Friday, November 30, 2012

Evelyn June: 17 Months

This has been a month of great change and learning! I truly feel that one of the greatest joys of motherhood is watching your child grow and learn through experiencing new things. To stop and think about seeing the world through their eyes is really mind-altering.

You are such a little sponge! You love to mimic people and things and you love showing off your newfound tricks. You have taken to being Mama's little helper and we even implemented some daily chores. It may take us longer doing it together in the long run, but you love to help and I think it's good to start early. You help me empty the dish washer every morning by handing me the silverware and plates. You even put away the Tupperware because you know right where it goes. Then you clap for yourself because you are especially proud! You also help me sweep the floor and you will sometimes put your toys away.

You are so curious! If there is something new, you love to check it out and see how it works. This is good and bad of course. You aren't the biggest fan of your toys in general and prefer playing with anything but. You do love your books though and are finally starting to sit through one while I read it. You often go to your book drawers first thing in the morning. This is good to keep you busy while I make breakfast.

You are getting to know what food you prefer more and are still a big fan of fruit as well as tomatoes. We have to be careful though because your hiney is still so sensitive! You don't seem to care for sweet potatoes or green beans (two of Mama's favorite foods) but will eat broccoli and other veggies just fine. You have transitioned to cow's milk at meal times because we finally used up our freezer stash of breastmilk. Thankfully, you didn't bat an eye! You have also gotten quite good at using a fork and spoon!

You still love your baby doll and blankies and are sleeping quite well. You typically go to bed sometime around 7 and are up for the day around 8. We recently broke you of your pacifier to go to bed but being sick this past week has made going to sleep a little more difficult. The only time your get your pacifier is at nap time!

Your speech is still growing! You now say "all done", "there it is!", "here you go", "wash", "hi", "ball". You also love to sing and dance. You will sing and dance with your fridge magnet ABC's and also with me when I sing you fun songs. You know pat-a-cake and get so excited to get to the part where you pat your legs.

You are becoming more interested in the potty and will usually come and "help" me by giving me toilet paper and helping to pull up my pants. You still haven't shown any correlation to knowing when you go or interest, but I bought a seat to go on ours when you are ready.

Unfortunately, you have taken to throwing little tantrums when you aren't happy about something and we're taking them day by day.

Overall you are so happy! You smile and laugh and talk to yourself constantly. You are, thankfully healthy and still a little tall but are definitely losing your baby chunk which makes me sad. I can't wait to see how you interact with your new brother or sister and how our impending transition to a big girl bed goes. Keep smiling sweet pea! Your laughter and happiness are infectious!

{She loves the snowman!}

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Getting My Nerd On: Sneak Peek

I promise, I haven't so quickly given up on blogging! I've been working quite busily on updating my look. This means a lot of photoshop and a lot of HTML/CSS. AKA, my inner nerd is just giddy with excitement right now. I thought I'd share a little sneak peek of how things are going. I think I finally settled on my header/color scheme. This could absolutely change, but I'm kind of loving it right now and the overall look of things.

Here you go!

Pretty sweet huh?

Some other things I've been cooking up:
  • New background/color scheme as a whole
  • Social media icons
  • Better links to certain, (what I think are) popular topics
  • A new snazzy navigation bar
Is there anything in particular you like to read that I should make buttons for? Are there things you look for on a blog to make it easier to read? As much as I write this for myself, I do get some slight satisfaction knowing that others are enjoying it as well. And I, of course, love making new friends! I know I have a few of you out there, but just thought I'd ask! It's a work in progress, but hopefully I will be able to unveil it before the end of the year. I have quite a few things still to polish as well as some updated pictures of the family I need to take. Oh, and you can look forward to a few tutorials as well. I'm not promising they will be the right way to do it, but so far things seem to be working. Is there anything anyone as ever wanted to learn how to do?

Monday, November 26, 2012

#2: 25 Weeks

{I cut my face out on purpose. The hormonal/stress acne hit with a vengeance. It just wasn't pretty. And This shirt definitely isn't maternity. What can I say?}

How far along: 25 weeks

How big is baby: A cauliflower. That oh-so-handy sense of equilibrium is kicking in and baby's learning to distinguish right-side-up from upside-down.

Weight gain/loss: At least 23lbs. And after Thanksgiving, I'm not sure I want to know. I haven't weighed myself and I'm trying not to stress myself out about it. I need to trust my body!

Stretch marks: None yet this time. But, I'm sure they'll come.

Sleep: Still ready for bed at, like, 8. But, sleeping fairly well. Dreams are crazy though. I kind of look forward to my nightly adventures in dreamland. They usually are quite hilarious.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Leaning toward the sweet side. Not cake and cookies sweet, but fruit sweet. Still milk (super cold) and Starbucks hot chocolate. Maybe I need to find some ways to increase my calcium?

Movement: All the time! Still loving every second. 

What I'm worrying about: Getting everything done before the baby comes. I need to finish Evelyn's big girl room. I haven't done anything with it since I started back to blogging and I have quite a bit of work to do. We also are trying to tackle the basement. Eek. I've been nesting a lot which is nice. I feel very productive. 

Also, I've been dwelling on the fact that at my last OB appointment she told me that the hospital we will deliver at is putting their water births on hold. Having a water birth was something I was really excited about and it's really just not done around here unless you birth at home. I'll get more into my birth plan and reasoning in another post, but I'm super disappointed that I might not get to have that experience. She said it's not because something happened or a safety issue. The hospital stated that there isn't enough evidence based in the US to support having them. They also admitted that there isn't really any evidence against them. Sigh. This is even after they had had about a dozen successful water births since they started them in June. Maybe they will change their minds by then. But, I've done it once before without water, I can do it again!

What I'm loving: How my pregnancy has landed. I'm so excited for a March baby! I get to be in the glorious second tri all through the holidays and then I know the third tri will fly by through my most hated months of January and February. We'll be welcoming baby just in time for the end of the ugly winter months and looking toward spring. I'm hoping we have enough yucky winter days to not feel bad about hanging on the couch for a couple of weeks after and that we'll get some warm days just in time for me to get up and get some walking in.

Symptoms: They've kind of subsided a bit. Heartburn is still there but mild. The Braxton Hicks have slowed down thankfully. I'm in the 2nd tri glory days. 

What I'm looking forward to: Making progress of Evelyn's room. Getting newborn things out again. Christmas. 

Best moment of the week: Our annual post-Thanksgiving day of decorating! I  love seeing the house all ready for Christmas. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Deck the Halls!

One of our favorite family traditions is decorating the house for Christmas the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We get up and eat a yummy family breakfast then dig out all of the decorations and go to town while watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music. This year I couldn't wait until Evelyn got up from her nap to see the finished product.

{Table Set Up - While it lasts...} 

{The stockings were hung by the Breakfast bar with care - can't wait to see another up there next year!}

 {Just because I loved Evelyn crashing this one}

{Christmas tree!} 

{Evelyn's Nativity} 

We also are avid Hallmark ornament collectors. I often think that I would like to just go and get some pretty uniform ornaments, but every year when we put them up on the tree I remember why I love them so much. This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas - reminiscing about the life events we remember by them. I love that I feel like our tree tells a story. Note to self: get out the good camera. I can take better pictures than this, I just thought I'd see how our little point and shoot would do....

 {One of Evelyn's favorite books}

{Evelyn's first Christmas Ornament from last year} 

 {This one is relevant this year too!}

{Celebrating our growing family last year!} 

{Evelyn loved the snowman} 

{No really, she loved the snowman}

We wanted to take video of Evelyn's first real Christmas decor experience. She wasn't as excited as we thought, but there is some classic Evelyn cuteness in there!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

#2: 24 Weeks

{Make up and hair halfway done! Followed by an awesome phone pic...}

How far along: 24 weeks

How big is baby: A cantaloupe. Baby's skin is becoming more opaque as the fat starts to pack on. And, thanks to the formation of small capillaries, her newly thick skin is taking on a fresh pink glow. 

Weight gain/loss: 23 lbs. That number still scares me, but my dr. is not concerned. I've though a lot about it and have realized a couple of things. First, I was nearly 20 pounds lighter when I got pregnant this time than I was with Evelyn. Second, I'm at right about the same weight right now as I was at this point in her pregnancy. I'm feeling better about it. Still a little anxious, but it's not so dramatically world-ending as it was.

Stretch marks: None yet this time. But, I'm sure they'll come.

Sleep: I've been a busy bee this week prepping for the holidays and such and I've been crashing hard every night. Sleeping well, though still finding myself tired at the end of every day.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: No partiality to sweet or salty. Still enjoying milk. Starbucks hot chocolate.

Movement: All the time! Still loving every second. 

What I'm worrying about: How Evelyn is going to handle the big transitions coming her way. She's going to be moving into a big bed before the baby and watching mama nurse the new one. I'm hoping she doesn't get too jealous or feel like she needs to act out to get attention. I'm having those feelings of remorse like I'm neglecting my first born. If only she understood how loved she is and always will be.

What I'm loving: Having a belly that has actually surpassed the girls. I swear, if one more person comments on what pregnancy does to my chest, I might lose it.

Symptoms: They've kind of subsided a bit. Heartburn is still there but mild. The Braxton Hicks have slowed down thankfully. I'm in the 2nd tri glory days. 

What I'm looking forward to: Seeing if Rob and I can settle on names. It's going so fast! 

Best moment of the week: Date night with my hubby. Even though I had to pee for the last hour of James Bond. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stream of Consciousness

  • My 24 week post is going to be late. I was going to write and post it tonight but I took a shower and got in my pjs and realized I didn't take a picture. I don't want everyone to see me on my pjs. I'm old fashioned like that.
  • Speaking of old fashioned, apparently, I was born in the wrong era.  I went to get a slip to wear under a dress this weekend and couldn't find one. Do people not wear slips anymore?
  • Evelyn keeps saying "where did it go?" Followed by "there it is!" It's freaking adorable.
  • So are her efforts with a spoon.

  • I think we've broken Evelyn of the night time pacifier. Now all we have to get rid of is naps. The pacifier that is, not the naps. Yikes.
  • I've been working on a blog post for a couple of weeks entitled "Getting my nerd on." It's proving to be much more difficult than I anticipated. But I'm feeling determined to make it work at this point in time. It may just take a little while. Julia's little upgrade is giving me even more motivation.
  • I feel bad that I haven't posted in a week. But none of the posts on the blog burner are done yet. Hence the stream of consciousness. 
  • I really want to post about our first big DIY house project, but it's STILL. NOT. DONE.
  • It's not done because we had to file a dispute with our credit card company regarding the cabinet we bought to add to our kitchen. We ordered it in August and still don't have it. Then they stopped returning our calls. Lo and behold, we heard from them the day after we filed the dispute. Shocking.
  • Speaking of battles, I still don't have any idea what is going on with getting my car fixed from SEPTEMBER. Someone driving a government vehicle backed into my car in a parking lot. Apparently, no one in our government knows how to file an insurance claim involving their cars. It's extremely irritating.
  • I'm currently obsessed with Starbucks hot chocolate. It's a good thing I don't have one very close or I'd be dropping a lot of money there.
  • It's even better that Costco has started selling their hot chocolate mix in a can. Delicious.
  • I just tried the cranberry Sierra Mist. It's delicious.
  • I plan on writing a blog post about unjunking my diet. Unfortunately, my weakness is soda. Soda is SO bad for you. But there is something about that bubbly feeling that is just oh so good. Why couldn't I be obsessed with apples or something?
  • I may just go to bed right now. Even though it's only 9. I'm so tired. We had our friends' Thanksgiving yesterday evening and I was cleaning house all day. I forgot how much my hips hurt while pregnant. It was a great time and so worth it though.

Monday, November 12, 2012

#2: 23 Weeks

{Weirdly focused...}

{Just the belly. Love this shirt from H&M's Maternity line}

How far along: 23 Weeks (On time this week! My weeks actually roll over on Mondays)

How big is baby: A grapefruit. Baby's face is fully formed... minus the baby fat, of course. The next task at hand for baby: sprouting two teeny-tiny nipples!

Weight gain/loss: This is going to be long.... I've had a rough couple of days. Been feeling really down on myself. A little back story (because, of course, you would love to be bored by my life some more): When I got married I weight roughly 128 lbs. Not bad for my 5' 6" frame. I've always been thin and I'm grateful for that. Of course, post-wedding I gained the customary 10-15 lbs and weighed about 140-145 (depending on the day) when I got pregnant with Evelyn. I certainly wasn't happy where I was at that point and had just started really working toward getting my weight back down when I got pregnant. With Evelyn's pregnancy, I gained about 32 lbs. I think I topped out at around 172. It never bothered me. Not once during my pregnancy with her did the scale scare me. Then, after I had her, I lost a LOT of weight. In fact, at my lowest I was around 123 which I hadn't weighed since early high school. Hello new clothes! I actually had to really focus on keeping weight on and eating a lot (I was a little sick of eating). 

Then I got pregnant again. And didn't get morning sickness. And was feeling hungry all. the. time. I kind of took the approach that I was breastfeeding and pregnant at the same time and I needed to listen to my body. That's what I've always done and it's worked well for me. Well, the scale is terrifying me right now. I stepped on the scale tonight because I was having a fat day. I thought that maybe I should check the number and it wouldn't be so bad. Wrong. I've gained around 23 pounds so far with this pregnancy. And I'm only 23 weeks! That's ridiculous! I had gained about 5 lbs by this time last time. I'm totally freaking out. I'm feeling like a total failure. I look at myself in the mirror and think I don't look that bad, but goodness, I must be fooling myself. I mean, 23 lbs!? Oof. I have this feeling like I've gotten myself into a place that I can't get out of. Like, what do I do!? And, where the heck is it all at?! I mean, I know my size small maternity pants are just a hair snug, but I kind of figured they'd get to that point. My boobs are GIGANTIC, but that's par for the course. Ugh. I just feel gross. I never put makeup on. I suck at doing my hair. I just feel frumpy. And fat. And it makes me hate my desk job (which I loathe to begin with) all the more. I'm not meant to have a desk job. I despise sitting on my rear end all. day. long. (granted it's only 20 hours a week) staring at a computer - ironic that I'm doing that while blogging? I feel like a big blob. Just sitting there getting fatter and fatter. 

Don't get me wrong. I still love that I'm pregnant. I love being pregnant. I never thought I'd be feeling this way because I know the belly is a part of it and it has never phased me when my brother and dad call me "fat" when I'm big and pregnant.  But 23 lbs!? And I'm barely halfway!? I feel like crying. How much am I going to gain by the end? What if it doesn't come off as easily as it did with Evelyn? I feel like a total failure. That is all.

Stretch marks: None yet. But, I'm sure they'll come.

Sleep: Good. Craving more though. Which only makes me feel more blobbish.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: I don't want to talk about food right now.

Movement: Lots and lots! Somersaults and kicks. The baby has really been enjoying dancing on my bladder!

What I'm worrying about: See above. Totally stressing me out right now.

What I'm loving: Thinking about the holidays with our little family of three and imagining us next year as a family of four!

Symptoms: Still heartburn. Round ligament pain. Braxton Hicks - early, I think, but not unheard of. I just need to make sure I'm drinking plenty of water. This hasn't changed!

What I'm looking forward to: My OB appointment this week. Hoping she can make me feel better.  I'm preparing myself for her to tell me that I need to watch my weight gain. But, who wants to hear that? Especially when I'm guilt-tripping myself just fine?

Best moment of the week: Making some progress on Evelyn's big girl room so we can move her over in anticipation of the baby!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Green Cleaning: All-Purpose Spray

I'm leading off my series on green cleaning with an all-purpose spray. I already talked about some of the standard ingredients needed to make your own household cleaners here, but I'll list them out with each recipe and go a little more in depth on the reasons they are used and why.

I've only tried two all-purpose spray recipes and so far I'm loving the second. The first recipe I used was not by any means bad, I just didn't love it, and if I don't love it, I don't use it. I was confident that it was doing it's job as far as cleaning is concerned, but I didn't care for the fact that it:

  1. Contained borax - I also outlined here my feelings on borax. While it has not been found to be particularly harmful, if I can make a spray that does the job without it, why not?
  2. It left a film on my kitchen table. I'm not sure why, but I have my theories and I wasn't a fan. It's funny, it was only on my kitchen table, nowhere else. 
  3. I don't feel like it ever mixed well, I expected to have to shake the bottle to mix the oils in every use, but the bottle always had solids stuck to the sides and that bothered me.
So, I took the recipe I used and compared it to a couple of others and recently made this one:

All-Purpose Spray
 - 3 Tablespoons Vinegar
 - 1/2 teaspoon Washing Soda
 - 1/2 teaspoon Castile Soap
 - 2 Cups Hot Water
 - 20 drops essential oil (optional - I used tea tree)

Simply mix the ingredients together and you're done! Personally, I mixed the washing soda into the hot water first to dissolve it, then added the soap and then the soda. 

The original recipe did not call for essential oils but I added them for a couple of reasons. First, scent and second, tea tree oil has natural anti-fungal/bacterial/septic properties. So I felt like it gave it an extra oomph. You could also add lemon or orange for a nice scent. Or, you could use a certain scent of Castile soap. I used peppermint. The peppermint mixed with the slightly woody/earthy smell of the tea tree is very refreshing.

Now, let's talk about actually cleaning with the all-purpose spray. As its name implies, this spray is your go-to for regular household jobs. I mainly use it in my kitchen for cleaning off my counter tops, stove top, kitchen table, sink, etc. Another thing I have fallen in love with for cleaning is my Microfiber Scrubby Cloths. I just got these from Zulily for a great price along with my BPA free spray bottles. They are amazing. They clean well, have a nice little scrubby piece, and wash great. The mixture above is a general cleanser and will provide sanitizing properties, however I wouldn't say it is strong enough for something such as cleaning a cutting board where raw meat has been. Some recipes have tried to adjust for this by adding hydrogen peroxide. This is good, in theory, but there are a couple of things to be aware of.

Hydrogen peroxide is absolutely approved for sanitizing after raw meat and such (proven to kill salmonella) and is also an effective bleaching agent. So why not just add some to the mixture? Have you ever noticed that when you buy peroxide it comes in a dark bottle? That is because, when exposed to light - as well as other elements, peroxide loses it's potency. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide mixed with vinegar in on bottle creates an entirely new solution that will not do what it is intended to do. So, my advice is to get a bottle of peroxide and screw a spray nozzle on it and keep it next to your all-purpose spray. Then when you need it, you can spray some on the surface to be disinfected followed by your all purpose spray and you should be good to go!

Hopefully, you like this recipe as much as I do. I love feeling at ease with what I am using to clean my house!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dudley's Story

Dudley is our second born. A puppy for life. We got him from a rescue and often joke that we rescued him from the rescue. I didn't really like that we "supported" the rescue we got him from and I know that rescues aren't out there to make money or anything, but this place left something to be desired. He was pretty sick when we got him and so, so skinny. My vet, whom I adore, estimated him to be about 8 to 10 weeks old. He had already been neutered (way early) and was promptly put on medication for worms. But, as anyone who has met our Dudley can attest to, he won us over immediately.

{Love at first sight}

Oliver didn't like him at first. It was a solid 6 months before he would even tolerate being within 5 feet of him. And God forbid they share my lap. Eventually though, they became the best buds. Two peas in a pod. Inseparable. He's always been a little "slow." Never really catching on to things quickly, never as fast or strong as his brother. It's like he would be a puppy forever. Even his face looks a lot the same.


He goes by many nicknames: Dudley, Dudders, Duddykins, Duddy Buddy, Tooters, Squeakers, the list goes on. Which is pretty funny, because Oliver is just Oliver. Not Ollie. Oliver. They are my kids and they have successfully turned my husband into a head-over-heels dog lover. They sleep in the bed with us, under the covers of course, and are always found in someone's lap if it's available. We couldn't have asked for anything better.

{Life with a Dachshund}

{I think he likes her!}

Then, in August, I came home to find Dudley acting funny. He was in pain. I thought maybe he jumped off the couch wrong or stepped on something. It's not the first time one of the boys has gotten hurt doing something. We just thought we'd watch him. The next day he seemed fine. Then I noticed something. It was like he didn't want to put weight on his back right leg. I thought again, he hurt it. But it was evening and the vet was closed. I didn't think it was serious enough for an emergency trip so we waited again. The next day it was worse. He was walking like he was drunk. Wobbly. Unable to control his back legs well. I immediately took him in and that was my introduction to IVDD - Intervertabral Disc Disease.

{Crate rest}

Long story short, Dudley had a herniated disc in his back. This is every dachshund-owner's worst nightmare. A back problem. We were sent home for the weekend with instructions for strict crate rest, prednisone, and  a pain killer. We had to be diligent with his crate rest. No real movement for at least 4 weeks except for a few steps outside to go potty. We obeyed to a tee. Then Monday, the worst happened - he went completely lame.

He couldn't walk. The couldn't wag his tail. He couldn't even go to the bathroom. He was completely paralyzed. I called the vet because I thought she said that he could possibly get worse before he got better and wanted to know how I might help him go to the bathroom. She told me I needed to immediately take him to an emergency clinic because he had worsened more than he should have.

That night was awful.

The emergency clinic we took him to was terrible. Not that they didn't give him care or take our issue seriously, they did. But their approach to our situation and our options was not kind or friendly. We arrived and they immediately took us back to a room and we explained the situation (this was about 7pm). She took some basic vitals and then said she was going to get the ER doc. Well, much to my dismay, instead of coming into the room and doing everything with me there, they took him away. Maybe that is standard procedure, I don't know, but I didn't like it. After some time, they came back and said that he was pretty far gone in terms of IVDD. He had lost most deep pain sensation in his back legs and he was facing surgery.

We had done some research over the weekend and knew this was a possibility. But we didn't want to put him through the surgery for nothing. Would it even work? We were willing to put him in a cart or something if he was able to be live a somewhat normal, pain-free life. There are many success stories. But she said it wasn't an option. Our only options were to take him to Mizzou immediately and have them do surgery for around $5k, or to have him put to sleep. I was devastated. We were told the decision had to basic be made immediately. She also said that the chances of the surgery working were less than 50%. We talked about it and I decided to take him home and we would bring him to our vet the next day to have him put to sleep. I couldn't have him spending his last night there.

That evening while giving Dudley super snuggles and breaking crate rest rules, we talked about it. We decided to get a second opinion. So, I called another specialists clinic in the morning and we brought him in for a consultation. The news was so much better. He was pretty far gone, but not to the point where he couldn't be saved. She said with surgery he had a 75% chance of recovery and the surgery would be half the cost. We decided to go ahead.

{Post-Surgery incision and pain patch}

3 days later, I walked in to the office to see my Duddy Buddy wagging his tail! So happy to see me. We were still in for another several weeks of crate rest, but he was already improving!

{Walking again!}

After 3 weeks, he was released and had made about a 95% recovery. He could walk, run, play. Everything he did before. Maybe he wasn't as fast and his legs didn't respond as well, but he was back. Our puppy was himself! It was so worth it.

This past weekend though, we had a bit of a scare. He seemed to for some reason be in a lot of pain on Saturday night. We brought him back to the vet on Sunday morning and they didn't diagnose another herniated disc (we didn't know what we'd do then) but sent him home to be treated medically for it regardless. I think he's okay though. Maybe he tweaked it while playing. But, we're being careful.

So, that's Dudley's story. Our little fighter/lover/licker/puppy-at-heart. Our family wouldn't be complete without him!

{Our boys}

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#2: 22 Weeks

{22 Weeks with Evelyn}

{22 Weeks with #2!  - Sorry for the crappy phone pic}

Wow. I need to pull myself together. Get a haircut maybe? Idk. I feel like a slob in my pic this week... The bump is definitely a little bigger with this one though, I think!

How far along: 22 Weeks

How big is baby: A papaya. Baby's settling into sleep cycles, snoozing about 12 to 14 hours a day. It shouldn't be hard to figure out when - just pay attention to those kicks as they start and stop.

Weight gain/loss: I'll let you know at my next dr. appointment. I don't typically weigh myself that often...

Stretch marks: None yet. But, I'm sure they'll come.

Sleep: Still awesome! Except for Saturday night. We thought Dudley might be having a relapse with his back (I'm working on this post) and was in pain and awake all night. So, in turn, I was too. But, I slept fabulously on Sunday night!

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: I've been wanting Qdoba an unusual amount lately. Pretty much anything that sounds good. There's no predicting what that may be though.

Movement: I was looking back at my 22 week post from Evelyn and wondering if movement was this noticeable last time. But, I noted in my 20-21 week post that Rob did feel her move then as well. I just feel like this baby is so much more active. Much more dramatic with movement. I was watching my belly last night and there was a lot of big kicks I could see from the outside! I love it though. Seriously, my favorite.

What I'm worrying about: How I'm possibly going to balance working (especially from home) with two kids. It's hard enough to do it with one! I just can't image being able to actually get my work done during the week while working around the schedule of a toddler and a newborn. I know I'll have some maternity leave, but it won't be paid so I'm not sure how long I'll be taking. This is totally stressing me out. 

What I'm loving: This time in my life. Being pregnant is amazing. Being a mom is amazing. I have a wonderful husband and an amazing family. I love this feeling of wondering who this little person will be. I remember feeling this way with Evelyn and the utter joy of learning about her and loving her is indescribable. It's amazing. And I get to do it twice?! So blessed.

Symptoms: Still heartburn. Round ligament pain. Braxton Hicks - early, I think, but not unheard of. I just need to make sure I'm drinking plenty of water. This hasn't changed!

What I'm looking forward to: The holidays! Enjoying this time with Evelyn as a family of three.

Best moment of the week: Watching my belly moving around. Oh how I missed it. It's really hitting home how real this is now!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cloth Diapering Through the First Year

I'm proud to say that over 1 year later, we're still going strong on the CD front. This is one thing that Rob and I have agreed is one of the best decisions we ever made. I'm not going to lie. It's had it's rough spots. But overall, it's been great.

For those who are unfamiliar with cloth diapers, I have a little breakdown post here. I figured now that I have a year's worth of experience with CDs, I could write a post about the things I've learned and maybe give prospective CDing mamas a success story.

{Evelyn in a BumGenius Freetime in Lovelace @ 6 months}

For those who are thinking about it, CDs are extremely overwhelming. However, there are some really great programs out there that allow you to try it out before you really commit to it. I know families who have tried and decided it didn't really work for them - which is totally okay! One that I know of from when I was researching is Jillian's Drawers which allows you to try it for 21 days for $10. You get to try all different brands and types and see if it works for you. For me though, it was something I was pretty committed to. I knew I wanted to make it work and so we just bit the bullet and went full steam ahead.

The Beginning

We didn't start CDs until Evelyn was about 2 weeks old. I hadn't planned on rushing into it. I wanted to wait until her cord fell off and we got a little settled. Well, apparently she has the most sensitive little bum ever because by 2 weeks we were already battling a diaper rash consistently. My first thought was to just go ahead with the cloth and see if that would correct the problem. Maybe she was having a reaction to the disposable. Alas, the solution wasn't that simple. Like I said, she's just super sensitive. But that was our jumping off point and there was no turning back.

We started with prefolds I borrowed from a friend and covers. Prefolds are your the CDs your mom and grandma think of. I was a little worried about them, but once we got started, it was great! Even Rob could fold one and put it on her and said on multiple occasions that it wasn't hard and he really liked them.

{Image courtesy of Green Mountain Diapers}

Evelyn was exclusively breastfed, so poop wasn't an issue. I know it freaks a lot of people out, but yes, I just threw the whole shebang into the wash. No rinsing or anything. Breastfed baby poop is water soluble and just washes away. It was great! Really, no different than disposables except I had to do a load of laundry every couple of days. Big deal. And, I really grew to enjoy hanging them outside in the summer sun and watching them bleach back to brand-new white.

Eventually, when she was big enough (maybe 1 month?) we switched over to our Flip stash. This was our way of life for the next six months. Wear, wash, repeat. We had no stink issues and minimal rash issues. If you are wondering, our wash routine at that time was:

  • Cold rinse
  • Hot wash with 1/4 scoop of Nellie's (our whitest whites cycle includes an extra rinse)
  • Dry in the sun or dryer

Introducing Solids

After the six month mark (when we introduced solid food), not surprisingly, things started to change. We were still using our Flips. I had splurged on a few more covers to add color variety. We added hemp to the lineup to handle nighttime wetness. But, then the stink started to creep in. And so began the wash-day lottery. Would my combo of washes/rinses/detergents be a winner? I'll be honest, I got pretty frustrated. I wasn't giving up. I just couldn't wrap my head around spending the money on disposables. Not to mention, I can't stand the way a pee-soaked disposable smells (is it just me?). We tried lots of things. Of course, I stripped them. I made my rinse cycle longer. I added more detergent. I ran two wash cycles. I added a third rinse cycle at the end. I stripped again. I bought some Funk Rock. I stripped again. I bought different detergent. I. Tried. Everything.

Finally, I reached some conclusions.
  1. Synthetic fibers (microfiber) are difficult. They tend to hold onto things for dear life. When that happens you get stink. Best way to get them to let go? A good wash
  2. We have hard water. Not very friendly when it comes to rinsing all the leftover soap out.
  3. I have a front loading washing machine. This is apparently an issue for a lot of people. Front loaders are meant to wash clothes with as little water as possible. Unfortunately, when washing CDs water is important. There are a couple of tricks. One is the wet towel trick. Soak a beach towel in water. I mean soak it. Put it in with your diapers. This tricks the washer into thinking there is more there to wash and so it adds more water. I've also had good luck with throwing a soak cycle in here and there. This soaks the diapers and adds weight as well.
  4. Not all detergents are created equal. I had really great luck with Nellie's in the beginning. Such great luck that I bought a giant bucket of it and I was all of our clothes in it. But, it just wasn't the right detergent for the changes that happened. I bought a container of the BumGenius detergent and that has helped.
Currently, my (mostly) working wash cycle looks like this:
  • Whitest whites (this includes an extra rinse) cycle on cold with a quarter scoop of BumGenius
  • Soak on warm
  • Whitest whites cycle on hot with a quarter to half scoop of Nellie's
  • Open door and sniff. If it doesn't smell clean run another cycle
I still run a cycle with bleach occasionally (this is actually recommended by the manufacturer) and occasionally add some Funk Rock to the soak cycle as well as the occasional strip. But we've been good for a while.

And if you are debating on the sprayer. Well, this is totally a personal decision. We love ours. Evelyn's poop never really went solid. It's almost always like peanut butter. And, honestly, I just like being able to spray it off. Piece of cake. 

As I said in the beginning, we've had our rough spots. But I still love it. There is nothing quite cuter than her little fluffy butt!

{Evelyn in a BumGenius All-In-One @ 9 Months}

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Pits

Well, if I've gone to the point of making my own household cleaners, plan to stop shampooing my hair, & stopped using tampons, I might as well ditch the deodorant as well, right?

Thankfully, I've never been a particularly stinky person. I think. At least nobody has ever informed me otherwise. I don't sweat. I have had my moments of random, what I think is hormonal pit stink so I've always put a quick swipe of deodorant on after every shower. No biggie. But, I really don't NEED it all the time. It's just a precaution. But, with my tendency to scour the internets researching anything and everything that comes into contact with our house, I've discovered a few things about deodorant.

Fairly recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the effects of aluminum-containing deodorants/antiperspirants on the body over long-term use. Your arm pits are a location of lymph nodes and I don't know about you, but I never hesitated putting deodorant on right after shaving even if I'd nicked myself. If you've got your deodorant nearby, grab it an take a look at the label. It explicitly says not to use on broken skin. Additionally, the deodorant I was using had a warning for kidney patients to consult a doctor before use. What?!

This kind of piqued my curiosity seeing as we have a close family member who is fighting kidney disease and my dad has donated a kidney to another. Up went a red flag. Upon further research I came across this statement from the American Association of Kidney Patients:

"Over 90 percent of the U.S. population use antiperspirants and deodorants. What is harmless for the healthy population can be of danger for people with impaired kidney function. Most of the antiperspirants and some deodorants contain aluminium (Al), which is absorbed by the skin (Flarend et al – Food Chem Toxicol, 2001). In healthy people, it gets eliminated by the kidney, but for people with reduced function, Al will accumulate in the body. Albeit unusual, this could lead to dementia (Carpenter et al. - Int J Occup Med Environ Health, 2001), anemia and bone disease (Jeffery et al. - J Toxicol Environ Health 1996)."


Honestly, I could sit on the internet and do all the research I wanted in regards to the concerns I have for my family. But we all know the internet is, well, the internet. A public domain. Finding credible sources for topics that provide unbiased, research-based information can be very difficult. But when something that big is staring me in the face, I can't help but think to myself, "why take the risk?"

So, I've decided, in light of the fact that I'm not really in need of a hard-working deodorant, I'm going hippie with it (did anybody have Will Smith flash in their head?).

There are a lot of recipes out there for homemade deodorant. I'm starting with the simplest. We'll see if it works. If not, I've got other options. I got my recipe from here.

DIY Deodorant
 - 1/4 cup Baking Soda
 - 1/4 cup Corn Starch
 - 5 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
 - Essential Oils (optional)

Mix the ingredients together.

A couple of notes. Coconut oil has a 76 degree melting point. So, this deodorant isn't going to easily stay a solid. In the winter, I'll probably be just fine, but in the summer I may have to keep it in the fridge.

After mixing, I packed it into an emptied-out deodorant container.

{Check out my homegrown butternut squash! Anybody know what I can do with them?}

I don't know about the risk of this mixture staining, but I'll report if I find anything.

I added tea tree and sweet orange essential oils. Just a few drops each. I'm really digging the smell. I even let Rob smell it and he liked it.

I'm hoping I like it! I'll report back with my findings later. I may also see if I can get Rob to try a version. I know men get a little defensive about their deodorant though. I don't blame them because I know when his deodorant isn't working, his pits get a little offensive.

Also, a lot of anecdotal evidence says that your body will likely go through an adjustment period. Kind of like when you drop the shampoo thing (which I plan on trying after I'm done being pregnant).

Crossing my fingers for a good experience!