Bluum Subscription Box for Crew: A Review!

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Crew has been treated to his fair share of Bluum boxes since he arrived (it’s how we discovered the only pacifier he loved – the Natursutten, which I talked about here!), and I’ve always loved the quality of the contents. Offered on an ongoing monthly basis, or as a short-term subscription, these are great baby/shower gifts, or just something to treat yourself and Baby to, each month.

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I like to think I have my finger on the pulse of the baby market (read: I shop wayyyy too much), but there is always a new brand or product (or both!) that I learn about via these boxes. Unlike several sample-sized subscription boxes, I love that this particular box includes full-size products, recommended by real moms, created by brands who are actively looking for ongoing feedback from parents (and babies!).

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You can opt to be surprised with items pre-selected for you (customized to both age and gender), or in a NEW development since we last Bluumed, you can customize the box yourself and select your products!

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This time around, I was able to team up with Bluum to offer a review of Crew’s 16 month box! I took advantage of the “customize my own box” option, but while I loved knowing I was getting my very top choices, I did miss the element of surprise when it arrived. To give you a taste of what you can expect in a typical month, here’s a rundown of what was included in Crew’s box:

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Re-play utensils

As he’s learning to wield a fork and spoon, the baby spoons we’ve been using to feed Crew are too long-handled for him to use himself, but the others with metal spoon/fork pieces are still too sharp when he jams them into his mouth too quickly. These will be perfect for this stage as he learns control to feed himself. Link here for $10.07 — but I’ve seen sets of these in Target for less than half that price!

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Kid-O mini go car

ANY car is okay in Crew’s book, but I’ve had my eye on these forever — I love the sturdy, uncomplicated construction, and it’s very crawler-friendly!

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I would have gotten a shot of JUST the car…but someone called dibs the second he saw it inside. Retails for $10.34.

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Boon SNUG straws

I LOVE anything Boon makes, from the sleek un-babyish design, to clever functionality, to its enduring quality. I could give a rave review to every single product of theirs we’ve purchased. When I saw I could select one of their newest products, I didn’t hesitate. Crew uses both spout and straw style sippy cups, so he had no trouble using these, and I love that in a pinch at a restaurant, I don’t need to have a whole cup on hand to improvise a drink for him. Retails for $11.98.

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Bumkins reusable snack bag

I was gifted a bag similar to this one while expecting, and it gets used all. the. time. I loved the design on this one, and can already think of a hundred uses for it, aside from Goldfish snack storage in my purse. It would be great to hold sunscreen in our pool bag this summer, or the stash of baby meds I keep in my car as backup when we’re out and about. Plus, in a pinch, it can always double as a way to contain a dirty onesie until you can get it home to wash!  Retails for $8.44.

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A total success in our book! To gift a Bluum box subscription to someone (or yourself!) you can do so here.

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links and products have been sponsored, but the opinions are all my own!
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Crew: 15 months!

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Growing. Moving. Talking.
Exhausting. Amazing. 

That right there, could be the whole post. :)

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But nope, this month’s post is especially long, after last month’s was brief and light on pics. But you’re also just DOING so much new stuff this month…so I have to report on it all! (And I keep holding off on taking an “official” 15 month pic…the weather finally promises some good days this week so we can get one OUTSIDE!)

You are busy, busy, BUSY. From velcroing the HVAC vents to the floor, to darting around all day keeping the bathroom doors shut, we are on our toes! You love to take everything apart, take everything out of its container, eat snacks, climb wherever possible, eat more snacks, dance along to music, give hugs and kisses and cuddle, hurl yourself down your slide, take off for the street the minute we get outside, eat even more snacks, climb out of anything you’re not strapped into especially while it’s moving (making wagon rides and certain shopping cart trips interesting!), and chatter, chatter, chatter. One of your latest tricks to is to point to things you’re not supposed to have, or go right ahead and do something you’re not supposed to (i.e. climb on top of your table) and then deadpan a scolding face and wag your finger at us saying, “no no no!”. So yeah…you get the concept…but the following through could use some work.

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You are taking life by storm in every aspect — nothing you do is half-hearted. When you’re happy it’s the BEST belly-laughs and squeals of joy, when you’re frustrated, it’s an all out lay-your-head-on-the-floor-drama, and when you love, it is all-consuming hugs, kisses, and snuggles. One of our favorite parts of the day is when everyone gets home and you go back and forth to hug both our necks, then pull everyone in for a group hug and hold us both tight…you came up with this little routine completely on your own. You are SUCH a love bug right now.

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Yes, you’re busy. And so are we. But it’s a really fun and exciting and engaging time with you – you are paying SUCH close attention to our every move, and you learn SO. FAST. Among your newest skills, you can show us where your head, tummy, eyes, ears, mouth and nose are, and tell us what the fish and the pig say. You know to hold up your pointer finger for “one” and are suddenly trying to pull your own clothes on when we dress you. It seems from one bedtime to the next, I’m reflecting on how much more you know over yesterday.

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We are still practicing a few signs with you, to reiterate the actual words we’re saying. “More” and “all done” (yes, the demands) are your favorites, and we’re working on “thank you” and you’ve most recently mastered, “I love you”. As far as actual words, “up” is hit or miss, but you’re starting to clearly ask for your “mih” (milk) and “wa wa” (water). If we repeat it with you a couple times, you’ll talk about things you love by name — specifically “bubbo” (bubbles) and “buh” (school buses). You’re also much more consistent with waving and saying “hah!” (hi…with a southern drawl??) but still not a fan of “bye” or waving when you leave someone. Tender heart — you hate goodbyes! I have yet to catch a good waving pic on camera — below is the closest I’ve gotten — you were saying “hah” and waving like a crazy man here!

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We can see your brain working so much more — you understand more of what we’re saying and are actively trying to listen and understand. I can ask you to hand me something or bring over an object you know by name, and you can follow the direction. You will spend several minutes at a time looking through a stack of books, dragging your finger across the pages like we do, and mimicking voice inflections as you babble. The evolution of human language really is surreal to experience!

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You finished your first month of swim lessons, and I’ve enrolled you in a summer week-long session for June. You love the water and are almost TOO fearless, so we are more than happy to keep you learning when it comes to swimming. You love to slide, and swing on the patio, now that we’ve gotten a few warm days. You have certainly figured out that the best stuff is on the other side of the exterior doors and you are MAD when we don’t take you with us through them! A new thing is trying to reach your coat and/or shoes and “put them on” (see below) since that means you are going outside…hopefully the coat is soon a thing of seasons past!

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The biggest headline of this month was that you moved from the infant (3-14 month) room up to the toddler (14-24 month) room in early March. After ruling the roost for some time, this is a BIG change for you, and frankly, for us, too.

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When you’re at daycare, you only take one nap as opposed to two (although at home, you still go down for two naps with no protest, so I’m not about to change that!), you are expected to drink from a real cup at meal and snacktimes (no sippy cups! whaa?!), and you sit in a chair at a table, as opposed to a high chair. You no longer nap in a crib, rather on a mat on the floor. I’m still amazed you stay put for that, but the report is that you do!

You were very attached to your old teacher, so adjusting to all the new faces is taking a little time, and there have been tears at most dropoffs until just this week, and even during a couple pick-ups during the end-of-day craziness. It’s hard to see you sad, but we do know as soon as we’re out of sight, out of mind, you’re busy tearing around the classroom. We’re working to learn these new teachers and their methods and always keeping possibilities open for your care going forward. While we had a fantastic experience in the infant room, we are less enthused about a few aspects of day care right now. We’re hesitant to make any rash decisions, but it’s also crazy how much notice you need to change up childcare situations, so we’re working on a new care situation beginning in the summer. On the bright side, you are able to be much busier in the toddler room — the toys are more stimulating, the peers challenge you more to share and get along (ha!), and the schedule allows you to go between different classrooms, the gym, music time with a visiting guitarist (the report is you LOVE this time!) and the playground outside. Much more variety in your day!

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As for days you’re home with me, it’s been fun to venture out and try some new activities including Tot Lot, music class, the park when weather permits, and Book Babies. You always like to check in that I’m still around, but are otherwise very social and I like to see that you venture off in new places, unintimidated. Any day now, I’m hopeful we’ll get some consistently warm days when the winds are NOT 30mph, and we can add hanging on the patio with your water table and swing to our list of activities. W

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As far as physical updates, you COULD walk on your own, but won’t! You will cruise everything in sight, walk holding onto a single finger, and take a couple steps at a time, but otherwise, you still drop to your knees (you know you’re faster that way!). We have yet to do your 15-month well visit, but when you were in last month for pink eye, you were closing in on 23 pounds. They didn’t take your height, but by my haphazard attempts to measure you, you’re about 30″ tall. And as for that hair, the curls continue to grow in full force. Suddenly every aspect of you seems “big boy” to me!

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We had fun celebrating your second Easter (you could open your own eggs this year!) with a 3-and-under egg hunt downtown, and opening your basket goodies Easter morning. We are looking forward to more warm weather memories soon to come like the pool, the zoo, and things you don’t remember from last year like the farmer’s market. We are also getting excited for a family trip to Naples next month. Every new season with you brings anticipation for all the things we want to introduce you to!

Happy 15 months, sweetness.
Smooches!
Mom

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Easter 2016

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The bunny officially made his stop by the Smith house this morning…

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…and it didn’t take someone very long to find the goodies. (Notice…going right for the pouch of food. Somebunny knows this kid is all about the snacks!)

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It’s been a quiet morning with my boys, playing with new treats and toys, even a new place setting for breakfast.

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And when Crew crashed early for a morning nap, Page and I went about attempting Eggs Benedict for brunch.

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So yes, even with just the two of us, I had to play set the table. Any excuse to bust out china. :)

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We gave ourselves a B for effort (maybe less for presentation ha!) but it tasted good, so that’s most important, right?

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Happy Easter to you and yours!

He is not here, for He is risen. Just as He said.  |  Matthew 28:6

 

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less stuff. more organization.

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(guest room closet before…)

I’ve been on a mission to de-clutter our home. I think (??) it started with the flex room and wanting to sell the hutch that lived in there (thus needing to find a new spot for my photo supplies). Then again, it might be stemming from wanting to get our basement under control, so we can take steps to finish it later this year. Then again, it might be that all I did for the first 6-9 months with a newborn in a new house was to just throw crap in random spots, with no energy or brainpower to organize. Wherever the motivation began, what finally kicked my butt into gear was swooning over this craft closet reveal, after planning to do something similar in our guest room closet. So yes, the declutter/purge/organize bug has bitten me HARD.

IMG_1513(…now my “craft closet”)

It’s that start of the new year thing that makes me take a fresh look at our stuff…and frankly, the maintenance and time to clean, organize, pick up, make room for, and search among, it all. We don’t NEED all the stuff. I’m also just more than ready to start really LIVING in my HOME, instead of feeling like in many ways, we’re still moving in and finding more permanent spots for things.

To get started, I’ve been tackling a few projects:

  • I hosted a Facebook “virtual” garage sale to family/friends with an album of everything I collect in my “must go” pile. (Anything not worth the time to snap a pic and post with a price can just go in the car for a Goodwill drop-off.) I like that, as opposed to a traditional sale with price haggling and strangers, I can just name a price, people can decide yay/nay and comment accordingly, I can make piles and totals for pickup, and it all leaves my house in a short, orderly time frame.
  • I’ve been using ThredUp – to consign clothes as I go through my closet. womens and childrens clothing. I’ve been less than impressed by our local consignment shops and how unorganized they are, and I love how easy it is to just fill the bags they send me and whisk off magically to the land of sell and recycle. I don’t even have to do my post-consignment-shop trip to Goodwill with the items they didn’t take. ThredUp recycles anything for me that they don’t take, and I cash out via Paypal. I just sent in my fifth bag. Ahhh.
  • As for baby clothes and gear, I’ve been able to part with a few items as we’ve found our parenting style and which gear best serves us. Several apparel items have moved out, either because they are so worn they can be tossed, they’re a bargain brand that can be donated, or we found it was hard to put on/too itchy/etc so it was never really worn to begin with. Aside from donating/tossing, any brand-name/designer things we can do without have been sent to ThredUp.

As I’ve been going through things, I’ve been doing a little online reading to keep myself on track. In particular, I liked this breakdown of five of the best-known methods for decluttering, the philosophies and personalities attached to them, and of course, links to the books written about them. Also in my search to get motivated to declutter, I came across this blog, which, while more extreme than I have the desire to go, was a pretty fascinating read, and definitely confirmed that there’s plenty around our house with which we can part.

I’ve always been weirdly excited by the idea of purging. Case in point: when the boys were out of the house for a couple hours one Saturday recently, I went wild with my free time…and organized the junk drawer. And loved it. #livingontheedge

I have been using the tools over at A Bowl Full of Lemons (her 14 week challenge is so well organized!). I also stumbled across this 52 weeks to organized checklist (each week is a clickable link to get you psyched for the week’s task). I haven’t followed either plan religiously, but it does keep me on track to tackle SOMETHING on the list each week.

One project I’m particularly excited about is to tackle photos. I found myself nodding along with this article — we are in the exact same boat — so many albums and scrapbooks that take up too much space and never get looked at. I’m hoping to scan my heart away and piece together some albums from our last eight years of marriage. Plus I love that unlike my “system” now for photos, MyPublisher will archive my images on their site and I could reprint a new book at any time in the case of a disaster.

So there is my random rambling of a catch-up, complete with “meh” iphone pictures, on what’s been going on around here in recent weeks. I’m hoping to create a couple posts of the more transformed spots in the house (an updated “before” of our basement, and my reworked guest room closet, housing all of my crafty stuff). Until then, you can likely find me creating categories on my label maker. Try not to be jealous of my coolness factor.

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Crew: 14 months!

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I’m doubling up last week’s “Oscar shoot” as your 14-month pics. :) It’s been a particularly fast 30 days from month 13 to 14, and you seem to have made big changes this particular month. Words are becoming more pronounced, your general gesturing at things has turned to very deliberate pointing, and you’re quickly realizing there are things you can’t do and that frustrates you greatly!

I wouldn’t say we’re in a full-on tantrum stage, but it’s almost as if the “arch my back, squint my eyes, and groan ultra dramatically” for a few seconds has just become another “phrase” in your vocabulary. You stop almost immediately and are on to the next thing, but you’re not about to NOT let us know when you’re annoyed with the outcome of something. You are getting better about using your very limited vocab to let us know as well — “nah nah nah” (no no no) and “ah dah!” (all done!) are common when I pull out the snot sucker ha!

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You are becoming more and more obsessed with the (growing) collection of Baby Einstein DVDs. I have to admit — I don’t even feel bad that you’re watching them. It’s engaging images and vocabulary set to classical music…and we’re convinced it just might emit baby crack as it plays. You are entranced, point to every new object and look at us to name what it is, and you break into huge grins when the kids come on, and you sway to the music. Did I mention? It gives us a solid 10 minute window here and there to do anything from unload the dishwasher (withOUT your help), to even using the restroom in private. It also helps (somewhat) deter your CONSTANT need to climb. Everything.

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You have been doing swim lessons the past three weeks, with more to go, and are loving it. It’s kind of amazing to watch the progress each week, both in your ability in the water, and your huge leap forward in trusting your instructor. The first week you were cool as long as Dad was holding you, and you weren’t at all scared of any of the exercises or the water itself — it was merely the new face who would take you from time to time and demonstrate the drill. Fast forward to the next week where you had some trepidation, but you’d let him hold you (briefly) and by the end you were giving him high fives. This last week, you pretty much spazzed with excitement when you saw him and were laughing as he did circles in the water with you. It makes me feel good to see you trust other adults, especially another guy, since all of your sitters/teachers are women.

We are itching for Spring to arrive and bring temps that allow us to be outside for more than a few minutes at a time. I sometimes think your lack of patience is attributed to needing some new environment and things to challenge you. I can’t wait to move your water table outside, eat some lunches in the yard, get to the park more, and eventually the pool this summer. We are planning to hang a baby swing from our patio overhang, just for the season, as well. You have LOVED the few wagon rides we’ve been able to take you on around the neighborhood — any time we go through the garage now you point to it and start jabbering.  

Crew’s Valentine was a hit #musiclover #crewyeartwo #valentines A video posted by Liz Smith (@lizblogphotog) on

You’re suddenly afraid of loud noises, and it’s one of the few things that will make you cry. You are doing better with separation anxiety that seemed to appear around your first birthday, although saying “bye bye” is not your favorite thing to do. You continue to LOVE bathtime, being naked in general, and your sippy cup of milk. I swear I’m at the store every three days buying another gallon. A couple weeks ago, we were at Book Babies at the library and you were mesmerized by the day’s story, Maggie’s Ball. So much so that I ordered a copy for home, and we read it at LEAST three times a day. Maggie’s ball is a tennis ball, so I got out a sleeve of them for you to tie it all together. It has become your new favorite toy – taking the lid off, the balls out, throwing them around the room, collecting them, putting them back in the tube, and trying to get the lid on. Hey, whatever keeps you busy!

It’s so fun to watch your little brain think right now – anything that “fits” into something else, connects, has a lid to remove/replace, is all fascinating to you. You now hold your pouch of applesauce, taking a swig of it, then putting the cap back on, then taking it off, between each bite. Learning, learning, all the time!

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We are seeing more independent standing, but no steps yet. Mom has been over-buying for your Easter basket, the next holiday we can’t wait to celebrate with you. We’re all looking forward to the change of seasons with you and seeing what’s in store for you next. Happy fourteen months, little man! We love you!

Muuuuuuah!
Mom

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a toddler’s Easter basket.

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While his first Easter (at three months) was fun (the bunny brought him pacifiers and a bib we still use every day!), this year has been WAY more fun to plan for, as Crew is starting to really react to things and we know what types of things get him especially excited. What a difference a year makes…the contents of this year’s basket crunch, light up, makes sounds, and more. #bigboybasket

It seems the blogosphere has all kinds of ideas for Easter (and Valentines for that matter) that are aimed at girls…so I thought I’d share what I’m pulling together for my car-loving, ball-throwing, cause-and-effect obsessed 14-month-old boy.

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  • I ended up going with some other items instead, but I still love this little bunny nightlight. It would be so sweet to put in his room during the countdown to Easter each year!
  • The bunny theme continues with some new Kickee Pants jammies (the softest you will ever buy!). He’s wearing these already, and of course I’ll be snapping some Easter morning pics in them. This particular style came out last year, but they are still available on Amazon.
  • After reading a rave review by another blogger, I ordered Marco for the bath (get it? Marco Polo!). He bobs up and down in the water and his light turns colors when he’s above versus underwater. Crew LOVES things that light up, and at swim lessons, he is working on identifying what is above/below water and bobbing for toys, so this seemed appropriate. Plus I love, love, love anything Boon makes.
  • I have a book wish list a mile long for Crew, but have been saving this title for Easter. Every parent I’ve talked to has a rave review on this book! Some other titles that would be great for a basket include Pat the Bunny, The Runaway Bunny, or Easter Bugs.
  • Crew got the VTech garage for Christmas and a couple of the vehicles for his birthday. He plays with them every. single. day. so it was easy to justify another car for the collection.  (Page made fun of me that of all the choices, I got the van — womp womp, but truthfully, it was one of the cheapest, Crew doesn’t care, and Mama wanted those bunny jammies!)
  • I might put some jelly beans in an egg and see if he’ll taste them, otherwise his eggs will be filled with the pastel-colored goldfish, mini marshmallows, some white cheddar bunnies and vanilla and cocoa bunnies. I’m guessing even before they’re opened, he’ll love holding and shaking those eggs. They’re nearly balls, after all — one of his favorite things!
  • Last year, I ordered Crew’s basket from Pottery Barn Kids (pictured above). I love the quality of their baskets, and I’m a sucker for anything I can monogram!

It seems everywhere I turn, I see something else I can either justify adding to the basket, or I have to talk myself out of! Just this morning I was in Walgreens and spotted a squishy yellow “chick” shaped ball that lights up and was a fun/new texture to hold, as well as jars of bubbles shaped to look like the “Peeps” bunnies. Must. Stop. Shopping. His basket runneth over. :)

I ended up with a couple other add-ins not pictured including a mega-refill bottle of bubbles, a carrot-themed pouch of baby food (he still loves these, especially when a tooth is coming in!), a bouncy ball that lights up, and a little watering can, shovel, and spade from the dollar spot. Bring on the warm weather toys and spring. We can’t wait to get outside!

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