12 Months with Hayley

The past few months have been a transition from “baby” to “toddler.” It has been bittersweet, sad, exciting, joyful, and nerve-wracking all at the same time. It’s amazing to see Hayley grow and learn new things every day, but it has gone so fast and I want to cherish every moment. Our little girl is no longer the sweet baby who just sits in one spot and smiles and coos, but she is now a weebly wobbly walker, laughing and chit-chatting as she wanders all over the house.

Hayley’s 1st Birthday was April 20, 2013 and we celebrated with a Polka Dot Party at our home with family and friends. She loved the attention, opened wonderful presents, and picked daintily at her special birthday cupcake. She is so loved and such a happy baby, I mean toddler. What an amazing year it’s been – the moment she was born, bringing that fragile little newborn home for the first time, her first smile and giggle, sleepless nights, stressful and blissful feedings, rolling over, crawling, cruising, babbling, talking, saying mama, waving hi and bye, finally sleeping through the night, and taking her first steps – I wouldn’t miss a moment of it. No matter the stress or frustration at learning this thing called parenting, one smile or laugh from her makes the world stop.

At one year old, Hayley is 28″ and 18 1/2 lbs. She had 4 teeth by her 1st birthday and had taken a couple of steps on her own. She loves to cruise the furniture and chase the dog. Her favorite food is pancakes, and she loves to eat anything you put in front of her. Bath time is a blast with rubber ducky!

We reached our goal of breastfeeding for one year! It was hard at first, but I knew we’d make it. It’s a very special time between me and Hayley and I can always count on nursing to calm her down if she’s upset. By now, she has pretty much weaned herself. We are down to one nursing a day for bedtime, and she drinks milk from a sippy cup the rest of the day. As much as I have loved breastfeeding (and the awesome baby weight loss!), I am very glad to be done with pumping!

Here are some pictures of Hayley from 10 to 12 months:

10 Months

10 Months

11 Months

11 Months

12 Months

12 Months

1st Birthday - A new car! And Hobbes!

1st Birthday – A new car! And Hobbes!

1st Birthday Smash Cupcake

1st Birthday Smash Cupcake

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day

Baby's First Trip to Apple Store!

Baby’s First Trip to Apple Store!

Pancakes!

Pancakes!

Playing the Piano at Her Nanny's House

Playing the Piano at Her Nanny’s House

Shopping

Shopping

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Jamming to Sweet Tunes

Jamming to Sweet Tunes

Rubber Ducky

Rubber Ducky

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9 Months with Hayley

Our baby girl is growing up. Once she started moving, she started becoming less and less our “itty bitty” and more and more our “big girl.” She can crawl all around the house now. She pulls herself up and stands by the furniture. She’s even started walking along the couch and is becoming more balanced on her own two feet. She is so interested in exploring everything, and we are sure she will be standing on her own and walking in no time.

The past few months have been a blast, including her first Thanksgiving and first Christmas. She decided to show off at Thanksgiving and crawled for the first time in front of my entire family. She was very determined to get to that Black Friday ad. :) Christmas was filled with lots of presents from grandparents, too many to fit in the car. She loved the lights on the Christmas tree. We’re very grateful for everyone who thought of our baby girl during the holidays.

Hayley seems to like trying new foods. Since she got her first tooth, she’s enjoyed “chewing” some solid foods. She loves pancakes for breakfast! She eats lots of vegetables, but since she learned how to pick up her food and feed herself, she loves eating puffs and whatever she can shove in her mouth all by herself.

We had our first time apart in December when I went to New York City with my mom and sister for 5 days. Our fantastic babysitter/nanny watched her overnight while Chad was at work, and although I dreaded the thought of leaving her, she did great and only woke once each night. And I had a great time in New York!

I’m also happy to report that Hayley is sleeping through the night in her crib! I’d been co-sleeping with her since she was 4 months old, but we made the transition to the crib, and she has done great! Mom and baby are both getting lots of sleep now. And Chad is happier because he doesn’t have to deal with two grumpy girls haha.

Here are some pictures of Hayley from 6 to 9 months:

7 Months

7 Months

8 Months

8 Months

9 Months

9 Months

Chad and Hayley

Chad and Hayley

Sweet Potatoes!

Sweet Potatoes!

Crawling!

Crawling!

FaceTime while I went to New York for a few days

FaceTime while I went to New York for a few days

Co-sleeping snuggles

Co-sleeping snuggles

First Christmas

First Christmas

First Christmas

First Christmas

First Snow

First Snow

Standing

Standing

Best Friends!

Best Friends!

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How to Wash Cloth Diapers

Washing cloth diapers doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it will take some experimenting to find the right formula that works for your household.

The basics of the cloth diaper washing routine are rinse, wash, and keep rinsing until the suds are gone. You want to use as little detergent as possible with lots of water.

1. All in

Empty all the dirty/wet diapers into the washer, along with the wet bag or pail liner. I find it helpful to shake the inserts out of our pocket diapers at changes, so that it’s easier to dump everything into the wash quickly.

Washing Cloth Diapers

2. Rinse

Set your washer to rinse cycle (cold water is fine) with lots of water. I have a top-loader, so I set the size of the load to large. If you have an HE washer, I’ve heard that it’s helpful to toss in a towel with the diapers to get more water.

Rinse Cycle for Cloth Diapers

3. Detergent

Which detergent you use makes a huge difference in washing cloth diapers. Many detergents are not safe to use in washing cloth diapers because of added enzymes, brighteners and dyes. Check Diaper Jungle’s detergent chart to find a detergent that will work for you. You may try a few different kinds before landing on one that you love. I use Ecos Free & Clear, which is only $9 at Wal-Mart.

It is very important that you use very little detergent. If you are using a cloth-diaper specific brand of detergent, follow the directions. If you are using a store-bought brand like Ecos, the general rule is to use half. I use only 2 tbsp of Ecos per load, and that’s because we have hard water. If I had soft water, I would only use 1 tbsp. Also, I sprinkle in a little bit of baking soda to eliminate odors.

Cloth Diaper Detergent

4. Wash

Use hot water on the wash cycle.

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

5. Rinse, rinse, rinse

Rinse as many times as needed to ensure that all the suds are gone. You should see no soap bubbles at all. I usually only need to add a second rinse cycle to do the trick.

6. Dry

Hang diapers to dry on a drying rack. If you can put them outside in the sun, it will bleach out any stains. Inserts and wet bags can be hung to dry or tossed in the dryer on low heat. Never use dryer sheets, dryer bars or any type of softener with cloth diapers.

Cloth Diaper Drying Rack

I’d be happy to answer your questions about washing cloth diapers. Do you have a routine or tips that you’d like to share?

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Everything you need to cloth diaper

Continuing my posts on cloth diapers, here is my list of everything you need to start cloth diapering. Some things are essential and others are optional. Lists will differ slightly from one mom to another, but here’s mine.

Essentials

  • Diapers. There are several kinds – prefolds, pockets, all-in-two (AI2), and all-in-one (AIO). Read here for the differences. We use pockets, so we started with a stash of 24 diapers and 48 inserts.
  • Wet bags. These are PUL-lined bags that you can use to toss your wet and dirty diapers in, either on the go or at home.
  • Cloth diaper detergent. Your typical laundry detergent probably won’t be safe for cloth diapers because of chemicals and soap build-up. We use Ecos free & clear detergent, found at Walmart for $9. I’m still on my first bottle and I’ve been washing diapers for about 7 months. Diaper Jungle has a great chart of cloth-diaper safe detergents.
  • Storage boxes. You’ll need a place to organize your diapers. I reused a disposable diaper box, or you can buy baskets at Target or wherever.

Pocket Cloth Diapers

Pocket Cloth Diapers

Cloth Diapers Storage Box

Cloth Diapers Storage

That’s the bare minimum you need to use cloth diapers, but there are several more “accessories” that will help.

Optional

  • Diaper pail and PUL pail liners. I got a trash can with a lid and a couple washable pail liners for our house. You could just use a large wet bag.
  • Drying rack. Best way to dry diapers is hanging them to dry. Plus the sun gets rid of stains!
  • Diaper sprayer. It’s like the sprayer connected to your kitchen sink, but it attaches to the toilet so you can rinse off poop without getting your hands dirty.
  • Cloth-friendly rash cream. The best is virgin coconut oil, available at Trader Joe’s (and it has a million other uses around the house).
  • Cloth wipes. If you want to really be eco-friendly, you can use cloth wipes instead of disposable and just toss them in the wash with the diapers.
Cloth Diaper Changing Station

Cloth Diaper Changing Station with Pail, Diapers and Wipes

Cloth Diaper Drying Rack

Cloth Diaper Drying Rack

What to pack for daycare

Here’s what goes in the bag every day for the babysitter. She tosses the dirty dipes in a wet bag for me to take home at the end of the day.

  • 5 diapers (usually uses 3-4 a day)
  • Zippered wet bag
  • Coconut oil if baby has a rash
  • Wipes

Next up, I’ll explain my CD washing routine.

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My Dirty Laundry

You really want to know about my dirty laundry? Ok, here it is… Cloth diapers. Yes, we use cloth diapers.

About a year and a half ago, if you would have said the words “cloth diaper” to me, I would have pictured poo-stained rags fastened with safety pins – you know, the ones your mom still uses as dust rags – the same ones you’re picturing now. But times have changed and today’s cloth diapers are very different.

Cloth Diapers Then and Now

First, why use cloth diapers?

  1. Huge cost savings! A stash of 24 diapers and everything we need for laundry cost us about $250 total to last through potty training. That would buy you about 10 boxes of disposable diapers – about the first 2 1/2 months of baby’s life. Using disposables to age 2 will cost you $2,000 on average. See for yourself – check out these charts at All About Cloth Diapers comparing the costs of cloth vs. disposable.
  2. Eco-friendly. There’s no doubt that disposables cause a lot of trash. It takes 550 years for a disposable diaper to deteriorate in a landfill. Did you know you’re not even supposed to dispose of poop in the trash? The chemicals and human waste in diapers sit in our landfills and eventually pollute our water. How does a nice cold glass of dirty diaper water sound? No worries with cloth. Instead of ending up in landfills, cloth diapers can be reused for more children, resold to another family, or repurposed in some way.
  3. Tush-friendly. Lucky for us, we decided to use cloth before Hayley was born, and she has sensitive skin. We used disposables while she was a newborn until she could fit into her cloth diapers, and she had constant diaper rash. When we switched to cloth full-time, the rash went away. You may also consider the fact that several chemicals used in disposable diapers can cause cancer and reproductive health issues later on.

So there’s the truth laid out. We’re a cloth diaper family. Who could resist this adorable fluff butt??

Cloth Diaper

Hello Kitty Cloth Diaper

More coming about our adventures in fluff, including everything you need and how to wash cloth diapers.

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6 Months with Hayley

So much has changed in Hayley’s life in the past 3 months! She’s now 6 months old and showing more personality each day. She’s rolling, rolling, rolling, babbling, yelling, and bouncing. She loves to bang her toys and make noise. Sometimes she yells at the top of her lungs just to hear her own voice. She’s on the verge of crawling, but so far she’s getting up on her hands and knees and rocking back and forth. Any day now, we will have a mobile child.

This has been such a fun age with her. She literally learns something new every week, and you can see how she is becoming more and more interested in the world around her. She loves to bounce in her jumperoo, she loves to roll around in circles and play with all her toys, and she loves to reach for things. She’s even figured out how to pick up her binky and put it in her mouth by herself. Sometimes she sucks her thumb and it’s adorable, but she doesn’t seem too attached to it yet.

Playtime is so much fun with her, but man she’s wearing me out at night. She went from sleeping through the night at 4 months to waking up 2-3 times a night at 5 months and it’s still going on. She has this psychic ability to know the minute I decide to close my eyes and go to sleep. It’s eerie, actually. But I am grateful that she goes right back to sleep after feeding.

Speaking of feeding, she had her first taste of solid food on her half birthday! She had some bananas and loved it! She’s also had avocado and rice cereal and likes those most of the time, too. She LOVES sweet potatoes! I’m really excited and proud to say that Hayley was exclusively breastfed for 6 months. No formula, no water, no juice, no solid foods until her 6-month birthday. I’ve become a huge advocate for breastfeeding in these past few months and I hope that my story is one of encouragement for many moms out there who are trying to stick with breastfeeding. It can be done and it is so worth it!

Here are some pictures of Hayley from 3 to 6 months:

4 Months

5 Months

6 Months

 

Learning how to hold her toys

Gettin some sun in her Hello Kitty cloth diaper

All dolled up

Loves her daddy

Fun with momma

Jumperoo bouncy girl

Sitting like a big girl

Eating solid food for the first time

Halloween costume – Giraffe

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434th Maintenance Group

My adventures as a Grissom Honorary Commander continued in September with a visit to the 434th Maintenance Group. This group has the mountainous task of maintaining and repairing the planes at Grissom Air Reserve Base.

From fabricating sheet metal to changing tires to replacing an engine, this crew does it all. They have machines to suck the nitrogen out of the air to fill tires, they have a giant drill press with bits that go up to 3″ in diameter, they even have jacks to lift a KC-135 off the ground.

We visited the nondestructive inspection unit, which is like a science lab for mechanics. They have all the fun toys. They can run all kinds of tests to determine the strength and conductivity of metals. They can do a magnetic particle inspection and use blacklight to find cracks in metal parts. Then they can use a microscopic camera to look at the cracks up close and determine whether they can be repaired. They also have a really cool machine that can test the makeup of oils and help them determine which part of the plane is breaking down and may need maintenance.

You never really think about all the work that goes into keeping these planes running and looking great. All those moving parts and instruments have to be working all the time. The KC-135s were made in the late 50s/early 60s and the 434th Maintenance Group keeps these planes running like new. Many of the parts are no longer manufactured, but this group can fabricate new parts or recycle old parts when needed. They have one amazing task, and they’re doing an amazing job.

At the end of the day, we took a detour to the new $7.5 million air traffic control tower. Wow! It is beautiful and a much-needed upgrade from the old tower. It is amazing to look out those windows at the airfield. We had a great opportunity to walk out on the catwalk just as a KC-135 was coming in for a landing, and we watched it taxi in just a couple hundred yards away. Another awesome day at Grissom!

Grissom 434th Maintenance Group

Grissom 434th Maintenance Group

Drill bit sizes

Teeny tiny drill bit, giant humongo drill bit

Fabricated metal parts

Fabricated metal parts

Machine shop

Machine shop

Machine shop

Staff Sgt. Shawn Cherty, 434th Maintenance Squadron metals technology specialist, shows us some of the machines in the shop.

Ultrasound machine used on metals

Using an ultrasound machine to test metals

Sheet metal shop

Wheels get repaired, shined up and reused to save cost

Grissom Air Traffic Control Tower

Grissom’s new $7.5 million air traffic control tower

Grissom's Air Traffic Control Tower

About to watch a plane land from 9 stories up at Grissom’s new air traffic control tower

Grissom's Air Traffic Control Tower

Watching a KC-135 land from atop Grissom’s new air traffic control tower

Kahuna Henge

Kahuna Henge!

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3 Months with Hayley

My baby girl Hayley is 3 months old. She is growing up so fast already! Each day flies by and it seems like she learns something new every day. And we learn something new about parenting each day. We learn little tricks, like trying out 4 different pacifiers to finally find one she likes. We learned that she likes her bottles at just the right warm temperature. We learned that she likes to go outside and watch the tree branches sway in the wind. It’s amazing that as she is learning, she’s also teaching us.

Every little moment of motherhood is both rewarding and challenging at the same time. There’s days when I just want to catch up on sleep, but she wants to play all day. There’s nights when she’ll only sleep when she’s snuggled up next to me. There’s times when she’s screaming her head off in the car at each stoplight. But then there’s mornings when she wakes up and smiles when she sees me and Chad’s faces. There’s times when she does something new, like giggling in the bathtub. And there’s days when she constantly reminds me of how amazing this time is in both of our lives.

Now, she’s getting close to rolling over on her own, she let out her first real giggles, she sleeps mostly through the night (only wakes up once), she smiles throughout the day, she talks more and more each day, she’s starting to reach for her toys and hold them, and she’s squirming around, moving those arms and legs all over the place!

Pictures from Hayley’s first 3 months:

1 Month

2 Months

3 Months

Bath time!

Cousins

Great Grandparents

My Dad’s Tattoos Are Better Than Your Dad’s

Mornings with Dad

Rolling Over

Tummy Time

Babywearing in the Mei Tai

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Welcome to the World Hayley!

Hayley

Hayley Addison was born April 20, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. She was 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 19 1/2 in. long.

Chad and I are just so in love with this beautiful little baby girl. We’ve been truly blessed. Parenthood has been challenging at times as we try to figure out what our little one wants, but more than anything, parenthood has been the most rewarding experience. Every day, we see this little baby learn new things, see things for the first time, feel new textures, hear new sounds, and grow, grow, grow! Just like her daddy, this girl never misses a meal!

Hayley’s Birth Story

39 Weeks PregnantMy pregnancy reached 39 weeks on Thursday, April 19 and we had one more week until the due date. Before bed, we took my 39-week bump pictures, knowing they may be the last ones. Ironically, I had jokingly told a co-worker and my doctor earlier that day that I was hoping to go into labor that night. Just four hours after taking those last bump pics, I woke up with an uncomfortable feeling, rolled over and shook it off. It happened a few more times before I realized they were probably contractions. Luckily, it was Chad’s night off work so I went downstairs and just as I got down there I felt a little trickle. I went to the bathroom and sure enough, my water had broken!

So at 3 in the morning, we packed up the car and headed for the hospital. It was a few hours before I started feeling painful contractions, but by 9 a.m. I was at 5cm and ready for the epidural. Just an hour later, I was 7cm dilated and around noon I was fully dilated. My wonderful nurse let me labor down until I was ready to push. 37 minutes of pushing and Hayley made her grand entrance into the world!

Our FamilyThe moment she was born, they put her immediately on my chest and I’ve never felt so much love in one moment. Chad was there by my side the whole time, supporting me through labor and delivery, and saying hello to our baby girl together for the first time.

Mommy and Daddy love you, Hayley!

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Grissom Honorary Commanders: Marine Reserves

I traveled up to Grissom for the Marine Reserves’ drill weekend in March and saw these dedicated young men and women hard at work preparing for a large exercise coming up this summer. The Reserves unit at Grissom is a support unit, providing tactical communications support. They set up radio networks, construct antennas, and assemble all of the hardware necessary for a secure communications network.

What’s most amazing about the Reserves is that they only meet one weekend a month. In that one weekend, they have to do their physical fitness tests, fill out any paperwork, take classes and do all of their hands-on training drills. They have very little time to learn and practice new skills before they’re put to the test at their large exercise.

To make things even harder, supplies are often limited. The Marines performing maintenance on the humvees didn’t have oil to put in the trucks, so some of them were completely out of commission until they get oil. I followed the commander, Major Mathes, around the building in pursuit of helmets for a group of Marines to properly and safely do their drill. Eventually, we scrounged up enough.

I really enjoyed spending the day with the Marine Reserves and Major Mathes. It’s a great group of men and women who like to chat and joke around but can really get down to serious business.

Marine Reserves

Marine Reserves build an antenna

Marine Reserves

Major Mathes talks to an instructor about safety equipment

Marine Reserves

Marine Reserves work to straighten out an antenna

Marine Reserves

Marine Reserves work on a radio

Marine Reserves

Reserves take classes on software that can be used in the field

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