Sunday, March 27, 2011

Busy, Busy!!!

As you can imagine, life is pretty busy around here!  
I'm loving every second of being a mom and watching John dote over his little girl is incredible!

I have been out to visit Boomer twice in the past week and I am planning on getting out there this afternoon as well.  He is doing great!  He seemed very happy to see my the first time I had been out in about 2 weeks.  he wanted lots of head scratches and was very sweet.  I groomed him head to toe and spent lots of time with him.  The second time I went out, I lunged him and started thinking about getting him back into shape.  I have about 4-6 weeks left until I can ride again, which is plenty of time to lunge him 2-3 times per week to build his wind back up!  

We are having a bit of a cold snap right now but as soon as spring returns, I aim to get some pictures of baby girl and Boomer together!  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not your grandma's cloth diapers!!!

Learning about cloth diapers has been great fun for me.  Since I wasn't really able to shop for tack and horse stuff for a while, I just shifted my focus to shopping for diapers!  

Now, I'm sure you are thinking "How much fun can diapers really be"?  Let me show you the ways:

All of the diapers above were custom made by Work At Home Moms.  Each fabric is chosen by me, and then the maker helps to select a soft, fuzzy inner fabric and snaps to coordinate with the chosen outer fabric.  I really like supporting WAHMs.  You can find websites that give reviews of their quality and customer service.  Several of the WAHMs I got diapers from have long wait lists and are quite in demand!  The peace sign diaper took upwards of 10 weeks to get!  

You can also buy cute 'mainstream' diapers made in factories.    

You may have noticed something... There are no pins or plain while prefolds.  That is exactly right!  Cloth diapers go on and off just like disposable diapers.  They either have sewn in absorbent layers or an open pocket that allows you to stuff in the amount of absorbency your baby needs.  They often have size adjustment snaps that allow them to 'grow' with baby.  They are super cute.  What more could you ask for???  

Storing dirties is similar to disposables.  Instead of putting them in a 'diaper genie' type receptacle to be thrown away, you put them in a hamper lined with a washable, waterproof liner.  Every 2-3 days you just throw the whole hamper bag in the washer and do your wash routine.  Wash, Dry, Reuse!  

It only took a look at the cost savings for John to jump on board.  He wasn't nearly as impressed by the cuteness factor.  To start up with cloth diapers cost us about $600 including diapers, wipes, travel bags, laundry hamper, laundry detergent, etc.  Disposable diapers generally cost about $1000/year.  So, we are basically saving between $1400-2400 over the next 2-3 years.  Plus they are cute.  And put no chemicals next to the baby's sweet little bum.  And they won't take 500 years to degrade in a landfill.  And they are cute!  

Here is a good website:  The Real Diaper Association

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Paisley!!!

Baby Paisley was born March 10th, 2011 at 12:06 in the afternoon!!! 
It was an amazing experience that deserves a post of its own.  For now, enjoy these pictures!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wool Felted Soap

I need to preface this post by admitting that I am decidedly NOT crafty.  I wish I were, but I'm not.  I can sew on a button, but thats about it.  I tried to quilt for a while.  I got three baby quilts made for friends and family.  They weren't pretty.  I can't seem to get the sewing machine adjusted correctly.  The thread always either breaks or bunches up under the fabric.  Over and over.  I break needles.  John comes home to find the living room COVERED in scraps, thread, etc. and my with my hair standing on end.  I always end the project, without finishing, and tell myself I just can't sew.  Until I think of another project.  It is a vicious cycle, I tell you.  Finally, John planned an intervention and I sold the machine on craigslist.  Best decision ever.  However, this left me craftless and a bit uneasy.  

I started learning about felting wool online and came across a tutorial for felting over soap.  

Wool felted soap is just a bar of soap that is wrapped in wool and 'felted' so that the wool outer covering becomes like a washcloth.  Its a bar of soap and shower poof in one!  Wool has natural anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties as long as it is properly cared for and kept dry between uses.  I chose a soap with tea tree oil as it has antiseptic properties.  

For this bar, I am using a pink and a green dyed wool roving.  

You wrap a thin layer in one direction, then in the next direction.  
This gives the fibers something to 'felt' to.  

Keep going until you have the bar mostly covered.  It will be loose.  That is OK. 
On this bar, I twisted a length of wool into a tight yarn for decoration.  It is not attached or tied.  

Next you will sprinkle the wool with hot water.  Have a bowl of hot water handy for rinsing.  

Now, you start gently rubbing the soap.  Rather than rubbing the fibers with you fingers, you want to use your finger to rub the fiber against the soap.  The friction should be between the soap and fibers, not your fingers and the fibers.  
Things will get foamy and start to tighten up.  Once things start feeling less 'loose' and the whole deal is covered with lather, you can dunk and swish in the bowl of hot water.  Things will loosen up temporarily, but now is the time to use friction between your hands and the wool.  You use the exact same motions as washing your hands with a bar of soap at this stage.  Things have felted enough that your wool won't shift too much.  Just keep rubbing until the wool has tightened around the bar and things are nice and lathered.  Once more dunk and swish, then pat it dry on a towel.  
It will need to dry and cure for about 24 hours.  As you use the soap, the wool will shrink and will always fit the soap perfectly!  

How cool is that?  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby Talk- Belly Pictures!

These pictures were taken at 38 weeks by John.  
The first three are my favorites!  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Baby Talk- Why we didn't want a hospital birth

John and I started this journey in a traditional OB practice with a midwife.  I really wanted a midwife to deliver us, as I felt that was the best option for finding someone who would work with us towards having a natural, unmedicated childbirth.  John really wanted to deliver at a hospital as he felt that was the safest place to be.  So, a midwife practicing in a group of OBs seemed like a great compromise.  As time went by, we were educating ourselves through the internet as well as our birth class about typical procedures that are performed at the hospital for mom as well as baby.  I began to form my birth plan and we would occasionally bring it to our prenatal visit to discuss with our midwife.  My birth plan began to look like a novel.  I had it in bullet points and made the font smaller to fit everything on one page.  I was asking a lot of questions of our midwife and trying to get a feel for what was standard procedure at the hospital, and then including those details in my birth plan if they differed from my desires.  Unfortunately, our midwife raised several red flags with the way she answered a number of our questions.  We really felt like she was yielding to protocol, which is understandable as she works in a network of OBs and delivers at a large hospital.  We can't blame her for following procedure, but we were still uneasy about some of her answers to our questions.   

 There were quite a few topics that we would need to advocate for while in labor and delivery.  However, in a hospital setting, many of the things we were requesting were not the standard procedure.  John and I started worrying about how we would manage to enforce our birth plan.  I, clearly, couldn't be an advocate for myself during labor.  John was going to be very busy staying connected to me and supporting me.  He is totally capable of being my advocate and reminding the nursing staff of decisions we had made.  However, we were unsure that John wanted to take on that role at the expense of being less connected to me emotionally during the labor and birth.  John's primary role is to be my support partner and coach.  

We decided that we needed to go on a tour of the hospital to fully make up our minds.  We went to the hospital with the hope that we would be reassured by the staff and environment that all of this was possible.  We were looking forward to the tour and had very open, hopeful expectations.  

Unfortunately, we were disappointed.  The tour had about 20 couples signed up.  The nursing staff had a very rude and condescending attitude about natural birth.  She rolled her eyes and laughed when she described that they do have a jacuzzi tub for "anyone who wants to attempt this without any pain medication".  There were several other comments made about natural, unmedicated childbirth that made John and I exchange knowing looks.  The nurse showed us the 'newborn procedure station' and I asked if it was possible for them to do the procedures while baby was being held by mom.  She fumbled around for a moment, then answered that "that would be a decision you could make, but we can't make any promises".  She acted like me wanting to make a decision was out of the ordinary and not welcome. This was the clincher for me.  The most important aspect of this process to me is that John and I are in charge of our birth.  We don't need someone to tell us how they will be doing things.  We are capable of birthing our baby.  In the case of an emergency, of course, we would need someone directing decisions.  But that is a pretty unlikely event.  The last straw for John was this little gem; the hospital puts a tracking anklet on each baby.  The anklet locks any door that you get close to and the whole hospital locks down should the anklet be removed without a key.  The problem John and I have with this is that the hospital requires a 2 night stay, which is ridiculous.  With a natural, unmedicated birth there is no reason I shouldn't be able to go home within a few hours.  Also, we are choosing to opt out of several unnecessary newborn procedures and we are afraid that we will get push-back on that, which is pretty scary if the hospital is in control of your baby.  

So, in the end, John and I couldn't get out of the hospital fast enough.  We spent the whole drive home discussing what we did want.  It was pretty interesting that he and I were totally on the same page after the tour.  We didn't have to say a word to each other to know that this wasn't right for us.  Honestly, it was a relief to be so certain about something.  We knew a hospital birth just wasn't for us.  I know that many people have successful natural childbirth experiences in hospitals.  I also know that it just isn't for us.  Every parent makes the right choices for their own situation.  We are thrilled with our decision and finally feel confident with our care provider.

Overall, we both agree that a hospital is a great place to be in the case of an emergency.  However, birth is not an emergency.  Our baby ALREADY has all of the immunity she needs to the things in our home.  Why would we take her to a hospital, filled with sick people, and risk exposing her to illness?  Why would I want to hang out in the hospital, 'just in case' when that is the place to go if you are in a 'worst case scenario' situation?  Doesn't it just feel like we would be setting ourselves up for unnecessary interventions?  

Birth is normal.  I am confident in my body's ability to birth a baby.  I firmly believe that our bodies have a natural system of pain relief that allows you to gradually handle the pain of birthing.  I also firmly believe that our bodies will not destroy or damage themselves during the birth process.  If either of these statements were false, how would we have survived as a species?  Hospital birthing is only 2-3 generations old.  Were the generations before that doing something wrong?

Hospitals are great for emergencies.  In the event that our birth turns into an emergency, we will not hesitate to transfer and receive the best emergency care available.

Come back next week for belly pictures!