Picture of the Week: 8 months old


This is actually 10 days late; baby Dragonfly had his 8-month “birthday” on the 13th.

He currently weighs 19 pounds.

He’s wearing size 9-month clothes.

He wears cloth diapers (flats with covers) during the day – he fits well in the one-size ones. He wears a size 3 disposable at night. (I wrote a few months ago about how we’d found a solution that prevented leaks even at night, and that’s still the case – the flats and covers keep his clothes and bed dry all night. Unfortunately, however, a couple of weeks after that post, he developed a nasty diaper rash from the prolonged exposure of not having the moisture wick away from his skin all night long, so we made the decision to run disposables at night to keep his skin healthy.)

He’s about 27 inches long.

He currently has no teeth. This makes him my latest teether. (Seahawk had teeth at 4 months, Munchkin at 7 months, and Small Fry at 5 months.)

He nurses 5-6 times during the day and once or twice at night. He also eats 2-3 jars of baby food and a bit of baby cereal each day.

He’s down to a single nap most days, and it lasts 2-3 hours. He sleeps 10-12 hours at night with minimal wakings (more this week thanks to a summer cold).

He crawls well and has even started cruising (walking while holding onto people or furniture).

So basically, he’s a happy, healthy, perfectly developing baby 🙂


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A Birthday Cake for a Fisherman

My dad turned 60 this year (!). In honor of the occasion, Will and I thought it would be nice to have him, his fiancee, and my brother’s family over for dinner to celebrate. When I asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he replied, “I’ll bring pizza.” Not exactly what I’d had in mind, but I rolled with it.

Since he was providing his own dinner (for a crowd, no less), I insisted on doing the birthday cake. When I asked the kids for ideas, they seemed to forget that it was Grandpa’s birthday, not their own, so their ideas weren’t all that helpful. (I don’t think a 60-year-old man would be all that interested in a Buzz Lightyear cake. That’s beyond my skill set, anyway.) So I got to thinking about Dad’s interests, and one jumped out at me: fishing. When he retires in the next few years, he’s planning to move to the coast and spend his days on a boat catching fish. With a theme in mind, I hit Google. (I know a lot of you probably would have hit Pinterest instead, but that site isn’t really my style. I find it very frustrating to navigate, and it seems that most of the images that catch my eye are dead links.)

Fish birthday cake

For the cake, I made a double-layered round cake (from a box mix) using cream cheese frosting (also pre-made). I coated the cake with a thin layer of the frosting, then tinted the rest of the frosting blue to represent both sky and water. With this blue frosting, I iced the top only of the cake. This used about half of the remaining frosting; I added yellow to the other half to make green. The green was used for the sides of the cake, representing grass. I also drew a line (not straight, purposely) across the middle to separate the sky and water since they were the same color.

The “dirt” at the bottom of the water is chocolate creme Oreos that I ground up in my blender (creme filling and all). The fish are Swedish Fish candies. The fishing pole is black licorice (which you could change out for just about any other long candy; my dad happens to like black licorice so I used that). I cut it in half and laid one half down for the main part of the pole. With the other half, I cut a thin piece off to use as the line, and another (much shorter) thin piece was shaped into the hook.

It was a simple project, but very well received. I got loads of compliments from everyone about the cake, both the flavor (thanks, Pillsbury!) and the decorating.


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Our Cloth Diaper Solution

Our Cloth Diaper Solution

We used cloth diapers when Small Fry was a baby, but only semi-successfully. The concept of them was something I liked a lot – saving money by not buying disposables, plus not sending all of those disposable diapers to the landfill. What I didn’t like was that it seemed like an impossible feat to find a diaper that wouldn’t leak with the first urination. (To be fair, we only ever tried one type of diaper – all-in-ones. They seemed like an amazing invention. I mean, if a cloth diaper could be as easy and effective as a disposable, who wouldn’t use them?) During Small Fry’s babyhood, we just kind of dealt with the leaks. I assumed that leaks were just part of what you signed up for with cloth diapers.

Fast forward three years to Dragonfly’s birth. I wanted to give cloth diapers another try, but I wasn’t as willing to deal with the leaks this time around. More specifically, Will wasn’t. We received some pocket diapers from a friend as a gift, so I was anxious to give those a try. It took a few weeks for him to be big enough to fit into them, so we used disposables for the first month (100% from the baby shower, in-hospital supply, and gifts from visitors). At about the four-week-old mark, I was tired of dealing with the diaper trash, so I decided to see if he would fit the pockets we had (we also had some of the AIOs in storage from Small Fry, but we knew that those were leaky). He did! I was so happy.

For a few days.

The problem with the pockets is the same as with the AIOs – they leaked, and fast. The microfiber insert just wasn’t absorbent enough. So, while we no longer had diaper garbage, we had double to triple the amount of laundry since I was having to change the baby’s clothes with every diaper. That wasn’t so good. We switched back to disposables for a couple of weeks (still using those from the baby shower) while I invested some time into researching solutions.

The first thing I tried was to double up the inserts (cloth diaper lingo for “the absorbent part that you stuff inside the diaper”). That worked fairly well, but the problem with it is that we only had a one-day supply of diapers when only using one insert per diaper (we have 9 covers and 8 inserts). There was no way we could feasibly double up all the time, because that would put me doing diaper laundry after every 2-3 changes. I then decided to try something other than an “official” insert as the doubler. I had some flour sack towels on hand that weren’t going to get used for their original purpose (long story), so I folded one up and stuck in the diaper pocket with the microfiber insert. A couple of hours later, we had a wet diaper, but still-dry clothes. Eureka! Kind of. This time, the problem was that with so much padding in the diaper itself, the covers would barely snap shut. But at least I knew I was on the right track.

Baby Dragonfly in a flat diaper in the airplane fold. From here, I put a cover (one of the colored diapers in the corner) on him to keep clothes dry.

Baby Dragonfly in a flat diaper in the airplane fold. From here, I put a cover (one of the colored diapers in the corner) on him to keep clothes dry. His crib performs double duty as a changing table.

My next thought was to go “back in time.” Surely mothers and babies of the past didn’t have wet clothes all the time, right? So what did they use for diapers to keep everyone dry? Big pieces of flat fabric folded into diaper shapes – also known as flat diapers, or more simply “flats.” Of course! So I looked up a variety of different folding techniques for flats, aiming specifically for those designed for boys (who wet up front whereas girls wet down low, or so I’m told). I found one called the “airplane fold,” so named because it looks kind of like a paper airplane while you’re folding it – it just ends up a little different. It has minimal layers in the back – 2, I think – but 16 up front. 16! That’s a lot of absorbency! We tried this for a couple of days, and guess what? No leaks. Also, the covers fit over the diaper. I was thrilled. We’ve been using this system for three or four weeks now, and haven’t had a single diaper leak, not even at night. I don’t even do anything special for overnight, and baby’s pajamas are always dry. What a blessing!

The next step is for me to finish up the knitted wool diaper cover I’m making (it’s nearly there – I just need to figure out the leg cuffs). That should make nighttime even better for him. And switching away from safety pins (which can be hard to push through all those layers sometimes, especially when he’s particularly wiggly) to a baby-safe fastener called a Snappi.

So that’s what worked for us. I hope it was helpful, or at least informative.


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Five Random Things: Knitting, Pneumonia, and other things

5 random things

knitting1. For Valentine’s Day, Will sent me to a knitting class. I already knew how to crochet (obviously), but when I decided to give up sewing (more on that decision next week), we decided together that learning to knit would be a good thing for me. So I did. I’ve been knitting for 5 days now, and while I’m not that great yet, I have full confidence that I’ll get even better with time. Even after just five days, I’m already better at knitting than I was after years of crochet practice, and I did eventually get good at that.

To go along with the class, he bought me two skeins of practice yarn, knitting needles, and a how-to book. (The class was free so long as you purchased supplies from the store hosting the class. If you purchased your supplies elsewhere, there was a $20 fee. It ended up being cheaper to just buy good quality supplies from the yarn store and avoid the fee.)

2. If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember that Munchkin had pneumonia back in December. Other than feeling crummy, he didn’t really hate it. It gave him the opportunity to sit in bed and read for four days without Seahawk hounding him to play. Well, earlier this week, Small Fry got a cold which turned into pneumonia. I wish we could figure out why our family keeps getting so sick and stop it, but we can’t. (This is the third family member inside of a year to get it – Will had it last February.) Sigh. Anyway, it’s much sadder to quarantine a 3-year-old who doesn’t have a whole lot of interests that he can do himself (like reading). Fortunately, we have one of those little 7-inch screen portable DVD players, so Small Fry watched a lot of movies while he recovered. Actually, he watched Toy Story 2 a lot of times 😉

Baby Dragonfly3. Dragonfly is getting so big! I already knew that the first year flies by with babies, but it’s so surprising every time anyway. I don’t know exactly how much he weighs or his length right now, but I know he’s getting bigger because his little wrists are beginning to get lost in the baby fat on his arms. Hehe.

4. We’ve done really good at making a meal plan and going to the grocery store once a week every week this month. It’s so easy for us to revert back to daily shopping sometimes, but it hasn’t been as bad as normal this month. It typically costs about $100 to $150 per week for 14 meals, which covers full meals for both lunch and dinner (and toaster waffles or cereal for breakfast) for five of us. Not too bad 🙂

5. I mentioned once before that I was doing Aqua Zumba. Well, I’m still doing that twice a week. The only times I’ve missed since I started back in August are the eight weeks during my c-section recovery. I’m not that much thinner (but a little… I think), but I’m in much better health and I’m quite a bit stronger. So, yay for that!


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5 Random Things ~ January 8

5 random things

KIMG01961. When Dragonfly was born, Will got me one of those adult coloring books that’s all the rage right now since he figured I’d have a lot of down time while I recovered. Well, I hadn’t had much opportunity to color in it due to a combination of healing from the c-section and Dragonfly being *so* small. Now that’s he’s a bit bigger (meaning, he actually sleeps in his crib for naps and about half the night), and I’m fully healed, I’ve been finding more time to color. I know a lot of people use those as stress relievers, but I don’t find that I have a lot of stress in my life, so I color just for fun. And I really have been enjoying it very much. (Mine is a Harry Potter book.)

2. This was our first full week back to school since the baby was born. I think it went very well!

3. Wednesday was Will’s and my anniversary. We’ve been married for 15 years now. We didn’t do anything super fancy to celebrate. We ate dinner at home and then left the big kids there (since Seahawk is 12 now, we feel comfortable leaving him to babysit) and took Small Fry and Dragonfly out with us while we went to a record store and a book store to browse around.


The bottom shelf of this table holds our records as well as Small Fry’s read-aloud picture books.

4. We recently purchased two record players – yes, the old fashioned turntables that were how you listened to music in the 70s and 80s. Will has one in his office and we have one in the living room. We’ve slowly been purchasing used (and a couple of new…) vinyl records, but only from the record store – not Goodwill. The record store guarantees the quality of their records whereas Goodwill does not, and before we instigated the “no Goodwill” policy, we wasted a few dollars on records from there that didn’t play properly due to warping that you couldn’t see until you put it on a turntable. Our collection is now up to 14, plus a single (Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera) on a 45. Even though I’m  not much of a “music person,” I’ve been voluntarily listening to records more than I ever listened to CDs or MP3s. It’s nice 🙂

5. We’re in the early stages of exploring switching to “Family Cloth.” More on that in another post when we actually make the plunge.


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5 Random Things: December 18

5 random things

1. I had my 6-week postpartum checkup today. It’s always so weird and feels so abrupt to go from frequent pregnancy appointments to just being done “cold turkey.” It’s good in that it means I’m healthy and don’t need to see a doctor regularly, but it’s still a bit of a shock to the system.

KIMG01342. We decorated our Christmas tree this week. A few years ago we switched from an artificial one to a live one (this is the third year), and it’s really nice. I like the piney scent that a live tree gives. Plus it’s a nice family activity to go to the tree sales places and pick the “perfect tree.” I think we really nailed it this year!

3. Homeschooling has been pretty lackluster since baby arrived. I tried to get us going again after three weeks, but that put us firmly in the Christmas season. I think it’s best if we just embrace the season and work extra hard in the new year, so that’s what we’re going to do. That gives me two full weeks to get ready, too, which will be good (and needed).

4. I’m excited to be a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew for the third year. I’ve got a new role this year as Mentor, which means that I’ve been assigned three new members to take under my wing and help them out during their early reviews. I’ve been reading their blogs lately (As We Bloom, Our Whiskey Lullaby, and Scott Family Stories). They’re really good – these ladies are talented writers – and I hope you’ll check them out, too. One of them, Rebecca from Scott Family Stories, had a baby right around the same time I had Dragonfly, so I feel a bit of camaraderie with her 🙂

5. We’re doing the four-gifts-per-child for Christmas again this year: “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.” This will apply to all of them except Dragonfly. Because of his medical bills, his gift budget is much smaller than the others! Anyway, we already gave them their “something they need” gift, because, well, they needed it! The two older boys got new coats and Small Fry got some new socks. I’m a bit smarter with his socks this time than ever before, though. When he’s not wearing them, they’re safety pinned together in an effort at loss prevention. They go through the laundry pinned together, they go into his clothes basket (instead of a dresser) pinned together, and are only unpinned first thing in the morning when he puts them on. I’ve been doing this with Dragonfly’s socks, too, and it’s working like a charm so far.

KIMG0142And just for fun, a new pic of baby: his first caught-on-film smile 🙂



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Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments

100_2196Will and I were talking a few weeks ago – right before Dragonfly was born – about wanting to keep our Christmas tree decorations simple but still commemorate our family life. We came up with the idea to find a tree branch, cut it into slices, and have the boys each put their handprint on one of the slices. Then I took it one step further and thought it would be awesome to do this each year, so we could see them grow through our ornaments. Great idea, right? And one I wish I’d had twelve (well, thirteen) years ago, so that we’d have those memories of Seahawk’s little hands. But alas, we can’t go back in time and start over, so we’re going to start now.

The only problem with this idea is that Seahawk is 12. His hands are bigger than mine! And that makes it difficult to find a branch with a wide enough diameter to accommodate his hands. So I started looking for another plan. I didn’t want to give up on my idea, but I needed another way to carry it out. A Google search found me loads of options for salt dough (which I’d never made) and this one, for Better than Salt Dough. Better?! Better is good, so I took a look at the blog post.


The recipe was easy enough, and we already had the ingredients in the cupboard (although, I sent Will out for more of them anyway – we’d just gotten home from grocery shopping, and I didn’t want to dig through all the freshly put away groceries looking for the corn starch and baking soda). I made the dough in the evening and then left it overnight to cool enough to handle. The next afternoon, when we’d finished our lessons for the day, we got out the rolling pin and cookie cutters and made our own ornaments.

So… how did all this work out? Not as well as I’d hoped, I’m afraid. I’m not sure whether the problem was the dough or if we simply rolled it out too thinly, but most of the ornaments ended up cracked and/or broken after they’d dried out in the oven. Bummer.

Does anyone have other ideas/recipes for how to make this work? I’d love to know, so leave me a comment!


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Picture of the Week: O Christmas Tree


We spent an evening this week decorating our Christmas tree. Going out to one of the fundraiser sites where they sell real trees (for a bargain, usually) and then coming home to decorate it has become one of our favorite Christmas traditions. For a long time, we used an artificial tree, but two years ago we switched to a real one and haven’t looked back. There’s something special about having a real tree for Christmas – and oh, the scent! It’s absolutely lovely.

This year’s tree is quite a bit larger than any we’ve had before, including our old artificial ones, so we combined both our rustic ornaments (an old tree branch that we found outside, sliced, and drilled holes in as well as some of those cinnamon scented pinecones from the store) with the “glass” (really plastic) balls. We also have a few non-conforming ornaments – some angels, each of the children’s “baby’s first Christmas” ornaments, and a few that the kids have made over the years. Overall, we’re thrilled with this year’s tree. It’s perfect!

(Dragonfly isn’t in this picture because he was happily snoozing in his baby swing while we did the decorating. He was right near us this way, but everyone who could help, did, without having to hold the baby.)


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3 Weeks Old


I’ve been posting occasional pictures of Dragonfly on my Instagram account, so if you follow me there, you’ve likely seen some of them. He’s already three weeks old, and even though I was expecting the time to fly, it still catches me off guard every time we have a new baby. They just grow so fast! We had his “two week well baby checkup” today, even though he’s three weeks old. (I had an appointment scheduled for two weeks, but when I called to schedule his circumcision – which we needed to do no earlier than last Friday – they rescheduled his regular checkup, too, so both could be done at the same time. So that’s what he and I were doing this morning.

Here are the stats on the little one:

Birth weight: 8 pounds, 6 ounces

Birth length: 20 inches

Weight today: 8 pounds, 11 ounces (yay!)

Length today: 21 inches

So, he’s growing! That’s a good thing :). And I’m super pleased to say that I’m not having any supply issues with breastfeeding him. That was a bit of a problem for a short time with Small Fry, which was pretty emotional for me to overcome. I’m so glad that it’s not something I have to deal with this time.

Other than that, things are pretty much just progressing normally. Nighttime wakings/feedings, afternoon naps, and lots of snuggles. What could be better?!


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