Friday, July 27, 2012

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

My friends that are new to cloth diapering, or are thinking about starting off are always asking me what my favorite diapers and gear are.  The thing is, that is a difficult question to answer!  How can I narrow it down to just a few things?  There are so many great products out there designed to make your life easier, and your baby's bottom fluffier.  I know I haven't even tried a fraction of these products yet, but I've used enough to know what I love.

So here is my list for new moms just starting out, of things I think are must-haves when you are cloth diapering.  These things will make your life a little easier when it comes to cloth, save you some money, and make your cloth-diapering adventure a little less confusing.  So without further ado- here we go!

Obviously the first thing you will need is a great cloth diaper... or a few different brands.  Or if you are like me, you will want to try them all! (Honestly, you all have read about my addiction.  You'll think it sounds silly now, but just wait!) But a few is where you are going to want to start.  I really recommend trying a few kinds out before you build a whole stash around one or two brands of cloth.  Things you think you will love may not actually work with your baby, and features you thought would be annoying may end up being something you can't live without.  It can't hurt to try a diaper rental to see what you love, or do a try-before-you-buy program from a great store like Diaper Junction, which is one of my personal favorites!  

Now personally I will tell you that we use Rump*A*Rooz diapers exclusively at night, either stuffed with a combination of their microfiber and hemp inserts, or stuffed with a hemp prefold.  We almost never have leaks, even when E decides she's more comfortable sleeping on her cute little tummy.  I think what I love about the Rump*A*Rooz is the extra fleece gusset inside the diaper to give added leak protection.  Well that, and these diapers would fit E until she was 4 if I really wanted them to.  Seriously, these things have a crazy weight and size range to them.  Love it.

Another brand I love is Tots Bots, and their Easy Fit diapers.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  #1 these diapers are TRIM all-in-ones that have a pocket opening as well, so you have the option of adding extra absorbency.  #2, have you seen their prints?  GAH!  So cute.  They have a bunch of fairy-tale inspired prints right now that I can't wait to get my hands on.  I would love to have more of these in my stash.  

I also love Charlie Banana diapers lately.  They are a lot like Fuzzibunz diapers (another of my faves), but the crotch-area is made a little wider, so they are easier to stuff.  Plus they have ridiculously adorable prints available to both boys and girls.  They are a great one-size or sized option, as are Fuzzibunz.

Ok, so accessory-wise, there are a few things that I just can't live without.  Well, I could, but why?  Cloth wipes for one, are a must when you are cloth diapering.  You just fold them up in your cloth diaper after you've used them and toss them in the wash.  Simple, super cheap, and you never have to worry about what you're going to do with that gross and poopy disposable wipe since you don't have a gross and poopy disposable diaper to wrap it in.  I've made most of my own wipes out of brightly colored flannel and hand-me-down receiving blankets, but I do have some Kissaluvs brand terry-cloth wipes that are great for really messy diaper changes.  

I also love love love having a great wipe warmer, since I pour my wipes solution in with the wipes.  It's so easy, and you don't have to deal with a baby who protests a cold wipe against their bum at every change.  It really has been a must-have for us, and I think Eisley would agree.  

Of course when you cloth diaper, you need at least two pail liners or large wetbags to store your dirty diapers in between washes.  My favorite is the Planet Wise pail liner, and the thirsties wetbag.  They have both held up great, and do their jobs well.  I do like that you can get colored liners through Planet Wise.  They also have great diaper-bag-sized Wet Bags, which are a MUST when you are cloth diapering.  You'll want to make sure you have one or two in your diaper bag at all times for on the go changes.  They keep moisture and odors in the bag, and no one knows that you are carrying around a dirty diaper.  

My last must have is for all of you pocket-diaper users out there.  A good stash of Hemp Inserts to use as doublers in your diapers.  Hemp is super absorbent, and doesn't get stinky like microfiber will over time.  It is a slow absorber though, so you will probably want to put something like a cotton or microfiber insert over it.  Hemp is amazing to use at night, or if you know you are going to be taking a long car ride.  

Well, I know there is a whole lot more that I love, but this should be a good starting point for those who have asked.  There is a lot to learn and think about when you are deciding to take the leap and try cloth diapers, but there are also a lot of really awesome and passionate mamas out there who will be happy to help you make the switch.  Hopefully this has helped you all too, and if somewhere along the way I help you convert into a crazy-cloth-lady (who needs cats?) then you are welcome.  ;)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tonight, We Ride!!!!

I do have a real post ready to go, I really do.  It's just waiting on me to upload E's 5 month photos.  But in the mean time, I came across this photo of her while I was trying to clear up some hard drive space.  She's a month and a half old in this photo, and it cracks me up every time I see it.

I think it needs a caption, but I just can't think of a darn thing outside of  "Tonight, we ride!!!!" which is pretty cliche and generic.  Suggestions?  I'll do it up all pretty with whatever suggestion I think is most hilarious from here and good old facebook.

Aaaand Go!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I'm Putting This Food Baby Up For Adoption - Am I pregnant? Does a food baby count?Confession-  Last week my three year old niece asked if there was a baby in my tummy.  *hits head against a wall* I said "No, but Eisley was in there just a few months ago, and it takes a while for your tummy to go back to normal."  And then I told myself it was time to join a gym.

Ok, so I've struggled with my weight for pretty much as long as I can remember.  Not that I was fat though.  That happened within the last six or seven years.  I am a terrible stress/emotional eater.  Just ask my husband.  When E won't stop crying and I feel like I just can't take anymore, I shoot him a text that says "If you don't bring home a butterfinger blizzard for me when you get off work, I am going to kill myself."  No kidding, I really did text that this week.

I'm not overly dramatic or anything.

Seriously though, we had some really stressful situations in the first few years of our marriage, and actually for a couple of years even before that, and I think that I gained like 10 pounds a year for a few years there.  My husband just commented on an older photo of me on facebook last week, and it wasn't even that old, and all I could think about was 'Good God, I've gotten fat!'  Now, don't misread this post and think that this is me looking for a pity party, or some shallow attempt to garner compliments.  Ok, so what girl doesn't like compliments, but I swear that isn't it.

I've just been thinking about the kinds of things I want to teach my daughter.  The kind of things I want her to learn from me.  The lessons you teach them without even knowing it.  I'm talking about the things that they pick up by watching you, mimicking you, soaking in every word and action and deed that you do (and all the ones you wish you didn't.)

I don't want to teach my daughter to be a lazy, emotional-eating, never-exercising human being.  I don't want her to struggle with her body image, her weight, and I don't want her to have health issues.  I want her to grow up loving herself, her body, and I want her to make sure that her health is a priority.

But here's the kicker.  If I want E to grow up with all those good lessons imprinted on her little-girl heart, I'm going to have to change first.  *Cue dramatic music*

I'm not good at changing.  It usually involves a significant amount of kicking and screaming on my part.  Yup.  My daughter isn't the only pro at throwing tantrums around here.  She learned from the best.

I lost 30 pounds in four months before I got pregnant.  I know I can do it, even though it really isn't easy.  E was my motivation then just like she is now.  The thing is, and I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm just calling it like it is, it was a lot easier to lose weight without a needy four month old in tow.  So this is going to require a radical life change.  No more sugar bingeing when I'm feeling stressed, no more crazy high-calorie snacks just because they are easy to grab.  I need to clean out the fridge and the pantry and just go for it.  No more refined sugars, waaaay less carbs.  Oh Lord, those are the things I love the most.


Have any of you ever tried the Paleo Diet?  That's what I'm thinking about trying.  You cut out almost all grains, refined sugars, and processed foods.  I guess it's basically that you "eat like a caveman."  Hence the name, Paleo Diet.  As in Paleolithic.  I'm interested.  I need to do a ton more research, but it seems like a good thing to try, I mean my body certainly doesn't need all of those refined sugars that I put in it.  So I may start posting some research and experiences on here.  I don't know how well I'll make the transition, or even if I'll really be able to do it completely, but it's worth a try.  I want to make a positive change for me,  but also for my daughter.  She doesn't deserve to deal with my issues because I couldn't.

Positive thoughts, because this is going to be a hard road.  Worth it, but hard.  Here we go!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Tale of Two Mommies

the most demanding boss I've ever had!  ;)
Ugh.  I am having a bi-polar day.  I know a bunch of you are going to know what I'm talking about here.

I've always wanted to be able to be a stay at home mom.  I know there's something else out there that I am going to be super passionate about doing, but I just haven't found it yet.  I've tried a few things, and nothing has stuck.  Until E was born.  So needless to say, my crazy-hours retail job is not exactly a "career" that would make me want to miss the milestones in my daughter's life.  I mean, I deal with a fussy four month old all day at home.  I'll take that over a fussy customer any day.

Well almost any day.

Some days I just want to scream right along with my little tot.  Because some days, between the teething, fussing, nap-rebellions, and pulled hair (mine, not hers.  She's figured out she can grab it.  Oh happy day!), I just need a break.  It's days like that today that going to work starts to sound pretty darn good.  At least at work no one is going to spit up or poop on me.  Well, it hasn't happened yet, anyway.  I suppose there's always tomorrow.

The thing is, that while I'm at work, all I can think about is wanting to be at home.  I hate leaving my daughter, even for a short four hour shift.  It's awful.  I feel guilty, and sad that I'm missing what could potentially be that four hour span of time in which my daughter rolls all the way over for the first time.  It's one of those darned if you do darned if you don't type situations.

I know how whiny I sound right now, but it is what it is.  I really do wish that I could be a stay at home mom.  It's the only job I am passionate about right now.  It's incredibly difficult, and sometimes I want to throw a tantrum right along with E, but ultimately it's what I want to do.  The pay is better than anything I've come across.  I get paid in smiles, giggles, sqeals, and coos.  It's worth all of the frustration.

Sometimes I just wish there was such a thing as a mommy lunch break.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Starting Cloth Diapering on the Cheap

So I have a bunch of friends who are pregnant or have babies and are thinking about or have expressed some interest in cloth diapering.  I know I've posted stuff before on here for how to snag free or cheap diapers to get yourself started out with minimal out of pocket cost, but a I've got some more tips for you!  The great thing about cloth diapering is that there is a growing community out there of other moms and dads that are passionate about helping each other save some money and get cute fluff for free or cheap.

Swagbucks is still a great option for getting free diapers with all of those giftcards you're going to get for searching and doing surveys.  If you missed my how-to post, go here.  I've made about $200 to date on Swagbucks, and I've bought bunches of diapers for free that way.  Yup.  Free.  F.R.E.E.  woot!

Ok, now that I'm done doing my own little happy dance about that number over here, on to some more tips.  Deal networks.  I know you've heard of sites like Zulily, where they have at least one or more great baby deals a day.  You get stuff for usually 50% off or more, but it does require some stalking.  Well worth it.  For instance, starting tomorrow on Zulily, you can pick up some Rearz cloth diapers for a great deal.  Other baby sites have great cloth diaper deals on a regular basis, and those are the ones you want to make sure you check out every day, and sign up for their email alerts.  It's totally worth the extra couple of emails in your inbox every day.  The first one is BabySteals, who actually has Itti Bitti cloth diapers on their site for 40% off right now, as I write!  BabySteals has cloth diapers all the time.  I bought a couple of Bitti Tuttos from BabySteals the other day for about $10 off per diaper.  And they ship right away unlike a lot of these baby deal networks.  Another great site is eco baby buys.  They have diaper deals all the time, and you can save a bundle there too.  The key with these sites is to check them every day while you are building your stash.  Deals often sell out quickly, and if you want a certain color or size, you have to act fast.

Giveaways!  Ok, so I am a giveaway addict.  I started with just a few, and didn't win anything for a while, but once the winning started, I was hooked.  I've won tons of stuff in just three or four months.  I should have kept better track, but I've won about a dozen diapers, a baltic amber teething bracelet and necklace set for Eisley, a onesie, some flats and prefolds, nursing pads, a couple of Diva Cups, some cloth wipes, a wetbag, some bottom spray, a wool diaper cover, baby leg warmers, and some cj's butter samples.  Wow, looking at that, I need to go buy a lottery ticket.  I'm on a little bit of a roll here!  My point is, I never won anything until Eisley was born.  Now they key is that I enter a LOT of giveaways.  For every one I win, I lose probably 20... but I've added a lot of great diapers to my stash this way.

A lot of diaper blogs off giveaways all the time.  Start "liking" some blogs, and join in on some cloth diaper forums on facebook.  My favorite place to talk about all things diaper and mommy related is the Change Diapers Blog facebook page.  Maria, the woman behind this awesome blog and page, is super knowledgeable, and every Friday she puts together a cloth diaper related giveaway roundup.  I love how easy she makes it to enter a bunch of giveaways.  She does a ton of work so that you don't have to go searching all over the web.  Most of the giveaways I've won have been straight off of Maria's roundup.  So go start entering.  Enter a lot, and enter often.  It's totally worth the time you put into it when you start racking up the wins.  My husband can't believe how often I win these giveaways, and my good friend thinks it's ridiculous when we chat cloth and she finds out that I've won something else.

I just think it's ridiculously awesome.

Ok.  So the babe is going to wake up any minute now, and I need to take a moment for myself here, so this is where I leave you for today.  Now start creating your plan of attack, and go get some free, or super cheap, fluff.

Happy deal-hunting!

More tips when they come to me.  =)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Living With a Sense of Wonder

Ever since having Eisley, I just love love LOVE holidays.  I enjoyed them when I was single, and then a little more once Nick and I got married, but there is just something about holidays with a baby.  Suddenly they are magical again, you know what I'm talking about I'm sure.  It's the way you felt when you were a little kid.  Christmas, Easter, the Fourth... they were days that you did something out of the ordinary, celebrated, and created traditions with your family that would last for the rest of your life.

So she may be a little young to do fireworks this year (and that's ok because with the drought we're having, I'm pretty sure everywhere around here is under a burn ban, which means no fireworks.  Bummer!) but we've had fun dipping her toes in her very own little baby pool, cooking out, and spending time with her aunts, uncle, and grandparents.  Just knowing that this is her first Easter and first Fourth of July and so on just makes it so precious.

I just love how this little girl is bringing magic back into our lives.  It's too easy as an adult to take things for granted and feel like every day is just another tick mark on the calendar.  It makes me want to be really purposeful about making her "firsts" super special.  I need to sit down with Nick and figure out what family traditions we want to start for our daughter and our future kids.  I want everything to hold a sense of wonder for our littles, because wonder is one of the most important parts of childhood.

I remember when I was a kid, my parents did such a great job at making holidays special.  We'd come home from church on Easter sunday, and there would be five of the most beautifully done Easter baskets that you'd ever see.  Somehow my mom would quickly set it all up as my dad corralled us all into the van before we would head out to church.  When we would get home I just remember being so excited that the Easter bunny had left us such great stuff.  Every Christmas they got us an ornament that had to do with something we'd done or loved that year, and we would open them up on Christmas Eve and put them on the tree.  When I moved out I had a box full of memories to put up on my own tree.

I'm just really enjoying the fresh eyes that having a baby has given me.  Now don't get me wrong, those fresh eyes also open you up to a world of scary stuff that you have to protect your little ones from- but it's the magic and wonder and beauty that you need to focus on.  We have such an amazing opportunity as moms to shape the world into something better.  We can start by creating a world full of beauty, wonder and traditions for our babies.  We all face the harsh realities of life eventually, but let's try to make sure that we hold that off as long as possible for our kids.