April Fool’s Day 2015

Are we going to play an April Fool’s Day trick this year? Maybe…

April Fool's Day 2015

Happy April Fool’s Day!!!

Franklin Goose + A Cloth Diaper Giveaway

In our previous Adventures in Cloth Diapering posts, we have talked about the beginning of CDing, how the first two days went, lessons we have learned so far, and how the first two weeks went. I wanted to also dedicate an entire post to the store and experts that we have turned to time and time again to help us feel comfortable, confident, and actually attempt this new adventure: Franklin Goose.

If you have read my other posts on CDing, you will know that I have mentioned this store and the help we’ve received from them many times. I can’t stress enough how they have been such a huge reason for our success in CDing at the age of 15 months! I’m thrilled to be partnering with them for some posts (and more to come in the future) and a giveaway today! So without further ado, here is some information and pictures from Franklin Goose:

Franklin Goose Logo

Location: 3401 West Cary St. Richmond, VA 23221
Website: http://www.franklingoose.com
Phone: 804.355.0595
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / YouTube / Blog

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Franklin Goose is a boutique-like store in Richmond’s Carytown district that focuses on customer service and education first and foremost (can you tell why I love them already?). While not an incredibly large space, it’s truly incredible how much merchandise they have.

They have an incredible assortment of teething toys and products (which was the reason why we originally found them months ago).

Their baby bath and care products are fantastic as well- a great variety of types and prices.

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I love the toy selection that they have. Again for it being a small store, they have picked out really versatile and fun toys. I love the brands that they have picked to feature in the store as well- good, reliable toys that will last. Their bath toys are precious as well! I always have to control myself or I would go overboard shopping from here.

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They even have a clothing section with beautiful sleepers and outfits. Now that Audrey and David aren’t growing as fast, I think we are going to have to get a special outfit from here. I love the idea of them in organic material!

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Their bedding section is fantastic as well, as they have a wonderful selection of Aden + Anais and other brands as well. I seriously want to just crawl up here and take a mommy nap.

I go absolutely crazy over books, and the ones that they have picked out here are simply perfect. Unique, creative, and so perfect for many different ages.

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Their cloth diapering room is just incredible (and I will admit, a little overwhelming at first). More on their cloth diapering room later.

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Keep circling around, and there is a train table to keep the little shoppers entertained (oh so important).

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Then there is a feeding supplies area with highchairs, and carseats and strollers along the back and side wall.

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Up the stairs, you will find the baby wearing section, where you can try on samples and learn how to use them by someone trained and experienced.

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Back to the cloth diaper room, however. Amazing! When you come in, ask for a quick tour so you can have one of their employees point out the different sections, selections, and options. I hesitate to talk about the different areas of the CD room, because I know that I will leave something out.

There are cubby after cubby of cloth diaper covers, hybrids, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, inserts (so many different materials), prefolds, wool covers, and more. In the picture below, you can also see the additional supplies such as liners and laundry helpers.

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They also have upcycled cloth wipes, and more organic prefolds (in various materials and sizes),

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There is a wall of washable diaper pail liners and travel wet bags (so you can cloth diaper while out and about as well) as well as travel changing pads.

 

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The window has been turned into shelves where they have potty training supplies. Did you know that it’s actually easier to potty train kids that have been using cloth diapers? At least, that’s what they tell me!

 

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And to the side of the trainers, they have all of the cloth-diaper safe balms, powders, and creams.

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And they even sell wool dryer balls so you can ditch the fabric softener!

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In addition, though, they aren’t just a store. As I said at the beginning of this post, they are really a community education team. They have regular (free) classes on a variety of parent/child topics, such as Cloth Diapering 101, DIY Baby Food, Birth Talk, Dogs and Babies, Infant Massage, Babywearing, Mothering Circle, and so many more topics.

Oh, and you can create a registry as well!

If you aren’t local to Richmond, I would still highly recommend you to look up FG and use their resources (especially their blog, IG, FB page, and YouTube). Call them up and ask them questions! With the digital age we live in now, you don’t have to rely on some place local to you in order to find a dependable community or even shop. I promise you will be amazed at the level of service that you will receive with this store, even over the phone or email. When I say that they are here to help you find the solution that works best for you, that has truly been my experience.

Franklin Goose has been incredibly generous and will be giving one lucky winner the following cloth diapering package:

  • 3 Bummis prefolds (100% organic cotton) – infant size 7-20 lbs
  • 1 diaper cover, either:
    • Girl: Bummis cover – size small – 8-15 lbs
    • Boy: Imagine cover – one size – 6-35 lbs
  • 1 white Snappi

Let me just say that I have seen the difference between these organic cotton prefolds and the kind that you get from those other stores. Trust me… the material does matter when it comes to absorbency! When we use covers and prefolds, these are the exact brand that we use, and we absolutely love them! They work so well and are rather easy to learn how to put the entire diaper together.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. I did receive a sample of Bummis prefolds and fleece liners to try before hosting this giveaway.*








Adventures in Cloth Diapering: 2 Weeks In

Ok, so we haven’t been cloth diapering for a full two weeks yet, but since I started seriously playing around with the idea 2 weeks ago, I think we can call it 2 weeks (at least for the title of this post).

Adventures in Cloth Diapering- 2 Weeks In

If you were to have asked us a month ago if we would be cloth diapering, I would have sadly said, “No, it would just be too hard to learn and too expensive to do it with two of them. Plus, I just can’t handle the laundry I have now. I don’t think I could do it with cloth diaper laundry as well.”

I am so glad we decided (totally on a whim) to take the plunge and try this.

Research: While we are absolutely NOT experts, please rely on your mom and dad friends to help you at first, and then go to a trusty store (like our Franklin Goose) to fill in the gaps and get a thorough education (and also for continuing expert advice). And be prepared to ask a lot of questions. Soon, I will be posting actual information about diaper types, detergents, and other cloth diapering topics, but for now please trust me when I say that your friends will help you more than you realize. I had no idea the amount of friends that CD their kids until I posted on Facebook that our first day was an epic failure. Since then, I have some amazing mom friends that I know I can turn to immediately for help and advice.

Amount Spent (For Twins): I spent about $250-300 on diapers of all varieties. I got some covers, good cotton prefolds, and washable liners at Franklin Goose. I bought 12 GroVia all-in-one diapers off of a local buy/sell/trade cloth diapering group. I bought another 12 or so pocket diapers and inserts from a consignment sale. If you are starting out, definitely get a variety of styles and brands until you figure out what you like best.

Fail: Yes, you will have failures which will pop up as pinched skin, diaper rashes, and leak throughs. You may drop poop on the ground as you are cleaning it up, and you may throw the cloth diaper in the wrong bin. But it’s ok! We make mistakes and we get into a new habit and then we are ok!

Trial-and-Error: Again, this is where your cloth diapering store comes in. Be prepared for a couple days or weeks or trial and error as you figure it out. We were lucky and found success with pockets and then fell in LOVE with all-in-ones pretty quickly after that. But then there are questions about your water type and detergent and washing routine. So find that store (or better yet, just call Franklin Goose since they will chat with anyone ANYWHERE to help them out), call them or go in, and enjoy some mistakes or successes. Think of how many diapers you change. You will figure it out quickly.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People: While some think that CDing is “gross” or old-fashioned, ignore those haters. Surround yourself with the people that are excited for you to try this new adventure. We have been so lucky and our parents (who are the others that regularly watch our twins) have been so happy for us to try this (and willing to do it themselves). Surround yourself with the positive people. Bye-bye negativity!

Save: Oh my gosh, 1 week after we started to CD, a big order of disposable diapers from Amazon Mom came in… 3 HUGE BOXES. We contacted them right away, and sent two of them back in (keeping 1 for traveling and backup), and we LOVED getting that money back. We don’t mind changing diapers now, because we don’t see it as money out the window. In fact, it’s fun to change diapers and pick the new fashion. Just be warned, if you use disposables every now and then, you will be heavily disappointed when your child doesn’t poop in it. Oh man, that was such a waste of a disposable! 

Adventures in Cloth Diapering: Things I’ve Learned

Adventures in Cloth Diapering- Things I've Learned

 

Although we are still very much newbies in the cloth diapering world, I have learned quite a few things already:

  • Stay away from the prefolds that you can get at Babies R Us. They are cheap and don’t absorb well. They will make you want to forget you have ever heard about cloth diapering.
  • There are many different kinds of cloth diapers and systems. From AIO (all in ones) to prefolds/covers to snap-ins to FST (flour sack towels) to pockets and many more, you may have to experiment a bit to find what you like the best. And then when you think that you have figured it out, you hear about woolies for overnight and your mind explodes (in the good way, though).
  • The poop isn’t that scary. I promise you, the poop is much worse for infants/newborns than when you are changing solid-food-eating babies/toddlers. We easily pick it up with a wipe, dump it in our trash container, and then the diaper is ready to go into the wash. I know that we were convinced with CDing when we both changed our first poops, and it wasn’t bad at all.
  • The smell isn’t nearly as bad as with “sposies” (disposables). You know that smell that lets you know that you have a dirty diaper (whether pee or poop)? Yeah, you don’t have that with cloth! It’s actually quite amazing how much less it smells because we now don’t have those chemicals interacting with the waste matter.
  • Different materials absorb faster/slower than others. Now, I don’t know everything in regards to this, but I do know that there is a range of absorbency. The fastest absorbers are the synthetic fibers, microfleece, microfiber, and minky. Some of these shouldn’t go up against baby’s skin, though (scratchy or pulls too much moisture away), so check about this first.
  • Different materials absorb better than others. Again, we are still experimenting, but here is the guidance that we have received: the best absorbers are hemp, bamboo, cotton, microfiber, and minky.
  • Cleaning the diapers isn’t all that daunting. When you first get new diapers or materials, you will want to wash them thoroughly (we washed/dried our pre-folds 5 times while only needing to wash the liners once), but after that, it’s nothing more than just washing them at night. I thought I would be much more grossed out by the whole process, but it is really easy. Plus, when you come into trouble, you can rely on a CDing mama friend or an educational store (like Franklin Goose) to help you out.
  • You may have to change your detergent and definitely skip the fabric softener. We thought that our Tide Free and Clear pods would be perfect, but it turns out they are not ideal for using with cloth diapers. Also the fabric softener will actually make the material less absorbent, so it’s best to skip that step altogether.
  • You will have a couple bad days before you have some good days. You will want to give up completely, but just try adjusting your routine a bit. There is definitely a learning curve, but when you have good days, it is soooo worth it.
  • You may have to use “sposies” every now and then. When you are out and about or traveling, it might just be easier to use disposable diapers. That’s ok! Just think of all of the money you are saving normally by using cloth!
  • Find a few “pre-loved” diapers to try different styles. If you properly wash your diapers, it’s fine to use hand-me-down diapers until you figure out what you like. There is nothing worse than investing hundreds of dollars in one system only to discover that you don’t like it. Try a few and then make up your mind.
  • Diaper liners can make clean-up easier. While not necessary, diaper liners are cheap, sometimes disposable, and can even add a layer of fast absorption (to get the liquid away from baby’s skin faster). They are one layer of fabric that goes between the skin and diaper. Some people buy reusable liners, some make it out of fleece (just cut and done), and some use soft paper towels like Viva brand (plain, no design).
  • Don’t be scared of stains. While we haven’t tested this method, we will be sunning our diapers to help get rid of stains as soon as the sun decides to come out to play. I promise I’ll do a before/after!
  • Microfiber and hemp shouldn’t touch the skin. Microfiber pulls moisture away and hemp can be scratchy, so neither should touch the skin. You can wrap them in FST (flour sack towels) or prefolds or even put them in your pocket to help with absorption.
  • Fleece is great to touch the skin. There’s a reason why most of our pocket diapers have fleece inside. It pulls the moisture away quickly so that you don’t have a soggy bottom, quickly sending it to the pads or other absorbing material.
  • You will want to have a cover/diaper that is waterproof. There are some really cute “covers” that go over prefolds or inserts, but they are not waterproof. Make sure that the material has either a waterproof (PUL) side or is wool (and then treated properly).
  • Make sure to have a couple trustworthy CD communities. We have some friends who have given us great advice to get through the early hurdles of CDing, but we have also quickly come to be very reliant on Franklin Goose (yes, you will hear me talk about them over and over again), a local store that specializes in parenting education and has an incredible cloth diapering alcove. I am actually planning an entire post all about this store, because they have done so much to help us out throughout this adventure.
  • You will get a method very fast. We were terrified of the amount of laundry we would be doing or how we would clean and handle it all. It took maybe 1 or 2 days of really doing it to feel comfortable. Now, we are like pros! Plus, it helps that both Tim and I are on board with this, so we do this together, coaching each other with tips we have learned.
  • You also will stay caught up on laundry. This has always been a problem for us: we either don’t have enough clean clothes or they are all clean but haven’t been folded yet. Now, we are staying up on all of the laundry, so everything is clean! Now, if only we could get a magic elf to help us fold and hang up our clothes. But we have done a great job keeping up with the diaper laundry. After the twins go to bed, we put the diapers in the wash. Before we go to bed, they go in the dryer. In the morning, I take the basket to the playroom, and I fold and put away the diapers while Audrey and David race to put them back in the basket (their way of “helping”).
  • You will get hooked. It’s so much fun to find new, cute patterns and styles. It’s such a fun hobby for our family! When Tim changes diapers, he always picks coordinating or completely matching styles. When I change them, I go for the bright colors first. It’s actually FUN to change diapers because they get a “costume change” without having to change the entire outfit.

Things I Wouldn’t Do With a Singleton

Things I Wouldn't Do with a Singleton

No matter what your fertility history, when the doctor tells you that you are pregnant with multiples, you are shocked. Your dream of having one baby (along with all of the things you will do with that one baby) are turned upside down. Please remember, I absolutely LOVE being a Mom of Multiples. That being said, all of your expectations and thoughts of parenthood suddenly become totally different.

In one of my MOM Facebook groups recently, someone asked the group, “What are some thing that you wouldn’t dream of doing with a singleton?” It made me think and want to come up with my own list:

  • Use the word “singleton”
  • Leave a baby in the car alone (there is no way around this, but thank goodness for remote start cars)
  • Cry It Out and other sleep training methods
  • Lick a pacifier from the ground (in our house only) and then give it back to the baby
  • Let the babies go for a week with wipe-baths only
  • Depend on the stroller to go anywhere in public (no carts or just carrying babies)
  • Carry two almost-toddlers down the stairs in our house at the same time (only on my most brave and their least wiggly days)
  • Use the car’s DVD system to keep them happy/awake/quiet

 

So mamas… I want to hear what you would add to this list!

Adventures in Cloth Diapering: The First Two Days

Adventures in Cloth Diapering- The First 2 Days

Well, on our first day of CDing (last Wednesday), it was a leaky mess. Turns out those prefolds that you get from Babies R Us are really poor quality and don’t absorb at all. After a quick bit of research and help from lots of friends that also CD, we confirmed that.

So we switched back to disposable for a couple of days so I could research more and get a game plan.

Enter a child consignment sale where I found about 20 pocket diapers (various brands) and some covers for about $120. Score! I figured that it would be enough to try them out a bit more and really get a chance to see if we liked them. If not, we could always sell our stash.

Day 2 of Cloth: Let’s just say that I love the look of Audrey and David in cloth. Those big fluffy butts are just totally precious. And with the microfiber inserts, it definitely was much more absorbent. Tim and I both cleaned our first poops (the big test), and it wasn’t bad at all! I think we are hooked!

In addition, I went back in to our local cloth diapering store Franklin Goose, and they hooked me up with some amazing 100% cotton prefolds and fleece liners. They are going through the wash now, so I will be reporting on them again soon.

In the meantime, I have learned so much in the past week, such as the difference in types of cloth diapers, the varieties of methods of cleaning, various schools of thought on cloth diapering, what can/cannot touch your child’s skin, how different materials absorb, and much more.

I have also learned that it’s really important to have a few trusted people and communities to go to with questions. I have read in forums about using bleach to clean diapers, but something about it made me very uneasy. Even if it’s highly diluted and gets washed afterwards, it just didn’t feel right. The whole point of our family CDing was to get away from chemicals. So why would I introduce something that harsh into our diapering?

After talking to Sheri at Franklin Goose, I felt much better about my decision to skip using bleach. Over time it would break down the diapers, causing us to buy more. Now, if the STORE that SELLS these cloth diapers is encouraging us NOT to buy more, then I feel like I can trust their advice. Instead, Sheri offered that if anyone has questions, we should not hesitate to call and ask questions. She said that they have customers from states away that will call in to ask questions, and they love helping out whenever possible. Customer service is such a big aspect of the shopping experience for me. I will happily pay a little more for good service and good quality!

Stay tuned for more on our #adventuresinclothdiapering

Adventures in Cloth Diapering: A Beginning

Adventures in Cloth Diapering- A

Before I got pregnant with our twins, I dreamed of cloth diapering. But I didn’t want to clean the poop. There is a service here in our area that will pick up and clean your soiled prefold diapers so you don’t have to worry about it. That seemed perfect for us!

Then when I found out we were having twins, I quickly put aside the dream of cloth because I understood that I would have a lot on our plate to get used to two babies at once instead of just a singleton. That’s ok! I was being totally realistic.

And then I fell in love with Young Living essential oils. It was my second step into crunchy-dom, as I was already making the majority of the twins’ baby food at that point (about 6-8 months old at that time). I loved being able to have a more natural and chemical-free environment in our house. I became even crunchier when I turned the love of EOs into my One Breath at a Thyme business.

Then, a few days ago, my cloth dreams resurfaced when I was talking to an online group of mommies about their babies and the metallic smell of their child’s wet disposable diapers. Someone spoke about that probably being the chemicals from the diaper reacting to the urine. I realized very quickly that I knew that smell all too well. Ew. That was not what I wanted for my family.

But our babies are 15 months old. Who knows how much longer they will be in diapers! 4 months? 2 years? I couldn’t go out and buy all new diapers for them! So instead, I decided that we would work with what we have already and purchase the bare minimum.

We have about 60 prefold diapers that we used as burp cloths when the babies were younger. 30 each. That will do to start! Then I just needed to get covers. I went to a local cloth diaper and all-things natural store called Franklin Goose (Shout out FG! Love you guys!) and got a quick tutorial. With 3 covers (1 main one for each child + 1 extra) and 2 Snappi fasteners, I was ready to start!

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We had some fun last night (the night before the adventure started) with “pretending” to wear our cloth diapers. Hopefully you saw our silliness on Instagram!

 

 

 

 

And then, today the Adventures in Cloth Diapering began!

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I promise we will update as we get the hang of what we are doing with the wipes and the prefolds and get more experience! For now, I’m sure I’m doing a hundred things wrong, so I’d rather wait until I get a better feel of it.

Do you have any advice for us as we tackle this new adventure?

15 Months Old!

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While we haven’t had an actual Audrey/David blog update since Audrey and David turned 1, they have learned to do so much in the past 3 months! We can honestly say that they are little humans, totally different in their likes and wants, requesting (and sometimes demanding) things from us and each other, and forming their personalities that will carry with them into their childhood and adulthood.

Audrey

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Games

  • Mommy Jungle Gym
  • Airplane/Escalator/Elevator
  • Where’s Audrey?
  • Charge!
  • Interior Designer

Words

  • Bye bye
  • Hi
  • Dat (What’s that?)
  • Dada (daddy)
  • Mama (mommy)
  • Zoom! (airplane sound)
  • Sign language: more, milk, airplane, drink, no, yes
  • Animal noises: quack, moo, baa, (spit) for a llama

Favorite Food

  • All

Other Notables

  • Gives David food, toys, her milk if he is unhappy or might be unhappy
  • Smells flowers in books
  • Pushes over the chairs in the playroom to make jungle gyms
  • When she gets frustrated, will scrunch up face and scream (Popeye face) and then quickly get over it
  • Elmo. Loves Elmo.
  • Fish faces and duck faces (sometimes with kisses attached)
  • Puts hands in the air when we yell “touchdown!”

David


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Games

  • Where’s David? (extremely quiet so we literally have to search for him)
  • Charge!
  • Pick a book (wants to be picked up and held so he can check out all of the books to find just the right one)
  • Pop (tries to pop his finger out of his mouth)
  • Position the action figures

Words

  • “Puppa” (puppy)
  • “Up” (pick me up so we can look at that picture)
  • “Ma” (milk)
  • “Ah ah” (sound a monkey makes)
  • Sign language: more, milk, drink

Favorite Food

  • Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Banana

Other Notables

  • Favorite books: Hop on Pop, This is Not a Pumpkin, all Thomas books
  • Loves Sesame Street
  • Puts hands in the air when we yell “touchdown!”
  • Jumps on the bed
  • Will do the signs for “5 Little Monkeys” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”
  • Favorite stuffed animal: Jordan the monkey

 

Up-Themed Birthday Party – A Preview

I’m so thrilled to share a couple photos from the twins’ first birthday party! Even more pictures will be up on The Wise Baby as soon as we get them all!

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And some of the details (there were many more):

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How To Clean a Doll’s Hair – FAIL

Fail Cleaning Doll's Hair

When we went back to our hometown for Thanksgiving, I picked up one of my old Cabbage Patch dolls, Nellie, because I thought that Audrey might like to have a talking doll that looked like her.

Nellie, however, needed to go to the salon for some serious help on her hairdo. I looked up ways to fix dolls hair, and I can across one post that seemed easy enough (“How to Clean and Restore Doll Hair” by The Krazy Coupon Lady).

So I took a quick before shot,

Nellie Hair Before
filled the sink with a little fabric softener, and gave Nellie a hair washing.

Nellie Hair Fabric Softener Conditioner

As I worked through the knots with a comb, I realized that we had a serious problem on our hands. Nellie’s hair was in awful shape. Because she had electronics in her head, I had to be careful not to soak her hair up to her scalp. Yet I also had trouble combing through the knots. They were impossible to get through without pulling out her hair.

Clump of Doll Hair

Now I know why all of my Barbies had short haircuts. Knots in a doll’s hair  = pull out the scissors.

No, I didn’t cut Nellie’s hair short. We will let Audrey do that in a couple years if she wants to. For now, Nellie just has a very clean and shiny, but very knotty hairdo.

Nellie Hair After