Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from our little goblin!




Cloth? Great Success!

This will be a long and boring post to those who aren't interested in cloth diapers, so feel free to skip this one if you aren't interested...I promise I won't be offended!



We've been using cloth diapers for a little while now and I have to say that I'm glad I tried it. We were initially intending to wait until Anna was a little bigger, but she kept getting diaper rashes no matter what brand of diapers and diaper cream we tried - even the sensitive varieties. I got tired of seeing red baby booty every time I changed her, so we went ahead and made the switch. I also have to admit that I haven't really gotten much support for this venture, but I figured that I'm the one changing 99.9% of her diapers anyways so whateva, I do what I want! If you want to come over and change my baby's poopy diaper, by all means, feel free to use a disposable. Steve says he doesn't care what we use as long as he doesn't have to wash them!

We ordered everything from www.greenmountaindiapers.com. We spent right under $200 which given her rate of disposable diapers, evened out almost exactly with how much it would have cost to use disposables over the same time frame (not counting her first 5 weeks). If things continue to go well, we can hang on to these and use them for future babies. That's where the real cost savings come into play, in my opinion. Right now the main motivations are happy baby skin and environmental impact - I feel so much better not tossing 12+ diapers a day into the landfills (and yes, I've heard the word "hippie" muttered around the house).



Are cloth diapers completely as convenient as disposables? Well...no, but I would also argue that they aren't inconvenient either. All that's really required is a couple of extra loads of laundry every week. I had the diapers prepped and ready to go within a day of getting them in the mail, and after a day of practice, I could get Anna changed just as quickly as I could with disposables (and even in the dark, as my sister pointed out with amusement the other night!). We will still use disposables on trips and vacations, but given how little we travel beyond the lake house, that's okay! I find the cloth diapers a LOT cleaner too in terms of explosive baby poop- I had leaks all the time with disposables and have only had ONE with the cloth diapers.

In terms of our "stash", we went with the GMD cotton prefold diapers.  Basically you fold the prefold cloth around the baby (there are a bunch of folds you can try to find one you like), hold it closed with a plastic piece called a Snappi (no pins needed!), and then put on a cover. We bought 36 prefolds, 5 cute covers, a 3 pack of Snappis, 2 pail liners, and one smaller bag to take in our diaper bag if we go out. We probably could have gotten away with 24 prefolds but getting an extra dozen does give us some more flexibility with laundry days. Overall I would say this was a pretty ideal starter stash!

As a side note, there are cloth diaper options that function a lot more like disposables, but they are more expensive. We're holding off on those until she's in the next size up and we can do a trial from JilliansDrawers.com to see which ones we like the best.

Dirty diapers go straight into a trash can lined with one of the GMD pail liners. Since Anna is exclusively breastfed, the poop is water soluble and can go straight in the washer. This part seems to be the thing that most people get hung up on and say "Ewww!" but seriously, it's no big deal. I wash the diapers on a cold wash first, then a hot wash, and then do an extra rinse. Nothing is left in the washing machine, I promise. And I don't have to touch the dirty diapers because the pail liner goes into the wash too- I just dump them in and then start the wash. The entire wash and dry cycle is done in the time that Anna is napping.


We did have one minor hiccup last week. I tried a different detergent that was supposed to be better. Well, not so much and it gave Anna a rash - sorry, baby :-(. So I promptly ditched that and re-washed everything while she hung out in disposable diapers. It's apparently pretty common to have reactions to various detergents, depending on the baby, so that made me feel better and I'll just keep trying detergents until we find one that Anna likes. I also found myself MISSING the cloth diapers while she was back in her disposables. It's all cleared up now and she's back in the cloth.

Anyways, I don't pretend to be an expert on this by any means. There's SO much more in the Cloth Diaper World that I haven't even begun to wrap my brain around yet, so there's a pretty big learning curve depending on how in depth you want to get with it. I was pretty intimidated by everything before we got started but my various motivations for trying cloth were stronger, so I forced myself to try it. The internet has been an invaluable resource in researching the best starter stashes, cloth-friendly detergents and diaper creams, and any other question I could possibly think up. Here are some of the websites that I found the most useful, but I'm not kidding when I say there are a TON of sites out there:

www.theecofriendlyfamily.com
www.diaperjungle.com
http://allaboutclothdiapers.com

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gray Skies are Gonna Clear up- Put on a Happy Face!

Well, we're wrapping up the roughest week so far in Anna's little life. Steve was out of town all week and Anna picked this week to be the fussiest she's EVER been. I just couldn't make this baby happy...she was either sleeping or screaming, and not much in between (Kathryn can vouch for that!). Today is the first day that she's really been remotely calm, even while we were at the pediatrician. She's actually sleeping in her swing right now...and I'm not kidding when I say this is the first time during the day that she's slept anywhere besides my arms this entire week.

Throw in some family health problems, expensive plumbing issues, c-section incision bleeding (everything's okay, Doc fixed it), an abnormally clingy Captain, major thunderstorms, and not sleeping very well...needless to say, I'm glad this week is over!!

I did have a couple of bright spots. Kathryn came up to visit last night and it was SO nice to have some girl time. And also exciting- Anna gave me her very first real smile yesterday! We've seen a couple of gassy half-grins, but yesterday was her first actual smile. I had pulled her out of her wrap (I'm adding the Moby wrap to my list of newborn must-haves, btw) to feed her, and as I was waiting for her to wake up a bit, I cooed at her "There's Anna! She's been hiding all day! Where have you been hiding, Baby girl??" and she looked right at me and grinned. Of course it's the one time I didn't have a camera nearby, but believe me, I will get a picture of this baby smiling, even if I have to stalk her National Geographic style. She smiled at the doctor today too, so hopefully she's got a few grins stored up for her daddy. The weather is also finally feeling like fall, so that has helped put me in a better mood too.

The other good news from the pediatrician is that Anna is now 10 lbs, 13.5 ounces. She flew right past her birth weight and is almost at 11 lbs now! No wonder we've had to retire some of her former favorite outfits...this little pumpkin just doesn't fit in them anymore! The pediatrician was very pleased, so now we don't have to go back until her 2 month appointment. Her black and orange Halloween leg warmers were a big hit with the doc and nurses...such a festive little baby!

I've been a massive slacker with pictures this week because, well...Anna is hard to take pictures of when she's screaming. But here were a few that I took while holding her so I could email them up to her daddy. 


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

From the heart and made by hand

This lucky little girl has been blessed by many beautiful and thoughtful presents, and among the most cherished are the ones that our friends and family have made by hand. As a very amateur knitter, I know how much time and energy goes into these projects, and I look forward to telling Anna, when she's older, all about these items and the very special people that made them for her. I also look forward to finally finishing my own little pink and white blanket to add to her collection...I put the project on hold for a few months but I'm almost done!

 This adorable blanket was made by a friend I met through work, Paige Havens. She was my boss's BFF and came by the office all the time, so she got to see my belly progressing. She surprised me with this blanket at my work shower and I was so touched that she would put that much effort into a gift for my little one!
 This blanket arrived just the other day, and was knitted by Anna's honorary great-grandmother, Betty. Since my family grew up with very little relationship with my grandparents, I'm thrilled that Anna not only has two sets of healthy young grandparents, but also great-grandparents who she will get to meet soon! She will meet Granddad Don and Betty at Christmas, and then Granddad Jack and Grandma Joan in Raleigh in January.

I especially love these two items...these were both made by my very dear friend Kathryn and given to Anna at my baby shower. The green blanket is what's usually on the back of the glider and I love being able to snuggle Anna in it during the night when she's nursing. And I think the hat will fit just in time for the cold weather. I have absolutely no idea how she made the hat beyond knitting magic, but I love both of them and I know Anna will keep these forever.

The last one really was unexpected, but nearly brought this hormonal momma to tears in the hospital. It's a well-known anecdote that our friend Andrew got himself ordained as a reverend online years ago in the hopes that we would let him marry us. That obviously didn't happen, but it's a fairly frequent joke that he uses his reverend status to bless random things around the house on guys' weekends. Like...beer. Or fishing poles. When Andrew and Gordon came to see us in the hospital, Steve warned me ahead of time that Andrew was going to bless the baby. And...needless to say, I thought it was going to be a gigantic joke. It turned out that he had looked up baby blessings online, didn't see anything he liked, so he wrote his own just for our little girl. He read it to her in the hospital and it was so touching...pair that with Gordon's big teddy bear and flowers, and I think our best guy friends are a bunch of softies at heart  :-).

Anna's Blessing

May the Lord bless you and keep you every day and each night
And in darkness send angels to shine a bright light
May twinkling stars keep watch over your bed
As your dreams about dreams dance around in your head
May you be kind and gentle when ill will is abound
And be elegant and graceful when trouble is found
May good luck come with every step that you make
And peace be with you every breath that you take
And as sure as your smile that sparkles and glows
May you be more beautiful than the Cherokee Rose
Such a sweet little gift, sent from heaven
Live without fear and your love be neverending







Sunday, October 24, 2010

I love the fall!

Fall is by far the season that I love the most. Everyone can probably guess most of the reasons why, but indulge me in a photo list of my fall favorites.

1. Pumpkin anything. Soup, bread, muffins, pie, Starbucks lattes...I love it all.


2. The beautiful fall weather. This year is staying warm as a personal insult to me, I'm convinced, but believe me, when the days aren't 80 degrees I will be one happy camper.

3. Cider House Rules...one of my favorite movies and the beautiful images of a New England autumn, complete with apple orchards and cider presses always gets me in the fall spirit. Especially if we pair it with a bowl of homemade chili or butternut squash soup.

4. College football, especially when our teams are actually winning.

5. Cute trick or treaters. Kingsley hates them, but we love seeing all the costumes. We're also amused when kids choose our house to come back to again and again because that means we have the good candy!

6. What else am I missing......what else am I missing. OH! Silly me.
 A new one this year....having the cutest little pumpkin in the pumpkin patch!







Friday, October 22, 2010

One Month Old!

Our beautiful baby girl is one month old, and I can't even tell you how much I love this little girl. I don't know what we did in the karmic heavens to deserve this sweet baby but I'm so grateful for it!

Anna is awake for a little bit more during the day and although I don't really know what else to do with her besides babble at her like an idiot, it is fun to be able to interact with her. She's also very slowly developing an interest in her toys, including the ones that play music and light up like her Pack and Play and her seahorse that Susan bought her. I also put together the play mat that Steve bought while I was still pregnant- Anna laid in it for about 2 minutes before she started getting fussy but I think she'll have fun in it when she's a little bit older! She also looks around a lot when we're on our neighborhood walks, especially if I'm carrying her instead of pushing her in the stroller.

Our baby girl has also started sleeping just a liiiiiiittle bit more at night. She's averaging between 3.5 and 4 hour stretches before wanting to wake up and eat. The first night she slept that long (she had been going 2.5-3 hours) I kept waking up and checking on her with the video monitor, and at one point I even woke up Steve to see if he thought I should go wake her up. She seems content though so now I'm just enjoying the extra sleep time! She's still sleeping in her bouncer, but I've started laying her down in her Pack and Play for some of her shorter naps, and her favorite place to sleep is still curled up like a little frog on my chest or her daddy's chest.

We did decide to go ahead and make the plunge into cloth diapers earlier than we were planning to. Our poor princess's tushy was getting irritated no matter what brand of diapers or diaper rash cream we tried, and since the cost of the cloth diapers evened out almost exactly with how much it would cost to keep buying disposables for the next 3-4 months (until she needs the next size), we decided to go for it. We're only a few days in, but so far so good, and her tushy already looks a lot better. I'll do another post on that later since a lot of people had been interested in hearing more about it, but for right now I'm just happy to not see sad red skin every time I change her!

To wrap it up, here's a couple of one month pictures for you- she's cuddled up next to the teddy bear that our friend Gordon brought her while we were still in the hospital.




My Little Social Butterfly

Baby Girl celebrated her one month "birthday" yesterday (more on that in an upcoming babble) and she's been a busy little bee recently. We've had lots of visitors both familiar and new, lots of interesting new noises (I have an extremely vocal baby which I choose to chalk up to her being a baby genius), and even an interest in a few of her toys. This week was the first time she didn't scream and cry when her light-up seahorse started playing music!








 Anna slept on her grandma for at least an hour...neither of them seemed too interested in moving!
 Baby Friends! Little Felicity came over to meet Anna
 And here's Kirby, Felicity's pretty momma


We also had our first major outing yesterday, and it was also the first one completely sans Steve. Since Anna is now a month old, I decided it was time to re-live my old commute and drive to Gwinnett to introduce her to my old co-workers. I also made plans to meet up with one of my BFFs, Kara, for lunch at one of our favorite lunch spots.

The trip started out kind of rough. Anna screamed like a banshee the entire drive over there, and I actually pulled over and stopped several times to make sure she wasn't dying. I don't know if it was all the red lights (damn you, Gwinnett County) or my singing (smart girl), but that was one unhappy baby. She was perfectly content when I stopped in a parking lot and pulled her out of her car seat to hold her, but needless to say, that didn't get us any closer to our lunch destination. I discovered in the final stretch that Elvis Presley calms her down, so thank you, iPod!!


Once we got to Fini's Pizza though, she calmed right down and slept the entire time we ate and talked. She even let Kara hold her. What a good baby!

After lunch, I bundled her back up and drove over to my old office. It was fun seeing everyone again and everyone got a huge kick out of seeing baby Anna for the very first time. Only a few people knew that I was coming so it seemed like a fun surprise for people who didn't get the heads up ahead of time.

So yup, things have been busy and we have another fun weekend ahead of us with birthday celebrations for Auntie Ally, a few in-town errands planned, and getting ready for Steve to go out of town next week...the girls will be on their own and Kingsley will be the man of the house- wish us luck with that!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

3 Weeks Old Today!

Anna Banana is 3 weeks old today and is a happy, healthy baby. We had another pediatrician check-up yesterday and she's JUST shy of her birth weight- she weighed in at 9 lbs, 3 ounces. The pediatrician was thrilled with her weight gain and was impressed again at how strong her neck and leg muscles are. Anna is quite the champ at tummy time, needless to say.

Anna has had several baths and even a few small walks around the neighborhood with her mommy and Captain K. The neighbors are always excited to meet her. She's had a few fussy days where if I try to put her down even just for a 5 minute shower, she screams and cries, but for the most part she is SUCH a good baby. I did finally bite the bullet and bought a sling online. It came in the mail the other day and we have finally figured it out and are comfortable with it, so hopefully this will help free up my hands during the day! She's conked out in it now, as a matter of fact.

I've even been able to handle all the night time feedings, since she usually eats quickly and goes back to sleep quickly. Throw in a nap or two for me during the day and we're handling everything just fine. She's also starting to like her pacifier a little more, which is VERY nice if she starts being fussy in the car or if we're out and about. We've also been spending a lot of time on our screened-in porch now that the weather is so beautiful- Anna naps while I read, and Kingsley keeps an eye on the comings and goings of the neighborhood.

Kingsley is doing great with the baby. He's still my little shadow but he's been happy to share the bed and couch and my lap. This week he's been quite intrigued with the new neighbors moving in, so I've been making him wear his bark collar. You would figure they would try to limit their activities for when Anna is awake but I guess that's maybe expecting too much, haha.

Y'all might be amused to know that we've added a few nicknames and vocabulary into our daily lingo. Stevo has started calling her our "Boudreaux Baby". Yes, as in Boudreaux's Butt Paste. Lovely, right? I have started calling her my little hobbit, since we wake up early enough for Breakfast, 2nd Breakfast, and even an Elevenses sometimes. We also regularly use the phrase "mushy tushy" when she's got a wet diaper. I'm sure there will be lots more to be added, but for now those are the main ones.

I posted more pics in my other post but here's a little baby smile for you:

How to be a Good Baby Guest

We've had a BUNCH of family and friends over to visit since Baby Anna's big arrival, and they have all been fantastic guests. I've been touched at how courteous and helpful they've been, between bringing meals or offering to help with various things, or even picking up items at the store for us on the way over (thanks Auntie Ally!). Honestly it kind of makes me ashamed that I haven't been a better Baby Guest in the past. So new mommas who I haven't been a good Baby Guest for, please accept my apologies- consider this lesson learned!

Here are some of the helpful things that my guests have taught me about being a good Baby Guest:

1) Wash your hands when you first arrive and before you hold or touch the baby. Also make sure to wash your hands after using the rest room or if you cough or sneeze. It might feel over the top but with a baby's underdeveloped immune system (and that pesky cold and flu season!) you will help put a worried momma's mind at ease and help protect the little one. I can guarantee you that any new momma will have at least 14 bottles of hand sanitizer and at least 4 different varieties of hand soap within easy reach!

And it probably goes without saying that if you're sick or have been around sick people recently, take a rain check on the visit and come when you're better! I've had two friends already delay their visit and you have no idea how much I appreciated that.

2) Offer to pick up anything from the grocery store on your way over. Although I'm lucky to have a hubby that will stop by on his way home from work, it's been really nice when folks offer, especially since my mobility has been pretty limited.

3) Offer to bring dinner. Always appreciated! If said dinner is accompanied by a bottle of wine, even better, haha.

4) Schedule a specific time to arrive ahead of time and do your very best to stick to that time. We try to have the baby fed and changed ahead of time and being super late or super early throws it off. Of course, Baby Anna follows her own schedule, like a true little diva, and I definitely appreciate guests being flexible and offering to entertain themselves for a while if they just got there and Anna needs to nurse, or if they've been there a while, taking the initiative to leave when Anna gets hungry and cries.

5) Don't judge my dirty, dusty house. I've admittedly let my compulsive standards slide a bit since the baby came and although I always strive to avoid chaos (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome), some days are better than others so there is a pretty good likelihood that you might see some dog hair or dust while you're here. Ignoring it is a very kind courtesy :-).

6) Come armed with at least one piece of interesting gossip or news item. Adult conversation is already much appreciated, even with just a 3 week old!

7) Smile pretty for pictures. Yes, we're the obnoxious parents who have kept the camera on the side table and take pictures of her doing ANYTHING. We love taking pics of her with all our family and friends, and I love that everyone's been a good sport about it.


And speaking of pictures, no post would be truly complete without some. Here you go!





Family nap time!