Posted in Gear Reviews, Essential Life Hacks

Baby Carrier Review; What Worked for Me

(*note: the links in here are merely for your researching convenience and not affiliate at all)

I have traveled to 6 countries with my little guy and navigated an international move and a carrier is a MUST HAVE. Even if you aren’t going to leave the house, a carrier enables you to cuddle your baby without sacrificing your hands, i.e. enables chores so is this really a win here? Which kind you prefer is a matter of personal preference but here’s what worked for me:

0-2 months: Boba Wrap

boba wrap for traveling
Exploring Prague



  1. 1. I was able to nurse in it and baby would nap forever snuggled against me. It was a lifesaver when I was trying to show our house!
  2. 2. Good for newborns because it is very womb-like
  3. 3. Makes baby (and momma) feel very snug, so good for hands free traveling




  1. In the summertime it was way to hot. Little man would come out all sweaty, poor thing.
  2. SO FREAKIN COMPLICATED to put on. I mean, it’s easy in theory, but it takes a minute and you definitely have to put baby down to get it on and off.
Boba Wrap Traveling airport
Heathrow Airport

2-5 months: Infantino Advanced Convertible Carrier

Infantino carrier
Target Shopping


  1. My kiddo LOVES this carrier as he likes to face outwards and see (and touch and grab) the world.
  2. He can also face inwards and nurse, which is nice.
  3. Super lightweight carrier
  4. Breezy and good for summer

    Infantino Dallas Zoo
    Not impressed with the Dallas Zoo





  1. This carrier is comfy on their little legs because it lets their feet hang down instead of spreading them, which can be complicated when trying to nurse because then the baby’s legs are dangling over yours and makes walking up stairs almost impossible for shortish people like me (I’m 5’4”).
  2. There are lots of straps which can be confusing.

5 months- present day: Standard Tula

Tula navigatorPROS:

  1. This carrier is by far the easiest to take on and off which is crucial as baby has gotten a lot more wiggly.
  2. It is very warm and cuddly.
  3. Also, it’s a Tula so very cute and stylish.
  4. Nursing is super easy and once baby falls asleep I can raise him back up without difficulty. The position of baby’s legs also make walking easier.20171114_121630
  5. Little dude can ride piggy back (which he supposedly can too in the Infantino, but we never tried it. Somehow the Tula feels more secure)

    Admittedly, he loved this


  1. There isn’t an outward facing option for the standard Tula so my kid kinda hates it. He’s getting better (come on kid, this is an expensive carrier, PLEASE LOVE IT), but prefers the Infantino honestly.
  2. It’s expensive, even used, so maybe try a friend’s Tula to see if your kid likes it
  3. The straps are thick, which is good for support but bad if you’re trying to also wear a coat (HELLO WINTER WINDS!)
  4. It is bulky to store/carry around when not in use. When I get more motivated, I’m going to DIY one of those Ninja roll Tula carriers from Etsy.

I also have a mesh ring sling, a mesh wrap, and a Maya Wrap ring sling (well, I borrowed one for awhile). The mesh ones I didn’t really like because they had no ‘give’ so I couldn’t get to where I felt my little one was secure. The Maya Wrap ring sling was cool and I liked it. It was a bit of a learning curve to wear/nurse, but once I got the hang of it I enjoyed it. I would be willing to give that one another go for sure.


Next baby I am going to try the Tula from the get-go and see how he/she likes it then. I think going from the freedom of the Infantino to the restriction of the Tula was a bit of a shock for my little guy, but everyone who tries the Tula’s first seems very happy with them. Now that I have one, I’ll try it earlier. Check back for an update in a year or two. 😉

Best of luck finding a carrier that suits you! I hope my experiences have helped you a little in your search!

Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

5 Reasons You Should Include a Timex Sports Watch on Your Baby Registry

I never thought a sports watch would be my number one favorite ‘baby care’ item, but here I am writing a freaking ode to it.

5 Reasons why I love mine (which happens to be an Ironman Timex

1. The glowlight feature
Baby wakes you up in the middle of the night or nursing in a dark room, bingo, no need for turning the light on, just a tiny glow with a button you can feel for in the dark.

2. The stopwatch
THIS IS MY FAVORITE. I put baby down and immediately start the stopwatch. It not only tells me when I should be expecting baby up (typical nap being an hour and a half), but lets me know exactly how long he slept should it be outside the normal range. It also helps me if he fusses at the start (I go snuggle him after ~10 minutes of fussing). I can also restart it when he wakes up and I know around 2 hours he’ll be wanting another nap.

3. The date and day on top
Ok, moms, am I the only stay at home mom that loses track of her days and dates? Geez what month is it even?

4. Rubber strap
The rubbery strap on my particular sports watch is a perfect and convenient baby chew toy. It is clean because it never falls on the floor and gets washed every time I wash my hands, and it is always handy (haha, handy, because it is on my wrist….ok, not funny).

5. Waterproof
Halleluiah, I don’t have to take it off for baby’s bath time. And I would have ruined it by now with showering and forgetting to take it off because, let’s face it, I’m lucky if I remember to take off my socks.

So if you invite me to your baby shower, don’t be surprised if you get a sports watch. You’ll thank me later.

(Not an affiliate link, just here is the one I have exactly: Ironman Timex)

Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

The cliche mom phrase, “I never knew I could love something so much” has been ringing true for me lately. Little R is almost three months old (can you believe it?!). He smiles, coos and giggles. He loves to Skype family but is camera shy and stops whatever he’s doing as soon as I pull out my phone to record it. He does baby yoga with Grandma and has serious conversations with Grandpa. His aunts call him “Ro-ro” and he spends most of his days visiting with family. We TRIED a sleep schedule that I set, but seem to be settling on one he set. It includes a 4-hour nap IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY for which my presence is required. -_-  It may be inconvenient and my reason for wanting to start ‘sleep training’ but I secretly love it. I am so crazy about this kid and already want another one. ^_^ Ok, not right this minute, but I LOVE being a mom. It is all-consuming, but the best thing I’ve ever done. I can’t wait to have my thesis done so I can enjoy our cuddles guilt free.

His smile MELTS ME and I love seeing how excited he gets when I walk in the room. This kid is everything.

Posted in Musings on Mommyhood

Balancing my many hats

caps for saleIt seemed appropriate given that I study children’s literature, that I use a picture from a kids’ book to describe my life. It’s from Esphyr Slobodkina’s book “Caps for Sale” and  illustrates how I feel most days lately. In trying to balance graduate school, an international move, being a new mom, having a decent house, eating/showering myself, and taking care of my ousted furry firstborn (border collie), it feels like my hats have to be stacked like this picture if I want to get anything done. (You may ask why in the midst of this craziness I am blogging. The answer is I have no idea, but it is likely procrastination.)

IMG_20170607_123335063The photo to the left sums up my days. Coffee that has gone cold, a baby who sleeps only while touching me, a laptop with thesis research on all the tabs that aren’t Google results of random parenting questions, and a notebook scattered with thesis jottings and schedules of house showings (the joys of moving #475: having to keep your house clean for strangers).


I love being a mom. Little dude’s smiling face (yes, I know it’s probably gas, but it’s so darn cute) is the best part of my day. I just have to make it through the turmoil of this move and then focus on my thesis until September. I know life never slows down; the crazy just evolves into something new. I am going to 100% — (pause for diaper and outfit change; resume typing with one hand while feeding baby with the other) — anyway, I will 100% miss this time once it’s gone, but it is a little more chaotic than I anticipated. Please forgive infrequent posting. I suspect that will be the new norm.


Oh and did I mention I have horrid allergies and my sneezing frequently wakes baby? It’s great.  😉

Posted in General Updats, Milestones

Baby Story

Three weeks ago, my world changed forever. I became responsible for the very life of the cutest little boy you can imagine. He has his daddy’s big blue eyes and my dark hair. His birth was dramatic; uncomfortable, scary, and almost life-threatening at points. It was 100% worth it. This is his birth story.

The day of my 39 weeks check up, my nurse noted I had high blood pressure, a first for my pregnancy. It was high enough to throw a red flag and she asked me to come back the following day (a Friday) and retest. If it was still high, they would talk about inducing me. My husband was away on a last minute business trip. He was due back Sunday. I asked if I could wait the weekend, come in Monday, so the baby’s dad could be there. The OB agreed.

Sunday night my husband came home and first thing Monday I was in the OB being tested for preeclampsia. It all happened so fast and before I knew it I was on fluids in the Labor and Delivery portion of the hospital and they were putting in a Foley bulb (ugh, they are from hell) to force me to dilate. At 39 weeks 4 days, I wasn’t dilated in the least. The midwife putting in the bulb said I might have “mild cramping”. Understatement of the year. The ensuing contractions had me in tears on the way home. I was to come back in the morning for my induction, at which point I should be dilated to 4 or 5 cm.

39 weeks; morning of delivery
My last pregnant selfie in the wee hours of Tuesday morning…

At 5 o’clock the next morning, my husband, mother, younger sister and I packed up and headed to the hospital. I was still in pain, but less so once the Foley bulb naturally came out around 1 a.m. By 7:30 I was hooked up to a variety of IVs and drugs and by 8:30 my water broke. By 4 p.m. I had only progressed to 6cm dilated. The doctors were concerned. I was groggy from the drugs, but I could tell by their faces, and my family’s demeanor, that something was wrong. Later I learned my blood pressure was so high I was nearing the level of stroke/seizures. At the time though, I just wanted my baby out. The contractions were coming fast, with only a few seconds of rest in between. I was in and out of a dream-like state (honestly, it felt like being drunk) and my biggest concern was having the baby before I had to switch my female doctor for the male doctor scheduled for night shift. That was a lost cause, but the doctor I had been laboring with gave me an epidural before she left.

Another 8 hours of contractions left me snarky and sarcastic with my patient team of doctors and nurses. I didn’t blame my husband, hit anyone, or scream obscenities. I said a very bad word one time, when the baby’s shoulders finally came out, but otherwise I was just generally a feminist who was too scared of accidentally pooping to push properly. (Yeah, that was hands-down the worst part; fear of pooping/feeling like you were gonna. I didn’t, but still. It left my baby pinned under my pelvic bone for 6 hours and gave him an impressive conehead, according to the staff’s notes).

At 11:51 p.m., 34 hours after my contractions began and 9 minutes before his due date, Ronan was born.

For the first 24 hours of his life, I was on a magnesium IV and still felt out-of-it. My husband was absolutely smitten with our son, but I still felt groggy and disconnected. At midnight on Wednesday, they turned off the magnesium and it was like magic. My head cleared and I was IN LOVE with this tiny child. I had cared for him the day before (even on drugs, I love kids and knew he needed me), but – off the magnesium – I relished every moment. Thursday was a great day. I had meals delivered, a fantastic nursing staff at the touch of a button, and my husband brought me Starbucks iced tea throughout the day. Best of all, I had my tiny son to cuddle and love on.

We went home Friday afternoon, though they almost kept me another day. I have neverIMG_20170514_050501292 been so scared to be responsible for a baby, despite a decade of babysitting and having four younger siblings. I am eternally grateful that my mother flew out to stay for three weeks. She made the transition much easier.

So here we are, three weeks later, and finally settling into a routine. I have officially joined the mommy club and it is my favorite thing ever. 🙂

Posted in General Updats, Musings on Mommyhood

5 Things I Wasn’t Warned About…

It’s been a pretty smooth pregnancy. This is week 39 and not a single complication, everything normal, on schedule. Although it is my first pregnancy, I thought I was prepared. I have friends with kids; I remember my mom’s pregnancies with my little sisters; I’ve read the books. Unfortunately, friends don’t share everything, memories are fallible, and the books don’t always present the clearest picture.

Here are 5 things about late pregnancy that are apparently normal, but I was entirely unprepared for:

  1. Dizzy spells and seeing stars: this one freaked me out a bit. Two weeks ago I had an ocular migraine (seeing flashing lights, blurry vision, headache) and went to bed early. It was mostly gone by the next day, so I moved on. Yesterday, I was curious and Googled ‘seeing stars in pregnancy’ because lately this has been happening to me a lot — despite staying hydrated. I was worried when I saw it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, but since my blood pressure has always been ok, this isn’t a concern (for me personally, but always check with your OB – I certainly did).
    Solution/Explanation: Drink extra water and move slowly from one position to the next.
  2. Nausea when laying down: the last few nights I’ve woken up feeling incredibly nauseous. No actual vomiting, but I felt it in my throat. Nasty.
    Solution/Explanation: A lovely result of acid reflux. No rest for the weary, this only gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. YAY! So eat those TUMS and sleep propped up (I make a pillow armchair and sleep kinda reclined. If I had a LazyBoy, I’d sleep there).
  3. BRAXTON HICKS EVERY TIME YOU MOVE. I’m not totally unprepared; I knew Braxton Hicks were part of the deal. Last Friday, I spent the day running errands and had tons of Braxton Hicks. Since my husband was leaving for his business trip Saturday morning, he begged me to take it easy. Hm, Netflix and microwave meals all weekend? Don’t have to ask me twice. Since then, I am just dandy if I am sitting down, but as soon as I get up (Even if it’s just to pee!) BOOM Braxton Hicks. This morning’s shower cost me two.
    Solution/Explanation: Normal for this stage of pregnancy. Call Labor and Delivery if they become regular (and frequent), don’t stop when you settle down, or are really painful.
  4. Really achy tummy: outside and in, this is not a comfortable stage. I’m not sleeping, getting up to pee every hour, and my stomach aches (like someone’s standing on it….or, I don’t know, growing inside it) all the time. It is increasingly difficult to find a position that doesn’t hurt. Sitting up straight on a comfy chair seems optimal. Of course, you can’t sleep sitting straight up, so good luck there.
    Solution/explanation: the world has just chosen to keep secret how freaking uncomfortable the last month is. I thought early third trimester was bad. Experiment with positions until you find something you can live with. Move slowly when you wake up or else risk killer cramps.
  5. Weird poo: Ok, this is gross, but you know what this whole pregnancy and birth thing is disgusting and not one bit “beautiful”. Those women who gush about missing pregnancy and what a beautiful experience it was, they are lying. Or else they have memory loss. By all accounts my pregnancy has been a breeze and perfectly textbook, but it is pretty horrific the things going on with my body. This latest development I blamed on my obsession with not getting sick (ie eating tons of oranges and other vitamin C fruits). I had read this could be a sign of labor, but I didn’t expect it to start in week 38 and last for…?
    Solution/Explanation: Various types loose and/or strangely colored things showing up in the toilet are apparently normal (?!). WTH. Best part is there is zero fix for this. I’ve basically cut out fruit and upped the carbs, but as this hasn’t helped, I may just say screw it and eat my precious oranges and blueberries again. Just stay hydrated, my friends.

The combination of these symptoms since last week had me slightly concerned, my absent husband even more so. At his request (and giving in to my slight paranoia), I called the OB. First, I hate when a medical professional (ha, professional) is condescending, so I had to deal with that. Otherwise, it was a reassuring call. All normal, and they’ll see me later this week for hopefully my last appointment (39 week).

Of course, they covered with “if you start bleeding, have a sudden loss of fluid, or experience regular, frequent, and increasing contractions, contact Labor and Delivery right away.” Well, actually, I knew that much, it was just items 1-5 that I was unprepared for.

Lesson learned. Pregnancy is a gross and uncomfortable process. Little baby, you had better knock my socks off. All for you, kid, all for you.

Posted in Milestones, Musings on Mommyhood

Good Wife?

Trying to be a good wife over here, but honestly struggling. My husband is talking about going out of town for the weekend with his nephew. They’ve been talking about going hiking for awhile, but I feel like now that we are three weeks from the due date (with a hospital bag packed) it is a really bad idea to go off in the mountains with limited cell phone reception. I don’t want to be a nagging wife, but I also really don’t want him to go – even though it would only be Saturday – Monday. Grr, how do I balance this?

Speaking of balance, I find the bump makes my center of gravity way off and have reached that oh-so-fun point where bending down/cleaning house is more of a chore than usual. My husband’s job has been hectic and he’s been working 12-13hr days. Understandably, then, when he gets home he just wants to sit and chill. Meanwhile, I have been trying to run errands and clean all day and am exhausted, but not going to bed because now it is time to work on my master’s thesis.

DEAR JESUS GIVE ME PATIENCE. I keep swallowing the bitterness that wants more help around the house, because I have yet – in five years of marriage (this week – happy anniversary us!) found a way to discuss his lack of helping around the house in a way that gets results.

Yeah, I know, this is hardly mommy-related, but I can tell you what, if he doesn’t feel the need to help his 37-week-pregnant, full-time graduate student wife with household chores, why should I expect help once baby is here? Everyone is telling me to take it easy, especially once baby comes, but I can’t when the house is falling to pieces and I am behind on schoolwork.

I apologize for the whine-fest, but this is reality – this is life. My husband and I have one of the best and most fun relationships I’ve ever seen and I adore him to pieces, but sometimes the work-life balance is a struggle. Every late night and all those long hours are to support me and this little one, I know…. is it selfish to want help at home too?

Posted in Letters to My Child, Milestones

Dear Child, Please Arrive Exactly on Your Due Date

Hi Baby, you don’t have a name yet, but I’m sure your daddy and I will think of something before you arrive. We’ve been trying to find the perfect name since December 20th, the day we found out you were a boy, but no luck so far. What do you think of Alexander? Ronin? Arthur? Tristan? It’s hard naming a human we’ve never met.

A few days ago we got to see you on the ultrasound (first time since December – my how you’ve grown in those 16 weeks!). You have stubby fingers (from my dad’s side) and you waved at us. Hi honey. We are crazy about you already.

Quick favor though. It’s about this whole birth thing. Can we maybe bulls-eye the due date? The doctor said at this point you can come anytime, but let’s aim for the 10 May area, as planned. You see, Daddy is being sent on a business trip the week before, just for a few days, and will be back May 6th, so don’t come earlier than that, please. And your grandma (my mom) will be here May 4th – she’d never forgive you if you showed up before her. Daddy’s parents will also arrive May 6th, so maybe let’s shoot for the 8th-11th? Any of those days would be fine. And let’s try for quick delivery, ok? I’m ok with pain most of the time, but, honey, your head is huge. Try not to ruin me, ok?

There’s a lot of people who can’t wait to meet you and you are already so loved… let’s just stick to the 8th-11th plan and we’ll be off to a great start. 😉 Thanks kid.


Posted in General Updats

The Final Month Begins!

I went to a birthing class. This is going to be a nasty experience. Apparently, my hospital is big into “skin to skin” and plan to deposit the slimy newborn on my bare chest as soon as he exits the birth canal. No, thank you. I am all for cuddling my new little son but please, for the love of all that is holy, wipe off the gunk.

I looked into saving the cord blood, but my gosh that is expensive. Someone did it in a novel once and it saved the baby’s father 18 years later. Not sure if it’s enough to spend several thousand dollars on….

We have set up the crib and purchased all the necessary baby items. The stroller/carseat combo was delayed in shipping so we may end up buying a second carseat, just in case little man decides to show up before our order.

And, no, we are nowhere near settled on a name.  Oh, and my feet are still quite swollen. I miss my pre-pregnancy body quite a bit these days. I haven’t gained too much (somewhere between 20-25lbs) and it is mostly belly, but the family’s jokes about how huge I am are grating on my nerves. Gotchya, the stomach is carrying a 6+lb infant, stop pointing it out.

Tomorrow makes exactly one month until the due date! It is still surreal, but I think we are about as ready as can be to meet our little guy.

Posted in Milestones

Milestone: Swollen feet

And so at 31 weeks and 3 days, I had swollen feet for the first time. I blamed the fancy dinner for which I wore heels, but I’ve noticed it a few more times over the weekend. Apparently this has something to do with my body pumping 50% more blood volume than normal. Little guy is still happy and bouncing but this momma has some swollen feet. Yay, it’s started.

“Don’t sit for extended periods” says Google. “HA” says the grad student.

Currently attempting data analysis on my laptop with my feet propped up. They feel kind of numb and warm. It’s weird and I don’t like it.