Friday, June 05, 2009

Probably setting a new record for how long it's been since I've posted...

Oh dear readership,

I just know, KNOW that you come here to hear me apologize for not posting in so long! And promise to never let my blog go for so long ever again! Which is a sure-fire way for making sure the next hiatus will be EVEN LONGER. What can I say?

Honestly after being gone for so long, it's overwhelming to try to write because there's so MUCH I could write. (Have I said that before? I think it a lot.) We went to Jenny's wedding in New Hampshire, which was lovely in every way and loads of fun- the Reynolds/ Baily family was a blast to hang out with, as always. ;-) Madelaine and I spent a week near Great Smokey Mountains National Park, staying in a cabin with my parents and siblings and their dogs- SO MUCH FUN! And Maddy really got to bond with all of them, learned to say Grandmama, etc. Too cool!

And I am Great With Child. I'm starting to feel rather enormous, really, but overall feeling well and getting really excited for this baby!! Let's make some lists, shall we?

To Do Before The Baby Is Born:

*Pack a bag for the hospital! (Didn't do this with Madelaine...) To include (why yes, there's a sublist in my list!):

  • Couple of nursing nightgowns
  • Bathrobe
  • Underwear
  • Nursing bras
  • Nursing pads
  • Going home outfit
  • Lanolin
  • Breast pump (?)
  • Boppy nursing pillow
  • Comfy postpartum cushion
  • Camera (with fresh batteries!!)
  • Pen and paper
  • Phone card (if they actually MAKE such things anymore, in the age of cell phones...?)
  • Phone number list
  • Snacks (for Nate and for me, when the nurse isn't looking, 'cause I'm rebellious that way!)
  • Maybe a book? (my Bible?)
  • Contact case and cleaner
  • Glasses and case
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and soap.

Whew, did I leave anything out? Let me know if you think of something!

*Wash car seat cover, get car seat installed/ checked
*Contact the hospital about the stack of consent forms they gave me (I suspect they left a few out!)
*Install the curtains in the babies' room that we bought last year and never put up... (Babies! Plural!)
*Set up the Pack-and-Play? On the off chance that baby #2 would actually be interested in sleeping somewhere other than our arms for any length of time?
*Paint that cute little wooden shelf to hold photos in the nursery...
*Wash the newborn and 0-3 month clothing
*Make diaper stackers so we can keep our size 5's and newborns separate?
*Research diaper covers that can go over disposables. So as not to repeat the 12-month Poop-Leak-Fest that characterized Madelaine's (exclusively breastfed) infancy...

Also? While we're in list-making mode? There's a few things I want/ need for the baby...

This is the Fisher-Price Starlight Papasan Cradle Swing. And what, you may ask, is so great about it? It has the option to PLUG IN = we will save a fortune in batteries over the course of our next 4 babies. Right? Right?!? Totally worth it! Also, it swings side to side in addition to back and forth. Supposedly, infants like this better. The fabric is super soft and the seat offers lots of head/ body support, which makes a newborn feel more snuggly. And a snuggled newborn is a HAPPY newborn... (we pray...) I'm planning to put this in the corner of the dining room, so (theoretically) Charlotte has somewhere to sit while we eat dinner. (Who am I kidding. She's totally going to want to nurse 24/7 like Maddy, right...?) Still, it's a nice thought.

Anyway, I've searched ebay for this a few times, but with shipping I think the Walmart price is pretty hard to beat. So let's just Get It! :-)

Also, we are going to need a double stroller. You have no idea how many hours of my life I have now spent researching double strollers. The sad thing is, I had settled on one- the British Kidz Kargo tandem jogger-

upon the good advice of my wonderful friend Jordana, who loves hers- when low and behold, THEY SOLD OUT. The manufacturer says they are out of stock; they're popping up on Ebay at the rate of about 1 a month now, but the used ones are selling for the new price because of the scarcity. (Up until a few months ago, they were readily available from a distributor in California for around $200, a true bargain in double stroller world!) So MAYBE these will be available later in the year- I will certainly be patient!- but if not, I'll probably end up getting something else. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros: Great price; width of a single stroller for easily navigating store aisles and walking by the side of the road; smooth steering and ride b/c of three wheel design/ bicycle-style tires, so it would work great on the bike path behind our house; nicely designed parent storage area (drink holder, pocket, etc); handle is high enough for Nate; and other common but important features (both seats recline, five-point harnesses, sun shades with viewing windows, storage basket underneath).
Cons: HEAVY (at 41 lbs) and fairly bulky when folded, but the tires do remove easily, so getting it in and out of the trunk of our car would be doable, if not ideal; not designed to accept infant car seat, so a bit inconvenient the first few months; not entirely sure that the front seat, when reclined, is tall enough to support a sleeping toddler (but once Charlotte is old enough to sit up, I think Maddy could sit in the back and then we'd be good for awhile...)

So anyway, the potential unavailability of the Kidz Kargo has made me go back to the drawing board so to speak and start the hunt for The Perfect Double Stroller all over again...

To make an (absurdly long) story short, I am now lusting after the Phil and Teds Sport with Doubles Kit, which is basically a single jogging/ all-terrain stroller that converts to a double stroller! I can't say that I'm in love with the looks of the thing, but the versatility really can't be matched... first, watch this video and then I'll explain something to you. (YES YOU DO want to watch a 10 minute video narrated in annoying Brit-speak about my stroller of choice!)

Okay, now as you saw in the video, there are two possible positions for the second seat (the "doubles" kit)- either in front, with the newborn lying down underneath (in the main seat); or in the back, down near the floor (as in the picture above). But once I found this car seat adaptor for our Graco carseat, I realized we really have a lot of options here!!!

When Charlotte is little/ lightweight/ still hanging out in her infant carseat (probably around first 4-6 months):
1) I can carry Charlotte in the Beco carrier and put Maddy in the stroller (no second seat needed);
2) I can put Maddy in the second seat in the back, and snap Charlotte's carseat into the main seat (probably the most convenient- and both can recline this way and nap if needed, in case we'll be out a long time, like the mall, or a museum or something);
3) I can put Charlotte in the main seat reclined all the way, and Maddy in the second seat attached up top (which is considered the standard toddler/ newborn configuration for Phil and Ted); this would be lighter to push than with the carseat, and fine for quick trips to the library, dr, etc when Maddy doesn't need to recline for a nap. Also, I can toss the Beco (which folds up super small) in the basket underneath, so that if a "short" trip turns into a long one, I could put Charlotte into the Beco and let Maddy sit in the main seat (i.e., idea #1) so she can rest.

When Charlotte is big enough to sit up more and too heavy to lug around in the infant carseat, anyway (6 months+?):

4) I can put Charlotte directly in the second seat in the back and put Maddy in the main seat (which is the official Phil and Ted's "toddler/ toddler" configuration). Both can recline (I think Maddy could go back far enough to be comfy enough for a nap, even with the doubles seat in the back.)
5) Eventually, Maddy can just walk with Charlotte in the main seat (depending where we're going).

See what I mean? So many options!! I love the fact that the Phil & Ted is a quality single stroller with an option to go double, because the only stroller I have now, the Combi Helio, has been a disappointment in some ways (yes, it's lightweight, folds very compactly, and has a tall handle... but the steering is pretty lousy!) As far as I can tell, the Phil & Ted is ideal to take either one or two kids on the bike path OR to the mall. Plus? It only weighs 24 lbs (that may not include the second seat, I'm not sure...) and folds up to 30x20x9 with the wheels off...

So the only disadvantage? You guessed it, the price. On Ebay they're going for around $350-$450. Heh! We'll see...

Okay, now that I've completely BORED YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND, you non-stroller-interested people, I will try a little non-baby talk to woo you back...

Reading! Sometimes I get to read, because my wonderful husband takes Madelaine for a walk almost every night that it's not raining. Also, my generous family members entertained the little person while we were in TN, so I got some time there, too. So I read "When I Was Puerto Rican," by Esmerelda Santiago, which has been on my To-Read list for ages and ages, and it did not disappoint! Greatly enjoyed it. The Puerto Rico of her childhood (in the 50's) was lush and multisensorially fragrant and an intriguing Latina cross between Little House on the Prairie (fairly rural lifestyle in her barrio, complete with snakes, bare feet in the dust) and the gender roles of, say, Leave it to Beaver. By the end of the book (spoiler alert), she's moved to Brooklyn, near Williamsburg to be specific, and is basically chilling with Asher Lev and his Hasidic posse (context clue: I'm a huge Chaim Potok fan, and find it appropos a book I like that starts in rural Puerto Rico ends up in Williamsburg in the 60's?!?) So anyway, I just got the sequel, "Almost a Woman," from Paperback Swap (fabulous program! Go join today! Tell them I sent you, and I'll get points! :-)), but my long baby to-do list will probably prevent me from starting it for awhile....

I also read about the first half of Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China, and then it was overdue and requested by another library patron (patron! I like that. Patron!), so I had to give it back, but I have every intention of trying to check it out next time. It was cool though, because you know how there are people that say, "Buy American! Don't buy things made in China because the workers are all exploited and also? We need to keep jobs in America!" Well, this author's presentation of the factory world of China was far from grim. Yes, the hours are WAY long by American standards, the pay is much lower than American minimum wage, and there are certainly horrific injustices that occur- BUT- this author presents, through stories of individual young women, the flip side, the view of many young Chinese women themselves: how "going out" as they say to work in the factories presents opportunities for economic and personal advancement that wouldn't otherwise be possible. And I, for one, don't mind buying a cheaper T-shirt, realizing that it is enabling someone around the world to rise from true poverty to something approaching what we think of as a "middle class" lifestyle.

Finally, I've just started "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott, also on my To-Read list forever, described by my English Major friend Jordana as "the best book about writing I've ever read." I'm enjoying it a lot- so far it's talking about fiction mainly, which is quite a foreign world to me. It's like hearing a painter or composer describe the creative process- totally outside my sphere of ability, but very cool.

Okay, well, I'm up way late past my bedtime (fueled by some 11 pm coffee) so I'd better skedaddle. I seriously can't tell you how much I miss having long hours to spend composing blog entries. It makes me sad that there are so many funny things and so many cool things that I would love to write about, but I just don't have time (time = time without toddler, with TV off, with no distractions... hardly EVER happens). But you know, life goes on, and my life is full of the funny and cool and adorable, and I will choose to celebrate the Real Life that I have, even if it means giving up things that are important to me. Maybe someday I will go back and remember it all and write it for you...


PS In the days (!!) it took for me to finish this blog post, some of our friends GAVE us a swing!! And wouldn't take any money for it! It doesn't go side to side, or plug in, but hey, FREE is good, gives us more money to go towards the stroller, right? And it has a pretty green and cream toile print...