“Wrapping” for Toddler Booties! (Daily December #9)

I don’t know about you, but none of my Christmas presents are wrapped. Mostly because they haven’t been purchased. And even once they are wrapped, I guarantee they won’t look blog-worthy. Rather than subject you all to gobs of fancy tape and torn corners, I present you with:
christmas wrapping pic

I’ve tried countless different diapers and combinations over the past nine-ten months since I started cloth diapering. Through trial and error, I was able to discover what the best style of diapers are for each specific situation. Some people like to stay loyal to one type and brand – with a lot of experimenting, I have found out that a combination of all different types and brands works for us. A little of this, a little of that. Without further ado, here is what works for us:

For everyday errands (read: anytime we leave the house) my hands-down favorite diaper is (and always will be) the BumGenius 4.0 pocket diaper with snaps. It was the first diaper I tried on the boys, and it still works great.
bg 4.0nighttime diaper

It’s on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for. The quality is superb. I usually wait for a good sale from Cotton Babies to pick up more. You can also get them at BuyBuyBaby, and the in-store coupons will save you 20%! Unfortunately, while I love the fit and the look of the 4.0, the microfiber inserts that are included are simply not absorbent enough for my heavy wetters. Instead, we stuff them with a single Alva 4-layer insert (available from AlvaBaby, and also on Amazon. You’ll notice the picture has an additional charcoal bamboo insert (CBI) – this is our double-stuff go-to for night-time. It provides an extra component of dryness (in addition to the stay-dry lining of the pocket shell).

For naptime or longer outings, I decided to supplement with some Happy Flute AIO (all-in-one) diapers.
hf AIOnap diaper

These are available in co-ops at a ridiculously low price. I’ve found these to be the highest quality of the “cheapie” diapers. They come in every color and pattern imaginable, as co-ops will create and order custom designs. I love the price and the variety of colors. They have a double-gusset which works well to keep moisture in, and they also have an additional pocket to customize absorbency. Another benefit is that the lining is charcoal bamboo, which again is absorbent but also has a stay-dry quality.

Finally, for around the house (or when we need a trimmer look for a specific outfit) we love Charlie Banana diapers.
cbcb with insert

These have a bra-strap style elastic instead of a multi-rise snap, so it takes a bit of tweaking to get a good fit. They are adorable on – I like the look of them best, and I love the colors they come in. They’re also ridiculously soft. I scored a ton of these when Target was clearancing them. The microfiber inserts don’t hold up well to toddler torrential downpours pee, though, so don’t put these under your favorite outfit.

What are you “wrapping” your little one in this holiday season? Share your favorites with me!

12 facts about my pregnancy.

There have been a lot of “Like this post to get a number” statuses going around Facebook lately, and it reminded me of when all the Notes were being published 5-6 years ago, with the requisite tagging of 25 people. I find it fascinating how the terminology and format of the social networking world continues to change, but it still leaves a space for “surveys” and “facts” – a place to spout off things that would be socially unacceptable to just drop into a casual conversation. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I love doing this.

The “___ # of facts about my pregnancy” post caught my eye, so without further ado…

1. I was convinced that I was jet-lagged and not pregnant. Having never flown internationally before our honeymoon, I had no idea that jet lag does not last for two weeks.

2. I read my pregnancy test wrong. I thought it had a very very faint line, when in fact it had the darkest line possible. The test line took up so much of the dye that the control line was barely visible. I was about as pregnant as you can get.

3. Growing up, we always joked that I would have twins. I never thought it would ACTUALLY HAPPEN.

4. The day of my first ultrasound, my mom and I went to visit my twin aunties and my cousins. We were late getting up there because of the appointment, and my mom and I were doing a lousy job of hiding the reason for our tardiness. I hadn’t planned on telling extended family until the second trimester, but it felt like an elephant in the room. To make matters worse, they decided to discuss the recently published article on twins in Time magazine. My cousins proceeded to bicker over which one of them was going to end up pregnant with twins. I finally couldn’t take it and had to blurt out that it was, in fact, going to be me.

5. I never knew the true meaning of reflux until my second trimester. Thank goodness for Prilosec.

6. I gained 41 pounds.

7. Speaking of, I had always glorified pregnancy as this wonderful time where you could eat whatever you wanted without caring, but it turns out due to heartburn and reflux and nausea and general lack of space, I couldn’t eat much of anything.

8. The only thing I loved about pregnancy was that I didn’t have to suck in my belly for pictures. I still miss that.

9. Both my boys were head down and in nearly the same position from 18 weeks on. They were always close to exactly the same size and had eerily similar heartbeats.

10. My twins were diamniotic/dichorionic, which means that they each had their own placenta and their own amniotic sac. Because of this, the nurse practitioner told me that they would be fraternal. Surprise! A zygosity test told a different story.

11. I went to an OB who specializes in multiples. It was an amazing resource to have, and I’ve made great friends from the women in the hospital-based multiples group.

12. By the end of my pregnancy the only thing I could wear were maxi dresses and my husband’s basketball shorts. It wasn’t pretty.

Inspired? Blog your own 12 facts!

Capture Wonder (Daily December #3)

I’m no photographer (as you can tell from my over-edited picmonkey tomfoolery), so I plan to be creative with this December photo challenge. What better way to “Capture Wonder” than to get professional pictures of your adorable child and send a holiday card? I’m obsessed with the photography of Chrystal Cienfuegos, and you really should be also. If I could afford to pay her to follow me around full-time with a camera, I would. I can’t possibly spoil our holiday photos, though, so I’ll show you this adorable sample from their first “official” photo shoot.

When your children are this cute, not just any card design will do. Luckily through the wonders of fate and the internet, I have befriended a fabulous graphic designer who just happens to specialize in cards featuring adorable children. Melissa of Sour Pea Design is always coming up with fresh new material for her Etsy shop. She creates custom or pre-made digital files at prices that are realistic for moms. Buying one of her designs and having it printed is not only cuter than your average photosite.com, it’s infinitely more affordable. I mean, check out these fabulous holiday options:





AND there’s even an option for twin moms (featuring the lovely Steely twins, photographed at their teeny-tiniest by Chrystal, of course.) How could you resist?


Ho Ho Ho (Daily December #1)

Is there anything more jolly?

boys holiday

This impromptu photo shoot was inspired by this photo from last year:

boys first christmas pic

It is amazing to me to see how much the boys have changed – and how gradually! I am always inundating you all with “what a difference a year makes!” posts because (1) it is crazy how much children grow in one year, but also (2) I barely remember the first year of their life unless I look back at pictures of it. Thank goodness for iPhones or I would have to make up lies in their baby book. Well, more lies. When I get a baby book.

Smelling the roses

In case you couldn’t tell from my recent blog posts, life is overwhelming right now. I’m struggling to find my rhythm, and I’m frustrated that there aren’t more hours in the day. The honeymoon is OVER with my students, so I am dealing with defiant teenagers all day, and then I come home to toddler twins. They are delightful, and they are exhausting, and I am exhausted.

I’m trying to focus on enjoying them, though. It’s hard to always be in the moment, but lately I have made a conscious effort to try and it has been rewarding. I occasionally go through Facebook withdrawals, but it’s worth it to read my boys their favorite book five times. Because – they have a favorite book! I mean, that’s mind-blowing. They actually have a couple favorites – literary blockbusters such as Bubbles, Bubbles; Nighty-Night; The Belly Button Book, and the cream of the crop – Superman Fights for Truth. I think they love that one the most because not only is it all about bananas, it features a giant BUUUUURRRPP that sends them into a fit of giggles.

The truly mind-blowing part, though, is not their excellent taste in books. It’s the fact that they are people. With preferences. And they can express those preferences. As any mom will tell you, there are months (and months and months and months) where you give everything to your littles, and you are rewarded only in tiny precious pieces of personality. A first smile. A coo. A laugh. A gesture. Little bits that you cling to; that get you through the rough times. But then you hit toddlerhood – and you get so.much.more. They turn into people! They can play with you, and point to things, and speak words or use signs. They crawl into your lap with a book they chose. They beg for a bath, because it’s part of their little routine. They do things that are human. They’re not little needy adorable blobs of goo; they’re people. They’re YOUR people. And they are amazing!

I hear a lot about toddler tantrums, and the terrible twos, and I’m not trying to take away from anyone’s struggles. They’re real. The frustrations that kiddos experience at this age are astounding in their quantity and depth. But for me, I am just so enamored with their budding personalities that I truly dwell on the bad. I spend the whole day managing teenager tantrums; I’m happy to read the same book twenty times to avoid a toddler tantrum. I don’t get much done around the house anymore because little people are sensitive and needy. But they’re also so incredibly cool. I think of toddlers as a reminder that I need to slow down, and manage my expectations. What is more important than listening to tiny incoherent babbles as my munchkin pages through a book? Why do I need to walk so fast that I can’t be bothered to hold a little hand? The answers are “nothing,”and “I don’t.” I thought teaching high school taught me patience – no. My children are doing that. Everyday. And I’m thankful.