Moving gives you insight…

About how crazy you are. 

(This post was written right after Easter. I have no idea why I haven’t put it up yet, but I still wanted to share these thoughts with you.)

IMG_2533 Food intolerances. They change your life. They change the way you always ate and thought about food. They make you paranoid. I was the mom putting gummy bears and apple juice in her kid’s Easter basket, and just one thing of chocolate (peanut butter cups from WholeFoods). And when you move to a new place, it just gets worse.

I annoy my husband fairly frequently about food allergies. Especially when I do things like try to find out about gluten-free options at a food truck. It was laughable really… But after spending my entire life as far back as I can remember being sick all the time, and finally starting to actually feel better (not to mention Eden’s story) excuse me if I’m a bit paranoid.

How we eat breakfast when we have no furniture yet...

How we eat breakfast when we have no furniture yet…

In Colorado though, it had become normal. All of our friends knew about our issues, and while I did talk about it far more than necessary, they all understood. They lovingly protected my daughter, making sure their kids didn’t share their snacks, or checking that she had the right sippy cup. We were shown such love in such an unlooked for place through the community we were surrounded by. Our friends went out of their way to cook things we could eat, and make treats just for us. And I cannot possibly explain to all of you how much that has meant to me over the past year and a half, as we have learned about the food intolerances Eden and I have. We knew what restaurants to go to, and what to order, without having to ask and check ingredients or ask for allergy pamphlets. No, we aren’t going to die if we eat the wrong thing (I feel truly blessed that we don’t suffer from anaphylactic reactions!) but it definitely won’t be pleasant, and I would really like to just avoid that all together.

Not to mention the fact that some things we are still trying to figure out. Just how bad is my intolerance to gluten? Milk? Will Eden ever grow out of this? There is still a lot of learning we have to do concerning all of this. But it had at least become normal. And then, obviously, we moved. Just to help me realize exactly how crazy I can be about all of this. I already felt like I was a bit of a drama queen about food insensitivities, talking about it all of the time. And frequently apologizing because I was afraid I was coming on too strong about it, all of the time…

Ha! I didn’t really grasp the fact that we were going to have to start at square one once we moved. Now we are finding new restaurants and people we have just met are graciously inviting us into their homes for an Easter get-together and dinner (!!!) and this is what I am obligated to bring up very early on. Every time. I mean, my gracious, I was just in line with a lady chatting as we ordered our breakfast from this adorable little diner, and it came up. She asked such a simple question, if we had tried their cookies yet (which were out as samples). And then she heard probably more than she bargained for about having a kid with milk allergies. But then we swapped information and last week we went to a local farmers market to visit with her family and some of their friends.

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So in this weird way, it is definitely opening our lives up to others, and we are once again being shown love in unlooked for places. As I mentioned, we were invited to an Easter celebration at someone’s house after visiting a church for the first time here. And we were so welcomed and so well loved. But since there was food being served, I had to perform my typical paranoid ingredient checking to find out if there was anything for Eden to eat (I had brought back up snacks, just in case). And they had an Easter egg hunt for the kids, which was so fun! Eden was adorable :) and she had her own special eggs haha!

But this is a very humbling realization. Because relationships are so frequently built around a meal. You open up your home to show people love and to welcome them to a new community. You feed them a meal to show that you care when they are sick, have a new baby, or have lost a loved one. This is so often how cultures across the world and throughout history have shown others love. Through food. And I have felt more loved by people caring enough for our family to help us through this and just listen to our story. Just last night we had dinner with a couple that we met at church on Sunday. They were so sweet and so welcoming! But when she invited us to dinner the other night, I explained to her our food issues, and asked if it would be easier to do something different, maybe just coffee. Instead, she told me about a recipe she just made last week for a gluten free family and said asked if we could bring a salad :)

Outfit she picked out to wear, including the shoes. I added the bow :)

 

Okay, I know I’m rambling a little bit here, so I’ll wrap this up. I just want to tell all of you thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for how you have loved our family. I never in a million years would have pictured me being this crazy mom, but here I am. And for making us dinner. Or for simply listening to me whine. This certainly hasn’t been the easiest thing but you have made it a little easier. If you know someone who has food allergies in their family, don’t be afraid to try to love them in this way. Invite them over for dinner, and welcome them into your home. Even just the invitation will be welcome. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their story, you will only get to know them a little better!

Potty Training: I think she’s ready?!

So after having two women who I greatly respect as caregivers (one of our nursery workers who has known Eden for months, and one from BCB) told me that they think my tiny tot is ready to potty train, I really started wondering. But I knew kids regress with big changes (i.e. moves…) so didn’t want to start and then just backslide immediately. But now we are here. Moved.

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And I’m wondering even more.

As far as I can tell (and let’s face it, it’s really mostly guess work) she seems pretty ready. She holds it for hours at a time, and then we have a flood. She loves throwing the diaper away after getting changed. And she explains to me in no uncertain terms when she is poopy and must be changed right this instant!

So, yeah…

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This morning I ordered some of Allen’s naturally laundry detergent from BCB which is what I use on our cloth diapers. Best Bottom diapers have training pants that actually incorporate the small inserts we already own. Score. So I bought just one pair of training pants, to see if she is interested in that. Now we just need a potty. She definitely doesn’t seem very keen to hang over the big potty pants-less, but I wouldn’t be either so I can’t really blame her there. She definitely likes playing in the toilet, which up until now I have been discouraging (but maybe shouldn’t be??) And has even started picking out what she wants to wear in the mornings which is super adorable, in case you were wondering…

Outfit she picked out to wear, including the shoes. I added the bow :)

Outfit she picked out to wear, including the shoes. I added the bow :)

I think a trip to Ikea is in order for one of their $5 potties. And since the closest one is only 20-30 min away, I think I’ll make that trip tomorrow! Get my big (tiny) girl a potty! Any potty training tips? Being a nurse, and mostly a rehab nurse at that, I’ve potty trained quite a few adults. I feel like this should be a similar process…

What is your favorite potty for your little ones? Any favorite training pant? How about best potty training tips? And go.

My crazy monkey

My crazy monkey

How I Became a Granola Mama: Discovering Food Allergies

So I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t written this post yet. If you have talked with me for just five minutes (sometimes less, ha!) you are probably aware that our daughter Eden has a milk allergy. It’s something that I have become very passionate about and sometimes a bit vigilante about, because its such a big part of our lives now. So I thought I would share a bit with you about the journey that has brought us here. Fair warning, it is impossible for this to not be a bit long winded or talk about baby poo.

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To help you with a little bit of background, I’ll tell you a little about myself first. When I was a baby, I had three sets of ear tubes for ear infections (dairy allergies can cause an increase in fluid/mucous buildup). When I was little they tried to diagnose me as lactose intolerant, but it didn’t help. Growing up, they said it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and I just had to deal with all of the GI issues. I also had iron-deficiency anemia. And then I got pregnant. I was one of those pregnant women that, instead of glowing, hated being pregnant because I was always miserable. I was nauseous pretty much the entire nine months. I ended up getting a prescription of Zofran. This quickly became my best friend. If I didn’t take it before I went to work in the morning, I would throw up once I got there.

So I ate dairy. Lots of dairy. They say that milk is supposed to help settle your stomach, right? Well, I tested that theory for sure. Milk, cheese, ice cream, mashed potatoes, milk shakes, and more cheese. It was just about the only thing I was interested in eating. And I was so incredibly sick…

Enter Eden.

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My tiny little baby was born just as beautiful as she could be. For the first few checkups I would take her to the doctor, take off her diaper for the naked weight and ask if her poos were normal. They just didn’t seem right, but I was a first time mom and they kept telling me it was fine. (Looking back, I now realize they were filled with mucous.) Then she started having reflux symptoms. She was always fussy, would only sleep on my chest or in her swing (never flat), crying after eating and a big time spit up baby. Then everything got worse. She started projectile vomiting. And then I started noticing black flecks in her poo. As a exclusively breast fed baby, her poo should be seedy yellow-green. No black flecks. I realized that was actually blood. My baby was having upper GI bleeds. She also got horrible diaper rash… So bad her skin would break open and not want to heal for weeks.

So I started doing research. What could cause all of these symptoms? I took her to the doctor after the worst vomiting episode, and she was put on Zantac for her reflux symptoms. So now she was starting to get better with the fussy, and the vomiting, but the weird poo and black flecks were still there. I started talking to friends and started wondering about a milk allergy. Not lactose intolerant, that is a bit different.

Milk is broken down into a sugar (lactose) and two proteins (casein and whey). And my kid is allergic to the proteins. Maybe lactose also, I’m not entirely sure… But the only way to actually figure this out is to cut it out of your diet. 100%. For a minimum of three weeks. Well, in December of 2012 I started cutting out dairy, but only the obvious stuff. I was still eating butter cooked into stuff and little things like that. But Eden wasn’t getting better. So I went completely dairy free in January. No cheating. No hidden butter or cream. Nothing. Three weeks later, my little girl started getting better. Her reflux symptoms decreased (they were still there and she was on medicine for it until she was about 7 months old), her poos stopped having mucous and blood in them, and her diaper rash was finally clearing up. I was thrilled!! Now don’t get me wrong, breast feeding and being dairy free is no walk in the park. It is truly a challenge…

Once she started eating solid foods, things got a bit more complicated. Now I was having to police my diet as well as hers (if you are nursing and your baby has an allergy, you can’t have *any* dairy, and Eden is especially intolerant). Every now and then, I would mess up and Eden would get sick again. Yucky diapers, horrible diaper rash. It was not a fun cycle. Not only that, but Eden’s reactions last a minimum of seven days. They could be up to three weeks long.

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I finally gave up breast feeding. It was just too much to worry about my diet making my baby so sick for so long. I stopped breastfeeding her when she turned one so that we could avoid putting her on specialty dairy-free formula (which is very expensive) and she finally got completely better! No more mommy mess-ups! No more diaper rash and yucky reactions! Oh happy day! It was the best decision. My little girl was finally healthy and not getting reaction cycles. But I wasn’t actually feeling better. While JD said that he had so much more energy, felt years younger and had lost 20lb, I still wasn’t feeling awesome GI-wise. And I started wondering if maybe I had another food intolerance. All of the signs were there. I was anemic again. My stomach bothered me a lot. Maybe I was missing something…

Well the next most common food intolerance is gluten. JD decided he wanted to go gluten-light (he doesn’t do 100% diets) which would make my gluten elimination a lot easier. So this past January we went gluten-free. And I can finally say that for the first time in 25 years, I am starting to feel better. Saturday night we did a gluten challenge. I’ll explain that a little bit later in an elimination diet post. And the result? Yep, I’m gluten intolerant. But I feel better!!! It has been a crazy journey up to this point, but JD and I feel loads healthier. We both have more energy, JD has lost 30lb in one year and is the healthiest he has been in years. Now that I am gluten-free, I am not having GI issues all the time and feel like a normal person. I’m taking iron supplements and hope to have my iron stores back to normal soon. And Eden hasn’t had a diaper rash in months.

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If all of this sounds familiar to you, you or someone in your family could be dealing with food allergies. I will have a post (hopefully soon) talking about symptom, elimination diets and resources. As well as discussing what it is that we actually eat now. Trust me, it’s a lot easier than you think it is! Also, feel free to contact me if you want to know more. Like I said, it’s something that I am very passionate about, and I know I’m not the only one that has dealt with this!

Baby Cotton Bottom Giveaway

So you have heard me tell you a few times now about my favorite cloth diaper store, Baby Cotton Bottoms (here, here, here and here) and now I am thrilled to be able to host a giveaway to their awesome store! The prize is a $25 giftcard! Man, oh man…

They do have a website and are more than happy to ship inside of the US (for shipping details, click here) so you don’t have to be local to win. And if you have heard me love on a product you don’t see on their website (ex: Amber teething necklace) I am sure you could give them a call and they would be happy to help you with the order.

If you are local, just head over to their shop in Old Colorado City and tell them I said hey!

Okay, enough jibber jabber, on to the giveaway! If you don’t see the Rafflecopter widget below, just click the link and you will be taken to it. Don’t forget to share on Facebook!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Call Me Crazy, But I Love ‘Em

Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces, that is.

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Okay, to really get me on this, I think it is important to know where I am coming from. I’m an RN. In a lot of ways, I have been taught to be skeptical of holistic, natural remedies. And  I am. I am not afraid to give my child medications when it is medically necessary. I am not afraid to take my child to the doctor for routine exams. I am not afraid to take mediation myself, even when pregnant, provided it is medically indicated. Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I also don’t take meds just to take meds. That would be pointless. But natural remedies aren’t necessarily my first choice for a sick baby… Maybe that is because I don’t understand them enough, but I am certainly willing to learn more about them and don’t think they should be written off immediately.

Now when I first heard about Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces, I thought they were a load of crock. These things can’t possibly work like they say they do. Why on earth do all these hippy moms swear by them?? Aren’t they a choking hazard? What self respecting mom would use these on her kid, much less let them sleep in it?!

Well… turns out, that would be me.

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I got desperate. My child was fussy, inconsolable, seemed in pain, and nothing was working. And one day found myself where? Baby cotton Bottoms, of course. And not only do they sell these strange things, but one of the ladies was wearing one herself. So I started asking questions. Unknown to the casual observer, the purpose of these necklaces is not for the baby to actually chew on them.

Now the cool part about baltic amber is that it actually has natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. This is via succinic acid contained within the baltic amber beads. When worn against the skin, the baltic amber is heated up which then releases the succinic acid. This is absorbed through the skin, and helps to decrease the pain and inflammation experienced from teething.

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Now, I will be honest, it can be difficult to find credible websites supporting these theories, but I officially swear by them. I especially like this lady’s review. She kind of goes off on moms like myself a bit (which I have to admit, I used to do also…) but my favorite part is this bit Update 2013/11/09: Clay Jones has a great article on teething at Science-Based Medicine. Basically, the gist is that teething doesn’t really produce any serious symptoms at all, and that all the ‘treatments’ used to soothe infants through teething episodes are unnecessary.”

Umm. Okay. Have you had kids? Because I’m not so sure… Apparently she’s a grandmother. Maybe she just doesn’t remember the teething…

I have found a significant difference in Eden’s comfort when she is wearing her necklace, vs not during teething. Yes, I understand that this is anecdotal evidence and not true scientific data. But I’m going to give you a few examples of times I have noticed a drastic difference, and you can judge for yourself.

I first put Eden’s necklace on when she was around 3 months old. I thought she was teething, but being a first time mom I didn’t really have a clue. Turns out she wasn’t. So her necklace stayed on. I figured it couldn’t hurt (I will address the choking hazard issue in a bit…) So a few months later when she was getting her first tooth, I was interested to know if it was actually helping. Her necklace was taken off, and forgotten to be put back on. Perfect, we get to see if this is legit or not.

That night, she didn’t sleep. Neither did I. My poor girl was cranky, fussy, running a low grade fever and generally miserable. Then I saw the teething necklace laying on the changing table, and put it back on immediately. The next day, my girl was back to her happy-go-lucky self. Cheerful in spite of her budding teeth and inflamed gums. She was still plenty drooly but, no more fever and no more miserable baby. I was sold. And this is not the only time this happened. Necklace accidentally taken off and not put back on = cranky miserable baby, necklace put back on = cheerful teething baby.

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I will admit that she still had the occasional breakthrough pain with teething that required Tylenol, but by and large she did really well teething, especially with the front four. Not so much with the molars…

So here I am, loving my teething necklace, and my dear friend Jena is in the throes of teething baby misery. Her poor little guy had 6 teeth coming through at one time! They were having to give Tylenol and Advil every 4 hours almost around the clock. Cue desperate mom. So I tell her about my crazy love for amber teething necklaces. She was at BCB as soon as she could get there to grab one for her little guy. That night, they accidentally skipped a dose of Tylenol. And he was fine! They were able to drastically decrease the amount of medicine their little guy needed to get through the teething.

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 (Just ignore the fact that he is eating a pen… don’t worry, it was taken away immediately after this was taken. But check out the amber necklace!)

And then one day, I was having some pretty severe pain myself. I had already taken 800mg of Advil and 500mg of Tylenol. That only brought my pain from a 6/10 down to a 3/10. I was still pretty uncomfortable. Eden didn’t need her necklace. Hmm, I thought, maybe I should try it. After all, Shanda from BCB wears hers all the time for headaches… So I wrapped it around my wrist. No lie, within 30 minutes my pain had decreased to a 1/10. I couldn’t believe it. Now I seriously want one of these things for me!

But the choking hazard?! How can you risk that? Well, these necklaces are designed incredibly well, when bought from the right retailer. (The brands that are sold at BCB are Knickernappies, Healing Hazel, and Momma Goose.) To start with, each bead is individually knotted onto the string, so that even if the string did break, only one bead would come off. The beads are pretty small themselves, so would not pose a choking hazard if swallowed, and amber is non-toxic. The brand we use is Momma Goose, and part of the reason I like this particular brand is the clasp. The clasp is a snap, with a very gentle breaking point. Even if baby did pull on the necklace, it would just be pulled off, not broken. You can find more information at the links provided above. All in all, I am not worried about Eden sleeping in her necklace. Of course, the manufacturers recommend not allowing baby to sleep in it for liability purposes. But another option is to wrap the necklace gently around the ankle, underneath the sleeper.

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So all in all, I think this is a very safe and effective product. If you have any actual evidence or research supporting these claims, I would be very interested to read it. I know this sounds like the craziest form of hippy mom remedies, but I kid you not, they work. What do you think? Have you ever tried one of these on your little one or even yourself? How crazy do you think I am right about now? Or are you maybe desperate enough to give it a try? We’ve all been there. I figure its better than whiskey on the gums…

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Snow Sanity

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little bit sick of all this snow. I like the snow when it comes, hangs around for maybe a day or so, and then GOES AWAY. But the weeks, on weeks of snow hanging around? Not so much. You say, just let your little one play in the snow! But she doesn’t like the snow. She gets her hands wet, she cries. She falls and face plants, she cries. She lasts maybe 5 minutes outside in the snow, and then she’s done. And she is a very active toddler! My girl needs the outdoors, and walks, and playdates! But what do we do when MOPS gets cancelled? And our zoo playdate? And we can’t go outside to the park, or for walks??

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Well, there are a number of really good indoor places to take your kids in Colorado Springs, and I could use a few more ideas of other places from all of you! So I’ll tell you about my places, and you tell me about yours!

And, to be honest, I definitely need to make more of an effort to get out and about despite all the snow. Being from Alabama, I still tend to have a bit of a Southern mentality when it comes to snow. Snow = stay inside. Don’t go anywhere. Stay holed up in your house for warmth and safety. But in Colorado, its really not that big of a deal. We have a 4WD Jeep that can get me where I need to go. I just need to be the one to make it happen.

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(About 5 seconds after this she face planted and then proceeded to scream for about 10 minutes! Ha!)

So, without further ado, a few of my snow sanity ideas (including a few indoor activities).

1. Playdough

My girl loves playdough! Eden was given two packs of playdough for Christmas from our good friend Jena, and she absolutely loves it! It is such a fun, easy activity that keeps her busy and contained. I can stick her in her high chair, give her a few things to cut/manipulate the playdough with (like cookie cutters and a plastic knife) and she is good to go! It is also a great way to work on fine motor skills. We have some jingle bells of assorted sizes that I had laying around the house (but any small object would work). After flattening out the playdough, I press the bells into the dough making it slightly difficult to remove. Eden especially has a hard time with the smaller bells. She just loves this activity! Especially if I give her the playdough container to put the bells into. I love that it is such a mental activity and also great for fine motor develpment!

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2. Focus on the Family

You may or may not have known that the guest center for Focus on the Family is right here in Colorado Springs, and it has two kids play areas, as well as a “Soda Shop”, bookstore, reading section, dress up areas,and other fun kids activities (which I admittedly don’t know as much about because they are for older kids, but I do know about the 3 story slide!!) And the best part, is that they have a toddler room. It is great because it is designed for kids 4 and under, so all of the play pieces are nice and soft. There are even a couple of benches in there for parents, and I typically find another mom to talk to while Eden gets to play with her kids. This is also a really nice place to have a playdate with friends. Moms get out of the house to visit and the littles get to burn off some energy. Win Win. My only complaint about this toddler room is that it feels pretty closed off. Its not a huge room and it doesn’t have any windows (its downstairs) so it doesn’t necessarily feel like you are really “getting out”. I’ve talked to a few friends who were concerned about the religious aspect and maybe having it shoved down your throats, but this really isn’t the case. So if that has been holding you back, you shouldn’t be too worried! It is just a family friendly play area to bring your kids. All they ask of you is you sign into their guestbook and wear a sticker.

3. Chapel Hills Mall Play Area

Not all moms are super huge fans of this particular area for a couple of reasons. While it is intended for just smaller kids (under 4 feet, I think) parents definitely let their older kids play there too, which can be a bit hazardous for the tiny ones. Eden has done fine when I have taken her, I just need to be somewhat paying attention. I also have several friends who are not crazy about the germ aspect, but honestly I’m not too fussed about it. Again, this play area features nice soft and squishy structures that are all designed around Colorado Springs (which is a nice added bit of interest). This area definitely has more of an open feel, as it is in a wing of the mall, but it is also a bit easier to escape from than the Focus room. There is an opening in the border at one end that your little could escape through, but if you are paying attention it isn’t a big deal (where as the Focus room has a half door to keep tiny ones contained). This area is also considerably larger than the one at Focus, and the entire thing is lined with benches for parents as well as a couple of shoe cubbies. This is another great place for indoor fun and playdates.

4. Monkey Bizness

This is another really fun play area that we haven’t been to in a while. In fact, a friend just reminded me of its existence and I am wanting to go back! To be upfront, the downside to this is that it isn’t free. Admission prices can be found in the link above, but for walkers 2 and under the cost is $7. I don’t quite remember if this includes parents, or if we are separate? I can try to find out… This is clearly a downside to this outing, seeing as how most people prefer free, but it is still a great option. For older kids, there are a lot of great play structures including slide and bounce house, while the tiny ones have an entire upstairs play area to themselves. It is gated, so they can’t escape, but have their own soft and squishy structures to climb on. There is even a designated area for crawlers so they don’t get trampled. There is also an art room, but we haven’t actually checked that out yet (Eden was barely walking the last time we were there). They also host birthday parties if that is something you are interested in. The kids definitely love it, but the parents don’t always love the prices (myself included).

So these are the main things I can come up with at the moment. How sad is it that playdough is my main at-home activity? Although Fun At Home With Kids is a great blog that has amazing DIY sensory ideas… In reality, I just need to make it more of a priority to actually do these. Eden has loved the handful we have actually tried, like our discovery bottles, and cornstarch and water play. But some of her other stuff has seemed a bit too old for Eden. Also, while many of her activities are edible, they still aren’t intended for eating. And up until now, Eden has really enjoyed exploring things by eating them. It is still fairly challenging to keep her from eating the playdough, ha! But she is doing much better in that area, so maybe we will start trying out a few more of these! In fact, I think that sounds lovely. Maybe I’ll have something to report to you soon! ;) Stay tuned!

What are some of your favorite indoor activities? Any suggestions for getting out of the house with your littles when the weather insists on being gross? I can use all the ideas I can get!

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Baby Wearing Mama, Pt. 2 The Bjorn

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 (Just check out all of this baby wearing awesomeness!!)

Everyone seemed to really enjoy my last post about baby wearing and trying out the Ergo, so I thought I would write a post about another carrier we have used and loved.

Carrier #2: Baby Bjorn Active

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As you saw in my last post, we started off baby wearing with the baby Bjorn. Most of you have probably heard of this carrier, as it is rather popular. We decided to get the active version because of the great back support and ventilated mesh. One thing we love about the Bjorn, anyone can use it! Once you figure out how to put it on (it’s not too difficult) anyone can wear it by adjusting the straps to fit their body. My hubby has used this carrier plenty of times, and even one of my good (not a mommy) friends has tried it out! This thing has seen TONS of use.

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 (My dear friend, Gayle, trying out the Bjorn!)

One of its best uses has proven to be for plane trips. Moms and babies can avoid body scanners at most airports by going through security baby wearing. Also, it keeps your hands free for suitcases and diaper bags while navigating the airport. Once on the plane, baby is securely strapped to your chest. Although, airlines do require them to be free during take off and landing, but with the Bjorn this is amazingly easy. Even with a sleeping baby, all that was required was unhooking the top strap at the shoulders and letting the bjorn fall open. Eden got to continue sleeping on my chest, and I just re-fastened her once we were in the air. Easy Peasy. Granted it is not the most pleasant thing to have your baby spit up down your shirt while in the Bjorn and confined to an airplane… Cleaning that up was a little tricky! And on several occasions, we were able to ditch toting the stroller with us through the airport, because I could just wear her.

We have also absolutely loved this for hiking. Jd wore her many times, especially when she was smaller, for family outings. And one of our favorite things about the Bjorn when she was this age, was being able to face her out. She loved getting to look out at the scenery and giggle at our dogs while going on hikes. This is definitely a huge bonus for this carrier, and as I mentioned in my last post, one of the main deciding factors for getting this carrier to begin with.

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Another plus to this carrier, you can breastfeed your baby hands-free! It does take some maneuvering and loosening of straps, but once you have it figured out it is fantastic to be able to nurse while, say, walking around the zoo! I’ve done this many times and loved how easy it was to nurse my baby without having to get her out, find a place to sit down, and nurse her instead of being able to continue on with our friends during a zoo playdate. And this also came in handy on some of those plane trips! And with a nursing cover over us, no one is any the wiser :) Happy baby, happy mom.

And these carriers fit pretty much everybody, from dads to moms to friends. A great all around carrier.

My only complaint about the Bjorn (and I was well aware of this when we bought it) is that it can’t be worn on your back. I find that there are pretty much two categories to carriers. Those that can be worn with baby facing in or out, and those that can be worn on your front or back. As I mentioned in my last post, there are a few carriers that have overcome this and can be worn in all configurations (the new bjorn, as well as the Beco gemini). And because the Bjorn can’t be worn on your back, it limits how long you are able to use this with your baby. Once they start getting a bit bigger, it just doesn’t work as well. Its definitely still doable, but personally I prefer this carrier for younger babies.

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 (Loving the outward facing and getting to pet the doggies!)

Rating: B+

This carrier is amazing for small babies. But once they start getting a bit bigger and heavier, I find myself wanting something a bit more substantial.

What are your thoughts? Have you tried and loved the Bjorn? Or didn’t like it from the get go?

P.S. See if you can spot the Bjorn featured in my post about Making Baby Food!

Disclaimer: All of the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not paid or endorsed in any way to write this review, I just love the product!

Baby Wearing Mama

I know, I know. You are just shocked that I love baby wearing! Now, I’m not quite as religious about it as some people are, but I do love a good baby carrier. And I have quite a few kinds too (more on those later!) But today, I’m going to tell you about my new carrier love.

Carrier #1: Ergo Baby Carrier.

I had a hard time initally picking out a baby carrier. Even when I was pregnant (well if I’m honest, before I ever got pregnant) I knew I would want some type of baby carrier. I just didn’t know what kind. So during my pregnancy, the search began. At the time I really wanted a carrier where baby could face away from your body. I’m not entirely sure why this was such a priority, but it was my main one. And of course, I wanted good back support. So we went with the Baby Bjorn. Specifically, the Baby Bjorn Active.

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(Eden, 6 days old, being worn around the neighborhood at Halloween)

And we loved it. It served us very well for quite a long time. And with Eden being as tiny as she was, weighing in at only 5lb 11oz, it fit her really well also. But the downside to this particular carrier, is that it can only be worn with baby in front, not on your back. Although, Baby Bjorn does apparently have a new carrier that allows baby to be worn front or back, inward or outward facing (but this one is pretty new). So now that she is 15 months old and about 18lb, I found myself wanting to be able to carry her on my back.

We made do with the bjorn, baby slings, and a Moby Wrap for a nice long time, all of which I absolutely loved but for different reasons (more on that later!)

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 (Sick days with mama, loving the Moby wrap)

But recently I have really been searching for a little more…

So I went to my favorite cloth diaper store, Baby Cotton Bottoms, to try on various carriers. They pointed me to the Beco Soleil Carrier which felt amazing on. This carrier boasts a 7-45lb weight range and nice padded straps with a few other amenities. But for me personally, it had a fairly major drawback. I’m a petite woman, and it just didn’t fit my frame. The waist strap fit fine, but the shoulder straps couldn’t be adjusted to fit my small torso, a problem BCB has been noticing with smaller women. Beco does have another carrier that would have fit me better, but the weight range only went up to 35lb, and I wanted something that worked well for a bigger baby.

Shanda, at BCB, helped me try on the Beco Soleil and then the Ergo, telling me about how much they love both of these for older and bigger babies. Well, after trying on both of them I was convinced, but still not a huge fan of the $130 price tag. Fortunately, I’m not afraid to buy things a little used to get a great deal! I looked around on Craigslist, Varagesale, and a mommy group on facebook before finding one I really liked. Ultimately, I went with a Petunia Pickle Bottom print Ergo carrier. And I love it!!! I have already used it several times just around the house when Eden was feeling fussy. She is so comfortable back there, and I love being able to have her on my back. It is just so much more comfortable for me, and especially for my back (which is currently healing from carrying her wrong for 12mo… oops).

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 (Testing out the Ergo)

Also, I should mention one of the downsides to the Ergo. When they are infants, you do have to have the infant insert since they are so tiny. They recommend using the infant insert for babies from 7-9lb, and under 4 months. But at $25 that isn’t too bad.

Rating: A-

My main drawback really is that baby can’t face outwards. And Eden really loves being able to look out at the world! Also, the necessity of the infant insert isn’t my favorite thing. But I’m sure whenever we have baby #2, I will be headed straight to the store to pick one up!

And just for fun, lets take a look at how adorable these two are going skiing together! (This is a carrier we borrowed so Jd could take her down the slopes at Loveland, thanks Whit!) And can you believe it?! They went blue runs the whole way! Had she actually had a nap that day and not been exhausted, I think she would have loved it. As it was, she seemed pretty content :) The most nerve wracking part was being on the lift….

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 (Skiing with dad!!!)

Disclaimer: All of the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not paid or endorsed in any way to write this review, I just love the product!

Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Mama: Diaper Rash Troubles

Okay, its confession time.

For the sake of not being too graphic, and for obvious reasons, this post won’t have any pictures of my poor little girl’s tushy. But trust me when I say it gets bad. Really bad.

To start with, you have to understand that Eden has a milk allergy. When she has a reaction, a couple of things inevitably happen. She gets mucousy/diarrhea poos that last for about 2 weeks, and she gets a rash. This rash sometimes clears quickly, but usually hangs around for as long as the reaction does due to the consistency of the poos. And then it can be really hard to clear up… It is not fun at all. Also, I have learned that my girl is *really* sensitive to her skin being wet.

I loved my hemp Best Bottom diaper inserts for their absorbency, but not so much for their moisture wicking capabilities. The main downside to hemp, is it feels wetter against skin. And apparently, Eden just can’t handle the amount of wet, especially overnight. So you can see how with a milk allergy, and sensitive skin, sometimes cloth diapering has been a challenge. Also, she almost always poops in the early morning, so she doesn’t necessarily get changed right away because she just doesn’t wake up. By morning time, she has a rash. This led to terrible rash cycles.

So bad, I almost abandoned cloth diapering completely. And you know how I love cloth!

We tried everything. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom balm, not enough. Coconut oil, not enough. Fleece liners to wick moisture, not enough. Biodegradable liners to lift off poo, not enough and poo stayed against her skin too much and the material makes her skin red. Using zinc oxide creams applied in *very* thin layers and using biodegradable liners, not enough. (The idea being you can use the zinc oxide creams with a liner to protect your diaper, and then toss the liner. But this solution didn’t give her enough of a barrier from the wet and the poo.)

When her skin gets like this, it can actually get to the point of breakdown and open skin. You can see why I was getting so incredibly frustrated. I just couldn’t keep her skin clear. So then I broke down, decided I couldn’t keep cloth diapering her out of sheer stubbornness when she was suffering for it, and put her little hiney in disposables for about 2 months. It took a while of extra strength Desitin to clear up her little hiney, and then I didn’t want to put her back in cloth yet because she was still having the occasional milk reaction poo. Once we were clear of rashes and reactions for a little while, I decided to give cloth another chance, but making some changes.

I have started revamping my stash, so that it is primarily microfleece inserts with hemp doublers. It turns out this is the perfect solution for us. Because she wets so heavily at night, the hemp gives her the absorbency she needs. But because she is so sensitive, the hemp is on bottom and never against her skin. The microfleece goes against her skin, and provides the moisture wicking she needs. And I am very happy to report she has been almost completely rash free!

The other night an edge of hemp did peek out from under the fleece and ended up against her leg, so I put her in disposables for a couple of days, lathered her up with Desitin, ad we are clear again! Hooray! I am so, so thrilled we have finally found a solution that works! At the first hint of rash, we switch straight to disposables until she clears up, and then back to cloth. I will take it! I was getting really sick and tired of buying all those diapers! They are crazy expensive. I am much happier using them only when necessary for a rash, and using cloth the rest of the 95% of the time. Yay cloth!

I also talked to the lady at my favorite cloth diaper store, Baby Cotton Bottoms for the locals, who suggested a few things. The one I am most interested to try is raw silk liners. Apparently they have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and are incredible as rash healers! And at only $3 ea, I think I may have to grab up a few of these the next time I am in there. It would be a nice alternative to switching to cloth every time she gets a rash, and a good bit cheaper, too. In fact, the lady at the store said her son was pretty sensitive too, so she just put him in one of these at nights and nap times and they were able to stay rash free. I might just have to give these a shot. If I do, I will definitely let you know what I think!

Have you had trouble with diaper rash? What worked for you? Its just terrible, isn’t it? But I am so glad to have my little girl healthy again! Yay!

Woolzies Dryer Balls GIVEAWAY!!!

Because I love Woolzies so much, and want to share them with you, I’m hosting a Woolzies Dryer Balls Giveaway! And this just makes my heart all warm and fuzzy inside :)

Entering is easy, just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. A random winner will be selected and contacted about their fabulous prize! This giveaway is available worldwide, so share with your friends, people!

For more information about what Woolzies are, see my product review.

 

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