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The Low Down on the Down Low

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Elaine and I were talking today about our diapers and decided to do a joint blog post about our diaper system and how it is going and show you what it looks like. Yes that is kind of random first sentence, but we were really excited to have our washing machine fixed and now can dump the disposables and jump back on the cloth diapers. We decided that I would do the info and Elaine would later do a review.. so here we go.

As promised in an early post we were using disposable diapers while our machine was broken for about two and a half weeks. During that time we collected some of the diapers just to see what a weeks worth of diapers looked like- well here it is…

It is pretty disturbing and we know that these diapers will outlive all of us {and potentially our children’s children} in our landfills. Most experts agree that it takes at least 200+ years for them to decompose but even after all that time part of the diaper will live on. I’ve read that most babies go through about 6000 diapers in their first two years of life. Since he was born, Mason has been pretty consistent for about 13-14 changes a day. The photo on the left has about  98 diapers in it collected over one week; looking at his entire life, Mason would have filled up 17 garbage bags with nearly 1700 diapers. Two weeks of disposables were enough for us.

Yes we may use one here and there but we are trying to keep our impact minimal.

Before Mason was born we started our quest to find a cloth diapering system that worked for our us. There are a lot of different brands (BumGenius, Fuzzi Bunz Charlie Banana, EcoBubs, etc) and each has their own pros and cons. Unfortunately we didn’t know any friends that were cloth diapering so a lot of our research came from the internet- blogs, videos, and testimonials. After some contemplation we chose gDiapers, which offers a hybrid cloth and flushable option. This dual feature has been really helpful when we’ve been in precarious positions of running out of cloth inserts or traveling and not having a washing machine handy. The gDiaper system has been a great for us. We’ve grown through two sizes (the newborn and smalls) and I’ve been impressed with how well they hold the mess (no blow-outs yet.. knock on wood), how easy they are to clean, and that there have been no problems with his sensitive skin

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So here is how the gDiaper process works in our house…

These are the outer covers for the diapers. They come in different sizes, colors, and patterns. We are currently using Mediums which covers 13-28 lbs. We have solid color patterns but if you look online they have some fancy prints and now even have matching tops for the covers.

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The diaper assembly is quick and easy. Once flipped from the previous photo, the cover has a plastic liner that snaps in place. This liner helps create the shape of the of the diaper and also seals in wetness or whatever else may comes out. To the right of the cover and liner is the cloth insert. Made of a micro-fleece upper and a cotton/hemp underside, the soft insert fits into the liner and you are ready for the next step.

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Next comes the squirming baby.  The new diaper is secured with two velcro bands and is pretty easy to put on him. Over the 3 plus months we’ve used them we’ve not had it un-velcro or come undone. This was a small concern of mine but in reality the velco is pretty strong and Mason probably won’t figure out the velcro for a while longer.

To prevent toddler hand from undoing the velcro gDiapers, unlike disposable diapers, velcro in the back. This takes a little getting used to but now it is really easy.

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Here you can see the finished product.. well the finished new diaper part. You know that you’ve succeeded if the ‘g’ is on his butt.

The clean diaper may only last for a few minutes but it is pretty easy to figure out if he is wet. One sign is a crying baby and the other is a quick swab of the finger on the inside of his diaper. It may feel a little damp and then the whole process repeats.

{In order to have a happy photo shoot Mason’s diaper wasn’t changed, but he is getting better at the process}

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Here is a photo of the disposable and flushable inserts next to a cloth insert. They are 100% biodegradable and can be flushed down the toilet, put into your compost bin, or just thrown into your regular trash. Not only are they cool in theory, but they are great in practice. We use these inserts when traveling and as a double absorber on Mason’s overnight diaper.

The insert rips apart and you empty the contents into the toilet give it a stir with a diaper plastic wand and it magically disintegrates. Then throw the liner in and it all goes down the toilet. Again your hands shouldn’t get dirty in the process.

To be honest I was a little skeptical of the flushable feature but it honestly works and there are YouTube videos to prove it (not ours). We even have a low-flow toilet and haven’t had an issue with disposal or pluming yet.

The entire thing is compostable which in general I’m down with, but composting our baby’s waste doesn’t sound that appetizing.

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Here is a photo of our dirty diaper hamper. Our wet/soiled diapers and the occasional wet cover live in here until they go into the wash. This diaper pail is specific for cloth diapers and even has a place for an air freshener in the lid. We’ve never had gotten one and thankfully we’ve not had a problem with a smelly mess!

When we are on the go we have a wet bag that we purchased to hold dirty diapers until we get home. The waterproof bag has worked great and we haven’t had any issues with our to-go system.

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Before we started using cloth diapers my biggest fear was about the poopy diapers. I have a pretty solid stomach but I didn’t want to deal scrubbing the #2 diapers clean. Purchasing a diaper sprayer was probably the best investment we could have made. It attaches right to your toilet and prevents messy handling and eases the disposal.  One warning is to pre-explain it’s purpose to your visitors as they may think that you’ve installed a funny looking bidet.

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So that is it and you’ve seen everthing but our washing machine and clothes line. Overall I’d give the process a thumbs up for ease convenience, cleanliness, and ability to switch from cloth to disposable. If ever you’d like to practice your changing skills, please let Elaine or I know and we can work you in the rotation.

Cloth diapering is not scary and doesn’t have to be gross, smelly, or intimidating.

Thanks for reading and have a great day! Mark

Enjoy the blooper shots…

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A Two Month Post (quick, before he turns three months!)

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Because almost all spare time this month has been spent Christmassing… we forgot to put up a Two Month post!

We took our little man to his two month appointment on December 12th and he is officially

  • 2 feet tall (24 inches)! 🙂
  • 13 pounds, 6.5 ounces
  • 41 centimeters head circ.

And they told us where he landed percentage-wise amongst other babies his age.  He’s in the 78th percentile for height and weight and 66th percentile for the size of his head.  He’s a little bean sprout is shooting up so fast!

waiting for vaccinationsHe had his first vaccinations at that appointment too.  Doesn’t he look like he’s worriedly awaiting them?  One squirt of sour oral vaccination (he puckered his tiny lips after tasting), and a shot in each of his poor little legs, upon which he let out an immediate cry of pain.  Break my heart!  They recommended feeding him after his shots to distract and soothe him, and they checked on him  ten minutes later to make sure there was no reaction from the shots.  He was totally fine, except for being a bit more fussy, and spent most of the rest of the day looking like this:after vaccinations

Dr. Hamdani gave us a ton of food for thought for the coming months.  Lots of handouts on vaccinations, development language stimulation and introducing solid foods to his diet, which we won’t be starting till about 4 months (I think Mark flinched when she reviewed the sheet and got to the part about introducing him to meat… a topic which has not yet come to completion in the discussion process).  I think it sent both of our heads into a whirlwind, realizing that while he may not be at the point where he’s eating real food or speaking actual words yet… those days are close enough that we should be preparing for them!  Blows my mind everyday.

Here are some photos of him at two months (and a couple days).  Look back at this post if you want to compare him to previous months 🙂

two months1

two months2

two months3

two months4

I think that this is the month that I’ve noticed the most pointed changes in awareness and interaction.  It seemed like the day he hit two months, all of a sudden he discovered new abilities, and is more interested in what’s going on around him.  At two months, Mason…

  • Only cries during diaper changes now when he’s also either tired or puppy kisseshungry.  Instead he gurgles, coos, smiles, furrows his brow or bats away Ruby kisses (which he hasn’t quite decided whether he likes or not)
  • Will not only look at us from across the room… but will look for us when we call to him, watch us when we leave the room and still be looking towards the door waiting for us when we come back (unless he’s found something else more interesting in the meantime)
  • Has outgrown most of his 0-3 month clothing and is even fitting into some 6 month onesies
  • Is already in medium Masonsized Gdiapers (which opened us up to a variety of new colors!)
  • Has a little bald ring around the back of his head, we’re guessing from turning his head from side to side countless times when he’s trying to (or resisting) falling asleep
  • Is a rockstar at tummy time and will keep his head up for a few minutes at a time and will even roll onto his back on a pretty regular basis
tummy time1 tummy time2 tummy time3 tummy time4
  • Has about 10 times the control over his head that he’s had in previous weeks.  He has such a strong little neck that he’s this close to not needing any head support from us at all
  • Now looks at himself in the mirror… which he never did before hitting two months.  In fact I just caught him staring up at the mirror above the swing, babbling to himself
  • Mark talked about his various “words” now… definitely so much more talkative!
  • smiling faceSmiles galore, we can usually provoke a string of smiles and encourage them once they start coming.  He wakes up smiling most of the time (kid is definitely a morning person), he even smiles in his sleep on occasion
  • He seems to enjoy being read to! Which is a huge excitement for me, given our very first attempt! But now he looks at the pages more often than not, he’ll talks back to me while I’m reading, and will sometimes even stop fussing if i pull out a book and start to read to him.  So rad.reading time
  • This one makes me a bit sad… but he doesn’t snuggle nearly as much as he used to, and he only falls asleep in our arms now when he’s very, very tired.  (I used to breathe in those newborn moments when he was sleeping on my chest, knowing it wouldn’t happen forever… no one told me it stops so soon!)  He’s far too interested in what’s going on around him now to lay his head down now… that’s actually one of his sleepy cues, we know he’s getting tired when he starts to nuzzle.
  • Has become much more predictable with his napping and waking routine.  Both Mark and I getting more and more in tune with his sleepy signals and he’s often out like a light with the help of his little lamb swing
  • angry faceIf we don’t take advantage of the signals he sends us that he’s tired… he’s a giant pill to get to sleep.  We have to hold his hands down to calm him when he flails and keep sticking the pacifier back in his mouth when he spits it out or plucks it out with his newly found hands
  • And his hands… oh how he loves his hands! His hands are another thing he found as soon as he hit two months.  He looks at them with fascination and loves to suck on his hands with gusto, sometimes plucking out his pacifier to replace it with his fingers.  Sometimes one finger… sometimes three… sometimes both hands into his tiny mouth at once!  Oh the slurping involved 🙂
mmm hands
I gotta tell you… watching and helping this little dude to grow and learn is pretty much one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced.

Looking Back

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Looking Back

Last night, at around 11pm, we remembered we had a Shutterfly coupon.  100 free photo prints, that we had meant to use but it had apparently slipped our mind until then.  One hour before the coupon expired.  We debated for a minute… it’s late… we’re both tired… Mark has to get up for work in the morning… is it going to stress us out to try and pick 100 photos out of the 3,000 (no joke) that we’ve take since Mason was born…

But hey, 100 free photos right? We narrowed it down to just the photos we had taken on Mark’s iphone so we could see how the square shaped, vintage-y hipstamatic photos would turn out in print.  Plus, looking through 1,319 photos is easier than looking through 3,000… right?

We were down to the minute.  3 minutes to be exact.  At 11:57pm, we had our 100 photos selected, uploaded and clicked the order button.  Phew!

And afterward… simultaneously exhausted and adrenaline spiked at trying to finish this project before midnight… we collapsed into bed.  Thoroughly pleased that we had decided to spend that hectic hour on a visual tour of our last two months.

We marvel all the time at how much he’s changed and grown.  But it was so fun to sit side by side, sleeping baby in the bassinet next to us and relive all those moments.  And even though he’s still a little babe, we could see how tiny he was such a short time ago.  The way his skin bunched up in little baby wrinkles the first couple days he was alive, like he hadn’t quite grown into it.  How he used to swim in onesies that he’s now grown out of.  How adorable he looked in his newborn tiny gdiapers.  How he would scream everytime his clothes were taken off.  His bewildered little face when he took his first bath.  And think about how far we’ve come as a family.

Since 100 photos would be a lot to expect you to look through with as much entertainment as we did last night… I’m posting up just a handful of the ones that we choose that we haven’t posted here on the blog yet.

I hope you get even a smidge as much delight out of them as we do. 🙂

(Disclaimer: I tried to narrow it down to a “handful”… but I could only bring myself to cut it down to 25.)

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Visitors (BIG and small), Striped Diapers, & Red Birds

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The last couple of days had a little more bitter in them than sweet. Last Thursday, my Grandma Lois W. passed away after living a long and wonderful life in DM. She was an amazing woman who worked passionately and selflessly to meet the needs of her family, friends, and greater community.
Grandma loved her family deeply, so much that no matter the board game she always let you win game after game.  She did the hard work of cooking, cleaning, and raising a loving family. Always in a ‘chipper’ mood, she went on countless camping/fishing trips, taught me the difference between a hummingbird and a woodpecker, knew more about sports than you’d think, and was an expert at Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Grandma’s passion to volunteer to help those in need was recognized a few years ago and a lovely bed and breakfast was named in her honor. She made the world a better place with her jokes, smiles, winks, and the way she lived her life. I’m sorry Mason didn’t get a chance to meet you but he will always be surrounded by your love.

It is my belief that when we slow down our lives we are more open to ‘things’ around us. We’ve lived here for almost 6 bird-free months but on Thursday a beautiful, little hummingbird came into our house to say hello and got stuck near our apartment window. Thank you for visiting us Thursday afternoon and glad we could help set you free.
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Now to some sweet…. One great thing about Mason is that he is a people person. He loves to be held, to look at, to pee and throw up on them, to snuggle, and to listen to people. But regardless of who is holding him he love our ceiling fan twice as much. Elaine and my feelings haven’t been hurt by his love for the stationary objects on the ceiling, but having visitors recently has affirmed that he doesn’t love them more than us- he loves them more than anyone or anything.  Hopefully this is just a phase, an interesting phase.

As I mentioned we’ve had a handful of visitors since he was born and its been fun to watch Mason interact, coo, cry, and melt hearts. Our most frequent visitors have been our parents. Not only have they been excellent cooks, dish washers, and pacifiers, but it has been fun to see our parents turn into Grandparents. Mason is not the first grandchild but I can only imagine that child brings out new feelings of excitement, joy, and love.

How is the cloth diapering going? Thanks for asking and it is going really well. To be completely honest it is so much easier, cleaner, and convenient than I expected. Although I’ve wanted to do it for some time I’ve always had a gross feeling about handling poo and pee and didn’t know how it would go once we started. I am happy to report that my gut feeling was wrong as it isn’t hard, gross, or challenging. It may sound weird but it is kind of exciting to know your baby’s organs are working when you see a huge splat of poo and have a saturated diaper.Yea that sounds weird. How about.. It is exciting to log all of the diapers we’ve changed and know that we are making a large environmental and financial impact every time we change a dirty diaper. Yea that sounds better. I’ll do a better job explaining our diaper system in another post, but here are two photos…
                                

Last night the StL. Cardinals won the World Series and our house was excited. Mason got to watch most of the series and celebrated last night’s victory while he got his diaper changed. I want to think he was more excited about the monumental 11th championship but it may be a toss up for a clean diaper. Either way I’m just glad that my multitasking skills are advanced enough to change a diaper, pump my fist in the air, and do a little dance at the same time! The Cardinals had an amazing playoff run but they may want to send Elaine and Mason a thank you card for their positive thoughts.

Last but not least here are some more closing photos. Life is good and be thankful. Thanks, Mark


Alarm clocks, G-babies, & Building Smiles

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Hi, this has been a challenging week for a blog post; in reality its been a challenging week to do a lot of things that were once easy. I went back to work last Monday and we are both stretching to find a good routines for everyone in the family. While Elaine was doing an amazing job at home changing diapers, going for walks, and even going out for lunch with her parents this is peak into my week:

My alarm wakes me at 7am (709 and finally 718)
Coffee intake begins when I get to work at 8am
At 10am I wonder if someone is playing a prank and switching me to decaf
At 2pm I check multiple clocks around the office just to make sure that it isn’t really 4pm
Home around 6pm and say hello to Ruby, Elaine, & Mason
645pm Dinner time, hold a crying baby, & hold a sleeping baby
Around 9pm we decide to prepare for bed and sleep by 1030
Random diaper changes, broken swaddles, and eating
Repeat…

I don’t think we have any room to complain. Mason is a really chill kid and both Elaine and I are fortunate to have a happy, healthy, and engaging newborn. He likes to sleep, he has no problem eating, he likes to be held, and he’s pretty darn cute. By no means do we have this parenting thing figured out but we are having fun and that’s what counts.

       
Last night in Carpinteria we started our journey into cloth diapering. We must not have given Mason many details into this transition as he went through all 4 of our cloth diapers in lightning speed. Elaine’s parents offered us paper towels but thankfully we had one disposable diaper our reserves. Since we started 21 hours ago we’ve used a total of 13 cloth inserts and 5 outer shells. This is going to be fun…

There are many reason that Elaine and I chose to use cloth diapers but we both probably have different #1 reasons. Personally, my top reason is environmental. For only a few hours of use, disposable diapers that are filled with plastic, chemicals, and trees and will remain in our landfills for hundreds of years. Pretty scary. In addition our hope is to also save some money. Unlike disposable diapers, now that we’ve bought our supplies we shouldn’t need to buy more until he gets bigger. As an added plus the diaper shells are pretty darn cute.

Cloth diapers have changed a lot in the years and we’ve decided on a hybrid cloth diaper set called G Diapers. The outer shell velcros close and inside there is a spot for either the cloth insert or a flushable/disposable/compostable insert. For us the G Diapers had the best of both worlds of convenience, green impact, and accessibility. So far so good but I imagine that we’ll keep you posted.

Earlier this week a Clarissa, a photography friend, took some newborn photos of Mason. Elaine and I were also featured but as we are learning Mason is the center of ‘us’. Clarissa also took our pregnancy photos earlier in September (that feels like a year ago) and here are a few from that shot. They turned out pretty good.
Thanks for reading- Mark