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

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!

Eden’s First Birthday Party!!!

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So we are all aware that the first birthday party, while a big deal, is really all for the mom. I decided to just embrace this fact. Keep in mind, that after this, Eden will actually have some opinions in the matter. This one is the only birthday party that I really get to hijack and make all my own. And it was amazing.

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As many of you know, I am a huge Phantom of the Opera fan. My dad took me to see it for the first time when I was 11, and I have been in love ever since. In fact, Music of the Night was the first song Eden ever heard. I played it for her in utero and even had the album playing in the delivery room (after I got the epidural and just wanted some rest). I also play it for her sometimes to help her go to sleep (especially during the really terrible reflux nights…) So it was only fitting that she have a Phantom of the Opera themed First Birthday Party. Complete with candles everywhere.

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And since we are already embracing the fact that this party is really for me, I decided it should be a Masquerade Ball. Yep. Completely over the top, and wholeheartedly unnecessary. I accept this.

My inspiration for the colors and decor came from the Masquerade scene from the musical, and decided to go with black, silver, gold and pale pink for the colors.

One of my favorite party things ever is a photo booth (clearly very popular right now) and since it was a Masquerade Ball, it was only fitting that everyone get to make their own mask at the party. Mine clearly had to be outstanding, so I made mine a week or so before the party. Ornate and over the top, coming right up! I went on Pinterest to find a few ideas for centerpieces and masks.

The centerpiece for the table I made using a wine bottle, gold spray paint, pink tulle and lots of frilly things. Jd made all of the food for a French theme with beef wellington bites, spinach artichoke dip, and some delicious cupcakes for dessert! He also put together a pitcher full of our favorite drink, the Gin Gin Mule. So tasty… I had great fun arranging all of the champagne glasses with little pink tulle bows on them :)

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For the guest masks, I kept it simple. Just a handful of assorted colored basic masks. To decorate, guests had the option of using metallic sharpies, feathers, sequins, and glitter.

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The photo booth was a huge hit and so simple. We hung a big black table cloth as a backdrop, and added a frame that my friend gave me and I spray painted gold. Add a few feather boas and personalized masks, and you have a photo booth!

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Eden adored her frilly gold dress! She just loved prancing around in it and playing with the skirt.

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And she loved having all of her little friends there to play with. They were just adorable!

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You can’t have a first birthday party without a cupcake smash…

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 And here are a few more pictures from the evening for you to enjoy!

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Diaper Love

Part of my Cloth Diaper Series

And now, my favorite diaper of all. P.S. Sorry for the long absence! I will try to update more frequently!

Best Bottom Diaper System. Love.

There are a few reasons I love these so much. I don’t even know where to really start… Okay, here we go. First of all, the diaper covers are a one size diaper. They have snaps up the front to adjust the rise of the diaper, as well as snaps along the wings to adjust the waist. They fit from birth to 35lb. Also, to help keep the diaper trim, the liners are sized and can grow with baby as well. They have three sizes of liners that will cover baby from birth to potty training.

One of my favorite features is how the liner actually snaps into the cover. This decreases any shifting and also helps keep a more trim diaper. For night time, you just snap in a doubler (or even two) and are good to go! The liners come in micro-fleece or hemp (natural products are more absorbent).

Another reason I love them: the covers just seem sturdy. Like they aren’t’ going anywhere any time soon. I really think they would hold up well through multiple children. They also have a double leg gusset, so leaks are rare.

And the covers are just adorable!!! I love their patterns! One of my favorites is the moolicious pattern. Clearly Eden needs a diaper cover with a cow print. Seriously, go check out their prints here.

Also, these diapers are very cost effective, especially if you buy them in bulk. For $240, you can get 9 shells and 24 stay-dry inserts. You would only really need a few doublers on top of this for a full time diaper stash. These are the only diapers I have ever heard of that are loved by *everyone* who tries them. I really have not ever heard anyone who didn’t love these diapers. I definitely plan on using these for many years to come!

Has anyone else had great success with these diapers? And if you live in the Springs, go to Baby Cotton Bottoms, they will take great care of you!

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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