Long Overdue Photos

I found Patrick going through the bottles cabinet - as he loves to do - but he had put the snowmen around his neck... I guess they were his little friends! :)

A very bad photo of me, but I love this one anyway. Erin wasn't feeling well one evening. Daniel brought her in to the bedroom for me to hold and she fell back asleep. I love moments like this, though they are few and far between.

Grampa and Gramma gave Patrick and Erin a water table for their birthdays. This was Patrick's first time playing with it... he had a blast. :)

I walked into the living room one morning to find Patrick sitting in Erin's car seat... of course, it was the wrong way, but obviously Patrick and Erin were having a blast.
One of Patrick's new favorite play-time activities is building towers... he loves doing this with legos and the "snowflakes" that you see above, but I've also seen him build towers with banana slices and bottle top covers.
The weather warmed up drastically last weekend, so we took advantage of it and took the kids to the park. Patrick loved looking at the wood chips along the path.
On this same outing, Patrick learned how to go down the big kid slide. He loved it.
Erin enjoyed sitting in her stroller while Patrick played.
Taken just yesterday, Erin shows off her first ever birthday card - compliments of Great-Grampa and Great-Granny. :)


When All Thy Mercies

These are the lyrics to what is probably my favorite RUF (Reformed University Fellowship - google it if you aren't familiar) song.

When All Thy Mercies
©1997 Stephen Barnes Music. Words: Joseph Addison. Music: Stephen Barnes.

1. When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I’m lost
In wonder, love, and praise

Unnumbered comforts to my soul
Thy tender care bestowed,
Before my infant heart conceived
From Whom those comforts flowed.

Through all eternity to Thee
A joyful song I’ll raise
For oh, eternity’s too short
To utter all Thy praise!

2. When worn with sickness, oft hast Thou
With health renewed my face
And when in sins and sorrow sunk
Renewed my soul with grace

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
My daily thanks employ;
Nor is the least a cheerful heart
That tastes those gifts with joy.

Through all eternity to Thee
A joyful song I’ll raise
For oh, eternity’s too short
To utter all Thy praise!

3. Through every period of my life
Thy goodness I’ll pursue,
And after death, in distant worlds,
The glorious theme renew.

Through all eternity to Thee
A joyful song I’ll raise
For oh, eternity’s too short
To utter all Thy praise!


A little bit of everything

It seems I had gotten on a roll with posting about a week or two ago and then I proceeded to have a long absence. I apologize for this. Things have been crazy this week, but I'm hoping things will start to slow down a little in the coming weeks. However, with Sarah's wedding coming up, this may not be the case. :)

A few random updates...

Patrick is growing and blossoming rapidly. His vocabulary is expanding daily, it seems, and he repeats almost everything we say. He gets very excited about his communication. Just this morning, we were at a friend's house for a play date. There was a fish tank in the room and Patrick kept saying, "Fish!" over and over again. Sometimes he would stand in front of the tank and watch and other times he would come over to me and say "Fish!" with a bright-eyed enthusiasm just to make sure I knew they were there.

Erin, too, is changing at lightning speed. Since Patrick's birthday, Erin has learned to pull herself to standing and she is working on learning to cruise. Her balance is improving, though I still have not seen her stand without holding on to something. While Erin can crawl on all fours (also, a new development), she still prefers her "army crawl" as she is much speedier that way. Because of her new-found ability to pull herself to standing, we have needed to lower her crib mattress. We initially lowered it about a month ago because she was getting too tall to sit in her crib in the infant setting. Just yesterday, we lowered the crib to the lowest setting because the rail was at armpit height on her. Erin has also begun to experiment with words and I believe that she has intentionally said, "Baby" and "Mommy" - both on prompt. She loves to play peek-a-boo. :)

Cloth diapering has continued to work well for both kiddos. Patrick sometimes has leaks if we are out and he's spent a while in his car seat or if he has a lot to drink, but Erin has been fine. On an average day, I use 100% cloth on Erin and 6 out of 7 diapers used on Patrick are cloth. Both kids seem very comfortable in their cloth and we've already seen the significant drop in diaper costs.

I usually need to wash every other day, but this has yet to be an issue. In fact, I find that washing diapers usually inspires me to wash another load of regular laundry on the same day. Thus far, having the diapers has helped me to stay more on top of laundry than I had been in the past - doing laundry in a timely manner has always been a challenge for me, but washing small loads every other day seems much more effective than washing a huge load once or twice a week. :)

The garden is coming along nicely. The lettuces are coming up very nicely so far. The spinach has only been a marginal success as we have about 5 plants coming up out of the entire row I planted, but this is a trial year after all! :) This afternoon, I went outside and thinned out the lettuce and was pleased to see that some of the plants are several inches tall. I'm guessing that within a week or two, I'll begin bringing in lettuce for dinner!


Pics from Patrick's Birthday

The dinner table. There were too many people to eat at the table, so we used it as a buffet and sat in the living room to eat.

Gramma reading Patrick's card from Aunty Sarah and Almost Uncle John. :)

Grampa and Gramma gave Patrick a water/sand table. Patrick was very excited about this and Erin was very interested, too. (Side note: I love Erin's baby legs and CD bum!)
Along with the movie "Cars", Aunty Sarah and John also gave Patrick an animals book.

The sand/water table set up - including umbrella!

Patrick's cake. He loves ducks right now and as it was his nursery theme, I opted to make a "duck pond" - so, it's a little boring, but he liked it! :)

Patrick enjoyed playing with the ducks off the cake, but was a little doubtful about the edibility of the cake.

Patrick finally tasted the cake - whole wheat carrot cake - and seemed to enjoy it...

... particularly the cream cheese icing. :)


More on Cloth

So, I'm nearly 3 weeks into using cloth on the kiddos and I still love it... in fact, I think I like it a little more each day. We've had a few small challenges since beginning CD, but nothing horrible.

My assessments of the various diapers:

Prefolds w/ cover - I only tried these on Erin and I only used them once or twice, so I don't have much experience with them.
  • Pros: As far as serving the purpose, they worked fine.
  • Cons: I didn't have any pins or snappis, so it took more effort than I deemed ideal to get everything situated. The moisture was kept right on Erin's skin, which could be problematic long-term.

Happy Heinys - I have used these the least (and probably like them the least) of all the pocket diapers, however after trying them several times, I opted to buy 4 used from a friend.
  • Pros: They are super easy to stuff. Probably the easiest of the three brands I tried. These diapers use velcro, not snaps - a plus in my opinion. The inserts are contoured, not rectangular like the others we have. This seems to prevent the diaper from becoming too bulky.
  • Cons: These are not made nearly as well as bumGenius or Fuzzi Bunz. I have 4 and each one looks a little different - the cut isn't identical, the stitching is different. This basically means that each diaper might fit your child a little differently even though you're using the same brand. They seem prone to leaks sooner than the other brands I tried.

Fuzzi Bunz - I used these as much as the bumGenius during my trial run before deciding which brand diaper to purchase. While I liked these diapers, I opted not to buy any. In the event that we get more diapers over time, I might order a few of these just for variety, but this will only happen if the need for more diapers arises.
  • Pros - They fit well and appear to function like most 'sposies I tried. These seem to be well made and are not likely to wear out easily. A good diaper, in my opinion.
  • Cons - Closures are snaps rather than velcro. While this may be more secure than velcro, finding the right fit can be difficult. If you are working with a squirmy baby, trying to fasten two snaps on each side is no easy task.

bumGenius - These were my favorites out of the 4 brands we used. Therefore, I purchased 7 within a week of first trying them. Because I liked them so much, I purchased another 12 diapers one week after I ordered our first batch, bringing my total BG count to 19.
  • Pros - These diapers are very well made and are relatively easy to put on. I usually have to readjust the velcro on each side once or twice, but they are about as easy as a sposie. Except in the instance of leaving a diaper on way too long, I've never had them leak. They have somewhat stretchy tabs which make finding a custom fit easier than a diaper with snaps.
  • Cons - These are probably the hardest diaper to stuff because of the flap that covers the inner pocket opening. They are also a little bulky and I sometimes have trouble finding pants that fit properly over them. However, that's what baby legs are for, right? ;)
I've found that using cloth on Patrick works beautifully on days we're home. Happy Heinys are great for that 2-3 hour stretch between morning poo and nap time as well as between nap time and bedtime - hence why I bought 4. I use the BG on him for nap time and as necessary. Interestingly, Patrick seems to prefer cloth to 'sposies. We're using Pampers on him at night still because I'm not ready to risk a major leak at 5:30 am (or possibly earlier) when he gets his first diaper change of the day. But, we noticed that after Patrick had spent a majority of the day in cloth and we changed him into a 'sposie for bedtime, he was squirming around and tugging at the back of his pants as though he was asking, "what in the world did they put on me?!" As of yesterday, Patrick has accurately notified me of poos when he has been wearing cloth. :) This is quite the accomplishment.

I mentioned above that we've had a few challenges arise since we started using cloth. In the past, both my kids have had issues with "toxic teething poo" - the kind of poo that leaves their bums burned. Erin just had 4 teeth poke through in the last few weeks and seems to be working on at least 2 more. Needless to say, her poos have been terrible. If I don't notice the poo immediately, the already raw and broken skin gets more burned. In addition, Erin has taken to pooing after we put her to bed... this is a problem that usually requires a middle of the night baking soda bath.

The other issue is that most diaper creams - homemade or otherwise - are not cloth compatible, meaning a fleece liner should be used between the baby and the diaper. I've been trying to find creams that are safe to use with CDs, but nothing seems to be available locally. The CD safe creams are available online, but can be pricey and would also require a shipping fee.

This bout of diaper burn has required more care than any other I've handled before. I make my own diaper balm, but opted to get a pre-made kind for this bout of burn, so I can alternate skincare. I purchased Aveeno diaper cream and have been using that since Sunday.

Daniel had an old fleece that he was willing to let me cut up to use as liners for the CDs. We've been doing this with pretty good success. I made the mistake once of putting the flushable liner between Erin and the diaper and that was a big mistake... a nice, thick layer of the Aveeno cream leaked through onto the diaper, so I've been stripping the soiled one, along with the rest of my wash (today was a wash day anyway) all morning.

In an effort to get Erin's bum healed, I've dedicated today to diligently applying different balms to her bum. This means checking her diaper hourly, reapplying balms, and changing the diaper as necessary. Because of the diaper cream issue, I've been using 'sposies rather than cloth. Hopefully, we can resume primary cloth use on her in a day or two.


Two Years of Patrick

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Patrick!!!!!