Thursday, October 18, 2012

What A Week!

He's here!  After a few "near misses" with possible emergency C-Sections due to my blood pressure on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of October, our little man was brought into this world  by a team of doctors at the hospital as scheduled!

Gabriel Charles was born at 8:54 the morning of the 12th, weighing a scale tipping 9 pounds 7 ounces and he is 22 inches long!  Our OB had guessed (based on ultrasounds) that he was going to be 8 pounds 12 ounces, so he surprised us all when he came out almost a full pound above that!

Friday and Saturday are pretty much a happy blur for took almost two full hours after he was born for the feeling to return to my legs from the spinal, and for us to be brought to our room from recovery.  We spent those days figuring out how to breast feed (the lactation consultants aren't around on the weekends apparently), cuddling our new "reason to be here", and just being "happy".  I also spent the entire time fairly "drugged up" on pain killers to keep the incision from making life completely unbearable.

So many wires on such a tiny body...
We were released from the hospital Sunday afternoon and headed home to start this whole "parenting thing" for real..ya know, out in the real world where you have to make your own food and stuff.  As soon as we got home, I fed Gabriel (since I'm the food source, it falls on me to do that anyway), put him down to sleep in his bassinet and went to test my blood sugar and have lunch.  Around 3 o'clock, I Decided it was high time he got up to eat again.  I had been told (and knew this already, but they treat every new parent like a complete moron...or maybe they figured I was just a moron, ha!) not to let him go more than  hours between meals, so it was time.  Not only did he refuse to eat, he refused to wake up and by 8 pm Sunday night, he still hadn't woken up or eaten anything since around 1pm (finish time, we started around noon...he likes long meal sessions)!  After a call to the after hours pediatrician, we were on our way to take Gabriel to the Emergency Room.  I don't wish this trip on the worst person on the planet...especially when your baby is barely 48 hours old (not that it ever gets any easier)!  By 2am Monday morning, Gabriel and I were being readmitted to the hospital (Well, Gabriel was admitted, I just refused to leave).  He had developed Jaundice and his bilirubin levels were high enough that he required the triple lights only available at the hospital (two sets of lights from a lamp thing above and another set that he had to lay on).  Because the lights irritate their eyes, they have to wear these "sunglasses" while under the lights.  The glasses themselves are soft and they actually Velcro onto your baby!  They basically glued two pieces of Velcro to Gabriel's temples.

Velcro for Sunglasses.
A bad dream...

He spent until about 8pm Monday night laying under the lights, not being able to be held or comforted (truly comforted, you can't really soothe a crying baby without picking them up and holding them).  If I ever have to endure this experience again, I will start by asking for the "parent glasses" and having it set up so I can just sit and hold my baby under the lights rather than watching them and feeling 100% useless in making them feel better.  I jumped every time an alarm went off (which was often) and was only able to get about 20 minutes or so of "sleep" the whole night, although even that was done in the sitting upright position on the "bed" that was really a couch that I could not lay down on because of my c-section and my inability to lay on my side (it's upright or mostly so on a pile of pillows for me...).  Instead of sleeping, I spent the night crying and "facebooking" when Gabriel was sleeping.

One hand was a failed attempt at an IV, the other is from after the IV failed and had to be removed.
During our stay (Monday seems like such a long day...I'm sure it should count as an entire week all on it's own), they also determined that Gabriel was dehydrated because my milk supply had yet to come in.  Since we are/were exclusively breastfeeding, they made me stop breastfeeding and switch to pumping and having someone else feed him.  They went as far as telling me to stay out of the room while he was being fed so that he would still associate me with the "good food" instead of the "easy food".  Monday's "bottles" could only be measured in milliliters...and small amounts at that!  For referrence, there are 30 mL's in 1 ounce.  He was only getting around 10mL every 2 hours as was only able to pump about 5 mL an hour (total from both sides).  No one in the hospital seemed worried, but did say I should top off his meals with formula or Pedialyte if he seemed to still be hungry.
Cuddling Daddy after being told we could take him out from the light while we waited for his last labs!
 So, Monday night we were again sent home with our baby.  I slept better than I had Sunday night (which isn't saying much since it was 2am before he was admitted and I spent 99% of the night standing by his crib getting a "bili light suntan" of my own), but had to get up every two hours to pump and then have Garrick feed it to him while I washed the pump parts.  Unfortunately, I think I had an equipment malfunction with my pump, while not nearly as good as the medical grade pump they had me using in the hospital, it worked "okay" the first time...but, with each pumping session after that, I was getting less and less out of me while at the same time getting more and more uncomfortable as fluids "back logged" in my breasts!  By 7am, I was down to only being able to use one side of my pump at a time (defeating the purpose of a double pump)!  Also, I was only able to get a grand total of 1 mL out!  That was never going to satisfy my child!  So, we ended up breaking down and opening one of the formula bottles they sent us home with to supplement his breakfast with.  Not knowing what he "should" be eating, we went ahead and just started with a full 2 ounce "baby MRE".  He only ate about 10mL and then refused to eat any more.  Of course, not knowing how much he "should" be eating at this time, we assumed he was full (he never acted hungry after eating between 8 and 11mL while we were in the hospital with him) and went about our morning.  Gabriel was awake and alert, he did the "baby stare" thing while I held him in one arm and washed the pump parts with the other (it's a true talent I tell you).  Then, I called his pediatricians office to make his first appointment with them and we were able to get right in an hour later!  So, we rushed to get showers and all of us out of the house and to the appointment (including my Mom, we were able to get three adults and one tiny baby showered, not the baby, dressed, and ready to go in under 20 minutes, leaving us time to stop by McDonald's drive through and even grab a little breakfast before the appointment). 

"Napping" while we wait for a blood draw at the pediatrician's office.
At his appointment, we noted that he was turning yellow again, so his pediatrician ordered another bili level check and in the meantime, got home health care involved and ordered an "at home" bili blanket, which is the simplified version of what he got in the hospital, minus all the stress and "sunglasses".  We also had an appointment with a lactation consultant on Tuesday to help me get back to breastfeeding our little man as soon as possible.  At the lactation appointment, he was diagnosed with tongue tie (which we have to have his pediatrician refer us to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist to be "fixed").  Until then though, we were given a nipple shield so that his short little tongue can reach what he needs to be able to eat properly.  We also rented a medical grade pump (a Medela Symphony 2.0)...way too expensive, but worth every penny for the volume I am now getting!

We heard back from his pediatrician a few hours later and his bili levels had risen again, so he did need the at-home lights.  As soon as we got home from the lactation appointment and a stop by my OB's office for a pain killer refill, we put the light belt on him and went about our evening, making dinner, giving him his bottles, staring at him, etc, etc, etc... 

Gabriel in his arm band and Daddy napping.
Three hours later though, he was completely unresponsive and I believe he stopped breathing for a few seconds.  We rushed back to the Emergency room where Garrick did everything perfectly to get us in the building (they lock the doors in from the garage and you have to be buzzed in by security...or...push past someone as they leave so you don't have to deal with all that), and seen immediately.  Unfortunately, that meant one of us voicing the fact that we had an unresponsive infant with us and we were rushed into the pediatric emergency room and a code was called on the way in, bringing the entire staff in the room.  He needed it and I don't feel that we did it just because we were/are paranoid first time parents.  While they began checking him out, he never moved, flinched, or responded to any stimuli the whole time.  He didn't even react when they began getting basic vitals on him (other than pooping on everyone and everything three times while they tried to get his temperature rectally).  They spent a good 15 minutes on him just trying to get an IV line in and draw blood, they even asked if I would allow them to try for a vein on his head (they couldn't find any that were large enough).  To compound the issue of his being so young, was the fact that he had been in the ER only two days before and in the hospital, so he was already covered in needle sticks, bruises, and enough tape residue to stick him to the wall!  They were finally able to get a line in his elbow, but that also meant an arm board to hold his arm so he couldn't bend his elbow.  After a small bag of fluids, I'm not sure what it was, but I believe it was just a saline solution to help rehydrate him along with maybe a little sugar to help perk him up, he was awake enough to bend his elbow anyway which caused them to add even more tape to his little arm.  Eventually, after we were admitted to the children's hospital, a nurse replaced the board with a Velcro arm band that held his arm stiff.  That worked really well until he figured out how to work it off his fingers the next day!  After that, they swapped it out for a diaper.

Since Gabriel was so dehydrated, they admitted him so he could get IV fluids overnight and await blood work results looking for some sort of infection.  I also think this was partially out of suspicion that we may have been doing something to him at home, but this is only based on questions I was asked only when Garrick was out of the room and how the doctor treated us when he came in to see us.  Luckily for us, my milk finally came in overnight that night too, meaning I was finally able to actually feed my son!  But, before I could feed him, I had to pump off some of the building fluids, so with a manual hand pump, I was able to get 1/2 an ounce off one side and an ounce and a half off the other!  After that, Gabriel had a much easier time nursing (with the nipple shield in place)!  We ended up spending Wednesday night in the hospital as well since the pattern we were seeing was that he would improve overnight and throughout the morning, but by afternoon/evening, he would be impossible to wake up.  Rather than go home and end up back in the same place in a day or two, we opted to stay the night and just make sure he was really improving this time.
Sleeping the day away in our ring sling!
I'm happy to finally report that we were able to make it through the rest of today (Thursday) with Gabriel doing "normal" baby things!  He has been asleep for a good portion of the day (he is only 6 days old after all), but he did wake easily or on his own for nursing, he opened his eyes (something he had rarely done since he was born and was a concern of mine that kept getting blown off), and he has nursed well too.  I've been pumping between nursing to help build my supply for him, as well as wanting the "back up" in case we need it.  For example, he's been extra fussy at the 2am area nursing times and with he and I both being so new to this, we get frustrated easily on so little sleep.  Garrick has been giving him a bottle of breast milk at these feedings so that I can pump and we can all get back to our much needed sleep sooner.  Gabriel can nurse for up to an hour at a time, so sometimes I am losing a ton of sleep during those middle of the night nursing sessions!  Today alone I have pumped over 6 ounces throughout the day, most of which has been pre-portioned out into 35mL tiny bottles (slightly over an ounce each).  We'll get those fed to Gabriel overnight and throughout tomorrow I'm sure, we have several appointments to get to tomorrow and I may not be able to nurse at all of them.

Tomorrow is also Garrick's birthday...I think at this point, the best "gift" is just having Gabriel healthy and out of the hospital!

So, like I said in the has been one heck of a week!  This is really just a glance over how busy this week has been and how stressful it's been on all of us!  I am really thankful that my Mother has been here to help, I'm not sure what I would have done had she not been here.  "New Mom" hormones are a crazy thing, especially when you pour a load of stresses on top of everything.  We won't even get into the missing paperwork from home health (because she didn't give it to us), the missing parts for the pump (because the woman running the rental counter forgot to tell me I was supposed to go get them from someone else...she also called today because she forgot to write down how I paid and when I was planning on bringing the pump back), the sick dog, the empty bank account because of all the unexpected costs due to having a sick baby, you get the gist...  I had a huge breakdown when I discovered very late in the evening when I finally had time to pump, that I didn't have the parts for the pump...all I had was the actual pump!  No air hoses, no nothing! 

I may or not go into some of this in more detail later on, but for now, I think I'm going to stop typing and go snuggle a baby before passing out (I'll feed him too).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Soaps, Sinks, and "Something"...

Today is the day before we get to finally meet our little man!  So, how does one spend the last day of being a "non-parent"?  Well, Garrick is at the doctor's office for a follow-up to his Kidney Stone "issues" about six months ago (of course, he thinks he has another one as well, so it's a good thing to be doing).  My Mom and I are here at the house while a plumber installs my new sink and garbage disposal!  We talked about doing it ourselves, but with the height differences in the sinks, the drains not being directly across from each other, and a few other "oddities", it was just easier to hire someone who knows what they are doing!  We did manage to get the clothesline post in the ground all by ourselves yesterday though, so we aren't complete "newbs" at the home improvement type stuff!  I highly recommend the "Quick-crete" that you just dump in the hole filled with water, that it awesome stuff and you don't have to mix it!

Another thing we may get to today is laundry soap making...I still have 3 gallons of the Ivory Soap stuff I made a while back (in April or May), but I remembered it last night while I was at the store, so I bought another 3-pack of bar soap.  This time though, I got Kirk's Original Coco Castile Soap...this is a soap made with no animal fats (coconut oil, "coconut soap" (made by a chemical reaction between lye and coconut oil and a few other things I'm sure), and a thing or two more)...more information on this soap can be found in the FAQ section of the company's webite,  More importantly, I won't have to panic if a diaper ends up in the "regular" wash once my soap doesn't contain Ivory anymore! 
I'll take the added cost to not have to spend days and days (okay, hours and hours) stripping diapers again!  In my post, here, I broke down the cost of making my laundry soap based on what I paid for the ingredients used.  To the right is my price breakdown.  The difference with this soap lies in the soap costs, $3.49 for a 3-pack of Kirk's Castile as opposed to the $1.69 I paid for a 3-pack of Ivory.  That brings the total cost for materials to $11.92 for six batches of laundry soap (at 2 gallons per batch, making at least 64 loads)!  I also have used the Borax and Washing Soda to make many other things, including the powdered Cloth Diaper Detergent that I discussed here.  So, that averages out to $0.031 per load (assuming we get 64 loads out of each 2-gallon batch, we get more out of some batches and less out of others).  I have a coupon sitting on my desk from a few weeks ago for Tide...32 loads for $5.99 (or $0.187 per load)!  I am still saving money, that's what counts! 

If I price out a single batch of the "new" laundry soap using Kirk's...
  • Borax (4 ounces) - $0.19
  • Washing Soda (4 ounces) - $0.23
  • Kirk's Castile (1 bar) - $1.16
That's $1.58 for a 2 gallon batch (assuming 64 loads), that's $0.025 per load!  A full penny more than with Ivory soap...but let's see you get 64 loads of laundry done with Tide for only $1.58...without being an extreme couponer (those ladies are totally nuts in my "oh so humble" opinion)!

A few days ago, I went out to spend some quality time with the chickens after they went to bed (the only time they let me near them anymore).  Poor Clyde is molting big time!  She decided it was "easiest" to drop all her feathers at once and then grow them in...or at least that's what it looks like.  She has no tail feathers at all!  Okay, she has pin feathers growing in, but she looks rumpless at the moment...  See how rough she looks compared to Henri in the photo(sorry for the blurry chicken head, they don't like to hold still much)?

And of course, it wouldn't be two days before the baby's here without a trip last night to Labor & Delivery's triage!  My Blood Pressure spiked last night while out doing some grocery shopping...  I stopped by the machine inside Fred Meyer to get an estimate because I suddenly had a headache and was unsure if it was pressure or sugar related.  When I saw these numbers (photo to the left), I went to test my blood sugar (120)!  Of course, a call into the on-call doctor meant I had to go in...  We spent almost 2 hours hooked up to the monitors (baby hates the monitors and spent the whole time trying to kick them off) before the on-call OB decided to just give me an extra 100mg of my blood pressure meds and send me home for the night.  Little man succeeded in kicking off the fetal monitor about 30 seconds before the nurse came in to remove them...which, of course, set off the alarms when his heart rate was lost.  My blood pressure never did fall much under what I took a photo of at Fred Meyer...and I think the nurse was actually surprised at how accurate it was (she admonished me for using it when we first got there).
Here is the new sink all installed! We had the disposal put in the smaller sink on the right (closer to the wall switch that runs it) and the bright green thing in it is designed to keep silverware and the like from getting down in the disposal, but still lets the water pass.  Most of the soaps on the left will fade away as we empty the partial bottles...the thing way over on the right side is a soap dispenser!  In fact...I may go put those two partial bottles under the sink for now (the purple one is what I make my "Gardner's Scrub" with (the glass jar next to it)...of course, I use it mor for scrubbing gunk out of pans when it's baked on then I do for cleaning my hands after gardening, but ya know...  I can't wait to give somebody a bath in it!

So, don't expect any news from me in the next few will be here in less than 24 hours!  Whoever guessed he'd be here the week of 10/10 was right!  Go you, who ever you are!  We're scheduled to begin the c-section at 7:30 tomorrow morning and I'm going to (hopefully) have someone update on Facebook soon after he's here (give or take an hour or so).  If not, I'll get around to it "eventually", ha!

Until then, I'm gonna go try out a low-carb (sugar free, gluten free) recipe for Halloween Cutout Cookies!  I love making cut out style cookies...and getting to use my ~100 cookie cutters is a definite bonus!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Birthday that Wasn't...

I couldn't resist snapping this yesterday while out shopping!
Yesterday was "D-day" or at least that was the plan...  Everyone was up early, getting ready to get going to be at the hospital by 9am, so we could have this baby finally!  That is, until the phone rang at 7:46am...  It was the hospital calling to cancel my surgery!  As it turns out, no news isn't always good news.  The results of the amniocentesis had come back and things weren't looking as good as they should, so little man needs to "cook" for another week.  We are now scheduled to go in at the end of next week and are not redoing the amniocentesis, so I am assuming this one won't get cancelled!

Of course, that didn't stop us from having to make a trip to labor & delivery yesterday either.  Little man was really gearing up over the course of a few days (thanks to lots of activity on my part, I'm sure) and I was having contractions in my back all of Wednesday and yesterday they had progressed around to the front and I timed them for over an hour at 2.5 minutes apart!  We really thought yesterday was going to be it, one way or another!  But, as soon as we got there and hooked up to the machines...they all but stopped.  I was still having contractions, but they slowed to about 10 minutes apart and weren't nearly as painful.  Baby's heart rate was sticking right around 135 (a little slow for him, but good) except when a contraction would hit (even the ones that I couldn't really "feel" but could see on the monitor), it would jump up to 175-180 and then plummet to 112-115!  The nurse didn't seem to worried about it though and they proceeded to send me home with orders to "take it easy" for the next few days and make another appointment with my OB (who I got to see last night since we were there right at the end of office hours) early next week.  I even followed their advice today after a miserable night of no sleep and lots more pain.  No contractions today, but little man seems to be doing a lot of sleeping and recouping of his own today too!

Since I'm not on bed rest, just taking it easy, I have been doing a lot of "sit and work quietly" type stuff today.  First thing I did was got my "main" character on World of Warcraft up to level 90 (new expansion came out on September 26).  I've been slowly plugging away at her since we got the new expansion, I'm happy I was able to get her up there before baby was was a goal I thought I had missed reaching.  I also made up a batch of "Honey Apple Wipes Solution" using Johnson & Johnson's Honey Apple Baby Wash, Coconut Oil, and Distilled Water (I boiled water for a good 10 minutes and used that...the rest is cooling in a glass jar to use to soak the wipes warmer's "stay fresh pad" in).  I filled a travel spray bottle and have the rest in a large jar ready to soak cloth wipes in closer to when the baby is actually here (wipes don't stay fresh forever when they aren't filled with chemicals)!  It smells so good though!
Next, I got the car seats torn apart to wash!  I don't remember if I mentioned getting them, but when we took back the dresser pieces to Baby Depot, someone was there buying new car seats (the next size up) for her twins.  She left the old car seats sitting in a shopping cart and drove off!  So, I packed them into my car and brought them home.  There isn't anything wrong with them (other than being grossly dirty) and she had tried to sell them to people inside who were buying car seats!  Well, I finally got around to pulling the "washable" pieces off today and run through the washer, something I don't believe had ever been done to them from the nastiness that was under the fabric and how crusty the straps were!  After once through the washer (with a double load of laundry soap, yeah for homemade that doesn't foam up!), they look brand new!  I plan on seeing if any of the consignment shops are interested in them (but the shops I like to take my business to are overloaded right now) or maybe just snap a few photos and put them on Craigslist...  They are Safety First brand and come with the bases that have the LATCH system, but no instruction books...the previous "owner" didn't deem those necessary to keep in the storage spot on the back of either car seat.  I may look and see if I can find it online to provide with these because I find it very useful to have (especially the part that tells you how to get all the buckles off and back on properly)!  I actually need to look it up anyway so that I can get part of the straps off, the metal part that holds it on appears to be too big to come out the way it is supposed to for cleaning.  I got all the other straps washed looks really nice!

Then, I sewed a button onto a pair of pants for my photo available, I just used the "button" setting in my sewing was super easy.  After that, lunch.  McDonald's because chicken nuggets were calling my name (along with a free Mocha Frappe that I had a free coupon for)!  After lunch, I made a second wet bag liner for our dry pail.  Doesn't that sound "intriguing", ha!  Basically, it's just a water proof trash bag to make carrying the dirty diapers down to the laundry easier. 
"Action shot" of a wet bag liner in use!
I had made one Wednesday evening, but had "run out of time" before getting a second one made (since these get washed right along with the diapers).  I made my bags based on my dry pail (an 8 gallon trash can with a "pop top" lid), seamed the sides together, keeping the bottom of the bag seamless for "extra" waterproof-ness, made enclosed (french) seams for even more waterproofing, and added fold-over elastic to the top edge that included a loop of "extra" elastic for hanging on a knob or door handle as well as making removal easier!

Next up was a larger wet bag with a zipper for traveling with...I kind of went overboard a little bit in the size department here, but I was using the last piece in a three pack of the "cute" Babyville PUL that was given to me.  I made two smaller bags using the frog print, but they turned out too small for "extended" outings (but will work great for other uses).  This time, my bag ended up measuring 19.5-inches by 22-inches!  The wet bag is bigger than the pail liners (which are roughly 16-inches by 18-inches or so)!

To make this bag, I simply cut a piece of the white PUL to match the size of the duck printed PUL, put in an invisible zipper, stitched the seams, and stitched around the zipper to keep the fabric from pulling over the top of it and being extra difficult!  The stitching is nowhere near "perfect", but it works for me!

So, here is where little man sits today...

We did get his room (mostly) finished Wednesday night too...but I promised not to share those photos until after someone in particular is here to see them.  It's super cute though!

Instead, I'll share this!  My Mom bought us a new sink!  This is our gift instead of one of those plastic baby bathtubs that are really just a big pain in the you know what.  The left side is 9-inches deep and huge and the right side is about half the size of the left and only 8-inches deep (this is the side I think should get the garbage disposal).  It came with the faucet, soap dispenser, a basket for the right and a grate for the left (to keep your dishes from scratching the sink), it even came with the drain parts!  As soon as Garrick and I get a new disposal bought (soon hopefully), and look into putting it in ourselves (the cost to have it installed by Home Depot's guys is more than the sink cost to begin with) versus hiring a handy man (anyone know a good and cheap one in the Spokane area that knows how to install a sink properly?), we'll be able to give little man baths right in the sink, no bending over and killing myself in the bathtub!  We picked it up yesterday while I was spending my "extra time" doing some last minute shopping (I hadn't bought feed for the chickens and they were out).

The up side to the new surgery time is that I got the very first slot in the morning...rather than having to wait half the day away, we should have our family complete before breakfast!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What a Way to Wake Up!

Ten minutes to 5am on a lazy Tuesday when you have absolutely nothing planned until 4pm that day is not when you want to be awoken from a blissful (2 hours) of sleep by a cat!  However, that is exactly what happened this morning...  Baby, our 7 year old butterball (we think he's a Ragamuffin), decided to get sick at the head of the bed this morning!  I was awoken by the sounds of impending cat-sickness near my left ear and shouted, which usually startles the cats enough to get them to stop...I only succeeded in waking up Garrick though!  Baby continued making his prep for illness and I finally was able to get him off the bed to get sick on the floor (way easier than cleaning it out of my hair, right?)...or so I thought!  While cleaning up the bit of foamy yuck that he left on the floor, we noticed a larger (baseball sized) wet spot with obviously laid in bit of yuck where Garrick's shoulder normally is while he's sleeping.  Super yuck!  It gets worse getting the sheet off the bed, we found it was very cold (had been there for quite some time) and very liquid-y (I, of course, figured this out by sticking my finger in it).  That sent me into dry heaves...making it even harder to get out of bed (luckily I was not alone and Garrick is able to pull me out of bed while I'm trying to not add to the mess)!  After we got the sheet off the bed and most of the fluids cleaned up (and by we I really mean Garrick...I was of no use unless the sound of someone dry heaving in the corner is helpful), Garrick went to take a shower (he laid in it, remember) and I went to rinse the bile out of my mouth.  Afterwards, we debated putting clean sheets on the bed and returning to sleep, but we were both wide awake and I didn't think that I could lay back down in the bed without getting sick again.  So, we got up at 4:50am this morning and have had an extremely productive morning so far (and it's only 7am)!

I have a few BzzCampaigns that I'm involved in right now, Dentyne (see my post about that one here), SmartFood Selects (I'm still waiting for this one to arrive in the mail), and Glade Expressions Collection!  For the Glade one, I received coupons to get both starter kits for free.  Of course, the hard part about this product was finding a store that had them in stock!  What a popular product and after trying them, I see why!  At first, I was only able to find the Fragrance Mist Starter Kit in a single scent!  Luckily, it was one that I wanted (Pineapple & Mangosteen), so I snatched it up.  We've been using it for a few weeks and both of us really enjoy the smells a bit like a Pina Colada.  The scent is very light and it really doesn't take a ton of spraying to scent a large room!  I do a quick (2-3 second) spray in my dining area to scent the whole surrounding area (dining room, kitchen, and the whole of downstairs since it's open from up here)!

On the dresser in the Nursery...

The Scented Oil Diffuser starter kit proved to be more difficult to find though...these seem to race off the shelves!  I did finally find them at Target though!  Not only did they have them, they had them in all four scents that are available (Pineapple & Mangosteen, Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice, Lavender & Juniper Berry, and Cotton & Italian Mandarin)!  I prefer the "look" of the Pineapple starter kit for most of the rooms in my house, the decorative panels with the leaf cutouts is wood-grain in a light wood color, while the other scents all come in white.  However, for in our Nursery, the white works perfectly!  After smelling each and every scent option, I chose to get the Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice.  This one has turned out to be my absolute favorite!  In fact, I liked it so much, that I also bought it in the Fragrance Mist as well (in a starter kit because the price difference was very small and I wanted to be able to use both scents without having to "swap" the refills)!  I should probably mention to be careful handling Mom had one of my Misters slip out of her hand and the top shattered when it hit the floor (from about counter height).  Good thing I bought two starter kits I suppose, lol.  Unlike when you break the top of a traditional room spray, these aren't wasted!  The mist is contained in a separate canister inside the plastic bottle part!  You just unscrew the bottom and out it falls, making refilling the "cute" sprayer easy and more economical (I believe the refills run about a dollar less than the starter kits).  The labeling comes off the outside of the kit too, making leaving the can sitting out a little less like "hey, this is what I use to cover up my funk"!
Photo "stolen" from my sister's blog...
The Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice scent is just as light and easy on the nose as the pineapple one is...since we still keep the baby's door shut to keep the cats out for the most part, the room was getting its own "funk" from being closed up and basically unused.  Having the oil diffuser in there has really made it nice in there again!  In fact, my Mom has commented that when she goes home, she is going to get the same scent kit for her bedroom (which is similarly closed up all the time)!  To me, this scent smells a bit like a fresh baked apple pie...I love it!

I mentioned earlier that today was already productive...since everyone is up now, we have the latest batch of dog food simmering on the stove, Carne Asada meat and Beef Heart strips!  I figured it was time for some beef...Rosie has gotten a ton of chicken in the past month and the last batch I made was using Ham (which she absolutely was way off from my "normal" though).  Mom is doing most of the cooking, but from the smell, I should go see if the meat is cooked.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mostly Laundry "Stuff"...

All my pockets getting ready to be stripped!
So...I've been busily washing every "baby" things as it makes its way into my home.  The other day though, I realized that my homemade laundry soap has Ivory Soap in it.  Ivory Soap is a big no-no in the cloth diapering world (as is most everything, but I had started to notice a film on all my diapers while stuffing them).  Also, I bought some "new to me" flats that needed to be stripped (one has a funky, oily, stain in it)... 

Stripping "agent"!
Since I had to buy some "Blue" Dawn to strip those five flats with, I decided to strip all of my diapers and basically start over.  I used the instructions found here at Mama's Laundry Talk for that step.  Basically, it's just washing and rinsing (a ton) with a Tablespoon of Dawn Dish washing soap in the first wash took five rinse cycles and two full wash cycles to get all the suds out from a singe tablespoon of the Dawn!  Of course, as you can see from the photo, I got the double strength stuff, and Dawn is a "high sudsing" soap to begin with.  If you have a newer HE washer, they only recommend 1 teaspoon to strip with (and it goes directly on the diapers, not in your dispenser)!

While I was researching cloth diaper cleaning again, I also decided to find a "non-soap" detergent to use with my diapers now that I have stripped off all the "ick" from my Ivory Soap "boo boo".  What I found was a recipe from the lovely owner of The Eco-Friendly Family!  Well, first I found her post about how much she still loves her detergent...then, I followed the link in that post to her post on making the detergent (here)!  I made a "test batch" using the 1c/1c/0.5c ratios to make sure it was going to be something I could "live with" making and that it also worked well and did what I needed it to do!  I don't think I'll ever make it by the "whole box" method like she does...but I will probably double, triple, or quadruple this batch depending on the size of the container I finally settle on using.  For now, it's in a quart sized Mason jar because it is air tight (important since this is a powdered detergent) and can easily be shaken up to ensure a good mix.  Just let the dust settle before you open the jar...I doubt Borax and OxiClean belong in your lungs!  The first "change" I need to make while using this is how I add it to my washer...we have hard water and a really old washer.  This creates a problem because the combo tends to make using powdered detergents a bit "useless" ass the powders don't melt properly into the water without stirring it in by hand...not easily done when you have the temperature on your hot water turned up and are washing in hot water!  I'm going to add an empty jar to my "wash box" specifically for mixing the detergent needed (per load) with some of the water to make "detergent soup" that can then be poured into the washer before adding the diapers.  It's a good thing I already need to update my "laundry cheat sheet"!

With having other people in my house, doing laundry, and generally helping out, I decoded it would be a good idea to create a "cheat sheet" for how I do the laundry...each load is slightly different as far as how I "wash" it.  I gave it a pretty picture for a background and then got to work using the "smart" graphics in Word Perfect (I believe it's the 2012 version).  Adult clothing gets the addition of 1 Tablespoon of Downy Unstoppables (I really like the pink and purple scents), sheets and towels get 2 Tablespoons, but not the baby's sheets and towels!  These two types of loads also get one or two dryer sheets (homemade fabric softener soaked pieces of Flannel) in the dryer too...I tend to do a "timed dry" on these which is the "high" temperature setting.  Baby clothes are washed with the homemade laundry soap (the liquid stuff), but not given the dryer sheet treatment.  Everything gets a Downy Ball with Distilled White Vinegar (up to the line, just like you're using "real" fabric softener in it).  I did read recently that the diapers should not be exposed to the vinegar on a regular basis to keep the PUL and/or elastic lasting longer, so I have removed that step from our diaper cleaning regimen as well.  Diapers are washed in hot water (everything else gets cold), they have their own soap (we just talked about that), and everything for the baby is dried on the delicate (low heat) setting.

I have this list in a plastic sheet protector and have it hanging on a pin near my machines.  Behind it is the instructions on how to strip my diapers...I'm not sure how often this should be or needs to be done, but I know it isn't a "one and done" type event!

I have one more load of diapers to strip (the huge sized ones that I don't need for quite some time) after I finish rinsing my pockets (I have at least two more rinse cycles to go), then I will be back to "ready" for baby to get here!  Only 4 days left (including today)!  We also have "family" portraits scheduled for today...hopefully that goes well and we get a decent photo of the two of us!  We have only had our picture taken together one other time in the nine years we've been together, it just isn't something we ever think of doing.

I'm still working on making a messenger bag styled diaper bag, but screwed it up when I was sewing the back piece the other day, so it got put on hold for a bit.  I really like the materials I found to make it with ($4 a yard at JoAnn's in the clearance section)!  Hopefully I will have time tomorrow to get it put together, with help so I don't have to do as much "up and down" from the sewing machine.  For is what I have done!  It's the interior of the from of the bag.  The brown is also what the exterior will be (the white background material is the lining).  It has a ton of pockets!  I'm following the instructions I found on Morning by Morning Productions.  However, I'm not real happy on how the smaller interior pockets go I'm changing that bit slightly! 

As soon as I get this bag finished...I will have two homemade bags (awesome for lots of pockets and larger interiors) and three that were purchased!  I've mentioned our Skip Hop bag (I'm so disappointed with that one) before, we also got a diaper bag set from Garrick's coworkers!  It was a set I had added to our registry months ago and had completely forgotten about.  On his last day of work before he started his FMLA leave (today), they threw him a little baby shower!  It was really, really nice of them!  They also got us one of those shopping cart/restaurant high chair covers and a car seat!  (Sorry for all the exclamation points...but it does get me excited!)  Of course, we already have the car seat...but I returned it and got the breast pump we still hadn't purchased (and took my Mom with me to the store and had her use the gift card from the return to get it tax-free).  We even had enough left over to pick up some lotion for baby, and a big box of "milk bags" to freeze the "Mom juice" in!

Okay, time to start getting ready for my day today...busy day ahead!