Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hats and Hands... Caroline's 3 Month Pictures

My friend Lora and I teamed up to take some 3 month shots of Caroline last week.

We had hats. Cute ones. To me, there's nothing cuter than a baby + diaper + hat. And maybe some booties. Who needs more clothes than that?

And then we had hands. In almost every shot. These days, it's impossible to keep Caroline's hands out of her mouth.


They're her new toys.

We tried for a smile. And failed. And got more hands shots.

But you know what? Right now she likes her hands. So it's appropriate that her 3 month pics are largely shots of Caroline trying to shove both fists into her mouth.

I know I'll look back on these and smile to remember this passing little quirk.

Unrelated: I'm in love with our cloth diapers. Isn't this green one adorable?

And okay, we did manage to snap a couple of non-hand pictures, too.

Are those blue eyes here to stay? Time will tell.

We drool a lot around here.

Pretty in pink.

And you know how this girl was skinny last month? Well, she's still pretty scrawny. Even more so, actually! We may have to invest in suspenders to keep her pants up one of these days...

3 Month Stats:
10lbs 11oz (10th-ish percentile)
23 1/2in (50th-ish percentile)

And for the record...
The pink hat + booties were a gift from my cousin Rebecca, and the multicolored hat was a gift from our friend Kendra. Love them both! And the diaper is a bumGenius 4.0 with snaps.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Growing Girl

Yep, she keeps right on getting bigger. And stronger. And (slightly) chubbier.

And I'm dreaming up ways of using all of these weekly photos - especially once there's 52 of them. Wall collage? Photo book? 52 photo mugs? Okay, probably not that one. But for now it's fun to look back and see little changes week to week.

Twelve Weeks

Monday, February 14, 2011

Traveling with a baby.

The very idea seems to strike fear into the hearts of new parents. It was certainly a daunting thought to us a couple of weeks ago!

What should I pack? Will my baby cry on the plane? How do I navigate security with an infant? Can I bring milk or formula on board?

These are the questions that keep us new moms up at night.

We've now been to Phoenix and Orlando in the course of a couple of weeks. Those trips involved three different flights, a long car ride, and several different accommodations. Before our first trip, I asked the collective wisdom of facebook about their tips on flying with an infant. I received at least 20 responses in about five hours. Fantastic insights! They were super helpful to us as we traveled. And along the way, we gathered a few more tidbits.

Since we've been back, we've already had a number of friends ask for our tips for traveling with a baby. I figure there might be more of you out there wondering the same thing. So here we go...

1. Flexibility is your friend.

If you're a schedule nazi, I think you'll need to drop it for the duration of your trip. Go with the flow. Rock your baby to sleep, even if you're a cry-it-out-er at home. Feed your baby when she fusses, even if you usually feed on 3 hour intervals. Roll with it. Knowing upfront that everything will be haywire will make you feel better about life.

2. Nurse on the way up and nurse on the way down.

Or use a pacifier! Or feed a bottle. This was the #1 piece of advice we got on facebook, and it worked super well! I've heard that it helps equalize the pressure in their ears. I don't know if Caroline had any issues with pressure or not, but since we didn't have any crying fits during take off or landing, I'm going to assume it worked.

3. On that note, get used to nursing in public (if you nurse, obviously).

This is a fairly controversial/personal issue, I realize. Personally, I nurse Caroline everywhere. Park benches. Friends' houses. Restaurants. The backseat of a car (that is parked). Rides at Disney World. I don't like to isolate myself from my friends and family just because I need to feed my baby, so I cover up and nurse in all kinds of different locations. This was especially helpful when I was traveling, since good private locations for nursing just aren't always available. I personally use a nursing apron/cover, akin to this one so I'm always covered and discreet. If you sew at ALL, you can also find great patterns for them online. In any case, it might be my most-used baby item.

4. Leave your pump at home.

Because of my thoughts on #3, I was comfortable with kissing my pump goodbye temporarily. It's just a big space hog and not 100% necessary to a trip.

5. Buy pre-mixed formula.

We don't use much formula around here, but found it to be a very handy backup option for travel. Especially the ready-to-go cans. On one of the flights, Caroline got super cranky. Since we were confined to the seat, we weren't able to calm her down using normal methods. She'd recently nursed, so I knew I didn't have much mama milk for her to munch on. So for the sake of the other passengers, we gave her a formula bottle and it did the trick! We also found it helpful to have formula on hand for car trips. We were able to tide her over here and there if she fussed between stops.

6. Leave your car seat base at home.

Okay, first check your own car seat and make sure you can buckle in the carrier without a base. Read the directions and find out how to do it. And then save space in your luggage and leave the base in your own car at home. We have a Chicco Keyfit and it works perfectly to simply buckle it into any car.

7. Check with your airline about their allowances for checking car seats and strollers.

For our first trip, we used US Air. They allowed us to gate check either our car seat or a stroller for free. We knew we'd need both in Phoenix, so ended up stuffing an umbrella stroller into a duffel bag, and then packing our clothes in around it. That way we were able to just check (and pay for) one item instead of two. But that's just us and our cheap ways. The third flight was with AirTran and they allowed both a car seat and a stroller to be checked for free, either at the ticket counter or the gate. I found none of this information on the airline's website, and had to call them directly.

8. Put a cloth diaper cover over the disposable diaper on your baby's bum.

We have blow out issues at our house when we use disposable diapers. That was part of the reason we switched to cloth when we did. But we still use disposables for travel. Two different facebook friends recommended taking a BumGenius cover (no insert, just a cover) and putting it right on top of Caroline's disposable diaper for an extra layer of protection. It worked like a charm! It saved us from more than one blow out during our travels. I actually forgot to pack cloth diaper covers for Disney World, and had to deal with the consequences more than once. Not so fun.

9. Swaddle your baby into their car seat or stroller.

This was a trip from my friend DeeDee, mother of 3, two of which are twins. If you're a swaddle-r, you may have noticed that your velcro swaddle blankets have a hole near your baby's rear end. This is for car-seat swaddle ability. Simply lay the swaddle blanket into the car seat/stroller, and pull the bottom strap through the hole. Pull the wings through the arm holes, and the put your baby in. Buckle the car seat/stroller as usual, and then arrange the swaddle blanket around the baby. I've found that this strategy really helps Caroline sleep longer and better when she needs to nap on the go. This was great for both our car trip to Florida as well as our Disney World adventures.

(And please don't call the baby police on me for putting Caroline in an umbrella stroller prior to her 3 month mark. We didn't feel like dragging our big jogging stroller across the country. We also used that yellow cushion, which helped stabilize her little head.) Also, the swaddle blanket is the primary colored one with the planes, boats, and cars.

10. One heavy blanket and one light one should cover your blanket needs.

The heavy blanket doubles as a coat (with a car seat) or changing mat, in a pinch. The light one can be used as a sun shade, a burp cloth, a swaddle blanket, etc. Or, if you're my mom, a scarf.

11. Make do.

Don't haul all of the baby crap you own with you. Since Caroline is so young, we left all toys and books at home. She's just as fascinated with colorful dishes and people's faces as she is with her teddy bears. She was also bathed in a variety of sinks, and toweled off with whatever was available. And she survived without her beloved bouncer seat.

12. If you need to bring a baby bed with you, spring for a Peapod.

You're probably already aware of just how heavy and bulky your pack and play is! The Peapod bed is light (just over five pounds) and fits into carry-on sized luggage. We just took along one of her crib sheets and covered the little air mattress with that. A perfect baby bed for travel!


13. Hands-free carriers are great.

Caroline spent some quality time in her Moby Wrap while we gone! A Bjorn or Ergo would work just as well, I'm sure. It was great for navigating the airport on that third flight when Josh wasn't with me. The only drawback for flights is that they'll make you take it off when you go through security. It was also great for navigating the buses and boats and rides at Disney World. More on that later.

One of these days I'll do a post on Disney World with an infant. But for now, there are my top 13 tips on traveling with a baby. All of these things worked well for us, but I know that each baby and family is unique. Do what works best for you! And on that note, I'm super curious to learn just what that might be.

So, bloggy friends, do share!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Disney World 2011

Disney World continues to have a special spot in my heart. Since a good chunk of my extended family lives in the Orlando area, I've had the opportunity to visit "the place where dreams come true" many times. And it never gets old!

So when my parents suggested that Caroline and I accompany them on a trip to Florida to see family and visit Disney I jumped at the opportunity. What's maternity leave for?

We stayed for 4 nights in the cabins at Fort Wilderness Campground. If you're traveling with a larger group, especially if that larger group includes kids, I totally recommend this option. There's a full kitchen (so you don't need to eat out for every meal) AND a separate living room/bedroom. That gives you the ability to put kids to bed in the bedroom and then CLOSE THE DOOR and hang out in the living room for the rest of the evening. Genius. It's also pretty reasonable, and even more so if you're willing to buy a few groceries and eat a few meals in the cabin. We're all doing Disney on the cheap in our family.

Silly me, I forgot to take any pics. But they've got plenty at Disney's website.

We spent two days in the Disney parks this time around. The first day we went to Hollywood Studios, and I felt terrible the entire time and went back to the cabin early. Ugh.

Two days later I was on the mend, so my mom, Caroline, and I headed to the Magic Kingdom (my personal favorite!) for the day.

I've NEVER been to Disney on that kind of day before.

Perfect weather. No lines.


Caroline is such a little bitty thing that she obviously had no idea what was going on.

But that didn't stop us from introducing her to the characters. Pluto is my favorite, by the way.

And even though she's totally too young to truly appreciate Disney World, there were a bunch of rides and attractions we could take her on. That way at least we adults could enjoy them, and bring her along.

Do you see that "scarf?"

It's totally one of Caroline's blankets. My mom wore it around her neck the entire time we were at the Magic Kingdom. I don't think I'll let her live that one down.

The last time I was at Disney, I was pregnant. So no rollercoasters for me! This time, however, I enjoyed a few favorites...

Caroline made sure we didn't miss any attractions.

Good-bye for now, Disney World. I can't wait to come back when Caroline can actually appreciate you. And wear Minnie Mouse ears. And potentially get her hair done at the Bippity Bobbity Boutique.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Grea-Nana and Poppa Brown

Not only did Caroline meet her grandparents (Nana and Poppa) on our trip to Phoenix, she also got to spend time with her great-grandparents.

Josh is an only child. His dad is an only child. And thus, Caroline is the very first great-grandchild for these folks:

Every time I tried to snap a picture of Nana with Caroline, she cried. (Sorry, Nana!)

Poppa had the special touch. And a pacifier.

So fun!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baby's First Trip

The first big one, that is. And a very, very important one for this girl.


Caroline met her Brown grandparents for the very first time.


Josh's parents would have loved to meet our little bundle much sooner. In fact, they'd even toyed with the idea of buying a condo in the Columbus area so that they could spend a little more time with all of us. But then Josh's mom received a serious diagnosis a just a couple of weeks before Caroline was born, making her unable to travel.

We spent the first two months of Caroline's life sharing pictures and videos, and chatting regularly over Skype. But it wasn't nearly as good as spending time together in person. Well, we recently got to change all of that.


Let's just say it was wonderful to see them together for the first time.


I think... I think they enjoyed it.


They commiserated with her cranky moments,


bounced her,


kissed her,


and made all kinds of faces and voices in attempts to make her smile.


It was so sweet to behold! Brand new grandparents doting on a little girl.