June 30, 2015

Eleven Months!

These beauties are 11 months old!!! I can't believe it. This time last year I was about the size of a house and anxiously awaiting their arrival. What a crazy 11 months it has been!

It's been a crazy month of learning how to keep two crawling babies safely contained while allowing them to explore and practice their new skills! We are so grateful for our NorthStates Superyard! I can barricade them in wherever I need to but give them plenty of room too.

We both mastered crawling this month, are pulling up on everything, exploring all the octaves of our voices and all the cool sounds we can make and are skilled at the art of messy eating!

No new teeth this month but sleep is still tough on Mom as we both still like to nurse at least once a night. No worries though, we're growing and need our calories! They are sleeping better ever since we moved their cribs together and just this month they started waking up around the same time and playing in their cribs with each other rather than crying for us. We usually let them play for a few minutes before getting them up and they wake up so smiley!

We had a month full of family time. We celebrated Mommy's birthday out with Daddy's family and Nova and Kurt, went to the Riverfest in Troy with Aunt Lisa, Abbie and Eric, celebrated Father's Day with Daddy's family and Papa T and then celebrated Mom and Dad's anniversary with lunch out at Slidin' Dirty, the people who catered our wedding!

We're still eating a ton and trying lots of new foods. Thanks to better naps and the playyard Mommy's been able to spend some time in the kitchen cooking up some new treats for us including muffins, pancakes, veggie and cheese patties and homemade applesauce. Their favorite foods this month were blueberry pancakes, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, sweet potato fries, applesauce, raspberries and peaches.

We're both 17 lbs. and about 28 inches tall. We had our iron finger prick test and both passed with flying colors thanks to all that yummy food we're eating!

We've started planning their first birthday party and are so excited to have all of our family and closest friends over to celebrate!

I'm secretly hoping this next month drags. I want to soak every minute up and enjoy my babies as much as possible before they officially become toddlers! Don't mind me, I'm not crying, it's just raining on my face...


June 28, 2015

What We Did Last Week (Week of 6/22/15)

We had such a great weekend celebrating Father's Day with Jama, Aunt Debz and Cousin Ricky. Then we got to hang out with Papa T and meet his new friend Liz. We also saw tons of people at Troy's Riverfest on Saturday with Aunt Lisa, Abbie and Eric. We even met a woman who as 20 year old identical twins named Emily and Sophie who were born on the girls' birthday (July 30)! Small world!

Nature and Outside

We had a picnic in the backyard and went for a few walks to the park. We watched a spider crawl on our blanket and tasted some sticks before mom could grab them out of our mouths.

Sensory and Exploration

We took our mirror down this week and laid it on the floor for some fun. They loved looking down at themselves and rolling balls on it. They discovered that they could see their hand when they waved it over the mirror and that they could see each other too!

We played with glow and the dark stars on one particularly gloomy day! I used my touch light to energize them and they had so much fun picking them up and exploring them with their hands and mouth. We sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while we played and then turned on their ladybug nightlight and laid on my bed to look up at the stars on the ceiling.

I finally finished their photo book too! I filled a small photo album with pictures of them when they were littler, with family and holidays. They love flipping through/chewing on it and it's helping them learn all the different people in our lives!

Music, Movement and Games

Our favorite playlists this week were Aunt Kate's Miscellaneous playlist, which has tons of Mom's favorite songs on it and Kid Friendly Songs for the Whole Family. I wish I had discovered this one sooner! It has tons of Papa T's favorites (like The Wood Brothers and The Grateful Dead) and things that I otherwise wouldn't have listened to but love that they're being exposed to. We also downloaded a new app called 8tracks that has community built playlists based on anything you can think of! So far we are loving Sweet Summertime and Be Happy.

Movement activities were all about facilitating crawling and cruising this week. Although they've mastered crawling I'm working on encouraging spatial awareness to limit head bumps! We crawled a lot around the kitchen and played find the letter - I took their magnet letters and hid them in bowls under the island, under the chairs, stuck them to the oven, washing machine and cabinets, gated off the door and let them roam to find them all. When they did I gave them bowls and spoons and they made "alphabet soup" while I finished cooking their lunch!

They're playing peek-a-boo and they are loving Where is Thumbkin? Since they discovered how to point they're poking everything with their fingers so we'll play this game to explore all of them!

Favorite Toys

Glow in the Dark Stars - I picked mine up at a garage sale but you can find them anywhere. For the younger babies I recommend getting the large stars because the smaller ones fit perfectly in their mouths.

LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set - They love these now!

Paper - Holy Moly. I always knew I would have to babyproof the heck out of the house with twins but I had no idea that PAPER would be the one thing I needed to stay most on top of. Not so easy when Mom has lists and notebooks all over the house. So far this week they have found and tried to eat a postcard, a bunch of my lists, a receipt, dried wipes, a notebook and pages from a book. All while I'm changing one's diaper or getting them ready to nurse. They only get a corner off if they're lucky and I don't catch them in time and hey, it's just extra fiber right?

Favorite Books

One Love - Aunt Liz gave them this for Christmas last year and they love it! It's based on the Bob Marley song and the pictures are bright and beautiful. I love the message it delivers and it's a super sturdy board book that so far they have not managed to chew the corners off of!

Guess How Much I Love You? - Ok somehow I managed to make it through 15 years of caring for kids without reading this book once. I knew it was a well known and loved classic but I just always skipped over it. Oh how I didn't know what I was missing. Such a sweet book and now I know where Love you to the moon and back came from!

New Foods

Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheddar Patties, Squash Grilled Cheese, Tuna Fish, Steak, White Potatoes, Strawberries, Turkey hot dogs


June 25, 2015

The Five Most Common Parenting Fails

Viv is making an escape. Jules thinks she's a cat. I'm a good mom.

I had a moment today where I was sure I was the worst mother in the world. I looked up from switching laundry to see Viv had knocked over the gate, was climbing over it and halfway to the cat food bowl. Jules was a few feet behind her just munching away on a cat toy. It was such a great mom fail moment that I just had to take a picture. Everyone was fine of course but that didn't stop me from feeling like crap for not paying closer attention. Until I remembered: these fails happen - to everyone! And our kids are (almost) always fine!

Maybe it just means that Viv has a future in hurdles? As for Jules, she is clearly mimicking someone, so good for her!

Here are some of the most common parenting fails I've seen (and possibly done) plus how they make us feel vs. what really happens:

You chopped off the top of baby's finger while cutting her nails

What it feels like: 

You have mortally injured your child and she will never trust you again. Her first memory will be of you as the first person to ever intentionally inflict pain on her. You will never again cut her nails, vowing to endure every searing scratch and pinch as an act of contrition for scarring her. She'll probably even have a lifelong fear of having her hand held. Bonus points if it just won't stop bleeding.

What actually happens: 

Baby felt a slight pinch, cried for a bit and moved on almost immediately. You really are too terrified to cut her nails so you don't until the scratching hurts too much and then you will spend three hours trying to cut just one nail because you keep chickening out at the last second. You finally resort to biting them when she gives you one particularly deep scratch a centimeter from your (or her) eyeball.

You dropped your phone on baby's head

What it feels like: 

You die inside as baby cries like she got hit with a brick and stares at you with a look that just screams "Why have you forsaken me for this piece of plastic!?" You try to calm her and all of a sudden realize that you spend way too much time on your phone while feeding/playing with her so you immediately throw it down and promise to be more present while silently hating yourself for destroying the bond you had with her.

What actually happens: 

Baby has no idea what hit her and was probably just startled. She forgets as soon as you put a nipple in her mouth or she gets distracted. Which is about the moment you forget your vow and pick your phone back up to check Facebook or go back to your game.

Baby rolled off the couch/changing table/bed/your lap/whatever.

What it feels like: 

You are clearly unequipped for this job as you don't possess the ability to foresee when your child will decide to start rolling (like a ninja). You foolishly trusted that she would stay where you put her so you are clearly not meant to be a parent.. Baby will no longer be allowed on surfaces higher than 1 inch off the ground unless you are wearing or otherwise attached to her to break her fall.

What actually happens:  

After you're sure she doesn't have a serious brain injury you scold yourself for making such a rookie mistake and vow to never leave her alone in a high place again. You have a hand on her at all times for about a day. The next morning you lay her in the exact same spot and go about the exact same thing just like every other day only this time you make sure to stay close enough so you can catch her before she hits the floor.

The monitor died in the middle of the night or you forgot to turn it on before bed:

What it feels like: 

On the edges of sleep you think you hear a baby crying and reach for the monitor but hear silence. No crying but no whooshing or lullabies either. You shoot out of bed and race to her room to find her either passed out or, if you're super lucky like me, screaming bloody murder. You cry. You know you have broken her. Even if she's sleeping you know that she knew you were completely ignoring her and she now hates you. You vow to co-sleep for the next 12 years.

What actually happens: 

You feel like crap for a few minutes until baby falls back asleep, then you turn the monitor on and go back to sleep yourself. You make sure to double check the monitor every night from now on, or for at least a week. As far as baby is concerned you were in the bathroom or just took the long way to her room or she has no idea anything ever happened because babies don't get the concept of time. You repeat this when it happens again a few months later.

Baby swallowed soap/a rock/orajel/vinegar/paper/a bead/poop/a pill/detergent/eye drops/and the list goes on and on.

What it feels like: 

That's it. You've killed her. All because you had to switch the laundry or get some coffee and you forgot that a baby is like a human bloodhound, able to sniff out the tastiest treats and choking hazards that you carelessly left out or swear you put away (they're ninjas I tell you). You will never take your eyes off her again and from now on you will scrutinize every square inch of your everywhere for such hazards before you even think about putting her down to play.

What actually happens:

Assuming it's not true poison or a pair of scissors baby swallowed you call poison control or the Doctor and give them their laugh for the day. They assure you that all is well and before you've even hung up the phone baby is shoving a leaf down her throat.  You shake your head and swat it down and wonder how the hell she found the one leaf that got into your house. Then you just give up and tell yourself that it's good for her immune system.

There are so many more - ever given baby a bottle of what might be spoiled milk or formula? How about over or under dosed medicine? Knocked her head into a wall in the dark? Ran bath water too hot or too cold? Gotten sunscreen or lotion in her eyes? Closed her fingers in a door? What's yours?

I don't care if you're the most perfect, smartest, most patient parent in the world - stuff happens. Not only that but you're sure you're the only parent who has ever been this stupid. You're definitely not. Parenting is a dangerous game and it seems like life threatening hazards are waiting around every corner. But we all make the same mistakes and most of the time they'll be just fine. There's a reason why people say "Babies bounce!"

Because if they didn't we all would have died out a hell of a long time ago!

What was your biggest parenting fail?


June 23, 2015

What We Did Last Week (Week of 6/14/15)

Last Sunday CJ drove me and my friend Caitlin down to Queens for my friend Dalelyn's baby shower and the girls got to spend the day with their Nova, Aunt Kate and cousin Abbie. They had a blast and it went sooo much better than the last time we left them!  They also had a visit from Abbie and her friend Colleen giving mom a much needed break after a long day. It seems like our first bout with separation anxiety is subsiding and mom can finally get a much needed break at times!

 Nature and Outside 

Banging on everything we can!
Outside time just got a whole lot better over here! My dad came through for us once again and graciously gifted us a Northstates Super Playyard complete with a door extension! This thing is awesome. It gives them enough space to explore and crawl around, they can pull up on it and cruise safely and I don't have to chase them all over the place. When we add our Sportbrella and our new SpeakStick we have the ultimate outdoor set up to encourage safe, independent play and exploration for these babies now that they're on the move!  We got out a few times this week to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Sensory and Exploration

They are loving taking things in and out of boxes, dumping and shaking them and flipping them over and banging on them so we're doing a lot of that these days. Every day I'll add some different objects to their boxes and just let them have at it.

We also went on a crawling tour of the house. Thanks to our new play yard they have a huge safely contained space in the living room but whenever I can I'm trying to let them exercise their skills and explore. I set them free the other day and it was like they discovered a whole new world. They were crawling under tables, behind boxes, looking under the bed and their cribs, pushing doors, banging on the fridge and washing machine and discovered the cat food bowl - good thing I'm quick!

Music, Movement and Games

Thanks to our new SpeakStick (read my review here) our music sounds so much better than when I had to use my phone or computer! I discovered a few great playlists while trying to find something to listen to on our road trip to NYC so we've listened Family Road Trip, Mood Booster and some Cinematic Chill Out when they were needing some low-key music.

They had a chill jam session with Dad and his guitar one night. I was in the kitchen doing dishes and heard him strumming and looked out to see them totally enthralled with it. He handed them their guitar and xylophone and they played along. So cute. 

Obstacle course and cute baby faces!
Aside from our crawling tour we've been doing tons of pulling up and cruising. This week we did our very first baby obstacle course! I set up my Snoogle pillow for them to crawl over, our nursing pillow for them to crawl through and the coffee table for them to crawl under. I put their activity walker at the end to give them something to aim for. Jules was not having any of it and quickly crawled her way around but Viv had a blast and did it over and over every time I led her back to the beginning.

Our favorite game this week was "I'm gonna get you!" and mimicking. They can make a ton of sounds but we're still working on them repeating after us so we practice a lot every day. We're hoping to finally get a Dada out of Jules this weekend just in time for Father's Day too! She's so close but she just giggles when I say it!

Favorite Toys

Peek-A-Boo Blocks - (Do not pay $100 for this, even though it's discontinued you can find it for about $10 at any garage sale). This has been a favorite for a while but now that they're shaking everything and actually taking the time to look at the blocks it's much more interesting to them. They also love dumping the box out and trying to put them back in.

Alphabet Abacus - They love knocking this thing over and rolling the letters over and over.

Blankets - They've finally discovered the joy that is snuggling up to a soft blanket! They have Aden + Anais swaddle blankets in their cribs and during play time I will throw a few of the approximately 200 blankets we have out for them and they will shake them, snuggle them and play peek-a-boo. Before rest time I will raise it up high and lower it over them making a whoosh sound and I swear I've found the key to getting them to be happy that it's time to sleep! They will laugh and pull on it and then ball it up under their arms and fall asleep just like I do. Freakin' precious.

Favorite Books

We read a few stories from our big books again this week and I gotta say back in the old days people wrote some messed up children's stories. Ever read Ferdinand the Bull? Don't, it glorifies bull fights and while it is a lovely story for the most part and ends happily I struggled with it and it made me sad. Then there's Millions of Cats in which millions of cats possibly eat each other. Thankfully they also have some of my favorites like Guess How Much I Love You and Amelia Bedelia so we stuck to those this week!

New Foods

I'm adding this new section to try and keep track of all the new things the girls try. In the last few weeks they've tried beets, calamari, olives, blueberry pancakes, homemade applesauce, macaroni and cheese and mandarin oranges.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day!


June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

I wasn't in the mood to do a sappy first Mother's Day post for myself this year but CJ isn't going to get off so easily.

If I have learned anything in the last year it's that you never really, truly know someone until you watch them become a parent. CJ and I have been together 8 years and in just the last 18 months I have seen him become someone I barely recognize - in all the best ways. I won't go into much detail but suffice to say he is one of the strongest, sweetest and genuinely loving fathers I have ever seen. We went to hell and back between the anxiety of the pregnancy, the major surgery delivery and then the NICU and he never so much as questioned any of it.

He's the reason I'm still sane, the reason I get to sleep ever and no matter what is going on I know that I have him to support, love and encourage me and my babies. I owe him so much and although I could try I doubt I could put into words how happy I am to be able to be the mother of his children.

So I'll just say Thank You:

For all that you do for us, every single day, for the sacrifices you've made and the hell we've all put you through (and to think it's only just begun).

For sitting up with me all those nights feeding them and for filling up my water bottle at least a million times in the last year and a half.

For reminding me to breathe and giving me a break when I need one.

For picking up after us, cooking for us and keeping the house well stocked with alcohol.

For working your a** off six days a week so we can have what we need and I can do the most important job of raising our babies and for not even batting an eye when we realized this was how it had to be.

For loving our babies so fiercely and making sure they know it and feel it every day just like you make sure I do.

For being patient with me as I try to teach you things and offer lengthy explanations for why I want you to do or say certain things.

For supporting the way I choose to parent including cloth diapers even though you have to wash them sometimes and encouraging baby led weaning even though it scares you to death.

For being my partner and sticking by my side even when I'm so bitchy from exhaustion you want to toss me out the window.

Thank you for committing your life to our babies, as you did to me, and being there with a smile no matter what life throws at us.

I truly believe that if every child in the world had a father like my girls do the world would be a hell of a better place.

So, on your first Father's Day, thank you so much for everything.  We hope you have the best day and we all love you so much!!!


June 19, 2015

My Dirty Mom Confession Plus a Review of Smart Mixture's SpeakStick

Oh precious "alone" time. The time that pre-kids we all took for granted. Once you become a mother of twins your "alone" time is limited to when and if your babies decide to sleep at the same time. In the beginning it was spurts of 30-45 minutes every other hour or so, hardly enough time to drink a cup of coffee.  Now I might get 2-3 hours in a day of relatively uninterrupted "alone" time. But of course it's not actually me time - I clean up their messes, plan activities, get the big household chores done, pay bills, prepare meals and, of course, take a shower. Or at least that's what most moms do...

So here's my confession: I hate showering. When they were newborns (ok, ok, it was more like until they were like 6 months old) I didn't shower nearly as often as I should have. Actually, that's an understatement. It was a good week if I showered once every three days.  I know. Le gasp.

Gah, I can't believe I just admitted that.

I'm not dirty or anything, I just hate using up precious minutes of my alone time standing up cleaning yet another thing, especially since I was just going to get spit up or poop on me soon enough anyway. A spot clean and some deodorant was good enough for me. Don't judge me. It's not like I was going anywhere special with newborn twins that ate every 2 hours anyways. Instead of showering I was much more likely to be found trying to catch a quick nap, writing a blog post or just zoning out in a moment of peace and quiet and soap operas. 

Thankfully (for me and anyone around me) our daily schedule has evened out, the girls are finally sleeping better and I have rediscovered the joy that is a nice hot shower. And what goes great with a good shower? Belting out that day's frustrations with some good tunes. It's no secret that I love singing so of course I'm a shower singer but I have to have music to sing along to. Otherwise showers are just not as enjoyable to me. I've tried a number of shower radios and while they're nice, these days I like to be more in control of my music via programs like Spotify, Pandora and GrooveShark. I used to just use my phone in the bathroom but the sound is awful and I'm stuck listening to whatever comes on with no control unless I want to shower with my phone - not gonna work. So what's a mom to do?

Enter Smart Mixture's SpeakStick Shower Speaker. When I was contacted to write this review, in exchange for trying it out at home, I assumed it would be like the many shower radios I've had in the past. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that BlueTooth connectivity enables the SpeakStick to not only play my favorite Spotify playlists and Pandora radio stations but I can control them right from the device in my shower. I can adjust the volume, skip songs and even answer the phone. Plus, with my phone's Assist feature I can even hear and respond to text messages while in the shower! Now if only I had someone to bring me food and watch the babies I could spend all day in there if I wanted. Dare I say it, I actually enjoy showering again!

It was ready to right out of the box, I just had to sync up my phone's blue tooth and we were good to go. At about the size of my palm the waterproof SpeakStick is super portable and light weight which means it stays where it's stuck and hasn't fallen off my shower wall yet. The sound quality is fantastic for such a small piece of equipment - at top volume it's too loud for my shower.

We opted for the electric blue color and even though it's small it's easy to find when I toss it in the diaper bag with it's hard plastic carrying case. Do pay attention to the sticker on the case and do not put it in upside down as the suction cup will make it get stuck. I learned that the hard way.

Although marketed as a shower speaker, the SpeakStick can be used anywhere you have a bluetooth or computer connection. I've used it outside in the yard (I suction it to their play yard), in my car and in my bedroom at night. Also, since we listen to music all day, I can now put music on for the girls in the living room playing through the speaker and control it while I'm in the kitchen. Plus I can still have my phone with me to check messages or google search for whatever.

I used to dread using my precious alone time minutes to shower but thanks to my new SpeakStick I actually look forward to it! Smart Mixture's SpeakStick comes with a USB cable and charges in about 4 hours and lasts about six hours on battery life. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee and it's on sale for just $22 on Amazon right now! I'm already thinking about picking up a few more as Christmas gifts. Go grab one for yourself and enjoy!


June 17, 2015

The Ultimate Cloth Diaper Resource List
From First Fluff to Final Sale

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Ever since starting cloth diapering, even when I was just thinking about it, I have used the internet to get all of my information and answers. Not one person I know uses cloth or has in 30 years. So any advice or information I need is found online. The problem is it's all scattered about the interwebs! Rather than write my own posts about all these things I've compiled a list of the best resources I've found for everything cloth diaper related. This is how I learned everything I know! Stay tuned for updates as I find new information!

Start Here!  


Making the Decision to Use Cloth


What Does it All Mean? 


Breakdowns of Styles and Types

Diaper Junction
Jillian's Drawers
Nickis Diapers
Cotton Babies 
Find Cloth Diapers Local - Dirty Diaper Laundry 
Check your local Craigslist
Buy direct from the brand website
Check Facebook for General or Brand Specific Buy/Sell/Trade groups

Renting Cloth Diapers/Trial Packages 

Kissed By The Moon
Jillian's Drawers
Sweet Bottoms Baby
Diaper Junction

Ok, Let's Do This!


How To Use Cloth Diapers  

How To Use Cloth Diapers - Want What You Have
Everything You Need To Know About Prefold Cloth Diapers - Family Life in LV
Prefold Picture Tutorial - The Eco Friendly Family 
Types of Cloth Diapers and How to Use Them - Plus1Please on YouTube
Cloth Diapering Full Time With Daycare - Cloth Diaper Revival
How To Make Homemade Cloth Diaper Safe Diaper Cream - All Things Mamma
DIY Prefold with Snaps Conversion - Diaper Junction

Newborn Diaper Info 

Reviews of 38 Newborn Cloth Diapers - Zephyr Hill
Cloth Diapering a Newborn - The Eco Friendly Family
Newborn Cloth Diapering - Dirty Diaper Laundry
Cloth Diapering a Newborn - Keeper of the Home
Cloth Diapering a Newborn - Fluff Love University
Cloth Diapering a Newborn Without Breaking The Bank - Dirty Diaper Laundry
Cloth Diapering a Newborn - Nurse Loves Farmer

Prepping Cloth Diapers 

How Do You Prep Cloth Diapers? - Viva Veltoro
How To Prep and Wash Your Cloth Diapers - Kelly's Closet
Prepping New Cloth Diapers and the Dreaded HE Machines - Alpha Mom
Prepping Cloth Diapers - So Easy Being Green

Night Time CDing  

5 Tips to Successfully Cloth Diaper At Night - The Eco Chic
Cloth Diapering At Night - Baby Blythe Blog
Night Time Cloth Diapering Solutions - Teressa Jane
Cloth Diapers at Night Part 3: Budget Edition - All About Cloth Diapers


Clean Diaper Storage

How Do You Store Your Diapers? - The Eco Friendly Family
Pinteresting Cloth Diaper Storage Ideas - The Anti June Cleaver
Stash Storage - The Beehive Buzz
Cloth Diaper Storage - Fluff Love University 
Cloth Diaper Storage Solutions - Making My Stead 
Everything Has Its Place - The Cloth Diaper Whisperer 

There's Poop in My Pretty Cloth Diaper! Now What? 


Dirty Diaper Storage 

Diaper Pails Vs. Hanging Wet Bags - Dirty Diaper Laundry
Storing Dirty Cloth Diapers - Cloth Diaper Addicts
Storing Dirty Cloth Diapers Until Wash Day - Kelly Wels
How To Store Cloth Diapers Until Wash Day - Thinking About Cloth Diapers
The top 3 Best Cloth Diaper Pails - Best Cloth Diapers

Take Care and Make 'Em Last!



Junior Year - Troubleshooting - Fluff Love University
10 Reasons Your Cloth Diapers Might Be Leaking or Smelling and How To Fix Them - Cloth Diaper Geek
Cloth Diaper Problems and Troubleshooting - Alpha Mom
Troubleshooting Leaking Cloth Diapers - Everything Cloth
Troubleshooting Index - Cloth Diaper Whisperer
Help! My Cloth Diapers Stink - Padded Tush Stats
Time To Strip Your Diapers? - Cloth Diaper Addicts


How Should You Dry Your Cloth Diapers? - All About Cloth Diapers
How To Tighten BumGenius 4.0 Elastics - Britney Aube on YouTube
10 Things You Should Never Do to Cloth Diapers - The Eco Chic
10 Ways To Ruin Cloth Diapers - The Healthy Honeys
Upgrade Your Absorbency - Thinking About Cloth Diapers
Forego Microfiber - Natural Fibers for the Cloth Diapering Win! - Lo-Wren

Selling Your Cloth Diapers 


Ok, But How Do I Do it With TWO?

CDing with Twins 

Diapers for Twins - About.com
I debated adding this section because I hate that I have to but, well, if you're like most of the CD population you will have to justify or explain your decision to someone. Husbands, doctors, parents and grandparents, even friends and prefect strangers - you never know who will think you're crazy or weird or gross so here's some stats and info to throw their way:

"Your child will have rashes (or yeast, bowlegs, won't learn to walk right or will be hard to potty train)."

Rashes Happen! - The Cloth Diaper Whisperer
Diapers and Development - Alpha Mom
Do Cloth Diapers Delay Walking In Infants? - Dirty Diaper Laundry
Cloth Diapers Are a Plus in Potty Training - Kelly Wels

"You will never stick to it."

The only advice I have for this one is to ignore the haters, do your best and sit back and say, "Oh no? Well, just watch me!"

So there you have it! I hope you enjoy your CD journey and let me know how it goes!

Have a great cloth diaper resource I missed? E-mail it to me and I'll add it!


June 15, 2015

What We Did Last Week (Week of 6/8/15)

After a great weekend of celebrating Mom's birthday and a successful garage sale (the dining room isn't entirely cleaned out but it's better than before!) we were happy to all be healthy and feeling good this week!

We visited with tons of family this week and last weekend. We had dinner with Nova, GG, Jama and Aunt Debz for Mom's Birthday. We had lunch with Great Nana on Tuesday and the girls had so much fun! I love that my grandmother is able to spend time with and get to know them! And at 78 years old she can keep up with them just as well as I can! We also got to visit with Aunt Lisa, Uncle John, cousin Sam and Ollie the crazy dog! They were a little scared of him at first but warmed up fast to his kisses and soft fur!

We are clapping, banging on everything, starting to mimic tons of noises, offering things to mom and dad, trying to drink out of cups and pulling up on everything these days!

Nature and Outside 

We spent some time crawling in the grass this week. Viv loves it, Jules is not so sure. She's a little more sensory sensitive than Viv and I don't think she likes the feeling of the dirt under her. We watched more rain storms in my room and looked for a rainbow again too. So far they haven't seen one yet but I'm determined by the end of the summer to make it happen!

We spent Saturday hanging out with Aunt Kate and cousin Jillian in the pool! Jillian was blowing bubbles for the girls and they were laughing so hard! 

Sensory and Exploration

Ice play! It was super rainy and hot on Tuesday afternoon and they were cranky little beauties. They were super impatient while I was making their lunch so I tossed some ice cubes on their trays and gave them some spoons and cups. They touched them really lightly at first, not quite sure what to do with them but then it became a game as they tried to grab them. One cube only lasted about a minute before it was knocked to the floor but it was fun while it lasted!

I learned where I inherited my fascination with loose parts and reused toys - my grandmother! After a great lunch the girls were playing and she brought out something she made for them. I was so happy when I saw it was a crunchy onion container filled with jug and bottle caps - their favorite toy ever!  They shook it for a minute but clearly figured out how to open in and she even did me one better - they were all different textures, sizes and colors! They had a blast and we bonded over our love for loose parts! She gave me the best idea too for when they're older - cans! She told me all about how she would duct tape the tops and collect dozens of all sizes and the kids would build towers, pyramids and walls with them! I can't wait for that!

Music, Movement and Games

This week we listened to a few summer playlists like Summer Acoustic and Mom's favorite, Summer Country. For the sake of having some children's music in there I also put on some Disney music while we played with our new Disney toys from cousin Jillian. Who doesn't love to jam to The Lion King!

We played with our musical instruments a lot this week! My sister Kate brought down some of Jillian's old toys to sell at the garage sale but I ended up just keeping them. We got a real xylophone and a guitar that they love just batting at and strumming. We even did a family jam session where Dad played his guitar, mom played the harmonica (ha! "played" is definitely not the right word) and the girls banged on their xylophones and guitar!

We did a ton of climbing, mostly on me, pulling up, again on me, as well as the couch, tables, beds, chairs and everything. We also tried crawling under things and tunnel play this week. These babies are officially mobile and I'm definitely feeling it!

CanDoKiddo has this great list of ideas for tunnel play and we did a bunch of them. Jules showed off her skills by going through the tunnel for the first time like a champ. They really loved when I hid inside it and said peek-a-boo and popped out!

Speaking of Peek-A-Boo it was by far their favorite game this week. Whether it was the tunnel, a pillow, a blanket or my hands they are giggling so hard every time I pop out and even starting to understand how it works and do it themselves.

Favorite Toys

Coasters, especially the ones Papa T brought back from Australia - These wooden, hand painted coasters are awesome. They can stack them, clack and rub them together, bang them on the table, roll them, whatever. When they get a little bigger I will offer them the stand they fit on for an easy puzzle. They love them and will play with them forever.

Fisher Price Disney Baby Sing-A-Long Train - We also received a train set from cousin Jillian and they love it! They'd rather just flip it over and bang and chew on the animals than actually move it but who am I to tell them how to play?

Tunnel - This affiliate link is for one just like ours. It was quite the favorite this week!

Wipes - One unintended consequence of letting them play with wipe boxes and cloth wipes - they won't leave our real wipe box alone! I swear they have figured out how to open the diaper bag because there have been times I've come out to find them with tons of disposable wipes all over the place and I swear I put them away! At least they're not eating them... yet.

Favorite Books

We brought out the big books this week! The girls' great-great Aunt Mary bought them the 20th Centure Children's Book Treasury and Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics for their Blessing and now that they will sit and listen to books some of the time we tried a few of those stories out. I think they're both great books but they're definitely not made for reading to squirmy climbing infants. I love the variety but they're big and hard to hold and a lot of the stories are too long to hold their attention just yet, but I know we will love them in a few years.

This week will be rainy but we will try to make the best of it!


June 12, 2015

Let Them Be.

I'm frustrated.

A while back I wrote about my pleas to change the way we talk about sleep "training" in an effort to make families feel confident and secure rather than feel like total crap over their decision to help their children learn to sleep. Well, something else has really been getting to me lately.

Can we please stop comparing our babies to one another? Can we stop worrying about when things like rolling, crawling, walking and talking will happen for our babies? Can we stop worrying all together?? Can we just enjoy them for the extremely short time that they are babies? Please. I'm thisclose to leaving some mom groups I'm in, despite loving the support and friendships I've made, because I can't stand the comparisons, the anxiety, and so on. It's breaking my heart. I've worked really hard to stop doing it myself and I want that for every single mom I come across every day.

To be clear I love the "such and such is crawling or whatever!" posts. Those are not the ones I mean. I mean the ones written to compare or express concern over delayed milestones in young babies. Or the blatant brags about extremely advanced behavior that make other moms feel insecure, whether intentional or not. Maybe I'm just really sensitive to it since my girls are preemies and therefore are technically delayed in terms of their actual age. But I really believe it might actually be hurting our kids.  And it's definitely not helping us tear down those walls I talked about before. 

I have been saving some snippets of conversations I've seen in the last few days. All of these are from twin, mom, cloth diaper and nursing/feeding groups that I absolutely love being a part of. That's why this kills me so much. Some summaries of what I've read:

  • My baby was born in September and he isn't clapping yet. Should I be worried?
  • How much did your baby weigh at a year old?  I'm freaking that our son is under weight. He only weighs 20 lbs. What can I do?
  • My 11 month old will not eat with a spoon, he just flings food around. I see other babies feeding themselves and I'm so worried there's something wrong with his coordination.
  • When did your babies start rolling over? Mine have no interest yet at 5 months old no matter what I do. Should I talk to the pediatrician?
  • What are the first signs of autism? My seven month old is doing some weird head shaking thing and google says autism.
  • How many words can your LO say at 15 months? My girl can say 35! Just wondering what other babies are doing!
  • My son started rolling at 6 weeks, crawling at 4 months and walking at 8 months. Slow down little man! Any other fast learners in here?

Yes, they're all innocent questions and yes, everyone wonders where their kid falls on the spectrum of ability, but would it kill us to at least hold off until they're, I don't know, 18 months old? Two years old even?  Until then, can't we just celebrate the uniqueness that is each of our beautiful, wonderful children?

The internet has made it so easy to find out if our children are "behind" or how they compare against children of the same age. But at the end of the day what difference does it make? What does comparing do except incite anxiety and worry, often unnecessarily?

Also, some people lie. Or they mistake reflexes or randomness for "firsts". Majority of the first words people talk about are babbling - although I guess they could count, but most babies do not say Dada and mean it at 5 months old (and for me, it's not a first word until the child comprehends that that thing over there is Dada and calls it as such). Did you know there's a rolling reflex? Jules rolled over for the first time at 7 weeks old. I was elated. Then she didn't do it again until she was 8 months old no matter how much I tried. Even though it seemed like every baby her age had it mastered by 6 months. Neither one made a consonant sound until 9 months old. And guess what? They're fine. But I wasted precious moments trying to get them to do the things I thought they should be doing. And for what? To be in with the cool kids?

And finally, why in the hell does it matter? Again, I go back to my previous point I made when talking about sleep training. Quick, think of your three closest friends. Which one of them was walking at 12 months old? Not sure? Ok, this one's easier, at what age did your significant other start to talk? How has that directly effected their day to day life? See? How does any of this matter in the long run?

It doesn't. None of this will matter in six months, let alone twenty years. Eventually we all learn to walk and talk and when or how it happened means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

And yet we worry and wonder. We research and we read. We compare our babies to strangers' kids on facebook. We stress when they aren't following some developmental milestone chart we found online and then try to force them to do things before they're ready. We freak out if we think something might be wrong when usually they're just not there yet. I am absolutely guilty of this and I regret that I spent the first six months of my girls lives trying to make them do things they just weren't ready for yet.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be aware. Of course we should. Know the basics of child development but don't beat yourself up if your child isn't advanced or even on time. Nurture them and support them and if at some point you have concerns then you can start the process of getting the appropriate help. Early intervention is a wonderful tool that we have access too if necessary but often it is not needed. What's needed is time and support. You're mom. You will know best. Trust that instinct!

And remember, before we know it we'll be stressing with them over things that actually matter like growing up and dating and them becoming who they really are or whatever. So give them time. Let them be babies.  Celebrate what they are doing. Maybe they're not rolling over at 5 months but they are still nursing like champs or babbling like crazy. Maybe your 15 month old only says 5 words but she is the best peek-a-boo player in the state.

Pay attention to what really matters, what makes your child special and celebrate that. Encourage your child, play with them, but most of all, love them for who they are right at that moment, no matter what they're capable of. All too fast they will be doing it all and this worrying will, hopefully, be a long lost memory. Let's enjoy it as much as we can and just let them be.

What do you think?


June 10, 2015

How to Find The Perfect Baby Name(s)!

I have had a love for baby names ever since I was practically a baby myself. I suppose it all started with how much I disliked my own name growing up. I know Maigen (btw, it's said may-gen, not Megan or Meegan or Mygen) is a beautiful name but I quickly realized it was hard for people to pronounce correctly, no one knew how to spell it and it drew unwanted attention to me as a shy child. I dreamed of having a simple name like Annie, Emily or Katie, like my sister.

I finally embraced my name in college and started following baby name blogs to build a nice cache of choices long before I even dreamed of having kids of my own. I have a great ability to predict what will eventually become popular names.  I fell in love with Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava and Ella long before they were common (there's a reason for that though, read more about the 100 year rule). I obviously like classic, pretty, flowy names and after watching every name I loved reach higher popularity I knew I was going to have to dig deeper when it came to naming my own.

We knew we didn't want anything too common but not too out there either. There's nothing wrong with a popular name but  having grown up with a "made-up" name I can tell you that's no picnic either. There is something to be said for originality though and for not having your child be one of four girls with the same name in her class. In 9th grade I had a Jessica F., Jessica B., Jessica C., Jessica I., Jessica N., and Jessica S. and they were just the ones I had classes with. We also had numerous Carrie/Kari/Kerries, Amandas, Katies and, of course, Jennifers. They envied me and I envied them. I knew I needed to avoid this so that meant some of my favorites (Ella, Ava, Madelyn and Olivia) were off our list before we even started.

Nowadays it's easier to give your baby a unique name that's not popular and you don't have to go all the way to the other end of the spectrum and make up a name or modify an existing one to do so. That said, the hard part is finding a name that both you and Dad like, that you can see your child grow into and that is easy enough for the rest of the world to pronounce and spell. We had the added fun of trying to come up with two names that fit the bill. So how exactly do you do it?

Baby Name Books

The old school way that is quickly going the way of other paper products what with so many resources on the interwebs. While looking I did refer to a few that I've had for years (again, I was obsessed long before I even met CJ). My favorites were Cool Names by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz which is chock full of great ideas and 20,001 Names for Baby which gives pretty detailed information on name meanings and usage. I also bought a copy of The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg when we got desperate. This is a great combo of the above books with great ideas including name "snapshots", sibling suggestions, tips and tricks for choosing a name and a pronunciation guide. She also included a a look at baby name trends and a great breakdown of names by any type or style you could imagine such as Bell Tones, New Classics, Nickname-Proof and Short and Sweet.

Baby Name Websites

Modern baby naming is almost more difficult with the number of naming sites cropping up everywhere. It's almost like when you go to a diner and sit down to order from a menu that is 12 pages long. There is so much to choose from that it's hard to narrow down a few choices let alone pick just one. That said the ability to find just about any name ever used is pretty awesome.

Baby Name Wizard - This site, run by Laura Wattenberg, the Baby Name Lady herself, is full of great ideas and tools including the Name Mapper (currently under construction) which tells you where names are the most popular, the Name Voyager which explores baby name trends through time and the NamiPedia which gives a more detailed look at a name as well as personal anecdotes from people who have or who used the name.

Nymbler - Another amazing resource from Laura Wattenberg, Nymbler allows you to input your choices and then generates similar names based on sound, style and spelling. It's where we found the Juliette to our Vivienne!

Nameberry - This UK based website is full of information. They break names down into really fun lists like Angel names, Geek-Chic names, Nature names and Video Game names. The forums are very busy and a great resource for more ideas. Although many of the names they cover have yet to cross the sea into popular usage over here if you're wanting to be really unique you will likely find your dream name here!

Apellation Mountain  - Abby believes that every name has a story and she's here to help you learn all about them. Her Name of the Day series spotlights newer gems and classics and covers the history, etymology and cultural usage of a name. I love reading her descriptions of names and can spend hours just scrolling through her site.

What A Lovely Name  - A lovely little interactive site where you can choose which qualities you would like in a name and they generate a list for you! I didn't discover this one until writing this blog but I wish I had found it while still pregnant!

Social Security Administration - Weird right? Who would think the government would be a good place to find a baby name. This is one of the best though as it can tell you a lot about the popularity of a name over time. Every year they list the most popular names in the country for that year but it also goes all the way back to 1879 so you can definitely use it for some ideas. Once you've chosen a name you can also go and find out it's ranking throughout history.

I came across our short list the other day and was surprised to see some names that I'd forgotten all about. CJ really liked Penny (think James Bond) and Hazel and I was in love with Eleanor and Lila. We settled on boys names pretty early on and were going to use Miles Thomas and Eli Charles. Vivienne was picked after my cousin mentioned it was one of her favorites. It was kind of like that scene on Friends where Rachel steals Monica's baby name (Emma!). As soon as she said it something just clicked and I knew that was one of my girls' names. I felt awful for taking it but she swears she doesn't mind.

Juliette came and went and came and went on our list. We liked it after Nymbler suggested it but weren't sure how much we did until one of our last ultrasounds when the tech pointed out that we could do J for baby A and V for baby B. I loved that and the fact that they go together without being too matchy. Of course now they go by Jules and Viv (or Hooles and Lion) most of the time! I do take pride in the fact that I chose a beautiful "sib-set" and that my name choices are admired in the baby name community!

How did you pick your baby names?