Friday, April 26, 2013

"C" is for Construction

This post has been drafted since October 2011.  Yes...2011.  A few months after Tully, who is now 2, was born, I knew that doors on my office were an absolute necessity.  Here is a before shot.

My office was initially a dining room that opened up to the entry way and kitchen.  We have an island and eat-in kitchen area, so we had absolutely no use for an additional formal dining room.  After consulting with our realtor, we decided to wall up the opening to the kitchen and put doors along the entry-way opening.

The same guy who did my closet and laundry room came back for this project.  The first time the custom doors arrived, they were 6' 8".  We ordered 8'.  Back they went.  Second order arrived but had damaged glass.  Returned.  Damaged glass door came back with different glass than the other panels.  The fourth order was finally correct and undamaged, so we hired some painters and completed the project.  Woo hoo!

Here are the progress and final photos.  The project wrapped up in 2012.  Tully was at least 1, and Clare wasn't born yet, so that puts us between April and December...sometime in there.  My mommy brain can't nail down a date more concrete than that.  John brought out his electrical engineering skills and installed the desk lighting for me.  He also rewired the existing kitchen switch to the outer wall and made the original switch my new desk light switch.  Resourceful and practical.  Thanks, babe!

1) wall installed 2) cabinets installed and 3) painted

1) doors installed and 2) painted

Next projects...the chimney is being rebuilt, and then granite is being installed in the kitchen.  All in May.  Nearly full master bathroom remodel also coming in 2013.  Whoever got the brilliant idea to undertake all of these projects with two small children needs their head examined.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"C" is for Cloth Diapers

I hopped on the cloth diapering bandwagon for several reasons, mostly to save money and decrease waste.  We spent approximately $700 for disposable diapers for Tully in one year.  I stopped tracking diapers after his first year, but I can guess we spent about that much for his second year as well.  He used fewer diapers, but the price per diaper increased with size.  In September, Tulsa changed the trash service, and we seriously selected twice a week trash pickup instead of once a week because of the number of diapers I was expecting between both Tully and Clare.  Now that we're cloth diapering and Tully is potty trained, I'm hoping to reduce our service back to once a week.

I started with four gDiapers I purchased on Craigslist from a new mom who didn't want them after only a few uses.  Four diapers wasn't nearly enough for a newborn, since we were constantly washing the same diapers over and over.  They also weren't absorbent enough.  First attempt = fail.  I did some more online research to decide what type of diaper I wanted to use: All-In-Ones (AIO), All-In-Twos, pockets, or hybrids--just to name a few.  I liked the idea that I could adjust the absorbency in pocket diapers, and they were the closest thing to AIOs, as far as ease of use.  Some of the most popular pocket diapers are fully adjustable one-size diapers that fit almost from birth to potty training.  The one-size pockets fit best starting at about 12 lbs.  Once Clare hit 12 lbs I bought a stash of 10 pocket diapers from my friend, Callie, at Oui Oui Cloth Diapers.  Ten diapers is enough for about one day for us, so it was a decent start.   I bought a few other brands to see what types and styles fit best: BumGenius, Fuzzibunz, Bumkins, and Thirsties Duos.  We experienced some leaks and had some diapers that still smelled even after washing.  First I thought the diapers were repelling, so I tweaked our washing routine.  We now rinse/wash/rinse and use Charlie's Soap or Rockin' Green Hard Rock for the wash.  The rinses are really full wash cycles on warm with no soap.  The actual wash cycle is done on heavy duty with hot water and an extra rinse.  The diapers are definitely clean each time now, and we're actually saving money on laundry soap because Charlie's and Rockin' Green are both cheaper than Tide from Sam's.  Since we can't use laundry softener (causes repelling), I bought some wool dryer balls.  They help with softening, and I noticed everything definitely dries faster.  I'll be happy when we can use our chemical-laden laundry softener again though so our laundry will smell delicious.

I figured out some of the leaks were leg leaks from loose elastic, so we fixed that too by replacing those diapers.  The last piece was figuring out the right inserts.  Pocket diapers typically come with microfiber inserts.  These just did not work for us.  They weren't absorbent enough.  They can't be placed directly against baby's skin, if needed, and it was difficult to get them clean in the wash.  Callie brought over some old-school cotton prefold diapers like the ones my mom used on me 30 years ago, and I put those in place of the microfiber inserts.  Boom--no leaks!  There are lots of options for cotton prefolds, so I've ordered several brands to see what will work best for us.  They also make hemp prefolds.  They are more expensive, but reviewers say they are trim and more absorbent.  I can't wait to try them.

So far I've spent about $500 on cloth diapers, wet bags, dryer balls, diaper pail liners, and a sprayer.  The initial investment is nearly what it cost to diaper Tully for a year, but I can use everything until Clare is potty trained.  Also, I've been able to resell the first four gDiapers I purchased and recover my cost for those.   I still use some microfiber and gDiaper inserts to double up with prefolds at night, so I want to keep some on hand, but I don't need over half of what I own.  If the cotton and hemp prefolds work as I expect, I'll unload most of the microfiber inserts and the rest of my gDiaper inserts, and my costs should come down to $400.   Also, when Clare is potty trained, I can resell my entire stash, so hopefully it doesn't cost much of anything in the end to diaper her.

It's been a learning process for sure, but I like the cloth diapers.  Now that we have a wash routine and no leaks, it's easy, and there are tons of prints and colors to choose from.  I think my little bunny likes them too.

Monday, April 1, 2013

"C" is for Clare (2 mo)

Clare really likes blowing bubbles.  She also has pretty good head control now, and she loves to sleep on her tummy just like her brother did.  Back to sleep...blah, blah...I know, I know.  I also know my kids... Anywho, baby girl wakes up once a night around 3 am to nurse and goes right back to sleep.  This is new territory for me, as Tully was a terrible sleeper.  We've also ventured into new territory with cloth diapering.  I'm saving that for a whole new post.  Stay tuned.

Clare is still exclusively breast fed, and we've successfully battled through oversupply and thrush.  Ever seen gentian violet (GV)?  It's an all natural thrush treatment.  This is Clare after nursing.

It stains everything.  Tully found the bottle and opened it.  This was fun to explain to his teachers.

We tried other natural and prescription treatments, but nothing was getting rid of the thrush, so we tried GV.  It made a huge mess, but it provided immediate relief and eventually got rid of the thrush completely.  It will be our go-to remedy, if thrush comes back.
Clare is still tracking great for height and weight.  Here are her stats:

weight 13 lbs 1 oz (68%)
height 23.5 in (67%)
head 40 cm (78%)

Tully brought home a nasty cold/virus from school that he shared with the entire family.  This was the first day he was sick.  The kid doesn't sleep anywhere but in his bed.  He has NEVER fallen asleep on the couch.

Every single one of us, including my mom, got ear infections.  The kids took antibiotics, but since I already had thrush, they were off limits for me.  I ended up with a ruptured ear drum, which wasn't fun since I had partial hearing loss when it happened.  Even with antibiotics, Clare had to go in for a second sick appointment to start nebulizer treatments.  I snapped this pic of John taking care of her.

Once everyone recovered, we got out to enjoy the few inches of snow Tulsa got.  Tully loved his sled from Mamay, and Clare slept the entire time all bundled up under my jacket.  She could breathe.  I promise.

The weather warmed up some in March, so I took Clare out in the stroller on a nice day.  Tully was never a fan of being strapped in, so I wondered what Clare would think.  She enjoyed it!

After she spit up on that outfit, I changed her into a onesie her Aunt Lisa made.  I think Clare makes a pretty cute Raggedy Baby model.

I am definitely Clare's favorite person right now.  I think it has something to do with milk, so she gives me lots of smiles and laughs.  As she gets older and depends on me less, I know she will enjoy spending more time with her daddy.  Until then, I'm going hog all of her kisses and snuggles!

Monday, February 11, 2013

"C" is for Clare (1 mo)

My baby girl is already a month old.

1 month
Time is going by much more quickly with #2.  She has battled through most of flu season with only some chest congestion, and I think we caught the reflux early, so overall she's a pretty happy girl.  Daddy is convinced we have a conspiracy against him because she cries nearly every time he holds her, but I have assured him, this is not the case.  It turns out that anytime she doesn't nurse to sleep, and I'm tired, I hand her off.  When she decides she is sleepy, she wants Mommy, so Daddy starts bouncing and shushing until she falls asleep.  He's bounced her to sleep on more than one occasion while the heater runs for white noise in the bathroom.  Clare, you owe your Daddy big time.

The good news is when Clare does go to sleep, she stays asleep.  Her brother, on the other hand, liked to take 45 minute cat naps.  Clare likes her beauty sleep.  We do too.

Clare and I don't have anything that resembles a schedule, but that's to be expected at this point.  My schedule is wake up when she wakes up, feed her, diaper change/interact/do something around the house, if it's daytime, and then sleep, sometimes nursing again before sleeping.  She eats every 2-3 hours, but sometimes I get some 4 or 5 hour stretches at night.  I'll be glad when she masters nursing while laying down.  She likes to get a lazy latch on me when we try, so I'm stuck sitting up and sleeping at 3am.

In other news, she lost all of the dark hair on top of her head.  (You like the bow toupĂ©e?)  My poor kiddo is balding.  There is some bright blonde hair coming in in its place though.  Until then...bows!

Tully has been very sweet with his baby sister, who he now calls "Baby Care" or "Baby CiCi".  He likes to give her "bisses" and share all of his boy germs with her.  She's going to have a stellar immune system.  He had a nasty virus and 103 fever for several days, but he wanted to get in on the photo action though.  Please excuse his sweaty, crazy hair.

Tully 22 months; Clare 1 month
Tully's sickness really came out of nowhere.  John took him to the grocery store, and when they got back Tully was a bright red, sweaty, snotty mess.  John walked in and said he had to pull over to try to calm Tully down on the 2 mile drive home from the grocery store.  John NEVER pulls over for that kind of stuff.  About the time John is telling me this, I show him my poop covered hand from Clare's explosive diaper change, and casually mention that our dog Zach just vomited all over the patio.  Trifecta!  If there was ever any doubt that we would stop at two kids, it was confirmed in that moment.  Enough with the pee, poop, and puke.  We've been able to keep Tully's fever under control with ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and thankfully he tested negative for flu and RSV.

We switched pediatricians (again!).   We were spending waaaaay too much time waiting during appointments at Dr. Ross' office, so we changed to Dr. Brian Raley at Avalon Park Pediatrics (  Dr. Raley has really impressed me.  He did Clare's newborn check during a home visit--like a real old-school home visit.  The guy showed up to my house with his nurse, Katie, and they did everything they needed to do here in my living room.  Katie also gave Tully a flu shot.  It was nice because both kids were perfectly healthy, so we didn't have to visit a doctor's office with other sick kids.  Clare's next 2 month visit will be a home visit as well.  As if the home visits weren't enough, Dr. Raley has weekend hours during cold and flu season.  He posts on his Facebook page that he will have hours, and when you call the office, he gives instructions to text his cell phone to coordinate an appointment time.  I have my pediatrician's cell phone number.  What?!  The icing on the cake is that you can message him via the web portal, and he'll respond.  He is so accessible, and it's been great, especially with Tully in school during the cold and flu season.  I also like Dr. Raley's bedside manner, and I appreciate that he requires his patients to follow the vaccination schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  With all of the hooplah and misinformation on the internet about risks associated with vaccinations, I'm happy we found a pediatrician whose views are in line with ours.

Overall it's been a great first month.  I can't wait for Clare and Tully to start interacting more over the next few months.  Clare is getting more and more alert each day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"C" is for Clare

Marian Clare Cockerham

December 29, 2012

10:26 AM

7 pounds 13 ounces

20.5 inches

Our sweet Clare was born a few days after Christmas!  I woke up at 10:00 AM on Friday, December 28 knowing that she would arrive soon, so I spent the day relaxing around the house through irregular contractions.  Sometime after 8:00 PM things picked up, which was perfect because Tully was already in bed for the night.  My parents stayed the night, so we could leave for the hospital any time we needed.  I labored at home until contractions were two minutes apart, and we left for the hospital around 3:30 AM.  I was feeling intense pain, and we had already modified the birth plan since I would be requesting an epidural as soon as we arrived.  On our way to the hospital, some idiot was driving their untagged maroon SUV 10 miles under the speed limit through our neighborhood, and John knew to go around them without me even saying anything.  He might have ran a red light on the way too, but maybe I was just imagining things during contractions ;)  We pulled up to the main door of the hospital, but the doors were locked.  Grrrr.  As we walked around the building towards the emergency entrance, I noticed the same untagged maroon SUV pulling through the parking lot.  When they saw me and my huge belly waddling to the ER, I guess they decided they didn't need to call the cops on us. Thanks, citizen patrol, for keeping our streets safe.  Move along.

My midwife was still on vacation, so Dr. Whitham was the doctor on-call attending my birth.  Once I got settled in the hospital with my epidural, I quickly dilated from 4 cm to 10 cm in under two hours.  I'm thinking to myself, "This is going fast.  I can totally do this!"  They went ahead and broke my water, and I began pushing shortly after.   I pushed for a couple hours and didn't have much to show for it.  I thought second births were supposed to be faster/easier??  Lucky for me Dr. Whitham had to attend another birth at the hospital across the street, so they continued to let me push for another two hours.  What fun.  At this point I needed to get off my back, so I convinced the nurse that I should be pushing on my hands and knees or in a squat.  She and the other nurse who brought in the squat bar were both shocked I was moving around with my epidural.  In my mind, I just needed to get in a different position no matter what it took, so I could get Clare going in the right direction.  Turns out Clare didn't actually move, but I sure felt better.  Four hours into pushing, Dr. Whitham came back from the other hospital, and he figured out that Clare was sunny side up (posterior).  That explained why I was getting NOWHERE with the pushing.  He worked to manually turn her face-down between contractions, and boy was I glad I had an epidural.  Instead of getting to relax and breathe for a minute between contractions, it was non-stop pain and pressure.  As soon as he got her turned, it only took six pushes (two contractions), and Clare came flying out.  Dr. Whitham didn't even have time to get gloves on!  She latched within 30 minutes, and with the exception of a few bumps in the road when my milk came in, she's been nursing like a champ. 

John and Clare sleeping in hospital

John, Tully, Clare
Tully has adjusted well to the new baby.  He doesn't call her by name, even though we tried to give her a nickname, CiCi (for Clare Cockerham), that would be easy for him to say.  He just says baby.  He likes to touch her nose, eyes, ears, neck, etc., but he also knows "nice", so most touching is done gently.  He likes to bring me burp cloths and blankets to cover her up, and he also pats her and says things like, "It's okay, baby," and "Baby sleep."  Overall, he's pretty sweet with her, and he hasn't sought attention negatively or acted up any more than usual.  I noticed almost immediately that he was having a hard time going to sleep and staying asleep though.  There was just too much going on in the house, and he could totally work my mom into coming into his room.  We gave him his pacifier back, and he's been content ever since. 

My mom was here for about three weeks after Clare was born, so Tully spent a lot of time with her.  He hasn't been able to say Grammy, and while she was here, he officially renamed her Mamay, which sometimes sounds like mom-aye or ma'am-aye, depending on his mood.  It's your world, kid, so the history books have officially been rewritten to note that my mom is Mamay.  Clare was lucky that Mamay was here to help so much.  My house would have been an absolute disaster, and John and I would have likely starved.  Thanks, Mamay!

I think John and I have adjusted well to life with two kids.  We have lots of help from family and the nanny, but Clare is nothing like Tully, so that's made the change easier for sure.  She's more laid back, and I have a better clue about what I'm doing, so the combo of those two things makes for less stress around the house and a happier husband.  John is still a champ at diaper changes, baths, endless hours of bouncing/shushing/rocking, and keeping Tully fed and busy.  Once we get through the new baby/limited sleep phase, I think we'll have it made.  Neither one of us does well without sleep.  Ugh.  Clare has been a sweet, sweet baby though, and I'm actually enjoying my maternity leave.  With Tully I was itching to get back to work after a few weeks, but this time I'm reading books, getting manicures, and I plan to start working out or running again soon.  My recovery has been a breeze compared to last time.

Here is the first photo in the Watch Clare Grow Series.  This was supposed to be her newborn shot, but it's more like a 2 week photo.  Oh well...I love you, Marian Clare.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"C" is for Child #2 (cont.)

I'm hoping this is the last in the series of bump pics; although, I'm not feeling like Clare is coming anytime soon.  My official due date is December 23.  I have a gut feeling she's going for a Christmas week arrival...possibly even January.  Not ideal, but totally out of my control.  My midwife will be gone on vacation the week of Christmas, so think I'm going to put myself on voluntary bed rest Dec 23-29 until she returns.  I'm partially kidding, but I really don't want to have to deal with an on-call doctor who wants nothing more than to schedule a quick c-section, so he/she can get back to his/her family over the holidays.

Clare gave me a little bit of a scare around 37 weeks.  She was in a sort of transverse position with her head up (See red arrow in diagram below for a visual).  By 37 weeks there's not a lot of room to move around, so baby should be getting into a head down position and staying there.  Clare was nearly breech.  Breech almost always means an automatic c-section.  No bueno.

Luckily, I found a chiropractor here in Tulsa, Dr. Sonda Powell, who is certified in the Webster Technique.  I visited her for several adjustments, and I spent a lot of time sitting on an exercise ball.  Those things apparently worked because Clare managed to get her head down in about a week's time, and she and has stayed there.  Whew!  C-section crisis averted for now.

In other news, I started filling out Clare's baby book with some basic info, including family tree stuff.  We called John's parents to find out their parents' full names and discovered Clare has a great grandmother named Moureen Claris.  Clare's full name will be Marian Clare Cockerham.  Marian came from my paternal grandmother Mary Ann, and we just liked the name Clare.  John mentioned it, and I thought the short, one-syllable name went well with Marian.  We had no idea the name, Claris, was in the family, but I think it's neat now that she is named after her two paternal great grandmothers from each side of the family.

We've been talking to Tully about how baby Clare will be his little sister, but he still seems pretty clueless.  I even bought him a baby doll a few weeks ago, so he could practice holding her and show her nice.  Unfortunately, baby ends up face down on the floor a lot.  Poor baby.  One evening we asked Tully where Clare was tried to explain for the millionth time that she is in mommy's belly.  He walked in a circle, looked out the window at my mom's car, and said, "beep beep."  The kid has his own priorities, that's for sure.  I guess he'll figure it out when Clare arrives!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"C" is for Caved In

This is I-can't-believe-I'm-writing-about-this-on-my-blog embarrassing.  John was peacefully laying in bed the other night when I hopped in.  I rolled towards his side to show him the monitor where I set up both cameras to view Tully's and Clare's rooms.  Next thing I know there's a huge crash, and I'm laying a foot lower than John is.  I had snapped the board under our bed and damaged the side rail support causing the whole thing to cave in on my side.  Weak boards?  Pregnancy weight?  Combo of the two?  Who knows.  Needless to say it scared John to death and dealt a major blow to my self-esteem.

Now that I've written this, I think the dust bunnies under the bed might actually be the most embarrassing part.  Thank you, Zach, for leaving massive puffs of your black dog hair hidden under my bed.

John moved the broken board a few inches towards the headboard and re-drilled holes to connect it to the rail support.  For a short-term fix we rounded up some books, paint cans, and the leftover fence boards from this project.  Then we rigged this setup, since the vertical supports clearly weren't doing their jobs.

I'm not sure who thought designing a king-sized bed with three support boards was a good idea, but they need to be fired.  I remember my little twin bed growing up had something like ten boards under it, and it was just a TWIN.  So in addition to repairing the busted rail support along the side, we'll definitely be adding more boards to go across the bed frame.

I guess the bright side to this story is that the area under our bed is now super clean and dust bunny free.
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