Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First Years Talk & Soothe Monitor

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I know Eleanor is still little (2 months), but I want to get into more of a routine with her at bedtime.  Usually she stays out in the living room with us, and either I go to bed first and Rob will bring her in when he goes to bed, or I stay up and she comes to bed with me (she sleeps in our room; not our bed).  Often times it's not until 11 pm and while she does snooze in her bouncer or with one of us holding her, I don't want her to get into the habit of a late bedtime.

But I also want to be able to see her and hear her, so when I was given the opportunity to try out the First Years Talk Soothe Monitor I wanted to see how it would work.  In the next month or so I'm hoping I can transition her to her crib.  Not because I want to, but she's getting to tall for her rock n play.

We have a monitor, and we do like it for the most part, but lately it's been having problems.  The sound wouldn't work at all, and when we had a ice storm around Christmas the internet went out for a few days.  The camera runs though wifi and is viewed on a iPhone/iPad app and with no internet it doesn't work. It was a feature I loved on it because it could be viewed from anywhere, but now I don't so much.  I'm a first time mom and need to see my baby, so the First Years Monitor arrived at a perfect time.

It was so easy to set up, and while I glanced through the manual I wouldn't have needed to.  I plugged in the monitor and the parent unit (the handheld part) after putting in the rechargeable battery pack that is included.   I let it charge for a little while and then took it off to play around with it.

The image is upside down but has a clip for clothes or the middle part
 of the clip actually pulls out and becomes a stand

She fell asleep during tummy time, and I let her sleep there for just a few
minutes while I switched some laundry and put away dishes, all the
while constantly peeking at her.

All that you need to do is to turn on both the monitor and the parent unit, adjust the camera to make sure you can see the baby and it's all set.

On the base of the monitor there is also a night light (which can be turned on remotely).  Eleanor likes to look at this.  You can also turn on lullabies through the parent unit to play through the monitor as well.

You can zoom in and out or direct the monitor to different directions.   One feature that I can see us having a love/hate relationship is the talk back feature.  It's either going to soothe her or distract her and make her angry.

I do like how when it detects sound the lights above the parent unit turn red (seen in the video below; I didn't let my baby cry after shooting the clip, promise!). There have been a few nights Rob and I have stayed up watching tv and I've turned the sound down low.

This monitor is easy to move around from room to room.  During the day it's in her room when she naps, and at night when she goes to bed in our room I set it up before I go to bed so I can watch her.

I am really liking this monitor and have started to use it more than the one we already owned. I love the portability of it, and the image quality is pretty good.  I can see this one coming in handy if Eleanor was somewhere else (such as a grandparents) and needed to sleep. 

Downside:  The lullabies start to drive me crazy after a few minutes on repeat, and I wish the monitor had a battery pack option (for instances such as when the power goes out.)

You can purchase the Talk & Soothe Monitor at Target for $100

Target, The First Years & Snapfish are having a special promotion through January 31 2014 as well.  If you purchase the monitor I reviewed, the crisp and clear double or single audio monitor you will receive a free photo book as well as discounts from Snapfish.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Eleanor Update: Week 12

I write my updates throughout the week so I know what I want to say, but this week was kind of busy so I didn't get to it, and now I don't remember what I wanted to say.

Breastfeeding:  Another mostly good week here.  I was a little nervous about how the holidays were going to be, but I survived nursing around other people.  I really wish I could do away with the cover, because it's hard to get her latched and positioned, but I can't do it discretely.  If it is just girls or women I don't care, but around guys I'd rather not.  It's not because I think it's going to be a sexual thing, but it's more because I know Rob isn't comfortable with it.  When she get's bigger hopefully she will let me keep her covered although from what I've heard about other older babies the fight it. 

I had a dream (or I suppose a nightmare) that Rob took all my frozen pumped milk and made bottles out of them.  I was so mad because frozen milk that has been thawed has to be used within 24 hours and there were enough bottles for days.  They were stacked and packed in the fridge.  And in my dream I was convinced he did it on purpose-although I wouldn't have a clue why.

So when I woke up and told him about it, I said 'never ever ever do that for real'

But honestly sometimes I feel like I need one of those signs that they have in workplaces that say 'It's been this many days since an injury/accident/incident.'  Mine would say clogged duct or latching pain etc....

She was pretty consistent about being awake 2 hours and then getting tired, and then she decided her limit was an hour and half.  Since I'm really trying to be more consistent about napping in her crib with a sleep sack (since it seems to work well usually) it's making it tough to be gone for long periods of time.

When she does nap she's all over the board.  Some days I can get her to sleep 2 hours (she stirs, but will go back to sleep) and some days it's 20 minutes and she's up and wide awake.

This means I don't nap and I'm only getting about 5 hours of sleep a night.  

Miscellaneous: This girl was a hot mess on Christmas.  Full on over tired over stimulated meltdown.  I have NEVER heard her cry like she did.  We got her home and after a loooong nap she was her happy self.

The Christmas pictures are repeats from the weekly wrap up (which I wrote for the first time in almost 2 months!), but in case you missed that I'll share a few again.

First Christmas gift!
Getting some love from Nana!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up 12-28

I'm not sure when the last time I did one of these was.  Since basically the only thing I do is take care of Eleanor (which I know is work) she's my life and I update on her weekly anyway so I don't have much else to add here.

1) I'm trying to get back into the whole contest entering thing.  I won a dress shirt onesie thing that my nephew got for Christmas, and I got a few prizes that I won around the time Eleanor was born.  They included a money game for preschoolers and a baby care package.

2) I'm ready to get serious about finding a job.  It's the last thing I want to do, but I hate hate hate that I'm not financially contributing.  I hated it the whole time, but now that she's 12 weeks, it just isn't working out for me not to work.   I'd love to be able to find something part time that I can still have her with me (such as child care or a work at home job).

3) The weather here has me dealing with major cabin fever.  It's been constantly snowy and icy and I wouldn't go out if it was just myself, so I'm even less likely to take my little baby girl out.  My short little mini trips to the grocery store, a mile away when Rob get's home is what's keeping me sane.
So basically I don't want to leave, but if I didn't make at list a short trip out, I'd get super stir crazy.

4) I love Christmas and love the decorations, but I'm actually thinking about taking them down this weekend.  The tree is taking up room that I want back, and with nothing under it anymore it looks kind of sad.

So Christmas didn't go at all like I thought it would. On Christmas Eve we gave her her first gift, a pair of jammies, because I want to start that tradition. Eleanor did good at Rob's cousin until she needed a diaper change and was tired.  She was passed around and was doing good.  We ended up skipping my mom's extended family, for the second year in a row.  I was bummed but it just wound up overlapping our get together with his mom and sister. Again she was pretty happy unless her diaper was wet.  She slept six hours that night.  Her longest stretch ever!

How adorable is my niece?!?
Christmas morning she was happy! We opened gifts.  We kept it small because we just don't  have the budget this year.  Then we headed over to my sisters where she turned into a hot mess.  She cried and screamed and wouldn't sleep and the only thing that calmed her was nursing so I spent quite a bit of time doing that and just snuggling with her.  I didn't dare set her down or pass her off.  It was a little stressful and I never got a family picture like I had wanted.  

We finally left and got home and she was okay.  Then she napped for a few hours and nursed for a while and was happy when Rob's dad and sister showed up

I'm pretty sure she was just so overly tired and over stimulated, but it wasn't the first Christmas I had planned for her.

5) At the beginning of the week our power went out.  I was actually up at 3:00 am when it went out using the bathroom and then Eleanor wanted to nurse so I nursed her by flashlight.  I usually play on my phone to stay awake, but didn't want to drain the battery so it was boring.  Then the power came back on around 6:30 and went back off for a few hours in the afternoon, but we were pretty lucky that was all.  Some people were without for days and with super cold temps plus Christmas it would have been stressful.   The internet was down for a few days and I was going crazy.  I need the internet!

I was bored and was having a selfie session with Rob.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


A few weeks ago I was nursing Eleanor and watching a morning talk show.  There was a live proposal and I know it's way way way early, but I got to thinking about her wedding, and blame it on the hormones but I got all teary eyed.

Shortly after that I got out the wedding album and looked at it with her, but at 2 months old she was indifferent obviously.  I liked my wedding dress, but I wish I would have gone with something different sometimes.  I didn't try on many, because I liked it, and the price was great-well under what I had budgeted for.

I recently checked outDress First  It is an online site that sells all sorts of formal & special occasion dresses, including wedding dresses.

My wedding dress was similar in style to this one.  This dress retails for $167, which is a little more than half what I paid for mine.  It's available in 4 different colors (blushing pink, white, ivory and champagne)

I like this one as well because it has a one shoulder style, but a little more drama to it.  This one is available in the same four colors as the last dress, and sells for $365

Ordering such an important dress online without trying on can be a risk, and Dress First does have a return policy, but because each dress is custom made it is a little stricter than other sites.  It's really important to take accurate measurements before hand when doing so.

They also have a section on their website perfect for the wedding guestt or those in the wedding partyrel="nofollow" as well.

Dress First offers free shipping on all dresses, and with a selection covering every possible formal wear category you could easily find the dress you are looking for.

*This is a sponsored post.  I was compensated financially for this review, however all opinions are my own*

The Eleanor Update: week 11

Breastfeeding: It was a pretty good week, I did cut back on pumping and skipped 3 days, so it took a little longer to pump Monday.  

My right breast will do this thing were it will leak randomly for a few days and then be good for a week or two.  I can't predict it at all.

Eleanor: I'm trying to get more of a sleep routine started. Usually after she nurses around 8 or 9 pm I put her in a sleep sack and put her in the rock n play.  It might take her  little while to fall asleep, but she usually doesn't cry.

The day time naps are still unpredictable.  Some days she will nap for 2 hours (although she stirs often during that time), and some days she will be crying after 45 minutes.   As long as it's not a scream, I will leave her there. I usually do have her nap in the crib and she does pretty well with it.  I make sure she's in sleep sack because I think that helps her feel a little more cozy in the big crib. 

She's still obsessed with her hands.  Even if I do swaddle her with them in, she will bust them out.  I've woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of her sucking on them.  If she's not sucking on them she's staring at them.  

She's pretty smiley in the mornings, and while still sporadic she's laughing a little more now.  She almost always has a big smile for Rob when he get's home and he loves it.  I think it's pretty adorable too.  Girl loves her daddy! 

I've noticed her pants are beginning to get short again and her jammies are getting snug.  Time to move up to the next size already?  Her onesies are still fine though. 

Me:  Still doing alright, ready to get back in shape and tone up my stomach a little, but at the same time lacking motivation. And what little free time I get I don't want to spend it working out.  My weight is within 5 pounds of pre-pregnancy and has been for a while. 

The restless legs still happen sometimes, usually when I've been sitting nursing her.