Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cloth Diaper Week -Our Picks

There seem to be two main reasons people choose to cloth diaper. One is expense, the other is environmental conservation. We probably lean more towards the second, but the reduced cost of cloth diapering certainly doesn't hurt!  

Our Tiny Guy in a Thirsties Duo Wrap Cover
We've sort of jumped around all over the place in terms of which diapers we're using on The Bean.  

Currently, at home we've mostly been using MotherEase One Size Fitted Cloth Diapers with a Thirsties Duo Wrap cover. The MotherEase have been able to contain all messes. For nap times we add a doubler since The Bean is a heavy wetter and that seems to do the trick. As mentioned in a previous post, I really like the Thirsties Duo Covers. I like that they're adjustable so they will fit for a long time. I like snaps over velcro since they don't destroy other things in the washing machine. And I like the double leg gusset which acts as a back up reinforcement for the above-mentioned messes. There are a few steps involved with this system and sometimes we have to drag The Bean back to his change pad a couple of times before we're finished changing him, but it works and we're pretty happy with it.

When I'm feeling lazy (usually first thing in the morning) I'll grab one of our BumGenius 4.0s and put The Bean in that. It's super-easy (although the snapping still does take some time). It also fits him well. There is very little bulk with this diaper so he looks better-proportioned in it too. The drawback is that they're expensive and we only have a couple. Flips and Kushies are my other "lazy" diapers. (I really like that the Flip covers can be reused.)

We used to use disposables when we went out, but we've switched over to using gDiapers with biodegradable inserts. We usually carry a couple extra inserts and one extra cover. It's nice not to have to carry around stinky or wet diapers if we end up needing to change him.

A final note, Jen and I have decided that though we love cloth diapering, it is not always the best solution for us. The Bean is an extremely heavy wetter, and even when he was just a few months old, would often be completely soaked when we changed him during the night. Even the most absorbent of cloth diapers often felt like they could be rung out. We didn't like the thought of him sleeping with wetness on his skin for hours every night, so we made the decision to use disposables overnight. We feel it has been the right decision for us. Although we wish we weren't adding waste that will take hundreds (or thousands) of years to break down, one diaper a night is a lot better than the eight plus a day we could be using, and we are glad that we've been able to put less into landfills by using cloth diapers the majority of the time.  

Disclaimer: This, along with all of the posts in our "Cloth Diaper Week," is not a paid endorsement of any type of diaper, it is merely meant as a reference for people interested in finding out more.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cloth Diaper Week -Types of Cloth Diapers

Newbies to the cloth diapering world may quickly become intimidated by all of the options out there.  In this first post for our "cloth diaper week,"  we'll do a run down of the different types of cloth diapers that are available.

Many people, including us, make up their diapering system from several of these options. Your preferences, lifestyle, and baby will guide you in finding what works best for you.

When talking about cloth diapers think in terms of:
1. The style of diaper such as prefolds, pocket, etc. as outlined in the post.
2. The size of the diaper.  Usually either sized (small, medium, large, etc.) or one-size-fits all (adjusted by folding or snapping)

Here we go...

Flats are what many people think of first when they hear the term "cloth diaper."  They are the old fashioned way of cloth diapering where a piece of fabric is folded, pinned or snappied, and covered with a water proof pant of some sort.  The biggest advantage of flats is probably the price, as they are by far the least expensive form of cloth diapering.  They wash easily and dry quickly. Can be sized or one-size-fits all.

Prefolds are similar to flats, but have a thicker middle section.  Like flats, they can be folded in a variety of ways to suit your needs, but will need to be pinned, snappied, or folded into a sung-fitting cover.  They come sized and the smaller sizes can be used as "doublers" once your child outgrows them. Like flats, they are also quite inexpensive. They take a slightly longer time to dry than flats. 

Fitted diapers look like disposables made out of cloth.  They have elastic at the legs and back and usually close using snaps or hook and loop closures. They come in both sized and in one-size-fits-all styles and must be worn with a cover.  They usually take a little longer to dry than flats or pre-folds.
Motherease (2 size fitted diaper) 
Motherease (1 size fitted diaper)

Covers are what go over all of the above-mentioned types of diapers.  They are waterproof and usually close using snaps or hook-and-loop closures, although there are also pull-on options.  Nowadays, they are usually make out of Polyurethane Laminate (PUL), fleece or wool.  Covers can usually be used a couple of times before it is necessary to wash them. They can be sized or one-size-fits all.

Pocket diapers are made with a layer of material such as fleece sewn to a cover and an opening in the back so that the inside of the diaper can be stuffed with an insert.  The fleece lining wicks moisture away from the baby's skin.  Before washing, the insert must be separated from the rest of the diaper so that it gets clean.  The covers cannot be reused because the lining gets wet or soiled during use. They can be sized or one-size-fits all. (The blueberry diaper link below goes to a video that explains how a pocket diaper works plus how to adjust the rise on a one-size-fits all diaper.) 
With all-in-twos an insert is placed directly against the baby's skin.  When soiled, the insert must be taken out, but the cover may be worn again with a new insert.  Biodegradable inserts are available, creating a hybrid system that falls somewhere between disposables and cloth. They can be sized or one-size-fits all.

All-in-ones are diapers where the absorbent part of the diaper and the cover are combined into a single diaper (like disposables).  The biggest advantage is that they are easy to use.  Like disposables, once they are soiled, the whole diaper must be taken off and washed.  They can take a long time to dry.  Most of the AIO's we've seen are sized.

Tomorrow we'll do a quick run down of our favourite brands of diapers and what we like about them. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011


To help ease the transition of me going back to work, but still keep the blog active, Jen and I have prepared a series of posts on cloth diapering for the upcoming week.  Hope you enjoy! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

End of the Summer

So, I meant to write this post just shortly after 8am, when I got up and was enjoying my morning cup of tea. 

 It's now after 10pm and I'm finally sitting down to write. 

This is my last weekend of "summer break".  I'm trying not to think about it too much.  It's not that I dislike my job; it's that this has been such a wonderful summer and I am sad that after tomorrow I won't be able to spend my days with the two people that I love the most. 

This summer was special.  It is probably the only summer that Jen, The Bean and I will spend together.  Next summer, even if The Bean stays home with me, Jen will probably be working.  When Baby #2 comes along, I'll probably be the one taking maternity leave.  It's true that we will have weeks that we're all off together, and although I know they will be special, I'm sad that this special time is coming to an end. 

I do love the fall though.  The crispness of the air.  Trees changing colour.  Hats that start coming out of storage.  Apples to be picked.  Warm soup and hot tea.  I'm sure I will enjoy even more this year, now that we have The Bean to share it with. 

He, by the way, has been keeping us very busy.  He has spent the last two weeks or so mastering crawling.  He's pretty much a pro now.  Sometimes he gets over-excited and launches himself forward onto his face.  (He has the bruises on his forehead to prove it.)  Of course, being able to crawl is not enough and he is now eager to pull himself up on everything.  Mommy, the ottoman and, oh yes, the side of his crib.  I panicked yesterday when Jen went in to get him from his nap and found him up on his knees gripping the edge of his crib, smiling his biggest toothless smile at this accomplishment. 

The crib mattress has been lowered. 

I can sleep soundly now knowing that our child will not tumble headfirst onto the bare wooden floor in the middle of the night.  And that's what I plan to do.  And tomorrow I will enjoy our last day of summer vacation together.  All three of us.

Friday, August 26, 2011

{this moment} Dimples

After a bit of a hiatus, I've decided to resume my {this moment} posts.  Hope you enjoy.  Feel free to link to your own.

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Cleaning

...well, more like summer purging.

One of our big "to dos" this summer was to go through the closet in The Bean's room and decide what to do with a bunch of the stuff we have in there.

We still haven't made it through that entire closet, but in the  past few days we've gone through pretty much every other closet, cupboard, drawer and dresser.  At least a dozen bags have been taken to Goodwill.  (That's on top of the three garbage bags of clothes we took there at the beginning of the summer.)  There is a pile in our bedroom of items we hope to sell on Craigslist (we're giving them until Labour Day and then taking them to Goodwill).  Hand-me-downs have been passed along to my sister.

And you know what?  It feels good to be rid (or almost rid) of it all!  It's amazing how much accumulates or sits around unused, just taking up space.  This is probably something we should do more often!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Parents.com Best Blog Award

Our blog has been nominated as the "Best All-Around Mom Blog" at Parents Magazine. The contest runs until October and it would be much appreciated if you were able to vote!  There is quite a bit of competition, but how awesome would it be for a blog of a family that has two moms to win?

I've added a button on the sidebar that you can click on to vote.  I believe you have to register to do so, but you don't have to sign up for any emails or a subscription or anything (just uncheck all the little boxes).

Please help us with this!  We're excited at the prospect of more people seeing an example of life as a two-mom family.  Hopefully the more exposure there is, the more understanding grows, and that's good for everyone! 


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Some People Just *Get* It

...I am not one of those people.

Lately, I've been reading all kinds of blogs... mommy blogs, educational blogs, design blogs... and it seems like every two minutes I'm saying to Allison, "Hey, listen to this idea!"  And, Allison (patiently listening to me explain) has usually already heard of the idea and has started doing something similar.

Anyway, looking at this picture from Allison's Ikea Hack post made me realize how sometimes Allison just *gets* stuff that would take me years to think of or figure out and then implement.

See the top shelf?

It has two pieces of pretty cool art on it, right?

Right.   (You're supposed to agree with me there.)

The picture on the left is a piece we ordered from Etsy.  The piece on the right is a picture that one of Allison's students drew for The Bean last year.  When she put the shelves up last week, Allison found the picture, grabbed the frame from a pile of empties, cropped the picture, framed it, and added the finished product to the shelf (all while entertaining The Bean during my morning to sleep in).

I didn't even know we had half that stuff.

The student who drew the picture was a favorite of mine because she took a huge shine to The Bean last year, so I was ecstatic to walk in and discover her artwork displayed so nicely on his new shelf.

I might not *get* it, but I'm glad Allison does.

To be fair, Allison totally doesn't get electronics, but I'm an ace.

Is there anything your significant other seem to be able to do that you would just never think of? 

Friday, August 19, 2011

What's the What With that Thing

Five Minute Update

Sleep Training
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Allison and I were working on sleep training The Bean. Before we started, we spent anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour bouncing, shhhhhing, and singing him to sleep. I felt like whoever was putting him down on any given night was giving up their evening in order to get him to sleep. After falling asleep he would be up anywhere from 2 to 4 times a night and we'd either be nursing or bouncing him back to sleep again.
I am now ecstatic to report that The Bean usually puts himself to sleep within 15 minutes. It will range anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour, but 15 minutes seems to be about the average. The other night, he went down at 6:00, had a brief waking around 9, and then went all of the way through until 4:00 a.m. Wow. That was the longest stretch of sleep I've had in over 7 months! I know cry-it-out isn't for everyone, but The Bean has made more progress with that method than anything else we tried (and we tried it all!).

Baby Ingredients
We have also been in touch with our sperm bank and were able to purchase the three extra vials that we were wait-listed for. There is one caveat. The samples can't be released for use in Canada. Fortunately, we live close enough to the border that a certain teacher would be able to drive down over the summer to have IUI attempts performed in Buffalo.
We debated whether we should purchase the samples if they can only be used in the US, but ultimately we both agreed that if we passed on this opportunity and Allison couldn't get pregnant with the samples we already have in Canada then we would be upset with ourselves for letting these ones go.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spice Rack Bookshelves (Ikea Hack)

I'd been seeing the Ikea hack of the Bekvam spice racks pop up on a bunch of the blogs I look at and thought it'd be a good solution for storing books beside the glider in the nursery.

A can of spray paint later, the spice racks bookshelves are up!


Up until this point we were just stacking books on the little table beside the glider, which was fine, but now the books are easier to see and it keeps them out of reach from our increasingly mobile baby.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Getaway with The Grandparents

We're in the midst of a quick three day trip to Holiday Valley in upstate New York to meet up with The Bean's grandparents. This is a picture from the pool deck.  It's lovely! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What Would You Tell Your Pregnant Self?

While surfing the internet the other day, I ended up clicking a link* that brought me to this video:

I thought it was quite touching.  (I've found I've become a bit of a sap ever since becoming a parent.)

And, of course, it begs the question: What would you tell your pregnant self?

*Found on the NPR website.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wanted! A Few Good Vials

In early 2009, which in post-baby time feels like two decades ago, Allison and I spent months reading about, comparing, and choosing the donor we would use when trying to get pregnant.  Knowing that we'd likely each carry one child, we decided to buy enough samples so that we could use the same donor for each of us.  Then the kids could be biologically related.

We decided on our donor and purchased eight samples to get us started on my IUI attempts.  Our donor was new to the program, and donors typically have to agree to a one-year commitment, so we knew we'd have plenty of time to top up our samples once we saw how quickly (or slowly) the attempts went.

Round about attempt number 4 (out of 5) we were poking around on the web and noticed that our donor number wasn't populating anymore.  Our donor is from the US and deposits at a US bank, but we actually buy the samples through a Canadian lab that works with the US lab.  After speaking to the lab in the US, my heart sank a bit when they told me that not only did our donor quit the program, he also had a vasectomy.  

Calls to both labs indicated that they were also sold out of our guy's samples. I asked each facility to check stock that had been purchased and stored.  In Canada we struck out, but in the US, there were three samples that someone else was storing.  I asked to be put on a waiting list in case the samples were sold back to the bank.

The other day I came home to an email saying that they had three samples of our donor available again for purchase.


But, there's a caveat.  When samples are released to Canada, they have to undergo additional testing.  Because of the Canadian release requirements, I suspect we'll have to pay more to have the samples tested, but we'll likely lose one (if not two) of them to the process.

Right now I'm waiting to hear back from my contact at the US facility.  I'm excited at the possibilty of being able to get more samples, but I'm trying not to get too happy for fear that we won't be able to buy them.  I'll be bummed knowing there are some perfectly good samples just out of our reach.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Vial photo used in image is courtesy of Kriss Szkurlatowski.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Customer Service The Way It Ought To Be

I recently had an excellent customer service experience and thought it deserved blogging about.

About a month ago we ordered three size 2 Thirsties Duo Wraps from Amazon.com.  We had been using size 1s in our rotation, but decided it was time to move a size up since we're now mainly using MotherEase diapers at home which are very absorbent and great for containing messes, but also very bulky. The size 1s weren't fitting over them very well. 

We broke the covers out a few days ago to start using them and noticed that the snaps in the rise weren't making a snapping noise when we pushed them together.  Then, when we'd pull them up over the diaper to close the waist, the snaps in the rise would just pop open.  I was annoyed.  We had been so happy with the size 1s, there was no reason to think the size 2s would be any different.  I felt like we had wasted our money on something that was defective.

Jen suggested sending them back to Amazon, but we had ordered them to her parents' address in the U.S. and it would be a huge hassle.  Then she suggested contacting Thristies directly.  Honestly I thought it would be a waste of time, but I got online and went to their website.  They had a phone number at the top of their homepage, so I called it.  After keying in the numbers to get to customer service, I got voicemail.  Ugh.  I left a message explaining the issue we were having with the snaps and fully expected to never hear back from them.

An hour later the phone rang.  It was one of their customer service reps.  She reviewed the problems we were having, apologized to me for the inconvenience, and then took down my contact information explaining that they were going to send out three new covers and to expect them within a couple of weeks (again apologizing because shipping to Canada takes much longer than it does within the U.S.).  I was shocked.  I thanked her for all her help and hung up the phone practically speechless.  Really, words cannot describe how pleased I was with their level of customer service.  It's refreshing to see a company doing things right! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seven Months Old!

Today The Bean is seven months old!

-The Bean continues to grow and grow and grow!  We won't have any official stats on him until his 9 month well-check but his feet are almost touching the ground in his Jumperoo and it seems we have to put more of his clothes into storage for Baby #2 everyday.  He now fits comfortably into his 6mo clothes.

-We've introduced a few more new foods including apple, mango, green beans, egg yolk, lamb, oatmeal, and rice puffs.  He continues to be an enthusiastic eater!  We're often left wondering where he puts it all.

-He is definitely teething, although there are no signs of a tooth yet.  He chews on everything and rubs his gums together even when there's nothing to chew on.  Orajel has become a part of our bedtime routine.

-Speaking of bedtime, we have started doing a slightly modified version of Cry It Out.  We do our usual bedtime routine, then rock him for a few minutes and put him down.  If he's crying we go in and check on him after 5, then 10, then 15 minutes.  So far he has always fallen asleep by the end of the 15  minute mark, if not sooner.  It's definitely hard to listen to him cry, but he seems to be getting better at putting himself down and I think it's preserving some of our sanity.  The next step is try to eliminate one of his nighttime wakings.  I expect that listening to him cry at 4am is going to be a lot harder than listening to him cry at 6:30pm.

-At the beginning of August we transitioned The Bean from the co-sleeper in our bedroom to his crib in the nursery.  We did it cold turkey and he made the switch wonderfully.  We were all ready for the move.

-He continues to work on his gross motor skills of sitting and crawling.  The issue with sitting seems to be that he much rather stand!  He is going to be unstoppable once he figures out how to pull himself up.  Crawling is also still a work-in-progress.  He's getting closer, but usually ends up just rolling where he wants to go. 

-He rolls towards and picks up the toy he wants to play with, with obvious intent.  He will look at it closely, turning it in his hands.  He will also pass a toy from one had to the other. Then he usually throws it across the room.  *Sigh*

-He's still Mr. Social.  He likes getting people's attention by giving them big smiles.  He happily goes to pretty much anyone although he doesn't seem to be thrilled when there are tons of new faces all at once.  

-It is the best thing in the world to listen to him giggle.  Silly faces and noises are almost guaranteed to get a big belly laugh out of him.

-Now that we're making an effort to call The Bean by his given name rather than by nicknames like "Buddy" or "Baby," he's starting to respond by turning to look at us. 

The Bean is now closer to being a year old than he is to being a newborn.  As I know I've said before, the time is passing so quickly and we are trying to enjoy every minute of it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


We're excited to share that Two Moms to Be has been nominated for the Ninjamatics 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards in the Family & Parenting and LGBTQ categories.

We've also done a little revamp of the blog... a new header, navigation bar, and "About Us" (all thanks to Jen), as well as a list of the blogs we follow.  Let us know what you think!  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crying and Crying and (please, God) Quiet

Peaceful Sleep - Easier Said Than Done!
I’ve learned a lot since becoming a parent. Things like, no matter what you do, the baby will have a giant poo on the airplane.  Or no matter how long you wait to put him in his cute outfit, he will spit up on it as you are snapping the last snap.

One of the other things I’m learning is how much I delude myself. (see Famous Last Words ) I wasn’t going to have morning sickness.  (wrong!)  I wouldn’t eat anything that the books said I shouldn’t.  (wrong!) I wasn’t going to get the epidural. (oh, how very wrong!)

And, then there is “We aren’t going to do Cry It Out.” 

I’m sitting beside a timer counting down from 15 minutes.  

The Bean is in his room all sweaty and crying.  

(Why does he get so sweaty?  It’s like he does it to make me feel THAT much worse when I go in to check on him.)

We read books.  We gave him a lovey (one that he won't smother himself with).  We pumped him full of breast milk all day.  We implemented a bedtime routine.  We shoved him full of food/milk/cereal before bed. We read websites. We did “quiet” playtime. We rocked, bounced, swung, used key words, and sung.  We re-read the books. We put him down awake. We put him down asleep.  We put him down drowsy.

I threw the books across the room.  

The Bean is in his room screaming. The timer is under 10 minutes now.

We are not bad parents. We are not bad parents. We are not bad parents.

I has taken me a couple of weeks to get here, but I believe this is the best thing - The Bean needs to learn how to put himself to sleep.  Lots of other parents have told us they also tried the “gentle” methods to no avail.  Like us, a friend with a son The Bean’s age said the no-cry methods made her little guy sleep worse.

We are not bad parents. We are not bad parents. We are not bad parents.

The timer is under 5 minutes now and The Bean is quiet.  

Ah.  There.  This Cry It Out thing isn't so bad. (wrong!)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Making Baby Food

Yesterday morning while Jen and The Bean napped I prepared some baby food.  We've been making an effort to make most of his food since he started solids a few months ago.  It's easy to do and we like knowing exactly what he's getting.  That said, we've supplemented with jarred food along the way, especially when traveling.  We don't feel bad giving him the organic jarred stuff, but still prefer giving him food we've made.  

Here's are the steps I took: 

Wash the fruit.

Cut it up. 

Boil for a few minutes.   


Puree using an immersion blender (my preference) or food processor. 

Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

Once frozen I wrap each cube in plastic wrap and put them into a labeled and dated freezer bag.  I don't like using all the plastic, but I haven't been able to find a better solution where the food does not get freezer burn. Suggestions are welcome!

A few other notes:
-I did not cook the mango.  It was my first time making it and it just seemed weird to cook it.  
-The prunes do not need to be washed or cut.
-We peel all the fruit.  It's really easy to get the skin off of peaches by boiling them briefly and then plunging them into ice water.
-When draining, we reserve some of the water so that if the puree comes out thick, we can thin it out.
-It is really hard to get prunes out of the ice cube tray.  I think it has to do with their consistency.  I haven't found a good solution to this problem.  
-The Bean does eat things other than fruit!  This just happened to be what I was making yesterday. :)

-I wanted to add that I was just reading an article on making baby food that says you should steam your fruits and veggies rather than boiling them as it preserves more of the nutrients.  We only have one steamer, so I'm not sure we'll do it on a consistent basis, but it's still good to know.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Our Trip

We got back from our trip to Newfoundland a few days ago. 

Air travel with The Bean wasn't nearly as bad as I had worried it might be.  We had to wake him in the wee hours of the morning for our departing flight, so he was pretty sleepy most of the way there.  He napped off and on, and when he wasn't sleeping he was  pretty cheerful.  It helped that the lady behind us on the plane took a shine to him and was smiling at him and playing peek-a-boo.  Jen nursed during take off, but I think he would have been fine with just his pacifier.  We had some jarred baby food which he ate part way through the flight and we packed some toys, including one that so far has never failed to distract him when he gets fussy.  He did have a major blowout on the way there.  It would have been fine, except it happened during beverage service and I couldn't get to the washroom to change him and it ended up leaking everywhere.  Gross.  Fortunately we had thought ahead and packed a second outfit in our carry on.  My only other complaints would be that the flight was delayed and there was ZERO legroom.  Really.  I'm only 5'2" and I felt squished.

I was really happy to see my dad and his new home.  (It was my first time visiting him since he moved in 2007.)  Newfoundland was absolutely gorgeous.  I don't think I have ever been anywhere that was so free from development.  It was mostly sky, trees, and ocean.  Even thought they've had a rainy summer, we had good weather while we were there.   As I said in my previous post, the only thing I really could have done without were the bugs.  (People were saying it was the worst year they've ever had for bugs and I'm the type who gets eaten alive, even when there aren't many bugs around.)  We didn't plan on doing a whole lot while we were there, and kept to a nice, relaxed pace while still getting to see some of the island.

Poppy's House  

Across the street at the beach

Down the road at Ship Cove

Around the peninsula to...
Lady of Mercy Church
  Alpacas of Newfoundland
and Sheaves Cove
Jen and I agree that Sheaves Cove was our favourite spot that we visited, but really, we loved it all. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

 Five Things I Miss About Newfoundland:
  • The ocean right outside the window. 
  • Free-range organic eggs fresh from the farmer down the road pretty much every morning. 
  • Not having to be anywhere or doing anything.  Just reading, crocheting, going for walks, baking bread and enjoying the quiet.  
  • The sky, trees, flowers, mountains, streams and ocean (again).  
  • My Dad. Or, as he is now known, The Bean's "Poppy".

 One Thing I Do Not Miss About Newfoundland:
  • The bugs.  Ouch.