Monday, June 16, 2008

Gracyn, and why I love her...

My sweet Gracyn...
The things I love about her:

:: The sweet, content noises she makes when she nurses.

:: Her attempts at being a redhead like her mom.

:: Her beautiful, blue eyes.

:: Her rolls and dimples...what a chubby baby!!

:: How she is such a Mommy's girl.

:: How she needs to be touching me or grasping my clothing or holding my hand all the time.

:: Her sweet smell.

:: How intently she studies people around her.

:: How she is cooing and trying so hard to talk.

:: How when she is really upset she will yell "Ma" (I am not the only person to hear this!)

:: How much she loves when I give her eskimo kisses.

:: How she smiles all the time when I talk to precious!

:: How she spits out her pacifier just so she can suck on her hands and hopefully find a thumb.

:: How much joy she brings to us and those who know her.

Good sites to visit...

I have recently come across a number of good websites that I visit regularly, and I thought I would pass the information along to anyone who might be interested. After talking at length with my very good friend, Hannah, about education and homeschooling (she is a first grade teacher for the Rochester City School District), she gave me several education related sites to visit. The first is It gives you numerous options, such as cursive or print, dash or dot or hollow writing, and the option of writing your own words in different formats for the child to copy. I will definitely be using this for Noah and Brock to learn to write their names while Rylee and I do school work together. The boys always ask to "do school" also, but rarely want to do anything other than color or draw. The other site is Its is loaded, and I mean LOADED with tons of ideas, games, stories, worksheets, etc. It covers a range of ages, too. The other website was one that both Hannah and my sister, Missy recommended. Its called It has lots of fun stuff for kids to do, and they learn while they are having fun.

Thanks to my friend Carole, I was made aware of a hilarious site called Oh my goodness, this guy is ridiculously funny. He is able to sarcastically mock the silly and stupid things we Christians do on a regular basis. As he says, its like a holding a mirror up in front of ourselves. Its scary, but oh so funny! He also has a slightly more serious, but still very entertaining site that starts in Genesis and does a chapter "recap" for you. Its called

Of course, its hard for me to imagine that there are actually people out there that don't know what Craigslist is. Its an online classified section for your local area. Its got tons of categories, usually includes pictures, and allows you to search for something specific if you want to. Its If its one of your first times visiting it, you will have to click on your state, then city.

Since I just started using cloth diapers, I love to check out They have lots of different forums, not just to buy items, but to get other readers advice on breastfeeding, cloth diapering, adopting, etc.

A funny look at the lifestyle of a rancher wife from Oklahoma is Once, again, I got this one from Carole. This website often has giveaways of some really nice stuff. All you have to do is leave a comment, and you are registered into the drawing. Ree, who writes for this site, is a pretty funny gal.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bargain hunter. In addition to finding good deals on craigslist, I will check for something specific that I need/want. Its dangerous because you find yourself caught up in the auction and the thrill of bidding and winning, but can be a good place to find a good deal. I also like to see what is "on sale" via the website It lists really good sales or specials, can tell you how to get special coupons, etc. You can search by category as well on this site.

I know I have other sites that I like to check out from time to time, but these are some good ones that I think most people would enjoy. If you have some extra time on your hands, check them out. What are some of your favorite sites???

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cloth diaper update...I'm going green!

Some of you know that I have been contemplating switching to cloth diapers. "Whaaaa?" you say. Well, cloth diapers have come a long way. I mean, a LLLOOONNNGGG way. No more pins and crinkly, stiff rubber pants, although I'm sure you could still find those somewhere if you wanted to. My midwife asked me at one of my prenatal appointments "have you thought of cloth diapers?" Inside, I was saying, " we go!" It fit midwife/ natural birth stereotype. In my mind, switching to cloth diapers was only one step away from long skirts and offense to you long skirt, Birkenstock wearing women out there. It just isn't me. Or so I thought...

For the sake of humoring my midwife and being able to say, "I checked it out and its really not for me", I visited a website she recommended. I was astounded that not only had diapers come a long way, but there were TONS of moms choosing cloth over disposable. I was frankly quite overwhelmed by the number of choices available. I decided to give my friend, Carole, a call. I remembered that she used cloth diapers. We talked and she thought I should email her sister, who used a lot of different cloth diapering systems, whereas Carole used the more traditional "prefold" cloth diapers and covers. I emailed her sister (who was due for a baby only 2 days before I was!) and she was really helpful with ideas and what worked for her, etc. She even offered to let me see or borrow the different styles she had so I could decide what I liked best.

My research visiting different sites gave several reasons to switch to cloth. Some of them are:

:: The cost factor. I had two different numbers thrown at me. $1300 and $2500. These are estimates on the amount of money it will cost you to buy disposable diapers for ONE child until they are potty trained. Yes, ONE read that correctly. I suppose it all depends on what types of disposables you buy and how long your child wears them for.

:: Health and wellness factors. I learned that regular, disposable diapers are loaded with tons of chemicals. Some of which are frankly quite harsh and probably not what you want next to your baby's skin for 3 years straight. I'm not a chemist, so I really don't know the science behind it.

:: The environmental factor (thus the green color of this entry!). Yes, disposable diapers end up in landfills and we all know our landfills are filling up quickly. I should know...I live less than a mile from one, and I can attest to how high it has grown since we moved in 8 years ago. I have to be honest and say that this reason was not as large a factor for me as the financial and health reasons of switching to cloth were. Just keeping it real.

I didn't want to invest a ton of money only to find out that I really couldn't stand using cloth diapers. I found a website that offered free shipping, and bought a "package". It included 18 high quality cloth diapers and 4 covers. It was enough to last at least 2 days before having to wash, and would give me a good taste of cloth diapers without a huge investment. Incidentally, I chose the more traditional method/style of cloth diapers and used the prefold cloths diapers and covers. The covers are cloth on the outside with a nice waterproof lining. They look very much like disposables on the outside. My other options were endless...AIO, or all in one diapers, where the diaper and cover are one piece and the entire thing gets thrown in the washer together. Or, there are contoured diapers, inserts, pocket style name it, they make it!

Friday was the first day I started trying these diapers out. Matt laughed at how excited I was to try them! Hey, I'm a stay at home mom surrounded with little ones all day. SOMETHING has to excite me! I am impressed with how much these diapers hold. MUCH more than a disposable diaper. My Gracie likes to nurse, and therefore pees and poops frequently and heavily. She would often, as in at least once a day, leak out of her disposables. I was buying Pampers and Huggies diapers, so not the cheap stuff, but they still could not contain her. Also, she had a very bad diaper rash. She had had it for 2 weeks and nothing was helping. I tried numerous creams and ointments and was even contemplating making a Dr's appointment for her. The only reason I didn't was because she seemed totally unbothered by it. Well, from friday to today, her rash has completely gone away! Her hiney looks great and is no longer bright red! I purposely did not use any creams or ointments the last 3 days other than 2 applications of Lotrimin as her rash was starting to look "yeasty" as well.

All I can say is, "I'm a cloth diaper believer!"

More updates on this matter in the future...

My thoughts on this hot morning...

I wish I could bottle this morning. Its perfect...warm, breezy and sunny. My house has not yet heated to ridiculous temperatures, and I have not become crabby from the heat. The kids are all playing so nicely together a few feet away. The baby slept through the night for the first time, and did not leak out of her cloth diaper during her long snooze. My house is certainly not ready for Martha Stewart to visit, but its far from a wreck, however. I have not yet lost my patience or snapped at the kids, and the day just seems so fresh. In a few hours, the heat will really be turned up, and I hope I am still in this same mindset. Matt and I are considering installing central air. We don't really have the money, and it would mean financing it somehow. On the other hand, I think of how I tend to be really short when I have sweat pouring off of me. I get frustrated easier, snap faster and find myself irritable. I'm not normally like that. Which leads me to ponder...perhaps the cost is worth it. If it means I'm nicer, more agreeable, more patient and loving, etc. I'm even more affectionate, because lets face it; who wants to cuddle with your kids or husband when you are just soooo hot?! How much is too much to pay for a nicer me this summer?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I've been busy...

Yes, I've been away too long. I have been truly busy. Of course I have the normal "busy-ness" of taking care of three kids, one of which is a newborn, and all that that entails, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. But I have also hosted two visits by family. My mother and father in law were in town for a week in May. We had a lot of fun hanging out, and they enjoyed seeing the newest grandbaby. Then, my brother in law from LA flew in to surprise his mom for Mother's Day (I helped plan that one since most men completely forget when Mother's Day is!), he stayed for a few days, visited Montreal, then came back here for a few more days with his girlfriend who had flown in on his way to Montreal. We had a great time together, and I enjoyed getting to know his sweet girlfriend. On top of all of this you throw in some birthday parties, some errand running, etc. and it makes for some busy times. We planted our vegetable garden. A few more plants are left to go in, and hope to get that done in the next day or two. I bought some new window boxes for the front of our house, but realize I need to get more plants to fill them.

Today, Gracie and I stayed home from church together. We both have mild colds. I know, she is only 5 1/2 weeks old. I feel terrible!! Noah had a slightly runny nose for a few days, and that is the only exposure I know of to anyone who is sick. I feel so bad listening to her snort and sniffle. Her beautiful blue eyes are glassy with the extra tears, although she has been far from fussy. She even has a mild fever. Poor girl!

My new cloth diapers came in the mail this week. I'm so excited to use them. First, I am waiting on the new laundry detergent to wash them first. I was instructed by the diaper company to wash them 5 times first to improve their absorbency. I ordered 2 bags of Charlie's Soap. I'm excited to try something I have heard such positive things about, and know that its so much better for us than regular laundry detergents. Not to mention how cost effective it is...only 1 tablespoon of powder needed for a large load. AND free shipping!! I'm hoping I truly love using cloth diapers as much as I have heard others do. If so, we will be saving a ton of money. Gracie loves to nurse, and everyone knows that means lots of diaper changes.

Speaking of which, my little cherub is waking from her nap and wondering if the milk bar is open. (Of course it is!) More updating later...

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