More Baby Registry Must Haves

https://stocksnap.io/photo/5Z8QJ8SIHD

Welcome back! Today I’m covering more of our baby registry favorites! You can read part one of my baby registry must haves here, where I share our nursery and on the go favorites. Figuring out all the things you need can be overwhelming, but I hope in sharing what’s worked for us that it will help you! Below I’ve tried to list quantities, to give you an idea of how much you’ll really need. Keep in mind babies do not need layer upon layer of clothing and blankets, dress them how you will be comfortable. I do list having multiples of certain items only because accidents happen, and it’s always nice to have a backup. Happy shopping registering!

 

Diaper Bag

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Skip Hop Duo

 

This little thing should have been shared last week, so I’m sorry for leaving it off. This bag serves so many purposes, goes some many places, and deserves more attention than it usually gets. Think of a diaper bag like a good purse, go for the good quality bag! From my personal use, I highly recommend the Skip Hop diaper bags. Note of caution, many stores carry skip hop in store, but it tends to be the cheaper ones ($30 price range), not the well made ones ($55+). We have this diaper bag in a different pattern, which is well thought out storage pockets and amenities. One great  feature of the bag are the small straps that connect to the main strap for hooking to the stroller. These keep it from taking up needed room in your stroller basket or hitting you in the legs. I will add that as our daughter grew, we realized a larger bag can be nice to have too. Reason being that her clothes took up more room, she needed more things for entertainment and cloth diapers take up more room than disposables. We later bought this bag in black from Land’s End. This bag has great storage pockets and is great for longer days out. I Unfortunately it they have discontinued it, but I really hope they bring it back with an added long strap. In the end we still love her Skip Hop the most, because we can wear it like a cross body bag, and attach it more easily to the stroller.

 

Clothing

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Gerber Gowns

 

I firmly believe it’s best to keep things as simple as possible. Register for the things you need, because people will buy you lots of cute outfits, so don’t feel like you have register for the cute things unless there something you just have to have. Register for items in all sizes from newborn to 12 months. People are great about buying for you items in those early sizes, but seem to forget that these sweet little loves grow rather quickly.

  • 4 Gowns – are perfect for the newborn stage whether you have a boy or a girl. They make diaper changes so much easier keeping you from having to deal with all those snaps, especially at night.
  • 8-10 Zip-up Sleep & Plays – are essential when you’re not leaving them in a plain onesie or dressing them up in something cute for going out.
  • 3-4 Short-Sleeve White Onesies – are great alone or layard if the weather is cold. This is another great option for getting a variety of sizes in one set..
  • 3-4 Long-Sleeve White Onesies – are great alone, especially when swaddled. Also great when paired with pants or leggings.
  • 2-4 Comfy Cozy Pants – are great when babies aren’t getting all swaddled up and perfect for when they’re on the move. Jeans are cute, but aren’t necessary until they’re much bigger.
  • 2-4 Leggings – for my little girl, I have loved leggings in all sizes. Easy to put on and they match almost anything. I almost always have at least two pairs in black with some other colors mixed in. I discovered Carter’s leggings late in the game, but they’re not a fast favorite for their quality and length.
  • 4-5 Packs of Baby Hangers – I have found it’s nice to have plenty off hangers. I like having the next couple sizes in the closet to see what we have and what we still need to get.
  • Hats – I didn’t register for any, and I’m glad for that. The best hat will be the one(s) the hospital gives you. I don’t know why, but they just work and stay on soooo much better. I never used the others ones gives to us unless it was the thick winter style for going out somewhere.
  • LOTS of Socks – babies are masters at getting these bad boys off ALL THE TIME. Make sure to have at 10-12 socks in each size, because you’ll always be on the hunt for a pair or a lost sock.
  • Laundry Detergent – to save you money, you don’t have to use the specialty baby laundry detergent if you buy free and clear of most any brands. We have been using free and clear for quite some time for my husband and we learned  it’s perfectly fine for babies. Plus the free and clear is a lot cheaper than specialty stuff.

 

Bathing

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Prince Lionheart Wash Pod

 

Now that you have baby dressed, you also have to keep them clean! Through trial and error, plus sensitive baby skin, we slowly figured out the best items.

  • 4 Towels – People will give you an obscene amount of towels. I’m not sure why people feel the need to do this, but I guess they just think you will have a really stinky/dirty baby. We were gifted the swaddle design ones and they were definitely our favorite. They’re super soft and really absorbent. I wish they made an adult towel!
  • Washcloths – Like towels, people like to give you a lot of washcloths, but not as much as towels. For bathtime our favorite are still the swaddle design ones, but for mealtime basic baby washcloths or regular washcloths work just as well.
  • Baby wash – The mustela two-in-one was what we used the most. Through my sister-in-law we learned that the Dove sensitive bar soap is great too. Those two products are all we used on our little one.
  • Lotion – we didn’t use lotion at first as some say it’s not recommended to use lotion on them as itty bitties. Our friend and pediatrician recommended using vaseline if there were any really dry spots. Once our daughter got older we started using this Aveeno baby lotion.
  • Tub – These are nice to have, but don’t feel like you have to get the most expensive one out there. We didn’t use this one, but definitely wish we had. I’ve heard GREAT things.

 

Blankets

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Aden + Anais Swaddle

 

  • 4-5 Swaddle Blankets – we registered for ones similar to these, but were gifted these. Both are great, but I dare say the later may be my favorites. The reason being is they have the best card that comes with them and attached tag that shows you how to do a perfect swaddle. Even with all my experience with babies, I was/still am the worst at swaddling. With that helpful tag, I could swaddle almost as well as my husband.
  • Receiving blankets – Not a major fan and we really didn’t use ours at all. I used one a couple times to help with tummy time (rolled up and stuck under Hana’s chest/arms), but I could have easily done it with my swaddle blankets by Aiden + Anais (which I LOVE…well almost as much as my swaddle designs swaddle blankets!!).
  • 2 Velcro Swaddles – I highly recommend the Halo Sleepsack Swaddles and would suggest getting two of these in newborn and small. We tried these, but my daughter could always bust out of them. The great thing about the Halo ones, is that they are easy to securely swaddle your little one for a restful night of sleep. Plus, when junebug gets bigger, they can be used as wearable blanket not just a swaddle. I’m all for multi-use items!
  • 2 Sleep Sacks – I recommend getting two in every single size. Our daughter stayed in these until she moved out of her crib. These are great for making sure they stay warm year round. The added bonus is they can’t climb out of the crib when wearing it too!

 

Breast/Bottle Feeding

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Dr. Brown’s Glass Bottles

r. Brow

 

  • 10-20 Burp Cloths – many folks use these, which work great for everyday use and are just what we used too. Our favorite “nice” burp cloths were these that were gift to us. People like to make and gift the cute styles, but the swaddle design ones worked the best in our experience.
  • 8-10 Everyday Bibs – Having bibs that do not have the waterproof liner are almost a complete waste of time. Once your little one starts drooling, or if they spit-up a lot, the bib won’t do much without the waterproof liner.When you’re in the store, you’ll be able to feel the liner, and that’s the type you’ll want..
  • 4-6 Nursing Tanks – You can’t forget to take care of yourself too! After coming home from the hospital and then pumping at work, these were the best. They’re great for pairing with another shirt and a cardigan for nursing on the go. If I was wearing that set-up, I didn’t feel exposed at all. I wore these and these all the time.
  • Breast Milk Storage Bags – You will need LOTS of these if you’re planning to pump. Tip I learned from a few people when freezing milk – lay bags flat in the freezer with as much air removed from the bag as possible. This way they take up less room to store and can be stacked and stored easier.
  • LOTS of Nursing Pads. I used these by Lansinoh the whole  time I was nursing. I then tried to use the Target brand because they’re less expensive and that wasn’t the best decision. Turns out the Lansinoh stick better! As for the reusable kind, they’re a good idea in theory, but they’re not as absorbent. I wished they worked better, because I generally prefer usable over disposable. After I leaked through them onto my clothes multiple times, I was done.
  • 2 Containers of Nipple Cream – This is a necessity from day one in the hospital. I used the lansinoh brand at first, but realized I liked the medela brand better. Then l I discovered this best nipple cream known to mama. Start using nipple cream from day one and don’t wait until it hurts. Also, it’s great to have a thing of cream with you on the go and wherever you primarily nurse/pump.
  • 2-4 Bottle Brushes – Over time we have learned that we are big fans of the Oxo Tot products. They work great, are well made, and have you in mind as a parent.
  • Dishwasher Basket – This is an essential in our house! This is great for easily washing bottle parts, pacifiers, sippy cups and miscellaneous small things. We have this one, but honestly wish I registered for this one since it’s bigger..
  • 8 Bottles – I’m a huge fan of the Dr. Brown’s bottles and know MANY families found that these work best. I would only get the 8 ounce bottles, as you can always put less but you can’t more in the 4 ounce bottles. Unfortunately for me, my daughter was not a fan of the Dr. B bottles. I think it may be because we opted for the glass, and she wanted to hold the bottle herself. She preferred the Medela bottles from my breastpump. So just know you may have to test things out to figure out what works for your baby, but Dr. Brown’s is usually a great place to start.

 

Big Kid Feeding

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Fisher Price Space Saver

 

The day will come around 6 months that your baby no longer needs just breast milk or formula. You’ve not hit the stage of having a baby in the early of stages of being their way to being a big kid!

  • Baby Led Weaning Book – I plan to write more about our experience with Baby Led Weaning, but I cannot recommend it enough. No need to buy or make baby food, but helping your baby learn to eat real food from the beginning. Our daughter has been a great eater, and we attribute this largely to BLW. With doing this, many of the baby items are not necessary.
  • Space Saver High Chair – This is great because it can fit on any chair, and takes up a lot less space than a standard high chair. Great thing about this too is that it serves as a booster seat once you no longer need the tray. Plus, it’s easy to take with you if you need it for dinner at the home of family or friends.
  • 2 Bibs – The Baby Bjorn soft bib is hands down our favorite. Paired with our DIY towel bib, these two catch any food messes.
  • 2 Training Plates – great for when your little one is mastering the art of using a fork and spoon.
  • 2 Snack Cups – after trying these, we discovered the Oxo Tot snack cup and it revolutionized snack time on the go. The top screws on so your little one doesn’t pull the top off and has a handle making it easy to hold. AND it has a lid to prevent messes while in your diaper bag.
  • 3-4 Utensil Sets – We loved these Skip Hop Zootensils because the handle was the perfect size for our daughter to hold and have a good grip.
  • 4-6 Straw Cups – We have this one and this one. The first is our favorite because it’s free of plastic, but the later is a close second because it doesn’t leak. We started with sippy cups but wish we skipped them all together. Using a straw is a life skill, but sippy cups useage isn’t really necessary.

 

Diapering

  • Diapers – You’ll have to figure out what works best for you and your little one, but add them to your registry. We love using cloth diapers, but I understand if you prefer disposables. As far as brands go, I found the target brand diapers to be pretty good the first weeks home from the hospital until we switched to cloth.. They’re comparable to the pampers swaddlers and a LOT cheaper. When w needed to use disposables later on (traveling or battling a yeast infection) we used the seventh generation or the Honest Company because our daughter was allergic to everything else that wasn’t all cotton.
  • 2-3 Changing Pad Covers – Any brand should work. My mother in law made ours, so I can’t give you a link to what we have.

 

I hope you found this list helpful. I’ll be back Wednesday to share the last of my registry favorites, such as the nice to have items and the items we didn’t know we needed. Next Monday, I’ll share some of my important items and ways to care for the postpartum and breastfeeding mama.

 

An End to the Gun Violence

I’m not sure how many of you heard President Obama’s speech on Tuesday regarding gun violence, but it is definitely worth a listen. Whether you agree with our president on everything or not, one can’t help but feel compelled to do something about what’s going on in our country after his words. I don’t know what the answers are about gun control, but I do know I want a better place for my daughter.

It’s only been seven weeks since I wrote the post My Heart Hurts and sadly, it still does. The first mass shooting that comes to my mind was Columbine in 1999, which was when I was a sophomore in high school. At that time I knew some about what happened, but over time I learned more. Most of what I learned was about the victims and the community that took care of mending the broken hearts. I don’t recall learning much about the shooters, and I’m thankful for that. In the years since Columbine, we all know that mass shootings have been on the rise. What has also been on the rise is the publicity about those committing these atrocities. I want to hear more about the people who had their life cut short, and the amazing person they were! I want their stories to be able to live on, even when they cannot. This might not put an end to someone committing an awful crime, but this might take away the fame and glory that they’re seeking.

More than anything I do know that I want a better world for your children and mine. I don’t want my daughter to experience lockdown drills to prepare her for if/when the need may arise. I know of parents who talked to their children about alternate plans instead of waiting during a lockdown, but having a specific plan of action to protect themselves in other ways. This is not the conversation we should have to have with our babies, whether they are 4, 8, or 17!

No matter where we may stand on the issue of guns, gun ownership and increased regulations, we have to do something. How can we as an advanced society allow atrocities to continue happening? Even if increased regulations could not have prevented previous mass shootings, it does not mean that it won’t help in the future. I don’t know what this should look like and I don’t have all the answers to such a big issue. I do hope that despite differences, our elected representatives can work together to figure out a solution. Taking all guns away from law abiding Americans is not the answer. Taking guns always from those with mental illness in order to protect themselves and others may be. But this is not the end of what we need to do. Real conversation, prayer, and discernment does need to happen. If you could do something to keep your children safe, wouldn’t you do it?

Potty Training Why Must You Do This to Me?

many thanks to gratisography for the photo

For many parents, the time to start potty training is filled with joy for the day that diapers will be no more. For myself, it’s a period I dread. I’ve been a part of the team supporting child and their parents through the potty training process more times than I can name. I’ve cleaned up countless children, wiped up MANY floors, and done innumerable loads of laundry  from “accidents” that may or may not have been an accident.  No matter how you go about this process with a child I know that much of this is inevitable. Over time my thoughts on potty training has ebbed and flowed.  

After watching many children succeed in learning to use the toilet and many have to go about it in their own way, I know that this process is not one size fits all. I’m also a firm believer that a child will not make the switch from diapers to the potty until they are good and ready. At times we can wonder if we’re crazy in what we’re thinking about on this parenting journey, but I really appreciated this post from Janet Lansbury affirming my inclination on why we shouldn’t potty train. I realize we can’t force a child to make the switch, but sometimes it’s hard to know when a child is good and ready. 

My husband doesn’t get my potty training/toilet learning dread, as he thinks this is a great next step for our daughter. I’ve tried to explain what’s in our future and why I’m not wanting to rush this next stage, but I think seeing is believing. For the last several months, VHP has been showing more and more signs of potty training readiness. I’m really trying to follow her lead so that things can go as quickly, smoothly, and painless many loads of laundry free as possible. 

Since thanksgiving, things have been even more potty focused in the Parker house.  Around 12:00 on Thanksgiving day, I took VHP upstairs for a diaper change and she demanded no diaper.  I asked if she needed to go potty, to which she responded yes.  Took her and she did in fact pee a fair amount (not the first time this has happened mind you). After that she REFUSED to put a diaper on, so big girl panties it was. She did great through thanksgiving lunch (an early meal due to my brother having to work), and went potty again before nap. I did put a diaper on for nap time (much to her dismay), but it was right back to being in panties after that. Difference this time was that she would NOT use the potty. Well, during snack she decided she HAD to come sit with me. As anyone can guess,  half way through snack she and I both had wet pants. We changed our clothes, finished snack and played for a bit. After snack we tried to potty again with no luck. Shortly thereafter my mom noticed VHP’s pants were wet AGAIN. Changed her clothes AGAIN which I know is normal for this process, but tiring nonetheless. Before long it was potty time again, VHP wouldn’t go, and not too long after that it was accident #3! I decided enough was enough, and back to the diapers she went (with much protestation)!

Over the next couple weeks VHP would use the potty some, but this past week it’s been different. She has started requesting to go potty, and really going more than usual. Saturday she used the potty more than soiling her diapers, and for that I was really excited. But then there was the after dinner diaper change incident in a public restroom. She was being cooperative through the diaper change, and all was well in our world. Then I asked if she needs to go potty, which is the normal diaper change question lately, and her response was yes. I’m getting ready to grab her and take her potty when I notice the changing pad is getting wet. She smiles. I tell her we don’t pee on the change on the changing table, to which she responds, “yeah, pee potty.” I affirm this and clean up the new mess on our hands. VHP keeps giggling and declares, “its’s funny!” 

Sigh, have I mentioned I dread potty training?!

I’m hoping this whole process goes well, but I’m feeling quite skeptical. Tips for what has worked for you? Guidance on what hasn’t worked? Stories to share on the challenges JOY of switching from diapers to using the potty?

Importance of Being with You

Almost every Sunday at 10:15 am, my heart is overflowing with gratefulness. This overflow is in response to a God that is so good, and for a community that my family is blessed to be a part of. I know that for many church may not be where you find community, but it’s a great place to find it.  Each week my daughter is excited to walk through the doors, to see the people she loves, to sing, take communion, and play with her friends. It’s through being in community with these great people that my heart is full of joy each week.

Community is what nurtures us in the good times, lifts us up when times are tough, and journeys alongside us through the mundane. Most weeks can seem commonplace, but I’m learning eachweek  something  special is happening for my daughter. Recently I’ve noticed that VHP is learning and understanding what it means to worship. Most of the time, she remains for most if not all of the service. Typically we bring a few activities (coloring, non-noise making toys, etc.) to keep her noise-level down during the quieter times of the service (sermons in particular). Honestly, it has taken the patience of those around her (my husband and I included), but also the words of encouragement from other people. They let us know that they enjoy seeing her in worship, hearing her little voice participate in the service, and they know what it’s like to have a little on in worship. Our littler person now LOVES to pass the peace (greet those around us and shake hands). She loves to sing and dancing to the music. She loves to go forward for the children’s message, learn from watching the big kids. And she longs for the moment we go forward to take communion.

VHP as Mary, a shepherd, and an angel

If it weren’t for this community, my daughter would not have had the opportunity to play with some of her favorite friends on a Saturday morning of this week. If it weren’t for this community, my daughter would not have had the opportunity to explore the Christmas story, act it out, and attempt to be a one lady Christmas pageant. If it weren’t for this community, two year olds would simply be other toddlers in worship rather than having something special to do on Christmas pageant Sunday. If it weren’t for this community, I would not have met my husband. If it weren’t for this community, I would not have some of the friendships that make adulting better.I recognize that not everyone has this kind of community, and may long for this. I also know that community can be different for everyone, in particular church may not be where you find it. What I would encourage each of us, is to find community where you are and to help create it around you. Life is better spent with other people, supporting and encouraging one another. It was once shared with me, that the Chinese characer for person represents two people supporting each other. I believe that this imagery is VERY fitting, whether or not it is true. We live in a society that likes us to think it’s better to do it all ourselves, and to pride ourselves how independent we can be. That’s great and all, but being together is where I’d rather be.

Suburban Hippie: Children are Expensive!

I remember being so excited about expecting our first child, but then it hit me. Raising this child is going to be REALLY expensive! At this point in the game, the added expense of health insurance hadn’t sunk in. I was thinking about the impending cost of childcare, clothing, diapers, and feeding. I quickly came to the conclusion that I needed to find a way to cut costs. Enter in becoming a suburban hippie. By my definition, a suburban hippie is one who resides in the suburbs (though they may prefer living in the city) chooses to do some or all of the following cloth diaper, breastfeed, baby led wean, recycle, prefer locally grown produce, use cloth napkins/towels over disposables, and the like.  I’ll explain further some of the reasons we have gone this route. 

How did we end up in the suburbs? We found it was time to move from our old house (that’s a story for another day) which was a cute little 2 bedroom with one bathroom home that was just over 1300 square feet.  For two people it was okay, but not great when both residents need the bathroom facilities, would like to watch different TV shows, or listen to different types of music. So when we were house hunting, we quickly learned we needed to pick a part of town first. We loved the idea of living in the city, but recognized that not all Richmond Public Schools are created equal, and would need to budget for private school.  We also recognized that Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico County Public Schools are really good, so it seemed a little silly to PAY for private schools.  I can share later on the house hunting adventures, but for now let’s end with we landed in the suburbs (we do love where we ended up, but may end up in the city we love later)!

Why did you choose to cloth diaper? I detailed that on my blog a couple weeks ago here, but let me add that I knew diapers were a baby necessity. No matter what, babies do not come out of the womb potty trained, and it takes times (some more than others) before it happens. I knew that I needed to begin thinking about a way to make this more affordable. Thankfully I had a couple of friends who had done it before, so it didn’t seem like such a crazy idea. Plus my friend K had this great resource she put together and shared with another friend and I. It really helped me figure out where to begin on my search for the perfect cloth diapering system, and tips to share with other new to cloth friends. Have no fear everyone, I’m working on a resource of my own to share with you too!

Why did you choose to breastfeed? I’ll start with asking you a question before answering. Have you looked at the price of formula? Formula start around $25 or more a can, so I knew that that  was one thing I did NOT want to add to my baby expense list. I’m sure that many of us have heard how great it is for your baby and for you to breastfeed, so I feel like I don’t need to even get on that soapbox. So yes I knew breastfeeding would be VERY healthy for my baby, but I also saw dollar signs for something that could be completely free. So free was much better in my book if I could successfully breastfeed, as I know that this isn’t possible for everyone.

Why did you choose to do baby led weaning? This was something I read about in the past, had thought I should look into more. The idea had fallen off my radar, so my husband and I were looking into making our own baby food. So we would know that our child was eating something healthy, no strange added ingredients, and much cheaper. But then my dad and stepmom’s friend gave me her copy of the book Baby Led Weaning and share how she started it with her second of three kids. It all just made so much more sense. Babies don’t need anything but breastmilk or formula for the first year, do not need anything other than formula or breastmilk before 6 months old, and they don’t need rice cereal. I’ll share more later about our experience with baby led weaning, but I’ll end with that I HIGHLY recommend considering this.

Why recycle and use cloth napkins/towels? Growing up many of us have been taught the importance of the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. It’s not always the easiest or most convenient habit to get into, but it’s really worth it. We only have one planet, so we really need to handle it with care. First R is for us to work on reducing how much we have in our homes. We are still working on this personally, and I’m sure all share about this in the future. Once you’ve reduced, you should work on the second R: reuse. We do this by using cloth napkins almost exclusively for meals (even when we have large groups over), hand towels, and limit our use of paper towels. Typically we will by only a six pack paper towels and this will last us a year or so. I have noticed that our paper towel use only spikes when we have folks over that are not accustomed to this. Now that you’ve got in the hang of the first two Rs, it’s time to add in the final R: recycle. Like many people, we implemented the third r last, but we are trying to be better about all three. Whatever we can do to help care for our planet and home is worth it. I’ll share more later about our cloth napkins, towels, and how we keep up with the extra laundry. I’ll end with this, we save plenty of money by using cloth napkins and towels, which adds up with all the other expenses.

What’s the big deal with local produce? For starters, it tastes so much better and often times it’s cheaper! When we have time to make it our local produce stand and farmers’ market we save the most, but that doesn’t always happen. By shopping locally, you help your local economy. By putting money into their pockets, they try to look out for you and keep their costs down so that you can keep more money in your pocket.

So yes, we have made some choices along the way that are not for everyone. In looking back, I honestly don’t regret the choices we’ve made. They have been good for our daughter, beneficial for our wallets, good for us, for our community and good for the planet. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

  

How about a little more holiday cheer?

Dear Pinterest Mom,

We are 23 days from Christmas, and I’m trying not to freak out about my to-do list. I know that you have this super cute to do list system that keeps you on track of the gifts you need to buy and make. Also, I really want to like you and be you, because I like to pin all your projects .  BUT at the same time I really don’t want to like you. I’m not really sure how you find time to make all of your kids’ birthday presents, Christmas gifts, Easter baskets, and it’s-Wednesday-and-you-deserve-something-sweet gifts, because I barely have time to buy my kid her birthday and Christmas presents, let alone make sure she has something to collect Easte eggs and Halloween candy in by said holiday. I think it’s awesome you come up with these cool ideas, but please don’t make me feel guilty for not being able to make them too. Some days, it’s all I can do to get us out the door to work and school on time. I do want to thank you for the inspiration to do cool some cool projects and to try and be crafty. I did forget how much I do like doing crafty things when I have time, and you give me some awesome ideas.

Love,

Too Busy To Be a Pinterest Mom (but sorta wish I could be one)
   


Dear Not a Pinterest Mom,

We are 23 days from Christmas, and I’m trying not to freak out about all the things on our to do list.  Let me just share, that amazon prime can be a godsend on days like these.  MANY times (more than I’d like to count) my Christmas shopping happened because of Amazon prime.  Typically the shopping frenzy happens 7-10 days before Christmas, and gifts are only selected for family if and only if it’s available prime.  Don’t feel bad about buying each and every birthday present, Christmas gift, Easter basket, and random goodies for your kid, because there are great things already made by other people available.  Pinterest can be such a great way for me to keep track of gif ideas, save recipes for later, and try to organize my random ideas.  I have some great DIY boards, which have helped me my husband with a whopping ONE project.  I sincerely hope I will find the time do some of these projects, but in the mean time pinterest is great for saving all my ideas.  This year I’m excited to share that some great local stores (Franklin Goose, BBGB, and World of Mirth thus far) have my Christmas shopping business. But let’s also be real, I’ve been doing some great online shopping and amzon prime will be saving my tail AGAIN!

Love,

Too Busy To Be a Pinterest Mom (but sorta wish I could be one)

  

Dear Mamas,

Let’s not judge each other this holiday season.  We all are trying to juggle a lot in making sure that the holidays are what we can make them be for ourselves, our children, and families. Let’s try to quiet the feelings of being inadequate because we didn’t make the gifts for our kids’ teachers, mail the perfect Christmas card, or provide the perfect gift. If you are that mom that likes doing these pinterest worthy gifts, projects, and treats, don’t feel bad about it either.  Let’s cheer each other on, pick each other up, and more than anything STOP the mommy judgement.  I challenge us to start with the holidays, and then we’ll tackle it again in the new year.

Love,

Your sister on this motherhood journey

Why Would You Use Cloth Diaper?

This isn’t an uncommon question or wondering when people hear about folks using cloth diapers. It’s not uncommon for people to think it’s difficult and nasty to use cloth. It’s not uncommon for people to think that using disposable diapers are so much easier than cloth diapers. I’m here to tell you that there are a lot of reasons to use cloth diapers.

  
 1.  Cloth diapers are cheaper than disposables. Let’s look at the cost of disposables first.  Let’s say you use Huggies or Target’s up & up brand diapers, which average out to $0.17 each.  For the number of diapers used per day let’s say 10 diapers, because over the first several months you go through about 12 diapers a day, and progressively get down to 8 diapers.  Most children in disposables don’t potty train until they are  2.5 or 3 years old, so we’ll go with 2.75 years of diapers (kids in cloth supposedly potty training earlier).  That’s a total of $2,326.88 spent on 13,687 diapers  over 3.75 years.  My favorite All-In-One (AIO) diaper (I’ll explain types of diapers another day) is the Blueberry One Size Simplex which retails for $28.95. Since you need at least 12 diapers per day in the early months, it’s good to have 24 diapers for a total of $694.8.  To go all in with cloth diapering, you’ll also need a few other things like  2 diaper pail liners $33, 2 wet bags for on the go $44, 30 cloth wipes $27, and a wipe warmer for $25, all bringing your total $823.80 on cloth diaper supplies.  I don’t include the cost of wipe solution, laundry detergent, or water for doing the laundry, because I have seen that much of an increased cost for us.

2.  Cloth diapers aren’t as smelly and gross as disposables.  Having cared for many children in diapers over the years, I honestly believe my cloth diaper pail smells a whole lot LESS than a disposable diaper pail.  Pee diapers don’t smell any worse with cloth, and I’d venture to say not a bad.  There’s something in the absorption crystals of many disposables that create an off-putting scent.  Poopy diapers get rinsed into the toilet, so the smell is gone and not lingering until the diaper pail is emptied.  

3.  Poopy diapers aren’t that bad to clean with cloth.  We have a diaper sprayer attached to our toilet, so I don’t really have to get my hands dirty.  I also know some parents will wear rubber kitchen gloves, so their hands never touch anything to get dirty. Poopy diapers have had no negative effects on my washing machine.  Reason being is that they are rinsed into the toilet before going into the washing machine, get an intial rinse cyle, plus a full clean cycle, which all ensures my diapers and washing machine are fully clean when done.

4.  Cloth diapers are better for the environment. It is estimated that it takes about 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose in a landfill. Now, this is just an estimate, because disposables haven’t been around that long and no one has lived 500 years to observe the decomposition of disposable diapers. Cloth diapers generally have great re-sale value, making them great in the realm of the second of the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), and aren’t clogging up landfills.

5.  Cloth diapers are so cute! I will say that the Honest Company has stepped up the cute factor of disposable diapers, and I have used them from time to time.  But the variety of patters with cloth diapers is sooooo great!  When my daughter was a newborn she had the cutest diaper with monkeys and owls.  Now she has a cover with these adorable whales, an AIO with pretty flowers, and elephants.  The best part of all is that these diapers are cute, and we get to use them over and over again.  

I initially had us begin cloth diapering to save money, as I wanted as many ways as possible to make having a child not super expensive. I also had us use cloth because my husband and I were allergic to disposable diapers and had a feeling that our daughter would be too. In the end it turn out that my guess was correct, and she is sensitive to most every brand of disposables.  Now that we’ve used cloth diapers for two years, I’m so glad that we have chosen to use cloth.  It’s not that difficult, it’s saved us a lot of money, and it has been good for the environment.

Soon I’ll write a post about what we have tried when it comes to cloth diapers, what we’ve liked, what we haven’t liked, and how we’ve made cloth diapering work for us.  If you have questions, feel free to ask and I’ll answer as best I can.  

Have you considered using cloth diapers? 

Do you want more kids?

So is this your only one? When are you going to have another one? How far apart do you want to have kids? Don’t you want a boy/girl too? How many kids are you going to have? They need to have a sibling! How much longer until your next one?

I’m sure you’ve experienced these questions before from family, friends, and strangers that you’ve encountered. I know that they mean well, and are excited to see your family grow. But my recurring thought is, um, could you please mind your business? I honestly don’t mean this in a rude way, but these are really loaded question to ask someone.

Speaking from my own experience and the stories from other moms that mean a lot to me, here are some things to consider…

  1. May be they’re not ready to have another one, because postpartum depression was a doozy.
  2. May be they’ve been desperately trying to conceive, and have been unable to have another.
  3. May be they had a scary birth experience, and they’re afraid to experience it again.
  4. May be they don’t want to have another child, because one child is all that they can afford.
  5. May be they haven’t had another one yet, because they’re simply not ready.

Lastly, may be there are reasons that none of us ever considered. Let’s not open a wound that is raw, that cuts deeply, and love someone where they are. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, parenting is hard. It’s also full of great joy, but we all need support each other wherever we are in the journey. My husband and I experience these question from time to time, and sometimes we let some family members know what we’re thinking. Though we may answer these seemingly simple questions on occasion, we are cautious not to answer every single one, because I have my own list of concerns and worries…

  1. What if we are not able to have another?
  2. What if we conceive twins?
  3. Can we handle another child financially?
  4. What if I’m not ready?
  5. What if my daughter isn’t ready?
  6. What if we cannot afford childcare for another one?
  7. What about my friends desperately trying to have children? What if we conceive before they do.

The what ifs can become overwhelming, just as the well meaning questions can be burdensome. So, rather than ask when another child is coming, let’s love the parent where they are on this journey AND the child that they ALREADY have!

Let me know, have you been asked these types of questions? If you’ve been asked, how have you responded?

The Challenge…

We all have different abilities. Some are great at math, some are great at fixing things, some are great cooks, and I’m none of those things. I do love learning languages and I’ve spent most of my life working with our youngest members of society from the ages of 0 to 18. I’m exceptionally fond of working with itsy bitsy babies, preschoolers, and teens.  On the flip side, in my years of working at a local preschool, I would generally try to avoid those between the ages 16 to 36 months. 

Those little people I like to avoid are also known as:

 
These little people are brilliant. They are little explorers, learning and discovering the world around  them. They are learning how to be people. They are learning how to be independent. They are also learning how to push the limits of our sanity. These little geniuses drive me absolutely MAD with their limit pushing. 

People, I’m going to be really honest with you.  But I’ll warn you that I’ve had friends look at me like I have three heads and fifty eyes for saying this.  I don’t really like toddlers, and I’m currently the mother to a toddler. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love and adore my toddler. But I don’t always like the behavior of this little person. Yeah I know toddlers are great in many ways! They’re growing and learning so much every day, and we ge to be a part of it as parents. It’s a privilege, and we get to watch them go through this process, but it’s also maddening along the way!

In recent months I stumbled upon this post about surviving the “terrible twos,” and now I’m love with the Danes.  They don’t refer to this period of time as the “terrible twos,” or anything like that but as the “boundary stage.” This couldn’t be more accurate, as these little people are constantly working to understand the what boundaries exist around them.  My precious toddler isn’t a psychopath, she’s just exploring another boundary!

Now don’t you dare think I’m healed of my toddler anxiety and frustration. I still have A LOT of work to do. I do plan to share with you more on how I’m managing this and resources I’ve found along the way.  And if you have great resources, please share them, as I could use them too! Please know you are not alone in this toddler struggle, I’m in the thick of it with you!

Parenting

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Friends,
It’s been a LONG time since I last wrote a post , and I’ve been really inconsistent about posting since I started HebrewDawn. I’ve realized that I need to get back on the posting wagon, especially so I can share some things that have been weighing on my heart.

I’m going to be really honest with you. Becoming a mama to VHP is the best thing I have ever done, while being the hardest thing at the same time. It feels like everyone wants to tell you how beautiful and magical it is, without telling you the other side of the story. It’s like they’re afraid they’ll scare you away from this beautiful and magical journey called motherhood. Yes motherhood is beautiful and full of many magical moments, but it is also messy and has its tearful moments.

I’ve been in the business of babies, preschoolers, children, and teens for over twenties years now. Many folks in my family said I would be great at this motherhood thing and wouldn’t need help. Guess what? I don’t have lots of questions on what do or how to do things, but I DO need help and do have questions from time to time. Every single one of us on this journey of motherhood (fatherhood for you dads), needs help! It takes a village to raise a child. That village can look very different for every single one of us, but we all need our village. Society is focused on having us say, “I can do it” or “I’ve got it covered” or “I can do this by myself!”  But all of that isn’t true.  We are built for community, and we need to say “I can do it, but I need you by my side on this path.”

It’s my hope to share some honest stories about this journey of being a mama, and how I am trying to manage it.  I also plan to share other stories on being a wife, balancing work + life, and other various things.  I hope you’ll join me for the ride and poke me if I’m not posting enough.

xo