raising a mommy

raising a mommy

Saturday, March 31, 2012

back to routines

Today's blessing:

I thrive on routines. I love making lists. I'm one of those people who gets great satisfaction from taking her pen and making a big line through a task when it has been completed. I went back to work last week, and, as difficult as it has been for me to leave my baby girl, even if just for a few hours at a time, it has been helpful to have some sort of structure back in my life. During those six weeks after P was born, I could not seem to figure out what day of the week it was. I guess they all kind of ran together - late night feedings turned into early mornings of walking P around our little apartment which were followed by an hour of sleep and then maybe a shower and load of laundry if P was still asleep. By this time it might have been 9 am or 2 pm. For someone who used to start a load of laundry and have all clean dishes put away before leaving for work in the morning, this posed a challenge.

Also, I tend to be a little scattered. One day I poured myself a bowl of cereal in the morning, got distracted by a crying baby, and didn't give the cereal a second thought until I was preparing dinner that night and the bowl was taking up space on my countertop.

Then, Monday morning, something crazy happened. I woke up for work a little earlier than I used to, fed P, ate breakfast, made the bed, and got dressed. When I looked at the clock, I was shocked to see that I still had 45 minutes before I needed to leave. My body suddenly started to go on auto-pilot. I unloaded the dishwasher. I wiped down my bathroom. I spent a few minutes folding and putting away laundry that I had washed the day before but not finished. I put away or threw away seven items that were not where they belonged. Why seven? Because it was better than none! Finally, I double checked that I had everything I needed in my purse and put it by the door with the lunch that I had packed the night before. By this time, P was hungry again, and I had just enough time to feed her and pass her off to my husband to be burped and changed. How's that for timing?

I found myself wondering how in the world that had happened. During my maternity leave I had been home almost the entire day most days. If I accomplished half that many things, I was happy with myself. That's when I realized just how important it was for me to have my routines. This morning, I even managed to fit in a short run before work.

For those of you struggling to establish routines, get your home in order, or just feel like you're making a little progress from day to day, I encourage you to check out FlyLady. She provides you with great advice to help you baby step your way to a better way of looking at things.

Friday, March 23, 2012

the worst question

Today's blessing:
That sore feeling you get after working out for the first time in a long time. In my case, running for the first time since my fourth month!

My baby girl is six weeks old, and I can hardly believe how fast it has gone. There are some things about motherhood that have taken awhile to get used to. I'm still not great at giving P a bath, and it's a challenge sometimes to get that tiny onesie over the head of a squirmer. I'm still figuring out what kind of clothing I prefer for her, too. For example, I can't figure out why any articles of baby clothing would ever be made without footies. The socks are so cute, but really, they don't stay on. Also, I thought at the beginning that we would only use onesies with long sleeves and the little mitten-y things that fold right over the hands. I think we used them twice. However, there is one thing I decided right at the beginning that I did not like, and it hasn't waivered.

"Is she a good baby?"

What does this mean? She has a full head of beautiful dark hair and gorgeous blue eyes. Does that make her good? She has ten fingers and ten toes. If she didn't, would she be a bad baby? Has she figured out how to smile and mommy and daddy? She has, and I think this is good! Does she cry sometimes for no apparent reason for what seems like hours on end but is actually probably only 45 minutes? Of course. Does that make her bad? I don't think so. Difficult maybe, at times, but still good and perfect and beautiful.

Is she generally healthy and happy? Yes, which is, to me, the epitome of good for my baby. So if you ask me if P is a good baby, that's what I'm going to assume you mean. Yes, she is good. And she is raising a mommy who is much more aware of her words.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

cloth diaper review

Today's blessing:
A husband who says "I'll do the dishes as soon as I'm done with my paper. You play with the baby!"

Yes, I do have the best husband ever!

So Husband and I decided that we wanted to try to do the cloth diaper thing with P. For those moms and dads who are on the fence, you should know that it's not like when we were babies and you had a big square of fabric that you folded up, pinned on, then shoved into a pair of plastic pants. There are some pretty awesome options out there now.

I should preface this with a few things. First of all, everything I've written is my opinion and nothing else. Nobody has paid me or given me any sort of compensation to write any of this. Second, I have not tried all brands of cloth diapers, so this list is incomplete. Sorry if I missed your favorite brand. These are the ones that I had available or given to me. That said, here we go!

The idea behind the All-in-one is pretty self-explanatory. It's supposedt to be the closest thing to disposable - you don't need anything but the diaper. No cover, no pins, no nothing. Grovia is the only AIO diaper that we tried. My favorite part about it was that it was so thin - not bulky like a lot of other cloth diapers. However, it leaked. Twice. To be fair, it was very saturated, so it caught a lot of liquid before it leaked, but it did leak. I solved this problem by just putting one of our super-cute diaper covers over it. I realize it kind of defeats the purpose of the AIO, but it's still less bulky than some of the other options, so I'm willing to take the extra step for it! Another down-side: it takes a long time to dry. I don't put my cloth diapers in the dryer, so if there's a chance of rain, they have to dry on a rack in my laundry room.

All-in-twos and Hybrids:
These are the diapers that have inserts, but are different than pocket diapers. The reason these are nice is that you don't have to wash the cover every time. The "mess" should usually be contained to the insert, so you can, in theory, just change the insert every time and use the same cover several times. This is worked pretty well for me so far! Of the AI2s, we tried Flip, Grovia, and Best Bottoms. I'll start with the Flip diapers. If I had to pick a least favorite, it would probably be this one. The insert doesn't attach to the diaper in any way; it just sits in the cover. There are shallow "pockets" of sorts at the front and back of the diaper, but they don't do a ton to secure the insert. These are fine for P now when she doesn't move a whole lot, but I'd be nervous to use them when she starts crawling. However, I would still rather use this than a disposable! Also, both parts of the diaper dry quickly, so there's a faster turn-around than with other options.
The Grovia AI2 is pretty wonderful. There are a ton of super-cute cover options (and many neutrals, too!) and the inserts snap in, so you don't need to worry about them shifting. The inserts are extremely absorbant, which is great for baby, but not so great for drying. They take the longest, by far, out of any inserts or diapers to dry, so if you go this route, make sure that you have lots of inserts! Another down-side: they are fairly bulky, particularly in between the legs. Paige is only 6 weeks old right now, so as she grows, I see this being less and less of an issue. Also, the inserts only come in one size, so when baby is little and you use the smaller size, you have to take a couple extra seconds to make sure it's actually contained within the cover. Not a big deal. When it comes to the covers, I prefer the ones that snap over the velcro. Snaps are more durable, and the velcro tends to attach to everything if you don't get it lined up on the "laundry tabs" just right for storage and washing.
Last in the AI2 category: Best Bottoms. These are the winners in my book. The inserts are thin, but extremely absorbant. There are two different kinds of inserts: microfiber or organic hemp/cotton. I don't have a preference yet. They both seem pretty awesome. You can also purchase doublers that snap in with the inserts for when baby sleeps through the night (I hear that does happen eventually!) and you want some extra protection. The covers come in several cute designs and adjust to a wide range of sizes - and you can even purchase extender tabs so the diapers can be used for children up to 50 pounds or more. Aside from the Grovia AIO, they are the least bulky, and all parts of the diaper dry quickly. Now, I do have to find something to critique, so here it is: there is no part of the insert that you can touch to remove it that is waterproof. If baby thoroughly soaks the insert, you're going to have to touch part of it in order to change it. But if you're a parent, you're probably used to having your child's bodily fluids spewed at you on a regular basis, so this is a non-issue.

Pocket diapers:
Pocket diapers are two-part diapers: they include a shell and an insert that you stuff inside the shell. The only pocket diaper I tried was Bum Genius. On the plus side, it worked extremely well. There were several times that I'm confident Paige would have blown out of a disposable, but everything was contained in her Bum
Genius diaper. On the down-side, they do take a little more work than some of the other diapers. You have to actually stuff the insert into the cover every time, which, while it only takes about 30 seconds, adds up when you figure you go through 8-12 diapers (or more) a day. Also, since the insert goes inside a pocket in the shell, you have to wash both parts after every use. However, both parts dry very quickly. And I would still rather spend 5 or even 10 minutes stuffing inserts than use disposables!

Fitted diapers:
We tried two different varieties of fitted diapers: Kissaluvs and Thirsties. These diapers snap or velcro on, and they require a cover.
I am a big fan of Kissaluvs. They are ridiculously absorbant, and you can even purchase an extra insert to use at night if baby ever decides to sleep for longer than three hours at a time! They're probably the best for newborns, because you can snap down the top to make room for the cord stump. They're a little more bulky than some of the other options, but the extra absorbancy makes up for it in my book! They dry fairly quickly considering how much there is to them. On the down-side, the sizes don't span as wide a range as the AI2s or pocket diapers, so you have to buy more sets. However, they do go really small, (down to 5 lbs) so if you have a preemie or just a tiny baby, you'll get plenty of use out of the smallest size! I do not recommend the Kissaluvs covers. When you snap them down to a smaller size, they get funky and bunchy around the legs. Luckily, you can use pretty much any cover with the diapers.
The Thirsties were by far the bulkiest of all the diapers. They are very absorbant, and the sizing covers a wider range, but they take longer to dry than the Kissaluvs. When it comes to the actual diaper, I'm not a huge fan. However, the covers are great, and they come in some really cute colors and designs.

Whew! I hope this helps if you were on the fence about cloth diapering or even if you just wanted more information! The best resource I've found online to order diapers is Nicki's Diapers. They even throw in free gifts depending on how much you spend - I got some reuseable wipes. I haven't convinced my husband to give them a chance yet, but I certainly can use them! I'm so proud of my Paige...she's trying her best to raise an earth-friendly mommy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

i'm hooked

Today's blessing:
Elton John lullabies

I'm definitely liking this blogging thing. I've kept a journal pretty regularly since I read Absolutely Normal Chaos when I was in middle school, so I guess this is the 21st century equivalent. Except this is a little more public.

So my husband and his sister are probably the biggest Elton John fans anyone will ever meet. No joke. They're a lot ridiculous. The first music played to our daughter when she was in my stomach was Elton John. The first time Nate and I felt her kick was after he played "Honky Cat" for her. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when the collection of Elton John hits in lullaby form showed up in a gift for P from her auntie. Here's the surprising thing: they work! We broke out the cd yesterday morning, and it put P to sleep right away. We had it on repeat last night, and it was one of the best nights of sleep I've gotten since about my fifth month of pregnancy. Now, it may have just been a fluke, but I'm going to go with that it really works. Hopefully tonight will be another good one to confirm that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

my nocturnal daughter

Today's blessing:
Cream cheese wontons

I know I'm supposed to sleep when baby sleeps, and I'm guessing that's especially relevant at 3:00 in the morning. However, today I am resisting. P slept all day, so Husband and I have been anticipating a long night. He took the "bedtime"-2:00 shift, and now I'm up and armed with my water bottle, some energizing snacks, "What to Expect the First Year", and a blanket and pillow, all within arm's reach. I'm actually pretty awake right now, so it doesn't make sense to me to go to sleep when I know I'll have to wake up, probably within 30 minutes, and I'll be all groggy and out of it. Right?

P is a walker. The most effective way to soothe her is by pacing the floor. She's also a fairly fussy baby, thus requiring a lot of soothing. I credit the fact that I was back in pre-pregnancy jeans two weeks after delivery to this. Blessing in disguise? That's how I'm choosing to look at it!

I think I jinxed myself. My baby has now been asleep for a solid hour. One way or another, P is doing her best to raise one tough mommy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

getting started

This is going to be another one of those "new mom" blogs. I'm not sure yet what's going to set me apart from all the others; I guess we'll just have to wait and see. However, I do know a few things about my undefined blog. It will not be my opportunity to complain about everything in life that is bugging me. I may share some of my struggles, but for the most part, I'll try to keep things uplifting. There's enough bad news out there; I certainly don't want to contribute to it! Also, I want to start every entry with something positive - a blessing in my life or just something small that makes me smile. Today's blessing:
That M&M commercial where the guys at the party think the brown M&M is naked, then the red M&M comes in and strips and starts dancing. There's something about seeing an M&M dance like that...it makes me chuckle.

Maybe I should start out with a little bit about me? Like I said, I really don't know what I'm doing with this blog, but this seems like the natural place to start. Like all other women, I have many titles: daughter, sister, wife, friend, blah blah blah. The newest and most exciting addition to my list of titles is definitely mother (hopefully "mommy" eventually, but that's a title that has to be earned). Being a mom is pretty much the coolest thing ever. My baby girl, P, just turned one month old, and in my completely unbiased opinion, she's just about the cutest thing to ever grace a crib. I'm also a singer, runner, Christian, quilter, and many other things.

Okay...I think that's probably good for one day!