Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My favorite Audrey-isms

Audrey Grace is a very smart 2 year-old.  I know, I know.  Every mother says that.  And I suspect most mothers are right.  Audrey has an exceptional vocabulary.  She remembers nearly every word we teach her right away.  She gets so excited when she sees things.  She points them out on the road (dump truck, airplane, red car, etc).  And most things she says correctly.  It's actually quite sad to me, as her mom, to hear her mispronunciations get corrected so quickly.

So my favorite Audrey-isms, past and current.

*wa-wa --> water; about 15 months she said this
*peas --> please; yeah, about the same as everyone else
*day-doo --> thank you - usually accompanied with the sign
*nulkies --> milkies
*she had a really funny one for frog, but I'll let you use your imagination.  let's just say we all cracked up over and over again
*motorbikle --> motorcycle; this one is phasing out
*chloclate --> chocolate; this one is gone.  lasted a couple months.  She just started saying it correctly.  

That's all I can remember right now.  I wish I would've written them down as she had them.  I didn't realize she'd grow out of them so quickly.

Get this ... she only said pasketti ONE time.  She actually says spaghetti.  And she says lasagna.

Where are the cute words toddlers are supposed to say!?!?!?!?

Her vocabulary is big. Her understanding is big.  Her memory is big. Her pronunciations are accurate.  And she is easily understood by most people.  It's amazing.  I wish I could fully capture the amazingness that is my daughter in this blog, but I just don't have the words.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

We have two kids. Both are in diapers at least part time. Money was tight when we had just one baby. And 9 months ago my husband got a severe paycut (10% of our combined salary, not just his). We had some work to do with saving money.

We made the necessary adjustments and things are super tight.

This pay period in particular things are very tight. Not sure why, but they're tight and we have extra driving to do this week.

In figuring out how to makes ends meet this week and what car to drive and what to eat I sighed a sigh of relief when I realized things could be worse. We could have to buy diapers for both kids. And pull ups. And wipes. And diaper genie refills.

We bought our initial stash of cloth diapers 14 months ago for $150. Since then we've added to it some, but probably no more than $200 worth. I've also made quite a few diapers.

We have enough diapers to not do laundry for a week ... for both girls.

I estimate that it would cost us roughly $80-$100/month to diaper both girls. I smile super big when I realize that with every diaper change I'm saving money. Money that we can now use for gas, daycare, ponytail holders, and other such things you need with babies.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some days just suck.............

I must've become an old fuddy duddy sometime in the last 10 years, because I really don't like the word suck in this context.  But sometimes it's the only word that is strong enough to really express the severity of a situation.

Yesterday and this morning is an example.

It was 91* in our house when was got home from work last night.  Annie needed to be placed somewhere cool where she could be comfortable for the 10 minutes it was going to take me to go to the bathroom and unload my work stuff and put things away.  I put her on the bed in front of the fan.  I've put her on the bed hundreds of times.  She's not a roller.  She's never just rolled from point A to point B.  She arches her back to reach for a toy, and might roll over in the process, but she doesn't just roll around.  I guess she arched and scooted enough and, while I was outside turning the grill on, scooted herself right off the bed.  Josh ran to the rescue. Picked her up, examined her, hugged her, examined her, held her tightly, examined her.  After she had calmed down we did another exam and saw no discoloration or deformities.  She didn't wince or cry in pain when we moved her joints.  She seemed OK.  I fed her and she seemed happy.  But then Josh noticed something.  She wasn't kicking and moving her left leg as much as her right. He stood her up and she wasn't putting any weight on her left leg.  When leaned to the left she started screaming.  She was obviously in pain.

We err'd on the side of caution and took her to the ER.  It was busy.  The heat wave the last couple days had brought in a lot of patients.  We were finally triaged and given a bed (after probably an hour in the waiting room) in the hallway.  

The whole time Annie was happy and content.  She was playing with me.  She was smiling.  She was cute.  She smiled at all the nurses and doctors as they walked by.  She giggled when someone played with her.  She was a perfect little angel.

The doctor examined her and agreed that yes, she was in pain.  But we couldn't figure out where because she didn't react at all when her leg was manipulated.  We got a set of x-rays** (on both legs because pediatric bones are so abnormal, you need a good leg and bad leg to compare). Dr. didn't see anything on the x-rays.  It is probably soft tissue and we got some Motrin and were told to just keep an eye on it.  Give Motrin every 6 hours and if things don't improve in a couple days to go see her pediatrician.  

OK.  So she's fine.  And I didn't get any dirty looks or lectures or anything when I explained how she fell.

We went home and went to bed.  She slept great (thanks to Motrin).  This morning she still can't put weight on her leg, but she is kicking it and moving it more.  So maybe she's improving.

Twenty minutes later, as I'm doing Audrey's hair, she whined that she wanted the white comb.  The white comb was on the other side of the room.  I told her to go get it and on her way over there she slipped and fell, smacking her face on the floor. She has been falling a lot lately. I know it's normal, but sheesh.  I think she's either going faster than her legs can really take her, or she's tripping over her feet because they're growing.  Or both.  I dunno. But I just can't take falling anymore.  She recovered quickly enough.  Mommy kissed her nose and she was all better.

Fast forward another 10 minutes.  I told her we needed to put her shoes on.  We went into her bedroom to grab her shoes and socks.  She got one look at her slippers and said she wanted to wear them instead.  I told her she had to wear shoes at Miss Gayl's and the slippers needed to stay home.  She screamed, "I don't wanna.  I don't like you." and ran off.  My heart just broke.  My poor little girl is emotionally and physically spent and couldn't contain it.  I caved and let her wear her slippers, but I put her shoes in the diaper bag.  

I wonder, if I am struggling this much at age 2 (not because of terrible twos at all), how am I going to survive another 18 years of this?  

So yeah ... last night into this morning truly sucked.  There is no other word in my vocabulary that can describe it.  If you know of one, please share, because I can't think of one right now.

I pray that I'll get over my emotional low and be able to be a good mommy to Audrey and Annie.  And that Annie will get better.  And that we can go a day without a fall.  And that Josh and I can be the best parents we can be to our kids.  All 4 of them.

**I wish that there were 2 of us there last night because I would just love some pictures of Annie being x-rayed. It's one of those moments that is so innocent and sweet and heartbreaking, I could see come awesome photos coming out of it.  But with just me, I had to hold her down instead of take pictures.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

As a surprise Father's Day Present for Josh, I did a photoshoot with all 4 kids.  I had a lot of fun. We went to the park and did some posed stuff all together, then just let them play on the playground.  You would think 2 teenagers on the playground with a toddler would be awkward, but they were having fun and were totally in their element (what does that say about teenagers?).  It really is very natural for them to play with their baby sisters and it brings so much joy to me to watch them all interact.

Here are some of my favorite photos ... beware ... there are a lot.












Friday, June 17, 2011

Baby its HOT outside...........

When it's 95* outside it's well over 100* inside our house.  We have no A/C (not even a window unit), and not enough fans for our gigantic uninsulated room.  So after dinner the other night we went outside in the shade to play with a ball. What started as a simple game of catch between a father and his two daughters turned into a great summer memory.

It started out sweet and simple.  Audrey came up to her daddy and then would get sprayed.  See how curious she is?  Then the water starts moving toward her and she runs away.

Just when she was catching on, her loving big sister would drag her up to the sprinkler to get sprayed again, and then stand back and cheer her on.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Kingdom Assignment

I have the privilege of being a part of a great project our church is doing.  Following the lead of a church down in So Cal (and many others throughout the nation), we have 25 people participating in the Kingdom Assignment.  

Kingdom Assignment is a phenomena of a new way of giving of your Talent, Treasure and Time that has now become a movement around the globe.... you are welcome to jump on this exciting fast moving train.

I am acting as a coach, but at times so far I've wished I was doing my own.

25 people, without knowing anything about what was going to happen, felt a nudge from God and stood up and volunteered for a project that would change their lives.  They were then handed a $100 bill.  Standing there in front of the church they were told 
1. The money isn't yours, but God's. 
Do something outside the walls of the church to further His kingdom and 
Report back in 90 days what you did.
The 25 people are of various ages.  Youth, college-aged, young adult, old adult, older adult ....  And a variety of professional backgrounds and experiences.  Male and female alike.  Some own their own business, one is an executive of a large company.  One is a stay-at-home-mom.  It'll be very exciting to see what God is going to do in and through these 25 individuals.

When I was first told that by being a coach I was not available to help with a project or do one myself I was relieved.  Then I started to do some work putting the fliers together and preparing for launch day and a flood of ideas came to me.  Inspired by a couple different families at church I had some ideas; then I was inspired by a news story; then my own hobbies started inspiring me.  Now I'm actually a little bummed that I can't participate and do a project. 

I don't want to forget what my ideas are, because I hope to pass them on and have someone execute them (and probably much better than I would) or do them myself at a later date.

Just a few that have popped into my head:

  • find people physically disabled, whether permanantly or short-term, and bless them by doing household repairs, chores, yard work, cooking meals, etc.
  • pay for parking for random cars leaving the Children's hospital
  • buy interview outfits for the unemployed; and further assist them as needed by updating resume, help get online to apply for jobs, etc.
  • Contribute to Habitat for Humanity in a massive way (get one family in need into a home, etc)
  • I have one big project that has continued to develop in my head that I plan on executing, but I don't want to share yet because I want to get it into action first.
I hope to come back and re-blog about what work our church has done and the projects in our community.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Guest Writer Submission - WELL, THEY'RE AT IT AGAIN

Thus begins the first of what I hope to be many guest submissions to Christine's Contemplations.

This one is written by Bodhi Malik from Bodhi's Harangeout.

I've personally read quite a bit of his blog and it has me chuckling and laughing and just thinking and contemplating (something I like to do a lot).  From his Blogger Profile: 
80 year old male. Married, two grown children. BA in Math, grad work in Clinical Psychology, retired (USAF) tech sergeant, math tutor, est graduate, grocery manager, banker, stand-up comedian, radio disk jockey, published author, policeman, bootlegger, bowling alley pin setter, mattress spring formulator, Comic book writer/artist, Potential puzzle table crafter, Roustabout for Barnum and Bailey Circus, Blog writer. Movie credits include "Leave Yesterday Behind" co-starring John Ritter and Carrie Fisher. Now living in Casa Grande, Arizona, USA. Truth in advertising.

And now for his submission, "Well, They're At It Again."

In the April 18th issue of Time, it is announced that there is going to be an exhumation of a Florentine woman suspected of sitting for the Mona Lisa. Archaeologists hope to prove whether she was the model.

This is really exciting! At last we are going to find out whether or not at least one person is or isn't the model for the Mona Lisa. Oh joy!

I imagine they might be going to use the DNA method. We didn't have that procedure to do in years past, but now with modern science we can get the DNA of the corpse and match it with the DNA of the painting. Brilliant!

Or maybe fingerprints! Yeah! We dig up that five hundred year old body and look behind the painting and get the fingerprints off old Mona and if we get a match, Viola! And if we don't get a match, Viola! again, 'cause we will have eliminated one out of the millions it could have been, and that's good, yes? One step closer?

Or maybe - just maybe, we can get the old woman to talk - to tell us whether or not she sat for old da Vinci. That would be interesting.

Whichever way it goes, I'll sure be glad when we get this puzzle solved. It's been keeping me and a lot of folks up at night worrying over it. And once we get that solved, maybe we can start work on finding out who the models were for those boys on that sailing boat with the old man in that Homer Winslow painting.
And kudos to Time Magazine in its unfailing efforts to keep us up to dately informed of the important work being done in the world of pure science. Kudos, I say. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why shouldn't I buy cheap cloth diapers?

The following was posted on the Cotton Babies blog today.  I liked it so much I had to share it and repost it.

Why shouldn't I buy cheap cloth diapers?:
A retailer wrote me an email today asking why our cloth diaper brands weren't selling for $10, like the Chinese-made knock-offs sold on eBay. I drafted a response to her question, but after I re-read what I'd written, I decided to go ahead and share my answer with you here on our blog because it contains valuable information that you, as the consumer, deserve to know. Keep in mind that this was written to a retailer with my 'manufacturer hat' solidly in place. Onward....

Dear Retailer:

Thank you for your question. While most companies move to off-shore manufacturing to increase profitability, our goal in opening an international facility was to bring our brands to the rest of the world (like Europe, India, China and Africa) in an affordable way. Due to the high cost of domestic labor, duty and international shipping, this is nearly impossible to do this using domestic manufacturing. Knowing that our customers valued products made in the United States and wanting to preserve all of our U.S. based jobs, we took the step into limited off-shore manufacturing while also maintaining a full-time manufacturing facility in North America that still produces most of the products we sell in the United States. This resulted in overall higher costs as compared to brands made exclusively off-shore.

The factory is clean, large, well-lit, safe, equipped with plenty of restrooms, safe drinking water, a cafe, and a place away from the sewing floor where workers can take their breaks. They are provided with positive leadership, on-the-job training and transportation to and from work. The management cares about each individual and ensures that they are trained with their future in mind. The factory operates based on 5-day, 40 hour work-weeks and workers are paid over-time if it becomes necessary. We meet or exceed all of the requirements of international law. I have been in other garment factories all over the world and can honestly say that our factory is the only place that I have ever seen like it. It is a place that I would like to work.

In spite of higher costs, we maintain very fair price points relative to competing brands while also being recognized by consumers as offering the best customer service in the industry. Our products are tested heavily and made with quality materials primarily sourced in the United States. Each brand is backed by a one-year warranty and maintains it's value nicely, supporting eventual resale by the purchaser. We spend a great deal on advertising and promoting the concept of cloth diapers - a project we're in the process of expanding with the goal of increasing the visibility of the product category. We invest heavily in product development and industry growth. We care about the less-fortunate and are deeply involved in giving-oriented projects to help low-income families cloth diaper their babies. We make decisions knowing that we are affecting people and businesses all over the world... while the bottom-line plays a role in our business decisions, it isn't the most important consideration.

We've reflected our values as we've grown our brand portfolio. Knowing that bumGenius was an option that wasn't reachable for many low-income families, we also created Flip & Econobum two years ago with the goal of bringing more affordable, quality diapering solutions to the marketplace. We felt like low and middle-income families deserved options that were consistently well-made, backed by a recognizable company, a warranty and good customer service. I wasn't willing to accomplish that goal by compromising quality or customer service.... so we created a concept and a product set to meet that consumer segment's needs while being consistent in our commitments to all consumers. We were successful in our efforts. Using data from a recent LCA study conducted in Europe, we recently made some interesting calculations. If a family has a stash of 24 total bumGenius Stay-Dry one-size diapers and assuming use from birth, each cloth diaper is likely to be used approximately 138 times putting the cost per use before laundry at approximately $0.12. With a stash of 24 Flip Stay-Dry Cloth Diapers, the cost per use before laundry is approximately $0.06. With a stash of 24 Econobum Cloth Diapers, the cost per use before laundry is approximately $0.03.

As frustrating as off-brands can be to retailers, it is important to recognize that, they do serve a purpose within the expanding cloth diaper market. Unlike other product categories where off-brands are typically consumed and disposed of, consumers are investing in cloth diapers as a way of saving money and because they want to provide better care for their baby. Unlike most other garments, cloth diapers are subjected to rigorous, continual use and cleaning practices. Off-brands are usually poor quality and can fail quickly with little follow-up support available from the retailer or the importer of record (IOR). Even though U.S. law requires the IOR to have proof of component testing at the batch level, these diapers are being imported and sold primarily by very small, home-based businesses who may be unaware of or simply unable to complete the required testing. The IOR is likely to have a very limited understanding of component ingredients and manufacturing practices. While this may seem of little initial relevance, it can become extremely important when a child develops a latex allergy and the consumer discovers that their off-brand diapers were made using elastomeric components containing natural rubber (our products are latex-free) or when low-volume consolidated international shipments are fumigated during import (we only ship full containers to avoid fumigation). Additionally, off-brand cloth diapers are unlikely to have a resale value beyond 'free for shipping'. We've repeatedly seen that consumers who learn this the 'hard way' are more likely to make a second investment later in a good quality cloth diapering product with maintainable resale value knowing that this will save their family additional money. Additionally, parents have expressed their desire to purchase good quality, safe, baby-care products that meet the requirements of US and international product safety laws.

As the economy has taken steps towards improvement over the last six months, we've seen an overall corresponding trend up both in sales growth and consumer reports of satisfaction with their purchases. Our customers are clearly demonstrating their commitment to their baby's overall well-being and a clear understanding of how their investment in cloth diapers will affect their family's bottom line, both now and when their baby potty trains.

I hope this information is informative and helps you educate your customers towards better product choices.

Kindest regards,

clothdiapers.blogspot.com - by Cotton Babies, Inc.


Monday, June 6, 2011

6 Months Old

DSC_1654I can hardly believe that my baby girl is 6 months old already. I'm in awe at how much she's grown right before my eyes.

  • She can roll over from tummy to back and back to tummy, but usually chooses not to. She likes her back, but doesn't want to put forth the effort to get off her tummy.
  • She can grab at things and put them in her mouth.  Doing this with her binky for the first time  yesterday.
  • She turns toward noises and voices, and smiles/laughs when she hears her name
  • She constantly laughs at her big sister (both of them).
  • She likes to hold things to help her go to sleep.  This little piglet is one things she likes, but she'll hold anything - blanket, burp cloth, sheet, pillow, mommy ...
  • We just started solids,  She's shown little interest so far, but is able to move the food around in her mouth and swallow.  She's cried when we stopped feeding it to her last night, but wasn't quite opening her mouth when the spoon was brought up to her.
  • She can push herself backwards in the walker
  • She is often playing with hands/feet; gagging herself with her hands and sucking on her toes
  • Still no signs of teeth, although she's gumming everything she can find and drooling like mad
Since I've been singing in the choir at church, she has been going to the nursery for the first service.  She does well, usually sleeping while Audrey plays.  More often than not they are the only 2 girls in the nursery for the first service.

She's still nursing like a champ.  She takes a bottle, but only from daycare lady.

And the topic all mother's hate, but most people ask: sleep.  Her sleep is OK.  Not great, but not terrible either.  She'll usually nap for an hour at a shot. When she goes to sleep at night she'll sleep for about 3-4 hours in her crib, then wake up and need mom.  Usually she's OK for a bit longer before needing to eat.  She wakes up to eat around 4:30 or 5.  Audrey did the same thing, which at the time I attributed to the cold winter.  But now I think it's a combination of teething/growing and missing mom during the day.  I know we'll get through this and it will get better, so it just is taking some patience for now. I long for the days I don't have to get up at 5 am to feed her or pump, but for now I know it's best for her.

And so as not to slight Audrey, at 24 1/2 months she amazes me every day.  Her vocabulary and verbal concepts are astounding. She engages in conversation.  What colors she's wearing and what she likes.  What she wants to do.  What she is doing.  What mommy is doing.  She is super duper polite (unless it's naptime and grumpy).  She acts very much like a big kid.  She is really starting to grasp concepts like waiting for something (dinner, to watch TV, to go out and play).  She can negotiate (like when she wanted to help pick things up off the shelves at the store, she understood when I told her she couldn't, but she could carry the things I picked out).  She has friends she likes to see and is always asking to play with them.  She especially likes to play with her sisters, big and baby.  I wish you could all see her every day and get the joy that I get every time I see her.