Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'll miss this


Elliot woke up from his morning nap yesterday to a pleasant surprise- Daddy had come home for lunch!

... and he was taking a nap, too!!

So he decided to cuddle up on the couch with him for awhile.


But soon it was time for him to go back to work.

Where did he go?


The thought that he might do this, look and wait and wonder where Daddy went and when he's coming back, breaks my heart into a million pieces. Before, when Aaron deployed, I only had to worry about myself. Now, I'm not the only one getting left behind.

... and let's not forget about THIS little guy, either. He won't even meet his father until he is probably 6+ months old!

You know what I'll miss the most? The simple things. Watching Aaron and Elliot cuddle and play and laugh together. Doing things as a family. Just being together, even if we aren't doing anything at all. Nothing makes me happier.

All the more reason to enjoy our last weeks, days, and minutes together! :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

getting ready for Sully

One of the wonderful things about having another baby boy (other than the fact that Elliot will have a brother so close to his age to grow up with!) is the fact that I don't really have much to buy.

However, there are a still a few things that I need want and several things to do. In fact, for some silly reason, this pregnant woman was up from 3-5am last night thinking about all the things I want to buy or have done before Aaron leaves. I had woken up to pee {oh the joys of being pregnant} and then, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not shut my brain off and STOP THINKING! It suddenly hit me that I'll be 34-35ish weeks pregnant when he leaves, and if Sullivan is anything like his brother, he could be born soon after that!

So, I decided to organize my thoughts into a blog post.

Shopping for Sully:

- new infant seat. This one isn't a NECCESSITY, because we kept Elliot's. BUT it is a little dirty and smells mildew-y from our shed. It has also been banged up on a plane a couple of times so I think I'd like a fresh start for Sullivan.
Graco SnugRide, pasadena {$71 @ Walmart}

- sling. I wore Elliot all the time as an infant and plan to do the same with Sully. I mostly used the bjorn with Elliot but would like to give slings a try while Sully is tiny.
Balboa Baby sling, lola {$59.99 @ Target}

- blanket(s). Elliot has recently grown very attached to "his blankie" so I want to get a couple special ones for Sully, too. :)
Birds in Bermuda minky blanket with satin trim {prices vary by size @ My Wooby and Me etsy shop}

Lime green chevron baby blanket {$36.00 @ Giggle Six Baby etsy shop.}

- more minky burp cloths I couldn't live without these when Elliot was small and spitting up all the time, so I want to add a few more to my collection.

minky burp cloths {$6.50 each @ Kemaily etsy shop.}

"Little Brother" onesies.

little brother onesie & big brother shirt {$18.00 @ Easy Edges etsy shop.}

-Disposable diapers. Cloth diapering has been going so well for us lately that we actually don't have any sposies in the house. I want to stock up on a couple bags for Elliot {for babysitters while I'm in the hospital} and a couple boxes of Newborn and size 1 for Sully. I don't plan on cloth diapering Sullivan until he is at least a few weeks old and until he fits into one-size diapers. Elliot should still be in cloth during that time, but I don't think I'll want to tackle cloth diapering TWO babies until I've gotten the hang of just caring for two babies in general and established a good routine. Who knows though, I might change my mind!

-Glider. For reading to & rocking Elliot in, and also for breastfeeding Sully. Haven't picked out a specific one yet.

-Nursing tanks + bras. I have a few bras I liked when I was nursing Elliot, but I need to get more- and I don't have ANY nursing tanks since it was the middle of winter when Elliot was born. Any suggestions on good brands would be great!

Things to Do {before Aaron leaves}:

- organize boys' closet
- change Elliot's bedtime routine/wean
- move & reinstall Elliot's carseat and install infant seat
- pack hospital bag
- set up pack & play next to our bed
- renew my military ID {current ID expires while he is deployed}
... I think there was more, but now I can't remember.

I have accomplished one of my goals- organizing the boys' closet! Yay! You should've seen it before... it was a disaster.

Some of Sully's newborn/0-3 sleepers on the left, some of Elliot's shirts on the right.

top shelf: tummy time mat, breast pump, bumbo, tub, baby bjorn (in tub), extra boppy
bottom shelf: crate full of cloth diaper inserts, receiving blankets, burp cloths, bibs, head support, crib mirror, frames that still need to be hung

Sully's newborn & 0-3 onesies. It'll be 100+ degrees outside by the time he's born, so I doubt he'll wear much else.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weaning + bedtime routines.


Elliot is 15 months old. His doctors have been telling me he was supposed to be weaned off the bottle months ago, but... HOW?

Right now, he gets 2-3 bottles a day. He used to get 8 ounces, but I've cut him back to 6- and will probably continue giving him less over time to help him wean? One before each nap {sometimes he only takes one nap} and one before bed. No, I don't give it to him in his crib or anything. He never walks/crawls around with it, either- and he doesn't get anything other than milk in his bottles. He drinks water out of his straw sippy throughout the day... and has had milk in it before, too.

At naptime, I put some soft music on, and we sit on the couch together, with him in my lap, while I give him his bottle. Once he's finished {he doesn't usually finish the whole thing these days}, I stand up and rock/bounce him for a few minutes before bringing him up to his room and laying him down. His naps are kind of all over the place right now. Until recently, he always napped at 10 and 3. Well, lately his morning nap has been later- 11-12ish. Then he gets SUPER tired between 4 and 5, like, he is practically falling asleep/having meltdowns about the smallest things. So sometimes he will take a nap around then, but if we're busy/out he won't. If he only had the one nap a day, he would literally be ready for bed by 6. And that's just not practical for us, since my husband doesn't get home until after 5.

At bedtime, he gets his bath between 7-7:30, then he gets all cozy in his pajamas and we head back downstairs for his bottle. For whatever reason, bedtime is easier. I don't really rock or bounce him much- I can lay him down sleepily awake and he usually won't even cry- he just falls asleep on his own. Naps, on the other hand, are a different story. I sometimes spend a long time rocking/bouncing him before I can put him in his crib... and no matter how tired he is, he starts crying the second I lay him down.

Whenever he is tired, he starts asking for his "baba." It's the only word he says, and he sounds sooo cute and sweet when he asks for it. The bottle is his way of transitioning from being a wide awake wild child to a sleepy little one. I've tried on multiple occasions just rocking him without the bottle, and he usually won't even lay still. He squirms and looks at me like I'm a crazy woman. He just knows, when he sees the bottle, that it's time to go to sleep.

Elliot and his blankie, right after he woke up from a nap.

My plan? Elliot has recently become very attached to his blanket. Whenever he wakes up, he insists on bringing it with him and cuddling it for a few minutes before he's ready to tackle the day. I was thinking of kind of using that to my advantage. I want to get a glider for his room, because his rocking chair is cute, but NOT comfortable to rock in. Then, I was thinking of trying to just go upstairs into his room, where his lullaby music is always playing, and rocking him in my lap for awhile with his blankie in his lap. The tricky part here is that I don't want him to get dependent on being completely rocked to sleep- especially not with the new baby coming. I'd like to be able to just rock him for a few minutes, maybe even introduce reading a bedtime story, and then lay him down awake without too much drama. Sounds pretty simple, right? I don't know if it will be quite so easy, though!

So here's my question to you-
How/when did you wean from the bottle {or boob?}
Any tips? Tricks? Suggestions?

Oh, one more thing-
At what age do most people start reading bedtime stories before bed?
Some of my favorite childhood memories involve laying in bed with my parents and reading a book {or two, or three...} before bed. I've always wanted to do the same with my kids- but is it too early? It just seems like such a foreign idea right now, so far off from our current bedtime routine. We read books during the day, during playtime!

My goal is to have him completely weaned before Sully is born- so that gives me approximately 2 months. I don't want it to be too traumatic of an experience for him. And he's been sleeping GREAT at night lately- 12-13 hours straight every night... I'd like to keep it that way!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

he's leaving... soon.

Tonight, we went to the deployment briefing.
Oh wait, didn't you know?

Aaron deploys next month.
... and I just found out today.

The briefing was pretty neat, though. We got to see pictures of where Aaron will be eating, sleeping, working {and even going to the bathroom, hah!} for the next twelve months. Compared to his last deployment, during which he lived in a fox hole, he is going to be living large! The mountains surrounding their base are beautiful, too. And I told him he better visit the local bazaars and come back with a magic carpet for me- aka an authentic, hand-made rug.

They had some neat goodies for the kids, like these little soldier dolls you put a picture of Daddy's face into, and teddy bears dressed in their own little uniforms.


... I guess it hasn't really sank in yet that Aaron will be leaving again so soon. The Army likes to change their mind every other day so it's hard to believe anything they say these days. I'm absolutely dreading this deployment, saying goodbye and {gulp!} watching Elliot say goodbye. Not to mention the fact that Aaron will be missing the birth of his second son. I knew what I signed up for when I married my soldier. We'll get through it. I just wish it wasn't coming up so soon!

I'll leave you with a quotation:

“Distance has no correlation to love. Nothing can stand in between two people whose hearts are completely in love. Not a continent. Not a war.”

Daddy's home! {taken a few weeks ago}

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cloth Diapering: my way.


Since it has been hot here in Texas, Elliot has been running around in just a diaper a lot. This has prompted a lot of people to ask me about cloth diapering.

Some common questions:
- "WHY would you ever want to use cloth diapers?"
- What kind do you use? Where do you buy them?
- Where do you put the diapers when they're dirty? Do they stink?
- How do you wash them? How often?
- Don't you have to rinse them?
- Do you have to touch poop?!
- ... isn't it really gross?

Well, I'm about to address all the above questions, and more. In fact, {lucky you!} I'm about to give you a complete cloth diaper run down. A lesson, if you will, about how and why I use cloth diapers.

Why I cloth diaper:

- It saves money.
Disposable diapers are expensive. I don't know if you've looked at the price of a box of diapers lately, but it's pretty ridiculous. And how long does a box last? For Elliot, less than a week. It is estimated that we spend an average of $2000 per child on diapers. I can think of a lot of better ways to spend that money than throwing it into the trash {or a diaper genie}.

- It's better for the planet.
A single child, while he is in diapers, leaves behind approximately 2.7 tons of non-biodegradable waste... and that's not including the waste created by manufacturing the diapers themselves, either. Nobody really knows how long it takes a diaper to decompose... because nobody has ever witnessed it. That's right- it takes over a lifetime for just ONE diaper to decompose. The average child uses about 4,000 before potty training!

- It's healthier and more comfortable for my son.
Would you like stiff paper or plastic against your most sensitive areas? I definitely wouldn't! I always joke around with my husband that they better make cloth Depends by the time I'm 80. Elliot has NEVER had a diaper rash in cloth diapers- and I attribute this mainly to the fact that he does not have paper or chemicals against his bum. It seems like all of my friends who use sposies are constantly battling yeast infections... but we've never had that problem.

Even worse, disposable diapers are full of chemicals. They contain polyacrelate gel, which wicks all the moisture away from your baby's skin, all kinds of dioxins, which are among the most toxic chemicals known to science and are listed by the EPA as highly carcinogenic chemicals, and several other chemicals such as sodium polyacrylate, tributyl-tin, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene. If you want to scare yourself, look up the side effects of just one of those chemicals.

All of the big disposable diaper companies {Pampers, Huggies, Luvs, etc} refuse to release the contents of their diapers- that means they have something serious to hide...
- you can read more about this here: Livestrong article on chemicals in cloth diapers

- They are ADORABLE!
... do I even need to explain this one? They're cute. 'Nuff said.

My favorite diapers + where I buy them:

I have tried a lot of different kinds and brands of cloth diapers, including Fuzzibunz, BumGenius, Flips, Rumparooz, Thirsties Duos, Best Bottom, Itti Bitti Tuttos, Kawaiis, Sunbabies, and prefolds + covers. Out of all of these, my favorites are Kawaii and Sunbaby. They are much cheaper than the other options, come in a ton of cute prints and colors, they are durable, they fit well, they don't easily leak, they're both one-sized, meaning they adjust to fit one baby from shortly after birth to potty training, and they're ADORABLE.

Sunbaby diapers are thinner and trimmer than Kawaiis, but they don't last quite as long between diaper changes. Kawaii Baby diapers are virtually bulletproof, but give him a puffier butt.

Click HERE to visit the Kawaii website or HERE to visit the Sunbaby website.

At night, we use a Kawaii or BumGenius with two inserts. When he was younger, we also had to add a Joeybunz hemp insert... because this kid pees A LOT at night.

I do also really like Fuzzibunz and Flips, and still use and recommend both of those, but they don't come in very many different colors, and they are a lot more expensive. So I use the ones I have, but I don't think they are really much better than Kawaiis or Sunbabies to justify spending so much more on them. I buy all of my supplies {wet bags, etc} and other diapers at Kelly's Closet. They have a HUGE selection, a diaper dollar rewards program, and often have "free diaper" coupons which I love!

Where I store clean and dirty diapers:


I keep my clean diapers organized in cloth storage bins. Most of them are in the four bins you see there, but there are more in Elliot's closet, because we have a lot of diapers.

Once they are rinsed, I keep my dirty diapers in a hanging PlanetWise wetbag, which I hang on the bathroom door. I have two of these, so that I have one to use while the other is in the wash/drying, and I also have two smaller wetbags for in my diaper bag while I'm out and about. If the bag is zipped, they do NOT smell EVER. I'm not kidding.

Diaper Changes:

This is where I change Elliot's diapers. Doesn't look like a conventional changing table, does it? Nope. It's my bed. I absolutely hate changing tables. They're too small... and I can't change babies when they are lying sideways. Plus I don't like worrying about the baby falling or rolling off that tiny table. And nobody ever uses them once their babies get older so they end up just taking up space. To me, changing tables are just a waste of money.

I keep a basket of 4-5 diapers and a box of wipes on my dresser. I just set the dirty diaper on the nightstand until I get the new diaper on him. Once he is all dressed, I put him down and he usually follows me into the bathroom to watch me rinse and toss the diaper into the wet bag. When he was younger, I'd put him in his bouncer or swing while I took care of the diaper.

Elliot often has meltdowns during diaper changes... or he tries to escape, so I also have a random collection of trinkets in my room to entertain him with while I'm changing him. Sometimes I bribe him with a tasty treat like a few chocolate chips. That's the only drawback to snapping diapers... they take a little bit longer to put on than velcro ones. But we manage. Worse comes to worse, I do some serious baby wrangling... or just wait a few minutes and come back to try again.

My Wash Routine:


I wash my cloth diapers every three days. Unfortunately, our townhouse doesn't have washer and dryer hookups, so I wash them in one of our apartment complex's laundry rooms. I do two full hot cycles- the first with detergent, the second without. It's very very important to make sure all of the detergent gets rinsed out of your diapers, or else you will have leaking and stink issues.

I tried all kinds of special detergents, and spent a lot of money in the process. But it seemed like everyone on Diaper Swappers was raving about how well Tide worked on their diapers. Once I finally tried it, I never went back. It works better than anything else I tried, and it's not outrageously expensive. I use up to the "2" line in the first wash, and I prefer the "clean breeze" scent.

I hang my diapers outside to dry. You can machine dry diapers, but since I have to pay $1 each time, I choose to line dry them outside. Plus, machine drying is tough on cloth diapers and they last a lot longer if they're not machine washed... and I hope to use my diapers on all of my kids!

Rinsing, Touching Poop, & all that Fun Stuff

I'm a rinsing nazi. I rinse every single diaper- pee or poop. I know a lot of people who don't rinse pee diapers, but the thought of diapers just sitting in pee for 2-3 days really grosses me out. I've been rinsing my diapers in the bathroom sink ever since I first started... I just rinse out the sink and wipe it down with a lysol wipe afterwards. I did just buy a diaper sprayer, but need different parts to connect it to our toilet :(

For poop diapers, I swish them around in the toilet first and most of the poop comes off in there. If you know what you're doing, you do NOT have to touch any poop. In fact, since cloth diapers actually CONTAIN giant, messy poops, unlike disposables, I really don't touch poop... ever. I am also proud of the fact that I have never had a stain in any of my diapers! You'd never even know what they were used for! Cloth diapering, to me, really isn't any grosser than using disposables. Either way, you have to wipe your baby's butt and smell/see the poop in the process. Yes, it takes a little longer to rinse a diaper out than it does to just roll up a sposie, but the benefits make it worth it to me.

Well, that's about it! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Cloth diapering may not be for everyone, but I really like it! Here are a few more pictures of Elliot and his adorable fluffy butt, just for fun. :)

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Thirsties Duo cover with a Flip staydry insert underneath.

Sunbaby diaper.

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Kawaii "snazzy minky".

& another Sunbaby.

Monday, March 19, 2012

... naughty little boy!

Today, after I went to the bathroom really quick, I came back to find this:

Elliot had pulled out, emptied, and climbed into the drawer beneath the stove.

I said, "what are you doing, silly boy?" and this is the response I got:



THEN, only a few hours later, I was blowdrying my hair, and peeked into the kitchen again to discover-

That Elliot had figured out how to open the pantry. This was literally the ONLY cabinet in the kitchen not locked, because it has really tall doors, so he has nowhere to grip onto in order to pull it open. I've watched him try to open it before, and he could never figure it out... so I have a sneaking suspicion that our cat Charlie may have been the culprit. Especially since he just so happened to be poking his head into the pantry...

As I was taking the above picture, he proceeded to dump out a box of spaghetti...


I figured, since it was already dumped all over the floor, I might as well let him play with it.

... but I forgot that the FLOUR was also on that same shelf.

He had a grand time playing, but it was less fun for me to clean up.


What can I say, other than boys will be boys?

It is absolutely impossible to stay mad at this little guy. One minute, he's doing something bad, and the next, he's snuggling up against my chest or giving me a kiss! He is one of the sweetest babies I've ever met. Seriously. I'm not just saying that because he's my son, either.

See? Snuggling with Daddy {and his beloved blankie} after his nap.

Getting into trouble is exhausting!!

... I'll have TWO of these little troublemakers before I know it, too. Oh boy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

28 weeks!


How far along?
28 weeks 2 days.
Baby’s Size: a rutabaga :) 13.6"-14.8" & 1.5-2.2 lbs
Total Weight Gain: 20 lbs... oh boy!
Bellybutton: IT HAS OFFICIALLY POPPED! I don't really like how you can see it poking out through my shirts.
Stretchmarks: no new ones, but if you look closely enough you can now see the VERY faint white marks (about 1") that I got around my belly button at the end of my last pregnancy.
Maternity Clothes: still none, wearing all of my regular clothes- I wonder how long I'll be able to go before I have to give in? I only have a few pairs of jeans that still fit {with the belly band}, but it's getting too hot here for jeans, anyways.
Gender: a ROWDY baby boy.
Movement: He's been moving like crazy- and sometimes it hurts.
Sleep: I have officially entered the "I can't sleep because I can't get comfortable, and WHY AM I SO HOT?!" stage of pregnancy. Blah.
Symptoms: huge increase in Braxton Hicks this past week or two, and my belly hurts most of the time. To be expected, in the last trimester.
Food Aversions: red meat- but I don't really eat that anyways.
Food Cravings: candy, which is great since Easter is right around the corner ;)
Best Moments this week: Aaron had a four-day weekend, and we took advantage of it! From swimming/hiking at the river to cooking out with friends, we really enjoyed ourselves and the time we got to spend together. I also had a lot of fun taking St. Patrick's Day pictures of Elliot- and I have a bunch more to post. I'll probably do that tomorrow :)
What I miss: Not feeling like a whale. haha.
What I am Looking forward to: OB appointment in a couple weeks.
Milestones: How do I only have 12 weeks left? Crazy.