Psalm 121

I was going to do a High Five for Friday post today, but I am too exhausted to think of the highlights from my week. Sad, huh?

I am suffering from major lack of sleep. I know, I know, it comes with the territory of being a mother. But my child started sleeping through the night when she was 5 months. She was a great sleeper until she was 10 months, when she got her first UTI. She was a sick little baby, and stopped sleeping through the night. It took her over 2 months to get back to sleeping well at night. For a few months, things were great. Then her molars started coming in. Molars are EVIL. It took 2 months for them to come in. So every night for 2 months we didn't sleep more than 2 hours at a time. It was absolute torture for all of us. Finally the molars were all in, and we've all been getting better sleep for a few weeks now.

This week, we've been sleeping every other night. One night she sleeps perfectly, and we don't hear a peep out of her until 6 or 7am. Then the next night, she's fussy and restless all night long. On nights like that, we put her in the bed with us. We've always done that. I know lots of people don't agree with co-sleeping, and that's okay. It works for us. Its easier on a breastfeeding mama because you don't have to wake up all the way to nurse your baby, just roll into position, she latches on, and you both fall back asleep. When she was younger and came to bed with us, she slept soundly. These days, when she comes to bed with us, she's restless and fitful all night. But if we put her back in her crib she cries, and we are NOT fans of the cry-it-out method. So, we've been getting some nights of good sleep and some nights of....not-so-good sleep.

Wednesday night was one of the not so good nights. I didn't sleep much at all. C wanted to nurse every 2 hours or so, which was drivin me crazy because all evening she wouldn't nurse and kept tellin me that my milk was "gross." Yesterday after work, she tried to say she didn't like milk again, but I kept offering and she nursed, so I figured she'd sleep better that night and leave me alone. Well, I think that would have been the case.

When I picked her up yesterday after work, my mother-in-law told me the mole on C's thigh was red. That night, it was redder and a little swollen, but she acted fine so we didn't think too much of it. She went to bed around her usual time, and I stayed up to watch the Republican National Convention. After that, I was too wired to sleep, so I read a book for a while. Around 12:30 I turned off the light and tried to sleep, but couldn't. Sometime after 1 C started fussing. After a while, DH got up to get her. (He always breaks before I do. I won't let her cry it out, but I do like to wait a little while and see if she goes back to sleep. Sometimes she cries but doesn't actually wake up, and in a few minutes she's fine. DH doesn't like to hear her cry and its hard for him to not go right to her. That sounds like I like to hear her cry. I don't!!) He put her in bed with us and she asked for milk, as usual. But instead of going back to sleep, she became fussier and very restless. This went on for about 30 minutes and she finally just started crying. Hard. I got up and tried to figure out what was wrong with her.

No fever. No snotty/stuffy/funny nose. No cough. The only thing was the mole on her leg was redder and more swollen, and she kept sayin it hurt. Then I noticed she had 2 bites on her, one on her thigh near the mole, and one on her wrist. But they didn't look like typical mosquito bites, they were bigger, redder, and more swollen. And she said they all hurt. Then she was pulling at her throat and told me that hurt, but I looked with a flashlight and didn't see anything. I stayed calm. She was breathing, and acting okay otherwise, so I decided to take the wait and see approach. She finally went back to sleep around 3am, and I did, too, but she was restless the rest of the night.

This morning, she seemed better, but her leg still was red and swollen and she didn't like me touching it. When I took her shirt off I noticed more red spots on the back of her neck, but no bumps. Very strange. I called the doctor and got an appointment for later today. I'm not the type to panic and bring my child in at the drop of a hat, but this is too weird. She's had plenty of mosquito bites before and they have never kept her up crying at night like that. So I am a little concerned. Hopefully its nothing!!

I try really hard to always be a patient, loving mama to my baby girl. Its not always easy. Sometimes I want to yell at her or get mad. Before I realized her leg was swollen last night, I kept praying over and over for patience. I was so tired and just didn't see a reason why she was crying. I know that getting upset myself and acting resentful to her for keeping me awake just makes it worse on her. She doesn't understand. And I know I can't be patient and loving on my own, not in times like that. That was totally God workin on me. With His help, I managed to stay calm last night and just kept talkin to C in a quiet, soothing voice. I talked her to sleep. I tried singing, which she usually likes, but she said no singing last night. So I just talked quietly. But I couldn't have done it if I hadn't prayed for it first.

That just reinforces in my mind that I need to constantly pray to God. I constantly need His help, all day, every day. And all night, apparently! As long as I remember that, I'll be okay. Its when I try to take things into my own hands that I have problems. I cannot do things by myself, with with Christ I can do anything!

My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 121. It has gotten me through some tough times in my life. Not that a sleepless night and a fussy baby qualifies as a "tough time," but this verse applies to any time I need help.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.


Bedroom decluttering

I am slowly going through our entire house and decluttering/reorganizing. Its a slow process because I haven't given myself a deadline; I'm just doing what I can, when I can. No need to stress over it!

I hadn't intended on doing any decluttering this weekend. But I noticed I needed to dust again and realized that for a while now (we won't dwell on how long exactly), I haven't been moving the stuff on my dresser and DH's chest of drawers to dust. I just dust around it. Lazy, I know! But if I moved it, then I'd have to deal with the clutter. And I never have time for that. Saturday, C went down for what I knew would be a nice long nap (she skipped her morning nap so she was exhausted), so I got to work.

Here's a shot of my dresser before I tackled it. And this was after I already removed some of the clutter up there. I forgot to take a picture of it before I started.

That humidifier has been sittin there since last winter when I was sick...yeah. I should have taken a picture of the humongous dust bunnies under all that junk. Yikes! That big stack of papers, believe it or not, came out of my purse when I sort of cleaned it out a few weeks ago. Behind the humidifer what you can't see is a mass of chargers, ear buds for the cell phones, and some other random stuff.

Soooo much better! Its amazing how much better I feel walking in to my bedroom now, too. I try to keep knick-knacks to a minimum, since all they do normally is collect dust for me to worry with, but some things I won't part with. Like that boutineer. My husband wore than on our wedding day (we used all silk flowers so we'd have them forever - my bouquet is in a vase on the mantel in the living room). And we actually use those candles occasionally. Not so much now that C is mobile, but before she came along, we constnatly had candles lit around the house.

Oh, my dresser is an antique. We found it at an antique mall years ago and talked the guy down to $100. Its very fragile but I love it! I've thought about painting it, but I just can't do it. I love old furniture. ( :

I also took a stab at DH's chest of drawers. He's the type who comes home and empties his pockets, and it amazes me how much he crams in there every day! He needs a man purse, haha.

And this was when he wasn't home, so a bunch of stuff was in his pockets still. I gathered everything up and placed as much as I could into the basket there, then I got another basket from the living room that I wasn't using, and filled it up, too. I took out some of the hats (the ones he never wears) and put them away, but I left his favorites because he likes to have easy access to them. If it were my dresser, it would look totally different, but since he's a man, I have to be a little lenient. ( :

Ahhh....much better. Unfortunately, it didn't stay like this long. DH didn't like having 2 baskets up there. But, he did go through all that mess and downsized the clutter, so it still looks nice. As long as it doesn't get to the point it was before, I'll be happy! (Oh, and this chest of drawers is an antique find, as well. Its a beautiful piece!)

It really does make me feel so much better when there's less clutter around, and things are more organized. That way, I can really see and appreciate what we have. We have some beautiful furniture throughout our home (quite a bit of it antique), and there's no need to add a bunch of clutter to it and hide the beauty. I reorganized our walk-in closet earlier this year, and it made a huge difference! I donated a huge black trash bag full of clothes we don't wear, but I still have a ton of clothes. We both do, actually. Just last week, I went through mine and donated another grocery bag full. I intend to do that more often. I just don't need all the clothes I have. I don't need a lot of the clutter that I have around the house, but its been hard for me to let go of some things. I'm working on it, though! ( :

I think next I'm going to tackle the bookshelves in the living room. We've got nice big built-in bookshelves surrounding the fireplace. I have been pleased with the way I decorated them when we first moved in (almost 4 years ago), but I'm thinking they need to be refreshed. I have a ton of pictures of C that I want to display, but we don't have a lot of wall space, so the best place for them is the bookshelves. Next project!! ( :

Productive weekend!

Last Friday, I made a short list of some things I wanted to accomplish over the weekend. A list in addition to my usual cleaning and clothes washing. I'm happy to say I got through almost the whole list! One thing I didn't get to was to try a recipe (like mashed potatoes) using no milk or the almond milk I bought Friday. I ran out of time before supper Saturday night, and we ate out last night. But its still on my list for this week to try. I've been watchin DH and C eat mashed potatoes for the past 2 weeks, and I want some!

Another thing on my list was to bake something sweet and dairy free. Mission accomplished! I found a great recipe for vegan cupcakes. Apparently, its hard to find straight dairy free recipes; most of them are totally vegan, which eliminates all animal products. So my cupcakes didn't have eggs, either. I found this recipe on yummly.com. Next time I'll add cocoa powder to make them chocolate!

Here's the recipe, copied from the yummly website:
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar                    1 1/2 cups almond milk                       2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar                                 2 tsps baking powder                           1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt                           1/2 cup coconut oil (I used vegetable oil)            1 1/4 tsps vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with baking cups.
Measure apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill with almond milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups and bake until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15-20 minutes. (It took mine just a hair over 20 minutes.) Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Pretty simple! I'm not a great cook, but I've always been a decent baker (though my desserts don't always come out looking pretty!). And I enjoy baking. These vegan cupcakes were delicious! I'll probably play around with the recipe a bit, but its a good base.

Then I decided I needed some chocolate icing to go on the cupcakes. I found several recipes that sounded good. They all called for dairy-free margarine, though. I had a brain lapse and forgot that all normal margarine contains whey, so I used what we had. Only a 1/2 stick, but still. I did get some dairy in me this weekend. (Okay, a lot, since I ate about 6 of these babies...haha!) We looked at the grocery store last night and they don't carry dairy-free margarine, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do about future recipes. But this icing was delicious!!

This one came from about.com:
2 cups powdered sugar                     1/4 cup (1/2 stick) dairy-free soy margarine, softened
1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk or soy milk               3/4 cup unsweetened pure cocoa powder
1/2 t. vanilla

Cream the powdered sugar and soy margarine with a hand mixer until its thick but well combined. (This took much longer than I anticipated.) Add the almond milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla, and continue to mix until smooth.

DH wasn't impressed with the chocolate icing, but I sure was! Probably because I've been deprived for almost 2 weeks. C enjoyed it, too. ( :

Also on my list was to dye C's new "big girl panties" so they're prettier. We began potty training her a few months ago, but we've been taking it very slow. We don't want to rush her, since she's not even 2 years old yet. Lately, she's been very into it. She wears big girl panties at her grandma's every day, and doesn't have many accidents. I did a bunch of research a while back on cloth training pants (obviously, I knew we weren't going the Pull-Up route) and purchased a couple different ones - the Best Bottoms training pants and one from Bummis. I've already talked about the BB one, didn't like it. The Bummis one is okay, but its super bulky and...billowy. It just looks ridiculous. Plus the outside is this shiny, slick fabric that pretty much looks like a diaper. My mother-in-law went to WalMart and bought some of the Gerber training pants. Much cheaper than the ones I was looking at! They're just underwear with extra padding in the middle, so they absorb a little pee. They're great!

The problem with them is its hard to find them in C's size - 2T. I guess most kids don't potty train until they fit in 3Ts. MIL lucked up and found a couple packs with girlie prints on them, but all I can ever find is white ones. C's not crazy about the white ones, and I figure we should do whatever we can to make her not want to pee in them! So I got some Rit dye and a fabric pen and went to work...

Here's what we started with:
And here's the end result! (They're not really this washed-out-looking, I think my camera did somethin funky.) :
Pretty, right? C loves them! I've got another 3-pack of undies and some yellow Rit dye. I intended to work on that yesterday but decided I needed a day of rest instead. ( :

The only other thing on my list was to create a shadow box for C's room using the outfit she came home from the hospital in. I've put away all her clothes as she's outgrown them, but I've left that dress hanging in her closet. I knew I wanted to do something with it, but until recently I wasn't sure what. I purchased a shadow box from Michael's (on sale!) and I have some good ideas as to what should go in there. When I showed it to my mother, though, she said the dress needed to be washed first. She volunteered to do it since it needs hand washing, and she hasn't given it back to me yet. As soon as she does, I'm going to get to work!

I accomplished some things that weren't on my list this weekend, too, but I'll save that for another post. ( :  For now, enjoy this beautiful rainbow that we were blessed with yesterday!


High Five for Friday!

Highlights of my week:

1 - I had a follow up appointment with my GI doctor. Actually, his NP-C, but she was very thorough and I loved her. She was surprised I haven't seen any relief yet. When I asked her about my milk allergy, she said milk was probably contributing to my reflux, but it probably wasn't the source of it. She said to continue to eliminate all dairy, though. She also gave me a steroid inhaler to use for 2 months. Apparently, some of my issue is an allergic reaction in my esophagus. The theory is that an inhaler used for asthma symptoms can help. I was willing to try it. Today is day 4 of the inhaler, and I think its helping. I'm still on my other 2 meds for reflux. I can't say I'm symptom free yet, but I'll take any relief I get! I have to go back in 2 months to see how I'm doing. If I'm still having issues, we're gonna run more tests.

2 - Today marks day 10 of being dairy free. I can honestly say its getting easier! I still crave dairy products, especially chocolate. But cooking is getting easier. I still want to try cooking with almond milk or something like that. Maybe I'll attempt that this weekend. I bought myself some expensive dark chocolate that is dairy free. Its much more bitter than I like, but it does satisfy my cravings.

3 - We went to the beach again this past Sunday! This time, me and DH went with my dad and took C out on the boat. She loved it! We couldn't stay long because a really bad storm came up, but we enjoyed it while it lasted.

4 - Last Saturday, I got up super early and drove several hours to the Constitution Party of NC State Convention. To be honest, I was dreading the event. Especially the drive! 8 hours by myself in a car? No thanks. But, it turns out the drive wasn't so bad. And it was only a little over 3 hours instead of the 4 that mapquest said. And I was also pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed the convention! We had great speakers and I learned a lot. I don't want to repeat almost 7 hours of driving alone any time soon, but it did give me a chance to think and be quiet for once. ( :

5 - C and I attended the local La Leche Leage (LLL) meeting Monday night. We haven't been since she was around 10 months old. They only meet once a month, and something always came up on meeting nights. I was so glad we went to this one, though. Attendance was low (just us, the leader with her 3 super loud kids, and two other mamas with their 6 month old babies), but we had good discussions. Its always nice to talk to other breastfeeding mamas.

I'd almost like to add a 6th highlight here. I don't have much planned for this weekend! I've got a few projects I'd like to get done around the house, but if they don't happen I won't be upset. I have a riding lesson to teach tomorrow morning, and that's about it. I'm so excited for a relaxing weekend! ( :

My...er, my child's diapers

Okay, so I bought them. I wash them. I stuff the pocket diapers. When I'm not at work, I'm the one that changes them. But I guess technically, they're not my diapers, since I don't wear them. Whatever. I still refer to them as mine.

I've said it before, but I absolutely love cloth diapering. It makes me happy when I think about how much money I've saved my family by not having to purchase disposable diapers all the time (not to mention wipes and diaper pail bags!). It makes me happy when I see my baby's fluffy butt in a cute color or print. And it makes me happy that her diapers won't be sitting in a landfill for eons, not decomposing.

I don't mind the extra "work" involved with cloth diapering. Really, the washing machine does all the work. I just turn the knobs. Yes, I had to figure out the best washing routine for our washer and our water, but that wasn't too difficult. And the diapers don't have to be neatly folded and put away. Some people leave them in a clothes basket and never fold them. But I'm anal about things like that, so mine do get folded and placed into a dedicated cabinet in C's room. I also like to stuff the pocket diapers all at once so I don't have to do one every night. But none of that is hard. Its just...life. To me, at least. I don't even mind dumpin her poop in the toilet. (Which is what you're supposed to do even with disposables, did you know that? Human solid waste is not supposed to go to a landfill.) Especially now that she goes with me to the bathroom and watches, then says "bye-bye, poop!" as I plop and flush it down. So cute.

I thought I'd share what diapers I use on C, and explain why. I use a mix of different types of diapers. Most people I've talked to use just one type or brand. I didn't go crazy trying different things in the beginning, but I decided I liked a little variety. A lot of people I know use solely pocket diapers (I'll show mine later in this post). I didn't like that idea because a) they're bulky, b) you can't reuse the shells of the diapers (I'll explain later), and c) that's a lot of stuffing!! You can get some super cute prints in pockets, though...!

The majority of the diapers I use are called prefolds. (I realize now that I should have taken these pictures on something other than a white background...sorry.) The picture on the left is a prefold opened all the way. You can see how it quilts up, that helps with absorption of liquids. When you first purchase prefolds (if they're new), they're a lot bigger and flat. They have to be "prepped" - washed and dried several times (I think I did mine 4-5 times), and then they will shrink and quilt up, making them more absorptive and ready to use. The picture on the left is a prefold that has been trifolded. That's how we use them on C. You can fold a prefold different ways and fasten it with diaper pins (the old fashioned way), a snappi (I do this occasionally - snappis are not sharp like diaper pins), or some other newer contraptions on the market. But to me, that's too much work when trifolding it works! Oh, and prefolds are very cheap. I got most of mine for around $2 each. There are more expensive brands out there, but I've been happy with mine. (And I have no clue what brand they are anymore!)

Obviously, you need somethin to hold the prefold on the baby. That's where a cover comes in. Covers range widely in price. I tried the Kawaii Baby covers and fell in love. They're cheap (around $6 each), are practical, solids colors, and have a handy little flap in front that holds the prefold in place nicely. I have almost every color that Kawaii makes in their covers: white, baby blue, pale yellow, lime green, and pink. Here's my blue one.

Those snaps you see on the front are so you can adjust the size of the cover. These can be used from birth to potty training! C still has plenty of room to grow in these, if need be. You can see in the second picture the flap I was talking about. Sometimes when she was smaller and still had those explosive poos (you know the kind I mean!), some of it would get on the flap, but not always. I also love the fact that the inside of these covers is soft, not plasticy feeling like some other covers I have (I'll show them next). I also chose to use velcro (technically, hook and loop) closures instead of snaps. Snaps are supposed to last longer, but to me velcro is easier to adjust and more user-friendly. I haven't regretted going with hook and loop.

Here's a shot of a prefold in the cover.
Pretty simple.

When I first started my cloth diaper research, I read a lot of reviews about the Best Bottom system. I had to give it a try. At first, I loved it. Then I went through a phase where I absolutely hated it. Lately, I'm on okay terms with my Best Bottoms, but I still prefer my good ol' prefolds and a Kawaii cover! Here's a BB cover:


Very similar to the Kawaii cover on the outside (most covers pretty much look the same on the outside). The inside is where its different. First, the BB covers have exposed PUL (polyurethane laminate) on the inside. PUL is what makes diapers "water proof," basically so they don't leak. Sometimes the exposed PUL bothers C's skin, especially if its a hot day. That's really the only think I don't like about the BB system. You probably can't see it in my picture, but there are two snaps on the inside of BB covers, one at each end. These snaps hold the insert in place. I like that. You can also use a prefold with these covers, and I do that all the time. That cuts down on the amount of PUL touching C's tender skin. But these covers are not as stretchy as the Kawaii ones, so I feel like they're tighter on C, which is a good and bad thing. They do a great job of holding in messes, but I feel like sometimes they are a little too tight. I only have 3 BB covers: the pink and yellow one below, and 2 solid white ones.

Here's a shot of the side gussets of the BB cover. I really like this. Those gussets really form to her chubby thighs and keep messes in.
 And lastly, here's a shot of the cover with an insert snapped in. The inserts I bought are the mediums. I also purchased 2 larges, and they are just a little longer. They also come in smalls, but I didn't see any need to get those since she was around 5 months old when I bought these. This diaper system can be used from birth to potty training, as well, though you probably will have to purchase the different sized inserts to keep up with a growing baby, which means more cost. Best Bottom recently came out with a potty training system. I purchased a set thinking I would love it, and I hate it! Its just basically a set of panties with the PUL lining on the inside, and you snap the inserts in just like the diapers. Only it is a royal pain to get the inserts in the panties without it bunching up. Its a good idea in theory, but in my opinion, it just doesn't work.
For nighttime diapering, I decided to go with pocket diapers. Pocket diapers can be stuffed differently depending on what your baby needs. In the beginning, I only stuffed mine with one insert and that did the trick. As C got older, though, she started peeing more at once, so I went to 2 inserts. Soon, I realized I needed a little something extra, and I discovered hemp liners. I forgot to take a picture of my inserts and liners, but they're not exciting. The inserts came with my pockets. Every brand I know of comes with 2 inserts. And I bought HempBabies hemp liners. They are incredibly thin strips of hemp fabric, but they absorb a lot of wetness. With that addition, we don't get any leaks at night, and C stays in her diaper around 12 hours most nights.

The best part about pockets is that if its a good one, it leaves the baby's skin feeling dry. Meaning she's not laying in a wet-feeling diaper all night. C's little hiney is dry every morning, unless she's just peed. The inserts are microfiber, which does a wonderful job of absorbing liquid. Microfiber can't touch the skin, though, because it will suck all the moisture out of there, too. So those inserts are only used to stuff pocket diapers.

Again, I decided to go with the Kawaii brand of pockets. They're much cheaper than some other brands out there (around $9-11 each, while some brands run closer to $20!), and in my opinion, work just as well. I have several Kawaii pockets. I also got a free bumGenius pocket diaper with an order once. bumGenius is one of the top-rated brands, but it doesn't perform any better than my Kawaiis. And the one they gave me has hook and look closures, and after a year, they are having trouble sticking. My Kawaii pockets are all snaps. I figured snaps would be safer at night, since they won't get caught on anything and peel open like velcro can. Plus, snaps are harder for little fingers to open! I have no desire to wake up to a diaper free baby, haha.

Here's one of my favorite Kawaii pockets. This one is a minky fabric on the outside and it is super soft inside and out.

When I first started buying diapers, I told myself to be practical and get gender-neutral colors. That way, if we ever have a boy I can use the same diapers. I really did try! But I couldn't resist some of the girly ones. I don't see why the blue cheetah print above can't work for a boy...right? ( :  My other pocket diapers are solid pink, solid purple, solid yellow (gender neutral!), and I have one more print, a Kawaii lime green with white and yellow daisies. Oh, and I bought a Fuzzibunz pocket a while back to give it a try. Its not my favorite diaper, but I like that it is much trimmer than the other pockets. If we used pockets all the time instead of just at night, I'd probably go with Fuzzibunz (even though they're more like $17-20 each). The one I have is a reddish orange color and says "Does this diaper make my butt look big??" SO cute!

As for my wipes...I am extremely simplistic here. Lots of people purchase actual cloth wipes, and that's all fine and dandy. But they're expensive and honestly, who cares? They don't need to be pretty and they don't need to absorb, they just need to wipe and clean up hineys. I just bought cheap baby washcloths from Target and Walmart (Target's are larger, but I don't have a preference). I also cut up the thin blanket the hospital gave us. DH was kinda upset over that one, but honestly, we would never have used it since we got a gazillion baby blankets before C was born. Plus, this way, I figured we'd see the blanket daily for years. Craftier people would sew the edges of the cut up blanket so they don't fray, but not me. I don't know how to sew, though one of my goals is to learn. The fray doesn't bother me at all.

You can buy fancy-schmancy cloth wipes containers, too. Or even use wipes warmers that are designed for disposable wipes. But C's never had warm wipes on her hiney, so I didn't go that route. I just keep a few wipes in a disposable wipes box with a little water. I only keep enough for a day or so in there so that the water doesn't get all nasty. I just wring out a wipe when I need one, and that's pretty much it. Some people use special wipe solution for cloth wipes, which actually wash the baby's hiney, but I don't see a need in that. Plain water works just fine, and I don't have to worry about anything irritating her sensitive skin.
So that's it. I have probably 3 dozen prefolds (give or take), 5 Kawaii covers, 10 Best Bottom inserts, 3 BB covers, 1 Fuzzibunz pocket, 1 bumGenius pocket, and 4 Kawaii pockets. Oh, and one random cover I bought from a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) that I just couldn't resist. Its not one I use often, though. It doesn't fit very well and has the exposed PUL on the inside. Plus, after a few washings the sides started to pile and fray. But its still cute (picture below). I have enough diapers to get through 4-5 days without washing. I don't recommend that, though, because they do get smelly in the diaper pail. I'll do another post on my washing routine and all that. These days, I only wash diapers twice a week, since C is slowly potty training and most days only uses 2-3 diapers a day (she's in training pants most of the day), plus a pocket at night. I have enough diapers that I could probably just wash once a week, but that would be nasty! ( :


High Five for Friday!

This week has thankfully been a slow, pretty event-free week for me. I'm definitely not complaining! Here's a quick list of the highlights from my week:

1. I got my hair cut. Well, trimmed. I'm growing it out (or trying to), and right now it sits just a tad below my shoulders. The last time I had it trimmed, I had my sister (don't worry, she's a professional!) do something different. I wanted the ends to be more fringe-y instead of straight across. I saw it in a magazine and thought it looked really cool. Not so cool on me. It was terrible to work with! So this week my sister just trimmed my hair normally and it is SO much better. Hey, when you're at this awkward length like I am you take what you can get with your hair!

2. I got a new flat iron! I know that sounds pretty dumb, but I'm super excited about it. I realized my el cheap-o flat iron was part of my problem, and it was probably ruining my hair. So I got one that's a little more expensive (still only $30, but that was at TJ Maxx, so its really more like $60) and I can already tell its much better. And its pink!

3. I discovered deep conditioner for hair. Yes, this is three hair events in one week, and yes its probably very shallow of me. But I don't care. This is what has made me happy this week! One of my favorite blogs, The Small Things Blog, is written by a professional hair stylist in Raleigh. She's got all kinds of tutorials for hair styles on there, and so much more. Recently, she did a FAQ video and one of the questions she answered concerned deep conditioners. I'd never used one before, but after hearing her advice, decided to try it. I got the Organix Moroccan Argan Oil deep conditioner from Target. Probably not the best stuff out there, but I really liked it. It made my hair feel really silky and moisturized.
I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week because it (like the rest of my body) is extremely dry, and washing any more than that is too much for it. I already use a pretty intense conditioner (I think), but this stuff just made it feel so much better. Today I'm on day 2 post-wash and my hair still feels great, not dry at all!

4. Okay, enough talk about hair! Last night, it hit me how truly happy I am with my life. God has blessed me so much. Sure, nothing is perfect, and I get discouraged and upset sometimes, but really, I've got a great life.

This week, I bought my daughter a pair of "shortalls" (that's overalls, but shorts instead of long pants) from Target. I've been eyeballing them all summer, waiting for them to go on sale. They went on clearance this week, so I snagged them. She, of course, loved them. (My child loves all clothes, God help me.) Immediately wanted to put them on. So last night I put them on her and she walked around the house so proud, with her hands in the little pockets. Then DH came home to mow the grass, and C wanted to ride with him. So I put her shoes and sunglasses on and took her outside. As I watched them ride off on the mower, it just struck me: I am so happy. Its probably going to be super annoying when she's a teenager, but right now C's assertion of her own fashion sense is super cute, and seeing the love between my husband and my child just lights me up.

5. The last thing is something I'm trying really hard to make positive. This week, I was diagnosed with a milk allergy. My allergist recommended I avoid everything that contains milk products. I didn't realize this at first, but milk is in everything. Even deli meats and hot dogs! The only way to tell how severe my allergy is is to eliminate it from my diet, then slowly add things back and see how I react. So for one month I am going completely dairy free. Its hard. I'm only on day 2 and its a struggle. I don't know how to cook without using milk or butter, so I'm having to relearn everything in the kitchen. Its frustrating. The silver lining I'm trying to see is that hopefully this is the cause of my severe reflux (GERD, whatever you want to call it), and once I get milk out of my body I'll feel better. Fingers crossed!


Kitchen cabinet and pantry reorganization

One of the things I decided to do earlier this year on my quest to reorganize and simplify my life was to reorganize our kitchen cabinets and pantry. My original intentions were to redo every cabinet in the kitchen, but I quickly realized that is a huge undertaking. Which is why it took me 4 months to even begin...! I did manage to reorganize the pantry and the cabinet that houses food. Eventually, I'd like to tackle the other cabinets, especially where we keep the pots and pans, but I'm not in a hurry on that one. I have more important things to do with my very small amount of free time!

So here's how the cabinet looked before:

Not terrible, but very unorganized. All those cans were just thrown in there in no order, and you could never tell what we had on hand. Plus, every time I reached for something I had to move something else, which always led to a cascade of cans raining down on my head....not fun.

And here's how the pantry looked:

Before - I can't figure out how to rotate images yet...I'll figure it out and fix it later!

The pantry wasn't terrible, either, but it was terribly unorganized. It just bothered me every time I opened the door. As you can see, I don't have a lot of space to work with in there. The back of the door has some great shelving which is absolutely jam packed. I'm happy with it, so I left it alone. And the top shelf holds things like tin foil, saran wrap, and extra salad dressings and things like that. I left it alone for the most part, too. Mostly because I was lazy and didn't feel like doing anything else that day!

So, here's the after pics...

The pantry after (again, I'll figure out how to rotate and fix it later!)

The cabinet after

Other side of the cabinet after
I stacked all the canned goods according to type - all the corn went together, all the potatoes went together, etc. I was extremely happy with the result. Everything was easy to see, easy to grab, and easy to see when we were out of something. Same for the cabinet.

Of course, DH hated it. Mainly because he couldn't at first figure out my system of organization. He got used to it after a few days, though, and there was peace again in the house (haha). But after a few weeks, I started to realize that I, too, hated it. Mainly because it started to look like this:

All those chips bags on the bottom shelf drove me CRAZY! You couldn't even see the canned goods down there. And nothing stayed how I originally put it. It was just too hard. Plus, since the shelves are made out of wire, it was hard for the cans to sit on them. They were wobbly. We can't be having that! In the cabinet, I realized how hard it was to have boxes stashed behind the board in the middle. Things could hide behind it, and it was hard to wiggle the boxes out of there. So, this past weekend, I started over.

I knew it would make DH happy, but it made me happy, too - win/win!

Now, all the cans are back in the cabinet, but they're organized and easy to see and grab. We still have a lot of chips bags in the pantry, but such is life. At least they're not hiding anything anymore. I'm very pleased with the final result. DH was, too, when he saw it.

So the moral of this story is, don't be afraid to try something and then hate it! Even if that something should work in theory. The old Nikki would have left everything as it was after the first organization, because I was too stubborn to admit when I was wrong. I have learned to let go of that pride and stubbornness (most of the time! haha) and learn from my mistakes. I know reorganizing your cabinets and pantry is not a huge deal, but it can be hard to admit when you're wrong about even the most trivial things. So its a big deal to me. Plus, I got some nice lookin food storage out of the lesson. ( :


I completely forgot about this blog last week. Well, that's not entirely true. I had several ideas for posts, but whenever I thought about actually writing one, it wasn't a good time for me to sit down at a computer. So I'll make up for it this week. ( :

Last week wasn't a great week for me, so even when I tried to think of things for the "High Five for Friday" post, I had a really hard time. There were a few highlights, though...

Last Saturday (not this past one, but the one before that...so confusing), two of my friends came over with their babies for a play date. I love when we get to do that! Its fun for me to reconnect with my friends, and I think its good for C to have interaction with other babies. She's great with adults, but since my in-laws keep her, she's hardly ever around other kids. I want her to have friends! And she does. One of the babies is 4 months to the day younger than C, and the other is 10 months younger. So the youngest one doesn't actually play, but C gets a kick out of him, and he's such a sweetie! The other baby, a girl, has just started walking, and C thinks that is fabulous. The girls don't play like I thought they would, but they kind of watch each other play and then take things from each other...apparently, sharing is not a skill they have mastered at this age! But its cute to see them together. ( :

Last Tuesday, the hospital kicked off their new Live Well series with a program on breastfeeding! I was so stoked to hear the news. Actually, DH was the first to tell me about it. Well, he told me he heard the hospital hired a full-time lactation consultant, which is absolutely wonderful news. I looked her up and found out she was having this program, so I signed up to go. Obviously, after breastfeeding a baby for the past 19 months I don't need to hear the benefits of breastfeeding (which was the topic), but I thought it would be good to go and support the effort. My friend with the girl baby went with me. Unfortunately, there were only two expecting couples attending, which was kind of a disappointment. But we hung around after the program and got to know the lactaction consultant. She is great. She's currently breastfeeding her baby, who is 14 months I believe.

Our hospital is finally making strides to be "baby friendly." Basically, that means they completely support breastfeeding. There are a host of things a baby friendly hospital does to accomplish that, and it starts during labor and delivery. Just having a full-time lactaction consultant on board is a huge step towards that goal. When I had C in that hospital, the nurse who helped deliver her was very helpful with breastfeeding. She showed me right away how to get C latched and how to hold her, and even showed DH some things to do to help me out. Once we were moved to our room, the nurses were pretty helpful if I had any issues, but no one actively tried to help me. Thankfully, I didn't need any help, but if I was having trouble, I'm not sure I would have taken the initiative to ask for assistance (I didn't know better then). Also, the nurses in the nursery really pushed formula on me. I knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed, but I didn't know a lot of things I do now, and I didn't know then that introducing formula can really harm the breastfeeding relationship in the beginning. (Thankfully, it didn't for us.)

C was jaundiced and had to stay under the bili lights all the time for a few days. The nurses brought her to me to breastfeed every 2 hours or so, but they told me she also needed formula so she could stay under the lights longer. Plus, they said, the formula would help the jaundice go away quicker. Since I didn't know any better, I agreed with whatever they suggested. (They also recommended pacifiers when C wasn't with me!) Looking back, I'm amazed that I didn't have any problems during that time, because we did everything possible to NOT be able to breastfeed. (Later, when my head cleared and I was back in my normal research everything mode, I read a TON on jaundice and the breastfeed baby. I could have nursed her in the nursery under a bili blanket. Or not, a few minutes without the lights wouldn't have made a difference to her. And breastmilk actually is better to help wtih jaundice than formula. (Duh. Breastmilk is better than formula for everything.). The point is, she didn't need any of that formula, or the paci, and she didn't need to spend so much time away from me in those fragile early days. I know the nurses were just doing their jobs and going along with hospital policy, and I know they had my baby's health in mind, but I still wish things were done much differently.)

Since the hospital is striving to become baby friendly, all of those practices are changing. They don't offer pacis anymore, I'm told. They do what they can to support and encourage breastfeeding. AND they don't pass out formula sample bags anymore! That is a huge deal. When we left the hospital, I had a huge stash of formula they gave me. I took it home to have "just in case." I kept it for weeks. I wanted to have a backup in case something went wrong. In fact, the first time DH and I left C for more than an hour, I sent several bags of my pumped milk and several bottles of formula, "just in case." I now know how easy it would have been for me to substitute formula at the first problem. And that would have ruined breastfeeding for us, just like it has for so many women and their babies. Because when your baby is hungry and you're having a problem breastfeeding her, you just want to make sure she's fed and happy, so if you have to use formula, so be it. I get it. I never got to that point, but I understand. If hospitals don't give you bags of formula and its not there tempting you, you're more likely to push through any problems that arise with breastfeeding. I've seen it.

So, I'm really happy that the hospital is making this move! I'm not sure when they're planning on doing any more programs on breastfeeding, but I intend to attend them all and show my support. I'd love to get involved. Which reminds me, I need to start back going to the LLL (La Leche League) meetings this month. I want to do my part to support and advocate breastfeeding! ( :


High Five for Friday!

This week has been a challenge, to say the least. Last weekend, our big freezer in the laundry room broke. Everything in there thawed out. It was a disaster. And it led to more problems later in the week. We have now recovered (I think), and looking back, all I can say is "MAN!" I am just glad its Friday and this week is almost over!

Despite all the stress, I can say there have been good things about this week:

1 - I can count on my daddy to be there for me when I need him. I already knew that, but the knowledge was reinforced this week. I was having a major breakdown over an issue yesterday morning (another problem stemming from the broken freezer), and DH was already at work. I called Daddy and he came right over. I am not ashamed, either. Yes, I am a grown woman and I should be able to handle my own problems. But there's nothin like callin your daddy to come make everything better! (For the record, I can count on my mama, too. But she was having issues with one of her horses that morning and couldn't come.) I'm a total Daddy's Girl. Which is awesome because he's technically my step-father. He raised me, though, so I rarely even think of that label.

2 - I learned this week that sometimes, you need to take a step back from a situation and recognize that its the Devil workin against you! I did that Saturday, when the freezer broke. Things were extremely tense at our house. I went outside to transfer some food to the other freezer (we're hoping everything wasn't totally ruined, but we'll see), and while I was out there it struck me that yes, the freezer breaking is stressful and it sucks, but the Devil is totally making it worse by making us lash out at each other. I prayed about it, and when I went back inside I felt much calmer. You just have to see the Devil's work for what it is, and then its easier to deal with. Now, the hard part is realizing that when something's going wrong! I certainly don't always do that, and even later in the week struggled with it.

3 - This week, I "taught" C how to eat Oreos - you know, the RIGHT way. DH bought a package and gave one to C. Of course she loved it. I only eat Oreos after dipping them in milk, which DH thinks is nasty, so I introduced it to C. She loved it, but I think she prefers eating them plain. She just likes the mess associated with dunking the cookies in milk! We probably shouldn't be encouraging our child to eat sweets and other "bad" foods like Oreos, but come on, you gotta live a little! At any rate, its so cute watchin her try somethin new. ( :

4 - I've been able to sleep on just one pillow this week. I have GERD and the reflux has been terrible lately, so I've been sleeping on 3 pillows to prop me up. Which makes my back hurt. I went to a specialist, had some tests run, got on new medication, and its starting to help. At least enough so that now I can lay flat at night and sleep like normal people. And I'm not in constant pain all day. So its a huge improvement, and I am grateful for any relief!

5 - We got a new kithcen table this week! I already posted about it earlier, but I'm so tickled with it,  had to include it here. I feel less cramped in my kitchen now, and it "goes" with our kitchen much better than the old table did. C loves it, too. Every day when we get home, she goes into the kitchen and says "new table!" ( :

So what are the highlights from YOUR week?

Before/After - Kitchen Table Edition

One thing I'm really into this year is simplifying my home. Inspiration struck me back in February, when DH, C, and I were on our anniversary trip in Charleston, SC. On the way home, I decided that I needed to make some major changes in our house, particularly work on decluttering and reorganizing. When we got home, I made a long list of things I'd like to get done in the house - big things and little things. Anyone who knows me knows that I love lists. Sometimes I create lists just so I can mark off things that I've already accomplished, just so I can feel accomplished. Crazy, huh?

Anyway, I've actually accomplished some of the things on my list, so I'll be sharing them here. My favorite change we've made so far is the kitchen table. Here's what we've had for the past 3 years:

Not a terrible setup, but so cluttered. We purchased this table from an antique store (where quite a bit of our furniture came - we love antiques!). I saw it and just had to have it. DH wasn't as in love with it as I was, but I got my way. The table itself is great, and it would be great for us - if we had a bigger "dining room." Its a 6' table when its fully extended, and there are 6 chairs that go around it. We always keep it like this, with 1/2 of it folded down. And the remaining 2 chairs are stashed in C's room, where they look very out of place and take up a lot of room. (I am proud to say that they do not hold laundry or toys or anything like that. They just hold decorative pillows, which was my attempt to make them "go" with the room.)

This table has a ton of legs, which is not a big deal except that it makes it hard to clean under and around. Its too heavy for me to move by myself without tearing something up, so its rare that I get behind there and really clean. Gross, right? And now that its summertime, I close the blinds on those windows every morning. I couldn't reach them over the table, so I had to get ON the table to do it. Not very convenient.

So I decided we needed to get rid of the huge table. I knew what I wanted: a butcher block-type with white chairs. Very fresh and simple. DH wants to build us a table. He can do it, but with the amount of free time he has, I knew that would take forever. So we made the deal that if I found a table like I want for a good price, I could get it, and he can work on building us one like we really want (read: like DH really wants, haha). I put my aunt on the job, because she is great at finding furniture at good prices. In just a few days she called me, saying she'd found what I was looking for.

We brought it home last weekend. DH had to do some sanding and clear coating of the top, but that was it. I'm so happy with the way it looks! AND I can clean all around it and under it. AND I can reach the windows easily now! I think it really opens up the dining area and makes the whole room seem bigger and more airy.

I should have taken a nicer picture, but this is how it looks most days - used! Once C is out of the high chair we'll have even more room in there.

Since these chairs are shorter, I feel like I can add a picture or something to that blank space on the wall. (I hate blank spots on a wall!) I have a family portrait that would look nice, but I'm not sure if it will fit...we might have to do some rearranging!

I'm also torn now over the windows. Before, I decided not to do any curtains, since there was so much going on with the table and chairs. Now, I kind of feel like some light curtains would look nice. I hate picking out curtains, especially on weird windows like these 3. You can't do just one rod across all 3 since its 3 different walls. Any suggestions?? The windows in C's room are just like these, and it took me forever to decide on those. I ended up putting valances on all 3, and long panels on the outside windows as well. It looks nice, but that's too much for this space.

I think my husband hates the constant projects I have around the house, but it makes me happy, and ultimately, it makes things better! (Unbeknownst to him, this weekend I am UNdoing a project I did a while back. He hated it, and I tried to make it work, but in the end I realized he was right, and now I hate it too. He'll be happy when I change it back! I'll post about it once I'm done.)    ( :