Thursday, February 27, 2014

Moving Up!

We've moved!!!!!


While Dan was away last week, my mom and I finished the master bedroom and moved up!


The week before his trip, Dan finished the trim upstairs and installed the closet organizer and we had the carpet installed on the stairs.


On Monday, after we spent countless hours deep cleaning what felt like inches of dust and filth from years of renovations, we sanded and painted the trim, cleaned again, then hemmed and hung curtains.


Then Tuesday, my mom brought up two great hand-me-down dressers {actually they were my brother and I's childhood dressers} and that lovely wooden pack-n-play.  I love how the different kinds of wood look with the light blue and white.


Next we carried baskets of clothes up and filled the closets and dressers.  Then, in a moment of craziness, we carried pushed the mattress and boxspring upstairs while the baby napped.


Later in the week, I made a bedskirt for the bed with the the second curtain from the diy upholstered headboard project.  Look for details later this week.


It feels amazing to finally be in the room we've been dreaming about for 2 years!  The other night as we were falling asleep, Dan and I marveled at the fact that the only things left on our to-do list are cosmetic!  That means we are done with major renovations!!  Ahh, feels amazing!

Monday, February 24, 2014

8/52

"A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014"

Caleb Roscoe: On the move and getting into everything!!  I couldn't settle on just one photo this week, but I think these two capture pretty accurately his constant movement and need to explore.

see more of our 52 project here.

{joining the 52 project at Practising Simplicity & Living Arrows at I Heart Snapping}

Sunday, February 23, 2014

adventures in cloth diapering


Now that we're nearly 8 months into cloth diapering, I thought I'd take a moment to share some tips for those considering or just getting started with cloth.  So much of cloth diapering is figuring out the system that works for you.  This is what works for us, right now.

We knew long before we had Caleb that we'd be cloth diapering, however we weren't exactly sure what that would look like.  After researching the various types of diapers available, I knew 4 things:

1. I wanted as little upfront investment as possible - new cloth diapers can get extremely expensive, often people buy new diapers planning to cloth diaper then change their minds, because of this you can find loads of used ones online through facebook groups, cloth diapering forums, ebay, and craigslist.

2. I wanted neutral colors - obviously we plan to use these diapers for a long time.

3. I wanted ease of use - cloth diapering can be overwhelming in and of itself, I didn't want family and friends to be so lost that they couldn't lend a helping hand if offered.

4. I wanted "one-size" - some cloth diapers are sized S, M, L, based on the weight of your little one.

Because of the number of cloth diaper options out there, many people suggest that you only invest in one or two of a particular style of diaper and try out a few styles, you never know which style is going to work for you/your baby.

While pregnant, I began collecting a few different types of diapers.  I found these Flip Diaper Covers on clearance for only $7, and snagged 6.  While wondering garage sales in the spring I came across two more FLIP diaper covers and two gDiapers covers.  We received two CuteyBaby diapers and 2 Bummis Super Brite diaper covers as a baby shower gift and used a gift card to purchase 2 bumGenius 4.0's.

Near the end of my pregnancy I had the brilliant idea of making some additional newborn/small diapers to add to our stash.  (I say "brilliant" because they were a lot more work than most 9month+ pregnant women want to tackle!)  In my research, many people had suggested purchasing newborn sized diapers to get through those first few months when baby is so tiny and not yet chunky enough to fill the diapers.  Not knowing how big Caleb would be, and wanting to start cloth as soon as possible, making my own newborn size seemed like a great solution.

I was thrilled when I found this pattern at JoAnn Fabrics, that allowed for multiple sizing options.  My mom and I made a few newborn/small diapers to add to the stash and I began selling the extras in my etsy shop.

So, when we began this journey, our stash included the following:


We began cloth diapering with Caleb once we were past the infamous meconium stage {that stuff is seriously messy and will do awful things to your cloth diapers!}   A friend was gracious enough to give us her gDiaper inserts from when her boys were cloth diapering and we used those with our diaper covers.

Originally, we had opted to use the FLIP diaper system mostly because it made more sense to us to not need to wash the cover between uses (unless soiled), however having a wiggly, heavy wetter who liked to sleep on his belly meant that we had a lot more leakage than expected and ended up washing the covers after every use. {**I recognize that some of our leakage could be from used/hand-me-down inserts that were getting old and threadbare.}

We learned quickly that the BumGenius 4.0's were much better for night time and naps as they were less likely to leak.   And because our boy was big {9 lbs at birth}, and grew quickly, we were only able to use the gDiapers and homemade diapers for a few months.  At 3 months, we packed those away and decided to invest in a few more BumGenius 4.0's.  We bought these second hand from a friend who didn't have much luck with cloth diapering.  She had only used them for a few months, so they were practically new!  We received a Babys R Us gift card as well, so I bought 2 bumGenius Freetime diapers to try.

To date BumGenius Freetime diapers are definitely our favorite!  When I saw an ad for them on Craigslist a few weeks ago, I snagged 6 more second hand to add to our stash.

Here's what our stash looks like today:

{not all pictured}
out of rotation because of size:  2 FLIP diaper covers (these were purchased second-hand and the elastic needs replaced), 2 gDiaper size small covers, 2 CuteyBaby size medium diapers, 2 Bummis size small diaper covers, 5 Homemade Newborn/Small diaper covers

With this large of a stash we're able to do laundry every other day.  We use a large trash can with a liner for soiled diapers.  When it's time to do laundry, we wash the diapers (including liner) on a cold rinse cycle followed by a hot wash cycle.  We've tried a number of different laundry soaps, but have found that a single scoop of our DIY laundry soap works just fine.  Line drying your diapers can prolong their life, so we dry them on a drying rack most days.  When we're in a hurry or I forget to switch laundry (hazards of laundry being in the basement!) we use the dryer.  However, the best way to dry your diapers is in the sun.  The heat and UV help to not only dry the fabric but bleach out any yucky stains.  Oh, how I long for summer sun!


When changing diapers at home, we use homemade cloth wipes with a simple solution of water and tea tree oil.  We have yet to see much diaper rash but when we do we use California Baby diaper cream as it's cloth diaper safe.  However, even with this diaper cream, I keep diapers and wipes separate and strip them before using again to avoid build up. Learn more about stripping diapers here.

We try to use cloth when out and about - though store a few disposables in the diaper bag and car, just in case!  We put soiled diapers in our wet bag and transfer to the diaper pail when we get home.  We use disposable wipes while out.

{first cloth diaper at just 10 days old}
So, you're still interested in cloth?!  Here's some advice that we'd love to pass along:

Just do it!  Seriously, what are you waiting for?  Get a few diapers, and go for it.  You don't need to have an entire stash of cloth before you try it out.  Using a combination of cloth and disposable can help you transition and figure out your own system.   The great thing about cloth, you can start (and stop if need be) at any time, any age!

Don't be afraid to buy second hand.  I was super cautious about this in the beginning as I was unsure about bacteria and what not.  As long as you feel comfortable with it, I suggest buying second hand.  Many people jump into cloth diapering head first, only to find that it doesn't fit with their lifestyle.  Because of this, there are tons of gently-used (if used at all) diapers for sale on ebay, craigslist, and in facebook groups.  There are also loads of resources online for stripping and deep cleaning those diapers.  I stripped our second hand diapers when I bought them and haven't had any issues.

Stick with one-size and neutral colors.  Cloth diapers are an investment, if you're going to spend the money, you might as well get the most out of it.  These diapers should last us for numerous kiddos and through potty-training.  I was super frustrated when I had to store away perfectly good diapers, just because Caleb out-grew them.  Sticking to neutral colors and one-size diapers means you'll get the most wear out of them no matter the gender or size of your baby.

Buy over time.  Unless you're sure you want to put up the money to buy a large number of diapers in the beginning, I suggest starting small.  I'm thankful we started with a few different styles of diapers vs. an entire stash of one style.  For some this works out beautifully.  For many, like we discovered, this is not the case.  The style/brand you expect to love and use may not work best for your baby or lifestyle.  Buying diapers over time allows you to try out cloth diapering in general before making a big investment and deciding it's not for you.

Stick with snaps.  Most of our Flip diaper covers are velcro, and though they are still in decent shape, the hook side of the velcro attracts lint and hair, making it a pain to clean and stick.  Also, you must remember to stick the hook side of the velcro to the laundry tabs or you'll end up with a jumbled mess in the wash.  Now that Caleb is getting bigger and is more mobile, the velcro doesn't seem to stay stuck.  His crawling causes the tabs to come loose and sometimes I take off his pajamas to find that they aren't attached at all!

So there you have it!  Lot's of ideas and info in this post, but please feel free to email me or comment below with questions or comments.  We have loved our cloth diapering experience and hope to help others considering it in any way we can!


Monday, February 17, 2014

around here


After a lovely weekend together, I'm flying solo this week while Dan is away for work.  Caleb and I have a long to do list to tackle and lots of friends to visit with.  If the weather cooperates, we may even get a trip to IKEA in!!  I'm hoping to get the upstairs move in ready for when he returns, as well as catch up on some much needed deep cleaning.

Here's hoping to time flies!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

7/52


"A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014"

see more of our 52 project here.

{joining the 52 project at Practising Simplicity & Living Arrows at I Heart Snapping}

Saturday, February 15, 2014

getting sleep.

New parents talk about three things, and only three things: milk, poop, and SLEEP.  We are always discussing how much and how often these three things happen.  It's easy to get sucked into comparing your baby to others, I know I have.  Worrying if your little one is getting too much or too little of these things, wondering if what you're doing (or not doing) makes you a bad parent.  It can be utterly exhausting, and defeating...so stop!  

Caleb has never been a "bad" sleeper.  But I've always worried whether or not he has gotten enough sleep.

He slept 9 hours at just 4 days old, and continued to sleep well (5-6 hours a night) after 3 months.  At 5 months when he woke every few hours throughout the night I cocked it up to a growth spurt.  At 7.5 months,  he is still growing,  still waking up 2-3 times a night to eat.  He always goes back to sleep after, so I know we can't complain. 

Our issue has always been getting to sleep. Our boy is super inquisitive and easily overstimulated.  He requires a lot of coaxing to convince him he is tired, and even then he can be easily woken by what seems the simplest, unnoticeable changes.

However, last night was a game changer.  After our typical, long and sometimes rough bedtime routine, our little man fell asleep and stayed asleep for 8 glorious hours!!!  And when he did wake up, he happily played in his crib for another thirty minutes!

We didn't do anything crazy our out of the ordinary, we followed our normal routine, did evening we normally do, but finally, last night it worked!  Here's hoping it works again tonight! (And tomorrow night, and the next...)

There is no normal in parenting.  No right out wrong.  No good or bad.  There is just your way, the way that works for you, your baby, your family, and your situation.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Often it's surprising but it's always rewarding!!

If you're struggling to help your little one sleep and need some encouraging suggestions or just reminded that you're doing the "right" thing, check out this great article I read this morning.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dreaming of spring



It's been a cold, cold winter here...since we can't go outside, we spend hours looking out the window dreaming of spring!  Looking forward to warmer weather in coming months, can't wait to get back outside!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

6/52


"A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014"

Caleb Roscoe: starting to really show interest in books and story time.

see more of our 52 project here.

{joining the 52 project at Practising Simplicity & Living Arrows at I Heart Snapping}

Friday, February 7, 2014

master suite // sneak peek

We are so, so close to getting this space done.  So very close to finally moving upstairs.


We never expected this project to take this long (here's our first post about the space, April 2012).  We thought we'd be living up there by the time Caleb arrived (here's where we were a year later).  But as the story goes with most fixer-uppers, we had our fair share of roadblocks.

But, alas, here we are.  Nearing the finish line.  So close, in fact, that I've begun decorating!  The curtains have been hung and I'm working on cutting them to size.  Meanwhile, Dan is working at getting the trim up.


Here's what we've done so far:
replaced windows
gutted and built new bathroom
tiled shower
installed sink & toilet
re-wire/install new outlets
drywall & wallpaper stairwell
painted walls
hung ceiling fan
built second closet
re-insulate attic
installed new flooring in bedroom and bathroom (more on this coming soon!)


And what we have yet to finish:
cut curtains to size
finish trim
touch up paint on trim
install closet organization
install mirror and shelves in bathroom
have stairs carpeted
hang curtains on closets


Though the second list is nearly as long as the first, the items left to do are significantly less labor intensive!  Oh, we're close!!  Can't wait to share the finished product!



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

adventures in "baby-led weaning"


I've been asked numerous times over the past month about what we've been feeding Caleb, so I thought I'd share a little about our journey into solid foods with our little guy.


The introduction of solid food to your little one can be the source of much anxiety for some moms, me included.  Just take a walk down the baby food aisle at your local grocery and you're inundated with more choices of types of apple sauce than there are apples to choose from in the produce section.  It's hard to know where to begin, or what to begin with!  I was completely lost!


As we approached Caleb's 1/2 birthday, the suggested time to start solid foods, I did a lot of research on the various approaches.  I have known for a while that I wasn't a big fan of the spoon feeding idea {it's never made sense to me to start by spoon feeding your child, then months later try to teach them to feed themselves!?!} and though I'm a huge advocate for homemade foods, the time and effort many put into making pureed baby foods seemed a little excessive.  {Seriously, what did people do before the baby bullet?}



After reading Real Food for Mother and Baby, I learned that when the time came to introduce Caleb to solids, the approach that sounded the most like us was something called "baby-led weaning."  In a nutshell, the idea is to let the baby lead the way when it comes to eating real food, as opposed to force spoon feeding him.


We started letting Caleb try some foods after New Years.  For a few weeks prior, he had been showing a lot of interest in the foods on our plates and once we gave in and gave him his own "plate," he was thrilled.  Not once over the past month have we spoon fed or pureed a single thing.  Whatever we're eating, he eats.  We have opted to delay the introduction of grains until he's a year old after reading this and talking to our pediatrician about it. We also avoid giving him dairy products, but otherwise if it's real food, he eats it!


Sometimes he uses a bowl, but more often than not we put the food directly on his tray.  When using this approach, it's recommended to give the baby bigger chunks of food vs. bite size pieces so that they're able to grab onto the foods easier.  We've definitely noticed that while Caleb has a decent pincer grasp, it's still a very early skill at this age and he appreciates being able to get a good grasp the food.  We try to give him pieces of fruit and vegetables that are about the size of my pinky.  Bananas can be cut in half for the perfect little snack.


I know that this approach may not be for everyone {here's a great example}, but what's important is that the baby guides the way.  For us that means including Caleb in meal time by giving him a little taste of whatever we are eating.  At this stage, we are not concerned about the amount of food he consumes as he's still breastfed on demand, so we don't stress about including him at every meal and sometimes if he's too tired, he doesn't eat a meal at all.  We're only hoping to expose him to a variety of flavors and textures of the same foods we're eating, and so far he loves it!

ps. those bibs are these, and we love them!  They are super easy to clean and we often just toss them into the dishwasher after the meal!

Monday, February 3, 2014

dear caleb // seven months


Dear Caleb,

Seven months.  And just like that you're on the move!  {These photos are getting harder and harder to take as you want to wiggle and are not a fan of laying down now that you can sit up!}

I can remember those first few weeks when it seemed like you were changing with every passing minute.  You seemed to grow so much over night, you looked different after a nap, and you learned more with each day.


That's how this past month has felt.  At Christmas you were just starting to master sitting up, now, you're crawling.  In just a months time, you've become so independent!


You're one active, happy, and social baby.  You are for sure the star of the show wherever you go!  You've cut your second tooth and still love to chew on anything you can get your hands on, including Maggie's toys!


With each passing day we fall more and more in love with the little boy you're becoming!  You learn something new every day and love to show off to your daddy the minute he walks in the door.

We love you so very much!

love always,
mama & daddy

Caleb at one monthtwo monthsthree monthsfour monthsfive months, and six months. Read more letters to Caleb here.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

5/52

"A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014"

the boys: bath time is our favorite time of day.

see more of our 52 project here.

{joining the 52 project at Practising Simplicity & Living Arrows at I Heart Snapping}