Thursday, December 31, 2015

The End of 2015, and Wishes for the New Year

It is the last day of 2015, so of course I need to write a post summing up my year and refreshing myself for the new year. What kind of blogger would I be if I didn't capitalize on this opportunity?

2014 was one of our hardest years to date, so I marked 2015 as my year of "Hope." It would have been easy to focus on the negative things that threatened that hope. Several times, I thought, What the heck, God? How are you going to use this? 

2015 in Summary

  • Started the year out pregnant with our 2nd blessing and SICK
  • Found and purchased our first house
  • Joined Jen Hatmaker's FOR THE LOVE Launch Team
  • My husband lost his job the day before we moved into the house (through no fault of his own)
  • A season of new bills and unemployment
  • A scare with my cervix potentially being incompetent for the pregnancy
  • Healing of that issue! 
  • Finding out we were expecting another baby BOY
  • My husband taking a paid internship at a college textbook store
  • Planning for a natural birth
  • Raising a strong willed 2.5 year old who pushed us to tears (of happiness and frustration)
  • Going through a season of personal doubt
  • Being 'over due' with our baby
  • Launched the book with my lovely team, who are now as close as family!
  • Deciding to induce at 41 weeks and foregoing the natural birth
  • Greeting our 9 pound, 4 ounce son and falling so in love with him
  • Fighting for my breastfeeding relationship through N's lip and tongue ties - minor surgical procedure and healing for us both
  • Finding my place as a mom of 2 boys
  • Experiencing birth trauma and coping with that for almost 4 months
  • Finding healing from the trauma through a divine conversation with our OBGYN and through prayer
  • Celebrating R turning 3 years old and enjoying some new maturity and language development
  • My husband accepting a promotion as a manager of his very own textbook store!
Holy wow! Hope certainly prevailed in all aspects of our life. I am floored at what God can do with a year! 

I searched myself for a word to apply to 2016 and I really came up with 'Self Care' and 'Building Up,' I have many areas of personal growth to apply myself to. From managing anxiety to bettering myself as a writer. I have opportunities to launch more books, advocate for more of my passions, and build up this blog. I also need to build up my husband, as his helpmeet and friend, and to teach and mold my sons in a way that sets a foundation for the way we want the rest of our lives to go, 

So here are a few 'wishes' for 2016:
  • 3 year old preschool for R (at home)
  • Get R back in gymnastics or some activity 
  • Still be nursing at next New Years
  • Create some kind of garden and chronicle the process
  • Write (somewhere) every day
  • Organize and simplify our stuff
  • Get some medical answers to my anxiety problems and find a treatment I can live with
  • Read 12 books
  • Read/listen to the Bible in a year
  • Uphold our family & home life while my husband meets his goals
  • Launch some more books
  • Become a GroVia cloth diaper advocate 
  • Refresh my wardrobe
  • Walk more
I call these wishes because they are still up for change and refining. I'm still praying about tangible ways to make them happen or trusting God to provide my needs and then some of my wants. I want to maintain my joy throughout the year - even when I'm not happy. 

You may have noticed that weight loss and diets are not on my wish list. I'm nursing, so I nourish my body well while allowing for a few cravings. It's all about balance. And let's get real. I am not an athlete or someone who loves to push my body to work out. I balance 2 boys 24 hours a day and often that is physically demanding enough. I'm all about Self Care this year and that means allowing rest in a world where mothers are pushed to give themselves up to a detrimental level. I want to incorporate some outdoor walks into our weekly life, especially when the weather is good.

I'm filling my own cup first this year so I can overflow into my family's cups. 

I'm loving myself in 2016 and I'm going to reap the benefits of that. I advise you do the same!

What does your wish list (or your word of the year) look like for 2016? I'd love to pray over that for you. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

2 Month Cloth Diaper Update

Our youngest son Nolan is now a little over two months old so I wanted to update you on our cloth diaper adventure. We are still going strong with cloth and more inspired than ever to keep using it!

Cloth diapers are so cheap compared to using disposable full time - we have only bought 2 small packs of disposables for him in the past 2 months, most of which we used when we were all sick and I just couldn't get on top of the house work.

He has totally outgrown his newborn Kissaluvs size 0 fitteds and covers, so those are going back to the rental. We still recommend this to everyone starting cloth with their newborn! It is so affordable and works perfect at holding in those messy newborn poops.

Now days, our go-to diapering solution is a flour sack towel (FST) and a sturdy cover. I didn't go over flour sack towels in my cloth diaper how-to post, but they are my favorite! They are literally just thin, white towels that can be bought at Walmart in the kitchen section.

I bought a 10-pack and have been pad folding them in my diaper covers. This means I fold the larger square into fourths and then trifold that.

This pad fold will last the full 2 hours (the suggested time between diaper changes). It may look like thin fabric, but its very absorbent. Since Nolan is a little boy (duh) I often like to fold over the end of the FST that is in the front of his diaper to add extra absorbency by his penis where most leaks would happen, were we to have any.

The best thing about FSTs is that they are about $1 a piece! You will not find a cheaper diapering option!

Sure, I am passionate about conserving resources and stewarding our planet well, but I am mainly cloth diapering to save money! Our favorite covers are the Hybrid's from GroVia, which run about $16.95. I have bought many of them from buy, sell, trade (B/S/T) sites and clearance sales, so I don't typically pay full price for these either. A close second favorite are the Flip covers.

Even when I have clean All-in-Ones or Pockets, I still reach for my FST and covers first every single time. The FST also come clean very easily. Using my wash routine with Tide or Dreft, we never even have stains, which is something I was constantly combating with the fitteds.

I treat FST's like the Hybrid system and toss the wet absorbency into the pail after each use and then rotate between two covers throughout the day. Any poop diapers require me to throw the cover in the pail too.

If you are looking for an economical option for cloth diapering, you might benefit from searching for FST folding videos on YouTube for some creative folds to get maximum absorbency for boys and girls - but keep in mind that I simply pad fold mine and love it.

Feel free to chat with me on Facebook about anything related to cloth diapers. Have you ever tried flour sack towels? Or tried and loved a diapering option you didn't expect?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015 - The Caped Crusaders

This year we went back and forth on costume ideas and landed on Batman and Robin for the boys. Dillon and I loved dressing up with Roman last year but decided not to go all out this year. I'm really glad we didn't spend the money on costumes, because we didn't end up trick or treating. The forecast predicted 100% chance of thunderstorms on Halloween, so we decided not to go out and to instead meet at IHOP again with friends. All of the kids were wild, but its IHOP, so no one really cares. They are used to being overrun with college kids.

To backtrack - on Saturday the 30th, we spent the day at the Schaefers and Collins Pumpkin Patch in Mayflower, AR, which we have gone to every year of Roman's life as one of our family fall traditions. We got our annual corn picture and took Nolan's first corn picture! It was such a contrast from last year when it was 80 degrees and swamped with people. This year it was in the 60's, windy, cloudy, and very calm since we had to wait so late in the season.

The whole day was pretty uneventful and pleasant. We even made a silly memory of running out the door without any of Nolan's diapers, so I had to put him in a size 5 disposable that we had in the bag. It was a full-body diaper.

On Halloween, we went out in costume to my doula office to what they called 'Doula Boola' for a treat and picture. Roman was not being very kind while playing and I had to take him away from his fun, so he was not happy to be in the picture.

That afternoon as we were debating whether we should take Roman trick or treating before meeting at IHOP, we heard a ring on our doorbell - at 3:45 someone was trying to trick or treat!! I'm not sure when that became ok. We didn't have any candy since we hadn't planned on being home to hand it out, so we pretended we weren't home. Sorry, but who is trick or treating in the middle of the afternoon?

It took about 30 minutes to get 1 decent picture of both of the boys (the one at the top of the post) and then we gave up and hit the road to IHOP.

Next year, I would love to decorate a little bit with harvest decor that could last through November and minister to the neighborhood by handing out candy. I would especially like to provide allergy-free treats because I know trick or treat can be disappointing and even dangerous for some.
If you would like to minister to kids with allergies by giving them something special on Halloween, check out The Teal Pumpkin Project for ideas.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Five Fall Traditions

This week I am linking up with some other great bloggers to share five fall traditions that my family keeps! My husband and I have only been married for 3 years and we are just building our family, so some of these traditions are new and some have been brought into our family from our childhoods.

I will say that Fall is my most favorite season! Even though I live in the South where it's still in the 70's through most of October and the leaves take a while to change, I love everything about this time. This year I started feeling that faint nostalgia around the end of September. The air got a little crisper, a few trees here and there are turning red and orange, and it's finally appropriate for Roman and I to watch Curious George Boofest (although I'll admit we have been watching it all year - it's so cute!).

One of my #FTL friends Aundi has written a perfect article on that Autumn Longing I feel every year. I couldn't have said it better myself! Fall just makes my heart full.

Visit A Pumpkin Patch
During our oldest son Roman's first October, we took him to a local, country pumpkin patch. He was only 10 months old, but he could walk, so it was fun to let him loose among the pumpkins on the vine. We also enjoyed posing with giant wooden cut-outs and hopping up in a trailer for a hayride. The next October, we brought him back at almost 2 years old and posed for some of the same pictures. He especially loved the barnyard animals and the playground. This year, he is almost 3 and loves Halloween and pumpkins, so I absolutely cannot wait to see his reaction to the pumpkin patch!

Dress Up for Halloween
One topic of debate has been should Christians celebrate Halloween? For my family, the answer is yes! I take great joy in putting together costumes that are fun for the whole family. On Roman's first Halloween, he was Yoda from Star Wars. We were able to help a friend who owns a crochet business by buying his costume hat from her! His second Halloween, he was going through a major Scooby Doo phase, so I was in luck when I found a Scooby costume just his size from a consignment sale. Dad and I dressed as Fred and Daphne while our friends were troopers and came along as Velma and Shaggy.

Carve Pumpkins
I grew up carving pumpkins every year with my family, so of course I want to pass that down to my children! Last year I shared with you Roman's Scooby Doo pumpkin and how I carved it! In the past, my husband has carved a pumpkin with a snake on it, I carved Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and in a pinch you can always go for the traditional snaggle-tooth smile.

Eat Fall Favorite Foods
One of my favorite meals of all time is your traditional Thanksgiving food! Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, veggies, pumpkin pie...YUM! I look forward to the multiple family meals we will share during the season. I also look forward to crisp apples, seasonal Starbucks coffee, and a savory vegetable dish I make from a few combined recipes (red potatoes, bell peppers, onions, yellow squash, and tons of spices tossed in olive oil). I'm getting hungry typing this!
Football Games
In high school, I was part of the drumline, so I attended every football game - home and away! Don't ask me the rules of the game though, because I was always distracted playing music and joking around with my friends. Drumline is the only thing from high school that I would go back and relive, so its safe to say the whole atmosphere of attending the games as the season changes was a fond memory. My husband was a football player in his high school days, so he loves to get nostalgic about fall football as well. Now, we watch our siblings and friends play, and of course the TV is turned to ESPN every Saturday as my husband and the boys are decked out in Razorback gear.

Be sure to read all the other great #FridayFive posts and link up your own post! Leave me a comment on Facebook sharing a few of your favorite fall traditions so that others can be inspired to make the most of the season.
Link Up Here:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cloth Diapering Our Newborn

I previously introduced you to the basic cloth options in my post How To Start Using Cloth Diapers.

Today I'm going to go over our journey with cloth in my son's first 2 weeks of life. His birth story might be coming later. I still haven't gotten to a place of writing about it yet, but to give you a small introduction:

Welcome, Nolan - 9lbs, 4oz, 20-1/2 inches long. He was born a little after noon on August 25, at 41 weeks along. It was a very difficult labor, but we are both doing really well.

I will be calling him "Little Hippie" or #littlehippie on Facebook. He is a very very laid back guy.

We started out using disposables in the hospital. They provided Pampers diapers (size 1 since he was over 9 lbs) and wipes. When we got home, we used the rest of the package they gave us and a box full of pampers size 1 that were given to us in a diaper cake at my baby shower. He wore 1 newborn diaper that was solo (came from the cake) but we returned the unopened newborn diapers we had!

Over the first few days of his life at home, we continued to use disposables because he was not making as much pee and poop output as he should have been. It was much easier for us to track how much he had gone in disposables. After about 3 days he started to get regulated, thankfully!

When he was 9 days old, I put him in his first cloth and took his 1 week pictures (just a little late)!

This is a GroVia newborn All-In-One (AIO) in the discontinued color Surf. I got this one from a local buy-sell-trade (BST) page. I don't reach for these much as we actually seem to get more leaks from them. It may be because he is a little bigger than a lot of newborns.

The diapers we use regularly are Kissaluvs size 0 fitteds with snaps and Thirsties covers. The fitteds are the absorbent part. They fully cover the baby's bottom like a diaper, but are not leak-proof, so you need a leak-proof cover on top. The beauty of the fitteds is that the elastic keeps all the mess contained. The only leak we have ever had in these is after Daddy put it on a little wonky (he only did that 1 time! We all have to learn.) 


As you can see from the fitted, there is an option to snap down the middle which keeps the diaper away from the umbilical cord. I love this diaper system and would recommend it to anyone! It's so easy. We were able to get this system as a rental from the online and in-store shop Itsy Bitsy Bums (search Newborn Diaper Rental), which is great because this is a type of diaper that is sized. Many diapers are one-size and can be adjusted as the baby grows, but these just have a few snaps along the belly to adjust for a few pounds difference in newborns. When he outgrows them (or in 12 weeks time when the rental is over) I just wash them and return. I can then use store credit from my deposit to buy larger diapers! The rental comes with 24 fitted diapers, 4 covers, and 5 boosters (for added absorbency overnight or on car trips). I would personally prefer more covers because it is possible for the covers to get poop on them or to get stinky from pee even if you are rotating and rinsing them throughout the day. This is where I supplement with my own stash of covers. 

His little fluffy bum is so adorable and we love the money-saving and the fact that they don't leak. 

We still occasionally use disposables on wash days or if we go out of the house, but cloth is my go-to for sure!

Wash Routine

We have done a 2 washes in the last week and the routine was not difficult. You may hear a lot of craziness online about washing diapers, but in my opinion there are just a few ground rules:
-Use a real detergent (Tide, Dreft, Gain, etc)
-No fabric softener or dryer sheets
-Do a pre-wash

Step 1: Put Detergent in my Pre-Wash Cycle I have an HE washing machine that asks me to put the detergent in the drum before clothes. I use line 1 (on the measuring cap) of either Dreft liquid or Tide Original powder in my Quick Wash cycle. Cold water is fine and I put it on Heavy Soil. Exclusively breastfed babies diapers can be put in the washer without having to scrape or rinse the poop into the toilet first. EBF poop is water soluble. When you start solids or if you use formula, you would need to dump the poop into the toilet before the pre-wash.

Fluff Love University says it best, "The goal of your pre-wash cycle is to remove as much of the easy poop and pee as possible. This allows the main wash to be much more effective as the detergent can then focus on cleaning the deep down inner layers of your diapers rather than try and clean the entirety of the diapers as well as the dirty water." 

Step 2: Dump the Diapers in the Washer I store my dirty diapers in a GroVia wet bag on the back of the door. See my post about Nolan's Nursery to see which pail. The beauty of this pail is that I can take the whole thing over to my washer and hang it on the clothes rod above the machine. There is a zipper on the bottom that I open and all the dirty diapers fall into the open drum. It's extremely simple. Obviously I shut the washer and hit start after this.

Step 3: Bulk Up the Load When the pre-wash is done, I add more dirty stuff to my washer. In order to get proper agitation, I like to put a bunch of kids clothes in my load for the Main Wash. Its usually best to use smaller clothes and avoid stuff like large towels and sheets that the diapers can get wrapped up in. You want the drum 3/4 full.

Step 4: Main Wash For this cycle, I use a full scoop of detergent on a Warm, Heavy Soil, Heavy Duty wash.

Step 5: Dry Throw the fitteds and clothes in the dryer. I don't dry my covers or pail. These are hung up on the clothes bar in the laundry room. Remember, no dryer sheets! These can coat the diapers and make them unable to absorb liquid. Not good!

Step 6: Optional Sunning If the fitteds have poop stains on them, put them out in the sun while they are wet and watch the stains disappear.

Boom, you are done. This looks lengthy only because I gave you explanations for each step. I have spent a lot of time on the Facebook Page 'Fluff Love and CD Science' in order to learn how to properly wash diapers. This is a closed group, so search it and then request to join. This is meant as a trouble-shooting page so you might see a lot of people with wash issues, but take into account that there are thousands of people following the page and cloth diapering who have NEVER had wash problems in their lives. 

How to wash cloth diapers can be controversial depending on who you ask, but I like the science behind this Facebook page and its website, which I have included a link to above. So far, I have only improved my personal laundry and had only success with my cloth while using their recommendations.

As you can see, the cloth is pretty trim. It doesn't give him a giant butt and it doesn't look awkward.

These past 2 weeks adjusting to a new baby and to using cloth have been great. I can say with certainty that we will stick with our cloth diapers and other than the occasional disposable when we are out of the house or visiting someone, we will never go back to paying thousands of dollars a year to trash the landfill.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (Why This Is So Important to Me!)

Over the past 5 months, I have had the distinct honor of participating in the Launch Team for Jen Hatmaker's newest book entitled For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (henceforth called For the Love or even FTL). Find it on Amazon at this link and get it for half the price!

My book review will follow this post, but for now I feel like I need to preface it with some explanation about where my heart has been over the past year.

Jen doesn't know me, but she wrote this book to fill a place in my life that I so desperately needed. 2014 was one of the most difficult years of my life to date - quitting college, anxiety, health issues for my baby boy, losing so many friends and forging new relationships when I have trust issues, and generally feeling like I was lost. I started counselling and began working on myself, but I decided that 2015 would be my year of Hope.

Shortly before the start of 2015, the enemy (Satan, the Asshole, whatever you may call him) hit our family HARD. The stomach virus for my baby and husband caused us to cancel my son's 2nd birthday party which I had put so much effort into and then the flu caused us all to miss Christmas. That was one of the most lonely days of my life - sitting around the Christmas tree just the 3 of us while I waged an internal spiritual battle, I had never felt so far away from God. I had never felt so forgotten and left behind. And believe me, I've had my share of rejection.

Around that same time, we found out we were expecting our 2nd child and Hope sprung up again in my heart. I spoke life and love over this child and declared him my light. My gift. He was due August 18 and at the time, I had no idea how special this day would become.

In March, the Christian author Jen Hatmaker put out a status on Facebook declaring that she would be putting together a Launch Team for her new book - essentially that instead of asking a bunch of her author friends to endorse her book, she was going to pick 500 normal people to read and review it! I thought, Wow that sounds so awesome. She will never pick me, but I've got to try. So before I could overthink it, I pulled up that application and wrote a truthful description of what I had to offer her - this blog, my Facebook following, and my church connections. I waited a long few weeks and one morning as I laid in bed with morning sickness, I pulled up my email on my phone and just started bawling. YOU ARE ON MY LAUNCH TEAM! I never win anything. I never get chosen. I had just come off of an agonizing year of rejection and failure that had crippled me, only to have one of my favorite authors pick me. My God had seen my pain and sent me a gift like only He can. The launch date of the book would be August 18. It was written in the Heavens for me to be a part of this group.

We soon assembled the #500 on a private Facebook group and started sharing our testimonies and prayer requests. We found out that a huge number of us are a part of the most rare personality type - INFJ - and that we are all so alike! God had sent me another blessing. Friends. I have about a dozen great friends from church that were certainly put in my life at the beginning of 2014 to show His provision, but after losing so many friends in my past, I had often struggled with feeling good enough for them, even when they were there to reassure me time and time again. I felt so full of life and joy that these people from Jen's Launch Team were now in my corner.

Since then, I have poured out my heart to these ladies (there are only 4 guys on the group and none of them talk much!) on so many issues and have been met with grace, affirmation, and advice. From my husband losing his job, to my own pregnancy health issues, to triggers from my past being brought up by mainstream media, they were there for me.

Community is important to God. He wants us to know and be known. This has come to life through the Launch Team and I will truly never be the same because of it.

Now read my book review to find out what For the Love will do for your life!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Nolan's Nursery - Part 1

Welcome to Nolan's room!!

You are greeted at the door with his bedroom theme - woodland! I made this wreath using a $3 twig wreath from the Dollar Spot at Target, some felt animals from a diaper cake that was given to me at my shower, and a cheap wooden N from Hobby Lobby. 
Walk in the door and to the right is his nice sized closet with a GroVia Perfect Pail cloth diaper wet bag hanging on the back. I will get into the items you see later!

As you can see, he will have no shortage of clothes! Starting from the left are newborn clothes, of which we only have a few because babies tend to grow out of this size so quickly. I know our first, Roman, was out of newborn by 1 month old. If you look at the hanging rod, you see the circular clothing dividers. These are a great help to me so I never lose track of where the right sized clothing hangs. We have up through 6 months hung up right now and the larger sizes are either in cardboard boxes on the closet floor or in plastic boxes in the attic. 

Back outside the closet, we have this handy diaper caddy. With Roman, we got tons of use out of this for his disposable diapers and wipes as well as other miscellaneous items like burp clothes, medicine, pacifiers, and accessories. 
In the bottom center we have most of our Kissaluvs size 0 fitted cloth diapers laid out flat. The remaining few that didn't fit are on the top center beneath 2 GroVia Newborn cloth diapers. In the bottom left cubby are burp cloths. In the bottom right cubby are cloth boosters for extra absorbency. In all of the top pockets are misc. items like breast milk storage bags, cloth breast pads, infant medication, and pacifier clips. 

In the Moses basket, we have the same set-up we used with Roman - infant bath towels, infant wash cloths, and bibs.

The dresser/changing table combo has turned out beautifully! My parents got this dresser with a bedroom set they bought off someone and gave it to us after Roman's dresser fell apart. I love the lengthy surface area to store all of our needed items plus a few decorations. 

From the left side of the dresser first - The glass tree was a wedding shower gift and has lived in various places around our homes. The little fox beneath the tree was an inexpensive find from the current (2015) Fall collection at Hobby Lobby. In the striped basket are all of my dry cloth wipes. I'm not sure if I will spray as I go with a bottle of water or if I will make up a box of pre-moistened wipes. It will be trial and error. Laying out on the dresser is a comparison between a disposable newborn diaper and the cloth diaper covers from Thirsties that we will be using. I have a small stash of disposable diapers that we will definitely use for random occasions.

In the center of the dresser is the changing pad with a gray minky cover from Target over it. In the middle is a washable protector with a waterproof backing, so any messy changes can be easily cleaned up. In the center is a sneak-peek of his coming home outfit. I won't reveal any more than that until he's here!

On the far right is the 'necessities' box - Aveeno unscented lotions, petroleum jelly for newborn circumcision care, a few samples of natural rash cream that came with our cloth diaper package, pacifiers, wipes, and some Vanilla Lavender Glade spray. This is my favorite scent for a baby's room to freshen up after a nasty diaper. Of course Lavender essential oils would work better.

Inside the dresser: 
No pictures that I took here turned out well, so I will just list how I have things organized.
Top Left: Socks and smallest size shoes
Top Middle: Hats, swimming diapers, and breastfeeding covers
Top Right: Wet bags, extra changing pad covers (the small white ones)
Middle Left: Sleepers, sleep sacks, and velcro swaddle sacks
Middle Right: Pants
Bottom 2 Drawers: Cloth diapers that will be in our regular rotation after our Newborn package is outgrown. 
The Mr. Owl rug that went from Roman's old room into here ties the whole corner together. 

The next segment will detail the color of the walls, our wall decorations, the crib bedding, and the rocking chair corner! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

How To Start Using Cloth Diapers

Over the last few months, its become clear to me that some changes are in order for the blog. While I'm working on that - most of it is beyond my capacity as a simple writer with the black touch to technology - I will be working on some new blog posts. That being said, stay tuned for the changes!

Lately I have had 1 thing, and 1 thing only on my mind - cloth diapers. I'm obsessed with them to say the least. Every night when my son goes to bed, I get on the laptop and start looking at them online. To say this could be overwhelming is an understatement. My husband laughs at me a lot as I make new discoveries and get way too excited. There are dozens of modern cloth diaper brands and outside of that, hundreds of retailers with the diapers in store.

It takes time to research each method of diapering - this isn't just your grandmother's pins and prefolds anymore. Each method works best for someone's family, budget, and lifestyle, so I'll lay out a few of them just for fun. Keep in mind that all of this is coming from someone who has NOT yet started using cloth. I have simply done months of research in preparation for our newborn. As I'm writing this, I am 33 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby (first one in cloth). I hope you will realize that while cloth diapers may have many options, they are not scary or gross.

A Complete Guide to Cloth Diaper Options

--Prefolds and Covers: This option is the closest to old-school. A trifold cloth (think like a burp cloth) can be wrapped around your baby's booty and then pinned with safety pins OR this new awesome invention called the Snappi that seems to be easier and safer. Then, cover the prefolded cloth with a waterproof cover to protect everything. A cover is just a leak-proof, thin shell with snaps or velcro on the outside to keep it in place. Another way to do prefolds and covers is to simply fold the cloth in 3 and then lay it in the waterproof diaper cover. No pins or snappis. No wrapping.
Different sizes of prefolds from the best - Green Mountain Diapers
--Fitted and Cover: Fitted diapers are tailor made to wrap around the baby's body better than a rectangular trifold cloth. They come with either closures, or without closures and require a Snappi or pins. Then, you put a cute cover over them to trap in the wetness. ((We plan to use fitteds with closure and covers for our newborn!)) One benefit of the fitted, or of pinning the prefold around your baby instead of just laying the folded cloth in the cover, is that the gross newborn poop will be contained MUCH more efficiently. No leaks. It's actually a well-known fact that cloth diapers stop diaper blow outs and leaking much better than even the priciest disposable.
Fitted Diaper and Snappi - image from Itsy Bitsy Bums website
Fitted Diaper with Closure (snaps) - These are the exact diapers we will be using! (IBB)
--Hybrid: Similar to prefolds and covers, hybrids are best loved for their ability to keep using the same cover and simply change out the wet inner absorbency when baby pees. Some people switch between 2 covers all day long, letting 1 air out between changes. The only time you have to throw the cover in the wash is if baby poops, or at the end of the day when you put a new cover in the rotation! The difference between hybrids and prefolds is that the hybrid inserts are slimmer, flat pieces of cloth (not prefolded or trifold) that snap into the diaper cover. This can keep them extra secure and allows you to really pre-stuff your diapers for an efficient change. (Also known as All-In-2 because all of it comes in 2 pieces!)
GroVia Hybrid with absorbent insert (from GroVia website)

--All-In-One: This diaper may be the most user-friendly option. The absorbent insert is sewn into the diaper so there is no stuffing, wrapping, or pinning! All of it comes in 1 piece. Just put the diaper on baby exactly like a disposable and then when it is soiled or wet, throw the whole thing in the laundry hamper. This might be the best option to leave with babysitters, family, or new dads. (no offense to dads - it is statistically evident that most people using and loving cloth right now are women!)

All-In-One - You can see on the back of the diaper (LEFT side of this picture), it is sewn in. (GroVia)

Outside of an All-In-One diaper from GroVia (print: Adventure)
--Pockets: As the name suggests, pocket diapers have an opening in the back or front that you actually stuff the absorbent insert into. There is a thin layer of cloth above the insert holding it in place. These are very user-friendly as well because the person washing the diaper will just restuff the pocket and then leave the diaper in wait for a diaper change. Putting them on is just like a disposable! Each time the baby pees or poops, the whole thing goes in the laundry hamper, but make sure to unstuff the pocket so everything gets washed thoroughly!
Blueberry Pocket - the stuffing goes into the back of this diaper and as you can see, looks easy to put on!
--Swim Diapers: No absorbency here, but they catch poop! This is how all swim diapers are made, cloth or disposable, so don't leave baby in one unless he's in the water or you will end up with a wet lap, carseat, or floor! Yes, this means baby pee is in the pool. It always has been, regardless of whether baby uses cloth or disposable. That is why we treat pools with chlorine. Slip an elastic waist diaper over your baby and then slip it off like underwear, or get a swim diaper with snaps on the side to help you easily take it off without smearing any poop down your babe's legs.

--Training Pants: Like Pull-Ups, only cloth! They might not hold a full bladder, but can catch the beginning of an accident as your toddler makes it to the potty. Stuff a prefold or insert into the trainer to catch heavier accidents. These can also look exactly like underwear, or may have side snaps for easy-off. Unlike diapers, your kiddo knows when she is wet! Check out all the options on Itsy Bitsy Bums.

I will be writing a mini series about cloth diapers before and after my baby is born. Then I will be sharing our journey with cloth! So stay tuned. Upcoming topics will include: More Cloth Diaper Options (materials used to make diapers, types of closure, sizing), Why Use Cloth? (saving money, saving the Earth), How To Wash Cloth Diapers (dispelling some myths), Who Can Help Me With Cloth? (resources online!), Nolan's Stash (my baby boy's collection of diapers), and even Mama Cloth (cloth menstrual pads - yep you heard me.)

References - All pictures come from the following, but the written information has been drawn from all over the web as I did my own research. Some biased opinions may be present. It's my blog. I can do what I want. *wink*

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

26 Weeks

How Many Weeks? 26

Weight gain: Weight--132 lbs, so I've gained 12 lbs since pre-pregnancy (not including the weight I lost when I was sick)

Maternity Clothes? Pale Pink Shirt-- Old Navy maternity, Teal Skirt -- Old Navy (not maternity) fold over jersey skirt, Black Sandals-- Old Navy (clearly you can see where I shop!)

Best Moment This Week? Dillon started a new job so we are back to a regular schedule where I am home with Roman alone from 7:30-5:30 every day. I get a lot done every day and am looking forward to having 2 boys to play with all day. This routine is good, buuuut, we miss our husband/daddy!

I am posing with my Ju Ju Be BFF back pack diaper bag! I got this over a week ago but this week I went out with it for the first times. It has so much room that I will definitely need for 2 kids! I recommend spending the extra money on a high quality diaper bag. Most cheaper bags will have 1 fatal flaw-- the straps cannot support the weight of all that stuff you will inevitable cram into your bag! I had back problems after Roman was born (from the labor) and it was exacerbated greatly by a really bad messenger bag.

Worst Moment This Week? Nothing bad, we just miss having Dillon home now that he's at his new job. We feel like normal people, though!

Miss Anything? Energy! But I am still doing pretty well.

Cravings: Mexican dishes, chocolate, Peanut Butter + Greek Yogurt + Honey to dip apples in

Symptoms: Reflux/Burning in my Throat especially if I lay down, the SPD (see previous update for a full definition of this), NESTING - I am out of control!

Looking Forward To: 4D ultrasound at 28 weeks, getting the nursery done, growing our cloth diaper stash! I bought a few more diapers this week and can't wait to get my fluff mail in. I even got 3 of the coveted Grovia O.N.E. that were released for a few hours and then sold out on Monday.

Monday, May 11, 2015

25 Weeks!

 My son Roman balancing on his "birth ball" just like Mommy. My doula recommended I get one of these to practice squatting and strengthen different areas of the body. I want to use this in early labor as well.

I was hanging out on the back porch while my son played. It was 81 degrees here this week. This is my unfiltered, no make up, honest look. 

How many weeks? 25

Weight gain: About 12 lbs. I'm 130 lbs

Maternity clothes? Top Photo: Gray Shirt --Old Navy from thredUP, Purple Tie-Dye Skirt --TJMaxx (not maternity)
Bottom Photo: Green Dress--Liz Lange maternity from thredUP

Best Moment This Week: We got to celebrate 2 babies. My husband's brother and his wife had a baby shower for their first son who will be named Jaxon, due in June, and I attended that on Sunday. Then on Wednesday my husband's cousin had her 6th baby, a girl named Honor! (Honor was Lauren's 2VB1HBA2C = 2nd vaginal birth, 1st home birth after 2 cesarean sections, which is amazing of itself!) We are very happy to see our family expanding.

We set up the crib this week! We have a convertible crib that goes to a toddler bed and then can be taken apart to use as a head and foot board. It had been in its toddler bed form, but we put it back to crib at its highest setting, put the sheets on the mattress, and cleaned it up. I will post a full blog update of the nursery when we get it finished.

Worst Moment This Week: I was emotional on Mother's Day because it wasn't what I expected. Life rarely is. We move on.

Miss Anything?  Picking up my son without worrying about the baby. I've been advised not to do that, but its really inevitable because I have to take him places by myself. How else do you get a 2 year old in a shopping cart or across a busy parking lot?

Cravings: Mexican dishes (we've had taco salad, soft tacos, and are having fajitas tonight), cinnamon toast crunch, cheese burgers, and chocolate. I'm trying very hard to maintain a balanced and healthy diet despite all of these crazy cravings coming my way!

Symptoms:  The pain I have in my pubic bone is identified as SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) which means that my pubic bone is not aligned where it meets in the middle. So it can click and pop when I move and is typically very painful. It's recommended not to roll over in bed unless knees are together, swing legs out of a car unless knees are together, stand on 1 leg (like when putting on pants), or stand with 1 foot more elevated than another (like 1 foot on a curb, the other on the street). I'm dealing with this by whining a lot. I may see a chiropractor about this later in the pregnancy, but right now it is not bad enough to warrant that, especially since chiropractic care won't cure it by any means.

Looking Forward To: We have a 4D ultrasound scheduled for 28 weeks!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

24 Weeks

I'm baaack! If you read my last pregnancy update you might be worried, but we got a fantastic prognosis from our MFM specialist. My cervical ultrasounds were fantastic and he decided that after 2 check ups, I was released from his practice with no high risk concerns! I am truly just giving the glory for that to God because He cares for me and knew how scared I was to possibly see my baby boy be premature or have my reproduction halted before we were done growing our family. We are beyond thankful, so now I will continue with my typical updates!

      The man behind the bump - my husband!                           Date night attire! (Monday)

It's hard to tell how big I am in these pictures because of the black dress! It's really comfortable, modest, and classic. 
Dress: Liz Lange Maternity XS from thredUP 
Necklace: Old Navy
Shoes: Old Navy
Flower Clip: homemade for my wedding
Lipstick - L'Oreal infallible red lip stain and balm (highly recommended!)

How many weeks?
 24 weeks 

Weight gain: I weigh 129 lbs, so I have gained about 12 lbs

Maternity Clothes? All day every day! I am rocking a huge bump.

Sleep: I have had a lot of insomnia and have been using lavender and cedarwood to help me relax at night.

Best Moment This Week: My birthday date night! We dropped off Roman at a friends' house, went to Red Lobster, and then shopped like a good ole married couple at Carter's Kids and Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

I also started my cloth diaper stash this week! Yes, we will be using cloth on our little guy. It's so much cheaper. I wish I could have done it with Roman, but with us both in college and him going to daycare it really wasn't a good option. I don't think I could have handled the extra laundry back then, but now it does not seem daunting AT ALL! I'm looking forward to seeing my little guy with a fluffy butt!

Top: GroVia newborn AIO's                                              Thirsties pocket diapers w/inserts
Bottom: Flip covers

I also ordered this diaper from Spray Pal + GroVia
20% of proceeds from the special Little Warrior diaper will go to March of Dimes

Worst Moment This Week: I accidentally skipped my OB appointment! Uh oh. We had just seen our specialist a few days before, so I am not worried. We just rescheduled!

Miss Anything? Being able to roll over in bed without pain in my groin. The act of rolling back and forth is the most painful thing I do all day.

Cravings: Cheeseburgers (still!), Cinnamon Toast Crunch, basically anything I can find flavored with cinnamon (coffee creamer, bagels, etc)

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks (I have about 4-6 per day), acid reflux is starting, deathly pain in my groin when I use my legs to push anything (you know you have all tried to just kick the laundry basket instead of picking it up!) or when I roll over, and I generally just feel huge. I am all baby and I feel like my belly is constantly stretching to accommodate.

Looking Forward To: Having this baby! Getting more fluff (cloth diapers), starting the decorating and nesting process in our nursery (right now it is all just sitting in boxes after our move), and getting some items from my Babylist registry.