Friday, December 7, 2012

Folding cloth wipes tutorial

Next time you are at a party and you are stuck talking to that one person you really don't like, but is obsessed with being your friend, think of me and use this neat trick I am about to show you. Or maybe you're talking to the new girlfriend or boyfriend of one of your friends that you know is not going to last, but you don't want to be rude, so you keep the conversation polite. The problem is, that person hasn't seen the writing on the wall, so they are talking your head off and saying "Next year at Halloween, I'm going to dress up as a sexy ___." Listen up carefully because I am about to give you your exit strategy. Start talking about this awesome cloth diapering blog you read (Let's face it, who is going to want to hear about that?) and how you just learned the coolest trick to getting your cloth wipes to pop out of a plastic wipes case. If this doesn't send them running for their next shot of tequila and a new victim, I don't know what will.

I don't remember the exact place I saw this, probably Pinterest, but it's genius and if you are using cloth wipes you have to have this trick up your sleeve to impress all your friends. Because once you become a mommy, your conversations change. Forever. You go from talking about what you did last weekend, or the latest movies that you saw to, "Look, I can fold wipes to make them pop out of the top of a wipes case!" This is something you will have to accept and should probably consider before ttc. (For those of you who don't know all the lingo the kids are using these days, ttc is short for trying to conceive.) That's right. I'm hip. I'm with it...You get the idea.

Now to the tutorial

1. Take your stack of awesome cloth wipes that you either made with the sweat of your brow, or if you are lazy like me, purchased on Amazon with your Prime account. (Amazon is my new addiction, and Prime is my enabler. Damn you free shipping. You get me every time!)
 
2. Okay, seriously, compile all of your wipes and a wipes case. Today,  I will be using a mixture of Grovia wipes (my favs), Swaddlebees, and random wipes I bought off of Etsy.



2. Lay your first wipe out flat like so.


3. Then take another wipe and lay it flat half way in between the first wipe you put down.

4. Now, fold the first wipe (ie bottom wipe) over the top wipe.

5. Now, here comes the tricky part. You have to lay another wipe over the folded wipe, making it cover the top of the first wipe, but leaving the second wipe still visible. (I'm horrible at directions, aren't I?!)


6. Fold the bottom wipe over the top wipe, and repeat!


 
 
 
 

You get the picture.
 
Stop folding up your wipes when you reach your preferred height.  


Here is a side view. just in case you want to compare.


Then, after you have your stack, you will need to open the wipes case like so.


Just a hint, it helps to use your dominant hand. Also, beware of the spiky plastic pieces around the edge of the container.

Then place the stack of folded wipes into the container.

 
After you have placed them inside, take the top flap and insert it through the hole on the top of the case. This step is essential in transferring the wipes from the inside of the case to the outside.

 
Now, shut the case and start pulling!
 
 
I generally poor my famous wipes solution over the top of the wipes BEFORE I shut the case. Just be warned, it will not be effective if you close the case and then poor the solution. Boy will I never do that again!
 
There you have it! Cloth wipes that pop out of a wipes case. You can also use this as a toddler toy with tissues. I have yet to try this because my daughter is still in the tasting phase and I'm not prepared for her to have a Kleenex lining to her intestines just yet.
 
 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Color essentials


















Since I'm trying to not buy so many diapers or diaper accessories, I thought it might be fun to pick some of my favorite cloth diapering accessories and display them by color. First up in this new series is lavander.

Displayed are the following items:

1. Grovia diaper in Mod Flowers
2. Planet Wise hanging wet/dry bag in Chic Petunia
3. Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Bath in Vanilla and Lavender
4. Happy Heineys diaper One For All in Lavender
5. bumGenius diaper Freetime All-In-One Snap closure in Dazzle
6. Grovia Cotton Cloth Wipes
7. Aura Cacia Lavender Essential Oil

Click here to make your own cloth wipes solution. It's so cost effective and eliminates the need to have a trash can in the baby room at all. Everything goes straight into the wet bag!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm coming out of the SAHM closet

This morning started like any other average weekday morning for a SAHM. I got up, went in and got the baby, came downstairs and prepared her breakfast while little Lucy practiced her new found ability to screech. Oatmeal, lolo, and apple slices were on the menu. The only difference is, what I am about to say is going to make you all hate me. I hate myself sometimes just thinking about it. Seriously, why do I have this life and why am I so bored? Okay, I am just going to say it....I really will...This is going to take a lot of courage on my part and I hope you all don't think differently of me.

We have a live in nanny. 

There, I said it. You all know now. I am a fraud. I'm not a real sahm. I don't cook most of the time, and I hardly ever clean anymore. My day is just filled with taking care of my daughter. This seems like the dream scenario for most moms, right? You don't have to worry about any of the household chores. All of your attention can be devoted to your little bundle of joy. Well, to tell you the truth, I'm bored. I never pictured myself as a sahm. That wasn't the plan, and I honestly am having a really hard time adjusting to it. Don't get me wrong, I understand how absolutely amazing this opportunity is. I just feel so unsatisfied. I'm sure I'm probably doing something wrong, and if I were to only focus on the fact that I am "living the dream," maybe I would be happier.  The second problem is, we live abroad (hence the nanny) and I don't speak the language. She has been indispensable in helping me communicate with the guards in our neighborhood, people at the grocery store, the dry cleaner, and has been the best company I could have asked for. I don't know what I would have done when the cable guys came to fix our internet, or when the movers brought our stuff. 

I am a sahm mom who hates it and I have no good reason. What is wrong with me? Why do I want to work again? Doesn't every woman hope they can arrange their finances so they can stay at home with the youngins? I'm sure there are other educated women out there, maybe in the foreign service like us, who feel the same way I do. I spent countless years in school, earned two masters degrees, and now I spend most of my brainpower repeating the same word over and over to my child in the hopes that one day, she will repeat it. 

Maybe if we lived in the US, I could pop over to Michaels or the Dollar Store and buy some Modge Podge to make a wreath out of plates and photos that cost $3.00. Or I could scour garage sales and start re-purposing old TV's into playground equipment. I can only bake so much, and half the recipes I see on Pinterest I can't make because we don't have the same ingredients in the super markets. 

To quote one of my favorite lines from Friends, "Oh, my wallet is too small for my fifties and my diamond shoes are too tight." What kind of person complains about staying home and doing nothing but love on their child? This post makes me sound like such a spoiled brat. Maybe I am. Can I love my daughter and want to work at the same time? Rock, meet hard place, you'll be living here for the foreseeable future. Life in the foreign service is hard sometimes. I don't regret this decision, and I'm so happy that my daughter gets to see her father again. We've gone on some fantastic vacations already, and I might even leave this tour speaking a little Spanish. Basically, the moral of the story is, the grass is always greener on the other side of the sahm fence. Count your blessings and I'll try and count mine. 

Pity party over

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cloth diapering, a year in review

I can't believe it's been over a year and I'm still cloth diapering. I remember when I first heard about it, and I was immediately appalled and intrigued. (I seem to have that reaction a lot.) These days, the idea of washing your diapers seems so medieval, primitive. Everyone uses disposable diapers because that's what is done. It's not really a hot button issue, just a way of life. Having a diaper cake at your baby shower is a right of passage for the pregnant mother. Once you get one, you are officially going to have a baby. Before that, it's all a mirage.


So of course I had to be different. Not because I love being different, just because I'm usually trying out stuff  I read about to prove someone wrong. Cloth diapering must be impossible, so let me do it. Wool diapers are  for barbarians, I'll buy 15. Elimination Communication is the love child of the devil and a madman. Babies will never, I repeat NEVER go to the bathroom on a potty. I've got to try this.

What is wrong with me? Why am I doing this to myself? Whatever brain abnormalities aside, I've learned a few things over this past year of cloth diapering that I'd like to share with you.

1.) Newborn cloth diapering is not for everyone. You have to want to do it. If it becomes overwhelming, stop. Love that baby and focus on more important things like establishing breastfeeding (if you are doing that) and getting some much needed sleep.

2.) You will eventually stop buying a new diaper every week. This usually happens when you have at least one of every diaper you just can't live without.

3.) Most likely your spouse will eventually jump on board. At first Mike thought I was a raving lunatic and now he's telling me we need to do diaper loads and begging me to put wool on her at night.

4.) Aplix (or velcro, as normal people like to call it) is not all created equal. My aplix Blueberry diapers are still going strong, but my Bumgenius one is no longer reliable. My daughter walked right out of it last night right before bath time. That being said, different people have different experiences with different diapers. Just know that you might not be able to use all of your diapers for multiple children.

5.) Never underestimate a hip snap with a crawling and walking baby. I HATE my Sweetpea diapers now because they don't have hip snaps and she is constantly leaking out in them.

6.) You are going to start hating some of the diapers you loved and vice versa.

7.) Cloth wipes are still easy and you never run out of them like disposables.

8.) Different one size diapers work better for different stages of your baby's development. I used to like Blueberry for nap time and now they don't hold in all the pee. Sweetpea's used to be my favorite day diaper and now I can't stand them.

9.) Buy the most expensive diaper you can afford that works well for your baby. I bought two really horrible diapers I will write about in another blog. They were super cute and really reasonable. Now they just sit in her diaper drawer and I curse at them every time she has a diaper change. I could have spent the money I used on the two of them to buy one really nice diaper.

10.) If you are traveling or your baby has a bad case of the runs, just go to the store and get some disposables. It's only a week here or there. No one gives you a trophy that says you 100% cloth diapered your baby's bum after they have potty trained, so save yourself the trouble of doing diaper laundry in a hotel at midnight and enjoy your life.

11.) This process is totally doable if you want to do it. If you find that it's too hard, you might need more diapers. At the beginning, I remember feeling pressure to make sure I had a load of diapers in so that she would have some for the next day. Now that I have enough (cough, cough) for a few days (a week), I feel more calm about washing. Everything is more fluid and I know that I'll be using these diapers for the future youngins to come. However, if you get more diapers and you still can't figure it out, don't worry. Sell your diapers on eBay and move on. You're not a horrible parent if you don't cloth diaper. (Email me first though, because maybe I'll want to buy your diapes!)


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Elimination Communication

Being the hippy in denial that I am, when I first heard about EC, I had a similar reaction to this. What kind of voodoo believing, co-op membership holder, community garden gardeninger (wait, is that a word?), chia seed enthusiast would do something like this? I mean, seriously? I can understand cloth diapering. I have a website devoted to the subject. I’m progressive, hip. I’m with it. (insert Dr. Evil docadocadoca dancing scene from Austin Powers)  Potty training a baby is NUTS! No one does that! I mean NO ONE. Only crazy people do…


And so I had to try it.



I needed to prove them wrong, the thousands of mommies out there who in fact do this unfathomable thing. How in the world could someone actually expect a baby to go potty in a potty? Newborns even?! Say what! So, I promptly bought an EC book and got to reading. As per usual, it was filled with hippy crap that appealed to me. Damn it. Why am I so gullible?


Here is what I gleaned from the book:

1.)   A lot of cultures actually do this. (I have no proof of this, nor do I really care.)
2.)   Babies don’t like to feel dirty or wet, so they take easy to the method.
3.)   Your baby wants to potty train. (I have not asked any babies, so I am not endorsing this statement.)
4.)   Babies go potty during transition times, ie. getting out of the car seat, carrier, after a nap, after mealtime, etc…
5.)   Naked time to help your baby learn about how it feels to pee is essential.
6.)   You have to grunt with your child to help cue them for poop and go “ssssss” to help them go pee. (This one is hilarious.)
7.)   Offer the potty often.
8.)   Potty time can be bonding time between parents and baby.
9.)   Take your baby with you to the bathroom and describe what you are doing by using the cues. (Again, hilarious in practice! Hey Lucy, I’m peeing, “ssssss.” Mommy is going pee in the potty.)
10.) People are going to automatically think you are crazy for doing this. Get used to it.


I am no expert on EC, and we are not really religious about offering the potty after every transition, but, my daughter has gone two months with only two “misses” in her diaper. I’m talking one to three poops a day in the potty and sometimes pee! Granted, my little bundle of poopy joy is not walking by herself yet, but she’s content to sit on the potty while we read, watch Baby Einstein, play with my phone, sing songs, or play with her toys. I’ve had to wash fewer diapers, which is a plus. But, more importantly, I haven’t had to clean any poopy diapers in ages!  

I started this around 9 or 10 months, but really got into it after our move at eleven months. Some people start from day 1, which I think is great if you can! At that point, I was in survival mode, so I don’t know if I would have the wherewithal to stick with it. However, I think starting around 6 months, would be a great way to ease your child into using the potty. Remember, every child is different and you are not going to actually “train” a newborn or baby to do anything they don’t want to do. My daughter is headstrong (I wonder where she gets that from?) and believe you me, she would not be going to the potty unless SHE wanted to sit there and go.

So, do with that what you will. If you EC or are thinking about it, let me know what you think! I’m fairly new to the whole process, but we have taken two successful trips now with no poops in the diaper. Crazy, right? For now, I’m a big fan.

Lucy catfishing (A term we coined after we discovered that giving the cat toy to the baby on the potty provided hours of entertainment and distraction while mommy sat by cueing.) 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby monitor with wireless IP camera-Foscam FI8910W review


God bless Pinterest and God bless this blog. After finding out that we would be moving abroad, I decided that I better invest in a baby monitor. As per usual, I immediately went to Amazon and started reading reviews. I coupled this with polling some of my mommy friends about their choices in monitors and the pros and cons they found with their particular models. Our little L shared our bed for the first two months, and after transitioned into the cradle next to our bed. Because of this, we didn't really need one. She did take naps in her own crib or in the swing, and I just listened for her cries.
Flash forward to our move to a new country and house; I decided it might be more prudent to have a baby monitor to ease my fears. I was shocked to find out (not really) that all the monitors were outrageously expensive and seemed to only have a one year lifespan. I knew there was a better option, and thank god for Stephanie at Literally Organized!

I'm not going to talk about the set up because you can find those instructions here by R. Tickle in the reviews. (Thanks dad!) I'm loving this new capability as I can check in on my daughter during her naps on my iPhone or iPad. We haven't quite figured out the best place to put the camera yet, but here are a few stills from today.

This is the view from the web browser. I don't have the app yet, but Mike does. I'll post photos of what that looks like later.

You can see she is still up playing with one of her loveys :)

Out cold 





























So, if you are in the market for a baby monitor and are tech savvy enough to set this puppy up, I highly recommend it! We are having a blast checking in on our little pumpkin butt while she sleeps. I just need to think up a better place to put it so I can get some better views :)

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm not a bad mother.


I've been talking with a few of my mom friends online about breastfeeding, and it got me thinking about the problems that I faced with Lucy and where we are now. It seems like it's been ages since I pumped, had a night feeding, or prayed to god that Lucy would just latch this once so I could breastfeed her like a normal mom.

Well, we weren't normal.

Our time breastfeeding was awful. It started off pretty normal, but early on she began exhibiting signs of reflux. She would latch, suck for about a minute, then pull off screaming. Then latch on again, suck, scream, and repeat.  This usually lasted about forty minutes. I thought maybe it was normal because she was so young. Well, I was wrong. I've seen enough breastfeeding mommies to know that my daughter was not "the norm" when it came to feeding. Even bottle feeding her, I couldn't hold her cradled up next to me. She always wanted to lye on my thighs head at my knees and feet in my stomach. Even now I can't get her to cuddle me while she eats. Oh well.

My supply was dropping and around two weeks, we started supplementing her with formula. That was hard because I didn't want to have a low supply. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed. All the books I’d read and people I talked to said it was the best for my baby. Formula was evil. It caused obesity, you wouldn’t bond with you child, it could even kill them if it was a bad batch. Mother’s milk was best. No, it was mandatory.  

I would prowl around online, reading about all the millons of women who were creating these giant stashes of frozen breast milk. Damn them. Why not me? How did they do it? Did it have something to do with love? Maybe if I loved my daughter more I would have milk. Or maybe if I wanted it bad enough it would just come. The power of positive thinking would get me engorged.

I had already had my dream of going to a birthing center smashed by her being breech (I'll blog about this later). By two or three months I was barely getting enough to give her half and half. I had eight sets of pumping shields and I basically spent all my free time strapped to my Medela pump and trying to daydream about waterfalls of milk cascading into my freezer bags. I was going to join the ranks of mothers who had stockpiled enough breastmilk to give their children breastmilk until kindergarten. Mothers milk tea, fenugreek, blessed thistle, oatmeal, juice, water, and snacks were a few of the supposed foolproof methods to upping my milk production. I mainlined them all. I wreaked of maple syrup, a side effect of the herbs.

They didn't work. Power of positive thinking, power of positive thinking.

All my free time was spent searching for the magic cure to my low supply. I was obsessed. I eventually called two lactation consultants who told me two very different things. The first one said "Give up. I've seen this before and she is not going to keep going." The second took a slightly different approach. "Just keep going. Chin up. You're doing all the right things."
That depressed me even more because nobody seemed to care enough to really help me. I wanted a tangible plan of attack, not encouraging words. Will your encouraging words boost my supply and get my daughter to latch on again? Oh they won't? Then why they hell are you talking out of your you know what?! I was livid.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and I bought a supplementor and a special nipple made my Medela to imitate the breastfeeding action. When it finally came to using the supplementor, it was an utter disaster. The first time left me in tears, locked away in my room because I couldn't stand to look at my own daughter. I felt so rejected. Was she even my baby? What was I doing wrong? Why didn't she love me? What was wrong with me!

The Medela Calma nipple was also a horrible fiasco that ended in two hours of screaming and me giving up. I couldn't do it anymore. I felt like I was fighting a loosing battle. My daughter had won out in the end. Why did she have to win? Why did this feel like a war when it was supposed to be the most natural thing in the world?

Fast forward several months and I am happy to say we have weathered the storm. Now my daughter is 13 months and we are in a much better place. I went through a brief relapse around 9 months and tried to relactate, but that ended in failure. I've accepted, begrudgingly that I won't get to have that beautiful breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. Life has a funny way of teaching us these things. I'm just thankful that we are in a better place. I still mourn our loss, but in the end, I love my daughter and our relationship is so much more than breastfeeding. I know she knows I love her and vice versa. Maybe I have grown so attached to baby wearing because it gives me a chance to imitate that bonding time we would have had breastfeeding.

If you are reading this and struggling with milk supply or reflux, or any other type of breastfeeding issue, just keep some perspective. Your bond with your child is not going to be compromised by not breastfeeding.  Take a scroll down your Facebook feed and you might get discouraged. I frequently see people who are railing against women who aren’t breastfeeding and reading articles friends have posted about how formula is poison. For those of us who have tried and failed, this can be devastating. Ladies, remember, what may have worked for you doesn’t work for someone else. This is not a one boob fits all problem.

I didn’t get to breastfeed my child 2 plus years as I had planned and that doesn't make me a bad mother.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Post baby body and Insanity/Asylum

Sorry my faithful readers (mom, dad, and Mike), you all know I've been sans Internet for over a month here in our new home. Well, I'm back and I thought I would write a quick post on getting my body back after baby.


I really struggled with weight loss for the first six months after having had a c-section, ebf, working, pumping, having to supplement with formula and try to increase my supply,  while also trying to shed the last 25 pounds from my 50 pound weight gain. When I was pregnant, one of my friends who also happened to be pregnant told me of the power of breastfeeding for weight loss. She said that the baby weight would just fall off once I started breastfeeding (heretofore bfing). Eureka! Once I learned this I was stuffing my face with all my usual sometimes foods. Hamburgers every day, why not! Second cupcake? I thought you'd never ask. Curiously, it seemed my baby had decided to take up residence in my rearend because my belly never got that big. Alas, after my 6lb 4oz baby was born and I had left 20 lbs in the O.R., I awaited my weightloss miracle. One week passed and nothing. Two weeks, nothing. Three weeks, nothing. By my daughter's one month well-baby visit I learned that she was not getting enough milk and that all that screaming and pulling off during breastfeeding was actually reflux. So, one bottle of formula at night with her meds and I was prescribed to eat more and drink horrible herbal tea and take these godawful herbal supplements to up my supply. If any of you remember this time, I carried around with me a lovely odor of maple syrup. I mainlined mothers milk tea, fenugreek, blessed thistle, and ate oatmeal every morning. Just so you all know I hate oatmeal and tea. The things we do for our children. 

By two months and a couple pounds of weight gain, I figured I probably wasn't going to be able to eat donuts and get those coveted six pack abs. Damn it. Why me?

Around my daughters weaning time after a nasty encounter with a stomach bug that forced my body to expel things I didn't know possible, I finally started to loose a little weight. At the same time, I started tracking what I ate using a food and exercise ap. This coupled with the realization that if I was ever going to get out of my fat pre-pregnancy clothes, I needed to seriously step up my game. Yoga was no longer an option because my husband had sold his soul to a big law firm and my daycare put my daughter out on the street at 6:00 pm. Being a working mom with an absent husband* severely limited my chances of success.

I got another wake-up call after I had the amazing opportunity to have dinner with the First Lady, Michelle Obama and other fit moms (and dads) in the DFW area. By this time I could fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes, but the mommy pouch had not disappeared. A picture taken of Mrs. Obama and I solidified in my mind that walking around the neighborhood with my daughter in my Ergo was not going to do the trick. I needed more, but I didn't know what.






















To make a long story short, some of the moms from a postpartum fitness group I belong to were starting up a program called Insanity, and I thought what the hell, why not try it! OMG, after doing the fit test, I knew that I was beyond out of shape. How did I let myself get like this? Oh yeah, spending almost the entire third trimester on the couch and eating hamburgers. I remember now.

Here are my results after completing one round of Insanity. I am about a week into Asylum in these three photos. I went from beached whale to this by thirteen months postpartum.













I am not posting these photos to toot my own horn. Rather, I'd like to hopefully encourage some new mom who maybe has recently had a c-section and is worried about whether their abs will ever come back. They will, but it takes a lot of effort on your part.

I did Insanity and I'm currently doing Insanity Asylum. Before I was a yoga studio rat. I would practice four or five times a week. However, baby made it impossible to get to the studio and I eventually jumped onto the workout video bandwagon. It's not for everyone, but for my family it made sense.  I think in general, the key is to find something you enjoy and that you will stick with. Insanity has been that for me.  I loved pushing myself harder than I had in a long time. I even got my husband to join in with me (kicking and screaming of course). I've completed the Insanity program once and I am currently in the thick of the Asylum. 

One of my greatest tools during this journey is a group of moms who are all trying to stay active. I communicate with them daily about my ups and downs. We encourage each other to keep fighting, we post pictures of our little ones, and we swap healthy recipes. These ladies have been one of the key ingredients to my success and I am truly grateful that I am lucky enough to have such an amazing support system. 

I hope if you are reading this post baby you feel encouraged. You will get your body back if you work hard! I started slowly working out and didn't truly get back to my pp weight until close to my daughter's first birthday. Now I'm a size smaller! I've never been this thin as an adult. I'll write more later, right now it's time to pop that DVD in and dig deeper! Goodnight ladies :) 


*My husband is a great father and was absent because of his job. He is a fantastic provider and I am so grateful for his sacrifices everyday.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flying with a baby-Part deuce and one more

This flight, I was lucky enough to have two new things on our journey: a seat for the baby and my husband. This is Mike's first time flying with Lucy and I think the amount of stuff that we needed to bring with us surprised him. Of course we had a suitcase for all her diapers . Lucy has won out hands down when it comes to the ratio of volume of stuff needed to entertain one person vs. poundage. 

A couple of months ago I bought a Groupon for a limo service for a one way trip to the airport. As per usual, I didn't read the fine print and ran into a snag in my plan.  The Groupon was for a town car, and seeing as we had four suitcases, three carry-ons, a running stroller, and a pack-n-play, I ended up having to call them to exchange it for Groupon bucks. Oh well. I guess life of jet setting around the world with a baby should have started on a more practical note. So at 5:30 we departed good ole' Oakwood in the less exotic, but more reliable minivan.  It whisked us away at a reasonable and roomy family of three pace to Reagan, where we promptly called a porter to help us with our mountain of luggage.  Little known fact, curbside check-in is not possible with a bundle of joy. I need to do a little research on the age limit for checking bags on the outside, as opposed to the inside of a building. That rule doesn't seem arbitrary at all.  I'm sure the agents inside have some sort of advanced baby checking skills that I'm not aware of.  "Yep, thats a baby all right." I'm really glad American Airlines has gone above and beyond to provide this valuable training to it's employees. I don't know what we would have done without it. (Just for the record, I'm sure there is a reasonable answer. I just prefer complaining. It must be the high school teacher in me.)

However, we were lucky enough to land one of the savvier porters and were fast tracked through the check-in. Money well spent IMHO. Then we were off to security, where we again were ushered through because of our stroller and bambina. If you are traveling alone, I again highly recommend using a baby carrier through the airport, and if at all possible, bring a baby. I always get through security quickly with Lucy. Best 9 month investment in bypassing long airline lines I ever spent.  When you get to the actual You'll need to take it off at the security checkpoint, but then you can pop them back in and be off without the hassle of a stroller. 

Another great thing about having hubby with us is he is the designated pack mule. I just had the baby (in my Ergo carrier) and diaper bag. He had our running stroller, ( which we needed to bring because we are moving) two carry-ons, and her gigantic car seat. Which brings me to my next point. There are these amazing metal attachments that you can buy that turn your car seat(not infant car seat, but the toddler ones) into a rolling suitcase. We were going to get one, but I forgot. Typical me.  However, I think if you are going to do a lot of traveling with your baby, you should check out the standard width of an airplane aisle, and compare it with the seat's. I did not do that and I have a sneaking suspicion that ours is too wide. It seems like the perfect way to transport the seat into the airplane without simultaneously decapitating everyone sitting in aisle seats.  Poor suckers. 

Two hours later

Well, the trip is going well and I am pleased to report that the complimentary coffee tastes like watered down metal and the seats are as uncomfortable as I remember. But, at the end of the day the baby is sleeping soundly after a long needed poop, my husband is next to me enjoying the AA wifi, and I get to blog on my iPad and read from my Kindle Ap. Life is good.

Three days later

Oh how naive I was to write that last paragraph! After landing, we had an easy transition through customs and immigration (reverse order).  A friend of Mike's helped us with our bags, which was a god send. Traffic to the hotel was unreal.  I think the average American grossly underestimates how large Mexico City is. Upon arrival to our hotel, the first thing I wanted to do was contact my parents to let them know that we were safely tucked away in our hotel room.  Turning to Mike, I kindly asked him where he had placed my iPad. He then informed me that he had not placed my iPad anywhere because he had already checked the seat pockets and they were empty. Face palm. I had taken it out of the seat pocket and placed it on my seat, telling him to put it in the carry on bag that he was holding. 

After five minutes of repeating to myself that it was just a thing, and it didn't matter, Mike had called down to the concierge who had located it and it was being held for him in the AA office. The catch was he had to go right then and get it. Three hours later, Mike arrived in time for all of us to drag our butts out for a late dinner of some fine Mexican cuisine and then back to the hotel for a blissful night of sleep. Which was only interrupted three times by the bébé. 

For us, the Ergo carrier and Ergo baby backpack diaper bag have really streamlined our baby traveling. I'm very impressed with their products. This week, I'll do a review on my new splurge, the Beco Gemini carrier and compare it to my Ergo. 

Alright folks, buenos noches. If I spelled that wrong, please forgive me. My Spanish is not so bueno yet. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Diapers for college

Today as I was taking my afternoon shower (since Lucy keeps me pretty occupied until her nap time), I was thinking about how I wanted to buy one of the new Lovelace Freetime diapers by Bumgenius. They are a great diaper, which I will remind myself to do a review on this next week. Feeling a little guilty, I thought to myself, "why do I need another diaper?" I could easily diaper Lucy and another baby with the amount of fluff I have in my stash. I actually have so much fluff, I've loaned out 10 or 12 diapers to my sister-in-law to use with my adorable little niece. I am ashamed to say I may have gone slightly overboard....slightly...And I could also cloth diaper a child exclusively in wool with fitteds, and a newborn...hehehe :)

I have more, lots more....


So blah blah blah, several minutes later it hit me. I like saving money, hence the cloth diaps and making my own baby food. Maybe, I could channel all my diaper buying energy into saving money for Lucy's college fund!

(clouds open up and choir of angel babies sing hallelujah)

Why didn't I think of this earlier? Oh yeah, I was shopping online for more diapers. Oops. 

So, I'm going to challenge all of you cloth diapering mommies and daddies out there to do this with me. For each child that is in diapers, if you can make ends meet, try and put the amount of money you would have spent on disposable diapers for that week into a savings account or college fund that you have set up for your little pipsqueak. Also, if you want to be really ambitious and the bank account can take the hit, I challenge you to also put the amount of money that you would spend on baby food in there as well. Breastfeeding mommas you can put the amount you would spend on formula. Y'all get the jist, right? (This is of course on top of the actual amount you are spending for feeding your child. I am in no way suggesting that you save the money you would have spent on diapers, formula, or baby food instead of buying those supplies for your little one.) 

So I formally commit, without having discussed this with my husband at all, heretofore to stop buying diapers (after I get the lovelace one of course ;) ), and start saving what I would have spent on baby food and new diapers for Lucy's college fund.


Because in the end, I'm doing it for those cheeks. Look at my little Panda baby. Isn't she the cutest?! Once she potty trains, I'll figure something else out. Ideas anyone? 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The lazy mom's guide to making baby food

Yes I can! No I can't! Yes I can! Wait, I'm lazy. Why would I do that? I can't even be bothered to cook for my husband and me, why would I add on other chores?

Enter the Baby Brezza.

Just take a minute and say a little prayer of thanks to the lazy gods for giving thrifty mommies this lovely contraption

Amen.

Okay, so there is a lot of debate going around the Internet "tubes" about if using one of these baby food makers is worth it.  For me, it has been. If you are reading this blog and you don't know who I am, or what kind of lifestyle I lead (doubtful), let me give you my background.

1.) I am lazy. I am a hard worker when it comes to my 9-5 job, which I am without at the moment. But when it comes to cooking and cleaning, I'm a little laissez faire.

2.) I am living in a hotel, apartment without my kitchen stuff. No blender, a toaster made by a three year old, and a coffee maker are all we have in this cozy apartment. Don't get me wrong, I'm not ungrateful, it's just hard to live in a hotel for close to six months.

3.) I cloth diaper, therefore I have extra laundry. This of course taps into my very small storage of cleaning time I allot myself each day.

When we started solids officially, I tried making food for her once and she didn't like it. I used my new Baby Brezza, and I had every intention of making all of her food. Giving her pure, organic vegetables that mother earth had offered up especially for her as a sacrifice in exchange for one day growing a more responsible steward of the planet.

She spat it up and cried hysterically. :(

Failure! Why, oh why must I suck at everything! First my daughter starts refusing my breast and now, my perfectly cooked organic carrots, pureed to perfection? So it was back to the store and eventually Plum Organics won the taste test from the world's pickiest little eater.

Lucy-1
Mommy-0

Well, we passed the stage 1 and 2 foods, and I had started feeding her a little off of my plate. I found out that my daughter in fact did like food, and that she had quite the adventurous palate. Curries, rillettes, and stinky French cheese were all the rage on our two week trip to Pau, France to visit friends and down to Houston to visit my family. This discovery, coupled with the empowerment I felt having taken a baby on a transatlantic flight, by myself, gave me the last push to start cooking for her again.  However, this time I had learned that she liked food that tasted like food, and not like mush.

I resurrected the Baby Brezza, pulled out my moon shaped ice cube trays and got to cooking. I looked at all the pouches of food that she liked and decided to try my hand at the same combos. Some were a hit, orange banana, and some were a flop, under cooked mashed potatoes (oops). The great thing about the BB is that you can just prep the veggies and pop them in. Then select the stem+blend option, walk away, and when you come back, they will be cooked and pureed. What? Yes. It's just that simple.

Alright, enough babbling, here are three recipes that have gone over really well with my little stinker. The two sweet ones are sized for the BB. The other one you'll just have to figure out.

Orange Banana smoothie

2 bananas
2 containers of Dole mandarin oranges (drained)

Blend and you're done!

Berries & Cream





2 containers of raspberries, washed
1 banana
2 tbsp of creme fraiche (or full fat Greek yogurt)

Blend and you're done!

Roasted Red Pepper Aioli


I got this recipe from here. I had made these fries for my husband and I and thought to myself, man, this sauce sure looks good enough to eat alone. I wonder if a certain baby would eat it? She did and she loved it!
I modified it by putting in full fat Greek yogurt instead of mayo.

1 jar of roasted red peppers patted dry and chopped up (This is the only prep you have to do, but it is required for the BB.)
1 tsp of minced garlic (you can omit this if you like)
1 container of Greek yogurt (the personal size)

Blend and enjoy :)



After about thirty minutes in the kitchen (total) I had all this food to show for it! Each of the little spaces in my trays are 1 oz portions (21 per tray). The cilantro tomatillo sauce was from dinner last night. I used it on some healthy spinach enchiladas I made and had a surplus so I figured I would save it. She ended up loving it for lunch! 

That's all for now. Remember mommas, this should be fun! If you don't like making your own baby food, then don't! Whatever you feel comfortable with doing should be king. I love the fact that my daughter eats my food and whines for it when I'm not feeding her fast enough. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and boosts my self esteem. We had a really hard time with breastfeeding, and I suffered a lot of rejection along the way. This is my way of doing a little work and seeing the pay off :)

Happy blending everyone!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Diaper liners, traveling, and improvising

Parents improvise to survive. It's a skill you learn early on, and perfect around 3 a.m., when your newborn is screaming their head off and they aren't hungry, won't go to sleep, and the diaper has just been changed.

What do you do?

You improvise.

You dance around the house, singing, kissing, and enduring the screaming until it subsides, because whether you like it or not, that baby is going to cry until it's decided to stop.

Well, this post is not about how to soothe a fussy baby. I'm no expert. I know my daughter, and what she likes. Babies are like snowflakes, and pissed off babies are unique little bundles of concentrated fury that only can be mastered by patience and copious amounts of vodka love.

With all of this in mind, I'm going to segue into something completely different, diaper liners. By now, you may have noticed that your child doesn't just pee in diapers. They also do something else that I'm going to refer to now as poop. Birds do it. We do it. I'm not sure if bees do, but Ella, I apologize for soiling your song. I found myself two weeks ago packing for a little vacation for two to the grandparents’ house. I was faced with the question, did I want to cloth diaper while at their house? I have in the past, but this time, we would be flying instead of driving, and I had to weigh the cost of paying for an extra suitcase with buying disposables. I quickly decided to stop doing that because it involved math and committed to cloth diapering so I could blog about it.

I packed up the little one's suitcase with the usual necessities; diapers, wet bags, and clothes for the sahareque temperatures. This time I brought a second large wet bag instead of my pail liner, and I have to say, it was a lot easier because it doubled as a wet bag, which was convenient when leaving the house. haha...However, I had forgotten one of the most important things you mustn’t forget if your child is eating some solids, on formula, or no longer on breast milk.

Diaper liners.


Oh dear lord, I was screwed. If by some freak accident you have arrived at this post and you have not changed a gooey, smelly, peanut buttery diaper lately, let me just tell you that it is not shall we say, not messy. That's right, I just wrote that sentence and I'm not taking it back.

Needless to say, when I arrived in Houston I had a little moment of panic, followed by an epiphany. Why not use paper towels instead?

(For those of you who do not know what diaper liners are, let me enseigner you into the finer points of poopy diaper management. Diaper liners are god's gift to mothers who cloth diaper and whose children have not yet been potty trained. They come in biodegradable and reusable. Personally, I don't see the point of the reusable ones, especially if you use the Bummis brand.*)

So, did it work?

Yes they do, and they were a convenient solution. I honestly would not have been able to do it without them as I was also without my diaper sprayer. The only thing I didn't like was that they were not as sturdy and some of the fabric would break down and stick on my daughter's bum.

Now on to the greatest part of this post-The Bummis liners that I use can be washed and reused at least once, sometimes twice. How cool is that? I had read a review on Amazon when purchasing these in which the reviewer explained that she had done this and I thought to myself, how stupid. Are you really that frugal that you need to rewash disposable diaper liners? You're cloth diapering already. Seriously? Well, by accident some of the liners got into the diaper pail and what do you know, they survived the washer and dryer! I actually prefer the washed ones because they are softer and the weave becomes tighter.



Above you can see a picture of three liners. The first is new, the second has been washed once, and I don't know what happened to the third one. My daughter has had some pretty violent reactions down under, but I haven't noticed anything that could produce that kind of damage. (Just for a little perspective, the middle one is plenty wide and long enough for the diaper. These are the large ones, and the width is quite a bit larger than the actual diaper.)

That's all I have about diaper liners. Until next time!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TotBots Easyfit Diaper Review

My daughter has the cutest bum on the planet.


She at least inherited that from me ;) But seriously folks, is this not a cute little number she's sporting? I'm a sucker for anything with cherries. I think it comes from my old swing dancing days. Today's diaper review will be on the TotBots Easyfit, which is an AIO, but with a twist.

I first bought this diaper solely because it had cherries on it. I'm not going to lie, I do that more often than not. I haven't seen many reviews of them, and it is not one of the "big names" out there. I often overlook this diap when I'm thinking to myself about all the diapers I love in my stash.

Yes I do that. I know it's weird. I have a cloth diaper blog. I blog about diapers. Often.

Anyways, so I forget about this diaper a lot. Why? I think it's because it's so awesome. Okay, let's take for example the fact that my daughter, who is gigantic for her age, is still on the smallest rise. How many people can say that about a diaper in their stash? (She is wearing 12-18 month clothes right now and she is 9 months.)

Pros

-The rise is really high so it's going to last you longer than most diapers in terms of size
-It's an AIO. (All in one which means there is no reason to stuff or put a cover on it. The absolute easiest kind of cloth diaper out there.)
-The Hook and loop is super strong! Even stronger than Blueberries', which is saying a lot.
-It dries quickly, which if you are not using a dryer, is important.
-It's a hybrid with a pocket that you can stuff for nighttime or long trips.
-They have a tiny fit for newborns!

Cons

-The price is higher than most AIOs

Why it's different

So why is this AIO better than other ones? I thought you'd never ask.

Well, the AIO part is actually a long piece that is sewn into the front and you have to stuff it into the pocket. This way in the wash, it comes out with the agitation and washes just like a regular pocket. Except, you don't have to go searching for the stuffing because it's attached! And on top of that you can add extra boosters for nighttime or trips.

What? How awesome is that! There are not many hybrid diapers out there on the market, but I think this one is a great option. It's not that bulky and now they have all these new prints. They even have one for the Jubilee! That is crazy talk. You can commemorate the queens' reign on your baby's bum? How chic is that?




One more for the road :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

My favorite things-Part III-Baby carriers!

If you've ever been into a baby store, seen a Time magazine, or been outside of your home in the last year, you've probably already seen the armies of hippies, I mean people, walking around with babies strapped to their chests, straddling their hips, or slung over their backs like chattel.  I mean, who actually wears their baby? What is this baby wearing movement about and why would I do that as a mother? I've already carried them inside me for 40 something weeks, you mean I have to keep doing it once they come out? I feel like that's just asking a little too much.
If this sounds like you, don't worry, it's really not that hippy to carry your baby. And even if it was, you're reading a cloth diapering focused blog, so you already have hippy tendencies. Just accept it already. Okay, so baby carrying is great bonding, blah blah blah, keeps the baby feeling secure, blah blah blah, and other attachment parenting things. I love baby wearing, but I'm not writing this blog to convince you of the benefits.  Just buy a carrier and you'll experience so much more than what I could describe to you in my sarcastic,slightly mocking, but nonetheless very informative tone. Actually, better yet, go hang out at your local non-Starbucks coffee dispensary and befriend someone already wearing their baby. I'm sure they will let you borrow one and in the process talk your ear off about the benefits of baby wearing.

Okay, so I'll bite. What are my options?

Most new parents have heard of the Baby Bjorn as the best carrier out there. Well, this post is to debunk that myth and to blow your baby carrier wearing mind.

Enjoy.
Baby Bjorn
(all info and pictures taken from BB website)



Looks pretty cool, eh? I've personally never used one of these before, but I've heard good and bad things about them. All of the talk I've heard that is negative deals with the hip problems that can develop, but I'm not a scientist. The company seems to have an option for 3+ months that fixes this problem. If you notice, with the bb's you will have to buy two carriers. One for newborns up to 3 months, then one for 3 months(13 lbs)-2 years (31 lbs).

Pros
Front and back facing
Cool color options
Very easy to register for and buy at most big box baby stores

Cons
Weight limits require you to buy two different carriers if you want to start from birth
Possibly bad for baby hips
Possibly overwhelming for a baby to be forward facing

If you'd like to look into all the options that Baby Bjorn has to offer, click here to visit their website.

Moby Wrap
(info and pictures taken from Moby website)

I love this pattern, although it's not really my style.



This was the second carrier that I had heard about during my pregnancy, and although I didn't buy one at first, I eventually did. I wish I had gotten one earlier. It is a little more complicated than a ring sling, or a snap on carrier like the baby bjorn, but it makes up for all of that in the experience. When I wore my daughter in the hug hold, it literally would melt my heart. She was so soft, and her little arms around me were amazing :) This carrier goes all the way up to 35 lbs, which is more than the BB. I don't know if you would want to carrier an older child with this type of wrap personally, but for a newborn up to 5 or 6 months, I would say this is my ideal wrap. Of course, every carrier is a personal decision, so don't take my word for it, try one out! There are tons of videos on youtube and on the company's website about how to tie this wrap. It takes a couple of times, but after you get the hang of it you'll be fine.

Pros
Keeps baby really close
Very soft
Great support on hips and shoulders
High weight limit so you'll use it longer

Cons
Tying it can be confusing at first
Stretches as you wear it some
It's more complicated to put the child into
It can be more difficult to tie in public
Here I am with my baby girl at five months rocking the hug hold. I look exhausted! Oh yeah, I have a baby. I should look that way.
If you'd like to look into all the options that Moby has to offer, click hereto visit their website.

Ps. Don't tell my husband that they have a Red Sox wrap now.

Ring Sling

There are so many of these out on the market, that really it's just a matter of a quick web search for one that you find appealing. I am not as big of fan of these as the Moby, Ergo, Beco, or Boba because I don't think the distribute the weight around enough. I used one when my daughter was first born until the age of 1 month or two and then I switched over to the Ergo because I liked to go for long walks, and my back would be killing me after an hour. Some people swear by them, and honestly, I think they are really cute, they just aren't practical for me past a certain baby weight. I currently own two slings-The Balboa sling in Geo Trim which you can find here and a sling I picked up from a local cloth diaper store by BabyEtte which I loved while she was little.

Pros
Keeps baby close
Easily slipped on and off
Doesn't take up much room in the diaper bag
There are even mesh ones for the pool!

Cons
Not as much support to wear for longer periods of time
Can be frustrating to get the right fit

Front and back carriers


Boba

Okay, I'm totally biased, but I love the Ergo carrier. Honestly though, you can get a Beco or a Boba, which are basically the same. There are differences, like they are made by different companies, the colors are different, and if you buy a Beco or a Boba, you're a little more crunchy than the average mom. But seriously, the Boba does have a feature that I really wanted in a carrier and I might end up breaking down and buying one when our little bundle turns 2. I'm talking about the stirrups that you can see in the picture below, taken from their website found here.
If you look very carefully you can see the stirrups on the sides of the carrier on the moms hips.
Boba also has two male patterned carriers for the dapper daddy wearer. Trust me, daddy will eventually break down and want to baby wear after awhile. My hubby did and now we fight over who gets to wear her.

Beco

Now the Beco has two types: the butterfly2 and the gemini. I'm officially lusting after this one now. Here is a picture from the website because I just want to look at it some more.


With the Beco, unlike the Boba and the Ergo baby, you can wear the baby facing out like the BB, hip, front facing inward, or in on the back. It also has a head rest that you can put down or up, depending on whether baby is sleeping or needs head support. I think the Beco has better patterns than the Boba or the Ergo, if that is important to you. I personally would love to have one of each in my baby wearing stash (hint hint husband)!

Ergo

Finally we get to the one that I currently own. The Ergo baby carrier is a great carrier from birth to 45lbs. I ended up buying this one because of the infant insert. I can't remember exactly when I stopped using it, but I think it was around 3 or 4 months. This carrier is a great fit for my 6'2 frame and is easily adjusted to fit my 6'5 husband. My sister-in-law also has one, and she can't be over 5'6. I'm not really sure because honestly everyone shorter than me looks the same height. I just saw on their website that they have a new pattern, which I'm kinda crazy about now. Guess what print it is?


Zebra what? Are you kidding me? It is literally taking every ounce of self control that I have left to not buy this carrier right now. I am all kinds of in love with this print. Real Housewives eat your heart out.

If you'd like to check out all the Ergo baby carrier options, visit their website and while you're at it you can buy this carrier for me. I am officially in love.

Alright mommas that's all I have to say about baby carriers. I know there are others like the Mei Tei, and Sleepy wrap, but I don't know everything. Google does, so ask her. In the meantime, happy baby wearing!


For more information on baby wearing go here.



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Newborn diaper options

Most people skip the newborn stage of cloth diapers and just wait until their babies have reached about 10 lbs to start with cloth diapers. It's really a personal preference when it comes to whether or not you want to buy a seperate stash of diapers that you will only be able to use for one to two months. I decided to take that risk, and ended up buying a combination of prefolds with covers, fitted diapers, and AIOs. For those of you who didn't read the previous post, prefolds are the most basic form of cloth diapers that were used by our parents. They are several layers of fabric sewn together, with an extra amount of fabric sewn into the center for extra absorbency. These usually come in 4X8X4, meaning 4 layers on the outside and 8 layers sewn down the center. Here is a picture of the kind that I bought. It's the newborn Sweet Pea prefold.



When using prefolds, you must always cover it with a waterproof layer called a cover. Covers are really convienent and can also be used as swim diapers! Shown is an XS Thirsties cover and the prefold. http://www.nickisdiapers.com/thirsties-diaper-cover.html Even though I don't use prefolds and diaper covers on a regular basis, I like to keep a couple diapers around the house just in case I've run out of my other diapers.  They are basically my back up diapers for those lazy days when I just don't feel like doing laundry. The great thing about covers are you can reuse them several times before you wash them. Just wipe them out and then put in another prefold and voila!







The great thing about Thirsties covers are they have double gussets to keep all the poo in!



Here is a one size cover that I bought called econobum by Bum Genius.



This is a one sized diaper cover, so it's supposed to last from birth until potty training. The next type of diaper combo you can use is a fitted diaper and cover. With these you just snap on the diaper and then put a cover over it as a waterproof layer. I bought Happy Heineys, but there are several brands to choose from if you want more options. I didn't really like these as much because my daughter always immediately felt wet and so I had to change her a lot more.



Here is the fitted diaper with the Thirsties cover.



I also forgot to mention you can use Snappies with a prefold and do the old school diaper folding that our parents used to do with a cover as well.



The final way to cloth diaper your infant is to use an AIO. AIOs are All in one diapers, meaning the only step you have to take is to put it in the baby. There are two kinds of closures for AIOs; hook and loop and snap closures. I had both, but preferred the hook and loops. I used mostly the Bum Genius XS sized diapers. In this picture you can see the tab on the inside that you put the Velcro straps onto so they stay put in the wash. After one wash you'll realize how important it is to put the tabs down.











My snap diaper was Grovia, and it didn't fit her well. Every time he wore it it leaked. I loved the pattern and the design looked like it wouldn't easily leak, but it did not work well with her body type.











This diaper is stained a little, but stains are easy to get out. In a future blog I will talk about washing and diaper care.



The flap on the inside was a great idea because you can adjust the absorbency for the middle or front, depending in what area your baby wets more. Okay, that's all for now! If you have any questions ask away! I love talking about cloth diapers!