Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why We Cloth Diaper

I've had a lot of recent questions about cloth diapering, and why we choose to use cloth diapers. I'm no expert on cloth diapering, so if you're really interested in using them, you probably have a million questions. I'd direct you to the experts, who REALLY know everything there is to know about it. My friend Jenna writes frequently about cloth diapering, and she is truly passionate about educating moms about it.  But for now, I'll tell a little about why we chose to use cloth.

So cute, right?

Before Evie was born, several of my friends were using cloth diapers. I was interested in it, and began to read everything I could about it (That's totally the way I operate...if I'm doing something, I'm doing it 100%, or not at all).  I brought it up to Kemi, very hesitantly.  At first, he was pretty resistant to the idea. But, like Jenna says, most people who think cloth diapering is gross/weird/hippy/difficult have never seen a modern cloth diaper. But, what really sealed the deal for Kemi was when I presented him with the cost difference.  You basically save a TON of money by using cloth diapers instead of disposable.

I've never been a hugely environmental person, but I DO care a lot about using natural products for our family.  I try whenever possible to use personal care and cleaning products that are rated safest on the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep site.  So my interest in using the most natural products possible on my babes definitely played into the decision to use cloth. But, to be honest, it was mainly a financial decision.

Plus, it doesn't hurt that they are SO CUTE!  Honestly, be warned: it's addictive!

Around the Interwebs...

I think this is just about the cutest ever.

Hysterical song for my married readers.  Apparently everyone has seen it but me.

These cookies are to die for. And they're made with a surprising ingredient!

"You have a new name now, and that name is mother, and it has a shape all its own." (and my take on the post-baby bod, from a while back).

This new line of play dresses for moms-just gorgeous.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Keepin' It Real Mondays

Evie has (proudly) figured out how to take off her cloth diaper cover during nap time. She's quite pleased with herself!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I really tried to stay busy today with Kemi and Evie being out of town. Had a great time eating French Macarons with this cutie.  Before we went up to the register to buy the cookies, Sophia said, out of the blue, "Auntie, maybe instead we should buy the cookies and go give them to some other little boys and girls that don't have any cookies." I mean, really? She's too much. And if I could've thought of anywhere we could do that, we would have. Instead, I told her that our church helps feed families that don't have enough food, and they need more jelly and soup. So tomorrow, we're off to shop for jelly and soup before church.  She amazes me sometimes. 

In other news, I cannot WAIT for Kemi and Evie to come home. Three days is too long!

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Heart

Motherhood is the most painful, most difficult, beautiful and wonderful joy-filled experience of my life.

There are days I come home from work and Evie barely notices. I race home in a hot car, not wanting to miss a minute I could be spending with her.  There's sweat beading up on my back, and I'm bone tired, but it doesn't matter.  I whip the car into the driveway, and turn off the ignition. Get to the front door and turn my key in the lock. I can hardly wait to see her face. I don't care that I smell like a trucker, my hair is greasy, and all I've eaten today are a stale donut and three cups of coffee. And I know she won't care either.  I turn the key, and swing open the door.  "Helllllloooooo!" I yell to the house in general.  She looks around the corner, and sees that it's me.  And then she continues putting the alphabet magnets on the fridge. And my heart sinks so deep in my chest. But I pretend it doesn't. Like I have to keep up appearances with my 15-month old. So I walk over, all cool, like that's how we always do it, drop my keys and bag on the first surface I see, and we line up magnet letters on the fridge.

Then, that night at bedtime, I'm redeemed.  I'm rocking her, she's snuggled into my chest, clutching her two blankies.  I can smell her hair, and we sing our songs. She's still and cozy, smelling me while I'm smelling her. After a while, I lay her down, but instead she rolls over and grabs my hand. "Mama." A sigh of relief.  Ok, Phew! I think. "You still need me? Ok, good, cuz I still need you too!" And I don't hesitate for a second. I pick her up and we sing a little more.

Being her mama is the most wild ride. I worry that sometimes I need her more than she needs me and the love I have for her sometimes terrifies me.  For those of you who have not yet experienced this thing called motherhood, it truly is like having your heart live outside your body.  There is more joy and more pain simultaneously in this season of my life than I have experienced total in the 27 years leading up to it.  It can be unbearably difficult to navigate. To wonder if the choices you're making today are going to leave an indelible mark on this tiny person's life.

This is how it goes:
Do I work too much? Do I schedule activities for her too much? Or do we not do enough? We've never done that damn Gymboree thing. Or a single Library Story Time or Mommy and Me thing.  Because you're supposed to do lots of enriching activities to develop their little brains, right? But then, downtime is important too, and kids today are over-scheduled, right? Should we be singing to her more? We kind of forgot about nursery rhymes. Dangit, those are important aren't they? I don't think I brushed her six teeth today. Crap.  How many ounces of water should she be drinking a day? Dunno. I'll Google it.  And then it's 2 am. 

I just have to offer up my worries, my fears, and my anxieties and know that my life is not my own. She is not my own. Neither was she. I get them on loan for as long as I get them and all the fear, anxiety, and irrational worrying in the world won't change that.  I'm not in control. He has far better plans. Thank God for that.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Moms Are People Too!

There are days (most days) that I love how much Kemi and Evie depend on me and miss me when I'm at work. Most days I am proud of the success of the business I have built, and my involvement.

And then there are some other days when I want to scream "Moms are people too! I have HUMAN needs! I have to eat! I have to pee! I have to shower, at least once in a while!" Do you moms ever have days when you just want everyone else to figure it out, and leave you alone? Some days it is just so exhausting to be so needed by so many. I know that sounds stupid, but maybe some of you know what I mean. I have my days when I wish everyone forgot my name and I could just check out. There, I said it ;)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What Motherhood is Teaching Me

Parents always say that having a toddler really makes you slow down, and how true it is!  Some things Evie has taught me lately...

A summer rain shower  IS sort of amazing.

Photo by Nina Leen
It turns out I don't COMPLETELY hate to dance. At least not with Evie. And it's totally can just let your freak flag fly and bust out the weirdest moves, cuz who cares?! And Evie things I'm hilarious.  Lately after dinner, we've been putting on some music and rockin out.  Evie especially likes anything Doo-Wop-y.  A few of our favorites are thisthis and this one. I dare you to turn up some Temptations in your house and keep from busting a move!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Year Ago Today...

Keepin' It Real Mondays

I promised I'd tell the story of the four hour delay.  Looking back, I guess I can laugh now. Maybe...

Our flight home was Nashville to Detroit, Detroit to Phoenix.  We got to Detroit, pretty uneventfully.  Our connection was all the way across the terminal, but we had an hour total, so that was ok.  We got over to the gate, only to be told the plane was delayed by 30 minutes...something about waiting to get a plane from Chicago, where there were storms.  Ok, no big deal. So we plopped down and I tried to entertain Evie with some snacks.  Not ten minutes in and there was an announcement that now we were delayed by one hour. Ok. I can do this.  It will be alright. Luckily, there were people seated around us who seemed entertained by Evie, so she was able to toddle around and check people out.  Fifteen minutes later, and we are told that the plane will now not be arriving for two hours.  Two hours, in a terminal with only a hot sandwich shop and a Ruby Tuesday's.  Dear Lord.  By this time, it's approaching lunch, so I feed Evie the lunch I packed for her (you know, the one she was supposed to eat on the plane en route to Phoenix).  But then lunch ends. So what do you do to entertain a toddler in an airport, you might ask? Well, first of all, you lose all shame and pride. And then you:

Ride the moving sidewalk at least 126 times: 15 minutes
Sing the "Elmo's World"at least a dozen times: 4 minutes
Allow baby wipes to be pulled from their container, examined, and then attempted to be stuffed back in. Repeat. 121 times: 18 minutes
Take her to "Hudson News" and try to entertain her with a copy of People. "Evie! What's going on with Kim and Kanye?!  Are Khloe and Lamar divorcing?" And then you feel like the worst mom of all time: 3 minutes
Inside Hudson News, allow all the little rolls of Certs to be removed from their box. And then put back in. Then removed. Then put back in.  And you avoid eye contact with the employees: 6 minutes

And then I ran out of ideas.  And things started to really fall apart.

Around Evie's regular naptime, I put her in the Ergo Carrier thinking I can lull her to sleep with the sweet melody of "Elmo's World." Except immediately after putting it on, I have to pee. So I squeeze myself with Evie attached to me, plus our monster diaper bag and lunchbox into the bathroom stall. Wrestle my pants down, sit down, and hear a splash as the strap of the Ergo that is hanging free is now swimming in the toilet water. Figure that one out.

Another announcement is made, putting our flight at a total of four hours behind schedule. And this is when I started to feel panicky. Like, are we going to be here all night? Is this flight going to be pushed back by 30 minutes FOREVER? I call Kemi. He calls Southwest and finds out there's no other flights. We have no other options than to wait. And that right there made me feel pretty close to snapping.

Evie finally fell asleep in the Ergo (she can't EVER sleep except in her crib) after singing and pacing for 30 minutes.

Finally, after four of the longest hours, we were ready to board.  We got settled on the plane, and I had to realllly pull out all my best tricks to keep this girl entertained.

When we finally got to Sky Harbor, it was 9:30 pm. Evie was EXHAUSTED, and so was I.  We got off that plane as fast as my legs could carry us, grabbed my phone to call my brother to pick us up, and it's dead. Completely dead. By this point, Evie is losing her cool a little bit, and so am I.  I plug it in to charge it, and we wait. And wait. And wait. Twenty minutes later, and it hasn't turned on. And she's LOSING it.  I am dangerously close to tears, so we trek it all around the terminal until we find pay phones. Hey, remember those? And then they eat all my quarters. And then my collect call won't connect. It was BAD guys. Like, I felt like I was in some sort of new reality show. Survivor: SuperMom Edition. Except I'm not winning. Not even close. Jeff Probst is about to extinguish my tiki torch.

We finally end up going back to the charging station and just sit. And wait. Finally FINALLY it's charged enough, I call Ethan, and he's on his way. Honestly, I don't remember when I was last so happy to walk in my front door. Exhausting. And of course I told Kemi "Never again. Just never again." But of course now that it's been a few weeks since, I know Evie and I will have another adventure again soon. But maybe not without Kemi!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Parenting Around the World

Throwback to Evie at 4 (5?) Months!

I just found these articles, originally posted on Cup of Jo, so interesting, I thought I'd share them with you all. It really fascinates me how different cultures parent, and what we can learn from each other.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Around the Interwebs

Some things I've been checking out lately...

It looks like a Kingdom. This blog post made me laugh SO HARD.

Just gorgeous. Why you gotta tempt me like that?

Evie and I read this over. And over. And over...I HIGHLY recommend it!! :)

Anyone else remember this stuff?

I think these would be a great Christmas present for Evie from Santa :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Should Kids Bring Snacks to Church?

My sister has a four year old daughter, and my daughter, Evie is 15 months.  My sister had always brought some snacks to church to keep her daughter busy, and when Evie began to eat solid foods, I followed suit.

Recently, a family member said she thought it a bad idea. One point she made was when do you stop it? (Catholics are called to fast from food for one hour before receiving communion).  She also wondered why the kids can't wait an hour to eat. My sister and I explained it's not that they can't wait, or they're really hungry, we just need them to sit there quietly!

I never saw much harm in it. I guess, for now, unless anyone can change my mind, I'm okay with it. Evie loves her little puffs, she eats them slowly, they don't make a mess, and they keep her entertained. If that keeps us both in the pew longer, rather than moving to the vestibule where I won't have a very focused or prayerful experience, than to me, that makes it worth it.

What do you think? Is it okay, or should we just avoid it altogether?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Keepin' It Real Mondays

On Saturday, I was trying like crazy to get dressed and brush my teeth to get out the door for a MUCH needed haircut. My mom was coming over to watch Evie for an hour so I could run out (Kemi's STILL out of town!).  Evie was just not having it though. SUPER clingy, wouldn't let me put her down, and I was ready to pull my hair out. So I finally sat her down on the bathroom floor with my makeup bag to keep her busy for a few minutes.

Literally, after two minutes...head to toe shimmer.  She looked like Edward Cullen in Twilight. Just...shimmer. Everywhere.

Tell me we're not heading down this path...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tried and True Toddler Foods

Egg on your face!

When Evie was an infant, I couldn't WAIT for her to be old enough to eat solid foods. Now that she gets all her nutrition from solids, I try (TRY) to make her diet as nutritious and varied as possible.

Some of Evie's favorite snacks lately:

Kale Chips---These are phenomenal
Popcorn---cooked on the stove with coconut oil or olive oil and just a little salt
Frozen Blueberries---She could eat these  We buy the organic frozen ones from TJ's
Whole Milk Yogurt---I mix it up the night before with chia seeds, hemp seeds, and a little mashed banana
Cheese---we've been using the raw milk cheddar from TJ's
Smoothies---I try to always hide some kale or spinach in them. You can't taste it at all, promise!
Larabars---Great because some of them taste like a treat, but they only have, like, 3 ingredients. Evie's favorite is Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter.
Summer Fruit---Watermelon, Mango, Grapes, Berries, and Cherries!
Fruit and Vegetable Juices---We've been juicing it ourselves and Evie loves it.  Sometimes I'll blend it with some banana or an avocado to make it thick like a smoothie.

Hope this gives you mamas some fresh ideas, if you've been in a snack slump lately!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Five Months

On our mantel above the fireplace we have a bunch of framed family pictures. Some are Kemi and from our dating/engaged days, others are old family pictures of Kemi and I as kids, and some are of Evie or the three of us together. Evie LOVES for us to stand on the hearth holding her while she points to each picture (Beeeeeeee!!!) and demands to be told who is in each photo. And we label each one for her, again and again and again. "Mama and Papa. Grumpy, mama, and auntie when we were little girls. Nana and Uncle Ike and Papa when they were little boys." And down the row we go until everyone is labeled. Among the pictures there is a plaster mold of Celeste's hands and feet from the day she was born. Evie demands to know about this item, too.  "Yes, that's Celeste's hands and feet. That's your sister's."

I read something that Elizabeth Edwards once wrote about losing a child, and she described it as the blackboard of your life being erased. As you go through your life, you tack the little things, and some big things, onto this board of your life. Lifeguarding at the pool, your college acceptance letter, A best friend, meeting your spouse, a really bad haircut...whatever. And the bulletin board of your life fills up with each passing day. And then you lose a child. And in that instant, it's as if someone turned on a giant fan, and all those little scrap pieces of your life fly off that board and fall to the floor and there's nothing. None of it matters in the same way anymore. And that is what makes it so hard to keep going.  You're just paralyzed because you don't know where to start. There's nothing to tack anything else to.  Because comparatively, nothing matters.

Here we are, five months later. May as well be five days. My due date is now passed, and my little girl would be around a month old now.
Lately, when I talk about Celeste in a "surface-y" way, I can handle it. I can tell the story of that night now. I can relay the details the way Kemi can describe a basketball game. Just facts. I can even talk about Celeste on a regular basis. And I do. I love to.  I like to tell Evie about her.  I want Evie to grow up hearing about her sister in Heaven.  

But just because I can relay the details of our loss doesn't make me "better."  There are women who go to our Infant Loss Support Group who lost a child months, and in some cases, years, previous. And some would say that's weird. They should be over it. But I can tell you, you don't get over it. For those of you who have experienced childbirth, you can imagine. You can probably imagine what it must be like to have had those months anticipating finally meeting your child, and then, suddenly, that child is here, in your arms. And you're holding that baby, smelling that perfect baby smell. But in this case, that baby is not nursing, and growing, and thriving. That baby is finding her way toward Heaven. There are a million people in the room and everyone is somber and they keep listening to your child's heartbeat and tell you it's fading. And they tell you you might have an hour left. An hour.  And you feel like you're underwater because you're staring at this perfect and beautiful creation but you know she's leaving you.  You don't recover from that. You get changed forever from that.

So, that's where I'm at.  I am able to tell Celeste's story. And it isn't a burden, it is a joy. I love both my daughters, and I love to talk about both of them.  But if I let myself go beyond telling the "facts" and I start to think about what that felt like, then it's just too much. I can't "go there" unless I want to really really go there and get swallowed by that ocean and tumbled around and spit back out.  Sometimes, if I'm alone, I let it happen.  But I've learned to carefully control it. I think about you always, Celeste, and I miss you.

Please pray for us, St. Celeste. We miss you every second of every day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nashville Vacation

Last week's Nashville vacation was such great timing.  Kemi had been traveling a lot, and it had been a busy and pretty hard few weeks trying to juggle everything on my own without him here. So, needless to say, I was anxious to have a few days off.

Evie and I flew out Wednesday morning on our own. Kemi was already in Nashville so we were meeting him there. Evie honestly did so incredibly well on the flight.  She was a total angel and I was really proud of her.

We stayed with Matt and Kristin, a couple of good friends of ours.  On the Fourth, it just so happened that we had friends (two different families!) traveling through Tennessee on their way to summer camps for their kiddos. Everyone congregated at Matt and Kristin's for a big barbecue and party.  And I mean big...there were 22 kids and 21 adults! It was SO much fun, and great to see lots of friends we hadn't seen in a long time. And of course, Evie was in heaven with so many kids to play with.

Evie had lots of "helpers" at the party to look after her :)

The next three days it rained. Every day, all day. We didn't really mind it a bit though!

The next day, Kemi and I were able to sneak out while Evie napped for a little coffee date. It was so nice (and sooooo needed) for Kemi and I to be able to just spend an hour alone, and actually have a conversation, face to face, just the two of us.

Kemi, Evie and I went up the street in the pouring rain the next day to experience Jeni's, the world's BEST ice cream.  Really! It's award winning, so of course I HAD to break my diet to try it out.  Delicious!

These two, just breakin my heart all the time.


A big part of the purpose for our trip was to spend some time with Kemi's dad. He hadn't seen Evie since she was seven or eight months old, so we were definitely over due for a visit.  It was really special for us to get this time with him.

Sunday morning we met some friends for breakfast and the Pancake Pantry...apparently the most popular breakfast joint in all of Tennessee, because there was a line down the street for a table! We waited for 1.5 hours!  

Waiting for pancakes is tough.

Sunday was Kemi's birthday (29!), so we had a very casual get together with friends for cake, and then Kemi and I took off that night for dinner while Matt and Kristin stayed with Evie and Conor.

 All in all, GREAT trip!  Can't wait to visit again!

Traveling with a Toddler

As I mentioned, Evie and I headed out last Wednesday for a visit in Nashville. Kemi was already on this side of the country for work (and had been for 10 days already!) so we were pretty anxious to see him.  Evie has now flown three times in her short 15 months of life, and I've learned a few things along the way. I've also had some epic fails, but that's for another post.

1). Be prepared. Be so prepared. Like some kinda mom Scout.  Have backups for your backup. But only for those things that will make or break your trip. Like the backup to the backup blankie.

Evie cannot, will not, not gonna happen sleep without her blankie and binky.

2). Don't bring anything unnecessary on the flight. Be prepared, but don't overpack. Because when your flight gets delayed and you're stuck in the Detroit airport for FOUR HOURS (ya, that post is on it's way) that hundred pound diaper bag and 25 pound toddler are going to rip you apart.

3). Accept the generosity of others, and be generous in return. On the first leg of our flight, it seemed everyone around us bought a meal and several folks handed Evie their bag of cookies. I don't normally let her eat a lot of sweets, but on a four hour flight you'll do what you gotta do. She happily clutched two bags of cookies in one hand while she munched on a cookie in her other. Towards the end, I noticed a man a few rows up was traveling alone with a little girl about Evie's age, so towards the end I passed him a pureed fruit pouch. You woulda thought I had handed him a hundred dollar bill. There's a camaraderie amongst parents traveling with young kids, I tell ya.
After a layover in Charlotte, we boarded the second leg of our flight to Nashville. This time, Kemi had upgraded us to first class (he travels so much he can usually upgrade for free).  I was really nervous about having a little one in first class, but the woman we sat next to was about my age, and nice as could be. She was happy to entertain Evie, even holding her and letting Evie color in the back of her textbook!  By that time, Evie was bored with me and a fresh face was a welcome change for her. When we landed, the man in front of us turned around and asked if he could carry my bags for me. People really are nicer in the South.

Riding the moving sidewalk for the millionth time :)

2). Novelty, novelty, novelty.  The best trick I have is to pack little toys she's never seen before. That always holds her attention a lot longer than anything else.

3). Don't be afraid to bring out the big guns. For those of you who know me really well, you know I feel pretty strongly about limiting kids "screen time" whether that be TV, iPad, iPod, iTouch, i-fill-in-the-blank.  However, the one time I think entertaining a kid with an i-something is totally acceptable is a time when you wouldn't expect an adult to stay entertained for that length of time. I had to really tell myself that packing the iPad and saving it for the tail end of a four hour plane ride was ok.  And it really helped, to be honest. Towards the last hour, Evie was getting restless, and the jig was up. She had played with every toy, eaten every snack, I had told her my best jokes, and that was when I unveiled the all powerful iPad. And she was quiet as a mouse watching videos of jungle animals for 30 minutes.  Not too shabby.

4). Once you arrive at your destination, keep your little one on hometown time. I know this wouldn't work as easily with an older kiddo who sees through the scam, but for the babes who don't know any better, it can be a lot easier the day you arrive back home after the trip if you've just kept them on their hometown time zone the entire time. We kept Evie on Phoenix time, and it made my life a lot easier getting back.

That's all I got, besides asking the people you're visiting to have a stiff drink waiting for you. Any other tips I missed?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fourth of July Style

I mentioned to you guys that we were in Nashville last week for the fourth of July weekend. I'll be writing more about our adventures this week, but first, I wanted to post some pictures of the SAWEEET flag wavin' style that the fine folks of East Nashville were displaying.

I couldn't help but notice when we'd take walks with Evie around the neighborhood, almost every house had their flag displayed proudly.  And they did it with such style :)

Don't even get me started on how sweet these little houses are too! I couldn't take it!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Around the Interwebs

How was everyone's Fourth? I had the best one I've had since I was a kid! Evie and I are in Nashville now, visiting Kemi who's here for work. We'll be back Monday though, and I'll be posting all of our adventures then, as well as a post on travel tips with toddlers!

DYING for this skirt to come back in the M/L size.

Our friends have this for their kids and Evie is obsessed. Might be under the tree at Christmas :)

These don't look like much, but they're actually really cool! Evie always plays with them when we go to Barnes and Noble.

Just got this lipstick. In my mind, it's expensive, but it's the best color for me I've ever had. Love it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Awkward and Awesome

This pretty much sums up Awkward and Awesome, am I right?  Grandi with her granddaughters.  Too cute.

-Evie knows one body part: bellybutton. She is VERY interested in bellybuttons, and asks to see everyone's. But unfortunately that's not the awkward part.  I was changing her diaper the other day while my sister and her 4-year old were over. Evie was crying "bebuh!" BEBUH!" for me to show her my bellybutton. Sophia said "don't worry auntie, I'll show her my bellybutton." I finish up the diaper change, look up, and my niece is showing Evie her nipple. Hmmm.

-I'm in the checkout lane at the grocery store with approximately 127 items in the cart. Holding Evie on my hip (because she decided she's over riding in the cart) and I'm going from cart to checkout lane, cart to checkout lane unloading everything one by one, left-handed...and then I realize Evie has been gently patting the older man in front of us on the back. For, oh, who really knows how long. "Oh! You're saying hi! That's nice, Evie!" as you awkwardly remove your daughter's hand from the stranger.

-Evie and I leave today to meet up in Nashville with Kemi. I can't wait to see him! It's been 12 days!

-Most evenings before bedtime Evie and I will sit on the floor of her room and read books.  And lately, she will sometimes just abruptly stop looking at the book, come over to me, and just crawl into my lap and lay her head on my legs, or put her arms around my neck. I could not love her any more.