Monday, August 23, 2010

Standing baby. . . sort of

I remember when Ben was a baby, that Jon and I were really excited for every new milestone.  We would go out of our way to encourage Ben to roll over, crawl, walk, whatever.  Not so with Penny.  I am just treasuring the infant phase.  She is such a sweet baby.  I do not want her to grow up.  In spite of this, Penny has gone right on ahead hitting her milestones like a champ, with little encouragement from me.  She pulled herself to a standing position last Friday.  Here it is the first time I caught it (the unclipped version, for those of you who got the text):

Note: Here’s another example of the cloth diapers Penny has been sporting of late, as mentioned in my last post.

In the meantime, Ben has gone on being his rambunctious self.  In general, I’d say he’s pretty good for a two year old.  He’s even doing better in stores these days.  He’ll help me shop and be pretty sweet, with a couple of notable exceptions.  For some reason he is terrible in Joann’s.  He refuses to ride in the cart and runs up and down the aisles and won’t listen to anything I say.  Also, he is not good in sporting goods stores, but who can blame him.  He took off while we were there the other day and I tracked him down in the football gear.  With a little help from mommy, he got ready for the football season:

True Confession

So, while it’s not exactly a secret, I’ve been putting off announcing the fact that we are now cloth diaper people.  I was kind of waiting to make sure it was a success before broadcasting it to the world.  And while I have absolutely no intention of pushing other people into cloth diapering, it’s something I’m pretty excited about right now. 

I have to tell you, when Ben was born, the topic came up once with Jon and I totally wrote it off saying that there was absolutely no way that I was going to spend large portions of my life cleaning poop off of cloth.  Jon, being the good husband he is, dropped it and happily supported me in using disposables.  One day, I saw a deal for some hybrid cloth diapers on babysteals and was curious.  Hybrid diapers are basically a waterproof cloth cover with disposable inserts, either cloth or disposables.  The disposable inserts are biodegradable and compostable, unlike normal disposables.  Jon and I had been talking about trying a more environmentally friendly disposable, but it was out of our price range.  The deal made it pretty affordable so I decided to give it a try.  It worked out pretty well, but I was still using normal disposables a lot. 

I was still scared of trying cloth because I was already buried in laundry and still hated the idea of cleaning poopy diapers.  Then, as I was rinsing the poop off of yet another outfit of Penny’s after yet another blowout, I realized that it was silly to not use cloth because I didn’t want to deal with cleaning poopy diapers.  I was cleaning baby poop off of something or other every day.  So I started doing some research and discovered that cloth diapers are not what they used to be.  There are TONS of options out there.  In fact, there are altogether too many options.  And, while the upfront costs are more expensive than a pack of disposables, you definitely save money in the long term.  Plus, it’s better for the environment.  There are some great online stores that will let you try cloth diapers and return them if you don’t like them. 

Long story short, after a LOT of research and several returned items, I found a convenient, affordable option, and we’ve been using them for a couple of months.  I really like it so far.  It’s really not that bad cleaning them.  We got a little sprayer that attaches to our toilet and I just spray off the messy diapers and toss them in a diaper pail that has a waterproof fabric bag in it.  Every other day, I pull out the bag and dump the diapers and the bag in the washing machine.  I do a quick cold rinse to get rid of the gross stuff and then wash on hot with a small amount of detergent and two rinse cycles (it’s important to keep detergent from building up in the diapers).  Throw them in the dryer, and it’s a done deal.  It’s really only a couple of extra loads a week, and with all the laundry I do, it doesn’t feel like much.  Plus, it’s actually helped me establish a more regular laundry routine, keeping me from falling behind and getting crushed under a mountain of laundry, as I’ve been known to do.

I still use the hybrid disposable diapers for when I take Penny to the gym or for babysitters, but I haven’t bought any more traditional disposables since our last bag ran out a while ago.  Penny seems to like the cloth diapers just fine.  I was worried that since cloth doesn’t absorb as well or as fast as disposables, Penny’s skin would get irritated.  I was wrong.  She’s actually had fewer diaper rashes in cloth.  I got some fleece liners to put in for naps and night time, and they wick the moisture away from the skin really well.  Plus, the covers/diapers we got are pretty cute.  Check out the album of Penny modeling her newest cloth diaper:

Seriously, so cute.  And Penny seems to like them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Too Much Too Late

So I know that this post is woefully overdue, but I’ll try to make up for it by making this post way too long. I’ll start by posting some of the pictures from Penny’s blessing that I promised in my last post. Unfortunately, my mom was too busy taking pictures to actually be in any of the pictures, but I promise she was there. Also, we didn’t get any pictures of her cute little headband and the shoes she was wearing. It is worth noting that she’s wearing my blessing dress. My mom cleaned it and it was just beautiful. Anyway, here are the pictures:

Other than that, I guess I’ve missed posting a lot of what has happened over the past couple of months. I’ll give the Reader’s Digest condensed version with pictures interspersed to keep you interested. The kids and I went to Utah for the Merrill Family reunion. It was a grand time in Eden. I loved seeing all of my siblings and nephews, and of course my parents. We also got to spend some time with Jon’s family which was fantastic, of course. Ben loves his family and having playmates, although he did get a bit overwhelmed when everyone was together. Penny loves everybody and is pretty chipper most of the time. My nephew Dylan (Ben’s age) was in LOVE with Penny. He couldn’t get enough of her, and it was pretty stinking cute. I don’t think we ever adequately captured it on film, but here’s a little taste:

Other than our trip, life is pretty much normal aka crazy. Jon works ridiculous hours and I feel largely like a single mother with a boyfriend who spends the night once in a while. Also, I had Girl’s Camp. Geri and Robert came out to help take care of the kids while I dealt with that. It was so nice of them. We loved having them here. Ben was in heaven with Robert. They built forts and played all day. Penny didn’t exactly take a bottle so I came back from camp and went back for the last day. I love Girl’s Camp and I love my girls, but I’m pretty sure I would have died if I had stayed the whole week.

Ben is such a big boy. He’s halfway potty trained. Basically, he can go in the potty, but he’s not very good at telling me when he has to. So he’s potty trained as long as I remember to put him on the potty frequently enough. He talks up a storm, and almost half of it is intelligible now. I think my personal favorite is that he calls thunder “bunder”, and he always says it in a serious, low voice. It’s adorable. I’ll try to get it on film during the next storm. He has his moments of being sweet with his sister, but is not very excited that she is mobile enough to get into his toys now. He loves trucks and trains and cars and trucks. He loves this movie my cousin made called Twenty Trucks. It came with an awesome yellow shirt that he wants to wear every day. He points out all of the trucks we pass when we’re driving around. Especially dump trucks. They’re his favorite. Did I mention he loves trucks? He’s also a Lego building machine. He’s really good at it. Exhibit A (he built it without any help from me, also, note the trucks T-shirt):


Penny is growing so fast. My doctor was out of town, then I was out of town, so her 6 month check up was actually a 7 month check up. She weighed 18 lbs. 5 oz. and was 27 in. long (I think, I’ll have to check that on the little growth chart I keep). She’s been sitting really well for a while now. In fact, she can sit herself up on her own from laying on her stomach. She’s pretty much mobile now and is really close to crawling for real. In fact, sometimes she does a normal crawl, but most of the time she pushes herself up on her hands and knees and flops forward onto her belly and repeats that until she gets where she wants. Here she is from sitting to crawling back to sitting:

My mom is sending me a disc of the pictures from our trip to Utah, so I’ll post those when I have them. I have a large backlog of photos and videos from our nice cameras to upload and edit, but who has time for that? Right now, you all (that is if anyone still reads my blog) will have to settle for the latest batch of cell phone photos/videos. So, here are the last few months of our lives, as seen through my cell phone:

My Very First Solo Sewing Projects, Crafts, and Redecorating:

June in a Nutshell:

Ben’s First Movie (Toy Story 3) and July Fourth

Utah Trip

The Rest of July

Ben and Jon building stuff at Home Depot


And just to send you off: