I’ve always wanted to be a published author. What better way to do it than to write an original storybook for my unborn daughter?
Being a parent is expensive. It wouldn’t be so bad, if we knew we were spending our money on stuff that will actually help us raise our child. With baby gear marketing in constant overdrive, we are sometimes made to feel that if we don’t buy a particular item, CPS might just come knocking on our door to investigate our negligence. However, it is just as likely that we will drop a couple of hundred bucks on the latest item, only to find that the baby never needs it.
This past weekend, my wife was surrounded by friends and family at our baby shower. Each of the guests had their own opinions on what we really needed before the baby came. It was funny, because every single person had that one “must have” item queued up to suggest, and every single one was different.
I’ve scoured the Internet for baby gear that is an absolute necessity. Now I’m not talking about the obvious stuff, like a crib or a car seat. I am talking about the next-level luxury-type items that didn’t even exist when we were kids (and somehow we survived).
This inspired me to create a bracket of the items most commonly cites as “must-haves” by some and a “waste of money” by others. This isn’t a comprehensive list and I am curious if you have any other items that you’d add.
Feel free to leave your picks in the comments section. I tried to make this bracket interactive, but I refuse to pay a marketing company to build it for me. Like I said, parenting will be expensive!
Game 1: Wearable Baby Monitor vs. Jogging Stroller
Game 2: Formula Dispenser vs. Wipe Warmer
Game 3: Bottle Sterilizer vs. Adjustable Bassinet
Game 4: Diaper Service vs. Nursery Glider/Rocker
Game 5: WiFi-Enabled Video Monitor vs. Diaper Pail
Game 6:Infant Bath Tub vs. Baby Food Maker
Game 7: Baby Detergent vs. Multi-Mode High Chair
Game 8: Changing Table vs. Electric Bottle Warmer
Game 9: Winners of Games 1 and 2
Game 10: Winners of Games 3 and 4
Game 11: Winners of Games 5 and 6
Game 12: Winners of Game 7 and 8
Game 13: Winners of Game 9 and 10
Game 14: Winners of Games 11 and 12
Game 15: Winners of Games 13 and 14
Champion: Winner of Game 15
I spent most of my Saturday hanging out with Tiny Nephew. You can see the before and after comparison of our day below.
I posted this picture on various social media accounts. People responded.
But do you know what? I didn’t get a single post asking me to cover up. Facebook didn’t deem my body offensive (though it probably should have), so the picture was not censored. In fact, the overwhelming consensus on this post is that it is “cute” and “precious” and “awwwwww”.
Today I saw a viral video of a female weather reporter being stopped in the middle of her live on-air report, so that she could be handed a cardigan to cover up. It seems viewers were offended by her tight black dress. Why? Why is it okay for me to post topless pics of myself, but a fully-clothed woman is shamed by her employer on the air? How is that okay?
Currently, I am expecting my first child, a daughter. I’ve become much more attuned to the world she and my wife will face in the coming years. Things I took for granted as a man are starting to trouble me. I am beginning to understand my female friends a little better, and I share their indignation for how women are treated in our society. There is a clear double-standard for how men and women should present themselves. And it sucks.
“Never mind if your breasts are being used to nourish your baby; I have sexualized them in my mind, so go feed your kid on a public toilet! ”
“Don’t dress in a way that makes you feel empowered; that is threatening to me as a man, so cover up or prepare to be slut-shamed!”
But I am free to flash my nips to anyone I want, post them anywhere I want, and I’ve not heard a thing.
So how about it? Anyone want to slut-shame me?
Let’s be honest. I have no input in the design of the nursery, especially one for a little girl. Even if my wife wasn’t the most awesome planner I know, she also has two interior designers in her family (her sister and her mom), so I am basically fourth on the depth chart when it comes to opinions. If I’m being really honest, I am actually a day laborer in this endeavor, minus the payment. So my contribution to this involved painting, lifting, and reaching.
Okay, this isn’t really the “Before” Photo. This is more like the post-clearing-crap-out-but-pre-nursery-photo set.
My experience involved coming home on a Thursday night and taping off the room, laying down plastic, and applying samples to our wall. Then on Friday, I applied a thick coat of primer because even though our walls were originally a light shade of tan, it kept getting bleeding through.
Finally, on Saturday, I put Star Wars on the laptop and got to work. Three consecutive viewings later, I had a very pink room!
Then it was time to add detail and furniture to the room! But that could wait, right? Clearly you don’t know us or you wouldn’t be asking that question.
We actually had no intention of purchasing our crib until much later in the pregnancy, but Amazon pulled a fast one on us! We had already settled on the Davinci Jayden 4-in-1 Convertible Crib in black, to match a dresser that we already owned. It was perfect! Phthalate-safe, affordable, and easy to assemble! I was hooked after reading the first review on it! But at some point, they stopped carrying it (at least in black). So that sent us on a mad scramble to buy the crib much sooner than anticipated before the price point changed!
I am not the sort of person to just let it sit there in the box to be assembled in the future. Once it arrived, it got built. From there, were were actually able to incorporate pieces from elsewhere within our home to complete the nursery. The only things we had to buy were some art pieces for a gallery wall.
I won’t give away all of the final touches, but here are some teasers:
When I told my mom the nursery was already done in April, she asked what we planned to do through the summer while we waited for the baby to arrive.
“Simple,” I said, “Dust!”
So yeah, we’re pregnant. I’m not going to act like I am still in shock. We found out in January and it is May now. But we are at the 20 week mark, halfway through it, and for some reason it is finally starting to feel real. Up until this point, we hedged our excitement because we knew there was a chance of things going south. But as this thing progresses, my optimism has risen.
Two weeks ago, we had the big scan. You know the one if you you’ve ever been expecting. This is the scan where they measure every part of the baby’s body to make sure everything is developing on schedule. What they don’t tell you is that, healthy or not, they will spend an inordinate amount of time on the baby’s heart. So after five minutes of watching her four chambers pumping blood, I began to wonder what concerns the nurse had. Of course, my fears were unfounded. Everything was fine. Maybe next time, using words would be a way to keep my imagination in check.
For all the detail we were able to see that day, the one image that escaped us was a picture of her facial features. The scan pierced her surface and only gave us a view underneath. So we got a shot of this adorable skull/demon thing growing in my wife’s uterus. I am not kidding when I tell you our daughter looked like this:
I am not a patient man. I am the guy who finished setting up my kid’s nursery weeks ago. So now of course, I am on a mission to figure out what she’ll look like. For that, I turn to baby pictures of my wife and I.
Next, I find one of those free facial generators online that blends features from multiple pictures.
Okay. I can see that. Much cuter than a Stormtrooper.
When I was a Boy Scout, I camped with Troop 207 once a month. Sometimes these trips were one-nighters. Other times, we made a week out of it at Camp Wehinahpay. And once, we even backpacked at Philmont for two weeks! Snow, rain, wind, and blazing heat were no match for us! Then I went to college and me and thirty of my closest friends made a couple of excursions to Elephant Butte Lake. It turned out that I was one of the few to have any camping experience, so I set up tents, lit fires, cooked the food, and loved every minute of it!
Since moving to Arizona ten years ago, I’ve only camped twice; but I am going with my family in a couple of weeks. It’s amazing how outdoor skills and knowledge never really go away. I’ve been hard at work the last few days preparing for the trip by replenishing my outdated gear. Let’s just say I’m a little overwhelmed at the advances made in camping technology in the last decade. While I salivate over the parachute material hammocks, I find that there are just some old school methods that can’t be beat. A quick consultation of the Internet tells me these methods are now called “hacks“.
For my upcoming trip, our group will consist of 4 dogs and 4 humans. We will be venturing to the White Mountains of Arizona at the end of August for a 3 night excursion at a hosted campground. “Hosted” generally means the site will boast fire pits, ranger stations, and other amenities.
This particular site also has running water and restroom facilities (including showers). What better way to ease the family into life outdoors? Unfortunately, hosted sites often have RV hookups as well. Let me make this clear. If you are in an RV, you are NOT camping. You are not roughing it. And you certainly are missing out on the best parts of the Great Outdoors by insulating yourself inside your rolling meth lab.
So anyway, while I stock up on the essentials (and not-so-essentials), I am going to update this blog with thoughts on what new gear might be worth the money, and which can be replaced with cheaper DIY substitutes. I’ll also update with my packing list, menus, and other thoughts that might be helpful to other people looking to get out into the wild.
Impatient to meet my daughter, I’ve decided to project what she’ll look like with a facial generator website.
‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the state
The Red Sea was stirring, we could all hardly wait;
Sunday Night Football’s bus had arrived in Glendale,
As had the Seahawks, and their defense from Hell;
The players are well rested from a mini-bye week;
But we face a tough team on a giant win streak;
Nine-point underdogs, the Vegas odds did read,
And Chris Simms says a loss is already guaranteed.
Never mind that the hosts are undefeated at home,
The 12th Man expects to take over our dome.
ESPN already anointed the Hags the number one seed,
While the Cards are predicted to dance with Drew Brees.
These insults have been added to more injuries too,
As Ellington was sent to IR, along with his boot.
And with Lindley now under center, who would disagree,
That the Cardinals would have to rely on their incredible D?
But under the leadership of Bidwill and Keim,
These are not the Cards that pinch pennies and dimes.
They built a roster with names seemingly pulled from a cup,
And the Coach urged them on with a call for “Next Man Up”:
“Now, Carson! Or, Drew! Crap, Ryan and Logan!
On, Andre! On, Stephan! Or, Marion, no Kerwynn!
From the top of the depth chart, the names started to fall,
And the practice squad ranks were given the ball!”
This is what December football is really about,
A battle of attrition, where healthy teams win out;
And as Seattle rounds back into Super Bowl form,
Many Cardinals are stuck “Physically Unable to Perform”.
But hope is not lost, this team still has some juice,
So long as they follow the Head Coach named Bruce.
He is a funny guy, so full of bluster and smack.
“Game management?” he asked, “Hell no, we attack!”
He dresses in a kangol, and black-rimmed frames,
He holds court at the presser before each of his games;
The rest of his crimson apparel is approved by Nike,
And for that I am sure he got his overpriced pullover for free.
His eyes—how they twinkle! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks are like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth spews curses with ease,
So much so that his message gets lost between bleeps;
If I recall correctly, Canadian whiskey was his drink of choice,
Don’t ask me to repeat it, I’m saving my voice;
For the Nest will be rocking when Bruce and his crew,
Punch the Hawks in the mouth and the blood starts to spew.
The Defense, we know, is the key to this game;
Even though it lacks a legitimate Pro Bowler name.
Calais should get the nod, I think most would agree,
He’s the one NFL Network thinks is Karlos Dansby.
Now it’s almost Sunday, the time for talking is done,
The winner of this game is the NFC’s number one.
I am sure that we will get a hell of a game,
But after this season, the fifth seed would be a shame.
With Arians at the helm, this team can surprise,
In a game that will command the attention of America’s eyes.
And I heard him exclaim, as team prepared to take flight—
“Underdogs again? Let’s give those bastards a fight!”