Tuesday, March 20, 2012

oh Spring

Spring. I'm glad that you are here.  Spring is usually my favorite season.  Flowers blooming. Beautiful weather.  Birds chirping.  Playing outside.

If only my yard looked like this right now...
...instead of this...
Maybe it'll melt by June.  You can see the giant pile of snow on the other side of the fence from where we have to shovel a small path from our door down the yard for our puppy to do her business when we are too cold to take her out ourselves.

Clearly, spring doesn't really exist in Alaska. But I am about to go enjoy a walk on this sunny, 16 degree day outside.  

Friday, March 16, 2012

Snow Sculptures

Have I mentioned it's still winter here?  I'm not bitter or anything about that.  Good news is it hit the 30's this week.  Matt comes home giddy when he sees his car thermometer above 32.  We had to get our roof cleared off.  The snow has gotten so heavy and dense - and won't stop coming down - the roofs cannot handle the weight.  There have been several in town that have collapsed.  So since I didn't want Matt climbing up on our slippery, 2-story roof (or have it come crashing down on us), we hired some high school boys to do it.  They made a killing in our neighborhood.

I've actually declared that I need to stay off Facebook (I sheepishly admit that I spend time on this...but who doesn't, honestly?  And I can get a little bored while nursing 5+ hours a day).  But reading reports from my southern friends about how it dropped into the 50s and had to "bundle up" or seeing them galloping around in the grass and in flip-flops makes me cringe with jealousy.  Yes, I admit it, at times my attitude isn't one filled with love and grace.  I just want to go for a walk outside.  And not get the stroller caught in the snow-filled roads. 

But I do excited about the little things.  Like these little leggings and sweater for Maddie so she can flaunt her spring wardrobe and not get cold.  
 And her contagious smiles and giggles.  At least I'm warm and cozy in my house with good company. :)
And the fact that the days are long now.  Just having 12 hours of light is awesome - and the days are only getting longer.

We also get cool things like these snow sculptures.
Maddie is hidden under all those layers.
Though I will admit, I probably prefer the sand sculptures we saw in Galveston a couple years back.  It was a bit warmer. And Maddie might have been exposed to the outside world long enough to see them.
One day, my dear little one.  One day.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

cloth diapering thus far

I've been called crazy. Hippie. Laughed at. Sarcastically wished good luck...when I proclaim I want to go with cloth diapers over disposable.  I think one of the main 2 reasons that Matt first humored me with the idea is that a) it'll save us literally thousands of dollars and b) I'll be the one home changing the majority of the diapers and doing the laundry anyways. 

A lot of people have been asking how we are liking cloth diapers.  So I thought I'd give a lowdown on the subject.   

Cloth diapers have come a long way in the recent years.  Gone are the days of what I now use as burp cloths on babies bums.  And I'm not alone.  I think I know more people that do cloth diapers than disposable.  

I did a lot of reading up on the subject when I was contemplating going this route.  However, I got completely overwhelmed with all the information, options and suggestions out there.  So much so that I didn't do a thing about it until after Maddie was born.  And I've learned it's certainly not as complex as it appears. 

I was advised to give yourself the first few weeks of disposables - it makes life a ton easier at the beginning.  But goodness, we were going through about 10-15 diapers a day!  It didn't help that every time Maddie had just a couple drops of wetness she screamed until it was taken off.  We probably easily spent over $100 on disposables in just the first few weeks.  Matt kindly suggested that we go ahead and start the switch...

So I went online and purchased a set.  I could go into all the brands and my thoughts on them, but that is all over the internet and everyone has their own opinions.  After stressing about it, I just picked one.  I will say that we have 3 brands (FuzziBunz, BumGenius & GroVia) and I like them all - pros and cons to each.  But they are all one-size fits all and will fit her until she's potty trained - and that I highly suggest.

I started with 21 diapers.  And I was having to do the wash every 1 1/2 days.  So purchased 6 more (which is why I ended up with different kinds, I wanted to try them out).  We now have 27 and I think that is plenty.  I probably still do a load every 2 or 3 days, but I figure as Maddie gets older that will slow down.  
I set up the changing table in the 2nd bathroom - in between the nursery and our room.  It just happened to have a perfect spot.  It's nice to have the sink and toilet right there, though it wouldn't be completely necessary if in our next home it doesn't work out this way.
In my baskets, I have 2 dedicated to the diapers, one to cloth wipes, a big one for all the extra liners and bags, and the other for bath products and ointments.  Oh and don't forget our stuffed giraffe.  We've named him Bernard.  Matt says Maddie has a love affair with him.  She coos and smiles at Bernard whenever she gets her diaper changed.  She often cries when I take her away.  I'm not really sure what it is about him...
Matt still prefers using disposable wipes.  He thinks they make her smell better.  I try to use the cloth wipes about half the time.  I looked up different solutions via this website and here are my current ingredients:  olive oil, baby soap, water and tea tree oil.  I put them all into a spray bottle and just spray it on the wipes and throw them in the pail with the diaper when I'm done.
You do have to line dry the BumGenius diapers (didn't learn that until after I bought them), so I came up with this system in the laundry room, which makes it easy.  You also have to use a special detergent to keep the quality of the diapers, but you only need 1 1/2 oz per load so it lasts forever.
Eventually when Maddie switches to solid foods, we will install this handy "spray wand" to clean off her diapers into the toilet.  Until then, I just throw the whole diaper, mess and all, into the pail which then goes straight into the wash with an extra rinse.  They come out completely clean - diaper and machine. :)
I bought a basic trash can and put the special diaper pail liners inside.  They fit any 11-gallon trash can.  I pull the bag out, flip it inside out into the washing machine and wash it with the diapers.  I have to admit though, even breastfed diapers stink.  Not much you can do about it.
In disposables, Maddie was having at least 1-2 blowouts a day.  Once she switched, we've only have maybe 3-4 blowouts in the last month.  It's so nice to not have to change her clothes all the time!

Matt and I love cloth diapers.  We have spent about $500 in start-up costs for all the things above, but hopefully that will be all we ever have to spend.  They are supposed to last through multiple kids, which will be awesome.

And seriously, how much cuter are they than disposables?
Anyways, that's my scoop on cloth diapering for all you out there contemplating the idea.  I highly recommend it!

Monday, March 5, 2012

where's the house?

This is what we look at as we pull up to our home these days. Yes, that's our two story roof line peaking out behind that gigantic snow pile.  This past weekend the city finally sent a dozen or so dump trucks that spent 8+ hours clearing snow from our neighborhood.  And we are still left with a ton of piles that look like this.  At least 2 cars can now pass each other on the widened roads.
We are competing for the record snowfall ever for Anchorage set back in the 50's.  I'm pretty sure we are going to beat it considering it's only early March.  At least that's something to look forward to.

But it's getting ridiculous out there.  Here is the top of a tall outdoor trash can at some local softball fields.  And it's sitting next to the tall fence that lines the perimeter of the field...that's also almost covered.
Here is Matt sporting Maddie under his coat out for a walk.  On the left of him is the starting of the fence for the dugout.  Even with my 5'3" frame I was able to stand 2-3 feet above the roof of the dugout on the packed down snow.
I'm praying our summer isn't spent just watching all this snow melt.  And I look forward to introducing Maddie to grass.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Help, please?

I like to read.  Sometimes I get focused on a subject and will buy 3 different books on it and spend hours on the internet reading peoples opinions on the matter.  Does anyone else do this? or just me?  Like when I got obsessed with cupcakes.  Or running.  Or how to paint trees on the wall for the nursery.

I did this a lot with pregnancy too.  Which is probably pretty natural, but I read every single thing I could get my hands on.  Often it'd all be repetitive information, but I didn't care.  I soaked it all up.  I was advised that at some point it'd be wise to switch from pregnancy books to books about what it'll actually be like when the baby comes.  It was a novel idea...of which I'm ashamed I hadn't thought of on my own.

But I'm fully consumed now with babies and motherhood.  I'm not really sure what I'm doing, so I'm absorbing every single slice of information I can get my hands on.  I often read article after article on my iPhone while I'm feeding Maddie.  At 4am.  Any chance I can get really.

I mean I've dreamed of this day of being a stay-at-home mom.  I'm not one of those women that was torn about leaving my job.  I always knew I wanted to not work outside the home and just stay home with the kiddos.  I've even had countless jobs that involved small children in the past.  But that still doesn't mean I have much of a clue about raising a child.

Here is a glimpse into my life right now and what my nightstand looks like where I spend hours of my baby-filled days...
Until two months ago, it was all preggo books...Barnes & Nobles makes a killing off of me.  Because I might as well be well informed as I stumble through this steep learning curve.  I cannot get enough.

And might as well be real with you about my clutter-filled bedroom.  I do try to clean.  Just not nearly as often anymore.  And it's slowly starting to not bother me as much.  I actually just put up a TV tray that I added next to my bed because I couldn't fit anything else on my nightstand...and didn't have time nor the energy to make room.  But let's be honest, a clean house will always make my heart filled with joy.  And I still may have an occasional mental breakdown when the sink is full of dishes.  Again.

...sorry, back to my point...

I especially love it when I come across incredibly encouraging posts such as this one.  Please read it if you are a young mother such as myself.  I love reading blogs.  Because though I'm alone in the house with a small, napping child unable to escape in the 10 feet of snow outside, I can feel as if I'm having coffee with a woman who is just sharing her life with me, and though I don't know her I can feel like we are best friends.  And be encouraged and breath a sigh of relief that what I'm feeling is not completely irrational.

I think one of the most informative resources out there is just talking to other new moms.  They know what the new products are, what's worth trying and what's socially acceptable these days - from the best gas medicine to the newest book on sleep habits to my new love of cloth diapering to feeding in public (all of which I've had in-depth conversations about recently).  As I'm slowly expanding my social network in town to women with kids, I probably come across as wide-eyed and overwhelmed to them.  Of which I probably am.  But I'm ok with that.  I kinda like it that way actually.

Of course I take it all with a grain of salt.  What works for them may not work for me.  But I definitely want to be aware of all my options and go from there.

Because I'm a steward of this baby.  Maddie ultimately belongs to God and He has just entrusted her to me to raise her.  That is a big responsibility I am well aware of.  So bring on the words of wisdom.  Because goodness, I need them.

Two Months

Madelyn is officially two months old!  I'm pretty sure she gains about a pound a week, or so it seems.  As of her 6 week appointment she was 10lbs 2oz.  She has outgrown all her newborn clothes and onto 3 months.  I decided the transition times are challenging trying to figure out what fits, what to put away and discovering that special little outfit that I was saving that she now cannot wear anymore.  We think her hair might be turning red.  Her little eyebrows definitely have red tint.
Maddie also hit some milestones this month. She graduated from being able to sleep elsewhere other than our arms.  We've come to discover that she has a bad case of reflux (that I'm hoping she'll grow out of) which prevents her from sleeping flat on her back, so we are thankful for the car seat.  Sometimes I put her car seat in the crib so I can monitor her while being productive...and you know at least use that beautiful piece of furniture.  I've also tried to cut out most dairy from my diet because I think that wasn't helping her little tummy.  I had no idea how big of a sacrifice that was going to be, but thankful for soy products and my heart goes out to those who are lactose intolerant.  I'm also hoping she'll grow out of that as well - I selfishly want to eat ice cream again soon - and think I deserve brownie points as I watch Matt eat it every night.
We have also gone full time into cloth diapers.  Matt and I both agree that we love them!  I'll update on that soon, because a lot of people have been asking our thoughts on them.
counting on dad to keep her entertained and happy during the photo shoot
Maddie also loves to talk and smile.  She is really a happy little girl (except when that darn reflux is bothering her) and usually only gets fussy in the evenings.  Especially right as we sit down to eat dinner.  She has some kind of radar that lets her know.  I've gotten really good at eating with one hand.
And our biggest milestone this month is the fact that she has gotten to where she'll sleep 8-10 hours a night!  Often she'll wake up once for about an hour to feed and be rocked, but then go back to sleep.  I keep praying it isn't just a fluke and she'll keep it up.  
I like how Mocha wanted in on the action -
always curious about what's going on
And I'm pretty sure she has doubled in size.  Ok, not really, but my arms are getting some serious muscle totting her around.