Friday, April 19, 2013

Venturing Into The Land Of Cloth

Big changes going on around here lately. First of all I got a diaper bag. A JJ Cole Swag Bag to be exact. I haven't used one in ages and certainly haven't bought one since the twins were little. A few weeks ago though I decided that enough was enough and decided to get organized.

Here's the loot inside:
Eucerin lotion, mini first aid kit, polka dot bag, Aleve, mini container of coconut oil (for diaper rash~which he doesn't have), Body Butter, Aloe Vera gel (why?) and Ricolas because you just never know. I also threw in one board book, one soft bunny toy, a couple changes of clothes and a few diapers. 

I have to admit though that I'm not sure this bag is going to be quite big enough or sturdy enough for the long haul. Sigh.

Which brings me to the real reason for the new diaper bag, our NEW diapers....
I have always wanted to cloth diaper, but have found a million reasons not to each and every time. It's sort of scary to try something new when you're used to doing things a certain way. The idea of cloth diapering can be sort of intimidating at first, but I finally just thought to myself, "hey, this is your last chance to try it lady, what are you waiting for?". 

Figuring out where to start was a bit overwhelming, cloth diapering has changed over the years. There are seriously a ton of options and so many companies competing~way more varieties to choose from than disposables. Luckily I have a few friends who are experts and were more than willing to lend some advice. Still, I did a fair bit of online review reading before making our initial purchases.

This adorable little Charlie Banana All In One (AIO) Pocket Diaper is what jump started the whole thing, maybe you've seen them at Target recently? I stumbled across them a few weeks ago and almost bought the box set because I thought they were so darn cute, but I'm so glad I didn't because honestly these turned out to be my least favorite by far. I actually returned the one pictured here (unused of course). Much too bulky and I didn't like that the pocket loaded from the front.

Some of the best advice I got was to not invest in only ONE diaper, which seemed daunting at first because it meant doing more reading, more reviewing, but everyone who said it to me was absolutely right and I'm glad I took the time to try out a few different varieties.

Here's what we have now: Bum Genius 4.0 Pockets, Best Bottoms, Kawaii Minky Pockets and the one Charlie Banana dud.

Bum Genius 4.0 Pockets I love these! They are one size and so they grow with your baby and they are pocket diapers which means they are very similar to a disposable. These are super easy, never leak and they are my go to diaper when we are out of the house and the only thing I've tried for overnights so far. We have 5 of the covers and about 16 inserts. Each cover is sold with 2 inserts. The only downfall is that the covers need to be line dried, so it takes a little longer to cycle them through a complete wash, but they're still my favorites.

My next favorite are the Best Bottoms diapers. The covers are sold separately from the inserts and they are different from the pockets because the inserts snap into place inside and so the cover can be reused throughout the day. Yesterday this little hedge hog cover got us through the entire afternoon and all I had to do was replace the insert a few times.  I have 5 of these covers and about 15 microfiber inserts. They have a handy gusset around the leg hole, you can sort of see the 2 layers there, which is very handy and I like the fit so far.

Plus they come in adorable patterns, if you thought the hedgehogs were cute just check out the Fox Trot pattern below, perfect for my little fox. As an added bonus they were designed by a cloth diapering mama who runs her own business ( Nicki's Diapers) and so I feel great about ordering from her. Plus she sells all sorts of diapers, not just her own.

Which brings me to our final diapers, the Kawaii Snazzy Minky.
Brendan suggested we try these because they are super budget friendly, our bundle of 12 was less than $90, which is pretty cheap compared to other diapers. They arrived early this week and I prepped them all in a hurry because I couldn't wait to try them. Unfortunately I have mixed feelings about them so far. I want to love them, I really do. They are adorable, super soft, do a great job (no leaks so far) and I don't even mind that they are a bit bulky but the elastic across the back panel is super SUPER tight, so it's impossible to get a proper fit without having the back of the diaper sort of cutting into his torso. I'm not sure if it's because the elastic is too thin or simply cut too short or a combination of the two, but yesterday it left a definite mark across his little back which isn't cool with me.

Maybe it's just his current size and age, maybe when he gets a little bigger we'll have better results with the fit of these. I'm not ready to give up on them, but I do understand why everyone told me not to invest in only one diaper and I sort of wish we had only bought a couple of these to start out with. I'm thinking about giving the Kawaii non-minky diapers a try to see if the fit is better.

The other items we had to purchase were a few wet bags, you need them when you are away from home so that you can bring the dirties back in a respectable fashion. We bought three so that we would be able to have at least one available at all times, these guys have to line dry and they take forever. We also invested in two diaper pail liners, which are essentially just big washable garbage bags from what I can tell. I decided to get two so that while one is being washed we have a clean one ready to go.

We also had to buy some diaper detergent, there are a lot of different opinions about this, but I just decided to play it safe and buy some. I'm actually going to try another brand when this bag runs out, but this was the only thing available immediately and I had wash to do. I have to say that the laundry aspect of this whole thing was exactly what worried me the most, but it has been so easy! I'm not exactly sure what I thought was going to happen but it's been a breeze and just another reason I keep giggling to myself over how happy I am that we switched.

I originally figured that we would still use disposables at night and while away from the house, but when cloth wound up not being as scary as I thought it would be I just decided to go all the way. He hasn't worn a disposable in nearly 2 weeks now, which isn't to say that he never will again. We still have a bunch left over from our last Costco run and I'm sure there will be times when I'll throw one on him, but for now I'm just surprised by how smooth this transition has been and I wish I would have had enough courage to do it sooner. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Starbucks: One On Every Corner (Plus I Lost My Shit)

So yesterday I lost Maija.
I know, I know that sounds strange because well, you know she is 14. Old enough to not get lost, but I lost her just the same. And for about 52 minutes I had no idea where she was or if she was safe.

So I did what I do and lost my shit. All of it. I lost it everywhere, on the phone, in a locker room, in a Starbucks parking lot, in front of a high school on the wet dirty pavement. I lost it all over the place. My mind racing in a panic, allowed to dip down into dark trenches. What's worse is that I lost it in front of everyone and anyone who happened to be nearby. Baristas, security guards, the sheriff's department, the emergency dispatch, well meaning soccer coaches, bus drivers, eye brow raising high schoolers. MY kids, the little ones. I'm pretty sure I scarred them a little bit, poor babies.

I'm not good in a crisis. Something I'm going to work on, but really I hope I don't have to practice any time soon, because it was awful and I need a moment to recover.

In hindsight of course the whole thing sounds a little crazy. I can admit it. And for the first oh maybe 22 minutes? I was calm, collected, irritated even that she wasn't where she was supposed to be, that she wasn't answering her phone, that I had a car packed full of kids who were whiny and impatient and eager to get home. Irritability soon gave way however to a bit of uneasiness as it became clear that she wasn't at our meeting spot and that I had no idea where she was.

And then of course the uneasiness quickly gave way to the losing of the shit, which I pretty much already covered.

Now luckily this whole thing ended up just being a huge (and rather funny~although I'm not ready for jokes quite yet) misunderstanding, and I'm sure someday we'll laugh about it, giggle about how Maija limped right past the meeting place Starbucks and walked half a mile down the road to a different Starbucks where she sat and waited for someone to pick her up for a really really really long time (without checking her phone of course). And WHY wouldn't there be another Starbucks in pretty much the same exact location? Jerks.

But really I just wanted to touch upon it quickly because the 30 minutes I spent thinking that something bad had happened were excruciating and such a reminder of every single thing that I spend my life taking for granted. Such a reminder that I need to take the time to tell these kids, this family, just how much they mean to me and how my heart beats for them.

I know there are no guarantees, I know life can change in a moment, but I am so grateful that she is found and she is safe. I love her so much you guys and today my heart is beating for her.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Signs of Spring

Sure signs of spring definitely include birthdays in our home, we get to celebrate five each spring and Finn leads the way. He turned 17 this year, what?! Getting ready for some big changes in the next few years and it's nearly impossible to imagine that he'll be heading off to college before we know it, but not quite yet so I'll just remember to enjoy the present. No sense in getting ahead of ourselves. 

Happy birthday Finn, thank you for being such a wonderful young man. You're so funny, so smart, so naturally kind and caring. You set a shining example for everyone in the house (myself included) and I know it's a lot sometimes to have so many people looking up to you, but you make it look easy and we all adore you.

Well hi gorgeous, why yes taking pictures of this pretty lady is a sign of spring. Pictures OUTSIDE. Yay.

Easter, no explanation needed.

Oh, Saoirse my little girly girl, are we cut from the same cloth or what?

Mary and Carl hosted Easter again (which was lovely, thank you so much!) and we braved a quick family photo. I honestly cannot remember the last time we tried this, which means it's probably been way too long. Why does this seem so impossible to me? I'm thinking this summer we should really get our act together and hire a photographer to tame this crowd. Still, I love this snapshot and I wish I could bring myself to get more of these, it just stresses me out to no end though. Maybe if we just practiced more? I love these people, just love them to pieces.

Baby wearing at the mall? Sign of spring? Nah.
But I am getting closer to losing the last of my pregnancy weight, which is great because a) I was starting to wonder if I'd ever wear jeans again b) I feel soooo much better c) spring leads to summer and I'm guessing some of these kids are going to want to go swimming. Like in swimsuits. Nuff said.

Second spring birthday.
Hey cutie pie! Oh geez, the big double digit induction. Happy 10th birthday Micah, my baby boy, my first born son. You remind me to slow down, which is funny because you are constantly on the move. You're always listening to everything, paying attention to details, keeping track, keeping tabs and you want to be in the middle of it all which I love. You have grown so much this year and I'm so proud of you. Micah, I thank the stars every day that the universe brought us together.

There's no good way to transition to this next part, but look.....

We started cloth diapering! YAY.
Oisín is even more excited than I am. It's still very new and I'm trying to learn as we go, but I'll write up a post about where we started and what we're using (geez it's so complicated nowadays) and what works best for us. Until then we'll keep looking for more signs of spring, it can't be too far off now....

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Half Year Little Fawn

Hard to believe (oh here she goes with all her "how can this be happening so fast" crap. Again.)
that my little man is already 6 months old.

I'll try to tone it down a bit and just say this: I am so in love with this little person. I can't even find the words to tell the world just how much.

See? Short and sweet.

Oisin at 6 months:
*Sleeps through the night. Period. He goes down between 9-10pm and gets up between 6-7am. I honestly can't remember the last time he got up before 6am. He doesn't cry when he wakes up. During his bought with pertussis back in January (did I ever tell you about that?) he was up multiple times a night every single night for weeks and weeks, but since his recovery sleep has been back on track.

*Has 3 bottom teeth and the 4th will be breaking through this week, I can already see it. His first 2 teeth broke through when he was 3 months old and so far haven't caused too much trouble during his meal times. Any attempts on my part to encourage "NO BITING" result in cheeky smiles, but he's generally pretty well mannered. He's also handled the teething pain like a champ.

*I get up by 5:30am and pump 10 ounces each morning. Why? That's a whole other post for a future date. I have no idea why. I've tried to quit I really have....
He is nursing on demand and I have no qualms about feeding him in public, which is a good thing seeing as how I still spend a good portion of each day with the 3 Littles who are not yet in school full time. Meaning we are on the go when I can muster the motivation and our field trips would be limited if I wasn't able to nurse him all over the city. Now that he's older he can go for longer stretches between feedings, 3-4 hours if need be, but it's usually more like 2 hours. Feedings fluctuate throughout the day as well, so if he power nurses for an hour in the morning his next few sessions might be very quick.

*We haven't started solids yet. He did have his first taste of avocado a few days ago, but I'm not ready to dive in head first just quite yet. My cousin Vicki is bringing us her daughter's old high chair tonight and over the next few weeks I'll start introducing more foods. He is interested and ready.

*No official weight yet, we don't see the Dr. until Friday, but I'm going to say he is at least 17 pounds. He is nearly out of all 6 month clothing, even pushing the limit on some of his 9 month stuff. (update: he was 17.1 at his appointment)

*He is rolling over from his tummy to his back and just starting to sit up on his own (barely). He loves the exersaucer and the jumperoo and can swivel himself around to face different directions in both.

*As far as his personality, he is still so calm and agreeable. There is a peacefulness to his nature, a contentedness that still surprises me at times. He just likes to be happy!

*His new habits include sticking his tongue out, petting the cat every chance he gets, giggling hysterically with the little kids who are still very loving and attentive towards him, smiling like his face might crack in half at all of the big kids and he still loves to suck on his pinky and ring fingers~simultaneously and only on his left hand. He flips his palm upside down to accomplish this (pictured below) and it's CONSTANT and has been going on for at least 2 months now. He never did take to the pacifier, always gave me a "are you kidding lady?!" look and spit it out like I was trying to poison him.

*The first 6 months have been an absolute treasure. I can hardly believe how blessed we are to have welcomed this little boy into our family. In six short months he has already brought so much light, love and joy into our lives. Every day that we get to share is a gift.

We went to 49th Street Studio for a proper 6 month photo shoot and it was a lot of fun. My friend Neil who owns the studio did a great job, don't you think?

This one of him in the bucket just about kills me. I picked the props and I have no idea what I was going for. Yellow bucket, green net? Is he a Packers fan who is going fishing? Is he the bait? What the heck is happening here?! Can we say girl on a budget? I don't know, but it is actually one of my favorites from the shoot because it is such an amazing representation of my little guy.