The Not-So-Extreme Guide to Stockpiling Diapers

The Not-So-Extreme Guide to Stockpiling Diapers

The goal of stockpiling diapers is to have a decent amount saved up so you aren’t forced to spend full price. Your stockpile will relieve some of the pressure and it can be kinda fun to search for steals and deals. Here is a not-so-extreme guide to creating your own stockpile. 

The first step is to establish a price per unit. How much per diaper are you willing to spend? Make sure YOU are comfortable with this price. I am NOT an extreme couponer. There are people out there in the internet world who can teach you how to get diapers (among other things) at dirt cheap prices. Unfortunately, I am not that person. This is why I recommend you set your own price, one that you alone are comfortable with. 

I typically tried to stay under 18 cents/diaper.  Newborn diapers can be a bit more expensive and you may notice a jump in bigger sizes like 3s and 4s. For wipes, I tried to spend less than one cent/unit. Hint: You go through a lot of wipes so don’t be afraid to 

Don’t open the boxes until you are ready to use them. Many stores will accept returns and exchanges even without a receipt, but be aware some may have a limit and require your driver’s license.

Here are a few store policies on returns and exchanges: 

Look for sales, coupons, and clearance

Keep an eye out for great deals and sales. Check websites and scan the baby section every chance you get, because you never know what kind of deals you’ll stumble across. 

When you use manufacturer coupons, try to purchase the smallest package for the biggest discount, unless something is on sale. Be sure to calculate the price per unit to find the best deal. 

Total Price/Total Price = Price Per Unit

Have a Diaper Party

Convince your husband to have a Diaper Party. Buy some beer, order some pizza, and invite friends! 

Diaper Raffle

Feel more comfortable if your family and friends are getting something out of the deal? Purchase a prize of your choosing (like a gift card), create some cute raffle tickets (tons of adorable and free templates on Pinterest), and spread the word! You can do this at your shower, at the Diaper Party, at a gender reveal party, or even without hosting an event! People will be willing to help and the chance of them winning a prize makes it that much easier to participate.

Reward Programs

Don’t forget to use the internet to your advantage. Participate in reward programs to receive coupons and free items. Most programs are free and typically have an app to make life just a little easier.

Pampers.com

Huggies.com

Target’s cartwheel app

Meijer Mperks

Cloth

Cloth diapers can be a great money-saving option. I do not have any personal experience with this but I have some friends who were successful going this route.

Every Baby is different because every baby grows differently. I have included the size weight recommendations and the estimated age. For reference, I recorded Ben’s time spent in each size (keep in mind he was in the 90th percentile between seven and twelve months).

General Guideline:

Newborn – up to 10lbs – Birth to one month (Ben: birth-1 month)

  • Size 1 – 8-14lbs – One month to four months (Ben: 1-3 months)
  • Size 2 – 12-18lbs – Four months to seven months (Ben: 3-6 months)
  • Size 3 – 16-28lbs – Seven months to twelve months (Ben: 6-10 months)
  • Size 4 – 22-37lbs – Twelve months and up (Ben: 10 months & up)
  • Size 5 – 27 lbs & up – Twelve months and up

According to whattoexpect.com your baby will go through 2,500 diapers in the first year. In the first few weeks, you can expect to change 10 diapers per day. That’s about $600 the first year for just diapers!

I hope this post helps you save money. Every little bit counts! What steps are you taking to save money?

Surviving Pregnancy – First Trimester

Surviving Pregnancy 

The First Trimester

Introduction: First and foremost, I designed these posts to be fun! I wanted to share my personal experiences and pass along any information or resources I found particularly helpful. Google and Pinterest became my BFFs during my pregnancy. I loved reading different blog posts about various pregnancy topics and I wanted to contribute to help other women. These tips and tricks helped me feel more comfortable and prepared in addition to getting me excited for my baby’s upcoming arrival so that is my goal with my posts as well. I’ve done my best to gather information and package it up into neat little weekly snippets.

I hope these posts are entertaining and (at least somewhat) useful. I really enjoyed writing and reflecting on the months of my pregnancy. Please feel free to leave a comment or email me about your experiences, tips, questions, comments, concerns, anything! I would love to hear from each and every one of you!

DISCLAIMER: All the information in this post is for entertainment purposes only. This post is based on experience and personal research. The author is not a health care professional and all readers are encouraged to consult their healthcare provider with any questions or concerns regarding their health.

Trying to conceive:

I thought it’d be appropriate to start with a brief overview of trying to conceive (TTC). I mean, that is the starting point of your pregnancy so it only seems right that we start off with conception. This is just a brief overview. There is an abundant amount of information on TTC so don’t be afraid to expand on these ideas if something strikes your fancy!

Essential Things For Women to Do:

  • Schedule a checkup with your doctor – Your healthcare provider will be able to provide you with valuable information about TTC and your overall health
  • Stop the birth control
  • Schedule a visit with your dentist – This way you can have a proper professional cleaning before you start your 40-week journey. The health status of your teeth and gums can have a direct effect on your chances of conceiving or even cause pregnancy complications. Plus dental work gets a bit difficult during pregnancy.
  • Get finances in order – Babies are expensive, I’m sure you’ve heard that one about a million times already. It will be much easier to get that credit card debt under control and to bank up an emergency fund right now rather than when the baby is here (at the same time, be realistic. Don’t wait too long for the “perfect” moment to start trying because there is no such thing as perfect.
  • Start taking prenatal vitamins – It is recommended you begin taking these a few months before trying to conceive. Bonus: Prenatals do wonders for your hair and nails.
  • Kick those bad habits– if you are smoking, stop. If you are drinking excessively at least cut back (it’s recommended you stop drinking altogether) and limit your caffeine intake. These types of habits can hinder conception and they aren’t great for your health either.

Essential Things for Men to Do:

  • Men avoid tight clothing (boxers are your friend!)
  • Break Bad Habits – Cut back on alcohol consumption and quit smoking!
  • Keep Your Cool – Avoid getting the “boys” hot – super hot baths, laptops on lap, etc.

Proactive Methods to Try:

Track Your Cycle

This is an absolute must! All you have to do is keep track of when you had your period! This can predict your ovulation window as it is “typically” 14 days before the beginning of your next cycle (first day of your period). This is not always the case with every woman but it is a place to start. I suggest pairing this method with another method to help identify ovulation.

Okay, sounds easy, right? Haha! I can remember many times being asked when my last period was only to stutter, stammer, and ultimately guess. I now use an app called glow to keep all my information straight. That way when someone in the health field asks me, I can check my phone and give accurate information. Easy, convenient, and helpful!  

Basal body temperature method (BBT)

This method requires you to have a basal thermometer. This type of thermometer measures your body temperature on a more precise level giving you the ability to detect the smallest changes and ultimately helping you pinpoint ovulation. There are many free apps available to help you track your BBT and use the data to predict your ovulation window. There is also a manual way to plot your BBT on a chart if you are interested in the “old-fashioned” way.

Track Cervical Mucus (CM)

Hormonal changes throughout your cycle will have an impact on your cervical mucus. The consistency, color, and amount can tell you a lot about which phase you are currently in. Again, this helps you predict your ovulation window. You can also use an app to track CM as well.

Ovulation Tests aka OPKs

Very similar to a pregnancy test, these little guys will help you pinpoint your ovulation window making it easier to conceive. Instructions in the OPK will tell you when to begin taking the tests and once you find your peak day (the day before ovulation) you stop taking the tests for that month and prepare to baby dance! This method is most effective (and least expensive) when you are also tracking your cycle (see, I told you tracking was important)!

Preseed

I’ve heard good things about this, but I have no personal experience with it. It’s a lubricant that TTC safe. It is supposed to mimic fertileCM, helping sperm meet egg (the goal)!

DO NOT get discouraged. There is no magic formula to determine how long this should take. For some, it is quicker than others so don’t compare yourself to someone else.

DO NOT make it a chore!

DO NOT put excessive pressure on yourself or your partner

DO stay positive

DO have fun!


The First Trimester!

Week 1:

This week actually begins with the first day of your period. You technically aren’t pregnant and won’t be for two more weeks!

Wait, what?!

You may be wondering how can my first week of pregnancy begin with my last menstrual period (or LMP). There are two ways to measure a pregnancy: gestational age and fetal age. With gestational age, measurement begins with your LMP. This is the most common method for measuring pregnancy because the date of conception can be difficult to pinpoint. Fetal age begins at conception and is typically used by biologists.

Things to Do:

  • Investigate: Check out your health insurance policy and find out what it does and doesn’t cover
  • Research: Utilize google to find maternity wards in your area that accept your insurance
  • Evaluate: Take a look at your home and assess what needs to be done to make it a safe place for future babies

Week 2:

This week begins the dreaded two-week wait (TWW)! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the desire for those two measly pink lines.  Find ways to occupy your time and keep your mind busy.

Activities to help you keep your sanity during the TWW (and beyond):

  • Start a new hobby – pick up crocheting, start a blog
  • Clean and organize – you might as well get a head start on the whole nesting thing, while you have the energy to do it!
  • Learn – start learning a new skill or language
  • Plan a game night  with some friends
  • Treat yourself to a warm bubble bath and a good book
  • Plan a mini road trip

Week 3:

You have officially conceived! Think of it as you’ve basically earned two bonus weeks at this point! Yay! Two weeks closer to meeting that bundle of joy. It may still be too early for a positive pregnancy test so don’t get discouraged if it still says negative. It’s not over till Aunt Flow shows up. 

Things to Do:

  • Exercise: It’s never too early to start thinking about an exercise program during pregnancy. Do some research to see if there is a local prenatal exercise class or purchase a DVD. *Feeling extra frugal – youtube offers a wide selection of free videos* Yay for the internet! Remember: Consult your doctor

 

Week 4:

Aunt Flow was supposed to pay you a visit this week, but she won’t be stopping by for the next 36 weeks! One of the benefits of being pregnant. You officially have yourself an embryo! 

Things to Do:

  • Calculate your due date- I used the website Count Down to Pregnancy. It’s FREE! Enter the date of your LMP (or date of ovulation if you know it) this website gives a list of dates including the estimated due date, the beginning of the 2nd and 3rd trimester, baby’s first heartbeat, Viability, and range for a possible anatomy scan. Kind of cool to look at. 
  • Take a “before” pictures for fun! Your body will be going through some crazy and rapid changes. It can be exciting to see the process and growth.
  • No more cat box duty – cat feces can carry parasites that can cause Toxoplasmosis. It’s best not to take any chances and it’s a great excuse to let your partner take over this task.
  • Diet changes – most things are fine in moderation. Avoid raw or under cooked meat, certain fish (because of high mercury levels), soft cheese, unpasteurized dairy, and all alcohol.

Week 5:

Your teeny, tiny baby has a heartbeat! How adorable is that? It’s amazing the difference a short week can make in pregnancy development. 

Things to Do:

  • Buy a pregnancy book: My favorite is Expecting 411. It has lots of useful information without giving me nightmares – it’s light-hearted and easy to read. You can easily digest the little bits of information instead of consuming the entire book.
  • Start a pregnancy journal: It can be fun to track the progress of your pregnancy.
You will now be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler fetal monitor <3 This was my favorite part of each appointment! It was very reassuring and exciting. 

Things to Do:

  • Train yourself to sleep on your side now! If you are like me, you love to sleep on your stomach. Pregnancy changed that for me. Sleeping on your left side is considered the best position to sleep in because it increases nutrients and blood flow to your placenta and that is great for baby! 
  • Download some baby apps: Lifecake, Glow Nurture, 2lifeBaby, and What to Expect are some of my favorites.
  • Purchase a personal Doppler: I didn’t do this but wish I had! It would have put my mind at ease a couple of times. There are a few options on the market but this one looks pretty cool! It allows you to record the heartbeat as well.

Week 7:

Keep a small notebook with any questions or concerns you have for your healthcare provider. Hint Hint: Google does not count as a healthcare provider. I suggest staying away from google and sites like WebMD. They don’t really help, they just scare the crap out of you. If something is making you feel uneasy – call your doctor!  Trust your instinct. 

Things to Do:

  • For Fun: Submit your ultrasound to this website. It uses Ramzi theory to predict the gender. It’s free! Takes about 7 days to see results (you can “rush” it for $3.99) I wouldn’t go crazy and paint the nursery according to your results but it is something fun today (hey they do have a 50/50 chance of being right). It ended up being accurate for us!
  • Research Prenatal Tests: Medical professionals offer different screenings to determine certain risks with a pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association has great information on each test to help you decide if you want the tests done or not.
  • Be Diet Conscious: Indulge but don’t overindulge! It is recommended you increase your calorie intake but 300 calories. That box of brownies you’ve been eyeing up is more like 1800 calories.

Week 8:

After your initial appointment, you should expect to see your healthcare provider once a month until 32 weeks. It can start to feel like the doctor’s office is your second home. Most providers will let you make multiple appointments in advance which makes it easier to plan and take time off work. 

Pregnancy must haves:

  • Night Light – the midnight bathroom visits are unavoidable. Mine started early on in week five thanks to a surge of the pregnancy hormone, HCG. To avoid turning the bathroom light on and fully waking up I used a nightlight. One of my best purchases as funny as that sounds. I was making 3-4 trips a night.
  • Humidifier – this is necessary if you live in certain climates during the cold, winter months. You can use this after the baby is born too. It can help relieve cold symptoms for the whole family.
  • Sleep Bras – I should have purchased more of these. There comes a point in your pregnancy when your boobs will be so incredibly heavy and sore it may be uncomfortable to go braless. I also used these postpartum for the same reasons.
  • Maternity Pillow – I did not purchase a maternity pillow but I did use a body pillow and other pillows to surrounded myself.
  • Nursing/Maternity Bras – the most important purchase. I wish I would have bought more because I lived in these throughout my pregnancy and during the breastfeeding months. They aren’t super flattering but they are comfortable and there comes a point where comfort is really all that matters. They also make nursing super convenient. Try a few different styles to find out what you like best. I recommend scattering these purchases throughout your pregnancy because your size will change. Personally, I have four different cup sizes in my drawer. I wouldn’t waste my money on expensive name brand bras during your pregnancy since your bra size will fluctuate dramatically until you are done breastfeeding.

Week 9:

Baby is just an inch long! Despite your baby being teeny tiny, you may find yoga pants and leggings fit more comfortably than your skinny jeans. Dresses are another cute and sophisticated alternative to constricting clothing.

Things to Do:

  • Kegel Exercises: These can help with bladder control not to mention labor and recovery. Kegels are just plain good for you and ridiculously easy to do. No special equipment is required and you can do them ANYWHERE. Check out this site for clear instructions on how to do these properly.
  • Plan Pregnancy Announcement: Look at ideas for your pregnancy announcement. Check out Pinterest for inspiration.
  • Sleep: If you are tired, sleep! Don’t feel guilty about it. I remember looking at my husband and asking if 8:30 was too early to go to bed on a Saturday night. #noshame

Week 10:

Baby is officially a fetus! Things are progressing nicely and you may feel drained – physically and emotionally. Morning sickness may be kicking your butt too. It may not feel like it but this will all pass. I still remember the crazy looks Jake would give me when I wanted to go to bed at 8:30 pm on a Saturday night. 

Great Tip – Use inexpensive gift bags to carry urine samples to your doctor’s appointments. Your purse is not a good idea! The nurse told me a story about a patient who didn’t screw her sample cap on tight and it leaked in her purse. I started using disposable lunch bags or little gift bags to carry my sample into the office.

Things to Do:

  • Prepare a baby budget and emergency fund
  • Plan a Gender Reveal: Once you have your anatomy ultrasound scheduled you’ll have a very good idea when you’ll find out the gender (if you decide to do this). You can plan a small event or a big Facebook reveal. The gender reveal gives you something excited to plan, prep, and look forward to.

Week 11:

At this point you’re either thinking “WOW! It’s already been 11  weeks” OR “WOW! It’s only been 11 weeks!” During pregnancy, some days (or even weeks) can really drag. Making things for baby can be a productive way to help pass the time. You can use Pinterest to find different tutorials to make useful things for your little one.

Things like:
  1. Bibs
  2. Bandana Bib (Tutorial)
  3. Burp Cloths (Tutorial) 
  4. Blankets
  5. Booties
  6. Baby Toys
  7. Hats (Free Pattern)
  8. Nursery Decor
  9. Baby Book

Things to Do:

  • Collect those free samples: Everyone loves free stuff! You can get some baby freebies when you complete a registry on Amazon.com or at a Target store. 
  • Buy Maternity Clothes: There’s no reason to go too crazy here. A few staple items are great to mix in with your current wardrobe. You’ll find some of your pre-pregnancy clothes can still be used (especially during the winter months – Hello chunky sweaters!)

Week 12:

Your little one weighs about half an ounce! If you’re like me, you’re wondering what caused the other ten pounds you managed to find during the first couple of months. Try not to obsess over weight unless your healthcare provider thinks it’s becoming an issue. Every person’s body is different and every pregnancy is different so avoid comparing yourself to others or even your previous pregnancies.

Things to Do:

  • Continue or start using lotion: Keep your skin hydrated, especially during the winter months. Some say it helps prevent stretchmarks but some research shows that has more to do with genetics. 
  • Start taking weekly pictures if you haven’t started already. From this point on, you’ll be surprised how fast things will progress (and how big you will get)!

Bump Picture Tips:

  1. Wear the same outfit for a uniform look
  2. Pick an area with great lighting and a simple background
  3. Don’t over edit your photos
  4. Have fun with props and signs

Week 13:

This is the last week of the first trimester! That means you are one-third of the way done! That’s kind of a big deal. The second trimester is typically the most enjoyable.

Things to Do:

  • Start discussing names with your partner if you haven’t already. Can’t decide on a name? Try an elimination bracket. It will appeal to those sports fanatics and it’s a great keepsake for the baby book. Your child can look back and thank you for not naming them [insert terrible name here].
  • Plan a Babymoon: The second trimester is the perfect time to plan a trip for you and your significant other before the baby arrives.

 

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate or sponsor links. With these links Growing Up With Sam can receive a commission. These commissions help support the work and website at no additional cost to you.

 

 

How I Survived Walt Disney World with a Baby (and You Can Too)!

Okay, let me start off by saying that bringing a baby to Disney World for the first time is extremely intimidating. This was our second road trip with a baby and I was especially nervous for many valid reasons. The good news is that Disney EXPECTS you to bring young children to the parks and they have wonderful resources that will make the experience very pleasant. Crazy as it sounds, I would most definitely do it again and I recommend other consider it as well.

How I Survived Walt Disney World with a BabyI caught some serious grief for bringing Ben to Disney at six months old. Haters gonna hate. I want Ben to be a child (and eventually an adult) that travels well. The photo ops and memories we created were truly magical and unique. I did a little bit of research (okay, a lot!) and planning to make the trip as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. Seeing his little face light up on the different rides and during character meet and greets was totally worth the little bit of “hassle” it was to take him.

Baby Care Centers

This is the first and most important thing to know when traveling to Walt Disney World with a little one. Each park has its own Baby Care Center. These are clean, air conditioned areas within the park that allow you to care for your baby or young child. This is completely free to use and they cover all the basics.

Each center includes:

Nursing Facility – Complete with rocking chairs and dimming lights

Changing Tables – Multiple large and clean tables to change baby

Feeding Area – High chairs, microwave, sink, and an oven for your convenience

Common Room – With comfy seating and television for little ones to recoup and relax or just get out of the heat

Mini Baby Store – Ability to purchase baby items lost or forgotten ($$$)  

During our recent trip, I used three of the four centers and they were all very nice. Animal Kingdom has two private nursing rooms while Epcot and Magic Kingdom have a community nursing room where only nursing mothers are allowed. I was surprised by how friendly and inviting the centers were and the cast members were very helpful with any questions or concerns I had.

When to Stay

It’s best to avoid the crowds and high prices during peak seasons like Spring Break, Summer Vacation, and Christmas Break. You can also expect higher crowds during events like Disney Races and celebrations like Food and Wine Festival. I know sometimes you have to plan your vacation during a peak time but if you can try to avoid it (for financial and sanity reasons).

Where to Stay

I can’t imagine staying off Disney Property for a few different reasons.

  1. The Magical Express
  2. Disney Transportation – Makes it easy to park hop
  3. Close Proximity to the Park – Makes afternoon breaks doable
  4. Resort Pool and Activities
  5. Free Parking
  6. Disney Magic!

For Ben’s first trip we stayed at the Polynesian and it was great! We could park hop without wrestling with a car seat. The Resort Monorail and the Transporation Center Monorail were within walking distance and the bus stop was also easily accessible. If you want to stay off property, you can do it! It’s really just personal preference.

Stroller Life

If you have a small child, you need a stroller. They can be quite a pain to travel with depending on where and how you are traveling. You have a few different options when it comes to the baby stroller situation while visiting Walt Disney World.

Option 1: You can rent it from Disney

Pros:

Convenient

Cons:

Uncomfortable plastic

Costly

Limited Use: Only available inside Disney Parks/Disney Springs

Option 2: You can rent a stroller from a third party like kingdom strollers

Pros:

Options

Comfortable

Unlimited Use

Cons:

Costly

Option 3: You can purchase a stroller in Orlando

If you just use a simple umbrella stroller you can purchase a stroller in Orlando or have Amazon deliver it to the hotel. I’ve heard of people using the stroller during their stay and leaving it for another family instead of bringing it home.

Pros:

Convenient

Helping another family

Cheap

Cons:

Finding a suitable and affordable stroller could be a hassle

Limited Storage Space

Option 4: You can bring your stroller from home.

Whether you’re flying or driving it is possible to take your stroller with you. See your airline’s policies for more information on traveling with a stroller.

Pros:

Free

Comfortable and familiar

Cons:

Travel inconvenience

Anxiety about stroller theft

We opted for option 4 and brought our extremely large jogging stroller. It was bulky and took up a lot of valuable space in the rental car but I believe it was worth it. We were able to use the stroller on the monorail and around the resort. It had optimum storage and we were very familiar with the features. Ben finds it comfortable and easy to nap in (this is a high priority for us since we spend a majority of our time on the go inside the parks).

We left the stroller numerous times and no one bothered our cargo or the stroller and we didn’t lock it up. I’m not saying theft doesn’t happen, but it seems to be a rare occurrence. If we knew we were going to be away from the stroller for extended periods of time we took our items with us to eliminate the temptation.

Items to Bring to the Parks:

Here are a few baby items that will come in handy while you are in the parks.

  • Stroller
  • Stroller Fan – those strollers get hot!
  • Sunscreen – I’ve had to buy it in the parks before and it was $$$$$$
  • Diapers and wipes – obvious reasons
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Toys that are good for travel
  • Sweater and blanket – depending on the time of year and the time of day it does get a bit chilly in Florida
  • Camera or phone – to catch those magical moments
  • Change of clothes (maybe even two sets, just in case)
  • Bibs/burb cloths
  • Autograph book
  • Rain cover – to keep the stroller dry
  • Baby food, formula, or other snacks

Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. If you are running out of cargo space consider purchasing items, such as groceries or diapers, when you get to your resort or have them delivered through Amazon.
  2. Pack outfits instead of individual pieces of clothing. If you plan out outfits for your vacation you tend to pack less and it’s easier to get dressed in the morning.
  3. Purchase Disney gift cards ahead of time. Not only can you save money by purchasing them through places like Target and Sam’s club, you can also better control your spending while in the parks.
  4. Remember you can get free cups of ice water while in the parks from quick service restaurants.
  5. Make your advance dining reservations or ADRs early – 180 days in advance is not too early!
  6. Do at least one character meal. This will allow your child to interact with some Disney characters without waiting in those long lines.
  7. Plan out which rides and attractions are a top priority. You won’t have time to see and do everything.
  8. Utilize the ride switcher option and fastpass+ selections to get the most out of your vacation.
  9. Bring a portable battery pack for your phone. You don’t want to miss any photo ops‍!
  10. Remember to utilize photo pass photographers! Even if you don’t have the memory maker you can still ask them to use your personal camera.
  11. Go with the flow! Try not to get bent out of shape if the day doesn’t go according to plan. Things can get hectic when traveling with little ones and sometimes you have to wing it.

After our first trip with Ben, I feel more confident in our ability to make future trips. Our family typically visits Walt Disney World at least once a year (and this year we are planning for twice)!

How old was your child the first time you took them to a Disney Theme Park?

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate or sponsor links. With these links Growing Up With Sam can receive a commission. These commissions help support the work and website at no additional cost to you.

Why You Should Create Your Child an Email Address

During one of your many Pinterest binges, you may have stumbled across the idea of creating an email address for your child. I’m here to tell you two good reasons why this is a great idea!

img_6051-1

Number one: All the good email addresses will be gone by the time your child is old enough to need and use an email account.

I really feel for the next generation. Their emails will probably look more like Yourname38276482862@mail.com. Okay, maybe not that crazy but you get the point. According to lifewire.com there were 1.9 billion email users in 2009. In just six years that number has climbed to 2.5 billion. You can expect that number to significantly increase before your child will need and use a personal email account. So you can basically reserve a decent email address by creating it now. Save your kid the struggle of creating a unique and non-humiliating email.

Most importantly…

Number Two: That baby book you’ve been “working” on is probably buried somewhere and when you do finally get it out good luck remembering half of the things you told yourself you wouldn’t forget to write down.

Most people’s phones are like an extra limb. It’s basically attached to you and accessible at all times. So why not take advantage of that? When something happens you can quickly shoot them an email and presto! Preserved memory! You can even forward it to yourself for safe keeping.

Now you’re convinced! You NEED to create an email address for your child.

Now to create an email address – very easy.

I used google because I really like all things google. You get 15GB of free storage. The average email is anywhere from 10-30KB (depending on the content and formatting). That’s at least 500,000 emails. Not bad for free. If you wrote one email every day for 18 years that would only be 6,570 so you have plenty to work with.

Remember to pick an email that sounds mature and professional. You don’t want to create one that could potentially humiliate your kid. Try to stay clear of cutesy nicknames.

Note: I would log into the account every few months to maintain some sort of account activity. An inactive email account could potentially be deleted and why take that chance?

Start Sharing – the fun part! There are many different things you can send your child so he/she can read them when you decide to give them the password.

Ideas on what to send your child:

-Letters addressed to them

-Stories you want to share

-Event Details

-Vacation Recaps

-Photos and Videos

-Forward Emails: Reservation confirmations, order confirmations, family and friend conversations

-Computer Screenshots: Social media comments and posts,

-Growth Stats

-Accomplishments

-Scanned Items: Birthday cards, invitations, movie and event tickets,

I created Ben’s email address when I was about five months pregnant and I started sending him emails right away. It’s a great way to share memories, thoughts, and feelings. I talk about the events in our lives and send him our disney confirmation emails. I’m sure one day we will have a great time reading them together.

Do you have any tips on preserving memories for your little one?

10 Baby Items I’m Obsessed With

I have to say, registering for the baby shower was one of the more stressful things I had to do during my pregnancy. Basically, you are preparing for a completely new life stage in which you have zero experience with (babysitting can only get you so far). Not only that but every child is different. Not everyone likes the swing or takes a pacifier. This is a list of products I fell in love with during the first four months of Ben’s life.

Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play

I literally cried when my husband brought this thing home! Real tears! Tears of joy! My one week old would only sleep in two places… on someone or in this amazing miracle item. When he got a little older he developed reflux and sleeping on an incline did wonders for him. There are few different versions that have different features. We purchased the Auto Rock ‘N Play with Smart Connect. It rocks and vibrates, has a built in noise machine, and you can use your phone to control it. It’s fairly light and it folds up so it’s easy to transport. The price is a bit steep but worth the peace of mind. I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase this again. I’m dreading the day we have to transition Ben to a crib.

I love it because: It keeps the baby safe, happy, and asleep.

 

4moms Infant Tub

I didn’t register for this item but I did receive it at my shower and wow. I’m super impressed! At first I thought this fancy looking tub was unnecessary and I probably wouldn’t use it much. How very wrong I was. I paired it with the Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge  (for comfort and peace of mind) and we use it daily. Ben absolutely loves it!  A constant flow allows for consistent water temperature and clean water. It has a built-in thermometer that beeps at you if the temperature gets too hot. This is another product I don’t want Ben to grow out of.

I love it because: It keeps the water clean and a consistent, safe temperature. Plus it’s comfortable for baby.

 

Baby Carrier

Baby wearing is a great way to bond with your baby and keep them close. When a stroller just won’t do, this thing is gold. Sometimes there are obstacles like stairs and unlevel terrain that would make a stroller more of a hassle than a convenience. That’s where this comes in. Everyone is different but I would recommend at least trying it. When we bought this, Jake told me he wouldn’t be wearing it. Now he even fights me for it sometimes. We just purchased an inexpensive model from Babies R Us. The model itself isn’t anything special but I do like that it can be worn up to four different ways and it’s comfortable for long periods of time. Here Ben is on our recent trip to Newport, Rhode Island.

I love it because: Alternative to the stroller that is safe and comfortable for you and baby.

 Baby Carrier - Newport RI 2016

BOB Stroller

I love my BOB. We bought this on Black Friday from Target on a whim for a great price. Both of us are so glad we purchased this. The turn radius on a jogging stroller is ridiculously awesome, off-roading is a breeze, and it glides on smooth surfaces. You can purchase a car seat adapter like this one to create a click & go system. There are other cool accessories you can purchase for it too. The big thing that sold me on this stroller was the weight limit – over 70 lbs! A stroller that will grow with him and to me that meant we’d save money in the long run. I would be lying if I told you I actually use the “jogging” mode much but it is nice to have that option. My only gripe – it is bulky and a bit pricey (so be on the lookout for a good deal)! 

I love it because: it’s convenient and comfortable for you and baby.

The Britax Car Seat

This has been a great car seat. It’s easy to keep clean and simple to adjust. It paired perfectly with the BOB Stroller for an easy click & go system. We purchased an additional base so we wouldn’t have to continuously install the car seat when we switched vehicles. It’s not excessively bulky or heavy. Funny I thought the car seat was getting heavier, turns out Ben was just getting bigger!

I love it because: It pairs with the BOB stroller and it’s easy to maintain and use.

Scarf Breastfeeding Cover

This thing is simply amazing. It’s the only cover I love and use regularly. It’s large and easy to wash, attractive and breathable. I’ve used it as a receiving blanket, towel, scarf, and breastfeeding cover. When I’m done breastfeeding, I can still use it as a scarf. I just purchased a second one so I can keep one in the diaper bag.

I love it because: Multiple uses, large, and easy to wash.

Backpack Diaper Bag

I would go out on a limb here and say don’t even bother with the traditional diaper bag. They’re difficult to keep organized and a pain to carry. The backpack style is so convenient. Keeps your hands free and the multiple pouches make it easy to organize (and actually zip close). Many even come with straps to fix it to a stroller. Bonus: Your husband will thank you for not making him carry something that looks similar to a purse.

I love it because: It’s roomy and convenient

I did receive this particular bag at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest review.  

Playmat Gym

Ben lives on this thing.

Let me tell you, it’s durable. It can handle the daily messes that come with having a baby. I just pop the top portion off, wash the mat in the washing machine on the delicate cycle, and let it air dry (it dries super quick). It keeps Ben entertained with the little dangling toys and mirror and it comes with a matching pillow for tummy time.

I love it because: It’s easy to keep clean and the toys are fun for baby.

Bandanna (drool) Bibs

It took me two and a half months to actually try these out and I’m sad I waited so long! I’ve purchased a few different types and all of them seem more durable than a typical bib. They are softer, thicker, and more absorbent. I’ve received many compliments on them because they are so darn cute. Here’s Ben at the Mystic Zoo sporting his fancy bandanna bib. 

I love them because: They are cute and protect the baby’s clothes from drool and spit up.Ben Drool Bib

Sofia Giraffe

I know what you are thinking! That overpriced dog toy? Yes. For whatever reason, kids love this thing. Believe it or not it is worth the $25. It’s one of the few teething toys Ben will use. I’m just afraid of losing it.

I love it because: Baby loves it! (Easy to keep clean too)

What products can’t you live without? 

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate or sponsor links. With these links Growing Up With Sam can receive a commission. These commissions help support the work and website at no additional cost to you.


A DIY Superhero Nursery | Projects

superhero inspired diy nurseryOnce we found out we were having a boy it didn’t take us long to figure out we wanted to do a superhero theme for his nursery. I’m pretty fond of DIY projects. With the help of Jake and Grandma-to-be I think we did a pretty good job! Of course with Pinterest anything is possible. 

Before:

Before Photo

Here are a few before photos. We had lived in our house for over two years and had done nothing with this room except pile it full of our junk. At the time I was well into my second trimester and feeling pretty energetic. We had a pretty generous sized room to work with. The shade of blue was too dark for a room with only one window in the middle of Michigan and it made the room look small and gloomy. The carpet needed a desperate cleaning and we definitely needed to remove all of our junk.

 

 

 

Prepping the room

Prepping the Room:

We prepped the room before painting by removing the junk and cleaning the carpets. Looks better but it’s still really dark and kind of depressing. Jacob patched a few holes and I removed the outlet and light switch covers. We wiped down the walls because it was pretty dusty in there. I also removed the trim because I wanted to paint it a dark gray and it would make painting a bit easier. Before we started painting, we noticed there were three vents in this room. When I removed the vent cover we realized it wasn’t a vent! It was plumbing access for the bathroom. Apparently the previous owners cut a big hole in the wall and instead of patching it up when they were finished, the slapped a big old vent cover on it instead. That explained why it was so cold in that room and the disgusting amount of bugs we found. Here Ruthanne is vacuuming up all the bugs and cobwebs before we had Jacob seal it up. The last thing we did was apply painters tape and viola! Ready to paint!

IMG_0363

Painting:

Not the best photo. The room was so dark we had to bring in extra lighting (not to mention it was winter in Mid-Michigan so what little sun we had that day didn’t last very long). This is just one coat of pain and already so much better! You can see the obnoxious hole that we later re-dry walled. Can you tell what color the room was before it was blue? A pretty crazy pinkish/purple color. No neutrals for the family before us! Two coats later and we were done painting the walls.

Door Telephone Booth

 

I really wanted a telephone booth door! Superman inspired! I had seen a few versions on Pinterest and I wanted to give it a go. To start, I painted the door red. This took 4-1/2 coats of Behr Ultra Primer and Paint (Color: Intrigue). If you’ve never painted with red before, it can be a bit difficult. Doesn’t cover as nicely compared to other colors. Next, we painted the panels white to complete the look. Eventually we’d like to add TELEPHONE between the top four panels.

After thoroughly cleaning the baseboards/trim, we painted them gray (Color: Cracked Pepper – Behr Ultra Primer and Paint). This took about two coats.

My Auntie gave me a pair of dressers that had already been painted white. I decided to paint one a royal blue (very similar to the previous wall color) and use it as a changing table. The other dresser I painted red and modpodged the top with comic book covers I purchased at 2nd & Charles. I ordered some wooden drawer pulls on Etsy and replaced the outdated hardware on each dresser.

Comic Book Dresser

Final Product:

It was super easy to find decorations for the room with all the DC Comics and Marvel hype. We purchased a couple of comic book frames to display and protect some of our collectible comics. I decided to go with white curtains because of the busyness of the wall decor. Luckily the window faces the West so we don’t have to worry about Ben waking up at the crack of dawn.
Superman Telephone booth inspired closet door Red and white British

Superhero Inspired Nursery DIY

DIY Superhero Inspired Nursery Final Product
I wanted a rug that looked like Captain America’s shield but the ones I found were either very expensive or not what I wanted. Instead I crocheted my own. I haven’t quite mastered the star (hence why it’s missing). Some day I may get ambitious and give it another go but I kind of like it as is.

We had fun planning and prepping the nursery for Ben’s arrival! His favorite character is currently the Incredible Hulk (affectionately called Hulky). My sister and brother in-law made this pretty awesome toy box for Ben. Complete with superhero cushion. It completes the room!

SuperheroesToy Box

 

 

The nesting instinct is strong! We made some pretty great memories just getting ready for Ben. Share your nursery DIY projects to help inspire others.