November 29, 2012

Cloth Diaper Convert

A few weeks ago I switch Finn to cloth diapers. And I freakin' love it. Seriously, I was warned that it can be addicting which seemed weird, but everyone I know who cloth diapers really seems to enjoy it. And now I see why! I researched for several weeks and shopped around for what I wanted based off different recommendations, websites, and blogs I read. I nagged my friends Lynn, Ashley, and Brooke for information and they all were (are!) incredibly helpful (and patient) and on Finn's 17 month birthday (not planned, just coincidental) I switched him to cloth and haven't looked back.

 My handsome boy on day one of cloth diapers.

I wanted to switch to cloth because now that I'm staying at home it's actually a viable option for us. We are also down a paycheck, so I'm always looking for ways to save money and cloth diapering definitely saves you a lot. The other thing was that I really do believe in recycling and reducing the amount of waste we produce. I wasn't always good about this, but it seems that since I've stayed home I've become much more conscious of all we throw out and try to make a focused effort on reducing that. Maybe it's the inner hippie in me that I didn't know existed, but I genuinely feel good every time I change a diaper and I know I'll be reusing it. Also, they are stinkin' adorable. I mean who doesn't love a little fire truck booty:


The start up cost definitely is noticeable, but spending a chunk of money on cloth diapers really didn't bother me because I knew that in the long run this would save money. Even starting Finn late in the game, I will save money on the disposable diapers he would have gone through before being potty trained. I shopped around and tried to get deals where I could, found some places that offered discounts when you buy packages, I found one store in Austin that gives a military discount, and I bought different brands, which all helped save some money. But I still spent a little over $300 to get everything I needed which included all the diapers, cloth wipes (yup, doing that too), wet bags, a pail, diaper sprayer, cloth diaper rash cream (which I have only used once), spray for the wipes/bum, detergent, and extra inserts.


At this age Finn was going through 6-8 diapers a day and when I did the math, and was assuming Finn ONLY went through six diapers a day, it still costs us roughly $655.77 a year to outfit Finn in Pampers diapers (that was the brand we've always used that's worked best for him - I also did the math based on the cost of a box of size three diapers). So the way I see it, I only have to cloth diaper for about six months (less really if you consider that he goes through more than six diapers some days) for the diapers to pay for themselves and anything after that is just sweet, sweet savings. And seeing as though I don't think he will be potty trained before two (cause let's be honest - he's a boy), I think we will see the savings with him alone. And if one day we are lucky enough to have another kiddo - using these diapers a second time around would easily save us a couple thousand dollars. And I'm not even factoring in the costs of disposable wipes, diaper gene refills, etc. I've played with the numbers a lot. I've calculated the cost if we used different (cheaper) brands, and every single time the cost of disposables is far greater than the one time cost of cloth.

As I mentioned before, I bought several brands. I was leery of just buying one style because what works for one baby may not work for another. So far, I really have no complaints about any of them and am figuring out which ones work best for different situations (bedtime, nap time, going out, etc). My friend Ashley shared this blog with me which at first was really overwhelming, but after figuring out what different styles of diapers are available and the cloth diaper lingo, it became a really helpful blog when deciding what to get Finn. I also pestered Brooke for help and re-read her cloth diaper post several times, and found the cloth diaper post from Young House Love helpful as well.

That one on the bottom left as little math problems all over it. And the top right, bicycles! 
Does it get any cuter!?

I still will use disposable from time to time when the situation calls for it (travel, etc) and I use disposable wipes when the situation calls for it (gross poos!) but we have been able to totally switch to cloth at all other times - even during the night and Finn sleeps like a teenager, so I was pleasantly surprised when he was waking up in dry pajamas when he used to leak through disposables some nights.

Freshly washed diaps! And yes, I color coordinate his diaper with his outfit from time to time

Right now I am using Rockin' Green detergent, but also bought Country Save to try next. I throw a load of diapers in the wash at the end of each day, but probably could wash them every other day if I wanted. I have the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer, which is helpful for particularly gross poops, but my initial complaint with it was that it was too powerful and this house has small, shallow toilet bowls (read - poop water was spraying where it shouldn't!) but after adjusting the sprayer some it is fine now, also as long as Finn is regular - his poops can just be flopped off from the diaper directly into the toilet with no spraying needed (you're welcome for the visual). At first the poop thing was Miles' biggest complaint about me wanting to switch to cloth and the first time he changed a poopy diaper I heard a panicked cry for help from the nursery - "honey! honey get in here! There's poop in here! What do I do!?" But he has manned up (a little) and is adjusting well. I've learned that there are many different ways to wash the diapers and think I've found a good routine for now. After the wash I hang them out to dry, step away and bask in the glory that is cloth diapering.


My biggest complaint thus far? I just wish I had made the switch sooner.


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November 26, 2012

Dadda's Boy

Finn is a total Dadda's Boy. When Miles gets home from work, Finn wants nothing to do with me. Well, he makes it clear during the day that Dadda is always on his mind. Everything is Dadda this and Dadda that. It's with random things too - he'll look outside or hear a noise and say Dadda. My favorite was when a commercial for James Bond came on, Finn pointed at the TV and said Dadda. Ok kiddo - I won't argue with that one. Daniel Craig can be Dadda.

But seriously, he is all about the Dadda in this house.

And most times I think it's really adorable. I love seeing how excited he get to see Miles walk in the door, love seeing them play together, read together, and bond as father and son. Miles gives Finn all of his baths (unless he's gone training or something) and is so involved with him. When Miles works out in his man-cave garage gym Finn wants to be out there with him. In fact, Finn will now pick up items and squat them. I need to catch it on video because it's pretty cute.


So yes, I love my Dadda's boy and I love that he has a Dadda who loves him so much.

But sometimes it gets annoying, not gonna lie. It damages my Mama ego when I just want my baby boy to love on me the way he does on his Dadda. I kid you not, I went to kiss him the other day and he PUSHED MY FACE AWAY! Then Miles gave him a kiss and he giggled! What gives!? I mean really, have we so quickly forgotten the nine stressful months I carried you? The fact that I birthed you and nursed you for almost a year and stressed about every single drop of milk that I did everything in my power to produce for you? Have we forgotten who stopped working to stay home with you, feed you and take care of you day in and day out?! Have we forgotten all that, Finn!?

I think when you watch these videos you'll know the answer to that. (you probably will only be able to view from a computer - for some reason they don't load on phones/iPads)

This first one was a few weeks ago when Miles was outside mowing the lawn. Finn was fussy because he had to hang out inside with Mom:


And these were taken just about two weeks ago when Miles was away for work. I sent them to him to let him know how loved he is. Clearly a lot:



Sigh. . . 
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November 24, 2012

One Month Ago


Originally written October 24, 2012
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Well it’s over as soon as it seemed to begin. Last night I couldn't sleep. I was nervous and anxious and excited for my appointment. For our first ultrasound, or a chance to hear the baby via the doppler. But “unfortunately,” she said. . . “there is no heartbeat is there?” I finished for her. I could see for myself. See the little baby. See the lack of a flicker.

I was nine weeks six days. Would have been ten weeks that night. The baby measured nine weeks three days. So it happened recently. My appointment was on a Wednesday. I had commented to Miles that starting Monday I was feeling “normal” and not really pregnant anymore. Maybe that’s when it happened. Maybe that’s when it ended.

I cried because it sucks. I cried because for the third time I’m pregnant, yet I only have one living child at home. I cried because as much as I knew this could happen, maybe as much as I subconsciously even expected it to happen, it still sucks. Because his or her heart did beat at some point. Because a baby grew and started to develop. But then it all stopped. And I had to look at another ultrasound of a baby without a heartbeat.

In a whirlwind of a day, a confirmation ultrasound later and a few follow up appointments, we have elected to get a D&E tomorrow morning. Less than 24 hours after learning that pregnancy #3 would not come to fruition. I guess a D&E involves suction where a D&C involves scraping of the uterine lining. How miserably awful they both sound. Given the other options – wait it out naturally (not an option for us as Miles leaves next week and not to mention how unlikely that would be to happen anytime soon given the point at which the baby had developed to and the fact that my body is showing no signs of miscarrying on its own), or take some meds to make it happen at home (which may not work as my Dr. said they usually are better for very early on (the 6-8 week range) and if they don’t work I have to try again or go with the surgical option anyway and oh by the way, the meds make you miserably sick). Or option three – undergo a D&E. She had a cancellation for the very next day. We decided that was best. Best of the worst options available.

It’s hard. I feel set back. I feel upset and angry and just in shock by how horrible our luck seems to be, yet I know we’ll be ok. I know this is a set back and we’ll get through it. We've been through worse.

As tears rolled down my eyes looking at yet another still baby on the ultrasound machine, I said “I’d rather know now than 39 weeks.” And I would. I’d rather go through a rough few days or weeks, but know that this is “common” and that I’m now just able to check the block where a lot of other women have had to check before. Really, I know very, very few people who haven’t had a miscarriage.

But . . .  it still just sucks. And I’m still just so sad.


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November 21, 2012

My Thankful List

I've seen a lot of the "30 days of thanks" posts on Facebook - where you share something you are thankful for each day this month. I never participate in those things, but was thinking last night that I could probably come up with a list of 30 things fairly quickly. And since I wasn't quite tired enough, I laid in bed and jotted down a list on my phone.

So, in no particular order, and with no level of importance assigned to many of these, here is my list of 30 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. And yes, I'm sure there are many, many more things I could have added (and many more that are much more meaningful), but at 11pm last night, this is what popped into my head. I was going to elaborate on them, but I'll just let the list speak for itself.

1.  Miles
2. My children
3. My family
4. Roscoe
5. FaceTime
6. Pinterest
7. Leggings 
8. My home
9. Flowers
10. The baby loss community
11. My moms' rice crispy treats
12. Aaron Rodgers
13. Red vines
14. Epidurals
15. My friends
16.  Space Travel 
17. Cameras
18. My and my family's health
19. The Ryan Gosling 'Hey Girl' series
20. Comedy
21. Exercise
22. Veterans
23. Waste Management employees 
24. Target
25. Maturity with age
26. Tortillas
27. My education
28. America
29. My Honda Pilot
30. Books


I'm also thankful I get to stay home and make cute burlap banners and decorate our house. 
So I guess I should add Miles' paycheck to that list.

31. Miles' paycheck

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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November 19, 2012

Halloween - Finally

Finn and I (and Roscoe) spent our Halloween in Georgia. Miles was away training so unfortunately wasn't able to go with us. We stayed with several different friends while in town and on Halloween we visited with our old neighbors (the ones who made this stool for Finn from a tree in Cale's garden). Finn was a fish for Halloween (surprise, surprise). Maybe when he starts talking more he can request that I move away from the fish theme. Until then, Nemo it is! (and before my friend offered her Nemo costume, my sister was going to make Finn a baby sushi outfit - so either way he was going as fish)

The little fish wasn't interested in taking pictures. I seriously couldn't get him to stand still for two seconds. He just wanted to move! You'd think we actually gave him candy he was so hyper. But no, no real trick or treating - just cruising and waddling that little fin around.

Look familiar? Outside our old house.

Must. Swim. Faster.



Happy Halloween folks . . .19 days late!
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November 13, 2012

Warrior Dash

I'm behind in a few blogs. I owe a Georgia Trip and Halloween post, and a handful of other random ones I've been meaning to share. But we'll get to those later. Maybe.

Because it's fresh, I wanted to share our Veteran's Day Weekend. This could really be broken up into categories; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. In an effort to focus on The Good, I'll just quickly recap the other two:

The Bad:
-Losing my wedding band (not my diamonds, but a plain gold band I wear when exercising, gardening, when I was deployed, and when I'm stupid enough to crawl through mud thinking it won't fall off)

The Ugly:
-Highly contagious stomach virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. This hit MY WHOLE FAMILY in the days before and after the Warrior Dash. We believe Patient Zero was my sweet little ten month old nephew. The little bastard brought all of us down. Hard.
-Cleaning car seats full of vomit. I can't even complain about this though as my sister-in-law tackled this like a champ.

BUT. . . The Good is the best part. And thankfully, miraculously  none of us were sick during the Warrior Dash and all able to complete AND enjoy it. The Warrior Dash is what we chose to do this year as Team Daren - a way to get together and celebrate and remember my brother-in-law Daren, who was killed last year by an IED in Afghanistan.

The race itself was really not bad. It's a 5k (just over 3 miles) with several obstacles throughout and at all of those we had to wait a little bit to go through. The obstacles got progressively more challenging with height, water, fire, and mud all thrown in the mix. We mostly ran through as a team, which was really nice. Several other Team Daren participants completed the Dash just at different start times than those you'll see depicted below. Like last year, we were so humbled and grateful for the friends and family who flew/drove in for the event - to not just get together and have fun (which we did), but to remember Daren and his sacrifice which is why we did it in the first place. After the race we all went out to dinner in downtown Austin and enjoyed each others company.

So here are many pictures from the 2012 Central Texas Warrior Dash. . .enjoy!

Camera Man: Finn, look at the camera and act like a pimp
Finn: Done.

California Hidalgos. 
(that cute one on the right of the pic is Patient Zero. Good thing he's so cute egh?) 

"You only have one life to live, GO BIG" - Daren Miguel Hidalgo

We went big. But the obstacles started small. Team Daren don't need no rope:

Miles don't need no rope 
(Caroline did though.)

First water obstacle:



There was nothing under this (which was a good 15-20 feet up) in the event you fell. Safety, schmafety.

And the fire!


Last obstacle. If anyone wants a 14k gold ring, there's one somewhere in there:

My sister-in-law Jenny. Ya know, the one who just finished CHEMOTHERAPY three months ago.
(obviously super impressive, but does she have to look so pretty even while going through mud!? jerk)

Because Miles didn't get muddy enough??


Miles' dad, sister, and older brother:

TEAM DAREN
(minus those who went through at a different time - we love them too)


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November 4, 2012

Two in One - Long Post(s)

Last week I went to Georgia. I had planned on going before the miscarriage as Miles was in the field all last week (and is gone again this week). When my doctor said it would still be ok for me to go, I knew that I still wanted to. Ironically, I was going to visit some close friends who ALL had babies in the last two months. But I had a great time and am so glad I got to meet all the new arrivals and visit with some really great friends. It was nice to go back "home" even though it felt weird. I will share more of that trip later though - especially the short videos I took of Finn dressed up as a fish for Halloween (surprise, surprise).

Going back to Georgia was a good distraction. But yesterday I was a hot mess. Honestly, I don't think it even has so much to do with the pregnancy loss itself (although that obviously factors in), but rather the quick dump of hormones from my body. Poor Miles. He had gotten little sleep all week in the field, and only got to come home for nine hours. Yet when he called to say he was on his way home, he made some comment about dinner that I took the wrong way and I got mad and hung up on him. Then when he walked in the door I just started crying and apologized for my short temper. . . and the crying mess that he got to come home to. Welcome Home, Miles!

I think another reason I got so worked up yesterday was because I read through all the sweet comments people left on the blog from my last post. People would say things like "it's unfair" or "why do bad things keep happening to good people" and I just got to the point where all I could think was "yeah, why DO these things keep happening? Why is life so cruel?" And it kind of did me in. Not to mention I had gone for a short, short run and I was just feeling so slow and out of shape. I'm not trying to fish for compliments and it's not a body image or weight thing. I hadn't yet gained any pregnancy weight and I'm not trying to lose any, but over the last couple months I haven't been working out much and just kinda let myself go. So when you feel out of shape it's frustrating just adds to the already "blagh" ness that I was feeling.

Anyway, I do feel that I'm entitled to feel the way I feel and that sadly I do have good reason to throw a little pity party, but at the same time I needed to (and did for a short bit) sit back and remember that life's not over. We didn't just lose our house in a hurricane, the three of us are in good health, Finn was adorable yesterday (as always) and so excited to see Dadda. When he woke up yesterday morning, it was like he knew he was back home and Dadda should be there too. I said "good morning baby, how did you sleep?" and he responded with "Dadda!" So yes - life can knock you down at times, but there's still a lot of good in the world. It just sometimes takes longer to see through the haze of grief and sadness.

Anyway, I wanted to share another entry I had written, but instead of just going backwards in them, I thought I'd share the first one I wrote. I had just found out I was pregnant and put Finn down for a nap and came to the computer to write how I was feeling:

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It’s September 12, 2012. And I’m pregnant again for the third time. I’m pretty much in shock. A million thoughts running through my head. Mostly, “how do I tell Miles?” I know he will be happy. He was ready to jump on board the baby-making wagon long before I was, but I just want to tell him in a special and unique way like I did with our other two children.

I thought I might be pregnant. But then I thought that I was probably being silly to think that. We had JUST decided to. . .to not even try to get pregnant, but to not prevent it. I thought it might take some time. It, in fact, took no time at all. I know that is a blessing. Some people struggle for so long, some forever, to get pregnant. And I have been able to easily get pregnant three times. I’m lucky. But I don’t feel lucky. I still feel behind. I feel sad that our math equation will never add up. 

I’m mostly just in shock. I bought the tests yesterday. I thought that I could maybe even take one yesterday as they say they can detect up to 5 days from when your period is due. But yesterday was September 11th, and that day deserves to be somber and special for so many other reasons. If I was pregnant, I wanted to save finding out for another day. Yesterday I realized that I wasn't crampy like I usually am before getting my period. I thought “hmm, what if I’m pregnant?” and water tasted bad yesterday which made me think of Jenny because I think she hated the taste of water when pregnant. And then I just felt really tired. But I also have been sick, so wasn't sure if I was tired because I wasn't sleeping well of if it was maybe another sign that I’m pregnant. With those few hints, I really started thinking I might be. I woke up in the middle of the night. My throat hurt so much from my cold and I was coughing and it woke me up. I couldn't fall back asleep because I was thinking how I would test in the morning. And then I woke up and fed Roscoe and got Finn his milk and sat with him for a bit and then decided to go take the test. I took it and put it down on the counter. I told myself it probably wasn't positive and that was fine. Maybe that was a good thing even. We have lots on the agenda and Miles will be out in the field for three weeks so there’s no way I could get pregnant this month so it would put it off for a couple months. But that was fine. We were prepared for that. For the possibility of having to wait. I could sign up for that triathlon and get in better shape and it was cooling off outside finally so we could enjoy the outdoors more. 

And then I walked back into the bathroom and looked. And there were two clear pink lines. And I just said out loud, “oh, holy crap” – like the way you say it when you realize you are late for a meeting you forgot about or something.  Finn was chasing Roscoe around the room and I just stared at him and thought of how he is still my little baby. Is this really happening again? Are we ready for this? Am I ready for this? If all goes well, am I ready to parent two children!? Yikes, what happens when I lose my mind with just Finn? Will I just completely lose it with two? Will it be easier in any way? HOW DO I TELL MILES?

Lots of emotions.

There’s fear. I’m pregnant but how long will it last? I just peed on the stick, haven’t seen an actual baby on an ultrasound yet. What if it’s just a blighted ovum? What if I miscarry? What if we lose this one further along? What if, what if, what if. . . .

There’s excitement. Wow – we could have two living children come next summer. I can decorate another nursery and name another baby and breastfeed again (ha – I am surprised how much I miss breastfeeding). Finn could be a big brother. Wow.

There’s sadness. Is this the last time I will be pregnant? Would it be if Cale were alive? Oh, Cale. I miss you so much. I’m due in May. It would have been nice to have another June baby. Silly to get spun up on dates, but June is a big month for this family. But hopefully May will be too.

Will I tell my sister? She’d love that. Maybe I should text her right now. No, I should tell Miles first. He was the first to know with Cale and Finn. And maybe we should wait for a bit anyway. Can Miles keep it from his brother? Probably not. When will I tell my parents? My cousin’s wedding is in a month. I will see Anna and Deborah then too. Can I keep it from all of them? Probably.

If all goes well we could put this in our Christmas card and announce the pregnancy the same way we did with Cale in Finn. Three Christmas announcements. In four years. Damn. So this means that I’ve been pregnant in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and hopefully 2013. Oma would be proud. (Oma is Miles' grandmother who had thirteen children)

I don’t like prefacing things with “if all goes well” but I can’t help it either. I wish I could say that I’m immune to miscarriages. That I already suffered a terrible lose and I’m guaranteed smooth sailing from here on out, but I’m not.  And if miscarriages are so common (1 in 4), then am I almost due for one? That sounds horrible. I hope it’s not the case.

I guess I should call the doctor.

Wow. Three pregnancies. Here we go . . . .

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November 2, 2012

Pregnancy #3

I had a miscarriage last week.

I didn't really know how to start this post, but I guess that's as good of way as any - just cut to the chase.

From the day I found out I was pregnant (September 12th) until now I have been keeping a word document with just some ramblings that I planned to share one day. I had hoped I'd be sharing them in several more weeks after announcing our third pregnancy. After announcing that while nervous, we were also incredibly excited that Finn would maybe have a sibling come next May.

But unfortunately that won't be the case.

I think I'll go backwards in those entries and maybe share some of what I had written about pregnancy #3. I'm not really sure how much I will share (there isn't very much anyway), but this blog has always been pretty therapeutic for me when I share things of a personal nature. Give a little get a little I guess.

The below portion was written early in the morning on October 26th - one week ago. I couldn't sleep. I had just had a D&E the day prior.

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Miles said it best. “This is heartache, not heartbreak.”

I agree.

Because our hearts have been broken before.

But what that means now is that my broken heart is all achy. And I don’t like that. But I know it will pass. I can genuinely know that in time, I will feel better.

I didn't know that with Cale. All I knew was that each day I had to survive. I didn't know life would get easier and I would move forward and function again. Because my life had stopped cold in its tracks. I didn't want to go forward. I didnt want to function. I just wanted my baby back.

That’s not so much the case this time. Cale was a perfect baby. Seven pounds of beauty. Fully developed and fully formed and within days of coming home with us. There was nothing wrong with him. He was a baby that should have been in our lives. This was a baby that could have been, but wasn't. So much that still needed to happen. So much that could have changed things. I will always struggle to not have my should-have-been life. I don’t think I will struggle as much with what could have been. It doesn't hurt as bad. It hurts. But not nearly as bad.

Part of me can logically work through all this. I was just about 10 weeks. First trimester miscarriages are common and sadly, they do happen for a reason - be it a chromosome abnormality or whatever the case, something wasn't developing right for that baby so things ended. I can look through my family and those around me and know that lots of people have been through this before me.

But the whole strength in numbers thing isn't giving me much comfort right now. Certainly not much strength. Because lots of people can’t say “Three pregnancies. One Stillbirth. One Miscarriage. Just one healthy baby.” But I can. And I hate that. (and then on the flip side far too many people can say that. Or add to it.) I just don't like checking the box of yet another type of loss. I hate how it makes me bitter and jealous. More bitter and jealous I should say. One of my friends said “it makes me all ragey angry for you.” I get that. And I hate knowing that trying again doesn't mean I’m immune to any of it. And that scares me.

It does make my heart especially heavy for those who struggle to get pregnant and then experience loss – in any shape. Those poor, poor souls who take years and treatments and pay fortunes . . . only to lose it all. Either in a “common” fashion or in a horribly rare and unexpected way. How sad. I’m so sad for them.

But who knows. Maybe that’s us next. Maybe our luck in the getting pregnant department will dry up too.

(That’s the woe-is-me talk taking over)

I just wish I was normal. 

I just wish it didn't have to be so hard to create a family. Or hurt so much in the process.

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A little time, and a lot of perspective (mostly due to Cale), has already made this experience easier. Easier to accept. Easier to move on from. Easier to live with.

I'm sad and I feel set back. But I don't feel broken and defeated. We'll take some time and see what is best for us in terms of what's next.

Please don't ask when we will try again. Or ask if I'm pregnant yet. Please don't ask anyone those questions. It's all incredibly personal. And there's so much more to it than a simple answer.

One day we hope to share happy news again. But it's our news to share when the time is right. And if we are  even lucky enough to be able to share it. For now, we will see. We have a fun and beautiful almost 17 month old boy. That's already a lot to be thankful for.
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