Saturday, October 31, 2009

go team

Inspired by my cousin Naomi and the big game/party in town this weekend.

go gators!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

our pumpkin

We hit the pumpkin lot last weekend.

And I think we found the cutest one.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the potato chip exchange

A while back, my friend Tiffany blogged about the American foods she craved and the expense of getting them in Japan. When I sent her a bag of Cape Cod salt and vinegar chips, I didn't know yet that her craving might have something to do with being pregnant! She responded by sending me some snacks, including a bag of her favorite Japanese potato chips--with soy sauce flavoring. They are so good, and unlike the salt and vinegar chips, E and I both enjoyed them. (He wheezes dramatically in the presence of vinegar, and then I roll my eyes.) They reminded us of the flavored fries we used to eat at First Kitchen in Japan. Our favorite was consomme flavor, even though I'm pretty sure that's something I wouldn't eat if I learned what it is.

Also in the package was a stack of Japanese fabric. I love how heavy these fabrics are, almost like canvas. I can't wait to use these for some Cora projects. I have lots of ideas in my head, and I'm itching to get some more time on the sewing machine!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

as promised

I mentioned last week that I had been wanting to make a (short) list of baby care items that I have found indispensable in these first few months. I love living in a small house (less to clean, it feels like we use every room), but one of the challenges is finding space for all the stuff. Before Cora was on her way, we were already filled to the brim, and I really didn't want to add clutter with a bunch of seldom-used baby items. I'm also pretty obsessed with the aesthetics of my space, so I didn't want a bunch of plastic that stood out from my decor. Most importantly, though, I just don't like to buy new, cheap stuff (read: made in China).

Everyone talks about how expensive a baby is, and how much stuff you need, but I think it's very possible to get by with less. You don't even need a crib! So, many of these items on my 'short list' are luxuries. Also, each baby is unique, so it's not necessary to stock up on things long before baby arrives. I wish I had known that not all babies like all bottles before we got the expensive Dr. Browns!

So, the things couldn't have lived without (or wouldn't want to!):
Our slings--hotslings style, but made by me, one that fits me and one for E. Cora spent several hours everyday in one of our slings for first 3 months. We still use them when she just can't get to sleep on her own or when we go out and about.

The bouncy chair. This was the one frivolous purchase I made, based just on how cute it was (and the price didn't hurt!). I have to have a shower every morning, and this is my solution. From about the third week, I propped Cora up in the chair on the bathroom floor and got ready (by myself! It's amazing how such little things feel like bug accomplishments when you have a new baby.) This has worked so well that I'm starting to worry what I'll do when she outgrows the chair! She also sits in it sometimes while E and I eat dinner together. (We still eat in shifts a lot of the time, though.)

A borrowed co-sleeper. For us, having Cora sleep in our bed was a necessity and a pleasure. She was fine in a play yard bassinet for a few weeks, but it got harder and harder to put her back down after nighttime feedings. A friend of mine said, "If someone tells you that they never brought the baby into the bed with them, they're lying." It worked for us, and it does for many people. I was paranoid about having a tiny baby in with us, so this container gave us peace of mind as we shared sleep. Since 4 months, she sleeps in her crib next to our bed.

A swaddler and a sleep sack. Cora needed to be swaddled to stay asleep even though she was always trying to get out of her wrap. This swaddler is stretchy and has velcro to keep it tight, so we were able to contain her flailing arms that always woke her. Now that she has outgrown swaddling, a sleep sack works like a blanket, but she can't kick it off.

A foldable baby bath tub (can't find one online). I wanted to wash her in the kitchen sink, but in reality, it just grossed me out. So this sits down in the sink. And it was really helpful when she was tiny and floppy and slippery!

Car seat and frame. The car seat is a necessity, but I knew we wouldn't need a stroller system since we would wear her on most outings. Going stroller-less has worked out well--I just put her in a carrier and run into Target or the post office. We even attended a few parties when she was tiny! However, I do take Kobe on long walks and had looked at this cart that the car seat snaps into. My dad emailed me a craiglist alert when he found one used. It's not the smoothest ride, but it has held up for probably a couple hundred miles of walks.

And last, not the most fun item, but I couldn't have gone back to work without my pump. When I found out I was pregnant, E's co-worker, who was a new dad, gave him this advice: "Buy the best breast pump you can afford." I thought it was weird/endearing that two guys were discussing this subject over lunch, but I can now see how important this is. I've been really happy that I didn't skimp on this purchase (but I did use a coupon!) since I use it almost every day, and it makes this necessary task as convenient as possible. I do, however, look forward to Friday afternoons, when I can put it away for a few days!

These items plus a small collection of onesies have gotten a lot of use. You really can do it with just a handful of quality items. And for those luxuries, most can be found secondhand, which is great when you don't know how much they'll get used. We have a bumbo--also from craigslist--which is fun, but not necessary at all. I feel like we've succeeded at not going overboard with baby care items, but now the challenge will be controlling the accumulation of toys. I'm planning the same approach: quality, not quantity and secondhand whenever possible. Oh, and it helps if the design works with my decor:)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

two hints

Halloween costumes for our family are in the works. Any guesses what the three of us are going to be? (There's a theme.) I guess I'll have to come up with a prize if someone figures it out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

just the necessities

This post made possible by my trusted sling:)

One of my fears about having a baby was that baby stuff would overtake our home. We have a fairly small house, and it's old, so the closets are tiny. So I started to think about what we actually needed. The stores had mile-long lists of baby care necessities, but I was determined to research and choose a handful of quality items that would get used everyday. Our friends and family helped us with so many of these purchases, and I'm so thankful that we don't have lots of extras that just create clutter. I'm planning a post on what items have been indispensable in these first few months--for others with babies on the way, but also for myself, so that I have a record of what I considered the "necessities" when I was in the thick of baby care. So stay tuned!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

droolia gulia

Cora has been a drooling machine lately! Some (my mom, the pediatrician) have speculated that her first tooth might be just around the corner (no! not my baby), but I'm attributing it to her cold and the fact that her mouth is always open. Either way, all this drool means her shirt is always soaking wet. With the air getting cooler, my mom had a great idea--bibs. That way, we can easily change it when it gets damp, instead of changing her outfit. Yesterday, we rotated 3 bibs, but that wasn't enough to keep up with my baby faucet. So I set out to make a few more.

This is the first, with a fall pear on one side, and a leaf on the other. Can you see there's already a drool spot on the brown side? That happened during the fitting!

I think I'll make a few more of these cotton ones, but I'm also eager to try some like these with vinyl ironed on. They'll work nicely when Cora starts eating table food. Teeth and table food--didn't I just have a newborn?

Thursday, October 15, 2009


..that I finally finished these pants a few days ago, so Cora's legs will stay warm (if it ever gets cooler this year).
..for a pediatrician we love. They got us in on such short notice this morning, and the doctor gave me some tips for making my girl more comfortable while she's congested.
..for a willing and available substitute to teach my class (on even shorter notice!) while I stay home with my sick girl.
..for my mom, who will take the best care of Cora tomorrow when I return to work.
Having a sick baby is stressful enough. I'm so thankful that I could take a day just to hold her and let her finally get some sleep.

Monday, October 12, 2009

for a little friend

I appliqued this onesie with a little teal football for a friend's baby boy. His dad is one of E's football buddies, and I had the Jaguars in mind when I chose the fabric, but we were less than impressed with their performance yesterday (41-0!). I thought it turned out pretty cute, and it was so quick!

Cora has been enjoying these organic cotton t-shirts and onesies that E's mom got for her. They are so soft, and such a pretty natural color. I would like to get more and applique a few for us!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

rice sundae

I recently read Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton, and I loved how he equated bibimbap, my favorite Korean food, to an ice cream sundae, in that each eater gets to choose their own toppings. We do a version of this idea with black beans and rice, plus cheese, avocado, tomato, onion, salsa, etc.

I saw a recipe somewhere for a dish with all the Mediterranean 'toppings' we keep on hand, and this was my take on the choose-your-own-toppings idea. We each started with a bed of brown rice and white beans and added what we like of: tzaziki, cucumbers, feta, peperoncinis, calamata olives, and slow roasted grape tomatoes. It was a hit. Next up, bibimbap at home!

ps--Thank you for the sweet comments on our photos. We are crossing our fingers that Cora's eyes stay blue, like E's:). Now we're faced with deciding which photos to buy prints of!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

they're up

Meghan has posted some of the photos from our session on her blog. Didn't she do a great job? If you'd like to see the online gallery, let me know, and I'll email you the access code.