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baby girl is 10 months

While you are pretty strong willed and you know what you want, you are also so laid back.  You will sit all by yourself on the floor and just play for the longest time.  It’s so cute!  You are still such a tiny little thing, and that is the 2nd thing people always comment on about you, right behind how big, blue and beautiful your eyes are.  While I really want you to gain weight and be healthy of course, I also have to admit I love how perfectly tiny you are.  You are just so so cute and sweet.

- from mama’s letter to you

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What you weigh – Your weight chart apparently got up and walked off the countertop – but I will find it…I will!

What you eat – Still nursing the same amount minus the dream feed.  Although you’ve stretched out your schedule to be about 4 hours between feedings now, which means your before bed nursing is only about an hour and a half after your dinner feeding.  So, I think we’ll probably be dropping one of those soon!  You’re eating habits change so much.  Some days I get worried because you literally will hardly eat anything.  Then the very next day you’ll eat great!  I would say most of the time you are definitely not a big fan of food in general.  You sort of act like it’s all just a big inconvenience, which is pretty funny but it also worries me because your weight gain hasn’t been great lately.  You are eating 3 meals a day now, so that may be why you’re eating less per meal as well.  Some new foods we’ve tried this month are chickpeas, black beans, split peas, cottage cheese, peaches, mango, quinoa, and several others.  You are still pretty picky, and your favorites are about the same – avocado with fruit and sweet potatoes.    You do like cottage cheese quite a bit too, but I try to limit it to just a little bit each day if that.  One other new development is that you have decided you don’t want to take a bottle anymore, which is not good.  I guess I got lazy and didn’t give them to you often enough, and now you just want nothing to do with them.  So, I guess we’ll continue to be connected at the hip until you stop nursing, which honestly is just fine with meJ  Let’s just hope I don’t have to leave you for any reason!

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How you sleep – You are now sleeping from about 7:30 until about 7 – 7:30 am.  We just dropped your 3rd nap, so now you take one in the morning from about 9:45 to 11ish and one in the afternoon from about 2 until 3 or 3:30.  Honestly, your sleep has not been as great as it used to be.  You almost always wake up before Linc, and your naps have gotten increasingly shorter – sometimes only lasting about 40 minutes.  You still sleep great at night though, so I’m not complaining.  We are still swaddling you with one arm out.

What you wear – You wear 3-6 month clothes now, and we’ve expanded your shoe collection a bit as well.  Your feet are still so tiny, so shoes have to fit a certain way to get them to stay on your feet!

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Diaper –  Bum Genius Freetime with two rows of snaps left open in the middle.

Favorite activities – playing peek-a-boo, playing with my earrings (and anyone else who is wearing any), chewing on things, taking baths, being tickled

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Least favorite activities: having your face cleaned

Big moments in your 10th month of life –  more teeth – after getting your upper right one last month, you then got the upper left, the bottom middle right and now the upper right middle

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nights like these

Oh these nights

When I walk through the house and the smell of sweet potatoes and peaches fills the corners of every room

When I spend minutes picking up tiny tennis shoes, socks, hats…

When I glimpse a neatly stacked array of diapers, still warm from the dryer and waiting to be delivered to their room

When I stop to turn the heat up one more notch despite how warm I feel because their room just gets so cold

When the noise from the dishwasher makes it hard to hear as my pump parts are being cleaned for my late night pumping

When they are sleeping so soundly, breathing heavily, warm little bodies so tired out from the day.

Oh these nights.

If only they would never go away.

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from Friday….

This morning, the 10 month birthday of our sweet Linc and Viv, I’ve been glued to the TV watching the coverage of the hunt for the Boston bomber.  My heart is a heavy weight in my chest.  I’ve spent this week on edge, praying for God to give me peace despite the unrest and tension that I’m sure most other people are feeling as well, given the events of this week.  From the marathon bombing, the explosion in West, Texas, the letters sent to the President and senator, and to now today, the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and the search for the bombing suspect, it just feels like the world is so full of evil.  Since having the twins there has been a whole extra element added where it seems like danger for them is lurking around every corner, and I feel like fear is constantly trying to suck me in.  I hear a noise in the house during the day, and I look over my shoulder expecting the worst….I hear Linc holler from the living room and race in there with a sinking feeling in my stomach, convinced that something terrible has happened.  Among these and other things in the day-to-day, I fear for my babies future and for what they will have to face as they grow up in this world.  It envelopes me in thankfulness for my hope in Christ and my knowledge that life on this earth is only temporary because without that hope I think I would feel so terrified.  I’m clinging to it right now and trying to rest in the peace that comes with it.

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Not only am I meditating on my hope in Christ when I start to feel suffocated by all the bad, I also am consumed with urgency to try and do something to change it.  Sadly, there is nothing that can erase the evil things of this world, so I come to the conclusion that I have to do everything I can to counteract it.  I am realizing more the older I get that I’m responsible for putting as much good out into the world as I can.  And now I’m not only responsible for myself, but also for my babies.   It is Jon and I’s privilege to instill in Linc and Viv an accurate perspective of the world – how big it is, how people are so very different from us (yet so very much the same) and how not everyone was born into a life in which they have all their needs met.  Jon and I have always been passionate about other cultures and traveling because it opens our minds to the fact that not everybody in the world lives like us.  Since we even began to think about kids, we have had long talks about how we can instill a heart of compassion and a realistic world view in them as they get older.  We know that it will take intentionality.  We live in the suburbs of Oklahoma City where where it is easy to become so absorbed in the comfortable, safe life that we live and forget that not everyone lives the same.  How will they ever know any different unless we show them?

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All of these feelings and desires have converged recently as Jon and I have been working on a project that floods my heart with passion.  The evil that has been so much in our faces these last couple of weeks has fueled our excitement over what we feel is a small way we can try to project good out into the world, as well as build into our life a way to instill in our babies compassion and desire to love well and make a difference in the lives of others.  Having been a public school teacher, I’m so familiar with the attitude and perspective of our society’s kids as a whole (there are exceptions), and our hope is that not only will we be able to strive for this in our own home, but for other kids as well.  There have been a lot of sleepless nights lately – working in the office late into the night, me laying in bed awake because of noises in the house, watching Linc and Viv through the monitor as I strain to see that their little backs are rising and falling, and me consumed with passion for this new venture so that I can’t stop the wheels in my brain from spinning.

I wasn’t able to finish this post on Friday, and now as I finish it up this morning I feel energized and hopeful for a new day and a new week.  A new opportunity to not let the negativity bring me down, but to use it as motivation to work harder and love stronger.

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he might as well be heading off to college

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Little man finally decided he was sick of sitting around wishing he could reach this or that…and off he went!  This past Monday morning, I looked up to see him scooting across the floor like a little inch worm, and my mama heart swelled all up as I started cheering him on.

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My baby is getting so big;  half the time I feel bipolar as I go from feeling so excited to see him do the next big thing, while the rest of the time I find myself nearly in tears because I feel like he might as well be moving off to college.

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One thing is for sure – this boy doesn’t want to sit and cuddle with mama anymore.  He’s always gotta be on the go!  I’m so darn proud of him.  Tonight he fell asleep in my arms after nursing him before bed, and I just sat and stared at him for the longest time.  I know it sounds cliche, but my emotions can just almost not handle him growing and changing so much.  I know one day he will be too big to hold in my arms anymore, and until then I will be soaking up every second I have with him as my little baby.  They are too short.IMG_9952

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cloth diapering twins: breaking it down

I still remember the dread in Jon’s eyes the day I told him that I’d like to consider cloth diapering our twin babies that were on the way.  But it didn’t take long for him to come around to loving it too.

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Many people continually ask me about our cloth diapering experience – why we do it, what kind of diapers we use, is it gross?  I honestly think that cloth diapering is going to become much more mainstream in the coming years.  It’s already growing in popularity, and with all the easy options out there, I think people are pleasantly surprised when they realize that it’s not like the cloth diapering our parents used to do.

So, now that I’ve talked about why we do it and which diapers we chose, let’s talk about how it fits into the day-to-day.  Just a warning – I’m a super detail oriented person, so this may get a little long.  But when we were preparing for our babies, I was really interested in hearing how other people did things – and I wanted details!  Feel free to skim if that’s not you:) Also fair warning: we are talking about poop etc. in this post, so if those kinds of topics turn your stomach, you might want to skip out on this :)

The early days

When the babies were little and on only breastmilk, our system looked a little different than it does now.  Breastmilk poop is water soluble, so whether the diaper was just wet or dirty, it went straight into the dirty pail.  We bought a step-open trash can, and instead of using a trash bag, we put in our wet bag.  There are a lot of different options you could use, but this works really well for us because it closes (so as to eliminate odors), but there is still a narrow slit in the top so that air can get in and out even when it’s closed.  Plus, when your hands are full of a dirty diaper and a squirmy baby, it’s easy to just step to open and dump in the diaper.

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Cloth wipes – the easy way

This brings me to why we started using cloth wipes.  In the beginning, I didn’t even want to consider using cloth wipes.  Honestly, I just thought it sounded messy and disgusting.  Then a friend gave us her unused set of cloth wipes that had been gifted to her, but that she had never used.  For a long while, they just sat in the drawer.  But the more time that went on and the more dirty diapers we changed, I began to think it just might be easier to use cloth.

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Picture changing a diaper.  You open the diaper, use a wipe to clean the baby, stuff the dirty wipe into the diaper, roll it all up and throw it away, right?  Now picture using cloth diapers with disposable wipes.  You clean the baby and then what?  You either stuff the dirty wipe in the diaper and then sort it all out later (eww) or you have to stop and trash each wipe after you use it and then throw the diaper in a separate pail.  After some thought, I decided that using cloth wipes is really not any more gross than cloth diapers.  If you trust that your diapers are getting clean in the wash, then why not the wipes too?  Now that we use cloth, we can simply clean up the baby, stuff the wipes in the diaper and roll it all up and toss in the dirty bin.  Our wipes get washed right along with our diapers and aside from the extra 2 minutes used to fold and get them ready for use, the time commitment is about the same!  I won’t try to go into how much money we save by using cloth wipes because it’s probably a little different for everyone (depending on how many wipes you use per diaper etc.), but just think about never having to buy a package of baby wipes again.  Sounds nice, right?

Down the road – starting solids or using formula

I’m pretty sure that the people who know we use cloth were assuming that we’d give it all up once the babies started solids, and honestly I have to admit I was a little nervous that it would get a lot harder.  But it really truly hasn’t. Once the babies started solids, we could no longer just throw the dirty diapers in the pail.  For the first few days, their diapers were really soft as they made the transition to something other than breastmilk.  I tried using the disposable liners we had gotten as a gift, but I found that they seemed to just be more inconvenient.  I can assure you I did not enjoy having to try and pull up the edges of the liner without getting poop all over my hands and then transport it to the toilet.  I know these work well for some people, but they just weren’t for us.

Basically, when the twins have a dirty diaper, most of the time (after that initial transition phase) it is pretty solid; so usually all the poop is on the diaper, and there is not much to be cleaned off their bottoms.  In these instances, I simply clean them up, throw the wipe into the dirty bin, re-diaper the baby and then step into the bathroom and dump the contents into the toilet, and flush.  The empty diaper goes into the dirty pail, and I’m done!  Sure it’s an extra step, but remember – the payoff is huge.

If for whatever reason the contents of the diaper is soft and a little more messy, it does take a little extra attention.  I start by cleaning baby’s bottom off with a swipe of the diaper.  Then I use a wipe to clean the rest and throw the wipe in the dirty pail.  The minimal residue on the wipe doesn’t bother me.  If it did, I would probably just keep a pack of disposable wipes nearby for these instances.  Obviously in that case you would probably want to have a small step trash can handy as well.  After I re-diaper the baby, I step into our bathroom and use our sprayer (we bought this one off Zulilly), which is hooked to the toilet, to spray off the contents of the diaper.  Yes, it does get a little spray on the toilet edges, which reminds me vividly of our days in Thailand, but it’s not that big of a deal.  I usually use a tiny piece of toilet paper to wipe off any water droplets before flushing.  We keep a small step-can with a small wet bag in it next to our toilet to put the wet diaper in after it’s been sprayed.

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Washing and preparation

We choose to wash our diapers every night as we’ve found it’s easier to just have it as part of our daily routine rather than always having to remember and make time for it on wash days.  Before we put the twins to bed at night, one of us goes in and pulls the wetbag full of dirty diapers as well as the wetbag in the bathroom (if we’ve had to spray that day) and puts it all into the washing machine.  After turning the wetbag inside out inside the washer to dump everything out, we then shove the wetbag in as well.  No touching diapers, no pulling out inserts….super easy.  We run a cold cycle first; since we have a front loading HE machine, we press the “water plus” button so as much water as possible will run through the dipes.  And of course we put the soil setting on “heavy.”  We do not put soap in for this first cold cycle.  Next we run a hot wash using the exact same settings (water plus and heavy), but we add detergent to this cycle.  We use Charlie’s Soap for all our laundry, and it has worked perfectly for us.  It doesn’t have that same smell as the usual detergent like Tide, and sometimes I miss that, but otherwise I love it, and we don’t have to worry about residue from our detergent being left behind for our diapers.

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Last summer and fall I would hang our diapers outside to dry.  I knew it would be easier on them in the long run and any stains that ever appeared would miraculously vanish in the sun (try it – it’s pretty amazing what the sun will do).  Once the weather got cold, I started drying ours in the dryer, and that has worked great.  Now that it’s getting warm again, I’m not sure if I’ll start line drying again.  We’ll see.  I don’t remember the last time I saw any type of stain on our diapers, but the few times that has happened I just hung that one diaper out and later brought it in bright white!

 

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these two pictures show our newborn sized Bum Genius diapers

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We do our washing at night because it does take awhile for them to get done.  First thing in the morning, I move them to the dryer, and then later when the babies are sleeping I fold them and re-stock the drawers.  With the BumGenius Freetimes, there’s no stuffing or anything, so folding literally takes minutes.

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Making wipes

As I fold the diapers, I fold our wipes as well, stacking them into a little pile.  To prepare them, I fill a bowl with warm water, add a squirt of baby wash (we use California Baby, but you could use whatever wash you use in the tub) and a few droplets of tea tree oil (to keep bacteria at bay).  I then submerge the stack of wipes, wring them out and place them in a covered container.  I happened to have a Tupperware dish that I never really used, which is perfect for storing wipes.  You could really use anything though – there are even wipes warmers that work with cloth wipes.

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By the way, you definitely wouldn’t have to use store-bought cloth wipes.  You could use anything – scraps of fleece or cotton – anything!

On the go

If we are going on an overnight trip or for multiple days, we use disposables.  It’s just not worth it to me to try and deal with washing diapers while on the go.  If we are going somewhere just for a few hours or for the day, I pack cloth diapers and take a small wetbag (we use this one).  After changing the babies, I just stuff the dirty diapers in the wetbag, zip it up and deal with it when we get home.  The wetbags contain all the odors, and I’ve never had a problem with leaking or anything.

Overnight diapers

Now that the babies are older, we have started having overnight leaking problems with Linc.  It’s really not surprising I suppose – now that he’s sleeping almost 12 hours.  After talking to our local cloth diapering store, we decided to try these hemp inserts. We simply lay it inside the diaper before putting him to bed, and all our leaking problems are solved!  It’s a super cheap fix too since we wash our diapers every night – technically we would only need one of these.

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Our must-have cloth diapering products

Aside from the Bum Genius Freetime diapers, our diaper sprayer, disposal containers and wet bags, here are a couple other products that I highly recommend.

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You cannot use normal rash cream on cloth diapers – it will hinder their absorbancy.  There are lots of options out there, but we really like Grandma El’s.  We have had very little diaper rash, but anytime one of the babies is looking just a little red, this clears it up quickly!  I also think it is one of the main reasons (besides the cloth diapers themselves) why our babies have had so little diaper rash.  There have been a couple of times that Vivian developed a more serious rash associated with teething.  I pulled out all the stops and used Budreaux’s Butt Paste overnight with a tri-fold cloth lining the inside of the diaper so the cream wouldn’t touch it.  In my experience, there’s nothing that works as fast as Budreaux’s, and when my baby has a painful looking rash I want only the best to get it cleared up stat!

I love the GroVia Magic Stick.  We have one for each of the babies, and we try to swipe it over their bottoms after each diaper change.  It protects against wetness, and as a bonus makes cleaning them up at the next change much easier!

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I think that about covers everything!  Overall, I can’t imagine not cloth diapering the twins.  The details in this post may seem a little overwhelming, but once you get set-up with the products you need, it really is so easy.  As for doing it with twins – I’ve never done it with just one baby, but I can’t imagine why it would be so much harder.  When you have twins, everything is double, and you just get used to it!  The washing etc. is really no different though.  It’s not only doable, it’s totally the way to go:)

And as I said before, the best part is obviously those cute little fluffy bottoms!

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