, an embarrassing game (or ten) and lots of sweets. But just in case you haven't been to one lately (or ever), I'll break it down for you.

Pre-Event Considerations:

What should you wear? Whether you go to church or not, you probably have a sense of church appropriate attire. Your "church outfits" can double as baby shower outfits. If this description isn't working for you, think "business casual" but more fun. Jeans are not a great call. Neither is a taffeta cocktail dress. Here are a couple images courtesy Pinterest that hopefully help (quick plug: you can follow NSB on Pinterest by clicking here and then clicking follow).

My fashion sense leans conservative, as you can tell, so you should funk it up and trend it out as much as your heart desires. The basic guideline is not too casual and not too dressy. Image sources: outfit on left (here), outfit on right (here)

What should you bring? You and your gift. I have previously written about how much money to spend on a gift (here) and whether to buy off the registry or not (here).

What time should you arrive? On time. This isn't a fashionably late type event. But don't stress if you're fifteen minutes behind schedule. Typically, the guest of honor is going to arrive about 15 - 30 minutes after the invitation asked you to arrive. This is because the host wants the guest of honor to enter a room full of people and love. So, just make sure to arrive before the guest of honor.

Will there be alcohol? Yes, boozy, there will. Probably. If the guest of honor is someone who drinks alcohol in a non-pregnant state then alcohol will most likely be served. It will usually be some champagne or wine, maybe a signature cocktail. I've even been to baby showers with open bars. In case you're hoping wondering, I've never seen anyone throw down a shot.

Will there be men? Unlikely. I've never been to a co-ed baby shower. It's relatively common for the father-to-be to show up near the end to say hello, thank everyone and carry the gifts away. But, I can't say that I've been to (or even heard about) a co-ed baby shower. Co-ed wedding showers are on trend, so perhaps co-ed baby showers are next.

Arrive and Mingle

Nothing major happens out of the gate. You'll show up to the country club or the grandmother-to-be's house or a cute local brunch spot in the late morning or early afternoon on a Sunday. I have gone to Saturday baby showers and I have gone to evening baby showers, but these are the exception. The first hour of the shower will be spent mingling and munching. Even if the shower includes a formal sit-down meal, appetizers will usually be served right away. You'll catch up with friends and family of the guest of honor, or you'll meet them for the first time. There might be a clothes line of onesies to check out or a jar of Hershey Kisses to count (person who guesses closest to the number of kisses in the jar gets a prize). You'll also have time to check out the table full of gifts that include at least one diaper cake and several baskets full of bath supplies or first aid necessities.

If you're not keen on making one of these yourself but you think they're awesome, check out Etsy for some lovely crafters that will make it for you. Oli-G's Designs makes owl-themed diaper cake above.

Sit-down Meal

About fifty percent of the baby showers I've been to had a formal sit-down meal. It will probably indicate this on the invitation and it will definitely lengthen the party.

Game Time

During the meal or while the guest of honor opens presents, games will be played. I haven't been to a baby shower without games. Even at baby showers honoring a mother-to-be who isn't a game playing type, there will be games. So, buckle up. Here is the list of games that I've played:
  • Baby Food Tasting - Taste jarred baby food and guess the flavor (on one occasion the jarred baby food had been smeared into a diaper, I'm not joking)
  • Toilet Paper Predictor - Tear off however many squares of toilet paper you would need if you were going to the bathroom in the woods. The punchline is that the number of squares you take is the number of children you will have. Hope I didn't ruin it for you.
  • Word Games - Think of a baby-related word that begins with each letter of the alphabet, think of ten songs that have the word "baby" in them, cross-word puzzles full of words like diaper and ointment and breastfeeding, etc.
  • Make-a-onesie - Use puff paint, glue, fabric scraps, stencils, markers, scissors, etc.) to personalize a white onesie for the baby
  • Baby Photo Guessing Game - Sometimes there's a big poster with a bunch of baby photos. Sometimes everyone gets a piece of paper with a collage of baby photos. The idea is to guess who the baby is, which is usually a guest at the shower or a celebrity (depending on how it's played).
  • Sage Advice Journal/Cards - Write a note to the mother-to-be and father-to-be with your best parenting advice
  • Message to the Baby Journal/Cards - Write a message to the baby
  • Gambling - Some baby showers will host a "buy a square" (think Super Bowl) or just a friendly wager as to the birthday, gender (if it's unknown), weight and height of the baby.

Example of a classic baby shower word game
from Pulp Paper Goods 

Present Opening

Look around the room and guestimate 2-4 minutes per guest. That's how long this portion of the day will take. Could be a very long time if there are fifty (or more) guests. The good news is that there will be group gifts, which knock out a bunch of guests at once, and a few guests bring gift cards, which take about thirty seconds to open and show off. Many gifts will be from the registry. But, it's also common for baby shower guests to buy non-registry items for at least a portion of their gift. So, there will be some interesting and awesome surprises.

Grab Your Favor and Go

The favors are typically a food item (i.e. chocolate covered something) or baby related (i.e. travel size Purell). There's not much after party action, for obvious reasons. So that's it. Hope it's a good one.

What games have you played at baby showers? Any go-to outfits that always seem to work? Any disastrous gift opening stories - something broke, a turn-of-the-century dangerous hand-me-down?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Classic Pink Baby Shower (Round Two)

I know, I keep posting baby shower mood boards despite the fact that I've already had my baby shower (about a year and a half ago). But, there are many loved ones in my life who are expecting. And even more who I expect to expect at some point. And, it's fun. So, I'm allowed to continue mood boarding and I will.

My idea of a classic blue baby shower came together a couple years ago (here). As did my idea of a classic pink baby shower (here). But, in reviewing the classic pink baby shower post, I thought it need a bit of updating. There were some cute finds (especially that pink umbrella), but I thought I could do cuter. Here's my attempt...Jelly Belly still made the cut.

Image Sources Below

Where To Find These Lovely Items

Girl! Invitation from
Little One Tags by Wild Sugar Berries
Pink-a-boo Nail Polish by Essie
Pink Grapefruit Jelly Bean from Jelly Belly
Tissue Paper Potted Flower by Old Ways Fuss N Feathers
Pink Paper Lanterns by Janie Girl Crafts