Posts in Love

Book Report // September 2016

September 28th, 2016 Posted by Book Report, Love, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Book Report // September 2016”

I recently joined a book club, so now I’m reading books I definitely would not have picked myself. And that’s always a good thing, even if I didn’t end up loving the books. Here’s what I’ve read:

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Okay. So I didn’t know this book was nonfiction until the end when I read the Writer’s Note. Wow. This book is incredibly well researched and well written. That being said, I didn’t love it. Part of the subtitle includes the word “hope,” and, to me, there wasn’t much hope in this book. Not that I need everything tied up in a bow; I’m fine with stories that, well, show the truth. And the truth of the matter in this story was, people’s lives are hard (understatement), unfair, and much of what happens to them is good or bad luck. I guess I just was really rooting for some hope, but there just wasn’t a lot. It’s an eye-opener, for sure.

The Buried Giant

I was really into this book for the first 25%. And then it lost me for much of the middle. And then I liked it again at the end. I’d describe this book as kind of fantasy, kind of based during the middle ages. In this story, a fog settles over the villages, making people forget their memory. Two of the protagonists set off from their village to find their son. The story follows their trek and the people they meet along the way. There are ENDLESS metaphors and parallels and such in this book. I liked the points the author made about memory, if it’s beneficial to sometimes forget, life, death, etc… That being said, I probably would have quit this book if it hadn’t been for book club because at times it was difficult to follow (I think this was on purpose, hence the memory theme). However, this was a great book club selection because we all got to chatting about what we understood, didn’t understand, all the weird and dark parts of this book, etc…

Love Warrior

This book could not possibly be MORE different that the other two books I read. I’ve read Glennon’s blog on and off throughout the years, and I enjoyed her first book, but I actually wasn’t sure I had much interest in reading this one. But then I figured I’d give it a try since I do love Glennon’s writing. I just wasn’t sure I’d find anything that resonated that much with me in this one.

WRONG!

This book isn’t just about Glennon’s marriage and her husband’s infidelity. It’s about SO MUCH MORE. Loving yourself. Acceptance. What is love really? Body issues. What does beautiful mean? And what about sexy? And how about sex and the complicated feelings around sex? I loved this book, I loved Glennon’s honesty, I love how she could take such a complicated topic and make it resonate and not ever sound self righteous or point blame.

I’m currently reading Truly, Madly, Guilty and loving it. Next on my radar: Dark Matter. What are you reading?

Book Report // July 2016

August 3rd, 2016 Posted by Love 0 thoughts on “Book Report // July 2016”

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It seems this month’s book theme was: family. So if you’re into that, here are some good reads.

When Breath Becomes Air

This book. So gut wrenching. So good. I think with books like this, it depends on what you bring to the table. If you have a lot of history and experience with terminal illness, you might feel differently (or might want to not read this book). While sad, I also found it deeply inspiring. I can’t imagine what his family went through, but I appreciate his profound words and thoughts on life and death and everything in between.

The Nest

On a very different note, this book is about four, entitled, grown ups who act like children. I read this for my book club, and we all agreed that while we liked it…we don’t think we’d recommend it. It was well written and there were definitely interesting themes. I particularly liked the theme of family and the different roles we play in our family and the secrets we keep and why. But overall, I didn’t find that anything in particular about it stuck with me.

Miller’s Valley

This was my favorite reads of the month. This was my first Anna Quindlen book, and I loved, loved, loved this book. I love a good coming of age story, and this is a good coming of age story but with so much depth about family and secrets. Mimi Miller, the main character, ranks up there as one of my favorite of main characters of all time. I related to Mimi’s love for her family and her role in the family. If you pick up one book this month, pick this one.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

I was on an Anna Quindlen kick after Miller’s Valley, so I decided to try out her non-fiction. This is a memoir about her life and the lives of women today. I found it funny and real and honest and she said so many things I’ve always thought to be true (at least for me). A quick and sweet read. Highly recommend.

I’m currently reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Hope, and Death in a Mumbai Undercity for my book club. What are you reading?

Book Report // May 2016

June 6th, 2016 Posted by Love, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Book Report // May 2016”

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May was a great book month. I loved every book I read. I’m currently reading Anna Quindlen’s Lot of Candles, Plenty of Cake, and I’m really enjoying it. I’m also putting together a list of books I want to read this summer. Dan sent me this article in Wired featuring a lot of books that look good. What’s on your summer reading list?

The Nightingale

This book was beautiful and gut wrenching. It follows the story of two sisters during World War II in occupied France. I loved this story because it hit many themes that got me thinking about my life. First, the complicated relationship between the sisters given their age differences and life circumstances. Second, complicated family dynamics. Third, the importance of friendship and how far you’d go for a friend. Fourth, how these woman faced the unthinkable and what would I have done? I could go on and on. I loved this book and it stirred up a lot of emotions. Great read.

The Good Girl

I feel like I’ve read a bunch of books along the lines of kidnapping grown women (or in the case of Gone Girl, a fake kidnapping), and I don’t know what it is but those types of stories intrigue me. I guess because they remind me of Law and Order, which I LOVE. So here’s another kidnapping story, complicated by family dynamics and lies. Also a weird relationship between the kidnapped woman and her captor. The story switches narrators, which I like. Overall, a good page turner.

The Luckiest Girl Alive

Another win! I had no idea where this book was going. It started off like it was just going to be about this shallow girl getting married and the issues surrounding that. But then the story evolved to how she got to this place in her life, going back to an incident that happened when she was in high school. You learn bits and pieces about that incident as you go, and you don’t find out exactly what happened until the end. It was dark and twisty, and I loved it. I’m sure some people won’t like the narrator. But I did. Yep, she was super flawed and did some questionable things. But I thought the author showed how someone can be mean and nasty and also vulnerable.

What are you reading? What’s on your reading this for this summer?

Book Report // April 2016

May 4th, 2016 Posted by Love, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Book Report // April 2016”

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I read through my library holds in April, and now I’m fresh out of books to read! Help! Suggestions needed.

Here’s what I loved in April:

The Year of Yes

I love all Shonda Rhimes TV shows, and I knew a little bit about her before I read her book. I knew that she was a super cool person and super successful and also a mom of young children. Shonda, tell me all your secrets! HA! I loved this book. Her writing style is so funny and engaging. I loved all her personal stories and her message of empowerment. Yes, please, Shonda! This year, my word is BIG, so I’m all about going BIG and saying YES. If you’re looking to get inspired to do the same, this is a great place to start.

10% Happier

I LOVED THIS BOOK. LOVED. I’m already super into happiness and happiness research, and since my Spirit Guide, Gretchen Rubin, recommended this book and is friends with Dan Harris, I had to read it. And I loved it. Dan Harris is a reporter for ABC News, and he writes about his crazy past with drugs, alcohol, and his obsession with getting to the top. After experience a panic attack live on air, he decided to make a change. He wondered if it was possible to be happy, be successful, and be a zen-like person. This is his personal story, and his story of how he got into meditation, something he’s super passionate about. He just started a podcast, 10% Happier with Dan Harris, that I also love.

Where They Found Her

This is the second book I’ve read by Kimberly McCreight (the first was Reconstructing Amelia, which I also liked). This story is about a woman getting back on her feet after the loss of her second child. Just as she’s starting to get back into her life and work as a writer, she takes on a writing assignment for her paper about the abandon body of a newborn baby. The plot twists and turns from there, featuring lots of different characters, which eventually relate to each other. Since I like books like that, I really enjoyed this one.

I’m in desperate need of book recommendations for May! Hit me with your ideas!

Book Report // March 2016

April 6th, 2016 Posted by Love, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Book Report // March 2016”

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Whoops! I forgot to post the books I read in March…in March. So I’m posting them now. I’ll be back at the end of April with what I read this month.

So many good books. Let’s get to the recommendations!

The Fates and the Furies

At the start of this book, I was into it. Then around 20% in, I wondered if this book was worth finishing. I felt like it went from interesting characters and stories to…weird. And I didn’t like the characters anymore. Usually I’m all about quitting books I don’t like. But I felt compelled to finish it for some reason. Around 50% I was back on board, and I’m so glad I finished it. It was weird. But in a compelling way. I went back on forth on the characters, but by the end, I loved how this book showed people and situations in so many dimensions. Things (and people) aren’t always as they seem! After I finished reading it, I thought a lot about the themes and characters, so for me, I think that means I like it.

The Girl with All the Gifts

I had no idea what this book was about, and it took a bit of reading before I figured out what was going on. I won’t spoil it, but I can say it’s one of those ends-of-times books. I don’t usually love those, but this book was more about the people, which is what I love. And I loved all the characters, which is rare. I loved the message of the book, and it made me think a lot about love and friendship and humanity. A super good read.

The Martian

I saw the movie before I read the book, but even though I knew the ending, it was still a good read. The main character is just the best. He’s a good mix of funny, smart, clever, self deprecating, and determined. I don’t like reading sciency stuff, but this wasn’t too much science for me. Got me thinking a lot about what would happen to me if I was stuck on Mars. I don’t think I’d do well on Mars.

I’m currently reading On Writing. What are you reading?

Book Report // February 2016

February 24th, 2016 Posted by Love, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Book Report // February 2016”

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Lots of good books to report this month! Let’s dive right in!

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

I think this book was recommended for people who liked Gone Girl. Since I liked Gone Girl, I decided to give this a try. The premise drew me in: a woman struggling with motherhood tries to get back on her feet by taking a job as a reporter for a small town local paper. She usually writes soft, human interest pieces, but when the body of an infant is discovered, she ends up taking this hard news story. It’s a hard story for her to take on for several reasons, one personal reason in particular. And then the story unfolds from multiple vantage points, keeping you guessing who this baby belongs to, and how it ended up dead. I like these kind of twisty stories where you’re trying to figure out who did it and you’re also piecing together how all these people relate. Definitely one of those reads that I didn’t want to put down and finished in a couple days.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

So often on the podcast, the guest mentions pairing down her to-do list to only what’s essential. That message has been resonating a lot with me lately. I can’t do everything. And when I try, it’s a mess. The author advocates really thinking through what’s essential. And saying no to everything else. For people pleasers, this is going to be a tough pill to swallow. But he offers advice on how to say no and that, actually, his research shows that people are actually okay with you saying no.

A message I latched on to in the book is to really think about what you’re doing. Are you just moving from one obligation to the next without thought? Do you really need to be doing that? Why? As an upholder (based on Gretchen Rubin’s Better Then Before habits quiz), I tend to uphold things because that’s just my nature. I’ll keep a habit because it’s easy for me to maintain it, and I seldom think “is this essential? Do I even want to be doing this anymore?”

If you don’t feel overwhelmed in your life, or if you don’t feel like you need to pair down, then you probably won’t get all that much out of this book. But I love to read different perspectives on time management and personal fulfillment, so while I don’t 100% subscribe to everything in this book, it did get me thinking about what’s important to me and if I’m actually prioritizing those things.

MWF Seeks BFF by Rachel Bertsche

I LOVE books like this where the author sets out on a project and then takes us along for the ride. I also love friends, so the author’s pursuit of going on 52 friends dates with the goal of finding a new best friend for life intrigued me.

I liked the author as a person, and I wanted to be her friend. I loved how beautifully she wove her personal stories, friend date stories, and research into her book. The book felt thoughtfully put together. And there is a lot of introspection and discussion on friendship: what makes for lasting friendship, the importance of friends, the difference between what you get out of a marriage versus a friendship, etc… Lots of interesting facts and studies.

The book did feel long. She did have to get through 52 people! But I enjoyed reading about all her friend dates, and I rooted for her to find a BFF.

It also got me thinking about my friendships and the importance of nurturing those friendships.

I’m currently reading The Luckiest Girl Alive and Rising Strong. What are you reading? Any recommendations?

 

My Favorite Writing Instruments

January 21st, 2016 Posted by Love, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “My Favorite Writing Instruments”

What is it about office supplies? I could wander the aisles of Staples for hours, admiring all the binders and post its and folders.

And the pens. Oh, the pens!

I love a good pen. It needs to write smoothly and fluidly. And, for the love of all that is holy, it cannot bleed through.

I’ve tried out dozens and dozens of pens, and these are my favorite to use for note taking and for writing in my planner. I usually only use black pen in my planner, but, on occasion, I’ll be bold and use a fun color. What can I say? I’m pretty wild!

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BIC Intensity Fine

To me, these are a marker/pen. It writes like a pen but the result looks like a marker. The fine tip is great for writing in tight spaces (like the calendar squares on my planner). And the ink does not budge or smudge.

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Pilot G2 Retractable Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens

These are the pens I’ve been using the longest. They are the most fluid and the most pigmented of the bunch. I love how smoothly they write, never dragging on the page. However, this ink does need time to dry. This ink will smudge if you write and then accidentally rub your hand over your lettering. But, they are the smoothest and never skip while you write.

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Sharpie Fine Point Pens

These are similar to the BIC Intensity in that they write like a pen but look like a marker. I’ve been using these for years, and I do like how saturated the colors look on the page. However, they do wear down quicker than other pens. But, they don’t bleed and they don’t smear. The color selection is also fun and unique.

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Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens

I purchased these after falling down the rabbit hole of “plan with me” videos on YouTube and saw many planner people use these pens. I like how these pens are shaped like triangles, making them easy to hold. These write super smooth, and they are also that pen/marker type.

What are your favorite pens?

What’s New at the Drugstore / January 2016

January 14th, 2016 Posted by Beauty, Fashion, Look, Love, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “What’s New at the Drugstore / January 2016”

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While I don’t wear a lot of makeup (and most days none at all!), I still really enjoy it. Especially drugstore makeup because it’s the most affordable (duh) and easiest to acquire (there are drugstores on every corner in my town).

So, I love combing the drugstore for new things, especially neutral makeup, to find that diamond in the rough item that only costs $4, and I can apply easily and look like $1 million bucks. (Okay, so that’s asking a lot. But I have found many, many inexpensive things that take this tired, haggard looking face up a few notches.)

Here are a few things I found lately (and a mini review).

+CoverGirl trunaked pallets in Golden and Rose.

I also picked up the Nude but when I compared to my Urban Decay Naked 2 pallet (one of only two high end pallets I own), I really saw a one-for-one shade match. So I returned it. But, if you’re interested in the Naked2, definitely go pick up the Nude pallet. So, therefore, the Golden and Rose pallets are just like the Naked1 and Naked3 pallets, in terms of shade matches. While Urban Decay shadows most likely wear best, these from CoverGirl are really a good option considering they are $10 each and the Urban Decay pallets are $50 each. I’ve played around with them a little, and I’m happy with the pigmentation.

+CoverGirl Oh Sugar! lip balm in Soda, Spice, and Punch.

I believe these are supposed to be comparable to the Fresh Sugar Lip Treaments, which are approximately $1 billion dollars each. Ha! No, they aren’t that expensive. But they aren’t cheap. I’ve only experienced Fresh Sugar in the little trial size version I received for my Sephora birthday gift (Sign up to be a Beauty Insider and you get a free gift on your birthday. It’s usually pretty good, albeit something trial sized.). These CoverGirl lip balms smell very similar to the Fresh Sugar (lemony), and they do feel nice and give just a tint of color, which is what I like.

+Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Eyeshadow Crayon

I was SO excited when I found these that I almost knocked the display over. I already love the Maybelline Color Tattoos in the pots, but I was finding that they can dry out (in all fairness, I have had them a while). Anyway, I knew I liked the pots, so I figured I’d love the crayons. I had to restrain myself, so I only picked up three colors. But I’ve been wearing them almost every day, and I love how they look! The color is buildable, meaning, I can just put on a little bit for a little wash of color or I could really build it up and get glamorous! HA! For what?! The carpool line?! But, really, I could. If I ever got glamorous. Anyway! Definitely, run, do not walk, to get these. You will be glad you did. Eyeshadow in a snap! Just rub a little on your eye, blend it out with your fingers, and done. Girl, you look good!

+L’Oreal Color Riche Mono Eyeshadows in Paris Beach, Little Beige Dress, Sunset Seine, and Quartz Fume

I depend on YouTube for many of my recommendations, and Tati of GlamLifeGuru is amazing for this. She tries EVERYTHING. And I mean, everything. So when she came out with several videos on new drugstore products and raved about these single eyeshadows, you bet I went on the hunt. Tati is totally glam, so she can do all the colors. There’s this blue one that will look amazing on her, but if I tried it, I’m pretty sure people would think I was auditioning for Barnum and Bailey. Anyway, I picked up four (buy one, get one half off!) in neutral colors. These are good! Again, for those of you looking for a neutral, wearable look, I’ve got you covered. Just swipe even one of these colors on your lid, curl those lashes, little bit of mascara, and boom, you’re done!

Have you tried any of these? Or anything else new (or old!) from the drugstore? Do share!

Book Report // January 2016

January 13th, 2016 Posted by Love, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Book Report // January 2016”

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This month as all about the fiction, which is rare for me because I do tend to gravitate towards nonfiction. It was fun to go another direction, and I ended up loving all three of these books.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Many years ago I went on a huge Jodi Picoult kick and read just about everything she had out. Then I stopped, probably because I entered into her most recent books and therefore couldn’t get them from the library because everyone else also wanted to read her recent books. I got lucky because my library had her newest book, Leaving Time, out on Kindle, and it didn’t take too long to get it. Since I was managing a lot of check outs at the time, I knew I had about 48 hours before this one disappeared. Luckily, I could not put this book down, so that worked out. The book is about a teenager named Jenna who goes in search of her missing mother. Her mother (and father) worked at an elephant sanctuary, so there’s a whole bunch of cool stuff about elephants in this book. I like elephants, so I loved this. If you’re not into animals/elephants, you might not like this. Anyway. Jenna enlists a cast of characters to help her find her mother/what happened to her mother. I loved the narrative and the journey of this story…until the end when there’s a weird twist. It’s not that I didn’t like it. It just felt like, oh, okay, eh. But, to me, still a great read.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

OMG. I LOVED THIS BOOK. At first, I wasn’t sure. A Bible story narrative? Meh. Probably not for me. But I got so into this book, and I was almost moved to tears at the end (and I am NOT a crier). The story follows Dinah, one of Jacob’s daughters, and her life living in that community with the four wives, Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah. I love how this story dealt with love and relationships and family. This is super rich story telling. I loved the complexity between the relationships of the women and how they nurtured Dinah in their own way. This was my favorite fiction reads.

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

I told my mother-in-law how much I liked The Red Tent, so she recommended Anita’s other book, The Boston Girl. When I read the synopsis, I wasn’t sure I’d be into it. But I decided to check it out anyway. At first I had some trouble getting into it. It seemed a little like a downer. But as I kept going and got to know the main character more and more, I fell in love with the story. I loved Addie, the main character, and reading about her journey during the 1900s. Her desire to form her career and her relationships with friends and mentors alike really stuck with me. I haven’t found a main character I admired so much in a long time.

So that’s it for me this month. I need more recommendations! What have you read that I must check out?

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Baby Stuff We Love // After Three Kids

January 6th, 2016 Posted by Love, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Baby Stuff We Love // After Three Kids”

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One of my favorite things (much to Dan’s chagrin), is trying new products. I LOVE myself new products.

But, I’m also loyal to stuff that works. Products I’ve tried and tested and tested some more. Durable is a key word in our family.

I relied heavily on the recommendations of fellow parents when I was making my first baby registry and when I needed different products as the kids grew. Now, three kids and almost six years later of kid gear/stuff, these are the things I’d buy again and again and again.

SkipHop Duo Signature Diaper Bag

I’ve tried a couple bags, and I love the SkipHop brand the most. For one, they have great customer service. I had a problem with one of my bags, so they gave me a generous gift card to replace the old bag. I found I needed something a little different, so I ordered this one right before I had Thomas. I love the messenger style because it’s easy to carry. The pockets on this are perfect. And it’s a good size without being too big. Plus, at least to me, it doesn’t scream DIAPER BAG. It’s functional and cute.

Halo Sleep Sacks

Praise be for these sleep sacks! I used these with all three of my babies. I’m paranoid about using a swaddle blanket (because I’m afraid the baby will bust out of it and suffocate). So I only use sleep sacks. They keep our kids warm, and I have complete peace of mind.

Original Ergo Baby Carrier

I use this every single day. It stays in my car, and whenever we go out, I wear Thomas whenever we get to our destination. This thing is a life saver. I love being able to have my hands free to hold things/chase the big kids. It’s perfect for grocery shopping and errands like that because I never have to choose between abandoning the baby in the car seat in the cart while my toddler runs away or staying with my baby in the cart while my toddler runs away from me. Since Thomas is strapped to me, I can leave my cart and run after my toddler. (This exact scenario happens to me several times a week, so I can personally attest to it.) And it’s incredibly comfortable. I recently wore it for almost three hours, walking all around and up and down hills at a fall festival. Thomas slept the entire time, and I didn’t experience any back pain. Sometimes I wear him in the house, too. When he’s super fussy but I can’t just hold him, I strap him to me and go about my day.

Boppy Nursing Pillow

I used this with all three kids. This thing is the only reason I was able to breastfeed and eat, type, read a book, pretty much do anything. It allowed me to use two hands while my babies fed. It’s comfortable for them and me, and I use it every single time I nurse.

Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘N Play Sleeper

I didn’t have this for Kate. And I so wished I did. So as soon as I confirmed my pregnancy with Michael, I ordered myself this Rock ‘N Play Sleeper. It looks super simple. And it is. (Although now I see you can get one that vibrate/play music. Ours does not do that but it’s still awesome). I always need a safe place to put a baby down. And this is it. I love how it’s portable (you can collapse it and take it on trips, to your friend’s house, around your house, etc…), and it’s light weight. I put my babies in it and move them around the floor of the house I’m on so I can do stuff with two hands but they can see me. And it’s perfect for napping. It’s probably one of my number one favorite baby things.

BOB Revolution Single (and Double) Stroller

I only own the BOB single and double stroller. No other strollers. I never used that snap and go type. Or any other type. BOB all the way. We’ve put miles and miles and miles on those strollers. And they can take a beating and all types of terrain. For us, they were worth every penny.

Bumbo Floor Seat

I know some babies hate this thing. But all our babies liked it. They didn’t want to sit in it forever. But they were happy to sit in it for a good length of time. I would sit them in the Bumbo so they could watch me fold laundry. I sometimes put my babies in it to feed them solid food. One of my favorites ways to use it was in the bath. I love how it wipes cleans. It doesn’t have the longest lifespan (Babies with chunky thighs can only sit in this seat for so long!), so I’d recommend trying to find a used one.

Gilligan and O’Malley Nursing Tank

I exclusively use these nursing tanks. Can’t beat the price. I only buy the white ones, and I wear them under all my shirts. That way, I can breastfeed without exposing 3/4 of my body. They hold up nicely and don’t look terrible.

Link Toys

These are so simple. And we love them. As soon as my baby started reaching for things, I’d hook these to our carseat. My babies swatted at them and entertained themselves (for at least a few minutes) while hanging out in their carseat. I made them long enough so they could grab them and chew on them.

The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn Tub

There’s nothing all that special about this tub. But it fit on top of our kitchen sink, and it’s easy to use in the tub. It’s also easy to clean; I’d just wipe it down with a towel and stash it in the closet. I also liked the little built in shelf – it’s perfect for holding baby shampoo or a wash cloth.

I hope you found this helpful! When I was a new mom I scoured the Internet for recommendations, and I always relied on feedback from moms and dads. Parents out there: what are your favorite kid products?

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