Kangacare Lil Joey’s

A friend of mine had a baby a few weeks ago. I’d put both of us in the “green mom” category so when I started thinking what to bring to her when I visited her and sweet Ellory, I thought through what was in my “my boys are too little for” closet. No need to go spend money and waste resources, right? I spotted the bag of Lil Joey cloth diapers by Kangacare and my heart dropped a little bit. The teeny tiny diapers my brand new, sweet smelling babies wore the first few months of life would now only cover a thingh most likely. Sigh!

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If you read my birth story you know I didn’t have much control over what went down the first 11 days of life for my babies. When mom nearly dies on the operating table, the staff doesn’t call her to discuss her stance on cloth versus disposables. I’m aware how silly it makes me sound, but one of the hardest things for me as a new mom was meeting my babies for the first time in the NICU and smelling the powdery chemicals from the disposable diapers they were forced to wear. I could feel the plastic in my hand under their bums and it broke my heart that my precious newborns were sitting in sodium polyacralate, dioxins, propylene, tributyltin…blach! My baby born with a pneumo-thorax (hole in his lung) was being exposed to chemicals that cause respiratory distress?! My sweet twins, born to me after years of battling endometriosis and infertility issues were sitting in the very dioxins my fertility doctor told me were responsible for my struggles?!

My heart sank.

The nurse even gave me a toxic diaper as a koozie for the water she gave me in a BPA laden plastic container

The nurse even gave me a toxic diaper as a koozie for the water she gave me in a BPA laden plastic container

When the boys were released to me I put them in organic diapers right away. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough of the Lil Joeys to cloth them full time. But, when they started getting diaper rash and red, flaky, chapped booties from the ORGANIC disposable diapers, I knew cloth was the only way to go. I started putting coconut oil on the butts to fix the damage and putting them only in cloth and things cleared right up! I’ve never looked back.

Cloth is SO much better for your babies, but way better on your pocket book and mother earth. The Lil Joey’s come in 2pks for less than $30 so a good starter kit of these will run you about $200-300 depending on how often you want to do laundry, but they’ll wear these diapers everyday for about 12 weeks so you’ll save hundreds of dollars in the meantime.

Lil Joeys clyde Whole Heart

I loved the prints the Lil Joeys come in! My favorites were the Clyde and the TokiDoki. I wasn’t sure what TokiDoki even was until I visited the Kangacare booth at the ABC Expo and the moms there were acting like John Lennon had stopped by the booth. They were going nuts over this print! In fact, apparently I’d been living under a rock because these designs were in high demand in diaper bags, shopping cart covers, blankets. Everyone wanted some TokiDoki.

vail twins in toki doki

When friends and fans ask me what I consider a must have after having twins, cloth diapers, especially Lil Joeys, are in my top five! I’m so glad I was able to start cloth diapering them right away and limiting the pollutants entering their sweet new bodies. I am confident my babies are strong and healthy and will continue to be this way as long as I’m able to continue limiting their exposure to environmental toxins.

Stay green, 

That Girl

Lorena Canals Rug: The Machine Washable Wonder

When I first heard about a rug that could be machine wahed at home I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical. I thought to myself, “Oh sure, it can go in the machine, but I’ll bet it comes out fluffy, pulled, and faded”. But, then one showed up at my door from Lorena Canals, and I got to try it for myself…game changer!

Soft & safe!

I believe the secret to life with twins is places to set them. You need rockers, bouncers, swings, walkers, chairs, and playpens. Places that you can strap them into or safely lay them to play unattended while you tend to the other or tend to the house. We have blankets and rugs EVERYWHERE! I like being able to get up in the morning, lay the boys on a blanket to roll around and play, and have a few minutes to myself to make breakfast and get my coffee. Before this wonder-rug, I was getting up, strapping them into a swing and laying down blanket after blanket after blanket to provide cushion on the hardwood before unstrapping them and laying them on the floor. The Lorena Canals rug; however, is super soft! It stays in place (no rug mat needed) and it’s fluffy enough for them to roll around on without bonking their heads.

Lorena Canals Dark Grey Ombre

Lorena Canals Dark Grey Ombre

Lightweight!

The twins also LOVE to play in their walkers and scoot around all over the hardwood. The rug is lightweight enough that I can put them in their walkers and one-handed (while holding a 20lb baby boy) fold it up, scoot it out of the way, or even kick it out of the way so they can run around. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but have you ever had a rug that was super heavy you couldn’t move it without a helper, or two? Have you ever had a rug that was so flimsy all your guests tripped over it? Or, what about the rug that needs a rubber mat underneath it to stay in place, which makes it difficult to move? Trust. Having a play area rug that’s easily moved when you have twin babies is a huge deal.

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Not Min-Numbingly Colorful

I gag when I walk into someone’s home and 80% of it looks like a high-end designer showroom, but the other 20% looks like Barney vomited. The mismatched patterns of the children’s toys, the cartoon characters, the cheesy animals, and the primary colors on all the gear…blaech! That’s not for me and it’s not good for babies either. It’s overstimulating, unpredictable, chaotic, and frankly it’s not modern. My home is greys, whites, beige, and classic black and white stripes. Therefore, I opted for an ombre grey rug and it’s beautiful. It takes the place of a coffee table so we don’t have to worry about bumped, scraped heads as much and it’d not distracting from the overall ambiance of my home.

Washes so easily!

We use the rug for storytime, playtime, feeding time, and I even change their diapers on it from time to time. After about a week of being scared I’d ruin it if I washed it I finally decided to bite the bullet and just go for it.

Step 1: Put it in the washer.

Step 2: Put it in the dryer.

Need me to repeat that? It’s that easy. A gentle, cold cycle and a low tumble dry and it was stain free and pull-free! It looks the same, if not better, than it did when we first got it. I will likely be purchasing several more of these rugs…one for every room of the house!

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Get your machine washable Lorena Canals Rug HERE

Stay gold, 

Chelsea Vail

The Baby Cubby: Make Your Own!

You know when you were a kid how you’d stash your favorite toys somewhere special? You had your own little cubby of favorite stuff, right? Or, when you were in school how you’d store your favorite supplies, lip balm, books, or crayons in your “cubby”? Well, that’s the inspiration behind The Baby Cubby! They know how mind boggling it can be to search hundreds of products across multiple websites, so they did the leg work for us and stashed the best baby gear (everyone’s favorites) in one little cubby; thebabycubby.com

When I read they claimed to have the “best”, I thought, “Yeah, I’ll be the judge of that”, because I’m a bit of a baby gear nazi (shocker, right?), and I know what the “best” actually means. But, as I perused their website, I was pleasantly surprised they actually DO have the best. And, they don’t have the best stuff mixed in with a bunch of crap like so many stores and websites do. They have just the best and that’s it, which makes navigating the site a dream! Here’s an example: the Ubbi Diaper Pail is THE best diaper pail on the market for both disposables AND cloth diapers (a steel trap for odors). The Baby Cubby sells the Ubbi Diaper Pail and that’s the only diaper pail on the site…because it’s the best.

So, no more hounding your friends for their recommendations only to realize they’re only recommending what they used that didn’t suck. Go to thebabycubby.com and build your registry all in one place, feeling confident that what you’re registering for is the best.

Here’s my dream registry on thebabycubby.com (most of which I have and LOVE!):

Oeuf Crib or Babyletto 3-in-1

Oeuf Gray Sparrow

Oeuf Gray Sparrow

Ouef Changer/Dresser

Boon Flair High Chair (super modern and easy to wipe down)

Mamaroo or Nuna Leaf are MUST haves! Use these as swings, bouncers, even chairs, for the first six months of life!

Get the Baby Jogger if you’re an urban mom who likes to get easily in and out of places and only plans on having one kiddo. I’d recommend the Uppababy Vista or Cruz if you aren’t done building your family, are expecting multiples, or just like a chicer look. The Baby Jogger can conquer more terrain and has a one handed close option, but the Uppababy folds up pretty compact as well, and even though youneed both hands to close it, it’s still a cakewalk (I use this all day err day with my twins). Also, the Cruz can grow with your family with seat adaptors and down the road you can even attach pedal board for older kiddos.

Little Unicorn Quilt (I die over the cobalt blue)

The 4Moms Breeze Playyard is the bomb.com, but get a Dock-aTot too if you travel often or want one at grandma’s house (or both grandma’s!). Both allow you to have baby sleeping in the room near you until you transition to cribs, pop up easily for travel, and can be taken to friends or family’s houses easily for naptime away from home.

Be sure to add the Boon Patch bottle drying rack. I also dry my Kiinde pouches here and my baby food jars…and my wine glasses!

Ubbi Diaper Pail (get one for every place in the house where a diaper might be!) It traps odors, it’s super sleek, and it’s lightweight.

Lorena Canals Machine washable Rug for playrooms, nursery and even the living room. My goobers use their’s everyday for tummy time, play time, storytime, and even changing!

Lorena Canals Dark Grey Ombre

Lorena Canals Dark Grey Ombre

Owlet Vital Signs Baby Monitor…safer sleep, happier parents.

The Nursery Art by Petal Lane and Petit had me swoonin’. Take a look here

I’m a HUGE fan of the Happy Baby Wrap and wear mine around the house, at the store, at the park, and even when we’re out to eat and one of my boys gets fussy; however, if wrapping your baby to your body is a little too scary for you, the Ergo Baby carrier with infant insert is a dream. Trust me, you’ll want a baby carrier! Worn babies cry less, eat better, are more adaptable and even have better head and trunk control.

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Covered Goods Nursing Cover as a sunshield

With all the nursing covers on the market, why go for anything less than the Covered Goods? It’s not just a nursing cover. It’s also a stroller/carseat cover, sunshield and infinity scarf…but, in my diaper bag it’s also a changing mat, a burp cloth, a blanket, a face wiper, a baby hat, an umbrella…

The Little Unicorn Bibs stole the show in the bib category for those sleek, modern prints; however, Billy Bibs came in a close second, and Aden & Anais burpcloths are a must have due to their over the shoulders design and comfy fabrics.

The Comotomo Bottle is a best-next-to-breast choice. Even if you plan on breastfeeding exclusively, you’ll want bottles for dad to give every now and then, babysiters, and you’ll want bottles when you’re out and about as some babies don’t nurse well in public.

Boon Snug spout cover for bath…trust me! The moment your kiddo starts being mobile in the tub, you’ll want this rubber whale protecting flailing limbs and thrashing heads.

Wean Green glass storage containers are another must have. First you’ll use them to store easy grab-n-go snacks when you’re postpartum and are only eating things you can grab in a driveby situation from kitchen to nursery. Then, you’ll start storing fruits and veggies because you’ll want to start getting your shape back, but before you know it, these will be storing pureed combinations for your growing bambino.

Teething sucks! Say it with me, “teething sucks!” The Baby Cubby crew obviously knows this because they’ve got all you need when your little joy is in a fit of rage trying to pop out those pearly whites! Don’t skimp on the teething toys or you’ll find yourself handing a remote control with rubber buttons to your child to chew on just for a moment of peace. Get the Calmie teething toy, the Banana Toothbrush (get 3-5), Amber Necklaces, and the Comotomo teether.

Also, don’t forget to get yourself a NoseFrida! “Is that the thing that sucks snot from their nose?” Yes, it is, but it has a filter on it so get over yourself and get one. The first time you hear your baby struggling to breathe, you’ll do whatever it takes to clear their nasal passageways and you’d use a straw and suck the snot directly into your mouth if you thought your baby couldn’t breathe. Trust.

Toys! I got a mommy hard-on for the toys on thebabycubby.com (if that’s even a thing). They have buckoos of wooden toys and open-ended toys from Plan Toys and Skip Hop. I also loved the stuffed lovies from Mary Meyer! A must have toy to register for is the Oball! We have one in the car, the nursery, and usually in the diaper bag. It’s cool to them everytime they see it.

The Little Unicorn Towel (adorbs)! Add several of these to your list.

I love the Boon Naked collapsable tub for at home, but do you travel a lot? Will you be at grandma’s often? Road trips? Hotels? I’d also recommen a Puj tub, too, then because it folds up nice for a suitcase and is super easy to use on the go.

The Clothes on thebabycubby.com include the newest craze, Rags to Riches, the very haught Tea Collection, Kickee Pants, and the super modern brand Lulu & Roo. Register for a variety of sizes in everything. And, you’ll like have favorite pieces which baby will outgrow quickly so get one of your favorites in every size so you can enjoy them longer!

Petal Pushers Labor Gown (very Rachel Zoe of you to turn down the paper hospital gown, (just sayin’)

TheBabyCubby.com does NOT disappoint. Don’t send friends and family on a wild goose chase to BuyBuyBaby, Babies R Us and Target, which are essentially the Wal-Mart’s of baby gear. Go to TheBabyCubby.com and know that you’ve got all the best stuff in one place.

If you want a custom registry completed by That Girl, go to MaternityConciergeAustin.com or book a registry completion and I’ll help you out!

That Girl

 

Baby on a Budget

It’s true I’m a wee bit obsessed with baby gear, and have been since WAY before my boys were born; however, most of this gear is not considered a necessity. I even had some mom-troll comment on one of my posts one day, “Seems like you have to be a millionaire to have a baby these days”. I chose not to respond at the time, but here’s what I would’ve liked to say, “Actually, all it takes to have a baby is an egg, sperm, and a vagina”. But, tthat may have been considered rude, even though it’s true, lol. 

You don’t have to be a millionaire to have a baby. Here’s how to avoid breaking the bank when you’re preggo.

Breastfeed.

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Formula is not only lacking in nourishment and high in unnecessary toxins, but in pales significantly in comparison to breastmilk and it’s expensive! The sticky, stinky powder will empty your pockets so fast it’ll make your head spin, plus you’ll need bottles, nipples, warmers, bottle cleaner, etc. Something like 97% of the female population can breastfeed successfully so only 3% of you may have trouble. No need for fancy nursing covers either. If you’re shy, say goodbye…and walk away to somewhere peaceful and private. Otherwise, sun’s out? Boobs out!

Babywear

breastfeed, sideline, that girl

A babywearing wrap can be as cheap as $40! Know what’s even cheaper? Fabric. It cracks me up when I’m out in public tying on my ACK Wrap or Happy Wrap and someone comments, “Wow, they didn’t have things like that when I had my babies.” Yes, they did! All over the world people have worn their babies using not much more than a bed sheet or cut of fabric. Tie your baby on and there’s no need for a fancy schmancy stroller.

Cloth Diaper

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Yes, there’s some money up front and it’s suggested to have about 24 diapers to start with, but you could get by with less than that at first and build your way up to more. You’ll just have to do laundry a bit more until baby is using less diapers per day, but the upfront costs of cloth will save you thousands down the road. Get a starter kit of 24 diapers plus diaper pail liners and wet bags from ShopWholeHeart.com

Feed the Baby What You Eat

Jarred baby food costs about $.50 for one little jar, but you may go through 3-5 per day, which adds up to $1.50-2.50 a day, or averaging about $40-60 a month. Yikes! Make your own for a third of that price or, even better, just feed baby from your plate. Around six months baby can start eating soft foods and doesn’t need purees. Mash up that banana, potatoes, avocado, egg yolk, or bone marrow delicacy you’re spreading onto your toast points! Studies show babies who ate what the family ate before two years of age are far less likely to be picky eaters.

Clothes

Hand me downs from...somewhere

Hand me downs from…somewhere

Facebook is your friend! Join local garage sale pages, or swap sites, and post every few months asking for hand me downs. Trust me-people don’t want to go through that big box marked for Goodwill and price everything out to sell you individually. They just want it out of their house. I’ve gotten stuff from Baby Gap, Janie and Jack, even Feather4Arrow for FREE!!!

Bathtime 

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You do NOT need expensive organic soaps and lotions. Babies aren’t dirty and their skin produces natural oils to moisturize and protect. For bath, fold up a towel in the kitchen sink, fill it a little ways with warm water and wash baby off with a washcloth and natural oil (such as coconut oil or almond oil) every few days.

Toys

The best toys for babies and toddlers are “real world” items found around the house. Commercial toys are often overstimulating, which can actually stunt imagination and development rather than enhance it.

  • Create a sensory board using plywood and attach things such as sandpaper, buttons, locks, zippers, old calculators, ribbons, cotton, or various fabrics with different colors and textures.
  • Create a “sandbox” with a large rubbermaid container and cornmeal (safe to injest).
  • Use kitchen utensils like spatulas, ladles, measuring cups, or measuring spoons to play in sand or water.
  • Make shakers with old pill bottles and fill with beans, rice, coins, or beads.
  • Save toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, ribbon, bubble wrap, yarn, egg cartons, and milk jugs. All of these things allow for open ended, creative play.

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I won’t lie to you and say I didn’t splurge on the top of the line baby gear for my babies. I did. My stroller cost more than most people’s first cars (I’m embarassed to admit that); however, at the end of the day it’s not about the stroller, the diaper bag, or the clothes a baby had. It’s all about the love they received!

Stay Gold, 

That Girl

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