Monday, November 30, 2009

It's been a wild ride...

Well folks (assuming there's anybody out there) echoo....echo, echooo! I've been doing some long and hard thinking about the use of my time and some changes that need to happen and I've decided to bag the blogging for now. It's been a real fun experience, but I think I'm going to go with a different format. For my own enjoyment, and that of my family's, I'm going to stick with photo albums...I figure better to get 'er done, than to have photos lying in stacks 'n' heaps waiting for the day when I'll have the time to scrapbook them. As for keeping my friends and family current, I haven't decided on a format yet, but I'm considering uploading photos to a free host site, or just using facebook. I'll make one final post once I decide which of the two I'm going to go with. Hope you and yours have a fantastic Christmas!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

She's coming to the big city

It's official folks...Ree Drummond has one hot-selling cookbook
and she's bringing her book signing tour to the big city ( if you want to see if she'll be in your area check out her tour info. here). I started following her website about 3 months ago when I happened upon it by chance...I know, I know. I'm always a little slow to see the smoke and find out what's going on. Anyhoo, I've been begging Jonathan for a night in the city planned around her book signing tour (Dec. 12 NYC), and he finally relented. So me and Jonathan are going to go check her and Marlboro Man out. I'm VERY excited!! I have only ever met 3 legitimate Ranch/Farmer women in my life, and they all have left their mark. Today for Macy's birthday (more to come on that) we went riding at The Ridge Equestrian Center with some of her friends. When Anne (stable owner) approached us for our first meeting, I was just tickled. In my own fantasy world when I'm not dreaming of building that shared secret garden between my backyard and Elke's, I'm dreaming instead of being a stylish country girl with a little Texas kick and a little New England sophistication. Anne seemed every bit the fantasy incarnate. She looked like she stepped right out of a J. Crew catalog (or was it Brooks Brothers) but her speech and demeanor were charming and carefree. I met a little girl there, about 9, who had just started riding. I told her that was always my dream as a little girl and I hoped she was having a ball. So maybe someday between Connecticut and Washington somewhere in the vast expanse of the great United States of America where hard work and a good idea can really get you places, I'll have that little piece of space big enough for two horses and a dream fulfilled. Until then I'm gonna soak it up vicariously through Ree and her fresh midwestern take on things.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Heavenly Majesty

While in D.C. with Mike, we couldn't pass up
the opportunity to visit the grounds of the
gorgeous temple there, and have yet another
opportunity to let the girls feel the "specialness"
of temples. It was a choice experience made all
the better because we availed ourselves of the
opportunity to have Mike as our guide while he
was still residing there.

My little Man, he truly is

Hard to see, but it is always a favorite
for the girls to get up close and personal
with the Christus whenever we are in
visitor's centers that have them. I love
the teaching and bearing of testimony
opportunities that such occasions present.

Which brings me to the aptly named title of this post.
The timing of our trip coincided with a special
exhibit of images taken with the Hubble Telescope,
called "Heavenly Majesty." I have included snapshots
of a couple of the GORGEOUS photos on exhibit.

Each photo was accompanied by a brief explanation
of the subject and a scripture that corresponded
with it.

The images were breathtaking, and likely some of
the finest available that illuminate man's mind on the
expanse of space. We really had a great time seeing
so much and spending Mike's last days before he
officially became an expatriate! Thanks for hosting
us uncle Mike!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

I'm working on a post with pictures, but in the meantime I'd rather just get down in writing what we've been up to, as I always seem so FAR behind with this blogging hobby.

After D.C. with my brother Mike, which was in early September, we were supposed to return again the following weekend for the 9/11 March on the capitol. We had our hotel booked at a Kimpton boutique hotel through priceline, and were all set to go. The morning of I awakened to a sick little girl, who threw up not once, but twice in a matter of fifteen minutes. Afraid she may have contracted the swine flu, I immediately called Jonathan and he fanagled (sp?) a cancellation due to sickness with priceline. I think we were charged a minimal fee. Phew!

In the following month we went apple picking at March's apple orchards and picked THE most delicious pecks of cortland and macoun apples. They were so fabulous I was inspired to learn to preserve my own food and go farm picking more often. The stars must have aligned in my favor, or providence simply was smiling down on me, because two weeks after our farm excursion the Relief Society (women's service organization at church) had already scheduled a bagel making and applesauce preparing/canning mini enrichment evening. I got to learn a delicious recipe from a very talented and admirable woman at church (mother of nine, fit as a fiddle, nurse extraordinaire) and mingle with friends. I haven't tried the recipe yet, but I'm eager to roll my sleeves up and try my hand at it.

I spent a lonely and hectic General Conference (semi-annual worldwide meeting where church members are instructed by prophets and apostles) while Jonathan had his 2nd annual Cope Brothers reunion. I'm so glad he enjoys the company of his brothers, and they enjoy him, and that they've all decided to enjoy each other's company on a different weekend from now on! Hence forth, we have decided to reserve this special weekend to be spent as a family, teaching our children the importance and significance of the event, discussing topics shared and feelings felt, and establishing our own traditions pertaining to this sacred event.

Immediately following General Conference weekend, we had a quick and wonderful trip to Vermont for the fall foliage. It was a magnificent display of color, and I learned visually the definition of a bucolic life. Vermont is absolutely wonderful...imagine the vivid imagery of Anne of Green Gables come to life! If you're a romantic and an idealist, you MUST see Vermont in the Fall. We stayed at a FANTASTIC slopeside condo in the Green Mountains. The name of the resort was Sugarbush and the accomodations DID NOT disappoint. My favorite realtor of all time once said, " You get what you pay for, and you'll NEVER regret paying for quality." I have really come to appreciate how true that is. The lovely trip provided some much needed R&R, and while there, we enjoyed a side trip to Ben & Jerry's for some ice cream, and a visit to Sharon, VT., birthplace of the prophet Joseph Smith.

The next weekend the girls did a splendid job reciting their respective parts, which they both memorized, for the annual ward primary sacrament program. It is always such a special time to hear the developing testimonies of the the children in both song and word. We were so proud of both of them for facing their fear of public speaking (something they inherited from me) and doing their very best!

And finally, this past weekend we had the Fall Festival at Kennedy's school. It was a nice opportunity to meet some of Kennedy's classmates' families and enjoy some fun times with the girls. Max pooped out on us only fifteen minutes into the evening (which we suspected might happen), so Jonathan and he returned home, while the girls and I stayed at the school for the evening's activities. We had a great time! I also have recently begun volunteering in Kennedy's class on a monthly basis thanks to a wonderful high school friend who has agreed to babysit for me during that time. It has been a blessing to be able to see some of what goes on in Kennedy's class firsthand and become better acquainted with her classmates and Teacher.

So you see, if my agenda would just stop slamming me with action items, I might find the time to detail these activities individually, accompanied by pictures. For now, this wordy monologue will have to do...

Sunday, October 4, 2009


If you didn't notice, I did two other posts before
my examination of laundry. Feel free to look
back at those, too. Subjects covered: Washington
D.C., Uncle Mike (:

Laundry and such...

You'll excuse me, please, for not having a picture
for this post; who wants to look at pictures of
someone else's piles of dirty laundry anyway...

About two times a year I have this convergence
of cold weather clothing and warm weather clothing
in the laundry room. I feel like I'm drowning in
dirty clothes. It is always such a relief to get past
that point where the weather won't commit, and
FINALLY pack away last seasons clothes for another
year. I'm experiencing that drowning sensation
currently, and have been carefully selecting summer's
items to pack away, that will no longer be worn
despite the days when the temperature suddenly spikes.

My whole house can be in disarray ( as it has been the
case pretty much since Max arrived), but in this one
area, if I can have control and keep up, I retain my sanity.

Piles of clean smelling, and LOOKING, folded laundry
are somehow therapeutic to me, even more so when
they are deposited in their respective homes until such
time as they are called upon again. I used to try and do
all my laundry on a certain day, and then hold off until
the next week. But somehow, as the days have progressed
and the laundry has piled more quickly, I find the machine
is constantly in use.

Which brings me to my next point. Cloth diapering. I've read
so many blogs that are a bit OVERLY enthusiastic about
cloth diapers, that understate the truth, and extoll its virtues
to the extreme. So I'm going to try and be moderate in
my examination and report on my experiences thus far.
So by now you're wondering if I'm really doing it or not: I am.
But that doesn't necessarily mean you should, or that I
believe everyone else should and those who don't are earth

It has been almost two weeks since I've used a disposable
diaper. While my purpose for looking into CD's was motivated
by preparedness, I did intend to actually use them, thus
justifying the expense and hopefully saving some money to boot.
But the waters regarding the virtues of cloth diapers are quite
muddy. Some claims and analysis:
1). It is more environmentally friendly. I suppose that's subjective,
depending on how many you buy, where you purchase them from,
how often you launder, and HOW you carryout that laundering
process. Most cloth diapers recommend special detergents
to keep them clean and absorbent. They also require A LOT of
time to dry (70 min. on HIGH in the dryer) or up to 2 days on your
drying rack. And they're not immortal; eventually they die and
need to be replaced. Thankfully, this wasn't my reason for trying.

2). You save SO much money. Well that depends on how old your
baby is when you start, how many children you'll still be having
that you will pass your CD's on to, how many you purchase, what
type(s) you buy, and how enticed you are by all the extras available
in the CD world, i.e. wetbags, inserts, liners, snappis, etc. If you have
a reasonable amount of self control, I think you probably do save
money. If you buy every new thing that hits the market, I think
you don't. As I said, muddy water.

3). It's better for your babies bum. Well word has it that disposables
are filled with an array of toxic chemicals that lend them their
absorbent properties and fresh scent. I really take these claims
with a grain of salt. While I do think it's a good idea to try and
get back to basics and simplify, I don't think the gov't and the
diaper manufacturers are covering some grand conspiracy to
profit at all costs despite the risks to the rising generation.
I've never been one for conspiracy theories anyway.

4). So now we come full circle with the preparedness side of Cd'ing;
one point, I rarely see mentioned, and the only point I think
that really merits some serious consideration. While the other
merits are debateable, this one stands to reason. IF you could
suddenly no longer rely on your regularly scheduled trips to
Target, Costco, or the likes, you COULD continue to maintain
some semblance of hygience and cleanliness in your home by
having a stash of cloth diapers to rely on. This gives me peace
of mind, and the resolve to continue. I guess I should mention
here that I DO plan to have more babies too. So I find it
infinitely more manageable and reasonable to stash a supply
of cloth diapers than to try and have boxes and boxes of
disposables in all the various sizes.

Next time I post I'll discuss how I launder them, and
the convenience factor.

D.C. cont'd

I hate that I am never able to capture in picture
beautiful architechture. Maybe someday I'll be
able to afford a camera that can do better justice...

In any case, this is a portion of the ceiling in the
Library of Congress. You really must go, I'll leave
it at that. We were going to see a first edition copy of
the Book of Mormon, but we were visiting on
Memorial Day, and that portion of the library was
closed for the holiday.

Uncle Mike and Max...they like each
other a little bit...

We snagged a fellow tourist to take this picture
of all of us inside the Library of Congress.

Arlington Cemetery was a solemn and hallowed

It was raining, not a torrential downpour, but
pretty steady, but we stayed long enough to see
the changing of the guard anyway. Amazing:
a beautiful and noble tribute that this scene is carried
on day in day out around the clock to remind us
of the tomb of the unknown soldier and the countless
lives lost in battle who were never identified.

While memorials and speeches are always nice, the
NICEST thing I think we can do to honor all
these men and women who "died to make us free"
is to live worthy of that freedom. May we always
REMEMBER to do so, and may we always REMEMBER
the cost of that freedom.

Washington D.C.

Yes, 2009 will go down in Cope family history
as our most travelled year...thus far, anyway.
We kind of expected as much, since several of our
friends who have sojourned in the northeast
temporarily, told us they took mini trips as frequently
as they could to see and do as much as they could
that is unique to this part of the country. I'm
afraid we haven't even scratched the surface....

My brother Mike, who was recently hired on with
the Foreign Services, was scheduled to depart for his
first post in Guatemala City, Guatemala on Sept. 9th.
We couldn't let him go without a proper sending off,
so it seemed a good time to take the family for a trip
the the capitol city. It was a fast weekend, but we
managed to take in SOME of the sights. Pictured above
is the WWII memorial.

Kennedy, Macy and Max were all such troopers.
MOST of what we saw and did was really beyond
their ability to appreciate, but they DID appreciate
the time they got to spend with uncle Mike. Not
living near family does have ONE perk, I guess.
When you DO get to see them, it is such a NOVELTY!
Aunts, uncles, cousins, and Grandparents get celebrity
star status in my kids' eyes!

I really like this picture because
of the pre-eminence (as it appears)of the
flag next to the Washington memorial.
It serves as a reminder to me of what
all these memorials are really all about
anyway. The men and women represented,
honored, and remembered LOVED God, and
Country. I don't think we really honor
their memory and sacrifice as we should,
by living as we ought...(another post for
another day).

The Library of Congress. At my mother's
reccomendation, we visited this site.
My brother thought it would be a bore;
how little he knew about my love for all
things OLD. A really great thing about
Washington D.C. and the northeast is
the sense of history. As a country we are
so new, it is often difficult to really feel
that. The archictecture was classic and
beautiful. The messages and spirit inside
were inspiring and timeless. After visiting
a site like this, I can't help but see how
degenerate we are as a people compared with
the vision of what we could become that
propelled the founding fathers through their
darkest hours. It was a spiritual experience
to read their words and feel the energy behind
Visiting D.C. heightened my sense of duty as
a citizen, and love of country as a patriot. It
is a singular experience and one I recommend
HIGHLY, but after an appropriate age has been
reached. Probably either high school aged, or
even older. When we were walking to the mall
one evening, I overheard a guy, early twenties,
talk about his first experience in D.C. having
been wasted on his youth. There is a lot to take
in, to ponder, to appreciate, and to comprehend.
Hope you get the chance to go, if you've never been!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kennedy the Kindergartner

I had hoped I would be better prepared
when this day arrived; but ready or not
it came. Kennedy didn't miss a beat,
and was fearless regarding all things
school related. She LOVES riding the bus
to school (when only the other Kindergartners
are on) and wishes I would allow her to ride
it home as well.

I am prayerfully considering this wish,
and the jury is still out. In the meantime,
Macy, Max and myself all take an afternoon
walk across the street and down a bit,
to the cul-de-sac that has enough room
for the bus to turn around since Kennedy
is the last to be picked up for the afternoon
Kindergarten run. While we wait, she daily
picks me flowers, finds me bugs, and gives
me beautiful leaves for safe keeping. We all
enjoy a moment in the fresh air and our little
walk to and from the bus stop. We share a
prayer and some kisses, and she is off!

She loves her teacher, and has made
MANY friends. On Friday I had my
first opportunity to volunteer in her
classroom for a writing workshop, and
got to put faces with all the names she
so frequently mentions.

About a week before school started,
we had a good rainy day. The drizzly
weather was too inviting to resist for
my sillies, so they suited up in their
rainboots, pettiskirts, and raincoats
for some good fun. They have vivid
imaginations, and are the best of friends
most days.

I'm so thankful everyday to be
their mother and pray for the
wisdom, love, humility, blessings,
spiritual power, and strength of
character to be equal to the task.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Last days in San Diego

I have never lived near or in a city with a navy presence,
so I was unaware of the practice to stand at attention
and in formation when coming into harbor.

For me it was a patriotic moment; made me count my
blessings and thank Heavenly Father once more that I live
in America, home of the free & the brave.

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all the men and women
who courageously and selflessly serve their country and their

so that you and I can enjoy our day to day lives, relatively
untroubled by the threats that are made daily on America
and our way of life, at home and abroad.

so that we can have a peaceful and carefree
family vacation like the one we enjoyed

playing in this pool,

I just saw the press coverage of the man from
Colorado who was arrested on terrorist charges.
I accept it as a fact that there are enemies at home
and abroad who are resentful and bitter because
of the lifestyle broadly enjoyed by the American people.

It is a terribly frightening and stark reality that the
blissful ignorance widely enjoyed today, could be gone

As I write the world is trying to decide how to respond
to the newly publicized knowledge of a secret nuclear
facility in Iran.

The world is in turmoil. I guess it always has been...
The freedoms enjoyed today are threatened not only
by the threat of terrorism and nuclear arms, but also
by our own misdeeds as a nation; the refusal to continue
to acknowledge God as the Founder of our freedom as
our forebears freely did, the notion that believing in right
and wrong and the universal application of truth
makes one a bigot---narrow-minded, an
ignorant religious zealot, pop-culture in general which
rejects anything Godly and embraces all ungodliness,
enthrones it really, the way in which we busy our lives
with doing so much of the meaningless that we have NO
time left for the meaningful, hurt children who grow to
become embittered and violent adults, a general
permissiveness in society that has led to the abandoment
of virtues and opened the floodgates to a host of destructive

Our freedom hangs in the balance, but many Americans
can't be troubled to consider the implications of
their own inertia.

We need to get our acts together; the wake up calls
have been frequent and many.

I pray we will make changes to correct our course
and preserve our nation and freedoms for my
children, and yours too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My stinkin' camera is broke(n)

Sorry no pics of the cloth diaper stash yet; my camera is giving me fits and I really haven't had the time to fiddle with it and try and figure out if it is something minor or major.

In the meantime, I have officially run out of disposable diapers, and am experiencing life without them. Today was my first full day. It is a little tricky with such a small stash (only 8 diapers) to try and figure out when to do the laundry to keep the ball rolling. I've been using them for a couple of weeks now, but I was sneaking in a disposable or two when it was time to launder. Now I have to figure out how to manage without that crutch. I have been through many big, NASTY poops (did I mention I keep my babies on a veggie and cereal ONLY diet for the first year of life?) and used the diaper sprayer I purchased on several occasions. It is definitely a must for me. If I had to swish or concoct some other means of getting the sticky poops off, I'd have thrown the towel in after the first day. It does sometimes get water all over the toilet, but it is efficient and effective at poop removal.

I'm going to continue using what I have through the end of September, at which time I will decided with diaper(s) I like best so I can augment my supply. I wish I could insert a picture here of those I currently'll just have to wait. The jury is still out on my reviews of each product, so I guess I'll post a picture when I tell you about their performance, trimness, and ease of use.

I am enjoying this experiment and have firmly placed both of my feet on the road to conversion; barring any major derailment, I believe I am going to take the leap permanently. The last major part of the experiment I must undergo before giving my full commitment is to cloth diaper away from home (i.e. a weekend trip). I really don't know quite how that will go...I'm very curious to see. Away from home I will have to experience poop removal sans the diaper sprayer; it could present a real dilemma. It's my last major hurdle; wish me luck! As far as what I do away from home for errands and such, I carry a small wetbag with me and bring the whole stinky thing home to tend to it. It really isn't bad at all. I feel very organic and happy about this little change. I recently came across a new term that I feel is aptly applied to my chosen lifestyle. Flexitarian. It generally refers to someone who eats mostly from the the abundance of the earth, but doesn't shun meat entirely. I'm applying the term broadly to all aspects of my life with regards to going green & organic. I really feel like extreme lifestyles usually lead to an imbalanced and unhealthy person. Therefore, I take a hybrid approach to most things. I try and do what I feel good about for my family without branding myself. For instance, while looking for diaper laundry solution for my very hard well water, I came across a site recommending its products for all the earth loving, cloth diapering, environmentally responsible, crunchy, co-sleeping, attachment parenting mommies out there!

I don't even know what attachment parenting is, and I'm not a co-sleeping momma (preferring to have my bed reserved for my husband and myself only), and I only recently gained a vague understanding of what "crunchy" means in this context. I wouldn't even go so far as to say I'm environmentally responsible, though I do aspire to be a good steward insofar as is reasonable. BUT, I do love the earth. I try to recycle whenever possible, am being more consicous of my water consumption, and am becoming more savvy when it comes to chemicals and my family. However, I still have an arsenal of cleaning products I'm not ready to part ways with, and don't spring for every organic product the supermarket carries. I DO try to wash my produce thoroughly, and OCCASIONALLY treat my family to organic produce if it's an item that is particularly vulnerable to pesticides, etc.

So now you're saying to yourself, WOW! Where the heck is she going with this post? Well that's a great question. I didn't set out to come full circle with this, but it appears the point of all my rambling is that cloth diapering just became a natural next step as I have been taking steps to become more self-reliant in my family and a little kinder to the earth to. I'm not a vigilante. I guess that is also one of the points I'm trying to make. There are plenty of those out there; I'm intimidated by them and a bit turned off by their all or nothing approach. I'm not consumed or defined by these changes we're making, just feeling a lit bit better prepared than before and little bit more responsible as a steward of the earth and my family.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sea World San Diego

I'm sure you're getting the picture that we had quite
a whirlwind of a summer this year! It seems like
we were gone long enough to miss Connecticut's
summer almost entirely! The final leg of our So. Cal
trip was spent at Sea World before we drove to Sac.
for our trip home. Above the girls are enjoying a
frozen lemonade...very refreshing on a HOT SoCal

We LOVED all the exhibits and shows at Sea
World---especially the Shamu and dolphin shows!

Shamu going for a jump,

and the splash that followed!

If you look closely, you can see the trainer in
the air ABOVE the killer whale. This guy was a
phenomenal swimmer and the whale was a
phenomenal showman. Can you imagine how
fun this job would be?? One of my childhood
dreams was to take care of dolphins. I've
always had a fascination with them....and horses,
but that's a story for another day (:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cloth Diapering Update

Just in case you're oh so curious...

I am now the proud owner of 6 cloth diapers, and 2 still in transit

This should be about one 24 hr. period's worth of diapers. I have heavily researched (have I mentioned I am a research nut when it comes to products I am considering purchasing?) and selected 8 different brands to try. Pictures and descriptions to follow...

I have experienced my first trial run, and am not yet deterred, though I had some setbacks. Lots of leaks on that first day, so I did some more research and contacted a few companies and am now armed with the information needed to hopefully overcome the leaks. I am now going to summarize all of my research in a lengthy, no pictures included, post. This is where you might want to stop reading and go back to your blogroll for other updates if you are entirely uninterested in the world of Cd'ing.

Okay, here goes:

Cloth diapering consists of several different diapering strategies/options. The choices run the gamut of very economical to high-end couture (yes I used that word to describe a diaper) options. In a nutshell the very basic nuts and bolts of cd'ing are your grandmas prefolds and flats with the old-fashioned pins; today you can also use a device called a snappi to hold your diaper in place. These dipes require a waterproof cover, most of which are made out of institutional grade PUL (polyurethane-something or other), the other options are wool & fleece. Beyond the basics your choices are contours (like prefolds only shaped like your baby's bum), fitteds (with cover), pockets, AIO, and AI2 dipes. I didn't really look into the very basic options b/c they sounded like more work and hassle than I was interested in. I can tell you that if you were to choose that route, there are higher quality prefolds available online than what you will find at your local Target.

My research led me to choose mostly pockets and AI2 dipes, with a few AIO for quick convenience during the day. I thought this might also work for nighttime diapering; however, my initial trial run has caused me to second guess that. Every choice beyond contours are more fitted and sized to baby's proportions and come with the fasteners sewn in. The two fastening options beyond a snappi are aplix (generic velcro) and snap. I have read the velcro doesn't wear as well as snap, and I personally have a disdain for velcro as it tends to snag everything it comes in contact with in the wash, so I chose snap diapers (with one exception b/c of the rave reviews). Pockets/AI2/AIO goes a step beyond the fitted by having a waterproof barrier sewn into the diaper, so you don't need an extra cover over it. I appreciate this type of simplicity, especially for daytime when I'm on the run! AIO diapers are the most complete option, but not the best in my mind. They have the soaker sewn into the diaper and eliminate the option of customizing absorbency, other than adding more bulk. Pocket diapers consist of a PUL outer/fleece or other soft fiber inner, with a "pocket" near the rear or front of the diaper where a soaker is stuffed. These are customizable to the amount of absorbency your baby requires...I like that. There are so many types of soakers/doublers/inserts
on the market. Which leads me to one of my aha moments with my trial run. Several of my soakers are hemp. Hemp is supposed to be very absorbent, rivalled only by bamboo, but hemp has to be primed before use. I didn't know this, and therefore experienced a lot of leaking. Priming a hemp soaker consists of washing it in HOT water and drying it 5-10 times. I won't go into the scientific reasons why this is necessary, but I can assure you it is! I am now in the process of priming and preparing my dipes and soakers, a step I didn't do before the trial run and something you must do if you want optimal results the first time. AI2 are like pockets only the soaker snaps into position and is a point of contact with baby's skin. The jury is still out for me if I prefer AI2 or pockets. I plan to use my minimal stash for about a month before I make any product judgments and boost my supply. Ideally, a full-time cloth diaperer requires about 12-24 diapers to get into a 2-3x a week wash cycle. I'm aiming for 18 because pockets and AI2 outers can be reused before washing if they are aired out between uses ( I have read between 2-6 times) and used with clean soakers.

Now for another revelation from that trial run. Daytime diapering and nighttime diapering are not the same when it comes to cloth. You can wing it during the day, but you've got to have a game plan for nighttime diapering. This is serious stuff when you're goal is about twelve hours in a single diaper without any leaks. So I have realized that because Max is such a heavy wetter, I will probably have to have some fitteds w/ covers or fleece soaker diapers for nighttime. I won't say definitively until I've primed and reused everything, but the first two nights weren't acceptable. He needed too frequent changing of clothes and diaper for my preferences.

For simplicity's sake, I've also purchased a roll of disposable diaper liners (looks like dryer sheets in the packaging) for thos times when I know I'll be away from the house long enough to need a diaper change. These liners allow moisture to penetrate, but keep solids from coming into contact with the diaper; I'm sure you can guess why that's a nice feature on the run...

Should you choose to look into the cloth option which is economical, eco-consious, self-reliant, and actually quite fun on some levels I recommend the following sites in your quest to find the perfect diapering strategy:

From there you learn about different types, brands, etc. and you can google what you're looking for beyond that. There is a whole community of people who LOVE cloth diapering and feel very passionately about it; I haven't decided if I'm joining them yet, but the prospects are good!

A final word,

Cleaning cloth diapers is also an art. If you don't want to swish your diapers in the toilet (ick), then you can invest in a handy gadget called diaper sprayer. It looks like the dish sprayer mounted on your kitchen sink, only it attaches to the water line on your toilet and is used to spray messy diapers clean! What a great idea!

Cloth diapers require some TLC in the laundering process for optimal performance. NO softeners, optical brighteners, etc. can be used and some of your average detergents aren't okay for cloth diapers. There are several lists out there of detergents generally viewed as safe for diapers. Why all the fuss? Because you don't want your diapers to repel; you want them to absorb. If they get all bogged down under additives and such they won't do their job well. There are all kinds of schools of thought on the best procedures for cleaning diapers, and most of them include a prewash/rinse of some sort to remove debris, a HOT wash to thoroughly clean and sterilize with 1/4-1/2 the recommended detergent for a regular load of laundry, followed by a second rinse to ensure no detergent has set up camp in the diaper. Some people hang their dipes to dry (which can take quite some time) and some dry them. I'm going to take a hybrid approach on this for two reasons: 1) it is recommended that you dry on HOT any diapers containing PUL because the heat seals the pores (something I didn't know or do before the trial run) and makes the waterproof barrier more effective. 2) do this too often can eventually break down the elastic prematurely, hence the hybrid approach.

I have found learning this new skill very rewarding, and yes, Fun! We'll see if the charm wears off...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

La Jolla Shores

On our visit to sunny San Diego, we took a lazy
day to soak up some sun and enjoy the beach.
We asked around and were recommended La Jolla
Shores, a small beach just north of San Diego. The
girls had a great time burying Daddy in the sand...

watching the new surfers try their luck or hone
their skills,

watching Daddy grow an awesome
six pack in a matter of minutes,

and rollicking in the very gentle waves
with their hero, Daddy.

We borrowed the hotel's pack'n'play and Max slept
for a little over two hours on the beach! When he
woke up, he was in great spirits! He has one
of the most expressive little faces. I can't decide
what he is thinking here.

The only drawback for us at this beach was the shores
were riddled with huge seaweed drifts...I don't know
if it's always like that here, or if it was a fluke caused
by the tides. Parking is also slim pickins', but we
managed to find a good place relatively close, so
we must have had Jonny's good karma that day...
he claims to be a good luck charm for finding VIP
priority parking spots.

The weather was oh-so-perfect and it was a nice
treat to have a leisurely day without rigid scheduling.

Next stop...Sea World San Diego!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Temples & Kisses & such

During our sojourn in San Diego, we couldn't pass
up the opportunity to take our children to see the
lovely temple there.

One of the sr. missionaries on site was good enough
to offer take a picture of all of us in front of the

Max gave me lots of loves & hugs & kisses...

There aren't words to express how much I love
him...and my other babies too!

The San Diego temple is so stunning, even an
amateur can take postcard worthy pics.

We thoroughly enjoyed strolling the breathtaking
grounds, smelling the flowers, holding hands,
giving and getting kisses, and feeling of the spirit

Just gave me yet another reason to love San Diego!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I've decided to test the water...

For several days I've been feverishly researching, and learning
a new language.

My scribbles contain the following below:

flannel vs. wool vs. hemp
AIO, AI2, fitted, flat, prefolded, pockets
super trim
aplix vs. snap
zorb liners
NO to microfiber and microsuede
longies, shorties,
baby legs
PUL covers
pins & snappis

Oh, and YES, Bamboo too...

What's all that you ask?

It is the language spoken by the underground sub-culture
known as the cloth diapering movement.

Everyone has their reasons for investigating
the alternative to the disposable a.k.a. sposie
diaper. Mine are probably not as vogue as
you might think. I'm not interested for its greener
properties (some say that argument is debatable
anyway when you factor all the extra water
being used to clean cloth diapers), nor am I
economically motivated, per se, though that does
appear to be a possible silver lining.

I've been taking stock of my family's emergency
preparedness and find myself wanting in so many
areas that it is daunting just selecting where to begin.

Having had Max recently has put a new spin in the way
I see my preparedness, and I've been pondering how
caring for my children would be different in a world
without a Target just up the street. Whether or not
that day ever actually comes doesn't really matter to me.
I have been called to prepare.
So, in that vein, I've been researching recipes for babyfood
and methods of safely preparing and storing babyfood...and
that's how I got to this diaper thing. I thought, "What would
I do if I couldn't just go purchase a box of diapers for Max?"
I DO have some prefolds artfully disguised as burpies, but
I wouldn't be prepared to use them in a pinch as a diaper.
I got to thinking about it ( and yes it did conjure up some pretty
icky and stinky images), and I decided I would dip my toes
in the water and test it out.

I'm not making a commitment. I haven't suddenly become
the green queen, nor am I loudly advocating this alterna method
and preaching damnation to the naysayers. I'm just giving it a try.
I've come up with a small list of beginner supplies and am armed
with what I hope is good information on cleaning, drying, and
maintaining a cloth diapering home.

I have already experienced the worst of it as far as blowouts and
nighttime leaks are concerned with the disposables I'm currently
using. I really don't see much difference b/w regularly laundering
poopie prefolds or pooped clothes and soaked sheets. Laundry is
already, sadly, a regular part of my daily existence...and it's here to

The two things I am most unsure about so far are:
1). What does tent camping look like with a cd baby,
and 2). What does vacationing of any kind look like
with a cd diaper.

I feel like I could probably establish a home routine
that worked for me, but I fear the away from home for long periods
aspect of it.

It could derail the entire experiment. For now, I'm going to make
a small investment and plant the seed.

This will be a well-documented journey...

If you or someone you know has anything informative
to share on the subject I'd love to hear!

Magic Kingdom Take 2

Thanks to my SIL Brandi, we had the 411 that staying
onsite was worth the cost, especially with little ones in tow.
I can't say enough how much more relaxed that made the trip
for us. It was so nice at the end of a LONG day to just
stroll back to the hotel, take the elevator up, and deposit
our sleepy babies into their beds. We bought 3 day park
hoppers (thank you Brian's mom for using your Cali discount
for us!!!) and checked into our hotel Wed. afternoon. We had
originally planned to have Wed. be the first day of the hopper,
but we got a later start than expected, so we opted to stay out
of the park until Thurs. It worked out just fine because Jonathan
took the girls to the Neverland pool, while Max napped and I
planned the next days schedule. Again, Brandi's wealth of
information about all things Disney was so helpful in plotting out
each day's events/attractions. Max and I joined the rest of the
family at the pool after his nap, and later that evening we took
Brandi's advice and strolled downtown Disney to search for the
girls' souvenirs. Kennedy was quick to identify the Belle doll as
her souvenir and the two of them were inseparable for the
duration of our trip. Macy wanted so badly to find a "Silvermist"
doll from the TinkerBell movie. Sadly, there were none to be
found. Later the next day she fell in love with the Buzz Light year
with retractable wings, and he became her constant companion.

Once inside the park, we didn't stop for many photo-ops,
but we couldn't pass up a picture in front of Sleeping
Beauty's castle. Unfortunately when we were there
there weren't any English or Portuguese speakers around,
so we couldn't ask someone to take the pic with all of us
in it. Darn...we'll get that next time. And there WILL be a
NEXT time! We spent all of day one at Disneyland.
Unfortunately we made the unsavory mistake of having one
of Macy's first rides be Space Mountain. I didn't even
remember what that ride was all about. That set the
tone for the remainder of our trip. From that point on
Macy frantically asked at each stop if the ride was a) dark,
b) fast, and c) scary. I did my best to investigate the answers
to these questions for each ride (it has been almost 20 years
since I last visited the MK) but sometimes I was misinformed.
For example, even the Peter Pan ride is DARK and the lovely
stars in the night sky DO resemble the little lights on Space Mtn.,
especially if you are a traumatized 3 1/2 year old. In fact,
almost every ride that involved being indoors was dark, except
for It's a Small World. Needless to say, poor Macy didn't enjoy
the trip as she could have had we not made that fatal mistake.
Thankfully I don't think she'll be warped for life. She IS
still excited to return and assures us she'll be ready to try
some of the bigger, FASTER rides next time. Thanks to Fast Pass
and Rider Exchange, we were able to enjoy all of Tomorrowland,
New Orleans Square, and most of Frontierland during Day 1.

On Day 2, we enjoyed breafast with Ariel and all of her
princess friends at California Adventure. We enjoyed
sleeping in a bit, and the laidback atmosphere and smaller
crowds were a nice break from the nonstop excitement
of Disneyland. I got a lot smarter on Day 2, and made
better use of the fast pass system by only using two tickets
at each kiosk (we had four in total). This way I could walk
from one ride to the other and immediately fast pass again
using the two not used previously. If you know how the system
works, you have to wait a period of time between each fast pass
you get. By interspersing the two sets of tickets, I got fast passes
at Soarin', Grizzly Rapids, and Screamin' in a period of a little over
an hour. I LOVED the screamin' coaster and since we had two
fast passes for it and a Rider Exchange, I got to ride it twice
without the fuss of long lines! Soarin' was also REALLY COOL,
and one of the all time favorites since it also made Macy's
SHORT fun list (: I should mention here that Max and I
got the fast passes while Jonathan and the girls waited in line
at the Toy Story ride, which doesn't have the fast pass feature.
They had barely finished getting off their ride by the time
I had been to three attractions for fast passes. And just as
I strolled up, I got to skip the line and ride the Toy Story ride
with K since Jonathan got a Rider Exchange ticket for me.
I must sing the praises of these two programs. They are so
family friendly. Had it not been for FP and Rider Exchange,
we wouldn't have enjoyed the Disney experience nearly as
much, since one of us had to sit out each ride to be with Max.

On the last day, we availed ourselves of the Magic
Morning early entry, and went straight to Fantasyland
(which we had intentionally saved for last). We rode
pretty much all the minor attractions there in the space of
about 45 min. It was so great to hop on ride after ride
with no lines!! Gotta love Magic Morning, another
CONVINCING reason to justify the $$$ spent to stay
at the Disneyland hotel. After riding the rides of Fantasyland,
we went to the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique so each girl
could pick out a princess outfit. I should say here that
we prepped the girls before the trip that they would each
get ONE souvenir item of their choosing, and ONE dress up.
Since I have never purchased ANY dress ups prior to this (we do
have an assortment of halloween costumes and castoffs from
friends that we dress up in), I felt it OKAY to spend the money
for a TRULY magical final day at Disney. Kennedy chose
Jasmine and Macy chose the generic princess bride dress, which
we dubbed the "Gisele" dress because it looked like princess
Gisele from Enchanted. This was definitely a highlight of the
trip and an appropriate crescendo to our magical family vacation.
The girls were even stopped by a group of Japanese tourists for a
snapshot (: It was really rather funny, since the same thing
happened in Hawaii with Kennedy when she was 8 months old.
I guess there's just something novel about my darling girls that
tourists find irresistible??!

After Fantasyland, our "princesses" accompanied us back to
California Adventure to visit Bug Land, the only part of the park
we didn't see during Day 2. We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon
there, and spent a lot of time in the water features during the
hottest part of the day. Once again, we were glad to be on site,
since I didn't realize they had water features and hadn't packed
for them. Jonathan did a mad dash to the parking lot, and
retrieved (with some coaching from me) the swimsuits, towels,
and sandals, so the girls could get wet without ruining there
brand new princess duds. When we'd had enough of BugLand,
we strolled back over to Disney to Frontierland for the evening.
We enjoyed the Mark Twain riverboat, and a few rides we hadn't
had time for on Day 1. I must insert here that you MUST stop for
a Dole Whip in Frontierland and here's a very helpful pointer:
the line at the Dole Whip stand is almost as bad as the line for
Splash Mtn, UNLESS you agree to spend 20 min. in an air
conditioned tiki room for a cute little ditty by some friendly
parrots... in that case, you can enter the reserved waiting area
for Tiki Room guests ONLY and cut right to the front of line for a
Whip on th other side of the stand. I highly recommend coming
here during the hottest part of the day. Not only will you get a
taste of Hawaiian heaven, but you can enjoy the cooler that is
the Tiki oasis in the hotter than hot SoCal sun.

Trust me.

You. will. thank. me.

I have had a Dole Whip before at the Dole plantation on Oahu.
To my knowledge, this is the only place you can get them in the
lower 48.
So go.
After our whip, I lined up 1 1/2 hrs. BEFORE showtime for
the Fantasmic show over Tom Sawyer's Island. It is WORTH
IT. We saw the show the 1st night, but decided to come back for
better viewing. I LOVED this show...and I LOVE DISNEY. After
Fantasmic, we headed towards Main Street, with a clever little
detour near Aurora's castle for our 3rd viewing of "Magical" the
daily fireworks show. It was the perfect way to finish a lovely
Disney stay. We had checked out of our hotel earlier in the day,
so we packed the kids in the car and drove 2 hours,


to San Diego.

Stay tuned...

I was a little leary about taking Max on a nonstop
thriller vacation like this, but really I had no choice.
He did EXCEPTIONALLY well, taking good naps
in the stroller and the bjorn. Oh, and I nursed him
on the go: standing in line at Nemo's adventure,
eating lunch, outside the bathrooms, etc. How
did I accomplish this discreetly you ask? Because
my fantastic MIL bought me one of these.

Max really was a dream, and I'd say that this
first REAL family vacation with an infant so
exceeded my expectations that I'd do it again
in a heartbeat. The top ten things that made it

1) uppababy stroller (to be highlighted in later post)
2) rumbleseat for said uppababy
3) hooter hider (did I mention it doubles as a sun
shield while baby is in bjorn?!)
4) pacifier
5)pacifier clippy
6)bjorn or other carrier
7)breastfeeding (no bottles, formula, prepping,
planning, etc.)
8)rider exchange (THANK YOU DISNEY!)
9)Fast Pass
10) huge diaper bag to accomodate all the necessities!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Origins of name...

One of my favorite questions to ask new moms is "Where did you get the name?" I am really quite horrible at remembering names (I often need to be reminded on several occasions before it sticks) but sometimes knowing how they got it in the first place galvanizes it in my memory; it's also usually interesting to find out about the deceased relative, favorite character from a book (Barry Manilow song in my case), etc. People have such varied and interesting reasons for selecting the names they do. So I thought I'd explain the names in our family, particularly since we have made Max so confusing to so many (my pediatrician still calls him Joshua everytime I go in).

Kennedy Reese: Jonathan and I were at Costco in Provo (dating, not even engaged), when a darling little girl, long blonde curls, probably age four, went dashing down the aisle as her mother hollered after her "Kennedy!!!" It was love at first hearing. I knew right then and there that my first daughters name would be Kennedy. Roughly around this same time the movie Sweet Home Alabama was out (on the big screen or DVD I can't recall) featuring Reese Witherspoon. Having just returned from serving my mission in Alabama, I rather enjoyed the movie and was reminded how much I enjoy Reese as an actress....hence the moniker of my first child was born.

Macy Cleo: This name came about in kind of reverse order. Jonathan declared after Kennedy was born, that our next daughter (should there be a next) would have Cleo in her name. Why?? Because "Grandma Cleo is an upright Christian woman possessing all the noble traits we could ever wish for in a daughter" (or something like that). Well I couldn't argue with him, Grandma Cleo is an angel even if she's declared on a hundred or more occasions that she's methodist born and bred and will most definitely finish out her life as a methodist dead. At the time, our neighbor down the street had a sweet little pup named Cleo too, and I just couldn't bring myself to give my baby the name as her first. Having decided Cleo would be in the middle, I needed a name retro enough that it would seem to fit well with it. We moved to Texas from Louisiana mid-pregnancy (I had only six weeks left) and I discovered Macy was an anchorwoman for a local broadcast of the nightly news. Seemed like a good fit, and I was running out of time to decide. So Macy Cleo came to be.

Joshua Max: You know him as "Max" and that's exactly how we intended it. Odd I know (my elementary school teachin' mother-in-law said I shouldn't have done it that way), but it turns out it's a family tradition. My paternal grandmother's name is Mary Diane, but she's known to all as Diane. She calls both her sons by their middle name, and I decided to continue the legacy. Cruel, maybe. I hope not though. As for the names themselves: My first mission president's name was Perry Max. I almost would have just named him that exactly, except he had a son by the same name whom I dated and am NOT married to. Might have been bothersome to my husband...but I still liked the name... Well it turns out Jonathan's maternal great grandfather's name was Max too. We really stewed and stewed over what to call this little boy, and it came right down to the wire before we decided. I must have suggested hundreds of possibilities. Apparently Jonathan just knows too many people though, because he had known a guy who did a dumb thing by the same name of every other one I suggested. We were getting nowhere. Luckily we still had Max, a name we were both happy with that had the added bonus of pleasing the extended family. My mother suggested, rather forcefully, that we follow her tradition of tacking on a name that was biblical in nature since that was the tradition she'd started with her boys. We agreed Joshua went well with Max, but for some reason Max Joshua just didn't sound as good to us.

If you have a hankering, I'd love to hear how the creative process of babynaming takes shape in your family!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sir Max-a-lot

Just kidding...

we haven't called him that. yet.

But he has been called by the following:
Macsimiliano (or something like that)
Max Master or Master Max
Last week we went to his well baby appt. that should have occurred at 4mo.,
but we were out of town.
Here's his stats
18 lbs. 1 oz.
26 in. long
I feel like he's rather large for his age, but I'm relieved to have discovered he's proportioned well. 75th percentile on both height and weight. He's a lover, not a hater. Jonathan took the above pic with his new Blackberry Tour. Not bad for a cell phone picture, eh?
From the looks of it, he enjoyed the gourmet pink lemonade cupcake from delish!
I'm not sure if I'm grateful or resentful that Jonathan introduced me; it was wickedly fabulous. I'm having a hard time saving the one I bought for "later". Wish me luck...

You know you're a mormon if...

I have lots of friends in the blogging world, and most of them are LDS. I know which of my friends blog with REGULARITY, and which ones, like me, don't. I never think much of it when the irregulars haven't posted in awhile. They probably are either neck deep in dirty laundry, have a sick (or multiple, as the case may be) baby, or are sick themselves. Or maybe their excavating the playroom yet again...the list of possibilities is so numerous I rarely spend much time thinking about it or trying to figure it out.

BUT, the ones who are the regulars somehow manage to move mountains and keep up on their blog at the same time. I aspire to be them...but I'm not. So, when they mysteriously drop of the scene for weeks or even months, the thought almost always crosses my mind, "I wonder if so-and-so is pregnant....again."

And my hunch is usually right.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The long awaited, but never duplicated...

Disneyland...of course!

The Magic Kingdom somehow hasn't lost any
of its magic in the intervening 18 or so years
since I last visited. Truly, I marvel at the imagination
of Walt Disney. We received a special invitation
to dine with Mrs. Ariel herself during our stay, and we
couldn't pass up the opportunity!

She was so EXCITED when we arrived and saw
to our every need,

She enquired diligently about our stay at the
castle, the acceptability of the accomodations,
and so forth. She got to know us personally as her
special guests and made us feel welcome at our coronation
as the newest princesses to the castle.


she introduced us to her famous friends!

First there was Snow White who showed us
proper posture and poise,

Then Belle whose gown and coordinating gloves
were to die for,

Shortly thereafter the lovely Cinderella who
immediately put us at ease with her
gentle and endearing manner,

And last, but never least, the missus whose
personal estate is the crown jewel of Disneyland...

The Unforgettable Aurora!

It was truly sublime-- a moment never to be
forgotten in our young and furtive minds!

After our introduction to the princesses,
we were indulged with fare fit for King
Triton himself! (Well that one might have
been a bit of an exaggeration, but it
was a hot breakfast at least, and fueled us
for the many more adventures yet to come).

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit under the sea
and promised Ariel we'd come again!