The shape of you. The shape of me.

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, GET FIT, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, LIFE, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, PREGNANCY

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The title of this post might give you an idea of how much Dr. Seuss I read on daily basis.

Ok, so I’ve been asked to write about this multiple times and I have looked forward to writing about this, as well. Kind of. Sort of. The only but is that I don’t really have much to say on the topic of postpartum body and getting in shape. I have done absolutely NOTHING. :( So I’ll write a bit about what changes my body went through from pre-pregnancy to now and what I am planning on doing about it.

There are a few “quirks” about my body that need to be known to understand where I am at after giving birth.
Number 1: My strong spot is my abs. It’s virtually impossible for me to gain fat in my tummy. And when I gain weight, my belly is the LAST thing to grow (after boobies) and even then it still has some definition to it.
Number 2: My weak spot is my legs. That is the first place where I gain weight and it shows immediately. So the rest of my body will be fine, but my legs and face will show whether I am heavy or thin.
Number 3:

Gaylord Palms Resort

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Florida, FUN TIMES, PHOTO, TRAVEL

I wrote a little bit about our trip to Orlando a few weeks ago, but today I’d love to share with you the beauty that is Gaylord Palms Resort.

We woke up the next morning and set off to explore the humongous indoor “jungle”. It was time to get some breakfast and since our favorite Villa De Flora was closed, we settled for a really nice decaf tea and pastry in the courtyard.

In case you’re wondering, Andrew is using the non-toxic natural hand sanitizing Cleanwell wipes to disinfect the table and Lexi’s hands.

It’s really hard to describe the hotel. It’s like a mixture of Disney intricasies, whimsical decorations, country swamp decor, twinkling lights, tuscan architechture, wet green jungle and the grandeur of a glass domed greenhouse.

 Where else would you find balconies overlooking the depth of the jungle? Or  a moss covered tree in the middle of a wooden swamp restaurant?

Or an ancient vine covered castle inside a resort?

Countless waterfalls and exotic plants?

And then you walk outside through the “swampland” area of the resort, past the tranquil looking spa, down the a few steps and through the glass doors, you walk out into the clean looking Arizona style pool oasis.

We didn’t spent much time at the pool, we didn’t have our swim suit with us, but Lexi started bouncing in Andrew’s arms at the sight of these little fountains covering the shallow walk-in edges of the pool. So we tried them out.

She was so hilariously focused on grabbing one of them. Fountains are fun :)

Besides the big kid friendly pool with slides and water features, Gaylord’s had an adult only area with cabanas, lounges and a rectangular pool. That’s the area you would usually see us hanging out at, sipping drinks and laughing at each other’s jokes. Not this time though. We looked at what 1 year ago would be “our spot” and happily took our beautiful and tired daughter back to the room.

I know we will continue visiting Gaylord Palms whenever we are in the area, whether it’s to have dinner, go to the yearly ICE exhibit with Lexi, or just show off this gem to friends out of state. I don’t know if we’d stay there again. Not because it wasn’t fabulous, but because I just can’t pass up staying on Disney campus whenever in Orlando.

Hope you enjoyed the photo journey through Gaylord’s as much as we enjoyed visiting.

Stroller Feature: Mutsy 4Rider

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, PRODUCTS, VIDEO

When I was 6 months pregnant and working on our baby registry, the most difficult decision BY FAR was what stroller to register for. I am sure all new moms will agree with me that if you have a decent stroller budget, you are COMPLETELY overwhelmed by the choices and options and your future baby’s needs.

I spent days researching concepts that were so foreign to me at the time. Lightweight? Luxury? Air filled tires? 6 months and up? Bassinet? Reclining seat? Car seat adaptor? Full canopy? UV protective? Expensive? Cheap? Forward facing or rear facing? Tall or adjustable handlebar? Cupholder? Snack tray? Good suspension? iPhone charger? All terrain? Jogging? Shopping basket? EVA tires?

Seriously, your head spins with the amount of options out there. It’s beyond any other item I have EVER had to shop for, including high chairs, which was pretty hard but not THAT hard.

I finally gave up and registered for a reputable  brand because my friend had 2 strollers of theirs. I am sure that is exactly what most people do when they are too overwhelmed by options and don’t want/don’t care to research and make a decision.

I figured that most new mothers are probably faced with the same decision process I had to go through, so I decided to see if I can try to review a stroller in each different category to see which features are a MUST and which ones can be PASSED UP. At least, from my standpoint.

So in the next few weeks, you will see 5 posts that are a part of this STROLLER FEATURE. The 5 categories are: LUXURY STROLLER (Mutsy 4Rider), LIGHTWEIGHT/UMBRELLA STROLLER (Kiddy City’n’Move), AFFORDABLE ALL TERRAIN STROLLER (GoGo Babyz Urban Advantage), JOGGING STROLLER (Baby Jogger Summit XC) and HIGH TECH STROLLER (4Moms Origami).

MUTSY 4 RIDER

 



A Dutch stroller company Mutsy {pronounced [Moot-si] was established in 1937 with the most adorable little carriages you have ever seen. But it wasn’t until 1975 that they came out with their first ADJUSTABLE stroller with a reclining back and then in 1978, one that transforms from a bassinet into a seat. That, for me, is the essence of Mutsy as a stroller company –  ADAPTABILITY.

The versatility of Mutsy strollers is beyond anything I imagined and more than I had hoped for. Mutsy 4Rider, which is the red stroller you’ve been seeing in most of my pictures, is their top of the line luxury stroller that is MADE with your baby in mind ( and a few features to appease parents too). When I was looking at all the options different strollers had, I was convinced that  there wasn’t one stroller that had it all, and that in order to get everything I wanted, I had to get at least 3 strollers. However, after spending the last 7 months using the 4Rider, I can tell you honestly, THIS IS  as close to ALL-IN-ONE as you can get!

Now before I get further into the review, one thing you have to know is that it is by NO MEANS a lightweight stroller. It is VERY heavy. It’s not meant to be lightweight or compact.  It’s meant to be comfortable for baby and parents, and full of features. {Mutsy DID come out with a lighter, more compact stroller just a few months ago, Evo, with similar features as 4Rider, from what I can see}.

My favorite part of Mutsy 4Rider is the amount of options and features this stroller has. In fact, I am STILL learning new features as I write this review ( I’ve gone “Baby, did you know Mutsy can do this?” to my husband three times in the last hour). These guys have thought of pretty much ANY scenario.

We all know how different babies are and you just have NO way of knowing what your future baby is going to like or hate until you try it. This stroller pretty much ensures that you’ll have something to appease your little one with. That’s where the options the 4Rider offers really come in handy.

So let’s go over them quickly, shall we?

Let’s start with the most common configuration of the 4Rider, using its seat.

  • The seat snaps in and out of  the stroller with 1 click.
  • It reclines to virtually any position, including flat
  • It can be flipped to face forward or backwards ( rear facing strollers are very important for the few 6-8 months of a baby’s life, until they get object permanence, since they might get distressed in a stroller that is facing forward  when the parent isn’t visible).
  • It has TWO  slots to attach any of the following to it: Canopy ( it has good coverage, with a large peekaboo window at the top that gets rolled up and affixed with velcro, and a relatively large zip-up pocket in the back. It can also be moved to any of the two slots, making it sit further back or forward for more coverage), dinnertray (sold separately), arm rest.

Other features:

  • breaks
  • lockable front wheels
  • expandable handlebar ( this really comes in handy for us, tall people)
  • air filled tires (big air filled tires means that your baby gets less jostling when you’re walking or lightly jogging)
  • nice suspension ( again, this is by far the smoothest ride out of all the strollers I’ve tried)
  • solid construction (This is where the word luxury comes in (besides its price tag). The stroller feels SOLID, it feels expensive, there’s absolutely no flimsiness to it.)
  • expensive fabrics (In comparison to other strollers, Mutsy 4Rider has a really nice feel. The fabric is woven very tightly and is of excellent quality)



The following are other configurations and add-ons and is why I love the 4Rider so much:
  • Bassinet (It easily snaps in and out of the stroller. Sold separately.)
  • Parasol (It gets attached to the handle bar and moved in any direction you wish to block the sun. Sold separately.)
  • Funseat ( This configuration is the coolest of them all and I cannot wait to try when Lexi is old enough. Basically it’s a cool toddler seat with a fake STEERING WHEEL (!!!!!!) and a huge basket. Perfect for trip to the beach or the store! Sold separately.)
  • Beach bag ( A “gigantic BeachBag fits right inside the basket of the Mutsy FunSeat”. Sold separately.)
  • Extra shopping basket (Sold separately.)
  • Raincover (Sold separately.)
  • Graco, Peg Perego adaptors ( The stroller can house an infant car seat with an adaptor for Graco or Peg Perego car seats. Sold separately.)
  • Footmuff (Sold separately.)
  • Riding step up board for toddlers (A really cool feature, where you add this little step board with a wheel to the back of the stroller so that your 2 year old could ride with you and your infant. Sold separately.)
  • Mutsy Babysitter (A rocker frame that houses your Mutsy seat and makes for a really great infant seat/rocker. It has literally saved my sanity in the first few months because it was the only rocker Lexi would sleep in. It’s even been featured in Lexi Awards. Sold separately.)
  • Duo Seat (Converts your 4Rider into a double stroller)
I know that is a lot of information for a review and probably would get some of your overwhelmed and confused even more, so here is a bottom line:
While it’s expensive when compared to Graco or Safety First, it’s definitely reasonably priced in its class and quality. So if it’s in your bugdet, it’s going to be the best stroller you’re going to have.  It converts into pretty much any configuration imaginable for all stages and needs of life. It is NOT light, nor is it cheap, or made of cheap materials. It’s a large, heavy, solid, nice stroller, perfect for a 2 person family living in the suburbs. It has great maneuverability, amazing shock absorbency and a very smooth ride.
You’ve got all the pros of the stroller writeen out above, so here are the CONS:
  • Heavy (34 lbs with the wheels and seat)
  • Large
  • Doesn’t fold compactly (which is fine by me, because due to it’s weight, you can’t really take it with you while travelling)
  • Due to the size of the wheels, they get caught flipping sometimes, which can get annoying in very narrow areas.
  • The basket that it comes with could be larger.
To me personally, these PROS by far outweighed the CONS, especially if you can buy a cheap compact umbrella stroller to compliment Mutsy 4Rider.
So there you have it! Let me know if you have any questions about it. We’ve been using it almost exclusively for the last 7 months and love it, so I can definitely answer any questions you might have.

For more information on MUTSY, visit the following:

I also made this cute little video of all the times we’ve been going out with our Mutsy 4Rider.

 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Mutsy provided me with a stroller sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Blooper Reel {from Gender Reveal}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FUN TIMES, My Pregnancy, VIDEO

If you watched and enjoyed our Gender Reveal from exactly a year ago, you might just as well have fun watching this.

I almost dropped this project for lack of time, but when I was cleaning out my video folders, I just couldn’t bring myself to delete the blooper shots, so I made a GAG REEL out of them.

It’s a good reminder of how much fun we had shooting the Gender Reveal video.

And it so happens that I made it in time for the  anniversary of finding out the sex of our baby!

Back from Disney!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Disney, Florida, FUN TIMES, PHOTO, TRAVEL

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We are back from Alexis’ first trip to Disneyworld!

It was definitely SOMETHING!

Different from our other trips but still so much fun.

I am cannot wait to share! It’ll have to be in several posts, though. I’ll also share some tips and things that worked for us, aside from the basic stuff that can be googled.

I’ll leave you with this adorable picture of Lexi watching the parade!

Introduction of Solids: Baby Led Weaning

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Cooking, FUN TIMES, Health and Fitness, LIFE, New Mom Experience, PHOTO

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I am so excited to be writing this post.

Other food posts:

Toddler Mealtime | Vegetable Soup | Baby Solids: What we cook  | Baby Solids Gear

Baby Led Weaning ( BLW) has been one of the most fun, relatively stress-free experiences so far, if I can say so, being only over a month into it. But I feel like it’s only going to get better from now on.

Lexi in Motion: From 6 to 7 Months {Video}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Monthly Updates, VIDEO

The first video here is the highlights of everything that being a 6 months old entails. The second video is her highness playing with toys, mostly boring but with a few very cute/funny/adorable moments in between.

I am putting the usual disclosure of parents sharing home movies:

-Ignore my singing

-Ignore my overly excited exclamations

-Ignore any other babble coming from me that you might hear in this video

-Ignore anything anything else that comes with being a parent

Do enjoy the adorable goofball that is Lexi!

{Also, like previous videos, this was intended for friends and family, so it’s pretty long and for most will be pretty boring.  To us, of course, it’s the best video ever. :) }

 

 

Below is a compilation of videos of Alexis playing with her toys. All the above disclosures apply.

 

Letters to Lexi: 7 months old!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Letters to Lexi, Monthly Updates, PHOTO

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Dear baby girl,

You are 7 months old. The number blows my mind. I remember reading other people’s blogs and thinking how big their babies were at 7 months. And here you are, exactly 7 months old, and yet you’re still so little and at the same time so grown. You’ve gone such a long way. I could never imagine myself as a mom to a 7 months old and yet in a blink of an eye, you are 7 WHOLE MONTHS OLD!

Finn & Emma Organic Activity Gym

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, PHOTO, PRODUCTS

FINN AND EMMA ACTIVITY GYM


When I saw this gym on one of the blogs, I knew I had to try it.  Being a huge fan of Finn&Emma (see Lexi Awards), I knew that the gym wasn’t going to disappoint from eco standpoint and design. However, I was wondering if such a simple bar with a few toys would keep Lexi’s attention for long enough, like conventional gyms do.

By the time I received the gym, Lexi was 5 months and already sitting up. That actually worked in our favor, because if she were to be in a lying position, she wouldn’t be able to get the toys into her mouth, and she’s pretty forceful when it comes to tasting everything she can lay her little hands on.

So I sat her next to the Finn &Emma gym and she went to town. She didn’t hesitate to taste every single toy on the bar. Over the next few months, the arch has been empty half the time. Do you know why? Because she was SO in love with the wool toys and the wooden teethers that we had to take them with us EVERYWHERE we went.

It didn’t make much sense to me why she preferred these toys over any others, but she clearly did. The two wool animals had feet just the perfect size for her mouth and 90% of the time she HAD them in her mouth. The wooden teethers were fun to manipulate and easy to hold for her. And the biggest bonus for me? They clip in a way no other hanging toys does. Rather than use velco which ultimately ends up “un-velcroing” under the strength of a 6 months baby, Finn and Emma used a ribbon with a clip at the end, so no amount of pulling would unclip it from the stroller, their wrist, your wrist, etc etc and  drop it on the dirty floor. Dirty floor is where most our toys end up on, except for these toys. That also made the toys mommy’s favorite.


That clip and ribbon is what she loves to chew on the most, so they are always soaking wet, but give her hours of entertainment. No joke!

You know how sometimes you buy something, you use it and then you just shake your head and wonder whether these people ever tested the product at all- it doesn’t work or works poorly. Well, I have to say that the toys of this gym, specifically, work like they have been tested by both parents and babies over and over again. Huge winner in my eyes!

Because we received the gym at the time when Alexis was no longer interested in playing while lying down, I cannot tell you how it’d do with younger babies.  I know Alexis has always been the kind of baby to take toys into her mouth rather than swat at them. I can see where that would present a problem for “pullers” like her since the wooden arch doesn’t bend.

Alexis did spend a decent amount of time just swatting at the toys but soon became frustrated when she couldn’t get them in her mouth. For a younger baby that shouldn’t be a problem since they don’t have the hand coordination to grab a toy and bring it to mouth yet.

Unlike other more traditionally styled gyms, this can be easily used once the baby is sitting up, which extends the lifespan of the toy.  That and the amazing portability of it (we’ll be taking it with us to Disney to do something in the hotel room while we are waiting out the midday heat) have made me a big fan of the gym. And once she is too old to play with it, I already have an idea of covering it with a piece of fabric and creating a puppet show within the arch.

According to Finn & Emma’s description, the gym is made out of untreated hardwood, organic cotton, hand knit , non-toxic toys with wool stuffing. Recently the whole “untreated hardwood” came in handy, since Lexi has gotten into a habit of lifting one of the gym’s leg over her head and then shoving the whole thing into her mouth. Yeah…no further comment.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FINN AND EMMA

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WIN IT: Finn & Emma would like to give this gym away to one lucky reader.  See details below.

Finn and Emma Gym

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
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There are  mandatory entries , after which you will have additional entries available,
This giveaway is open to US  residents only.
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Each giveaway has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible)See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

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Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. FInn and Emma provided me with a product sample to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Outfit Post, Haircut and Elemental Formula

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Fashion and Outfits, PHOTO

I’ll start with the latest outfit photo from a few days ago.

As you can see, I cut my hair. I do a short haircut every 2 years and then grow my hair out again. This time my hairdresser girlfriend, who was visiting from Switzerland, practically forced me to cut it because I was damaging it badly by wearing it in a bun ALL THE FREAKING TIME. I wasn’t planning on going THIS short and was a bit shocked when I touched my hair and realized how short it was. She said it was necessary to cut off all the damaged ends… Oh well…

After about 2 days of going back and forth on whether I like it or not, I was starting to really dig it. The biggest complaint I had before is that my only option for a hair style was a bun or a ponytail. Now I am having fun wearing it down, having fun with styles and the way it was cut it is SOOOO easy to style it. I’ve never had my hair cut this particular way. I wake up and my hair is ready to go. I also had her cut bangs so that when I do wear it up, it looks more styled.

It looks awesome lightly blow dried and looks great air dried, too ( my hair has a strong wave to it when not blow dried). I am not planning on keeping it short, I’ll be growing it out, but a change is always fun. By the time it grows out again in year, I’ll be ready to cut it short again a year later.

One tip she gave me for bun wearers is to give scalp massages daily, because it promotes the growth and keeps roots healthy.

;

Elena

Hair flower: Hopscotch Boutique on Etsy

Studded Tank top: MyHabit

Skirt: Victoria’s Secret

Sandals: Boutique 9 from MyHabit

Alexis

Hairband: Ruffles and Fringe on Etsy

Onesie dress: Zulily

;

Formula

I have a can of elemental formula (powder), Neocate that we bought as a backup back in the first few weeks of breastfeeding when we were concerned about supply. I also have a 6 pack of Similac Alimentum.
For those who don’t know what elemental formula is: it doesn’t contain milk or soy proteins, it’s basically broken down to amino acids, so it’s impossible to have allergic reactions, or gas or reflux using this kind of formula.

Because I am a big believer in eliminating milk proteins out of infants diets (whether through breastmilk or formula), I would like to mail it to anyone who is currently feeding their baby standard milk based formula and their baby is experiences any gas, reflux or colic symptoms regularly.

Both will expire by the end of the year and I would hate to waste it, so if anyone is interested in it, let me know in the comments.

{formula is claimed, thanks for your emails}