29 May 2014

Holy Winter! Where's the playdough!?

Ok ok. I know it's not THAT cold - or rather what cold used to be. Living in Minnesota for the better part of 8 or 9 years makes you hard. But winter here in Wellington just makes you grumpy. It's still cold. There is rain. 100k+ wind gusts. Almost freezing temperatures. But never cold enough to snow! At least seeing snow would make it alllllll worth it. 

We've all been trying to keep busy. Playgroups. Baking. Trying to evade those cold grumpy moments. And as we try to find new and fun things to do, my new favourite recipe for the boys is...

PLAYDOUGH. LOTS AND LOTS OF PLAYDOUGH.

Both Hendrik and Willem have been requested "plydu" every day since I made this first batch. It's one of those recipes that make you wonder why anyone would ever have a want to buy it in the shop. Easy. I got it at one of my new most visited blog/sites, The Artful Parent. You can find the recipe here.

It's so scary that these little men will be 18 months old in a couple weeks! Amazing. I remember seeing other kids at 18 months, thinking "I CAN'T WAIT!!!" And honestly, it's better than I ever imagined. Even with the newly found screaming and running and temper tantrums, watching them at this stage and all of the cuddles are truly amazing. 

Hendrik. Eating. Wanting cumr (camera). Watching birds. Eating.
Willem and his new favourite word, Helloooo. Getting upset. Getting more upset. Getting REALLY upset.
But they love each other. Cuddles and hi-fives on request.
And in case playdough, markers, toys, snacks, etc etc... Balloons. Always balloons. *pop*

With Love,
vH
x


16 May 2014

Growing up..

Today was one of those days when you realise how fast it all goes. Today was filled with questions being asked and actually answered. It's so odd.

"What would you like?" "Snack."

"Would you like some water?" "No."

Hendrik especially has begun to become this very adventurous, curious, independent little man. During playgroup, he wanted to go off and see what was over "there", he came back holding a hand of another mum, looking above the tops of the heads of other kids sitting on the floor, sees me waving to him and smiles his big smile with dimple and all, and comes trotting over. He came over, flung his arms around me and gave me a huge cuddle. It almost made me cry..

Then in the afternoon we went to the Lyall Bay playground. It was a stunning day, so it was a no brainer. As soon as they saw the water, "OSHN!!" Yep. Ocean. Hendrik decided he was going to walk on his own to the playground, looks out over the wall to the beach and the waves, and decides that's where he wants to be. He keeps walking past the swings and slides and down to the beach.

After finding their footing on the sand and finding a couple of shells for Dad, Hendrik sits himself down in the sand. He sits, quiet and calm, watching the ocean, the waves and the surfers. Quiet and calm. The seagulls and the airplanes, taking it all in. Willem cuddles my shoulders asking about passing surfers and pointing to them in the waves.

It makes me so proud on days like these. Some days, I'm happy just to have survived. But these are the days that make this journey truly amazing.

Have a happy weekend!

X

 

09 May 2014

The Hippie Ambitions of a Twin Mum - Part 1

When we found out we were pregnant, we were stoked. When we found out it was twins, we were scared. And to be honest, a little sad.

Let me explain. It's not as bad as it sounds. For me, I had my ideas and ideals already in my mind about how I wanted to bring a child into the world and raise a child. I wanted to have a water birth. Possibly at home. Meditation and calm during labour. Breastfeeding until the baby was at least two years old. Cloth nappies. Co-sleeping. All home grown and organic food. Making all of their clothes from NZ merino. The list goes on...

But when that "one" became "two", so much of that went out the window. Those ideals became un-achievables. That was the sad. A little heartbreak with the overwhelming joy.

The boys were born in hospital, in a bed that I couldn't move in, attached to so many beeping devices, there was no chance of getting my way there. But what I remember most days is NOT how I didn't have a water birth, or how I couldn't walk around and use gravity to ease the pain, I remember how lucky I am to have an amazing husband and two healthy boys.

So whilst my hippie, nature loving, eco dreams were somewhat crushed with the birth, there are so many things that you CAN do to still be an environmental friendly family. Even with crazy twin boys!

So we begin the journey with our tale of CLOTH NAPPIES!



Cloth nappies were going to be the go from even before we got pregnant. There were so many reasons why we wanted to go cloth - cost, environmentally friendly, and think about this - would you rather wear a soft cozy pair of undies or a crinkly, disposable paper undies? Hmmmm.. Yeah. Easy decision when you think about it that way, huh?!

There were so many choices and so many options when it comes to brands and styles. What we decided to use are considered pocket nappies. Basically, inserts and an adjustable shell with a pocket for the inserts. They clean up fairly easily and because you can separate all the parts, they dry relatively quickly. 

When you first look at the cost of investing, it can be quite daunting. They can go for about $20 per nappy. And when you have twins, that gets really expensive really fast! 

So with that in mind, I decided buying used nappies might be the way to go. Yeah, I know, it sounds gross. Someone else's kids used these before my boys... But how many times have they been washed and hung in the sun... After some convincing, it was exactly what we decided to do. It ended up costing us about $6 per nappy including inserts. Amazing! 

We ended up with a mix of two brands, Baby Cheeks and PeaPods. The boys have been wearing the Baby Cheeks since they were about 3 months old. The PeaPods we ended up with were larges, so they have just started fitting into them. And between the these two brands, I really like the PeaPods! They have foldable bamboo inserts that work really well! They are a nice simple design and feel quite soft and stretchy. They can wear the PeaPods for naps and not leak, which is good. 

For overnight though, we do put them in disposables. Mostly huggies. But again, because somehow, someway, these boys are prolific wee'ers... They wear a cloth nappy over their disposables at night. It's worth it. They never wake up at night from wet pyjamas anymore! What a hassle that used to be! 

Here are a few tips and bits and pieces that we have learned so far :

Getting rid of the poo : This is Jacob's favourite job! But for some reason we is extremely keen to share this job with me whenever possible... It's gross. Really gross. But the best tool I've found - an old heavy duty rubber spatula! You can scrape off even the worst poo-tasophe with a good one. 

Washing nappies : Be prepared to do a lot of laundry. And by this I mean A LOT of laundry. I have a load of nappies go through the wash about every other day. This is in addition to the normal day to day laundry. My life has become "never ending laaaaun-dryyyyyy".. Sing it with me... La da da la da da la da dahhh. 

I hate sunshine : Actually I lie, I love sunshine! (and you can never quote your favourite Disney movie too much) Nappies and inserts love sunshine too! Especially New Zealand sunshine, nothing like a lack of ozone to bleach out your clothes naturally! Whenever it's possible, they hang outside on the line soaking in the sun and being blow around by the our lovely Wellington wind.

Tea tree oil : A drop or two once in a while in a rinse cycle is great! Tea tree, as you may know, has antiseptic properties and it makes everything smell a bit nicer.

Speaking of the smell : Cloth nappies will be smelly sometimes. After a little while, wee soaked nappies can make your stomach turn. I find this happens when the weather isn't great and hanging them outside is nearly impossible. If your nappies aren't drying fast enough, trying popping the inserts into a dryer on a hot heat and the outers on an airing cycle in the dryer or hung in a room with a dehumidifier. Always check the washing label first before you use a dryer! The plastic backing can shrink and pull away from the nappy, completely ruining the nappy.. Trust me on this one, I've lost about 4 or 5 this way.

Liners : We were using liners for a while but gave them up. I can see why they promise longer life for your nappies, and while many brands claim to be flushable and biodegradable, they clog up our 100 year old plumbing. When you have to scrape poo off double the nappies, everything needs to be streamlined as well as possible. Liners were just making everything just that bit more difficult. 

Wipes : I just recently started using cloth wipes at home as well! I went out to the local recycle shop, picked up an old polar fleece blanket for $3, gave it a nice hot wash and dry and cut it into squares. That's it! No hemming, no edging, and because polar fleece is soft and cleans up so easily, I'm a little mad at myself for not doing this before! We still use biodegradable store-bought wipes when we are out and about, but heaps less than we have been. 


I'd love to hear from everyone else fighting to pooey battle in cloth! What are your best tips and tricks?? What type of nappies are you using?? 

x