Friday, December 19, 2008

Sew your own cloth diapers

Here are some various cloth diapers I have made over the last year. I have finally perfected my patterns to fit Selena just right.

This was the best free tutorial I found on how to make a cloth diaper cover. I use fold over elastic and aplix. I really recommend using aplix or touchtape since anything else does not last very long at all.

Her method for drafting a fitted diaper is ok too, but I tweaked mine so the shape isn't very similar. Mine is more similar to the shape of a GAD pocket diaper. When I make pocket fitted diapers using the pattern I use fold over elastic on the pocket opening so I don't have to account for the pocket in the pattern.

Childbirth survey

Here is a neat survey. I think the information regarding reviews of hospitals and maternity care providers will be so useful once they release it. Anyone who has given birth in the last few years should take it so it can provide useful information to future moms.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Weaning a toddler

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers!

So at 20 1/2 months Selena has weaned. When she was born I knew I was going to breastfeed but I didn't know for how long. I really didn't even know how long a baby would minimally need to be breastfed even though I did some reading about breastfeeding before (a baby needs breast milk or formula for at least a year). I had read that it was hard, but I didn't really understand what made it hard. It seemed like if you could get a good "latch" then it wouldn't be that hard.

Well I have inverted nipples and Selena was born early and thus her suck might not be as strong as a completely full term baby, so the lactation consultant/birth assistant gave me a nipple shield. She didn't really even give me a chance to try without it, but the shield did make it very easy to get a good latch. I experimented getting rid of it a couple days after Selena was born and she did pretty well but it took more maneuvering on my part. And then my milk came in... that was not a pleasant experience for me. My breasts swelled to the size of grapefruits and were rock hard. They squeezed against each other and made it so I couldn't put my arms together out in front of me. Apparently this sort of engorgement is not common and happens in less than 10% of women. But it happened to me and I did not like it. Even when Selena nursed I got just the barest amount of relief and only on one side. Since she didn't even empty one breast she wouldn't take the other one. Because my breasts were so hard the nipple shield became a must. Advice in my books and online was conflicting. Sometimes they said to pump a little to get some relief, but then it said if you pumped it would just cause you to make more milk. I decided to avoid the pump as more milk was the last thing I wanted. But things subsided in a couple days and while I was still engorged the discomfort was manageable.

But nursing was still hard. Selena was kind of a lazy nurser and would nurse for at least an hour and only give me an hour to an hour and a half between feedings--which meant I was literally nursing all day long. Consequently I was perpetually thirsty and hungry. The big appetite was actually kind of cool. I've never been able to eat a lot of food at once, but after she was born I could and needed to eat a ton. I went from barely being able to eat a whole hamburger to eating a double patty hamburger plus some. As soon as Selena weaned, my appetite immediately diminished, even though I'm pregnant I once again get full fast. Nursing was physically and emotionally draining, and very time consuming. I then understood why it was considered so hard, and I can totally understand why so many women give up. But everything I read said it got better at around 6 weeks so I decided I could persevere for 6 weeks and reevaluate then--and six weeks came and it was immensely better.

I continuously tried to get rid of the nipple shield as it was kind of messy (as in milk leaking everywhere), a pain to keep clean, and hard to nurse discreetly while using it. Around 3 months old Selena decided she might not need it anymore. There was a week or so where she would use it, and then cry, and I would take it off, and she would nurse without it, and then she would cry. She couldn't make up her mind whether she wanted it or not. But by 3 1/2 months she decided she didn't need it anymore. Ironically my engorgement problems pretty much disappeared when we stopped using it. Most of the literature says that a nipple shield can possibly cause a decrease in milk supply, well mine had the exact opposite effect. Selena also became an extremely efficient nurser at this time. She went from taking about 45 minutes to eat, to about 5 minutes. Nursing was really easy at this point. I could nurse in public discreetly, it didn't take that long, I didn't have to wash anything. It was pretty great, and well worth persevering through the difficult parts.

So Selena got to be 6 months and things were going smoothly. We introduced solids and she loved them and has always been a great eater. She didn't really cut back on the number of times she nursed a day. At least I don't think she did, I never really kept track, I just nursed whenever she seemed hungry. Some days she nursed more than others, but on average I think she stayed the same. I assume she just drank less milk during each session. When things were hard, I had considered weaning at 6 months, but when 6 months arrived there didn't seem any point.

When one year rolled around she was eating a lot of solid food including table food, but she was still getting at least half of her nutrition from breast milk and she didn't seem inclined to stop so I figured I would wait a while longer. We went to Hawaii when she was 15 months old and I was kind of hoping she would cut back due to all the action, but she did the opposite and nursed more frequently. Probably because it was too much stimulation, and she needed the calming, predictable action of nursing. Well around this time we were thinking about getting pregnant again, but I still hadn't started ovulating--which I honestly think is one of the greatest perks of breastfeeding. But right when I was getting a little concerned about how nursing was affecting our plans I ovulated.

My supply diminished when I got pregnant and this upset Selena. She often would wake up in the middle of the night to nurse and then go back to sleep after 5 minutes. While this wasn't the most ideal situation it worked pretty well. Well when my supply decreased she wouldn't go back to sleep and she would want to nurse and nurse and nurse until more milk came in, usually an hour later. This was not okay, and one night I had enough and told her she couldn't have anymore till the morning. She cried and I comforted her, but I wouldn't give in--and that was the end of our night nursing. She handled it pretty well at night after that. She would ask I would say wait to the morning and she would go back to sleep. But during the day she would ask and ask and ask to nurse all day long. She would cry if I let her and there wasn't any milk, and she would cry if I didn't let her--I was crying too because I felt bad. It was like she was in a panic that the milk was going to disappear. It took us about two weeks to get her down to nursing 3 times a day, and then we were both happy. My supply could handle that and so could she. Logically I really wanted to wean. I was afraid that she wouldn't wean and I would end up nursing two, which I really didn't want to do, but every time I thought about it I would get all teary. But from what I read, a pregnant woman's supply really disappears in the second trimester, and this is when most nurslings will wean, so I decided to see, and not force the issue till I got to the second trimester. This period of night weaning ended up being the hardest part of the whole process. Every once in a while I would mention that the milk would go bye-bye soon and she would say "no mama, no."

Sure enough when I was about 14 weeks pregnant my supply pretty much disappeared. Selena was maybe getting a few drops. She didn't seem upset about it though. But then I got what is known as a pregnancy aversion to nursing. I had read about it, and thought it sounded really weird and didn't make any sense, but sure enough every time Selena tried to nurse I did not like it and did not want her near me.

I figured Thanksgiving would be a good time to wean, since we could let her nap in the car and thus miss her pre-nap nursing and if we left late she would fall asleep in the car on the way home and miss her pre-bedtime nursing. So nine days before Thanksgiving we started talking about the milk going bye-bye in nine days (9 is Selena's favorite number). We didn't talk about it around the time she normally nursed. Just in the middle of the day. After a few days she started making stories up about the milk going bye-bye. She said it was going to put on it's shoes and go "vroom in the car." I added that it was going to find a new baby. So on Thanksgiving morning she nursed the last time, and right before we left to family we said good-bye and I got in the car and drove around the block to take the milk to the bus stop. As predicted she missed her first two would-be nursing session by falling asleep in the car. But even when she woke up the next morning I reminded her we said bye-bye and she pouted a little but fell back to sleep. Asked again when she woke up for good, but was okay when I said it went bye-bye. She asked every time for about 4 or 5 days but never cried when I said it had gone bye-bye. A couple weeks later she still talks about it going "vroom in the car", and sometimes even pretends to nurse, and will point to me and say "milk, mmmm" but she hasn't really complained. Overall I am really happy how it went. I had a lot of anxiety over it, especially after how stressful night weaning went. I think it helped that she really didn't get much milk for the two weeks before we weaned.

So while it went smoothly and I was definitely ready for weaning I still feel a little regret. The more I researched when was a good time to wean, the more I decided that humans are supposed to nurse for a long time, probably 5-7 years. While the majority of cultures in the world do not do this, most non-Western cultures do nurse for 2-3 years. So I can't help but feeling like she is missing a key component in the natural biological maturation of a human and thus her immune system might not be as strong as it could potentially be. While I wasn't a mom who absolutely loved nursing I do think breast milk is really cool. It is naturally antibacterial so it can be used to cure all sorts of random ailments like acne, warts, sties, and is also being researched as a cure for cancer. I loved how if Selena would decide that she would only eat cheese all day I could still feel like she was getting adequate nutrition because she was getting the best "vitamin drink" available. I also loved how it was like a magic potion. I could get Selena to fall asleep immediately by nursing her. If she was getting whiny I would nurse her and she would become a happy child again. If she got hurt, nursing would make it all better.

So we are done and I am happy, and I have a few months before I will do it all over again. Once again I am so glad that I have prior experience to draw from as I have so much less anxiety. This time I know it might be draining in the beginning, but will get better. I know some tricks to try to avoid using the nipple shield, but if I need to I can use it. I also will research some ways to avoid the crazy engorgement I had before.

Here are links to other people's stories for the Carnival of Breastfeeding.

Weaning a toddler

Sticking with it - our breastfeeding story

Life, Death, and Nourishment

The Story of Hannah's Weaning

Flying Breastmilk

GrudgeMom: Breastfeeding Failures and Success

Baby Carriers Down Under

Ben's Story

I told you so

Breastfeeding is not easy

They said the latch was fine

Can Early Public Breastfeeding Sightings Shape One's Future Breastfeeding Practices?

Zen Mommy

Nursing after breast reduction surgery

Nursing in Public

Found Memory

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Recently Passed Act Regarding Childrens Product Safety Might Have Horrendous Consequences

Here is a public service announcement for the day. This has been copied from an email sent by Tree City Diapers.

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

While we all applauded efforts by the federal government to tighten the safety standards for toys, we all got much more than we bargained for. The law that was passed extends to all products directed to children 12 years of age and younger, and includes such things as clothing & toys and much more, with very few exceptions or exemptions. That wouldn't be so bad, but there are a few requirements that, if left as is, will force most small businesses (and many medium & large sized businesses) out of business....including retailers, and work at home moms.

How this affects retailers and manufactures:

1. Existing Inventory: The law states that any affected product that does not meet the new standard (with the exception of phthalates) cannot be sold from the shelves after February 10th 2009. The problem is that the law includes many new items that have not been under a previous regulation, and have not been tested. To test these items now, on the retail or wholesale level is prohibitively expensive, and/or simply not possible. So it is very difficult to confirm compliance (although most items in most companies would be compliant), and at the same time, penalties for selling anything that doesn't meet the standard are very stiff. The options for anyone with inventory are not pleasant.

2. 3rd Party Testing by SKU: The law will require 3rd party testing in the future for each sku (or style). The large pair of jeans have to be tested separately from the medium size of jeans...even though all materials are the same. This makes testing prohibitively (impossibly) expensive. There are other ways to form a testing regimen and be just as satisfied with the results.

3. Markings: All products manufactured after August 12th, 2009 must have markings on the package and permanent markings on the product indicating where, by whom, and when the product was made. Large corporations can afford purchasing multiple dies to do this. Small companies cannot. European companies with limited sales to the USA likewise cannot.

4. Complexity: The law is extremely complex. Needlessly so. It is requiring companies to hire lawyers just to get a grasp of what is required of them. Also, the requirement of including certificates of compliance of each product shipped, with each product is overly burdensome. Electronic certificates has been approved, and will help, but even then there is a substantial cost to the additional administration---which does very little, if anything, to improve the safety of our toys.

5. Frequency of Testing: We are still trying to get a clear grasp of this. However, it is very possible that each batch must be tested/certified. This is fine for large companies running 10,000 or 100,000 pieces per batch. For small manufacturers, with small runs, it multiplies the enormous cost from point #2, even higher.

What this means is small, innovative companies that typically make niche products, will be forced out of business, or forced to narrow their product range and sell to the mass market. Product availability and selection will diminish. We will be primarily left with imported plastic toys from China. Yes, quite ironic isn't it.

If you have a favorite company that makes children's products or you enjoy shopping on websites like Etsy or Hyena Cart then this act could put them out of business. Contact your representative before February (this is when the law states that any product not in compliance cannot be sold) and let them know that they should revise the act to make it more sensible and feasible for manufacturers to comply.

How to find your representative

If your representative is on the Committee on Energy and Commerce they are very involved in this piece of legislation.

For more info see and National Bankruptcy Day.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sew your own baby carrier

Sewing different baby carrier's are fun and are really great baby shower presents. The benefits of these kind of carriers versus carriers you can buy in the store is that most are made so that the baby is facing the parent which in general is more cozy and less stimulating for the infant so they will like being carried for longer periods of time. Also most commercial carriers are designed so that all the baby's weight is being supported by their hips, and this isn't the best position for a baby to be in for long periods of time. Most of the carriers on this page have been used for centuries in various cultures.

I've made some slings, mei tai's, wraps, and soft structured carriers. My favorite carrier for nursing is a sling. For carrying an infant I liked a wrap. For a larger infant a mei tai (Asian Style baby carrier) in a front carry, and for a toddler a soft structured carrier in a back carry. Here are a few carriers I have made. I've made more but unfortunately I didn't always get picturees before I gave them away.

The best sites I have found to get help and free patterns for sewing is Jan Andrea's website. And's Do It Yourself Forum.

Specific free patterns that I have tried and liked:
Wrap - I used knit t-shirt fabric and just cut it and didn't sew anything.
Mei Tai (ABC) - I made one with this pattern and one with my own pattern and this was easier.
Sling - I've used a lightweight denim and knit t-shirt fabric and liked the knit one better but it doesn't work as well for older babies.
Soft Structured Carrier - The one I made in the pictures was my own pattern. I am in the process of making this one, but so far it looks better than my own pattern.

Wrap or SPOC (Simple Piece of Cloth)

Soft Structured Carrier

Mei Tai or ABC (Asian Baby Carrier)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sew your own soft sole baby shoes

So these are so cute, really quick to make, are a great way to use scrap fabric, and are really useful. They help keep a baby's socks on their slippery feet and are good for feet as they are learning how to walk.

My favorite free pattern is from StardustShoes but it doesn't enlarge very well, so for bigger feet Tacky Living's pattern is good.

I used jiffy grip slipper fabric on the bottom of some, and scraps of PUL (waterproof diaper cover material) with the plastic side out on others.

Sewing Baby Items

So this is way overdue. I really wanted to post pictures of all the different crafts I've done over the past 20 months, but I just haven't gotten around to it. So I'm going to start trying to play catch up now. :)

Here is a link to all my crafts. :) Enjoy

Monday, November 24, 2008

15 Weeks Pregnant

Yay I'm done with the first trimester and am feeling quite a bit better (except for this stupid cold I got--3rd one in three months--I'm almost wondering if I have pregnancy induced sinus infections). I had an appointment last Friday and everything looked great. My uterus was exactly where it was supposed to be. Which I was actually a little bit worried about. I have been feeling distinct baby tapping and thumps and huge kicks the last three weeks. The tapping and thumps I know are normal, a little early to be feeling those things but not unheard of, but the large kicks, especially the one I felt at 12 weeks was making me wonder about my due date (which by the way is May 14th). But my midwife said that maybe it was my uterus popping out from under my pubic bone when I bent over. So that made me feel a lot better.

The baby's heartbeat was 160 bpm. My blood pressure was nice and low. So everything looked great.

The last time I threw up was just past 13 weeks, so my assumption of 14 weeks being the magical number when I would start feeling better seems to be right on. After weeks of not wanting to eat cold lunches I was able to eat a turkey sandwich the other day. I also was able to cut up some chicken for dinner and not vomit. Unfortunately that means that I should probably take over more of the dinner making responsibilities.

So I am taking belly pictures this time. And though I don't feel quite as cute as I did last time I think it is good to still be proud of my pregnant body. :) And if you want to reminisce, compare, or see what I have to look forward to here are pictures of when I was pregnant with Selena.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Selena the silly girl

Selena has been very busy this month with toddler gym, swimming lessons and Halloween which has led to her telling lots of stories about dada and bubble, bubble, bubble, and frequent requests for candy.

Halloween was a lot of fun. Selena enjoyed trick-or-treating and though she couldn't say trick-or-treat she said hi, thank you, and bye. She did not want to help remove any of the seeds out of the pumpkin, but she did enjoy drawing on it, and eating the seeds once they had been cooked.

Selena is becoming quite an artist. She loves drawing on paper and on her magnetic doodle board and has started drawing people by drawing a circle with eyes and hair. It is amazing how fast she learns things. She also likes for me and dad to draw as well. Both me and dad have become very proficient at drawing all members of the family, including the dog, and putting hats, shoes, pants and socks on everyone, putting cups of apple juice, and apples in our hands, and having us all go swimming. We have to go through the same story lines with play-doh as well.

She is still a fan of reading books and she even recognizes and can name almost half the alphabet. Her favorite books right now are: If you Give a Moose a Muffin, If you Give a Pig a Pancake, and Room on the Broom. Her favorite number is nine and if you ask her any questions that you should respond with a number she'll answer nine. So you can make her sound very smart by asking her what 3 times 3 is, or the square root of 81, or the atomic number of Fluorine. We have a really cute video that I should post some time.

I've also been convinced that Selena is sillier than the average toddler. For instance when she sees the moon she makes the "bah-bah-bah-bah" sound when you tap your hand on your mouth. As far as I know no one ever taught her that. She's been making monster sounds (growling) or talking in a monster voice ever since she was 6 months old. When she sees her binky on the floor she bends over, without bending her knees, and picks it up with her mouth. When she is not drawing or reading a book she is pretty much always making funny noises and running or jumping. I am sure there are lots of other things as well. In general she just seems to be a very silly kid which is very entertaining.

Basically she is amazing us every day with the new things she learns and we are so proud.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10 Weeks Pregnant

So we had an appointment with the midwife yesterday. I am 10 1/2 weeks pregnant. She tried to find the heartbeat with the Doppler but couldn't so she pulled out the ultrasound machine and we got to see the baby. The baby was moving all over the place swinging its arms and legs and spinning in circles. It was really cute. Selena was adorable. She was up on the bed with me and was very interested in the goop that the midwife was putting on my tummy.

Overall I'm not feeling too great. Starting around 8 weeks I've been nauseous all day and this last week I've thrown up almost every day right before dinner. Thankfully I feel better after dinner. With Selena I was a little nauseous, but not too bad, but it ended abruptly at 14 weeks so hopefully the same thing will happen this time, or maybe a little sooner. :)

I am showing a little bit. I think I look like I did at about 18 weeks with Selena at 10 weeks now. I am taking belly pictures again, but my face is all red and my hair is a mess so I'm kinda reluctant to post them. :)

A few days ago I had a very odd feeling. A persistent thumping or tapping coming from inside of my belly just above my belly button and off to the side. It really, really, really felt like a baby kicking. Of course my uterus is about 3 inches lower than my belly button and the baby is only an inch to an inch and a half big so it seems impossible. But Floyd and my mother could feel the tapping from the outside. After seeing the baby move on the ultrasound I think the baby was bouncing off the walls. :) Interestingly enough I found plenty of women on various message boards who have felt a similar thing around 10 weeks. Everyone explains it away as gas, but I have never had gas feel like a baby kicking. The only time I have ever had that feeling was when I was pregnant with Selena and she was kicking. So who knows, but it was very odd.

So I've already mentioned how much I love my midwife. Well a couple more reasons she is great. I don't have to wait at all for my appointments, and she recommended getting Floyd's blood tested to see if he was Rh-, whereas last time they said it didn't matter and they would just give me the shot no matter what. For an explanation of what I am talking about, if your blood is Rh-, like mine is, and the baby's blood is positive your body will produce antibodies that will attack future fetuses, which is not a good thing. So to prevent this they give you a shot of Rhogam in the butt part way through your pregnancy and then again after the baby is born. When I was pregnant with Selena I had to get the shot midway through pregnancy but she ended up having Rh- blood so I didn't have to get the second shot. Since she did have Rh- blood it was likely Floyd did as well, so we tested Floyd's blood and he is indeed Rh- so no shot for me!!! Selena was once again really cute, because I had had my blood taken, and Floyd got his taken, so Selena was pulling up her shirt sleeve all ready to get hers taken. So we gave her a cotton ball with some tape so she could feel like part of the club.

The other thing my midwife recommended was for me to start taking a fish oil supplement. She gave me an article about all the benefits of fish oil which included: higher energy, clearer mind, less incidence of post-partum depression, faster labors, less perineum damage, smarter babies, among many other positive outcomes. So I started taking it and immediately felt a difference in my energy level and in my ability to think straight. With Selena I had pregnancy brain really bad. I honestly felt like I was walking around in a fog, and work was very difficult for me because I couldn't figure out things that normally I would be able to. Anyways I had just started feeling myself descend into the abyss of stupidity and I swear the fish oil rescued me. I'm not sure if it is placebo or what but I am totally sold on it, and recommend it to all pregnant ladies. The specific brand my midwife recommended doesn't have any fishy taste and is actually flavored like strawberries, which is great because I think burping up a fishy taste would be the most awful thing for a pregnant lady.

So even though I feel really crappy, being pregnant is fun. It is really exciting to see my body change. I love preparing for birth. I am once again finding all the birth stories I can online and reading them. This time I am also finding lots of birth videos. I used hypnobabies with Selena and I really loved it, and highly recommend it, and am looking forward to using it again. I think the whole thing will be much easier this time because I have a better idea what to expect.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Abadaba! What does it mean?

Abadaba mama, abadaba dada, abadaba woof. But what does abadaba mean? Well we haven't figured it out yet, but Selena loves to say it.

We are all doing well here. Selena is as busy as ever. She has learned to love playdoh. She likes making Floyd or I make lots of small pieces so she can clump them all back together. And she also insists that we keep her table in the kitchen (which is kind of in the way). We got her a membership for the YMCA and she has taken a toddler gym class, which is a lot of fun. She likes the trampoline and the toys. This week she'll start a swim class with her dad in the evenings.

I made her a monster costume for Halloween. It is blue and purple since those are the only two colors she knows. We decided on monster because ever since she was 6 months old she has been making monster noises. You ask her to say "mama like a monster" and she'll growl "mama". She'll say "dada", "woof", and "apple" like a monster as well.

She was 20lbs 8oz at her last doctor appointment and 31 inches tall. We are continuing to keep her rear facing in the carseat even though legally she could be turned around. After watching the following videos forward facing crash trest and rear facing crash test I figured we might as well keep her rear facing since she doesn't seem to have a problem with it and it looks much safer.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Big News!

So for those of you who are good stalkers you may have seen the following picture already when I post pics of Selena:
If you haven't seen it before, then now you do. I'm due May 14th. So I'm 8 weeks along.

The great thing about this pregnancy is I'm not scared at all. When I got pregnant with Selena I was so nervous about labor. I was nervous about taking care of a baby, but this time I'm like I've been there done that and I'm not worried at all. Well maybe I'm a little nervous about having two little ones running around, and the fatigue and nausea are a little hard to deal with right now. :)

I have had one appointment with my midwife and she is absolutely wonderful. I decided to go with a private practicing midwife this time, and the personal attention I receive is so vastly different than I received with the family doctor or the midwives I saw before. All the appointments are an hour long. I can bring Selena to them and she has toys for her to play with. She gave me tons of reading material and I even learned some new stuff despite the amount of reading I have already done. She does two home visits after the baby is born in addition to two post partum office visits. She does deliveries either at your home or at the birth center in Tacoma (The Birthing Inn). I plan on going to the Birthing Inn again. She accepts our insurance. So basically she is really great and I am super excited.

I think Selena is excited too. She has started saying baby.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Toddlers are strange creatures

Selena is now 18 months, which seems like a big milestone and I'm not sure why but I always get a little nervous at the milestone ages. But she is a really funny kid. She pretty much walks around making funny noises, and funny faces.

Things she likes:

  • Playing "set go". "Set go" is great for anything, running, tickles, being tossed in the air, going down the slide, eating

  • Going down the slide - We got her a new slide for the back yard and she loves to go down it and make Floyd and I go down it. She calls it "wheee"

  • She loves to draw. She is really good too. She holds a pencil correctly and can make precise scribbles and draw circles.

  • She likes reading the same books over and over

  • Shoes, hats, bracelets, necklaces, trucks, airplanes, cars, balls,

Funny things she does:

  • She has become particular about some things. For instance she will start crying if I let Floyd borrow my watch

  • When she is watching football she will say "set go" when they are hiking the ball and then "go go go" while they are running and then pout/cry when they get tackled

Her vocabulary is increasing quickly and its funny when she "talks" about stuff. For instance today Floyd took her to the playground at the school and when she got home she kept saying "dada whee, dada whee" which means dada took me on the slide. :)

We have been experimenting with the potty. I think she understands that she is supposed to go poo poo, but doesn't quite get the pee pee.

I have night weaned her, basically because my milk supply has been lower and so she was waking up and instead of immediately falling back to sleep after nursing, she would stay up and suck on nothing, cry when I put her down, until an hour later when more milk came in, and then she would go back to sleep. We had some tears for one night, but that was it. She now sleeps for a longer stretch (7 or 8 hours), but after that long stretch she seems to wake up every hour or two until the morning. Whatever.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Fun

Selena, Floyd and I are all doing great. The summer is getting near to the end so Floyd will be going back to work, which is a bummer. We've been keeping busy. We babysat my cousins for a couple days and went to the zoo with them. Then our friends Breea and Kent stayed with us for a bit with their newborn baby Della. It was a lot of fun to have an itty bitty baby around. Selena was very gentle and interested in Della.

Selena is doing great. She is learning lots of new words (today she said horse for the first time) even though lots of her words sound the same. uuck is the how she says truck, milk, book, sock, and probably some more, basically anything that ends in "k". She likes to organize everyone. She brings both Floyd and I are shoes, directs us outside, tells us to get the soccer ball, and to play with Dyna. Or she gets Dyna's leash and halter and directs me to go running. Which is really a good thing because I've been slacking in that department. If there is a saying, funny face, or action she likes she makes everyone in the room do it.

I pretend that she can read. I always draw apples and write the word apple on the magna doodle so I will write the word apple and ask her what it says and she says "apple". It is so cute and so brilliant. But she'll also say other words say apple so... oh well.

She loves going outside and will stand at the door saying "out, out" if you don't obey quickly she will go and get your shoes and put them in your lap. She can put on and take off her own shoes. She loves accessories--shoes especially, but hats, bracelets, watches, socks, necklaces are all lots of fun as well. The sprinkler is also a lot of fun. She usually helps her Dad water the lawn so she is frequently getting soaking wet. We have a cherry tree and a plum tree in her back yard and she loves to pick the fruit and instruct her dad to pick fruit for her, but she's not the best at getting the seed/pit out of the fruit. She's pretty much amazing and we love her to pieces.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Vacation to Maui

Floyd, Selena, my mother, father, brother, sister and I, all went to Maui for 10 days and it was a lot of fun. We stayed in a cottage in Kaanapali. It was a pretty nice cottage but it didn't have air conditioning so we were sweating a lot. We were a short walk from the beach which had pretty good snorkeling. We rented snorkels for the week so we were able to go often.

We pretty much did all the must see things -- snorkeling, luau, road to Hana, snorkeling at Molokini, sunrise at Haleakala, hiking, shopping, trip to the aquarium, hanging out on the beach, and reading. Floyd and my dad also went golfing and we all played putt putt.

Selena did pretty good desipite getting some teeth while we were there. The soft structured backpack carrier I made was really convenient--we didn't miss the stroller. She slept on a pallet of blankets on the floor for naps and with us at night so we got by without a pack-n-play. We went on a big boat out to Molokini, but poor Selena got sea sick and threw up multiple times. I felt really bad for her, but as soon as we stopped and dropped anchor she was happy. Selena loved the luau and was running around dancing. She also liked the aquarium, the pool, and splashing in the ocean. She didn't really like the sand. I think it was too hot when she first encountered it and then she didn't like how it stuck to her hands or got in her shoes. She really loved the outside showers and I think she could have played in them all day.

My favorite adventure was a hike out to the Nakalele blow hole. The landscape was surreal and the blow hole was really cool. Floyd's favorite was golfing. My brother Chris's favorite part was our adventure hike out on a lava flow to a little cove called the "aquarium" where there was really nice snorkeling. Cynthia's (my sister) favorite was our trip to Hana. The views on the road to Hana were amazing. My mom and dad didn't do the road to Hana since they had done it beore so they stayed home and played with Selena. One funny part on our trip to Hana was when we had stopped to go down a trail to find a waterfall there was a man out in the middle of the rainforest with a table set up selling glass bead jewelry, he asked us if we like his office. Cynthia and Chris did a surfing lesson one day, but the waves weren't really that great for surfing in while we were there. Our snorkeling trip to Molokini was also cool (except for the Selena being sick part) and in addition to all of the fish most of us got to see a turtle or two while snorkeling. Cynthia didn't see a turtle but she did see a shark, but she said it was heading away from us fast.

It was a really fun trip, but it is good to be home. I missed the lack of humidity and the yummy Northwest water.

All of us on the beach

Selena loving the outside shower

Grandma and Selena having fun at the luau

Me, Floyd, Chris and Cynthia in a bamboo forest

Me and Floyd enjoying the view on the way to Hana
Me and Selena hanging out on a lava flow

Friday, June 20, 2008

She's becoming verbose

Well not really, but she is learning a new word every few days. Her first words besides Dada, Dyna, and Mama was "hot", and then "tickle tickle". She pretty much had those around her 15th month birthday. Now she also can say "up", "hat", "woof" and I think she said "out" this evening. She loves to go outside. She also will sign when she needs a diaper change, and once she even said it before she went so those are the first steps to potty training.

She also is obsessed with shoes. Every time she meets someone she points at her shoes, then at theirs, then at mine. Whenever she finds her shoes around the house she needs to put them on. Whenever she finds adult shoes she puts them on and trys to walk around. Then she gets frustrated because it is hard to put on big shoes, and it is hard to walk in big shoes and crys. So then we have to hide them. She really is quite silly about them.

We took her to the diaper dash the other week. She was all ready to go, but then they took a while to start the "race" so she forgot what she was doing and watched all the other kids run. After most of them were done, then she ran to me. It was pretty cute. The picture of her is of her showing us after the race what she meant to do when they said go. :) Dyna (the dog) also ran in the Furry 5k recently. She got second overall for the dogs (Floyd got 3rd).

Well there are probably more cutie pie things she has done that I want to record for posterity, but it is late and I can't remember them right now. We are going to Hawaii in a few weeks. Hopefully she does well on the plane.

Oh and I'm never going to write about sleep again because she read it and decided to push her bedtime back. I think I jinxed myself.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It is time to play

Selena has been a lot of fun the past month. She is starting to have an imagination and a sense of humor and it is fun to see all the new things she can do. It's funny because most of the things really aren't that impressive to most people, but to me it is so fascinating to watch her doing things that she couldn't a month or two ago.

Some of these amazing feats include: playing cook in the kitchen by taking a spoon and mixing stuff up, wanting to help us sweep, vacuum and pick weeds. Reaching up for me to hold her hand when she is walking over a challenging surface or changing surface. Turning around and waving bye bye to me when I ask her where she is going. Reading a book in the car. Giving me zerberts. Refusing to give me or dad kisses, but always giving Dyna kisses. Playing ring-around-the-rosie. Dancing to the songs on American Idol - Seyesha is her favorite. Pointing and getting excited at animals and pictures of animals wherever we go.

She still isn't talking much. She pretty much uses 'da' for every thing. Dada - dada, Dyda - Dyna, Da - dog. She says Da da Dy da all the time. She has added bye bye and diaper change to her signing vocabulary but only uses the latter if I say it first.

She has also finally settled on a consistent bed and nap time. That doesn't mean she still doesn't wake up every 2 to 4 hours during the night but I don't have to guess when to start getting her ready for bed or a nap. All the sleep experts recommend getting your child to sleep at consistent times but this was really hard for me because I didn't know if I was supposed to wake her up in the morning if she slept "too late", and what was I supposed to do if she woke up too early? At night if I tried to force her (ie. rock or nurse her till she was comatose) to sleep when she didn't want to she would wake up every half-hour for the rest of the night--and that was just exhausting for me. And I really did not feel comfortable with letting herself cry herself to sleep.

So we usually would have a schedule for about 4 days and then something would mess it up, be it activities, her needing to fill her diaper, Dyna barking at invisible things, etc. So being a pretty go-with-the-flow parent I just decided that four day schedules are fine and we can create a new one whenever we needed to. But now (for the last two months) she has settled into a schedule all on her own and even if she does end up napping at a different time she still goes to bed around the same time. I also don't have to rock her or hold her while she falls asleep and she did that all on her own as well. I am hoping that since she has progressed in this respect, sleeping longer stretches will also happen soon.

I also figured a while back that rather than read books about how to get my baby to sleep I preferred reading about other babies that didn't sleep. I found this blog -- . I especially like their list of excuses for why your baby doesn't sleep and Sleep training - a baby's view.

Friday, May 2, 2008

What's for dinner?

So Floyd and I traditionally go back and forth with each other. "What do you want for dinner?", "What do YOU want for dinner?" et cetera, et cetera until we cave in and make frozen pizza or noodle-roni or something else that is quick, tastes okay, but is not exciting, and doesn't include many vegetables. This happened almost every day and maybe once a week I might get ambitious and plan something that actually involved cooking.

Well now that I am home during the day, and have a young toddler to feed, I felt like I should be making more nutritiously diverse meals. So I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool if there was a website that just told you what to make every day and gave you a grocery list?" Then I figured there probably was, so off I went and started googling menu planning services. There are plenty. So being a frugally minded person, my idea was to try each websites sample menu, and since there were about 8-10 sites that would last me two months, and rotating menus every two months would work pretty well, and it wouldn't cost me anything.

Well after perusing the menus (on a side note look up the word peruse, I was very shocked at it's definition) some of the menus really didn't sound too good. So I did another search for whole food meal planning and found Their sample menu looked really good and their philosophy behind diet seemed similar to mine--eat a wide variety of fresh foods. They aren't providing a weight loss service so they don't provide calorie counts or fat content and they don't sacrifice taste by trying to make a meal "light" (one of my pet peeves), they provide recipes made with fresh ingredients that taste good. So I decided to try their site first. It was very tasty. Their current sample menu is a little different now then it was when we tried it, but my favorites, the chicken strips, steak sandwhich, and the tomato salad are still there. The chicken strips have a side dish of zucchini and potatoes that is really yummy. I am not a fan of salads but the tomato salad was really good and I got to make my own croutons. So overall I was pretty happy, but I figured I should give another site a try.

So I tried Their sample menu seemed pretty good when you looked at it, unfortunately it seemed like noone actually tried the recipes out before providing them. A couple had really weird contrasting flavors that didn't seem to go together, and a meatball recipe's proportions were all wrong--it was supposed to be a recipe for four, but it said to put an entire bag of meatballs in and the meatball package served 14. So after that disappointment I decided to sign up for's service after all. It is only $15 for 3 months so it is a pretty good deal.

We have been using it for about 2 months and have been overall happy with it. Like I said before I am not a salad person, but their salad recipe's are really good. I am also not a very good cook, but I have only had screw ups with a few of the recipe's so overall most of the recipe's are pretty easy to make. Not every recipe has been a roaring success, but each week there is usually one that is really good, that you really would like to have again. I usually only use about 5 of the 7 recipe's a week and then do leftovers, go out, or do something easy the other days.

The one big thing that is annoying and I find inconvenient is when you print out the recipe's and the grocery list your recipe and grocery list often get split between pages , so that you are constantly flipping between two pages. However I know that technically this is easier said then done. As a web developer you have virtually no control over how html is printed so you are pretty much stuck with what you get-- however it seems like their should be a library out there somewhere that allows you to dynamically create pdf files... But I haven't seen it and that is totally off topic.

But I really recommend this service to anyone who has a hard time deciding what to make for dinner. I really think the chef in this family owned business is talented and I feel really good about recommending their site.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Life as a toddler

Selena is now 13 months and is an expert (well sort of) at walking and thinks life as a toddler is pretty cool. Now when we go shopping it is no longer fun to just sit in the shopping cart and smile at people, she needs to walk around, explore, and play peekaboo behind the fabric shelves at Joanns.

She now enjoys reading Jane Yolen's How Do Dinosaur's... Say Good Night, Eat Their Food, Go to School etc. Other books she gets about half way through and decides that they are over, but the Dinosaur books are pretty interesting.

So the "in" thing is to teach your baby sign language so that they can communicate before they can talk. But I haven't been too consistent about trying to teach her, but despite my inconsistencies Selena can sign, "all done", "eat", and "ice cream". She learned the ice cream sign the first time I showed it to her. She is her mother's daughter.

She also has started to torment poor Dyna by pulling her tail and stealing her dog food pebbles. I'm not sure why she thinks Dyna's food is so yummy, or why she would prefer it over garbanzo beans, but she does.

She also got her first fever. It was very sad, but luckily it only lasted a day. She also had a few molars pop through and that made her very upset for 2 days. Previous teeth might have caused her to be a little cranky, but it might also have been coincidence, but these teeth definitely affected her and it was no fun for anyone.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

One Year of Selena

Click to see a bigger view.

One Year!!!!

Selena has had her first birthday. I don't know where the year went. She has definitely changed in the last month in that she is walking and asserting herself. She has taken to going to the snack cupboard and taking out what she wants to eat -- usually cookies and raisins. We are going to need to put a baby lock on that door.

She isn't making quite as many messes as she was a month ago. Now putting things away is entertaining as well.

She got lots of fun toys for her birthday from her generous family and friends, including a powerwheel car from grandpa which she immediately starting doing "tricks" on, like standing on the seat and pushing the button. I think I need to find a baby helmet.

Selena, my mother and I also took a trip to Texas to visit her great great grandpa, and her great grandmother. She was a really good traveler, and did excellent on the plane rides.

Friday, February 15, 2008

11 months

Selena's first birthday is fast approaching and sometimes it makes me want to cry. I can't believe my little baby is already growing up. She is starting to toddle which means she will soon be a toddler! (BTW I love the word toddler, it is so appropriate.) The most steps I have seen her take is 6.

She is the queen of chaos, a child of entropy. By the end of every day all the books are off all the bookshelves. All the clothes are removed from all the baskets. All the toys are removed from all the toy bins. All the lids and towels are removed from all the drawers. The only time I bother to put stuff back is to give her something to do.

She loves to point. Sometimes she points to communicate, for instance I want that (point) ice cream instead of the crackers you are trying to give me. Sometimes she points to tell you where to take her, for instance she points at the stairs because she wants to go downstairs and play with dad rather than go to bed. Other times she just points for the sake of pointing.

She really is at a cute stage and I just love to squeeze her and kiss her. I love her!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Free Crochet Longies Pattern

Pattern for Crochet Longies

Wool pants for use over cloth diapers
This is a pseudo-pattern for a pair of crochet longies. I have made these in roughly a size 12 months for my daughter. They are very thick and have a lot of stretch to them. They would probably be very good to go over a cloth diaper at night. I don't have a lot of experience crocheting and I just made the pattern up as I went along so it isn't perfect. You can do whatever you want with the pattern, but if you want to give me some credit I would appreciate a link to this page. If you have any suggestions, comments, questions, corrections, or if you make a pair and want to show me the pictures please leave some comments on my blog. Good luck.

I used 2 ½ skiens of cascade 220 wool yarn. This was about 550yards or 250 grams. This is a worsted weight yarn. (For thinner pants a thinner yarn might be good). I also used a size G hook.

I'll tell you what I did and try to give you the stitch count in parenthesis for the size 12 month longies I made. I hope the counts are accurate…

Double Crochet
Front Post Double Crochet
Triple Crochet
Front Post Triple Crochet
Videos explaining crochet stitches

Row 1: Chain the length you want your pants (60) chain 2 turn
Row 2: double crochet till 6 from the end (54) and triple crochet the last 6 ch 3 turn
Row 3: front post triple crochet next 5, front post double crochet till 6 from the end (49), front post half double crochet last 6, ch 2 turn
Row 4: front post double crochet next 5, front post double crochet till 6 from the end (49), front post triple crochet last 6, chain 3 turn.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 till you get the width of a pant leg. I used a pair of stretch pants to compare. (19 total rows)

You should end at the top of the pants (the half double crochets) and do 4 short rows ending where you want the crotch to end (33). Once again I used a pair of knit pants to measure. Still do the front post half double crochets at the top, but don't do the triple crotchets at the bottom. You should end at the top and now you are going to start the second pant leg.

Row1: Front post half double crochet the first 5 stitches, continue with front post double crochet's (28) till the end of the crotch, then chain till the end of the leg (27). Chain 3 turn.
Row2: triple crochet the next 5 stitches and continue with double crochet's until you get to the body (22), then do front post double crochets till you get to 6 till the end (27) and do front post half double crochets for the next 6. Chain 2 turn.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 from the front pant leg until you get the same 2 times the same # of rows as the first pant leg.

From the top of the pants (the half double crochets) do 6 short rows, but this time make them about an inch and a half longer than the crotch short rows (40).

BACK OF 1st Pant Leg
Do the same thing you did for the second pant leg but only do the # of rows you did for the front pant leg (19)

I did a slip stich down the side of the leg only picking up the front loops, to give it a sort of ribbed effect. It works ok unstretched but stretched it is kind of noticable. If someone has a better idea I'd love to know it. Tie the end and weave the extra yarn in the pants.

This part is kind of difficult because you have more rows in the back than the front. On the pant legs I used a slip stich picking up only the front loops to give it a ribbed effect. I just tried to gather the crotch parts together evenly. It might help to start at the top and work down one leg and then start at the top and work down the second leg. I'm not sure. I just kind of sewed it together. Sorry I'm not more help.

Make a chain long enough to go around your baby and tie a bow. Then using a yarn needle weave the chain around the waist 5 stiches from the top. I put the bow in back so she would play with it, but in front would work too.

Ta da!!!!

Sorry the pattern isn't more exact, but I'm not a very detailed oriented person…

If you don't want the flared legs just ignore the triple crochet stitches and do double instead.

Like I said the resulting longies are very thick. The ribbing is what makes them so thick, so if you only did the front post stitches every other row I think it might work out well. I'm not sure if you should only do them going up, or going down. Doing this you would have to think about where the ribs are in relation to the seams etc. If I make another pair I'm going to try it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

10 months

Oops I didn't get a chance to post for a few months partly because Selena has become mobile and I've been busy chasing her around. She started with an inch worm crawl where she would get up on all fours lean forward and fall to her tummy and then start the whole process over. She did that for a few weeks and then she figured out the "cross" crawl and has become pretty fast. She also has become very proficient at crusing along the furniture. I am sure her first steps will be coming shortly.

She is also babbling a lot. Ma ma ma, da da da, ba ba ba, etc. Sometimes I think she might be meaning to say mama and dada, but I'm not sure. In addition to her babbling she loves to growl. I thought she would out grow that habit quickly but she has been growling for a few months now.

She is growing so quickly and it is so fun to be around her while she is learning and exploring the world. We love her so much.