Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cloth Diaper Ramblings... What To Do With #2

Be warned, this is a long post just for me to process 
what I am learning about diapers!

Diapers & babies go hand in hand... well, maybe bums instead of hands, but you know what I'm trying to say. Being environmentally conscious, I have done a lot of thinking about diapers now that I will have a brand new baby arriving in roughly 22 weeks!  I found this short clip from a documentary done by National Geographic regarding the consumption and waste in our country, specifically disposable diapers.  Some noticeable statistics were:

  • In the U.S, each year approximately 3,796 diapers are thrown away for every child under 2 1/2  
  • It takes 1/2 pint of crude oil to make the plastic waterproof diaper lining on one diaper alone
  • In 30 months, the total amount of plastic in one baby's diapers totals over 715 lbs. of plastic 
  • The soft padding of diapers requires the pulp of 4 1/2 trees per child 
  • 18 billion disposable diapers are thrown away per year, enough to stretch around world 90 times!
  • Disposable diapers linger in landfills for 500+ years before biodegrading, perhaps longer because scientists aren't completely sure how long this will take.

I have been wondering about the impact of water usage for cloth diapers and have found that although no type of diaper is without environmental impact, cloth diapers are obviously a better option, so that's what we're going with.  Other than being more environmentally friendly, other reasons I've found that support using cloth diapers are:
  • parents who use cloth diapers report that their children are potty trained faster than those using disposables
  • they are more cost effective (although expensive initially)
  • many parents who use cloth diapers report less irritation & diaper rash (fewer chemicals come in contact with baby's skin)
I know there are some critics out there (busy moms with a million+ things to do) who will "poo-poo" (sorry, had to) the notion of a naive new mom talking about diapering without having experienced life with a newborn (and 8-12 diapers per day) but I'd rather think proactively & positively and do my part to try and be more eco-conscious than not try at all.  I know there will be times to use disposable diapers because of their convenience, especially if we're traveling or just away for the weekend, but we're committed to doing our part with cloth diapers.  

So, the cloth diaper brands I've heard of 
am looking into are:
(you can click on them to visit their websites)

            Fuzzibunz                             Thirsties                     Grovia
                  Flip Diapers                    Happy Heinys            Lovely Bums

             G Diapers                          Raga Babe                BumGenius
                 Charlie Banana                Bummis                Kissaluvs
                                  Swaddlebees                    Rumparooz
So far, I have had glowing recommendations from friends for Charlie Banana, BumGenius, Raga Babe (although I've heard they are the pricier option) and also a tip of using Fuzzibunz at night.  Now, I just need to do my research to figure out:

  • Which brands are the best (& most affordable) 
  • Which style/brand is best for newborns (don't rise high enough to irritate a healing umbilical cord)
  • Which style: all-in-one (AIO), pre-fold & flatfold, one-size, fitted & contour, pocketstyle, etc... WOW!! There are a LOT of choices!
  • How many to buy initially (in which sizes, if applicable)
  • Are there brands that are size adjustable so baby can use them until potty training time?
  • What kind of swim diapers to buy?
  • Where to buy them: online, retailers... (etsy, hyena cart, diaper swappers, etc...)
  • What's the best way to wash them (diaper sprayer, is that necessary?)
  • Whether to buy now or wait until Baby C arrives so we know what works for him/her
  • What kind of detergent works best?
  • Which diaper creams are cloth diaper friendly, etc... 

There are so many things for expecting mamas to think about!  Any one with any advice about cloth diapers, feel free to leave a comment below and share your wisdom with me!
"I love these all natural diapers!" 
This makes me laugh because I am 
craving watermelon ALL the time!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

18 Week Update & Photo Debut!

Ok... When I read blogs I look for witty writing and a personality that shines through, but I also want photos, and I'm sure you do too!  I have been thinking about creating this blog for quite some time, but the first 12-14 weeks of being pregnant I was pretty cautious, like most mamas out there, and just about held my breath, crossed my fingers, and prayed to God that the first trimester would pass with no complications or worries... luckily, here we are at 18 weeks and I can share my thoughts, ideas, and crazy ramblings.  I have been pretty terrible at taking pics leading up to now, but I do have a few. 
This was taken via my laptop and it's not the greatest, but hey,
that's my little baby just around 8 weeks, like a tiny little alien  jellybean :)

And this is the ultrasound we had just days before
Christmas, around 12 weeks :)  We wrapped up copies to surprise
our families during the holidays :)
Now, contrary to what might be indicated above, I take pretty decent photographs, it's just that I'm never in them!  So, I'm going to start some self-photography for this lil' blog.  During my snow day off from school, I got busy with a nifty chalkboard project created out of truly hideous framed photo of a Mallard Duck I scored at Goodwill for $3, then spray painted the nasty wooden frame and coated the wooden backing with chalkboard paint.  (No, I cannot claim credit for the brilliance of this idea, I saw it on pinterest, of course!) I should have done a before and after photo session, but was too busy painting (aka making a royal mess!) Here's the finished product and a current pic of yours truly.

Sorry this is king of grainy, I had to rig up a tripod out of a bookshelf for my mediocre camera.   
I want to give credit for the awesome chalkboard idea to the talented & creative Jessica Garvin over at Little Baby Garvin, go check out her blog, it's amazing & she rocks :0)  
Reflections this Week:
How Far Along?: 18 weeks, it's hard to believe time is flying by this quickly!
Total Weight Gain: 2 lbs.
Clothing: I sucked it up and bought some things last week, but wearing most of my regular tops & jeans, but need to wear more comfy dress pants to teach in, my pre-baby khakis are DONE! 
Catching Zzzzs:  I dream constantly and they are such vivid dreams that when I wake up I wonder if they were real, I am not waking up at 3 am as often anymore, which is nice :)  
Best Moments of the Week: Meeting with a mortgage broker to give this house-buying business a swift kick in the behind so when nesting strikes, I have a place to do it! 
Miss Anything?: Snowboarding & coffee (okay, okay... wine too!)
Movements: At first just tiny little flutters but now we have our very first KICKS! :) I love them... even though they've rendered me very nonproductive today, every time I try to accomplish something I stop to focus on little Pele's kicks, it's even better than I imagined!
Food Cravings: Nothing really, still loving fruit, especially carambolas and I could eat watermelon any time, any place, too bad it's not in season :(
Queasy/Sick: Not anymore :) yahooo!!!!
Gender: We find out on February 9th, the day before my birthday, what a present!
Labor Signs: Heck no!
Symptoms: my belly is growing, but so are "Thelma & Louise" a select few people know the inside story, crazy adventures sailing in Jost Van Dyke ;)
Belly Button: acting like normal
Wedding Rings: sparkling right where they belong
I'm feeling: Happy, happy, happy!!! I feel so incredibly blessed!
Looking Forward to: Our next ultrasound, not just because of the gender reveal (which is so exciting boy or girl) but because we get to see our little baby and that's absolutely breathtaking.  I can't wait to see Kev's face during the ultrasound when he lays eyes on our little baby :)

"Hey Mama, look what I can do!
 adapted from babycenter.com
Just another busy week in here!  Now I am the size of a sweet potato, about 8 inches long and I weigh over 5 ounces.  I'm getting used to flexing my arms and legs and you can see my blood vessels through my skin, but that's gonna change as I get older.  I am passing the time rolling, kicking, yawning, sucking, swallowing, hiccuping, and enjoying this cozy little hacienda of mine.  My major accomplishment of the week? My ears are where they belong now, on the sides of my head, which is nice, otherwise that might have been awkward when I make my grand entrance, although I know my parents will love me no matter what!  Something else I'm doing that's amazing, oh, just growing a layer of myelin around my nerves and that will keep happening until I am a year old, cool, huh?  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Super Power

When I created this blog, I intended it to be mainly for attempting to process some of what's happening during this journey to becoming a mom... but before this journey started, I wanted nothing more than to become a teacher, so I put every ounce of energy into making that dream come true.  I think these two roads are intertwined, what better teacher is there than a loving parent?  Working with kids brings me indescribably joy and, because I love kids, I can hardly believe how blessed I am that as I am writing this, my very own tiny, living, breathing, beautiful human being is growing inside of me.  Wow... I've got to just let that sink in a minute... goosebumps.

I used to think watching caterpillars transform into delicate butterflies was fascinating, and okay, I will always be a major science dork who revels in the mysteries of the natural world, but wow, my body is doing something even more amazing! 
But I digress...
Today was one of those days at school where I felt the need to pinch myself (not really, oww!) and think, "Wow... this is how I get to spend my days?!"  Don't get me wrong, it's not all gumdrops and daisies, there are a million and one things about working in public education that cause major stress and frustration, but I've learned over time that those things are beyond my control.  The plain and simple truth is that being in my classroom with "my" kids is a gift and one that I don't take for granted... even when it's the cah-razy type of day when everyone has bed head & and "I-don't-wanna-be-in-school-itus", can't find their pencils, are catapulting tiny bits of paper & eraser with warped paper clip contraptions and every kid's mission is to annoy the friend sitting next to them... still, teaching is magic... even when I'm pregnant and not drinking coffee!  Now that's a super power!

Today in Reading Workshop we were talking about metacognition (fancy, I know... if you don't know this word, you should know it's my very favorite and my entire 55+ page graduate thesis focused on it) and how thoughtful readers pay attention to that special inner voice while they read.  I "showed" my kids my thinking with a giant thought bubble (with a hole cut out for my face, this was hysterical to 2nd graders) and explained to them that our thoughts are constant & ever present while we read, we just have to learn to tune in and listen close to hear them.  I could go on and on (seriously, I could, just ask my husband who's listened to my educational ramblings for nearly a decade) but the gist is that an entire room of 7-8 year olds were mesmerized and beyond excited to go get their books & sticky notes and try out this kind of thinking for themselves.  Begging... to read...7 year olds... TRUTH! It was magical and I was so happy to be a part of it, I could have shed a tear.  That's what I call magic!  I can't wait to spark this kind of love for reading, thinking, wondering & discovering in my little one. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shopping... Biting the Bullet

It's time for a confession..
Prepare yourself...

I totally, completely, and unequivocally failed "Girl School".  
I'm not talking a girl's only educational setting, I'm talking curricula involving the fine arts of purses, makeup, fancy schmancy hair do-s, knowing the rules for stripes vs. polka dots, what colors go together, etc... The list goes on forever, probably containing some things I didn't even realize I stink at.  Yup, that's me... maybe there's a 12 step program for people like me, but I would probably quit that too!

I know being "girly" doesn't imply impracticality, but in my head, I feel like I'm playing dress up and it just doesn't work for me.  I remember going Easter dress shopping with my dad and my twin at around age 8.  My sister, who coincidentally did NOT fail "Girl School", (there goes any claim to blame I may have had on genetics) picked a very appropriate beautiful pastel frilly little number with matching adorable white hat, while I grabbed this denim and plaid overall ensemble and wondered what the big deal was.  (You should know my sister isn't just a pretty face, she spends her weekends hunting and ice fishing, so don't let the style fool you!)  Another example, try to for the life of me, I still believe that high heels are impractical, ridiculous and the person who invented them should be shot... or better yet, forced to walk around in stilettos all day while maintaining a perky disposition!  (All you ladies out there rocking the high heels, please don't judge, just keep doing what you're doing while chicas like me scratch their heads in complete bafflement wondering how the heck you do it!) 

Is there a reason for all this babbling, yes and no.  Yesterday at school I had an epiphany, largely in part due to a button.  While leading a guided reading lesson on a book about slugs with a group of 6 second graders, I realized that my dress pants were getting uncomfortable when sitting down (the brief amount of time I actually sit down in my classroom!) It's pretty hard to focus on all the amazing facts about slugs when you're thinking about your pants and a particular annoying button. Did anyone see that Subway commercial after Christmas with everyone's buttons popping off and causing mass pandemonium...

Yeah, well... I was worried that a button might fly off and ricochet off one of my poor second graders!  I might add, I'm thinking that unbuttoning my pants while teaching would probably result in losing my job and since I'm dancing the edge of the seniority list cuts already, going half undone isn't a wise option.  Darn! 

So, I put on my proverbial big girl panties (btw, part of my failure in "Girl School" stems from my hatred of the word panties) and anyway, I made myself get REALLY excited about slugs, all while mentally accepting the fact that after school, I would have to suck it up and go shopping.  Now, any of my fellow "Girl's School" drop outs know that shopping is equivalent to how some people feel about the dentist.  I LOVE the dentist, there's cool magazines (sometimes) and my dentists have always been super nice.  Plus, close your eyes and think about the potential hilarity of the situation: mouth stretched out of proportion while trying to answer small talk questions about the weather.  Who doesn't appreciate the humor in that? :)

So, after school I embarked on my mission: find comfortable, not overly girly, maternity clothes to add to my small collection.  Thank goodness my friend Kate & my amazing Mother-in-law hooked me up with some perfect items, but let's face it, 4-6 items in my closet isn't enough for a 5 day work week until the big day in July.  As for the weekends, I don't care if I look like a slug when I'm at home. A comfortable slug is a happy slug. :) Happy slugs have happy babies! (Don't quote me on that, I know nothing about parenting slugs, nor do I hope to learn the fine arts of slug rearing)

Onward to Goodwill, Target & Old Navy.  Long story short, I ended up with a few new pairs of pants, some shirts, and some killer belly-laughing hysterics in the fitting room.  Why, you may ask?  Leggings. That's why.  So many people look so cute all dressed up in leggings, so I thought, what the heck, I'll try it.  I put them on and instantly just had to dance around Risky-Business style.  You might want to know, for future reference, that this is not advisable in a very tiny Target fitting room.  Results: the lady in the room next to me kindly asked if I was okay... to which I could only giggle and reply, "As well as can be expected."  The leggings were cute, but I didn't buy them because I would then be faced with another dilemma.  What do you wear for shoes with leggings?  I live in my Dansko clogs... wear them every day until flip flop season, have for over 5 years.  I can't do those fancy tall boots everyone wears, I either feel like Nanook of the North or a total hooker, like I should have a cigarette hanging from my lips and tacky red lip stick.  So, leggings are out for now because I am a complete goon. 

Anywho... I ended up with some comfortable new clothes and a less full wallet, but maybe my reading group today will get my FULL attention, bring on the slugs!  :)

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, January 23, 2012

17 Week Update

Reflections this Week:
How Far Along?: 17 weeks
Total Weight Gain: nothing (yet)
Clothing: dress pants for teaching are not very comfortable so I bought a few of these belly bands for future use, they are pretty awesome :)
I have this one, but really want more!
Catching Zzzzs: it's been a tossy-turny week and I am still waking up at 3 o'clock every morning, part of the tossing and turning might be due to having an enormous dog who tries to cuddle but steals the blankets :) I also can't seem to stay asleep on my left side, but I keep trying.  I also had the most vivid dream about feeling the baby move (more than just fluttering, but MAJOR movement) and woke up so excited, then realized it was a dream, but I could have sworn it was real! 
Best Moments of the Week:  Hearing the steady beat of this little one's tiny heart last Monday and having my 2nd graders stuff their jackets under the shirts and seeing "See Mrs. C, when you get your big baby belly, we'll get big bellies too!"  It was hilarious!
Miss Anything?: After a stressful budget cut meeting, I really wanted a glass of wine after school, but had to settle for a Tum's instead to kill the heartburn
Movements: very slight stirrings from time to time, almost like butterfly wings, I can't wait for more!
Food Cravings: still loving fruit, but feeling pretty normal over all
Queasy/Sick: not big into meat or anything really spicy, which is weird because I love spicy food normally
Gender: Soon to be determined, February 9th, the day before my birthday! Boy or girl, we'll be thrilled & happy to know which pronoun to use!
Labor Signs: nada, phew!
Symptoms: heartburn every day & some middle back pain this week
Belly Button: doing what it does, what does a belly button do anyway?
Wedding Rings: on 
I'm feeling: Joyful :)
Looking Forward to: February 9th and the big gender reveal, but more importantly, Kev's first chance to see the baby via ultrasound, I can't wait to watch his face :)  

I can't wait to make one of these...
just gotta wait for the tiny little feet!
This just cracked me up...
because it's TRUE!

"Hey Mama, look what I can do!"
adapted from babycenter.com

I bet you haven't been as busy as me this week!  I now have tiny little fingerprints, which will come in handy later for making nice little smudges on the window panes.  :) I have also been toughening up, my bones have changed from soft cartilage to bone, maybe it's because my mama is drinking so much milk everyday!  Even my umbilical cord is getting thicker and stronger, so I'm a force to be reckoned with.  I weigh in at a hefty 5 ounces (about the size of a turnip, please... not a future nickname!) and I am about 5 inches long from my head to my bottom.  I can even move my joints and my sweat glands are starting to develop!  So, what did you accomplish this week?

Friday, January 20, 2012

La La La...

Ho Hum...
So our appointment Monday was a major disappointment :(  Kevin and I have both been looking forward to seeing our little one on the ultrasound, but when we got to the appointment, the nurse apologetically said that they'd made a mistake, it was just a blood-draw, weighing, belly check appointment.  Don't get me wrong, it was great to know that everything's going well (blood pressure's fine, everything looks great) but it was a let down not seeing those little hands and feet moving all around.  On a happy note, we did both get to hear that truly amazing and completely incredible little heart thumping away and that is certainly a priceless gift every time we hear it.  It's still beating around 150-160 bpm, so some think it might be a little lady. :)  Now we begin the countdown to the next appointment on February 9th when we find out if our little "it" is a boy or a girl!  

Oh... and Guess What?  

It's *nearly* week 17 and dun da-da da.. (my attempt at typing a drum roll, apologies for being tone deaf even when I type!)... our Baby can hear music now!  


This means the poor little one will be subjected to my incredible slightly off-pitch singing voice while driving in the car!  Naturally, I've been thinking about making a playlist for the nursery, not just for sleepy time, music is great when you're awake too!  In the back of my mind I've also been thinking about delivery music, but that's a bridge we'll cross later since the "d" word is still a bit daunting to consider.  There are so many amazing songs out there, but off the top of my pregnancy-addled brain, here are some that I can imagine playing in the nursery, reminder this is a VERY short list because we have a LOT of music and very eclectic tastes.  Also, this doesn't include nursery-rhyme kind of songs, just music we already love, so our baby probably will too, at least until they are old enough to be much smarter than us and tell us we're out of touch. :)

* Here Comes the Sun: The Beatles
* Van Morrison... oh how I love just about everything he does, except the 
   ones the radio constantly plays to death (Moon Dance, Gloria, etc...) 
* What a Wonderful World: L. Armstrong
* Sweet Baby James & anything by James Taylor
* Jack Johnson... too many to list!
* 3 Little Birds & many others: Bob Marley
* Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Isreal "Izzy" Kamakawiwo'ole 
* Box of Rain & many others: G. Dead
* Give Me Love: George Harrison
* Anything acoustic guitar
* If Not For You: Bob Dylan
* Mark Knopfler: too many to list 
* anything happy with steel drums 

What do you think I should add? All suggestions welcome! :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Curious Incident of the Black Dog, the Bug, and the Yoga Mat

So, Thursday was a gift from Mother Nature to all of us teachers & students in my district, a much coveted (and greatly hated once June rolls around) Snow Day!  I woke up early, just to check the cancellations online, and spoiled myself by sleeping in.  Although, I really wasn't able to because I was so excited about the snow day.

So, I decided to be productive and tackled a MOUNTAIN of laundry, mostly Kev's work clothes... a mountain, I'm serious, I've hiked smaller mountains than this enormous pile of carhartt work pants and t-shirts!  When that was done, I cleaned up the house a bit, and then decided it was time to try and commit to it... yoga (insert dramatic music here).  I have such respect for people who have committed themselves to developing their yoga practice & talent.  I, however, cannot claim to be one of them, about as far from it as humanly possible actually.  I tried a few classes with my good friend a few years ago and being stubborn, I didn't go back because I didn't master it on the first try... tricky little behavior trait of mine, I know... I'll work on in, someday (slight procrastination tone).  Even though I haven't committed to yoga yet, I really would like to one day, so I decided pregnancy would be the perfect time to give it an honest effort, both for my health and that of this little baby growing inside me.  So, while Christmas shopping with my sister, I picked up this handy little prenatal yoga DVD and just plopped it in on Thursday, please don't count the days that have passed since I bought it. :)

Anyway, moving right along... I put said DVD into the player and heard the soft music and saw the peaceful images of lotus flowers and running streams and tried to be mature, honestly, I did.  I don't know why, but this stuff does not make me feel peaceful and I kinda just want to laugh. (Yoga super stars, bear with me)  I feel way more at peace in my kayak on the lake or hiking Mount Katahdin alone.  BUT, I said I was going to give this an honest effort.  So, I took a deep breath and the yoga began.  I was doing okay... At one point I felt that surely I must look like this:

When in all actuality, I must have looked much more like this, but hey, I love dogs so it's all good :)
Self-criticism aside, I was doing pretty well and actually feeling great and almost enjoying myself when all heck broke loose.  My dog Bailey, all 100 pounds of 8 1/2 year old Black Lab/St. Bernard had been peacefully sleeping (on the coach, shamelessly with all four of her legs up in the air, snoring away like a buzz saw) when this yoga attempt began.  Once I got into my "yoga groove" if you can call it that, she decided to come join me on the very small floor space between the couch and the wood stove. Obviously I needed her intervention if I was resorting to yoga.  Obviously...

Oh great, I thought, here we go.  So Bailey is laying next to me, rhythmic yoga music is playing... I'm still trying to calm my mind, when... enter the biggest, weirdest looking bug you've ever seen inside a house in the winter time, which of course is crawling across the floor towards my yoga mat.  Seriously, this thing was huge, who knows, maybe it was trying to give me some yoga pointers?  I'll take all the help I can get!  Now, I don't mind bugs at all, I'm a tom boy at heart and crawly things don't offend me, I just don't really think they need to be in my house, on my yoga mat.  Well, Bailey the wonder dog apparently agreed because she decided to stand on my yoga mat (where I have my a$$ in the air in a very graceful downward dog) and is staring down at this bug with her huge ears flopping down.  The whole thing is so hilarious, just close your eyes and picture it... I dare ya!  I am listening to the peaceful music, watching three women in various stages of pregnancy look far more graceful than I do in their yoga poses (including the woman in her 9th month) and laughing so hard my downward dog comes crashing to the floor, nearly on top of my dog who is barking at a gigantic bug crawling across the floor.  

Long story short, even if yoga didn't occur in the purest sense, I tried and I think my laughter was really good medicine for me, the baby, the dog, and maybe even the bug.  Unfortunately, the bug eventually met it's demise when Bailey inadvertently stepped on it.  All in all, it made for a pretty funny memory.  Lesson learned, kick the dog out of the room before I attempt yoga again.  

My Obsession

I've been thinking about the things most moms-to-be must rush out to buy first, as soon as they have that "oh my word, I'm having a baby, as in a living, breathing, human being kind of baby" and I am guessing topping the list would be things like adorable onesies (is that even how you spell that word?) with fuzzy feet or maybe fun/essential nursery items, and while I think those things are fun too, not for this mama!  Books!  Books!  Books!  As an elementary school teacher with a masters degree in literacy, all I can think about are books!  I have thousands (shh... don't tell!) a LOT of children's books in my classroom library at school, but when it comes to early infancy/childhood, my collection needs some serious bolstering in the biggest way.  After my last doctor's appointment at 12 weeks, I went cah-raaazy in the local Goodwill stores, which are always a (super cheap) treasure trove of abandoned children's literature gems.  Basically, I filled 4 bags with board books for under $25, all like new!  Wanna know what I found?  Here are a few:

Also, for Christmas Kev surprised me with several books like the two below. Now even he's feeding my obsession, this could be dangerous! 
Yet another amazing book from Mem Fox, love her!
He also bought this because he loved it as a kid.
But, that's just a starting place, so I have started an Amazon wish list just for this little baby and the books I think of as being nursery necessities for a teacher's child.  You can see my ever-expanding list here: Books for Baby
I am including books I know and love, or books recommended by parents, friends, fellow teachers, child development experts or parenting magazines/websites.  And yes, I know I am totally out of control and I love it! :) Acceptance is the first step right?  I may need a 50 step program... hmmm...

Oh, and how to display all of these books?  I've got a few "pinteresting" ideas!  


So, your thoughts? What books left behind a warm spot in your heart, or your children's hearts?  I would love your ideas!