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Baby

Our Favorite Toys

December 5, 2017

I have had numerous messages about where certain toys that Eloise plays with are from or where people can find them. You are ALWAYS welcome to reach out and ask me as I really love hearing from you but wanted to compile a list of things we have been playing with a lot recently to make it easier to find these:

Hape Pound Bench:

I love that this toy has so many elements. Eloise has learned to pull the xylophone out, hit the keys with the hammer, chew on said hammer, and has figured out to put the balls in the circles and push them through with her hand. I like that the novelty isn’t gone though. She can still figure out to put the xylophone back in and match the balls with the corresponding colors. And whenever people are playing with her they will whip out whatever one nursery rhyme they remember and entertain themselves for a few minutes too (My go to is Yankee Doodle haha)

Wooden Stacker:

Our wooden stacker is from PBKids but I love Bannor toys so much that I wanted to sub this in here. I seriously LOVE their products and Eloise really loves that she has figured this toy out. Lately I can give it to her and she will occupy herself with it for at least ten minutes (which may not sound like a lot but it is!)

Shape Sorter:

Works great for naming colors, so far Eloise just takes the shapes in and out of the box and opens and shuts the lid but there are so many great options of play for this.

MyBToys

Elemenosqueeze: These are squish blocks that are large. We are currently practicing stacking them. They are wonderful because they don’t cause pain or a ruckus when they topple over.

B. Elemenosqueeze

Zany Zoo: This one is wonderful because, well just look at it. There is so much to do and it’s the perfect place for Eloise to pull up and keep herself occupied while mastering her balance. I love that there are so many animals and letters to talk about too.

B. Zany Zoo (Wooden Activity Cube)

 

Plan Toys:

If it isn’t obvious I really like natural material toys and have never been disappointed with Plan Toys. We have numerous objects from them. Here they are:

Duck Racer

Plan Toys Duck Racer Mini Vehicle

TukTuk  – Reminds me of our honeymoon in Thailand

PlanToys 5443 PT Tuk Truck Toy

Dancing Alligator Pull Toy

Weather Dress Up : She hasn’t masted her colors yet but I love puzzles so I could help myself when I had the opportunity to get a puzzle that gives the chance to talk about dressing up and seasons etc.

Plan Toys Weather Dress-Up

Cactus:

Let’s be real, this was more for me than for her at this point but it makes for a cute little display piece in her nursery too!

Bannor Toys:

I love the quality of these wooden toys. I know I mentioned their stacker before but these are also household favorites:

Classic Wooden Rattle:

Teethers:

Blocks

Wand

Fat Brain Toys

Mini Spinny:

This was a fun one to watch her figure out. It, surprisingly, didn’t take very long. She flips it over and watches the cogs spiral down, then flips it over and repeats the process.

Fat Brain Toys MiniSpinny

Tobbes Neo

Bilibo:

Alright my mom found these but they are cool to do whatever with. We hide things under them or use them to sort colors, Eloise will put the Hape balls in them and try to drink out of them. Good for imaginations!

Moluk Mini Bilibos Baby Toy

 

If you ever see anything Eloise is playing with that isn’t on this list let me know and I can add it or just have a chat with you!

BEST BABY PRODUCTS FROM A FIRST TIME MOM SERIES: DockATot Grand

December 1, 2017

If you hadn’t heard me rave enough about the DockaTot I wanted to give an update including my experience with the DockaTot Grand.

The DockaTot Grand was gifted to us but all of the following opinions are my own.  The DockaTot Grand is good for babies and tots that are 9-36 months of age and is a co-sleeper or multi-functional lounger.

Dockatot New Collection Fairytale

Let me start off by saying we love our DockATots.

A little back story: The DockaTot Deluxe worked perfectly for us. Eloise slept in between us for the first few months of her life. We all slept really well together with one, occasionally two, feedings a night.

We eventually transitioned her to the Pack’nPlay in our room so that we could train her to sleep through the night before she became mobile. This too worked really well for us and she was often sleeping through the night without any mishaps.

All of this changed when she started to crawl and pull up. I really believe that she would be thinking about it so much that she would start to crawl in her sleep and wake herself up, and I don’t need tell to you it’s much harder to cry yourself to sleep while standing than it is to cry yourself to sleep while laying down. Our night sleeps were broken and our naps were about 15 minutes, and they were mostly in my arms.

Enter the DockATot Grand. When it arrived I put it in the living room where I could be with Eloise in it and we could lounge in it. It’s so big that you better believe both Andrew and I have laid down in it, and hey! I could totally nap in there! It’s so cozy. I sleep surrounded by pillows anyway and the DockaTot provides a similar concept.

The first nap that I put her in the DockATot Grand lasted a full two hours. My guess is that it feels like she is still being held and she tosses and turns less. Additionally, this creates a more restful sleep environment. Every time I have put her down in the lounger her sleep seems to be longer and less interrupted.

Guys, I know it seems crazy but I swear these things have magic powers. If you haven’t already purchased a DockATot and you’re having sleep troubles I recommend checking them out now! And have sweet dreams. xx

 

How to Take Milk Bath Photos

October 12, 2017

Milk bath photos are easily one of my favorite things to do. It is super easy once you get into the grove of it, and for obvious reasons they are Instagram GOLD. People are always asking tips on how to do them and I figured I would write a quick post about my process of how to take milk bath photos so that you can add to the Instagram goodness.

Ingredients:

Powdered milk

Fresh cut flowers

A bathtub, but hey a galvanized bucket etc. can absolutely do the trick!

Directions:

  1. Run your bath water at the desired temperature. If you are working with a little babe and you want them to look like they are floating in the water, only fill the tub a couple inches and, of course, watch them to ensure they don’t roll over in the water. I know they can be squirmy little ones!
  2. Pour in a little of the powdered milk. I am not giving a specific amount because of course it varies how large your tub is and how much water you have used. Honestly, you don’t need much! The less you use now the more milk baths you can create (until you get sick of them! LOL).
    1. Note: I just want to point out that the milk comes second. If you do it first your bath might foam and that’s probably not the look you are going for.
    2. Another note: Some people say the milk smells? I personally haven’t noticed it in my experience but you can absolutely use some essential oils to spice it up for your little cherub (or yourself, cause hey, us mamas need milk baths too!)
  3. Cut up your flowers. This is the hard part. I think a lot of us have a hard time cutting up perfectly good flowers. I’ll tell you now that they just don’t quite look the same with the stems. This is what I always tell myself, say it with me: “The flowers in the pictures that I will take I will remember A LOT longer than those that I leave in our vase for a week.”
    1. You can be creative here too, I have been thinking about doing a wintery photo or using citrus slices and palms, can’t tell you how they will turn out yet though.
  4. Put your babe in and shoot away.
  5. Crop and brighten. Not all of us are so lucky to have amazing bathtubs. I know, just ask Andrew, I keep asking him when we are going to get our oversized clawfoot tub ;-). You would be amazed what a little crop and brightening can do.

If your little one is anything like Eloise, they may try to stick all the flowers in their mouth. Just make sure you aren’t using anything poisonous haha and be quick. I know all of your running around after your cutie has been preparing you for this moment!

After you take your own milk bath photos let me know. I love seeing what you come up with!

No milk in this photo but still wanted to include it! haha

The Color Factory: For Babies

October 6, 2017

We went to The Color Factory in San Francisco on Tuesday. It was the perfect museum to take an infant to because the colors and lights are very stimulating even at a very young age. If you are looking for engaging activities to do that will keep both your infant as well as your baby’s I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Each of the rooms provided household items like to look at that you see on a day to day basis but all in that single color.

The color in many of the rooms was composed by lights or disco balls, or things like confetti or thousands of receipt paper selfies that you could pick up, scrunch and throw.

The ribbon room had thousands of ribbons hung in close proximity and I believe that Eloise’s new found mobility made it even more enjoyable for her to crawl through them, although they were so dense that even I bumped into a stranger when trying to navigate my way through… Whoops!

By far, however, Eloise’s favorite room was the ginormous ball pit. Not only did the yellow color have a happy vibe but our favorite game lately has been “throwing” a ball back and forth. What is better than hundreds of thousands of yellow balls?

We have our trip to the Museum of Ice Cream in a couple weeks. Stay tuned!

Seven Months Old

October 4, 2017

Holy seven months! I blab everyday about how wonderful you are and today is no exception. Here are some of your achievements this month:
•Crawling around the house, pulling up on things and helping me discover things to baby proof.
•Sleeping through the night on a regular basis, but I miss you so.
•Feeding yourself, and feeding others; your pincer grasp is getting there! •Playing ball. It’s your favorite, oh it makes you giggle nonstop each time.
•Saying mama and dada; with or without meaning to, but it’s good enough for me
•Understanding “no” and actually listening to it… sometimes
•Being cute AF and refining your cuddling skills.
You’ve had a busy month and have been working hard. I give you straight A’s sugar muffin

Eloise has been making her way around the house. She has realized she is no longer confined to the foam mat in the living room and has been finding all sort of trouble to get into. It’s definitely worth it however, because I love watching the world through her eyes as she discovers things around the house.

Eloise had her first cold, which she recovered quickly from, I attribute it to nursing. She went apple picking and to the county fair. 

 

Six Months Old

September 20, 2017

I can’t believe it’s your half birthday already! You are such a pleasant natured, curious, determined little girl. You’re constantly babbling, and doing crazy yoga positions that put me to shame. You’ve been working so hard to crawl and you are actually starting to figure it out! You insist on spoon feeding yourself and have been eating pretty much everything we eat. Oh, and I’m fairly confident you say “hi!” Maybe you’re an extrovert like your daddy. You’re growing so fast my heart can’t keep up.

I’ve gotten bibs that go down to her sleeves, fabric bibs, plastic bibs that are so stiff she can’t get both arms out in front of her. These ones are actually really pliable so I love them ☝. What I really need are secrets for getting out stains lol.
#savetheclothes #eatlikealadyEloise #littlesthelms

Sophie and Eloise are becoming quite the pair. I often wake up to the three of us snuggled up. They are currently napping together on the couch. ✨ #ishernameSophieorGentle? #EloiseandSophie #littlesthelms

Magic at grandma’s house ✨ #lookmabothhands #everythingshedoesismagic #littlesthelms

This is how my life has changed:
Pre-Eloise, when Andrew was gone for the weekend I would think of how best to pull my bed sheets up to my neck and lie really still in my bed hoping that any intruders that may come into the house would not notice me.
Post-Eloise, when Andrew is gone for the weekend I think of how best I would cover Eloise with my body so any intruder that may come into the house would not notice her. ✨#imherprotectivesheet #alsothereisacopnextdoor #littlesthelms

Hey mah I know about those. They are called flow-ars and when I put them in my hand they go C R U N C H! ✨
“Gentle” is going be up being her first word. #gentleEloise #IsaidgentleEloise #littlesthelms

Eloise lounges hard. Her leg is always hanging off the edge of something, stroller, dockatot you name it. ✨ #nofearoftheboogeyman #scaredoffacialhairthough #littlesthelms

Eloise is pretty bummed we don’t get to spend this weekend with Avery and Maeanna.
I am so thankful to my parents for doing the impossible and raising me and my sister on their own in a foreign place. I really can’t imagine how difficult it would be to do it without family around.
We are lucky that Eloise will grow up seeing her cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents on a regular basis. Family is such a powerful and important part of our lives. ‍‍✨#gonnaeatthemall #whysosurprisedEloise? #littlesthelms

“Hi mama! Now if you’ll excuse me, I want to get back to learning about world travel, the numbers 1-10, quantum physics, and aerospace engineering.” ✨#Eloiseyouresosmart #allthebooks #littlesthelms

 

Learning to Crawl: The Struggle is Real

September 12, 2017

Eloise is on the move… well not technically but she is really yearning to crawl.

I’ve been so preoccupied writing month posts from memory that I haven’t had the opportunity to write about what is CURRENTLY going on for us.

Perhaps all babies are like this but Eloise certainly isn’t happy with sitting in one place and just observing. This is particularly because she has hit the mark where she realizes that we can walk away and she can’t follow us.

The biggest problem with this is that she starts blubbering and crying out of frustration thus I end up helping her up which prevents her from learning for herself.

Something I have noticed is that she knows all the bones to sitting up but hasn’t actually done it yet. She can get on all fours from her belly, she can push back from all fours, and she can go from sitting over to a crawling position and end up on her belly. What she doesn’t know is how to tie them all together. I’m guessing it’s just a matter of days before this clicks for her.

Moreover, she can rock on all fours and move her hands forward and back but usually ends up sitting or on her belly.

Every one says she will, of course, learn this in her own time and not to force it too much. However, being that she is our first child and our attention is not yet divided, I love to watch her succeed and can’t help but urge her on.

One of the tips I came across to helping babies learn to move into a sitting position is sitting on the ground with them over your thigh, baby on his or her knees. Then slowly lifting your leg up so they end up moving back onto their bums. I think it helped Eloise explore her body being in new positions she may not have been able to get to on her own at that point in her mobility. 

Five Months Old

September 12, 2017

What a easy going happy baby you are. This was literally the first picture I took and it embodies who you are perfectly. You are a great traveler. You have pretty much mastered sitting and rolling every way and you are starting to scoot around. You’re never quite where I put you down.
You have been experimenting with all kinds of food and are soaking in everything like a cute little sponge. (Who knew you could describe a sponge as cute?) How lucky I am to be your mama. Simply saying “I love you” is an understatement. 

By five months Eloise started to eat all sorts of food since her four month check up. She got her passport for our upcoming trip, went into Lake Tahoe for the first time, and we spent two evenings apart but she was a champ for Grandma! She has been sucking her toes and giggling more and more.

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Four Months Old

September 12, 2017

Four months young! Your personality is starting to shine. You’re a serious, curious little girl who is always contemplating something. Luckily you are willing to share your smiles with us. You are very loquacious, you’re mastering your roll and are practicing your sitting skills. You got a blister toe from all your bouncing this month and are getting good at soothing yourself to sleep. I couldn’t have asked for anything more my little one.

In her fourth month Eloise went camping for the first time. Thanks to the Dock-a-Tot I’m confident she slept better than anyone there. She got to spend long days on the beach and started bouncing in her Jump-a-roo. She started to be more aware of her surrounding and was really taking everything in. She started rolling both ways and sitting up with a little help. Here are some pictures because it was in the past and you forget WAY too quickly:

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Three Months Old

September 9, 2017

“What an honor it is to share your three month birthday, little one. The past few weeks have been amazing, watching your personality shine through. You are so loving and cuddly but perfectly content being on your own. You sleep through the night on special occasions and only wake up once on regular days. I have loved watching you watch your hands for hours, –there’s some high quality entertainment for ya! You are getting close to rolling from your back to your stomach, are super talkative and getting better daily at using your hands. I even got to hear you full out giggle twice. Still waiting to get proof for everyone else though! Love you to the moon and back my sweet Eloise!”

Three months was the best. It was about the time that she stopped being a little blob and started being so much more aware of her surroundings. Eloise started to lose hair on the sides on her head and we had no idea what color it was going to grow out to be. Actually we still don’t REALLY know….

Eloise decided not to take a pacifier, despite what it may seem like in the pictures below. I did try really hard to get her to take it though! Maybe for baby #2.