Feb 19, 2012


Oliver was born on a Friday and this year, his birthday (2/10) was also on a Friday.  We had a relaxed day.  After his morning nap we went to Target and he picked out a toy and I realized he needed a balloon for his birthday... we went to the grocery store and were told that he could get a free cake.  So we ended up with the cake above that I'd ordered from a bakery downtown and a free grocery store cake.  

We gave him his first cake that evening after dinner.  He pushed it away and was completely uninterested.    We decided presents would be more fun... we'd gotten him a mini trampoline that came earlier in the week along with a couple other things.  His Aunt B sent him a fun package filled with birthday and Valentine treats so we called her and opened a few gifts. 
We gave him the second cake the following day and he pushed it away too.  Both cakes were really good, the grocery store cake was actually better than the bakery cake, but we like all cake around here.  All in all, his actual birthday was quiet yet still special.  The day before his birthday was a little more 'remember when' for me since I had such a long labor.  

We decided to have his BIG birthday celebration after his birthday and scheduled it for Feb. 18th in North Carolina so all of our family and friends could share with us.  We chose a penguin/polar bear/snow theme since it snowed the night he was born.  A friend recently reminded me that it also snowed the afternoon of my baby shower as guests were leaving... AND yesterday evening snow was predicted (but didn't happen).  Winter/Snow theme just seemed perfect.  I started thinking about it several months ago, end of summer maybe?  So glad I did because I was able to take my time collecting things for the party.

(There was a bubble machine blowing bubbles for snow as guests arrived.)

(Hot chocolate and marshmallow favors for the adults)

 (Polar bears with ice cream shaped bubbles for the dozen babies.)

...special cake shirt...

(the good news is that he didn't push it away this time...)

(he did however gag a little with his first bite!)

(after a little help things started picking up)

(and there was no stopping him)

(full on smash)

 We had a GREAT time and are SO thankful to all of our family and friends (some who drove almost 8 hours (!) and many who drove one or more hours) for coming and sharing his special day.  I'll post my party thoughts separate.  There was definitely a handful of things I learned :)

(the famous pinterest penguins that we forgot to put on the table.  oops.)


Feb 10, 2012

The Honest Company - Review (Updated 9-17-12)

UPDATED 9/17/12
(Updates in bold are from June 2012 update those in red are from September 2012 update)

I've been following a new company, The Honest Company, for a while now.  It's basically an all natural-eco-friendly company started by Jessica Alba and Chris Gavigan.  Their products boast to be the best and after reading about them, we decided to give it a try.

We signed up for Honest Company's subscription on their opening day and have been using their products for almost six nine full months now.  

I was a little disappointed to find that you can't just buy individual products, but since there were several I liked, it wasn't bad.  So... you decide you want to try the products and you go sign up for a $4.95 trial.  The trial includes travel/sample sizes of shampoo, lotion, hand soap, laundry detergent, and healing balm.  You can also sign up for a trial of diapers and they send you 7 - more or less enough for one day.  The company is in California and I'm in VA - I got my package in two days once shipped (so three or four total, very fast considering I ordered the first day they opened).

Honest has added ordering for individual products - yay!  Shipping is a little high, but overall not bad.  

Honest now allows those who have a subscription bundle to add products (up to 3 per month) to their bundle for the individual price.  We are adding a product next month.  Excited for this!

When you order the trial, you provide your credit card.  If you don't cancel within 7 days of receiving the trial, you'll be charged $36.95 each month for the Family Essentials Bundle (the five items, but you get to pick other items once your first bundle is delivered), and $70 for the diaper bundle (you get four packs of diapers, definitely enough for a month if you use disposables).  

I actually caught a great Zulily deal for $52 for both bundles so we did that and ordered before our trial was over.  Before I get started with my thoughts on each item, I want to just share that I've called customer service several times about different things and they are fantastic.  Seriously the best customer services I have, hands down, ever experienced.  I don't know how they did it, but each one of their girls is amazing.  I think I've talked to four different people now.  My favorite was a girl who said, 'Oh I see you're in VA, I went to JMU...'  We started talking and I casually asked if they got to hang out with Jessica Alba and she said yes and talked about how down to earth and nice she is.  So cool, right?!

We received several months bundles and then I realized we were pretty stocked and decided to call Honest and have them push back our next delivery date.  The day I called, our bundle was already processing to ship - I decided to call anyway and they were able to stop it.  Amazing customer service!!  They are so, so nice and the program is actually a lot more flexible than they advertise.  Once you're a customer, you really do get the feeling that you're part of their family.  I've always felt very valued when I call and considering $40/month isn't a lot, it's really nice to feel that way from a company that is growing so quickly.  I love how flexible and down to earth they are.

Now, you can control when your bundles ship.  It used to be that you had only seven days earlier or after about the 30th day in your cycle.  It's been updated so you can adjust it however you like.  We have been getting deliveries about every other month.  It's just what works with our family's consumption.  I love that I don't have to call each time.

So as I mentioned, the first month you get the automatic bundle that includes each full size of the trial items.  I called though to see if they'd shipped our first bundle out because I wanted to see if they'd swap the laundry detergent for the multi-purpose cleaner.  She said they couldn't do that b/c the bundle had shipped but offered to send me two free products.  So, I got the cleaner and another hand soap (it's amazing).  Free.  And it came three days later.  I called again just this week to cancel the diaper bundle because we still have every single pack and the person accidentally canceled both bundles.  She set it back up (but I can't edit it now until after it ships, bummer) and offered to send me two more trial kits (I asked :)) since she goofed.  So sweet.  

Ok... now my thoughts:
-Shampoo: (It's also body wash but I prefer Dove soap.)  I didn't care for the smell initially because it reminded me of the polish that my dentist uses (orange creme), but then I used it a couple times and ohmygosh, my hair was SO soft.  Seriously, so so soft.  After I used it for a few days, I got over the smell and now love it.  The shampoo is my favorite.  My only complaint is that you only get something like 6.5 oz while most comparable shampoos are closer to 10 or 12 oz.

-Lotion: Another love.  It says it's fragrance free, but it's not really.  It may not have any additives to make it smell, but it does have a very light scent (think rose oil) that is so fresh and amazing.  I keep this on top of the shower so I can use it while still damp.  I wish the lotion was in a tube rather than a bottle.

-Healing Balm: I have used it on Oliver's bottom once and on very dry skin once.  I really haven't used it enough to say much.  I'm sure it's better than petroleum.  We've used the healing balm for various things and I love it.  Dry skin, diaper area, chapped lips - you name it.  I love that it's petroleum free.

-Laundry Detergent: I really want to like this.  It's super concentrated (70 loads in each bottle) and I used half of it along with half Tide and had to rinse the load twice because of all the suds.  Oops.  I just need my clothes to smell fresh, but this detergent does clean well.  If it had a smell, I would totally switch.  Because it's such a good deal in the bundle, I still order this from time to time.  I like it for random loads that aren't necessarily clothing or towels.  Every now and then I'll use it on towels if I know I plan to use a fabric softener b/c then the softener smells so I still have the 'freshness.'

-Hand Soap: Love this too.  It's lemon scented and delicious.  We have two bottles and keep one in the kitchen and one in our bathroom.

-Multi-Purpose Cleaner: This is good too.  My favorite thing about it is its light grapefruit scent (shocking since I don't like grapefruit as a food) and that it cleans my flat top stove with no streaks whatsoever.  It's a winner.

-Sunscreen: We like Honest sunscreen a lot.  It is very, very thick.  Beware!  Chandler forgot once and looked like a ghost.  :)  It's not as strong as I'd prefer and I feel like I have to stay on top of re-application, but so far none of us have been burned while using it.  Definitely be careful when using near clothing - we have one spot on a dark shirt, but it's light and not too noticeable.  The only other sunscreen we use is Badger brand because it's SPF 30.

-Automatic Dishwasher Liquid Soap: Don't like at all.  The several times we've used it our dishes have not come out clean :(  Not sure if it's just our washer type (Kenmore) or the soap.  We are back to big box brand for the dishwasher.

-Dish Soap: The best comparison for Honest's dish soap is 7th Generation.  I don't really have a lot to say about it... it's good.  It doesn't have a scent.  I think I've made it clear that I'd prefer a scent, but only because it make washing things by hand a little more fun.  We use this and like it as much as you can like dish soap!

-Bug Spray: Really, really liked this!  It was a new product launched late summer.  It's a lot like California Baby.  We used it on all of us and never had a problem with bugs.  I'm hopeful that it will keep until next Spring.

-Hair Conditioning Mist: Think spray detangler for your hair.  I use it on my one-year old's hair in the morning and after naps.  It works the same way Johnson and Johnson's detangler works but smells like Honest's shampoo.  Yum!  

-Diapers/Wipes: We have used only a handful but as far as disposable diapers are concerned, I love them.  They are more absorbent than Earth's Best and 7the Generation.  I think they are most comparable to an overnight diaper, but without the extra padding.  I love the prints they come in - so cute.  We ordered the skull and cross bone print and the anchor print. The wipes come with the bundle.  I'll be honest, they're just okay.  They are similar to other 'natural' wipes in that they are thin.  I prefer Huggies wipes or cloth wipes.  They're just thicker.  We keep these in each bathroom and in the car for miscellaneous use.

We got the diaper bundle in January and because we mainly use cloth, it lasted us 6 months.  I will order again, but am waiting until Oliver is in a solid size 4 because he definitely won't be a size 3 for another 6 months and a 4 is still a little too big right now.  

I would LOVE if you could add a pack of diapers to the family bundle.  

I'm not a huge fan of the wipes, they're a little too thin for my liking - but I do like the concept and I keep a pack on the back of each toilet for adult use.  I also keep a pack in the car for wiping dirty hands and faces.

Overall, I'm really impressed with The Honest Company.  If I could make changes I would make the shampoo and lotion in a tube rather than a bottle and I'd prefer to have different bundle options.  For example, the only options now are monthly and you get a set number of products (5).  It would be nice to have options for that, 3-product bundle, 5-product bundle - and then have an option to add a product to that if you only needed one more.

Right now the only option is to subscribe for two bundles, which is silly.  They are awesome in that you can order one month and then cancel.  Then wait a month and subscribe again... that's annoying though.  They need to set up different options for people and I think they will.  I've been keeping up with them on Facebook and they've had a lot of great feedback like this from other people.  A great example are the number of people who, like us, cloth diaper and only use a handful of disposables at a time.  Having a quarterly diaper bundle would be great for that situation.

See above for my comments on their monthly service, but you don't have to cancel and re-start, just log into your account and adjust the date of your next deliver.  you can simply call them and they'll just not send a bundle during the month(s) you don't need it.  They rock like that :)

We will keep the Family Essentials bundle subscription indefinitely.  Even Chandler likes it. :)

After six nine months of using products from the Honest Company - we are still very pleased and like the product and the company very much.  I would encourage you to try it if you prefer a more natural product.  We check EWG.org for just about everything and Honest has consistently rated very well.  We're impressed!

Honest recently started a referral program.  For every friend you refer you get $10 credit.  Here's my referral link http://honest.com/19383 if you feel led to join right now :)  xo

(Disclaimer: I did not receive any of these items free.  I simply thought it would be helpful to write a review since the company is new and people were probably curious about the products.)

Feb 9, 2012

12 Months!

Oliver is 12 months!
Weight: 20lbs (unofficial, but seems consistent every time I weigh him)
Height: Probably the same as last month, 27.5" but possibly 28"
Teeth: 8, more coming in slowly (very, very slowly - as in not sure which ones, but having classic teething symptoms as with the previous eight)
Diapers: Just wrote a detailed diaper post.  The short version is this... still using disposables when it's necessary (travel or running around) - cloth at home (which is most of the time).  I have noticed my preference for type and brand has changed.  A friend recently had a baby (Sweet Ruby!) and liked Rumparooz.  I ordered a couple, liked them, got another half a dozen.  I'm also loving bumGenius right now.  All of them.  Elementals, 4.0 (tried and true despite that I kind of hated them a while back), and Freetime.
Clothes: Mostly 9 month.  Some 12 month sizes.  Carter's 12m is still too big, 9m fits perfect - except pajamas.  We have a couple zipper 9m that he can still wear but otherwise the 9m are too short and the 12m are way too long.  PJs without feet, 12m is fine.  Gymboree he can actually still wear 3-6m tops.  Go figure.  He can also pull off 6-12m and sometimes 12-18m.  Who does these sizes anyway?!  I really don't understand why they don't use weight instead of age.  Size 3.5 shoe (in Stride Rite).
Food: We are still nursing and doing solids about 50/50.  He nurses in the morning when he wakes up.  Has breakfast (usually Cheerios and yogurt or a waffle and yogurt or fruit) and nurses briefly again before his AM nap.  We aren't really giving him lunch in a routine yet.  He nurses well midday and then goes down for a nap, wakes up and nurses briefly.  He eats a solid dinner and then nurses before bed.  When I move him from the swing to our bed around 10:30, he nurses briefly then and maybe once at night if he wakes up.  He eats just about any food.  So far there is nothing he has spit out or not eaten.  He loves macaroni, yogurt, apples/applesauce, and Cheerios (This makes his Aunt B very proud!).  Oh, when he's done nursing he clicks his tongue.  It's the cutest.  ...and he's a super wiggly nurser.  It drives me crazy most of the time.  He still hasn't bitten me but I fear my time is coming.  I try to redirect him when he's done and just hanging out to prevent it.  He also likes to fiddle with whatever side he's not nursing on at that time.  ...and he'll often blow raspberries on me.  He's a hoot to nurse lately.
Sleep/Naps: Wakes up around 6:30, after he's been up for a couple hours, takes a one hour AM nap.  (He would sleep two hours most days if I let him, but if I do, he won't take a good PM nap and that one is more valuable.)  He naps again between 12:30 and 2:00 depending on the day.  Tues/Thurs when I go into work for a few hours, he doesn't nap until close to 2:00 when we get home.  Other days, it's all I can do to try to keep him up until 1:00.  This nap is usually 2.5-3 hours long.  Lately they've been 2.5 hours.  He goes to bed around 8:00.  He still sleeps with us and has become a rather wild sleeper.  He twists and literally makes a snow angle go 360.  Thank goodness I have a bed rail on my side!

Says: Mama, Dada, bye, hi.

What he's up to?
-He continues to be the fastest crawler I've ever seen.  People are always telling me how fast he is.  Mm hm.  Yes.  We think he will be slow to walk because he's easily frustrated and has an extremely short attention span and prefers to crawl to get to where he wants to go since he can do that faster.  I'm fine with him not walking.  I prefer it actually.  Once he walks, he'll officially be a toddler and no longer a sweet, needy baby.  Sigh.  Guess we'll have to make another pretty soon.
-He hasn't shown a lot of interest in communication.  Lately, I've found that I have his attention the best in the bathtub.  He's learned 'bye' and where mama's nose is from hanging out in the bathtub.  If a bath is what it takes, then smart and clean he will be. :)

-He LOVES his toys.  As much as I hate being a consumer, it's hard not to want to buy him fun things when I see how much he enjoys them.  I never understood parents waiting in line for the best new toy until seeing Oliver get excited about something.  I can no longer say I won't be that parent.  However, I have another post in my head about consumerism and materialism and general clutter.  One day...
-He still loves Nola.  She yawns and he thinks it's the funniest thing he's seen.  Her tail wags and he falls over laughing.  Heaven help him when she comes up to sniff his milk breath.  He's hilarious.  And she is SO good with him.  I was worried about how she'd be since we had some aggression issues.  We're still extremely careful to keep her food off the floor when he's crawling or to keep them separate in general when food is involved.  She loves licking his fingers when he holds his hands down on the sides of the high chair.  Gross and cute all at the same time.

-His hair is sooooo long.  I will not cut it.  I'm holding out until the summer.  Or later.  Or sooner if I decide I can't take it anymore.  He's totally rocking out a mullet.  And it's in his eyes.  He can deal.  Mama has issues.  Admitting it is part of the solution.  Perhaps by summer I'll be cured and he can have a haircut.
-He's recently been okay with me cutting his finger/toenails.  I used to have to wait until he was asleep, until it woke him up.  Now, he sits in my lap and watches.  I'm amazed at how well he does.  Big boy!
(No diaper in this picture, I like to live on the edge. :))

-BIG NEWS this month, he's learned to use a sippy cup!  He prefers a Playtex style that has a straw but he also likes a Nuk that has an all silicone spout.  It's so odd that he prefers the soft spouts since he never took a bottle. I'm half tempted to give him a bottle of water just to see what he'd do, but I'm too lazy to climb up to the top shelf to get them down.

I know there are more things I'm forgetting.  I used to be better about keeping up with milestones and then I got a new phone that is way better (went from android to iPhone), but the apps are different so my notepad is not as easy to use for bullets.

 (I can't believe I'm getting this posted EARLY!  Only an hour and twenty minutes early, but early no less!)

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub