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Gift Guide :: First Birthday Gift Ideas!



About a month ago, my most amazing cousin and her husband started fostering-to-adopt a sweet 13-month-old girl. She’s rocking it as a brand new mom! As questions have come up, we’ve talked on Skype about sleeping, eating, playing, etc. Last night she asked me about toys: how many to have, how to set up a rotating toy library, what things a 13-month-old would enjoy, etc.

Well, here you go, cuz! An all-out gift guide, inspired by your new little girl and my almost-one-year-old son (in two weeks!!!). By the way, I keep a running Amazon wish list to help me remember good recommendations, and that’s an easy place to reference before birthdays and Christmas. My cousin liked that idea, so I thought I’d pass it along.

Without further ado, the first birthday gift guide:

1. Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site is a bestselling picture book these days, and it would be a fun gift for a little boy as he learns to love and understand stories in his second year of life. (Also, this is what Elliott and I will be giving Gil for his first birthday. But shhh, don’t tell him!)

2. Polka dot dress for a little girl in your life. Babies will start walking around their first birthday, so dresses will no longer be dragged or caught under girls’ knees anymore while crawling. A dress would be a fun way to celebrate this developmental milestone.

3. A wooden alphabet puzzle encourages so many skills, particularly fine-motor and language. Lena loved our wooden alphabet puzzle. When she was about 21 months old, we finished that puzzle about five times a day, and as a result she knew all her letters by her second birthday.

4. Stacking towers are ubiquitous, and I saw why when Lena was about 16 months old. She played with her wooden stacking tower every single day multiple times a day all by herself. Order wasn’t important, but the accomplishment of stacking every piece on the stick gave her so much joy.

5. This ride-on toy will mostly be used as a walker for a brand new one-year-old, but after that it will be greatly enjoyed around the house for years. Every child who comes to our house immediately hops on this bumblebee and zips around. Plus… so cute, right?!

6. A tugboat for bath time! It’s made out of recycled plastic and sure to be a favorite for both girls and boys.

7. A stylish little romper. I am completely smitten with Boden, and Mini Boden is about as beautiful and adorable as children’s clothing can get. Gil received one of their rompers for Christmas, and it’s one of my favorite items in his wardrobe.

8. Dear Zoo is definitely Gil’s favorite book. He gets a smile on his face when we sit down to read it each evening, and he loves opening the flaps and looking at each animal. Lena couldn’t get enough of lift-the-flap board books at this age.

9. Rainbow stacking tower if you want to be more creative than the traditional ring tower. It is made out of wood and looks like an heirloom!

10. These Tegu blocks are wooden but have magnets inside them, which makes them super fun for babies, kids, and adults. This 8-piece set would be perfect for traveling because the pieces will stick together instead of getting lost! (Or at least I hope so… hah.)

11. A little toy airplane for a handsome little boy.

12. Fast track game. Put the wooden cars in the top and watch them flip and fly all the way down!

And now it’s your turn, moms and lovers-of-children. Do your kids (or did you!) have some favorites that I should add to this list?

20 :: in gift guide, wishlist

in my beach bag


We’ve been spending a lot of time at the pool and beach this summer, whether it’s an hour away or just down the road… or on our balcony.  (More about that later.)  Here are a few things in our beach bag this summer:

1. Hats for everyone!  We love our newest sun hat, a present from Uncle Charlie (similar here).  We also love hats from H&M: usually about $5 each and so cute.

2. This infant sunscreen has been a staple in our home since Lena was born.  It is extremely well-rated by the Environmental Working Group, which is the deciding factor in our house when we buy infant skincare products.

3. A hat for mom.  I got mine at a tacky tourist shop on vacation and have loved it for all kinds of outings, even hikesSimilar here (but with a pink band!).

4. Lena’s swim suit is so much cuter than this Zara suit, but I can’t find her suit online.  I love the classic look… and I’m a sucker for stripes!

5. Beach read for me.  I’m forever trying to catch up on this magazine.  It relaxes and inspires me… but, to Elliott’s frustration, I almost never make or cook anything from it!  Gotta work on that.  I earned a free subscription here.

6. Toy for Gil.  This is my favoriteof all his toys.  Sand doesn’t stick to wooden toys like it does to some others.

7. Puddle Jumper floatie for Lena.  She loves this thing and so do we!  We got it for her last summer when she was about 18 months, and our friend Elise (age 6) has tried it out and loved it too.  Every time I go to the pool, some mom asks me where I got it because they see how happy and comfortable Lena is in the water.  Highly, highly recommended.

And I forgot to add this one to the collection above, but perhaps our favorite beach/pool item this summer is our inflatable pool$8 on Amazon— that we literally use every day.  We put it out on our balcony, plop the kids in it, and they go to town!  Add a couple of plastic cups and bowls, or some bath toys, or even water balloons… and you’ve got some refreshingly wet fun ahead of you.

What is helping you stay cool (and cute!) this summer?

4 :: in gift guide, wishlist

the cuteness of mini Ruche

The other day I was entering a blog giveaway* in hopes of winning something from the Ruche children’s section.  I didn’t even know Ruche had a children’s section, but wow.  Their stuff is so cute!  I’m especially head over heels for that “future bird watcher onesie” so my little boy can be just like his daddy!

1. iron-on ties (how brilliant is that?!)
2. Marty the Monkey stuffed animal
3. bird watcher onesie
4. prepster saddle shoes
5. future photographer onesie
6. fruits and veggies wooden magnets
7. animal parade print
8. billy crayon caddy
9. striped romper

*Why do I do that? I have almost no chance of winning.  But enter giveaways I do, and faithfully.  Have you ever won something??  Well, besides you, Bethany, because you won my giveaway. :-)

9 :: in Baby Numero Due, gift guide, links I love, wishlist

Christmas wish list-ing

My grandmother asked me to put together a Christmas list.  Don’t you just love it when someone does that?!  It gives you full license to put together all the things you’ve been thinking about all year!

Here are a few goodies I’ve come across in my searching, and some of them just might end up on The List:

  1. For Baby Boy: Mini Boden flannel romper
  2. For Lena & Baby Boy: Little Sapling Toys building blocks
  3. For me: Bonlook glasses
  4. For Elliott: Mumford & Sons’ new album
  5. For Lena: Mini Boden knitted dress
  6. For all of us: books in general, this one specifically
  7. For me: pearl earrings
  8. For Baby Boy: Baby Bjorn bib
  9. For Lena: Salt Water Sandals
  10. For me: Fair Isle jumper

What’s on your Christmas wish list so far?

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