Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Natural Parenting...well, sort of

     When we became parents for the first time, 5 years ago at the age of 24, I had no clue what "natural parenting" was. I used disposable diapers, fed my baby formula (breastfeeding failed), hugged him all the time, bought organic milk when he started on whole milk, etc.  We did what worked for us and what we could afford. My husband started college a week after baby was born, so money and family time were tight.
     This time around, we are older (29 & 30), and in a better place financially and emotionally.  We are making conscious decisions to help our children thrive. I didn't even realize we were "natural parenting" because we are just doing what comes naturally to us and makes sense as parents, until I was in on a Facebook chat a couple weeks ago. Here's what we do that makes us "natural parents", sort of.
    When I was pregnant my friend, Marie-Etta, (She's a super sweet gal with an adorable little boy), sparked my interest in using cloth diapers.  All it took was a conversation one evening and I was hooked. She made me realize how easy it could be and that I could handle it. By the next week I had purchased my first cloth diapers! Why did I choose cloth?  Well, why wouldn't you chose cloth?!? It just makes sense. It saves the environment, saves money, and is gentle on baby's bottom. Plus, cloth covered baby booty is adorable :) We only use cloth diapers in the evening and on weekends when I'm not working since my babysitter isn't comfortable with cloth, but hey, any amount of cloth we use means less disposables in the landfill!

     Marie-Etta also got me hooked on the Ergobaby baby carrier....Can I just say that I love babywearing! I love to carry my kiddos around, so being able to do so in a comfortable, ergonomically friendly carrier, is a big help with this! It brings the baby close to me so I can attend to his needs while still giving his brother attention and meeting the needs of our family (cooking, cleaning, etc.).
    We feed our boys wholesome foods as much as possible. Additionally, I breastfeed Jonathan. I tried so hard to breastfeed Carson, but it just didn't work for us. This time around, I'm much more successful. I'm breastfeeding him, with the encouragement and support of my husband.  While Jonathan isn't exclusively breastfed, he is primarily breastfed and only gets around 3 bottles of formula a day while I'm at work. Even when we give him a bottle, we are talking to him, loving him. When he switches to solids, I will be making a lot of his baby food.  As a family we try to eat fresh foods. It doesn't always work out that way, but most of the time at least our fruits and vegetables are fresh. We don't eat a lot of "junk" or candy. I plan to keep it this way with Jonathan, just as it is with his big brother.

    We co-sleep (Gasp!) with our baby. I know that there are people who say this is a big "no-no". We do it responsibly, and we did with Carson too. Carson was in our bed until he was almost 4....yeah it was a long 4 years!  Now, he has to have daddy lay with him every night to fall asleep in his own bed. Jonathan has a little co-sleeper that is structured, so he can't be rolled onto. He sleeps in between us at least half the night. We don't have a strict bed time for him and he doesn't cry it out. We hold him until he goes to sleep.

     While we aren't over the top "natural parents", we are responsibly and consciously raising our boys. We may not do all the things that natural or attachment parenting includes, but we do what works for us. What was natural and sensible to the health, well-being, and happiness of our children.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Testing Our Water

Now that I am using cloth diapers on the baby, our water quality is more important to me. Water that is too hard or too soft, can really effect the laundering of your diapers. This is important to me, as I want my "stash" to stay in tip top shape and be used and cared for with ease.  We live "in town" so our water should be good, but it's a small rural town. Needless to say, I don't really care for our municipal water.  We don't drink it, we have bottled water delivered to our home and use a water cooler.

Last week I decided to order a test strip from Kelly's Closet to see just what type of water we have at our home.  The strip cost $0.60, a bargain in my opinion! So I added a strip on to my cloth diaper order. It arrived on Tuesday of this week. By Wednesday morning, I couldn't wait any longer, so before I left for work I checked our water. Below you can see what the process was like.

This is what the test strip looks like when it is delivered.

The chart and instructions for the test.
After removing strip from package, I held it under running water for one second.

After waiting 15 seconds as the directions stated, here's our results.  It would appear that our water is between hard and very hard. 

It was a simple process that took me under a minute to complete. Now I know how to adjust my laundry routine to best care for my cloth diapers.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Our First Weeks in Cloth

A few weeks ago, I started using our cloth diaper stash on JP. I was hooked instantly! Cloth diapers are so easy to use!

Geffen Baby Fitted with a Incredibum cover

Most of our diapers are AIO (all in one) diapers. But I also have a few pocket diapers and a prefitted.  Soon I will also be trying out some prefolds with a cover too!

He was a little hungry here. He's wearing a BumGenius Freetime

I have found very quickly that I am a fan of aplix (hook and loop, velcro), especially since Jonathan has skinny legs and big belly. The aplix allows me to better adjust the fit to his body.

Soon I am going to start reviewing my stash to share my thoughts about each diaper type with you all!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Carson!

Dear Carson,

     I can't believe it's been five years since you entered this world on a hot July night. Our lives haven't been the same since!

     In the last year, you've learned to ride your bike (almost without training wheels). You've became a big brother. You graduated Pre-K, and passed your pre-kindergarten screening exams. You played your first little league game, and even played in a hockey league! Every day I am amazed by how smart you are and how you are growing into a little man. You are a smart, wonderful, and extremely loving little boy. I hope that as you continue to grow, you always keep that quality, that you care for everyone you meet.

Happy Birthday C-Monkey!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Our Fourth of July

Last week we had a wonderful time celebrating our freedom. The day was filled with fun, family, smiles, great memories, and laughter.  The day involved a parade, watermelon, sack races, and turtles.

 Here's a photo review of our day!

Hi everyone!

Cman in the parade
Trying to convince him to touch his turtle for the race

Cman got 3rd place in the sack race!

We ended the day with fireworks :)

I only hope that the memories we made last week will stick with Carson for forever. It was probably the best 4th we've had with him. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Second Time Around

   Remember my earlier post  where I said I may not breastfeed the new baby? Last time I failed my son. I didn't produce enough milk. This coupled with numerous complications we both had just ruined it for us from the start. It left me very discouraged to try it again. I felt like I couldn't do it and was a failure, so not to even try.

   A couple of weeks before JP was born, I decided to give it my best shot. "Breast is best" and I wanted him to get all the help he could. Even more so when he was born almost 3 weeks early.

   I'm happy to report that we have been successfully breastfeeding for 6 weeks! Yes, we supplement and he gets bottles when I am away (sometimes that's formula, sometimes breast milk), but from 6pm-6am, we nurse or he gets pumped milk. This is an improvement from last time around when we made it just 10 days, so I'm happy. My theory was that any breastmilk was better than none. With me returning to work this week, it will be interesting to see how long we can keep this up.

   My point of this post is that every pregnancy, every baby, is different. Just because something didn't work once, doesn't mean it won't work again. I almost didn't even try this time, but now, I am happier than ever that I did. Knowing that I can keep my baby happy and healthy makes me feel like I am helping my son succeed.

   My first goal was to make it a month, then six weeks and we did that. My next goal is to make it to 2 months, then we will make a new goal :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

6 weeks already?

So today was my first day back to work. Jonathan is now 6 weeks old. How did that happen? I swear just yesterday we were at the hospital having an unscheduled c-section!?

The last six weeks have had their ups and downs for us. JP had his first emergency room visit (and a few doctor's visits). We found out Jonathan has severe gastroesophageal reflux. He projectile vomits at least 2-3 times a day, and spits up half of every feeding. He is still eating every 2 hours due to the fact that most of every feed comes back up, so he's always hungry. JP was shrieking in pain from the reflux and the hiccups caused by said reflux, but he's currently on medication, so the shrieking is improving. This past week he even slept for 4 hours in a stretch one night. That made mama very happy! He's just started to give us an occasional smile when we interact with him, which is pretty much on the same timeline his big brother did too! As of last week he had gained over 3 pounds since birth and was up to 11lbs 4oz! He's growing so much! He's gotten longer and of course, chunkier :)  We have even started using our cloth diapers...which mommy is in love with already!

Carson started and finished his first teeball season during the past 6 weeks also. (I'll save that fun for another blog post!) He's been doing pretty good with the baby. He loves his little brother so much and it warms my heart to see the two interact. Carson has also been going to the local library's summer reading program. So far we have read 15 books to earn him, a travel pack (ziploc bag with car bingo, a pencil, tattoo, and plastic centipede?), a 6" subway sandwich, and a pass for putt-putt golf. Next week he will turn 5.  FIVE! Again, I do not know where the time has gone.

Chris has competed in 3 triathlons and a 5k in the last 4 weeks. It's been pretty hectic around our house on weekends due to this.

I've been released to start working out again and can't wait! I have set a goal to participate in a triathlon in September, and come hell or high water, I will do it!

Well, enough of my rambling for today. I will try to post more often now that I am back to work and a in a normal routine again.


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