Category Archives: Stuff We Like

Leapalooza

Celebrating my 1st Leapalooza with a human pyramid (that’s Lea on the second row giving a fist pump and me on the top)

Lea and MeI’ve been celebrating Leapalooza (usually I write it in all caps, but I’ll spare you all my annoying exuberance) for almost 3 years now (as long as I’ve known my now very good friend, Lea).  It is a two-week-long holiday from September 18th through October 2nd.  You may be thinking that  this Lea person is probably really self-absorbed – coming up with her own two-week long holiday – but if you are thinking that then you, a.  do not know Lea and b. are dead wrong. In fact the rules of Leapalooza state just the opposite:

To celebrate Leapalooza  you must do something  kind for someone else every day  and  do something that brings you joy every day (the two may be the same thing).

To say that Lea is an extraordinarily giving person would be truly an understatement. This is the girl who routinely delivers homemade baked goods to others for no reason,  picks up the check (discretely!) at huge group functions, spends her hard-earned money taking her entire (huge) family to Disney World (and NYC, and on cruises),  books a flight from North Carolina to New Jersey just to help you drive back down with your screaming and sick  9-month- old, and she’s also the girl who drives two hours just to have dinner with you on a Monday night because you tell her you need some girl talk (these are just some examples off the very top of my head – tip of the iceberg, really).   I once described Lea to someone as being a magnet for good and that pretty much sums it up.

And, in hopes of spreading even more good tidings (especially outside the timeframes of Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the other holidays that people feel particularly giving) Lea began celebrating Leapalooza back in 2007.  She herself practices Leapalooza all year but hoped that by making Leapalooza a ‘thing’, she’d be giving others more opportunity to give good.  Leapalooza hasn’t quite caught on though (at least like I think it should), outside Lea’s inner circle (which is pretty big, actually  what with her being a magnet for good and all).  So, in hopes of making Leapalooza even more widespread I thought I’d fill everyone in on here.

Unfortunately, Leapalooza ends shortly and I had been meaning to write this post over a week ago, but  not to fret, Leapalooza is obviously not  just about a two-week timeframe for doing good.    It’s about doing for others and nurturing your soul through that kind of good and that, well that,  can be done all year long.

I assume Lea picked the two week time-period (surrounding her September 25th birthday) in hopes of making this giving good a daily habit. But, according to the 2009 study in the European Journal of Psychology  researchers found that for a subset of 96 volunteers, it took a median time of 66 days to form a new habit.  66 days, people!  That’s 9 1/2 weeks.  That’s over two months.  So, even though I didn’t get to blogging about Leapalooza until 3 days before its over, I plan on celebrating it for at least 7 more weeks – long enough to make this thing a habit.  Just like working out our bodies physically on a daily basis allows us to clear our heads and make us stronger (as well as  a multitude of other good results!), giving to others selflessly actually is selfish if we take into account what it does to nourish our minds and souls – making us happier overall.  Gretchen Rubin (author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Project) has done quite a bit of research into what doing good does for our bodies.  She says:

“And it’s not just that helpful people also tend to be healthier and happier; studies show that helping others itself causes happiness. “Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons,” as one of my happiness paradoxes holds.”

So, will you join me?  Let’s continue to celebrate Leapalooza, not just because it’s fun to say or because people may randomly ask you to make a human pyramid, but because by doing good for others we’ll be doing good for ourselves too.

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Our Top 6 Favorite Pieces of Baby Gear (Age: 0-6 mos.)

I decided to do a series of posts on gear because recently I’ve been trying to assess what products we’ve used most  (now after two very different babies), in hopes of helping my anticipatory momma-to-be friends who are trying to figure out what they ‘need’. There was so much stuff we’d heard we wouldn’t be able to ‘live without’ that we bought before Case and never used with either of them, that I wanted to sit down and really think of what it is we actually did use so others don’t waste their money like we did.   I’ve organized it by price and age here and limited  the list to our top six lower price-point items for the kids when they’re young (age 0-6 months).  The next post will  be mostly bigger ticket items (i.e. strollers and carseats) and then lastly a post on items we’re using for our toddler (think shoes, feeding items, and some must have toys).  I think I’ve narrowed it down and hopefully organized it in a way that makes sense for all you shopping mommas out there.  


Our Lower price-point necessities:

1. Hooter hider (we used the original Hooter Hider because we got it as a gift) but I’ve seen many a great-looking knock-off with lots of really fun prints.  I recommend getting two because if you’ve got a baby with reflux you know you’re going to be washing that thing like twice a day (and that’s if you don’t leave the house…)

2.  Bouncy seat.  I remember my mom calling these Sassy seats and that’s because Sassy made them back then, but now everyone makes them and ours is Fisher Price.  These are handy for having a place to put new baby wherever you are (ie, kitchen -cooking, laundry room – endlessly folding teeny tiny things, bathroom – you get the idea).  When they figure out they can bounce these things on their own (Case never figured it out, but Claire did) they become extra entertaining and you may even get 20 min. of uninterrupted time to complete something!

3. Receiving blankets.  Seems silly to include these here, but we used them for everything and always had at least one in the diaper bag and two in the car.  They’re light so you can really tuck them in places you might need.  From using them as changing pads to burp cloths to even wipes (ok, we were in a bind! – DON’T JUDGE) – they’re handy.  We got neutral colored ones with Case (tans and greens) and used them for Claire too (not the one we used to wipe his butt, I thought you might go there…).  Doesn’t matter what kind you buy, just make sure they’re all cotton and dont’ have embroidered designs on them (kids don’t like that stuff near their faces and you’ll inevitably always have to flip it if you do get an embroidered one ’cause it will always wind up near their face!).

4. Bumbo We used the Bumbo with Case A LOT but with Claire she never really wanted to stay in it (always arched her back and tried to slide out – she’s not really great when sedentary).  But we used it so much with Case that I felt like I had to include it.  They say not to put them on the counter but I did, especially during dinner prep and he’d watch me happily.  I also fed him quite a bit in it as it was much easier to clean than the highchair (which I will not be including in our gear list because we DON’T like it, but we’re cheap and didn’t buy a different one because they’re expensive – also, my mother-in-law got three at yard sales so now that we live with them we always try to put the kids in those).  Case had difficulty sitting up in highchairs (without the help of multiple towels), so the Bumbo was always a good option because he sat better in it.  (We did end up using a feeder chair with Case from especialneeds.com for a while which really helped too, we got in on loan from Early Intervention in NC).  And we even put the Bumbo in the bath, but after we did that it was pretty much used for only the bath because it never really dried out.  Needless to say at this point but the options for the Bumbo are endless!  Get the tray.

5.  Diaper Bag – Ok, here is where I feel like I can give a really great recommendation. For Case I had a really cute Kate Spade bag that I got on Ebay but I ended up stuffing it and never being able to find anything, but I used it because I’d spent more money on it than I should have and I did think it was cute.  When I got pregnant with Claire I knew that I needed to get something that would allow me to be more organized (plus, who am I kidding, I only wear nike shorts and tank tops or yoga pants half the time, so it doesn’t really need to be that cute!).  I ended up getting the Skip Hop Duo Double Deluxe (because my girlfriend, Kendra had one and it looked like it could hold EVERYTHING!) but as it turns out, if I’ve got the room I’m apt to stuff it full and because this bag is literally bigger than both my kids put together, I ended up lugging around way more than I should have.  But I did like certain aspects of it: like the zipper top pocket (good for snacks that you don’t want your kids to see or your cell phone so you know it’s not going anywhere).  I also like the side mesh pocket for drinks (inevitably drinks spill/leak and I hate cleaning up the insides of pockets!) and its all washable (as any diaper bag should be).  So instead of lugging around the big one I decided to buy the smaller one (the first link: Diaper Bag) called Skip Hop Duo Deluxe.  It’s got all the things I liked about the big double without being enormous! And although it’s not very glamorous it does come in a variety of colors (although I ended up getting it in black because black goes really well with nike shorts) and on the vast price spectrum of diaper bags it’s relatively low and still good quality.  Like most everything else I buy lately, I got in on Amazon.com.

6.Boppy – I almost forgot to include this which is crazy because we use it CONSTANTLY.  It comes in most handy at night when you’re nursing a baby and you’re dead tired and really all you want to do is put your baby on your boob and ‘forget about it’.  Boppy makes this possible.  Get two covers, trust me.

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