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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Calvin's First, No Wait, Second Easter

As I was about to write "Calvin's First Easter" in his baby book the other day I realized that since my little chicken made his arrival on Easter Sunday of last year, this year is actually his second Easter even before his first birthday!

On Easter last year we were celebrating and giving thanks for Calvin's safe arrival into the world. This year we had more traditional Easter celebrations... an egg hunt, bunny photo ops, a church worship service, and a big family meal.

We started the weekend with a big Easter carnival at Golden Gate Park where Calvin got to do his first egg hunting and met the Easter bunny. After our picnic lunch, Calvin also visited some animals in the petting zoo.

After leaving the carnival, we walked around the park a bit and took some more pictures.

We were all exhausted after our day at the park and we took a big family nap when we got home!

Early Sunday morning, we went to mass with my grandmother. It was the first time we'd tried bringing Calvin to a church service in a few months and we weren't sure if he'd stay calm and quiet. He was a wiggly thing and the "baby room" was full, so James stood in the back with him for most of the service, and when he got really fussy James eventually had to take him to the car and give him a bottle. It was his nap time by then anyway.

We went home and had a late breakfast with my grandmother, then started cooking our afternoon meal. James cooked a roast and I made veggies and rice for sides. I had set the table with an Easter display that included cupcakes I'd baked the night before. Some of my cousins came over for a late Easter lunch and stayed to play games and visit. We never manage to get very many pictures of the cousins because we are having so much fun eating and playing and hanging out!

Such an awesome and exhausting weekend! Feeling tired, but very blessed and thankful. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Diaper Renovation

Bumgenius Before & After

We decided to use cloth diapers for Calvin and wash them ourselves rather than use a service. We picked this option mainly to save money in the long run, especially since we will have two in diapers soon. We still put Calvin in disposable diapers at night because they are more absorbent, but during the day cloth works great. At first we were using cloth diapers borrowed from a friend whose son had grown out of them and teeny tiny Calvin fit into those for several months. When he finally did outgrow them, we looked into buying some of our own.

After doing a little diaper research, we decided that we really wanted Bumgenius brand diapers. They had great reviews on several websites and forums. They're "all in ones" which means that they basically go on like a disposable diaper, though they do have two parts: the outer cover and a liner that slides into a pocket down the middle. The liners are really absorbent, and the covers have a soft moisture-wicking inside so that the part that touches the baby's tushie feels dry and comfy even when the liner is soaked.

Since they're so great, of course they're expensive. At $18 a pop, it was tempting to go with cheaper pre-fold diapers. After some shopping around we found a listing for them on Craigslist. A family was selling 64 Bumgenius 3.0 diapers (in blue, green, white, pink, and purple) plus 20 "refresher kits" which have new Velcro pieces and elastic bands for fixing up worn out diapers. The refresher kits sell for $1 each. We bought the lot from them for $350, which ends up being around $5/diaper.

Here's the catch: Most of the diapers definitely needed refreshing! The family had 2 kids, a boy who had used  the blue, green, and white ones for a couple of years and a girl who had used the pink and purple ones, but not for as long because she "didn't like them." (I don't see how a baby could not like these diapers!) The blue, green, and white ones were really worn out... the Velcro didn't really hold any more and the elastics were stretched out. The pink and purple ones were usable, but starting to show wear.

So Calvin has been wearing pink and purple diapers for the past couple of months while I have taken on the project of "refreshing" the other diapers. Why not just leave him in the pinks and purples? Well, the elastics on those are stretched out too and I know we'll need tighter elastics for Baby Brother while he's really little (since they're adjustable, both boys will be able to share diapers!), plus I decided to take the opportunity to upgrade all the diapers to snaps like the newer Bumgenius 4.0 version because snaps won't wear out like Velcro.

Here are some pics from this project:

Before: Bumgenius 3.0

Velcro removed with a seam ripper 

Snaps added and elastic replaced

Before & After!

The new elastics make a big difference. I don't want any leaky diapers!

Inside view: comfy lining

I watched some YouTube videos for help and I did all the sewing for the elastics by hand because I don't have a sewing machine. I don't really think it would be faster with a sewing machine, but the stitching would be stronger I guess. The hardest part was getting the hang of using the snap press pliers to put the snaps on.

It's been two months and I've only done about 10 diapers! Yikes! I am not planning to redo all 64. If I did all the blue and green ones that would be about 24. I think that will be enough diapers even for two boys since we can wash them as often as we need to. If I have more time before Baby Brother arrives, I might do some of the white ones too. Then we'll probably re-sell the pinks and purples for cheaper.

Was the price worth all the work? I try to tell myself yes. I better stop blogging and go work on some more diapers!

Monday, March 25, 2013

TJ's Picnic

Pancakes in bed is probably my favorite weekend tradition at our house (obviously!), but it has been a hard one to do since Calvin's arrival. We tried to pull it off this past weekend, but by the time I got Calvin fed, got the pancakes made, set up Calvin with some toys in his crib to play with, and got back in bed to enjoy breakfast with James, we barely had time to finish eating before Calvin got fussy and needed to be put down for a nap which meant that James and I got kicked out of the bedroom (which we all share). Not as relaxing and indulgent as it used to be.

But maybe one day the boys can have pancakes in bed with us (what a syrupy mess that will be I'm sure!)... and then that probably won't last long before they will ditch us in favor of something like Saturday morning cartoons (is that still a thing?).

Meanwhile, now that James has Officially Completed the Requirements of his PhD, we have been able to dust off some of our other weekend traditions like hiking and, for James, homebrewing. This weekend (after the pancakes in bed attempt) we enjoyed another favorite tradition of mine: our TJ's picnic! (TJ's as in my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's).

Rather than picking up deli sandwiches or preparing picnic food at home, we just pick up a few favorite items from Trader Joe's to make our picnic. I guess what makes it feel like a tradition is that we always get the same basic supplies:

- a loaf of sourdough bread
- a tub of TJ's bruschetta sauce
- a couple of different cheeses (this time we got mozzarella and Jarlsberg)
- some kind of meat or two (this time we just got nitrite-free turkey for me because I'm pregnant, but usually we get turkey and salami)
- fruit (we went with strawberries and plums)
- a bar of dark chocolate (we forgot this one this time! darn it!)

In the pre-pregnancy and pre-baby days that list would also include a bottle of red wine... maybe one day it will make it back on the list.

For Calvin, we brought some applesauce, cheerios, and crackers. We also shared bites of mozzarella and turkey with him.

Calvin definitely brought his appetite to the picnic! He ate plenty of applesauce and cheese... and he got to enjoy his new favorite food: Ritz crackers! Yum :)

Tahoe Pics II

Another great trip to Lake Tahoe a couple of weeks ago... minus poor Autumn who was sick and her mama who stayed home with her to take care of her. James tried snowboarding for the first time with Matt and declared via text that Snowboarding >> Skiing. Translation: he loved it.

The weather was relatively warm that weekend, so there was no snow other than up on the slopes. At the condo, once again, the grown-ups played board games while the Calvin and Sagan played with their toys and took their naps like good little boys. One afternoon everyone except me went out so that the babies could get some fresh air and outdoor playtime. I stayed behind with a headache. The downside of the trip for me was that I experienced my first migraine :(

Here are some pics (mostly of the kiddos) from our weekend trip.

Monday, March 11, 2013

On the Trail Again

B.C. (Before Calvin) James and I used to do kind of a lot of hiking. We live in such a great place for outdoorsy hobbies: there are tons of beautiful trails nearby! But over the past year we haven't really been on many hikes... and it's not even because of Calvin it's more because of James' injury last year (motorcycle accident - yikes) and The PhD Dissertation and Defense (double yikes). But now, thankfully, James is healed up, the defense is defended, the dissertation is written (awaiting final word from The Committee) and we finally have some free weekend time to get back to the great outdoors.

A couple of weeks ago we went on a beach and hillside hike in Montara with some friends - complete with babies in tow! We stopped for lunch on a grassy spot overlooking the ocean and let the babies crawl around and nom on some carrots and baby food (Calvin also sampled some blades of grass).

Glimpse of my 21 week preggers belly!

That looks yummy. Imma have that?

Get your own carrot, Calvin.

You guys! This stuff is so weird!

The next weekend James, Calvin and I went on another hike a little farther south near Crystal Springs Reservoir. We had some gorgeous sunny weather to enjoy.

I love Calvin in this sun hat! 

Following the yellow brick road...

Our hike led us to this little park around the Water Temple.

Belly at 22 weeks
It was so nice to be out hiking again! We are hoping to keep it up in the weeks to come.