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Devon’s Discoveries: Feeding the Imagination

It’s hard to believe, but our big girl, Bean, turned TWO this week!  In some ways, I can hardly believe our baby is already two years old, and in other ways, I can hardly believe that she’s just two.  Last year for her birthday, we were all about learning toys because Bean was so fascinated by puzzles, stacking blocks, and things with buttons.  Her brain was growing and she was feeding it! 

This year, it’s her imagination that is growing.  She has started “reading to herself” by making up the words to books, telling us imaginary stories about experiences her imagination has dreamed up, and playing “mommy” and “house.” So for her birthday gifts, we decided to encourage her imagination! 

Grandma and Grandpa got Bean  a dollhouse this year.  I’ve already written about my love for KidKraft products here before, and after receiving this dollhouse, I love them even more!  Easy to construct, but very sturdy, this Modern Dollhouse is so cool!   Bean loves the colorful and hip rooms—a purple kitchen?! Yes, please!—and the accessories—like a barbeque for the patio, a flat screen TV for the family room (it Velcro’s to the wall!), a claw-footed bathtub for the bathroom, and a pink ceiling lamp!  

 

Auntie and Uncle got Bean this Green Toys tea party set and she’s been busy making us delicious cups of Monkey Toenail Tea.  When she’s feeling especially creative, she pours her “tea” on the ground until someone says, “Oh no! You poured tea on the ground.” Then she giggles with delight and resumes the tea party. 

And we got her this Marian Plast Outdoor House, which has been, perhaps, the biggest hit of all.  We constructed it a little before her birthday so that it would be ready for our 4th of July party and she and her friends had a great time going in and out of that house, pretending away.

 

It was a great 2nd birthday for Bean, all in all.  We celebrated with a cake that she, her Dad and I baked together… and some Monkey Toenail Tea, of course!

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother two, former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Devon’s Discoveries: Dresses, dresses and more dresses

Although the weather forecast in Seattle today is for rain (surprise, surprise), we have actually had quite a warm and sunny June so far.  I have already worn my flip flops more this month than I have worn in some entire summers past!  And when the weather gets warm, my go-to for clothing is a simple dress: casual, cool, and put-together.

I wrote in an earlier blog post about the brand Momzelle—their nursing tops are cute, made of quality material, and super functional.  Imagine my happiness, then, when I saw that they made dresses, too!  I just wore this black Momzelle Nursing Dress yesterday and it was as user-friendly and flattering as their tops. 

 

On cooler spring and summer days, when a knee-length dress may not be warm enough, maxi dresses are a perfect solution.  One of my most worn dresses so far this year has been this Miss Sportswear Maxi Dress.  The dress ties in the back, creating a flattering waistline, and, the clincher for me… it’s got pockets! 

 

And when I need to step it up a notch, a patterned A-line dress from Kushi by Jasko does the trick.  Their Blackbird Dress just came in the mail yesterday.  It fits like a dream and will be perfect for the baby shower I am hosting next weekend.

 

Bean and Baby G are also getting in the spirit.  I love the Kickee Pants brand for sleepers and playsuits, and just saw that they make dresses as well.  We got Baby G this adorable KicKee Pants Zebra Dress.

And for Bean, this Burt’s Bees Dress is versatile (she can wear it with tights if it’s cold out, or bare-legged if it’s not) and adorable.

Fingers crossed that it’s rain today, sun tomorrow, and we can be back to dresses for the weekend.

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother two, former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Devon’s Discoveries: Energetic Toys

In our efforts to keep Bean from destroying the house with her creativity and energy, we’ve been looking for products to channel her energies appropriately.

Bean loves to color and she is a vigorous colorer, as you can see here:

The only problem was that her coloring was starting to make it’s way off of the coloring book pages and onto whatever surface she was coloring on: the table, the floor and the high chair tray, to name a few. The P’kolino easel has been the perfect solution! It looks great, and it provides three coloring surfaces: a white board for dry-erase markers, paper for crayons and regular markers, and a chalkboard. Bean spends hours each day creating beautiful masterpieces!

She has also been jumping in her crib for quite some time now. But I really want to make sure she sees bed as a place for sleep, not for wide-awake fun… so we needed a jumping solution.

Enter the Galt folding trampoline. The trampoline is compact and securely constructed, so it doesn’t take up too much space in our house and, more important, I know it’s a safe surface for Bean to work on her bouncing, stomping and jumping. Her bedsprings are thanking us!

Now if we could only figure out a way to channel her exuberant and sticky mealtime habits…

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother two, former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Devon’s Discoveries: Nursing Gear

Now that Baby G has been here for a whole month (!), we’re finally settling into our routines. We’ve figured out our wake-up routine with two kids, who gets the night shift and who gets the morning shift, how to do one-on-one activities with each girl, how to get Baby G to take a nap… you get the picture.  

One thing I was worried about was how nursing would go with our almost-two year old running around. There were times that I nursed Bean for hours on end—but I knew that wasn’t going to fly this time around.  Luckily, Baby G is a great nurser and we didn’t have any of the issues we had with Bean when it came to latch and let-down.  But it’s still not easy to keep track of Bean or to keep her occupied while I’m feeding her sister… so convenience has become the key.  

I just bought three nursing tops made by Momzelle that I absolutely love!  The material is so soft and strong, it seems to hold in all of the new lumps and bumps I’ve acquired, and the tops make nursing a cinch.  Unlike the nursing tanks with the strap clasps and built-in bras, you can wear your own bra underneath these shirts (I recommend the Le Mystere nursing bras—pretty and functional!), which seems to work better for my new-mom body.  


Next challenge: getting Baby G to sleep better at night.  Wish us luck!

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother two, former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Devon’s Discoveries: Diaper Bag Organization

The day finally arrived— Baby #2 was born about a week and a half ago and we couldn’t be more excited!  Baby G is a delight: happy, sleepy, and cuddly… and Bean is slowly but surely adjusting to big sisterhood.  I guess we’re all adjusting to becoming a family of four and we’ve already instituted some changes to make things run a little more smoothly.  One of my first orders of business was to get my diaper bag in order.  Juggling diapers, wipes, spare clothes and all of the other stuff you have to cart around with a newborn and a 21-month old is no laughing matter.  So I turned to zulily for some help in getting my diaper bag in tip-top shape.  I ordered two different bags, one for each girl’s diapers and wipes.

I also ordered this cool wet bag, which I’m using to store a change of clothes for each girl.  I love this bag because you can store wet clothes in here, which will come in handy when we have the inevitable accident.

My diaper bag may be a complete disaster in a few weeks, but right now it looks like a shining example of organization.  And hopefully it’ll keep me and my sleep-deprived brain from putting newborn-sized diapers on Bean!

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother two, former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Devon’s Discoveries: Stroller and Car Seat

I can hardly believe that Baby #2 will be here in two weeks or less! Nursery is done, hospital bags are packed, we’ve read I’m A Big Sister to Bean a hundred times… in other words, I think we’re ready! 

Although the house was all ready, I had been putting off transportation methods because it seemed silly to get them ready too soon.  But with just two weeks to go, I figured that now was a good time to get everything unpacked and figure out (again) how to use it all.

We dusted off our trusty infant car seat, the Chicco KeyFit Infant Carrier, which is an amazing car seat.  It is easy to use, nice to look at, and the one that we have holds up to a 22-pound baby.  I’ll have DA install the base while I’m at the hospital, but it’s out and ready to go, so at least I don’t have to try to explain which closet it’s stuffed into while I’m in labor! 

When I found out I was pregnant with Baby #2, I also quickly jumped on zulily and ordered a Phil & Ted’s Black Promenade Buggy, which has the option of converting to a double stroller.  Bean would never tolerate her previous stroller for longer than twenty minutes, so the Phil & Ted’s stroller was a revelation… Bean will sit in this comfortable stroller for up to an hour without making a peep. 

Last week, I wanted to make sure I knew how to attach the Second Seat and the Infant Car Seat Adapter. Much to my happy surprise, it was super intuitive and I had the Adapter installed in about thirty seconds.  I popped the Chicco Carrier on the Adapter to make sure everything worked as planned and, in under a minute, saw my single stroller transform into a single-profile double stroller!  Hurrah!  The best thing that I learned while installing the Adapter is that I didn’t lose my storage space under the stroller.  I was worried that the second seat/adapter would take up the whole storage bin, but it actually leaves me with plenty of room for emergency diapers, a blanket, and even a small bag of groceries. 

 

All of our wheels are ready to go!  And next time I check in with you guys, Baby #2 will be here!  Wish us luck!

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother of a one-year old (“Bean”), former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Devon’s Discoveries: The Nursery

As of today, it’s officially T-minus 5 weeks until Baby #2 gets here.  I’m more than a little nervous, worrying over questions like: what will her arrival be like? How will Bean react to being a big sister? Will Baby #2 be a colicky baby like Bean? Will we ever sleep again?

But one thing I don’t have to worry about is the baby’s room, because it is done!  Bean is still using her crib and dresser, and although we thought we might be able to repurpose her glider for the baby’s room, we’re finding that we use it too much to be without it yet.  In other words, we had to buy all new furniture for the baby’s room.  Since we had such great luck with Bean’s furniture, however, we decided to stick with what we know.

Both girls have DaVinci/Babyletto cribs and dressers.  I can’t say enough great stuff about this brand—their furniture is affordable, great looking, durable, easy to put together, and stylish.  Bean’s room is done up in greens and browns, so we went with espresso-colored furniture for her room; Baby #2’s room is grey and peach, so we went with white furniture for her room.

 

Once the furniture was all set,  we also had to get Baby #2’s bedding squared away.  I am in love with this Oilo bumber and crib skirt set:

 

We also got a Little Giraffe super-soft blanket for tummy time and, once Baby #2 has reached the one-year mark, bedtime. 

 

The room is all set up… the only thing that’s left to do before Baby #2 gets here  is to fill that dresser up!    

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother of a one-year old (“Bean”), former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Devon’s Discoveries: Bath Time Finds

As we prepare for Baby #2’s arrival at the end of March, my nesting mode has definitely kicked in.  I’ve been organizing and rearranging like you wouldn’t believe and my project this week (and probably for the next few weeks) has been to go through all of the bins of “stuff Bean grew out of.”  This is the first of many blog posts where I’ll talk about those gems that got us through Bean’s first year successfully, alongside the staples we’re still using. 

One of the first bins we pulled out contained our Puj Tub for infants.  This little foam tub was an absolute lifesaver during Bean’s first months—she was a particularly colicky baby, but baths seemed to calm her down and minimize the crying.  So we bathed her a LOT!  The Puj Tub fits in any sink which is helpful if you live in a small space, don’t have a bathtub, or have a hard time kneeling down alongside a bathtub.  The Puj Tub has an additional feature that I love—once you’re done bathing baby, you can collapse the tub to a flat position, which makes it super easy to dry off and to store. 

 

Once we moved Bean on to the regular bathtub, we quickly invested in another Puj product: the Snug, which is an elephant-shaped foam cover that goes over your bathtub spout.  In the early days, it was just a really cute cover for the spout.  But once Bean started standing up, it became a wonderful safety measure as it saved her from bumping her head or her back on the spout when she stood up in the bathtub. 

Bean still loves bath time, so we also got a few toys to make bath time even more fun! Munchkin makes some great gear to entertain your little ones in the bath.  We are partial to the Bath Time Fun Set, which is a basketball hoop that suctions onto your bathtub wall, and three balls for your little one to practice their slam dunks with. 

Bean likes to shoot some hoops and follow up her on-the-court escapades with a little tub drawing.  Munchkin makes really cool Bath Crayons which we use to doodle all over the bathtub. 

Once bath time is over, Bean dries off with a Trend Lab hooded towel and we start getting ready for bed.  I’m not sure if Baby #2 will have a similar temperament to Bean, or if she’ll have the exact same bath time routine, but I do know that we’ve got all of the gear to make sure this baby is sparkling clean…just like her sister.  

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother of a one-year old (“Bean”), former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Devon’s Discoveries: Kidkraft Retro Kitchen

I vividly remember Christmas, 1983, when my Dad and Uncle somewhat cluelessly put together my most wished-for gift: a shiny new bike.  There was some laughter, some running back and forth to the garage for various tools, and, admittedly, some colorful language when things weren’t going quite as planned.

I’ve come to view this incident—the “should be easy, but somehow takes three hours to put together this dang toy” scenario—as a parental rite-of-passage, and I’m proud to say that I’ve now got this one under my proverbial tool belt. 

We bought Bean a Kidkraft Retro Kitchen for Christmas this year and, once we got back from our holiday travels, it was time to put this baby together.  My husband offered to do it, but I always love to have some power drill time—it makes me feel like more of a woman! About three hours later, I had what was a really cute, full-of-realistic-details, kitchen.

It was worth the effort to get this kitchen that Bean, and surely her younger sister after her, gets so much joy out of.  And I’ll admit that it felt good to get this parental milestone accomplished, with a little power drill-Girl Power, no less!  

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother of a one-year old (“Bean”), former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.

Devon’s Discoveries: Kid’s Shoes

Somewhere between one and a half and two years of age, I’ve noticed, most toddlers stop toddling and start running everywhere.  Bean has started jogging from place to place in the house, and when we’re outside, I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes I have a little trouble keeping up with her!  It’s adorable to watch her run everywhere, but also a little terrifying… especially when cold, hard concrete is just a trip and a face plant away.  So I’ve been testing out different shoes to see which work best on my little track star.  We currently have a tie in awesomeness between Bean’s black and hot pink Pumas and her See Kai Run sneakers and boots. 

The Pumas are seriously too cute.  We get at least two comments from strangers every time she wears them out in public.  And Bean can really kick up her running in these shoes.  Shoelaces can be kind of a pain with a squirmy 18-month old, but they also have the benefit of keeping the shoes securely on her feet. So whether it’s a sprint around the playground or hitting up all of the stations at preschool, these shoes are a great fit.  So much so that Bean pretty much always wants them on.  Like on Christmas morning while she was checking out her stocking; and yes, she’s got them on with her Christmas jammies. 

The See Kai Runs are also fantastic.  The tennies are beyond easy to put on and take off, given the Velcro strap, and they look cute with both leggings and dresses. 

We also just got Bean a pair of See Kai Run boots which I love.  They have a durable rubber sole, but also look adorable.  She’s only had these boots for about a week, but if the three See Kai Run shoes we’ve had prior to these boots are any indicator, these are going to be a great addition to Bean’s shoe repertoire. 

With Bean’s feet properly outfitted, perhaps she’ll help DA and I keep our New Year’s Resolutions this year! 

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Devon is a wife (of “DA”), mother of a one-year old (“Bean”), former History professor, and lifelong shopper.  She grew up with a self-proclaimed shop-aholic and sale-aholic mom, so she’s been in training for discovering cool stuff and great deals since she can remember.  Devon lives in Seattle, Washington, where she is mostly okay with the rain but sometimes pines for her hometown in Southern California.  With a little one at home and a crazy life, Devon is all about doing her shopping on the internet and zulily has been a dream come true for her with its variety, value, and quality.