Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Don't Forget My Pregnancy Poll & Contest!

I'm almost 32 weeks pregnant already with our second baby--can you believe it? So, I thought now would be a good time to remind you of a little contest that I'm running:

The person closest to the correct answer of when the baby will be born and his height and weight will win a set of 3 handmade soap bars from my favorite Ukrainian mall kiosk and online store Craft-o-Land.

FYI: Most folks may know this from my posting, but we are having another boy, so be sure to enter boy in the gender field! My due date is May 2nd. 

ENTER YOUR GUESSES HERE! Enter the game name RocklandMother2 to get to my poll. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Love Mommy Necklaces!

Simple Long Mommy Necklace in
I finally treated myself to a beautiful necklace from Mommy Necklaces and I am so impressed! My first Mommy Necklace is everything it claimed it would be--stylish, incredibly well-made, and irresistible (yet safe) for babies and toddlers. Not to mention that it was reasonably priced!

The gorgeous Simple Long necklace at right only cost me $28 including Mommy Necklace's standard $2 shipping cost. And every dollar that I spent before shipping is converted into a reward point that adds up to a Mommy Necklace gift card at 100 points!

Mommy necklaces are colorful bead creations made from USA-manufactured acrylic beads that have been lab-tested for safety. They are meant to be used as a distraction for teething or hip-held babies--they are not meant to be teethed on or left alone with children--while still being stylish enough for evening or everyday wear. Most of the necklaces can be customized, from adding dangling donut charms, accent strands, or matching bracelets and earrings to altering the necklace length or beading structure. And they are guaranteed from breakage and can be re-stranded or altered at any time for a small fee.

Flourish Mommy Necklace in
Aside from being pretty, I love that the necklaces are substantial, but do not feel heavy on. You can also tell that the cording used is very sturdy and will not break, as Andrew has already tested by using the necklace  as a seatbelt for his backhoe, unclasping and clasping it a million times, etc. The only change I would make is this: each necklace has a sturdy black break-away clasp. For the lighter colored necklaces, I would love if the clasp could be white or even clear.

I would definitely recommend you get over to Mommy Necklaces and check out their collection. They are a great baby shower gift as well as a gift for yourself. Also, be sure to friend them on Facebook--I just got an awesome deal on the Flourish necklace in diamond (my birthstone!) because I learned it was on-sale via FB. The folks at Mommy Necklaces also generously give away extras and will let you know online, so you'll be wise to follow them now. Happy shopping!

P.S. Don't let my love for blue fool you, Mommy Necklaces has many other colors available!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giveaway Time! Kushies Girl's Polka Dot Crib Sheet as Seen on Martha Stewart

So, how did you guys like the Martha Stewart Baby Shower Show that aired last Friday? Did you agree with my thoughts that some of the products were nice but been-here-done-that or do you think I'm just a horrible hormonal pregnant lady? :)

Seriously, though, being at the show taping was great and the baby picks/audience gifts were lovely--and lucky for you I'm giving one away!

Kushies Fitted Crib SheetFounded in Canada in 1953, Kushies started out in Canada as a doll clothing and accessory manufacturer. Now they make a large array of adorable baby products, including organic layette sets, cloth diapers and the beautiful pink polka dotted fitted crib sheets at right, which I am giving away to one of you!

From the website: Kushies premium quality 100% cotton flannel sheets are available in adorable pre-assorted boy, girl, and neutral colors and prints to match any nursery!  All fitted sheets are fully elasticized for a perfect fit. Finished edges for quality & durability. Sized to allow for shrinkage - fits perfectly after each wash.

To enter to win a pink polka dotted 100% cotton flannel fitted crib sheet from Kushies, please leave a comment below by 11:59 on February 29th. I'll contact the winner on March 1st. Good luck!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: MusicClasses4Kids - Kids' Music Classes in Rockland, Bergen & Passaic

Andrew is obviously going to be the next big music star (see exhibit A), so we gladly signed up for MusicClasses4Kids Winter 2012 session at the New City, NY location after attending a free trial class back in January. We love this creative music education program and are happy to have been going there long enough now that we can finally recommend it to you! 
Exhibit A: Rock God

Created by Mark Pent (Mistermusikmark) and Gail Pent (Kupkake), this music program is fun, effective, and so refreshingly far from the computer or TV. Mark--an accomplished professional percussionist and early childhood music and educator--and Gail rely primarily on drums and other percussion instruments, an mp3 player, singing, dancing, storytelling and on-your-feet games during each class. And, wouldn't you believe it, the kids have a ball and learn at lightning-fast speed too.

Proof? Andrew is only 23 months old, but last week at class he was able to create an eighth note structure out of popsicle sticks--and most of the other kids in the class can do it too! He sings the songs we learn in class at home all the time, he can identify a ton of different instruments now, and he pretends to "air" play those instruments CORRECTLY. I am one very proud and impressed mommy. 

Not to mention that Andrew has such fun at each and every hour-long class, dancing under the parachute, making animal sounds, banging on a drum or shaking his egg maracas. He even enjoys it when he doesn't participate exactly as instructed to, such as sitting in the middle of the floor playing a drum while we all have a musical parade around him. The Pent's encourage parent participation, though, even when the little ones aren't paying their full attention. If mom is doing it, Andrew usually comes around. But if he doesn't, its OK too--as long as he does not touch another child (these classes are a rough-house free zone!)  

You can try out a FREE CLASS at the end of March/beginning of April before the Spring 2012 session beings--just check the class schedule HERE for more info. The tuition is $209* for 10 classes (11 including the free class) and babies attending with a sibling up to 8 months are free.This is really great for me as Andrew won't have to miss the next session of classes when the baby arrives--I'll just need to ask someone to come along to occupy the littler one (dads, grandmas, grandpas, any helper guardian is welcome.) *There is a one-time new family fee of $15. There are class locations in New City, Pearl River, Tallman, Butler (NJ), and Ringwood (NJ).  

So, give a free class a try and let me know if you agree with Andrew and me. Then, let's start a toddler band and make like stage moms!  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Preview: The 2012 Martha Stewart Baby Shower Show and Rockland Mother's Top Baby Picks

I had the immense privilege of attending the taping of Martha Stewart's "Baby Shower Show" yesterday (my friend applied for tickets online) and boy did we have a nice time! Everyone in the studio audience left with a ton of great products, including those chosen as top baby picks by The Baby Guy who writes The Baby Guy Gear Guide online.

I don't know much about The Baby Guy, but he does know a lot about baby products from his research. BUT, I don't necessarily think he picked the newest and most useful products for the Martha Stewart Show. Perhaps it is because a) The Baby Guy does not have children himself and b) he is a baby GUY and therefore isn't as intimate with the ins and outs of childbirth and breastfeeding as a woman is, but I felt that some of the products that he picked, while wonderful, were either things we all already know about or things that were simply "adorable."

That said, I'm not going to reveal his picks--you can check out the show on Friday, February 17th on the Hallmark Channel--but I do want to quickly mention a few of the items I would have featured had I been the show's baby expert!

Product Details1) Milkies Milk-Saver:  I've mentioned this product for nursing/pumping moms before. This smart little invention catches any milk leaking from the breast you are not feeding or nursing on so that you can save it and store it for a future feeding. I haven't tried it yet, but I think the Milk Saver is a new and novel product that will help many a mom.

Product Details
2) The 4Moms Mamaroo: This innovative infant seat takes up less space than traditional infant swings and mimics a variety of motions from car ride to a mother's rocking arms.  Among other features, it plugs into the wall so that you don't have to eat through D batteries and it also hooks up to your iPod.

Product Details
City Select
3) Expandable Strollers: Yes, the robotic, self-folding Oragami stroller is awesome and I'm tempted to list it since it was not mentioned on the show either, but I think many more moms will benefit by knowing about the large array of "expandable" strollers that are out there. By "expandable," I'm referring to strollers that have the capability of growing from a single stroller to a double or triple.

Baby Jogger's The City Select, The Britax B-Ready, and the Valco Tri Mode Ex are just a few of the expandable strollers out there. If I had known what I know now, I would have registered for an expandable while pregnant with my first--they may be more expensive than a single, but you'll save in the long run when you don't have to buy a double when/if you have a second.

Product Details4) Shrinkx Hips: Yup, I'm going there. This product claims to take advantage of the extra relaxin left in a woman's body after birth and help shrink her hips back to normal (or even small than) pre-pregnancy size! You can bet my large pregnant ass (and hips) I'll be trying this product this spring.

Simple Strands - Mystic5) Mommy Necklaces: These stylish bead necklaces are made with safe-for-baby materials and are incredibly strong so that a mother doesn't need to worry about ruining her more expensive jewelry. Mom can wear them while breastfeeding to hold the attention of a fussy baby--and they are even great at distracting my two year old in a pinch! They are the perfect baby shower gift and a great way for a mother to feel pretty in those days just after giving birth--just note that these beads are not meant to be teethed on and that you never eave a child alone with them (not a toy!)
Product Details

6) Convertable Diaper Bags: A stylish diaper bag that can hang on your stroller handle is a wonderful thing, but one that is stylish, attaches to a stroller, and can convert from a shoulder bag into a backpack is simply amazing. Anybody who has carried a large toddler on their hip while toting a huge shoulder bag or has run around a playground with a heavy messenger bag across their body can attest to this! (The Baby Guy has probably never done any of these things!)

Jujube's BFF and Packabe or Petunia Pickle Bottom's Boxy Backpack and Abundance Boxy Backpack are stellar examples of a convertible diaper bag. Expensive, yes. But the smart features in all of these bags definitely make up for it.

Product Details

7) The Snuza: The Snuza Halo and the Snuza Go are small baby movement monitors that clip directly to a baby's diaper, rather than being placed under the crib mattress. This eliminates those false alarms that may occur when a baby rolls away from a movement sensor pad place under him in the crib and allows the monitor to be used on the go (in the car, etc.) The Snuza Halo even features a vibrating "rouse" feature to stimulate a baby who has not moved for a certain amount of time and will alert you to rouse incidents.


And I've got loads more we don't have time for today folks! So, maybe Martha will give me a call the next time she needs to put together a smattering of new and awesome baby picks for the year? Check out the show on Friday and let me know what you think!

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Tour of the Birthing Center at Good Samaritan Hospital (Suffern, NY)

Good Samaritan Hospital offers maternity floor tours on the first Sunday of every month, so my husband and I took the opportunity last weekend to check out where we'll be having our next little munchkin in 12ish weeks. It was really nice to get acquainted with the place on the one-hour tour and to be able to ask a Good Sam nurse all our questions. And seeing all the sweet little babies in the nursery brought a tear to my eye--I can't wait until Spring!

The Waiting Area

The USB Family Birthing Center is on the 5th floor of the hospital. Entering the reception/waiting area from the elevators, you feel like perhaps you're walking into a hotel lobby. The room is dominated by a large dark-wood desk in the middle, which is surrounded by various comfy seating areas for waiting families. Behind the desk are couches and a bookshelf and a child-sized table and chairs to occupy the little ones. To the right and left of the elevator bank are bathrooms and also cute alcove-type waiting areas with TVs that offer a more private place for families.

Aside from looking really nice, the waiting room seems like it will be a safe and easy place for, if necessary, grandpa/whoever to keep Andrew occupied when I'm in labor. This has been one of my major concerns being pregnant with our second, so I was relieved when I walked into the waiting room.

The Labor and Delivery Rooms

I was impressed by the delivery rooms mainly because they are big! When I gave birth to Andrew at LIJ in New Hyde Park, there was barely enough room for one guest chair in addition to the hospital bed. Good Sam's rooms are spacious and have showers for a laboring mother's comfort. We were told that some rooms and some showers are even bigger than others, so be sure to ask for one of the bigger showers if you plan to go without an epidural. Some rooms even have beautiful views of the mountains outside your window (I think my view out of the LIJ windows was of a construction site!)

After you give birth, you'll probably remain in the L&D room for another hour or two, so its really nice to have such a large and comfortable space in which waiting family members can visit, if you so choose. The nurse leading the hospital tour told us that there are no set visiting hours when it comes to the L&D side of the maternity floor--but be aware that only two people can stay with you in the room when you are laboring.

The Postpartum Rooms

A great thing about Good Sam's birthing center is that you will most likely have a private recovery room--unless the hospital is incredibly busy that day. The postpartum rooms aren't huge or gorgeously appointed, but they seem comfortable. They have a hospital bed, shelves/storage for your clothes, a TV, a sleeper chair for dad/partner, a private bathroom and shower with a shower seat (awesome) and enough room for baby to room in, visitors to sit around, and a toddler to entertain himself without running amok through the hospital floor.

Overall, I felt really good after the tour. I feel like baby and I will be in good hands and Andrew won't feel scared or destroy the place when he comes to visit. Also, the nurse expressed that the hospital is very pro-breastfeeding, which is nice. They won't even give your little one formula without you signing off on it--unless, of course, there is a medical reason that necessitates it. They also have great security measures like most maternity wards, which means baby will be wearing plenty of ID bands and an electronic bracelet that prevents anybody from abducting him/her.

Another awesome thing--the parking lot at Good Sam rocks! You can valet park or just self park for free just a short walk away from the hospital entrance. This is nothing like having to pay for parking in a 3+ level parking garage halfway across the universe from the entrance at LIJ!

So, we'll see what I think about the hospital once I actually deliver there! I'll be sure to post a birth story and "notes from the inside" come April or May. Until then, take a tour if you're expecting to deliver at Good Sam and let me know what you think! Just go to the fifth floor birthing center at 10:50am the first Sunday of the month for a tour--no registration necessary.