Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lane: 6 Months

(written March 28, 2012)

Dear Lane,

Oh Little Mister, how is this even possible?!  You're half a year old!  You are getting closer and closer to your first birthday, and farther and farther away from that newborn baby you once were.

You have started sleeping so much better, often only waking just once in the night to eat.  There are even rare nights when you don't wake at all!  I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, in terms of interrupted sleep every night.  We are now co-sleeping full time.  You sleep on my pillow with me, with your little face smashed up against my face.  You also want to hold onto my face while you fall asleep.  Its so funny how much you associate our bed with sleeping now; at bedtime, as soon as I put you in bed on the pillow, you roll onto your side, close your eyes, and start reaching for my face.  I feel like I spend so much time away from you during the week and the day, that nighttime is our time to "catch up" on our snuggles... its definitely a special time for you and I.

You still love your special little blankey, and it goes just about everywhere with us.  The nice thing, however, is that you also do fine without it.  This comes in very handy when we have forgotten to bring it, or its being washed!  You also love chewing your hands and feet still, as well as anyone else's hands!

You continue to have about one cold a month, but I'm just attributing that to daycare, it being cold season, and you putting everything in your mouth.  I know there's no way to fully protect you from getting sick, and none of your colds have been nearly as bad as your very first one.

You still don't have any teeth, but that's okay.  We love your gummy smiles!

You're mostly in 6 month clothes, although some 3 month onesies still fit you (but just barely!).  At your 6 month checkup, you were 18 lbs. 5 oz, and 28 1/4 inches long.  You are still long and strong, with chubby little legs and a round belly.  We're still going strong with your cloth diapers too, and definitely have our routine figured out with regards to that.

We've slowly started introducing more foods to you, including oatmeal, sweet potatoes, avocado, and squash.  The oatmeal, sweet potato, and squash are all winners, but you despise avocado.  (Dad and I don't like avocado either!)  I'm looking forward to expanding your food menu!

We're now counting down until your first birthday, although we don't want these next 6 months to go by too quickly.  You're so much fun right now, and this is honestly one of our most favorite stages you've gone through.  We are so proud of all of your accomplishments, and we just love you so, so much!


Mom and Dad 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Back to School

Physical therapy has been a passion of mine for some time now; since I was in the 11th grade actually.

I went to St. Martin's for my Bachelors of Science degree in Biology, and had plans of going to Physical Therapy school to get my Doctorate.  However, my plans changed slightly, as I wasn't accepted to the program after graduation.

I then put my plans on temporary hold, as Josh and I bought our house.  I also wasn't sure I could commit to three years that the program takes- and be off of work that entire time.  It was a scary thought to give up working!

I then started looking into a physical therapist assistant program, which would only be 2 years, and slightly less intense.  Only a few schools in WA have a program, and most of them are traditional, Monday-Friday, in person programs.  I didn't know how to make that work while still keeping my job that I love.

I finally found Whatcom Community College, and their Physical Therapist Assistant Online-Hybrid program.  The course is designed for students with lives outside of school.  So, the majority of the coursework is online, and there are in-person labs every month over a weekend.  This seemed like the perfect fit for me!

So, I applied for the program starting Spring of 2011.  And didn't get in.  However, this was because the community college I did my associate degree through didn't send my transcripts to Whatcom, even though I had paid for them to be sent.  I was heartbroken, and really unsure if I wanted to apply again.  I felt like I was getting to the point where I either needed to be in school, or move on.  I wanted to get on with my life, and was tired of living in limbo.

Just a few months after I found out I wasn't accepted, we found out we were expecting Lane!  Josh made me promise to apply to school one last time, and if I didn't get accepted this time, we would move on and rearrange.

Fast forward to October of 2011, and our little man was less than a month old when I submitted my school application. I was so nervous about how we would make it all work if I was accepted- the time committment, paying for tuition and books, guilt over less time spent with Lane, etc.  But I promised Josh I would apply, so I did.

In January, I was starting to wonder where my letter was informing me of either my acceptance or rejection.  I finally got the nerve to call, and left a message for the Program Director, Margaret.  A few hours later, Margaret called to tell me that letters had indeed been mailed out, and that she was so happy to inform me I was accepted!  I would be starting school in April!

It was such a relief to know that I would finally be able to start my career.  But, it was also scary!

In between January and April, we figured out student loans, ordered books, and Josh bought my a new computer for my birthday.

And so, ever since April 3rd, I've been working on my first quarter of classes at Whatcom CC for my Physical Therapist Assistant program.  I had my first lab last weekend, and it was so neat to practice hands-on material that we're learning in our books.  The program is 9 quarters long, meaning I'll graduate in June 2014.  It can be a real struggle to prioritize my time and keep up with everything, but we're slowly settling into more of a routine.

I love school!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Promise I'm Still Here

And I will be trying to catch up on my blogging this week!

These past month has really thrown us for a loop- Josh has surgery, I started school, and we are just now adjusting to all the added time commitments because of my school program (which is a whole 'nother post).  Hence why I've been a bad mom and haven't posted Lane's 6 month letter and photos, even though they've been done since his 6 month birthday, and he'll be 7 months this weekend.

So, here's to hoping I'm all caught up by this weekend!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Different Kind of Mom

Back before Lane was born, I tried to imagine the kind of mom I would be.

Would I be the fun mom? Strict? A germaphobe? Laid back?

I always said my baby wouldn't sleep in my bed, wouldn't ever have formula, wouldn't get kisses from our dog Molly, wouldn't use a pacifier, and a million other things.

Now that he's here though, things have changed.

Lane spends most hours of the night sleeping in our bed. He has had a pacifier since he was 3 weeks old (although he's never been too interested in it). Since going back to work, I've had to supplement with formula. And Lane gets Molly kisses everyday.

I'm also becoming so much more concerned with only using natural, organic, chemical free products whenever possible.  We cloth diaper, and use a eco-friendly detergent to wash the diapers (and the rest of Lane's clothes/blankets) in.  The rice and oatmeal cereals we've tried are organic, and I plan on growing the majority of the fruits/vegetables we feed Lane, and buying organic the items I can't grow. 

I also recently switched Lane's shampoo/soap and lotion to natural products.  So far I am loving the Dolphin Organics line, both unscented and Citrus scented (the scent comes from citrus extracts).  (To top it off, they have GREAT customer service - I've been working directly with one of the creators of the company, Ayo, ever since my first order!)

We also use an all-natural diaper cream, known as CJ's BUTTer.  We have it in a tub, a tube, and a spray.  It smells wonderful, works fantastically, and is cloth-diaper safe.  I've also recently started using Coconut Oil from Trader Joe's as another option for preventing diaper rash, and so far have had really great results!

I'm also a huge fan of babywearing, or using a carrier worn on my body to pack my son around.  I have a Moby wrap (great for around the house, and to snuggle Lane in to help him fall asleep if he's really fussy),  a Beco Gemini (our go-to carrier, as Josh loves it as much as I do.  My favorite grocery shopping accessory!), and I am now looking into a ring sling.  I love having Lane near me, and he loves it as well.  He loves being out of his carseat, and able to look around at the new surroundings.  He also loves to fall asleep in the carriers, and will sleep through a whole grocery shopping trip with no problem.

Who knew I would become a cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, "crunchy" mama?!  I certainly didn't, but I have to say I'm loving it and the choices we are making for our son.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lane: 5 Months

Dear Lane,

Wow! Five months already!! I know I say it every month, but I still can't believe how quickly you are growing up.

You have most definitely grown out of the "newborn" phase, and are full-blown little boy now.  You are becoming more opinionated and vocal, and are testing out all the different sounds your mouth makes now.  You often look us in the eye and "talk" back to us, with a look on your face that seems to say, "Can't you understand what I'm saying?!". 

You are becoming more attached to certain objects, like the bear in your monthly photos, and the small, soft security blanket we got you.  You chew on them both, and open and close your hands when you see them, as if you just can't wait to get them in your hands.

You still LOVE sleeping in our bed, and I still love having you in there.  Sleep hasn't been going great the past month or so, but we're just dealing with it.  You must be going through a growth spurt, as you wake up ravenously hungry at least once or twice each night.  You spend much less time swaddled now, and instead want a blanket to hold on to (and cover your face with- much to the dislike of Mom!). 

You have recently discovered your feet, and can now get them in your mouth.  When you're sitting in your Bumbo or bouncy chair, you're always leaning forward to grab at them.  You also really pay attention when Dad or Mom leave the room, and try to twist around in your seat to watch us.

We recently tried rice and oatmeal cereal, but you're not a fan of either of then.  You do love sitting in your highchair though! 

You learned how to roll from your back to your belly this month, and now will do so as soon as we put you on your back.  You also pull your knees up with your butt in the air, and I know it won't be long until you're trying to crawl. 

You are such an active and strong little boy, and everyone comments on that fact.  You just want to move.  You're chewing on EVERYTHING, and your shirts are always covered in drool.  You don't have any teeth yet, but I'm thinking we might see one (or two) soon.  For now though, we are loving your big gummy smile.

You are majorly ticklish, just like Mom and Dad.  Your main tickle spots are under your neck, and all around your ribs.  Tickling one of these spots leads to major cackling on your part, and great entertainment for Mom and Dad.

Your 6 month appointment is in just a few weeks, and we're anxious to see just how much you've grown since your last appointment.  You're still in 3-6 month clothes, and this is the longest you've ever stayed in one size. 

We are still cloth diapering you, and your little butt looks so cute in a brightly colored diaper.  Mom gave up pumping this month, and you've always done just fine with formula.  I didn't quite make it to my 6 month goal, but we were close!  I will always love those hours spent nursing you, and that special bond we formed.  You really gave me a love for breastfeeding.

Keep up the growing, little man, and know Mom and Dad love you beyond measure!


Mom and Dad

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cloth Diapering: Laundry Routine

A huge part of cloth diapering is the laundry routine.   I know a lot of people are scared off by the idea of washing dirty diapers, but it really isn't all that bad.  In fact, I don't really mind it at all!  Here is our routine:

All of Lane's dirty diapers go inside this garbage bag, in a pail liner.  The liner is essentially a waterproof, reusable garbage bag.

 When its time to do a load of diapers, I pull the pail liner out and take it to the washing machine.  I empty out all of the diapers and inserts into the washing machine, and turn the pail liner inside out and toss it in as well.

  1. I first run a cold rinse on the entire load. 
  2. Then I wash everything on warm, with a scoop of cloth diaper safe detergent (see photo below steps).
  3. I then run a final cold rinse of everything, just to make sure all of the soap is out.
  4. The inserts go in the dryer.
  5. The pail liner and diaper covers hang on a clothes rack to dry.

With 25 diapers, I do laundry about every 2 days, just to stay on top of it all and to make sure we don't run out.  In the summer, I'll dry the diapers outside, and also the inserts.  The neat thing about the sun is it naturally bleaches stains out of the diapers!

It might seem like cloth diapering is complicated, but once you establish a good routine and get into the swing of things, it goes very smoothly and becomes second nature.

We love cloth diapering!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cloth Diapering: Our Stash

Before Lane was even born, I decided I wanted to give cloth diapering a try.  I did tons of research- should we choose hybrids?  Pockets?  AIOs?  Prefolds with covers?

I ultimately decided to try hybrids (the option to use disposable or cloth inserts in a cover) for their versatility.  I ordered a starter back of gDiapers, and waited anxiously to try them on my baby.

I ended up loving the whole gDiapers system, but Josh wasn't a fan.  I loved how trim they were, the cute, bright colors, and the soft feel of the covers.  Josh had a hard time getting the fit right, which is a necessity to prevent leaks.  Lane soon outgrew the small size, and we decided to not order the medium size.

I love cloth diapers for a multitude of reasons- they're SO much cuter than disposables, we don't have as much trash each week, we aren't contributing to the growing landfills, and Lane's little bottom is always so much drier when I change a wet diaper than with disposables.  He also gets diaper rash less often, and I love being able to alter the "stuffing" to meet our needs.

I recently discovered pocket diapers and prefolds/covers, and that is what our diaper stash consists of now.  Here's a brief overview of the diaper types we use:

Sunbaby Pocket Diapers:

I have 13 of these diapers, and so far am really liking them!  The company was started by a mom, and the brand is slowly becoming more popular in the cloth-diapering world.

The outer layer is a waterproof material, and the inside is a soft fleece.  There are snaps to adjust the rise and waist size, and this diaper is meant to be "one size"- meaning they fit from birth through potty training (Approximately, of course.  Every baby is different sized and might be too big/small to fit the diaper at the point of potty training/birth.).  Between the outer layer and inner layer is a "pocket", where inserts are stuffed.
The inserts that are included are microfiber, and so far seem to be very absorbent.  I also have some bamboo inserts that I really like.

bumGenius 4.0 Pocket Diapers:

I was given 2 bumGenius (BG) diapers by a friend, and they have become two of my favorite diapers to use.  BG diapers are some of the most popular diapers out there, due to their quality and ease of use.  Basically identical in form and function to the Sunbaby diapers, its very easy for us to switch back and forth between the two brands.  I will say that the BG's seem to be of higher quality, but time will tell how the two brands hold up.  I have since bought 3 more bumGenius diapers, but these ones have velcro instead of snaps, which makes them more closely resemble disposable diapers.  Josh really likes the velco, as its much easy to get on a squirming baby!

The diapers come with two inserts- one newborn sized insert, and one larger.  You can use both at the same time for added overnight protection, or if you have a heavy wetting.  There are snaps on the larger insert, so it can be matched to the rise setting using the snaps on the diaper cover itself.  (See the arrows.)

Econobum Prefolds with Cover:

These diapers are a much more economical option for those wanting to try out cloth diapering, or if you don't care about the color/pattern of your child's diaper.  (Side note:  one of the fun parts of cloth diapering is all of the cute colors and patterns available.  None of my Sunbaby diapers of bumGenius diapers are alike- I have lots of colors and patterns!)  The Econobums are made by the same company that manufacters the bumGenius diapers; its just their "economy line".
With the Econobum diapers, there isn't a pocket to stuff.  There is just an outer waterproof layer with snaps, and the insert sits directly between the cover and your baby's skin.  The insert is a prefold diaper, folded into thirds.

I've found that the inserts getting softer and more "fluffy" the more I wash them!

Because diaper creams can cause repelling of cloth diapers, Desitin, ButtPaste, etc. are a big no-no.  I found CJ's BUTTer, which is an all-natural cream that works great to prevent/treat diaper rash.  We haven't had any issues with repelling, and I love all of the scents available (Lullaby Baby Lotion is my favorite!).  The cream comes in a tub, squeeze tube, stick (think chapstick), and even a spray.  We have a large tub on the changing table, a spray in one diaper bag, and a squeeze tube in the other diaper bag.  The spray is great because you don't have to get your hands messy, and if your baby has a bad diaper rash, you don't have to hurt them by touching it.

Here are the three diaper types we use lined up side by side:

And here's part of our stash!  I keep this basket on the changing table, filled with diapers already stuffed and ready to go.  We have 13 Sunbaby's, 5 bumGenius diapers, and 4 Econobums.  (I also just ordered 3 Charlie Banana pocket diapers, but they haven't arrived yet, so I can't review them.)

Next I'll be posting our cloth diaper laundry routine!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

While going through the videos on our video camera, I found this one from while I was in labor with Lane. Josh was bored and playing with the camera, and I was lying in bed after getting my epidural, just waiting until it was time to push. I can still feel that anxious excitement, knowing our son was just hours from being born.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mr. Laughalot

This kid's laugh just melts my heart.