Fall Harvest

img_1589Some of my favorite memories, sights and smells come from fall time. Our October wedding. The crispness of the air. The leaves changing color. And the crop harvest.

But one of my favorite family traditions is visiting a local apple orchard. My family would drive just across the border to Wisconsin to partake in the 10-or-so orchards all along one main road. We’d take the annual “face in the hole” photo (included in this post) and try to find the best deals on delicious apples. We’d also pick up everything else “apples,” from cider donuts to pies and cider.

Although we didn’t pick our own produce at the orchards and I grew up on a farm, I think it’s important to see the trees and where food comes from. It doesn’t magically appear on a grocery shelf.

We started visiting Geisler Farms in Central Iowa a couple of years ago. We love the kids’ activities, including the hay ride, and plan to go again this fall. (Also, it’s inexpensive at only $5!)

Do you have any fall traditions?


Baby registry tips

After two kidCaptures, I get asked a lot from my friends and family members advice on what to get – and what not to get – when it comes to babies. And here’s my list.

Anything you would add?


Register for/get:

  • Changing table
  • Good breast pump – Pump in Style by Medela. Insurance usually covers this.
  • Breast milk storage bags
  • Stroller
  • Rocking chair
  • Humidifier
  • Mobile
  • Car seat
  • Crib, crib sheets (3-4), waterproof pad, mattress
  • Baby carrier/wrap. We like K’tan.
  • Boppy
  • Nursing cover
  • Bibs, spoons, cups, bowls, burp cloths (6-12)
  • Play mat
  • Baby tub
  • Bottle drying rack, bottle brush
  • Bottles – several brands to see what baby likes. Don’t buy a bunch of the same kind before Baby is here. We bought all Dr Brown’s and Abigail hated them. She liked the wider nipple of the Avent we borrowed from a friend since it resembles Mom more.
  • Sound machine
  • Rock ‘n Play sleeper
  • Travel crib
  • Car sunshade, car seat toys
  • Onesies, pants, socks, hats, PJs, hats, mittens for scratching
  • Sunscreen
  • Baby monitor
  • Diaper genie for poopy diapers. Use regular trash for wet ones.
  • Highchairs – Bumbo seat and another that attaches to table. Wooden ones are bulky.
  • Bath towels, washcloths, baby shampoo/wash, fun bath toys
  • Pacifiers
  • Toys, books
  • Outlet covers, thermometer, teething toys
  • Infant clothes hangers
  • Baby gate
  • Nail clippers
  • Diapers and wipes. We like Luvs diapers and Pampers sensitive wipes.
  • Snotsucker Nosefrida
  • Footrest for nursing
  • Photo albums/frames (optional)
  • To get yourself – phone app – babyloggy $4 to track diapers, feeding, sleep, etc.

Don’t need:

  • Swing – my kids hated it and it takes up a lot of room
  • Bouncer – my kids hated it and it takes up a lot of room
  • Wipe warmer
  • PJs with snaps (ZIP only!). Snaps are rough with a screaming baby in the middle of the night to change its diaper.
  • Two piece outfits. The shirts ride up too much.
  • Crib bumper. SIDS risk.
  • Bottle sterilizer. Use boiling water in a pot.
  • Pacifier wipes – wasteful
  • Pack n Play. Use your Rock n Play.
  • Bath thermometer (hot duck)
  • Shoes – they won’t wear them
  • Expensive clothes – they will stain and won’t wear them long
  • Diaper stacker
  • Baby food processor. Use a regular food processor.
  • Dishwasher basket for bottle parts – you’ll be handwashing enough
  • Baby detergent. Use any free and clear detergent.
  • Bassinet
  • Diaper bag – use a messenger bag with just the essentials

Pregnancy: Trimester by Trimester






I have a few friends expecting babies later this year, so I decided to write down some of the tips I’ve given them along the way. It’s not all-inclusive, but what would you add?

First trimester

  • Take prenatal vitamins
  • Find clothes – try consignment or Belly Band
  • Find OB
  • Learn foods to avoid while pregnant – soft cheese, deli meat, etc.
  • Download pregnancy app, like BabyCenter
  • Get morning sickness relief – Altoids, hard candies, etc.
    Compile list of questions for your first visit
  • Find a new bra – softer, bigger size
  • Review company leave policy
  • Think about childcare. In centers, you’ll want to notify them right away when you’re pregnant to get on the waiting list.
  • You’ll be TIRED!

Second trimester

  • You will feel your best this trimester. Make it count!
  • Research and interview pediatricians. Ask friends and neighbors. You’ll need to give this information to the hospital before giving birth, as you’ll have a baby check-up just a few days after the baby arrives.
  • Start thinking about baby names
  • Start sleeping on your left side
  • Share news with family, friends and boss
  • Take baby bump photos
  • Plan baby room and gear
  • Try prenatal yoga
  • Decide if you’ll find out the gender
  • Start baby registry
  • Book childbirth class
  • Use saline spray/humidifier for congestion. You might start snoring!
  • Tackle pending home projects – get as organized as possible!
  • Research nursing bras – I liked Bravado!
  • Do any last-minute travel.

Third trimester

  • Cook and freeze meals
  • Baby proof home
  • Shop for announcements, get stamps, etc.
  • Pack hospital bags
  • Buy car seat, stroller, etc. you didn’t get at your shower
  • Prep baby kit – Tylenol, nail clippers, diaper rash cream, etc.
  • Get haircut
  • Plan for pets/other kids while in labor
  • Clean out car to make room for baby
  • Install car seat
  • Buy postpartum items – pads, etc.
  • Finish birth plan
  • Stock up on diapers
  • Wash baby clothes and bedding. Stock baby’s room.
  • Finalize baby names
  • Think about potential Godparents
  • Wrap up at work – leave notes for fill-in

Happy Summer!

Ah, summer … when the grills fire up and kids smell like sunscreen.

About a month ago, we got a new grill that hooks up to a natural gas line from our house, eliminating the need for propane and charcoal. Yahoo! Plus, with this bigger size, we’ve never grilled out this much. Our favorites so far include the typical fare like burgers and hot dogs, but we’ve also added chicken and steaks to the mix.

I’d also like to try more veggies and fruits, like peaches.

What are some of your favorite grilled foods?

Raising a Spirited Child

I’m in the middle of a library book by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka called Raising Your Spirited Child — and I’m planning on ordering the third edition out this September for future reference. A couple of friends mentioned it after I talked about Abigail’s persistence, empathy and adaptability.

Let me tell you – I was in tears by the seventh page. As my friend said, it’s all just so validating.

Basically, the book helps parents manage a spirited or spunky child with tips, phrasing and techniques. For example, spirited or spunky kids can’t just be ignored during tantrums; that’s when they need the most love. When Abigail’s friends are upset and crying, she does, too. So I talk her through it so SHE’s not so upset, too. And she needs to know what’s coming next; no big surprises. Which is why we sometimes have to remind family and friends that she takes a little time warming up when she transitions.

In addition to the short quiz I took on Abigail’s spirit, I took a similar quiz. I can be easily distracted (I REALLY need to empty that dishwasher!), so the quiz told me I’m spunky, just below spirited. Which means Abigail and I can clash on persistence, so sometimes I give in when we have a little more extra time so she can play before putting on her shoes.

As I mentioned, I’m only halfway through the book (probably distracted by wanting to sleep or the baby kicking), but it’s already been very eye-opening and helpful. I’d recommend it to anyone who thinks they might have a spirited or spunky child.

Here’s the CliffsNotes version of the book. (Are those still around? Better look THAT up NOW!)