gently used ergo baby carrier GIVEAWAY!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!  Thanks for playing!! 

And CONGRATULATIONS for winning …

Lindsey Miller!!

Maybe you saw the link we posted from Northern Mum on Saturday about why front-facing baby carriers may not be a great idea …

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Which got me thinking … I have this great Ergo Standard Baby Carrier.

41tD6dK6fTL._SY355_ I love this carrier.

From the moment our little guy was big enough to fit, we were freed up to go just about anywhere.

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I should have more pictures of these experiences but I can’t find any … seriously.  He started out on my chest with an infant insert, moved out of the insert and stayed face-forward, then got big enough that he liked life better on my back.  It was a full 20 months of awesome.

And I’m so thankful for the Ergo.  For real.

Because  this was me and our little girl (before I knew better) …

DSC01314(I love this picture because I love the adventures that little girl and I went on and I love those memories … but now I cringe when I see it … knowing now what I wish I knew then.)

So now that the little guy is too big for the Ergo, I realize that it’s still got a TON of life left in it … and if you’ve been using a front-facing carrier (or know someone who is) and want to make the switch.  Maybe this is for you … and a chance to give it a try for FREE!

So we’re giving away our well-loved Ergo (sorry no infant insert … I was reminded that I already gave it away).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY WILL CLOSE FRIDAY OCTOBER 4th at midnight.

WINNER ANNOUNCED SATURDAY IN OUR WEEKLY ROUND-UP!

This is NOT a sponsored post.  We just love the Ergo and want it to go to someone who needs/wants it.  Winner will be chosen at random on Friday night and announced Saturday.  Ergo will be shipped USPS standard mail.

happy weekend!

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I don’t know about you but … what a week!

With grey skies, threats of snow, battling colds and earaches, bone broths, crackers, laundry (why can’t I keep up with the laundry?), dishes, ballet (for Jeanne’s little), soccer (for Abby’s), lessons … life …

It was a week filled with life.

To quote an ancient Sanskrit poem:

Look well to this day for it is life …

the very life of life!

In its brief course lie all the realitites and truths of existence…

the joy of growth!

the splendor of action!

the glory of power!

For yesterday is but a memory,

and tomorrow is only a vision

But today, well lived,

makes every yesterday a memory of happiness

and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.

So with that in mind … here’s our weekly round up:

Our most pinned post of the week… homemade almond nutella

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Most read post of the week…the kindergarten quandary.  (Thank you, everyone, for the incredibly thoughtful responses for which we were humbled and appreciative!)

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A must read … from Northern Mum about why forward facing baby carriers might not be a great idea.

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(I watched this and cried … we are so lucky … we had one and used it a LOT with our first and I am thankful every day that this didn’t happen to her little hips.)

PS, I have a gently used Ergo Baby Carrier that we are going to GIVEAWAY!  Check on Monday for the ins and outs for your chance to take home a great carrier (including infant insert … if I can find it in storage 🙂 that made all the difference in the world … for me and our little guy 🙂

Christmas craft FAIL

Abby here… I’ve admitted before that I am, in fact, not very crafty with my kids.

I am generally okay with my un-craftiness until I run across something cute on Pinterest and think, “THIS CAN”T BE ROCKET SCIENCE ABBY.”

So there were 2 Christmas crafts I had “pinned” that I really wanted to do with my kids.  Both required the same materials (canvas, paint and body parts)
so I thought I could pull it off.

I should have known.

So, the first thing I wanted to attempt was these footprint reindeer originally found here.

Seems easy enough.  Any one could pull of this simple craft, right?

WRONG!

Apparently I was mistaken to think both my kids feet could look cute on a 9 X 12 canvas.  Turns out I would need one triple the size to pull of something like what is pictured above.  I went through 3 canvas’s on Elijah’s feet before I had it right (thankfully I bought a 6 pack for $6). After we conquered a decent footprint for him, I moved on to my 15 month old thinking that would be the easy part.  Again.  Wrong.  Here’s were we ended up.

Yea.  So, while I will probably keep those little messed up footprints, because well, I love those sets of feet… I decided to nix that craft.

Next up was this inspired by this pin.

I’m not crazy about everything in the picture above, but I wanted to make a slightly less cheesy version of this to give to my parents.  They love sentimental things, and I thought it would be fun with the kids handprints.

I figured hands would be easier than feet, so this would be a no-brainer.

WRONG AGAIN.

This is about as far as we got.

So sorry Mom, you won’t be unwrapping this Christmas morning.

babies, sleep and giving mamas grace

Put a group of women with small children together and I can almost guarantee a conversation of sleep, or lack of, will be brought up. In my experience, it can be a touchy subject.

I’ll go ahead and say that I whole-heartedly believe that there is no one right way. As with every element of parenting, you have to do what works best for your family.

To me, letting your kids cry-it-out seems to be on one end, while co-sleeping with your little one is on the other. I know AMAZING mamas on both spectrums, and I also know that these aren’t the only 2 options. There are probably a million ways to manage your baby’s sleep.

As for me, I’m torn.

I love the idea of teaching independent sleeping at a young age (with the hope of them sleeping all night). And I equally love the idea of co-sleeping. How’s that for indecisive? I’d go even further and say that even though I’ve raised 2 little people, if I get to have another one… I have no idea how we will manage their sleep! I guess we will just roll with the punches, and go with what seems best at that time.

I will forever love this old photo. It’s my oldest son when he was about a week old, and my husband literally fell asleep while holding him up. It just so represents the joyful exhaustion we were all feeling.

My first year of motherhood is pretty foggy. I got a lot of conflicting advice that year, and ended up trying several different sleeping approaches. I only remember 2 things. One being that we didn’t co-sleep and the other being that at around 13 months we let him cry-it-out a few nights which led to him sleeping through the night.

When we had our next baby, both my husband and I thought a little co-sleeping would sweet. We gave it a go, and it was in fact special. Typically, he would take all his naps in his crib. I would nurse him and then lay him in his crib where he would fall asleep easily. In the evening, I would also put him in his crib. In the middle of the night he would end up in our bed, and it was a special bonding time with David for both my husband and me.

I slept great knowing he was right next to me.  I have heard the other side of that argument and I get it. But for us, it was good.

It was good, that is, until he started crawling and managed to wiggle his way off the bed twice. Once that happened, we nixed the co-sleeping. Not much changed except that in the middle of the night when he would wake up I would nurse him and then lay him back in his crib. He was waking about 3-4 a night.

So, our little guy is 14 months old and not much had changed. He was still waking a lot and would nurse for 30 seconds and then be back to sleep. I feel like it had gotten to a point where I just couldn’t physically keep it up. I never, ever woke up feeling like I got a good nights sleep, which is probably because I never, ever got a good nights sleep.

So we bit the bullet. My husband and I were on the same page and decided we were going to let him cry it out for a few nights in hopes of changing his sleep habits. Night one was by far the worst. I slept downstairs, and John slept in our room with David (where his crib is) just so he could make sure David didn’t get too worked up. He cried most of the night. The next night, David still woke up a few times, but he only cried for about 10 minutes. And then night 3 he just woke up once and cried only a few minutes. It’s been a week since night 3 and David has continually slept almost 12 straight hours each night since. It’s fantastic!

But here’s the thing… I absolutely don’t regret waiting this long before I let him cry-it-out. As I mentioned in this post, I have logged hundreds of snuggle hours with David. Hundreds. And I am so thankful for those.

And here’s the other thing… this week David has been in a great mood every day. I really believe the uninterrupted sleep has done him good.

UPDATE: I wrote this post last night before bed, and let me just say that mama has been in high demand the last 8 hours.  The minute my head hit the pillow the little one woke up with a startling IJustHadABadDreamCry, so I had to get him.  My plan was to just hold him and calm him down, but not nurse him.  So we snuggled and sang, and 20 minutes later I thought he was sound asleep on me.  Next thing you know he sits up, lets out the most pathetic whimpers and then starts pecking at me like a chicken.  I caved immediately and nursed him.  I got him back in his crib and then my 3 year old decided to wake up 4 times in the next 4 hours needing things like cover adjustment, water, potty and a flashlight.  So.. that was fun.  He is a great sleeper, and he never wakes up like that.  It was almost laughable that this all went down minutes after I wrote this.  At least I never claimed to be an expert.  

And in case you are wondering, I have read several research articles on the different sleep approaches. I have read the convincing articles on why its important for young children to have uninterrupted sleep, and I have read the equally convincing articles on the benefits of co-sleeping. So I just want to reiterate that I really, truly don’t think there is one right way.

So moms… let’s have grace for each other. We might do things very differently than the next and that’s okay. Also remember, every child is different, and different sleep situations might work best for different children!  I’d love to hear what worked for your family!

-Abby

P.S. I have heard some people (I’m assuming pro co-sleeping people) mention that a crib just feels too jail-like. I’m not mocking that at all, because seriously… to each their own, but I just had to include this pic because it makes me laugh.

;

P.S.S. Don’t forget to enter to win our Whole Foods gift card giveaway. It’s super easy to sign up and remember you can enter once each day!

cloth diapers for the uncertain


Abby here..

It took me a solid year of spending a lot of cash on disposable diapers before I jumped on the cloth bandwagon. My biggest hesitation was that it would just be gross.  And I was right.. it is.  But no grosser than changing disposable.  Poo is poo… no matter what kind of diaper you use.

So why cloth now? Well, it saves me a heck-of-a-lotta money and trash.  The disposable diapers I purchase (David wears them at night) are Seventh Generation chlorine free and they aren’t cheap. With raising food prices all diapers are getting more expensive.  Also, with babies going through an average of 2,000 diapers a year… I like knowing we are reusing ours.

I started out buying a few to see if I liked them.  I wasn’t immediately sold, because they seemed inconvenient and bulky (which we now lovingly refer to as Duck Butt). The biggest problem was that the diapers required their own load in the wash, and it just didn’t make sense to use up a whole load just for 3 diapers.

So I put out the cash and ended up with 12 diapers, a wet bag for storing dirty ones and a diaper sprayer (which I rarely use).   I have heard people talking about loving cloth and referring to them as fun.  To me that is a stretch, because this is still changing diapers we are talking about.  But I will say that I think they can pretty darn cute.

I have bought all my diapers from Cotton Babies.  They always have good sales, free shipping and fantastic customer service.  But I would check Craigslist first as I have seen some great deals there.

All 12 of my diapers are bumGenius, but I have 3 different kinds.  All of their one size diapers fit kids weighing 7-35 pounds.  On newborns they definitely seem big, but they still do the job.  I chose snap closures for mine, but they also have velcro.

For small babies they snap like this…

And then they eventually grow into this…

These are what I have:

bumGenius 4.0 
I will start with my least favorite.  These are a stay-dry pocket diaper which means you stuff an insert into a liner everytime.  You also take the insert out before washing.  I think if this were all I had I wouldn’t mind, but my others are all-in-ones and that seems to just make things a little easier.

bumGenius Elemental All-In-One
These diapers were just a few dollars more, but totally worth it. They are all one piece, but they are not stay-dry. As long as you change the diapers regularly (as with any diaper) we have never had any problems with rashes or anything.  I also love that these are made with organic cotton.

bumGenious Freetime
I would probably call these my favorite.  They are all one piece and also stay dry.  There are 2 “inserts” that are connected. I thought the name “free time” seemed a bit extreme, but I will say… they are usually the first ones I grab.  If I were starting over, I would buy all this kind.

Between washes I store them in a PlanetWise wet bag.  These things are great! They keep the wet and smell in.  I just hang it over the doorknob in the bathroom.  As far as a diaper sprayer, people swear by them.  Personally, I find them inconvenient as they sort of get water everywhere.  Who knows… maybe I am just doing it wrong, but I generally just prefer to wipe the poo off with some toilet paper.  TMI?  Ohh, and I wash them with BioKleen Free and Clear Liquid when they all are soiled… generally every 2 days.

If you buy brand new you are looking at around a $250 dollar investment.  I know that seems like ALOT, but trust me… you will spend that in no time with disposables, and you can use your cloth ones with multiple kids!

So… there you have it.  Everything you did (or didn’t) want to know about how I use cloth diapers.  What about you?  Do you use cloth?  Have a brand you love?  Or do you prefer to just go disposable?

debbie downer talks about cell phones

Abby here…

It’s Saturday and while I suppose that aught to mean a light-hearted post… I have other things on my mind.

Please read this

…… Done reading?

Feels good to get that off my chest.  Dr. Mercola is much smarter than I will ever be so I thought he should do the talking.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock you have heard about the dangers of cell phone use, particularly brain cancer and brain damage.  I know it may be tempting to brush this topic off  because cell phones are so convenient, but this is serious stuff.

I really want to plead of behalf of the little ones.  Even though the iphones and ipads (etc) are terribly convenient for entertaining (and even educating) our kids, it’s just not worth it.   Research has shown that children’s brains absorb up to 50% more radiation than adults.  There are studies linking cell phones to cancer, brain damage, ADHD, sleep disorders, depression and more.  As adults we can make our own decisions based on our own knowledge, but young children don’t know (or need to know) these things.  It is our job as parents to protect them.

Much love
-Abby

 

a little love for the midwives

Before I had even confirmed I was pregnant with Elijah, I had my eye on a birth center in a cute little house down the road.  To be honest, the idea on a midwife was foreign, but something in me knew that is what I wanted.  Two babies later, I can honestly say using a midwife was one of the greatest things I have done.

I just learned that this is National Midwife Week and I feel like there are 3 ladies in my life who deserve a big thank you!  These woman took excellent care of be and my babies before, during and after they were born!

To Amber and Joanie… Thank you for your patience and wisdom during my birth with Elijah.  You kept calm in a potentially scary situation and you kept our safety your top priority.  I will always remember the long, hard birth of my first born in our tiny house in Texas.  I am forever grateful for the two of you.

Elijah and I 

To Mikelann… I was very nervous about finding a new midwife once I moved to Montana, because I loved those ladies in Texas.   After our first appointment I knew I trusted you just the same.  During labor, you knew just how to calm my anxiety and how to help me get David out quickly.  You have a special place in my heart!

David

And to all those midwives out there on call 24/7… you are selfless, you are genius and you are appreciated!

A little note: If you have even the slightest curiosity about using a midwife during childbirth, do yourself a favor and go meet with one.  She will answer all your questions!