A Note About Cloth Diapers

We are on round 2 with our Bum Genius cloth diapers and we are still pretty happy with how they are holding up. Reese wore them for almost 3 years and James has been in them for about a year now and in terms of leaking and fit, they still work as well as they did on day one.

One problem we had been experiencing though, was staining. After about 2 years of using them with Reese I started to feel like they weren’t getting as clean as they used to. There was some staining that wouldn’t come out, and sometimes the diapers still seemed to smell after a wash, resulting in me having to strip them more often, and sometimes having to do multiple wash cycles. I read a lot of different articles on washing cloth diapers, and most articles said the same thing; strip the diapers more, assure you are using cloth diaper safe diaper ointment, and just do more wash cycles if you have to. Ugh.

Then I received this helpful article from a friend.

Before this I had been washing the diapers using Bum Genius detergent and Borax, and would start with a hot rinse, then a wash cycle with an extra rinse. The Bum Genius detergent was expensive and I always had to order it online because it’s not sold in any stores near me.

Since reading this article I have started using Tide Free and Clear and Borax to wash the diapers. I still use the same process; a rinse, followed by a wash with an extra rinse and I swear the diapers are cleaner and never smell anymore. I also have never noticed any irritation on James since switching to regular detergent.

Maybe I am the only person who believed the instructions on my diapers when it said that I had to use special detergent but in case I wasn’t I thought I would share here.  I just wish I knew about this three years ago.

 

 

 

Mommy Wars

Similac’s new ad campaign is hilarious, poignant, and in my opinion spot on.

Since I stopped working (outside of the home that is, calm down) and started socializing more with other moms, I have learned that “mommy wars” is a true story. Moms be crazy.

Bravo to Similac for reminding us what it’s really all about.

 

 

Christmas Card Outtakes

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Every year, I am always so impressed with the beautiful family pictures we receive as people’s holiday cards. I will never understand how all of these people are able to get such great pictures of their babies/kids. Pictures of families dressed all in the same color, on a beach somewhere, with babies who smile on cue and kids with hair that is neatly combed and yogurt free.

I anticipated a struggle with getting a respectable picture of our two, so I started the quest early.

Here are some that didn’t make the cut.

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And here’s what we ended up with. The only one where both kids were looking at the camera and no one was crying or scowling.

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Reese at Three Years

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Three years old as of November 29th.

Sometimes when she wakes up in the middle of the night and I see her silhouette in our doorway, I can’t believe that that little person is our baby.

We celebrated three years with a birthday party at an indoor playspace near our house with pizza, cake, family and a bunch of her little friends. She had a blast.

She is asserting her independence fiercely and readily. She is suddenly very into clothes and most mornings include an argument over what she will wear. My suggestions of jeans and shirts are met with tears and wails of “those aren’t fancy!” I was hoping we had skipped this stage because, I must admit, I loved picking out her clothes. Now I just have to deal with the fact that while I would love for her to look like she stepped out of the pages of a Boden catalog, she would rather look like she’s a regular on Toddlers in Tiaras.

Ironically though, she hates actually wearing the clothes. Once her outfit for the day is selected it stays on for 20 minutes or so, then she strips down to her underwear and refuses to put anything back on. At first I thought I should fight this, but I have decided that this is a battle I will not pick. Now the rule is, you must always have underwear on and if someone is coming to our house, or we are leaving our house, you need to be dressed. Otherwise, do your thing.

She loves eating but still eats only a small variety of foods. I now understand the whole kid/food battle thing that I am constantly hearing about. There was a period of time where I dreaded dinner because we started enforcing the “I made it, you’ll try it” rule. It helped a little, and now she is used to it, so she knows she has to try things but there are always some dramatics involved (gagging, choking etc.) This, along with the fact that we now all eat as a family, has broadened her horizons a bit. She shows interest in what Andrew and I are having and will sometimes ask for a bite. After starting this, we discovered that she likes soft shell crab sushi (obviously the most expensive roll on the menu), but she is still a PB&J girl through and through.

She still does a 2 hour “quiet time” in her room (in lieu of a nap, which she stopped taking long ago) and sometimes I stand outside the door and listen to her playing. She runs around and narrates her actions in the third person and it is hilarious. Sometimes she’ll run by me saying, “she ran into the kitchen to get her snack.” I think she is constantly living in some sort of story that she is writing in her head. I would love to read it.

Reese is the Laurie Berkner Band’s number one fan right now. She listens to the CD everyday during her rest time and when she goes to bed at night. She also asks detailed questions about Laurie daily. “What color is Laurie’s house?”, “Where is Laurie right now?” “Does Laurie know me?” Stalker alert.

Swimming lessons are the only scheduled activity that we do and it suits us. I’m not big on schedules and it is nice to have flexibility in our day, especially when I am toting a nine month old around with me.

We haven’t had her three-year checkup yet so I don’t have her stats but she is now 35 lbs and I can tell that she is starting to stretch out. She continues to talk my ear off all day, every day, and anything I say is still met with a “why?”

She has fully embraced her role as big sister and loves to use it to assert her assumed authority over her brother. She makes sure he doesn’t get any of the toys that are “too little for babies,” which equal all toys.

In September she will begin preschool and I’ll no longer have my girl with me everyday. Let’s not talk about it.

Here she is on vacation this summer, asleep with her brother who was in desperate need of a bigger bed. And one more below that; in all her glory at her third birthday party.

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A Very Half-Assed Halloween

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Reese told me in the beginning of October that she wanted to dress up as Laurie Berkner for Halloween. Realistically, this gave me plenty of time to make her a costume.

However, the week of Halloween I still had nothing. We had two Halloween parties to go to that week and last minute, with the promise of a Laurie costume for trick-or-treating, I was able to convince her to wear her Elmo costume from last year to the two parties.

Come Halloween, I still had no Laurie costume, and planned to totally half ass it and let her hold a microphone and put her in a dress and convince her she looked just like Laurie. I figured she was too young to care that literally no one would know what the hell she was.

At breakfast that morning she announced that she wanted to be a ghost for trick or treating instead.  Jackpot. All I had to get was a white sheet, right? Like an idiot, I scanned Pinterest. No white sheet ghost costumes there! Wtf. Most of them required sewing, and all of them made me feel like a crap person for not putting more thought into this whole thing.

That afternoon I stopped at a Big Lots on our way home from the library and looked for a white sheet. When they didn’t have any white sheets, I threw out the idea that she be a rare turquoise ghost instead for only $6.99. She happily agreed. And I patted myself on the back for pulling one over on a three-year old.

Then I started to feel bad. All she wanted was to be a ghost. Probably the easiest costume ever. The least I could do was make her a recognizable ghost.

At 5 PM the sun was going down and there were talks of white trash bags and suffocation hazards.

Our cream-colored drawstring laundry bag sat folded on our dresser.

I put it over her head and she was sold. I probably only have one or two more years left of being able to get away with stuff like this.

I haphazardly cut arm and eye holes in the bag and then had to keep making the eye holes bigger until everything lined up. By “lined up” I mean that she could see, most of the time, and had about 80% arm usage.

James rocked a hand me down panda bear costume for his first Halloween, which was amazing because 1) it was free, 2) it required nothing else, just a fleece suit that zipped right up with panda bear head included.

All night Reese’s “costume” kept shifting when she would run, momentarily blinding her. She would run across someone’s lawn, the bag would move and she would fall, get up, start running again, and fall again. This went on all night, much to our amusement. It may sound cruel but before you judge I will tell you that despite what the pictures may lead you to believe, she was the happiest ghost you ever saw.

 

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My New Job

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The arrival of James brought many happy changes to our household; aside from the obvious ones, the biggest change has been me saying goodbye to the “workforce” and saying hello to a new boss.

Her name is Reese.

I am officially a stay at home mom. I can’t say I care much for that particularly phrase as a definition of what I do now, but I haven’t found a better one, so for now that’s what I’ll say.

The choice was not a difficult one for us. The cost of daycare was greater than what I was making at my job and even with the offer of a raise and the option to go part-time, it wouldn’t have been worth it.

Having said that, since I had Reese, all I wanted to do was be home with her. The fact that I have that opportunity now makes me feel very happy and very lucky.

I know how hard it is to leave your baby for ten hours a day. Sometimes I would come home and swear she looked older than she had when I left that morning. I also know how hard it can be to stay at home with your baby for ten hours a day. Some days you may wish you were at work. At least when you’re there you can eat and go to the bathroom whenever you want.

Each is hard for different reasons, and I don’t believe that one is easier than the other.

I feel inclined to say this because articles on social media, in magazines and pretty much everywhere, lead me to believe that there is some sort of weird secret competition among moms. Countless articles talk about why stay at home moms are the most underappreciated and have the hardest jobs, or why stay at home moms should shut up and stop complaining because working moms have it much harder. I even hesitate to write about this for fear that I will offend. I know this topic can make people get all in your face and crazy.

Calm down.

We are all doing the same thing. We are all feeding, and changing, and not sleeping, and chasing, and looking for shoes and wiping butts and dealing with meltdowns at the grocery store, and that shit is hard.

Going from working full-time to being home with kids full-time was a big transition, but a happy one for me.

It does feel weird to not have a place to be every day, or a real schedule, but we make an effort to get out of the house each day. There are days when I feel stuck in an unending cycle of feeding, cleaning, and changing and I find myself longing for the days of after work drinks and wearing real pants. But we have friends and family members with kids who live nearby, so we have people to hang out with when we need to get out of our rut, and that is helpful.

Also, I kinda like my new coworkers so that doesn’t hurt either.

 

 

 

James At Six Months

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The smiley-est baby ever. Everyone gets a smile, even his sister as she’s grabbing all the toys away from him. It’s the greatest thing ever.

Nicknames include Jamesie, Jamers, Jamesie Jones, Jamerino, and the occasional Jimbo.

At the six month mark he is 20 lbs strong and 26.5 inches long; the 34th percentile for height and the 88th for weight. Strangers still comment on his girth on a daily basis. We started food around 5 1/2 months and although he still seems to prefer nursing, he loves pureed apples, squash, bananas, peaches, plum,  pears and sweet potato. No teeth yet.

James is easy-going, happy, a great eater, and content to being dragged around on errands, to playgrounds, walks etc. He can hang anywhere and even lasted for a few 6 hour beach days this summer. My only complaint– he is not a great sleeper and the sleep deprivation is slowly killing my soul. He still wakes 2 and sometimes 3 times a night to nurse. At his six month checkup the doctor suggested giving him some rice cereal right before bed. Um, have you seen him?? I don’t think the kid is starving.  More on this soon.

He is on the move. Through a combination of rolling and army crawling he can get around as much as he pleases.

Reese is still his favorite person in the world and the only one who can draw fits of laughter straight from his belly.

I’ll say it again –this is going by much too fast. I feel like I just gave birth to him and now he’s moving around my living room floor all by himself. I know the day he no longer wants to be held in my arms will come much too soon, so we are doing a lot of that these days.

 

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