Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Days

Whew! Things have been busy around the Farmer household lately. I'm still trying to figure out a parenting - work - life - homemaking - church calling balance, but I think that will be a lifetime pursuit! I've always been the type of gal who's had the "you work to play" mindset. This posed a bit of a challenge as I transitioned to becoming a full-time SAHM. In a Mom's world, everything blends together. You have no clearly defined boundaries between work and play. Now that I have my Scentsy business and my writing position as more clearly defined "work," I'm trying to figure it all out again.

Amidst all of this, though, one thought keeps dominating everything: "My life is good." I used to think the best things in life involved leisure - reading a good book, watching a thought-provoking film, or playing games. I still love these things, but I'm not waiting for those moments of "freedom" to feel relaxed or satisfied anymore. Instead, I'm enjoying the time spent with my two little ones and loving my work. It's actually difficult for me to sit down and watch a show alone now, unless I just have to hunker down and fold laundry or organize materials. I save that time for hanging out with Tim. I'd rather be occupied elsewhere. In fact, I'm dually folding laundry and writing this post while Ezra naps. The trick, for me, seems to organize my day so I can focus fully on the moment at hand without worrying about the other things I need to accomplish!

I feel like it's been too long since a fun post sharing some fun Farmer kid facts! I thought I'd take a moment and share some!

Ella Love, love, loves preschool (and Eloise books too.)
If you ask her what she did at school today, she'll most likely describe the snack and tell you she rode the bus. (The two most important things).
Ella rides the bus home from school (I drop her off) because she is so enamored with buses and was so sad when she didn't get to ride it the first day.
She can talk non-stop for what seems like hours, asking "What color is that?" What's her/his/it's name?" "What's that, mommy?" Her curiosity is insatiable!
Her vocabulary seems to expand daily and she is so descriptive now.
Ella adores Halloween and has been telling us things are "spooky" lately, as in "That's a spooky popsicle."
She would always rather play with a friend or mom and dad than play alone.
She is trying learn to ride a trike and gets how it works, but doesn't quite have the patience to follow through.
Ella could still swing all day.
She now likes to ask to watch "Bear Grylles" - Man Vs. Wild.
She is a total sucker for reverse psychology. Mom wants a kiss and says, "I hate kisses." Ella furrows her brow and decides I need kisses.
My favorite game: "I love you, Ella." "No, I love you." "No, I love you." You get the idea.

Ezra continues to charm people everywhere he goes with his big, bright eyes and sweet grin.
He loves to wave, but not on queue and still looks puzzled when other people wave.
Ezra loves banging toys together.
He loves to clap and gets so excited when you say, "Yeah!"
I love it when Ezra tries to pinch pictures in books between his fingers because he thinks they're real.
He has 6 big teeth!
He scoots backwards and it makes him mad!
Ezra loves to stand holding hands and wants to let go and lean on my legs or just hold one hand. He is ready to stand on his own any day!
He's started taking steps when he's standing and holding hands.
Ezra loves feeding himself and would eat bananas and snacks all day if he could (alas, he can't).
His cheeks are so round and soft and sweet - I love to kiss them!

He has a full, happy, delighted laugh.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Scentsational Mom Giveaway: Scentsy DIY (Design It Yourself) Kit

Head on over to The Inquisitive Mom at www.theinquisitivemom.blogspot.com to enter (several ways) to win a DIY (Design it Yourself) Warmer, Theme Pack, and Scentsy Bar from the new fall catalog! You can check this fun new product out at www.scentsy.com/mindyfarmer as well! Link to my website from my new Scentsy button! Be sure to tell your Scentsational friends about this giveaway as well!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Naps and Dirt

You'd never guess it by looking at these pictures of Ezra, but I think he could be a runner-up for the "World's Worst Napper" Award. With the change in routine and Ella heading off to preschool, though, I'm beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Later morning and afternoon naps seem to now equal longer naps. Please let this continue!

He never used to fall asleep nursing, but it's a new night-time habit he's picked up (too exhausted from fighting naps all day, I guess). I knew he'd wake up before being transferred to his bed, so I had Tim grab the camera and snap these photos of our sweet little sleepy-head.

My next big project is to break him of waking up at 5 am to nurse. I can't believe I'm still doing this, and wouldn't have with Ella, but he is so stubborn. I am gradually trying to ease him into waiting longer and longer. Ella would have given in and gone back to sleep at this age, but this guy is determined. I just have to hang in there - he can make it until 6:30 or 7!

We've been steadily working on eradicating our backyard of weeds (and unwanted plants) and planting grass this summer. We accomplished this in two areas, but had two to go. Our kind neighbor was gracious enough to take out some large unsightly shrubs dividing our properties, then Tim dedicated himself to the very difficult job of removing the stumps. We worked together to prepare this area, as well as a spot in front of our patio, for grass on Saturday.

Ella and her delightful friends, Truman and Eleanor, had a blast playing in the dirt before we planted grass.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Come Visit Me at The Inquisitive Mom

When I decided to look into cloth diapering, I discovered a vibrant community of moms interested in this, as well as other simple living topics. I realized that this blog is getting overcrowded with posts about cloth diapering, links to giveaways, and mommy stuff. So, I started a new blog to join this community of moms.

If you're interested in simple living and parenting topics, please feel free to join me at http://theinquisitivemom.blogspot.com! I'd love to see you there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kickin' it in His KCK Ones

Ella and Ezra each had something special to wear today. Ella's preschool class is currently focusing on colors, so they dress up and bring something in a specific color just about every other day. Today is orange day and Ella picked out her outfit. She wanted to wear some Sunday dress shoes, so these were our compromise.

Ella didn't feel like having her photo taken and that's why there's just this one.

Ezra looked so cute in his camo shirt and shoes, so I took some of him (and can't seem to edit myself this morning, so this post has alot of pictures).

Ezra loves this garage-sale find. He seems to understand that the shapes go in the slots, but is still working out the mechanics.

Ezra just received his new KCK one-size diapers yesterday and is sporting them today. I purchased these because of the rave reviews they received from other moms. They are a bit pricey, but you support WAHMs when you purchase them. If you keep in mind that it's a one-size diaper, you've definitely saved money, since you'd have to purchase several sized diapers over time if you didn't select a OS.

I simply couldn't resist taking pictures of Ezra in this clever diaper once I received it. I've also posted pictures of the diapers alone and the video tutorial for anyone who's interested. After handling this diaper, I can see why other mom's love it so much! The clever design truly allows for a good, trim fit on a wide range of babies. When I have additional funds to purchase new diapers, I will definitely purchase more of these in other fun colors! I'd also like to try a color on the inside, so it's a bit more stylish when folded over on a smaller baby.

The behind looks a bit bulky here, but I think that's user-error. You can also stuff it with a slimmer liner if you'd like.
These are soft and snug, but the elastic isn't rough on his skin.

Ezra loves his play table!

I often take shots of Ezra without looking through the lens to try and get him to smile at me.

These silly, off-center pics make me happy!

Mobility is no problem in these diapers.

Suddenly, my chubby baby is getting leaner and longer. I can't believe how much he's changed over the past month! Ella did the same thing and you'd never guess she was so round now!

If you're interested in the KCK Ones, you can buy a pattern and fabric at kaylasclothkits.com There's even a video tutorial. I'm a bit nervous about my ability to sew these, but maybe I'll try it in the future. I purchased mine from Brandy's Boutique. You can purchase from Brandy at http://hyenacart.com/brandysboutique or through her Etsy shop. Her work is excellent, as is her customer service!

Here's a photo of the diapers Brandy sewed for me:

The bottom diaper shows how the diaper fits a smaller baby. The top two show how it adjusts for a larger baby.

Here's a video of how these clever diapers work:

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Wild Time

Our family enjoyed a relaxing weekend together after a busy week. I do love having Tim only work 4 days - the weekend seemed to come so much faster! We've been looking for someplace fun and different to take the kids. They like going for walks and playing at the park, but sometimes you just want to treat them to something a bit more special.

Tim suggested the Henson Robinson Zoo in nearby Springfield and we decided to give it a try. We'd heard mixed reviews because it's so small, but our family enjoyed a relaxing day in the sun. The zoo is very small and, as a result, extremely affordable. There are no large animals to see, but plenty for the toddler-set to enjoy. Ella especially loved the monkeys and the bears. I liked it when she would ask what the animals names were. Names are a current obsession of hers.

We brought a picnic lunch and tried to eat it in the picnic area, but the aggressive peacocks caused Ella to panic, so we found a bench in the shade by the water and watched the ducks and swans. Afterward, we walked the zoo at a leisurely pace, enjoyed the animals, and relaxed while Ella played in the play area awhile. While this zoo wouldn't offer too much excitement for older kids, it was a wonderful afternoon diversion.

Tim's also discovered "Man Vs. Wild" on Netflix Watch Instantly. This show features a host named "Bear" who travels to remote areas and demonstrates how someone would survive if stranded. I have to admit, Bear is a very engaging host and he's fascinating to watch. Ella sat down to watch with daddy post-zoo and she cracked me up. Bear was demonstrating how one could survive by eating a nasty looking bug and she said, "He's eating the bug." Then, "He's happy. He's full now." She was surprisingly non-plussed by his cutting the head off a lizard, then eating it raw, or skinning a dead camel and drinking fluids from its belly. Her comments during the show were priceless! This morning she asked me to eat a pretend bug at the breakfast table, then told me it was yucky. When we saw bugs outside today, she told me that we don't eat them. Good to know.

Ella loved that we had soda, a real treat for her, and kept saying, "Don't drink it all, Mommy." Thanks a lot. ;0) Here she is, enjoying it along the way.

Ella is such a people person. She's walking with us here, but started following families with kids when she could. In her mind, all kids are "friends" and she' d much rather be with them!

Easygoing Ezra chilled in the stroller and enjoyed playing with mom and dad as well.

After a busy afternoon in the sun, Ella was so exhausted, she even fell asleep mid-snack!

PS. Sometimes people ask and, yes, we bring cloth diapers (and, now, wipes) on a day like this. No, it's not a hassle. And, yes, we've dealt with #2 on the road.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Diaper Stash Vs. My Dream Stash (Plus a few fun photos!)

Yesterday I decided it was finally time to take my budgeted diaper money, find some labor day coupons, and build our cloth diaper stash. Internet shopping for cloth diapers is a bit tricky, actually, because there are numerous brands and tons of online stores, but none of them carried all of the brands that interested me. I didn't want to pay outrageous sums in shipping, so I went with shops that had discounts that covered this cost and/or free shipping. My current diaper stash keeps my budget in mind and I think we'll be happy with it (for now), but I also have a dream diaper stash. I thought it would be fun to share the two:

My Beginner Diaper Stash:
Most articles I've read suggest a good 18 to 24 diapers for a baby Ezra's age. In order to keep within my budget, I aimed for the 18 diapers range, so I could have a few "fancier" diapers to go along with the prefolds. I weighed the pros and cons of one-size vs fitted diapers and decided that I'd rather have the convenience of one-size over the re-sell value of fitted. So, for now, my stash will consist of the following:

7 Bumgenius 3.0 One-size diapers. They had a buy 6, get the 7th free sale recently. Now that I've used them a bit more and double stuffed them for sleeping, I really like them. Some moms hate hook and loop (velcro), but I feel like the fit is snugger and they take less time than snaps. Just a personal preference. You can buy these just about anywhere, but I purchased at www.diaperdaisy.com.

3 KCK One Size Diapers. The reviews for this diaper are all outstanding, plus you support a WAHM when you purchase these. They are pricey, but seem like a terrific addition to your stash. You can also purchase the pattern and materials at http://kaylasclothkits.com, but I didn't feel like an experienced enough seamstress for this. (Maybe in the future).

1 Thirsties Duo Wrap: Great cover for pre-folds and fitteds. Purchased from www.diaperdaisy.com.

2 Wonder Wraps One Size Diaper Covers: One size, so I couldn't resist it. Purchased at www.kellyscloset.com.

Swaddlebees Chinese Pre-folds 6-Pack (Large): Reviews said these get softer and more absorbent each time you wash them and that they're simple to fold. This is not my favorite way to diaper, but you truly can't beat the price! www.kellyscloset.com.

2 Bamboozles 2: I love fitted diapers and really liked the Thirsties Fab Fitted, but you would need to purchase so many different sizes. I discovered these bamboo fitted diapers that only require the purchase of 2 sizes at www.punkinbutt.com. I'm excited to try them!

1 Woolly Liner: Wool covers are in the $30+ range generally, so I decided to try this liner with my other diapers to provide extra absorption at night.

2 Snappis Fasteners: These clever inventions help hold the prefold in place without the use of pins! You can buy these anywhere cloth diapers are sold.

24 Flannel Wipes: Purchased these at www.punkinbutt.com and plan to make my own solution and keep in an air tight container wet. I'd like to get a wipes warmer, but would only pay for one at a garage sale. Anyone have one they're no longer using?

Fuzzibunz In-and-Out Diaper Bag: This awesome bag hangs on my laundry room door. I put the wet and soiled diapers inside until washing day (every other day). When I'm ready to do laundry, I simply unzip the bottom, let the diapers drop in, then drop in the bag and wash it too. None of those wet pails everyone imagines! Purchased at www.diaperdaisy.com.

Small Planet Wise Wet Bag: This little bag goes inside your diaper bag to contain soiled diapers (smell and all) on the go. I want a wet/dry bag, but need to try this one and budget for the larger one first.

Regular Tide: I would like to try some of the detergents specifically made for cloth diapers, like Rockin' Green that came with my Diaper Daisy trial, but this works for now.

My Dream Diaper Stash:
Fitteds and Sized Diapers seem dreamy to me, but the up-front cost is just too prohibitive for me right now. If cost wasn't an issue, I would still get one-sized, but I'd want a nice stash of fitteds and sized AIOs. I'd also get alot more of everything. If I could have any diaper stash I wanted, I'd purchase the following:

Bumgenius 3.0 and Smartipants one-size pocket diapers
Rumpster, Oh! AIO (Supposed to be the cadillac of cloth diapers)
Drybees AIO Hybrid (velcro)
Drybees AIO Fleece Nighttime
KCK One Size
Thirsties Fab Fitted
Thirsties AIO
Wool Covers
Kisssaluvs Marvels (One size fitted, but $25 a piece and still need a cover)
Some Blueberry Diapers (just because they're so cute)
Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag
Bidet to rinse diapers
Punkinbutt Cloth Wipes Starter Package

And ("finally!," my mother is thinking) some pictures of the kids from today:

Ezra discovered the cozy coupe the other day. Ella gave him a ride. I decided to find the little foot rest and let him try it on his own.
He loved it!
There's so much to play with and he loves the key and steering wheel.
My little driver.
Honking the horn.
Love him leaning out the window!
Exhausted at the end of the day and waiting on Dad for dinner, I set fussy Ezra by Ella on the couch while she watched "Kipper." I looked over and they were holding hands. So cute!
Sister giving more spontaneous love!

This is what you look like at 5:30 pm when you've had a total of maybe 50 minutes of naps all day (despite mom's efforts).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Diaper Decision Time...

Blogging about my cloth diapering adventures has created some fun opportunities to connect with other cloth diapering moms. It's gratifying to know that people are interested in your experiences and ideas. I've come to decision time, but I'm having the most difficult time. I spent quite a bit of time weighing the pros and cons of fitted versions all-in-one diapers. I ultimately decided that I care more about ease of use, than I do about re-sell value. I read quite a bit (more) information and felt that well-cared for AIOs could last through Ezra and probably 2 more babies. It would also save me the hassle of purchasing new fitted diapers each time my baby grows. I will probably need some newborn stuff, but I won't need to worry about that for awhile. We'll see how I feel after trying this system out.

After my last review, I read more about Bumgenius. It seems that Ezra is at an odd size moment for diapers and, if I hang in there, these should fit better as he grows. I just love the cost, the colors, and the hook and loop (velcro), plus the relatively lean fit. Nothing seemed to compare in the same price range. So, I kept the Bumgenious 3.0 from my kit and ordered a 6 pack from Diaper Daisy. I also kept the Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover.

I am so happy to have cloth diapers again because I hated using disposables with the stink and the garbage. For some reason, the Pampers I purchased simply smell so terrible with only a tiny bit of urine. I kept going to change Ezra, thinking his diaper was full, but it wasn't. Not sure what that's all about: Just that diaper or disposables in general. So far, I'm liking the Bumgenius and haven't had any leaks.

7 diapers are simply not enough, though. But I've done too much research! Everywhere I turn, I discover new diaper options. I found this and it got me started looking at all new options:
http://travelingwithbaby.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/cloth-diaper-essentials-a-comparative-review/ I'm very interested in the KCK One Pocket because the reviews are all so awesome and it looks fantastic! I also love that you support WAHM businesses when you order these. You can actually sew your own by purchasing the pattern at http://kckone.com, but I'm not confident enough in my sewing skills, so I am going to purchase a few through Etsy to try out. They are pricey, but moms swear by them.

Beyond that, I'm waiting on Labor Day sale announcements for tomorrow, comparing a few other brands/prices, then making myself decide and purchase tomorrow. I imagine this will include some prefolds, Drybees, some type of One Size fitteds, a cloth wipes kit, and a wet/dry bag. If you have any last-minute recommendations for fabulous diapers, I'm still taking them! I want to get this whole cloth diapering full-time thing, going though, so time to stop researching and order...tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What's on my head?

I've been waiting for the weather to cool down a bit to put this adorable 9 month outfit on Ezra. Thank goodness I didn't wait much longer because he'll be too long soon! I love the little hat with the bear ears, but Ezra didn't! This little guy has never liked hats.

Hi Mom!
You smiling at me?

What's this thing on my head?

Ella wants to wear it!

I want this off!
Silly Ella, trying to help!
I will get this thing off!
I did it!