Monday, December 19, 2011

New/Old Dresser!

I have been working on refinishing a dresser for the last few months and I finally finished it!  

 Straight from the Habitat Re-Store


 Lightly sanded

It had busted tracks, which John replaced for me!

3 coats of spray-on primer (took 4 cans)

Hardware holes were filled with putty and sanded.  Drawers got one coat of primer.

Vintage drawer pulls from Etsy.  They are a sweet pink, my phone camera just couldn't do them justice!

New drawer slides.

Finished product! 

It is in the corner of Paisley's room and it is storing all of her diapers, in the top 3 drawers and her pants, socks and accessories in the bottom drawer.  

I did most of the work myself, John replaced the drawer tracks and drilled the holes for the new hardware.  The drawers are covered in fabric with about 5 coats of Mod Podge over them.  It was a simple process.  Paint on the Mod Podge, Lay on a piece of precut fabric, let dry, then add 5 coats of Mod Podge, allowing to dry between coats!  So easy!  

Monday, December 12, 2011

An important part of who I am...

I am a horse person.  For better or worse, it is part of who I am.  I have always loved horses and started taking riding lessons at age 6.  I rode school horses and leased a wonderful mare until my 11th birthday, when I got my own horse.  Eventually, that horse was sold and I took sporadic jumping lessons on school horses.  I played Polo in college and worked for a short time for a professional polo player as his groom and exercise rider.  After graduation I got a young Arabian horse that I trained myself and competed in Endurance races.  Endurance racing is where you ride 50 miles of trails in one day.  It generally took us between 7-10 hours.  What a fun sport!  

Paisley joining our family has left me with a lot less time to devote to horses.  I have since sold my competition horse and am taking weekly jumping lessons on school horses.  I am having a blast riding with different trainers and learning on different horses!  I have also gotten an update that the horse I sold is doing great in his new home.  He is competing and performing better than I could have hoped!

Paisley, all dressed up for the Derby

 Riding a few months after Paisley was born

Trail riding when Paisley was a few months old

Our first Endurance Race in 2009!

Trail riding

Our second Endurance Race in 2010

Sabumi is an incredible athlete!

It rained the whole time we did our 3rd Endurance Ride, 
so this is the best/only photo we have!

4th Endurance Ride

Sabumi, looking fit to race 100 miles in two days!

Coming in to the check point

Happy on the back of a horse!

We are always walking in these pictures as it is customary to walk in from the trail to the check points to allow the horse to recover before being examined by the vet.

Our 7th, and last, endurance ride.  I am 6 week pregnant with Pasiley!


This is some of our initial training in 2008



John and I enjoying nature together

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cloth Diapers- What about newborns?

Ok, I know I said that One-Size diapers are... one-size, but that was a bit misleading.  Most one-size diapers don't actually begin to fit until about 10ish pounds.  With exception to the GroVia Hybrids, which fit around 8ish pounds.  

So, what to do for those sweet little newborns?  Well, they need their own NB stash before they grow into their OS diapers.  You can expect to spend about $100-200 for a newborn stash.  However, they can be found gently used and can easily be resold.  

Most people do prefolds and covers for their NB.  We did fitteds and covers.  The fitteds we chose were made from prefolds and were sort of a prefold/fitted hybrid.  We got them from Green Mountain Diapers. They were great.  The elastic at the legs held in most of the runny EBF poop and what did leak out was contained in one of the two gussets in the waterproof covers. 
workhorsewashed.jpg


NB sized covers have an umbilical scoop and are teeny-tiny!  We only had two covers and should have had at least 4.  We loved the Bummis SuperBrite covers.  We did have a few NB AIO diapers, which we used while the covers were being washed. Paisley was a super soaker and pooped every time she ate.  So, we were doing laundry daily for a few weeks.  Luckily, John is a super-husband and super-dad and he took care of all of the laundry for the first 2-3 weeks while he was home on 'paternity leave'!  
Bummis SuperBrite over a Workhorse Fitted from GMD

Once Paisley started to grow a bit, she was able to fit into her GroVia Hybrids.  After that, she could fit into size small prefolds and covers.  We started phasing out the NB diapers, and before we knew it, she was in one-size diapers.  I think she was fitting into her one-size diapers around 2 or 3 months.  
 In a GroVia Hybrid at 6 days

In a GroVia Hybrid at about 3 months

If you don't want to invest in a NB stash, there are lots of rentals available.  
Itsy Bitsy Bums offers one for just $50!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cloth Diapers- the details

HOW MANY???
Generally, it is best to wash your cloth diapers every other day to  prevent things from becoming stinky.  I keep an open pail, rather than a lidded pail which also cuts down on stinkies.  

In order to wash ever other day, you need 24 diaper changes.  You can get to this number in any combination of styles.  You could have 24 AIO (all-in-one), or 12 AIO and 12 pockets.  For Hybrids and prefolds with covers, you only need 24 of the absorbent part and about 6 covers/shells.  

Persoanlly, I have 10 AIO, 8 pockets, 3 hybrid snap ins with 1 shell, 3 prefolds with 2 covers, and 9 fitteds with 1 pair of wool pants.  Generally, I alternate between the AIO and Fitteds with wool pants.  John generally grabs the hybrids or pockets as he prefers velcro.  The three prefolds and 2 covers almost never get used.  However, the covers are sized to fit up to 40(!!!) pounds, so I am hanging on to them.

Having a larger 'stash' keeps things in rotation and reduces wear, which extends the life of Paisley's diapers.  

HOW TO WASH???
Our washing routine is quite simple.  We keep the diaper pail in the hallway between the door to Paisley's room and the laundry room.  We use a pail liner from Blueberry in our diaper pail to keep things clean.  When it is about 3/4 full, or every other day, I simply dump in the washer and start over!  

Now that Paisley eats solids, we plunk the poop into the toilet, but when she was EBF (exclusively breast fed) her poop was water soluble and went straight into the pail and then to the washer. 

So, what does our wash routine look like?  Cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse, cold rinse, dry.  Confused?  Don't be!  First, we run everything through a cold rinse cycle to get most of the pee out of the diapers so that you aren't washing in dirty pee water.  Then, once things have rinsed and spun, I start a hot wash, add soap, and hit the button for 'extra rinse'.  The extra rinse makes sure all of the soap residue is gone.  I do this for her clothing laundry too.  

We use Charlie's Soap for all of our laundry.  If is free of fragrance, optical brighteners, and other yucky stuff.  We really like it!  

HOW TO LEAVE THE HOUSE???
Leaving the house with cloth diapers is easy!  We keep a 'wet bag' in our diaper bag and stuff in as may diapers as we think we will need.  We always over pack.  When we change a diaper, we just put the soiled diaper into the wet bag and empty it into the diaper pail when we get home. 

HOW MUCH DOES ALL OF THIS COST???
Cloth diapering does take a bit of up-front investing, but it will save big time in the long run!
Prefolds are about $24/dozen
Waterproof covers are $10-$15 each
Hybrids are about $15 per shell and $8 per insert
Pockets run about $18-20 each
AIO diapers are about $24 each
Fitteds are about $25 each
and Wool can range from $25 to $100 or more for custom knitted long pants

So, you can reasonably diaper a baby from birth to potty training for around $100 on the low range to several hundred dollars on the high range.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cloth Diapers-Overview of styles

Using cloth diapers has become quite popular and mainstream!  At first glance, it can seem quite overwhelming!  I hope to give an overview of styles, brands, uses, and care that will ease your search for the perfect diapering solution!  

Prefolds and waterproof covers- Prefold diapers are rectangular cotton, layered and stitched together.  They are very absorbent and affordable.  They can be folded and pinned or 'snappied' onto the baby and covered with a waterproof cover that will snap or velcro on.  Prefolds can also be tri-folded and laid into the cover and then put on the baby in one step.  The waterproof cover can be reused until it gets poop on it, then it needs to be washed.  I love Green Mountain Diapers for prefolds.  They are the highest quality out there and come in many sizes to fit your growing baby.  As for covers, you can choose sized covers for a more trim fit or you can get adjustable 'one-size' covers that grow with baby.  For sized covers, I love Bummis SuperBrite and for OS covers, I love Blueberry Coveralls.  

All-In-Two/Hybrid- A hybrid system uses a shell with a snap-in soaker pad.  The soaker pad is removed when wet and the shell is reused with a new soaker pad snapped in.  You can reuse the shell until it smells soiled or gets poop on it, then it needs to be washed.  This system is easy to use and travel with, but does cost more than the prefold and cover system.  A great brand for Hybrids is GroVia.  They are a One-Size diaper and they fit Paisley when she was only 6 days old.  They probably would have fit from day one, but we waisted until her umbilical stump fell off and healed a bit before using OS diapers.  

Pocket diapers- The feature that sets pocket diapers apart is that they put a 'stay-dry' fabric between the baby and he absorbent part of the diaper.  The diaper is constructed out of a waterproof fabric shell, lined with a wicking material.  There is an open 'pocket' between these two layers where you stuff something absorbent.  Most pocket diapers come with microfiber inserts.  However, I dislike microfiber and replace them with prefolds as my 'stuff-ins'.  I love BumGenius pocket diapers.  They are well made, one-size, and have either velcro or snap closures.  

All-In-One diapers-  This style of diaper is very similar to disposables in that there is no folding, stuffing, or snapping.  You just put the diaper on the baby, attach the velcro or snaps, and go!  They are generally made of organic cotton on the inside, which allows baby to feel wet when she needs a diaper change.  These diapers are trim and absorbent.  Some people complain that they take too long to dry, but I have not found that to be the case.  My favorite brands are GroVia AIO and the BumGenius Elemental.  They are both one-size with snap closures.

Fitteds and wool-  This is a bit more of an 'advanced' diapering system.  It is also the most spendy.  A fitted diaper is an all cotton diaper that has elastic at the legs and waist and snaps or is pinned closed.  It is NOT waterproof and needs a cover.  Generally fitted diapers are designed to be super absorbent and are quite bulky.  They are a popular night time choice when paired with wool.  Wool is a great fabric as a waterproof cover.  As a fabric, it is absorbent, but each fiber is not absorbent.  This allows moisture to evaporate faster than it absorbs.  So, you can put it under PJs and it will keep baby's clothes and sheets dry!  It is also antimicrobial.  It is breathable in summer and insulating in winter.  A few popular brands for fitteds are BuBuBeBe and SustainableBabyish.  Wool is easily found on Etsy or HyenaCart.  WoollyBottoms, Kangadu, Disana, and Sloomb all make good wool.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Family pictures!!!

Uncle Gabe!!!



Our niece

 Our nephew

Aunt Patty!

 Great Grandpa Lee!



Grandpa!




Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unconditional Parenting

I just finished reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn and would like to share a bit about it with you!  

This book challenges the traditional methods of punishment and strives to show that there is a better way to relate with children and babies.  

The premise is that children NEED unconditional love.  
Coercion and punitive punishments chip away at the love a child feels.  

Spanking, time-out, and positive reinforcement are all considered to be on the same end of the spectrum while love, support, and respect are on the other end.  

Spanking is violent, painful, and aggressive.  It does nothing but teach a child to fear consequences.  A child no longer cares about WHY he acted the way he did, but now only cares that he is about to be punished.  

Time-out has a similar effect.  Time-out just doesn't seem to work, from what I have seen.  Children under  about age 7 just do not have the ability to put all of the pieces together from behavior, how it effects others, to punishment.  There is a serious disconnect between the action and the punishment.  

Positive reinforcement has been shown in several studies to take the joy out of playing.  One example in the book was when a child is putting a puzzle together and receives positive reinforcement, they tend to stop playing with the puzzle when 'time is up' where as, children who were not told 'good job', etc. would continue to play when the 'experiment' was over.  The same reaction was found in older children when they were being graded on an assignment vs. doing the assignment without mention of grades.  

What kind of child do you want to raise?  
A free-thinking, moral, respectful, creative, empathetic individual?  
How do your actions RIGHT NOW foster these values?

The whole idea is that rather than focusing on 'doing to' the child, we would be better off 'working with' the child.  

Rather than spanking or time-out for pinching their friend or stealing a toy, perhaps it would be more beneficial to explain how their actions effected their friend and ask them what they could do differently in the future.  

Creating a sense of morality and empathy is so important and can easily be frozen out by raising a child who is to focused on 'what will happen to me if I...(break a rule, hurt my friend, talk back, etc.)'.  

On the subject of positive reinforcement, it does seem silly to never praise a child.  However, is it really that difficult of a shift to go from saying "good job!" to saying "you got the spoon into your mouth all by your self!"? The subtle switch is in showing the child that you are aware of their accomplishments without framing them as being 'good' or 'bad'.  This saves the child from developing a need for approval.  

I think that we all want children who act morally, are empathetic, and care about other people.  In explaining the consequences of their actions, you can begin to show them HOW to think about other people.  Eventually, the hurt they cause others will be punishment enough and they will become internally motivated to do good for others.   

A big part of the theory of Unconditional Parenting is setting children up for success.  Having unrealistic expectations for a young child, followed by increasingly more aggressive punishments doesn't teach the toddler how to express himself.  It only breeds fear and frustration.  A good example of this is requiring a toddler to sit through a family dinner.  When they begin to fidget, threaten them with time-out.  When they fuss in time-out, give them a spanking.  Wouldn't an easier approach be to understand that a 2 year old can only sit still for so long?  Perhaps when he begins to fidget, you can set him up with toys to play with and avoid the whole punishment in the first place.  

In this same thread, Waldorf teachers create their daily rhythms to follow the 'inhale' and 'exhale' activities of a child.  Inhale activities are fine motor activities that require much thought and stillness.  Exhale activities are more physical and could include free-play or running outside.  Perhaps when a young child is 'misbehaving', they are actually trying to tell you that they are in an 'exhale' period of the day but the activity they are performing is an 'inhale' activity.  

What this all boils down to, for my family, is that we need to treat our child with respect, have realistic expectations, and treat her in ways that grow a child into a wonderful adult.