Baby essentials – revisited

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May 26th 2015

I put together the Lake Jane Baby Essentials Guide after Theo was born and I still get emails about it three years later. I’m so glad that it proved useful to many of you, including some of my close girlfriends. Like me, they felt overwhelmed the minute they set foot in a Babies r’ Us and I wanted to simplify the shopping process. I thought it would be fun to revisit the guide now that I have baby #2 (Click on this link for full list of sources).

I am happy to report that we are still using just about everything newborn-related on this list. Currently, in the newborn phase, the items we’re using the most (read: daily) are the Dwell Studio muslin swaddle blankets (#7 on the list), the Miracle Blanket (#6), the SpaBaby tub (#10), the Medela Swing pump (#18) and Quick Clean bags (#22), and the Grass Countertop Drying Rack (#23). Of course we still love the Mico Car Seat (#4) and City Mini Stroller (#2). They have gotten a TON of use (with our first born and our friends’ baby too) and are still in great condition. I still adore Souris Verte products and I think that their diaper rash cream is one of the best out there. I am just having a hard time finding it in any store!

So what would I change or add to this list? For starters, I think I underestimated how many newborn size onesies one needs. We have a lot of 0-3 month old stuff over here but not enough Newborn size clothing. I didn’t want to buy very much with Theo because I figured they wouldn’t last long but the bottom line is that you need the small stuff in the first month or so. We had to run out and buy more shortly after Van’s arrival. My new favourites are those without the pesky tiny buttons that no one can do up properly in the wee hours of the morning. A footed newborn size onesie with zipper is definitely my preference. I love the ones from Baby Gap (but I only buy them on sale – sign up for the newsletter to get a head’s up on deals).

I would add the Baby K’tan carrier, particularly for the newborn phase. Although I am a big fan of the Ergo, I find the Baby K’tan lighter and less bulky. It’s perfect for carrying a tiny little newborn babe. It’s also easier to clean and feels like a t-shirt.

MORE NURSING TOPS AND BRAS. Again, I totally forgot that I own like 2 nursing tops and I am finding myself alternating between the two as Mike does load after load of laundry. Target made some pretty amazing nursing tanks and I am cursing myself for not stocking up before they abandoned Canada. I still adore my Mom’Zelle ones though but they are on the pricey side.

// What are your newborn/baby essentials? I’d love to hear about your must-have items!

 

Theo’s new bean bag

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April 21st 2015

** This post is sponsored by Lazy-Life Paris, who are offering an exclusive 15% discount to Lake Jane readers. Use code ‘lakejane’ at checkout.

I cannot tell you how nice it’s been to see Theo playing and – more importantly – sleeping soundly in his new bedroom. Not only has this transition allowed me to spend some time putting together the nursery for the baby but it has also given Theo a space that is all his own.

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Most of his toys remain in the family room downstairs but we’ve brought the majority of his books into the bedroom. We often find him sitting on the floor, singing songs to himself as he flips pages. We also read him his bedtime stories in there, usually with us sitting on pillows on the floor. After a few weeks of him being in his new bedroom on a “full-time” basis, we got a better sense of how he used the space and it dawned on me that what we needed was a comfy reading spot. I had set up a chair with a pouf in one corner but I knew that it wouldn’t get much use. I love me a good Eames chair but they aren’t the kind of seat you want to plop down into. I was struggling to find a seating option that would be kid-friendly and in line with the low-to-the-ground vibe we had going on this room. When the kind folks at Lazy-Life Paris contacted me to see if we might be interested in a bean bag chair, I thought “A bean bag! That’s exactly what we need!” Am I the only one who had completely forgotten about bean bag chairs?

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We opted for the popular Sipi model. It’s more pear shaped than the usual square bean bag so the skinnier top makes for a natural back in which to lean into. The handle also make it easier to pull up so the “beans” fall to the bottom and to move this bad boy around. I remember always sinking too low in bean bags but the Sipi keeps its form so it’s more like sitting in a low sofa. It’s also made of synthetic leather so cleaning is a breeze. Not surprisingly, Theo was completely crazy about the new addition to his bedroom. He is always throwing himself into the bean bag and giggling as he rolls off of it. Sometimes he reads peacefully (full disclosure: I had to bribe him with a chocolate covered almond in order to get him to pose for these shots).

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And this very pregnant lady just about wept when she sank into the bean bag. It was like all my bones and muscles let out a sigh of relief. If Theo wasn’t so attached, I would consider sleeping in Sipi until the end of this pregnancy.

A big thanks to Lazy-Life Paris for the perfectly-timed gift they sent us!

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Theo’s new bedroom

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March 30th 2015

I’ve been promising this post for weeks now and I finally got around to photographing my three year old’s new “big boy room”. I should mention that one of the reasons it took me so long to put this post together is that although this room had been finished for nearly a month, Theo had basically refused to do anything in there other than read books. He essentially treated the new bedroom as his own private study, which is why I felt strange posting about his new awesome bedroom that was going completely unused. After trying reason, bribery, moving all of the baby’s stuff into the nursery, and even telling him that his old crib was broken (a lie), we decided to just give Theo some time to adjust to the many changes happening around here. I hoped he would come around to the idea on his own. He didn’t. But he finally agreed to take a nap in there over the weekend and he slept like a champ. So last night, after a a light tantrum, our son FINALLY slept in his new bedroom. In fact, he slept in so late this morning that we actually went to check up on him and found him reading a book in his new bed. Legs folded, feet crossed and all.

All this to say, I now feel comfortable sharing his new bedroom with you. First, let us look back on the state of this room a mere 2 months ago…

My initial plan for this room – besides deflating the blowup mattress – was to go with bold wallpaper but it was just too pricey. Add to that a new bed, new mattress, new window treatments, bedding, furniture, etc – this was starting to turn into a bigger expense than I had planned. So I started to think about where/how we could save some money. I nixed the wallpaper and looked into building Theo’s new bed ourselves (as per usual, “ourselves” refers to my father and brother). I fell in love with the perfect shade of grey green paint and the room’s colour scheme quickly came together.

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I was looking at IKEA beds but I wasn’t crazy about any of them. Although they are inexpensive, I didn’t want to spend $100+ on a bed that I didn’t love. After some digging around, I found this simple tutorial with instructions on how to build your own modern toddler bed. I bought a mattress from IKEA and my dad adjusted the DIY bed’s size to accommodate our measurements.

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What I love about this bed is that it’s a)low to the ground, b)has walls around most of it to prevent your child from falling out multiple times a night and, c)it requires very few materials. We opted for oak plywood and beeswax for finishing. In total, the bed and mattress cost us less than $200. I find this to be incredibly satisfying.

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Theo’s closet once had rickety slatted folding doors and the inside was a mish-mash of new and old shelving. My dad and I devised a plan to maximize the shelving space and make it more streamlined. We moved some shelves, completely removed others and added a pole to hang tiny toddler clothes.

BEFORE

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The new closet doesn’t have as much “dead space” and offers a ton of storage. I liked it so much that I decided to keep it open.

AFTER

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I wanted Theo’s new room to be really cozy and accessible for him. I kept the furniture low to the ground and made sure to find a soft rug that he could roll around on (and that would hide those hideous floors). This rug is so soft that Mike and I always find ourselves sitting on the floor in there. We also held a family movie night where we piled pillows on the floor and watched Disney’s Robin Hood.

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The bookcase is from IKEA. We hung it horizontally so that Theo would have a counter space to play on. The height of the shelf is also nice because it doesn’t dwarf the tiny bed and cleaning the floors is a breeze.

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The big splurge in this bedroom was the custom bedding. Turns out IKEA offers very few bedding options for this mattress size. The duvets were too big and the sheets didn’t look like they would hold up all that well to a toddler in the midst of potty training. My friend Dalia recommended this place in Montreal that does custom bedding for a great price (Ungava, if you’re curious). I took advantage of Target’s sales and purchased two sets of Twin sized sheet in prints I liked. I then brought them to Ungava with my bed measurements and they sewed me some custom fitted sheets and duvet covers. They also made me a 4 season machine-washable down-filled duvet that fit Theo’s bed measurements. The total cost for 3 contour sheets, the duvet and duvet cover? $175. I was pretty pumped about that. To make the bed extra cozy, my mom sewed some pillow covers using fabrics I had ordered from Spoonflower.

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Overall, it took us a couple of weekends to complete this project (let’s hear it for generous grand-parents!). We were able to save some money by doing a lot of the work and by carefully choosing pieces that could grow along with Theo. It makes me so happy to see our little guy playing – and now sleeping – in there.

Now to get started on the nursery…

Shopping sources: lamp, EQ3 (no longer in stores) / rug, IKEA / curtains, IKEA / printed fabric toy bin, V de V / map, vintage / wall hooks, by Danielle Carignan at Buk & Nola / bookcase, IKEA/ pillow fabrics, Andrea Lauren for Spoonflower / hamper, IKEA / paint, “Nature’s Gift” N410-4 by Behr / grey pouf, Home Sense

50 Shades of Orange

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March 22nd 2015

My son’s love for the color orange runs deep. That child has been obsessed with any and all things orange-colored for at least a year and he’s showing no signs of overdosing on my least favorite color. Not surprisingly, when I asked him what theme he wanted for his third birthday party he answered “orange”. Despite my best efforts to convince him that we could do a cool “pirate party” or “Fireman Sam”, he stuck to his guns. I decided to support his decision and searched for “Orange birthday party” on Pinterest. They don’t exist.

We were going to break new ground with our bizarro party theme.

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I went to Target (RIP) and bought every orange party decoration I could find and started to think of orange foods we could serve – orange fruit platter, orange veggies with red pepper dip, orange crackers and orange cheese cubes, orange juice and orange soda. Before I knew it, I was kind of into this whole orange party! And, more importantly, Theo was in orange heaven.

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I baked a carrot cake (I highly recommend this recipe) and sprinkled a big number 3 on top with, you guessed it, orange sprinkles. My sister-in-law cut out the stencil using a cereal box.

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Happy birthday Theo. Thank you for making every day brighter. xo

theo mom

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