Prepping for Baby: Cloud Q Car Seat

Time is absolutely flying, and *gasp* I officially hit my third trimester yesterday! Eeeeeee!! Baby Dale is going to be here before we know it, so we are doing our best to check off items on our to-do list before her arrival. One of the biggest things for us, as daily commuters of over an hour each way in LA traffic, is to find a spectacular car seat. Enter the CYBEX Cloud Q! After a TON of obsessive, Erika-style research, we were beyond thrilled to find a car seat that featured top of the line safety and functionality, not to mention is very stylish to boot!

As we prepare to become new parents, our minds are already focused 100% on protecting our little girl. To be very honest, the thought of commuting and adventuring around LA with a little newborn in tow is sort of terrifying. However, buying a car seat with premium safety features eases that worry quite a lot, knowing we are doing everything we can to safeguard our precious cargo. The CYBEX Cloud Q features a load leg base (into which the car seat snaps quickly and easily), which significantly reduces the risk of injury to a baby’s head and neck in the event of a crash. In addition to making sure the car seat stays stable and secure in an accident, it also transfers the energy and impact of the crash away from the baby by an enormous percentage. I won’t get into the statistics, but let’s just say the numbers made me sleep much more soundly at night knowing we will be protecting Baby Dale against this crazy LA traffic. In addition, the Cloud Q also features a Linear Side-Impact Protection system that absorbs the force of a side-impact collision as well! To top it all off, it has an 11-position (yes, you heard me… 11!!) height-adjustable headrest that will grow with our baby girl automatically. In other words, it basically makes it dummy-proof for newbie parents like us to ensure the harness is being used correctly and is perfectly adjusted to her size with the push of one button. Hallelujah!

In addition to all of the safety features that I nerd out about, the Cloud Q also has amazingly innovative functionality that make it perfect for our on-the-go California lifestyle. After easily clicking it in and out of the base in the car, we will be able to just as easily click the car seat into our stroller without having to disturb the baby. Ready to roll (haha pun intended) in seconds! The best part of the CYBEX Cloud Q? It is the only car seat on the market that also allows us to seamlessly recline the baby into the full-recline position when it is outside the car!! This means napping on the go is easy and safe, keeping our little babe in an ergonomically correct position without having to carry an additional stroller carry cot! There is even a removable head insert that ensures the head, neck, and chest are positioned at an angle that is ideal for reducing suffocation risk for snoozing newborns. So whether we are out and about trying a new restaurant or visiting friends, Baby Dale will be able to safely nap on the go without disruption.

Another Cloud Q feature that is perfect for the upcoming hot California summer is the XXL integrated sun shade with UVP50+ sun protection, which will keep our little lady’s soft skin shaded from those bright rays of sunshine.

Anyway, I think I’ve geeked out long enough over this car seat for one day, but it is just so wonderful to find one that is the best-of-the-best as far as safety and functionality are concerned, let alone super stylish. I love the sleek, modern design of the seat, as well as the color: Moon Dust (though they offer it in a ton of fun colors as well)! We opened the box and thought it looked like a car seat from the future! I may have used the phrase “Space Car Seat” more than once… :)  In a world where most baby products scream BABY, it’s great to have a chic alternative. One major thing to check off of our to-do list while we patiently await Baby Dale’s arrival!

Thank you to CYBEX for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. Also, a little side note: I called them up with some questions, and their customer service was beyond amazing and helpful. Such a wonderful company to work with! :)

Baby Dale Bumpdates: Weeks 23 – 26

Hello, all! I know it has been several weeks without an update, but I was getting big so quickly that we thought it would be fun to keep my growing belly a little (or rather big!) surprise until the baby shower this past Saturday! It has been a crazy month, and it really feels like the pregnancy has progressed by leaps and bounds in a matter of weeks. I will be venturing into my third trimester next week, which is so nuts.

I was able to travel back to NY this past week to visit my family and celebrate Baby Dale at a beautiful baby shower (more about that in the week 26 update below)! I plan to post a full update with baby shower photos sometime soon, once I can round them up from other people because I took all of two photos the entire time!

During the shower, I was able to finally spill the beans about our baby’s gender… IT’S A GIRL!! Eeeeeeeee! We announced it publicly shorty afterwards, sharing the wonderful news with all the people we love. It is such a relief to finally tell everyone… six weeks is a long time to keep that kind of secret! We would have, of course, been thrilled either way, but now that we know it’s a little lady in there, we have had fun trying to compile a short list of names and daydreaming about her future.

Anyway, I will keep my blabbering to a minimum and get right to it. Here are the recaps from weeks 23 to 26 of my pregnancy!

Week 23: April 25 – May 1

Baby is now the size of: a grapefruit!
Weight Gain: 4 lb.
Belly Measures: +4.5 inches

I’m Feeling: wonderful! We have been productive on the baby planning front, but have also been packing in some pretty fun outings for the weekends to enjoy the last few months of baby-free time. The nursery is looking so silly with all of the boxes piling up from our generous baby shower gifts, so we aren’t planning on making any progress on that front until after the shower!
Physical Symptoms: I have been feeling pretty great this week! My physical symptoms seem to be pretty minimal, even though my bump is growing by the day! I managed to pack on a couple pounds this week, my biggest increase yet, which makes sense because the baby is supposed to grow like a weed over the next few weeks! My energy level is pretty high, though I crash a little before dinner even if I have a good snack in the afternoon.
Movement: I have been feeling the baby move a ton, but the craziest thing happened on Sunday night, April 30. I was lying on the couch watching TV just before bed, and the baby was kicking a lot, as she always does late at night. So I looked down at my bare belly and actually saw the kicks from the outside! It was the most bizarre thing, to see my stomach moving like someone was poking at it from the inside (and in fact, someone was)! The baby is still sitting pretty low at this point, though I am starting to feel kicks at belly button level as well.
Sleep: I have been sleeping so well!
Food Cravings: the usual… fruit, citrus, ginger. And a major sweet tooth!
Anything Making You Queasy or Sick? got sick one morning, but it seemed to be a one-off occurrence.
Miss Anything? we had a date day on Saturday, and went to a fantastic restaurant for dinner. Walker got an amazing hand-crafted Mezcal drink with all sorts of cool ingredients, including my cocktail favorite: a habanero chile. It was such a tease to not even be able to steal a sip of that smokey, spicy delight!

Can’t Live Without: fun adventures! We have been packing our weekends with all sorts of little adventures that will be much harder once the baby comes. Might as well enjoy them with my sweet hubby now while we can!
Best Moment This Week: we had another fun weekend, which started by seeing Dazed and Confused on the big screen at Tarantino’s theatre, which was a blast! Then we finally got to enjoy Walker’s birthday present on Saturday: tickets to go see The Zombies in concert! We made a little date day out of the trip to Downtown LA, stopping at a new restaurant we have been wanting to try and exploring the area before the show. Then the concert was SO AMAZING… definitely a worthy first concert for Baby Dale!
Looking Forward To/Excited About: we have a mini getaway planned for a wedding in Carlsbad, CA, next weekend. It will be fun to go on a little trip and hang with friends at the wedding!

Notes: nothing noteworthy this week!

Week 24: May 2 – 8

Baby is now the size of: a papaya!
Weight Gain:  6 lb.
Belly Measures: +5 inches

I’m Feeling: had a quick appointment with the doctor this week to check in. She answered a bunch of my questions, gave me a letter to approve my travel to NY for the baby shower in two weeks, and let me hear the baby’s heartbeat!
Physical Symptoms: Wooooo! I gained another two pounds this week (making it +7.5 lb. since my lowest at week 17) and my belly certainly shows it! I read that the next few weeks are when the baby is at his/her most active point in the pregnancy. She is big enough for me to really feel all of the movement, but small enough that she can still do some wild somersaults in there before things get too cozy.
Movement: I can tell the baby is getting bigger by the minute, because I could feel her up higher by the end of this week. While a lot of the kicks are still below the belly button, I am feeling my fair share above it as well!
Sleep: sleeping like a log! I swear my pregnancy pillow is magic. When we slept in the hotel without it, I absolutely could not get comfortable and slept horribly. As soon as I got back to my pillow (and own bed I suppose), I was back to sleeping wonderfully.
Food Cravings: my sweet tooth was in full force, especially at the wedding, where I helped myself to extra dessert!
Anything Making You Queasy or Sick? thankfully no, it was a sick-free week!
Miss Anything? being able to dance the night away! Don’t get me wrong… I certainly got my groove on at the wedding, but after a couple dances, I just needed to take a break. The baby would get so low in my belly, like my booty shaking wiggled her all the way to the bottom! So I would inevitably have to pause for a bit to catch my breath and empty my squished bladder.

Can’t Live Without: that little doppler at the doctor’s office. I just love hearing our little girl’s strong heartbeat. I wish I could hook up some headphones and wear it all day long like an iPod! Music to my ears!
Best Moment This Week: we went to our friends’ wedding (Matt & Lauren) down in Carlsbad, CA, on Saturday. We drove down that morning, checked into the hotel, got all gussied up, and then met up with James, Kristen, and Lyla before heading to the ceremony. It was so much fun to get all dressed up with Walker and our friends to celebrate a fun night! There was a lot of dancing, eating, and laughing at our table!
Looking Forward To/Excited About: we have a quiet weekend for once coming up before I travel for my baby shower! It will be nice to catch up a little bit and celebrate my first Mother’s Day as a mama-to-be!

Notes:  even though she didn’t mention the BPM, the doctor said Baby Dale’s heartbeat was good and strong!

Week 25: May 9 – 15

Baby is now the size of: a cauliflower!
Weight Gain: 6 lb.
Belly Measures: +5.5 inches

I’m Feeling: like time is flying by! I can’t believe I am wrapping up the last few weeks of the second trimster. It feels like things are getting so close, and yet, there is still so much to do before the baby comes! I know we will get it all done, of course, but I am shocked the pregnancy seems to be flying by at warp speed. Trying to cherish every minute!
Physical Symptoms: feeling good again this week. I have noticed my lower back gets sore very easily over the past few weeks, mostly in the evenings when I am stiff from the day sitting in my office chair and then my car. I have also noticed that my feet are getting a little extra tired after I do a lot of walking. Foot baths to the rescue! Finally, I gave also started having a little shallowness of breath. Sometimes if I take a big breath in, it makes me cough like I have already exceeded my lungs’ capacity.
Movement: I felt the baby’s kicks at the top of my belly for the first time this week! She must be getting so big to reach all the way up there!
Sleep: sleeping so wonderfully! In fact, I am sleeping so well it has been almost impossible for me to get out of bed in the mornings. By body wants as much sleep as it can get!
Food Cravings: on Mother’s Day, my sweetheart took me to go satisfy the most constant craving I have had for my entire pregnancy: plain tart frozen yogurt with Fruity Pebbles on top! Mmmmmm. Typing it makes me want more!
Anything Making You Queasy or Sick? nope, feeling great this week!
Miss Anything? not that I can thing of! I am counting my blessings.

Can’t Live Without: Walker… he sure knows how to spoil a lady. I’m a very lucky gal!
Best Moment This Week: this Sunday was Mother’s Day, and I got to celebrate it as a mama-to-be! Walker decided to spoil me, even though I guess I am not technically a mother yet (though I feed, protect, love, and spend nights up worrying about my little babe already, so I am certainly on my way). He made me cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then gave me the most STUNNING pearl bracelet to go with the pearl necklace my parents and grandparents gave me for our wedding day (something they had been building one pearl at a time since I was a little girl). I was so shocked… and cried, of course! Now when I get dressed up for special occasions (like my baby shower!), I will be able to wear a little something that reminds me of my roots and our wedding day, as well as something that represents all of our hopes and dreams for our little baby. We spent the rest of the day out in the garden together making our yard look lovely and ready to enjoy for the summer. Such a wonderful day!
Looking Forward To/Excited About: our baby shower next week!! I can’t wait to see my family and celebrate our baby with so many people we love! Plus we will finally get to surprise everyone with Baby Dale’s gender!!

Notes: nothing noteworthy this week!

Week 26: May 16 – 22 

Baby is now the size of: a scallion!
Weight Gain: 7 lb.
Belly Measures: +6 inches

I’m Feeling: like a very, very lucky lady! It was so incredible to celebrate Baby Dale with our friends and family! The day was absolutely perfect and made me feel grateful for all of the love in our lives!
Physical Symptoms: by the end of the week, I was starting to feel very pregnant! I had some trouble bending over to get my stuff out from under the seat on the plane on my way home on Sunday. I also noticed that is has started to become difficult to tie my shoes! Instead of bending down to do it, I have to cross my foot over my knee so I don’t feel like I am smushing all of my insides. Something tells me this is just the beginning…
Movement: over the last few days, the baby’s been SO active all day long. I feel her kicks all over my belly… getting so big! However, she was being a little shy during the trip and saved all the big kicks for her dad when we got home!
Sleep: I didn’t sleep very long (though I slept well when I was asleep) while traveling, so I was pretty exhausted when I got home from my trip. However, I caught right back up after a few good sleeps in my own bed!
Food Cravings: dreaming of the baby shower cake made by my mom’s friend Deb: yellow cake with raspberry jam filling!
Anything Making You Queasy or Sick? I did get sick again once this week, first thing in the morning but felt fine otherwise.
Miss Anything? the wonderful people that couldn’t make it to the baby shower! I was absolutely missing Walker, Walker’s family, and the rest of the lovely people that were not present at the shower (though of course there in spirit)!

Can’t Live Without: my wonderful Mom, best friend Laura, second-mom Susan, Aunt Kathy, and Aunt Barb! Those ladies are so incredible for planning me such an unbelievable shower! The whole day felt like a dream.
Best Moment This Week: my incredible baby shower!! It was a “You Are My Sunshine” theme, perfect for our little ray of sunshine. We had a delicious lunch, read through boy and girl name suggestions from the group, opened many very generous gifts, enjoyed some wonderful advice from our guests about parenthood (and life!), surprised everyone with a box full of pink balloons share that Baby Dale is a GIRL, and ate some amazing homemade cake! It was SO much fun, but it was also sentimental, thoughtful on all accounts, and an all-around wonderful afternoon. It went so fast, and before I knew it, I was back home in Pasadena with my hubby and pup, sharing with them all of the beautiful stories of the day. I still can’t believe how lucky we are for such wonderful friends and family that love us so much! My heart is absolutely full.
Looking Forward To/Excited About: a relaxing Memorial Day weekend (some of which I will spend opening all of the boxes that were delivered before the baby shower!), followed by our early anniversary / babymoon weekend away in Solvang the weekend after! Wooooooo!

Notes: nothing noteworthy this week!

Baby Dale Bumpdates: Weeks 21 & 22

Happy Wednesday! I know I slacked off last week and forgot to post an update, but that just means you get double the fun today. Enjoy the recaps of weeks 21 & 22!

Week 21: April 11 – 17

Baby is now the size of: a carrot!
Weight Gain: 1 lb.
Belly Measures: +4.5 inches

I’m Feeling: it was a momentous week! Not only did Walker feel the baby move for the first time (yay!!), but we also started transforming the guest room into the baby’s room! We got rid of the guest bed, as well bought a vintage rocker and hamper for the nursery. Very exciting to see our little home making room for baby!
Physical Symptoms: finally passed my pre-pregnancy weight! However, despite that seemingly low weight gain, I have noticed that I have actually gained a steady 0.5-1lb a week since week 17, which was my lowest weight in the pregnancy. These numbers are very normal for the second trimester (and baby was a perfectly healthy 13 oz at the 20 week scan), so I am finally feeling good about my weight gain progress. Because of morning sickness and healthier habits, it seems like I was losing weight in other places, while gaining normal baby weight, therefore essentially maintaining my weight for the first trimester. I feel like the past few weeks have been an indication that I will gain weight much more quickly as I move into the second half of my pregnancy.
Movement: I felt the baby moving around a ton this week, especially after meals and in the evenings when I am relaxing. I started to feel the kicks from the outside as well, which eventually led to Walker getting to feel the baby kick!
Sleep: sleeping like a log!
Food Cravings: no specific cravings other than the usual, but my appetite has definitely increased!
Anything Making You Queasy or Sick? another sick-free week! Wooooooo!
Miss Anything? not our guest bed! The room is starting to show the first signs of becoming a nursery!

Can’t Live Without: Craigslist! Besides managing to sell off our old guest bed in one day, we scored a beautiful vintage rocker for the baby’s room for practically nothing.
Best Moment This Week: Walker feeling the baby move for the first time!! We were sitting on the couch, watching TV after dinner and our nightly walk with Bo. The baby was being very active, so I thought maybe if we could get the timing right, Walker might be able to feel something. He put his hand on my belly, and after a minute or so he thought he felt a kick (and was able to point to the spot on his hand where he felt it, which lined up where I felt it inside). But he was still not sure, so he kept his hand there for a few more minutes. Then, he/she decided to give him a few good, hard kicks right in the center of his palm, and he looked up at me with wide eyes! There was no mistaking those kicks! Such an amazing and emotional moment for both of us. It felt so special to finally get to share with him the movement I have been feeling!
Looking Forward To/Excited About: our baby shower! Can’t wait to surprise family & friends with the gender of our little _____!

Notes: Walker felt the baby move for the first time on Thursday, April 13, at 21 weeks and 2 days along.

Week 22: April 18 – 24

Baby is now the size of: an ear of corn! Our little Cornhusker!
Weight Gain: 2 lb.
Belly Measures: +4.5 inches

I’m Feeling: grateful and spoiled! Invitations went out for our baby shower, and immediately we started to get boxes showing up at our doorstep! We have started stacking them in the nursery until after the baby shower, so the room now looks like a storage room. Baby Dale is already so loved! Seeing the stuff start to accumulate also makes it feel a little more real… soon there will be a little boy/girl using all of that stuff. So exciting!
Physical Symptoms: my belly is getting so big! The measurement around the middle is the same, but I look completely different in pants than I did last week (and I did manage to finally get my hands on some maternity jeans at the end of the week). I think my belly has really started to fill out below the belly button, since our little Cornhusker is growing quickly. He/she is supposed to cross over the one pound mark this week, but something tells me he/she did that last week, given his/her weight at our 20 week scan. Grow, baby, grow! Otherwise, I have been feeling great!
Movement: the baby moves around a lot all day, mostly in the early mornings, after meals, and in the evenings.
Sleep: once again, I have been sleeping very well, especially thanks to less restless legs over the past couple weeks!
Food Cravings: still citrus, citrus, citrus! That and a sweet tooth for anything fruit related (or fake fruit like Fruity Pebbles)!
Anything Making You Queasy or Sick? I got sick one morning this week after brushing my teeth, but was fine otherwise.
Miss Anything? the reality of the cost of infant child care has hit me hard this week, so now any time I spend money, I get a twinge of guilt while a little voice in my head tells me I should be saving more money now instead of spending it on (fill in the blank with something non-essential). I miss being able to buy myself a (decaf) latte without feeling guilty! Something tells me this feeling will never go away until the baby graduates from college…

Can’t Live Without: my little family. My sweet hubby and silly pup bring sunshine to my day! I can’t wait to add our little bundle of joy to the mix. He/she is a lucky guy/gal to get to enjoy these two as much as I do.
Best Moment This Week: we had a wonderful, indulgent pre-baby weekend. We filled our time with things that may not be as feasible (financially or time-wise) when our little one arrives. Saturday was Record Store Day, so we went to a couple of record stores looking for the special releases on our list. Then I had a prenatal massage, which was AMAZING. We spent the rest of Saturday barbecuing with family. Then on Sunday, we went out to lunch at an amazing new restaurant, followed by seeing The Graduate on the big screen for its 50th anniversary. Music, food, and movies… life is good.
Looking Forward To/Excited About: we have a few very exciting weekends coming up! We have another movie and a concert next weekend, followed by an out-of-town wedding the weekend after that. Then one weekend to relax before it is time for me to head to the east coast for the baby shower! Eeeeee! Lots of fun things on the horizon!

Notes: nothing noteworthy this week!