Saturday, December 29, 2012

Diaper Bags: Now What?

So it's time...your little sweet baby is no longer.  Enter the days of toddler-hood and even better potty-hood!  You find yourself as a momma of a little child now.  No more lugging around diapers, which is one thing I am looking very much forward to (hopefully soon)!

So you ask yourself "what do I do with this bag now?!"  If we are all on the same page and are realizing that a good investment piece should never be put aside, then of course we will need to know how to transition it back into our "normal" lives.

If you invest in a good quality, well made, fashionable, and well sized diaper bag then transitioning it will not be difficult.

Here are some photos to show you how easy it really is!

Diaper bag as work bag:
Repurpose the insluated bottle holder as water bottle holder


  •  laptop, binder, glasses





  • iPad in case, binder, two manilla folders, stainless water bottle, stainless lunch container; glasses and phone in pocket +room for more!









Diaper bag as gym bag:

  • Keep that water cool here too 
  • shoes/socks
  • t-shirt
  • sports bra
  • underwear, leggings, tunic top for post workout fetes
  • slippers




  • Look how nicely all that fits... 




Diaper bag as overnight bag:

  • Jeans
  • slippers
  • toiletries
  • underwear
  • socks
  • shirt
  • Pj's





And it all fits without being bulky....

See that's not so hard!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Stylish Diaper Bags

I think every momma goes through what I call "the diaper bag dilemma" while pregnant, and it is a valid dilemma.  The problem is always incorporating her formal fabulous self into her upcoming new role as her momma self.  Let's face not only do you trade in your martini/wine glasses for bottles/diapers, but for months you also anticipate the craziness of adjustment to all the new things.  The new things are basic, to say the least.  Finding time to eat, sleep, and even shower kind of slap you in the face every second of every day, especially in the beginning.  So to even think of how to get dressed in a reasonably decent, much less fashionable, way can be overwhelming.  One thing I knew and believed was to arm my self with easy momma and baby friendly accessories. 
To be honest I have always had a shopping problem.  Mainly with shoes and bags.  I have way too many for one girl, way too many closets and boxes that yes, I rarely use, but really who cares.  If these are the things that are going to keep my identity as myself during the rough transition to find my momma self, I am sure going to keep on that path. 
A friend of mine had just gone through her journey with her beautiful little girl.  I was newly pregnant, but noticed her amazing diaper bag.  I remembered her telling me the brand, and decided that I wanted to continue to represent my bag obsession as a new momma.  Knowing that, and along with mine and my husband's defiance of any character themes, I was determined to get the same brand of diaper bag as my friend.  Once I find a bag that I love, I obsess over it.  I picture how I would use it, how I would carry it, what I would put in, and most importantly, what I would wear with it.  I know it's silly, but again if I can keep that sliver of myself post baby, you bet I am going to do it.  I was successful in my search to find the designer diaper bag I wanted for a steal of a price...Yay!

In line with the philosophy of Momma Love Baby Maternity the promise is that diaper bags will be fashionable, long lasting, and transitional.  So the opening line of diaper bags are OiOi diaper bags from our awesome friends down under.  I seriously considered this brand while searching for a diaper bag.  They are awesome!  Not only do they look great, they actually function wonderfully.  I had no problem spending a bit of cash on a different designer diaper bag, however I also admit that I try to justify spending a lot before purchasing a pricey item.  I have been doing some fun research to test out how much these bags really hold.  Here are some photos:



For those of us (myself included) who use cloth diapers here is the OiOi Ikat tapestry red slouch tote.  I was able to pack a very usual day of supplies in this bag.  6 cloth diapers, small wet bag, extra onesie, blanket, burp cloth, cloth wipes pouch with ~10 wipes in it.  Plus the included memory foam changing pad, and insulated bottle holder.  Can't go wrong with any of that.  This is enough for technically a 12 hour day, although I am never really gone that long. 



Here is a photo with the same things plus two jars of baby food.



For those of you that use disposable diapers here is the bag with about 10 diapers, baby food, snack container as well as the included wipes case. 


For all of the above scenarios, this particular bag can still close and not look like it is stuffed!


Also, technically, there was still room in the bag.  So if I wanted to fit one more extra onsie, a small toy/rattle, or even my wallet I'm sure I could do it easily.  There are pockets on the inside, and a small zippered pocket on the outside.  Any of these could fit keys, cell phone, and a few smaller accessories if needed. 




Here's my bonus photo...even the baby likes this bag!  Stylish bag, stylish baby, and of course stylish momma.  This particular bag retails for $160, but I will be following up with another post on how to transition these bags well beyond diaper years.  So before you die of sticker shock have no fear.  At every diaper bag's core, there is still just a great bag.  What do you guys put in your diaper bag?  Anything I missed?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shupeas: Pure Awesome!

Here at Momma Love Baby Maternity we are promising to bring you great maternity fashions.  Another promise is to bring you a few baby items that are eco-friendly, new, innovative, and creative.  Welcome Shupeas to our inventory!  They are new, innovative, functional, and best yet for mommas with babies, long-lasting!  Here in Hawaii baby shoes may be something of an anomaly, but as an occupational therapist I am well aware of the benefits of soft sole shoes for babies to promote proper foot development.  I for one do not enjoy the frequent buying of baby goods.  They grow so fast, and as any parent knows, you are lucky if you get every outfit in a size on the baby before they outgrow it.  Baby shoes are no different.

So why not love Shupeas?  The company motto is "Growing Shoes for Growing Feet."  What does this mean exactly?  Well believe it or not it means that these baby shoes are made to grow with your baby!  They generally fit from 3-20 months and come in a bunch of fun colors and styles for boys, girls, and unisex options as well as a mocassin with insole or soft sole style.  They are made of 100% soft leather and have a slip resistant, flexible suede sole.  Here is a photo comparison of the red beachball shoe on the smallest setting (to the left) and the largest (on the right)


 

I don't know a single momma friend of mine that doesn't love this idea!  My only regret is not having them earlier in my baby's life.  She is currently 17 months and a usual toddler shoe size 4 or 5.  The best part about these shoes? Aside from the fact that they fit her, they are easy to put on her chubby feet!  Yay!  I am a happy momma...check out the Shupeas website for more information.  To view our current inventory, please visit our facebook page or website and send a message if interested in purchasing.  Thank you Shupeas for making a great product! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Overwhelmed by the Process?

I know that I was completely overwhelmed with information that I wanted to learn about while pregnant so that I could formulate a thorough and functional baby registry.  I was very unsure about adding cloth diapers, cloth diaper accessories, and baby food making items.  The baby food making didn't last long since I had registered for some items that I felt would make the process quick and easy to make healthy food for the baby when the time arrived.  I read my gifted cookbooks cover to cover...twice!  I was as prepared as I could be. 
Thankfully my registry came through for my with those items.

In the more recent weeks I have had some thoughts on the overwhelming process of registering for cloth diapers.  A friend of mine recently had a beautiful baby boy.  I was there throughout her pregnancy to answer all her questions about cloth diapers as best I could, show her my stash, explain what I use and why, and how to use everything.  Despite all this, after the baby came she expressed still feeling intimidated and confused about cloth diapers.  So I visited and helped again.  (Happy to say that they have successfully transitioned to using cloth for the majority of the time!)  I feel that there is really no reason to be intimidated by cloth diapers, especially if there is a place to learn, ask questions, and get good demo's.  When putting together my registry I definitely added cloth diapers hoping that they would get purchased, however like my friend, despite all the things I learned online I still didn't understand or feel sure of what I was adding.  Unfortunately to put it frankly, I got one (yes, one) cloth diaper from our registry.  I realized that not only are cloth diapers intimidating for the new parents-to-be but also for the family and friends who are potentially buying them.  In hindsight, I wish that I had pushed the issue more with my registry.  Maybe if I had spread the word more or really only focused on registering for the diapers I would have gotten more.  Little did I know that I should have been a cloth diaper advocate even before I started using them. 

With that in mind, I have decided to offer you registry assistance services and in-home nursery setup consultation services to make your start with cloth and all the awesome accesories as easy and fun as possible. I live in a small home so the tricks I've learned and the info I've received from others can make your transition into motherhood and hopefully using cloth diapers a lot easier...

What other things caused you to feel overwhelmed throughout your pregnancy?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Style...on a budget

Lining up some inventory to open my maternity clothing store has been a fun task!  I am defintiely a shopaholic, and even better, this has allowed me to research trends in fabrics, fit, function, and colors!  I think that for basically my entire life I have searched for deals and bargains with my clothes shopping adventures.  In conceptualizing this new maternity clothing store, I knew that I had to put my lifelong learnings into good use. 
The first reason for this is to accept the challenge to offer Maui great style for maternity wear without having to spend a lot.  The second reason for this is that I know we live on Maui.  It is expensive to live here, and when you take into account the fact that pregnancy is temporary I know that the average woman is not willing to spend too much.  I am hoping to keep second reason in mind to form my business vision.
Summer is a fun time for fashion!  Sandals, tanks, shorts, maxi dresses, and color are all around.  My thoughts on this subject...where are the maternity styles that fall into this category?  Why does it seem that the pregnant woman has to sacrifice all of these things in order to have a baby?  Well I am hoping that this will no longer be the thoughts in my mind and soon everyone elses mind as well. 
By bringing affordable maternity fashions here, I know that the pregnant momma will be pleased to still express individuality, comfort, and versatility, all without breaking the bank.
The research I did while pregnant, and after, lead me to realize that the average cost of maternity wear is around $35-50 an item. When it came to denim the average grew exponentially...this was not satisfactory! As a consumer and lover of fashion I am willing to pay a higher price for quality and versatile pieces. A a pregnant woman I did not have the opportunity to do this. Yes, I could purchase online however this is always a hesitation especially without being able to try items on. Returning online purchases is allowable, but I always hate having to pay to return the item then possibly pay again to have it shipped back, restocking fees, difference in price for the purchase do another item, etc. I even heard stories from some friends about purchasing 2 sizes of everything in an online order only to return the size that doesn't fit after the order arrived. Not saying that this strategy is bad, but I would find it way too much hassle and money spent!  I need immediate gratification.  I just don't have the time or patience for anything else. 
My goal with my business is to keep a good portion of the clothing inventory priced at $50 and below.  Of course there will be other items available, and there will be a good rotation of pieces as well to keep things fresh.  I just want to be able to appeal to the masses of preggo momma's here on Maui that's all...I just hope that my vision shows through as time goes on. 
In lighter news, I am super excited to say that my first small batch of inventory has arrived!  Here's a sneak peek to get your juices flowin'!  Any guesses to what these things are?

Visit my website to keep updated on new inventory arrivals, additions to the inventory rotation, product updates, and more!  www.mommalovebaby.com

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Few Ideas on how to build a Cloth Diaper Stash Without Spending Too Much

So a lot of people that have asked me or have been surprised that we use cloth diapers (CD's) have wondered about the cost.  I readily admit, that yes, spending a few hundred dollars is a daunting task.  However the commitment and motivation to use CD's really needs to even that out. 
Here are a few suggestions that I have shared with people to help save on costs. 
1) Register for CD's!  When you add CD's to your baby registry, it not only shows people you are serious, but it also sparks a bunch of convos about your choice.  I for one never turn down a convo about CD's! 
2) To go along with adding CD's to your registry, make it a point to tell people that CD's as gifts would be greatly appreciated and help out fnancially. 
3) You can always buy preowned.  There are lots of sites out there that have used diapers for sale.  Also most retail sites sell preowned as well as stock seconds (slight manufacturers defects but still work just as well) and clearance sections. 
4) There are always online giveaways going on for CD's.  It never hurts to try and win.  Here's a link to a current one for cloth wipes, wipes pouch, and wipes drops from my fave retailer Diaper Junction! 
http://www.diaperjunction.com/62912-FYSF-Cloth-Wipes-Pouch-and-Baby-Bum-Drops_b_373.html
5) There are brands out there that are not as expensive.  Some diapers can be as little as $10 a piece.  Just do the research.

Hope this helps, and gets you thinking about CD's.  It not as hard as you think, and even if you're on a budget it is possible!
I know that this list is not exhaustive so I'd love to hear your ideas on the subject! 
(photo courtesy of Emma Werhman via Diaper Junction)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why Momma Love Baby

Ok.  I have to admit that I have been working on some other posts, but they are stewing at the moment.  Just for posts sake I felt the need to write something.  What about?  Well I've found a path in my life that I want to stick with.  My new business venture is taking shape and I couldn't be more excited. 
The funny thing is that I have never felt this way about actually working before.  Until this point, I have always felt that I went to work, well, to work.  People always ask that question that grates on my nerves (just as much as the questions "when did you grad?" and "where you went school?" both of which answers cause me to groan quietly) "how's work going?"  Well I always answer pretty poorly..."eh?!"  What does that even mean?  Once my inspiration of my daughter found me, I couldn't fight it anymore.  It meant that I had to do someting else, and take charge of my fate. 

So that's what I have to go on...the inspiration of my daughter, the love that she has brought to my life, and how much I love being her momma (which surprised me the most of anyone).  With that said, I feel like having an idea and an inspiration is all I needed to start Momma Love Baby Maternity.  I want to maximize my time as Surinne's mom and have a creative outlet that I can manage and handle.  This combines some of my main loves (maybe little known to some) of fashion, design, shopping, and people. 

The concept of going mobile with my business was not my initial one, however the thought of getting to provide one on one consults for women and helping them feel, look, and be amazing during an incredible journey and part of their lives is definitely a concept I can live with.  I have jokingly offered to provide personal shopping services for friends (but was actually really serious) so I guess this has been a really long time in the making.  I can't imagine that it is going to be easy, but at least it will be fun!  Can't wait to grow, learn, and love what I do.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Acknowledgement leads to Acceptance

Step three towards change: Acceptance

For the longest time we did not want children.  Surinne is one now and I tell people that wanting to have a baby is about an 18 month old decision for my husband and I.   Just worked out smoothly and quickly.  When people ask, "why did you decide to have a baby?" It was more like we didn't really have a choice anymore, if you know what I mean...
For humor sake I'll recap the conversation that we had when we talked about the subject:

Husband: Do you wanna have a baby?

Me: Why, do you?

Husband: Well, I've been thinking it would be kinda cool

Me: What do you mean, cool?

Husband: Well, we can teach it stuff

Me: What?!?

and so on and so forth...

when in reality this is what flashes through our minds when we start talking about having a baby from each perspective.

Woman:
PHYSICAL BODY CHANGES
EMOTIONAL CHANGES
MENTAL CHANGES
LABOR/DELIVERY (YIKES!)
BREASTFEEDING
SLEEP DEPRIVATION
DIAPER DUTY
CRYING
ALL ON TOP OF NO MORE HEELS, WINE GLASSES (crap!), NORMAL CLOTHES, ETC. FOR ALMOST ONE WHOLE YEAR!
and I believe most of this is just pregnancy related! 

Man:
THINGS TO TEACH OUR BABY: SURF, WATCH TV, SWIM, DRIVE (LATER IN LIFE OF COURSE), GET THINGS FROM THE FRIDGE (MAINLY BEER), EAT
PLAY WITH BABY
NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT THE BABY CAUSE IT'S HOME WITH MOMMY
CARRY THE BABY ONLY WHEN MOMMY GETS TIRED
SLEEP DEPRIVATION? WHY DO I HAVE TO GET UP?
I DON'T KNOW HOW TO CHANGE A DIAPER, BUT THAT'S OK CAUSE MOMMY CAN DO IT.

                                          (Photo courtesy of Caprice Nicole Photography)
             

These thoughts are what lead me to acknowledgement and acceptance.  The decision to have a baby is a commitment, and obviously life-changing.  The more I thought about all this, the more I realized that I had to acknowledge it and then accept my oh so near future once we decided to "try" and have a baby.  I knew I had to acknowledge that not only was my life going to chage, but accept that I was going to become a Mother

A mother is someone who is attentive, caring, nurturing, loving, and present.  I didn't know if I was any of those things, or even if I wanted to be.  But accepting that I was going to have to change, learn, and grow was just a part of the journey...








Saturday, April 28, 2012

An Explanation...

I feel like there are times when I have to explain myself.  In the most recent past I kept hearing people say "you're crazy" or "I'm sure you'll wish you didn't say that!"  Well to be honest I'm not crazy and I do not wish to take back anything I have said about me, the baby, and our journey.

I know myself...
I know my baby...
I know for sure that babies freak me out!  Figuratively, literally, in reality, all of the above.  I have always felt this way.  I can distinctly remember a number of times where friends of mine would plop their babies in my lap, walk away with them in the stroller by me, pass them off to me, etc and I always froze.  My thought has always been "what am I supposed to do with this thing?" 

I have always been better with toddlers.  They can talk to you, choose things that they want to do, tell you if they are mad, sad, happy, bored...how much easier is that?!  I had a job in college working at the on campus day care and I loved it.  I got to act like a 4 year old at the end of most of my school days.  I got to climb the gym, color, tickle, throw snowballs, build snowmen, and all the good stuff! 

When I said that I (guiltily) HATED breastfeeding, I meant it.
When I said that I was (guiltily) GLAD when I stopped breastfeeding, I meant it.
When I said that I was glad that my baby started eating food food, I meant it. 
So when I said that I couldn't wait for my baby to walk, I meant it.
And now when I say that I am sooo glad my baby is walking, I mean it.
And yes, I CANNOT WAIT for my baby to start talking.  I really mean it. 

Am I sad that my baby is growing up?  Yeah, but not really.  I knew that I was NOT going to enjoy having a newborn around.  It wasn't for lack of sleep.  I am always tired anyway, am a horrible sleeper, and have a hard time going back to sleep when awoken, so that wasn't much of a change.  It wasn't for lack of preparation.  We took childbirth classes, breastfeeding class, and the like.  Plus we were had A BABY!  Life was supposed to change, our routine was supposed to change, our priorities were supposed to change!  All of a sudden, I knew that I couldn't wait for her to be a little girl.

I don't feel like knowing all this has prompted change, I think it has just come to be change.  I feel that when the time in life comes for growth, change, and responsibility, your being automatically just manages.  I found that despite all the input coming from all directions in my life on being a mother, I simply just did.  Was it what I was supposed to do?  Who knows, but I can tell you that it worked for us: my husband, myself, and most importantly our baby.  So I guess that's the explanation.  I know what I know about us, and I definitely know that what we do works. 


Our baby is clearly also glad that she is walking as evidenced by this video!  All I can say is "yay for walking!" I guess.


video



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Question: why am I here?

I guess I could call this step #3, although I feel like this whole blog is my journey to as much an answer as I can find. 
To be honest I have asked myself this question for my entire career up to this point.  Once I had the baby this question seemed to predominate my mind and thoughts.  I'm a good worker and am good at my job, and make a decent salary.  All of a sudden this was no longer enough.  I was at work, going through the motions, doing and being good at my job, but feeling like a shell.  My spiritual self would stare down at my physical self and see me being, but being unhappy at the same time. My question now became "why am I here at this job, unhappy?"  What an overwhelming thought!  I answered this question everyday for months, and my answer was always "I don't know" and this made me very sad.  I found it hard to believe that such a rewarding field can leave someone so empty and unsatisfied...I realized that my direction within my field was the problem.  I reminded myself and thought daily of my last days in OT school.  We sat around in our small classroom and announced what our dream as an OT was.  My answer was so far from what I was doing and I knew I had to get back to reaching my goal: working with community based clients, helping them remain at home, and consult.  Realizing, and I mean really realizing, that your life path has veered far from your yellow brick road is shocking, depressing, and causes a bit of an anxiety attack!  Once I reached this realization it's all I could think about.  I kept thinking about how much time I felt had been "wasted" working and moving along in life.  I could no longer breathe...sleep...eat...or enjoy my baby.  It was enough.  I gave notice, which was a months long decision, not only emotionally (I had many friends and colleagues that I had great and mutual respect for) but financially (obviously) and mentally (the guilt I experienced for wanting leave a stable, steady, guaranteed, and frankly, easy job).   I know that there are many people that have been in this situation and can sympathize, which in some weird way, gives me some consolation.
But now I was scared.  My question of "why" now became "what."  "What am I going to do now?"  Don't think that I would leave one position without having something else lined up.  I signed on to work for a friends business, but there was absolutely no guarantee of steady work, which meant no guarantee of steady income...as the breadwinner for my household this was a huge hesitation.  I had to remind myself that money isn't everything, and I was confident that in the long run things would work out so that is what I focused on.  To make things worse I felt like I was the only one (besides my friend who I was going to work for) that was confident of my decision.  I'm also working on starting a private practice of my own which takes time
I guess this leads me to my new motto.  The last time I transitioned from one job to the next my motto was "it is what it is."  Since this is no longer good enough I have now decided to "move forward and not dwell on the past."  Dwelling stresses me out and keeps me unfocused, which leads me to not move forward, which makes me depressed and sad, which I hate, cause that's not who I am, so there...
My new purpose in this journey with work is this:

                                         (Photo Courtesy of Caprice Nicole Photography)

If I remain depressed, stressed, empty, I realize that this is what my baby will be.  'Nuff said.  We are moving on, getting back on the yellow brick road, and being confident.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Inspiration comes from the funniest places

What else can baby food inspire?

This question came along once we began making our own baby food.  We have always been typical consumers buying whatever we needed at no particular store.  So here's a crazy thought...the husband and I have always argued over tupperware...sadly that usually went like this...me: "where is the tupperware container you took for lunch today?"  him: "It's in my car" or "I left it at work." Now since those statements were always the response, and the fact that I've mentioned that he is lazier than I am, the outcome was never in the tupperware's favor!  This then usually lead to my husband losing (as in an "it's in my car somewhere and am too lazy to go get it" kind of way), ruining (as in an"I know I should get it and wash it before black mold forms on it" kind of way), or breaking (as in a "the dog was carrying around the tupperware that you left in the garage with bits of food in it" kind of way) the tupperware.  This in turn drove me crazy especially since I have always taken the opposite route!  I faithfully pack my lunches in whatever tupperware we have, wash it at work, take it home, and reuse it again.  All my efforts that were clearly being unmatched by my husband left us frustrated, tired, and butting heads!  So in my efforts to make the baby food, pack it along, and keep it from leaking in my proudly purchased designer diaper bag, we decided to use tupperware.  My husband, out of frustration, opted to use plastic baggies for his lunches (on the rare occasion that he actually took something) so that he didn't have to remember to bring tupperware home (really?).  That makes me think of a side point.  I recycle/reuse as much as I can.  My.  Husband.  Does.  Not.  If I use a plastic baggie, I'll wash it and reuse again.  Probably up to three times, or until holes form...whichever comes first.  My husband would literally put a piece of bread in a baggie and throw it away cause it's "used."  In this way he thinks he is making his life easier, but really it is not cause I become so crazy trying to get him to wash it out and save it for tomorrow.  So to say the least we have gone through, no joke, hundreds of dollars worth of tupperware in the most recent years. 

So the baby food inspiration behind tupperware took a clue from, well, baby food.  How weird is this?  In yet more of my research during pregnancy, I began learning about BPA/phalate free, stainless steel, glas, etc.  None of there were new thoughts/knowledge, but I felt that we might as well try it for the baby.  I'll point out that we have had nice glass tupperware that was gifted us by my husband's mom.  It was a very thoughtful Christmas gift a few years ago that my husband was literally banned from even looking at, much less using since I knew the fate in store if he did.  Yet somehow the supply slowly dwindled down and I forced my husband to let his mother know that we really appreciated the gift, but he ruined or lost basically all the pieces!  (That wasn't awkward at all!)  I know glass is great!  Our lactation consultant even explained that there is a movement to reinstate the use of glass baby bottles...yet here we were, stuck with my newest purchase of cheap plastic ware that I purchased from Costco since I didn't want any more "nice" ones getting ruined.  I soon reported to my husband that I want to buy stainless steel food containers.  Once again I was surprised when I heard him respond "that's a good idea!" (what?!?)  So needless to say more research has found it's way into my already hectic life.  I found I was loving the company Lunchbots (www.lunchbots.com) and he agreed.  The kicker is making sure the pieces would be dishwasher safe (since we already know I HATE washing dishes), which they are, and that they had the oh-so-important partitions.  I cannot possibly have my foods mix together before I eat them (my parents can vouch for this since it's been a lifelong problem)!  I found a few at our local Wholefoods, but have yet to make that first purchase.  The Lunchbots website is great, the company vision/mission is great, and it's a woman run business (that's the all women's college alum in me!).  I'll be ordering soon and can't wait to try my hand at bentobox food styling!  I also have found Kids Konserve stainless, reusable/sustainable/recycled food storage containers (www.kidskonserve.com).

So for now I have been re-using glass babyfood jars (from the purchased "just in case" baby food from Wholefoods) for on-the-go food storage.  This is working out well for portion control and variety.  Two things I am trying to instill in the baby, and I think I have mentioned before that she eats literally anything (except plain beets, which made her cry, and for plain broccoli which she puts her angry face on for).  For humor sake, here is the angry face...can I help it if this is my favorite face of hers?!?!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Step Two towards change: Baby Food

But really, I'm serious.  Baby food was a real change for us!  Around the time that I was pregnant I had a few friends and co-workers with little ones.  I remember being out and about and seeing one of them feed their baby jarred baby food.  I was completely turned off by the thought of having to give my baby food that was olive green, smelled funny, and (basically) had the shelf life of a twinkie.  When I got home I immediately told my husband that we would be making our own baby food.  Not that I was expecting him to say no, actually I wasn't really giving him a choice, but he glady and quickly agreed.  "I feel the same way..."  Who knew!?  The plus side of this is that we are both closet chefs.  Most importantly we love to eat, and we knew that it was not going to be that difficult of a transition.  We figured we cook often enough, plus my husband is a collector of gadgets, so there was no way we would not be able to prepare simple foods for the baby. 

Just to clear up the hilarity of the gadget collection I'll list them all here.  Keep in mind that these were all in our posession well before baby entered our life:
1) blender (essentially obvious)
2) stick blender (not essential, but according to my husband "cool")
3) food processor (easy, takes up less room in dishwasher--this is an essential fact since I absolutely HATE washing dishes, even with a dishwasher)
4) ricer
5) potato masher
6) food chopper
Here's a sampling of chicken and carrots:





So of course we heard all different opinions and stories of other people on baby food making.  We stuck with our cooking knowledge and a couple of gifted baby food cookbooks from the baby registry.  We started Surinne with solids at 4 months once we got the OK from our doctor.  The quintessential first food here is poi.  We have a connection to getting farm fresh poi whenever we need it so this worked out well.  Luckily Surinne had no problems eating it and was very happy.  We soon followed with Okinawan sweet potato, carrot, pear, peas, and baby cereal of course.  Surinne's food options/combinations are endless now and luckily she is more than willing to eat all of them. 

I know you are asking how this has prompted change, and to be honest it took me a while to realize that this is what was happening.  A friend of mine was asking what Surinne was eating one day and the flavor of the moment was chicken, rice, and luau leaf.  I was babbling away and heard myself mutter "Surinne eats the healthiest of the three of us!"  It was one of those moments where everything moves in slo-mo, the volume is crystal clear, and you are watching yourself.   I realized that this statement, although true, made me sad!  Why is it that we were so unhealthy, and I wondered why we didn't realize it until baby came along?  With two closet chefs in the house you would think that there would be nutritious meals everyday!  Well we had been living with quite the opposite.  I think that, despite being new parents, we had fallen into a food rut.  Not only was our most complicated meal spaghetti with meat sauce, but our meals had become a collection of about 4 dishes.  The aforementioned spaghetti, frozen lasagna, pan fried steak, and anything with chicken.  Maybe to some it doesn't sound too bad, but in the midst of growing, learning, and maturing, we lost the completeness of our meals.  We were just getting by, and barely at that!  Where had the good sutff, the vegetables, the freshness gone?  So in the process of my sad realization that my baby had been eating healthier than we were (and that I wanted to continue her on this path, and the fact that *gasp* we were getting older seeing as how we were officially into our 30's) I decided that we needed to make drastic changes to our food styles.  The focus will be on healthier eating (duh), smaller portions (we're brainwashed!), home-cooked or packed meals (even on the go!), and of course learning more along the way.

I could tell you all about our bad habits, financial woes, and historically horrible diets, but that's not the point.  The point is that once you realize that you want to change, it is all you can think about.  Also, change is hard!  It takes many forms, many angles, lots of work, and lots of time.  The good news is that, as first time parents, we are somehow managing to find the time!  I am proud to say that we have successfully added a number of healthier dishes lately.  Surprisingly we have added freshness as well--baked asparagus, steamed broccoli, steamed beets, green beans, etc.  We buy local as often as we can (especially from Kula Country Farms!).  Thanks as well to our old, but only newly used, slow cooker, Pampered Chef rubs and cookware, Costco and recipes.com for new ideas and inspiration.  I think we are slowly regaining our food confidence and skills.  There is a long way to go.  New options to explore including more locally sourced products, more oganization for meal planning as well as storing, and learning as much as we can.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Step one towards change: cloth diapers

The first step we took towards changing, parenting, growing up, whatever you want to call it was to use cloth diapers.  To be honest I never would have even given this idea a thought without a little inspiration from a great friend.  Not only is this person an amazing mom, professional, and earth loving woman, she is truly someone that inspires and touches people she knows to go beyond anything that they ever would think they are/know/love.  When I first found out of her decision and subsequent journey, and discovered knowledge of the rationale behind the subject I was amazed.  I then found myself thinking that "I could do that!"  I have been a recycler and reuser for half my life, but really that was all I did.  How was I not doing more?  Why didn't I ever think about it before?
My next step was to research...and research...and research some more.  Believe me that for someone who, truthfully, didn't even realize that cloth diapers even existed anymore being bombarded with information was overwhelming.  For those people who have done the same I know that the feeling is mutual. 
Now try taking all that information and translating it into dude-who-is-lazy-as-hell speak and you will only begin to picture what my conversation with my husband was like in the early days.  I explained what my friend does, what I had read in online forums/chats/websites/reviews, and of course tried my best to explain (in my not so good at math cause I'm an OT way) the financial benefit.  To my surprise he agreed! 
Upfront costs aside, it has been an easy transition.  A little rinsing, a couple extra loads of laundry a week, and a little organizing is all it has taken.  Considering I am only a little bit less lazy than my husband I feel like this has been a huge accomplishment, and to say the least, I am very proud of us. 
I love to tell people about cloth diapers!  My first and foremost statement is "it's never too late!"
Our stash is small, but we have been plugging away with a pretty ecclectic mix of brands, styles, fabrics, and closures. 


In light of some recent discussions (including one today) I wanted to add some thoughts to this post.  First of all I am even more proud lately because I feel that I have helped 3 couples on their cloth journey thus far!  It's easy for me to talk cloth cause it is so much fun!  To help someone understand and clarify the cloth world (style, fabric, closures, brands, etc) has been extremely satisfying.  Besides my earlier truth about upfront costs aside I feel like I should explain my feelings of why we stuck with cloth diapers. 
To be truthful, once I found out about my friend's decision to use cloth, I felt like my beginning thoughts of "I could do that!" also included "challenge accepted!"  Then, once I realized that we conquered the challenge, I think the other stickler was the fact that we had put up those initial costs.  I felt like if we were going "in deep" we couldn't just change our minds!  I'm way too stubborn for that!  Granted cloth diapers can be resold without any problems, but I do know that I won't make all my money back. 
For the curious minds and those of you thinking about using cloth here is my quick and dirty lowdown explanation:
1) Try different brands, fabrics, closure, sizes.  Don't just invest in a big stash of one in particular because they all function differently.  Once you try a few, you will have a better idea of what you actually like and want to spend your money on.  There are cloth diapers out there for any budget.  (All-in-ones are great for daddy's, grandparents, and sitters!  One sizes are a great bang for your buck!)
2) Frequent daily deal sites (www.gilt.com, www.babysteals.com, www.zulily.com, etc) for scoring great deals and cheap buys on a variety of brands. 
3) A popular culprit of skin irritations are the chemicals on disposable wipes so try to commit to using cloth wipes (you're already washing diapers anyway).  Use only water or just a drop of baby wash in the peribottle you bring home from the hospital.  No need for extra purchases there!
4) There are tons of brands of wet bags and tons of corresponding sizes so grab a few, as well as for wipes on the go, to hold you over until your next laundry day.  \
5) Get this book:Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide To Modern Cloth Diapering.  It will help with #'s 1-4! 
I may add to this list here and there, but that's really it.  Oh yeah, this is one essential fact that even my husband always passes along:
6) Use the poop liners!  Really we love them.

Does anyone have any other questions?



Saturday, February 18, 2012

The beginning of changing

My husband and I were lucky to welcome our baby girl into the world on April 17th, 2011.  She arrived in style, and unexpectedly early, a whole month to be exact!  The first thing we learned about her was that she not only chose her birth date, but also her name.  1) Surrine-derived from a combination of her two grandmothers.  Thanks to daddy for that clever rendition!  (Little did mommy know how hard it was to name a baby...)  2) Rose-after mommy's great-grandmother Rose Laumeyer, who died at 93 thank you very much!  Now here's the kicker...her hawaiian name
3) Henoheapualeiokamino'akanei-thanks to Grandpa who rightfully knew that "a lovely cherished child of this smile" would really prove to be the perfect fit. 
Everyone knows that having a baby changes things, but as a result of our new addition we decided to change ourselves--inside and out--in order to set her, and ourselves, up for the best life possible. 
This blog will show our journey to becoming parents, grown-ups, and green (as in eco-friendly) in the best way we know how.  Surinne has inspired us, and we know that she will continue to do so for the rest of her days.