Signs your Kids are Growing Up

I’ve been feeling like I’m an “old” or “older” parent this school year, especially with both of my kids in school full days now (kindergarten and 2nd grade).

This IS a big deal for our family.

Some may say it’s even life changing! And it is in so many ways, but that’s for another blog post.

One sign that the kids are growing up is the gear (or lack of baby gear) in our home. One of the last “baby items” that remains is our bike trailer.  About five years ago it actually transported our little kids.  It has been stored in our garage for some time, but over summer it was dusted off and used for this:

bike trailer contents

New use for an old bike trailer

We rode bikes to a cookout and brought our food along! On another occasion it’s carried beer!  My hubs rode his bike to the grocery store and hauled home our groceries in it.

Forget a bike basket – we have a whole trailer!! 🙂

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The Big Purge (of Baby Stuff)

I started purging (my house), and I can’t stop! It started with going through big sister’s clothes for a future niece, and then it expanded to look at little brother’s clothes. After rummaging through big sister’s big closet, I filled these bags and bins to pass along to four sweet, little babies.

lots of baby clothes

ALL this stuff to find a new home with sweet little babies! My son is playing on the couch behind everything (and yes, he does have pants on)!

I am so happy to be able to share and pass along our stuff to the next round of babies, knowing that friends and family were so generous to do the same for my two kids.  It is so fun seeing my favorite outfits on another little kiddo – a small trip down memory lane!

I also had the same reaction that Daddy O. had, “WHAT?! We had ALL of this saved?!”  I have saved one small bin of clothes for my kids, but again, I would much rather share the clothes and gear with another family than just keep it stored-up, not being used.

From the clothes, I moved on to gear. Infant bathtub, the dreaded diaper champ (so glad to be rid of you), bouncer, jump-aroo, high chair, diaper changing pad, blankets, bottles…the list goes on and on! Through our church, I discovered an organization for single moms that actively seeks such baby clothing and items. SCORE!  I loaded up my 3 year old son along with all the gear and drove it to the donation center this week.  On the way my son said, “I call this baby stuff junk. What is all this junk?”  I just laughed, saying, “hey you used this junk when you were a baby!”  But in a way yes, it is crazy how much we accumulated and used for our two kids. I hope the “junk” is useful and helpful to other families who need it!

There are still a few items for which I’m to find a place, but on the whole, our baby gear has been purged!

I thought I would be more emotional, but the practical side of me is over-ruling. The gear is simply stuff (or junk according to my son). I have a sentimental scrapbook and many fond memories forever in my heart of my two babies. My babies aren’t babies, and they’re eager to remind me of that!

Be gone baby gear! I was grateful for your service.

Top Baby Shower Gifts from a Mom Who’s Been There Before

Now that we are winding down use of almost all of our baby gear, as I mentioned in Bye Bye Baby Gear, I have been able to determine what items have stood the test of time.  Based on my family’s own experience, I decided to share a list of top baby shower gifts:

  1. Gerber bowls and covers
  2. Homemade, thick burp cloths
  3. Bumpkins Bibs
  4. Size 12 – 18 month clothing (don’t they wear this size the longest?!)
  5. Infant Tylenol / thermometer (for baby’s first fever)
  6. 2001 Amazing Cleaning Secrets – I’ve used this so many times since having kids!
  7. OxiClean (or stain removal product of choice)
  8. Homemade, frozen meals (or delivered dinners)
  9. Offer to babysit and massage gift certificate for Mom
  10. Gift card for Snapfish / Shutterfly for future cards or photobook

I realize many of these gifts are not the most exciting of all baby products to buy, but I guess I’m erring on the side of functional rather than fun.

For more on baby products that I liked, see 4 Years Later – Baby Gear that Held Up. 

Let me know what you thought of my list!  What else would you add or delete from the list?

Bye Bye Baby Gear

Bye bye bouncer.

Bye bye activity mat.

Bye bye burp cloths, diaper bag, and butt creams.

Bye bye baby washcloths.

Bye bye pacifiers.

Bye bye sleepless nights (mostly), and newborn screams.

Bye bye white noise machine.

Bye bye music & light projector.

Bye bye touch & feel book, sippy cup, and baby toy.

Bye bye infant car seat.

Bye bye onesies.

Bye bye crib, bib, and my little baby boy.

Image of my son two years apart.

My baby boy is growing up for sure. As I pack away the baby gear, I can’t help but reflect on the past two years and how much we’ve all grown. 

Inspired by Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (another “baby” book that we don’t read as much anymore).

4 Years Later – Baby Gear that Held Up!

After celebrating my daughter’s fourth birthday and son’s second birthday, I thought it would be fun to follow up and share what baby gear has withstood the test of time!  I’m editing my favorite baby gear list with comments in italics below.

  1.  Burp cloths…they go fast!!  Basic Gerber 3 ply diaper cloths can double as burp cloths.  Don’t go for thin ones…they don’t last!  We now use some cheap burp cloths as blankets for dolls or cleaning rags!  The good ones that were made for me could take a few more spit-ups!
  2. Onesies – plain white short sleeve ones can go under anything – anytime of year.  The side wrap shirts work great for when they are first born and have their belly button stump. I liked Carter’s brand better than Gerber. Gerber seemed to run small.  Target brand clothes seems to run small.  I really notice that Gymboree clothes seems to be a better quality and sizes are more generous, so we’ve gotten more wear out of that brand. 
  3. Sony Baby Call monitor – basic sound monitor around $40 Still working great today!
  4. Miracle blanket was great for swaddling. Swaddling really worked well for our kiddos, and it was easy to layer stuff over the swaddle, such as a blanket sleeper or other blankets.  We needed layers in Wisconsin winters! Packed away or passed along for another baby to use.
  5. Sleep sacks – just nice & easy for bed time and night time diaper changes.  We used these more when our babies grew out of being swaddled. Though they make larger sizes, we stopped using these as kids were closer to one.  They both love their blankets for snuggling!
  6. Pack N Play – we liked our Graco one – no canopy on top, but a rather basic model. Still in use as my 2 year old loves it!  He’s getting pretty big for it though, so it may be time for a sleeping bag.
  7. Feeding Medela Pump in Style breast pump and Medela bottles (both small & larger bottles for when they get older). I also used the Medela plastic storage bags for freezing breastmilk. Dr. Brown’s bottles are also nice.  Pump worked great for both kids.
  8. Easy to fold up strollerCity Mini.  I bought this when #1 was outgrowing her infant seat & basic wire frame stroller. I felt like I was going to throw out my back with some of the other strollers out there!!  The City Mini also has an attachment kit for using with the infant car seat (which we probably SHOULD have done from the start, but we didn’t know). We also ended up buying a cheap umbrella stroller for traveling and now a double Graco stroller. We probably have WAY too many strollers. We still use this stroller – mostly for my two year old, though sometimes the four year old will want a ride too. We also use the Graco DuoGlider, but it gets heavy with both kids riding in it.  It wasn’t very expensive, but it works! Using the wagon or just making the kids walk is nice too. Any way to burn off all of the energy they have is always good!
  9. Some playthings – activity mat for tummy time, baby vibrating seat, jumparoo, exersaucer.  You do not need all, nor will every baby like them all.  I shared with my sister (bouncer, swing) and ended up borrowing an exersaucer from a friend.  The vibrating seat or bouncers are great when they are really little.  I’d pop Baby O in it & bring her / him in the bathroom, so I could shower.  We did use the jump-a-roo some when they hit about 3 months old. Some other people also swear by a baby swing, but my babies didn’t really like them. We also put down quilts that we received as gifts & toys on the floor for tummy time. My son admittedly spent too much time in the Rock ‘N Play sleeper, and favored sleeping on the same side of his head (while on his back), and this contributed to the shape of his head – FLAT!  We spent $$$ on the Doc-Band helmet and therapy, so the growth could be properly controlled (trying to fill in the flat spots).  This may be a future blog post all in itself.  Bottom line – these seats can really mess up your baby’s head shape, so use in moderation!
  10. Boppy pillow & covers– great for nursing & propping baby up for tummy time / sitting on floor, etc. Loved it! Worked great for both kids.
  11. Baby Bjorn front carrier – I bought mine on Craig’s list for $15.  This carrier worked really well for us.  I had a sling style, but didn’t use that much the 2nd time around. Everything is a LOT cheaper second hand, so you may want to consider going that route post-baby shower(s). I remember making cookies with little brother napping in the Baby Bjorn while I decorated them with big sister.
  12. Bumpkins bibs – great to throw in laundry or clean when you’re washing dishes. Some of our 4 year old bibs are still around and are used – if I can get the kids to wear them!
  13. Playtex sippy cups, Nuby sippy cup with handles that detaches & converts to regular cup – The Nuby sippy has been chewed through, but the Playtex brand has lasted well.
  14. Sassy plates with covers have been nice – still being used!
  15. JuJu-Be Diaper Bag – I really liked the messenger bag style.  I forget what it was called…but it wasn’t the SUPER large one.  It has lasted almost 3 years now, so it was worth getting a nice one. One friend joked that it cost so much that it SHOULD have been able to change the baby’s diaper by itself. Ha ha! Check out bags in stores & see what they feel like.  You carry around your diaper bag a LOT, so make sure you like it.  This bag is DURABLE!  We still use it (though I also just throw a diaper and small wipes container in my own purse now that only one child is in diapers.
  16. High chair that straps onto regular chair (we had a Fisher Price reclining one for when she first started eating, but she grew out of it – a.k.a refused to sit in it, so we now have a Safety 1st seat from Target). We now use two basic booster seats with straps on our regular kitchen chairs.
  17. Car seats – we had the Graco infant seat, very highly rated, but can sure get heavy!! We bought the Brittax Roundabout Convertible Seat and Evenflo Titan Convertible seat.  The Evenflo is cheaper, but is okay.  The straps don’t get twisted in the Brittax one, so I’d recommend that one.
  18. Toys – both of my kids loved stacking cups (still do) and knocking them over. Shape sorters were a big hit too. We recently brought out baby toys when we had a baby visit, and they kids had fun playing with them again.  Rotating toys is the best advice!

Never really used / Didn’t last

  • Infant sleeping wedge (only used a few times)
  • Cute character cool mist humidifier (probably our fault for not cleaning it out well enough…got mold in it, so we pitched it for a basic Vick’s model that is easy to clean with an easy to replace filter)
  • Squirt bath toys – you cannot get all of the water out of these, so they end up getting gross & moldy
  • Baby washcloths – these were cheap and flimsy.  Many of them have fallen apart or have holes in them.  We should have just used our own wash cloths.

Is there anything else that you liked or really DIDN’T like?  Please share in the comments section.  Thanks for helping out new moms with your recommendations.

These related posts are good to check out too: