Sunday, June 30, 2013

8 NEW Baby Buys & Lifesaver Products

1. Latchy Catchy
I can't tell you how grateful I am to have this on our bedroom door and the door to our bathroom. We'll switch them to the nursery door and surrounding doors once we move Asher to his crib, too. You can still shut the door - but it's silent! Genius!

2. Bambino Land Burp Cloths
I have come to realize that the more absorbent burp cloths are the ones you'll reach for. These Bambino Land muslin burp cloths absorb what 3 of my other ones would! I always use these when I'm on the go.

3. Sophie the Giraffe ***with PLUSH!!!***
The plush version of the well known Sophie the Giraffe has been the 'go-to' toy. Until he's interested in really chewing on things, he much prefers the plush version. The giraffe shape makes it easy to hold and snuggle with for little ones who can't really grab very well yet, or at all. He's in love!

4. The Diaper Clutch
Just grab this little clutch out of your diaper bag for a quick run to change the baby. Unless you need an impromptu outfit change, as well, but otherwise this clutch is a cute little lifesaver!

   Some babies just require bibs. Lots of bibs! See my bib post HERE.


Bandana bibs from Butterfly Kisses Co. on Etsy

6. Books, Books, & More Books! 
Before bedtime, when baby is a little fussy for no apparent reason (maybe bored), when you want a little extra "bonding time" - books are all around awesome to have and fun to read together! At my baby shower, we encouraged guests to give a book instead of a card (can you believe the price of cards these days??!) so that helped us get a great start to Asher's "library". Zulily also often has great package deals on unique books!

7. OBall by Rhino Toys
Little fingers can hold onto this ball long before their hands follow suit. Helps them with learning the dexterity of their fingers, too!

8. Earth's Best Nursery Wipes
Now that Asher is playing with toys more, playing in his exersaucer/jumperoo, and has his hands and mouth on everything, these wipes are a true lifesaver. They are alcohol free, non-toxic, chlorine free, hypoallergenic... the list goes on yet they still use natural cleansers and germ fighters to keep toys and surfaces safe for babies.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Baby Sign Language - What's on Your Mind?

Honestly, I was skeptical about Baby Sign Language to a certain degree. I didn't think it would start "working" until 7+ months like all the resources on baby signing suggest and I thought it might be difficult to work into our routine. Boy was I wrong! We started signing with Asher at 3 months and now at 19 weeks, he is already starting to sign to us. For real.

At first I thought I was being "that mom" who might insist her baby is signing when he is really just moving his hands around randomly. But after a few days of wondering if what I was seeing could be real - I know it is! My baby is signing to me!  { I apologize in advance for all the exclamation points. I am just that amazed and excited about this! }

Here's what happened that made me a believer in baby sign language:

Last night, Asher would NOT go to sleep. I tried putting him down 4 times starting at 7:30pm. He would either fuss or just play and talk in his bassinet. I tried feeding him more milk, changed him, let him sit with me and the dogs for a while. He kept signing "banana" and putting his hand to his mouth (which now I know meant "eat"). Being a baby who may or may not be starting teething, I just figured it was just a baby thing. As far as the "banana" sign, I thought it must be that he didn't really know what it meant yet, or he was associating it with the book we had just read with bananas in it. I basically didn't want to jump to conclusions - I mean, he's not even 5 months old yet. Finally, after hours of this, I gave in and fed him some carrots (he already had bananas that morning). He ate almost 3 tbsp with a smile on his face the whole time. I got him cleaned up and readied again for bed. When I put him down, he fell asleep INSTANTLY. He was out for the night. I should have listened to him in the first place! I probably would have saved myself hours of frustration. 

So now I am a believer. I will be teaching him all the signs I can throughout the next few months. 

Could this be "eat"?

Here's how we've done it so far.

I did not know any signs when we decided to do this. I bought a baby signing book, but after trying to decipher a few of the signs pictured in the book, I have realized that I need to actually see it being done to learn it. I bought Baby Signing Time Vol. 1 and learned alongside Asher some of the basic, primary signs for babies. This DVD is AWESOME. It's the only thing Asher will watch on TV and he absolutely LOVES it. It's full of fun songs, cartoons, and other babies making signs. I really want to get him the full set complete with a "Mr. Hopkins" plush frog (because that's a necessity), but it's unfortunately out of our budget right now. I bought volume 3 on Ebay (I don't know why I skipped 2... it was a 1:00 am purchase) and plan to slowly build our collection.

He watches it a few times a day (*blush*) while I'm doing things around the house or getting work done on the computer. Hey - at least it's educational!

Our early signs throughout the day have included:
  • "Milk" - whenever we would give him a bottle and while he's drinking it.
  • "Water" - whenever he was getting a bath, when it was raining and he would focus on it, or when I was drinking a bottle of water.
  • "Dog" - whenever he saw/touched Suki or Sumo, our pugs, or when reading the book Doggies.
  • "More" - when we'd give him more milk, read him another book or do more of anything he liked.
  • "Mama" - when he looked at me, "Dada" when he saw John.
  • "Grandma/Nonna" and "Grandpa" - with our parents (although we've been slacking with those).

That's pretty much it until about 2 weeks ago. I also have another DVD (that is full of 80s footage and not fun for babies at all) where I picked up a few more signs.

I have recently introduced:

  • "Banana"
  • "Bird"
  • "Diaper"
  • "Change"
  • "Eat"
  • "Up" <-- Which I may regret because he always wants up! :)
  • "Hungry" <-- New today. This may be too conceptual for his age, though...

Mind you, Asher watched the DVD each day and has seen the signs for "banana" and "eat" in the video since he was 3 months old. We also read a book called Today, I'd Really Like to Eat a Child that has a crocodile who eats bananas in it and we sign "banana" while reading it, too. (It's a cute book and not at all as scary as it sounds - haha!)

The thing about a young baby signing is that you have to have a keen eye for their signs early on. They are primitive versions of the sign and can easily be written off as nothing. For example, here is a video of Asher signing "more" and "banana" a few days ago (please ignore my annoying mommy voice)

I will continue to post on our progress with Baby Sign Language. I also am going to be tweeting videos of signs and any cool resources on the practice, so follow me on Twitter to get those updates!

Sorry this post is lacking pictures. It's hard to get my little signer on camera.

Good luck with your baby signing adventures. I'm happy to answer any questions and also welcome advice from anyone who has done signing with their babies!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lover of the Light

...But I'd be yours, If you'd be mine

So love the one you hold
And I'll be your gold
To have and to hold
Lover of the light

~ Mumford and Sons, 'Lover of the Light'

I think of Asher every time I hear that song. I think we can deduce meanings we are looking to find when it comes to songs, poetry... they may mean one thing to one person and hold a whole different meaning to someone else. This song just makes me think of my baby boy - not all of the words, but the important ones. :)

I didn't get to making dinner yesterday. We had some family friends in town so we all got together for dinner at John's family's restaurant, San Remo, for some delicious Italian food and pizza. It was much better than anything I would have cooked up. It was a good night to skip on the meal plan considering that Tuesday's recipe was for Pesto Pasta and I can easily save the pasta noodles for later in the week. 

I have a bunch of wonderful pictures from over the weekend to share. We went to the park with our friends Shawn and Nancy who just had their baby girl 3 weeks ago. Baby Asher and baby Marley spent some quality time getting to know each other. They are to be married, after all!

I couldn't resist posting this one. It cracks me up every time I look at it!
Asher judo chops her straight in the jugular! ;) JK! He really didn't, it just looked that way on camera!

We had a great time strolling the park. Congrats again you guys!
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Journey to Healthy Eating

I'm doing it. 

I am making the transition to a healthy diet.

I typically make healthy choices most of the time, but lately we have been eating out more and more and hitting that fast food lane much too often - and I have been feeling AWFUL.

The thought to reassess my diet came after catching a few minutes of a Dr. Oz episode on systemic yeast overgrowth. My fatigue had gotten so bad that I thought yeast could be the culprit and the underlying cause - my diet. Too many processed foods can throw off the balance of good and bad bacteria in your digestive tract, leading to overgrowth of yeast that can then enter your bloodstream and wreck havoc on different areas of your body. I don't know if this for sure was what was wrong, but having made a few adjustments throughout the past few weeks, I am feeling a lot better already.

My sister-in-law bought me this very informative book on healthy eating for kids and the whole family, Disease-Proof Your Child. (Thanks, Rebecca!!!) I am only in the first chapter so far, but it is perfect timing with my whole yeast diet plan and falls right into the same subject as a lot of the research I have been doing lately. I plan to have this thing read cover to cover very soon.

I also invested in The Fresh 20, a book with weekly meal plans using fresh, NON-PROCESSED, healthy ingredients. It gives you a shopping list for an entire week's worth of meals using only 20 ingredients (and then a few that you should stock up on initially in your pantry). I picked a random Summer menu and got started yesterday! It was only $100 for the week's ingredients and I even had to buy some of the spices that you normally would already have. So for under $100 you get 5+ meals and leftovers to boot! Pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, I can't divulge the delicious recipes since that would be copyright infringement for sure, but I definitely recommend the book and I'll walk you through the week's meals in pictures.

Yesterday's menu was:

{ Honey Lime Drumsticks and Watermelon Salad }

So, now I have to complete the week since I know you all are watching! Wish me luck!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Baby Asher Begins Solids - 4 1/2 Months

With babies, I guess you have to follow suit with the same philosophy that people tell you to with your birth plan - you can plan all you want, but you have to be ready to roll with the punches and be prepared for the unexpected.

Just 2 weeks ago I was all for waiting the full 6 months to start Asher on solid food. Then, his 4 month sleep regression hit, he went through a MAJOR growth spurt, and he was watching us eat our food like a hawk. With STTN already out the window (he's back to STTN now, knock on wood) and his eating so much of that ridiculously expensive hypoallergenic baby formula, I figured why not?


Baby Asher was showing the following signs of readiness:

  • Is over 4 months of age
  • Good head control
  • Can sit with support
  • Has doubled his birth weight
  • Eating 32+ ounces per day
  • Losing tongue-thrust
  • Chews on toys, fingers, etc.
  • Stares at food longingly


Why? From my research I have found that...

*Babies can't digest grains because their bodies do not produce the enzyme necessary to do so, pancreatic amylase, until 1-2 years old or when their first molars come in. Supposedly this can throw off the balance of bacteria in their digestive tracts and cause lots of problems including food allergies. Even after 1 year, some recommend limiting all grains until their molars come in.

*Feeding white rice based cereal is the equivalent of feeding your baby spoonfuls of sugar.

*The recommendation started with an advertising blitz in the 1950s and there isn't any actual scientific evidence that starting with cereals is necessary or best.

*Starting with carbohydrates may prime baby's palate for processed carbohydrates and can lead to obesity and other health problems later in life.

*Many rice cereals contain cancer-causing arsenic.

I did find Happy Baby Happy Bellies Organic Brown Rice Cereal which is sourced from California and regularly tested for arsenic (and has never shown any). It's available at Publix! It also has probiotics in it which is a plus. I haven't given any to Asher yet and need to do some more research on the whole digestion of grains subject before I do. Any advice is welcome!

What about iron? From what I've read, babies may need additional iron (mostly breastfed babies) starting at 6 months. This can be attained through the solids, so we will work in iron containing baby food options at that time. Lentils, chickpeas, tofu, meats, even sweet potato all offer iron. Our use of iron-fortified formula is a plus for us. Also, excess iron can cause problems, too, so those iron-fortified cereals on top of iron fortified formula could end up harmful.


He loved it! If you choose to start your baby off with banana make sure it is ripe (almost over ripe) or it can lead to constipation. It makes a great first fruit because it is soft and sweet and full of wonderful nutrients.

His first solid foods have been/will be:

Sweet potato
Butternut squash

I'm not opposed to the store-bought baby food. The best from what I have researched is the Happy Baby brand which is organic and does not have any added sodium. Be careful that in the grocery store they stock the Sprout organic brand right next to the Happy Baby pouches and they look exactly the same! I bought a whole bunch of the Sprout ones by accident. Not that they're bad, I actually gave Asher the carrots today. But they do have a little sodium in them - not much, but it's there.

I plan on mostly making homemade baby food for Asher. Hopefully this will result in better tasting, more nutrient rich food for him. I found a book on making 100 days worth of baby food in 2 hours and will get steamin' and mashin' (or blending) when it comes in. I also have another book with baby food recipes, although most are for down the road when he is a little older. More on homemade baby food to come!

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

OTter Talk #2

I'm making myself read more. I guess that should just be read in general. It has been years (embarrassingly) since I've read on a regular basis and I really miss how I good book takes you away for a few hours. I also think that the more you read, the better you write. I'm going to give that a try and you all can report back to me if it's working. ;)

The hardest part for me is choosing a book. I judge the books by their covers, for sure, and the descriptions never do the books justice, I'm noticing. It's like I'm terrified of choosing a book that I won't like or something. Indecisiveness to the nth degree.

I bought my first digital book the other day. I was really apprehensive, but I ended up really liking the digital book option. I also like how the iPad lets you read a preview of the book before buying. That may just be the answer to my book selection dilemma.

The book I just read is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I read it in 3 days. With a 4 month old. During busy season at our shop. It was that good. There were a few parts that would make a new mom slightly cringe, but it was such an amazing book and I really recommend it if you're looking for a good novel to read!

Although the iBook (eBook? Whatever.) was great, I still like the idea of reference type books in paper form. I know you can highlight and all of that in a digital book, but I think I would be more apt to go back and see what it is that I highlighted or try a certain recipe, per say, if it is a real, live book.

So, I'm on the hunt for a few new books to take me into the lives of others for a few hours during the week or for when procrastination is the next best option while Asher is sleeping.

Do you have any recommendations for good books to read? 

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Tales from Online Shopping - Baby Gear

Here are some of my most recent online "finds"...

1. Huggies Pure and Natural Diapers - We're trying them out as our disposable alternative to cloth when on vacation and when outfits wont fit over cloth.

2. Spider Monkey Plush Toy Set from Zulily

3. Stokke MyCarrier and Bib Set - Stokke was kind enough to send me this organic 3 in 1 baby carrier to review on our upcoming vacation. I'm SO excited to try it because I have only heard amazing things about it! I bought the coordinating carrier bibs for our little drooler. Check back for the full review and lots of pics! I hope I am able to say goodbye to my annoying back pain after using this ergonomic baby carrier.

4. Cloth Wipes from Sweet Bobbins - Thick, soft, CUTE, and so handy for everything drool to bum.

5. Turquoise Teething Necklace - Purchased from Zulily.

6. Buggy Guard Anti-Theft Stroller Lock - I'll be darned if my new awesome stroller becomes a statistic and gets swiped! This should do the trick.

7. Chompin Chicken Wing Teething Toy - A perfect AppeTEETHER! Oh, the pictures are coming... you can bet on that!

8. Simba Silicome Toothbrush - Baby toothbrush with stopper to keep it from going in too far. I have no idea what "fur clearing" means. Anyone????

9. Pully Palz Paci Hanger - Developmental toy that also helps keep pacifier handy. So cute!

10. Red Monkey Zip Up Hoodie - Baby Starters sale on Zulily.

11. Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes - Oh it's on! We have this and #12 below... I'll let you know which Asher prefers after a few weeks of playing with them both.

12. Bright Starts Get Movin' Music Player - So far I like this one better, it has more sounds and the handle is skinnier and easier for Asher to grip. But we will see!

13. Red & Blue Travel Pouch - By Stephen Joseph and purchased from Zulily for keeping baby essentials together while on vaca!

"My mom online shops way too much!" - Baby Asher

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our New JJ Cole Broadway Stroller


We've had a jogging stroller and a car seat caddy stroller and those have both been wonderful, but there have been times where both of those just haven't quite fit the bill. We needed something a bit smaller than the jogging stroller, yet big enough for trips to the mall. We also will be taking a family vacation up in the mountains soon, and will need something that is appropriate for naps on-the-go for a somewhat finicky daytime sleeper. It also would be nice to have a stroller that will grow with the baby so that we don't have to search for yet another one in a few months time.

Hello, JJ Cole Broadway Stroller!

Let's face it, we can't afford a $600+ stroller. Even this was a splurge from our standpoint, but one that will pay for itself over and over again with its many options and capabilities. (At least, that's how I persuaded John to let me buy it!) In all seriousness, it really is going to be with us for the long haul. It can be used from birth to 50lbs and has a 1 year warranty

As you can see from the images above, this stroller converts from bassinet/pram to toddler seat in literally seconds. Both options can be either forward facing or backward facing. The handle height is adjustable, which is a must for tall moms and dads. The shade is big enough to provide solace for little sleepers - and it has a little window to check on your precious cargo. The basket below is big enough to actually hold something (not so with our jogger). The frame also fits many car seats including our Chicco Keyfit 30 with an included car seat adapter. Perfect!

There are also optional interchangeable shade colors (so cool!), but we are just using the standard black one that came with it for now. 

I can't wait to take our little guy for a spin - literally! The JJ Cole Broadway stroller features "360 Spinnovation" in that you can spin it around to rear facing or forward facing using the handle. It's as simple as 1-2-3. The review is in the works. We'll be using this on our upcoming vacation in 2 weeks over the 4th of July week, so be on the lookout for many, many more pictures of the stroller in use as well as the lowdown on how it works out for us.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Father's Day to the #1 Dad

I always knew John would make a wonderful father. He just has the qualities that an amazing dad should. He's kind, patient, loving, and I can just tell he is so proud to be a father. He does so well with Asher, has since the day Asher was born, so tiny and fragile. He talks of the future when he and Asher will be "boys" together - hunting, fishing, playing soccer in the yard. The truth is, he will love and support Asher no matter if he wants to do those things or not. He will not judge or hold him up to any standards. He will be there for him during the proudest of moments and the moments that a dad is needed most.

Asher is blessed to have John as a dad, of that I am sure. He already lights up when John is around. A few days ago, John was home when Asher was getting his bath, which is unusual with our current work schedules. Asher looked up while playing with his bath toys and saw John standing behind me. His eyes grew wide and the biggest smile spread across his face. He started playing more actively with his toys as if to show his dad all the new, fun things he could do. It was a beautiful, simple moment that so perfectly captured what this first Father's Day is about - a new dad, a new baby, and the wonderful relationship that is growing between them. 

Happy Father's Day, John. You are and always will be a perfect father to our little baby Asher. He loves you more than anything already. Soon you'll be an inseparable pair. I love you!

Here are some of the first moments captured of our new father and son duo:

Asher's first diaper change.

We celebrated Father's Day early in the morning as the rest of the day would be spent with our extended families. John loved the shoes Asher picked out for him ;) and I found some inspiration on Pinterest for a fun Father's Day craft.

I had some father-son pictures printed on CHOCOLATE at for a unique Father's Day treat for John.
Asher helped me craft this Pinterest idea!

Then, we headed to John's dad's house to wish him a happy Father's Day. After that, it was out to dinner with my family to celebrate some more. Happy Father's Day to all the great dad's out there!


I'll finish up with some fun outtakes from our attempted Father's Day photo shoot... 
Asher was not in the mood! :)

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

iPhone Favorites & Random Thoughts

A post recapping Father's Day will be up soon, I promise! We have had one of our busiest weeks with our Etsy shop, so time has been in limited supply to say the least. We are all EXHAUSTED! We do realize how blessed we are to have a business that is growing day by day and we know all of our hard work will pay off in the end. My mom has been a tremendous help and Asher has enjoyed coming to our shop with me, too! 

HOWEVER, toting the little guy around with me like this is taking a serious toll on my back. My poor back and shoulder muscles are crying out for a break. Up - down - up - down - up - down... all day long! Who would imagine that such a small baby could wreck such havoc on one's muscles? I think I just may schedule that prenatal massage that I never had a chance to get... maybe I can trade it in for a couples massage and treat John to a late Father's Day gift, too. ;)

In addition to my ridiculously sore muscles, I think my immune system and my energy level in general are in need of a pick-me-up. I'm so pooped mentally and physically. I bright blue bruises everywhere - even on my finger (??!!) and have no idea where it came from. So, I've started on a multi-vitamin, some probiotics, am drinking an apple cider vinegar mixture each day, and am starting on a B12 supplement. We'll see if I can get back to my usual, energetic self. I will try to talk John into letting me get a Treadmill if I can find a good deal on Craigslist or something... Some exercise would probably provide a much needed energy lift. If anyone has any suggestions for boosting energy for new moms, I'm all ears!!

Next up will be revamping my eating habits, which are admittedly awful from time to time. It's difficult to eat very healthfully when I am home alone with Asher at night. I'm usually heating up a frozen Kashi meal and calling it a day. Once he is on solids, things will need to change. One thing at a time, though, so I will revisit this later..

Today, I am leaving you with my recent iPhone Favorites! I had over 400 pictures on my phone and had to clear them all out so I can continue to take pics! Here are my favs...

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Conquering Spit-Up Fashionably PART 1

We deal with a lot of spit-up. A lot. A lot, a lot. We've tried to find a rhyme or reason, some kind of method to this madness... but there really isn't much of a pattern other than a lot of spit-up, all the time. There are days when I can lay Asher down after a feeding and he is fine. Actually this happens quite often. He spits-up whether he is held upright or is in a sitting or laying position. Off and on, he spits-up immediately after eating and in-between them. He'll spit-up when he's overwhelmed - but sometimes he's totally fine. The only difference is the spit-up itself with different formulas. We've been through so many and it's pretty consistent in quantity and frequency. At least with his new formula, his spit-up isn't all acidic, curdled milk; that's a plus. 

So, when dealing with a baby who spits up a lot, you NEED to use bibs or you will find yourself changing their outfit umpteen million times a day. Ugh. Bibs.

I used to hate baby bibs. I even wondered to myself in those early days with this sweet, new baby eating from his bottle so delicately in my arms, "Why do these baby outfits all come with ugly bibs? Who would ruin the cuteness of the outfit with a BIB??" Now I know.

We only had 5 or so bibs until a few weeks ago. Don't even ask me how I did it. I don't know. 

"This bib? THIS BIB?? Mommy, you CRAZY!"

In an effort to save a little, I bought 2 packs of 10 bibs that were $10/each at Target. They aren't the cutest bibs in the world, but I needed something and fast. They work well during feedings, but they aren't nearly thick enough for our in-between spit-up occurrences. Asher laughs in the face of those bibs between his feedings. "HAHAHA!" Squashes them like bugs. Or maybe floods them like bugs, rather. I may just double up on them until he grows out of this problem. 

Lucky for us, I have come up with some other options that better fit our "bib criteria" and also are more fashionable! 

My Bib Criteria:
  • CUTE

{Of course, with any bib you don't want to let your child sleep or nap with it on.} 

ZULILY SALE / Electrik Kidz - Bandana Style Bibs with Pacifier Loop

I got these super cute bibs from a Zulily sale featuring the brand Electrik Kidz. They're so adorable and also reversible, so they will work with many of different outfits. They seemed to be more targeted towards drool rather than spit-up, but Asher tested out the nautical anchor one just moments after snapping the last picture of him wearing it. It did the job!

LE PETITE BIRDIE - Stylish Boutique Bibs

I purchased these baby bibs from an Etsy seller, Le Petite Birdie. So far so good. They are lined with fleece to wick away the moisture. I'm honestly not sure how that works since it's on the back of the bib and I thought that moisture still would soak through while the fleece still feels dry... but I must be wrong, because these have been protecting Asher's outfits beneath them quite well. I don't understand the concept of a "stay-dry" fleece liner in a cloth diaper now.... Some serious 'Google-ing' is about to take place! Regardless, every time he wears one of these bibs, he gets compliments. In particular, the sock monkey patterned one has been a real hit!

I have some more bibs on their way, a few SCARF STYLE ones from another Etsy seller. Until those arrive and I've had a chance to try them out, this post is officially...

 To be continued...

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