She’s Here!

Well, she wasn’t as early as our first Baby Frugalista¬†(who was five weeks premature), but our second little miss arrived at 37.5 weeks in the same exact manner — my water broke, and off to the hospital we went. My labor had to be induced again, as my body seems not to know how to start contractions on its own, but the experience was relatively positive. Miss Jenna Rose arrived on July 15 weighing 6 pounds and measuring 18 inches long, another little peanut! I delivered at a different area hospital this time, getting a lovely private suite and room-service meals. The baby was born completely healthy and two days later, we were home and a family of four.




She’s 7 weeks old now. Our 3.5-year-old, Emily, has been trying to adjust to her new baby sister as best she can. We’ve had some hiccups with regressions in the area of toileting, but she’s back on track now. It’s tough to lose 100% of your parents’ attention, so we’re trying to make sure she feels as included as possible — she gets her own Mommy or Daddy & Me time.

I’m on maternity leave until November, and like last time, I’m torn between enjoying my time at home with my children and missing work. We’ve arranged daycare for Jenna when I go back to work, and Emily will be in preschool. Thankfully, my father-in-law has retired and will be able to help with pickup and aftercare until Mr. NSF gets home from work (I work later than he does). Hopefully all will go smoothly!

What Do You Need for Baby No. 2?

When I was pregnant with our first child, we needed everything — crib, bottles, car seat, burp clothes, high chair, you name it. We received clothing and a number of beautiful gifts.

Now that Baby No. 2 is on her way (another girl!), I’ve had to take stock of what we have, make sure it’s clean and in good working order, and decide what we’ll need to buy new.

Turns out, we don’t need much of anything.

We can reuse our infant car seat, because it’s only a few years old and has never been in an accident. I still have bottles, so I’m only replacing the nipples. Clothes in all sizes, check. Bathtub and baby towels, check.¬†Swing, check. High chair, check. Burp cloths and swaddling blankets, check. I have a pack of newborn diapers, a case of baby wipes, and leftover size 1 and size 2 diapers to get us started.

A good friend is giving me a mini crib, which we’ll use in our bedroom until we’re sure the baby is old enough to share a room with our 3-year-old daughter. We have a three-bedroom house, but only two of the bedrooms are upstairs (ours and Emily’s), and I’m not putting a young child or a baby in the third bedroom downstairs. Since we’ll have two girls and a very large bedroom upstairs, it’s a no-brainer that these two girls will share a room until they can either no longer stand it or we’re comfortable having one bunk in the downstairs bedroom.

We’re so very excited to meet our newest addition — but the poor thing still needs a name!

Summer Infant Customer Service

After expressing my displeasure about my Summer Infant baby monitor breaking after just a few months and posting the link to my blog on Twitter and writing to them through their website, the company immediately responded. Besides the fact that the monitor broke pretty quickly, I was peeved that you couldn’t buy JUST the monitor to replace a broken one — you had to shell out almost $240 for an entirely new system.

After some back-and-forth, Summer Infant decided to send me a new monitor, despite not having a gift receipt or the box any longer. That’s some great customer service. I had the replacement monitor within a week. A good thing, too, as I couldn’t see our 2-year-old on the screen any longer.

I appreciate the faith they had in me, that my gripe was legitimate (it, of course, was). Of course, this gets them a little bit of good press, too.

I Have a Broken Summer Infant Baby Touch Video Monitor

… and I am not pleased about it.

Got this Summer Infant Baby Touch Video Monitor as a gift a few months ago, to replace an older model I’d had for a few years. It completely changed our world. Rather than transmitting a picture of just a portion of our toddler’s room, we could pan in all directions! The ability to talk to her through the handheld monitor portion was by far my favorite feature — I can’t tell you how many times I was able to tell her, “Go back to sleep, it’s too early!” and squeak another hour out of her (even if I was lying).

Now, the monitor is showing THIS:


Not ideal, not ideal at all.

It started in that upper-left corner with the triangle thingy. Then more and more lines branched out in both directions within a week or so, eventually filling the screen like this. The thick vertical bar was the last straw.

Summer Infant does not sell the handheld monitor part separately. You can buy replacement cameras and AC cords and rechargeable batteries, but you can’t get this one piece on its own. It was a gift, so I don’t have a receipt (I’ve checked with the gift giver). The box is long gone.

My choices would be either to buy a brand-new set (anywhere from $190 to $240, depending on the store/sale), or risk buying one from eBay that could have been tampered with or is used and possibly defective.

Because my phone time is limited during their customer service hours this week, I’ve sent a message to Summer Infant’s customer service department through the company’s website. I’m hoping they make it right, because less than six months with a monitor that costs $200 is ludicrous.

If they can’t make this right by offering to replace free of charge (the right thing to do) or at least offering me the chance to buy just this part at a reduced price, then my next baby video monitor will be from another company.

Baby Wipes Remove Makeup?

Just back from a nice weeklong vacation to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where we shared a house with 10 friends. Everything went smoothly, with every night’s dinner made by a different pair each night. The weather wasn’t fantastic and Miss Frugalista kept waking up earlier and earlier in the morning (4:30 am was pretty painful), but overall, it was a blast.

I did learn a neat trick from my friend Nikki: baby wipes can be used to remove makeup! How cool is that? I won’t be buying makeup remover wipes ($4.49 for a pack of 30, Target’s Up&Up brand) again anytime soon. I use unscented, Huggies Natural Care wipes on our daughter, and they’re gentle enough for my face, too. Best tip ever!


No, I *Don’t* Need to Buy Things for Vacation

We’re less than 6 weeks away from our first-ever vacation with Miss Frugalista, and it may be a crazy idea: We’ve decided to rent a house with 10 other friends and take a road trip from New Jersey down to North Carolina’s Outer Banks for a full week. Most likely, the bulk of the ride will feature a 18-month-old crying because she wants to get out of her carseat, but we’ll be stopping a few times on the way for bathroom breaks/diaper changes/meals, and, most importantly, to stretch our legs. It will be fun trying to pump our own gas. Maybe I should have someone explain how to do it before we leave!

I’ve had to rein myself in when it comes to picking up vacation “essentials.” The house we’re renting has a pool AND is on the beach, so there are some baby safety considerations. While I have my eye on a $50 beach shelter, I’m still unsure about flotation devices. We already have a large, foldable outdoor gate (formerly the “baby jail”) that may be useful for corralling purposes. I’ve already spent money on a backseat organizer for the car ride down and water shoes so the sand doesn’t burn her little feet. We’re going to use her old Pack ‘n’ Play for a crib, but I want to pick up a $25 playard mattress so she can rest more comfortably at night. We have some beach toys we got for her birthday in February, so that’s covered. She has plenty of sun hat that she won’t wear, and I don’t think I’ll bother with baby sunglasses for the same reason.

My husband believes he needs some T-shirts, and I desperately need a new bathing suit (or two), which is something I’d better buy sooner rather than later — I saw SWEATERS on the racks in Target the other day. I’ve stocked up on sunblock.

Making Our Own Meals to Save Money

What will be nice is that we’ll be buying our own food, with just one dinner planned for a local restaurant. Between the 12 of us, we’re renting a grill and propane tank for $60 a week – that’s just $5 per person — and the majority of our meals will involve BBQ. Breakfast can be a simple bowl of cereal or a “fancier” meal of eggs, bacon and toast, or even pancakes.

We’re all meeting up one day this month to talk about what food we’ll be bringing or buying once we’re in North Carolina and also set up a meal schedule — each of us will try our hand at cooking a meal for the group.

Sharing Resources

Another thing we’ll be planning is who will bring which items. Do we need 10 beach umbrellas when two pop-up canopies would do? So we’ll sort out things of that nature, too, so we’re not buying or bringing superfluous items — we’ll have enough to bring with us as it is! Since Miss Frugalista will be the only child there, we’re in charge of all of the baby stuff.

So besides food, gas for the car, and a few clothing necessities, we shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money — even the house rental was more than reasonable for a 7-day stay. We’re definitely looking forward to the trip, which we think will be a lot of fun.

Has anyone else taken a young toddler on a beach vacation? Is there anything else we should bring with us?

My Child Doesn’t Sit Still

Miss Frugalista is turning into a (much cuter version) of the Energizer bunny — she just keeps going, and going, and going.

And I’m having a hard time keeping up with her!

Now, I realize I’m also one of those always-going people. In fact, my endocrinologist asked if I worked out a lot because my pulse is always so low. I almost died laughing at that one. I don’t exactly have an athletic build — in fact, an old softball teammate remarked that it was ‘painful’ to watch me run. You can’t run too gracefully with these curves.

Anyway, back to my point, that I’m always doing something. I could be painting trim, putting up sheetrock, planing doors or working in the yard at any given time. I don’t know what downtime is. Mr. Not-So-Frugal knows that it’s like pulling teeth to get me to sit down and watch a TV show — even if it’s one I like. I don’t have an “off” switch.

That being said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our daughter is turning out to be a mini-me. Other mothers tell me all about how their similarly-aged child will sit on a blanket with them at the park in a shade and play with toys, or sweetly pass out on the couch (or, even more oddly, on a baby trampoline, but that’s neither here nor there).

My child? She’s just turned 17 months old and is already climbing the stairs standing up and holding the railing on one side, and holding my hand on the other. She’s picking up her little leg and trying to swing it over any obstacle that gets in the way of her running like a loon around the house. Baby gate? Leg goes up. Crib? Leg goes up. Thank goodness she’s still short, but I’m counting the days until she figures out how to escape the crib. THEN we’re in trouble.

Forget trying to corral her. If she’s feeling too-contained, she will point and whine and plead her case until you get her out of what I lovingly call “baby jail.” A trip into Mommy’s office results in all of the books being pulled off the bookshelves. Bath time never involves just sitting in the 3 inches of water and playing — she’s standing and trying to turn on the faucet. And her idea of unwinding before bedtime is to take the two 2-foot-wide pillows from the futon in her room, lay them on the ground, and JUMP on them, face/belly first. So, dear readers, you can see how exhausted I am. My only solace is that she really doesn’t get herself into trouble.

We’re going to a trip to North Carolina next month, where we’ll be the only ones out of our group of 12 friends who has a child. Folks, I hope you’re ready for the Tasmanian Toddler — we’re gonna need a lot of sangria after she goes to bed!