Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ROUND 2: Wish Us Luck...It's Vaccination Day

Here was the result...

So sad, right???

And guess what today is?

You guessed it...ROUND 2...

The good thing is that we'll also get to find out how much she's grown over the last two months - stay tuned!

The Panda Report: 4 Months

At 4 months, Abigail is sporting one extremely sharp tooth, she's "talking" and laughing up a storm, she's sleeping through the night consistently, and she's drinking out of adult glasses...

Well, the last part is just a joke but let's just say our little newborn is growing up and enriching our lives like we never thought possible.  

Here are a few pictures from her 4 Month photo shoot.

And this little one had quite the day...she attended her very first Giants game (well, unless the ones she attended in my belly count).  The game went into extra innings (ended in the bottom of the 11th), the Giants won, Abby was awake for almost the entire event, and we're pretty sure she had a great time with Mommy and Daddy...

I'm sure it'll be a day she will always remember (well, I actually doubt it, but at least we have pictures to remind her!).
Take a look back at previous Panda Reports:

(UPDATE) Bye Bye, Blogger!

Well, I'm sad to say that the transition to WordPress is going to take MUCH longer than I originally thought.  

Silly me for thinking it was going to be easy...

Silly me for thinking Abigail was going to assist me throughout the process (by taking long naps and maybe even formatting a few of my posts)...something like this...

Silly me for failing to remember that I only have so many "free" minutes in a day and that blogging is rarely priority #1...

Man oh man.  It could take YEARS!!!  (haha, that may be a bit of an exaggeration)

Oh well...as I continue to navigate my way around WordPress, I still have some updates for you.

Stay tuned!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bye Bye, Blogger!

Borrowing a few famous words from Mr. LeBron James himself, I wanted you all to know that I will be "taking my talents" to WordPress...

Blogger has disappointed me time and time again.  

From going down regularly enough for it to be annoying, to losing a few of my posts, to making it difficult for my friends, family and followers to comment...I've officially had it!

As I make the transition, please be patient with me...I'm not totally sure how long it will take (especially considering the fact that I have about 2 hours in an entire day of 'Mommy Time'), but I'm hoping the transition will be completed before Abigail can crawl...

How's that for a deadline? Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Teething and Breastfeeding (OUCH!)

Abigail's new nickname?


And guess what?  Sharkie just BIT me!  

This is her laughing at Mommy after taking her first bite...what a sweetheart...

You see, Abby cut her first tooth at the EXTREMELY young age of 3.5 months.  And while I thought it was pretty cool at first ("She's SO advanced!!!"), now I'm not so sure.  After experiencing Sharkie's first CHOMP I think it's safe to say that I'm officially frightened...

These are not teeth.  These are mini serrated knives.  

Doesn't she know she's supposed to save the teething for Sophie?   Oh, right...she's a baby and doesn't know the difference.

And while a few nibbles won't stop me from breastfeeding (as my goal is to continue for 6 months to a year), a few more severe chomps from Sharkie might have me covered in band-aids and tears...

But I can do it...if I could survive the first few weeks of breastfeeding which were by far the most difficult, I can most definitely survive Sharkie.  

Let's just hope the next teeth take a little longer to cut through...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

MAQs: Where Did You Buy Maternity Clothes?

Last week, I tackled a soon-to-be/new-Mommy question {Read HERE}.

This week I'm going to tackle a question frequently asked by pregnant friends.  It's a question I think all newly pregnant women ask their  previously pregnant friends, so I'm hoping my answer will be at least somewhat helpful!  

Where did you buy maternity clothes?

Ohhhh, maternity clothes...I feel like women are either super excited about shopping for them or they're absolutely dreading the experience.  For me personally, I was excited (I wouldn't say super, but I was definitely not dreading it)...I just saw it as an opportunity to expand my relatively pathetic wardrobe.  

Let me put it this way...to this day, Travis still tells me my maternity wardrobe was better than my "normal" wardrobe (think: black yoga pants and a black North Face 90% of the time).  

That being said, I must have done something right when I purchased my maternity clothes.  

Here are my thoughts on the experience:

Yes, even those of you who fall into the category of "super excited."  I highly recommend waiting to go shopping for maternity clothes until you're at least 5 months along...either that, or wait until you're showing (which for some could be before or after the 5 month mark).  You won't really know how your body will change until it actually changes...avoid the return line by being patient...and while you're working on your patience, invest in some Belly Bands...which brings me to my next tip...

2. Buy a Belly Band
What's a Belly Band?  Well, it's a life (and a money) saver. 

Back when I was about 27 weeks along, I wrote my Top 10 Tips for Pregnancy & (Impending) Parenthood and #1 on my list was a Belly Band.  I said it before and I'll say it again, You’ll never know how amazing an elastic tube around your belly feels until you’ve purchased a Belly Band.  I’d buy one or two of these right away because you never know when that magical day will arrive…that magical day being the one where you can no longer button your pants (or zip your zipper for that matter).

I found my Belly Band at Target, but I've seen them pretty much anywhere you can purchase Maternity clothes.

3. Plan Ahead
When the magical day I mentioned above actually arrives, I think it's about time to find some maternity clothes.  And before you head out, I recommend taking some time to evaluate your day-to-day life.  What will you really need?  What's your dress code at work?  What can you "make work" in your current wardrobe?  

The reason I think this step is so crucial is because you're only pregnant for 40 weeks (give or take a few)...in the grand scheme of things, that's not a long time.  You don't want to go spending a ton of money on items you're not going to use regularly (unless you have an unlimited budget, of course...but something tells me the majority of new moms don't have unlimited budgets!).

Another good question to ask yourself is: Are we planning on having more than one baby?  I know not everyone knows the answer to this question, but for me personally, knowing that we plan on  having more than one baby means my maternity clothes will resurface someday (they're currently in a bag in my closet waiting patiently for bump #2).  Knowing that, I was able to justify purchasing a few "nicer" items for special occasions.

Planning ahead allowed me to go shopping without feeling overwhelmed and without making ridiculous purchases.

4. Save on Staples
Two stores where I found some essential wardrobe staples were Motherhood Maternity and Gap (mainly online for the latter).  Motherhood Maternity was the first place I went shopping and it's where I purchased the majority of my layering tops, my skinny jeans (Heidi Klum's brand), my black leggings (comfiest things EVER when you're pregnant), and a few other staples.  Their prices were right, their clothes fit me well, and they lasted throughout my entire pregnancy (oh, and I still wear them from time to time even though I no longer have a bump).  

One of my Motherhood Maternity Outfits

In my opinion, if you're looking to buy a variety of items without spending a lot, these are two great places to check out!

5. Spend on Special Occasions
Every once in a while, it's nice to treat yourself to something special.

Toward the end of my pregnancy, I got a little antsy...I was ready for Abigail to arrive, I was sick of wearing the same outfits over and over again, and I knew we had a Maternity Photo Shoot coming up.  I HAD to find something new...

When I finally reached my breaking point (which you know isn't hard to do when you're pregnant), Travis basically forced me to go to Mom's The Word in San Francisco and I'm SO glad he did.  We had the best experience...the sales associates were super nice and helpful, the clothes were comfy and fashionable, and we walked out of there with a few new outfits and an amazing dress for our photo shoot.  The result?

And while the clothes at Mom's the Word were definitely more expensive than at the other stores, they were worth every single penny.  They're high quality, they're classics, and they'll be ready to come out and play next time!

Bottom Line
When it's time to go shopping for maternity clothes, try to make it an enjoyable and memorable experience...it's definitely not your average shopping trip.  

Find items that make you feel sexy, comfortable, and confident because that's how pregnant women should feel.  Take your best friend, your Mom, your Husband, or just your bump...but be sure to take your patience because clothes will be fitting you in a way that they never have before.  :)  Happy shopping!!!

What Else?!?
Friends, Family & Followers...where did you find your favorite maternity clothes?  Any tips or tricks you'd like to add or share?

Read more MAQs {HERE}

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 29: a Person I Love

This guy.

And as much as I want to insert hundreds of hilarious pictures and stories of him and how he enriches my life, I'll keep this short...

I simply love him.  

He's the best (and in case I ever forget, he'll be sure to remind me).  :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 28: a Place I Love

I love this place...

New York City...there's just something about it.  I absolutely LOVE it.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Someone in our family is balding and it's not the man of the house (way to point and laugh, Daddy).

Our little pumpkin pie is going for a new look: Bald is Beautiful (either that, or she's going for a modified mullet)

And she's working hard for it.  Every night when we put her down, she puts herself to sleep by twisting her head from side to side (hence the reason she's balding in one main area and a little rat's tail is left behind).  I think she's trying to tell us something...maybe that she wants to be a little blondie like her Daddy...

Or maybe light brown like her Mommy...

Heck, I don't care if it grows back purple...all I know is that I want it to grow back soon because I can hardly wait to give her pigtails (plus, I think the pigtails will help with the confusion as to whether she's a boy or a girl when I have her in full Giants gear...)!

What do you guys think?  

Will Abby have blond hair?  Brown hair?  Red hair? No hair?  Mullet hair? 

I suppose time will tell...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Little Laughter is the Best Laughter

Just like little toes, little fingers, little hiccups, little sneezes, and little smiles, little laughter is by far the best kind of laughter there is...

If you feel like smiling today, take a minute and watch this video.

Have a wonderful day!

(UPDATE) Abigail's (Ever Expanding) Library

Way back in February (and in new Mommy mode, that was FOREVER ago), I wrote about Abigail's Library.  At the time, she was only a month old and was solely focused on eating, pooping, sleeping and screaming at me, so I can't say we got a whole lot of quality reading time in (lazy baby!!!).

Don't you worry though...she's become quite the bookworm at the mature age of four months minus ten days.

On a typical day, she enjoys reading her fabric book to Sophie (as she wouldn't want to give her a paper cut).

Then, around mid-day, she'll request one of her favorite stories (typically involving a very lopsided picture to text ratio) out of The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury.

And every night, before she heads to bed for her 8-9 hours of beauty rest, she reads Good Night San Francisco with her Daddy...the perfect way to end the day. 

At this rate, I'm pretty sure it won't be long until she starts requesting the classics...I'll keep you posted.

Just remember, they're NEVER too young to start reading!!!

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 27: a Child I Love

Wow...this one's going to take a little extra brainstorming. 

A Child I Love...hmmmmmm... 

Oh, I know! I love this one. :)  My cute little Giants fan.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 26: a Funny (True) Story

I'm absolutely determined to complete this 30 Day Blog Challenge that's been 5 months in the making...so like Day 24, I'm going to cheat on this one as well. 

The thing is, I'm not exactly funny.  My brother has actually counted the number of times I've said something truly funny and let's just say we're still in the single digits. 

Anyway...I'm also not a big storyteller.

But I want to get to Day 27 in this challenge, so I'm going to recycle a story that I found quite humorous at the time.  And someday when Abigail is old enough to appreciate it, I'm pretty sure she'll get a chuckle out of it as well. 

That being said, please enjoy {BREAKING NEWS: Is Abby Really a BOY?!?} - I know you all know the final result here, but it's still hilarious to me that we even dealt with this in the first place.

Oh, and when I saw my doctor after Abigail was born, she informed me that she'd NEVER had this happen to a patient before...in a strange way, it made me feel quite special.

MAQs: How did the Snap N Go Work as a Travel Stroller?

Thanks to Megan B.B. over at The Memoirs of Megan, we officially have our first MAQ (or I should say soon-to-be-MAQ because Megan is currently pregnant with her first little one!).  So here goes nothing...

How Did the Snap N Go Work as a Travel Stroller? 

As many of you know, I was a little nervous about traveling with a 3 month old.  It wasn't because I didn't think we could do it, it was simply because I'd never done it before and I didn't know what to expect (I call this "new Mommy fear of the unknown syndrome").  

In planning for the trip, I took into account all the activities we had in store and I knew we'd be walking...a LOT.  That basically meant one thing: we needed to bring a stroller.  And as much as I LOVE my BOB for our daily hour and a half long walks around San Francisco, I knew it would be a pain in the rear end to navigate (not to mention carry and fold up) such a massive stroller around the airport and in new cities.

Enter: a lightweight stroller...

After chatting with some experienced parents and observing smaller strollers in some frequently visited Mommy destinations (I know this is a stereotype, but think the grocery store and coffee shop), I decided to take my 20% off coupon to Babies'R'Us and purchase the Baby Trend Snap N Go stroller.

It was the best $60 I spent in a LONG time.  Well, I'm lying...I'm typically not the type to purchase warranties, but I spent $8.99 on a warranty for the Snap N Go.  It covers the stroller for 18 months and even protects against airport wear and tear (since many people mentioned how their strollers were DESTROYED by airport employees).  So I guess you could say it was the best $70 I spent in a LONG time.  

While the ride isn't nearly as smooth as the BOB, the Snap N Go is a fantastic lightweight travel stroller for the following reasons:

1. It weighs nothing...well, it's 12 pounds but compared to my BOB (and compared to Abigail), it's light as a feather.

2. It folds up easily...I was able to hold Abigail in one arm and fold the stroller up with the other.  It's that easy.  

3. It's small...so not only is it light, but it's easy to navigate in crowded places (think the airport where it's very easily to feel stressed and overwhelmed with a baby, a stroller, and everything else you're carrying).

4. It has a cup console...this may seem ridiculous, but having two cup holders is the best - even if it's Sophie who's getting a ride in one of them.

5. It's compatible with many car seat brands...it worked perfectly for Abby's Graco car seat, but it's compatible with a wide variety of brands (Baby Trend, Graco, Evenflo, Britax, Peg Perego, Chicco, Combi).

6. The price is right...as I mentioned before, it was one the best baby purchases we've made...it was worth every penny and it can be reused for baby #2 whenever Abigail grows out of her car seat. 

Bottom Line
If  you're in search of a lightweight stroller and/or if you're in search of a travel stroller, I would highly recommend the Snap N Go.  It truly made our back to back cross country trips a Snap...read more about our adventure {HERE}.

What Else?!?
Friends, Family & Followers...are there other travel strollers you'd recommend? Lightweight strollers you love?  We'd love to hear about them! 

Read more MAQs {HERE}

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MAQs: Mommy Asked Questions

Friends, Family & Followers:

Let me preface this by saying that I am by no means an expert when it comes to pregnancy and/or motherhood.

Now that I've made that clear as day, I'd like to announce that I'm going to start a new "Label" on my blog that's dedicated to MAQs.

What are MAQs?

Well, they're similar to FAQs but instead of Frequently Asked Questions, they're Mommy Asked Questions.


Well, because I've had many friends ask me loads of questions about many topics...everything from fitness to pregnancy cravings to traveling with an infant.

I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that amongst my friends, I'm one of the first to be going through many of these new life events and experiences.  You could consider me the guinea pig of the group and I just so happen to be a guinea pig who's more than happy to share my stories of both epic failure and triumphant success as I figure out this new adventure called Motherhood.

And as my friends, family and followers ask me questions that I think might be helpful for many Mommies or soon-to-be Mommies or someday Mommies, I'll include them here...in the MAQs section of 7x7xMommy.  

That way, we can start a discussion...I'll post the question, include my personal opinion (which will not always be a popular one), and then open it up to anyone else who might like to add their own opinion from their experiences.  Additionally, if you have any questions you'd like to ask, let me know and I'll get it on the blog.

Bottom line:  We have unique experiences, diverse backgrounds, and we can all learn from each other. If you have any questions, leave me a comment and let me know! 

Meet Sophie: Teether, Toy, Miracle Worker

Let me begin with a little conversation I had with a friend when Abigail joined the world.

Friend:  Does Abby have Sophie yet?
Me:  Who's Sophie?
Friend:  Oh, you'll see...

Now let me fast forward to last week when Abigail's first tooth joined the world.

Me to Abigail: I think it's about time we find you a teething toy...let's walk down to Giggle and see if they have anything interesting (yes, I have full on conversations with my three and a half month old).

Abigail: Drool...(and yes, I consider this a response worthy of a quote)

So that very day, we strolled down to Chestnut Street, walked into Giggle, and there she was in all her glory...Sophie The Giraffe (or more accurately, Sophie la Girafe - the box said she was "Born in Paris" - read Sophie's story HERE).

It was almost as if she had a light shining down on her and some magnetic force drawing me toward her...

I finally "met" the infamous Sophie...and her marketing team.  Check out everything Sophie is capable of...

At the age of 3 months, a baby’s eyesight is still limited and he can only make out high contrasts. The Dark and contrasting attention-catching spots all over Sophie the Giraffe’s body provide visual stimulation and she soon becomes a familiar and reassuring object for baby.

Sophie the Giraffe's squeaker keeps baby amused and stimulates his hearing. To begin with, the funny sound Sophie makes when she is squeezed helps to stimulate baby’s hearing, and then later, helps him to understand the link between cause and effect.

A Sophie the Giraffe is made of 100% natural rubber and food paint, and is completely safe to chew, just like a feeding bottle teat. Her soft texture and numerous chewable parts (ears, horns, legs), make her perfect for soothing baby’s sore gums during teething.

Touch is the first means a baby has of communicating with the outside world. Sophie the Giraffe’s soft feel, like baby’s mother’s skin, stimulates physiological and emotional response that soothe baby and promote healthy growth and well-being..

The singular scent of natural rubber from the Hevea tree makes Sophie the Giraffe very special and easy for your child to identify amid all his other toys.

Sophie the Giraffe’s shape and 18 cm (7 inches) size are perfect for baby’s small hands. She is very light, and her long legs and neck are easy for baby to grip, even from his earliest days.

I'm still a little disappointed Sophie doesn't change diapers...

After reading all about her, I justified her seemingly ridiculous price tag and practically ran home to unwrap her and introduce her to Abigail (I suppose you could say I was more excited to meet her than Abby was, but that's beside the point).

The two seemed to have an instant connection...

I think this could be the beginning of a long friendship...I'll keep you posted on their bond and on whether or not Sophie actually helps with Abigail's time of teething. 

Fingers crossed Sophie turns out to be the Miracle Worker both her marketing team and my friends claim she is (not to mention strangers at the airport - I swear everyone knows Sophie)...we have some high expectations!

But since she's still brand new to the family, we're being as warm and welcoming as possible...after all, she could very well be Abigail's new best friend (after me, of course).

Anyone else have any Sophie stories?  I'd love to hear them!