Author Archives: Sara Mason

Our Top 10 Cribs (In No Particular Order)

While becoming a parent is undoubtedly one of the most exciting times in a person’s
life, a decent amount of stress comes along with the new-found responsibilities.
Decorating your little one’s room should be stress free and enjoyable

That said, we here at Bambi Baby want to make this process easier for you.  So, we have rounded up our top 10 cribs keeping style, price, efficiency, safety, and uniqueness in mind.

From Pali, we love the Mantova and Salerno cribs. Made from solid wood, both cribs are impeccably crafted and beautiful to look at.  Traditional and sturdy, we are big fans of Pali’s 9-step finishing process.  The Mantova is traditional with a dash of regal elegance, while the Salerno is traditional with contemporary flare.  Both cribs transition easily from crib to toddler bed, toddler bed to child’s day bed, and finally into a full-size bed; these cribs are guaranteed to last long past the baby years.

Our next two picks were a no-brainier for us and come from Bonavita, a brand that we have loved since they made there debut in the baby market back in 1995.  While we really can’t say anything bad about any of the Bonavita collections, we are head-over-heels for the Peyton and Sheffield collections.  Uber popular amongst new and seasoned parents, both of these collections offer sleek lines and beautiful details.  If you are looking for simple, sleek lines, you’ll love the Peyton crib, but if you are looking for a crib drenched in historical detail, you must check out the Sheffield crib.  And, we don’t want to forget that these cribs will also convert from a crib into a full-size bed as well.

Like Bonavita and Pali, Sorelle cribs are also stylish, safe, long lasting investments. We
decided to choose three from their range of collections, including the Tuscany
Collection 4 in 1 crib (in both cherry and white), and the Verona
Collection in espresso. Although all three choices come in a variety of colors, we
chose these particular finishes because they are the biggest hits nationwide. The 4 in 1 is unbelievably helpful and space efficient for new parents with a little less room, while the Verona is a timeless classic for any size nursery. The cribs in both of these collections can be converted into twin and full sized beds (a pretty unique feature), and the changing table in the Tuscany Collection is always detachable to suit your nursery’s needs.  A truly versatile brand, we are huge fans of these Sorelle cribs.

Last, but certainly not least, Fisher Price cribs are a new favorite of ours.  You cannot get a better or safer crib for the price.  For parents on a budget, we are loving the Malibu, Charlotte and Kingsport collections.  These three cribs are our most popular choices and offer big style without breaking the bank.  The Charlotte crib is a sweet and simple crib, beautifully crafted and transitions from crib to toddler and day bed.  The Malibu and Kingsport cribs are both sleek and traditional, convert into toddler, day bed and full-size beds, and offer the Just the Right Height technology.  This unique technology allows mom and dad to adjust the height of the crib for easier access to baby; so cool!!

To be honest, we won’t carry it if we don’t love it.  We love our brands and we love these cribs.  Whether you are looking for something sleek and posh, or functional and budget-friendly, we can help you.  And if you are overwhelmed by the selections and don’t even know where to begin, we can help you too :)

Back in the Saddle Again

I realize it’s been a little longer than normal since my last post.  Between C’s 3rd birthday party (which was awesome and I will share all the details with you in my next post),Baby B getting sick (awful), and school starting, things have been a little hectic, to say the least!

Not to mention that, I did it;  I took the job.  I start a week from today and I couldn’t be more nervous… or more excited.

On one hand, I am looking forward to something that is mine.  Something I get to do that isn’t all about the kids, or at least my kids.  I am excited to have something to work for and prepare for… But I am nervous about leaving Baby B.

I know, 12 hours a week is not really that much time away, but it is more time than I have ever spent away from the kids.  I know he’ll be just fine, especially since he will be with my parents and in-laws; he’s going to be so spoiled with love and attention… That makes me happy.

It also makes me happy that I will be working right next door to C’s classroom.  (And by right next door I mean, literally, right next door.  His classroom is right next to the music room.)  I like that I get to be so involved in C’s schooling and, eventually, Baby B’s too.

I know that once I get into a routine and I settle in at work, I am going to love it.  It just seems so overwhelming right now.  I want to do well, not just for me, but my boys; all three of them :)  I want them to be proud of me.  I want to be proud of me.

I will keep you posted as to how things are going.  My lesson plans are set and my classroom is in order. Now, I just need to practice.  I want to be overly prepared when I walk in next Wednesday morning.  Wish me luck!

Back to Work?

It has been almost three years, to the day, since I stopped working.  I stopped a week before C was born and never went back.

My decision to stay home was a no-brainier.  While I did ok, financially speaking, living just outside of Manhattan where child care was a fortune, it just didn’t pay.  Besides, I really wanted to be the one to raise my son; I am lucky that I could.

I always thought that I would stay home until our youngest started kindergarten and then look for something part-time that would allow me to be home when the kids get on and off the bus.  That was the plan…

And then a facebook post, two weeks ago, changed everything.

I happen to follow the Facebook page of the school where C attends and two weeks ago a post popped up on my newsfeed:

Music teacher needed.

Funny enough, I had just gone to lunch with a girlfriend and we were discussing the kinds of jobs we would look for when the time came to get back into the workforce.  My answer:

Something with music or theater.  Maybe teaching children music or theater.

Those were my exact words; I swear.  At the very least, I needed to see what this job was all about.

As it turns out the old music teacher was leaving on very good terms.  The job was running both the music program and the Mommy-and-Me program.  12 hours a week.

I decided to put my name in the running  and find out more.  To be perfectly honest, it is the perfect job for me, next year(emphasis on next).  Next fall, at two, Baby B will start school there and then it would be the perfect job.

I need another year, but in another year will a job like this come along again?–Probably not.

Two interviews later, I learned that I would only need to work 12 hours a week and I could make my own schedule.  My parents thought it was an amazing opportunity and said they would watch B for me.

So, here I am, two weeks later…

They offered me the job.

Am I really ready to go back to work.?  Are we ready for me to go back to work?

C-man’s Surf Themed Big Boy Room

In our culture we don’t believe in setting up the nursery before the baby is born; we don’t even throw baby showers.  It’s considered bad luck.  It’s not my favorite custom, but after two kids it is something I am used to by now.  It’s not so bad really… it just makes it difficult to nest, which is something all expectant mothers yearn to do.  It also means that setting up the nursery, at least for me, is a long process that happens over time.  It’s hard to decorate when you have a newborn in the house.

I knew for each boy that I wanted a nursery that could grow with them and easily transition from baby to boy.  I’d go more with cute vs. cutsie, if that makes sense.  As for colors, I sought inspiration from the bedding.  It took me forever to figure out the bedding, but I finally decided to stick to primary colors in stripes and gingham; as long as I stayed within the color pallet it would go with any theme I came up with.

The theme.

Charlie’s room pays homage to my childhood and where I grew up in Southern California.  He has a surf and beach themed room.  As of right now, it is my favorite room in the house.  It is pretty much done and it is adorable, if I do say so myself :)

I think the name of the bed really anchored his room.

I think the name of the bed really anchored his room.

Once we picked our furniture (a long arduous process that I never would have been able to navigate if it hadn’t been for Nicole at Bambi; thank you!!) then came the bedding, and finally that’s when I started collecting pieces.

I have found that Home Goods is one of the best places to find things.  It’s hit or miss though, so I try and go to the store near our house once or twice a month and scan the aisles.  I knew I wanted a mirror and bookshelves of some sort… Artwork was also a must.

I created a reading nook.  The shelves are great because books cannot fall off of them.

I created a reading nook. The shelves are great because books cannot fall off of them.

Like everything else I do for the boys, I try to keep things budget friendly.  Splurge on the important things (in this case, the furniture) and save where I can on everything else.  I scoured catalogs and websites for ideas.  Pinterest has become one of my favorite places to find design inspirations and even some DIY projects.  I wanted C’s name to be written on the wall above his crib (his bed now), but after looking for letters and seeing how expensive they were, I realized that was a project I could definitely do myself.

I went to the local craft store and found wooden letters that I liked.  I bought some navy spray paint and voila!  It was actually pretty easy and it turned out pretty well.  I messed up the C the first time around, so I just waited for it to dry, sanded it down and spray painted it again.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes when you are doing things yourself because they are going to happen; just take a deep breath and start again.  (I wish myson could learn how to do that :) )

That mirror was such an amazing find.  It was like it was made for the room.

That mirror was such an amazing find. It was like it was made for the room.

The last time I was in CA,my Mom and I found these really awesome post cards from a bunch of the beaches I grew up near.  I bought them and framed them; instant artwork.  I found some more artwork online and an amazing mirror, and before I knew it, my big guy’s room had really come together.  I still find pieces here and there.  Grandma and Grandpa are notorious for picking up surf inspired pieces when they come across them.

The hook display is a find from Grandma and Grandpa.  The shark artwork is my son's favorite.

The hook display is a find from Grandma and Grandpa. The shark artwork is my son’s favorite.

I love that even as he gets older and he’s in a big boy bed, the theme still works.  We’ll see how long it lasts before he starts demanding superhero posters and Yankee pictures… For now, it is bright and fun and makes me smile even when I am making the bed.

Next, Baby B’sroom.  I think I am going to go with a transportation theme… Pictures and blog on that one to come!

The Five Words Every Mom Dreads Hearing

It happened.  My big guy uttered the five words every Mommy dreads hearing,

“Mommy, I don’t need you anymore.”

I don’t need you anymore.  My eyes literally welled up with tears.  He quickly rephrased it to, “I don’t need you anymore to go pee pees,” but the blow had already happened. One day, my babies won’t need me anymore.

At almost three years old and nine months old, it’s hard for me to grasp that there will come a time when my little boys won’t need me.  Right now I do everything for them.

  • Feed them
  • Wash them
  • Play with them

I mean the list goes on and on.  You name it and I do it.

Once the shock of “I don’t need you anymore” wore off, I realized what it actually meant.  My baby is becoming more independent and is learning and mastering things that we have taught him, so he can do them on his own now.

Pretty cool, actually.

Potty training, in  particular, is ongoing.  For us, it started in February when C-man started wearing big boy underwear.  It’s a huge milestone, and we’ve had our fair share of bumps along the way, but this is a big step.  He can now go into the bathroom, put the toilet seat up, stand on the stool, pull his pants down, and pee on his own.  He even puts the toilet seat down when he’s done!  (The most crucial step, if you ask me :) )

He really doesn’t need me anymore… at least not when he needs to go pee.  He did it.  We did it.

I know that as he gets older the “I don’t need you anymores” will only become more regular.  I have to focus on the bright side of what that means and try to ignore the fact that my babies are getting bigger.  It also reminds me to appreciate everything.

When I am exhausted after being up half the night with one kid, trying to cook dinner, fold laundry and pick up toys, and C says, “Mommy, I need your help…” Instead of rolling my eyes and sighing in exasperation, smile and remember that one day, they won’t need me anymore.

C-man is Turning Three!

My big guy is turning three in a month which means birthday party arrangements are underway.  He is a true Labor Day baby.  I get teased because I was actually in labor on Labor Day :)   So now, for the third year in a row, it’s become a tradition that we throw C’s birthday party in our backyard over the holiday weekend.  We have a pool and a small basketball court, so as long as the weather cooperates, it’s the perfect outdoor party setting.

The first year we kept it very simple… He was one; he didn’t know any better.  Last year we added one of those big inflatable water slides, which was a huge hit.  This year we’ve decided to do some sort of blow up thing again and instead of a cake, we hired the ice cream man to come by with the ice cream truck and give the kids ice cream and popsicles.

I try to do a lot of things myself to keep costs down, and also because I enjoy doing it.  I have a bit of a crafty side, so I like making the favors and decorations, I’ll even do some of the cooking.  Last year I personalized pencil boxes with the kids names using paint pens and then filled them with stickers, crayons and some candy.  The dollar store is a great place to get filler supplies.  As for decorations, I keep it simple with balloons (also from the dollar store), and bright colored tablecloths.  It’s a lot of work, but totally worth it when I see how much fun my son is having with all of his friends.  His face lit up last year when he woke up from his nap and walked outside to see all the decorations; priceless!

Party 1

C’s 2nd birthday party.
The sign pointing everyone to the backyard.

Party 2

C’s 2nd birthday party.
The balloons and dollar store beach ball decorations in and around the pool.

Party 3

C’s 2nd birthday party.
The personalized pencil boxes I made as favors.

Party 4

C’s 2nd birthday party.
I always get cookies and cake from Costco; they are the best and you cannot beat $17 for a sheet cake! I made beach theme puddings also; an idea I found on Pinterest.

My son has asked for a superhero themed party this year, so I will let you know how it goes and what I come up with.  So far, I’ve found this woman on Etsy who sells these adorable superhero party decorations in pdf form that I can print out myself… I will let you know how that works out.  If you have any other ideas or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

The Great Car Seat Debate: The Conclusion

The Britax Pinnacle 90 arrived this week, thus bringing a close to the great car seat debate.

If you missed Part One or Part Two of the Great Debate, here’s a quick recap. We moved my almost three-year-old’s Sunshine Kids car seat to my husband’s car since it is narrower and will take up less space in the sedan, moved the new Britax Pavilion from my husband’s car to my van for the baby, and installed the Pinnacle where the Sunshine Kids seat used to be for my big guy.  Big changes going on at our house.

It was a big move that ended up taking a lot longer than I thought it would… I ended up doing a serious deep cleaning after seeing the disgustingness (don’t think that’s really a word) that was living beneath the car seats. I swear some of those cheerios had hair!  It was gross.  A word of advice to all the new Mom’s out there: Invest in car seat seat protectors for your car.  They aren’t expensive and they really do work.

My boys have been in their respective new seats for a week now and we could not be happier. While the cleaning and the shifting of car seats took a while, the actual installation was fairly quick and painless.  I am really impressed at how sturdy the Britax seats are.  If they are installed properly, they don’t budge, which I love.  My Sunshine Kids seat always moved a little… I never liked that.  I also love how comfortable my boys are, or at least appear to be.  While safety is by far the most important aspect when buying a car seat, I think a close second has to be how comfortable they are.  My kids spend a lot of time in these seats, so I want them to be comfortable.

Britax Pinnacle 90

Our new Britax Pinnacle 90 car seat installed.

I love the Pavilion, I always did; I just get to use it a lot more since it is now in my car and my baby’s primary seat.  Now I can say, I love the Pinnacle as well.  It is awesome.  It was easy to install, easy to use, pretty to look at, and the dual cup holders (one on either side) far exceeded my expectations.  My son can keep his water cup on one side, his milk cup on the other side, and there is still space for a few cars and his sunglasses.  To be honest, I think you’d be happy with any Britax car seat. He is one happy kid.  And we all know, one happy kid equals one happy Mommy :)

*A note to people with smaller vehicles: While I love the Pinnacle and would highly recommend it, it is very large.  And by very large, I mean enormous.  It may be too large for smaller vehicles, so make sure you see it in person and do your measurements before you purchase it.

Is One Enough?

The one and done theory; that’s what they’re calling it these days.  It seems that more and more families are choosing to stop after having just one child.  Two parents, two kids and a dog just doesn’t seem to be the norm these days.  The nuclear family” is changing.  This is a conversation I am having with a lot of my friends right now.  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am a fairly new mother of two and the fact that I am, in fact, an only child.

For my husband it was always a no-brainer.  We would have two children.  He has a brother, he and his brother are very close, so therefore we should have two kids.  I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure.  I consider myself a very happy, well-adjusted only child.  To this day, I am very close with my parents; I never had to compete for their attention and I did almost everything I wanted to do when I was growing up.

That said, for my first ten birthdays and every holiday in between, I begged for a sibling.  BEGGED! It always looked like so much fun when I went to my friends houses with siblings.  Even their fighting seemed like fun.  Every time I would complain to my parents they reminded me of the same thing, I wouldn’t be able to go to all the cool camps and take all of the dance and singing lessons I loved to take if they had to do it for two.  At ten, I realized it was never going to happen, and I stopped asking.  I learned to appreciate what I had and vowed to marry someone with at least one sibling so my kid, or kids as it turns out, would have an aunt or uncle.

Lets face it, kids are expensive. Clothes, toys, pediatricians, activities, diapers, furniture (did I mention toys?).  In today’s uncertain economy, it’s a little scary to add another person to the budget. You really have to weigh your options and do what’s right for you.

So, here I am, a mother of two (and yes, it is a bit scary at times)… I can’t imagine it any other way. It wasn’t a decision we made over night, and it wasn’t just because my husband wanted it, but for me, my house seemed empty with just one.  I just knew.  And it has nothing to do with being an only child and always wanting a sibling when I was a kid (or maybe it does), because I had an amazing childhood and I really wouldn’t change it for anything.  I think it’s just what made sense for us.

When my friends with only children ask me if they are doing their child a disservice by not giving them a sibling, I tell them being an only child is amazing, and if you ask my husband, having a brother is amazing.  You have to do what is right for you, because ultimately I think that what is best for you, is what is best for your kids.  I am no expert, but I loved being an only child and I absolutely love being a mother of two adorable little boys.  And who knows, maybe a third boy… or girl one day. (My husband will kill me for even thinking about it!)

The Great Car Seat Debate Part Two

The decision.

Here it goes… I decided right off that bat that I would not get another Sunshine Kids car seat.  While I don’t really have too many complaints about it, I just like my Britax Pavilion better; plain and simple.  It’s easier to use, to install, and my son says it’s more comfortable.  So then it came down to either another Britax or the new Peg Perego convertible car seat.

While I was researching and debating the two, I reached out to Nicole, one of the baby experts at our headquarters in Paterson, NJ, to get her opinion. Nicole is one of the most knowledgeable baby consultants I have ever met and has helped guide me through “baby needs” for both of my kids (8 months and 2.5 years). Full disclosure: I am paid by Bambi Baby to write for their blog. That said, opinions are my own and my relationship with Bambi started when shopping in their store three years ago for my then new baby.

While going over all of the pros and cons of both convertible car seats, the topic of a booster seat for my older son came up.  Since we already own two convertible car seats, why not transition my older son, who as it turns out is already big enough, into a booster seat that will take him through the next several years until he no longer needs one?  Huh… I never thought of that, but it made perfect sense.

We will move the older and narrower Sunshine Kids car seat to my husband’s sedan and the almost brand new Britax Pavilion into my van for the baby.  My big boy will get a new booster seat.  Perfect!

I immediately booted up all of the booster seats on our site and went to town reading reviews. Because I am already a big fan of the Britax seats and the reviews were great, I narrowed it down to the Britax Frontier 90 and the new Britax Pinnacle 90.  The only difference between the two, besides the Pinnacle being $40 more expensive, is the added side impact cushion technology. This new technology reduces side impact crash energy by 45%, diverting that force away from the child, while also providing extra protection for the passenger seated next to them.  I am all for more cushion and more protection.  The Britax Pinnacle 90 it is!

Britax Pinnacle 90 Booster Seat in Manhattan

Britax Pinnacle 90 Booster Seat in Manhattan

The seat has been ordered, so now it’s just a matter of receiving it.  In the meantime, I have told my older son about his new seat and showed him pictures of it online.  He is super excited about the cup holders (so am I).  I’ll let you know how it goes and post pictures when it arrives.

The Great Car Seat Debate Part One

So it seems my little man is not so little anymore.  At 29 inches long, he is is just an inch shy of outgrowing the height limit on his infant car seat. I admit, he seems a little squished in there lately.  While I am sad that my baby is growing up much too fast, I am also sad that the days of snapping my beloved Peg Perego into my Uppa stroller are limited. Transitioning him while he is sleeping from the car to the stroller without waking him will soon be a thing of the past.

Now, the question is, which car seat to buy next?  This is a huge dilemma seeing as there are a bunch of car seats to choose from these days.  (An exaggeration, I realize, but it certainly feels that way.)  I’ll start with what I know.

Peg Perego Viaggio

I’ve used the same Peg Perego Viaggio Sip 30/30 infant seat for both of my boys.  When I bought it three years ago, it was one of the safest on the market.  And outside of its weight, which is a couple pounds heavier than the other infant seats we looked at it, it has been an amazing purchase.  The fabric has held up nicely, it’s super easy to clean, and both of my kids were very comfortable in it. What more could you ask for?

When my older son transitioned into a convertible car seat, we went with the Sunshine Kids Radian xtsl for a few reasons.  At the time it was far and away one of the safest and sturdiest seats on the market with a reinforced, steel alloy frame.  It was also one of the narrowest seats available, which we needed if we wanted to fit two passengers, in addition to our car seat, in the back row of our compact SUV.  While the seat has held up great, I have a few complaints.  It is incredibly difficult to install; my husband has to do it for me because I get so frustrated.  And while I have mastered tightening and loosening the straps, my parents and my inlaws have a terrible time with it; not the easiest.

Before our second son was born, later last year, we purchased another convertible car seat for my husband’s car, and this time went with the Britax Pavilion 70-G3.  It is super cushy and I love the Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator that actually makes a clicking sound when the harness is appropriately snug enough; our parents especially love this feature.  I am also in love with the EZ-Buckle System that keeps the harness buckle in a forward-facing position so my son doesn’t sit on it when he gets in.  Totally genius!!  It is also incredibly safe.  Britax is definitely the tried and true when it comes to car seats.

So, now what?  Do I go with another Sunshine Kids (now Diono), another Britax, or the new Peg Perego convertible car seat?  I’ll let you know what I decide…