Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big Butt Pants

I made these little pants for April today. They are designed for cloth diapered babies (which mine is!). I used the pattern from this blog and some fabric from my stash. I decided to make these in size 6-12 months so they could be worn with a little Oliver + S top I'm making. I really like these pants. I have some more fabric that I think I'm going to use to make these in the 3-6 month size so she can wear them now.

I have a renewed love of sewing. The sound of the sewing machine seems to be just white noise to April so she is generally able to doze off while I'm sewing and it's great to feel that sense of accomplishment again. I have a whole bunch of patterns just waiting to be made. Right now I'm sticking to quicky projects but as April gets better at entertaining herself I'll move up to more ambitious projects (aka some clothes for myself).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Love

We spent our Earth Day out in the garden trying to get it ready for planting so I didn't get a chance to post this yesterday.
How to show your Earth love:

Be out in nature and appreciate it's magnificence.

Grow your own food (organically!)

Reduce...everything! Less waste, less consumption, less, less, less

Eat local and organic

Use what your have (you would be amazed at what can be reworked into something new)

Plant a tree...we all could use a little more oxygen

Respect those who share our planet (feed some birds, build a bat house, plant some flowers for the bees....)

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Co-sleeping was something that I was very much on the fence about. I am a very light sleeper and I wasn't sure that I could have a little person sleeping next to me and still get solid sleep. We had bought an Arms Reach co-sleeper but April just hated it (it's a really firm little bed and I don't think she likes that). In the early days I really just needed to sleep in order to cope with the demands of a little one and since Jon couldn't be around all that much I needed a solution.
Our midwife suggested I just try having her in the bed with me. So I took her into our bed, nursed her on my side and then we both slept for a couple hours. It was great and she has slept with me ever since. I think she is comforted by the smell (she can always smell mama) and the bed is just softer. True, she does make noise while she sleeps and sometimes that keeps me up but for the most part, it works.
Recently the issue with co-sleeping has been that she will roll over to the boob while she is sleeping but can't roll away so she gets her face smooshed. So now I have use some rolled up receiving blankets to keep her on her back.
The unfortunate thing about this whole scenario is that we only have a queen sized bed so Daddy needs to sleep elsewhere if April is in the bed. I hope to have a big king size bed someday but right now our bedroom is just too small. Luckily, right before we had April we bought a lovely new couch with a comfy double size pullout so Daddy can sleep comfortably on his own.
I must say that the benefits of co-sleeping are really apparent. I get much more sleep because I just roll over and nurse her when she needs it then we both go back to sleep and she seems much better at soothing herself back to sleep if she wakes up in our bed instead of on her own. It is also such a joy to wake up and have the first thing you see be your sweet little baby's face.
April does still have a bassinet as well as her floor bed so during the day if she is napping she sleeps somewhere else (usually in the sling but sometimes elsewhere) not in our big bed. I plan to keep the rule as; if Mommy is in the bed you can join her there otherwise you have your own bed. If as she grows up she starts tossing and turning or comes to bed but doesn't sleep then we will have to make other arrangements so that I can get sleep but for now this works best.
Co-sleeping is not for everybody. Although April sleeps well with me in bed with her, having Daddy switch roles would not work as well. Jon sleeps really deeply and doesn't respond as well her to needs (and can sometimes get a little too close). Also if she sleeps with Jon they both tend to get over-heated. So if you plan to co-sleep know what works. Maybe you want to have the baby in bed with you but under there own blanket on there own side or you want your baby to be close but not in the bed. Just try things, you might be surprised by what works.
 April sleeping in our bed at 8 weeks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Elimination Communication

Elimination communication (EC) is something that I started looking into long before April was born. I had seen it work for friends of ours and I wanted to know more. EC is the idea that infants can recognize when they need to eliminate and can will cue you. Elimination communication is just that, communication. You learn what your baby's signals are and then you teach them your own signals for when it's time to eliminate.
Starting the EC process actually seemed overwhelming in the first couple weeks. I was barely keeping my head above water so I wasn't ready to take on the extra step. But once I felt comfortable taking on the challenge, I started slowly. At first it was just times during the day that we would take off her diaper and just keep her over a pad. This time helped with her diaper rash and helped me to observe what she did right before she peed or pooped. Then I started teaching her the cues over the open diaper or waterproof pad. Whenever she peed or pooped I would make the "pssss" sound. Then finally we started putting her on the potty and cuing her. It worked so well. April hates diapers in general and is especially unhappy with a wet one so EC has been awesome for us both (yeah, fewer dirty diapers is always fine by me).
The first full day of doing EC, we caught almost all her poops and most of her pees (I think we missed one little poop at night and two pees). The next couple days we had more misses but in general we still did quite well. Now I know almost all her signals and even if she doesn`t signal I know that she generally needs to pee every 20 minutes so I take her to the potty anyways. Misses don`t really bother me because for me EC is about the communication not the number of catches.
I`ve decided we are just going to do EC part-time. I don`t usually potty her when we are out and about. First because she tends to be fussy in general when we go out so it`s really hard to read her signals and second because I can`t always get to a bathroom and I don`t really like just doing it in someones bushes. I do have a little container with a lid that I keep in the car and sometimes before I put her in the car seat I will potty her. So I`ll do it when I can but usually when we go out I just stick to diapers.
Also, we don`t do much of the EC at night. April sleeps with me in our bed at night and although I have her close and I can recognize her signals better, getting her up and taking her to the potty at night is a little to stimulating and it`s often hard to get her to go back to sleep. Instead, I keep extra diapers in the bedroom and just change them right there.
We have a couple potties around the house. I prefer to use the potties rather than squatting over the toilet with her or holding her over the sink. We use the infant potty and the Beco potty. We have a Bjorn potty but it is a little big so we will use it more when she is bigger. If you use the infant potty I recommend getting the cover because April hated the cold plastic so would often refuse to go on the potty. Things are much better with the cover.
Ok, so there is my EC story. Wondering if it would work for you? I can almost guarantee that it would. You can start EC at any age and do it casually, part-time or full-time. My recommendation is to read The Diaper Free Baby and visit Diaper Free Baby for resources and support. The best thing is just to be open to the other level of communication you can have with your baby. Even if you choose not to follow through with EC, just the knowledge is beneficial. You will be amazed at all the little hints your baby is giving you.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cloth Diapering

Even though we are doing EC with April, she is in no way ready to be totally diaper free. It's true that for the first 10 days we did disposables but the wicked diaper rash she would get motivated us to take that step and go totally cloth. Cloth diapering does mean a lot more laundry but it is so much better for the environment and your baby's skin in the long run. A definite benefit to cloth diapering is that you notice when they need to be changed a lot sooner so your baby isn't sitting in a wet diaper for very long.
I've heard people say that if you use cloth you have more leaks but I've actually found it to be the other way around. We still put April in disposables when we are going to be out all day (I just don't want to be carrying around a bag of pooped cloth diapers) and they constantly leak. We've tried several different types of cloth diapers to find the right fit for her.

Prefolds are great. My mom made us some flannel ones using the pattern in the Handmade Home and I bought some unbleached ones from this great online store. Some people shy away from prefolds because they don't want to use pins but I recommend using a Snappi, then you don't have to worry about it.

Another style we tried was the one-size diaper. We tried the Motherease but found them way too bulky for the tiny infants. I've put them in storage and will try them again in a couple of months.

We have also tried the pocket diapers. We have the Baby Kanga and the Jamtots diapers. I think I like the Jamtots the best but they don't make the type I like anymore so I only have the one size. The Baby Kangas are not bad but are still a little on the bulky side for tiny infants. The way pocket diapers work is that you have a shell that has an opening either at the front or back where you slip a soaker or doubler into (or a folded up prefold which is what we usually do).
Back before I was even pregnant I won a couple of fitted diapers from an online store. I didn't mind because I knew I'd use them someday. In general they worked well. There wasn't much leaking from the legs or the back but I found the were either too tight in the leg or too loose across the belly. The other thing about fitted diapers is that they take a really long time to dry.
The last type we have and by far our favorite, are a cross between a fitted diaper and pocket diaper. We bought a whole bunch of  Kushies flannel diapers. They are not as fitted in the leg as a true fitted diaper but we like that better because April doesn't get red marks from the elastic. And unlike a true pocket diaper they already have a liner in them but there is a slot to put an additional liner in to these ones. They have a velcro close which makes for easy removal when we need to take her to the potty. And the flannel is really absorbent so I don't think we have ever had a leak with these guys. They are definitely the winners.

The thing about most diapers is that you will want to use a cover or you will be changing their outfits everytime you change their diaper. We used a couple fleece covers and wool covers but April doesn't really like when we are constantly pulling the covers up and down over her legs so we don't really use those anymore. Instead we bought a couple Kushies plastic covers and again our favorite, the Kawaii Baby covers. The Kawaii Baby covers have never leaked and are soft so they don't pinch or rub April's legs. I also like that they come with snaps instead of velco so they don't stick to everything else in the wash.
Now you might be looking at everything we have for diapering and think we spent a fortune. But if we used disposables we would have spent so much more. We also bought a lot of our diapers used. Some people think that's gross but I thoroughly check for stains and wash them well in really hot water before using them. I found the Motherease and the Kushies in online classifieds and got the pocket diapers at a consignment store.  In the long run, even with the increased amount of laundry, you will save a ton of money by going with cloth (and even more by doing EC but that's a separate post).
If you are interested in trying cloth diapers my suggestion would be to buy one of each type and find what works best for you and your baby. Each baby fits diapers differently and you will have your own preferences as well. Don't be discouraged if one type seems to be failing you, there is a better one out there.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Maternity Top Giveaway

Rixa over at Stand and Deliver is hosting a maternity top giveaway.

Finding good maternity or nursing top is no ease feat. For the first part of my pregnancy I just wore big clothes and I looked so sloppy. So take a look at what Rixa has to offer. If you are pregnant or nursing this is a great giveaway.
To enter, click here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Two Months Old

Can I cry now? Seriously, my baby is two months old. She got weighed today and now weighs 13lbs and is 62 cm long. All her newborn size clothes are offically packed away and she now wears size 3-6 months.
She's still a pretty content little baby but we have started experiencing more crying episodes. She hates when we go out. She tends to cry like it's the end of the world in the car seat and has started having freak outs on the bus. It's pretty upsetting not only because I hate to hear her cry but also because I want to be able to go out without worrying about the people around me getting tired of the yelling. It's been raining a lot lately so we haven't been walking as much as before.
She is starting to really take things in. She makes faces are herself in the mirror, laughs when you stick your tongue out at her, she can sit pretty well without much assistance and she recognizes people and voices. On the one hand, I love that she can just see me and she smiles but if she can't see me she tends to cry which is frustrating. I've been reading the same book to her since she was just a couple weeks old to help with her language development. Now when I start reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? she starts to smile because she remembers it. We read lots of books but I read that one to her a least once everyday.
She still loves music. We've been listening to Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens and she loves it. Her favorite seems to be the aquarium and the final march. I've been wanting start playing the piano and cello again so she can listen to live music but I just don't have enough time between caring for her and cleaning the house. Soon, I hope.
She's starting to watch me a lot more so I've suddenly become aware of how everything I do is being observed. She loves to watch me fold laundry. I'm trying to set a good example even at this age. I like her to see me taking care of her, myself and the house. She watches me cook dinner and I like offering her the olfactory sensory experience. Because she seems to be more engaged I'm thinking of taking her to a local baby sign class. But she might be a bit young.
Overall she's healthy, happy and perfect. I love her so much and she's just made my life so wonderful. I'm so lucky to be her mom.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Recipe: Glazed Pear and Yogurt Cake

This recipe is adapted from the one in the season's Rhythm of the Home. I made some changes that I think make for a denser but creamy cake. It is a pretty delicious cake! I'm pretty sure you could use just about any fruit in here. I'm think of trying it with peaches when I can get them and strawberries when the ones in my garden are ready.

You will need:
2 cups flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick of melted butter or margarine, cooled
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup of plain yogurt
2 pears
1-2 cups of powdered sugar
2 to 4 tbsp of water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dice up the pears (skin and all) and set them aside.
Add the milk, sugar, and two eggs to the melted butter, whisk until the sugar dissolves.
Whisk in the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Whisk in the yogurt. Whisk until it is a smooth batter. Fold in the diced pears. Pour the entire mixture into a lightly oiled baking dish (I used a 7 x 11 pan).
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top gets golden brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Whisk the powdered sugar and water together, adding water as needed to make a thin consistency.  Pour the glaze over the top while it is still a bit warm and let rest. I used only 1 cup of powdered sugar for my glaze which is less than original recipe called for. I'll leave it up to you but I found it was plenty.