Archive | July, 2013

Our Cloth Diapering Experience

28 Jul

Since we’re using cloth diapers, I thought I’d write the quintessential cloth diapering post.

We started using them around 10.5 weeks. By then, Emma was only pooping once every 1-2 days and I finally felt ready to take on the adventure of cloth diapering.

I had researched diapers during pregnancy and had some friends who liked the bumgenius diapers. So I registered for and planned to buy all one size bumgenius 4.0 pocket diapers with snaps. But then we only received 2 from our showers and a friend from church offered to give me all of her cloth diapers. She had used them with her first two kids but decided to do disposable with her third. I wasn’t about to turn down that kind of generosity – cloth diapers are expensive and we weren’t even sure we’d like them. So we ended up with several kinds of diapers, and as it turns out, the bumgenius ones aren’t my favorite anyway. So my first piece of advice: try out several brands before committing to one.

All of the diapers we have are one size pocket diapers. My friend had about half FuzziBunz and half bumgenius.

FuzziBunz
These are probably my favorite but they’re also the most expensive, at $20 a diaper. I really like how they fit Emma, and they have adjustable elastic around the leg openings and waistband on the back, so you can make the diaper fit right. There are 3 snaps in a triangle on each side and they’re very easy to use and adjust. You can even snap one flap over the other for a smaller fit around the waist.
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I also like that there isn’t a fold in the back so it’s easy to get the insert out.
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The only drawback is that the ends of the elastic tend to come out of their little holes.
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It’s not a biggie to put them back in but it’s just one more thing to do. I’ve also had the most leaks with these but I think that might be the result of not having the elastic adjusted properly.

Bumgenius

I have two versions of bumgenius diapers: velcro and snaps. For some reason, the velcro ones are really bulky so I don’t use them. I think they’ll fit better when Emma is older.
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The snap ones I have are the new 4.0 one size diapers (shown on the smallest setting height-wise).
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They work well enough but on the smallest size, the insert pushes the front of the diaper up. It’s hard to explain so I’ll show a picture:
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That’s really the only complaint I have though. I haven’t had any leaks and the diapers fit pretty well. The pocket does have a fold to keep the insert in but I don’t find that to be a big issue.
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The inside fabric is really soft too, which I like.

Kawaii Baby

I actually had never heard of this brand but I got one for free when I bought our wet bags and some cloth wipes from Kelly’s Closet.
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I liked the diaper so much that I bought 5 more! (From Sweet Bottoms since they were out of stock on Kelly’s Closet.) I would’ve bought more FuzziBunz but the Kawaii diapers are only $10 each, so I can get 2 for the price of 1 FuzziBunz diapers.
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The pocket in these also has a fold. They come with 2 inserts like the bumgenius diapers but I only use one at a time.

The snaps are a combination of the bumgenius and FuzziBunz styles – triangle snaps around the waist like FuzziBunz and three rows of snaps for adjusting the height.

Full disclosure: I still use disposable diapers at night. It’s easier and I don’t have to worry about leaks. Plus Emma has diapers she needs to use before she gets too big for them.

Storage of Dirty Diapers

We bought 2 Planet Wise wet bags to put dirty diapers in – 1 to use at home and 1 for the diaper bag. I have no complaints about these bags. They keep the smell completely contained and are really easy to wash with the diapers when they get really stinky (about every 3-4 diaper washes).

We bought the hanging dry/wet bag for the nursery. I haven’t used the dry compartment yet but might use it if we continue cloth diapers at daycare (my friend is willing to).
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When I take a used diaper off Emma, I pull the insert out of the pocket, lay it in the diaper and fold both in half before putting them in the bag. Since I’m still exclusively breastfeeding, I don’t do anything to the poopy diapers because it all comes out in the first rinse cycle. I put our cloth wipes in the bags too. When I go to wash the diapers and wipes, I just shake all the diapers out of the bag into the washer. Easy!

The hanging wet bag is supposed to hold about 25 diapers but it gets pretty full with only about 15. I’d probably be able to fit about 20 but I don’t have that many diapers I like to use right now (hence buying more).

I do the same thing when out and about but I store the diapers in our medium wet bag:
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That bag is supposed to hold 6-7 diapers.

Washing and Drying Diapers

I bought Rockin Green detergent to use for washing diapers.
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It seems expensive at $15 a bag but you only use 1-2 tbsp per load so it lasts a while. I bought a little scoop from Kelly’s Closet (where I also bought the soap) to measure it out.

To wash the diapers, I run the diapers through one cold rinse cycle first with no soap. Then I add the detergent and run them on a regular hot wash cycle (which ends with another cold rinse).

For drying, I hang all the diapers and wipes on a drying rack and put it outside to be bleached and sanitized by the sun.
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I dried them on low in the dryer a few times before we bought a drying rack but it took a while for them to dry completely. During the winter, I’ll probably use the dryer more but the diaper covers dry faster than the inserts, so I’ll probably remove them earlier than the inserts.

Storage of Clean Diapers

When I first started using cloth, I assembled the diapers after washing them by stuffing them with the inserts. But then I got wise (or maybe just lazy). Now I just put them in a fabric bag and assemble them as I use them.
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Or I stack them folded with the insert so I don’t have to dig in the bag.
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We also use cloth wipes and actually have since Emma was born because she gets diaper rash really easily from traditional wipes (even the ‘sensitive’ ones).
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We have a spray bottle filled with a solution of 1/2 water, 1/4 baby oil, and 1/4 baby lotion, and just spray the wipe before we use it. No more diaper rash! (I do still use regular wipes on the go so I don’t have to bring the spray bottle along.) But I’ll probably try to have my friend use cloth wipes while Emma’s at daycare.

Whew, that was long! Feel free to email me with questions. I can see us using cloth diapers for a long time to come!

Trusting in God’s Love When Life is Hard

22 Jul

One of the books Emma got as a gift is “Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You” by Nancy Tillman. It has quickly become one of my all-time favorite books – because even though the author wrote it describing a parent’s love for their child, it’s such a wonderful description of God’s love for His children.

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My two favorite parts are:

“In the green of the grass…in the smell of the sea…in the clouds floating by…at the top of a tree…in the sound crickets make at the end of the day… ‘You are loved. You are loved. You are loved,’ they all say.”

“You are my angel, my darling, my star… and my love will find you, wherever you are.”

Ever since Emma was born and my life was turned completely upside down, I’ve been thinking about the practical, daily implications of God’s love. When God doesn’t take away my trials, I don’t feel like He loves me. I’d rather He prove His love for me through easier circumstances and less mess.

But that isn’t the way God works. So how can I trust that God’s love is real and steadfast, even when life seems to plead the contrary?

The foundation for my trust is that God has already proven His love – through Jesus’s death on the cross – and that God is sovereign and in control of every detail about my life. Those truths together enable me to trust that God is actively revealing His love for me each day. Every joy, grace and even the trials speak God’s refrain to me, “You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.” Faith enables me to see circumstances for what they truly are.

Analogies help me better understand intangible concepts. When a parent disciplines their child, they do so out of love because they have the big picture in mind. The discipline isn’t enjoyable for the child in the moment, but the parent has their greater good in mind – how the lesson they learn will serve them later in life. Their discipline flows out of love.

In the same way, “God disciplines us for our good” and “He disciplines who He loves.” In the moment, the trials and challenges of life “feel painful rather than pleasant, but later produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by them” (Hebrews 13). God has the big picture in mind. He’s concerned primarily about our holiness, not our temporal happiness – because He understands our greatest need is to be redeemed. So our trials aren’t meaningless. They are accomplishing the will of God in our lives.

But God knows how easily we get discouraged so He still provides little graces each day – things that help us see and remember, “I am loved.” His love is practical and tangible, if only we’re willing to wait and watch for it. So that’s how I can practically trust each day in God’s love for me, even when life is hard. Because I know that “through the steadfast love of the Most High [I] shall not be moved” (Psalm 21:7).

What does trusting in God’s love look like for you?

Emma’s 3-Month Pictures

21 Jul

When we were back in Minnesota for the 4th of July, we had our good friend Jen from Kitestrings Photography take Emma’s 3-month pictures. I was hoping to capture Emma’s great wide smile but unfortunately, she was not in a very smiley mood during our photo shoot, due to her only taking a 10-minute nap on our way down to the Cities. We got some great pictures anyway though, thanks to Jen’s talent! These are some of my favorites:

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IMG_7021bw (Large)IMG_7040bw (Large)Ok, so I had a lot of favorites. If you’re in the Twin Cities area and are looking for a great outdoor photographer, check Jen out – though you might have to wait a few months because she’s 8 months pregnant with a little girl of her own!

Thanks again Jen for the great pictures!

 

My Next Half-Marathon Plan

16 Jul

When Travis asked me what I wanted for my birthday, my answer was “To run a half marathon.” But with Travis traveling so much this summer, and Emma being too young for gym childcare, I can’t commit to training quite yet.

I have a plan though. Our gym has childcare starting at 6 months. If I could run 3-4 miles by then (beginning of October), I could start a 12-week training plan and run a half in January or February.

Travis is thinking about running the half with me, and we’ve talked about doing a destination race – ideas so far are St. George, UT; San Francisco, or somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico. We’d obviously need someone to watch Emma while we ran so my parents might join us too. I’m so excited!

Since I’ll be working 3 days a week and those days will be too busy to fit in a workout, I’ll have 4 days for training. I plan to run 3 days (1 long run, 1 speed workout, and 1 short to mid-distance run) and do 1 day of cross-training (yoga, biking, or swimming).

Now to research some races!

The Big 3-0

15 Jul

Today I turned the big 3-0. I feel like I’m officially an adult but it also feels a bit surreal that my 20s are over. Milestones have that kind of effect. I felt it when I got my drivers license. When I went to college. When I graduated and got my first real job. When I got married. When we bought a house. And then when I got pregnant and gave birth to Emma. They’re those things you anticipate so much for so many years that when they finally happen, you can hardly believe it.

Turning 30 doesn’t bother me. Age is just a number. I’m not a huge fan of the physical changes that come along with getting older but I can embrace it as an opportunity to really learn to not put my stock in physical beauty. Mostly, I am just excited with the new adventures that my 30s will bring – growing our family, learning how to be a godly mother, taking fun vacations, creating more memories with my husband, moving back to Minnesota (?), going deeper in my relationship with God. I’m sure I will see challenges and perhaps sorrows, but there will be joy.

Enough musing. How am I celebrating this big milestone? Well, last Saturday, Travis and I left Emma with some friends and went on a date. We drove up to Boulder and went shopping at lululemon for my birthday present – a pair of black Wunder Under crop pants. I’ve been wanting a new pair of black running/yoga capris for a while, have heard lots of raves about lululemon, but just haven’t been able to justify spending that much money on workout clothes. But it’s not everyday you turn 30.

Then we went out to eat at the Walnut Brewery near Pearl Street. I had lobster and shrimp tacos that were AMAZING. It was such a fun evening, and it was so nice to have time with Travis, just the two of us, and drink a glass of wine. Emma did really well with our friends too, so that was good.

Today, I started off with some coffee, then went to a yoga class while Travis watched Emma, and tonight we’re going to have tacos for dinner. My obsession with Mexican food that started during pregnancy hasn’t disappeared! This coming Friday, I’m having a girls’ night with friends – we’re going to watch a movie and eat ice cream. And then later this fall, my family is talking about doing something big to celebrate my mom and uncle turning 60 (my mom’s birthday was on July 13) and my sister-in-law also turning 30 this year. Fun!

Birthdays definitely look different as an (official) adult than they did when I was younger, but they’re still a great excuse to have fun with friends and treat yourself a bit. I love birthdays!

Emma Grace: 3 Months

7 Jul

At 3 months (13 weeks), Emma is roughly 12.5 lbs, 25 inches long with a head circumference of 16 inches (according to my measurements since she doesn’t go back to the doctor until she’s 4 months old). At her 2-month appointment on June 10, she was 10 lbs 5.5 oz (22nd percentile), 23.5 inches long (86th percentile) with a head circumference of 15.16 inches (53rd percentile). So she’s growing well!
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Since she’s so tall, she’s outgrown some of her 0-3 month clothes, especially when she wears cloth diapers. And because it’s finally summer and we still swaddle Emma at night and for naps, she hasn’t gotten much use out of the long-sleeved sleepers that fit her right now – and probably won’t before she’s too big for them. Sad!
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Emma is a very smiley girl and is the happiest in the morning. I love going into her room in the morning and being greeted by her big toothless grin. She smiles a lot after her good naps too.
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Little by little, Emma has started to like things she didn’t before. She goes longer on walks without crying or fussing – we can make it a full 20 minutes now! She’ll fall asleep in her carseat in the car (but still after she cries for 5-10 minutes) and she’s mostly stopped crying when we take her out of the bathtub. She hardly ever cries when getting her diaper changed or getting dressed.
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In the past week, Emma has really discovered her hands. She loves to look at them and put them in her mouth. She also looks at people when they talk to her, and follows them and toys with her eyes.
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Emma likes to make noises when she’s awake but she almost never grunts in her sleep anymore. Glad she outgrew that! She’s started to laugh in her sleep, which makes me hopeful that real laughing is just right around the corner.
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Emma consistently sleeps 7-8 hours as her long stretch at night, except the past couple nights when she’s been going through a growth spurt. She goes down for the night around 9:30 and sleeps until about 5. After I feed her, she’ll go right back to sleep for another couple of hours. She usually is ‘up for the day’ between 6 and 7:30. We still swaddle her but she’s on the verge of outgrowing it, now that she likes her hands so much.
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Emma still naps the best in my arms and gets really difficult when she’s overtired. But I’ve been having a hard time sitting around so much, so I’ve started alternating putting her down and holding her for naps. If I put her down (after she’s already asleep), she’ll only last about 45 minutes. I use that time for showering, laundry, cleaning, prayer/Bible study and other projects. If I hold Emma during her nap, she sleeps 1.5 – 2 hours. So I use that time to read, watch Netflix, email, blog, research things, etc. It’s working for now. And since she’s sleeping so well at night, I don’t really feel the need to change it (though going back to work might change my mind).
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Things Emma does when she’s awake:

* Plays on her playmat, watching the blinking star that plays music and batting at the hanging toys, especially the frog
* Listens to music while mommy holds her reclined on her legs and moves her arms to the beat like she’s dancing
* Swings or sits on mommy’s lap while being read a book or her Big Picture Story Bible
* Goes on a walk around the yard or neighborhood
* Lies on her back while kicking her legs and inspecting her hands
* Attempts tummy time for a few minutes (not a big fan)
* Gets a bath or grooming (which consists of washing her sticky hands, arms, face and neck)
* Eats! She has cut her nursing time down to about 20-30 minutes (10-15 on each side)
* Watches mommy work in the kitchen or do laundry
* Takes in all the new sights and sounds when she goes shopping or to one of mommy’s friend’s houses
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Even though Emma isn’t a big fan of tummy time, she has pretty good neck control, I think from the way I nurse her. This past week, we bought her a Bumbo seat. She likes it a lot!
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But it’s a lot of work for a little girl! So she only stays in there for 5-10 minutes.

Last Tuesday, we had Emma’s 3-month pictures taken by our good friend, Jen. I can’t wait to see how they turned out in a few weeks! Emma was a little fussy during pictures but Jen said she did really well compared to some other kids she’s photographed.

And that’s Emma at 3 months!