Good bye, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011
This year has been very eventful, to say the least. I feel like I've been moving so fast, always busy. We had so many events this year I don't even think I can remember them all. I was going to make a list, to prove how busy our life has been, but I just can't. I'm trying to remember things in chronological order and it isn't happening. *sigh* There have been many moments of celebration, as well as times of sadness this past year. This is life.

I was going to write a post recapping the past year, but I'm just not in to it right now. So instead, lets discuss the year ahead.

New Year's Resolutions
Write more often
I know I've said it a million times, but I have a goal to post at least once a week over the next year. I want to actually feel like I'm keeping up with this blog. I have dreams of going to BlogHer and doing giveaways and having real readership.... *le rĂªve*

Get organized
We will be moving in the next couple of months, and I want our new house to actually have some organization to it. I'm so tired of running around trying to find things because they never seem to be where I left them, or where they belong. (Because I completely suck at leaving things where they belong...)

*Gulp* I have a confession to make.... We eat out for dinner pretty much every night, and we eat way late. This is partly because I like to wait for my mom to get home from work so we can all eat together, and partly because I'm lazy, and only slightly because Turtle-Love keeps me pretty busy. This new year, brings a new attitude at home for me. My goal is to cook at least 3 meals a week. Hey! That is a lot when you haven't cooked, except three times or so, in over a year! Shhh! Don't judge me! Now that I am responsible for not only my nutrition, but shaping our son's pallet and his nutritional well being I have a reason I can hold myself accountable to for making nutritious and tasty meals at home. Not to mention we really need to be saving that money...

I might as well keep 'fessing up. I suck at getting house work done. I make excuses and in general avoid putting laundry away, vacuuming, dusting, etc on a regular basis and instead subscribe to the "where did the carpet go?" method of cleaning. I'm just kidding it isn't that bad, but sometimes it does feel that way. I need to get off my tush and set a cleaning schedule and stick to it. Oh Pinterest.... I'm coming!

I need to go! I keep saying I'm going to do it next semester, and then I procrastinate and blah blah blah, crap it is too late to sign up for classes. Way to drop the ball. My goal is to be in school and working toward my degree(s) before the end of the new year.

Are we seeing a pattern yet??? I guess that leads to the next one...

Get off my duff!
I'm lazy. I make excuses. I am a procrastinator and I totally rock at it! But wait, that isn't something to celebrate really. Sure, I work very well under pressure. I get some of my best stuff done at the last minute! However, I need to get my growing behind up and get moving. I need to be more active, and take a proactive stance in life! My goal for the new year is to plain ole get up and go!

Give back
I really want to get a better hold on things and do more to help the community. I want to volunteer, raise funds, and I have 2 big projects I really want to get started on this year. Cloth diaper education classes, and gathering donations for families in the NICU (including crocheting hats and booties for the hopeful NICU grads). I want our child(ren) to understand how important it is to give back, and to help others as much as you can.

Think I'm biting off more than I can chew? Maybe... but hey, I got through planning and executing a baptism, birthday party, bridal shower, my wedding, and much more back to back this year, while working and caring for Turtle-Love. I'm in need of some self improvement this year, dang it, so I'm gonna find the time. In two days. It isn't the new year yet ;p

Days of Thanks

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
As a tribute to the November Thanksgiving holiday I'm posting this blog full of 30 days of thanks. One day of thanks for each day in the month. I thought it would be great to post this on the last day of the month, as a recap.

Day 1 - I am thankful for my job. You all have no idea how much this company and the people I work with mean to me, and how helpful and supportive they were with my maternity leave, and my transition into motherhood.

Day 2 - I am thankful for my dog. The stinky mutt that cleans the floor for me, stands protectively between my child and the door while I am in the other room, and barks at anyone that even thinks about walking into my house. You are a pain in my butt sometimes Charlie, but I love you - even if you are a beast.

Day 3 - I am thankful for my sister Jessica. She puts up with so much from me, helps me with so many things, does so much for me, and is the most wonderful Auntie ever. ♥ Not to mention is totally talented in Paint. ;p (you know, the 'graphics program' that comes on every Windows computer I've ever been in contact with that allows you to draw pixel by pixel? Yep, that one)

Day 4 - I am thankful for my phone. It sounds dumb but I really am. This piece of machinery helps me each and every day to capture memories of life with my son, watch him grow, see him learn. Not to mention does simple math and accepts my incessant assault on its face by my fingers to text, surf Facebook, Google things, and keep track of my pumping schedule.

Day 5 - Today (and everyday) I am thankful for my son, who is 11 months old this day =) I love you sweetness!

Day 6 - I'm thankful for new family :-)

Day 7 - I am thankful for such a wonderful babysitter. Having someone care for your child that truly loves them is a blessing - and a bonus that her daughter and boyfriend as well as the rest of her family also loves my TurtleLove. Super bonus, Nicole is an amazing friend all around, and an inspirational woman. ♥

Day 8 - I am thankful for WIC - which has helped us make ends meet and provide myself with proper nutrition through my pregnancy and nursing TurtleLove, as well as provided me with with a hospital grade electric breast pump for the first year so I can continue to provide breast milk for my son, even while at work.

Day 9 - I am thankful for the ability to breastfeed and provide my son the best start in life nutritionally that I was able (started putting him to breast at 4 days old). Even though we have also had to supplement with formula, today marks 11 months of breastfeeding and still going strong! For that, I am very thankful.

Day 10 - I'm thankful for downtime at home with my son

Day 11 - I'm thankful for all of our countries soldiers, past present and future - those who have served in times of war and times of peace. Those who live, breathe, and die to protect the freedoms we are provided - those that fight for what we stand for. A special thank you to both of my grandfathers(♥), who each fought for this country, and a special thank you to my friends and family who serve(d).

Day 12 - I'm thankful for my best friend Rachel - I'm pretty sure I'd be insane without you - love you!

Day 13 - I'm thankful my husband has a job he loves, with people he can call his friends =)

Day 14 - I'm thankful for my mommy who's birthday it is. She does so much for us and has always been supportive and there for me. Love you Mom!

Day 15 - I'm thankful for my husband on our 1 month anniversary. Finally got my name changed too!

Day 16 - I'm thankful to have a car to drive to work and to take TurtleLove around in. A car that is safe and reliable, so I'd like to thank my dad and step-mom for helping us find this one last year, and of course Dad's networking skills to get it lol.

Day 17 - I'm thankful for Sarah (my sister's bestie) who is awesome and amazing!!!!! (she totally hooked us up at the Breaking Dawn release - she works for the theater)

Day 18 - I'm thankful for great friends, good company, and love. (and breaking dawn part 1..... shhhh)

Day 19 - I'm thankful for my family! Every single one of them! And I'm thankful TurtleLove was able to meet both of my mom's parents and be such a source of joy for them before they passed.

Day 20 - I'm thankful for the opportunity to have lazy days at home.

Day 21 - I'm thankful for my ability to learn things quickly =)

Day 22 - I'm thankful for my childhood. My parents did a great job making sure I was happy, enriched my imagination, and helped me be eager to learn!

Day 23 - Today I'm reminded to be thankful of so many things. Medical advances, research and funds being raised by groups such as the March of Dimes, amazing nurses and neonatologists, and support. I'll always be thankful of support.

Day 24 I'm thankful for many many things. Too many things and people to mention here but for starters I'm thankful for the beautiful land we call home.
Remember in your shopping and travels your plans for the day are NOT more important than the policeman fire truck or ambulance on its way to an emergency and get out of its way!!!

Day 25 - I'm thankful for good sales - and I'm thankful TurtleLove's fever FINALLY broke!(his first fever over 100!)

Day 26 - I'm thankful to have such wonderful family that love and support us.

Day 27 - I'm thankful for access to clean water everyday and the ability to put food on the table. I hope that I can continue to learn to use these resources wisely and respect that I have them at all when so many others do not.

Day 28 - I'm thankful for my friends. Thank you for embracing my craziness =)

Day 29 - I'm thankful for my many freedoms.

Day 30 - I'm thankful for life. The gift of life - that I have it, that I've been able to create life within me, and that I will hopefully be able to do so again in the future. I'm thankful to be a part of so many lives, and to have so many lives intertwine with mine. Life is such a treasure and a gift.

The new Mr and Mrs

Friday, October 21, 2011
We got married! That's right! We did it! And with minimal stress and oops moments lol.
Well, kinda.

I'm not going to go into all of the details about the wedding. I'm just too busy at work for all that. I'll post pictures once I get them from the photographer - who by the way was amazing!

Anyhow - In celebration of our newly joined lives together I'm taking this blog by storm. We are getting an overhaul over here - and a commitment to more posts! Be on the lookout for changes - change is good!

Speaking of change...

I'm sure many of you have heard about the OCCUPY events that are going on - all the (hopefully) peaceful demonstrations and such springing up all over the nation inspired by OCCUPY WALL STREET.
We have an OCCUPY event here locally as well - and a friend of mine worked it out so that local moms and dads could bring their kids to the demonstration and support the cause. Obviously with small children (most of us) are not willing to tent overnight in the park indefinitely or at all - but we have a scheduled time for all of us to meet and experience the movement with our children and show our support. Toad and I are taking Turtle-Love to the demonstration later today. I'm excited! My first demonstration/protest! I need to remember to pack snacks and water, the ergo and toys, and warm clothes to bundle us in. Maybe some onesies and t-shirts so we can get in on some activist fun!

Turtle-Love and the princess ice pack

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I wrote this yesterday and thought to share it with you all. I hope you enjoy!

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Turtle-Love.
Turtle-Love was a smallish child - a happy boy of nine and one half months.
He often played with cups rather than baby toys, and preferred walking around and drumming on boxes to sitting peacefully. His mother and father embraced all his ruckus as they knew he was growing and developing in to a rather curious child.

One evening his mother and father were preparing for the next day when Turtle-Love became fussy. He was tired and a bit hungry, and so his mother took him to bed to nurse and sleep. However, as his mother's eyes grew weary Turtle-Love's cries grew more frequent.
Turtle-Love was not interested in being nursed, or laying down, and sleep was not in his mind. Turtle-Love's father came up to bed and scooped Turtle-Love up. He walked the hallway back and forth, all the while talking and bouncing little Turtle-Love, trying to calm him.
Turtle-Love's mother tried again to nurse him, to no avail. Turtle-Love was not interested. He continued to cry and became frantic.
Turtle-Love's father took him back downstairs where he presented Turtle-Love with a fantastic treasure; a frozen ring of a toy! Turtle-Love was delighted at the cold sensation on his sore gums. It seamed all the fuss Turtle-Love had been making was due to new teeth!

Turtle-Love had only one and one half teeth, both on the bottom, however now his top gums were very swollen! Poor poor Turtle-Love continued to fuss here and there.
His mother came down the stairs and scooped him up from his father. She rocked and swayed and sang to Turtle-Love, all of which only briefly appeased him.
Turtle-Love's father, noticing the frozen ring was getting warm, produced a new and better treasure; a frozen pink Sleeping Beauty lunchbox gel pack! Oh what glee! Turtle-Love was so very excited to receive this treasure! He only slightly bit it, and preferred to hold it with both hands to be sure it would not be lost.

Turtle-Love's mother took him to the bathroom to play in the mirror. Turtle-Love had great fun watching the boy in mirror world imitate him. Together they raised their arms, flapping them at times like wings.
Together they bounced the gel pack against the mirror sheet that separated their worlds.
Alas, together they discovered the light switch! Amazed, Turtle-Love and his mirror world counterpart would turn off the light, giggle, and then look for each other in the mirror. Turtle-Love's mother would then turn the light back on, as did a very similar looking woman playing with his mirror friend.
Turtle-Love's mother then allowed Turtle-Love to turn the light off one last time, and they said goodnight to the mirror boy and his mother.

Turtle-Love's father then met them in the play room. Together his parents tried to place Turtle-Love into the mamaRoo; a device used to coax little boys into sleeping by rocking them and bouncing them like their mothers.
Turtle-Love was mad! How dare they try to put him down! He screamed and wailed at his mother when she tried to move him away from her. All he wanted was to be in her arms, why did she not want to hold him?!
Turtle-Love's whole world seemed to fall apart, just as his mother quickly scooped him back close to her. She snuggled Turtle-Love and kissed his face, assuring him she would not set him down. Turtle-Love relaxed and returned to sucking his bottom lip.

Turtle-Love's father then pulled a new treasure from the cold black box that shoots ice; a frozen figure eight toy! He tried to trade Turtle-Love for the gel pack, but as soon as he took the gel pack from Turtle-Love, Turtle-Love was crushed.
All he wanted was his pink Sleeping Beauty lunchbox gel pack. All he wanted was to hold it, and his father had taken it from him. No amount of kisses from his mother would fix that, and his father soon realized and returned the gel pack to Turtle-Love.

Turtle-Love gripped the gel pack firmly in both hands. As his mother tried to lay Turtle-Love on her shoulder, Turtle-Love lay the gel pack on her shirt and rest his head on it. Quickly he jerked his head upright again; the gel pack was very cold! It gave Turtle-Love a shiver.
Silly Turtle-Love. He grinned sheepishly, and pat the gel pack against his mother's arm as he lay his head on her shoulder, briefly.
Right then Turtle-Love's mother had a great idea. They would go for a walk! The night air was warm and inviting, and Turtle-Love loved to be outside. Turtle-Love's father held him gently while his mother dressed in his riding harness; a soft blue cushion that ensured he would be snuggled against her.

After his mother placed him against her with his soft blue attacher Turtle-Love continued to grasp his pink gel pack; determined his princess friend would weather the night with him, chilling his little fingers.
Turtle-Love's mother and father tried to coax Turtle-Love to chew on the gel pack, but Turtle-Love wanted only to hold it and know his princess friend was there with him.
Turtle-Love's father and mother, carrying Turtle-Love with ease, began to walk. They walked slowly and spoke softly to not wake the neighbors at such a late hour.

They walked past a red metal figure in the ground near their house.
They walked past a whole line of trees, who's branches were waving to them in the warm night air.
They walked past rows of houses all attached to each other, with metal mounds that rolled in the daylight, now shining under the tall lamps along their path.
They walked past a small field.
They walked past the swimming water's fence.
They walked through the bubble in the road that always marked they were almost home when they were in the rolling metal mound.
They walked through an isle of trees and shrubs, all gently swaying in the slight night breeze that tickled Turtle-Love's fuzzy hair.
They walked to the end of the isle of tree's and they stopped. Turtle-Love's mother and father spoke briefly and turned around. Then they began their journey back the way they came.
Turtle-Love was furious! He did not want to turn back yet! There was so much more to discover past the isle of trees, all that he wanted to see!
Turtle-Love's mother patted his bum and gently shooshed him. Turtle-Love didn't know why, but this sound was appealing to him. Everyone in a while he would fuss, fighting the sleep that had been welling in his eyes for such a long time.

Turtle-Love then realized his gel pack was no longer cold. He princess friend had gotten as warm as his mother and the night air! What a tragedy this was, and Turtle-Love mourned the loss of his chilly friend.
Turtle-Love's mother was gentle with him. She reminded him it was okay, that she was still holding him and was there snuggled to him tightly. Turtle-Love relaxed, remembering his mother was still there.
Turtle-Love made noises of disagreement as his heavy eyes started to drift and fall. His mother continued to shoosh and pat him.
The last Turtle-Love saw before giving in to his sleep weary eyes was the red metal figure in the ground. He thought how nice it was he made it home.
Turtle-Love's mother and father walked near their home for a little while longer to be sure little Turtle-Love was sleeping well.

They retired to their bedroom, and carefully removed Turtle-Love's soft blue attacher.
Turtle-Love's mother was sure to never set him down, but instead to lay him with her gently on the bed.
And then they slept.

The end.

Neglecting my duties

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I've been neglecting my blog =/ I apologize. *sigh* It seems life always gets in the way of my good intentions.

What to update on? Lets see....

Turtle-Love is doing well. We are introducing one new food a week. He has had rice cereal, peas, avocados, and sweet potatoes. We will be trying out carrots next. I've made his baby food twice (avocados and sweet potatoes) and it went well enough with my mini food processor. I put the food in the snappi containers the hospital sent us home with to pump milk into. I'm afraid to use them for milk because I watched a girl drop one in the NICU and the top popped open and the milk went everywhere. I'll stick to screw on lids, thanks.

Turtle-Love is gliding across the kitchen floor in his walker and thoroughly enjoys it. He has gotten a bit tired of the jumper at the moment, but has finally figured out how to make the piano play on his own (with his elbow). We've recently realized he needs new, more age appropriate, toys - all of our toys are for around 3 months. Turtle-Love is around7 1/2 months now - its time for an upgrade. We are looking for good deals and while I'd rather go with all wooden toys the fact of the matter is Turtle-Love gets very excited about the ones that make noise and light up (of course) and wooden toys are pretty pricey (of course) so I'm hoping for a healthy mix.

My milk supply has either increased, or I've become more efficient at pumping. I switched to pumping every three hours at work per the lactation consultant's suggestion, which works out okay. Either way - I'm no longer worried or anxious that he isn't getting enough. I bought my firrst nursing top yesterday. It was cute - only $27 (only?! uhhhh, that is a lot of money for a shirt!) which is great compared to some others I have seen. It even has a bit of my personality to it - a little punkish if you will. I've gone 7 months without a nursing shirt, I should be able to go through the end of nursing without one but I'm tired of layering in the summer! The heat index has been in the 110's!

I've also started weight watchers. Toad has too - we both have a wedding to look nice for. Also, we generally need to be in better shape and have better eating habits if we are ever going to expect Turtle-Love to eat healthfully. So far so good, I feel good knowing I'm not just eating junk, and I've been trying new veggies and cooking too. Yum!

We found a great deal on suits for the guys for the wedding. Our wedding isn't a super formal occasion, but it isn't a jeans kind of affair either. The guys will be wearing three piece suits - which Toad happens to look amazing in. I'm very excited. I think I've made a decision about the bridesmaids shoes - but it isn't 100% yet. I'm pretty indecisive, it's myself proclaimed worst attribute. Anyhow, if my decision holds there will be many shocked, and possibly disappointed people. *shrug* I haven't decided, I know the day is about what WE want, and this is what Toad wants. I'm just having trouble with it.

Turtle-Love's baptism is in 2 1/2 weeks. I'm very excited! We've received his gown and are on the hunt for shoes that he might wear with it. If not, oh well. We have our baptismal prep class this Saturday, and then we will need to start making his candle as well. Invitations have gone out but I haven't heard from many people. I hope there is a decent turn out - this is an important event to us and we would like to share it with as many people as they are willing.

Mama MoMo and I are still working on getting our little cloth diaper project running. we have had some great ideas but there is more to be discussed. Hopefully this weekend - after the baptismal prep class - I'll get to sit with her and chat. I missed last Saturday at the Snap, which always sucks to miss because I look forward to it so much all week.

Speaking of cloth diapers, Turtle-Love is outgrowing some of his. We have 5 fitteds that are approaching too snug, and two Lil' Joeys that he has out grown. We have a size small BottomBumpers that the rise is getting low on too, even though the waist is of course fine - my little bean stalk, lol. Toad and I are discussing the possibility of purchasing a few more diapers to replace them in our stash - the number we have in rotation now is fine while we still have disposables for laundry day but we have decided once we have used them all (soon) we will be full time in cloth so we will need an extra days worth of diapers at least. I would love to get a hold of some itti bittis, more AppleCheeks, and a few other diapers I've been eying for a while now. It is just a matter of making the financial commitment. I'm trying to get away from microfiber though. It seems they always produce an oder, even a minute one. I've "rocked a soak" a few times (actually I try to soak over night every other wash) but maybe I should use some funk rock or strip them. There is a woman here local that makes inserts from zorb that I'm like to try. Again, these things require financial commitments and we are already tight. We can make do without the extra diapers I think - but I'm not sure I want to try. I'll have to overview our budget and see what we need to do. It is just so hard to resist buying the adorable diapers!!!

Updating on turtle-love & wedding stuff!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
It has been a while since my last post. Uhh. I apologize, it seems my head is all over the place these days.


My baby is 6 months old! Actually, he is now 6 1/2 months old =/ On the 14th he weighed in at 12 pounds 1 ounce, and 24 1/2 inches tall. The doctor was pleased with his weight gain, and said he is hitting all the milestones expected of him - sitting up on his own for a few minutes, pushing up onto his hands from his tummy, bearing weight on his legs... etc. We got the okay to start solids too =)

Turtle-Love's first food was rice cereal. We did that for a week, and last night gave him peas. He loved them! He is also getting better with his sippy cup, though he only holds it on his own sometimes. He does try to feed himself with the spoon constantly and does an okay job =) We put water in his sippy cup btw.

Turtle-Love recently acquired a walker and a jumparoo from my cousin. He LOVES them! He hasn't quite figured out jumping yet, but he loves to chew on the teething sunshine and has just learned to push the buttons on the piano, though possibly on accident most times. The jumparoo has all kinda of goodies for him to play with that he loves. The walker has a tray with animals that make noise on it - and he loves them! He instantly lunged for the lion on the tray that says "RAAR!" when you hit him and he likes to chew on his fabric mane =) The other day he learned to actually walk in the walker and now you have to watch your toes in the kitchen (where the walker stays because its not carpet). He even got stuck on the fridge and wiggled free =)

Turtle-Love has also figured out reaching for people to pick him up, and readily identifies different faces and voices. We recently got the Baby Signing Time Sign and Read edition (my soon to be MIL agreed to chip in for it, along with a good friend of mine) from Baby Steals and we plan to start that in the next couple days. I've already been signing the alphabet to him when we sing it, and I sign milk and mommy and daddy when I recall to - or have my hands free.

Turtle-Love will be getting baptized (I'm Catholic) on July 30th. We've ordered the invitations and his gown and received both. After the 1st on the month I'll mail the invitations. I'm worried his gown will still be too big =/ We will see I guess.

On the wedding front...

I love that I'm getting married. And I'm doing my best to plan, and pay for, a wedding that we actually want. Of course, this would be much easier if our money wasn't already so tight. I'm also starting to resent our wedding because if I didn't have to pay for our wedding, I could quit my job and stay home with Turtle-Love - because we live with my mother. Now that I'm back in the office, living with my mother longer and staying home with my son is sounding more awesome than us buying a house. Anyhow, I've gotten off track.

I'm still trying to get an officiant, and we are still working on centerpiece ideas and I'm talking to a few florists for bouquets. Of course - trying to go with the most cost effective solution. I had thought I could make the bridesmaids bouquets and the groomsmen's boutonnieres but the reality is I don't have the fridge space, and will most likely not have the time to make them. I may still do the boutonnieres, they are fairly simple. Maybe I'll do fake flowers so I can make them all. I'm still not certain.I do know I'll be purchasing my bouquet, and it will be real. Is that selfish? I feel like it might be selfish... *sigh*

I'm also looking into bakers. I do NOT want to bake my own wedding cake, and I would prefer if my sister and mother did not have to either. Not to mention, I've only done a 2 tiered cake before which went well enough, and a mini three tier that was a bit wobbly.

Oops, gotta go get back to work. Hopefully I can remember to post again tomorrow!

Done, but not over

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Last night at midnight, we ended the Flats and hand washing challenge.

Lets face it, hand washing diapers can get down right dirty. I spent the first few nights washing my flats in a sink with soap by hand. It took me hours! I tried different techniques each night, hoping to speed up the process. Finally I moved on to putting them in a large container, two at a time, and shaking the ever-loving-crap out of them Hah, quite literally! This significantly cut down my wash time. For my last wash, and my biggest load, I used my bath tub and my feet. I didn't time it, but it sure felt faster and easier.
I never used gloves. In hindsight it would have prevented the raw skin on my knuckles from breaking open during a poo-stain scrub down, which would have been great to avoid. Never the less, I didn't use them.
It never failed, anytime I started washing diapers my son would decide he needed me half way through. It didn't matter that I had just nursed him. It didn't matter that he was being entertained by Daddy, or Auntie, or Gramma. He wanted Mommy. I could push it by singing to him and dancing for him while I was washing the diapers, but I was never able to get through an entire load without stopping for him. If I had been alone during this process it would have taken forever. Well, maybe not. He enjoyed watching me wash the diapers in the mirror when I had him strapped on my back in the ergo.

Over all experience
I chose not to research folds. Or washing techniques. I wanted to do this as blindly as possible. I wanted to see if it was plausible to hand someone flats, give them a brief explanation, and expect it to work. It did for the most part. We had a few leaks, and I'm thankful my son is an occasional pooper. Unfortunately, every time he pooped, it got on the cover. Had I researched folds (which I'll be doing this week since I'm taking our flats camping with us next week) I may have been able to prevent this at least some.

Now I know
how flats work.
there are vast amounts of information available in "internet land" for folds and washing techniques.
receiving blankets work really well.
that I can diaper my baby in absolutely any absorbent material, and sit him on fleece until the diapers are done drying.

Its not over. Now I can help
I've mentioned before I'm working on starting a non profit that will bring cloth diaper education, especially to lower income families. Now that I have cloth diapered with the most economical solution, I'm better able to promote, encourage, advocate, and pass along this information. I cannot wait to get this started! My local WIC office was not willing to help, but I plan to contact my local pregnancy centers and birthing classes as soon as I have some materials printed. I cannot wait!

Traveling in flats: Day 7 of the challenge

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm actually writing this post from my phone on the Blogger app so I'm not really sure how any html coding I post will work.

We are traveling up state to visit the s2b in laws. I've brought all 12 flats and 2 of our covers. We've just started our journey but I'm already nervous because I forgot the wet bag. Oh well I'm sure we can get a ziploc.

Any how, here is a picture of turtle-love passed out :-)

Hand washing with ease! Day 5 of Flats Challenge

Friday, May 27, 2011
First, check out the rules and regs for the Flats and Hand Washing challenge over at Dirty Diaper Laundry

I've done it!


I've hand washed our diapers, in less than an hour without scrubbing my finger skin off or using too much elbow grease! I've even done it without a bucket and plunger, or a bathtub!



With a tupperware container!

So.... I rinsed all of my diapers out to get release some of the ammonia and I scrubbed off the excess poo. I filled my sink with hot/warm soapy water and let the diapers sit there soaking over night. In all reality, they sat there from 2am til 8pm. Then I wrung them and rinsed them and set them to the side.

I got out a very large tupperware bowl with a lid. We happen to call this the "bulgogi bowl" in my family because its what we use to make bulgogi in. My mom's mom is Korean, bulgogi is a Korean dish, thinly sliced deliciously marinated beef that we grill to perfection. Mmmmmmm. Man I'm hungry now. Moving along...
I got the bowl out, added some laundry soap and shot it with hot/warm water til about half full.

I washed the covers first because they take longer to dry. I put the two weren't using right then into the bowl and closed the lid. I probably could have washed 3. Once I sealed the lid, I shook the bowl with might and furry!! Haha, really, I shook the ever-loving-day-lights out of this bowl for 5 minutes.
After the 5 minutes of shaking the bowl from different directions, I removed the lid, wrung out the covers, and set them in the sink which I had filled 1/4 of the way with cool clean soap free water.

I placed 2 flats into the bowl. I shook the ever-loving-day-lights out of the bowl for 5 minutes. This was starting to be a work out! Not the I want to rip my arms off work out I was getting from the hand scrubbing I was doing previously. Nope, this was more entire upper body and cardio! Wooo! I could even isolate muscle groups by shaking the bowl differently =)
Once the 5 minutes was up, I wrung out the flats and placed them in the clean water. Got 2 more flats... you get the idea.

I should mention, after the 5 minutes of shaking, before I wrung out the flats I would inspect them for stains. I only found 1 diaper with poo spots and was able to easily remove them with a very small amount of hand scrubbing.

Once all the diapers were shaken clean, I rinsed them through twice to get rid of the soap, including a quick swish bath in standing water between rinses. Then I wrung them out and hung them on my drying rack. Done! I think I washed 10 flats and 2 covers and it took me just under an hour total. I could cut this time down if I could come up with a better way to rinse. Hmmm....

As I've mentioned before, we have 12 flats. So, saying that I washed 10 meant we only had 2 flats left. Uh-oh. No worries though, we ended up using receiving blankets which I found are possibly more absorbent, though a tad more bulky. My little sister actually came to town and was watching Turtle-Love while I washed diapers. She had to change him, with a receiving blanket, and rather than have me show her the "easy way" she wanted to try wrapping him in one on her own. Ha! she felt so bad about the way it turned out on him, she let him play naked on top of a fleece blanket with her. She figured, if she was going to get wet because she didn't wrap it right anyways, she might as well let him be naked since that is what he wanted. =) He didn't pee on her, but he did sit up by himself for 3 whole minutes!

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share today. I will get pictures tonight tho, and hopefully a ridiculous video of me shaking the dang bowl =/ Its for a good cause right?

Big thanks to Diaper Junction for supplying my flats!
Also, thanks very much to Simple Little Baby for suppling us with 2 snappis!

Link up everyone! Check out how other bloggers embrace the challenge!

Flats day 4

Thursday, May 26, 2011
First of all - check out the rules and regs for the Flats and Hand washing challenge over at Dirty Diaper Laundry

A big thanks to Diaper Junction for providing my flats, and to Simple Little Baby for providing 2 snappis!

Turtle-Love actually developed his first diaper rash ever the other night. It was my own fault. I hadn't realized he pooped (thought it was gas) and it stayed on just a little too long. Poor baby, I felt just awful. I've been putting some cloth safe diaper salve on him and he spent the evening in just a flat with no cover. That is, until I put it on too loose and Turtle-Love was in my lap and the pee ran out the leg onto me =/ Oh well. It isn't the first time and certainly wont be the last.

Yesterday we went through a bunch of flats, and 2 of our 3 covers because of poop. Today we are limited to our 1 cover, because I didn't get the other two washed. I didn't get the flats washed either so we are limited. I imagine this means we will be diapering alternatively tonight - using t-shirts and towels. I'm not sure what we will do about a cover. I think I'll just be sure to put a fleece blanket under him or a rain coat and we will stay home.

I've lost creativity for folds. I did try something different last night that worked really well. I folded the flat into the smallest triangle I could fit around Turtle-Love. Then pulled the center corner up, and the side corners across and down over the wet zone and fastened with a snappi. I just can't think of other ways to fold. Part of me wants to look some up, but the other part of me - the stubborn side - wants to rough this out. I know nothing about flats. I should keep it that way.

I've read some mom's are writing how they are biased in this challenge because they know they can go back to their washing machine. I like to think I'm not biased - we have a washing machine that I absolutely can go back to; but I know that hand washing is a reality s2bDH and I may face when we move out. I know that financially our times are hard, and they will get harder for a while. Hand washing is a close reality for us, and I'm glad to have the practice. I'm glad to be part of this challenge.

Speaking of hand washing, I mentioned I didn't do the washing last night. Nope, not at all. I rinsed out the flats and covers and left them to soak in warm soapy water in my kitchen sink while we watched a movie. However, by the time the movie was over it was late and Turtle-Love was cranky so we went to bed, I figured I could wash them in the morning. I didn't though. We got up late and I was too busy enjoying cuddling with Turtle-Love before leaving him for work. I'll have to wash them all this evening. As I mentioned before, I think we will have to collect some absorbent bits from around the house to cover him in for the evening while I do the washing. I'm certain ti will take me forever if I do them in the sink. I considering the tub. I can put them in and agitate them where they have more space to hang out in the water maybe? Or maybe I'll use a big tupperware container and load them individually and shake the bah-jee-bees out of them. Actually that is a plan. I'm going for the tupperware tambourine wash method tonight =D I'll post pics and video tomorrow!

Falts day 3: Why would cloth mommas diet?!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Today is day 3 of the Flats and hand washing Challenge! Check out Dirty Diaper Laundry for the Rules and such.

Also - a big thanks to Diaper Junction for supplying my flats free of charge! Another thanks to Simple Little Baby for providing us with 2 snappis at no cost! ♥

To explain the blog title... last night I washed flats for the 2nd time. By hand of course, in our sink. This time I switched to the kitchen sink thinking I'd have more room. Let me tell you, I don't know why any cloth diapering moms (or dads) ever diet or go to the gym. Hand washing your diapers is a HUGE work out! Then again I'm way out of shape, with zero upper arm strength. Seriously, my arms were really sore from the last good scrub session; add last night's wash to that and I was feeling the burn.

So yesterday the s2bDH failed the challenge. He used flats for 2 of 3 diaper changes. He said he couldn't find the rest of the flats - which btw were in a stack under our changing table right next to the first stack that he finished off. In the first two changes while I was at work he put Turtle-Love in the flats he was able to locate, using "the prefold" and a snappi. However the next change he put him into a disposable. UUUUHHHHHHHHHH. He found our regular cloth diapers, which I put away out of sight, while trying to find the rest of the flats and opted not to use one. =/ He meant well - his thinking was that it wouldn't get washed until next week because we wouldn't have a full load of diapers to put in the machine. Honestly, I'd have hand washed it - but I'm kinda thankful I don't have to. I was pretty upset though that he didn't just call me or text me and ask where the rest of the flats were. As soon as we got home I switch Turtle-Love into a flat.

I tried a new folding technique. I made the double triangle, laid Turtle-Love on top, pulled the center corner up to his waist, over the wet zone, pulled the left corner across his left thigh over the wet zone and under his right thigh and tucked it, then the right corner across the right thigh over the wet zone and under the left thigh and tucked it. It made an X across the wet zone for a little more coverage. It worked really well actually. Of course, I'm calling it "the X".

Today I showed s2bDH where the flats and snappis and covers were. I even provided him a t-shirt of mine to use if he runs out! His words to me: Isn't that kinda big? My response It should soak up lots of pee. He laughed at me and shook his head, but agreed.

I'm thinking tonight I'll try something different for washing. I'm also considering a soapy wet pail for the dirties instead of a dry pail, so they get a soak. Last night after their first scrubbing, I made more soapy water and left them to soak while I watched 16 and Pregnant on DVR and nursed Turtle-Love. I know, lol, I'm awful. The soak seemed to help though, they were much easier to wash for the second washing than last time.

Let us see what the day holds!

BTW here is a video (sound less) of me washing flats for the first wash so you can see my scrub method. Please excuse the crappy quality from my "HD camcorder" on my droid. And my s2bDH lack of attention to where he is pointing the camera *sigh*

Flats official Day 2

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
So, here we are. Today is officially day 2 of the Flats and Hand washing challenge, and of course my 3rd day using flats. I finally have the pictures from our first hand wash!
The dirties

After the first wash

Trying to rinse out all that extra soap!

Lets try to agitate the soap out...

Finally soap free!

Hang to dry =)

So that was my wash experience.
My awesome flats (Thanks Diaper Junction!) were dry by morning, though my covers took a while longer. I think it was because of the way I organized them. Tonight, I'll try something else =)

Today my s2bDH is home with Turtle-Love. He has been instructed to only use flats! I showed him how to do "the prefold" and told him if he was brave enough to try anything else to take pictures, hah!

Flats a day early.. oops! Pic heavy =)

Monday, May 23, 2011
NOTE: I've been waiting all day for my phone to finish emailing me the pictures I took of the wash process but it hasn't happened. *sigh* I wanted to be sure to post today, so I'll try to post the wash pictures tomorrow if it finally comes through.

DOUBLE NOTE: Thank you to Diaper Junction for supplying my flats!

I jumped the gun, and yesterday used flats for the very first time. I thought the challenge started yesterday. I'm not sure why, but I did. *sigh* Oh well, it was certainly an adventure!

What is the challenge? The Flats and Hand washing challenge! Go check out Dirty Diaper Laundry for all the details, but basically I agreed to use only flats and covers, and to only hand wash them, for a full week err, I guess I'll be doing 8 days. Haha, oops.

I decided to challenge my self further, and not learn any of the folding techniques, or washing styles. I wanted to "wing it" and get some raw experience that I could pass along. Yeah. Great plan. I'm so glad my child is patient with me (most of the time) =)

The flats & folds
Turtle-Love actually slept until about 2 pm yesterday! He woke up to feed twice but that was it! Even at 2 pm I finally woke him up to nurse him and change his diaper that weighed a good pound! No, I'm not exaggerating! I very well may have a super soaker! Anyhow, I put his first flat on him at 2. While he was sleeping I took my time and folded it into a plan I thought would work pretty well.

I folded the flat into a triangle, then in half to a smaller triangle. Pointed it down, and turned up the side corners to make it look like the picture.

Insert baby on the triangle, pulled up the center, pulled one side directly across, and then the other.
Then I tucked the tail into the waist area, and put the cover on. Viola! I call this "the bull". Diapered baby =)

This worked well enough, I mean it didn't leak, but at the same time I didn't feel like his wet zone was adequately covered. I needed to do better.

This time, my anti cloth sister thought she could do a better job. I let her try. What she came up with was an okay idea, but it wasn't fitting just right so I modified it into what I'm calling "the knot".
Pretty much, fold into a double triangle, then fold down to create a band on top. Insert baby, fold up the center, pull the right corner across the waist, then the left corn across the thigh, down over the wet zone, and up the back (it makes a tail).

Pull the right corner that is now on the left side back across the waist and tuck into the band. Flip the baby over and tuck the tail.

Cover, voila!

It leaked but only slightly. Maybe the fold was wrong, maybe the cover wasn't on right, or maybe Turtle-Love flooded the diaper or it was on for too long. I'm not sure.

Next we did a really easy fold, one that I showed my s2bDH so that he can use it this week.
We folded the flat into a square.

Insert the baby, then fold the front together so it makes three layers (really 3x4 layers) and a pocket. Pull the front up over the wet zone and fasten to the wings on the back with a snappi - I call this "the prefold". Of course, use a cover, and done!

This one was really successful with good wet zone coverage.

The wash
Ohhhh boy. Do NOT use too much soap!! That was my lesson for the night. =/
I used 1 scoop of Tiny Bubbles in 64 oz (2 quarts) of water in my plugged sink. I washed all the pee diapers first, saving the messiest for last.
The wash process:
Dunk. Scrub it together with itself. Dunk. Repeat til super soapy. Squeeze out excess. Move on to next diaper. Repeat.
After all the pee diapers were washed I tackled the poo diaper by first scrubbing it without soap in the toilet to get rid of the excess mess. Then I applied the same wash process, making sure to continue repeating until all the stain areas were gone.
Then I let out the soapy water and poured on 64 more ounces into my plugged sink. I scrubbed each diaper again in the plain water to get most of the soap out of each one. It wasn't working very well. I decided to use a little running water.
The rinse process:
Rinse the diaper under running water 2 times. Plug sink and dunk and scrub. Drain sink and use pitcher 1/2 full with water and my arm to make a mini washing machine and agitate the soap out. Repeat mini machine with new water. Plug sink and dunk and swirl to be sure all soap is gone. Squeeze water out and hang on towel rack.
Attack other diapers for rinse process.
When I had 2 left to rinse Turtle-Love was fussy (my mom had him) so he hung out on my back in the Ergo for the first time. I danced and sang my way to his happiness while rinsing the diapers.
The drying process:
I then neatly draped each flat and cover on my drying rack. Unfortunately, I forgot to check them this morning to see if they were dry before I left for work.

Have I mentioned today is my first day back in the office?! More on that later.

Over night
Oh yes, we were brave. We used the flat over night in the "prefold" fold. With success!!! My son usually doesn't pee much throughout the night, but in the morning during his first feed he likes to flood whatever diaper he is wearing. We had zero leaks =) Hooray!

When I signed up for the Flats and Hand washing challenge, I did not think I would be back in my office at the time of the challenge. However, recent events have lead to my working in the office starting this week. For the past 5 months I have been working from home. My s2bDH promised to use only flats while I'm at work, since he will be home with him this week. When I get home, we will see how HE did =)

Baby, work, wedding...

Thursday, May 19, 2011
Just a few topics I wanted to write about briefly while Turtle-Love naps...

Nursing to sleep. Does anyone else pretty much HAVE to nurse their child to sleep?? Turtle-Love refuses to sleep for me without the boobie. He was refusing to sleep without me holding him, but we are working on that and doing pretty well. I'm thinking that was just a phase. However, nursing to sleep does NOT seem to be a phase. It doesn't matter how tired he is - he will NOT go to sleep with out the boobie. Unless I'm not home. Not just in the other room, but actually gone. Then apparently he will go to sleep. And SOMETIMES in his car seat, if he is stuffed to the gills.

TV time What is your policy on TV time for your infant? Sure, Turtle-Love has inadvertantly watched some NCIS with me, but today I actually decided to put him in his bouncey seat with a Baby Einstein video. He is about 24 weeks old. Bad? Okay? Good? Who knows. I guess as far as TV goes, Baby Einstein is definitely the lesser of the evils. He was a good distance away from the screen. The video was Meet the Orchestra and he really seemed to enjoy it - complimented by grunts and babble =)

Starting solids Attention preemie moms but of course I would love feedback from everyone. What is your view on solids? Did you do purees? How old was your baby when you started? Preemie moms: did you wait til your child reached the appropriate adjusted age, or actual age? I'm having a bit of an internal battle with this. Turtle-Love will be 6 months in 2 weeks. He is sitting supported and has some moments of balancing upright on his own. He salivates at the table when we eat and stares hardcore at food. We have been letting him hold breads for a couple weeks but he wasn't interested in putting them in his mouth. I've spoon feed him formula supplements a couple times to see how he does with the spoon, btw he loves it and grunts and whines if I'm not fast enough. The past three times we have handed him a bread item (a biscuit, a pizza crust, a cracker) he has put them in has mouth - I made it a game and took it from him before he could ingest anything. The last thing we gave him was a cracker 2 days ago - he slobbered on it and broke a piece off. I was terrified at first, and then watched him chew it! I made it a game again, and fished it out lol. He thought it was funny. Originally, I wanted to wait until his 6 month appointment to see what the doctor said about starting him on solids - mainly because he is a preemie and I worry about his digestive system being ready. He has given me tons of signs he is ready though. I'm just not sure. I know I'd like to make my own baby food when we get to that point.

Working & babysitters I've been working from home since January. I had asked my company to let me work from home for at least 6 months, and that mark is coming up. In addition to that, one of our employees turned in her 2 week notice. So my boss has asked that I come back to the office. s2bDH has an off the wall schedule that revolves around events at the university for his "day job" and events at local music scenes for his security job. We can't count on his paycheck or his hours more than a week at a time because we never know what the schedule will be for either job. He is about ti hit a slow point in his day job, and my sister will be up for about 2 weeks so they will be home with Turtle-Love through mid June at the least. I'm now having to decide is paying for a daycare or a sitter, which is about half my take home based on the prices I've seen, is worth my job. Obviously we need the money, but if I'm putting out everything I take in AND losing time with my son, I'm just having a hard time accepting it. If we go with a daycare, or can't find a sitter that will use cloth diapers and handle breast milk (assuming I can keep my supply up) we will also have the added costs of disposable diapers and formula. I love my job, honestly I do, but this is difficult. I don't even know where to begin on choosing a place/person to care for my son.

Wedding We are less than 5 months from our wedding! Yikes! We are certainly pinching pennies right now to make sure we can save enough to cover all of our costs, but this added expense for day care is going to injure our bottom line for the wedding. I've already signed some deposits and contracts and such so we are in it regardless, its just a matter of coming up with it all, as we are hosting our wedding.

How I'm preparing for the Flats Challenge

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Wooo! A two post day! I'm on a roll! HAH!

So... how AM I preparing for the Flats Challenge? First - lets review exactly what is expected of me! Starting May 23rd and lasting the whole week I will be diapering with ONLY flat diapers (except at night should I choose to detour) and ONLY hand wash them and ONLY air dry them and have no more than 6 covers in rotation. See here for complete list of official rules and such.

What I'm using
Since I was stalking the Dirty Diaper Laundry blog after I learned of the challenge (hah!) I received a wonderful opportunity, and received 12 Diaper Rite flats from Diaper Junction free of cost. Thanks guys!!! I also received 2 snappis for free from Simple Little Baby after talking to Melanie at my weekly AP parent/cloth diaper meet up at Sugar Snap Consignment and getting her on board with the challenge too. Woo hoo for spreading the word! I also scored a snappi in my lute bag at the Great Cloth Diaper Change for a total of 3 snappis =) Most awesome! I also bought a pre-loved Thirsties cover (velcro) and 2 new Thirsties duo wraps (snaps) from Sugar Snap that I'll be using for a total of 3 covers. If I run out of flats for some reason I'll be using shirts, towels, etc.

I'll be washing the diapers in one of our sinks (we have a double sink in our master bath - one we don't really use) most likely with dawn, and hanging them to dry on our drying rack that I use for our diapers anyways. I'm hoping to sneak them outside in the morning for a few, but my neighbors suck.

Getting ready
I've decided not to read or watch or research folding or washing the flats in any way. I want to walk into this challenge without any information and see if I can get myself through it ... creatively. Hah. Really, I'm doing this because I wouldn't expect anyone without the resources to purchase diapers to have the resources to research how to use flats. I'm not saying they wouldn't, I'm saying I wouldn't expect them to. I've also never really hand washed anything, so this should be very interesting. I plan to wash the flats in my machine with the rest of Turtle-Love's laundry, and put them through the drier as well for the first wash (before the challenge starts). I'm justifying this because while maybe you wouldn't tote dirty diapers to the laundry mat, I see no reason not to take clean ones there. I'm going to put away all my "fun" diapers and the disposables we keep on hand the day before. Come midnight May 23rd, I'll be switching Turtle-Love into a flat and cover, and we are headed to bed.

I'm hoping we'll have gotten a video camera by then (we are buying one together as an anniversary present - our anniversary was the 11th) and I'll be able to video my first time folding the flat, and getting it on Turtle-Love =D

Reality vs the challenge
Realistically, my fiance and I live with my mother. It is just easier on us and her to share the load and keep company. I grew up very close to my mom's parents and I plan to raise Turtle-Love close to my mom, so living with her is great. Also, it gives me a break as a mom. I get a chance to go pee when someone is home! So, living with two someones gives me more opportunities and less painful bladder and kidneys XD Realistically, we could do it on our own. Things would be REALLY tight. They are tight as they are. We don't live here for free you know - we share the bills. So, realistically, we live on a tight budget and being flat broke and barely able to afford diapers at all isn't far from reality some times. These are the times I'm thankful I made room in my budget for cloth diapers, and bought them one at a time.

Realistically, after our wedding and after our lease here with my mom is up, we have plans to purchase (or rent, gotta see how it goes) our own house and "go green" as much as we can. This means we will actually have a clothes line when we move. I grew up with clothes dried on a line in our laundry room. I'm looking forward to getting away from my drier and saving the cost on energy and such. We live in a condo now, with a mean homeowners association and neighbors that complain when I put my diaper pail outside to dry after I wash it =/ *sigh* I can't wait to move.

Some how, I think I got off topic. The point, and the plan, is - I'm gonna wing it =)

better late than never... Why I'm doing the Flats Challenge

I've been away from my blog for a bit, trying to finish the semester and generally being busy with life. I promise to do better and actually blog.

Why am I doing the flats challenge?

Since the moment during my pregnancy that I stumbled upon cloth diapers my brain has been churning. I immediately began spreading the word about cloth to my friends, my family, my co-workers, my online diary community.... I crunched numbers, compared brands and types of cloth diapers and disposables. I researched the materials used in cloth vs the materials used in disposables. I was hooked, and I converted my fiance effortlessly.

Skip forward. My son was born, 5 weeks premature. We had boxes of disposables from our baby shower - no one cared that I wanted to use cloth - and no cloth diapers. At the time, I couldn't find any that were small enough for him. I waited patiently and used disposables while he grew. Finally, he reached 7 pounds. Finally, I purchased a few different types and brands of cloth diapers, and I've been building my stash - slowly but surely - ever since.

As any cloth diapering blogging momma knows, giveaways are great opportunities to build your stash! Not only that, but great opportunities to find other like minded mommas and companies that offer all the products you love, and some you never knew you needed! After liking all these great pages on my Facebook, an article appeared. We all know the one, talking about the women in New York who were reusing disposables because they couldn't afford to purchase diapers. This immediately sent me on a journey. I want to start a non profit to bring cloth diapering education to low-income families. I was also struck with something my mom has always told me, "When it comes to your babies, you do everything you can. If you run out of wipes, use the sink and a rag. A towel soaks up pee just as good as a diaper." Those aren't her exact words but pretty similar. Ironic actually, because my mom really dislikes that we use cloth diapers. Any how, I wanted to use everything I have around the house that is not actually a cloth diaper, and write about it hear on my blog. But before I had the chance, I came across Kim's entry on Dirty Diaper Laundry - The Flats Challenge. A challenge to diaper with only flats (except at night) and hand wash them all for a week (the last week of May). I was sold. Even better - since I have no flat diapers - I was actually provided flat diapers through her via Diaper Junction!

In summary I'm doing the flats challenge because I want to show it can be done. I want to be able to tell the moms I talk to once I get this non profit going that you can diaper on NO budget if you have to. As part of my flats challenge, I'm only using 12 flats, 3 covers, and clothes and towels. Not diapers, not wipes, not wipes solution. Old fashioned water and rags to clean baby's bum. And if I run out of flats, I'll be using clothes and towels.

I'm pretty much known for making things harder than they have to be - but this is the best cause I've had to be hard headed =)

It's been a while

Monday, May 16, 2011
I know it has been a long time since my last update. Life has just been crazy. When is it not? Anyhow - this is an updated to-do-list for the wedding, which btw is in 5 months (from yesterday) O.o Where has the time gone?!

Ceremony site Booked!
Reception site Booked!
Officiant Yeah... we are still trying to pick one =/ I'm making this my goal for the night.
Wedding Dress Picked out, paid for, and at my dad's. Need to make an appointment for alterations and lose some dang weight!
Tux/Suit We know what we want, and its down to 2 places to get it. We haven't decided if we will rent tuxes, or buy suits.
Bridesmaids' dresses Just need one more girl to order her dress =)
Groomsmen's tuxes/suits See above @Tux/suit
Flower girls' dresses Need to take Tony's cousin to order hers. Prob pay for it too =/ Oh well. My sister just ordered my niece's dress =)
Ring bearer's tux/suit Not making any decisions about this until we decide on the men's. I have a lady on Etsy that makes adorable vest &tie combos for little boys and fedoras too lol (Wise guy clothing)
Photographer Met with him Saturday and he is pretty cool =) Just have to sign the contract and send the deposit
Save the Dates We designed them - then realized they needed to be sent last month. Oops. Guess we will skip the save the dates. =/
Invitations Working on finishing up the wording and design. Hope to get them ordered in the next few days so I have time to get them here and addressed before they go out in 2 months.
RSVP Cards Ditto - but they will be post cards =)
Flower girls' basket Yeah - I kinda wanna make my own... idk.
Ring bearer's pillow/block I have some ideas but nothing concrete. Again, I kinda wanna make my own...
Also need to get a wagon to pull Cooper in...
DJ Haven't even looked for one yet... kinda need to do that soon
Food Just have to finalize the menu by mid-August
Cake Well, we need to get on this. We don't know what we want... but we've picked out our topper! Still have to bu it tho...
FloristNeed to get on the ball...
Programs Not yet
Place cards I know what I want to do and its related to the centerpieces
Centerpieces Gotta find and order what I want, and decide how to dress it up
Favors I know what I'm doing - just bargain shopping to find the pieces as cheap as I can
Decorations I'm sooo lost on this. We are doing a wish tree instead of a guest book (which I still need to buy) so I know this will be part of the decorations. But that's all I've got =/

*sigh* wish I could afford a wedding planner

I LOVE how great minds think alike... Flats Challenge!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do you use cloth? I bet you've been collecting those adorable diapers that are a bit pricey and so much cuteness and fun and way worth it, I swear I can use these on at least 2 more kids, its TOTALLY economical!
You're right, all of that is true!
If you are already using cloth, or have looked into using cloth, MODERN cloth - the cute-completely adorable-cant wait to get my fluff in the mail-ahhh the prints and colors- ooo the minky softness-hellloooo bright and fun snaps- cloth diapers, well then you also know the start up cost, while definitely cheaper than disposables in the long run, can be really intimidating and outside many family budgets. Not to mention, washing.

Anyhow - Turtle-Love would rather be up and playing than sitting here so I don't have much time before he demands I get up. Please go check out this post by Dirty Diaper Laundry. I had already decided I would do a similar challenge before I read this, but I was going to be on my own. This will be much more effective! Join the movement people!

A little progress regarding my cloth advocacy efforts

Friday, April 8, 2011
I went to my local WIC office yesterday to pick up my checks, Yes I am on WIC, and I spoke with a senior rep there about cloth education classes. She said WIC is probably not going to be interested in dealing with diapers because they have enough on their plate already (understandable, they do A LOT) but she did refer me to 3 other places locally that I should contact. Great! I'm hoping to write up an official agenda to hand out and contact these places hopefully next week.

Happy Friday!

My first blog hop =)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Relax and Make Friends Blog Hop

This is my first blog hop post! =) I hope there will be many more to follow!

Relax and make friends =)

Happy hump day!

Crazy busy + 4 months old... really?!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I apologize for not writing very often. Between planning the wedding and school work, on top of my normal routines with work and Turtle-Love, my schedule has just been packed with things to get done. I finally have a moment of time where I can collect my thoughts!

The wedding date is official! We signed the contract and paid the deposit for our venue... October 15th, 2011 here we come! Some decisions have been made with the help of my birdesmaids, mainly my maid of honor aka my little sister, and of course Toad. We have chosen our favors, centerpieces, and have an idea for the guestbook. I'm still trying to figure out other decorations, flowers, the menu, all the paper products... well pretty much everything else lol.

Turtle-Love! Oh man... he is 4 months old today! I weighed him this morning (we have a baby scale) and he was 9lbs 7oz! He is getting so big, only 3 or so of his newborn outfits fit him, and he is filling out some of his 0-3 stuff really well. He is kicking and reaching and is becoming interested in his toys. He loves his links! He eats all the time and enjoys sucking on his fists, my arm, gramma's shoulder... He is a super drooley boy these days, I'm convinced he has started the teething process! He is officiaally out of newborn sposies btw... on to size 1's for night-time and when Auntie has him. She refuses to retain the information about cloth diapers yet. I'll get her though... she will be here this Thursday and I think is going to watch him while I'm in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) class.

Have I mentioned I'm in "church school" too? I'm taking RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes so I can be confirmed. I was raised in the Catholic church as a child, but I was never confirmed. I'm taking classes now for adult confirmation. We are scheduling Turtle-Love to be baptised in July.

This past Saturday Toad and I went on our first "date" since we had Turtle-Love. He took me to see Cirque du Soleil!! Ahhh! Dream come true! I've always wanted to see Cirque du Soleil! I love them! And the show was AMAZING. It was Allegria, ah it was just so wonderful! Toad even bought me a t-shirt and then we went to dinner. The date night was a lot of fun, but I missed my little Turtle-Love a ton.... and so did my boobs... hah! I was excited I had pumped enough for one feeding and it was in the freezer for this occasion - he took 4 ounces!

I stopped pumping about 2 weeks ago. I just felt like I needed a break from all the worry of it. I pumped Saturday when we got home because I was engorged and Turtle-Love only ate off one side before he was full. I managed to pump 2 ounces out of my "bad" side! Woo! That is a record for me lol. I'm going to try to start pumping in the mornings again once we get our morning schedule back on track. I like having a few feedings in the freezer for just in case. Now that he eats 4oz instead of 2 it is going to take me a while to stock up.

School is going well. I'm going to take it easy with school until after the wedding and Turtle-Love's first birthday.  Sure. I could keep going and hit school hardcore. I'm plenty capable. But I wouldn't enjoy it. I really like school. I want to enjoy my education. I also want to enjoy planning my wedding and all Turtle-Love's firsts. So, I haven't decided what I'm doing with school for the summer semester, but I'm not going to take classes this fall I think. Maybe I will, but as of right now I don't think so.

Well, I've got an hour left of work and then I think Turtle-Love and I will go enjoy his birthday =)

Saturday at Sugar Snap keeps me Sane

Saturday, April 2, 2011
Many months ago I "liked" Sugar Snap Consignment on Facebook. Many weeks ago Sugar Snap posted they were going to have a cloth diapering discussion on the following Saturday. Many Saturdays ago I met the most wonderful, like minded people, ever.

(Almost)Every Saturday morning Turtle-Love and I spend at Sugar Snap Consignment. Several other mothers whom I have become friends with also bring their child(ren) and visit at Snap. We mainly meet to talk about cloth diapering and baby wearing, but we often also discuss cosleeping, bedsharing, breastfeeding, attachment parenting in general, and anything else that comes up. Of course this includes stories about our children, birth, and how we've met our loves.

Not only do I get to hang out with a bunch of other moms who really do share similar values and viewpoints, but we do it in one of my favorite places in town.

Sugar Snap's owner is amazing. She is certainly the baby wearing guru of our area and knows almost anything about every kind of pocket sling, ring sling, mei tai, wrap, carrier.... all of it! Not only is she awesome, but her store is too! Of course, it is a consignment shop. They consign gently used items. Everthing from strollers to shoes, cloth diapers to christening gowns, toys, bedding, even maternity! If you need it for your household of children or a pregnant friend or self, Sugar Snap probably has it! In addition to selling gently used, she also has an assortment of cloth diapers and slings that are new, and she also sells locally made things =) I'm sure there is a ton of awesomeness I'm leaving out about Sugar Snap - please please please go check it out for your self, at least on Facebook! Visit Sugar Snap Consignment on Facebook here!

Anyhow - hanging out most Saturdays at the Snap is wonderful for me. I can sit, surrounded by amazing items at great prices, and talk with great people. All while breastfeeding, changing diapers, taking pictures, eating.... its so free and welcoming there, I crave it. The whole week I look forward to my Saturdays.

My child is getting BIG... I'm not a bad mom!

Friday, April 1, 2011
So.... remember last week for the review when Turtle-Love was 8lbs 14 oz?

Guess who is 9 pounds 4.5 ounces?! Oh yeah Turtle-Love!!!!!

He had finally grown in to his larger newborn stuff and smaller 0-3 stuff... now he is filling out all  the newborn stuff! Soon I'll be packing it away... *sigh*

And now...
Just a little rant.....

I brought my son into my office today. Wait - rewind.

I work from home for the same company I worked in-office for pre-birth. Today, my neighborhood is being paved so we cannot park our cars at our homes, and I have no way to get Turtle-Love to our house from our temporary parking area because we do not have an alterain stroller, and his car seat and other stuff are simply too big for my short self to carry that distance. At least, not willingly =P So - I decided to pack up my work things, and my Turtle-Love, and go to the office for the day!

We arrive at the office, and I go the long way around to my office so that the girls I work with have their chance to ooggle him. One woman actually said to me that she didn't know much at all about babies but that certainly he should be heavier than 9 pounds by 4 months. *eye roll* I said probably but he is a preemie so we've come a decent way [he was 5lbs 12oz at birth - actually big for his gestation(35wks) the doc was plesantly surprised]... this woman proceeded to get in his face when I set his car seat down, and tried to touch his face! Nuuuuhhhh! Dirty hands! She made a joke that she felt she should offer him her finger because she is used to meeting dogs... har har, not! Sorry but joking about putting your strange dirty finger in my childs mouth isn't very funny to me... maybe I've lost my sense of humor durring the birth process or somewhere along the way.... but I kinda doubt it. Either way. No thanks, see you later, a-buh-bye.


Cloth education and service for low income families

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Have you all seen this article?

I've been throwing around the idea of being an active advocate for cloth diapers some how. I mean, I kind of already am - I pretty much preach cloth to anyone willing to listen, and I'm trying to let everyone I know know about the Great Cloth Diaper Change in my area. But I'm taking it one step further now. With the help of some friends.

I'm going to work my hardest at setting up a way to provide cloth diapering education to low income families. I'm going to approach our local WIC office, social services, and the pregnancy center armed with math facts, charts, and my proposal. I'm also hoping that we'll be able to start a cloth service for families in need who participate in cloth diaper education classes.

Oh I know.... I'm have a feeling I'll get overwhelmed adding this to my already large plate of responsibilities. But this is important. This can help other people. Doing this will set an excellent example for my son, all while scratching this itch I have for cloth diaper advocacy.

Wish me luck!

Cloth is Green Giveaway!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Check out Mama B's Cloth Is Green Giveaway! You could get 2 itti bitti's and some CJ's butter!

AppleCheeks Giveaway!

Happenings of the Harper Household is doing an AppleCheeks giveaway!

WubbaNub Giveaway!

Andersons Angels is doing a WubbaNub Pacifier giveaway!

Enter now! It's ending today!

March for Babies - we are walking!

Monday, March 28, 2011
As you can see by my neat little side bar <-- I've decided to walk for healthier babies in the March for Babies. Of course, since my son was 5 weeks premature, I am absolutely wanting to help this cause! Will any of you sponsor me? Even teeny tiny donations are welcome =) Every penny counts and we are thankful for even just your thoughts and well wishes!

My first cloth diaper review! Bummis Super Whisper Wraps & Kissaluvs Fitteds

Friday, March 25, 2011
First and foremost its about time you all met Turtle-Love =)

Turtle-Love and his new sock monkey =) Yes, the sock monkey is bigger than my son *shrug* Turtle-Love is currently 8 pounds 14 ounces, and about 21 1/2 inches tall.

Now - on to diapers!
About a month ago I purchased a few Kissaluvs fitteds and a couple Bummis Super Whisper Wraps and now that we have thoroughly "tested" them... I'd like to share our experience with you all! I couldn't review them on their own because we use them together. BTW - I did contact both Bummis and Kissaluv to get permission to review these items, but what I write is my own opinion and that is it.

Kissaluvs fitted
Link ^ =)
This is really nice - we are using a size 0 and fits Turtle-Love really well. It fits babies from about 5 - 15 pounds. It also snaps down at the front to make room for umbilical cord care, or to shorten the rise for little babies *hint hint* I have five of them, in different colors, and they snap on. It was really easy to show Toad how to use these, and I love how they feel kinda like a towel, which we all know are absorbent!
The thing to remember with these is they are not waterproof, so you will need a cover for them (see below). Also, they take a long time to dry. I usually run them through the drier once, then hang them on a drying rack to dry over night. But really they are designed to absorb and retain moisture so I'd say a long dry time makes perfect sense! They are very very very absorbent. They do not have a stay dry lining to them, so your baby will feel the wetness, which I've found with these and only these Turtle-Love doesn't mind until its soaked.

We have tested it for both wet and mess, and even with his breastfed runny poo of grossness (hah!) the mess stayed in. Only once did it get on the outside of the fitted, and that was my own fault for leaving him in it a little longer because I thought he wasn't done. But, even if that happens, with the right cover its not a big deal. This is where Bummis comes in...

Link ^ =)

I love this wrap! Its super durable and available in really cute prints. We have this in Newborn size and it fits just wonderfully over the fitteds, and really well with other random inserts too (we've done this on occasion for laundry day). The Newborn size will accommodate from about 7 - 10 pounds. The velcro closure is really simple and provides a super custom fit. You can even over lap the tabs for little babies *hint hint*

If you use this cover with inserts there is a nifty little pocket on the inside front to tuck them into so they stay in place, along with the mess. If you use an insert be sure it is absorbent enough for your baby and the length of time between changes. The only time the wrap leaked was with a different insert and Turtle-Love had flooded it. Of course the wrap is meant to keep wetness in, not standing liquid.

We've been using these two together for about a month and we have not had a single leak! Wet or mess! In fact this is the only "system" in my current stash I can say that about.

I hope this review was helpful for you all. Please feel free to ask questions!

Keeping your child safe in the car

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I had typed a whole long entry about this but for whatever reason it didn't post. *sigh* So here is the snippet version, because this is really about spreading information.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) changed their guidelines on car seat standards. The Stir has a great overview about it here -->

Dum dum dum-dum

Sunday, March 13, 2011
Since I'm writing this right before bed, and we are about to lose an hour to daylight savings time... I'm going to try to make this quick...

We booked a venue for our wedding! We set the date in stone - Oct 15th this year - and chose a local hotel for the ceremony and reception. I had said I really did not want a hotel wedding, but this hotel has floor to ceiling windows for their ballroom and an outdoor terrace for our ceremony. Its really pretty not to mention they are within our itty bitty budget! Did I mention we are paying for our wedding? Yep. Just us. Its okay though - we chose not to ask anyone for help with this. I'm not one to ask for money in the first place, but also - I don't see why we should ask for someone to pay for the things we want. If I want something done my way, well I'm damn sure going to be the one paying for it. I don't want to be someone elses burden.
ANYHOW... we booked our location, they also cater and provide all the tables and chairs and such. I've already picked out and mostly paid for my dress (its on layway hahahaha) and the bridesmaids dresses have been chosen, along with the flower girls dresses and the groomsmen and grooms tuxes. Things left to do for the wedding....
  • Turtle-Loves ring bearer tux
  • Florist/flowers
  • DJ
  • Cake
  • Photographer(s)
  • Register somewhere
  • Party gifts
  • miscellaneous details
Well the list didn't seem that long before I wrote it. Eh. I feel much better about it all now that I've got SOMETHING taken care of. Oh right, and save the date cards and invitations. I want to get our save the date cards ordered this week.

So something that I'm struggling with regarding the wedding is other people's opinions. I know I know... they really don't matter, and I shouldn't care what other people think. But to an certain extent I guess I do. Or maybe, I guess it just bothers me people wont get over themselves and understand this day is for us - they are being invited to come celebrate WITH us. This is not a show to impress them. So - I'm just trying to keep that in mind when I listen to everyones opinion and their advice. I know that our wedding will be perfect because its being put together for us by us to be everything we want it to be. I'm hoping the end result will represent us well - both as individuals and as a couple.

Moving along...

I got another diaper in the mail today xD I'm so excited! I got it on eBay for way cheap and its comprable to the GoGreen Pocket Diaper Champ - at least that is what the boards say... I have yet to own a Champ, or even see one. Anyhow - this diaper is super exciting! I can't wait to get it washed and use it! PS- the Mommy's touch diapers may be a little too big for now, but the Lil Joeys fit great! I'm going to start reviewing this weekish I hope.

I'm supposed to not buy anymore "fluff" for the time being. Really, we have about two days worth of cloth because Turtle-Love still sleeps in sposies. That will change once we get more used to them. Really, its once Toad gets used to them because he does the middle of the night changes. Regardless, the point - or at least one of my major selling points - of cloth diapering is to save money. I can't very well claim that if I buy every diaper I think is cute. FOr now, we have enough diapers. I'm going to keep my eye out for super good deals though. I did just purchase two wet bags and two pail liners from GoGreen Pocket Diapers. I think they are the best price I've found!

Well - its getting late and in about 45 minutes when daylight savings time kicks in it will only be later so we are off to bed to try and get Mr. Turtle-Love to actually sleep. He likes to play when we lay down =D

I love this little boy!