Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Wilson's Visit

Our great friends Jordan and Jessica came to visit with their new little guy Isaac! We got to see them last weekend and a few times this week as well. We've missed them so much and it was wonderful to finally meet their little guy and reminisce about the past.

It was fun introducing our sons to each other!
Jonah Bear looks so big next to Isaac!

They are EXACTLY 3 months apart.

Most of the visit the boys were oblivious to each others presence, until Jonah realized there was another baby playing with his toys... Yes, my sweet, good, smiley little boy turned into a hitting and hair pulling jealous little bear. The only thing that makes me feel better is that Jonah is only 4 months old... so I figure although that wasn't nice, he probably doesn't realize it wasn't nice. I hope my boy isn't that boy in the future.

It was wonderful to see our good friends again, and I hope we get to see them again really soon!

P.S. Love you Jess and and Jordan! (You too Isaac!) <3

Friday, April 20, 2012

More On Cloth Diapering

One of my friends from high school, like me, really enjoys cloth diapering; so I asked her to guest blog about her experience with it!


Cloth Diapering|  A look into our experience with cloth

Hello readers!  My name is Emma and I am the mother of a beautiful little girl named Isabel.  She is my sunshine!  When I was asked by Megan to write this post I felt so honored and excited and I wasn’t sure where to begin!  There are SO many things I love about cloth diapering and I wasn’t sure how to channel them all into one blog post, so I decided that a question and answer format might be best. I’ve tried to include some of the questions I am most frequently asked by people who see or hear about me using cloth. So! I hope you enjoy reading about our experience with cloth diapers. 

Q: Why did you decide to use cloth diapers?
We decided to use cloth diapers primarily because of the cost savings.  The secondary reason was for environmental purposes.  But a HUGE added bonus for cloth diapering is how stylish the diapers are!  No boring white huggies or pampers on my baby’s bottom.  Instead she can romp around in pink zoo animals or solid magenta to match her top.

Q: So you save money,but how much do you really save?
The average family spends about $12 a week, per child, on disposable diapers.  This adds up to about $1,248 per child if your child potty trains at the age of 2.  The average cloth diaper stash costs between$200-$600 depending on the styles chosen, and cloth diapers can be used for more than one child, so that is a considerable savings if you ask me!  Also, cloth diapers tend to hold their value really well, so when you’re done with them,you can sell them and get a portion of your investment back!

Q: But cloth diapering is so old-school!  Do you use,like, pins and stuff?

No, modern cloth diapering is so easy!  You can still use pins to cloth diaper, but you don’t need to and we certainly don’t!  Cloth diapers these days mainly use snap closure or hook and loop (Velcro) closure and they come in many, many different styles.  I’ll just touch on a few of the styles we use. 

We primarily use what is called a “pocket” diaper.  It is called this because there is an outer layer of waterproof material (polyurethane laminate or PUL), attached to a layer of fleece with a pocket opening on one end.  Because fleece is not absorbent (it is moisture wicking and takes the moisture away from baby’s skin), you stuff the diaper with an absorbent insert.  The most popular material for inserts is microfiber.  The nice thing about pocket diapers is that you can customize the absorbency to your baby. If you have a heavy wetter, you can double up the microfiber insert, or you use a hemp or bamboo insert (which are SUPER absorbent and very trim).  The same goes for nighttime when your baby will be wearing the diaper for a longer amount of time.  We use two brands of pocket diapers:BumGenius 4.0 (in snap and hook and loop) and Sunbaby diapers (in snap) but there are lots of other good brands out there.

Another type of diaper we use is called an all-in-two (A12)diaper.  This style diaper means that you use two pieces – a waterproof cover and an insert.  Instead of stuffing the insert into a pocket,the insert lays on top of the cover.  The idea behind this style is that when the diaper is dirtied, you can just change out the insert for a new one and reuse the same cover multiple times, as long as it was not dirtied.  The advantage to this style diaper is that you can buy about half as many covers as inserts and save money since the inserts are not as expensive as the covers.  This style is also nice for long trips because 10 or 12 inserts and 5 covers, for example, are a little easier to pack and take up less room than 10 or 12 pocket diapers.  The brand we use are called SoftBums and these are a hook and loop (Velcro) style diaper.

A third style of diaper we use is a prefold (think your traditional flat white piece of cloth), with a snappi (I’ll explain this in a sec) and a diaper cover.   Prefolds and covers are great for newborns.  They are very absorbent, and come clean very easily and since you’re changing your newborn so often, you don’t need to worry about the fact that the prefolds don’t wick the moisture away from your baby’s bum.  Snappi’s are the new pins and they are best explained with a photo (see below). 
Thanks to Snappibaby.com for the photo.

As you can see it is a stretch band that spreads across three points of the diaper and hooks in with little teeth.  There are lots of styles of waterproof covers for this type of system, but we use Flip brand diaper covers.

All of the diapers and covers we have are one-size diapers.  Which means they are designed to fit babies from about 8-35 lbs, or birth to potty training.  This means that the diapers will grow with our baby.

But there are many more styles of cloth diaper!  Other types you might hear about are all-in-ones, and fitteds.  The ones mentioned above are just the ones we’ve used.

Q: How often do you change your baby’s diaper when using cloth?

We change our daughter every 2-3 hours during the day, and at night she stays in the same diaper for about 8 hours.

Q: How long have you been cloth diapering?

Isabel is currently 4 months old and we started cloth diapering her when she was about 6 weeks old. Since she is our first child, we weren’t exactly sure how to cloth diaper a newborn so we decided to use disposables until she was big enough to fit into the cloth diapers we had.  But now that we know how easy it is to cloth diaper, we will certainly cloth diaper baby #2 right from the hospital!

Q: Does using cloth diapers change the size of clothing your baby wears?

This is a tricky question to answer since every baby is shaped differently.  For us, Isabel does need to wear one size larger onsie than normal, but it has not affected her pant or shirt size at all.

Q: Cloth diapering seems like a lot of work!  And what about poop, do you have to touch it?!

Cloth diapering can be as easy or as fussy as you want it to be!   And no, you don’t have to touch poop any more than you would with any other kind of diaper.  In fact, I’d argue that I touch poop less.  See the next question for my reason why….

Q: Do they leak or have blowouts often?

We have experienced far fewer leaks and blowouts with our cloth diapers than we did when we used disposables!  The only times your diapers will leak with cloth is if you have 1) a fit issue, 2) a build up of soap (see my laundry question), or 3) if your baby has been in the diaper too long for the amount of absorbency it had.

Q: What about laundry?  Are you always washing the diapers?  And do they have to be washed a special way?

We do cloth diaper laundry once every two days.  And yes, cloth diapers do require a special wash routine – but it’s not hard!  I promise!   You just need to use a cloth diaper safe laundry detergent (one that is free of additives like enzymes,brighteners, dyes, and softeners) and do a few extra rinse cycles with each load of laundry to prevent soap build up which can mess with the absorbency of your diapers.  If you’d like to know specifics about my cloth diaper laundry routine, email me at emmabraford@gmail.com, or check out my YouTube Channel @MsBMommy.

Q:  Do you work? How does your nanny/daycare handle your use of cloth?

I do work and my nanny has NO problems using our cloth diapers.  In fact, I think she likes it.  And she says other moms who see her changing our daughter always ask her about it and she tells them how easy it is.

Q: Do babies who wear cloth diapers get diaper rash?

They can, but it is rare. If your baby gets a diaper rash, you can still treat it.  You just need to use a cloth-diaper safe rash cream.  Some popular brands are CJ’s butter, and Grandma El’s, and some diaper companies make their own rash creams as well.  We use Grandma El’s and LOVE it!
Q: It seems like you know a lot about cloth diapering.  How did you learn it all?

I did most of my cloth diaper research on YouTube. There are lots of knowledgeable mommies out there who love to share their tips and tricks with you via video blogs.  I’ve decided to become one of them.  You can view my cloth diaper videos on my YouTube Channel @MsBMommy. 

Q: Okay! You convinced me!  Now how should I start and what do I get?

I recommend you get a few of several different kinds of cloth diapers and see which type fit your baby best.  Each brand is a different shape and size and you never know what will work for your baby. There are some online companies that offer cloth diaper starter kits with a sampling of several different brands and styles.  One example is Greendiaperdemos.com.

You may also need a few cloth diapering accessories, such as a diaper pail with a wet bag, and a travel wet bag for your diaper bag.

Q: Where do you buy your cloth diapers?

The majority of my cloth diapers were purchased used. I bought some on ebay, I bought some from individuals I found on the facebook page called Fluff Swappers.  And I bought some used at a local cloth diaper retailer. You can also buy used diapers on a website called Spot’s Corner. Or you can look for them on craigslist.  You can buy brand new cloth diapers in local stores, and through many online retailers.  Some popular online stores are Kellyscloset.com, greendiaperdemos.com, diaperjungle.com, andsweetbottomsbaby.com. You can also find cloth diapers on flash sale sites likeecomodernbaby.com, babysteals.com, and zulily.com from time to time.

Thank you SO much for taking the time to read about ourcloth diaper experience!  I reallyappreciate it.  If you have any questions,I’d love to answer them!  Comment below,or send me an email at emmabraford@gmail.com.

Okay, one last thing! Megan also asked me if I would talk to you about my company’s swaddling bags.  My mom and I started a joint venture called joyBundle brands and we created a modern swaddling bag that uses no Velcro and no zippers.  You can see a photo of my little peanut in it below: 


If you’d like to know more about these bags, please visit our site at www.myjbandme.com

Thanks again guys! 
Emma

Emma Braford is the 26 year old wife to Jason, mother of one sweet little girl, Isabel, and a full-time working mom.  She works for Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the Worship Arts Department.  She is also the owner and founder of Elephant Shoe Photography (specializing in newborn photography) and co-owner and founder of  joyBundle Brands, LLC (specializing in swaddling bags for babies).  In her free time (ha what a joke), she likes to make videos on her YouTube channel,watch Grey’s Anatomy, and read (usually books about her baby’s development).  Her current guilty pleasure is chocolate! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Goodbye Cable...

Our home no longer has cable television. Sadly, it was a harder decision than it should have been...

Our lack of cable has nothing to do with money saving (though it's a perk), and everything to being obedient to the Lord.

You see, a few months ago I felt the Lords prodding to get rid of cable television because there is rarely anything appropriate on, and it was being a distraction from Him. I ignored it though and kept watching. Then my sweet little man learned how to scoot around on his back so he could watch TV during play time... Super cute, but also alarming! I realized one morning while watching the news that I would be embarrassed if I caught my little boy talking like they did on the morning news (seriously people, why is swearing, and sexual content acceptable on morning television, and when did my ears become immune to it!).
Excuse the messy living room, but this shows how Jonah wiggles around to watch TV.

Jonah Bear watching TV.


Then one Sunday about two weeks ago the Lord basically made it real easy for me... I felt in my heart that he have me a direct order: I had one week to cancel my cable TV, even if cost us money to break contract. Talk about specific!

It hasn't really been easy, I miss watching the Duggars and HGTV, and the hubby misses the Braves and NASCAR. But we both agree that it was the right thing to do.

I'm ashamed that it took me months to obey my Savior, but we are already seeing the benefits in our home.

I wrote all this for two reasons:
1. If you are struggling with obedience to the Lord, stop... it's not worth it.
2. What silly thing is keeping you and your family from growing closer to the Lord? Is it the stuff on TV today, or something else?

Selah.

Friday, April 13, 2012

4 Months

Jonah turned 4 months old on Easter!
My little Jonah Bear is bigger than Pooh Bear now!
We think Jo weighs around 12 pounds now... we'll be going in for a well check later this month and we will find out for sure. He still isn't very chunky, but I think we just plain have a tall lean little guy.

We are still using cloth diapers, and loving them, but if he were in disposables, he would be in size one still.

Jonah still eats every three, sometimes three and half, hours during the day. At night he's gone 6 hours a few more times, but that was kinda short lived... He's back to two meals a night because mama kinda messed up his schedule (note: don't EVER mess with Jo's schedule... he needs it.) So we are hoping he'll go back to one (or less) feeding during the night.

Jonah Bear's major milestones this past month are rolling from front to back and back to front. He also is really good at moving around his play mat on his back. He arches his little back and scoots and spins. He actually has figured out how to move so he can see the TV when it's on... It's hilarious. Jonah has also increased his "vocabulary" from only "ooh" to "ooh, ahh, and gaa" noises. He is really good at matching the number and tone of the noises we make to him. Jonah can also stand and sit up if you barely hold his hands. He is still working on the balance thing.

Heather's Cancer Survivor Story

Recently a fellow blogger contacted me, asking if she could guest post on my blog. Heather wanted to share her special story of cancer survival because: (in her own words) "I'd like to turn my pain into purpose and become someone that other people can look to for guidance, inspiration, and hope in situations like my own. I contacted you because I feel that your blog would be an excellent place for me to share my story."

Although this request came out of the blue, and I have never actually met Heather, I agreed to let her become my first guest blogger because I was honored she wanted to share her story on my blog and because my father is also a cancer survivor.

So, here is Heather Von St. James and her cancer survivor story:

Battling Cancer with Hope and Gratitude

My whole world changed when one of my worst fears came true on November 21st, 2005, when I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. That is a scientific way of saying deadly cancer. I felt like the world was crashing down around me. I had given birth to my only child just three months before being diagnosed, and now I was facing a life-threatening illness. After the cancer was discovered, I also  earned that I could be stronger than I ever thought possible.

Dr. David Sugarbaker is one of the world's leading mesothelioma doctors. I was referred to him at Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston, and the doctor changed my outlook on life and this disease. Even though the statistics on mesothelioma are unfavorable, Dr. Sugarbaker gave me hope. I knew that only two percent of mesothelioma patients survive more than five years following their diagnosis and I knew that I was going to be part of that two percent. I knew I was going to survive to raise my daughter. Dr. Sugarbaker gave me that hope, and I ran with it.

I became determined to defeat the cancer and all of its pain, despair and effects. For the next year, every drop of energy I had was spent battling the disease. I left my six-month-old daughter with my parents almost 2000 miles away to pursue a major surgery in Boston in an effort to save my life. My left lung was removed, along with the tumor.

During the following months, I balanced chemo and radiation therapy with raising my daughter. She never knew how sick I was during her first year of life thanks to the support and help of my friends and family. Her first birthday fell near the anniversary of my diagnosis. That day, we celebrated Lily's birthday and the remarkable success I had battling this disease. My last radiation treatment took place eleven months after my diagnosis. After completing the treatment, I promised myself that I would remain free of cancer.

My experience with cancer taught be to appreciate all things in life, even those that seem small. Cancer has taught me to take delight in Lily's laughter, the warm breath of puppies and the rainbow that streaks through the sky after rain. All of these seemingly small things remind me that life is for living.

My journey to remission has been filled with amazing people that I will never forget, people who fought cancer just like I did. Some made it, while other succumbed to the disease. Some of these people stood by their loved ones as they fought mesothelioma. Each of these people are warriors in my mind. They are fighters that battled this disease with a passion and tenacity that still inspires me today. They are the face of mesothelioma, not those that you see on daytime television commercials. They are the real people behind this terrible disease.

Today, I continue to live life as it was meant to be lived, with passion, love, and gratitude. Even on my worst days, I appreciate the small things. Battling cancer has taught me that that is what life is all about.
If you would like to know more about Heather, her blog is www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Weekend 2012

This past weekend we had a nice time with Justin's grandparents in Gatlinburg. They are our closest family, and it was nice to celebrate our risen King with family!
Jonah Bear in his First Easter Bunny Bib and Easter Overalls.

This was Jonah first Easter, and he was spoiled! Both grandma's send packages of goodies for him (and us!)

Saturday we decorated eggs with great grandma and grandpa...

Sunday we went to church and spent a little more time with the grandparents before it was time to go home.
Family photo after church.

Jonah liked Great-Grandpa's beard.
Jonah was so spoiled, he even got an Easter basket from Great Grandma and Grandpa! So of course we all had to get pictures of that too...
"Pick me up!"


Everyone trying to get a smile from the little man!
On our way home Jonah played with as many toys as he could handle, and then took a nap with his new bunny friend.


It was a nice, peaceful weekend.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Justin's 25th

Wednesday was the hubby's 25th birthday. Jonah and I did our best to make it a fun one, and all things considered (family being 600 miles away, it being a work week, and a Wednesday so we had youth group) I think we did O.K.

I of course made his favorite lasagna and angel food cake like I did last year.
Justin's talking to his brother one the phone while I took a pic...

But this year Jonah and I also got him a birthday balloon and made him a card.

It's suppose to say "Jonah hearts Daddy!" but with Jo's footprints...
The cutest part of the day? My two guys in striped polos together...
I love my boys! :D

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kitchen Goodies

Recently I have bought a couple fun goodies for my kitchen. I thought I'd share them here.

Okay, the Kitchen Aid isn't new, but the sticker on it is! Isn't it cute! I bought it here.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my new Keurig! I like a soft, smooth coffee; and my hubby likes what I call battery acid. So this coffee maker works out great for us! Now we can each brew our own kind of coffee!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Jonah Trying Rice Cereal

Last night my little man tried rice cereal! We were suppose to wait one more week before giving him solid food, but Jonah Bear chose to go through a growth spurt this weekend and Justin and I decided one week was too long to wait when our little guy was "starving." Plus, Jonah has been showing every sign of being ready for solid food for weeks.

"Please Mum, may I have some more?"





He wasn't too sure about the first bite, but by the end of the feeding he was loving it! He even cried when it was all gone.

Tonight we again gave him rice cereal. He was so into it that he was trying to "help" me get it in his tummy. He was grabbing my hand and the spoon to shovel more into his open mouth.


It's tough to admit, but my little Jonah Bear is growing up.