Amy Beth

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cloth Diapering Changing Table

Changing table setup for cloth diapers

Back when I was first learning about cloth diapering (and caring for a baby in general) I found the changing table to be an endlessly interesting topic. Funny, the things that are interesting before they become a part of your daily life. But I loved to see how people set up the changing table and the systems they used to make cloth diapering quick and easy. Now that I change diapers several times a day, I no longer find changing tables to be that interesting. However, I know there are some people out there looking for ideas and inspiration and now that I’ve been using the same setup for over 2 years I feel like I might have a thing or two to share. Aside from a few upgrades we added to the setup for baby #2, our changing table has pretty much remained the same since Charlie was a wee lad (pun intended).

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First we have the dresser. I like to have a lot of space when changing a diaper so a nice long dresser works well as a surface. This Ikea dresser has worked well for us (although it seems they may no longer sell it.) We’re a short family so I could see how some may want a taller surface to work on, but for most this would be comfortable. It provides plenty of storage so we keep all of Poppy’s clothes and blankets and extra diaper supplies in the drawers.

Changing Pad: You need something to put the baby on. I like having a soft minky cover with a diaper insert laid out where the actual diaper changing is going to take place. That way if any of the mess leaks out I can just toss the insert in the diaper pail without having to change and wash the whole cover every time.

Lamp: I like to have a lamp nearby for those late night changes.

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Wipes container: all you need for this is some kind of plastic container that fits your wipes. We use cloth wipes (the cheapest wipes I could find without making my own) that we just wet with plain water. We wash diapers every two or three days and find that the wipes stay wet but still free of mildew when we change them out that often as well.

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Basket When we get a fresh load of diapers out of the wash, I go ahead and stuff all our covers with inserts. They just sit in a basket ready for me to grab at a moment’s notice. The basket also holds any diaper creams we may need. I frequently use Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion spray to help clean an especially messy bum and sooth sensitive skin.

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Drying rack: the Applecheeks diapers we use allow you to reuse covers once or twice before washing them. I got this little dish towel drying rack to hang up our diapers to air out after they are used. It’s a great little compact way to keep them nearby.

Diaper pail: for cloth diapers I recommend getting a simple trash can with a lid you can open with one hand and Kissaluvs diaper pail liners. Get two liners so you have one to use while the other is in the wash. Our liners have held up really well for us through hundreds of washes.

Hamper. Diaper changes and outfit changes often happen at the same time, so I like to have the hamper nearby.

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Extra Inserts: I store extra inserts in the top drawer so they are easy to access if I’ve run out of stuffed covers and need to put one together quickly.

And there you have it. Our diaper changing station! It is severely lacking in cuteness; I need to add some artwork on the wall above it. But as far as function goes this set up is pretty solid. I hope this helps anyone trying to set up a nursery for the first time!


For more baby and kid room inspiration, be sure to check out my Pinterest board!

Follow Amy’s board Kid’s room on Pinterest.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Favorite baby gear

Gear pinterest

Just about every new expectant mother has typed in a google search to the effect of “what things do I need for this new baby?” And google has happily delivered pages upon pages of lists with titles like “Essential Baby Gear” and “10 Things Every New Baby Needs” and “101 things to put on your registry.” And then every new expectant mother has felt the panic that comes with realization that this new baby could cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars before they even turn a year old.

I’m going to try not to do that to you.

When it comes down to it, everything a baby needs can be found within his mother’s arms. Food to eat, a cozy place to sleep, warmth, safety, and a whole lot of love.

But there are a few material items that, while not essential, have been useful in my personal experience. Many other mothers would swear by a totally different list of items. But, these are the things I find myself thinking I’m glad we have on a regular basis. So here’s a run-down of a few of my favorite items for a new baby.

Arms Reach Co-Sleeper

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This little contraption has proved to be the best solution when trying to navigate all the differing views on safe sleep for babies, at least for me. It provides the benefits of a crib – the baby has a safe separate space to sleep with plenty of air circulation and a good firm mattress and no risk of getting squished. But it also has the benefits of co-sleeping – I can easily hear my baby and attend to her right away if she needs it, and transitioning from sleeping to nursing and back to sleeping in the middle of the night is (comparatively) painless. It’s also good for me. If I have a baby in bed with me I can’t sleep for fear of either squishing or waking her with my movements. If I have a baby in another room I can’t sleep for fear that I won’t hear or notice when she needs me. With the co-sleeper, the sleep I get is peaceful.

Aiden and Anias muslin swaddle blankets

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These blankets seem pretty pricey, but I’m so glad we allowed ourselves this little splurge. I find these blankets to be useful for all sorts of things – swaddling, a nursing cover, a car seat cover, spread out on the floor to play on, etc. They are lightweight enough that they are easy to fold up and stick in a bag. But they are much bigger than most of the typical cotton or flannel receiving blankets you find at the store that start to seem much to small after the baby is a couple of months old. They get softer the more you wash them and have just enough stretch to make a good swaddle. They’re also adorable.

A whole lot of prefold diapers to use as burp cloths.

Diapers

Most of the little pieces of fabric sold as burp cloths in the baby aisle are much too small to catch anything of any significance. And my babies know how to burp with significance. A big pack (or two. or three.) of prefold cloth diapers are much bigger and much more absorbent. And you can never have too many. Never once have I thought that we have too many burp clothes.

Car mirror

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I know rear-facing carseats are the safest for babies. But I hate not being able to see them in the car. A good shatter-proof car mirror gives me the peace of mind I’m looking for.

Video Baby Monitor

Monitor

Baby monitors in general are much contested over whether or not they needed. Video monitors kind of have a reputation for being a little overboard and overprotective. But I gotta say, my video monitor is one of my new favorite baby things. When Poppy started to get too big for the co-sleeper (see #1 favorite thing) she had to move into a crib in her brother’s room. I felt some slight anxiety at that thought of her no longer sleeping right next to me. So I got a monitor to compensate. Now I can check on her at any time without disturbing her or her brother’s sleep. It’s also useful for those times when the baby (or three year old, for that matter) is making noises in her sleep and you aren’t sure if they need help or not. A quick check with the video monitor tells me if they are waking up or just dreaming.

Baby Carrier

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There are many different types of carriers, all with various pros and cons, but I love having a way to keep my baby next to me without using up all of my hands. I find carriers most useful when running errands, doing light housework, and playing with your older child in the backyard. Babywearing is also fantastic for soothing a fussy baby and getting stubborn non-nappers to fall asleep. I started off with the Baby K’Tan and loved it. It was super easy to get on and off and very comfortable. However it doesn’t work as well with larger babies so I’ve been dipping my toes into the the wild world of ring slings and woven wraps.


As I look back on my list I realize that I chose a lot of these items because they help me feel closer and more connected to my baby. I stand firm that all a baby really needs can be found in her mama’s arms, but mama’s arms need a break occasionally. So if you’re a new mama trying to figure out what you need for your new baby, my best advice is this: Pick the things that sound the most helpful in giving you a break. The individual items will be different for everyone, but the goal is the same – to keep our babies safe and loved.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: The Great Gatsby

One of the categories for the 2015 Reading Challenge was “a book you should have read in high school.” The one that immediately jumped to mind in this category was The Great Gatsby.

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My junior American lit class had The Great Gatsby on the list of books to study, but for some reason the teacher never got around to it in the schedule. I’m not saying I was bitter. But I may have been (big nerd here). So I used this reading challenge as the perfect opportunity to rectify that gaping hole in my knowledge of great American classics and settled down with The Great Gatsby. And the verdict is: I understand why it’s a great American classic, I’m glad I read it, but I can’t say I loved it.

Now, This post isn’t a review. Everyone knows that The Great Gatsby is a good book. It is well written. It has well developed characters. It has important things to say. There’s a reason it’s a book that is studied in high schools and colleges across the country. Instead I’m going to give you more of what it made me think and feel.

The main reason I didn’t really enjoy it was that it’s just so sad. But not in the cathartic, heartache, makes you cry while reading it kind of way. More in the depressing, makes you think about how our world is so hopeless and lost and pointless kind of way. It’s a story of the American dream, and how pursuing it doesn’t really get you any closer to living the dream. You may get rich. You may get famous. You may have all the worldly possessions you could hope for. You may think that all these things will make people love you. But in the end you’ll never feel like it’s enough and you’ll die alone. See? Sad.

But that’s also why it’s a classic. Even though it was written about 1920’s America, the culture it’s addressing and the people it is about are living with us today in 2015. The messages saying that everyone should try to be rich and beautiful and popular are swirling around us everyday. But how many people that appear to be happy and successful are really just dead inside? Even though I don’t consider myself to be taken in by the trappings of money and power, this book did make me think about how I am affected by this culture as a whole. In what subtle ways is my view colored by what the world tells me is good? Are the things I am pursuing really worthwhile, or are they just things that I think will make me look better or more impressive to others? It’s a lot to think on, and something that has come up in a lot of my recent reading, not just in The Great Gatsby. But I think The Great Gatsby added a important layer to my personal reflections on this topic. And I’m kind of glad this is a book I read as an adult rather than just a teenager. So I guess I can forgive my junior English teacher for leaving this off the schedule now.

Gatsby movie

And with not much of a segue, I would also recommend watching the movie version of The Great Gatsby that came out a few years ago starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I had wanted to see it when it came out, but felt like I needed to read the book first, so once I finished we had a movie night at home and watched it. I thought it was very well done and true to the book. The director’s style is pretty over-the-top, but over-the-top works well with this story. I think a lot of his artistic choices really helped solidify the connections between Gatsby’s story and our world today.

So there you have it. Thoughts on The Great Gatsby, a book most of you have probably already read and don’t plan on reading again. But that’s ok. You can still just watch the movie and still have some food for thought now that you’re a grown up.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Let’s Catch Up

Hi friends! It’s been a while. My only excuse is that I have two small children who don’t like to nap. And who oftentimes think mama is the best and sometimes only acceptable playmate in the world.

I think that’s a pretty good excuse really.

And while I have not been writing much of anything, we have been doing other things in life. And isn’t that what’s more important anyway?

So let’s catch up. In the form of a old-fashioned photo dump.

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Charlie and Poppy are becoming great friends. It’s so fun to watch.

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They also have a thing for sticking their tongues out at each other.

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It’s a special treat to stay up to catch fireflies.

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Cowboy hats are all the rage.

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This gal is so smiley!

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And so is he. Even when he has a horrible cold.

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We made a mug for Father’s Day.

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Because these kids have the best dad.

So that’s the gist of the last few weeks. Minus the boring stuff like chores and cooking. And minus the difficult stuff like three-year-old attitude and baby meltdowns. But who wants to hear about all that, right? Down the road, this is the stuff I want to remember about this phase of life. Even if it means I don’t get to blog as much. :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

These Days // 20

These days image

Summer is in full swing around here. There was a time in my life when summer was just … hot. But I since having kids I feel like I’ve been able to tap back into the joys of summer. Playing in the hose. Chasing fireflies. Afternoons spent relaxing on a blanket in the shade. Summer can just keep doing its thing for several more months as far as I am concerned.

Here’s what’s happening these days:

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Feeling: so proud of my boy! After a week at the grandparents’ pool he went from insisting he only wanted to sit on the step and put his feet in the water to swimming around in his puddle jumper on his own. Nothing is better than watching him learn and grow and try new things.

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He also worked up the courage to push the button on the battery powered 4 wheeler and drive himself around the driveway.

Eating: Chobani flip yogurt. This was another new thing from our week at the in-laws. With flavors like “Salted Carmel Crunch” and “Chocolate Haze Craze” I found myself eating these for breakfast, dessert, and any time in between.

Hanging: a new whiteboard in our school corner. School time feels so official when we get around to it these days. I like having a dedicated space to keep Charlie’s work up for display. We’re also trying a new weekly(ish) memory verse. He’s doing great with it so far!

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Playing: in the rain. Charlie has discovered the joys of the summer shower. He’s asking to go play outside even more than usual these days in the hopes of getting caught in a surprise rain.

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Hitting: lots of milestones for my girl. In the past few weeks Poppy has learned to grasp for toys and bring them to her mouth, roll from her back to her tummy, and blow raspberries (that’s a milestone, right?).

I feel like this summer is just flying by. I hope you all are getting to soak in the long lazy days!