Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday!

G was so tiny the day he was born. I remember thinking nothing in the world could be so perfect. He was my introduction to motherhood. I love him with my whole heart.

It hurts my heart to know he's really not a baby anymore. Today, he is 5. This fall, he will start kindergarten. He is a big brother. He is my big boy now.

He teaches me every day to me my best, to be patient and loving.

He teaches me what it means to sacrifice and to protect.

Everything I have learned about true love has come from being a mother. And I cannot wait to find out what my kids have in store for me...

Happy birthday, G!
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Mom's Health

Last week, my mom was supposed to go shopping with my dad for G's birthday. Instead she stayed home because she "didn't feel right." She told me she wanted to see a doctor but wouldn't be able to get in before today. She said she was pretty sure she has cancer. Hello, hypochondria, right? I mean, she has a medical background, but you can't just self-diagnose yourself with cancer. I know thousands of people do it every day via WebMD, but how many of those are actually accurate?

Turns out, an actual doctor thinks my mom's concerns are valid. Today, she's having a biopsy done. If it's the type of cancer they suspect (in her uterus), they will operate today. Of course, there could be no cancer. At all.  This could be menopause related (a possibility I came up with, not my mom or any other medical professional... sort of like the initial "diagnosis" of cancer, but more realistic).

For now, I'm choosing to believe my mom is a hypochondriac until I hear otherwise. Maybe not a hypochondriac, but over dramatic? Melodramatic? Whatever - it's easier than giving any merit to the idea that my mom is really sick. So, distract me, Interwebs. Share with me your lighthearted stories, funny viral videos, cute baby pictures. Anything to keep me thinking about what the test results might say if I'm wrong. Let's make today fun. Please.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

More Advice on Running from an Amateur

When I began running again at the beginning of January, it was so hard, I generally had one thought on repeat the whole time. "Heel, toe, heel, toe." Basically, it was a reminder to keep running. Land on your heel, rock onto your toe, and bounce off. The difference (for me) between running and walking.

A few weeks later and my mantra became "knees, knees, knees." Lift your knees, don't drag your feet.
The higher I get my knees, the longer my stride, and the further and faster I can go. Work smarter, not harder, right? As if lifting my knees weren't hard work. I wouldn't have to remind myself if it wasn't.

Those basic reminds still click on in my head at times, but more often than not, there's this internal argument going on. Pretty much it goes something like this:

Runner Me: Okay, to that second driveway past the next set of mailboxes this time - GO!
Sane Me: You are freaking crazy! You are insane! I'm going to die if I do that!
SM: Shut up! I'm going! It hurts! I'm grunting up this hill and you are crazy!

Tip: If you want to be a runner, listen to the runner within. Otherwise, you're just another sane person complaining about how hard running is.

On a side note: I took advantage and downloaded the pro version of the Runtastic app recently when they offered it for free (one day only). Awesome ensues.
my first recorded run
my most recent run before getting sick
Okay, so averaging 13:25 min/mi may not be awesome for some people, and my goal is to get under 10:30 so I can run Hood to Coast, but it's still satisfying seeing the marked improvement. Getting faster WHILE running further? That is something I am proud of.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

How I Ruin Everything

Sort of.  Okay, so the whole title may be one big slight-exaggeration. Only time will tell?

You may have heard the story of how I ruined Thanksgiving dinner this past year.

1. I turned the oven on. It was the night before and I was baking a cake. I preheated the oven without checking to be sure it was empty. Turned out the turkey was in there to thaw... still wrapped in plastic. Pure. Awesome.

2. I salted the stuffing. Some people call it stuffing, some people call it dressing. While I was making ours, I went to sprinkle a little salt on and the lid fell off the shaker. We tried to salvage it, but it was... salty. No one had seconds.

3. I broke a bowl. While rummaging for ingredients in the fridge, I knocked a glass bowl out & onto the ceramic tile. It never had a chance. Glass went everywhere.

It was like I was trying to ruin dinner.

The other night N peed on the blue bath mat in our bathroom. Against my better judgement, I tossed it in the wash with our towels.

1. The towels actually belong to my mom.

2. The towels were white.

You get the picture.
the picture <literal>

Sometimes it feels like I'm moving in a fog and just honestly don't know what I'm doing. Ever have days like that?

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I am a Shaklee180™ Blogger!!!!

Yesterday I got some pretty amazing news - a space opened up and I have been given the opportunity to be  a Shaklee 180™ blogger! This is a 6 month campaign that over 450 bloggers applied for and only 90 were chosen to participate in. Shaklee 180™ is a program designed to help you lose weight using natural products, healthy eating habits, and regular exercise. Starting March 1st, you'll get to follow along as I document my (HOPEFULLY) successful journey via blog posts, pictures and VIDEOS.

I didn't know just how much I wanted to be a part of this until the official announcement was made last week, and I wasn't included. Lucky for me, a spot opened up and here I am!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Cloth Diaper Laundry

cloth diaper laundry routine suggestion: A Cloth Life

Diaper laundry is one of the trickiest conversations you might find yourself in once you enter the world of cloth diapers. Depending on who you talk to, washing cloth diapers can be a complicated, time-consuming, and costly chore. Soaking, rinsing, pre-wash, heavy wash, extra rinse, extra rinse, extra rinse...

It depends on your diapers, your child, your water, your machine, and of course your detergent. The simpler the diaper, the simpler the wash routine. Natural fibers (cotton, hemp, bamboo) can stand up to high temperatures and manage to rinse a little cleaner than microfiber.

A lot of people recommend washing natural fibers and synthetic fibers separately. You can do this easiest by washing inserts and covers separately. You could keep two separate wet bags, one for each type of laundry, so you don't have to worry about picking them apart on laundry days. For me, that's more work than I care for (although that's what I did while working to avoid yeast). I want simplicity in my laundry routine.

Before moving in with my parents, I had that simple routine going. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how lucky I was. My parents have well water. Like most well water, it's hard, and hard water often means issues with ammonia - in the cloth diaper world, at least.

It took a couple months to get this figured out, but here is the laundry routine that's working for me now:

First, my cloth diaper detergent of choice is EcoSprout. Since having to adjust my routine, I've added Calgon brand water softener. A lot of people use liquid Calgon. I prefer powder.
cloth diaper laundry routine suggestion: A Cloth Life
the dynamic duo
In place of a pre-rinse, I do a Quick Wash with warm water (you can see the settings in the picture below). For this, I use no detergent, but add two scoops (1 scoop = 1 tablespoon) of Calgon directly on the diapers.
cloth diaper laundry routine suggestion: A Cloth Life
For the real deal, I use the Bulky Items setting because it's designed to add more water to the cycle (which helps to rinse the cloth diapers cleaner). I set the wash to hot water and add an extra rinse. I use two scoops of EcoSprout in the detergent compartment, and one scoop of Calgon sprinkled directly onto the diapers.
cloth diaper laundry routine suggestion: A Cloth Life
Occasionally, if I feel my diapers need an extra good rinse (not too often), I'll run the Quick Wash again, but this time with hot water and a scoop or two of Calgon.

Have you got a cloth diaper laundry routine figured out? What tricks do you use?

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yes, it's the ultimate greeting card holiday according to some, but how could I resist the opportunity to dress this little princess in pink and hearts and frilliness?

I'm heading out to have my hair done today, then maybe a quasi romantic lunch with my husband. What do you have planned for this day of love?

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Monday, February 11, 2013

On Being Brave, and Why I Still Bother to Blog

on being brave, and why i still bother to blog

There are times I am sincerely frustrated and disappointed with the (seeming lack of) success I've seen with this blog. Mostly these feelings erupt when I've been having another panic attack over finances. If only my blog could have a sudden and immediate rise in popularity. With it could bring sponsors. Sponsors mean money (at least, that's what I imagine). I could get my hair done regularly, buy new pj's for my kids before theirs are two inches too short or threadbare, live somewhere other than the room above my parents'... You know - the little things. Then I remember a lesson Kim (from Dirty Diaper Laundry) took away from the Type-A Parent Conference last year.

Essentially, the message was to remember why you started blogging in the first place. I certainly did not start this blog with any delusions of grandeur. I had hoped it might become successful enough to warrant a trip to one of the big blogging conferences... Where I could meet people like Katie Bower. That was the extent of my dreams for this blog. I started this blog because I love talking cloth diapers, and I wanted to create a conversation. I continue to blog because it's cathartic, and it keeps me feeling connected to a community. I don't get bombarded with comments on my blog, twitter, or Facebook. I'm not ever really sure if people even genuinely enjoy what I have to say. But it makes me feel better to put things out there - outside myself.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Why We're Still Living with my Mom & Dad

When we first decided to crash with my parents, it was a very firm agreement between myself & my husband that we would only be here a few months. While he has only been up here since December, the kids & I have been living here full time since the end of October. It's been a long time. I miss having my own home to run. It seems like every time I lift my head up to look around, we are in a worse financial situation than I last realized.

Most recently, it was brought to our attention that we apparently rented our house out TWO MONTHS EARLY. We now owe $$$ to the IRS. How did this happen? It was a tax credit when we bought the house. Live in the house as our primary residence for 36 months, pay nothing back. Move out early and pay it back in full. Only, somewhere along the line my husband misread or misinterpreted something that led him to believe the amount would be prorated. He was wrong. We were wrong. And now we suddenly find ourselves with an additional $$$ added to our debt. To be paid this year.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Avoiding Yeast in Cloth Diapers

Avoiding yeast in cloth diapers: a cloth life

I've been lucky so far. Neither of my kids have ever had a yeast infection. *knock on wood* This week has me a little nervous, though. Both kids have been sick and N was diagnosed with an ear infection. In both ears. And possible sinus infection. Needless to say, we started her on antibiotics two days ago. For me, and for a lot of women, antibiotics can be a clear path to a yeast infection. I've heard enough horror stories about yeast and cloth diapers, I know it's not something I want to battle.

So here is my plan of attack (or defense):

Avoiding yeast in cloth diapers: a cloth life