Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June Photography Challenge, Day 28: Flowers

The skirt has flowers...COUNT IT! :)

My friend, Karaliese, bought me the pattern to make this doll almost a year ago. I just finished it. Moral of the story: I need to be given VERY specific deadlines (with the expectation that I may still lag)!

I actually finished the doll itself a few months ago...but didn't get around to embroidering her face on until this week. Why? Embroidering a face = scary. The result? Wonky, but still cute. And not nearly as terrifying as I expected. It did take me a couple naps worth of time (interpretation: I'm slow), but it was quicker than I thought it'd be. Moral of this story: Just do it already!!

Wanna make your own Mae doll? You can buy this pattern or tons of others through Bit of Whimsy's website. Not feeling so ambitious? You can buy finished dolls there too. She releases new dolls every Thursday night, and posts previews on her FB page. She has the most adorable stuff--it requires some serious will power for me to not buy every pattern!!

Curious why this doll was commissioned in the first place? Because it's more difficult than you might think to find a soft baby doll that's not blonde haired and blue eyed. And sometimes it's nice to give your child a toy that actually looks like them, or {gasp!} maybe even represents a bit of diversity! The wonderful thing about Mae is that she comes with 3 examples of different ethnicities in one pattern. All you need to do is change the skin, eye and hair color/style, and you've got a doll that can represent little girls from all corners of the world!

Now, to set a goal of making one of these babies for Solana before she turns 5! Except her name will be Mei instead of Mae. Obviously.  :)

June Photography Challenge, Day 27: From a Distance

If by "distance", you mean "across the deck", then cool. So, I'm not really staying on point with the assignments! At least I can prove that I actually do have my camera out daily, shooting in manual mode, and playing with Photoshop and Totally Rad when I find the time! And that's the point, darn it!

Yesterday, unlike today, was a gorgeous day. I spent pockets of time outside on and off all day--planting some new cucumbers, squash, and peppers (which will hopefully survive the crap weather to follow better than they did last time!), embroidering eyes on Maddy's doll (finally!!), and simply enjoying the sunshine. When Lana wasn't napping, she was kicking it on the deck, taking in the Redwoods and keeping mama company.

June Photography Challenge, Day 26: Close-up

Well, it's kinda close. Lana's first ride on a fire truck. She was all about it!

June Photography Challenge, Day 25: Something Pink

Well, the good news is that the one thing that I photographed on the 25th actually had some pink in it! Ok, so maybe I'm working a little backwards here, but you all know me better than to think I was going to be able to succeed with another daily photo post project (hello 365 Project!!) 

This is my first skirt since the itty bitty one I made for Maddy last year. I made this one for Julia, Raf's cousin, for her 7th birthday, so obviously it needed to be bigger and slightly more elaborate! I used this tutorial from MADE, and found it to be pretty simple. And it does make a darn cute skirt, doesn't it! I just hope it fits ok. 

After putting together this skirt, I decided I need a serger. Well, maybe NEED isn't the appropriate word, but you know what I mean! Too much time spent ironing hems and trying to sew over 8 layers of bulk! And as you can see here, the top of the skirt still didn't end up with a finished hem...?! Don't ask me how that happened.

If anyone out there has tips on a simple, effective, reasonably priced serger, let me know!

By the way, I included close up photos of my screw ups and wonky seams as inspiration to you all. You don't have to be a perfect seamstress to end up with a super cute finished product! And it'll probably still last twice as long as that spendy outfit from The Gap!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In the Bounce House with Ciocia

I think this amateur is finding better luck editing photos with free stuff than the spendy stuff. Go figure. At least I have something to salvage the crappy photos I capture in manual mode!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June Photography Challenge, Day 23: Sunflare

I decided to get crazy and actually post a photo on time today. I highly doubt it technically qualifies as a "sunflare", but it makes me happy, so whatever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June Photography Challenge, Day 19: Something Orange

Fresh squeezed OJ from oranges that have been sitting in our fridge for months, accompanying a tasty breakfast cooked by the hubs. On Father's Day. (He doesn't trust me with breakfast. Oh well!)

June Photography Challenge, Day 18: Shoes

A very unexciting photo of very unexciting shoes. This is what you get when I live in a napless world, people!

June Photography Challenge, Day 17: Technology

Thank goodness for the iPhone. It's the only thing available to keep me busy while the Bit catches some Zs in random parking lots (the only way she's been willing to nap for the past week)!

June Photography Challenge, Day 15: Silouette

I don't have the energy or imagination to come up with a silhouette photo. Instead, I'll provide the hubs with a very early Christmas shopping idea. ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June Photography Challenge, Day 13: Yourself with 13 Things

Lana with 13 things: half her sandpaper alphabet. Get your own through Polliwog on Etsy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Fly Lady System, Lesson 1: Baby Steps

I discovered the Fly Lady probably at least 5 years ago, maybe more. Despite her ability to motivate thousands of followers to clean and organize their homes, she must have one of the most cluttered, disorganized, and difficult to follow websites in cyberspace. It's a classic case of wonderful women who have an incredible passion for what they do and a commitment to sharing it with the world for free, but lack serious web building skills (I see the same issue with SplitCoastStampers). I find this kind of digital-disorganization to be a huge deterrent for young, busy people who simply want an effective system broken down for them in an easy to follow way.

What's surprising to me is that with all of her faithful followers, apparently no one with amazing digital organizational and/or programming skills has stepped up to help her create a website that's more user friendly and visually appealing. Or, maybe she's just not interested. What do I know.

So, until miracle of miracles happens and FlyLady.net becomes easier to understand than the periodic table of elements, let me see if I can't help break it down for you, using my 5+ years of poking around as a guide! Up first: Baby Steps!

When I first signed up as a Fly Lady member, I mistakenly believed that the answer to what I was supposed to be doing would be found in the daily digest emails. Not so. In fact, unless you could use a little extra motivation and think reading a testimonial or two might help, I would suggest not giving the emails much attention in the very beginning. They can overwhelm you and confuse you into thinking that you should be focusing on a zone, or completing Kelly's missions, or checking off a list of 15+ daily tasks. But as a beginning "Fly Baby" this is NOT the case! The ONLY thing you need to do in the beginning is complete your Baby Steps.

Baby Steps are daily tasks designed to ease you into this crazy cleaning bonanza by creating habits, one by one. For instance, the first Baby Step is to Shine Your Sink. And for every other day of the 31 step series (and for all of eternity), you're instructed to shine your sink. But, in addition to shining your sink, a new task gets added each day. She starts slow. Maybe it's making notes (the beginning of your Control Journal), maybe it's getting yourself ready to be seen by other human beings every morning. The goal is that by the end of the 31 days, she'll have you completing pretty much every task contained in the "Routine" portion of the Daily Flight Plan, all without being completely overwhelmed, like you would be if you tried to do it all from day one.

Let's pause for a moment here and talk about the Daily Flight Plan. This is one of those discombobulated things about the website that drives me nuts. The Daily Flight Plan is kind of a big deal. It's your reminder of what you need to do everyday. But I can't seem to find reference to the primary list anywhere on the website. Instead, it's part of the daily email. I understand that there are probably 2 reasons for this: 1. Because the zones/missions change regularly (more on those later), and 2. Because you should be creating your own routines as part of your Control Journal later on in the Baby Steps. However, I still find it irritating that the basic guideline list isn't a page on the website. But I digress.

For your reference (in case you're new to Fly Lady and haven't signed up for the emails yet), here's what the Routine portion of the Daily Flight Plan looks like:

Today's Reminders:

* Morning Routine:
-Get Dressed to Shoes including Hair/Face, Brush Teeth
- Make Bed
-Swish & Swipe (http://www.flylady.net/pages/FlyShop_ss_package.asp)
-Empty Dishwasher
-Reboot Laundry (a Load a Day Keeps CHAOS Away)
-Check Your Calendar (http://www.flylady.net/pages/FlyShop_calendar.asp)
-Check Your Control Journal

* What's For Dinner?

* Drink Your Water

* Declutter for 15 Minutes

* 15 Minutes of Loving Movement

* Before Bed Routine:
-Lay out Your Clothes for tomorrow
-Check Your Calendar
-Put things needed for tomorrow at the Launch Pad
-Where are your Keys? (http://www.flylady.net/pages/FlyShop_lanyard.asp)
-Spend Two Minutes Clearing off a Hot Spot
-Shine Your Sink
- Wash face/Brush Teeth
-Go to Bed at a Decent Hour

So, long story short: The end-goal of Baby Steps (as far as I can tell) is to get us to a point where most every task on this on list (or a personalized version we create for ourselves) is part of our daily routine. And because we eased into it over the course of a month, we're not even terribly overwhelmed by the awesome amount of work we've added to our days.

Want to see what's ahead for you throughout the course of the 31 days of Baby Steps without having to click on every.single.day. individually?? Yeah, me too. Thank goodness someone put together a pdf of the full list. You can find it here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To the most incredible new daddy in all the land! You fill our lives with joy, and laughter, and so much love. For that, and a million more things, we thank you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Baby Gear Top 10: Baby Carrier

We have a number of friends who are joining the wonderful world of parenthood, so I'll be sharing information about our favorite gear for the newborn phase over the next couple weeks. Picks are not ranked in any particular order.


Get excited friends, today we're going to talk about my favorite piece of baby gear: a carrier! I use my carriers daily, often multiple times per day. I could NOT live without a good carrier!! I realize that some people prefer strollers (and we use ours at the mall, or if it's super hot, or when Lana hangs out with the grandparents), but for walks and errands, I really prefer a carrier. It's so much easier to get things done when you have both hands free. Plus, who doesn't love having their little bundle snuggled up close! (Especially when it's the only way you can get them to stop crying and sleep during the day for the first, say, 4 months of their life...!) 

So, let's talk details! We've tried at least 5 different carriers: the Beco Butterfly (our primary); two different versions of wrap carriers (like the Moby); a ring sling; and an old school Bjorn. 

A structured carrier is your best bet for taking walks, especially as your baby gets a bit heavier. Wanna lose that baby weight? Do yourself a favor and buy a carrier that you love so that you'll get out for some fresh air with your wee one every single day! When it comes to structured carriers (like the Bjorn, Beco, Ergo, etc.), the Beco is my favorite. I find the Ergo to be on the bulky side (it tends to need it's own tote bag). Our Bjorn doesn't have a waist strap, so while Lana loved the forward facing capabilities as she grew, my back could only hang for 20 minutes or so, and I'd be sore the next day. The Beco Butterfly doesn't have forward facing capabilities (unless strapped on the back), which is a bit of a bummer, but it's super comfortable for both of us and I can walk with Lana in it for hours.

Long story short, I recommend you look for a structured carrier that has front carry forward and inward facing capabilities AND a waist strap. Also, it MUST have newborn carry capabilities. If it requires an infant insert and doesn't come with one, buy it. Trust me, it's worth every penny. The Beco Gemini is the only one I've been able to find that fits the bill. (I thought that the Bjorn Comfort Carrier was another great option, but it doesn't work for infants, and I think the sooner you start carrying, the more comfortable your baby will be with it, the more accustomed your body will be to it, and the sooner you'll get out of the house! Our Beco is borrowed, so I plan to pick up a Gemini before the next babe comes along.

When it comes to unstructured carriers, like wraps and slings, I highly recommend you try borrowing multiple styles from friends to test before buying your own. I love the feel of carrying a newborn in a Moby-style wrap, but I just couldn't get mine tight enough on my own to feel secure. (Though with more practice and patience, I know they're wonderful.) Instead, I relied on my structured carrier until Lana was able to maintain a sit up position on her own. At around 6 months, I started using our ring sling religiously. The fabulous thing about a ring sling is the ease of loading/unloading. I wouldn't recommend using it for walks, but it's my go-to tool for running errands. The bummer of a structured carrier is that they take some time to get your baby in and out of, but with a ring sling, you're good to go in seconds! And know that you can use them at a much younger age, I was just most comfortable using it once Lana could hold herself up on her own.

I registered for my ring sling through the Baby Ette shop on Etsy. You can find multiple sellers through Etsy, or can find instructions for making your own online (which maybe I should test myself, considering how often I get asked about mine while out and about!)

Carriers are an investment, and an item you'll use together daily for quite some time, so be sure to do your research and talk to friends to find the one that's right for you.

Do any of you have a favorite not mentioned here that I should know about?

Happy Baby Wearing!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clean House: A Challenge

This is not the first time you've heard me talk about the Fly Lady. And it's certainly not going to be the last.  Let's just be honest: I suck at being a homemaker. I'm a terribly unimaginative cook, and I don't even know how to keep a house clean. I'm always envious of those friends whose houses glimmer every time I visit, even unexpectedly. And not in a stuffy way, rather in an I-actually-care kind of way. Sure, I could make dozens of excuses for why my house is never in order: having a baby, having about ten thousand hobbies I find more interesting than cleaning, places to go, people to see, unfinished house projects around every turn, allergic reactions to cleaning products (kidding). However, I'm tired of the excuses that other (very nice) people make for me. I simply want a clean and orderly house. And I don't want to spend my weekends binge cleaning. I realize that I'm not going to get there overnight, and I'm ok with that. As long as I see progress and notice true habits developing, I'm happy.

In order to get a bit more serious about my intentions this time, I decided to issue a challenge. (You all know how I love those!) My girlfriend, Jamie (Eden's mom), had started the Fly Lady system a few months ago, but fell off the wagon after going on a long vacation. While visiting this week, I asked if she was interested in getting started again, but doing it together this time. Baby Steps, day-by-day. This way we have someone to keep us motivated and accountable. And we have help to decipher the system; the Fly Lady website is not exactly what I would call clear and concise! Plus, we simply have someone to talk about it with, cause let me tell you, learning to clean is not currently a hot topic amongst my group of friends!

Jamie accepted the challenge and we started immediately! Last night we both accomplished our first Baby Step: Shining our Sinks. I did it from scratch, yet again, bleach soak, Brillo scrub, Mrs. Meyer's powder and all. Raf came home from his softball game in the middle of it, grabbed a scrub brush and joined the fun! It's looking awfully shiny, if I do say so myself.

Today's Baby Step, on the other hand, I'm not so into: Getting Dressed to Lace up shoes. I don't really do lace ups. But I put my flip flops on instead of slippers, if that counts for anything. :)

Now, I throw it out to you! Anyone else feeling this way about the state of their home? If so, join us! If you commit right away, you can just jump in with us (the Baby Steps start pretty slow), or start from Day 1 when you can, that works too. Whatever helps you feel good about coming home (and having guests)!

Fun with Eden

A scorching hot walk date, turned pool visit, turned fabulous peach pork loin bbq dinner with the dads, included some playtime for Lana and Eden. It's so fun to see them together now that they can full interact and get around. Here's a glimpse at a couple entertaining exchanges:

1. The battle over who can close the doors the fastest.
2. Eden backs off; Lana probably gave her the creepy Voldemort voice. 
3. Bored with the closed doors (and unable to open them alone yet), Lana opts for acrobatics. 
4. The linebacker stance: a new favorite.
5. All doors have been re-opened: let the games begin! Eden is horrified that Lana chooses her door. Again. 
6. Oh yeah, two can play at that game!

Normally Lana is the aggressor around other babies (using her cousin as a booster to help her stand up, for instance). But this time, it's Eden getting physical!

June Photography Challenge, Day 14: Eyes

Nevermind that neither of them is looking at the camera. Out of 45 pictures, this is the only one you can even see both sets of eyes! (Not to mention Pluto, Mickey and Goofy...5 sets=Bingo!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June Photography Challenge, Day 12: Sunset (or something)

Needed to take artistic license yet again. With Lana's bedtime being well before dark, it's rare that I witness a sunset these days. I'm sure I could sneak out for one, but why bother when I can share these beauties with you instead!

I put them in water after coming home from Trader Joes and literally watched them open before my eyes! 20 minutes prior to taking this picture, all 5 bulbs were completely closed. They're all fully open now...they actually look like they're bursting; straining to bloom just a tiny bit further! They look fabulous in my tin pitcher (thanks mom!) and smell lovely. Yay for fresh flowers!

June Photography Challenge, Day 11: Something Blue

The Little Bitty with her Uncle Peter (who happens to be wearing blue!) at a BBQ celebrating his graduation from Santa Clara's MBA program.

And a bonus...cause it's funny! Congratulations Peter!!!

Note: I realize that I skipped Day 10...I'm still trying to think of a Childhood Memory to take a picture of! 

June Photography Challenge, Day 9: Someone You Love

Make that two somebodies.

June Photography Challenge, Day 8: A Bad Habit

Make that two bad habits. A homemade iced mocha...though I'd hardly call that a bad habit. Now, when I go to the coffee shop for a frappaccino daily, that's a bad habit! And my worst habit of all...the succubus that is my MacBook, complete with a wide world of blogs, recipes, gchat, Photoshop, facebook, email, etc, etc.

Anything I plan to resolve here? Nope.

Friday, June 10, 2011


To say that they missed each other would be the understatement of the decade. Obviously.

June Photography Challenge, Day 7: Fruit (or something)

Needed to take a bit of artistic license on this one. There was no fruit to be found in my life on the 7th. However, there were plenty of fish. Thousands and thousands of fish! The babe was not sleeping so well at my dad's (and by "so well", I mean "not at all"), so when yet another nap battle ended with me as the loser, we decided to take a drive (a sure fire way to knock her out). We ended up in the middle of nowhere, checking out the local fish hatchery. Gorgeous day, gorgeous drive, sleeping baby=win, win, win.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June Photography Challenge, Day 6: From a Low Angle

Occasionally, when I mention to a new friend that my roots are a bit country, I get the "mmm hmm, sure" response. Well, believe it. This little beauty hangs above my dad's bed. I can't complain, really. Generally, I'd prefer not to decorate with dinner, but it genuinely is a beautiful buck, and I'm happy to enjoy the venison steaks we were able to weasel out of Pops. Guess I can't pick the decor for every room in his house!

We were camped out in Dad's room for the past few nights because my cousins were also visiting and crashed in the guest room. Lana is already an easily distracted nurser, but, as you can imagine, this guy provided a whole new level of distraction!

June Photography Challenge, Day 5: From a High Angle

Hello, World! Lana and I made it home last night and are busy catching up on sleep (LOTS of it, thank goodness!) Here is the first of my catch-up photos from the challenge. This is Mr. Mooser (aka Moose). Blurry, but oh-so-lovable.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Whiny Chorus

Lana is getting more and more vocal. Lately, if she's getting tired/annoyed, she'll start making some noise. If you "talk" back, she'll keep going and going, effectively putting off a freak out. It's kinda fun...at least for me!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baby Gear Top 10: Pacifiers

We have a number of friends who are joining the wonderful world of parenthood, so I'll be sharing information about our favorite gear for the newborn phase over the next couple weeks. Picks are not ranked in any particular order.

Next up in the gear series: Pacifiers! This one might seem like a no-brainer, but for some reason I (and TONS of other moms-to-be) get all caught up in whether or not to offer pacifiers. We fear addiction (the kindergardener who tantrums without her binky). And there's so much info out there these days threatening "nipple confusion" and blaming the pacifier for a baby's inability to latch properly. 

I can't discount the latter, because my child had the latch of a rabid dog from day one, so it was never much of a concern once she had arrived (though I have since read in multiple places that this idea is hogwash). And as for breaking the addiction, there are plenty of crafty ideas out there from witty parents, like tying it to a chair in the kitchen, or only allowing them in bed or the carseat. Now that I fully understand the magic that is the binky, I'll be more than happy to strap one to a chair one day, if that's what it takes to break her. But in the meantime, oh how I love thee, Mr. Binky! 

I remember the first time we gave her a pacifier. It was night 2 in the hospital, it was probably around 1am. Raf was asleep, Lana was not, and a very kind nurse was giving me a pep talk (reality check) on life as a new mom. At some point in our conversation, she stopped trying to talk over Lana's wailing and asked if I would like to try a pacifier. I gave her a concerned look and mentioned my reasons for hesitation. "Let's just try it, ok?" she says. "Ok." She plunked it in and there was immediate silence. And not just silence...comfort. I could just tell that Lana was immediately relaxed. It was like she felt safe. {Sigh.} I am SO grateful for that middle of the night pep talk.  

So, let's talk about your options...
First up, the Newborn Soothie. This is the style that you're given in the hospital. If they don't offer you one, just ask. I'm pretty sure we left with 4 or 5. It's my understanding that this is the style they go with because it most mimics the shape of the nipple while breastfeeding, so as to reduce the risk of nipple confusion. My advice? Take this one as soon as you feel like your babe might need a little extra soothing. (You know, on the second night, when you haven't slept for 30-50 hours and you're feeling like you might break without some sort of miracle cure.)

Then, once you're confident with your breastfeeding relationship, chuck these babies and quickly move on. The problem? They're just too heavy. It's too hard for a newborn to keep hold on one of these things, and I don't think that the shape helps much with that either.

When you decide you're ready to move on, get ready to be overwhelmed by options! There's literally a 5x6 foot section of wall at the baby store committed to pacifiers. It's overwhelming to say the least. Don't stock up on one kind in the beginning; it may take a few tries to find the shape that your baby prefers. We lucked out in that the first one we picked, she loved. We use Nuk brand pacifiers. They're light weight and she likes the shape so she has no trouble keeping these in. (In fact, she's quite adept at screaming without losing her binky!) Be sure to buy the age-appropriate size. They do seem to get bulkier and heavier as they age up.

The Genius is another option in the Nuk line. This one is incredibly trim and lightweight. I prefer this one as she's gotten older because it doesn't seem to have the same suck strength to it, if that makes any sense? I think it's built to be more orthodontically appropriate, so they can't get quite the same suction on it as the others. Thus, it was less effective when she was a newborn and really needed that strong suck, but works great now, since it's primarily just a security object that she uses to wind down for sleeping.

And finally, the Chomp. We don't have one of these, but it'd be really awesome if we did!

Going Dark

We're hitting the road again today, headed for Grandpa's house this time. I'm pretty sure the G-Pa's still rocking dial-up, so there's a good chance you won't hear from me again until I'm home later in the week.

I've scheduled a couple of posts, primarily video fun, to keep you entertained in our absence. I'll catch up on our photos and gear posts soon. In the meantime, have a great week!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June Photography Challenge, Day 4: Something Green

Everybody's favorite toy at Pau Pau's house. Even I love this noisy little breeze-blowing plastic island. Lana likes to play the role of King Kong; the chompy little green alligator gets to be the fair maiden.

In other news, tired of the Little Bit's bottom half?!

Info about this challenge can be found on The White Peach Photography blog

I {heart} Photoshop

This photo came out of my camera black. You could just barely make out the outline of her little foot. I was in a rush to snap a shot of her adorable little feet, but my camera was in another mode that I had been playing with in a room with different lighting. By the time I corrected the settings, she had moved on. (The downside of an amateur shooting in manual mode.) This is where the joys of Photoshop are most evident. Do I end up with a perfect, crisp image? Not hardly. But I love it just the same. Maybe more. Sometimes that layer of grit adds even more sentimentality.

June Photography Challenge, Day 3: Clouds

The clouds weren't terribly exciting here today. Which is kind of odd, because they're quite impressive here about 342 days of the year. No new camera lessons learned today. Instead, I spent ALL night (seriously: half of Grand Torino and most of The Green Mile) trying to figure out how to install and use the free Adobe Photoshop Elements actions from the Pioneer Woman.

Thankfully, I was eventually successful. There are some fun ones in the packs (including a couple I used to gussy up these shots), but truth be told, I think I'm going to end up splurging on the Totally Rad Actions Original Mix; they're having a 30% off sale through Facebook this weekend. Do I need them? Of course not. Would it make this whole photography thing about a thousand times more fun? Hell yes.

Here are a couple bonus shots of the babe, venturing out to help mama with her photo assignment.

Hmm...how do I convince the mama to come back inside so I don't have to touch the icky deck...??

You can find info about this photo challenge on The White Peach Photography blog. Motivated to join me yet?? I know I've heard from a few of you on Facebook that you're tempted. DO IT! Then link your photos up in my comments too, so that I don't feel so darn lonely!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Baby Gear Top 10: Bjorn Babysitter

We have a number of friends joining the wonderful world of parenthood, so I'll be sharing information about our favorite gear for the newborn phase over the next couple weeks. Picks are not ranked in any particular order.

Are you familiar with the Bjorn Babysitter? Many of our friends swear by this bouncy seat. I picked up an older version on Craigslist, as I wasn't ready to commit to the steep price tag. I'm glad I did; Lana wasn't content to spend hours in hers like some of our friends, but most of the time I could at least take a shower while she was sitting in it, and I was happy to have it.

Unless you're game for wearing your babe 24/7, you're probably going to need an infant appropriate baby seat. If you can afford this one (or get super lucky and find a well-priced used one), it's a pretty fabulous little contraption. For starters, it's super handy for taking on the road because it folds flat. It also has 3 recline positions (active, rest & sleep), and if you get the new model, you don't even have to take your kid out to change positions--awesome if you have a babe that will fall asleep in it and you want to lay them back to help them sleep longer.

The toy bar is a fairly expensive addition. I would say that it's not necessary, but certainly nice to help keep your developing baby occupied. The thing I love about this seat and the toy bar, in particular, is that it's not overbearing. There's nothing hanging in their face--they can play if they want, but it doesn't obscure their vision if they simply want to watch the world go by. Ours did come with a more primitive toy bar, but most of the time I just hung a toy from the waist strap with a linky.

Long story short, you can live without this one, but if you have the option to borrow, buy used, or register for it, it's definitely a nice piece of gear that I'll be keeping around to be used by the next rugrat.

More Photo Practice

Because I know you're never going to complain about seeing more pics of the babe, here are a few more of my favorites from yesterday.

High ISO (=brighter, but more noise). Not too noisy for me. Such a serious girl sometimes.


She'll hate me for this one day. Ha!

Love, LOVE this shot.

These two are out of focus, but she's too cute to cut them.

Love them. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June Photography Challenge, Day 2: What You (She) Wore Today

Clearly, this is not what I wore today. I wore my PJs until I finally took a shower at 3pm. Then I put on yoga pants with my slippers. Yes, I'm that impressive. So, maybe I'm not sticking exactly to the guidelines with this little challenge, but here's the thing: I'm doing this to motivate me to learn how to take better photos with my huge, expensive camera. Why? To take share-worthy shots of two things: my child and my Bumble work (because better pictures=more sales). I could care less about learning how to take pictures of myself in sweats.

Today I learned how to put my camera in Manual Focus mode, so that I twist the lens to determine focus, rather than allowing the camera to do it automatically. I also played around a bit with ISO levels. Baby steps.

Speaking of what Lana wore today, it's relevant with regards to yesterday's Baby Gear post. You can pick up a variety of these cute, organic Faded Glory PJ sets at Wal-Mart for $5! Just be sure to size up; this is a 12 month size (she's 8 mos old), and her little muffin top is already hanging out!