Label Baby Junior

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When Emmett started daycare, I knew I needed to label a lot of things.  Everything he takes to daycare - clothes, blankets, pacifiers, bottles, food - is supposed to be labeled with his first and last name, plus the date in the case of bottles and refrigerated food.  They’re not strict about clothing, though you run the risk of losing items if they lack labels, but they are pretty serious about the bottles and food.  Of course my first inclination was low tech DIY: just write his name on everything with a Sharpie.  Unfortunately, my friends with older kids in daycare told me the Sharpie wears off the bottles and you have to keep writing it over and over.  One friend gave me a couple sheets of freezer labels that can be printed at home.  I printed them up, with varying results.  Maybe my printer malfunctioned or was not the right type for these labels, but some were smudgy.  They have held up well though, going through the dishwasher and fridge (and occasionally freezer) over the past five months.  A few bled even more the first time through the dishwasher, even though I waited at least a day after putting the labels on.  Some are like the one on the left, some are like the one in the center.  Even the bad ones are readable, so I’m leaving them alone.

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I have two labels on each bottle: a permanent one with Emmett’s name, and a LabelOnce erasable label on which I write the date (daycare requires this), the quantity (to facilitate my own OCD record keeping), and the date I pumped it (for my own info so I know how fresh it is).  These labels are neat: you write on them with a Sharpie and then you can erase it later.  They stay on really well through the dishwasher, fridge and freezer, and the writing stays on about as well as it does on anything else - it gradually wears off after a few times through the dishwasher.  Going through the dishwasher doesn’t seem to affect the erasability, which you can do with any soft, white eraser like the Magic Rub.  I don’t know if they’re that much easier than using masking tape, which is what other people seem to use for the date, but it works well for me.  One note: it’s very difficult to write on the LabelOnce labels when they are cold and/or wet with condensation, so it’s best to write before they go into the fridge or freezer.

The bottle lids and rings are too small for the printed freezer labels, so at first I wrote on them with Sharpie.  Sure enough, it was barely legible after a few passes through the dishwasher.  Meanwhile, my special fabric Sharpie worked well on the paper-like tags of clothing, but on some fabric tags it bled so much it just turned into a black blob, and I hated writing on tagless items.  

Another friend had told me about Name Bubbles, and I decided I’d spent as much time going the DIY route as I was willing to, so it was time to give in and buy some.  I chose the smallest possible labels: Bitty Clothing Labels for clothes and Mini Labels for bottles.  They’ve worked really well.  For the bottle lids and rings, I cut them down to size so they’d fit on the side.  They definitely look nicer than the freezer labels.  If I ever need to put fresh labels on the bottle parts, I will use the Name Bubbles.  I’m also applying them to the reusable baby food containers we use when we make our own purees.  

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Name Bubbles is having a 20% off sale that ends today, so I thought I’d share my experience with them.  If you miss today (1/22/13), they have periodic sales and will tell you about them if you sign up for their email list.  I just ordered some more of the Bitty Clothing Labels.  They stay on well through laundering and peel off nicely if/when you want to pass along the item to someone else.  

Note: I’m not being compensated in any way for this post.  I like the LabelOnce and Name Bubbles labels, so I wanted to share the info with other parents who may also be wondering if there’s an easier way to label everything.

-Kelly

p.s. Do you know what the title of this post references?  I’ll give you a hint: Tim Whatley regifted it.

Quick and dirty DIYs: sewing for baby edition

Lately I’ve been doing a little bit of sewing, which makes me happy.  I have a medium-sized sewing project to share with you when it’s finished, which will be soon I hope.  In the meantime, I’ve done a couple of super quick “sewing” projects.  I say “sewing” because technically I did very little sewing on one and no sewing on the other, but they involve fabric and sewing tools.  

I mentioned in a post about our diaper changing station that when we are at home, instead of disposable wipes, we use cloth ones wet with plain water and stored in our wipe warmer.  Trial and error showed us which materials we like best for wipes.  My favorite cloth wipes are ones I cut from an old pair of sweatpants, even though they roll up in the dryer.  Next best are terry cloth.  The worst are ones I cut from old T shirts; they’re just too thin.  I don’t have any more sweatpants lying around, but I do have more baby towels than we can possibly use, thanks to gifts, hand-me-downs, and freecycle.  There were a couple of towels received via freecycle bags-‘o-baby-stuff that had seen better days, so I cut one up into washcloths.  It only took a couple minutes using my rotary cutter and mat.  6 inches by about 4.5 inches fit nicely into the wipe warmer.  Bam, done.  Always nice to accomplish something so quickly.  We’ve been using these for over a month and the edges don’t fray, so there’s no need to finish them.

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Next up, some strap protectors for the Ergo carrier.  We really like the Ergo.  Emmett likes it too.  Like any baby, everything that comes near his mouth immediately goes in and gets all slobbery.  See the wet spot on the strap:

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The Ergo can be washed, but they recommend against washing it a lot.  Hence the existence of "sucking pads" on Amazon, "drool catchers" on Etsy, and a variety of similar products available to purchase online for around $20.  That seems a little expensive for something I could make in 5 minutes, albeit not as attractive, but still quite functional.  I have a whole pile of Bumkins prefold cloth diapers that I use for burp cloths and mainly to catch the milk that always seems to dribble out the corner of Emmett’s mouth when he nurses.  I thought one of these cut in half would be perfect.  So I cut it, sewed a zigzag along the cut edges, and used iron-on velcro patches.  Bam, done.  

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They work very well, except one of the velcro patches didn’t adhere completely so I’ll have to iron it on again.  The same thing could be done to make another set to use as strap covers for the car seat.  I don’t worry about it for short trips, but on longer trips I’m always trying to tuck the sides of Emmett’s bib between his neck and the straps so they don’t cut in too much.  Maybe I’ll go ahead and do that when I fix the other one.

Next up, I took a freecycled minky baby blanket with some ink stains on one corner, and made a quick cover for the diaper changing pad. I just draped the blanket over the pad, pinned corner darts where it seemed appropriate, and sewed it. It’s not perfect, but it took about 10 minutes and cost $0. It actually stays on the changing pad pretty well just with a few darts around the edges and no elastic.

I love mini projects that are quick and easy.  It’s nice to get the finished result right away and move on.  Sometimes when I’ve been feeling stuck or overwhelmed, just getting something - anything - DONE gives me enough momentum to tackle something bigger.  I’ll show you the bigger project soon!

-Kelly

Happy 4 month birthday Emmett!

My how you’ve grown, little one!

Big apologies for our absence on the blog lately.  A month ago I started working again, and shortly thereafter Emmett started going to daycare.  It’s been an adjustment, but we’re finally settling in to the new routine.  Of course there are still kinks to be worked out, but I feel like we have it mostly figured out.

I did somehow manage to get it together enough to take photos of Emmett on or near his birthday each month.  It is amazing to see him grow physically, mentally, and socially every day.  He concentrates so hard when he wants to grab an object.  And the smiles just melt our hearts.

Emmett’s growth so far:

Birth

Weight: 8 lbs, 4 oz.  Length: 20 inches.  Full head of hair.  Skills: none.

1 month

Weight: 11 lbs (approx).  Hair falling out.  Skills: tracking moving objects with eyes.

2 months 

Weight: 13 lbs, 5 oz.  Length: 24 inches.  Mostly bald.  Skills: lifting head up when lying on tummy or upright, batting at objects, social smiles (occasionally), jumping (with daddy’s help).

3 months

Weight and height: unknown, but most 3-month sized clothing is too small for him.  Hair growing back.  Skills: head control, sucking on hands, playing piano with feet (sort of), lots of social smiles, batting at objects and trying to grab them.

4 months

Weight: 16 lbs.  Length: 27 inches.  Hair growing in nicely.  Skills: standing and sitting up with support, grabbing objects and holding on, interacting with other babies, TONS of smiling, some laughing, squealing, babbling.  Sometimes taking a decent nap at daycare.  Starting to be able to sooth self back to sleep when semi-awakened.

That’s the quick recap of our sweet little boy’s first four months.  He is the happiest, sweetest baby and we are having a wonderful time.

-Kelly

Tags: Emmett baby

Emmett pics of the week

I just love this little nightgown outfit.  He’s somehow even more cute and snuggly in it than usual.  Ready for bed.

Trying out a paci for the first time.

Strong little neck!

Past pics are here.

-Kelly

Emmett pics of the week

Snoozing with Sonny

On a walk in the park with mom

After bath time, with his brand new belly button

-Kelly

Diaper changing station

The last DIY project we completed before Emmett was born, and the first one after he was born, both relate to diapering.  Matt wanted to install ceiling lights and a ventilation fan in the kitchen, but I insisted that he do the diaper changing station first.  People kept telling us that first babies are usually a week late, so we both thought we had an extra week of baby-free time to get things done.  Even so, I was anxious to have the diaper changing station finished and squared away.  It’s a good thing we didn’t delay; Matt finished the changing station on Sunday and I went into labor on Tuesday morning - the day before my due date.  Here’s what I looked like that weekend, and needless to say I was not into doing hard physical labor at this point.  Matt did all the work on this project himself, with input from me.

Three years ago we bought a kitchen base cabinet at the RE Store for $40, thinking we would use it in the kitchen.  It stayed in the garage, and now finally we had the perfect place for it.  We also had a piece of countertop left over from the kitchen.  Matt sanded it, painted the wood parts (outside and some drawers) semi-gloss white, and spray painted the metal drawers with the metallic paint we had left over from the failed ceiling fan medallion debacle.

He also had to patch the drywall in the nook where our oil furnace used to reside before we replaced it with our gas fireplace.  There were holes in the wall from the furnace exhaust and from some electrical work we did.  The floor needed some work too.

After patching the drywall, Matt installed the cabinet, countertop, and self-stick vinyl tiles left over from the bathroom floor.

So yeah, the drywall still needs a little work and obviously it needs to be painted too.  We’ll get to that when we can.  In the meantime, we tried to spruce up the space a little with two colorful souvenirs my parents gave us from different trips: an embroidered bird from Costa Rica and a string of butterflies from Cambodia.  We also have the countertop stocked with the essentials: wipes, diapers, washcloths, changing pad, and small pail for disposable diapers.  Nearby on the floor is our cloth diaper pail.  We’re using both types of diapers right now but will try to switch to all cloth soon.

The quickie DIY I did after Emmett was born was to crudely cut up some old t-shirts to make more cloth wipes.

Along with some other baby wash cloths we received as gifts, I stack them in a Munchkin wipe warmer (also a gift) and pour enough water over them to saturate all the cloths.  The warmer is meant to use with disposable wipes, but it works great with our cloth wipes too.  They come out nice and warm, which makes diaper changes a little more pleasant for everyone.

In the drawers, I keep other supplies on hand: a small selection of baby clothes in case a change is needed; cloth and disposable diapers; burp cloths; extra diaper pail liners; and other stuff like rash cream and a digital thermometer.

Although it still needs a little work, our diaper changing station has been a huge help to us.  It’s the right height so we don’t get backaches.  It’s in a central location but not in the way, while taking advantage of space that was not being well used before.  And all the essential supplies are at our fingertips.  We’re so glad Matt finished it (to the point of being usable, not to the point of being pretty) before we brought Emmett home.  

-Kelly

Emmett pics of the week

This week’s installment of Emmett pics.

He loves his black and white picture book.  He looks at it for much longer than he looks at anything else, including my face.  His attention span is improving in general though, and he will look at faces for longer than he did even a few days ago.

Matt likes to (carefully) lay Emmett on the dogs.  How cute is he in a bed of Max fur?  I love his expression in this one.

I’ll be back with some regular content (our projects) soon, but baby care and visitors have been consuming so much of my time that it’s hard to get it done.

-Kelly

Emmett pic of the day

My mom came to stay with us for a week after Emmett was born.  It was great to have her with us during those first days home, and I think she loved it just as much as I did.  Once she went home, she missed Emmett so much that she asked me to send her a daily photo of him.  Now I’m sending the “Emmett pic of the day” to all his grandparents and aunts.  I thought it would be fun to share them here too - not every day, but in a weekly recap.  Here are the most recent ones, plus a couple of extras.

-Kelly

p.s. In case you missed the first round of pictures, they are here.

Happiest of birthdays all around

Our little Emmett was born right on his due date, which means that every year our entire nuclear family will be celebrating our birthdays within less than 3 weeks.  Emmett was the best birthday gift Matt and I could have asked for (although Matt did buy himself a toy helicopter and me 2 packs of M&Ms… hey wait a minute).  

Emmett’s birth story is fairly interesting; there were a few twists and turns but we did it the way we wanted to.  I’ll post it as soon as I finish writing it up.  For now, here are some pictures of our sweet baby.

First bath:

The dogs did not miss a beat when when we brought Emmett home.  We are all a happy family!

The “sleeping intellectual” look:

Snuggling with Daddy:

Emmett is healthy and pretty calm so far.  We’ve just passed his 2 week birthday, which is when the fussy times start according to The Happiest Baby on the Block, and we’ve started to see it a little bit in the evenings.  He eats like a champ; at his pediatrician appointment on day 12 he was 5 oz. over his birth weight.  We just love our little guy and can’t wait to see him grow, at the same time knowing we will cherish these first precious days with him.

-Kelly

39 weeks

One week until my official due date!  The belly is huge but it’s surprisingly not causing me many problems.  I still feel great (so lucky!) and am staying active.  My only issues are swollen ankles (not cute), a bit of heartburn, and occasionally bumping into things because I don’t realize just how far my belly extends.  Baby is moving around but I can tell he’s running out of room in there so he can’t do the big dramatic alien-looking movements anymore.  Now we just have to wait and see when the big day comes.

We had a fun and productive weekend.  On Saturday Matt put in his last big day as volunteer coordinator / jack-of-all-trades at the P-patch paths project.  At home, I enjoyed some phone time with my mom and sister, did laundry, cleaned, organized the pantry and closets… I guess it was the late pregnancy nesting impulse.  I also trained the dogs.  We’re working on loose leash walking (still - but improving nicely!) and creating positive associations with nail clippers (currently I can’t cut Sonny’s nails, so we’re working up to it by first getting treats for being calm and not moving when the clippers come near his feet).  In the evening we stopped by our friends’ house for a visit and to pick up more baby supplies.  The house is getting crowded with all this baby gear, despite our organizational efforts.  It’s just a lot of stuff.  We need to move some things to the garage.

 

On Sunday we had brunch with friends and then Matt spent some time organizing the garage and working on our diaper changing station.  I hope he can finish it before the baby arrives.  We also managed to clear up some space in our bedroom by getting rid of a large filing cabinet and small TV.  We freecycled both and they were picked up on Monday.  Then we took the dogs to the park, where for the first time this spring we let them swim in Lake Washington.  They had a great time.

On the way home we stopped at the P-patch so I could see all the amazing progress, and a fellow gardener snapped the top photo of the whole family in the orchard.  We ended the day with doggie baths.  They are so clean and soft now.  Ready to meet their new brother!

-Kelly