We’re a little Star Wars obsessed in our family. We’ve hosted not one, but two Star Wars birthday parties (see them here and here) and it’s almost a daily conversation in our house. With the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming this weekend, I thought it would be fun to round-up some gifts for those that love Star Wars as much as we do. Many of these gifts we have or I’ve purchased for the kids for Christmas, while others are just lust-worthy (those shoes are on my wish list.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My family is growing! Nope, I’m not pregnant, but my sister is! As the oldest of four, I’ve been the only one with kids for over eight years now and thrilled that my little sister and my best friend is expecting. Although I’m not pregnant, it has been a lot of fun getting to talk pregnancy and baby gear with her. Rather than shopping for us now, we’re always shopping for this new little bundle of joy. As she gets closer to her due date and that little baby arrives, you’ll start to see a lot more baby content on the blog again. I’m hoping my sister, Danielle, will share more about her journey of becoming a mom and stepping into motherhood here as well.

As she prepares for her journey, we’ve been doing a lot of baby gear shopping. With three kids and working in the industry for as long as I have, I feel like I do know a thing or two about baby gear. In honor of my baby sister expecting her own baby, I thought I’d share some of my favorite baby items that every expectant mom should have on her registry.

 

  1. Bugaboo Bee5: When we lived in the city our stroller was our main means of transportation. The features of the stroller were important to us for many reason. When purchasing a stroller, it’s important to look at your current lifestyle. If you live in the suburbs and know you’re going to take the stroller in and out of your car often, you’ll want to make sure that it’s lightweight and compact enough to fit in the back of your car. If you’re active and like to do a lot outdoors, something more all-terrain might be the best for you. The Bugaboo Bee5 is the latest Bee model for Bugaboo. I used the Bee in the city with Avery and loved it for many reasons. It’s lightweight, can accommodate an infant, and the seat can be both forward facing and facing towards you. The style compatibility is so fun for those who are into making your stroller an extra fashion accessory. It’s super easy to maneuver and had great suspension, even when I strolled through the uneven sidewalks in Manhattan. This is a great choice for my sister, who is still a city-dweller, as she navigates the subways and streets of New York City with a  baby in tow.

 

2. Ergobaby Omni 360:  It wasn’t until Avery that I realized how amazing baby wearing is. It helps during the witching hour, is a life-saver when you have more than one little one, and it makes it super-convenient to have baby close to you. I am a bit of an Ergobaby addict and have many different styles of their carriers, but I really love their newest carrier, the Omni 360. This carrier has everything you love about Ergobaby all wrapped up into one. You can carry baby in the front, hip, or back. It does not require an infant insert (YAY!) and you can also carry baby facing outward. It’s super comfortable for both parents and baby and it even comes with a detachable storage pouch. Although Macks is nearly 4 years old, he still loves being worn and we’ll often do it when we’re out exploring and he just doesn’t want to walk or go into a stroller. The Omni 360 is a great baby carrier that will get you through infancy well into toddlerhood.

 

 

3.  DockATot: Although this wasn’t out yet when Macks was a newborn, I have found a lot of use with the DockATot Grand           Dock. Macks continues to struggle with sleeping through the night and the DockATot Grand has helped us out immensely. We use it in his bed so he won’t fall out and then move it into our room on the floor for those nights that he insists on coming into our room. The smaller version, the DockATot, has rave reviews and I cannot wait for my sister to use it. I love all of the different covers that all you to customize for your style.

 

 

4. Owlet Smart Sock 2: If there is one thing that kept me up at night when all three kids were newborn, it was making sure that they were okay when they were sleeping. I vividly remember going into their room to put my finger under their nose to make sure they were breathing. It’s a genuine fear of many new parents, and it’s completely justified. The Owlet Smart Sock 2 can give parents some piece of mind when they go to sleep each night. The Owlet Smart Sock 2 silently tracks your baby’s heart rate and oxygen while they sleep and notifies you if something is wrong. That means that while baby sleeps you can too. This was number one on my sister’s must-have registry list and I cannot recommend it enough.

 

5. Finn + Emma Play Gym:  This was a favorite of Macks’ during his first year. It’s a piece of baby gear that you are proud to show off in your home. Made of birch wood, this play gym is height adjustable, comes with both wooden toys and hand-knit toys that you can easily take on and off so that you can attach them to a stroller or high-chair. When Macks was a baby, I’d lay him down on the ground with this over him and it would keep him entertained for the longest time.

 

 

6. Ollie Swaddle: One of the number one reasons my kids woke up in the middle of the night when they were newborns was because they’d somehow broken out of their swaddle. No matter how much I practiced, they somehow wiggled their way out. I know that many parents have little swaddle Houdini’s of their own. The Ollie Swaddle helps your little one stay snug and swaddled because it has velcro and allows you to easily access their diaper for changes without having to unswaddle them. That means that those middle of the night diaper changes can go much more smoothly and your little one will be back to sleep in no time.

 

7. Feltman Brothers: I spent a lot of time picking out the kids’ going home outfits. As much as I love to dress them on trend, I knew that the going home outfit had to be something classic. The Feltman Brothers prides themselves in creating classic clothing for babies through toddlers. Many of their pieces are hand embroidered and are lovely enough that your children will be able to pass them down to their children. They are heirloom pieces that you’ll want to cherish forever.

 

 

 

8. Summer Infant Video Monitor: I’ve tried A LOT of video monitors and nothing compares to Summer Infant. When Harlan was born, over eight years ago, we purchased the very first Summer Infant video monitor and it still works. They’ve obviously made many updates to the monitor as technology improves, but this is one that you will no doubt get a clear picture, great sound quality. They have many different video monitors that you can choose from based on your needs, but I can assure you that no matter which monitor you choose from Summer Infant, you’ll love it. It will give you comfort knowing that you can keep an eye on your little one as they sleep peacefully.

 

9. Fisher-Price My Little Lamb Swing: When the kids were babies, I’d try almost anything to get them to sleep for an extended amount of time. The only thing that consistently worked with all three kids? This Fisher-Price My Little Lamb Swing. This swing holds a special place in my heart because it was the only thing that soothed all three children. It might not be the most stylish swing on the market, but it gave me the peace and quiet that I needed when I just couldn’t get them to fall asleep or stay asleep. The seat can sway side-to-side as well as back and forth.

 

10. Stokke Tripp Trapp:  If you want a high chair that will last your little one well into adulthood (yes adulthood,) then get the Stokke Tripp Trapp. I have these for all three kids and when the kids weren’t using them, we used them for our guests to sit in at our table. They have a kit that allows your infant to sit with you from day-one and then you can transition as your baby gets older and into toddler-hood. Once they are old enough, you can remove the harnesses and they can sit in it like a regular chair at the table. It’s made of durable, solid beech wood, and available in several colors, this is a high chair you’ll love to bring up to the table.

 

 

11. Marpac Zohne Sound Machine: This sound machine saved me from so many sleepless nights. I started using it with both Avery and Macks since day one and not only has it helped drown out the noise from the hustle and bustle in our house, the white noise helped with our sleep routine and helped them stay asleep when they woke up in the middle of the night. The white noise allowed them to know that if they woke up and it was on, it was still sleep time. When we packed for our vacations, this was the first thing that I packed.

 

 

For the past six months, Harlan has had a little bit of an obsession with the Broadway show, Hamilton. MacKay and I were lucky enough to see it in April. Much like MacKay, Harlan has always has an interest in people, especially historical figures. Many of the books in her collection are biographies. If you ask her about a historical figure, chances are she’s read something about them and can tell you a fun fact about that person. Her desire to learn more about Alexander Hamilton came after asking us about the show. We began playing the soundtrack in the house and she went to the library to get a biography on Alexander Hamilton. Not only did she read up on him, but she read hours of information about the process of the Broadway show and the people it took to make it happen.

When it came to choosing a theme for her birthday party, it didn’t take long for her to decide what she wanted. Although none of her friends were well versed in Hamilton, that didn’t bother Harlan. She was going to take this party as a chance to introduce them to Alexander Hamilton and his life story.

Harlan did most of the party preparation. She gave me details on what she wanted and I had to make it happen.

The very first idea she had was to have a sign hanging so that when her guests walked in, they were walking into the room where it happened. That was her special way of welcoming her friends into the party. I downloaded these letters and was able to make the banner just the way she wanted.

Her second request was $10 bills that she could pass out to her friends. I found these realistic bills on Amazon and ordered them. Her friends had a lot of fun playing with the money.

Her next request was the food. She’s learned over the years that she’s not a fan of cake, so she asked for a cookie cake. Thankfully, those are super easy to make and was done in about an hour the morning of the party.

To make, I simply rolled cookie dough on a round baking pan and baked until done. Once cooled, I put white icing on the cake and then sprayed with edible gold mist. The Hamilton logo on top was done with sugar paper and cut out after I printed out the logo on a regular piece of paper. I was really pleased with the outcome and how simple it was to make.

 

For the rest of the food, I went with a simple star and red, white, and blue theme. I ordered the cookies from a local nut-free bakery (so that Macks could enjoy) and the rest was done the morning of the party.

I lucked out with the decor for the party because most of it I had leftover from Harlan’s Star Wars party last year. I bought the piñata and gold backdrop from the local party store and I hand-drew the Hamilton logo on a piece of black poster. I also used these glass bottles that I made years ago for the straws and forks. I think I’ve used them for nearly every party we’ve had. (Here’s the super easy DIY)

To keep the kids entertained, Harlan and I came up with a few ideas. We had a piñata last year and the kids loved it, so we decided to do it again this year. We also had the kids decorate cupcakes and cut out paper dolls. And of course no birthday party with a broadway show as the theme is not complete without some karaoke. Har, Avery, and Macks had the best time showing off their singing skills to the Hamilton soundtrack.

It couldn’t have been a better day for our little girl. Happy Birthday Har!