Sunday, May 24, 2009

Not Me Monday

...a few things that I most certainly did not do...

Under no circumstance did I call our dog by our son's name. Only someone with serious issues would do such a thing. Conversely, I also did not call our son by our dog's name - any person with a shred of sanity knows the difference between a 100 pound lab and a 14 pound baby.

I did not audibly gasp with excitement when I saw that the season premiere of Jon & Kate Plus 8 is tonight. And I have absolutely not been watching the Yahoo news page to see if their marriage is okay. Because that would be slightly stalkerish and I'm too cool for reality shows, anyway.

Speaking of...I do not, and I NOT get excited when I see that iCarly is on TV. I don't laugh out loud at Spencer, and I don't pass it off as Jr. High "research" when Shawn catches me. And most importantly - of utmost significance - I do not love it when Gibby dances. That would mean I'm twelve.

I did not, in the process of eating an Oreo cookie, drop the cream filling on the floor. On the carpeted floor. On the part of the carpeted floor where our dog particularly enjoys rolling around. I absolutely, positively, did not pick the cream filling up, inspect it, wipe it against my pants, and then eat it. That would be gross. Nope, not me.

Obviously, I'm the coolest, cleanest, most mature, most "together" person you've ever known. Really, you should count yourself lucky to know someone with such sophistication, grace, and elegance. Obviously.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

oh wow

So...I find myself utterly speechless right now.

Lucky for you that it doesn't require speaking to type, huh? Seriously, though. I'm astonished. My friend Patrice posted on her blog about my adventure in diaper making. It would appear that there's more a market out there than I thought possible for diapers-made-by-really-awful-saleswomanwhoiskindofaspaz. Who knew?

I was having a hard time keeping up with emailing everyone who responded pictures of the diapers, so I set up a blog specifically so that people can easily get information. Feel free to check it out:: Cloth Diaper Blog::

So I came up with a "company" (ha ha!) name, made some order forms, and am ready to actually do this thing. Ready and freaked out of my mind at the same time. I thought in my last post that I was just dipping my toe in the waters. I didn't even think it was my big toe - just my pinkey toe. I thought that maybe someone might want me to make a few diapers for them, and I'd get started pretty slowly. Our God, though, is a mighty God who seems to enjoy surprising me. So he took my pinkey toe dipping self and threw me right smack into the deep end.

I'm excited to see where this thing leads. I'm looking forward to learning how to make diaper covers, diaper pail liners, wetbags, etc., and I'm mostly looking forward to sharing my excitement about cloth diapering while being able to creatively help out my family.

I know I said in my last post that the next one would be filled with Jude goodness. So as to not make a liar out of myself, allow me to update you on how he's doing...

We took him to the doctor on Tuesday for his six month well check up, only to discover that he hadn't gained any substantial weight in the last ten days. My heart sank when I saw his weight and learned that he's now in the 1st percentile. But since having some time to think about it, I just am not freaking out like I did last time. Don't get me wrong - I'm concerned, even bordering on worried . Truth is though, we may have to supplement with formula and that would be okay. The Doctor wants me to pump to see how much Jude's getting at each meal. From there, we'll see how much he needs for his weight. If he's getting as much as he needs, then he's just a small baby. If he's not, then we need to give him either expressed breast milk or formula to make up for those ounces. I've officially depleted my freezer stash - so at this point, it would be formula. No sense getting worked up about it, though since 1)We don't know for sure that he even needs extra ounces, and 2) Formula is not the devil. Jude's been exclusively breastfed for six months and the occasional few ounces of formula a day will be just fine. So right now, we're doing a lot of waitin' and seein'...

In the meantime...Jude is officially saying, "mmm...mmmaa...mmaaa...mmaaaaa!" Most of time it's accompanied by crying, but occasionally it's said with a smile and immediately my heart does that melting to a puddle all over the floor thing. He's also so incredibly close to crawling, it's unbelievable. He's scooting up to all fours and rocking back and forth. Once he figures out how to alternate moving those arms and legs, he'll be off... and our lives will never be the same.

At his appointment, we found out that Jude had an ear infection (possibly contributing to his lack of weight gain...more reasons to not freak out and just wait), so he's taking medicine for that and is slightly more clingy than usual. To our absolute pleasure, he's got the skill of laughing down pat and uses that skill often. He laughs at Cole, at me, at Daddy, at other people, and even at my toast (I know...I don't get it either, but that toast got good and buttered just so I could continue hearing him laugh). He's also learned to imitate zerberts. Now, an ordinary kid learns to blow zerberts in the air. Our son though, picked that trick up a few weeks ago. He's now conquered the skill of blowing zerberts on my bare arm (or neck if he can get there). He actually puts his mouth to arm and blows slimy, drippy, sweeterthannythingyoucouldimagine zerberts. His cheeks even jiggle as he's doing it, allowing extra room for the carrot colored drool to completely encase my arm. Totally worth it, though.

Monday, May 18, 2009

you think i can do what?!

Shawn says that he thinks I should make and sell fitted diapers. I thought he was crazy at first, but since Shawn has a tendency to see more in myself than I do, I've been mulling it over for a few months. You read that right, it takes me a long time to mull. No need to judge.

Actually, he started saying I should sell them when I made Jude's first batch of cloth diapers. I disregarded the idea because I was just starting to figure out what I was doing and thought Shawn was just trying to give me an ego boost. I also had no idea if the diapers would even work, if they'd fall apart after one washing, if they'd hold in stink, if the velcro would fall off, if the seams would come undone, if the elastic wouldn't get my drift. I didn't feel comfortable trying to sell something that I didn't even know would work.

After having Jude in cloth diapers for five months (we did disposables for his first month), I can now say that the diapers I made are pretty dang good and hold up just as well (and actually hold the smell less) than the purchased ones. And since Shawn is still saying he thinks I could sell fitted diapers, I'm starting to take him a little more seriously. Truthfully, I'd love to be able to make them and give them away, but my time with Jude is very precious to me. If I'm going to be doing something that takes me away from him, I need it to be something that generates income to contribute towards my eventual dream of staying home.

Now for the embarrassing part. I'm not a good marketer, and I have a severe disdain for people who peddle themselves. I've stayed far, far away from businesses like Mary Kay and Pampered Chef - not because those aren't great opportunities for extroverted women - but because I'm just not good at the whole, "you should buy my product" thing.

Allow me to tell you a story to demonstrate my point. Two weeks ago, I took Jude into our pediatrician's sick clinic on my way to work because I thought he had a cold and wanted to make sure it wasn't something more severe before we left town. I usually try to put him in a disposable before we go to the pediatricians because I don't want the cloths to change the consistency of his weight, but this was a last minute thing, so I didn't have the chance and he went in his cloth diaper. As the nurse was getting some of his stats from me, I undressed Jude to get him ready for the weigh-in, asking if it was okay that he was in a cloth diaper. Yes, it was okay, and the nurse quickly became fascinated with my cloth diaper choice, telling me that she was considering cloth diapering her 8 month old. This is not an unusual occurrence, I get questions about it at least once a week. The conversation went like this:

"Where did you find the diapers?" the nurse asked.

Tell her you can make them, myself said.

"Well, I had a hard time finding anything locally, so my husband's parents actually bought us most of his online." Just do it. It's not that hard, just say, "Actually, I made some cloth diapers for him that work as well as the ones we bought. I'd be glad to give you a better deal than you could find online if you're interested."

"Do you happen to remember the website you bought them from?" she inquired.

"Gosh" I replied, "Not off the top of my head. I do know that they're Little Lions brand, though. I think you can do a search for Little Lions and probably find them pretty easily. They were the best quality for the best price that we could find and they work out well for us." Or...I can jot down my email address for ya. The Little Lions were about $9/diaper plus shipping and handling. I'd be glad to make you some for about $7.50/diaper and you wouldn't have to pay shipping and handling. I can easily email you pictures of the diapers I've made.

"I'll have to check those out - have you tried any other brands?" she asked.

"Yeah, I've tried the BumGenuis, they're a pocket diaper. That just means you "stuff" them with the liner that's already sewed into the fitted. I like them a lot, but I don't see much of a difference in functionality between those and the fitteds with the covers." Gosh, just say it! I made some for Jude that work really well. I'd be glad to make some for you to try if you'd like. Here is my email address and what I would charge per diaper. End of peddling. How hard is that? Really. How hard is that?

I went on to explain to her some of the details of how fitted diapers work, the best place to find the diaper covers, how often I wash his diapers, and the best way I've found to remove the smell and stains...all without mentioning that I'm fully capable of making fitted diapers.

See? I'm a total and complete pansy. It's ridiculous, really.

I certainly can't expect to sell any diapers if I don't let people know that I'm able and willing to make them. I don't plan for this to develop into any kind of lucrative business, I'm just thinking that I can take something I love and about which I'm passionate and turn it into a way to help support my family.

Because I'm completely stepping out of my comfort zone here and doing my best to put this out there, would you like to know why I think my diapers would be a great option? Well, whether you would or not, here you go:
  • I'm really not lying when I say that they're equal to the diapers we've purchased. Shawn actually likes them better, but that would sound pompous if I said it. :)
  • Because each order would be custom made, the client can tell me what kind of fabric and pattern they would like. The diapers I made are considerably softer (even after tons of washings) because I was able to choose my fabric. The pattern choices are almost endless and I'm sure I could find a fabric to fit even the strangest of tastes!
  • Supporting your local economy and handmade goods is very trendy right now. So...if you're a jump on the bandwagon/peer pressure type of person, this is a great opportunity for you (but after this, you should really stop jumping on that bandwagon. The 80s are making a comeback in fashion and you really don't want to go back there. So really, for your own sake, jump right off).
  • Included in the order, you would receive washing and care instructions so that even someone who doesn't know a cloth diaper from a trash bag would be able to get them clean like a pro.
  • Really, this price is just about the cheapest you'll find for non-used cloth diapers. I wouldn't even consider selling them if I didn't feel like I could make something that is quality for a great price. I don't have time to waste making something that won't really work or that is overpriced.

So consider this my one and only solicitation of you, my friends and family. If you know of someone who is interested in cloth diapers, just let 'em know that I make them and sell them pretty cheaply (I'm thinking around $7.50/diaper, the price will vary slightly depending on the type of material and pattern they would like). They can email me ( for more information or pictures of the diapers I've made. If you yourself are interested or would like to order diapers for a friend (great baby shower gift!), it would be my pleasure to make some for you, according to your specifications, and I can ship to anywhere in the US.

Okay, that's the last of that nonsense. I promise that my next post will be filled with lots of Jude goodness! :)

Phew. It's done. I did it. I am, by far, the worst saleswoman ever. Ever. But possibly...just time someone asks me where I bought my cloth diapers, I'll actually muster up the courage to tell them that I make them. Maybe? Maybe. Definitely. I can do it. Jen Maurer - pansy? No, Jen Maurer - cloth diaper maker-er. Yeah, I can do it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

sweet home indiana

Despite my eagerness to leave my home state, I find myself excited and even eager to take trips back to visit family. When I was growing up, my extended family lived within an hour's drive and we spent most holidays, birthdays, and random weekends with my Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and Cousins. The stark contrast between my growing up years and my current situation (8 hours from home) didn't bother me much until we had Jude. Don't get me wrong - I love North Carolina and we are ridiculously happy here and are not thinking about moving back home, but it saddens me to know that Jude won't be growing up surrounding by his extended family as I did. Beyond that, I just miss them. There's something to be said for being around people who knew you as an awkward pre-teen with bad skin, a bad perm, and even worse clothing choices. It adds a good dose of humility to one's conversation and keeps one from getting too full of one's self. Not that those things describe me. Awkward stage? Me?

When Jude was about two months old - before he was diagnosed with reflux when we were in the midst of his all day/all night crying jags and I was struggling to realize I might have depression - Shawn promised me that we would make a trip to Indiana to see my family for an extended stay on Mother's Day. That single promise helped propel me through some rough nights when I wanted to pout out my lip and say, "I want my Mommy!" I had been looking forward to this trip for months! Jude did surprisingly well for a six month old being trapped in his carseat for eight hours, I'm super proud of him! Shawn and I loved our time with family and enjoyed watching Jude interact with his extended family. He (Jude) got a kick out of watching his cousins Avery, Asher, and Grace, and never failed to laugh at Grampy's duck noises. He was fascinated by his Uncle Jason and Aunt Rachael, and graced his Grammy with sloppy kisses on the cheek that he had previously reserved only for me. Shawn and I enjoyed being able to both get ready at the same time (as opposed to the hand the baby off game we usually play), eating our food without interruption, and having a few extra sets of hands to handle him when he got fussy. I'm thoroughly jealous of you Mammas who live near grandparents!

Because he loves us, Jude had a complete blow out in a gas station in Grayson as we were traveling back to North Carolina. His poo was all over his outfit, on his back, and well - it was disgusting. Call me crazy, but I think it's one of my favorite memories of the trip. Shawn and I were both disgusted and taking turns trying to clean up the mess without getting poo on the car seat, but couldn't stop laughing about it. Other favorite memories include going out (Jude-less) with my Mom and Sister for Mother's Day, pushing Jude in his umbrella stroller with Shawn through my hometown, getting to see so many of my family members on Sunday, and swinging on the front porch swing after Jude went to sleep, chatting with Shawn and my Dad.

It was a good trip.

This was pre-trip - tummy time in cloth diapers (with a drippy nose from the nasty cold he was working on getting over)
"Look at me! I can sit like a big boy!"

Hanging from Grammy and Grampy's front porch - our little monkey

Fascination with Uncle Jason

Watching Grampy cook hamburgers on Sunday afternoon

The kids (and their kids). Jason (my brother) and girlfriend Shatana, Rachael (my sister) and husband Gary, Shawn, Jude, and I, Jesse (my brother) and wife Sandy with their two, Avery and Asher.

Jude's six month half birthday celebration! Mommy...I mean Jude...was really wanting some ice cream cake


Swinging on the front porch with Daddy

He got a bit of a sun burn on his nose, but he still loves those Daddy kisses.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

talking, crawling, and teething

Salem Pregnancy Care Center's annual Walk For Life was a couple of weekends ago, and our little family took part. We had fun thinking back to a year ago when I was starting to grow out of my regular clothes and pooching out a little. Jude had fun and even got a baby footprint painted on his face by the Walk For Life's resident face painters, Brittany and Sara (two of my awesome "Pinedale Girls"). Shawn and I took turns pushing the stroller and while Jude enjoyed looking around for the first half of the Walk, he graced us with a healthy Nap For Life for the second.

I apologize for not posting anything substantive lately (not that anyone has been complaining about the mostly picture posts!) we've just had quite a bit going on here. The advent of spring always seem to stir the inner landscaper and home Shawn, and this year was no different! We've been saving for awhile to get desperately needed new windows in our home and were finally able to pull the trigger. Our old windows were old...really old. Brown, chipped paint, and most of them didn't even lock. I didn't worry too much about my safety though because you almost threw a shoulder out trying to open the ones that weren't painted shut. Our new windows are glorious. They're white, clean, and can open and shut on a moment's notice! It's incredible to see the difference they make in the look of both the interior and exterior of the house. The yard of our home was pretty much atrocious when we first moved in, and we've been trying to slowly tame the wild beast that is our landscaping. Let me be honest. Shawn has been trying to slowly tame this beast. When we first moved in, I decided to weed all of the beds. I did just that, spending a few hours doing so. Little did I know that somewhere in our beds lay poison oak and my hands were covered in it. My hands swelled so much that I had to get a ring cut off (thankfully not my wedding ring, I got that one off in time).
So the landscaping and I keep our distance.
But let's be realistic - you don't really care about our landscaping, I know. "How the heck is that Judeabug of yours?" is most likely what you want to know.
Well, he's great. He's almost six months old and is quickly turning from an infant to a baby and sometimes even looks like he's well on his way to toddlerhood. He's babbling quite a bit and if it didn't seem way too early, I'd swear he sounds like he can say, "mmm mommy." Rolling over has been a feat that Jude accomplished awhile ago, so he's onto the next task -crawling. He hasn't figured out that if he gets his knees up under him he can propel himself forward, so he's resorting to lots of scooting backwards and making angry noises at the toys he can't reach.
As I type this, Jude is jumping in his Jumperoo, letting out squeals of delight, and then craning his neck to see if Cole is reacting to his squeals (Cole is lying a few feet away, apparently thoroughly bored and unimpressed with Jude's noises). It's awesome to see Jude continue to recognize us and even be excited by our presence. He loves to watch Shawn and wait for him to catch Jude's eye - at which point he breaks out in smiles that overtake his face. (Jude - not Shawn. Although it's hard to suppress a smile with that bug grinnin' at ya!).
Diaper changes have become an Olympic feat as Jude continues to perfect his rolling skills. Consider the prowess required to diaper a ninja on attack and you have a good idea of the coordination and skill involved in diapering Jude. Sometimes he'll slip through our hands and roll over despite our best intents. I suppose I should be frustrated, but then I see his naked little butt and he pops his head up like, "hey there! this is pretty cool what i can do, huh?" and my heart quickly melts to a puddle all over my shoes.
For my first Mother's Day, we'll be traveling to Indiana so that Jude can meet the rest of his Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Great Uncles/Aunts, Second Cousins, and many other dear people who love the heck out of this kid. I'm super excited, but again - nervous about trying to drive eight hours with him. Any advice?
While I could gush about this kid for days, he's quickly on his way to a meltdown, so gotta go!