Eight things to remember for baby’s first time at the pool

Summer’s here in Texas which means it is HOT! I mean, I debated baking cookies in my car today because it was so warm. I may have to try that one of these days, but not today. Anyways, with the weather warming up we have started taking Maddie to the pool. We’re lucky to have one within walking distance. It’s much easier to walk than carting around a baby and a car seat and possibly a stroller. Now that we’ve gone a few times I’ve scaled back the amount we bring with us and have listed for you the eight essential items you need to take with you. Want to keep your first trip to the pool with baby easy? Follow my list and pack light for a fun, safe trip to the pool with you little one.

8 things to remember for baby's first time at the pool

  1. Sunscreen
    This is probably the most obvious one, but this will definitely derail your trip if you leave it at home. Sunscreen is essential. Look for a high SPF and reapply it as much as every 15 minutes, especially if you and baby are super pale like our family. We use a non-baby sunscreen, but we haven’t had any issues with it. The ingredients are the exact same as the baby sunscreen and it cost less. Do your research before buying one, but know that some companies label the exact same sunscreen as baby sunscreen and then charge you more for it. Also – don’t forget to cover your baby’s head with sunscreen. The scalp directly faces the sun and is often forgotten about.
  2. Sunglasses
    The pool can be bright, especially with the sun overhead. Protect both your eyes and your little one’s eyes with a nice pair of sunglasses. We use a shaded toy so Maddie doesn’t always need the sunglasses, but we pop them on her when we take her out of the toy.
  3. Swim diapers
    Whoever invented these deserves a prize. They’re a little more difficult to get on to a baby because they’re a little sticker, but once they’re on you don’t have to worry about baby having an accident in the pool. Let me tell you, no one wants to be that mom who’s baby pooped in the pool so everyone has to get out while it’s cleaned. Having a good swim diaper is a life saver. Take a couple and a few wipes, in case you’ll have to change your baby, but these little things are absolutely a necessity.

    Baby first time at pool things to remember

  4. Safety equipment
    Depending on how you plan to swim, this can vary. We use the flotation device above for our baby. If she’s not in that then she’s being held by us. Some parents use life vests, and some buy swimwear with the life vest built into it. Whatever you prefer, be sure to bring along something to keep baby afloat. Our daughter LOVES the flotation toy we have. She can splash the water from in it and still see us, while being shaded from the bright sun overhead. Even if you feel as though your flotation device is secure, NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED in the pool. Maddie has tried to flip her toy a few times and if we had not been there, she might have. The number one piece of safety equipment when swimming with baby is your eyes. Be on the lookout, always!
  5. Towel
    At some point in time pool time has to end, and when it does you’ll need a towel. If you’re like me, I share a towel with the baby. Once I’m dry I’ll dry her off and leave the towel with her while putting back on a swim cover-up. It’s much easier than carrying around two bulky beach towels. If you’re driving you can’t leave the towel on the baby in the car seat, so then you can use it to keep your car seat dry. Can you survive the pool without a towel? Of course – but it’s not very fun to be dripping wet all the way home.
  6. Camera
    As I’ve stated before – I’m big on experiences and making memories. Baby’s first time at the pool is quite an experience so bring your camera. You never know what baby will think of the water. Our daughter is a little water baby, she absolutely LOVES splashing and playing and meeting other kids at the pool. The photos we took were adorable. But, they would have been just as adorable as if she hated it and made faces. Now we can always look back at the photos and remind her she loved the water when she was younger.

    Baby first time at pool things to remember

  7. Something to drink
    The pool water is not potable, and baby may get thirsty with all the playing around. Be sure to bring something to drink for them (and yourself). Maddie is old enough that we bring a sippy cup with some water. For younger babies you may need formula or breast milk. We do our best to keep Madison hydrated so she doesn’t overheat. On days when it’s high 90s or low 100s even in the pool it can be hot.
  8. Giggles!
    All babies learn best from watching others. If you’re afraid of the water you may teach you child to be afraid, too. Be sure to make your baby’s first time at the pool a fun one. Smile, giggle, and go slow. We played a lot of peek-a-boo around her swim toy to help her to feel comfortable. Once she was okay with the water we slowly dribbled a little into her hand and on her shoulders. We want her to grow up with a healthy fear of water, but also knowing that it can be incredibly fun to swim. Part of this is teaching both sides early on, we balance all of our safety equipment with fun and giggles!

Did I miss any other must-haves for your first time bringing the baby to the pool?

What do you pack when you’re taking your baby out?

A Dr. Pepper fan’s dream: Visiting the Dr. Pepper museum

After we finished our trip to Magnolia Market and getting a ton of photos there we realized we were not quite ready to drive back home yet, so we looked up other things to do in Waco. Side note – there really are not a ton of things to do in Waco other than visit Magnolia Market. However, we found out that there is a Dr. Pepper museum in town. Dr. Pepper is my husband’s favorite soda. When we first met I could not stand the taste of it, but after five years of marriage I’ve gotten to the point where I really don’t think it’s that bad. In fact, some times I even semi-like it. We both decided it would be fun to explore and we were definitely right! This is a little gem of a museum hidden only a couple blocks away from Magnolia Market. If you make the trip to Waco, I would definitely recommend checking this out too.

Dr Pepper museum in Waco Texas

When drove up to the museum and were impressed by how large it was. It’s comprised of two fairly large buildings with a huge courtyard in the middle. The courtyard even had an old Dr. Pepper delivery vehicle in it. Of course, you’re not permitted to climb on the truck, but it was really unique to see what used to be used to delivery sodas. We walked around the courtyard and took a few photos before we decided to go inside.

 

We entered the museum and I was immediately impressed. It’s not every museum that has put such attention to detail into some of the rooms you walk through. One of the first rooms is decorated to look like an old shop that would sell the earliest version of Dr. Pepper. both outside and inside. The room also has an animatronic staff person from the shop who speaks details related to shops and Dr. Pepper. It was fairly interesting and incredibly neat to look through. It really reminded me of what some of my parents or grandparents might have experienced in their youth.

In another part of the museum they had the complete scene of what a store selling Dr. Pepper would have looked like, as well as a bunch of the old Dr. Pepper vending machines. For all you Marvel nerds out there – they have the vending machine used in a Thor commercial. In the commercial Thor smashes the vending machine trying to get to a Dr. Pepper. The machine that was smashed is now housed in the museum. It was really awesome to see because I do remember watching that a few years ago when it first came out.

After walking through this area we stumbled into a history of Dr. Pepper leadership, including the Hall of Dr. Pepper Presidents. For the most part, this sort of thing isn’t really for me, however, I was really intrigued by the story of W.W. Clements. He used to have a container on his desk that held marbles. Not just any old marbles, but ones with the Golden Rule inscribed on them. He would share these with everyone in the company, and other CEOs he’d meet with. It was his leadership philosophy. I know there are a variety of leadership styles and philosophies out there, but I really enjoyed that the museum spent so much time on this detail. It really connected with me and made my day.

W W Clements office at Dr. Pepper museum

As we continued wandering through the museum we found an auditorium that played a bunch of the old Dr. Pepper commercials. We watched a few of them and found that we even remembered some of them. How cool is that? It really brought back memories of watching TV when I was little. After walking around this area we went to the other building where they keep machinery that used to bottle Dr. Peppers. It was interesting to see all the moving pieces and know that this is how they used to actually do this. This area was really set up for kids. They had much more interactive areas and even a little car race. Of course I made my husband try it with me. Maddie’s car won the race.

We enjoyed that this area not only had interactive exhibits, but they did live demonstrations every hour or two. Had we stayed longer we would have watched one. Unfortunately, baby Maddie had reached her limit so we headed home. This section of the museum also had an actual Dr. Pepper shop where you could buy Dr. Pepper floats, ice cream, sodas, and more. The staff were very friendly and helpful and they had cute keepsakes you could pick up if you wanted to. I was really pumped to see they sold marbles with the Golden Rule on them, just like in W.W. Clements office. It made me want to start my own collection so I could share them with others just like he did.

At the end of our trip James and I both said we were glad we stopped into this museum. Not only do I have a greater understanding of the evolution of sodas over the years, but it was an interesting history lesson in marketing and machinery, as well. If you make the trip to Waco I would absolutely tell you to stop by the museum before you leave. You won’t regret it.

What’s your favorite soda? Are you a Dr. Pepper fan?

Must have photos on your trip to Magnolia Market

I tell my husband all the time I am a photo taker and memory maker. When we first got together he owned a lot of what I would call clutter and he would call memories. Toys that grandparents had given him over the years, books from classes, cups from events, anything he received he kept because that’s how he remembered. I was the opposite, I’d take photos of events to remember everything and get rid of the actual item. I tend to be a minimalist. I have a few treasured possessions, but for the most part, I really do not keep a lot of knick knacks.

Over the years (and a couple of moves) my husband is learning the advantage of the more minimalistic perspective on things. Having fewer items let’s us really enjoy what we have and be able to know everything we have, too. So – when our five year anniversary came around and he suggested a trip to Magnolia Market versus buying each other things I was super excited. I love the Fixer Upper show and I love presents that involve some sort of experience, rather than item. Instead of buying a ton of things while we were there, I value taking photos to look back and remember the day. After visiting the market I decided to put together my list of must-have photos to help remember your trip to Magnolia Market. Some of these are fairly obvious, while some require work beforehand to prepare – or a special side trip to find. I hope you enjoy this list and find it useful if you’re planning your trip.

Must have photos on your trip to Magnolia Market

The ‘across the street’ view of the whole market.
As we were driving around looking for parking we saw quite a few others taking this photo, as we walked up we could see why. You can see the actual market, the Silos Baking Co., and quite a bit of the grounds from this angle. Depending on where you park, you may have to walk a little bit to get here. We did not park in the Magnolia parking lot so this was on our walk in.

The iconic sign above the stage.
To me, when I think of the Magnolia Market, this is what I think of. It’s often displayed on Fixer Upper and has a beautiful vintage vibe to it. We took quite a few selfies with it because I am that sort of photographer. I even made Maddie get in a few photos so when she grows up she will know she’s been here, too.

The #milestomagnolia sign. Plan ahead for this one!
Sadly, I do not have a photo with this sign. It’s in between the Silos Baking Co. and the actual store. The line for this was too long for us, plus, while waiting we saw a group of ladies from Georgia who had a sign listing the hundreds of miles they traveled to get here. Somehow, our 90 minute drive didn’t seem quite as spectacular following them in. If you search the hastag #milestomagnolia you’ll see quite a few people under this sign. If we go back, we will definitely be making a sign listing how many miles we drove and taking a picture under it. It’s literally made for photo-taking, which is my favorite sort of spot.

The silos.
I mean, it is kind of important to get the silos in the picture. There are so many angles you could use on this one. The ‘across the street’ view gets them in, as does the stage from a certain side. I took quite a few photos because the clouds were absolutely gorgeous the day we visited. It’s like they knew I was there to take photos. If only every day could be this pretty.

The car.
This is semi-hidden in between the stage and the Magnolia Gardens store. I didn’t hop in the picture because I thought the car by itself was just too good of a shot. If you do not wander over to the garden you’ll never see this. To me, it’s very Fixer Upper style and it has the cute little flowers, too. Who would have thought to put this here to decorate? Obviously Joanna, but still the car style and color fit the property so well.

The car at Magnolia Market

The seed and supply store.
This is hidden in the back corner of the grounds. It’s surrounded by the gardens and is a super tiny little shop. Inside, they sell all sorts of garden decor, seeds, and gardening equipment. The whole shop maybe fit 10-15 people, but the sign was the most memorable to me. With our stroller we couldn’t get inside, so I snapped a quick photo of the sign and then we walked around the garden area.

Magnolia Market and Garden from HGTV Fixer Upper

And I saved the best for last – the hidden gem – the logo on the far outside wall.
If you park in the Magnolia parking lot and then walk around to the main front entrance you’ll see this. If you parked where we parked you’ll have to make a walk down the block to catch this. To me – this photo is the epitome of Magnolia Market. A simple, clean black logo on an old brick wall painted white with a sans serif typeface. Love it. Everything about it screams Fixer Upper. As you can probably tell, I made my husband take way too many photos here (as you should, too).

There you have it. My list of not-to-miss photos while you’re at the Magnolia Market in Waco. I hope you have the chance to make this special trip and take some photos for you to make your own memories with, too.

Have you visited Magnolia Market already?

Did I miss any must-have photos stops?

Tips and tricks to plan your trip to Magnolia Market

When we first started looking into moving to Texas I immediately searched to see how far the Dallas/Fort Worth area was from Waco. My husband asked why and I told him ‘To see Chip and Joanna Gaines’s store Magnolia Market, of course. I mean, why else would you go to Waco?? Fast forward to our first month in Texas and my husband suggested we celebrate our five year anniversary by visiting Magnolia Market. He knows me so well. We really enjoyed our visit to see everything and we learned some things that we would change if we have to do it again, but, lucky you! You can learn from our discoveries and make your trip even more enjoyable.

Tips and tricks to plan your trip to Magnolia Market

Parking can be difficult.
The lot for the actual market was already full when we arrived, so we parked on a side street. A church nearby was offering parking for $10, as well. I would imagine by later in the day that lot would be full, too. The spot we found was only about a block and a half away, but would be difficult if you or a member of your group could not walk easily. There is little to no shade on the walk, so if you’re a slow walker be prepared to sweat a bit getting to the market.

Be prepared for crowds and lines everywhere.
I knew it would be crowded, but I did not anticipate the level of crowded we encountered. We arrived about 30 minutes after opening on a Saturday and the line for the bakery was out the door and about 50 people deep. By the time we left the line just to enter the market was over 20 people deep. My husband and I walked through the shop with our stroller and have a very difficult time even moving because of how thick the crowd was. This would have been easier without the stroller, but I did not want to try to keep the baby’s hands to herself. There was way too many breakable objects she would try to grab if we were holding her.

The food trucks were no different. We did not stay through lunch, but I’m sure they have lines at those times, too. The coffee truck that was open in the morning also had an out the door line. It smelled wonderful, but I was not willing to wait to get my caffeine fix.

The actual market is smaller than I envisioned and incredibly crowded. Be prepared to bump into people all over the place.
The market is incredibly Joanna. It’s definitely her style and very well laid out in terms of design. However, the flow of traffic is slow and cramped. There is an elevator available, if needed, and we enjoyed taking it because it was the least crowded place in the market. Both levels have clever descriptions of shopping areas, like ‘Chip’s Corner’ filled with t-shirts boasting ‘#demoday’ on them or kitchen areas filled with all sorts of items to cook and bake with. It’s fun to browse and check out no matter where you are in the market.

Inside Magnolia Market from HGTV Fixer Upper

The staff is beyond helpful and incredibly nice.
The minute we walked up the ramp we were greeted by a staff member who welcomed us and told us exactly where the elevator was, if we needed it. I am so glad she did because I’m not sure we would have found it otherwise. As I was checking out the staff was above and beyond nice. I also enjoyed that staff member’s name tags listed their hometowns. It was great to see such diversity in locations, rather than just all Texas natives.

Sign the guestbook and leave a memory.
I noticed this on the way out of the market and signed it. I’m not sure what’s done with them, but it’s great to know that it’s there. I always like signing guest books. Maybe the Gaines’s will read it. Maybe in 10 years Maddie can come back and sign it for herself. Maybe it’ll just be a great memory for me. Any way I look at it, it’s a cool thing to do.

You can ship items home from the store!
If you’re traveling from a distance it’s good to know you can ship anything home from the market. They have an entire counter dedicated to wrapping and packaging for you. Since we drove, we did not need to utilize this, but it is incredibly nice if you don’t have space for something.

If you’re traveling with an infant there is a changing table in the outside handicapped stall, only in the women’s restroom.
I admit it, I was worried about this. I’ve changed Madison on a variety of bathroom floors and was worried this would be another time we’d have to do that. Luckily, it was not. My husband told me there was no changing station on the guy’s side, but at least the women’s had one. The line for these restrooms was long, so if your little one has a bad accident, it might not be worth the wait. There are port-a-potties more easy to get into, but we really needed the table.

Remember your sunscreen, water, and possibly umbrella.
It does get pretty hot in Texas in the summer and quite a bit of the grounds is not covered by any shade. I would definitely recommend sunscreen if you’re staying for any length of time. They do sell ice cold water bottles at every food truck, but I prefer to bring my own water bottle. It’s more sustainable and I don’t have to wait in line for it. Depending on the weather the day you visit, you may need an umbrella. I cannot imagine standing in line in a Texas sized downpour without one.

Come hungry! There are so many food trucks.
So. Much. Food. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t get hungry when it’s hot outside, but everything looked delicious. We browsed the trucks, but did not get anything. We were still full from breakfast. Had I planned better I would have eaten much less so I could try some of the items. If you come early in the day know that most of the trucks do not open up until lunch time.

Food trucks at Magnolia Market from HGTV Fixer Upper

On certain evenings, they hold special movie nights outside.
We didn’t realize this when we were there, but we noticed a sign for it at a different place in Waco. Based on the times of movies, you’d have to be spending the night in Waco to go to one, but it would be quite a bit of fun to hang out with the family after hours and watch a drive in movie at the market.

Be prepared to stay as long as you want.
We only stayed about an hour due to a fussy baby, but we could have stayed all day. If we wanted to experience every piece of the market we probably would have. Between the bakery, market, photo opportunities, grassy (turf) area, swings, gardens, food trucks, picnic tables, and games there is more than enough to do to entertain you all day. The large grassy area has bean bag chairs for you to use and yard games like cornhole. The garden portion of the market includes details on all the plants and what you can use them for. If you come with a group every person can order from a different food truck and then have a potluck at the picnic tables. There are so many options to try!

Smile! There are a ton of great photo opportunities.
There are so many signs and scenes that I have seen watching the show that it was easy to get a ton of photos. Some of them are easy to find, but some are a little trickier. One even requires planning ahead. I’ll be posting later this week about all the photo opportunities you should not miss while you’re there.

Enjoy the time with family and friends.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the moment of shopping, photo taking, and hoping to see the Gaines’s to miss what’s right in front of you. Fixer Upper is so great because you can see the love Chip and Joanna share with each other and their family. When visiting, don’t forget that. Be sure to take some time to just enjoy the moment with your family and friends.

At the end of the day, I’d say my husband and I both had fun and enjoyed our trip to Magnolia Market. It was a fun five year anniversary trip and Madison seemed to enjoy the car ride and the people she met while she was there. I hope these tips and tricks will help you plan your trip, too!

 

Magnolia Market from HGTV Fixer Upper

 

Nine months?!? Where has the time gone?

My sweet baby girl is nine months old. She’s closer to nine and a half months, actually, I’ve been slow to post these. I look back on these and cannot believe how much she has GROWN! I mean, she was 7 pounds when she was born, she’s almost 20 pounds now! It’s crazy to think that she’s babbling, army crawling, and showing us her sweet personality already. She’s going to be a little mover and a shaker, I’m sure of it. I’m not even sure she’s going to fit on to the blankets in another three months. She’s getting too darn long.

In case you’re curious, I made all of these pics using the Baby Pics app. I highly recommend it. I even splurged and bought the full app. It’s the best $5 I’ve spent in a long time. My mom knitted the cream colored blanket and cross-stitched the ‘Twinkle twinkle’ blanket. My mom is super talented at knitting and cross stitch. I’ve never had the patience for either of them, but I’m so glad Maddie has a grandma who is into all of those things. Maybe Madison will end up with more patience than me and enjoy projects like that. I’d prefer to take the pictures and bake.

Do you like one picture best? Let me know which one! I have my favorite, but I’m not telling!

Our plagiocephaly journey: Reflections on the helmet

Plagiocephaly helmet reflectionsWhen we first started the plagiocephaly helmet it was difficult for us. I tried to decorate it and make it feel more ‘girly’ but honestly, it was not something I really wanted. Now that it’s been one month since the munchkin graduated from her plagiocephaly helmet it’s much easier to look back on and say it was worth it. This past month has given me plenty of time to reflect on how our plagiocephaly went. Here are my thoughts:

  1. The helmet is only half of what you need. The other half is a really good orthopedic specialist who understands plagiocephaly and how to fix a baby’s flat head. There is a limited amount of time for this to occur, so someone who wants to ‘wait and see’ may wait too long and then there won’t be anything you can do to fix it. We were very lucky to have a wonderful doctor who explained everything to us and what he was doing to make sure the helmet was fitted properly and her head grew appropriately.
  2. It was worth it. Yes, the 5 hour round trip drives for a thirty minute appointment seems outrageous, but I feel like it’s better to spend the time now rather than have a child who may never have a round head. Our specialist even joked that the helmet cost more than his first car (mine too!) but we do crazy things for our children.
  3. It takes commitment. We kept the helmet on for about 22 out of every 24 hours. It’s supposed to be on for 23 hours every day, but 22 hours fit our schedule better. I do not think it would have worked with much less than what we did. We occasionally took the helmet off for bathing, photos, and eating (who wants to clean spaghetti out of a helmet? Not me!), but other than that it stayed on. If you’re not going to be committed to keeping it on all the time don’t bother.
  4. I do not miss taking it off and putting it back on. I was terrible at this. My husband was much better at it than me. I’m guessing it feels similar to someone putting a motorcycle helmet on you. Not terrible, but certainly not super comfortable. It did not help that it made me feel super guilty all the time.
  5. It brought my husband and myself closer together. It was one of the first major decisions we made regarding our daughter and we supported each other in doing it. I cannot imagine doing this without my rock next to me. The fact that we both agreed upon this decision and lived through it together is something I am so glad to have done, even if it wasn’t the funnest at times.
  6. I will do anything for my daughter. She has me wrapped around her little finger. She smiles at me and I love it. She needs a helmet and I’ll buy it. I know I’ll tell her no a lot in the future, but this was something I was more than happy to say yes to. I mean, look at that face!

Madison without her plagiocephaly helmet. After treatment was complete.

 

 

Baby’s first trip to the zoo

It’s not often we have absolutely nothing to do over a weekend. Typically, our weekends are filled with catching up at work, going to events, seeing family or friends, cleaning, and trying to do a bazillion loads of laundry. This weekend was a different story. I managed to both clean and do a majority of the laundry throughout the week. Once Saturday hit, we really had no plans. We haven’t had that happen in so long that we honestly didn’t know what to do. So I suggested we take Madison to her first zoo trip. I cannot wait to continue to add more ‘firsts’ as Maddie grows and we watch her experience more of what life has to offer.

The zoo in Dodge City, Kansas is not a big one. You could probably manage to walk through the entire thing in 15-20 minutes, however, it’s hours of entertainment for a little kid. We anticipated being there for 30 minutes or so with a baby. I was hoping she’d be intrigued at the animals. Our first stop was to see the goats. Sometimes I laugh at what animals you can find at smaller zoos. I’ve seen a deer in a zoo in Emporia, Kansas before and I remembered thinking you didn’t need to be in a zoo to see a deer, they are all over the side of the road while you’re driving. But, I guess they’re the cool thing in small town zoos. I had the same thought about this goat. Goats are very common in the city and on farms around the town, but they’re in the zoo, too. I’m not sure Madison knew what to think of this goat. She stared at it, but did not want to get too close.

plagiocephaly baby first trip to zoo with daddy

We continued to walk around the zoo and showed her a bear, cougar, wolves, raccoon (weird animal to have in a zoo) and a buffalo. She showed absolutely no interest in any of them. She mostly looked confused every time we stopped. Almost as if she was wondering why our walk was taking so long. I did manage to snap a few selfies of us as a family on our first zoo trip together. I know it seems small, but I cannot wait until she’s old enough to truly have fun at the zoo. I have great memories of my parents taking my sister and me to the zoo when we were younger and I want Maddie to have the same memories as she grows.

When we got home we decided to make some vegetarian spaghetti. We often experiment with our sauces and put in extra ingredients to see if we like it better than the canned version. This time it didn’t turn out so well. We opted for a garden veggie Ragu and added in olives, balsamic vinegar and spinach. My husband really like it; to me it was okay, but nothing better than okay. Maddie didn’t know what to think. We’ve never let her feed herself before, but she enjoyed the experience. I knew it was going to make a mess, but since we really had no other plans I didn’t mind the extra laundry or giving baby a bath that night. She sure had fun. It’s the longest she’s ever sat in her high chair without getting fussy. When she smiles it makes us smile. She may drive me crazy sometimes, but I love our little munchkin and watching her experience new things is one of my greatest joys.

What things have you watched your child do for the first time?

Do you have great memories of the zoo with your family?