My Babywearing Journey – The Road to the Perfect Carrier

Ergo Carrier with Molly at Disneyland - first visit

I knew when I first started reading about babywearing that it would be something that I’d want to try out. I stocked up on 2 Hotslings before E was born (one was given to me as a gift and the other I purchased) and was able to borrow a Snugli from a friend who received two at her shower.

Then I had E. And it got a little difficult after 3 months to get comfortable (and get him comfortable) with the sling. He also didn’t seem to be too comfortable in the Snugli. He was a chunker.

So I started researching other methods of babywearing. And the one that seemed the most  feasable was buying a wrap. I didn’t get a Moby Wrap but I got something similar made by a WAH mom. It was basically 6 yards of jersey knit cotton cut in 1/2 lengthwise and serged on the edges. A DIY moby wrap. But so much easier to have someone else DIY it 🙂

And this worked amazingly well for a few months. I felt comfortable, E felt secure and all was right with the world. Until it got super hot. So we stopped babywearing as much and got some good use out of our stroller. Then the day came when the Ergo went on sale on BabySteals.com… again.

Ergo Carrier back carry with Ethan Mammoth

See, I missed it the first time because I was too slow to order. Then I saw it again and didn’t think Joseph would go for paying $70 for a baby carrier. I waited till they were still in stock the next day on the website before even bringing it up with Joseph. And he said if it’s easier on you, go for it! So I did! And my Ergo was delivered about 3 weeks after I ordered it (maybe a bit longer due to the large demand and mass quantities being shipped).

And ever since I opened that package and tried it out I’ve been in love. The ease and use of the Ergo is just fabulous. It’s light, sturdy and keeps me and my babies cool or warm depending on the weather. I could wear E in front or on my back depending on where we were and, during my pregnancy, how big I had gotten. I think I carried him on my back up until I was 30 weeks pregnant. And I only stopped because he preferred his stroller or walking to being worn.

With having a newborn again I didn’t know what I would prefer. Or what she would prefer. E was awesome and never minded being carried but I had heard stories from friends about their efforts to wear their babies with no luck. The babies just weren’t having it. So I asked for an Ergo Infant Insert for Christmas (and received two!) and hoped for the best.

Ergo Carrier with Molly Hiking

When we went on our first few outings with Miss M I chose to use the same sling I used with E. And she didn’t complain one bit. Then I tried out the Ergo with the infant insert. It was pretty nice. But I didn’t quite like the insert. So when Miss M started showing signs of having good control of her head and neck I tried the Ergo without the insert (I think it was around 8-10 weeks?). She did great!

And I haven’t used my slings (or the Snugli) since. It’s been Ergo all the way!

Daddy’s Birthday – A Night of Entertainment {Restaurant Review}

It was Joseph’s birthday yesterday and we wanted to celebrate! Joseph decided he wanted to try out Benihana for dinner. I knew from a friend that if you signed up for their birthday club you got a free meal. I signed up for my birthday but forgot and we didn’t end up going. After our fun night last night I’ll definitely be using it next year!

After we were done ordering our food E got festive and turned his menu into a hat with Daddy’s help. He wanted to be just like the little boy who was also sitting at our table.

This is E’s “mmmm” face. He was eating my soup and saying “mmmmm” as he slurped it down. I find it hilarious that he closes his eyes to enjoy his food when he likes it.

See what I told you? Closed eyes as he’s sipping the soup. Such a funny boy! But he ate 1/2 of mine and 1/2 of Daddy’s so we weren’t going to say anything.

We had fun watching the chef make our meal. I think E liked watching him crack eggs the best. He loves cracking eggs and “helping” when we cook or bake.

Do you see what he formed the veggies and rice into? It’s Pacman! I wasn’t fast enough with the camera but the chef formed the rice into a Pacman and made it look like he was eating the vegetables just like the game.

And his second creation with the rice was non other than Mickey himself. He even made Mickey talk to us. Talk about creativity with food!

We just ordered the chicken fried rice for E because we knew he wouldn’t finish a whole plate of anything. He loved it and ate a big portion of it. Daddy and I, of course, split the rest to indulge a little since we stuck with the steamed rice (it’s lower in points!).

As he was eating his rice he was continuously saying “yumyumyumyum…mmmmm”. He definitely let us know he was enjoying his dinner.

Our food being cooked up. Chicken for me, fillet for Joseph and veggies for both of us.

Now normally you start with shrimp as an appetizer but one person from the other family sitting with us was allergic so the chef waited till the end to prepare the shrimp. After he cut the tails off he flipped them into his coat pocket with his spatula. It was pretty fun to watch. He even got one into his hat.

Miss M was jealous of all of our yummy food and decided to start noming on Daddy’s plate. She seriously had her mouth on the rim and was happy as a clam. Daddy didn’t even notice at first.

After we were done with dinner they cleaned up. I was definitely impressed with the stacking skills of this server! Look at all of those dishes and how well he balanced everything.

We of course sang Happy Birthday and Daddy got a yummy sundae. By this time in our dinner E only wanted to cuddle with me and was on my lap. However as soon as I mentioned sharing Daddy’s ice cream he was off my lap and back in his high chair! Tired, nope, not too tired for ice cream.

As you can tell from the pictures we really loved our night at Benihana and will definitely go again. The birthday club discount was definitely worth it! Maybe we’ll try lunch next time…

Birthday Celebration – Hob Nob Hill {Breakfast Review}

We just went to Hob Nob Hill for breakfast this morning in celebration of my birthday and I was definitely over impressed with the service we received. We used a voucher we bought off of Sign On San Diego’s daily deal website ($15 for $30 worth of food) to try it out but will definitely be back for more.

Our waitress, Stacy, was quick to bring our drinks and take our order. She even brought some complimentary apple muffins to the table since she knew from her experience (and from being a mom herself) that children get a bit restless if they aren’t fed right away). Shortly after that our food arrived. We were pleased with the speedy service and the quality of the food.

My one problem was with the special I got for breakfast – a Belgian waffle with fresh strawberries and side of sausage. I assumed that fresh strawberries meant plain cut up strawberries on top of the waffle. But my strawberries had a sugary glaze on them. Being on WW I was already splurging as it was on the waffle… I didn’t need extra glaze to add to the calorie content of my breakfast! But it was amazingly good. The waffle light and fluffy and the strawberries were fresh. Joseph enjoyed his waffle special with eggs and bacon (well… he didn’t make a peep the whole time he was eating and continued to polish off his plate so I’m assuming all was good).

E enjoyed his breakfast as well. Kids get their choice of eggs, pancakes, or french toast and the meals come with a side of applesauce or potatoes, toast or muffin, and bacon or sausage. We also got a nice side of fruit for him. And being a picky two year old we assumed he’d hardly touch his food. We were wrong. He ate at least 1/2 of everything on the plate!

And on top of the great service throughout our meal, at the end of the meal we asked what the cost of a cookie was since our son saw the cookies on display when we first arrived. Her response was that they were free for adorable little kids and she grabbed one right away for my son. We left a large tip to let her know we appreciated her going above and beyond our expectations.

Can’t wait to try out lunch and dinner!

Review on Yelp!

Adventures in Potty Training {Day 3}

2 accidents in the morning, 2 poops 1/2 way in the potty (started off the potty but ended on the potty) and 4 successes in the afternoon!! Now I’m off to wake him up to try and go in an attempt to wake up completely dry tomorrow 🙂 He only went once before bed and the method we’re trying says to have them void twice before bed for better chances of staying dry all night… I’ll have a nice overview of the whole process this weekend! Plus we have E’s 2 year appointment tomorrow morning so we’ll see how that goes as well.

Adventures in Potty Training {Day 2}

3 accidents & 3 successes
Dry after 1.5 hour nap
not much time for writing…

Adventures in Potty Training {Day 1 Recap & Sneek Peak at Day 2}

So we’ve completed Day 1. The end results: Successes = 6 Accidents =5
I was so proud of my big boy. He was very verbal about needing to go about 1/2 the time but I think he’s more aware of having to go poo than pee. He expressed his need to go poo about 1 hour before it actually happened and that lead me to believe that it’s going to be a lot easier to get him to express his need to go poo on the potty than it is pee. And this second day is proving this as well. One of those successes I mentioned was a poo!
At naptime I forgot to get him to try and go potty beforehand and we had a wet bed when he woke up (2 hours later) but he went pee in the potty after he woke up so he knows to hold it in a bit. And he didn’t complain at all about changing his underwear or asking for diapers. That’s what I’m so surprised about after that first day. No asking for diapers. He just knew we weren’t going back. Today I even packed up all the larger diapers into a bin and told him we were going to put them in the garage for Molly. He was totally ok with that. So awesome. 
The rest of the afternoon was accident, success, accident, success up until bed time. We made sure he voided twice before bed (one accident, one success) and than let him know that it was okay to get up and go potty in the middle of the night. But guess what?!? He slept through the night!!! Yup! 9pm to 6am. And I was the one who woke him up at 6am to see if he had to go pee. He did go a little in bed but not enough to get his sheets very wet at all. I only felt wetness on his underwear. 
And he went pee on the potty twice before 8am on Day 2! His first pair of underwear stayed dry until 9am this morning when he had his first accident. So far we’re 3 for 2 today and I have a feeling he’s going to do great when he wakes up from his nap 🙂

Adventures in Potty Training {Day 1}

Day one of potty training has commenced…  hopefully I’ll have enough time later tonight to recap how day one went. So far we’ve had one accident and one successful pee on the potty (resulting in E receiving a yummy M&M). Once he’s completed Day 1 he gets a cool dinosaur book. After Day 2 he’ll get another cool dinosaur book and on Day 3 he will get to choose what he wants to receive (probably something train or dinosaur related…). 
We will be staying home for these next three days and will be with Ethan (right next to him) unless he is sleeping so we wont have much time for anything else. I’ll try and update daily on our successes and failures! He seems to be on board so far and loves the M&M rewards and all of the fun attention. 
Oh, and for anyone who is interested, we’re following the 3-Day Potty Training Method. I’ve heard many, many success stories! 

Vendor Review: San Diego Funhouse Rentals

So in planning the party I didn’t even think twice about the weather. I mean, come on, it’s been beautiful for weeks now. Even feeling a bit summery for February. So I booked a jump house from San Diego Funhouse. And was sooo excited about it since E has loved every jump house he’s been in. Plus it was a great way to get all of that energy out of the kids expected to come to the party. What parent doesn’t want their kid to be completely exhausted from a party?

Our plans were all set. We had enough room outside to make the inside not as crowded and I wasn’t worried at all about the 40+ people I invited. I mean, it wasn’t like the 60+ people who were invited to his first birthday party… where it poured down rain and everyone was stuck inside 3-4 rooms of our small 1200 square foot house. Luckily Joseph was smart enough last year to put tarps up in the back patio to allow for some guests to go outside to get some air if needed. 50 people in a small house can really turn up the heat even when it’s raining!

Then I heard from a friend at another friend’s birthday party that it was supposed to rain on E’s birthday party day. What the heck? Why again?? Why me? I called the jump house rental guy and asked what their policy was regarding weather changes. He said as long as it wasn’t too muddy and unsafe than he could still set up the jump house but if it was raining he wouldn’t be able to set it up and would refund me the money we paid. This was a bit of a relief for me and I didn’t stress about the weather anymore. The weather forecast even changed to say that it’d be sunny for the few hours of the party so I felt even better about everything.

Until I read the forecast at 7 in the morning on the day of the party. Rain. All.Day.Long. No breaks 🙁 So I called and canceled the bounce house and was super sad about it. A few hours later we were putting the finishing touches on the house (and Joseph was re-creating the tarp enclosure in the back yard just in case) and I noticed that it hadn’t rained for a bit. Oh, and it was even a bit sunny too! So after a bit of deliberation and talking with Joseph and Aunt Louise I decided to call the bounce house yet again and see (30 minutes before the party) if they were able to come even though we already canceled.

The owner told me that he’d contact his driver and see if there was any way he could swing by. He called back to let me know that they could come!! But it would be between 1:30 and 2pm. That was ok with me! So they ended up showing up right as people were finishing up with their lunch. It was PERFECT. The sun was shining, the kids were having a blast and everyone was happy. Everyone came in for cupcakes and it started to rain again so we just covered up the jump house.

After cupcakes it was clear so we got the jump house going again and burned off some of those delicious cupcake calories. We got to keep the jump house until 5pm and used it until close to the very end when it started sprinkling… again.

I don’t know what I did but I was very lucky! Everything worked out perfectly and everyone seemed to really enjoy the jump house and the party. The jump house was super clean and in great shape and the customer service I received from San Diego Funhouse was phenomenal! I will definitely be using them again for all of our jump house needs 🙂

Oh, and a little background on ordering… I called to find out how to book a jump house and they said to just simply do everything online. I did and it was awesome. I did kind of worry about if the booking went through since I didn’t receive a confirmation email or a phone call but I did receive a receipt when I paid via credit card. But two days before the event San Diego Funhouse did call to confirm the rental and the drop off time so I really had nothing to worry about. And on the day of the party when I left a message to cancel I received a call back an hour later after leaving the message. When I called back to see if we could still get it I was able to get a hold of the owner on the second ring.  Definitely awesome customer service!!

Ethan’s 2nd Birthday Party!! – Pictures of the fun

M got all dressed up for her brother’s big day! I bought this dress for her for Christmas but she was still too small for it. Now it fits perfectly. I didn’t know how much fun dressing up a little girl is! Just wait till you see her Easter ensemble. Daddy picked it out and it is CUTE!

Belle saying Hi!

E’s favorite meal of hot dogs, berries & grapes

E enjoyed greeting his guests at the gate. He LOVED that everyone was there to celebrate him and he knew it. He wore this goofy grin on his face for the first half of the party.

I wanted to make sure that all of the little kids got fed as soon as possible to reduce the chance of mini-meltdowns. It worked for a bit… until my child had a not-so-mini meltdown! Luckily he wasn’t the only one as I was told later on. Oh the joy of a 2 year old!

 We had originally booked the jump house and than the morning of the party the weather forecast changed their mind and called for rain all throughout the party. So I called and canceled the jump house at 7am. Then the weather forecast  changed AGAIN and it was supposed to be sunny up until 6pm. So after talking to Aunt Louise and Joseph I decided to call and see if there was any way we could get the jump house delivered. I called 30 minutes before the party.

And guess what?? They called back and said they could deliver it between 1:30 and 2!! So perfect. Enough time for everyone to eat lunch and than go out and play. This was such a blessing because the kids got to really get out their energy and then when we did cupcakes and sang “Happy Birthday” it started raining again. Then when the kids were all done eating and ready to go back the rain stopped!!

There were a LOT of kids in the jump house when it first went up and E got a bit overwhelmed. Add that to the fact that he didn’t nap at all before the party and that added up to a very overtired and emotional toddler. He had a bit of a breakdown. He wanted to be in the jump house but didn’t want to be bounced around by all of the kids in there with him so he wanted out but wanted in at the same time if that makes any sense. So we decided to get him out and do cupcakes!

This pleased him! He had also been singing “Happy To You” all week and even sang it with Aunt Louise earlier that day so he knew what was coming when everyone gathered around him. He got his very own cookie cupcake complete with a chocolate chip cookie in the monster’s mouth! And he knew what to do when we told him to blow out his candle. But I still had to help him a little bit in the end so he wouldn’t end up spitting all over his cupcake.

Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Carly posed for a quick picture before they took off. Aunt Carly’s birthday was the day before the party so I’m sure they were off to celebrate with Carly’s friends after our party.

Grandma Ann and Cousin Aaron enjoyed some time together as we ate cupcakes.

And Great Grandma Joanne enjoyed holding Molly for a bit. Brother always likes to know what sister is doing and quickly came over to say hi!

My messy living room after the kids came and played with everything. This is actually a bit cleaner than the mess that came with opening gifts later on (gift opening photos will be in a separate post since Grandma Ann took all of those photos). Do you see Ethan in the middle? Yeah, he’s watching Dinosaur Train in between playing with friends.

Uncle Jeremy took Molly outside for a bit to enjoy the break in the rain while E, Cousin Aaron and Joseph enjoyed the jumpy after most of the guests left.

Ethan was so thankful for all of his new toys, clothes, books and games!

Happy Birthday E! – 2 Year Photos

So since we splurged on newborn photos for Molly not too long ago we didn’t have much in the budget for 2 year photos for Ethan on top of what we were spending for his party. Yeah, we could have gone to a picture place like Picture People, JC Pennys or Sears but I really don’t like the studio photo look. I definitely don’t knock it and it works for most people but I love the way pictures look in a natural setting outside.

With the outside in mind I decided to take him out to Balboa Park two weeks ago to see what I could do behind the camera. Now I want to put it out there that I am in NO way even close to being a pro photographer. Nor do I want to be. I’ll leave that to the experts.

But I am very interested in photography and in getting the best pictures I can of my kids when behind the camera. I mean, that’s why we invested in a nice DSLR, right? So I’ve taken a class, read tutorials and am now starting to practice more and more to get better shots. The shots below have their flaws (like one being out of focus, others may not have the right lighting) but that’s what I love about photography. You can’t get better without practice.

So I took photos of Ethan. Lots and lots of photos. In manual. Yup… my 50mm lens doesn’t have the option to take photos in auto so I HAVE to focus manually and I have to remember to change the settings. And boy is that hard to remember when you don’t do it every day. It made me stop and consciously think about the settings I had and what to do to make a better picture depending on the light, E’s position, etc.

And below is the result. These photos (and a handful of others) were the best that I got from the 200 shots I took…

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons

Photo by Danielle Simmons


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