10 Board Books Every Mom Will Love

Board Books

Reading books to my sweet girl is one of my very favorite activities. She just stares at the pages (or tries to eat them) as I read to her. It is the perfect distraction when she is getting fussy and I love that I am able to share stories with her. My favorite books encourage interaction, include easy sounds, or are just plain fun to read! Because reading the same books over and over (and over and over) can get tiring, here are my Top 10 Board Books to add a little spice to your routine!

 1. Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss

Let me tell you, Mr. Brown is one impressive man! He makes all kinds of noises. Your little one will laugh at you while you try to replicate a bee’s bzz-ing, a thundering boom, a butterfly’s whisper, and many more. This is one of my husband’s favorite books to read to our daughter and she loves to giggle at his silly noises.

 2. Love You More by Susan Musgrave

Love You More was given to me by a friend who is studying to be a librarian and it has become part of our daily routine. This sweet book weaves through the months of the year with a tale of a parent’s love for their child. The rhythm of the poem is gentle and soothing, making this a perfect book before a nap. The illustrations are beautiful and it has just enough sentiment without causing me to dissolve into a puddle of emotions. Basically, it’s an all-around winner!

3. Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

I love Sandra Boynton! Her books are so bouncy and full of life! This is another animal sounds book, but with a little twist. I won’t spoil it for you, (can you really spoil a book that has less that 10 pages?) but it’s a short book that is one of our favorites!

 4. Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

I will admit, this book is more for me than our 8-month-old daughter. It doesn’t rhyme or have fun animal sounds, so it is not her favorite, but it makes me laugh every time. This is a clever book that I’m sure she will appreciate when she’s older, but for now we have it in our repertoire to keep mommy on her toes!

 5. Horns to Toes and In-Between by Sandra Boynton

Yes, I know, Sandra Boynton was already on this list, but I can’t help it! Horns to Toes and In-Between is so entertaining! She writes about each body part, but the subjects are (non-scary) monsters who have a few surprises. Disclaimer: my husband does not share my sentiment about this book because it is “not realistic”. I am only able to keep reading it to our daughter if I promise to teach her that her tummy isn’t really fuzzy.

6. Disney Babies

There are a whole line of these vintage Disney Babies books that aren’t readily available online, but I have seen them pop up in used books sales. If you ever see one, snatch it up! They stand the test of time and encourage learning things like counting, shapes, opposites, and rhyming words. A few more of my favorites are Baby Donald Makes a Snowfriend, What’s Missing Baby Daisy?, Baby Minnie’s Busy Day, and Baby Donald’s Day at the Beach,

 7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

This is a classic children’s book for a reason – it is beautiful in its simplicity. The pictures are colorful and high-contrast, making it an ideal book for very young kiddos. This was the first book our sweet girl ever really seemed interested in for more than just the taste of the cardboard. She loves to try to feel the animals and anticipates what’s coming next. I love to add the animal sounds and ask questions about each animal on the page. On the last page, I point to each animal as I say its name and she watches my finger intently. That definitely makes it a winner in my book!

 8. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think by Dr. Seuss

Oh, the Thinks You Can Think was the first book I memorized after having our daughter because we read it to her so often. The words are silly, the rhyming is fun, and the pictures are bright and colorful. This sing-song book will make its way into your heart…and get stuck in your head!

9. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins

This book has an excellent rhythm that will hook children from the first page. I’m pretty sure all children are really just budding drummers, so you might as well encourage them! This is the perfect book to read while bouncing your little one on your lap for some extra fun – and lots of extra giggles!

10. Star Wars: Spaceships

Of course, no list from our family would be complete without a little Star Wars love! We had to introduce our little girl to the ways of the force as early as possible, and this board book is the perfect way to start. It features several ships from the Star Wars galaxy and a noise that they may make. It’s an amusing book to read and fitting for even the youngest Jedis. The force is strong with this one!

Those are ten board books I think any mom will love! Did I leave any out? What is the one book you love to read to the little ones in your life?

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25 Things for My 25th

I am turning 25 tomorrow and in honor of my jump into the next quarter century of life, I thought it would be fun to share 25 things about myself. I usually share about our sweet girl or our family, so this is a little different, but humor me. So, here are 25 things about me for my 25th birthday!

  1. I love being creative, but the way I use that creativity changes almost monthly. One month I’ll dive into crocheting, the next month will be spent trying new recipes, then writing a children’s book, then painting, then sewing and embroidery. I am always working on something, but it is never the same thing for long. I don’t have to worry though, it will come around again the next year.
  2. I am extremely introverted. I used to think this was a terrible thing and something I surely had to overcome to be used by God, but I have come to realize it is a beautiful part of my personality that allows me to care deeply for a few people at a time in ways that are unique to introverts.
  3. My favorite show ever is Survivor and I love almost any reality TV competition show. I also love Parks & Recreation, the Amazing Race, and Doctor Who.
  4. I have been our of the country twice – once to Mexico and once to Australia.
  5. I am pretty good at english, but would fail a middle school geography test.
  6. I gave campus tours for our college one summer despite my introversion. It was actually a lot of fun!
  7. I think adoption is an incredibly beautiful picture of God’s heart for people. I have to stop myself from getting overly excited when I see families who have likely adopted or I will become the creepy girl gushing over how beautiful their family is.
  8. I have a hard time with change, but once you have won me over, I will be a loyal fan for life.
  9. Though I am introverted, I love planning events for people to enjoy. Whether it’s a small gathering at our house for a game night, a party for friends, or a huge celebration at the church, I love executing a plan and exceeding people’s expectations. (But after the event, I will definitely need a nap.)
  10. I’m pretty sure that the combination of chocolate (especially dark chocolate) and pretzels is mankind’s greatest invention.
  11. My favorite iPhone app is ‘Notes’ – I have more than 70 notes on my phone (and I delete old ones regularly!). If I start a list of something, I can not sleep at night until it is finished.
  12. I hate coffee. People tell me I will get used to it one day, but to this day the only drink I can handle at Starbucks is a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino.
  13. Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day.
  14. I make a huge effort to get places on time, but I am still pretty consistently late. Having a baby did not help this terrible trait.
  15. I have a ridiculous number of favorite movies. I think I’ve arrived at my very favorite until someone mentions another movie I love, then it’s back to the drawing board. My ‘Top 5 Movies’ list is about 20 movies long.
  16. One of my biggest pet peeves is small talk. First, I am inexplicably terrible at it. Second, if I am going to spend emotional energy on a conversation, I want it to mean something. Small talk takes so much more energy than a conversation where I learn something about you or help you bear a burden.
  17. I am a bit of a geek. I have been to C2E2 and Star Wars Celebration, my daughter’s nursery is decorated in Star Wars, and my husband and I often have dates to comic book shops. Also, our date nights are precious now that we have a daughter and what have we done for the last two dates? We saw Guardians of the Galaxy…twice.
  18. I hate driving. I have only very recently driven more than four hours consecutively. I do, however, love a good road trip. Road trips with me have been known to include sing-a-longs, the newlywed game, Star Wars radio drama, and stops at delicious one-of-a-kind restaurants.
  19. I love going to festivals and conventions. Whether it’s an art festival downtown, a foodie event at the fair grounds, or a comic convention, I get a thrill being united with people who share a common interest. Also, I love freebies and goodie bags more than any reasonable woman should.
  20. Silver Dollar City holds a special place in my heart. There is nothing like entering the park to the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls, the rush you feel on your first Thunderation ride of the day, and the cool root beer float as you watch the Saloon show. It’s one of my favorite places on Earth.
  21. My other favorite place is Disney World. I am consistently amazed by their quality, customer service, and attention to detail. They knock it out of the park at every turn and it makes me so excited to go back.
  22. I love board games. From Apples to Apples to Settlers of Catan and everything in between, our house is full of board games. If you stay with us, it’s almost certain that we will stay up way too late playing board games.
  23. Christmas is my favorite holiday, but my birthday is a close second. It’s not even the gifts (though I will admit, my husband is an excellent gift-giver) – it’s that my love language is words of affirmation. I am always floored by the kindness of my friends and family who go out of their way to make me feel loved during my birthday. Also, October is just the best month of the year!
  24. I could drink orange juice all day, every day. Alright, I may be scraping the bottom of the barrel for ‘interesting’ facts about me, but man I love the stuff!
  25. My family means the world to me. They are incredibly encouraging, supportive, and challenging. Without them, I would live in the middle of nowhere and stay inside my house for 9 months out of the year.

So that’s it – 25 Things about me! Do we have anything in common?

P.S. In honor of my birthday, you can use the coupon code HAPPYBIRTHDAY for 40% off your purchase in the Wit & Wander Etsy Store !

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10 Things No One Tells You to Pack in Your Labor & Delivery Hospital Bag (Plus a Free Printable)

When we were preparing to head to the hospital, I looked up several lists that featured the standard things to pack in your hospital bag (change of clothes, onesies, toiletries, etc.), which are all wonderful but I thought those lists were missing a few things. So, I put together my list of 10 Things No One Tells You to Put in Your Hospital Bag. I also included a free printable (my complete hospital bag checklist) after the list.

1. Warm socks – I am naturally cold, and I love a good pair of warm socks, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. Chances are good I would have been wearing warm socks at home, but I spent almost our entire stay in a hospital gown and socks. (I know, I know…I’m a fashion maven) The whole hospital was freezing and I was thankful to not walk around barefoot.

2. Tennis balls in a sock – One of the most valuable tips we picked up from our Lamaze class was this simple handheld massage trick. You literally take two tennis balls, put them in a long tube sock, tie the sock, and experience paradise. When your labor coach (husband, mom, best friend, etc.) massages your back with this contraption during labor, you will forget that you are in a hospital and feel like you are relaxing somewhere on a sandy beach (I may be exaggerating – it’s been a few months since my delivery…)

3. Button down (or zip up) shirt for dad – Everyone talks about mom and baby sharing skin to skin contact during the first hour after delivery (called kangaroo care) but they fail to mention that dad can do it, too! If mom had a c-section or for some reason can’t do skin-to-skin, dad can step in and the baby will get the same benefits of regulation of body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. I am thankful that I was able to have that time with my sweet girl because it is one of my most precious memories, but I am also thankful that Daniel was prepared to step in if I was unable.

4. Maternity clothes to wear home – I wish I could tell you that you would magically fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes two days after delivering your little one, but that’s just not reality. Be proud of your body – it has fought hard to create a little person and then deliver them into the world, and now it is going through physical and emotional (and hormonal) shock. Give yourself time to recover, time to relax, and time to be free of the pressures of body image in our society. Be proud, feel good about yourself, but also…bring maternity clothes…I promise you’ll thank me.

5. Baby Book – It’s not likely that you will be spending a lot of time writing in your baby book during your time at the hospital, but some hospitals offer you the option to stamp your baby’s footprints directly in the book. Our hospital didn’t give the ornate certificates of the past, so we got the official-looking form that I later added to my baby book. It was fine, but I wish I would have brought the book for a very personal keepsake. I looked everywhere to find the perfect baby book, here’s the one I fell in love with.

6. Extra bag for gifts (and hospital stuff!) – We were allowed to take all my postpartum goodies, a few burp clothes, the extra diapers, and even a swaddle blanket home from the hospital. We also brought home things like the bulb syringe, comb, and a Halo sleep sack our hospital gives to every newborn. When sweet girl couldn’t figure out her latch, I started pumping, so we had a ton of pumping accessories to bring home as well. Add to that the few presents we got from friends who visited us, and I was glad we had brought an extra bag to lug everything home!

7. Money for parking/valet – Call the hospital ahead of time (or better yet – take a hospital tour!) to find out the parking situation for moms in labor. Our hospital had valet parking for $4 (totally worth it in my opinion!) Of course, we had our $4 ready to go and sweet girl decided to begin her entrance into the world at 1:00am, well after valet parking had stopped. Oh well! We eventually used it in the vending machine for late night munchies.

8. List of people to call – Your brain is mush after delivery. Unless you want everyone to find out on Facebook, make a list of people who ought to hear the news over the phone (or at least through a text!).

9. Pillow in a colored pillowcase – This was the only thing my hubby really appreciated having. The hospital pillows aren’t the most comfortable things in the world. I was too exhausted to care, but when you combine an uncomfortable pillow with an uncomfortable fold down couch, it’s not easy for a new dad to get a good night’s (or morning, mid-afternoon, or early evening) rest. The colored pillow case is important because otherwise it will get swapped out for one of the commercial-grade hospital pillow cases – not pleasant!

10. Gift for dad – This is obviously not essential, but I know that my husband spent a lot of time figuring out the quickest route to the hospital, helping when I was too sick to move, and just generally caring for me throughout the pregnancy. I wanted a way to show him how much he meant to me throughout the process. The gift I gave him was simple – he got some Dad’s root beer and a storybook he enjoyed when he was a kid to read to our daughter (Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go). It wasn’t extravagant, but I think it just let him see that he is still important even with my focus elsewhere.

Well, that’s my list of 10 Things No One Tells You to Put in Your Diaper Bag! Here is a freebie – you can either download this picture or print the PDF below.

Hospital Bag

Printable Hospital Bag Packing List

I would love to hear from you! What did you love having in your hospital bag? What did you pack that you didn’t end up using?

 

A Month in Photos | September

SeptemberThis Month’s Highlights:

  • A giant, toothy grin has appeared!
  • It was cold enough to wear sweaters for one day, so we took advantage of it.
  • Sweet girl has discovered the piano – she really enjoys the music and trying to eat the lights.
  • Our LifeGroup at church hosted a ‘Sugar & Spice’ baby shower for one of the girls in our group.
  • The hubby’s mom and sister came to visit for a week, so forts were built, paper dolls were played with, and fun was had by all!

 

A Month in Photos | August

August

This Month’s Highlights:

  • Some pretty major milestones – sitting up, sippy cup, and rolling over!
  • Some friends visited from out-of-town and we had sweet girl’s first visit to the park.
  • We went on a family date to Highland Park, where we ate at a hundred-year-old Soda Fountain and drove through George Bush’s neighborhood.
  • We discovered some fun toys to spin at the library.

Top 10 Items for Baby

Top 10 Baby Items for 0-6 Months - witandwander.wordpress.com

Seven months after giving birth to our first daughter, I can tell you that we have gone through a LOT of baby products. Some items I loved and some I couldn’t put away fast enough. Because some moms-to-be would rather sit through an all-day meeting with no bathroom access than think about what to put on their registry, I thought I would share my favorite baby products for new mommies and women who have been invited to a shower (How do you pick something that says “thoughtful, but practical” and not just “this was what I could afford from your list”!?). These are my must have, baby-tested and mommy-approved items for babies 0-6 months old.

  1. Wubbanub – These funny little pacifier/animal combos have been a lifesaver! They generally stay in baby’s mouth a little longer than a standard pacifier and give her something to hold on to. The attached pacifier is a Soothie, which is the only type of pacifier our daughter would take. I also got a few extra Soothies to stick in the diaper bag for emergencies. Not to mention these Wubbanubs look adorable! Our favorite is the giraffe. (If you ever happen to run into him, ours is named Carl)
  2. Bright Starts Lots of Links – I am convinced that links are the most versatile toy on the planet. They can attach toys to a toy bar, stroller, or car seat. They clip a blanket to a stroller to make a sun shade. They have great textures, making them perfect on-the-go teethers. Basically, they are baby gold.
  3. Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station – This may seem like such a silly thing to have, but a changing pad is so convenient when you go out to eat, go on vacation, or even just go to a friend’s house. This one has pockets to keep some wipes, Butt Paste, and a back-up diaper in, which means you can just grab it and go.
  4. Medela Feeding System – I’m sure the super expensive bottle systems with a million parts to clean serve some sort of magical purpose, but I am all about a one-stop-shop. These Medela bottles fit on my breast pump (I have the Medela Pump in Style) and I can feed her directly from those bottles. They also have several convenient sizes, so I can portion the milk out and save a little liquid gold here and there.
  5. Sleep & Play – Who needs fancy clothes for a newborn!? They are just going to pee or spit up all over it anyway! The chance of you leaving your house more than once a week for the first month is slim, so just stick them in a Sleep & Play day and night. I prefer the ones with snaps that go down both legs. Then you don’t have to completely undress them for every diaper change or wrestle a floppy (but strong) newborn leg back into a pant leg while they are fussing. You’re in survival mode during the first few months, so it’s all about ease!
  6. Board Books – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – Of course any books are good when they are young, but sweet girl really loved Brown Bear. She would study the high-contrast pictures and try (unsuccessfully) to pull the animals off the page. Some other favorite books of ours are: Horns and Toes and in Between, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, Oh the Thinks You Can Think, and Put Me in the Zoo. My hubby thought we had too many books for her age, but now that he’s read The Eye Book 231 times, he appreciates the variety. My only real requirement for books is that they don’t make me cry (I’m looking at you, Love You Forever). If I accidentally read one of those books, I am sitting in the middle of the living room ugly crying while my daughter looks at me like I’m nuts – it’s not a pretty picture.
  7. Sophie the Giraffe Teether – If you would have told me before having sweet girl that I would gladly drop more than $5 on a teether, I would have laughed in your face. However, Sophie is so worth it! It is easy for tiny fingers to grasp and it’s legs are perfect to soothe sore gums in those hard-to-reach spots.
  8. Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – We would not have made it through the first few months without this rocker. Our daughter had pretty bad colic, so she took all her naps in this rocker. She slept in her bassinet at night, but the slight elevation of the Rock ‘n Play really helped extend her naps.
  9. Fisher-Price Discover ‘n Grow Kick & Play Piano Gym – This was sweet girl’s favorite during playtime and tummy time when she was a newborn and we still use it now that she’s sitting up and rolling over. This model has a piano at the end that can flip to go over their legs once they are sitting up – she loves it! I may be biased, but I’m pretty sure we have a budding Mozart on our hands.
  10. Sassy Go-Go Bugs – These silly little toys have gone with us everywhere. They clip on her car seat, hang on her play mat, and attach to the diaper bag just in case! I bought several packs of these bugs because they are easy to for little hands to manipulate and, according to a seven month old, the wings are very tasty. These were really the first toys she actively played with and we have definitely gotten our money’s worth out of them!

© Lenspired PhotographyBonus: Swaddle Blankets. I added these blankets as a bonus because they aren’t sold in stores, so it’s not really fair to you. They were made by my mother-in-law and had to be included because they have literally been used every single day of sweet girl’s life. If you know someone who sews, ask…no beg…them to make you 38 in. x 41 in. blankets. They will seem huge when you bring home your tiny bundle, but these kids grow fast! This is hands down the best size for a swaddle blanket.

 

Considering how many baby items there are, this was a pretty short list! What did I miss? What were your favorite baby items for a 0-6 month old?