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Stuff.

Preston's at a point now where he can almost play independently, now that he's sitting up on his own, thank GOD. See, all that worrying for nothing -- you were right, Moms! He still can't get himself up to a sitting position from lying down, and he'll topple over occasionally, but much less than he was when I wrote about his developmental stages. Thanks for all the encouraging words.

And I don't know about you guys, but I'm finding it hard to keep up with all the "stuff" he needs to keep him stimulated, at all his different stages now. Maybe this is one of my plights of being a working mom: I don't spend nearly as much time in toy stores or, and I know this may sound ironic coming from a mommy blogger, reading blogs online about new baby gear or the latest inventions from Fisher-Price. I get newsletters from Toys 'R' Us, Land of Nod, Pottery Bard Kids, and all the others, but I usually delete them immediately to get rid of the clutter in my inbox to make room for the stuff that's important, like an actual email from a human being I may need to respond to in the next decade.

What I'm saying is, other than reading Parenting magazine and parenting.com when I’m unwinding after work (Hi, Editors and fellow bloggers!) – and sometimes checking out dooce.com for her hilarious posts that I find very relatable -- I'm not spending much time researching the latest products for my child. Does that make me a bad mom? I rely on friends' recommendations more than anything, or my gut when I happen to come across something in my irregular outings to the baby stores.

Like this past weekend -- Jay and I decided to make a play area for Preston in what we were referring to as "the nook" (when we bought our place it was marketed to us as a den but that's extremely generous). So we had always planned to turn it into a play area, and we finally got around to doing that this weekend. So now all the "stuff" we're collecting for Preston has a corner of the condo all its own, to live and breathe and roll around and pile up. But we're already pushing maximum capacity over there, and we're at the point where we need to make some decisions: keep it, donate it, store it, or give it away? But, and here's the pickle: We're not done having kids yet.

For example, there's the Fisher-Price DwellStudio for Target Cradle Swing I had to have for Preston because it was minimalist in its color scheme and I thought it would blend in with our modern décor. But it turns out, what's minimalist in babyland equals boring for the baby. And now it's just furniture in our condo that’s collecting dust -- or rather, toys that get tossed in the seat when no one's paying attention. I didn't like the swing for Preston, and I'm quite certain I won't like it for baby no. 2 (not that I'm expecting, Mom, settle down), but to just get rid of it would be a complete waste of money. So, keep it, donate it, store it, or give it away?

We have a few other things like the DwellStudio swing, stuff we bought that disappointed us, or a piece of baby gear we never got around to using that I want to hold onto for baby no. 2 (like the Baby Bjorn, never used it with Preston, wish we had!), but I don't live in a big house with tons of storage; I live in a condo with a garage we share with five other tenants. Which is why we're considering renting a storage unit to keep all the "stuff" we're not currently using, until we need it again. But that doesn’t solve the problem of whether or not we keep things we didn’t like for Preston, simply because we already have them. Something as simple as the Combi snap-n-go; it didn-t hold up like we wanted, the wheels get stuck way too often, so next time around I'd definitely choose a different snap-n-go, but we already have this one – so, keep it, donate it, store it, or give it away?

How much of the "stuff" you used for baby no. 1 did you recycle for baby no. 2? (Even when you didn't know when baby no. 2 would be happening...) And while we're talking baby "stuff," is there anything you bought along the way that didn't live up to its hype -- gear, toys, anything? I love seeing other people's must-have or have-not lists, it's really the word of mouth from moms I trust the most, so please share yours in the comments section below.

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