Raining Babies!

It seems like it's been raining babies for the past few months in Homer. For a while, I thought Hunter and I were the last of our friends to have a baby then all of a sudden, a wonderful new crop of friends pops up, many of whom are expecting.

Our lovely new friends make Hunter and I feel like veteran parents. I'd like to say professional parents but in all honesty, we can't get Toddler to eat vegetables, we use Dora the Explorer when we need a few minutes to ourselves and we still haven't mastered sleeping through the night. I don't think we qualify.

What we have learned in the past three and a half years as parents is how to equip your kid for babyhood in Alaska. New friends of ours mentioned that they really don't know what they need for an Alaskan baby so for them and all other new parents, here is our Top 10 list:

1. A Non-Slip Winter Coat
A what? This winter, I bought myself a lovely new Columbia winter coat. It's nice and warm, kinda fashionable and easy to clean. The reason I don't wear it much? Friction. Little Hunter has a winter suit made with the same slippery material. It's awfully hard to hold him when we're both dressed for outside. I'm always hitching him up and he's always sliding down - once again proving that polyester is your frenemy.

2. A Baby Backpack
This was probably the best piece of baby gear we bought. We picked up a Kelty Kids Carrier from REI. One with legs so that it was easier to get on and off when we were alone. I just put Little Hunter in his backpack, set it on the kitchen counter and strap myself in. We thought about a stroller but with the amount of snow and the terrain in these parts, a backpack would get more use. So that's where we sank our money. Make sure you add the rear-view mirror option. It'll save you some serious body contortions while you try not to accidentally slap a branch in your sleeping baby's face.

3. The 2.5 Tog Gro Baby Sleep Sack
Forget the light weight sleep sacks you find in stores. The Gro Baby Sleep Sack is perfect for people with Toyo stoves. Why? Because a house can get cold during your nightly setback. At least ours does. This sleep sack is warmer than most and can double as a sleeping bag during camping season.

4. The Bundleme Car Seat Cover
According to the car seat experts here in Homer, we're not supposed to put baby in a car seat while wearing a snow suit. What's a parent to do when temperatures dive? Put on the car seat cover. Keeps baby snug and warm.

5. An Unique Winter Hat
What's cuter than a baby in a cute little winter hat? Not much. My personal favourite is the pook toque. Little Hunter and Toddler each have one. Makes me smile each time they put them on.

6. Nomar Mittens
Nomar in Homer makes great baby mittens. They come with the string attached so you can slide them through your baby's snow suit. Even if your snowsuit has hand covers, still use the mittens. I found that both my kids had cold hands without them.

7. The Moby Wrap
I remember the first time I met a friend's baby girl. We were out snowshoeing at Wynn Nature Center and there she was, wrapped snug as a bug in her Moby inside her mom's jacket. Homer moms seem to swear by their Mobys. They're hard to figure out at first but once you've got it, you've got it. 

8. Columbia Fleece Bunting
I bought one of these for Toddler at the Columbia outlet in North Seattle. It was on clearance for $6. I tell you, it was worth every penny and then some. These little outfits are a great extra layer for when it gets really cold and they're a great full-body suit to wear in the in-betweens of spring.  If you can't find one, we've used a pair of fleece pajamas, one size up, over top of clothes for that extra bit of warmth.

9. Photo Back up Devices 
This is a big one. I think I'm going to buy flash drives for my next baby shower present. Back up your photos, friends. In multiple places. Local storage, cloud storage and external storage: do it!

10. The Jolly Jumper
My brother sent me one of these. It hangs in my bathroom doorway - I'm actually not sure if you can find these in the US. Mine came from Canada but sources tell me they are available, I just haven't been able to find one. It's the only reason I don't stink. Little Hunter can bounce to his little heart's content while I take a shower. I bought a clear shower curtain to go along with my potentially contraband Jolly Jumper so I can keep an eye on the guy and cut my shower short if he gets too bouncy. That hasn't happened yet. Oh sweet sweet shower, how I love thee!

Alaska Moms, if you have anything to add, please send me a comment!

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