#TBT: Greatest Gifts

Sometimes the greatest gifts are the ones that are free. Last weekend, we were in Cleveland with family, and my cousin Jessie and her daughter flew in from California. She brought me this bag that she had… I’m sure she found it at my grandmother’s house after she passed away years ago. It also had one of Grandma’s scarves in it.

TBT Free Gifts

I don’t know what meant more… that my cousin saved it to give to me (knowing how much it would mean to me) or that my grandmother had kept this cheap bag with a picture of the two of us for all these years. Thank you, Jessie, for the wonderful gift!

A Month of Gratitude: Naptime and Birthdays

It’s late, but I really want to post things that I’m grateful for today. This will be brief though (you can tell I’m tired because I’m not going to be wordy). Since I didn’t post yesterday, I wanted to post two things I’m grateful for today: naptime and birthdays.

Moms, you know what I’m talking about! We go through weeks or months of struggling with naps. Just when we think we get it figured out, your kids will decide not to nap on a day that you need rest. But when you get a good naptime, it’s sooooo glorious.

And as for birthdays, today is my awesome nephew’s birthday. I can’t believe that he is 8 today and going into 2nd grade. It seems like yesterday that my brother called and woke me up to let me know that I was going to be an aunt. We rushed in to our hometown so that we could hold L for the first time later that day. How lucky that we can celebrate something so wonderful as birthdays.

A Month of Gratitude - DoyleDispatch.com

Do you want to participate in A Month of Gratitude? You can either comment on each post or write something on your own, tagging it with #monthofgratitude. Let’s see if we can start something special!

Surviving Toddler Allergy Testing

Well, we did it! David survived his marathon of allergy testing today. I was so proud of my 20-month-old baby boy. He did so well through all of it! Here’s some background:

David and Audrey were exclusively breastfed from birth until about 4-5 months old. I got sick around this time with a stomach bug, and my supply seriously dwindled, so we started supplementing with formula once every few days, only as needed. We found that this did a number on A & D’s stomachs when we didn’t have a regular routine with the formula, so after a few months, we did one bottle of formula a day, while still breastfeeding the rest of the time. We also introduced solid foods at 4 months old, per the suggestion of our pediatrician.

Around this time, we also started to see some rough skin patches on David. It wasn’t a lot, but it definitely was noticeable. We treated it with lotion, and we kept it contained, but it didn’t totally go away.

Last fall (about a year old), we noticed that David was scratching his ankles to the point of bleeding, and so we used lots and lots of creams, lotions, and even some steroid cream to treat it. It would go away temporarily, but it never fully healed.

Fast forward to this summer (about 18 months old). We started seeing that rough skin in more places along his legs, especially the ankles, back of his knees, and inside his elbows. We wondered if it was heat rash, but our pediatrician thought it was just eczema (keep it moist with lotions and the rest).

Then, just about a week ago, his legs erupted and were completely covered in red, raw, irritated inflammation. It was on his back and stomach too. He itched everywhere. He scratched so hard on his chest that he has a scar along his sternum. When it only seemed to be getting worse over the weekend, we went back to the doctor. When the pediatrician took one look at him, she recommended that we get allergy testing.

That was Monday. I was able to get an appointment for two days later… today.

IMG_5025

So, this morning at 7 AM, David and I left for our 7:15 appointment (Ok, well, if I’m going to be real, we left at 7:10 and got there at 7:20). This would be the longest amount of time that David and Audrey have ever been separated. I was actually more worried about that than the testing itself.

IMG_5033

Once we got there and got David’s height (33 inches) and weight (26 lbs), we met with the allergist, a sweet woman who used to be a pediatrician (great bedside manner). Side note: David fell in love and cried when she left the room. In talking to her, we came up with the list of what we would test (55 different possibilities). We gathered our gear and went to the testing room, where I took his shirt off and put on a baby gown with the Looney Toon characters.


IMG_5037

 

David was not a fan, and we ended up letting him go shirtless.

Once they had prepped the test, they came in and drew on his back. I had the iPad going with The Muppets, so he only squirmed from the tickle of the pen once.

IMG_5040

Then, when we were ready to begin, I sat on the table, he sat in my lap facing me, and we had two helpers: 1 on each side holding an arm and leg each. I have never seen someone poke someone so fast. Over 55 “scratches” on the back in under 2 minutes.

IMG_5045

David cried, but he didn’t thrash his head around or move at all. He was such a trooper. And when it was over, we had to wait for 20 minutes. My instructions were to make sure he didn’t touch or scratch his back.

IMG_5061

So we watched The Muppets. And then the nurse brought in a popsicle for David (his first since all the many I had while I was pregnant with him). He LOVED it, and we quickly got the second half. Even if it was loaded with sugar, he deserved such a treat.

IMG_5050

He scratched his chest constantly, but I figured it was better that he do that than try to scratch his back.

IMG_5051

After 5 minutes

 

Then after 20 minutes, we got the results. The baseline was a good strong measurement, so they were happy that the results would be accurate.

David is allergic to watermelon and mushroom (two plusses on the sheet).

He also shows signs of being allergic to coconut, turkey, peanuts, soybeans, grass mix, and weed mix.

When we finally were able to meet with the doctor again, she said, “Well I hope that this gives you some answers.” But it didn’t. I felt just as stuck. I mean, out of that list, he hasn’t eaten any of that in the past couple weeks. At least, not that I thought. I was convinced that it would be milk (he has really upped his milk and yogurt intake in the last month).

Then, as we talked, she explained that soy is in so much food. Even just a slight irritation to it could trigger something like what we are seeing with David. So it’s entirely possible that the soy did the trick. Also, the grass and weed mixes could come into play (we didn’t test all of the environmental allergens, as we wanted to focus on the food and dog/cat). Then, I had been using a homemade lotion with coconut oil in it. Typically, we should be able to use something topically if he is allergic to it (since these showed up as minor allergies), but with that on top of a reaction already, it probably did worsen everything.

So now comes the elimination. For the next 10 days, we don’t eat any of those. We have a special lotion and cream. He will have a steroid for the worst skin spots. He will be on an allergy medication. Honestly, it’s everything my crunchy and natural-mindedness is against. But I also know that we need to figure this out. So we will follow this advice, try it out, and then we can go from there once we see if this helps. After 10 days of elimination, we will have 4 days of a binge (or as much as we can have a picky toddler binge on certain foods).

After I got home, we looked through the pantry. We had armful after armful of food that contained soy. The bread that he eats every day (and has recently started craving) has soy in it. Two brands of his favorite crackers. The mac and cheese that he gobbles up. It started making sense. FINALLY I felt like we have figured it out.

So now we just wait and see. And thankfully Cheerios are still on the “can have” list.

Thank you so much to ALL of our friends and family who have offered supports and love and thoughts. I can’t tell you how much it means to us. We have been so blessed to have such healthy children, and this is truly the first “big” thing that we’ve had to go through. Thankfully, I’ve been through allergy testing, so I knew what to expect, and David handled it like a champ. He was so happy and cute and talkative and easy-going. He loved his mommy-David morning, despite the 2 minutes of pain. I was so proud of my big “baby boy.”

And just to see how quickly he bounced back, here is a video of him after we got back home.

How to Have a Successful Yard Sale

YARD SALE Tips and Tricks - DoyleDispatch.com

 

Spring and summer is the prime time in our family to clean our our closets, shelves, and garage. And that means YARD SALE! Normally, our neighborhood will have a multi-family sale which usually brings in lots of traffic. We weren’t able to participate this year, but we still decided to hold our own sale. Here are some tips that we have learned from years of organizing and selling at yard sales:

Family Yard Sale No Address

1. Advertisement: Make sure to advertise far and wide. Take out an ad in your paper, put a notice up on Craigslist, talk it up on your local buy/sell groups, and plaster it on Facebook. Then, put up a sign (or a few, depending on where you live) in front of your neighborhood at least 4 days prior to the yard sale, but no more than 6 days (you don’t want them to think that it is a leftover sign from last week’s sales). We created this little ad to post on social media outlets without our address (people sent a message if they needed it), and then we had one with our address for a few select places.

2. Start cleaning out early: Don’t wait until the last minute to get and sort through your things. Sure there will be a lot of piles and boxes for a couple of weeks, but it will make for a successful and much less hectic yard sale. As a rule, anything that isn’t set out in our garage the night before the yard sale (at the latest) doesn’t go into the sale.

3. Organize into categories: We like to organize into the following categories:

  • Men Clothes (and type)
  • Women Clothes (and type)
  • Baby Clothes (and sizes/season)
  • Appliances
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Housewares
  • DIY and crafts
  • Toys and stuffed animals
  • …you get the idea

4. Hang up clothes: While it may be a hassle to get everything hung up, it is the ONLY way to sell clothes. If you put clothes on tables (even if you neatly fold them), the first person that visits the sale will mess up your organization, and no one will touch the clothes from then on. I speak from experience.

5. Get things off the ground: The only things that should be on the ground are furniture. Everything else needs to be on tables (tray tables or fold-up tables work great for yard sales). If it’s on the ground, no one will want to bend down to look closely. Put it on a table, and it’s much more convenient to shop.

6. List prices: Either have a poster board with prices or have everything labeled. Sure, people won’t look and will still ask the price, but that way you can refer to it and they know that you didn’t pick the price out of thin air. It also helps you feel more organized and ready to sell.

7. Be willing to sell for cheap: Make sure to see my welcome phrase in #9, but it’s important that you are willing to sell for cheap. If you won’t, be ok with it not selling.

8. Be ok with negotiating: This is my favorite part of yard sales, both from a buyer and seller’s perspective. This is where the fun comes in, and if you negotiate with a smile on your face, your customer will leave feeling like they got a good deal and you will have a little extra cash in your pocket.

9. Have fun: Whenever someone walked up to our yard sale, I greeted them with a big “Hi!” and followed that with saying, “Everything has to go one way or another! If it doesn’t go home with you, then we will be taking it to Goodwill. It doesn’t come back in the house.” Sometimes I would add, “We love to bundle, and the fun of yard sales is haggling. So let’s have some fun!” I always got smiles, and it let them know that we weren’t too set on any prices.

10. Stand up for your stuff: There will be some potential customers that come and either take things (Seriously, you can’t pay $1 for that Polo shirt?), want to be jerks about offering $2 total for 25 items (and pushy when you try to negotiate), or put their hands on EVERYTHING. Know your limits and where you feel comfortable going with this. Here are some stories from the yard sale trenches:

  • A man came and wanted to purchase 4 things, which we had $1 listed on each of them. He offered us $0.50. One of the items was a new-in-box wrist guard (that he was trying to hide under his other things), so I told him that I would go to $1.50, but that was it. He said, “No, 50 cents.” But I stood firm and told him that he had quite a lot there, including that wrist guard (which I pulled from the bottom of his pile so he knew that I saw his trickery.” I won out, and he got a great deal at $1.50.
  • There was a woman who grabbed about 40items of clothes (I kid you not). We put a flat price of $3 for each item of adult clothes and $5 for each jacket or coat. She had well over $300 of items if they were new. She offered $50, and I told her that according to our prices, it would be $150. We settled on $80. She got a great bargain, and I knew that if I didn’t sell to her, it was late enough in the day that they would go to Goodwill. Win for everyone.
  • Our first customers of the day were 2 mothers and 2 kids. The kids (about 8 years old) ran over to the toys and immediately wanted two things on the table and started playing. We settled on a price, and the daughter ran off to the car with the toy in her hand. I called after her, asking her to bring back the toys until they were paid for. One of the women started flailing her arms and complaining and threw the toy on the table and they stormed off. I was sorry for the woman’s reaction, but how did I know that they wouldn’t just leave without paying? Those toys later sold to a very sweet family.
  • While I was talking to a very kind family about some baby items and toys (who had a slight Spanish accent), a woman came over to us to look at the table. She started talking in a very loud voice about how they probably didn’t know what a dollar was and couldn’t understand me. How absolutely rude and uncalled for. Needless to say, I didn’t sell her anything (I would rather lose a sale than to acknowledge that type of behavior).
  • A young couple arrived at the yard sale about 35 minutes after we opened. They saw our patio set and loved it. We originally had a price of $40 for the table, chairs, and umbrella (what a bargain!). They just stood and stared at it for a good 10 minutes while we helped other customers. When we had a few minutes to chat with them, they told us that they only had $20 on them, but they could run to the bank and get $10 more, but that was as much as they could afford. We knew they wanted it, and we were more than thrilled to give it to them for $30. In fact, we would probably have settled for $10 just because of how much they wanted it (but we didn’t let them know that).
  • And although this happened years ago (at our first yard sale), I still think of this young man fondly, so I must include it in this post. When Tim and I were in college, our first “big purchase” together was a Nintendo NES game system and about 20 games. When we bought our house, we hadn’t used this system for 2 or 3 years, so we decided it was time for it to find a new home. A young man about 18 or 19 came by and just was drooling over this system. He couldn’t afford the price we put on it, but he showed us the money he had in his wallet and asked if he could get it for that. One look between Tim and me, and we knew that he was the right owner for this system. For us, yard sales are a great way of making money, but they are an even better way of connecting to people.

So, did we miss any tips that you think are important for yard sales?

My Experience at #LillyforTarget

My Experience at #lillyfortarget

As soon as the look book was released, I was thrilled about the Lilly Pullitzer collection at Target. I have for years been in love with the bright colors and beachy feel of Lilly’s pattens and clothes. I’ve tried on the dresses dozens of times (those shift dresses just aren’t meant for someone with a small waist and big hips like me), drooled over the scarves, and even bought a phone case for my first iPhone.

So I was excited to be able to find more affordable options at Target! I didn’t put the date on my calendar, I didn’t make shopping lists based on the look book. I just thought “if it’s meant to be, I’ll pick something up.”

So the morning of The Release, I woke up, rolled over, and picked up my iPhone… just like any day. I looked at Facebook and saw the first #lillyfortarget post. Someone was standing in line. Oh my! I forgot that today was release day!

It was a Sunday. Stores would open in 20 minutes. The kids were happy and not yet out of their cribs, and we all slept well the night before. I mentioned the release to Tim, and he said that if I wanted to try to head to a store, I could. He would get the kids downstairs and feed them breakfast.

So I got dressed (no shower) and did some calculating in my head. Strategically, I didn’t want to go to a Target store in the preppiest area of town. Instead, I would go to the one that was a little further away from The Prep Zone (a name that I just gave it- I’ve never heard that area of town called that before). I would have the best luck there.

I got to Target at 8:10. The parking lot was practically empty and no line. SCORE!

I got a parking spot right up in the front. SCORE!

I started walking in and saw a friend of mine from college who has two adorable and well-dressed daughters. I asked her how the sale was, and she said that it’s all gone. WHAT?

10 minutes after the store opened, and it was ALL gone.

I walked in to Target and saw the big flamingo hanging from the ceiling. And the rack underneath. And the teenage girls and women standing by it. And it was empty. They were waiting for people to return items to the rack if they decided they didn’t want it.

So, it seemed like my Lilly run was a bust. Oh well! I was a little sad, but happy to have a morning at Target where I wasn’t pushing a stroller.

So I just decided to browse around and go look at the patio furniture (we are hoping to redo our back deck soon). When I got to that section, I saw a group of women congregating and talking with overflowing carts of Lilly.

I just offhandedly said the following to them: “Are you going to keep everything that you picked? I’m a mom of twins and rarely buy anything new for my daughter, and I was hoping to get her a Lilly for this summer.”

They all said, “No,” and I totally understood.

And we exchanged a few other words about the sale and how they got everything and they were so nice!

Then one woman did the unthinkable.

“Actually, I don’t think my daughter will wear this. If this fits, you can have it.” It was a white tunic top with pink embroidery in 2T. The perfect size. I was so overwhelmed that I gave her a big hug along with a big thank you.

Then she did the unthinkable x2. “Oh, and this will be too long for her. Would it work?”

What the what? I got 2 Lilly items in the exact size I needed? That woman got another hug.

And then another woman in her group turned to someone else who had empty hands (who was evidently someone she only met that day). “You know, I really don’t need this one as well. You can have it.”

IMG_2175

As I made my way to the checkout, I realized how silly this all way. We were grown women drooling over (and in some cases crying over) clothes. I mean, really??!!!?? But then I also realized how sometimes it’s nice to treat ourselves to something a little girly, especially for those of us that are usually covered in Cheerio dust and old milk.

Once I got home, I showed Audrey her new outfits. This girly girl immediately made me put the dress on over her PJs. Have I mentioned how much I love her?

IMG_2178

And David pouted because he wanted new clothes too.

IMG_2181

When I got back home, my amazing cousin (who lives in California) posted that she had heard the buzz, gone to the Target, and gotten a few pieces that she wouldn’t be using. Oh my gosh, I jumped on that so quick! What adorableness we scored! Mommy Daughter Twinsies!

IMG_2281 (1)

 

So what did I learn from this experience?

1. Women can be cutthroat.

2. Women can also be kind and giving .

3. We should be teaching our daughters (and sons) that we can try to seize an opportunity if it comes to us, but we shouldn’t cry over sold-out-Lilly-for-Target.

Happy Memorial Day 2015

Happy Memorial Day! Thinking about those men and women (and their families) who gave the ultimate sacrifice today. Thank you for serving our country!

Memorial Day 2015 - Doyle Dispatch,com

 

(To see the tutorial for this, please visit my post from last week on The Wise Baby.)

12 and 6 and 2 Years

12 years ago, Tim and I were high school seniors, about to start at Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt in the fall. But we had an undeniable attraction to each other, so we decided to “date casually” (we didn’t truly understand what that meant then or now, but it felt safer than actual “dating” when we were about to go off to college). That “dating casually” lasted 2 days, when we decided that we just wanted to be together as “boyfriend and girlfriend.”

Dory and Tim 2005

We dated a LOOOOONG time… continuously through the first year when we had a long-distance relationship and then the next 3 years of college when I transferred to VT (no break-ups through all of it!), and into grad school for me and Tim’s job. 4.5 years after we started dating, Tim proposed. A year and a half later we got married… On April 4. On our “casual dating” anniversary.

Dory and Tim 2009

The first week in April will always be special for us. On April 4, 2003 (12 years ago), we started dating. On April 4, 2009 (6 years ago), we got married. On April 5, 2013 (2 years ago), we found out I was pregnant (only to be surprised later that it was twins).

Starting tomorrow, we will have been married longer than we dated. Crazy to think, but also it feels like there has never been a time that we weren’t together. I love you so much, Tim! Thank you for your selflessness, your love, your support. Thank you for being the best daddy to Audrey and David. Thank you for providing so much for us and for allowing me to stay at home with our kids and also work on my business ventures. You are my rock. I love you so much! Happy anniversary!

Dory and Tim 2014

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

IMG_7916

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.

IMG_7877

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.

IMG_7895  IMG_7892  IMG_7885

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!

IMG_7891
IMG_7889

 

IMG_7899

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.

IMG_7886

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

IMG_7844

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

IMG_7894

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

IMG_7906

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.

IMG_7907

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.

IMG_7859

IMG_7857

IMG_7853

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

IMG_7872

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.

 

IMG_7862

IMG_7841

 

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!

 

IMG_7830

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

IMG_7837

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

IMG_7876

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

IMG_7868

 

 

*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: 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.

Twin Z on Shark Tank Tonight!

For anyone who knows me personally, I hope that this isn’t a shock:

I LOVE SHARK TANK!

I mean, it’s probably close to an obsession with how much I love watching these entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to try to get funding from these “multi-millionaire and billionaire investors.” I love sitting with Tim and trying to guess what their product is right before the pitch. I love waiting to see what their sales are to date. I love the excitement when the sharks get in a bidding war over a great product/company. I love to hate the way that some of the sharks bully the entrepreneurs into making a decision. I cringe at the rookie mistakes from some of the people that enter The Tank (Hello! Don’t you WATCH this show?).

But putting aside my love obsession with this show, I have very exciting news to share… the TWIN Z NURSING PILLOW will be on Shark Tank tonight (check your local ABC station for the time).

Twin Z Shark Tank

I am beyond thrilled for Michelle and the Twin Z company. I have been a fan since my twin pregnancy (the summer of 2013), and we have continued to use this pillow even now that the twins are 15 months old and no longer breastfeeding.

Nursing-Twin-Z

Whenever Audrey or David wants milk, they will make their sign for it, pull down the pillow, and settle into position while they wait for me to get their cup. They know that’s the milk seat. When we are having quiet time in the afternoon and watching Elmo, I prop up the middle section to make a head rest for me, and the arms provide a great area for Audrey and/or David to come and cuddle up to me.

IMG_1181

It also makes one great jungle gym and reading spot!

Twins-Cuddling-Twin-Z-Pillow-300x200

I had the pleasure of talking to Michelle yesterday (on the eve of the biggest night of her business’ life she made time to talk to ME about something totally different), and I have absolutely no idea what happens during the pitch, but I’m so excited to find out! Here’s to great things for this amazing family and an incredible product!

In case you want to know more about the Twin Z, you can see my reviews and mentions of it in the following posts:

Twin Z Nursing Pillow Review (Doyle Dispatch)

Updated Twin Registry (Doyle Dispatch)

Traveling with Twin Babies (Doyle Dispatch)

Breastfeeding Twins (Doyle Dispatch)

Breastfeeding at 10 Months (Doyle Dispatch)

Twin Z Breastefeeding Pillow Review (The Wise Baby)

Twins Baby Registry Guide (The Wise Baby)

Real Moms Favorite Twin Baby Products (The Wise Baby)