Monday, July 27, 2015

Ergobaby Original Carrier Review

I bought my Ergobaby Original Carrier right around when Nora was a month old, so we have had it just over a year.  I'd been eyeing one and drooling about having a fancy ergonomic carrier for some time.  Ergobaby had been THE brand when Pete was born and still is considered one of the gold standard companies in the realm of baby wearing.  I saved up my money and bought myself one as a birthday present.  It was instant love! I rolled a blanket under her bum so she'd fit since she was still a bit small for it, instead of buying the infant insert, which was an extra $20 and has a reputation of being too hot for actually carrying the baby for any amount of time.  It was my go-to carrier for months. 
At the zoo fall 2014
 I used it at the zoo, grocery store, walks to the park, vacation, MommyCon; it was pretty much another member of the family and came with us everywhere. Phil used it occasionally but not a ton because he had to adjust the straps since I'm bigger than him and he found it a pain to adjust and preferred the Infantino mei tai for that reason.  In May I decided that I wanted to expand my babywearing and branch out to a ringsling, so I bought a Sakura Bloom linen.  Thankfully I did buy it then because the beginning of June I discovered the chest clip on my ergo was snapped. I contacted the company and sent in all the required pictures to get the snap replaced. Now this all started on June 4 when I contacted them.  I did not receive the part until July 1.  It took 3 phone calls and numerous emails to finally successfully get the piece shipped to my home. Now I'm left the task to figure out how they expect me to actually get the buckle on without either breaking the clip, shredding the strap, killing my hands, ripping the seams and re-sewing it, or cursing the company for the rest of time.  I just do not see how it is possible; I've tried, Phil has tried.  We've used tools and sheer force of will still with no avail.  The only help I was given when I called into customer service again was,"work the strap in your hands to loosen it up and make it pliable and then it should thread through and be easier to pull through all the way with pliers, but not on the elastic because it might rip off" I've worked that strap through my hands for some time and still it hasnt' become very pliable and don't think it really will.  So my final thoughts on the Ergobaby Classic Carrier:
On the train on vacation in Salt Lake City
It was good while it worked, it was comfy for both mom and baby. I'm highly disappointed in their customer service and their inability to meet the needs of the customer without being contacted multiple times and that it took an entire month to get a single piece.  I also think that their expectation of a customer being able to replace this particular clip is a bit ridiculous considering it was within the warranty time period and I called saying I was unable to fix it personally.  Price-wise the ergo is in the same range as the beco, lillebaby and tula.  I expect quality in the carrier and in the customer service, and both seem to be lacking in the Ergobaby company, which is sad because it was great while it lasted. But I need a $100+ carrier to last more than 11 months before being unusable.

snoozing at mommycon Chicago

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer Vacation 2015: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Trip

A family picture before departure!
This year we tried something new on our vacation and tried out the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad with a trip with everyone on the train.  It was a fun trip and I'd highly recommend it especially for adults.  The kids (and grandpa too) got a bit restless but were able to move around the train and check out other car styles so it worked for them too. We were on an enclosed car that had school bus style windows that opened and ceiling fans-it was hot.  We thought we were going to be on an open air gondola car, but were less than thrilled when our tickets placed us on this car.  It all worked out but was hot, but worked well for the sheer number of kids we had to contain to have them in actual seats instead of the bench of the open air cars.  I'd also suggest purchasing the refillable travel mug that they sell because it is good for unlimited refills on the train, which we took full advantage of the entire time.  The views are definitely different from those that you'll get from a car or hike, both sides of the car have benefits though the side that you board has the traditional views looking down the mountain where the other is the mountainside and trees, which is nice and still merits great views while traveling through the Fontana area.  All in all I know our part of the group had a great time on the train.  Pete has ridden on a few trains now so he may have a bit more experience than your average 4 year old. 
couple selfie on the trip

Nora enjoying the view from the window

She loved the windows and watching everything go by
Nora just couldn't stay awake
Sleeping in daddy's arms
Daddy couldn't resist sleeping along with Nora either

The kids hanging out in their seats with grandpa

Pete having a fun time

More window fun!

Summer Vacation 2015: Car Ride Fun

We spent lots of time on vacation in the car, but we had fun there too, along with oodles of naps for the kids and for Phil while in the Smokies.  In Phil's defense he was in the very back with Pete and gets carsick if he isn't careful, so he slept as a remedy.


books always make the ride more enjoyable

The view down into Cades Cove from Rich Mountain Road
Like Father like Son

Nora getting her important work taken care of and not thrilled with the paparazzi interruption

Daddy snoozing

I loved her little hand up there. 

Nora hanging out the window while stopped for a break

Friday, July 24, 2015

Safe Sleep From the Start

Nora's first night home and in her Halo SleepSack Swaddle
Sleep is so important to little ones, and parents!  Keeping babies safe from the very start is important we were lucky enough with Nora to have her at a hospital that also finds sleep safety to be a big priority. Kosciusko Community Hospital (KCH) used the Halo SleepSack Swaddle in the hospital instead of the traditional cotton swaddling blankets.  As an exhausted mom I loved that it was so simple to do, instead of making sure it was just right like with traditional blankets.  We also were given our very own Halo SleepSack Swaddle to take home with us to help keep sleeping as safe as can be. Here are some other tips to keep sleep safe from the start:

Nora after her first bath and getting ready to be wrapped up in her first sleepsack swaddle in the hospital

  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
  • Use a crib that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Remove all soft bedding and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
  • Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, introduce pacifier after one month or after breastfeeding has been established.
  • Breastfeed, if possible, but when finished, put your baby back to sleep in his or her separate safe sleep area alongside your bed.
  • Room share, but don’t bed share. Bed sharing can put a child at risk of suffocation.
Safe Sleep from the Start! and beyond
  • Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.

Halo is currently running a giveaway on their Facebook for Safe Sleep From the Start and are giving away a Halo Bassinet and a Halo SleepSack Swaddle!  Have you seen the bassinet? If not and you are expecting a new baby soon you should check it out.  It looks so nice for those first couple weeks when you are still tired and sore, sadly enough they didn't come out until after Nora was born otherwise it would have been amazing!

Even bigger babies like being swaddled as long as they aren't rolling you can swaddle if baby likes it!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer Vacation 2015: Hiking the Smokies

 We can't  go to the Smokies without doing at least one trail.  We did 3 while we were there, and the boys went on their own adventure while the girls and kids went shopping and hung out.  Grotto Falls was the biggest one the group did, it is a fun one the ends at a waterfall you can walk behind.  Everyone made it with minimal whining and crying. 
The destination of the boys hike and the reason we didn't let the kids go along for the trip

Grandma and the kids heading back down the trail
Nora got to travel in style with her Grovia cloth diapers on vacation, plus they worked great for hiking too!

Grandma and the kids

Pete looking longingly at the water

Nora riding along in her ergo for the trail up to Grotto Falls

Having a snack at the end of the trail

Nora getting some loving from grandpa

A selfie at the top of Clingman's Dome!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Vacation 2015: Playing in the Rivers and Streams of The Great Smoky Mountains

While we were on vacation we probably spent the most time playing in the water of the various streams and rivers.  The kids and adults had great fun. We tried lots of different spots but still the old haunts remain the absolute best.  Pete has no fear when it comes to water, which terrifies me; and now Nora seems to be developing the same lack of fear, just much younger. 

I love this shot of Phil and Nora dipping their toes in!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Summer Vacation 2015: North Carolina

Next stop on our southern tour was down to North Carolina to visit Phil's brother Robert and his family.  We had a fun time puttering around the Chapel Hill area and just spending time together. We had fun activities planned and didn't actually get around to doing most of them, but the alternatives were amazingly fun as well! We had an exciting first evening when the power went out, met up with some friends, and went to some fun shops just off campus and checked out the botanical gardens.

Pete showing his transformers to Heather and Quinn while Nora plays with my phone

Phil's idea of "putting Nora to bed"

Both Dads wearing babies

Phil and the kids on a bridge on our walk

Pete digging in the kids dig area, He loved it!

We found this fella

taking a break on the porch area

Nora snuggled up with dad when she wasn't quite ready to be awake yet.