Top 10 Books for Babies and Toddlers

We have been reading to baby Kurt since he was one day old. It may have meant nothing to him at first, but going on 14 months, he’s finally starting to understand. He’s been able to sit patiently listening since he was just a few months old.

When he is fussy or I need to keep him occupied (in the car, on a plane, when he’s sick), a book is the best way to do it.

Here are our top 10 favorite books for babies – and toddlers too!

(In no particular order…)

1) First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

first 100 words baby book

A sweet milestone that happened in the last few weeks was that Kurt now points to the cat in First 100 Words and say, “Ga Ga” (his word for Cat). The other 99 words are equally useful – including colors, bedtime words, eating words, and more.

2) Tails by Matthew Van Fleet

tails book matthew van fleet

Tails is a fantastic book, though Kurt has by now destroyed a lot of the fun functionality (sliding tabs and cool tails). Perhaps wait until baby is old enough to not destroy books (or keep a better eye on baby while he’s “reading” than I usually do!).

3) I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak

i love you through and through book

Just a very sweet baby book. Especially good to hug and cuddle while reading it.

4) Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton

pajama time by sandra boynton

Pajama Time can be used as a bedtime ritual. It’s also a rhyming book. We love it.

5) Trucks by Katie Cox

trucks book katie cox easy to turn page

The pages of Trucks are easy to turn because they have tabs on them. A super simple book (just words for the different kinds of trucks) but colorful and Kurt likes flipping through.

6) The Little Green Island with a Little Red House by Sharon Lovejoy

little green island with a little red house

This book may be for a slightly older child, but Kurt loves listening to us read even if he doesn’t understand it all. The Little Green Island is full of interesting color words like chartreuse and crimson. I think this one will be a keeper for many years to come.

7) Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss

mr brown can moo can you

A Dr. Seuss classic. Perfect for babes learning new sounds.

8) Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

pat the bunny

Another classic… but be careful because babies tend to destroy books that are not board books. I love this edition because Kurt can touch “daddy’s scratchy face” and put his finger through “mummy’s ring”.

9) Where Is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz

where is baby's belly button

Great for teaching baby “where” things are. Belly buttons, hands, feet – it’s a lift the flap book. (Again, be careful for baby’s grabbing hands.)

10) Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers

everywhere babies

Everywhere Babies is probably the most recent book we’ve added to our collection and it’s fast become a new favorite. So sweet – and I love how it shows both bottle-fed and breastfed babies.

What are your top books for babies and toddlers?

Baby Registry Must-Haves {Part 1}

If you can believe it, my sweet baby boy Kurt turned 3 months old (13 weeks) last Friday!

kurt

We are pretty sure he is over 20 pounds. What a bruiser. And yes, he does always have that smile on his face. He is honestly the perfect baby – never cries and always makes me laugh.

There are a lot of items that people will tell you that you have to have for a baby. Well, turns out – you don’t actually need much. Here are the items from our registry (or that we just bought ourselves) that we actually use.

1) Arm’s Reach Cosleeper: Arm’s Reach Concepts Mini Convertible Arc Co-Sleeper Bedside Bassinet, Cocoa/Natural

cosleeper

 

NOTE: We are not actually using the cosleeper (though we do own it) because we co-sleep (he’s in our bed). HOWEVER, if you are nervous about traditional co-sleeping (aka bed-sharing), this is a great alternative. Baby is right next to you, within “arm’s reach”, and it is easy to pick him up to rock or nurse. I still recommend this; if we weren’t bed-sharing we would be using it. If there is interest maybe I will do a bed-sharing/co-sleeping post.

**Update at 7 months: You can use the cosleeper as a playpen (it’s convertible). This is how we are using it now because Kurt outgrew it for sleeping in. He is 25 pounds at 7 months.**

2) NO CLOTHING – people will buy you clothes anyway. You don’t need to put this on your registry unless you want something very specific.

3) Seventh Generation Baby Wipes. These are great. I haven’t tried any other ones, but these have done the job well so far. Great that they are environmentally friendly.

wipes

4) BumGenius Cloth Diapers. These are awesome! They are AIO (All-In-One) cloth diapers. This means that there is just one piece, unlike the cloth diapers that have a cloth diaper + a diaper cover. It also means they are dad-friendly. They are super absorbent. We like to use them overnight. We only have three of them – the black one below (“Albert”), a blue, and an orange. Kurt is wearing the Albert in the picture at the top of this post. (At $20 each these get expensive – I’ll have another post on our cloth diapering routine with a few other options.)

bumgenius

5) Pampers Swaddlers – with color-changing wetness indicator. When we aren’t in the mood for cloth, these are the disposables we turn to. I’ll admit that I tried the more “natural” brands and they just don’t hold up to Pampers. The wetness indicator line is so helpful. It’s yellow when you put the diaper on, then turns to blue when he’s wet.

pampers

6) BelleFit Postpartum Girdle. I actually only ended up using this for about two weeks after Kurt was born, but I did like it while I used it. I was back down below my pre-pregnancy weight 6 days after the birth, shockingly, but my stomach was still poochy. This really made me feel more supported.

girdle

This was me 3 days postpartum using the girdle:

3 days

And then 5 days later, at one week+1day postpartum (with girdle):

one week

7) Everything California Baby. I love the shampoo & body wash, the diaper rash cream, and the massage oil.

8) Stroller: we got the BOB Revolution SE Single Stroller in Navy. This is a running stroller. It’s the hummer of strollers and it’s great for navigating city curbs. It’s a little bit big for everyday use, but I don’t use it everyday anyway (I’m more of a sling person).

BOB

9) Car SeatBritax B-Safe Infant Car Seat in Black (if you have a BOB or another big stroller, don’t forget the adapter: BOB Infant Car Seat Adapter for Britax). We love the car seat – it was fairly easy to install and Kurt enjoys his time in it. He always falls asleep when we’re driving.

car seat

10) Diaper PailDiaper Genie Essentials Diaper Disposal Pail (for the pampers) – and don’t forget the refills (Playtex Diaper Genie Refill).

diaper genie

11) Bottles: We have the Comotomo Baby Bottle, Green, 5 Ounce, 2-Count. These bottles are fantastic. Kurt has not had any kind of nipple confusion and I started using them early, around 2 weeks. The Comotomo bottles are shaped like the breast and work really well. I work full time so I have to pump and either Bobby or our sitter gives him breastmilk from these bottles. (We tried several other bottles including the Lansinoh Momma and the Adiri, which are also supposedly more like a breast – Kurt liked the Comotomo the best.)

comotomo

12) Breast Pump: I have 3 pumps! I have 2 of the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote (double electric) and just one manual pump: Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump. I use the double electric at home in the morning before I go to work and then I have one at the office to use during the day. The manual one is for when I travel or any other random time – it’s super portable and works great.

medela pump in stylemedela harmony

If you do end up getting either of the Medela pumps, I would highly recommend using their “Pump & Save Breastmilk Bags” – the bag hooks right onto the pump (in place of the bottle) which makes storing/freezing/transport a snap. The bag in the picture above (with the Harmony manual pump) is the Pump N Save bag. My only caveat is this: make sure that the zip top is closed securely. I haven’t had any issues but reviewers said that if you don’t close it carefully it’ll leak.

13) Stylish Diaper BagSkip Hop Studio Diaper Bag, Black Dot (I have it in Pewter Dot but I can’t find that color anymore). This has lots of pockets and is cute. It goes with any outfit. Lots of room for diapers, outfits, creams, wallet, phone, etc…

diaper bag

14) High Chairphil&teds Lobster Highchair in Red. We only just started using this recently and Kurt loves it. It lets me have 2 hands free while eating but Kurt can still hang out with us at dinnertime. Very functional. It can attach to any kind of dining room table.

lobster chair

15) Storq leggings. This is not actually something for baby, but something for pregnant and post-partum momma. These are the absolute best leggings I found (and I tried a lot). Storq also has fantastic tank tops. It may be a little pricey for such simple clothing but it is worth it. I got the size 2 (Medium) in leggings and a tank, both black.

That is all I have for now… there is lots more to come!

What are your baby essentials?

July Shenanigans & Recipes…

This summer has been one of the best.

Bobby and I have been cooking up a storm…

moscow-mule

^^A moscow mule (a drink my dad introduced me to).^^

This was mine, but I gave it to Bobby – after one sip I didn’t want anymore! It’s delicious but I wasn’t in a drinking mood. {HERE} is the recipe I posted 5 years ago when my dad first told me about it. It’s a mix of ginger beer, vodka, lime, and mint. Sometimes we do half seltzer / half ginger beer. Gingerale also works.

tempeh-onion-goop

^^Sweet and Savory Tempeh with Onions^^

I started off following Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe for Tempe Manis (Sweet Tempeh) but changed it… a lot. As you guys know, I’m not really into sweets that much, so I cut out just about all the sugar, and instead caramelized some onions to give it sweetness. I will hopefully remember what I did so I can post my version of the recipe later. So delicious.

kale-mustard-green-salad-seaweed-avocado-goop

^^Kale & Seaweed Salad with Avocado – Except with Mustard Greens because I mistakenly grabbed the wrong bunch of greens!^^

Another Gwyneth Paltrow recipe. Which she actually got from Cafe Gratitude (in LA I think?). {HERE} is her recipe. I changed it a bit – I only used one avocado, I didn’t add the cucumbers (all of a sudden I am hating cucumbers, weird!), and I accidentally bought mustard greens instead of kale. I’ve remade it with kale and I actually prefer it with mustard greens. They don’t come out bitter.

dinner-veggies-kabocha-rice-beans-cucumber-mushrooms

^^Random plate^^

This plate has a veggie stir-fry that was *amazing* – it has fake chicken from Trader Joe’s, but aside from that I don’t know what’s in it because Bobby (a budding cook, apparently) made it. I’ve also been *loving* white rice. Having it almost daily, in large amounts. My appetite has been interesting the last month or so. In this pic there is also kabocha (simply steamed, though I have another kabocha recipe I’ve been meaning to share), Rachel Ray’s sesame green beans, a cucumber salad (before I started hating cucumbers), and roasted mushrooms – I think these were oyster mushrooms.

Lastly…

natto

^^Natto^^

This is a fermented soybean product that is eaten a lot in Japan. It has an interesting (funky) smell and it’s slimy/stringy like okra (only more so). It’s definitely an acquired taste, but I have learned to love it. In fact, Bobby made a batch of homemade natto this week, which is aging in the fridge right now. It should be ready this weekend.

Aside from lots of good eats, other wonderful things have happened recently.

I got to meet my close friend’s baby:

maggie-and-eden

She is so sweet. So cuddly and adorable.

And Bo the cat is a weirdo 😉

bo-weirdo

I can’t believe I caught that picture! I was reorganizing the area next to my washer/dryer and was taking these shelves downstairs, but Bo decided to hang out in the shelf and I got him mid-yawn.

What have you been up to the past couple of weeks?

Happy New Year & 2012 Recap

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Did you stay up? I actually fell asleep watching 30 Rock around 11:30 but luckily I have the best husband ever and he woke me up in time to share the strike of midnight and a new year’s kiss 🙂 I’m trying to cut back on coffee thus I was very tired yesterday night.

2012 was a big year for our house – here’s a recap.

  1. taught my first (and probably last) yoga class at my old job – turns out I like taking yoga much more than teaching yoga, at least for now. People seemed to like my classes but teaching is just not for me! (January)
    maggie-yoga
  2. I went back to my old job (I had left it for ~5 months, but missed it almost as soon as I’d gone). (March)
  3. My hubby and I bought an apartment in NYC. And then we renovated it (still renovating it…). (Closed in May; began renovations in November)
    reno-framing-floor
  4. I joined a CSA and discovered a farmers’ market on the corner of my street. (June)
  5. I joined Pure Yoga back at the end of June (and Bobby just joined in late November so now we can go to yoga together). (June)
  6. I fixed my PCOS. (Basically by eating more carbs, and more in general, more food more regularly.) I also ate a lot of PCOS bread. (July)
    pcos-bread
  7. Bobby and I went on a yoga retreat with Raghunath (August), and I tried Mysore Ashtanga yoga (July).
  8. Bobby and I went to Japan for 2 weeks for fun (and so I could finally – after 7 years of being together – meet his family!). (October)
    maggie-japanese-grocery
  9. I went to India for 9 days for work. (December)
    ACTION
  10. NYC got hit by Hurricane Sandy – our home was unaffected, but my work lost power for a week and many of my friends and family members, including my parents, were also without power. Sandy Workout & Sandy Link Love.

What were the important things in your life for 2012?