Illuminating Stella

July 2013 archive

Sawdust Festival

John, Stella and I went to The Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach on Friday afternoon. We had such a nice evening, the weather was perfect and we timed it just right so Stella slept on the way down and on the way home. Yes, our lives revolve around the naps. When she cooperates with the plan, life is good. What’s cool about the festival is that it features only Laguna Beach artists. There is some of everything including paintings, ceramics, blown glass, mixed media, wood works, crafts, jewelry….you name it. We got there and just meandered around until we got hungry for dinner. Once we did, we decided on some yummy greek food for dinner from Thasos Greek Island Grille. I had a Falafel Wrap and John had a Lamb Burger. We drank some good beer and listened to a charming performer sing during dinner, he even sang a few cute kids tunes. Stella seemed to really enjoy herself, she loved watching all three musicians and bands we encountered. She also got to run around a bit, watch a glass blowing demo and play in a cool fountain. We forgot the camera, so forgive the cell phone photography.






























Stella’s Five Star Baby Gear (9 Months to One Year)

Here’s a list of some of our favorite baby gear, specifically stuff that we have loved and relied on for the last few months of Stella’s first year. Stella’s Five Star Awards go to…..

Fisher Price Booster Seat High Chair


We use this at home to feed her, but also take this portable seat to many picnics, concerts in the park, family dinners, parties, even her birthday at the Zoo. I think that it is a very functional and super affordable high chair. Stella really needs to be seated in her seat to actually focus and eat anything. It’s also easy to throw in the car trunk, wash and clean, then strap back in at the dining table at home.

Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker


We used this as a soother seat when she was an infant as it vibrates. Now she loves to play around and sit in this chair. She doesn’t stay seated in it for too long yet, but I am already seeing her pause from moments of play to take a breather and just hang out in the chair. We also use it for reading to her. The print is very cheerful.

Infantino Cart Cover


I use this almost daily when we are out shopping at Target, the Grocery Store, etc. I love that she is protected from germs and the metal and hinges of the cart. We can also bring along a few toys for her to play with that I can attach to the cover and can’t go missing while we shop. One of my most favorite baby gear items, I absolutely love the print too. It rolls up into a convenient little carry along bag.

Summer Infant Tiny Diner Placemat


I was using thin plastic placemats that stick to the table, but she just kept ripping them off or trying to eat them. I also was concerned they were not BPA free. Then I found this one. It has suction cups that actually work and there is a great little catch tray. It’s pretty easy to roll up and take along and wash between uses.

Ergobaby Carrier


We have really liked the Ergo and still use it from time to time, even now that she is walking. We just discovered using it in the backpack format, which is a cool option.

Cloud B Gentle Giraffe Sound Machine


We have used this every night since Stella came home from the hospital. It really seems to help soothe her into a deep sleep. We even took the music box out of it and took it to Mexico with us. It’s a soft and sweet Giraffe too.

See Kai Run and Pediped Shoes


I am really pleased with the durability of these shoes. I love the styles and it’s nice knowing that she is wearing footwear with memory foam insoles that are going to help her with walking and the development of her feet.

Baby Gates


It took me (and the cat) awhile to get used to all of the baby gates, but they are a requirement in our two story home. I have to say it’s nice that she does not have access to the kitchen, cat food, laundry room, cleaning supplies, etc. Also that when she figures out how to climb out of her crib (any day now I worry) she will have another hurdle to surpass before she could tumble down the stairs.

Kikkerland Bath Mat


We are really happy with this bath mat. It’s organic and sticks nicely to the bottom of the tub and has a strong no-slip surface. Yet, it can be removed easily and hung to dry between her nightly baths so it doesn’t mold.

Swimways Infant Inner Tube with Sun Shade


Though we do not have a pool, we live in So Cal and seem to vacation specifically at spots with pools. This has been a really nice way to let Stella float in the pool with us with some independence. The sun shade is a huge plus too.

Diono Car Mirror


Pretty essential. How else would I know that she has (thank heaven) definitely nodded off?

JJ Cole Picnic Blanket


Not a baby item per se, but one that get’s used all the time. This blanket is so lightweight and easy, it folds into a bag with a carrying strap. Since we often have to feed her at the park it’s also nice to have a surface that is comfy to lounge on AND that is waterproof, so food or wet grass doesn’t soak into it. We use our blanket a few times a week, especially in the summer time.

Toy Storage


Toys everywhere just drives me nuts. With this Ikea Storage Unit and 3 Sprouts Boxes we can put everything away a few times a day so I can feel a sense of control for a minute or two and then….get it all back out again. It’s worked really well and it’s cute.

Holmes Egg Air Purifier


The air quality in LA is ranked in the top ten worst in the U.S. Since that is not super comforting to know, we decided to get a HEPA air filter for Stella’s nursery. It makes me feel a little better about the air she breathes.

Angel Care Movement and Sound Monitor and Web Cam

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I love this monitor, it has a motion sensor component, just seeing the motion detector registering her breathing (a little pendulum swinging back and forth) helps me breathe easier too. We use it in tandem with a webcam system John put together. In a two-story home, I think both are pretty necessary.

Playa del Carmen – Part Four – Night Swimming

Early on in the week we spent in Playa I told my cute niece Maddie that John and I would take her night swimming one night. She was pretty excited about the idea. Secretly, I really wanted to go too. I have always loved swimming in a pool at night. There is something about how the lights look under water creating a beautiful blue glow in the pool and how great the water feels on a warm, tropical night. As I suspected, Maddie loved it too. The three of us had a really great time. I brought the Lumix waterproof camera along too and snapped some pictures.