Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Day

This year was my first time spending the holidays away from my family. It was a rough few days, but being with my second family helped me adjust. We had a very low key day with Zak's parents in their beautifully decorated home. We had the most amazing dinner and time well spent with Aunts and cousins and our Meme. Our beautiful doll from our dear friend Angelica from Thunderclouds of Love also appeared on Yaya's doorstep Christmas morning. It was a beautiful day and made me even more excited to have a second Christmas with my family in Florida. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Eve

Casual day downtown with friends. Hand-holding and tree climbing are pretty typical.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Generic Carrier Comparison

For our baby shower, we were gifted an Ergo and a Moby wrap. When Odin was three months, we were given a Maya Wrap ring sling. When Odin was a year, we were chosen to be a part of the Sling Diaries and were able to get a few ring slings from Sakura Bloom. At a year and a half we invested in a toddler Tula. Along the way we have played around with a few woven wraps, but most of it has happened recently and I feel with my experience, that we will most definitely use the woven wraps more with the next one. Wrapping a toddler who is more than half my height and a fourth my weight has proven difficult, but still very comfortable once finished! I only wish we had invested in a woven from the beginning so that my experience would be much more thorough. We've also recently been able to try a Mei Tai and I feel very much the same about it, although the Mei Tai is a little easier and quicker for wiggly toddlers. I'll include a photo of Odin in the Mei Tai and one in a woven at the end of this post!

The Moby Wrap was very comfortable, and we used it a lot at home. It's a lot of fabric and can be very intimidating for a new mom! When we did use it for walks, we would wrap before leaving the house so that we could easily slide Odin into the wrap upon our arrival. The Moby really seemed to hug and snuggle Odin a lot more than the Ergo and in those first few months, nothing is more important. It was also very easy to nurse in and because of the amount of fabric, was very supportive. They say you can use it up to six months, but when Odin hit 15 pounds (which happened around Two months old!) we began to notice that we were constantly re-adjusting the wrap as he would drop lower and lower. Since doing more research, I have found that a lot of moms felt the same way about the 15 pound mark. In the newborn days and those first few months, nothing really compared with the stretchy wrap though. As Odin grew, we transitioned to a Maya Wrap ring sling because of it's ease and the Ergo for longer walks (or for Zak as he's never really been the biggest fan of the sling).

As Odin grew and we wanted a carrier that took a little less time- the ring sling and SSC was ideal. This is especially true at the six month mark, when baby is a little more wiggly and can sit up on his own. 

I've always been a ring sling fan and there are so many reasons why. Even though we are using the sling less now that my boy has grown so, it is always in my bag. The most beautiful sling feature to me is the fact that you can roll it up and keep it in your diaper bag at all times. We have a couple Sakura Bloom slings and while we keep one at home, one is ALWAYS in the diaper bag just in case. I really can't count the number of times I thought I wouldn't need a carrier and then I did and I was so grateful that I had my sling stowed away. The ring sling is easily adjusted and fits all sized babes. It is a carrier I really wish we had when Odin was a newborn because of the adjustability and the "newborn cushion." You simply take the tail of the sling and tuck it underneath the top rail. I was able to try it with a friends newborn and it's so easy and comfortable for mom and babe alike:

The Maya Wrap ring sling has a gathered padded shoulder which began to dig as Odin reached a year old. When we tried out our Sakura Bloom there was quite a difference because of the ability to spread the fabric across your shoulder and back to more evenly distribute the weight:

I'd like to think of myself as a nursing pro, having done it for 19 months now. All of the carriers we've used have made nursing on the go so easy. With a SSC you simply loosen the arm straps to drop babe down a little lower and then tighten when baby is finished. With the ring sling, you loosen the rings slightly to drop babe down in the same style and then tighten when finished. Another reason I'm a huge fan of babywearing is the ease of nursing. Here, Odin is nursing in the Tula and in the ring sling and everything is covered which helps when trying to nurse discreetly in a public place:

Zak has always preferred the SSC though, and I feel like a lot of papas agree! Now that we have the Tula, Zak is often carrying him in that as it is much more comfortable and Odin's weight is very easily distributed. Not to mention the simplicity! Buckle, buckle, slight adjustment, and done!

To summarize, I think certain carriers are great for certain situations. My go-to has always been my ring sling but I am so thankful we've had access to a variety of carriers. The stretchy wrap was like an extension of the womb and was perfect for the newborn days. The SSC has been great since Odin was three months for any longer walks, as I'm sure the Mei Tai and Woven wraps would be as they are suited to larger babies and very evenly distribute baby's weight. The ring-sling is definitely an all purpose carrier for me, but I have met some mommas that don't like to have a majority of the weight on one shoulder. I feel there is a learning curve for all carriers but once you find that sweet spot and you're able to cuddle up to your little one, nothing else will compare.

For reference, here are some photos of the Mei Tai and Woven Wraps:

Feel free to ask any questions you'd like in the comments!

This is a post for Carry Me Away, check out their amazing collection of carriers! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ian's Visit: Part Two, Winter Solstice

I've always been more spiritual than religious and Christmas has always been more of a celebration of the winter and the upcoming year for me, even when I was a little girl. This year we decided to celebrate the Solstice with Odin rather than Christmas. As we researched, we discovered that pretty much everything Christmas is derived from classic Winter Solstice celebrations. Our traditions aren't quite set yet as this was our first year but I've read some beautiful things that I'm excited to incorporate into our yearly celebrations. We plan to still celebrate Christmas with our families, but with Odin, the emphasis will be on the Solstice. Last year for Odin's first Christmas, we decided to go with the "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read" for gifts. We still plan to follow that tradition as I truly believe it is a good one! I've never been a fan of the materialism associated with this holiday and don't want Odin relating the two. 

One of my IG mama friends told me that they string berries and decorate the trees with the berry garlands and apples as an offering to the deer and other creatures. Solstice is about the Earth and it's relation to the Sun and it seems so much more fitting to me than sitting in front of your new flat screen television and playing with your new iPad all day. Not that I'd judge you if you did, but I'm not a fan of material things in general so we like to avoid that sort of atmosphere! I also love the idea of twelve special ornaments to decorate the solstice tree in representation of the twelve months of the year. I'm excited to make them next year and also to research throughout the year and begin practicing some beautiful new traditions. Our friend Ian was visiting this Solstice and it was so nice to have someone with us in the morning. We gave him one of our few jars of honey from our bees and I made Odin a set of finger puppets as his something he wants. Last year I made Odin a beautiful quiet book but I didn't have as much time this year! Although, he's ridiculously in love with the finger puppets and I think I made a good choice in making him those. 

We spent the rest of the day outside. Meeting up with friends downtown and walking to one of our favorite spots, the Lily Ponds. The day was short and we were soon back home to get Odin down for his nap and bid Ian farewell. It was definitely the most perfect day.