How to Pack for Florida: Newborn Edition

Why We Chose to Use Cloth Diapers

“But you have to wash the poop in the machine?”

Many of our family and friends gave us that “you’re nuts” look when we announced that we were going to use cloth diapers with our children. Honestly, I don’t even remember how I came around to the idea, but once I did some research, I knew it was a good plan for us. It actually didn’t take that much to convince Bear. Once I showed him the statistics about how many disposable diapers we would end up using and how much it would cost to have a couple kids use diapers, he wholeheartedly agreed to it.

 

 

We are blessed to have me be a stay at home mom and have own laundry machines in our home so that this venture is even possible right now. I’ve heard of many people not being able to start cloth diapering, even when they’d like to, because of the upfront cost. There are programs that actually let people try out cloth before buying or that loan it out for a duration to low-income families. I’ve also heard of families setting aside $10-20 a month to start their stash slowly. If using a baby registry, I would suggest putting some diapers on there (you may not get many since people are nervous about getting something wrong or think it’s weird.) and see what you can get as gifts!

We’re still figuring out which diapers work best for us (there are many different brands and types to choose from). Starting out, I’d suggest getting a few different kinds to try out and see what works best for your family and then investing in that brand. We have figured out that Alva diapers, while cheap and cute, don’t fit well for us right now, so I don’t reach for those first. I have taken to using Bum Genius pocket diapers stuffed with inserts or Flip covers with inserts or flour sack towels (pad-folded)

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We are by no means hard-core about it. We use cloth mainly to cut down on the cost of a baby and our waste. We use disposables for travel, nighttime, and while babysitting. But even with that, we are just now on the last diapers of the only box we’ve bought. We didn’t start using cloth until we were out of the hospital-provided disposables, about a month in (which was good because she was finally big enough to wear our one-size diapers).

We do recognize that cloth is definitely not for everyone. It does take some time, research, and usually a large upfront cost. Every three nights, I spend about an hour folding and stuffing diapers. I just want people to know it’s not as gross or costly as it may seem. If you can handle the inevitable infant blowout, you can easily handle a poopy diaper! At least that poo is where it should be! (By the way, we’ve only ever had blowouts when using disposables. Another win for cloth!)

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I actually love using cloth. The diapers are adorable. washing them is no harder than washing a load of clothes, and even Bear says they’re as easy as disposables. Well, I say that now dealing only with water-soluble breast fed poop. I’ll let you know how I feel when I have to start scraping poo. (insert pukey emoticon here).

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I love talking about cloth, so if you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them as best I can. I’m still learning myself! And if you have any advice for me, I’ll take it!

Minimalism March

I’m only 25. We’ve only been married a year and we just moved out of a one bedroom apartment last April. Strangely enough, we still have managed to accumulate so much stuff.

I won’t deny it. I’m mainly the guilty party. I had been collecting baby clothes for years (please tell me I’m not the only one who couldn’t help grabbing a cute onesie or sweater every time I went thrift shopping) plus baby showers and hand-me-downs from cousin Koo and my supply of school materials from teaching…phew. One room of our basement is basically full of kids stuff…and we have a three month old.

Now there’s extra sheets, decorations, and extra dishes down there too, but I have to admit, when I look at it all I have to recognize my tendency to over prepare. “I might have a twin bed someday so I should keep my old childhood sheet set”…yada yada. There’s just so much STUFF. So then I make a decision to do an early spring cleaning. To declutter and simplify. And then I go grocery shopping the next day and can’t resist grabbing a cute baby outfit in Maggie’s size AND one two sizes up. Because clearance! Ugh…help.

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So here it is: I’m calling it Minimalism March and it’s going to be difficult for me. Each week I’m going to tackle a level of my home (I’m going to be gone the first week and will hopefully not bring back any souvenirs) to clear out.

Here are my rules…in order to keep something, I have to have worn it in the last month and I have to use it consistently. For my summer clothes, it has to fit (hello, post-baby bod) and I have to have worn it last summer.

My goal for this coming year is to not buy anything that isn’t beautiful or practical. (gather here, all ye green-leafed beauties!)

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Let me know if you are joining me! Click here for a more detailed cleaning schedule.

Meeting Maggie Grace

I have been asked so many times about Maggie’s birth story that I thought maybe I should chronicle it. Then I can just hand out cards with a QR code on it and not have to go into detail ever again. (Just kidding, I don’t mind sharing about meeting my babe.)

Truth is,  I’ve always been a little squeamish about labor stories. Yes, I realize it’s a beautiful thing and all that, but it still makes me feel like I need to run to a bathroom.

I hated hearing birth stories as a young woman. Sorry. As someone who had never given birth before, it was scary, gross, and in waaaay too much detail. Then I got pregnant. And I realized that there had to be an end to the pregnancy. And that end was birth. Oh no.

I’m not a huge wuss normally. I’ve always been an accident-prone tomboy, so I had my fair share of blood and pain. Labor is the ultimate tops when people talk about pain. All other pain is compared to it. “Yeah, you broke your patella and elbow, and had a migraine at the same time…well, at least it wasn’t giving birth!” Yet, it was inevitable. And by the grace of God, I managed to act less terrified than I felt on the inside.

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I’m thankful that I took the classes, watched the videos, and read the articles all about birth. They made me queasy and nervous, but at least I knew what was going to happen and prepare myself; the best advice I got was to take what I could to make it seem homey. Really great plan, but all I really did was use lavender spray because the hospital smell is gross, wear my cozy robe, and play music from my phone. I took time to make a playlist of music that I loved and knew would keep me calm and focused (lots of worship). Funny thing is, I realized afterwards that I tuned it out most of the time! My nurses and doctor commented on how much they liked the music though, so at least someone benefited!

So with all that, here we go.

Pre-labor began at night, about 1 am on Saturday. It was uncomfortable enough to keep me awake, but not intense or consistent enough to do anything. I fell back asleep around 6 am after walking around the house, trying to get things moving.

A frustrating morning but a good ending at night.

Around 10 am, I started feeling more intense contractions, but could walk and talk easily so kept going about my day. Bear went to his parents’ house around 1 pm to play board games (their latest obsession). Around 2 pm, my contractions began to get more painful so I hopped in the shower to get some relief. Somewhere around 2:30, my water broke and I called Bear to come home. He said he would be home after the game was over. I said, no now.

My contractions were still not super intense so we took our time to get going. I had a friend who had spent so much time with false labor and labor not progressing, that I wanted to be sure I would be admitted and well on my way to having a baby when I got to the hospital. I loaded the dishwasher and put away some last minute laundry (no one wants the baby to come home to a messy house, right?) Bear suggested we take the dogs to his parents’, but my contractions were getting about 5 minutes apart and more intense, so I vetoed and we headed to the hospital.

It seems like everyone needed to be at the hospital that day, unfortunately. (And the street parking is for women about to give birth, people!) After going around the parking lot for FOREVER (ok, like 2 minutes), Bear parked and I hightailed it into the building, leaving him behind to grab the bags.

They got me in to be monitored at 3:30 and I was already 5 cm! While we were waiting for a room, Bear suggested we look up some boy names (nothing like the last minute!)

Because my water broke at home, they gave me Pitocin (not on my birth plan) and kept me hooked up to an IV and fetal monitor (also not on my birth plan). I had wanted to labor in the shower, but it just didn’t work out with the monitor (lesson being: not everything goes as planned). Thankfully, I could still be mobile and wander the halls and use the birthing ball. Honestly, the best thing for me was Bear. I had back labor and spent most of the time leaned over the bed with Bear putting all his weight on my back. At about 8:15 pm, I was at 9 cm and finally in so much pain. I asked for some Nu-Bane, but the “relief” was laughable. I wonder how much we were charged for it.

Finally, I made it. They had me start to push around 9pm and oy vey! No amount of videos or articles or stories can prepare you. All I know is I should’ve done more cardio during pregnancy!

After 11 hours of labor and 1 hour of pushing, our baby was put on my chest and It wasn’t until my doctor said “well, what is it?!” that I realized we got a precious little baby girl. Thankfully, we had picked out a girl name when we had gotten pregnant (truthfully I had it picked when we were dating…just a little creepy, I know). Margaret, after both of our maternal grandmothers. And Grace because of God’s grace in our lives and His grace during the process of giving her life!

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So there it is, as brief and without gross details as I can put it. The story of how we met our sweet little Maggie Grace. There’s plenty more to the story, like me passing out on the toilet, but I’ll spare you.

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Worn down, but not defeated

I’m tired. So very tired and copious amounts of coffee or sleep won’t fix it. There’s something about having a 2 month old (a very clingy one at that) to take care of that just wears you down. I thought college had me tired. I took around 20 credits each semester, had two jobs most of my college years, coached a girls’ volleyball team for two years, and ran our campus Cru chapter. Nonetheless, a few years and a baby later, and I am exhausted like I’ve never been before.

Thankfully, I’m becoming more and more rested. I’m beginning to figure the baby out and we’re starting to actually have a schedule that allows me about 2 hours of free time at night before my own bedtime. And last night, the baby slept for 5 straight hours (oh, hallelujah!) Life is slowly starting to make sense again and I’m beginning to feel like my old self again.

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Being a mom is worth every bit of exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and physical pain (don’t even mention trying to play volleyball again after baby…owwwww), but sometimes we all need a little help. If it’s offered, take it. It took me two months, but now if someone offers to watch Maggie for a while, I jump on it. Even just a shower or a nap can make me feel like I’m ready to run a marathon. So be patient, mamas. Stay strong and take help when it’s given. You will love yourself for it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and i will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV

Welcome!

Hello! Thanks for following me over here to the new site. And thanks for bearing with me as I struggled through some difficulties setting it up. If anyone needs any help transferring domains and figuring out what nameservers are, I know now a little more than I did before.

I will be continuing with my blog posts about my daughter, my home, and my adventures soon. If you would like me to cover something specific in a post, please use the contact form to let me know!

 

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How to Get It All Done

Baby crying, dogs barking, the UPS man knocking on the door, the washer leaking water, and the microwave incessantly beeping about the coffee I had put in there an hour ago…this is typical, right? All moms suffer through this chaos.

It’s been two months since Maggie joined us and it has been a major learning experience of how to cope around the house while toting a newborn. Many people have advised me to forget the house, to not bother with anything and to just focus on the baby. While well-intended, I can’t take the advice. It goes against my very nature to forego the laundry or vacuuming or cleaning the tub (how can it possibly get so dirty every week?!) As a semi-OCD mom, I’ve had to figure out how to do it all. The impossible.

 

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First off, I wear Maggie almost every day around the house. Whether it’s in the wrap or Ergo, its a great way to get things done with a baby who doesn’t want to be put down (AKA: Crabmeister, AKA: Maggie). I’ve even discovered some workouts that you can do while babywearing! (I suggest using a carrier of some sort…we tried Zumba in our wrap and it didn’t give me the freedom to go all out like I wanted).

 

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Second, I have a great 4Moms Mamaroo that keeps Maggie asleep or content while I vacuum or put dishes away, I normally would never be able to justify spending so much on a baby swing, but hello Christmas! I also did some digging around and found a discontinued version for only $150 ($100 off) at Albeebaby.com Score! This is by far our favorite baby item and my hubby was just about as excited as I was when it came.  Click on t

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Honestly, I do it all by not doing it all at once. Some days, Maggie has a 3 hour nap in her bassinet and I clean the entire house, do two loads of laundry, and cook a 6 course meal (HA!). Most days are like today: Maggie hasn’t slept more than 30 minutes at a time because the dogs keep barking and waking her up,  she cries when I put her down (even in her swing!), and I’ve found myself doing things in 20 minute increments between feedings and her naps. I’ve found that its easier to train my dog to walk on the treadmill than try to get Maggie to sleep so I can get Leia outside or to bundle the baby up and take her into the frigid Michigan winter air.

 

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Sometimes it’s frustrating to have to work around a demanding little human, but then I see her smile or watch her curl her fingers over mine and my heart (and all my other chores) melt away.

Rest easy, Mamas. You CAN do it all. Eventually.