Sunday, September 16, 2012

A (very, very hot) Day at the Park

Lately, I've been feeling really stuck at home and I suspect it's because it's been in the 90s to 100s degree temps all over Southern California and we've been staying home. I mean, I guess it's better this summer than LAST summer, since I was very much pregnant last summer and would have been homicidal if I had to deal with this summer's heat in that state. Anyway. The boys and I went down to San Diego yesterday for a birthday party for a good friend of mine, a sweet friend I met through another. Since Daniel was born, she would visit us occasionally to give us company and bond with the Little Monster. I'm so glad we were able to make it to her celebration, an intimate occasion at a park near her home.

On our drive down, there were tell-tale signs of fires that ended up being in San Diego (just to give you an idea of how big these fires were, I saw them from about 50 miles away). There is a nuclear power plant on the San Diego side of the county line, a couple of miles east of the freeway dividing the plant from the hills was where the fires were. One, all I could see was smoke in the distance while the other was fairly close to the freeway - maybe half a mile. As we drove by, I realized they weren't very big fires but were in isolated areas so perhaps had been burning for quite a while. Still, it was very reminiscent of the wild fires in San Diego from the previous decade, both of which I dealt with.

I really had no idea just how hot it was outside yesterday until we got out of the car in San Diego. Wow. Easily 100+ degrees and it was just past 2 pm. Friends from east county (where it gets significantly hotter than near the coast, which is where we were) said it was 90 degrees by 9 am. With a hot breeze and the bright, cloudless sky, the sun felt like it was burning us through our clothes. Friends set up the party under a huge shady tree which made things much, much more bearable. Nothing a little sitting under the shade with cool drinks couldn't remedy.

Right away, Daniel was a hit with my friend and all of her guests. He did fantastic on the drive, hardly making a peep until right before we got there (which was quieted by his dad paying attention to him, haha) so when we finally got to the picnic spot and set him down, he was very happy. He walked, talked, and made his rounds to everyone there. Such a socialite.

His first real interaction with 'doggie'! What a lover.

With the birthday girl. Don't forget the birthday open mouth/kiss to the chin!

We ended up taking his tank top off because it was so warm, we loaded him up with water and kept him in the shade. His little cheeks still got apple red though, from the heat. 
Via my instagram
Great photos I got from another friend's boyfriend. About the middle shot, please rest assured that Daniel was in fact laughing his little upside-down tail off. That's just the kind of kid he is. He also likes being flung in the air by his very tall father. A dare-devil, this boy. AWe were in San Diego for about 5 hours, made a pit-stop at my parents house and drove home. Daniel, after all the intense activity and heat, fell asleep within minutes of us driving away from the park and snoozed all the way home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY Fun: Homemade Diaper Wipes & Solution

Over the weekend, I decided that we would be making the switch to homemade baby wipes. We visited my grandmother on Sunday and while there, we ran out of wipes. We would have had to go all the way to Target while we were there, buy wipes, and then go home in order to clean our son's behind - after months of using throw-away wipes, the process of cleaning our son suddenly seemed long and drawn out. So I insisted that he be cleaned with some water and paper towels (luckily my grandmother buys Viva paper towels, which the diaper wipe-making circles rave over). Of course on that day, my usually one-every-other-day pooper decided he wanted to poop not once, but almost 3 times while we were out (the second change was really more like a smear). Hmph...

We were down to our final package of wipes here at home as well (we bought an economy-sized box of about 10 regular sized packages back in June) and with our final wipe used today, I was bound and determined to make my own solution and wipes. After looking through several websites on how-to, I realized that I had everything to make the wipes here at home. See, already saving money! I bought a jar of coconut oil some months back as a skin protectant for D if he ever broke out in redness (it's safe to use with cloth diapers), so I looked for a recipe to use coconut oil with. The recipe called for:
  • 8 oz water 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon baby wash

I heated the water in the microwave to a boil (about 3.5 minutes in my unit) to make dissolving the oil easier; I mixed the water and oil in a mason jar I had set aside. Once the oil and water were incorporated, I added the wash. The solution was a bit too sudsy and oily for my liking so I added additional water until it was about 12 ounces total. 

I then got the idea to reuse the wipes tub we have by cutting a paper towel roll in half and soaking it in the solution I just made. My grandmother gave us several rolls of Viva to take home (she shops at Costco, so... towels a plenty), so I used one of those. My ceramic knife cut it in half very easily; I maneuvered the cardboard from the middle without really ruining the towel around it. When I added the solution, I noticed it wasn't quite enough; I quickly made another 12 ounces.

After the 24 ounces of fluid soaked into the paper towel roll, I decided that it was too much (lol) and was also too soapy. I added plain water, squeezed out as much excess solution as I could, and closed the lid. I tried the wipes with a diaper change after his afternoon nap and I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the result. I don't think there's too much soap on the wipes and I love the coconut oil softening and protecting his sensitive bottom! 

I also made a jar of 12 ounces water/half a table spoon of each baby oil and baby wash to use with the FuzziBunz brand diaper wipes I received as a gift along with my cloth diapers. We only have 10 of those to use, so I prepped 3 of his old flannel receiving blankets so upcycle into some DIY wipes. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to back them with yet, or how I'm even going to do it (I don't have a sewing machine yet). That will have to be a project for another day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why I'd rather poke my eyes out than apply for a job.

Update 09/16/2012: I got the job!!!

Let me start this off by saying that I had the greatest pleasure of having a wonderful interview today. It was comfortable, I felt right at home, and all I can say is I sincerely hope I am given the opportunity to be employed by them!

Being a mom has its ups and downs and sometimes, after a long day of wiping tears, chasing crawling WALKING behinds, and cleaning (oh, the cleaning), something tells me that I would enjoy - or at least cherish - motherhood much, much more if I was able to return to work at least once or twice a week. As a former student/full-time employee who had so much to do every single day, suddenly being home all the time (but not really) has me ready to return to a workforce.

I am a healthcare provider by trade, working as a Certified Nursing Assistant for a hospice inpatient center during the last 7 years; during my time as a CNA, I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Finding a job as a registered nurse here in California has been, for lack of a better word, awful. Even with tons of experience, a fairly decent GPA and a degree in a field that is supposed to be in high demand, I can't even land an interview with a small community hospital.

7 months after I graduated, we found out Daniel was upon us. I slowed down my job search then, since I wasn't have any luck anyway. I didn't want to stress out about anything while pregnant and the benefits my current position gave me were enough to make me want to stay. Over the years, my coworkers became my family and I enjoyed being there to let them to watch my pregnancy progress. When Daniel was born, I spent just one month back at work before Gary found a job in a different city and we had to move. And now, we're here.

And I'm right back to square one.

I've been applying everywhere, for everything: registered nurse, nursing assistant, retail, barista, various writing positions... I've even signed up for online opinion survey websites. I heard once that finding a job you want is a lot easier when you have a job; well, how nice for those already working! Where does that leave those folks without jobs. You know, folks like me? Sigh. And then, once you've interviewed (which for me, has been a grand total of 2 times in the last 9.5 months), there's the whole "we'll call you by such and such time"...

At least the volunteer position I applied for with a local children's hospital emailed me like, that DAY to tell me my application had been declined... which is a whole other can of worms I may open up here on day. Really? Denied to VOLUNTEER? WTF. I'd be lying if I said "I didn't want to volunteer for you anyway!" but really, come one!

I keep reassuring myself that I have a bigger, better, sweeter, more beautiful reason to stay home right now than be at work: my little boy. So remembering that I'm giving him the best give ever by being home with him everyday, I feel a lot better. Something will happen for me, I know it will. It will happen when it's supposed to happen. I'm just getting a tad bit sick and tired of telling myself that...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What I Loved This Week

This and this. Different perspectives are always good, especially when it changes yours.

Speaking of perspective, mine was DEFINITELY brought front and center by this engaging article about toddler discipline.

Buffalo Wild Wings, I won't be shamed by this. We ate there twice this week.

Slowing down and enjoying my son's leaps and bounds in mobility - his walking has improved dramatically in just one week!

A few of my Facebook blog-related groups. Without these groups, I'm not sure I would have the accountability or motivation to update this place!

Nothing says fall quite like crocheted cozies, even in (sunny, hot, and anti-fall weather) Southern California.

BRAIDS! (and other hair styles that require long hair... I wish my hair would grow faster...)

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Friday Fuzz: The Best Cloth Diaper for Night Time

Night time diapering can be a bit of a challenge compared to daytime diapering, especially when you get to the point in your child's life where midnight diaper changes are no longer necessary (but sometimes it's the only thing that will get your little one to go back to sleep; entirely different subject all together). How does one find the best cloth diapers for night time when there are so many different styles and options out there?

We started cloth diapering D when he was 3 months old and at that time, I found it necessary to double up at night or else he'd have a leak (which usually happened on the big bed, since we were doing mostly co-sleeping during much of his first year). Since incorporating fluids and fluid-rich fruits and veggies into my sons diet on top of the 'round the clock nursing he still prefers, D takes in a lot of H2O - and it's going to go somewhere. During the day, we have his diaper routine down pretty much to a science: a FuzziBunz one-size pocket diaper with two inserts (a regular and large size) does the trick without the bulk. At night though, we would put three inserts into the FB pocket - one regular and two large, usually. If anyone has actually looked and handled a FuzziBunz diaper, you will know that they are known for their trim, "just enough" design that handles the business without the bulk of a conventional cloth diaper. So you might also know how incredibly difficult it is to stuff even two inserts into the pocket, let alone a third. We persevered, though, and made the super-stuffed FB diapers work for both day and night.

One morning when he was 8 months old, he woke up with a leak. The same thing happened almost every day that week. At that point I thought it might be build-up in the inserts (which it was and has since been resolved thanks to changing our diaper detergent) but I was ready to try something new. This was the turning point that led me to a different type of cloth diaper - a fitted diaper. I went with a Bamboozle diaper by TotsBots, a non-toxic, eco-friendly diaper made of bamboo rayon and hidden microfiber core. It also comes with a bamboo doubler that snaps into the diaper; both dry very quickly, much quicker line-dried than in the dryer too.

Bamboozle fitted diaper by TotsBots

I purchased two with a Thirsties Duo cover and can I just say how much of a difference this night time system has made on our night time diaper regime? It is SO much easier to put these on him than trying to stuff a pocket diaper with extra inserts, making sure to smooth everything out so that it leaves no creases or a way for pee to escape, and then making the elastics adjusted for daytime use work for three inserts. And the double makes a HUGE difference in how much fluid these fitted diapers can hold. Throwing him in one is super easy with the aplix closures that ensure a snug fit underneath the diaper cover.

While I think any diaper is worth a try, I personally think the Bamboozle fitted diaper by TotsBots is the best cloth diaper for night time. There is a whole movement of natural fiber being used in cloth diapers. Little For Now has a great article about the vast benefits of bamboo fiber as diapers - did you know that bamboo can absorb up to 3 times its weight in water? Not to mention the other benefits, such as its natural antibacterial properties and great sustainability due to its fast growth. The process of creating bamboo textiles is also very eco-friendly, something I feel very good about when I put these on my baby boy's booty. I look forward to putting this diaper to the test for travel when we go on a mini-trip to Las Vegas next month!

This is a sponsored post for The Diaper Junction. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Adventures in Shopping Land

Image courtesy Crappy Pictures
Yesterday was errand day for Daniel and I; we had to go deposit some checks at the bank then afterward, went to everyone's favorite trashclass all-in-one store Target and even ventured into Babies R Us.

Fortunately, the photo on the left was NOT us yesterday. I got in and out of there with a quickness, making it through the booby trap of life that is Target with just 3 things: Daniel's topical antibiotic prescription for his fingers, a pretty new nursing bra for me, and hand soap refill. That's it. It was a miracle. It would have been more though, significantly more. While I was waiting for D's prescription to be filled, we wandered around innocently and headed to the baby stuff (insert ominous "dun dun duuuuun" here). We want some cute little magnetized toys for him to play with on the fridge while I'm in the kitchen and he's in there with me. Can you believe there aren't any at TARGET?! I was shocked. So really, the photo to the left actually did happen: what just happened, I thought Target has everything!

We had some time to kill before we had to pick up Gary from work so I drove us to Babies R Us, which was quite an adventure in and of itself on this day. Upon entering the second double door after the first entrance (in the area with all the shopping carts), a toddler was standing in front of the automated door crying his little behind off. I'm not quite sure how but little guy got trapped between the two doors (he was too small to trigger the motion sensor to open the door). His dad came out the exit and around the front to rescue him but not before sweetie probably thought he was stuck in shopping cart limbo forever.

This should have been my first cue to leave.

So Daniel and I continue through, finding some alphabet magnets in the cheapo bins up front ($3, so I bought them for later down the line since I think he's still too young for them) and migrating to the toy section. Of course I stopped in shoes and clothes, wanting everything in sight but unable to bring myself to buy anything (husband, you are LUCKY!) and when we finally made it to the toys, I came by another shock. They don't have magnetized baby toys either! WHY?! We did make it out with one of these bad boys though, it's been a long time coming and I wish I had known about it sooner...

So we check out with our two things when I realize, I haven't peed the pee I've had to pee since we left the house to go to the bank 2 hours earlier. I take my baby-wearing, diaper bag holding, shopping bag carrying self to the bathroom. In the back of the store. With a 22 pound, 30 inch tall child strapped to my front and me being at least 6 inches wider on the side thanks to my diaper bag, I thought the smart thing to do would be to use the handicap stall. Oh no, said the cockroach in the bathroom. Avoid avoid. In fact, had I not had to pee my entire life away into the toilet, I would have waited until we got home. But I had to pee, and I was feeling brave, so I willed the cockroach to stay away from my feet while I occupied the next stall. I did my business in record time, gathered our stuff and made my way to the sink when the unthinkable happened next:

I felt the little bugger get between my flip flop and my toes and squish wetly against me.

I die inside every single time I think about it. I kicked my foot wildly, fighting the intense urge to scream bloody murder because of the person in the stall next to where I was standing, and send the nasty thing flying towards the door. Still dieing over here... I felt an all-over shudder and I even got sick to my stomach when I heard the funniest sound that ever did come out of such a disgusting situation: my son, laughing. HE LAUGHED AT ME. And at that point, I laughed back as I retorted "Don't laugh at me, you little butthole. That was gross!". At least he was able to get me out of that funk. Hands washed, bathroom exited, cockroach spotted suffering from injuries sustained when IT ran into ME, when Gary calls to be picked up.

Nice timing.

My little monkey trying on his dad's t-shirt last night.

Target photo courtesy Fisher-Price Apptivity Case photo courtesy

Blog Building Hiccups

I have been meaning to get on here for days to finalize my blog theme and finally open this place up for business... but alas, "meaning to" does not equal "done did" by any stretch of the imagination. There is only one explanation for my inactivity: sheer laziness. Last week, I was on the edge of a breakdown with how tired I was and how much sleeping I did (but still felt exhausted). I let things slide because of it: laundry piled up in the hampers (now I have mountains of clean clothes in my living room, which isn't much better), D lived in paper diapers for a few days (yes, it got that bad), and my small home is in utter disarray. D has been teething something fierce for a few weeks now. He had one tooth on the bottom pop up quite unexpectedly (the third tooth; second to right) and then early last week, G noticed that FOUR of his top teeth were coming in, at the same time! The front tooth and second top tooth on the right are coming in a bit quicker but the other top two teeth have broken gum and are coming in. Yup, so as you can imagine, sleep has been a distant memory these past few weeks while the Tylenol and teething tabs have made an appearance. My sweet boy will have at least 7 teeth by the time 10 months rolls around; I'm hoping the 4th tooth on the bottom, second to the left, will start coming in soon to even things out but so far, there isn't even a white area at the gum line.

And the other night, G said "I'm going to miss seeing his toothless smiles." I know. Our boy is growing too fast. Too fast for me to even enjoy some of the other things in life out of fear that I'll miss something in his.

So along with getting my blog set up, I've been grappling with the idea of opening my own Etsy store and selling some hand-made crochet items for extra money. I've come up with a pretty good, cute idea that I've been scouring the internet for to see if I'd be infringing on anyone else's wonderful idea - nothing. It's honestly the most simple pattern ever, anyone who can do a single crochet and sew can achieve it. There are those people out there who either can't crochet or don't want to, so my shop is mainly for them. There are a couple other things I would like to sell through my Etsy store, including baby blankets. It is my sincere belief that any new mother should have at least ONE handmade blanket for their new child; I made one for myself (which I plan on selling because we never used it) and received 2. Not everyone has the patience or the skill to make a blanket, so I would like to offer an option for those who would rather purchase one. Granted, unlike my first idea (that I don't want to let go of into the public yet), Etsy is SATURATED with baby blankets. I think mine will stand out, though. My style and color choices aren't usually run of the mill. Small and soft they may be, baby blankets can still be beautifully crafted and rich in color.

Lovely bamboo yarn with variegated color scheme in pink, peach, green, and brown with scalloped cream border in yarn by same maker.
I love making baby blankets because the yarn is soft to the touch, not so big so they work up quickly, and can be made in a variety of different ways - simple or elaborate - but still look so wonderfully beautiful in their own way.

Anyway, so that's where I'm at. Expect to see a lot more changes here! I plan on big things for this space!