Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Diapering at One Year

Since I made my initial post about our diaper system I've added to it a little.

Initially I ordered three flats and loved them! So I ordered a dozen. Only I don't love them so much now. The real problem is that while the flat diapers aren't exactly uniform, they are supposed to be roughly 25"x25". Well after several washings I can confirm that those first three are more like 27"x27" and the dozen are more like 23"x23". There is quite a difference between those batches! I still like the first three flats, but I find I'm not using them as much anymore. Maybe because I have so many diapers now that even with going to a wash-every-3-days schedule I'm not running low enough to need to use them. Or maybe it is because E doesn't want changed as frequently as he used to and so I tend to grab something more absorbent. I think they would have been more useful to me in the first six months. They aren't bad to use to stuff diapers though. They are also great when E has a really messy diaper and I can put them underneath him to be sure nothing gets on the changing table pad.

I ordered a couple pockets (BumGenius 3.0) awhile back to use for going out and about and to try for night. I liked them, but didn't have enough to really get a good feel for them. Then Baby Cotton Bottoms was having a sale, buy 5 get one free plus free shipping, so I ordered half a dozen BumGenius 4.0. I don't notice a huge difference between the 3.0 and 4.0 design except that the 4.0 looks like it will fit longer. I still really like them. Sometimes it is tempting to use them all the time, but I don't have enough for that and can't really afford a whole stash of them. Instead I save them for the diaper bag and overnight use. I usually end up using all or almost all of them in a wash cycle, so I think I have the right number for us. I double stuff them (that is, I use the regular insert plus the small insert/doubler) because I'm always using them when I need maximum absorbency. There have been a few leaks, but I think that is mostly due to carelessness on our part when we put the diaper on or he just never wakes up to let us know he is whet until he is so soaked he leaks. Really though, it hasn't happened much at all.

I think that was all I needed to report back on. The fitteds I bought are still too big to try. If I'm missing anything or you have any questions let me know.


We got the keys to the house a few days early and I've been busy working on things ever since.

I'm documenting it over here. I imagine the posting will get much more sporadic once we get moved in and things calm down, but I wanted to keep track of what we are doing for myself somewhere that it wasn't going to get all jumbled in with knitting projects and cloth diaper reviews. Which, by the way, I have more things to say about the diapers.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Things I will miss about this apartment

In all my excitement for buying a house, I have to admit that moving out of this apartment is kind of bittersweet.

Here are the top 5 things I will miss about living here:

  1. E was born here. This place will always be special because of that.
  2. The way the kitchen is partially open to the living room.
  3. Watching Amelia try to climb the pillars between the kitchen and the living room.
  4. The closet organizers. I have never lived in an apartment where they made so much effort to make the space usable. Along with that, I will miss the walk-in closet that has been my yarn closet.
  5. The maintenance team. Not only are they fast to respond and friendly and the type of people you don't mind being in your place, if there is a problem beyond their expertise they get someone who knows what they are doing out there right away. Plus, you never have to pay for it. I will miss that.
Let's be honest though, there are some things I won't miss. For example:
  1. The vertical blinds. Not only are they on the patio door, they are on both bedroom windows and the cat makes so much racket every time she tries to jump up on the window sill when they are closed.
  2. The lack of outlets and all the outlets being upside down
  3. Hearing my upstairs neighbors nightly activities and the cigarette smoke that has been seeping through the basement from next door for the last two months. I can't even complain about it because the neighbor works in the office.
  4. Not being able to rip up the ugly shrubbery and out of control weeds, I mean groundcover, from the flowerbeds.
  5. Not being able to childproof the cabinets and drawers!!!

Big Changes

On Tuesday Mark and I closed on our house.

To say I am excited is an understatement. Getting here was definitely a roller coaster ride, but after signing all the papers I can finally breathe a sigh of relief and know that this is really happening instead of just hoping like mad.

We don't actually have possession yet. The sellers couldn't close on their new house until we were ready to close, so they are in the process of packing up and moving too. We will have the keys in about 2 1/2 weeks, sooner if they are able, but I'm not holding my breath. If we get in earlier than expected it will be a pleasant surprise.

I always used to like watching those home buying shows on HGTV like Property Virgins or My First Place. I know those shows show complications sometimes, but overall I found the whole looking at houses and deciding which one we wanted to make an offer on the easier part.

The mortgage was the tough part. No matter what anybody tries to tell you, student loan debt DOES hurt you. Our biggest challenge in getting approved was our debt to income ratio. With the helpful suggestions of our mortgage rep, we were able to pay some things down and make it work, but even though he was optimistic for us I was really nervous the whole time that something wasn't going to get approved.

Putting the offer on the house was more exciting than scary for us. Maybe it helps that we didn't low ball them. We wanted to get a good price on the house, but it had already been reduced twice and they were asking less than they paid for it and we thought the asking price was fair. We offered a little less and asked them to pay some closing costs. They accepted our price and agreed to pay about half of what we had asked them to pay in closing and we accepted.

Then we had a couple things that we wanted the sellers to fix after we had the home inspection. There was a little back and forth there, but those got fixed.

Then came the appraisal and home inspection from the bank. THAT gave me a headache. The appraisal came back fine, but the bank wanted some (well, actually a lot and a lot we hadn't noticed) peeling paint on the exterior scraped off and repainted. Which wouldn't have been a huge deal in summer, but in Ohio in November? Not a great time to paint when even during the spell of warm weather we were having it was getting below freezing at night. The suggestion was that WE do the painting, and we balked at that. We both have to work during the day, and what was I supposed to do, get up on a ladder to paint window frames on the attic windows with E strapped to me? Not to mention that we don't exactly have all the knowledge, experience, or tools to get a big job like that done in a day or two. In the end our agent found someone who could do it and we split the cost with the sellers.

Anyway, everything eventually got settled and we were cleared to close and we did.

Later I thought about it, and it does seem kind of strange to take out a mortgage for a longer period of time than either of us have been alive.

We are both really happy about this. It was time. I think it was an unofficial goal of mine to own a home by the time I turned 30. I'm within that and so is Mark. When we moved here a couple years ago we said that we weren't going to move for at least two years. Well that was December 2008 so it will be exactly 2 years.

When I got pregnant with E we started getting a lot of pressure to buy a house. Even with the tax credit, it just wasn't the right time for us. I kept telling those people that we wouldn't get approved for a mortgage (Mark didn't have a long enough work history at that point) and they kept acting like I was making stuff up, but hey, after all we went through I found out that I WAS RIGHT. It was hard enough now, last year it would have been impossible. Anyway, I knew we would want a house and a backyard eventually, I said by the summer he was 2 I definitely wanted a backyard. This past year was no big deal since we had a patio and enough grass too put a blanket down and be outside. Now that he is practically running, I'm glad that we will have the (fenced!) backyard next year. I needed a place for a kiddie pool too, you know?

This summer I started having some serious house envy too. Some of the same people who had been pressuring before were putting pressure on again. It felt like we were second class citizens for renting instead of owning. Which is silly, but that is how it was starting to feel. Then my co-workers daughter got engaged, and her fiance's grandmother owned a house she offered to rent to them after they got married. I have to admit, that kind of did it for me. Here were a couple of 20 year olds who were going to have a house (even if they were renting, not buying). Our friends here all have houses. I felt it was time we had to at least try.

The thing about all that is that if you go to college, meet someone there, graduate and both get full time professional jobs and get married, settle somewhere here in Ohio, you can probably buy a house within a couple years. So most people do. If after graduating from high school you or your spouse started working right away and either didn't go to college or only took classes part time, you can also probably buy a house, and for a lot of people here that is what they do too.

The "problem" is that if you do graduate school of any kind it is really going to delay your ability to buy a house because instead of earning income you are probably racking up debt. Of course our other big thing was that we were living in the Chicago area where things are totally different. At least they looked totally different to me. Where as here most kids are getting married in their very early twenties and buying a house right away, where we spent our early-mid twenties people are age were often times living with their parents and just trying to save enough to rent their own place. I guess that isn't so different when you consider that rent on a one bedroom apartment somewhere on the north side is probably more than most mortgage payments (with tax and insurance) are here. Heck, our mortgage payment (plus tax and insurance) isn't even $30 more than the rent on my one bedroom apartment in the 'burbs was three years ago.

Anyway, my point in all this was that as happy as we were to move back to Ohio and as much as we like this area, it did kind of suck to go from being in a similar place as our peers were out in Chicago to moving here and feeling way behind everyone else. Not that buying a house was to keep up with everyone else or something like that, but when there is something you really have wanted and everyone around you your age has it and it looks like something you still can't attain, well, that sucks.

Enough ramblings on this for now.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The return of autumn and lots of other things

I've been feeling strange lately. It is really getting to be fall. The leaves are turning, it is cool, I'm cooking with pumpkin and lighting the big autumn scented Yankee candle I only burned about 1/3 of last year.

I like fall. This year it feels so strange though because I keep thinking that last time it felt like this was right before E was born. Maybe it is because the month and a half after his birth was a daze and I hardly went outside, I felt like I skipped a big chunk of time. It sort of feels like this is where I left off. Which probably sounds really strange, but when E was born everything changed. Of course it did. All my priorities changed, it took me awhile to feel confident that I knew what I was doing. My whole relationship with my husband changed. Ever since I feel like little by little I am getting things back.
First, I went back to work. I dreaded how that would be, but when I did it, it felt great. It helped that I was leaving E in my home with my mom. It helped that I was less than 10 minutes away and could come home for lunch. It helped that I was only working 3 days a week, and those days I was only at work for 5 1/2 hours at a time. It was so good though to get dressed and ready for work, to have a few hours where I had both hands free, to think of things that had nothing to do with my role as a mother.
Then I finally found a solution to the pain I had experienced for almost three months. Mark and I started having an occasional "date night." Then we started traveling more than 45 minutes away. Then I started being able to go grocery shopping again. Then I finally got the confidence to go out alone with E. (I don't know why it took me so long to do that, I partially blame the pain in those first few months, partially blame the really bad winter weather we had until March.) Then I finally got my hair cut again (although, that hasn't happened since...). We started putting E in his highchair at dinner time with some toys and we could actually eat dinner at the same time and while sitting at the table again. Then I switched doctors and E started gaining weight and I finally was able to worry less and enjoy more. Then he started eating solids and combined with supplementing, he wasn't quite so dependent on me for food. Breastfeeding is totally worth it, but anyone who tries to tell you it isn't demanding is probably lying.
I finally got to the point where I could get him to sleep and leave and have a few hours in the evening to do some things I wanted to do or just be Mark. That was a HUGE step. Perhaps I could have had that earlier than 6 1/2 months, but crying it out just wasn't an option for our family and I don't feel that would have really worked with E anyway.
I started planning meals again and cooking regularly. E got out of the "mommy only" stage and Mark could take him along when he ran a few errands. Which meant I finally was able to clean things like I hadn't been able to since before I was pregnant.
So I guess that is all part of why everything feels so strange for me right now. Every day I look at E and see less of a baby and more of a little boy. Every month I'm feeling more and more like myself. It is partially that I've reclaimed things from my old life, partially that I'm adjusting and owning aspects of this new life and these new roles. At the same time the world is looking like it did back before everything turned upside down and things feel more and more "right."
It has been a crazy year. Or 10 1/2 months technically I guess.
The whole thing is very bittersweet.
I'm sad to see it go. It went so fast. I feel like those first six months were a blur, and there were so many struggle and unexplainable things, and some sadness and it was exhausting. I feel like I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I wish I did. Even this second half of the year, which I have been able to enjoy more, has just flown by. Every time I pack up clothes that are too small or are out of season I feel a twinge of sadness because E is never going to be at that stage again. It is over.
But at the same time...
I look at him now and see him taking steps on his own, babbling away to us and occasionally using correct words, feeding himself real food, etc. and it is just amazing how far he has come in such a short time, and it is so exciting.
I was always worried about having babies. I mean actual infants. I was around them so infrequently, I wasn't sure I would know what to do. All the diapering and feeding and their inability to use words to communicate and their small and delicate bodies, it was really overwhelming to think about. In reality it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. Instinct did kick in. I figured out communication (most of the time anyway) even without E being able to use words. But my point is, when I thought about having babies, it wasn't because I wanted a baby, it was because I wanted children.
So now E is coming out of that baby stage and becoming a young child and I love that! I am so excited to take him to pick out pumpkins, and Christmas this year is going to be so much more exciting than last year. I can't wait until we can make play-dough, use crayons, play in the sandbox.
I know this is one hell of a rambling post again, but there is just so many emotions to sort through, and I would rather write about this than read the book I'm supposed to read before Wednesday about retirement planning.
I've still got a month and a half left before E's first birthday. This is not the last I'll say on the subject, I am sure. If there is one thing every other parent with older children tells me, it is that they grow up so fast and before you know it the time is gone. I guess I've only just begun to experience that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What to knit, what to knit

I really want to start some new fall projects but I'm not sure what I want to knit.

I've got some great yarn I could pull out, but it has to be the right pattern. I would hate to waste pretty yarn on something it isn't worthy of. I guess I was sort of thinking about some hats. Maybe some mittens, although I'm not really sure I'm interested in that right now. I would prefer something I only have to knit one of. I have two socks who need mates, so if I go that route I need cast on seconds socks, and I'm really not excited about that right now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More on Diapers

Yeah, I realized I have more to say. Can you believe it?

First of all, today I received my most recent order of diapers. I got a dozen flats (brings the total to 15) and a couple more hemp doublers. I wanted to get one more silk liner but they were out of stock.
Then I got a couple BumGenius 3.0 pockets. The new 4.0 have come out so these were slightly marked down. Since I can stuff them and put them in the diaper bag like an AIO and they are one size so they will last a good long time I decided to get them. Pockets are new to me. They are currently in the diaper pail waiting to be washed so I'll have to report back on them. My only concern is that the inserts for stuffing that came with them are microfiber, and I know E has had issues with that in the past. We'll see if they work for him though, and if not maybe I can just fold up a flat to stuff in the pocket instead.
I also have had some curiosity about fitted diapers. The Play All Days are being discontinued so I went ahead and ordered a couple before they were all gone. I ordered two mediums, but alas, the website wasn't updated to reflect what they had in stock, so instead I exchanged them for two larges that won't fit until E is 26-28 lbs. I'll have to report on these later I guess. I do think they will make good toddler diapers since they should be pretty easy on and off.
I pulled out my sales receipt and got to thinking. I've kept all my receipts so that at the end I could see just how much I have spent on cloth diapering. I said in my last post that I wasn't convinced it was any cheaper with just one baby. I decided to start adding.
What I found is that I have spent a little more than $800 on diapers, wipes, accessories, wet bags, swim diapers, fasteners, liners, and a few little extras like that pail powder I tried and a couple pre-made wipe solution. Add in what I spent on the diaper pail itself, and ingredients for the wipe solution and maybe a couple things I'm forgetting at the moment and it is still under $900.
Now I know we do use more water now and more electric with the extra 15 loads of laundry a month, but I don't have a good way to measure that. I could compare our utility bills from now to last year, but that isn't really fair for a number of reasons. First, there have been lights left on for nighttime that didn't used to be on. Second, no one except that cat used to be here during the day and now either I'm here all day or my mom is here babysitting. Third, it was a cool summer last year and a pretty hot one this year so we've had to use the AC and fans much more. Lastly, there is an increase in non-diaper laundry since we had E. I guess I estimate that those utilities are about $20 more per month now total, so in ten months our utilities have cost about $200 more. That brings the cost of cloth diapering for 10 months the way we've done it up to $1100.
So what would I have spent if we did disposables? Well say E averages 12 diapers a day. That is fewer than many days have been, but disposable don't feel wet as fast, so I'm going with a lower estimate. We would need at least that many wipes plus maybe 25% more for diapers that require two or three to get a clean bottom. I would also need a diaper genie and those rolls of bags for them. I'm not going to count trash cost, since we have a dumpster that is irrelevant for us, and I'm not even going to factor in extra garbage bags because I don't know how to estimate that. I went to Wal-Mart's website (because that is all we have in town) and figured the cost for diapers for each size (I used Pampers), wipes, diaper genie, and refill bags. The total came to about $1225.
So right now we are still ahead on cloth diapers. In my cloth cost I included shipping. I didn't include the price of gas for us to go over to Wal-Mart all the time (it isn't a normal stop for us) if we had gone with disposables.
I'm not done buying diapers. I know we will need bigger swim diapers. What we have now will work until E is 30 lbs, then the only ones I have that will work are those two pockets and two fitted I got today. Well the flats will work too, and so will 6 of the covers. I will want some size large Bummis covers, maybe 3. I *think* I will end up getting 2 dozen toddler sized prefolds. So that will run me somewhere between about $120-150 depending what I get. Of course there are continued costs with the utilities and the wipe solution ingredients. I will need to find some training pants for potty training time. All in all though, even if we are only 1/3 the way through diapering, I think I've already got the bulk of what I'll need. The cost of disposables would just keep on going. Plus, there a lot of people say babies who are in cloth diapers learn to potty train faster, so with any luck we might be done diapering sooner than we would be otherwise.
I have determined that I was wrong, cloth diapering is less expensive, even with just one baby. It is just that when you spend so much all at once it seems like you are spending more than you really are. I guess you don't notice it when it is $20-30 here and there every few weeks.
Plus you can always resell diapers and recoup some of the cost. You can use old prefolds and flats as rags, so they can serve more purposes than just diapers.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Diaper Ramblings

Maybe it is that I have read a lot of threads on the cloth diaper board, that I spent a lot of time while pregnant thinking ahead about cloth diapers and wading through options trying to find what I thought would work best for us, but every time I fold diapers I start composing a sort of review of them in my head. Maybe it is time I actually get that out.

Truth be told, I haven't tried a wide variety of cloth diapers. Mostly we just use prefolds with PUL covers, but I love them. I hate folding laundry but I actually like folding the diapers, they make me happy for some reason. I can't really explain it. It could just appeal to the nesting instinct in me, I like folding baby clothes too (well, except the towels and sheets and stuff, that is a pain) but those are only my second favorite. Diapers win.

I guess this isn't really a review so much as a "this is what I use and works for me and I like" sort of thing.

The Diapers


Prefolds are our main diapers. I've bought a couple different kinds. I didn't buy any newborn sized because I expected a baby a minimum of 8 1/2 lbs. I was in for a surprise. Even at his lowest weight of 6 lbs 12 oz I was able to make the infant size work. If there is a next time (and I hope there is, but I don't like to assume there will be) I think I will go ahead and get at least a dozen newborn size to make it a little easier in the beginning, and because so many people say the newborn size is great for doublers or stuffing for older babies/toddlers. I just can't see getting a whole set of newborn diapers though when they fit for such a short time.

We started using the cloth when E was about 4 days old I think. It was such a relief once we did because I could actually tell the diaper was wet and be a lot more confident about the wet diaper count. We used disposables the first few days mostly because there was already so much that was new and we were trying to figure out without trying to learn how to put the diapers on right. Of course if there is a next time we will already know how to use them so we can start earlier.

I had 6 Bummis diapers, 6 small (yellow-edge) diapers from Green Mountain, and 18 infant (green-edge) diapers from Baby Cotton Bottoms. That first month or so the yellow ones didn't get much use. They were really too big so they were the last I used. (That is why I want some newborn sized next time, to make up for these not working in the very beginning.) The others fit better, but for the first couple months I folded all of them down and couple inches in the back to make the length fit better. Then I didn't need to do that for the Bummis or the green ones. After a little while I didn't have to do it with the yellow either. I used the angel-wing fold and rolled it in around the legs for extra leak protection. Even though I think it is easier to fold the diapers if you don't have to fold them down for a better fit, I have to say I think that extra edge in back saved us some blow-outs.

Early on we had a couple messes, but that was due mostly due to user error and inexperience in making sure that the pajamas or onesie was pulled up far enough before taking the diaper off. We've only ever had one diaper that was truly a "blow out" and only a handful of times where we had leaking, but once again, those were more due to bad folding than anything else.

Of that first set of prefolds, my least favorite was the Bummis. I thought they were kind of stiff. Mark liked those best for awhile though. They were the first ones I put away when E started to grow into the next size. Initially the green were my favorite. They were the softest and they fit E best for a long time. Then they started to get a little snug and the yellow ones became my favorite because they were wider. I think I'd also like 6 more yellow-edged for next time.


I also had three different all-in-one diapers I used. We had a BumGenius 3.0, a Thirties size small, and a SposoEasy. I didn't really use these much. Initially when I learned about cloth diapering I thought they would be great, but I knew we couldn't afford a whole ton of these in each size, so I figured the best thing to do would go with mostly pre-folds and get a few all-in-ones too. I figured for the small size I should order a few different types to see what I liked best.

At first I thought the Thirsties one was best. It was softer and made more sense to me than the SposoEasy, and it had leg gussets unlike the Bum Genius. For whatever reason E did not like these though. I think it was the microfiber inside that bothered him when it got wet? Maybe it was too hot? I'm not sure. A diaper that results in a screaming baby when it gets wet does not stay at the top of a favorite list for long. I did come to like the SposoEasy one a lot because I could tell easier if it was wet and E seemed most comfortable in it since it is all cotton inside. The BumGenius I didn't like at first since it didn't have leg gussets, but it had the longest lasting fit and towards the end of its use I came to like it a lot. Which is kind of weird, because the other two were supposed to fit longer than the BumGenius.

The all-in-ones are handy to have in the diaper bag. They take up less room and are neater in the bag. I like to have E in an all-in-one when we go to the doctor's office. It makes all the dressing and undressing a lot easier. I tried them for night thinking they would be more absorbent, but that was a no-go. That is when I got the screaming baby. Other than that, I mostly just used them as back-up for when we were low on the prefolds. They are easier than prefolds. Not that prefolds are that difficult, but AIOs go on and off like a disposable and it is all one piece, so that makes it simpler for changing.

The things I don't like about AIOs are laundry related. This is where they are not simpler. First of all, they take longer to dry. I always line dried them and they took a couple days typically. The other thing I didn't have a problem with so much, but lots of people do, is the build-up.


I don't use a special detergent. I already can't use any detergents that have enzymes in them because they make me itch like mad. I use the store brand of Purex Free & Clear, which I believe has brighteners in it even though they aren't listed on the label, but otherwise is free of enzymes, dyes, and fragrance. I have thus far been able to get away with using this detergent for the prefolds. I believe from what I've read that I might not have such good luck with it if I was using AIOs. They are so thick I think they just tend to hold on to stuff, plus with all that microfiber and fleece they are kind of finicky. No one around me sells these recommended-for-cloth detergents, even if it lasts a long time I find it hard to justify spending an enormous amount on a special detergent and then a large amount to have it shipped to me. Especially since lots of people still seem to have problems with some of these recommended detergents.

I once saw a friend of a friend make a comment about diapers just being diapers. They get pooped and peed on. There is no need to make them complicated. Sometimes I read this stuff and I really think some people like to make things be more complicated than they have to be. I guess this is why I mostly do prefolds. They are simple to take care of and once you get the hand of them, pretty simple to use.

When it was time to order the next size up in prefolds I got a dozen of the Green Mountain medium (red-edge) and two dozen of the Baby/Premium (blue-edge) prefolds from Baby Cotton Bottoms. I ordered these during the period where I preferred the green over the yellow-edged diapers. We didn't need them as soon as I expected we would. I think we made the switch sometime between 6 and 7 months. Of course, up until that point E was pretty small.

The red are a little wider and the blue are longer. At this point I wish I had two dozen red and one dozen blue instead of the other way around. The blue are still long enough that I have to fold them down for a good fit. If I do the angel wing fold I make the fold in back. If I do the bikini twist fold (I just learned how to do that one in the last couple months) I fold it down in front. It just works better that way. The red I always do in the angel wing fold, they are almost too wide and therefore too bulky to do the bikini twist nicely I think.

For awhile after E outgrew that BumGenious size small I didn't have any AIOs, I figured I didn't really need them. Then I went ahead and ordered another BumGenius size medium. I kind of wish I had at least two, but the first one really did last through about 16 lbs, and the medium is supposed to fit 15-22 lbs. I ordered it about a month and a half ago when he was already 17+ lbs, and I have no idea how soon he is going to hit 22. He was 19 1/2 lbs tonight. For as expensive as the AIOs are I want to be sure I'm going to get decent use out of them. I think I will try to make do with the one until he is big enough for the large size and then I will order 3 of them and it will be good. I guess I would order a SposoEasy again too if I was placing an order from Green Mountain Diapers, but they are kind of my back-up to Cotton Baby Bottoms. I think the sized Thirsties got discontinued anyway since now they make the 2 size ones, but given E's reaction I think I'll pass on them.


Also in my order from a month and a half ago: 3 flat diapers. I hadn't really realized they were an option, or understood about them until recently. Then I read about how much some other mothers liked them, so I thought I would try a few. I like them. Not enough to make them they only thing I have, but I do like them.

I am not convinced that flats are as absorbent as prefolds, but they are definitely trimmer. The folding is trickier, but it isn't so hard to get them around hips well. It is easier to put extra diaper where you need extra absorbency. Mark hasn't used them, not because he isn't willing to, but because he hasn't really needed to so he will just grab a prefold instead. I like that they are cheaper than prefolds and they are one size. I think next time I place an order I will get a dozen, then I will have 15 of them which will be nice. I was intending to use them as back-up but for daytime at home I actually find if I have one I will grab it before a prefold. They are more time consuming to fold, and sometimes I blank on how to fold them, but overall I like them. I even figured out how to secure it without a snappi the other day!


Which I guess I didn't mention, and perhaps I should. I do use a snappi on the prefolds. Once when I had a snappi break on me and I couldn't find another one, I grabbed the diaper pins I have "just in case." Yeah, I couldn't use them. I was so paranoid I was going to poke E that I gave up and just didn't fasten the diaper under the cover. I think securing the diaper in some way is a good idea for a young baby. It keeps things in if you know what I mean. I've thought about just trifolding the prefold and laying it in the cover, but old habbits die hard and once in awhile (particularly after E has had pears or peaches) we are really glad that the diaper has that snappi. When we ran out of diapers a couple times (before the extra AIO and flats came) I grabbed a yellow diaper back out of storage and put it in trifolded, that worked pretty good.

So that is it for the diapers themselves. But what about over the diapers?


I always thought I would want to use wool. Wool covers are expensive though, and why would I buy a wool cover when I could knit one? Then I got pregnant and despite my best intentions, I just couldn't get up the knitting mojo to complete a soaker. I made a sack type soaker, even lanolized it. I never used it though. I forgot about it at first, then it didn't make any sense with the clothes I had for E. I actually did knit a soaker, but never got the ribbing done on the legs. It is probably too small now even if I did finish it. The wool makes clothing options difficult though. Onesies are what is most prevalent, and I like them, but I'm worried about compression issues with onesies over wool.

Instead I just use PUL covers. I bought some off an Etsy seller, and I really liked them, especially since they weren't very expensive, but this last time I didn't get any from her. She raised her prices (understandable, but her prices was part of the appeal of buying from her) and then Thirsties came out with the duo sized covers, so I mostly went with them. I found her covers ran a little smaller than most, which was great early on, but then E would outgrow them so fast. I have also used Bummis and Thirsties covers.

The Bummis Super Brites I like. I had two size small and now have two size medium. They are pretty, I like velcro, and they have leg gussets. I hated the Whisper Wrap (small) I got from them. No leg gusset and I found out I hated snaps. I couldn't get a good fit. It was either too tight or too loose. I also bought a (now discontinued) fleece cover (medium). It is all right, I thought it would be more breathable for summer. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. It works, but it pilled fast so it looks worn.

I like the Thirsties covers a lot. I had a couple x-small and a couple small sizes, then they came out with the duo sizes. I bought one of the size one duos. It didn't get much use because E grew out of it fast. Right now all the Thirsties covers I have (and that would be 4 solids and two prints) are the size two duos. I'm liking them a lot, but I do wonder if they will really last all the way through to potty training. They get so much use. We line dry them too.

I also had one extra small organic cotton cover with PUL lining inside. It was all right, but I thought it wicked really easily.

At this point, I still really prefer velcro to snaps. I hear people say that once a baby figures out how to get the diaper off I will prefer snaps to velcro but we are (thankfully) not there yet. I just think that I can get a better fit with velcro.

We currently have 9 covers in rotation. I think this is about right. We could make due with 7 or 8, but I wouldn't want less than 6. Mostly we just alternate between two at a time, but sometimes they get super soaked or they get messy and we switch. Or I just get to feeling like E has been in one a long time already so I toss it in the laundry and pull a different one out. Sometimes one gets left in the diaper bag. We haven't run out yet. It allows us to do laundry every 2 - 2 1/2 days and gives the covers time to line dry before they are returned to the rotation.


Then there is the whole issue with wipes. Everything I read when I was pregnant about unnecessary baby stuff talked about wipes warmers and how silly and useless they were. They probably are if you use disposable wipes, they don't hold that much liquid. We use cloth wipes though and a couple weeks in we decided to use a gift card and buy one specifically for cloth wipes and WOW that made a big difference with how E tolerated diaper changes. Necessary? No, not really. Nice to have? For sure! I use ImseVimpse flannel wipes and love them. We have 4 dozen now and I feel like we finally have the right number. I have maybe 10 other flannel wipes from somewhere, but they are odd shaped so it is kind of weird knowing how to fold them in the wipes warmer. They mostly go in the diaper bag. We also have the 5 bamboo wipes that came with the wipes warmer. They are thick and terrycloth-like, but they fray really easily. We actually use those as pee shields and they work really good for that since they are small and really absorbent. I also cut up a pair of torn pajama pants into little squares, but due to my sewing machine being out of commission I didn't edge them, so they are frayed too. They are still good to have as back-ups though.
The Imse Vimse wipes we keep wet and in the warmer. When we do a load of diapers the wipes are in there of course, and after they have been folded we just stick them in an old plastic disposable wipes container and pour a batch of wipe solution over them. I boil water (which I don't think you have to but it makes me feel better and then they start out warm) and mix 3 c water with 1/2 t baby wash (I use California Baby), 1 T olive oil (cheap stuff, we aren't talking organic extra virgin olive oil here), and a couple drops lavender and tea tree essential oil. We let it cool a little then stick them in the warmer to stay warm.

Little Extras

Here is the fun stuff, but also stuff that can start adding up. For the record, I'm not sure that cloth diapering one baby is really much cheaper than using disposables. Maybe it is if you do flats and duo covers. Although I do wonder if the covers really will last all the way through. The cotton I think will, the PUL and velcro and snaps and elastic seems more likely to have something wear out. Anyway, tangent about covers aside, it seems like I have spent a lot on diapers and accessories. If E is are only one, it might be even with what we would have spent on disposable diapering, but if we do have a second or even third child I think we are really going to see savings then. I'm sure we'll need to replace things here and there, maybe find some different solutions here and there too, but there will be so much we are able to reuse. Then when you consider that you can often resell this stuff, you can recoup some of the cost down the road. Expense wasn't really the top reason for choosing cloth over disposables for us though.


My favorite little extra are the raw silk liners we have. We only have two, but they are great when E has a little extra redness, they really seem to help clear it up.

I also bought a role of flushable liners. We don't use them much, only when we need to put some diaper cream on, but then we use the California Baby Diaper rash cream which is supposed to be compatible with cloth diapers, but I like taking the extra precaution of having a liner in there. Some liners can be washed if they just get peed on and used again but I have found out that the ones we have do not hold up in the wash at all.


Initially I bought a couple Thirsties microfiber doublers. These are really kind of bulky and I found that they can work outside a prefold, but E will not tolerate them next to his skin, so I hardly ever use them. I tried stuffing an AIO with a pocket with one once. It did not go over well. Too much microfiber and therefor too warm or uncomfortable for E I guess.

I learned my lesson but was still interested in a doubler to get us through a longer stretch at night now that E doesn't need to have a bunch of midnight feedings anymore. I bought a couple Play All Day hemp doublers. I really like these! They are soft and E doesn't object to them at all. I usually use them when I do an angel-wing fold and I stick half of it in the front between the folds and fold the other half down inside the diaper right next to E's skin so they actually add 2 layers.

Pail Liners/Wet Bags

I think this is more of a necessity than an extra, but people have a lot of different set ups so it isn't a must for everyone I guess.

We use a big kitchen trash can with lid and foot pedal for our diaper pail. I added some baby stickers to decorate it and make it a little less trash can like. Inside the pail we use a wet bag to line it. We use the large Blue Penguin Wet Bags. They are PUl with a drawstring. I know some people don't like the drawstring, but for our purposes it works fine. We throw the wetbag in the wash with the diapers then line dry. We started out with two, but awhile back I got a third one because they take a little extra time to dry and when we travel that can cause a little bit of a hiccup.

I also have a couple small Blue Penguin Wet Bags or use in the diaper bag. I like that they actually hold quite a few diapers. I don't like that they take up a bit of room even when folded in the diaper bag and the drawstring doesn't always close really tight.

I felt I needed a 3rd diaper bag wet bag, so I got a Kushies bag. This is my favorite! The fabric is thinner so it fits better and the drawstring pulls the bag closed a lot tighter. Also, the fabric has a pattern and is cute. The downside is that it doesn't hold as many diapers, so while it works great for a short trip somewhere it doesn't work so well if we are going to be gone all day.

If I were to get another travel/diaper bag wet bag I think I would look into the Planet Wise bags. I've heard a lot of good things about them and I think the zipper closure would be nice.

Back to the cost issue for a second though. When people consider the expense of diapering I think they are a lot more likely to include the wet bags in the cost of cloth diapering, but often forget to add the cost of the diaper genie and those bags plus potentially the extra trash bags and possibly trash pick-up costs of using disposables.

Odor Issues

I think the diaper pail gets a little smelly as it gets full. Honestly I think it is less smelly than disposable diapers are, but I found an easy way to cut the stench is to sprinkle some baking soda in the pail. In my pre-birth purchases I got a canister of scented pail powder. It is nice and all, but really I think plain old baking soda does the trick.

Swim Diapers

E went swimming once this summer. I purchased two Bummis swim diapers knowing he was going to switch sizes sometime in the summer. I think we did use the small one, we never used the medium one (or was it the other way around?) I guess he didn't really put it to the test, but I think it worked well for the use it did have.

Diaper Stores

I guess I should mention where I get all this stuff too. The majority of my purchases have come from Cotton Baby Bottoms. The owner is on Ravelry and is always so helpful (plus she gives us a discount) so I like to buy from her first.

I have also bought a fair amount from Green Mountain Diapers, and had a few orders from Kelly's Closet. I've had great service from both these stores as well and would recommend all three.

Well that was a lot of babble about diapers. This post was started then finished a week later. In the meantime I ordered a dozen more flats, two more hemp liners, two BumGenius 3.0 one size pocket diapers, and 2 Play All Day fitted diapers that are being discontinued. I ordered the fitted diapers in the medium size but they were actually sold out so I got them in large instead. At best they won't fit until E is 26 lbs, so it will be awhile before I can tell you how they are. I was looking at them more as a nighttime solution/easy for diaper bag use. Same for the pocket diapers really. I want to see if they work better for nighttime use, but I also am tired of doing prefolds in the diapers bag. I even like flats in the diaper bag better, but Mark is still a bit befuddled by those.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adirondack Blue Potatoes

Today was Farmers' Market day again. I wish I could tell you that I go just about every week because I can get a lot of inexpensive locally grown produce, but that simply isn't true.

I'm addicted to the cinnamon rolls I can buy there.

That and I do like the whole grain breads that I can buy.

As for the produce, well...
Yes, it is locally grown and to sell at this market you have to grow it yourself on your land. No buying produce and reselling it. I like that.
What I don't like is the price. The prices seem to be set very high by one particular Amish seller, and then almost everyone else follows. I'm not basing my price expectations on what I see in the grocery store. Although they are sometimes higher than what the grocery store is selling the local produce that they buy at local auctions and then mark up to resell. I'm basing this on the prices other Amish families charge at their veggie stands where my parents live. I should probably note that the Amish at our county's Farmers' Market don't live in our county. They live in my parents' county. Anyway, it annoys me because I will pay a fair price, but I don't think I should have to pay at least 50% more than what is normally charged.

Anyway, rant aside...

I can find some really great things that are unique.

I was really excited today because I saw some potatoes that caught my eye. They are blue!

I thought just the skins would be blue, but no, as you can see they are actually completely blue.

So when I got home I did a quick google search and came up with this. As you can see below, there was a lot of color in our meal tonight! It was also very "local." The tomatoes and green beans are actually from my parents garden, as were the onions in the potatoes. I didn't have any leeks, but the garlic I used I bought at the market last week. The basil and parsley in the potatoes I grew myself. Oh, and we also had yellow watermelon for dessert that we bought from the Amish growers who charge an arm and a leg. But it was a very sweet seedless yellow watermelon so it was worth paying a little more for.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sweet Fern Mitt Fate

So I'm not sure what to do with these Sweet Fern Mitts I'm working on.

I'm not a knitting perfectionist. Life is too short and there are too many things I want to knit to worry about minor mistakes no one but myself is going to notice.

Then there are mistakes that are more noticeable. For instance, on that first mitt I wasn't very careful about counting what round I was on and several of the lower cables are probably 5 round repeats rather than 4. I was willing to let that go. But now I can't figure out how I came up with so few cables on the top part (once I started the thumb gusset) and it is going to be noticeable that the left mitt has more cables than the right mitt. I could just re-do the top of the right mitt. I could frog them both.

The cables are actually the wrong way too. I have a first edition of the book and there is a bunch or errata on this pattern. I found something I knew couldn't be right and looked it up, only to find that the chart has the cables crossed the wrong way. I kind of thought "who cares" because I liked the way it looked anyway, but now with the other mistakes I'm about to rip it all out.

I like the yarn with this pattern, I have sunk a bit of time into these, but honestly I'm not sure how much use I'm going to get out of these fingerless mitts. I have a couple pairs of Fetchings and another pair of fingerless mitts, they are good for fall and early spring, but I am thinking I might just convert these into mittens with the cables going to right way. I'm just not sure I'm ready to actually rip yet. I guess I'll just work on the second sock of the pair for my mom this weekend.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Interweave Knits Fall 2010

I got my new issue of Interweave in the mail yesterday.  I did a quick browse of it while E was playing on the floor, but I have to be careful else he tries to grab magazines and eat them.  Actually substitute and noun for "magazines" and you probably have an accurate sentence.  Such is life with an 8-month old.

My overall impression was good.  I saw a lot more that I liked this time than I have for a long time.  I'm sure my renewed love of knitting helps, and of course any Fall publication always has the best patterns in my opinion.  O actually saw sweaters I wanted to knit!  I haven't wanted to knit sweaters for a very long time.  I probably won't actually knit them because really, when do I have time for a project of that scale? Also, I should probably finish Mark's poor languishing sweater before starting any other sweaters.

I did see some hat patterns I liked and probably will knit.  Mark got me a gift certificate to Wool & Company for my birthday and I still need to use it.  It isn't quite the same ordering on-line as it is going to the store, but he knew I missed it and I thought it was a very sweet present.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A few weeks ago I posted a link to an article that was linked on another site I read. I probably should have given some commentary on it, but I was so disgusted by the article I couldn't stand to. Honestly I was more disgusted as a feminist than as a breastfeeding mother. The primary thing that angered me was the author's insistence that a woman's body is primarily for her husband's sexual gratification. Our bodies are not single use, single purpose. I'm not degrading my breasts by using them to feed my baby. I can use my body to nourish my children and to love my husband. He witnessed the birth of our son and hasn't had any "problems." Just sayin'

This leads me down another path, one that I've been wanting to go down for awhile but I'm not entirely sure how.

So, breastfeeding. My son was exclusively breastfed (in that he had only breastmilk, he did have EBM from bottles) for the first 5 1/2 months. I am nursing now. I intend to nurse until he is a year old, and then we'll see what happens from there.

I have such mixed feelings about it though.

On one hand, I am very supportive of it. I do think there are a TON of benefits for both baby and mother. I've enjoyed the closeness I feel to E and the way I've been able to nourish and comfort him through it. If anyone I know said they intended to breastfeed I would be very encouraging of it.

On the other hand, I have a big complaint. I think the way women who don't breastfeed or even those who do but wean early or whatever are treated can be downright shitty. There is a certain attitude among some pro-breastfeeding women/groups that if you have any problems it is because UR DOING IT RONG!

As someone who wanted very very badly to have a successful nursing relationship with my baby I have to say that when I encounter that attitude it really hurts. Yeah this is about me and my expectations and the fact that sometimes I get these really lofty ideas and try to strive for perfection and when I don't meet those goals I feel a lot of disappointment and beat myself up about. There is that, I admit it. I'm not sure I'm that unique in that though, and this sort of thing can't have happened only to me.

It is the tone some books and website are written in. As great a resource as Kellymom.com is, every time a well-meaning person directed me to the page about slow weight gain that says it is usually due to poor breastfeeding management I wanted to cry and scream and throw things. I had been through that list twenty times and I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing.

It is reading forums where someone pipes in about how formula is completely junk or practically poison and ewww how could you ever give that to your baby? Well I'll tell you. You will give that to your baby when for the last 2 months his weight gain has averaged about 1.5-2 oz./week instead of the 4 oz./week it is supposed to and you've tried everything short of standing on your head (although I tried something similar once when I had a plugged duct) to increase your supply and it isn't making a difference. (Seriously, I will detail the whole story on this at some point.)

I guess I needed to get that out. As much as I still stand by my choice the attitudes of some people are seriously pissing me off. I imagine it is the same as other women feel about having a c-section. That whole thing that "well, ok, some women have problems, but it is rare" disclaimer, then disparage women who don't do what you think they should do and never mention those exceptions again. (Which, for the record since I had a natural birth at home I feel self-conscious about this and will say I think whatever birth choice a woman makes for herself and her situation is fine. I just hate to see women not being given options and pushed into something they don't want for silly reasons and I feel like I hear that a lot. But it makes me sad that the women were pushed around, I don't think there is anything wrong with them as mothers or as people. If an informed choice is made that is great. But if we are going to talk about birth that is a topic for another day.)
As I have spent the last 45 minutes basically trying to get my son to go to sleep and stay asleep, my mind has wandered and I've been thinking about this blog.

To keep it or let it go? To post about just knitting or more?

Awhile back I said I didn't intend to turn this into a "mommy blog." I still don't, yet it seems that is what I have to write about most of the time. I guess it comes down to the old saying that to write well you have to write what you know. Right now a lot of what is on my mind tends to be baby related.

I think my passion for knitting is returning, and I am optimistic that I will have a pretty scarf to share soon. There just isn't much to write about there though. "I'm knitting a scarf from alpaca I bought at the Fiber Show. It is soft, it is pretty. I like knitting. " See what I mean?

What I really want to do is just write and not worry about what category it fits into. With that said...

This is not a knitting blog.

This is not a mommy blog.

This is not a cooking blog.

This is just my blog and I'm going to write whatever I feel like writing about. So there.

For the last month or so I was filling my writing needs in other places. I had to get my mind somewhere else when I was pumping at work besides just worrying about how I never get as much as I think I should or feeling sad about certain things. Since the dates this June and July are the same days of the week as they were in 2004 when Mark and I started dating I decided that I would take my reminiscing a write our story. I think I am done with that now so lets see what I have to put out here now.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What is making my head explode today

I have never read such utter bullshit in my life. That is saying a lot, because I've read some threads in Remnants and BID

Today's Random Thoughts

I really don't care if LeBron James stays in Cleveland or not, but I can't wait until he just makes his decision because I am sick to death about seeing articles in the paper about it and receiving phone calls inviting us to "Akron loves LeBron" rallies. I have never cared about the Cavaliers and I am not going to start.

July is really here isn't it? We have are getting a string of days with highs in the 90's. We didn't really get heat like this last year, which was good being that I was pregnant and already hot all the time. It is already 73 degrees out at 8;45 a.m. I think if I want to take a walk today we better take it soon.

I'm really excited about my menu today. With inlaws visiting yesterday I didn't do any cooking since they always want to go out. We are having burgers for lunch and I'm trying my hand at some pulled pork for supper. Plus, it is time to break out the ice cream maker. I think mint chocolate chip might be the flavor of the day.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just sayin'

So I don't really read the main boards on Ravelry unless I'm rubbernecking, but there are enough remnants threads that end up being rubbernecked that I guess I read my share.

Anyway, there is one mod in particular that is a little heavy-handed I think. She also always seems so annoyed with everything and so jaded I wonder if maybe she should just let someone else take over some of the moderating.

This probably seems like an think to vent about, but it keeps annoying me and obviously it isn't really proper to complain about it on Ravelry.

For the record I've never been moderated by her, I don't really post in the Big 6 most of the time.

Weekend Yarn Shopping

Last weekend's fiber show must have reawakened my desire for yarn or something.

Actually it was just the first time in awhile I've made it to a yarn store. There really aren't any around here, so I have to wait until we are visiting my parents or Mark's parents, and usually we are visiting my parents on a day or at a time the yarn store downtown is closed, or if it is open, it isn't convenient to stop in. That and why should I have been buying yarn when I have plenty and haven't had time to knit.

My purchases this weekend are for specific gifts. I have had a request for a foliage out of Malabrigo. Yesterday we went on a long drive in a desperate attempt to get E to take a nap. It sort of worked. Anyway, while we were up in the area and not otherwise obliged to be doing anything specific, I suggested we stop at Calla Lily Yarn to see if they carried it. They don't, but I found a very similar worsted weight Merino that will be perfect. This is jil eaton Minnow Merino in Aqua Marine. It is 77 yds a skein so I think I will use most of it to knit an adult Foliage. I think the recipient will like the color too. The sock yarn caught my eye, I really liked the long variation in it, sort of like Trekking but different, and this is really vibrant blue in person. That is Regia Hand-dye Effect. The socks are destined for the same person the hat is. Can you tell what her favorite color is? I don't think she reads this blog.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Baby-Led Weaning vs Purees or What do I feed my baby??

When I first started thinking about all this baby stuff a couple years ago I read Super Baby Foods about how to make all your own baby food and what food could be eaten by babies when etc.
At the time I remember thinking the author was a little out there on some thing, I didn't agree with everything she wrote. I thought it was a great resource for craft ideas, party ideas, and a mishmash or other things. I did like the information about when it was age appropriate to introduce certain vegetables. I liked the instructions on how to prepare the baby food.

Then I started to hear about baby-led weaning. If you aren't familiar with it, basically here it is: you wait until your baby is at least six months old before starting solids, then you don't have to follow all those "rules" about what to introduce when and can offer your baby most healthy (so no added salt and sugar) things you are eating, there is no spoon feeding or purees, just finger food. Your baby probably won't be eating much to start out with, but when he or she is ready they will start eating a lot more instead of just mouthing the food.

So those were the two books I had at kind of opposite ends of the spectrum. The one thing they had in common was not using commercial baby food.

I was really set on having E be exclusively breast fed for the first 6 months. That is what all the current literature and studies suggest is best. We made it over 5 months, but unfortunately, with E's slow weight gain (that is probably several more posts to explain everything) I was going to have to supplement before we reached 6 months. One night I made chicken paprikas and E was sitting in my lap and reached for my plate (pretty typical for him) but his hand landed in the paprikas sauce. He tasted it and immediately went back for more. Twice. At that point Mark and I decided we would try some solid foods to see what he would do. I had an avocado and knew that was a great first food and good for him. I tried giving him some chunks of it but it was probably too ripe for that and certainly too slippery. So I mashed it up and tried giving it to him on a spoon. It was a big hit. The next week I tried banana. He seemed to like that, but I will say he prefers to have some of my banana (he "bites" it as I hold it, really I think he is sucking on it as much as anything) rather than eating it mashed on a spoon.

Then I wasn't sure exactly what to do. I liked the concept of baby-led weaning, but E really seemed to want more food than he was getting that way. Mark really enjoyed getting to feed E, and I had baby food from my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law and father-in-law.

So what am I doing? I'm using commercial baby food. For right now anyway. I have it, I figure I might as well use it and get an idea what he is going to like before I go buy things to make my own and freeze it. Although I'm not too sure how much of that I'm going to do either.

I guess I'm kind of trying to combine these concepts.

I'm not doing cereals. Both books convinced me that regular boxed rice cereal is pretty much pointless. I got a box of organic brown rice cereal at one of my baby showers. I finally decided to try that last night. That was the first time I ever heard E retch. He CLEARLY didn't like it. A couple weeks ago I made some oatmeal and offered it to him. No retching with that but he didn't like it and was not interested. I've figured out that for him the more flavor the better. I tried adding fruit to it. He still wasn't interested. I should note that I didn't add breast milk or formula to the rice cereal, I don't feel like wasting it. I used water. Then I tried adding bananas. It was still a no-go.

E likes his fruits and veggies. He was lukewarm about the apple sauce I gave him. He likes peaches, green beans, sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots. I've given him purees of all of those now. Oh, and I gave him a banana mango mixture which he liked. I'm careful about how I give them to him. I never shove the spoon in his mouth. I either hold it up to his mouth and he reaches out and eats from it or more often, I get the spoon close enough to him and he grabs it and gets it to his mouth. Of course we go through about 4 spoons a meal because sometimes I can't get it back before he drops it, but I figure this way he is still in control of what he is eating (a big benefit of doing baby-led weaning) and he is learning to use a spoon, which he is going to need to learn to do eventually anyway. The thing I do like about purees and Mark especially likes is that we don't have to worry so much about choking.

The choking risk is Mark's biggest hang up with baby-led weaning. The book explains why it isn't as big of a risk as you might think and of course you never leave a baby alone with food, but even though I've read that I still get a little nervous about it from time to time. While I will feed E purees, I don't shy away from giving him finger food either.

He has had broccoli and seemed to like it. He LOVES sweet pepper sticks dipped in hummus. I gave him a strip of grilled pork to taste one night. He liked it but Mark kind of flipped out on me about that. I boiled some pasta shapes and have given them to him to play with the last few days. He sucks on them some but mostly he plays with them and they end up on the floor. He likes bread too. I don't like excess bread on my hamburgers and if I take it off and leave it on the plate he is all about getting that to his mouth.

The food thing is a big adventure. I see no reason why I can't give my baby purees on a spoon as long as I'm not forcing them on him and I see no reason why I can't let him experiment with real food either. I've lightened up about the age guidelines somewhat. I liked the Baby-led Weaning book for that, I learned that most guidelines in place are based upon starting solids at 3 months. I probably won't buy any more purees. I might make some, but by the time I need to I think E might just be old enough that he starts to actually eat more of the real food I put in front of him.

I think my main goal in all of this is to help E develop a healthy attitude toward food and a love of whole foods as well. Sure, I'm expecting to go through some macaroni & cheese benders with him when he is a toddler, but I'd like to give him the best start possible

Excuse me while I explain myself a little

It is certainly not my intention to turn this into a "mommy" blog. My day to day life is really probably not that interesting and I have other things (like knitting) I would still like to blog about.
I miss writing though, and I think I need to get back into writing blog entries to fill that void in my life. I do want to talk about some of my parenting decisions, maybe just to organize my own thoughts, maybe just to put it out there. If I have any readers left feel free to skip such posts, especially if babies aren't your thing. If you do have kids, please don't take anything I write as a criticism of your parenting method if it differs from mine. Like I said, I'm just trying to find my way and I'm learning and adjusting and sometimes adjusting expectations and I think writing may be one of the best ways for me to organize these thoughts.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baby Carriers

Since I've had E I have spent way too much time reading the message boards on Ravelry. Specifically the message boards for baby/parenting sorts of things that I do (like breastfeeding, cloth diapering, homebirth/natural childbirth, AP parenting, and the other lovely November '09 mamas). What can I say, I sit around nursing a lot or with a sleeping baby in my arms and I need something to read.

Well the other day I read about this blog entry and feel inspired to do my own review of sorts.

  1. My first baby carrier purchase was a Hotsling. Actually, I believe this was my first baby item purchased while pregnant. It was on clearance and I knew I wanted a sling, and the website made it look so easy. I love the fabric of the sling I chose. Unfortunately, I haven't really been able to make this sling work for us. I'm not completely giving up on it as I've read some people have liked it best for toddlers, so maybe it will be more useful down the road. My issues with it are mainly that I don't feel like it really fits me right even though I have the size that their chart says I should be using and I can never really get E in it where I feel completely comfortable with his position. I have used it really short-term a few times, so it has had some use.
  2. A few months later I realized after more reading message boards and such that I didn't just want a sling, what I actually needed was a ring sling. This way the sling could be worn by multiple people and didn't need to be a specific size and I could adjust it better. So I bought a cotton/linen blend that was on clearance from Taylor Made Slings. I keep trying to make this sling work. I have yet to get it right. I tried first when E was only a few weeks old. I just couldn't figure out how to get the sling on right and to stay in position long enough for me to safely get my newborn in it. It made me nervous since I didn't have any experienced baby wearers around to assure me I had it right or to adjust something I had wrong. I put it away and moved on to the next carrier (discussion coming shortly). One of my friends (K) who has a daughter about E's age recently got a ring sling from Sleeping Baby Productions and she loves it. So I asked her to show me how she uses hers, figuring that seeing it in person might help me out. Well, it did help me out, now I realize why this sling isn't working for me. I think it is all in the shoulder. The way this particular ring sling is sewn by the ring doesn't really allow me to spread it out over my shoulder without the rings being way too far down my chest for my comfort or for E's. I tried putting E in it in a front carry and had to watch that he didn't hit his head on the rings. I knew that couldn't be right. I tried the hip carry that K likes but that wasn't really working out for us. As with the Hotsling, when I tried to put him in a cradle hold he had a lot of objections, and I didn't feel I had him in right so I stopped trying. I still really wish I could make a ring sling work for us, especially since so many women say they can nurse discreetly in them, but I'm just not sure that it is going to be for E and me.
  3. This wasn't a purchase, it was more of gifted garage sale item that hadn't sold. It is a NoJo padded ring sling. Honestly, I've never really tried it because it seems so bulky and hard to adjust that it just didn't appeal to me. I guess this is a really unfair review considering I haven't used it, but since the other styles of slings haven't worked out for me I don't think I would have fared much better with this one.
  4. This is another garage sale item my mom brought to me, I don't remember if it was given to her as the NoJo sling was or if she actually bought it. This one is a Snuggli. I really wasn't into it and was set on the slings, so I told Mark that it could be his carrier and he was all right with that. He used it with E a few times and liked it and E did pretty good with it. I'm not very comfortable with him using it because of how it holds E. Rather than creating a seat for him it basically holds him by his crotch which isn't good for him. Of course Mark never really wears E for long periods of time, so I guess it isn't terrible. Mark liked it better than anything else for him because he could put E in a front-facing carry which we found out he prefers.
  5. This purchase came about a month after E was born once I realized that the slings were just not going to work for us, at least at that stage. At the suggestion of one of some of the ladies on Ravelry, I went for a Moby wrap. This was the first carrier I found that actually worked for us and I felt comfortable with! First I tried the cradle carry. That didn't work, but by then I realized that E just didn't like to be carried that way. Next I tried the hug hold which is an upright carry where E faced me. That worked for a few weeks and E liked it. Then we got to the point where he was just much happier being able to see everything. So I put him in a front facing carry and that was perfect! I could go to the grocery store again! When the weather got a little warmer I could take him for walk, all I had to do was wrap my sweater around both of us. He was happy he could see and I was happy I finally was able to "wear" him. Of course as most Moby users will tell you, even though it theoretically can be used into the toddler years, once a baby gets to a certain point, he or she is just too heavy for the stretchy fabric. I don't think I really reached that point with it, but I did get to the point where it was just too warm for me. It is a lot of fabric to have wrapped around you and especially if you are going for a walk, it gets too be a bit much having a warm baby (E is a furnace!) that close to you while exercising. Also, he was getting a bit big for the carry I was using and if I were to put him in it at this point I would need to figure something else out. If he isn't too heavy I may play around with it more this fall. It was totally worth it from December through April for me though.
  6. We had an unusually warm spring, so by April I was definitely thinking I was going to want something with a little less fabric for spring. I debated between the Ergo and Beco, I looked at the Baby Hawk and the Mei Tai Baby Carrier. I was pretty certain I wanted something in a Mei Tai style. I loved the pretty fabric options many of them had. I liked the look of ties better than buckles, although I knew if Mark was going to wear it I would have to go for buckles, but all the options were just so darn expensive and I didn't feel I could justify spending at least $80 for a carrier I wasn't sure I was going to like let alone whether E would like. At that point the only way I had been successful carrying him was front forward facing. He had quit liking to be carried facing me, and you can't really do a front carry with a Mei Tai or a soft structured carrier. I decided to take a look on Etsy and see if anyone made them (of course) and I could find something I liked for a more reasonable price. I found what I was looking for. I bought a Cuddle Me Mine Mei Tai from The Kitchen Sink Boutique. I loved the fabric in the one she had posted for sale. What I didn't realize at the time was that I wasn't buying that particular carrier (I didn't read well enough or misunderstood) and that she was in the middle of moving so she wasn't going to be able to fulfill the order for a few weeks. She wrote to me about these things and gave me the option of continuing or backing out of the sale. I chose to continue and wait it out and I'm glad I did. I got to choose the base (strap) color and let her know what type of fabric I was wanting for the back. I gave her an idea and she picked out a great fabric for me. When I got the carrier to my surprise E loved it even though he wasn't facing forward. It had a little bit of a learning curve to putting E on and tying it, but really so did the Moby. Anyway, as much as I liked it, I think it is my mom who has used it the most. She puts E in it in the afternoons when she watches him while I'm at work and takes a walk with him and he will fall asleep for her in it. He never does this for me by the way. What I like about it is that I can put it in the diaper bag and take along in case I want or need it better than I could any of the other carriers. As much as I like the Mei Tai though, it isn't perfect. Mark wouldn't wear it. If I put it on out in public I have to try to find somewhere that it wasn't a disaster if the straps drag on the ground while I initially tie it on. Sometimes I feel like is more secure in there than other times, and it is kind of hard to adjust once I have him in it without redoing the whole thing. Along with that if the straps get bunched up instead of laying flat they kind of cut into my shoulders.
  7. Having determined that we liked the Mei Tei style but could use something a little more easily adjustable and easier to put on and take off quickly I returned to looking at the Ergo and Beco carriers. Then I got a bonus at work. I decided that I could use some of that to go ahead and get one of the fancy expensive soft structured carriers. Then Cotton Baby Bottoms had an Earth Day sale and almost everything was 10% off. Actually Ergo was one of the exceptions, but by that point I had already determined I was going to get the Beco. Since I wanted Mark to use this one I asked for his input on the pattern. I also wanted a pattern that wasn't overly boyish but wasn't feminine either. We decided on the panthers. I liked some of Beco's new patterns a little bit better, but I figured that if I wanted pretty fabric on the back my Mei Tai fit that bill. I have to say that the panthers have really grown on me too, I love them, and E was enthralled with them when I first got the carrier. When I got it though, the one seem on the bottom was torn. Beco has a great warranty policy though and they sent me a replacement and a shipping label to return the defective one. It delayed me being able to try out the carrier for a few days, but once we did it has been a hit! I use this one the most now. It is more convenient for using at stores and I feel like I can be more sure he is secure in it. Mark has only tried it once and it was when E was in a fussy mood, so while I think it will work for him he hasn't been doing much baby wearing lately. I thought my mom would like this better than the Mei Tai but I think there are almost too many straps and in that sense the Mei Tai is simpler for her to use so she just uses that. The one time she did use the Beco she said she liked it. The only things I don't like about it are that the straps do hang and aren't nearly as pretty as they are on the Mei Tai and I wish the chest strap was easier to adjust. I love how easily the sides adjust to get him in and out easily and to make sure he is secure. I also like that it comes with a little hood I can snap on if it is raining or really sunny and I don't have a hat for him or if he were to ever fall asleep for me in it (haha). I also liked that it came with the infant insert. E is too big to need it, but for any future babies I would be able to use it earlier without having to buy it separately like I would if I got an Ergo.
So that wraps up my carrier collection. Of course I can't say definitively that I won't buy anymore ever, but I feel like I have a good variety of options for different seasons/stages/purposes. I may find I want something else as E gets to be a toddler, but what I have should actually work. If anything I think I would maybe try a different ring sling that would sit on my shoulder better. That, or if I had a summer baby I would definitely consider a wrap in solar veil.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wrong # of Stitches

I'm completely frustrated with my current knitting.

I should be finished increasing on the stockinette portion of the Traveling Woman shawl I'm working on, but my stitch count is off. Looking at it I can't figure out where I went wrong, although I suspect I forgot a few yarn overs or added a yarn over on the purl side where I shouldn't. I guess the only thing to do is rip it, but I'm really annoyed because I was so happy at the progress I was making and now I have to frog a week's worth of knitting. I hope this doesn't change my perception of the yarn. Frogging will do that sometimes, but this is really nice yarn to work with so I think it will be all right. The yarn is Creatively Dyed Seawool I bought last year at Great Lakes.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Annual Great Lakes Fiber Show Wrap Up: Part 2

So what did I get this year?

First off, I have several skeins of pretty sock yarn waiting to be knit, and if I run out before next year (unlikely) I certainly know where I can attain some more.

Second, I decided that no matter how pretty and soft, I just wasn't willing to pay more than $20 for a skein of anything this year. The best I will be able to do is small shawls, so no major lace yardage for me. Also, no sweater quantities, I've already discussed that in my previous post.

This year I went for the pretty but scratchier stuff. The ones that are hand-dyed and/or hand-spun. The ones that you can still smell the lanolin in. I might have bought some alpaca too.

I wish I could tell you who I bought this yarn from, but the booth had no name and there are no tags. These 100 yard skeins were only $1.25 each. I really couldn't pass up getting a couple. They are kind of scratchy but I think I can find some good use for them.
This is pretty. The picture doesn't really due the subtle dye job justice, but I didn't get outside with my yarn and camera this weekend.
This is some really pretty blue-faced leicester. I'm thinking I may try to knit a soaker again, but I'm not going to feel bad if this doesn't end up as a diaper cover.
I don't know the name of this shop either (due more to lack of attention I think). I was interested in this first yarn because it was dyed with natural dye, in this case cochineal. See what pretty yarn mashed up bugs can make?
This is from the same booth. I don't think it is naturally dyed, but it is pretty and spun a little differently than any of the other yarn I bought.
Now this is some nice soft alpaca and I really liked the color.
More alpaca, this from Wooly Knob. I'm currently using a skein of their wool and really liking it so I wanted to support them again. This is fairly soft too.
These two skeins are bulky weight (fun! I like big needle knits now and then) and it is pretty local yarn. It is handspun hand-dyed wool from a farm a county east of where I live.
I think I did a better job of varying my color palette this year.

I know that I won't get all this knit up before the show next year, and a few skeins may stay in my stash awhile, but sometimes a quick knit out of yarn like this is just what I need. It is my comfort knitting and good for the soul.

Annual Great Lakes Fiber Show Wrap Up: Part 1

We have had a busy weekend here! Today we had E baptized and then had a big family picnic afterward at a nearby park. It was nearly 90 degrees and the change in routine, excitement, and heat really exhausted us. I'm not sure how much I'll get to, I got E to bed and have some time for myself right now so I wanted to write as much as I could.

Somewhere in the last few weeks I've been thinking about my knitting, or lack of knitting lately, and what I realistically can knit and what I want to knit.

I am really not a garment knitter. Sure, I've cranked out a few sweaters, I know I can do it, but I'm not sure I have a lot of interest in doing much of that right now. I don't really have the time or money to commit to sweaters and I don't get enough happiness out of the FO most of the time to want to put my resources to that.

As for baby things: Well, the bibs are definitely turning out to be worth it. Those are more mindless than dishcloths though so while they make good movie knitting (watching a movie? what is that? I haven't done that for ages) that isn't exactly a thing I really enjoy knitting all that much. The last baby sweater I finished for E was too small for him by the time I was done with it. The baby sweaters I knit before he was born fit OK, but not that great. It isn't that I won't knit anymore sweaters for him, but I'm not going to feel like a bad knitting mommy if I don't. Hats are worth it. I'll definitely need to make more for this fall and winter.

Then there are socks. I like wearing handknit socks. I have a few people in my life who really like receiving handknit socks. I don't like getting complicated with them though. I love all the beautiful sock patterns out there but while I may experiment with different construction methods, most of the time lace and cables and other stitch patterns are just too fiddly for me to bother with. When I knit socks the WIP ends up in my purse to be mindless road travel knitting or something I can pick up and knit a few rows here or there while waiting. I absolutely hate having to refer back to a pattern for socks. Every time I've tried to knit a sock from a pattern I had to follow it has ended up frogged. Anyway, all this to say that if I'm going to knit socks I want pretty yarn because I'm going to let the yarn do the work, not the stitch pattern.

So what do I really want to knit? I think it is mostly hats and mittens. I have a love affair with mittens and the mitten books to prove it. I've knit quite a few pairs, mostly plain, but I love a good stranded pattern, I just don't always have what it takes to fully commit to knitting a pair. Hats are definitely a fashion accessory for me in the winter and I love how varied the look can be depending on cables or lace or ribbing and the weight of yarn, the colors used, etc. Sure, you can do that with anything you knit, but I think hats are one of those things that you can really play with.

Recently I've discovered I really like knitting these smaller outerwear items out of more rustic wool. The Knitter's Book of Wool just fueled this desire. Where better to get handspun local yarns than a fiber show?

This was my fourth year at the Great Lakes Fiber Show.

My first year, 2006, I was just amazed that my hometown had one of these fiber shows (which I had only recently learned about since I started knitting seriously in the fall of 2005) and I was in the height of my I-like-it-so-I'm-going-to-buy-it yarn buying. I bought 2 huge skeins (500+ yards) of merino superwash wool from Maple Creek Farm and later made the Hourglass Sweater from it. (One of the sweaters I was actually happy with the outcome.) I bought some Noro that became a felted bag. I bought 5 skeins of this bargain black Egyptian cotton yarn. I think I though I would make a tank from it? I'm not sure, I found it really hard to use and almost linen like and it is still languishing in my stash. I'm not sure what else I bought that year, I think that was it judging by a quick look at my pictures from May 2006 on my computer.

In 2007 I returned, at that point I had a better idea of what I wanted. I was going for really nice yarn. Soft yarn with nice dye jobs and some organic cotton yarn I saw the previous year and regretted not buying. I bought 3 skeins of sock yarn that has became 4 pairs of socks, a large skein of bamboo/silk yarn from Briar Rose that became the Tuscany shaw, and the desired organic cotton yarn that eventually became a baby sweater that I'm hoping will fit E this fall.

In 2008 I missed the show because my husband's law school graduation from Northern Illinois was that weekend. I gave him a hard time of that, but of course that was more important. I guess.

Last year I went but I wasn't very focused. My first trimester had really knocked the knitting desire out of me. Then I was thinking "baby" with all my purchases, which is why everything is a shade of green or blue, except that one skein of undyed yarn. At that point I was pretty sure I was having a boy. If you scroll down only a couple blog posts you will see what I bought last year. Some of it has been knit, most of it has not. Actually one of those skeins has become a FO. The sportweight Knitting Notions yarn became the too-small baby sweater for Elijah. The green Wooly Knob yarn is about 3/4 the way to being a pair of fingerless mitts. The blue silky Creatively Dyed yarn has just begun its journey to become a small shawl. So I guess I've knit with half that yarn.

I have to admit I bought more yarn than ever before this year. I think, actually I'm almost certain, I spent less than I ever have before this year.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And now, nearly a year later...

I've been wanting to post for a long time. Every time I have two hands free I am doing something else though. Having a baby hasn't stopped me from reading things online, but it sure has limited the amount I can participate. Honestly, most typing gets directed to Ravelry forums these days about topics like breastfeeding and cloth diapering and chatting with mothers of other November babies about what is going on. Either that or commenting here and there on Facebook.

So last time I posted was right after the Great Lakes Fiber Show last May. It is almost that time of year again! In knitting, I am working on a pair of Sweet Fern Mitts from The Knitter's Book of Wool with the green Wooly Knob yarn I bought last year at the show. They are technically backward because I didn't read the errata until I wanted to check something that didn't seem right in the directions for the right thumb gusset. Then I saw the cables are mixed up so if you knit them like the chart in the book has them they are upside down. They are still cute though, so I'm not going to rip them out.

I get a little knitting done now and then. Since November I've managed to knit a vest that baby E wore once or twice and the other week I finally finished a sweater knit in 6 month size that is too small for him. That is my fault, partly for knitting too slow and partly for not knitting a gauge swatch. I have a feeling the sweater is a little smaller than it should be. I knit that from some sport weight Knitting Notions yarn I bought last year too.

I have to knit up at least some of the yarn I bought at the show last year if I am going to justify buying any more this year.

So yeah, if I haven't posted since May I haven't posted at all about my baby.

My pregnancy went pretty smoothly. I really loved being pregnant until about the last month. Then "the baby" as he was known then was laying in such a position that he was putting pressure on my sciatic nerve and it was pretty painful to walk much at all. Up until mid-October Mark and I were able to go walking almost every day and I loved that so much. I felt it really made a difference (and not in a good way) when I had to cut that back. I was also having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions which made work really interesting some days.

I actually worked up until the day before the birth. It was Friday so I only worked until noon that day. That evening around 7 p.m. I got some signs that I was going to be having a baby soon. I tried to get as much sleep as I could that night, and I did ok until about 5 a.m. and then I couldn't sleep through the contractions any more. I got up around 6 and went out to the livingroom and rocked back and forth on my big excercise ball. That thing was my best friend throughout pregnancy and labor. Then I realized that the contractions were coming regularly at around 3-4 minutes apart and were lasting awhile. I went to wake Mark up but he was getting up anyway. He timed them for awhile and then I sent him out to get a copy of the local paper. I wanted the newspaper from the day my baby was born and I was getting more certain that it was going to be that day. Then it all is kind of a blur. My midwife showed up around 9 a.m. and I was already a few centimeters dilated. I was fully dilated by mid-afternoon. (Oh yeah, I had a planned homebirth, I don't think mentioned that either) The pushing took awhile, but our son was born at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, November 14, 2009. We hadn't found out whether we were having a boy or girl ahead of time, although for most of the pregnancy I suspected the baby was a boy. Mark thought we were having a girl. The midwife also thought we were having a girl based on the heart-rate pattern. When handed me the baby she said something about "her" and I looked down and exclaimed that we didn't have a girl! I will refer to our son as "E" on this blog. We had thought about that name since pretty early on in the pregnancy, we had it as a potential name before we pinned down a girl's name. We were waiting to see if we felt it fit, and it did.

Now that someone is awake. I will return to this, maybe sooner than 11 months from now...