Sometimes I struggle with finding happiness.
I get caught up in stressful things, and things that make me unhappy, that I forget to focus on the things that make me truly happy.
I made a sort of resolution to start looking for things that make me happy,
even if it’s something small, and write it down or take a picture.
I decided to add a list of these things into my blog. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to add a new list every few weeks or so.
I hope that in reading these lists you’ll be able to start focusing
more on the little things in life that make you happy as well.
After all ” Happiness’ is what you make of it.”
A warm spring day in February where you can finally go to the park!
(a couple of days!)
Valentine’s Day love (and cute photos too)
the Target dollar aisle. Gets me every time!
New Glasses (although this is a little bittersweet)
A cup of coffee with a friend
A snow day where you build a huge fort of christmas lights and enjoy family time with movies. (and coffee of course)
Before and After Pictures
(Before on Top, After on Bottom)
Curly hair right after a bath.
a grown up sleepover with your best friend
where you stay up until 2am doing
stupid teenage things “cuz that’s how we do”!
These are the foods we did a blind taste test for. (Maybe we’ll do a blog together about that)
the right song coming on at the right time.
I don’t know why but every time the song Good Life by One Republic comes on it just makes me feel a little better about life.
Finding the perfect new mug to my collection. #muglife
I hope you enjoyed my blog! Please let me know what you think in the comments ❤
This millennial generation lives recording their life through social media.
Whether it be a picture, a blog, or even a random Facebook post about how the weather is outside.
I love sharing my blogs and my own random posts, and in the past several months I started following some fellow “Mom Bloggers”. I felt inspired when I read their blogs, all about busy mom life. I saw how fun this whole “mom blogging” thing can be.
I loved looking through their beautiful posts where they chronicle their life in their instagram photos or a thoughtful blog and I thought
“This is something I would love to do!”,
I love taking pictures and enjoy sharing my life so why not give it a try.
As soon as I started posting a few months ago, I felt the need to post only the best picture or the perfect blog, or post nothing at all. I began to post less and less, unless it was a full on blog, the lighting was good in the pictures, both kids were smiling and every hair was in place.
I also realized I didn’t have time to take pictures of everything we do. I wanted to enjoy the moment and that can very difficult when you are trying to make everything “post perfect”.
As I looked through some of my favorite Mom blogger’s posts, and my own, I realized something….there is such a push to be perfect that we can easily lose sight of why we are blogging in the first place. Where is the fun in it if you are taking more time perfecting everything than just living and enjoying it?
I’m not perfect and guess what? That is fine!
It is okay to post that fuzzy picture because you love it.
And yes, I know my kid’s shirt has leftover pieces of lunch on it and yes, they are still in their PJs because, that is life.
It’s not perfect, and I don’t want to pretend it is.
I want my posts to be more of a scrapbook. Where years from now I can look and see how our life was, how much we have changed and grown.
Where I can remember and cherish those moments.
I want to strive for perfection without obsessing over it.
My children aren’t models, nor is how we live. My life isn’t perfect, bright and always smiles.
And that is perfectly okay.
I don’t ever want to come to the place where I feel miserable that I am unable to get the “picture perfect” post while trying to achieve “perfection”.
I suppose one of the downfalls with our generation posting and sharing everything is the worry of what others think.
It’s not a matter of being insecure, we all do it.
We all want to feel accepted by our peers.
I don’t think that is something we grow out of, just something we become used to.
As much as I want to look back in years to come and see how beautiful and perfect every picture and post was, I’d rather see the real thing.
Starting Christmas Season 2015
This year Brandon and I decided that we would start a new tradition of going to the mountains here in NC. The Boone area is one of mine and Brandon’s favorite places to travel. We have gone to the area many times throughout the years. We went last year, about a week before Christmas time and really wanted to go again this year but a little earlier so we could start off our Christmas Season. We were also excited that my best friend Krystan was able join us on our trip and it just made it that much more special. We all had such a good time and I’m so glad we made the trip. I’m really looking forward to making this trip every year.
Here is a little about our trip!
First Stop, Breakfast
Shopping and Santa
This is our second year of meeting Santa at this mall, in the Mountains. I really love this particular photographer because they have a more professional but natural, set up than ones we have used before. It isn’t your typical picture with Santa. It’s more cozy and the people are so friendly and good at getting little ones to “like” Santa. Bristol, however, wasn’t very workable, unlike last year.
Jonas loved meeting Santa again. He was eager to tell him how he wanted a Trampoline and a real Robot for Christmas. At first Bristol seemed like she was going to be alright with Santa and when he handed her some candy, I thought for sure she would like him. But the minute Brandon sat her down she took a big gulp ( as you can see in the pictures ) and started screaming. I knew we couldn’t get away with another good Santa picture so I am perfectly happy with a screaming Santa picture! You have to have a least one right? They went ahead and used the picture of Bristol screaming with Santa on their advertising screen because they thought it was pretty funny!
Candy Fill Up
Picking a Tree
My favorite stop on our trip was to the Christmas tree farm. A friend of ours recommended Twin Oaks Farm in Elk Park NC. The people there are incredibly nice and make you feel like family. They take you on a hay ride up to the top of the farm to pick out your tree. I was so excited to finally get a fresh tree from in the Mountains. The view is beautiful, pictures really don’t do it justice. The kids love wandering through the trees trying to pick their favorite. One thing I’m sure Brandon liked about the farm is the fact that he no longer had to try to hold up 3 trees for me to compare like has every other year! 🙂
Along with the fun of the hayride and getting to pick out a tree they also have this adorable little cabin where they give out free cookies, hot chocolate and have a bonfire going outside for roasting marshmallows and to warm up. Thankfully we picked a great day and other than being a little overcast the weather wasn’t very cold at all. They also sell hand made ornaments and other Christmas items. I bought one little Snowman to commemorate our first trip to Twin Oaks Farm. We definitely will be making this a part of our new Christmas Tradition.
Deciding a Name
I read a blog a few weeks ago where the writer was writing to their baby about how their name was picked and I thought I would do something similar for my kiddos!
When I found out I was pregnant one of the things I was most excited about what picking a name. I wanted to make sure whatever I picked was unique yet still a “normal” name. I wanted to pick a name that wouldn’t sound too young and would grow with my baby but also a name that wouldn’t sound too old. (I still can’t picture a baby Eugene 😛 ) Brandon and I are both stubborn and picky as well so picking both Jonas and Bristol’s names was very interesting.
When I first heard your name I knew it was perfect. I couldn’t imagine any other name, but getting there was a process. I had once heard that pregnant woman can have a sixth sense about things. ( Kind of like a special power ) I knew as I knew I was having a baby that I was having a boy. I couldn’t even picture a girl. Daddy thought you were a girl but I knew. As soon as we saw your picture and knew for sure that you were a boy, the name process began. I came to Daddy with a whole list of names and with every name he would say “No”. But one day Daddy drove by a place called Ethan’s Glen in Wake Forest and he was sure it was a sign (really it was an actual sign!) and read the sign and it said that you were supposed to be Ethan Glen. I wasn’t really into that name, although I did like Ethan, so Ethan it was but something just didn’t seem right. Still every name I came up with Daddy kept saying “No.” Then Daddy called me on his lunch at work. I was sitting in Gamma’s house across from a book shelf full of books. I kept reading names out to him and with every name guess what he would say?! “NO.” Then I noticed a book that I had read a long time ago that I really liked called the picked it up and told Daddy,” Wait the main character from this book had a really nice name.” I opened the book and started looking and saw and that his name was, Jonas. I asked Daddy and he said, ” You know what? I really like that name!” so I quickly said “Then that is the name!” It was the ONLY name we actually agreed on! I thought it was perfect but we still had to pick a middle name. We thought about Jonas Ethan but when you say Jonas Ethan Ashley together it just didn’t sound right. We decided to forget Ethan and try something else. I liked Corbin and Colton but Daddy of course said “No”. A few weeks later, we were at church and the preacher opened up to the Bible to a scripture in the book of Matthew. I looked over at Daddy and whispered ” Hey, what about Matthew?!” He lit up and smiled because we knew someone named Matthew. In fact it fit just right because this man had always been there for Daddy and was like a father to him. His name was Matthew Wilmoth. And just like that you were Jonas Matthew Ashley. It sounded so nice together and we both knew it was the perfect name for our perfect little boy.
The “knowing” feeling that I had when picking Jonas’ name and knowing Jonas was a boy was completely gone when I was pregnant with you, Bristol. In fact, I was completely indecisive my whole pregnancy. I could decide ANYTHING! However, in the beginning when I thought you were a boy, I picked out the perfect name. You were going to be Liam Sawyer. Then I was completely wrong and you turned out to be a girl and I had NO clue what to name you. I didn’t like any name and of course Daddy didn’t like any name either! We did know what your middle name was going to be though. My family has a tradition where the oldest daughter’s middle name is Marie. Your Great-Great Grandmother’s first name was Marie and she then started this tradition by naming your Great Grandmother, who was the oldest daughter, Adeline with her middle name being Marie along with your Gamma, Cyndee Marie, and your Aunt Karmin Marie. Then both your Aunt Katrina and Aunt Kimberly named their oldest daughter’s Kaitlyn Marie and Ashley Marie. Good thing is both Daddy and I liked Marie and it sounded good with just about ANY first name.
Your first name was very hard to decide. After reading baby book after baby book and looking everywhere for a name Daddy and I picked 3 names we liked. Raegan, Kinsley and Bristol. We tried and tried to pick but we just couldn’t decide. We decided we would just wait until we saw you. Finally you decided to come and we still hadn’t decided. Even the nurses at the hospital were voting on which name they liked. Once I saw you and I was holding you, I started thinking you looked like a Bristol. but I didn’t want Daddy to know so he could pick without me. Also we wanted your brother Jonas to help as well. After a little less than an hour, and all the nurses and family begging for a name, I looked at Daddy and said ” Ok, what does she look like you?’ and he said. ” I was thinking she looks like a Bristol.” I was so excited and said that that was just what I was thinking! But that didn’t mean we had decided just yet. We wanted to see what Jonas thought. When Jonas arrived he was so excited to see you! I asked him which of the names he liked the best and guess what he said? Bristol! I turned to Daddy and said ” Ok it’s official then, She is Bristol Marie Ashley”. Another perfect name for a perfect little girl.
Types of Diapers
“All in Ones” are basically a diaper that has an “insert” (thick pad) already sewn into them. They are good for people who don’t want to take the time to stuff their diapers as these are ready to go. However, I didn’t care for them simply because they take a lot longer then other CDs to air dry. (You shouldn’t put your diapers in the dryer since it will ruin the inside pul (water proof lining) and cause leaks. Also they are a lot more expensive then other kinds of CDs.
One of my favorite brand’s of covers are “Flip Covers”. These kind of diapers are just the outside water proof cover with no soft lining or pocket for inserts to be stuffed into. Instead you just lay your inserts on the inside then snap the diaper on your little one. When it is time to change their diaper open the diaper and just take the insert out and replace it with a clean one. You can continue to use the same cover all day ( unless it gets some nasty on it) this is good for those who don’t want to stuff diapers after each wash. These are less expensive then AIOs but not quite as reasonable as pocket diapers.
This is what I have the most of. They are great if you are just starting out and want to get the hang of things before you go and invest in more expensive CDs. They are different from covers, in that they have a soft white lining on the inside with an opening on the back where you then take an insert and stuff it all the way through so it lays flat on the bottom of the diaper. When you wash your diapers you pull the insert out the back. ( I always take my insert out right when I take the diaper off and put them into the wetbag separate) They are quick to dry and easy to put together. They are also very reasonably priced! Some favorite brands are Alva, Sunbaby and Charlie Banana.
There are a few different kinds of inserts.
Microfiber inserts- They are what usually come with Pocket diapers. They are just a thick white microfiber piece. They work great but are not as absorbent as others.
Flour Sack Towels- My favorite! You get them at Walmart in the kitchen section for $4.88 a pack.They are like a small towel that you fold into in insert shape and then stuff or lay into the diaper. They are much more absorbent then microfiber. If you have a heavy wetter at night like I do, these things are amazing! Tip- as with all new diapers or inserts PREWASH them at least 2 times. Then they will be able to absorb well.
A Wetbag is used to store your used diapers until you are ready to wash them. It is a heavy lined bag (like swimming pool lining) that keeps your diapers from leaking out or smelling. Once you are ready to wash your just pour the bag out into your washer and then drop the bag in too! I do not wash the bag every time. Also these bags come in many sizes so I keep one in my diaper bag for when I am out and Bristol needs a change.
My Wash Routine
When I first started CDing I used a bucket system that worked pretty well but, I ended up changing to a Wetbag instead. If your little one in exclusively breastfed you don’t have to rinse off any diaper simply because there is zero consistency and it washes right out. In the first 2 months or so of CDing I had a large bucket/rubber basket that was half full of water mixed with borax that I would put the diapers in until they needed to be washed. A couple reasons why I DO NOT recommend this is because first off it is REALLY heavy to pour into the washer! It is a hazard to other little ones that might be able to get into it. Also it releases bacteria into the air, AND once your little one starts eating real food it smells awful! What is the point of using CD if you end up dealing with nastiness? Just a bad idea all around. I ended up trying out a wetbag that I had been hanging onto and loved it. Now I just put my CDs into the bag and dump the bag into the washer when it is full.
*Note, before you put your CDs into your wetbag you may need to rinse them. There are may options such as diaper hoses or just rinsing them into the toilet. I haven’t had to use either. When we have a poopy we just plop that nasty blob into the toilet and toss the diaper into the wetbag.
A lot of people have different opinions about what to and what not to use as a dertergent when washing but one thing is universal, DO NOT USE ANY SOFTENER. It will ruin your diapers. Another thing is, try to use ligther detergents like Dreft or something more natural. Although I know that some use Gain and such on their diapers and they work just fine. I use Melaleuca. It is what I have always used on all my clothes since I have very sensitive skin. It is a plant basic detergent but works wonderful.
After I pour my diapers into the wash, I do a rinse cycle with some Borax. Then once that is done I turn my washer onto wash cycle and add 2 pumps of detergent and one brightener. ( Which is slightly more than I would use for 1 large load of laundry.) Please remember how much detergent you use can depend on the size load, as well as what kind of detergent you use.
Never put your diapers into the dryer. As I mentioned before it can ruin the lining inside of your diapers. I have a drying rack ( as shown ) that I lay my dipars on to dry. Works great and was only $10 at Aldis.
While my little one was exclusively breastfed after washing her diapers they still had a light brown stain on them. Mainly on the inserts. I thought I was doing something wrong and resorted to bleaching them. Which is a bad idea. It can cause your little one to have an awful rash. ( if for whatever reason you feel like you need to do a bleach wash, be sure to do an extra rinse.) However, I found this wonderful group of ladies who helped me adjust my cleaning routine to just what works for me. The absolute BEST way to get rid of tough stains on inserts/diapers is Sunning. Put your rack out in the sun for a good 4-5 hours and it will fade those stains right out. Now everytime I wash, when the weather allows, I sun my diapers after. Trust me it sounds like it won’t work but it really does.
( I highly recommend joining this group if you ever have any cleaning or other CD questions. Here is the link to the Facebook Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/FluffLoveCDScience/939293276105864/?notif_t=like )
After your diapers are dry it only takes a few mintutes to put your diapers together. If you have AIOs even less time. Fill the diaper with one or two inserts depending on the child and how much they wet. At first we only had to use 1 insert with Bristol but now that she is older we use 2 inserts or 1 Flour Sack Towel and 1 insert together during the day and at night we use 2 Flour Sack Towels.
And that is how I Cloth Diaper!
Please feel free to comment if you have any questions at all!
As some of you know, I started cloth diapering my youngest, Bristol from a couple weeks after birth. I have had a lot of people ask me why I CD and how to start CDing. I have decided to post a two part series about why I cloth diaper, how to buy, prepare and wash cloth diapers, along with the common misconceptions of CD.
For those who have thought about CDing and are looking into starting, please note that I am not an expert, but I did do a ton of research and now that I have been CDing for over a year, I feel like I pretty much know what I’m doing. Also how I do my CDs may be different from how you may decide to do your CDs. You pretty much will figure out your own routine and what works best for you. This is just how I do mine and what works best for us.
Misconceptions about Cloth Diapers
To start off I’m going to address the most commonly mentioned CD misconceptions. Every person that asks me about CDs then says one of these next statements.
1. You deal with a lot of pee and poop with cloth diapers
Yup, we are going to talk about pee and poop for a minute. For whatever reason when people think cloth they think “Yuck, how can you deal with all their poop all the time?’ and trust me, I thought the same thing when I heard about CDs, way back when I was pregnant with Jonas. I thought I’d have deal with his pee and poop all the time, and thought it would be nasty, so I decided against it. (now I regret this decision)
This is not true! I deal with the same ammont of ‘feces” as with disposable! When my little one has peed, I change her diaper and just toss it into a wet bag until it is ready to wash. If she has done the “dirty deed” I plop that little stinky blob right into the toilet and toss the diaper into the wet bag. When my bag is full I then pour it into the wash and turn on the washer. That’s it!
2. Babies in cloth diapers are always wet and they leak
If someone you know is CDing and their little one always leaks through their diaper, PLEASE tell then they are not CDing properly. Your child should not be leaking through. There are a few reason this could be. ( which I will go into in pt. 2) From my own experience with CDs we have less leaks then when we used disposables AND we don’t have that nasty smell that sometimes you get with disposable diapers when your little one is wet. The only time Bristol has a leak is when her diaper isn’t adjusted to the right size, or at night due to her being a ” heavy wetter” since she sleeps extra long hours through the night with no change. All we do is when she goes to bed we double up on stuffing the diaper and now have no leaks. There are actual ” heavy wetter” diapers you can buy as well. Also, as with ANY diaper if you don’t change them within a reasonable time frame they will leak!
4. I don’t have $400-$500 to invest for Cloth Diapers
You don’t have to! When I began looking into CD I thought I wouldn’t be able to because you need to have around 30+ diapers and I didn’t have that kind of money to invest. I was told about some groups online where you can buy used, in great condition diapers for really reasonable prices. I looked into it and was added to several CD groups on Facebook where I could get the diapers for half the price, if not less. The ladies on these groups are incredibly helpful with any questions you may have! Here are a few of the groups
Fyi, I have around 70+ diapers and have only spent around $250, I began buying different kinds of diapers in small lots before Bristol was born.
Please just skip ahead to where I discuss how much oils, and how many plastics and trees are used to make disposable diapers. It completely out numbers, BY FAR, what water I use to wash my CDs.
Reasons to Cloth Diaper
I could go on and on about the reasons I LOVE CDs but I will just give a few!
1. The money you save is unbelievable!
How can you say no to saving money?! For one month Bristol was in disposables and we spent around $50 for diapers. Which is CRAZY! Like I said before, I didn’t even spend $300 on my “stash” and look at how much you save!
2. The dangers of disposable diapers on our Environment and our children, are ridiculous and scary!
Yes, now I sound like some crazy tree lover but really have you thought about it? Disposable diapers are not biodegradable which means each disposable diaper sits in a land fill for years, where they do not biodegrade. On average one baby uses (6,500-10,000 diapers) 2,000 pounds worth of disposable diaper waste. Think about how much waste that is?
Above and beyond that, they carry many harmful chemicals that have been banned from other products because they are so toxic and have been linked to cancer and many other diseases.
I haven’t even begun to mention things like the fact that fecal matter is now sitting in landfills, which contaminates the ground and spreads disease. Or to mention the amount of Oil, Trees and plastics that are used to create diapers.
I won’t go into this much more, but please, PLEASE take just a moment and read this blog I have linked. It is shocking!
3. A lot less rashes and leaks
I felt like when Jonas was in disposable diapers it was one rash after the next. No matter how often I changed him, it seemed he always had some kind of rash going on, so we lived with A&D ointment on after every change. Now with Bristol, she had gotten maybe 3 rashes the entire 13 months I have been CDing.
Also we had a lot of “blowout diapers” with disposable diapers. Now we rarely have any at all.
4. They are ADORABLE!!!!
You cannot tell me a Fluffy Butt is not the cutest thing ever! In the summer time I love letting Bristol run around in just her adorable printed CDs! It is the most darling thing!
If you enjoyed this post please read part 2 “Why Cloth Diapers? (pt2)“