Summer, summer, summer time! Let’s just sit back and unwi—ahahahahaha who are we kidding? It’s summer, and I have four kids including newbie twins. The only thing unwinding will be my sanity.
Ok, that’s a bit of hyperbole: I’m looking forward to this summer season with my cubs! I’ve got some great products to help me keep my sanity tightly wound and thought I’d share them with you.
Out and About
This universal car seat cover solves two summer stresses.
Firstly, it provides shade for baby while maintaining air circulation. The cover is made of breathable mesh. (Avoid covering baby’s car seat with a blanket or other type of cover that just keeps the hot air in.) The removable visor attaches at all four corners with a clip (similar to what’s used for a bra strap) and offers UPF protection while also shielding baby from wind and rain, which in Calgary can appear in the blink of an eye.
Secondly, it keeps out the bugs. Mosquitoes, wasps, ticks and all their friends are thwarted by the fine mesh cover, so you don’t have to worry about bites and stings.
The twins come with me every morning to our community garden plot and our Petit Coulou covers make the experience much more comfortable for them. They usually snooze the whole time! Note that they also make a version for strollers.
I am apparently the number one item on most mosquitoes’ menus, but since I am constantly touching and holding the twins, I don’t want to douse myself in a harsh bug repellant. Made in Calgary, Take a Hike Outdoor Joose is non-greasy and safe for kids over age 1. (You can spray it on younger children’s clothing but it’s advised to avoid direct skin contact.)
I haven’t had a chance to use it in the deep woods, but so far it’s kept me bite-free at the playground and garden: places where I usually get lots of bites.
This is my favourite natural sunscreen in the whole world, and I’ve tried quite a few! It smells delightful and it applies smoothly and rubs in without turning the skin a ghostly white and without being greasy. I love the stick format for easy application, but the regular tube is great too. I use it on myself and my kids.
Cub is onto his third or fourth summer now with the SAME size large Twinklebelle sun hat. A few years ago we had it cinched tighter, and now it’s at its largest setting (which also fits me, by the way). Miss Cub and her brothers are rocking sizes small and medium respectively. Any piece of functional summer attire that can get you multiple seasons of use on the same kid is a must-have in my books.
I break things. I may even break more things than my kids break. These sunglasses are unbreakable. I have sat on them and stepped on them. My kids have twisted them and chewed them. They’re definitely worth the extra money compared to dollar-store pairs with brittle plastic that end up in the garbage after a few weeks.
All four of the kids have ro•sham•bo sunnies: the babies and Miss Cub wear baby size, and Cub still fits his toddler-sized pair at almost 6 years old. (So this is his third year with the same pair!) The only reason I don’t have a pair is because I’m too lazy to get my prescription lenses put in them.
One of the things my mother has taught me is that protecting your skin from the sun is a great way to prevent premature aging. (And if you’ve seen my mother, you’d believe her!) This hat has been in my summer arsenal for five years now because its wide brim gives me lots of shade, its dorky-but-functional chin strap keeps it in place, and it’s easy to fold up and toss in a bag.
I can’t help but notice that playgrounds in Calgary are lacking in shade and teeming with mosquitoes. Luckily I have this pop-up tent by bblüv in which the Cub Twins can chill while their siblings play. The tent offers SPF 50+ protection, and the canopy and retractable mesh keeps bugs out. I can think of a lot of ways to use this tent during summer travels: in your hotel as a safe sleep space (it is compact enough to fit in your luggage), poolside at an all-inclusive resort or on the beach to keep baby off the sand and out of the sun.
Alas we will be staycationing hardcore this summer, so we’ll be popping open the Nidö mainly on our deck or at the park. (Or in our living room on those random days in Calgary when it is suddenly freezing cold.)
I am hoping to take the big kids to the park as often as possible this summer (so … let’s aim for once a week). I bought this Tuffo blanket so I’d have a spot to let the twins out of their bucket seats and a spot for us all to enjoy the extravagant picnic I will surely be packing (aka whatever convenience foods I dig out of the bottom of the diaper bag). The blanket is also perfect for spreading out on our deck while the big kids are riding their bikes up and down our walkway.
There are a lot of swim diapers on the market, so it’s hard to choose just one. Funky Fluff’s swim diaper is my favourite because it is a one-size option (making it great value) that still fits even small and skinny babies, because it has a double gusset and because of the stand-out prints that make a swimsuit wholly unnecessary!
Remember: even if you don’t cloth diaper, cloth swim diapers are a simple way to reduce waste and save money compared to disposable swimmers.
These shirts are manufactured by NoZone, a BC-based company, and carried exclusively with the AppleCheeks logo by Natasha at The Baby Footprint. For me it’s not about the logo so much as the bright colours and the turtleneck design. If I’m going to put my kid in a UV tee it’s because I want to avoid applying sunscreen to their entire torso, including the neck and all of the arms! (What’s with three-quarter length sleeves on UV tees?) Cub wore size 1–24 months for THREE years. It fit him even last year when he was wearing 4T/5T clothes.
A mesh water sling is so much fun for taking baby in the pool, the ocean, the lake or even just the water park. I don’t have a specific brand preference. We happen to own a Beachfront Baby sling, but you can also look at Chimparoo and Sew Funky.
If you have a toddler and a baby, this is a great way to follow the toddler around at the splash pad while wearing the baby. (Obviously, do not accompany a toddler into deep water while wearing your baby!)
I have the Bitters Maternity Tankini and I lurrrrrrrrrrrrve it. It’s super flattering thanks to side ruching, making it suitable for a pregnant belly, a post-pregnant belly and really, any belly. I plan to keep wearing this suit even once I lose (if I ever lose, I’m in no hurry) the muffin top from carrying twins.
While I am very modestly endowed, this suit is carefully constructed to support the fuller busted mama thanks to a “hidden flexible wire for support and shape, zip front design with fabric expander [and] removable pads for modesty and bounce control.”
Because Cake is based in Australia, avoid duty fees by finding a retailer near you.
I bought this long sleeve UV tee for myself last summer at MEC because I am super lazy about sunscreen application. Certainly I am not one to reapply after getting wet, and I know I really should. Thus, this longsleeved rashguard can go into and out of the pool with me, and I don’t need to worry about reapplying sunscreen.
On the hottest nights, I sleep with just a top sheet, and this GroBag is the equivalent of topsheet for babies. With just a short-sleeve onesie underneath, it’s perfect for super hot nights (which there are thankfully few of in Calgary).
The Cub Twins are following in the footsteps of their siblings by being proud Eenvoudig ambassadors. Their summer designs are some of my favourite things to dress the kids in: they’re comfortable for play but also ADORABLE.
The twins are rocking sleeveless onesies and Miss Cub has a tank dress and swimsuit, Bermuda shorts from last year that still fit, plus her brother’s hand-me-down cuff shorts. The cuff shorts and Bermuda shorts are particularly good value as we’ve gotten two seasons out of them. I expect the tank dress will also fit again next summer!
I cannot stand feeling hot. Unfortunately as soon as the temperature’s above 15° C, I start sweating even as I move about the house toting kids and laundry baskets or kids in laundry baskets. If I’m babywearing or pushing a stroller in the summer, I’m likely close to overheating. If I’m babywearing AND stroller pushing, I’m in the 8th circle of Hell.
This simple towel is the only solution I’ve found aside from taking four or five cold showers a day (and sometimes I do that). You get it wet, wring it out, and then it’s cold to the touch without being sopping wet like a towel. Plus, it stays cold a lot longer.
I remember wearing a dress for the first time after my son was born and realizing that I would need to hike the whole thing up over my boobs in order to nurse. Rookie mistake. Now I own some regular sundresses and tanks that are stretchy enough to expose the milkmakers as well as some actual nursing pieces that do the job even better.
I cannot get over how effective this made-in-Calgary deodorant-in-a-jar is! Even on days when I know I have perspired to the max, I give my armpits a sniff, and I don’t smell! It’s an honest to goodness miracle.
This deodorant is impressive stuff. It doesn’t contain any of the worrisome ingredients I avoid in traditional deodorants and antiperspirants, and it actually works better than any of those anyway! You apply a pea-sized amount with your finger, rub it in, give yourself a sniff (because all of the scents smell amazing) and then don’t worry about knocking someone out with your BO at the end of a sweaty day chasing your kids around. For real. This stuff is amazing.
Babywearing is a very, very hot affair for me, even if the mercury isn’t rising. I am prone to hot flashes even without a baby stuck to my chest, so on the hottest summer days the only carrier I can tolerate is my linen ring sling from Comfy Joey. It’s breathable and light, plus it covers as little skin as possible since it’s a one shoulder carrier.
This water bottle is a new discovery, borne of the necessity to find a water bottle that Cub would not forget to close when putting it back in his backpack. (The sport cap on his Kleen Kanteen was frequently left open, and he frequently came home from school with his entire back and bum soaking wet, not to mention the lake in his backpack.) We’re loving the Hydro Flask and will be getting one for Miss Cub too.
What are your must-have items for keeping your cool with kids in the summer?