The Wheels on the Bus Go YUM YUM YUM.

*Sponsored post.*


I received a 50% discount on the Innobaby Din Din Smart Stainless Mealtime Set in exchange for my honest opinions. With shipping, I paid $33.71. The retail price for the set is $49.99. 

And dude, I was SO EXCITED, because I have wanted to try one of these Innobaby Bus Platters since I saw the Innobaby booth at MommyCon DC last year. When I got the email to apply to become a Brand Ambassador, I was like, YES PLEASE. Pick me! Pick me!

They totally did.

I fell in love with these platters at first sight because they are 1) freaking adorable and 2) stainless steel and 3) DIVIDED plates because you never know when a toddlers food is allowed to touch other food and 4) they have a lid that keeps the compartments separated. Even if you shake it upside down which I definitely did.

I filled each compartment with normal everyday ToddlerMonster foods: juicy sliced clementines, chopped strawberries, SHREDDED cheese, cut up chicken, and crispy peas. I sealed the top and turned it upside down a few times, just as a test. When I removed the lid, everything was still in its original compartment. Even every bit of the shredded cheese, which I admit I only added to really test the bus. (I usually give her sliced cheese because shredded cheese is so messy. But she LOVES shredded cheese probably precisely because it’s so messy.)


Babystar loves her new ‘bus plate’. She has only had it a week but asks for it by name. She tries food from the bus that she doesn’t normally try. I think the smaller sections are perfect for introducing new foods. And since they are completely separated, they don’t touch her favorite foods so maybe they are less threatening?

She also really likes the cup and utensils that come in the Din Din Smart Stainless Mealtime Set. The cup has a cool handle, and she calls it her ‘coffee cup,’ which is just adorable. The utensils are actually metal but with a chunky plastic handle, and I notice that she uses her fork more when she is using this metal one. It must work better at stabbing her foods than her plastic forks. I wouldn’t give the metal fork a baby that was just learning about forks, though. For safety and all that jazz.
RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,394.91

 

Brusha-Brusha-Brusha.

BAD MOM ALERT.

Babystar has not brushed her teeth in six days.


Go ahead. Mock me. Shame me. Send me unsolicited infographics about children’s brushing habits and their ability to get into a good college. Tag me on Facebook on articles about toddler dental health. Email me links to articles about why I suck. 

I have no excuse. I KNOW. But if I did, it would be this. 

We ran out of the delicious bubblegum flavored, fluoride-free kids toothpaste on Tuesday night after she DID brush her teeth. 

On Wednesday, I bought new kid’s toothpaste but it was hippie Tom’s of Maine ($3.99) strawberry flavored and she HATED IT. She spit it out and decided to rub her toothbrush all over the toilet instead. I guess this was a commentary on the new toothpaste. Two thumbs down PLUS a toothbrush in the toilet.

So of course we had to toss it into the trash immediately. Because gross.

That happened to be the last of four kids toothbrushes that my husband and I got in our MommyCon gift bags back in 2015. (We each got a gift bag, and they were 2-packs.)

So, ok, no biggie. We will just buy her another toothbrush.

On Thursday, Babystar woke up in a terrible Toddler Mood and we cancelled all adventures and stayed home to color and watch Blue’s Clues and play with blocks. I remembered the toothbrush around dinnertime and popped over to Harris Teeter, where I couldn’t find a single kids toothbrush. Not one.

Darn it. Oh, well, she’s two. She will live, right?

On Friday, I bought a Orajel-brand kid’s Elmo toothbrush and candy-flavored toothpaste set ($4.39) at Target.

Nope. Nope. Nope. She refused to put the colorful Elmo toothbrush anywhere near her mouth.

Crap. So the teenager helped me find the toothbrushes from MommyCon 2015 online. (I was really wishing I had taken a picture of the swag bag contents for the blog because we had long since tossed the toothbrush packaging.) She figured out that they were made by WooBamboo; I found them on Amazon and ordered them with my sweet Prime two-day shipping ($8.43).


MORE BAD MOM CONFESSIONS.

I only brush Babystar’s teeth at bath time. Which is usually in the evening. I ask her if she wants to brush her teeth in the morning with me, and she says yes about 20% of the time. So that’s what we do. I insist that she brush her teeth at bath time, and she’s not always on board but we make it happen. Babystar got her first tooth a bit AFTER her first birthday so we did not establish a good routine early. I know, I know.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone know any good ways to convince a very particular toddler to brush her teeth? Asking for a friend.

Ok, so the package arrived yesterday, and guess what. She did not take a bath yesterday. She fell asleep instead and I was not about to wake her up and now it is Monday.

Six days.

TERRIBLE PARENTING. Go ahead, call the police. I don’t even blame you.

I promise she will get a bath and BRUSH HER TEETH tonight. If they haven’t already fallen out by then.

Aaaaand, because we have out priorities straight, we got matching blue toes again over the weekend. Hers are only $5 + tip (so $10.)


(I used the make-it-seem-like-I-recently-shaved-my-legs filter on that picture. Did it work? 🙃)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,879.45

 

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.

img_0970

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.

img_0998

img_1025

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.

img_0975

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

Rainbow Bright.

Ok, this time I SWEAR I am done buying cloth diapers. I was really sad that I only bought one of these bright pretty rainbow Blueberry Diapers at MommyCon so when I saw them for sale at Holistic Parent, I bought one. Just one. So now I have two. I kind of want three. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

(I’ve decided I have to sell the bumGenius Elementals. Love the colors. Love the prints. Do not love that she overflows them with pee. I am not trying to convince you to buy them or anything. I am really just trying to justify this purchase. To my family, maybe. Who might be reading this. STOP JUDGING ME.)

So pretty, tho.

IMG_7274

RAISING BABYSTAR: $11,456.81

MommyCon 2016 + GIVEAWAY.

Babystar and I went to MommyCon DC yesterday and had so much fun!

(I was NOT a member of the media team or blog team or whatever it was called and I did purchase my own ticket.)

We actually volunteered Thursday and Friday behind the scenes, and that was also a blast. (Yes, WE. Babystar came along too and even had some playmates her own age.) Everyone involved with Team MommyCon was really nice and great and seemed all about the cause. By the time Saturday actually arrived, I was already exhausted. But luckily very excited, and the excitement trumped the exhaustion.

We arrived early because my son (home from college for the summer) and his girlfriend were working the event. If you attended MommyCon DC and checked your stroller, you met my firstborn. Thanks for being nice to him. (I know you were nice because he told me he was surprised how nice EVERYONE was. I wasn’t surprised but thank you anyway.)

IMG_7146

The best thing about having him working there was dropping off Babystar for five minutes at a time so I could PEE ALL BY MYSELF. Stroller check was located conveniently right next to the restrooms.

Babystar helped by stacking things. Also, LOOK AT THAT MOUNTAIN OF GIFT BAGS!

IMG_0706

We attended last year and I definitely noticed a lot of improvement. The layout inside the convention center was smarter this year. Last year the vendor space was a bit cramped and the diaper changing area was ridiculously big and far away from the action. That was not the case this year, and the addition of a Quiet Room and Toddler Play Space was great. (Note to the convention center: that door to the Quiet Room needs some WD-40. Whoops.)

The best improvement IMO was the offering of speaker sessions. There were six different sessions happening at any time, which made it difficult to choose where to spend our time. (This is a good problem to have!) I really enjoyed Steps Toward Sustainability with Yvonne BrownDear Baby XO: Why Mom Fails are Good for You with Sarah Showfety, and Ring Slings 101. By far my favorite session was Why Toddlers Fear New Foods with Dawn Winkelman of EZPZ. I have raised two picky eaters already and learned a lot of ways to prevent this pickiness with Babystar, hopefully early enough to prevent any food issues. (I know Cloth Diapering 101 with Jenn Labit was great because I attended last year, so I felt ok about skipping it this year EVEN THOUGH I know she gives out cool gifts.) I wanted to attend the Babywearing Yoga and Babies at the Barre sessions, but. But. But I was so so SO tired from working while babywearing the previous two days AND Babystar was conveniently asleep in her carrier during both of those session times. So I shopped instead.

Want to see what I bought?

IMG_7158

  • All the Smart Bottoms stars plus the teal Blueberry diaper in the front row from Lil Tulips: $139.31
  • The three striped diapers (SO PRETTY in person!) and the squiggly rainbow diaper from Blueberry Diapers: $96.80
  • Swim diaper from GroVia: $12 (MommyCon special price!)
  • Stuffed ninja that Babystar pointed out and then bit so I had to buy it (smart baby) from Wrap Scrap Creations: $20
  • Two Ubbi Tweat Snack Containers (you can see that one was used for Cheerios right away): $15 (MommyCon special pricing!)
  • Navy blue mesh ring sling from Cute Awakening: $35
  • Ziggy Stardust t-shirt for Babystar from Jammy Jams: $18

Merch total was $336.11 plus $84 for tickets (general admission plus the Feed the Baby VIP session on Friday) so my grand total was $420.11. Which is almost exactly $100 less than last year. I wanted to buy much more but restrained myself. I wanted more more MORE cloth diapers and a Tekhni ‘hip sack’ (which is really just a pretty fanny pack for fancy mamas) and a woven ring sling and and and. You get it.

I chatted with several of the vendors; again, everyone I talked to was so nice. Everyone. Of course they were, right? They are vendors. But everyone was SUPER above and beyond nice, and excited to chat about their products or just about babies or life in general.

Life Tip #1: Get some Oh My Yog! Organic Yogurt from Stonyfield in your life as soon as possible. Stonyfield gave some out during the VIP sessions on Friday and I cannot even tell you how delicious it is. You will thank me. Unless you really hate yogurt. Then you might not like it. But you might — it’s that good.

Life Tip #2: Find out where to buy Brewla ice pops near you and get the coffee flavored one and eat it immediately. They had samples on Saturday and they were SO GOOD. The Strawberry Hibiscus was also delicious. But that coffee flavored one tho.

Life Tip #3: (If you have a baby or a toddler.) Attend a MommyCon near you. I think it is finally worth traveling for, and I wouldn’t have said that last year. Xza and her team have been on a steep learning curve and the entire convention is really really good now.

Everyone always wants to know WHAT IS IN THE SWAG BAG?

Everyone gets a gift bag. And if you attend a VIP session (held the day before), you get another special individualized gift bag. I attended Feed the Baby with Jessica Martin-Weber from The Leaky B@@b and it was great because she is just adorable and funny and great. And all of this was in my VIP gift bag.

IMG_7155

You guys, look! There is a coral EZPZ mini mat! Just like the one I gave away last week. And just like the one I already own and reviewed and wondered if it would work better if I never put it in the dishwasher. I’m going to do a blind ‘sticky test’ soon and I’ll let you know how it goes. I will also tell you all about the BiteSizers and Re-Play dishware and GOOtensils once Babystar uses them a bit.

(That can is tuna. I don’t know. Special you-can-eat-it-when-you-are-pregnant tuna but still. What?)

And everyone got a General Admission gift bag with some variation on these goodies.

IMG_7152

Well technically, the Kind bar, Babyganics samples on the left, and GoGo applesauce were handed out by vendors in the exhibit hall. The rest was in the swag bag. Highlights included two types of reusable food pouches (Sage Spoonfuls and Little Green Pouch), an adorable doll sized cloth diaper from Nicki’s Diapers, and a Maya & Max by MOBY baby hat. Plus lots of other cool stuff, as you can see. I actually got another bag with a variation of these things at the end as a thank you for volunteering, so I’m going to give THIS one away. I’ll even pay your shipping costs, so US only please and sorry. Immediately after taking the above picture last night, I tied up the bag and set it aside for you.

IMG_7153

I’m leaving this giveaway open until the middle of next week, because I will not be able to ship this out until August 5th.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH OR ENDORSED BY MOMMYCON.

I’m just gifting you my super cool swag bag. 🙂

WE HAVE A WINNER! Gabriela, I just sent you an email. CONGRATULATIONS! And thank you to everyone who entered!!

Enter to win a MommyCon Swag Bag here!

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $11,149.67

A Year in Cloth Diapers.

I have been cloth diapering Babystar for one year today.

IMG_5128

OMG what happened to my tiny baby?? Hold on while I go cry now.

I started when she was exactly one month old mainly because I wanted cute pictures and have not really wavered from the cloth. Mostly. We currently use disposables at night. And I have been known to take disposables on vacation. I know that doing something for one year does not make me an expert. At all. But it does mean I at least kind of know what I’m talking about.

I would like to share four ‘lessons’ I have learned that I wish I knew last year.

But first, I just need to get this out of the way. My mother is a freaking badass. She had two babies in cloth diapers (my little brother and sister, born fifteen months apart) back in the early 80s and we did not have a washer or dryer. I repeat, we DID NOT OWN a washing machine. Luckily, the laundromat was only about a block away. She took the diapers and the babies (and me, but I was a big girl that could walk) in a red wagon to the laundromat and then brought them home wet to hang out on the line. OG bad ass mama right there.

And now, my dad is so fascinated by Babystar’s ‘fancy’ cloth diapers. It’s adorable.

We use all-in-ones (AIOs). I tried a few all-in-twos (AI2s) and I think I could have liked them but I found it difficult to match up the correct insides when I only had a few different types, and they were all different sizes and different snap set-ups. I did really like the Funky Fluff diaper and it’s actually the only AI2 that is steadily still in the rotation. That hip snap is SO SMART. Plus, I have used the unstuffed shell as a swim diaper the three times she has been in a pool because I have not purchased a swim diaper. I will look for one at MommyCon on Saturday. (Yep, I’m going to MommyCon DC! Are you?)

I started with about fifteen bumGenius Elementals. They are the ‘new’ style Elemental, which basically means that the outer (waterproof) PUL cover is not covered on the inside with cotton. The new style is on the left. See the difference? (I later bought four of the ‘old’ Elementals and they are waaaay better.)

 

LESSON ONE: DO NOT BUY ALL OF ONE KIND OF DIAPER TO BEGIN WITH.

I don’t hate the Elementals. In fact, they were perfect when she was super small because they are very trim and the tabs are very stretchy. But now that she is bigger (and peeing more at one time and her poop is no longer just breast milk poop), the Elementals do not work as well. They sometimes leak because the interior cotton gets pushed to the side as she crawls or walks around. The Elementals do still contain poop blowouts but they are a bitch to spray clean because it gets under the cotton and directly on the PUL and ew gross.

However, bumGenius Elementals might be your favorite diaper. And that is fine and ok and wonderful. I have learned that there is no ‘perfect diaper for every baby all the time.’ There is only a ‘best diaper for your baby for the moment.’

LESSON TWO: DIVERSIFY YOUR DIAPER STASH.

Once you find your favorite diaper for your baby, you should STILL not buy only that diaper. Especially if you like snaps. (I prefer snaps but they are less flexible with sizing than velcro.) There will be times when your favorite diapers just don’t fit as well as others. I like the idea of a cloth diaper stash with an equal mix of your three favorite brands. That’s not what I have; that’s what I think would be ideal. But definitely at least two different kinds. If you do covers, I guess you could go crazy and have all the brands. I’m not sure. My knowledge here is mostly limited to AIOs.

(I wish I had done covers and maybe like, flats. Flats or prefolds but probably flats. I think it would have been easier overall, and way more adaptable. And cheaper. But I didn’t and I’m a year in so I’m not about to switch it up now. Probably.)

I mainly use bumGenius Elementals, Smart Bottoms 3.1, and Blueberry Simplex for Babystar. Sometimes the Smart Bottoms fit like a dream and other times the Blueberry are clearly made for her. It changes over weeks though, not days. Thank goodness.

BumGenius Elementals are made with all organic cotton and the stretchy tabs really do help them fit well. I far prefer the old style Elementals that I own, but I only have four. We use the new style Elementals as a last resort when diaper laundry is late. I have tried stuffing them behind the cotton and it does stop the leaks but first of all, who wants to stuff AIO diapers, and second of all, they get waaaay too puffy.

Smart Bottoms 3.1 are made with the softest organic cotton in the galaxy. They also have the cutest prints by FAR. I love solid color diapers but I don’t own a single Smart Bottoms solid because the prints are STOOPID CUTE. The fit is very particular, though. Sometimes they fit really really well. Right now they are leaving red marks on her back but if I loosen the diaper rise or waist snaps she either gaps at the leg or waist. Which means she sometimes leaks. (Not badly but still.) But I know she will fit them perfectly again. It’s a cycle.

The soaker on Smart Bottoms 3.1 can be folded however you like. I suggest tucking it under to make cleaning poop easier, but you might need different absorbency if you have a baby boy.

IMG_6991

And I wasn’t lying about those cute prints!

IMG_6993

Blueberry Simplex are our current favorite but they are not our always favorite. I love the design of the waist snaps; they are on a diagonal so that the top row of snaps closest Babystar’s waist can be a little tighter than the lower row near her legs. This usually seems to fit her the best. For her body shape. Not every baby’s body shape. I also love the flexibility of the Blueberry Simplex. They are made with a soaker that can either stuff behind the built-in pocket or lay on top of the cotton. If the soaker is stuffed inside, the cotton is next to baby’s skin and we usually choose that option. However, if we are going out and I know I might have to wait a few extra minutes (like 60) to change her diaper, then I can lay the soaker on top of the cotton and there will be stay-dry microfleece next to her skin to help her stay comfy. (Blueberry also makes an Organic Cotton diaper without the microfleece option. We have one and it’s great but it is not as soft as the organic cotton in Smart Bottoms and it’s the most expensive diaper I have ever purchased at $35, so I stick with the regular Simplex.)

In the pictures below, the soaker is lying on top of the cotton on the left, but tucked in on the right. I love options.

And this is what I mean about the diagonal snaps. Brilliant.

IMG_6990

LESSON THREE: BUY A DIAPER SPRAYER.

As a small child in the 1980s, I always had to check the toilet before sitting down to pee. More often than not, there was a cloth diaper soaking. Sometimes, I could make it to the upstairs bathroom but sometimes, I just peed right on top of the diaper. (Sorry, mom.) I hope I was the only one in the family that did this, but I sort of doubt it. We made mom’s job triple gross. (Sorry again, mom. And dad. Sorry sorry sorry.)

I am not about that Dunk and Swish Life.

I do not think I could have continued with cloth diapers after Babystar started solids if it wasn’t for my diaper sprayer. The change in poop is astounding. I never thought I would be nostalgic for poop but now SEVEN MONTHS LATER I still miss the newborn poop. Comparatively, I mean. (I have the bumGenius sprayer and I highly recommend it but I don’t really know if it is better or worse than any others. Just get any sprayer before baby starts solids.)

LESSON FOUR: RESIST THE AFTER MARKET.

Did you know there are Limited Edition diapers? Exclusive prints? Solid colors specific to one retailer? Did you know there are diapers that sell out within a literal minute and then are sold for twice the retail price on swap pages or eBay?

Hey, I’m not hating. Babystar has a few of those limited edition diapers because they are usually suuuuuuper cute and if I’m going to buy diapers anyway, I might as well get the cute limited edition ones. If I can. But I will only pay retail. (That does not in any way make me better than anyone that chooses to pay more for something they really want.) Just be careful because it is very easy to become addicted to diapers.

(I know that real addiction is a serious thing and I do not at all mean to belittle that.)

Some people have hundreds of diapers. For one baby. And I get how it happens. It can be really exciting to be one of a few (hundred? thousand? I have no idea) people that get something that sells out so quickly. And they do look so freaking cute on the babies. Especially in the summer time. Babystar’s uniform is basically just a t-shirt and a cloth diaper. But just remember that you aren’t WINNING the diaper. You get to PURCHASE it. Yay? There are actually many contests that you can enter to win a ‘right-to-buy’ a diaper (or a baby carrier or a special magic blanket) and ok, I really do get it, but also, WHAT.

My personal solution is to try to buy the diapers that I want at retail when they are released but stay off the Buy/Sell/Trade aftermarket sites where the prices skyrocket. EVEN FOR USED DIAPERS. Think about that for a moment. Then stop because you might get mad.

YOU GUYS SHE’S SOOOOO BIG NOW!! Where did my baby go? Also, literally, where is my baby going?? 😉

IMG_6825

tl;dr: my mama is a badass, cloth diapers are easy now, get a diaper sprayer, be careful the diapers are addictive.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $10,702.55

MommyCon 2015.

Have you heard of MommyCon?  It’s billed as a natural parenting conference and it mostly is just that.  (Partly it’s an anxious person’s nightmare, but that is really just my personal issues.)  We went today and I’m glad we did.  I actually went yesterday and today, but whatever.  If you did go, what did you think?

There was a lot to like, and a little to dislike, and there was definitely lots and lots of stuff.  Free* stuff!  The gift bag included really cool things like chew beads and bottles and sippy cups and nursing pads and toddler snacks and probiotic vitamins.  And also some useless (to me) things like nipple shields and odd samples and random coupons and ugly maternity workout shirt.  I also received a free** Beco Soleil baby carrier as part of the VIP ticket.

We also bought some cool things from vendors while there.

Cost breakdown:

Two tickets (actually three but we gave one away) + one VIP ticket  $175

3 silicon teethers $15 (one each for Babystar, niece V, and nephew X)

BumGenius Alicia Elemental diaper (bought black market from another mom) $35

Blueberry Feathers Organic Simplex diaper $34.95

Smart Bottoms Jax & Jill diaper and two wet bags $80

Another wet bag with cute deer $29

Jammy Jams music $10

Bamboo sleep sack $24.95

Beco Gemini Twilight carrier $117

IMG_6579

$520.90.  Yikes.

RAISING THIS BABY:  $3.947.00

(Ooh look, an even dollar amount!)

*Not really free because I had to buy the ticket.

**Also not free because the VIP ticket was $100.