Monday, November 17, 2014

7 surprising things about cloth diapering

From the moment I learned about cloth diapers, I knew that I wanted to cloth diaper any and all future children. Thankfully my husband was on board when it came to that point and we have happy been cloth diapering ever since. One year in and I'm (oddly) excited about the prospect of having two babies in cloth ... I see it as a challenge ... can we get by with the stash we have? how often would we have to wash diapers? will we like the same kind for our second baby? There are a few unexpected things about the cloth diapering part of our lives:

1. Conversations with my husband like this:
 (while driving)
Hubby: Oh yeah, that is definitely her poop face. She's been making it for a while.
Me: I don't think there is a liner in the diaper ...
Hubby: Which diaper is it? 
Me: The simplex side snaps
Hubby: That's okay, it's not the "cadillac" 

2. Joy when I realize that the stray wet bag I just found is filled with an unused diaper. 

3.  Frustration looking for the stray wet bag that I know has a dirty diaper in it. 

4. When meeting another mom or family that cloth diapers, I'm like "We must be best friends!" 

5. There are people (mainly mamas) who are obsessed about cloth diapers. Obsessed, I tell ya! - the newest print, "bum placement" having a full rainbow stash. I actually left a facebook group because it was too much for me. Now, to each their own but since one of our reasons for doing cloth is financial that actually depends on my not buying any more.

6. It actually helps me keep on top of - at least a little bit - the laundry. Knowing that diaper laundry is time specific (it usually has to be done when it has to be done and we will soon be needing to use those diapers) and knowing that it takes up the washer/drying for a part of diaper laundry day, actually encourages me to get the rest of the laundry done on the off times. 

7. Watching my dad/aka Grandpa fold cloth diapers is SUPER entertaining.

Do you cloth diaper? What would you add to this list??

We don't have many cloth diaper pictures but I like this one the best!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

"You are our gift. You are our child."

Dear Baby,

We talked briefly about having another baby but the words still hung in the air when the lines showed up positive on the (five)pregnancy test(s). I said "the odds couldn't have been great" but you are not a number or a statistic, you are our child. I worried about having our kids so close together, about having two babies under two and how it would all work. I worried how I would deal with the exhausting and take care of both you and Zoe. I worried that it would somehow shortchange your sister and you.
And then we went to church and I held your sister while she played with my hair and tried to compete with the priest. And I knew then that you are not a problem to solve. You are not a challenge to overcome. You are our child, our gift. I don't need to worry if the car is big enough ... if the house is big enough ... if our bank account is big enough ... or if my heart is big enough.
You are our gift.
You are not the sum of the number of pounds I haven't lost since Zoe's pregnancy or the number of books we will have to move to put a crib in your Daddy's office or the number of hypothetical hours that are not sitting in my PTO bank at work.  
You are so much more than all those things (and in a few years, none of those things will matter). 
You are our gift from God.
He requires nothing from me than an open hand and heart with a good dose of thanksgiving. It will be hard and we will be tired but it will also be good and beautiful and right. 
For now, and for every day with you, I will say Thank You to God who created you and who holds you closer than we ever will. He knows your name; he has it written on his heart, on his hand. You are not a surprise to him. You are His creation that He gives to us for safe keeping.
And I am thankful.

I wrote that first bit months ago, when I was scared and surprised to find out that I was pregnant again. Thankfully those feelings quickly changed to gratitude and I've managed not to "schedule" the next several months or make lists of what needs to be done. I have mostly just been thankful (and tired). 

As the tiredness and nausea has faded, I have heard so many people say how great it is to have babies close together and I am looking forward to having a newborn during which the experience isn't totally new. 

We are pretty sure that, as with Zoe, Christopher will find out the sex of this baby and share it with two creatures: Zoe and Loki. He thinks the baby is another girl and I think the baby is a boy. Either way, we will be excited and happy. They will be 18 months apart. We know that it will be exhausting (but that's a trademark feeling of having a newborn baby, whether there are other children involved) but we also know that this is God's plan for our family. 

The baby is due mid-April and I think it will be fun to have a Spring baby this time around.

Our sweet girl who has no idea what the commotion is all about.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Blog-tober Day 23: A guide to your city

A few seasons ago the Bachelor (or Bachelorette) did a hometown date in Milwaukee and, although we don't watch that show, hubby and I watched the bit of the show when they toured Milwaukee and we were pleased to know that we choose the right activities. It was something like a visit to Lake Michigan, a brewery tour and a visit to the Milwaukee Public Market.

Those things are all well and good but if you come to visit us, your visit will look a little different. We live in a part of Milwaukee called Bay View and we LOVE it here. Here are our favorite local gems:

We would go see Lake Michigan but it would be from South Shore Park (bonus points if the farmer's market is going on) or we would take a short hike down there via Seven Bridges Park.

We would eat at some local places like Stack'd (the BEST fried pickles ever!), the Broken Yolk, and Cafe Lulu's which is a short walk from our place. And we would get ice cream from Babes.

And Christopher would give you a tour of our basement where he brews and he would open what we have on hand for you.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blog-tober Day 18: A tale of traveling

Well, I didn't do great on this challenge but I did blog more so perhaps I can call that a small success. Perhaps it wasn't the best time to do something like this -- more on that later. ;)

Ahhh ... traveling. I traveled quite a bit back when I was single and (ahem) had more money/time and less of a commitment holding me close to home.  That said, I am taking Zoe to Florida next week so I can't complain TOOO much although I wouldn't give up my current "commitments" for all the travel I used to have.

I began looking for pictures and instead found some old blog posts.

Our honeymoon from 2010

A girls trip to Mexico in 2011

And, although I have no pictures on my laptop (and am too lazy to go upstairs and get them off our desktop), sometime in the years before I got married, I traveled with a group of girls that I met in Ghana (West Africa) while working with Mercy Ships. We went to New York, Charleston and Seattle and I LOVED all of those trips.  Charleston was my favorite as I enjoyed the history and Southern charm.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Blog-tober Day 9: personality

Introverted or extroverted??

The best way to describe me is "an introvert who can masquerade as an extrovert." I am renewed by time alone or with just a few people but I also get a little bit of energy from being in large social situations. On a scale however, I don't fall really fall on the introverted side.

My Meyers Briggs letters are ISFJ. Introversion, Sensing, Feeling and Judging. My S and J fall pretty close to their counterparts though and it kind of depends on how I am feeling when I take the test since I've had both letters on both of those.

Truth be told, I think it is helpful to think about these things in order to know yourself and others better but I don't like being pigeon holed into a certain "personality type." When people ask me about my daughter's personality, I often respond "She is Zoe."

Interestingly, my husband and I are opposite in most personality tests and we talked about it often at the beginning of our relationship and now again with a little person who has unique needs (consistent bedtime, for example). How do we make sure that Christopher gets enough "people time" and how do we make sure that I get enough "alone time" when there is almost always a little body in the house. It is much easier now that Zoe is on a more predictable schedule and going to sleep early enough for us each to have what we need. 

A letter to my daughter

Dear Zoe,
You were born one year ago.

I had no idea what to do with you.

The leaves fell of the trees as we slowly fell into a rhythm.

We swayed and bounced, cried and laughed.

We eventually all got more sleep, which made everyone happier and you began to nurse better/more effectively and that was such a relief! 

You are the best thing that ever happened to me. 

They say that it goes by too fast and in some ways it does and in some ways it seems like you have always been with us. This year of change and growth also sometimes seems much longer than a year. 

You have the sweetest personality and you shower affection onto Loki and sometimes, although less frequently, Mom and Dad. Snuggles are for sleepy times. When you are awake, you are moving.

I am excited to watch you try to communicate more with us and I look forward to talking with you and answering your questions about the world. 

Soon we will read about Laura Ingalls and Anne of Green Gables but for right now we read Hop on Pop (over and over!) and Olivia the Owl. You love books with flaps and textures. You turn the pages quickly and then turn the books over to read again.

 We love you and are so thankful for each and every moment we spend with you. We pray that you will grow up strong in your faith and deep in the knowledge of your Savior.


One year statistics:

-18 lbs and 29 inches.
- You can still wear some 9 month clothes, especially pants and you fit well in 12 month clothes. When you wear disposables, you wear size 3 but you mostly wear cloth and they are working well for us.
- Favorite foods: bananas and cheerios! Also really likes mango, cheese, sweet potatoes, broccoli and chicken. Eats a lot!!
- Seven teeth. Two on top, four on bottom with the right molar all the way in and the left one coming. 
- Takes steps, is getting close to walking. (But also does some toe-walking.) 
- Sleeps well. Two naps, 11-12 hours at night. Hasn't been up at night unless she is teething. (SO nice for all of us!)
- Still nursing well, now has a bottle of whole milk after second nap.
- Can say mama, dada, offf offf (barking at Loki), ball and up. Mimics a lot of other words (cup, nonna, baba and various animal sounds). 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blog-tober Challenge #7: Reading list

My current reading list looks like this: 

The Selection Series

I know I mentioned it last post ... it is an easy read and 
that is what I need before bed. 
Fluffy but not trashy. 

Vally of Vision
Valley Of Vision

A puritan prayer/devotional book that I am slowly making my way through.
I love the simplicity of the prayers. 

That's all!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blog-tober Day 6: Currently ...

Currently ... 
- I am reading the Selection series and it is fun. 
Kind of like the Ester story and the Bachelor all rolled up in on.

- I am watching Downton Abbey, The Good Wife and Parenthood.

- I am stunned that our baby will be one tomorrow! 

- We are trying out a new, lowered budget and it has been working out okay. 

- I am excited for dear friends visiting tomorrow!

- I am loving the cool weather and the leaves turning color.

- I am snuggling with our old, sweet dog after the baby has gone to bed.

-I am excited for Zoe to dance at a family wedding in a week and a half.

- I am working up the courage to go and start a new bread recipe.
One can never go wrong with America's Test Kitchen.

- We are working through our garden produce.
Squash, pumpkins, eggplants and carrots. Oh my!!

- I am excited to go and pick lots of apples so we can can them for the winter.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog-tober Challenge

I am breaking the radio/blog silence to link up with Brave Love's blog-tember challenge (but since I'm doing it in October, would it be Blog-tober??), inspired by my cousin Anne @ Under the Brella (who is also a main reason I am reading more books).
We should live closer.

Anyhoo, lets see if I can revive this small space
(or maybe decide to hang it all up). Time will tell!

Even though it is already the 3rd,
I'm going to start day 1: "About the Author"... like the front cover of a novel

"Rachel is a wife and new mama who works part time as a nurse to pay the bills. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband, a brilliant PhD student, their beautiful one year old daughter and a fluffy black cocker spaniel. Rachel enjoys gardening, sewing and spending time near any body of water."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Not all days are good.

We all have good days - the days and moments that fill facebook and instagram. They look like this: 

yes, I know, ridiculously cute!!
But not everyday can be good because then you wouldn't recognize the good ones. 
There are also days when the ridiculously cute baby thinks that naps are optional, when Mama doesn't feel good and the pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded gets bigger because the baby puts everything in it. (That is where the remote went!)

And that is okay. There will be bad days, there will be days when you don't have time to shower. There will be days when the only way to make dinner is with the baby strapped to your back playing with a DQ spoon because, you know, a blizzard fixes almost everything. 

There are days when you sent out emergency texts to good friends looking for encouragement and when you feel better knowing that many people either are exactly where you are or have been, recently. 

So, have your blizzards, send out those emergency texts and then put the sleepy, clingy, snotty baby to bed and know that tomorrow will be another day!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

We are nine months into this adventure called parenthood. If I could go back to those newborn days (daze?) this is what I would tell myself:

"It doesn't last forever." The sleepless nights, the crying, the exhaustion ... it does end. The newborn snuggles, the loooooong breastfeeding sessions, the limp baby sleeping on your chest and through church and in the car. It does end. There is another stage coming; this one is fleeting. Enjoy it.

Related: You WILL sleep again. (And you will miss when she used to sleep anywhere during the day!)

"It takes awhile to feel normal again." Let's face it: you created life, grew it for 10 (yes, 10, don't be fooled!) months and then birthed a baby with a head in the 99.7 percentile WITHOUT ANY DRUGS! You are a rockstar! It takes awhile for your body to feel right again but also for you to get used to not being able to leave the house without your baby or your mind ticking down the minutes to when you have to be home to feed the baby. It takes awhile but you will get there. Soon, you will look for her in the back seat when you are driving alone and you will miss her when she begins to sleep all night. Your body will follow along; give it time.

"You are doing a good job. Zoe is doing great." Tattoo it on your forehead, write it on the mirror or the crib or the fridge. Whatever it takes. You are doing good. Keep up the good work!!

"Have patience with yourself, Zoe and Christopher. I am learning that patience and grace are more important than how we feed her or what type of sleep training we do or what kind of discipline we use. Exercise patience and grace daily!

"It IS hard work but it IS worth it!" 

Do you wanna see some cuteness:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Mess

I'm breaking my seven month bloggy hiatus to write a five minute Friday post because that seems like a good place to start. 


Life changes drastically seven months ago with the birth of our beautiful daughter, Zoe. Our small house has been engulfed in a baby mess ever since. Some days are easier than others to look past the mess and gaze into the blue eyes that stare up at me as, once again, my body gives life to hers. Some days it's hard to overlook the rattles, animals, diapers and tiny socks that are strewn all over. When I do, however, I begin to see the many lessons my daughter has been teaching me. She hears her daddy talk and stops whatever she is doing until he comes to her. She knows when her guardian, Loki, is climbing the stairs to her room. She enjoys morning snuggles before starting her day with gusto. She likes to read in the quiet time before bed. She smiles big in the morning and every time we get her from her crib. 

The most important thing in the world to her is us. We are her center and her compass ... given her as a gift to teach, guide and laugh with/at while she grows. 

And the mess? It doesn't really matter.