If you already have a child, then you know well that whether you were once a reader or not before becoming a parent, that you certainly are now. We all know that reading to your child, even before they are born, is an incredible way to connect, educate and stimulate their rapidly growing minds.
Back when we found out we were having a child, one of the first things we did was buy books to read out loud so that our little guy could learn our voices right away. When he made his way into the world, we kept up with that. It’s paid off in so many ways already. Some of our fondest memories with Forrest so far are during story time. He’s been a book lover since forever and still is.
The thing with children and books is just like children and anything else; they get really attached to one thing or doing a certain thing. They like and need to hear things over and over. I am pretty sure that between my wife and I, we’ve read Little Owl Lost at least 1 million times. So, if you are going to be reading the same thing over and over, you mind as well get some enjoyment out of it too. There are ridiculous amount of books out there for little ones, so naturally, it’s hard to sift through all of them to find the good ones. The ones written well with interesting topics or amazing illustrations and that might even inspire us parents.
So, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite books that Forrest loves and that Jessica and I don’t mind reading over and over. Feel free to share any of your favorites in the comments for others to check out as well!
If you’re anything like me, you are looking at the calendar and just now realizing there are only 16 shopping days left for Christmas. On top of that, you’ve got a huge workload to finish before the end of the year leaving you little to no time to actually go out and do your shopping. So, in the little bit of free time I have, I’ve been compiling these holiday gift guides full of great gifts for your lady, kids and even a list to give to your wife in case you are one of those “impossible” to shop for guys. Good news is that all of the products listed out below can be ordered online and I am 98% sure all of them will arrive before Christmas, if you get on it soon. Here’s to a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
This Father’s Day is certainly going to be special. It’s my first Father’s Day as a father and it also happens to fall on my birthday. My birthday has fallen on Father’s Day in the past of course, but this year it’s a much bigger deal now I am a new father. Although, I’m definitely a lot more excited about it being my first Father’s Day than the part about turning another year older.
As Father’s Day is quickly approaching and Jessica, my wife, has been asking what I’d like for Father’s Day/my birthday, I thought I’d share some ideas in case you haven’t figured out what to get the father in your life. And while Father’s Day isn’t about gifts, or at least it shouldn’t be, saying thank you with something nice, thoughtful and practical means a lot. Let’s be honest though, becoming a father has been the greatest gift in itself and no material possession can beat that, although a few of these might come close. I kid, I kid.
Below is the Father’s Day gift guide I curated to help sparks some ideas and find the perfect gift for this Father’s Day that practically any dad would love and appreciate. So, no matter what kind of dad you’re celebrating, you’ll definitely find something here.
Who knew finding a diaper bag that wouldn’t clash with me and my wife’s personal styles while carrying around would be so hard? Honestly, I have no idea why so many companies and brands thought they should design diaper bags as if the child itself was the one carrying it around. I searched high and low for the best diaper bags for dads and of course, moms too. Luckily, a few sensible people out there created some better looking diaper bags (The Honest Co., Tosan, Storq) that even most dads wouldn’t mind carrying around.
It’s also become more common and practical to use other types of bags that weren’t originally designed for the use of a diaper bag. Personally, we went this route when we decided on a diaper bag. Mostly because many of the amazingly designed and produced diaper bags we loved were simply too expensive (like the incredibly designed Leader Bag Co. bag shown in this post which goes for $465) for us at the time or weren’t available yet. Plus, we also liked the idea of being able to use whatever we bought again later for something else. We ended up going with the Fajllraven Kanken Daypack for those exact reasons. Not very expensive and can certainly be used for other things. It’s a pretty good quality bag, but it’s not so expensive that we’ll lose our minds if we spill something on it or it gets damaged. If it lasts, which it seems it will, until after Forrest is no longer wearing diapers, we’ll be able to use it again for other purposes or he can even use it for school. The design of it isn’t crazy which helps ensure that it won’t look all that dated in a couple of years, so I am hoping it will still be a rather cool and hip back pack in a few years.
Before really ever looking into what diaper bag we wanted, I knew I probably didn’t want something that was created specifically as a diaper bag because my experience up until my wife’s pregnancy was that all diaper bags pretty much suck and we both probably wouldn’t be all too excited about carrying some floral or animal print bag that had to be worn over one shoulder or carried by hand.
My criteria for a diaper bag both Jess and I would be happy to lug around looked like this:
Large enough to store everything we might need for a full day outing plus some of our own items.
Backpack style. Anyone with a kid knows you need your hands free, so carrying a bag was out of the question and cross body/shoulder backs can really do a number on your back and shoulders.
Durable and reliable yet lightweight. We wanted something that could take a bit of a beating without feeling like we were carrying our child in it.
Has both style and function and was unisex. No reason to sacrifice one for the other, right?
Reusable when finished using it to carry diapers and baby stuff.
These were ones we looked into along with some newer ones we’ve discovered since then. You just can’t go wrong with any of these though. Sorry, but not sorry if you start drooling over the Leader Bag Co. or Filson bags. You just might have to work an extra few ours and check under the sofa cushions to get those.
For my wife and I, finding the perfect stroller was a serious task. So many options, so many brands, so many prices and so many hours spent comparing all of them. For us, we knew we wanted something that could do a lot, wouldn’t break the bank, looked good and was small enough for our living space, vehicle and narrow grocery store aisles. That’s a lot to ask for, apparently. But, we came to the conclusion that we needed a travel system. We searched high and low for the best stroller that we could afford and appealed to us.
Eventually, we landed on the Scoot from Stokke. It’s light, small enough for our small home, fit easily in the trunk of our somewhat small car, was within our price range (~$700) and was compatible with the car seat we wanted, the Nuna Pipa ($300) with the Stokke car seat adapter. Even better though, Stokke collaborated with Nuna to release a Stokke x Nuna Pipa ($350) which worked with Stokke strollers without the adapters and came in the black melange fabric we wanted anyway. So, that pretty much settled our decision. Additionally, we came across a great deal from Diapers.com they had running on Stokke products. We had already become fans of Diapers.com anyway, (365 day return policy, easy returns, price matching, quick/free shipping, awesome customer service, etc.) so that was the icing on the cake.
That probably sounded a lot easier than it actually was. We spent A LOT of time researching and looking at most the strollers listed below before making a decision. It was important to us that whatever we bought was going to last, hopefully through the use of a second child. Our only concern was, do we get a stroller that can become a double stroller later? We decided against it because 1) we don’t know when we’ll have said second child and 2) if we absolutely need to get a double stroller, we’ll hopefully be able to sell our current stroller for a decent amount before purchasing a double. The Stokke Cruzi was one that offered a sibling seat option, but at over twice the cost of the Scoot, it was justifiable at the time.
We loved pretty much everything about the others we looked at. The main reasons we went against them though, was either because of price, size or weight. The Britax B-Agile was tempting because of its costs and Britax seems to be a trusted name. Tons of our friends have them and love them, but we just really found that the Scoot just felt better ergonomically and had we gone with the Britax, we wouldn’t have been able to use the Nuna Pipa with it.
Two that we didn’t look at the time, but are listed below, are the Cybex Priam (it wasn’t out at the time) and the Voyager from Phil&Teds. If we were looking for a stroller right now, we would have definitely included these two into our top picks. The Cybex Priam stroller is really lightweight, yet it’s great for various terrain. It, like many of the others listed is a 3-in-1 in system and it’s just really a beautifully designed stroller as well as their carseats too. What I love about it, from what I can tell, is how well it folds down and easily it can be stored. The Phil&Teds Voyager is a 4-in-1 system and can accommodate ONE OR TWO car seats from either their own line, Mountain Buggy, Graco, Chico, Maxi Cosi, Peg Perego and Cybex. To use it with two seats, you simply need the adapter they offer.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these though. All are carefully designed to help make life with a baby a little bit easier and to have great style. The ones we focused in on for ourselves were all easy to use, seemed comfortable for our baby and were made of quality, durable materials and deliberately left the obnoxious “cheese” factor off the product that a lot of brands use to sell their products.
So, if we were to be on the stroller hunt again, this would be our list of the best strollers of 2016 that we’d begin with and narrow down from there.