Is This Real Life? – Adventures at MommyCon Chicago

We are still recovering from what was a long, but VERY exciting weekend at MommyCon Chicago! Flick, Baby Bell, and I attended the full-day convention on Saturday from 9:00am to 7:00pm.

After registering, we promptly went to get our give-away bags. Flick had to wait to get his because he was volunteering. I think a “give-away bag” is an understatement.  This thing was loaded! There was everything in there from baby wipes, to nursing pads, and even a baby shade cover. Not to mention everyone with general admission got a Kiinde Starter Kit. I chose the Foodii system and Flick got the Twist Starter Kit (breast milk storage system).

The day really got started with shopping in the exhibit hall. There were some familiar brands, and some I had never heard of before. There were so many wonderful vendors, but some of our favorites were Chompy Chic Chewelry, Innobaby, Nicki’s Diapers, Crane, Grovia, Babyganics, and our new friends at Miss Jamie’s Farm.

Besides fun places to shop, there were also some great exhibitors that gave helpful information. One of those being the child seat safety techs. We had several questions on whether it was time to transition Baby Bell from her infant carrier to a convertible seat.

There were so many options for carriers. We weren’t really in the market for a new carrier. I have a Tula and Flick has a Lillibaby. However, if we had been, there were quite a few resources we could have taken advantage of at the convention.

We got some helpful advice from past attendees to pack a lunch, as opposed to eating there because the food prices were high, and they didn’t have many healthy options. So we laid our blanket out in one of halls, along with many other families, and had a nice little picnic lunch. By this point, Baby Bell was way past nap time and getting very fussy. Flick had the Papa’s Perspective workshop to get to, so I decided to walk with Baby Bell to help her fall asleep. That is when I stumbled upon one of my favorite parts of the convention.

I mean, only a mom would think of a quiet room. It was exactly that. It was a separate room with dimmed lights where moms could go and nurse and get their little ones to sleep. It was perfect. Baby Bell fell fast asleep within 10-15 minutes of me bouncing and rocking her. Then she and I relaxed in a chair and she napped for about half an hour. A half an hour doesn’t seem like a long time, typically she naps for much longer, but it was a perfect way to re-energize her for our next workshop: Miss Jamie’s Farm kids music show.

If you haven’t heard of Miss Jamie’s Farm, you have to go to her website and check out her fun farm-themed children’s songs. We’ve been playing the CD and shaking our shaker egg ever since. Miss Jamie was kind enough to give us a CD to give away to one of our readers. Check out the Momstracted Facebook page for your chance to win this awesome CD for your little farmhand.

We had some extra time before our next workshop, so we ventured back into the exhibit hall and talked to some of the vendors we missed earlier in the day. We also took Baby Bell to create some hand and foot print art. We created a cute little whale from her hand print and a blue bird from her foot print.

Our next workshop was Potty Training with Potty Schmotty. She presents a very simple but effective way of potty training your child in 3 easy steps. To learn more about her process, check out her website.

We finished the day with none other than the The Baby Guy NYC, Jamie Grayson. Let me tell you, this guy knows his baby gear. And he is quite entertaining, to say the least.

After car seat safety, Jamie and the fabulous people from MommyCon gave away some AMAZING items. Everything from travel systems, to co-sleepers, to Tekhni woven wraps. Unfortunately, we didn’t come home with any of these gifts, but there is always next year!

So, that sums up our first ever MommyCon experience. We have some exiting news for all of you. We will be recording our debut Momstracted Podcast. Stay tuned for more of our MommyCon adventures when we roll out our podcast.

Until then, keep following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Oh, and don’t forget to check out Facebook for the Miss Jamie’s Farm CD giveaway!

~Momstracted Momma

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It’s Kind of a Big Deal…

So part of being momstracted is being completely invested in learning all I can about anything and everything “parenting.” It honestly never leaves my mind. So, one day I decided a good way for me to learn more was through parenting/mommy conventions and expos. There are a few in our area, but not a ton. I found Family Fest, but wanted more. That’s when I stumbled upon MommyCon in Chicago. I sent Flick a link to the page and mentioned that I would like to go. I was so excited when he said yes! Well, a few days went by and I mentioned to him that we needed to buy our tickets. Turns out, MommyCon is kind of a big deal and they were already sold out. Flick felt terrible and being the wonderful husband he is, went straight to social media to try for tickets. Let me just tell you, he didn’t rest until we both had full-day general admission tickets. He is even volunteering at the convention in order to get the second ticket. Now you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Me too! I’ve never been but I’m expecting big things at MommyCon Chicago. They have 8 different MommyCon conventions happening in different cities across the country.

From the MommyCon FAQ page:

“MommyCon is a boutique style natural parenting convention focused on bringing modern families together to discuss, learn and grow. A day at MommyCon features over a dozen speakers, workshops, shopping and more! The focus at MommyCon is education about parenting choices, and whether you choose to cloth diaper, babywear or breastfeed is up to you! We just like to provide you resources and information to make the best decisions for your family.”

What I’m excited about:

Shopping – They’ve announced over 35 exhibitors. I can’t wait to get in there and learn all about the latest gadgets, toys, and products.

Activities for the kids – It’s kid friendly. I am so excited for Baby Bell to participate in the activities they have planned for the little ones. How fun do these sound?!?!

-Baby Drive-Thru Art Studio
-Drop in Crafting: Sew Sew Sew your Boat
-Finger Painting
-Wise Disguise Mask & Prop Making

Speakers – The guest speaker list is pretty impressive. Here are just a few from that list that I’m especially looking forward to hearing from:

Jamie Grayson – Baby Gear Expert
Kim Rosas – Dirty Diaper Laundry
-Laura Brown – Ergobaby and Babywearing Educator

Workshops – We plan on attending:

-Cloth Diapering 101 presented by Cotton Babies
-Papa’s Perspective: Navigating the Crunchy Mother
-Miss Jamie’s Farm Music Show
-Becoming a Babywearing Educator presented by Ergobaby
-Car Seat Safety with The Baby Guy NYC

The SWAG BAG and Giveaways! – Who doesn’t love a goodie bag?!?! According to past attendees on the Facebook group page, they don’t skimp on the freebies.

Flick, Baby Bell, and I are super excited to see what the MommyCon hype is all about. We will find out this weekend! Can’t wait to share it with all of you when we get back. If you are too intrigued to wait, then check out the upcoming MommyCon events.

~Momstracted Momma

My HappyEnding!

So, I know I’ve mentioned that we cloth diaper (cd) and that we only cloth part-time. Here’s the thing. I have been so hesitant to take that plunge because I haven’t found a diaper that meets all of my requirements.

Here’s what I’ve been looking for:

Easy – I’m just going to admit that I’m not a pre-fold diaper kind of momma. It’s awesome and I love how inexpensive it can be but it’s not my forte. Besides ease of use, I’m looking for easy to clean.
Inexpensive – I know. I’m asking for a lot, easy and inexpensive. Let’s face it, you can already save a ton of money by using cloth in the first place but it’s a big upfront cost. It’s even more expensive when you want an “easy” diaper. We like AIO (all in one) and AI2 (all in two), but they are the more expensive type.
Good fit – Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing cuter than a fluffy butt baby, but I like a trim fitting diaper.

I knew what I was looking for in a diaper but didn’t know where to find it. I listened to podcasts (The Diaper Dirt, with Dana Ryan is my favorite), joined FB groups and even found some sites online that gave me a ton of information about the different types and how to use them.

From what I understand, there are about 7 different kinds of cd’s: flat and prefold, fitted, pocket, hybrid, AIO, and AI2. I won’t go into what the differences are in this post, but there are many resources to help determine what is best for you and your baby.

We started with pockets, but weren’t thrilled with the upkeep so we decided to try AIO’s, AI2’s and hybrids. We purchased several Grovia Hybrids and AI2’s. The hybrids were fine for daytime but didn’t fit snug enough for nighttime. I thought I had found the pot of gold with the AI2’s, but was totally wrong. The gussets began to get holes after several washes and the fabric was so rough. It didn’t seem like a very comfortable diaper. I also had a difficult time getting them clean. They held in odors (I could have been doing something wrong in my wash routine) and I was done battling them.

This brings me to my newest love in the cd world, Happy Endings Eco Diapers. I ran across this gem of a diaper while searching YouTube for cd reviews.  I watched a review of their Charcoal Bamboo AIO and AI2 diapers. As soon as the review was over, I went straight to their page to place an order. Here’s where the story gets even sweeter. Not only did they have adorable prints, but they don’t charge shipping and their products are affordable. I decided to place my order of one each charcoal bamboo AIO and AI2. Get this! I placed my order at 9:56 am on January 28th. My order was shipped by 2:31 pm that same day. Talk about customer service! Oh and I had fluff mail in my mailbox two days later. Now all of this was great but if the diapers weren’t what we expected, then it didn’t matter how fast we got them. After properly prepping them (washing ONCE in warm water with a cd safe detergent), we put them to the test. Our ultimate test was having Baby Bell sleep in them. This was the ultimate test because she is a heavy nighttime wetter. We were happy to report that neither of them leaked. Woo hoo! My next test was to see how well they fit under her clothes. I tried them both (without extra inserts) under regular pants and they fit fabulously. I found it, my Holy Grail of cloth diapers. After a few more wears and washes, Flick and I decided to order more. I came home one day, bagged up over half of my diapers and sold them to fund more Happy Endings Eco diapers. We bought eight more diapers and one pair of training pants. I just checked my shipping status and will be getting them in no time.

Thank you Happy Endings Eco Diapers for being the happy ending to my cloth diaper drama.  You may have helped turn this part-time cloth-diapering momma into a full-time cloth-diapering momma.

While I highly recommend these diapers, please keep in mind that not all babies are the same and certainly are not the same size. Do some research and try some different types before deciding what is best for you and your baby.

~Momstracted Momma

Snot, Snuggles, and Sleepless Nights

First of all I have to apologize for the missed post and all-together silence. I’ve been…what you would call…momstracted. Baby Bell has been sick and Flick and I have taken turns being home with her. It wasn’t anything serious, a viral thing, but boy has it taken a toll on the Momstracted household. I’m convinced there is this “lever” and whenever you brag about your kid not having the latest bug, it gets switched from healthy to sick. She went to the babysitter one day this week. We just feel blessed that our employers are so thoughtful and flexible with our schedules.

It all started with a cough. Isn’t that how they all start, a little cough? Then there was the sneeze and the runny nose, followed by the fever. We, once again, jumped the gun. It’s like the one thing we can’t get the hang of as new parents. Any time Baby Bell gets sick, we are so quick to go to the doctor. We were up with her for about 4 hours on Monday night. She was coughing hard and very uncomfortable. Flick took her to the doctor on Tuesday. Of course they told us, “it’s probably just a viral thing.” At this point, she wasn’t running a fever. Well, we should have waited to visit the doctor because she got much worse that night. It was probably the worst night of sleep since we brought her home from the hospital. She was truly inconsolable. Oh and she started running a fever.

Wednesday and Thursday were my days to stay home with her. I was armed with an arsenal of Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Vapor Rub, Delsym, Coconut Oil, Boogie Wipes, Boogie Mist, Nose Frida, and a humidifier. We gave her Benadryl at night with Delsym for the cough. The Delsym didn’t control her cough at all. She had a humidifier going in her room and Vicks on her chest and feet. I’ve heard putting Vicks on the bottom of their feet before socks can help with coughing. I couldn’t really tell a difference but maybe that was because I was so sleep deprived. We gave her Ibuprofen as a fever reducer and I patted her head with a cool washcloth. I felt so bad because her whole body was hot to the touch. She really liked it when I rubbed her head with the cool washcloth. I cannot speak highly enough of the Boogie Wipes and Boogie Mist. Her nose was constantly running. I’m talking “snot faucet.” Using the Boogie Wipes instead of a dry tissue helped keep her nose from getting raw. This in turn made her less combative when I was repeatedly wiping her nose. Oh and the Boogie Mist kept her nose nice and moist during the night, helping her to breathe better. I didn’t include it on my Ten Products Post but the Nose Frida is AWESOME! Well, it’s awesome if you get excited about the amount of snot you get out of your child’s nose. It’s not as gross as it sounds. I was hesitant at first. You have to go here and check it out. We love our Nose Frida and I recommend it to anyone with a snotty nosed kid. So, I have started using Coconut oil on Baby Bell’s cheeks because they have been so chapped from the cold, windy winter. I also put some under her nose at bedtime while she was sick to help prevent the dry crusty boogies. It definitely seemed to help and it’s much better for her than Vaseline if she gets it in her mouth.

Okay so let me take this time to rant for a second. I HATE every one of the thermometers we have ever bought. I honestly cannot find one that I like. They either take too long, or give three completely different readings. When my kid is sick and is burning up with a fever, I want a fast and accurate result. We have tried at least six different brands and 3 different types. I’ve had the urge to throw each of them across the room and actually did a couple. So, if anyone out there has a recommendation of a good thermometer that doesn’t cost $50, PLEASE let me know. Okay, rant over.

After another sleepless night we called the doctor. Since she had the fever for a couple days, the doctor called in an antibiotic and cough syrup. Let me just take this time to say how much we love our pediatrician. She is amazing. The staff is amazing, they are always quick to return our calls, we’ve never had to reschedule and our doctor seems to genuinely care. A good Pediatrician is so important. Get recommendations and don’t settle for just anyone. Flick stayed home with her on Friday because she still had a bit of a fever and needed one more day of cuddles. I remember being sick as a kid and nothing made me feel better quite like cuddles. I think Baby Bell has discovered the same thing. Oh, and ice cream. Ice cream can fix anything.

So, she’s finally getting back to her happy, energetic self and mommy and daddy are finally getting some sleep. Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Bell – 1, Virus – 0

While my arsenal of medications and snot sucking gadgets seem like a perfect combination, I’m not a professional. You should always check with your pediatrician before giving your child any medication.

Until our next snot sucking adventure we’ll just keep cuddling and eating ice cream.

~Momstracted Momma