Cloth Diapering – The Switch

Pocket cloth diaper (insert goes in back) with...

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My daughter is now 7 months old.  When she was 2 months old I decided to investigate the world of cloth diapering.

While I was pregnant, the idea of cloth diapering just didn’t cross my mind.  I was one of the many people that thought cloth diapers were the funny, rectangular pieces of cloth that you had to fold just right and fasten with a pin.  I had no idea how you would avoid soiling baby’s clothing, bedding, toys, etc.  Cloth diapering was just not something I had any interest in and was definitely not the type of challenge I was ready to take on.

Well, when my daughter, Sofia, was about a month old I noticed a friend had pictures of her son in this diaper-like thing but I had no idea what it was.  So I asked her.  It was a gDiaper, but that is all she said.  gDiaper?  hmmm…  I looked it up but I didn’t understand the concept.

We were almost out of size 1 diapers for my daughter so I went to the store to pick up some more.  I went to the diaper aisle and was looking at all the choices, the “green” and “environmentally friendly” disposable diapers, Huggies, Pampers, the store brand and then I saw them.  The gDiaper.  I looked at them and the instructions, and I decided to buy them.  I started with just two gDiaper covers, some reusable inserts and some biodegradable inserts.  That had to be greener (and I recently decided to do my part in being more environmentally friendly) and more cost efficient (in the long run) than the diapers I had originally gone to the store to buy.  I was really excited about these gDiapers.

Well, I started off alternating the gDiapers with her regular disposable diapers.  For pee, they were great.  When she was ready to be changed all you had to do was change the insert and use the same cover.  Easy!  Well, when the poo came it was much more difficult and got all over the liner (which was part of the “convenience” of a gDiaper) and I’d have to change the whole diaper.  They were really cute and stylish and went nicely with Sofia’s outfits.  gDiapers come sized.  So Sofia was a small at first.  The smalls were supposed to go to 14 pounds but when Sofia hit 12ish pounds the diapers would leak.  This became problematic.

I started to research cloth diapers.  At first I was a little overwhelmed.  Cloth diapering has come a long way from the folded cloths with pins!  I had no idea!  There were so many options!  And there was just so much information and so much to take in, that at first I was a little overwhelmed.  Overtime the information has made sense and I no longer feel overloaded.  I calculated the cost savings in just a year and then for two years and decided to go for it.  You can see a cost breakdown here.  Although there isn’t a cost breakdown for the one-size diapers… which would allow you to save even more than the chart shows.  (More about this in my next post.)

One of the hurdles I came across with the gDiapers is that my husband and mother-in-law wouldn’t use them because they didn’t quite understand what to do with the diapers, the inserts, the liners, etc.  I decided  I wanted to find something that worked really well, that would be easy to use, that would be Dad and babysitter friendly, and most of all something that would remain cost effective and save us money.

I came across a website, which I found through facebook.  It’s called Mom’s Milk Boutique.  It’s based out of Illinois and I have never paid for shipping on anything I have ordered through them.  Sometimes shipping does apply, but it has yet to apply to anything I have ordered. Ha!  I LOVE this site/store.  I visit it EVERYDAY!  They offer options for a 30 day cloth diapering trial.  I was so excited!  They send about 10 options of diapers to try on your baby and see what type works for you.

I opted for one of their trials and when I received the diapers in the mail it was like Christmas!  There were all sorts of options; from fitteds to sized, pocket diapers to prefolds… I found that I liked the one size diapers the best.  Sized diapers were great, but in the long run you end up spending more because as your baby grows you have to replace your stock of diapers and the savings over time isn’t nearly as great (another hurdle with the gDiapers).  I didn’t want to do the prefolds with covers, that was just something that didn’t appeal to me.  The fitteds were a neat option.  (Fitted means it is a full cloth diaper but requires a cover – they can be sized or one-sized.)   I liked using the fitteds over night with Sofia, because paired with a leakproof cover, Sofia was in for a dry night.  🙂

I have a pretty good stock of diapers now, most of which are one-size “pocket” diapers.

At first, my husband was reluctant to cloth diaper.  He was used to the disposables.  I mean, they are easier.  When the disposable diaper is soiled, you just take it off and throw it away.  With cloth diapers you have to wash them (I handle this so he doesn’t have to worry about that part of it) but then with poop you also need to rinse the diaper and get rid of the excess mess.  Oh, he still hates this part.  He has only had to do it once, though, and I am sure he is thankful for that.

Overtime I have learned how to properly care for and launder the diapers.  It does take more time than throwing away disposables but the benefits of cloth diapering are so much greater.

Cloth diapering is so great for the environment.  I was reading my friend’s blog and she cited some research that I’d like to share with my readers as well.  Did you know, disposable diapers take 500 years to break down in a landfill?  So, since they were invented in the 1960′s, not one single diaper has broken down.  And with over 100 diapers being used a month per baby… there are a LOT of diapers filling up our landfills.

Cloth diapers are also great for sensitive skin.  Baby’s skin is so sensitive and tender and cloth diapers provide a softer and more sensitive alternative to the disposables.  That being said, there are chemicals and toxins in disposables touching and being absorbed into baby’s skin.  There are so many things I want to do right for my daughter, and I don’t want her to absorb those toxins into her system at such a young age.

In the next Cloth Diapering post I will let you know what cloth diapers I chose and why.  🙂

Have you considered cloth diapering?  Do you cloth diaper?  What are your favorites?  How long have you been cloth diapering?

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Homemade Baby Food

Eating homemade sweet potatoes

Once my daughter turned 6 months old enough she became old enough to start eating food other than her milk and rice cereal.  Well, I decided to make her baby food.

When I was pregnant I was shopping for baby stuff and came across a cookbook for homemade baby meals; first meals, new tastes, healthy snacks and meals for family.  I am in love with this cookbook!!!  It has amazing recipes that we all enjoy.

Back to the point, I was looking at the cookbook and decided to invest in it and try making the baby food myself instead of buying what was in the store.  I have to say, this was a good decision.

I have a 4-year-old son, Vicente.  And when he was a baby I never even thought about making baby food.  Not that I wouldn’t have considered it, I just didn’t think I was capable of doing it.

This time around, I decided ahead of time that this was what I was going to do.  After the doctor approved the introduction of new foods, I went to the supermarket and walked down the baby food aisle to see what they had for first foods.  The doctor said to do this because then I’d get an idea what kinds of foods are best to introduce first, and that they are chosen for their lack of allergic reactions, texture and somewhat mild and blandish taste.  First foods are introductions to new tastes and textures but you have to take it easy at the beginning to not overwhelm baby and baby’s taste buds.  For 6 months they have had just about the same taste over and over.  They like it, they are used to it, it makes them happy and they can digest it.

Well, the first foods I made were sweet potatoes and green beans.  It was easier than I thought!  And cheaper than I thought too!  I bought a bunch of organic green beans for $.84.  I would have gotten more but that is all that was left.  Well, $.84 worth of green beans was a LOT!  It made about 7 servings of green beans!  I could get 2 servings of Gerber green beans for $1 and I made 7 for 84 cents!  I was instantly hooked.  That same day I also bought and made two sweet potatoes which amounted to over 12 servings of sweet potatoes… I still have some in the freezer I haven’t used yet.  We already had used 12 servings and I still have more in the freezer.  How awesome was this?!

Well, once Sofia had 4 straight days of green beans and then 4 straight days of sweet potatoes I decided to introduce new foods.  I wanted to do as many vegetables as possible before introducing fruits because once babies taste how much sweeter fruits are than vegetables it becomes harder to get them to eat the less sweeter vegetables in the future.

I went to the supermarket again and bought squash, carrots, peas, bananas, pears and avocados.  Well, I didn’t quite plan that all out right because I didn’t have enough storage for it all AND some of it wouldn’t keep in the freezer (bananas and avocados – which I bought ripe).  So I made the peas, carrots and pears and stored them in the freezer.   Of those three we introduced her to peas first.  She loved them!  We did bananas next because those had to be mashed fresh and I didn’t want them to go bad.  Sofia actually didn’t like the bananas as much at first.  By the 4th day she was used to them and would eat them with no problem.

Then I tried pears.  Oh boy she did not like pears when I first gave them to her.  Yesterday was her first day with pears and she made this funny noise and made a funny face when I put the spoon in her mouth.  I wish I had my camera at that time because it was SO funny.  I thought for sure she would just eat it all up because it was sweeter.  I even tried it to make sure it wasn’t sour or anything and it tasted like ripe, juicy pears.  Today was day 2 with the pears and I mixed it with a little rice to mellow down the flavor and she seemed to like them much better prepared like that.

Today I made the squash and stored that in the freezer containers.  I bought extra squash so I could make some for the rest of us to eat too.  I love acorn squash and used to request it to be made for my birthday dinner.  I didn’t care what else was made, so long as I had some squash! 🙂  Oh it was so delicious and Sofia has a good 10 servings of that in the freezer!

I still have yet to make the avocados.  I think after her fourth day of pears that will be the next food we try since it can’t be premade and stored in the freezer AND I don’t want them to go bad.

Of all the foods I have prepared so far, fresh peas were by far the most time-consuming!  However, she seemed to love these the most so I know I’ll be spending a lot more time cooking them.  🙂

I can’t believe how easy it is to make all the foods, and on top of that it is SO cost-effective!  I wish I would have done this when my son was a baby!  There are so many more benefits to making your own baby food besides the financial reasons.  First of all, you are feeding your child fresh food.  You hand-pick the foods so you know your child is getting good quality food items.  Also, you know exactly what is going into your child’s food as opposed to buying the processed premade foods.  With the premade foods you can’t tell the quality of the fruit or vegetable before it’s being cooked.  Plus, if you buy premade peas, you aren’t getting just peas in the food.  If you look at the ingredients list, there are all sorts of extra ingredients added to make it taste better, to give the product a shelf life, etc.  YUCK!  (This goes for all the premade food choices, I just used peas as an example.)

Now that I know to educate myself on these things, I know that was NOT something I wanted to put into my daughter’s body.  😦  I just wish I had heard about making baby foods way earlier so I could have done this for my son, too!  Like I said, I just didn’t know I was capable of doing it, and I really didn’t know I had the option.

I have had a great time making Sofia’s food and watching her eat and experience her new foods.  I am proud of myself for setting this goal for myself and achieving it.  I am proud of myself for stepping out of “my box” and learning new things.  Most of all, I am proud that I am finding new and healthier ways to do things in my house.

Have you done something you didn’t think you could do?  Do you make your own baby food?  What are ways that you are trying to be more natural in your home?

My Life as of Late

Lately my days are full of nap times, feeding times and balancing play time between my kiddos.  🙂  And then some of those days I also have to work.  Lately, I feel busy beyond belief!

Yes, I feel busy and I am busy, but I love it live for it.  I love my family.  I love everything about my family.

My days are filled with stories and songs and other things my kids love.

“Skit. Skat. Skoodle. Doot. Flip. Flop. Flee.  Everybody running to the coconut tree.”

“Days of the week, *clap clap* Days of the week. *clap clap* There’s Sunday then there’s Monday. There’s Tuesday then there’s Wednesday…”

“Are you ready to GO, GO, GO, GO on an adventure? The thing-a-ma-jigger is UP and AWAY…”

It’s funny because I used to occasionally take these times for granted.

The songs. The fun. The innocence of it all.

How precious my kids are when they are enthralled with something they love or learning something new.

How excited they get.

I’ve caught myself taking these times for granted.  God caught me taking these times for granted.  He convicted my heart and showed me how it’s not my time, it’s His time and he wanted me to use it worrying about my kids… not getting caught up with worrying when I was going to get dressed or go grocery shopping or when I’d have the time to read my emails.  No one benefits from that!  When I caught myself doing that, I made the decision to focus on our time together as a family instead of how much time I had to get my things done.  And you know what?  My son is even happier and more full of life because I am sitting with him wanting to participate in his silliness.  I am happier and he is happier. My daughter was relatively unaffected by it but is a happy girl just the same.

Now, it doesn’t matter to me that I didn’t have time to get dressed until my husband got home or that I didn’t have time to check my email… All of that can get done later.  I used to stress out about getting it all done, but I have realized that it WILL get done when it gets done and that’s that!  There’s no rush.  Emails won’t read themselves or magically disappear from my inbox and groceries can be purchased at night.  What’s the rush?  Who cares if I am still in my pajamas at 5pm some days?  My kids don’t!!!  And now I don’t.  🙂

It’s funny how a simple change can just lighten your heart and make you happier.  I already said my son is happier, but so am I!

So, my life as of late is:

pajama parties all day

baking with my son instead of for him

reading books on the bunny chair with the kids

singing songs to each other

looking for ants and caterpillars outside

cartoons and cuddles

dance parties

AMAZING!

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the ones that can warm your heart the most.  🙂  I thought I was doing an okay job balancing the different aspects of my life but God showed me how I could be better and through him I am better, my kids are better.

Have you caught yourself taking something for granted? How did you realize it and how did you change that?  What are fun things you do with your kids?  Tell me what your day looks like.  🙂

Trick-or-Treat… Does anybody actually give a trick?

I went trick or treating with my kids last night.  It was my son’s 5th Halloween and my daughter’s first.  My son dressed as Buzz Lightyear and my daughter was a ladybug.  This was the first year my 4-year-old son was excited for Halloween and knew what to do.  The days leading up to Sunday he would ask if the “peoples” had their candy yet.  That question would crack me up, as if we were waiting not for a specific day but for people to go to the store and buy their candy.

That got me thinking.  We say “Trick-or-treat!” (and it sounds more like “tricker treat”) when someone opens the door on Halloween because we want candy.  Does anybody really want the “trick” or do they only want the treats?  And does anybody really do the tricks anyway? lol.  I think if I were a kid and I stopped by someone’s house and said “Trick or Treat” and they gave me the trick, I would be deeply disappointed, and my 4-year-old would be really confused.

What exactly is a Halloween “trick” anyway?

50 Things About My Marriage

This was something another friend blogged about and I thought it was a neat idea so I am sharing mine too!

1. When is your “engagement” anniversary:
January 4, 2006

2. When is your “marriage” anniversary:
February 4, 2006

3. How long have you known your spouse:
over 5 years

4. How long did you date/court before you were engaged:
6 months

5. Where did you meet your spouse for the first time?
AMC at Desert Ridge

6. What is your spouse’s full name:
Felipe

7. Do you have any children:
Yes!

8. How many – boys/girls:
1 girl- 6 months – Sofia
1 boy- 4 years – Vicente

9. Do you have any house pets:
Yes- 2 dogs (boxers)

10. Do you own a house or rent:
Own

11. Do you live in the country or town/city:
City

12. What is one of your favorite activities together:
Watching a movie

13. Do you have a favorite vacation spot:
No

14. When did you first kiss?
oh geeze, I don’t remember. But I did keep my daytimer from that year and it says we kissed for the first time on Sunday, August 14th, 2005.

15. What church do you attend?
None at the moment

16. Is this the church you were married in:
No, we got married at the church we used to attend, SonRise. It also happens to be the church where we were both baptized.  🙂

17. What town is your current address at:
Phoenix

18. Do you work or stay at home:
I work very part time so I can stay home as much as possible.

19. Where did you go on your honeymoon:
No honeymoon

20.What was the funniest gift you gave when dating?
well, I gave him socks for Christmas with his initials written on them.  (He was always losing his socks to his brother or his dad. Lol)

21.How long have you been together?

5 years

22. How long did you know each other before you started dating?
about 1 month

23. Who asked who out?
We didn’t have an official asking out – we kind of just went to lunch together and started hanging out all the time and so I decided our first lunch date was the day we started dating.  On September 4th he asked me to be his girlfriend though.

24. How old are each of you?

He is 26 and I am 25 almost 26

25. Where do each of you go to school?
We don’t go to school

26. Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Well we went through a bad time about 2 years back but we got through it and came out stronger.

27. Did you go to the same school?

Nope!

28. Are you from the same home town?
No. Not at all. Haha.

29. Who is smarter?
He knows more things but we both have a good amount of common sense and reasoning skills.  I am very logical and analytical

30. Who is more sensitive?
Well, he is an understanding soul and that makes him sensitive.  But being emotionally sensitive, that would be me.

31.Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We don’t really eat out.  Sometimes we pick up food and bring it home.  The only place I can think of that we frequent most often would be Sweet Tomatoes because my family likes it and so does his family so we meet there with one of our families every so often.

32. Where is the farthest you two have traveled together as a couple?

Spain

33.Who has the craziest exes?
He doesn’t actually have “exes” but this girl that liked him at one point is now very rude to me and I consider her a crazy ex.

34. Who has the worse temper?
Me

35. Who does the cooking?
We split it.  I think he ends up cooking more, especially because I work some nights.

36. Who is more social?

I am for sure

37. Who is the neat-freak?

I am.  I am not the cleaner person but I am very particular about everything having a “spot” and being organized and put exactly a certain way.

38. Who is more stubborn?
Me.  We are both VERY stubborn but, as I said before, he can reflect and see things from my point of view and revisit the subject.

39. Who hogs the bed?
HIM!!!   And he rolls on me and sleeps with his back on my back and it drives me nuts!  LOL

40. Who wakes up earlier?
Usually me because I wake up with every little noise Sofia makes.

41. Where was your first date?

Macayos.  That is where we first had lunch together.

42.Who had more boyfriends/girlfriends?
I did

43. Do you get flowers often?
Yes.  I usually get flowers once a week!

44. How do you spend the holidays?
We spend some time with my family and some time with his family.

45. Who is more jealous?
Me, but neither of us are very jealous people.

46. How long did it take to get serious?
It was instantly serious

47. Who eats more?
He does.

48. Who does the laundry
I do.

49. Who’s better with the computer?
He is way better with the computer when it comes to software and programs all the way down to the schematics of the computer and hardware.  He can build a computer and build websites, etc.

50. Leave a piece of advice for the other couples.
Take your vows seriously.  Marriage isn’t just living together.  When you take your vows you are promising to be committed, not just when things are perfect, but for when things aren’t perfect as well.  You owe it to each other (and to God and your children) to be honest.  If something isn’t right, speak up and be willing to work it out.

Will you do this too, so I can learn a little about you?  I think these things are so fun!

Holiday Cards – what are you sending out this year?

It’s that time of year again.  Yes, it’s here already!  Fall is here and now is the time that I start planning out what I am going to do for this years’ holiday greeting cards.  Do I send out a simple card with a personalize message? A photo card?  Do I get professional pictures taken and opt for their greeting cards or do I select a photo of my own and try to make my own holiday greeting cards?

Lately, I have been sending out the photo greeting cards.  I just love them!  I usually will try to plan for the four of us to dress nicely and have someone use my camera and take pictures of us as a family.  The only time I seem to be able to get all of our schedules coordinated and all looking decent is at a family get together.  So getting someone to take a few pictures of us isn’t so hard.

Shutterfly has the biggest selection of photo holiday cards I have ever seen!  There is definitely something for everyone.  They have all sorts of sizes and unique options.  They also offer you the ability to get as little or as many as you need whereas some places only offer the cards in certain quantities and if you need 30 your only option is buying 40 and you have a bunch of leftover cards.  For those of us that have a BIG extended family and require more cards, the more you buy the cheaper it is per card!  🙂

You can browse their holiday card options here.  I took the liberty of browsing myself and finding some of my favorites!

  1. I love their 5×5 options!  When I start getting Christmas cards in the mail, I know what it is as soon as I see the envelope because they are always the same size.  The 5×5 option is so unique and so classy in my opinion.  The 5×5 I like the most is the Joyful Red Frame card.  You can personalize it with your own picture and message and paired with the classy white and red border it is sure to be a classy holiday treat for loved ones near and far.
  2. For the families that send out newsletter updates from the past year, Shutterfly even has something that will accommodate that!  The What A Year card is a 5×7 stationary card that has room for 3 pictures AND room for enough text to send out an update on your family to go with the pictures.  I receive newsletter updates from a few family members and they’ll send photos along with the newsletter in an envelope.  Well, the more you stuff in an envelope the higher the postage.  I think this is such a great greeting card option.
  3. Another option Shutterfly offers is a folded photo greeting card!  I got really excited about this one because traditionally in the past a photo greeting card was a 5×7 or 4×8 flat card that you could write a short message such as “Happy Holidays” and close it with your family surname.  Now Shutterfly offers you the ability to send out a photo greeting card and have it feel like a traditional holiday card that you can customize with your own message inside.  My favorite option is the Paper Snowflakes Christmas card.  Your picture of choice fills up the entire cover of the card instead of having borders, which I think gives the card a very simple and pretty look.
  4. Who doesn’t receive greeting cards from their dentist, family doctor, chiropractor, etc?  I know I get cards every year, and believe it or not Shutterfly also offers business holiday greeting cards as well.  They really thought of EVERYTHING!
  5. Now, while I was browsing their holiday options I came across New Year’s cards and invitations that you can find by clicking here which I think is a fun option.  I also found Christmas Thank You cards that you can search by clicking here.  We send out Thank You cards after birthdays, showers and other parties… so why not after the Holidays too?

I am really excited about all the options Shutterfly has to offer and I can’t wait to order my holiday greeting cards this year.  I can’t believe I am so prepared this year and already have my cards picked out!  One less thing I have to worry about in this busy season.

Shutterfly is currently running a promotion and offering 20% off all holiday cards!  And if you hurry, they are offering free shipping on orders over $30 with the code SHIP30.

Go and check them out!  I bet you’ll find something you LOVE!  I know I already did!

Happy Holidays! 🙂

Mourning a tragedy

On Monday my mom called me.  I have a 4-year-old boy, Vicente, and a 6 month old girl, Sofia.  She called me to ask me to watch over Sofia while she sleeps.  You see, one of my mom’s friends, Grace, (also someone she manages at work in the California office) called to let her know she would be out of work because something terrible had happened.

Grace received a phone call a few hours earlier from the at-home day care provider that watched her 8 month old, Bella, letting her know Bella was being taken to the hospital via ambulance.  Bella passed away that day.  The first explanation given to her was a possible case of SIDS.

When my mom found out she immediately thought of me.  She cried on the phone while telling me what had happened to Grace and Bella.  The overwhelming feeling of fear and helplessness came upon me.  Sofia sleeps in her own room now but we have a great monitor and you can hear her breathe.  But what about through the night?  Was I worrying over something I have no power over?  I thought we were out of the woods for SIDS at 4 months.  How long will I have to worry about this?

I called my mom today to get an update.  She flew out to California to help support her friend in this time of need as well as help offset the workload left by one of her employees in a time of need.  She has to be two people while she is there, she has to play so many roles too.  Friend, manager, shoulder, ear, support, strong front, helping hand, mentor, and probably so many more.

The doctors no longer believe Bella died from SIDS.  They believe it was a wrongful death on the part of the day care provider and are investigating it.  Bella’s body will not be released for a funeral until the investigation (including autopsy) is complete.  For now they will be doing a memorial service in honor of Bella tomorrow evening.

Grace isn’t doing so well, as is to be expected.  She feels as if life isn’t worth living without Bella in it, and she doesn’t want to continue trying.  I know of people who have lost their children and how everyday is a struggle.  Remembering what happened.  Having to remind yourself daily that your child isn’t there anymore.  Continually fighting each day to get out of bed or even just open your eyes… plus planning the funeral and services FOR YOUR CHILD!  This is something I can’t even imagine going through.  I lost my breath just talking to my mom this morning about it all.

My heart is breaking for Grace and every time I think about what happened and what she is going through I get a pain deep in my chest and I lose my breath again.  There are so many things I don’t understand, and burying a child is one of them.

If you are reading this and feel moved to help in any way, will you just keep Grace in your thoughts or prayers?  I pray that she finds the strength to wake up each day as she mourns the loss of her beloved daughter.

Also, if you have a resource that I can pass along, I would really appreciate that as well.

I will update with any news on the investigation.