90 posts categorized "urbanGear"

5 Back-Breaking Mommy Mistakes

November 08, 2006

Darien Wilson, the mamapreneur of the baby carrier company, ZoloWear, has lent us some words of wisdom on mama posture.  Thanks for the advice!

Moms often complain of back pain from all the carrying, bending, and stooping done during the day.  Many times the pain is caused by improper weight distribution or bad posture while carrying baby.  There is no reason you should feel pain while carrying your precious cargo.  Here are 5 back-breaking examples of common baby wearing mistakes:

  1. Carrying the baby in the car seat carrier.  We’ve all seen moms leaning to one side with their arms about to be pulled out of the sockets while lugging babies in a car seat.  Car seats are for transporting babies in the car!  There is a much easier way to carry baby.  Baby slings or other carriers are much more comfortable, easy to use, and super convenient.  Afraid to wake the baby?  Watch how quickly they fall back to sleep against mommy’s warm chest!
  2. Wearing a carrier with narrow straps. If you’ve ever carried a heavy shopping bag with thin handles you’ve experienced the painful red marks left behind in your hands.  Narrow straps on baby slings or other types of carriers can be just as painful.  A narrow band of fabric puts all of the weight on your neck.  Be sure that you choose a carrier with wide straps that won’t dig into your shoulders or back.  The wider the fabric is spread across your shoulder and back, the more comfortable the sling is for mom.
  3. Wearing a sling against your neck instead of cupping your shoulder. Think back to the time you traveled on vacation before rolling luggage was invented.  You probably carried a hanging bag or duffel bag with a strap around your shoulder and across your chest.  If you let the strap slip too closely to your neck instead of the wide part of your shoulder you would soon regret it.  Nothing a good neck massage and some pain reliever wouldn’t cure, right?  Adjust your baby carrier so that any material or strap is pulled out to its fullest width.  The strap or material should be cupping your shoulder comfortably.  A narrow band of fabric puts all of the weight on your neck.
  4. Wearing the carrier too loosely. One day at the beach you were carrying your squirming nephew who was acting like a rabid monkey.  He kept pulling away from you while keeping a tight grip around your neck, legs locked around your waist.  He leaned back as far as possible while shouting monkey noises.  It suddenly felt as if he weighed 100 extra pounds.  This is exactly why your baby should be pulled in close to your body. A snug carrier is more comfortable for on your back and keeps your baby upright and secure.  If your carrier is too loose then baby leans back creating a pulling sensation and added weight.
  5. Wearing baby too low in any carrier. Remember carrying heavy history books around campus in a backpack?  If your backpack wasn’t adjusted properly you carried the weight too low causing pain in your shoulders.  Oh, the relief when you let that backpack drop to the desk!  Carrying your baby too low in a carrier can be just as excruciating – it causes your shoulders to carry the weight instead of your strong core muscles.  Baby should be worn at or above your waist so that he hugs your chest.

DryCleaning Low Down

October 09, 2006

Since I quit my job and had a baby nearly two years ago, my need for a good dry cleaner has been non-existant. But now that I'm a part-time working mom, some of my old work clothes are making their way back to the front of my closet. The good news is that they still fit...Yahoo! The bad news is that lots of them still call for dry cleaning...ugh. I've taken a few things to the cleaner up the street, and while they came back fine, the place was kind of scary looking and I never could stand that yucky "dry cleaner smell." Since moving to Portland, we've definitely become a bit more sensitive to health and environmental issues, so it got me thinking...

Can any mamas tell me what the "green cleaners" are doing that's either better for the environment or our health? Are they much more expensive than the stinky place up the street? Any recommendations for a good one? Does anyone know of a good one that does pick up/delivery to home/office? Any experience or good recommendations would be great!

These feet are made for walking

September 25, 2006

We've been holding out on buying new shoes for our biggest girl for some time. She started first grade at her new school in her tattered Teva's, her shoes of the summer.  By the end of her first week of school, we realized we couldn't wait for her birthday. We HAD to get her new functional multi-use shoes: something comfy for all the walking we do, something anti-stink for all the funk that can arise, something durable for all the kicking at rocks or stomping in leaves she does, something feminine for her inner-princess inside. We ended up at the Nordstrom downtown. Here are some tips and pointers the kid-shoe professionals shared with us:

Get real. For combatting the shoe stink, go with real leather over rubber or synthetics. Geox makes great aerated shoes with holes in the soles for maximum breathing. A "microporous sole" is what they call it.

Measure up. Getting sized up is important, having the kids heel pushed all the way to the bottom of the measuring device and having them stand to place all weight on the foot being measured. When the shoe's on, a thumb-sized gap is good growing room, not soo much space that the shoe is floppy.

Width matters. Some shoes run wide (like German brand Elephanten or Stride Rite), some run narrow (like Italian brand Primigi). Trying them on will definitely give a feel whether the width is right: a good snug but not tight fit.

Buy new. Being an avid consigner/purchaser of formerly-loved consigned goods, this is not what I wanted to hear. The kid-shoe professional told us that each child wears in their shoe so the sole conforms to their own foot. Wearing another child's shoe can hinder the growth of the foot or even damage the foot. I guess it makes sense.

Anyone else have tips to share on finding the right shoes for our little people's feet?  Any must-go shoe spots?  Imelda's for kids?  Finally, a question from Karli:

I need to get my 20 month old some new shoes!  We've been buying him See Kai Runs, but he needs a size 9 now, and he's been walking for quite a while, so I don't know if this brand is what he needs at this point, since they are geared for early walkers.  Any suggestions?  I don't know which brand to go with or where to get them. 

Adjust to Fit

August 01, 2006

Sometime in the past couple of years, GAP has installed elastic bands in pants, shorts, and skirts to make the waist more or less snug as necessary.  Not only is it useful to adjust to the individual fit for each child, it also helps prolong the use of our clothes items from year to year.  Berkeley Parents Network also has some pointers on pants for kids.  Any other tips?  Viva inquires:

I have a question about fitting slim kids.  My son is so slim that all pants seem to be too huge in the waist. Gymboree has the adjustable waistband and they have slim & husky fit starting at size 5, but my son is 3 and the adjustable waist is still a bit big at the smallest setting.  Does anyone have advice about clothes that run slim for boys (mostly pants)?  I may have to just get good at adjusting them myself.

Weekend Warriors: May 19-21

May 18, 2006

As we delve further into spring and approach the summer, we'll find more and more outdoor fairs, but there will be more events in general. Please pass on news of goings on via email, and we'll put them in our weekly "Weekend Warriors" editions!

Alberta Art Hop. 'This year the 7th Annual Alberta Art Hop expands to two days, presents four stages of music, mounts international and city-sponsored art retrospectives, initiates a festival partnership with Oregon Country Fair, shifts evening revelers inside for “Alberta After Hours,” while still managing to pack in more art than you can shake a paint brush at. Be it bands, strolling performers, impromptu street performance, sky-high bicycles, neighborhood kids hawking hot dogs, or the hundreds of artists displaying/selling their own creations street side, there is something to delight anyone open to “the surprise of art.”' See complete details here. Sat & Sun, May 20 & 21.

Portland Cloth Diaper Circle at the Milagros Family Room. This will be a great circle for learning about cloth diapers! Washing, drying, fastening, all-in-ones, pocket diapers, prefolds.... there is much to share about in the world of cloth diapering. No need to RSVP, just show up! Saturday, May 20; 10 AM to 12 N.

AsiaFest 2006. The month of May is celebrated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. 'Portland’s AsiaFest 2006 offers the opportunity to see a show, listen to music, and experience the craftsmanship and creativity of a variety of Asian cultures.' The event will also feature cuisine from local Asian restaurants, a silent auction, and more. Oregon Convention Center, Saturday, May 20, 11 AM to 6 PM.

Babywearing Workshop at Urban Grind Coffee at 2214 NE Oregon St | (503) 546-0649. Learn how to wear your baby in different kinds of ring slings, an Ergo, Fleece Pouch, Wrap, Mei Tai, etc. and swap carriers as well. We will have the Babywearing DVD (Tummy 2 Tummy) and Babywearing books available for loan or purchase, as well as free babywearing advocacy buttons for all. This is a not-for-profit event, but simply to help make the joys and wisdom of babywearing accessible to more people. There will be several experienced mamas on hand to answer questions and demo carriers for all ages/sizes of babies. Sunday, May 21, 11 AM to 1 PM. (Thanks Emily for the heads-up )

Rose City Race. Have fun and raise some money for PPS while you're at it.

Tees Tease

May 11, 2006

Urbanfam_sI'm happy to report that the urbanMama and urbanPapa tees are going to be available just in time for urbanMamas day!!!   If you click the left image you can see the larger version of what the tees look like.  The one I'm wearing is the maternity version, but the Mama version is just like the little guys, 3/4 black sleeves on a white tee.  Because of the short amount of time we've had to get these together I'm making them myself.  With the help of the folks at Milagros, we were able to get quite a deal on the tees and we're offering the adult tees for $12 and the littlun's tees for $8.  3-6 month size and 6-12 month size are onesies... all white.


Urbanandrew_sI cropped a closeup of the black/white tee that Andrew's wearing here (again, click to see larger version):
This weekend I will have enough for all the orders you have submitted and a few extra for those of you who didn't get your order in before I had to make my order.  Since we have not set up an urbanMamas account yet we will be accepting cash and checks.

Can't wait to see everyone at Milagro's!

Tee Roll Call

May 01, 2006

Alright urbanMamas... it's time to tally the tees.

I need a quantity and size for each family member that might be interested...  and you can either leave a comment here or e-mail me directly to get your count in the tally.  My purpose here is to come up with some size ordering #s for our first order.  It may take a while to get them in but they'll certainly be styling.

Thanks!  Happy May Day :)

we want tees

April 18, 2006

We want to produce urbanMamas tees to sell at events and on the web site. We'd use whatever proceeds we obtained to maintain this site and, if there were leftovers, give to some worthy mama-rific organization.

We know we could do cafepress but that seems so... unhip. Non-Portland-like. Isn't there a fashion design school right downtown? Don't mamas linked here own tee companies? We really want one of you, or your best friend or honored favorite tee artist, to make tees for us.

If you're interested, comment or email me at mama [at] cafemama.com and we'll talk more.

I'm a Big Kid Now

April 17, 2006

Saying goodbye to the crib is indeed a rite of passage. Chari asks:

How do you choose the first bed for a toddler? We're starting to transition Miles from his crib to a bed. Has anyone done any research and/or heard about what kinds of mattresses are good or bad for toddlers? We are thinking we'll put him in a bed by the summer or fall. Just starting to do some shopping. What I've found is HUGE prices differences, and a range from super firm to plush and soft mattresses. What's best for a first bed for a little one?

Pass it On - This Weekend

April 04, 2006

Thanks, Suzame, for the heads up on Pass it On, West Side Portland's Consignment Event. From the website, it looks like it'll be a huge event, and you can even sign up to consign your items. Check it out this weekend, Saturday 9am to 7pm and Sunday 10am to 3pm (when everything is 50% off). It'll be held at the Washington County Fair Complex in Hillsboro.

Gear Advice

April 03, 2006

A good friend of mine recently for some advice on gear.  When it comes to parenting, I'm totally flattered when someone asks for my advice since even with two boys, I still consider myself a novice and still learning something new every day.  So, when it comes to gear, what I've learned is that you need to understand your lifestyle first and how you will be using the gear before you buy.  Here's what works for our family where the focus of the gear supports our love for outdoor activities:

Car seats. We use a Graco (don't know the style) for our preschooler and a Cosco for our infant.  When both boys were newborns, we used a Graco.  To be honest, we felt that functionally if the car seat met the NHTSA safety standards, than it would do the job.  We bought all of our car seats from Target.

Strollers.  Since my first born son did not like strollers until he was 18 months old, we never felt the need to put much effort into finding stroller for everyday uses.  We found that an umbrella stroller met our purposes.  But when our $10 umbrella stroller broke, we realized that we needed to replace it with a lightweight stroller that was a bit roomier and more comfortable for our growing boy.  We opted for a lightweight stroller and found that in the Combi Savvy Soho Sport (Target buy). It works for our purposes.

Jogger.  Finally, something I have an opinion about!  We have a Chariot (purchased from REI), and it's by far our best investment.  As far as gear goes, we've been using ours since Carter was about 4 months old.  And since it easily converts to a bike trailer, it is by far the most versatile piece of gear we've purchased.  We've been using it for 3 years, and anticipate that there will be more miles put on the jogger before it goes into retirement.

Front Carrier.  The first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant was the Kelty Kangaroo (purchased from REI).  I envisioned that we would still be hiking and toting our child around on all of our outings.  So when Carter was five weeks old, we had the opportunity to test out the carrier on his first hike at Eagle Creek in the Gorge.  I loved it since I could multitask - breastfeed and hike.  Then came along my second, and I bought an Ergo (purchased from Milagros).  It was love at first try!  I use the Ergo all the time now, toting my infant in front or in back.

Back Carriers.  When Carter was six months, we switched from using the Kangaroo to the Kelty Backcountry (purchased from REI).  I used the Backcountry extensively until Carter was about 18 months when he was deemed to heavy for me to carry.  Even though I know mamas with smaller frames have issues with these type of carriers, both my husband and I were able to use it interchangeably between the two of us.  He's over 6 feet tall, and I'm 5 feet 2 inches.  We're looking to use both the Backcountry and Ergo on hikes this spring and summer with our two sons.

Mamas, what brands do you like?  What stores carry what your liked? And, finally what features are a must have for the gear mentioned above?

On toys...

March 27, 2006

Thanks, Ann, for your recent question:

I have a 9 month old daughter and she is starting to play with toys. What toys are hits with kids? For instance, my daughter loved stacking cups. I hate buying toys that I think look cool but are huge flops.

Any tips for good toy investments for the pre-toddler age set?

Coulda Shoulda Woulda

March 23, 2006

We've been thinking about this for a while:  Which baby gear items did you find crucial?  Which baby gear items are you sure you could do without?  Which ones did you wish you have?  Share with us the wisdom of your experience!

Baby gear items we found crucial:

  • Tons of onesies, pjs with footsies, receiving blankets, wipes.  Especially for the first 3 months or so.  Tons of pee, poop, and drool everywhere require frequent costume changes unless you launder every 8 hours.
  • A soft baby carrier that you can use from birth: Ergo, Bjorn, Maya sling.  The Ergo and Slings can even be used well past 2 years old, depending on your size and baby's size.
  • Kiddapatamous bundle-me thing.  It's wind-resistant on the outside and cozy fleece on the inside.  Can be used to add coziness when baby is in a front carrier/sling, stroller, car seat.  Can also be used as a makeshift changing pad.
  • A sturdy lightweight stroller.  Combi lightweight stollers (which weight around 12-13 lbs.), Maclaren Trimuph or Volo, the Chicco Caddy.
  • Fleecey sleep-sack.  No more need for a blanket if they're cozy in this sleep bag.
  • The Baby Book, by Dr. Sears.

Baby gear items we could do without:

  • High Chair.  It's cost- and space-inefficient.  When baby 2 came around, we went with the booster route, and they even make reclining boosters now.  Fully collapsible, most are completely dishwasher safe.  Luxurious!
  • Travel System.  We noticed that baby would rather be worn and go for a walk in the 'hood or ride on the train/bus than be strapped in a carrier that gets strapped to a stroller.
  • Outfits for baby under 3 months old.  A couple of outfits were ok, but baby seriously only needed onesies and the full-length PJs.  And lots of them at that!  Around 6 months, it started getting to be more fun to play dress-up, when they could sit upright more and start to stand.

Baby gear items we never had and we wonder "Did we need 'em?":

  • Bouncy/vibrating seat.
  • Exersaucer.
  • Baby swing.
  • Changing table.
  • Wipe warmer.
  • Diaper champ/genie.

Picks - Portland and Otherwise

March 18, 2006

I'm certain that many local mamas subscribe to the wildly popular Portland Picks for the latest reviews and word on what's cool and neat in the greater Metro area.  Thought I'd pass the word regarding another pick-esque site that perhaps may pique your interest.  Cool Mom Picks, check it out! And while you're perusing the site, you may even come across a post about our very own, Marlynn's Mama Calling Card. Isn't it time you get some for yourself?  Have you seen ours?

Umamascard_1

Where to Donate Toys and Clothes

March 13, 2006

Reuse, recycle, reduce. It's the Portland way.  So, what if you have some gear and clothes that you'd like to donate rather than sell or exchange?  Here are Kim's kind words about urbanMamas (thanks!) and question:

I would like to start off by saying I love your website! I stumbled upon it looking into Childcare/Pre School info for my 2 1/2 year old son.

I had one question do you or any of the "urbanMamas" know of a place I can donate his toys etc.? When he was younger we went to the Children's Exchange to trade things (which is a great place) I would really like to know if there was a way to find families in need to help with toys and clothes.

G-Diapers: So, how are they?

March 07, 2006

Our recent conversation on Fuzzis have led to mention of the new G-Diapers. The g-diaper family, the Graham-Nyes, moved from Australia to set up their g-diaper headquarters in Portland. Yup. Wouldn't you? Because Portland is one of the greatest cities in the world, especially for a earth-friendly, family-friendly company that produces a flushable diaper!

SO, have you used the g-diaper? What do you think? We're interested in some product reviews!

Fuzzi Bunz: a pdx wild-goose chase

March 05, 2006

I used Fuzzi Buzz dipes for our second daughter.  We love them through and through!  Now that our second girl is now out of diapers (yipee!), we want to keep the fuzzi bunz love going.

As one of those 'stretched to the limit' sorta mamas (yeah, whatever), I had 1 hour last Friday to find a coupla fuzzis as a gift at a colleague's baby shower.  I checked the Fuzzi website to find that there were only two Fuzzi retailers in Oregon: one in Eugene and one in Grants Pass (which is where I made one big original fuzzi order way back when).  I thought to myself, "what the????"  I could've sworn that at least one Portland kiddie shop carried the Fuzzis.  I surfed onto Mother Nature's and saw that they carried Fuzzis.  BUT, did they have any?  Alas, a call over to Mother Nature's told me there were no Fuzzis to be had.  In fact, I was told that Fuzzi Bunz hadn't fulfilled an order for months and months and that Fuzzi-luvin' parents were frantically trying to find them all throughout the Portland area!  I was surprised at the story.  The last bit of info from our conversation was that only one other retailer carried the Fuzzis in Portland, a primarily-online retailer BabyWorks.

It was 11:10 am and I was on SE Clinton and I had to find the Fuzzi Bunz (size medium, preferably in bright colors!) and get back to the office (such a fun-filled place for a baby shower!) by 11:30.  I 411-ed BabyWorks, confirmed availability of my needs, and zipped on over to a live/work space in the NW.  When I walked into BabyWorks, I was in awe at this treasure!  Organic cotton baby layettes, varied diapering systems, beautiful diaper bags.... and the oh-so important flushable Kushi diaper liners, which - until today - we've only been able to find at two Portland stores (Mother Nature's and Milagros).  I felt lucky that we had this online shop headquartered in Portland.

The women at BabyWorks were helpful and very busy.  I arrived at the baby shower at 11:34 am, with a package of a bright orange fuzzi and a bright red fuzzi, each stuffed with a Mother of Eden fleecy liner.

All of this to say: uMamas, BabyWorks is awesome!  Since they are primarily online retailers, their retail hours are limited, so check the website for details.

Baby Bundler Models Wanted

February 27, 2006

Wanna be seen at Baby Fest?  Shelley's looking for a few good mamas (and babes):

I am going to be at the BabyFest March 11th & 12th and thought some of your moms would like to come and hang out with me. I could get them passes to get in and if they could wear my Baby Bundler around they could keep it if they like. I'm looking for maybe 4 to 6 moms or more if there is an interest. The Babyfest will be at the convention Center---There should be around 8-10,000 people with lots to do and see. I could use your help if anyone can. Call or e-mail shelley at babybundlers@comcast.net. My phone is 503 704-7240.

Jogging Stroller Advice

February 22, 2006

OK, all you active urbanMamas. I need your help in finding a new jogging stroller. We received the 5K InStep jogger as a baby shower present and while it's fine and dandy for hubby to use, it isn't made for petite mamas like me. It's heavier than I would like it to be and I feel like my arms are over my head as I push the jogger up the hills in my 'hood.  A friend recently  purchased the Jeep Overland jogger, which has the adjustable stroller handle (great for shorties like me!) and seems like a cush ride for the tots. Any mamas out there madly in love with their joggers and would recommend them?

LUCY WAREHOUSE SALE - TH, F, SA

February 14, 2006

It'll be a zoo, I assure you.  Every urbanGirl, mama or not, is going to want to take advantage of the ridiculous prices.  Lucy is having it's twice-annual warehouse sale, which means that nothing is over $20.  Shorts are $5, pants are $10, jackets are $20, and tops are $5-10.  Expect swarms of people and bring your cash or check.  The warehouse experience denies plastic!  Lines and some wait time will also be on the agenda, so bring plenty of diversion for the kidlets.  Better yet, drop off kiddies with your friend at Sydney's down the street, then you can focus on your activewear bargain hunting.

LUCY Warehouse
3135 NW Industrial
Portland, OR 97210

Thursday, 2/16; 12-8 PM  |  Friday, 2/17; 12-7 PM  |  Saturday, 2/18; 9 AM - 3 PM.

Milagros Grows

February 01, 2006

One of our all-time fave kiddie shops is Milagros.  Needless to say, the place is family-friendly with its train table, nursing chair, and comfortable amenities in the back.  Owners Tony, Jennifer, and daughter Mila are always looking to chat and connect with anyone who walks through the door.  They are involved in their community and are active neighbors.  They feature visiting artists and are open late on Last Thursdays.

As a testament of a good thing getting better, Milagros is expanding!  I am so very excited about this next step in Milagros' life.  They are growing into the space next door, the former Aurora dance studio.  Upon my last visit at Milagros, Jennifer and Tony told me that they hoped to have a coffee shop next door, a larger community visiting area.  I can't wait to check it out.  We should all have an upcoming urbanMamas playdate there ...

Their grand opening is this Saturday.  Along with complimentary refreshments, free activities including the wonderful balloon art of Scott David, and art activities courtesy of SCRAP -- Milagros is also offering ridiculous celebratory deals!

  • Buy a pair of Robeez at regular price, and get a pair of WeeStep or StarChild shoes for $10!
  • Buy an exclusive "C is for Che" shirts at regular price, and get a second for only $10!
  • Buy a 'got breastmilk?' shirt at regular price, and get a second for only $10!
  • Every purchase on Saturday comes with a free 'got breastmilk?' bumper sticker.

Surprise! The Lila Guide | Baby-Friendly Portland

January 11, 2006

It was SO long ago when I think I filled out a survey for the Portland lilaguide.  What a treat it was to find one in my mail slot yesterday!  Calling itself the "new parent survivial guide to shopping, activities, restaurants, and more...", the lilaguide is written by parents for parents.  Reviews are Zagat-esque, incorporating first-hand comments and quotes by customers and parents just like us.  Unlike Zagat, where we can expect some witty snarky comments, lilaguide is pretty, smooth, and uber-palatable.

The guide is organized by county - Clackamas, Washington, Clark, and Multnomah.  The urbanMama in me wishes it was mostly Portland information organized by neighborhood.  Still, I found some fun stuff like quotes about almost all the parks and playgrounds with helpful firsthand information.  Of a park just a few blocks of me: "a nice park to visit although there's not too much shade during summer months ... the usual facilities including restrooms and off-leash area..."  I also enjoyed leafing through the Exercise section, highlighting activities I'd not heard of like Baby Boot Camp or Divine Pilates of Portland or Moving Through Center or Stroller Strides.  The Baby Basics section is a great resource, with listings and info for all our favorite joints like Fairies & Frogs (on NE Fremont), Generations (on Hawthorne), Grasshopper (on NE Alberta), Milagros (on NE Killingsworth), Piccolina (at SE Clinton and 26th), Sweetpea's (in Sellwood), and Zanzibar (on NE Fremont near 15th).

I'm glad I have a copy.  But, I'm glad I got a free one (for completing at least 14 reviews of Portland establishments).  I don't think I'd necessarily go out and buy one.

Parents ride wild

January 09, 2006

Ok.  So, they weren't riding wild.  But, this family of four was riding around safely on their bikes and in trailers.  Read Jon Maus' of BikePortland.org and his Report: Danica's first ride.  Jon tells us how he secured 4.5 month old Danica in his trailer while his wife Juli pulled 3-year old separately.  What fun!

And also see a post from yesteryear for a couple of suggestions on bike trailers back when we were considering which bike trailer to buy for the family.  We ended up with the Burley d'Lite for two (which we especially love with the Walk & Roll attachment), and we took Tati for her first ride at about 6 months old.  Our pediatrician had said, as long as she could hold her head up, she can ride in the trailer or a bike seat.  So, we padded Tati in like crazy for her first ride.  Rolled up blankets everywhere to prop her into place.  The bucky travel pillow (kids size) worked great, too, to prevent too much floppy head syndrome.  We've continued padding Tati in, up until she was over a year old.  A small pillow for her back still works great.  Can't wait to get back in the saddle again (I'm more of a fair weather rider)....

A carseat in the cab?

December 19, 2005

We like to think we're seasoned travelers.  Now with two kids in tow, we have the whole thing down to a science.  The girls know when we hit the front of the security line, they need to take off jackets, empty pockets, take off shoes.  We aren't as quick as we like, but we still manage to do ok, considering....

We typically travel with the carseats (complete with its own carseat carrier bag where we can stuff our bulky coats and jackets to check-in during winter travels) unless we're sure we're staying in the city where we can take public transit or foot to all our favorite destinations.  We had our first daughter in nyc, and we practiced the common knowledge: "taxi cabs and buses are exempt from car seat laws."  I wish I could link to something that affirmed our belief.  For all I know, this could have been city urban myth.  Still, I believe other parent friends shared our belief.

Several years, another kid, and a coupla cities later, we still believe that taxi cabs are exempt from the car seat laws.  When we travel, if we expect to never set foot in a car aside from a cab to & fro the airport, we forgo packing the carseat.  And, that is travelling light.

Last weekend, we traveled to Philadelphia without carseats.  We arrived at midnight and were denied by the first two cabs who pulled up to us.  Cabbies would look at the girls and just drive past.  I was pretty darn shocked.  When we asked the attendant at the cabbie stand, she said, "Oh no.  You NEED car seats for the babies."  But.....  what about all that stuff how taxis are exempt?  The attendant said she'd call us a cab with car seats, but it could take 20 minutes.  A moment later, another cabbie drove up and said he'd take us downtown.  It was about 30 degrees and 12 midnight.  We hopped in and held onto each other.

So, what ARE the rules?  Of course we know that breast is best and carseats are also best.  When we travelled in Asia, where carseats are used only by royalty, our 4-month old sat happily on my lap.

And, oh, on a related topic - here are some tips on traveling with the tots from a previous post ....

Shopping: Pre kids vs. Post kids

December 17, 2005

Submitted by:  Cityslicker Mom

I had a conversation recently with a girlfriend about how we pick out the clothes that we buy for ourselves—post kids. Before having babies, I didn't pay much attention to things like fabric type, or how to wash something. If I liked it, I bought it. And even though I think about this everytime I'm buying clothes for myself, this was the first time I actually had a conversation about it with another mom and I was surprised that I'm not the only one who thought about this. We both agreed that we rarely anymore(if ever) buy things that need to be dry cleaned or hand washed---who has time for that? Of course it's not an absolute (there are times when I might find a wool sweater that I just can't live without, and I vow to take care of it the right way even if it kills me), but generally speaking for everyday wear, since having kids and being crazybusy, I try to buy clothes that are still good quality and long-lasting BUT don't need more than the typical machine wash and dry. I do have to admit, however, that this has waned a little since my boys are no longer the spit-up projecting, poop splattering, drooling babies they once were. Now it's more of an issue about my time (and the dry cleaning bill). This made me wonder about you other moms- has having babies changed your "clothing style"?

A Tightwad Shops Local

December 10, 2005

Shopping local in California can typically mean buying from the neighborhood strip mall. In Portland, though, shopping from locally-owned boutiques is a badge of honor.

I prefer not shopping at all, yet I am intrigued by all the start-ups on Alberta Street, my neighborhood thoroughfare. I peek inside the shops on a weekly basis, but am challenged by the $140 sweaters and $20 wind-up toys. It's tough for a tightwad to change her ways but, if I'm planning to buy a gift or a necessity, I'd rather skip Target and walk to my local boutique.

So, this holiday season, I'm slowly devising strategies for shopping local:

1. Buy less--holiday gifts can be fewer and simpler, but from my neighborhood store. I got sweet photo albums at Collage (1639 Alberta) for $5-$8.

2. Buy gifts at the grocery store--in this case, the Mexican grocery. La Playita market, next to the taqueria at 28th and Alberta, has $1.74 Saint candles, way funkier and cheaper than some pseudo-schmancy tea light lantern at Pier One and the like.

3. Think tiny--my son adores collections of miniscule treasures, like the homies from La Playita's gumball machine, the beads & trinkets from Picasso's bead shop (30th and Alberta), and the stretchy reptiles at Grasshopper (18th and Alberta).

4. Try art--this is wild, but small works of art are actually some of the better deals out there. The gallery at 3oth Street is hosting a "Tiny Things" show and has fused-glass bugs for $15. Onda (2215 Alberta) has alebrije ornaments for $20.

5. Aim for maximum style with minimal items--one "Anarchy in the Pre-K" shirt from Wild Child (at 14th, see the website at
http://www.wildchildpdx.com/Index.html) says more than that outfit from Baby Gap.

more Cothing Swap parties

December 01, 2005

Olivia posted earlier about Naked Lady parties, and I just dug into the emails on one of my groups and found an invitation to a party that will be held at Space Monkey Coffee (by the Mt. Scott community center) on December 9. Here's the info:

Clothing Swap for Woman and Children's clothing!
Friday Dec. 9th at 6 p.m.
At Space Monkey Coffee
5511 SE 72nd Ave
(503) 772-3028
Before you start conjuring up lurid ideas of undressed women sipping martinis and dancing the cha cha cha, let me explain what a Naked Lady party is. To sum it up, it's a clothing orgy. The idea is
basic: a number of women get together to swap their undesirable digs. The skirt that you wore every day for 6 months and would puke if you had to wear just one more time becomes another woman's
favorite new thing.... Quite possibly, the Naked Lady party is the best all-ladies evening party that there ever was.

What to bring? Your old clothes and childrens' clothing if you like to swap out with others on that as well. Or anything you just simply want to get rid of. I.E. small old lamps, magazines, books. But please make sure it is all in good condition.

Lurking Pays Off

November 30, 2005

I'm a lurker.  I admit it.  Mostly because I usually don't have anything clever to say.  When I load up my feed on a nearly daily basis, I get excited when my favorite links appear in bold indicating there's a new post.  So, from my daily fix, I came across some exciting news.  What's more exciting than a flushable diaper?  The fact that it's available at every Portlander's favorite store.  We can forgive them for not stocking the elusive Nature Boy & Girl.  Thanks for the heads up, AfrIndie Mum!

Update:  Yes, I forgot the most important part.  I'm referring to G Diapers.  Got that Google?

Winter Cleaning

So, it's that time of year.  Well, in our household, it's always that time of year.  Every time I switch the girls' clothes (from summer wear to winter wear, or vice versa), I try to do a good purge.  Dump the stuff we don't need or don't wear.  Keep the stuff they love.  Every now and then, I also try to purge the toys.  I recently craigslisted (yes, people, from the verb "to craigslist") several infant toys, now that our youngest is well into toddlerhood.

So, where do you deposit your goods?  I am always looking for places to take baby items.  But, here is my list of standard depositees:

MilagrosIt's my first stop for our gently used and muchly loved baby and kiddie stuff.  Recently, they have been so fully stocked that I made an appointment 1 month ago to have them go through our things.  Usually, they are only staffed to go through consigments on Tuesdays midday or on select Saturdays.  So, it's a good idea to call ahead to see if they are accepting consigments and/or if you can make an appointment.  Also, they now have a 2 bag policy!  My two bags are awaiting, stuffed to the brim.  A perk of Milagros is that I can always find something I need there, be it a new jacket for the girls or some new seasonal clothes.

Goodwill:  Many of our household items and other accessories (like luggage and bags) go to the goodwill.  Maybe they'll even end up at the famed "bins"!  And before you drop, it's a good idea to review the list of items they can't accept.

the ReBuilding Center:  We recently replaced 18 of our over 100-year old windows, and all of them went over to the ReBuilding Center.  From their donation page: "If you have reusable building or remodeling materials that you no longer need, you can donate them to The ReBuilding Center for a tax-deductible receipt."   Here's a list of what they can and cannot accept.

Naked Ladies Party:  Just got this idea from Portland MetroBlogs and it sure does sound fun and festive and productive!  In due time, we'll have to organize an urbanMamas naked mamas party....

SWAG

November 25, 2005

A couple friends and family promotional codes for ya'll:

www.babystyle.com - recieve 25% off with code (SHARE807) - before December 11th.

www.oliebollen.com - recieve 10% off with code SHOPEARLY - before November 30th.

Happy shopping.

The Pregnancy Transition

November 11, 2005

Two friends are in the early maternity stage.  At three months pregnant, I remember busting out of my normal clothes but I'd be swimming in any type of maternity clothes.  For me, the greatest comfy thing for a growing belly were yoga pants and the assortment of low-rise stretchy pants you find nowadays.  I even found several pairs of work-appropriate black stretchy yoga pants. 

Also, a recently pregnant friend turned me on to the Bella Band.  From the website:

"Newly pregnant?  Pre-pregnancy pants won't fasten around your waist? Cute maternity fashions a bit big right now? Or maybe you're further along, but some of those maternity styles are falling down around your hips.

The Bella Band is a seamless knit band you wear at your waistline, over your unbuttoned pre-pregnancy pants, over slightly big maternity pants, or around the waistband of any maternity style that falls down around your hips."

Here in Portland, the Bella Band can be found at Generations at 4029 SE Hawthorne / 503.233.8130.  Looks like it runs $26, which could be worth it if you can get a few more weeks of wear out of your non-maternity pants!

Supply and Demand

October 28, 2005

We've been really supportive of our local baby store, frequenting it from it's inception. However, enough is enough. Last Friday, I stopped by to restock our dwindling supply of diaper liners (which are flushable AND biodegradable). "Sorry, we are out. Stop by on Saturday, or Tuesday." That's when I directed my husband to stop at Milagros Boutique (thanks to fellow blogger, mama and friend for the tip)! A busy Saturday morning combined with illness wiped out any chance for us to drop by this highly recommended baby store in NE this past weekend. Giving it one final shot, my husband dropped by our neighborhood baby store again, on the off chance of a delivery. Was it coincidence they were out? I can understand if it was coincidence that the store be out of stock of a few items every once in awhile, but every time we stop by? Sadly, I have to admit they’ve been unreliable. This is the fourth time I've stopped by for diaper liners and they've been out. On two occasions prior, they were out of the much loved Fuzzi Bunz diapers. Guess who will be getting our business now? After coming up empty handed, my husband trekked to NE to pick up our stash for the next few months at Milagros. I think it's time to say asta la vista to Mother Nature's and take our business to NE. We definitely will be stopping by Milagros more often. Now, that we've been assured that they will always have Kushies in stock. It only makes sense when it seems you can only buy this item at a couple of stores in town.

Child Carriers for Easy Outings

Over 20,000 people participated in the Portland Bridge Pedal this year. As a family with two little ones - a 2.5 year old boy, and a 5 week old boy, we couldn't resist the opportunity to participate in this great event. However, having a brand spanking new baby does have it's challenges. The beauty of this event is that it attracts the serious and not-so-serious riders so that it IS family friendly. How did we manage to participate? My husband pulled our older son in a bike trailer. We opted for the 2-seater Chariot but certainly there are many types available such as Burley and Yakima (note: Yakima is no longer making trailers). Even Target carries some affordable versions. Since it is not recommended that young infants be toted around via bike, I opted for the 5-mile walk. This was made easy with the handy Kelty Kangaroo soft child carrier.

We bought both the bike trailer and child carrier almost three years ago so we've used both extensively with our first child and plan to continue to use them with our second. The Chariot is great as it doubles as a jogger. The trailer / jogger is easy to break down and folds compactly for storage. However, the double chassis is large so that if your transporting it via car, it will take up a lot of space. It can be cumbersome to store if you don't have a garage. We have to lug ours up and down the basement steps. When we first purchased the carrier, we also looked at the Burley, but at that time, the Chariot seemed to be sturdier, and the materials more durable. Burley has made considerable advances in the last few years. I did recently get a chance to inspect our friend's double Burley and one of the advantages of the Burley is that it has great storage capacity. They take it grocery shopping and to the the Farmer's Market and can tote two full paper bags of groceries. The Chariot does not have as much space for gear and toting capacity especially when you are pulling passengers.

Baby Slings

February 01, 2005

When we had our first daughter, we were still living in NYC. It was all about the baby bjorn, until she was way too big (around 9 months old), at which point we switched to a kelty. If only I had known about a good baby sling, for those short jaunts. We've experimented with different slings, but I have a hard time finding a fully adjustable sling that will fit my petite frame. Most slings (like the NoJo, etc.) would be too loose on me; I could only tighten to a certain extent. I also had a PreMaxx, which was great for when baby was really little (<4 or 5 months). The most comfy sling for me is the Maya Wrap, which is completely adjustable (for larger or smaller frames) and comes in nice solid colors (like khaki or black or purple or others). The baby & I love it! It helps that you can spread strap over your entire shoulder, thereby distributing the weight and preventing the strap from digging into your shoulder. Also, I often use a spare bedsheet or thin blanket to tie up into a sling. That works really well too.

Cloth Diapers

January 29, 2005

When I had our second baby girl, I wanted to use cloth diapers, but I had no idea how to store them or wash them or dry them...

Goodwill Outlet aka "The Bins"

This beautiful mama and her perfectly cute-but-troublemaking son spent a good 2 1/2 hours at the Goodwill Bins today. This was a follow-up visit to our amazing 12-pound haul this weekend. Our finds were stuff of the Bins legends. Read more from "Beauty and the Bins".

Milagros Boutique

January 18, 2005

i wrote about milagros in a recent entry on my NoPo blog. it goes a little something like this.... ... some time ago, i mentioned this spunky looking consignment store on NE 30th off Killingsworth - right across the street from NE's Cup & Saucer and around the corner from Grolla. well, i finally got the chance to step into Milgros and meet Jennifer, the owner. last tuesday night, the night of our cross-country red-eye trip back to new york, i was on a mission to find a maya wrap. lots of stores in town carry various slings. after months of carrying the baby in a makeshift sling (made with a bedsheet or blanket just tied in a knot), i decided that i needed a professionally engineered sling, especially for our red-eye when carrying and rocking the baby may be crucial. with very little time between work, picking up the kids, getting luggage, going to a holiday party, then getting to the airport, i was determined to not be disappointed in my quest for Maya. so, I called Milagros Boutique. jennifer was with a customer right then, but she soon after called me back and we talked at length about the Maya, it's fit, and how it'll suit me perfectly. she told me she had plenty in stock, and so i was on my way to visit Jennifer at Milagros. how thrilled was i to visit the store! they have got some quality new and consigned baby and maternity items - from the Mayas to Robeez and from bumkins to the oh-so important flushable diaper liners that are so hard to find! i left the place feeling productive and happy. the details: open tuesday to saturday until 5pm. they consign on saturdays and do 50-50.

Wild Child

January 15, 2005

1439 NE Alberta Portland, OR 97211 Phone: 503-249-1030 Web: http://www.wildchildpdx.com Unique, funky clothes and accessories for baby and mama. Wild Child is located in the NE Alberta neighborhood.

Generations

4029 SE Hawthorne Portland, OR 97214 Phone: 503-233-8130 Web: http://www.citysearch.com/pdx/generations Located in SE Hawthorne neigborhood, this retail shop specializes in clothes and miscellaneous gear for pregnant women, nursing moms, and children.

Mother Nature's Earth Friendly Baby Products

January 14, 2005

2627 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR Phone: 503-230-7077 Web: http://www.mothernaturesbabystore.com/ This local business situated in the inner SE Clinton neighborhood sells baby products including cloth diapers, slings and baby carriers, diaper bags, organic clothing, toys and lotions and creams. The store offers a comprehensive offering of cloth diapering supplies featuring the best-seller Fuzzi Bunz (my own personal favorite) to Bumkins. Mother Nature?s also provides a good selection of slings including the New Native Baby Carrier, Chic Pappoose (created by a local mama), Moby Wrap and much, much more. The proprietor is open to stocking items requested by customers and will rotate stock based on brands that prove to be most useful. Fuzzi Bunz diapers typically sell quickly and sometimes may be out of stock as well as the Kushies flushable liners. The store is a great local option for meeting the needs of the cloth diapering and earth conscious family. Prices are competitive. For those new to cloth diapering, slings, and other products, the opportunity to touch and feel and try on the product is well worth the visit.