Still Playing School: March 2013

Hoppy Easter!

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: Be the first to comment!

D was appalled by the color of his egg.

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Last Minute Easter Craft

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We made rabbits out of cardboard rolls.  Easy and fast!

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2-3-4 Nap Schedule

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 1 Comment

We tried the 2-3-4 nap schedule with D yesterday, but it's still a bit too early, I think.  If you haven't heard of this, you just put your baby down for a nap 2 hours after they wake up, then put them down for their second nap 3 hours after they wake up from the first nap, and lastly, but then to bed 4 hours after they wake up from their last nap.

Right now, D is more of a 2-2-2-2 man.  Still LOTS of naps and frequently.

Did you do the 2-3-4 with your kids?  Did it work?  Do you remember at what age you started?  I know we used it with E, but I can't remember when!
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Undercover Mama Review & Giveaway

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: , 24 Comments
A very generous friend is giving baby D lots of clothing via adorable hand-me-downs from her son. (Psst, D, stop growing so fast!  You're almost catching up to her 10 month old son and then you will have no clothes to wear!)

The first time she gave us a bin of newborn clothes she included an Undercover Mama camisole for me to wear while nursing.  She told me how she had one in brown and one in black and she LOVED them.  She wore them literally every day to work.

I was excited to try the strapless tank because it looks like a tube top, but it attaches to your regular nursing (or non-nursing!) bra.  By layering, you can lift your other shirt up or down or unzip it and then when you unhook and lower your nursing bra, the Undercover Mama camisole comes with it.  It can't be easier than that!

With E, I was never shy about nursing in public, but what did bother me was exposing my post-c-section, stretch marked momma belly when I lifted up a shirt to feed her.  I bought a ton of inexpensive tanks to wear under my clothes, but they quickly got stretched out from yanking them down or over. What I was REALLY looking for I have found now: an Undercover Mama tank!

The camisoles have two options for attaching to your bras.  Since they are so versatile and comfortable, I have heard that lots of people (including my aforementioned friend) wear them even after their little ones wean.

As soon as I wore my Undercover Mama I was hooked (pun intended!) so I immediately ordered two more.  I got the lace options, which adds a bit of length to the tanks (about 2").  They are very long on my short torso, but I just pull them up because they are so darn cute.  I love the little bit of lace poking out!

Designed by a nursing mom herself, the shirts are 95% cotton and 5% spandex so they hold in some of the bumps and lumps that a postpartum belly might have.  I always make sure to air dry mine after washing.  They hold up really well this way as evident by the fact that my friend wore her two constantly!

Undercover Mama is allowing me to give away one nursing camisole to a lucky reader (US and Canada residents ONLY; sorry international readers).  If you aren't currently breastfeeding, I still recommend that you enter and try the tank for yourself or give it away at the next baby shower you attend.  New mommas need all the pro-breastfeeding tools and support they can get!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Undercover Mama generously sent me a pink camisole for completing this review, but the opinions and enthusiasm are completely my own!
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Easter Fun with Window Markers

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: , 1 Comment

It snowed again yesterday.  It seems like spring will never arrive weather wise, even though the calendar says it's here!  I can't wait to get out to playground and use our double stroller, but it's just not time yet.

To brighten up our day, we got out our Crayola window markers.  I drew eggs and we decorated them together.

It was nice to be in the natural light, even if the sun wasn't shining and it wasn't warm.  E noticed that the zig zags I drew on my Easter egg goes "down, up, down, up" like the letter W.

E loves Easter because she is a bit obsessed with bunnies.  They are her favorite animal!

As a surprise, I used the same markers to draw a bunny face on the bathroom mirror for her to find when she washed her hands!

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Emily Grace Photography

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We had a newborn photo shoot scheduled for baby D to be taken when he was a week old, but the photographer had to cancel due to a family emergency.  I was so sad because I wanted fresh newborn pictures taken before Christmas.  Then my sweet friend Megan stepped in and put me in touch with Emily Grace Photography.

This shoot worked out even better because Emily and Lindsay came to our house.  It was so sweet to get pictures of D in his own room.  I could take a break for nursing and changing his diaper in the comfort of our regular places.  And yet, the shots look like they were done in a studio.

Thanks Emily Grace Photography, for catching this moment in time when my soon to be BIG boy was still so very small.  

There are details I never want to forget, like this fuzzy shoulder.

These opinions are 100% my own, but we did receive a photo shoot and edited digital pictures for this review.
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This Week's Meals: March 25 - 31, 2013

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 1 Comment
First of all, a bit of an update. I adapted this recipe here to make the most delicious pizza ever.

In our version, I used a store bought (shut up) whole wheat crust.  I made the sauce with 1/2 cup real fruit strawberry jam and 1/4 cup balsamic glace which skipped another step since I didn't have to reduce vinegar myself.  I topped the pizza with cheese, bacon, and red onion (the recipe called for sweet onion), then baked.  Once it was out of the oven, I added sliced strawberries and cilantro.  We were all very happy that I made two of these.

So on to this week.

Monday - Marlboro Man Sandwiches, steamed veggies (E's choice)
Tuesday - Leftovers, Quinoa Avocado Chickpea Salad
Wednesday - Sweet and Sour Chicken, with extra sauce, broccoli, water chestnuts, carrots, brown rice
Thursday - Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (sans chicken)
Friday - Leftovers and/or crock pot Vegetable Stew (from the freezer)
Saturday - MIL's birthday dinner
Sunday - Easter

Lunches - Leftovers, sandwiches, apples, bananas
Desserts - Quinoa fruit salad, Coffee cake muffins
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Color Word Lesson

Today we used E's new markers to write color words.

Me: Can you find a purple marker so that I can write purple?  What letter do you hear at the beginning of purple?
E: P!
Me: Yes, watch me write a P.  Big line down, little curve.  

After we wrote all the words, I remembered a new color toy that D had recently received.  He was sitting by quietly observing, so we drew him into the fun!

When I press the button on the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Magic Paintbrush it lights up and stops by naming a random color.  I would show the paintbrush to D while it was playing music and flashing.

E would find that color word it stopped on.  Sometimes she would want to trace it.

It was an impromptu lesson that kept both the kids entertained! 

E's age: 3 years, 3 months
D's age: 15 weeks
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Show & Tell: Addi Twigg of Add It Up

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 1 Comment
The first wonderful woman that I'd like to introduce you to for our Show & Tell is Addi Twigg, singer, writer, artist, comedian.  She also came up with the name for this feature for us, sticking with the school theme, which is perfect!

How did we meet?

We met... ON THE INTERNET! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN! Ok but seriously, we met the same place I met my husband:! And we've never met in person! That is, you and I. I've met my husband in person. Several times. Enough that I went and married the guy! For real though, you are one of a handful of people I met on Livejournal and never lost touch with despite never meeting in the flesh. I think that says something about us. I'm just not entirely sure what...

Wow, we've been spewing our lives on the internet for over ten years! What is the most important thing we should know about you?

That I love to laugh, but more importantly I love to make others laugh. There is nothing like the feeling of bringing laughter to my loved ones.

Speaking of your loved ones, who do you share your life with?
My husband. My friends. My brother (who is also one of my closest friends). I also share my life with the Internet, by which I mean mostly Facebook. A lot of people would roll their eyes at that, but I think that's a sign that we're taking it for granted. It makes me feel so connected to people I otherwise would have lost track of ages ago. It allows me to promote my blog, my podcast, and my singing gigs, and it's what helps me follow the same kind of creative efforts from others. Hell, my Facebook friends share more of my life than my own parents do. I am close emotionally with my mom and dad, but I'm not sure I'd say that I "share my life" with them. They are religious and I'm very much not, so I feel like keeping my online "persona" from them is a way for me to protect them from feeling hurt by my agnostic/atheist ideas. Could that backfire? Absolutely. All they'd have to do is Google me. I suppose I'm alright with that if it happens, but I'm not going out of my way to push my online presence in their faces.

So, that took a weird turn, huh?

That was a perfect turn, because when the idea for this feature came to me, I was hoping to be able to highlight the common threads that draw us to other women and then the differences between us that teach us. You mentioned a few things we have in common there (I also share a lot on the internet. I second guess how much I should be sharing at times, wondering if other people think I have internet diarrhea (Can't. Stop. Posting!) but ultimately, it just feels right to be able to put my thoughts and beliefs out there. You and I also have a lot in common politically and religiously (or lack thereof). One of our differences, though, is that I'm a mother and you've chosen not to have kids. Can you talk a bit about that?

When I was a young girl, I had what I presume to be typical views on being a mom. I planned to grow up, marry a nice man, and have babies. I actually wanted twins. TWINS! Perhaps that should've been the first sign that I wasn't fit for motherhood, because I wanted a perfectly identical "set" of children I could cleverly name and parade around in matching outfits. And that's not motherhood, that's a circus side show. Luckily for my theoretical babies, I've shifted my focus to cleverly naming and parading around wiener dogs. Some day. Maybe.

High school might've been when the idea first entered my mind that I didn't have to have kids. Working with children throughout college (and ultimately nannying, which I briefly discuss on episode 9 of my podcast) only furthered my feelings that I didn't want that responsibility. It was exhausting taking care of small human beings for just part of the day. How could anyone do it 24/7, and with infinitely more investment, emotional, financial, and otherwise? I find the very thought daunting and completely off-putting. That's oversimplifying it, but it's probably the biggest reason. I love my life very much so just the way it is, thankyouverymuch!

You inspire me because not only do you blog, but you host a podcast. Can you tell us about Add It Up?

Can I just say first and foremost I am having a BLAST doing it? And I think that's why people enjoy listening, because they can tell my guests and I are having fun. I felt inspired by my friend Robin (another fabulous lady blogger!) who started podcasting to keep her friends and family in the loop after she and her husband moved to Cape Town, South Africa. It just seemed like such a fun way to have entertaining conversations, whether it was about a serious topic or silly things. Either way, something about the medium really spoke to me (pun intended). I basically just pick a topic and a guest or two, and we shoot the shit for an hour. I just made it sound boring. I promise it's not!
What was your blog like when it started? How did you evolve into a podcast?

The blog started about a year before the podcast, and it was mostly just a way for me to share funny family stories, fashion, and opinion pieces. It also gave me a place to house the information for all my various musical projects. A year later, I was inspired by Robin (as mentioned above) to dabble in podcasting. It fit really naturally into my blog format, as I would publish a post with each episode. At this point, it's kind of taken over. I rarely write actual posts anymore, and when I do, they don't get nearly the attention that my podcast does.

What are your other passions?

Gosh... music, comedy, fashion, and honestly, as of late? Body acceptance and changing the conversation from weight to health. I'm really, really tired of hearing people talk about being fat or losing weight. Can't we just talk about having healthy habits, accept our bodies for what and how they are, and move on with our lives? Seriously.

What are your challenges? How are you tackling them?

My health is the biggest one. I have PCOS, which comes with a happy little truckload of symptoms. In fact, I'd have to say that's the one thing that is a consistent struggle. I have days where I'm unhappy with my job or I fight with my husband, but those moments are fleeting and I feel satisfied and happy with my life overall. PCOS, on the other hand, is an ongoing challenge because obesity is both a cause and an effect of the condition, so it's a vicious cycle. I don't know if I will ever feel like I'm fully managing it, but it takes meds, a healthy diet, and exercise. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Who are some women that you admire and why?

It's not lip service when I say that I admire you, and I think that comes mostly from the fact that in a sea of people my age who are raising kids, you are one mother who is proactive with her children. You actually, you know, mother them. Granted I judge this mostly from Facebook, but I will say this: you are not an annoying mom on Facebook. I look forward to your posts. I laugh at them, I cry at them. Not to mention the incredible way you've openly mourned the loss of Violet. You are an amazing woman, Devany. Truly.

Thank you so much.  Another part of how this feature came to mind was when you spoke about Violet's story in your podcast episode about death.  It was so clear to me through your words [one of them explicit, but so right! on! Readers, PLEASE listen (I get tears in my eyes every time I do), but make sure the kids aren't in the room when Addi describes PERFECTLY my reaction to people who think that I shouldn't be grieving so publicly] that you truly understood me and my grieving process so far, which is something that I think most other people struggle with, other parents included.  And here you were, someone who has chosen not to have kids for sound reasons, yet you were walking this road with me, witnessing my pain over losing my daughter and not shying away from it.  I can't ever thank you enough for that.  

Other than that, I don't really imagine celebrities or historical figures when I'm asked this question. I think of my mom, who is a feminist at least as much as her generation/upbringing will allow, and who helped make me the kick-ass woman I am now. I admire my female friends and how strong, smart, funny, creative, and outright fearless they are. After all, I get so much of my inspiration from them. Who could I possibly admire more?

What advice can you give our readers in the fields of your many creative outlets?

The best advice I can give is to be honest. Don't be something you're not. I'm not saying you shouldn't try new things -- au contraire! Experiment away, my friends! But you have to be real. Be true to YOU, follow your creative intuition, and people will appreciate it even if only subconsciously.

That's why I admire women like you and my friend Robin who inspired me -- you are real. You are honest. No pretense.

Where can readers find you to learn more?

In real life, I can often be found on the weekends at Pittsburgh's new Arcade Comedy Theater. And late Friday nights you can sometimes catch me at Del's in Bloomfield for karaoke. It's my weakness!

Online, the best place to find me is on! Otherwise, I'm @addiful on Twitter (though I use it sparingly these days) and I love Instagram, where my username is @additwigg. Let's be friends!

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Making Writing Meaningful

Since I last wrote about E's writing development, she's really taken an interest!  I wish we could take credit for anything new that she is doing, but this is almost completely self motivated.  

She constantly has a writing implement and some sort of paper in her hands.  We have made those available to her at all times (at least until D is mobile).  We've purchased new markers for her in 36! colors.  She's moved on from scribbling to writing random letters and letter like forms.

We do continue to show her meaningful ways to use writing.  She knows that we use lists, recipes, letters, and cards as a few examples.  This has piqued her interest about creating her own writing.  

You can see here how I started the birthday card for her.  She wrote her own H under mine, but decided not to trace Nana's name.

On the inside, she told me what to draw.  After the first cat, I drew the second, but asked her to finish the details of the face.  She then scribble wrote a note to Nana.  I underwrote.

She takes paper and a pen to bed with her some nights.  It's pretty adorable.
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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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30 Things I Love

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 2 Comments
For CDP stalking, but also just to cheer me up, so I suggest you make one, too!

 1. Stars
 2. Abraham Lincoln
 3. Ants (Just not in the house, but they are fascinating and cute.)
 4. The Wizard of Oz
 5. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
 6. Mister Rogers
 7. Coffee
 8. Word Fued
 9. Podcasts
10. The beach
11. Neil deGrasse Tyson
12. This video

13. Ethnopediatrics
14. Lucid Dreaming
15. Lists
16. Massages
17. Mint Bath Products
18. Glitter
19. Good Incense
20. Naps
21. Sea Turtles
22. Sushi
23. Cats
24. Cherry Candy
25. Robots
26. Knee Socks
27. Classic Rock
28. Julia Louis-Dreyfus
29. Cooking
30. Rainbows
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New Show & Tell Feature

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: Be the first to comment!
Imagine gathering your closest friends all together in one room.  How would you introduce them and encourage them to mingle?  You'd probably start by putting together those who have things in common.  Would you avoid partnerships where your friends are starkly different in vital ways?

Lifestyle choices.

It's the things that we have in common with others that draw us together, then the differences between us that teach us the most.

Facebook and Twitter are interesting in this way because our friends (who may or may not know each other) can comment on things we post.  We can debate, like, and discuss topics that we might not otherwise have the opportunity to discuss in person.

I'm going to use Still Playing School over the next several months to introduce you to women in my life who inspire me.  I decided to narrow it down to women (for now) so that they will all have at least this in common as we discuss the ways we are all different.
I wanted to spread the word about those who have businesses, blogs, and projects that I admire.
I wanted to give women who don't blog a platform to share their stories with my readers.
I want to compare and contrast our characteristics.
I want to dig deeper into what draws us to people, what changes friendships, and what solidifies them.

I still feel like I'm not explaining this feature in it's whole capacity, but I'm sure it will take on a life of it's own when it begins.
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3/13 is Trisomy 13 Awareness Day

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 1 Comment
Violet had Trisomy 13.  Three thirteenth chromosomes when she should have had only two.  This affected her heart, her brain, her eyes, her ears, her scalp, her hands.

I remember asking (fighting the urge to beg) the doctor doing one of our many scans to tell us what she would look like.  "Check again, does she have a cleft lip (common in Trisomy 13 babies) or club feet?  Can you tell if she has hair?  Will she look like her sister?"  There is only so much you can tell, even from a 3D ultrasound.

What I really wanted to ask was, "How will I love this baby who looks so different?"  I felt like advance warning of her physical appearance might better prepare me to be her mother.

I poured over pictures of other babies with Trisomy 13 online.  There is such a vast spectrum of physical characteristics a baby can have so I imagined her with each.

A newsletter came in the mail.  It was written by and for families with Trisomy babies.  There were support groups and annual meetings that we never thought Violet would survive to see.  Yet, in the dark kitchen one summer night when E was already asleep, my husband and I looked at each picture of those babies and children, imagining the little girl in my growing belly and wondering which of them she would look most like.

Well meaning people told me that I would love her as she was because she was my baby.  I heard their words and I registered what they were saying, but I just wish I would have been able to understand the solid truth to this before she was born.  It would have saved me a lot of sleepless nights and unnecessary worry.

And then she arrived.  I'll never forget laying eyes on her while the whisked her away as I was still on the operating table.  Even across the room, I could see how she was different.  But I could also hear her small cry.  I fell in love.

Last night, anticipating that today was Trisomy 13 Awareness Day, I searched the internet looking for a banner or ribbon to add to my Facebook page today.  Those same children that I looked at almost two years ago came up in my results.  I even know some of their names and stories now.  I've connected with their families.  This time, I saw Violet in each of them and I loved them, too.

If you are reading this and you've had a prenatal diagnosis of Trisomy 13, but you are still preparing to meet your baby, I'll tell you what everyone told me: You WILL love your baby fiercely and passionately no matter what s/he looks like.  But I'll also tell you that it doesn't matter if you don't or can't believe me yet.  You can be scared and nervous, but it will all go away when you lay eyes on your sweet baby.
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A Night for Violet

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: , , 1 Comment

Sweet Pea Project once again offered a night to heal bereaved parents' hearts this past Friday.  Coffee & Conversation with Catherine A. G. Bayly was an evening for me to mother my middle child who is no longer here with us.  

We had delicious food and coffee, Catherine read some of her own poetry and some pieces by others, then gave us several writing prompts.

Here is one piece that I wrote that night:

The Migration of My Heart

Geese calling to one another
above us they fly
in the pewter sky.

Beneath, I walk
with my two babies
always yearning for my third.

The birds
with miles traveled
are always drifting away
and falling back into formation.

Their smooth dance choreographed
by honks and calls.
Searching, checking, they migrate and return.
Their music is lonely and heartbreaking,
though they are together.
Somehow the sound comforts me.

Geese calling to one another
form a V
outlined in the gray, drab sky.
I find her there.

Photo Credits: Stephanie Cole

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CDP from Doing My Best

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: , 2 Comments
At the end of my rainbow pregnancy with D, I was emotionally exhausted, ready for him to be here safe in my arms, missing V, and feeling like I wasn't enjoying my last days alone with E.  I even went as far as to research prenatal (or antenatal) depression.  I was strung out on hormones and suffering from insomnia again like I did during my pregnancy with V.

During this time, without knowing my struggles, Doing My Best sent me the most perfect CDP.  It was full of individually wrapped gifts to open on particularly tough days (and brownie mix to bake as needed).  She is just THAT thoughtful.  I'd like to show you the awesomeness it contained in the hopes that you'll be able to spread the love on to someone else who is struggling in the form of a CDP when they most need it.

The first package contained these dinosaur themed burp cloths!  I love the way she crocheted the edging!

The next gift was a whole slew of cloth breastfeeding pads.  I was definitely looking forward to nursing D and anything re-usable is perfect for us!  These are made with 3 layers of fun printed flannel on one side and super soft and absorbent fleece on the other.  This picture doesn't showcase all of the pads, but the rest are currently in the wash.

There was a present for E which contained a Biscuit sticker book, a pony from Doing My Best's daughter's collection (awwww!), and lots of other goodies, including some of DMB's family's favorite books like Too Purpley! and The Hiccupotamus.  The Hiccapotamus book made me laugh out loud that night at bedtime when we discovered the biographical list of characters in the book at the end.  Laughs were the best medicine so this story ended up being a gift for me as well!

The final and best gift was this GORGEOUS blanket that she crocheted!

There is little heart details on each square and it's rainbow, but still boyish enough to be for D.  I love, love, love this.  My heart is so thankful every time I think about how long this must have taken her, how she worked on it for someone she "met" through blogging, how sweet it was of her to make for us.  

Thank you for allowing me to introduce you to my talented and generous friend who made the last few weeks of my pregnancy more tolerable.  Now, let's all go bother her to post tutorials for all of these handmade gifts!  
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This Week's Meals: March 11 - 17, 2013

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: Be the first to comment!

Monday - Steaks (on the grill - loving the warm weather!), cherry tomato asparagus salad
Tuesday - Chicken tenders, broccoli
Wednesday - Breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs (E cooks), bacon (reserve some for Thursday's recipe), whole grain pancakes (already made & frozen)
Thursday - Strawberry balsamic pizza w/bacon on 1/2 (omitting chicken), corn
Friday - Sushi night
Saturday - Spaghetti with meatballs (make large batch and freeze), leftover veggies
Sunday - Ham steaks, brussels sprouts

Lunches - Assorted leftovers, quinoa salad w/pears, baby spinach, & chickpeas (substitute almonds for pecans, strawberry/spinach/almond salads
Desserts - Vanilla pudding for E, Almond cake (We didn't get around to this last week.)

What are you cooking this week?
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Charlie Banana Cloth Diaper Review

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: , 2 Comments

The cloth diaper world can seem overwhelming in the beginning.  This is because cloth diapering is addictive.  When you start, you will LOVE it and soon you will want to talk about it to anyone who will listen.  The most receptive audience is other cloth diaper loving families so writing about it is a good way to talk, talk, talk about it!  There is so much information out there: forums, blogs, Facebook groups!  These can be a great resource if you can narrow down what you are considering.

Like any other part of parenting, there are a lot of choices.  What works for one family can be very different from what works for others which is why all the information can be intimidating.  So! Many! Options!  Please don't let it scare you off.  I plan to do a series of posts about how we cloth diaper so that I can talk about it in the hopes that you can find the information you need.  This post is about how we chose a brand and why we love our Charlie Banana diapers.  

Without any further adieu, here is one story about how one family started cloth diapering their rainbow baby.

Early on, I decided that we would use pocket diapers.  They consist of the diaper itself which has two layers:   the waterproof, adorably designed/colored outside (seen here in Orbit) and the wicking, super soft fabric that will keep baby feeling dry inside.  The soft insides are one of the first things I fell in love with in our Charlie Banana's.

Charlie Banana diapers also come with two inserts each: one small and one medium/large made from microfiber.  You stuff these in the pocket depending on how much absorbency your baby needs.  You can also try inserts made of different fibers (sold separately) which I'll write about in a future post.

We chose One Size diapers which will work for baby D until he potty trains.  Yes, the diapers we own now will be the ones he wears until he is in underwear.  Charlie Banana One Size diapers work for children weighing up to 35 lbs.  The leg elastic is adjustable with a bra strap like fastener which makes Charlie Banana diapers different from most.

Charlie Bananas also have lots of snaps so that you can adjust the fit for your baby's size.  I expected to start cloth diapering D when he was 3 months old, but we started at 6ish weeks.  He's a big boy so he easily fit into his Charlie Banana OS at that age.  Maintenance was easier than I expected making it a smooth transition.  I also anticipated using disposables when we were out and about, but I don't do that much because they are so prone to up-the-back blow outs.  While we've had some compression leaks with our cloth, we have NEVER had a poop blow out.  I would take a million wet-around-the-leg onesies to even one poopy-up-the-back one, but thankfully we haven't even had enough wet leaks to count on one hand.  When you do have a leak with a cloth diaper, it is usually because you need to change something about the fit of the diaper or how you are washing it.

Lastly, another favorite detail of mine about Charlie Bananas is the one side tab has a snap so that you can make the diapers extra tight while the baby is wearing it, but I've noticed that you can also wrap a dirty diaper up on itself like this to contain all the mess inside until you get to your diaper pail.  I'm not sure if the CB company intended for this neat wrap up, but it makes this momma extra happy to have discovered it.  

So that's how D started wearing adorable cloth diapers.  Now it's your turn:  What are your thoughts on cloth diapers?  What questions do you have for me for future posts?  Let me talk about these diapers more, please!?

I was not compensated for this review.  The opinions are my own.  We just love our Charlie Bananas!  We also welcome the opportunity to review other cloth diapering and reusable baby products.
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Infant Language Development: 3 Months Cooing and Babbling

Baby D is 3 months old.  In addition to cooing, he is also starting to babble.  Cooing is the vowel sounds: oooooooh, aaaaaaaah, while babbling is the introduction of some consonant sounds.  Lately we are hearing a lot more gaaaaaa, goooooooo, and maaaaaaaaa.

E is an amazing big sister (again!) so we've been coaching her on how to help D learn to talk with the following tips, which are helpful for siblings and adults alike.  Of course, we don't give E all the child development reasoning, but we do tell her she's an awesome big sister!

- E will tell me that D is crying when he makes any sounds.  I had to explain to her that sometimes what sounds like fussing is actually him just practicing his "words".

- When D makes some of his pre-linguistic sounds, we repeat the same sounds back to him.  We can also teach real words by saying some that start with the same sound.
D: "Maaaaaaaaaaa!"
E: "Maaaaaaa!  Yes, Momma!  Mommy is in the kitchen."
We know that he isn't asking for me yet, but I can step in then and wave to him.  This allows him to begin to recognize that the sounds he is making can be put together to mean something.  It's also great initial sound practice for E.  "D said gaaaaaaa.  What can we show him that starts with a /g/ sound?"

-  After D makes a sound, we answer, then we wait for him to respond.  This verbal back and forth sets the stage for the turn taking of conversations.  He is learning expressive and receptive language.  One study shows that 4 month old infants who have pre-linguistic turn taking with an adult have greater cognitive ability when they are 2 years old.

- E shows D objects around the house while telling him their names.  Adults can do this by carrying the baby to different rooms to take in new sights, but E needs to stick to bringing things to him.  "Look, baby D, this is Cowie!  Cowie is a cow.  Mooooooo!"

- Today she also showed him her sippy cup and signed "milk" to him!  I was so excited that she remembered the sign, but then she did the same sign for grape juice and duck, so obviously we need a refresher course on baby sign language.

Not only do these exercises allow my kids to interact while I may be occupied with other things, but we are also teaching D to use other sounds (instead of crying) to get our attention.

Here are some great sample infant sound recordings!

Before I know it, they really will be whispering secrets to each other!
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Shamrock Cookies

Shamrock cookies are a perfect way for kids to practice scissor skills!  We had a chance to do some St. Patrick's Day baking one evening after D fell asleep.  E is so excited about the holidays!  This was the perfect chance to spend some solo time with her.
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