Monday, May 09, 2016

Best Gifts for Baby - small town Alaska edition

Having a baby is life-changing.  They will all say it, and it will always be true.  One of the unexpected ways it changed our life was by introducing us to an entire new genre of things to buy and consume...  Ahhh, baby stuff.  The clothes, the gadgets, the appliances, the things with wheels and skis, the things that we use for only a month but that make life for baby (and us!) bearable and/or enjoyable for that time.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the best baby things we've been gifted, or that we gifted to ourselves:

1.  A secondhand Bob stroller - Found on craigslist during a trip to Kentucky, we used contributions from family and friends to buy it, and then brought it back home to Alaska.  We use this smooth ride many times a week: on our bumpy side road, on trails, occasionally on the beach, in town and even at the grocery.  Baby E is always comfy and I love the ease with which the stroller operates.

2.  Start Fresh cookbook, by Tyler Florence - My wise and very food savvy friend, Lisa, gave this to us at our Anchorage, AK, shower.  She said it was one of the most useful things she had received when she had her first little one.  It is an amazing cookbook!  It introduces new parents to cooking first pureed solids for baby and then advances along with baby -- through toddlerhood and beyond.  Simple, delicious, healthy and inspired.  We'll no doubt be using this cookbook for years.

3.  NoseFrida snotsucker - I didn't want to believe that such a thing even existed.  Then baby E got sick for the first time, with a fever and an awful runny nose that made nursing and sleeping impossible.  At that moment I realized how ridiculous the little blue snotsucker from the hospital was and vowed to get a NoseFrida from our local pharmacy.  It's amazing.  And disgusting.  And amazing.

4.  Knitted baby blankets, made of soft and washable wool - I write this with hesitation, because we received so many baby blankets that we didn't know what to do with all of them.  The ones we use most often?  Both handmade by loved ones, and each made of washable wool - so warm and practical.  In the winter, or in Alaska for most of the year, we always use a blanket for stroller walks and for car rides.  These are the best.

5.  Moby and Ergo baby carriers - We were gifted / handed-me-down at least seven different baby carriers.  The Moby, once I figured out how to use the crazy thing (Carma had to show me in person before I'd attempt it!) was best for when E was 1-4 months old.  She was snug and secure, and I was comfortable.  It is also very washable, which is a huge bonus for these first months.  When E could hold up her head, we began using the organic Ergo that I splurged and bought new.  I found it to be the most comfy for me and her, and from 11 mos on, I've been able to use it to wear her on my back, which she loves.  These carriers can be great thrift store or craigslist finds.

6.  Waleda Calendula Diaper Rash Cream - E rarely has bum trouble but when she does this stuff clears things right up.  The other brands we used do not compare.  And the one tube we were gifted has lasted an entire year with more to spare.

7. Homemade meals and "easy" food for the fridge - The day after E was born by unplanned C-section, my sister, Laura, came from L.A. to stay with us for a week.  She held and cooed over the baby, cooked, cleaned, was supportive in so many ways.  She filled our freezer with about 20 delicious and healthy freezer meals - mostly amazing soups that were easy to heat up.  One of Dan's coworkers organized dinner deliveries for us for two weeks or so after E's birth.  And at least two friends brought over entire coolers of fresh and delicious fruits (melon already cut!), cheese, vegetables, sandwich meat, bread, prunes.  In a small town where take-out options are pretty slim, these deliveries made a world of difference!  We felt so loved.

Friday, April 01, 2016

in thanks: April 1, 2016

in thanks for...

* baby girl E, with her brand new, oh-so-proud, scooching abilities
* my tender-hearted husband
* the Valentines gardenia that started to bloom earlier this week
* people (Kaitlyn!) who use their savvy and heart to grow community rather than corporate profits
* laughter with a room full of neighbors, and with just Dan
* a full belly
* sweet students
* yet another great book waiting to be read on my bedside table
* this house and the things it allows me to do: cook, care for E and her girlfriends, lie in the sun, see the trees and birds from many windows, cozy up by the fire, have family dance parties in the kitchen, sit on the porch in the morning sun, invite friends over to stay in the beautiful guest loft, etc.!
* Grandmom scheming some kind of knitted goody for E
* the gulls' return
* two clean cars
* the ways that being grateful can change my brain

Friday, March 25, 2016

Packing list for rustic cabin weekend getaway:

* sleeping bags and mats
* dinner(s), breakfast(s) and snacks
* cooking pots and utensils
* cups, plates, spoons, knife
* soap and scrubby for dishwashing
* hand sanitizer
* stove
* matches/lighter
* water
* baby meal time: bibs, spoon, food, water cup, portable high chair, snacks
* dog: food, leash, something to sleep on
* cards and farkle dice
* rain gear
* ice cleats
* warm gear: long johns, gloves, hats
* head lamps
* baby: diapers and wipes, sleeper, changes of clothes, wool suit and coat, boots, mittens, toys, passy (2), blanket, acetomenophen, butt cream
* toothbrushes and paste
* firewood and kindling
* toilet paper
* camera
* baby sled

Saturday, March 14, 2015

In thanks: March 14, 2015

Thanks, Mom, for the reminder to post!

In thanks for…

* Dan
* a lazy Saturday morning in bed with sunshine, a peeled-for-me tangelo and made-for-me fruity green tea, an engrossing book (Wild), watching/feeling baby dancing, and then blueberry pancakes when I finally emerged :)
* so much gorgeous sun
* guests from New England coming soon!!
* the beach
* all the beautiful families I've met in my work at the library
* Cori
* music tonight and any night
* weekends
* paying off Harvard
* our home
* exuberant 14th monthiversary flowers (woo-hoo!  keep 'em coming!)
* two whole days off from EVERYTHING
* date nights at Fred Meyer (taking a long chatting and sitting break on the big cushy sofa with huge ottoman)
* luxurious food in the fridge and in the fruit bowl

Thursday, May 29, 2014

introducing... hearth

Here's my newest undertaking! 
I have a business license and everything.  
Stay tuned for more info about my journey into the for-profit land...  


Monday, April 07, 2014

in thanks: april 7, 2014 (the newlywed in small-town Alaska issue)

in thanks for...

* a far-reaching art swap that makes friends and art near
* the way things settle in at about 3-6 months
* no traffic, ever :)
* time at home, with big windows to the gorgeous outside
* so many great visitors in July!
* fewer but more obvious opportunities to serve the community
* small town Alaskan sights and experiences: that Iditarod-champion dog team pulling a truck, yesterday afternoon (exercise!); sweet baby moose in the backyard; getting to be a guest DJ on the local public radio station; having a part in a community theater play with friends who are becoming more dear; last year's bear scat full of cranberries thawing on now bare trails; neighbors emerging with the sun
* a sweet, reliable and fun husband who has brought me flowers for each monthiversary

prayers for...
* continued good health
* more $-making job opportunities
* an awesome gardening season
* sustained and new friendships

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

thanksgiving eve: november 26, 2013

in thanks for...

* sourdough pretzels, apples, tortilla chips and salsa
* my 4wd vehicle with studded tires
* the soft snowy beauty around me
* sparkly-eyed C's grin while we teachers sang Siyahamba to the school community
* friends near and far, and their absolutely beautiful children
* Dan: he surprised me with refilled water bottles, fixed the boiler and owned up to his part in a stressful conversation.
* spacious and clean showers at the gym
* libraries, the USPS, Masterpiece Theatre online.  (you know, the equalizers again.)
* lit trees glowing under soft layers of snow
* work colleagues who are becoming friends
* a thus far very sane wedding planning experience (am I in denial??)

prayers...

* for patience for the good sense and love that prevail
* for health
* for a winter of safe travel

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

in thanks: october 30, 2013

in thanks for...

* colored fairy lights in the cabin
* a day of good work with school folks
* that beautiful wedding dress and Betty, for Amy-ing it
* attack hugs from Carly
* the art gallery behind my desk at school
* the twinkle on my ring finger and the sweet man it reminds me of every time it catches my eye
* recycled envelopes addressed and ready
* Costco
* Masterpiece
* my reliable Honda
* family

praying for...

* unfailing good energy in the classroom
* more wedding-planning joy
* clarity of thinking and of words
* groundedness in Something bigger
* an easy winter / that I will take winter easily