Tag Archives: Parenting

Being Real

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I couldn’t sleep this naptime because I couldn’t help thinking how I’ve never really exposed my heart here on my blog.  I’ve given lots of good tips, recipes, whatever… but what does all that mean if you don’t know the person behind the words?  I guess I’ve been thinking of how to share my heart for a while & being the perfectionist that I am I had to think of the perfect way I guess!  But then, those perfect ways wouldn’t really be real because, gasp, I’m not perfect!  Sigh… So, thanks to Crunchy Betty’s post today reminding me to be real, I’m just going to share something that’s been on my heart!  Wow… what a concept!  Sounds simple, but it’s a biggie for me!

Have you ever had one of “those days”… those days where you can’t wait to put the kids down for nap… you just wish they’d be quiet for one second… you’re glad you have a fenced back yard and a door that closes… you feel annoyed when one wakes up from naptime earlier than expected… you feel like pulling your hair out because they just won’t listen… you yell at your toddler.  You know, “those days”… Yeah… “THOSE” days!  I think we all have them… I also think most of us are too ashamed to say that we do.  I know I am.  That’s why it’s been on my mind lately… because I’ve heard people comment about how they think I have it all together, I do things right – all the time… I don’t want people to think I’m perfect!  I’m soooo far from it.  I don’t get it right all the time… and I get down on myself for it.

My husband frequently tells me what a “good mom” I am… but, if I’m really honest, it irritates me when he says it.  It irritates me because I don’t believe it about myself.  If I really think about what I believe about myself – I believe I’m a failure… I believe my kids don’t like me… I believe they’ll be glad when they get to leave our home because they don’t have to be around me anymore… I believe I’m the epitome of “bad mom”.  And what I believe about myself comes out in what I do.

As I laid on the couch thinking about “those days” and how I respond to them – collapsing on the couch after the kids go down, losing myself in Pinterest, watching a movie, eating – I realized I respond all wrong.  What I should do is so simple but I am so focused on myself and how I feel that I forget that I am first and foremost a wife and mother.  As I thought about what I should do, I came up with three things I need to tell myself on “those days”:

1. I wanted these little rascals – all of them.

Yep… ever since I was a child I wanted to be a mom.  When I got married my husband & I decided we wanted four kids.  I’ve always wanted this… granted, I had a VERY romanticized idea of what “this” was!  But I always wanted children.

2. I love each of them so much.

They are all so special… there are so many things about each of them that make my heart smile… it’s so sad to me that I usually only allow my heart room to smile when I look at their pictures and remember cute things about them.  My heart should smile every time I look at their messy little faces!

3. I am a good mom.

I had trouble even writing that.  My husband has been known to tell me that I will be what I tell myself I am.  So… even though I don’t think it’s quite the truth, I will tell myself that I am a good mom because that is my heart’s desire.  And maybe, just maybe, if I tell myself that fact, when my kids get up from their sleeps, I will be their good mom.

Now that I’ve thought about those things, my heart has softened, relaxed, refocused.  I am their mother, I love them, they are beautiful little gifts.

And when they get up, I’m going to kiss each squishy cheek.  I’m going to look into each pair of chocolate brown eyes without saying anything at all, just communicating that I love them by looking into their eyes.  Then I’m going to draw each to my breast & embrace them, whispering “I love you”… and I’ll probably cry this time (like I am now), because I do love them… so much.

Am I the only one who gets so caught up in the day-to-day
that I forget how much my littles mean to me?
Am I the only one who fails sometimes?
How do you refocus? 

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Little Monster… Baby #2

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Well… now we have a boy & a girl!  This little Monster was born on Saturday, February 20 early in the morning.  My pregnancy was so different than with our son… probably because he was a boy?!  Anyway, I had A LOT of false labor this time (where I had NONE with Monkey).  So I was constantly thinking, “This is it!”  Monkey was born at 38 weeks… not Monster… he waited till 41 ½ weeks before making his appearance.  Oi… it was so hard.  Note to self: don’t expect the timing to be the same every time!

On February 19th at 5pm I was having painful contractions but I didn’t bother timing them because they were far apart & irregular & not getting any more intense… and I’d had this before so I didn’t get overly excited this time.  We were at church so I was just sitting there, so at 5:30 I did start timing.  I only got one time written down before I got called out because Monkey had a fever, so I held her through the rest of the service.  I don’t think I even had any more contractions anyway.   At 9pm Jesse & I were in bed & the contractions were painful… for 1.5 hours they were 5 minutes apart & I thought they might be getting more intense so I decided to get up.  At 10pm I got up & started using my yoga ball… leaning over it on my knees.  Contractions continued to intensify.  Jesse was still sleeping & I decided to let him sleep since if this was it, he was going to be one busy dad for the next week or so.  At 10:30pm I was pretty sure it was labor so I started laying out all the birth supplies on the kitchen table. Got the coffee station & snacks set up for people who would be here.  Contractions became even more intense & were 2 minutes apart.  Got Jesse up… called the midwife (Carrie).  Carrie & Becky would come in 30 minutes.

At 11pm Carrie arrived. Contractions were too intense to talk through.  I stayed on the ball until I got in the pool we set up in the living room.  I was only feeling a slight urge to push.  I drank some orange juice because I was feeling faint.  At 1am I got in the pool… I was 9cm.  The urge to push was getting stronger… and I was SCARED.  I tore a little bit with Monkey and had to get a bunch of stitches.  I was so nervous that it would happen again.   Even though Carrie told me I could work with the urge to push, I still fought it.  Somewhere in there I started feeling really nauseous & threw up that orange juice … from between contractions right through the next one.  Ugh… that was awful.  NOTE TO SELF: Don’t ever drink orange juice when in labor.  During contractions & in between I was alert enough mentally this time to pray, read the titles of the worship songs playing on the TV, & concentrate on keeping my tones low or just blowing air.  The contractions were further apart in the pool so I got more of a break between, but they were more intense.

At 1:30am Carrie said that the bag of waters was bulging enough that if I gave one hard push & it would break & the Monster would come really soon.  I pushed, beyond the contraction a little, until it broke.  The little Monster’s head flew forward & I felt it crown. My back started to hurt soooo bad.  Carrie told me to just float in the water, so I let my hips rise & just float. The next pushes… SERIOUS pain!  Ring of fire seemed more intense than with Monkey. There was also an awful stinging pain inside that when Carrie poked her finger in to check, ended up being the little Monster’s hand & fingernails scraping me on the way out.  When she touched his hand, he grabbed her finger!  During the delivery of his head I clung to Jesse’s arms behind me struggling to keep my tones low.  I think I pushed about five times to deliver his head & one arm.  When his head came I was finally able to release Jesse’s arms because that awful stinging pain from his hand was over.  Then between that last head push & the next contraction I touched the little Monster’s head & face & little hand.  It was precious.  I could tell he had hair just like Monkey did.  The next contraction I was holding his head & neck with my hands & I pushed & pushed & pushed until he finally popped out & I brought him up out of the water onto my chest.  THAT was incredible! I got to catch him myself!

Shortly after the little Monster was born & we were out of the pool, Monkey (15 months old) woke up. Jesse brought her out to meet her little brother.  She kept signing “Baby… baby… baby” and looking at him with the cutest little expressions on her face.

By 4am we were all back in bed for the rest of the night.  Carrie & Becky were gone & would return in the morning to check on us.

I am so glad we chose to have our little Monster at home.  It would have been free to have him at the hospital with Medicade, but then we would have been stuck in the hospital for however long & I wouldn’t have been able to catch him myself or birth in the water.  I am sooo thankful we were at home.  I was comfortable, it was peaceful, familiar & our Monkey could be there too to see her little brother when he was first born.  I wouldn’t trade my homebirth for anything.  We’ll do it again when #3 happens!!  I also feel so strong & powerful after birthing naturally.  I feel like I am the strongest woman in the world… like I can do anything! It’s an amazing empowering feeling.

LaLa… Baby #3

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This is the story of the birth of our third child.  She was a Mother’s Day baby.

PRE-LABOR

Who knows when “pre-labor” was… I suppose I could say three weeks ago it started!!  I tried timing contractions at Costco at lunchtime on Mother’s Day, but I’d forget to push the stop button on the timer so I couldn’t really tell if they were getting longer, stronger, closer together!  I quit timing because it just wasn’t painful enough to be considered labor.

At 4:00ish I laid on the couch to rest & read Monkey & Monster a story.  Monkey was sitting on my shoulders, Monster on my hips as I laid on my side on the couch reading a book.  Then I got a phone call from the sprinkler guy & I was talking to him & the kids were crawling all over me.  Shortly after I got off the phone I felt a large POP!  I swear I could almost hear it. …

LABOR

POW!!!  “Oh my gosh, I think my water just broke!”

Jesse from the bathroom: “What?! Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure, just a sec.”  I stand up and GUSH!  “Um… yes, that’s affirmative, can I use the bathroom?

Monkey (turning 2½ the next day) follows me into the bathroom & notices my undies on the floor.  She leaves & in a second comes back with more undies & then grabs a pad from under the sink!  Anyway, I sit there for about three minutes texting my birth team (photographer, videographer, babysitter).  Then I get up, and before I got to the kitchen table, I was having a brutal contraction.  Now THIS is worth of timing!  Time to call the birth crew!!!  Ha ha!

So, I called, and got a voicemail… one of the midwives’ personal voicemail.  I just hung up and called again.  Same thing, so I left a message.  She called back soon after & I started blabbing … she interrupted and said, “Honey, I don’t have the phone.”  Okay… so how did I just call her… anyway… phone patched through to the wrong persons personal line.  She called the midwife on duty and a second later Inga called me… at which point I was in the middle of another doozie.  Inga said, “Hard at work?”  I said, “Ugh!”  She said, “On my way, go lay on the couch.”  So I did!  And how much I hated laboring lying down!  It was AWFUL!  A couple contractions after lying down I said, “I need to push!”  Jesse said, “Don’t you dare!”

So, I have no idea what time people started showing up… I was just in the middle of all this mayhem… trying to keep track of Monkey (2½ years) & Monster (14½ months) while Jesse got the pool set up & all the labor/birth supplies out, all while trying to monitor the turkey we had in the oven for dinner!  Monster was getting into the pump for the pool so Monkey “babysat” him while Jesse was busy!  It was chaotic to say the least.  I was in HARD labor, all of a sudden!  Jesse ended up asking the kids to stay on the couch, where they stayed until Lorie (friend & babysitter!) arrived.

So… I think the first person to arrive was Kim and she started helping out with the setup.  Then Inga arrived.  I made some comment about how much I hated being on the couch.  Inga said I could get up, she just didn’t want LaLa arriving before she did!  So I got up & knelt before my birth ball.  The relief was incredible.  Between contractions I talked to my kids who were still obediently sitting on the couch.  Monster was pretty traumatized, eyes as wide as saucers.  I wish I could have hugged him & loved on him some, but the contractions were coming too fast.

Finally, Lorie arrived (my friend, babysitter!)… the kids could be out of the room, and I could concentrate on the task at hand.

Everyone was still scurrying around the room setting up… Jesse was hauling hot water from the bathtub in a large pot while the hose tried desperately to fill the pool from the sink! Brittany was snapping pictures & shooting video.  Inga & Kim were testing the water & doing whatever else they do to get ready!  It was a race!  I was pushing, hard, but trying not to!  Inga finally said I could get in the pool but I’d have to sit because there wasn’t quite enough water.  I didn’t care… but I’d have to have this one more contraction out of the water.  Dang it!

As I lowered myself into the water I felt waves of relief wash over me!  Aaaaahhhh… I can do this… again!  It was so intense… I hadn’t had time to “get in the zone”… I didn’t have time to think!  It was just happening so fast.  A few contractions later I felt for her head inside of me & was surprised that she was so close.  A little later… the ring of fire hit & in the middle of a contraction I squeaked, “She’s coming already!”  I was so surprised!  As I pushed her head began to emerge.  I held her half-way out clear through to the next contraction.  Then I pushed, her head came, I gave another push & there she was!  Jesse & Inga both looked at the clock & said “58 mintues!”  Yeesh!

***

I tell you what, I’m glad I plan on delivering at home!  LaLa would have been born somewhere on the freeway or in the hospital lobby had not been a home-birther!

LaLa’s’ birth was the most intense of all three births… exciting, chaotic, rushed… but at the same time there was the peace & comfort of being in my own home knowing that I was being taken care of by people I loved & trusted.  I had no fear during the whole process, even though I wasn’t able to get into that place of complete control because I didn’t have time to get there.  It was a beautiful experience that I will never forget!  And the best Mother’s Day present ever!  I’m so thankful for my LaLa!

Cloth Diapering Made Easy

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NOTE:  There are a LOT of links in this post… I wanted to give you a lot of pictures and examples without having to put so many pictures in the post!  🙂  Contact me if you find a broken link… I’ll fix it for ya! 🙂

I’ve read a lot about cloth diapering.  Read a lot of articles, watched a lot of videos.  The thing that is hard for me is that even when I watch/read stuff it seems so complicated… and I’ve been cloth diapering for going on 4 years!  And I don’t think it’s complicated.  I want people to feel the freedom to cloth diaper without that overwhelmed feeling you get when something seems too difficult.  So, here’s my attempt to take the difficulty out of cloth diapering!

First, let me get this out of the way… I am more frugal than anyone I know… so when I say “Use a grocery sack”, you could translate that to be “Use a wetbag”!… just sayin’!  I’m all about a cloth diapering system that WORKS… but I’m also pretty conscious of the price of said system.

Select Diapering System

I think this is where people start getting complicated.  The selection of diapers & diapering systems is ENORMOUS!  Where do you start!?  That is the question isn’t it?  So many people don’t even make it past this one step.

A quick tour:

As you can see, there are a LOT of choices out there for cloth diapering – the links above are only a sampling of what is available in each category!  There are so many brands and styles and options out there!  This article being my opinion, because, well, it’s my blog, I’ll tell you what I think.

I have used a variety of diapers in my tenure as a CD mom.  And I tell you, I LOVE the system I’m using now.  I started with these prefolds & covers.  Loved it, until I was introduced to inserts!  These inserts are marketed as “doublers” but it’s exactly what I used with my ProRap Diaper Covers.  What a convenience to not have to fold anymore!  I have also used one-size diaper covers (like this one from Sprout Change)… which, truth be told, are not one size after all.  Touted to fit up to 40 pounds, my son outgrew his at 25 pounds.  I did LOVE it until he outgrew it though.

So… what do I use?

I use  what I consider to be the simplest system, easy to care for, durable, easy to store, easy to travel… key word: EASY!  I use inserts & covers.  Sure, AIOs might be “easier”… problem is, they are very expensive.  And I’m frugal remember?!

First, I suggest purchasing ONE brand & style of cover in the necessary sizes.  I have 6 covers in each of 5 sizes.  The reason I suggest this is simply because there is less sorting, stuffing, folding, etc.  I pile up the covers, I pile up the inserts.  Done.  I love the ProRap Diaper Covers & suggest the Classic covers in white… though, if you prefer, they do have an adorable line of colors & even prints now!  Check here for the whole store! These covers are made with PUL (waterproof fabric), durable Velcro closures, and feature a gusset around the legs which is phenomenal for preventing leaks.  I have tried snap diaper covers, and prefer the ease of Velcro.  It’s difficult to snap 4-8 little snaps on a squirmy baby!

BTW… for those of you who are using disposables now & have experienced that “blowout” phase… Yeah, that doesn’t happen with cloth diapers!  Just a little tidbit.

Second, I suggest Inserts, for the simple reason that you don’t have to fold.  There are a variety of inserts available on the market from organic,wool, bamboo, microfleece, and a basic cotton/fleece insert (which is what I prefer because they rinse cleaner faster than the more exotic blends).  I haven’t purchased any inserts myself so I can’t tell you which is best (although I have used a microfleece insert and hated it)… but I can tell you they are easy to make.  I made all of my inserts… from the plethora of fleece & flannel receiving blankets I had in piles in my kids’ rooms!  I’ll try to get a tutorial up soon.  I love my fleece/flannel inserts because they are sooo soft and comfortable and easy to clean.

Third, I do suggest using cloth wipes.  These can be anything from baby washcloths, to scraps of flannel or terrycloth.  I have also made all my own wipes from two serged together layers of flannel & terrycloth.

These are my homemade inserts… some of them!

Organizing Your Diapers

Once you’ve purchased your cloth diapering system you’ll need to set up a system for organizing your collection.  I have moved my changing area around the house so many times trying to figure out the perfect place for changing.  And I’ve settled on the dryer!  I have a contoured changing pad on the dryer, which obviously sits right next to the washer, you know, where I wash the dirty diapers!

I keep four baskets on the shelves above the dryer.  Since I have two in diapers, I have one basket for LaLa & one for the Little Monster.  These baskets house their size covers, and occasionally some slippers, jammies, whatever. The other two baskets hold the cloth wipes along with a container of water, and the inserts.  I also have another small basket with creams in it.

On the floor I have two trash cans.  One is for trash, the other is lined with a reusable grocery bag (or you could use a wetbag!).  This is where I dump soiled diapers when there is another load of wash running, which happens occasionally around here as you can imagine.

Changing Table
Top two baskets – Kids’ covers
Bottom Left – Wipes & water
Bottom Right – Inserts

Cloth Diapering Basics

So… Onward.  Now you have a baby and you need to diaper him.  My personal preference is to use a non-scented paper (disposable) diaper until the little belly stump falls off.  When that happens, I gladly switch to cloth!

I change at my dryer based changing station.

  • If the diaper is wet, I replace the insert, and the cover if it is wet as well.
  • If the cover is slightly wet but not stinky, I hang it with a clothespin from one of the baskets to dry.
  • If the diaper is soiled and the baby is breastfed only, I just dump the whole thing in the washer, no need to rinse.
  • If the diaper is soiled and the baby is eating solids, I set the insert & cover aside, change the baby, and then take the soiled diaper to the bathroom to rinse.  I just rinse in the toilet by flushing and swishing (you could use a diaper sprayer), then I carry the rinsed diaper back to the washer in a small bucket (like an ice cream bucket, or you could use a wetbag).
  • To wipe baby, I wet a few cloths in the container of water I have with the wipes (I’ve tried homemade solutions and found that plain old water works just as well and stays fresh longer too… the scented water tends to get slimy faster) and wipe.  I choose to use cloth wipes because there is much less wiping & scrubbing and baby gets quite a bit cleaner.
  • To replace the insert, be sure to fit it inside the gussets of the cover to prevent leaks.  If baby is small, fold the insert over in the front, then pull up the cover so it completely covers the insert.  There’s no need to even move the cover out from under baby when changing unless it is soiled.  Simply remove the wet/soiled insert & put a dry one in it’s place.

Washing Cloth Diapers

It’s time to do the laundry!  Since I keep my washer full of water, detergent, and a disinfectant (bleach or vinegar) and put the diapers in as I go, all I have to do is start the machine.  Then switch to the dryer or better yet, line dry to reduce stains & further disinfect.  This is the regular routine.  You may prefer to do an additional rinse cycle, I don’t feel it’s completely necessary unless there is some serious mess in there.

I wash my diapers with homemade detergent and 1/2 cup white vinegar.

Once every couple months I strip my diapers… this involves either hanging the diapers out on the line in a rainstorm, or washing them once with detergent as usual, then once with a couple cups of white vinegar but no detergent, then another time with plain water, and another time in plain water for good measure.  The purpose of stripping is to seduce your husband. Whoops… sorry!  The purpose of stripping is to rinse out any buildup of soapy residue that has clung to the diapers over time.  It’s also helpful if you notice baby has an unexplainable rash… perhaps the diapers just need to be stripped.

I typically wash every 2-3 days.  Usually that’s a full load since I have two in cloth.  When I only had one, I would go 3-4 days between washings.

TIP: Always close the Velcro before washing!

Traveling / Outings with Cloth

I don’t find that traveling with cloth is terribly different than disposables.  Packing the diaper bag is the same except the addition of a plastic grocery sack (or wetbag) for the wet/soiled diapers. You figure out how much you need as you go.  I usually pack several inserts, a cover for each kid, one disposable for each (just in case!), and a package of wipes (or I’ve heard of packing cloth wipes & a spray bottle of water! – I may just switch to that since I like cloth wipes so much better).  Then I pack those little produce sacks I bring home from the grocery store all the time or some ziplocks… that’s what I pack up the dirtys in.  No need for anything fancy in my opinion.  Keep it simple!

When I travel… like go for a weekend… I pack the whole shebang in a Rubbermaid tote or cardboard box.  Pile of inserts, pile of covers, and a pile of wipes.  Then I set up on the dryer at Grandma’s house, or whereever I’m at.  If your host is offended by CD, bring a wet bag or a large trash bag and bring it all home to wash.

Nighttime… So far I haven’t figured out a system for nighttime cloth.  They always end up smelling of ammonia and I just don’t like that, so yes, I opt for the paper diapers for nighttime.

All in all, I think that’s all you need to know.  I really hope this has helped to simplify the cloth diapering process.  I know it’s a bit overwhelming at first and you wonder if you’ll even be able to stick it out.  At least give it a try… #1 It saves a HUGE amount of money.  #2 It’s way better for babys little buns than all that bleachy whiteness and ultra-absorbency of paper diapers.  #3 It’s sooo cute!  #4 It’s all “save the earth” green!  Come on… give it a try!  You’ll never turn back.  And while you’re at it… ditch the toilet paper and go with family cloth!  Haha!  One step at a time!


What are your favorite cloth diapering tips?