Saturday, July 31, 2010

Getting ahead of myself

I noted earlier this year that I was running around 90-ish posts a year on this blog. And mused about where I might be by the end of 2010.

This post is #92. And it's not even August (for another 2+ hours).

I think it might have something to do with a certain someone...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random cuteness

I started to leave a camera in the living room for random pictures of S when she looked particularly cute. Here are some samples.

The colorful shot

Hangin' with Mommy

Chewing on her bee. Two of the wings vibrate when she chews on them. It doesn't even faze her.

"Hey, I'm eating here!"

"Behold, my new chair!"
This one probably came with sound effects, as S has figured out how to make raspberries...

Gonna talk crochet for a bit

When I'm waxing philosophical about yarn crafts, I'm usually talking knitting. Which is funny, because I just learned to knit a few years ago, and I've been crocheting off and on since I was 7. In some ways crochet is still better in my mind. It goes faster, there are some super fun projects, and I can kick back and go wild.

So while we were on our New England road trip (just scroll down, you'll see the highlights), I sat in the back with S and crocheted a neck warmer. It looked lovely and lacy, it called for alpaca (and I had some), and it looked doable in a few days on the road.

I love alpaca. Even lighter weights are super warm, and I have some I got straight off an alpaca farm. I could basically look at the source in the shop's back yard while I made my purchase.

It turns out that, despite thinking they were all the same shade, my alpaca skeins were slightly different. So my neck warmer ended up two-toned.

Don't see it? Don't worry, I have a better picture:

I decided it didn't matter, and it sort of added to the charm of the piece. It's going to be all squished around someone's neck anyway, so having tonal shades mixing with each other might look kind of cool.

Behold me modeling my creation. Nice, no?

I also finished a knitted tank top this week. The picture is just a bit more revealing than I planned, so I'll post when I make it a bit more sedate ;)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Entering the wonderful world of solids

At S's 4 month appointment a couple of weeks ago, the doctor gave us the go ahead to give her solids. We held off for a few reasons:

1. She wasn't sitting up that great and I felt she needed a little bit stronger core ;)
2. Every parenting decision is debated by moms of all stripes, and I was a bit swayed by people who thought you should wait until close to 6 months to introduce solids
3. S didn't seem to be chomping at the bit, as it were, to eat from a spoon
4. We didn't have a high chair

Well, all those concerns started to melt away over the last couple of weeks. She's sitting better and better each day, and she was gazing intently at me eating eggs the other day, mimicking my chewing. I thought, "This kid is ready." We just needed a high chair, because the thought of wrangling her and dealing with cereal all over the place didn't sound that great.

So we made our every-other-monthly trip to Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby and got her a high chair. I was having a moment when it came to assembling it, so J took over:

Tab A goes into slot B...
(and man, we have a lot of crap on our horizontal surfaces. Must fix that...)

Ta da!
Just so you know, it's not color coordinated with any of her other stuff. It sort of goes with the wall color in the kitchen, but that wasn't intentional and we are more of a mix and match family. I think our social worker called us "eclectic". We almost went with a garish underwater pattern, that's how little we care.

We gave it a test drive with some toys. As you can see, S, took right to it. I think she just liked being upright and having a new vantage point.

OK, time for cereal!

"Hmmm, this isn't too bad. Wait, is that a camera? Hi!"

"Wait, I have to get my hands in there. I want cereal on as much of my body as possible."

Unphotographed: her chewing on the duck's foot on her bib, and her fingers. There was rice cereal everywhere.

"OK Daddy, let's hit the bottle."

Also unphotographed: her meltdown because she was overtired after all of this excitement.

We did cereal again this morning and she took several spoonfuls before she demanded her bottle.

Stay tuned for pureed fruit and veggies!

Friday, July 16, 2010

She looks so grown up!

"Oh hi, how are things? Me? I'm just hanging out."

It totally looks like she's just chilling out having a conversation, when this was just a lucky click of the camera.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Firefly season, and my dad

I saw my first fireflies of the season tonight. Fireflies are still a big deal to me, for a couple of reasons.

First, I am from California, and fireflies don't live there. I had never seen them until I moved to the East Coast on the mid-90s. One day I walked across a green near my apartment, and it was covered in fireflies. I thought someone had strung lights across the lawn. It was enchanting.

The other reason is a little more involved. I'll start by saying I'm close to both of my parents, but I talk to my mom more often. Dad and I have an occasional long chat, they're just fewer and further between than the talks with Mom.

So I saw these beautiful fireflies, and called home, because I'm a cheeseball and had to share. It just so happened that my dad answered the phone that night. I fully expected him to say "that's nice" when he heard about the fireflies. Because let's face it, they're not that exciting.

Instead, he was thrilled. He started telling me stories of when he was little and went back to visit his grandparents in Ohio. They would catch fireflies in glass jars and keep them in their rooms to watch. He was so excited that I had seen some my first summer in Maryland.

So now, every year the fireflies show up, I think of my dad and his excitement over a simple story. Here's to you, Dad. It's firefly season.

Cloth diaper answer for Lindsay

In my comments section, Lindsay asked me a question about cloth diapers. If all-in-ones are the most convenient, why not use just that type? Is the cost differential really that great?

I paraphrase.

There are a few reasons to get a variety of diapers.

1. What works for one baby, or at one age, may not work for another. Fitted diapers are generally better on newborns. Some diapers work better on babies with thinner or fatter thighs, or with a higher or lower waist. And all that may change as they get older.
2. Convenience isn't that big a difference (at least in my opinion) with prefolds vs AIOs. Though AIOs work more easily with squirmy babies ;)
3. And the cost differential, broken down below

So here's the cost breakdown, per

Thirsties (sized) all in one: $18
Blueberry one-sized all-in-one: $25
Thirsties Fab Fitted: $12-14
Prefolds: $28/dozen
Covers: $11.50 (Thirsties), $15-25 (wool)

So those are some of the reasons for all the differences. There are some people who do nothing but prefolds and covers. I'm not one of them ;) I'm too addicted to the pretty patterns.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A few words about cloth diapers

OK, many words. So sue me.

You may have noticed in the pictures below that our daughter had a rather colorful bottom. Those are her cloth diapers! When we were first thinking about kids, I started considering cloth diapers as an option. I asked J what he thought (because no one wants an unwilling spouse in this situation) and he said he was cool with it. Both of my sisters in law were cloth diapering as well, so I had some resources, as well as some places on the Internet to visit. And I'm getting sorta crunchy in my old age (see my organic sugar post and you'll see an example).

I still got a range of reactions to our desire to cloth diaper. "Ew, you'll have to scrape the poop!" (more on that later), "What a great idea!", "God bless you for even trying", and "Join the club." It turns out my mom cloth diapered my brother once she got a washer and dryer.

Once our adoption profile went active, I started building my stash of diapers. I had quite the collection by the time S arrived, and I went to town using them. J still thinks they're a bit too complicated for his taste, but I'm using them for everything but nighttime, and I'm moving on to cloth at night in the near future.

We're not militant about cloth diapers. We had a diaper rash issue early on, so we switched to disposables for a couple of weeks until I figured things out. We use disposables when out and about, or when traveling, just for the convenience factor. That, and I've been too lazy to get a proper storage bag for them. But I like the thought that I'm not spending tens of dollars every week or 2 for disposable diapers, I can just pop them in the wash, and it's really no harder than any other laundry I do on a regular basis.

Cloth diapers have come a long way since our moms and dads were using diapers. No pins, unless you want to go old school. Many, many options in terms of convenience, absorbency, and patterns/colors. Here are some examples:

The basic option is still the prefold. Basically layers of cotton fabric sewn together with extra thickness/quilting in the middle for absorbency. You can fold it in thirds and just lay it in a cover (more on that too), or you can do a variety of fold variations and close it with pins or a Snappi (shown). The Snappi works like those grippers you see when you have an Ace bandage on. One gripper on one hip, one on the other, and one at the crotch area. Voila!

A slightly more exotic version is the fitted diaper. Still all cloth, often cotton or some variation (eg, bamboo). This type of diaper has elastic around the legs to hold in the yucky stuff, and either snaps or a Velcro-style attachment to close the diaper. Some of these come with an added layer of fabric inside for increased absorbency.

If you're new to this, you're probably thinking, "But Dr L, these are all cotton-y fabric! Won't they leak all over the place???" Not if you have covers!

The diapers above require a waterproof or water-resistant cover to keep the yuckies where they belong. The cover on the left is made with polyurethane laminate (PUL), a waterproof layer of fabric that can be washed (this is key, of course). It has elastic and tabs like a disposable diaper, and literally covers the cloth diaper.

The cover on the right is made of wool. Wool is a great fabric, since it's breathable and water resistant. Plus it absorbs a lot of liquid, so you can have a pretty wet baby running around comfortably in a wool cover. And if you treat it with lanolin, you add more water resistance (because have you ever seen a dripping wet sheep? I didn't think so). It attaches over the diaper like the PUL cover. I will say now that I made that particular cover, and I'm quite proud of it.

Wool covers don't have to be as boring as mine ;) The one on the left is what are known as longies, basically a wool cover shaped like pants. S's has a cute little superbunny on the leg. The one on the right is also known as a soaker or shorties. You put it on like underpants (but over the diaper). It has a sewn in added layer, and it's made from a recycled sweater. Pretty cool, huh?

For those who want something that's more like a disposable diaper, there are all-in-ones (AIOs) or pocket diapers. They have elastic at the legs, tabs just like a disposable diaper, and a cloth inner layer with a PUL outer layer. You literally put it on like a disposable and go. The one above is sized. Just like disposable diapers have size 1, 2, etc., sized diapers have XS, S, etc. This was an XS pocket diaper I used when S was a super peanut.

Once a baby reaches 10 lb or more, they can go to one-sized diapers. The one above is another pocket diaper, but is has snaps so you can adjust the rise (the distance between crotch and waist) as the baby grows. While these tend to be more expensive than other cloth diapering options, they can potentially last from 10lb to potty training, making them worth it in the end.

So what's with the pocket diapers? They have an opening at one end so you can add layers of absorbency between the cloth layer and the PUL layer. The inserts above are examples of different materials used to make these inserts. Some are hemp (super absorbent). Some are cotton, or a blend. Some are microfiber. All are effective at adding layers of absorbency to your cloth diaper.

"But DrL, they must be a pain to wash!"

So far, no. Babies who aren't yet on solids have water-soluble poo (yes, I said poo), so you just run a rinse cycle in the washer and follow with a regular hot wash. Everything washes out into your sewage system, and you end up with nice clean diapers. Once babies start solids, you can go with flushable liners, rinse/soak your diapers (some people still do this, just like our moms did), a diaper sprayer that connects to your toilet, or (ew) scraping off the poo. We're going with liners. It's a personal preference.

So now I've gotten this off my chest. Maybe it will make you consider cloth diapers, or at least look into them as an option. Maybe you'll just see the cool colors and fabrics and think, "That's nice". Maybe you'll still be turned off by the yuck factor. I just wanted to talk about them today.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gallery of cuteness

Now that S knows how to roll over, and is getting closer to sitting up on her own, she's started to like hanging out on the floor on a blanket with her toys all around her. She either rolls around grabbing toys or we sit up together and read some books. It's a blast.

When she gets tired of the floor, I wrap her up in a carrier and we wander around the house. She can go a good hour like that, just touring the house and helping Mommy with her chores. And she LOVES the mirror! This was a good shot of her grinning at herself in the bathroom mirror in between loads of laundry. No, she's not jaundiced. The light is just not so great in that room.

Found her feet, Part 2

S found her feet almost a month ago. She's ebbed and flowed in the whole "grab both feet and hang on" routine.

This morning she was slurping away on her fingers as we were getting up. Or so I thought. Turned out she was slurping on her toes!

That's right. Our little yoga baby has figured out how to get her feet in her mouth.

I must get a picture.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Final post placement visit!

We had our final post placement visit with the social worker from our adoption agency today. As usual, it went great.

I liked that we were both able to be here for it. We hung out with S and talked about her milestones, her latest doctor's appointment, and her big trip to New England. S smiled and cooed for our social worker, and we even got a picture of the 2 of them together.

We are now done with the agency, and only have to wait for 2 court dates to get set up so we can finalize S's adoption. If all goes well, that should happen sometime in September, depending on how quickly the wheels of justice move.

4 month stats!

S had her 4 month appointment yesterday, and all was well.

Weight: 13 lb, 13.5 oz
Length: 24"
Head circumference: 16"

The doctor gave us the green light to start rice cereal anytime we want. I want to wait until next weekend when we don't have anything else going on, so we can record this experience for posterity.

S got 2 shots, and didn't cry until the second one. Mommy got a shot, too. Daddy escaped unscathed ;)

First family vacation!

J took a week or so off starting right before the 4th of July weekend, so we decided to take our little girl on her first road trip. We love New England (especially Daddy), so we packed up the car and headed northeast.

We had a wonderful time with S. Daddy modeled her hat so she knew how it might look on her head:

We stopped every couple of hours for a diaper change and/or a bottle, and would take a walk around our little patch of New England.

At the end of the first day, we were settled into our hotel in Portsmouth, NH.

No, she didn't sleep among the pillows. We brought her Pack n Play, and S slept great every night.

We spent our first full day puttering around Portsmouth, and S got her first visit to a bar and grill while Mommy and Daddy had lunch. We didn't stay out long. It was really hot.

We drove up the coast of Maine, and stopped for a diaper change and some views on a rocky point near a lighthouse.

The next day was super hot, so we nixed the idea of a walk through Salem, MA. No one wants to subject themselves, much less their baby, to those conditions. So we drove along the NH and MA coast instead.

Doesn't it look beautiful? If it had been 10 degrees cooler, we might have enjoyed it more...

S really enjoyed the cool hotel room. She played with herself in the mirror.

Our drive back was nice and uneventful. We found our dream home and dream community in Harrisville, NH. My mom doesn't think I could handle such a small town, but I think I could manage. S charmed the locals at a diner in Keene, then we headed across a couple more states before finally coming home.

We are so proud of our little traveler. We're hoping for more trips soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Empty nest syndrome

When J got home last night, we checked on the robins. Only 1 was left in the nest. He was convinced they had fallen out or been eaten, so I took a look around. No signs of birds in distress or foul play, so we figured they had flown away.

This morning the nest was empty. The last of the babies took off. We now have an empty nest on our railing.

J wants to give future generations a nice place to hang out, so we're thinking we'll nail the bird feeder to a nearby tree. He's so clever.