Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Party Weekend

In addition to my baby shower Friday evening, we went to two parties on Saturday. The first was the first birthday of a neighbor's daughter. It was outside at the super fancy mall around the corner. It was a humid day for an outside party, but the delicious food made up for it. There wasn't much for the kids to do until piñata time. Caden went first and timidly poked the piñata. I was surprised considering how much he loves to hit stuff!

He went home with a couple pieces of candy, bubbles, a crown, and a football. As you can see, Justin wasted no time in showing Caden some football moves.

Next we and our neighbors went back to where my baby shower was for game night. The four of us and another couple played Like Minds. Everyone paired up, a category was chosen, and each team wrote down answers individually. The team with the most matched answers moved forward on the board. The couple killed us all! I paired up first with my friend and then with Justin. It was not Justin's night.

On a side note, remember Caden's blossoming imagination? He has since expanded his boat to a train.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Baby Shower Fun

Last night was my baby shower. We kept it simple and it worked. It went really well and was a lot of fun! We played 3 games: guessing the names of baby animals, guessing which of Baby's features I wanted him to inherit from me and which from Justin, and matching pregnancy terms to candy bars. Some of the ladies also decorated baby onesies with puff paint. I got a ton of presents; everyone was very generous. The company, conversation, and food were all great!

One friend even got a little gift for Caden: some sidewalk chalk. I let him know he could play with it in the morning. This is how I found him when I woke up:

So funny! He always falls asleep with the weirdest things. He couldn't wait to play with the chalk.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cloth Diapering 101

Would you like to start cloth diapering but are overwhelmed with all the options and don't know where to start? This article will answer all your questions and get you on the cloth diapering path perfect for you.

Which kind?
The cheapest way to go is buying prefolds, covers, and a couple Snappis (they hold the prefolds closed). It is not the most fashionable or convenient, but definitely the most cost effective.



The next best is buying pocket diapers with the inserts. I used my pocket diapers as covers by putting the inserts/prefolds outside the pocket so I could reuse the diapers if they weren't soaked through or soiled, and so they didn't get stained and were easier to resell. Some companies have designed diapers meant for just switching out inserts, called AI2s (all-in-twos).

pocket diaper (pocket at top) and microfiber insert

The most expensive but easiest are AIOs (all-in-ones). They're just like disposable diapers and therefore perfect for when Daddy or a babysitter watches Baby or when out in public.

handmade AIOs

There are also fitted diapers, which are much easier than using prefolds but still require a cover.

Kissaluv fitted diaper

Which style?
I prefer snap closures to velcro because they last longer and are harder for Baby to take off. However, they are not the best for nighttime because they are loud to remove and take time to close.

Buying one-size diapers is better so you don't have to get every size. They can be more expensive up front, but save you more in the long run. However, they're always too big on newborns, so you might want to buy a few XS covers/diapers or use disposables until they fit. And I would definitely recommend using disposables the first few days until all the meconium is pooped out!

Cloth diapers also come in different fabrics. The more expensive ones use hemp, bamboo, or wool, which are more absorbent and don't retain odors.

Which brand?
Most brands are pretty much the same. Some have improved qualities, like leg gussets and hip snap closures. I've never had a problem with basic designs, though.

I didn't care for BumGenius because the velcro didn't last long. I like thick/quilted prefolds, not the cheap Gerber ones. Bummis whisper wrap diaper covers come in the perfect size for newborns, but they get wet easily. I love Kissaluv fitted diapers. They are so soft and don't stain easily. They are pricey though. I have a Thirsties cover I like. There are also many Etsy shops selling cloth diapers, but most are overpriced. A brand I would like to try is Smart Snugs. Their most expensive and appealing diaper is still reasonably priced and they offer many discounted packages and free diapers with certain orders.

What you decide to get depends on your reasons for cloth diapering. Do you want to save money or to go green? Do you want to save the most money possible or are convenience and style important factors? How often do you want to do laundry? It is important to understand your motive(s), because many women start out doing it to save money, but end up spending just as much as parents who use disposables because they buy all the cutest, most expensive cloth diapers or just keep buying more ("You can never have too many cloth diapers" you will hear a lot!). It has become a more trendy thing to do, so if you go trendy, it isn't really saving you money. Some women don't care because their reasons weren't for saving money but for going green or because cloth diapers are better for Baby. Your motivations will determine what/how much you buy.

What price?
Most brands range from $15-$25 depending on the type of diaper and whether or not they come with inserts or other extras. Off brands are cheaper and usually just as good as or better than the name brands. You can also join a deal site like zulily.com, which often has great deals for cute cloth diapers (pocket or AIOs).

Obviously, buying used diapers is cheaper, as long as you buy smart. I'm not willing to pay more than a certain amount per diaper, which varies on the brand and condition. I shop Craigslist (where I got my original stash and they were all new!) and eBay. There are a lot of new ones for really cheap on eBay too.

How many?
It really depends on what type you buy and how often you want to wash them. You can find great suggestions on cloth diaper sites (though naturally, they may exaggerate how many you need so you buy more of their products) and mommy blogs. Also, newborns go more often than older babies, so more is needed when they are young. I remember the first couple months I had to wash them almost every day since Caden peed so much and hated being wet.

What accessories?
In addition to diapers, you will need 2 or 3 wet bags. Even if you don't use cloth diapers, they're essential for when babies have blowouts in disposables or spit up all over their clothes. Also get a simple diaper pail and 2 cloth pail bags. When it's time to do laundry, just empty the bag into the wash and throw it in.

wet bag

simple diaper pail with pail bag

You will need special laundry detergent for cloth diapers to keep them absorbent. The less chemicals and additives the better. There are certain brands made specifically for cloth diapers, but I just buy the free & clear biodegradable detergent from the health food store Sprouts. Cloth-diaper-safe detergent is a little more expensive than regular detergent, but since you only need to use so little, it lasts a long time!

You can also try cloth wipes if you want. I use cheap baby washcloths and a cut-up fleece shirt (fleece stays soft and doesn't stain easily). No need to buy fancy ones!

I hope this helped answer all your questions and decide how you want to proceed with your cloth diaper journey! If you have friends who use cloth diapers, ask if you can try them out to find which brands and styles you like and to make sure your baby is comfortable in cloth diapers. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Surprise Visit

This past weekend we surprised my family. We showed up at my parents' house at 11:30 p.m. My mom answered the door and just stood there dumbstruck for a few minutes. She even pinched me to make sure she wasn't dreaming.

Caden's spastic dancing

Friday morning I helped my mom shop for things for my brother's wedding. Caden always does great shopping with Grandma. If only he were that way with me! Justin went golfing when we got back, and the evening was spent at my other brother's house. He and his family didn't know we were coming either.

Saturday morning we went swimming. Of course the clouds decided to stay out and the water was freezing, so I didn't go in. But it didn't stop everybody else!

Playing Marco Polo

Our 6th wedding anniversary was that day too, so Justin and I went out. We watched Turbo (there were no adult movies out we wanted to see, and it was still nice watching any movie without Caden). I thought it was really cute.

Afterward we went to a Persian place for dinner. The food was good but the service was awful. There was also a belly dancer there. I got a photo of her but it came out pretty scandalous because she posed for it. I was very excited to eat my many leftovers the next day, but ended up dropping it all on the floor the next day. I cried for an hour. While we were gone, Caden went to the car wash, store, lake, and park with Grandpa.

Sunday was church, where I caught up with an old acquaintance from high school who is pregnant too. Caden got freaked out in nursery by the unruly kids, so I had to stay with him the last half hour. The rest of the day we just chilled, ate lots of fruit, and played games.

 My brother stopped by once more before leaving for Mexico with his family.

Monday afternoon we left to visit Justin's aunt and cousins (his uncle was working). We shopped and ate at a couple Asian markets. Once Caden warmed up to the girls, he wouldn't stop following them.

Then it was driving out of L.A. traffic and heading home. We didn't get back until midnight, and poor Justin had to wake up at 5:30 for work the next morning. It was a great weekend, though, and I'm glad we went. Caden was all over Grandma, which meant I hardly had to lift a finger to care for him. The timing was perfect too. Any later and we wouldn't have gone. In fact, in the next couple weeks we will miss my brother's wedding and Justin's grandfather's 90th birthday party.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My First Chiropractic Visit

Wednesday evening I went to the chiropractor for the first time in my life. My dad and eldest brother have always gone, and Justin has gone since a teenager. I thought chiropractors were only for people with back problems or work/car accident injuries. My doula strongly recommended I go, so I found one near me who is certified in the Webster technique (a specific method used for pregnant women). I was very nervous; I had no idea what to expect. I saw a little of the patient before me being adjusted, and it looked like medieval torture. Justin wasn't helping, teasing me about electric shock and other such lies.

Finally it was my turn. The chiropractor, in nothing but a summer dress and no shoes (she later told me she is pregnant too), first explained what she was going to do in chiropractic terms that went over my head. Then it was off to the chair--table--whatever. I first got to lie down on my stomach and it felt so nice! She was very friendly and told me when to breathe. There was only one part that hurt; the rest was fine. I wasn't used to the feeling of being cracked and pushed and stretched but it wasn't bad. And the torture device actually felt great (and a little ticklish in the neck area).

Apparently my hips were lopsided and I had a lot of tightness in my hamstrings, along with the usual tenseness that comes with never having been adjusted before. I go back next week for a follow-up session.

I definitely recommend any of you pregnant ladies getting adjusted. I now have space in between my chest and tummy, meaning more room for me to breathe and for baby to stretch. The Webster technique also helps get the baby in the optimal position for birth.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Then & Now

The Sunday before Caden was born (almost 40 weeks):

This past Sunday, a day before 35 weeks. (Caden was kissing my belly).

I am running out of clothes! I can't believe I have 5 more weeks, more or less, of getting even bigger!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Caden's First Prayer

Last night Caden asked to say the prayer for our family scripture study before bed. I tried asking him whom he wanted to help him, but he said, "Mama, stop, stop!" So I stopped and closed my eyes, expecting him to ask for help after saying "Dear Heavenly Father." But he didn't. He said the entire prayer by himself. I didn't understand most of it, only catching words and phrases here and there. But our Father in Heaven understood him and will answer the sweet prayer of this child of pure heart. We were so proud of him! When Justin tucked him in, Caden wanted to pray again and did so again by himself. My baby is such a big boy now!

His imagination is also expanding. Yesterday morning he was jumping on my unmade bed from the white sheets to the blue comforter, pretending he was at the beach jumping into and swimming in the water. Later he lugged a laundry basket up there and pretended to "ride a boat" with his monkey and Elmo. He used his wooden spoon as a paddle. He repeated the activity the rest of the day and this morning.

Then during bath time, I caught him doing this and talking:

He was pretending to give a talk in church! So funny. He is quite the character and never ceases to make us laugh.

With his best friend, Lily.

Always trying to be just like Daddy.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Good Day

Thursday Justin had off. That morning he picked up Caden's new bed at IKEA. We have yet to put it together because we still need to pick up the mattress, but Caden was still very excited. After Caden's nap, we all went to the aquarium. It had been a while since we had last gone and we wanted to go again before Caden costs a ticket (Justin and I have passes). Caden behaved and had a great time in the play area at the end, even listening to us when we said it was time to go.

Since we finished so quickly, we walked around the mall. We saw a suit shop having a sale and decided to take a look. We've been looking for a new suit for Justin for years, but never found a style and price we both agreed on. This time we did. I was very happy for Justin!

Caden also got a cute monkey shirt on clearance from Carter's. I had a gift card there, thinking there were only a few dollars left, but found out I still have $15 more. Both of us were happy with our surprises.

We passed a candy store that, yet again, I said I would try one day. Then I thought, why can't today be that day? So I went in a got a chocolate-covered caramel apple, which I shared with Justin (Caden didn't like it). It was delicious!

After the mall, we tried a new Korean restaurant. My expectations were low, especially since Korean food and pregnancy don't mix well for me. The service was poor, but the food was excellent and I very much enjoyed the meal.

Next to the restaurant was a little Asian market. The prices were low, it didn't smell like fish, and we found an item we have not been able to find anywhere else. It was a very good day full of good surprises!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Blessingway Gift Ideas

My sister-in-law and doula are throwing me a blessingway next month. (Read about blessingways here.) If you've been invited to one and don't know what to get the mother, here are some blessingway gift ideas:

  • scented candles
  • massage or essential oils
  • jewelry (you can find cute birth-related jewelry on Etsy)
  • bath & beauty products
  • artwork (your own or others')
  • personal letter
  • encouraging quote
  • poetry (your own or others')
  • relaxing music
  • service (cooking, cleaning, helping with other children, etc.)
(The photo is of a blessingway gift I made for my friend. When our car got broken into a few months ago, none of the valuables were taken, but this was! It was gift wrapped, so they didn't know what they were stealing. I wish I could have seen their face when they opened it! I made my friend another one yesterday, but forgot to take a photo.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Independence Day Fun

For Independence Day, our neighbor cooked us a delicious, elaborate lunch. We ate almost nonstop for an hour and a half! We played some games in between courses to let our tummies settle.

After nap time, we went to another friend's house for a pool party and more food. The boys had too much fun on the diving board.

Once it was dark, we all went to Justin's work for fireworks and shaved ice. I was very impressed with the show and happy that Caden wasn't scared and enjoyed it!

It was a very fun but long Independence Day. I enjoyed spending it with such great company!

Yesterday we surprised Caden by going to see Monsters University. I liked it, but it was a little too long for Caden. Afterward, I went to a children's secondhand store to sell some stuff. I didn't get much at all, but I was able to get a pair of khaki Motherhood Maternity shorts for under $2 with the store credit I earned. I needed another pair in this heat!

That evening our neighbor got baptized. Justin baptized him, my first time seeing Justin do a baptism. Caden was not behaving, but otherwise it went really well and many people came.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4 Decor: Respect the Flag

photo by Robert Linder
As you decorate for Independence Day today, please keep in mind the following, according to the Flag Code:

(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise. . . .
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling. . . .
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How to Get Your Man to Support Breastfeeding

A fan on the Facebook page Breast is Best asked what other guys would say to a guy who doesn't want his girlfriend to breastfeed for no good reason. Based on the hundreds of replies, here is what to tell your man if he too is not supportive:
  1. Guys understand numbers. Show your man how much formula costs. Then ask him if he would rather spend all that money on unnecessary formula or on [insert his favorite hobby] every weekend. If he chooses formula, warn him it will come out of his fun money!
  2. Show him the facts. It is scientifically proven that breast milk is best for babies (except in a few rare cases). Breastfed babies are less likely to get sick (more money saved on doctor visits and medicine!), die of SIDS, and have future preventable health issues, such as obesity.
  3. Appeal to his shallow side. You are more likely to lose the baby weight faster, your chest will be larger, and with lower chances of breast cancer, both you and your breasts will be around much longer!
  4. As a bonus, tell him he won't have to prepare bottles at night and help feed the baby when he needs to get up early for work the next morning. He may get more diaper duty, but breastfed babies don't smell nearly as bad or spit up as much as formula-fed ones!
When I asked Justin for his opinion, it was so cute how he reacted, calling the guy "an ignorant fool" and saying he was setting his kid up to be not as smart and healthy. The funny thing is Justin didn't even really care if I breastfed or not when we had Caden. He went along with it for the first reason: it's free. But now he is a total supporter. So if your guy isn't comfortable with breastfeeding, he will probably come around once he sees all the benefits and the beautiful bond between you and your baby.

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