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A family restroom to remember

I don’t find myself writing about bathrooms very often. So this one must have been pretty darn good to warrant a blog post!

My children and I were visiting South Coast Plaza mall the other day when nature called. We headed toward the nearest restroom, only to find a sign that read “Family Restroom”. I figured this would be a larger room to accommodate a stroller and include a pull-down diaper changing station. So when I pulled into this gigantic room complete with an attendant, you can imagine my surprise.

We were greeted by the attendant, who kindly opened the Dutch door for us (what a smart way to keep restless kids from wandering outside!). Once inside, she gave me the lay of the land, including a relaxing sitting area with a TV, a private nursing area, a wall full of diaper changing stations (which also included wipes) and two family restrooms. Each of these restrooms included an adult toilet and sink plus a child-size toilet and sink — so clever and so helpful for a newly-trained toddler!

My kids didn’t want to leave! I actually had to give them a time limit since we had to head home. I wish more malls and stores would follow suit. A room like this makes the shopping experience so much more enjoyable for parents and their kids. Which means we stay longer and spend more money, a true win-win for all!

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Last-minute gift fix (and it’s personal, too!)

If you’re like me and you’re suddenly realizing we’re one week away from Christmas Day, it’s time to pull the trigger on those last few gifts on your list. To make your last-minute shopping a little bit easier, here’s a fun, personal gift idea for friends or family. It’s called Macaroni Frames, and it’s a great alternative to sending flowers or chocolates. Instead, you can upload a favorite photo, select a frame and have it sent directly to your loved one.

I was introduced to Macaroni Frames at Club MomMe’s Fall Family Fest. I was super impressed with the beautiful presentation of the package. Check out my adorable frame!

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Today is the last day to order to guarantee your frame will arrive by Christmas. Happy shopping!

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Confessions of a former shopaholic

I used to be a shopper. I loved checking out the latest fashions and trends at local malls and shops.

But those days are on hold for a bit now, thanks to a very lively 10-month-old. I’m lucky if I get through Target, let alone a shopping session for – gasp! – myself.

Article Tab: Kristin's South Coast Plaza shopping sprees nowadays are a lot more Baby Gap than Bloomingdales.

My shopping list has changed too. Pre-baby, I spent more on clothes than I do today. I guess I think of budgeting differently now that there’s another member of the family needing diapers, clothes, food and a college fund.

It’s also hard for me to justify spending too much on clothes since every single shirt I wear ends up with a new decoration by the end of the day, in the form of drool or spit-up. Plus, my son loves hanging on to my shirts when I’m holding him, stretching out the neckline as he tugs.

When it’s time for date night with my hubby or a happy hour with friends, I practically run to the section of my closet filled with my “nice” clothes (those without spit-up and a droopy neckline) and long earrings, giddy with excitement. And if I make the mistake of leaving my dangly earrings on after a night out, my son will quickly remind me as soon as I get home, happily gripping them with his tight grasp and pulling them toward his mouth.

Even though my own shopping habits have drastically changed since giving birth, they don’t necessarily apply to my little one. On those rare occasions when I do happen to embark on a shopping trip, I typically find myself stopping by the baby section first – just to browse, of course. But even if my son’s closet is fully stocked, I can always justify one more shirt or romper for him.

The result? Many days, my son wears nicer clothes than I do. Recently, I dressed my son in an outfit my husband and I purchased on our local Newport Beach babymoon last year. It’s a Penguin brand body suit – adorable, but probably triple the amount we’d spend on a body suit nowadays. At the time, we were too busy picturing our son in the classic romper than to think about the practical things, like how quickly he’d outgrow it, or the fact that he’d likely spit up on it.

Another instigator in my baby clothes obsession is online shopping. With all the great online baby deals (hello, BabySteals.com!) it’s hard to resist shopping for my little guy on my laptop. Funny enough, I wasn’t a big online shopper pre-baby. I always preferred browsing an actual bricks-and-mortar store, touching the items, trying them on and taking my time making a retail decision. But now that I’ve discovered just how difficult it is to get baby in and out of the car for what used to be a quick errand, I’m a big fan of shopping from the comfort of my pajamas. Not only is my Amazon.com order done in less than five minutes, but it will also be in my hands much, much faster than if I had waited to get to the store in person.

Here’s my shopping style transformation, in a nutshell:

Before baby: Banana Republic

After baby: Banana purees

Before baby: Cocktail ring

After baby: Teething ring

Before baby: Coach purse

After baby: Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag

How have your shopping habits changed since starting a family?

FILE PHOTO: THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Originally written for The OC Register on OCMoms.com