Development

Okay. So I really shouldn’t blog while in the throes of sleep deprivation. Turns out I’m a little bit of a monster on very little sleep.

E just turned six months (that update to follow soon), and I can’t believe what he can do! He was sitting by himself the other day, and reached with his left hand around his right side to get a toy. Wow! He just figured out how to work the squeaker on one of his toys, and he is so adorable whacking at it with his clumsy limbs.

Our sleep fell back in line soon after we returned home, and man, he’s a happy little guy. So smiley and giggly (the latest fit of laughter came from bouncing a playground ball). For a while he was babbling with some very clear /b/ and /w/ sounds, but right now he’s all about the bubble blowing and “raspberries”. He lets out this high pitched sound while rolling his lips, and that’s how he is talking at the moment! Funny.

We just started solid foods, and after a few unsure bites of each new one (where he gives a look of “what the heck is this”), he eagerly goes back for more. He opens his mouth (and sticks out his tongue) and dives for the spoon. I had wanted to do Baby Led Weaning, where we allow him to solely feed himself, but the logistics of making sure to have something we could cook for him every night was too much. We are giving him foods he can hold and eat (like avocado) as much as possible, but also feeding purées. He definitely prefers the challenge of feeding himself though, and he tries to scrape every last bit of food off his tray.

He has had avocado, banana (which he didn’t care for), sweet potato, and carrots. (We tried rice cereal only once, and he hated it! I would too, the stuff is not good.) Anyone follow a specific “schedule” for food introduction? We are giving only one new food at a time, but not waiting the several days for another one as is often suggested. I figure, if E’s going to have a reaction to something, it will happen pretty quickly, and we have no allergies in the family. He is so much fun at this age. But growing up way too fast. I will post his six month updates soon!

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Everything I’ve Learned About Cloth Diapering

Here is everything that I have learned (that I can think of) (so far) about cloth diapering.

1) There was no reason to wait until E was a couple months old before completely switching over.  It was easy!

The first couple weeks, we just wanted to get used to having a baby.  Then we had E circumcised, which had complications, (a whole other post…), and didn’t want to worry about sticking or irritation (poor guy!). Then we started doing cloth in the daytime, but stuck with disposables at night, thinking it was easier.  Finally, when E was almost 3 months old, I did the complete switch over, day and night.  And it was easy.  Silly me!

2) What you think you want is not always what you need.

It’s true what they say: buy a variety before you commit to a single style.  We thought we would want to do covers and prefolds, which turned out to be true.  It’s so simple to just grab one of each and not have to worry about matching inserts with covers.  And I didn’t have to buy as many covers as I would’ve had to buy with all-in-ones, because with wet diapers, you just take out the prefold and replace it, cover stays clean.  Ta-da!  We also thought we wanted covers with pockets at the ends to hold the prefolds in place, but the ones we bought with that feature get soaked through onto E’s clothes.  Something about the diaper being up against the fabric.  Oh well.  So, my advice?  Buy (or better yet, get hand-me-downs) a few different kinds to try out before committing to a whole set.  Then get more of the ones you love!

3) Cloth wipes sounded disgusting and scary, but they’re really easier (when cloth diapering) than disposables!

Disposable wipes with disposable diapers, and cloth wipes with cloth diapers.  It was kind of disgusting, (and a pain!) to use disposable wipes with the cloth diapers.  There was no wrapping the wipe in the diaper during changing.  I had to find a spot to put the dirty wipe while finishing dressing E and putting him in a safe spot, then trek it to the trash (the diaper goes in a bin right next to the changing pad).  Yuck!  The cloth wipes go straight into the bin with the diapers and are washed with them too.  They also do a great job of cleaning up E’s bum.  I soak them in a bit of solution (1/4 of a Baby Bum Drop with 1 cup hot water), and put them in the wipe warmer so they’re ready to go.  Easy peasy!

4) For a two-story house, it is wonderful to have two of everything – two diaper pails, two liners (plus an extra for laundry day), two cloth wipe warmers, and (I wish) two diaper sprayers.

Acquiring these took some time, and we bought wipe warmers second-hand, but it has been so nice to not have to go up or down the stairs to clean or store dirty diapers.  I only have one sprayer (upstairs), so I do have to leave E and trek up to use it, but it would be really nice to have two!

5) All-in-ones are less intimidating to a babysitter.

“It’s just like a disposable!”  Put it on clean, take it off dirty, and put it in a (wet) bag.  We invested in a couple all-in-ones just for this purpose.

6) Velcro is easy, snaps are secure.

Snaps are a little bit of a pain to do up, especially in the dark, but they don’t get worn down and loose!  I can imagine E a little older, pulling the velcro open and running free!

7) Get them as tight as you possibly can!

I learned this one the hard way… I felt a little guilty that E was getting red marks on his tummy, so one night I did the diaper up a little looser than normal.  And, when he was in bed with me, nursing side-lying, his pee just poured out the leg hole… all over me and the bed.  Lesson learned!

8) Laundry tabs are necessary.

Without them the velcro on the diapers gets stuck to everything!  Including parts of the diapers themselves, which wears them down.

9) Special detergent is worth the small additional cost.

We had been told that it would be just fine to use our regular detergent (a free and clear) on our diapers, so long as we washed them with only like 1/4 the amount of soap.  Well, after a few months of this, we had a horrific ammonia smell problem, due to the build-up of detergent in the diapers, even with hot washes and extra rinses.  So we’ve switched to Charlie’s soap, and voila!  Much better.

10) Double gussets are a life saver!

If the first set doesn’t catch it, the second will!  Single gussets haven’t been bad, but for those major poops, having backup is a huge relief.

11) My faves: Sweet Pea covers and prefolds.

They’re affordable (only like $10 a cover and we bought prefolds used), cute, secure, and will fit him forever (well, hopefully not forever; I hope E will be potty trained someday).

12) Who cares if it’s secondhand when it’s catching pee and poop.  

I mean, they don’t stay new for long!  Plus, getting them from someone you know means they work.  And getting them from a secondhand store means they’re already prepped (they’ve gone through the pre-use washes for maximum absorbency).

13) It’s really not that much extra work

 It’s an extra load or two of laundry each week, but no folding involved, so that’s a plus!

We are still learning, but all-in-all, it hasn’t been as scary as folks think!

Pregnancy Photos and More

I am getting worse and worse at updating this blog…  It was so easy when I had news every two weeks – pregnant, not pregnant, etc. But rest assured I am still closely following all of you!

I am now 30 weeks pregnant with our little E. Baby showers are fast approaching, and the nursery is complete!

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I’m feeling great and looking forward to the next few months! Today our good friend took some pregnancy photos for us, and they turned out fantastic!

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In other news, the US government has decided that if you are married in a state that recognizes gay marriage, regardless of whether your own state does, you will now receive federal recognition and benefits of being married. So we drove up to Washington state (thank you, WA!) and applied for our marriage license on Friday. So there is an official marriage in our near future! (Right now we have a “Domestic Partnership” in Oregon that isn’t recognized outside the state.) Exciting times and historical moments, although to us it feels much like a hoop to jump through since we “married” and had a “wedding” four years ago. More to come on that!

It’s a….

I know I promised I would post pictures from our reveal party on the 8th, but I swear I have a good reason it’s been three weeks.  =)  My friend is our official baby photographer, and she has been super busy lately (as have I).  But, finally, here is the moment you’ve all been waiting for!!

Gender Reveal 1

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It’s a boy!!

It’s Been Awhile!

Wow.  I don’t even know where to start.  So many fantastic and wonderful things have been happening!

I am now 19 weeks pregnant…

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Quite the belly, eh?  =)

This week I started being able to feel the baby move.  It is so amazing to be at a point where I’m getting constant reassurance that everything’s still alright down there.  Besides a few near-fainting episodes at the hospital I’m interning at, I have been feeling great.

We have been exploring cloth diapering options, and feeling more than a little overwhelmed.  It seems everyone has different preferences; my head is spinning with the choices: all-in-ones, hybrids, all-in-twos, pocket diapers, covers, inserts, and on and on.  I am such a planner, it makes me crazy that I might have to buy a bunch and “wait-and-see” what works!

We just came back from our big vacation (for Michelle’s 40th) to Puerto Rico!  We had many adventures and misadventures…  We had an awful seven hour layover on the way there, Michelle’s suitcase got lost (for only a day, luckily), everything was closed for Father’s Day, and we were there during torrential downpours, but we saw some amazing historical spots and architecture, the rainforest, and had one beautiful (and hot!) day at the beach.  And I got to try stand-up paddleboarding (I have been waiting years for that)!

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Everything has been really great, albeit super busy.  In an attempt to get the majority of my classes out of the way before baby arrives, this term and next I have full time internships (40 hrs a week) and 2-3 classes.  It makes the time fly by though!

We find out the sex of our baby in one week!  We had been considering having a private ultrasound done so that we could find out sooner, but the sonographer (a parent of a past student) convinced me to wait.  She said, “Would you open your Christmas presents three weeks early?”  No, I would never do that!  So we’ve toughed it out.  We planned a BBQ where we will find out with our friends and family, but I will post details and pictures of that next week!

I have finally started the process to have my name changed.  When we signed our domestic partnership papers four years ago, I had the option to have my name changed, but it would have been for Oregon only.  I still would have needed to go through the court process to have it changed federally, and at the time that wasn’t practical.  I have always felt strongly, though, that sharing a last name is one way to help us be recognized as a family.  I had to file paperwork, pay a fairly large fee, post a notice in the courthouse for a two week waiting period, and I will appear in court tomorrow for the judge to sign off on the change.  Then I believe there is another two week waiting period before it’s official. And then of course, the change of names on every card, loan, title, deed, et cetera!  Quite the process you have to go through when you can’t be legally married.

Finally, I’d like to say a bit about the Supreme Court decisions this week.  Obviously, this week was a momentous step in this movement towards marriage equality, but I feel like the media is leaving out some major details.  Not all of DOMA was struck down.  So, that means that only the couples living in states with legal gay marriage will now receive federal benefits.  Thirteen states only.  We and many others like us are still waiting.  This week is cause for serious celebration, but I don’t want people to forget that there are still battles to be fought.  Our state will be voting on gay marriage again next November, and it would be a tragedy for people to not realize how much their participation is needed.

Graduation Day

Last Thursday (I know, I have taken forever to update) we had our second ultrasound.  I’ve been feeling extremely nauseous the past few weeks (excellent even though it doesn’t feel so great) and we were feeling positive but not confident going into the appointment.  The nurse practitioner came in to do the ultrasound, which is probably a good sign that the doctor wasn’t too worried, but I’ve never felt totally confident in her abilities.  The ultrasound showed that our little bean is growing perfectly.  I was eight weeks six days, and the bean measured eight weeks five days (I guess two days above or below is fine), and the heartbeat was strong and fast – 170!  (Maybe a little girl??)  And the best part?  It wiggled it’s little bum while we were watching.  =)  So, we were released from the RE’s office, and will now see my OB/GYN exclusively.  Yay!  The doctor and nurses all came out to congratulate us and tell us how much they’d been rooting for us after our long and hard journey.  It was really touching, and they were all so genuinely emotional about it.  The nurse practitioner offered us a book – Expecting 411, asking if we already had it from one of the previous pregnancies.  We didn’t, which I guess makes it clear how little they had believed those would work out.

We’ve taken our first pregnancy belly pictures and are slowly starting to tell people.  It still feels like we’re going to jinx it!  I’ve told a few of the key people at school so that we can begin planning the rest of my graduate school career around our little babe.  I so hope that this is it.  There’s still so much at so many points along the way that could go wrong.  I also reached out to the friend who had seemed so cold about our losses, and she said that at her first ultrasound they couldn’t find her baby’s heartbeat, and that for the week that they had to wait to look again, she understood a little bit of what we felt.  We are only seven weeks apart in our pregnancies.

We are getting so excited, although it still feels very surreal.  We’ve even started to talk cloth diaper brands.  =)  Tomorrow is our first appointment with the OB for family history and genetic testing.  We’re on our way!

Good News

Yesterday we had our first ultrasound, and for the first time, the results were good!  I was six weeks six days, and the baby measured exactly that.  And the heartbeat was 123, perfect for that time.  I’ve spent the last few weeks with my defense mechanisms working overtime on not letting myself become excited, that I’m having a hard time turning them off now!  I know there are a lot more milestones ahead, but just to have passed this one with positive news feels like a miracle!  Our doctor was even excited (usually he’s all business).  We have another ultrasound in two weeks, then we’ll be released to our OB.  It doesn’t seem possible that we might have finally made it…