Citrus Lane Package: October

I've heard lots about Citrus Lane lately (basically Birchbox for babies) so I signed Parker up for a 6-month subscription. It's so much fun to get surprises in the mail! Here's what came in our October box yesterday: 



Boon Dive Bath Appliques: I'm excited for any toys to take in the bathtub (especially dive related ones!) once we make that transition. Parker is still bathing in the kitchen sink right now, however I'm not sure how long that will last! ($8.99)

Green Tones Rattle Roller: Little man loves music so I think he'll get a kick out of this! Bonus points for being super green with chemical-free, sustainable wood and VOC-free paint. ($10.29)

Plum Organics Little Yums: We are just about to begin finger foods so this teething biscuit is perfect for Parker! Max and I try all the foods we give to little man - we've already tried the little green puffs which were quite yummy! I think this green teething biscuit will be a hit, too! ($0.50)

Ez Grip Massaging Teether and Rattle: Parker is officially teething! Just this week we spotted the first signs of a tooth (on his bottom left). He loves chewing on anything so I'm guessing he'll love this teether. I like that it has a handle for him to grab! ($5.99)

Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water: We've actually never used this (or gas drops, or the teething tablets, or baby tylenol) but we do have a stash of such things so I'll add this to it, just in case. I've heard of the gripe water being used for younger babies, but apparently it's also meant to be used with teething. ($7.23)

Total Cost of Products: $33.00 (Citrus Lane Membership $20.00)

Overall I'm happy with the choices, and like that we're sent more than what the actual fee covers. Plus, it's just so much fun that the items are surprises! Already excited for the November box!

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A Day in the Life with a Six Month Old

I haven't documented a "Day in the Life" since the bean was 12-weeks-old so I thought it was time for another one! Here is a typical Tuesday for our almost seven-month old...

6:45AM Max and I wake up to the sounds of little man over the baby monitor. Parker has been an amazing sleeper lately (11-12 hours at night), and has been sleeping in his own room upstairs for almost a month now! Max goes upstairs to the nursery to get Parker and brings him into our room so I can feed him in bed.

7:00AM Our little family of three snuggles in bed. We play with Parker and read him books, then Max gets ready for work while Parker and I stay cozy in bed.


8:00AM Parker is a sleepy head so I put him back down in his nursery and kiss Max good-bye as he heads off to work. I take the chance to get some laundry started.

8:30AM Parker is up and giggling and cooing! We play and sing in the den, then I put Parker in his high chair so I can get his breakfast ready. I pureed some steamed pears the day before so I heat them up and make Parker some baby oatmeal. Little man is the best audience! I tell him everything I'm doing and feel like I have my own cooking show.


9:00AM Baby oatmeal and pureed pear for breakfast! 


9:30AM Finishing up eating - little man is beginning to get cranky which means it's time for his morning nap.



9:45AM Parker is cleaned up from breakfast, changed out of his jams, and sleeping in his crib. Mamma takes this time to get some breakfast and tidy up the kitchen! 

10:30AM With the dishwasher and washing machine running, I open all the screen doors to let the cool morning air in. Loving fall! I start my mise en place for the night's dinner (Beef Daube) until I hear Parker on the monitor. 

11:00AM Little man is up from his nap and I nurse him in his room. I take him downstairs and he watches me fold laundry until it's time to leave for Mommy & Me Yoga.

12:00PM We are settled in the studio and ready for yoga! Little man spends Mommy & Me classes now sitting up at the front of my mat instead of laying down. He's the best little yogi and always gets lots of compliments on how calm and mellow he is. Go, Parker! 




1:30PM We are home from yoga and I nurse Parker and put him down for his afternoon nap. 

2:00PM Mamma gets to eat!


2:30PM I finish off the beef stew I started earlier and put in in the oven to slow cook for 2 1/2 hours. 


4:00PM The bean wakes up. He eats and we read and play in his room, then I spend some time organizing it and putting things away while he "talks" with his giraffe friend. 

6:00PM Daddy arrives home from work! We put Parker in his stroller and go on a twilight walk of the neighborhood. Autumn in the desert is beautiful! 

6:30PM Dinner time! Chicken & carrots for little man (both cooked and pureed and already in the fridge), and Beef Daube for mom and dad. 


7:00PM Bath time for little man! We are still bathing him in the kitchen sink. Parker can't get enough of the stream of water coming from the faucet - he thinks it's the neatest thing! He's mesmerized by water in general, actually. 

8:00PM Our bedtime routine: We put little man in his jams, daddy reads Goodnight Moon, then Parker nurses one more time before we put him down to sleep. 

8:30PM Max is a sweetheart and does the dishes as I tidy up the kitchen and put away bath stuff. Our plan had been to watch the Homeland that aired and taped the night before, however Max (jet lagged from Norway last week) requested that we save it for another night. I pretend to be sad but I'm ready for bed, too! 

9:00PM Good night! 
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All Things Pumpkin

I tried my hand at homemade pumpkin ice cream! I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest. The secret ingredient was milk powder, which was supposed to mix with the pumpkin puree to prevent it from getting icy. The ice cream turned out super creamy, so I'd say it worked! The recipe called for crushed graham crackers, too, yum! 

We haven't been to a pumpkin patch yet, but I did pick up this decorative little white pumpkin at the grocery store. I used a black sharpie to monogram it (also a Pinterest idea!). 

I found Pumpkin Butter at Trader Joes! It's especially tasty when paired with these gingersnap-type cookies also from there. 


I didn't want Parker to miss out on any pumpkin yumminess, so I've been whipping him up homemade pumpkin baby food! I start with one of these organic sugar pumpkins

I slice them, remove the seeds, and roast for an hour at 450 degrees.

After that I puree the pumpkin, and it's ready for little man! I freeze individual portions that I can thaw and serve. I love that Parker can share in the pumpkin goodness that comes with fall!


We've also been devouring books about pumpkins and Halloween! Five Little Pumpkins is a favorite! I used to chant this poem with my firsties so I love that I can now introduce it to my baby boy!


And of course, my favorite little pumpkin of all! Who can resist cute seasonal outfits? Happy October!

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5 on Friday

1. Fall weather has arrived in the desert! We've been taking advantage with daytime walks, dinners alfresco, and afternoon playtime on the grass! 

2. Is anyone out there doing baby sign language? We've just started introducing some signs to Parker (mostly revolving around eating). It's been so much fun! 



3. I handcrafted some Halloween bunting for our mantle, here's how it turned out!


4. I figured out a system to handle our messy, messy, hungry, hungry hippo! These bins are parked right next to Parker's high chair and hold bibs, wash cloths and burp cloths.



5. My sweetness is six-and-a-half months! Mamma loves a photo shoot! 



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Flying with Baby: Tips & Tricks

Max and I were regular flyers PB (pre-baby). With vacations, weddings, and visiting family, I'd average a round-trip flight a month and he'd rack up way more with business travel. We never checked bags, would breeze through security, and enjoyed perks of frequent flyer programs. We had our own little very plush routine: we'd pre-board since Max always had status on at least one airline, read our books or magazines until takeoff, then we'd enjoy a laptop or iPad movie using our headphone splitter so we could watch at the same time. Flying was leisurely, and the biggest challenge we ever had was getting stuck behind someone slow in security. 

That all changed the day we welcomed our sweet baby boy into the world and realized that we'd soon be traveling with an infant. We'd be those people. The people we used to look at and pity, the ones flying with a baby. Upon booking our first flight (a short 1 1/2 hour ride to California to attend a wedding and see family), I immediately realized I had no idea about the logistics of flying with a child. Should we check the stroller or bring it to the gate? Does it go through the x-ray machine? Is it too big? Do we need Parker's birth certificate? What do we do with baby when we go through the metal detector? I wanted to know everything. 

With four baby-on-board flights under our belt now, I thought I'd share some of the tricks we've learned along the way, and simply share what to expect for anyone planning their first flight with baby! 

GETTING READY

Booking Tickets: Children under two can ride free of charge as a "lap child" - you can usually add this option when booking the tickets online (though for American Airlines we had to do it over the phone). The infant will either get his own boarding pass:

Or, the option will be added to the adult ticket:

You can also add the "lap child" upon physically checking in at the airport. For most airlines, no birth certificate is needed at check-in unless the age of the child is in question (since Parker was 5-6 months when we flew we knew we wouldn't have a problem). However, Southwest Airlines does request to see a copy of the birth certificate when checking in (so far, it's the only airline we've encountered that does this). 

Choosing Seats: My tall husband loves to fly in Exit Rows as they give more leg room, however this is out-of-the-question when traveling with a baby. Bulkhead seats are still an option and we flew twice in this area. Bulkhead seats, however, have no room to store bags at your feet, so while it was nice to have the open space in front of us, bulkhead wasn't very practical for traveling with baby. I'd prefer to have all my things at arm's reach the entire flight, not just between takeoff and landing. 

Bulkhead Seats

A trick that one of my new mom friends recommends is, when traveling as a couple plus baby, to book a window and an aisle seats. In her experience, half the time if the flight's not full, no one books that middle seat (and if they do they happily switch to window or aisle once boarding). For our Texas trip, we bought tickets using miles (thank you Max for racking up business travel points!). We had enough points to buy all three of us tickets (which would allow us to take Parker's car seat right onto the plane). Or, we could do two first class tickets with a lap child. I'm so happy we opted for the latter. If at all you have this option, take it! First class gave us tons of space, and lots of attention from flight attendants wanting to accommodate baby.


Packing: We realized our carry-on days were over and instead packed bags that would be checked. We'd carry-on the diaper bag, as well as the car seat/stroller combo that Parker still used. This can be gate checked before boarding the plane. Trick: my same mom friend who advised on seats told me about this gate check bag:


They are available for both cars seats and strollers. We bought the one for the car seat and I'm so glad we did: on our way to Dallas we were caught in a huge rainstorm and the bag kept the car seat dry as it was being moved to and from the plane (not to mention it prevented it from getting dirty and banged up on the rest of the legs). 


Food: Ahhh, this used to mean the snacks I'd pack for myself! Hah! Now of course it means sustenance for little man. For our trip to California, we'd be leaving Parker my mom while we attended a wedding so we needed to bring milk and purees. I confirmed on TSA's website that the 2oz fluid limits do not pertain to baby items, so I chose exactly what I thought Parker would need. I kept the milk and the purees frozen, then the morning of our flight I packed them into a thermal lunch box and added a gallon sized ziplock of ice. This worked perfectly for our short flight (and replacing the ice at the airport or on the plane I think would work for a longer journey). 


THE BIG DAY

Attire: Knowing that airplanes can get quite cold, we opted to put little man in long sleeves and pants for our flights (actually just his jams for a number of the flights since they fit the bill and they had footies to keep his toes warm!). My Mommy & Me yoga instructor keeps our classes warm since she says cold babies cry and warm babies just get tired and go to sleep. That was enough reasoning for us!

Security: We arrived way earlier than we normally would have, knowing we had to check our bags and not wanting to feel rushed. When we got to security, we had the usual removing of shoes and belts and liquids to do, plus loading the diaper bag carry-on, and placing the car seat and stroller through the x-ray machine. TSA's official line is that the stroller goes through the x-ray machine "if it fits", but I will tell you they really want it to fit. If it doesn't, it adds a bunch of time on their part having to swipe it and examine it separately, so be prepared for them to insist that it go through! Ours actually fit no problem, however at this point I was very glad to have two sets of hands. Max loaded the car seat onto the conveyor belt as I held Parker and walked through the metal detector (we read that they do allow you to wear baby in a carrier, but if the metal detector goes off you'll have to be examined, so we just went sans carrier through the detector). Update: We know belong to the Global Entry Program. Global Entry allows for TSA pre-check, a separate, simpler way to go through security! It's totally worth every penny!

Through Security, Waiting to Board 

Ready to Board: Since we always arrived early, we had plenty of time before it was time to board to put our Gate-Check bag on the car seat and pick up Gate-Check tags at the ticket counter for the car seat and stroller. You can also just check them there at the counter but we opted to keep them and walk them down to the gate as we were boarding and leave them there. We definitely recommend bringing along a baby carrier so you can be hands-free! 



Boarding: We're used to pre-boarding, which is what we did with little man, however this adds time that you're actually sitting in your seat on the plane. Since we didn't have bags that had to be stored in overhead bins (a big reason to board earlier rather than later to make sure there's space), we really could have waited until the last minute to get on, to minimize the total number of minutes baby would be on the plane. Maybe next time. 




Take-Off: We read that having baby eat at take-off and landing helps to clear ears. Since Parker still refuses the bottle, I ended up nursing at take-offs and landings. This sometimes puts him to sleep, which worked great for flying! (Below he fell asleep before we even took off - we ended up having a 1.5 hour ground delay, lots of which he slept through!).


Diaper Duty: I had major anxiety about changing baby on the plane. However, having done it now, I can say it's really not that bad! Just make sure the restroom you're using has a changing table (there should at least be one on the airplane and it will be marked on the door. Poor Max was on diaper duty during one flight and went to the first class restroom which had no changing table, so he basically changed our son in the sink?).

Keeping Baby Happy: Before our California trip, I read somewhere that it's good to have an old, familiar toy as well as a new, different toy to keep baby busy. My mom friend recommended that we pack light, and that we'd rather find the things we needed easily rather than having an overstuffed bag. So we brought Parker's favorite toy (Sophie) and a couple rattle-type toys we hadn't brought out before, plus a board book. Our baby, however, still found his "outdoor" voice and wanted to scream and shriek while on the plane. Oh, dear. For Texas, we brought everything above plus we were prepared with the iPad. We're following the APA's advice to avoid screen time before age two (though we do make an exception for facetiming and Skyping with family and friends), however we figured we could break the rules on the plane if it meant a happy baby! At home, Parker loves to look at our fish tank, so Max found an app called Aquarium Live, which is basically just video of the ocean. Parker looooved sitting with daddy and watching it! It worked instantly whenever he was starting to get fussy, a definite must for flying with baby!


Little man loves to eat, so I also spent quite a bit of time feeding him (a full baby = a happy baby!).

AND, YOU'RE DONE

Landing: After we were on the ground, we hung out at our seats rather than trying to be first off the plane since we knew we'd have to wait for our stroller to be delivered (and not wanting to be rushed with baby). I'm not going to lie, I was exhausted after every flight! Parker actually got better with each one, though! We actually received compliments after our Texas flights - Go, Little Man! 

  This is how little man felt after his first flight (daddy & mamma, too!)

Happy Flying, Everyone! 
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