Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When I'm Sick I Have Nothing to Say

Well hello there. The unplanned absence was due to my lingering cough, which is just horrible. When I get a cough (maybe once a year or every other), it tends to be brutal. I'm not sure why, but it sticks around for two or three weeks and just completely drains my energy. All my other symptoms--body aches, headache, stuffiness--disappeared last week, but this cough just sucks the energy out of me. My abs are so sore! By eight at night my whole body is completely exhausted from coughing, so I've been going to sleep early, taking cough medicine, sucking down cough drops, drinking herbal tea like it's my job, but still not really seeing much improvement.

My biggest concern is getting Terry sick and/or giving this virus back to Marshall. We've really done our best to get lots of sleep and stay away from each other, but it feels impossible with a baby, especially one who's teething and chews on all the things. Please send healthy thoughts our way...

So anyway that's why I've been MIA. When I'm sick I just have nothing interesting to report. Marshall and I have been laying low, mostly staying home and taking short walks to get fresh air. Workouts, of course, have been nonexistent because I can't even walk a few steps without coughing. Unfortunately, I think the lack of exercise affects my sleep, so then I get less rest. It's a cycle. But I didn't have anything interesting to say, and in my opinion it's best to keep quiet in those cases. :-)


This weekend was a quick trip up north to celebrate my dad's birthday. As always, 48 hours flew by, but we had a really nice time. We arrived Friday for a late lunch, which I dug out of my mom's fridge (thanks, Mom!). We played with the puppy (he needs to just STOP with how cute he is!), let my parents hang out with Marshall, and ran a few errands. Friday evening my brother and Ashley arrived, and we ate pizza after Marshall went to sleep. We had a really nice evening before an unfortunately less-than-awesome night of sleep.

My mom and Ashley


Brothers-in-law


Me and the birthday boy!


Dad opening a bunch of letters from loved ones wishing him a happy birthday


Eiger and me!

Ash and Eiger


Saturday morning Terry and I took Marshall to the park to try to fend off some of his fussiness. I swear, during parts of this weekend I was certain our baby had been swapped with a very convincing lookalike; he was by far the fussiest I've ever seen him! I was SO grateful to have extra people around so that when the whining started to wear on me a grandparent or uncle or aunt would swoop in to distract him. It takes a village, indeed.

Ashley and I headed out mid-morning so she could cut and color my hair! Hooray! And I LOVE it! I don't really have any good photos yet, but it's at least 5-6 inches shorter, SO much healthier, and perfect for the rest of summer. Thanks, Ash!

Saturday evening was a relatively small get together for my dad's 60th. It was lovely to catch up with some folks we don't see too often, and the food was phenomenal. I think my dad enjoyed himself, which was the priority. Marshall got a balloon and was happier than I've seen him in a while.



After a family breakfast on Sunday the three of us headed home. Marshall zonked out for three hours on our drive and then tormented Scout when we got home. Scout, of course, was thrilled.



And then this week has been super mellow. Tonight I may try some at-home very low-key exercises just to get the blood flowing a bit, but a walk is still not in the cards for me. Just some simple planks, push ups on the knees, clams, Pilates-inspired moves, etc. Hopefully it'll help me sleep a bit better.

My mom is a big believer that "acting sick" can lead to feeling worse. Last week, when I had insane body aches, it was a pjs-all-day-and-sit-on-the-couch-whenever-possible day, but now that it's just a cough, I'm trying to "act healthy" to convince myself that I am, in fact, feeling better. Aside from going to bed early and continuing medication, tea, and cough drops (plus even more water than usual), I'm showered and dressed and planning a little afternoon outing with my sidekick. We have some fun errands to run for Jenn's baby shower this weekend (woo hoo!), plus we might be able to sneak in a visit to daddy. It'll help the day move faster, if nothing else!

Be back tomorrow with some kids-in-the-kitchen stuff. Stay healthy, friends!

What do you do when you're sick? I never used to drink tea, but now I've fallen in love with Peet's Lemon Rose tea, and I have had at least four cups a day lately. Soothes the throat and tastes like zen. I also try to get more rest/sleep than usual, which means fewer errands and chores and more sitting around the house. A nice break from the usual, I suppose, but after a few days I get antsy!

Any tips for getting/staying healthy when others in the household are sick?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

14 Months

Happy Thursday! It's a dreary one over here, a welcome break from the crazy humidity at the beginning of the week. Marshall and I took a nice walk this morning (our typical route is a little under two miles round trip) and have spent lots of time hanging at home, packing, getting ready for tomorrow's road trip up north. I can't wait to celebrate my dad's birthday!

Since today is mostly about errands and getting ready, I thought I'd just stop in to share a bit about Marshall turning 14 months old today. (Insert lots of cliches here, like "How did he grow so fast?!" and "Stop time now, please.")

Fourteen Fun Facts to celebrate our Fourteen-Month-Old

- This month was all about reading. Marshall seems to love looking at his books, either by himself or with us, and really engages in the pictures now. It's so fun to read to (with) him, and I hope we are helping to instill a love of reading and learning in our little boy.

- Walking is WAY better than crawling! Everyone warned us: "Oh, wait until he's walking. Then you'll really be in trouble!" I disagree. I love that Marshall can walk now. I can set him down on the sidewalk (far from the street, don't worry) while I pack the stroller back in the car; I can put him down when my arms hurt from holding him; I don't have to worry as much about him scuffing his pants when he crawls; I can let him walk in parks even if there's a little mud or sand, whereas with crawling it would have just been way too messy. I thought crawling was super cute, but walking is for sure more convenient and more fun!

- Marshall weighs about 23 lbs 9.6 ounces (based on our home scale), and an attempt at measuring him yielded approximately 33 inches. We'll get official numbers next month!

- Favorite foods of late: fruit (ALL the fruit), yogurt, especially with frozen blueberries, bread/pita, and dad's homemade chili. Here's a week of what he ate this month!


- Still breastfeeding twice per day, mostly because I haven't seen reason to stop. Once we cut the night feedings (he was just using me for comfort), it all became very relaxed. Next month we'll drop the morning feeding and then start to think about dropping the before-bed feeding, but I haven't felt any rush. It's a nice time for me to just sit, to say good morning or goodnight to M, and to start or end the day on a calm note. Then again, if we stop soon, I doubt he'll really even notice, or so I'm hoping!

- Marshall started "dancing" this month, where he stands in place and moves his feet really fast, but he really only does it while holding the gate that leads to the kitchen. Dance moves need some work. I'm on it.

- Marshall LOVES dogs and is super calm when he meets one on the street. Yesterday a woman complimented him on being unafraid and willing to let the dogs say hello and kiss his hands. I'm so glad he is a dog lover early in life, even though we don't have a dog! I thank my brother and Ashley's dogs for that, because if he's not afraid of those giant beasts, he's not going to be afraid of many!


- We visited the Santa Monica airport this month, and I think it sparked a love/fascination with airborne vehicles. He knows the sound when we hear one, even if he can't see it, and he knows the words airplane and helicopter. Granted, it may be that we get excited and our example rubs off on him, but it's fun that his daddy works with jets and Marshall enjoys them.

- The tantrums haven't been too bad yet, but we do notice bouts of fussiness and some fairly intense whining on occasion. We do our best to acknowledge his emotions and move on, but I'm sure any parent would agree it's tricky territory. Experiencing lots of feelings he can't express yet must feel frustrating, so we're trying to understand what he's trying to tell us without indulging unacceptable behavior. We do our best.

- Marshall is just completely enamored by his daddy. If I tell him we're going to see daddy soon, his whole face lights up, and he repeats, "Dada!" until we get home. I love it.


- Sleep took a glorious turn for the much much much better this month! (KNOCK ON WOOD.) We did a few nights of the Ferber method, where we ensured Marshall was fed, safe, dry, etc., but let him cry for 5 minutes, then checked on him and calmed him down, then bumped up to 10 minutes, repeat. It was horrible and I resisted it as long as I could, but we had too many nights of not sleeping. I can deal with me not sleeping well (to a point), but Marshall needed sleep too. I knew those long nights of waking multiple times were not healthy for him, and that's the only reason I was willing to try Ferber. He never actually cried himself to sleep, oddly--he would always end up falling asleep while we were in there during one of the "breaks", but somehow it seems to have made a huge difference. Now he's slept through the night more times this last month than his entire first 13 months of life, and it makes for a happier baby who naps better, a happier mom and dad, and a much less stressful household. If you'd like to hear more about it all, let me know. I'm not saying it's perfect, and I wouldn't even go so far as to say "he's sleeping through the night" (call me a pessimist, but I need a few more weeks of good sleep to get there), but it's gotten so much better. Thanks to all my mom friends who helped me with lots of advice and encouragement while we were struggling with M's sleep!


- Our new neighborhood has opened up a world of possibilities for us during the day. Marshall and I go for at least one walk a day, usually to the store, sometimes to the park. We have two awesome parks to choose from nearby. After Terry gets home we frequently take a family stroll somewhere. We're near everything, so nothing feels like a hassle. It's been a dream.

- M has shown more interest in Scout lately. It's been off and on, but this month he really wanted to pet Scout. Sometimes he's gentle, sometimes not so much, but we really encourage them to interact while we supervise. Scout tolerates him to an extent, then backs away and totters off to glare at all of us. Scout has lots of high (out-of-reach) safe spaces where he can be alone, so we don't worry too much.


- Sometimes Marshall catches me off-guard when he comes toddling out of his room holding a book and smiling his silly grin. I can't believe he's already a walking, "talking" (he says maybe five consistent words--dog, dada, duck, cat ["ata"], and that) little person. I miss his newborn days and the days when I could set him down and know he'd be in the same spot two minutes later, but I also love this stage where I get to learn more about him and he gets to show us what kind of person he is becoming. I feel so lucky to be his mama.



I'm not sure how much I'll check in this weekend--I always have the best intentions but these trips are a whirlwind and I want to spend as much time as I can with the people we don't get to see too often--but can you believe that next week is the last week in July already?! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What I Ate (and Did) Wednesday

Well hello ladies and gents. I scored myself NINE solid hours of sleep last night by going to bed and somehow bribing the baby to sleep through to six o'clock without any wake ups at all! Thank you thank you thank you, Marshall! I woke up feeling one million times better, and I'm well on my way to 100%. 

I started the morning thinking I'd participate in What I Ate Wednesday, but I didn't get photos of everything, so keep that in mind. I also still don't have a huge appetite, which almost never happens, so it's significantly less food than I'd normally eat. Breakfast was a fried egg, a biscuit with jam, and a bite or two of banana that Marshall so sweetly shared with me.


We spent a chunk of the morning playing around the house and my big-eyed boy let me take a photo of his sweet face. He's 14 months tomorrow (today, if you're reading this on Thursday), and I can hardly believe it!


Mid-morning, to fend off that nap a liiiiiittle longer (we're transitioning to the one-nap schedule, but he's not quite ready to make it to 11:30 or noon, so we're moving it back a little at a time), we headed to Target, where they have wide aisles and friendly staff and plenty of room for a toddler to, well, toddle.


And toddle he did! Up and down the aisles. Note to self: The toilet paper/paper towel aisle is perfect for a 14-month-old to practice walking. Nothing breakable or tiny.

Then Marshall crashed hard for an almost-three-hour nap. Yes, when they say "good sleep leads to good sleep," they are not kidding. Sleeping through the night almost always leads to an awesome nap the next day, which then leads to another great night of sleep (knock on wood). If that cycle could just always continue, we'd all feel perfectly rested around here!

I prepped Marshall's lunch while he was sleeping and munched on 3/4 of a peach. It was SO perfectly ripe!


We shared leftover couscous Greek salad for lunch, plus the peach above and some pineapple. Then Marshall had some work to do: moving his toys from one box to the other. 



He's weird.

For some fresh air we headed out for a walk, sunglasses on to protect our eyes. And our identities. 



I whipped up a batch of Fitnessista's latest creation. I quadrupled the recipe (why not?), but not the maple syrup. They were plenty sweet! Oh, and I didn't have almond meal or protein powder, so I just omitted those and they turned out fine.


Freeze-dried strawberries were new to me, but they are insanely sweet! I don't think I'd eat them on their own. Marshall loved them, so I guess that's something. In this recipe, though, they added a nice sweetness. I crumbled two on a bowl of yogurt with some peanut butter this afternoon, which was delightful.


We spent a good hour reading in the afternoon (Marshall's books, not mine, which is sad because mine is My Life in France by Julia Child and I absolutely love it so far), and then when Terry got home the boys hung out while I made dinner. 

BOOM.


I had a craving for meatballs, and Terry read my mind and said meatball subs, so we put them on the menu this week. When I got sick I worried I wouldn't get to them, because if I had felt as badly as yesterday I would've ordered a pizza instead. But with health back on my side I threw on an apron (too late, as always--must I splatter myself before I remember to wear an apron every time?) and got to work. I have made meatballs before, but I can't remember them being phenomenal, so I tried my own recipe. I looked up a few online to see what they have in common (at least two types of ground meat, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper were really the only commonalities), and then I turned to my Sicilian friend Jenn who knows all Italian food better than I do and asked what she does. With a few tricks (no breadcrumbs! toast the bread, then dip it in water, squeeze out the excess, and rip it into pieces), I went with:

- 1 sauteed onion and 4 cloves garlic, allowed to cool (I would use half an onion next time)
- 2 hot Italian sausage links
- about 18 ounces ground beef (more or less would've been fine; it was what I had)
- 1 teaspoon each of dried parsley and dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- 3 pieces of bread prepared the way I described above
- 1 egg

All mixed together by hand and rolled into balls, browned 1-2 minutes on each side on the stove (big pan, lots of olive oil, medium-high heat), then set on a baking sheet to cook the rest of the way through at 350 degrees in the oven (about 8-10 minutes). I left some out to cool to freeze for later and threw the rest in a pot of jarred marinara sauce, simmered about 20 minutes, and threw 'em on some rolls with mozzarella and lots of sauce. Delicious and hearty meals, and quite tasty meatballs, if I may say so.

For dessert I had one more strawberry ball and am calling it another semi-early night. Hope you had a lovely Wednesday! 

Best thing you ate today? Mine was for sure that meatball sub. Such great comfort food!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cabin Fever Random Buys

I love when I get my act together and write all these plans for the week and then come down with a super rough virus that prevents me from wanting to even get out of bed. But alas, I am most definitely sick sick sick. I even skipped dessert last night and barely had an appetite today (that's how I knew it was bad!). 

So let's focus on the positive, shall we?

Random trip to Target, in an effort to get out of the house and cure cabin fever (which happens for us after about four hours of not going out):


I bought a pack of notebooks because I've been writing my billions of lists on random scraps of paper instead of using some semblance of an organized method. Now I have notebooks for days! One will go in the car because I often think of brilliant ideas (er, meal ideas) when we're on a road trip, and we have no paper in the car. Another is for daily to-do lists and whatnot, like what to pack for our trip this weekend. One will be a workout notebook--before I got pregnant I kept a pretty consistent log of most of my workouts, which was a great way to keep track of my progress and see if I was making any improvements. 

The Spot book is for Marshall (shocking, right?) because he's been SUPER interested in reading lately! He likes to read a little on his own, which I'm trying hard to encourage, but he seems to like it best when we read with him. He'll grab a book and hold it out to me, or he'll bring me a book to the couch and I'll pull him up next to me. We'll read through it, then he'll go find another book and bring it back to the couch. I could play that "game" all day. 


The fish t-shirt above was on clearance. I always check the clearance sections at Target, Marshall's, wherever I go to see if they have any good kids' clothes. I have managed to find a lot of cute stuff for around $3-4, which satisfies my itch to buy fun items for Marshall without spending too much.

And then a little greeting card for a friend. I am absolutely TERRIBLE about sending cards and gifts on (or even near) birthdays, despite my best intentions, so maybe I can make up for it by sending unexpected cards randomly throughout the year?


Cuddling has been in full force lately. Marshall didn't cuddle for his entire first year of life (well, not while he was awake), so I'm still a little baffled when he crawls over to me with his thumb in his mouth and wants to cuddle up. It doesn't last more than a few minutes, but it's quite a lovely part of the day.


Last night Marshall slept almost all the way through the night (and thank goodness my sweet husband was willing to get up to put him back to sleep at 4 am), AND he took a beautiful two hour nap today. I sat on the couch for those two hours and did nothing productive. I didn't feel any better after, but I didn't feel worse! Scout joined me under the blanket (yes, in 80+ degree weather I was under a blanket). 


Despite not feeling well enough to do much, I did manage to make a simple dinner (Couscous Greek salad plus pita and hummus--perfect for summer and I can't wait for leftovers), do some laundry, and tidy the house. Terry kindly came home early from work and took Marshall out for a run and to the park. I love when they go out just the two of them (and not just because I get to cook dinner in a quiet house); it's so fun to hear about what Marshall did while they were out! Terry comes back so animated and has such pride in his voice telling me about his son. Adorable.

Photo from yesterday, which I posted on Instagram:


Well, it's almost my bedtime (8 pm, because I can't handle another day of feeling like this), so that's it for now. Hopefully we'll have more adventures to share tomorrow!

When was the last time you were super sick? 

Are you good about sending birthday cards? Teach me your ways!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Keeping Cool and Plans for the Week

Hello and happy week-start to you. It's sweltering here, and we're starting to get a sense of how our new place handles heat. Verdict: Not very well. It's not bad on a warm day, because we don't get too much direct sunlight, but if there's no breeze and the air outside is just thick and hot like this weekend, we're in for a rough time. Thankfully, we have fans and cold water, so we're just muddling through.

We took a midday break today to grab some ice cream at new-to-us Beachy Cream. Their ice cream is all homemade, and our peanut butter fudge + hot chocolate flavors were deeeeelicious. We even gave Marshall a few bites! 





How is it that kids always manage to get food all over, even when they just get a bite or two? Good thing it looks adorable. Also, Marshall now officially loves his sunglasses. At first he just wanted to rip them off, but now he rolls with it!

Unfortunately, the little guy was under the weather for most of the weekend. He came down with something toward the end of the week and even got a fever last night. He slept pretty restlessly, but some teamwork and lots of comfort got us all through. The timing is tough, because it's SO hot so he's likely even less apt to sleep well, plus coughing keeps waking him up. Poor guy.

The poor sleep and short naps meant an afternoon nap was absolutely necessary (he has pretty much phased out the second nap!), so I got to hang out on the couch reading my latest book, which I borrowed from my sister-in-law. I'm reading My Life in France by Julia Child, and so far I LOVE it. Well hello, it talks about Paris and food, so I imagine it doesn't get much better.


The rest of our weekend was mellow to the point of boredom. Honestly, I think we're so used to planning ahead and having at least one big activity every day that when we stumbled upon this free weekend with no plans we sort of fell into a slump. Among the heat, Marshall being sick, and our lack of planning, we couldn't think of a single thing to do. So we hung close to home, wandered around the mall, took a walk or two, hit up the farmers' market, and tried to stay cool. We ate a lot of leftovers, too, so aside from a delicious batch of chili (Terry's creation), the food was pretty uneventful, too. I didn't even really work out because I wasn't feeling great. Talk about boring, right?

So anyway, here's to a better week ahead. We have plans for some good meals:

Homemade meatballs (I'm planning to just wing it as far as a recipe...but I'm sure Ina has something) for meatball subs
Homemade biscuits for egg sandwiches (made them tonight for dinner, so leftovers will be breakfasts)
Couscous Greek salad, similar to this one but using couscous instead of quinoa


For workouts, we are continuing with the theme of consistent but smart, incorporating plenty of rest as needed but still hitting all the essential aspects of fitness: strength, long slow cardio, flexibility, and interval/HIIT work. 

Monday: yoga
Tuesday: 20 min jog + 20 min walk
Wednesday: Upper body strength
Thursday: Lower body Tabata + strenth**
Friday: Long walk 
Saturday: Probably something quick because we'll be up north to celebrate my dad's 60th! Woo hoo!

**Last week, we did a Tabata workout at the park (we alternated while one of us hung out with Marshall and the other completed a round of the workout):

20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest:
Squat jumps
Tuck jumps
Jumping lunges
Plie squat jumps
(Repeat = 4 minutes)

That's one round. Then we rested and the other person went and we did it again for a total of 8 minutes. 

PLUS: 25 walking lunges (repeat x2 for 75 total)

My original thought was doing it for 16 minutes total (HA!) plus more leg strength stuff, but apparently we're not in that kind of shape yet. So now our new goal is to keep repeating this workout each week until we can build up to those 16 minutes. I'm still mixing up the other days of workouts, so hopefully it won't feel boring, but it'll be nice to see some progress (hopefully) as we build our endurance. 


Okay, I'm off to shower and get into bed early to ensure I don't get whatever Marshall has. Hope your week starts off wonderfully! Here's to cooler weather! 


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Food Lately and Cloth Diapers

Ahh...do you feel the weekend's presence? It is upon us, my friends.

And ours gets to start a little early, because Terry has tomorrow (Friday) off! Hooray! We have a few laid back activities planned--Terry is donating blood, we're going out to lunch, hopefully some exercise here and there--but it should be a quiet weekend. It's been so nice to really kick back these last few weekends after our whirlwind month or so in May and early June. Next week we'll travel up north for my dad's birthday, which is always a hectic adventure.

Lately we've really been planning and (mostly) sticking to our meals at home. I always, always, always feel better when I eat mostly homemade foods, and yet somehow I always get suckered into wanting to eat out. I guess it's a little easier, and of course there are no dishes to do, but otherwise eating out does not make me feel good. Plus, it's expensive! I love cooking, I love trying new recipes, I love feeding myself and my family with foods I know for sure are healthy. So we're making a real effort around here to eat in as much as possible.

Of course, when we're presented with an opportunity to go out just the two of us, all that effort goes straight out the window and we run to the nearest restaurant to have a conversation over meals that we didn't cook and we don't have to clean up, and that's okay too.

So with that in mind, I thought I'd share some of what we've been eating around here lately:

Our second Blue Apron meal (blurry)--Pork chops with dressed sweet potatoes


Copycat Lara bar balls--1 cup cashews, 1 cup pitted dates, 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut, and 1 tsp salt


Our third Blue Apron meal--chicken pitas with tabbouleh


Marshall's meal (here are more!) the other day--a homemade muffin, roasted sweet potatoes, cheese, avocado, and yogurt with blueberries


Lunch twice this week: salad with shredded cheese, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, and a Dr. Praeger's veggie burger (my first time trying it--very good)


Day date with Terry! We went to True Food Kitchen for drinks. Delicious!


....And a dinner date too! We tried out The Honor Bar, and the burger was awesome. Terry had the carnitas sandwich, which was also good.


Another Marshall meal--mac and cheese, peas, and grapes. 


YUM. Now it's 10 pm and I feel like I could go back and eat all those meals right now.


I also wanted to share our progress on using cloth diapers!

We moved into our place mid-May, and we love love love our washer and dryer. I caught up on laundry that first week, and we haven't had a build-up since then. I usually do a load or two every other day, and that keeps us on top of things around here. But having laundry in-unit also allowed us to bust out our cloth diapers again, which we had put away while living in our old place (walking up and down three floors plus paying per load was not a magical combination for wanting to wash cloth diapers three times a week). Here's an update in Q&A form, with questions I had before I started cloth diapering:


How many cloth diapers do I need?
We have a total of 16 cloth diapers, which would not be enough for a newborn but is just about perfect for a 14-month-old if we wash the diapers every other day. For a newborn (and for our next child), I would want at least 25.


Do I still need to buy disposables?
For us, it's unrealistic to expect to forego disposables altogether. I always have them on hand--at home and in the diaper bag--because a few times we've needed to run the wash for the cloth and have to use disposables in the meantime. Also, if anyone else is watching Marshall, I don't ask them to do cloth, unless they want to, so I always leave disposables on the changing table and they can choose. I'd say we use around 5-10 disposable diapers per week now (we still love The Honest Company), which is saving us a lot of money for sure!

Umm...how disgusting is it, exactly? And what is the cleaning process?
I was honestly never too worried about the mess or getting baby poop on me, but I can definitely see where some folks might think cloth diapers are gross or won't get clean enough or something. But it's pretty straightforward. We store wet/dirty diapers in a hanging wet bag and keep it zipped. For a newborn poopy diaper, you just throw the whole thing in the wet bag. Once we introduced solid foods, things changed, so to speak, so now we empty the soiled diaper into the toilet and then place it into the wet bag. It's not that bad, I swear. Of course, there are the occasional diapers that require extra scraping, but I don't want to get too graphic here. Feel free to ask me for more details...

Portable wet bag (for the diaper bag)


Every two days, we run a load of diapers (just diapers, no other clothes in the same cycle...maybe that's obvious). The only gross part is taking the liners out of the diaper covers, but it takes about a minute. We have a high efficiency, fancy washer, so we set it to do a pre-rinse and a hot wash so that the detergent and diapers get lots of quality time in there. Then we set the diaper covers to dry on our laundry rack (some are dry within about two hours) and throw the liners and wet bag (that gets washed too) into the dryer when the next load of regular clothes gets dried. Hopefully that makes sense. Then we insert all the liners before putting the diapers away, to make diaper changes quick and easy.


Oh! And we use All brand liquid detergent. I tried Honest Company, but it just wasn't quite strong enough, so until I find a more natural detergent that really works I'm going with All Free & Clear.

What brands should I buy?
I researched lots of reviews and decided to try two different brands. Most folks say you keep trying one of each brand until you find one you like, so I think we're lucky we liked the second one. Charlie Banana are not our favorite, but we have six and still use them. They are fleece on the inside, which is HOT for LA. Also, we've had lots of leaks in those, so we make sure to change them after 90 minutes or less. BumGenius 4.0 are my favorite. They have an insert that folds over for double leak protection, and Marshall sleeps all night in those (up to 11-12 hours, no leaks!).


BumGenius Freetime is super easy because it doesn't use liners; it has attached "liners" that fold over. But it's also pretty bulky and seems less comfortable. All of them work from newborn until potty training because they have snaps all over and you just adjust the snaps to fit your baby.

Pros and Cons?
Pros:
- Saves us money. Diapers are pricey, and our little boy eats a LOT, so we go through a lot of diapers (I'd say 6-8 per day, and that's at almost 14 months; it was more before!). We also got some of the diapers as gifts from our registry, and we've purchased a lot of them at Buy Buy Baby using a 20% off coupon.
-  I think Marshall is a little more comfortable, but of course that could be my own idea of comfort. They just seem less hot (except Charlie Banana--see above) than disposables because they breathe a little more.
- Good for the environment. Of course, the increased water use is a concern, especially in a drought, but we have the HE washer, and we didn't notice much of a spike in our water use, but we're keeping an eye on it.
- Cute! The diapers are cute, which I really don't care about, but I get compliments on them from other moms, so there you go.



Cons:
- They do take more time. Absolutely. Diaper changes themselves aren't more difficult, but of course it's an added two or three loads of laundry per week. But then again, I almost never have to buy diapers anymore, so no more running to the store just for diapers when we get low.
- The initial cost is pricey, because each cloth diaper costs $15-20. But of course, registries help, and as I mentioned Buy Buy Baby allows the 20% off coupons. We bought ours one at a time, whenever we had an extra coupon, and we have plenty now. There are cute gender-specific designs, too, but we stuck with solids and neutral so we can use them with our next baby (fingers crossed).
- If others are watching Marshall, I don't have them use cloth, because I don't expect them to deal with tossing poop in the toilet or figuring out which snaps fit Marshall best. Also, if Marshall were in day care, I don't think cloth would be worth it because I'm pretty sure most care centers don't want to deal with cloth. The logistics seem impossible.


So there you go! It's working for us right now, and of course we're flexible if for some reason it stops working. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me or comment below!

What have you been eating lately? 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A to Z Survey

Yesterday was a rough day all around (I opened the freezer during Marshall's nap and a huge block of ice fell out and woke him up, and then he didn't go back to sleep the rest of the day), and by the time 8 pm rolled around I was in no state to blog. Sometimes writing is cathartic for me; other times I know I'll just end up writing a super grumpy post that will make me cringe when I reread it. So I opted for some So You Think You Can Dance and a few chores and got into bed by 10.

I am feeling good about exercise lately. We took some long walks this weekend; I did yoga yesterday; and today we enjoyed a short family walk. Tomorrow will be some upper body strength. Consistency for the win.

We're getting some signs that Marshall might be ready to transition to one nap per day, so it's sort of tricky reading his tired signals versus helping him move to a later nap in the morning. Wish us luck!

So instead of dwelling on sleep woes or stressing about baby schedules, I thought I'd keep it light today with a survey I read on Julie's blog (funny enough, Gina did it on her blog today, too). I changed a few categories if they didn't apply or would have been really boring answers. :-)

Age: 29--the big 3-0 is next month!

Biggest Fear: My husband would say spiders, but actually I think it's losing my loved ones. (So much to keeping it light, huh?)

Childhood Obsession: Babysitters Club books! I must have 150 of them stored somewhere. 

Drink You Had Last: Water! I'm trying to drink more water during the day and cut back on caffeine because I've felt a little anxiety lately.

Everyday Must-Do: Say "I love you; drive safely" to Terry when he leaves for work. And now Marshall gives Daddy a hug and waves and we're teaching him to blow kisses.


Favorite Song: Probably "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright or "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables.

Grossest Memory: Marshall spitting up INTO MY MOUTH and hair. So gross.

Hometown: Fremont, California, where my parents lived from the time I was eight months old until 2013. Now my "hometown" is LA, and I'm learning to embrace it.


In Love With: I suppose I should say Terry, Marshall, and Scout? :-)  I'm very much in love with those three. Also chocolate.


Jealous Of: Anyone who is in Europe right now, for business, pleasure, or life. (Likely inspired by Joanna's post yesterday. I love those Motherhood Around the World posts! How does she know such worldly people?)

Keepsake You Won't Part With: Marshall's baby books, all our photos, and the ornaments we've collected wherever we've traveled. 

Longest Relationship: Nine years with Terry as of this month!


Middle Name: Lanier (my maiden name), but it was Michelle before I was married. I decided it would be easier logistically to take my husband's name, so my children, husband, and I would all have the same name, plus I like the idea of taking Terry's name. But I loved my maiden name too and feel a strong connection with the Lanier name/history/family, so I wanted to keep it, too. I think Michelle is beautiful, but it was never a huge part of my identity. Still, it's on my birth certificate and diplomas, so it's still a part of me.

Number of Siblings: One, my big brother Chris. Fun fact: Almost everyone I meet thinks I'm an older sibling (usually these people haven't met Chris, they somehow just assume I'm older). Is that weird?


One Wish: To have a second child someday. Marshall has been so fun, and I hope we can have a sibling for him (after he starts sleeping better).

Person You Spoke to On the Phone Last: My mom! Which is unusual, because neither of us likes talking on the phone. I usually only talk to Terry, my dad, and my brother in a given week.

Question You're Always Asked: Hmm...I guess I don't get repeat questions a lot because I can't think of any good ones. But I have heard recently: How old is Marshall? Do you want to go back to work? And: When do you plan to have another kid? (Answers: 13 months; Yes, if the right job comes along and they want me; Eventually, once we get some sleep.)

Reason to Smile: We love our new apartment!



Song You Last Sang: "Stay Awake," the lullaby from Mary Poppins, as I nursed Marshall before his bedtime.

Time You Woke Up: 7:06! But if you count the rest of the night, we were also up at 12:30 and 3:30...

Useful Items You Love: My washer and dryer. It's true love, folks.

Vacation Destination: For some reason, an Alaskan cruise sounds great right now. Maybe because it sounds somewhat doable with a toddler? But we think our next family trip will be to the Grand Canyon, because we've talked about it for years and I've never been. Perhaps in the fall.

Worst Habit: Biting my nails or starting a project and not finishing it.

X-Rays You've Had: Teeth (that double root canal...), foot from my surgery, and I'm sure others.

Your Favorite Food: I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I realized that the food I could eat every day without getting sick of it AND that has tons of possibilities for preparation and consumption is...EGGS! Kinda random. But think of how many ways you can eat eggs and how delicious they are! (Unless you're Jenn, because she doesn't like eggs, but that's her loss and more eggs for me.)



Zodiac Sign: Leo!