Monday, February 18, 2013

So You Wanna Buy a Car Seat

Six years ago we had our first baby, and out of sheer luck, we registered for the perfect car seat. I had no idea what I needed to look for in a car seat, but it turns out there is way more to consider than just the print on the fabric.

Who knew?

(I did do a little research into car seat safety, though, and, for our price range, the Graco SnugRide and Graco SafeSeat were both given great safety ratings, so those were the seats I looked at. But, as I alluded to, overall, I assumed most car seats were created equal).

Our first infant carrier car seat expired in December 2011, so when I was pregnant with Zoe, I went on the hunt for a new one. I knew exactly which features I wanted, and I found a seat that I'm very happy with:

Car Seat

Behold the Graco SnugRide 35.

Now let me tell you why I picked this car seat, and hopefully I can help out some future car seat buyers. There are a few features that my first "sheer luck" car seat had that (I learned later) aren't standard on every car seat.

First - and probably the most important: the pull strap.

Car Seat 

This strap is for loosening and tightening the car seat straps. YOU WANT THIS. Trust me!

I see so many babies riding in seats that do not have this feature, and their harness straps are way too loose. This is dangerous!! You should not be able to pinch your baby's harness straps. If you can, they need to be tightened. Seats without a pull strap require you to loosen/tighten the harness from the back, meaning that you have to do some inconvenient disassembling and reassembling.

I know why your baby's car seat straps are too loose! It's because it's a pain in the neck to make them fit right! 

So it's worth it to get a seat that has the pull strap. Not only will you be able to get a snug fit every time you put your baby in the seat, you will also be able to loosen the harness to get your baby out of the seat (and that is helpful).

Next thing: slots so the seat can be installed without the base.

Car Seat

I'm pretty sure that all infant carrier car seats come with a base these days, but what do I know? I am but a humble consumer. Regardless, there may be times when you need to install the car seat without the base. For me, this time came when I was babysitting my nephew. He was dropped off at my house in his carrier, and a few hours later, my mom called and asked  if I could pick her up from the tire store. Turns out my nephew's seat didn't have the slots to install it with a seat belt (which I assumed all infant carriers had), so I had to call my mom back and tell her I couldn't come. Most of the time, you will use the base, but there are little emergencies that pop up once in a while where you might need to be able to buckle your car seat in the car without it.

The third thing: a visor that goes all the way forward and all the way back.

Car Seat

The sun shines at all angles, so it doesn't make sense to have a visor that stops here:

Car Seat

I looked at a few car seats that were less expensive than this one from another brand, and I was *this close* to buying one online. Then I went to Target and looked at the display, and I realized that I hated the harness (it had a puzzle lock system), and I didn't like the position of the lever that releases the seat from the base (it was on the front by the baby's feet instead of on the back behind the baby's head, so I would have had to cram my hand between the seat of my car and the car seat base to undo it).

So, a word of advice: go to the store and find the seat with the features you like. Then spend some quality time with it. Move the handle back and forth. Remove the seat from its base, and put it back on. Do and undo the harness several times. See if you like the way it all feels. I will admit, the buckle and the lever on this model are a little stiff, but not so bad that I wouldn't have bought it.

Hopefully you, too, will be able to find an infant carrier that works for you!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

This Week in Thrift Shopping

I have a bunch of blog posts stirring around in my brain right now, but I haven't been able to find the time to write them. There is the one I promised you about traveling to Disneyland by car that is currently "under construction." Then there is one about Lent that I decided to bag because Lent started last Wednesday, and Lent posts aren't cool in the middle of Lent (and I'm only going to post an end-of-Lent post if I do, in fact, succeed in my Lenten goals. Otherwise, I'll just be all, "I'm a Mormon! What's Lent?") There are also some thoughts I have on some books I've read recently - one being Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson, which has me thinking about a wide range of topics lately, including affluence and the LDS culture and our love for our bodies (and plane crashes, too, of course). I also have a post in mind about my preferences in infant car seats (you care, you really do).

But none of those is going to happen today.

(As a side note, I always stress out over whether to use "none of those is" and "none of those are," though they are both considered appropriate according to the extensive research I have done on the matter).

Instead, I am going to show you what I found at the thrift store this week:

Febryary 2013

What?!? Is that an old-school Polly Pocket wedding chapel?

You bet it is!

Febryary 2013

And a teeny tiny house with exquisite details? Like an itty bitty bed? And a kitty sprawled out on the rug? And a thick, old, non-flat-screen TV?

Why, yes. It's true! I found a box of original Polly Pocket houses (11 of them!!!) With people! (Not lots of people, but three, and you can totally staff a Polly Pocket city with three little Polly Pocket people. you just have to make sure no one eats them, ever, or you're doomed!!)

The reason these Polly Pockets are such an awesome find is because the modern-day Polly Pockets made by Mattel are nothing like the Polly Pockets made by Bluebird Toys when I was a kid. I started to think that I made them up. I even had to start asking my friends if Polly Pockets used to be small, little choking hazards that came in compacts or if I was crazy (they weren't sure).

(It's kind of like when I ask people if they remember the Snorks. No one knows what a snork is, but I swear... I did not make them up!!!)

So five dollars at a thrift store is a small price to pay to know that I'm not nutso.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Loves

I love Nicky

For his desire to do what is right
For his kindness, his concern, and his thoughtfulness
For his curiosity and his inventiveness

I love Daisy

For her spunk
For her sweet voice
For her demands for loves and kisses

I love Zoe

For her snuggles and her smiles
For her patience and her peacefulness
For her squishiness

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do Tell - Yeah, THAT!

I've hit one of those phases where every moment of every day day is completely overwhelming. You know when your three-year-old is in the bathtub making tidal waves; and your curling iron is in the bathroom sink smoking; and the baby is on your bed crying; and your couch has diarrhea on it; and you have no clean underwear; and you haven't showered for three days; and there is nothing healthy in the house to eat; and you feel like you're starving; and all you want is a nice, big, juicy hamburger and a hand-scooped ice cream shake; and there are six baskets of laundry stacked in the hallway that need to be folded and put away; and your husband isn't answering your texts, phone calls, or e-mails, and you're not sure if he made it to work alive; and you wish with all your heart that you could ask him to take a half-day of PTO, but you know he won't, so you don't ask because it's easier to never ask than to deal with the rejection; and you've told your six-year-old to put his shoes on at least a dozen times, but he's too busy pulling faces at himself in the mirror; and the three-year-old? The one in the bath tub? Finds a brand new bar of soap and lathers herself up, eyes included, and starts screaming her head off so you have to haul her wet, naked body out of the bathroom and try to rinse her eyes out even though you know how it goes with soap... you just have to wait for it to work itself out. And your dang cat is meowing because he's out of food; but you can't do anything about that because you can't even brush your teeth, let alone, go to a store; and just as things start calming down a bit, you step in something cold and wet?

Yeah, that.

So please tell me something that has made you happy lately. Anything funny? Uplifting? Encouraging?

Do tell!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Zoe's Blessing Day

Today Zoe was blessed at church. This is an ordinance performed for new babies in the Church of Latter-Day Saints; similar to a christening, except that the infant is not baptized. The ordinance is used to declare what the child's name will be on the records of the Church, and to ask our Heavenly Father for special, specific blessings for the child.

Traditionally, babies are dressed in white when they are blessed, though it is not required. It's just kind of a fun opportunity for parents to see their little ones adorned in symbolic purity.

When I was pregnant with Zoe, I decided that if I had a girl, I would make her blessing dress out of my wedding dress.

  Scanned Pics 025 

I am NOT a seamstress.


So it was a risky project.

I used a tutorial online to make the bodice, and I came up with the skirt on my own using some functional pieces of my wedding dress. Here is the final result:

Zoe's Blessing Day

I was very happy with it. The sewing job wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to serve its purpose. 

Zoe's blessing was beautiful, and she was so sweet for her special day.

Even though cutting into my dress was absolutely terrifying, I'm so glad I did it. I didn't make Daisy's blessing dress, so I plan to make her a baptism dress out of my wedding dress. (And by that I mean "find someone else to make Daisy's baptism dress" because I? Have no desire to sew another dress as long as I live). By the time Daisy is baptized at age eight, my wedding dress will have been part of three very special and sacred life events. I can't think of anything better I could have done with it! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Currently {February 2013 Edition}

Reading: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta. I'm on, like, page 5. Go me!

Watching: Nothing. I'm one of those cheaters who watched all of Downton Abbey online, so I'm out of show. Although I have North and South on hold at the library. Have you met my boyfriend, Richard Armitage?

Procrastinating: fixing tonight's dinner. What if I start cooking, and someone shows up to my door spontaneously with a pizza? I would have wasted all that effort!

(Cue spontaneous pizza arrival!)

(No? Okay. I will get to work, then).

Wanting: to re-design pants. I have this fantastic idea in my head on how to make pants more flattering. I'm out to change the world, one pair of pants at a time!

Craving: pizza, apparently. Hawaiian would be great. Or garlic chicken. Or chicken bacon artichoke. Or gourmet vegetarian. Hmmm.... there's only one problem: I'm heading down the road of having to bake it myself!

Wearing: maternity pants. For reals. I have one pair of skinny jeans. They are maternity pants. So I keep wearing them. I think this post has a theme: Pizza and Pants

Relieved by: the heat wave coming through town this weekend. Forty-three degrees? Sign me up for a picnic and a sunburn!

Stressing about: everything and nothing all at the same time.

Missing: being on vacation. I loved having Scotty with me for nine days. We were an amazing team. I look forward to the day when he is a college graduate, and he comes home after work.

Addicted to: Oikos key lime yogurt. It's almost like eating pie. 

Trying: a bunch of "healthy" recipes. Last weekend I tried this one. Oh! My! Barf! I'm sure Scotty hates when I try new healthy recipes because most of them end up being DREADFUL!

Needing: to get my hair trimmed. What is with me and my inability to keep up on my hair? 

Annoyed by: not having a steady pediatrician. Our doctor is on leave for health reasons, and we've been bounced around for the past two months. 

Feeling guilty about: a little white lie I had to tell this week.

Tired of: having a muffin top. I've been doing ab exercises to help, but it's not doing much for my stomach. My back fat is getting smaller, but not my stomach. I will gladly keep my back fat to have a flat stomach!

Thankful for: spontaneous play dates. They rank right up there with spontaneous pizza.

Enjoying: having clean(ish) air so the kids can play outside in the snow. Did you know that Utah's air was ranked among the worst in the nation by the Environmental Protection Agency last week?  We were cooped up for quite some time because of bad air. 

Looking forward to: Game Night tomorrow. I should probably scrap my previously planned menu and serve pizza.

Suffering from: pizza brain.

Hoping: to keep my house clean for the next 24 hours. It's going to take a lot of work. As in "sweep the kitchen floor every thirty minutes" work. Blech! One more reason to serve pizza: no dishes from cooking!

Loving: that Scotty's work schedule allows him to have every-other Friday off. What a blessing!

Proud of myself for: doing 35 push-ups consecutively. It only happened once, but dude! 35!!! The next day I did 30, and I've gotten weaker and weaker every day since. What's up with that?