Quick, before I get Sidetrack'd

Archive for posts tagged with ‘Uncategorized’

January FOUR

Thoughtfully penned on January 10th, 2012 and generally concerning Uncategorized

So I’m a few days late. Better late than never, right?!

And yes, that is currently the best picture we have of S along with her siblings.

Party fun with Britax and MommyParties

Thoughtfully penned on December 18th, 2011 and generally concerning Uncategorized

Imagine you are selected to receive Britax products and other great goodies in return for sharing them with your friends and writing reviews of the products.

Yeah, I was excited, too!

Thanks to MommyParties for choosing me as a host of MommyParties sponsored by Pregnancy 2.0! As a host I received a Britax B-Agile stroller, a B-Safe infant car seat, and the Britax baby carrier with seat extender. I also received a BabyPlus prenatal education system, loveys from Snuggle Buddy, and a box full of Spry and Xlear goodies to share with my friends.

I took my goodies to my Bunco group to share with several of my mommy and mommy-to-be friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any pictures as we checked out the stroller and infant car seat and tried on the baby carrier. Everyone was impressed with the functionality of the gear and really liked the aesthetics of the stroller and car seat.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review the B-Agile stroller. I’ve wanted a single stroller for a while now. Something that was light weight (although that isn’t hard to do when compared to my double behemoth), easy to steer, and nice looking (yes, I’m a bit shallow when it comes to baby gear). This stroller meets all of those criteria and many more.

Designed for Moms on the go, the B-Agile has the look and feel of a jogging stroller. It is very light weight (16.5 lbs) and steers great. I can steer this stroller one handed (even with the infant car seat attached) while carrying the toddler on my hip. It’s wonderful!

There are several other features that I really like about the B-Agile stroller. It has an easy one-handed fold which works very well. The small profile of this stroller makes it easy to maneuver in stores, and it even fits in the back of my van unfolded! With a fully reclining seat (infinite recline positions) and a no-rethread five point harness it is simple to adjust the stroller to use with any of the children. The frame is designed to accommodate stride which is great when Matt is using it, no cross-bar to kick. And the canopy is HUGE (which I love!).

While I really like the B-Agile, there are a few things that I’m not wild about.

I didn’t find the one-handed fold to be intuitive. If you read the manual, it clearly states that you press the frame release button and then pull the strap in the seat to fold the stroller. I, however, did not read the manual before using the stroller the first time, thus my knowledge that it fits in the back of my van unfolded. Now that I know what to do it is simple to fold. No big deal.

I do wish the basket was a bit larger. It is adequate for holding my (large) diaper bag, but just barely.

But my biggest issue was that the harness release mechanism on ours seemed ridiculously difficult to undo. I had to squeeze the button as hard as I could and pull the buckle at the same time. I spoke with Britax customer service about this issue, and they were great; very professional, courteous, and helpful! The CS rep assured me that the buckles were designed to be stiff so little ones can’t escape (which I appreciate) and that they should loosen up over time. As we continued to talk and I explained how hard they actually were to open she was quick to offer to remedy the problem. The next business day a new seat was shipped to me so the buckles would work more easily. I was super impressed with how knowledgeable the CS rep was and how great Britax was to work with!

Overall, I am very pleased with the B-Agile stroller. It is great for strolling the toddler (23 months), the infant (4 months), or even one of the older kids (3.5 y/o and 5 y/o).

The B-Agile stroller and B-Safe car seat work great together. The car seat attaches and detaches easily and sits securely on the stroller frame. I also like that I can put up the hood on the car seat and the vented hood on the stroller and have M completely covered.

And let me tell you, the B-Safe infant car seat came at just the right time. Baby M had never ridden in an infant car seat (we installed her convertible seat before we went to the hospital), so I intended to give this one away. However, the weekend before my party the harness adjustment mechanism on S’s car seat broke and could not be fixed. Since we had the B-Safe seat on hand, we moved S into M’s convertible seat and installed the B-Safe for M’s ride.

We put M directly into a convertible because we really don’t use the carrier feature of an infant car seat all that often. I will say, though, that having one has been nice on several occasions.

The B-Safe seat is comparable to other infant car seats in weight and ease of carrying. It was easy to install with the LATCH system in our van, and it has multiple base positions to help it fit in any car. I really like that it has level indicators on both sides of the seat, so much easier when installing than having to move to the other side of the car to make sure it is level. And it attaches and detaches with the base nicely.

Best of all, M seems comfy and secure in there.

Now I will fess up and tell you right off that I haven’t actually worn M in the Britax baby carrier a whole lot. If you know me, you know I own multiple baby carriers and have plenty of opinions on babywearing devices. The lack of use, in this case, isn’t from any intrinsic dislike, but just because it is hard to set aside my favorite carriers to try a new one. However, after using it at the grocery store on Friday, I will definitely be using it more!

A few features I really like on this carrier: it is easy to get on and off, it has excess belt storage bands to prevent loose straps, the instructions are printed on the interior of the carrier, and the straps seem to be well padded for comfort in extended use.

I am not a proponent of forward-facing babywearing or rear-facing babywearing where baby’s legs “dangle” and they are not positioned in a way that is similar to sitting down (weight primarily focused on their bottom). I really like that Britax has developed a Seat Extender Insert which allows their carrier to hold baby in a “sitting” position. The insert makes it function similar to an Ergo or Boba in the front carry. I do wish that the extender insert came with the carrier instead of being sold separately.

And now for the other wonderful goodies…

Because M was already here when I was chosen to host this party I was unable to personally try the BabyPlus Prenatal Education System. I have, however, passed it on to a friend to use. I’m really curious to see if she notices a difference with her baby girl. While I’m a bit skeptical (by nature), I find the whole idea interesting. For more details on the system and its benefits please visit the BabyPlus website.

Have you heard of the benefits of xylitol? While I knew that it was good to chew gum with xylitol I never really knew why. Come to find out, xylitol fights bacteria. Now there is not only gum containing xylitol to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, but nasal saline spray containing xylitol. Xlear generously sent Spry infant/kid’s tooth gel, Spry gum, Xlear kid’s nasal spray, and Xlear adult nasal spray to share with all of my party goers. We’ve used the tooth gel with S and it seems to work fine. The word on the gum (from a friend) is that it is good but loses flavor quickly. I’m excited to use the nasal sprays as I know of a few people who swear by Xlear to prevent sinus junk. I will definitely use it to try to stave off my semi-regular sinus infections!

And last, but certainly not least, we received two adorable loveys from Snuggle Buddy. These loveys are so soft that I know M will love them. The bright colors and cuddly fabrics are appealing to both mom and baby, and the great design and quality will definitely attract mom. I can’t wait for M to snuggle with her precious little owl!

If you made it to the end of this post, you definitely deserve a reward. I apologize for the wordiness, but with such a generous hostess package I wanted to thoroughly review the products offered.

I am grateful to MommyParties for the opportunity to try out these great products and share them with my friends!

*I was provided the products mentioned in order to conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions expressed are strictly my own based on use of these products.*

Comments Off

Snow Day

Thoughtfully penned on November 29th, 2011 and generally concerning Uncategorized

MOnday night we got our first (and possibly only) snow of the season.

There wasn’t much.

But enough to demand an early morning trip outside.

Leaving behind the detritus of a snow day.

Friday five

Thoughtfully penned on April 1st, 2011 and generally concerning Uncategorized

This is the random thoughts on baby girl number 3 version of Friday five.

1. We’re working on a name. I think we might have settled on a first name, but we’ll see.

2. Matt said that J does have one advantage in being the only boy – he’ll have his own bedroom.

3. Aunt Lu says J will be well prepared for marriage after growing up in a house full of girls.

4. The other day E was singing a song about her “new baby sister is coming near my birthday”. I asked her what if baby was born on her birthday. She said, “that would be crazy to have three birthdays on the same day!” (she and Pops share a birthday)

5. We need a few pieces of equipment (bouncy seat, maybe a swing) since we gave away some (swing) and some (bouncy seat) didn’t survive the first three. It’s kind of neat to think I can buy girly things since this will be the last baby. She’ll also have to have some clothes of her own, of course; although, I’m hoping she’ll be able to wear most of E’s and S’s clothes.

In a few months we’ll welcome…

Thoughtfully penned on March 29th, 2011 and generally concerning Uncategorized

another baby GIRL!

I intended to post this on Friday after my doctor’s appointment, but the afternoon was crazy and I never got around to it.

We are excited to meet her.

We are kind of sorry for poor J, growing up with three sisters.

We are a bit overwhelmed at the thought of parenting three girls (and three teenage girls…at the same time!).

We are humbled to be given another beautiful blessing from God.

Five on Friday

Thoughtfully penned on March 18th, 2011 and generally concerning Uncategorized

Here’s some random for you on a beautiful Friday (at least around here)…

1. S is in one of those fun stages where she’s learning all sorts of funny things. For example, in the last week or so she’s discovered her ability to stand on her head and look backward between her legs. She’s also started spinning in circles. She is so proud of herself and both of her new “activities” make her laugh. Hilarious!

2. We’ve been on Spring Break this week, and it’s been glorious! With all we have going on this Spring (and throughout last Fall) I had forgotten how nice it is to have some down time and to set our own schedule.

3. One week from today is our big ultrasound! I am excited to see this tiny one, and, hopefully, we’ll be able to find out baby number 4′s gender.

4. Numerous people have asked us about baby names. We don’t have a clue what this baby’s name might be. Matt says there is no reason to decide until we know whether baby is a girl or a boy. So far we have some ideas, but nothing that really sticks out.

5. Matt and I celebrate our 10th anniversary in just over two months. We are planning to take a trip to celebrate, but we haven’t even decided where we are going, let alone made any firm plans or reservations. Guess we better get on that!

Have a great weekend!

Comments Off

Blogging slump brain dump

Thoughtfully penned on February 24th, 2011 and generally concerning Uncategorized

It’s been over a month since my last real post. What have we been up to? A little of this, a little of that, a little of nothing very exciting.

There have been numerous post swirling through my head these last few weeks, but I haven’t had the energy or the desire to type them up. I thought I might be around here more once the craziness of the Fall months settled down, but, obviously, I was wrong. :-)

Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’ve been blogging for 5 years (4 here and about one on my pregnancy blog before Little was born). Maybe it has to do with being pregnant with baby number 4 and keeping up with the other 3 and all of our regularly scheduled activities. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t really had much to say.

I’ve been thinking through a bit of a blog identity crisis as well. I have three kids doing and saying cute things and another on the way, but as Matt said one day, after a while all the cute runs together; I just haven’t been inspired to record any of that lately. While I’m not really concerned about “readership”, I would like to write things that my (few) readers enjoy reading. And I feel like I write in several different styles and I’m not sure which direction I really want to go.

Anyway, all of that to say that I might be around more often, or I might not. We’ll see what happens. But know that we’re alive and well. It’s just me trying to decide whether or not I want to write.

The weigh in results…

Thoughtfully penned on January 13th, 2011 and generally concerning Uncategorized

Baby Girl gained 13 ounces this month!

We still have to go back next month for a weight check, but the doc says that Baby Girl’s gain this month tells her it isn’t something that is preventing absorption of nutrients.


Thanks for your prayers and to everyone who has called to check on her. :-)

Oh, and by the way, this is my 500th post!

Reading List 2010

Thoughtfully penned on January 2nd, 2011 and generally concerning Uncategorized

I’m finally (yes, now that it’s almost March) getting around to posting my reading list from last year. It looks like I read 26 books last year. As usual, the books I have read/am reading in 2011 will be posted in the “Bookshelf” in the right sidebar.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor

An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by e.l. konigsburg

Hannah’s Dream by Diane Hammond

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My Life in France by Julia Child

Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas

Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

True Colors by Kristin Hannah

Unfinished Desires by Gail Godwin

Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Comments Off

Christmas, Christmas time is here!

Thoughtfully penned on December 6th, 2010 and generally concerning Uncategorized

Most of my Christmas shopping is done. I purchased several gifts before Thanksgiving, and a good part of the rest of my list was filled by online purchases on Black Friday (I’m not crazy enough to go into the stores!). Mainly what I have left is the list of people to whom I usually give homemade gifts.

Generally speaking, this isn’t a big deal. Most years, I bake a few (or a half-dozen) batches of cranberry bread, whip out some cookies, and create a couple of types of candy; package them up nicely; and give them with a cute ornament. However, this year I’m not feeling the baking thing. I think it’s just because we’ve been so busy this Fall. Or maybe it’s because we’ve chosen to focus more on Jesus this year. Or maybe it’s just because I don’t find the process of heavy duty baking with a preschooler, a toddler, and a crawler under my feet very appealing.

Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to change up my homemade gift giving tactics a bit this year. So, I’m scouring the trusty web (mainly a couple of my favorite frugal gift idea blogs) to find something a little different.

Right now I’m loving these adorable magnets. They wouldn’t be difficult to create and (I think) they’d make adorable gifts. I would make some for my house if I could figure out how to keep them out of the hands (and mouth!) of my crumb-cruncher.

I’m leaning toward using a combination of hot drink mixes (cocoa and chai) and bath goodies (oatmeal milk bath and bath salts). They all look like simple ideas that the kids and I could whip up pretty quickly.

But now my issue is packaging. On several sites I’ve seen “cocoa cones” made with cake decorating bags. I think the idea is really cute, but doesn’t seem all that practical for the recipient. Maybe I could find some inexpensive glass or clear plastic containers at the dollar store or a big box store. Maybe I could use small mason jars. But I don’t know if that would be cost effective. How much do mason jars cost, anyway?

Or maybe I’m just over-thinking it a bit.

Not that I ever do that.