Thursday, June 25, 2015

Baby #2, what shopping shall we do for you?

It's funny to look back and realize how completely unprepared we were when Oswin was born. She arrived ten days early, and we had yet to buy diapers, wipes, postpartum after care goods, a diaper pail...the list goes on. 

I remember in between contractions, watching Dan with his cup of freshly made espresso in the delivery room, using the hospital's wifi to order things we hadn't had the chance to yet. I remember going through my hospital bag during our almost six day hospital stay, (praise be to the Swiss health care system!), and seeing that I had in fact not packed appropriately for the baby. I blame this on french baby clothes sizing, which tend to be smaller than the equivalent American size by a good 3-6 months, and the belief that our child was going to be just gargantuan (a belief implanted in our brains by our doctor's reaction to our late pregnancy ultrasounds). A six month sweater sized Petit Beateau sweater, Ugg boots that only just fit Oswin this past was all just, wrong. 

 So what now? With #2 on the way this reflection has made me realize that despite not knowing anything, despite having no local support network, no one to bounce ideas off of, we were totally 100% fine. We made it work with what we had. I did however make a list of things I would do differently in my pre-baby shopping for our next go round, but there really isn't much extra we need in preparation for Nighttrain's arrival. (Don't worry, Nighttrain is just this baby's womb name, we've already got their actual name sorted.) In fact, if the baby arrived today, we would be more prepared than we were when Oswin first showed up on the scene.

 Curious about what we will be purchasing to help welcome Nighttrain into our little family? Well here is a list of some of my wish list items, because at this point, the only thing we really need is clothing in one particular size. That's it. That sure makes shopping a hell of a lot more fun, don't you think?

Pic via here

My heart will always skip a beat for Briar Handmade bonnets. I've been purchasing bonnets for Oswin from this lovely little company since very soon after they opened shop, and it's been fun and heart warming to see the success that has been achieved in a relatively short period of time. I'm not a huge fan of most hats for newborns, but these bonnets just make me so happy. Simple, well made, and work for both boys and girls in my opinion. These gender neutral and go with everything bonnets are definitely on our "buy for baby" list. 

Pic via here

We never did much in the way of swaddling, but we have a ton of swaddles. They've been indispensable to us for a variety of reasons that do not include swaddling, and we usually keep one on hand in the diaper bag during the colder months, as well as in the car. I've always been an Aden + Anais girl, but these poppy cotton muslin swaddles from Little Unicorn have really caught my eye. 
(The matching quilt isn't too shabby either.)  

Pic via here. 

In the Duggan household you can never, ever, EVER go wrong with a good buffalo plaid, especially in red. Nighttrain is due early September, when the temperatures will mostly still be scorching here in SwitzerFrance. These 100% cotton plaid bloomers from Billie Blooms will be the perfect transition from late summer heat to early fall cooling temperatures...because let's face it, I start dreaming of plaid by late July anyways.

Pic via here.

Humblehouse Handmade is another small, handmade, work at home mama shop that will always have my heart. Her work is amazing, and I can't help but swoon over someone who still includes handwritten notes and hand-stamped prints in their packages, all while running after three kiddos of her own. We've bought several of her Kismet dolls which Oswin loves, as well as donut rattles, but now that she has begun making pretzel crochet rattles, well, another order is in our near future. If there is one thing that neither Dan nor I can resist, it's a good soft pretzel...even if it happens to be blue or pink.

Pic via here.

I need this light for the nursery. I just need it. Wouldn't it look amazing in what will become the shared "Marie Antoinette Goes for a Hike in the Swiss Alps" themed nursery? 

Pic via here.

I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit over graphic t-shirts and onesies. Aside from a few designs that either have personal meaning or a reminder of a special time, such as a CERN t-shirt or a touristy t-shirt from a family vacation, well, I'm just not into it. I've become far more drawn towards simple, traditional, well made clothing, for both myself and the kiddos (it's so weird to say that as a plural!), with a healthy dabbling of my bohemian-punk hybrid roots just to keep it amusing and confusing. Oswin was 50 cm at birth, which essentially meant she was a 1 month clothing sized babe at the start, and that happened to be the one size of clothing we avoided buying. Whoops. As we're in the market for one month sized clothes, I'll be looking for great deals at our go-to shop, Petit Bateau, but I'm also really interested in trying clothes from Gray Label. I'm really leaning towards white,grey, navy, muted pastels and the like for baby's first days/weeks, and they really fit the bill.  

Pic via here

It's definitely not something we need, but I certainly wouldn't kick this adorable overall set out of Nighttrain's closet.

Pic via here.

I've been drooling over Little Wife Powerhouse's Swiss Cross quilts for what has probably been years now, and I'm determined to snag one or two this year for the kiddos. As we don't know if we're having a boy or a girl, I love the neutrality of the Cru quilt, and think it will fit in nicely with the color scheme and theme that is already existent in the nursery.

Pic via here.

When it comes to baby shoes, yes, they're all adorable because they are oh so teeny tiny, but practical? Well we've only found one brand that meets both requirements so far: Freshly Picked Moccasins. These are the only shoes we've tried on Oswin that are easy for us to get on her feet, and nearly impossible for her to figure out how to take them off. They are comfy, they are cozy, they are adorable, and now that we're at the stage where we're taking on the playground like a little wild dragon, we've found that they can take a beating as well. They clean easily, they wear well, and we are repeat customers. So obviously a pair of their crib moccs are on my list for the new babe. 

Pic via here. 

You all know I'd be remiss to not mention our number one brand when it comes to baby carriers: Sakura Bloom. Babywearing is something that we are really passionate about, for it has been not only a really meaningful experience for us with Oswin, but it has also, on numerous occasions, saved our sanity. Whether it's traveling across an ocean, deftly maneuvering through crowds in Geneva, perusing our weekly French market, or simply comforting a little girl with a massive case of the crankies, Sakura Bloom ring slings have been our go to. I cannot imagine that it will be any different once the number of children in our home doubles. I'm loving the Black Currant linen chambray, Caramel linen chambray, and Maize Classic Linen for fall, but I'm sitting on pins and needles to see what beauties they come out with for this coming season. (Fingers crossed for a nice pumpkin-y orange silk!)

How about you? What were some of your go-to buys for your second babe? I'd love to hear them!

A la prochaine friends...


Sidenote: This is NOT a sponsored post. I have not received any compensation for the above. These are all goods I really dig, and thought you might too. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

A bit of news.

For those of you who may not have heard the news yesterday over on my Instagram account, we're finally ready to spill the beans: we're expecting baby #2!

I'm 14 weeks along, and our little bundle of awesome will be joining us sometime in the beginning of September. Dan and I are very excited. Oswin seems thus far unimpressed. 

This time around has definitely been different so far: with Oswin I felt like death from weeks 6-18.5, not even trusting myself to walk down the street by myself for fear of dizzyness and fainting. I've had my first trimester moments this time for sure, and by 4 PM I'm pretty much useless due to fatigue, but I've been able to stay a lot more active earlier on and for that I am very thankful. 

Pregnancy and blogging are a funny thing. I find it difficult to blog when I have a big secret to keep, because my mind becomes consumed by said secret, and writing about anything else feels like I'm just taking up virtual space WHEN ALL I WANT TO DO IS TALK ABOUT BABIES. 

That's not entirely true, but mostly. I hate keeping secrets from people and feel that I fail a bit as a friend when I have one to keep. But now I feel like this huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and I can talk about babies and travel and food and expat life with a clear and honest mind. 

(Sidenote: this does not mean that future blogging breaks should be taken as me being knocked up. Don't forget that I sometimes get lazy. But in this case, yeah, je suis enceinte fo' sure.)

Spring is upon us, as is the "golden period of pregnancy," so let's hope this good weather and fortune continue. I'm excited for this second round of pregnancy, welcoming a new bundle, and transitioning to a family of four. Thanks for following along!

A la prochaine friends...


Thursday, January 22, 2015

A day trip to Montenvers.

In the Fall, when one of Dan's best friends from college was out to visit us, we decided to take a day trip to Chamonix and Mont Blanc, something that is not uncommon for us to do any given weekend day. However, we wanted to make it special and change things up a bit. We decided to do something that was new to us as well as our friend, allowing us to see one of our favorite towns in France in a new light. 

You may remember from a post a few months back when we were thwarted from taking the telecabine up to a popular hiking point on Mont Blanc, called Plan de l'Aiguille du Midi (2317 m.), because Oswin was too young. Someone suggested that next time we try to take the train up to a different point on the mountain, known as Montenvers (1913 m). Well, this is the story of that train ride. 

When we arrived at Chamonix we were amazed at the difference from when we had been there just two weeks before. On the occasion of that thwarted telecabine ride we found a surprisingly 70 degree day, one that far from had a shortage of sun or greenery. Fast forward to two weeks later when I almost slipped and fell getting of the car because of an icy patch. It was so so SO very cold. There was snow and ice in certain spots. It was fast becoming ski season in Chamonix, and all we were missing was a big pot of fondue to warm our bones.

After walking through the town a bit, we headed over to the train station to purchase our tickets and waited for our cogwheel ride. The journey took about 30 minutes, and the scenery was beautiful, though Oswin was far more interested in the people on the train than the surrounding Alps. 

We arrived at the end at the Montenvers station to see one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. Just look at that peak! 

It took my breathe away. I hadn't researched anything about Montenvers before heading up, and its sheer beauty was a very welcome surprise. There are steps leading down to the glacier below, but as it was slippery and we were sans appropriate footwear (and avec enfant), we decided to wait to head down that path until things begin to thaw in the spring or early summer.

We stayed at the top for an hour or so, explored a crystal cave, took lots of pictures, and had a hot chocolate, before heading back down the mountain to the slightly warmer Chamonix. The sun was beginning to set, so after a little more wandering around this alpen ski town we headed back to the car to make the drive home.

If you're heading to Chamonix I highly recommend taking the trip up to Montenvers. There was no age minimum for kids, so it's nice to have a kid-friendly option for going a bit higher on the mountain. It's beauty is awe-inspiring, there are paths to be explored, and you might as well as see this beautiful glacier before they all become a thing of the past. I will say that if you're going with kids, leave the stroller at the bottom or in your hotel. We saw several people really struggling with their strollers, both in finding a way to fit on the cogwheel train with the other passengers, and trying to maneuver the icy paths. Carriers all the way for those babes, if you ask me.

A la prochaine friends...


Oh, and hey, speaking of carriers, don't forget that we've got our first giveaway going on right now for a Sakura Bloom ring sling! This giveaway will close at 11:59 EST on Friday the 23rd, so head on over to get those entries in now! You can enter once, or as many as eight times, depending on your social media following/liking/etc. preferences. Here's the link to enter!  Bon chance!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Giveaway: Sakura Bloom Ring Sling

We've reason to celebrate here at I'm an Outlaw, Not a Hero, and that reason is our upcoming 5 year Blog-a-versary! That's right friends, on the 25th of January we will have been on this little slice of the interwebs for a big five years, and what better time to announce our very first giveaway?

You guys may remember that last year both Dan and I were picked to be Sling Diarists for the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries. It was a big time honor and we were really excited to be part of such an inspiring project with some really cool babywearing parents. I had followed along with the Sling Diaries long before Oswin was even a twinkle in our collective eyes, so to be chosen to be a part of it was a dream come true. We wrote on six different themes of parenting over a six month period and took pictures to accompany our entries, both of which we will always treasure. Sakura Bloom has been really good to us over the past year, not only through their amazing product that we swear by (I didn't even bring a stroller to the US for this two-week trip!), but also through their generosity and the community of babywearing parents that they have helped bring together through social media. Now they've given us the chance to be good to you too. We're giving away a Classic Linen ring sling in the color known as Acadia (seen in the picture below), courtesy of Sakura Bloom, to one lucky reader! 

Pic via here. 

The great thing about these slings is that you don't need to purchase various sizes as your child grows. Newborn to 25 lbs, they've got you covered with one universal sling. No inserts needed. No only using it until six months and having to buy a larger style. It's one piece of babywearing equipment, that is quite stylish, and can easily be rolled up into a diaper bag, used as a scarf, nursing cover, etc. Great for moms, dads, grandparents, babysitters, essentially anyone who is caring for a child. 

Not a parent? Have a friend who is expecting? Try to win it for them! Or enter and try to win it for your local babywearing lending library and help introduce someone new to the wonderful world of babywearing. 

This giveaway will close at 11:59 PM on Friday, January 23, 2015, at which time the winner will be randomly chosen. Bon chance! 

And hey, thanks for sticking around and listening to me ramble on for the last five years. I have so much love for all of you!

A la prochaine friends...

Here's how to enter: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Lyon: The Christmas Market that wasn't.

We've been lucky for most of our past European Christmas Market excursions over the years to find that most exceed our expectations...but what about the ones that don't? Well, I hate to end the 2013 European Christmas Market tour on a bit of bummer, but Lyon, you're making me do it. 

Just a few days before Christmas we decided to squeeze in just one more Christmas Market, and as we hadn't returned to Lyon in almost 2 years, it seemed as good a reason as any to make a day trip to the gastronomic capital of France. We researched online that they hold quite a large Christmas Market, and it seemed like a great way to round out the year.

We stopped for a quick "taco" (which was actually more like a rectangular burrito with potatoes inside) at "Starting Coffee," mostly because they had Wi-Fi and we needed to access a map online. The "taco" was surprisingly good, even if it wasn't actually a taco, and the gentleman behind the counter was very nice. We told him we were going to the Christmas Market, and he warned us against it. "It's not very good. People have been very disappointed. There is a better one across town." 


We finished our "tacos" and decided to check the market out anyway, as we had made the trek to Lyon for that very reason. But oh was local wisdom ever correct. There was a tent with about 20 vendors, none selling anything Christmas related. Aside from a man selling some nice Jura wood toys (whom we bought a little car from), everything else fell along the lines of street market wares. In addition there was one vin chaud stand selling pretty horrible vin chaud, a few food stands, and a kind of petting area with farm animals and pony rides.

Yep. we drove an hour and half to see farm animals. Because we don't see enough cows, chickens, horses, goat and donkeys everyday.

(Who am I kidding, I can never see enough donkeys.)

The animals were the big attraction, and the three of us just kind of stood there looking at each other. 

So this was the Lyon Christmas Market. A bit of a bust.

Truth be told, the market was apparently spread throughout the city in small clusters like this, however we trekked a large part of that city and came across no other segments of the market. No signs directing you to find it. No lights up to spot from far away. We literally searched high and low (Lyon has many steps), and we found nothing. Even our burrito place was closed. Lyon was against us that day.

We didn't let the non-market scenario get us too down though. Lyon is really fun to walk around, and quite the exercise. We went to a children's book shop and picked up a few last minute Christmas presents for Oswin, and wandered around a used book shop and found a copy of "Frankenstein" in French for a friend back home. It made my heart so happy to see how bustling the children's book shop was. Parents were literally elbowing each other to get to books, grabbing piles of books and carefully reading through them before making purchases. Two days before Christmas and the love of reading was still alive and well in France. 

We walked around different parts of the city then we had two years ago, finding the main shopping area and plenty of festive lights...none of which were attached to a Christmas Market. Papa picked up some of Mama's favorite tea for Santa to put in her stocking, since Santa was pretty busy. Dan is such a good helper.

Oh Lyon, we love you so, but we will not be returning for your Christmas Market next year...wherever the rest of it was hiding. 

A la prochaine friends...


Also, keep an eye out for Tuesday's post, as I'll be hosting my first giveaway! Exciting right? And hint hint, it rhymes with "Bakura Sloom." Wink wink!