Monday, October 18, 2010

Uber Practical Halloween Costumes

It all started with Baby1's first halloween. I wanted to sew his costume because my mother had always made mine but I was having trouble finding material that was both economical and baby safe.  He had a little lovey from Carters that was a little blue dog.  I found a sleep sack in the same color at a mom2mom sale and decided I would just make him a hat.  I made the hat out of fleece and he ended up wearing the hat all winter long.  It was our favorite winter hat.  He was also able to use the sleep sack through out the winter too.

This started my uber practical halloween costume making.  I have again gone back to the same formula- make a cute costume hat that can double as a winter hat and buy a sleeper that the boys can continue to use all winter long.  Baby1 made the task a little more difficult this year because he wanted to be Chef Elmo.  So for his costume I had to add a chef apron, ovenmit gloves (my mom's idea) and a chef hat.

Baby2 is a raccoon, which was my husband's idea.  This year I bought the sleepers online to make sure I had the perfect color match.  So for the price of one cheap Target costume I managed to make  a costume, a winter hat and a pair pajamas.
Baby2 is modeling Elmo hat without the chef hat attachment.  (I attached it with velcro in case it was too heavy or awkward to wear for a long time.)  Baby1 refused to model for Mommy.  Hey playing blocks is way more important.

The tail and whiskers are missing from this shot.  Baby2 has blue eyes just like the raccoon.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Residents and Doctors Need to Know When Talking to Parents of Young Patients

      When my Baby #2 was five days old we had to take him to the hospital for jaundice.  Due to some major miscommunication on the part of the hospital, we arrived at the hospital stressed out from waiting and waiting for hours to have him admitted.  The hospital was in turn waiting for us to bring him in.  With new born jaundice the higher the jaundice level the scary the case can become- there is even the threat of brain damage if the number gets too high.  Just imagine my level of anxiety after all of the waiting to have a resident yell at me because it took so long for me to bring my son in.  This was the first of many disturbing interactions with residents at this particular hospital.  (The poor nurses there have to apologize constantly for the way their residents act- horrible doctor-god complex culture at this particular hospital.  The hospital's reputation is so bad we refused to have either child delivered there but had no choice when told of the jaundice issue.)

       So after witnessing and being subject to a number of bad interactions, and having a sister in med school I thought I would create a list of things I think doctors and residents should know and keep in mind, when interacting with parents.  I mention the little sister because she is an amazing person who will make a phenomenal doctor one day.  She is most definitely focused on the patient and the patient's needs.  Hell, I'd have her deliver my next baby if she can and, the big if, if I get a baby #3!  Smile, hubby, if you ever read this!  My sister and her close friends are often horrified by what they encounter in the course of their "education."  I also have a dear friend that is in his final years of residency and I'm not trying to knock him either.  I know that there are tons of amazing doctors and residents out there.  These are just some things that are important for some doctors who lack bedside manner to think about.  Oh and please help me think of additional things to add to the list.  Thanks.

  • Introduce yourself- we don't know who you are or why you are asking or telling us super important things.  I'd like to know your name at least before you start picking or probing me or a loved one, just saying.
  • If you are talking about our child, acknowledge the child- use his name, speak to him too.  We need to know that you realize this is a precious person and not just a disease, injury, case, problem, etc.
  • IT ISN'T ABOUT YOU.  (Do I have to explain this one?  It is about the PATIENT.  The patient better be your priority. PERIOD.)  I have eight stories to illustrate this topic, let me know if you want to hear them.  Oh and yes, they all came from our 26 hour stay in the hospital for jaundice.  God, please help parents that have children with major illnesses and huge complications.  Not only do they need strength to endure the unthinkable, they have to deal with doctor egos.  Not fair.
  • We want good information, clear instructions, time frames or plans, even if they are subject to change.  So much of the time in hospital is spent waiting and wondering what the hell is going to happen next.  If doctors just took the time to give us a brief overview we wouldn't worry so much.  It doesn't have to be detailed or too specific, but something is better than just the wait.  I remember being admitted for complications with 2 and both my husband and I were trying to eavesdrop on nurses to figure out what was going to happen next.  All someone had to do was give us a little tiny bit of information.
  • Give us time to write things down, we are stressed and sleep deprived, we aren't going to remember what you just said because we are again stressed and sleep deprived!
  • Apologize if you screw up.  It means so much.  We even had a resident ask a nurse to apologize for him.  It would have meant so much more if he would have just man'ed up and did it himself.
  • If the patient explains a symptom, issue or problem- acknowledge that it is real and scary for said patient, then tell us it is common, no big deal, happens all of the tome, not significant etc.  You may have encountered 808 patients with the same symptoms but this is obviously our first go round with said problem.  Just acknowledging that we are freaked out will make a huge difference.
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Green Inspiration #1 and Green Inspiration #2

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Trying to Go Green

I read a blog with the challenge to generate as many green mama ideas as possible, so here goes . . .
1) Cloth diapers, cloth wipes, cloth breast pads and mama pads.  It is much easier than you would ever imagine.  And per the incredible insight of Amanda Blake Soule in her book Handmade Home, I decided to make some of my own diapers using old flannel sheets and t-shirts. I made fitted diapers rather than prefolds but that's just me. Soule Mama is the Queen of repurposing around the house and I highly recommend the book (and her blog- she talks so candidly about not wanting to be a huge consumer and trying to tackle the want voice we all hear in our heads.  I use her as my inspiration when I feel like I NEED to buy something.  I'll ask myself- can I make it?  Can I make it out of something I already own?) 
2)We use cloth rags rather than paper towels and cloth napkins at our meals.  No more paper products for our messes!
3)The vast majority of my kids clothes are hand-me-downs or used from Mom2Mom sales.  I also try to buy my clothes from a local consignment shop when ever possible and honestly, when do I ever get new clothes really?
4) Following the whole cloth diaper thing, I try to dry as many loads of laundry outside on the line as possible.  I hate when I can't dry the diapers outside because something about sunshine, makes me feel like they really are clean.  Also for general laundry there is no need for bleach when you can tackle the stains outside on the line.  My goal is at least two loads a week as it gets colder.  This summer I'd say I had loads out there five days a week.
5) With a crawler and a preschooler I try to avoid using harsh chemicals in my house.  My vinegar cleaning solution is my best friend.  I use it for most of my cleaning needs.  I also use some castille soap for washing the floor and other misc. things.  All of our laundry detergents are environmentally safe too (again thanks to cloth diapering).
6) I use reuseable containers for snacks and sandwiches instead of baggies.  I also use silicon cookie sheet for the babies placemat if we eat out at a restaurant.
7) We have curbside recycling and use recyclable bags for shopping.
I want more ideas and more help with this because I want a beautiful world for my children to grow up in. Pin It Now!

My Cloth Diaper Reviewing Qualifications

-Two very active children with fairly sensitive skin
-One super skinny child (if you buy into growth charts- last time he was under 4%) and
one chunky baby who is probably in at least the 80%.  They havec pnsistently been on opposite ends of the growthchart.
-One paycheck household
-a husband that is both frugal and uninterested in the extra work go green may entail (= if it aint easy - he isn't going to buy in)

My favorite diaper is Best Bottom.  Not only do I feel like I'm getting more bang for my buck with the inserts and a handful of shells, they are great diapers.  After reading other reviews, I only purchased the snap version. It was rumored that the hook and loop version was not soft on babies' waists. I was not brave enough to test the hook and loop version out myself.
I did a fair bit of research and checking around before picking the Best Bottom brand. I liked that I could have so many inserts and really have a decent stash for a small amount of money. I started the journey with two in diapers at the same time. Best Bottoms uses a really small well fitting inset that snaps into the shell, that means if I am changing a wet diaper I can just switch out the insert. This was much more econimical for me because I didn't have to have over 30 pockets or AIOs. It is also helpful because my wash loads are less bulky and the inserts really wash and dry well. The stay dry insersts are great. They really do keep the boys nice and dry. We have not had diaper rash issues, or problems with leaks.I opt for the stay dry inserts rather than going organic. I could not really justify the added expense of organic to my husband after having used disposables for over two years. actually use one modified prefold, a regular insert next to their skin and the outer shell.
 I have eight shells and about 30 inserts.  I also have two night time inserts.  The night time inserts work amazingly well but are very bulky. In a perfect world I would have more shells for each boy but I'm trying to be frugal.  I have also found that I can just put the inserts into my bummis and thirties covers and they stay in place on both boys with out problems.  I do prefer the best bottom shells because they are leaner.  They boast about a double layer of pul, which seems to make sense.  They are still breathable and we haven't had diaper rash issues despite surviving a hot summer.
The only real negatives I have found is that the variety of colors is kind of lacking. Having two boys, the colors are better than if I had a little girl though. I love my pocket diapers that have cute prints and hope Best Bottom gets into some fun prints too. I bought two white vanilla shells and wish that I hand't because they stain easily both inside and out. Pin It Now!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Cloth Diaper Journey Begins

Cloth diapering seemed to whisper its way into my conscious with Baby Number Two. I never really investigated cloth diapering the first time around. With Baby Number One I returned to work when he was seven months old and was completely overwhelmed by working full time and trying to be a good mommy. I sidestepped articles about cloth diapering and ignored references to it. I heard that you had to wash cloth diapers a ridiculous number of times, so I told myself that that was justification enough. I was saving water by using disposables, wasn't I? That was reason enough, wasn't it? Boy, was I duped.

Somehow cloth diapering did continue to pop up the second time around, and I guess I was open to it. I am so glad I made the switch. So what did prompt me to make the change? I guess the first disclosure I have to make is that I am now home full time. My husband and I took the one pay check plunge. No longer working (outside of the home, although I am still so geeked to be a SAHM, I can hardly call what I do working,) and eliminating my daily hour drive back and forth to work, I felt I had more time to on my hands. I started hanging clothes on the line and thought, hey I could do this with diapers, couldn't I?

It seemed all of the mothers in our Mommy and Me Yoga class used cloth too. From time to time I'd see a bright green diaper and I guess I took note. 

Then there were so many references in my Mothering magazine. I still barely read the articles about cloth diapering. I skimmed them because I wanted to stay ignorant of all of the chemicals sitting so close to my little ones bottoms. I guess those hippies over at Mothering know better than to leave us alone.

A good friend also told me that she always flushed solids when changing her daughter's diapers and how important it was to do that. I started flushing the solids too, mostly because I learned that was a helpful pre-potty training step. My son was extremely interested in seeing his poop and flushing it. With this step becoming a part of our routine, I told myself that cloth diapering couldn't be that much more difficult.

Then I guess the last straw was when our yoga instructor mentioned that a local store No Pins Required offered free classes on cloth diapering, I knew I couldn't hold out any longer. I talked to the instructor about cloth diapering and then hit the Internet. In the two weeks prior to going to my cloth diapering 101 class, I became completely obsessed with cloth diapers. By the time I went to the class, I felt like I had already done tons of research. I was happy I took the class, believe me, but I already had a pretty good idea about what diapers I wanted to try.

I became so obsessed that after my last box of disposables ran out and before my first shipment of diapers arrived, I frantically sewed as many fitted diapers as I possibly could so as to never put a disposable on my boys again. It seemed impossible to justify spending twenty buck on any amount of disposables when twenty bucks could buy one more super cute diaper.

I touted cloth diapering as a money saving endeavor to my husband. I researched different styles, brands and systems to find the most economical deal. I think I did an awesome job doing this, but there is this one little problem. Although I have a decent stash now, I continue to investigate cloth diapering and still feel a bit of a compulsion to buy more. I am desperately trying to fight this demon, (note guilt in writing because I bought a diaper today at above mentioned diaper store when I told myself and my husband I was just buying detergent) but they are so cute. I still think I am way ahead of the disposable game, even if I have had to buy cloth diaper detergent and the occasional diaper. I've spent under five hundred bucks and I have outfitted two kids. Pin It Now!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Well I have my blog up, I just need the baby to take a nap so I can actually blog! Pin It Now!