Monday, March 31, 2008

Cloth Diapering Update

I have already been cloth diapering for nearly a month! These pictures are from March 5th and are documentation of the very first cloth diaper Evelyn wore!

It is going very well! Thanks again to everyone for their encouragement and help.

I am using Cloth-Eez prefolds - she is still fitting into the yellow "infant" size. They are nice and wide and so they fit her well. Two weeks ago she was 15 lbs 5 oz - had lost some weight after being sick. So, she is around 16ish pounds and these still fit well. I bought some of the brown-edged ones too for when she gets bigger. These are a bit bulky-fitting right now.

I am using Thirsties covers. I bought 3 smalls and 5 mediums. The smalls fit best right now, but the mediums work, too! I am happy with this cover and am also happy to report that our "blowouts" have decreased dramatically! Poopie has only been on her clothes once when she was in a cloth diaper - not sure how this happened...a bit of the diaper must have been sticking out in the back. The leg gussets and back elastic to these covers hold in her multiple daily explosions!

I use my Snappi (the purple contraption) with every diaper. It helps me keep it in place while I put on the cover. It is easy to use and keeps the prefold in its place, so I just have always used it!

I have taken into consideration a ton of people's advice and a lot of website reading in terms of deciding how to launder the diapers. I came up with this method for now: I wash them every 2 1/2 -3 days with Purex Free and Clear. I do a cold rinse, followed by my longest hot wash with the Purex and 1/2 cup of OxyClean. I follow this with another cold rinse with 1/2 cup of vinegar in the wash. My diapers are coming out smelling clean - actually smelling like really nothing at all. The only gripe I have is that they are staining. I know they are clean, but I don't care for the stains. I am considering trying another detergent after my current bottle is gone. I found this helpful for picking detergents. I have not stopped using other detergents for my other laundry. I had a ton of detergent that I just could not see wasting. I don't use much detergent as it is - we keep our water very soft. So, I am just going to "assume" that there is not residue from my other detergents lurking in my washing machine. Plus, I am also hoping that the vinegar in my extra rinse is helping rid the diapers and covers of any leftover detergent. And yes, out of ease, I am washing my covers with my diapers. This I know is not recommended, but 1) I don't wash other clothes enough to put covers in with regular clothes 2) Just covers makes a pitiful load 3) I did not feel that hand-washing them was getting them clean enough. Who knew I could write such a long paragraph about washing diapers!?! :-)

I am using my own "made-up" solution on washcloths as my wipes. I put a drop of pHisoderm baby wash (what we were given in the hospital to bathe her with), a bit of olive oil, two drops of tea tree oil, and water. This seems to be working well, too. She has gotten a bit of diaper rash still. There is still poo in almost every one of her diapers. And, when she does go, I have a hard time smelling it through her diaper now. So, I am guessing that the rashes were possibly coming from the poo in her diaper. I am trying to change her at least every 2 hours so that she has a nice bottom in case this was/is the problem!

I have used cloth out and about - I just use a ziplock bag for the soiled prefold. We have not started using cloth at night yet... We have sleep "issues" - I'll just leave it at that. Anyhow, Evelyn does not need any extra rousing in the middle of the night, so I don't want to change her diaper. I will need to do more research about what a good nighttime diaper would be for us.

Thanks again to all of you that helped and encouraged me thus far!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

On Customer Service

I think that I can no longer shop at Target. Why? Because they irritate me SO much. (Unfortunately I am sure that this is an empty threat and that I will be back there...they do carry some things that Walmart does not). Target has such poor customer service! I think I have even posted about this before because it has bugged me for so long.

Two recent incidents at Target: I had something to return with a gift receipt. The gift receipt was "expired." Too bad for me - they were not going to take it back! Finally, they told me that I could give them my driver's license to return the item - you can return two items per year without a receipt by showing your driver's license. Okay, I guess - annoying since I had a receipt - but okay, whatever. Then, this past week I tried to return another gift without a gift receipt. They tried to tell me that they did not carry the item. I knew they did, so I carried Evelyn to the back of the store to get the item off of the shelf and haul it back to the customer service area. It was packaged in slightly new packaging, so I am guessing that is why my item did not show up in the system. The girl was like, "okay, I guess we do carry the item." I was excited, as I had my one more return for the year without a receipt left! She then proceeds to tell me that I cannot return the item because they do not accept returns for items over $20. The item was $24.99. I said "just give me a gift card for $20 then." "Sorry, we can't do that." Arghhh!!! I proceeded to find out that the store manager could do nothing to help me and that all I could do was call a number and complain - I was assured that calling and complaining still would not allow me to return the item. Yes, this is why I also registered at Walmart when we were expecting and why I wish everyone would have shopped there! Sometimes you don't realize until your baby is older what you will not need, and you'll want to return it later - maybe even with a gift receipt! But oh no, you won't be able to return it!

Target returns have also burned me in the past. My mom gave us a pan for Christmas a couple of years ago that I needed to return. We took it back with the gift receipt. When talking to my mom about the pan we bought as a replacement, I told her how much we got back for the returned one. She just about threw a fit as Target didn't give me back nearly as much as she paid! She marched down there with the original receipt and lo and behold, their records did indicate I was given an amount less than she paid. She got her difference back! So, beware - even if you give someone a gift receipt there, they might now get back what you paid. To me this illustrates ghastly customer service.

Lastly, Target employees always seem to ball up any clothes that I buy and shove them into the bag. This has been at every Target - across at least two states. I know they are not going to fold the item in tissue paper or anything, but at least have the decency to not shove it into the bag. Seriously, pay attention next time you buy an item of clothing there...

In contrast, Walmart takes my stuff back all the time. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I know some people do not like Walmart. But, it is what we have in town and there is really no alternative for me to buy household necessities. Plus, they also give me the local grocery store's sale price on items if I show their weekly ad. This saves me time and gas as I am not going from store to store to buy sale items each week. To me, Walmart clearly wins the "customer service award."

Speaking of great customer service, I also received some from another company this week. We took out our Evenflo highchair this week. As Jason was assembling it I freaked out when there was no tray insert/liner. I specifically wanted that feature on a high chair and I was positive that the display model had a tray liner when we picked it out that the store. When I emailed Evenflo, they told me that our model did not come with a tray liner, but they sent me one free of charge as good customer service. Yay for Evenflo! We had a similar good experience with Graco as their was a minor flaw in our stroller's fabric. Graco also sent us an entire new seat free of charge - no questions asked. Apparently Evenflo and Graco know that moms talk and that good customer service is essential!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

WFMW: Chilling Soda Cans

Easter Sunday (after a very un-fun event-filled week...I am sparing you all the details) we opened the freezer after church and Jason found a rootbeer that he forgot he wanted the night before.

This was not a fun one for me to clean up!

It reminded me however of a great tip - a fast way (other than the freezer) to chill a can of soda. All you need to do is fill a bowl up with a few ice cubes and some cold water. Submerge your can into the water and in just a few minutes you'll have yourself a nice cold soda to drink! The water is the essential part - just ice doesn't seem to chill as quickly. I am guessing it is because the cold is not coming into contact with enough of the surface area of the can. I am not one for creating more dishes - hence, I would normally not want to "dirty" a bowl to do this. But, I promise, washing one bowl is a lot faster than cleaning your freezer!
For more great tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!!!

He is Risen - Risen Indeed!
We hope you all had a blessed Easter!

Evelyn was fashionable for her first Easter! Dress courtesy of Grandma Sharon, bonnet courtesy of Grandma Dawn, and sweater worn over the dress to church and tights courtesy of Grandma Jeanne. Our little Easter princess she was!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


She just looks TOO big sitting up! :-)
Yep - she rolls until she just can't roll anymore! She hasn't figured out that furniture just won't move no matter how hard she tries rolling into it.

"You're proud of me? Really, Mommy?"
Cousins! It is like having twins...kind of :-) These poor girls will be getting matching outfits for life!

And, just one that is cute to remind Daddy who is away at work and our family basking in the Mexican sun to come home already!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Works-for-me Wednesday: Butter Wrappers

My tip for today is a frugal and healthy tip. I question the health of using non-stick sprays for cooking/baking. Plus, I personally think you can taste their nasty flavor, too - especially on things like rice crispy bars. So, why not use something that you normally toss to eliminate - the wrapper to your stick of butter.

My Mom taught me this trick. Just save your butter wrapper from whatever you are making and use the bits of butter that are stuck to it to butter your pan. I find that the small amount of butter left on the wrapper is actually plenty to grease a whole loaf pan and sometimes a cake pan, too. I don't go quite as far as my mom does with this - she leaves folded butter wrappers on her counter or in the fridge to "save for later." But, if I just opened a stick for baking, I do save that wrapper. This is also an excellent tool for pushing down rice crispy and s'more bars into pans.

Works for me - and my Mom! :-)

Don't forget to visit Rocks in My Dryer for more WFMW tips!!!

Why I love having a girl

Have I mentioned how much I like finding deals? Well, I do. It is in my blood. Anyhow, since I am about the girliest girly-girl there is, I have had it in my mind that Evelyn would one day have a canopy-esque something or another draped over her bed. Well, a few weeks ago I went to the mall and found THIS! Not only was it beautiful, it was so affordable. Originally $50 at the Disney store, clearanced out to $7.50!!! I could not buy all of the fabric and materials to make it for that price. Since we are moving I am not allowed to take anything new out or hang anything up. But, you better believe, this is SO going above the crib as soon as we move! The girl on it is from the new Disney movie Enchanted. I rented it today - very cute. Maybe someone will get it for Evelyn's first birthday or something... (hint, hint:-)

And, who doesn't love little lacy anklets on a girl?!? I bought tons of socks at a garage sale this summer and took the next size out about a month ago. There are a bunch of frilly ones in this size. I hope they still fit once our weather is nice enough to show them off! For now, I just admire them at diaper changes! Cute thighs, huh? I feel terribly that she did lose some weight from this sickness. It is probably in my head, but her little thighs seem smaller now... I love those little chubs!

I love having a girl!

Bloggy Friends in "Real Life"

So, I have now talked with three bloggy friends in real life! :-)

First came Cjoy, who was great and talked with me about natural labor, nursing, co-sleeping, etc. on the phone for at least an hour in the month before Evelyn was born. She gave tons of helpful advice! She made me feel so comfortable talking with her - she is so easygoing, sweet, and down-to-earth.

Then, there was a couple of weeks ago when I GOT TO MEET Sarah Cool! So fun! She was in our area for work and we met up for lunch. We talked as if we were old friends that went way back! Can't you tell how much fun we had?

Today I talked on the phone with Jennie for the first time. I call Jennie my "online mentor" as I have been going to her via email with mothering questions since about the day I found out I was pregnant! :-) We had a nice conversation about an assortment of things. Jennie has a great voice as you can hear her smiling over the phone!

I wish that all of my bloggy friends lived closer so that we could get together more in "real life." What a neat blessing it has been to be able to interact with three Godly women whom I never would have encountered if it weren't for blogging! So neat!

We're still here!

I realized it has been two weeks since a post...

Evelyn and I stayed with the Andersons (my mom and family)last week, so that is my reason for not posting then. But, now, we are busy recovering from Evelyn having a double ear infection. She started to act sick starting on Friday morning, but after consulting the good old Dr. Sears's "The Baby Book," we chalked it up to teething. She is teething the doc said - teeth within the next few weeks he thinks.

At midnight with a fever of almost 103 degrees, we knew otherwise. I spent the night trying to get her fever down and comfort her. Neither Evelyn nor I got any sleep as she was so uncomfortable and I don't sleep sitting up well which is how I had to remain to keep her calm. We went to urgent care as soon as they opened and found out about the double ear infection. She is on the 4th day of Amoxicillan and I can tell is getting better. But, her drainage is still very bad and neither of us have slept well since Thursday night. She wakes with so much drainage that she cries, rubs her nose, tugs on her ears, and is so sad that she is awake and can't breathe! This is anywhere from 1 minute to 1 hour after she falls asleep. We are up A LOT. I use the nose "aspirator" (aka booger sucker) on her and only get something out about 1/3 of the time. You can hear all of that drainage when she breathes - so sad - it must really be up in her sinuses and draining right into her throat. I sure hope that I did not give her my terribly draining sinuses...

So, we are here, just a little under the weather! I have plenty of my own drainage, too. Yuck and a half!

Evelyn is busy growing and learning new things. She has perfected rolling across the whole room in a split second. She is working on sitting up - in about 2-3 minute spurts, and she is vocal, vocal, vocal!!! Her new trick is having us put a finger horizontally across her mouth and she starts to "sing" as we move out finger up and down - she loves the vibration-like sound it makes.

The Andersons left for Mexico yesterday. I can only assume they arrived safely. If you did not see my update to the vacation post, we have decided not to go. My Johnson (dad, step-mom, sister) family just got back from Mexico last week. See why I wanted to go? Everyone is doing it! :-)

Cloth diapering is going well! Evelyn has a cute (slightly bigger) cloth-diapered bottom to show for it!

Still haven't sold the house. Annoying! God is obviously teaching us about patience. We are trying to graciously accept the lesson. I was particularily annoyed today when a showing was cancelled only 15 minutes beforehand. I had spent over an hour preparing the house for the showing. At least they re-scheduled for Thursday.

I plan to post more soon with more details and pictures about some of these tidbits!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

After the Carrots

"Scootchin' Down"

This was just last night. I had her in the bathroom with me while I did my neti pot (people that have sinus problems - get one!) And, she did her famous scootch down in the bouncer trick, so I was inspired to catch it on video. She knows what the camera is, and as soon as I get it out she tends to stop talking and smiling. Silly girl!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Backwards Edition

Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a "backwards edition" of WFMW this week. So, we are supposed to pose our "toughest questions" for those in the blogosphere to answer rather than leaving actual tips.

My latest news is that I am officially switching to cloth diapers!!! The diapers are currently on their 5th wash in the machine as we speak (they need to be washed and dried 5-8 times before use). Wow, have I learned a lot about the intricacies of cloth diapering! And, whew - there is a lot to learn - including the above pre-washing that is necessary! Jennie, Alix, and Tara have graciously helped me and have already answered a zillion questions. I have also been all over the internet plus have read a manual that came with the diaper order.

The thing about the diapering that is stressing me out the most is the laundering and detergent issue. So many different options are out there! I of course do not want to wreck or wear out my diapers or covers, but I also am not sure about buying a special detergent online that I have to start washing all of my other clothes in too... I feel it would be wasteful to throw out all of the detergent sitting in my basement! (Many places that sell diapers explain that the build-up of other detergents in your machine can wreck your diapers).

The other thing that scares me is the poo factor... Some say rinse, others say no. Liners, special sprays, wipes, rinsing hoses - agh!

So, for my backwards WFMW I am asking all of the bloggers out there: What is your best cloth diapering tip - inexpensive supplies, folding technique, laundering/detergent, nighttime and out-and-about solutions, websites, etc.? And, I wouldn't mind any encouragement anyone is willing to give!

Jennie has been great in reminding me what a blessing the diapers will be to both Evelyn and Jason's paycheck! :-)

Don't forget to check out the other WFMW submissions and have a splendid day!!!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Stuck in My Head

I get songs stuck in my head A LOT! Do any of you? Unfortunately, sometimes this phenomena makes me dislike songs that I truly like! The worst is when I have the song stuck in my head and it keeps me from falling asleep at night or keeps me up if I wake up in the middle of the night.

Anyhow, I have lately had "Journey to the Past" from Anastasia stuck in my head constantly. Since Jason is gone, Evelyn and I rented some girly movies last week from the $1 section - A Cinderella Story and Anastasia. I knew a lot of the music from Anastasia, but had never actually seen the movie in its entirety. It was a cute movie. There are a lot of celebrity voices - Meg Ryan, Angela Lansbury, and Kelsey Grammar to name a few. The music is very fun and catchy! Evelyn and I enjoyed singing and dancing to the "sing-along" feature on the DVD - she had her first waltz! Good times!