My Little Girl

My Little Girl

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Staying organized--Diapers

Like I said before, I have learned a lot in just the short 6, almost 7, months since Emma arrived. I thought I would share some of the things I learned, and offer a place where others can let me know what they have learned. The previous post was all about baby clothes. Now we are on to:

Diapers: How to keep them organized, available, and stocked.

It seems like diapers are the bane of every parent's existence. You always seem to be fighting with them for one reason or another. Here are a few tricks I picked up that I wanted to share.

First: Have a baby changing station in every major room. You have no idea how much easier your life can be when you have everything you need close by. 

Even before Emma was born, I knew this was something I wanted to do. Only then, I thought I would just have one on each floor. There was the one in her room--obviously--and one in the living room. And they weren't even the uber-fancy ones. My mom had given me some simple plastic pink tubs she had in her house and I use those. They work great! They keep everything you NEED in them without letting you go overboard, thus getting overwhelmed!

See? Simple. I have a decent sized hard-plastic container of wipes, a thing of baby powder, a bib--which doubles as a rag in a pinch, a thicker receiving blanket I use to change Emma on, a thing of diaper rash ointment (hidden under the bib I guess), and a decent amount of diapers. I think there's about twenty or so there. When Emma was first born I would have an extra outfit in there too, just in case. Not so much now that she's older, but it helped a lot in the beginning. 
  • Here's my reasoning for each item. In regards to the hard case of wipes: I think these work so much better than the flimsy ones. I got three tubs from baby showers and I just rip the other ones open and use them as refills. The tubs just keep the wipes wetter longer, they don't stick to the glue on the cover like they would with the other, and you have a solid frame to help you separate them when you only have one hand to use! Haha Seriously though, when you have one hand on the baby trying to keep a squiggler still, and the other has to get a wipe; these tubs come in handy.
  • I like having a bib on hand versus a burp cloth for a few reasons but a big one is: a bib can double as a burp cloth, but a burp cloth can't really double as a bib. 
  • A thick receiving blanket for a changing pad. My reason for this was a mostly economical one. I got around 6-7 of them at Emma's showers so I already had a few extra around the house. If I were to go out and purchase a "Changing Pad," they can get expensive. And since you are going to need at least two or three (if not more so you have one available when you wash the others)... well it just made more sense to use the blankets.
  • Baby powder and diaper rash cream for obvious reasons. You don't want to open up the diaper and see an irritated bottom and NOT be ready. Just go ahead and have them in there.
  • And of course, the diapers. Every Friday night I go around to the "changing stations" to see where they stand and restock (this includes the diaper bag). I like to have a full container for the weekend since I can't be sure if we are going to be at home more or out and about. If we go out on the weekends, then I can usually go the week with these filled in the two stations we (now) have. If we stay home, then I will usually stock back up on Sunday night, just to be safe.
I alluded early to the fact I started out with just two stations. After a few weeks I decided to add one more: I turned the top drawer of my nightstand into a changing station. See, Emma slept in a Rock N Play by our bed until she was four months; then she slept in a Pack N Play by our bed until she was 6 months. At the end of the day, she would get a bath and I would take her to our room to put her diaper and jammies on before giving her a bottle and laying her in her bed. And she would get up in the middle of the night sometimes and need changed (especially around the time when she was nearing the weight limit on the diapers). It made things so convenient to just have it all right there ready for me. See?
What's in the nightstand version? Diapers (maybe 5 or so), a soft bag of wipes, powder, diaper rash cream, comb, and a burp cloth.
Once we moved Emma into her own room, I didn't need the drawer anymore. If I'm going to take her to our room after a bath, I just make sure I have a pile of everything she needs ready before I start her bath.

Second: Always have the next size up. I was very lucky with my baby showers. I got tons of diapers and in different sizes too. Now, I didn't KNOW they had a size "newborn," so I didn't register for that. I started off with size one. (Makes sense right? haha) The hospital did send us home with almost 4 or 5 packs of newborn sized diapers though, which was a godsend. As Emma outgrew one size, I would just take the unopened pack to the store and exchange it for the next size up. And I always did that before she absolutely HAD to move up. See, diapers are great in that the weight limits overlap. Example: Emma is around 17lbs. Size 2 diapers go up to 18lbs; size 3 diapers start at 16lbs. So when I realized that Emma was about halfway through one pack of size 2s and at least 16lbs, I just took the other pack in and exchanged it for size 3s. Then we were ready to move up without a hassle.

Third: Don't open every pack of the size diaper your child is in right now. This relates to the point above. As long as the pack is closed, the stores will usually take them and let you do an exchange. So just open them one pack at a time. You'll know when you are almost done with a pack and can guage whether or not to move up to the next set or open that same size.

Fourth: Aside from the diapers you have in the diaper bag(s) and changing station(s), don't have them out where you can see them. It's sort of like having your spare toilet paper rolls out: We all know you have to use them, but it's just not cute. Same with diapers. We all know every baby uses diapers, but no one really wants to see them out. Because then we just think of the stink they can carry. **Shudder** That's why even my changing station tubs are out of sight. I keep the one in the living room under the coffee table; easily accessible when I need it, but we aren't constantly looking at it. The one in Emma's room is sort of blocked from sight by a lamp and a stuffed toy. (The toy also serves dual purpose of keeping Emma entertained when she doesn't want to be changed! More on that in another post.)

What I did is convert what we intended to be a bookshelf/bench into a storage station for all of Emma's diapering needs. I put cute pink fabric bins in the slots and put different "diaper things" in each bin. One is full of diapers, one holds all the wipe refills, and the other has surplus lotions, creams, powders, burp cloths, thick receiving blankets, and odorizers. Simple, clean, functional. And you don't have the eyesore that is dirty diapers.
And Fifth: Diaper bags. You should always have at least two stocked. At all times!
No. Seriously. You should.

See you never know when you might have to rush out the door or if someone was playing with the bag and pulled out this or that. You don't need to worry about having enough diapers in a crunch situation. Thus: always have two packed. For Mother's Day, my boyfriend got me the most beautiful diaper bag. It was so nice I didn't want to ruin it. So I registered for a second one that I would leave with Emma when I had to drop her off with a family member for any amount of time. And yes, I still have both. And yes, they are both always stocked. I always have at least 5-6 diapers in there, wipes, extra binkies, an extra outfit or two, a burp cloth, changing pad, bib, some soft toys, some loud toys, and a medical bag with things like a thermometer, children's tylenol, nose syringe, gas drops, some cookies, some mushy food, and medicine dropper.

Okay. So that's all I have right now for diapers. Keep on the look out for the next installment!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Staying organized--Clothing

You know, it is really hard to stay organized when you have a baby! If you are like me with a slight case of OCD, it can be nerve-racking. That being said, I have learned a few things I wanted to pass on to all moms. The next few posts will be a series on how I stayed/got organized after my baby was born.

The first topic:  
BABY CLOTHES!  How to ensure your baby wears every article of clothing they are given without going nuts

First: Don't put all the baby clothes in the closet or the dresser or wherever you are keeping them! ONLY have out the clothes in the size your baby currently wears. Yes, all the clothes are cute and you want to make sure you put your baby in each outfit, but you can become severely overwhelmed by the shear volume of articles of clothing.

This was something I learned on the fly. We started getting clothes for Emma from family and friends pretty early on. So--once her closet was put in--I sectioned everything out by size. I hung up all the jackets and one-piece outfits, put all the onesies in the dresser, and so on. I had everything up through size 12months put away in her room. Then she was born. And I felt like I was swimming in her clothes! They were all put away neatly. Everything was organized. But I was still overwhelmed. When she was about 3 weeks old I decided I had had enough. I went to my favorite store and bought two clear 20 gallon storage containers.
Mine are clear so I can see the clothes, but has a pink lid. The handles were very important to me, so I splurged a little on the containers.
Then I went through all of her clothes. I kept out anything size "Newborn" or size "0-3 months." Everything else was grouped together by size and put in the containers. I had tons!! I had to sort those into two groups because we had so many. All clothes up to 9months are in one container and the other is for everything 12months and up. (And yes, we already have a LOT of things size 2T/24months! lol)

As Emma outgrew things, I would change them out. About every 6 weeks I am going through her stuff because some things are size 3Months whereas others are size 3-6 months. (And yes, this frustrates the heck out of my OCD self because her clothing separators in her closet are "0-3months," "3-6months," "6-9months," etc. vs "newborn," "3months," "6months," "9months," etc.) As I put her stuff away, I sort it again! haha This time I sort into four groups:
  • Clothes to give to her cousin who will be here in like 2 weeks. (YAY!)
  • Clothes to keep for the next baby (AT A LATER DATE! lol) just in case we end up having another girl.
  • Clothes to toss because they were ruined somehow--probably because we had faulty/defective diapers for a while.
  • And then clothes to use for her future quilt. These are items which, every time I look at them, I can only see my baby girl in them. I can't imagine putting them on another baby--even if I do have another daughter. These are special to Emma and I want to make a quilt for her when she's about a year old of patches from her clothes, jammies, felt "diapers" from her baby shower, and other pieces like that.

Top: Items for her quilt. Middle: All the items she has outgrown already & we are keeping. Bottom: All clothes size 12months and up

So yeah, this takes a fairly decent amount of time, and you have to make sure you are constantly going through everything. You can't just take a stack of onesies, tie a ribbon (or string, whatever) around them, and toss them into the container. No way! You have to make sure the things you are putting away are things your baby cannot wear anymore. You do NOT want to constantly be going through things you have put away.

For example, every six weeks I have to go through ALL of Emma's pants. This is because she seems to be a size smaller in her pants than in her onesies or her dresses. She is almost 7 months old now, but I JUST put her in her 6 months pants. So her 3 month and 3-6 month pants were still in her dresser. And you also have to take into consideration that every brand is sized different. So while most of her onesies/shirts/dresses are size 6 month and working towards 6-9 month, she does have a few onesies that are 3-6 month.

Second: Only do the baby's laundry once (max TWICE) a week. At least at first. The problem is every outfit your child was given is probably adorable. You slip that shirt over their head, poke their little hands through the arms, pull those pants up and ... AWWW!! They suddenly make that outfit "One of [your] absolute favorites!" You are going to want to see your baby in that outfit again and again and again. And if you do laundry every day or so, the likelihood of you putting your baby in a repeat is higher. The more often your baby wears the same outfit, the less likely they are to get through the mountain of newborn and 0-3 month clothes.

Speaking of laundry: just go ahead and buy the baby detergent. Seriously. Yeah, I know it's a little pricey. I know they say the "Free and Clear" stuff is just as good. But it's not. Trust me. You want their clothes to stay soft and cuddly as long as possible. The baby detergent will do that so much better than the stuff we use on our own clothes. And it just smells like... well like Baby! PLUS: If you are following the tip above, than you are only doing laundry like 4-6 times a month. And, unless you have a diaper explosion and need to treat before you wash an item, you really only need to use a small amount. I never fill the cap passed the "1" marking. Well, I do if I have her high chair cover in there, but that's another thing entirely! haha Even then  I only fill to the "2." So a bottle of baby detergent can last you a really long time. They run about $16 a container. Emma is almost 7 months old. We aren't even halfway through a second container. So that comes down to, what?, $40 a year to keep your baby's clothes soft and smelling good? I think it's worth it. Plus, I figure this detergent was tested SPECIFICALLY for baby clothes use. The other stuff wasn't. So even though it says it's free and clear of those harsh chemicals and what not, is it really the safest thing to use on something that will be next to your baby's skin all day? I don't know about that. I'll stick to my baby detergent. That's just me though.

Third: When you do get around to doing the laundry, make sure you put the freshly cleaned clothes and such UNDER the clothes already in the drawers. For those things you are hanging in the closet, put them to the RIGHT of the "section." I have Emma's hanging clothes sorted by type: jackets, shirts, dresses, all-in-one outfits, etc. Once she wears a shirt, I will hang it up and put it to the far right side of the "shirts" section.

You see, you are more likely to pull a shirt or onesie or pair of pants from the top than sort and sift through a whole bunch trying to find that one thing you remember your baby looked so cute in. So by placing things which have already been worn on the bottom, you are increasing the chance of finding an adorable shirt that will become your new all-time favorite. 

The same is true of hanging clothes. You may not realize it, but we tend to scan clothes racks the same way we read: from left to right. You start on the left side and the first cute shirt or jacket or whatever you come to is usually the one you put on your baby. By placing the items they have already worn on the right, you are again increasing your chances of having your baby wear every item!

So come on now. Let's see the baby in another really cute outfit!

Your baby is going to have a LOT more newborn and 3 month clothes than any other size--maybe even more than the other sizes COMBINED! Everyone wants to see the new baby in something they got him or her, and they would rather see it sooner versus later. Who can blame them? They spent (probably) a lot of money on the outfit(s); they deserve to see the baby in it/them. Avoid the pitfall that is "The 'AWWW' Effect"!

That being said, you also have to allow for "Exceptions to the Rules." As far as I can tell right now, there are three. First is the: "Christmas/ Thanksgiving/ Halloween/ New Year... Whatever" onesies and other items. Sure. Your baby may still fit in them. But are you really going to want to stroll around the mall in January with your baby wearing an orange onesie that says "My Daddy is under my spell"? No. Of course not. Halloween is over. If it's January, then Valentine's Day is approaching. So go ahead and toss the holiday themed items into the containers. Hold onto them because they are cute (you can always put them in a scrapbook or scrap-quilt if the next baby isn't on the same "schedule" as this baby), but you do not need them taking up valuable space in your nursery.

Another exception? Jackets. I think of baby jackets like I do my own: I always get them a size bigger than I do my shirts. Why? Well because if I am wearing a jacket, then I am obviously going to layer. And if my shirt is the same size as my jacket, then something is going to be too tight and I am going to be uncomfortable. So, that being said: If Emma is in size 6 month onesies and shirts, then I pull out her 9 month jackets. I will still keep her 6 month ones out, just in case, but I rarely go to those when I am picking out an outfit for her. Those are more likely to go in the diaper bag for emergencies. 

The final exception pertains to those with daughters: Get as much use out of the dresses as you can! Especially the summer ones. I still have some of Emma's 3 month summer dresses in her closet. Why? Because I put a pair of pants under it and suddenly it is a shirt. If it is really cold (or the dress is sleevless) you can add a long sleeve onesie under it as well. Conversely, bring out the winter dresses a little early so you can do layering. Put a short sleeve onesie under a sweater dress that's a size bigger and the baby won't feel as constricted (i.e. the jacket effect again). Voila! You have an extra 3 months of wear available to you! Genius, huh? LOL This way, once the pickings become a little slimmer, you can reuse those cute summer dresses in the winter. 

Okay. That's all I have on baby clothes for now. Hopefully these tips will work for you. Maybe you will find yourself a little less stressed by the mountain of clothes. Maybe you will actually be able to say "My baby wore every single thing they were given!" 

Or maybe you just got a good chuckle out of my frazzled state!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gender Roles

Okay, a lot of you may think this is a bit premature being as Emma is only 6 months. But I saw something recently that made me question things I had always held as "silly" or simply part of an old wive's tale.

I always believed that kids aren't born with "boy" tendencies or "girl" tendencies. I never thought that because I had a daughter I would assume Barbie dolls over GI Joes. I never thought that by having an Emma instead of an Eli that she would automatically choose pinks and daisies over blues and sail boats.

And I'm not saying that she DOES choose those things...yet. But there have been times where I realize that maybe I was wrong. Maybe there is a basis for the general assumptions placed on girls and boys.

You see, Emma is already showing SOME preferences. Some very girly preferences. Prime example: she loves the Disney show "Sophia the First." Every time it comes on she stops to watch it. She will sit through the whole thing. But if "Jake & the Neverland Pirates" comes she's over it. She'll throw a mini fit until we get her.

That's not to say she likes all the "girly" shows. She only barely tolerates "Doc McStuffins" and that's supposed to be an empowering show for girls.

I know. I know. Emma's only 6 months old. She has a lot of time to figure out what she likes and what she doesn't. I sincerely try to expose her to toys and shows that aren't simply for girls. If she ends up liking all the girly things--the dress ups and pink and **shudder** glitter--than I will let her and help her.

Of course, if she ends up liking things that are considered more "boyish," than that's fine by me too! haha

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A (Simple) Great Day

It's only a little after 10am, I get that. But today has been so great so far that I just had to share. And it wasn't because of anything really big or major. We all have just had a really awesome morning! Especially after the day I had yesterday.

You see, yesterday Emma refused to be put down. She refused to sleep unless I was holding her. And I had a migraine. Not a great combination. At all. But then Daddy got home from work and Emma REALLY didn't want to go to sleep. She ate her dinner of pureed spinach and rutabaga mixed with cereal and formula at 5:30pm. Then by 6:30 she was going nuts again. I didn't think she could still be hungry but she shouldn't be that tired yet either! Ugh it was a rough 45 minutes until her Big Bedtime Bottle. And then she and I sat there and watched Daddy play his video game until she fell asleep. Put her in the crib and I passed out about 45 minutes later. I didn't get to check the clock for the first "mommy call" (where she fusses in her crib until I come in there), but it was sometime between 9:30pm and 12:30am. I picked her up, gave her the bink, and she went right back to sleep. I had to do it again at 12:30am. Same thing. 2:30am--same thing. 4:30am was a little harder. She wanted to be held and anytime I put her back in the crib she would wake up. That took almost 35-40 minutes to get her back in bed. I was bushed by then.

But then this morning happened. I heard Emma in the monitor by my bed. She was fussing a little, but nothing that required me to get up. (You get to know the difference in the fussing!) But then it got a little louder and a little louder. And then Daddy went and got her. He changed her (wet only!) diaper and brought her in our room to play. Those extra 15 minutes of laying in bed were HEAVEN!! Then we all played in our room for probably close to half an hour. Finally Daddy said we had to go eat breakfast and start the day.

He took her downstairs and put her in her high chair (which she LOVES to be in!). Then he started making his breakfast of oatmeal, bananas and egg whites. I made Emma her first thing of Oatmeal Cereal and grabbed an oatmeal bar for myself. Daddy even poured me my iced tea! So we all ate our oatmeal together in the kitchen. When Emma saw that Daddy was eating Oatmeal too, Ho BOY did her eyes light up! She kept reaching for his like "It's the same. We can share. Promise!"

After breakfast, Daddy took Emma into the living room to play. I had to do a ton of dishes from yesterday (I made homemade chicken and dumplings again--that's a lot of bowls!). Then I went and tidied the upstairs. Emma played in her jumperoo for about half an hour; Daddy played his video game. Then Emma and I went upstairs to figure out what she wanted to wear today until like 9:15. Then we went and made her snack-to-nap bottle. And by 9:30am (on the DOT) she was asleep.

Now Daddy's at the gym. I'm finishing up the housework that is impossible to do with Emma up (ahem, vacuuming). Than I will watch some TV and just relax until Daddy gets back home. Then I think we get to spend some family time. All-in-all, it's been an amazing day. Even if the rest of the day ends up sour, this morning was just so amazing, I think it would make up for it. And if this day stays this great; well I am truly a lucky lady!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Getting Crafty

I really want to get back into doing crafts and fun things again. When I was little, my Grammy taught me how to cross-stitch. Man, I would love to do something for Emma's room! A little owl or elephant or something like that to hang on her walls.


This past weekend I went to a cousin's baby shower and got to make her a "diaper tub." I used a basket and wrapped diapers around it. They were "defective" diapers that we stopped using because Emma was having blow-outs or leaks Every. Single. Time we used them. I wouldn't wish them on anyone, let alone my cousin's baby, so I used packaging tape around the base to keep them on there. (There are ways to attach them that won't ruin them, but I didn't care if these were ruined so I taped the CRAP out of them! haha). Then I filled it with shower-themed items. I used a hooded towel to make a diaper baby (yes, a diaper baby IN the diaper tub!). And a white blanket to make it look like a bubble bath. Little rubber duckies and other bath toys, sample shampoos and lotions.. Then I made a shower head with a blanket and used a blue wash cloth to make it look like dripping water.
Here's a few pics of how it turned out:

I also made a "Diaper Tree." I took packages of diapers and wrapped them in onesies, draped bibs over the top using a bottle to center them. Then I hung a few pacifiers from it and a package of trinket boxes for the first tooth and first haircut.

The last "crafty" thing I did was make "cupcake onesies." I rolled cute onesies around a sock so it looked like a cherry on top of a cupcake. Then I put them in cupcake holders and put them in small cupcake boxes. They were cute. I'm still learning how to make them all look the same (some were taller than the others, but you couldn't really tell when they were in the boxes). It was fun to do these little crafty things. That way, even though a lot of the things we gave her were hand-me-downs, they were still presented in a cute way. Everyone really enjoyed it. (It helped that we made sure we took really good care of Emma's clothes and other things so we still gave only high quality items.)


The other thing I want to do is make or have made a quilt for Emma. I have the little felt diapers used in those games ("Who has the poopy diaper?" and "What's in that diaper?"). I want to use some of her baby clothes interspersed with these felt pieces to make a quilt for her. I want, in years to come, to hold this quilt and touch these little pieces of her baby-hood. The hard part is deciding which articles of clothing I will refuse to use if/when we decide to have another baby...especially if that baby is a girl as well. But, then again, Emma has TONS of clothes that when I look at them, I just can't imagine another baby wearing them. There's going to be enough pieces to make a good size quilt. I wonder how I can make this happen; but also so it looks amazing. I might have to have someone do this for me and then learn on smaller, less important projects. I think that's the way I'll go. Take the safe route on something so significant.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

6 month check up

Emma had her 6 month check-up yesterday. And Boy, is she getting big now!! And so much personality. She knows what she wants and what she likes. And WHO she likes. haha

So we walked in for her check up and the nurse took us back to our room. Emma smiled and played with her. Let us take her height and weight and measure her head. No problem. By the way: She weighs 17 pounds, 3.4 ounces putting her in the 67th percentile (she weighs more than 67% of other 6 month olds). She's 26.5 inches long and in the 69th percentile. And her head is 43 cm in circumference, putting her in the 60th percentile.

Anyways, so we played on the table until the doctor came in. We had fun with the paper they lay down on it, tearing it up in places and scrunching it up--making a lot of noise. Laughing, playing with our toys. She was just such a good baby.

Then the doctor walked in. And the SECOND Doc opened that door, Emma had this leery look on her face. She grabbed a hold of my shirt a little tighter with one hand and pulled my neck to her with the other. She didn't take her eyes off the doctor at all. And she refused to smile or laugh. Nothing. Stone Cold Emma is what we coulda called her!

Then the doc asks if I want to sit in a chair with Emma while she looks at her. I told her we should be okay on the table. We had just been playing on it. Nope. I was COMPLETELY wrong. When her feet touched that paper, those tears started pouring. And the screaming and crying and...ugh it was miserable. And that wasn't even the hardest part of the appointment. So we moved to the chair and I held Emma while the doc looked her over. She offered up her necklace for Emma to play with while she examined her. Emma took it and yanked as hard as she could. Then she grabbed for the stethoscope. I had to warn her about the teeth because Emma tried to BITE HER! Emma was full of fire, I tell ya!

The doc said everything is great. Told me to up her "solid foods" from 1 feeding a day to 3, stick to yellow/orange veggies before moving on to green veggies, and just keep at what we're doing.

Then we waited for the mean nurse to come in. The one with the shots. I hate that person's job. The lady is nice enough, but Emma knows her and what she means: Bad news! Emma was inconsolable during the shots. They don't take too long, but it truly feels like an eternity. I used my hair to cover Emma's face like a tent so she could pull and play with it; she always does that when she needs to soothe herself. I don't know if it helped, but at least she couldn't see what was being done and try to kick the lady like last time.

The after effects weren't as bad as the last two times. Not sure if it's because we nipped it in the bud by giving her some Tylenol a few hours after to prevent the very mild fever that was already starting from getting worse. Basically she was 97.6 at the doctor's at 10am and 98.9 at home at 2pm, so I gave her the small end of the allowable dose. She didn't fuss near as bad, unless I tried to put her down. Then she wasn't having it. So we ended up spending most of yesterday on the couch being vegetables. Not doing much. She slept through the night fairly well also.

Okay, so that's it for now. Hoping she has a good day today. She usually is fine the second day, so I'm not too worried.

Emmaleigh Grace

Emmaleigh Grace