Category — Hotslings
Awhile back, I wrote a post on Must Have Baby Products. At the time, I was mom to Jackson only, and he had just turned 1 year old. I’d like to revisit the topic of favorite baby items yet again, as my top 10 picks have changed based on my experience, the age of my children, and being mom to 3 kids 2 and under. I’ll give a few of my favs, and then I’m going to ask for reader input. For simplicity sake, I’m going to do top 6 TODDLER products in this post (don’t ask me why I chose 6; I’m just that random). We’ll do top newborn/infant picks in the future.
1. Hotslings - I am still distributing these and still love love love the ease of this babywearing product. I’ll admit it’s not my only baby carrier. I drank the coolaid and adore my Ergo as well, especially now that I have 3 little ones and need a really sturdy, totally hands-free carrier that can be worn for hours as a backpack. But Hotslings are just so lightweight, so comfortable, so easy, and so stylish. I’ll always love this product. In fact, Travis wore Jack, at 26 months, in his Hotsling yesterday and Jack loved it, hugging on him most of the time.
2. Kids Line Rocking Chair - you’ve all seen MANY picture of my kids in their little upholstered rocking chairs. Actually, Shane’s doesn’t rock. We opted for the one with the ottoman instead and the flat bottom, but little did we know, they’d both prefer the rocking chair. So now they just race to get to the one that rocks!
3. Chicco Caddy Hook on chair - this thing has saved our butts so many times, so many ways! Although it’s a bit on the heavy side, it packs completely flat for easy travel. It came with us to the lands of no high chairs, Peru and Vietnam, so that Jackson could always sit at the table without having to be in one of our laps…if you know Jackson, you know that would’ve just been disaster since the child is incapable of sitting still!
4. CROCS - everyone knows this shoe, and almost everyone already owns them. But in case you don’t, and your child is a size 4/5 or bigger, you MUST get a pair!! If your kid has a smaller foot than that, I’ll write about your “must have” footwear in my newborn/infant product post. Crocs are SO lightweight, so easy to get on and off, never smell, are totally amphibious; they’re great on land and in water!
5. Little Tikes Sand and Sea Play Table - unless you live in the South, this recommendation might’ve been more helpful to you in May or June, so I apologize about that. But this table has provided my kids with countless hours of outdoor entertainment this summer. They dig, splash, move sand and water from one side to the other. Don’t get me wrong, you will find sand in places you never imagined, and there might be some tears during BMs if you have an avid sand-eater, but the fun far outweighs the negatives (otherwise they’d stop eating the damn sand, right?!).
6. Boo Bunnie Ice Pack - Or, as Jackson calls it, “the magic bunny.” Sadly, we forgot ours in the freezer of the St. Augustine vacation house. My mom is mailing it to us, and frankly, it can’t get here soon enough. We love this thing, as it has a more intense placebo effect than any pill, potion, or powder I’ve ever come across. It is truly “magic.”
So, what are your top toddler picks?
August 24, 2008 17 Comments
I was up and down all last night, thinking about all the possible scenarios and tormenting myself over whether or not we made the right decision in staying. Today though? Today was perfect. We woke up early and Granjoe, Trav, and I got some exercise through a long walk on the beach (Jack rode in daddy’s sling). Then, we had a wonderful visit with Shane at his orphanage. We haven’t started traded off days yet because Jackson has still been doing really well with the visits. I got to tote Shane around in my sling, play with him, and then he took a nap on Travis. We just alternate between watching Jackson and spending time with Shane while we’re at the orphanage. Granjoe came today too, so he helped with things as well, and provided one more set of hands to hold and love on babies.
It’s so fascinating to me how differently people here interact with small babies. It seems SO rough to us, but is done with such loving intentions. They have this way of smelling the babies’ cheeks, and when we imitate that and do it to Shane, he cracks up. When the women do it to Jackson, he tries to snort back and usually snot rockets all over the place! The nannies are also big into grabbing at the babies’ faces in a way that seems almost like slapping. Not great for Jack to see, considering we’re trying to teach him NOT to hit at the moment, and to him this gesture is very confusing! I don’t know how else to describe the interactions except to say they are rough in their affection, but it is loving and it is affectionate…just not in a way we’re used to. One of the nannies in Shane’s orphanage sings to the babies in this gorgeous voice with beautifully fluctuating intonations. I find it incredibly soothing, and I’m sure the babies do too!
The nannies were much sweeter to us today. Even the one who I didn’t think liked us very much was extremely accommodating. I took the suggestion a few friends made, which was to bring them each a small gift, which I think helped. I bought them each a boutique soap from our hotel spa - small, but I’d hoped they’d see it as a thoughtful token of our appreciation. I’d already done that the very first day when I gave them each a Hotsling as a gift. I’ll just say that those didn’t go over quite how I thought they would. Hotslings actually donated about 10 slings for me to give to orphanage care workers, and Travis and I thought they’d be such a handy thing for the nannies, as well as a wonderful thing for the babies. I gave a few to Jackson’s former nannies at Vung Tau orphanage, and then one to each of the ladies at Shane’s orphanage. Suffice it to say, I’m pretty sure those beautiful prints will become the most expensive cleaning rags in Vietnam. I tried to demo the slings at Shane’s orphanage, but the women weren’t convinced they were safe to wear. Plus, Shane wasn’t exactly the best model the first day - he screamed when I put him in my sling! Check it out:
It got better though. Today he let me wear him around in it for awhile! I still don’t think the nannies had any interest in trying them out, but hopefully they saw that it’s safe and good for the baby. Actually, Shane had just about passed out in it on my shoulder when one of his nannies came and pulled him out of it, which of course woke him up, to show someone the diaper he was wearing. Damn! Here we are snuggling before he was taken out:
I have been doing my best to follow the nannies’ lead and do things their way. Today, that meant allowing them to take Shane from me while I was feeding him his bottle so that they could lay him in his crib and instead PROP his bottle. Ugh. They do that with all the babies when it’s time for a feeding followed by a nap - they just arrange a blanket in such a way that it supports the bottle in their mouths. Not a good thing from a medical perspective (predisposes to ear infections, cavities, etc.) or a bonding perspective, but in an orphanage it is efficient and it’s an unfortunate part of their routine. I just wish they’d let me hold him to give him his bottle since I really wanted to do that and had already begun feeding him in my arms anyway. When I say that Shane is at the best orphanage I’ve ever seen, I truly truly mean that. I am SO impressed with this place and the nannies there. But it is still an orphanage, and I can’t wait until he can be with us all day, everyday. For now though, we’ll continue to visit him daily, and we feel lucky that we’re getting to do that.
After our visit with Shane, we came back and spent the afternoon relaxing at the pool with Jackson and Granjoe. A little later, Granjoe went for a 90 minute massage, Travis joined in a game of pick-up sand soccer on the beach, and Jackson took a nap in my arms in front of the ocean. Can’t beat that for an afternoon! When Jackson woke up and Travis was done playing soccer, we just enjoyed the sunset on the beach, caught crabs in the sand with Jack, and helped him collect seashells, which he LOVES to do. We’ll be in bed early tonight and will attempt to recreate this day again tomorrow. Thanks for all the sweet comments, and I apologize for sounding like “Debbie the Downer,” as Travis calls me sometimes…aka “med school Laurie.” I do know how fortunate we are, and I am so grateful for my family and this time we’re getting with Shane. I do still miss my parent and siblings, and I am still sad we won’t be with them for Christmas, but we will make the most of our situation together in Vietnam and we’ll always remember these first weeks as a new family.
December 22, 2007 10 Comments
Thanks to all the AP’s, PAP’s, and other new parents who have purchased Hotslings through me. You, and government loans, are feeding my family;) Seriously though, I’ve sold about 40 of them, and so far have gotten great feedback from people about their comfort, utility, and style. I’ve begun getting the repeat buyers who want another print because they wear their slings so much, which is awesome. And don’t forget, I give an additional discount to people to purchase more than 1 sling. I’m gathering pics from people for a flickr album of Hotslingers, so send me photos if you haven’t already! I plan to post pictures and links on my Hotslings page.
Here are Kelly and Lucy sporting my most popular print, the Solstice:
Here are Mindee and Lucas sporting the very stylish Asian print, the Tokyo:
Other bloggers you might recognize who also sling are S., Nicole, Melissa (who’s in-country with new baby now!), Katie (also in-country meeting baby in 1 week), Kristin, Heather, Christi, Elizabeth, Jen, and the other Heather. Any of the other AP’s who have bought through me have blogs I didn’t mention?? Thanks again guys!
I have a big post about our work here coming. Safe travels to all who are en route to your babies, and all those about to travel!
June 30, 2007 5 Comments
Thank you for all the input on names! You’ve given us lots of fun stuff to think about, and we will most definitely keep you posted on our decision when we get our referral. We’ll also keep the voting poll open until then. Speaking of referrals, we are DTV this week!! Way to go agency! We hope to hear something in the next 2-3 months, but ya never know.
So, I’ve already mentioned that our son is quite the bruiser. You can’t honestly tell me that he doesn’t look like he’s the hitman for the Baby Mob Squad in this picture.
I’m mean seriously, it looks like a mugshot that might’ve been taken after he’d beaten up the new kids at his playground. Yeah, they showed up and didn’t know any better, gave some little squirt a lollipop, when suddenly our little Franky showed up on the scene and beat the snot out of them. He was yelling something like “Doncha know this is my playground?! I control this block. And NOBODY, I mean NOBODY, gives out candy at Franky’s playground. Except Franky. Maybe you’ll remember this next time, now getcher no good keister outa here!”
Anyway, this happens to be his new passport photo taken a few months ago! I guess it might be a slight improvement over his Visa picture from Vietnam. In this one, he looks like he’s being chased by the Baby Mob Squad! Check it out:
If I hadn’t been there to see this picture taken myself, I wouldn’t have believed this was my son either! The guy looking at our ID’s at customs and immigration actually stopped to grab his buddy so they could share a good laugh over this photo. Poor little guy - this was his “dear in headlights” pose. He wore that look of utter shock around for about the first 3 days we had him. Thankfully, he’s settled in and now has a smile on about 80% of the time!
So this post was inspired b/c we’ve got our passports out and are heading down to Peru for the start of our public health project tomorrow. It’s absolutely amazing how much crap is required to travel with an infant. Honestly, the last time we were out of the country for this long, we lived out of backpacks for 2 months. Gone are those days. 2 of our 4 checked bags are full of ONLY Jackson’s stuff. The pack’n'play, formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, the baby medicine cabinet, toys, clothes, baby hiking backpack, you get the point.
I’ll be frequenting internet cafes to keep up with Hotslings orders and blogging, of course. But you may not see me as often in comments even though I’ll be checking in with my best blogging buddies while we’re away. For all of you who are waiting, I hope to see some exciting news in the next few weeks. For all who are holding tight to pictures of your new little ones, I cannot wait to follow your exciting adventures to Vietnam and hear what it feels like when you hold your babies for the first time.
June 1, 2007 14 Comments
Our friend, Mark, and his son, Evan, visited us in Colorado this weekend. We met them while we were in Vietnam (Evan was born in Phu Tho), and haven’t seen Evan since then. Evan is about 6 months older than Jackson and has grown and changed so much since we last saw him. He’s still as cute as ever!
He and Jackson were hilarious together. We’ve come to the realization that our son is a serious beefcake. He maybe short, but he’s like a little ox.
Here’s our wild little meathead loving the swing!
He’s such a speedy crawler that Evan really had to keep on the move, speed walking, to prevent Jackson from getting him. Still, Jackson succeeded in tackling Evan several times, took his toys, used Evan’s overalls to pull himself up, etc.
This is how a lot of their time together looked:)
He was totally obsessed with everything about Evan, copied things Evan did, mimicked noises Evan made, and cried when Evan cried. Monkey see, monkey do! Evan, on the other hand, was less than impressed with Jackson - doesn’t he look bored in this shot:
Although, he did take a liking to Jackson’s tummy and kept lifting Jackson’s shirt up to poke his Buddha belly! Too cute.
Mark treated us to an awesome Vietnamese restaurant for dinner one night. We’ll definitely be frequenting that one now that we found it!
Hopefully these 2 will be buddies for life, and we’ll have some funny stories to tell them about when they were babies together. We had a lot of fun, and I loved having the boys back together again!
PS: One more shameless plug…this is my new Hotsling (the print is the Sweet Pea- let me know if you’re interested). Thank you for all of you who placed orders; your business is appreciated more than you know! I hope you love yours as much as I love mine.
May 26, 2007 14 Comments
Jackson updates include:
- waves hello / goodbye
- signs “more” and “milk”
- moo’s like a cow when you ask him “what does a moo-cow say?”
- throws his hands above his head when you ask “how big is Jackson?” He’ll go on sporatically raising his hands for about 20 minutes after you get him started though!
- can stand for ~15 seconds without holding onto anything, but hasn’t taken steps by himself yet
- dances and claps his hands when I sing or play music (loves his new cd my friend Sarah gave us by Laurie Berkner)
- loves to ride in Mommy’s or Daddy’s pouch (Hotsling)
- yells everytime he sees another baby to get that baby’s attention
- sleeps through the night and takes 2 decent naps
- drinks his formula from glass bottles (research has shown plastic bottles leach harmful chemicals)
- eats oatmeal with Daddy every morning (that’s their thing)
- falls deep asleep when I stick my finger as far as it’ll go into his ear canal - weird, I know! Almost as weird as his right foot’s grass aversion:) I discovered this phenomenon one time when I was reaching for a piece of wax and as soon as my finger plugged up his middle ear his eyes rolled back and he was fast asleep. It’s my secret weapon when he’s fighting sleep!
- does this adorable little forced chuckle when he’s mildly amused - it’s like his polite fake laugh. He also does it when there’s silence and he’s bored.
- he still wears some 6 month onesies, and for the most part wears 6-9 month clothes…but hey, wouldn’t I look strange carrying a huge baby?!
- he still only has 2 bottom teeth
- is VERY ticklish, although some attachment therapists say tickling brings out feelings of rage and fear (I don’t really subscribe to this theory though, but we try not to overdo tickling anyway)
- he’ll be eating salmon for the first time to celebrate his 11 month bday
- we’ll be celebrating his 1 year birthday in Peru, and Gramma will be visiting us down there for that special day!
This is random, but I got it from Mrs. Broccoli Guy and joined the fun. Adventures in Daily Living is hosting and Adoption Roundup - post a link to any of your own blog entries related to adoption and read what others have posted.
May 23, 2007 18 Comments
Well, let me just say I have the neatest aunt, Karen Deerwester, who has authored several great parenting books. Her most recent one is just awesome - I highly recommend it to anyone who will be potty training a child! It’s called the Potty Training Answer Book. Buy it!
Anyway, she alerted Maria Bailey, host of Mom Talk Radio, to my blog as well as the adoption lifebooks I’m selling and I was interviewed today on her show. She’s also a mom through adoption, as well as pregnancy. My 15 minute segment will air tomorrow in South Florida on WJBW at 10am, and be available next week on iTunes, as well as here: www.momtalkradio.com/shows.
I am slightly embarrassed, as I think I sounded like a total moron. I’ll now be tormenting myself about how I could’ve better answered her questions, instead of rambling on nervously!! I can’t believe some of my answers now that I’m thinking back. Ugh!
Just want to mention that I am now an official Hotslings distributor and will be selling pouches to people interested in promoting attachment through babywearing. I’ll have pictures of the fabric prints up in the next few days. I’m selling them at 10% less than they retail.
Please email me if you’re interested!
The baby carrier I use for Jackson all the time is one of the many Hotslings prints I’m selling.
I’ll be in DC until next week for my med school graduation. I hope all my blogging buddies get good news about their babies and upcoming travel in the meantime!
May 16, 2007 9 Comments