Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Feeling a Little Crunchy

I mentioned in my post the other day regarding preparing for Juliet that I've been feeling like a "crunchy" momma lately.  It's a newer term for me too, so don't feel bad if you're shaking your head in confusion.  According to Urban Dictionary, a crunchy mama is a mom "who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc."  So basically, a hippy! :)

I'm not into home births personally and I prefer a bassinet next to the bed to actual co-sleeping, but everything else applies.  Or at least will, when Juliet arrives.  I've been feeling extra crunchy because Michael and I have decided we're going to cloth diaper! 

Before you wrinkle your nose at me and tell me that's disgusting or say "good luck with that" in a snotty voice, ask yourself if you really know what it means to cloth diaper babies in the here and now.  Gone are the days of pins and plastic pants and dunking poopy diapers in the toilet.  Cloth diapers have come a long way from generations past.  And thank goodness for that.

When I was pregnant with Evie, we considered cloth diapering.  I already knew I was going to breastfeed and make as much of my own baby food as possible--why wouldn't I consider cloth diapering as well?  Sure, it wouldn't be as simple as throwing a disposable diaper in the trash can after every use, but I'm not a fan of doing something just because it's simpler.  If I were, I'd eat at McDonald's every day.  In the end, we went with disposables because we didn't have a washer and dryer in our house, and didn't know when that would change.  Cloth diapering didn't fit into our life at that point in time, and I'm okay with that.

But this time around is different.  We have our own washer and dryer.  I'm not juggling being a first time mom and college.  And I remember how guilty I felt after buying each box of disposables, knowing I'd just be filling the landfills up with more and more waste.  I'm ready to tackle cloth diapering head on.

I'm not going to get into all the reasons why I think cloth diapering is awesome, mainly because it's one of those hot topics people love to argue about.  I've never really understood why people can't just choose to disagree and move on with their lives. Whether you choose bottle or breast, cloth or disposable, daycare or staying home--it's your choice, and I respect that.  Please have the courtesy to do the same.

But what I will say is, cloth diapers are freaking adorable!  Seriously, I can't wait to put Juliet in them. 

Aren't they fabulous?  These are Best Bottoms hybrid diapers, the diapers I'm hoping we'll love the most!

We contemplated starting Juliet in disposables until she fit into the one-size diapers (which could be anywhere from birth to three months), but we decided to go with a newborn cloth diaper rental program instead.  It will allow us to start her in cloth diapers right away without making a large investment in newborn diapers that fit for such a brief time, with the added bonus of allowing us to try a few different kinds to see what we like.  And we'll only spend a maximum of $80 to rent the diapers for three months!  You really can't beat that.

With the newborn rental program, we're going to try Little Joey's AIOs, bumGenius AIOs and Fuzzibunz Pocket diapers.  We're also going to buy a few Best Bottoms at the recommendations of a few friends who use them.  For all you moms out there that cloth diaper, please feel free to chime in with your favorite kinds and brands!  I'm a research fanatic so I think these will be the best fit for us to start with, but I'm always open to hearing first hand experience.

I could go on and on about cloth diapers, but I think I'll just say this:  don't knock something until you've tried it.  I'm hoping we'll love cloth diapering (and thankfully Michael is just as on board with the idea as me), but we also know it's going to be a struggle.  Just like anything to do with parenting is.  Heck, I had a lot of people tell me breastfeeding was way too hard, and they had no doubt I'd quit within a few weeks.  I breastfed Evie for over twelve months.  I'm not a quitter, and I hold fast to my convictions.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Juliet's Nursery Inspiration

As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I started looking at ideas for what to do with the nursery.  Evie's nursery was very simple, with a homemade bedding set by my mother-in-law and a few stencils on the wall.  Her room was so tiny and we were on such a tight budget, it was the best we could do. 

Fast forward five years, and we have a little more to work with.  The nursery in this house is still pretty small though, and the closet is ridiculous that I can't even think about it without cringing.  But it's definitely a step up from what Evie came home to.

Between Pinterest and Google, I came up with quite a few different nursery themes and color schemes.  My absolute favorite was our choice for a boy's nursery (turquoise and orange), but since that didn't work out, I had something else pretty awesome in mind.

We finally decided on pink and grey!  I'm not really a fan of super cutesy for a nursery--or for anything baby, really--and wanted whatever we chose to be able to grow with her for a few years.  I also think the price of bedding sets is a complete ripoff so Juliet will be getting a homemade one like her sister.  But this time around, I'm making it!  I hope I don't live to regret that decision.

Pink and grey doesn't seem to be a super popular color scheme yet, but I was able to find a few different pictures online for inspiration.  Never underestimate the power of Pinterest--you can find everything on that site! 

These pictures were some of the inspiration that made me fall in love with this color scheme.

Credit Here
I love how the grey is a great background to make the pink really pop.  It's not overwhelming, and it's always easy to find girly things in the color pink.  I really like the chevron stripes, and the use of both light and hot pinks.  I have quite a few more inspiration pictures on my Pinterest board so head on over there if you want to see what else we're considering. 

We decided we're going to just paint one accent wall in a light grey because a) Michael will do the painting and he's not a big fan and b) I hate the idea of having to repaint walls when we move out of this house. Michael is also sanding down and repainting the crib (white) and dresser (grey) we used in Evie's nursery.  Most of the fabric used will be a dark/hot pink with possibly a few accents of grey.  Grey fabric at a reasonable price is hard to find though!

We're going to Wisconsin to visit family next week, but once we're back we're diving head first into this room!  I don't want to leave everything for the last minute, and let's face it, I'm just too excited to wait.  I'll update with progress pictures as things move along. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Checking Things Off the List

I'm only 19 weeks pregnant and already getting antsy for Baby Girl to get here!  I'm a planner, and I like to get details hammered out well ahead of time so that everything runs smoothly.  Not always the easiest thing to do as a parent, but I try my best.  I've checked a lot off my list this past week though, and it's making me so giddy in anticipation.  I can't wait for November!

One of the things we've accomplished is deciding on her name.  Baby Girl 2.0 is now officially Juliet Elizabeth!  Romantic, isn't it?  Juliet has been on my list for a long time, but Michael never loved it.  But after finding out Baby 2.0 was in fact a girl, he didn't have a choice but to really give all the names I liked some real consideration.  He changed his mind about a half dozen times until we both finally decided Juliet was the perfect name.

We chose Elizabeth because three of my bridesmaids--two of which are cousins and the other my best friend since childhood--have either Elizabeth or Eliza as their middle names.  We wanted the middle name to have meaning, and what better way than to honor three of my favorite ladies?  We also really love the name Elizabeth, and had given it serious consideration as a first name.  If it wasn't so ridiculously high on the popularity list, it would have been a done deal.  Thankfully, we were still able to use it, and if someday Juliet wants more options for nicknames, Elizabeth gives her plenty.

I've also been organizing baby stuff!  When we moved into our new house a few weeks ago, we left all the totes of toys and clothes outgrown by Evie in the garage.  If Baby 2.0 was a boy, we would have sold all the clothes and gone through the toys to take out all the girly ones without having to bring everything in the house.  But since Baby is in fact a girl (Yay! I still get so excited when I think about it!), we were able to finally put everything away.  We tucked a lot of it in a storage closet, but everything that will be used within the first year was left out. You can imagine all the fun I've been having, going through baby clothes and toys!

I don't know how many of you have opened boxes or totes of used baby clothes years later and found horrible yellow stains all over previously clean clothes, but unfortunately this was the case for us.  Not so unfortunately, I had already pinned a link on my Pinterest board (the most addicting site in the world!) on how to get rid of those horrible stains.  And the tips worked!

Basically, you just add two scoops of Oxiclean and a little detergent to your washing machine, let the soiled clothes agitate in the wash for about five minutes, and then let them soak overnight.  In the morning I added about a half cup of white vinegar to the liquid fabric softener part of my washing machine, and then ran the wash.  Almost every stain vanished!  What few clothes hadn't come clean, I just re-wet so they were quite damp and set out in the sun for a couple of hours.  If you didn't already know this, sun is about the best stain remover there is.  Every last stain was gone after only two hours!  A-freaking-mazing.  All those previously awful looking clothes look brand new.  And I am not exaggerating when I say that some of them were so awful I had considered just throwing them away.  Evie spit up a lot those first few months. 

I've accomplished quiet a bit these past few days!  And that isn't even all of it.  We've gotten Juliet's nursery almost all planned out, but that's a whole post in and of itself.  And I've been researching something that's making me feel like a very "crunchy" momma, but that's another whole post too.  Make sure to check back soon--I have so much to share!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Baby 2.0 is a...

We had the anatomy ultrasound on Baby 2.0 this morning, and I am happy to announce....

Baby 2.0 is now Baby Girl 2.0!

I have to admit that I was partial to having another little girl, but am a touch sad that I'll never be the mother to a son.  We aren't planning on anymore children after this little princess is born so the news of another girl was bittersweet.  I'm ecstatic, but a little forlorn at the same time.

Everything looked great at the ultrasound.  Baby Girl was moving around like crazy so it was hard for the sonographer to get great pictures of anything.  As soon as she'd go to click the perfect image, Baby Girl would bounce away.  It was pretty cool to feel her kicking the ultrasound wand though, and wiggling to get out of the way.  She was measuring 19 weeks, 4 days which is 9 days ahead of schedule.  Every ultrasound she measures just a little bit more ahead which is a tiny bit frightening.  Evie weighed a perfect 7lb, 6.5oz at birth.  I'm hoping Baby Girl just comes a week or two early rather than being a nine pound newborn!

Now that we know the sex of the baby, I am ready to get working on the nursery!  I plan on making as much of her decor, bedding, etc as I possibly can so the sooner I get started the better.  I'm excited to get to plan the nursery down to the tiniest details rather than buy a prefabricated bedding set with matching decor. There's nothing wrong with buying a nursery set from the local department store, but I want something a little more original than that.

For some reason it seems harder to make decisions on baby girl stuff than boy stuff this time around.  If Baby Girl had been a boy, he would have been named already and his nursery was planned months ago.  I like a lot of ideas I've found for girls in both departments, but it's taking a lot more effort to love something.  Thankfully I've finally found a nursery color palette that I love.  I'll have to write a post soon with the different pictures that have given me inspiration.

Baby Girl doesn't have a name yet.  I thought she did, but then Michael changed his mind.  It's taking him longer to come around to a name than it does for me.  I'm a name connoisseur--I love them and covet them in little lists ever since I was a child.  We do have a short list though so hopefully she will have a name soon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baby Kicks

I've finally felt Baby 2.0 moving and grooving in there! 

I personally think feeling fetal movement is one of the coolest experiences in the world, and the absolute best thing about pregnancy (except for the end result of course).  Everyone says that once you've had your first child, you feel fetal movement sooner with subsequent pregnancies.  So I've been anxiously awaiting that moment when I first felt Baby 2.0 punching or kicking away.

Unfortunately fetal movement and gas bubbles feel very similar in the beginning.  Yeah, I'm not afraid to say it.  And those first few times you feel movement, you really aren't sure if it's the baby or it's just a prelude to clearing the room.

When I was pregnant with Evie, I always described those early movements as feeling like popcorn popping just under my skin.  This time around, not all the movement feels quite like that.  I feel a lot more nudges, like the baby is just bumping up against my skin rather than kicking it. 

All I can really say is, it's the coolest feeling.  For the past week or so, I kept thinking "maybe that was movement" but it was so infrequent it was so hard to tell.  But starting this week, Baby 2.0 has upped the ante.  The last few days, I have felt movement multiple times throughout the day.  Yesterday, I kept feeling nudges in the exact same place every thirty seconds or so for about five minutes.  

There's just something about feeling the baby that makes the pregnancy crystal clear.  I've still been holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, and for someone to come along and tell me this was all just a big joke.  I think I'm going to feel that way until I hold this baby in my arms.  But I can already feel the connection and bond between Baby 2.0 and I deepening with every little nudge and pop.

Only six more days until the "big reveal", and I'm looking forward to the possibility of seeing and feeling Baby 2.0's movements at the same time.  I didn't feel movement with Evie until after our "big reveal" ultrasound so I never had that experience.  Until then, I'll leave you with my most recent belly bump picture, taken this past weekend at 17 weeks.  I feel huge for being only 17 weeks, though I've only gained a few pounds so far.  It's a little scary to think of what I'll look like at 40 weeks!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

When Did June Get Here?

Wow, it's been a busy few weeks!  I can't even begin to describe to you how tired I am.  And how tired I'm going to continue to be for a little while.  But while I'm sitting here with my feet up, refusing to do anything that involves getting off the couch for the rest of the evening, I thought I should end yet another mini-hiatus. 

I'm about sixteen and a half weeks pregnant now, and getting very excited to start feeling baby movement.  I've thought once or twice that I may have felt something, but since it's so far and few between it's hard to tell.  I should start feeling movement for sure within the next few weeks, and I can't wait.  It's by far the best part of pregnancy.

I'm definitely starting to look pregnant which I have mixed feelings about.  I love that people can tell I'm pregnant, not just chubby--but gaining weight after working so hard to lose it this past year is tough.  I know it's for the baby, and I am gaining weight at the appropriate rate.  But it's harder to accept this time around.

The "big reveal" is two weeks from yesterday, and I am very excited to find out whether Evie is getting a brother or a sister!  Thankfully she's come around and seems excited for it to be either.  I "feel" like Baby 2.0 is a girl, but I'm not sure if that's mother's instinct or just wishful thinking.  I'm ready to know one way or the other, and to begin the nursery!

There's another reason I've been so exhausted the last few weeks.  We've been battling with Base Housing and it's commanding office here at McConnell for the past four months to either get a new house on Base or have ours thoroughly fixed.  Our house is from the 1950s and leaks horrendously in the basement when it rains.  From the amount of water that was accumulating, mold started to grow.  One thing led to another, we found out Michael is allergic to mold, and when they refused to do anything but the very bare minimum to make the house livable for our family, we finally gave up.  We moved off base.

The day we found out once and for all that the Base wasn't going to do the right thing to the day we signed the lease on our new home, was a whopping seven days.  We toured apartments and townhouses, looked at rundown homes, and finally found a diamond in the rough with our new single family rental home.  The housing allowance at McConnell for an Airman does not allow many choices when it comes to adequate housing.  You either live in the ghetto or you live in a two bedroom apartment.  Neither of those options were very appealing so we were very lucky with our find. 

For the past week and a half I've either been packing or unpacking or cleaning.  I spent seven hours cleaning the old house today, and I'm not even finished!  The final inspection in Base Housing is no joke.  I'm still disgusted that they are going to put some poor unsuspecting family into our should-be-condemned old house, but I can't say I'm really surprised at this point.  I'll be glad when we finally wash our hands of it all, and walk away with the knowledge that we will probably never live in Base Housing again. 

I'll post pictures of the new house soon, once I finally finish unpacking it all.  And if I can stand still long enough, I'll have Michael take an updated baby bump picture!