Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cloth Diaper Chronicles: Tide

I'll get right to it: we switched to Tide detergent for the cloth diapers. Follow along with me...

You see, when I first started cloth diapering, Charlie's Soap was all the rage. I mean ALL THE RAGE. Meaning, if you weren't washing with Charlie's you might as well just burn your diapers because they were going to decompose anyway. This chart was popular when I was doing research, and it supported the idea that cloth diapers needed special laundry detergent (such as Charlie's). In case the chart ever gets taken down, here is a compiled screen shot of how this particular chart rated the detergents I will be talking about in this post:

After about a year of using Charlie's, I somehow became privy to Charlie's being out and Rockin' Green being in. So in. More in than Charlie's ever was. I also learned that I needed to be using more soap than I previously thought. So I changed detergent, upped the amount (per the instructions on the Rockin' Green packaging), and I was all set. For many months we were truly experiencing cloth diaper bliss, including finally being able to line dry the diapers because we moved in with my dad who has a glorious back deck that gets direct sunlight during the sunny months. Insert me doing a cloth diaper induced happy dance!

A few months ago I posted my most recent cloth diapering update saying how everything was going great, and then of course directly after that (like, the same week) we started having problems. Drew started getting horrible rashes after wearing the cloth diapers overnight. Never during the day, only overnight. I started researching and was able to conclude that the nighttime rashes had something to do with the duration of time his urine was being left against his body. Apparently as babies turn into toddlers and start eating more adult foods the composition of their urine changes, which makes sense. And this new toddlery-adult-like-urine left on his tushy all night was causing rashes. Bummer.

So we had several options:
1) Wake him up in the middle of the night to change his diaper (you can guess our likelihood of doing that)
2) Try fleece liners that are used to wick any moisture away from his body and into the diaper
3) Switch to disposables at night
4) Scream at the internet and consider burning the cloth diapers

We chose to do option 2 first, then option 4 when option 2 didn't work, and then option 3. 

Which leads me to a rabbit trail about disposable diapers:
We've never thought twice about using Costco's Kirkland Signature disposable diapers for the infrequent times we need to put Drew in a disposable. However if we were going to be putting him in a disposable every night I wanted to do my research on which diaper I wanted pushed up against his skin for 12 hours at a time. A quick google search led me to this chart comparing brands of disposable diapers. For a variety of reasons I narrowed our options down to Honest Company (HC), Earth's Best (EB), and Kirkland Signature (KS).

Several things really mattered to us: price point, ease of procuring, and the healthiness of the diaper (meaning it's not just loaded with chemicals). Like I said, I'd never even researched our current brand before, so I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out that KS diapers are chlorine, perfume, and latex free. The other two brands I was now looking at were also free of those components, so I felt happy with our choice to just stay with KS diapers. Then I noticed the KS were rated the lowest of the three for absorbency. We hadn't ever felt like the KS diapers weren't absorbent enough, so I actually ordered a small amount of both the HC and the EB diapers to compare. The HC are so cute and I really wanted those to perform well so that I could justify paying nearly double the cost per diaper...but sadly, Drew leaked through out the top of all 7 of the HC diapers when wearing them overnight. So then we tried the EB and the same thing happened! A straight week of leaking through. Then we switched back to KS diapers leaks. What the what?! So my rabbit trail ends with me offering up three cheers for Kirkland Signature diapers...way to go Costco, way to go!

Back to my Tide plunge. In doing research on the overnight rash issue, a lot of ladies were pointing me to a website I have never heard of called Fluff Love University and repeatedly telling me to switch to Tide. The website has a detergent index that looks the polar opposite of the detergent comparison website I showed you above: Tide is listed as a "top pick"! So confusing. 

So I did some more research about new trends in cloth diapering detergent (my days of doing graduate school research on cutting-edge topics have certainly passed!), and it turns out Tide is now what's up in the world of cloth diapers. So maybe it's the pregnancy hormones making me all brave, but I decided to give Tide a try.

I reviewed the diaper washing instructions on the Fluff Love website and can't bring myself to ditch the final rinse cycle in our wash routine or the dash of vinegar (old habits die hard). So here is our new, new, new, new (I've lost count) wash routine. This is for a standard size load of diapers (12ish), in a non-HE machine, with super soft water:

1) short rinse, cold water, water level low
2) regular wash with Tide powder detergent (line 2), hot water, water level medium
3) short rinse with a tiny splash of vinegar, cold water, water level low 

As for sanitizing, I now follow the instructions on the Fluff Love University site and do a sanitizing wash with bleach about once a month.

We've been using this routine for a few weeks and so far I have no complaints. Interesting to note is this new routine did not solve the overnight diaper rash problem, so we've stopped trying to figure that out and just happily settled on the KS diapers overnight. 

I'll report back if we start having issues with the Tide (as I know you'll all be on the edge of your seats!). Any other moms using a mainstream detergent with their cloth diapers? Do share!

Friday, July 24, 2015

BFBN Week - Friday { sleep }

This week the ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are all writing on the topic of sleep. Below is the schedule of blog posts for the week. There will be heaps of great content shared across the all the blogs, so be sure to follow along!
Claire from My Devising is writing about dropping the morning nap. This typically happens around 18 months, but can happen much sooner (like it did for my son at 13 months) or much later. For us, it was actually the easiest nap to drop. If your baby is approaching this transition, fret not! As Claire says, "every nap that is dropped is more freedom"! 


Elaine from Faithfully Infertile is sharing about prioritizing sleep. If you will be welcoming home a newborn anytime soon, definitely save this post for future reference. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

BFBN Week - Thursday { sleep }

This week the ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are all writing on the topic of sleep. Below is the schedule of blog posts for the week. There will be heaps of great content shared across the all the blogs, so be sure to follow along!
Emily from The Journey of Parenthood is sharing a sleep guide aimed at helping infants sleep. This is very timely for us, as we just welcomed home a newborn ourselves! Emily's post nicely summarizes all of the tips to consider when setting the stage for successful infant sleep. Enjoy!

Carrie from Wiley Adventures is talking about conquering the 45 minute nap. The 45 minute nap was something my son struggled with for so, so, so long (how long? SOOOOO long). I love Carrie's tips on how to get through the season of short naps because it can be really tiring for everyone involved. If this is the story of your baby's naps right now - don't give up!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BFBN Week - Wednesday { sleep }

This week the ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are all writing on the topic of sleep. Below is the schedule of blog posts for the week. There will be heaps of great content shared across the all the blogs, so be sure to follow along!
Brooke from Apffel a Day has an uplifting post for those struggling with mom-guilt. We've all experienced it in some way, to some degree, about something. In the world of infant sleep it's almost impossible to come away unscathed by the theories that swirl around on what's best for baby and why. I find Brooke's words encouraging because despite Babywise working fabulously for our son and our family, I still took heat for scheduling his feeds and sleep. And I'm taking heat again for doing the same with our newborn. Brooke encourages moms like me by saying "I believe in you. I don’t know your exact reasons for wanting to sleep schedule your baby, but I know your reasons are good. Your intentions, your heart, you are good. Have so much grace on yourself.". I, for one, am a huge fan of grace. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did!


Kimberly from Team Cartwright is sharing about maintaining a sleep schedule while on vacation. This post speaks to the idea that having a routine is what allows a Babywise family to be flexible without encountering total meltdowns. Having a routine does not confine you to your home! Having a routine is precisely what allows you to take your littles on vacation and expect some semblance of normalcy while you are away from home. Speaking from experience, it's truly delightful for everyone involved if a child's sleep routine is maintained while on vacation. Alright - I've said enough - I'll let Kim take it from here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

BFBN Week - Tuesday { sleep }

This week the ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are all writing on the topic of sleep. Below is the schedule of blog posts for the week. There will be heaps of great content shared across the all the blogs, so be sure to follow along!
Shea from The Moses Home is talking about the importance of protecting baby's 1st nap of the day. She talks specifically about how the first nap is crucial to setting the stage for good naps the rest of the day, which we certainly found to be true with our son. This is a classic Babywise concept worth employing. Enjoy! 

The Importance of a Sleep Routine

This week the ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are all writing on the topic of sleep. Below is the schedule of blog posts for the week. There will be heaps of great content shared across the all the blogs, so be sure to follow along!
Today I'm writing about the importance of a sleep routine. This is something even non-Babywise family's subscribe to, but I learned about it through Babywise. Enjoy!

One thing that has stuck out to me over the past two years with our son's sleep is the importance of having a sleep routine. This is a simple concept that has paid huge dividends for us! Thanks to a sleep routine, we can count on our two-year-old to go down for a nap or bedtime (almost) anywhere as long as most aspects of his routine are present. The consistency of the sleep routine has allowed us much flexibility in travel, late evenings at friends' houses, and my ability to work as a nanny for some of my friends with him in tow. I first learned about the importance of a sleep routine in On Becoming Babywise, which is where I also learned about the importance of sleep for babies and children in general.

{ sleep is critically important }
On Becoming Babywise says the following about the importance of sleep: "sleep, or the lack of this precious commodity, is one of the most significant influences on a healthy life. Sleep is critically important during the first year of life because the human growth hormone is released during deep sleep" (p. 49). Further, "try to imagine what it would feel like to wake up two or more times every night for an entire week. The destructive impact of sleep deprivation on an adult's central nervous system is well documented. Deficits include diminished motor skills, decreased ability to think, irritability, loss of focusing capacity, emotional instability, and cellular and tissue breakdown...Now imagine a young child who does not sleep continuously for 8 hours in any of the 365 nights a year!" (p. 53).

So sleep is important, but now what? How can parents help baby get the valuable sleep they need?

{ the use of sleep cues }
One of the main Babywise principles for aiding with baby sleep is that the baby's primary sleep cue should be sleepiness (pg. 57). Parents can help with this by creating a sleep routine that leads up to and/or triggers baby's sleepiness, thus setting the child up nicely for learning how to fall asleep on their own and eventually being able to put themselves back to sleep without parental intervention. I think the best thing about this concept is that you don't have to teach sleepiness, it's a natural body function. Babywise says "the best and safest way to help your little one fall asleep and stay asleep is the natural way. You do not need costly gadgets, a new car, or risky parenting theories. Instead of a sleep prop, confidently establish a basic routine [emphasis mine] to promote restful sleep" (pg. 60).

{ creating a sleep routine }
A sleep routine is established through a repeated succession of consistent sleep cues. The sleep routine is set by mom and dad, and is most successful when it can be done every time, any place, and by anyone. If the routine is too long, you wont want to do it every time. If the routine has components you can only do at home (like bath time), you can't do it any place. If the routine can only be done by mom (such as nursing directly to sleep), then mom must be present every single time baby needs to sleep. When creating a sleep routine for our son, my husband and I briefly sat down and came up with components that we are willing to do every time, that can be done anywhere, and that either of us can do.

Here is an example of a sleep routine for a baby:
  • final nursing session or bottle for the day (if mom wants a break she can nurse baby and then hand off to dad for the rest of the routine, or dad can give baby a bottle)
  • diaper change and sleep gear - can be jammies and/or sleep sack, swaddle, etc
  • give sleep props (should you choose to use them) - paci and/or lovie
  • lights out, white noise on - we first went with this sleep sheep and then later switched to this fan, but I can also recommend this white noise machine and this one, too 
  • prayers
  • snuggle in rocking chair and sing one song (same song every time) or read one book (same book every time...a small book that you can take on the go is a good idea)
  • turn baby facing outward on lap and just sit together until baby is drowsy (no rocking, no talking)
  • place baby in crib sleepy but awake, close door
For comparison, here is our current bedtime routine for our 2-year-old:
  • diaper change, jammies, give paci and lovie (he only gets those for sleeping, so they are considered parent-approved sleep props)
  • family Bible reading on big bed (we like The Beginners Bible) to wind down
  • brush teeth
  • bedtime book in his bedroom (done in his room to ease with transition into the bedroom, away from the rest of the family/house)
  • lights out, fan on
  • prayers
  • snuggle in rocking chair and sing one bedtime song (same song every time)
  • put him in crib awake, close door
When we go on vacation or need to put him down somewhere not at home, we skip the Bible reading and just take along his bedtime book. If we forget to grab the bedtime book, he still does fine with just a snuggle and his bedtime song. We've never tried to put him down without his paci+lovie combo, so I do believe those are the two things that really cue sleepiness for him. 

Our current sleep routine could probably use some trimming down, but we've chosen to keep it as is for now because nothing about it seems cumbersome to us. Lately the biggest benefit we've seen from having a sleep routine is that we never have bedtime battles. Even if our son is in a foul mood at the end of a long day, he's all smiles when it comes to bedtime (or even nap time - his nap routine is a bit shorter than the bedtime one) because he knows what's coming and the sleep routine triggers sleepiness for him. As any parent of a toddler knows, sometimes a toddler is super tired but doesn't want to admit they are tired (or doesn't recognize how tired they are); the sleep routine works to help our son recognize that he is tired and it's time to sleep.

If you don't have a sleep routine, try one out for a week and see how your baby or toddler reacts. Talk with your husband first and make sure it's a routine you both can do anywhere and are willing to do each time. A routine is always meant to serve you, so come up with something that serves your family well and will continue to work in the future (perhaps as you grow your family and have more children to factor in to the routine).

Any Babywise mommas out there have any sleep routine advice for those mommas just getting started? Do share!

This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, July 20, 2015

BFBN Week - Monday { sleep }

This week the ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are all writing on the topic of sleep. Below is the schedule of blog posts for the week. There will be heaps of great content shared this week, so be sure to follow along!

Many people think of Babywise only having to do with babies, but today Val at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is sharing how Babywise principles have benefited her children through the teen years. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Drew: 24 months

Drew loves: all things that go (cars, trains, bikes, motorcycles, firetrucks, airplanes, helicopters, boats, ambulances, garbage trucks, regular trucks, vans, buses, taxis...), blocks, reading books, and markers (coloring).

Drew hates: one area where he has been struggling is tolerating certain kinds of events or scenarios with certain types of people. I can't seem to determine the consistent variable, but because I'm his mom I can usually predict which scenarios are not a good idea for him. I just can't put my finger on why. He is fine when it's Kyle or I, or groups of immediate family members in certain scenarios (we have rotating family dinners with Kyle's family or my family on Sundays and that never phases him). He does great when I take him to indoor gyms or play centers. He does great at church, both in kids church and when he's running around in the sanctuary with all the church-goers afterward. He does fine in restaurants (other than getting a little antsy). He does great when we go to other people's houses for play dates. He does ok-ish when I have mom friends over to our house for play dates...eventually he usually retreats upstairs to his room to play alone. He does not do well at large family gatherings or  new environments/places we don't go often. Sometimes I take him to visit Kyle at work and it takes him a really long time to warm up even though it's mostly family that we are visiting (Kyle works for a family business). Something about the environment is just not his jam. We went to a family wedding a few weekends ago and it was a train wreck. New environment, dozens of people trying to interact with him, and lots of noise and movement...just not his scene. No idea if this is a normal phase for his age, or a personality thing?

Milestones: He seems to be adding a new word or two to his vocabulary each day, and doing three to four word sentences. He is remembering events and things that I tell him we're going to do for far longer than ever before. We think of all of this is very amazing and totally cute, but that's our job as his parents :-) Sleep is great (7:30pm - 7am with a 2.5-3 hour nap during the day), eating is tolerable (for a toddler!), and behavior is mostly great. He does really well when we give him a warning of what's coming up next (such as "we're leaving the park in 2 minutes"). He has no concept of time, but the warning allows him to adjust his expectations and then he'll usually just say "bye park!" and head off to the car. About once a week he does some bigger act of direct disobedience/defiance as if to test the boundaries to see if they are still there, and we discipline him accordingly. Just as I was told would happen, it appears he is extremely comforted by knowing that the same boundaries are still in place and the same behaviors still warrant discipline. I know they say kids don't come with manuals, but Drew is such a textbook Babywise child! So we often joke that Drew actually did come with a handbook :-)

At the time of writing this we're still awaiting baby Mary to arrive, so I haven't made any big changes to our routine or environment. Drew is starting to show some interest in potty training, but I'm letting that go because I know now is just truly not the time for that! We did transition him out of the sleep sack for sleeping and now he has a pillow and quilt (that I made him...sailboat theme, of course!). He loves snuggling up in the quilt, and that delights my heart! He is very much still in the crib and we have no plans to change that anytime soon. He knows not to climb out of it and has been obedient to that end. So the crib stays, for now.

Here are some pics from the last three months:

family date at greenlake 
Drew saw a bus...
upping his slide skillz
my boy and my bump
happy guy!
when we say "smile", this is what he does...
mother's day kisses
sharing a treat with dad
our visit to Idaho
post Friday morning donut date, just watching the delivery trucks go by
I caught Drew playing with his baby doll
on the monitor...practicing for baby Mary, I hope!
donut date happiness
this kid would eat the entire container of greek yogurt if I'd let him!
watching cars...again...
watching the trains go by with dad on Father's Day
happy 2nd birthday Drew!
When Drew gets frustrated and/or misbehaves, he's
decided that he needs hugs afterward before he can move on with his day.
This was probably the hottest day of the year so far,
and we spent a lot of time hugging. He basically sits on baby
Mary for these hugs, but I don't mind (and I assume she doesn't either!)
because we're a family that's all about hugs! 
water park fun

every night before bed he asks for "Bible book" on our bed with both of us - it's so
precious and we love that he likes to read his Bible!
waiting for dad to get home from work (you and me both, buddy!)
throwing rocks in the water at the beach

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's Amazon Prime Day!!!

It's no secret our house is as huge fan of Amazon Prime; we've even been known to say "prime that" from time to time...we're such cool suburb parents...

Amazon Prime is an annual membership to that offers free 2-day shipping on thousands of products along with a whole host of other benefits. The main reason I love Amazon Prime is that I rarely have to leave the house to go shopping anymore, which means no traffic, no parking lots, no hauling a toddler in and out of the car, no shopping carts, and - this is the best part - NO IMPULSE BUYS. I can't even begin to calculate how much money I've saved by not running out to Target or "a few things" (like anyone believes that's even possible!) and instead ordering exactly what I need from Amazon Prime. Amazon has competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and Sunday delivery (which we try to avoid, because that's God's day and all)...I just can't say enough good things about Amazon Prime.

Which is why you need to know about this event happening RIGHT NOW:
Directly from their website: "Prime Day is a one-day shopping event on July 15, 2015, with more deals than Black Friday. Prime members can shop exclusive deals from electronics, toys, video games, movies, clothing, patio, lawn and garden, sports and outdoor items and more."

There is more info here, but really just head over to TODAY - like, now - to check out the deals they have going on. Be sure to report back on any great steals you get!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Our Babywise Success Story

Today I'm sharing a brief version of our Babywise story over at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. Val is featuring different success stories all week, so be sure to stop by her blog this week for some encouragement if you are new to Babywise or looking for a light at the end of a sleepless tunnel. Val's blog savedddddd us during the first few months with our son, so it feels really special to have a chance to share our story on her blog.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Drew is 2!

To celebrate Drew's 2nd birthday we hosted a small BBQ for immediate family. We held Drew's birthday party several weeks early this year because I am due with baby Mary three days after his actual birthday, and I didn't want to chance not having a time to celebrate Drew as a family. 

I picked the theme of "airplanes" with the colors red, white, and blue because I knew that would make for easy decor with the 4th of July right around the corner. My goal was to keep things simple because of my pregnancy status and this epic heat wave we're having. I made most of the decor using my Silhouette Portrait cutting machine, picked up a few things at the Dollar Store, and outsourced the rest. I must say a huge thank you to my sweet friend Chelsea and her mom Shannon - Shannon makes the world's best cupcakes and we've had the pleasure of enjoying them at both of Drew's birthday parties. They are seriously so yummy, it's all anyone talks about after eating one!

As for the party itself: the little cousins enjoyed water play until it was time to eat, my dad manned the grill, Drew opened gifts, and then we all enjoyed cupcakes - and that was it!

Here are some pictures from the party:

gift table
vintage airplanes
balloon tags: I tied these on the shorter ribbon that hangs down from
the balloon (so not the long ribbon that you use to tie the balloon
to an object) and it made the airplanes look like they were flying
food spread
(the tablecloth shown  here is just a disposable from 
the Dollar Store, but I did use one of these reusable tablecloths 
for the indoor table and I highly recommend them!)
Drew playing with each gift as it was opened...he's a very thoughtful child!
airplane cupcakes 
these turned out so cute!
(used these cupcake baking cups)

happy birthday Drewdle Bug!

This was Drew's big gift from all his grandparents - he was thrilled!
Great-grandpa Bob showing Drew how to "start the engine"
Kyle and the kids playing with Drew's new ride in our driveway
All in all, the party flew by. I cried a little later that night after everyone went home and everything as cleaned up. The party was over in the blink of an eye, just like the past year. I suppose it's normal to feel this way, especially with your first child. I don't wish to go back in time, but maybe just that time could slow down a little...pretty please? 

We pray a lot of prayers for Drew, but my personal repeated prayer for him this past year was that he would have much joy. The transition from baby to toddler is such a momentous occurrence in a tiny person's life, and I really felt convicted to be covering him in the prayer that his days would be joyful. Specifically I often prayed this verse for Drew: "these things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11). The Lord is faithful and I am happy to share that Drew's past year of life was undoubtedly characterized with abundant joy. Sure, there were many tears as frustration and disappointment are both a naturally occurring part of a toddler's life, but Drew awoke each morning ready to take on the day with a fullness of life that just radiated joy!

In this next year of life, I feel prompted to pray for Drew's self-control. I'm not intentionally meaning to work through all the fruits of the spirit for him, but self-control just seems prudent for the day-to-day life of a two-year-old. Two verses come to my mind:
  • "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger" (James 1:19)
  • "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:7)
If your heart lends itself so, please join us in praying these verses for him as well!

This post contains affiliate links.