Two Weeks of Evie

5 Oct little-lady

I am now two weeks into this parenting thing and it has been the best two weeks of my life!  For months, I had researched every piece of baby gear and parenting advice I could find, preparing for this very moment.  Yet, for all the planning and prepping that went on before my daughter arrived, most of it was thrown out them moment we met her.


We are parents now, and like all first-time parents, we continue to endure a trial-by-fire. No amount of planning will prevent us from the joys of the newborn phase. That being said, I did learn a couple of early lessons that I’d like to pass along.

First, there is some prep that you can do that isn’t totally useless. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you take classes prior to baby’s arrival. The hospital probably provides these classes for a nominal fee, or there may be other vendors out there that do it as well. Find them. Spend the money on them. They are worth it. Or, at least, most are.

Our “childbirth” class was largely useless when we found ourselves having to make decisions that were outside our ideal birth plan.  Besides, there were nurses to help us along the way. But do you know what classes were invaluable? One was about breastfeeding. The other was about soothing an infant. I’d also recommend an infant CPR class, but thankfully, we haven’t had need of those lessons yet.  We use the breastfeeding and soothing curriculum daily and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Second, I recommend having the right gear at home. First, the obvious stuff:

You will need a car seat/carrier. A bassinet set up in your bedroom is also important. If you aren’t breastfeeding, bottles and formula are a must. If you are breastfeeding, those can remain on the shelf for a bit longer, but you may want to invest in nipple balms or soothing gel inserts. Diapers, wipes, and ointments are important because your child will poop and pee a lot and it will get irritated down there no matter how quick you are to change them! Oh, and lots of burp cloths. And maybe a washable cover or two for changing pads.

My wife and I found a pacifier to be helpful. Our daughter doesn’t often take it, but when she does, it is a magic off switch for her screaming.  Bath time sets, including washcloths, towels, baby-safe shampoo/soap, and maybe a hooded robe are great.  Emery boards to file those sharp nails are good, as well as baby medical supplies (just in case).  We get a fair amount of use from a nursing pillow in our living room, but in the bedroom, a regular pillow works just as good.

Beyond these obvious items, what else do you need? You should invest in a swaddle (or six). Swaddling is the key to sanity, especially at night. I recommend getting one made of stretch fabric and Velcro, so that it is almost idiot proof. Our swaddling efforts in the hospital made our kid look like Houdini. And as soon as she got her hands free, her movements would startle her awake.  And this would happen hourly, day or night.


Since we got home and use our Ollie Swaddle (above), she has yet to bust free! Now the only time she wakes is to let us know she is hungry! Right now, we can count on a pair of four-hour blocks at night where she will sleep peacefully, and she is only 17 days old!

A Rock-n-Play has been helpful for those rare occasions when we wanted to set Evelyn down, such as when we wanted to make (or eat) dinner.  Equally helpful is a baby lounger, which is essentially a pillow shaped to allow baby to sit at an incline.  It is easier to move around than a rocker and great for playtime!


Finally, this may be my biggest tip. Forgo all of those footie pajamas for baby. It doesn’t matter if they zip or button, you will struggle to get a baby’s feet into the leggings of that outfit every time you need to change her. Honestly, they suck and waste a lot of time every time you need to change a diaper. Instead, opt for the nightgowns. They allow you to just flip them up and make quick changes without having to virtually undress your baby each time! They are a huge time-saver (and eardrum saver if your child hates diaper changes as much as mine).





Beyond that, have some baby-safe laundry detergent on hand from the get-go and you are set for the first few weeks of life! Babies don’t need much else, besides cuddles and love, unless you have a specific medical reason for needing more for them at home!


Playtime at the Zoo

13 Jun Playtime Cover

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?

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Baby Gear: What Do You Really Need?

9 Jun 92589170

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!

Baby Bracket

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

Uh-Oh! I See a Nipple!

16 May

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?


Blogging for Baby – Prepping the Nursery

13 May Crib

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.

Before Photos

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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!

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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:

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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!”



Blogging for Baby – The BIG Ultrasound

12 May Baby Girl Hall - 19 Weeks

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.



Camping Time

15 Aug

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.

Blogging for Baby – The BIG Ultrasound

12 May

Impatient to meet my daughter, I’ve decided to project what she’ll look like with a facial generator website.

Source: Blogging for Baby – The BIG Ultrasound