Preventing Crib Escape

Mouse is now 23 months old and has recently demonstrated his great prowess in being able to escape the Pack n Play (first), and now the crib. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this turn of events.

After scouring the internet for suggestions for this problem, I really only came up with two solutions people kept saying over and over. 1) A crib tent, or 2) ditching the crib and moving to a toddler bed. Both of these are problematic for us.

Aden and Anais Sleeping Bag

Our gorgeous crib has a funky shape and as such, does not fit any available crib tent. Additionally, when we are up at the cabin, Mouse has to sleep in the Pack n Play, and they don’t make a crib tent for a Pack n Play (well, they did, but it was recalled due to tragedy).

I’m very hesitant about moving to the toddler bed for a couple of reasons. One, I’m paranoid and I don’t like the idea of him having free range in a room where I cannot see him or at least be close by or at least be awake when said free ranging is taking place. It’s not that his room is a dangerous place, per se, but I worry about things like him deciding to gnaw on the power cord that goes to his music player, or exploring the glorious contents of the diaper pail, or simply pulling everything off his many shelves. The problem is also compounded by the fact that a toddler bed is not an option at the cabin due to the configuration and nature of the room in which he sleeps, so he’s still stuck in the Pack n Play up there.

We did have a brief period between when he discovered he could escape the Pack n Play but hadn’t figured out the crib yet, so I had a short time to think. I studied his escape method closely. He would hike a leg up onto the side, sort of push off with his other foot while pulling with his hands, and then just shift his weight until he rolled over the side. It finally occurred to me that if I could prevent him from hiking his leg up, he wouldn’t be able to get out. A-HA!

We went back to our trusty sleep sacks. Like many parents, we had used sleep sacks to keep him warm rather than blankets for well over a year. When he outgrew our largest size, we felt comfortable putting him down with just his blankie and warm PJ’s (plus we live in Southern California). But the sleep sack did an excellent job of containing his feet, and while he had some wiggle room to shuffle around in, there was no way he would be able to lift his leg up that high and get out.

Locking diaper pins

Our problem, for now, is solved. Well that one, anyway. We did encounter two other problems: 1) finding a sleep sack big enough for our 32-pound, well-over-33″ chunkster, and 2) preventing him from unzipping it. For problem 1, I turned to Aden and Anais Sleeping Bags. I absolutely love these muslin sleep sacks. They are light and breathable, which is so nice in the summer, and ours have held up so well. Plus they come in an XL, which is supposed to go up to 36 pounds. It fits well for now, and I do think it’s going to buy us enough time to get him successfully transferred to a toddler bed (and well-protected twin at the cabin).

The A+A sleeping bags zip at the bottom, so I solved the second problem with a locking diaper pin. I was nervous that he could undo a regular safety pin, but locking diaper pins are much more difficult for little hands to figure out. The head of the pin slides open and shut, and you have to slide it out and then unfasten the pin to get it open. Again, it’s all about buying more time.

The sleep sack solution won’t work for every child, of course, but if you’re facing the same issue, that’s what works for me!

Advertisements

Fa La La La La

Fell off the exercise ball at the gym today. I swear is just rolled right out from under me. There was a nice loud echo through the class as my rear hit the hardwood floor.  Loud enough for the instructor to stop the class and ask if I was alright. “Yes, fine”, I say as everyone stares at me. But it hurt and I’m sure I’ll be feeling it by the time I post this. Last month I tripped during a sprinting exercise and bruised my knee pretty good. I just kept going like nothing happened, trying not to draw more attention to myself. It’s tough being accident prone.

No pilgrims present at this Thanksgiving feast.

My child’s kindergarten class had a Thanksgiving feast at school. Out of three classes, none of the teachers decided to designate any pilgrims. And so the feast consisted only of Native Americans who I’m pretty sure weren’t all that thankful to the colonists after receiving small pox in return.  Just struck me as an odd (and horribly inaccurate) history lesson. They sure looked cute in their little headbands and vests, though.

So I was at a fast food place one day, watching the kids play in one of those indoor playgrounds that resemble a big hamster cage. While at first it seemed like a fun idea,  it annoyed me that the openings are so small that adults cannot go in and retrieve a child when it’s time to leave and you can’t actually see where the children are until they appear in one of the little bubble windows. Then I saw a toddler go in wearing nothing but a diaper and it occurred to me that if that diaper leaks in there or someone gets sick, no adult is going in to clean it. Like ever. And then I glimpsed a girl who seemed to be bleeding and crying but I couldn’t quite tell through the blurry plastic window. I informed the mom who was so engrossed in her cell phone conversation that she didn’t bother to check it out. Found out later that another child actually hit her and that is why she was bleeding. So now I have to be concerned about:

  1. extremely unsanitary conditions in there
  2. not being able to yank my boy out when it’s time to go
  3. bully’s preying on him

I think I’ll just stick to unenclosed outdoor structures from now on. That is a definitely a plus of living in SoCal. My child envies his cousins back east for their basements full of toys. He doesn’t realize it is a substitute for playing outside during the colder months and many rainy days. I remember well the hours my friends and I spent rollerskating in my parent’s basement. My brother and sister’s rock band practiced down there. Yes, a basement has its privileges, I guess. But I still prefer the sunshine.

I love the Christmas season but it seems to be getting longer every year. I do not want to see decorations two weeks before Thanksgiving and I certainly don’t want to look at Christmas trees at retail stores in October. Let’s give Halloween and Thanksgiving their due!

Rocky can’t decide what he wants for Christmas so he is going to tell Santa to surprise him. I said what if he brings you underwear? “No, Mom,” he argues. “Santa only brings toys.” I have no clue what the hottest toy for a 5 year old boy is but I guess I don’t have to spend any time hunting it down since it’s not on his radar. Whew!

Does anyone else do their shopping in the following matter? One for so and so and one for me. Oooh, I like that and I found a great deal on it – half off! One for a relative and another one for me equals the original price so that’s fair. Like buy one get one free. With so many items on the Christmas bill, no one will notice it is padded with stuff for me, right? After all, Hubby is a last minute shopper so he only gets what’s left …

Hop on over to the Unmom for more random thoughts today.

randomtuesday

Some Cyber Monday Highlights

Today is Cyber Monday, the day for amazing online shopping deals.  To save you a couple minutes of web surfing, I hightlighted a few of today’s deals for you here.

Borders.com has sales on most eReaders today, with prices reduced by $20-50.  They have 100,000 book titles on sale, and all children’s holiday books are half off the list price.

Amazon is offering lightning deals. They started Friday and are slated to go through the end of the day.  Every 30-40 minutes, new items go on sale.  Amazon has a limited supply off these items and lets you know how many are left (Ex: “34% now claimed.”  These lightning deals cover all of their departments, including Baby, Toys and Games, Electronics, and Movies. As always, the $25 Super Saver shipping deal is in effect, giving you free shipping on most items with a $25 minimum purchase.

Target is getting in to the fray with Cyber Week deals.  Their highlight is a Canon PowerShot Digital Camera for $89 (regularly $159.99).  VTech’s V.Reader Reading System is $10 off.  And, Target is offering free shipping on most of its products, as long as you spend a $50 minimum.

 Babies R Us is offering several items in an online-only clearance sale, with items as much as 70% off.  The largest discounts appear to be on strollers and baby/toddler feeding items (think bottles, bibs, spoons, etc.).  While also offering free shipping, you must have a $100 purchase to qualify.

Best Buy is offering discounts of up to 40% off on digital camcorders and has an HP 20″ widescreen LCD computer monitor for only $99.99. They are also offering a Wireless-N ethernet router for only $24.99 — if you’re in the market for high speed and secure wireless internet at home, this is a really incredible deal. Most iPods are on sale. They are only $5-20 off, but an iPod sale is a good thing.

Disclaimer:  These prices are subject to change. Neither Gen X Moms Blog nor The Legal Eagle endorse these sites or guarantee any of the deals listed here.

Overlooked Black Friday Myths Debunked

Lots and lots of websites come up with their “debunking Black Friday myths” posts (eg. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year–wrong! That’s the Saturday before Christmas), but I’ve been dismayed that there are Black Friday myths that continue to be perpetuated that nobody seems to care about debunking.

Well dear readers, it’s time to put an end to that here and now. I present to you: Overlooked Black Friday Myths DEBUNKED!

OMG GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!!!

Myth: Black Friday is the beginning of the Zombie uprising

Not true. The Zombie uprising is no more likely to happen on Black Friday than on any other day of the year. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security–the Zombie apocalypse will occur, so remain vigilant and keep your machete nearby at all times.

Myth: The fewer teeth you have, the more likely you are to score the $10 DVD players at Wal-Mart

Again, false. There is no correlation between tooth count and deal-scoring at Wal-Mart.

Myth: If I camp out in front of the store in freezing conditions all night to be the first one in, people are going to be envious of the great deals I got and be impressed by my shopping acumen

Wrong. Those of us who actually sleep think you’re an idiot.

Myth: That $10 DVD player I got from Wal-Mart will make an awesome gift.

Wrong again. Nobody wants your piece-of-crap $10 Wal-Mart DVD player. For one, there’s a reason why it was $10, and two, we watch TV and recognize that DVD player. Thanks for spending ten bucks on me, cheapskate.

Myth: It’s a great holiday tradition!

Really? That’s what you want to tell your great-grandchildren every year? About that time you scored a $10 DVD player? The one that broke two weeks later? Seriously, people–let’s just stop and think about that one a little harder.

So there you have some sadly overlooked Black Friday myths, officially debunked. Happy shopping!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now is the time of year for giving thanks, and we here at Gen X Moms Blog want to do that right now. We have so very much to be thankful for this year.

We have amazing husbands who support us 110%. We truly are all blessed to have such amazing partners in this journey we call life. Without each of you, we would be completely different, and worse, people. Thank you for being there for us.

We have amazing readers who follow us on our journeys through parenthood.  Even though we launched less than a year ago, this blog has exceeded our dreams, particularly in the friendships that have deepened, our awesome and amazing readers (yes, we know that’s redundant, but you guys are really incredible!), the enthusiasm and reception we’ve gotten for our little idea here, and how much fun it’s been to collaborate and share with you all. So thank you for reading and helping make Gen X Moms Blog an exciting place to be! 

You have always allowed us to be honest and to bare our souls to you.  Thank you for this, and thank you for allowing each of us to do that again now. Please feel free to comment with your own list of thanks. 

THE PHOTO ADDICT

I am thankful for my family. I feel so blessed to have a family where we all get along, enjoy each other’s company, and are all relatively close to be able to celebrate the important days together.

I am thankful for my parents. Not only did they do an amazing job raising me, they instilled values and taught me how important it is to work for what you have. They still teach me and help me on a daily basis.

I am thankful for my husband. He is my rock, my stability and my best friend.  Without him life would be very boring.

THE SCRIVENER

I am thankful for my family and friends. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive and loving group. I really do have the best husband in the universe. He’s such a great dad (sometimes a better parent than me!), and I can always count on him for anything. And of course, my beautiful Mouse, who just gets more fun every month.

I am also so thankful for a roof over our heads, food in our tummies, and joy in our hearts. It’s so easy to take those things for granted, but so important to remember to be thankful for them.

THE COMPOSER

I’m thankful to be living in a community which has diverse resources for women/mothers, like pregnancy awareness events celebrating the divinity in all of us, mommy & me playdates so the munchkins can befriend other children and moms can confide in each other, and bottle holders so my breasts can have a rest a couple times a day.

I’m thankful for my successful VBAC this summer with the help of my doula Romy and midwife Geeta.  I’m blessed to have a loving and supportive husband who walked with me down this alternative path.

I’m grateful that my son Puppet was a super trooper throughout the 4 days of labor and was born vigorous and sweet.

Lastly, I’m thankful that I found a good threader, so I can look like a lady and not a wildebeest.

THE LEGAL EAGLE

I am thankful for healthy children who are full of energy, vitality, and wonder. They keep me young and on my toes on a daily basis. Life with you two is never dull!

I am thankful for the opportunity to purchase our first home this year. It is an exciting adventure, and it is all ours!

I am thankful that my high school sweetheart hasn’t tired of me, yet. Yes, Dear Hubby, you truly are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I am thankful for smart phones.  I can sync school calendars, appointments, and meetings, all right in the palm of my hand. I can also entertain my kiddos with music and videos when we’re stuck in a long line at the store. That is truly priceless!

THE LIBRARIAN

I am thankful for my family’s good health. As I get older, I realize how precious this can be.

I am thankful for my relatives, most of who manage to get along at least some of the time.

 I am thankful for friends who care (or pretend to care) about the trivial things in my life as well as the bigger picture things. Like the ones who click the “like” button whenever I post something new on Facebook so that I don’t feel lame that no one is reading it. Kelli, you rock!

 After hearing the Legal Eagle’s sob story about a plasma TV that died way before its time, I am thankful that my major appliances, my car, my TV, and my computer have not broken down (so far) this year.

Rocky says he is thankful for everyone who loves him. I second that.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Shutterfly Holiday Cards

I’m a paper snob. You name it–books, stationery, cards–nothing gets my heart going like a stationery store. Letterpress? Be still my beating heart! So when holiday time comes around I’m a staunch traditionalist for paper cards. And perhaps as a result of having an uncommon name growing up, personalizing cards is a must for me. Of course, photos are always nice, so for the past several years we’ve been buying the cards that you slide your own photo into, which is quite tedious as well as difficult when it comes to taking or finding just the right picture that won’t be obscured by the card design or, as we made the mistake one year, oriented in the wrong direction (yep, we had like 100 horizontal cards for our vertical picture *sigh*).

But I steadfastly refuse to go the photocard route–you know, the ones printed on photo paper that are basically one big picture. I like a card I can sign. The dogs sign them too, because they’re special like that. Still–they are tempting. No stuffing, no sticking, no aligning, just send in a photo and they all come back nice and personalized. It’s hard to get easier than that. But no! Paper! PAPER!!!!!

Christmas 2005, bad lighting, one dog in motion

Thank God Train Guy is so willing to indulge my neurosis. Plus he has a thing for paper too. We’re a match made in paper heaven.

When Shutterfly offered us 50 free holiday cards in exchange for a blog entry about their collection, I thought I would take a look. I figured if I didn’t like what I saw, I would just pass on the offer. But once I was there, I found the Nirvana of paper-loving-photo-loving-holiday-card-sending bliss: photo cards printed on cardstock! Actual paper cards with photos I don’t have to stuff or stick! Have I died and gone to holiday card heaven? Quite possibly.

Since the Moms have a policy of not reviewing any product we haven’t, you know, actually seen or used, I thought I’d try out a Shutterfly card. I had a coupon code for a free 5×7 card (oh, that’s another thing I like about Shutterfly–they’ve always got great coupons and deals going on). But then, once I started making my holiday card, I realized that things got even better!

To back up a second, another problem I always have with holiday pictures is getting everyone (or more specifically, everything) in the picture looking in the same direction and standing still. It’s hard enough with people, but try throwing a dog in the mix. And then throw another dog in the mix. And a baby. And I know it’s a lot to ask, but could we all smile at the same time too? Anyone who has ever tried to take a group picture can relate.

So you know what’s even better than a photo card printed on real paper? A photo card printed on real paper with multiple pictures!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Shutterfly has answered my holiday card prayers.

Mouse!

They offer three options for cards: 5×7 folded greeting cards, flat stationery cards (5×7 or 5×5 depending on design), or if you don’t mind the regular flat photo cards, they have those too. And if you have the “everyone looking anywhere but at the camera” problem, there are many flat photo cards with multiple pictures too.

I headed straight to the 5×7 folded cards and found a couple more exciting things there too, like pictures inside. INSIDE! Some of the cards are “story” style, which includes a template for multiple pictures and text boxes for captions or even your whole holiday card letter (unless you’re me and your letter cannot be constrained by mere card text space). There are over 200 cards to choose from including designs that benefit charities like Heifer International and the American Lung Association.

I selected the Joy Sage Story card and uploaded my photos. Dragging and dropping was easy as pie, as was adding captions. The design had six additional pictures inside, so I added three pictures of Mouse by himself (January, July, and October), one of Mouse and Train Guy, one of Mouse and me, and one of the hounds. Each family member got to be represented in a flattering picture, not just settling for one that is the least worst even though the lighting is bad and the dogs aren’t sitting still. The most difficult thing about the whole process was selecting which design I wanted. I was thrilled when the card arrived a few days later. The cardstock was high quality and my pictures looked fantastic. And now this year I can take pictures of each family member individually and let them shine rather than just settling for having the person in the shot no matter what condition they’re in. I really think these are going to be the best cards we’ve ever sent.

Disclosure: I received 50 holiday cards in exchange for this review. Bloggers can receive 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly by signing up here.

Quick and Easy Pasta Fagioli Soup

This soup was inspired by Giada. I was pregnant with Puppet and channel surfing when I landed on Food Network. As you know, when you get a craving, you have to have it. Normally, I use fresh ingredients, but my craving would not wait! I used what I had readily available. This soup is sure to warm up your bones this winter and so fast to whip up that you won’t be stuck in the kitchen all day preparing it.

Pasta Fagioli

1 can of condensed bean and bacon soup
1 cup of water
4 cups of chicken broth or stock
1 ripe tomato, diced
1-2 dashes of onion powder
1-2 dashes of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Half package of small shell pasta, cooked al dente

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine soup, water and broth. Add tomato, onion and garlic powders. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Add cooked pasta and salt and pepper to taste and stir. Serves 2-4.

TIPS:
1.  If you need more soup, just add more broth/stock and season to taste.
2.  I used small shell pasta, but you can use any of your favorites or whatever you have on hand.
3.  Try not to overcook your pasta. Once you add it to the soup, it will start to absorb more liquid and may become mushy. Another option would be to add cooked pasta to each individual bowl and ladle soup over it and then serve.