Friday, October 25, 2013

W 18 Month Update

So...this is super late.  But he did just have his 18 month check-up the other day, so it's cool, right?
I can't believe my baby is a year and a half old.  And this whole month he was all "big boy" no "baby."  Part of that might have been because this month was the worst of my back problems so he was spending a lot of time with The Sailor, all I know is he just feels so darn grown up.

So, he's still lingering around 25 pounds and wears 24 month clothes and size 5.5 or 6 shoes.  Since he potty trained this month all his pants fall off though, haha.

We didn't go to any classes this month because my back was so messed up and the act of pulling him out of the car seat was damn near excruciating for me, but we played outside behind our house a lot to make up for it and he made lots of trips to the parks around base with The Sailor.

At the beginning of the month we had some pretty miserable teething days, but no molars actually popped through!  So frustrating! But he enjoyed getting mini ice cream cones to help deal with the pain.

In other eating news, he has started to prefer using a fork and having a plate (as opposed to eating with his hands right off his tray).  I think this is another factor making him feel more "grown up."

With all the trips to the playgrounds with The Sailor he has mastered going down the slide by himself - backwards.  And he could do this for hours.  He loves climbing up and sliding down and climbing up and sliding down.  I actually think The Sailor gets more nervous watching him then I do, which is funny to me.

And he's getting much better at coloring!  Instead of just eating crayons he actually doodles quite a bit!

At the very end of the month we got rid of his crib.  It was not a fun transition, but I couldn't bend over any further to get him out because of my belly/back and he was almost able to climb out.  Those first few nights he would wake up, run to his door and start pathetically calling out "Moooooommmmmyyyyyyy" but if I went in to comfort him he would completely melt down and take hours to get back to sleep.  It eventually got better, but that wasn't until his next month so I'll leave that for our next update which is due in like a week, lol.

Does anyone else find it super hard to keep up with these updates?  But I totally wish I had more of them to document his milestones and personality from when he was an infant so I'm really trying to keep up...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wear Your Baby Wednesday - Chevron Tie Dye Your Wrap!

My name is Amanda and I have a problem...I'm addicted to dyeing wraps.

Phew!  I feel better after getting that off my chest!

Let's quite the chit chat and get down to business now, shall we?

The key to getting the dye job to turn out in this chevron pattern is precise folding (which is why you need the iron).  I literally ironed a crease in each fold that I did and I do not think it would have been successful (especially with the thickness of the wrap once it was all folded up) if I had skipped this.

As usual, first wash your wrap with textile detergent.  You can use "normal" detergent if you're in a bind, but I'm a better-safe-than-sorry type gal when I'm permanently altering expensive fabrics.

Then you get to folding.  First you're going to accordion fold the entire length of the wrap.  I started with the tapers (which are super long on an Ellevill wrap, by the way) hanging off my ironing board:
Then I reached to the other side and carefully pulled the fabric up to make my first accordion fold:
And I ironed the creases.

Then I continued for the entire length of the wrap being careful to make the folds as equal as possible and ironing in between each fold.
Once it was all folded and ironed I folded up the tapers of the wrap (and you guessed it - ironed those folds as well).

Next you'll take the top corner and fold it at a 90 degree angle.
And iron that crease ('re still ironing ever crease).

Then you accordion fold that corner.

I tried to get more pictures, but because of the thickness of the wrap I couldn't take my hands off of it or else the folds (despite being ironed) came un-done.  All you have to do is continue to accordion fold the rest of the fabric on an angle and then secure it every couple inches with elastics.

The hardest part is over...woohoo!

Before I started this wrap I actually decided to try and "map out" the colors I was planning on using and it was a huge help while I applied the dye.  All I did was take screenshots (by hitting control+print screen) of the color chips from the Dharma Website then arrange them using Paint.  This is the pattern of colors I decided on:

Before you can start applying dye, soak the whole wrap in a soda ash solution for 30 minutes.  While my wrap sits in soda ash I mix my dyes.  And this wrap used a lot of dyes:
The colors were Dharma seafoam, paris green, turquoise, azure blue, wisteria, power berry, and jet black.

Then place your tied up wrap in a bin on top of a rack (so it doesn't end up sitting in dye) and apply your dye using squirt bottles:

Then let it sit.  Some people say overnight is fine.  Some people say 12-18 hours.  I like to let it sit for 18-24 hours just to be safe.

Then it's ready to be rinsed!  I'm a bad person and instead of running water over it to rinse it, I toss it right in the washing machine.  First I did a cycle with Synthropol then I did two full cycles without any detergent to make sure all the dye was out.  When you're removing your elastics, be careful...I've dyed a bajillion things and I still do stupid stuff like splatter blue dye all over my face.'re finished!  Isn't she a beauty?

As usual, if you have any questions feel free to ask!  And don't forget to check out my other dye tutorials and babywearing posts here!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Baby Deux - Weeks 23, 24, and 25

Oh hey, remember me?  The worst blogger ever?

I actually have a pretty valid excuse for disappearing for almost two weeks; although my back is feeling amazing compared to how it felt a month ago it still isn't perfect and when I sit upright for extended periods of time it hurts like hell.  Like I'm sitting right now in order to type this on my desktop computer...

But any-hoo...viability!!!  That one is pretty exciting!  Basically all it means is if BabyDeux tried to take an express pass through his gestation and high tail it out of my uterus there's a chance he would survive.  He definitely needs to cook a bunch more, but if it happened it wouldn't necessarily end in tragedy.

The heartburn has started.  Sometimes it comes if I haven't eaten in a while.  Sometimes it comes right after I eat.  Sometimes it comes when I'm sitting down.  Sometimes it comes when I'm standing up.  Sometimes it comes when I'm laying down.  It is completely unpredictable and completely shitty.  So I have to make sure I have Tums on me at all times.

I've been having weird insomnia when I fall asleep fine in the evening but then I wake up at like 1 and can't fall back asleep until like 5.  It flipping sucks.Which may be contributing to the fact that I get exhausted super easy.  Yesterday The Sailor and I tidied up the entire house (which was a hot mess from me being hurt for so long) in preparation of a cleaning lady coming today to actually deep clean and I was exhausted by the end of the day.  And it wasn't like I was doing anything intense, I was just puttering around putting things where they're supposed to be!

I actually feel kinda cute right now.  It probably helps that I definitely no longer just look fat and I got some cute maternity clothes, but we'll see how long it lasts.  I'm always jealous of the women who feel gorgeous and feminine throughout pregnancy...I just feel like I'm going through puberty all over again and getting fat at the same time.

Little dude is super active.  He's actually kicked me in the cervix a few times and it's really not cool.  It feels like someone is violently checking to see if you're dilated only from the inside.  Even The Sailor has been able to feel kicks from the outside, but he's not that interested in it.  It actually makes me pretty upset that he really has no interest in my belly; when I bring it up he generally says he'll be excited when he gets to meet him in January...which is great.  But I'd like to have someone actually be excited about this pregnancy with me.  My Dad would much rather talk about W and my Mom was completely disinterested in my pregnancy with W, too so I wasn't expecting much excitement from them.  But I figured since The Sailor would actually be home this time around he would show more interest in it.  On top of that, despite having significantly more local friends for this pregnancy (in case you don't remember I moved from the East to West coast when I was like 5 weeks pregnant with W) no one really seems all that excited.  Maybe I'm just imagining it, but it's almost kinda lonely.

In happier news we started actually putting furniture in the new nursery!!!

Crib - craigslist - $100
Changing Table - Yardsale - $60
Rocker/recliner - Yard sale - $20 then $55 on reupholstering supplies.

The banner and a few other wall decorations I got from Joann's in the teacher section, I got a few things from the Target cheapie section that I'll be using for different projects, and the only big thing left to purchase is a ceiling fan and about a bajillion projects left to do, haha.

The chair is blocking part of the closet, but it's no big deal because I can still easily access one side of it which is all I'll need on a regular basis. There won't be a dresser, I'll organize his clothes in the closet in hanging shoe organizers just like I did (and still do 18 months later) with W. And obviously the random stuff on the windows won't be staying there!

And some "symptoms" that didn't make it onto the collage - apparently BabyDeux is comfortably resting on my bladder because sometimes when he kicks or I sneeze (or laugh, or bend over...) my bladder leaks.  Super fun Not!

But what is super fun is nesting.  I'm not usually a super clean freak.  If the house is a bit messy I'm really not bothered by it.  But we got a carpet cleaner yesterday and I was pee-my-pants-excited (hardy-har-har) watching The Sailor clean our couch.  Then we had a cleaning lady come today to deep clean the house and I've been absolutely giddy about it.I loooooooooove how clean my house is right now.

And  think that's all for right now!  I didn't take a 25 week picture, we were too busy cleaning up the house yesterday...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wear Your Baby Wednesday - Shibori Dye Technique aka MORE wrap dyeing!

Remember that time I told you I needed your help to win a free pod conversion?  Well, I won!  Woot!  And I decided I wanted it to be a rainbow zebra carrier.  Not sure why, but seriously, why not?  Well, it's not like there is a rainbow zebra wrap on the market I could just buy, so I had to dye my own.

This wasn't my first time doing a shibori dye.  I've actually done quite a few from back when I was making and selling ring slings, but I had never done a rainbow one and I had never done a whole wrap (those were just ring sling pieces).  My first attempt I had two things go wrong:

  1. I had every color on hand except red and I was too impatient to wait for professional red to come in the mail so I used Dylon dye (which is perfectly safe for baby carriers but not a "professional" dye) for the red and in the wash it bled on the rest of the fabric making anything white pink.
  2. Because a full wrap is so much longer than just a ring sling piece I had too many layers of fabric using my usual 6 inch PVC pipe and the dye didn't penetrate all the way through so only half the wrap got dyed.

So it looked pretty good until it came out of the wash and only half the fabric was dyed (not enough for a pod, but as you can see there was enough for a ring sling!) and what should have been white was pale pink.  So I started over, and this is where you should start if you want to dye a whole wrap!

**Whenever you are handling soda ash or dye wear gloves and a mask**

If you're only dyeing a ring sling piece a 6 inch PVC pipe should be enough (which you can find at Home Depot or Lowes), if you're dyeing a long wrap you'll need something bigger so the wrap doesn't have as many layers wrapped around it.  I used a trash bin. You want a trash bin that is as close to a perfect cylinder as possible.
Getting Supplies
Before you get started you need to get set up.  Essentially your fabric will be wrapped around your cylinder, scrunched together, then you apply your dye.  Obviously some of the dye will drip off which is why I like to do this in the bath tub which is what the tension rod is for.  You need to cut a hole in the center of the lid and the bottom of the trash bin big enough for the tension rod to fit through so you can suspend your trash bin above the tub.  The Sailor is an overachiever and built a structure out of scrap wood to put in the tub.  This really isn't necessary, a tension rod will work just fine.

Once you have your suspension system set up in the tub wash your fabric and soak it in a soda ash solution  for 30 minutes.

Then you're going to wrap your fabric around the cylinder as tightly as you can.  With the trash can the handles got in the way so I couldn't wrap it as tight as I would have liked but it isn't the end of the world.  Once it is wound around your cylinder put zip ties sporadically every couple inches.  These will be the completely white parts after you're done. (I didn't get a good picture doing this around the trash bin, but the very first picture in the collage above shows exactly what I mean)

Once your zip ties are tightened as tight as you can get them squish the fabric together.
With the trash bin it's important you use zip ties so once you squish the fabric together you can re-tighten them since the bin is slightly smaller at the base then it is at the top.

Then you apply dye using squirt bottles.  You could do all one color.  You could do a mixture of colors.  You could do the whole effing rainbow like me! (I used Chinese Red, Golden Yellow, my orange was just a mixture of those two, New Emerald Green, Electric Blue, and Imperial Purple).

Fun tip - to put the dry dye in the bottles (since the opening is so small) I just make little funnels out of wax paper; the dye doesn't stick to the wax paper at all and I just toss each funnel after each color.

If you're doing a full rainbow like I did, in order to get the spacing right first I did a thin stripe of red and purple, then I split the center with thin stripes of yellow and green...
Then I did the orange and the blue in the middle of the two blank parts and filled everything in so the colors were at least somewhat even.  And I saturated the hell out of that fabric.
The zip ties kinda kicked up dye and may have made a pretty cool looking mess...
Then I waited.  For 24 flipping hours.

I hate waiting, but it's worth it, I promise.

Then, since it was already in the tub I just turned on the water to rinse as much of the dye out as possible.

After I rinsed out most of the extra dye I cut off the zip ties, threw it in the washing machine, and washed it with synthropol.  Then I ran it through a whole additional cycle without any detergent just to be sure it was completely rinsed and dried it as usual in the dryer.

And it was beautiful....

There isn't quite as much white as I would have liked (because the trash bin collapses slightly under the zip ties and I couldn't get a "perfect" wrap around the trash bin since it isn't a perfect cylinder) but the colors are exactly what I imagined.  Once it is converted to a pod with a hood that has a zebra mohawk mane and ears it will be more than obvious that it was meant to be a rainbow zebra.

I mailed it off to Shiny Star Designs today but it'll probably be a while since they just opened up custom slots in mid-September.  I'll be anxious to see it, but it isn't like I can really wear W these days anyway because of my stupid back.  But I'll be sure to share pictures as soon as I get the finished carrier!!

As usual, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!  And in case you didn't notice (and you definitely wouldn't if you're viewing in mobile mode) I added another "tab" to the blog specifically for babywearing related posts (including my other dye tutorials) so go check it out here!  And even if you're only stopping by for this tutorial and have no plans of reading any of my other posts do a girl a favor and leave a comment!  It's nice to know when people are actually reading (and even better actually using the tutorials on) my blog!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Baby Deux - Weeks 21 and 22

I think I'm in denial about how quickly this pregnancy is going by compared to my last pregnancy.  I mean, how the hell is he the size of a spaghetti squash already!?

Since I last checked in my back has gotten significantly better.  It is nowhere near "healed" but it's tolerable.  Having The Sailor take the week off to let me rest has done wonders.  Fingers crossed it doesn't go to hell again once The Sailor goes back to work on Monday.

I'm tired a lot of the time still (I'm blaming the back pain though - being in pain is exhausting) and I get nauseous after I eat anything like 99% of the time, but for some reason I've suddenly started getting excited.  Maybe because we're well past the halfway point, maybe because we're making more concrete plans for the nursery and everything, or maybe because I feel the little guy moving all.the.time.  Whatever the reason, I've really started getting excited despite having another miserable pregnancy!  And when I see stuff like this and realize I'm already 6 months pregnant I get even more excited!
Since I last checked in I had an appointment with the OB office on base.  BabyDeux is doing awesome; moving like crazy and his heart rate is great and he's measuring right on track.  I, on the other hand, ended up having an EKG because my heart rate was through the roof (over 200 bpm) but my blood pressure was super low.  EKG came back normal so they're attributing it to the stress on my body from the constant back pain.  Hopefully as my back gets better my heart will, too.

The other day I felt the little guy change positions (not just move, but like full on roll over) for the first time.  I, personally, hate that shit.  It makes me feel like an alien host.  I wish I had gotten a picture though because he was distinctly pushing my stomach out momentarily ::shudder::

And, oh yeah, I admit it...I effing love yoga pants.  Yoga pants or a long shirt with leggings are my go to these days.  I really just don't like maternity jeans, they continuously fall down so I'm constantly pulling them up which isn't attractive.  And with fold over yoga pants I can just not fold them over and it's like wearing full panel pants!  Which, since my belly exploded over night, is awesome!
^^totally regretted wearing Wes later that day.  He was having a meltdown and The Sailor had ran out and he kept grabbing his wraps and signing please so I couldn't help but put him up there...but it killed my back and I ended up in bed at like 6:30 that night.

That's all for now...I've been scoping out cribs and once we get that we'll start really putting the nursery together so that will be a lot of fun posts.  Until then you'll just have to deal with my super boring pregnancy updates!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Early Potty Learning

The last full day that W was in diapers was September 9, 2013 making him 17 months and 9 days old when he graduated from diapers.  **I don't like the term "potty trained" especially since he is so young; it just has so much pressure along with it.  I just say he's out of diapers when he's awake since he does still wear - and need - a diaper for naps and overnight.**

People are so surprised when they hear that he is out of diapers at his age.  And they either ask me what kind of voodoo magic I used or just attribute it to W being "mature."  I honestly believe most babies could potty train this early if they're given the opportunity to.  If you have a young baby and want to start them on the road to "early potty learning" this is what we did...

I got W a potty when he was about 9 months old.  With BabyDeux I'll probably start even sooner; as soon as he can sit up on his own I'll let him "use" a potty.  When it was convenient for me (as in if I was going to the bathroom, when W was brushing his teeth, when the tub was filling up, etc) I would put him on his potty with absolutely no expectation for him to do anything it was just him getting to sit on a cool new seat with his pants down.
First time on the potty!

I think a key to this is the fact that when I would use the toilet I would bring him with me and put him on his potty.  If I was peeing I would simply tell him, "Mommy is peeing in her potty because she doesn't wear diapers, if you want you could pee on your potty, too" and if I was pooping I would give him the same general explanation.  So he knew what he toilet was for.  It was actually the second day I ever put him on a potty that he pooped!  And I didn't celebrate, I didn't give him a prize, I just said, "wow, you're pooping on your potty instead of a diaper!  What a big boy."  If he went in his diaper  didn't get upset (obviously, he wasn't even a year old yet) I would just simply explain while I changed him, "you peed/pooped in your diaper, I'm going to put a dry diaper on you.  Isn't that more comfortable?"

Within a month he was almost exclusively pooping on the potty.  I rarely changed poopy diapers for the month of February.  It was awesome.

Then we flew home to visit my family at the beginning of March and we both got sick and he was nursing non-stop (so his poop completely changed) and he totally freaked out about the potty.  ::whompwhomp::  I was a little heartbroken, but hey - he could't walk how could I expect him to regularly use the potty?

After that I would still put him on the potty but I never pushed it.  He had sorta lost interest in it.  Then The Sailor got back from deployment, and I got pregnant, and every time I would put him on his little potty he would just stand up since he could walk.  I got to the point where I thought he was gonna be in diapers for a loooooong time since once BabyDeux got here there was no way I was going to be able to potty train a toddler while caring for a newborn.

Then I got the idea to try and put him on the big potty (with a topper on it) so he couldn't just walk away....and it worked!  This was probably a month before a decided to ditch the diapers.  I started putting him on it whenever it was convenient for me again; sometimes he would go, sometimes he wouldn't.  Then one day he walked up to me, handed me his potty topper, and signed please.  As soon as I put him on the potty he peed and I accepted he was ready.

I picked a date to ditch the diapers about two weeks in the future to mentally prepare myself and made him some training pants.  I started offering him the potty regularly throughout the day instead of just when it was convenient for me and as long as I offered it every two hours or so he'd have clean diapers all day!

I originally planned to do a "three day potty camp" where you essentially camp out in the kitchen (for easy clean up) and pump your kid full of salty snacks so they drink (and thus pee) a lot and essentially dedicate three whole days only to using the potty.  But, because of my back we lasted about 2 hours in the kitchen then just went back to normal life in the house just W was naked for easy potty access.

And he's been out of diapers while he's awake ever since.

For the most part at home he's completely naked or just in undies.  When we leave the house he's in undies and cloths.  If we're leaving during nap time I bring a diaper to put him in knowing he'll pass out on the car ride home (since he does still wear diapers for naps and night time).  He's had two accidents in clothes - one he was asleep in the car seat with The Sailor (he passed out and peed, really can't hold it against him) the other was at a birthday party and he started to wet his pants but finished on a toilet.  He's also had a bunch of starts of accidents at home, but he's generally naked so I just swoop him up and toss him on the toilet for him to finish but those have become few and far between.
Chillin in his undies
So did I get my 17 month old out of diapers?  Early introduction.  It was never hard for us to do, honestly.  Like I said, in the early days I never went out of my way and he essentially let me know when he was ready to ditch the diapers.  If you introduce a potty early you will know when your child is ready.  Just trust in that.

I also do give some credit to the fact that we cloth diaper.  Since disposables do such a good job keeping babies dry-feeling they don't really know when they've peed, whereas with cloth it's easy for them to tell.

Since that is more than enough information I'll do a follow up post with tools that helped us along the way,, and as usual if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

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