Beating the Heat When Little Ones Are Involved

Between the extreme heat and all the rain we’ve gotten here in NJ this summer, I am always looking for fun things to do with the boys when the weather isn’t cooperating.  Doesn’t mother nature know how hard it is to keep a 2 ½ year-old boy occupied???

If it’s not raining and it is really just too hot to function, but my big guy is insisting that we play outside, I have come up with a few activities to keep him happy; they all involve water!  First, I am lucky to have a pool.  That being said, it can be tough to swim around and play the way my 2 year old would like me to when the baby is with us, so I always try to play in the pool when my little man is napping.  If he’s awake, I put him in the old pack and play we set up in the shade near the pool with a bunch of toys. I also put a dampened hat on his head to keep him cool.

We also got annual passes to Six Flags Great Adventure where they gave us a great deal to join last Fall for pretty cheap. It’s got a great water park with a kiddie area that is great for my baby and 2 year old. If we get there right when it opens, we can usually find a few chairs to set up camp under the huge canopy.  Also, a lot of parks have spray grounds that are completely free and open to the public.  We have one not too far from us that is always a big hit with my big guy.  I pack a lunch and some plastic dixie cups to play with in the water, and my son can stay busy for hours. And, when we get home my baby will pass out in his crib, but it’s hit or miss if my older one will nap. I love those days that he does!

If water isn’t really your thing, or it’s raining out, I am a big fan of the library.  Our local library has daily story times and even a craft for the little ones several times a week.  Barnes and Noble is also a great place to check out.  Go to their website or call your local store for story times and craft activity days.  We also frequent local museums or even the movies, now that my older son can sit through one.

And finally, when all else fails, we bake.  I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t love cookies and brownies, or licking the bowl when you’re done.  A bit messy, but a real hit in my house.  We also love making pizza.  It’s fun for a good 30 minutes, and the best part is, you have lunch when you’re done.  A win, win in my book!

To Transfer, or Not to Transfer

I was with a group of Moms recently and the subject of transferring a toddler from a crib to a bed came up.  My older son will be three this September and he has been in a full size bed since last June.  Most of his friends are still in cribs or just transferred.  (Some easily and others… not so much.)

The only thing I can say for sure is that we got lucky.  While I read many articles and talked to several of my friends with older kids, transferring my big guy was not at all what I thought, or heard it would be.  At 20 months my son climbed out of his crib; we watched the whole thing unravel on the monitor.  He pulled himself up with his hands, swung one foot over the railing, then the second foot, hung there for a second, and dropped. It was a piece of cake for him.  I thought, in that moment, my little boy, whom we had worked so hard to sleep train, would never sleep through the night again.

My husband spent the next week sitting at my son’s door at bedtime, monitor in hand, yelling “tushy down,” every time he saw him start to get up.  We knew we had to get him out of the crib, but how?  After that week of yelling by the door, my son climbed into our bed one morning and said, “mommy, I want big bed like you.”  Done.  One of my friends had suggested we make him a part of the bed picking and buying process, so we took a family trip to Sleepys and let him try a bunch out.  He had a blast jumping on all the beds.

Bonavita Metro crib converted to a full size bed.

Bonavita Metro crib converted to a full size bed.

The day his mattress was scheduled for delivery my husband spent the afternoon converting his crib into a full size bed.  We kept our son out until after the delivery men had left and I had made the bed with the sheets he had picked out the week before.  When he finally came in and saw the bed, he was so excited.  That night we followed the same bedtime routine as we did when he was in his crib, and he fell asleep.

Like I said, we got lucky.  He got out a couple of times, but we would just tuck him back in and that was it.  So when people ask me about how we did it, I tell them to listen to their kid.  He told us he was ready.  That being said, I think that as long as a kid is happy in their crib, keep them there! Kids tend to tell you when they aren’t happy; mine does.  The rest, at least for me, was just dumb luck.

The Virtual Baby Book

I wish I could say that I was one of those super creative moms who scrapbooks every event in my kids’ lives or has every milestone written down in a baby book, but I’m not.  I try.  I do have baby books, but they are pretty empty.  And as for scrapbooks; forget it.

What I do have, are pictures and videos; tons of them!  I have every milestone captured in either a photograph or on video.  Between my husband, our parents and all of our various electronic devices, we have every single moment.  It’s amazing.  So that day my son transferred from his crib to his big boy bed, I have a picture of him standing proudly on his bed. My older son’s favorite thing to do is steal my iPhone and look at all the pictures and videos of he and his little brother.  “Mommy, can I look at pictures please???”  Every day he asks me that.  So my dilemma has been what to do with it all.

First, I upload all of our pictures into corresponding month and date folders onto our computer; I do the same with our videos.  Once on our computer, I upload our photos onto a photo sharing site. (I like Shutterfly.)  These sites are great.  I can choose my favorite pictures and they will actually create photo books for me.

My favorite thing to do is our yearly calendar where I use pictures from each month in the next year’s same month, so I can see what my kids looked like then and now.  For example, in my 2014 calendar I will put pictures from June of 2013 in the collage I create for June of 2014.  Does that make sense?  Everyone in the family loves them so much; I make them for all of the grandparents now too.

Perhaps the coolest thing we do to document our boys major milestones, and even some not so major, is send them emails.  We created an email address for each one of them and we write to them.  My husband stole the idea from a Google commercial we saw over a year ago and we have been writing to them ever since.  I don’t write to them every day but I try to, at the very least, do a monthly recap for each one of them.  In fact, my older son was the first person I told when I found out I was pregnant with his little brother; I wrote him an email.

I don’t think we are going to tell them about the emails until they are much older.  My husband and I will continue to write to them throughout the years and maybe we’ll surprise them with a book of all of them at their high school graduations, or maybe when they are getting ready to have their own kids…

My Love Affair With A Glider

Best Chairs Glider

Best Chairs Glider

I have fallen in love all over again… with my glider.  Seriously. I forgot how amazing our glider is.  It had been sitting, filling space really, in my older son’s room for over a year.  When he got a little older we would use it for story time, but once he transitioned from the crib into a big boy bed that we could all fit into, we started reading in the bed instead.  Bye, bye glider.

So when the newest man in my life arrived seven months ago, we moved the glider into his room and it is once again a furniture staple in my house.  Why must we wait until we have children to enjoy the relaxing sway that only a glider can provide?  It is amazing.  An absolute must have for parents.  New, used, whatever… If you are expecting a child, invest in a glider.  Best advice I can give.  My favorite time of the day is spent in that chair, rocking, reading, even feeding.  It makes me sad to think that we won’t always use it or need it.

I remember the day we spent in Bambi Baby’s West New York showroom,  trying one glider after the next.  Do we get the less stylish, traditional one, the modern looking one, do we need an ottoman? (You need an ottoman!)  We labored over that glider.  I think we actually came back on a second day to make sure that we had made the right decision (something new parents tend to do a lot). Ultimately, we decided on a traditional Best Chairs glider because it was by far the most comfortable at the time, and because it was one of the few chairs that completely supported my head.  A lot of gliders stop short at around shoulder height, leaving your neck and head with nowhere to go.  It may not be the most stylish piece of furniture in my house, but it is by far the most comfortable. Don’t tell my husband, but I am having a love affair… with my glider.

Fisher Price Nursery Sets Have Some Cool Features

We are super excited about the newest addition to our furniture family; Fisher Price. The same brand that brought Little People and Big Wheels products into nearly every home in America, is now designing affordable, quality nursery furniture.  It was only a matter of time before this  83 year old company, the world’s leader in infant and preschool toys, would make its way into the land of baby furniture.  That time has come, and the furniture, much like their toys, is awesome!

Fisher Price Lakeland Crib$170 for a convertible crib, $650 for a three-piece-set… Prices like these make it affordable for families on a budget to purchase beautiful nursery sets. Right now there are seven different collections, featuring both modern and more traditional designs.  They come in three finishes: snow white, cherry and espresso.

But I have to say, my favorite feature of the Fisher Price furniture line, and something I have never seen before, is the “Just the Right Height” feature.  It allows you to adjust the height of the actual crib to accommodate your own height; it makes it so much easier to access the baby.  The easy to remove feet of the crib allow for three different height options; so cool!  My husband and I are not the tallest people in the world (we’re actually pretty short)  and we would have really benefited from a lower crib, especially when our older son got bigger and his mattress was set to the lowest level. Such an ingenious idea!  Leave it to Fisher Price!

Registry Overload

Have you ever searched for baby registry checklists on Google?  There must be a million out there. It is insane!  You must get this, you don’t need this, you’ll want this, but you may not want to pay all that money for it…

Registering for a baby is one of the most overwhelming experiences I have ever had.  I read books, articles, blogs, and even lost sleep over what our first baby would need. Looking back, I wish I had had someone to guide me through the whole process.  At the time, I remember talking to my sister-in-law about it and while she had a lot of advice to give, my nieces were six and eight at the time, which meant that the last time she had bought anything baby related was six years ago. In the baby industry, six years is a long time and so much had changed.

I think about this now because I just recently went with a very good friend of mine to register for her first baby.  We walked into one of the “big” baby stores and got started.  They handed us a checklist, a bag of goodies, and a scanning gun; we were off!  While the sales associates there were friendly enough, they couldn’t have been older than 23 or 24 and none of them had their own children; they knew nothing about babies!

Three hours later, we had gone down every aisle, and with the help of my own four month old to demonstrate why this bathtub was better than that one or why this high chair maneuvered better than that one, I was able to guide her through the daunting task of baby registering.  I wish I had had me when I did it.  I was so happy that I could make the process easier for her.  I guess the moral of my story is, try and bring along a new mom when you register, and if you don’t know one, make your first stop a small, boutique baby store where there is likely to be a more hands on, knowledgeable staff who can help you.  At the end of the day, all your baby really needs is you. You’ll figure out the rest as you go.  I did!

Weekly Must Have

As a stay-at-home mom of two, I come across a lot of baby products; some I like, some I hate and some I just can’t live without.  So, I’ve decided to do a weekly “must-have” baby or kids product review. This week, my can’t-live-without item is my stroller.

When my big guy was born almost three years ago, my husband and I hemmed and hawed over which stroller to get.  We lived in Hoboken right outside of New York City so as you can imagine, my stroller would be my main mode of transportation; we needed a good one.  We finally narrowed it down to two: Bugaboo vs. Uppa Baby.  Ultimately, it was the Uppa Baby basket and height that won me over. It was, and remains to this day, one of the best baby product decisions I have ever made.

Let’s start with the basket, since it is the feature that really made me happy; it’s AMAZING!  I can do a full run to the grocery store with it; no joke!  I have carried liters of soda, pineapples, milk, you name it… It holds everything and then some.  Even when it’s loaded down, it maneuvers so easily and effortlessly.  I can go over grassy hills, rocky streets, even wet, dirt roads with complete ease.

I also love all the pieces to it.  My first son slept in the bassinet for the first 6 weeks of his life. We literally rolled the stroller right up to my side of the bed and parked it at night.  Once out of the bassinet, we bought the Uppa car seat adapter which converts the stroller into the ultimate snap ‘n’ go, making it so easy to transfer from stroller to car and car to stroller without ever disturbing the baby.  Finally, the seat is so big and cozy.  It reclines, it shifts easily to face forward or back, and it folds without having to take the seat out.

I thought that once we moved to the suburbs I wouldn’t need such a heavy duty stroller, and I even bought an “umbrella” stroller to replace it with. But two kids, a house, and a minivan later, I still go back to my tried and true Uppa Baby.  I can’t seem to find anything that compares to it.  It makes my everyday mom life so much easier.  With two boys under the age of three, I LOVE anything that makes my life easier, and this stroller does.

Welcome to the All New Bambi Baby Blog

Welcome to Bambi Baby’s first official blog post.  With over 30 years experience selling baby products, we’ve learned a thing or two about what a baby needs.

Whether feeding, strolling, sleeping or just plain moving, our vast knowledge of products and personal experiences help parents navigate the endless sea of baby furniture and gear that today’s parents are inundated with:

  • What do I really need?
  • What should I buy?
  • What should I spend my money on?
  • Where can I cut back?
  • Where should I splurge?
  • Got any ideas for a cute nursery theme?

Whatever the question, we make it our mission to have an answer when our customers walk through our doors, visit us online, or call us directly.

In an effort to help our customers even more, we’re partnering with a real stay-at-home Mom to bring you the very best information on baby gear, furniture, nursery design, DIY projects and anything else we come across, baby related of course, that we think you might need to know.  (And some you probably don’t need to know, but we hope you enjoy anyway.)

We are so excited about this new venture!  Our mission for this blog is much like our mission statement, “we deliver everything but the baby.”