christmas tree farm

Last weekend we visited a Christmas tree farm. It was our first time as a family to chop down our own tree and even our first time to have a living tree!

 And the end result:


mom bullies

When I was in high school I was always the quiet, friendly type. I kept to myself and just focused on getting my schoolwork done. I had only a handful of friends who I was fiercely loyal to, and many acquaintances as well. I honestly can't tell you one single person who disliked me with the exception of my boyfriend's ex girlfriend in tenth grade. I am just not a shit starter, and I tend to be a curious observer only of the drama around me.

I'm 25 now. The amount of drama and mom bullying, as I am going to call it, is downright ridiculous. Did you know that it's totes cool to make small talk with another mom, look her right in the eye and smile, talk to her children warmly, then because of whatever reason, turn around and block her on Facebook? Yeah.

Facebook and many internet forums have made bored, listless stay at home moms into mom bullies. They form tight knit cliques and super secret groups. The greatest thing about this high school behavior is that you can be a coward and hide behind your computer instead of being an adult and hashing out your problems with someone you take issue with.

I made the mistake of joining such a clique a couple of years ago. You know, it's great when you're one of them and accepted. I felt like I had a group of acquaintances, maybe a friend or two. This is huge news when you are a mom, especially a young mom like me who lost all of her friends when I embarked on the journey of motherhood. My journey from very woo-ey agnostic to highly skeptical atheist left my entire world shattered. I could no longer participate in this group as my new knowledge just didn't jive at all with their beliefs and practices. I'm not the kind of person who can bite her tongue. So out I went.

But you know, there's something disheartening about keeping quiet. I still did some of the same things they did, but suddenly I wasn't a cool kid. Leaving was the right thing, but I felt alone in my slightly crunchy ways. I think especially as moms, we need that bond with other moms. We need to know we aren't alone at the end of the day. So I tried to be a part of this group and take what info I could relate to but also tackle misinformation. What a mistake that was. I'm immediately questioned as to why I bothered to return. How hurtful is that, to basically say, "and why are you here?" to someone you once pretended to care about. And instead of hashing out these differences we form secretive groups and talk behind each others backs. I can't message someone on Facebook to say, hey, let's fix this. No, because I'm now blocked from all communication with them. I can't show up to events anymore because I'm not "one of them".

The amount of mom bullying is ridiculous, and has got to stop. I'm sure you heard about the teenager recently who killed herself because of online bullies. Is this really the message we want to send to our kids? That online bullying is honorable?  I'm one of the easiest people to talk to. You meet me in person, my friendliness is real. I'm not good at acting. If you have something to say, come say it to my face. Write me a comment, send me a message. What is wrong with doing this? What have I done that is really so offensive that you must block me from ever communicating with you? It is hurtful and petty. We have to grow up eventually, ladies.


// our new normal

Suffice it to say, my little boy is growing up. This is our new normal. One filled with school! Teachers! That familiar school cafeteria smell. This is the beginning of the rest of adolescence...

This is my new normal as I attempt to clean up a little bit. Forgive me if some things get lost in the shuffle. I have a lot on my plate with epic piles of laundry, endless dirty diapers (more on those another day!), college, and rethinking friendships. It's like everything imploded at once and it is so refreshing. No more need to overcompensate. Get what I give or I simply give up. It's as easy as that.

Just loving simple right now.


The one where the woman approaches me about breastfeeding

I'm standing in the well lit lobby of the Freeman Coliseum for my cousin's high school graduation.
Kids are walking to and fro, chattering and laughing. A teenage couple a few yards away is arguing.

And there I am, hands strategically placed as I nurse Rowan in the Boba. I'm leaning against the wall, looking at her and back at the people around me. This goes on for at least 5 minutes.

Suddenly an older woman and her preschool age daughter approach me.
"I just want to let you know you're doing a good thing, and keep it up." she tells me.
"It's the best thing for them." I feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.

Can I stop right here and say how odd it is for this to happen?
The closest thing I've come is when I attended a friend's wedding and I nursed Rowan as a newborn.
A woman across the room smiled at me and through a grin mouthed, "Good job."

I have mixed feelings on this one.

I do believe, as most people do, that breast is best. There is science to back this up.
I think encouragement is wonderful for moms who struggle to nurse their babies.
And I totally felt some crunchy cred when I received accolades for simply feeding my baby but really that's just it.
I was just feeding my baby.

Has it become so commonplace now to see mothers bottlefeed (or maybe hide somewhere to nurse) that it is worthy of praise when a mother is seen simply breastfeeding her child?
It is a little sad.

The other side of me thinks what if I were bottlefeeding Rowan instead? Would this woman have just muttered to herself how I'm just like all of the others who "gave up" on breastfeeding?
Surely no one is going to praise me for feeding my baby via bottle.

I almost felt guilty about feeling good about this encounter. What does that say about me? That I think I am better than bottle feeders? I enjoyed the connection to a stranger over something so intimate but then there is that issue. Was it really any of her business to talk to me about it?

Things to ponder...


Rowan's Rainbow Party

Rowan turned 1 on the 18th of May.
I can't believe it has already been a year since she was forced to evacuate the premises.
She is already behaving like a little girl too: feisty and over emotional. Sigh.

To celebrate we had a rainbow themed party last weekend.

Rowan in her mommy made cake smash outfit.

Of course I have like no pictures of the rainbow assortment of plates and forks. Or the rainbow napkins. Or the other rainbow decorations. But I do have pictures of cake!

Rowan's smash cake before it was given to her.

She proceeded with caution with the smash cake. She dipped her fingers in it, subtly tasted it and made a face because of the gooeyness of the frosting.
Then all hell broke loose.

After we were all done oogling her as she made an enormous mess, it was rainbow cake time. Awww yeah.

Pictures don't do it justice.
This sucker was very difficult to cut. You can't tell from the picture, but it was quite tall so every time I cut off a piece it started leaning more and more towards its impending death. Hence the big cake mess.
I couldn't get a decent picture of its vivacity but the bright hues in the piece to the right almost take you there.
This cake was amazing. Many thanks to my stepmom for making exactly what we were looking for.

After cake it was present time. Of course Rowan's favorite present was the food. She insisted I open it and give her some of it.
All in all the party was a great success! The rainbow theme was a lot of fun and Rowan had a blast.


End of Flats Challenge: Reflections


The end of the flats challenge was last night.
I am very relieved to be able to use my other diapers, as easy as flats were.

Here are a few random thoughts on everything:
* Regular flats are easier to wash than receiving blankets but the blankets were usually more absorbent and would fit bigger kids better.
* It would be extremely hard to hand wash every single day and not give in to just buying some disposables instead. I would be interested in trying the challenge for a few weeks instead of one to see how many people can really last on a more long term scale.
* Rowan was less rashy in the flats than she has been in pockets. I put an Easy Fit on her this morning and she got rashy in it whereas she never had a rash in the flats.
* Having a diaper sprayer really took the edge off. I couldn't imagine not spraying the diapers at all, no matter the type of poo.
* Kudos to any working moms and especially the single moms out there who got through the challenge. I do not think I could do it as a working mom. There just would not be time in the day and few childcare providers would put flats on your kid or change them often enough to make it worth it.
* Cloth diapering can be SUPER CHEAP. Holy crap. For me anyways, a handful of FREE receiving blankets. The flats were $5. The Econobum cover I originally paid like $2 for, new. The Thirsties cover I bought secondhand for maybe $5 (it might have been a trade though). The wool covers I made myself and spent maybe $5 on sweaters to make them (with material leftover). The blankets would continue to fit Rowan for a long time (they even fit my 3 year old son as you can see here.) but I would only need to make larger wool covers when she grows (if I wanted to). Pretty awesome!

A recap: I used 6 real flats and the rest receiving blankets. I washed every morning except for once when I washed at night. I did not use a snappi except for two times. I used pins or I padfolded. I had one Econobum cover and one Thirsties Duo wrap that I used. My husband used a Flip cover once when the Thirsties cover was on the line drying. I used Gerber flats as doublers for night and for when I thought we'd be out of the house for a while. I kept an extra flat or blanket and cover in the car "just in case".
My wash routine was tub almost halfway full with hot water, Sun powder detergent filled halfway to the 1 line. (I did rinses before and after as well.) Hang dry everything every morning and it only took a couple of hours for everything to be dry and nicely stain free.

Daddy changes Rowan into a padfolded flat in an Econobum cover.

A part of me wants to get more flats, actual flats (and cute ones) but I have too many diapers to justify it.
I loved hang drying though and it would be great to skip the dryer all together to save money. I will definitely do the challenge again next year, I think.


Flats Challenge Days 5-6

Is this over yet?
Just kidding.
Like I've said previously, I'm actually liking using flats. I love how little laundry I am dealing with, which would be somuchbetter if I could use my washer. :)
I do think knowing how to wash by hand is great (for camping for instance, or if you are going out of town for a couple of days and can't afford fancier diapers or disposables or don't want to lug around a bunch of dirty AIOs) but the majority of people nowadays have access to a washer. I could totally see myself using flats almost exclusively but washing the washer.

Last night I had a date night with the husband so the kids stayed with my mother-in-law.
She is a little cloth diaper challenged so she just used her sposies.
I put Rowan back in a flat when I picked her up this morning, though.
I don't mean to sound like a cloth snob because I love the hell out of disposables too but omg the pee in a sposie smell is so nauseating.

By the way, have I mentioned again how much I hate snappis?
Every single time I have used one it has come loose! And on a regular flat! I despise that little third claw.
Are the Boingos really better as far as staying put goes?

I will update more later! Time for a diaper change!


Flats Challenge Days 3 & 4

Okay, I'm loving flats.

What I'm really loving is how little laundry I end up with.
No stuffing pockets, no waiting forever for fitteds to dry in the dryer.
For the past 2 days I haven't even had any PUL covers to wash.
I've used my 2 wool soakers during the day and my wool longies for night.
Even when we have a poopsplosion I can get the cover washed and dried outside in only a couple of hours.
This is really do-able!

Rowan thinks Orange Crab needs to help wash her flats.

What I dislike: handwashing. I LOVE hanging the flats out to dry on the line.
LOVE it.
Bending over the tub, hands tired from smashing and ringing, my back tired from being hunched over, I do NOT like. I can't even imagine how effin long it would take to do 2 days worth.

Ethan helps unplug the drain so we can rinse.

Going out in public with my pins and flats has also proven to be easy.
This is me at Target yesterday:
Get out of car. "Oh crap, Rowan is wet." Grab the flat in my front seat.
Make way to bathroom.
Change Rowan on the little changer thingy. She is surprisingly still for me, even for the pins.
Take wet flat out of bathroom and grab a disposable Target bag (I forgot my wetbag at home).

I have to say how much I am loving pinning too.
I really do not have much love for the snappi when it comes to pinning.
(I do like snappis with prefolds though.)

I also love how brilliantly cheap this has been for me.
I could have easily gotten away with no PUL covers and just stuck with my recycled wool.
It is easy to find $.50 and $1 nice cashmere and merino sweaters at thrift stores here.
One sweater yields at least 2 covers, usually. I could easily have spent a DOLLAR to cloth diaper my daughter in her current size.
Receiving blankets are super easy to find for free if you are not like the majority of women who get a million for their baby shower.
Pretty crazy to think about.


Flats Challenge Day 2

So the Nighttime Flat worked out well! She is in bed now with Nighttime Flat #2 so hopefully we will get the same results!

Today I handwashed for the first time in almost 4 years.
When I first started cloth diapering I had one bumGenius, one Imse Vimse cover and a handful of Gerber flats that were given to me at my baby shower to use as burp cloths.
I loved CDing so much in those initial days that I handwashed the flats (and BG) and hung them to dry on the shower rack in our bathroom. My son was only 3 months old and my husband and I were staying with his parents while we got on our feet. Their washer was broken but that didn't sway me from using our cloth.

This time I used laundry detergent instead of Aveeno baby wash (stop laughing) and I threw them all in a hot water filled bathtub instead of the bathroom sink.
My first thought: "This is really hot!" as I burned the crap out of my feet stepping on the diapers to agitate them.
Once I got to rinsing each individual flat (and I had 7) I realized how time consuming handwashing diapers is. There is no way I would want to wash any more than a day's worth. It would take me damn near an hour to do so. Washing every day wouldn't be ideal either, though.

They're so pretty on the line! After a few hours out there they were dry and almost stain free. I beat them a little to soften them up (though it was windy out so that did most of the work for me) and folded them. Ready for another day!

I'm hoping there won't be any rash issues due to the wonky handwashing.

I've still been using the same 2 wool covers these last 2 days, though we did have an incident with one and I had to wash it. It's currently outside drying and will hopefully be ready to use again tomorrow.
I am still liking using flats. It is actually making me reconsider my diverse and plentiful stash of fitteds, pockets (especially the pockets, what a PITA) and all in ones. :/


Flats Challenge Day 1

So this was my first day of using flats all day.

Her first diaper change was an epic fail. I was feeling lazy (who isn't when they wake up at 7 am?) and just did a padfold in the Thirsties cover.
This resulted in a massive poosplosion that got all over the cover of course, so I only got one use out of it.

After that I decided to try an angel wing fold which was a little better, but my snappi completely sucked at grabbing the flannel blanket I was using as a diaper. The next diaper change I pulled down the wool soaker to see the snappi haphazardly grabbing the wool and the diaper, narrowly missing Rowan's skin. Poor baby.

Not wanting to give up on this fold I tried instead to use pins. I love pins!

And did I mention I am really liking the simplicity of using flats? I managed to only use flannel receiving blankets as flats all day, never dipping into my "actual flats" stash. I love how much less fuss there was.
With the angel wing fold, seen above, we managed to contain another poo (the diaper held together beautifully with the pins) and the blankets themselves are pretty absorbent.
I found I was changing every 1 1/2-2 hours today.

Here is my new set up. I didn't want to have to handwash a wetbag, though I'd imagine it wouldn't be that hard so I might resort to that later in the week. On the left is my diaper pail, which I normally put a liner in and throw diapers in next to the toilet after spraying. On the right is my grocery bag full of dirty flats.
I would use a bucket to store the dirties in instead of a bag but I don't have a spare.

Nighttime should be interesting. Rowan is not a particularly heavy wetter so I'm thinking she should do fine overnight. Here is what she is wearing to bed:

Angel wing folded receiving blanket with a crappy Gerber flat padfolded and wedged between the layers for extra absorbency. She is wearing recycled wool longies as a cover/pants.
All in all we used about 7 flats (flannel receiving blankets), 1 Thirsties duo cover, 1 snappi (fail), 1 recycled wool soaker (used all day after the poop incident), one pair of longies to bed, and 1 pair of pins.

Stay tuned tomorrow for day 2, washing day (I am probably going to be washing every day so I don't run out) and to see how the flat held up to nighttime use.


2012 Flats Challenge

This year I've decided to partake in the Flats Challenge because, well, I'm always up for a challenge. :)
I wanted to do this as cheaply as possible so I am using Rowan's acquired flannel receiving blankets (all for free) and I purchased a half dozen used Osocozy and a few random Gerber flats from a friend ($5).

I know this is going to be a challenge because I have to handwash and hang dry everything. The Osocozy and Gerber will be super easy but the flannel might present me with a few obstacles. If it doesn't seem to be working out I will probably go buy some flour sack towels to use.

For covers I've decided to use what can be bought cheaply. For me that is an Econobum cover from Cottonbabies and a (bought used) Thirsties duo wrap. The duo wrap is softening and has seen better days. I probably spent $7 or so on both covers back in the day.
I also plan on using wool and have chosen to only use a handful of covers, shorts and longies that I have made myself from wool sweaters. Total I have probably spent $5 or $6 on the materials to make them. Of course not everyone is crafty so not everyone will have this option. I didn't want to use my more expensive knit wool though, though you can certainly buy some for pretty cheap off of Spots on Hyenacart.

These are the ONLY covers I will be using all week so wish me luck!

I do plan on using our line outside to dry if the weather permits and I also plan on using our diaper sprayer though if you do not have one you could always use the extendable shower head from your shower. I do not have one of those so the diaper sprayer it will be. Rowan has mostly peanut butter BMs so not spraying is just not an option for me.
I have one snappi I will be using as well when I use the wool. I also own pins so I might bust those out.

Nighttime will be the biggest challenge. I might use a couple of pockets and stuff them with flats. Not sure yet but of course I will be updating along the way.
So sit back and enjoy the show. :)



Life is getting to be a lot different than it was just a few short months ago...

I am excited to share my very personal journey of weight loss! A Little Greenlings exclusive!
Here is January at the beginning of my journey. I was about 170 lbs.

This is now:

You'll have to excuse the half naked photos. That's really the only way to take such pictures. :)
And I am still going! I am about 10 lbs away from my "ultimate" goal, which basically just means that any more of a loss will leave me looking frail and emaciated.
I've done this the old fashioned way: eating right and exercising. I have ups and downs but I stay on track for the most part.

So that is my life in a nutshell right now. Changes.


[latest creations]

I have been sewing quite a bit lately. In between making messes, cleaning them up, playing with the kids and facebooking, that is.

Appliqued capris made for a friend.

My first attempt at a wool skirty. Look how big she is getting! It freaks me out.

While looking for pictures of us I have come to the conclusion that I just don't take enough to begin with. I will have to start taking more.


[rowan turns eight months]

Every month I take a picture of Rowan on her personalized quilt. It is cute to see how big she is getting in relation to the blanket.
This is how today's picture went.

Lucky shot:

.5 Seconds after:


[separation anxiety]

My poor sewing machine is sitting on the ground looking sad and lonely.
I have it out because I've been meaning to sew up a pillow for my bed for the last two weeks.
Unfortunately stuff gets in the way, mainly an almost 8 month old who won't let me put her down ever. It's getting really old.
But how can you say no to a face like this?

She's been nursing a lot today so I think we may see more teeth soon.



things I am doing in 2012:

  • Redecorating my house
  • Decluttering
  • Redoing my wardrobe
  • Drinking lots of decaf
  • Snuggling my babies
  • Using up my fabric scraps
  • Redecorating this blog
  • Babywearing
  • Walking