Saturday, November 24, 2012

Result of the Sibling Collaboration Experiment

Well this is going to be difficult.  I want to share SOOOOOOOO many images.  I seriously think blogger would crash! 

For a first time event, we're calling it a successs. John snapped gorgeous photos of all my new hats.  I had 2 friends who participated (there were supposed to be 3 but one of the babies got sick). Plus my son who hates modeling but seemed to enjoy having some company. 

I'm hoping to do it again someday.  I'll have to make even more new designs though!

Without further ado, here are our outstanding photos.

Out Takes

Do I hafta smile Uncle John???

"No, I didn't try to pull that off, my head is just odd shaped"

Well, ya know this isn't the easiest place to sit ladylike, but I'll make it work. 

Mommies make us SMILE!


At this point blogger can't handle all the pictures and I've lost the ability to add captions :( A picture's worth a thousand words anyway!




What a little beauty!

Kids being kids :)

 Time to slide!!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sibling Collaboration Experiment!

My brother is a budding photographer.  He's been building his portfolio for about a year since he inherited a quality camera from my uncle. 

A big part of success on Etsy is having great pictures.  He's been helping me out a lot with my shots.  However we have a very uncooperative model. 
It seems like the only way we can really get him too cooperate is to put him in the swing.  (Yes-- he was in motion in the shot below). 

I had an idea.  I've been pestering my brother to take his photography up a level for a while.  He is just so talented.  Here is some evidence of that (which I borrowed from his facebook account) . 

The butterfly is my favorite!  I have a large print in my dining room.
 This hawk (I think) was way high up in a tree.  I'm in awe of his ability here. 

He's been branching out and working on his sports shots lately

 And just because they're so darn cute!
So this is what I pitched to him-- a photo shoot!  I'd have a bunch of hats ready.  Parents could bring their child(ren).  For $20 participants will get a custom handmade hat and a 5x7 portrait of their little one.  I'll get some great photos for Etsy.  John will get more experience for his portfolio.  Everyone wins! 
As long as the weather cooperates, we'll be doing this at Red Bank Battlefield Park on Sunday, November 18 from 1PM to Sunset (it's safe to say the last shoot will probably be at 4:30).  Message me to reserve your time slot and hat.  We have to cap the event at 10 "sessions."
P.S.  John said he'd also be happy to take family shots (great for holiday cards) while you're there.  He'll sell you the image file for $5 and his prices for prints are pretty cost effective as well.  He does not just point and shoot, he uses editing software he was trained on in college.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cloth Diapering

If you're like most people you may think I'm crazy for using cloth diapers on my son, and I understand where that comes from, but cloth diapers are not all pins and plastic pants anymore.

The most common objections I've heard are:

  • Isn't it more work?--to which I say, a load or two of laundry per week is better than running to the store for diapers, and really that one or two loads is nothing
  • EWW, you'll get poop in your washer.  Hate to break it to you, but having a baby means that at some point there's gonna be poo in your washer.  Take a moment and think of what's in dirt.  Also a good washer will not leave and poo.  Furthermore, as long as the baby is exclusively breast-fed (I believe its true for formula as well, but I don't have any experience) their poop actually completely dissolves in water. 
  • Isn't it hard to pin it?  I would assume so--my diapers don't have pins, they have velcro or snaps and they're not any harder to use that a disposable. 


Here are my simplest answers.  For more info, see the websites linked below. 
  1. It saves money. Even if you buy the cheapest diapers out there, you're still going to spend about $1000 a year on diapers alone.  It costs around $300 for a decent cloth system.  Now I'll be honest, I've spent about $200 more than that because I wanted some extra diapers.  I've still saved $500 at least this year.  When the next child comes around, it will be even more savings!!
  2. It's good for J's sensitive skin.  There's a lot of chemical and potential irritants in disposables.  Children have even had chemical burns from diapers.  We decided to cloth diaper before my son was born.  I am so glad we did because he ended up with eczema. 
  3. It's environmentally friendly.  Yeah, I hugs trees.  We need to be good stewards of our beautiful planet.


Diapers we LOVE

BumGenius 4.0 pocket diaper
Based on the experience of a friend of mine, we bought all BumGenius Diapers before J was even born.  We bought most of them from cottonbabies because they run a buy five get one free sale and always have fast free shipping.  We chose the 4.0 pocket diaper as our go to diaper. 

The BG newborn All in One diaper was great for those early days and fit J for 4 months. 

Just in the last two months, Josh has been sleeping longer and we experienced a little irritation from wetness.  Luckily Kelly's Closet sent us a free Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter as a gift with one of our orders.  They have super amazing soft fleece inside and work wonders for our boy's skin.  We promptly ordered 4 more (so we always have one clean for his last diaper). 


Diapers we LIKE

Although they weren't our go to diaper, Fuzzibuns work great.  I loved their newborn size because they were SO SOFT, however, their velcro was not the best and tended to stick to other diapers in the laundry.  We also used the size small pocket diapers.  They were good but not as trim as the BumGenius.  My husband would never use them because they only had snaps and he will only use velcro.  We had one of the Fuzzibuns Elite.  The adjustable legs and waist are nice, but not necessary (BGs don't have that).  It was also a lot fluffier than a BG so we tended to use them at night if we used it at all. 

Kawaii One Size diapers were good.  The fit is very similar to BGs and the price is significantly less.  Of course the quality is not quite as high, but I do believe they will last.  It was one of our freebies with another order.

Diapers that DIDN'T WORK FOR US

KangaCare Lil'Joeys and GroVia newborns both leaked like crazy.  Josh had very skinny legs, I had it on the tightest setting but they still just didn't work for him.  The Lil Joeys were the worst, so I actually sold them (another advantage of cloth diapering is they have a good resale value).  I save the GroVias in case our next child is chunkier.  These were my faves before Josh was born because of the adorable prints :(

GroVia One Size All in One Cloth Diaper.  I know some people who love these, but they just don't work for our J.  Leaking is not the issues, so on that note they do their job.  However, we've found we really need that barrier between J's skin and the moisture or he rashs out.  Everytime we'd try them he'd end up with a red hiney.  Also they only come in snaps so they are not husband friendly.  I don't really care for the location of the straps either. 


I can't believe it took me this long to discover Coconut Oil.  Besides smelling delicious, it's super moisturizing for the skin.  I put it on Josh whenever he's a little red and always with his last diaper.  Before this discover, we were aquaphor addicts.
In the last few months since Josh has been sleeping between 10 and 12 hours at night, his very sensitive skin had some issues with the moisture levels, so we purchased a few different types of hemp lines for our pocket diapers.  Hemps holds something like 8 times its weight in liquid.  We stuff his diaper with a micro-terry liner (this is what comes with BGs) closest to the skin to quickly pull away the moisture, then a hemp liner underneath to keep the wetness far away from his skin.  The ones we like best are BabyKicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz. 
You'll also need a diaper pail, a cheap trashcan with a lid will suffice.  You want one that will let air in to reduce any smells.  We use a Planet Wise pail liner inside the diaper pail and we also have a small wet bag to take with us if we're out and need to change him. 
In addition, a good detergent is key.  We use Rockin Green Barenaked Babies in our HE-Machine.  One bag is 90 loads.  In 15 months we've gone through 1.5 bags, but I started using it on other laundry as well this summer.  It softens the water which helps it clean more efficiently and the laundry comes out softer. 
BioKleen Bac out is also a great product.  It can be sprayed on soiled diapers to treat them before they are washed.  Be conservative in using this, a little goes a long way and if not completely rinsed out of laundry, it can be irritating to the skin (if you're hypersensitive like our little guy). 
When baby gets older and begins eating solids, it's helpful to have a diaper sprayer.  We had a really tough time finding something that worked for us.  We tried to build our own using internet directions--turns out the directions were no good and it leaked like crazy.  We tried ordering a hose that attaches to the plumbing specificly designed and marketed as a cloth diaper sprayer.  Again we had leaking problems.  In the mean time I purchased a dirt cheap utility sprayer from Walmart that simply attacher to a sink (this works for us because we have a sink that is one foot away from the toilet).  It worked until the parts broke.  Finally we tried this and it's great for us, Sink Rinser