We Survived

We made it to Florida and back in one piece! :)

Josh dropped us off at the airport and I was glad that Nolan didn’t throw a huge fit when we had to leave Daddy.


He was SUPER excited about seeing the airplanes.  I had been prepping him for it for a few days. Also, the “tractors” (TUGS) are pretty cool, too.

We landed in Atlanta around 8 and I could tell Nolan was tired and clearly so was I.  This picture is pretty funny because I think I looks so frazzled.  But, honestly, he did fine.

IMG_20140807_222402I had hoped Nolan would fall asleep in Atlanta, but that didn’t happen. Even with a weather delay and it being nearly 11pm, there was just WAY too much going on to sleep.

Until…the second flight took off.  Immediate head bob and the out like a light.  That’s my “Thank God he’s finally asleep!” face.


IMG_20140807_230121My mom picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel.  After myself and the front desk person lost our fights with the pack and play, Nolan just slept in bed with me and my mom slept in the other bed since it was already past midnight.

The next day we went to the Pensacola Children’s Musem and then headed to lunch at Flounders on Pensacola Beach which made me reminisce about my college days. Ahhh…Diesel Fuel.

Things are a little different these days. :)

IMG_20140808_122350We all three napped when Nolan napped (a good 3.5 hour one) and then there was some pool time and dinner at Outback.

That night my mom stayed at her place and Nolan got a bed to himself (after I laid with him until he fell asleep).

IMG_20140808_220109The next morning we had breakfast and then walked to Starbucks while we waited for my mom.  I brought Nolan’s legos so there was some play time, too.

IMG_20140809_084741And some selfies.


IMG_20140809_090405My mom was having some car issues so there was a little excitement at the dealership and car rental place, but Nolan didn’t mind. He liked checking out all the cars.

Lunch was had at La Brisa next door to the hotel (Amazingly delicious considering it’s at a motel).  On the weekends they have a brunch menu so you can get breakfast for lunch which is what we ordered for Nolan.  I had soup and a spinach salad that were both excellent.  My mom also really enjoyed her chicken thighs and spinach and artichoke dip.  Good food and full bellies led us right into naptime, after which, we drove down to Pensacola Beach again. so my mom couldget Nolan a hat and a t-shirt.

IMG_20140809_162819IMG_20140810_091610She wanted to treat Nolan to some ice cream and I picked out Superman since I figured he’d like the colors (NEVER AGAIN!)

IMG_20140809_164442 IMG_20140809_164450My mom needed to rest so Nolan and I went down to the beach for a little while before dinner.   We actually stayed at the Hampton Inn in Gulf Breeze, but the Quality Inn was behind us and had a little beach that they didn’t seem to mind us using.  In my opinion it worked out perfectly to pay a little more for a better hotel with free hot breakfast and then use the beach at the Quality Inn.  If we’d had time I might have used their pool area, too, because they had a kiddie pool.  Cheaper than staying on Pensacola Beach, but still with a little beach access.

IMG_20140809_173244 IMG_20140809_174720After the beach, Nolan and I showered and then had dinner in Pensacola with my mom and her boyfriend before hitting up the Dollar Tree for some stickers for the flights the next day.

Since our flight was at 6:15 the next day we were all in bed by 9PM for our 4:30 wake up time.  My mom stayed with us again since it was such an early wake up time and she was our ride to the airport.

Nolan, however, for literally the first time ever, woke up at midnight and was awake until 3AM.  I’m guessing having me in bed with him and being well-rested was just too much excitement.   That and the Superman ice cream dyes (did I mention NEVER AGAIN!?).  Still…we made it to our flights and they were uneventful.

IMG_20140810_091553I was actually glad he didn’t sleep during  these travels at all because I appreciated his 4 hour nap when we got home.  Despite the wakefulness, he behaved pretty well (thank goodness for stickers). :)

I’m really glad we went and loved seeing Nolan and his “bebe” together.  Unfortunately, I suck and didn’t get any good pictures of them together.  I think this just because she can’t pick him up or hold him so it didn’t occur to me. :(  We’ll have to make a point of it next time.


So I promised you an update on me in my last (before last, I guess) post.


Well, I’m signed up for 2 5ks, 1 in September and 1 in November.

The one in September is for The End of Watch Foundation and I’ll be running in honor of Ofc. Brian Jones.

8-4-2014 12-03-15 PM

The November one is a brand new race in Norfolk.  Can’t beat special $25 registration for the inaugural event.

Might sign up for the Crawling Crab in October, and I’d like to do the Wicked 10K, also in October, but these things add up and get $$$.

I went running twice last week, but haven’t run since despite unusually cool weather.  I am not and never will be a morning exerciser, so I might as well stop setting myself up to hit snooze for an hour (Sorry Josh).

Josh’s schedule makes it hard, even if I were a morning exerciser because there are many mornings he isn’t there early enough for me to run before Nolan wakes up and I have to be at work.  Then I have all kinds of excuses for not running at lunch. I did run once in the evening last week with the jogging stroller which is good, because I know the September 7th one I’ll have to take Nolan to and if I do the Crawling Crab then it’s the same story.


I re-joined Weight Watchers for the millionth time.  I was down 6 lbs at one point, but then it jumped back up a bit because I wasn’t following the program.  I was pretty proud for weighing in a our Atlanta office meeting when I was down there last week and owning up to the gain.  Hopefully I’m down this week, thought I still don’t think I’ll be down to where I was a few weeks ago. Oh, well, it’s a journey, right?


1) Josh and I are participating in a no-spending challenge from July 31st – Aug 14th.  For us, it’s more of a stick to the budget challenge.  It’s been going pretty well and really makes me re-think my spending.

I downloaded an app called Mealboard to my iPad and it is pretty cool.  You can meal plan, add recipes from the internet fairly easily, keep an inventory of your pantry and create shopping lists.  Some of it takes a good bit of initial effort, like inventorying your pantry, but there is a barcode scanner for brand name items.  You can even keep track of prices at your favorite grocery stores. I’ve been mostly importing recipes from Skinnytaste, a website for healthy recipes that includes the WW points values.

2) The no-spending challenge ended up with an exception…

My mom and her boyfriend were supposed to come up at the end of the month and we were all going to DC for the weekend.  Unfortunately, my mom isn’t going to be well enough to do that and while there’s still a slight chance they’ll at least still come up here, I didn’t want to waste time, so Nolan and I are flying to Pensacola, FL this weekend.

As you can imagine it’s expensive to travel at the last minute, so I used Priceline’s Name your Own Price tools for the flights and hotel.  I’m pretty sure that was a mistake and wish I had just paid more for more convenient flights and hotels.  The Thursday flight gets into Pensacola at 10:30 PM. Not ideal with a toddler.

I also thought I was choosing a hotel on the beach and sacrificed a suite, which would be easier with Nolan, for that convenience. I was wrong and it is NOT on the beach, which totally sucks.  I hadn’t planned on renting a car, my mom was going to be our transportation but I don’t know if that’s feasible at this point.  I’m pretty stressed about the trip at this point. How the hell am I supposed to get Nolan to nap/sleep in a one room hotel room when there’s nowhere for me to go?  He’s not the type to fall asleep if you’re around. I mean, he sleeps great at home in his own crib, with the light off, no one in the room, etc.

I know that one tiring weekend won’t kill me, but it’s still stressful.

Yeah, yeah…I know…

Anyway…that’s about it for me, lately.  I’d appreciate thoughts and prayers for my mom and our trip this weekend.  In return I’ll give you a dose of cute:

IMG_20140802_101646[1](If you’re curious, that’s a Blueberry Simplex 2.0 diaper on Nolan’s little behind. The print is called messy hands, but it’s discontinued, so the only way to find it is second hand.)

My genius husband found a 40 minute video of a “construction” site manned by RC dump trucks, diggers, etc.  It’s probably the longest I’ve ever seen Nolan be still for. It was amazing to watch his face as he watched the video.  I’m going to try to hold off on letting him watch it again until our flights this weekend so the novelty doesn’t wear off. I violated the no spending challenge to get him some headphones.


Nolan reading “his” (i.e. Josh’s) Hot Rod magazine.  He told the hot chick posing in the car to get her feet down off the door…lol.



Birthday Invite

So here it is! Almost everyone has their invite (I have one left to send out!)  I made these invites in Photshop myself and then uploaded the file into Vistaprint.

I had them printed on 5 x 7 glossy paper and it only cost me about $13 for 50.  I didn’t need that many, but it was the minimum order.  In a lucky turn of events I still had enough envelopes from Nolan’s first birthday invites so I didn’t have to spend a dime on those.





This is the back of the invite.  Vistaprint gave me the option of adding a QR code, so I thought it would be fun to do that and have it direct them to the event on FB.  Of course, if we’re not friends on FB (I DO NOT do friending work people) it won’t work, but it was a fun way to fill space for no extra cost.


So…total cost with stamps and everything was less than $25 for what I think are pretty awesome invites! :)

Almost Two

Nolan will be two in just over a month. The birthday invites are ordered. The deposit is down on the “venue” (that sounds so fancy – it’s not, I promise) and the photographer is booked. I debated on the photographer, but I was SO happy to have one last year.  I never picked up a camera or my phone and would have been so sad not to have pictures.

I told myself that this year was going to be smaller. I cut out almost everyone on the list who didn’t have kids of their own, not wanting to subject them to a toddler birthday party outside in August (only you my childbearing friends get that privilege). But then I ended up adding more people and once again we’re back at pretty much the same size party as last year, with around 50 people to be invited.

I also booked his party at a place other than our house, thinking it would be cheaper than renting tables and chairs for our place. Nope. I was wrong. When you have to have it “catered” (again, not that fancy) because you can’t just grill, it’s not cheaper.

That said, I know it’s going to be a blast and I can’t wait to celebrate his birthday with all our friends. (I’ll be sharing his invites with everyone probably in a few days or next week. I mailed them a couple of days ago and want to wait until everyone has received them.)

In our heads, though, Nolan has been two for a while. For months, when people ask, I’ve been saying “two in August” or “almost two.” The idea that he’s one is just…nope. His language has exploded to the point where I have stopped keeping track of new words on the “First Words” page. I just can’t keep up.  He can identify his school friends by name, says grandma and grandpa when he sees their pictures, tells us what to do ALL.THE.TIME., and gives us a hug and says “Sowwy” when he’s released from time out. He’s definitely two.



Had some more pics done last weekend

Currently he is obsessed with screwdrivers. Yes, I said screwdrivers.  I am constantly swapping big, long ones out for little stubby ones trying to humor him a little. But the epic tantrums that ensue when he can’t take his “driber” somewhere or we try swapping them for less lethal ones are wearing on my nerve.


No, mom, two small screwdrivers are not the same as one big screwdriver.

I’m terrified that he’s going to fall one one or scratch his cornea or stick it in an outlet.


Yes, hearing protection is required for this task. Of course.

I know…you’re thinking I sound like Mother of the Year here. Why don’t I just take them away? Well, Josh has a LOT of tools and there are screwdrivers everywhere. Nolan likes hanging out with Josh in the garage and obviously he can’t keep all his tools out of the way.

I’ve never seen Nolan attach himself to anything, really. No stuffed animals or loveys. Until now. He wakes up asking for his “driber”. I had to create an elaborate bedtime routine for it so he’s let me take it away for bed time. He asks for it as soon as I pick him up from daycare. It’s RIDICULOUS.


The screwdriver’s blanket and Mr. Owl watching over it.

And he knows exactly how to use it so God help us when he gets the strength to use it properly.

UPDATE: I wrote all this screwdriver stuff last week and we’ve been able to keep him from them since then and he hasn’t really been asking for one though he’ll pretend something else is a “driber.”

Other than obsessing about hand tools, we’ve been spending the summer out and about mostly.  At the pool, at the zoo, at the beach…




IMG_20140718_194153-MIXWe really are lucky to live in a place with so much to do and relatively inexpensively.  A yearlong membership to the zoo is $85 with unlimited access and special members only events.  The beach can be visited for the price of parking.  There are festivals all year long and splash pads at the parks.  It really does seem like a wonderful place to grow up. I hope Nolan thinks so, too.

I’ll leave you with some of Nolan’s favorite things.


Summer Lovin’

Hey hey! Thought I’d check in and say hello! We’ve been busy enjoying the warm weather and even going to the pool during the week after dinner.

It’s a great way to work off all that toddler energy. And Nolan has plenty of it!

Here’s a few pictures you’ve probably already seen on Facebook.

IMG_20140613_082425Morning selfies!

IMG_20140618_222231The Doctor is in!

IMG_20140620_174304Riding in style!

IMG_20140620_223804Checking out the sprayground at Town Point Park.

IMG_20140622_100827Cheese face!

IMG_20140622_154344Destroying my friend Courtney’s house. ;)

IMG_20140622_154409What do you mean that’s not what it’s for!?

Here’s a gallery of professional pictures I had done by KT Nichols Photography back in April. They were a surprise for Josh for Father’s Day. So excited to finally be able to share them! She did a great job and we’ll be using her for his birthday party, as well.


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Collage 2014-06-15 20_38_12Father’s Day pic of my boys!

Collage 2014-06-22 21_08_02And a little Throw Back Thursday for you!

Nolan’s language has really been exploding! I’ve added nearly 20 words to the First 100 Words page in the past week or so.

Earlier in the week I saw an unreported bite mark on Nolan’s arm. I asked him who did it and he told me “Mirabelle!” (a girl in his class). I nearly fell off my chair. I hadn’t expected him to answer me. Ha.

This morning I was changing his diaper and he told me “No. Potty.” So I put him on the potty and he pooped! Ahhhh! Not expecting any miracles here, but excited to be moving in the right direction.

So that’s what’s going on with us! Hope you’re all doing well, too!

In Memoriam – Officer Brian Jones

I know that most people that read this blog are my friends and family and you probably all know about what happened last weekend. Yet, I feel like I need to write this post, if only for my own processing of what has happened.

Meet, Officer Brian Jones of the Norfolk Police Department.

Brian was killed last Friday night (Friday, May 30th) in the line of duty. I found out about his death when my husband, also a Norfolk Police Officer called me, near midnight on a Friday night, to tell me that he was okay despite being involved towards the end of the situation and to pray for Brian’s wife and three children.

Initially my husband told me Brian was dead and then later he said he was in surgery, but it wasn’t looking good. I prayed and prayed that when he got home from work he would tell me that the surgery was successful and Brian was recovering, but that wasn’t the case.

I didn’t know Brian or his family particularly well, mostly through stories from my husband of Brian’s commitment to Christ and tales of his wife’s cooking skills. I only first met them last December at our annual Christmas party, but my husband had worked closely with him when Brian first joined the department and admired him and his wife’s strong relationship and commitment to family.

Here are a couple of articles about Brian’s life and death.



A loss like this affects everyone. His family, most obviously, his co-workers, their families, the community…

His wife misses her soulmate and partner in life, the father to her children.

His children are missing their daddy and the youngest doesn’t understand why he hasn’t come home from work.

His co-workers miss their friend and are also left on edge when at work, not wanting it to be their families left to grieve, then hit with waves of survivor’s guilt.

His co-worker’s families are dealing with their family member’s grief and perhaps their own. Their ability to be in denial about the danger of that person’s job is shattered. And they might feel guilty for being thankful that it wasn’t their loved one.

The community has lost a dedicated officer (in addition to the young man killed that prompted Officer Jones to pursue the suspect). A man who made it his mission in life to protect the city, who preached at his church and touched many lives during his too short life.

When things like this happen, especially to people who are as wonderful as Officer Jones was, people want to know WHY? Why would God do this?”

Well, in my opinion, God DID NOT do this. A sick man did this.

Brian Jones would not have wanted his death to shake anyone’s faith. Just the opposite.  He would have wanted people to see how the community has rallied together for his family. He would have wanted the community to see the dedication of their officers and the sacrifices of their families and perhaps have a little more grace in their heart when dealing with the police.

He would have wanted people to see how a life lived with love and kindness in your heart can affect those around you for the better. Let’s honor his wishes and pray for his family’s healing from this tragedy.


#OOTD = Outfit of the Day

I’ve been making an effort to look a little more put together lately.

It started with getting my hair colored, going with the ombre look.


Then I started shopping around for some more stylish duds, at work and at home. I didn’t feel like I was putting my best foot forward all the time. Not good when you work in a super corporate workplace.

So…I’m going to share some of my recent outfits where I felt a little more put together. You’ll notice I don’t pay full price for items.

I tried Stitch Fix and Tog + Porter, but I just never felt like what I received was worth paying full price for. I’m the kind of gal that likes to feel like I got a deal.


Navy Polka dot dress: Loft (50% off clearance) (worn with a sweater)

Navy/gold sandals: Target sale (more of a Friday kind of shoe)


White shirt: Motherhood Maternity (yes, I’m serious…it was a gift from my mom way back when)

Teal criss-cross sweater: Zulily (I have very little luck with Zulily for women’s clothes if I don’t know the brand, but I thought I couldn’t go wrong with this. It’s lace in the back).

Navy pants: 40% off at New York and Co.

Nude wedge shoes: Cole Haan (Extra % off clearance at Dillards – got ‘em for $35!)


Shirt: New York and Co. clearance

Skirt: H & M – Bought off a Facebook resale site from a friend (so less than $10)

Black peep toes: Anne Klein bought in Puerto Rico at Marshalls


Dress: Calvin Klein (from TJ Maxx) This is the most flattering an comfortable dress EVER!!!

Shrug: Walmart (loooong time ago)

Black/gold shoes: Target sale (yes it’s the same shoe from the first pic, in a different color)


Shirt: Loft from ThredUp

Have you heard of ThredUP?  It’s an online consignment store with everything from designer clothes and handbags to kids clothes. I’ve actually gotten pretty lucky with my purchases despite not being able to try them on. And sometimes the prices are so good it’s worth the risk (like $5 shorts). Right now if you download their app and use the promo code HELLOMOBILE, you can get 20% off your order. Shipping is free for orders over $50.

If you’re a new customer you can use the code SUNNY25 for 25% off and then you can also get 7.5% back through Ebates (but you can’t combine that with the mobile app offer).

Pants: same navy NY&Co ones above

Gold shoes: Nurture (% off clearance at Dillards)


Here’s a non-work one.

Shirt: Pleione from ThredUp (I lurve this shirt. It’s polyester, but the more comfortable and breathable kind. it’s super long, specifically for tucking in and still being able to blouse it out and hide those “trouble spots”)

So…when I say I don’t buy anything full price, I mean it. For Nolan, either. I shop at clearance sales, swaps and consignment sales for him.

I also watch sites like SouthernSavers who posts online sales and subscribe to sites like Zulily or Steals.com, but mostly waiting for things like Stride Rite shoes or Toms shoes to go on sale.

So, that’s how I’ve been feeling a little more confident and put together, but on a budget.

What are your tricks or some sites you use for getting the best deal?

Last Weekend

I don’t suppose our weekend was particularly exceptional, but the weather was fantastic, as it has been for the last few and that means we got to play outside as much as possible.

Friday night Josh was working and I was feeling lazy so we went to Pop’s Diner for dinner. Kids eat free and they serve breakfast all day long, so I really like going there. That way, when Nolan doesn’t feel like eating, I haven’t wasted any money.

He also likes flirting with the waitresses.


Saturday morning I gave him cereal (like legit with milk, in a bowl) for the first time.  I spent a lot of time saying “Use your spoon!”


I made myself a smoothie and put the leftovers in these molds for Nolan. I haven’t tried them, yet. Well, I have, but Nolan hasn’t. I think they need to be sweeter.

IMG_20140503_183451Then, before we headed out for the day, I moved his carseat into the middle and he crawled in all by himself. But it didn’t last long, because I soon learned it couldn’t properly be installed in the center. Bummer. #RearFacingForLife


We spent the morning checking out the church flea markets down the street and then after his nap we went out strawberry picking.

He MAY have a eaten a few while we picked (don’t worry I offered to pay for them).


This is HALF of our haul, the other half I gave to a friend on the way home. They’re already ALL gone, too! Might have to go back this weekend.


I did not think about the fact that there would be tractors on the farm.



Let’s just say there was a massive meltdown when we had to leave without riding one.

In the evening we found these two dogs that had been wandering the neighborhood all day. We brought them into the back yard and gave them water and food.

IMG_20140503_194051   IMG_20140503_194058

They had a blast playing with Goliath. I put an ad on Craigslist hoping their owner would call. We ended up having to let them out of the yard in the middle of the night because they wouldn’t stop barking (fireworks at the baseball game across the water set them off).  I got word via a concerned citizen that their owner did find them, though. I guess it at least gave him an area to search.

Sunday morning we tried out a new church with friends. I’m pretty excited about it, lots of kids of all ages, a nice nursery and not too far from the house. Nolan did great in the nursery, too.

In the afternoon we went to the beach.  He loves the sand (ewww! not me!).



Ha! Here’s a close-up of his face in the above pic. Pure joy.




It was a really fantastic weekend and I’m looking forward to a summer full of them.

ODU Big Blue 5k

Oooooh! Look! A non baby related post. ;)

I did my first 5K since December on Saturday. I wasn’t running very consistently, but did manage to get 3 runs in the week prior. I knew I could do the distance, so I was more interested in trying to improve my time.

Here are my previous 5ks (click on pictures to enlarge).Screenshot_2014-04-15-10-29-20

Yes, that’s the same race for three years in a row (well, technically 2 years apart). The first one at 30:15 is pretty much my PR for a 5K (the one before that had a short course). I was like 2 weeks pregnant then.

The next one at 38:05 was when Nolan (see I managed to slip him in there somewhere) was 3.5 months old. All I wanted to do was finish without walking. And I did.

The next one, from 2013, was just me trying to get back into. I hadn’t hardly run at all in nearly a year.

The good news is that I did improve my time…


…by nearly a minute! Yay!

Here are some picture from the race. (Yes, those are proofs…they want crazy money for these things.)





This was a pretty fun race! Parking was free and easy. The race course was nice and mostly flat. At various intervals different athletic teams from the University were there cheering you on (and providing a little eye candy).

There was one water station about halfway through, but I skipped it. It was warmer than expected (70+) so the sun was killer at times and there was often very little shade. I was an idiot and didn’t put sunscreen on so was red the next day.

The finish line was on the football field and they had it projected up on the big screen, too, which was pretty cool.

Since participants got admission to the football game, participation was limited to 2k people so it wasn’t crowded, which was nice.

The Big Blue BBQ afterwards was a bit of a different story. I paid for Josh’s ticket and felt since there were people paying just for the BBQ they should have been better equipped to handle the number of people. They ran out of food in one line I was in and we had to move. They ran out of white wine, as well, and this was about 30 minutes to an hour into what was supposed to be a 3 hour “barbecue”.  Hopefully they’ll improve that part of it for next year.

Overall, I thought it was a blast and one of the few times the $45 cost was worth it between the race (t-shirt & medal) BBQ and the admission to games. I’ll be back next year!



Cloth Diapering

Note: This was originally posted on April 8, 2014.  As of August 5th, I have made updates and edits based on continuing experience.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but I struggle with how much detail to go into since there are much more informative sites out there. I’ll try to keep it simple, but I doubt I will succeed, although cloth diapering is not difficult.

In the beginning…

We cloth diapered from the start using a diaper service. (Eco Existence for those in the Hampton Roads area.)  This was how I got Josh on board since we wouldn’t be washing any dirty diapers.

The service dropped off clean diapers once per week and picked up the dirty ones. They provided the pail, a deodorizer disk (monthly) and two pail liners (one in the pail and one to replace it when it was time for the diapers to go out). They also gave us four newborn diaper covers.

Like most diaper services, they only provided pre-fold diapers.  These are pretty much what most people think of when they think of a cloth diaper. It’s a cotton (or hemp or bamboo) piece of fabric that is sewn with extra layers in the middle.

cloth eez prefold diapers white cotton

(Picture from Green Mountain Diapers)

Unlike what you think of with these diapers, though, no pins are required (though some people do still use them). Generally people use Snappis.

They’re a little like bungees with plastic teeth to catch in the fabric.

20130225_152722Since the cotton isn’t waterproof (obviously) a diaper cover is required.

20130114_184843We always used PUL lined ones, mostly Thirsties and Blueberry which are fantastic quality and have a more generous fit. Micro-fleece and wool can also be used for covers.

I loved our pre-folds and covers. Leaks out of the cover were almost non-existent. We never had to change outfits or throw clothes away. Leaks onto the covers weren’t uncommon, but also normal. Those we did wash at home.

From pretty early on, since Nolan slept through the night at a young age, we used disposables for nighttime since the pre-folds don’t wick away moisture (like a micro-fleece would). By themselves they aren’t all that great for more than 2-3 hours. EDIT: That’s totally my opinion about pre-folds.  I know there are people who do use them overnight, And at out current stage where he’s barely wetting at night, they might work with a stay-dry liner.

The only real negatives of the service were:

1) cost: $78/month (probably about the same as disposables – at least in the beginning),

2) smell: Since they only got picked up once/week, sometimes the pail would smell strongly

EDIT 3) lack of variety: i.e. using disposables at night since pre-folds didn’t cut it

And then…

Back in October, when we switched to a new daycare, we decided to cancel the diaper service. The new daycare was $140/month more than the old one. I figured $80/month would be a big help to have back. Pre-folds are cheap and we already had covers and Snappis. Pre-folds are also the easiest to wash (I mean…they’re just cotton).

A couple of days into it at the new daycare, and I was told that their state licensing rep would require me to have a new cover and Snappi with every change. Keep in mind that this was their first time allowing cloth diapers.

Now those covers aren’t cheap $10-$18 for new, good quality ones (and I hadn’t learned about the world of buying and selling used diapers, yet). Snappis aren’t cheap, either (which usually isn’t a big deal because you only need a few).

I figured, at that point it was cheaper to buy pocket style diapers if they’re going to change the whole thing anyway.

A pocket style diaper is a diaper cover with a lining sewn in (usually stay dry fabric) and a pocket on one end to stuff an insert into. Sometimes they have a pocket on both ends that is supposed to allow the insert to agitate out in the wash rather than you having to remove it before washing.

Most come with a micro-fiber (MF) inserts. More absorbent inserts can be purchased and are made from bamboo or hemp (the most absorbent). You can even stuff them with a pre-fold.

Many people have problems with the MF, but we, luckily have not, though I do have a few hemp ones. Microfiber should never be placed next to baby’s skin as it is very drying.

I didn’t consider all-in-one diapers at the time (no inserts to stuff) because of their purported long drying times.

I got lucky and there was a pocket diaper lot on Craigslist with the inserts for $75. I think there were about 20 in the lot.

These were what are generally called “rebranded Alvas”. Alvas are a brand of pocket diaper made in China. You can buy them directly from their site with a MF insert for under $6. Sometimes people/companies buy them wholesale without labels and put their own label on them, thus the rebranded part. EDIT: If you buy them direct from the Alva site, shipping can take quite a while since they’re coming from China.  There are USA sites like SuperStash.net and Motts Tots Diaper Boutique who buy wholesale from Alva and can get them to you faster in the US for the same prices as straight from Alva.

I, personally, have never had any issues with our Alvas. No leaks or fit issues. Some people do, though, and prefer to stick with USA made diapers or even diapers made by work at home moms (WAHM). Unfortunately, I have had terribly luck with the no-name WAHM diapers I’ve bought.

As I did more research I started finding out about Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade (BST) pages. This is where you can buy, sell or trade items such as diapers. Sometimes a group is for a particular brand, but The Cloth Diaper Swap is the biggest one and it’s for anything cloth diaper related. I started trying out different brands and also selling off some of my Alvas (prints or colors I didn’t like) in order to do so.

Yes, I put USED diapers on my baby. ::GASP:: Whatever. You bleach them once, then wash them and they’re good to go.

For a while there I was a little obsessed with cloth diapers and getting cute prints. I was constantly selling and buying.

IMG_20140210_214454 (1)MAYBE half of my stash, not including the prefolds I never use anymore.

Eventually I decided to try All-in-Ones (AIO), specifically Blueberry Simplex because sometime in the near future Nolan will start potty training. The Simplex have stretchy, side snapping flaps meaning they could be pulled up and down like training pants. They are also pretty fast drying for AIOs because they have a flap that is attached only on one end and can be out for faster drying (and can agitate out in the wash). You don’t technically have to stuff it into the pocket, you could just lay it on top.  These are lined with cotton, not a stay-dry fabric, also ideal for potty training because baby will feel when they’re wet.

The Simplex are so versatile because the openings allow you to add extra absorbency.  EDIT: Since Nolan is not a heavy wetter (in fact, these days, at almost 2 years old, he often wakes up after 12+ hours with a dry diaper) I can put an extra hemp insert in and use them overnight with a fleece liner (to keep the moisture off his skin).  They do make a stay-dry version called Basix, BTW.

The Simplex comes either sized newborn, medium, large or one-size. I only have sized ones (M & L) because I love how super trim they are. Blueberry also has the cutest prints.

IMG_20140220_192022Full disclosure: One of these is not Blueberry Simplex…figure it out and you get a prize.

I bought all but one of these used on Facebook BST sites. These are puppies are NOT cheap. Brand new they’re about $28. I paid anywhere from $15-20 a piece for mine. If I take care of them then they should hold that value.

I’ve been lazy and throwing them in the dryer and also because being that they’re cotton, they get “crunchy” when line dried. However, I have noticed that a seam is coming out of one so I need to be a little nicer to them so I can re-sell them.

So…we use a combo of pockets and AIOs now and almost never use pre-folds.

At night…

As I said previously we generally used disposables for nighttime since Nolan slept long stretches from the very beginning and our diaper service pre-folds wouldn’t cut it. Once we cancelled the service I very cautiously stepped some toes into night-time cloth diapering.  EDIT: More and more, since Nolan isn’t a a heavy wetter, we use cloth at night because I can pretty much use anything on him.  I just put an extra hemp insert or two in it and make sure it has a liner if it’s not stay dry.

If you DO have a heavy wetter I recommend the diapers listed below.

*A fitted diaper is a cloth diaper that is shaped to fit the baby but needs a cover to be waterproof. Some have layers of fleece or wool in between layers to help them last longer and many people use them without covers around the house as they can last quite a while before being wet on the outside. I have a few, but they aren’t really practical for us because we aren’t home much and it’s too much to ask for Josh to understand what needs a cover and what doesn’t. I was pretty much done with fitteds during the day when I was at Target with Nolan and realized he had one on with no cover.  EDIT: I have actually sold off all my fitteds except the overnight ones.

But, I digress.

The SBish diapers, made by Sloomb, are pricey, but can be found on the B/S/T pages, which is where I got mine. Remember, you’re only using them overnight so you don’t need more than 4 or so. I have three. They are VERY bulky and it’s pretty funny to see Nolan waddle around in one. I have two eight? (some of them are getting too small) pair of micro-fleece pants that I use as covers (these are very cheap) at night. Fleece and wool are more breathable than PUL liner covers. Wool is more waterproof and breathable than fleece, but more upkeep. I have some wool, but have never used it.

The OBF are not stay-dry, therefore I use some type of fleece liner next to his skin, sometimes just a cut up piece of fleece fabric if my other liners are MIA.

I also have one Kawaii GNHW pocket that I stuff with one MF insert and two hemp inserts. This is already lined with a stay-dry fabric. EDIT: I can’t find the damn thing. It’s either in Josh’s diaper bag or car as an extra, or there was some kind of excessive blowout and he’s scared to tell me he threw it away. LOL

I still sometimes use a disposable, mostly if I don’t have any clean overnight handy or if he’s getting a rash and I want to use a strong diaper cream (most mainstream diaper creams are damaging to cloth diapers). Since I use a liner most of the time, though, I’ve even been using the cloth when he needs a cream. (::pats self on back::)  Josh uses disposables often, but it’s mostly just to be ornery.

Nolan sleeps 11-12 hours a night regardless of whether he’s in a disposable or cloth.

Wash Routine

So this is the scary part. It was for me. And not the ick factor. Poop doesn’t bother me.  It was all the special laundry detergents and horror stories about stink and leaks and repelling.

I have not had any of those issues in my 6 months of washing (now 10 months). Keep in mind that I’ve heard that it can take 6 months to a year for issues to arise as detergents supposedly build up. A lot of it also depends on your water (soft or hard).

Powdered Tide is the most commonly used, accepted, and effective laundry detergent in the cloth diapering community. Yep. Tide. And, yes, you can use a powder detergent in a front loading machine and they make an HE version.

I keep a wet bag in the nursery and a pail with liner in our laundry room/downstairs bathroom. I have diaper sprayer hooked up to the toilet and a Spray Pal to prevent mess. Yes, it seems like a lot of equipment and expense but keep in mind it can ALL be re-sold. Nothing to do with disposables can.

For daycare I have a wetbag that both zips and has a drawstring. I brought in a small step trash can and every morning I put the wetbag in and every afternoon I take it and the dirty diapers home.  They put all dirty diapers in there, wrapping up poopy ones in plastic grocery bags.

Every night I empty the wet bags and rinse poopy diapers that need it and throw them in the pail in the laundry room. Every 2-3 days I do a load. On the weekends I wash the daycare wet bag.

I have a Whirlpool front loading HE machine. I do a pre-rinse with NO detergent. ALWAYS do a pre-rinse to get rid of any ick still on the diapers. Then I do a hot wash with Tide HE powder (NO FABRIC SOFTENERS) with an extra rinse at the end to get rid of any lingering detergent.

I then hang my pockets, covers, and wet bags on a clothes line we have in the laundry room. Inserts go in the dryer. That’s it.

Bottom Line

Cost: CAN be cheap or can be $$$, depends on you. BUT everything can be sold if you take care of it. I highly recommend buying pre-loved whenever possible.

Potty Training: I can’t attest to the rumor that cloth diapering promotes faster potty training. We just aren’t there, yet. Also, I think it totally depends on the kid. EDIT: We’re getting closer.  He will sometimes go on the potty and has occasionally told me before he goes that he needs to.  I expect daycare will start potty training in the next couple of months after he turns two.

Rashes: We very rarely have more than just a little redness unless he’s got diarrhea.

Blowouts: I don’t think we’ve had more than a couple of blowouts (out of the covers-onto clothes) in 20 months of cloth diapering.

Environment: I’m no expert and I know some people say the water use in washing outweighs other environmental savings. I think that’s bull. It’s 2-3 extra loads of laundry a week (more in the beginning). And since you have more blowouts in disposables  you’re probably doing more laundry anyway.  Oh, and one disposable takes 500 years to degrade in a landfill.

Cute Factor: Through the roof. Fluffy butts are adorable.