Monday, March 31, 2008

My experience with cloth diapering a newborn

So, with sooo many of my friends being preggers, I thought I'd get down in cyberspace how my experience with cloth diapering a newborn went. :)

The 2 main reasons I wanted to cloth diaper (CD) Jana from birth were because I heard CDs really cut down on the number of blow-outs and that it's super cute. :) Now, with Aidan, I was a pocket diaper mama, meaning I had used pocket diapers almost exclusively on him. I had some fitteds for potty training purposes but that's about it. I was in love with the versatility of the pocket system. However, after poking around online, I found that most moms prefered fitteds and covers with their newborns. Not totally understanding why, I decided to start buying newborn and small pocket diapers. And when they arrived, oh wow, those tiny diapers melted my heart. Haha! Anyhow, I had bought a whole bunch since I only wanted to wash every other day at most (I figured that I would have enough to do in the beginning) and thought I was set. But, the fact that most moms still favored fitteds was still in the back of my mind. So, I borrowed a few from my sister and then bought a few just in case.

Then Jana arrived. :) After I brought her home from the hospital and after her umbilical cord fell off, I excitedly started cloth diapering her. However, instead of washing less clothes from less blow-outs, I found myself washing more because it seemed as if the poo just rolled off the diapers, with none of it getting absorbed! Doh! After a few more days of this, I figured out what happened. 1)Her chicken legs were so tiny that the smallest diaper could not fully wrap around them to create a seal because of the inserts inside. 2)She was peeing/pooing so frequently and with such force that it was not given any time to absorb into the insert past the fleece part. The pee was just rolling off the fleece, esp since she liked to sleep on her tummy and side. Then the Ah-ha moment came. Those mamas all liked fitteds because the absorbent layer was right next to the skin and caught the pee right away. There was also no gaping at the legs b/c there was no insert to kinda bulk it up. And since we change newborns so frequently anyways, it didn't matter that there was no stay-dry inner. So, I tried the few fitteds that I had and voila, no more leaks!!! Yay!

[Cleaning the CDs was a bit of a pain but the runny yellow stuff of breastfed babies really washes right off, esp with a good rinse cycle. :)]

Anyhow, so I ended up buying more fitteds and covers and I can honestly say I can count the number of blow-outs that Jana had on one hand. It's great! So, what did Jana have in her stash? Loveybum fitteds, Loveybums covers interlock & crepe, Little Beetle hemp/OCV fitteds (they no longer make these but have great hemp ones), Little Beetle shorties and wrap covers, Imse Vimse covers, and Swaddlebees fitteds.

We did end up going with pockets after she grew out of the newborn phase, which worked out well. So Jana ended up using some of the CDs that Aidan outgrew and we finally ended up saving money. ;) Hmm...I wonder how they'll feel knowing that they shared diapers?! Ahem.

Anyhow, I'll try to post pics of baby Jana in her cutey cloth diapers soon - they're on the other computer. But feel free to ask any questions, in case I was vague or confusing on something. :)

Disclaimer: This is just MY experience with cloth diapering a newborn - I'm sure other moms prefer different things and even made pockets work! Just thought I'd add this in. :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

This Just In - Aidan & Jana go to their first movie!

Yeppers, we did it - we took our 2 kiddies for their first movie theatre experience. We had been talking about it for a while and we know a bunch of people that even took their infants to the theatres, so we finally decided to do it. And it was really a spur-of-the-moment thing. Last Saturday we were all just lounging around, playing with Aidan's trains, when all of a sudden, Kev asked me if we still have those free movie ticket certificates from my lovely parents. I replied in the affirmative and then Kev mentioned something about "Horton Hears a Who!" and how it was in the theatres. [Funny I had just read the book to the kids sometime last week when we were at the bookstore.] Anyhow, we check the ratings and several trailers and then decided just to go for it.

Well, it was a great movie and a great experience for the kiddies. We were worried that they would be scared by the loudness of the surround sound or be unable to sit still (more Jana than Aidan) but none of that happened. Instead, they happily sat there for about 2 hours and enjoyed the whole thing. They even clapped for Horton at the end. :D Aidan left the theatre yelling "We are here" to everyone he saw. Haha! Anyhow, it was great for us adults, too, and the message that "People are people, no matter how small" was such a thought-provoking one. All in all, we give it eight thumbs up. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why I love RSS feeds...

A few months ago, I had no idea what RSS feeds were and why I needed them in my life. But now that I know about them and use them, it's great!

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. For a more formal definition, see here. But to me, it basically tells me when something that has new content frequently (blogs and such) has something new for me to read. You can read the new stuff in a reader, via email or via a side bar thing if you have IE. Before this, I would have all my blogs in a folder and click through each link daily, wasting a lot of time. But now, I just click over to feeds and see which ones are highlighted (meaning has new stuff to read) and read those. Great stuff!! Anyhow, just thought I'd share this with you, though I'm sure a lot of you know about this already. :) Cheers!


Some personal updates:
-We've had some more visitors come through and it's been so fun! Really, who would've thought so many people would be able to visit. We feel blessed. :) But, we're only here for another few months or so, so book your vacation now. ;) The kids are so used to visitors (they love them, really) that they sometimes ask if anyone is coming. Haha!
-We are finally over our colds. Blech. I thought I had escaped cold season unscathed since it's already the end of March but nope, I caught something really awful just about 2 weeks ago. You know, fevers, aches, chills and general malaise. Thank goodness Kev got it later than me, so we were able to switch off. Praise God the kids got minor sniffles (though they both had some allergies symptoms already). Anyhow, we should be done, right?
-Jana has been going #2 on the potty consistently!!!! I still can't believe it, even as I'm typing. But her willingness to emulate Aidan in every aspect has paid off! :) So, I'm hoping to potty train her soon since she can pee when placed on the potty. How exciting would that be?!?! Sorry if it's TMI! :)
-In other potty training news, Aidan has had a few nights of dry diapers! That is a huge thing b/c he was wet almost every night for a while and would wake us up to change him into underwear. Yeah, it was a bit tiring. But we're hoping this dryness is not a fluke but a sign of a more mature bladder. [That just sounded really weird, eh?]
-We've been watching American Idol almost every Tuesday and I dunno, it's alright. We had liked David A. but it almost seems like he's too young for this competition. We'll see what happens...but, oh, Kimberley Locke was on last night - I really miss her season! When it was down to Reuben, Clay and her, I really couldn't pick. Ah, the memories.
-One of our friends had his cancer return recently and it was just so sad for us. His wife has been updating their blog with his progress, so please pray if you get the chance. Just reading the blog brings me so much encouragement because of how much faith they have in Him during this time. They also have 2 little ones and I don't know how I would be doing if I were her. May God be glorified!!
-We're closer and closer to moving and have started to look for housing online more regularly. Some of our friends have also given us contact info of friends they have in the area. Thanks so much! Please keep that coming - it would be so nice to already have some people to hang with when we move. :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Floridian boba drink?!

If you're anything like me, you have those moments when you crave some boba drink - aahh, that delicious, chewy drink with the giant straw! [Ok, chewy drink sounded really weird - but you know what I mean. ;)] However, living in the Tampa Bay area, you come to find that places that serve boba are few and far between. So what to do? Welp, where there's a will, there's a way. With visitors from NJ coming every month or so, we've kindly asked them to bring some instant tapioca pearls [think: ready in 5 minutes!!] and concocted our own super easy recipe.

Floridian Boba Drink

1 cup sweetened iced tea [found almost everywhere in the South]
1/2 cup tapioca pearls, prepared according to the pkg
agave nectar or honey, to taste
half-n-half, to taste
giant straw (optional)

After the tapioca pearls have finished cooking, drain and add agave nectar (our fave sweetner of choice lately) or honey and mix well. Set aside. In a fun cup, pour in sweetened ice tea and half-n-half, to taste, and stir til mixed. Add the tapioca pearls and then insert giant straw. Slurp away!

Apple Hack ;)

Nope, it has nothing to do with Macs, sorry! :) But we just wanted to share a new way we discovered to cut apples for the kiddies with little effort and less mess. Basically, you slice around the core, making four large pieces, leaving the core a square-ish log. Then you proceed to cut the four pieces into little strips. We prefer to leave the peel on because our kids have enough molars to chew through them and not gag. But for young kids, feel free to peel the apple first. Alrighty, here's a picture of the final product:

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Our kids' recommendations

There are some books, DVDs and CDs that the kiddies have been loving lately, so I thought I would make a list here in case someone was looking for something new to read/listen/watch with their kiddies. And other ppl's recs are always welcome!!

Aidan's list lately:
-Joseph Had Little Overcoat by Simms Taback - A very cool book about a guy named Joseph and what happens to his overcoat. I used it to teach about recycling, too. :) The pictures are so neat and I love the cut-outs.
-And to Name Just a Few: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue by Laurie Rosenwald - We love the modern mix-media illustrations and the kids like that there's lots to look at. [FYI: There is a purple monster on the purple page but our kids didn't seemed to be phased by it.] This book really reinforces color names and mixing colors. Fun stuff!
-Patrick Paints a Picture by Saviour Pirotta - Another book about colors and mixing colors but has a guess the color componenet to it. Also takes the color palette from Nature, which is different. Aidan likes to guess the name of the colors and I've started to reinforce the Chinese words for different colors with him using this book.
-Eric Carle's A House for Hermit Crab, Walter the Baker, and Rooster's Off to See the World are some of Aidan's top pics from Mr. Carle. :)
Jana's list lately:
-Curious George and the Bunny by H.A. Rey - Jana is in love with George right and has finally develop the interest to sit through entire books! :) She likes this one because she likes to copy George and role-play what happens. It's really cute.
-Curious George's Opposites by H.A. Rey - She likes books with action so there is some in here that you can do together - even some facial expressions!
-Curious George's ABC by H.A. Rey - great intro of ABCs for Jana since she likes to find George on every page or so! :)
-Curious George: Are You Curious? by H.A. Rey - Jana likes this one because she readily identifies with people and like to explore different facial expressions. Plus, she kinda likes that he gets in trouble sometimes..hehe. ;)
-From Head to Toe by Eric Carle - Maybe's she's really into the copying thing but she loves to do all the actions in the book. :)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Stories - They did a great job animating this one!
Mister Rogers' Neighorhood: What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel - I'll hafta admit the trolley part didn't hold their attention too well but they loved the other parts. Really great for Aidan to help him brainstorm what to do when he's mad.
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood: A Day at the Circus - Another great one! And yes, I know, I'm so a child of the 80s! :)

(Don't worry - nothing too annoying for adults to least for a while ;))
Putumayo Kids World Playground - I've been trying to expose the kids to international music and this is a great one to start with. Aidan tries to sing along sometimes and it's so cute to hear his interpretation of these non-English and Non-Chinese lyrics! I should really tape him!!
Putumayo Kids Dreamland - This is for the moments when I want to calm them down a bit but still play some music. I have some more Putumayo Kids CDs on hold at our local library - can't wait to check them out. They have music from so many different cultures, it's great!
Under the Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner - Some fun songs that you can't get out of your head sometimes! Don't say I didn't warn ya! :)
Family Tree by Tom Chapin - Really fun songs - kinda folksy and really clever. :)
Veggie Tales: Silly Songs with Larry - Nothing new or profound but we just love it. Aidan is working on memorizing Larry's Lines about his lips in the I Love My Lips Song. :) Haha!

There's more but, phew, that was a whole lot to type out and I'm gonna take a break. :) If you really want more, feel free to check out my older post, here. Enjoy! And I'd love to hear what your kiddies like! :)

Quick update

Looking back on my posts, it's been a while since we've updated on what's happening here. So, wanted to play a bit of catch up. :)

We're thoroughly enjoying our year here in Florida. We've had a bunch of visitors come through and it's even more fun to share some of our favorite spots with them! We're so thankful for the great weather lately, esp for some of the chilly days that remind me of spring. LOL!

On the job front, Kev found a position in the Lehigh Valley area (PA), so we'll be moving there in late June or early July, depending on when we can get everything together. If anyone knows anything about this area or have friends living up there that you would like to introduce to us, send us an email! :) We hope to make a trip up to the Northeast sometime in May to check out housing to rent. Kev is also due to take his oral boards in May (please pray!) so it'll be a busy month for us!

The kids are doing great: Aidan has been doing more and more by himself and getting better at putting on his clothes and even helping Jana out with some things. :) He has still been reading lots and doing some arts and crafts and learning cutting and pasting skills. Jana has been growing lots lately and communicating more with her Chinglish skills. ;)She's also been copying Aidan more and more, even with things like going on the potty. If this keeps up, I might be diaper duty-free for a while. Cool!! Anyhow, they're mostly getting along, aside for those, what I call, "sibling moments". Feel free to check out our online album here.

I have a feeling time will just fly by and before we know it, we'll be back up North. But what a time it's been! It has been truly a "honeymoon" period for us!