Thursday, June 13, 2013

Black Forest Fire

It's day 3 of the Black Forest Fire.

For all the years that I lived there, there had always been talk of the fire risk.  Everyone was careful to the extreme; after all, we all lived in a very very dry forest!

Then last summer there was a fire... in Colorado Springs!  What?  That's backwards... isn't Black Forest the high risk area?  The Waldo Canyon Fire brought evacuating friends to stay with my parents.  I never thought that would happen!  That was a huge fire, coming over the mountains and into the western side of The Springs.  Sadly, 346 home were destroyed, and thousands of residents were evacuated with no notice.  That fire certainly rattled everyone, but the community pulled together and started to rebuild.

Now, less than a year later, it happened.   Three days ago smoke started billowing, flames spreading, and evacuation notices went out.  Here's a link to my mom's experience:

As you know, I don't live in Colorado right now.  We are in Everett, WA, just a little ways north of Seattle.  While that gives me much relief from the smoke and ash, I also feel a bit at a loss of what to do.  I just want to help!  My childhood hometown is burning.  Friends and family have evacuated, some of them losing their homes en total.  Fortunately, our home is currently safe, and hopefully will remain so as long as the winds don't blow toward it.

So what can I do?  I can pray!  And so can you.  Pray for the families, the responders, the animals and properties.  Pray for peace, wisdom and safety.  Pray for the winds to stop blowing and the rain to come!  Pray for containment of the fire, and that it stops spreading.  Pray for those who don't know the circumstances of their loved ones.  And thank Jesus that so far, everyone is safe!

Oh, and please pray that they rescue our chickens in time!  They are safe from the fire, but there is still heat, smoke, and they are running out of food and water.  Hopefully they will get them soon and they are still alive!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mother's Day 2.0

Last year, Mother's Day was not the happy day that I thought it would be.  It was my first one, but Willow, only being a week old, was still in the NICU.  That was beyond hard for me.  Leaving your baby every night in the hospital is NOT EASY to do!  Mother's Day was a constant reminder that she wasn't at home with us.

And so, when that special day came around again, I started to feel a little sad.  Somehow those feelings became attached with Mother's Day, and I was not looking forward to "celebrating" it again.

But I really didn't want to forever be sad that day, which is supposed to be special and happy!  I took a deep breath, prayed that God would restore that day, and then asked Ian to help make it special this year.  I needed some new memories!

And both God and Ian totally came through!  We celebrated on Saturday with a surprise breakfast by Ian, and then he whisked the family off to go for a day hike at Lord Hill (near Monroe).  It was so much fun!

I'm so glad that God is healing my heart!  It will probably be several years before the reciprocal feelings don't come back on that day, but we are starting anew and moving forward. (How appropriate we went for a hike for the day! Haha!)  Now the meaning of the day is changing into a reminder of how God does miracles, and how incredible it is that Willow doesn't even look like she was a preemie at all! 

I'm so grateful that we can be a family.... together.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

1 Year Old!

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Willow's 1st birthday with a confetti party!  We had a little bbq in our yard along with tasty treats our friends brought.  It was sunny and bright... a perfect day for a birthday bash!

It was so great to have some of our close friends and family celebrate with us!  It wasn't just her birthday... it was the first anniversary of us being a family of 3.  I know that sounds silly, but to me that's an exciting thing!

She opened presents...
Willow had her first chocolate cake...

Overall it was a really wonderful day.  Happy 1st Birthday Willow!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

11 Months

Willow is growing fast!  These days it seems as though she is 1/2 baby and 1/2 toddler.  We're going full-on with solids; she loves bananas, hummus, apples, winter squash, olives, beans, yogurt, cottage cheese, pears...  you name it!  Pretty much the only food that we are holding back (besides stuff loaded with sugar) is meat.  It's a little hard to digest and want to give her tummy a bit more time to mature.  Of course she still nurses, but it seems like that time is coming to a close as my milk plummets the more solids she takes in.  I will miss it, certainly, but I am looking forward to the freedom that weening brings.

 Willow's trying olives.  Mmmmm!

Watching your baby grow up is both a joy and a little sad.  I remember when she could fit completely on my fore-arm and rest her head in my palm.  Now she weighs 20 lbs and crawling!  Part of me misses the late night feedings (yes, I know, who misses 3am feedings?  But there is something sweet about that one-on-one time with your little one) but it is exciting to see all the new things she can do now!  Ian tumbles around on the floor with her when he gets home from work (she LOVES it!) and we have such fun games we play together!  I'm so excited to see what kind of girl she will grow into!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cloth > Disposable Diapers

Ok, here is the much anticipated post on why I love cloth diapers!

I know, it sounds like CDing (cloth-diapering) is totally old-school, but it's actually becoming more and more popular, due to some ingenious inventions... I'll get to those later in another post.  For now, I'd like to just share about why we decided to CD, and why we love it.


Before Willow existed even a little bit, Ian and I decided to do a rough budget to see what having a baby would cost.  There are tons of websites and tools out there to help you estimate, although I think they all over-estimate by assuming you buy a bunch of things you don't really need. (who needs a $400 crib?)  Well, while we were doing that, we found that diapers are a crazy big cost to having a baby!  I couldn't believe how much they cost from birth to potty training.  Per diaper they are pretty cheap if you get the really cheap ones, but it certainly adds up.  If you look online, the estimation varies, but after doing some research, realistically it would cost about $2,500 per kid.  If you want to go with less-chemically diapers, or sensitive ones, you can expect this price to go up.  Cloth, on the other hand, is significantly cheaper.  The immediate up front cost is more:  you have to buy diapers, covers, cloth wipes, wet bags, and depending on your style, all-in-ones or pocket diapers, which individually aren't cheap.  Think $2 - $35 per diaper, sometimes more or less if it is on sale or a fancier brand, and depending on the type and style.  But, once you buy them, you're done!  That's super nice for if you are planning on having more than one child in the future.  Honestly, the cost difference is what was the deciding factor for us.  Even with the cost of special detergent and the electricity/water to wash, it was cheaper.  We have spent approximately $700 on CDing, and we are essentially done purchasing.  AND, we can re-sell many of the diapers when we are done!  YES!

Environmental Impact

It isn't hard to know that disposable diapers make lots of waste.  Just the fact that you have to actually purchase a larger trash can and pay for more trash pick-up should let you know.  But did you know that we aren't supposed to just toss dirty disposables in the trash?  Really we are supposed to rinse/shake off the poop into the toilet and THEN throw the diaper away.  All that feces going into the landfills is really really bad for the environment!  And that is in addition to the chemicals in the diapers themselves.  Yuck!  With cloth diapers you don't have to pay for larger trash pick-up or worry about what you are leaching into the soil.  You aren't contributing as much to land fills either.

The Smell

Now, I know what you are thinking:  Don't cloth diapers stink way worse?  Nope!  And here is why:  cloth diapers don't have all the chemicals in them that disposables do.  And THAT is what causes the strong diaper smell.  Especially with breast fed poop.  That doesn't really smell like anything at all!  Ian was so surprised by this that after a few months, this became his favorite reason for CDing.  No disposable diaper smell.  When we do have to get disposables for the exceptional times, I actually splurge and get the 7th generation diapers which don't smell so much.  But we simply can't afford to buy those all the time!  There is one exception to this rule: sometimes detergent can build up on the diapers, and this causes "the stinkies" where they smell like ammonia as soon as they get wet.  Stripping the diapers can fix this, however, and they go back to smelling like... nothing!

Never Running Out

I love that I never really run out of diapers.  If I'm running low, I just do a load of laundry and viola!  More diapers.  Same with cloth wipes.  No emergency trips to the store or huge online orders.  In fact, for our cloth wipes, we just use a squirt bottle with plain ol' water.  No special solution, wipe warmers or anything.  So easy!

Super-Duper Cute!

Last but not least, cloth diapers are adorable.  We have white ones, flowery ones, one with a froggy print, mathematical equations (Ian picked it out: It's called Einstein by Bum Genius), owls, and lots of fun colors like blue, red, green, yellow... If you can dream it, you can probably find a cloth diaper with that print.  Diapering isn't the most fun chore in the world, but it makes it a little brighter when you can pick out fun colors and prints to coordinate (or clash!) with their outfit!

What about you?  What do you love about cloth diapering?  Do you have a favorite style or print?

Willow, Welcome to a New Year!

We've made it to 2013!  Guess the end-of-the-world folks are disappointed?  Or elated?  Eh, I wasn't too concerned.

Any-hoo, Willow is now 8 months old (almost 9!) and she's super advanced.  Well, kinda.  She can sit up without a bumbo and can pass toys from hand to hand.  Amazing!  If we stack up blocks she pushes them over, and she loves to put pretty much everything into her mouth.  For Christmas her lovely Aunt Teri and Uncle Jeremy got her a fun doorway bouncer, and she will bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce.  Oh my, it is soooo adorable!

She actually has control over which direction she faces now (she will always face you, wherever you are) instead of just going in circles. Haha!  It just took some adjusting on our part for the height of the seat.  If any of you are considering a gift for a friend with a new baby, something like this would be a great one!  The first few times she went in she wasn't very happy about being in it... but then one day it just "clicked" and now she thinks it is great! (And so do I, especially while cooking dinner!)

Willow also is starting to babble and she flaps her arms around while talking to you. 

She's gotten her two center bottom teeth (oi... that wasn't fun) and has developed an interest in teeth in general.  Maybe she will be an orthodontist someday?
--If you have ever read Anne Lamott's book Operating Instructions, how her son would inspect her teeth is exactly what Willow does!  By the way, the book is wonderful for new and old parents alike.  She is quite the writer!--

What can't Willow do?  Well, roll over from back to front, apparently.  But that's ok.  I think her gigantic cloth diapered bottom is to blame.  Poor girl!  All that padding makes it hard to lift her hips.  She'll get there eventually.  It's not her fault that her parents decided to CD! (speaking of which, we looooove!!  I should do a post on it.)

6 Months Old!!

Haha... so I'm a bit behind on blogging.  I thought I would post an old unpublished post to bring you up to speed, and then fill you in... (From November 2012)

Willow turned 1/2 a year old yesterday!!  Happy half birthday, Willow!!

Let's see... to fill you in with what's been happening:
As far as the milk issue, I went back on per our pediatrician's suggestion.  Willow went on some meds to help with her acid reflux (her stomach acid was hurting her little esophagus and causing perpetual issues, so this should help cut down on the acid.)  It seems to help!!  She still spits up a lot, but now she isn't screaming and having nursing issues from it.  Hooray!  Our nurse friend suggested that she might be having these reflux issues because of the 3 weeks she had a gavage tube down her throat while in the NICU.  That would really irritate everything down there, and could cause some issues.  But, she should eventually heal up, and hopefully it will speed up now that the acid isn't re-opening the wound.

We made great strides on working on our yard.  Ian borrowed a weed-eater, put blades on it, and proceeded to tackle bush after bush. Muahahhahahahaaaa!!!   I think he enjoyed it. ;)  I also planted a bunch of iris in the front yard.  It's a little late for planting, but hopefully they will survive the winter and come up next spring/summer.  Should be pretty!!  Now we just need a few weekends with sun, or at least not torrential rain, and we can take up the plants in our backyard "weed island."  Looking forward to that!

Willow styling in her Halloween costume!  I know that was a little before 6 months, but she's so cute!!  She was a dragon. (Either Puff or Smog.)