Monday, June 27, 2011

Adventures in the Big Boy Bed (Part 2)

(This series is kind of a selfish one of mine because I really want to remember how this goes for our future children; you can read the first post here.)

Day/Night 4 (June 22):

Jack did end up sleeping the remainder of the night in our bed, but had no qualms about taking a nap in his bed today!  Matt was off work today and said he had to cuddle him a little bit, but that he was willing to go to bed.  Jack is so funny during the day about climbing in and out of his bed.  He still has a pacifier and we really try to limit it naps and night time, but they sit on his bed when he's awake.  He will go into his room and climb into bed suck on his pacifier for a few seconds, spit it out and climb out of bed... usually running into the hallway laughing or saying "good job" to himself!  It really is quite hilarious!

Jack went to bed just fine with Matt snuggling him/falling asleep with him.  We've been putting the gate up in the hallway so he can make it to our room but not wander the house.  Well, last night we got our first night time visitor!  Matt woke up to Jack standing next to our bed (around 2 am again)... he took him back to bed and ended up falling asleep there.  I remember waking up and realizing that Matt wasn't in bed, but didn't say anything until the next morning.

Day/Night 5 (June 23rd):

My mom said he napped just fine, about 3 hours!

We went over to some friends' house for pizza and to visit some friends who were in town from Florida.  Well, that resulted in Jack and I not getting home until nearly 10 p.m. (there goes our goal of 8:30 pm bedtime, oh well), but he was so cooperative for bedtime!  He came in the house and went straight for his pacifiers, but came out so I could change his diaper and put on PJs.  I went to snuggle him up in bed and I quickly realized that he was not going to notice me being there or not, so I slowly backed out of the room and he didn't even notice. (Can I admit I'm a little disappointed since he always wants his Daddy to snuggle him at night before bed?  Ah, to be the mother of a Daddy's boy!)  Jack ended up falling out of bed once, and waking up crying twice after that.  I was already in bed but Matt was still up so he comforted him and got him back to sleep in his bed.

Day/Night 6 (June 24th):

Great nap after he wore himself out playing around lunchtime at the McDonald's play place!

Evening went about the same as it has been... Jack work up two or three times, but Matt got up and ended up sleeping in bed with him for a couple of hours.  We've noticed that he has woke up around 2 a.m. every night... we really need to get him a music box or white noise maker that he can turn on when he wakes up.  He has had one in his crib that he would turn on in the middle of the night (or day for naps), so he must really need something like that.  Stay tuned for what I find... I've got to read some reviews before we make a purchase!

Day/Night 7 (June 25th):

Jack fought going down for a nap for me a little bit... finally he let me scoop him up and carry him into bed.  He "made" me lay down with him and he was asleep within 10-15 minutes.  He woke up twice during his nap, once I had to comfort him but the second time he fell back asleep on his own (clearly not ready for the nap to end).  Once he woke up he was his usual "happy Jack" self!

Jack went down pretty quickly this evening, but we again wore him out at a summer cook-out before bed!  Imagine that... 2 am and he's awake by our bedside again!  Luckily he's still sleepy so he goes back to his big boy bed with Daddy following for some snuggles!

Day/Night 8 (June 26th):

So this was a bad day for the big boy bed... we had a baptism (and party) to go to that landed smack in the middle of nap time.  It would've been nice if Jack would've decided to sleep in, but alas, he did not!  Needless to say, his nap fell around 4:30 p.m. in the car and finished up around 5:30 after being home (and in his bed) for about 30-45 minutes.  We pretty much expected what came next...

Jack wound up in our bed sleeping the rest of the night.  The worst part?  Neither of us honestly remember when he came in, but only the fact that we woke up with him in between us... taking up the majority of the bed by laying perpendicular between us!  Ahh, parenthood!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

**CLOSED** Rockin' Green Detergent New Remix Formula: Review & Giveaway!

I was recently presented with the opportunity to review a new product from my favorite cloth diaper detergent company, Rockin' Green!  They're known for having the perfect detergent for cloth diapers, no matter what your water conditions (hard v. soft)!  Many cloth diapering parents will "Rock the Soak" when diapers are not absorbing as well as they have.  When we were using another detergent and couldn't get rid of the smells, we used this technique and it helped immensely... we had gotten to the point where we were stripping diapers every time we were washing!  They recently came out with a new product "Funk Rock" that is meant for when your cloth diapers start smelling funky!  I haven't tried it, but people say it works wonders!

Well, the latest new product from Rockin' Green (RnG) is their Remix formula!  I received 3 samples of the remixed Classic Rock formula in the scents: Rage Against the Raspberries, Lavender Mint Revival, and Bare Naked Babies (unscented, this is what we currently use in the "old" formula).  I wanted to try some of their scents, because I am always so paranoid of how Jack will react to using scented detergents.  Here's an overview of how they've changed the formula (information in black summarized from Rockin' Green's website; I've added my own thoughts & opinions in green):
  • Remix has a lower pH to be gentler on your diapers in the long run!  Let's be honest, all clothing wears out eventually after repeated washing!  Diapers are the part of baby clothes that are washed more often... in my house a diaper will be washed about 2 times a week due to the size of our stash!  I want these diapers to last through baby #2 and beyond if I can keep them in good shape.
  • Safer for sensitive skin; this formula underwent cosmetic testing to see if it caused any irritation (this was done with the Bare Naked Babies, unscented, version).  My guess as to the reason why testing wasn't done on the scented versions is because there's going to be more variation due to different perfumes used (this is pretty typical of any scented product: deodorant, detergent, baby wipes).  I know Jack has sensitive skin, so we've always gone the safe route with unscented products!
  • Better cleaning power per scoop to take care of stains with less detergent!  Due to all of the rain in the Midwest this spring I haven't been able to sun my diapers to try and reduce stains.  Jack was on antibiotics a week ago, the effects caused a decent poo stain that I really wanted to get out (see below) because its on one of my favorite diapers!
The first sample I tried is Rage Against the Raspberries Remixed Classic Rock, and I love it!  I love the fruity scent... you need something pleasant smelling when dealing with dirty diapers.  Its a very subtle scent, at least with my allergy stuffed nose, but that's good in my opinion!  My first load of diapers, I decided to change up my wash routine and see how the diapers fared.  Instead of doing my normal routine (cold-cold rinse, warm-warm wash with 1-2 tbsp. of RnG, and at least 2 warm-cold rinses) I chose to shorten the routine and use the approximate same amount of detergent (this amount varies based on the number of diapers I'm washing).  I did one cold-cold rinse followed by my warm-warm wash with 1.5 tablespoons of the remixed formula, then only one warm-cold rinse.... in my high efficiency front loader.  Duh, duh, duh... I took a rinse cycle out and I use a front loader.  I must have felt like living on the edge that day!  Well, my diapers got the sniff test after I took them out of the washer to be dried and hey, no scent!  As opposed to when you're washing clothes or something with a scented fabric softener, this is a good thing when using a scented cloth diaper detergent.  This led me to believe that there was no (or at least very little) detergent residue after my wash routine!

I went to wash my 2nd load of cloth diapers a couple days later (we typically wash every other day) and expected to smell the large scent of ammonia I typically smell after diapers have set in my wetbag for over 36 hours.  Well, this pregnant mama's nose was not overwhelmed by ammonia as is the usual situation (and I'm a chemist, so for chemical smells to bug me, it must be pretty strong).  I did smell some, but I don't know how many diapers were actually washed with the remix formula in the load before (we've got 3 people changing diapers around here, just one variable of which I wasn't going to keep track.)  I'm hoping that the reduced ammonia smell keeps up (and maybe even gets better) because that would really be a sign of the increased cleaning power of the new formula!

For my second load of diapers using the same scent and wash routine as above, I wanted to see how one of my favorite diapers fared.  This diaper was stained by my son's pretty nasty poo brought on by antibiotics last week.  This stained diaper had already been washed once, maybe twice before the pictures I'm going to show next.

You can see the darker stain right in the middle.  This is before I put it in the wash, it was slightly damp with pee and my laundry area is on the darker side & I left the flash off, so there is very little "bleaching" of the photo due to light.

This is after one cycle with the remixed formula, the stain has already been reduced pretty significantly.  This picture was taken on our drying rack (the diaper was slightly damp) and the light was more plentiful than in our shadowy laundry area (I still left the flash off) so that might attribute to the diaper looking as great in this picture, but when I am looking at this diaper in darker conditions I can tell the difference!  Since the weather is nice this weekend, I'm going to stick the diapers outside in the sun to dry to see if that takes care of the stain even more!
Rockin' Green is also currently running a series called "52 Weeks of Clean" where you can receive a tip a week on other ways to use Rockin' Green detergent!  This detergent doesn't have to be just be used for clothes or cloth diapers.  You can get a tip a week via text or via email for one year.

So, on to the fun part... a giveaway!!  Rockin' Green has allowed me to offer one lucky reader a 45/90 load bag of remixed formula in their choice of scent and appropriate formula (Hard, Classic, or Soft).  Here are the details!

Giveaway will end July 3rd, 2011 at 11:00 p.m. EST.

Mandatory entry: You must leave a comment below with what scent you would like to try... and there are certainly some great options: Smashing Watermelons, Rage Against the Raspberries, Motley Clean, Earth, Wind & Orchids, Lavender Mint Revival, Mighty Marshmallow, and Bare Naked Babies (unscented)! 

**Note: All comments must be made with a Blogger account, not anonymously**

Additional entries (leave an additional comment per extra entry):
  • Leave a comment (not anonymous) stating which formula you need (Classic, Soft, or Hard); you can use the excellent map from RnG for help if you don't know your water quality. (1 extra entry per giveaway, not per day)
  • Be a fan of Rockin' Green Cloth Diaper Detergent on Facebook; leave a comment with your Facebook ID (1 extra entry per giveaway, not per day).
  • Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect and make a comment stating this fact. (1 extra entry per giveaway, not per day)
  • Follow my blog on Facebook via Networked Blogs; leave your Facebook ID in your comment. (1 extra entry per giveaway, not per day)
  • Follow my blog via email subscription (right-hand side) and leave a comment with your email address. (1 extra entry per giveaway, not per day)
  • Promote this giveaway via Twitter or your own blog, leave a link to the post or your Twitter ID and the contents of the Tweet below. (1 extra entry per day)
Winner will chosen via Random.org and be announced by 12:00 a.m. EST on July 5th and will have 48 hours to contact me via email.

Disclaimer:  I contacted Rockin' Green after seeing a request from Rockin' Green for bloggers to test and host a giveaway for the new Remix formula.  I received 3 samples of the remixed formula and asked to provide a review on my blog; I was not otherwise compensated in any way for this post.  All comments and observations are my own and based off of my own experiences, your experience may differ.  If the first winner does not contact me within 48 hours of the announcement, a runner-up will be chosen and so-on.  Only the winner's contact information will shared with Rockin' Green so they can ship the prize.  The prize of a 45/90 load of detergent is solely the responsibility of Rockin' Green.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Adventures in the Big Boy Bed

I wanted to keep a log of Jack's transition to his new big boy room.  I know the process won't be that easy or even always progress, but it is such a big step for our little man!

Day/Night 1 (June 19th):

We actually had the mattresses the night before, but I don't think Mommy & Daddy were brave enough to try to put him into the new bed.  Also, we wanted him to introduce him to the beds before asking him to sleep there.  Well, on with it.  It was the day of his birthday party, we actually let him take a nap in "Mommy Daddy room" (as he calls it) to avoid any serious meltdowns before his party. 

That evening we decided to try putting him down in his big boy bed.  He had such a fun day wearing himself out and loved showing his friends and family his new room that he seemed pretty comfortable with the idea.  Of course he wanted some snuggles (and he got them of course) and fell asleep easily around 9:30 p.m.  He woke up at 2 a.m. and Matt just brought him to bed with us... we weren't brave enough to push the issue!

Day/Night 2 (June 20th):

Grandma was at our house during the day, and he was good & worn out when he willingly went down for a nap in his big boy bed.  He slept there for over 3 hours, only waking up once in the middle.  She said she easily calmed him down by rubbing his back and shushing him.  When she went in to check on him around the 3 hour mark, he was laying in bed awake.  He asked her to get him out of bed.

After I got home from work that evening, I made sure to help teach Jack how to climb in and out of his bed by himself.  I would never want my child to feel like he can't get out of his own bed, even if that does mean him running into our room at night (plus, we've got a baby gate blocking our bedrooms' hallway from the rest of the house).  That night Matt got home around 8:30 p.m.; we used that time as a little bit of visiting with Matt and then we put him in bed.  He seemed to really need some Daddy time and was really upset when Matt tried to leave.  So, again Matt snuggled him to sleep in his big boy bed.  Low and behold at 2 a.m. (actually more like 1:50 because I remember looking at my phone) Jack woke up again!  This time Matt was able to cuddle him back to sleep, but I had fallen asleep when I noticed Matt coming back to bed... I'm pretty sure he had fallen asleep too, ha ha!

Day/Night 3 (June 21st):

Grandma got him to nap successfully again!  It was a shorter nap but he was in a great mood afterwards, so quality over quantity!

This evening resulted in lots of tears at bedtime (around 8:30 which is our goal), but Matt snuggled with him (seeing the Daddy's boy theme, yet?) and he eventually calmed down and fell asleep.  Since then he had already fallen out of bed twice (all before midnight).  We have chosen not to use a temporary rail, because he's in a twin bed which the mattress is only sitting on a board (not higher on a box spring) and many people I've talked to swear that kids might fall out a couple of times, but they move past it quickly!  We have a full length body pillow laying right next to his bed to cushion any fall and every time he cries out in the night we check on him.  Both times he fell out the crying was relatively short-lived after we cuddled him & put him back in his bed and he fell back asleep in his bed quickly with some shushing and back rubbing.  The second time he had fallen out of bed it looked to me like maybe his feet had gotten caught in the sheets and he got a little more discombobulated when he fell.  When I put him back in I ensured he didn't have any covers on... our house is warm enough anyway!

He's woken for a third time tonight and called for Daddy... he keeps asking to go in Mommy & Daddy's room so the falls might have made him nervous.  We're going to take him to bed with us for the rest of the night, but we'll keep trying to encourage him that his new big boy bed is a very comfortable and safe place for him to sleep! 

There's always tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

International Year of Chemistry on Jeopardy Tonight!

Be sure to check out tonight's Jeopardy episode which will feature answers related to 2011 International Year of Chemistry (IYC).

To find your local air time, visit the Jeopardy website and click on "When to Watch." 

For more information about the International Year of Chemistry, check out www.acs.org/iyc2011 or http://www.chemistry2011.org/.  You can also read my previous blog entry on the topic.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jack's Birthday Celebration!

We celebrated Jack's 2nd birthday with family and close friends yesterday and it was casual and wonderful!  People ate, kids played, Jack got spoiled rotten with presents and it was complete with Mickey Mouse themed cupcakes and ice cream!

Here's an adorable video of him blowing out the candles after we sung Happy Birthday (courtesy of my mom)!

video

I am proud (and a little shocked) he blew out both candles at once (with a little prompting)!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my amazing husband and the father of our children!  We love you so much and are so grateful for everything you do for us!

Jack and Matt after we gave Matt his Father's Day gift!  I love my guys!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

We're having a...

Baby!  Surprise, surprise.. I know, that's the point!  We're waiting until baby is born to know if we're having a boy or girl.  We all want a healthy baby, bottom line... but I can't help but admit I'd like a little pink in my life (eventually)!  I have a good feeling that with all of the pregnancies I know of (just in October alone) someone is bound to bring pink into this world!  I've added a poll on the right side of my blog so you can vote on whether you think we're having a boy or girl!

Here are some pictures from our ultrasound!  The technician said Pumpkin has long, skinny feet!
Baby Pumpkin's profile... this shot was VERY hard for the technician to get because baby kept looking directly at the ultrasound wand.

The 4-chamber heart... my favorite part of the 20 week ultrasound!  A still picture doesn't do it justice... I just love looking at the little heart beat on and on!
 
I talked to the doctor because due to morning sickness (and a little bit due to chasing a toddler) I lost weight in my 1st trimester.  I was worried I am not gaining enough (compared to Jack where I started gaining weight from the moment the extra line showed up on the test).  She said she'd like to see me gain a pound a week from here on out and that I'm not far behind the average weight gain they like to see at 20 weeks.  See below for my latest "belly shot"... I've also included a picture of me around the same time when I was pregnant with Jack.

21 weeks 1 day (June 16, 2011)... excuse my exhaustion, I caught Jack's strep throat.
Approximately 22 weeks, February 2009

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Sweet Boy!

Today is your 2nd birthday, Jack!  I'm so lucky to get to be your mom every single day, even though it seems as you're getting into the "terrible twos" more and more.  Today you're actually sick with strep throat and you've got a terrible cough to go with it.  It breaks my heart every time you cough and are in pain, but you seem to smile and act goofy through it all!

We're having a Mickey Mouse birthday party for you this weekend (on Father's Day) because you love to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse every morning with Daddy (and any other time you ask us to put in the DVD).  You're almost starting to outgrow Mickey Mouse, in favor or "bigger" and "better" things like Toy Story (Woody & Buzz) and [race] Cars (Mater is your favorite), but you're just showing your strong personality!  That's ok I suppose, even if that means your personality is growing up a little bit...

You are all boy!  Your favorite toys are planes, trains & automobiles... basically anything with wheels or that "goes"!  You are especially fond of construction trucks, because somehow you already know they are louder than other vehicles.  You loved riding on the airplane this past week to go to Texas, and you were quite the awesome traveler!  You made Mommy very proud, even when yelling "Blast off" over & over as our 6:30 am flight was taking off!  Another way you are "all boy", Grandma took you to McDonald's earlier this spring and you saw a baby in an infant car seat... at first you were sweet and introducing yourself to the baby, then you started to growl at the baby!  You're so silly... you must get it from your Daddy!

Mommy and Daddy love you very much big boy!  I can't wait to watch you grow up for many many years to come!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shopping Tips for Baby Shower Gifts

Here are a few things that I've compiled as a list of helpful hints when shopping for a baby shower or the parents to be.  I know, I'm only expecting baby number two and some of these things should seem to be common sense, but I thought I'd type them up anyway!
  • Always start with the registry (this goes for wedding gifts too), even if there isn't a store location convenient to you!  Odds are that you can still purchase something off of their registry (just from a different store or using online shopping).  As a person who read many reviews when registering (both for wedding & baby registries), it is always good to assume that the parent(s)-to-be have a reason for choosing X product or brand.  Never assume you know better than those who registered, remember new products come out all of the time so they may have newer information.
  • If the new parents left items off of their registry that you enjoy purchasing for new babies or you feel are a "must-have", then feel free to purchase it!  Always include a gift receipt (this goes for all gifts) in case the parents have already purchased or received something similar (hence why it wasn't on their registry).
  • Avoid the urge to go crazy over newborn or 0-3 month sized clothing (its okay to get one outfit because they're so cute & tiny) because everyone gets sucked into the teeny tiny clothes.  A great option are onsies the 12 month to 18 month range because they can be layered up or left alone depending on the season.  Believe me, parents will be grateful to have some 12-18 month size onsies once they realize baby has completely outgrown the 9-12 month clothes!  Maybe I just randomly shrank onsies, but I know Jack seemed to fit fine in something one day & the next couldn't squeeze him into it!
  • Find out if the parents have chosen to use cloth or disposable diapers and get them some that they can use!
  • Maybe go a little more unique and give the gift of memories.  My good friend Brooke (owner of Cherished Moments Photography) offers gift packages for either maternity shots or newborn sessions!  Her newborn sessions are done in the home in the first week (or two) of baby's life outside of the womb and are a beautiful way to capture those early days of baby being a part of your life!  Feel free to check out her website linked above or her business' Facebook page.
Now onto my most recent newborn purchase, and it wasn't for our baby number 2!  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I purchased a baby shower gift for a good friend of mine.  Well, Jack and I went to Texas last weekend for her shower and now I can spill the beans about what we got for Baby E!  (I failed as a blogger and didn't take a picture of the actual purchased items, but I've linked them.)
  • Two wet bags; because she & her husband registered at Babies R Us and I knew they were planning on using cloth diapers I asked her if there was anything cloth diapering related that she couldn't register for and this is what she mentioned.  I got her a large Planet Wise hanging wet bag for everyday storage of dirty diapers (it even has a dry storage for clean diapers) and a smaller Bummis wet bag for packing in the diaper bag!
  • Two newborn all-in-one diapers; she already has built herself a great stash of newborn prefolds and diaper covers because she's so economical!  I wanted to get her some newborn diapers because a) they're so cute and b) I wanted to splurge on her a little.  I choose two GroVia Newborn All-in-Ones, in "Ice" (a light blue) and the "Nature" print.  Selfishly, I can't wait to hear how they work for her to see if I should purchase some for our baby #2.
  • Flushable diaper liners or as my husband calls them "crap catchers"!  This was Matt's idea for the baby shower gift.  Newborn poop isn't a big deal (especially breastfed poop) for cloth diapers, but as soon as baby starts solids its a whole other ball game.  These will hopefully be helpful at least for their diaper bag in the future!
I hope you've enjoyed this post!  I love buying baby gifts and have a number of other baby showers to go to in the coming months for which I can't wait to purchase baby gifts!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Building our Newborn Cloth Diaper Stash

We're looking forward to welcoming baby #2 to our family this fall.  I have been obsessing over what cloth diapers to buy for the itty-bitty baby we'll be cloth diapering.  Because we've been having issues with our wash routine, having diapers that wash easily is my number 1 priority.  I had posted before about that we ordered a Happy Heiny Mini-OS and two Rumparooz Lil' Joey.  The recommendations out there say 20-24 cloth diapers for the newborn phase.  Here are things that I'm planning on (or wishing) adding to the stash:
I have never used wool, but I know the brand I purchased has great resale value so if I don't like them I can get rid of them easily in the future!  People swear by using wool for breathable and preventing diaper rash, so it can't hurt to try.  The "longies" can be used as regular pants too if I don't like them as a cover.

The totals up there will add up to approximately 24 diapers.  Anyone have any other suggestions or reviews?