(I wrote this last August, it’s a little unfinished, but nevertheless, I should publish it. Here it is now.)
How do you describe the moment you become a parent?
For me, when I found out I was expecting, there were emotions ranging from utter bliss to sheer terror all in the space of twenty seconds. And then one day you have an ultrasound and you see the screen and think, “There’s a baby in there!” and then you don’t want to admit to anyone that the picture the ultrasound tech gave you makes it look like you’re housing a tiny scary alien. Nevertheless, you can’t describe how much you love this alien baby.
Then a few weeks go by and you’re cleaning some windows and you think, “I just felt him.” Another week goes by and you’re watching TV and you see a tiny *bump, bump* from the outside. You tell your husband, “I can feel him from the outside!” He moves over to you so fast and lays his hand on your belly. *Bump, bump* He looks at you with a huge smile. The look on his face is priceless.
Pretty soon you can’t even drive because your belly is so big. You’ve taken to sleeping on the couch because it’s the only relief you have. Bending over is a process. You have a baby shower and feel completely overwhelmed by how much people love not only you, but a tiny person they haven’t even met yet.
Then one morning, you wake up at 4:30 and you and your husband drive to the hospital. On the way you talk about the dog and how you can get her to stop eating poop. Park your car and realize that when you leave you will be a family of three. Registration desk, hand over your insurance card.
Bracelets put on your arm. Change your clothes. IV’s and monitors.
Walk to the room. Lights. Drapes. Oxygen tubes.
Husband is there.
I can touch a tiny warm hand.
“Eight pounds, three ounces!”
He is mine. He’s always been here, he’s always been part of us. We just didn’t know him yet.
That is the moment I became a parent.
He is the cutest baby in the world. No doubt. All the other babies can just give it up, because Ezra isn’t fooling around.
I have more to say, but wanted to get this out there. He is wonderful, we are totally in love, and Stella hasn’t tried to kill him yet. Hooray all around!
What do you think of when you hear the words: Cloth Diapers.
Come on. Tap into your senses.
My sisters and I were cloth diapered (CD’d) when we were little, and this is what comes to mind:
When I heard about cloth diapering, I was instantly taken back to 1985. I was 4, I had a baby sister, and I can still smell it: Ammonia. I can picture my mom….dunking. Diaper Pins that would just as easily kill you as look at you. And the ubiquitous rubber pants.
Now, I understand completely that my mom, and my grandmother, and all the mothers before Huggies, would cloth diaper out of necessity, or just the sheer frugality of it. Today, diapers are a mega-industry. People spend BILLIONS of dollars on them. Because they’re convenient. They’re full of all kinds of amazing, liquid-soaking compounds that defy nature. And you can just toss them in the trash…and then go out and buy MORE diapers. $$$$. With cloth, you spend money once (you can do it for as little as $100 up front. The average is around $300). Invest a little bit more of your time, and add in (by average estimate) $1 water bill increase a month–sounds reasonable.
So a year or two ago, I came across this blog post, and this couple, who are totally modern and normal, were talking about cloth diapering their baby (they also recently revisited the topic). Read the post and then come back. Or not, it’s your life.
All I could say after reading was, “What? THESE are cloth diapers today?”
Where are the rubber pants? Diaper pins that want to stab me? What’s going on here? These are kind of cool.
So then I started researching, and pricing, and boldly told Dave, “Dave. We are going to cloth diaper. End of story.” He responds, “Okay.” Without even looking away from his computer. I wasn’t pregnant at the time, and I happily went back to whatever it is I was doing. Probably nothing.
A few months later he finally processed what I told him, and had a few misgivings. I was starting to rethink it too, because…come on…dunking? Gross. And did I really want to do all that laundry? And what would you do with wipes? They’d have to go in the trash. So in one hand you would have dirty wipes and the other hand you’d have a dirty diaper. And question after question. Uuuuuugh. Maybe we wouldn’t.
Fast forward to today. I’m 8 months pregnant, and Dave and I are looking at our finances. Some people spend up to $1000 just on diapers alone, in a year. Suddenly, we’re thinking, what’s an extra load of laundry? I can handle dog poop, why not my own childs? What if we did disposable diapers for when other people watched Junior or when we went on an extended trip?
So. Now I’m back to researching, researching, and finally…deciding.
I decided to go a little cheaper than Bum Genius that Young House Love went with. I’m going with the Flip system (by the makers of Bum Genius). I like it because it’s a hybrid. So, I have a cover (which, lets admit it, the covers are cute) that I will line with a liner (or in my case, cheap prefolds) while at home. I can save money because I would (in theory) only need a cover or two for one day, with 6-8 liners per day. Change out the liners, and if the cover isn’t dirty I can just wipe it out and reuse. If not, then toss it in the wash and get another. Do laundry every other day. So I would need between 6-8 covers, with about 24 liners/prefolds. What I like about the Flip, is the disposable option. I can get a couple of boxes of disposable liners for when we have a babysitter or for when we travel. We *might* have to get two newborn sized covers, since there are reports that the one-size covers are a tad bit too big for brand-new babies. My shower is tomorrow though, and if I get newborn diapers as a gift, then we’ll just use those for the first few weeks.
But that’s not all in the world of cloth diapering. No no no. Google it, and you’ll find yourself going down this rabbit hole of options. There are people who are PASSIONATE about it. There are ladies who make their own. Tutorials on how to make them out of a t-shirt and a shopping bag in case of weather emergencies. So much information out there. And the YouTube videos!
So, I’ll let you know how it goes. We have 6 weeks before Little Ezra James gets here. I’m ridiculously excited about his first poop.
I just wanted to put it out there, that I’m thankful that God gave me the gift of contentment a couple of weeks ago. Before then, I was in this weird spiral of panic when it came to baby gear. Everything needed to be new. Everything should probably be useful. And everything should probably be awesome. Oh. And have an average of 4.5 stars on Amazon with at least 100 reviews.
The panic spiral set in, when I started getting advice from other Moms saying, “Oh, you can find those cheap on Craigslist.” Or, “Yard sales are coming up! I bet you can find something like what you’re looking for…” And in my head I’m thinking “I don’t want anyone else’s junk!” “This is my first baby! Let me dream a little!”
I literally had a small anxiety attack when the crib I was eyeing was “Out of Stock” online.
It was no way to live.
But thankfully, I snapped out of it. Through conversations with my family, and through personal evaluations of what was truly important…I discovered that the only thing I really wanted new…were diapers and a car seat. Everything else was just fine. Everything else…all of these things that were previously rejected…were fine. What mattered was that I had a healthy baby, I had a clear head, and I wouldn’t regret saving money. I mean…who regrets saving money?! Apparently I was convinced I would three weeks ago.
So this is not a mind-blowing post…but I guess when you have “pregnancy brain” and you can hardly remember the name of your own spouse…a breakthrough moment seems pretty amazing.
**Regarding the lack of posts: I have a terrible habit of writing up rambling blog posts after a good session of navel-gazing. So I’ll write and rewrite and delete and write again…only to save as draft and walk away. So. I’ve been writing…just not publishing. There’s one post in particular that I really want to get out there, I just need the words.**
So, when you’re pregnant I’m finding out that people looooooove to talk about my bodily functions and habits that are, at all other non-pregnant times, completely inappropriate. Such as: “How much weight have you gained?” “Should you be eating that?” “Do you puke a lot?” And we can’t forget, in more or less words: “Are you planning on expressing milk from your ta-ta’s and offering it to your child?” Things I only want to talk about with my doctor or my mother. Or possibly other previously pregnant friends that I’ve had over for dinner at some point.
So the other day, I was out shopping with my sisters. We had just finished a long lunch and were in the car, headed to IKEA to buy cheap dishes. It was taking a little longer to get there than I anticipated, and offhandedly I stated that I needed to use the restroom. And I love my oldest sister for saying this outloud: “Don’t you hate it when people look at you like, “Oh, the pregnant girl has to go to the bathroom!” When really you’re just human. And humans have to go to the bathroom every now and again. So annoying right?”
And she’s right! All of a sudden my bathroom visits are monitored and noted (subconsciously at least) by those around me. So weird and slightly disturbing if pondered for too long.
I also don’t like the looks I get from waitresses after I order a milkshake. What? They’re delicious!
I will say though…with all of this privacy invasiveness…I find it oddly comforting that there are those that just want to know, and want to know how I’m feeling and how excited I am. Because, they’re excited too. It also doesn’t bother me at all when people touch my tummy. (If my arms were longer I’d reach out and touch theirs at the same time though. Hey. Fair is fair.) Some pregnant ladies really hate that, but maybe since I’ve been a little person my whole life and have had to deal with my share of curious questions, it’s nice to have the attention taken away from my short legs and towards my growing baby.
Also, I have add this little story:
I walk Stella every day around Batavia. People are starting to take notice, and it’s not uncommon for them to stop and say “I love your dog!” I’m thinking about having Stella run for mayor during the next election. Anyway, so the other day we were returning to the house and a lady in a Durango stopped, rolled down her window and shouted, “Hey! What’s your name?” I responded. She comes back with, “Are you with-child?” And I said, “Yes, I am.” And then she goes on into her story about seeing me around town and her granddaughter needed a talkin’ to about how I am a grown woman who is with-child. If we had been able to linger a little longer, I am positive this lady would’ve asked what my blood type was by the end of the conversation. It cracked me up.
There is no doubt that Stella has accepted Dave as her “pack leader.” She literally flops over every time she sees him. If he moves to another room, she’ll get up and wait patiently at the door as if to say, “After you,” and follows him in. And then she’ll shoot a look at me that says, “Me next! You third!” Woo. Fun times.
Anyway, so today Stella has been moping around in her crate, in the kitchen, on the deck…there is no life in her. She’s been this way since Dave left for work. If I move towards Dave’s desk her ears perk up and she runs to the gate to see him. He’s not there. If I move to the bedroom, she runs to the door to see if he’s there…No? Back to moping.
I’ve had this song in my head all morning because of this attitude:
So much drama!
This is the long, drawn out, and uneventful story of how we decided to get a dog:
Dave and I had been married for a few years and were pretty content with the way our life was unfolding.
One day, Dave said, “I think dog people are good people, I want to be like that. There’s something about a home where dogs live that is very inviting.” Well, he said something to that effect at least. He probably also said, “Jen you look amazing. I love it when you wear pajamas for two solid days.” Anyway. In my family, almost everyone has a dog. Only myself and my oldest sister were without canines. However, oldest sister has two kids under three, so she is exempt. My other older sister is the Mother Teresa of dogs–I would definitely want to be her dog. My baby sister has the cutest dog in the world, Walter. My younger sister has the sweetest Great Dane. And my parents have filled their empty nest with multiple dogs.
Funny story: We were taking a family picture a summer or two ago. All the new brother-in-laws and babies added to our family needed to be documented. After the picture, my Dad goes, “Okay! Now just the Barlean family.” I think to myself, “Oh, he wants one of Mom, Dad, and the five girls.” He sits down on the bench with my Mom and then says, “Alright Dave, take the picture.”
Nice. Anyway, I digress.
So then for the next year or so we started talking about dogs. We talked about breeds, we’d watch Dogs 101 on Animal Planet, and the National Dog Show became an annual Thanksgiving tradition ’round these parts. We thought about getting a Whippet, but that got nixed once we found out about the whole 0-35 mph in 6 seconds trait.
Cut to the chase: We settled on a Boston Terrier and we named her Stella. Dave agreed to get a puppy Christmas 2009, and we finally made the leap February 2011. We’re learning that we’re not necessarily puppy people…but we’re definitely dog people. Stella has challenged us every day and we’re finding that we’re more active in some areas, more laid back in others, and we work even better as a team than we did before. She is absolutely preparing us for parenting–mostly because she involves various noxious smells and bodily functions.
So anyway, that’s the story. I told you it was pretty uneventful. No helicopter crashes, trips to the hospital, or tense moments involving a computer screen (side note: one of my pet peeves is when the most dramatic moment in a movie is involves a person typing on a computer. Ugh!).
Next up, baby stuff. I promise. And a picture of Stella. Dave took a great one yesterday, but this post is so lame that it didn’t do it justice.
They are too much like a cracker.
They’re not quite as tooth-achingly sweet as Samoas or Tag-A-Longs…so it’s difficult for your brain (well, mine at least) to make the connection that you just ingested a bunch of sugar and should therefore be satisfied.
No. A Thin Mint is decidedly bland enough to trick your (my) brain into thinking, “You are eating a Ritz cracker that is exceptionally tasty. One more certainly wouldn’t hurt.” Indeed. One more wouldn’t hurt…right? Right?
Better content as soon as I decide what to write about first…my farting puppy or about the baby that is currently kicking me in some kind of nameless soft organ. Spleen perhaps? Who knows.
Well, Facebook has definitely taken over my life. But, I’m feeling the siren call of this poor neglected domain more and more. So, what have I missed in…2 (oh gosh!)…years?
1. The house is still standing, and we LOVE IT. I love my yard, I love my kitchen, I love our town. Love love love.
2. We got a puppy. Her name is Stella (or if you’re me-Stella Baby) and she’s the ornery-est Boston Terrier in the world.
3. And lastly, I am 24 weeks pregnant. Very excited about this one. Our little guy is treating me well, and if it weren’t for Stella’s puppy antics, I would have nothing to complain about.
Also wanted to put out there that I will be (hopefully) blogging more frequently. Now that I actually have things to talk about. Since we’re little people, there are a lot of factors we have to consider when we purchase things for Baby K, so I thought I’d drag you guys along for the ride.
Dave is working on a new “look” for this place, and I’m going to be putting it out there a little more via Facebook and Twitter (@unmerited).
See you soon!
(It’s been awhile)
(Oh hai new house!)
So Dave and I bought our first house. I don’t know if it’s more of a relief or a joy to finally have one. Two years of searching really drains a person! I’m tellin’ ya, it’s not like it is on (HG)TV. “Here’s three options for you, why don’t you discuss it for a few minutes and we’ll write up an offer! They’ll accept and then we’ll give you all new furniture!”
Nope, nothing like that.
But, end of story…we found a house! And really, we love it. It was posted on MLS at 7:00 pm, we were in the car by 7:10 and 24 hours later we were putting in an offer. It didn’t have a chance! Right price, right neighborhood, right right right.
Right now we’re working on a few things. Mainly the kitchen…the house was a flip, and so there were quite a few shortcuts taken when they worked on the house. We’re taking the time to do things right, and make sure this house won’t surprise us much more after we move in. The kitchen is getting a facelift, the bathroom, and there are a couple of wiring issues that Dave will be working on.
It’s more than just paint and getting to decorate a house and fill it with junk though. So much more. The reason we feel this is THE house and THE neighborhood is the way it all came together. Two years of looking within a certain radius yielded us nothing, and then a pastor friend of ours listened to the Lord and asked us if maybe God was telling us to expand our borders. Whoa. Expanding borders meant leaving our safety zone. Meant trusting God. Meant challenging the status quo. I’m happy to say that it took us 2 seconds to jump at the chance.
We started looking closer to Cincinnati, told Dave’s family we were most likely going to move farther away (all of 30 miles!), and within 2 weeks we were under contract. Everything fell into place.
I’m so excited with what God has planned. I pray constantly for our new village, our new neighbors, and all of the people that we will come across. My prayer is that our home is a source of light in the region and we’re able to touch lives and show people who Jesus is. To truly serve our neighbors. It’s not about getting them to come to our church, it’s about bringing Christ to them. Where they are at. To show them that we’re as broken as they are. I just have no words with how much I love them already.
We’re homeowners. We’re learning new quirks everyday about what that means. And we’re so excited for what’s ahead.
And, yes, I am excited that I get to decorate.