9 months in, 9 months out

Hudson is 9 months old!  He’s now been outside of me longer than he was inside me.   So weird!  I cannot believe my little man is 9 months.

Here’s a recap of the last month:

growth

At his nine month appointment last week Hudson weighed 21 pounds 12 ounces and was 28 inches long.  He was in the 33rd percentile for length and 82nd for weight.  Our pediatrician seemed very pleased with his growth.  Thankfully this month then only shot he got was his flu shot and he did great with it.  He also got some blood drawn and he did fabulous – didn’t cry at all when they pricked his thumb and squeezed the blood out!  His tests indicated that he was a little anemic; I’m not surprised as he is still eating mostly breast milk (from our research it seems that breast fed babies get plenty of iron until they are six months old and then if they are not consuming iron-rich foods it can drop).  So we’re going to work on that, but otherwise everything was great!

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I love this comparison of his well-baby visits.  It is amazing the change from when he was four days old!9 month dr visit comparison

Hudson is in all 12 month clothes, although some of his less-stretchy 12 month pants (blue jeans, khakis, etc.) are too tight because of his cloth diapers.  I’m either going to have to move him up in his pants (which will then be way too long) or buy special pants for cloth diapered babies (which are pretty expensive for baby clothes – maybe for a Christmas present).  He’s still in size 4 disposables at night.

food

We’re still mostly breastfeeding and offering table food occasionally.  Toward the end of the month Hudson started showing more interest in his food and more ability to pick it up and get it in his mouth (actually eating some of it rather than just playing with it) so I think he’ll be eating more now.  New foods this month: Puffs, veggie melts, eggs, oranges, applesauce, apples, and probably more but I didn’t do a good job writing it down this month so I’m not sure what else.

He still doesn’t really know how to use his sippy cups but we give it to him often and I guess he’ll figure it out eventually.

Silly daddy put a bowl on my head!

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sleep

Terrible. Ugh, it is so awful.  Naps are few and far between.  I’m talking he’ll sleep less than an hour total all day.  His naps typically last only 15 – 30 minutes.  An hour is an occasional nice surprise, and anything longer than that is unheard of.  Night time isn’t much better either.  It’s actually gotten much worse this month than it was last month.  There were many, many days this month that he woke up three or four (or more!) times each night.  He had been only waking up once before Michael and I went to bed and then once in the wee hours of the morning.  Now it’s more like every two hours.  And there were a couple of days that not only did he wake up, he also decided after he ate not to go back to sleep so he was wide awake for 1.5 to 2 hours in the middle of the night.

So. Not. Fun.

He’s still in his cosleeper next to our bed (although halfway through the month we finally lowered it from the bassinet position down to the pack ‘n play position) and then ends up in bed with us after he wakes up to eat during the night.   I was nervous about the transition when we lowered his bed.  I was afraid that he would wake up since I had to bend over so much further to lay him down but he has done great with it.

IMG_6356Such a sweet angelIMG_6387IMG_6449He fell asleep mid-roll one night – it was so funny!  He laid like this for a good while and then finally finished rolling over and settled in for the night.
IMG_6469My little snuggle bugIMG_6488

I love gazing at this precious face while he sleepsIMG_6532

mobility

We’re mobile!  Hudson started crawling about halfway through the month and there is no stopping him now.  He went from crawling his first few paces one day to crawling all over the house (and fast!) practically overnight.  We are working overtime to get things baby proofed around here.  He’s definitely doing a good job of showing us how un-baby proof our house is – ha!

IMG_6695He’s always loved trying to grab my computer and phone cords.  I moved them away from the front of the chair but once he started crawling he realized pretty quickly that he could go around behind the chair to grab them.  Those cords have since found a new home!

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He crawls all over the place, especially in the kitchen while I’m trying to cook.  He likes to push a bowl around…and apparently this day he nearly crawled out of his shirt!

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In addition to crawling, he also started pulling up to standing.  One afternoon I was sitting at the kitchen table eating and Hudson was playing in the living room.  I looked up from my snack and noticed he had pulled up on the recliner!!  I was shocked!  He had never done that before!  Now he pulls up on everything.  We got out his activity table that I had purchased a while back and he loves to stand at the table and play.

IMG_6651IMG_6709He had been pulling up on his knees and leaning over the side of his cosleeper and we hadn’t been leaving him unattended in it anymore, but once he started pulling up to his feet I knew it was time to lower it down immediately.  The day he started pulling up he was napping and I was sitting in the bed working on my computer.  I looked over and in a blink of an eye he had stood up and grabbed some of my lotion.

IMG_6701He can still pull up in his lowered bed but at least he can’t fall out.

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other firsts

We finally got around to buying a pack ‘n play.  My mom has one at her house that we’ve used several times but we knew that we’d need one for church camp and we found a great deal on one locally so we snapped it up.  It’s been very handy, although Hudson doesn’t like to stay in it for very long since he’s not used to being in it.  The first time we used it was at a craft expo where I had a booth and he played in there for a good while.

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This was not his first bottle, but it was the first bottle we’ve given him in a long, long time (I think the last time he had one he was only 2 weeks old).  After my horrendous breastfeeding debacle was over I had no desire to pump for a while and I had worked so hard for the ability to breastfeed that I wasn’t interested in giving him a bottle yet.  We never really got around to trying it and at some point I figured it was too late.  We do give him sippy cups of water (that he just plays with, rarely drinks) but never a bottle of milk.  However, one night I had a plugged duct so I was pumping after Hudson went to bed.  He woke up wanting to nurse but I had just pumped for a long time so we decided to try a bottle just to see how it went.  At first he sucked a tiny bit but mostly just let the milk pour out of his mouth.  Then he started chewing on it and refused to drink.  Obviously that ship has sailed but it was still fun to try!

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Hudson rode in a shopping cart for the first time.  I always wear him when we go shopping but we decided to try letting him sit in the cart.  He liked it for a few minutes and then got a little unhappy.

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First time to the park for a playdate

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new skills

Well crawling and pulling up to standing are obviously the big ones for this month.  His motor skills have improved quite a bit and he’s actually pretty good at operating the little toys on his activity table.

He’s started giving kisses and waving.  He first kissed himself in the mirror and then kissed some of the animals in his book.  Then he started giving me kisses and they are the sweetest things ever!  He will very rarely kiss Michael (we think he doesn’t like his scratchy face because even when he does give him a kiss it’s a super fast one).  He actually was waving last month and giving a “normal” wave.  For whatever reason now he’s switched to waving backward at himself.  It’s cute!

Not a skill, but his hair has changed and is getting so much more curly!  I switched his baby wash/shampoo and I don’t know if that made a difference or if it was just a coincidence that it happened at the same time, but his hair is crazy now.  Michael had very curly blonde hair as a baby too so I’m not surprised.   We used some water to spike it up in a mohawk for church one night.

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adventures

Our big adventure this month was church camp!  We went in the summer to one church camp but Hudson and I drove there and back each day and slept at home.  This time we stayed the whole time!

Our congregation has been involved in building a new church camp and it wasn’t quite finished in time for a summer camp so instead we did an abbreviated camp over fall break.  Because it was over a weekend Michael was able to come with us (he only had to take 2 days off of work instead of 5).  Camp was wonderful and I am so thankful that we were able to go, but it was definitely difficult with a baby!  I stayed in the lodge with the other women and Michael was in a cabin so I was on my own at night.  The other women were great about helping me out but it was still stressful!

The first night was the worst.  He woke up all night long and I think I slept less than three hours total.  He would not sleep in his pack ‘n play and ended up sleeping with me all night every night so I didn’t rest well.  I felt like I missed a lot of camp between having to go feed him, get him to nap, and put him to bed at 8pm.  It was a different camp experience for sure but that’s the phase of life we’re in and that’s ok.  I’m just glad we were able to go!

He had a blast of course since there were tons of people there to play with him and give him attention.  It really helped me with my anxiety about leaving him, too.  In my last update I shared how nervous I was about leaving him in his Sunday school class.  While we were at camp I taught a Bible class twice a day.  Michael was also teaching a class at the same time so some of the other women who were not teaching watched Hudson for me.  I wasn’t far away and I was so focused on my class that I didn’t worry about him.  He had fun and did great for them and it helped me get over that anxiety.  Since then I’ve been able to leave him in his class on Wednesday nights some (I teach his class on Sundays and sometimes I sub on Wednesdays) and I have had a much easier time with it.

The packing was a bit more challenging too…this is my van, packed full.  Michael had to drive separately since we couldn’t fit it all in one vehicle!

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We also went to Nashville one Saturday to eat lunch at Cracker Barrel with some of my college friends.  It was fun to catch up with everyone!

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Michael had a Monday off work so we went on a little family hike to Lost River Cave.  It was an easy hike, about a mile, and very pretty.  Hudson slept on my back for most of the hike!  They have a great play area that he will enjoy when he gets older.

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other stuff

“How is he doing in the car?” is a question we are commonly asked, as most people know how horrible that has been since he was born.  He is better.  Short trips are fine unless it is bed time and he’s tired.  Long trips are still difficult.  Occasionally he will fall asleep, but usually after quite a bit of screaming.  We still don’t know why and I guess we never will, I just hope that at some point it will get better.

I will be quite honest that we’re dreading the traveling part of the holidays just a little.  I’m super excited about our first holiday season with a baby and I think it will be so much fun, but the thought of having to drive with him in the car to all the different family functions makes my skin crawl.

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Just look at those sad eyes and poochy cheeks – who can resist??

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Kissing the bathroom floor?  Eww.  Time to be more diligent in cleaning the floors!
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Sad, cranky baby.  Why is he crying?  Who knows.  Probably because he isn’t being held.  Or because he’s exhausted from not taking naps.  Sigh.  This is unfortunately a too-common (in my opinion) occurrence around here.

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He really is a pretty happy baby though.IMG_6534

Chilling with his legs crossed and chewing on a spoon.

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This is his concentrating poop face.  He’s very obvious – he gets very still and you can tell in his face that he’s pooping.  And then usually you can hear it when it happens!  Eww.  It’s pretty funny to watch.  
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“Helping” Daddy read a book
IMG_6576This was not his first bug bite, but it was definitely his most prominent one!  Poor kid looked like he had a big ‘ole zit right on his forehead!
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We went and visited Michael at work one day and their secretary had this clown nose in her desk.  Hudson didn’t care for it but he sure looked funny for the few seconds he left it on!
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I love this comparison of me at 39 weeks pregnant and Hudson at 39 weeks old.  I tried to hold him so he was curled up in the shape of a pregnant belly to compare but he wasn’t having it – still a cute shot though!39 in 39 out

And here’s our monthly comparison

9 month comparisonI’m constantly amazed at how he grows and changes.  I love my little man so very much and can’t imagine going back to life without him!

no ‘poo no thanks

No, not that kind of poo. I’m talking shampoo.  Have you heard of going no ‘poo?  I’ve been hearing about it for a couple of years on Pinterest and blogs; basically you stop washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner and use other natural options.  There are several methods of doing this but the most commonly talked about one is baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  You “wash” your hair with a baking soda and water solution then rinse and “condition” with a vinegar and water solution.

It had mixed reviews, as most things do, but the majority of people had good results and said if you’ll stick with it through the transition period then your hair will be ah-mazing.

Well, who doesn’t want ah-mazing hair?  And I’m nothing if not up for a a good ‘ol crunchy hippie girl challenge.  So tried it.  For a month.

I started October 7, 2013 (Yes, last fall.  A year ago.  And I’m just now getting around to blogging about it.  Don’t judge.) and I was so optimistic.  I wore my greasy hair in buns, covered it with big headbands, used a DIY dry shampoo, and tried to wait it out until the transition was over.

Well, that never happened for me.

It was bad, y’all.  I’ve always had greasy hair (like, it would start looking greasy less than 24 hours after I washed it) but this was beyond horrible.  My hair felt gummy and gross and looked awful.  My scalp was itchy and flaky so I looked like I had dandruff on top of the nasty grease.

I tried and tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t take it anymore!  One Sunday morning after I “washed” my hair with the baking soda and vinegar then dried my hair to get ready for church I just wanted to cry because it felt and looked so nasty.  I jumped in the shower, re-washed with my old shampoo, and ahhhh…talk about some ah-mazing hair.  After a month of grossness it felt SO wonderful.  (Well, I quit on November 3 so almost a month, but close enough)

I had told very few people that I was doing no ‘poo because I didn’t want everyone to think I was gross.  But after I washed my hair for the first time in a month I got several compliments on it so obviously it didn’t look good while I was doing it if they noticed that big of a difference.

So, would my hair finally have transitioned if I had kept at it?  Maybe.  But honestly after a month of trying I wasn’t willing to keep going.

Would I try it again?  Actually, I might.  Not any time soon, but maybe someday.  I’ve since heard that if you have hard water (and we do) that the apple cider vinegar isn’t the best thing to use so that could have been my problem.  I might just need to tweak some.

Why am I telling you all this?  I have no idea.  I know this works really well for some so I’m not trying to discourage you from giving it a try, I guess I just thought I’d share to show that it doesn’t work for everyone.

After I gave up the No Poo I went back to my conventional shampoo for a while.  I’ve now switched to a natural shampoo and conditioner from Young Living and I think it’s a good balance – better for my hair without quitting cold turkey.  I had a transition period with this but it was very mild and didn’t last nearly as long.  People who don’t like the no ‘poo method often prefer to do “low ‘poo” by using a natural shampoo like I’m doing or trying to shampoo every few days instead of every day (or just washing with conditioner – I’ve heard of that one but I’m not sure how that works exactly).

Here are some pictures from during that time period.  I didn’t get any close ups because I didn’t think about it nor do I think you could really tell anything from a picture.  Looking at these pictures that really don’t look that bad but trust me, in person it looked bad and it felt worse.

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So what do you think?  Have to gone no ‘poo?  Would you try it?

(I’m hoping ‘Becca will weigh in here on why I had such a hard time with no ‘poo, maybe she’ll have some insight.  Of course if any of the rest of you do then please share!)

babywearing 101

baby wearing 101

Babywearing = the only way I get things done.

Seriously.  I have no idea what I would do if I didn’t wear Hudson.

So what is babywearing?  It’s just what is sounds like: where you wear your baby (say that five times fast…).  It’s not a new concept, really. I mean, people have been wearing their babies for years!  But I feel like it has just recently become much more popular and mainstream and there are tons more options.  Everyone is familiar with Baby Bjorn’s and the metal framed ones of years past (my mom wore me in one) but all the choices that we have now can be overwhelming to navigate.

Why baby wear? Well, for me one big reason is that it allows me to get things done.  Hudson loves to be held but realistically I can’t hold him all day long; however, by wearing him he can be close to me and happy but my hands are free.  Some other reasons for me (some small, some big):
– Hudson is less fussy when I wear him – he’s close to him mommy which is where he is happiest
– I can go places and do things that I wouldn’t be able to with a stroller (like on a hike or a crowded consignment sale)
– People are less likely to touch him and get in his face if I’m wearing him which is great if you’re concerned about germs
– Your shopping cart is empty and there is room for groceries since you don’t have a baby and/or a carseat in there

Note: you do not have to be a crunchy, all natural, cloth diapering, organic eating hippie to baby wear (even though I think cloth diapers are awesome and you should totally consider them).  So don’t write it off!

Here’s a handy little guide of some different types of carriers to get you started babywearing.

1. Stretchy Wraps

A long piece of fabric (5.5 meters or approximately 18 feet) that you wrap around your body.

Popular Brands –  Moby, Boba (I have a Moby)

Pros – This is a popular wrap that many people have so it’s easy to find (and easy to find good deals secondhand).  The stretch is very forgiving so you don’t have to get it exact.  It’s perfect and cuddly for brand new babies.   Once you figure out how to wrap it (watch YouTube videos, there are tons) it is super easy.

Cons – Long and bulky and it can seem overwhelming.  Because of the stretch you can’t use it once baby reaches a certain weight as the wrap can no longer support them.  For us, I think that was around 15 pounds or maybe even less that I felt like it wasn’t supportive enough.  Can’t back carry with a stretchy wrap.

My Thoughts – All new mommies (and daddies) need one of these; in fact, I listed this as one of my newborn must-haves.  When Hudson was first born he wanted to be held all.the.time and many days the only way I could eat or blog or read or anything was by wearing him.  No, they aren’t used long term but it’s great for the beginning months.

Pricing - A new Moby or Boba is around $45ish.  I got mine new but unused at a consignment sale for $20 I believe and I see them sold used for about that price all the time.  I’ve seen them on Zulily before and I’m sure other baby deals websites have them too.  Some people DIY stretchy wraps but by the time you buy and hem that much fabric I’m not sure if it’s worth it.

first time Moby WrapMy first time wearing Hudson at five days old

Moby WrapOne of my last times wearing him in the Moby.  At this point I would wear him in it while I was sitting down (at a restaurant, at home while he napped) but he was too heavy for me to wear him comfortably while I walked around.  He was about four months old.

It definitely served its purpose and got tons of use in those first few months

boba wrapmy friend Gina wearing her son in a Boba wrap

2. Soft Structured Carriers (SSC)

A carrier that fastens with buckles and has more shape/structure, usually has straps like a backpack.

Popular Brands – Ergo, Beco, Boba, Tula, Kinderpack (I have an Ergo)

Pros – Very easy to use; no wrapping or tying, just fasten the two buckles.  Also very quick on and off.  Can be used for front, back, and hip carries (front carries from birth, back carries when baby gets a bit bigger, and I don’t know anyone that uses them for hip carries, but it is possible).  Another very popular one and easy to find good used ones.  Popular with dads since that are less complicated (not that dads don’t use other carriers, it’s just that the majority seem to like SSCs).  Can be used with children up to 35-40 pounds (varies by carrier)

Cons – Can be expensive.  You usually have to use an additional insert when baby is very tiny (at least you do with an Ergo).  Not as comfortable for sitting down (in my opinion).  Requires a bit of adjusting when switching from one wearer to the next (if they are different sizes).

My Thoughts – This is another must-have carrier.  I have an Ergo and love, love the ease of it!  It is by far the quickest to put Hudson in so it’s my favorite for running errands as it doesn’t take but a second to get him in and out, and when you’re going multiple places that’s really nice.  Michael will use it too since it’s so easy.

Because of how quick and easy it is, my Ergo gets the most use out of all my carriers.  It goes shopping, hiking, to church camp, to Bible Bowl, basically everywhere.

I started front carrying Hudson in the Ergo when he was maybe three months old?  I’m not sure.  At the time he was too small to sit in it regularly but I didn’t have an infant insert so I used a rolled receiving blanket under him to modify it.  I started back carrying him around 5 months old.  Back carrying has been a life saver when it comes to cooking, cleaning, or doing anything else where Hudson wants to be held but I need my hands free.

Pricing – This varies widely.  A new Ergo is around $120, although you can often find them on sale or at TJ Maxx for $60.  You can usually find them used for less than $100.  Some of the custom carriers and toddler sized ones that can support children larger than the 35ish pound weight limit are upwards of $200+.

back carry with ErgoOne my first back carries with Hudson in an Ergo.  He loved it! 

galaxy gray ErgoErgo at WalmartMichael wearing Hudson while we were shopping (also in an Ergo, same style just a different print)

baby wearing at church campsnoozing in the Ergo at church camp (I have the hood pulled up over his head while he sleeps)

hiking with Ergohiking last week

BobaGina prefers a Boba

3. Ring Slings

A long piece of fabric that adjusts to fit with a pair of rings

Popular Brands – Maya, Sakura Bloom, Sleeping Baby Productions, ZanyToes

Pros – Compact and easy to take with you.  Easily adjustable from person to person.  Quick in-and-out.

Cons – Not quite as intuitive as a SSC, has a bit of a learning curve.  The rings can be hard to figure out how to adjust and the shoulder can be uncomfortable.  Weight is all on one shoulder instead of both.

My Thoughts – Ring slings are my least favorite of all the carriers.  I know some people love them so don’t rule them out based on what I say.  I just find them harder to adjust and not as easy to use overall.  Hudson is a major leaner so it doesn’t feel secure enough for him when he starts leaning backward but I think I just need to practice.

Pricing – Again, this varies widely.  I think a Maya Wrap ring sling is around $80, then there are many others more expensive than that.

These are also very easy to DIY but of course f you want to make one yourself then please do some research as to what kind of rings and material to use as you want to make sure you use safe materials.  I have made two slings – one was a mesh sling that is not sturdy enough for long term everyday use (the mesh is quite slippery) but is perfect to use in the water.  The mesh and the rings cost me $10.  I also made one out of half of a tablecloth (lots of tablecloths are the perfect material) and the materials for that cost me $17 I think.

MayaPracticing with a Maya Wrap ring sling at a local baby wearing meeting

mesh water slingswimming with mesh water slingMy DIY mesh water sling

tablecloth ring slingMy DIY tablecloth ring sling

4. Woven Wraps

A long piece of fabric made out of a non-stretchy woven material.  Unlike stretchy wraps that basically come in just one size, these are sized (usually 2-7 are the most common sizes) and you buy the size based on your size and what kind of carries you want to do.

Popular Brands – Girasol, Natibaby, Kokadi, Didymos, Pavo, Little Frog (I have a Girasol)

Pros – Basically no weight limit (I’ve seen pictures of people wrapping other adults just to show that they can).  Can be used from birth onward.  Many, many different carries for front, back, and hip.

Cons – Definite learning curve.  It takes practice to learn how to use it and just wading through the brands, materials, and sizes can be overwhelming.

My Thoughts – I love my woven for at-home use more than when I’m out and about.  If you’ve been reading my updates on Hudson then you know that he is a terrible napper.  Lots of days the best (and only) way to get him to take a real nap is to wear him so I wrap him and let him take a “wrap nap”.  My woven is so much snugglier and comfortable for than then wearing him in a SSC.

These are not for everyone.  If you are totally new to baby wearing I probably wouldn’t encourage this at first, but that being said don’t let it intimidate you!  Once you’ve got it then it’s pretty easy.  This is a fantastic blog with YouTube videos for a bunch of carries based on the size of the wrap.  It’s a pretty comprehensive list and a wonderful way to see them in action and learn for yourself.

Pricing – Extremely varied.  Lowest price for a new one is probably around $80.  Average is in the $150-$200 range, but there are quite a few that cost $300+.

However, you can easily DIY a wrap.  That’s what I did at first because I wanted to try it out for a bit before I decided if I wanted to spend the money on one.  I got onasburg (a linen-like fabric) at Hancock’s for $2 a yard and then hemmed it.  It isn’t pretty (although you can dye it if you want) but it works and that’s what matters.  Later once I knew what I wanted I bought a Girasol (Light Rainbow, Size 6).

fcc onasburgfcc onasburg side viewTrying a Front Cross Carry with my onasburg wrap

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fwcc Girasol light rainbowA Front Wrap Cross Carry

IMG_5269My first attempt at a back carry.  I had no idea what I was doing! (don’t worry, Michael was there spotting me)

ruck tied tibetan onasburgMy first successful back carry at a local babywearing meeting (obviously Hudson was quite cozy!)

ruck tied tibetanrecreating that back carry at home

ruck tied tibetan Girasol light rainbowFixing supper

Girasol light rainbow diamond weaveHudson loves to be wrapped (usually)

wrap nap Girasol light rainbowwrap nap!

Girasol light rainbowIt even makes a good blanket/beach towel

picking veggies while baby wearingMichael snapped this picture and I find it so funny – I look like ultimate hippie nature crunchy girl wearing my baby and picking veggies from the garden

rebozo 2 rebozo 1Gina using her wrap to do a rebozo hip carry

5. Mei Teis

Pronounced may-tay (although I think my-tie sounds better).  A cross between a SSC and a wrap; it has a fabric panel like a SSC but ties instead of buckles.

Popular Brands – Infantino, Baby Hawk

Pros – Less complicated than wrapping but you still get that snuggly wrapping feeling.  And you get the SSC structured feeling without the cost and bulk of a SSC.  Easier to switch between users (like mom and dad if there is a significant size difference) than a SSC since you re-adjust the carrier each time anyway.

Cons – Not as convenient as a SSC because of the tying, still has a long tail to deal with.  Sometimes the straps dig uncomfortably into my neck.

My Thoughts – Mei Teis are fine carriers, nothing wrong with them, I just don’t care for them since I have an SSC and a woven to do basically the same things.  I got an Infantino used for about $15 so I keep that in the car as my back up carrier in case I happen to be out and left my usual ones at home.  That being said, some people love them and that’s all they want to use and they are a fantastic price if you’re on a budget or aren’t ready to sink money into one without knowing if you like it.

That being said, I got this out of the car to take a picture for this post and it’s the first time I’ve used it in months; I liked it a lot better than I remembered!  I think I may start using this one a little bit more now.

Pricing – A new Infantio mei tei like mine is $30ish, so one of the cheapest carrier options.  But then of course you have some in the $100+ range too.

infantino mei tei

These are not the only options but these are the most popular ones.  The world of babywearing can be super overwhelming.  As with all things there are some people who just have one carrier and some who collect them and have tons of them in all colors, varieties, price points, etc.  Babywearing can have it’s own language too!  Try not to let that scare you!  If you have a local babywearing group then try to go to one of their meetings so you can check out different carries and see what you like.  Or get with a friend (me!) who has several you can try.

There are some great Facebook groups out there too:

Babywearing 102
Everyday Babywearing
Babywearing Love and Support
Babywearing on a Budget (a buy/sale/trade group for carriers less than $100)
The Babywearing Swap (a buy/sale/trade group for carriers more than $100)
Babywearing DIY Advice & Support (if you want to DIY any carriers)

Do you baby wear?  What is your favorite carrier?

Note: This is not a how-to post on baby wearing.  Please make sure you do some research or better yet visit a local baby wearing group (if you have one) to make sure that you are properly and safely baby wearing.

Big thanks to Gina for sharing her babywearing pictures for this post.

heart melter

Well I’m supposed to be working on a handout for a class I’m teaching next week but instead I decided I just had to show you these pictures.

Hudson has gotten lots of hand me down clothes from Josiah and Levi and I love seeing him their clothes but this one outfit in particular is really special.  Levi was wearing it for some pictures we took last May that I just adored.  I knew I wanted to take some pictures of Hudson in that same outfit as a fun memory.

(In case you’re new around here, Levi and his brother Josiah and his sister Abby were like our surrogate children before they moved to Africa to do mission work; they’ve been there a year and will be there two more years, but they’re coming home on furlough at Christmas and I can’t wait to see them!)

IMG_6649Kisses for my happy Levi-bear; I was about 5 weeks pregnant with Hudson

It’s been rainy and cold here for days so when we had a sunny, warmish day today I figured I better grab a picture of him before it got too cold to even consider being outside in a romper.

levi and hudsonLevi, left, May 2013 (10 months old) and Hudson, right, October 2014 (8 months old)

Anyway…I could get all mushy gushy but I’m going to restrain myself (and be quick so I can get back to what I’m supposed to be doing).  But basically I have mommy-syndrome where every picture I take of my child is adorable and I feel compelled to post every.single.one. even if there is not noticeable difference to anyone else from shot to shot.

Lucky for you I pared it down quite a bit.

You’re welcome.

Here are some other shots from our quick little photoshoot today.  Hudson hated sitting on the grass so I put him on the quilt I made him and I think they turned out pretty adorable (duh).

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4 5 6 7 8 9 10 IMG_9636Enjoy your Friday night, guys!

 

 

Jamberry Nails review and giveaway

Jamberry candy chevron and teal polkaCandy Chevron (discontinued) with a Teal Polka accent nail

Have you heard of Jamberry nails?  They are great!

I am not a nail polish girl.  I think polish makes my nails feel weak after I take it off plus I just can’t stand the hassle of painting, making a mess, letting it dry, trying not to mess it up while it’s drying, chipping, etc.  I keep my toes painted all the time but very, VERY rarely paint my fingernails.  It’s been well over a year since I painted my nails.

I started hearing about Jamberry Nails and I’d seen a little bit about them on Facebook but didn’t know what they were exactly.  A few months ago my friend Gina invited me to an online Jamberry party.  I attended, had a lot of fun, played some games, won some free stuff, and purchased some Jamberry nail wraps to try.

Since then, I’ve been wearing my Jams pretty much all the time and Gina loves them so much that she started selling them
(check out her website here)…so we decided to team up and do a giveaway!  Yay!

Jamberry Mad ModMad Mod

So what are Jamberry Nails?  Think fake nails but in sticker form.  They are stickers that are shaped like your nails – you cut them to the length of your nail, apply a little heat, stick them on, do a little filing, and voila…pretty nails.  It really is super easy.  It takes me maybe 15 minutes to do my nails and the best part is that I can stop in the middle if I need to.  There isn’t any drying time so if Hudson wakes up and needs me and I only have two nails done it’s no big deal, I can go back and finish the rest later and I don’t have to worry about the fact that they aren’t dry and might get messed up when I pick him up.

Jamberry black and white polka and bubblegumBlack & White Polka with a Bubblegum accent nail

How do you use them?  I alluded to that in the previous paragraph, but here’s what I do: Buff my nails and wipe with some alcohol to make sure the are clean and smooth.  Cut the Jam to approximately the length of my nail, hold in front of the heater, stick to my nail, smooth down, then file the tips. Jamberry sells an application kit (with scissors, a buffer, nail file, alcohol wipes, etc.) and a heater.  I won the application kit during a party I attended and then Gina was kind enough to send me the heater to use for this review.  I love having the application kit and the heater and I think the heater is definitely easier to use than a hair dryer, however, you totally can still use the nails without having all the Jamberry equipment so don’t let that stop you!

Jamberry application kit and heater

There are bunches of You Tube videos about how to apply your nails and I recommend watching a few of those to see what to do before you start.

How long do they last?  For me, about a week.  I find that after a week my nails have grown so much that there is noticeable (to me, probably not to others) growth at my cuticles and that the ends have started to get a little worn.  But for me a week is plenty and I’m ready to move on to a new pattern anyway, plus that’s still way longer than my polish would have lasted.

Jamberry August hostess specialHere’s one set the day I put them on
Jamberry after one weekAnd then a week later (I just realized I took a picture of the other hand, whoops).  You can see some growth but overall they still look pretty good.

My favorite thing about Jamberry Nails is that I get to enjoy having pretty nails without the hassle of painting or the cost of a nail salon.  Having my nails done makes me feel happy and pretty and put together even on the days that I’m covered in spit up.  I also get to branch out past my normal red or pink polish to fun patterns and colors.  I never thought I’d be a nail girl but now I am and I love them!

Now it’s your turn to try out the Jamberry goodness by winning the giveaway!  One of you will win a $25 product credit to use towards some Jams!  How exciting!

We’re also having an online Jamberry party if you’d like to join us, learn more, play games, and maybe win even more cool stuff!  That’s right, there will be even more giveaways in addition to the one we’re doing here on the blog!  Plus, joining the party will get you more points into the giveaway so definitely do that!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY foaming hand soap

DIY Thieves foaming hand soap

Last night I helped teach a class on DIY (Do It Yourself) products using essential oils.  One of the recipes I shared was my foaming hand soap recipe and since I love it so much I thought I’d share it with you too.

(By the way, if you want the recording to the DIY class let me know!  We talked about some of the recipes I’ve shared before, like sleep cream and stretch mark cream, but also body wash, germ cream, diaper cream, body scrub, lip balm, bug spray, shower scrub, and more.  Tons of great Make ‘n Take or Christmas gift ideas!  I’ll send you the link so you can listen.)

So let’s talk soap.

Even before I went totally crunchy/hippie/natural I was shying away from antibacterial soap.  I just felt like we were stripping our bodies of the bad and good bacteria and that’s one reason people are so sick all the time – they haven’t built up enough immunity!  So I made it a point to buy hand soap that was not antibacterial (that wasn’t super easy to find, but there were a few brands that sold “regular” soap).  Turns out I was ahead of the game…triclosan, the chemical in most antibacterial soap, has come under some scrutinization for the fact that it can mess with hormones and that it doesn’t actually clean any better than regular ‘ole soap and water.  Thankfully many companies are now phasing triclosan out of their products.

Got a little off track there, apologies.

So anyway, once we did start to move toward a more natural lifestyle and I started making my own cleaning supplies, laundry soap, etc., and it made sense to make my own hand soap too.  I found a recipe online and made a big batch but it was a disaster.  It was difficult – you had to grate a bar of soap and cook it in water basically until is melted.  The consistency was disgusting – it looked and felt like snot.  So gross.  The only thing it had going for it was is smelled good.  We used it for awhile (although if guests were coming over I switched out with a bottle of store bought soap because the homemade stuff was just embarrassing) but eventually just switched back to buying soap.

Then I got into essential oils and I found a recipe for DIY foaming hand soap.  I’ve never liked foaming soap but I figured foaming was better than snotty so I gave it a whirl.  I’ve gotten used to the foam by now and I love making my own!

Supplies needed

  • Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s – I’ve seen it at Target, Kroger, Whole Foods, and Amazon)
  • Gylcerin (I use the Now brand, purchased from Amazon)
  • Essential Oils (of course I recommend Young Living)
  • A soap dispenser (I bought some cheap Dial soap from Walmart, dumped the soap it came with, and then washed the dispenser to use for my soap; some people use old Bath and Body Works dispensers; and of course you can just buy foaming hand soap dispensers by themselves.  I actually saw some at Kroger the other day for $6, which is way cheaper than what I found online)

This  is the recipe I use:

diy thieves hand soap[source]

  • I do not add the vitamin E oil.  I actually have vitamin E that I use in my homemade body wash as well as my stretch mark cream, but for whatever reason I’ve been leaving it out of the soap.  I need to give that a try next time!
  • I don’t measure (that makes Michael crazy!  I cook that way too).  I would assume that I follow the measurements listed in the graphic pretty closely, but basically I just do a big squirt of soap, a smaller squirt of glycerin, then add a few drops of oil and the water.  It’s so fast, takes me just a minute to refill all the soap dispensers in the house.  I like to do them all at once, assembly-line style.

You can change this and make all kinds of combinations!  Dr. Bronner’s has several scents (lavender, peppermint, orange, almond, and baby mild are the ones I’ve seen in stores; they also have rose, eucalyptus, and tea tree, which I’ve only seen online and haven’t tried yet) and then of course there are tons of essential oil options you could use.  So far I’ve always done peppermint Dr. Bronner’s and Thieves essential oil.  I think it smells great and Christmasy and I feel that Thieves is the best one to add for extra germ fighting.

Other combos that would be lovely:

  • lavender Dr. B’s plus tea tree EO (proper name: melaleuca alternafolia)
  • lavender Dr. B’s plus lemon EO
  • orange Dr. B’s plus any of the citrus EOs (orange, lime, lemon, Citrus Fresh, bergamot, etc.)
  • baby mild Dr. B’s (unscented) plus any EO of your choice since the only scent would be the EOs

Be creative!  I like to open the bottle of soap and the bottle of oil and hold them both up to my nose so I can smell them at the same time and see if I think I’ll like the combo.

This is a really easy step you can take into switching your household products to something more natural.  I think it would be really fun to get together with a bunch of friends for everyone to make some soap to take home!

Have you made soap before?  Did you like it?

What combinations do you think would smell good?

Oh and if DIY is just not your thing, you can buy foaming hand soap from Young Living; they have Thieves and lavender.   Ask your favorite friendly Young Living distributor (me of course) how to order.

Hudson’s 8 month update

Eight months!  My little man is growing up!  Here’s what’s up.

growth

Hudson weighs 21 pounds and is 28 inches long (based on our very non-scientific measurements with our bathroom scale and tape measure)

He’s is in mostly 12 month clothes now.  Some of them are a little big, but most of his 9 month clothes were like spandex so we had to go up in size.  I never imagined my little baby, who didn’t even fit into his newborn clothes when he was born, would be in 12 month clothes by the time he was 8 months old!  What a chunk!

We moved to the largest rise setting on his cloth diapers and in disposables he’s a size 4.

These are 12 month pajamas and they are already pretty snug.  Slow down, little man!

IMG_6229This onesie was obviously a bit too big still because I came in to get him after a nap and he had somehow gotten partially out of it.

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food

Hudson is still getting most of his food through breast milk.  We give him table food occasionally but not every day.  He likes playing with it but doesn’t seem too concerned with actually eating it.  New foods he had this month include green beans, peaches, cucumber, butternut squash, watermelon, sweet potato, green peas, and bread.

He hasn’t mastered his sippy cups but I think he did get some water out once while he was chewing/sucking on one of them.

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sleep

The sleeping situation still pretty much stinks.  It has gotten to the point where I have to hold/wear him during almost all of his naps or else he’ll wake up in less than 30 minutes.  Or as soon as I lay him down.  Occasionally he’ll surprise me and take a long one on his own after I lay him down, but that’s rare.

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Nights aren’t much better.  This month I quit waking him up for a feeding before I go to bed.  I had been feeding him around 8ish, then waking him up around 10 or 11 to feed him one more time before bed.  I noticed that many of those times he would suck for just a second then fall back asleep.  So I dropped that feeding unless he wakes up on his own; some nights he does and some nights he doesn’t.  He often wakes up at least once during the night around 3 or 4.  I put him in bed, feed him, and he sleeps the rest of the night with us.

He usually wakes up for good for the day around 6 so Michael takes him and plays with him for a bit while he gets ready for work, then brings Hudson back to me when it’s time for him to leave.  I SO appreciate him doing that so I can have that little bit of extra sleep!

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Making duck lips at Daddy one morning during breakfast.  Such a ham!

duck lips

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that once we get through this first round of teething and learning to crawl (developing new skills can mess with sleep), he’ll go back to sleeping through the night.  In his own bed.  Past 6am.

One can dream, right?

Waking up to this face is pretty sweet though.  At least, for the whole 30 seconds before he starts pulling my hair and trying to climb all over me.

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He has some very obvious sleepy signs now.  He does a little sleepy babble when he gets tired, but the most tell-tale sign is that he rubs/pulls his ear, rubs his eyes, or rubs his face into my chest/shoulder.  However, even when we know he is exhausted he will still fight sleep so hard.

He fell asleep with his thumb hanging out while we were shopping one day.

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mobility

Hudson wants to crawl SO BAD!  He can go from a sitting position to an almost crawling position – one leg is tucked under him and he gets kind of stuck.  Sometimes he’ll get all the way over into crawling position but then his arms just slide out from under him and he lays down on his belly.

That being said, he can definitely get around!  He can roll, rock, and scoot his way to whatever he wants.  If he’s on slippery floor like the hardwood or tile sometimes he’ll lay on his belly and push with his arms…he ends up going backward instead of forward and that makes him mad.  I have to watch him carefully because in a blink of an eye he’ll roll to my computer cord, phone, shoes, etc. and put it all in his mouth.

One afternoon he rolled himself clear across the living room and was hanging out under the drying rack playing.

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So close, got the position right, but just can’t figure out how to move those arms!

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He also started pulling up on his knees.  He started just doing it in his bed or his crib but now pulls up to his knees holding on to us, the chair, the ottoman, basically anything nearby that is semi-sturdy.  I nearly had a heart attack the first time he did it in the co-sleeper, which has very short sides, and I realized he could fall out!  He still sleeps in his co-sleeper but I no longer use it like a pack and play and just set him in to play it while I’m getting ready or cleaning or anything.

The first time I realized he could pull up I found him like this, reaching over the side to try to get to the tag on the outside of his co-sleeper.

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I use his crib as a place for him to play while I do laundry, fold diapers, etc.  Now that he can pull up he loves to chew on the side of of the crib.
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other firsts

Our big first this month was TEETH!  Michael was holding him one Sunday in church and put his finger in Hudson’s mouth for him to chew on and he felt the first one poking through.  It was partially through and we could see the one next to it under the skin.  A few days later the second one came through so we now has his two bottom teeth.

I was honestly pretty surprised.  He’s had teething symptoms for months (chewing, drooling, fussy, changes in sleep) but never anything excessive and I didn’t notice anything different in the days leading up to his teeth.  Everyone asks if his amber teething necklace works – I can’t really say for sure since we haven’t experienced teething without, but either it did work and that’s why he had such an easy time or he’s just an easy teether (my mom says that all three of us kids were).  We’re going to keep wearing it just in case :).

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He’s started reaching for me occasionally if someone else was holding him.  He definitely prefers mommy over anyone else but he’s pretty content and lets other people (even people he doesn’t know) hold him without much fuss.

I left him in the nursery class for the first time this month.  He’s been going to the nursery class on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights since he was three or four months old but I’ve always stayed in there either as a teacher or a helper.  I wanted to wait until he could sit up on his own pretty well and now that he’s doing that it was time for me to let him stay by himself.

I won’t lie, it was really hard.  That had to have been the longest class I’ve ever sat through and I don’t think I heard my teacher say a word because I was worrying and missing Hudson.  His teachers were friends of mine who I totally trust so I knew he was in good hands, I was just worried because I never leave him and I’m not used to it.  I’m sure it will get easier with time though!  Oh and he did great, of course, it was just me that had separation anxiety :).

new skills

Waving!  It’s so adorable.  If you wave at him he’ll copy you and wave back.  Then he grins so big because he’s proud!  I thought it was a fluke the first few times he did it, but he does it pretty consistently and you can tell it’s intentional.

Hudson stands up now with someone holding his hands.  It makes him look so big, like he’s going to just up and walk away!  Ahh!

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I’m not sure if I’d consider this a skill, per say, but Hudson has learned out how to shriek.  It’s this horrible, piercing, loud shriek.  He mostly does it when he’s in his high chair or in his car seat but it is so incredibly annoying.  It’s much worse than crying in my opinion.  We’ve been telling him “No” when he does it, but he really has no idea what that means so he just grins at us.  Meal times can be rather stressful now.

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Hudson just gets funnier and funnier.  He makes this hilarious face that we call his “mischievous grin” and he’s a big ‘ole cheese.

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adventures

Hudson and I went on our first overnight trip without Michael when we went to Cookeville, TN to attend Bible Bowl.  My mom and brother went too so I had help, which was nice – I can’t imagine a solo trip with a baby!  He slept in the pack ‘n play in the hotel room and did really well for being in a strange place with all kinds of activity.

IMG_6122Bible Bowl is held in a huge arena on Tennessee Tech’s campus and we did a lot of walking.  I wore Hudson on my front and used a backpack as my diaper bag on my back.  It worked out really well, although I felt like a barge walking around!

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He did really great during the event and slept most of the time.  After Bible Bowl was over we went hiking.  Hudson’s first hike!  My mom wore him in a carrier that she used with us – old school babywearing!  It was fun.

The only rough part was the drive to Cookeville and back.  It was a pretty long trip and he screamed for quite a bit of the ride there and back.  It stunk.

Speaking of the car, he really has gotten much better.  He only cries that awful, ear piercing, make-you-crazy cry if he’s tired or hungry.  Usually for short trips around town he does well and just sits back there and plays, talks to himself, looks at himself (or us) in the mirror.  Or shrieks.  The shrieking is pretty bad too.

We had a family work day at my mom’s and Hudson got to play with some of his older cousins.  He loved all the attention!

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We went to Barnes and Noble for our playdate one week.  They have storytime on Tuesdays and then some crafts.  Hudson is too young for that and he mostly just wanted to eat the crayons and paper!

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other stuff

Hudson had a nasty cold this month.  Several people said they think it’s allergies – I didn’t even know someone so young could have allergies!  It was mostly a very congested nose with a little bit of a cough.  The first day he was sick he had these horrible purple, bruised looking, bags under his eyes.  It looked awful!  But I oiled him up and in a few days he was better.

IMG_5950He is so much more active these days, and not necessarily in a good way.  He can be very rough – pulling hair, pinching, slapping, and kicking.  He’s very strong and it can really hurt!  I know he doesn’t know any better, he doesn’t do it to be mean, but OUCH!  I’m ready to be past that stage.

Now that he can roll/scoot/move he will play independently for a little bit longer than he used to.  I think he doesn’t get bored as quickly since he’s working to get to his toys (or into something he shouldn’t…).  If it gets too quiet I know he’s in to something – is it just instinct for kids to get way quiet when they’re doing something they shouldn’t?

I haven’t mentioned the spitting up in a while, but it is way better.  He still does is some but not nearly to the extent that he used to.  However, now instead of spitting up and ignoring it like he used to do he plays in it.  Eww.  If he gets really quiet then chances are he has spit up and is rubbing it all over the carpet.

IMG_6087This month has been very challenging since he wants to be held so much.  I hold him for his naps and if I don’t then he has a very short nap.  So basically the nice long naps that he used to take that I could use to clean or get other things done are gone right now.  And then when he’s awake he wants me to be holding him or playing with him most of the time.  Like I said, he’ll play independently for a while, but not long.

The afternoons are the hardest.  For some reason, from about 2pm until Michael gets home (4:30ish), he is so SO fussy!  He’s tired but won’t nap, he won’t let me put him down and if I do he cries and cries.  It is incredibly frustrating.  I feel bad for him but I still feel frustrated.

IMG_6258I know this phase will pass eventually, but it is stressful to get very little done every day.  The house is a mess, the laundry is behind, and I never feel caught up.  And all the fussing drives me batty.

But he isn’t like that all the time, of course.  Most of the time he’s very pleasant and precious and adorable.

And with that I’ll leave you with a ton of precious pictures.

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IMG_9591 IMG_9587Love my sweet boy so much!

8 month comparison

new mom hair – Lilla Rose review and giveaway

ditch the claw

Hudson is a big time hair puller.  In fact, since he was four days old he’s been grabbing on to and yanking anything he could get his hands on (I learned the hard way and haven’t worn dangling earrings since he was four days old…).  Needless to say, my hairstyle of choice most of the time is up and out of his reach.

That gets pretty boring and usually means a lot of ponytails.  Lots and lots of ponytails.  They’re fast and easy…but not very exciting.  At home I was using a beat up old claw clip to flip my hair up in a twist (hello middle school!) but couldn’t bring myself to wear it out in public so when I went out I mostly stuck to ponytails.

Enter Lilla Rose.

I don’t remember when I first heard about the Lilla Rose Flexi Clip but it’s been quite a while, maybe even a few years ago.  I remember being intrigued but never pursued them any further; then a few months ago I stumbled across them again on Pinterest and really wanted to give them a try.  The Flexi Clip looked like a perfect, updated substitute for my beloved claw clip up do.  I got hooked up with Independent Consultant Linda Sears and she helped me determine what size would be best for me.  I ended up ordering one clip and then she sent me a second one to try so I could write this review and she is also sponsoring this giveaway for one of you lucky readers!  Yay!

I really wanted to be able to wear my hair all the way up and back, so based on the sizing video and Linda’s recommendations I ordered a medium.  There are so many beautiful designs and colors, but I wanted to start out with one that was simple and would match everything so I choose the Celtic knot pattern.

It was perfect!  I wear my hair in a french twist of sorts probably every other day now.  It’s almost as quick as flipping my hair up in a claw but looks much more polished!

And, bonus, it holds so well and is super comfortable.  There have been many days that I have put it up in the morning and basically forgotten about it.  I can go all day being pretty active and not have to re do my hair; in fact, I’ve even taken a Sunday afternoon nap and then gotten up to go to church again that night and not had to fix my hair since it still looked good!  Wow!  My head doesn’t get sore, either.  The Flexi Clip isn’t tight or put pressure on my head like bobby pins or barrettes do so I can leave it in all day and it doesn’t hurt.

lilla rose celtic knot french twistLilla Rose Flexi clip Gibson Tuck

Linda then sent me an extra small to try out so I could so some other hair styles.  The extra small is perfect for a loose half up, a tails up, or a pony tail.  When I first tried putting it on my pony tail I was nervous about how tight it was, but then I realized it needed to be that tight in order to keep the ponytail in place.  It ended up being exactly what I needed!

lilla rose Hawaiian flower half uplilla rose Hawaiian flower ponytaillilla rose Hawaiian flower braidLilla Rose Flexi clip tails up

I just can’t say enough good stuff about Lilla Rose.  I feel much more put together now that I have an alternative for my hair.  I’m able to get it away from Hudson’s grabby hands but not have to wear a boring old ponytail anymore.

Lilla Rose has other products besides just the Flexi Clip.  They have these You-Pins that I really want to try.  My other previous go-to hairstyle (besides the pony tail) was a bun.  My Flexi Clips aren’t big enough to hold my hair in a bun (and I think it would look kind of silly anyway), but the You-Pins look like they would be perfect for my buns so they’re on my wish list to purchase next.   I’m especially crushing on the Sparkling Star and the Open Flower!

star

flower

They also have some beautiful headbands, hair sticks, and bobby pins.

headbandbobby

So….do you want one??  The good news is one of you will win a Flexi Clip of your very own!  Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below to enter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win?  Don’t want to wait?  Ready to Christmas shop?  Think you’ll need more than one?  Then go ahead and purchase one (or more!).  Linda has a special for new customers – buy 3 get 1 free.  Grab a variety of sizes to try or buy several to use as stocking stuffers for the girls in your life.

Before you purchase, make sure you watch the sizing video so you know what size you need for your hair type and length.  It is super helpful!  If by chance you order the wrong size, Lilla Rose will gladly exchange your flexi for free within 90 days. There is also a one-year guarantee on defective items.

(Fine Print: Giveaway is open to US residents only.  This giveaway is sponsored by Independent Consultant Linda Sears.  I was sent a Flexi Clip in exchange for my review but all comments and opinions are mine.)

Hudson’s 7 month update

Whew, I’m way late on posting Hudson’s seven month update!  The hard drive on my computer was completely full and I couldn’t download all the pictures I took last month.  Michael installed a new, much bigger hard drive this weekend so now I’m good to go.

So, seven months.  Here’s what’s up with Mr. Hudson:

growth

We’re a month off on Hudson’s well baby check ups so we had one this month (rather than at 6 months).  Either they forgot to give us the little card with his stats on it or we left it laying in the exam room; either way, we don’t have his official height/weight, but I know that he weighed 20 pounds (and some ounces, but don’t remember how many) and was 27 inches long.  According to the snazzy charts they give you (which did somehow make it home with us), he is in the 32% for height, 81% for weight, and 72% for head circumference.  His pediatrician seemed pleased with everything and he had a good check up.

7 month dr comparison

food

Hudson had his first bites of food this month.  We are doing Baby Led Weaning, which is just a fancy term for skipping baby food and giving baby a variety of table food to choose from.  We really aren’t pushing food much since “food before one is just for fun”, but we have given him a few things to try.  The first thing he tried was steamed squash and he was not a fan – I think mostly the texture was weird to him.  He has also tried avocado, bananas, broccoli, carrots, and refried beans.  I gave him the refried beans when we were eating out at a Mexican restaurant and he loved them!  However they gave him bad gas so we’re holding off on more for now.  He doesn’t really eat much and basically just plays with his food, but that’s ok for now.  He likes playing with his spoons and forks so I give him those a lot since it keeps him occupied and I figure it’ll help him learn how to feed himself later.

Starting solids has definitely shocked his little digestive system.  He seems to have a bit of constipation after each time he eats solids, so we’ve been spacing it out and only trying something every few days.

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We also started giving him a sippy cup with a little water.  He loves to reach for anything we are drinking so we thought he might be ready for his own cup.  So far I don’t think he has gotten a single drop out of the cups (we’ve tried two different kinds: the Grow Up cup you see in the picture and also a Nuby cup with a straw) but he enjoys chewing on them and banging them on his high chair tray.  All in good time.

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So pretty much he is still exclusively breastfed with a few bites of table food every now and then.

sleep

This month has still been challenging sleep-wise.  We still try to put him to bed around 8pm and get up between 10 and 11 for a late night feeding before Michael and I go to bed.  Some nights he will then sleep through the night (although he is waking up really early) and others he will wake up around 3 or 4 to eat again.

He has gotten in a bad routine of waking up for good between 5 and 6am, which is no fun.  I am so fortunate because Michael almost always gets up with Hudson if he wakes up that early and lets me sleep until he has to leave for work at 7:00.  I know he enjoys getting to spend a little time with Hudson before he leaves for work, but I also know it’s no fun to get up early so we’ll be happy when Hudson starts sleeping later again!

Some mornings he’ll put Hudson in the co-sleeper while he gets ready for work and it’s so funny because Hudson just sits there and stares at me, waiting for me to wake up.  Other mornings he puts Hudson in bed with me and he’ll lay there and smack me and pull on my hair.  What can I say, the boy loves his mama :).

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Hudson is still sleeping in his co-sleeper at night.  Or rather, he starts out the night in his co-sleeper.  If he sleeps all night then he stays in there; if he wakes up to eat in the middle of the night then I put him in bed with us to feed him and he usually sleeps the rest of the night with us.

Nap time is definitely a challenge.  Most of the time he wakes up in about 10 minutes after I lay him down for a nap.  Some days I’ll keep rocking him and putting him down, other days I just say “forget it” and let him get up.  Lots of times I wear him during the day for at least one “wrap nap” because if he is snuggled up next to me he’ll actually sleep for an hour or more.  Wearing him allows my hands to be free to I can read, type, etc.

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Most nights he goes to bed very easily at his normal 8ish bedtime, but this one night he was WIDE awake and laid there playing in his bed for forever.  Michael was in the bedroom trying to pat his back and get him to sleep and he texted me this picture of Hudson trying to look under the mattress instead of sleep.  What a silly goose.  Also, do you see that tag in the background on his bed?  He would sit and pick and pull at the tag when he woke up from a nap or if he was trying not to go to sleep.  Michael finally got fed up and tore it off so he couldn’t mess with it anymore.

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napping with his cute little booty in the airIMG_6022

mobility

Hudson still isn’t crawling or scooting, but he is a champion roller.  He can move himself all over the place and I have to keep a close eye on him!  He loves to try to get my phone, computer, phone charger, shoes, and paper…he’ll bypass all his toys to get to the things he shouldn’t have.

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other firsts

Hudson got his first sunburn(s) this month *Mommy hangs head in shame*.  The first one he got at Jackson’s Orchard during our weekly playdate.  We were in the shade most of the day and I just didn’t think about it.  I had used our homeade bug spray/sunscreen on his arms and legs to protect him from bugs so the added sunscreen kept his limbs from burning, but since I didn’t think to put any on his face and he got scorched.  I felt terrible!

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Then a week or so later he got another sunburn!  It wasn’t as bad but still, I felt terrible.

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Hudson got his first black eye this month.  He was playing on his activity gym play mat thingy and he whacked himself in the eye with one of the toys that’s attached to the mat.  I know this is probably the first of many, but I still felt awful.  It didn’t really phase him though!IMG_5640Hudson wore his first suit this month.  It was so, so adorable!  Check out that tie and pocket square.  A baby in a suit is just precious.  We did’t have any black shoes or socks so he just went barefoot :).

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We hung his jumper in the door way of the dining room/play room.  It’s kind of iffy…sometimes he’ll play in there for 20 minutes or so while I’m cooking, but most of the time he will only tolerate it for a minute or two before he wants out.  I think once he figures out the actual jumping part he will like it better.
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We started putting him in a high chair when we eat out.  This was his very first time in a restaurant high chair and he was still not very good at sitting up so I used my wrap to tie him in and help keep him upright.  Now he’s much better at that and can sit in the high chair unsupported.  IMG_5800

new skills

Sitting up!  Hudson started sitting up just in time for his 6 month pictures.  The improvement in his sitting over the course of this month has been so cool to watch.  He started out at the beginning of the month needing to be positioned just so and I had to stay right next to him to catch him when he (inevitably) toppled over.  By the end of the month he was sitting up on his own for long periods of time.  He still falls over some, but often he’ll catch his balance and fix himself if he starts to fall.

(side note: look at those adorably chubby knees!!  squee!)

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adventures

I started back to running (or rather, slow shuffling) consistently (2-3 times a week).  Hudson goes along with me of course and he’s a great running buddy.  He usually just sits and looks around, occasionally he’ll fall asleep.  Sometimes he will start to get fussy the last few minutes of the run but overall he does great.

The rough part is when we get back.  I am dripping with sweat and need to take a shower before I do anything else but by that point he is pretty tapped out and wants to be held.  If he’s in a semi-calm state then I’ll roll him in the bathroom and leave him in his stroller with some toys while I shower.  If he’s already pretty upset then I’ll make a pallet with some toys on the floor in the bathroom and set him there.  Either way he usually ends up crying through my whole shower.  It’s less than relaxing but it’s worth it to get some exercise and a shower.

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I also tried to do baby wearing yoga several times this month, but each time resulted in one very upset baby (I’m usually walking or bouncing when I wear him and I don’t think he liked being so still while I held the yoga poses).  So that was kind of a bust for now and I was disappointed because I was very excited about yoga!

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We’ve been going to story time on weeks that our playdate doesn’t conflict.  They have lots of toys at the library that the kids play with after story time and it’s a good way to see what things he likes.  He enjoyed playing with this piano so when I went to a big local consignment sale I bought him one to play with at home.

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Napping with Daddy

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Michael preached one Sunday at this tiny congregation in our area that some of the men in our church help with occasionally.  Hudson and I went with him; it was challenging (no place to take Hudson if he was fussy or hungry because the church just has one room) but Hudson did better than I expected and I’m glad we got to go.
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My brother brought these little sandals back from Central America last year when we went there on a mission trip right after we announced we were pregnant.  I was so excited that Hudson was finally big enough to wear them!  
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We tried to take some pictures of him after church but he was not having it.  Check out that huge pouty lip!  He does that a lot and it’s so sad but also cute and hilarious!

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other stuff

Keeping Michael awake while he tried to nap one Sunday afternoon.

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His friend Lilah still just loves him!  She was “holding him” in her lap at church one night (never mind that he’s nearly as big as she is!).  If he leaned forward she would put her arms around his waist and yank him back because she didn’t want him to crawl away.  It cracks me up how she’s only 10 months older but thinks he’s a baby and she’s so big.  I’m so thankful we have lots of kids Hudson’s age at church and that he will grow up with lots of friends.IMG_5880

I love rocking Hudson to sleep.   I know they say you shouldn’t nurse or rock to sleep…but y’all know how I feel about most of the things that “they” say to do.  I love it and I think it’s a special time that we have together and it won’t last long so I’m enjoying it while I can.IMG_5865

Hudson is so full of personality!  He’s happy (usually) and funny and expressive and dramatic (don’t know who he got that from *ahem*).  IMG_5537IMG_5539IMG_5540IMG_5672IMG_5708IMG_5725IMG_5765IMG_5833

Sometimes he does this and it’s quite sad.  Poor pitiful pearl…you can tell that no one ever holds him or plays with him (huge sarcasm sign there people).  Woe unto the one who decides to set him down so they can get dressed…or clean…or cook…or anything else.  Yep, much of my day consists of tending to him and I get very little else done, but that’s ok.  I wouldn’t trade if for the world.

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Here’s our 7 month comparison collage.  It’s crazy to see how much he has changed!7 month comparisonI love you my sweet, precious, big, growing boy!

cloth diapering 101

cloth diapering 101

After cloth diapering for five months I am by no means an expert and this is definitely not a comprehensive course on cloth diapering (hence the 101), but people ask about Hudson’s diapers pretty frequently so I thought I’d give an overview for you curious folks.

(for the sake of brevity, I’ll use cd or cd’ing for cloth diaper/cloth diapering sometimes, m’kay?)

What we’ll cover (aka class syllabus):

Why cloth?
What are the different types?
How much does this cost?
How many do I need?
Eeww poop…how do I wash them?

Let’s get started!  Pencils ready, class?

Why cloth?

So many people, especially from the older generation, cannot seem to fathom why you would choose to cloth diaper over using disposables.  Part of this, I think, is because the cloth diapers of old were much less convenient than our options now (which you’ll see later).  But here are some reasons why you might want to use cloth.

– For some, the environment is a huge factor.  I’ll be honest, this was not why I wanted to cd.  Sure, I try to reduce, reuse, recycle, and all that jazz and I’m glad I’m not contributing tons more trash via disposables, but it really wasn’t the main reason that I decided to use cloth.  But I know many people are very passionate about that and that’s why they cd.

– The main reason I decided to use cloth diapers was to save money.  Have you seen the cost of disposable?  Yikes.  We decided to use disposables for the first few months until we got used to the whole new baby thing and I was mucho surprised at how much we were spending on diapers.  We didn’t have any newborn disposables before he was born so we had to go out and buy a bunch of those…whoa nelly.

– Less chemicals.  I know there are some babies with sensitive skin and the chemicals of disposables diapers irritate their sweet little bums.  Cloth is a good alternative that isn’t chock full of icky chemicals.

I really can’t think of any other biggies – anyone want to weigh in here?  I think mostly it’s an environmental or cost thing, but if you have another reason, please share!

(pssst….you don’t have to be a crunchy hippie to cloth diaper!)

BumGenius AlbertHudson when we first started cloth diapering (2 and 1/2 months old)

What are the different types?

There are several options for cloth diapering (hint: none of them use pins…I mean, I suppose you could but I don’t think anyone really does that anymore).  I’m not going to go into detail about all of them because I don’t want to overwhelm you (this is a 101 class after all), so I’m just going to share the three types that I have and that I think are typically the most “mainstream”.

1. Pockets – There are probably the most popular kind.  You have a diaper that usually is made out of a waterproofing fabric (PUL) that keeps it from leaking on the outside and  on the inside a fabric that wicks the liquid away from the baby.  They use snaps or velcro to fasten.  There is a pocket in the diaper where you slide an insert, a piece of fabric that absorbs the liquid – microfiber, hemp, cotton, and bamboo are all widely used materials for inserts.

Pros: easy to find since they are so popular, you can use whatever inserts you prefer, you can add more inserts if you need more absorbency, very similar to disposable diapers when it comes to putting in on baby
Cons: removing the inserts to wash and then stuffing after they are clean take an extra step

cloth diapering 101 BumGenius pocketsBumGenius pocketsAn example of a pocket diaper – a BumGenius 4.0.  The insert slides all the way into the pocket, you don’t leave it hanging out the way I have it in this picture, but I just wanted to show you how it goes in

2. All in Ones – Also known as an AIO, these diapers are made just like they sound…all in one.  The insert part (that absorbs the liquid) is sewn in to the diaper so there is no stuffing or removing inserts from pockets.

Pros: no stuffing/removing inserts; all one piece so less intimidating for those who have never used cloth, also very similar to disposables
Cons: most are made with microfiber inserts so if you don’t like microfiber (which many don’t) you are stuck with it; can take longer to dry

cloth diapering 101 - all in ones unfoldedcloth diapering 101 - all in onesTwo examples of All-in-Ones, a BumGenius Freetime on the left and a Thirsties one size AIO on the right.  You can see that the BG inserts attach at the front and back but the Thirsties is sewn in on the sides.

3.  Pre-folds or flats and covers:  With this diaper system you use covers that are made of PUL and then some sort of insert that is folded into a rectangle and laid into the diaper.  Essentially, a pocket diaper without the pocket.  The ones I have include a rectangular insert that lays in the diaper and is already the right size, but many people use “traditional” cloth diapers (think: burp cloths) and fold them to fit.  Usually the cover can be used for several diaper changes, just changing out the cloth insert.

Pros: Less bulky to take with you on the go because you can reuse covers and only have to carry inserts, typically cheaper
Cons: Can be more time-consuming if you have to fold the cloth

cloth diapering 101 Flip diapersFlip diapersA Flip cover and insert

This is very, very rudimentary.  There are several other types but these are the three that like I said, I use and have experience with, and I think are the most widely used types of diapers.

All of the diapers that I use are one size.  They have snaps that can be adjusted as Hudson grows.  Typically these can be used pretty soon after birth (they may be a little big right at first) all the way up to potty training, just adjusting the size as you go.  There are also sized diapers that will work for a time but then once baby gets too big you have to move up and buy more in a larger size.

BumGenius rise optionsThree BumGenius 4.0s (pockets) showing small, medium, and large

Of the three types of diapers we have, the covers are my least favorite.  I’m not really sure why, I just don’t prefer those as much.  I only have two covers, so I keep them in the car with a few inserts and they are my back-up diapers just in case something happens when we are out and I’ve forgotten to pack enough diapers.  Some people love, love, love covers though, so it’s definitely personal preference.

I started out with all pockets, then added some AIOs to my collection.  I like them both equally and they have pros and cons (as I listed above).   Time will tell which one (if any) I like the best.

different rise snapsWe mostly use BumGenius diapers, but have a few other brands so I put them side by side to show some differences.  The BumGenius (blue) has three rise settings, the Rumparooz (green) has four, and the Fuzzibunz (orange) doesn’t have any rise snaps but instead has a button on the inside the adjusts the elastic.

Here’s a good post that goes into more details about the different types of cloth diapers.

How much does this cost?

The cost can vary widely depending on how you purchase and what you buy.

If you just want to buy your diapers all in one swoop and get it over with you can buy a starter pack of 24 BumGenius diapers for about $400 (24 is a pretty average “stash” that’ll have you washing every two-ish days).

If you don’t have a bunch to spend but really want to cloth diaper, I think you could easily find a stash for around $100.  A very cheap and quite popular option for inserts/flats are flour sack towels.  They are thin but very absorbent squares of fabric that you can find at Walmart in the kitchen hand towel section.  I think you can get a pack of 5 for $5.  Using those inside some covers would be a very budget-friendly option.  Here is a great post from Kelly’s Closet (my go to for all things cloth diaper related) about buying diapers on a budget)

I bought almost all of my diapers used (or “pre-loved” as some like to say…sounds better than “used” I suppose).  I have 25 diapers and have spent about $200.  Before Hudson was born and I was buying diapers I thought that was so much money, but after seeing how much we were spending on disposables at first I realized we would have burned through$200 worth of disposables super fast anyway!

You do have an added detergent cost, which I haven’t figured up.  We use homemade detergent for our clothes but you can’t use homemade for cloth diapers so I have to purchase detergent (I like Tide).  As far as water goes, we have not seen a significant increase in our water bill (we do have a High Efficiency washer and some sort of special heat pump that Michael tried to explain and I didn’t really understand…but regardless, there may be some people who see more of an increase in cost just based on how your washer uses water).

How many do I need?

I covered this already, but I think 24 is a really good number to shoot for.  That should be enough to wash every other day once they get past the newborn stage (they go through a lot more diapers at first!).

cloth diaper stash shotHere’s a “stash shot” of my diapers.  Four of these don’t get used (one is a sized diaper that Hudson has grown up of, two are Flip covers that I keep in the car for backups, and one is a Fuzzibunz that is too big still) so in all I have 22 that we use regularly.  Some of the colors are my favorites and I’d love some more fun prints, but almost all of these were bought used at a very good price so I can’t really complain about the colors!

Eeww poop…how do I wash them?

Ok, this depends on what your kiddo is eating.  If your baby is exclusively breastfed then this is super easy.  Breastfed poop is water soluble, so you don’t have to spray them off or anything…you just toss it in the washer and that does the trick!  If your baby is on formula or once you’ve started solids then you’ll have to do a little more work – most people get a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet so they can spray the poop off before washing or you can dunk the diaper in the toilet to rinse it off.  If you’re baby’s poop is more solid and will just fall off into the toilet then you can just plop it in there.

So my routine.  After I change Hudson’s diaper I pull out the insert (if I’m using a pocket diaper) and toss both parts in a wet bag (if he has eaten something recently besides breastmilk recently and there are chunks in his poop then I spray it off).  On wash day I dump all the diapers and the wet bag into my washing machine (I have a top loading HE washer).  I do one cold rinse, then a heavy duty hot was cycle with an extra rinse.

After they are washed, I like to hang mine to dry.  You do not have to do that, but I like to if I have the time.  The sun bleaches out any stains so I try to set them out on my porch to dry.  If I’m in a rush, though, I’ll toss them in the dryer and dry on low or medium.

Washing diapers is very specific to your washer, your water (soft or hard), the detergent you use, etc.  There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.  I highly recommend this Facebook group if you need help figuring out how to wash your diapers.

Just Simply Baby bee diaper

Additional resources:

Again, this post was very rudimentary.  This was meant as a brief overview of diapers and to maybe pique your interest about learning more.  If you decide you want to know more or are ready to dive in and get started there is more to it than just this, of course.  Thankfully we have the internet at our fingertips!

There is a TON of information on Pinterest!  If you go to Pinterest and search “cloth diapers” you will find so much to help you learn more.  I read many, many blog posts on Pinterest about cd’s while I was pregnant with Hudson and that helped so much.

Here are some Facebook groups I like

Cloth Diaper Support
I <3 cloth diapers
Fluff Love & CD Science (that’s the cloth diaper washing group I mentioned)

Also, if you know anyone in person who cloth diapers ask them to let you look at theirs (trust me, people who cloth diaper LOVE to show them off and educate others about them so she won’t mind!).  I have a friend who showed me several of hers so I could look at the different types, which was very helpful.

cloth diapers

Final Thoughts:

I love cloth diapering!  We don’t use them 100% of the time.  We use a disposable overnight and occasionally during the day if the diapers are in the wash or when we’re traveling out of town for more than a few days.  But when we do use disposables I miss my cloth!

My best advice: just buy some and try them out.  If you aren’t sure what you want then get a variety.  Cloth diapers resell really well so you won’t be out a lot of money if you decide to sell them.  In fact, if you buy used you can usually make back what you originally spent.

I asked Michael to read through this post before I hit Publish in order to see if I left anything out that was crucial to a beginner.  He typed up some of his comments and I thought it would be great to hear a his perspective

“I love saving money so I was on board. But actually using them takes some figuring out.  A question I had at first was how tight should I make them? I don’t want to cut off his circulation, but I definitely don’t want poop to come flying out around his legs either (I later learned sometimes poop explosions are unavoidable regardless of the type/design diaper).

Caitlin’s note: There are lots of YouTube videos that show you how to use a cloth diaper; this is the one that I used and I think it’s very helpful.

My advice is once you find a diaper you like, sell all the other kinds you tried and buy more of the preferred type. Its easier to remember where the snaps go if they are all the same type. When you start mixing brands and types the snaps are in different places and you’re thinking “on the red diaper go in 1 snap, on the orange diaper go in 2 snaps, on the blue diaper go in 3 snaps… wait this diaper has hip snaps too! I can’t remember!”

The diaper sprayer is an easy install at the toilet. You’ll need a flexible supply line, which you can get at local hardware store for about $6.99. Price will vary with length. Be sure and turn the spray water valve off and relieve the pressure from the sprayer after every use. Otherwise you are inviting flooding and an unplanned major remodel.”

Thanks, Michael for a daddy’s perspective!!

I hope this was helpful!  Let me know if you have questions.