Pura and Simple.

*Sponsored post.*

YOU GUYS I FOUND SOME SWEET NEW WATER BOTTLES.

Well, ok, I found them in my mailbox after asking the nice people at Tryazon to hook me up with their Pura Stainless party pack. I said please. They said yes. Sweet!

(Skip to the bottom if you already love Pura Stainless and just want the discount code. It’s fine. I won’t be mad. Much.)

I invited over some friends and their kids and we painted rocks and talked about water bottles. We talked about other things, too, but water bottles are fascinating, y’all.

(I may have mentioned my obsession to find the perfect water bottle before. But maybe you don’t know that this obsession extends to Mama size bottles too.)

I love the earth, and I love drinking water, and I have a ToddlerMonster that will spill any water with no lid. So I need perfect water bottles at home on the couch, by my bed at night, AND on-the-go.

The perfect water bottle will keep my water cold. The perfect water bottle will not have a weird taste. The perfect water bottle will not spill if knocked over. The perfect water bottle for the ToddlerMonster will not spill even if it is banged around in my backpack. The perfect water bottle is easy to clean. And the perfect water bottle is good for my health and kind to the earth.

I have found an almost perfect water bottle.

YOU GUYS OMG!

Before I declare complete perfection, I do need to tote Babystar’s straw-spout bottle around in the backpack/diaper bag for a bit to see if it leaks all over everything. I don’t think it will — I turned it upside down and shook it VERY HARD. I will update this post later with my very scientific results.

The Pura Stainless bottles definitely keep my water cold. I have been using the larger size insulated bottle for a week, and my water is just as cold at 4am as it is when I set it on my bedside at 10pm. And it’s STILL COLD in the morning.

The spout is silicon, even though most of the bottle is stainless steel. Silicon tastes like nothing. PERFECT!

Results are out on the long-term spilling situation on both the mama bear and the baby bear size. The outlook is good but further testing is needed. I want to tell you about them NOW though, not in three months.

All parts of the Pura stainless bottles are (top-rack) dishwasher safe! But more importantly to me, there are not many parts and they all come COMPLETELY APART. So there is no question of whether that is mold in that plastic bit that I cannot dismantle.

There is literally ZERO PLASTIC. None. It’s really freaking cool. The bottles are stainless steel and silicon. That’s it. 100% recyclable and good for my family and the entire planet.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE.

These bottles have a feature that I didn’t even know I wanted. But now I’m so mad that every company doesn’t do this. Every single component is compatible with the other. There are six sized bottles from 5oz to 28oz. There are five different types of tops: baby nipple, toddler sippy, straw top, capped drinking spout, and a silicon lid that closes the bottle completely to turn it into a storage bottle (which would be great for formula or those powder sports drink mixes). I can mix and match as much as I like. The thready bits are all the same size, so everything fits on everything.  I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.

(Well, ok, the bottom part of the straw won’t reach the bottom of the larger bottles but I suspect there will be straw size options eventually. And you can technically still use the straw top on any size bottle but you have to tip it.)

I AM OFFICIALLY OBSESSED. Right now, I prefer this bottle to almost everything in my entire kitchen. Babystar is less impressed; she prefers her Unicorn Water but I think that’s only because there is a freaking unicorn on it. Toddler logic, y’all.

I gave away three of the five bottles that Pura Stainless sent via Tryazon because I AM SO NICE. I miss them. I kept the two that Babystar and I have been trying. Below is a size comparison, using my hand. Not a ruler because I am lazy. Those are the insulated bottles in 9oz and 22oz. I totally kept the insulated ones because I AM SO GREEDY. (Well, ok, I gave away one of the three insulated bottles they sent to me. See? NICE.)

Dear Pura Stainless, please make some sleeves with dinosaurs or unicorns or clever sayings (for the teenagers — and mostly me). Love, your latest social media stalker.

I wish I could have invited the whole internet to my rock painting party but I didn’t have that many rocks. I guess you could have brought your own. Whoops, my bad. But you can still use the party’s discount code for 20% off  through September 3: Pura22206.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Have you tried Pura Stainless bottles? Do you have a different favorite water bottle? Am I the only reusable-bottle-obsessed mama on the internet??

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,963.61

 

 

 

 

My Milkshake Brings all the Glares to the Park.

This week is World Breastfeeding Week AND the beginning of National Breastfeeding Month. I guess it makes sense to double down on this one. 

Ahhh, breastfeeding. The sweet nourishment of mother’s milk to the quietly nursing angelic baby barely visible from underneath the stylish and tasteful blanket draped gently over the modest lady’s shoulder.

FUCK THAT NOISE.

I am nursing a two year old ToddlerMonster. Well, not currently, because there is no way I could type and nurse a toddler. Or a baby. Or a newborn. Well, maybe I could type and nurse a newborn, if I was typing on my phone. Which is a big NO-NO. 

(Never look at your phone while feeding your baby. Only look at your baby. In fact, never look at your phone or anything other than your baby ever or your baby will grow up to hate you. But don’t spoil your baby. But also, it is impossible to spoil your baby.)

When I was breastfeeding my newborn, a small number of horrible people glared at me for not covering myself. The baby was small and I was not. Her head was still smaller than ONE of my breasts. But it was summer and newborns like to eat constantly. And like most people, my newborn baby did not like anything covering her face while she ate. Even if she did, I had to hold her and hold her neck so she didn’t die and how on earth would I have kept a cover on a wiggly newborn baby? Plus, I was postnatal and hormonal and BURNING UP and I didn’t want any more layers on myself, either. 

Luckily I was mostly too tired to care about the glares. And what would I have done about it, anyway? In hindsight, I maybe should have carried around World Health Organization brochures or something, but honestly, it’s not like I was going to stop feeding my baby and walk over to someone to confront them for giving me a nasty look. But it did make me feel awful, so thanks, jerks.

Ok, to be fair, MOST of the people I encountered either averted their eyes or gave me a knowing smile or even told me that I was doing a great thing. 

At least, that was true while the little nurseling was still a LITTLE nurseling.

Last year, my older baby was still nursing frequently, and we were out in the world much more often. Strangers often asked her age and told me that I would stop nursing once she got teeth.

EVEN THOUGH OUR DOCTORS TELL US THAT BABIES SHOULD NOT HAVE COW’S MILK UNTIL AT LEAST AGE ONE. Was I supposed to switch my ten month old to formula so strangers could feel more comfortable being around us?

Next came the jokes about how I should stop before she could ask for it. First of all, that doesn’t even make sense. I was so HAPPY when she could ask me for milk. I taught her the sign for milk so that she could tell me what she needed even before she could say the word. Because do you know what sucks? Trying to figure out why a crying baby is crying TOTALLY SUCKS.

Now that my toddler is two, she not only asks for milk but demands it. Sometimes (often) while simultaneously trying to pull my shirt up, because she knows where mommy keeps the milk. I usually tell her that she can have milk when we get home, but if she has fallen on the playground or been trampled in the soft play room, she gets her milk right away. Because I am her mother and mama’s milk comforts her. She gets hugs and kisses and sometimes milk and that is fine so stop glaring at us or shielding your four-year-old son’s eyes because that makes YOU the weird one, by the way. 

Last spring, as I nursed my almost two-year-old in the Lobby of Somewhere, a mother that I had never met before told me that I was doing a good job. She said my toddler looked so natural straddling my lap and nursing and she could tell that we were old pros. And then she called me a good mom. I know that the other judgmental strangers shouldn’t bother me but they do, so I am very thankful for that woman. I think of her whenever I face negativity for nursing my toddler; I think of her often.

I have heard and read that I am selfish and narcissistic, that I am ruining my toddler emotionally, and even that I am confusing her sexually.

SERIOUSLY?

I have some questions for the Haters: How would you like it if I made disgusting faces at your child when he was sucking his thumb? How about if I said very loudly, right next to your child, ‘little girls shouldn’t eat apples because only babies eat apples’? Or maybe I should use my sweetest voice to directly tell your two year old that he is too big to wear diapers and he should be a big boy and leave mommy alone. 

It’s the same thing.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,361.20 (imagine if I was also buying formula!)

HEY BREASTFEEDING MAMAS: Have you encountered any static for nursing your little one? If so, how do you handle it? I don’t really want to be confrontational; I just want to feel comfortable feeding my child in the world.

Two Years in (and out of) Cloth Diapers.

I wrote about cloth diapering after a year in cloth already, and it is full of good information that is all still true.

All of the lessons I had learned still apply: diversify your stash, buy a diaper sprayer, resist the aftermarket (if you can and want to but at least be aware of it but maybe don’t completely resist the aftermarket because I will hopefully be selling some diapers within the year).

I still wish that I had used covers and flats for the HUGE money savings. Especially now that Babystar is wearing so many disposable diapers (yep) while the pretty easy-to-use all-in-ones sit quietly in the drawer.

Cloth diapering an infant is super easy and almost fun. The only downside is the extra laundry but I was doing laundry anyway. In fact, I barely had time to get dressed so there wasn’t really extra laundry, since I never changed my clothes. Infants have like one hundred diaper changes per day. (Ok, maybe fourteen-ish.) I enjoyed seeing my sweet newborn baby in cute cloth diapers and if there is any way at all to enjoy changing diapers, CARPE THAT DIEM.)


Cloth diapering a growing but relatively stationary baby is still pretty easy. Yes, the poop gets grosser, but the volume of poop is still reasonable. You know, for poop. And sure, it smells bad, but y’all, toddler poop smells REAL BAD.

Ok, I’m going to stop talking about poop now. Probably not forever, though.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in cloth diapering my toddler is all of the tiny adventures every day. Between parks and libraries and soft play rooms (and Target), we go ALL of the places ALL of the time. Toddlers gotta GO, man. Babystar will just put on her shoes and head to the door talking about a ‘bye-bye.’ With no regard for pants.

When she was smaller, the diaper bag was mostly full of diapers. Cloth diapers and wet bags for the dirty ones take up a lot of space, AND REMEMBER, you have to carry the dirty diapers around with you at least until you get back to the car. (And they are heavier  once they are used.) Now that she is a person with opinions and advanced nutritional requirements, the diaper bag is full of snacks and her water bottle and my water bottle and at least two changes of (bigger) clothes and sunscreen and bug spray and sunglasses and books and probably some toys that she MUST HAVE but will not play with and there isn’t much room left for the cloth diapers. (And the disposable diapers are SO LIGHT. But yes, they will sit in a landfill until the end of time so I still try hard to use the cloth at home and during our shorter adventures.)

I use a cute striped Steve Madden backpack as a diaper bag. It has a lot of pockets but it was NOT AT ALL made to be a diaper bag. It looks like it belongs on a trendy tween in 2008.


I bought an actual diaper bag long ago that I literally never use. It isn’t a backpack and I NEED my hands free. The actual diaper bag is cool in that it will hang on a stroller but Babystar refuses strollers with me: this is the hidden downside of baby wearing. So maybe the answer for me is a better backpack-style diaper bag? Does anyone have recommendations?

I haven’t added in the cost of diapers in awhile (but they are still on the list). We bought the giant Aldi pack for $10.89 and I ADORE that price. The diapers are fine, but they do not at all work for overnight use. As long as you change the diaper after each pee, they are fine. Just beware of blowouts. I usually buy Target brand Up and Up diapers. I had been buying them by the 28-pack but after a good look in the mirror, I started buying the larger boxes. It’s a great deal at $14.99 and the diapers work well for Babystar. We never have overnight leaks and blowouts are super rare. (I’ve bought two boxes since the beginning of June. I have a bunch left so I’m maybe doing better than I think with the cloth.)

I guess my only new lesson is to be prepared for the bulkiness. I know I need a better diaper bag and a better system. I am loathe to buy a crazy expensive diaper bag now that Babystar is already two, though. But a better system could be free! Maybe I can pack less in the diaper bag and have a wet bag full of more emergency rations in the car?

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Do you cloth diaper a toddler? What are your tips for diapering on-the-go?

 RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,550.73

 

Clean Mama: the Greatest Gift of All!

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I had a wonderful day which included an uninterrupted shower. I’m not saying that was my favorite part, but it might have been my favorite part.

(Ok, just kidding. I get to take uninterrupted showers at least once a week per my sentencing guidelines. Um, I mean, because my two older children are wonderful creatures that will distract Miss Babystar for twenty minutes so that I can wash my hair.)

While in the shower, I realized that I never added the Arbonne ABC Baby Soap to this list.

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DON’T WORRY I’M NOT GOING TO TRY TO SELL YOU ANYTHING.

I know, I know, some people freak out and run screaming (or scrolling since we are all online here) when mamas say ‘Arbonne’ or ‘Lularoe’ or ‘DoTerra’ or ‘Shakeology’ or so many other trigger words. Those poor hustling mamas are just trying to do their thing. Even if their thing is sometimes annoying. You know what else is annoying? The fact that Target emails me every single day about SOMETHING and their Cartwheel app is stupid and difficult to use. But I still love Target and I still love my #momboss friends.

Ahem. Fun(ny) fact: I accidentally became an Arbonne consultant.

Yep. I ordered shampoo and conditioner and body wash and hand lotion and mascara (PS the Arbonne mascara is crap) from a friend at a party and then offered to HOST a party for her. Then, at MY party, my teenager wanted to try the entire freaking skin care line so I ordered a bunch more stuff for her. And me. And I ordered the baby soap for Babystar. In the weird pyramid scheme math, if I paid twenty bucks or something, I could get a save even more money and get a free thing AND get 35% off of my purchased for a whole year so DUH. Of course I did it. I did not realize what was going down* until our products arrived along with a box of ten catalogs and some cool samples (yay!) and a Welcome New Consultant folder. Whoops.

*I am sure my friend explained it to me but it was the end of the night and I had several glasses of prosecco.

I don’t even know how much it cost because I paid money for a discount (does that even make sense?) and I had to spend a minimum amount to get some ‘free’ stuff so I’m just going with the basic retail price which is $21.

Babystar still prefers to EAT the Honest Creamsicle** Soap. But she likes the Arbonne ABC soap because it barely lathers. Babystar hates bubbles. Well, she LOVES bubbles outside with a bubble wand that she drips all over and gets herself all sticky so that she needs a bath. She DESPISES any bubbles in said bath. She gets all mad at them and tries to pop them all saying, ‘no bubbles, no bubbles, no bubbles.’ Like she’s on some Baby Bathtime version of Press Your Luck.

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**It’s actually called Orange-Vanilla-Something but it’s basically a Creamsicle.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $16,923.99

Airplanes and Dinosaurs.

Babystar is growing out of her pajamas. I was SURE I was set for the winter. I just gave away everything up to 18 months (except for one pair of Carter’s fleece pajamas because all of Carter’s clothes run small except the fleece or terry footed pajamas and we just have to accept this fact). I am trying to squeeze some more wears out of her 18-24 months pajamas but they are basically capris. Babystar is not tall; I don’t get it. But it’s cold at night. And she hates blankets. So I bought some 2T jammies to hopefully get her through the winter. The cotton sets were buy one, get one half off. I bought two of the same, so four sets of airplane pajamas. Babystar loves airplanes. She waves to them and blows them kisses. She knows the difference between and airplane and a helicopter. It is really funny listening to her trying to say helicopter. The fleece dinosaur two-pack was on clearance. She also loves dinosaurs. Yes, I bought these in the ‘Toddler Boys’ department but she legit loves dinosaurs and airplanes. Which she learned about from her pink laptop and the sky, respectively. Also, why are airplanes and dinosaurs for boys and not girls? Many girls ride in AND fly airplanes. Amelia Earhart, anyone? (Ok, maybe she is a bad example.) And I happen to know from watching Jurassic Park that there were DEFINATELY girl dinosaurs. So, what’s the deal?

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Also, I did LOOK in the ‘Toddler Girls’ section for airplanes. I found two shirts on clearance for $2.25 each, but no airplane pajamas.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,527.96

Starstruck.

I am in love, over the moon, OBSESSED with my new baby carrier. Yes, this makes five. Plus the water ring sling. (I gave away the Moby and K’tan.) Shhhh.

This print is EVERYTHING.

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Rainbow Freaking Stars, I think it’s called. Or Incandescent Adventure, actually. I bought three of the Smart Bottoms diapers and one wet bag in this print at the Lil’ Tulips booth at MommyCon. Well, actually one of the diapers was Luminescent Adventure and two were Incandescent Adventure but they are basically the same except one is horizontal and one is vertical. Whatever, it’s RAINBOW FREAKING STARS.

(Oh, and I have one of those Incandescent Adventure Smart Bottoms diapers still unwashed and unused with a fun surprise in mind.)

I ordered the Tula and checked out and then remembered that I also wanted the matching Smart Bottoms drool pads. I hate paying shipping so I also added a pretty unicorn wet bag to the order to get to the minimum of $35 necessary for free shipping.

So I now get to wear Babystar in this beautiful Tula with matching drool pads and then keep it in a matching zippered bag. And she could even wear her matching diapers! I am genuinely so excited about this. I know it’s absurd and I don’t even care.

Between the mall and the zoo and regular life, we have already logged over ten hours in this baby and I’ve had it less than a week.

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Look how pretty they are all packed up. That new unicorn bag has stars on it too — teeny tiny stars. The Tula Coast Shine lives there now.

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I still love my Beco carriers but these Tulas are so soft and comfy, for me and for Babystar. Plus my husband can use them, and he had a hard time with the Beco. He loves wearing Babystar in a Tula, though. Yes, I am trying to justify these carriers to you lovely strangers on the Internet. Is it working?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $12,699.77

I Forgot to Feed the Baby!

Just kidding. But I did forget to include the cost of her food so far.

Babystar has been dining on mama milk for the first bit of her life. The best thing about mama milk is that it’s free! (And portable. That’s good too. But the BEST thing is that it’s free.) My dear cousin gave me a ton of nursing accessories that she didn’t use with her NICU preemie: milk storage bags and nursing pads and even a tube of lanolin. Very helpful during the early days. And my dear MIL bought me several nursing bras and nursing tops last Christmas. The food thing was pretty handled.

But the Baby grew. She got bigger and hungrier.

I love feeding Little Miss Messyface. We started slow by giving her just a little bit of banana or sweet potato while the family had dinner. (And we don’t all have time for a sit down dinner every night so it was pretty sporadic.) Once she seemed to really get in to the whole eating thing, I started feeding her dinner every night then soon added in a lunch.

My SIL gave me a Baby Bullet that she never used, and I’ve been using that tiny blender and six quarter cup containers to make her purees. I like the little Baby Bullet blender. My Vitamix doesn’t really know what to do with such small amounts. So far she has only had bananas, pears, carrots, sweet potato, peas, strawberry, avocado, peaches, and spinach. Babystar looooves some spinach with garlic! I’ve created a conservative estimate of her food costs so far.

  • Banana x6     $0.95
  • Pears x8     $7.98
  • Sweet potato x3     $3.00
  • Carrots     $1.99
  • Peas x1,000     $4.98
  • Strawberry x30     $6.00
  • Avocado x2      $3.00
  • Peaches (frozen)     $2.99
  • Spinach x1,000,000     $9.97

Food total as of last Friday is $38.87.

Making her meals was starting to takeover my life. Then the Teen Queen told me that the Pinterest Mommies made batches of food and froze them in ice cube trays. I was interested. Then I found this super cool website and I was obsessed!

I even ordered these pretty purple ice cube trays so I could make adorable one ounce squares of frozen food. (But I only bought two trays so I had to use my boring-shaped ice cube trays also.) I spent yesterday in the kitchen making purees to freeze. (I won’t bother noting the recipes. Go here and find ones you like.) Babystar watched Super Bowl Pregame with dad.

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I picked up food at Costco and Harris Teeter in preparation for Game Day.  Some of the big Costco packs were split amongst the fam for smoothies or salads, but I’m counting the full package cost. I have not included any food I gave her from my plates at restaurants, either so far (hummus) or for the next several months, so I’m sure it will equal out. Sharing is caring.

  • Apples x10     $2.99
  • Pears x5     $3.99
  • Spinach x1,000     $9.98
  • Mango slices     $7.99
  • Strawberries     $6.99
  • Avocados x6     $3.99
  • Red peppers x7     $6.49
  • Basil     $2.99
  • Organic potato x2     $1.47
  • Sweet potato x3     $4.00
  • Broccoli     $2.49

$53.37. Plus $7.99 for the ice cube trays. So $100.23 so far.

RAISING BABYSTAR:  $5,908.01