Baby Names!

If you are like me, it can take forever to settle on the perfect name for your little one.  I do like to find out my baby's gender if possible, which narrows the pick down to one type of name (boy or girl), but it can still be really tough!
One site I visit very frequently during the name selection process is the Social Security Baby Name list site:

I recently found another site that allows you to enter a name and seems to pull up similar names.  I saw that it pulled up names that are some of my favorite when I entered one of my daughter's names:

Ebay - Sometimes a Good Source for Cheap Items

I like buying baby items new, and I have found a great deal of bargains on Ebay.

A couple of items I have purchased: 

Belly bands (for pregnancy, and postpartum, to help cover my belly and back when I bend over etc and while nursing)
Pregnancy tests (I have also purchased them from Amazon)
New with tickets baby outfits (including beautiful new dresses) and much more..

 I just found a website that is free that allows me to place a bid on an item and it does not go in until last minute! This is awesome for me because I don't really have the time to try to be there for the end of an auction every time I want to win something, and if I put my highest bid too early, odds are I won't win. This is the site: My husband had been using it for a while, and I decided to give it a try. I didn't like having to put my username and pw for ebay, but actually that is the only way it can bid for me, and since my husband has been using it for a while without any problems (and he had read good reviews before using it), I feel a little better. I was so excited I decided to write a post about ebay just so I could mention this money and time saving trick!

 I have also sold items that I had purchased or received as baby gifts but never used :) (I do this rarely, but I have done it...) or used but were still in good condition and I was not planning on using them in the future.

 4 warnings with Ebay: 

 1. Check feedback, some people that are not fair in their business have already mistreated previous clients. Anything under 96.5ish for me is a red flag and I have to look at their feedback to see what is going on. Actually, if it is under 98 I will probably check it out.

 2. Watch for shipping costs. My first purchase on ebay (in 2002) was way overpriced because I had not noticed the steep shipping charges. I learned my lesson. If you are selling many items, it might be worth it to invest in a scale at home. I use mine to weigh my packages to try to get the approximate cost for mailing. If you price it too low you might lose money in the transaction, if you price too high it could lead to bad feedback and/or less people bidding.

 3. Do a price comparison. Sometimes people bid to a price on a used item that is higher than what you can pay for the same item brand new at a local store or somewhere else online including shipping!

 4. Know that there is always a risk with ebay. The reward is often worth it, but always keep that in mind.

Amazon Mom

There is a program that I really liked that I wanted to mention:
Amazon Mom Program

Amazon opens and closes this program, but when it is open you can sign up for it and you get a 3 month trial for Amazon Prime.  The trial does not include the streaming benefits (or at least it didn't for me), but it does include the free shipping whenever an item is an Amazon Prime item (it usually says free super saver shipping when you spend $35 or more... if you have Amazon Prime then you might be able to get free shipping on that item no minimum or if it says 'Add on' then free shipping if your total is $25 or more, but it gets to you in 2-3 days!)

They also give you a discount on your diaper and wipes purchases.  Their diaper prices go up and down, but often they can be comparable to paying regular price at Walmart, and I loooove that they mail it to your home.  They have a program called Subscribe and Save where you can subscribe to get an item periodically, and then you get an extra discount.   I sign up for Subscribe and Save, and get the discount, but I don't like leaving my subscription active because when they send you the item again, they send it at whatever price it is currently.   What I do is cancel after each subscription (some time after the item has shipped) and sign up again shortly before I need it again.  I always sign up for about 6 months apart so it gives me time to cancel before the next shipment is sent out.

This is what they currently advertise is included in the 3 month trial:

  • 20% off diapers and wipes subscriptions with Subscribe and Save
  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items with Amazon Prime* shipping
  • Exclusive discounts and deals for Amazon Mom members
* If you've already paid for an Amazon Prime membership and you sign up for Amazon Mom, your Prime membership won't change--we'll just add your Amazon Mom membership to your account.

Trip to Disney

We took a trip to Disney with 5 kids with ages ranging from 14 months to 7 years old.  I thought I would share a few things we learned that were helpful to us.

1.  We stayed off site in a house we rented that was 3-4 miles away from the entrance of Disney.  For us, this was awesome.  We were a family of 7 (Mom, Dad, 5 kids) plus 4 extra adults (grandparents, etc.).  For us, it was cheaper than any of the prices we had gotten from Disney for hotels and it was much more comfortable, plus we had a full kitchen and several bedrooms/bathrooms.

2.  We brought snacks with us into the park, and we brought a soft cooler full of frozen/cold bottles of water and juice boxes/soda cans.  We carried these in our strollers.  At Disney, you can request free cups of ice or ice water.  We added the soda to the cup of ice, or just drank ice water or the drinks we brought, and saved a lot of money that way as well!

3. Learn about their FastPass program or current equivalent.
This is how it worked back then, but things have changed since our trip:  We made a list of all the good rides that usually have long waits that we wanted to ride.  When we went Disney had a very cool program called 'Fast Passes' were you to go to a machine and get a pass for certain rides allowing you to come back later and go through a much shorter line.  For example,  Peter Pan usually has a longer line.  We got fast passes for that ride as soon as we got to the park, and then we went on other rides with shorter lines until it was time for us to use our Peter Pan pass.  They only let you get one fast pass at a time per ticket, (with the exception of the Mickey Meet and Greet, that is the only one you can get that doesn't count against any other fast passes).  The fast passes have two times listed.  One is the return time period, eg 1:00 to 2:00 PM.   That means that you can come back any time between 1 and 2 PM and get in the fast lane to get on the ride.  The second time that is stamped on the pass is the time at which you can get other fast passes for a different ride. I know Disney has been doing some changes in this program, but make sure you look into it before you go to see how you can make use of it!

4.  I downloaded this app onto my phone and loved it:  Disney World Wait Times Lite.  I had a couple of other apps I downloaded as well.  It is worth it to look into what is (Free) out there and have some on your phone ready for the trip (familiarize yourself with the app before you go).  Some features of different apps I dowloaded that I found handy were telling you how long the lines were (hour/minute wise), telling you how far you are from each ride, telling you the menu in the restaurants.  You can look at the free disney apps on your phone and see which meet your needs.  I had an HTC phone and my battery died before the end of each day, that was the only downside, but my model of phones is known for battery problems.

5.  We made use of the 'Child Swap' program on rides where our younger kids could not ride.  The purpose of this program is to allow adults that have to stay with the younger kids while the other adults/kids ride to be able to ride after the others are done without having to get in line all over again.  The cool part is that they give you extra passes, so it allowed our older kids to ride the same ride more than once with the second adult without having to get in line again.

6.  I purchased this book:

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2012

here is a newer one for Disney with kids:

And here is the more general one (that is not specific towards traveling with kids)

They have a variety of these books, I actually had heard really good things of the regular version, but when I saw there was one 'with kids' I decided to get that one instead.  I didn't want to spend too much :) so only bought the kids one, but if you do want to get a book you can browse through the different options and see if one of them fits your situation better.    I think, overall, having the book gave me a sense of security about what I was doing.  A lot of the info I had already read online, and some of it wasn't applicable to me or maybe I even disagreed, but it was helpful to give me an overall picture and it gave me ideas for what we ended up doing.

7. There is something else we did... that may or may not be something that other people might find helpful. I signed up for the Disney Chase Visa. A couple of years ago they had an awesome deal going around where you could get $200 Disney dollars after making a first purchase of x amount, or something along those lines. I did that and got the $200 Disney credit (and paid off the card). I have not seen that offer go around anymore for $200, but I have seen it several times for $50, which is still helpful. You can use that money to pay for Disney park tickets, Disney hotels, souvenirs at the Disney parks, Disney Store purchases, food at the parks etc. One perk that I really liked from the card was this (I copied this off their site):

Perk: At Walt Disney World® Resort, stop by our private location—reserved just for Cardmembers—to meet and pose with some of your favorite Disney Characters. Get a complimentary 5 x 7 photo, too!
When: Offered daily between 1:30 PM and 4:30 PMWhere to go: Innoventions West atEpcot®
What to do: Just present your Disney's Premier Visa® Card orDisney Rewards® Visa® Card to enter the event

8.  For the items we did not buy with the credit, we did go to Walmart and Target near Disney and got some awesome souvenirs for a fraction of the cost!

If you have any questions about visiting Disney with little kids, feel free to contact me!  :)

Choosing the store(s)

There is a variety of factors that can contribute to the decision of selecting a store for a registry.  Nowadays most registries are available for family and friends to see online.  I would suggest a looking at the products in the different stores to see which one has more items you like.  It is ok to register in more than one store, some people might like having different stores to choose from, but it is still a good idea to see what is out there and where they sell the type of items you would like to purchase. 

There are a few other factors you should keep in mind as well:

  • Return Policy:
    • Is gift receipt required? (this can be a real issue when people purchase more than one of the same item, or you realize you don't want something you had added to your list, or many other situations that can arise..) 
    • How many days do you have for returning the item? (Returning items to a store with a newborn can be a tricky situation)

  • Are there any perks to the program? (Some places give you special coupons or discounts for items that you don't receive from your list)

  • How accessible is it to your friends and family?   If it is only available online, what are the shipping charges?  Some people would rather buy the items in person than have to pay the shipping charges.

List Of Stores

Here are links to three of the most popular places to register for baby gifts:

Babies R us/ Toys R us

You can also register at other web based sites if you have a preference for specific types of baby items, or at local baby stores if some of the people who will be visiting your registry are local.

Different places often have completion offers or other deals for those who create a registry at their store/site, so it is good to see what each place is offering at the time you are planning on creating a registry to see which place has the best deals for you (for example, some may offer you a discount on the items that are left on your registry one week before your due date, so you can purchase it yourself.  I know Target has had an offer where they give you a little gift kit for signing up for their registry.)

List Of Baby Items

Things you will need for sure:

_ A car seat

_ Diapers

_ Somewhere for the baby to sleep

_ Clothes

I would also add this to the list:

 _ A thermometer (so you can figure out if your baby has a fever and how high of a fever)

Those were the only main things I could think of that everyone needs. I will get more specific now about what I liked:

_ Car seat and stroller system: We like the car seat stroller systems where the car seat is a carrier. It usually only goes up to around 20 lbs, 1 yr, but its great if the baby is asleep and instead of taking him out of the car seat you take out the whole carrier and

_ Diapers various sizes (1, 2…) My last baby never wore newborn size, it really depends on the baby what sizes they wear and for how long.  I was a large baby and have always had large babies.  My husband was a preemie and wore tiny diapers for the longest time.  Cloth diapers are also an option that is out there.   I have tried both.

_ Wipes

_ Ointment

_ Changing Pads

_ Changing Table I like a changing table because my back eventually hurts if I change on beds/floor all the time (some people just use a dresser with a pad on top)

_ Play yard with infant attachment: This is where my most of my babies have slept the first few months of their lives, in the infant area of a play yard next to my bed. The play yard is very useful for traveling or just to place around the house with some toys so the baby can play in it.   I bought a bassinet for my last two babies because I always wanted one and thought they were pretty, but it is not necessary.

_ A crib (for when they outgrow the bassinet/ infant section in playard)

_ Mattress for the crib

_ Sheets for the crib.

_ Baby Monitor- we use it when we move the baby out of our room to another room. Some people say they are close enough to the other room to hear the baby, we weren’t.

_ Nail clipper

_ Baby brush

_ Thermometer: We registered for an ear thermometer and then found out it could not be used before 6 months. At the hospital they told us to use a regular digital one with the plastic covers rectally (poor thing) before the baby is 6 mo old, so we had both. I have used a“Temporal” thermometer also, one that you use across the forehead, the one I had started out working well but then it did not seem to be that accurate.  I recently purchased one you use on the temple, so far so good.  I usually only trust the rectal temperature for babies, though.

_ Diaper Bag (can be a bag/purse you already own that you like and can organize diapers etc in)

Some of these you might get whether or not you register for them, but if there is something specific you like, register for it:
_ Receiving blankets

_ Washcloths/baby towels

_ Blankets:  It would be good to make sure you have a blanket large enough for swaddling

_ Clothes (I like footed sleepers/pajamas, some people swear by onesies: little t-shirts that snap at the bottom between the legs). People usually give small sized clothing, so if you want you can register in the 6 mo range etc. Look for ease of dressing, changing diaper, and comfort (soft on the babies skin).

_ Bibs

_ Soft shoes, socks

Some more optional stuff:

_ Baby detergent

_ Pacifier: depends on whether or not you wish to use one, we weren’t too keen on it but it really helped our first when she was a little baby, especially when she was screaming in the car, and so we loved it with her. None of our other children have cared for them (they have sucked their thumbs/ fingers)

_ Bouncer Chair: I liked it so baby could sit there while awake and it would calm them some times. Some people love them others say its unnecessary. For me it helped a lot so I could get stuff done without having the baby cry (plus its great for older siblings to be able to interact with the baby while he/she is sitting). Some people like swings to help calm their baby. We had a new swing someone had lent us for our oldest, and we liked it, but not enough to buy one for the next kids since we already had a bouncer seat.

_ Baby Carrier: For “baby-wearing”. I like it because I can carry my babies and still have my hands free, like when we are out etc, and its especially helpful if the baby wants to be held but you need your hands free for something else. Some people love these others don’t.  Our oldest wasn’t that fond of it, but  the rest of our children have enjoyed them. There is a great variety out there, but I like the carriers that have two straps for an even weight distribution on the back (my babies have been pretty heavy) and that carry the baby up front. I have a snugli that I like. I also have the “ultimate wrap” but it is harder to use.  The Ergo carriers are pricier, but have a good reputation for comfort.  I have been happy with mine, so I have never sprung for the more expensive ones, but I usually don't "wear" my baby every day, so if I needed to for longer periods and more often maybe I would consider it.

_Bedding sets are cute, but I have never used all the parts to it (and most people I know haven’t either). I guess it depends on how you are decorating. Some times you can just buy the parts of the set you want rather than the whole set, just something to take into consideration.

_Swaddling Blanket: Blankets that are designed to "swaddle" baby. At the hospital they usually swaddle the baby and it helps soothe the baby, to feel wrapped up tight like he/she was for 9 months. They sell these blankets, we got one for our third baby, but his ended up being to small, but some of my friends love these because they say it is easier to swaddle with them. Whatever the case, I would ask them at the hospital to teach you how to swaddle (or you can look it up online) and make sure you have a blanket at home (it does not have to be a swaddling blanket, just a regular one large enough) to do it just in case it does help your baby.

If you plan on breastfeeding:

_ Breast Pump: Find out if hospital gives free manual breastpump. They are very useful if you plan to pump every now and then, for a night out etc. If you are going to go to work and want to pump you can talk with the lactation consultant at the hospital for ideas.  I recently (August 2011) read that breast pump rentals will be included in insurance policies from now on.  You can contact your insurance provider for more information.

_ Nursing cover: I like it because it is easier to feed out in public without having to worry about juggling with a blanket and the baby etc. There are many laws out there right now to protect nursing moms but I still don’t feel comfortable doing it in public without being well covered (a la Angelina Jolie ).

_ A couple of baby bottles just in case you ever plan to be away from your baby and want to leave pumped milk.

_ Boppy pillow and the like (for moms you are going to breastfeed). My sister loved hers, and many other girls I know loved theirs, I didn't like it. I mentioned it just because everyone had told me to get one, lots of mothers really love it, but I didn't up until my last child, where I did find the boppy useful :).

Stuff for the future I have seen on registries

_ High Chair (or booster chair to put on regular car chair)

_ Baby proofing items

_ Utensils, cups, bowls etc

_ larger clothes, diapers

Don't get scared with the long list. 

If you have any questions about anything I missed or anything I didn't explain well, etc please feel free to email!

The first 5 items I listed above is all I could think of that one reaaaallly needs, everything else is just for comfort or to make things easier or prettier etc but maybe could be replaced with something you already own.