Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ebble's Favorite Things: July Edition

1. I didn't read too many stellar books in July, so this is why I'm posting about Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. This was my favorite book about pregnancy and the birthing process. If you can only read one book during pregnancy, make sure it is this one. It normalizes childbirth (rather than presenting it as a scary, unnatural phenomena), and shares the stories of women who had beautiful birthing experiences.
2. The Snap N' Go! I have a little newsflash for ya'll: employee morale in the Dallas International Airport is extremely low. You will get yelled at by 6 different employees if you so much as step foot through the front door with a BOB stroller. Despite the dozen other flights we have taken with the BOB since last December, Dallas employees would hear nothing of bringing this accessory on the airplane because "employees could break their backs." So if anyone is flying through Dallas, let me know and you can borrow my Snap N' Go. Because those lazy batches are rude.
3. The new Obsidian album by Baths is legit. Feel free to preview it on iTunes or Amazon, or whatever musical wonder you prefer.
4. This weekend is Jeff's last weekend working at Nordstrom, which means my discount soon expires. So what did I do? I bought a ton of makeup. My new favorite addition to the makeup bag is the MAC False Lashes Extreme Black Mascara. This mascara lengthens my lashes, but also keeps them separated and organized. It also washes off easily after a long, sweaty day. In conclusion, it's a dream.
5. I found this little gem at Target. The B Toys Zany Zoo Wooden Activity Center. Everett loves this toy! He loves it on his tummy, sitting up, pulling himself up, and crawling from one side to the other. This toy has been a great solution as far as keeping him entertained while Mommy makes dinner/checks Facebook. This product can also be found at garage sales. If you're into that kind of thing.
6. MooGoo products from Australia are pretty legit. My sister (a whore for skincare products) introduced me to their awesomeness when she bought me the Mum and Baby Giftbox for my baby shower. I have sensitive skin, and it turns out Everett does too. However, we have not had any issues using these products on him. Whenever we use the Johnson & Johnson products we have in our stash, Everett always ends up with dry skin, hives, and red eyes. Similar problems do not exist with the MooGoo products. We used the Scalp Cream on his dry head when he was born, and it cleared up his cradle cap after one application; we used it every night for about 2 months for prevention. This lotion can also be used on his body, and smells incredibly natural and fresh. In addition, the Milk Wash is a great substitute for Johnson & Johnson body wash. It smells like ice cream, and I use it on my face every once in a while. P.S. if you have a Clarisonic, this wash works great with it. The only thing I did not use too often in the gift pack was the Mudder Udder Balm, only because the word "honey" can be found on the ingredient list. I'm sure the company knows what it's doing, and I was probably being overcautious. FYI, honey can cause infant botulism. But since every parent out there over the age of 40 is judging me for not giving my 7-month-old M&M's, tossed salads, and scrambled eggs, I am sure there is nothing to worry about.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Being Green Is a Good Thing

Probably the most frequently asked question we get is whether or not we are still using cloth diapers. The answer is YES!

A while back I posted about our cloth diaper stash, and gave a brief summary of each brand. After 7 months, we have a pretty good routine, and maybe even some new opinions.

Here is our stash, which gets us through 3 days of diapers (we use disposables at night):

  • 2 bumGenius 4.0 diapers with velcro closures. One came free with an order from Kelly's Closet.
  • 1 bumGenius 4.0 diaper with snap closure.
  • 2 Rumparooz diapers with snap closure.
  • 1 Rumparooz diaper with velco closure.
  • 2 Fuzzibunz one-size diapers with snap closures. One came free with an order from Kelly's Closet, and the other was a gift from a friend.
  • 1 Kawaii one-size diaper. This came free with an order from Kelly's Closet.
  • 5 Grovia hybrid shells, 4 organic cotton inserts, 4 regular cotton inserts. 
  • 3 small wet bags for the diaper bag. This includes 2 Planet Wise bags and 1 Blueberry brand (this one being so new that we cannot determine a favorite yet).
  • 1 bumGenius diaper sprayer. This is ESSENTIAL.
  • 1 large wet bag or diaper pail liner for storing soiled diapers.
  • Original Tide powder detergent.

Our conclusion over the last 7 months of cloth diapering is this: don't waste your time on any diapers other than bumGenius. I also put Fuzzibunz on top of the list, but if you have large hands, or if Daddy is stuffing diapers, you may find yourself getting frustrated with the slim opening. However, these brands are our two favorites of all the diapers we own.

We are also fans of the hook and loop closure (better known as Velcro). You should not have any issues with this type of diaper as long as you do not forget to fasten the closures before they are washed.

We really would be happy with a full stash of any of the diapers listed above, but when you compare them side by side, it is impossible not to have favorites. If I had the choice of designing a diaper, it would be the bumGenius design, with the Rumparooz double gusset and shell patterns (they really are the cutest diapers on the market!), the trimness of Fuzzibunz, and the price of Grovia or Kawaii. I must admit, the one thing keeping me from favoring Rumparooz over the others (aside from its cost) is this right here:

See that giant strip of fabric hanging out? Yeah, once baby pees, moisture travels up the diaper and wets anything exposed to this fabric - such as a onesie or Mom's hand. This is especially problematic with a heavy wetter like we have, and with a baby who likes to sleep on his tummy (remember when he hated being on his tummy?).

BumGenius has recognized this problem and extended the waterproof fabric of the cover into the inside of the diaper:

I don't know why a brand as expensive as Rumparooz hasn't thought of this yet. I sent them a message, but they seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. Oh well. 

Also, Rumparooz diapers are incredibly low-rise. If he continues to grow in length at his current rate, Everett will probably be too tall for this diaper long before he is potty trained. That being said, I will continue to buy their products because some of their prints look like Burberry. And that, my friends, officially makes me a consumer.

We have also "stripped" our diapers twice. I tell you, there is nothing better than the smell of freshly stripped diapers. If your diapers are starting to smell a bit like ammonia when they get wet, it might be time to strip them. Here's how we did this:

  • Wash diapers on normal hot/cold load with detergent.
  • Start another hot/cold (this last time I used a warm/cold) wash with no detergent using 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap and 1/8 cup of bleach.
  • Run rinse cycles until there are no longer bubbles in the wash. this was about 4 rinse cycles for us. 
  • Hang to dry and enjoy the fresh smell in your home!
Bottom line is we have saved hundreds of dollars so far. By the way, we have NOT seen a rise in our water bill from prior years, just to address one more argument I've heard people use against cloth diapering.

And that's our cloth diapering experience in a nutshell! We will keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Advanced Breastfeeding: How to Remove a Clogged Duct

Guess who's become a professional at removing clogged milk ducts...this guy. Guess who's going to share her knowledge with the world...this guy.

So how do you know if you have a clogged duct?

  • Is your gigantic boob even bigger than usual?
  • Does it feel like you have a bruised, throbbing vein running down the length of your boob?
  • Does it feel like there is a river rock in your chest?
  • Are you nursing, pumping, and squeezing with little or nothing coming out?
  • Has your baby been nursing less frequently due to illness, teething, distractions, or introduction to solid foods?
  • Does your chest look like this?

If you answered "Yes" to any or all of the above, you may have a clogged duct. Here's my step-by-step guide for removing one of these bad boys.

Step 1: Don't panic.

Step 2: You can take a hot shower. This will help you relax.

Step 3: You can gently massage the affected area. I like to use lotion.

Step 4: If the above efforts have provided no release, you can nurse or pump.

Step 5: If the bitch still isn't relenting, squeeze the muthah as hard as you can from every angle possible. Squeeze to high heavens, and push like you're giving birth out your nipple. Work your efforts in a downward motion, starting at the top of the clog and going all the way to the nipple. Get under the clog, over the clog, to the side of the clog, among the clog. Note that you might have to holler a little and make tribal noises while you're squeezing; it's the only way.

Step 6: Squeeze like there's no tomorrow until milk starts spraying everywhere. Then, latch your baby or start the pump to get it all out.

Step 7: Enjoy your happy, deflated boob.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Taming of the Beast - Mawidge in Monteway

It's finally happened: my biggest (as in years) brother got hitched. I was pretty certain he would be a bachelor for life. Then, the most incredible thing happened. He found the perfect woman.

A few years ago he quit his job in Spokane and moved to Monterrey, Mexico. He met his future wife through work, and now the rest is history. Jeff, Everett, and I traveled down there to partake in the celebrations, and had such a wonderful time. Let me explain exactly how fun it was in terms you can understand: the 12-hour trip with an infant was worth it. We are blessed to have such a wonderful woman join our family, and feel even more honored to be accepted into her family.

I can't take credit for any of these wedding photos. As I mentioned before, there is no use taking out your camera when Uncle John is around. He will capture the most stunning, intimate moments that no one else seems to notice.

"Mawidge is a dweam wiffin a dweam. The dweam of wuv wapped wiffin the gweater dweam of everwasting west. Eternity is our fwiend, wemember that, and wuv wiw fowwow you fowever.” 
-The Princess Bride

Beautiful bride with the world's sassiest and cutest flower girls.

The happy couple. Mawidged.

And then the most insane dance party happened. There was even a mosh pit.

I noticed some pretty interesting differences between the weddings we do in the PacNW and Mexico.

  1. First of all, the bride had a million bouquets she switched between over the course of the day. I know there must be significance to this, but I have no idea what it is, and I was too embarrassed to ask. However, I have a feeling that me posting this here will eventually give me an answer.
  2. The wedding started LATE. The ceremony was at 8:30pm, and dinner didn't start until around 11pm. That being said, Mexicans sure know how to party. They were dancing until the wee hours of the morning. If you stuck around long enough, you were served breakfast.
  3. It's completely normal for only family and the closest friends to attend the wedding ceremony, then half the town shows up for the reception. If this happened at my wedding, I'd be like, "Bitch, you be eating all my food, but you didn't even come to my wedding!" No one down there seemed to mind, so I didn't get offended by the hundreds of people who magically appeared at dinner. 
  4. Because there were so many people (and maybe some randoms) attending the party, the family had to hire security. The postal service is a fickle thing in Mexico, so you never know who will get a hold of an invite. The address is there, meaning someone who gets their hands on one knows exactly where to find nice wedding gifts. As a precaution, there was security at the bride's house on the days leading up to the wedding, and security at the reception made sure all the peeps (and presents) were safe.
  5. The dancing and music were legit. Those Mexicans know how to move, unlike us Americans...

Since we were doing so much wedding shiz, we didn't really get a chance to do any sightseeing around Monterrey. However, I did have the opportunity to visit a couple years ago. At that time, my brother took me to all the best touristy places. The following photos are a little old, but still accurate.

Monterrey is tucked beneath some breathtaking mountains. Pictures cannot do their majesty any justice.

Remember the Hipstamatic App back in the day? I took this photo with whatever hipster "lense" came free with the "camera".

Downtown Monterrey is the perfect marriage (mawidge) between the old and new. Modern architecture can be seen beside antiquated buildings, and the city's appreciation for art and culture is easily viewed in all areas of the town.

The Macroplaza is the forth largest plaza in the world. Take a walk on this stretch and view a canal that offers boat rides, fountains, light installations, art, and even a water park. This was my favorite spot in Monterrey.

Chipinque is a National Park of sorts. The area offers hiking trails overlooking the city of Monterrey, and a peaceful setting that allows visitors and residents to explore the mountains overshadowing the city below. If you're lucky, you will even spot some wildlife. We saw a baby black bear eating out of a garbage can. It was so natural.

The canyon outside of town presents stunning views of the mountains. This is seriously a rock climber's paradise. We saw a few companies offering climbing opportunities, and maybe some day I will try to scale one of the many cliffs. My previous visit was shortly after a hurricane swept much of the canyon away. It is my understanding that the road doesn't usually look like this.

Grutas de Garcia is a short drive from Monterrey. My brother and I took a tram up the side of the mountain, where we were taken on a tour of mountain caves. The stalactites and stalagmites were pretty impressive, and some were even decorated with lights. If you do not speak Spanish, you will have a hard time understanding the tour guide's jokes. I had no idea what he was saying, but my brother was laughing frequently.

The tour guide insisted that we pose like this.

Old Monterrey is a walkable distance from the Macroplaza. This is the neighborhood of every gay's dreams. Old buildings are being restored to their past grandeur, making unique and beautiful homes in the heart of the city. Look at all that potential!

Overall, I have been incredibly impressed during my visits to Monterrey. We were introduced to some amazing food, found beautiful and local art tucked away in the most unlikely places, and enjoyed the friendliness of everyone we encountered. Although this is not every traveler's dream destination when planning a trip to Mexico, one will not be disappointed if they end up in this town of rich culture and rugged mountains.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

DIY Baby Feet Ceramic Coasters

Let me just state the obvious: I am not an artist. But who doesn't love a homemade gift every once in a while? It was Grandma Wirth's birthday, so Everett and I put our creative skillz to work and made these coasters using ceramic tiles, paint, and some kissable baby feet.


  • Ceramic 4" x 4" tiles from Lowe's or Home Depot
  • Martha Stewart Glass Paint in Gloss Opaque (colors of your choice)
  • Martha Stewart Transparent Glass Paint in Crystal Clear
  • Brushes
  • Hot glue gun
  • Felt for pads
  • Rags for cleanup

Let's get started!

1. Paint baby's feet in the colors you desire for the "body" of the bug.

2. Press baby's foot onto coaster.

3. Use smaller brushes to paint details around the footprints (i.e. heads and wings).

4. Wash baby's feet!

5. Allow paint to dry overnight.

6. When paint is dry, brush a generous layer of Martha Stewart Transparent Glass Paint in Crystal Clear over the entire coaster. This will seal in your image. Allow this layer of paint to dry for about an hour.

7. Place coaster in cool oven, then turn the heat up to 350 degrees. Allow to bake for 30 minutes.

8. Turn off oven and let coasters cool completely before removing.

9. Hot glue felt to the bottom of each tile to protect your table from scratches during use. 

I hope your child enjoys this project half as much as mine did. He loved feeling the brushes on his feet, and laughed every time I pressed his foot to the tile.

What I loved most about the glass paint is that it was easy to correct mistakes. You can just scrape off the dried paint if you are not pleased with the finished product. For example, I hated this bee's head:

So I scraped it off with a plastic knife and repainted it. 
Et voila!

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

7 Month Tricks

Everett is 7 months old!

Photo c/o Uncle John

Here are a few of his tricks:

  • He got baptized.
  • He can grab his bottle and tip it back to feed himself.
  • He is now eating 1-2 solid meals a day. He will eat most things we give him with the exception of oatmeal.
  • He is sleeping about 10 hours a night.
  • He can get from Point A to Point B through a series of crawling, worming, rocking, and rolling motions.
  • His first tooth is starting to emerge from his lower gums.
  • He is sitting completely unassisted.
  • He has started waving.
  • He is mimicking our sounds more clearly.
  • He knows what he wants and is vocal when he doesn't have it (now accepting parenting advice from parents who don't have assholes for children).
  • He can float on his back when in the pool.
  • His favorite toy is Willow, and he laughs whenever he sees her waddling around the house.
  • His favorite song is the ABC's.
  • He is an international traveler.

Our little baby is turning into a young man...sort of.

Photo c/o Virginia Whalen.

You'll notice I barely took any pictures myself for his 7-month milestone. This is because we have been traveling with Uncle John, and Nanny Virginia sees him a couple days a week, and they are clearly the superior photographers. Unfortunately, this also means I'll have to steal some more pics to show you the amazing wedding we attended in Mexico.
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