Activity #42: Send your mate out to jog

The wonderful thing about an almost-nine-month old is that fabulous head control that just screams “put me in a baby jogger and let’s see how fast this thing can go.”

Send your partner out for a run with the baby #rookiemoms challenge

Send your partner out for a short run with the jogging stroller and you can catch up on sleep, phone calls, or reading. Make sure to check with your pediatrician before the first trip for any safety tips.

I recall the supreme pleasure of sending my husband out for a run with not one baby, but both!! I had a full extra half hour of near-sleep (after loading everyone up and making some mini waffles for the road) and a blissful shower before making pancakes and bacon without anyone crawling up my leg. Yay!

Rookie Moms challenges are for parents and babies

This is your 42nd challenge (and you don’t even have to leave your bed)! Love or shove it? Let us know with any of these methods:

  • Comment below with your wild adventures at home while baby was on the open road.
  • Share a picture with us on Facebook.
  • Name your destination on Twitter or Instagram and use hashtag #rookiemoms.
  • Or, post a link in the comments to your own blog post about this challenge.

Baby too young for this?  Pretend you’re in Paris (sorry, now you have to get out of bed but Europe awaits) or choose another adventure.

ps about that stroller:  My husband and I — well, mostly him — have been driving BOB jogging strollers for more than nine years (6 with the locked wheel and 3 with the BOB Revolution SE with the swivel wheel so I understand the difference).

  • The locked-in straight wheel allows you to run fast and far; you need to turn corners by lifting up the front; we have been huge fans of this for both real jogging and running errands outdoors. Alec used to run Holden to his nanny share throughout his very verbal toddler days.
  • The swivel wheel allows us to bring this comfy off-road powerhouse of a stroller to urban life and crowded places. It steers easily with one hand even around corners. The basket is a good size (though it gets blocked when baby reclines) and it looks comfy enough that I wish it came in my size. The BOB SE allows us to lock the swivel wheel in place when Alec or I are ready to run. Ok, I’m sorry, I am gushing.

{read my full review of the Bob Revolution if you’re in the market}

The Control Freak’s Guide to packing your diaper bag

Thank you to Seventh Generation and Touch of Cloth™ Disposable Diapers for sponsoring this post.Tracking Pixel

Diaper bag prep from rookiemoms and 7th generation diapers

I have definitely been in the position to bum diapers off strangers in the past. Accidents happen, of course they do. But to be prepared for the next rookie mom adventure, I need to channel my inner control freak (who am I kidding? that part of me is always very near the surface) and offer some strategies.

Diaper bag prep from rookiemoms and 7th generation diapers

Allow me to suggest a two-pronged approach for the very best ready-to-meet-every-challenge diaper bag packing:

First: Pack the diaper bag with only the essentials

I use a very small packing cube tossed in the bottom of my stroller stuffed with the items I’m 79% likely to need on any given outing. It can fit around my wrist when I’m doing a quick change and takes up very little space when it is not in use. Not to mention, it is gender-neutral so my husband doesn’t mind carrying it (I don’t take chances carrying a floral bag that my parenting partner won’t touch).  [Read more...]

5 strategies to put HAPPY in your holidays

Reposted from the wayback machine because it’s that time of year!

Generally speaking, my extended family on my husband’s side (AKA in-laws) are a wonderful bunch of people that we don’t see nearly enough. Because we live clear across the country, we’ve grown accustomed to our own way of doing things so getting together involves friction. Every time. Yes, I’m a big ‘ol control freak. And when I’m on their turf, I’m not the boss of anything. Usually, a few days into the visit, I’m shedding tears because I don’t get to make any decisions.

So grumpy.

In the ongoing quest to lower the bar and have happier holidays, I reached out to the professional happy people for tips. As a personal goal, I’m hoping to get through a cross-country in-law visit without crying every day — or maybe not at all! — but there I go raising the bar again.

Gretchen Rubin, the best-selling author of The Happiness Project, responded right away. We’re not BFF’s or anything, but she probably recognized this task as something she could clear out of her in-box in less than a minute.

Reflecting on my goal of less family drama at the holidays, Gretchen sent me these posts: [Read more...]

Activity #40: Throw an Inside-Outside party

My inside-out baby party was sushi and cocktails #rookiemoms

Your 40th weekly challenge is to celebrate that your baby has been on the outside longer than she was on the inside! There are many fun ways to celebrate this milestone. We’ve done cocktails and sushi (pictured) and a moms night out at the hot tubs in the past.

My Inside Out Party above was at Blowfish Sushi in San Francisco. I think I even wore uncomfortable heels. I definitely ate raw fish and drank pretty cocktails with my fabulous friends. Unless you’re currently knocked up, I suggest wrangling a posse of girlfriends and doing all those things you weren’t allowed to do (in good conscience) while pregnant, stuff like:

  • Drink wine
  • Eat soft cheese
  • Luxuriate in a hot-tub
  • Ride an ostrich or mechanical bull
  • Go bungee jumping

These are just my own ideas, maybe you’re dying to burn a duraflame log or indulge in some other activity that has us wondering if it’s so bad for the pregnants, why do we do these things to ourselves at all… Have at it!

Share your ideas in the comments to inspire another mother. Or tag us on instagram with #rookiemoms so we can toast you with champagne!
#rookiemoms maternity leave challenges

Win an iPad Air 2

8 ways to win an iPad Air
Friends, I am excited to share this immensely rad giveaway with you today! Whitney and I have partnered up with the lovely Christine Koh (Boston Mamas), Audrey McClelland (Mom Generations), Allison Czarnecki (Petit Elefant), Jane Maynard (This Week For Dinner), Morgan Shanahan (The 818), Rachael Herrscher (Today’s Mama), and Sarah James (Whoorl) to offer one lucky follower a 128GB wi-fi iPad Air 2 ($699 value)!

Enter to win between now and November 21 via the Rafflecopter widget below; you have 8 entry options and, of course, we encourage you to enter all 8 ways to maximize your chance to win! Once the giveaway ends, the winner will be chosen randomly and contacted by email, with 48 hours to respond. Good luck!

{please wait patiently for the rafflecopter widget to load}
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: This prize is not sponsored by anyone. We all chipped in to award it to one lucky US-resident follower. Thanks again to Christine, Audrey, Allison, Jane, Morgan, Rachael, and Sarah because I didn’t have $699 to buy it for you on my own! Good luck.

On my inexplicable pang for babies

About a year ago, my eight-year old ratted me out when he was talking to a fellow third grader, “My mom gets so weird around babies.”

He was right. I had just seen an adorable infant and gotten all mushy in the brain. Involuntarily I said something like, “Oooooh BABY!” and clutched an ovary.

Now that my littlest child is three-years old, I have a dull ache for a baby. As I continue to make his food and shop for his clothes, I can’t help but notice that he’s not so little anymore. My baby is no baby; he can find his own shows on Hulu+, for God’s sake.

Sawyer’s preschool pals are becoming big siblings. The mamas and papas say things about their snugly, colicky newborn and I compare their statements to the rambunctious, full-sentence-speaking child climbing off the couch in front of us. Or they talk about their in-progress pregnancies and I remember my nauseated first trimester or itchy cholestasis. As I attempt to make appropriate conversation, I realize my first-person anecdotes are pretty stale.

I look around at my peers having more babies and I feel like I’m missing out on something. Twinge. At the risk of alienating any of you readers, I so completely don’t want to go there anymore, where there equals pregnancy and further increasing my family, but I still have the pangs. What the hell is that?

After we had our second baby, we had a devil of a time deciding if we wanted more children. But this time, I know we’re done done. So, why is it so hard to move on?

FOMO for parents, moving out of the baby phase

Do you see this face? Of course I want one. Kidding. Not kidding. 

My very strong opinions about bath toys

All you need to know about baby bath toys

In my nine years of experience living with a kid-friendly bathroom and tub, I’ve developed some very strong opinions about what’s good and bad in bath toys. Allow me to share four lessons with you.

  • Your squirty toys are nasty, mildewy, and gross. I’m sure there’s some recipe for regularly cleaning with bleach and then making them baby-safe again, but c’mon! I say: buy ‘em cheap and replace them often.
  • That fishing toy is fun and will break within a week. We have bits of various fishing toys that still get play, but man I wish the whole rod ‘n reel still worked.
  • You gotta drain. The boon frog is a popular solution because it scoops up sudsy toys and hangs them from the shower wall allowing full drainage. People love it. We use a plasticky holey basket for the same effect without the wall sticking.
  • Hard plastic toys are your friend. We have a Tomy dolphin musical toy that is going strong without incident for NINE YEARS. Whut?! My conclusion is that the less porous material invites less bacteria.

All you need to know about baby bath toys

Here are my top picks for bath toys that will last. Hope you like ‘em. [Read more...]

High five to Just KayBee’s year of {Rookie Moms} challenges

The newish mama known as KayBee decided to tackle our rookie moms challenges with her second baby, Peanut, and we’re super excited to share her stories with you. Anytime we see you guys toting your baby along somewhere you might not have gone, we are so happy.

Here are a few highlights from their adventures:

The post in which KayBee declares her intentions then visits the first coffee shop with baby (last May, awww).

Just KayBee took her baby to Starbucks for her rookiemoms challenge

Summertime journey to Trader Joe’s with baby and the pure joy of taking a water baby in the swimming pool.

Just KayBee took her baby to the swimming pool for her rookiemoms challenge

The thing she did instead of an Inside-Out Party and some cutie patootie pumpkin pictures.

Just KayBee took her baby to pose with pumpkins for her rookiemoms challenge

And, just like that, he’s ready for his first birthday party. Sniff. We hope it was everything she wanted, smash cake and all.

Just KayBee had a smash cake for her rookiemoms challenge

As I know better than anyone, trying to make special Mommy-baby bonding time can be trickier the second time around. How many memories do I have of wearing/nursing one baby while chasing/wrestling the older child? How well did I actually follow through on my great ideas even though blogging it is my JOB? Respectively, more and less than I care to count…

We want to give you the highest of fives, KayBee! We’re proud of you.

See more from Just KayBee and her rookie moms challenges over here! And please share your own baby-in-tow adventures with us too, we’re always happy to share the love. Just tweet, instagram, or facebook at us so we can find you.

[All photos by; all rights reserved]

Activity #38: Take a sensory tour around the block

Stop and touch all the flowers with your baby #rookiemoms challenge
Whitney ran into my friend Jeanine outside her house. Jeanine was helping her 9-month old daughter, Pepper, touch some furry lavender sticking out from Whitney’s garden, and didn’t realize whose house it was. The girls had been going on a sensory tour of the neighborhood.

Try it yourself to keep the neighborhood walks interesting (for you!):

  1. Stop and smell the flowers.
  2. Lean in so your baby can touch a fuzzy leaf.
  3. Look at the bright colors and shadows.
  4. Step on crunchy leaves and sticks, rustle paper or candy wrappers (err, I mean Luna Bar).
  5. Are you eating or drinking something your baby can share? A green smoothie?

This is your 38th challenge. This baby tour of your block is great preparation for walking with a toddler.

Did you complete this challenge? Use any of these methods to tell us about it:

  • Comment below.
  • Share a picture with us on Facebook.
  • Name your destination on Twitter or Instagram and use hashtag #rookiemoms.
  • Or, post a link in the comments to your own blog post about this challenge.

Want to save this idea for later? Dude, you should so pin this!

Baby too old for this idea? Pick a different fun thing to do with a toddler. Baby too young? Go have a latte!

[Photo credit: Lovely Olivia, all rights reserved]

The gift I want to give every new mom: FOOD!

Favorite recipes for new moms: spaghetti and meatballs from Katie Workman's Mom 100 Cookbook

Is there anything more wonderful than a freshly cooked meal delivered to your door when you’re hungry? I treasured each and every meal brought to me by loving friends when I was home bonding with a newborn.

Now that I have three children (under my belt? out from my belt area?), I still believe that food is the kindest gift of all. Sadly, I’m often too busy with my own family’s demands to be that hero on the porch around dinnertime, but when I am, here are a few of my go-to meals:

  1. Easiest of all: There are meal delivery services that deliver amazing restaurant-quality meals later the same day. In the Bay Area, I heart Munchery big time, try them if they’re near you. For about $50, you’ve just sent the happy little family several good dinners.
  2. Very easy: Rotisserie chicken, a pre-made side dish, and brownie bites from Whole Foods. Still tasty for her and fast for you! Got kids of your own? Grab a second helping of everything. Done and done.
  3. Pretty easy: Make a favorite chili or hearty soup. Freeze it in large, flat slabs in freezer-safe Ziplock bags. Bring to the rookie family with a loaf of crusty bread and generous salad. Top off with a sweet potato pie for dessert (superfood!).
  4. Medium level of difficulty: I like to make homemade spaghetti with meatballs because it is hearty and filling. My current favorite recipe comes from Katie Workman (from The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket, which is fantastic!). I spent about 15 minutes prepping the meatballs and another making the sauce. So tasty and freezes well (use that handy flat slab trick mentioned above). Double the batch for you and the new mama. Pair with a bottle of red wine if she’s drinking and a dessert of your choice.

I can almost taste the delicious roast chicken, tangy brisket, and fresh baked cookies when I think about those early days with my baby. I may never have food as delicious as when I was a new mother, under-slept and ravenous from nursing round the clock!Favorite recipes for new moms: turkey chili from Katie Workman's Mom 100 Cookbook

What do you like to bring new mommies, and would you like to drop off a second helping at my place?

I have a well-worn copy of The Mom 100 Cookbook and heartily recommend it to anyone who needs to eat and prepare 3 meals a day.

[Photo credit TODD COLEMAN/THE MOM 100 COOKBOOK, all rights reserved by The Mom 100]

Observing the lasts of parenting is trickier than the firsts

The last time he snuggled me awakeMy youngest child is now three years old. He is full of curiosity and asks me to define words like God, football, and bet. Today, he told me not to skip my morning run because “you won’t move your body for all of the day or night.” And while he still clings to his diapers, he is so clearly not this baby anymore. Sigh…

I see the horizon of parenting getting easier. When we fly on an airplane, Sawyer is content to watch a video and I don’t need to bust out my bag of toddler airplane tricks anymore. I’m nostalgic in advance, wanting to simultaneously rush through and savor each of our mutual milestones. But as we continue along this bumpy journey together, I realize that it is much harder to commemorate the LAST time doing something than it is the FIRST.

How obvious is it the very first time you attempt breastfeeding compared to the maybe-last-but-you’re-not-totally-sure-if-he’ll-go-for-it time? The first time in a not-exactly-our-plan co-sleeping arrangement vs. the last time your toddler sneaks into your bed?

Sawyer’s adorable mispronunciations become fewer each day. When will he finally stop saying “nak-pin” instead of napkin? Will I even notice?

What other lasts should I be writing in my trusty (imaginary) baby book?

The photo above is the last time Sawyer snuggled me awake and let me take a picture. That was Mother’s Day. I hope it’s not the last last!


Happy 9 Year Blogiversary!

About the Rookie Moms

Hi there, allow me a moment to reflect. We’ve been friends since 1997 and moms since 2004. Upon discovering that babies don’t suggest, “Hey mom, let’s go out and get you some new jeans and a latte,” we decided to take matters into our own hands and make a list of all the fun places we could go with a baby in tow. We started this here website 9 years ago to share our brainstorm with others. We have been dedicated to encouraging moms to have more fun with parenting ever since.

In honor of our special navel-gazing day to celebrate nine years of navel-gazing, we invite you to leave a comment. Say hi. Tell us who you are, what you like, what you hate (as long as you have manners, we can take it).