Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Family Road-Trip For Grandma's 85th Birthday!!

Great Grandma & Eleanor

Last Friday morning, me and the girls, my parents and brother Andy hopped into a minivan and headed up to Minneapolis for my Grandma's 85th Birthday!! I do love a good road-trip and the ride seemed surprisingly short (especially considering we were travelling with a 3 year old and 9 month old). We made it in seven hours (we had to stop a couple of times to let the kids out to run/move around). I must say I fell in love with the minivan too (love that all of the doors opened with just a click of a button, super helpful when you're trying to corral kids into the car and have your hands full)!

My sister Jen and my nephew Tug flew in from Cali to join us on Saturday, so it was quite a weekend! Grandma's face was priceless when they came walking in the front door (we had sent Dad and Auntie Lynda to the airport to pick them up, but told her that they were out looking at houses)!!

Four Generations

We all took Grandma out to dinner on Saturday night, with cousins Robin, Paige, Caitlin and Uncle Jimmy & Aunt Sharon. Then back to Grandma's for red velvet cake and ice cream. Sunday, me, Jen, Dad and the kids went to the St. Paul Children's Museum (which was an amazing five story complex and just awesome), while everyone else went to the casino.

The cousins had a blast playing together! Addie & Tug are both super head-strong, so there was some butting of heads, but I think their relationship mirrored that of siblings. It was nice having all of the grown-ups there to help me with the girls, but I definitely missed my partner in crime E by the end of the weekend!

My sister Jen with Tug, Addie and Nora


Thursday, November 3, 2011

These Aren't Your Mom's Cloth Diapers...

Eleanor At One Month Wearing Fuzzi-Bunz Perfect Size Small

Since I began cloth diapering my second child (about a month after she was born), I can't stop telling people about how much I love it! It is super easy, super affordable and truly better for your child and the environment.

I had a few cloth diapers that I used here and there with my first daughter, but at the time, I didn't feel that I had the money to purchase an initial cloth diaper inventory (nor did I realize just how easy it was), so we used Seventh Generation chlorine-free disposables for most of her time in diapers. Looking back now, I was spending approximately $50 at every month on disposable diapers and wipes for the first two years. An initial cloth diaper inventory could have easily been bought for $200.00 (saving me at least $1000 over those first two years).

I think that when most people think about cloth diapers, you remember the cloth diapers that our moms used, the old Gerber prefolds (which are still used today) with those obnoxiously huge safety pins that you were always sticking yourself (or the baby) with and the big plastic pants that were not only noisy, but in no way could've been comfortable. The cloth diapers of today are not your mom's cloth diapers.

Yes, you can still get the Gerber prefolds (the least expensive cloth diapering option) that need to be folded around baby just so, but they are now used with Snappi's (a virtually ouch-free method when trying to fasten the diaper) and a cute fitted Waterproof cover, like a Thirstie's or a Tweedlebug that are neither unsightly nor bulky under clothes.

To make it even easier than that, there are pocket diapers and All-in-One's, which are essentially the waterproof cover with a nice soft lined interior, that you stick an absorbent insert in between (before placing on the baby). You can get sized diapers (that will fit babies depending on their weight) or a one-size fits all (that can be used on the baby from newborn to potty-training). The One-Size are obviously your most economical option of pocket diapers or AIO, since you don't have to buy new ones as your baby grows.

Eleanor Wearing BumGenius 4.0 One-Size Diaper

My favorite one-size pocket diaper is the BumGenius 4.0. They are super easy to use, are super soft against baby's skin and in my humble opinion, offer the best fit. My favorite pocket diaper used to be FuzziBunz, but after using their Perfect Size diapers (that had been gifted to me), I decided to try their One-Size diapers and the fit is horrible. I have heard that they had recently switched manufacturers, so I'm not sure if all of their diapers have been affected by this, but I would not recommend their One-Size diapers. To change the size (or fit) on FuzziBunz One-Size, you have to mess with these annoying elastic pieces (just like the elastic/button sitation in adjustable kid's jeans) and I find that they are always leaking pee. In contrast, BumGenius 4.0's are much easier to adjust the size (you simply snap or un-snap the buttons on the front of the diaper).

BumGenius are one of the more economical choices as well, as they have great promotional offers every other month or so (where you can Buy 5 One-Size diapers, and get 1 free, for approximately $86.00). So all you would need to have a great starting inventory is to buy 12 diapers for $172.00 (and really, with the exception of probably needing some heavier or doubler inserts as your baby gets older, this could be all you ever needed to buy). You can find this special being run at any good cloth diaper website (Kelly's Closet is one of the best, but there are other options).

When I discuss cloth diapers with some people, they are generally disgusted by the idea and they are concerned with having to deal with poop, touch poop, wash poopy diapers in their washing machine, etc. Any mom will tell you that you're going to have to deal with or touch poop on a regular basis anyways, and there will be poopy blow-outs which require you to wash poopy clothes in your washing machine. My first child had blow-outs in her disposable diaper almost on a daily basis, and I can tell you that I have not yet experienced a blow-out with a cloth diaper (and I have been cloth diapering for eight months). Cloth diapers are fitted/snug around the baby's waist, which prevents most blow-outs. Also, if you are a breast-feeding mama, breast-fed poop is water soluble, so there is no need to rinse/swish the poopy diapers before you wash them. Just toss them in your diaper pail, and they can go directly into your washing machine when you're ready to wash. See this article here for related information.

Now, that my daughter is eating solids, the poop needs to be shaken off/swished in the toilet, but for those of you that really can't fathom doing this, you can buy a sprayer that attaches to the toilet to "spray" the poop off (I had bought one but then quickly returned it when I realized that once my three year old got wind of it, she would be hosing down my bathroom). There are also flushable liners that you can use once they get to solids that you would just drop into the toilet.

I wish I had known just how easy it would be to cloth diaper the first time around. There are so many different options/types out there to fit any budget or lifestyle. It feels really good now knowing that I'm making a choice that is best for my child and also for the environment. There are no harmful chemicals touching their skin; there has been some research indicating that the chemicals in disposables might contribute to male infertility. I truly feel that cloth is more comfortable for them, as there is nothing but super soft fabric touching their skin and the instances of diaper rash are few and far between. And I like the fact that I'm not dumping thousands of dirty diapers into a landfill that could take up to 500 years to decompose. If you want to try to make a change, but are unsure if you're ready to be fully committed to cloth, just try it out. Just using three cloth diapers a day, can make a huge difference to the environment and just might get you hooked...

For more cloth diapering facts, see here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pum'kins & Such

Boy, does time fly! Can't believe it's already the end of October. We've been enjoying some ridiculously warm 60-70 degree weather this Fall, so it's hard to believe that Winter is almost upon us.

Eleanor is 9 months old this month and well on her way to walking. She has three teeth and a fourth is not far behind...She enjoys eating just about anything (acorn squash, butternut squash, apples, pears, zucchini, sweet potato) and I'm slowly trying to incorporate finger food she can eat herself. She can now "sign" for "momma milk" when she's hungry, which is awesome! She also loves playing Peek-A-Boo.

Addie recently started 3 year old preschool and of course, loves being at school! Her newest love seems to be singing/performing for others and I am amazed at how well she memorizes lyrics to songs. This kid is anything but shy!! Her current favorite to perform is The Blue Mermaid (Jordin Sparks/Team Umi Zoomi). She is very imaginative and loves to tell stories about her little brother JoJo and her big sister Susan (LOL). She is as sassy as ever these days (sometimes I feel like I'm dealing with a teenager already) and is constantly pushing boundaries.

The Girls And Our Carved/Painted Pumpkins

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review and Giveaway: My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software

Please visit the Review I did on My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software at Little Lake County . You can enter to win a copy of the software at this link and also receive an online code to receive $10 off the cost of the software and also $10 to use at their online store.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Addie's First Day Of Preschool

Addie's First Day of Preschool - She doesn't look it, but she's excited! Addie's New Bumble Bee Backpack

Addie's first day of preschool was on Tuesday. At drop-off, they had the parents sit down with the kids on the circle rug to sing a few songs together before we left. They sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and then moved on to two other songs that I am not yet familiar with. My funny lil girl insisted upon dancing to the other songs rather than sit in mommy's lap and sing. I was a little embarrassed at first, thinking that people were going to look at my daughter like the "hyper one" who can't sit still...but I soon got over it. She definitely marches to the tune of her own drummer and I don't think I ever want to hinder that behavior. Another lil girl stood up to follow suit and her mom kept trying to get her to sit back down - futile in my opinion, they are 2 after all!!

Once the songs were over, the kids all leapt up to go play with toys and the parents were told to give a quick goodbye and leave the room. Me & Grandma said goodbye to Addie and started to walk out of the room. I was shocked when I turned around to see her face start to scrunch up and she actually started to cry. Addie has always been super independent; when we go to parties or playdates or open gyms, she always runs off to play with things and rarely looks to see where I am or what I am doing. I imagined that she would be the one child who didn't cry when she was dropped off at preschool. I quickly left, as the cries of several other children started up as well, and I didn't want to prolong any sadness.

Today, they had the parents just drop the kids off, hang up their backpacks, and quickly say goodbye. They had playdoh set out at the table, so Addie was quickly interested in that and I don't know if she was one of the few that shed tears today. She told me on the way home though that she wants to go to school everyday, so I'm thinking she likes it a lot! Trust me, if I could afford it, I'd send her everyday - working in peace and quiet is a beautiful thing!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Addie's New Room

So, last weekend, we "officially" moved Addie into her new room. I was very happy that I didn't need to take apart her entire twin bed, the hubby and I were able to slide the base on its side, from one room to the other.

I put up these great decals that I bought with her bedding at Target, they're very cute and add some much needed life to the room. The only problem with them is that they're repositional and Addie has learned that she can peel them off and put them wherever she likes (which of course, drives me nuts, but I can see how they would appeal to a toddler!). I'm not sure how long they will last at this rate, but we're trying to explain to her that if they're taken off too many times, they won't stick anymore.

I came across a cute project at The Kindred Spirit Mommy for a hair barrette/ponytail ribbon holder which Addie so desperately needs, as I'm tired of finding her barrettes all over my house. So, I bought some coordinating Owl fabric and finished it last night (while watching the Big Brother finale, was a little bummed Lane didn't win the grand prize!). I didn't take any step by step photos, but it is super easy. You just buy a stretched canvas, I went with an 11" x 14" one, and get some fabric to cover it. Most people would use a staple gun for this project, but I don't currently own one, so I used my trusty glue gun.
The finished project.
Close up of the fabric (which I love!)
Back of the frame.

I simply glued the fabric to the back of my stretched canvas, starting with one side first, then the other, then the bottom/top and finishing up the corners last (after trimming off any excess fabric). You just want to make sure after you glue/staple down your first side, that you're pulling the fabric to make it as tight as possible before you tack down the next side. Then, I glued various sized coordinating ribbon to the back, starting with the top first, and then the bottom. I purposefully did not glue the bottom of two of the ribbons (the thin Hot Pink ones) to the frame to be able to use as ponytail holders. I sealed the end of those ribbons with a lighter to prevent them from fraying. This project literally took me 15 minutes and I think it will be a really decorative, yet functional addition to Addie's room.

I also plan on adding "Adeline" in wooden letters to the wall that her bed is against at some point, I just have to find letters that I like and figure out how I'm going to paint or decoupage them to match the rest of her room.

I'm working on organizing the baby's room still, I've gotten all of Addie's clothes bins from her first year out the basement and am working on washing and hanging them all in the baby's closet.

In addition to starting preschool next week (which I know Addie is super excited about), I've signed her up for swimming lessons with Daddy and gymnastics/tumbling class with me starting in November. I figure it's good for her to get out and about and be active in the winter months, especially since she doesn't really have the luxury of leaving the house during the week, while I'm working.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's a Girl!!!!

I cannot even express how happy I am that the baby is another girl! I think both me and my husband were fully expecting it to be a boy, so it was a nice surprise when the tech said it was a girl! Being able to re-use all of my baby stuff is huge, and I love that Addie will have a sister to play with. We also don't need to re-decorate Addie's bedroom (phew!). I spent part of the weekend cleaning out the "sewing/craft" room to make space for Addie's stuff. I think she is a little hesitant to change rooms, but I keep pointing out to her that she has so much more space to play in. I'm hoping the owl/forest decals I have for her new room will help get her excited as well. We've already decided to name the baby Eleanor - I think it goes beautifully with Adeline, and we'll call her "Nora" for short. I'm pretty sure her middle name will be Stacy, after Elliott's sister. It might seem a bit soon for some people, but I plan on having the nursey back together in the next couple of weeks (including having all the clothes washed/hung, everything organized and put in its place). The baby won't even be here until mid-late January, but I feel like I'll have less to worry about later.

We're going camping this weekend for Labor Day (with Grandma, Grandpa and our two nephews) and I'm really looking forward to it! Been busy the past two days organizing all our camping gear and making lists of everything we need to buy/bring.

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