Baby-free Adventures

So today I am leaving Eden for the first night ever! I am going on a girls only camping trip this evening, and we will be hiking the 14er Mt. Bierstadt in the morning. And I am so excited!!

I have left Eden on the very capable hands of her amazing daddy. And I can honestly say, that as of this moment, I’m not nervous at all. Just excited. I know they will have a great time together, and I get to have some much needed me time.

I’m hoping for some snores and beer tonight, since we will be more car camping than backpacking. And stopping at Tommy Knockers Brewery on the way home! I love that place…

When was the first time you left your little one for the night? Were you nervous or mainly excited?

I’ll update you on the trip and how everything goes when I get back! Until then, happy trails!

The Angel Wings Fold

Part of my Cloth Diaper Series

So, I talked a little about the Angel Wings Fold in The Great American Diaper Stash, Pt. 2, but it doesn’t help you if you don’t know how to do the fold. So here you go.

We start with a prefold, short sides facing you. Take the back edge and fold it down an inch or so (this decreases as baby gets bigger).

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Lay baby on diaper, and fold front corners in until they meet (more if you prefer).

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Bring front end up in front of baby and gently fan out corners so they reach back a little further towards baby’s hips (not necessary if baby is tiny and the corners already reach).

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Bring back “wings” that you created earlier forward and overlap your front edges.

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Fasten with snappi. The snappi has little claws on it that allow it to grab the prefold and keep secure. You want it to be snug so that the diaper can’t shift.

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Cover with diaper cover, and now you have a diaper! Remember to tuck in the extra bit of prefold at the legs; if you forget this step, you will have leaks.

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Ah, cloth diapered bear!

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The Great American Diaper Stash, Pt. 2

Part of my Cloth Diaper Series

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 Okay, now lets talk about they types of diapers I actually use, and why I like them. I’m going to go chronologically in terms of Eden’s age, so you get a better idea of when I liked what types.

So first of all, newborn poo is runny. Really runny… Which means it is capable of great big messes. During this time I especially loved prefolds, more on that in just a bit. When she first came home from the hospital, she had meconium poo, which can be very staining for cloth diapers, so we did the first couple of days in disposables. Around day 5 or so, we switched to cloth. (And we are still going strong! I love cloth even 10 1/2 months later!)

Why did I love prefolds so much, you ask? Well, let me tell you. There is this nifty thing called a snappi. The snappi is the modern, easier to use substitute for a diaper pin (although those are definitely still around). With the snappi, you can do what is called an angel wings fold. This fold contains most newborn messes, anything else is caught by the cover. Always remember that if any cloth is showing outside of your cover, you will have leaks. So be sure to check those little legs and tuck any extra back inside! Using this method, the first true blowout we ever had was not until 5-6 months! If you have ever used disposable diapers, you know that is amazing!

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Isn’t Eden adorable in her prefold?!

I started with two sizes of prefolds, preemie (5-9lb) and small (8-15lb). For covers, I loved the newborn Bummis, because they fit my tiny baby really well. The Newborn Super Brite from this kit has a double leg gusset (great for preventing leaks!) and fit Eden the best from birth (they fit 4-9lb!). We also tried the Super Lite wrap (6-10lb), but I wasn’t as impressed. They didn’t have the double leg gusset, and I wasn’t crazy about how the leg hole fit. Most of this was just personal preference, not so much a diaper defect.

Eden grew out of the preemie prefolds fairly quickly, because she was just peeing more than they could handle. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I didn’t need to stop using them all together. There is no reason you can’t double up! I could have used one with the angel wings fold, and the other just folded and placed in the cover. This would have been a great night-time solution! And had I done that, she probably would have stayed in that size a lot longer. But you live and learn :) Next time!

I also used Thirsties xsmall diaper cover (6-12lb) which fit really well! These were some of my initial favorites because they fit so well, had the double leg gusset, and were easy to use. I was also a big fan of the Thirsties DuoWrap Snap (6-18lb). They are super trim! And just to try different types, I also gave the Thirsties Stay Dry Duo Insert a try. They have a fleece-topped microfiber terry piece that snaps to a hemp piece. These are used as a lay in insert inside of a cover. These paired with the Thirsties duo cover = a very trim diaper! I kind of liked these, but only really had two. The way I have used them the most frequently has been to add a little bit of absorbency to my prefolds for a night-time diaper.

Now for the drawbacks of Thirsties brand. Their Aplix (aka velcro) is terrible. It wore out after only 3-4 months of use. On the other hand, Bummis Aplix is awesome! Super tough, and still going strong after 10 months of use, with no signs of slowing down. Some people do complain that it is scratchy on baby’s tummy, but Eden doesn’t seem to care. Thirsties does have such a fantastic one year guarantee, that I contacted customer service, and they sent me all new diapers with snaps! I returned 4 that had the Aplix, and got brand new ones back! So exciting! In return, I sent them back the ones with velcro so they can be repaired and given to families in need. Takeaway = buy their snaps, you can’t go wrong! I still use the Duo Wrap Snap, and still love it!

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 I also gave AIOs and pockets a try when Eden was born. I was gifted 2 and bought 2 BumGenius newborn AIO stay dry diapers (6-12lb) and 2 Fuzzibunz Perfect size xsmall diapers (4-12lb). The reason I wasn’t a huge fan of these two was pretty much the same. For my baby, they leaked. Not super huge leaks, just a little bit at the legs. But that just isn’t my favorite thing in the world to deal with. The leg holes for these two are lined with fleece, meaning that when that fleece gets wet, so do baby’s pants. Other than that, they were super cute! And definitely the most trim diapers we tried at this age. So, all in all, very easy to use, super trim, just a little on the leaky side. Many people absolutely rave about these two brands though, so don’t be afraid to try them if you like the idea of these!

Before Eden was born, I purchased the Bummis Diaper Kit, Infant (8-15lb) which comes with 2 Super Brite wraps,  4 Super Whisper Wraps, 24 infant size prefolds, a large wetbag (only available in this kit, but smaller ones can be purchased separately) 5 fleece liners, and 2 rolls of bio-liners. These have all been great, and I still use them. Just to be aware, the Super Whisper Wraps don’t have my favorite feature, the double leg gusset. But they still work really well! And are definitely part of the regular rotation.

The idea behind liners, is that they contain the poo. Now, I didn’t find this to be true of newborn runny poo, but it definitely helps when they start on solids. I have a friend who always uses a liner at night, it makes clean up a lot easier, especially if you don’t have a diaper sprayer. The fleece liners are nice because they wick moisture away from baby’s skin, so I use these at night when I use prefolds. It keeps her skin feeling much drier. The bio liners are nice because they can be flushed! Hence, the easy poo clean up.

I think that about “wraps” (haha, get it?!) up the newborn stage, next up I will cover 4 mo to present! Things change a bit once your baby starts eating solid foods, so my preferences have also changed. Still to come, where to start with cloth diapering, and how to get some good deals. Yep, its a long series on cloth diapering. There’s just so much to say! I love them so :)

The Great American Diaper Stash, Pt. 1

Part of my Cloth Diaper Series

So I cloth diaper.

Now that we have that out of the way, I feel like there are lots of questions about cloth diapering. And I want to try to answer some of them.

I think the biggest one, is why cloth? So have you ever met a mom who uses disposable diapers and is excited about it? That’s what I thought. What about the moms you know that use cloth? Fanatics? Yeah. Also, there is a huge economic factor. Cloth diapering is definitely cheaper over the entirety of the child’s time in diapers. Admittedly, it can be pretty pricey for the intial stash, but once you have that you don’t have to buy any more (unless you just want to, of course!) We will go more in-depth about prices as we discuss brands and different styles, and I will also add a full cost breakdown of my entire stash.

First I am going to discuss the different styles of diapers. Keep in mind that in diapering, you want waterproof (cover) and absorbency.

1. AIO – these are easily a favorite because of the simplicity. They are very easy to use because they are exactly like disposable diapers, but made of cloth. They are literally “all in one”. So these are awesome if you are hesitant about cloth diapering and want to give it a try, and great for grandparents or other caregivers. These are also very trim diapers. There are also a few drawbacks to these. The first that comes to mind is the cost. They are usually more expensive than other options out there, and because you have to change the entire diaper each time, you need more of them to have a full time diaper stash. They also take longer to dry, especially if you want to get the most life out of them = they must be line-dried. Ex: BumGenius

2. Pocket Diapers – designed to lessen the drying time, but still have the ease of use of the AIO, pocket diapers have a – wait for it – pocket. The pocket is usually located at the back, where you stuff the absorbent piece and then has a (typically fleece or microfiber) covering. Because you can remove the absorbent layer, the drying time is dramatically decreased. The insert can be put in the dryer while the cover line dries. This prolongs the life of the cover. Like the AIO, these area trim diaper. However, they are still a bit more pricey because you have to change the entire diaper every time. Ex: Fuzzibuns

3. Prefolds – this is what most people think of when they think of a cloth diaper. A piece of square fabric (thicker in the middle) trifolded or fastened using pins (although now you can use a nifty thing called a snappi, more on that later). Prefolds require a waterproof cover to make a complete diaper. To me, this is a huge advantage beecause you do not have to change the cover every time, only when it is actually soiled. Since the covers are the more expensive piece, prices can be kept lower because you don’t need as many as with an AIO or pocket. Prefolds are considered the least expensive of all of the diapering options. The brand Econobum boasts $100 to cloth diaper from birth to potty. The major drawback to prefolds is they are the most bulky. Ex: Bummis, Thirsties

4. Fitteds – I have never used these, so I am going to steal the description from cottonbabies.com “A fitted diaper has elastic at the legs and at the waist. It also has some type of closure to hold the diaper on the baby. This closure can be hook and look or snaps. A fitted diaper requires a cover. The absorbency of fitted cloth diapers varies based on the materials used in the construction of the diaper. Cotton fitteds are an inexpensive and popular choice.” Ex: green mountain fitted prefolds

5. All in two’s – *these are my personal favorite* these have a waterproof shell (aka cover) and a cloth liner that lays inside the shell against the baby’s skin. The liner can snap in, or tuck under flaps in the cover. All time favorite diaper: Best Bottom (another popular brand is Thirsties)

6. Hybrid – these are designed to have the option of using a disposable or cloth insert – great for travel!! Two types: Flip system (made by BumGenius) and the Gdiaper (I’ve heard mixed reviews about these. They are notorious for leaking. I used to be super excited about these, until I learned more.) Personally, I buy the Flip disposable insert and use it with my Thirsties or Best Bottom covers! This is my favorite solution for travel.

Next time, I will go into more detail about our personal diaper stash: what I have tried, loved, and don’t necessarily care for, as well as a cost breakdown.

First Day of MOPS!

Okay fellow mommies, I’m going to say it, if you aren’t already involved in a MOPS group, find one! It has been so wonderful to be a part of, and I have only been going since January. I think it is important to remember that, like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. That being said, let me tell you about our first day of MOPS this semester :)

I am just so excited about this year! I was asked to be a part of the steering committee this year, and will be acting as the Special Events leader. I’m pretty excited about this :) I have always enjoyed planning things like this, but don’t necessarily consider myself very good at it. But that’s okay! I have a committee! That’s right, a committee just for Special Events! So much fun.

This year’s theme for MOPS is “A Beautiful Mess”. Our lives are messy, yes, but God is doing a work in each of our lives to make it more beautiful! We are HIS masterpiece, and worthy of love! Each of the leaders were interviewed to tell why we like this year’s theme, and my response: Because I’m messy! and trying to reform. And isn’t that what this blog, and really this whole year has been about for me?

For the first day, the steering committee decided to wear aprons to distinguish the leaders. The idea of house robes had been suggested, but it was decided that that would communicate an attitude of accepting and living in the mess. Verses the aprons, which seem to communicate acknowledging the mess in our lives, but not accepting it. Rather, embracing the role of a wife and mother, embracing setting a good example for our children, that life is worth living, and we are worth the effort. If we do not make an effort to be presentable, and appear to care about ourselves, why would our children? I am not here to accept and wallow in the mess. I want change. For myself, for my husband, and for my children.

So here is to celebrating A Beautiful Mess, and the work God is doing in our lives!

Our craft coordinator this year is Nancy, and let me tell you, she is a creative genius! She mentioned decorating our aprons (we started with just a basic white apron) and I said I would love some help with mine.

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We got together, and Nancy did all of the hard work haha. She made a gorgeous blue ruffle for the edge of the apron, and showed me how to iron a double sided iron on webbing to the fabric that I had chosen to decorate with. So while I set to work ironing and using her nifty shape cutter to get my pieces together, she plugged away making my ruffle.

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Here is the end result! I am in love. It is so gorgeous! Don’t you just love the ruffle?!

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Inspired by my ruffle and polka dots, I decided to go 1950s for my outfit on our opening MOPS day. Complete with black pumps and red lipstick! Hehe, it was so much fun.

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Also, day one, the steering committee brought food for everyone. (Usually a care group table brings food.) So since I am dairy-free (more on that later, I’m sure) I always try to bring something I can eat, haha go figure! I don’t know about you, but I love French Toast. Especially baked French Toast. It’s amazing. So I decided to make this recipe. If you know me at all, you know this is a very daring recipe for me to try to make. And out of laziness, I didn’t do a test run. *Fingers crossed!*

So here you go, my baked french toast journey! Here is after it is prepped with the egg mixture.

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And with the cinnamon oatmeal crumble topping set to bake in the morning.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the finished product, until after it was mostly eaten! But imagine it all whole, gorgeous golden baked oatmeal top, with raspberries, blueberries, and pecans for optional toppings. It was amazing! Jd laughed at me the night before the meeting, getting out my dress, pumps, apron! and cooking! I’ve come a LONG way!

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Haha it is going to be a good year!

Family Hikes

So lately, our little family has taken to going on a weekly hike. It has been so much fun! We load up our dogs and baby in the jeep, and go find somewhere to explore. Our recent favorite has been to Stratton Open Space near Cheyenne Mountain. This has been such an easy access hike, and it has a reservoir we hike up to. The reservoir is great fun because the dogs can get in and swim around.

Well, I say swim… really our dogs are terrible at swimming. It is hilarious, actually. Cooper is more brave, so he gets in fairly deep to go retrieve whatever stick Jd has thrown for him, but he doesn’t like swimming, so he tries to stand on his back legs in the water. Eden laughs hysterically at him haha

And then Willow is sneaky. So she waits until Cooper is close to the shore, and tired, so she can take the stick from him! We are undecided as to whether it is her trying to be a team player or take credit for retrieving the stick even though Cooper did the work. The latter, I think…

This past Monday, we found a new hike up by Upper Gold Camp road. It wound back closer to the mountain, and along a creek. It was so much fun to get back in the woods and explore! Eden just loves going on our hikes. She thinks it is great fun to watch the dogs run around like crazy (we try to go where we can let them off leash) and the dogs get to work off their energy. I must say, since we have been getting the dogs out for weekly hikes and runs, they have been so much better behaved! There is a clear difference between a happy, tired Cooper and Willow, and a bored and destructive Cooper and Willow….

And Eden is happy as a lark in the baby bjorn, just talking away! I hope to upgrade to a carrier backpack soon, I’ll keep you updated on that purchase!

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DIY Discovery Bottles

So I have been wanting to make Eden some discovery bottles lately (if you don’t know what those are, just search on Pinterest….) They look so fun! My friend Jena and I decided to get together and each make a set of 6 for our babies. After doing some research, we found that most people like to use the Voss water bottles (which can be found cheapest at Home Goods) because they are pretty and hold up well. Also, they are BPA free, so good for babies who mouth things. We weren’t sure whether or not others had used the glass or plastic, so each did a different version. The glass are taller and skinnier, while the plastic are shorter and fatter.

Being worried about the glass breaking, we decided to test it a few times and dropped a bottle a few times on a hard wood floor. We even dropped it at an angle. (In hindsight, please use glass. It turns out a four year old can do a bit more damage than just dropping it on the floor. One of mine broke within days haha) Keep in mind, too, that you can’t get the label off the glass bottles, while the ones on the plastic peel right off. Just go with the plastic….

We decided ahead of time on the different themes we wanted for each bottle. We wanted several that incorporated items that would sink vs float. We both loved the idea of a beach one, and a glitter and glue version (the glue slows down the glitter so that it takes several minutes to settle out). I also wanted a sound one, that would not have water in it.

We were most excited about the beach one, so started there. We used sand from a sand box (which needed lots of rinsing after the project was completed, craft sand would be cleaner and prettier from the start) blue marbles, and sea shells small enough to fit through the mouth of the bottles.

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The next was quickly a favorite. We did pom poms and pipe cleaners (spiraled around a pen). And added a little bit of glitter, because you can never have too much glitter ;)  It turns out you need to put the pom poms and pipe cleaners into the bottle the way you want them to ultimately look. And be careful not to add too many, or they can’t shift in the bottle.

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To continue with the idea of floating vs sinking, we next used buttons and ribbon. The idea being that the buttons would flow through the ribbon, helping it move in the water. At this point we were a bit distracted having fun and making a mess, so I’m afraid I forgot to take pictures.

Next up: sequins! In Jena’s bottle, we used red sequins, tiny red beads, and her super fun addition of a red corvette matchbox car! The car ended up “driving” through the beads and sequins, throwing them up in the water. It was kind of amazing.

For my sequin bottle, I used red sequins, these red spiral things that Jena had on hand, and red bells. The red spiral things didn’t fit very well in the bottle, so it meant it got stretched out as it went in, and only fit at the very outside of the bottle. This ended up having a really neat effect, as the bells would roll down the outside of the spiral.

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I also did bells and beads, for my sound bottle. Eden had great fun playing with all of the Mardi Gras beads, and this bottle was the first favorite for her. She loved the sound of the bells against the glass bottle! This is pretty much the only one that I would recommend using glass for.

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Next was the glitter and glue. For this one, we used hot water to help melt this glue. We added a nice amount of glitter, mixed it all in, then added it to the bottle to check the consistency. This was one other bottle where the glass came in handy at the moment, we could pour the mixture in hot and it wouldn’t melt the bottle.

*Side note, these glitter bottles can be used as a time out tool! (Obviously Eden is too young for that right now, but maybe in the future.) You just add enough glue to make the glitter take a certain amount of time to settle out. For example, add glue until the glitter takes two minutes to settle out. When your munchkin needs time out, the bottle gets shaken, and they can’t get up until all of the glitter has settled out.

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And here is the finished product! All of our discovery bottles :) Oh, we had decided to make tiny diaper bag versions of the poms and pipes using baby food jars. How cute are they?! And as you can see here, one glitter bottle has settled, while the other is still swirling. I just love the color! We were both pretty disappointed by the beach ones. The sand had just been too dirty, but getting them home and rinsing them out a bit really cleared out the water. I do recommend sealing the lids of the bottles with super glue, or something of that nature, so that inquisitive children can’t spill them all over your floor ;)

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Jena and I may have had more fun with them than the babies! But I think they just need some time to explore. Eden has definitely enjoyed playing with them since then!