Aug 6, 2014

Cloth Diaper Thoughts

     My brain hurts. Who knew there were so many cloth diaper options? I mean, seriously. I just need someone to tell me what to do, I'm all ears! So far I've come to the conclusion that you just have to find what works best for you. The only issue with that advice is how do you go about finding what works best when you've never done it before? I mean where does a newbie start?
     I'm definitely looking to do cloth diapers for a couple of reasons. One, they are budget friendly. Two, they seem to be healthier for baby's bum, breathable, un-chemical, and helpful when potty training. Three, they are budget friendly. Can I say that again? They are cheaper! Too much? :) But with that being said (multiple times) I still want cloth diapers that are durable and low maintenance which includes being relatively easy to wash.
     With all those criteria in mind, I think I've settled on prefolds. Yes they take a little more time when actually diapering baby, but the washing seems more manageable to me, and besides being the cheapest cloth diaper option, the laundry process is a key factor! I'm bad at laundry on a good day, I don't need something that requires tons of extra steps and that takes forever to dry. I need a two wash cycle, dry in the dryer diaper and it seems like prefolds fit that bill.
     Now the question is, which prefold? Gosh, I think my eyes are permanently crossed from reading 20 or so blogs and articles on this topic for the past three hours. And reading reviews really screws up your thinking. No one diaper is 100% recommended. China or India? Bleached or unbleached? 100% cotton or some with polyester? One size or multiple sizes? Hmm on a normal pregnancy night this dilemma would call for a huge milkshake. Unfortunately that can't happen (due to my horrible decision to forgo sugar) so I'll sip my water instead and vigorously pin all of these articles to my growing "Cloth Diaper" board. On a more positive note, my mom has a friend whose daughter uses prefolds, I have acquired her number in the hopes of getting some of my questions answered!
     Even though this night seems frustrating, I have to say it has been enlightening. I haven't reached a decision yet, but I feel myself getting closer. Closer is good, closer is progress, and progress means that my inner nesting self that tends to get freaked out can tone down for the time being. 33 weeks, I still have time to make a decision and purchase what I need. Not tons of time, but enough.
     Writing all of this is definitely making me think I need to reign in the overwhelmed portion of myself before it gets out of hand. Having a baby isn't going to limit the amount of decisions I will need to make. If anything, it will add more to my plate! So learning to manage these decisions in a one step at a time fashion is a must. In my opinion, this means the research part of this decision is pretty much covered, time to move on to another phase! So with that in mind, I think I will hangup the cloth diaper topic for tonight and lift my glass of water in the air and make a toast. Here's to tomorrow, hopefully some sleep and a conversation with a knowledgable cloth diapering mom will provide some clarity.

Aug 5, 2014

Trusting God: What do you do when your head says one thing and your heart screams another?

     I've been seriously pondering this question and I'm pleading with God to provide more clarity. It's true that our head is there to make the smart, unemotional and calculated decisions at times, but what is it about the heart and its passions that makes it so hard not to make decisions from gut feelings? And how do you know which is right? How do you know that choosing one is best over choosing the other? Its a predicament filled with angst I tell you!
     Gray and I want to be exactly where God would have us. We so want to be doing the things God is calling us to. We so want our lives and our passions to be informed by God and his gospel. And we so wish his speaking would be loud and clear! It's in these moments that I think, maybe His answer is clear, we just aren't listening.
     As of now, here is my conclusion, there are circumstances and choices surrounding each decision. It is worth taking a look at these things as well as your prayer life and what you were asking God to do to see how this answer fits into the grand scheme of things. I love these words from a dear friend. "Remember, YOU can't screw this up, God is in control." Whether choosing to go against your head or your heart is an act of trust. So Gray and I find ourselves trusting that God knows what decision we will make and that living for him means always being in His will. He directs our path. And even though it seems like this decision is "all on us," it isn't.
     Have you ever made a hard decision, one that inevitably meant going against either your head or your heart? I'd love to hear your stories.

Jul 31, 2014

A Little Maternity Shoot.

     Photo credit goes to Melody Cato, she so kindly took these shots while she was here last week! I'm so happy with how they turned out, they will be fun to look back on no matter how big I look. ;) P.S. I'm not the most confident person in front of the camera, I'm sure many of you can relate!
     I'm currently 32 weeks which means I have roughly 8-10 weeks to go, thats considerably less considering the 40 you start out with. Am I nervous? Sure, but I try not to think about it. The nursery is coming along just fine and my classes are preparing me as best as possible. Knowledge is power, that's the mantra I keep repeating to myself. The more I know the more relaxed I feel about bringing this little boy into the world. Here's to hoping all that knowledge doesn't get thrown out the window when the day of reckoning arrives! Second mantra I keep repeating, women give birth everyday, and they live to tell about it. Concrete evidence right there that I can do it!
     I have a couple more projects to finish before Baby Cato makes his grand entrance, and I'm starting to get that nesting itch thats telling me to knock them out sooner rather than later. So hopefully this next week I will have all of my crib sheets sewn and all of the baby clothes washed, sorted, and labeled, and a good grasp on meal planning for the after baby months. I need to make returns from the shower and purchase cloth diapers (yes, I'm one of the crazy ones). I'm also trying to schedule relatives as best as can be done without knowing when this little one will arrive. I'm hoping to spread out the help as long as possible! A couple other things to take care of; find a pediatrician (I need to ask some Greenville mommas who they recommend) and create the birth announcement so that all that needs to be done is a quick picture insert and some easy printing, the stamps are bought and the address list is put together. Hmm writing this list is making me slightly anxious, I hope I'm not forgetting anything . . .
     In other news, Gray and I have decided to do something a little crazy. I've been giving into my sweet tooth a little too much (as in a lot too much). So in an effort to help myself and Baby Cato now, and my future postpartum self, I will attempt to fast from sugar for the rest of my pregnancy. Crazy idea? Most definitely. Attainable? I'm going to try my darn hardest. I am allowing honey for tea and for my morning oatmeal, I'm really just looking to eliminate all those ice cream runs and candy binges! Wish me luck!
     Anything else to tell? I think I've covered most everything. . . so without further ado, the happy expectant couple! hehe :)

Jul 30, 2014

A baby shower with friends.

     This past Saturday, some of my friends hosted a "Cat in the Hat" baby shower for me and Baby Cato. It was the cutest thing ever. From the decorations to the menu and the games, it couldn't have been more perfect (and Pinterest worthy)! It was so fun to eat and talk and celebrate, it definitely ended too soon! I'm so thankful for Katekate, Jamie, Joy and Linz, they put so much thought and effort into making the day so special. Baby Cato is one spoiled boy!
     Here are some photo's from the day. Please take note of that watermelon/fruit salad baby carriage from Joy, how creative!
The cake was fantastic! It got several rave reviews that also included pleas for the recipe and pleas for take home slices. Best cake from a box recipe I've ever tasted (Katekate definitely substituted in some secret ingredients)!
The decorations included a pennant garland using pages from a Dr. Suess book and a fun fabric garland in primary colors! Jamie truly outdid herself. And the punch from Linz was so tasty, especially when sipped through stripped straws out of glass bottles!
Unfortunately I didn't get pictures with everybody, but the guest list included (for my own memory); Katelyn Gray, Joy Hill, Lindsay Mangham, Le'nore Sims, Lisa Cosgrove, Kaitlin Hogan., Ana Chappell, Jenny Koury, Naomi McLaughlin, Rose Greene, Gianna Miller, Jen Malone (her daughters, Caroline and Kate), Carolyn and Dallis Kennedy, Tricia DeBoer, Abi and Pax Little, Kristin Siegel, Allison Smith, Rachel Nieme and Melanie Stoner. 
How cool is this piece of art from Kristin! I'm so excited to hang it in the nursery. 
So many great gifts! I love that we decided to have people bring books instead of cards, our home library is starting out well stocked!
My heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness. Such a special day with some incredible friends!

Jul 29, 2014

This is real life.

     Real life is working three jobs and coming home exhausted. Real life is friend visits and relative visits and birthing classes and doctors appointments, unkempt houses, and dogs who require attention. And yes, real life is hating to mow and letting the grass get super high. It probably should have been mowed three weeks ago, but in real life, sometimes things like yard work get pushed back. Real life isn't perfect and I like to remember that because social media can sometimes lead you to believe the exact opposite.

Jul 28, 2014

4 Mission Street

     And so we come to the second installment in the 4 Mission Street Series. Today I'm showcasing the Craft Room. A room solely for my own enjoyment and creative endeavors. I don't think Gray will be letting me have a craft room quite so large in our next house, so I'm soaking it in now! I love the character in this room. There are so many unique features and with a large window and door, the wall space was fun to work with!
     The craft room is where I have our large gallery wall. I showed you how to put some prints on canvas in THIS POST. I am so happy with how it turned out, it adds so much color and life to the room!
     Some other features that have proved to be my favorite are the mirror over the faux fireplace. I found the mirror at a Habitat for Humanity Restore and painted the edges yellow to add some color. Its so large and the shape is so fun! The crates that hold my fabric were bought at A.C. Crafts, but I'm pretty sure Walmart was selling them too, and then painted with some left over paint from our last apartment. Screwing them into the wall was an interesting project and one Gray hopes never to repeat. Lets just say, that isn't drywall we were screwing into with our junior power tool. . .
     The couch in this room is really just for looks and for the dog. Since buying new furniture for our living room, Riggs has learned that certain pieces are off limits and so he has claimed what remains. I thought we had this settled until he decided to lay down on my new couch last week! Due to a series of events last week (which is a week that will go down as one of the worst in Riggin's life) he has lost his privilege to "stay out" while we are gone and instead is confined to the kitchen only. We can't risk other things being damaged so his freedom has been curbed. He's taken it pretty well considering there is only a thin rug on which to lay. Such is life Riggs, such is life.
     I've completed so many fun projects in this room and still have a many more to finish, especially before baby gets here. Next project; sewing crib sheets, I'll let you know how they turn out!

Jul 24, 2014

The mom look.

This is not a mom look . . .
 This, on the other hand, is . . . see the difference?
     I've noticed that this face is getting a lot of practice recently, and Riggs has been the prime culprit. The tilted head, the nostrils flared, the brows lowered and more together, and those wide eyes that show a little more of the white. When done correctly, its a killer face. And generally one that scares Riggs into the right course of action. It usually precedes a stern comment or command and sometimes, if he's lucky, a stomp of the foot. 
     Will my kiddo be scared of this face? I'm not sure, I think I need a little more practice. My mom had this face mastered. I mean, yowza! If you got the mom face it meant, "STOP, IMMEDIATELY, whatever you were doing and seriously cower or show some remorse for whatever got you in this predicament to begin with!"It was not a face to be taken lightly. It's use was varied, but I remember it most clearly in public situations. It only took one look to get all four ducklings back in order and if not, you could rest assured a painful pinch on the upper arm would soon follow (and possibly more punishment when we got home). 
     Even though that face scared me, and I naively thought to myself, "oh I'll never use that face with my kids," its a face that I can't avoid. Has any mom successfully avoided it? It might not be quite like mine, but it will have the same desired effect. Even though I thought I'd get away from using it, I have to be honest and say in my limited experience, it has definitely proven itself useful. Especially in most all of my babysitting endeavors and even now with Riggs. Its effective and that alone has motivated me to practice. I don't plan on raising a hooligan (I mean who does) so I might as well get crackin'. I'll be adding this exercise to the 300 squats and pelvic rocks I'm doing each day and hopefully by the time this little one arrives, I'll be ready!! Watch out baby Cato, you better behave!

Jul 23, 2014

Hiking Ohio Chronicles

     Pictures are truly one of life's ultimate time travel devices. They transport us back to different places, different people and unique experiences. They make it easier to not only remember the sights, sounds, and smells, but the emotions and conversations from a particular moment in time. And no matter how nostalgic you are or are not, there is beauty in being able to sift through a raged box, view a dusty reel, or scroll though an online collage and remember times that passed too quickly but times that added immeasurable value to your own life. I really love these pictures for that reason. They remind me of home and family and gosh darn good times! Hiking with my sisters and my grandma in God's creation genuinely makes my heart happy.