1.26.2015

cloth diapering 101

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I've mentioned cloth diapers a lot on this blog.  I've shown you pictures of Claire's cute fluffy butt, Instagrammed about how much we love them, but I've taken what seems like forever to write this post.  Why?  Well, cloth diapering can be intimidating.  It's a REALLY big world.  Bigger than the prefolds, safety pins, and plastic covers of our parents' generation.  There are pockets, and prefolds, and all in ones, and before I start freaking you out I'm just going to jump right into the ones we use the most.

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First up, we started out with BumGenius Elementals.  These are all in one diapers -meaning, you put them on like a disposable diaper, except they close with snaps.  The only difference is that you wash them in between wears.  The absorbent, organic cotton layers are sewn into the diaper.  They're soft and incredibly absorbent.  Claire never leaks in Elementals.  BumGenius is a huge company, but they're St. Louis based, which I love.  They release lots of cute solid colors and patterns.  They're probably the trimmest cloth diaper - they don't take up much more space than a disposable under clothing and they're very easy to clean.  If you want to use them as overnight diapers (like we do) all you have to do is add an extra absorbent layer underneath the sewn in layers.  We use Applecheeks bamboo for this, and it works like a charm.

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If someone says to me "I want to make this as easy as possible" I ALWAYS just tell them to buy BG Elementals.  One and done.  You can get by with a set of about 20 if you want to go 2-3 days between washes, and they'll easily last you through diapering two kids (saving you roughly $3000 over time.  CRAZY!)


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The diaper you probably see the most often on my Instagram or here on the blog is a Twinkie Tush diaper.  Twinkie Tush diapers are hybrid fitteds (I know, now I'm speaking an entirely other language.)  Hybrid fitteds have no plastic involved.  They let the skin "breathe" a little bit more than a diaper with PUL.  However, they aren't technically waterproof!  They will get wet on the outside eventually, but we go 3-4 hours in a Twinkie Tush "Fusion" diaper easily.  I like to put these on Claire when we're home during the day, because it means she's not wearing plastic on her bum 24/7. There are no inserts with fitted diapers - the entire diaper is absorbent! They come in a myriad of patterns and even take custom orders from their customers, and it's a work-at-home-mom run family business.  I love to get behind that!
(ps, their shop will always look empty.  They do "stockings" on Wednesdays alternating at 2 pm or 8 pm est, and the diapers go quickly!)

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Your other options are pocket diapers & flip covers.  Pocket diapers are just what they sound like - a plastic cover with a pocket for your insert/absorbent layer.  Flip covers are JUST a plastic cover you lay an insert into.  This insert will have to have a natural fiber side because you absolutely cannot put microfiber against baby's skin.

These are the type of inserts we use, and we like them all a lot!  As I said, we mostly use our elementals and Twinkie Tush fitteds, but these are what we picked for the occasions we use our flip covers, pocket diapers, and to add extra absorbency for a nighttime diaper.

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I'm assuming by now you're thinking "yes, yes, fine but how do I clean out my kid's poop?  Because, ew."  This is the easy part.  The simplest ever.  The "why on earth do people even USE disposables!"  part.  Wait for it...

Dump all the diapers in the washing machine, rinse on cold.
Wash on hot, with a huge scoop of Tide powder, extra rinse.
Dry on low.

If baby is eating solids, you can dump the "solid" waste into the toilet before the diaper goes into the pail, but for most babies that only happens once a day or every other day.  You can buy a diaper sprayer attachment that connects to your toilet, but we've honestly never needed it.  Breastfed baby poop is water soluble!  It goes straight into the wash.

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We also use cloth wipes!  You can buy them from Bumgenius, they're cheap and actually far more effective then regular wipes.  They go into the pail with the diapers, and we keep them moistened by using the Price Lionheart Wipe Warmer (which is perfectly safe to use with cloth wipes.)  We do use disposable wipes when out and about!

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You cannot use all diaper rash creams with cloth diapers.  Personally, we've had very few issues with rashes using cloth diapers, but a good solution is a little coconut oil with a few drops of lavender essential oil.  Works like a charm, and it's cloth diaper safe.

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If you have stink issues with your diaper pail, I recommend a few cotton balls with Young Living purification oil dropped on stowed away in the bottom of your pail.  You'll never notice a smell again!  Although, our Diaper Dekor skirts this issue pretty well on its own, and we wash about every other day.  We use the Diaper Dekor cloth pail liners, and they get washed with the diapers.

For any persistent rashes or stink issues, wash your diapers with tea tree oil!  It kills the yeast!

When you're out and about - just take a wet bag with you!  Stow the dirty diapers in there, dump them in the pail when you get home.

Bottom line: we love our cloth diapers.  They're adorable, eco-friendly, they save us money, and we've had no issues with them as of yet.

If you're interested in using any of the essential oils I mentioned above, please get in touch with me!  The Young Living Premium Starter kit comes with all three, PLUS a diffuser & tons of other amazing oils, all for what you'd pay for the three I mentioned individually.  You can check out my business Facebook page here, or add me on my Facebook personal page here.  AND I'd love to answer any questions you have about cloth diapering!  Seriously, I'm a huge nerd about this stuff.  Ask away : )  

Be on the lookout for follow up posts including a cloth diaper shopping list and cloth diapering 102 - addressing your issues!  

1.21.2015

young living/starting our journey with essential oils

One of my favorite things about blogging has been my ability to share things I love and use with my followers.  I don't review items often - in fact, those types of posts are few and far between and very infrequently sponsored - but when things like Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit, Sakura Bloom Ring Slings, and my Lily Jade bag come into my life, I can't help but share!  Lately I've been improving our life with essential oils from Young Living, and I wanted to tell you a little bit about my favorite oils, and why I'm so crazy about them.  


(and.....to make you look at this cute photo)

As you might have noticed, I'm pretty into being a "natural mama."  I babywear, we cloth diaper (I promise I'm going to share more on this soon!), and generally just try to keep things simple.  So when I started to want to address issues like immunity from winter sickness & Claire having sleep troubles, I wanted to do so as naturally as possible.  I've been lucky enough to find an online "village" of sorts via Instagram & Facebook, and that's how I found essential oils.  




I was totally skeptical.  Although I love going the natural route, let's be honest, it doesn't always work.  I'm the kind of person who, if I have a headache, I'm going to take a freaking Advil.  Because it will fix my headache!  Even if it's not my favorite route, I want results.  So when the peppermint oil in my kit fixed my headache the first time I used it, I was intrigued.  



When Darrell and I got into a "discussion" (really, an argument) and we both worked through it in a cool and calm way while I just happened to be diffusing "Peace & Calming" I was surprised.  

When Claire made it through a 3 hour car ride with an amazing nap and no tears, after I put lavender & coconut oil on her feet, I was convinced.  

Now, I'm using these oils every single day, all day long.  Peace & Calming in our diffuser is definitely a favorite, but they all have so much purpose.  I wanted to focus on Peace & Calming & Lavender first, because who couldn't use more peace and calm in their life?  


I like to dab Peace & Calming on my wrists if I'm about to do something stressful - like, say, if I'm headed to the DMV.  Lavender is always on hand in the kitchen, because if you mix it with coconut oil it cuts the unfortunate pain of a burn (I'm a total klutz.)  Every night before we lay her down, Claire gets a little lavender mixed with coconut oil rubbed onto the bottoms of her feet.  If I'm having issues with bad dreams (like when I'm pregnant!) I dab a tiny bit onto my temples "neat" before bed.  Sundays aren't the same without some Peace & Calming diffusing while we drink our morning coffee and pick our Netflix show for the day - come on, you do it too!  Sundays are for Netflix!  

Want to learn more about Young Living Essential Oils?  Add me on Facebook, or just send me a message!  I can show you how to order, and how to get essential oils involved in your life in the best way.  If you're ready to take the leap right now, you can click here to order a premium starter kit.  

1.14.2015

vienna sling share/volume 4: heather and garra

I'm excited to bring you the fourth installment in the Vienna Sling Share series today, with Heather Talladay & Garra Schulze.  

First up is Heather with her gorgeous family (including baby number three - a boy - on the way!)  She's wearing her daughter Briar in Vienna Springs Huckleberry for their trip to pick out their Christmas tree.  




Some words from Heather: 

"Some days, I look at my busy family (and down at my growing belly) and think about how I just really don't know how people do it without baby wearing. Now that my littlest is growing into her toddlerhood more and more every day I don't wear her around the house like I used to. But whenever we're out and about she still loves to cuddle up in the sling, my three year old is in the Ergo with daddy, and it makes doing things with two littles so much easier. When she was just a new little bundle, and I had a not-quite-two-year-old to care for, and a husband gone at night school a few nights a week...well we just wouldn't have managed without it. I love the bond that wearing my babes  has brought, and it just seems like the most natural thing in the world to keep them close. 

For the week that I got to use the Vienna Springs sling, we were preparing for Christmas and going to pick out our tree. It was bitterly cold out, but having my Briar close to me in the sling kept me so much warmer. I immediately fell in love with the sling. The color and quality is amazing!! Laura, the owner of VS is so kind and generous, just the sweetest soul. Her slings are wonderful, and so well made. We were walking through the woods, and then went straight to a small-town Christmas event. The sling was supportive and made walking around town and getting on and off hayrides so easy!" 





Next up is Garra & her daughter Kennedy!  In her words: 

"I never imagined myself as someone who would wear their child. I had a lot of different views before getting pregnant with Kennedy. I thought I would formula feed or pump only, instead of actually breastfeeding. I said I would never co sleep, that I couldn't/wouldn't be a stay at home mom. Then I got pregnant. My views changed.  I wanted to stay home, co sleep, and especially breastfeed. I first learned about ring slings through my friend Ashlee (creator of the 4th Trimester Bodies Project) and thought 'wow that looks really cool.'  So I bought my first one a few months before Kennedy was born. Let me tell you, it was a definite learning curve. I practiced on dolls/stuffed animals before she made her arrival and was so excited to be able to wear her, keep her close and be hands free.

Over the past 15 months, babywearing saved my sanity. I have been able to shop, clean, and just purely get ready for the day by having Kennedy in the sling.

On the particular day when Vienna Springs Huckleberry arrived, I needed to get stuff done around the house for Christmas but with a teething baby, we all know that it usually leads to lots of cuddles so we can avoid the tears.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to get anything done unless I put her in the sling. We hadn't been using them much lately because Kennedy is at that point where she wants to constantly be down crawling around and would 'pop' her seat (a term for when babies straight their legs in the sling.) But because she wasn't feeling great she actually wanted to be right there with me. I was able to get my house clean, laundry done, and even wrap my Christmas gifts. Babywearing is a game changer and I am so glad I started doing research before Kennedy was born."

*A little disclaimer: Garra had lots of great pics from her week with Vienna Springs Huckleberry but she had a technical disaster and lost them!  Of course we still wanted her to participate in the sling share, so these are photos of her past babywearing experiences in some Sakura Bloom slings.  




1.12.2015

claire at 7 months











You guys, this little girl.  She is becoming more her own person by the second.  She was 7 months old on January 9th (what is happening!?) and she is so entertaining and sweet, and sometimes so challenging!  

She's ambitious to the degree that she frustrates herself all the time.  See how much she's standing in these photos?  She can't really stand on her own yet but she sure WANTS to.  She spends most of her time propped on the edge of our ottoman scooting back and forth between it and the couch.  It seemed she was bored with sitting up as quickly as she learned how to do it.  On to the next skill!  She can crawl but she doesn't much care for it.  

She is sleeping like a champ at night although she is not the best napper - she needs to be held or in a carrier to nap, and I've not successfully gotten her to nap in her crib.  I'll admit, I don't mind the extra snuggles!  

She is finally interested in solid food which is a whole new adventure for us, but I wasn't rushing her.  Breastfeeding has been so easy for us that I was hesitant to introduce another task and mess, but this past week she has definitely ramped up her interest in solids!  So far she's eaten spaghetti squash, avocado, banana, coconut milk yogurt (her FAVORITE), strawberries, clementines, and bread - she loves bread and it keeps her occupied at restaurants, although we try to keep it to a minimum!  We are doing a combination of purees and baby led weaning - depending on the food, if she can't eat it or grab it well without help I'll puree it in our mini chopper, but if she can I just let her go at it on her own and have a sink bath ready!  

She loves to be read to, talked to, and has started to babble and say "da da da da" and "ma ma ma ma."  I think real talking is coming soon.  She is a total mommy's girl, but dad always gets the best smiles!  

Claire bear, we love you more than words can say, but slow down this growing up!  You're breaking your mamas heart and making it swell with pride all at the same time.  

1.05.2015

happy new year!
























IT's been a CRAZY few weeks around here - besides the hustle and bustle of the holidays, Claire and I both got hit with the flu and we're just coming out of it.  I tell you, you've never known panic until your 6 month old's tiny body feels like a furnace.  We're also learning to wrap (fun, but hard!) learning to eat solids (with very little interest, admittedly) and and learning to stand.  She's getting dangerously close, and I fear she'll walk before she crawls very well.  Sorry for the quick in-and-out, but I'm home with my still contagious baby today, so I leave you with this flood of photos and a wish that the first real full week of work this year doesn't hit you too hard!  



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