Saturday, May 31, 2008

First Bottles, Now Sunscreen

We live in the desert so we get A LOT of sun. We put sunscreen on every single day of the year. I was dismayed to run across this blog post about a chemical called oxybenzone,which is a common ingredient in sunscreens. Oxybenzone has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. Even worse is that the FDA promised, in 1978 (!!!), to study sunscreen and provide guidelines for ingredients used to make it. Thirty years later... nada. Zippo. NOTHING! Just some "draft guidelines" for sunscreen makers to go by, which means they can do whatever they want including using chemicals not proven safe for humans.

This is a great link for sunscreen best for kids -- and a lot of other information on chemicals in products we use on our kids (including diaper wipes and toothpaste!). I'm a big fan of California Baby products and their sunscreen is on the "better" list. All the other sunscreen has been tossed and I'm headed to Whole Foods to see what they have on hand.

I really wish people would stop trying to make money while putting my kids'health at risk.

A Year of Firsts

One of my favorite things about that first year with a new baby is that everything is a "first" for them. Babies R Us capitalizes on this with onesies and tee shirts for all first holidays. I bought every single one for Ella:

I kept them all and am planning to make them in to a little quilt or pillow for her.

The collection for the newest Gabel has already started. I found a "first" St. Patrick's Day onesie on clearance last month at BRU. Aunt Karin found this bib and it arrived yesterday.

It is so cute! Ella didn't have any Jewish "first" clothing. Now all we need is a "My First Hanukkah" outfit and we are all set!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


A few weeks ago we sang Lincoln Brewster's "Everlasting God" in church. I have probably sang this song thousands of times, but this time I was knocked off my feet by the first nine words: "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord." I got the message loud and clear: BE PATIENT!

We are waiting. Waiting for a December due date. Waiting for doors to open (or close). We have our plans, but maybe they are not His plans. And so we wait. Sometimes contentedly. Sometimes not. But while I wait, I will grow!

Take a sec and listen -- it's a cool video and Lincoln's songs are my faves. We are fortunate to have him lead worship once a year at our church and it's my favorite service all year long. Enjoy!

Story Time with Babcia

My mom is in town for a few weeks (thank goodness!). Last night she read Ella a "story" before bed time -- Ella brought her a baby name book to read. Ella is not dumb; it takes a lot longer to get through 200 pages of baby names than 8 pages of a nursery rhyme.

I loved the way her little feet were sticking out from under her blankie...

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Long Weekend

Last year we made an impromptu road trip to Ikea in California over Memorial Day Weekend. We were sorta planning to head to Santa Monica to the beach this weekend, but the weather was chilly and overcast so we opted to stay home. And clean. Fun, huh?

A few months ago a new shopping center opened in Vegas that replicates a downtown area -- you can even park on the street! The best part of the shopping center is the really cool playground. The playground looks like a little town and has areas for all ages.

Mitch in front of the bakery where the little kids play.

The inside of the bakery:

Ella going down the slide out of the bakery:

They have a hedge maze:

They also have a pop jet water fountain (which wasn't turned on yet) -- we're looking forward to heading back with Sarah this summer!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Centennial Sound Band Banquet 2008

The band banquet was last week and I took my camera to get pictures. I just got my hair cut and we were all dressed up so it was a good opportunity. I took these pictures when we arrived (early), put my camera down to chase Ella, and didn't stop chasing until three hours later when it was over! The problem when all of your baby-sitters are at the same function as you is that you have to take the toddler along, too!

There's always next year!

Where's Yellow?

Ella's current favorite book is Candyland Colors and her favorite color is "lellow!" She started a new game this week where she turns the page to a color other than yellow then asks you "Where lellow?". She then turns the page to yellow and screams "LELLOW!!" at the top of her lungs. It is too funny and she came up with it all by herself.

Two nights ago she and daddy were playing this game while hanging out on the couch.

Then she noticed I was taking pictures so she sat up and said, "Deeee" (cheese).

She laid back down and actually was still enough that I got a few shots without the flash!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Babies R Us Giving Credit for Bottles with BPA

I received an email today from a friend who took her used bottles containing BPA and returned them to Babies R Us for a store credit:

"Not sure if you were aware, but I found out yesterday that Babies R Us is accepting BPA bottles (such as Avent and Dr. Browns) and giving store credit for them. This includes USED bottles! You just have to make sure that they are complete (eg include the brushes for the Dr. Browns) and they won't accept extra nipples you may have purchased separately. This may change if a recall is issued for the bottles, so you may want to look into this sooner rather than later. I got a $53 store credit today with my returns!

Victoria isn't using the bottles anymore anyway, so it worked out great. One salesperson wasn't going to accept the bottles since I didn't have a receipt, but the other salesperson said they had to since Victoria was still using bottles (she asked, I said I was trying to get her onto sippy cups now, but still needed bottles occasionally)."

I can't find anything on the Babies R Us website about this, but it may be worth a phone call or trip to the store to replace your Dr. Brown's set! Our bottles are BPA free so we don't have any to return, but what a great service Babies R Us is providing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why We Rent

My hubby and I are in our 30's and we don't own a home. I think most people would be embarrassed to admit that, but not us. We definitely feel the pressure from "society" to follow the American dream and own a home, but for now we enjoy renting. There are a multitude of reasons to rent, but for me the primary benefits of renting are finances and flexibility.

Renting is almost always cheaper. we live in an urban area where housing is expensive. Homes in our area start around $240,000. A 15 year fixed rate mortgage on that with a down payment (the only way we'd finance a home) is at least triple what we pay in rent. We don't pay property taxes, property insurance, or association dues. We don't worry about the cost of repairs or maintenance. When something breaks in our home, we call the landlord. We have no surprise costs of replacing a roof, a heater, getting the plumbing fixed, etc.

I also love the flexibility of renting.We can get up and go anytime we want. We don't have a house to sell if we want, or need, to move. We aren't tied down to a mortgage payment that must be made. We also have no risk in renting. Buying a home doesn't guarantee a good investment. My sister just decided to move back to the Midwest from Las Vegas. She gave away or sold everything in her apartment, shipped back her clothes, and will be driving back at the beginning of June. If she had bought a condo here when she arrived 3 years ago (which she had planned to do), there is no way she'd be able to make this move now.

I am not saying owning a home is "evil" or that we don't eventually want to be homeowners ourselves! But I do think a lot of people jump in to homeownership without thinking, planning, or saving first (hence the current mortgage crisis). We just want to be well prepared when we make the jump to owning rather than renting. Until then, we'll enjoy being renters.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Baby Gummi Bear

We got to see the baby again at the doctor today. He/she is the size of a gummi bear, but we could distinguish little appendages moving around when he/she entertained us with some flips. It was very cool! We should know mid-July if we need to stock up on blue or pink winter clothes.

The doctor also told us that I only have a 20% chance of a re-occurrence of pregnancy induced hypertension. For some reason it will show up with the first pregnancy, but not for any following ones. It would be wonderful to have a full term pregnancy without any complications!

And the anti-nausea prescriptions are at the pharmacy being filled. The doctor did warn me that the goal with the drugs is to keep the puking at bay and just have mild nausea. I'd rather not have anything, but I'll give it a shot and see if I feel better. Right now the sight of food sends me running to the bathroom.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Has It Really Been a Week?

Wow. Last week was rough -- lots and lots of not so fun moments of sickness. The good news is that I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday and I am not leaving without something to make me feel better!

Only 3 weeks left of school and then my dear, patient husband will be home full time until August. Only 3 more days of getting up at 5 AM and missing my nap in the afternoon while I baby-sit. Only 9 days until Babcia arrives to love on her youngest grandchild for two weeks while I rest. Only 26 days until Sarah arrives and the party really starts! Just over 200 days until Baby Gabel arrives and I get my body back (and I'll quit complaining about pregnancy, I promise!).

Sunday is for Popcorn

My family has a "Sunday Night Popcorn" tradition. For as long as I can remember, my mom made popcorn on the stove on Sunday nights. We rarely had dinner on Sundays -- we always had popcorn instead!

(Babcia and Ella having Sunday Night Popcorn over Christmas)

Lately, I've been craving popcorn on Sundays and the smell takes me back to Sunday nights growing up. I currently make my popcorn in an air popper only because I have yet to find a decent popcorn pan for the stove top. My sister has the coveted popcorn pan of old (it has been replaced by a newer, shinier model at the grandparents home).

Both of the girls love popcorn. Ella apparently inherited her grandmother's love of the white fluffy treat and asks for it constantly. The first time I made popcorn for Sarah she excitedly ran to the kitchen saying "I know how to make popcorn! You put it in the microwave!" I don't think she truly understood or appreciated the difference between microwave and stove top popcorn, but I enjoyed her expression as the popcorn lifted the top off the pan!

And so the tradition lives on in the next generation. Don't expect to be invited over to my house for Sunday dinner, but come by anytime for some buttery, salty fresh popcorn!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mama's Day!

Four families from my women's Small Group dedicated their babies today at church. Every single one of us has either given birth, adopted or gotten pregnant in the past year! We always warn new members not to drink the water. On the very far right is our campus pastor, his wife and their 12 day old son! And on the far left is our mentor and "Granny" to our kids -- she became a granny for the 6th time this year as well.

Hope your Mother's Day was as full and relaxing as mine!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Responsibility of Naming

When we had Ella I was struck by the responsibility of choosing a name for this new person. It is a very humbling task for me. It is also one of the best and most fun parts of having a baby. I started thinking of names for the next baby the minute Ella was born. My husband, I am pretty sure, would wait until the day we left the hospital to choose a name -- he is not quite as obsessed as I am with naming (is that a male/female thing?).

I would really like a name that's "normal", but not overused. I really struggled with Ella because it is so popular right now, but we liked it enough to go with it (sure enough we met a 3 year old Ella yesterday). We are also looking for names beginning with the letter "S". It is Jewish tradition to name your children after deceased relatives (you never name after a living relative) using the first letter of their name. When Ella was born everyone in Mitch's family had been named for so we skipped the tradition. Since then Mitch's aunt has passed away and we would like to honor the tradition by naming after her. Her name began with an "S" and we can use the "S" name as the first or middle name.

We have a disagreement on a boy name and nothing for a girl. I'm looking for suggestions! Do you have names you liked but chose not to use?

Analyze This!

Pregnancy has so many weird side effects. I have mentioned the nausea/sickness (which for some reason has subsided today), but I also have the oddest dreams. Some of them are are more nightmarish -- very gory! Lately I have had this re-occurring dream of falling in love with my husband -- not gory! We are dating and he has proposed, but for some reason I have not given my response. It always ends with me saying yes (thank goodness!). I always wake up with a feeling of contentment when I have that dream. I think I just miss being close to him. I am keeping my distance because the scent of anything (deodorant, toothpaste, cologne) can send me in to a downward spiral of nausea (I keep switching my own bathroom supplies trying to find the least offensive odor!).

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ella's Stool

As promised, a picture of Ella taking her stool out for a walk!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Just Hangin' with Mimi

This one's for the grandparents/aunts & uncles! Post-bath and pre-bed Ella and her beloved "Mimi"

Swimming Season Begins!

Mitch and Ella took the plunge today and braved the pool. It was in the mid-80's but the water was probably in the mid-60's (way too chilly for me!). They've been heading down to the pool daily to dangle their feet in so Ella was thrilled to get her entire body wet! She just kept giggling and splashing.

How did this baby...

...become that little girl?!?! The pictures were taken almost exactly a year apart!

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