Friday, May 27, 2016

Why We're Skipping the Infant Car Seat

There are very few things I consider to be need, needs for a new baby.   Clothes, diapers, a few places to put the baby down (ie. swing, bouncy seat), baby slings and of course a car seat.

The infant car seat seems to be almost universal.  Every has them, everyone uses them. 

Except me that is. 

John is my only child that I really used an infant car seat for.  And it was a heavier one that went up to 35 pounds, so not all that easy to lug around.  

And he actually only slept in it outside of the car on rare occasions, and never past 3 months.  Mostly it just stayed in the car.

With the girls, we went straight to a convertible.  And it worked out fine.  Time goes by fast when you have a baby and the time that the infant seat is more convenient is really short-lived.  With the new baby, I also decided to skip the infant seat and just start with a convertible. 

Here are the reasons we decided to skip the infant seat.

COST:  This is of course the biggest factor. I just don't see the point in buying a seat that only lasts about a year (and the convenience of it is even shorter lived....more on that later) when I can buy a seat for the exact same price that lasts 4-6 years.   It just doesn't make sense.  And car seats are one of those things that you aren't *supposed* to buy used unless it is from someone you trust, because you never know if it has been in an accident or been altered in any way.   Elsa is still using the car seat we bought her when she was born, 3.5 years ago.  And she has about another year in it, although I ended up buying her a higher weight limit harnessed forward facing seat to booster seat and will use her current convertible seat for the new baby in our second car.

Generally with our kids, I rear-face until age 3, forward face/harness until age 6, high-back booster until age 9 and low-back booster until age 12.   The fewer seats we need to get us through that time, the better.   Ideally, I would just use 2.....a convertible seat until age 6 and a high-back booster that convrts into a low-back booster from age 6-12 or so.  Six years is about the life of a carseat anyway before it expires, so that can work out well.  This all depends on the child's size of cours, but that is about what has worked for us for our average sized children.  One child was not average sized and outgrew seats way faster, so she moved through the seats much quicker. 

I do think the infant car seat can be more cost-effective if you are planning on having multiple closely-spaced children and you can just pass the seat down from one baby to another.  But I never really had that situation.  My children are all spaced further apart, and we've moved frequently, so I've never wanted to actually save car seats that aren't in use. They expire after 6 or so years anyway, so for my sitatuation, I never considered it to be worth the price. 

CONVENIENCE OF THE INFANT SEAT IS VERY SHORT-LIVED: As far as I can tell, the MAIN advantage of the infant seat is that if a baby falls asleep in the car, you can carry them inside and they may stay asleep in the car seat.  Except it doesn't usually work that way once the baby is more than a few months old.   My only real experience using an regular, light-weight infant seat on a regular basis is when I was babysitting full-time last fall.  While the baby used to fall asleep in the car seat quite frequently, as soon I tried to move the car seat, she would wake up.  I'm sure there are some babies that will stay stay asleep in the car seat past the first 3 months or so, but I don't think mine will.   And while most babies will fit into the car seat for about a year, after a few months, they get too heavy to lug around.  Plus, once they learn to sit up and hold themselves up, they are much easier to carry around. I guess some people say it's easier to buckle up in the house, rather than outside in the car, but that seems like a pretty minor thing to me.  We have a big van, so I can actually climb inside it (out of the rain/cold) to do buckling anyway.  You are going to have to buckle them in the car eventually, so why not just start from birth?

Really, I don't care if my newborn or young baby wakes up when I take her out of the car. She'll just fall asleep again shortly.  It's bigger babies and toddlers that I want to stay asleep.  The ones that if they take a short car nap, it will mess up their nap schedule and they will be cranky and overtired and take a weird late nap and then be up late at night. Now if there was a way to carry a 1-year old or 2 year-old inside and have them stay asleep, I would be all over that.   But by the time I really care about naps, the baby is too old to fit into an infant car seat and too heavy to lug around in one, and will likely wake up anyway when I try to move the seat.

I've read people say that they like the infant car seat for eating in restaurants or shopping or being able to just snap the car seat into the stroller.  These are all things I do almost never.  I only use the stroller for actual walks or if we are going someplace (like a zoo) that requires a lot of walking. I have NEVER used it inside a building...ever.  Strollers for me are strictly an outdoor use item.  And it's really not a problem to take the baby out of the car seat and put them in a stroller if we are going on a walk or to the zoo or something. 

Generally, I find it so much easier to just carry baby in a sling for grocery shopping, or going to Mass or running errands or whatever. 

And by the time a baby is 5 or 6 months old, they can usually sit in a high chair at a restaurant or are happy to sit/lie on the floor, so really it's easy enough to just carry them and set them down on the floor while I do stuff. 

Babies Shouldn't Spend Too Much Time in Car seats Anyway.  That is what they say. And I do think infant car seats are a contributing factor to flat-head syndrome if they are overused. Not that everyone who uses them, overuses them, of course.  Many people use them just fine.  However, it does make sense.  If the baby isn't actually sleeping, I DO think it is better for the baby to be held and carried in a sling and able to be in a more upright position, rather than lying in a car seat.  Even if I were to actually have one of those super chill babies (doubtful) that was content to just lie around in a car seat while awake, it's probably not that good for them anyway.    Really, they are meant to be used when riding in the car and that's it.  So, that's pretty much what we use them for. 

Those are my reasons for bucking the trend and skipping the infant carseat.  Anyone else skip them and just go straight to a convertible?  And of course, if you love the infant car seat and use it, good for you.  I do think that for certain families it does make sense.  It just doesn't really make sense for mine.

Monday, May 23, 2016

How We Choose Baby Names...Guess our Baby's Name

There was an article posted awhile back about how with Catholic Baby Names, Old is the New New.

Well, we aren't hip and we don't name our babies like that. 

Some people choose family names.  Some people choose saint names.  I'm not worried about choosing a saint name because just about every name is a saint name or derivative thereof. 

We just choose names that we like and we have a few rules.  And the rules are different for boys versus girls.  

The names of our born children are:

Heidi Marie (patron saint = St Adelaide)
Greta Marie (patron saint = St. Margaret)
John de la Croix (patron saint = St. John of the Cross)
Elsa Rose (patron saint = St. Elizabeth)

Girl Rules:

-Must be Germanic/Swedish sounding to go with our last name
-Must not be too common, must not have been in the top 100 most popular names in recent years.
-Must not be so unusual no one has ever heard of it.
-Must be a real made up names.
-Must pass the substitute teacher test.  In other words, it must be easily recognizable/pronounceable and spellable.
-Must not be too weird or remind someone of a female wrestler (ie. no Helga).
-Must not have too many "L" sounds.  That one is my husband.  He doesn't like names with a lot of "L's" so no Lilly or Leslie here.
-Must have between 2 - 3 syllables.   
-Must not have been the name of a "bad" student my husband once had (that's a teacher problem). 
-Must not have any insults that go with it or be a name people would make fun of.
-No feminized versions of boys names (no Josephines over here)
-No names that associated with a popular book/movie character.
-Disney must not come out with a new Princess movie a year after our baby is born, thus causing everyone to think of said princess movie when they hear our child's name.   Too bad we don't have an inside track to Disney so we can know about their future princess movies before choosing baby names.  

Here is our own Princess Elsa. Disney hadn't come out with the movie yet when this picture was taken.

Boy Rules:

-Must not be so unusual no one has ever heard of it.
-Must be a real made up names.
-Must pass the substitute teacher test.  In other words, it must be easily recognizable/pronounceable and spellable.
-Must not be too weird or remind someone of a wrestler.
-Must not have an insult that rhymes with it (ie. no Dirk, because it rhymes with jerk) or be a name people would make fun of.
-Must not have been the name of a "bad" student my husband once had (that's a teacher problem). 

As you can see, there are less rules for boys.  For boys, we like common, everyday names.  

Girls are harder to name. 

I'm currently 29 weeks pregnant with our 4th girl.  You can read more here, if you want to know why we find out!   By the time you get to the 4th girl, you feel like you've used all your favorites already. We already have a name picked out and we've even told a few people.   Any one care to make a guess? (No fair guessing, if I know you and already told you).   Anyone care to make any suggestions? Baby's not born yet, so we can still change our minds and I'm still open to hearing suggestions.

How do you choose baby names?  Do you have any weird rules (like the no "L" rule)?? 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Sunday Best - 28 weeks, Free Clothes and Posts I Want to Write

Linking up with Rosie for My Sunday Best.  28 weeks.....start of the third trimester!! Yay!  All my other kids were born sometime during the 38th week, so I'm hoping this means I only have 10-11 weeks left.

Here's what we wore:

I thought this was a cute action shot of Elsa.  Ignore her totally worn out in the knees on her tights.  We'll have to change those. 
Elsa is modeling red for Pentecost.  How liturgically appropriate of her.  Yeah....we totally did that on purpose. <wink>

John is modeling his new "church shirt" from Schoola.

My sweater and pants are both from Schoola....which is a new online thrift shop I just discovered.  I like it better than ThredUp....although that is good too.  Schoola donates 40% of their proceeds to schools and I think they have more variety at lower prices.   Part of this is probably because they aren't as picky about brands as ThredUp  and they definitely carry more off-brand clothing.  They sell clothing for woman and children, so there is lots to see and find there.  They don't allow returns, but if you buy something and it is incorrect or not as described, they will take care of you!

If you buy something through my link at Schoola sometime during the next 60 days, you get $20 credit....and so do I!!  So , go click my link and get yourself some free clothes.  There are lots of things you can find for less than $20....plenty for less than $10 even.  Everyone loves free clothes...right!

Oh....and if you use my link at ThredUp, you get $10 free...and so do I.  So if you haven't tried them out yet, you should!

Hey...I'm giving you like $30 worth of free clothes!  You're welcome!

And even better, I'll give you a promise that I will write these posts.  Sometime in the hopefully not too, too distant future!  My blogging has been rather sporadic lately, but I really WANT to blog.  Finding the time is hard though.

Why I decided to skip the infant car seat.

Homeschooling: the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Why I don't wish for time to slow down.

How we choose baby names.

You can look forward to those.  Or not.

Go check out some more Sunday Best at Rosie's!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

First Holy Communion, What I Wore Sunday, Sunday Best and Thoughts on Pregnancy

Rosie is hosting a new link-up called My Sunday Best,  and since I like Rosie and I like her blog and I like posting pictures of what I wore we are!  It's similar to the old What I Wore Sunday link-up, but that one seemed to sorta peter out. 

Today was a special Sunday.  John had his First Holy Communion today!

He was not a fan of having to dress up and all the pictures, but I think he liked the First Communion part.

We celebrated by having friends and family over and a gluten-free, dairy-free cake wreck of a cross cake.

Here's some pictures of what I/we wore.

John doesn't like to have his shirt tucked in, as you can see.

Baby Bump: 26 weeks
Shirt: 14 year old maternity shirt from who knows where?  Seriously.  I bought it when I was pregnant with Heidi 14 years ago. Haven't worn it that much, but never got rid of it for some reason
Pants: non-maternity, non-buttoned, that's what belly bands are for dress pants.
Boots: old and from somewhere?

I'm wearing pants because I don't like the way I look in dresses while pregnant.  I just feel like pants look better with a big belly on me.

So 26 weeks pregnant already.  I find that hard to believe.  I don't really like being pregnant.  Physically I feel fine. I've never really struggled that much physically.  Mentally, I just find it sorta exhausting.  Mostly because I never REALLY know if everything is okay with the baby.  I mean, I go to the doctor and everything and is fine and I feel this baby kicking and squirming quite a bit.  But still, you just never really know.  Pregnancy just seems like an uncertain time, because you don't really, really know that all is well with the baby until she is born.   I'm always super aware of how often the baby kicks and do a lot of kick counts and try to wake the baby up so I can feel kicking.  Usually it's fine, but it seems like sometimes this baby goes through a few days where she is really quiet and moves less frequently and then she goes back to moving a lot.  I assume it's just a growth spurt and she's doing lots of sleeping, but it freaks me out.   With my other kids, I can just look at them and tell they are fine.  They are acting normal and running around and it's fairly easy to say that they are healthy.  With an unborn baby, I feel like I never really know.   I mean, here is your child that you already love, but you can't see them, so at any moment you are never 100% sure they are okay.  So, I worry. 

Maybe that's just me??

Anyway, Happy Sunday everyone!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why I Don't Spank

According to my records, it has been about a month since I last blogged.

So, I figured the best thing to do would be to jump right in again with a controversial post.   Of course.  That makes total sense.   Blame it on pregnancy brain.

Anyway, a recent article is making the rounds about research from the University of Texas stating that spanking harms children. 

Before anyone starts throwing tomatoes at me, I'm not saying that parents who spank are abusive or anything like that. I'm NOT judging anyone else.  I'm just stating why I choose not to spank my children. 

Spanking vs. Yelling. (Note, by yelling, I'm not talking about insults or anything like that. Just speaking in a louder/sharper tone of voice).   I've heard a lot of parents say that they spank their children so they won't yell at them so much.  And yes, I agree, yelling is not good.  But there is a fundamental difference between yelling and spanking.  Spanking is a deliberate, conscious act.   Yelling is almost never a deliberate action. Therefore, I find yelling much more forgivable.  Everyone yells at times.  Even Jesus got angry and overturned the money changers in the temple.  I can forgive someone yelling at me, but hitting is much less forgivable (although of course we should forgive everyone). 

Hitting is Not Okay.  I don't want my children to think it's okay to hit someone or be hit by someone.  Now obviously, most kids who were spanked do not grow up to be abusive people, nor do most kids who are spanked end up in an abusive relationship.  BUT, I think kids who are not spanked have LESS likelihood of either of those situations.  I have 3 daughters on the outside and one on the inside and while I can't speak for the unborn one's personality, the three born ones have very little chance of ever ending up in abusive relationship.  They would not put up with it.  They tend to speak up (very loudly) if they ever feel they are being treated unfairly.  I think spanking *may* diminish a person's natural inclination to speak up for themselves and not put up with stuff like that.  We tell our kids that hitting is wrong, so I never felt it was okay to say that hitting is wrong unless it's a person in authority doing it and then it's good.   Or hitting is wrong unless you "deserve" it and then it is okay. 

I Don't Want to Raise Sheeple. One of the most important traits a parent can instill in a child is the trait of being independent- not willing to follow the crowd - not a people pleaser - not prone to succumbing to peer pressure type of person.  I once read something along the lines of "The "No" your 3-yo yells at you is the same "No" she's going to yell at her boyfriend when he's pressuring her to do something she feels uncomfortable with."   I don't want to squelch my children's natural strong-wills or "No."  They are going to need that strong-will as an adult. What we need to do is channel it into a strong-will to do the right thing, not squash it into perfect obedience.  Sometimes there is a time for disobedience.  I do think spanking may have a tendency to squelch that strong-will.   While I expect my children to obey, I don't necessarily hold to the "first-time, no questions asked" obedience model.  I'm okay if they ask questions.  I also think that it may be possible that children who are spanked and not allowed to disagree with adults are more susceptible to abuse than children who are stronger willed and have been allowed to "speak their mind."   Predators look for kids who aren't going to fight back and are going to "obey" them.  And there are some people we REALLY don't want our kids to obey.  I don't think children necessarily have the ability to distinguish between good obedience and bad obedience, which is why we focus more on doing the right thing, rather than obedience for the sake of obedience.   Yes, I do expect my kids to obey, but I'm okay with explaining the "why" as well.   Furthermore, I don't want my kids to do something they believe is wrong just to fit in. I want my kids to be the type to walk out of a party where everyone is drinking or dump their boyfriend because he is pressuring them for sex.  I think in order for a kid to do that they need a strong-will, while the goal of spanking seems to be to make kids more compliant and to "lesson" their strong-will.  So far, my kids seem to be fairly resistant to peer pressure and are more than happy to do their own thing without regard to what others are doing.  I consider that to be a very good thing. 

Fear of Punishment/Lying/Motivation.  I have read that spanking doesn't teach kids to do what is right, it just teaches them not to get caught. I don't know if that is true or not, but it makes sense. We do have consequences in our house, but rarely punishments.   Yes, there is a difference. We try to stick with logical/natural consequences.  (ie. You can watch a show after cleaning up/doing chores.  You can use the computer after you finish your schoolwork.  If you fight with your sibling, you need to be separated.   If you can't be good someplace, we need to leave.  If you don't take care of your stuff, it gets broken or lost).  For the most part, we've never really have problems with kids lying/sneaking.  I think if there isn't that fear of punishment, there is less likely to be motivation for lying/sneaking/deceit.  It's a theory that somewhat seems to hold true in my experience anyway. 

Most People aren't Fine.  A lot of people like to say things like "well, I was spanked and I'm fine.".  What they mean by "fine" is that they aren't in jail and are reasonably productive members of society.   But there is a lot more to being "fine" than to just not being in jail and being a productive member of society.  Our society seems to have an almost epidemic of mental issues like depression and anxiety,  relationship difficulties leading to divorces and unhealthy relationships.  Is that all related to spanking?  Of course not.  Could spanking be a factor.  I think it could (and that study seems to say that it is).  I really don't know the answer to that.  But my point is that from what I can see, many people actually aren't "fine."  

Again, I'm not telling anyone what to do or telling anyone how to parent.  I'm not judging anyone.  I have many good friends that I really respect as parents who DO spank.  I'm just trying to explains some of my thoughts of why I don't. We do have discipline in our house and we do expect our kids to do the right thing, but I believe there are more effective ways of teaching that than by spanking. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's a.......and why we always find out sex before birth.


Another one that's sugar and spice.  Our boy will be the sandwich...two older sisters and two younger sisters. 

I know there are some people who do not like to find out their baby's sex before birth.  I am not those people.  I have no idea why anyone would not want to know. 

Of course there are also people who don't check the mail as soon as it comes.  I am also not those people.  The very second I hear the mail hit the mail slot, I jump up to get it. 

I like to know things and find things out.

Here are a few reasons I love finding out the sex before birth.

I don't like surprises.  Some people like to be surprised, but I don't.

I hate gender neutral clothing.  At least on babies.  In my experience, everyone assumes babies are least my babies who tend to be bald. And, I don't like it when people confuse my girls for boys.  It annoys me.  One of the fun things about having babies is picking out their clothes and dressing them in whatever I want.  It only lasts a short time.  By age 2 or so, all my kids had decided opinions about what they wanted to wear so I like to enjoy it while it lasts.

We can focus on a name better.  It's easier to focus on picking out a name when we know the baby's sex before birth. 

I just want to KNOW.   This is probably the biggest thing.  I like knowing.  I find it agonizing waiting until 20 weeks to find out.  I couldn't imagine waiting even longer.   There is enough uncertainty and hardship in life as it is. What I can know, I like to know. 

I can't think of one good reason NOT to find out.  I mean I wouldn't have an extra ultrasound or pay for a special blood test, but if they are going to do the anatomy ultrasound anyway, and you CAN find out, why not?  I have not heard one compelling reason to wait, and not knowing (when I COULD know) would just drive me crazy.

What about you?  DO you like to find out or do you prefer to wait?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

WIWS - 19 Weeks and When It's *Probably* Your Last baby

Linking up with Rosie for What I Wore Sunday is so much fun!


Here I am at 19 weeks pregnant.  With a 3.5 year old Elsa photobombing the background.

None of these are actual, real, maternity clothes.  I'm wearing a a long, stretchy back shirt, a black-button down shirt, a skirt from Target and my trusty compression stockings. 

I know it's not very Catholic to say, but this is probably our last baby. That's not a proclamation of "I'm done" so much as a realistic assessment of what the future likely holds. 

I don't have any health problems really.....just this thing called Advanced Maternal Age.  I'm 38 now, When this baby is born I will be 38.75.  When I turn 40, this baby will be around 15 months.  I typically have long periods of breastfeeding infertility (like over 1.5 years), so unless something unexpected and sad happens (like the baby dies), it is unlikely I would get pregnant again before age 40.

And, it's really not that likely that I will get pregnant after age 40. 

Have you seen this chart?


As you can see, around age 40, the fertility lines cross, so statistically more women are infertile than fertile.  Yes, lots of women do get pregnant in their 40s.  But lots more don't.  And, I was never that fertile to begin with....not even in my 20's.  I don't come from a line of super fertile women.  So, we're thinking this is the last one. Of course you never know, but I'm preparing myself for this being the last one.

It's sorta bittersweet.  In many ways, it's a relief.  I feel slightly ridiculous being pregnant and also having a teenager.  Dealing with diapers and high school at the same time. It's an odd place in life to be. 

But, I actually do like being pregnant (sometimes) and I love that first year with a baby.  I'm definitely a baby person.  Toddlers.....not so much.  But, I love having a baby and breastfeeding and all that baby stuff. 

When you're thinking it's your last baby, that pressure to "savor every moment" is really intense.  You know how fast time flies and you see a different stage of life up ahead.  A good stage in life, but a different one. 

I thought I would be sad when this time came, but I'm not.  While I am grateful to have this baby, I'm also fine with this being the last one.  I never said that before with any of the other ones.....I always hoped for more babies.  Now I feel very content with this being the last one.

 I've never actually taken baby bump pictures before.  I have very few pictures of pregnant me with the other ones, so it's nice to be able to document this time.  

All that to say.....hopefully I'll be linking up more for WIWS in the future. 


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