Wednesday, November 19, 2014

baby gear for a steal

Several weekends ago, we had friends over for dinner and I showed them our nursery. It was chock full of baby gear that doesn't belong in there, like the highchair, mamaroo, and two strollers, PLUS all of the actual nursery furniture. One of our friends teased us when she heard the deals we were finding on great baby gear (since none of this was on our registry) that Austen would need to help them get good prices on their stuff when they get pregnant!

He seriously loves to find the best quality of baby gear out there, and then get it for a fraction of the cost. I thought I'd share some of the brands we're using, and then price comparisons and how to clean it up so it looks brand new! 

nursery furniture
the deal: I really struggled for the first trimester+ on spending somewhere near $1,000 in nursery furniture that I didn't love. I just couldn't pin point a style I liked and nothing seemed to be worth the money. I'm on a couple of Facebook "yardsale" pages for the Air Force Base and local area, and check them regularly, along with a website called bookoo (same idea). Towards the end of summer, I found a woman who was selling their whole nursery set for $220 because they had to considerably downsize during their most recent move and just needed it gone. It was less than a year old and really in great condition! Yes, it was probably sooner than most people get their nursery furniture, but for the price, it was worth cleaning out the nursery to make room for. Oh, and the family told us that the set came from Babies R Us.
the cleaning: The crib mattress was not included, which we would have replaced regardless (I'm a germaphobe about mattresses and our nursery is no exception). We did put the crib mattress on our gift registry. I was able to wash the changing pad cover and was gifted a new changing pad from the Boots & Booties military baby shower. I also detached all of the pads on the glider and threw them in the washer. The rest of the furniture was in great condition and really didn't need any other work. 

the deal: This summer, my sister told me about this amazingness while I went babysitting with her one afternoon. I was completely sold and convinced we would buy one if we weren't gifted it. If you have no idea what this is, check it out here and be blown away at how great it is! It's the only baby "swing" we're using (and thank goodness because who has room for multiple swings?!). At the same time as I found the nursery furniture, a friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook post of someone selling one on a "yardsale" page. They generally cost about $250+ and we were able to snag it for just over $100 from a family a few streets over on base. 
the cleaning: Just like the glider, all of the pieces come off of this that baby touches, so it was easy to pop everything into the washer. 

the deal: Austen was so excited about this one! He did lots of research on highchairs and was convinced this was one of the best on the market. It reminds me of the boon highchair style, but with a few extra features (who knew highchairs had features?!) that sold me on it. I laughed because he hates the Kardashians, but told me that they do buy the best baby gear out there and this is the highchair both Kim and Kourtney use for their babies (just fyi for all of my reality tv junkies). These puppies are not cheap, though, so finding one on craigslist was the only way we were really going to be able to have one. He managed to find one from a local photographer for the casinos and said the experience of getting it was something out of a reality tv series. I didn't go because I was too busy sleeping off a headache. 
the cleaning: It's just a basic wipe down which makes life simple since there's nothing to throw in the washer. We have two seat pads: orange and gold, and the gold is a little more worn, so I want to play around before little pea comes to try and clean it up or preserve its quality better for our babies since the gold really is too cute.

BOB stroller
the deal: (disclaimer: I thought we got the BOB stroller from REI... turns out we got it from target because it was on sale, but REI would be another great option that I wanted to share!) We love the outdoorsy store REI and one of their many benefits is that they sell BOB gear. Both of us really like the company and knew we wanted to get a BOB stroller. While we actually ended up getting our stroller and car seat new (I do not recommend getting car seats used because you never know if they were in a previous car accident and their integrity is weakened), one of the benefits we were able to use from REI is that members ($20 lifetime membership) get back a dividend of what they spent in the store or online back in a gift card form each year. We also ended up getting a regular stroller, not a jogging stroller because I didn't want the bulkiness of a jogging stroller for everyday-use. Another option to save money on BOB strollers is that you can check out their garage sales that they have at the store every few months. The items people return are resold for a fraction of the price during these garage sales. From all that I've been to, there are always single and double BOB jogging strollers.

That's basically the jist of the baby gear we purchased ourselves. We chose to put a basinet, 4moms breeze pack-n-play, and crib mattress on our gift registry since we really didn't see those as being good secondhand buys. 

Austen's tip for shopping craigslist is that he checks it frequently and isn't afraid to try to haggle them down. I had to learn to not be afraid of getting something a couple of months earlier than normal or even when we'll need it because if it's something that doesn't pop up everyday, it's worth storing it for a couple of months if we can save a couple of hundred dollars. 

Anyone else have tips on how to find the baby gear for a fraction of the cost? Or how to get your energy back after work 8+ hours on your feet while in your third trimester? 

Monday, November 10, 2014

air show weekend

Last year we had no air show on Nellis AFB since the Thunderbirds tour season was canceled due to the government cut backs. This year, we were all pretty excited to have it back! My sister, Lauren, flew out to visit for a long weekend and the air show was top on our to-do list. Followed by nursery organization. 

First of all, when your sister comes in town, you have to take a bunch of pictures together - prepare yourselves now. 

On Friday, I dragged her to school with me and had her sit through a meeting with me and later grade some papers, in which, she decided she never wants to be a teacher. ;) That night, Austen, Lauren, and I went to The District at Green Valley where we had dinner and did some shopping. It was so sweet. One of my favorite moments was when we were walking by Janie & Jack, the children's boutique. Austen said, "Let's go in," and of course, their boy clothes might be almost cuter than the girl clothes. But once we found the little dresses, Austen said those are pretty dang cute and that we should buy one. I melted. He then picked out a little beret to go with little pea's dress. Then, I melted again. I'm glad my sister was there to ooh and ah with us over their precious baby outfits! 

Saturday was air show day! We spent a couple of hours there and then headed back to our house to watch the Thunderbirds show from the backyard while we snacked, then had slow smoked BBQ at our place with some friends.

I love air show weekend.

There are pictures of the plane that Austen's great-uncle used to fly (the F86 Saber - he has some crazy stories), the helicopter and rescue squadron demo, and the F22 display. When you're a Raptor wife, you don't go to the air show to see the Thunderbirds, you go to see the F22 display.

We wrapped up our weekend with some church on the apple tv and then shopping for nursery stuff at target. Lauren and I almost didn't go shopping on Sunday morning, but I'm so glad we headed out for a bit! We managed to find the perfect rug (finally) and happened upon a lamp base and shade that are just right. I need to still get the hubs to put the crib together and find a small night stand for next to the glider, but other than that, everything is pretty much done in the nursery! I'm starting to feel better about nursery nesting. Now, onto nesting in the other rooms...

Monday, November 3, 2014

november goals

When I typed out "november goals" in the title, I had to stop for a split second. How is it already November?! The months are flying by and before I know it we'll have a baby in the house. I'm so ready for her to come most days, and then other days I want to soak up the last moments before parenthood as much as possible. I know things will change for the better, but sometimes, change is scary. 

On the plus side, November is not scary! We have so many exciting things happening this month, but let's peek back at October's goals first: 

1. Celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary at a nice dinner, and wedding band shopping for me (YAY!). Our anniversary dinner was definitely sweet, and we are going to wait to shop for my wedding band until we're back in Texas so my engagement and wedding ring can come from the same store. 
2. Finish our friend's baby quilt, seeing as their son came 5 weeks early from pre-eclampsia, I probably should actually finish his quilt!

3. Organize my first real garage sale (tips are very welcome!). The hubs nixed this idea. He told me I needed to wait for a weekend he was in town for a garage sale because the thought of his pregnant wife trying to have a garage sale the weekend he was gone did not sound like a solid plan. I still need to have one, but maybe this month when the weather is actually decent and not in the 90s (no joke). 
4. Have little pea's main nursery furniture put together, and find a rug for her room. I did manage to get her curtains hung up and baskets for under her changing table and some clothes hung in the closet! It's starting to come together nicely in there. 
5. Get her baby quilt fabric cut. Maybe even start on her quilt! Her quilt is coming right along and is too cute!! I love the gold. 

My November goals are: 

1. Finish little pea's baby quilt. 

2. Recruit my sister to help me find a nursery rug and organizational stuff for clothes she won't yet be wearing, etc. while she's in town.
3. Make big pots of chili and wassail for friends after the Thunderbirds Homecoming Air Show. 
4. Attend Las Vegas' Boots & Booties baby shower for military and spouses (I've heard it's an incredible experience). This was hosted on November 1, and was absolutely incredible. It was such a blessing to be a part of this event!
5. Bind the wintery X quilt, and get cozy with it on our last road trip before baby. 
6. Eat my heart out at Thanksgiving in Texas. 
7. Hug all the people I love at our baby shower thrown by family in Texas! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

six months...

Holy 6 month mark... I'm not even sure where the time has gone. I'm officially in the last stretch of my second trimester and prepping myself mentally for the scheduling chaos that is to come with both my OB/GYN and perinatalogist wanting to see me all the stinkin' time. Also, for the magic that is the glucose test. At least I've heard it's a lot like flat soda, and that I can handle (at least, I hope).

how far along: 24 weeks, which is 6 months!!

baby size: She's weighing 1 lb 8 ounces and measures just over a foot long. Oh, and apparently my uterus is the size of a soccer ball... 

baby's progress: Lots of movement. I can now see my belly move as she kicks which is both completely freaky and amazing at the same time. At her biweekly appointments, she's looking good! I've had a few people tell me they think the doctors will make the decision to go with a c-section (random?). Guess we'll see as it gets closer. 

weight gain: Right around the 20 lb mark. Not going to lie, that was a tough one for me. After working so hard to lose 25-30 lbs and then seeing the scale go up again... I struggled. I also think lots of bloggers post about their weight and it's assumed to gain such small amounts. Apparently not for me! I'm trying to keep it healthy though and have made a few changes (aka: less snacks) and have noticed myself stay pretty even on the scale for the past couple of weeks. 

stretch marks: No (thank goodness because the bump is really growing now!), but I'm still using Burt's Bees mama bee belly butter. 

sleep: Not so hot. It's better than when I was sick a few weeks ago, but I have a harder and harder time actually falling asleep as my belly grows. We got a tempur pedic body pillow a few months ago when I needed to force myself to stop rolling onto my stomach in my sleep and it is such a lifesaver! SO worth the extra money.

movement: Lots of movement! 

best moment this week: Lilly came over, snuggled up, and put her head on my belly (like she always does) then got a swift kick to the head by the baby. It completely freaked her out and she is pretty content to cuddle down by my knees now.

Another great one was getting up from the couch a couple of Saturdays ago and fell onto my knees and hand. I'm talking the whole nine yards: crack-smack sound. Austen jumped up and I was laughing saying I couldn't move, it hurt so bad. He pulled me up and I had the sudden urge to pee, but walking sounded too difficult and I started crying as he laid me on the couch. I just laid there crying while he rubbed my hip saying how it hurt, and I had to pee. He asked if the baby was okay, and I said yes. I finally got up and cried the whole way back to the couch, realizing the only way I would feel fully better was if I had chipotle. Needless to say, he got me chipotle. 

looking forward to: Finishing her nursery! We need to put the crib together and my goal for this weekend is to make a Home Goods run to find a rug. I found a couple of contenders at Target but none that I really think will work well, although I did find her curtains and got those hung. Just a little color and texture from curtains and a rug makes such a difference in these all-white-everything base housing homes.

food cravings: Pineapple. And crockpot chicken tacos. Not necessarily at the same time, but mmm.   

weirdest food I ate this week: Apparently some think pineapple with chocolate chips is strange. It reminds me of chocolate covered pineapples, which you can get on those fruit bouquets. 

anything making you queasy or sick: Nothing really this past week. For some reason, my weekends are when I feel more nauseous than weekdays. I'm assuming I just slow down enough to notice it while during the week, it's go go go. I don't have time for nausea during the weekdays. ;)

labor signs: Nope

what I miss: Mixed drinks. I could so go for some pineapple juice with skinny girl vodka right about now.

symptoms: Besides her round house kicking my insides... Lack of sleep. The need to pee, and pee right away (it feels like she sits on my bladder or kicks it when I stand up, which leads to me feeling like I need to go asap). Extra hair growth (and not just on my head... your armpit and leg hair grows faster too... you're welcome for that.). Hormone swings! 

things that suck: Bending over, whether it be to tie your shoes or get a pot off the bottom shelf in the lower cabinets. It's just not comfortable or graceful.  

things that don't suck: Now that she's putting on weight, her ultrasounds are too dang cute! She's got a little button nose (totally from Austen) and kissable little lips. Her registry is pretty much done, and invites have been shipped for our Texas baby shower right after Thanksgiving! We also got the book that spells out her name in it (which we'll use to announce her name) and I love it. It also doesn't suck to be pregnant when all the good smelling candles, scentsy bars, and pumpkin-everything is coming out! 
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