Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Breaking News!

I'm interrupting regularly scheduled blogging to bring you this breaking news...

Our baby girl is walking!

She has taken a step or two in the past which I did record in her baby book as her first steps. Tonight though, she was taking many steps at a time (I think we counted between 8-10 as the most).  It was clear later that she believed this walking to be for entertainment purposes only. When she really wanted to get from place to place she would either hold on and cruise, or drop down and crawl. It's a start though. I think with practice she will become more and more confident and transition to walking very soon. We are so proud! :)

Follow Up On Suzanne

So as not to leave everyone hanging...

My friend Suzanne who I spoke about in this post is back at home and recovering well from her surgery. The doctor said that her surgery went well and she was discharged from the hospital on Sunday. Of course she is still healing from the operation, but hopefully she is and will remain cancer-free from this point on.

Thanks so much to everyone who said a prayer (or many) for her and her family. Please continue to pray for her healing and for her body to remain cancer-free.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cloth Diapering 101

So I went to a cloth diapering class over the weekend. I had originally signed up before I started using cloth, but the class got rescheduled. I went even though I'd been using my cloth diapers for a few weeks because I wanted to ask about the leaking issue we were having. As a teacher I tend to have high expectations for instructors when I am the student. I get that not everyone who runs a seminar or mom class like this one has had formal training in being a teacher. It's still important to know what you're doing enough to be able to accomplish the purpose of the class though.

If you can't tell, I thought the instructor for Cloth Diapering 101 was not great. She apologized in the beginning for being a little scattered, but that was an understatement. She pretty much decided that everyone would really only want to use pocket-style diapers and blew through all the other 4 styles of cloth diapers in about 10 minutes total. Then she buzzed through pocket diapers in a very unorganized fashion.

The whole thing left me unsettled. So I've put together my own lesson. If you already cloth diaper, you may want to check out now. I'm figuring there are some people out there who perhaps think cloth diapering is nuts, or who are interested in learning more, and maybe I'll be able to sway some of them. So take out your pencils and notebooks (not really) and let's get started!

*I'm only covering pocket diapers because no one wants to read an hour-long lesson on a blog post. If you have questions about other types of cloth diapers, you can ask in a comment or Google it :) 

We'll begin with actual diapering. 
So, a pocket diaper is thusly named because it has a waterproof outer layer, and then a fleece/fabric (depending on brand) pocket that you stuff an absorbent insert into. Then you snap or velcro it to your kid. They are used just like a disposable, except when you take the diapers off you put them in a waterproof bag until you're ready to wash them. Easy!

But what if the kid poops??
You have some options. You don't store the poop like many people do with disposables (the packaging actually tells you to dump out and flush an solids, but I've never known anyone who really does that). Depending on the age of your child, and therefore the consistency of their poop, you can dump the solids into your toilet, use a diaper sprayer that neatly attaches to your toilet's water supply to clean the solids off, or you can use flushable diaper liners that peel off with the poop and everything gets flushed. I've heard of people fashioning their own diaper sprayers, and the instructor from my class said she uses her old peri bottle (LOL). So, basically you can do whatever works for you. Just don't spray your diaper with the absorbent insert still in it or you'll be doing a lot of wringing. Then you put the diaper in a waterproof bag with the others until it's time to wash them.

Rules for washing cloth diapers:
  1. Make sure your absorbent inserts are pulled out of the pockets before washing.  
  2. Use a detergent that is free of dyes and perfumes because they will ruin your diapers and cause them to stop absorbing liquid. There are a lot of detergents out there marketed specifically for cloth diapers. Some of them are pretty expensive. Arm & Hammer Free is $4.99 for a 44 load bottle. That's what I use. It's specifically listed on the FuzziBunz web site as an option.
  3. Don't use fabric softener. It will also ruin your diapers and cause them to repel liquid.
  4. Dry them on low heat or hang dry them. High heat will ruin the waterproof outer layer. 
I wash my diapers daily. Some people wash them less frequently. It depends on how many you have, really. More diapers = less washing. But I wouldn't recommend letting your dirty ones sit for too long because that's just gross.

Cloth diapers on the go:
All you need is a small waterproof bag to store your dirty diapers in. If you're going somewhere that there won't be a toilet to flush your solids (say on a hike or picnic), you can either flush them when you get back to civilization, dump them in nature like the animals do, or bring disposables (you'll still be carrying the poop with you unless you plan to litter, or there are trash cans nearby). 

I'm pretty sure that covers it. Seems pretty simple and logical, right? I still can't figure out why the instructor had such a hard time organizing the information and remembering what to cover. Oh well. Maybe she really was just having a rough day. Either way, I feel better having organized the material for her and pseudo-taught it to someone. Phew. Now I'll be able to sleep better :)

So again, not that I'm an expert, but if you're interested or have questions, leave a comment!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Suzanne and I have been friends for about ten years. We met when we were both in college studying to become teachers. We worked at the same daycare center and became quick friends. Now we're both older, married, and have babies just 3 weeks apart in age. The other day I got a shocking email from Suzanne. She told me that she had been having some stomach problems recently. She had a colonoscopy that showed polyps. The polyps had tested positive for cancer, and she was having part of her colon removed the next day (today). 

I expect for my mom to get news like this from her friends. Even then it would be shocking to me. But MY friend? It seems so impossible. She's only 31. Her baby is only a year old. Today is only her 4th wedding anniversary. How can this be happening?

I immediately said a prayer, and of course have been praying all day today. Thinking about Suzanne brings me nose-to-nose with reality - that none of us are guaranteed a long time or great health or good fortune. It doesn't matter our age or anything else. It's a wake-up call for all of us - especially us young adults feeling like we're untouchable. Don't let arguments go without resolving them. Don't let your hubby leave for work without a kiss and an I love you, even if you've been in a disagreement. Gosh, and kiss those babies. All day. I know I do.

Suzanne has her youth and her faith on her side. She hasn't been "sick" as we think of someone with cancer. She's also a strong and healthy girl. I know that she will do all that is necessary and more to beat this illness. Lord willing, this surgery today will be her last experience with cancer. But I know her life will never be the same. How could it be?

So in addition to all of the hugs and kisses and I love yous, please include Suzanne and her family when you pray today. I know they'll appreciate it, and so will I. 

It's True!

I had planned to post about this eventually, but now that I've been caught on camera (spotted in the last post by my friend Amy!) I figured I might as well write the post now.

We're officially a cloth-diapering family! After a year of disposables, I was convinced by a couple of my friends who also cloth diaper that it was a worthwhile endeavor. My mom used cloth diapers on myself and my siblings when we were little, and all I remember of that was a nasty diaper pail, dunking dirty diapers in the toilet, and plastic pants. Until I had my own child, I had no idea that cloth diapers had evolved. Honestly, I figured they were a thing of the past. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the cloth diapers my friends were using and realized that they actually made a whole lot of sense. So I took the plunge after doing a little of my own research and purchased a handful of them.

My logic was this - I'm at home all day. Any inconvenience of cloth diapers is made into a marginal inconvenience by that simple fact. We spend about $5 on detergent per month instead of $20 on a box of diapers. We create that much less trash. And my favorite part, we're no longer storing poop in my baby's room. It gets flushed just like everyone else's! We have a Diaper Genie II Elite (supposedly top of the line in storing your diaper trash) and the thing stunk. It has a mechanism that is supposed to prevent odors from escaping. It does not work. If you have a dirty diaper as one of the first to go into the bag, by the time that bag is full... well, you can imagine. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited to be done with all that.

So far, cloth diapering has gone really well for us. I wash them at nap time and they're all ready again by the time she wakes up. We've even used them on the go. I got a small wet-garments bag from the baby section in Target and I use that to store her dirty diapers when we're not at home. It's machine washable so it just goes in the laundry with her diapers. Plus I can use these not only until our baby potty trains, but for all of our other children from birth to potty training as well. When you consider the amount of money and trash being saved there, you really can't argue.

If I have any complaints about switching to cloth, they'd be 1) that they do take up more space in the diaper bag so it's harder to carry as many when going out. And 2) we've also had a couple of leaks when the insert gets bunched in the center of the pocket. I'm not sure what the solution to that is, but the company who makes ours (FuzziBunz) guarantees that they won't leak if used properly. If I can't fix it, I'll probably contact them to ask about it.

All in all, I feel like the financial savings, trash savings, and health factor (maybe it's just me, but I feel better about putting a clean piece of cloth on my baby's bottom than whatever is in disposables) of using cloth outweighs any convenience of disposables - the only one of which I can think of is not having to wash them, but to me that is incredibly minor. I never run out of diapers and have to get to the store for more. I don't have to deal with the smelly Diaper Genie or buy the special bags for it. Win, win!

I'm excited to be cloth-diapering and would love to hear from others who cloth-diaper as well. I'm also happy to answer questions from anyone who is thinking about cloth-diapering. I'm no expert, in fact I'm quite new at it, but I feel like I can definitely offer some insight on making the switch from disposables to cloth. Just leave your thoughts/questions in a comment or email!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Father's Day

I'm going to cut in on my "catch up" posts here in an attempt to stay somewhat up-to-date and talk about Father's day at our house. It was quiet and simple. We spent the day before with my husband's family so we got to spend Sunday at home. My husband adores breakfast food so we went to a local place for breakfast (which was more like brunch, but whatever). Hubby had strawberry pancakes, eggs and bacon. Bebe and I shared pancakes with strawberries, blueberries and bananas and some scrambled eggs. It was pretty fabulous. When we got home we gave my hubby his gifts. Last week I took some time to take a few pictures of our little bebe wearing just her diaper and one of daddy's ties. At the time I felt like she was not looking at the camera or smiling, but when I went through them to print there were a bunch of cute ones. Here are a few-

So I gave a stack of them to my hubby along with a ticket to see the broadway show, The Book of Mormon, when we go to New York in October. Being a former member of the LDS church, my husband has particular interest in this show. I knew he would be excited to see it but probably wouldn't spring for it himself. He was in fact very excited. When our bebe went to bed for her nap, we watched a movie together and ended up getting Chinese later for dinner. Overall, it was just a really nice day at home spent with our little family.

As someone who has a mediocre relationship with her dad, I have a special appreciation for my husband as a father to our baby. Growing up I saw my friends with their dads and knew that I wished my dad was more like that. Instead he has always been a marginal part of my life. I know he cares, but he's not the type to show it. Watching my husband with our baby makes me feel so proud that I picked him for my children. Knowing that they will grow up with the best dad I can imagine warms my heart more than I can say. I know that my relationship with my own dad will never change and there's nothing I can do about it. But I also know that my babies will never have to feel that way and I feel like that is my ultimate gift to them - two parents who will love them, and each other, endlessly.

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful father's day, too :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My First Furniture Refinishing Project

There she is. This is the beauty I started out with! I acquired this lovely piece from my mom who had gotten it cheap from a mission store and had been using it in a guest room but was buying new furniture. I had originally tried to get by without a dresser in our Bebe's room because we live in a townhouse and bedrooms are small. I used a few different closet organizational strategies and none of them worked well. So when my mom offered this chest of drawers, I took it. Of course, it matches nothing and needed to be refinished.

As luck would have it, it was mid-May and so the weather in our part of the country gets pretty unpredictable around then. To be more specific, each day could consist of approximately half a dozen periods of rain and sun. I needed to do some sanding before I could prime and paint, so as you can imagine, by the time I got a couple of these dresser drawers out onto our deck a cloud would open up. Then it would stop raining, but the babies would be awake. Long story short, it took me weeks to complete this project. Once I was finished sanding though, I just put a drop cloth in my kitchen (which is unusually large for a townhouse) and painted everything in there. I still had to work around naps during the day, but could do more at night and didn't have to worry about the weather.

Since the chest and the drawers were two different colors I did two coats of primer on the chest (which was painted dark green) and one coat on the drawers. Then I used semi-gloss white paint right off the shelf. It took three coats on the chest and two coats on the drawers.

Then there was the hardware. I replaced the old brass handles with these:

I found them at Lowe's and was completely in love with them since they perfectly matched my Bebe's lavender bedroom. I also wanted to do knobs on the top two drawers (split to look like they're each two small drawers) instead of having two handles on each as it was originally. I found a knob that matched these handles and was thrilled!

Only problem was... I found a knob. Figuring they'd get more in stock, or another Lowe's store would have them, I began searching around. With each dead end, and finally word from Lowe's that they no longer carry the knob, I became more and more concerned that my perfect vision for this dresser might never happen. I went to the manufacturer's website and looked up retail locations. As I started calling them I discovered quickly that the posted list was out of date. Some of these phone numbers were not even hardware stores. ACK! Then I contacted the manufacturer to ask for help. The kind representative suggested... you guessed it... Amazon. Seriously? Where was my head?  There they were. And we had them in just 2 days. Whew!

I also added some cute shelf paper to the inside of the drawers. (I also may have allowed my Bebe to have fun with a basket of laundry while I did this)

Here is the final finished product:

I call it a success! It holds everything I need it to with room to spare! It has made all the difference in her bedroom. While it was a pretty easy process, I think I'll hold off on refinishing any other furniture until I have a garage :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

A day with me and my 13-month old!

First, I'll just say that this day is not our typical day, but it would be much more like our typical day if I didn't babysit my nephew. His parents went on vacation and he stayed with his grandma for a few days, so I did this while I didn't have him. Days that he is here are pretty... well, there's just not a lot going on. It'd be pretty boring to read about. Also, I'll say that I didn't take the time to edit my photos. Don't judge me on my less-than-ideal lighting and mediocre color saturation.

Alright then, here we go.

Bebe wakes up around 7:30-8:00. We get dressed and go downstairs for breakfast. She enjoys some Cheerios while I cook us scrambled eggs and toast, her favorite.

After breakfast we play for a little bit. She apparently had some important phone calls to make on this morning.

It used to be that I would spend a portion of the day trying to keep her off the stairs, but we have remedied that. See the gates we bought didn't fit our stairway even though they said they would. We had to get creative, but we made it work.

More playing, and practicing her walking skills with this push toy. She loves it and walks very well with it even on our hard floors. It's really just confidence that's holding her back at this point.

Somewhere around 10 a.m. we decide to venture out for some fresh air and shopping.

We went to Target (always) and my favorite baby/maternity consignment boutique, Greenberries!

When we get home it's time for Bebe's nap, 11/11:30-ish. She goes to bed like a champ, so I had some time to work on that furniture refinishing project I had mentioned in the last post.

I squeeze in some lunch while Bebe is still sleeping. Fancy, right?

She's not always a happy waker. But she was up around 1:00.

She's happy to snack on some more Cheerios while I get her lunch ready. I'll be honest, I don't remember what she had for lunch that day and I didn't take a picture. Sorry.

I make a quick afternoon snack for myself while Bebe plays after lunch. These are Nature Valley Granola Thins. I put peanut butter on them to give them a little more staying power. If you've never tried this snack, you should. Delish.

Finally around 5 Daddy gets home! He and Bebe play and catch up on the day while I cook dinner.

Can't keep this girl away from the shoe mat. Oh well.

Dinner is barbeque chicken, sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. It was pretty yummy despite the messy looking photo. I think I remembered to take the picture after I started eating.

Bebe ate approximately half of my sweet potato. What a kid :)

After dinner, we play some more. Sometimes we take a walk outside or go out to the store if there's time.  Then Bebe gets her bath around 8 and we head upstairs for bed at 8:45. She's usually in bed asleep by 9 or very shortly after. That's when I sit down to read, check email, blog, or watch TV with the handsome guy who lives at our house :)

And there you have it, our pretty typical life. Nothing extravagant. I like simple. Later I'll do a post that's more focused on the things our Bebe is doing these days. As I'm sure you've noticed, I decided not to do one giant update post. I thought I was going to, but it overwhelmed me and I decided to do several small ones. So stay tuned!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

If you're still here...

Come back soon! I have some big updates for you from the past 6 weeks. There's nothing life-changing going on, but I realize that I haven't been the best at updating since, well... back before my bebe's birthday on April 24th! I do honestly feel like I'm still recovering from that. My house is in pretty good shape, but there are still remnants of party things around that I haven't quite found a home for. What does one do with sidewalk chalk when their child is still too young to play with it... or, a 3 gallon tub of animal crackers that never made it to the birthday party?? You see my position.

So there are some fun stories to tell. They probably would have all been individual posts if they hadn't gotten all backed up like they are now.  Therefore I'll likely do a big update post, but maybe I'll be feeling ambitious and write them all separately for you. You'll just have to come back to find out! And, to entice you further, here is a preview of some of the topics...

  • A day with me and my 13-month old
  • My first attempt at furniture refinishing
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides Walk
  • Bebe's first swim and first steps
  • General cuteness and fun
  • And more!
Go ahead and try to pretend like you're not excited now. It will be worth returning for, I promise! :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's My Birthday and I'll Blog if I Want To

Happy birthday to me!

How old am I? Didn't your mom teach you it's not nice to ask a lady that question? Well, I won't say how old I am, but just that this is my last birthday in my twenties... eeeek! Kinda hard to believe! I thought it was crazy when my sister turned 30 this past fall, so I can't imagine how surreal it will be for me next year. My husband said the other day about someone turning 40 - "I didn't realize he was only 10 years older than me." That also sounded crazy to me.

Enough crazy talk. So while I sit here reflecting on the last 29 years I have to say I wouldn't change a thing. I am of the mindset that if any tiny detail had changed, I can't be certain that I'd be where I am right now. I am so in love with my life that I wouldn't risk anything about it being different. When I was in high school I realized I was having so much fun that part of me didn't want to move on. Life was simple, easy, and I enjoyed it. I remember thinking that I really wanted to soak it all in because it would pass quickly and I wouldn't have that life any more. In college I found myself in the same situation only I loved college life even more than high school. It was a bit more stressful as I had more responsibility and was juggling work and school, but I made plenty of time for fun and lived it up like any college kid should. Again, I remember thinking I wanted to really, really enjoy it before it was gone and I was on to the "real world." At one point in my young adult life I realized that while I couldn't do anything about getting older or watching stages of my life pass by, I knew that I could choose to always love the place I was in at the time. Amazingly, it has been that way. Every stage since then- young single adulthood, my engagement, our newlywed pre-baby years, and now the beginnings of parenthood have all been my favorite.

I used to stress about getting older. It still scares me if I think about it enough. It's difficult to picture myself becoming a thirty-something, or parenting teenagers, or just being 40. But I know that time will be here soon. Instead of worrying that life is going by too quickly, I'm going to love every stage and soak up every day.

For my 30th year I'm looking forward to a lot of things. Many fun new milestones with my precious baby girl, lots of laughter with my family and friends, and making memories to take with me on the rest of my adventure. I'm excited for a huge family vacation this summer, new babies joining the family, and all the other unplanned, unexpected blessings that will come my way. Who knows, my 30th year could turn out to be my favorite so far  :)