Thursday, August 30, 2012

Strawberry Fields Forever

One of the greatest blessings of Oregon summers are the berry farms. I always forget how amazing fresh berries are until we go berry picking again. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, loganberries, tayberries, marionberries, huckleberries... When I was G's age, I'm pretty sure I could just about eat my weight in strawberries. No strawberry you could ever find in a grocery store could possibly compare to a freshly picked, vine-ripened Oregon strawberry. And this is what we gorged ourselves on this morning with my husband and two of his sisters. It was gorgeous.

What favorite childhood memories do you have that you've shared with your kids this summer? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Diaper Bag Disaster

Melissa at Bubbalooch had the fun idea to do a "what's in your diaper bag" post. I decided to share in the fun and show you all what I carry around. Rather than clean out my bag first and then take pictures, I'm going to show you what happens when we go out of town... Don't judge me.

I have two diaper bags that I regularly switch back and forth between. The bigger one is for longer trips, like 3 hours at church where I'll need extra diapers, clothes, snacks and toys. The smaller one is great for everything else. When I go on extended trips, like I'm on right now, I pack both bags full to take with me (in addition to the 1,000,001 other things I bring). Then, I sort of shift things around as needed. 
two can be better than one
the "big" bag

  1.  JJ Cole Collections Mode diaper bag
  2. arcade tokens
  3. disposable feminine hygiene products and nursing pads
  4. Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer 
  5. various snacks "for the kids" 
  6. camera battery charger
  7. assortment of baby toys
  8. program from my cousin's celebration of life 
  9. dress shoes for the kids 
  10. hair clips, head bands, ribbons, & bows
  11. Thirsties Duo Wrap, Thirsties Stay Dry Duo Insert, Flip Disposable Insert

the "small" bag

  1.  extra clothes for the kids, including underwear for G just in case
  2. Thirsties Duo AIO
  3. disposable wipes
  4. similac diaper bag from OB-GYN's office
  5. Fossil wallet (years old)
  6. two Kushies small wet bags 
  7. appointment cards
  8. fortune cookie fortune
  9. change purse 
  10. "take n toss" baby spoons 
  11. board books 
  12. hearing aid travel case 
  13. paint swatches

 Seriously, I had no idea I carried around so much stuff! This definitely was one way to get me motivated to clean out my bags and reorganize them, though. And I thought this fortune was sort of fitting, don't you think?
"You will find hidden treasures where you least expected."
So... what's in your diaper bag? 

*Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links. Purchasing items through these links benefits this blog. Thanks!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Taking A Break

just moments before a kicking & screaming fight
Sometimes, just being can be overwhelming. Do you ever feel that way? I am a wife and stay at home mom. I take care of my children 24/7, except when they are sleeping (if they will sleep), and when I am in the shower. I do not get bathroom breaks. They always find me. I do 99% of the cooking and cleaning. 100% of the laundry and diapers. I put the kids to bed at night and for naps. I comfort, console, and treat my family when they are injured. I plan the meals and do the grocery shopping (with both kids). When either of the kids wakes up in the night from hunger or pain or bad dreams, they look for me. My husband no longer bothers trying to help. To be honest, he's not very helpful in the middle of the night anyway. I schedule all appointments for myself and the kids and attend them as well. I share a room with my 4 year old, not my husband, and sometimes sleep on the nursery floor with my 1 year old. My 1 year old is getting 4 molars in right now.
at the playground outside N's audiologist's office
I love my children, and I would love to have more children, but I am exhausted. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, I am drained. With my husband working from home, he's always around, but rarely available to help. It's nice that every so often I am able to whisk the kids off to stay with me at my parents' home. They have a huge house, property, no jobs, and no other grandkids. G and N are completely spoiled with attention here. I am (almost) completely ignored. I get to nap. I get to blog. I get to read. I get to recuperate. A week at my parents' house is a Calgon bath for me (for those of you old enough to know what I'm talking about).
driving around our neighborhood
Do you ever take mental health breaks? Do you feel guilty for it? I definitely feel like I come back a better mother and person overall. I need some occasional "me" time, and a twitter party once or twice a month just does not cut it for me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

LuSa Organics Booty Balm Review & Giveaway! (closed)

When I had my son, a good friend recommend A&D ointment... and I used it. I thought it worked great. Nevermind the gross smell and the sticky residue that seemed like I could never completely get off my hands. I applied it pretty much every diaper change to keep the diaper rash at bay. When I became pregnant with N, I automatically registered for the same stuff, even though I had already decided on using cloth diapers. Then, my friend Brooke, who has cloth diapered all four of her kids, made sure to let me know I needed some "cloth diaper friendly" diaper cream. She highly recommended LuSa Organics Booty Balm. I looked around, did a little bit of research, and ended up getting some along with one other brand. Let me tell you -- I have never looked back! (And that other brand is still sitting, only partially used, in the top drawer of the changing table.)

I am so glad that more and more retailers seem to be carrying LuSa Organics because the stuff is seriously amazing. Based in Wisconsin, LuSa is a family owned business with a focus on "making the world a bit better each day." And they don't just mean the way it smells.
the Wolf family
By keeping our business local, we support the small-town and rural economy of our region. Whenever possible we will hire local people and utilize local or regional suppliers and growers for ingredients and materials. In addition, LuSa Organics supports local social and environmental organizations by giving money and time to causes that resonate with us. Each year we will donate 10% of our profits to the organizations generating positive global change.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to Survive Extreme Heat

Warning: This is a very picture heavy post.

I think everyone has their own tips & tricks for staying comfortable when it's hot out. For us, the AC unit has trouble keeping up when it's 100* outside. If we don't have any particular plans for the day, we generally lie around the house all day trying to conserve energy. Ok, maybe just I do that. Or at least I try.

On days where I am blessed with a little motivation & foresight, we load our trusty wagon into the back of the car & pack a picnic lunch. Then we head to the "River Park." (Not to be confused with the "Big Park," the "Little Park," or "Wade Creek Park, as we refer to some of our favorite hangouts.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Prefold: I Think I'm in Love pt. 2 {Geffen Baby}

So now I've told you how it came to be that I've fallen in love with Geffen Baby hemp wipes. What I didn't mention is that within an hour of ordering those wipes, I finally took the plunge & ordered a lavender edge hemp jersey prefold.
Geffen Baby hemp jersey prefold review

At $7.10 a piece, they are the most expensive prefold I've bought. For the quality and type of materials used, it's actually a good deal.

I decided to get lavender edge (size medium/large) instead of green edge (size small, recommended size for trifolding in a cover) because I wanted to be able to pin the diaper on. I get paranoid about diapers bunching up inside covers and not containing messes like they should. Both Maria at Geffen Baby and Mary at The Lovely Eco Chic were incredibly helpful and patient in my overly drawn out process of choosing a prefold.

Then, in my impatience to try things out, I didn't bother to fully prep the diaper. I washed it once with a load of diapers, and once with a load of towels. I had planned to wash it at least once more (I was visiting my parents & wasn't sure how they'd react to me boiling my new diaper on their stovetop.). Instead, I wrapped it on N's bottom, covered it with a Thirsties Duo Wrap (Aff. link), and put her to bed for the night. 12 hours later, the diaper was soaked, but N was dry. Success with a not-fully-prepped diaper.
Geffen Baby hemp jersey prefold review
Geffen Baby hemp jersey prefold review

Not only is it incredibly absorbent, but the rumors proved true. These prefolds are LUXURIOUSLY soft. Could someone make a blanket out of these for me? Please-and-thank-you. Also, the fit is phenomenal. N is very petite, but she (poor thing) inherited my back end. My hips & rear border on J-Lo-esque, FY-TMI. The stretch in the fabric allows me to get a nice snug fit on N without either gaping or red marks.

My experience has been that prefolds generally take longer to dry. These are no exception. During the summer months, it doesn't make much difference since everything on the line dries fairly quick. When using the drier, it does become a little more of a nuisance, but still worth it.
Geffen Baby hemp jersey prefold review
I still don't consider myself a prefold fan, but I have NO intention of parting with this particular prefold. I love it, use it regularly, and highly recommend it.

Now... if they would just make a fitted with this material. I'm still anxiously awaiting the release of their cotton fitted. You can bet I will have one of those in my home to try on N.

*I was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions expressed are entirely mine.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The County Fair

It's pretty much the biggest thing that happens here, so of course we went. Thanks to the Kids Wristband Day, our trusty wagon, and our Onya Baby carrier, we had fun & lived to tell the tale. Barely. I'm exhausted.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Guest Post: Nursing Normal

I'm guest posting over at The Reynolds Mom today. Head over there and check it out! And be sure to leave a little comment love while you're at it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I Think I'm in Love pt. 1 {Geffen Baby}

You should know that I am no big fan of prefolds. I know a lot of people who love them, but I would rather use a flat, or pretty much any other kind of diaper out there. Then, my twitter feed started repeating the same message: Geffen Baby hemp prefolds are super absorbent and super soft. My curiosity was peaked.

So... I went to order one, and chickened out. Three times. I ended up ordering a 10 pack of their hemp wipes. They are a fantastic deal at only $8.99 for the whole set. I was a little concerned because they are single layer instead of two, but it turns out not to matter. I take that back - It does matter, but only in that they are fantastic.The are durable enough to clean up the biggest messes, but thin enough to get into all the little nooks and crannies that babies have.

The hemp fabric is super soft, which is a big issue for us with N's sensitive bottom. In fact, these wipes somehow remain soft even when line dried. I want clothes made out of this fabric. Seriously. A nursing cami, maybe? I can only imagine how fantastic their nursing pads are for new moms.

At first, I was disappointed about the tag sewn on each wipe. I thought it would be annoying and get in the way, but I honestly never notice them anymore.
These have sincerely taken their place as my new favorite cloth wipes. If I can justify the (admittedly small) cost, I'll have to order another set.

While Geffen Baby is getting their new website up and running, you can still order their products from the Lovely Eco Chic, or from the store tab on the Geffen Baby Facebook page.

*I was not paid or compensated in any way for this post. I just really love Geffen Baby.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


If you had asked me two months ago to explain Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), I would have had to make something up. I started seeing it mentioned more and more in my newsfeeds for Facebook and Twitter... and then... we got sick. It started with G. Temperature of over 104.0. He pretty much slept for two days without eating much, but then he was up and about without a complaint. Three days after he got sick, I was POSITIVE I had strep. My throat was killing me, I was freezing, and I was on a 3+ hour car drive with the kids for my husband's business trip. I spent most of the trip huddled in bed. A few days later, I was fine, but I started getting sores on my hands and feet. My hands and feet. I literally repeated that to myself a few times as the idea sunk in that I had HFMD. Of course, my husband never believes my self diagnoses, but then little N got sick. With all the drooling, and the screaming, and the fever, I called her doctors office to be seen. And then a rash appeared in her diaper area. And, trust me, it is not a regular diaper rash. The nurse took her time returning my call, but as soon as I explained about my sores and N's rash - they got us in immediately. Confirmed - Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease. If I hadn't already experienced it myself, I would think the little red sores where harmless, but they can be incredibly painful. Which makes this all that much harder for me - knowing how much my little girl is suffering.
the beginnings of the sores appearing on N's leg
N's largest blister so far
another view of N's right foot
N's pediatrician gave us a prescription for Magic Mouth Wash. Insurance wouldn't cover it, but I happily handed over the $20 to take it home. The stuff really does work wonders. Since I've been using this to swab N's mouth periodically, she is MUCH happier. 

The pharmacist mixes together specific (seemingly random) ingredients (for example: Benedryl, lidocaine, etc.) and the result really is magic. N responded immediately. It has been a great relief for myself, as well, to know we're able to lessen her pain at least that much. 
my poor, sweet baby girl
Fortunately, like the Chickenpox, HFMD only lasts about a week to ten days. It hasn't even been a week since I first became sick and I'm already feeling MUCH better. So there is hope. Now, I'm praying that whatever mystery fever G had was HFMD also, & he miraculously will never have to deal with the painful sores like his sister.

For more information on dealing with HFMD, here is a great post by The Uncoordinated Mommy on her week of Hand, Foot, Mouth Hell