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Extreme Couponers should USE CLOTH!

I just saw a MAN in his 30s with NO CHILDREN on the show Extreme Couponers. Now, while I do find it to be a bit endearing that a dude would take pride in like 15 cases of Newborn Size disposable diapers, I was thinking about how much more he would have saved by just replacing THOSE diapers with CLOTH in his 'stockpile.'

1) It would cost about the same to have a pretty decent stash
2) They could be used on multiple children
3) RESALE! No one is going to buy a poopy disposable diaper. 'Nuff said.

I just thought I would point this out. Being a smart consumer usually pays off more than hoarding. And, when you can save + be green, it's that much cooler.

The one thing I've seen on there that DID actually make me laugh, was a lady who gave birth to twins and said she had the 'ultimate savings' because she only had 1 hospital bill for 2 kids.......

Cleaning the Microwave

Okay, so if you really wanna be green, I guess you wouldn't have a microwave. But, I do. It's very rare (I've only known one couple - ever!) to not own a microwave and more than that, rely pretty heavily upon it.

So, since you use it so often, it gets dirty. And, dear hubby and kiddos do not make it any easier with their lack of covering messy dishes, etc.

I have found the best FREE (well relatively depending on what you pay for water!) and GREEN way to clean it!

Simply fill a bowl with water and heat in your microwave for 4 minutes. Let stand inside ONE minute, and voila! Wipe away the yuckies.

It's the simple magic of CONDENSATION! And, it works better than powerful chemical cleaners AND elbow grease put together!!!

I just did this. I wish I had taken before and afters, because it is amazing. And simple. If it doesn't come completely clean the first time, try again, the whole concept of what is behind the cleaning power is a lot like a sauna. Get it nice & steamy in there & then wipe clean! ENJOY!

How CLOTH happened in THIS house!

It all began a long, long time ago...

(well, it seemed like a long time. About a year really...)

I was pregnant and going to La Leche League meetings, gearing up to breastfeed, and I wanted to be as knowledgeable as I could beforehand. It was also one of the ONLY classes/groups that my area offered for expecting women. We have the 6 week birth classes, a one-day prenatal yoga at the local YMCA, and the LLL. So, I went for it.

I learned that about 10 local moms meet regularly each month in the local LLL chapter. So I went about 4 times. One of the times a mom that is now a good friend was talking about cloth diapers. I felt so silly because in all of my book-time logged, and all of my scrounging for new mama info, I hadn't even considered cloth. Not that I was against I was completely oblivious to the fact that it was even an option. Period. My prego brain had not thought of cloth diapers at all. So, I waddled up to the gal, and asked about it.

"Is it hard?" "Is it gross?" "Is it more time-consuming?" "How do you know what brands to buy?" "I sure wish I could try some before committing!"

And, presto! My friend told me about some of the trial programs that are out there. Jillian's Drawers is the one I used (Changing Diapers, Changing Minds Program). I got several diapers in gender neutral colors (though you can choose boy or girl too) and they were varied in system and style. I got a Snappi, some indian and chinese prefolds, a cover, a pocket, a sleeve, a fitted, a duo, and an AIO--there may have been more, but it's been a while! Check it out at their website if you are curious!

I loved it. So I kept all the dipes. I ended up selling a few down the road. However, it was the perfect way for me to try cloth and all the different options out there, without a huge stash commitment. During this trial, I was really excited to start using cloth, and a friend said HER friend LOVED Thirsties. So, I bought 9 Duo Diapers used. I found out after about a month that Thirsties weren't really for us and our heavy wetter as a MAIN stash dipe. We still have a handful of them, but I then moved on to Fuzzibunz. They have been our 'dad-friendly' diaper! He loves them and they work great at naptime. We must have about 25 of them. We are definitely more of a pocket family.

I have tried various new brands and am always game for reviewing new dipes, especially WAHM-made ones! We have tried lots, and have lots in our stash, including: Blueberry, Busy Bottom, Fuzzibunz, MonkeySnuggles, CuteyBaby, Smartipants, Thirsties, Clotheez, FLIP, BumGenius, HappyHeineys, IttyBittyTutto, Zorb, Kawaii, BumCheeks, Econobum, DiaperRite, Gdiaper, & Kissaluvs. So, we've tried a little bit of everything! But there are so many more to try! I would LOVE to review your diaper! See my PR tab to make it happen!

I really try to get our story out there, because in under a year, we went from not knowing ANYTHING about cloth to reviewing and blogging about it, trying to get our friends to switch, and LOVING it! I won't go so far as to say I am not anxious about potty training to KEEP the Little Bug in cloth, haha, but it makes me excited for #2!

This is about 2/3 of my stash. I have newborns & toddler sizes & trainers that aren't shown. I also have a couple swim dipes not pictured, and about 6 that were dirty.

There are so many great resources about the benefits of CLOTH to your family, the environment, early potty training, financially, and, lets face it--anything that makes the perpetual poo parade more fun & cute is a bonus too, right?

Trying My Hand At Stripping

Again, NOT that, perv! [I'm having a lot of fun with these titles...]

Okay, so after 11+ months of keeping the Little Bugs bottom relatively rash-free in cloth, a quarter-sized very angry rash came out of nowhere today. It is almost perfectly circular, right around the anus, and has some raised white bumps associated. From asking other mamas and doing google searches, I cannot rule out yeast-related rashes, as it kind-of fits the bill. So, today, I will try my hand at stripping---the diapers, of course.

I have decided to use a few drops of Dawn dishsoap in a hot wash and then rinse several times. You are supposed to rinse until there are no bubbles whatsoever left.

It got me thinking that I should have been more diligent! Bad mama! I just purchased some used cloth diapers, and I prepped them like I would a new diaper, but didn't think to strip them in case the prior owner had any yeast problems. The timeframe is right and it makes me wonder--we've never had any rash issues before! Though, Little Bug has been fussy today (not sure if it's teething or because he has an uncomfortable rash!) So, it's the chicken & egg dilemma I guess...

We'll see how this goes.

We DID it!!!

Not that, perv.

We finally got Little Bug to bed in the crib. He started to cry a little when I was carrying him and we got within 6" of the crib, but then we I laid him down, he stopped. I tucked him in, patted his cheek a little, stroked his hair for a second, and turned on his jungle mobile thing. He said "kiki" (his version of 'kitty') and watched the lion & monkey light up and move, I left and I haven't heard a peep. That was 2 hours ago!

Score one for the mama!!!!

You've Got Mail!

Okay, the topic of mail is USUALLY not cloth-related, but sometimes my mailbox IS packed with fluff. I do have 2 swim dipes comin' in the mail, and I just received one in BLACK from Diaper Junction (it's a Diaper Rite and I love it!).

I LOVE getting mail. Emails are pretty sweet when they are not spam or corporate-based. I like good 'old-fashioned' pen-pal type emails. Love them. I'm very verbose, so when I write an email, I generally write a ton, and don't get quite as much back. I'm okay with that, I know most people have overflowing inboxes and are emailing from work on break a lot of the time. So, I truly appreciate every email I get from a real live person!

What's better? REAL physical mail! I think the obsession started when I was about 8 in a week-long summer camp. Every day we'd gather outside the mess hall for mail call. In order to receive your mail, you had to sing. Yup, in front of all the campers. Usually there were at least 5 others with mail, so it wasn't a solo. And, it wasn't that bad--when you're 8, you don't mind singing silly songs publicly...I still don't!

This continued into adulthood when I was at college and got care packages. Then when I moved to Alaska. More care packages, which were worth their weight in treasure, because I had to walk or bike 3 miles round trip to get the mail, and I lived on an island, so most 'goodies' were waaayyy overpriced.

Now, well into my adult years, I still love going to get the mail. I sometimes postpone trips into town and leaving the house so that I do not have to wait until later that night to check my mail. Sad? I mean waiting for mail doesn't make me late for appointments or anything too catastrophic, but I am genuinely bummed on federal holidays where there is no mail!

This year it's been wedding and baby mail. Cards. Diapers. Baby accessories. A crib! Even things that I have paid for are exciting when they come in a big box with my name on it! It's no surprise what's inside...but I'm still thrilled. It's even better when it's an impromptu letter from a friend or my mom.

So, I'm proud to say that I still use and love snail mail. I'm also proud to admit that this simple pleasure in life still keeps me smiling! It's one of those little things that ROCK! I'm excited to get the Little Bug excited about mail too! I recently told grandma that I was really excited for him to send her things like a stick of gum or a friendship bracelet--things that are big-time to kids and adorable to the recipients!

Don't be afraid to smile on the way to the mailbox tomorrow. It Saturday!! That means in most places, YOU'VE GOT MAIL!

No More Rocking Around the Clock

Little Bug is 11 months old. We are still pretty much nursing on demand, which I am totally fine with, but we are having some BIG battles with naps and sleep. He was never really a kid that like to be rocked. Until he was 8 months old. So, it seemed like since nursing to sleep for naps wasn't working, rocking would be a great new solution. 5 minutes in the chair and he'd doze right off. Awesome.

Three months later...not so awesome. Sometimes we've been rocking for an hour or more. He IS tired, that's not the issue. My arm goes to sleep long before he does. And, most times, he blinks awake as soon as I stand up and we have to start all over again. Argh!

We only have him sleep in his crib (up until now) from about 7:30-8:00 for bedtime until around 11:00 or midnight, when he wakes up and squawks, at which point, I bring him into bed with me. I'm still okay with the cosleeping. I'm not okay with spending 3-4 hours a day rocking. I'm starting to feel like a crazy person!


We decided to try to 'crib train' for naps and starting to sleep. We figured 11 months was old enough to fall asleep on his own. Yesterday it took 42 minutes of bawling/screaming. I checked on him and reassured him every 7 minutes for the first stretch, but soon realized it was making it worse. So for the last 20 minutes, as hard as it was for me to listen to (heartbreaking) I left him to cry and wear out. He did. He napped for 45 minutes.

At bedtime I nursed him, read him a story, then said goodnight and put him into the crib. 20 minutes of screaming with only one check-up to lay him back down and pat his back. He slept for 4 hours.

So, hopefully we can continue this trend and we will all be a little happier because of it! Stay tuned!

When do you find the time?

Time. Even the movie-makers are capitalizing on the concept of 'so little time' with that movie that has Justin Timberlake & you trade minutes for is spacing me right now. It seems like especially since becoming a mommy, time has been on my mind a lot!

My time: I have made it a big priority in my life this year to READ to Liam as much as possible but at least every day. There have been a few days where I failed miserably. But, it's one that isn't going to budge. I am a HUGE advocate of early literacy. We live a 1/2 hour from anywhere, so going to town takes time. We are in Mommy and Me and Waterbabies, which equivocates to about 3 hours of week, with drive time, it's more like 5 hours. Then I do Zumba on Mondays for another 2 hour time suck. Fridays, Zumba in the morning, another 2 hours.

My husband's time:
  usually goes to work @ 6, typically when the Bug and I are just stirring, so we only see him occasionally. He gets home between 4:30 and 6:00. So, even though I want his time, he has to divide these 4 precious hours at night between his time demands and our family's! Supper takes about an hour for BOTH of us. So we are left with 3 measly hours to spend at night---any only about an hour and a half of that is with our Little Bug, since he goes to bed around 7:30. If he wants to fish the night-bite on a local lake, he likely won't see the Bug or warm dinner. Not to mention the occasional demands I have like "honey, can you please change my oil and filter?"

Naptime. Ahhh. This is one of my favorite times! I love the Little Bug to death. Like the kind of love that would be dangerous if I were a boa constrictor huggin' a rat. But his glorious naptime is sacred to me. I try not to need a nap during that time myself. This way, I can work on my blog & networking. I can work on my book. I can clean the house...well, maybe someday I'll try that out. I use this time to make phone calls (so that if I need to use even one brain cell during the conversation, it is not battling with concentration on words pertinent to the conversation and trying to block out babbling or crying...) Yes, nap time is my time. But it's short, sometimes only 10 minutes. At best, an hour.

My Parents time.
I always considered my parents young. Until Little Bug came along. Somehow they aged 10 years (don't tell them that!) And my dad is turning 50 next did he get to 50? They are both in decent health, but it still gets me (sadly) thinking about how time with them is marked. Even if it's another 50 years, time is short. They come see my Bug every 2 weeks, even though it's a 2 hour drive. I consider our family lucky that all of our extended family is close-by. So, I've been trying to be less of a brat and more of a grown up. [Even though after the introduction of the 1st grandbaby on BOTH sides of our family, we no longer exist as people individually. We are "Little Bugs Parents." We get no visitors. He's the star!]

Couple Time. This is virtually non-existent. But we're still happy. Happier than before in some ways, as we have a common goal!

So, I'm running out of time. I have to eat before the Bug wakes up. I can't even imagine having a full-time job in addition to parenting! I don't like missing one minute. So kudos to all you working mommies and daddies. I will go back to work, I love working, but not until it works for our family. So take the time. Enjoy your time. Make every minute count. Time flies. Tick-tock. Time is of the essence. The time is many cliches for time!

...worth how many in the bush???

So I'm lubing up the Little Bug after our post-swim shower. I use Aveeno and slather him profusely to help keep him 'baby soft.' And, he's ever-mobile now, so these still sessions are not without protest. So I sing:

Tommy thumbs are up,
and Tommy thumbs are down.
Tommy thumbs are dancing
all around the town.

Dance them on your shoulder,
dance them on your head.
Dance them on your knees,
and tuck them into bed!

This is sung to "I'm a little teapot" and he usually likes it. Especially when I tuck my thumbs under his armpits @ the 'bed' part. This is our lotioning routine. Legs, arms, tummy, head, then back, and lastly, down the back of the dipe--to get rid of the excess lotion on my hands and keep his cheeks soft. (it's just a tiny amount of lotion, but hey, it's our ROUTINE!)

Today, I did this and came out of the dipe with a handful of poo. So I ask....a poo in the hand is worth???? Apparently it's worth another cloth diaper, both of us washing our hands, a crabby diaper change that led to poo on the carpet, and eventually about a half hour later, a clean baby, a clean mom, and a dirty blog entry!

[the real kicker is during 'naked time' before the shower, i saw him standing in the kitchen and there was a little turd in his butt cheeks. This is the closest he's come to actually poo-ing on the floor. hilarious. my life is just full of it lately! But, in a funny, happy way.

Waterbabies = Mom's goin' back to work!

So, around November of 2010 I took my leave from work, to enjoy the remainder of my pregnancy, prepare the house, NAP, etc. I haven't been back full-time since. I've worked a few days (fire dispatching during dry times) and am licensed to substitute teach (though I haven't since my little dude was born), but that's it.

Last week, they called me to go full-time, and the thing about dispatching is it's not 40 hrs a week (which I thought was too much anyway) it's actually more like 60-80 hrs a week, weekends, and holidays. 12 hour days are normal if there are fires burning... So I declined, not wanting to miss a moment of this adventure, watching my son grow and growing with him.

We are single income. So, the thought of having 2 income sources is super tempting. Especially to feed my fluff fetish. But, the reason I became a parent (it was a surprise, true, but what I had planned for future parenting before I was surprised with the Little Bug) was to raise my children, not pay someone else to raise them while I worked. I don't have anything against that lifestyle, I just knew it wasn't what I wanted & Travis agreed.

Then, the best opportunity came knockin'! We are in Waterbabies and I did Water Aerobics while pregnant, so we are pool people! Well, the local instructor got a new job, and wanted me to replace her! Best part --- I can bring my baby with!! Woohoo! So, next Wednesday, we start our 'working' lives, Mama and Little Bug Waterbabies! Monday, Wednesday & Friday I will teach water aerobics and the Bug will come with me when he's not with dad or grandpa. (Trav works just down the road from the pool, so sometimes it is going to be 'bring your son to work for an hour' mode! We are excited that we found something to work for us.

That is why I'm posting this...don't be afraid to hold out, seek out, go against the grain, go against your moms (or MILs) advice, against a doctor----OR ANYONE to find what works for you and your baby! That's the best advice I've ever been given and it works every time.

Just Nod Your Head!

The Little Bug is nodding. Melts my heart.

And it's so fun.... We play silly games all day with nodding now! I ask him lots of questions: "Do you love mama?" *nod* "Do you want to help me put together your cloth diapers?" *nod* "Are you mommy's favorite boy in the whole world?" *nod* "Do you want milk?" *nod*

This is probably more fun for me and him, he hasn't really connected nodding to 'yes' but he knows he gets a positive reaction & that makes him smile so big! :) gotta love the little things....

Coffee Makes the World Go Round!

We were up 45 minutes early today! I should still be thankful that because I co-sleep and let Little Bug night feed, I get a lot of sleep for a mommy of one under one! But, 45 minutes still makes me groggy. I am sooooo glad that I drink coffee again. I was a complete fanatic while prego, and cut it out entirely. So, today, I enjoy a warm cup, freshly ground beans from a friends family farm in Guatemala, loving every drop. Thank you coffee. Thank you.

Frozen Fun

Little Bug, his dad & I went to a hockey game (his first ever!) yesterday. Talk about babies! Every hockey mom, dad, and fan seemed to have a kiddo about the Bug's age. We met a few friends there that also had guys skating. It was a grudge match... I'd like to be able to tell you who won, but I can't. Up until recently, that might have been because of too many beers.... But, as I've learned with so many events this year, it's very hard sometimes to partake in entire events with a little guy in tow.

The game was 4-6, naptime is around 4:30. We made it to 5:15 and had to bail. The main point was to catch up with some college and co-worker friends, so it was still a very fun and successful outing, but it got me and the other moms there thinking about how much your scheduling of life stuff is dictated by the little person in the fam. I try to do the driving into town portion of our outings during naptime. I have to make sure he's fed before leaving, strategically planning when the next feeding will be while we're out and about. (I'm totally comfortable breastfeeding in public, basically wherever works best for me and the Bug, but he's easily distracted.)

It was really neat to see how the Little Bug would react to the cool temps of the arena, the unfamiliar acoustics, the crack of a stick slapping a puck, the sound of blades slicing over the frozen rink, and all the figures zipping back and forth down the ice. He loved it! I was really paranoid that he'd get smoked in the face with a rogue puck, so we moved to a spot right next to the boards, behind the glass. He was able to toddle around there with his buddy (4 days apart in age!) and though the boys were completely and surprisingly uninterested in each other, they loved trying to lick the bar separating panes of glass. Every time we would turn our heads to try and watch a moment of the action, little tongues would taste the pole. Nomnomnom! Ish! Silly busy boys! Minnesota winter fun at its best! It was nice to be in an arena again. Great to see friends and pretty fun to just sit back and watch the little guy explore his world. Even though I'm still trying to convince my inner germophobe that 2 licks probably won't mean certain illness.....

Baby Mama: The Sequel

So, it's no secret, Baby Mama is one of my fave movies. I even watched it to pass time while I was being induced. This past weekend, my husband and Little Bug and I had a garage sale along with 20+ other families in a ballroom of a local hotel, to make some extra cash.

At the end of day #2, a couple came by. The Mama has bright pink hair cut into a bob, with black rimmed glasses, exercise pants, a tank top that is sporting a 8+ months-along belly under it, with a tie-dyed sweatshirt unzipped over top. She also has a one-year old boy on her hip, with no sock on his feet. It's February in MN. Come on! Daddy has black leather lace-up work boots, black jeans, a black underarmor type material shirt, a leather jacket, and a bandana on. He hasn't seen a clean shave in a few days at least, and he's got an evelope of cash in his hand, fresh from the bank.

The couple wander around our tables, looking over all of our 'goodies.' They have so far purchased: a bucket of misc. spoons & spatulas that caused majors headaches for me (jamming the drawer because it was full to capacity) so I piled them all into a bucket and marked it a buck. They also have a large gallon baggie of silverware, a pair of red, yes red cowboy boots we found in our basement, and 2 really nice oak mirrors in their pile. Daddy says "we don't have any mirrors in our apartment. I don't think the last people that lived there like to look at themselves at all! Now, that would be fine if we weren't such good-looking people!" He said this with no humor. He really believes this.

Mama wants an old crib set I have for sale, before I knew Little Bug was a boy! We have it on the 1/2 off table (it was nearing the end & we just really didn't want anything coming back home!) so it was $5. Mama: "Can we get this? It's so cute! It's girlie! I know that we have a crib set already, but this one is girlie!" Daddy: "No! We already have TWO! They are so big & take up so much space!" Mama: "Please! You're not gonna win this one!" Daddy: "No!" Mama: "Fine, you're not getting your pack of smokes then!"

The couple were still arguing as they left with their mirrors to admire themselves, and no crib bedding. I wish I would have had baby socks for sale, I would have given them to the poor little purple-footed, cold-toed boy! What a hoot they were! In that sad kind of way! I don't mean to make judgements, but damned if they weren't complete dopplegangers of Carl & Angie from Baby Mama. Right down to the black leather get-up and the personality! HAHAHAHAHAHA! This made packing the bedding back home totally worth it. [Though looking back, I wish I would have just gifted it to her. The performance was worth $5.]