Family gifts

781. Aaron home early from work, bringing me an iced mocha.

782. My Teva flip-flop tan.

783. Swimming with Aaron and Cedar in my in-laws’ pool (while Genoa cuddled with Grandma).

784. The delicious coolness of water after a hot day.

785. The best fried rice I’ve ever made.

786. Grilled chicken in the fridge (from grilling the night before) so I don’t need to turn on the oven in the heat.

787. Mercies that are new each morning.

788. Cedar snitching chocolate, only to be given away by his “mmm!”.

789. The combination of pink and brown.

790. Bright green baby fuzzy socks.

791. Cedar combing my hair.

792. How much enjoyment Cedar gets out of playing with my spices.

793. My sister-in-law finishing my birthday skirt.

794. Going out to a really nice restaurant with my love on one of our best dates yet.

795. Genoa doing so well at the restaurant and sleeping in the wrap through dinner.

796. A beautiful evening drive home.

797. Partial-freestone peaches (and how much easier they are to process than cling!).

798. Our dehydrator.

799. Cedar playing quietly on his own for part of my very busy day.

800. How much fun my kids are.

801. Half-gallon Mason jars full of fruit I dehydrated myself.

802. Recycled summer skirts.

803. Quiet days spent with my littles.

804. More Blueberry covers (Giraffes, Owls and Messy Hands)!

805. Quinoa salad (made like my Orzo Salad recipe except substituting quinoa cooked in chicken broth for the orzo…so yummy!).

806. Grilled chicken.

807. Chocolate mousse pie with a peppermint JoJos crust.

808. The Emerging Mummy blog.

809. Cedar talking to himself in bed about his new “bike” from Grandpa and Grandma Telian.

810. Wearing Genoa and being able to kiss her and smell her whenever I want.

811. Finally capturing Genoa’s smiles on video.

812. Talking with Aaron about our family.

813. What an amazing Daddy my love is.

814. Looking forward to time spent with good friends.

815. Cedar and Genoa watching each other while they both nurse.



The obligatory cloth diaper post

Read almost any green mama-blog and eventually you’re sure to find a post about cloth diapering.  I’m sure there are many people who wonder how on earth you would find enough to write about on such a subject…but believe me, there’s plenty and other cloth diapering mamas just eat it up!  I, for one, love reading about other mama’s cloth diapering systems and what they do and don’t like…so I’ve decided to write my own post on it.  (If you’re not a cloth diapering mama, and therefore not interested, I won’t be offended if you totally skip this post. *smile*)

Unlike a lot of others that I’ve read about, we didn’t really have a “journey” to cloth diapering. Before I was married, the friends I was living with in New Zealand used cloth diapers and even though I had heard of cloth diapers before (supposedly I wore them for most of my babyhood), that was the first place where I actually used some.  It became just matter of course to use them and after I was married and found out we were expecting our first, there wasn’t even any question that we would use them (obviously after I made sure Aaron was on board too).

There was then the question of which cloth diapers we would use and that’s when I discovered the myriad of options out there.  I spent a lot of my morning sickness down time researching all the different types and brands.  I eventually decided on using the basic system of prefolds and covers (which I was partial to since that’s what we had used in NZ), and if need be, having something a little easier to use for when we were out.  The basics of this system hasn’t changed in the eighteen months that we’ve been cloth diapering (and now we have two in cloth diapers…but we’re hoping to start potty training Cedar in the next several months), but the specifics have somewhat.

What I Use

As I stated earlier, we mostly use prefolds and covers.  Before Cedar was born, I bought two dozen each of infant and premium Indian prefolds.  For covers, we were going to use Thirsties Duo Wraps, so I bought six each of Size One and Size Two.  I loved that the Duos were a two-size system meaning that I only needed to buy two sizes (which are adjusted using snaps) from birth to potty-training instead of three or four.  Saved us money and simplified our system.  The Size One Duos are supposed to fit up until nine months, but due to his chubbiness, Cedar grew out of his at around four or five months.  This wasn’t really a problem as he just started wearing the Size Twos and now, at 18 months, he’s still in the middle snap setting for those.

Up until a couple months ago, we loved the Duos…they did really well at containing messy diapers, were easy to use, etc.  But then I noticed that the Size Twos, which we had been using for about a year, were starting to leak some when wet.  Upon inspection, I discovered the the waterproofing layer on the PUL (the waterproof material that most diaper covers are made of) was starting to come apart…thus the leaks.  This problem only got worse as time went on and we knew we’d  need to get more covers soon as these definitely weren’t doing their job!  We had hoped that the Duos would last longer than just a year, so we decided to try another two-size cover (which, interestingly enough, I had come very close to buying when I was originally starting our stash) and see how it held up.  We got our first couple Blueberry Coveralls about two months ago and we love them!  Obviously only time will tell if they hold up better than the Duos (ask me in about ten months!), but the PUL they’re made of seems thicker and of better quality so I have hopes that they’ll last longer.  And, they have some really cute prints…giraffes, anyone?!

(September 2013 update: Because Genoa ended up wearing the Size One Duos for much longer than Cedar did, by the time Avila was born, we needed some new little covers.  This time around I ended up trying Swaddlebees/Blueberry Capri covers and loved them!  The Capris are also a two-size cover, but seem to fit a tad trimmer than the Coveralls.  Right now our stash is a mixture of Thirsties Duos, Blueberry Coveralls and Blueberry Capris,)

While we use prefolds and covers the majority of the time, I am not a fan of trying to Snappi a prefold on a squirming baby on the front seat of a car, so I wanted an easier option for when we were out and about.  For Cedar’s first year, we used the GroVia (then, GroBaby) shell and soaker combo and really liked them.  However, even though they’re touted to fit from birth to potty-training, Cedar outgrew them at about a year and so we needed to look for a different system.  I wanted something  that we could use with the covers we already had and so we tried the Thirsties Stay Dry Duo Insert.  So far (in the six months or so that we’ve used them), they work great and helped to streamline our system even more.

For dealing with wet or dirty diapers while we’re out, I mainly use our Bummis Fabulous Wet Bag and it works very well.  We’ve never had a problem with it leaking wetness into the diaper bag.  We did have a problem with it leaking smells though (and honestly, I’ve never seen a wet bag that completely seals them in!) and so I recently bought  a wee-be-gone patch to try.  Supposedly these patches absorb the compound that cause the ammonia-like smell in wet diapers.  It sounded a little far-fetched, but after using it for several outings…it actually works!  I honestly was very surprised, but am very thankful since I didn’t like my entire diaper bag smelling like a wet diaper!

For night-time diapering, we used to use some FuzziBunz One-Size pocket diapers, but then Cedar started having issues with raw spots from those (I’ve never heard of anyone else having that problem with these diapers though and before that happened, we loved them for night-time).  Now we use a bumGenius Stay-Dry Doubler inside of the prefold/cover combo and it works great.  YAY for streamlining even more!  (Note: because the doubler can be bulky, I didn’t start using it in Genoa’s night-time diaper until a couple days ago, when she was about eight weeks old.)

In my opinion, using cloth wipes when you cloth diaper is pretty much a no-brainer.  I love the convenience of being able to toss everything in the diaper pail instead of trying to fish the wipes out of a messy diaper and figuring out where to dispose of them.  For two in diapers, washing every other day, we have two dozen bumGenius bamboo terry wipes, just under three dozen wipes a friend made for me out of some bamboo double terry material and six extra heavy duty homemade ones.

Use and Care

For us, using cloth diapers is quite simple.  We keep prefolds, covers, doublers, wipes and liners (to put between the baby and the diaper if we’re using a zinc-based diaper cream) in two square baskets on the top of our dresser.  The basket with the wipes in it also has an extra wide-mouth quart-sized jar that we keep filled with water with a squirt of baby wash in it.  If you need a wipe, just grab one, dunk it in the jar and you’re good to go.  All wet or soiled diapers and wipes go into our diaper pail: a plastic, lidded trash can lined with a nylon laundry sack.  Every other day (it used to be every three days before Genoa was born), everything (including the laundry sack) gets thrown into our front-loading washing machine.  I do a cold wash, and then a hot wash with Nellie’s Laundry Soda.  (After a progression from soap nuts to Rockin’ Green to Nellie’s…it’s what we’ve been using for awhile and I love how clean it gets the diapers.)  On sunny days, I try to hang the diapers outside to dry…they get sun-bleached and smell so good when they come off the line.  The prefolds are usually pretty stiff from drying outside, but I just toss them into the dryer on low (since you don’t actually need the heat, just the tossing) for about 15 minutes and they’re much softer.  If I’m not hanging everything outside, I usually try to dry the covers on our shower curtain rod so that the PUL stays in better condition longer.

If a baby is exclusively breastfed, dirty diapers can go straight into the diaper pail.  However, once the baby starts eating solids, the poo needs to be rinsed off the diapers.  In New Zealand, we just rinsed the diapers in the toilet by flushing it.  However, if we were going to use cloth diapers, Aaron really wanted a diaper sprayer…and I’m so glad we have it!  Certainly not a cloth diapering necessity, but if you’re planning on cloth diapering several babies through toddlerhood, it’s a definite time-saver.

This isn’t specifically related to cloth diapers, but I wanted to put a plug in for my absolute favourite diaper cream ever…Graham Gardens’ Tailfeathers Zinc Cream!  Both Cedar and Genoa have really sensitive skin and therefore develop diaper rashes quite easily.  I went through several different zinc-based creams (they were the only kind that would work), not really liking different aspects of them.  For awhile I really liked Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment, but it wouldn’t kick a particularly stubborn rash that Cedar had so I went looking again…and found Tailfeathers.  It’s rather expensive for a diaper cream ($16 for a 5 oz. tub), but, in my opinion, worth every penny!  One of my favourite features about it (other than the fact that it’s ended up helping heal every rash I’ve put it on) is that it’s in a tub…so much easier to get just the amount you need and you can use every last bit of it…something that doesn’t happen when you have diaper cream in a tube (and one of my major issues with the Burt’s Bees one).  So anyway…it’s not as well-known as other diaper creams, but I highly recommend it!

Well, this is turning out to be one of the longest posts I’ve ever written…and I don’t really have much more to say about cloth diapers anyway…other than…I love them!

The one thing I know

It had been quite the morning. I was frustrated with my kids, I wasn’t very nice to my husband.  I already had a bad attitude and my guilt from being unloving to those I love best wasn’t helping it at all.  I had music playing in the background while I went about the rest of my morning, hoping that would help me to feel better.  My iTunes was on shuffle and all of a sudden, the Sara Groves’ song “The One Thing I Know” came on.  I absentmindedly sang along and then was brought up short when I realized what I was singing.

This is the one thing I know
You said You won’t let me go
You said You won’t let me go
You’ve done a good work in me
And You won’t quit till I’m free

This brought to mind Philippians 1:6: “...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  Yes, I have bad days and I sin and unfortunately sometimes even hurt those I love dearly, but…  My Father is doing a good work in me, and He won’t stop.  And even if I can’t always see the results of the good work, I know they’re there, somewhere, because He promised. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Of baby clothes and waterfalls and things

(Due to a very busy Monday, this has become a Tuesday gift list…)

731. Summer evenings.

732. Sitting on the porch steps with my love and our babies.

733. Genoa’s expressive little face.

734. Leftover strata for supper.

735. Getting through a mound of paperwork.

736. Fresh herbs in a glass jar.

737. The mixing aromas of basil and dill.

738. Aaron and I getting our best time yet in a joint crossword puzzle.

739. Homemade chocolate pudding.

740. Freshly-squeezed mint lemonade.

741. Genoa’s silent laughs.

742. Cedar, leaning on the island counter, watching me work, after pushing a chair over and climbing up on it all by himself.

743. Garbled toddler sentences…

744. …peppered with random “woof, woof”s.

745. Cedar, of his own accord, recognizing and pointing out Aaron in an old family picture (without a beard and with very short hair).

746. Cedar doing so well with sitting quietly for Bible time…and sometimes wanting to read more.

747. Getting all the kids’ clothes, both stored and in use, reorganized, and developing a system I like for keeping them organized.

748. All the kids’ clothes that we’ve been given.

749. Being able to pass the extras on to others with new little ones.

750. Remembering when Cedar was a little baby…memories prompted by going through all our boy baby clothes.

751. Cedar putting his finger on Genoa’s lips and shushing her when she was fussing.

752. Going on a little family trip to Yosemite.

753. Hikes where each of us is wearing a baby.

754. Using and loving our new Ergo.

755. How my amazing Teva flip-flops can go anywhere…even over snowy trails.

756. My “crazy mommy skirt”.

757. How green and lush Yosemite Valley still was.

758. Amazing waterfalls.

759. People-watching.

760. Genoa’s new bouncy seat.

761. Children’s clothing hangers and the organization that they help to bring about.

762. Re-re-re-re-reading L.M. Montgomery.

763. Stone fruit season.

764. Cheap(er) no-spray fruit.

765. Carl Medearis’ Speaking of Jesus.

766. Making sourdough English muffins for the requested Eggs Benedict Father’s Day breakfast.

767. Meeting new people…hopefully to become friends.

768. Tomato, bacon and avocado salad.

769. Aaron and Cedar “swimming” for the first time this year.

770. Hugs from my little guy.

771. Cute swim diapers.

772. Cedar kissing Genoa so much.

773. Gingham little girl summer clothes.

774. Aaron getting groceries for me at Trader Joe’s and Costco.

775. Sara Groves’ music.

776. Little bites taken out of numerous occupants of a bowl of apricots while Mommy wasn’t looking.

777. How much Cedar loves peaches.

778. Genoa’s baby acne finally clearing up.

779. Aaron being able to take off work so we could go and sign Genoa’s birth certificate.

780. That He “gently lead(s) those who are with young” (Isaiah 40:11d).

Beginning of summer gifts

686. Shared meals.

687. Celebrating National Chocolate Ice Cream Day.

688. Sitting in the middle of the living room floor with Aaron, trying to get Genoa to smile.

689. Genoa randomly unlatching from nursing and almost smiling at me.

690. Nursing cuddles with both my babies.

691. The taste of raw honey.

692. Making challah for my love.

693. Cedar helping me make quesadillas for lunch and braid the challah.

694. My wraps allowing me to get stuff done despite Genoa wanting to be held all. the. time. and waking up if she’s laid down.

695. A yummy variation of our brussel sprout recipe.

696. How a walk to the mailbox is an exciting expedition when you’re a toddler.

697. Genoa starting to interact more and smile when she’s awake.

698. Going out for pizza with some friends that are visiting.

699. Both kids doing so well during our time at the restaurant.

700. Trader Joe’s Fire-Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers on buttered toast with goat cheese.

701. Little dimpled elbows.

702. Hanging laundry outside in the cool of mid-morning.

703. Genoa’s chubby cheeks.

704. Aaron calming Genoa down after she had been fussy all day.

705. Cedar “spying” on me (i.e. pushing open the curtain) while I was taking a shower.

706. Fresh blueberries.

707. The evenings being warm enough to have the windows open.

708. Genoa’s early morning hiccups stopping the instant I prayed for them to.

709. “Good morning, Mommy” baby smiles.

710. Cedar’s fascination with the dump truck delivering dirt for landscaping.

711. Genoa laughing at the ceiling fan (just like her brother used to!).

712. Getting the shower and tub scrubbed for the first time since before Genoa was born.

713. Dollar Days at the local used kid’s clothing store.

714. My sisters being here for Genoa’s baby shower.

715. Erin’s (my middle sister) amazing fruit arrangements.

716. So many sweet girly clothes.

717. A green ERGO.

718. Wallace’s Lists.

719. A barbeque with family and friends.

720. A breakfast feast of strata, sourdough cinnamon rolls and more.

721. Checks in the mail.

722. My new lawn/front yard.

723. Doing hair and sister talks.

724. Genoa napping so much better.

725. A husband who is an excellent father to his very strong-willed son (and to his little daughter too!).

726. Being able to pay our bills.

727. A big tan dimpled hand holding a small white dimpled hand.

728. Aaron giving me a “Summer Lovin'” Trader Joe’s sticker.

729. Ceiling fans.

730. Both my babies’ big blue eyes.


Counting again

651. Sweet fellowship.

652. Cedar playing so nicely with our friends’ little girl.

653. Couscous.

654. Parmesan garlic chicken.

655. A random drive and road-side picnic on one of Aaron’s days off.

656. Honey and peanut butter sandwiches.

657. Sweeping mountain vistas.

658. Cedar’s daily-expanding vocabulary.

659. Genoa sleeping with her hands curled under her face.

660. Grace for hard days.

661. How cleansing a good cry feels.

662. Discovering SunSurfer.

663. Cedar graduating from his highchair to a booster seat.

664. Aaron and Cedar working on my mom’s birthday present.

665. God’s protection of Cedar when he stepped on a nail, and then later, fell down some concrete steps.

666. Hearing about my in-laws’ trip to Hawaii.

667. Mini muffins.

668. Getting ready to go to my first Mother-Daughter event with Genoa…a Rose Garden Tea Party Brunch.

669. Early morning snuggles in bed with my babies after Daddy leaves for work.

670. Our Father’s constant provision.

671. Jiving (bank accounts) and discovering some money we didn’t know we had.

672. Cedar’s enjoyment in watching “Kipper”.

673. Finding one of Cedar’s board books in with my cookbooks.

674. Cedar trying to share his toys and books with Genoa.

675. Tandem nursing.

676. My little helper dusting my pots and pans.

677. Cedar putting the end of a teething necklace in his ear like an ear bud.

678. Going to bed early.

679. My mother-in-law’s skillet apple pie with freshly whipped cream.

680. Rearranging the living room.

681. The quiet of afternoon naps for a fussy baby and a whiny toddler.

682. “Sleep Sound in Jesus”.

683. Baby burps.

684. Grace to get through what was not one of my kids’ better days.

685. Baby sundresses.


The riches in being a mommy to two

I don’t what it is about having more than one child, but now that I have two kids, I feel so much more like a mama than when it was just Cedar.  Not that I didn’t feel like his mommy before Genoa was born, and not that women who only have one child are any less of a mother than those with more, but for me, something changed.  Maybe it’s the fact that I now have a toddler I can interact with more (and who calls me “mama”!) and I’m not just a woman taking care of a baby.  It’s probably the fact that it’s finally sinking in now…almost eighteen months after I first gave birth, I’m now finally realizing that I’m a mom!  (Very probable since I sometimes still can’t believe that I’m actually married and it’s been over two years since that happened!)

Whatever it is…I love it!  I’m absolutely loving being a mommy to two.  It definitely has its hard times…like when both kids are crying at once and you only can do so much, or when you feel like all you do all day is nurse and change diapers (because yes, Cedar is still nursing and still in diapers…though we’re hoping to work on the latter soon).  But the joys definitely outweigh the hard times.  I love being able to enjoy that milky scent of infant and have Genoa fall asleep on my chest…and at the same time being able to watch Cedar learn to walk and talk and experience so many new things.  I feel so rich…and I can imagine the riches only get deeper as you have more children.

Inspired by another mommy friend, I just finished re-reading Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.  The last time I had read it, I was very single and while I thought it was a good book, I didn’t relate to it much.  Now, being married and having two little ones, I was so encouraged by it…definitely a book that I’ll have to make into regular re-reading in this time of my life.  In it I found several very good quotes that related to the riches of being a mother to more than one child…

[After the birth of her second child] “How rich I felt when I heard Ernest’s [her husband] voice, as he replied to a question asked at the door, proclaim, ‘Mother and children all well.’  To think that we who thought ourselves rich before are made so much richer now!”

“Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worthy all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ’s name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings have left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother’s heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her lifelong prayers!  Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wonderously blest!”