So S.A.D.

It happens to me every year.  Right around mid-to-late January I get an itch to be somewhere warm, on a beach, in a swimsuit.  I begin hating Utah weather (even though this year has been really quite mild!) and I get sad that I'm not rich and famous and don't own my own private island near Bermuda.

I've said it for years.  My friends, I'm a SAD sufferer.

I certainly don't help my Seasonal Affective Disorder by lusting after trips to Mexico and the Bahamas on Travelocity.  I don't know why it happens, but I just really need a vacation to someplace WARM and SUNNY.  If I were a millionaire, I'd spend a good chunk of my winter on a warm beach sipping some sort of delicious frozen beverage.

But, alas, I am here and I am certainly not a millionaire.

So begins my quest to find a "staycation" that fulfills my needs.  It also needs to be nearly free, ha ha.  I have a feeling that I will just need to tough it out until the hot summer months come to Utah and keep away from travel websites.

What do you do to fight the winter blues?


My Top Baby Items

I've had several friends ask me, "what are the must-have baby items I should get before my baby comes?"  I never know what to say to them so I compiled a list of things that helped Tony and I survive the beginnings of parenthood.

#1 - Summer Over-sized Muslin Swaddle Blankets
We had registered for the velcro "burrito wrap" blankets (the ones that look eerily similar to straight jackets) and naturally, Audrey hated them.  My lovely friends and family bought a ton of them for me and I used one...once.  My cousin told me about this and while they seem a bit pricey ($24 for a 3 pack) they are worth EVERY penny, especially if you have a summer baby.  They are huge blankets so they can be used for covering up while nursing, playing on the floor, covering your carrier seat, etc.  They wrap snugly around baby and Audrey rarely broke free from them when she was a newborn.  Because they are so thin and made of muslin, a breathable material, I was still able to dress in her in footed pajamas and swaddle her without making her too warm.  They were also perfect for covering her up when we'd go out in July/August when the summer heat was at its worst.  These are one of my favorite baby items, and I'll surely use them again for future babes.

#2 - Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse

I got this for Audrey just a couple weeks after she was born and it was a heaven-send.  The successor to the Glo Worm, this adorable little sea horse helped lull Audrey to sleep on a nightly basis.  When she would wake up for feedings I had a hard time getting her back to sleep because she wanted to play, and once I turned the seahorse on she would always drift back to dreamland without any problem.  It's soft, cuddly, super cute, and Audrey still loves her seahorse.  She still sleeps with it and she even knows how to turn it on by herself now.  The only downside to this toy is that I played it so much during the night while she slept in our room that sometimes if I listen very carefully I can hear it's lullabies quietly in the distance somewhere.  Perhaps I should get that checked out.

#3 - The Happiest Baby on the Block
This book saved us from going completely insane during Audrey's "fussy time."  My pediatrician recommended this book to us during our prenatal classes.  I didn't end up getting it until Audrey was about a month old and I wish I would have gotten it sooner.  Dr. Karp's 5 S's are nothing short of miraculous.  They worked every. single. time.  It helped me understand baby's crying more and helped me learn how to cope with it better.  I recommend this book to EVERY new momma I meet.

#4 Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles
I don't even know how many bottles we went through before we found one that Audrey could take easily.  We started with Playtex Drop-Ins and she liked them for a few weeks.  She is exclusively breast fed so she didn't have bottles often, mostly when she was with a sitter or when I was gone for long periods of time.  These bottles have a very wide nipple so it is closer to the shape of a breast, and the material the nipple is made of is very flexible so it feels more like breastfeeding to the baby.  They aren't the cheapest bottles, but Audrey loves them and drinks from them like a champ.  I love these bottles but I don't love the fact that they are only available online or at Babies R Us.  Hopefully they will start expanding where they sell them!

#5 - "Lovey Bunny"
Lovey Bunny is what we call Audrey's little security blanket with a head.  She can't sleep anywhere without Lovey Bunny and she snuggles it every night.  It is so soft and she just loves it.  I'm not sure what will happen if she ever loses this thing.  It's not sold in stores anymore.

I think everybody needs a lovey :)

I know there are more than five things that we feel are necessities but these are my top items.  Now, hopefully when my friends ask me what one thing they should get for a baby I can remember writing it all down and let them know instead of sounding like I've never had a baby. :)

Maybe some googler will stumble across this and it can help them as they prepare for a baby, as well. (Hi googler!)


Mushy Gushy Mama

Audrey has been a rough sleeper lately due to teething.  My sleeping champion quickly went from sleeping 10 hours straight to staying up until midnight and waking up every few hours, making for a very tired mama.  Last night she did a bit better, but I'm still trying to catch up on sleep from the night before when I fell asleep at 6:30 AM.

She woke up quite chipper at 8am and it took everything inside me to lug my body out of my warm bed and tend to her.  I fed her and hoped that she would fall back to sleep in bed with me like she sometimes does.  Nah.  Audrey was ready to play!  Sometimes I wonder if she somehow sneaks sugar before I wake up.  She is always bouncing off the walls and I am dead tired.  So, we stayed up and I was ultra-grumpy about it.  Judge all you want, but sleep deprivation brings out the worst in all of us. 

Around 11 Audrey was getting a little antsy and whiney and she had been fed and was clean so we did what anyone would do...we went to Target.  I always try to go out once a day with Audrey so I don't lose my mind.  We just look around, Audrey likes to check out all of the other little kids, and we generally have a good time.

Audrey seemed thrilled to get in the car and go somewhere with me.  She loves sitting in the shopping cart so she immediately began dancing once I put her in.  I got a soft pretzel and shared a bite with her, which she seemed thankful for.  She drank from the water bottle all by herself, and asked me for more to drink.  (She technically did the sign for "milk" but I knew what she meant.)  She gabbed away the whole time, giggling and smiling at everyone she met.  When it was time to go and I picked her up from the cart seat she put her head on my shoulder and laughed, almost as if she was thanking me for the awesome time we had at Target. 

I know it seems really simple and sounds like an every day occurrence, but it was special today.  It was a day I want to always remember.  We had fun together and she's just growing up too darn fast.  I wanted to push the pause button that moment she "hugged" me.   It was really nice to see that she really loves just being with me and it made me regret being such a grump.  She's totally worth the bags and dark circles under my eyes and never ending "get ready quick" ponytails I sport.  She's my pal and I love her! 

She's just settled into a nap so I think I'm going to go SLEEP.


Sunday at the Park

Right before Audrey was born we made a wonderful discovery.  There is a cute little park right in our neighborhood!  There are a few townhouses by us and the park is a part of that "complex" but we have gone a couple times.  The first time Audrey didn't love it (she was only 4 months), but this time it was a little more fun for her.  I probably had the most fun taking pictures :)

Having fun in the swing

She was thrilled to be there, can you tell? :)

This was the "big slide" and she looked a bit nervous to be at the top.

She survived!

Swinging with mom, sticking her tongue out at dad.
I can't wait until it warms up and we can go to the park more often!