To start this post off, I'd like to thank every Mom out there on this Mother's Day - Thank you Moms! Seeing firsthand (and only seeing, which is not anywhere near close to what you actually experience) the journey just to grow a baby is incredible, and I hear the actual birth isn't exactly a walk in the park. No matter how old we may get, we'll always be little ones to our Moms. Once again, thank you Moms, Grandmas and Aunts for all the love you provide. One day a year of public recognition is nowhere near enough. Yesterday was a mind blowing experience for me. Aside from the crib, my (very naive) idea of "baby stuff" would be car seat, a stroller and a closet-full of diapers. I mean, really - what else do you need, right? W R O N G. Laughably wrong. There are so many different baby things that I had never imagined, never knew existed and don't know who will enjoy playing with them more - Violetta or me. Because yesterday, we went to Nordstrom, Baby's R Us and started browsing the website diapers.com. The day started out easy enough: heading over to Nordstrom to focus on one thing: the stroller. I had done my homework here and knew exactly which stroller we'd be getting - this was just the test drive to confirm the online research. I'm a total "gear head" - I love any type of gear that you can tweak and customize: backpacks with easy-access external hydration sleeves and carabiner clips on the hip belts; building a computer and personally picking out every component; wirelessly "wiring" our entire house to stream music, video and manage it all online, remotely. And now, I love strollers. The amount of engineering that goes into these things is beyond belief. There are so many configurations and customization options that I'm completely shocked that they don't feature and review these things in men's magazines. After parking, we made a beeline for the baby area to check out the Bugaboo Cameleon stroller. I made myself at home while assembling, disassembling and taking the stroller through all it's various setups. Much like Pottery Barn Kid's, there were two sales associates fielding my questions, and explaining the finer details that weren't as easily seen online. The stroller has a gazillion configurations once you throw in the 2 seats (infant and toddler), front and rear facing setups, and the various angles the baby can sit/lay down in the seat. Of course, we had to make sure the car seat we were researching would fit with the separate adapters; both sales associates confirmed it does. Along with everything I've already written, the stroller comes with storage accessories (like a clear rain cover), packs down flat for easy travel (good for our flight to Ohio over Christmas), and even has foam molded wheels for puncture-proof, off-road adventures. I was so entranced in the stroller test drive, that I didn't realize Meli was laughing and taking pictures... Up next was a trip that I most certainly was not ready for, and made the mistake of going in blind: Baby's R Us. Imagine, if you will, growing up your entire life in a small town with a corner grocery store adequately equipped with merely two checkout lines. Now, flash forward 30+ years and you walk into a Sam's Club or Costco for the first time in your life. Overwhelmed does not even begin to describe how ill-prepared I was. Did you know that the nipples on baby bottles are silicone formulated to provide a lifelike, tactile transition from momma to bottle - and at the same time, allow for a slow-release, vacuum-free feeding experience so as to prevent air bubbles from entering your baby's precious little belly and give him or her gas? Yeah...I didn't either; but we all know now! It was like this at every aisle - all 532 of them. We went further down the rabbit hole when we came home to check out diapers.com. From a retail/inventory-management perspective, the site is something you'd expect to see in a Disney movie, certainly not in real life. They have the standard "anything and everything" Mommy and Daddy would need, tons of helpful reviews, and smart, predictive shopping behaviors that offer up appropriate "customers also bought ..." suggestions, but the real amazing thing is they offer free 2 day shipping on any purchase $35 and up. This reminds me of the early days of online shopping back in the late 90s, and the insane incentives retailers would offer. It's no surprise that online sales behemoth Amazon.com owns and manages this website. Many, many hours later at 1:30am, we bought the Prezi car seat. This morning, I had already received an email with the tracking number and an expected delivery date of this Tuesday! I really wanted to get the car seat to practice installing it in the car. I'm going to set up timed drills to track and measure my car seat expertise progress - and throw in various challenges to mimic real life, future scenarios: such as, install the car seat in under 3 minutes while simultaneously packing up the car with 30 pounds of baby stuff because we're late and we needed to be there 15 minutes ago. On top of all of these activities for Momma and Dad, lil Violetta has been quite the busy lil' baby herself. She continues to chub up, and this week alone has gained nearly 2.5 ounces. Her little baby brain and cerebrum have started folding and wrinkling, which provide greater surface area for cell-to-cell communication. This will enable intellect, memory and motor control to function properly. There's definitely no doubt that motor control development is under way because she has been kicking a lot lately! Ol Dad here has felt the little belly movements and wow, is it amazing! The really tiny movements feel like a strong pulse, and I have to concentrate to feel them. For whatever reason, it's easier to feel them if everything is quiet. The bigger ones though are quite obvious and feel like a quick, little muscle contraction in Momma's belly! During our nightly walks, lil Vee will happily bounce around and jab an appendage into Momma's belly. I can't see the baby hand/arm/foot/elbow, but can definitely feel the lil munchkin stretching. Here we are at week 23 (yes, 23!) on this wonderful Mother's Day. If you look really close, you can almost see lil Violetta smiling too! Quick update: we actually received the car seat the next day on Monday! Diapers.com, you just found two loyal customers!