giogio: (Gio)
2014-01-21 03:06 pm

Baby Shopping (and Caring) Wisdoms

I was extremely lucky to receive two really good infodumps regarding babies while pregnant, one from [ profile] hsb and one from [ profile] jainoh, which totally prepared me for birth and the first few weeks of care, as well as warning me about some of the stranger consequences of childbirth, which was great. I've since (through trial and error) acquired some practical baby shopping/supplies experience so I thought I'd post this here for those in need of ideas for baby gifts or contemplating having babies or grandbabies (there seem to be quite a bit of both around me at the moment). In no particular order, though thematically sorted, here are a few tips about baby swag that should be in baby books (but probably aren't).

Independent advice: download the invisible hand plugin ( for your browser or mobile device. It will let you know not only if a better price for an item is available, but it will also give you all available coupon codes for that retailer.

Baby Clothes:

- The thing about clothing sizes is a) that no two manufacturers have the same physical size for the same sized garment, and b) that for example Size 3 Months doesn't actually fit the baby when it is 3 months old (even if you don't have a supersized baby), rather it fits from 0-3 months on an average baby, for certain values of average (because babies have steadily been getting larger). The unasked for advice I now supply when in the kids clothing section observing fresh-baked grandparents/uncles/aunts and other assorted relatives trying to pick out clothes is, "Check the label. It will tell you the height and weight range that specific manufacturer assumes for that size. Make sure you know the length and weight of the infant you are buying for and buy accordingly." If you are buying a present for a baby you don't know the size of, buy large (chances are mom is already inundated in the 0-3 months clothes size that is going to fit less than 3 months, anyway) and buy season neutral, in case the baby in question doesn't fit the average and reaches that size during the wrong season (I'm still bitter about the supercute 6-month size spring/summer stuff I bought when I was pregnant that we were only able to put on the baby for a Kodak moment).

- When buying footed pyjamas for infants, the best kind are the ones that button up both legs (rather than one leg). The baby will get a lot more wear out of them because the parents won't have to bend one leg oddly to get it into the PJ's and thus they'll fit longer, plus diaper changes on a half-awake baby that will hopefully go back to sleep shortly will also be so much easier.

- The most awesomest of the awesome footed PJs for supersized babies are the ones that come with built-in mittens in the form of fold-over mitten cuffs because that allows you to keep baby's hands covered without having to amputate fingers to fit into newborn mittens. Old Navy does these in up to size 6-9 months, but you can probably find them elsewhere as well.

- Babies that start screaming the roof down if you try to put a hat on them might be OK with a hooded sweatshirt/onesie/jacket. Just saying.

- The online sale/clearance prices are not always as good as the in-store clearance prices. For instance, the mitten-cuff PJ's on clearance on Old Navy's website are current $8.97, whereas in my local Old Navy, they're marked down to $4.99, so if it's practical, it's a good idea to check the store before ordering online.

- Sign up for all the store rewards that are free. Seriously. Old Navy Super Cash is great. Gymboree Gymbucks are great. A lot of these you don't even have to use yourself, you can pass them on to others if you don't need to buy any baby clothes when they are redeemable (though you probably will because babies keep on growing!).


- Do not buy Diapers as a gift/for a baby shower at Walmart, even if they're a couple of bucks cheaper there than elsewhere. I'm serious about this. Buy them at Target. Here's the deal: on most babies a certain brand of diapers will fit better than another, especially when they're very young babies, and because of variations in size, the baby in question might not need those diapers. My kid skipped newborn size and wore size 1 for about a month before moving on. Walmart will not let you exchange diapers purchased there without a receipt for a different brand, and depending on the mood of the sales clerk, they may or may not let you change to a different size of the same brand (it worked once, not the second time). And it wasn't as if they didn't know those diapers had been purchased from them because the packages had "exclusively for Walmart" printed on them for that particular packaging quantity... Target will take back all unopened diaper packages bought there for store credit. In fact, Target so far has taken everything back for store credit with or without a receipt. This makes me generally well-disposed toward them.


- For the love of God, give a gift receipt! There's really no point in one baby having two bath tubs. 'nough said.

Breastfeeding Pillows:

- I have several because the mombo/boppy pillows that are endemic to most stores actually make better decorative pillows than breastfeeding pillows because small babies are slippery and wiggly and you need both hands to breastfeed (one to hold your boob, another to hold the baby) and do not have a third hand to hold a pillow which doesn't actually stay in place. So then, in the first big flurry of emergency purchases from Amazon during the first week of the kid's life, I ordered Mybrestfriend because this actually straps around your waist and stays in place making it almost as awesome as built-in mitten cuffs. It is probably one of the most useful gifts you can get any breastfeeding mom.

Medicine to ask for at the very first pediatric appointment (or even better before leaving the hospital):

- Ask for a prescription of Nystatin for oral thrush and make sure you have anti-fungal cream for baby's bottom (and if you're breastfeeding, your nipples) preemptively, especially if you receive antibiotics during labor. In my experience, ranging yeast infections are developed by babies just after the doctor's office closes on a Friday night and you really do not want to wait until Monday to treat them, though they're mostly harmless in the sense that they don't really require an urgent care or emergency room visit (and are easily diagnosed by the layman). Also, they'll tell you to drop the medicine into the baby's mouth with a pipette. This is useless, because baby will immediately spit it out. Better to dip a cotton bud into the medicine and then rub that--lightly--over affected areas. It gets the medicine where it needs to be and it's not enough to spit out.


- A very tiny baby can be better acclimatized to sleeping in its crib in one of these. This was another emergency purchase two days post-partum and K slept in this (placed inside his crib) for about the first 6 weeks or so. After that, he became interested enough in the surrounding world (mobile, wall art, etc.) that he no longer needed that restricted space. Depending on the situation, it might make more sense to buy one of these rather than a separate bassinet for the first few weeks of life.
giogio: (Gio)
2013-05-12 09:01 am

Happy Mother's Day!

Nic got me an electric toothbrush! (This is actually more thoughtful than it sounds because I've been having terrible pregnancy-related trouble with my gums).

And random question for the moms out there: did any of you use a diaper service with your kids? Thoughts? Comments?

I'm sort of kind of thinking about it because of having allergic reactions (contact dermatitis) to non-cotton underwear myself, so if this baby is anything like me in the skin department, cotton diapers (at least at home) might save us a whole lot of pain and suffering.

And I'm starting to build my registry, which is why I'm asking :p
giogio: (Default)
2012-08-12 11:01 pm

I feel compelled to randomly comment on the closing ceremony

I'm not sure whether to blame the wine or the fact that while I managed to put on the kiddie sunscreen without being mocked by CGH (85 SPF--he even offered to help because I'm milky white!) before spending the afternoon in the pool, I completely forgot to buy a hat, which may have fried my brains slightly, but here are a few observations:

cut to spare the uninterested )
giogio: (Default)
2011-12-19 10:09 am

Is it that time already?

Thank you [ profile] byrne for the holiday card and [ profile] zortified & [ profile] zortwife for the wonderful present: it is totally, exactly what I needed, though Nic may have turned a bit pale :p
giogio: (Default)
2011-06-15 07:14 pm

Sekkrit message to the Zorts

Pool is open for the season :-)
giogio: (Don't Panic)
2011-05-22 06:58 pm

I'm so frightfully domestic...and other tales

Due to complete nonappearance of the rapture, I was forced to do laundry today *sigh*

To cheer me up, I also made a German cheesecake with blackberry topping :-)

Next weekend, there will be processing of the first great fruits of summer! CGH is supposed to get his mother's recipe for canning cherries for me, and there should be all sorts of other early fruit. Our freezer in back is starting to look a wee bit empty, which has to be rectified over the course of the summer. We're down to one container of pesto, two containers of marinara sauce, and pretty low on most summer fruit. The whole peppers ran out while my parents were here and I think the chopped peppers will just about last until round about Labor Day weekend which traditionally is when I restock. In fact, the only thing we seem to have a surplus of is green beans, because CGH hates them.

Also, I'm trying to book our flights for our trip to Europe, which is starting to look a bit complicated. Just about the only thing we've nailed down so far is that we'll stop in London for a couple of days in late October. On October 30th, we need to be in Cyprus for the christening of our new(ish) nephew. After that it's Chania, and technically, my parents are lobbying for us meet them in Vienna and then there's the grandmother in Munich, and *facepalm* I think I'll let work send me to Germany/Austria at some point this summer so I can see the grandmother and don't have to try and squeeze that into the big trip in October/November.

Finally, a poll:
[Poll #1744164]
giogio: (Default)
2011-02-05 04:37 pm

It's the end of the world as we know it

Is anyone else slightly taken aback by Subaru using The Pogues' "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" as the soundtrack for its latest ad?

In other disturbing news, I got this Roma pasta machine for Christmas (that isn't the disturbing part) that my mother ordered from Target and the first time we tried to use it a couple of weeks ago, we discovered that there was an issue with the internal gears so it was catching on the higher settings. There was a card in the box that basically said that if there was a problem, you were supposed to call an 800 number instead of returning the machine to the store it had been bought at, which I did. And in either a sign of the coming apocalypse or the truly best incidence of customer service ever, the nice lady I spoke to said they were going to replace the machine for free and apologized profusely that I would have to wait until the end of the month as they were all out of stock. Being a naturally suspicious type, I started quizzing her about whether I had to return the broken one, whether I had to fill out any paperwork, etc. etc. But the entire time, this creepily nice CSR insisted, no, as soon as they came back in stock, they would send me a replacement machine. Then she gave me her name and a case number. Truly, I expected there to be a catch somewhere. Apparently, there isn't. A brand-new Roma pasta machine was delivered by UPS yesterday. *boggles*

By the way, I can highly recommend Roma pasta machines as a result.
giogio: (Default)
2011-01-24 09:35 pm

Help, help

Broke php. Actually, broke my website by installing newest version of Wordpress blog, which somehow (and I can't find the bloody bit) is redirecting all 4-error pages to a php script in a subfolder when before the (Apache) server was returning the standard error pages. Help????
giogio: (Default)
2010-12-23 08:28 am

T - 32 Hours

The cooking is about to commence! There will doubtlessly be picture posts over the next days or so, but here's the finalized menu:

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables (Antipasti)
Seafood Salad
Insalata Caprese
Giant White Beans in Tomato Sauce
Date & Bacon Parcels
Cheese & Spinach pastries
Crab-stuffed mushrooms
Olive-Lemon Chicken
Greek Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Stuffed Baby Peppers
Lamb Couscous, North African Style
Fresh Bread

Apple pastries
Greek Milk Pie
Greek Almond Cookies - already made!

I had a brief moment of panic yesterday that there wasn't going to be enough food (and meat in particular!) because a coworker convinced me to eliminate the pork tenderloin, but then Nic looked at me with that special look that means "You're absolutely fucking insane, woman!" and I stopped complaining.

To cook!
giogio: (Preening)
2010-12-11 06:27 pm

Working out my Feast of Mithras Menu

So I'm not going to say how many people are coming, because y'all are going to think I'm completely bonkers, but this is what I'm toying with so far. The goal is that I'll be done half an hour before guests start arriving and only have to pull things out of the oven from that point forward. I'm also taking Thursday off to cook and will have much more time then than I'll have on Friday (12+ hours instead of about 7). With that in mind, here's what I'm thinking:

Cold/Room-temperature Dishes:
Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables (Antipasti) - TH
Seafood Salad - TH
Thinly sliced stuffed, roast pork tenderloin - F
Insalata Caprese - F
Wild Mushroom Salad - TH/F?
Either giant white bean salad or lentil salad - TH
Cheese & Spinach pastries - F
Fresh Bread - F

Hot Dishes:
Olive-Lemon Chicken - Prep TH, shove in oven F
Greek Meatballs in homemade tomato sauce - Make TH, shove in oven F
Stuffed Baby Peppers - TH/F?
Lamb Couscous, North African Style - Prep TH, shove in oven F
Date & Bacon Parcels - F

Profiteroles - prep TH, finish F
Apple pastries - F
Greek Milk Pie - TH
Greek Almond Cookies - Weekend before

Thoughts? Comments? Anything I'm missing?
giogio: (Default)
2010-11-21 02:59 pm

Still alive!


a) I am the bestest wife ever--at least the birthday present [ profile] zortwife and I put together for Nic was the bestest-not-a-new-iPod present ever! See, Nic keeps on complaining about things he suddenly discovers are not available in this country--like custard in a can, for example. So we got him a care package basket full of foods made in England that are very hard to find here: Ambrosia custard, Cadbury and Maltese drinking chocolate satchets, Heinz Baked Beans, Branston pickle, etc. etc.

b) The Zorts are the bestest enablers ever! Knowing that I have been searching forever and a day for a replacement double oven glove because mine's falling apart, they ordered me two from England! Yay! Thanksgiving cooking is going to result in double the joy without scorched boobs!

c) Now that I am fully Thanksgiving enabled: last calls, please!1 If you are family-less for the National Day of Gluttony in Northern California, you are more than welcome to join us, but I need to know now-ish to ensure adequate food supplies. 2

1This message brought to you by C asking this morning "Is it too late to add two extra plates?"
2Anybody who has seen me cook/menu-plan is absolutely not allowed to laugh at this point. Really.
giogio: (Super Concentrated Bitch)
2010-10-23 10:15 pm

Woe is us!

We are stuck on episode 11 of Masterchef Greece and cannot find the next episode!
giogio: (Default)
2010-10-23 10:34 am

Long-Term Planning

So who all is going to be over for Thanksgiving dinner?

I need to start with the menu planning to accommodate dietary requirements.

(Also, I need a good argument for [ profile] firejunkie why "rat" and "dove" are not viable meat courses...)