Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our little fish! Adventures in San Diego

We had a fun-filled weekend in San Diego seeing family and friends! Our trip started early Saturday morning, where after 4 short hours of sleep I rushed around the house getting myself, our overnight bag, the diaper bag, toy bag, and Daniel ready to go. Woo! We were on the road by 8:30 am, which is no small feat for us. Our first stop of the day was a yummy breakfast at the Park House Eatery with my good friend from nursing school and her boyfriend. We caught up over delicious food and said our see-ya's when it was time to head down further south for a baby shower! My lovely friend Stacy had a gender reveal/baby shower and we had such a lovely time; they had it at their community pool, and we know how much munchkin loves the water! The weather had been less than stellar the few days before and our drive down was a little crummy too, so I didn't bring his swim shorts or a cloth diaper for the pool. I brought plenty of extra outfits for him though, so Gary took him in the pool in his shorts he was wearing while Gary wore some soccer shorts. 
They had an awesome spread at the baby shower but I was still so stuffed from breakfast that I could only enjoy a little bit. They had Filipino roast pig (the whole shebang!) and all the yummy sides to go with it. When it was time to reveal the gender, Stacy took a big wrapped and decorated box off the table (ah ha! That's what it's for!) and counted to three, openend the box and 3 pink balloons floated out from within - it's a GIRL!!! Stacy's future step-son, who's almost 5, didn't even know what the gender was so this was a big surprise for him as well (and apparently, a good one as he was hoping for a little sister!). It was lovely to see her in all her glowing pregnancy, baby bump glory - I haven't seen her since he told me she was pregnant almost 7 months ago! When we we got out of the car, Gary and Daniel were the first to see her as I collected our things from the trunk of the car; Gary saw her and said "Wow, you're pregnant!" and with that, I ran around the cars to see her. She looked absolutely lovely!
After the shower, we headed to my parents home. My mom and brother were home waiting for us to get there so we could join my dad at his church for a community function - a fair with lots of different ethnic foods, bake sale, carnival games, "garage" sale, beer garden and live music where all the benefits go to the church. Gary and I chose the same thing like we usually do; a combo plate of Filipino food (I love it!). I wish I took a picture because it was just as beautiful as it was yummy. My parents got the same while my brother got a huge Italian sausage in a roll covered in peppers, onions, and marinara sauce (like I said, LOTS of different ethnic foods!). All the while, Daniel was fast asleep against my back in the ERGObaby carrier, allowing me both my hands and none of us had to wait to eat while we shuffled him around. Good stuff!

I swear, that night was the first night in a while where I felt rested, even with waking up at 5:30 when my parents emerged from their room (why do parents always wake up so early?!?!). The only time I really remember waking up was when I heard Daniel crying; I woke up and found him sitting up on the side of the air mattress. Gary was sleeping on the couch above us, so I guess Daniel rolled off and woke up. I gathered him up into my arms, where he was soothed instantly and fell back asleep. We slept for another couple of hours before my parents were awake. Unfortunately, my mom and brother had to work and my dad went back to the church to volunteer for the final day of the fair; Gary and I did a lot of lying around, catching up on TV, and shortly after lunch I gave my best friend a call to see what she was up to. I am hardly ever in San Diego on a weekend and wanted to see her so badly; fortunately, she was free so we hung out with her and her husband for a few hours while we waited for my dad to get back from church. Daniel did a lot, and I mean A LOT, of crying this weekend because of his teething, so after a while I just couldn't handle it anymore. He needed distraction. My mom, Gary, and I took him to the park a short walk away and let him explore the playground there. Gary swung him in the swing, I went down the slide with him a few times, and he sat on the grass with my mom and I, practicing standing up on his own and walking while Gary recorded it. We got some great video and photos of him from this weekend, it'll be fun to watch in a few years when this weekend is a distant memory.

Oh, the drive home was pretty painful. Daniel would not stop crying until Gary took him out of the carseat. Ugh. I really hate when it comes down to doing that while we're driving, especially on the freeway in the dark. But probably 15 minutes later, Gary was able to put him back in the carseat and he slept the rest of the way home. We hit traffic, so it took a little bit longer to get home than usual. Usually not too bad, but last night I was having a hell of a time keeping my eyes open; I swear every single light from the cars on the other side was blinding, making me blink and increasing my sleepiness. The traffic actually helped keep me awake though, so for that I am thankful.We made it home, with Daniel waking up and crying just as we got off the freeway. Since we bathed him and put him in his pajamas at my parents house, all we had to do when we got home was go lay down on the bed and go back to sleep. Which I did, too. It was such a long weekend that once I lied down on the bed with him, every ounce of motivation to unpack and wind down disappeared.

Thank you, Stacy, for the adorable photos!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mama Moments #2

Recently, Daniel learned how to blow bubbles in the tub. He's been blowing raspberries for months but just realized that if he tips his chin down eversoslightly, his lips will touch the water while he blows and creates the most exciting discovery!

A few nights ago, he started sticking his tongue out at me... :P

Daniel had been using his toy walker to cruise around on his feet recently, which is SO cool to watch him learn to coordinate himself and all. He is such a quick learner though, that child of mine, which leads me to my final moment of the evening...

Last night, on his 9 month and 1 day of life, he took his very. First. Steps. On his own!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Inside My (diaper)Bag

Ladies (and perhaps even some gents out there in BlogLand) love to blog about what's inside their bag; I've stopped carrying a purse since my son was born. For simplicity's sake, I stuff a few items for myself into our trusty Uhaul diaper bag when we leave the house. Everyone has their own preference for diaper bags - what style they like, is it actually a "diaper bag" or a bag big enough to be one, every little aspect about it is different for everyone. What works fabulously for me will fail miserably for the next parent.
I took a chance with this diaper bag. My maternal grandmother wasn't going to make it to my baby shower, as she had planned for months to travel to our country for her nephew's wedding. She goes back every couple of years and my shower just happened to fall on the tail-end of her travels. No big deal! So she made sure to order my gift before she left, and she even let me choose it. She looked at my gift registry at Babies R Us and noticed that we had two diaper bags on our list; she wanted to buy me the one I really wanted so she waited until we were all at my parent's house (she doesn't have internet at home).
I went with a deceptively spacious (unknown at the time of purchase) J.J. Cole bag with matching accessories - pacifier pod, bottle holder, diaper/wipes pod with changing pad. I was drawn to it because it's fairly unisex pattern and I love the green accents. I went crazy with green things while I was pregnant to stay as gender neutral as possible until Gary said "our kid is going to be sick of green." So I decided to go with a less green alternative.
Just the various odds and ends I manage to stuff into the bag, including cloth diapers. I keep a small stack of paper diapers in it, just in case. Tissues, plastic bags, sippy cup leash, snacks, even a few extra pens and his immunization record stay in my bag at all times. I've recently started keeping my cosmetics case and small cross-body purse in the diaper bag, too. And that little gem of a scarf in the last photo is actually my nursing cover! It's a beautiful, BREATHABLE scarf with a hole at the neck that comes to about my belly button. It's so much cooler than the regular covers out today (Uddercovers, Bebe Au Lait, etc.) for both my little miniature heater and I.
Everything in with lots of room to spare! This doesn't count the extra bag I take along with at least one carrier (wrap or Ergo) and some toys. Kids are so needy!
Is there something you keep in your diaper bag you must absolutely have, not found here?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A day in life without photos

Most days, I am without a doubt glued to some kind of image-capturing device. Whether it's my smart phone, digital camera, or anything else we have in the house, I usually snap at least one photo of any of my favorite subjects (which my friends on twitter or instagram will attest that it's either food or my son, usually the latter). Today was not one of those day. Today, my camera was on my desk at home and my iPhone was tucked away in my purse while Daniel and I enjoyed the company of my mom's visit.

We enjoyed a much-welcome break in the heat wave we've been experiencing throughout Southern California and visited a local mall for lunch and some light shopping. She bought Daniel two adorable new outfits for when he fits 12 months and wanted to buy me an outfit too... I just couldn't bring myself to let her. Not that I didn't want the new clothes, because God KNOWS I do. I've just been feeling so blah about myself lately and I want to change that. Physically, I'm not where I want to be post-baby and I'm not ready to buy any new clothes for this body I'm not happy with. I did let her buy me a few things from a couple local Asian markets (food and such) and we ran into our old manager and assistant manager from the San Diego store she works for and I used to work for. Our old manager is now the DM for Los Angeles while the assistant manager is now the head honcho at the store we went to today. Manager met the baby a couple times since we've seen him around, but DM met him for the first time (and truthfully, I haven't seen him since I quit 7 years ago). As strange as it is knowing my mom is a grandmother, he said it's even weirder to know that I'm a mother now. Ha! He then proceeded to fill my son's precious ears with such blasphemous ideas, such as giving me attitude like I had when I was a 20 year old. Psh.

Hahaha. What an interesting day it turned out to be with that reunion.

When we got back to the humble abode, we just enjoyed watching Daniel have a happy day, smile and laugh and basically be the most adorable human being on the planet. I was supposed to go to San Diego with her tonight to spend some time with my family while Gary is away... until she found mold growing on the wall in the back of the cabinet next to the dishwasher this morning. Half of the kitchen is on the living room floor, where my brother would have slept while Daniel and I snoozed in the guest room he's currently occupying. Plus, a construction zone with potentially harmful mold spores floating around is no place for a 9 month old.

Photo courtesy of my brother's Facebook
I'm hoping that is fixed by next weekend, so we can visit them like I wanted to. I'm looking forward to my good friend Stacy's gender reveal baby shower, I'm rooting Team Blue hardcore but would welcome another future girlfriend for Daniel if that's the case! Haha! (just kidding, Stacy!!!) I have several things to share with her, including a modest stash of prefolds I'll be lending her until my next baby go-round, as well as a test drive of our small collection of baby carriers. It's always nice to be able to touch and feel and see a product before you actually purchase something. I think this is especially true for quality baby carriers, as they're usually an investment.

And with that, I turn off my music-fueled me time to join my sweet prince in our family bed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen: Nutella Mug Cake

Gary is away on business and baby is down for the night, so I decided to experiment a little bit in the kitchen to kill some time and satisfy my craving need for something sweet. I googled a recipe for Nutella mug cake, as I have Nutella on hand and know that you can use apple sauce instead of egg or oil in sweet baked treats. I typically have tons of unsweetened apple sauce on hand, as I make it home made for Daniel.

One mug (one of my favorites, a gift from a friend when I was going through a rough spot a few years back), less than 10 ingredients, 5 minutes or so to single-serving bliss. I omitted the cocoa but added peanut butter, should have thought about tweaking the dry ingredients and amount of olive oil I used but hey, we're experimenting remember?

So I mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately, popped it in the microwave for a few minutes, wished it luck and despite the intense heat the little cup of cake "batter" endured, so hot it did not do:


Oh yeah. Still raw, a term I use loosely since there aren't any raw ingredients in this besides the milk. I proceeded to eat it as-is, mixing it into this delightfully messy, gooey mass of sweet goodness, but I got to thinking, maybe I can rectify this none-cake? So I cut the batch into two 8 ounce tea cups, added a tablespoon and a half of flour to each cup, one ice-cube size amount of apple sauce to each and zapped it.

Eureka! Cake!...? I took one tiny nibble and it's grainy, duh, I already partially cooked it once. My name may be Julia, but my last name is not Childs.

Verdict: INCREDIBLE taste, potential for greatness and I am definitely trying this again. But after working on it for an hour for naught, I have come to one single conclusion...

This was way easier.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

FuzziBunz and Beyond: Our Cloth Diaper Story

 I wish I could remember just how it came to be that Gary and I decided that cloth diapering was something we wanted to do in our family. I'll have to ask him about it. All I remember is that it was a discussion we had when we were in the very beginning of our pregnancy, Gary was still living abroad and we had no idea if he was coming here or if I was going there. We had not a thing to our son's name yet, just dreams and hopes. How things have changed in a year!

In the week or two prior to the start of my maternity leave shortly before I went into labor, I was showered with gifts of all kinds from my previous coworkers, including a beautiful stash of 6 FuzziBunz Elite one-size diapers in the most beautiful jewel tones I've ever seen or thought possible to be on a diaper. Light It Up Blue, Spearmint, Apple Green, Mac N Cheese, Kumquat, Watermelon, a beautiful rainbow of PUL and soft inner fleece lining. I was so excited to try these out on my little boy's tush! I stored them until I needed them...
Apple Green, by far my favorite color

And then, my son was born. He pooped, and pooped, and then pooped some more. It wasn't a normal day if we didn't change a poopy diaper at least every 2 to 3 hours; his little digestive system was a conveyer belt of breast milk in, poop out and unlike a Nike factory, there are no lights out/let's go home. So we changed poopy diapers at 2 am, too. The only thing that got me through those first few months of constant poop is how I reminded myself that this, too, is normal. When your stomach is the size of an M&M, you'd poop a million times a day too.

My mother insisted that I use disposable diapers and even went as far as to buy them for us. Every two weeks, she brought us two new HUGE packages of Pampers Baby Dry and in two weeks time, we'd use all of them. I was thankful, SO thankful because I couldn't imagine doing diaper laundry of that magnitude with how completely overwhelmed I was. It seemed like the ultimate impossible task. I held onto the hope that some day soon, my little poop factory would slow down in the excrement department. Finally, around 10 weeks or so old, his pooping noticeably slowed down and by 3 months, he was down to one poop every day or two. I was SO happy because I realized this is it, I can finally use my treasure trove of butt covers!

With our then-recent relocation to a new town over an hour away from my parents, I told my mom to save that diaper money and use it to buy gas so she can come see us. I unwrapped my precious gems and was baffled: what are all these little elastic straps? What are these buttons? (I'm one of those people who sets up first, reads the directions later...) The FuzziBunz One-Size diaper has this ingenius sizing system that lets you tailor the diaper to exactly the right size based on estimate weight and age of your child. But therein lies the initial learning curve of FB diaper sizing: Daniel has and continues to weigh in well above his peers and at that time, he was in the 90th percentile. When I tried the diaper on him for the first time, I was shocked at how tight it was and even more shocked at the red marks the diapers left on his waist. Yikes! Too tight. So a bit of patience in figuring out the perfect fit for your kid is very, very necessary, unless you want to be like me and panic at the fear of constricting blood flow to the very butt you're trying to cover.

We figured out how to size Daniel's diapers and now we're good and happy... until I have a leak after just a over an hour. What?! Why!? After a bit of research I learn that many happy cloth diaper mommies use multiple liners and that liners increase absorbency as you continue to wash and use them. PHEW. Ok. Two liners, which is nice because that's exactly what each FuzziBunz comes with. And after the initial wake-up leaks, we've increased the liners to 3 at night. At this point, it is a rare and surprising event when we wake up with a leak because FuzziBunz are just that. good. 

The first time I changed his cloth diaper, I was a bit perplexed - how do I know when it needs to be changed? Disposable diapers change colors when they are wet, or you can see the gel inside expand and create that signature full diaper look. Cloth diapers, not so much. I even went so far as to touch the inner fleece liner, noticing it wasn't wet at all. Only after taking out the liners from the pocket did I realize they were wet. Wow! FuzziBunz is NOT joking when they say their product wicks moisture away from sweet baby's bottom, because it really does! LOVE this!

With Daniel being a bit older now, I've decided to try a different night time diaper method; a Bamboozle fitted diaper, made of bamboo with Aplix closure, and a waterproof diaper cover. I went with Thirsties Duo with snaps, but I may be tempted to try a wool cover sometime down the line, if this method works for us.
TotsBots Bamboozle bamboo fitted diaper, size 2 with Aplix closure
Thirsties Duo Wrap with snaps, in Owl.

All in all, I am really glad that my first cloth diaper experience was relatively pain free once I got over the initial learning curve. With our next child, I plan on using the many prefolds we received as a gift for Daniel (that I was too scared to use) with a fastener (probably Snappi) and a waterproof cover. With all the benefits cloth diapering offers us and how cute they look, the few road bumps that pop up every once in a while are a total none-issue now and I recommend cloth diapering to everyone who will listen.


He really does the most adorable, random things.

You know you're a mom when...

My heart.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cloth Diaper Washing for Dummies

We have been successfully cloth diapering Daniel since he was 3 months old using FuzziBunz One Size Elite pocket diapers, two inserts during the day and three inserts at night. After a week or two of finagling the diapers and inserts to Daniel's needs, we've been using the same routine for over 5 months. A week or so ago, I noticed that he's been waking up with leaks, which never happened again once we figured out how many inserts to use at night. Not ok! So onto trust Google I went to find the answer to our little problem...

Not all detergent is created equal

I suspect that our problem is build-up in the fleece lining and inserts. When we first started cloth diapering, I knew I needed a detergent that had no additives but I had no idea that those "natural" brands sold in the grocery store also contain oils that are bad, bad, BAD for cloth diapers. Oops.  For a while now, I've noticed a really strange smell coming from the diapers and liners, it's not terribly strong and it's really feint, you have to put your nose right up in it to smell anything and I don't think it's ammonia because I can't smell it when he's wearing the diapers (I have a really poor sense of smell, though...). I think this is build-up too.

So I've been washing, and washing, and washing some more on the hottest, heaviest, watery-est setting I can get on my very basic washing machine and the water is finally starting to be less sudsy during the agitation cycle, yay! I also found an adorable local baby boutique, Rosie Posie Baby, that sells Allen's Naturally. It was just under $50 for a gallon but the girl in the shop said it will last a long time (I imagine that it will, one pump per load).

I made an honest mistake regarding what detergent to use. Now I know better and while I heard that stripping diapers isn't necessary, I've also read that it's part of normal cloth diaper maintenance. I don't plan on using this detergent for all of our clothing, so I will probably run into this problem again soon. I just won't wait almost 6 months to do it this time! I also recently cleaned my washer, it was a very simple process and I felt really great about washing our clothes in it afterward. I will make this a regular part of my house maintenance.

A change in our ritual

During this same trip to Rosie Posie, the shop keeper talked to me about possibly using something different at night than during the day. She showed me a bamboo diaper by TotsBots and diaper covers by Thirsties; I bought two natural-colored diapers and one cover in an adorable owl print, all should last us through potty training. The diapers also come with a optional bamboo liner for even more absorbing power, which I think it nice. I will try using just the diaper and keep the liners aside for just-in-cases. On top of that, I think they will fit much trimmer than the FuzziBunz with three liners inside that we've been using.

For the future...

I love that we are building ourselves a nice stash of diapers that will be pretty much ready for when we have another kid. I hope to have Daniel potty trained before our next one is born, as I'm not planning on even trying to get pregnant again until after he's 3. Right now, we have a huge stash of pre-folds that I plan on using with fasteners and diaper covers (they are SO inexpensive, I had no idea!) and then the 12 FuzziBunz and 2 TotsBots for night time. I wish I had been more confident in my ability to cloth diaper from the beginning so I could have used the pre-folds with I had so many of them, but, here we are.

My diapers are finally done stripping and I hope, after draining the Pacific Ocean of its water after all the wash cycles I've done in the last 24 hours, that the leakage is done. It's been a very interesting experience doing all of this, so at least I'll know better for next time.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

With all the hub-bub and daily craziness mothers around the world endure, I am so fortunate that we all get to take the time out of our busy schedules to recognize such an important part of our childrens early upbringing: breastfeeding. I know that there are many mothers out there who choose not to breastfeed for a number of reasons and also those mothers who ultimately can't because for one reason or another, their supply just did not meet demand. However, it is important to recognize all women who choose to breastfeed, whether it's just once or twice or until their child is 2 or 3. Any time spent feeding your child in the natural way is one more time your child will benefit from the fabulousness of it all!

Through my misfortune of being unable to find a full time job since I graduated college in 2010, I have been fortunate enough to stay home with my boy and breastfeed every single day since he was born over 8 months ago. His growth, so exponential since his skinny 7 pound 10 ounce body was born, is now so obviously attributed to the fact that he's a breastfed baby. I am so proud that since he was born, I know exactly what is going into my son's body and that I am giving him everything he needs to thrive in his first years of life. I am also proud, for all the times I wanted to be selfish and just give up, that I stuck with it ultimately because it's no longer about my life but OUR life. (Which means his life, since as his mother I feel so closely bonded with my son that his well-being is most definitely now mine.) I love that during a handful of times throughout the day, it's just about him and I getting comfortable, getting close, and bonding. Something like this, NOBODY will ever share with my son but me. This is my gift that nobody else gets to share. I feel so honored!