Sunday, February 23, 2014

On turning 1...

Dear Jackson,

Today, my little guy, you turned one. Well, honestly, you haven't officially turned one yet, but you will be officially one at 8:50 pm. I cannot believe that a whole has passed since you were born. It seems like you were this tiny (ok, tiny is never a word we used to describe you, but you know, smaller than you are now) newborn baby, and now you are almost as big as your sister. You are so happy, and curious, and smart. You are also very sneaky. You crawl over to the baby gate or to the stairs, look around to see who is looking at you, get a little grin on your face, and start climbing. Those activities-- stair climbing and climbing up the gates-- bring you great joy.

I must admit, I was nervous about bringing you home. Now, this wasn't because I didn't know what to do with you, it was because Lily was at home, and two kids seemed, well, daunting. Looking back, I don't know why I was so nervous. You were a very easy newborn. You didn't really sleep at night because you ate all of the time. Other than that, though, you were a quiet little guy. You are still the happiest baby I know. You go to anyone, you smile all the time, and you are very sensitive. You don't like being told "no", and you cry when you are told "no". You are finally sleeping better, thank goodness! It took you most of your first year to get to all night sleeping, and you still wake up sometimes, but it is so much better than it was!

You love to eat-- your favorites are corn, french fries, chicken nuggets, apples, eggs, and the cupcake you went crazy on today. You are working on using sippy cups, and you seem to like drinking water. I think it is still a bit of a novelty for you, but that is ok by me. I hope you keep trying new things, and stay adventurous with your eating. Goodness knows your sister picky, one picky eater is enough!

We had your party today-- here are a few pictures. You are such a little monster, so the theme was perfect. I love you so much little guy. You are an absolute light and joy. My life is so much better with you in it!

Happy Birthday.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

32 Months

At 32 months Lily loves...

1. ...Little Einsteins. I think she thinks they are her friends.
2. ...using her great, big imagination. This is truly wonderful to watch!
3. ...dancing ballet in a toot-toot.
4. ...sledding in the deep snow.
5. ...helping her brother, and saying, "I SO STRONG!"
6. ...eating grandma's applesauce (also known as yogurt).
7. ...being very particular about her clothing.
8. ...being naked. There. I said it.
9. ...rocking her babies...and playing soccer and trains.
10. ...and, of course, mama and dada.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day (2 days late...)! We've been snowed in for a few days, so everyone is itching to get out. We were able to take Lily outside to play in the snow, and, unlike her last snow experience, she loved it! We didn't do anything too spectacular for Valentine's Day, although, with kids, every holiday is a big event. Lily likes to tell everyone, "Happy Balemtine's Day!" She got some cards, worse her red tutu (she pronounces it "toot toot"), and ate some tasty treats. It was also Jack's last first holiday (say what!?!). Definite twinge of sadness, but I am happy that he is moving onto big boys things (whole milk, please and thank you).

Lily helped me make a tie dye cake!

We also made donuts. They were gone in three days.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Dear Lily...Part 2

Dear Lily, 

This time last year, I was writing you a letter (ok, a blog post, it's here) telling you how nervous I was about becoming a mama of two. I was nervous about your transition into big sisterhood. I knew having a little brother would change our dynamic at home, most obviously that you wouldn't be the only kid around, and that a newborn would demand mama's time and attention. I was excited though, too, and was ready for the challenges and the fun, that the introduction of new little person into our home would bring.

Now, it's a year later, and I have no idea what I was nervous about. You have stepped beautifully, gracefully, even, into the role of big sister. Introducing Jack into our home was so seamless; it was like he was always meant to be here. You were apprehensive at first, but soon, you were curious and wanted to hug your little buddy (you call him little buddy and it's about the cutest thing I have ever heard) all the time. As Jack as grown, you have, too. You try to share as best you can, although sometimes it's hard for you to share all of your toys. Every day you do get a  little better at allowing him to play with the things that were, for twenty months, solely your own. I think the most rewarding part of watching you as a big sister is when you encourage Jack to learn and grow. You love it when he chases you around the room; you encourage him to walk to you ("c'mon little buddy!"); you show him how to splash water and play drums and build with blocks. You are his biggest cheerleader, and, I know, his fiercest protector (ok, mama and dada might fill those roles, too). The relationship that has developed between you and your brother is so pure and beautiful. I hope that the two only grow closer as time passes. 

Aside from your role as a sister, you have grown as person. You are so verbal now. You talk when you wake up, and are still talking as you fall even talk in your sleep! You sing non-stop, mostly off-key, but you sing loud and proud nonetheless. You love puzzles, and try really hard to do the ones for older kids. I think that this love is also why you love to set up train track. I think you are better at putting train track together than mama! You jump, skip, run, and dance. You are still a picky eater, but you are even getting better in that department. You love pizza, chicken nuggets, pancakes, French fries, raw carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, cereal with milk, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, ice cream, and ms (otherwise called m & ms). You think lollipops are a very special treat, and love to make, and eat, Jello. You are starting to love to help, which means you like to clean around the house and help cook meals. Your specialty is pancakes-- the kind with sprinkles. You sleep in a big girl bed, gave up your pacifier, and decided that diapers were for babies, it was time to use the potty. What's more-- you took all of these big steps in the span of 2 months. 

What I am trying to say is, you are a wonderful little girl. You amaze us with everything you do and try. I am so proud to be your mama, and I know dada would say the same thing. You absolutely light up a room, and have made my life a happier, gigglier place. I hope you always hold onto your joyful spirit. Never lose your imagination (and what an imagination it is!). Always look for the good. You are destined for great things, my little Bean. You absolutely have the power to change the world-- you already changed mine.

Love you infinity,


Saturday, February 8, 2014

(Almost) A Year In Cloth

In a few weeks, Jack will have been cloth diapered for about a year. While I wasn't sure how long having Jack in cloth would last, I have to say, I have loved it and am really glad that we decided to forego the disposables. This, of course, isn't to say that we haven't used disposables with our guy. For vacation, it was easier to travel with them, and if he is on an antibiotic we use them. Other than that, we have been very happy with our cloth diapering experience and plan to use them until he is potty trained.

Our Favorites

(I am not sure why I am calling this "our"...I think Tom could really care less what Jack is diapered in...)

A lot of people like all-in-ones or pocket diapers because they are fairly close to disposables, you just wrap them on the baby. However, I like prefolds or fitteds with a cover the best. My favorite prefolds and fitteds are from Green Mountain Diapers. They are awesome! 100% cotton and they fit perfectly. The prefolds are just unbleached cotton, and the fitteds are called Workhorse fitteds (also 100% unbleached cotton). I have tried other prefolds, but they just don't compare in quality to the Green Mountain ones.

As far as covers go, my favorites are Swaddlebees. They grow with the baby, but are cut a bit bigger (which is great for our big guy!). I prefer aplix (velcro) to snaps because I can get a better custom fit on Jack. Most prefer snaps, I think, because they don't wear as easily, but, like I said, I get a better fit on Jack with the aplix. We also use Flips covers. They also grow with the baby. I don't like them quite as much because they aren't cut as big, nor do they have the double gusset. I forgot to mention that Swaddlebees has a double gusset at the leg, which really holds in big messes. When Jack was a newborn I loved Thirsties covers in XS. They were bigger XS covers, so they fit a 10 pound newborn. I also used them in aplix. They have a double gusset and held in messy newborn, breastfed poop.

We have tried a few different all-in-ones, and my favorite is also Swaddlebees. We do use the snaps in the Swaddlebees all-in-one, and that has worked just fine. I don't use them too much, only when I am in a pinch.

As far as wet bags go, I love my Planet Wise bags. I have 3 small ones for the diaper bag, a medium to keep around the house, and a large for upstairs. I also have a Thirsties wet bag for Jack's bedroom. I love the Planet Wise prints, especially my teal and white chevron!

For night time, my favorite combination is a Workhorse fitted, with a Thirsties hemp doubler, and a Swaddlebees cover. Recently, I discovered wool, and LOVE it for overnight. Jack is a very heavy wetter at night, so we need something to hold a lot. The wool is so soft and breathable. I splurged and got a Sloomb wool cover. It is perfect! I do need the wool wash and lanolin, so I haven't used it a ton, but it is great for night time.

We also have some Best Bottom Diapers, which are great when Jack is not cooperating. The liners snap in, so the diaper just goes on like a disposable. I use a hemp liner, doubled with a snap-in doubler because of his heavy peeing. It works well for playtime.

All-in-all I am really happy that I made the decision to cloth diaper. Our cleaning routine is a breeze every 2 or 3 days, depending on the number of diapers, I do laundry. I do a warm rinse, a hot wash with a teaspoon of Tide powder, then 2 cold rinses. I dry everything in the dryer except covers. For poopy diapers, I rinse them in the toilet with a diaper sprayer before they go in the wet bag. Easy.

If you are considering cloth, I would say to go for it. It's a bit of an initial upfront cost, but it does save in the long run. Plus, a fluff butt is super cute!!

2 or 3 weeks old. Thirsties cover in Hoot.

About 1 month  old. Thirsties cover.

6ish months. Best Bottoms cover in Hedgehog.

4 months-ish. Swaddlebees cover in monster.

Flips cover.

3 months old. Swaddlebees All in One.

Flip cover in Genius.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I never update anymore...

I never update anymore. When school, and kids, and life is happening, well, time just seems to fly! When the kids are awake, it's my time to play with them. I don't pull the computer out until everyone is in bed, and when that happens, I am usually checking emails, writing lessons, entering grades, or stalking people checking Facebook. So, what have I been up to lately?

1. Yoga. I started taking yoga on Saturdays, and I LOVE it. I love it so much. It is a wonderful little hour and half to myself. Even in the three sessions I have attended I have learned so much about my own strength. It is really amazing what your body can do, how it can move and become stronger, without weights or contraptions or anything. Awesome.

2. Kids. This is probably obvious. They are busy as ever. Jack had a little stomach bug or something, and, after getting over that, got a cold. Awesome. Poor little guy. On the plus side-- he is learning to walk (took 3 steps on his own!), is eating more and more real food (he loves scrambled eggs), and is talking some (mama, dada, dog, this, jump, and, today, ouch). Lily is busy running, dancing, singing, talking, moving and moving and moving. She is non-stop! She is loving school, especially doing arts and crafts, and is really becoming a big girl. She is daytime potty trained (night is still a work in progress), and is even using the potty on her own. Both kids are getting so big!

3. School. Not much to report on this front. Things are going along fairly well. We will have some department shake ups, one just short term, but one permanently. Our schedule next year is converting to a 4 period A-day/B-day. But that is next year. Now, I have a student teacher, classes seem to be going well, and I am in a good school place.

That's all I got for now. I will work on posting more. I want to post more. The little guy is screaming crying now, though, so I have to run!