Author Archives: Emily

About Emily

I'm a Seattleite born and raised. I love my husband, kitties and taking photos. I'm also a foodie who loves to travel and read. Yoga, swimming, and paddle boarding are also a few of my favorite things.

Baby registry items I’m actually using in the newborn stage

My favorite registry items that I’ve actually used in the first three weeks with my newborn:

1) Breastfeeding pillows: The Boppy versus My Brest Friend versus my Snoogle Pregnancy pillow for breastfeeding….For the first week post partum, the thought of clipping the tighter Brest friend  around my abdomen was painful however since my stomach has decreased in size I’ve found this is the perfect on-the-go pillow and have used it in the car, in an armchair and at other people’s houses.   The Boppy pillow has always been helpful however I usually need an extra roll or prop or two for my wrists and elbows so they don’t get overly tired. (I’ve been told to stack these pillows for the optimal height.) The pregnancy pillow that I’ve used every night since I was 20 weeks pregnant Product Details has been the best option to wrap around myself while sitting in bed and I don’t tend to need additional props to battle fatigue. In addition, the baby is best supported in this wrapped pillow too!  She seems pretty happy in all three as long as she’s getting fed.

2) Swing versus lounger: Boppy lounger is an absolute must have, especially when you’re making a meal and the baby is fast asleep!   I’ve been told that swings serve the same purpose and have straps to hold them in but so far we’ve dismantled the swings and have them in the closet so they don’t take up so much space. The down side of the Boppy lounger is that the cats think it’s for them, so we have to store it upright when the baby isn’t in it.

3) Strollers: Bumbleride Stroller versus the Chicco KeyFit Caddy Stroller Frame. A friend from college first told me about her Bumbleride that she received from her sister. She’s had it for several years and it’s in great shape, plus it’s made from recycled plastic! It’s great for trails with tires similar to a bike and folds easily. I love this option for longer walks and hills especially with the Summer Infant extra insert for my 2 week old.  However for grocery store runs and other short errands, the Chicco KeyFit stroller frame has been immensely helpful for a quick snap and go of the car seat. It was perfect for running around Costco the other day and I could add things to the bottom tray too! Chicco Keyfit Caddy Stroller Frame

4) Swaddles of all kinds: I didn’t buy any newborn clothes so our baby has lived in swaddles for the first two weeks unless we’re going out of the house. I love the Burt’s Bees and Kate Quinn  blankets for their stretchy cotton, Aden + Anais are breathable lighter cotton muslin in adorable patterns as well as the brand, Oliver + Kit for their eggplant and gnome prints. 

How cute is this Loulou Lollipop print too?  

5) Socks: Hanna Andersson Best Ever First Socks were another suggestion from my college friend since others fall off so easily. I was able to find them on sale for about $2-3 a pair.  They really do stay on even if they are slightly too big for our little girl so far. I also really like SmartWool baby socks and have had great luck with them staying on but I’ve already lost one when it stuck to the Velcro on the Ergo.

6) Babywearing carrier: The baby K’tan, Ergo 360 with the newborn insert, and Nesting Days all serve different functions in our house. We were given a friend’s K’tan and it fits my husband perfectly but is a little too loose on me versus the Ergo Product Details can be adjusted for either of us and is much more supportive for walks around the neighborhood, like the ravine nearby that you would not bring a stroller on. I really like the Nesting Days carrier for around the house  (modeled by my sister) and if I need to hold my baby while I’m eating! I haven’t figured out nursing in it yet, but I’m game to try it soon.

6) Bathtub: We received the Puj Tub – The Soft, Foldable Baby Bathtub – Newborn, Infant, 0-6 Months, In-Sink Baby Bathtub, BPA free, PVC free (Grey)  and were given a Fisher Price and another tub but we really just rinse her bottom under the facet when it gets really messy. The Puj is nice that it fits in our sink without to much rigmarole too!

7) Crib versus bassinet: As I’ve blogged before, we really love the Snoo next to my side of the bed, but do plan to move her into a crib around 6 months and into her own room. One of my awesome besties gave us the highly rated Sealy Soybean foam mattress too! I also love the Little Unicorn narwhal print sheets.

8) Diaper rash cream: I was all for natural products like Burt’s Bees Daily Cream to Powder Burt's Bees Baby Bee 100% Natural Diaper Rash Ointment, 3 Ounces which works well, but my sister who works at Seattle Children’s Hospital recommended Dr. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste which really makes a difference in preventing diaper rash.  We also have Destin which seems to be the classic standby too.

9) Changing pad: Summer Infant versus Keekaroo. We initially had the super popular Summer Infant changing pad Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad, White but the plastic clip scratched deep grooves in our table, so we cut of the offending straps and also moved to the silicone based Keekaroo which is so much easier to clean.  We dramatically prefer the Keekaroo for its ease but it’s also 10 times the price.

We also use cloth diapers to soak up any moisture and spills on the changing table, as well as for burp clothes or a quick blanket/cover.

10) What goes in my diaper bag: I love having the  Skip Hop Grab and Go Wet-Dry Bag, Chevron and Skip Hop Baby Pronto Portable Changing Station with Cushioned Changing Mat and Wipes Case, 3 Pockets, Chevron. We’ve been able to change diapers on the go and take the dirty diapers with us in the wet-dry bag! I love all the extra compartments too.

11) Baby wipe and diapers: We tried Huggies, Honest and most recently the Seventh Generation wipes. The Seventh Generation wipes seem softer and more gentle on our baby’s skin. I’ve also been told to try Water Wipes. So far, we’ve loved Honest diapers too. We liked the Huggies Newborn Snugglers when Mallary was under 7 lbs and that’s what the hospital gave us too. The line that changes color when the diaper is wet is super helpful too. Ultimately we wanted something a like more eco-friendly and have also tried gDiapers but our first experiences led to near blowouts so we’re letting her get a little bigger before trying them again! Choose a Color of gPants

12) White noise for on the go: our neighbors use the SoundSpa in their car seat, so I got one too. Now Mallary sleeps almost immediately in the carseat too! 

13) Diaper bag: My preferred diaper bag is a backpack that I will use after our baby is out of diapers, so I picked the Patagonia Black Hole.  It fits several outfits a dozen diapers, the changing station and two wet dry bags, including a nursing cover by Oh Joy x Milk Snob with cute zebras from Target!

14) Carseat: We also love the Chicco KeyFit 30 Lyra that I was able to get through my work.

15) What to wear after the hospital….my college friend recommended Depends Silhouettes because they are easier than changing a pad repeatedly and they go over c-section incisions. They also don’t look too terrible. These have been very helpful for the week after the hospital especially if you’re bleeding a lot!

Nursing bras and tops: I’m really enjoying Gap nursing tops and LoveComma tops especially their bralettes. The Bamboobies are super helpful for leaks and while Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads stay in place better, I’m frustrated when I accidentally wash them and they make a mess of tiny gel beads everywhere.

I really love this LoveComma “Feedwear” dress, especially immediately after having Mallary. It’s also aptly called the Going Home Dress.  There are amazing hidden cutouts for nursing but it’s still roomy and cute! 

Items I haven’t tried yet but am very curious in the next few weeks:

Comotomo (silicone) Product Details and Pura Kiki bottles (absolutely no plastic, including lids and nipples)

Yoga/physio ball for bouncing her back to sleep

 

Osprey Packs Poco AG Plus Child Carrier, Black

Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair – Walnut

Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard Stratus

I can’t wait to read my favorite books to Mallary including, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A BabyLit® Fairies Primer (BabyLit Books), Barbar, Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, Make Way for Ducklings among others.

Baby gear review: we love the Snoo

When I was pregnant, I cross referenced all baby registry items with countless girlfriends and close cousins, as well as Amazon, Consumer Reports and online reviews. However, I couldn’t find enough feedback on the Snoo. Prior to baby Mallary being born, my husband and I were a little concerned about getting enough sleep especially when we both have to go back to work, so we thought spending a little extra money for a crib promoted as the “Smart Sleeper” had to be worth something more. We also rationalized paying more for a crib that would be used for 6 months if we were happier parents especially since the majority of cribs out there were the same price and lower quality.

Fortunately, after the first night home and my milk supply crib came in, Mallary has been a wonderful sleeper. We have to attribute at least some of this to the Snoo. My husband and I regularly have white noise for us at night so listening to the crib’s gentle rain noise at the first level is perfect. In general, we think the 5 Ss of shushing, swaddling, swinging, (sucking, side position, not specifically applicable to the Snoo) have really helped her.IMG_1382

While we haven’t had another basis of comparison, it’s very nice that once our baby’s needs (food, diaper and comfort) have been met that we can rely on the Snoo over three quarters of the time to soothe her to sleep. When she is fussy, the Snoo progresses through more soothing noises and steadily more rocking motion, if the baby remains upset. She routinely loves the third or fourth stage that sounds like a submarine and quiets very quickly. However, if she isn’t asleep within 5 minutes, we know that she needs more comfort from her parents or another diaper change. Per Dr Harvey Karp, “In The Happiest Baby on the Block, I describe the motion to soothe crying as the “Jell-O head jiggle” because babies need a very fine, fast jiggle to calm. That motion actually activates the balance center of the brain where the reflex gets turned on.

The SNOO platform only moves ½ an inch – back and forth – which is enough to soothe most babies, imitating what it was like in mom’s belly. That amount of motion is perfectly safe and very different form baby “shaking.”’

We also really like the zippered swaddle sack that keeps her safe on her back. (It’s way easier than regular swaddle for a first time parent too!) She’s immediately comforted by the Velcro strap inside and the zippered swaddle before we even turn the rocking motion on! It really only takes 5 seconds like the website reports, too!

Our baby loves her hands that we sometimes leave the zipper a little undone for her to have them up next to her face. This usually happens if she stretches in her sleep: 

I highly recommend this robo crib to anyone, especially if you’re concerned about SIDS, swaddling, rocking, or your sleep!

Dear Mallary, You are one week old today!

Dear Mallary,

A week ago, your parents checked into Swedish First Hill Hospital on August 18th at 12:15pm a little more than 2 hours prior to the scheduled c-section. My sister, your Auntie Janie happened to be pulling into the garage at the very same time so we were able to go up to the Labor and Delivery Floor together. We waited in the lobby for a little over 15 minutes before they had me go back to the Labor and Delivery prep room. Our nurse, Alix was incredibly nice and knew my Dad, your grandpa, since he has been rounding at the same hospital for nearly 40 years! Our other nurse was Lani, who was also so nice and has the same name as my mom. My parents met us in the prep room before the delivery. My sister, your Auntie Katie and brother-in-law, your Uncle Travis, also came by with a Happy Birthday cake before the surgery and Katie had to go to work. The anesthesiologist resident came in and talked to me about the process and it was as simple as she described it. My Ob, Dr Foltz arrived shortly after 2pm and told me about her Wyoming vacation and that she was happy that I waited for her to come back. She even showed me a video of a moose looking at her!

When I was taken into the Operating Room, it was a quick pinch of numbing agent and I had to press my back out to receive the rest but it was straight forward. The whole c- section took 26 minutes and it was surreal. Rusty, your dad, held my hand the whole time, as she was taking pictures, Auntie Janie was super supportive telling me how strong I was, plus Dr Foltz was efficient and as reassuring as promised.

Mallary, you came out strong and screaming. You were 6 lbs 15.3 oz, 19 inches long, at 2:58pm! Janie told me she was so impressed with how there was, like a light switch turned on, in Rusty, and he has been the most attentive and helpful Dad, that I couldn’t even imagine. I knew he would be a good and caring father, but he has changed every diaper and without complaint.

Our hospital stay was so positive and I’m so happy with our experience. We really appreciated all of the nurses at Swedish First Hill especially Amanda, Nhung, and Lauren. They made our hospital stay as comfortable as possible and we even got to discharge after 48 hours!

You had your first bath in the hospital and passed your hearing and cardiac tests on your second day in the world. You even had an official photo shoot in the hospital with Bella Photography! On your third day of life, you came home with us on your first car ride and sleep in the SNOO. When you were four days old, we went up to the roof to watch the eclipse! You also had your first outpatient pediatrician visit and we were told that you had expected weight loss because my milk had not yet come in, but fortunately two days later, at your next appointment you had gained 5 oz! You are a championship eater! We’re so proud.

We are so happy you’re here and cannot imagine life without you and it’s only been a week!

Love,

Mommy

The Talbot shower by mail tradition

The terrific tradition of a Talbot family baby shower, by mail, was started when my mom was pregnant with me, 35 years ago! With seven brothers and sisters, my dad’s side of the family is spread across Washington, California, Utah, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada! My Auntie Kitchie initially coordinated with her sisters and sisters in law to mail baby presents, three decades ago, so they could all celebrate from afar! Earlier this summer, my thoughtful cousin, Jeri, organized an e-invite for the Talbot women to coordinate presents arriving on July 29th from across North America! Jeri had her little boy over a year ago and was the previous Talbot mama to have the shower by mail!

This morning, our baby girl and I were the lucky recipients. The tradition is that the many family members send baby gifts from the comfort of their homes to the mama to be, who opens them all on the same day, in her home, with her feet up and a cup of tea. A few days ago, Jeri sent me a box brimming with tea options and some fun chocolate, too!

My amazing aunties sent me a Mallard dress for baby Mallary, a cute raincoat with butterflies and eco-friendly compostable diapers! My Granny Kay hand knit an adorable hat and “soakers”, too! My cousin, Jeri, also sent matching Goumikids mittens and booties with a great fish print! I really enjoyed all the sweet notes that accompanied the gifts too. I was so inspired that I immediately sent out thank you notes while I was still drinking tea!

As if that wasn’t generous enough, my cousins, Kiki, Jessie, and their moms sent us a super cute plush rocking horse too!! 

We are so set for our little girl, due in 3 weeks!!!!! We go in on Monday for our 37 week check up and to see if she’s still in breech position. Mr F and I are very curious to see if our talking to her, has encouraged her to move her head down, or if I’ll need to get a “version” to move her. I’m just happy that she’s healthy and that we’ll meet her soon!

My favorite organic and eco-conscious baby finds…so far!

 Since getting pregnant, I’ve become obsessed with baby clothes. It doesn’t help that I’m having a little girl and there are so many cute clothes out there. I’ve really succumbed to sales for Burt’s Bees Baby,  Kate Quinn Organics, andWinter Water Factory, especially since the latter is usually quite pricey, but I’ve been able to find 40-50% off sales!

I’ve also been really lucky to receive a lot of sweet hand me downs and find gently used clothes on an online consignment shop called, Les Petites PDX I scored this awesome Hanna Andersson fleece elf suit for this winter!

We picked out the Bumbleride Indie stroller based on a friend’s recommendation and love that it is made of recycled plastic bottles. We should be able to use it for several years too. We also found a Maclaren easy traveler stroller frame on the Nextdoor app for free! It fits our Chicco KeyFit30 carseat too.

I also have a few months supply of Honest diapers and took advantage of the 40% Earth Day and 50% birthday sales!

I belong to the Gugu Guru baby registry advisory board and will be reviewing the Graco Lauren crib soon, along with the Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Infant/Toddler Crib Mattress – Hypoallergenic Soy Foam, which is still on our registry!

Any other organic, eco-friendly suggestions?

A year ago…the start of our greatest adventure

A year ago, my husband surprised me and agreed he was finally ready to have kids. A little backstory, when we got married, almost 9 years ago, we agreed that we didn’t want to have kids and would travel more, with at least one international vacation a year. We disappointed our parents that our siblings would have to produce grandchildren, not us. Fast forward to my 33rd birthday when my biological clock started ticking and I changed my mind. Mr F may have taken some convincing but now that I’m 35 weeks pregnant, we both couldn’t be happier. Mr F is already looking forward to teaching our little girl to swim in the Puget Sound!

A year ago, when Mr F said he was finally ready, I immediately stopped taking birth control on July 15th, starting taking the most highly recommended natural prenatal vitamins and asked my doctor for all the updates in vaccines, what medications/supplements were okay or not okay to take, and told my family. They were very surprised! Shockingly, when we started looking at houses, we immediately found the perfect house in a great neighborhood, down the street from a great elementary school, so we were able to close at the end of August!

While it took a few months of trying, we were very lucky. The first month after stopping birth control, my cycle was 35 days long and I got way too excited that I was pregnant. Two friends suggested reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility to have a better understanding of what was going on. I started timing my work trips around day 20 when I noticed a temperature rise. We went to Italy on a romantic vacation in September, hoping for an Italian surprise. In December, Mr F even joined me in San Diego for a conference and monitoring visit, since it made sense to stay there for the weekend. I’m so glad he did because by December 15th, I knew I was late. When my sisters and I went to the 5th Avenue production of Little Mermaid on December 15th, I didn’t eat the sushi, to be on the safe side. On Sunday, December 19th, 2016 I had my first positive pregnancy test! My sister, Janie texted me later that day, to ask if I had taken a pregnancy test yet. Of course, I told her the exciting news, then I called Katie, Mom, and Dad. I even double checked and got a second positive pregnancy test on the 21st at my primary care doctor’s office too!  It was the best Christmas so far!

In January, we started to nickname the baby “cabbage” after watching the OA. My grandmother, Tootie, started thinking of names in Tagalog and wanted us to call the baby “Ligaya” which means happy. She didn’t even both coming up with boy names. It’s like she already knew that we were having a girl even though we wouldn’t find out for another month. I started asking several work friends for advice with pregnancy and traveling up to 80%. Most people told me to wait until after year-end reviews in March, after my first trimester. At 9 weeks, we had our first ultrasound on January 16th and heard a strong heartbeat!  On February 6th, (when I was 13 weeks pregnant,) we went in for the nuchal translucency ultrasound and additional prenatal testing.  While everything looked great and no signs of Down’s Syndrome, I waited until 20 weeks to say anything on Facebook.  I announced my pregnancy with a picture of some of my first baby purchases, a Pickles n’ Roses jumper and “Are You Kitten Me?” Freshly Picked moccasins.

When we went to Paris March 4th-13th, and with all the croissants and delicious food, I started to show! (Can you tell in this photo? I’m about 16 weeks along, too.)   On March 20th, we finally got the results of the cell free DNA test and they were negative! It also told us that we’re having a girl!!! Mr F and I immediately agreed upon a name too.    At week 21, April 13th, we got a 3D ultrasound and it was amazing to see our baby’s face!  She was kicking and wiggling for the tech because I had a doughnut beforehand and the tech said the sugar made her dance! The tech kept saying, “thank you, baby”, when she did hold still for measurements and confirmation of all her organs, length of femur, nasal bone, and looking at the 4 chambers of her heart.  This was also the week that I really felt kicking on a daily basis, and Mr. F felt it, too. I wonder if the cats notice when they sleep next to my belly at night.  At this point, I started having some issues sleeping so I really enjoyed getting a Snoogle pregnancy pillow to help me sleep on my left side.

Around 28 weeks pregnant, the first weekend in June, we took a mini babymoon to Langley, Whidbey Island  and stayed in a relaxing AirBnB across the street from the Inn at Langley.  We had amazing food including the tasting menu at the Inn.  The service was phenomenal and almost every staff member told me about their favorite pregnancy memory, or their toddler! After the babymoon, I got my results back from the glucose test and it was elevated so I had to go back for 3 hour glucose tolerance test, which fortunately came back negative! In June, we also had maternity photos  with Erin Schedler, our wedding photographer,   with pictures on the roof of our house,  by the BUMP sign down the street, my family,  and on the beach, too! My first baby shower was in mid June hosted by my matron of honor, Mandy, and it was so sweet.  I especially loved the pink champagne cake and the chocolate party favors. Mandy gave us the changing pad and cover at the baby shower. We got the SNOO bassinet in early May, the changing table from Tirto in mid June, and the nursing chair mid July. I cashed in points through work for the Chicco KeyFit30 car seat, which arrived early April, and I have a month’s supply of Honest diapers in sizes 1-3, so we are ready!

This month, I’m weeks 32-35 along, and I’m really noticing my pelvis and it’s getting harder to sit for long periods of time. Since I travel so much for work, up and down the West Coast, I got a doctor’s note at 33 weeks to stop flying. I’m grateful that my work has found more administrative tasks for me to do at home.

We also recently met the neighbors behind our house and they have a three month old baby boy. Our babies will be so close in age and will be able to go to kindergarten together at the elementary school, half a block away! Mr F’s parents also came to visit from St. Louis, this month!  We spent nearly every day for a week swimming! This last weekend, my family threw me a baby shower at the family farm in Stanwood,  and the decorations were so adorable.  I really loved all the food,  especially the 6 different kinds of Gothberg Farms goat cheese with olives, dried cherries and mango! (My sister’s mother-in-law makes the most amazing cheese!)  I also wore my mom’s maternity dress that I remember her wearing with my youngest sister! My mother in law made our baby a lovely horse print, which we nicknamed the “Momtisse”,  for the baby’s nursery too! Everyone was so generous. I’m so thankful our baby will be so well loved.

 

 

 

Top 10 favorite sights in Paris

My top 10 favorite sights and must sees in Paris, include:

10. The Repetto boutique!    The displays were every little girl’s ballerina dream.

9. Louvre for the Mona Lisa.  She is worth the hype. Since we went on a Friday afternoon in early March, the crowds were not bad and we enjoyed seeing one of the most talked about pieces of art, in person. We even got a selfie with her.

8. Sacre Couer.  The view of the city was expansive and it was fun to walk through Montmartre.

7. The Eiffel Tower.  My favorite time of day was at dusk when it lights up. 

6. The Seine. Walking along the Seine, especially at sunset was magical. Each bridge had it’s own personality and while the water was brown, there was life on each bank, and so many things happening along the path.  It was great people watching, too.

5. Arc du Triomphe.  Due to the proximity to our hotel, we got to visit the Arc several times, but I’m so glad that we got to climb to the top and soak in the view before we left.  This was one of my favorite views of the Eiffel Tower too.

4. Notre Dame. Hearing the church choir and walking around the Notre Dame  is something I could do hundreds of times. I noticed new things everytime and enjoyed seeing the grounds at different times of the day, too.

3. Pony rides in the Jardins de Luxembourg  were one of my biggest highlights of the trip. This experience was so fun and charming, along with seeing the toy sailboats! 

2. Musee d’Orsay.  We found the layout much more friendly and easy to navigate then the Louvre and we loved the Impressionist curation,   as well as the building and the sculptures, especially Pompon.

  1. Sainte Chappelle     We saved the best site-seeing for our last day in Paris and I’m so glad we made time to see this jewel before leaving Paris. The department of Justice obscures the church from the street so I think this can be easily misleading and not seen, unless you go inside. We were amazed by the walls of stained glass and so impressed. This is easily the number one thing I will continue to recommend to everyone visiting Paris!