Monday, August 22, 2011

Using the Cloth

Thanks to the inventors of these, diaper duty has become both easy and economical in our household. Plain and simple fact: babies pee and poop (just like us--WOW). The recepticle in which these pint size people perform this job in can get pretty expensive. This is a Bumgenius 4.0 one size diaper. Some cool features include: it grows with the child up to 35 pounds; it is reusable; it washes well (haven't had a stain yet) with just detergent; it's a time efficient diaper--no spending hours scrubbing needed; and most importantly, Jude seems to like wearing them. The diaper wicks away moisture better than a disposable, in my opinion, and the leaks are not as frequent as with disposables. The best part--I put up a one time expense on these bad boys and never have to buy another diaper again. Sign me up!

I'm in total debt to my friend Libba for using them on her boys (who were born before mine). These diapers came highly recommended by her. Since she's a working mother like myself (and stays waaaaay busier than I do), I figured, "Why not give them a try?" Boy, am I glad I did.

Of course, as with any diaper, there are some cons: the main one being scraping the poop. However, Jeffrey and I invested in the Bumgenius diaper sprayer which hooks up to the toilet and gives off this supersonic jet stream of water to blast that poop right off of there and into the pot. We never have to touch it, and clean-up is done in a cinch!

Another con is the diaper pail. Holy Mackerel! Does that thing stink! At least with disposables, you can stick the diaper in a Diapergenie, and that plastic bag wrapping thingy covers up the odor, but for cloth diapers, it's an entirely different story. However, I keep the odor at bay with Lysol spray and I scrub it out with Lysol lemon scented wipes. That seems to help.

However, with the money I'm saving each week on diapers and the fact that cloth diapering is healthy for little Jude's bum (something I found out from my pediatrician--not sure how it's healthier, though), I guess I can manage the clean-up o.k.

Of course, others' reactions have ranged from utterly disgusted to sheer awe. Just as they don't give two flips what I think of any decisions they make, I could care less what they think of my diapering choice. (Supplemental thought--the second Jeffrey and I announced our pregnancy, people who were parents along with the childless people were hurling opinions at us as if they were stoning a radical religious martyr. The more "You should do this"s I heard, the more I ignored and did my own thing.) However, one opinion outside of our household does matter--the baby-sitter's.

In the near future, I want to write a post on how awesome our child care provider is. I'm not going to go out on a limb and say Ms. Lily loves our cloth diapers. She hasn't said one way or the other. However, she respects mine and Jeffrey's decision and keeps Jude in them rather than insisting he wear disposables. Also, even though I've told her to just put the dirty ones in a plastic bag for me to wash out when I get home, she rinses those dirty diapers before putting them in the plastic bag. I appreciate Ms. Lily for many things since she first started keeping Jude two weeks ago, but this is one of those things that tops the list.

Diapering certainly is far from glamourous. Things that excite me have gone from attending seriously awesome rock concerts to "Hey check out the pressure on this sprayer!" Jeffrey and I made a choice to use these cloth diapers, but I do understand others' choices to use disposables. In fact, friends have given us disposable diapers that their children have outgrown before they finished the package, and we've appreciated the generosity and use them whenever we're away from home for a while. However, I'm not necessarily going to rush out to buy my own since I have a perfectly good set of cloth ones that do the job just fine.

I'm just grateful to have this option available to me. The same people who have expressed negativity toward our decision more than likely aren't people I would turn to for sound parenting advice anyway.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Marriage-A Celebration

Tonight, I learned that my cousin Courtney got engaged to the love of her life. I am so excited for her! (I actually knew this was going to happen since her mom told my mom who then told me; it's been a long week of waiting to hear when we could all start shouting from the rooftops.) Courtney and I have a lot in common--mainly our love of shopping and accessorizing. Her mom, my Aunt Evelyn, always says she blames me for how Courtney turned out. It's one of the best compliments I've ever received. We have shared some really great times together, Courtney and I, and she even opted to have me and our moms go with her on a cruise for her senior trip instead of traveling with her friends. Since I'm my parents' youngest child, I've always kind of pretended Courtney was my little sister--someone I could love and look after--a way to pay forward all of the love I have received from my big sister. And now Courtney is getting ready to be a married lady!

When someone gets engaged and has a wedding, I think these public displays should call all of us married folk to reflect on our marriages. So of course, my wheels have been turning about Jeffrey and me over the years all night!

My marriage is the aspect of my life of which I am most proud. (For now, motherhood is a close second but only because I'm still so new at it and still ironing out the kinks.) Just yesterday, a colleague of ours came up to me and said, "I saw your husband today and was telling him 'I just love Jessica,' and he just looked at me and said, 'I love her too.'" Needless to say, my heart just smiled--mostly because my husband loves me without reserve but also a tiny bit because it's nice to know my wit, charm, and unconventional good looks also pay off at work.

I really believe God put Jeffrey and me together mainly because we would be too oblivious to do it ourselves. We had known each other a couple of years and didn't think a thing about the other, and then one night, it happened. On the record, we say we don't really know what ignited the whole relationship, but off the record, I know Jeffrey saw me in that black Size 6 halter dress (I sure miss those days) doing one of my infamous impersonations of the Huddle House bouncer yelling at Ole Miss frat boys and said to himself, "In Jones County, we call that a catch so time to reel her in!"

However we ended up together, I'm sure glad it happened. Since those Ole Miss days of courting that led to me walking down the aisle, we've only grown to love each other more. (Of course, with our love story initially starting at the Huddle House, we could only go up.)

In the seven years we've been together, we have shared some truly joyous occasions. We drove to Canada, saw several awesome rock concerts including No Doubt and Bon Jovi, purchased our dream home, but one of the best days of both of our lives was the day we found out I was pregnant with our first child. The joy we both felt left us speechless and we just stood in our bedroom just outside the bathroom door holding each other up since we both felt like we were going to collapse.

But just as marriage brings about many calls for celebration, the tragedies that plague it, unfortunately prove inevitable. The same indescribable joy we felt over learning we would become parents was quickly taken away from us when I miscarried three days later. We will never understand why it happened, and it doesn't matter if we know the reason since no answer will ever be good enough. Through all of the crying, screaming, hitting walls, and pulling over on the sides of roads, God saw to it that we grieved together. As individuals, we became stronger people; Jeffrey concentrated on his music and joined a rock band while I took up running. As a couple, we chose to celebrate life. We went to hear bands, stayed out late on weekends, ate good food, and traveled some more. Because of that tragedy, we saw even clearer what we meant to each other and we celebrated, and we have an even more solid partnership than ever before.

Even with Jude finally here, we will always feel that loss. As I've said in a previous post, I don't want to forget and neither does Jeffrey. Forgetting that horrific moment would also mean ignoring that incredible joy, and that's something no one can take away.

All married couples will experience joy, but they will also face tragedy. However, those tragedies prove necessary in order to really feel that happiness and see what they're made of. Since my marriage is my greatest accomplishment, I've been praying for Jude's wife since I was pregnant with him. I plan to write a post in the near future going into more detail about this. Even though this particular post doesn't fit the theme of this blog (a blog about me and my baby), I plan on Jude reading this when he's older and I want him to know, just in case he ever has doubts, how much his parents love each other and how wanted he is.

The way Jeffrey and I love is not for everyone (because really, could every wife out there handle a husband's undying fascination with Sci-fi and the band Rush? I think not.) However, everyone aspires to have those kinds of feelings for his/her spouse that Jeffrey and I have for each other. I wish Courtney and Matt all the best with their upcoming marriage. May they always know what they mean to each other and grow to love each other more with every passing day.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Maternity Clothes

Today marks another significant event in the lives of Jude and me.

I finally banished all the maternity clothes to the basement (ok, except for a few camisole tops--but come on, those things are practical).

What makes this significant? Well, I have my old body back (actually, let's just call it a work in progress) and--the best part-- a living breathing reason for why I needed the clothes in the first place.

Over the years, I have made shopping into an art. I have a talent for scoring top brands at ridiculously low prices. My greatest achievements to date include some Tory Burch fashions from Nieman Marcus for under $100 and a pair of Seven jeans from Maison Weiss for the low, low price of $20. The secret? I don't really know, dumb luck maybe?

As anyone can imagine, my closet has become so jam packed over the years that Jeffrey's clothes have moved to an antique armoir. After lugging my bins of winter clothes to the basement, I had finally decided "Enough!" because 1. my basement is dark and scary and b. searching for my outfit of choice each day had finally become way too cumbersome. I had finally reached a point where I would just wear and enjoy the clothes I already had.

Then I got pregnant.

I had the pleasure of wearing winter, spring, and summer maternity fashions. In the coldness of February, my regular clothes finally gave and I just kept blowing up on into the heat of June. I didn't exactly score any real deals on maternity clothes. Turns out, maternity companies are going to milk you for as much as they can (except if you want to buy moo-moos; those are pretty cheap, and yes, I have one or two). However, the maternity store A Pea in the Pod did award me a $100 gift certificate to that I redeemed at four different restaurants because I guess they figured preggos gotta get fatter and then they could swoop in once again and save the day by selling me more clothes with elastic that gives even more slack.

As far as I can recall, my pregnancy is the only time in my life where I really enjoyed getting fat. The clothes were actually cute and looked fairly decent on me. I have to admit I liked those sizeable coverings that simultaneously clothed me and my child.

The image above is me after an evening of celebrating mine and Jeffrey's seventh wedding anniversary--one week before Jude arrived. At that point, I had a lot of baby and a lot of good food from Char in that belly.

Now all of those clothes are put away in the deep dark corner of that scary basement. As I put them away, I had Jude within my sights to serve as my reminder of how grateful I am that he's finally here. And because of that, I couldn't get sad over saying good-bye to those clothes.

After all, those clothes still live in my house. Maybe one day I'll unearth them from the dark depths of my basement to wear again!