Category Archives: random thoughts

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.

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.

 

 

 

My Paris Prep and Packing List!

I’m so excited. My work is sending me to Paris for a week long conference, NEXT WEEK! I’ve never been to Paris, or France, and Mr. F gets to join me, thanks to all the frequent flyer miles I’ve accrued in the last few years!

We’re staying in a lovely Art Deco hotel within walking distance of the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe.   I’m also taking all restaurant and site-seeing suggestions, at this point! I’m really excited to check out all the restaurants that Eater suggestions too. (http://www.eater.com/2016/10/19/13311808/paris-eating-twenty-four-hours-septime-verjus)

This next week, I’m working on basic French phrases and my packing list. I’m hoping to learn phrases that help me order and get around easily. I generally travel pretty minimalist but I’m also going to pack a few more stylish things than normal.

So far I have the following things in mind,

*3 pairs of shoes, flipflops for the hotel, comfortable walking shoes,  or  and black ballet flats

*3-4 work dresses, like this one 

*1-2 dress for nights out

*dress pants

*2 work shirts/tunics

*black leggings

*swimsuit

*undergarments

*7 pairs of socks

I’m hoping during the evenings and the weekend after the conference that Mr. F and I can check out the Louvre (especially if it’s raining), Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the catacombs, and generally enjoy walking around town eating croissants and drinking cappuccinos.

Any other suggestions? Along with the photos on this post, I’m gathering ideas on my Pinterest Board, Paris Prep!

Recent Seattle restaurant reviews

My next reviews are in the Seattle Frelard, Ballard and Eastlake neighborhoods, where I mostly frequent, and get to via bike easily. (I also wrote this post prior to Mr. F making dinner…so I was hungry…)

Tarsen I Jane

13198454_783543750362_6424228620012600562_o We went less than a month ago within a week of their opening night. They had awesome presentation, tasty bites (literally), and a cool atmosphere. We love their Spanish wine selection. The chefs are present in the open kitchen and friendly. However, I wish I had been brave enough to tell them that their food is way too expensive for the amount they serve, and that they need more than 5 bites in each dish, especially when it’s deemed an entree. Hopefully, the quantity to price point won’t put them under too quickly. They really pushed the tasting menu as the best deal, which we declined since we wanted little to no grain and the main entree was their paella. Overall, I’d go back if they increased their portions.

(This is right next to Frelard Pizza on NW Leary, which is loud and very child friendly. I prefer Ballard Pizza Company, which is the same restaurant group, but this space is more intimate and the pizza is better cooked. They also have a new location in South Lake Union.)

Marine Hardware

13340111_786261314342_8284043810648416068_o This is a perfect date night spot. Marine Hardware shares the building with the Walrus & Carpenter, Barnacle, and Staple & Fancy. This new Ethan Stowell concept was a small space but it worked. They had cool 90s hits playing and every course of the tasting menu was tailored to our preferences. We loved their steak tartare almost as much as the Walrus & Carpenter’s next door. As I mentioned on my Instagram, I’m still drooling over the classic preparation with celery puree. I can’t wait to go back soon and try more of their dishes! 13308618_786339362932_7153069358778640991_o

Sushi Kappo Temura

13391545_786718044052_3708864163352142685_o The healthy Japanese brunch options are our favorite for chill Saturday and Sunday mornings. Mr F loves their sashimi and I love the non-rice fish selections too. We enjoy going here for dinner or brunch, but sometimes forget to go, since it’s not within easy walking distance of our house. It’s also a large restaurant and centrally located.

My most loved restaurant still remains, La Isla. We’re there almost every week. Mr. F and I enjoy getting the camerones during happy hour and I also like getting the pina colada. 13147761_782742580912_1018508227466323576_o My absolute favorite meal is the pernil pastleon, which is basically a healthier lasagna with plantains and Ma’s Lil’ peppers. We usually ask for the en Fuego sauce to accompany the garlic sauce too! It’s a perfect compliment to the cheese and pork.   11225414_755721815742_595450579947374705_o If I could only have one meal for the rest of my life, it would be the pernil pastelon!

Four more days until Christmas, Eight Days until Maui!

The tree is up and all my presents have been wrapped, including the white elephant presents for Christmas Eve at my uncle’s with approximately 30 people!

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Last week, my sisters and I started a new tradition of going to see a musical together at Christmas. This year, we saw Sound of Music.

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I have one more work trip to Santa Monica before the holiday but otherwise, I’m in holiday mode.

My parents are coming over for dinner tonight. Mr. F is making tomato, red pepper and fennel soup and pernil (Puerto Rican style braised pork shoulder). I’ll share pictures soon. For now……

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun will shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun will shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun will shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun will shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas
A very Merry Christmas
A very, very, Merry,Merry Christmas to you

Read more: Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Our birthday month was marvelous

Time is moving so quickly! It’s been over a month since I last blogged and almost a month since my birthday! image While Mr. F was out of town the first two weeks of February, I celebrated my birthday early with my parents, grandparents and uncle at one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Agrodolce. I love all their pastas! The night before my birthday, Mr. F was back in town and we went to a champagne pairing dinner at the Whale Wins with our good friend, Mohit! One of the best dishes was the trout! image On my actual birthday I had teleconferences that started at 6 am so by the time it was lunch, I thought a piña colada image was in order at my favorite lunch place, La Isla! It was a perfect birthday treat. The day got even better as we celebrated image my birthday dinner with our good friends, Kelly, Patrick and Mohit at Brimmer & Heeltapimage February was so great because I didn’t have to travel much and we had so many great meals celebrating us! On Valentine’s Day, Mr. F made delectable egg pasta carbonara. image The next night we celebrated again at How to Cook a Wolf with my parents, grandparents and uncle. Tootie and I love Italian food.

On Mr. F’s birthday, Mohit joined us again and we shared a fantastic bottle of Bionic Frog! We also went to a fun small plates restaurant, Manolin image down the street from us.

image We celebrated Mohit’s birthday with a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island! We had a great lunch near the ferry and walked to Bainbridge Organic Distillers two miles from the ferry docks.image It was gorgeous weather and hard to believe it was 60 degrees on the last day of February. image image To top off our wonderfully indulgent month, we had dim sum before my trip to Los Angeles. While we were eating humbao and potstickers, a small dragon parade went by! image As if my birthday month couldn’t get any better, I was upgraded to First Class to and from Los Angeles, saw a great friend for lunch and a yoga session, plus I got to relax in the Alaska Airlines Board Room in LAX AND I sat behind a celebrity on the way back!!

Seattle in the summer is magical

In July, I traveled to Hawaii, Idaho Falls, St. Louis and Pittsburgh with nearly two weeks at home without travel. The day I got back from Hawaii, my college buddy, Beav was visiting so we meet Andrea at the Ballard Seafood Fest to see our favorite band, Vaudeville Etiquetteimageimage image image They are an awesome band to watch live and they hand out kazoos to join in the last song! imageimageThe flowers are popping in our neighborhood. We’ve been spending lots of time swimming in the Sound and sunning on our wedding beach. imageWe been to a lot of great restaurants too, including Bourbon and Bones for BBQ with our good friend, Beav! imageWhen I was flying through Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls I saw image the fires in Eastern Washington from the plane. Fortunately, Andrea’s husband is fighting them and they’re under control now. imageThe kitties loved me being home more in July and Lily was a frequent lap warmer.image One of my favorite views of Seattle is coming home from a work trip and seeing the mountains. image image La  Isla is another favorite Ballard restaurant especially the empanadillas at happy hour. Pono Ranch is another new favorite because they have a huge patio and fish tacos!image imageimageOf course, there’s also Little Woody’s for delicious burgers. There are two new burger places that opened this month that I’ll have to post about next.

In August, I’ve had work trips in Seattle, Fargo, Spokane and next week, I’ll return to Boise and St Louis. I’m looking forward to seeing Beav again and my in-laws! imageSeptember will be a travel heavy month too, with trips to Idaho Falls, Boise, Missoula, Chicago, Honolulu, Spokane, Chicago again but I’ll have the last week of September free!!!