Yesterday was our baby shower! We got sssooo many wonderful gifts, I can't even express how blessed we are! I will post a blog specifically about my shower in a few days when I get the pictures from my mom, but until then I will gush about what has me really excited today.
First of all, anyone who's had a baby shower knows that you get a ton of duplicates, things you didn't register for, clothes in the wrong size for the season, etc etc and then it's up to you to go and return these items to the appropriate stores. I've heard HORROR stories about trying to return things if you don't have the gift receipt so I was not looking forward to having to fight with employees in customer service. Thankfully, most people included gift receipts and those who didn't at least purchased the items off my registry so it was easily traceable. We returned a few things to Babies R Us and a few things to Target... Holy Smokes baby stuff is expensive!! We got $182 back in store credit at BRU and $102 back in store credit at target!! Add that together with a $25 gift card to amazon.com and a combined total of $250 in cash from various people and we felt like we were ROLLING in the money! (Not really when you take into consideration what all we still need to buy!) We decided to bring the store credit and cash and gift cards home and really think about what we want to spend the money on, before making impulse buys. The two main (big) purchases we still need to make are: a car seat and a breast-pump.
When we went to BRU and Target to register for our baby shower we registered for a few "dream" items, as well as other, more practical, items. Our "dream" car seat was a Britax Boulevard CS. It's a convertible car seat that will grow with the child from newborn to 65lbs. It is also listed at around $330 depending on where you buy it. (That's the price listed at BRU, which is where we registered for it at.) Obviously, in store credit alone, we couldn't afford our dream car seat at BRU. But when I got home I started searching online to find it somewhere cheaper... amazon.com had it listed, in a close-out color pattern for $280!! DING DING DING!!!
We decided to take the money given to us by Jeff's grandparents and two of his aunts, the money from my grandpa and the amazon.com gift card and buy the car seat directly from there, saving us $50!! Not only are we getting our "dream" car seat, but we're saving money! Madeline will be safer in this car seat then she would in a cheaper booster-type seat, when she's older, since this car seat still has her wearing a 5-point seat belt harness. Jeff and I did the math, and while - yes, this is a large purchase upfront, had we purchased an infant car seat, plus two bases, and then had to buy a "big girl seat" and/or then a booster when she out grew that one we'd be spending way more than $280. I'm really excited about this purchase, and it really puts my mind at ease knowing that she's set as far as car seats go until she's big enough to not need one anymore.
Now our baby shower cash is gone, but we still have store credit at BRU and Target. I also have a $50 gift card to target from a long-time family friend. We will be purchasing an electric breast pump at one of the stores, but we're not sure yet where. I'm not in a huge rush to purchase the pump, as I don't want to pump at all until 3 or 4 months into Madeline and I's breastfeeding relationship. However, it is really important that we eventually buy a pump, and a good one, because Jeff has made it clear that he wants to be able to feed Madeline also. (Which, when he told me that today, it was the sweetest thing he could have said... and how he said it, I knew he was sincere. It melts my heart to see how much he already cares about our daughter.) We're leaning toward buying a "Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump - with Shoulder Bag."
These seem to run approx $280 as well, so when it gets closer to time to need it, I'll have to see where I have more store credit and gift cards and purchase it from there so we have to come out of pocket for the least amount of money as possible.
Now that I'm in the final trimester, the clock seems to be ticking faster and faster and I'm starting to feel like we should start putting things together, wash her clothes/blankets/towels, attempt to organize her bath toys, regular toys as well as find somewhere to put essentials such as pacifiers, nose aspirators, diaper cream, etc. The organizing will have to wait (and it's driving me CRAZY) since we'll be moving into a new rental house about a month, or so, after Madeline is born. We have no room, no nursery, to organize for the time being.
However, we (and by "we" I mean, Jeff) can put some things together so they're ready when Madeline is here and we need them. Today, Jeff put together her stroller and her Pack N Play - which will serve as her bassinet in our room until she's old enough to be moved into her own room.
I love, love, love her Pack N Play and seeing it set up in our room makes me sssooo excited! It's making it feel more real that she'll be here soon!!
As you can see, it has a changing table, which I LOVE so that I can change her diaper(s) there in the middle of the night and not in our bed where I'd be dodging Jeff as he moves in his sleep and/or the cat or the dogs. I also won't have to leave the room to do it, which is a huge plus to me! It also has a night-light feature, it has sounds to play - music, nature, white noise, heartbeat - and a vibration feature. I'm not sure how much I'll use these options, but it's nice that they're there, just in case.
For me, picking out a stroller was really hard. I wanted it to be versatile and be able to face either outwards, or backwards toward me. I wanted it to be able to recline so Madeline could sleep comfortably while we were out. I wanted it to fit from a newborn size/weight (which most do not, I've found) all the way through toddler-hood. I wanted it to be easy to set up and fold down - and it had to fit in my trunk. The hard part was getting all those features in one stroller, and keep it under $200. I also wanted it to be available locally so I could see it in person and try it out to see how it handled, before registering for it.
We found all those things in the Kolcraft Contours 3 Wheel Stroller! My mom's cousins, Pat and Maryann, were so kind as to buy it for us for our shower and when Jeff put it together this afternoon I was so excited I had to take pictures of it in every position possible! haha!
I'm not sure how much we'll use it at first (since she'll be born in August and it's SO hot here, we won't be venturing outdoors much when she's little bitty), but when the time comes that we can use it - I can't wait! Since it's a 3-wheeler - and no, it's not a jogging stroller - it has great maneuverability and it really, truly, has everything I wanted in a stroller! (The first picture is showing that you can use a standard infant carrier/car seat with it, so you don't have to wake baby to put her in the stroller. That carrier was given to us by my friend Holly and will be Jeff's car seat that will stay in his truck. Like I said, I'll have the Britax convertible, and I don't plan on any huge outings when it's really hot and Madeline's really little - I'll use a baby sling/carrier when needed... but, if necessary, it is an option to use it that way.)
I think it's safe to say I'm getting into "Mommy Mode"... I used to get excited about diamond earrings and new dvds - and while I wouldn't turn them down if Jeff bought ME something - it's not what's on my radar at this point in my life. I can't wait to put more baby stuff together, I can't wait to be able to set up a nursery for her... mainly, I can't wait for her to be here, in my arms, and this preparation is making me realize just how soon that will be!! ♥ ♥ ♥