Every tree limb overhead seems to sit and wait, while every step you take becomes a twist of fate.
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road...

If you are new to our adoption blog please take a moment to scroll down to the archives at the bottom of this page and start with July 2009 post "Watershed."


Product Advice Please!!

Mom and I are braving the crowds post-Thanksgiving to actually visit the baby/toddler products in person. If you remember, it took me hours to register for just a handful of "stuff" online with T*arget. And really, I just don't know if I need a blow up travel highchair seat afterall. J keeps ridiculing me for that and the xylaphone toy. :(

So a date has been set to visit those giant baby warehouse places and poke and prod products until we are screaming for a nice tall glass of formula to take the pain away. Or wine.

I want to register because I learned the hard way what not registering gets you.
As soon as we announced our engagement 11 years ago this week the strange gifts started rolling in. Clocks that chirped like a different bird every hour. An enormous glass plate painted with big red hearts. A pastel portrait of us - life size.

Since Christmas and my b-day are almost here AND I just know the referral is coming in time for those great events, I decided to be prepared with a gift registry. You know, it's casual...I'm cool...whenver it all happens is fine...whatever. Just in case... ;)

I am taking mom to avoid J brain melt which looks something like this:

Open scene:
J and I enter B.abies R. U.s at 1pm (we do do this once in awhile to buy gifts for others.)

Me: oohh, ahh, where should we start??

J: I don't know. Baby stuff? (Looking around very suspiciously.)

Me: But which first? Safety? Toddler toys? CLOTHES? or should we test strollers?

J: Why are we here again?

Me: Ok, here is the registry. Let's get focused. Let's find burp clothes and receiving blankets!!

J: What are the use of these things? What a waste of money. No, I do not think they need special cloth squares to catch baby puke. Why don't they just cut up old shirts they don't use?

Me: Dropped jaw. We are SO far apart on understanding. Let's move on to pacifiers. How about the nuks (insert J question: what is a NUKE?)

Scene 2
I am absorbed in examining tiny baby hooded sweatshirts. J is nowhere to be found.

Conversation at 1:2opm

J: We have been in here FOREVER.

Me: We've been in here for 20 minutes. Let's at least plan for another 20. Hey, lets go look at cribs.

At this point J is done speaking. Eyes are glazed over and if we go anywhere near the crib section he ends up magnetized by the rocker gliders. And it is over. Close scene. I find baby gift and practically carry his comatose body from the store. It takes a long nap and several hours for him to recover.

Sooooo...needless to say we have never opened a stroller, poked around at a car seat, examined a diaper bag, or compared product design of a sippy cup.

Mom and I will attempt to pre-shop and register this week. I hope she holds up better than J does! Whether we receive registry gifts or not it will help me narrow down an exact list of what we need so if I take J back to buy anything I will be able to point out each item with reasoning for why we need it.

Can you please leave me a comment with your favorite baby product and specific style/manufacturer? I think we'll do both baby and toddler stuff - leaning more towards the middle age range of 12 months old.

Thank you!!!!



  1. We just got Kiya the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Music table. It has English/Spanish and does songs, numbers, abc's and more.

    We also got her the Fisher Price Ride Along/Walker that looks like a Lion. It goes from walker to sit down riding toy.

    For strollers, we love our UppaBaby G-luxe stroller. We did have to get that online.

    Bumbo seats for younger babies are AWESOME. It was the place we first started to feed Kiya and now I can still use it when I comb her hair though at 12 months she is getting a tad big for it.

    Kiya loves balls so we bought her a soccer ball.

    Melissa and Doug toys are hit as well. Oh and any and all Sandra Boyton books. We love the Belly Button book, barnyard dance, etc.

    Have fun!

  2. obviously I have never registered for baby stuff either but for a sippy cup I recommend klean kanteen. Shawna has them for her kids. I have an adult-sized one. :) they come in cute colors and are BPA free.

  3. Amanda, I did alot of research on Amazon first. Read the reviews etc. I registered there too- which is cool cause you can registering universally across the net--- but--- people don't look at it online apearently.... They want to go to the store and pick it up.

    Find a stroller that has the handles that adjust according to your height.

  4. I'm sorry I can't offer any advice. I'm in the same place as you so I'll be stalking your comments to gain the same advice. I just had to tell you that your post made me laugh out loud... it sounded way too familiar. When I decide to brave Babies R Us, I'll be taking my Mom with me too. :)

  5. Definately agree about the stroller and adjustable handles. Very Handy! Also, make sure you can open and close it easily as I've had to do this sometimes one-handed. Love the Britax car seats, they are our favorite! But you definately need to add more things, can't wait to see what you find!!

  6. Sandra Boynton books - definitely agree! They are fun, silly, short, durable(board books) and easy to take along. I haven't found one I didn't like. Sandra Boynton also has some (4?) Hard cover books with CD's. She's had celebrities sing songs from her books and more. Our favs are Dog Train and Philidelpia Chickens.

    Adjustable handles on strollers... I wish I had one! Opening and closing easily is also a big plus. A friend of mine decided to brave the mall to get out of the house with her new child... only to struggle getting the stroller open and give up and go home. She couldn't get the stroller to open. Grr...

    Toys -- Luke and I tried to enforce a rule about toys that make noise... They must have and on/off button. If they don't, they may go off at any breeze blowing by... when child is napping, in the middle of the night, and many other inappropriate times. It saves on batteries, too, when you can power them off. I like Melissa and Doug stuff, too. Fischer Price has lots of good stuff for babies and toddlers.

    Sippy cups -- there is no perfect sippy cup, that I have found anyway. All of them have the potential for leaking. Change in temperature causes them to drip from one crevice or another. Playtex seems to have worked the best over the years we have used them.

    It would be so fun to be closer -- then maybe you would have let me shop with you and your mom. I would have loved to help!

    Oh, and I think J will come around quickly when #3 comes along. There will be no pieces of old shirts for THIS proud DADDY!

    Love ya!

  7. Boring, boring, boring, but I was SHOCKED by how many blankets we have needed. Some to keep them warm, some to protect the sofa... Make sure you've got at least 10!

    Oh, and we really like Avent bottles. I became obsesed by baby bottles because we didn't have enough in Addis and after trying a few I think the Avent are good - and now BPA free, woo hoo!

  8. Ergo!!! I still use this with Noah (my 4 year old) and Myra mostly lives in hers.

    Cozy, big rocking chair like the ones at pottery barn kids. This is a MUST...don't settle for a cheap one b/c you will use this until your kids leave for college.

    G Diapers - best product on the market hands down!! Cannot say enough good things about these diapers.

    Things I don't think you need until you get home and meet her personality -
    Stroller....we did not use it b/c Noah & Myra needed to be held. Attach first! Even now I just borrow a stroller if we are doing something like a long day at the zoo.
    Pacifiers...she might not want one and then you just wasted a ton of money
    Bottles ... your going to need to try different types so buy a few for the trip and then practice when you get home.
    Infant Car Seat...they grow too fast and you end up using it for only a few months. Get a convertable seat that can be rear facing and has a weight limit up to 65 lbs. Britax is costly but totally worth it!!!

  9. So many things to consider...
    - a carrier. Ergo is great for infants and toddler. You'll enjoy walking
    with baby and dogs. Important that J helps to choose the carrier. I am sure he'll use it a lot. For me, it's a must.
    - we have maclaren strollers. Important that they are light.
    - also recommend Britax car seat. Convertibles are better.
    - Pablo loves all musical instruments.
    - we are big fans of puzzles. Wooden. Get a
    few and if she likes them, could buy more.
    - bouncy seat, exersaucer or something where you can leave her for
    a bit and will allow you to do something. There are so many different ones ... I borrow them from a friend and now Camilo is enjoying them.
    - putumayo's music for kids. The African one is nice.
    - no DVDs. Personally don't like them and believer of no tv for babies.
    - also like Melissa and Doug
    - my personal opinion on pacifiers: if you can, avoid them...
    - call me anytime if need more ideas

  10. Ah, I already have in mind the colombian present for my future beautiful niece!

  11. Amanda,
    Previously a lurker but now I will post! I dont have kids either, but I nannied the sweetest baby girl for two years so I do have some infant/toddler experience. So here is my list of things that I couldnt live without!

    -a swing that rocks both back and forth and side to side (like a cradle) I think they are called Papasan (?) I know you might get an older baby, so check weight limits. But every kid Ive known instantly falls asleep when put in and set to cradle rock!

    - a ball blaster (for toddler mainly, but i think they are okay for kids as long as they can sit up) Its a toy that the balls shoot out and roll down a ramp and then through the toy and back out the top. It mesmerizes kids for a very long time! And they still love it when they are 2+ so it lasts

    -i 2nd or 3rd the stroller thats easy to open with adjustable handles

    -a carrier/sling/wrap that snuggles baby close.

    -a sippy cup with a handles

    -a high chair tether, for when they get in the "im gonna throw this down, and you are gonna pick it up" phase

    - i dont recommend baby einstein videos or a bouncer. baby einstein doesnt really help and the bouncers can be bad for baby's leg and hip development

    cant wait to see what you pick!

  12. Mari was 9 months old when I brought her home. The only stroller I ever used was a $15 umbrella stroller...we still have it two years later and we love it. The strap/tether for the highchair is great - we used it mostly for shopping carts, things were always falling out of shopping carts. It works for toys too. I'm new to your blog, so don't know your plans...if you are doing daycare, you will want to have something to personalize your child's bottles/sippys - check out inchbug.com for some GREAT gifts (you can find the strap/tether thing for the highchair there). Also look for snacktraps (I think ToysRUs has them now) - greatest invention EVER!

    I will disagree with one comment above about the bouncer....my daughter had NO muscle tone in her legs when I brought her home (Ricketts and lack of any real exercise). She did not even have that "stand-up" reflex that infants get very early on. We had a Fisher Price Jumperoo and it worked miracles with her muscle tone...our pediatrician actually had us doing regular workouts in it, encouraging Mari to bounce as much as possible.

    The two things I used the most...#1 was an inflatable bathtub. It sits right down in the regular tub (or you can take it with you on trips), has a drain for emptying, has suction cups to hang it up to dry at night. We LOVED ours...Mari was sitting up when we arrived home so this was a nice contained play area for her. Doesn't use as much water as the big tub, etc. We also ended up using is for a little baby pool in the summer!

    The other important thing is a booster seat - one of those ones that looks like a highchair but just sits on a regular chair. I actually got two as shower gifts so I left one at my parents house. They are great because you can use them with the tray or just pull the child up to the table. You can take if off the chair and use it on the floor. They travel really well and you can grab and go with them. One of the ones I had actually reclined too, so my younger niece could use it when she came to my house. Wonderful invention! Made me wish I had not invested in a full highchair.

    Good luck shopping! When I registered at ToysRUs, I was requesting a girl under 2 years old....horribly huge age range to register for but it was fun! Don't be afraid to scan everything - you can go back later online and tweak it (and read reviews for the products you chose).

  13. Amanda,

    Katie N. passed on your blog. I'm another AAI waiting mama - we are #2 on the "list" right now for an infant boy - and I'm hoping and praying for a pre-birthday (12/28) referral, too. I have three kids - ages 6, 4, and 2. Here are my suggestions:

    1) board books: A Mother for Choco is a must, as well as traditional rhyming Dr. Seuss

    2) Robeez shoes: the only infant/toddler shoes that actually stay on

    3) short-sleeve undershirt onesies: otherwise bellies and diapers hang out when you lift babe up!

    4) a mirror for the car: baby will sit rear-facing until 1 year AND 20 pounds. A mirror that hangs on the actual seat of the car gives him/her someone to look at!

    5) hooded bath towels

    6) a tube tent: my kids have loved crawling through these things since they were 10 mos --and still play "fort" with them now...

    7) musical instruments.

    8) I LOVE Jellycat stuffed animals. My youngest has the dog, and we already ordered the lion for our new babe.

    Maybe we'll travel at the same time!! I'll keep checking your blog and the AAI list for updates. My blog is besafish.blogspot.com.

    DTE 3/9/09

  14. I love Adiri bottles, but I heard that the company is going out of business, so you might want to buy a bunch right away if it looks like something you're interested in (these were the only bottles my daughter would take when I was trying to switch her from the breast to bottles). Here's a link to a place you can still buy them:


    I also agree with the other poster that ErgoBaby carriers are great. I have a million suggestions, but Adiri bottles are the most urgent thing I could think to tell you about since they may not be available much longer. Good luck with registering!


About Me

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J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.