Our Kids!

Cassius Daniel:


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Conquering the Impossible : Choosing an NYC-Compatible Stroller

Thursday, January 28, 2010
I never really thought that out of the multitudes of decisions to be made regarding baby care and gear that choosing and sticking with a decision on a stroller would be the hardest choice to make. I mean, daycare decision-making was a nightmare but the fact that I really only had about 5 places to choose from actually helped. And figuring out how to comfortably fit a demanding third roommate into our one bedroom has felt like more of an interesting mental and designing challenge to tackle. However nothing has caused me more mental stress and doubts than stroller choice.

I think there are many reasons why this is, including such valid factors as convenience in an inconvenient city, expense, and the need for (but not regular use of) a car seat. But then there are the not-so-valid factors that come into play like multitude of choices, strollers as a status symbol and crazy features that seem oh so necessary when you think of them pre-baby.

In NYC, there are a lot of BIG strollers and I must say they are alluring with all of their bells and whistles. Every day I see an enormous amount of Bugaboos, Orbits, and Stokkes. However, I never once considered any of these due to the fact that they cost about $1000 for the system and that is ridiculous. Plus, from my research I know that most of these systems weigh at least 30 pounds which is not a possibility since my primary form of transport is subway.

When I started my research (with the invaluable help of Babygizmo.com) I decided that my stroller needed to have a few key features:

1. It needed to be as lightweight as possible, which basically made me determine that I was probably looking in the umbrella stroller direction.

2. It had to have good, sturdy wheels that swiveled almost the full way around.

3. The stroller frame needed to be sturdy enough to hang a bunch of bags off of and not tip over since we would be walking daily about 10 blocks back and forth to daycare.

4. Preferably, it would serve from newborn-50 lbs.

5. If possible, it would allow an infant car seat to be attached and make it a pseudo-travel system.

Basically I was looking for the impossible. Umbrella strollers are easy to find, but are about as sturdy as my umbrella that flew away in a minor rainstorm the other day. And true travel systems weigh so much that I started imagining being stranded at the bottom of the NRW platform waiting for a non-existant kindly stranger to help me and my child crawl from the depths of the underground.

The solution most New Yorkers seem to come to is the Maclaren solution. Pretty much everyone here has one. It accomplishes points 1-4 above probably better than any other stroller on the market and is reasonably priced at around $300. However, I was pretty determined to get a stroller that had point 5 due to the amount of travel that would probably happen in the first 6 months of life and because of the smallness of our apartment. I don't have space to store two strollers (actually I barely have space to store 1 and I'm still determining if it makes sense to block up one of our only windows with the carseat since we have no where else to put it).

Then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of my self-induced and completely irrational despair, I found the Maxi-Cosi Perle:

It weighs 15 lbs, has wheels on par with the Maclaren, can hold all of my crap, has the weight limits to be Cash's primary mode of transportation until kindergarten, and, the piece de la resistance, is compatible with the Maxi Cosi Mico infant carseat:

After having Ross give it a whirl around Babies R Us the other day (for height testing purposes), I can safely say that the stroller decision has been made and our registry is set.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cash's new wardrobe

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The weekend after we found out we were having a boy, I happened to be at Macy's returning a pair of pants for Ross. Of course I wandered up to the baby department and since they were having a pretty amazing sale, I decided to indulge and buy some cute outfits for our little boy.

I only bought one newborn/0-3 months outfit - I figure he won't be wearing much in the way of real outfits during those hot summer months in the city:

I bought two outfits that are 3-6 months. I figure these will be good for his first couple of months in daycare and the pants can mix with other tops:

Finally, I bought a couple of 6-12 months outfits that I think are my favorites. The black sweater and grey cord combo is actually by Kenneth Cole and I got the entire outfit for $15 (marked down from $72)! Ross actually asked if they made the outfit in man size. The onesie and hat is another cute bear-centered outfit that I found at Babies R Us. Poor Cash is going to wonder about the bear obsession when he's older and I really won't know what to tell him:

Just so Cash won't think that his mom left herself out of the shopping fun, I recently purchased myself a sweet pair of jeggings - leggings that look like skinny jeans. My friend Jessica was rocking a pair at her 30th birthday party this past weekend and I thought that they would be perfect for pregnancy if bought a few sizes up. I am currently wearing them and would highly recommend them to any pregnant or non-pregnant ladies.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I will be buying this...

Thursday, January 21, 2010
I know. This is probably the most ridiculous baby buy I will make and it's not even for the baby. But I will be buying this, just try to stop me.

This is the Pretty Pushers Delivery Dress. It's $22, disposable and a very good color for me. This one is called "I Dream of Sushi". They also have "I Dream of Coffee" and "I Dream of Mai Tais". Even though I don't dream of sushi that often, this one is the cutest of the bunch. If they had one called "I Dream of a Nice Malbec" I would probably get that one, cuteness be damned.

I do realize that in the midst of labor the last thing I will probably be worried about is looking good, however if I'm going to be wearing a gown of some sort anyway, it might as well be one that is my own. Plus white washes me out and with the amount of pictures I assume will be taken after what is probably going to be the hardest I have ever physically exerted myself, I'm going need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Introducing Cassius Daniel Inman

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Measuring around 11.5cm and weighing in at 12 ounces, Cassius, or Cash for short, is the son of Ross and Hope Inman and hails from New York, NY. He is in possession of ten fingers and ten toes, a fully formed brain, 4 chamber heart, diaphragm, bladder, pancreas, and a host of other important organs and appendages. Cash currently enjoys actively moving and kicking inside of his mommy's belly and making the ultrasound tech "dizzy" before lounging by resting his arm behind his head and curling into a ball to show off his perfect looking spine.

Cash is expected to be born on or around June 5, 2010 and by that time will have gained a lot more weight and (hopefully) grown a little more hair.

20 week belly shot - It's beginning to really show

I feel like the belly shots don't really do the true belly justice. Whenever I put the camera in Ross's hand and pose against the wall, I inevitably feel my self standing taller and "sucking in". However, I think I'm getting to the point that sucking in isn't particularly possible anymore. When I stand normally or sit down there is a very noticeable roundness now and I frequently try to use it to my advantage on the subway. Even though I stand there rubbing my belly and looking forlorn, I have yet to have anyone offer me their seat. Read the signs people! You give up your seats for those with disabilities and pregnant women! Maybe once it warms up and I'm not wearing an extra five pounds of coat I'll start getting a little consideration.

Belly size: Noticeably rounder and visible in most shirts now.

Cravings: Last week I couldn't get enough sliced mango. This week I can't get enough ice cream. My body needs to go back to the mango phase I think.

Weight gain: +9ish?...maybe. I think it's around there but since at my last OB appointment I was weighed with my boots on it's hard to tell. Also, I haven't weighed myself since the ice cream binging started so it could really be +15 now and I would have no idea (and that's fine with me).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dear Baby Hoss...

Friday, January 15, 2010
Dear Baby Hoss,
Yesterday I'm pretty sure I felt you kick for the first time. While it's really exciting to finally feel you in there, next time let's aim away from the general rib vicinity. Thanks.

PS - if your Dad is encouraging rib kicking during one of the "talks" he claims to have with you at night while I'm sleeping, I strongly urge you this one time to ignore him.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Useless Baby Buy of the Week: iCrib Sound System

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
One of the best things about pregnancy (in my opinion) is that it gives me a valid reason to indulge in my long-suppressed shopping addiction. Last weekend I went to Macy's for the sole reason of returning a pair of pants and came back with two bags full of baby clothes. When this would happen in the past, with bags filled with random clothing bought for myself, Ross would give me a look that said "why are you squirrling our savings away on yet another pair of jeans." But now, all I need to say is "It's for the baby" and it's all ok.

Besides clothing, I've been buying other random items, the latest being the iCrib sound system by Munchkin.

The iCrib works with various mp3 players (we'll be using an iPod shuffle exclusively for the baby) and allows you to play soft music set to a timer of either 15, 30, or 60 minutes. It also has a light show capability which is a bonus for us since our apartment lacks reachable outlets that would hold a nightlight. At the price of $20 on Amazon, I figured it couldn't be beat. The reviews were all on the "good" side with some notes about poor speaker quality, but for $20 I wasn't really expecting a Bose sound system so I figure Hoss can deal. Now I just need to convince Ross that we shouldn't exclusively play classical music for the baby. He seems to believe that it will make Hoss extremely intelligent and has plans of already hooking my belly up to his earphones every night once it is big enough.

Monday, January 11, 2010

NYC childcare nightmare update

Monday, January 11, 2010
Many of my friends have heard my anxiety-ridden rants about finding childcare in NYC. Technically I started the process before even getting pregnant by researching different options in our area. One would think that a city of over 8 million would be inundated with a wealth of childcare options with different philosophies at various price points...and one would be wrong. Finding conveniently located childcare wasn't too difficult, however finding conveniently located childcare in a reasonable price range became virtually impossible. Eventually we realized that since we a)couldn't take the baby to work with either of us, b)are not financially viable enough for one of us to stay at home full time and c)didn't think it appropriate to leave a 3 month old at home with a bowl of water and some food lying about, we were going to have to suck it up and realize that we can once again begin enjoying "pasta night" more than once a week like we did right out of college in order to afford basic childcare.

We toured three different facilities back in October. Two places are exactly in the middle of Ross's walk to work and near the PATH train and within a "manageable" price range. The other is right next door to Ross's office and is way more expensive but has completely open availability. After touring all three, I definitively have a first choice. However I soon learned that my first choice (option A) is apparently the same as most other downtown working parents and we are on an extremely long waiting list. We kept our name at the other similarly priced but not my favorite place option B and always knew that if worse came to worse, we could collect every penny we have and go with expensive option C.

However, today I started calling the two waiting lists to see what the deal was and found out that there was an opening at option B and I could register right away. I immediately called option A and was told to call back in February. And now I have a dilemma:

Do I let my NYC-induced wait list paranoia take over and register at option B just in case we can't get into option A? I mean, I am the same person that selected and called my obstetrician a good 6 months before even trying to get pregnant to make sure there were spots available at her practice (and I thank her to this day for not laughing at me). There is no guarantee that my call in February will get us a spot and it's not like option B is a bad option - I just have a bit of a problem with the fact that they do not take infants outside in the fresh air. Ever. And also the lighting in the place is incredibly fluorescent. It's off putting. But would my baby care? Probably not unless he starts to turn sallow from vitamin D deficiency. And there are some very nice things about option B that I remember at the time I oohed and aahed over. They do baby yoga for god's sake. That's just adorable (and could help to overcome that whole vitamin D thing). Also, they provide diapers which further appeals to my cheapness.

Ross is fully in favor of going with option B if only so that it will prevent us having to go with expensive option C which he doesn't even want to consider. But this is also the man that refused to buy desperately needed new underwear for a good 6 months because he knew he was getting a gift card for Christmas to the Hanes outlet store. So I generally take his appeals for frugality with a grain of salt.

Hopefully by mid-February I'll be able to report that Baby Hoss will be registered in daycare and will not be fending for himself on the streets.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Christmas and New Year's 2009

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I'm a little late in posting these but I'm a bit lazier nowadays. We went to visit my family in Winston-Salem, NC for a week over Christmas. It's great to be able to take so much time to go down there as we don't get there much during the year. My whole family (brothers, nephews and their families) all live there so we get to see everyone at the annual Christmas Day dinner hosted at my parent's house. This was the Christmas of maternity wear for me and I sorely needed it. When I got down there, my pants were desperately holding on with the Bella Band. Now I have another pair of jeans courtesy of my parents, as well as a bunch of new pants to wear for work. I'm getting a little too used to pants with an elastic waist - the comfort level is amazing. We also got to meet my new great nephew Layton for the first time. Layton is the son of my nephew Greg and his wife Kim and was born on November 12th. He is a sweet sweet baby and we all got to hold him. Ross did especially well - I think Layton liked him a little better than me since he chose to promptly spit up all over me once I held him. Greg and Kim also gave us a lot of valuable advice on being new parents and convinced us to buy a microwave, for the purposes of bottle sterilization, after 7 years on us holding out on buying one for our apartment.

Me and my parents

My parents got Ross a Dallas Cowboys wreath this year. He loved it.

Ross getting his baby holding practice in with Layton

This year Ross and I took a couple of side trips in Winston and outside of it. We always go to the Wake Forest campus every year since it's where we met and spent our first few years together. Ross also likes to go by his old fraternity's lounge which has since been turned into a coffee shop (it's a long story) and mourns its passing by saying how the coffee shop is lame. This year we were on a special mission to finally find our friend Ben's memorial tree. The past few years we were convinced it was in the Mag Quad down by the Philosophy building but we finally learned that it was up by the old Delta Sig residence at Taylor, in front of the Wake Forest book shop. We were happy to finally see the tree and the plaque and bench dedicated to him.

Picture of us with the Magnolia Quad in the background

Our friend Ben's tree and bench

We also took a day trip down to Wilmington, NC and Brunswick County, NC to see Ross's grandmother and also check out the Ross family land. We told his grandmom that she was going to become a great-grandmother, gave her a picture of the sonogram, and spent some time visiting with her at the nursing home. At the land, we got to see the home she grew up in which is still there and explore some of the pine forest in the area.

Our last night there my dad made a special salt-encrusted prime rib dinner that he hasn't made since I was a little girl. It was delicious and the perfect ending for a wonderful trip.

We spent New Year's Eve back in NYC with some of our best friends at the O'Brien's apartment. Everyone brought food and we watched the Wake Forest basketball game before switching over to watch the ball drop. It was the best way to start off what Ross and I think is going to be our best year yet!

Jessica and Tim's dog Lucy was a bit wary of the festivities

Monday, January 4, 2010

Do I need this? Changing table

Monday, January 4, 2010
One of the worst things about trying to figure out how to fit three people into an apartment that is probably only supposed to fit half a full size person at most is finding furniture that is stylish, comfortable, and that will accommodate all the crap two people can accumulate throughout 6 years of living together. Now add on top all of the stuff that you "need" when you have a baby and the entire prospect is maddening. Since we decided we were ready to have a baby, I have been constantly arranging and rearranging floorplans in my mind and trying to figure out what furniture is necessary and what can be scrapped. Our apartment is a veritable hodgepodge of multiuse furniture. Our couch is made of plywood and has storage underneath the seats, our bookshelves double as a "desk" for our laptop computer and printer unit, and underneath our bed pretty much resides Ross's closet. It's worked pretty well for the two of us but but fitting in another tiny being that is in need of so much "STUFF" is causing me to lose my mind.

Since there is no nursery, figuring out how to make room for baby in our bedroom has been the biggest hassle. The discovery of the minicrib was a godsend and we figured out that an old bookshelf we are attached to and previously held our bar (and that Ross decouppaged with pictures from a punk music anthology over the course of 3 days - but that's a whole other embarrassing story) will work as a "chest of drawers" for the baby. We just plan to get some bins to slide in and hold clothes, toys, etc. I figured that I can move the board games from the couch seat storage to a tiny storage unit that resides in our kitchen ceiling and use that for baby blankets and toys. And after much personal back and forth, I have convinced myself that it is not normal or necessary for someone in a New York City apartment to have a rather large library of books spilling out of the two full size bookshelves in her living room and will be (gasp) putting some down on the building swap meet window ledge or donating them to the Strand so that her baby has more room for its own books and toys. However this leaves the conundrum of where we were going to change the baby's diapers. Originally the plan was to use the top of the old bookshelf unit as a changing table but after many measurings, I now realize that its about 5 inches too narrow. After considering the pros and cons of hoping for a really narrow baby, I decided that it would probably be too dangerous. So now I'm left with the only option of putting a contoured mat on the bed when needed and the constant nightmares of waking up one morning with my nice duvet covered in poop that I neglected to see during a groggy, middle-of-the-night changing. So after some research I've found a few other options, all courtesy of Ikea.

Antilop Wall Mount Changing table

Our bedroom does not actually lack wall space however it does lack stud space. I think this is a good idea in theory but I have a couple of issues: 1) Can the baby slide off the bottom? I think it kind of looks a bit like a waterslide and that's kind of scary and 2)If it accidentally flips up during a changing, will it flatten my baby like a pancake?

Spolig folding changing table

I think I like the looks of this one and it comes in black and white which matches our bedroom (and yes, that is important). Also, pockets are always handy though I'm not sure what these would hold outside of one diaper and a tube of Desitin. However when I showed this one to Ross he immediately started questioning the overall safety. I agreed that I think that we would need to see it in person before deciding and since this involves either a subway AND bus ride out to Red Hook or a venture into the wilds of New Jersey, I'm going to guess that's not going to happen.

So it looks like I'm back to square one of truly questioning if I really need a changing table and whether or not I can put my baby poop nightmares out of my mind once and for all.

Baby photos

While home in NC last week for Christmas (I'll post pics from that trip later. I've been a bit lazy this weekend about picture uploading) I found hidden in a drawer a framed picture of myself at about 2 hours old.

Now why this photo was hidden in a drawer I don't know. I am adorable. Ross likes to say that this is further proof that I was evil as a baby. He has claimed this ever since he saw a photo of me at 3 years old, taken at one of those old-timey dress up photo shops at Rehobeth Beach where I must admit I do look a tad eerie. But in this photo, I think I look scrappy and ready to take on the world. I admit that I look cranky but I think you would be a little cranky too after being ripped from the womb where I was apparently extremely comfortable, evidence being that I was two weeks late. Anyway, I'm a lot cuter than "ugly" baby Ross.

Look at Ross, all wide-eyed and pensive, dreaming of unicorns and fairy princesses. He's got nothing on baby Me. I think baby Hope would have seriously taken baby Ross in a fight. Anyway, the point of all this is that since I now had two digitized baby photos, I thought it would be good to see what baby Hoss may look like so I went to the website makemebabies.com and generate the future baby Hoss. Here's what I got:

Other than the teeth looking positively reptilian, not too shabby. I don't know about the duck costume though. Baby Hoss would probably never be caught dead wearing a duck. A bear costume however...