Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sarah's Treasure Box

Notice the cool necklace on my sidebar to the right?
And this one here?


They're from Sarah's Treasure Box, an etsy site operated by Sarah and her husband. They are adoptive parents themselves and are blessing other adoptive families by "paying it forward" with the opportunity to have $5 from EVERY pendant that is sold on October 5th to go to The Rippee's Adoption Fund!

WOW! What an opportunity!

My goal is to sell 200 pendants designated in honor of  The Rippee's ... but if we go over that that'd be super-cool too.

OCTOBER 5th is The Rippee's Day!

It's ONE day 12:00am through 11:59pm OCTOBER 5th.
AND you MUST put a note with your purchase AT CHECKOUT that it is TO BE COUNTED FOR THE RIPPEE'S ADOPTION FUND! (That is super important so it gets counted!)

Check it out at Sarah's Treasure Box and also at the Blessings site for some great ideas on who to buy for. Seriously, you're going to kick yourself after the fact if you miss out on this blessing.

Please pass this info on to anybody and everybody. You can click on the jpg below to get a full size image to copy to your desktop and print. This set of 6 cards are a great way to spread the word and to help remind people (and yourself!) to remember October 5th!!
 Cut 'em out and pass em on!


**Keep checking back with Sarah's Treasure Box as she re-stocks her "shelves" for the big event in exactly ONE WEEK!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Xiao Gou & The Mei Mei Project

We just returned from a little fall family vacation to Chicago and Wisconsin. It was a fun time traveling as a family and we had the opportunity to meet up with some really COOL people--my friend Molly and her kiddos--one of whom you may remember is Evan from ND! SO cool. But I'm still getting settled back into home (doing laundry and all the things that piled up before we left and while we were gone.) So, I haven't gotten the photos downloaded from my camera ... so that post will have to wait. 

HOWEVER, I wanted to make sure that you didn't miss out on a really cool opportunity to help Kay Bratt, author of, "Silent Tears: Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage," in her journey BACK to China and a sweetpea named Xiao Gou, that still holds her heart!

 (Just look at this beautiful girl!)

If you have read the book you'll remember reading about so many of the little ones who filled Kay's days as a volunteer in an orphanage that lacked so much in love and hope. There was one child, Xiao Gou, who impacted Kay and her family so much ... if you need a refresher or haven't read her book ... you can read about her here.

Xiao Gou has endured a series of incidents that tears at the heart over and over again. First having been involved in an accident that took one leg past her buttock, then being abandoned by her parents in a hospital, then relegated to the "back room" of an orphanage with children with mental disabilities only because she now had a physical disability.

Kay championed for her so many times and brought her from the threshold of hopelessness. Xiao Gou was not able to be adopted several years ago as there was not a full relinquishment of rights over her (I'm not remembering all the frustrating details. I need to re-read the book. )

Xiao Gou is now nearly nine and is currently in a small orphanage having been abandoned a second time by her grandparents after a second accident. Kay is making a trip to China in a few weeks ... not as an expat under the protection and guidance of an American company ... but as an individual all on her OWN! ... into the remote village where Xiao Gou resides to hopefully rekindle a relationship with her and give her hope that she has a future and hopefully can secure this future for her. This is where you have the opportunity to help Xiao Gou. If you have been touched by Kay's story in her book, Silent Tears, OR if you just have a big heart for orphans, what a wonderful gift this would be to help her on this quest to fulfill a promise to this girl. She has a fund-raiser of sorts going on her SITE.
You can donate to The MeiMei Club on the left side of her sidebar with the "donate" button.
By donating $10 you will have a chance at a gorgeous set of hand-strung pearls from China.
By donating $25 you will have a postcard sent FROM CHINA to you/your child from Kay.

The drawing will be the last day of September--so, only THREE DAYS left to have a chance at THIS!

I of course have my own want of a "fairytale ending" for this story ... but as I am finding out over and over again, there is such a larger picture than what I can even imagine that God is painting.
It is amazing to remember what a watershed event Kay's book was for me in having God meet me where I was at the time with my desire to know where God was for the orphan. Boy, has He answered that question! The hope that this woman has given to so many, the comfort she gave to others when their time in this world was only brief, the words she has shared even at a cost to herself, speaks volumes of her strength and also to what strength we all possess somewhere deep within. She made a promise to all the children she left her heart with in China when she returned to the States that she would continue to tell their story ... and she continues to keep that promise to them!
You can read about where Kay is at in her progress HERE
Or just go to her blog HOME page and sort through all the posts I've linked to here on your own.

I am reminded again and again that God does not NEED us to do anything for the orphan ... and yet he CHOOSES to include us. What a Loving Father He is!
Tonight as you go to bed remember Xiao Gou and that she is waking up to a new day half way around the world. She's not just a story in a book ... or a story of years past ... but a real little girl ... today ... and tomorrow. I pray that her tomorrows are bright and full of healing love.



A small sidenote concerning the last post:
Thank you to EVERYONE who read about my broken bellybutton and has prayed for it ... it feels SO MUCH BETTER! Wow. I should have "tattled" on it long ago and had you guys praying months ago! And even though it feels so much better, I will have it sewn back together eventually ... maybe at the end of next month ... if I can sandwich it in between Jeff's hunting schedule. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Broken Belly Button

(this is NOT an actual picture of my belly button by the way)


Guess what. I have a broken belly button.


Well, it's actually called an Umbilical hernia--but really, it's a broken belly button in my mind.
--or "defective navel" as the doctor kept referring to it. (As if I could return it to the store and ask for a new one after 40 years.) And I kinda have known for awhile (2 years) that things were NOT right in the world of my button.


Apparently after carrying 3 very large bouncing boys for 122 weeks (40 weeks a piece,  plus 2 weeks overdue with Brayden) my navel just could not stand the pressure. Especially after Nolan (my 9 lbs. 12 oz. child who made me about 44" around at one point) it's no wonder really why my belly button just has NOT returned to it's normal state. I do remember the day that I told Jeff that I swore that my belly was actually ripping open from the tight stretching skin when I was pregnant . Hmm, I guess it really was! (That's really gross to think about! I actually knew it was happening at the time! ewwww!)


And although I'm not a swimsuit model and I try not to be too vain about the appearance of post mommy stretch marks or aging in general ...  I just want to have a divit there just like I used to instead of this ... well ... bump-out. 


The bump out that shows even through my one piece swimming suit.
The bump out that hurts when I cough or sneeze sometimes.
The bump out that hurts when I try to go running--ya, THAT's what's been holding me back ;-)
The bump out that just isn't normal looking.


It's a bump out that actually started hurting quite a bit when I got Lyme Disease this summer (ya, you know it's bad when even my belly button hurt!) And so, if there can be a blessing to getting that tick bite that gave me so much trouble this summer, maybe it's that I finally had the guts (hahaha, pun intended) to ask the doctor to check out my button and tell me what was going on and if there was any hope and a fix for it.


So, yesterday I met with a surgeon and at some point soon I'm going to have a little mesh insert to patch up the hole and strengthen the area. Let me tell ya, other than my wisdom teeth I've not had any major surgeries or broken things ... so I'm a bit uneasy about the whole thing. BUT ... the thought of a hole where my abdominal wall is squishing through is encouragement enough to buck up and have it fixed. Just thought I'd share the weirdness.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thanksgiving to God


The Great-Big-Fundraiser has closed ... and the winners are listed at BlessingsAHundredFold!
Check it out! I hope you all won ... there were SO many cool prizes (I must admit!) And I wish EVERYONE could walk away with something in hand. However ... I know not everyone did ... 

but I know that each of you will walk away with so much in your heart for your donations, continued prayers, support through encouraging words and generosity. 

Wow ... what a journey this has been since May 12th when I accepted this opportunity from Rita to help with a fundraiser for the adoption of her daughter. Kinda leaves me smiling ... but wanting more. And don't worry ... we'll have something else as a follow-up soon! (We'll be having a bidders-auction online soon and a pendant sale on Oct. 5th through Sarah's generous offer to donate a percentage of her sales on that ONE DAY to The Rippees!!) If you have an item you'd like to donate to the auction, please email me! We'd love to see some great things!! Right now we have an adorable hand-crafted heirloom outfit from Diane M. and a Ruffled Feathers skirt or two from me and a hand quilted item from Rita's mom!

For today though I have to return again to the Baby Be Blessed dolls. I love them. And to be honest ... my yearning to have a daughter is probably a deep seeded love of being a little girl myself and a little part of me that has never grown out of my love of dolls!  

And one of my very favorite, and maybe first dolls, was a Raggedy Ann doll. If you had one of these you may remember the little "I Love You" heart printed on her chest under her clothes? I loved that and seriously remember checking that out when I was supposed to be napping! No wonder I love the Baby Be Blessed Dolls so much with their scripture bellies!

So today when I checked out BabyBeBlessed's  FreeFridays I read through their post from yesterday too and was SO touched by her words. The scripture she quote on sowing of seeds and the blessings we are given as being a way God gives us SO many ways to in turn give him thanksgiving and praise was JUST what I needed to hear. And the ministry of the Baby Be Blessed dolls is just even more incredible having read these words again with her  and her heart in mind.

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, "HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER."

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.

For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.

Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

If you are not already familiar with the Baby Be Blessed lineup, hold onto your heart and check 'em out because they are SO adorable!
Look at the personalize Scripture on their tummy!

See?!
Isn't your heart all floppy and full now?! AND just think of the impact reading not just "I LOVE YOU," but God's words from His love letter to us and imagining what impact that will have on your little one's heart ... even 30+ years later!

And check out their site HERE:


Thursday, September 9, 2010

TODAY is the final day for the giveaway!


Today the GREAT-BIG-GIVE-AWAY  for The Rippee Family's Adoption will close! If the chip-in closes before you get entered, please email rita or myself and we'll make sure to get you in! You can always mail in your donation side-stepping the PayPal altogether! (For some reason the chip-in says it's closing in 10 hours ... you should have until midnight.)

There are 40 prizes ... and with the number of entries in so far you have good odds of winning! And the true prize of course the little girl who will have a family ... forever! Talk about a win-win situation. Tell your family, tell your friends, spread the news!

Have you entered?
Have you prayed for them?
Are you a follower of the site?
Have you put their button on your blog or FB or wrote a post about them?
Have you posted what you've done to make sure we know?

If you have, thank you SO much!! If you are still thinking about it, please don't wait too long and miss out. There are an immense amount of VERY COOL prizes.

FORTY PRIZES to be exact.

Beautiful jewelry, rockin' lil' girl stuff, some things that would make great Christmas gifts for you or someone in your family or with which to surprise someone. Seriously, if you win something that you don't exactly need ... maybe the true gift will come when you have the opportunity to bless it forward to someone else! And you just may want to check out the donator's sites because there are GREAT BIG THINGS happening through these generous and creative hearts that have donated here. Many of them have their own journeys underway. Support them!

Here's a brief summary. Please link over to the Blessings site/post for a full description! And remember to not only check back after the drawing ends to see if you won, but also continuing forward as there will be some really neat up-coming things you'll want to know about AS WELL AS a photo and introduction of The Rippee's daughter when they get the green light from the official folks. THAT will be such a cool day! I can hardly wait!

Here's the Prize-List:

MeiFaith Studio (Shelley): two stunning pieces of jewelry from her etsy-site

1.) PURPLE PASSION SET 
2.) THE FAR EAST Pendant


It's Poppy Dip (Sallee): 
3.) An adorable size 5T dress

Firefly Photo Jewelry (Shawna): Two beautiful necklaces

4.) I Love You to the Moon Hand Stamped Soldered Pendant Necklace

5.) Handstamped adoption necklace- Born In My Heart.



6.)Kay Brattan autographed copy of the Encore edition of Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage . 

7.)Scarlet Threads: Scarlet Threads apron 




8.) GirlyGirl Bowtique Package







9.) Girly Girl Bowtique: $20 Gift Certificate 
(this was something I WON last Fall when I gave my VERY first donation to an adoption fundraiser. WHAT A BLESSING to include it as a prize here!!! My prayer before checking to see if I had won THAT give-away was that God would use the winners to answer deep prayers from the heart. Wow. God is SO cool!)

10.) Junk Posse (Tracy): a gorgeous "China Necklace," valued at $70.00! 

Jewels of My Heart (Daleea): 2 packages of 5.47" x 4.21" notecards
11.) "LuLu Friendship Note Cards" and 
12.) "Sophie Friendship Note Cards." 

13.) Debbie Gentile"Sisters" Photo, matted 8x 10 black and white photo ready for framing!




14-28.) HeatherFIFTEEN! ultra-funky camera straps. 


29.) Heathera $50.00 gift certificate to Amazon.com! 

30.) Ruffled Feathers (Valerie): $25 gift certificate from RuffledFeathersCompany.blogspot.com

31.) Rufflestiltskins (Melanie): a gift certificate for $50.00 toward anything through her website,  rufflestiltskins.com

32.) Wheat and Wildflowers (Kimberly): a $50 gift certificate to anything in her store of the winner's choice. 




Molly



33 and 34.) Two handcrafted and designed, beautifully-beaded wrist-watches. 

Ruffled Feathers (Valerie)



35.) a little painted chair. 
Dimensions are 23"h x 12"w x 12"d

Wit and Wisdom Interior Lettering (Valerie)
36.) $30.00 gift certificate toward a custom designed vinyl wall art saying from Wit and Wisdom Interior Lettering. 










SewShay (Sharon):






37.)The Rainbow Roll







http://shopsewshay.blogspot.com (Valued at $18)







 ella bella designs






38.) Adoption Announcements Pkg.






http://www.etsy.com/shop/ejstoll

39.) Sara (donation by her from Jewels of My Heart):
a bracelet of the WINNER'S Choosing from Daleea's 3,000 Bracelets Campaign to bring her daughter home!
http://orphaned-no-more.blogspot.com/

Baby Be Blessed Dolls
40.) a gift certificate of $56! Enough to cover a PERSONALIZED doll including s/h!






THANK YOU for the GENEROUS donations from:
Wit and Wisdom 
Ruffled Feathers
SewShay
Baby Be Blessed

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tomorrow is THE LAST DAY!


Tomorrow at midnight the GREAT-BIG-GIVE-AWAY  for The Rippee Family's Adoption will close!

Have you entered?
Have you prayed for them?
Are you a follower of the site?
Have you put their button on your blog or FB or wrote a post about them?
Have you posted what you've done to make sure we know?

If you have, thank you SO much!! If you are still thinking about it, please don't wait too long and miss out. There are an immense amount of VERY COOL prizes.

FORTY PRIZES to be exact.

Beautiful jewelry, rockin' lil' girl stuff, some things that would make great Christmas gifts for you or someone in your family or with which to surprise someone. Seriously, if you win something that you don't exactly need ... maybe the true gift will come when you have the opportunity to bless it forward to someone else! And you just may want to check out the donator's sites because there are GREAT BIG THINGS happening through these generous and creative hearts that have donated here. Many of them have their own journeys underway. Support them!

Here's a brief summary. Please link over to the site/post for a full description! And remember to not only check back after the drawing ends to see if you won, but also continuing forward as there will be some really neat up-coming things you'll want to know about AS WELL AS a photo and introduction of The Rippee's daughter when they get the green light from the official folks. THAT will be such a cool day! I can hardly wait!

Here's the Prize-List:

MeiFaith Studio (Shelley): two stunning pieces of jewelry from her etsy-site

1.) PURPLE PASSION SET 
2.) THE FAR EAST Pendant


It's Poppy Dip (Sallee): 
3.) An adorable size 5T dress

Firefly Photo Jewelry (Shawna): Two beautiful necklaces

4.) I Love You to the Moon Hand Stamped Soldered Pendant Necklace

5.) Handstamped adoption necklace- Born In My Heart.



6.)Kay Brattan autographed copy of the Encore edition of Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage . 

7.)Scarlet Threads: Scarlet Threads apron 


8.) GirlyGirl Bowtique Package



9.) Girly Girl Bowtique: $20 Gift Certificate 
(this was something I WON last Fall when I gave my VERY first donation to an adoption fundraiser. WHAT A BLESSING to include it as a prize here!!! My prayer before checking to see if I had won THAT give-away was that God would use the winners to answer deep prayers from the heart. Wow. God is SO cool!)

10.) Junk Posse (Tracy): a gorgeous "China Necklace," valued at $70.00! 

Jewels of My Heart (Daleea): 2 packages of 5.47" x 4.21" notecards
11.) "LuLu Friendship Note Cards" and 
12.) "Sophie Friendship Note Cards." 

13.) Debbie Gentile"Sisters" Photo, matted 8x 10 black and white photo ready for framing!


14-28.) HeatherFIFTEEN! ultra-funky camera straps. 


29.) Heathera $50.00 gift certificate to Amazon.com! 

30.) Ruffled Feathers (Valerie): $25 gift certificate from RuffledFeathersCompany.blogspot.com

31.) Rufflestiltskins (Melanie): a gift certificate for $50.00 toward anything through her website,  rufflestiltskins.com

32.) Wheat and Wildflowers (Kimberly): a $50 gift certificate to anything in her store of the winner's choice. 


Molly

33 and 34.) Two handcrafted and designed, beautifully-beaded wrist-watches. 

Ruffled Feathers (Valerie)

35.) a little painted chair. 
Dimensions are 23"h x 12"w x 12"d

Wit & Wisdom Interior Lettering (Valerie)
36.) $30.00 gift certificate toward a custom designed vinyl wall art saying from Wit and Wisdom Interior Lettering. 




SewShay (Sharon):


37.)The Rainbow Roll



http://shopsewshay.blogspot.com (Valued at $18)



 ella bella designs


38.) Adoption Announcements Pkg.


http://www.etsy.com/shop/ejstoll



39.) Sara (donation by her from Jewels of My Heart):
a bracelet of the WINNER'S Choosing from Daleea's 3,000 Bracelets Campaign to bring her daughter home!
http://orphaned-no-more.blogspot.com/

Baby Be Blessed Dolls
40.) a gift certificate of $56! Enough to cover a PERSONALIZED doll including s/h!






THANK YOU for the GENEROUS donations from:
Wit and Wisdom 
Ruffled Feathers
SewShay

Friday, September 3, 2010

My List of Baby Must Haves

I've been meaning to do this post for over a year ... it was first prodded by the weaning of our third son LAST September. And being most likely our last child, it was a BIG step for this momma. He was an easy baby from the word GO--which after 2-heavy spitter uppers and 1-VERY non jolly baby it was a JOY being his mamma! I guess that is the best way to emerge from these first years of motherhood even if it has left me with a yearning to nurture other children. Perhaps God has a plan for that beyond my sentimentality of memories.

I have some sweet people in my circle of friends who are expecting soon or are already first-time-parents. Some are going to be newbie moms, some are going to be returning veterans. In either case, it's always nice to have another mom's suggestions, keeping in mind this one sage piece of advice that I was given at my first baby shower 7 years ago: "Parent and nurture your child in the way that works FOR YOU--listen to other people's suggestions, but only use them if they work."

That is so true. So when "Aunt Tilly" insists on something, remember to take it with love and tuck it away if it just isn't working for you :-)

Here's my list of must have's:

A pacifier.
Every baby is different and there are a million kinds of pacifiers out there ... and I'm NOT a big lover of these things after about 4 months ... but in those first few months it is really a soother for them and a help in helping them learn to soothe themselves. (The trick is to not get them too attached to it or you'll always be searching for it!) Luckily, our children were big fans of my pinky. That was GREAT! However ... it seemed like everyone else in our extended family thought they could also use THEIR pinkies ... which did NOT have their fingernail cut VERY short (to prevent scratching the roof of the baby's mouth) or extremely well washed hands. (HELLO?! People? Can I stick my unwashed hand in your mouth?! I often wanted to scream!) SO--thankfully we powerfully suggested they PLEASE USE OUR PACIFIER for the the baby!!! This is the kind that was universally loved.


The Hooter Hider.
My number one fav item was the Hooter Hider (or Bebe Au Lait which it is also marketed under) nursing cover. I nursed our three sons for 6 mo, 10 mo. and finally 15 months with Nolan. It was so hard with Brayden, but with each child it became so much better (so don't give up if it doesn't go well with one child! It can be so different with your next.) I wish I would have had this ingenious cover with Brayden and Easton as I would have been so much more confident especially out in public. It secures around the neck, has a flexible peep area on the top that ONLY YOU can see down into (to make sure the baby doesn't nip something the wrong way, ouch!) and it folds up SO crazy small into the diaper bag and makes a great blankie. Nolan LOVED this and would get SO excited to see me pull it out as he knew what it signaled he would be receiving soon. There is also a SUPER tutorial HERE to make your own! (This would be a wonderful baby shower gift!)



Aren't they beautiful?!


A Baby Sling.
The Maya Wrap or Sakura Wrap are baby slings that are SO handy. They also can be used as discreet covers for nursing as well as for toting your children around while helping with bonding as well as to keep your hands free to accomplish things. With our second son this was essential as our first boy was only a 2 year old (oh my!) And I soon found I did not have enough hands. period. The Maya wrap even works well for older children which is great when they want to be held and they're kinda heavy!! I recently found out how handy this was when I pulled this out to give it away and Nolan suddenly found he loved being close to me in it. So much for giving it away! (Sorry Carrie!) I feel like such an Indian-giver ... but oh my--pull at my heart strings for this fleeting time of sweetness with my growing boy! (Let me know if the seamstresses don't come through for you with one, okay Carrie?!)




A Stroller.
I did NOT have a stroller for Brayden. It almost killed my body toting around that awkward car seat everywhere by hand! If I had a do-over I'd get one in a heartbeat. We did use a hand-me-down double stroller when Easton came along. It was huge and heavy and awkward but it worked--especially to contain my 2 yr. old and newborn!
This is one item that I insisted we get with our third child Nolan and it has definitely paid for itself! I made sure to get one that is rated to carry up to a 50# child as our boys tend to be tall Iowa lads and I knew I'd be using it more and longer with the third child than I did with the first as we are on the go constantly for hockey and it's great to store items and drink cups and coats for the rest of the family while on the go as well as to secure the little one while I'm tying hockey skates! Oh yes, and it's great for strolling!


A Baby Swing.
Although you can live without this ... it was really nice to have especially with our colicky first son. 



A Vacuum.
Yes, clean your floors ... but actually a vacuum or other loud, monotonous sound is a great soother for an over stimulated baby! Nolan loved the sound of the dehumidifier in our basement. Every night when the rest of the house would go to sleep, he and I would head down to our basement to listen to it along with the late night comedy show. It was like a date ... and as a night-owl myself ... I really looked forward to it. So, tip back the vacuum (so the motor doesn't overheat) and let the soothing sounds whirl away the sadness. (Apparently noises ARE that loud in-utero!)



Murphy's Oil Soap. 
And finally for the inevitable BLOW-OUTS that will occur from your sweet bundle. Try Murphy's Oil Soap as a Fabric Stain Remover. Seriously. It gets out those yucky, yucky stains unbelievably!


_________________________________

Now for the toys that are not-so-essential, 
but that I found most helpful from the millions out there.


An over the head dangle-toy was SO great to keep them entertained so you can shower or have 5 minutes to yourself! 

Piano Kick Toy was a super garage sale find (thanks Grandma LaVerne!) that kept Easton and Nolan SO happy when they got into the kicking stage.


Baby Einstein Musical Toy
This was one musical toy that didn't have annoying electronic music. It plays classical tunes (which are supposed to help children's growing minds develop! BONUS!)


Jingle-Jangle car seat toys are GREAT for entertaining while on the go or anywhere! LOVED THESE!




Sassy Toys are colorful, loved and great to stuff in the bag for baby to chew on or to entertain them wherever you may end up. The Link-a-Doos are especially great and versatile to hang any toy from a stroller or car seat or to link together and play with.





Graco Pack n' Play
This is another essential if you travel to Grandma's or anywhere that doesn't have a crib for the little one. If you don't have a bassinet it also works great as a close-by sleeper for the baby. (Please don't co-sleep with your sweet little one as the tragedy of a smothered baby would be horrible ... and it DOES happen. Don't do it. Either on a bed or a couch.)
There are simple ones for $50 (or less at a garage sale) or deluxe models with changing table and the works. We travel to Grandma's a lot, so this was an essential for us.

AND finally cloth diapers.
We used them for burp-up clothes. ESSENTIAL with our two first spitter-upper babies. And as one who loves to hold babies and help out in the church-nursery, let me say, it's great to give to someone ... just in case Spit Up Happens!

Hope this is helpful.
Remember that the two best things for a baby is Mom and Dad ... and their arms holding them.

The family

The family