Monday, January 31, 2011

3 months

Micah is 3 months old today! He is getting to be such a big boy, and he truly is the joy of our lives. Sometimes it feels like it's been forever since he turned 2 months and other times it feels like time is just flying by! Micah has really grown a lot this past month and experienced so many new things!

*At his last doctor's appointment (almost a month ago) he weighed 13 pounds and was 23 3/4 inches long--75th percentile for everything!

*He has discovered his hands, and they are always in his mouth!

*He's starting to grab at other things: his toy rings, Mommy's shirt, Daddy's chest hair, everything!

*He babbles quite a bit. He especially loves it when Daddy changes his diaper and when Mommy is feeding him (especially at night when he should be falling asleep!).

*Micah is always on the go--his legs are always kicking like he's ready to go, go, go!

*Micah was baptized this month along with his friend, Colby (Colby is the son of one of Mommy's friends...he was born just 2 days before Micah and both Mommies found out they were pregnant the day after having lunch together!).

*Micah slept through his first New Year's Eve (thankfully!).

Now, for some photos!

Micah's learning to become a Bear's fan!

Micah is doing a great job sitting in his Bumbo!

He's getting so strong at tummy time. He especially likes it now that we have some new toys for him to play with!

His new favorite toy is his rings because he can grasp on to them and put them in his mouth!

Getting a bath at Oma's house with Auntie Heather.

Micah has started taking naps in his crib. I think he likes his crib, but naps haven't been going so well...

Micah and Daddy have matching shirts!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Micah's Baptism

This past Sunday was Micah's baptism. Brad and I were both so excited for this special day. We truly believe it's one of the most important days of Micah's life. Truth be told, we do believe that adult baptism is more biblical, but because of the way it is done in our church we were okay with having Micah baptized as an infant. See, in the Christian Reformed Church, which our church is part of, we believe that it is important for parents to bring their children and dedicate them to God. This is done through baptism. The water of baptism is nothing special. It has no saving qualities, nothing miraculous about it. It's just water. Infant baptism is about parents standing in front of the people of their church and saying that they promise to raise their child to know Jesus. Then, the parents ask the church for their support in that journey. I always love baptisms because I take that promise very seriously. Brad and I want to raise Micah to know Jesus and what He did for him. We want Micah to love Jesus and serve Him with his whole heart. But we know that we can't do that on our own. We need the support of our church family. When Micah is old enough he will attend Kingdom Kids, where he will hear stories from the Bible and other people will have an opportunity to show him God's love. We hope that he will one day attend Cadets and youth group where he will learn how to put his faith in action. We are part of a small group. And we fully expect members of our small group to help us show Micah how to serve God. Other friends from church will also teach him about Jesus and his love for the world. We know that we hold great responsibility in raising Micah, but it also so encouraging to know that we are not alone. We have the love and support of our church family. We know that there will be people praying for us throughout this whole journey as we raise Micah. That's why his baptism was such an important day to us. And we hope that someday in the future Micah will be able to stand in front of those people who promised to love him and support us and he will make his own testimony of faith, saying that because of the love he has been shown, he has accepted Jesus as his Personal Savior. Micah's baptism this past Sunday is a preparation for the future when he will one day make his faith his own. And we are really looking forward to that day!

Brad's Family

Amanda's Family

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fluffy Bums!

I've been wanting to do a post about cloth diapering for a while, but just haven't gotten around to it. So, here I am. :)

I first started thinking about cloth diapering about a year ago (yes, before we were even pregnant!) when my Mom told me about this little cloth diaper boutique she discovered. Heather was due with Lilie in two months and she had gone in there hoping to get some information for her. A little while later, I was invited to a girlfriend's baby shower and she was registered at this same boutique. I had no idea that cloth diapering had come so far! So, I went with my mom to the store one day to see the demo. It was so cool! Cloth diapering was not what I had imagined. It was not those little diapers that people often use for burp rags. It wasn't safety pins and diaper covers. It wasn't poopy hands and stinky laundry. This seemed easy! And if I registered for it I would have to spend little to nothing on diapers! Now, I had to go home and convince Brad. At first, he kind of just went along with it to appease me. Then, we discovered I was pregnant and I started pushing the issue a little more, asking him to come to the store and see the demo one day. He told me he wasn't against it, but he just thought it would all be too complicated and not worth it. I finally convinced him to go to the store one day. After the demo he told me that it was a lot easier than he thought and he thought we could really do it. So, I got the okay to register there! Of course, I had to go back to the store about a million times to look at everything before I could actually register!

When it finally came time to register, I picked out several different types of diapers because I know that, just like disposables, different kinds can work better for different babies. I didn't want to have all of one kind and then find out that they leaked for Micah! However, I really had my heart set on the pocket style diapers. I'm not sure why, but I was just convinced that that would be what we would use. A pocket diaper is exactly what it sounds like. It's a diaper that has a pocket in it for you to stuff an insert. The diaper itself is made of a material called PUL and is waterproof. The inside material is very soft and stays dry. You stuff the pocket with an insert, which can be made of a variety of different type of materials (microfiber, hemp, fleece, etc.). You close the diaper with either snaps or velcro, depending on the diaper (I prefer snaps because you always know what size it is whereas with velcro you can keep doing it and undoing it until it fits right--just like with disposables).

Now that we've been cloth diapering, I was right we love our pocket diapers! In all fairness, we haven't actually used anything else. We did get some prefolds (the kind that you use with safety pins--although you don't use safety pins anymore, they have "snappis" or you can just tie it) but I never really use them. We also got a couple all-in-one (AIO) diapers, but they're still too big for Little Man. AIOs are just like they sound. They most closely resemble disposables because you just change the diaper. However, I've heard that they take a long time to dry, and I feel like they're a lot bulkier than the pockets. I figure why mess with what works, which is why we only use pocket diapers. Our stash consists entirely of FuzziBunz and Thirsties Duo diapers. Both come in either a one size that you can adjust as baby gets bigger (one size because they will last from the newborn stage to toddlerhood) with snaps for the rise and on the waist or a sized option. We have a couple FuzziBunz one sizes, but we much prefer the sized options. The sized diapers can also be adjust with snaps on the rise and waist so they should last a long time. Actually, we're pretty sure we'll only have to buy size small (which is what we use now) and size medium because it goes up to 30 pounds. They're so easy to use and I love all the bright colors!

When we first told people that we were cloth diapering they kind of looked at us funny. We got plenty of comments about poop and extra laundry, but the truth is it's really not that big of a deal. I breastfeed and breastmilk poop is water-soluble which means we don't have to rinse out the poopy diapers or soak them in the toilet. We just throw them in the pail with the other diapers. And we do do laundry more often (about every other day), but so much has changed since having a baby that we don't even realize that it's because we cloth diaper.

We keep the dirty diapers in a cloth bag in a regular garbage can with a lid. The bag has a zipper on the bottom so when it's time to wash, we just unzip it and dump right into the washing machine. First, we do a cold rinse cycle to clear out all the poop. Then, a regular hot water wash cycle with an extra cold rinse cycle. Then, we put them in the dryer as usual (in the summer I will likely be line drying them). It takes me about 5 minutes to stuff the diapers and we have about 20. When we go out we bring a wetbag in our diaper bag to carry the dirty diapers. If it's just wet diaper in the bag we dump them right in our pail when we get home and let the wetbag dry out a bit. If there's a poopy diaper in the bag we dump it in the pail as well as the wetbag (we have two wetbags for this reason). We also have two pail liners (one for upstairs, one for downstairs) and we always wash one of them with the diapers. We were using disposable wipes, but have started using cloth wipes for the past week or so. I'll post more about that at a later time, but for now, I will say I love them way more than disposable wipes!

So, in summary, we love cloth diapering! Seriously, both of us. I ask Brad all the time if he likes it and he says he loves it, it's so easy! He doesn't understand what people's hang ups are over it. He knows exactly how the diaper should fit Micah (the snap goes in the same place every time!) and he's never had to touch the poop (which most people seem to think you do when you cloth diaper...not sure why...). We bought 2 boxes of disposable diapers before Micah was born so that we could have them on hand and we also got 2 packages from the hospital. We are went through the packages from the hospital (when Micah was first born b/c of his umbilical cord and circumcision we used disposables) and 1 of the boxes we used. We invested about $200 of our own money into cloth diapers. That's it. Seriously, this has been a truly great experience. I wish I could say that we're doing this for environmental reasons. That's a good bonus, but it's not why. And, truly, it's not for the financial reasons, although it's really nice not having to buy diaper every week/month. Honestly, we're doing it just because I wanted to. Plus, cloth diapers are so cute. It could really become an obsession they have so many cute options out there! I am so glad that we decided to cloth diaper, there is no looking back!

I'm pretty sure this is the only picture I have of Micah in a cloth diaper. It was taken when he was just a couple of weeks old and the angle makes the diaper look HUGE! I wanted some cute diaper pictures when we got his pictures taken for Christmas at Picture People, but you can't really see his diaper in those pictures. I guess I have to take some more pictures of his cute little fluffy bum!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Looking Ahead

So, like I said, I love New Year's because it's a chance to look back on the past year and see how far you've come, but it's also a chance to look ahead and start new. I love setting goals. I like to think of them as goals and not resolutions because resolutions are about the end product: I want to lost 10 pounds, I want to read more, etc. Goals are more specific and tell you how you're going to get to your end. One thing Brad and I have always done on New Year's Day is sit down and talk about the past year and what we really enjoyed, etc. We also talk about what we would like to do better and then we set some goals for the new year. I find this really helps us because we can keep each other accountable to the other person's goals. It also helps put us on the same page as a family. Every now and then we try to talk about our goals and check up on each other to see how we think we're doing. So, we've had our talk and we thought we'd share some of our goals for 2011 with you. Here goes:

*Read 25 books
*Do quiet time every day (I'm not going to get too specific with this one because as a mom to a baby quiet time can look very different from one day to the next. One day I could have time to read my Bible and journal, the next I could barely have time to read a Touchpoints)
*Make a recipe I've never tried for every family party
*Try something new once a month (this could be anything: a class, food, an activity, etc.)
*Try a new recipe for dinner twice a month

*Do quiet time every day
*Read 20 books

*Learn to roll over
*Learn to crawl
*Learn to walk
*Make new friends

*Pay off our car and one other form of debt
*Build up our savings account
*Make a weekly meal plan
*Go away on a family vacation

Those are some of our goals for 2011. What are yours?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Year in Review

I love the new year. I'm a very type-A person and enjoy setting goals so New Year's is the perfect holiday for me! I also love looking back and reflecting on everything that has happened. 2010 was quite the year. When I look back I had no idea what was in store for me when it started. I thought it might be fun to go through the year with some pictures.

*I quit my job at church. It was a hard decision because I loved working there, but January was the first month in probably 2 years where I got to attend every service for the month and was not pulled out once. It was exactly what I needed spiritually.

*I resigned from my teaching position. I've talked about that on here before. It was really a leap of faith for us. I didn't know it at the time, but it was the best decision I've ever made.
*Brad and I went to San Francisco to celebrate our second anniversary. We biked across the Golden Gate Bridge, went to Alcatraz and Pier 39, visited my friend, Amy, in San Jose, rode the cable car, and just enjoyed each other's company.
*We found out we were pregnant!

*My niece, Lilie Ann, was born. I got to watch her when my sister went back to work and she and I developed a real bond. The last day I baby sat her was really hard for me, but I am so excited to watch her grow up with her cousin Micah!

*I told my students that I was pregnant and would not be back to teach next year.
*Made a trip to Grand Rapids, my favorite place on Earth, and spent some time with my favorite girlfriends. Always a great time when we get together!

*I graduated with my Masters in Reading.
*I attended one of my best friend's wedding here in Chicago.
*I started packing up my classroom.
*Celebrated 10 years of dating Brad (okay, the picture is not from when we first started dating, but it's the oldest picture I could find of us on the computer).

*Went to Brad's brother's wedding in Wisconsin.
*Had our ultrasound and found out we were having a boy.
*Went to Wisconsin Dells with my entire extended family. We had a lot of fun and hope to make this a regular tradition.

*Another trip to Grand Rapids (those are my favorite!).
*Went to my friend, Jessica's, wedding ceremony.
*VBS: Hero Headquarters. This was the first time in 3 years that I was not one of the coordinators of the VBS. The week was much more relaxing!
*Started baby sitting my nieces. We did lots of fun things together, like go to some children's museums as well as the zoo.

*Finished working on Micah's room. Brad did most of the work, but the vision was all mine! :)
*Kylie and Abbie started school so it was just me and Lilie during the day. We had a lot of fun spending time together and it was good practice for when Micah would be born.

*Celebrated my and Brad's birthdays. Brad surprised me and took me to Schaumburg for the night. We ordered pizza for dinner, went to GameWorks and relaxed. It was a great last getaway!
*Took some maternity photos. Both my sister and our friend Mina took great pictures!
*Had both of my baby showers. We got lots of wonderful gifts for Micah and enjoyed celebrating with everyone.

*Went apple picking with our good friends, the Lows (for the fourth year), and the next day with my parents and my nieces.
*Went to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert (coincidentally I thought it would be really cool if I went into labor at the concert, especially since my sister thought we picked the name Micah because of the SCC song "The Walk" where he sings about Micah 6:8).
*Micah Benjamin was born!

*Celebrated Micah's first Thanksgiving.
*Adjusted to life with a newborn.

*Cut down our Christmas tree. This is a tradition we started last year and look forward to continuing with our family.
*Celebrated Micah's first Christmas.
*Went to the zoo lights with our good friends, the Lows.

It was a great year, but we are really looking forward to 2011 and all that God has in store for us.