Baby and Kids Resale & Consignment in the South Hills of Pittsburgh

Kids consignment is very popular in Pittsburgh but many of the locales are like hidden gems and you’d only know a certain shop existed by driving by … until now! Let me make it easy for you to save money on baby & kids clothes, gear (including cribs and swings) and more …

In no particular order but with certain notes I hope you’ll find useful:

1. Iddy Biddy Fashions (McMurray): It’s super easy to consign here (they have drop off appointments) and there are almost always colored tag sales going on. They’re on Facebook so seeing pics of current inventory is possible and they accept payments by phone.

2. Spots and Stripes (Mt. Lebanon): Lots of great boutique items at non-boutique prices. Make sure you bring some quarters for parking as you’ll be right on 19 on the very popular strip.

3. The Has Been (Bethel Park) – Big locale with lots of baby gear, toys and clothes. Parking is great and there is also a small area in the front of the store for your kids to play while you shop.

4. Pennystix Kids Resale (Upper St Clair): I can find (almost) zero online presence which is a total pity because there are lots of great finds to be had in this store. I once got a set of Boden pjs (in excellent condition) for only $4. You can find them at 1395 McLaughlin Run Rd Pittsburgh, PA 15241. If you want to try calling, their number is: 412-914-0555. Technically they are on Facebook but the page is not active (last post was 2011).

5. Francesca Blue (Upper St Clair) I believe it’s technically  – the shop is HUGE, there is plenty of parking and it’s not too far from 79. Not on Facebook yet but according to the website, coming soon.

6. Kiddo Diddo (Bethel Park) – a total hidden gem with fairly new owners; lots of clothes and kid gear. With the new owners came a new Facebook presence – so be sure to “Like” the page. They don’t currently accept pay by phone but they WILL hold an item for you for 24 hours if you call and tell them you’re interested in a particular item (how awesome is that!?)

consign

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Top 5 Tools for Surviving Maternity in the Summer

1. Bodyglide  ($10)

Even if you alter your wardrobe to accommodate more skirts, dresses, and lighter clothing materials, that won’t save you from the number one maternity summer nag: chaffing.  I had 3 maternity skirts that I wore all the time during my first pregnancy and they were my favorite wardrobe pieces until my over-sized thighs began rubbing together. Then I purchased this Bodyglide and they were re-worked into the rotation.

It may sound a little pricey ($10 for a little tube) but I would say you have at least 2 dozen applications available, if not more; if you only use it 2 or 3 times a week, that will last you at least 8 weeks! Many people know about Bodyglide in bar form (like a deodorant), but I suggest the liquid version which goes on quick and easy and lasts all day (even through profuse sweating).

Trust me, I tried baby powder. But while that provided minor and temporary relief, it wasn’t nearly the solution that is Bodyglide for a summer pregnancy.

2.  A Personal, Hand held Fan ($10)

I would speculate that your body temperature goes up at least 3 or 4 degrees while you’re pregnant, but add in some sun and humidity and I can tell you – definitively –  from personal experience – you’re about 10-15 degrees hotter when you’re pregnant (and no, I don’t mean as in “sexy.”)

There are some really cool fans out there which would probably do an even better job, such as this one:

But unless you’re carrying around a massive tote (which I wouldn’t recommend during the summer-time anyway), then it kind of defeats the purpose.

Another cooling item, which is awesome, is a cooling collar. Technically, this is marketed for dogs, but only a few years ago, when this item first came out, it was for humans too. I really like the KOOL Collar brand because the cooling packs come in and out so you can easily be “charging” one while using the other.

If you go with the brand above, because it’s been seen in so many pictures with a dog, you might look like one, but you’ll be cool, so who cares. Right? 😉

3. Panty Liners (Less than $4)

There’s a couple of reasons that I think panty liners are a godsend: (1) that little new maternity issue called accidentally peeing in your pants (every time you laugh, sneeze, can’t quite make it tot he bathroom or “just because”) and (2) because you sweat and “leak” a lot during the summer months which – left to its own accord – can cause all other kinds of issues ranging from general discomfort to UTI(s) and other vaginal mishaps.

Keep some in all of your purses, in your office drawer, and in every bathroom in your house and you’ll have one thing guaranteed: peace of mind re the moisture issue “down there.”

4. Talcum Powder ($4- $15)powder

Use it for your feet and under your boobies to prevent blisters and moist-boobs-during-the-day (that’s a “maternity condition” I made up – but it’s true).

And last, but not least

(if not, arguably the NUMBER ONE MUST HAVE SUMMER MATERNITY ITEM):

5. Water

If possible, you really should keep a water bottle – that is full – on you at all times. I know it royally sucks to have to pee every 30 minutes as it is, but water is your best defense against dizziness, fainting, dehydration, swelling, and many other serious medical conditions which are about 10 degrees more scary than moist-boobs-during-the-day. The more water you drink, the better you’ll actually feel.

Good luck ladies and may the force be with you in August!

My Favorite Baby and Children’s Music

I’ve been wanting to compile a list of my favorite baby/children’s music for a while now but having two kids nap at the same time (so I can write) is rare. If I was super tech-savvy, I’d create the ultimate playlist or make something custom and shareable on iTunes (you can do that, right?) but I’m not. So instead, here’s my favorites list with lots of links. Enjoy! (PS – please note children’s music is not for all – I like to think/hope this list is a good combination of artists and songs that won’t drive the ultimate music lover crazy)

jewel 1. Jewel – The Merry Goes ‘Round; this is the soundtrack of my life. Literally. I have been playing it in the car since my now 2.5 year old was only 2.5 weeks old. I love every. single. song. on this album and even play 2 of them for my toddler before he goes to bed every night. If you don’t believe me when I tell you this album is incredible, just check out the reviews on Amazon. It’s pretty high on the YAY v NAY.

If you go ahead and purchase or own this cd, please see my notes on some of the songs below:

– “Supermarket Song”: Good luck. It took me 2 years to get ALL the words. I am particularly proud of my, “They’ve got chocolate chip cookies …” run

– “Just Like Penguins Do”: We play it every night. So calming!

– “And the Green Grass Grows”: is it just me, or does the “limb” really throw off the song? I’ve mastered it nonetheless. Sometimes when I get through the whole thing my toddler squeals with joy, “Again? Again!” but I’m usually really out of breath by then.

– “Snooze Button Blues”: sometimes I imagine myself holding a glass of wine and being at a concert while I sing this tune.

– “Count on Me”: Perhaps it’s just me, but I think this should be a wedding song. This is the second song we play every night.

rjcd

2. It’s a Big World by renee and jeremy

Since my list began with Jewel, perhaps you can tell I’m kind of into calming and simple sounds but I promise the musical arrangements get a little more elaborate as you move on down the list. Until then, I do listen to this CD, which is acoustic, even when I’m without my kids. I particularly love the title song, “It’s a Big World”, “Welcome to the World” and “Shoorahlaywho.” What the heck is a Shoorahlaywho? I don’t know. If you want the be able to sing along though, you can CLICK HERE. (That’s what I did)

 

ss3. Short and Sweet by Andrew & Polly … as I’m working on the links, I just found out this one is not available on Amazon (GASP!) so check iTunes. If you are having trouble finding this album, then message me; I’ll start making bootlegs (JUST KIDDING! I don’t want to be sued!) In all seriousness, I came across this album when I was trying to find a James Taylor version of Jelly Man Kelly and I fell in love. On an unrelated but mildly hilarious note, I can sing the Jewel songs mentioned above, pretty decent. But the “Goodnight” track on this album should probably be reserved for those who can really sing. The song is so darn cute you’ll be hard pressed not to sing along but if your partner is around, they might berate you, like mine does. I’m okay with it though. Until my kids start asking me NOT to sing, I assume they are enjoying it so I break all the windows in the house trying to reach the “Goodnight” note. Good luck.

pe4. Happy to Be Here by Parachute Express … you know how 80s and 90s TV shows were so good? It’s true of some children’s music too and this album falls into that category. This CD was released in 2000 and I never forgot the songs from my baby-sitting days. Warning: this one is definitely more of a toddler’s CD and may drive a ‘normal’ music lover crazy but if you like kids music, this CD is amazing. The first song always gets me really pumped up and I have a whole dance I choreographed for “Smooth Movin’ Boogie Express.” Other faves include “What Will I Take to the Moon?” and “Willy Falldown.”

littlebird5. You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell

I know you know that song, “You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray.” From that same great artist if this really sweet album. I particularly love Little Liza Jane and “Little Bird, Little Bird.”

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6. Under a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner

I’ve had this album for a while now but just realized recently that this is the same Laurie Berkner on Sprout (a channel for pre-schoolers). This particular album is over a decade old so I think that shows what good-staying power she has as a Childrens’ Musician. Laurie has a whole “music store” on Amazon and if you have a toddler who likes to watch videos, you can see her performing on Sprout online here.

This concludes the TOP of my children’s music list. If you’re craving for more you should check out Raffi too. I LOVE him but he doesn’t have any full albums that I love – just a variety of songs across many albums (and yes – we have them all).

Speaking of “just songs” – there’s also a really cute one that I highly recommend called “Pajamas” by Livingston Taylor (who happens to be the brother of James Taylor). When I was growing up, I had a teddy bear named Wilson so I always felt like the song was written for me and when I found out I was pregnant and started compiling children’s music, I looked long and hard for that track. The song is very cute and I promise it won’t disappoint.

On that final note, my toddler is calling, “Mama!” Happy singing (and dancing!) y’all. I hope these tunes provide some background/soundtrack for some beautiful memories.

Mom’s First Run – Here’s 75 Thoughts

A few days ago a good friend e-mailed me this: 75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Running. And it was hilarious. I have been getting ready to embark, again, upon my running life and today I started as I went out for 1 mile. Here’s my 75 thoughts:

1. Hmm. Where’s the On/Off button to this GPS watch again? Ah. Yes. There it is. ON!

[GPS locating satellites]

2. Wow. Stretching feels so good. I think those are my hamstrings?

3. Well hello again hamstrings!

4. I wonder how long it will be before my hamstrings are “sexy” again? A few weeks? Months? Maybe at least by summer.

[BEEP!]

5. Ah – look at that – it has my last run. WOW! – 13.37 Miles.

6. 13.37 Miles? Must have been that Half Marathon. Have I really not run since?

7. Stop wasting time thinking about running and go. You don’t know when the baby will wake up.

8. Ah. What a beautiful day for a run!

9. Ow. Wow. My knees kind of hurt. I might need new running shoes? I wonder if I wore these out before my last run? Maybe I had bought these with the intention of getting new ones right after that Half Marathon?

10. Half Marathon. Half. Ma-rah-thon. Muh-rah-thon. What? Gosh, I’m so tired.

11. I can’t believe I once ran a half marathon.

12. Yes you can. Stop being down on yourself. You’ll do it again – 2015 or BUST!

13. What’s that? Sounds like a runner is coming up behind me.

14. Oh – just 2 people walking a dog.

15. WALKING a dog. God. How slow am I running?

16. 12:13 – that’s not bad. This is my first run since I had a baby 2 months ago!

17. Hmm. They are kind of coming up fast on me. Maybe I should just run a little faster? Maybe this is the push I need!

18. Nope. Can’t do that. Ow. Just say, “Hi” as they pass.

19. Maybe I should make a t-shirt that says, “Please don’t judge. I just had a baby 2 months ago.” But then again that would only be true for a few weeks. Then she’d be three months. And wouldn’t I be faster by then? Again – STOP BEING DOWN ON YOURSELF – enjoy the run!

20. Man, I’ve been talking to myself for a long time. How far is this?

21. .28 miles – woo-hoo! I’m half way close to being half way there!

22. Wow – what a beautiful day. I’m glad I’m doing this. I should do this more.

23. Why don’t I do this more?

24. Because my Mom is with the kids. That’s right. God I LOVE when she visits.

25. Maybe I should hire a babysitter during the week to come so I could run during the day?

26. Should I invest in that double-jogging stroller?

27. NO! That would completely ruin the “you” time of the run. What are you thinking? Damn. It must be those endorphins.

28. See?! This is why you wanted to run. You’re only doing a mile today and look at how good a mood you’re in!

29. Look at that big white line in the road. I’ll run to that line THEN look at my watch.

30. .5 mile! That line was totally made for my half mile marker!

31. I feel so good. Maybe I should run more than 1 mile?

32. Ow. Forgot about that stitch thing on the side.

33. Okay. Not too much farther. I wanted to run a mile today and be happy that I achieved my goal. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. I’ll run to that STOP sign. I always wondered how far the stop sign is anyway?

34. .75 miles! Woo-hoo! It’s perfect distance for me in case I ever forget my watch.

35. Time to turn back.

36. Woah – look at that – it’s slightly uphill to get back. Maybe I should take a walking break? Yeah – Walk. You’re doing more than a mile anyway!

37. Aw – look at that cute dog!

38. Damn. What a yappy dog. I’m glad they’re not our neighbors.

39. I wonder what time they put the dog inside at night?

40. Ok, it looks flat. Time to run again.

41. Man, my heart is pounding kind of fast.

42. I must be running fast.

43. 13:13 min/mi! Woo-hoo!

44. WAIT. 13:13? That’s slower than when I started!

45. Maybe I just started too fast?

46. 13:13 … That’s really sad.

47. How fast is a brisk walk?

48. Don’t get down on yourself! You’re running! Yes, the hubs would poke fun but you’re wearing 2 sports bras and everything!

49. Man, when was the last time I ran? Really ran?

50. It probably was that half marathon.

51. May 5, 2013.

52. That seems long ago.

52. What day is it? Wait. What month? April. I think it’s April.

53. Yesterday was April 5th. Today must be April 6th.

54. May 5th to April 6th. 11 MONTHS

55. Holy crap. I haven’t run in 11 months? That’s like a year.

56. I don’t even remember my life a year ago. Or my body. I liked that body.

57. Maybe I can have that body back if I just keep this up?

58. And stop eating Talenti? By the jar.

59. I don’t want to stop eating Talenti.

60. How far would I have to run to eat a whole jar of Talenti?

61. 10 miles

62. I’d probably have to run a half marathon every weekend to maintain the Talenti habit and still lose weight.

63. Maybe I should just eat a normal serving?

64. Negative. I have no self-control. No more Talenti.

65. I’m almost home!

66. I’ll run to the mailbox.

67. I don’t know if we got the mail yesterday.

68. Now just up the hilly driveway!

69. That was only 1.46 miles?

70. Okay down the drive way to that mailbox and circle back.

71. Ugh – the neighbors must think I look crazy.

72. I do look crazy.

73. But I’m running!

74. Done!

75. I really should do this every day …

Essential Breastfeeding Supplies

Howdy readers and pregnant ladies everywhere,

I’m sorry the blog has taken a back-seat. My new baby is driving up in the front for the next few weeks. Until we’re fully up and running again (mid-March), I didn’t want to hold out any longer on a blog post that I thought was very important: Essential breastfeeding supplies!

1. Lansinoh Lanolin – BUY THIS (I know Magee will have it on hand for you but I’m not sure about other local hospitals and I know for a fact that some other hospitals (ie, Inova Fairfax in Virgina) will NOT have it [at least they didn’t when I delivered there]): http://www.lansinoh.com/products/hpa-lanolin

This is a MUST for ALL breastfeeding Moms. The first thing anyone will ask you when soliciting breastfeeding information is, “Do you have lanolin?” It’s just wonderful for sore and cracked nipples.

2. My Very Brest Friend – http://www.mybrestfriend.com

This pillow that attaches around your waist is AWESOME. I didn’t buy one until I got home from the hospital, but I swear it’s amazing when it comes to positioning your baby for breastfeeding. Before the pillow, I was using several bed pillows and using my arms and hands freely (after all, holding a little baby would be like exercise, right? Wrong!) Within 3 days I was complaining that I was experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome too. Do yourself a favor and buy BEFORE baby arrives and bring to the hospital; this way, if/when you have the constant access to nurses and lactation consultants, you can already be using the supplies you would use at home and thus they can REALLY help you.

3. Ameda Breast Shells: I got these from the hospital from my first delivery (in Virginia) but didn’t receive them until the third day when I was complaining of sore nipples. Why the heck nobody told me about it before 3 days still annoys me because it’s a godsend. It’s the “cup” for women. Buy or don’t buy – at the very least I wanted to tell you about this product because if you have sore nipples (and you will) – you should know this exists so you can ask for it. (PS – on Amazon it has low stars but only 2 reviews and I’m of the opinion that the negative review is from someone who had lactation issues to begin with)

4. Nursing camisoles and/or nursing bras – buy at least 4 or 5 and buy a size bigger than you would think because your boobs are going to EXPLODE into proportions you never dreamed of post baby (i.e., if you’re thinking about buying a medium, get a large; if you think you’re a 36C, buy a 38D, etc.). Post-baby, comfort is key. I would also recommend you avoid anything with underwire because that’s really uncomfortable and your booby area is going to be already uncomfortable from breastfeeding. This stuff can be expensive, so shop around and save your receipts because you can always send your Partner to the store to exchange for a different size and/or return if you never use. (And use coupons! Buy Buy Baby, for example, will usually send 20% off coupons which isn’t too bad since they carry some Medela nursing “clothes” that average anywhere between $25-$40)

5. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads – good to have on hand, but you won’t use too much at first (ie, within first 2 weeks) because the thought of having anything rub against your nipples is going to sound like pure torture

6. Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads: like little ice packs for your nipples. The downside is that they’re only good for 72  hours (and for roughly $10 that seems like a lot) – but nice to have on hand for those days when you really feel like breastfeeding is more pain than pleasure no matter how healthy for your baby. (Yes, I swear you will have at least one day like that) Anyway – these can get you over the hump.

7. Breast Pump – do your research, buy what fits your needs and budget, etc. Either way, if you’re breastfeeding, it will be an integral supply. It helps stimulate production, relieve engorgement, lets you create your own supplement for baby and or break from breastfeeding too. I think you get the idea … Please note breast pumps are now also covered by many insurance companies. If you have insurance, you will want to look into this; you might simply need to ask your doctor for a prescription.

8. Simple Wishes Hands Free Breastpump Bra – because if you are using a pump, I guarantee you won’t want to be holding bottles for 20 minutes at a time. You might even want to stash this in your hospital bag because there is a chance you’ll be using the hospital’s pump for some reason or another and when you’re exhausted, being able to rest – even while pumping – is pretty sweet.

Anyway – I put this list together long ago because there are some things I had on hand before baby arrived and some things that I didn’t learn about or purchase beforehand because I wanted to wait and see what I would need. In the end, I learned it was better to just get everything on the forefront because sometimes there are many roadblocks when it comes to breastfeeding (and it’s different for all people … just remember you and your baby are your own, unique team! Anyway …) and having these resources on hand will seem like the smartest thing you ever did in your greatest moments of need.

If you so choose to breastfeed, I hope you enjoy this list and good luck!

PS – Save the receipts for everything. This stuff can get expensive when you put it all together (more expensive than I thought even when I thought hard and did the math) but if you wind up NOT using something or needing something different, so long as you have your receipts, depending on where you purchased the item, you can exchange or return. I would say the most expensive items will be a breast pump and nursing clothes.

PPS – Once you’ve established whether or not you’ll be breastfeeding, you might want to consider investing in some nicer nursing clothes. You might consider lounge items but as someone who sells nursing clothes – and owns several items now – I can tell you confidently that they’re worth their weight in gold. Being able to dress like a human and have easy access to your boobs is good for the mind, your body and baby. 😉

Pregnancy/Maternity Books to Read and Avoid

One of the first few things everyone does when they find out they’re pregnant is get a pregnancy book or two.  Well, this chicky got a dozen (but I really like reading) so I’m here to tell you what was worth it and what was not (seriously. I mean, one book sent me on an emotional melt-down at 1 AM! Yes! Read on …)

In order from BEST to WORST, here’s my suggestion of books that me and the hubby have enjoyed reading either because it had such great information, it was a funny read and/or both:

1. Pregnancy, Childbirth And The Newborn – by Simkin …

bookNow everyone thinks the No. 1 go-to book is “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” but the consensus on that (and by consensus I mean opinion I have formed on behalf of pregnant women everywhere through reading reviews, talking to Mommy friends and experiencing first-hand): that book will do nothing but scare the living daylights out of you and make you petrified you’re having a child at all. The Pregnancy, Childbirth and Newborn book on the other-hand is chock full of information which you’ll find useful at every stage of pregnancy and beyond. Now, I’ll be honest, I stopped reading this book when I was 10 weeks along because I got to a chapter about “leaky breasts” that can occur during the third trimester and I did not want to imagine such an impending future. I do however feel that the book gave the most amount of information and it lasts beyond pregnancy, and it’s good to have on the shelf as a reference when needed. For all those reasons above, this is my number one book recommendation.

2. Pregnancy Fitness – Mind, Body, Spirit (By the Editors of Fitness Magazine) – if you’re used to the whole exercise routine and you can’t quite abandon it for the sake of being a baby-making oven, this is a great book to tell you what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and most importantly – doing it all in a balance that’s good for you and baby (that means it includes nutrition info too). Personally I would recommend all women err on the side of caution and rest as your body is going through all kinds of changes (consider it a gift to the baby), but when your mind goes stir crazy and you need some help about what to do, this book is great and has great visuals and an exercise plan too. [PS – I bought this early on in my first pregnancy when I was a little ambitious about my exercise routine and the truth is my only routine now is walking – for at least 30 minutes every day.]

3. Be Prepared – A Practical Handbook for New Dads, by Greenberg and Hayden

This book is hilarious and practical. There’s some good tips within that I flagged, some humorous and relatable stories and both the hubs and I enjoyed this book. When you’re ready for some lighter reading that makes you go, “Oh, I didn’t know that!” – pick these pages up.

4. The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy (Or Everything Your Doctor Won’t Tell You) – by Vicki Iovine

I picked this up on a friend’s recommendation and I was happy I did because it shared all kinds of info which I knew through experience (i.e., having a surge of “sexy dreams” ladies?) and all kinds of things I thought, but couldn’t quite figure out – for example – this book was the only place where I found out that pregnancy changes the texture of your hair. Did you know that? One day I spent ONE HOUR curling and hair-spraying my hair and as soon as I walked out of the house, it was flat! I thought, “This is odd.” It just so happened I was reading this book and came across the chapter that said, “Don’t do anything drastic with your hair during pregnancy and here’s why …”  This book wasn’t so much about baby or how to prepare for baby, so much as it’s like sitting down to a cup of coffee with some girlfriends and sharing pregnancy stories and tidbits … hence why I liked it and why I think you should read it too (probably around the 10-15 week marks).

** BIG NOTE: I liked this book so much that I purchased Iovine’s sequential piece: The Girlfriend’s Guide to the First Year of Motherhood (or something to that effect). Anyway, here’s what I have to say about that: DON’T BUY THE BOOK. Remember when I said above that I had a mental breakdown after some reading? Well this is the book that caused it. Some might say my hormones were acting crazy, but if you consider the fact that the general audience for this book IS a hormonal woman, then I think you can agree that it’s a little poor planning on Iovine’s part. Now you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about? Here goes: Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy kind of writes from the, “Pregnancy is such a wonderful and exciting time and here’s all the awesome, weird, funny, and not-so-funny things [but what to do to handle it]“-kind of perspective. The First Year of Motherhood Guide? It’s the exact opposite! The first chapter was all, “You survived passing out a baby and guess what, now your life as you know it will never be the same and even if you thought it will be one thing, it’s another, and it’s miserable so now we’ll tell you all about it.” I’m not kidding.  I woke my husband up at 1am when I was awake reading this, sobbing in tears, “I like who I am and oh.my.goodness. who am I going to be once this baby comes and what if we’re both never the same and we hate it and we’re miserable and it turns out that having a baby was the worst thing we could have done?!?!?”  Thank goodness I have the best hubby ever because he calmed me down and immediately threw away the book. My theory is that Iovine wrote this supplement while she was within the first three months of having her first child or she had some kind of depression post-baby because I found little excitement and joy within the pages and quite frankly it terrified me for what was to come. Pregnant ladies – save yourselves – buy the other books! (and thus spare your Partners too)

5. The New Dad’s Survival Guide: Man-to-Man Advice …

It’s army lingo wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but the hubs sat next to me while he read it and I’d hear him grunt or chuckle every now and then.

6. Mack Daddy: Mastering Fatherhood without Losing Your Style, Your Cool, or Your Mind – hilarious! The book was enjoyed by both me and the hubs. It has lots of little endearing stories and good practical advice.  I flagged a few pages for reference for one the little bean is here.

7. The Happiest Baby on the Block – an interesting read.  I think for some it will be “controversial” though I can’t quite figure out why. In my opinion, it’s kind of like a cook-book that talks about some basic “ingredients” for how to keep your newborn happy and/or how to survive the crying.  The main principles (with great “how-to” within) are: swaddling, position of the baby, rocking, and sssshhhhing really loud like a vacuum cleaner. I know this makes no sense, but if you read the book, I promise it will!

8. Father to Son: Life Lessons on Raising a Little Boy – only $8

If you know anyone who finds out that they’re going to have a little boy, I highly suggest you purchase this gem for them as a gift.  That’s how it came across our laps and it is the SWEETEST book ever! It really gets you excited about being a parent and it’s beautifully written. Practical too!

9. The Vaccine Book – by Sears … now, for some reason, this also seems to be a really “controversial” book out there amongst parent reading. The book is kind of the ins and outs of vaccines and there’s a lot of academic literature out there against this book because some hypothesize that it’s the “Anti-Vaccine” book.  Being in the midst of this read currently, I can tell you that that is NOT the case at all.  Above all, I recommend this book because it’s a highly interesting read. I had NO IDEA what was in vaccines or how they made them and I admit I didn’t quite know what diseases we’re vaccinating our kids against either. So I figured, at the very least, if I’m going to inject my little baby, I ought to know all about it and this book has definitely filled in the blanks.

Top 6 Rules for Maternity Shopping

1.  Give yourself some TIME

Is it your first time Maternity Shopping? Allow for at least 2-5 hours. Are you into your second/third trimester and you know what you want or need? Then give yourself at least an hour.

That may sound CRAZY, but you’re about to embark upon 40 weeks of an ever-expanding (beyond your control!) body and while the selection of choices is growing, with budget and style limitations, you’d be surprised how hard it is to find good-looking and good-fitting maternity clothes. Unlike typical “Size 8″ or “Size 10″ – there is no one size fits all for maternity. Sure the manufacturers will say “stick to your pre-pregnancy size” but even when you do that, you’d be surprised how one person’s pre-preg-size-8 maternity is not another person’s pre-pregnancy-size-8 maternity.

2. Invest in pieces that have more than enough room to grow

I am of the mindset that the earlier you go shopping for your maternity wardrobe (12-16 weeks), the better off you are.  Some people would say that you should wait until the end (or as  long as you can stand it) because that’s when you’re going to really grow, but my theory is if you’re going to buy new clothes, for a new bigger, body, then buy them sooner rather than later so you get to really use them.

If you follow that rule, that’s why you need to invest in pieces that have room to grow. But what does that mean and how do you do it? Read on …

3. Don’t purchase it unless you’ve tried it on with a belly

For newbies out there, the “belly” I’m talking about is a “fake belly” with velcro straps that you can strap on your waist, under your clothes, thus simulating what you might look like down the road of your pregnancy.  Here’s an example of what this fake belly looks like:

Following on the rule above in terms of size, you’d be surprised how many things you try on that look “really cute” and then suddenly “very hideous” once you’re sportin’ a fake belly.

I was in a Motherhood Maternity once and I saw the cutest little pink and trendy top; It actually looked like something I would wear!  So I tried it on.  It was cute! Then I put on with the belly and checked myself out in the mirror again. The second time around? Not so cute! In fact, disgusting.  It looked like I was wearing a mumu (and I almost cried, but that’s neither here nor there …)

Many stores that sell maternity clothes don’t have a belly, including consignment stores. All that being said, here’s the rule: No belly, no buying!  Maternity attire can be expensive. Do yourself  a favor and save your dinero for establishments that cater to your situation and investments.  Unless you’re picking up something that can be easily returned, or for super-cheap, or you know it will last because it’s so stretchy you can’t imagine it won’t, then don’t touch your wallet.

4. Speaking of the belly, when you try it on, sport it high and low

Have you heard? Girls carry high and boys carry low. Or vice versa? [I can’t remember] Or how about “torpedo belly” (I made that one up, you’ll have to follow my blog for the exact definition ;P).  My main point? You can’t quite be sure how your belly will grow, so while you’re trying on some new clothes, move the belly all around underneath (high, low, and off to a side!) and make sure that your potential new attire looks good from a variety of angles (PS – now you know when I said you need HOURS in Rule 1 above!).

5. Purchase every day pieces in BASIC colors and make sure everything else is in the same color palette

This may sound overwhelming, particularly to those of you who are colorblind or who are not designers, but so long as you can help it, do yourself a favor and try and pick pieces that are kind of similar in color.

First and foremost, buying pants? Stick with black, brown, and white.  Sure you could get something plaid (how trendy!) but do you know how hard that’s going to be when you’re trying to “make outfits” a few weeks down the road – with “pregnant brain”? – Trust me:  HARD.

As for shirts, sweaters, and other tops, try and get things that are in the same color palette to maximize your ease at assembling your new clothes. For example, if you’ve got brown pants that you’re planning to wear a lot, then purchase some khaki, white, dark brown and navy blue shirts for mixing and matching. And if you get a navy blue shirt that you love? Then pick-up a navy blue dress should you decide to invest in that piece because you’ll be able to wear the same shoes for each outfit. Does that make sense? I’m going to assume the answer is yes for most of you and leave this rule at that. Leave me a comment if you have more questions.

6. Consider your current accessories for what colors you should be choosing as your “palette”

Maternity clothes come and go, but accessories are forever. While you’re indulging on some new attire, you’re probably going to be buying less bags, shoes, scarves, and jewelry. So, do yourself a favor and consider this:  Whatever colors are dominant in your current accessory closet should be dominant in your new attire.

For example: Don’t really own a lot of purple? Then I’d err on the side of disregarding that “really cute purple maternity top.”  Why?  Because: (a) chances are you won’t wear it and (b) even if you try to, you’ll probably wind up in a situation where “nothing matches!” (and then changing). Going back to the rule above, if you already have navy shoes, then navy would be a wise choice for any investment pieces or color tops/jackets.

This rule, overall, probably shouldn’t be too hard since most people gravitate towards the same colors (i.e., their favorite), but since hormones mess with your brain, I just want to put this rule out there so we can also prevent it from messing with your wallet.

Happy Shopping!