Choosing A Car Seat That Isn’t Garbage + Weekend Links

April 1, 2016

Do you know what I love? Finding matching swimsuits for my kids. Do you know what I hate? Researching things that matter like strollers and car-seats and finding myself 57 clicks into an Internet message board on how car-seats will give your baby autism.

Things we have bought for our kids that have ended up being garbage: cheap bottles, cheap strollers, cheap toothbrushes, cheap toys, cheap car-seats. Luckily when Waylon was two we finally found a brand we love and no longer have to read those message boards at 2am because a baby is coming and everyone needs to shift a spot in the minivan.

Still there are things to think about like which model and how it installs and will it even fit into the back of my husband’s 1987 Honda Civic? If you are like me and like to devote zero (and I mean zero) energy into researching baby gear, let me introduce you to babycubby.com

Worth mentioning:

  • They always price match, even Amazon, so you know you’re getting a great deal.
  • They only carry the best and safest gear so you can shop confidently (they spend hundreds of hours researching so you don’t have to).
  • They offer free Shipping everyday over $49.
  • They offer an ace car seat buying guide here.

Seriously, they really do make it easy. Practical tips, straightforward research, and everything you need to know about things like car-seats in one spot. It took me about ten minutes to find what I was looking for. Use the code KATEBAER for 10% off your order starting April 1st.

Happy shopping.

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PS:

10 Life Changing Tips To Make Your Life So Much Cleaner (made me laugh)

This Episode Of Morning Edition (got me good)

My New, Favorite 30 Minute Meal (made it twice in four days)

For Maternity Clothes And Irrational Baby Hats (please stop me)

April Soundtrack

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Happy Friday!

WT Carseat

31

March 31, 2016

For the past few years on my birthday I’ve written a small reflection in this space just in case anyone has forgotten what a white millennial girl sounds like when she talks about herself. So hello again! Another year older and zero percent wiser, talking about the aging even though I’m technically still younger than Jon Hamm was before he turned into Don Draper/a national treasure. I have so much life left to live!

So far my 30s have been great.

Three things I’m “learning” ->

1) Don’t save things for a special occasion. Life is a special occasion.
2) Guilty pleasures are for the birds. Enjoy without guilt.
3) They weren’t kidding about sunscreen.

Three things I still haven’t learned->

1) Biochemistry.
2) The proper application of the eyebrow pencil.
3) How to make pasta for less than 18 people.

Last year my 30th birthday was one of the best night’s of my life; dinner, drinks, dancing, falling asleep at 5am with my black party dress still on. This year I lowered the bar to reach my pregnant waistline and just want to relax for a few hours without anyone asking me for a yogurt. Which is why yesterday on Austin’s only day off–I threw myself a private one person party and drove around town all day getting massages, pedicures, and carbs. It was great. 5/5 stars.

Collage

Today I am 31-years-old, 30 weeks pregnant with my last baby, and married to someone who would never use the term “housewife” as my job description. I’m also writing a book, watching my friendships and body change with time, and keeping two children and twelve houseplants alive! (Just kidding, Austin waters the plants). Life is full and good.

To another year of learning and not learning and maybe buying an eyebrow pencil. The golden years are always right under our feet.

bday

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30 + 29Baers

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air + At The Water’s Edge + The Amateur Marriage

March 30, 2016

marriage

Another book review and this one isn’t nearly as grim as last time, making these reads so much sweeter. Thank you for all the help! I knew I could count on you.

Today: Three very different books on marriage, love, and loss. 4/5 stars across the board. All worth the read.

As always, all book reviews are spoiler free.

Happy reading.

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1. When Breath Becomes Air.

WBBA

If You’re Looking For: Memoir, non-fiction, medical culture, doc lit

If You Liked: This glimpse of the book.

My Review: Paul Kalanithi was 35 years old and finishing his training as a neurosurgeon when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. As he was living out the end of his life, he wrote this brief but powerful memoir as a reflection on his life as a father and husband as well as his career in medicine. Not the easiest book to read if you’re married to a resident, but written in a way that keeps you engaged and inspired. The last few pages alone are worth the read. Got me good. 4/5 stars.

Their Review: “Paul Kalanithi’s memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, written as he faced a terminal cancer diagnosis, is inherently sad. But it’s an emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”—The Washington Post

Quoted: That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

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2. At The Water’s Edge.

at the water's edge

If You’re Looking For: Suspense, love, fiction, historical fiction

If You Liked: The Royal We

My Review: I almost quit this book a dozen times in the first 100 pages because the main characters are so nauseating. Everyone is typecast and frustrating and self-involved. I just wanted it to be over! The plot seemed ridiculous too. Then, slowly, and probably on purpose–I couldn’t put it down. I think it was about halfway through the novel when I thought, “Oh, this is why everyone is talking about this book.” My guess is the way you are approach this novel will likely impact your reading experience. If you’re looking for serious historical fiction–there’s a good chance you’ll be let down. This is more historic ‘lite’ fiction, with a strong romantic storyline. 4/5 for being entertaining and surprising me into speed reading until the end. Minus one point for heavy handed information dumps to remind us what was happening in Europe (just a tad clumsy). A very fun book club book.

Their Review: “I devoured this book. Once again Sara Gruen has proven herself to be one of America’s most compelling storytellers. You might be tempted to rush to get to the answers at the end—but don’t, or you’ll miss the delectable journey that is Gruen’s prose.”—Kathryn Stockett, New York Times bestselling author of The Help

Quoted: Life. There it was. In all it’s beautiful, tragic fragility, there was still life, and those of us who’d been lucky enough to survive opened our arms wide and embraced it.

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3. The Amateur Marriage.

amateur marriage

If You’re Looking For: Fiction, books on marriage, character development, strong literary fiction

If You Liked: The Accidental Tourist, Boyhood (film), Olive Kitteridge 

My Review: Anne Tyler is a national treasure. Her books are thoughtful, well paced, and character driven–and this one is no exception. The Amateur Marriage is the story of an American family that spans over six decades. It begins in a Polish neighborhood of Baltimore with reverberations of the Pearl Harbor, triggering the marriage that informs the plot. As always, the genius of Tyler is in her understated approach to the great themes of life; love, loss, marriage, parenting, grief, happiness, heartache. Behind the seemingly trivial details of the character’s everyday lives, we are shown familiar pathos and suffering through brilliant writing and storytelling. To be frank, this is the kind of book I recommend to everyone but only half will end up enjoying. A solid 4.5/5 stars for the kind of literature I can’t possibly dream of writing.

Their Review: “This ‘wickedly good’ author has come to represent the best of today’s American literature. She is an exquisite chronicler of the everyday. Her characters are at once infuriating and endearing, conservative yet quietly eccentric.” –Lisa Allardice, The Observer

Quoted: Sometimes he fantasised that at the end of his life, he would be shown a home movie of all the roads he had not taken, and where they would have led.

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Favorite Books

All Book Reviews

 

I Need Nothing But Want Everything: 8 Things For The Third Baby

March 10, 2016

8 Things
When Austin and I found out we were pregnant with our first baby, the first thing we decided is that we didn’t need much of anything. The second thing I decided is that we should probably get it all just in case. As it turns out, all babies are different and how about a round of applause for all the colicky infants out there who never used their multi-function swings, bumbo seats, or bouncy chairs. Thanks guys!

Every baby and every pregnancy offer an updated version of what you think you need. A few things that stuck:

From Waylon: exersaucer, boppy, boobs

From Eva: co-sleeper, ergo, rock n play, breastfeeding bottles 

Collage

The truth is you don’t need anything. The other truth is that it’s okay to want a few special things. For example, do you know what doesn’t matter at all? What your baby will wear coming home from the hospital. Do you know what I obsess over every time? What my baby will wear coming home from the hospital. It’s not so much that I ever care in the moment (I care about Percocet), I just like to look at it, fold and unfold it, and stare longingly at its smallness the weeks leading up to delivery. It’s part of the process.

Eight new things to add today. None of them necessary, all of them for the sole purpose of boosting morale and getting excited for another little life.

We can’t wait.

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1) Iviebaby Blanket.

Iviebaby

Truth: I basically had another baby so I’d have an excuse to order an Iviebaby blanket. Three things to note:

+ Elizabeth uses the softest materials for both the front and back
+ They look amazing wash after wash (pictured above)
+ The faux fur does not shed or stick on little fingers

Bonus: Iviebaby offers a ton of beautiful gender neutral options, but because I like to make things complicated–I had the ultrasound tech write down the gender in a sealed envelope to then mail to Elizabeth with my choice for a girl and boy. I can’t wait to open that box in June.

Favorites from her shop here, here, and here.

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2) Natursutten Pacifiers.

Naturesutten(Photo source)

Babies will be babies and choose exactly if and what pacifier they’ll take, but this time around I’m starting off with Natursutten pacis if only because they are so cute. Seriously, how are they are so cute? Other fun facts:

+ They are made in Italy by a family business manufacturing rubber baby products for the past three generations
+ No BPA, nitrosamines, PVC, phthalates, chemical softeners, or artificial coloring are involved
+ They are really, really cute

I’ve had two kinds of pacifier babies in my house, and while there are pros and cons to both–I’ll take an addict any day over all the crying. Putting these straight into my hospital bag.

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3) Gender Neutral Swaddle Blanket.

Swaddle me!

This is the first time not finding out the gender, which has been really fun except when I’m at the store and there are around zero neutral options for anything. Luckily Etsy exists, which is where I found this swaddle blanket after scouring the Internet for a few hours. Kelsey of Addie and May makes a lot of beautiful things, including these soft swaddle blankets made of lightweight and breathable fabric, easily folded to fit into a diaper bag. Excellent for swaddling and covering up while nursing. Other favorites from her shop here, here, and here.

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4) Coming Home Outfit.

Coming Home Outfit

When I contacted my friend Annette from LilNells about making a gender neutral outfit for my hospital bag, she was happy to oblige. Her shop is beautiful and simple and I can’t wait for it to arrive. Pictured above: the sweetest red baby girl matching sleeper and hat for d-day. Other favorites from her shop here and here. And a little throwback to Eva wearing tiny LilNells pants over a year ago!

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5) Sheepskin Photo Prop.sheepskin rug(Photo source)

Photo props for your baby are so 2000 and late, but I am not over sheepskin yet–especially when it’s only $24 bucks for the fake kind. It may not be classy, but it’s also not worth it to me to invest in the real thing–especially when it’s just a trend. Thank you Amazon for fulfilling all my needs.

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6) Matching Sibling Outfits.
Matchy Matchy

People call dressing their kids in matching outfits a guilty pleasure. Do you know what I call it? Enjoying dressing your kids in matching outfits. Guilty pleasures are for your 20s. Your 30s are all about finding what you love and going for it, even if it means fourteen dollar cheese plates, Justin Bieber, and dressing your kids like they came in a matching set. Checking the mail every day for these baby bloomers for the baby, these stripey pants for Eva, and this 5T/6T (yes!) romper for the oldest. Please excuse my hundred photos, I have no regrets.

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7) Carseat Cover.

Most of us just use a blanket to cover up the car seat, right? You know, that beautiful one your grandmother made that then gets drug around in the dirt because it won’t stay on the car seat unless you tie it (but then that doesn’t work anyways). I don’t need this, BUT I WANT IT.

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8) Video Monitor.

Monitor

Five years of parenting later and I was feeling pretty smug about never getting a video monitor until my toddler started crawling out of her crib, climbing up the dresser, and terrorizing Waylon’s wall decals (I never liked them anyways). This video monitor purchase confirms two things about parenting:

+ Never (ever) say never
+ Mama bears will do anything for the sake of sleep

They will also do anything to protect their newborn from the antics of a guns blazing two-year-old. Can’t wait to watch that sleepy newborn sleep in peace (and not worry about his or her older sister pulling any stunts). Technology, bless you.

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The Second Trimester: A Love Story

March 9, 2016

2nd Trimester

Oh second trimester, how I love thee. The long bouts of energy, the relief from nausea, the vast exploration into the world of carbs with an extra side of carbs. Words cannot express how lovely it is to walk around vertically and not constantly cry on the bathroom floor. The last time I threw up was 8 weeks ago, and already I look back at it with the strange nostalgia usually reserved for wartime movies I pretended to enjoy.

The visible proof of pregnancy is nice, too. All that extra help with doors without the weight of nine months of cheeseburgers resting on your pelvic bone. I’ll take it! Of course there will always be the friend of a friend who asks if you’re overdue at 23 weeks or the aunt who constantly points out your third cousin’s wife who “looks like she’s swallowed a basketball.” But we persevere. I may not look like I’ve swallowed a basketball, but it does look like I’ve swallowed a basketball player–and if that’s not overachieving, I don’t know what is.

Perhaps my favorite part of the second trimester is the TO DO LIST. Some women nest for the last few days of pregnancy, I nest for the last few months. Which is great for my minimalist pixie girl clean house dreams, but sad for Austin who is helping me scrub the basement steps at 11pm. I can’t wait to see what I’ll be doing at the end of May. The day before Eva was born I moved an entire couch across the living room while Austin cleaned the ceiling fans.

There is still so much to do.

When people ask how I’m feeling, I hesitate to answer. This has been the physically hardest pregnancy so far, but my favorite out of the three. Despite the bodily side effects, these months mark the end of a chapter that I have very much enjoyed–and I’m very aware each day how lucky I am to do it one more time.

Three months to go.

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Second trimester with Evie.