Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blog Series: Rachel's Guide!

Today's post is brought to you by one of my oldest friends, Rachel. She and I have known eachother literally our entire lives. Our dads have been best friends since they were teenagers and our families are so tight knit that I consider them more family than friends anyway. In fact, Rach's dad was the Deacon at my wedding. He gave a beautiful, personal homily (complete with a story about changing my diaper)...and then a year and a half later he baptized my son.

We are that close.

Over the years Rach and I have discovered that, ironically, we've taken on similar styles in parenting and favor much the same when it comes to baby gear, mommy gear...and cocktails. So I could think of no better friend to include in this series. Without further ado...Rachel's Guide.

So, for transparencies sake, you should all know that I don't have a blog. I don't write much of anything unless you consider text messages writing - which I don't. I'm a 28 year old mama to a 16 month old little man with a peanut on the way this Holiday season. I married my first love and high school sweetheart. We are entrepreneur/sort of restauranteur/Cold Stone franchisee's who are starting an all French Fry fast food place in Washington, DC. None of this really makes me qualified to write a blog post for you to read. But I did it anyway and here's why. I've known Val since, well, we were both glimmers in our parents eye's and I think she's awesome and her blog is awesome and I'm obsessed with baby stuff. 

I was that pregnant lady that did months of research on all the most practical things to buy for baby. I subscribed to Consumer Reports and I talked the ear off anyone I knew had kids before I bought any big ticket items. So, now that I am a seasoned mama there are a few items that I pretty much word vomit about when I find out someone is having a baby. Here they are. 

I'm not sure if my first item really qualifies as 'gear' but it's totally worth the mention. Its the Secure Beginnings Breathable Crib Mattress. People, this is the 'Ah-Ha' mommy product of a lifetime. Take a look at any recommended check list for baby from any big box store. The crib section reads like this.. 4-6 crib sheets, 2-4 waterproof mattress pads, firm crib mattress, super expensive crib bedding set (that you'll have to take the bumper and the quilt out of anyway)...ect, ect. Ugh, thats a lot of crap.
I don't know about you, but my BIGGEST fear was my son sleeping alone in his room.  'What if he rolls?' 'GASP! What if he's a tummy sleeper?' 'I'll just stand over him all night and roll him back over...who needs sleep anyway, right?' ... I swear this is going somewhere.
Enter Secure Beginnings Breathable Mattress. This.Thing.Is.Incredible. It is everything that every parent has sat thinking about during those long hours keeping watch over wee ones. It is essentially a double mesh topper that fits over a wooden base (think open box spring) that allows baby to sleep face down and breathe fresh air right through the mattress. Let's really break this down. How is a baby supposed to breathe through a traditional mattress with a waterproof cover on it? They aren't and they don't. What if your precious bundle spits up in the middle of the night? It pools on top of a traditional mattress - potentially dangerous. Not with the Secure Beginnings Mattress. Air and liquids pass right through the layers of mesh. Genius. It's good up to 60 lbs and can transition to a toddler bed, so its got longevity on its side. There are no sheets, just the mattress topper, and it can be machine washed. It is made to fit all standard cribs, but I will say, it took a little adjusting to fit in ours - but nothing that anyone who put the crib together can't manage. It's a little expensive (and I would buy two toppers in case of an overnight accident) but other than the car seat - this is most important item you are going to buy as far as I'm concerned so the price is justifiable. 
This is my go-to recommendation for any parent and if I could shout it from the rooftops, I would. Do yourselves a favor and check this product out. It's the ticket to less worry for mommy & daddy and a happy tummy-sleeping baby. 

My next favorite item is from the good people at 4Moms. First of all- I want all the things this company makes. ALL THE THINGS. When I had Nico the only product they had out was the mamaRoo. It's a sort of swing/rocker/baby seat/soother/magic piece of machinery. It looks like something out of a futuristic sic-fi movie, which totally appeals to my "I don't want baby things that look like baby things" mentality. It has a sound machine, a number of movement settings, and an iPod hookup. Yep, an iPod hookup. The gist is that it moves the way you would move if your were trying to soothe an infant. When is the last time you saw someone standing there vibrating from head to toe to put a baby to sleep... exactly. The mamaRoo has settings like tree swing and ocean, where it dips and slides and moves up and down and side to side with smooth, natural momentum. It comes in great fabric patterns and has reversible, soft mobiles stuffies that baby will love. This thing is super cool and I want one in my size. 

My last item goes in every new baby gift I ever give. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. First of all, just looking a them, they have the sweetest designs and patterns. For boys, for girls, gender neutral. All adorable. My son was born in February, so it was still cold here in Philadelphia, and these were the perfect light blanket for when he was snoozing in his mamaRoo or under his car seat bundle for an extra cozy layer. Obviously, they are fab swaddles, but they are wonderful for tummy time or nap time. They work super well for nursing mama's as a cover and I even used to drape them over his car seat on hot summer days to keep the sun off him. They are light and breathable, yet warm and cozy if doubled over. I had a stack of receiving blankets ready to go when Nico was born and stacked they stayed because the Aden and Anais blankets are the only ones I ever used. They have a whole line of products, like burp cloths, big kid blankets and even swaddle sacks. Love love love. 

Now the fun part. Drinks. 
For us, not the kids. Well, I'm pregnant, so for you - not me or the kids. 
Its summer now, thank God, so here's a refreshing one. Have one for me. 

Strawberry Moscato Lemonade

1 bottle Pink Moscato
6 cups lemonade
1/4 cup Strawberry Vodka (or more, I don't judge)
Slices of fresh strawberries and lemons

Mix liquids in a pitcher, garnish each glass with the fresh fruit. Pour & Enjoy!

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