Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Crockpot Cooking

So if you live in any place with very hot summers, you know what I'm talking about when I say you feel like you don't ever want to use your oven or stoves.
Especially if your air conditioning is expensive and you are trying not to run it as high!
Whenever we use the stove or oven in our apartment, it becomes like a sauna in the kitchen! So I've been in a rut lately where I just don't want to cook, or even be in the kitchen period.

I think I've found a solution to that rut!

Slow cooking!
So now I have been searching for recipes online that are not only healthy, but easy to prep with fresh ingredients. I've also ordered a few cookbooks from amazon that I am excited to get in the mail! I left all of our cookbooks in storage so I've missed having some to look through.

This morning I whipped up a quick recipe, that i found from this awesome website, where everything is gluten free and she tries to use fresh ingredients wherever possible.

So check out this recipe and her website, and I'll let you know how our meal turns out!

Chicken and brown rice casserole

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cloth diapering more than one baby

Hey y'all! Sorry I have been gone for so long, we have been getting into the swing of things, having two kids and all.
We've had a lot of changes in our lives these past few months, so we've had to adjust and perfect some sort of normal for us.
Josh went on a different shift at work, we had another baby, we've had to adjust to new sleep patterns for everyone, etc.
And big news...Josh made Staff!!! Woo-hoo! :)
I'm happy to say that now that we've been consistent in things, both babies nap at the same time at least once a day, our house is always clean, laundry is always kept up with, and diapers are always clean.
The only thing that we haven't been doing lately is meal planning, simply because we've changed our diets up a bit so we tend to eat the same foods each week.

Anyways....I will update with a few pics of all of us at the end of this post, but as I was folding diapers today I thought that I should do some sort of post about how we cloth diaper two babies.
I know a lot of parents who give up cloth after they have a second baby because it becomes overwhelming, and you feel like you are constantly doing laundry or running out of diapers.
So I thought it would be helpful to see how we do it, because now that we have it all down, we actually really enjoy it again!!

I'm not going to lie, in the beginning it was very hard for us too. We actually put Lincoln in disposables for awhile because I felt like we were going through so many diapers that I couldn't keep up! But I just didn't have a routine, so it became too much, not to mention the extra clothes we now had to wash because we had 4 family members.

So here is what works for us, we try to just keep it simple, and this method will work for two kids or even four kids, it works for all (although I hope you don't have 4 kids in diapers at the same time!)

1. The BIGGEST thing that helps is to keep up with the regular laundry. If you are behind on that, it makes it very difficult to do diapers. We have a laundry basket in every room, and every morning I go into each room, grab the clothes, and put them into one "family" hamper. Then I either do a load then, or finish up the diaper and then do a load. I do a load of laundry everyday, but it's only ever one load because I keep up with it. Sometimes we get lucky and don't have a lot of clothes, so I don't have to do a load that day! I hang dry everything, because we have a Korean washer dryer combo and it sucks at drying clothes. So I put a load in when I wake up, hang it up an hour or so later, and I either fold everything at night when the kids are in bed, or the next morning. Simple.

2. Color coding diapers. Because we have all one size diapers, having to adjust the snaps every time for each baby gets annoying and takes time. So we use certain colors for each baby, and we always keep them snapped on their individual setting so that we never have to adjust it (until they grow). Lincoln has all the designer bum genius diapers, as well as the yellow and light blue smartipants diapers. Carson has all the rest. So Lincoln's are always set on his snaps, and Carson's are always set on his. (The ones on the right in the first pic are also Lincoln's, but they are newborn size so he is about to outgrow them).

3. Two separate diaper pails and trash cans. Each baby has their own diaper pail, and trash can for wipes. Carson's is in the bathroom because his poopy diapers need to be shaken in the toilet, and Lincoln's is in his room next to his changing table because his diapers do not need to be rinsed or shaken, and that's where we change him. Makes it easy because everything is within arms reach and we just toss the diaper in the pail. We also have 5 diaper pail bags, so that there is always one in each pail, since there is usually two in the wash. So we never go without a pail liner.

4. Necessities within reach. Since Carson eats table food, his diapers have to be shaken and/or rinsed depending on how dirty they are. This may sound gross to people who aren't used to cloth diapering, but we never touch poop, we just shake solids into the toilet or "dunk and swish" into the toilet. Sometimes we use a scraper that we designate just for diapers if the diaper is really messy. Takes about 30 seconds to do, and it helps make washing easier and helps the diapers not to stain. We keep the scraper next to the toilet, as well as Lysol, and air freshener. We use Lysol to disinfect the trash and every time I empty the pails, as well as the diaper scraper. We use the air freshener if it was a stinky diaper and we just want it to smell better.

5. Have multiples of everything. We have multiple wet bags, trash cans, pail liners, and of course, diapers. This just helps when we do laundry so that we are never out of something we need.

6. Do laundry every other day. Same thing with the laundry above, I throw diapers in the wash in the mornings, usually after I've done a quick load of regular clothes. Since diapers tend to take a whole day to wash in our washer, they are done by night time, so I hang them up after the kids have gone to bed, and fold them in the morning. This may sound like a lot of laundry, but it's not, and it takes me about 15-30 minutes every morning. Since diapers take a few washes, I have the alarm set on the washer so when it's done it goes off, I start it back up, and repeat throughout the day. And no, we don't have a huge water bill.

7. Use a good detergent. We like to use rockin green funk rock in our pre wash on cold, it just helps with any ammonia in the diapers, which we don't get very often, but I like to use it anyways. Then I do a hot wash with a cap of water softener, and a tablespoon of bum genius detergent. I've tried a lot of detergents, and this is the one that works for us. Then i just alternate between hot and cold washes until i don't see bubbles anymore. Once a month I strip the diapers with dawn and a little oxi clean. Again, this is just what works for us, a lot of people are afraid to void the warranties on their diapers by washing with things like this, but people who aren't have found these things to work very well.

8. Get a good drying rack. Koreans are really big into line drying clothes, so it was very easy to get a drying rack here, this one cost about $15. It fits an entire load of diapers on it, which frees up our other drying rack for clothes. In the past we only had the one hanging rack, so we could only do one load of laundry at a time which would back up diapers and laundry for days.

And that my friends, is how we do our diapers now with two babies! It's become very relaxing for me, I just grab a cup of coffee in the mornings, and fold diapers while Carson eats breakfast and watches cartoons, and Lincoln just sits next to me in his rocker :) I'm no longer stressed about two in cloth, and we save a ton of money!!

Now here are the photo updates!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thirty One Outlet Sale!! Up to 70% off!!

Check out the Thirty One outlet sale! Items up to 70% off, and going FAST! Get them while you can!

Shop here by clicking the Outlet sale banner :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm BACK!!

Wow, it has been awhile! To all my readers, I am SO sorry for not being able to post sooner, but as you can probably guess, things have been quite hectic around here!

Why you ask? (In case you forgot all about me!)

Because we have a new baby!!!

Little Lincoln Matthew was born on June 7th, at 9:16pm in Seoul, South Korea!

Needless to say, we have been busy trying to get into the groove of having a second baby.
So this post will just be a little catch up post, with everything that's been going on since! I am warning you though, it's a lot!!!

Okay, here we go.
So at my 38 week mark, we "moved" down to Seoul to stay in a hotel for two weeks to wait for the baby to come, since we didn't have a car, and the nearest hospital was an hour away, we chose to stay close to it in case of an emergency.
Since I was trying for a VBAC, we had no idea when he would come, and wanted to be there in case.

My mom came down a few days later to stay with us and watch over Carson while I was in labor. She was a huge help, and ended up staying for 6 weeks.

The doctor didn't want me going past 41 weeks, since I was a VBAC case, so we scheduled and induction for 40 weeks and 5 days.
I didn't want to be induced again, so we decided to do everything we could to get him out!
I walked everywhere, went to the gym everyday, ate spicy foods, bounced on my yoga ball...literally did EVERYTHING I could do, short of castor oil.
I got my membranes stripped TWICE! Which I will never do again.

We used this time as a vacation, and walked around Lotte World, Itaewon, Seoul Tower, went bowling, etc.

Well, my due date was June 2nd, and that day came and went! I was SO over being pregnant, but I didn't want to be induced, so I just kept waiting.
Well, June 7th came, my induction date, and he still wasn't here, so I went in that morning at 7am to be induced.

I was so scared to be induced again, mainly because I felt that the induction was a reason I had a c section with Carson, and secondly because I wanted to wait for my epidural as long as possible, and I knew with pitocin contractions I would be in a lot more pain.

Once we got the the hospital, my doctor started the pitocin. I asked him to wait to break my water to see if it would break on its own, so he gave me 2 hours. When he came back, it hadn't broken, and I wasn't progressing. Failure to progress was the reason I had my first c section, so hearing that wasn't so exciting.

So he broke my water.
At this point, even with the pitocin, I was still having very mild contractions, and there wasn't a lot of pain.
About an hour after my water broke, I started feeling more contractions. They were painful, but nothing I couldn't handle.
An hour after that it was like a light switch turned on, and the pain became so incredibly intense.
I had decided to wait on the epidural because I felt like it had slowed me down with the first birth. I had no intention of going all natural, that's not for me and I don't have the desire to do that, but I wanted to wait a bit.
At this point, I was on my yoga ball, and getting back massages from Josh and my doula during the contractions. But after awhile, I could barely breathe through them and was just in so much pain.
So I decided to have the doctor check me, and if I was anywhere past 5 cm, I would keep going, but if not, I would get my epidural because it would mean that my body was so stressed that it wouldn't progress.

He checked me and I was only about 3 cm.
So I got my epidural, and was much happier! :)
The nurses were so shocked that I had lasted that long with the pitocin contractions because my nurse had cranked it up so high that she said most women are crying by the time they get half as high as I did! So I was proud of myself, because if you know me, I have like zero pain tolerance!
I truly think if I wasn't induced, I would have been able to handle regular contractions for the entire labor, because I went through the worst and was able to deal with it for quite awhile.
Do I ever want to go natural? Nope! I quite like my epidural and I am still able to function after birth with it!

After about 3 more hours, the doctor checked me again, and I was at 6 cm!! That was where I got with Carson but never got further, so this was game time for me, I HAD to get past this. I was having very steady contractions, so we kept going.
After about an hour, I started feeling contractions on my left side! Because of how I'd been laying, my epidural wore off on the left side and I was once again, in pain!! So that wasn't too fun :/

3 hours after that, the doctor checked me again, and gave me the most amazing news ever...I was ready to PUSH!! At that point, I could barely believe it! He told me that I was going to get my VBAC no matter what!
He wanted to give me about a half hour before we started pushing so that I wouldn't have to push so long, so we waited.

30 minutes later, he came back in, had Josh and my doula grab my legs, and told me to push!
My epidural had been turned down, so I had a lot of feeling in my legs and was able to push a little better.

I kept having to get the oxygen mask because I was having a hard time breathing. At one point I remember yelling at Josh to shut up because he kept telling me to push and I was pushing, so it annoyed me haha!

I pushed  for an hour and a half, and felt like he was never going to come. My awesome doctor didn't want me to tear, so he did perineal massage the whole time, and really paid attention to make sure I didn't push too hard or fast.
Pretty soon, I felt the "ring of fire" and holy crap, epidural or not, you feel that! It hurt so bad, I thought I had torn for sure!

And then, Lincoln came out!!!!!

I was bawling at this point, and so happy that I had actually done it, I had gotten my VBAC. To have been able to do that was so empowering, because so many women just opt for the repeat c section.

But, they didn't hand Lincoln to me right away. He wasn't crying, so they snipped the cord so fast, and ran him over to the table. He had pooped inside me, which if you've ever heard of that happening, it can be very bad for the baby if they breathe it in or swallow it.
He had a ton of fluid in his stomach and lungs, and they had to put a tube in him to get it all out. So for 45 minutes, I just sat there and couldn't hold him, and was so upset but overjoyed at the same time.

Finally, I was able to hold him, and I just can't even describe the feeling! With my c section, I was pretty drugged up, and although I was elated to hold Carson, the feeling was different with Lincoln because I wasn't so out of it.

My Doula, Lara

My awesome doctor!!

At this point, my epidural had pretty much worn off, and my doctor gave me the awesome news that I didn't tear at all! Woohoo! :)

After about an hour after the birth, I was up and walking, going to the bathroom, and then we moved to recovery. That's why I don't mind epidurals, because I was still up and walking very shortly after birth and I felt great!
Besides being sore, I could have a million births like this if this is how good I feel afterwards!

And on Sunday, we got to go home!!!!

So once we got back home, we just focused on getting into some kind of "normal". 
We also got a car!! So that helps so much. 
Josh is on a new shift now, so that changed things a bit, but it's going pretty good. 

Breastfeeding is going awesome, one of the things I was most excited about was learning from nursing Carson for a year, and taking that knowledge into this feeding, so things are going really well. 
I started pumping from Day 1 this time, and I still pump or nurse every 3 hours, night and day. I set an alarm so that I don't forget. 
For the first couple weeks, I woke Lincoln up for every feed, but now that he's gaining well, we let him sleep if he wants, and he is still gaining like he should. 
I am able to pump an extra 16-20 ounces a day and I freeze it, so that's been awesome to know I have such a huge stockpile. 
I have about 400+ ounces in the freezer now, and Lincoln is almost 5 weeks old. 
I average about 6 ounces every 3 hours, so that is great news, since he shouldn't ever need more than 6 ounces if he eats every 3 hours. 

Right now, we are co sleeping and it's going pretty good. We aren't sure how long we'll do it, but we didn't do it past a month with Carson, so we are trying to go longer with Lincoln. 

Carson loves his little brother, and is really starting to include him in things. Every morning he comes in the living room, sees Lincoln, and gives him a big kiss.
He gives him his pacifier when he is sad and crying.
He likes to sit with him in his baby chair and watch movies.

Josh and I also started our workouts, we are going back to the Jamie Eason Live Fit trainer and this time we are doing the diet too. We can both already see a big difference, and I've lost 10 lbs! 

Anyway's I think that is all for now! I will continue to blog more now that things are finally in a good place where I know when I'll have free time! 

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