Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Cake

I've grown king of tired of watching all of these cake shows that are on tv nowadays while sitting on the couch feeding Lauren and not being able to make a cake. So I decided the day before Christmas Eve that I was going to make a cake. Crying baby or not. I worked on it here and there and really it wasn't that hard to accomplish.

Since I randomly decided to make this cake, I didn't have very much powdered sugar. Usually I try to keep extra on hand but I just made some puppy chow and I only had 1 lb. in the cupboard. Which was enough to cover the cake but nothing more. Usually I make my fondant as homemade marshmallow fondant frosting. Luckily I had a box of Wilton frosing just waiting for the occasion. This stuff is pretty darn gross ladies and gents. It smells bad. I can't believe Wilton would put their name on such a product. Why can't they make it taste better? I've always heard it was gross but now I know why. Oh well, on this cake it was pretty easy to pick off the decorations. I will say that this fondant is easier to work with than what I usually make. Much easier to knead in the coloring and shape. I'll have to work on perfecting my fondant in the future so it's a marriage of both worlds.

The candy cane decorations on the tree are Watkins sprinkles. The bows on the presents are also Watkins sprinkles. They came in a package together. Perfect!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Presents!

Lookie what I got for Christmas! :)

I finally got my china hutch finished. Adjustable shelves and all! The base has been sitting in my kitchen for a while now just waiting for a top.

I also got some books, the New Arrivals Cricut cartridge and Super Mario Brothers Wii.

Such a great hubby. Thanks honey!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Little Miss Lauren visited the big man in red for the first time this week when he came to visit all the little boys and girls of Mead.

Lauren sure did enjoy him! She told him all about the things she was wishing for and smiled happily when he said he would bring them for her!

We'll be at Grandma and Grandpa's house when we wake up on Christmas morning but I'm sure Santa will find her there!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Cards

I made most of our Christmas cards this year. It's really not too hard if you have the tools - and I'm guessing if you are going to take on the task to make your own cards you have the tools.

I bought some premade cards at Hobby Lobby because I used my coupon and got them for 8 cents a card. They came in a package of 50. Much easier and cheaper than cutting them myself.

The trick to making your own cards is a system. Cut or make all your pieces or elements and then assemble your cards.

I did a lot of trial and error to figure out my design but in the end I decided that I liked the brown paper and wanted to keep the card simple to show off the paper (and save time.)

First thing I did was lay out all the cards and splatter them with white acrylic paint to create the look of snow.

I used my cricut and the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge to cut the tags. Then I stamped them with a Christmas tree stamp in black ink.

Then I stamped the insides of the cards with a message.

I used some ribbon that I had left over from our wedding for the bow and used this easy Cheater bow method to create the bows.

After that I folded them and signed them.

Then I used my Glue Runner to glue on the tags. Then I used a mini glue dot to attach the bow.

After that I added our pictures/birth announcement since I didn't feel like addressing and paying for postage for birth announcements 3 months ago :)

There you go - easy homemade Christmas cards!

P.S. If you read my blog and don't get one of these...it's because I wasn't thinking when I went to buy the cards and only got 50. Of course Adams family is huge so I ran out and don't really feel like lugging Lauren to Hobby Lobby again. Please forgive me :) You'll be getting my quickie postcard version of the pictures/birth announcement.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Laurens poor stomach

Well I think that we are getting her figured out a little bit. Not totally sure though.
-We added soy back into my diet and she seems to tolerate that just fine.
-We took tomatoes out because she was getting bad diaper rashes and that seemed to help.
-We tried to add milk back in and that was a big fat fail.

So we think that milk and tomatoes are bad but soy is ok. However her diapers are still not quite under control so I think there is still something that I'm eating that is bothering her. I guess I will continue to experiment with my diet. Good news is that she doesn't seem to be in as much pain.

The chiropractor mentioned taking probiotics which I'm going to look into. They help with digestion. I think the chiropractor is helping with the reflux as it doesn't seem like I have to worry about giving her as much medicine as I did for a while.

That's all for now...

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I've started to take Lauren to the chiropractor. I heard that they could help with reflux and digestion and all that good stuff. She has been in twice already.

The chiropractor said that her sacrum was off center and her something or other which I think she was just talking about her upper back was "locked up". She got her back to pop which she said she usually can't get that to happen but that is a good thing.

She said that we should know if what we are doing is going to make a difference in a week. I think that it might be but it's so hard to tell - especially since this past weekend was odd for her in that she was dragged all over for Thanksgiving.

I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Pictures

These were taken a little while ago but I figured you might like to see them anyway :) They are from her 2 month old photo shoot!

She is getting so big already. At her 2 month dr. appt. she was 11 lbs 8 oz already! Rolly polly little girl :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Baptism booties

This weekend was little miss Laurens baptism.

We borrowed the dress that Adams sister wore so I wanted something special that was just for Lauren. So I made her some little shoes :) I found a pattern on this great blog. Check it out. She also has lots of other cool stuff. I love the blogging community :) Here is my finished product. I'm not the neatest sewer around curves but they turned out alright.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cloth Diapering Basics

We cloth diaper. I actually love it. I had a friend ask about cloth diapering so I figured I'd wrote a blog post about it so maybe I can help other people too when looking into cloth diapering. Cloth diapering can be very overwhelming when you first start looking into it. Here is my take on the cloth diapering basics. Hopefully in layman's terms :) Also I've included just some general info that I've picked up along the way. If after reading this you still feel that disposables are for you, good for you. Do what is right for your family.

Benefits of cloth diapering:
-Better for the environment - no diapers sitting in landfills.
-Cloth diapers are more sanitary for the environment. Improperly disposing of human waste is illegal. So why is it ok for us to put tons of human waste into our landfills in diapers? The bacteria can leak into our water from here. With cloth, poop goes into the toilet and gets treated before going back into our drinking water systems.
- No chemicals sitting next to your childs skin every hour of every day.
- They are cuter than disposables : )
-Cost. It can cost as little as $1500 - $2000 per child for disposables. You could cloth diaper for as little as $300 and you can use them for multiple children!
-I also find that it's nice to not have to worry about if I have enough diapers on hand at home. If you run out of disposables at home you're S.O.L. With cloth you just wash one quick! I think it gives a little more flexibility. We were at my parents house recently and we weren't planning on spending the night. I was thinking though that if we randomly decided to stay the night we could, we would just throw our diapers in the wash! If we did disposables, we wouldn't have that option because we would have run out of what we brought.
-Cloth diapers are less prone to blowouts and leaking.
-Your childs bottom will be touching cloth all day instead of chemicals and plastic.
-Cloth diapered babies tend to potty train earlier and easier.

There are different “systems” of cloth diapering. Each has pros and cons. Each system has different brands you can choose. There are also accessories that you would need to purchase to aid your cloth diapering experience. Here are a few of them that I think are important.


This is the modern replacement of pins. Instead of pinning each side of the cloth diaper, the snappi has teeth that grip the sides and you can quickly “pin” your diaper on.

Pail and pail liners.
Cloth diapering used to be done with simple pieces of cotton. Essentially rags. This led to wet pails which means that the diapers were thrown into water after being removed from the baby to soak. With modern diapers, there are often many parts to the diaper that can not be constantly stored in water - such as elastic. This would cause your diapers last only a short while and not be worth your money. The pail I have is just a trash can with a swinging lid. Pail liners are waterproof bags essentially. You could use trash bags but since you are going to be doing laundry anyway, you might as well use a reusable bag and toss it in with everything else. There are a few variations with these. Some are a bag with an elastic top, some have drawstrings on top. A bag with drawstrings is helpful if you are spending the night away from home or sending the bag to the babysitters, etc. There is a new bag that came out that has handles for you to hang over a doorknob eliminating the need for a pail and then it has a zipper on the bottom for dumping the diapers in the wash. I have three liners. It's helpful to have more than one so you have one to put back in the pail while one is in the wash. There are different brands - here are a few examples:

Wet Bags.
Wet bags are waterproof bags. They are great for on the go. There are different sizes of wet bags. I have a medium one that I leave in the diaper bag for putting soiled diapers in until we get home. They are also great to just put wet stuff in such as swimming suits.

Covers are needed if you are using flats, prefolds or fitteds. They are the waterproof outer layer of your diaper. Most of these you have to buy by size. There are a few coming out that are now one size. If you see OS when looking about something talking about diapers, it means one size. This means that there are probably snaps on the front that allow the diapers to fit from newborn until potty training. They adjust to fit the size of your baby. There are some covers that are single gusset or double gusset. This means one or two pieces of elastic around the leg area.

Option #1:
Flats with cover

A flat diaper is old school. It is a large single layer of cotton. This must then be folded multiple times to create an absorbent diaper. Helpful Link

Pros: Thin so it dries faster. I think you would have control over how this is fitting and you would have a lot of options of what you could do with it. Inexpensive.

Cons: Time is spent folding the diapers. You may not feel like you are able to fold it just right. Requires you to fold, put the snappi on or pin, then put the cover on.

Option #2:
Prefolds with cover

Prefolds evolved from flats. They are a flat, just already folded and layered and sewn in place for you. This is the "cheap option" most people go with these days. Helpful Link

Pros: Cheap. Simpler than flats. Very handy around the house!

Cons: Still needs to be folded to fit onto the baby. Needs snappi and cover. Need to be purchased by size.

Option #3:
Fitteds with cover

Fitteds are material that has elastic around the legs and snaps or velcros at the waist. They are already made to fit your child.

Pros: Simpler and fast.

Cons: Can be almost as expensive as pockets and all in ones once you buy the covers. Still have to cover.

Option #4:

I'll let the image explain for me

Pockets can come in OS or sized. They can have velcro closures at the waist or snaps. Velcro is a little easier and more like disposables. Some people like snaps because as kids get older they can figure out how to take off the velcro. You'd have the same issue if they were in disposables though.

Pros: Very easy. Put it on and go. You can customize your diaper to how much absorbency you need by what you put in the pocket. You can put in the insert and doubler for overnight. You can insert your prefolds if you have some to increase absorbency.

Cons: Have to stuff the pocket. More expensive than other options.

Option #5:

Everything is there in one piece. Exactly like a disposable except you have to wash them! They can have velcro closures at the waist or snaps.

Pros: No work for you

Cons: Do not come in One Size. Take a long time to dry. More expensive than other options.

Cleaning them: There are different ideas on how you can wash your diapers. Most importantly though, please know that not all detergents are cloth diaper friendly. Softners, whitners and additives can break down your diapers making their life span much shorter. Choose some sort of "free and clear" detergent. Here is a list of cloth diaper friendly detergents. Bleach should be used sparingly on your diapers. Only use if you really think you need to. Bleach will break down your diapers faster than you'd want. It might also irritate babies bottoms. Sunning is a great alternative. Lay your diapers out in the sun for a few hours and they will come back in bright white! Think about how the sun bleaches wood surrounding windows or rugs under french doors or something that you left laying in the back window of your car.

If your baby is exclusively breast fed, their poop is water soluble. All you have to do is take the diaper off and throw it in the pail. I use pockets so I shake the insert out as I throw it in the pail.
If your baby is formula fed or eats solids, they make rice paper liners you can put in the diaper that are biodegradable and you can just toss that into the toilet and flush. Liners aren't always so friendly on septic tanks though. If you have a septic tank you can get a diaper sprayer that hooks up to your toilet and looks kind of like a shower head. Take the diaper off, give it a quick spray and put it in the pail.

I personally don't use any of those. I take the diaper to the toilet, turn it over and shake off what comes off easily. Anything else I just take toilet paper and swipe the diaper a few times. The diaper does not have to be totally clean, just chunks off because they won't break down in your washer as easily. You do not have to dunk or have the diaper totally clean.

I have used the rice paper liners to help protect the diaper when I've had to use an unapproved diaper cream.

Here is how I wash my diapers. Throw them in the wash and do a quick rinse. The initial rinse gets the poop off the diapers and out of the washer before you actually start washing the diapers. Then I wash with hot water. Make sure that you do not use too much detergent in your washes. If you do and it doesn't get all rinsed out it can build up on your diapers and can irritate your baby. If there are still suds in the machine, just do another rinse.

You also do not want to use dryer sheets with your cloth diapers. You can use dryer balls as an alternative.

Some people say "I don't have time to wash my laundry as it is", but really, it's not that big of a deal. I've heard people say "I never do my own laundry but my diaper laundry is always done. It's more fun!" Really, I just think you know you need to do it. When I go to put a diaper on and see that there are only 4 or so left in the bin, I know it's time to wash. Or you just know that you need to wash every 2nd or third night.

Here's what I chose to use:
My "stash" consists of:
24 Green Mountain Prefold Newborn Sized Diapers
6 XS Thirsties Covers
3 Snappi
24 BumGenius(the brand) OS(One Size) 3.0(Version 3) Pockets(type of diapering system)
3 used Haute Pocket Pockets
3 BumGenius Doublers (we use these at night as doublers as she's gotten older)
2 Hemp Doublers
1 package Imse Vimse Flushable Liners
Med Planet Wise wet bag
2 Planet Wise pail liners
1 Blueberry Pail Liner (has drawstring) (nice for when traveling)
Country Save Detergent
Dryer balls
CD friendly diaper rash cream

For a lot of babies, the OS diapers won't fit until 10 lbs. We decided to go with prefolds until she hit that 10 lb mark. Now we are using BG Pockets. For us, Lauren fit into the pockets at about 9 lbs. She has pretty chubby legs though. Now that we aren't using the prefolds full time I still use them quite a bit - or at least a few of them. I left a few out of storage and I use them as doublers, to put under her when she's airing out, cleaning up messes, etc. I love having them around.

Helpful Websites:
Nicki's Diapers
Green Mountain Diapers
Cotton Babies
Pin stripes to Polka Dots
Diaper Swappers
The bump Eco-Friendly Family Forum
A few cheaper diaper options that get great reviews:

Additional random thoughts:
-Different brands will fit different shaped babies differently. If they don't fit correctly they could leak. A lot of online stores will sell trail packages where you can get a few of different diapers to try them out. Or you can take the chance and build your stash from the beginning with all one kind.
-Diapers actually hold their resale value very well. They can be boughten used and resold after you are done with them.
- You will need to purchase as many diapers for how often you want to do wash. If you want to do wash every other day, it's recommended that you'll probably need 24 diapers. If you use flats or prefolds, you do not need a cover for every diaper. Maybe 5 covers total. You can lay them out to air out in between changes and only really need to wash if the gussets get wet or dirty.
-Running out of clean diapers and no time to wash. Put an insert or doubler over the dirty part of the diaper next to baby's skin and still use the dirty diaper as a cover essentially. Wa la. Clean diaper in a pinch. (sorta)
-Different brands use different materials for their diapers. Cotton, Microfiber, Microfleece, Suedecloth, Hemp, etc. Example, BumGenius uses suedecloth as the material that touches your babys bottom. Their inserts are microfiber. The microfiber is designed to pull moisture in away from the skin and the suedecloth acts to keep your baby's skin away from the moisture and dry. I have a few hemp inserts that hold more moisture than microfiber will. These hemp inserts are made a certain way that there is blue stitching on one side and that is the side that faces the baby's bottom.
-Some babies can be allergic to suedecloth. If there is a persistent diaper rash you can not figure out, try a diaper that isn't made of suedecloth.
-Not all diaper creams are cloth diaper safe. If they are too oily they can build up on the diaper and make them repel moisture instead of absorbing. You would then need to strip your diapers. Stripping is using dish soap to wash them and boiling them. I have heard of success with putting a little dish soap in the washing machine and washing in hot water.
Safe Diaper Rash Creams
-Of course not all daycare providers will be ok with cloth diapering. But most are thinking of doing it the old school way and think that it's just a lot harder. I suggest using a pocket or all in one system if this is the case and taking one in to show them. Show them how it'll be no different for them except they would have to throw it into the bag instead of a trash can. Especially if you use velcro closures. If they still say no, you can still use cloth at home at night and on weekends. This may not be quite as cost effective but if you are doing cloth for environmental reasons, it still helps in that area.
-You can dry your covers, pockets and all in ones but if you do they will wear out faster. It's best to air dry for the majority of the time.

There are a few other options and more out there to learn if you research. I'm going to quit now as I've probably overloaded you :)

Edit: Lauren is now on formula and solids. I have to admit that I was a little scared of the diaper situation once we make the switch to formula and started solids. It's really no big deal. The poop is now more solid and I just give it a little shake over the toilet. If there is still some on there I just take a little toilet paper and swipe it. No different than wiping it off of her. You don't need to get it totally clean, just the majority of it off. That is what the rinse cycle before the wash is for - to get all the rest of it off before your actual wash. They stain every so often now but no biggie - that is what sunning is for and they still work the same!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Backyard Fence

The fence around our backyard is getting pretty old and this fall it started to lean on the side by the alley. The posts weren't cemented in and were starting to rot. Since there isn't a house right beside us there we decided it won't hurt to just take it down for the winter and put it back up this spring.

Bye Bye Fence. See ya in a little while.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Milk allergy

Of course I forgot to tell you the most important thing about this whole milk allergy. In babies, the milk allergy is an allergy to the protein. So allergic to the milk and soy protein. This is different than being lactose intolerant which is what most adults get and most people assume I'm talking about when I talk about the milk allergy.

If you feel like watching here is part of Laurens wake up routine. It's such hard work waking up and usually pretty entertaining for Adam and myself as well.

Friday, October 30, 2009


After I posted last I talked to our pediatrician and she put Lauren on a stronger reflux medicine - Prevacid. She said that this new medicine could take 2 weeks to make a difference and to go ahead and get her started on that. She said that ideally we wouldn't want me to change my diet at the same time we are switching her medicine because we wouldn't know what made the difference if she got better but that if I felt the change was needed we could go ahead and do it and add in a little milk later to see if it bothers her. If so, we know she does have a milk allergy. Adam thought there was more wrong with her than just the reflux so on Thursday I went to the grocery store and started my new diet.

Here are some things that I've learned.

-Hy-Vee has dietitians on staff. They can help you shop the store at no cost. I called ahead and when I got there she had printed off a list of information for me including all the ingredients I had to watch for and some of the products in the store that I could have. She then took me around and pointed out some of those things and helped me read the labels. She was very helpful.

-Health food stores aren't just for people who eat all organically or are Vegans or stuff like that - they are really great for people with food allergies. Most stores have a "Health Mart" like Hy-Vee or an isle with heath foods in them.

-There are brands out there dedicated to helping people with food allergies.

-All labels are required to have allergy information on them. After all the ingredients it will say Contains: Wheat, Milk, Soy, etc. However, this is a fairly new law so something that has a really long shelf life may not say it on the packaging since it could have been manufactured before the law was passed.

-There are many different types of milk that aren't from animals. Rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk - to name a few.

-There are many crazy and unnecessary ingredients in many products once you start reading labels. I can't have caramel coloring. Who cares if your product is caramel colored? Just to make it more appetizing? IDK but I sure wish A-1 didn't put caramel coloring in.

-Many ingredients are greatly different in one product from one brand to another.

-It's crazy how much stuff milk is in - but yet there are still so many different foods you can have. You just have to find the brand w/o the milk in it!

-Many labels say natural flavorings. This is the bane of my existence. Most things probably won't have milk or soy in them but since you never know, you can't have anything that says natural flavorings. Could be butter flavoring. Could mean a presence of soy. So many things I want probably have no milk or soy in them but say natural flavorings so I can't have them! UGH. Just tell me what it is already.

-Some labels list all ingredients and they are all fine...but then at the end they say "May contain soy". What? Another UGH.

-I'm amazed at how little I miss the presence of cheese in some things. A taco w/o cheese really doesn't taste a ton different.

That's all for now. I'm sure I'll have more to add later.

AND, I went to the Dr. today and my blood pressure was 118/63. Woo Hoo! And I didn't even take medicine today (and haven't been that great at it some days lately) so I don't have to worry about medicine anymore.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More pictures!

Here's some more pictures of our little beauty for your enjoyment because I know I like seeing pictures. She definitely looks like her daddy!

We're still getting adjusted. Finally feeling like we can maybe accomplish a few things. She's been having a hard time with spitting up and not feeling totally like she should we don't think. She spits up, gags, tenses up, coughs, sneezes, hiccups, yells out, etc. We started her on reflux medicine on Friday and I think it's helping a little bit. She seemed to let the spit up come out of her mouth more yesterday and fought it less. She just spit it out and it didn't seem to bother her as much. BUT, she's still really fussy. She acts like her stomach hurts. I can hear it gurgling every once in a while. She acts like she wants to eat sometimes just to make her stomach feel better. She didn't sleep well yesterday or the last couple of nights. Her poop also seems kind of watery which the dr. told me is a sign of a milk allergy. I'm waiting for a call back from the dr. to see if they want us to come in and maybe start me on the MSPI diet (dairy and soy free) or if we should wait a little while still to let the reflux meds work. I hate knowing she's in pain and not doing anything so I'd like to try the MSPI diet to just see if it makes it better.

That's all for now. Here's the pics! Oh and by the way - she's already a month old!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rough Start

After a rough start Lauren and I are finally starting to get settled.

Right after Lauren was born she started grunting while trying to breath so they took her to the NICU for a little while. Luckily they didn't have to keep her for very long. The next morning around 4:30 she started to spit up and kind of choke. She kept doing it and once stuff started coming out of her nose we decided it would be best if they could take her and drain her stomach. Apparently the oxygen mask they put on her when she wasn't breathing perfectly caused a lot of the mucus to stay in her stomach instead of coming back out. They took her and got 3 cc's out of her which is pretty much the size that her stomach was.

The Sunday after she was born I started to have heart palpitations. I was pretty worried about them so when Wednesday night rolled around and I started to feel light headed I really got worried and made a trip into the ER. We found out the heart palpitations were PVC's which are when your heart throws an extra beat in and are harmless. Another more concerning problem was discovered when they hooked me up and I had a blood pressure of 198/104. They watched it for a little while and it came back down to 163/100. They sent me home because they knew I had a Dr. appt with my OB the next day. When I went to that appt. my pressure was still high, I was hyper-reflexive and I had a pain in my right side under my rib cage (I think kidney?). My OB said that I was one of the lucky few who get pre-eclamsia postpartum and said that I had to go back into the hospital. Their office is right next door so I went right over. Luckily they were able to get me back into the postpartum floor so Lauren could stay the night with me. Adam got to play single dad for a day because I was on bed rest and I had been told that I couldn't feed her (which I later found out that I could have). He was absolutely amazing the whole week. They hooked me up to magnesium sulfate which makes you feel like crap but protects the brain from stroke.

From my understanding postpartum pre-eclamsia can happen because for 6 weeks your body still kind of thinks it's pregnant after you give birth. It can be sort of an allergic reaction to the placenta. Adam's mom read that it can mean that the placenta wasn't attached 100% correct which would also explain why they thought she might be small all along.

After 24 hours, they sent me home with some blood pressure medication. The last few days have been all over the board for my blood pressure but for the most part it seems that the medicine just runs out too soon in the evenings. I went to the Dr. this morning and we are going to try to just take it sooner. I think this will work and we can finally get moving on to life without worrying about my health.

Adam seems to have picked up a cold though :( Hopefully it doesn't turn into much more.

Anyway, here's some cute pictures from the week!

1st Trip to the pediatrician. She was a little jaundiced but they took her levels and she is ok.

1st movie on the couch with daddy. The movie was My Best Friends Girl

5 days old

Cloth Diapers finally! We didn't start right away because being in and out of the hospital makes it kind of hard to do laundry. Plus we had some that we got as gifts! Very helpful!

9 days old!