Sunday, March 30, 2014

January in Pictures

 Evidently I had not even edited general pictures since January....OOPS!
Hannah Kate got a new big girl bed!  The first night she got the stomach bug & said, "I do NOT want to sleep in that bed again!"  She did again the next night & she loves it (not the stomach bug though!)!
 I made her a scarf "just like Mary & Poppins!"
 Micaiah got into a lot of stuff in January....
 Hannah Kate got stickers from a friend from our congregation
 See?!  Into EVERYTHING!
 Hannah Kate enjoyed looking at her NICU photo book
 She played in the snow on the deck one day
 & Micaiah watched from inside!

February in Pictures

I just realized today that I am way behind on pictures! OOPS!  Here is February in Pictures. :)
Hannah Kate & I made her birthday cupcakes.

 She wore cupcake pajamas for her birthday!

 Wesley (& Micaiah) put together her new "bike"
I put up balloons & streamers for her birthday morning....good thing because as soon as her eyes popped open she said, "My birthday is up, I know it!" & took off running to the kitchen.  I think she was thinking of the birthday banner we put up for their birthdays.

 Birthday breakfast
 Sweet boy is sleeping in the same room as big sister now!  He was sick on Hannah Kate's birthday, so she & I went to worship alone on Sunday morning. 
 This was the night our BIG snow came! (8-10 inches)

 Hannah Kate was SO excited!

 Fun times with Daddy!

Friday, March 28, 2014


Mommy Jesus doesn't want to see naked kids in Heaven. Can I wear my ponytail in Heaven? -- HK 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Every Sunday morning after worship, Hannah Kate asks Papa, "Do you want to go to a rest-a-raunt?!" Papa says, "Yes, do you?" & Hannah Kate says, "Yes--that's a good idea!" She always chooses the same Mexican restaurant so she can eat "ques-e-dilla & chips & sauce."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cloth Diaper Fun

Who would ever have thought that cloth diapers could be fun?!  I certainly didn't, but I like to save money & with all of these cute can that not be fun?!
I am not a cloth diapering expert by any means, but I am going to post what I know here.  I have had about one person a week ask me about cloth diapers recently, so it will be easier to have it all here where I can just share the link.
From a few months ago-left are one size & right are medium

We have cloth diapered for one year now.  I do not have experience cloth diapering a newborn, so this information will just be for when they are bigger than newborn!

Random important facts:
~This YouTube video is what sold me on seeing that it really wasn't that hard to manage. (Disclaimer: immodesty warning-don't watch with your husband!) There are YouTube videos about everything! You can find anything you need to know about cloth diapering on YouTube.
~There are LOTS of types of diapers--I was SO overwhelmed when I first started looking into this because there were so many types to choose from.  Here is a good resource for explaining the types of cloth diapers (it has a video too-within those kinds there are a lot of different brands)
~It was a bigger financial investment up front than I first thought it would be, but you still save thousands of dollars by using cloth.  (Of course, I also chose one of the more expensive kinds!)
~If you have a local cloth diaper store, it would be great to go just so you can see & feel the different types.  There is one store that is two hours from us that has a consignment sale every so often, so that is a good resource too!  I had a sweet friend who mailed me a box of various diaper just so I could try them & see what different kinds there were.  So thankful for that!
~At night or when we go on a trip, we use Pampers.  It is still way cheaper than using Pampers all the time!  When we get home, I am so ready to put those cloth diapers back on Micaiah!
~I never thought about using cloth wipes until researching cloth diapers, but that makes sense too!  We had a ton of extra baby wash cloths, so I just use those.  I haven't made my own wipes solution or spray yet, but I am about to look into that.  I usually just wet it & use it then.
~You can buy sized or one size diapers.  One size theoretically fit baby once they are past newborn stage until you potty train.  Of course, the weight ranges vary by brand & whether or not they actually fit those weight ranges vary too.
~It is perfectly safe & not gross to buy used cloth diapers (& then sell them when you are finished with them!).  Who knew?!  In our stash of 25+ diapers, we have only purchased a few new.  The rest I have bought from different moms on Facebook groups, Diaper Swappers, Cloth Diaper Trader, or locally.  You can find cloth diapers on Craigslist, homeschool groups, consignment sales, eBay, & Facebook (I am in a group for local "natural" or cloth diapering moms).  Just search Facebook!  On Facebook, there are groups for general cloth diaper selling as well as brand specific.  So, if you find a brand you love, there is a good chance that there is a group just for selling that brand diaper.  Here are the diaper groups I am currently in:
Blueberry Swaddlebees Cloth Diaper BST (BST=buy sell trade)
Blueberry Buy/Sell/Trade
Cloth Diaper Swap
Cloth Diaper Swap II
Cloth Diaper Swap and Sell
Cloth Diaper B/S/T
Fuzzibunz B/S/T
(I am in two that are local, but I don't want to post where we are, so if you actually know me & are local I will be glad to add you-just send me a message.)
~If you buy diapers, be sure you ask important questions like -Is the elastic still good or is it relaxed? Are there any stains/stinks/other issues?  Are there any wear holes?
~If you are buying online, you will pay with PayPal & be sure the seller lists it as "goods/services" so that if you have a problem, you can file a complaint with PayPal.  (I have never had a problem though.)
~When you are buying used online, it will probably be listed as $__ppd.  ppd means that shipping is included in that price
~If you are buying new, there are lots of websites & local diaper stores that have diaper trials where you can try out a variety of diapers for a certain amount of time/money & then either keep them at the end or return them.  Also, there are several websites that do free shipping.  Earth Day is a big sale time for cloth diapers!  Most cloth diaper companies have a "seconds sale" periodically, so you can check for that too.
~This is my Pinterest board for cloth diapers-LOTS of links.
~I STRONGLY recommend you figure out what type of water you have before you start. We have really hard well water, so it's made it very difficult to get a good wash routine. We even installed a water softener on it, but we cannot tell much difference. You can google "how to know if you have hard water" or something like that and that will help you. I first tried making my own detergent (different than my laundry detergent because diaper detergent cannot have Borax in it). Then, I tried Charlie's Laundry Soap & Tide Ultra Powder. In January, I finally broke down & got Rockin Green Hard Rock-specifically for hard water & that has worked great. A cloth diaper expert friend told me it takes about three months to get your wash routine down, & that is definitely true! The old fashioned non-HE washers are best for diapers, but we have a top loading HE (which I think is better than a front loading?).  
Here is what our wash routine is: 
1) quick wash on warm (it takes longer than an actual rinse on ours, so I feel like it does more) 
2) whites wash on hot (automatically has an extra rinse & is the longest wash cycle we have) with detergent
3) quick wash on warm
If your diapers are not super soiled, I have read that you can skip the pre-rinse. I do the added rinse & then another quick wash to rinse because we have hard water & that makes it harder to get the detergent out of the diapers. If your diapers are not getting clean, that is bad & if your detergent isn't getting out completely, that is bad because they will STINK. Not fun.
The Fuzzibunz & BumGenius pockets cannot go in the dryer (the heat will damage the PUL). Everything else can go in the dryer. On a good day, I throw the other things in the dryer on low for 10-15 minutes (to soften them up) & then put them outside on the line (aka fence!) to dry. Sunning the diapers also helps with stinks & getting stains out. That is amazing to me! I only have one diaper with a stain that I have not been able to sun out.

Just be careful if you have a dog! Bell stole these off of my drying rack last week & destroyed one!

~Do not use regular diaper cream with cloth diapers because it does not wash out properly & will be a huge disaster. There are cloth diaper safe creams, or you can use coconut oil or lanolin if you need a cream. Occasionally, Micaiah will be really red & we will just slather A&D on him with a disposable for a time or two & then he's fine. He definitely has less diaper rashes/redness than Hannah Kate ever did in Pampers.
~You can buy a diaper sprayer that attaches to your toilet to rinse your dirty diapers. You do not have to rinse them if they are exclusively breastfed (I did in our laundry sink though). Once they start solids, you do have to rinse (or shake) the yucky stuff off. Since we live right beside a cow pasture, I just use the water hose & spray them off across the fence. A few times (when it was cold), I have wished for a diaper sprayer, but I cannot decide which one to get (suggestions appreciated!).
~Until a month or two ago, I used a gallon size Ziplock bag as my wet bag for the diaper bag when we are out. Then, a friend gave me an Alva Baby wet bag. :) Until last week, I used a wash tub from Wal*Mart in our laundry room sink as our diaper pail. Wesley didn't like the sink being taken up & it stunk, so I purchased a large Planet Wise wet/dry bag from a local mom for $15. Yay!
~Cloth diapering is not as gross as we expected! I even overheard Wesley telling someone after we had started that it wasn't "bad at all." :)
The first time Micaiah wore a cloth diaper!
My favorite diapers are Swaddlebees Simplex.  A few months ago, the brand name changed to Blueberry.  They have lots of different types & sizes of diapers.  We have used (& loved) the sized Simplex & the one size Simplex.  The Simplex is an all-in-one diaper which means everything is attached.  When it is dirty, you just toss it in your diaper pail & that's it.  The soaker flap comes out in the wash, & you stick it back in when it is dry.  There is a demonstration video on their website. All-in-one diapers are the most expensive way to go, but they are the easiest & it is still cheaper than buying disposables.

These are not all of our diapers, but I reorganized our diaper drawers this morning & thought I'd take a picture!

The sized Simplex (there are medium & large) are side snapping, so they are more trim & are slimmer in the front (I think they work better under jeans or under tighter fitting pants).
Medium Swaddlebees Simplex
The one size Simplex fit from 10-35 pounds.  They have snaps on the front so you can adjust how tall the rise is.  Micaiah is still on the medium rise setting & he is 24 pounds.  I feel like they are more absorbent & can go longer in between changes.
One Size Swaddlebees Simplex
We also have several types of pocket diapers.  Pocket diapers come in sized or one size & have an insert that you stick inside the top of the back of the diaper.  You have to take the insert out before you wash & reinsert after drying.  Sometimes you can shake the insert out, but half the time mine get stuck & I pull it out.  The brands we have are (top to bottom): Alva Baby, Fuzzibunz (2 pictured) & BumGenius 4.0.  All of the pockets we have are one size.  We have a few more Alva & Fuzzibunz than are pictured here.  
~The Alva Baby diapers I just purchased in a group order because they were cheap.  I have heard mixed reviews about them, but I just needed a few more to build up our stash & don't have high hopes for them.  I think I paid $4 each for these.  They feel like they are cheaply made (they are), but if you are just starting or want to go a cheaper route, they seem to be a good option.  I do not like the snaps on them- I think they are hard to snap.
~The Fuzzibunz I purchased from a local mom for $8-10 each-I can't remember.  I like them fine.  I did not like the ones made in Turkey as well at first because it was harder to get the insert in (the PUL on the inside was stickier).  Now I guess they are worn out a little more & I do not have that issue (but I've had them about a year).  Fuzzibunz have adjustable elastic in the legs, which works great for getting the right fit, but I cannot keep the elastic stuck in the holes!  I don't know if it's because of the size setting we are on or if they have been used a bunch, but it drives me slightly crazy.  The adjustable elastic is nice though if you ever need to replace it because you do not have to do any sewing or take the diaper apart to do that.  
~The BumGenius 4.0 is our only velcro diaper.  I am not super crazy about it because I feel like it is bulkier.  I am tempted to try a snap one just because I think they are cuter & I am not sure if it would be a tad slimmer.  It's not my favorite, but it works fine.  BumGenuis also has all-in-one diapers, but I have not tried them.

Whew! I think that is the extent of my cloth diaper knowledge!  Thanks to my cloth diapering friends who have helped me & I hope this helps someone too.  Let me know what I have forgotten!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hannah Kate & Mommy Meet the Duggars!

Last night, Hannah Kate, Brittany, Leah & I went to a Duggar family book signing! We love their show 19 Kids & Counting, & I was super excited when I heard they were going to be nearby!  We left Micaiah with Nana because he wasn't feeling great.  I am SO glad we did because we waited in line for two hours....I don't know that he would have lasted that long!

Hannah Kate was all smiles! She was SO GOOD!  I was really proud of her.  :)
I am so thankful Brittany & Leah went with us--Hannah Kate & I might not have survived the wait without them!
Hannah Kate passed the time by reading a lot of books.
She would choose the biggest one, plop down with it, & say, "This is my FAVORITE! I don't know the words."

The highlight was definitely the aisle that had tables.

Hannah Kate did a great job saying, "Hi! My name is Hannah Kate. It's nice to meet you!" Then, she even remembered (Mommy forgot), "We brought you a present!" 

Right before we took this picture, Hannah Kate sneezed....EVERYWHERE. I had NO tissues-thankfully the Barnes & Noble lady took care of us! Of course, that totally threw Hannah Kate off....that & patiently waiting for two hours. 

Those who know Hannah Kate will not be surprised that she went straight for the jewelry when she met Mrs. Michelle. Michelle was so sweet & said, "Someone shared these bracelets with me, is it okay if I share one with you?" and she gave HK one of the Rainbow Loom bracelets.Hannah Kate was very proud!!
Meeting another preemie mom! We saw Josie in the bathroom & I told Brittany that I should have shamelessly asked for a picture then since we missed her later. Oh well!! Fun times!!!!!  Wesley said he was disappointed in me because I could even remember what they said to us, but by this point we were kind of being rushed through the line.  We were thankful for our 15 seconds with them though! The book store staff was amazing-they had everything perfectly planned & it went very smoothly.  When we got to the part close to where we would get to see the Duggars, one of the employees said that 500 people had gone through that point.  There were probably that many behind us too!  The Duggars had postcards for us to fill out with our contact info & a place on the back to tell them whatever we wanted or ask questions.  I had already written a card to them with the gift we took, but I thought that was so neat!  The lady who gave it to us said they read every one & that they would send us something in the mail!

More Duggar kids & friends!

After we left, we went & got a little treat for waiting so nicely-ChickfilA fries & ice cream!
Here is our signed book!  Hannah Kate has asked several times today if we could go see "those girls" again-she even cried before nap time because she wanted to go see them!