Can You Wear It To a Wedding? Emmeline Textiles Eleanor Pearl

What do you do when one of your closest sorority sisters sends you an invitation to her wedding at a castle in Canada? You RSVP yes! Then you remember you have a toddler. Then you remember he pretty well behaved and you are a babywearing educator, so you can make it work.

So you book all the accommodations, get your passports, and pick an outfit. Then you go look at your carriers and realize one thing: you are a budget wrap person and everything you own is pretty wild patterns. Nothing really suitable for wedding in a castle. Luckily Emmeline Textiles reached out to me and offered to send me one of their wraps.

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Manufacturer: Emmeline Textiles 
Colorway: Eleanor Pearl
Color: Cream
Pattern: Horizontal lines
Size: 3
Materials: 100% undyed cotton
Weave: Plain 

Now, I am not an overly girly girl, but this wrap was so pretty out of the package I almost didn’t want to touch it. I planned on washing and ironing it first, per the instructions, but that didn’t happen. We went to local rock and mineral museum, and Jack decided he needed an uppy to see everything better.

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This was the only carrier in the car so I had to use it.  It did pretty well for being in loom state. Wrapped pretty easily on Michael and he liked the softness.

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We did a basic Ruck, he just had enough tail to tie at the waist. He does know to wrap, he just isn’t the best at making a seat so I just do it for him. I should really teach him considering that it’s my job, but eh. The best kind of babywearing is the kind that works safely for your family.

After this I washed, dried and ironed the wrap. It softened up even more and the weave smooshed together nicely. It was ready for some adventure! I had hoped Jack would let me wear him on the ferry ride to Victoria, but nope. He wanted to run around the deck with daddy. This was probably for the best since he prone to motion sickness.

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However, towards the end he got cold and jumped in my lap to warm up. He pulled the wrap over us and snuggled under my jacket. It’s nice when your big boy is your baby once and awhile. The wrap was so soft and warm, a lovely end to our sail.

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I didn’t get a chance to wear Jack again until the wedding two days later (kid was way too excited, he wanted to run around the city himself). I went early to help the bride, I used to wrap as shawl without Jack. No one had any idea it was baby carrier!

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I need to talk about the venue for second. Hatley Castle is amazing. It’s a Tudor Revival style Castle just outside Victoria. It was built as a private residence, but has since become a military college and currently a public university.

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The ceremony took place in the garden next to the castle. It was beautiful. I couldn’t imagine a better spot for my friend to get married.

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After the ceremony during the cocktail hour, Jack started to get restless. So up he went in another Ruck. I was so happy to be able to (barely) tie at the waist even 6.5 months pregnant.

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Jack was bouncing up and down while I getting his plate of food together. Not enough to pop the seat, but enough to squish my bump. However, my shoulders were very comfortable, despite the 26 lbs of toddler.

DSCN3387After the cocktail hour, we snuck upstairs and explored the third floor

DSCN3377…and found a way on to the roof, too.

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After dinner was dance time! Jack loves to dance was overwhelmed by the lights, people, and sounds at this point.

IMG_4853During the speeches I had snuck outside and wrapped him a Double Hammock Traditional Sling Carry with a Double Knot. IMG_4866He calmed down and was happy to join me on the dance floor. The seat held perfectly even with all his bouncing.

IMG_4914Then he wanted down and dance for a good hour by himself. But needed a break for some milk, so up he went in my favorite carry, Robin’s Hip Carry with a Ring. It threaded nice through the ring, but it’s so soft it needed a little bit of adjusting to get it lay flat. However, now that I’ve broken it in more, I don’t have this problem as much.

IMG_4918Then we got a tour of the billiards room…and someone wanted to touch everything, so he went back up. I tightened very well this time to keep him from getting free.

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After some more dancing and fun, we all ran out of steam. We said our goodbyes and I put him up in a Ruck Tied Tibetan. I needed one last pic before we left. Recognize this spot? Any X-men fans? It’s the spot where Wolverine jumped from when the school was raided! I was a happy little babywearing nerd.

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So, can you wear an Emmeline Textiles Eleanor Pearl to a wedding? Yes, it’s perfect. The color is neutral enough to match any color palette. It’s a simple elegance that can match almost any outfit. The key feature of this wrap is texture. It’s a soft marshmallow. Easy to spread and ever so cushy on the shoulders. I would really recommend this for smaller babies that aren’t known wiggly seat poppers. But it does great with reinforcing passes with a wiggle monster as well.

 

 

Can You Hike In It: Tiny Tiger Everlasting Gobstopper 

You know that feeling when you finally get your hands on something you pined away for? That glorious, satisfying feeling when you touch it and everything you imagined? This was my feeling when I opened the box and pulled out this wrap. Tiny Tiger Everlasting Gobstopper came out when I started really getting into babywearing and I wanted it the minute I saw it. Sadly, at the time I couldn’t afford it and then it sold out when I could. I thought it would always just be a dream. So, you can imagine my excitement when I got the chance to have it visit!

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Manufacturer: Tiny Tiger Baby

Colorway: Everlasting Gobstopper
Color: Purple, blue, green, yellow, and red
Pattern: Small stripes
Size: 6
Materials: 100% cotton
Weave: Plain 
Release date: February 2015

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This wrap showed up back in February when I was suffering from very bad first trimeter hyperemesis, so it took it me while to get enough use out of it to review. We first took it on a stroll through our cute little downtown. Jack loved having an uppy in the bookstore to grab everything possible off the shelves.

IMG_2113I did a basic Ruck. It was easy to make a seat with a wiggly toddler. And held nicely despite his bouncing around to grab books.

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I finally–two months later–got to take it out on a trail!  We went to a great local park, Rood Bridge Park. It has wide, paved trails great for strollers or curious toddlers.  Plus some dirt trail with a tiny bit of incline in the back.

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There is a lots of shade, plus several water features like creeks and ponds. Jack loves the big open fields and the playground. I am pretty sure he is well behaved on the trail so he gets plenty of time to play after. IMG_2999

Location: Rood Bridge Park
Distance:  1.21 miles
Trail Type:  Paved concrete, gravel, and dirt 
Weather: Sunny and warm 
Trail Conditions: Clear trail, slightly busyIMG_3038

Jack was getting impatient to get to the back part of the park where the frog pond is, so I gave him an uppy to get him there faster. I did a quick (and pretty sloppy now that I see the pictures), Ruck again. IMG_2997

The grip on this handwoven is so good that the carry held well even while not properly tightened.

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After some major bridge exploring, Jack said he wanted to go to the playground. So up he went in a Secure High Back Carry. Once again, it was a bit sloppy because he was impatient, but he still very secure due to the grippiness.

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I did a ring finish instead of a knot, mainly because I was starting to get a baby bump and didn’t want the added pressure on my waist. It threaded through the ring nicely and held great.

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The key feature of the wrap is the handwoven texture. It is very grippy, no issues locking down a seat on a wiggly toddler. That being said, I prefer a little more glide on my wraps, so it was tad (a very tiny tad) too grippy for me. But overall, I was not disappointed in this wrap. The stripe pattern is very fun and looks amazing in person. It’s got that classic bandage-feel wrapping quality.  I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to play it for a few months.

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Can you hike in a Tiny Tiger Everlasting Gobstopper? Yes, this is a wrap that will not fail you (even with a wiggling toddler) on the trail. The grippiness may be a bit intimidating for new wrappers, but once you get the hang of wrapping, it should not be an issue. The all cotton blend should not get too hot or cold, so I would recommend this for all seasons.  I wish I had a squish to try a Semi-Front Wrap Cross Carry when it was here, I bet it would have held up like a champ on a good hike.

Water Babywearing

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You know the one drawback to being an experienced mom? You get to facepalm yourself when you find a new product that could have made your life easier from the start. Babywearing allowed me to eat, go to the bathroom, and clean up around the house while keeping Jack happy. But I always had to wait until he was either asleep (and do the paranoid mom checking the monitor every 30 seconds) or wait until Michael got home. And sometimes things got so busy I forgot to shower (more like I fell asleep before I could even think of it), that it could be days before I got the chance.  Jack loved baths with me, but sometimes you need a good standing scrub to feel clean. Sometimes Michael would hold him in the shower, but it’s hard to shower and hold a baby (they get heavy after awhile!).

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Hard to thread, slid down easily, choked me, and only instructions were for front facing.

A few months later I bought a water ring sling to use at my sister-in-law’s house. It got the job done but was not comfy at all. I used in the shower when I needed to (like when I remembered it’s been 3 days since I had a good shower), but never really loved it. It made Jack happy, so I decided to hold on to it. But I knew I was not going to use it with another baby. It would be back to dreaming of showers.

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Fresh out of the box.

Then Lorene from Frogmama let me test out Wrapsody WrapDuo and everything changed. The night it arrived, Jack and I took tested it in the shower. It was a hit!

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The most fun shower ever!

We tried a Front Wrap Cross Carry, one of Jack’s favorite carries. He was so happy! All secure and tight—I could never get that stupid ring sling tight so he was never this secure before. It was easy to nurse in to (because toddler logic says a shower is a great time to nurse….).

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Happy husband to wear his son, grumpy baby ready for a nap.

A few days later I let Michael try it out at the local splash pad. Jack was grump and didn’t want to get wet. But Michael liked the wrap a lot.  He liked that I could pre-tie it on him, pop Jack in and out as needed. He said it would have been nice to have used when Jack was a newborn in the shower (that’s when I facepalmed myself).

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Jack is shocked at how supportive it is at the pool!

Then we tried it out at the pool and it was another big hit! Sadly, I forgot to check the open swim times and we only got to swim for a half an hour. But it was a savior in the showers afterward. Jack was furious we got out of the pool so early. I kept him in the wrap and rinsed us off quick and ran to the car with no fuss. It was very comfortable in a wet Robin’s Hip Carry while we got the chance though.

Pool time in FCC!
Pool time in FCC!

Lastly, we had a playdate with Myste, another Brand Ambassador, at a pool with a splash pad. It was a little chilly when we arrived but Jack wanted to check out the splash pad still. He stayed warm enough in the wrap close so my body that he was happy to play. Later we went into the pool, and Jack was still just as happy. This time we did a Front Cross Carry so I could pop him in and out as needed. And it was once again a life saver in the showers. Jack was upset playtime was over, but we got right into a warm shower and he calmed down.

Here are my final thoughts on the WrapDuo…

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Not toddler worthy when dry unfortunately.

Cons:

  • The wrap is only suitable for front and hip carries since it is a stretchy wrap. This is a good thing because it not safe to have your baby in water and not be able to see them their head level in the water. Since this is a wet/dry wrap, it kind sucks you can’t use dry on the back. It would have been a lot easier to carry my bag and the wet towels to the car after the pool with him on my back.
  • It’s not toddler worthy out the water. The dry weight limit is 20 pounds, which means Jack at 22 pounds was technically too heavy. So when I was wrapping him before the we got in the shower first time, it was really hard to get him tight enough without popping his heat. And Michael said he felt like Jack could have just leaned back and fell out when he was walking to splash pad. I am sure this would not been an issue at all with a baby under the weight limit.
  • They take a while to dry. You know how your swimsuit can still be wet after hanging in the shower hours later? The wrap is made of similar material, so it also can be awhile before it it totally dry. Not a big deal, but it is more wet thing you have to shove back into your bag.
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Even wet, it is small enough to fit in a small bag.

Pros:

  • It is easy to put on and take off. It’s light weight, glides nicely when tightening, but still makes a nice secure knot. No complicated rings to thread or buckles to snap. As long as you know the basics of wrapping, than you are set! And when Jack wanted out to play on the steps of the pool, I just pulled him right out with no fuss. Plus you can do all your favorite front and hip carries, so it is very versatile.
  • It is toddler worthy in the water. The wet weight limit is 30 pounds, which covers most kids well into toddlerhood. I never had issues tightening and securing Jack when the wrap was wet. It felt like any other good quality wrap. It did not dig or hurt in any way either.
  • Easy to store. It is very light weight and folds up small even when wet. It didn’t hog up space in the diaper bag or feel like I was carrying any extra weight.  Nothing is worse than your diaper bag weighing more than your baby.

Overall, the WrapDuo is a great wrap. Like I said, I am facepalming myself for not knowing about it when Jack was still a clingy baby who never me set him down. I could have at least been nursing him for 30 minutes straight while I took a warm shower!

Thanks Frogmama for letting us testing it out! I so need one when I have another baby.

Things Saving My Sanity With a Newborn

Overall, I lucked out with Jack. He really isn’t that fussy of a baby. He usually only cries when something is wrong, like he needs to be fed or is tired. But, he has his moments. And let me tell you, this kid has a set of lungs on him. There is nothing more taxing on your soul than hearing your baby scream when you are already exhausted. By 3 weeks old we figured out a few things that will calm Jack quickly and keep him happy pretty. So here is a list of the things saving my sanity:
  • Swaddle Sacks: The first night at the hospital Jack was either nursing or screaming because he wanted to nurse. Michael and I were trying everything to get him to sleep more than 10 minutes. Then a nurse came in to take him for his hearing test around midnight. When she brought him back, he was all swaddled and happy. He slept for an hour until he was hungry again.  I unswaddled him, feed him, and he got all fussy again. Then the nurse came in to check his vitals and swaddled him. He slept for 2 hours. Then another feeding followed by fussiness. Then another check and nurse reswaddling, followed by 2 more hours of sleep. Thus, we quickly caught on he liked to be swaddled. But as best as we tried, we couldn’t get him tight enough and he kept breaking free (which just made him madder). The first night at home, we just couldn’t keep him asleep for more than 30 minutes and were exhausted. Then I remembered there was a swaddle sack in the bag of hand-me-downs my friend gave us. I put him in it, rocked him until he fell asleep. And to my delight he slept for 3 hours! The next day we ordered 2 Summer Infant SwaddleMe’s from Amazon. We swaddle him every night for bed, most naps, and when he is insanely fussy. He sleeps in 3-5 hours stretches at night and takes 2 or 3 good naps every day. So worth the money.
  • Boba Wrap: Several of my friends told me to wear my baby. After Jack’s first few days at home and him constantly wanting to be in my arms, I decided it was worth a shot. I decided on the Boba Wrap because of the good reviews and the price. I watched the videos on Youtube on how to put it on and wear your newborn thought it looked easy enough, so I ordered one off of Amazon. When it came, I was kind of overwhelmed by the amount of fabric and by the stretchiness. I am petite and I was worried I would not be able to get it tight enough to support him properly. But I went for it anyways. I spent a good 15 minutes messing with it.  Once it  felt right, I put him in and he was so happy! We went on a walk and he loved being wrapped. Went right to sleep. Whenever he gets too fussy now, I just put him in it and go for a walk or walk around the house. All hands free! However, there are two issues I had with it. First, it can sag. You need to tie it at your actual waist not, where you wear your pants (or atleast I need to). And you need to pull it pretty tight. But once I got the hang of it there was no more issues. Second, it gets hot. Your baby is wrapped in three layers of pretty thick fabric right up against your body. You two may get a little toasty in the summer. I recommend you wear a light tank top and put the baby in just a diaper when its warm.
  • Soothie Pacifier: Jack is a sucker (and a cute one at that!). His favorite place is attached to my boobs. At first I didn’t mind because I knew he was cluster feeding and growing. But when he wasn’t in a growth spurt, he still loved my boobs and it began to hurt after awhile. I tried every pacifier we had but he would spit it out after a few minutes and cry. Then someone on the April 2014 Birth Club on Babycenter mentioned Soothies. They are the kind used in hospitals. They look and feel more like nipples. I ran out the Target one day when Michael got home from work and bought a two-pack. Jack took it instantly. They work great! He gets to suck and my nipples are spared. However, these only piss him off if he is actually hungry. So I need to make sure he is fully fed before I give him one. Then he will happily suck away—and sometimes even suck himself to sleep.
  • Lavender Oil:  Lavender is known for it’s calming qualities. Jack was not a fan of baths at first so I wanted to do something to make them more enjoyable. I didn’t want to use the popular Johnson and Johnson Lavender products. So I got a bottle of organic lavender oil and added a few drops to his bath. The minute we set him in, he calmed down. Now he loves baths (even when he’s screaming his head off prior). And during the day if he gets too fussy and won’t go down for a nap, I dab a drop on the oil on his chest. He calms down most of the time, it’s almost like magic! But I need to stress that lavender oil can be a powerful relaxant and you really only need a few drops. Too much can affect your baby’s nervous system (see side effects here). Also, if your baby has sensitive skin, I would suggest not applying it directly to their skin. Instead add a few drops to a carrier oil (like coconut or olive oil) and apply that to their skin.
  • Relaxation Melodies App: I’ve used this to help myself fall asleep for years. There’s a wide variety of sounds you can use for white noise. I like the combination of ocean waves and rain. It reminds of my two favorite places, Oregon (the rain) and Hawaii (the ocean). Babies like white noise because they spent 9 months inside you listening to sound of your heartbeat and other bodily noises. I thought of using this app one day when Jack was 2 weeks old and having a hard time falling asleep. So I put the sounds on and he calmed down instantly. I put it on  almost every time I put him to sleep now or when he gets too fussy. He screams halfway through our morning walks on occasion. The second I put on “his music” he goes right to sleep. This app is free and totally worth the download.

The Nursery: The Crib

I had no idea cribs were so complicated. Do you want changer combo or a standard crib? A convertible one? What color? How big of slots? Does it have stationary or drop sides? What is the maximum mattress height? Wood, metal, or plastic? Do you want to skip a crib, and do a bassinet or pack n’ play instead?

After some research (links provided below), I figured out what I wanted. We have a bassinet that my in-laws used for all of their kids that is still in great condition. We want to use that while he is really little so he can be right next to our bed. But we still wanted a crib in the nursery for when he got older. We wanted it to be wood, to match the baseball theme. Also, we wanted it to be lighter in color like a baseball bat—but not too boyish so if we had a girl in a few years it wouldn’t match girly stuff. I wanted it to have stationary sides so he can’t hurt himself he if climbs out. Because the room is small, I liked the crib/change combos to save space.

Once we figured all that out, we were in for major sticker shock. Cribs are so freaking expensive! We fell in love with one from Pottery Barn Kids, but it was $849! So I began looking for good deals. I quickly came across ones for around $100, but they were unstable and usually all plastic. I wanted something inexpensive, but still good quality. Then Babies R Us started discounting the 2013 model cribs at the end of the year and I found what I was looking for!

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The Delta Houston Crib and Changer in Cinnamon. We had looked at a similar model in darker finish at the store a few weeks earlier and liked it. We didn’t get it because the price was too high though. This one seemed perfect—crib/changer combo, in a light color, stationary sides, and can convert into a toddle bed/bed frame later. And it was only $299!

He opened the beer seconds before
I asked him to assemble the crib.

My husband assembled it one night after work, with some help from his sister and brother-in-law. It wasn’t that complicated, but the instructions were kind of vague and hard to follow at first.” Insert HH into C. Then insert C into D”….yeah because that totally makes sense…

All ready for baby now!

Obviously I can’t fully review it yet since Jack isn’t born yet. But it appears to be very sturdy (Michael gave it some good shakes and it hardly budged). My only minor complaint so far it already has a scratch on it. It happened during assembly, Michael leaned it against the bed and it slid down slowly until it hit the floor. Nothing major, but kind of annoying to happen so quickly. I like the two storage drawers and three side storage shelves a lot. The larger top shelf fits a good amount of diapers and wipes.

I would also like to comment on the crib bumpers. I know no bumpers at all are recommended, but I babysat for a little boy who got his leg stuck and badly bruise when he was only a few months old. It was awful. I know odds are that most kids will never get their body parts stuck in the crib, but I don’t want to risk it. The ones on his crib are mesh and very light weight. And I know you can breathe through them because while I was fixing them one day  my cat wrapped herself up in it tight and totally covered her head. I panicked thinking she was going to suffocate, but as I picked her up I could see her nose smashed against the mesh breathing comfortably. I will remove the bumpers when he gets bigger and will be able to take them off himself though.

Links on how to select a crib:
How to Buy a Crib, Baby Center
How to Pick a Crib For Baby, My Mommy Manual
Baby Crib Buying Guide, About.com