Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Reader Recs: Addie Pray’s Post-Baby Faves

img_1081Dear Wendy readers are some of the most intelligent, stylish, super-cool people around (it’s a proven fact), so it’s a no-brainer to feature some of their favorite products. Many of the recommended products happen to be affiliate products, which means I’ll receive a commission on any click-throughs or purchases you make through the affiliate links. As always, I appreciate your support! Today’s recommendations come from Addie Pray, who really needs no introduction if you’ve been reading DW for a while. Keep reading for her recommendations as well as pictures of her adorable dog… and a couple more of her son/Joanie’s maybe-future husband!

Hi, fellow dearwendiers! I’m here to pass along some readers’ recommendations for you. Though, admittedly, I’m generally not much of a shopper and specifically lately my shopping has seemed to be mostly non-existent, outside of your “can’t-live-without” stuff. Ever since I had my son (13+ months ago already, gasp!), I’ve been on an extra-tight budget. (Nannies are expensive, yo!) To that end, I’ve been using an app called Daily Budget and allotting myself, after recurring monthly expenses and what I want to put into savings, $35 a day to live off of, which must cover all my food, shopping for baby (diapers are expensive, too, and babies, like, grow and change, all the time, and need stuff, and more stuff, all the time, and that stuff costs money), and last *and* least whatever I may want for myself. I usually spend next to nothing during the workweek and save up so I can make my big purchases. And if my app says I don’t have enough money, I just wait a few weeks.

I know, all this budget-talk is boring, and it’s not exactly what I came here to do. But I guess I wanted to give you that background so you can go easy on me when you realize how cheap (most of) my recommendations are. I also hope you cut me some slack for all the baby-related recommendations. But looking back over my recent Amazon purchases, 99% of them are for my very loved (and spoiled? nahhh) baby.

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For example, le bébé loves books, so I buy him a lot of books that cost $5 here, and $5 there. He loves books that rhyme and pop-up books. We have a lot of Sandra Boynton books. She’s really popular so anyone with babies likely already knows her and has a few of her books. There’s a nice rhythm to her writing that’s engaging, and she’s just quirky enough. Our personal favorites are But Not the Hippopotamus, Moo Baa La La La (the first three pages have my baby in stitches laughing; admittedly, his interest peters out fast after that, though), Hippos Go Berserk, and Happy Hippo, Angry Duck: A Book of Moods (so sweet).

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A friend gave him a pop-up book called CAT that he instantly liked and then I found the author also has published Dog and Moo that we bought and like just as much (if not more because cats are lame, of course….) [You can also get the trip box set here — wendy].

Another favorite is Goodnight Gorilla which has no words so you have to make them up, which is fun. (I know, “fun” is used loosely, here.) Oh, oh, oh, and I can’t forget Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes which is just too sweet.

And of course, there’s Goodnight Moon that even those without kids likely already know about. We love that one, too. But do you want to hear my big discovery about that book? Well, do you know about The Runaway Bunny? I love the Runaway Bunny, but my baby doesn’t — not yet, that is; I suspect it’s because it has too many words that don’t rhyme. Well, the mama and baby bunnies in Runaway Bunny are the “little old lady whispering hush” and the bunny in bed in Goodnight Moon! Who knew!?! (Everyone but me?). There’s even a framed picture in Goodnight Moon’s green room of a scene from Runaway Bunny. I was so excited when I made that connection! The same author wrote those books, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.

I could go on and on with baby book recommendations but I think that’s enough for now. I do have a couple of non-baby things for you. Like this Bento Box. Isn’t it cute? I’ve been bringing my lunch to work for the past two weeks in an effort to lose weight. My issue with food is that I overeat. I can eat MASS QUANTITIES, so this little box and it’s compartments help me keep the volume of food down, and it fits inside my purse so I don’t have to carry it separately to work.

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Have you heard of mixbook.com? It’s one of those websites where you can upload your pictures into albums using pre-formatted themes, and you can order hard copies of the albums, individual prints, canvas prints, etc. I’m sure there are a lot of sites that do that, but I have really enjoyed using mixbook.com to create photo albums. It’s what I do to organize my pictures and preserve the memories for my baby. He’s been around for 13+ months and I already have nine albums! They’re fun to flip through, and the baby has even started to enjoy looking at pictures of himself “when he was a baby.” Also, I promised to make an album of MaterialsGirl’s INSANELY BEAUTIFUL pictures from her San Fran court-house wedding earlier this year. MG, I’m on it, I’m on it. That project got a little delayed because I “had” to first make an album of the baby’s 9-12 month pictures, another one devoted to his 1st birthday party, and yet another one of pictures from our beautiful fall day at the pumpkin patch last weekend…. But I’m on it.

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Speaking of pictures, ever since I had my baby, I’ve wanted to upgrade my camera so I can have really good quality pictures. We had a professional photographer take pictures around the seven-month mark (see my profile pic above) – and if I had millions of dollars, I’d have her come take pictures every month! But I don’t, so I started to look into cameras. I have a Cannon Rebel DSLR similar to this one. I bought it five or six years ago. It turns out, I didn’t really need a new camera, I just needed a new lens. I wanted something that would take really sharp pictures with a blurred background. So I talked to a photographer friend of mine (who used a lot of words I didn’t understand) who ultimately helped me pick out this lens, and I love it! (Check out the pictures I’ve been taking with my new lens of my friend’s dog Elvis, my handsome dog Moose, and my super-handsome boy (at 11 months). Enjoy!

Thanks, Addie! You all look happy and gorgeous!

If you have some products you’d like to recommend to the DW audience, shoot me an email at wendy@dearwendy.com with links to five recommendations. (Write “reader recs” in the subject line, please.) Your recommendations can be from any store or website, but they need to be accessible online. If your list is a good fit for the site, I’ll ask you to write a brief description of each item/explain what you love so much about it.

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

42 comments… add one
  • avatar

    jilliebean October 27, 2016, 12:11 pm

    Ahhhh what beautiful pictures!! And your baby is absolutely adorable!!

    My babies are now 17 and 20 (!) and I can still recite “Moo Baa La La La” practically by heart. A big favorite in our house. “A cow says moo, a sheep says baa, three little pigs say….

    *little voice chimes in* LA LA LA!!!”

    aaaaaand now I’m crying.

    Thanks for sharing and bringing back those memories!

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 27, 2016, 12:27 pm

      “…. no no, you say, that isn’t right! The pigs say oink all day and night!” <3

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        Vathena October 27, 2016, 12:32 pm

        I LITERALLY was just typing that out!

        “Rhinoceroses snort and snuff, and little dogs go RUFF RUFF RUFF!”

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 27, 2016, 12:34 pm

        Other dogs go bow wow wow
        And cats and kittens say meow!
        ^
        After the “la la la” line he loses interest and we have to re-read the first three pages again – and again and again

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  • avatar

    _s_ October 27, 2016, 12:26 pm

    Good lord, Addie’s baby is over a year old?? I feel really old now.

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    RedRoverRedRover October 27, 2016, 12:33 pm

    Well, the way Addie talks about herself, I was expecting some hideous troll. But here she is, looking beautiful! She’s fooled us all!

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 27, 2016, 1:02 pm

      Well, that morning I showered and put on clean clothes so…. but thank you!

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    • avatar

      Samba October 28, 2016, 9:56 am

      Haha, I was gonna say something similar. AP is always poking fun at herself yet she is gorgeous!! Nice try! 🙂 What a cutie pie that baby is too, O-M-G.

      Thanks for the recs, and for making me realize I should probably start a better budgeting tool than my excel google doc, I am already terrified about how to cover the monthly daycare costs along with everything else baby will need…womp womp. Maybe it is time to consider moving to Montana or somewhere where the average care costs might actually be what the US says the average care costs are, and not 3X that like here in the DMV/ NYC/ Chicago.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny October 27, 2016, 12:56 pm

    AP makes beautiful babies and has a cutie pie pup! 😀

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 27, 2016, 1:02 pm

      Oh go on you…

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  • avatar

    AndSoItGoes October 27, 2016, 12:58 pm

    Addie, your pics are so lovely!

    Also, it’s interesting that a new lens made such a big difference for you (though I guess it makes sense). A good way to save money, too. 🙂

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 27, 2016, 1:06 pm

      Thanks! And the rest of what I meant to reply to you got posted below…

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray October 27, 2016, 1:05 pm

    Yes, it’s all about the lens, apparently. And I should have added: you can get a similar lens in most brands. I chose that one because I already had a Cannon DSLR. But what’s important was the 50 mm f/1.4 thingy. No idea what anything means…. I kind of sort of in layman’s terms did when my friend explained it but now I’ve forgotten. The quality improved and it required no special skills on my part. So I’m happy. Some of the lenses she showed me, that she has, that professionals like her have, were MUY expensive. This one less so but it was still a stressful purchase. I had to remind myself: people pay this amount for purses and shoes and airfare – and I’m buying none of that so it’s a wash! (Mind tricks.)

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    • avatar

      memboard October 28, 2016, 8:14 am

      The smaller the f number, the more blurred the background. The consequence can be that too much is out of focus in certain photos. I took photo of just the head (a head shots) with at f/1.4 once and I got the nose in focus but not the ears! So it can play tricks on you.

      For sure it looks like the lens agrees with your style. It’s a somewhat unusual choice though, I personally would have recommended something more flexible like a regular zoom: https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/products/details/lenses/ef/standard-zoom/ef-s-17-55mm-f-2-8-is-usm Since your kit lens is in that ballpark it’s a redundancy that probably didn’t agree with your budget. That said, your kit lens should still be useful in a pinch.

      If you ever get to travel and do some landscape I can certainly recommend this ultra-wide zoom: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tokina/11-20mm.htm#rex Ultra-wide zooms are somewhat new to the market. I find I use mine a lot more than I though I would.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 28, 2016, 9:15 am

        Thank you!

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      • avatar

        memboard October 28, 2016, 10:03 am

        Oh, remember that the camera actually adjusts the f number continuously as it adjusts itself for the amount of light (indoor vs. outdoor for example). So odd are that the lens isn’t always at f/1.4, The camera should show the number in use at the moment ( I am guessing in the view finder but I don’t know the Canons). You should be able to adjust the camera’s selection by using the scroll wheel at the top (so to force it to use a lower f number to get more blur).

        Good luck.

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  • avatar

    ktfran October 27, 2016, 1:07 pm

    I still have a book for you. Fyi. And the little man is so effing cute!

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  • avatar

    Jessica October 27, 2016, 1:09 pm

    That. Baby. Is. So. Beautiful. Holy cheeks!!!

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie October 27, 2016, 1:16 pm

    Seriously, in my mind you had the kid 4 months ago. Where have I been for 9 months. The cheeks are scrumptious. Moo Baa is a lasting favorite.

    Your kidlet is a bit too young for my new favorite book for kids: The Day the Crayons Quit. So adorable.

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  • kmtthat

    kmtthat October 27, 2016, 2:09 pm

    Ok I really want to see you and bebe again soon AP! I feel like he is already SO much bigger than the last time I saw him! Also do you have an Amazon wishlist or anything for books for him? Would love to get him a few 🙂

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    • avatar

      ktfran October 27, 2016, 2:42 pm

      MEET UP!

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl October 27, 2016, 2:52 pm

        yeah obvi i wanna see those engagement earrings 😉

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      • avatar

        ktfran October 27, 2016, 2:54 pm

        of course!

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  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl October 27, 2016, 2:10 pm

    HIIIIIII. Okay I have BabyPray’s birthday gift from RadioStar and I (obviously I bought it, but since it’s baseball related, RadioStar was pretty particular about what team BabyPray will root for). No worries on the book. BP and Moose are way cuter

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  • FireStar

    Firestar October 27, 2016, 2:34 pm

    Cutie pie!

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  • avatar

    Ali October 27, 2016, 2:53 pm

    My daughter loves the Sandra Boynton books (she is 2.5 and can recite or finish some of the lines now when we read them together). She also really likes the Pout Pout Fish book and the Little Blue Trucks books (there are 3 of them that we have). So I would also recommend those as they are all cute and rhyme-y as well.
    Thanks for the mixbook recommendation.

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  • avatar

    Taylor October 27, 2016, 3:03 pm

    Love this post! Awesome recs and pictures <3
    My nearly three y.o. loves Moo Baa LaLaLa. She was crabby one evening, and was saying "NO" to everything. I started reading it to her…"the cow says…" and she went "NO!". I cracked up, so now when we read it, all the answers are no and we crack up together =) My favorite is "Three singing pigs say…" "NO NO NO!"

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  • avatar

    anonymousse October 27, 2016, 4:35 pm

    Your son is adorable!
    I have bought so many books, too. I need to go to the actual library.
    Check out “Goodnight, goodnight construction site” and “Steam train, dream train.” We love Boynton, but these were made for the vehicle obsessed.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover October 27, 2016, 6:08 pm

      Oh I’ve got goodnight goodnight construction site! My son loves it. It was his gift from my daughter when she was born, along with a Tonka crane.

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      • avatar

        Vathena October 27, 2016, 7:54 pm

        We also love GGCS, but have changed all the pronouns so the rough, tough trucks are girls. 🙂

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        RedRoverRedRover October 27, 2016, 8:06 pm

        My daughter is 5 months old, and I’ve already had to change the pronouns in so many books. It’s sad. 🙁

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      • avatar

        LisforLeslie October 28, 2016, 7:23 am

        If you haven’t gotten it yet please get a copy of the Paper Bag Princess.

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        RedRoverRedRover October 28, 2016, 9:21 am

        That’s my go-to-gift for all my friends with girls. I loved it as a kid and I love it now. 🙂 My husband’s best friend’s daughter went as the paper bag princess for Halloween one year. I’ll take credit since I bought her the book and her parents had never heard of it before that, lol. 🙂

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse October 28, 2016, 4:29 pm

        Ha ha, that’s awesome! I am really happy there are so many more books for girls coming out, though! “Rosie Revere, engineer” is on my wishlist.

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        RedRoverRedRover October 28, 2016, 4:31 pm

        I’ve got that one too! 🙂

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse October 28, 2016, 4:30 pm

        That’s really sweet.
        My daughter “gave” my son a stuffed dog toy… and he threw it across the hospital room when he came to meet her!

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  • avatar

    saneinca October 27, 2016, 9:55 pm

    Very cute baby.

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  • avatar

    K October 28, 2016, 1:50 pm

    Your son is adorable!!

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones October 28, 2016, 6:37 pm

    I loved Goodnight Gorilla!!!

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  • avatar

    McLovin October 28, 2016, 6:42 pm

    AP is very, very pretty. And, I can’t NOT head nod out of respect to any guy that can rock a bow tie – regardless of age or book choices!

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  • Classic

    Classic October 29, 2016, 9:15 pm

    Look at that cute baby’s smug expression– he is all this is MY mommy, mine. What a beautiful baby and mommy and puppy what a great post 🙂

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  • avatar

    keyblade October 30, 2016, 8:28 am

    Addie, your baby is absolutely gorgeous. He has such a serious expression. Thank you for sharing.

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