Finally Friday: Caribou Boot

Warm Winter Boots: Sorel Caribou BootFor years, I’ve drooled over the Joan of Arctic boots by Sorel — so no one was more surprised than me that when I finally pulled the trigger and made a purchase, I decided to go for the shorter, more serious boots pictured here, the Caribou. I ultimately liked that they were wearable with different kinds of pants (skinny, cropped, boyfriend), while the taller Joan of Arctic boots would look best with leggings or skirts. Note to mamas considering these for playing in the snow with your kiddos: they’re heav-y (and very, very warm). If this is a problem for you, the Winter Carnival boots are almost identical, but instead of the suede upper, they have waterproof nylon. As a result they’re much more lightweight, but also less warm. (As it turned out, I’d ordered size 9 in the Winter Carnival and size 8.5 in the Caribou, and decided the 8.5s fit better — I probably would have kept the Winter Carnival instead if all things had been equal.) Sorel Caribou Boot 

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  1. In the spirit of the New Year, I’m curious about your morning routines and what you are doing to streamline them and/or make them easier.

    I’m on leave now with baby number two, but heading back shortly. My new routine will be 3 month old up at 6, nurse her then, and she goes back to sleep around 7:15. Toddler is up at 7:30 (I hope) and he drinks his milk and we snuggle and watch Sesame Street until 8, when our nanny arrives. Then I get dressed, get the baby up when she is ready, and get out the door.

    • mascot says:

      Streamlining came with age for us (he’s 5). Kiddo is now responsible for showing up downstairs with teeth brushed, clothes (not footwear) on, and bed made. We lay out his clothes the night before. Breakfast is always a smoothie (he helps make them), cereal, and/or yogurt. Most mornings there is no screen time. If he’s being particularly efficient, he can watch some PBSkids while I finish getting ready. I’m usually ready, but not dressed, by the time he wakes up. I get up btwn 5:30 and 6:15 depending on if I go to the gym that morning.
      Streamline tips- limited menu, clothes laid out, backpack by the door, minimize distractions. It took several years to get to this point though…

    • Pretty much just your basic “get everything ready the night before.” This includes making lunches, boiling water for tea and oatmeal and putting it in the thermos, putting the teabag in the cup for breakfast, setting out bowls for cereal, etc. There are no options for breakfast – I have cereal and spouse and baby have oatmeal. Shower the night before, re-wet hair in the morning. Luckily I have curly hair and don’t blow dry. Put on makeup once I get to work. Right now we get up at 7, baby gets up 7:30, out the door at 8 all together. With two parents and one baby there’s always someone to watch the baby while the other is in the bathroom/brushing teeth/getting dressed. Not sure how we’ll manage if there’s another baby down the line.

    • hoola hoopa says:

      Morning routine begins the night before, when I prep lunches (including my own!) and bottles. I stack anything that needs to go to school (or my office!) under the appropriate lunchbox on the kitchen counter. (Lunch items that need to be refrigerated go in the fridge – but all together in one area so that nothing gets disconnected and forgotten).

      My husband and I tag-team most mornings.
      6:30: Alarm goes off, I get dressed and wear robe over to protect clothes from the kids. DH wakes the kids and brings them downstairs.
      6:45: I do breakfast, put refrigerated lunch items in the boxes, and review daily schedule with kids while DH gets dressed and groomed.
      7:15: Kids get dressed and brush teeth. I brush teeth with them while DH does hair, ties shoes, rattles cages, and grabs something to eat.
      7:45: We start loading. Backpacks get their lunches/stuff. Jackets etc get put on. We spend 10 min loading three kids into two cars.
      8:00: Ideally we leave the driveway and head off to two drop-offs.

  2. DC mom anon says:

    Ha! I need help with the other end of the day – bedtime. What are your bedtime routines? After holiday travel, our 16 month old has been sleeping later and later. We do dinner at 6pm, bath at 7pm, and jammies/read to her at 8pm and somehow she doesn’t go down till 9:30-10pm.

    • Spirograph says:

      Just plop her in the crib after stories and leave? Ours is almost the same: Dinner around 6-6:30, bath (not every night, but most) immediately after. My 12-month old then gets snuggles/stories/songs and goes in her crib by 7-7:30. She might be awake when I put her down, but she almost never protests.

      2.5 year old gets to go play downstairs while the baby goes to sleep, then he gets snuggles/songs/stories too. He’s usually in bed around 8 does not always go to sleep right afterward, but most of the time he sits or lies in his bed “reading” or singing songs to himself. (Sometimes he starts wandering around or raiding the fridge. Those are bad nights.)

    • EB0220 says:

      Are you still nursing or rocking to sleep? At 15-16 months, mine was regularly up until 9:30-10. I weaned and did the Sleep Lady Shuffle and now she’s down by 8:30-8:45. We would start bedtime at 8:30-8:45 but it would just take her forever to fall and stay asleep.

    • Anonymous says:

      we have a just-over-2 year old and her routine hasn’t changed much since 15 months.

      5ish- pick up from daycare
      5:30-6ish- dinner
      6-7:30- play with us
      7:30-8- bath/brush teeth
      8-8:30- stories (2), songs (2-4), lights out. Sometimes she’ll ask for a milk cup, which i will go downstairs to get, wait a while, and in 10 minutes come back up and give it to her if she is awake. Would say 2/7 nights a week she drinks milk while lying in bed resting.

      She naps from 1:30-3 but if she has no nap, playtime is reduced to 15-30 min max and she’s asleep by 7:15-7:30 or all hell breaks loose. Mornings she’s up between 7:15 and 8:00

    • For the past year, with a 23 month old:

      – Daycare pick up 430 / 5
      – Play with Mom
      – Dinner 530 ish, Dad arrives home
      – Play with Dad (I’m around, but want them to get time together since babe still ‘prefers’ me if I’m available)
      – 630 Bath / brush teeth
      – Walk around to say ‘goodnight’ to photos of grandparents, cousins, etc. throughout the house
      – In crib by 7 or shortly thereafter.

      Sleeps until 7 (or did at least until this week, when he’s started getting up progressively earlier each today – today it was 545, ugh)

    • CPA Lady says:

      Also have a 16 mo old.

      I should say that up until last week, my husband worked nights (AND HE DOESN’T ANY MORE THANK GOD), so I had to do everything by myself. That is why my daughter’s bedtime routine is about 10 minutes long. Because at the end of the day, I just do not have the energy for some kind of long, drawn out, multi step routine. There was an episode of HIMYM that was my own personal hell, where marshall and lilly have such an absurd bedtime routine that they cannot get a grip on themselves enough to have a night out. I swore that would not become me. So far, so good.

      Anyway, she typically sleeps about 12 hours a night, and this is what we’ve been doing for the past several months:

      5-5:15 – pick up from daycare, 10 minute drive home.
      5:25-5:35 make dinner (rotating extremely fast dinner roster of about 4 things)
      5:35-6:00 dinner
      6:00-6:35 get ready for bed, pjs, tooth brushing, playing (bath = 2x a week, sometimes more if she smears food in her hair or plays in mud etc)
      6:35-6:45 1 book, 1 song, put baby in crib. turn off light, shut door. walk away.
      6:46 sit on couch, drink glass of wine in blissful silence. Ahhhh….

      • CPA Lady says:

        Oh, also, pretty much as soon as dinner is over, I start giving my daughter signals that its going to be bedtime soon. I turn off the overhead light in her room. I turn on the sound machine once we’re in there, even for book time. We’ve had the same routine for almost a year (though the timing of the steps has varied), and so once she’s in her pajamas and the lights are dim and the sound machine is on…. she’s so ready for bed. Sometimes she’ll even go stand by her crib.

  3. PinkKeyboard says:

    Hoping for tips, does anyone have any advice on going to the Dominican Republic with a 7 (almost 8) month old? Safety? Should we bring a stroller? Will she fry like a little French fry in the sun (even with sunscreen)?

  4. Nursery set up says:

    Hi all! I’m about 5 months pregnant and experiencing some sticker shock about nursery furniture, etc. Crib, dresser, changing table, bookcase, rug… oh my! Any tips on where to find good, cute stuff for reasonable prices? Also, tips on where to find good quality and cute crib sheets/bedding? I’d like to see/feel it in person first, so brick and mortar stores preferable. Or do others just trust online reviews about softness, etc?

    • Get used everything, especially things with a limited lifespan, like a rocker and a crib. Craigslist and freecycle and neighborhood email listserves are good resources where I am (in NYC). We got a free Pottery Barn crib & free glider from these sources, and bought a $100 IKEA dresser for a changing table. For bedding, you really just need crib sheets. Nothing else is considered safe at first anyway. I got some nice sheets on sale from Land of Nod. I also ended up ordering some inexpensive knit sheets on Amazon for backup once it became clear my son was a spitter. You can always return things if they aren’t up to snuff. Seriously, do not spend your money on stuff like swings, bouncy seats, etc – people are giving them away or selling them for cheap constantly. You can only use them for a few months.

      • hoola hoopa says:

        +1 for used baby gear!

        We bought a used Pali crib (I also share the love from posters below) for $150 off craigslist, used it for three kids, and it’s still good to go for several more babies. Bought a low, wide dresser off craigslist for another ~$100 and use it as a changing table. (I definitely do not miss a dedicated “changing table”).

        FWIW, I was really unhappy with PBK bedding. So thin it was transparent! Others really like it, though, so maybe it’s hit or miss.

    • So, this may or may not help, we got a Pali furniture set in a brown wood (dresser, hutch/bookcase, convertible crib that’s now a full bed). It’s held up fine for kid furniture and we will probably be able to use it for 10+ years. Was it pricey? Yes, but I’m happy to not have to repurchase furniture for a while.
      I’ve used PBK and Serena and Lily kids sheets (100% cotton) and both have held up really well to use.

      • Meg Murry says:

        We bought a Pali crib that had been through 3 kids, used it for my 2 kids as both crib and toddler bed and it’s still going strong as a crib for my sister’s baby. We’ve changed the mattress a few times, but the crib itself is just fine.

        I think this is the kind of thing where you should either go “cheap, use for a single kid and move on, it won’t handle being assembled/disassembled/moved” aka Ikea or Walmart or full out “built amazingly well, will stand the test of time and can hand down to other family members”. The middle of the road stuff (Babies R Us, etc) tends to only be a tiny bit better than Ikea or Walmart (or comparable, just a little bit prettier) and costs a lot more for that little bit of improvement.

        You don’t HAVE to have a changing table – just a place where you can change diapers. We used a changing pad on a dresser for my oldest, and then neighbors gave us their hand-me-down changing table for my youngest.

        Dressers are another place where you should either get “high quality real wood furniture that will last until he/she is an adult” or go cheap but sturdy – again, the middle of the road stuff isn’t worth the money.

        Your baby doesn’t need super high quality thread count sheets, and as other people have said, you can’t actually use the bedding sets at all – bumpers aren’t recommended, neither are the quilts, so just get a bed skirt and some sheets and call it a day.

    • Anonymous says:

      craigslist, oh craigslist. We got a pottery barn crib (still for sale on their site and my kid is now 4) for $150 including some sheets. Retails $800.

      various child holding contraptions- got a couple from a local mom’s group swap, bought a few used off craigslist, got a few from my shower from my first (and held on to/loaned out and got back). Got a hand-me-down high chair from a friend that has a TEN YEAR OLD and still had it in her basement!

      Rug came from a liquidation type store, dresser/changing table were a Big Gift from grandparents but if they didn’t do that then we’d have bought them used off craigslist. Room decor was hand made by my sister who is crafty.

    • Our setup is from Target, and it’s holding up perfectly fine, now on the second child. We got one of those “forever” cribs (that convert into a bed), and, other than some teething marks that we’ll probably want to fix eventually, I don’t see any reason to think she won’t be able to keep using it until her teens.

    • Clementine says:

      IKEA crib, $80
      Low dresser on Craigslist ($40) with keekaroo peanut changing pad ($90 and so worth it as our kid is a pee-er)
      Splurged on a glider, flor carpet tiles as area rug
      Crib mattress for $100 on Amazon

      We did our whole nursery for Less than 2k and half that was the glider.

      • quail says:

        We did something similar – IKEA crib, hacked an IKEA bookcase (the cubby type one) by putting on legs and strapping it to the wall and put a changing pad on top for storage/changing table. Borrowed a glider from a friend (which has basically gone unused). Splurged on an “organic” crib mattress. Just got some plain organic cotton/flannel crib sheets – one for day care, one to use, one to wash. I can’t remember the brands of the flannel crib sheets but they are fine – and the Burt’s Bees one we have is really soft and has held up well. No other bedding – all they sleep with is the sheet, so why bother?

    • If you want new and to look at stuff in store, Buy Buy Baby will let you use their 20% off coupons on pretty much anything. We got our glider from there and they let us use it, and a friend of mine used them on all her furniture (crib, chair, and dresser).

    • Butter says:

      Depending on where you are, you might be able to suss out a good store or two to go see stuff in person, but most of this you might have to take a gamble on sight unseen. I’m in a major metro area and most of the stores I’ve been in have been pretty disappointing and/or overwhelming! Start stalking sales – I got adorable crib sheets from Land of Nod for $10-12 on sale. I’ve also picked up a surprising amount of stuff on Zulily and have been surprised by what pops up on there, including Serena & Lily and Land of Nod items. We re-purposed a bunch of furniture from other parts of the house, so the only actual new piece of furniture purchased was the crib. (We also went the keekaroo route, which I’m excited about.)

    • CPA Ladycri says:

      Crib- davinci kalani off of amazon $200 ish
      Crib mattress- safety 1st off of amazon $50
      Rug- used one we had
      Changing table – nope
      Dresser- used one we had. screwed a changing table topper ($30) from target on to make it a combined changing table and dresser.

      The only real money we spent was on a glider recliner for the nursery. I lived in that thing.

      As far as sheets go, if you want something fancy, the linen Aden and Anais ones are nice. I especially recommend the bamboo swaddled blankets from that brand. Extremely soft. Other sheets are from target. They’re fine too.

    • Thanks for the tips, everyone!

    • Cdn lawyer says:

      Crib- $200 da Vinci (bought at a baby store but available on Amazon)
      Mattress- $200
      Glider-$350’from babies r us
      Dresser- ikea Hemnes dresser is amazing. Perfect height for a change pad, a ton of storage and cheap
      Sheets- PBK on sale for about $20
      Bookshelves- picture ledges from ikea

      We have a tiny nursery but everything is super functional and I am really happy with it.
      We have borrowed/bought used a ton of the other baby gear (swing, exersaucer etc) but went new and cheap for the nursery. My nephew destroyed his crib with his teeth so I definitely didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it.

    • Do you have a local parenting listserve? Our neighborhood/town has one, and we got all our nursery furniture there — Ikea crib ($40; I love it – solid wood), changing table (free), Dutailier glider ($70). Got a bunch of super cheap fabric cubes at Target for the changing table and we don’t need a dresser, at least not till the baby’s too big for a changing table. Good thing because our nursery is about 6×12.

  5. Another question, has anyone used a Sarah Wells pump bag for pumping at work? I’m trying to figure out if the price is worth it. My pump in style (free from my insurance company) did not come with a bag.

    • My PISA didn’t come with a bag either, but honestly, I prefer it this way. I had a canvas bag at home that had an open top (one magnetic closure) and pockets inside and out. Pre-baby I never used it – it was too big for a normal workday (my purse and maybe a lunch bag) and too small/didn’t like the open top for an overnight. However, it was PERFECT now that I’m back to work. Pump, all supplies (bottles/parts/hands-free bra/muslin), and my lunch fit in there, and I switched to a large clutch that serves as a purse when I’m out during the day, and that goes in there too. Don’t feel wed to a pump bag if you have another bag (or a cheaper option) that will work.

    • shortperson says:

      Yes. I have an Annie and it was absolutely worth it for me. That bag came to several depositions with me and also to a client site and held my laptop, work and pump supplies. I would not want to have been carrying around a less professional bag or an extra bag. I also brought it through the airport all the time.

  6. I’m thinking of asking for an 80% (4 day/wk) schedule at work. A combination of things led me to suddenly decide this last night and I guess I’m looking for thoughts because I don’t want to act impulsively/ emotionally.

    Baby is 8 months old and I’ve been increasingly bothered by the lack of quality time with him. I see him mornings and evenings but it’s always in the rush of the morning/evening routine so there isn’t much time where I get to focus on him. My husband works longer hours so I’m often doing morning/evenings on my own (and will be almost all of the time once husband starts 1 yr fellowship in july).

    Also, baby has been sick lately with some daycare-acquired plague. He had/has bronchiolitis which has been tough to watch. Between the holidays and the sick time, I’ve had a lot more time with him lately. Now that we’re back in routine, I just miss him. He is still recovering from said plague (fever gone but still very congested) and yesterday when I picked him up, he looked so exhausted. He only slept 12-2 instead of normal morning/afternoon nap. And he often misses evening nap because of all the transfers between daycare-car-home. He always gets 2 and usually 3 naps when home with me. This was the proverbial straw that made me want to keep him home an extra day. I do love his daycare generally. They don’t do part time so we’d be paying same amount if we dropped a day.

    Financially, we can do it. I had planned to cut back to 3 days/week in a few years when husband finishes medical training and we maybe have more kids. I don’t think I’m ready to drop to 3 yet but I think 4 might be the right balance for now. I guess I’m worried because this is a sudden deviation from my original plan and I worry I’m being unduly influenced by the over protectiveness I feel because he was recently really sick for the first time. Also I know it’s common to struggle more once baby gets older and more interactive because I’ve seen other people post on here about it. Is this just a passing phase?

    For what is worth, I’m in government/law and I think my boss would be receptive (though obviously not thrilled).

    • Anonymous says:

      If you want to do it and can financially handle it, do it. I did 4 days a week while having 1 kid and it was so awesome. I used that extra day to spend time with my son but some days I would put him in daycare and use that extra day to do all the stuff around the house that never gets completely done (cooking, laundry, errands, doctor’s appts, etc.). It was so, so helpful.

      I’m now 5 days a week with 2 kids and a longer commute. I really miss my kids but esp. my little one, who goes to bed so early every day.

      I would absolutely do it in your situation. I think in law (and certainly in gov’t) this schedule is pretty common.

    • I am in a very similar situation (minus sickness, plus marginally older baby) and trying to decide whether to request part time or not (can’t exactly see how it would work at my particular firm). So I’m following. The one thing I would add though is that at some point pretty soon, within a month or two max, that third nap will drop and the baby will probably be in a much more awake/better mood in the early evening. Ours was in flux with the evening nap from months 7-9 but finally dropped it just before 10 months. Since then I don’t feel bad about daycare transit interfering with the nap.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        anon, are you in a law firm? There was an interesting article last year that showed men in law firms are more likely to just “lean out” quietly, and stop being in the office so many hours/stop billing so much time while still collecting the same paycheck. Women are more likely to request formal part-time and take the pay hit, but still work more than they are paid for.

        My experience has been, as an associate at a law firm, that the firm doesn’t exert sufficient control over workflow or human resource deployment to feed you only 80% of what you used to handle if you are used to handling big deals or litigation or similar. If you are a specialist who handles smaller matters, it might be a different story. I was used to manage deals that would take 120% to 150% of my time; the way we staff deals, there isn’t any way for me to take only half the deal now. So when I went to 60% time, my workflow went from 150% of capacity to 20%, and it’s taken a lot of work on my part to figure out how come anywhere close to 60%.

        So my advice is: go into the office a little later each day, or take a half day once a week and leave the rest of your schedule the same, but log in from home a bit more. If you lose a couple hours a week, will anybody care? I bet they won’t.

    • Spirograph says:

      I did this after a few months back from baby #2, and it is great. I usually take kiddos to daycare in my day off, but after a much more pleasant and leisurely morning, and pick them up at 4-4:30 instead of 5:30. I grocery shop, run errands, and prep meals during the off day, which leaves evenings and weekends free to spend with kids. It has made a huge difference in stress level for me and my husband, and is totally worth the pay cut.

    • Anonymous says:

      I did something similar when my daughter was about the same age (maybe 6 months? she was in daycare since 11 weeks). I was sick of always having to have backup care on the million Mondays that daycare was closed. I worked Tues-Friday.

  7. Just want to vent says:

    Had a male coworker suggest that my maternity leave was a vacation. Cue rage.

    • Uh-uh. Not OK. There is nothing that can be said to cure that kind of ignorance, either. The rage is justified.

    • MomAnon4This says:

      Offer to switch. You take the vacation and he can take care of the poop machine.
      Or offer to ask his mom if her maternity leave was a vacation.
      #teamrage

      Legally, it’s not, and… it’s just not.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I had a co-worker say this when I was pregnant. I made it a point to call him several times on maternity leave and have the baby screaming in the background while the dogs howled along. It was immensely amusing.

    • EB0220 says:

      My manager did this, repeatedly, when I was pregnant with my first. For this reason (among many others), he is not a manager any longer. It made me so angry every time.

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