**And if now you can use Amazon Prime for free to get your goods fast! --->
-Paper garland cutouts mounted on fishing line.
Gathering the family at your place is a wonderful feeling of welcoming, love, and togetherness. It also brings on the stomach turning stress of frantic cleaning, hiding all the clutter, and those brief moments of wishing you gave it all up to live like the Amish with one outfit, a shovel and a candle to your name.
Here in NYC the feeling is no different. It happens about 4 times a day. But my friends at Apartment CPR are experts in bringing the best out of your space. They have been turning small spaces into true sanctuaries for 4 years and know exactly how to bring the holiday spirit into your home while also sharing the gift of sanity.
Here is a list of easy projects that don't cost much more than last night's take out, and can be done in those last couple of days you have left before everyone arrives.
Click any of the pictures to find similar items on Amazon to get you started!
1: Don't forget the meaning of the season. Christmas is about family and tradition, so don't get overwhelmed by the hub bub. Find a few meaningful traditions that your family will remember for years to come.
2: Keep it simple. Less is more! A well done tree or mantle piece is all you really need to bring the Christmas spirit to your home.
3: De-clutter before decorating. Your Christmas decor should replace some of your existing year round items.
4: Find a cohesive color scheme. Use a palate that works with your exiting home decor. Just because Red and Green are traditionally everywhere doesn't mean you're stuck with those two colors. Green can be your "neutral' then play off it with colors that speak to you.
5: Use simple wrapping. Use brown paper packages tied up with string or stick with the same wrapping paper to make the tree area seem less cluttered and more cohesive.
6: Pile on the texture and metallics. Use them as pops of excitement against your above mentioned palate.
7: Set a budget and stick to it! Not every decoration has to be store bought. Here are a few Apartment CPR DIY's:
-Paper garland cutouts mounted on fishing line.
-Strung Marshmallows sprayed with a metallic glitter.
8: Get the family involved. Decorate the tree together, create your own ornaments that will become family treasures.
9: Think outside the box. Not all homes have room for a tree. A wreath is a great substitute or build a "tree" of your own. To replace the pine tree smell, a great scented candle or diffuser will do the trick.
10: Get inspired, Pinterest, magazines and other forums are a great way to hone your design skills. If you don't have the time to do the decor the way you want, or don't know how to excute the ideas ask for help! Apartment CPR does just that! www.apartmentcpr.com Let us take the hassle out of your holiday!
The holidays should feel like a chance to enjoy company and relax, not a chore. Find a few things you and your family love and stick with them. Then with a little time to organize you can have a great holiday hosting routine down for every year.
***Still need to finish you gift shopping? Get it done with DaddyO's gift guide for Dads, Lads, and Lasses (& Moms too)***
So a couple of weeks ago I booked flights from NYC to L.A. and back to have myself, my wife and our new baby boy get out to California to visit my family over the Christmas holiday. I knew the longer I waited to book the flights, the more expensive they would be (especially for such a popular travel time). I didn't want to get screwed so I was hoping to find the "sweet spot" for booking. I looked around on the internet to see if there was a day of the week, a time of day or any other "insider info" about when to find the cheapest flight. I even questioned a Jet Blue flight attendant while we both stood in line at the Post Office. All of these efforts turned up assumptions and no real concrete results.
It turned out there was not a secret combination of search sites or dropping someone's name when calling the airline directly that would work. There is in fact only one true way to get the lowest possible booking price. BOOK FAR IN ADVANCE. Between 90 days and 150 days to be more precise. BOOK NOW! As of this post, NOW is the best time to grab deals on flights for the 2015 holiday season.
****Here is a link for Booking.com. I used CheapOair and there is a link for them below****
Airlines make most of their profits off of travel booked at the last minute when costs skyrocket because demand is high and supply gets lower by the second. We have all had the experience of not having a spare moment in our daily lives and so we don't get to booking that flight until a few weeks out at best - and the night before at worst.
With my plan set, I used CheapOair to book my flights, and managed to get the airline, times, and seats I wanted. While the cost per ticket still ended up being around $500 I could have easily spent $700 if I had bought flights in October or November.
If you can plan just your holiday travel, or some reoccurring trip, months out you will get the best price and not have the pressure of limited time and be forced to take any plane flying that direction at whatever God-awful time they allow their under-caffeinated, and overworked flight crew to operate 20 tons of aircraft.
So now if you can make your plans and get your flights booked, you can take your savings and splurge for one of the upgrades, like a hotel package or a rental car. Or you can use the money for a nice meal out on vacation or some extra Santa swag. The point is that dough is yours because you took advantage of foresight and planned ahead. Now if I can just plan to handle the laundry I might be closer to winning this "adulting" game.
OK, I know what you're thinking. "Yeah right". Honestly, I thought the same thing when my Dominican neighbor suggested we take Vick's Vapor Rub with us to the pediatricians and apply it after the shots to sooth our baby.
Well, we thought we would try it and IT WORKED! After the shots were complete, we rubbed in a small amount to each injection site and put the band aid over that and our baby felt much better.
We decided to space out our vaccinations by a week or so, so we only had two shots to deal with at the time, but our son was happy as a clam after the little "life hack" we tried.
Maybe it's luck, maybe it works, maybe it's Voodoo. When you have a kid, you go take any small success you can muster.
Welcome to the club! You are now part of a wonderful family and a member of committed brethren of men aiming to raise healthy and happy children while managing the daily tasks of being a loving husband and respectable man. Congratulations!
I know you are feeling more proud, more love, and more joy than you have ever felt in your life. I also know when there is even the tiniest of breaks in the day, you are feeling the most dread you have ever felt in your life. What to do, how to do it right, when to do it, should you do it, why do you even do it, and what does it cost to hire someone else to do it. :-)
There are many books on the topic of new fatherhood and you should read them . But I wanted to put together a short list of the immediate bits of knowledge that you will need to help you through the next month in your efforts to keep another human being alive.
1. Keep a log.
A notebook (paper or digital) is a great place to log when you feed and change the baby. Keeping track those first few weeks will be important to make sure your child is doing well and acclimating to living in this new world. You can also write down questions for the pediatrician to ask them when you bring your kid and your notebook to your appointments. Trust me, sleep deprivation will sap your memory so write down anything you want to remember.
2. Sleep when the baby sleeps
Seriously. I know you are going to want to use that time to catch up on email, update your Facebook, or even just watch T.V. DON'T.
SLEEP. NOW. That little 30 minute nap will make you such a better person and allow you to get through the rest of your day. Everything else can wait.
3. Control the legs during a diaper change.
Have you ever had to actually hog tie a squealing pig? Imagine you are trying to put a pair(s) of pants on a squid. (I'll give you a sec to let that image manifest)
But first you have to change it's diaper.
Those little legs can be everywhere in an instant and so can the contents of the diaper when they kick it all around.
The best method is to take one hand and grab both their ankles and lift up raising their butt off the changing mat. Now you can use your other hand to remove the diaper and wipe them down. You'll be a pro at it in no time. It's a simple trick, but it prevents you from have THAT story.
4. When the baby is crying, check off the list.
Here is the list:
- Change the baby. (diaper and outfit, if needed)
- Feed the baby.
- Comfort the baby. (swaddle, rocking, holding, carry)
- Whatever specific task your child may require.
- If you have done everything to make sure the child is fed, clean and comfortable, then you may just need to let them cry it out.
Put them down where they sleep and let them be. Come back in 30 minutes and try the list again.
5. Baby helpline.
Here is a baby helpline you can call with questions. Set your phone to voice dial it if you can. Yelling "Call Babyline" at your phone while holding a distressed baby will make your life a lot easier! I also have it set to "Call Batman", but nothing has happened yet...
Here is the number to the Hoag Hospital Babyline. (PST) You can call and leave a message and they will call you right back.
6. Stress management.
Yoga, workout, bike ride, swim, walk, run, meditate, etc.
Whatever you need to do to give yourself even just 20 minutes of focused YOU time built around relaxing and calming your body and mind DO IT! Let your partner have that time and they will give it to you.
Keeping a human being alive is immensely stressful and it will get the better of you on more than one occasion. You must find a way to manage your anger, exhaustion, depression and frustrations in an effective way. It is not the child's fault that they cannot take care of themselves or even know what they need. It is your task as a parent to take the higher ground and put the child's needs first while caring for your own well being in a positive way.
Here are some good online resources:
10 minute Yoga Flow
20 minute workout
7. Buy diapers? Good. Now buy twice as many.
Whether you are using cloth, G Diapers, disposable, or old t shirts, it doesn't matter. You will need more than you think you need. Babies will go through a lot of diapers. Below is an Amazon link to a ton of 'em. 216 diapers for $36 with Prime and there in 2 days. Amazon will become your very best friend.
8. Help your partner
It is not easy for dads. It's not easy for moms either. Make sure you are helping in whatever way you can. This is a team effort. Take out the trash, walk the dogs, clean the kitchen, clean the bathroom, vacuum the living room, make the bed, make dinner, buy the groceries, order take out, watch a movie she wants to watch, bring her food and drink while she is breastfeeding, clean the bottles.
Anything helps and you will be surprised how efficient you become at all of these tasks. You can get a lot done in 20 minutes of focused effort.
Become the man you know you can be - all capable, all caring, all powerful.
9. Ask for help.
It took me a little bit before I let myself reach out with questions and concerns I had. Maybe pride stopped me, maybe naivete, maybe I just never found the time. But when I did I found a resource in my friends, family, neighbors and online that helped answer simple and even complex questions. Never be afraid to say "I don't know, but I will find out". It will save you.
10. Enjoy this.
This is a beautiful time in your life. You love this new human and feel like you have never felt when you hold them in your arms and look into their eyes. Yes it can be tough, but loving and raising a fantastic person makes it all worth it. Take lots of pictures, go on walks as a family, and enjoy just being together. You'll be great.
- Daddy O
So you have the stroller. You can pack a few things into it, but let’s face it - carting around a kid requires a military quartermaster to keep track of all the things you will need from bottles, wipes, snacks, pants, toys, hats, and oh yeah, room for your stuff.
You have to find a way to keep all your accoutrement organized, and it is not easy to find a stroller organizer that can fit all of your demands.
Joe, founder of Ethan & Emma, suffered the same struggle and endeavored to create his own solution.
Joe wanted an organizer that offered more storage space, cup holders that could hold something bigger than a soda can, and a way to attach this organizer to any stroller on the market. His background in manufacturing gave him the skills to see the product through to production and years of retail experience led him in his course to bring this fantastic idea to the market that needs it. This organizer is a wonderful example of a superior product developed by parents for parents.
Now for the details of what Ethan & Emma has brought us.
Out of the box, it’s clear how compact this organizer can get. Folded up it takes up no more room than a fanny pack, remember those? So it’s easy to travel with this product anywhere you plan to use any stroller.
Two large flaps on either side of the organizer allow you to mount the stroller on any handle bar set up by wrapping the flaps around attaching the velcro back on itself.
Ready to roll, you now have everything you need right in front of you. There are two deep and insulated pockets for holding drinks. These are great, thought out features. Insulated cup holders, big enough to hold your steel water bottle and deep enough to make sure that large iced coffee travels securely.
Between the cup holders is a parent friendly square pocket as deep as the cup holders with a flap covering that has a mesh zipper pocket built into the top. This mesh pocket is a perfect place to keep a metro card, easy pass cards for theme parks, or even a grocery list. I currently use it to store blog business cards.
That same middle pocket keeps the flap closed with a magnetic strip to allow access without the noise from ripping Velcro to wake a sleeping child. Obviously this was a function a parent knew needed to be featured.
If you are looking to store a few more items beyond the necessities, there is a large zippered pouch attached to the main organizer with a zipper. Put wipes, plastic bags, pacifiers, or anything else you would need and then need to bring around to the front of the stroller. Easy on, easy off.
A deep mesh pocket next to the zippered pouch completes the main unit with a perfect place to stash your cell phone.
But wait…THERE’S MORE! That’s right, just as you packed all your belongings and are ready to head out, your kid brings out his two dinosaurs that have to come with us, or her magical flute that travels everywhere with her now. If you need more space there are TWO MORE pockets that are cleverly stashed with Velcro right under the main compartments. Pull the Velcro and roll out two large mesh pockets that hang securely below everything else and stay out of the way while walking.
You’re set! Once you find your way back home after an afternoon of excitement, all the pockets easily fold up, close up and create the simple streamlined organizer you started with. A quick wipe down with a damp cloth will clear any messes you find at the end of your day.
For my money, this organizer checked all the boxes without sacrificing necessary space for gimmicks. Infinitely useful, infinitely practical, and infinitely adaptable, the Ethan & Emma Stroller Organizer is an excellent purchase that you will be happy with and touting its perks to your friends the first chance you get.
This morning has been tough.
As soon as my wife left for work, I get the kid changed and fed. Up till then it was all smiles and sweetness.
After the bottle he was no longer satisfied with his life. His whole life! Nothing pleased him. Carrying, the swing, the crib, the pacifier.
This kid always wants to eat. Wants to, but does not always need to.
I gave him some more breast milk and he spat it up moments later. Come on, son! This stuff is like gold! We can't waste it. Mommy is our golden goose but there are only so many eggs we get. Without this option, we are paying a fortune to the formula cartels, and we are indebted to them for life!
But I digress.
So finally I go to DEFCON 4. Not 5, but 4. DEFCON 5 would be putting him safely in his crib, screaming his head off, and to walk away.
We still had one more option before pushing the big red button. Tummy time!
Placing him on his tummy on a semi-soft, clean surface is great for him to work out his little neck and back muscles. Why, it's Dr. recommended!
He hates it. I mean really, really hates it. Hates it like Kanye West hates it when Beyonce doesn't get whatever Grammy he thinks she needs at this moment. (I do think my baby and Kanye sound similar when they are upset).
Struggle and object as he might, his little workout eventually tires him out. And then...
Now he is taken care of and I can take care of my self. Breakfast would be a good start. And some tummy time of my own. Abs don't make themselves I hear.
...Or a convention.
This fall will bring the 20th annual At Home Dads Convention in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is great for so many reasons, but the first two being: We have a convention! Sweet! Also, this has been happening for 20 years!
It is amazing that dads like James Kline, the convention committee chairman and network vice president, have created and maintained such a substantial support group for stay at home dads which, according to Appalachian State University research, sites the national number at 1.4 Million in '09. It's clear that this is not a fad, trend or passing phase in male exploration of family dynamics or a need to forgo your meals because you don't have a single moment to make a sandwich while chasing around a pantsless toddler.
With activities, key-note speakers, CPR training, sponsors, and even a car seat installation challenge this convention looks to be full of entertaining and useful material for any dad. Even if you can't make it down to Raleigh, a gathering like this proves stay at home dads are a growing force to be reckoned with.
Keep up the good work, boys.