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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What is Your Granola Grade?

I love granola.  Toss it in some yogurt with some fresh fruit, or press it into a bar-shape for on-the-go-goodness.  Tasty, nutritious, and sometimes heavy on the sugar content, it's delicious.  The H-G Household especially likes the Meijer Brand, Bountiful Morning, - cheap, great flavor, and awesome.

World's Greatest Cheap Granola

According to Urban Dictionary, the colloquial term granola is defined as "a person who dresses like a hippy, eats natural foods (granola), and is usually a Liberal..." or "a tree hugging, free spirited hippy minus all the drugs".  (See more definitions here, though this site can have some adult language so be warned!)

I won't go into politics, or post any pictures of my latest outfits (sleep deprivation makes for unwise wardrobe choices), but I feel a certain responsibility to trees and nature, and don't do drugs - that's good advice, kids!  With the next generation now residing in my home and depending on me, I am especially sensitive to my impact on the environment, and all that "granola" related stuff.

So my question for you is: How would you grade your granola-ness?  I was inspired to write this post because of our favorite local coffee shop, Lemonjello's, that has a "zero waste" policy.  You won't find trash bins anywhere in the building, because they recycle or compost anything that would otherwise be thrown out.  Read an article about it here.  With that in mind, I thought I'd share a few items of what makes me proudly granola.

Don't Worry - It's Decaf

STYROFOAM - When you can't avoid getting it.
Gas station coffee, leftovers to bring home, the packaging that encased your brand new HD TV - styrofoam is everywhere, and not exactly biodegradable.  When you can't avoid it, look for places to recycle it!  We are fortunate enough that our church collects styrofoam for recycling (along with old cell phones, batteries and ink cartridges).  If you're local, feel free to drop it off at my place and I'll bring it in!

Check out this photo from another post - see if you can spot the cloth diaper with cover.  We made the switch to cloth diapers once Quincy was three weeks old, and are really enjoying it!  With new designs, they're super easy to use and no need to hire an outside diaper service for cleaning.  Just use special detergent and you can clean them at home in your washer and dryer.  In case you just read that last sentence and said, "grooooooss!", don't be alarmed.  Breast-milk is water-soluble so no, there isn't a ton of baby poop floating around our washer.  You wash them separately from the rest of your clothes, and once the baby graduates to solid foods or would use formula, there are sprayers designed to rinse the diapers right into the toilet before washing.  I will admit that we used disposable diapers for when Quincy was just a little guy until he could grow into these diapers.  It was convenient and other cloth diapers didn't fit him right.  The cool thing is that these diapers (Bum Genius 4.0 brand) are adjustable so they will fit him for a while.

Quincy, Sporting his Blue Cloth Diaper

Disposable can be very convenient, but don't forget about the cost!  We have twenty cloth diapers that cost $17-20 each.  That would be 400 bucks on diapers (20 x $20), which sounds like a lot, but we won't be buying any more diapers, and can use these for future children.  The Newborn Pampers Swaddlers® diapers that we bought had 36 in a package and would last 1 week (sometimes less), and cost $10.  Not taking into account that the size will change from newborn as the baby grows, a year's supply would cost at least $520 (if you only used 6 diapers a day).

...And What About Wipes?
We still have disposable wipes for when we're out and about, but we generally use cloth wipes.  Thanks to my step-mom's handy work with a surging sewing machine, we've got homemade wipes that were super cheap to make!  Simply cut out flannel fabric of your choice into 8"x8" (some people prefer 8"x4" or 4"x4") and surge around the edges or use a zig-zag stitch.  I have two-ply wipes for extra stength (two pieces of fabric sewn/surged together).

Homemade Cloth Wipes

You can wet them with water, or purchase/make a solution.  I use an old Pamper's wipe tub for storage, and make a wet solution from concentrate that you dissolve into hot water.

Wipe Solution

Don't want to blow a ton of money on store wipes, but also don't want to sew your own?  My aunt sent me some homemade disposable wipes that are easy to make and will cut your wipe bill substantially!

Homemade Disposable Wipes

Here's the Recipe:
1. Cut Bounty® paper towels in half and remove middle roll.
2. Mix together 1/3 cup creamy baby oil lotion, a few drops of baby shampoo and 2 cups boiling water.
3. Put 1-cup solution in bottom of container and place straight side of towels in, then flip over and repute for other side.
4. If necessary, pour additional hot water over top to saturate the wipes.

DO YOU RECYCLE? I hope so!  Now, do you TerraCycle?
A great friend of mine uses TerraCycle at the school where she teaches.  It's a great way to recycle tons of things you would think should go straight to the landfill.  The best part (besides cutting back on unnecessary waste) is that her school gets money for what can be recycled!  You can check-out more information at their website here.  Some examples of the items they collect are: granola bar wrappers, candy wrappers (think what could happen when Halloween rolls around!), coffee bags, toothpaste tubes, antibiotic tubes, Scotch® tape dispensers & cores, chip bags, any kind of cheese wrapper or packaging... the list goes on!  We keep a container on hand and fill it up with anything that matches their list of items.  Maybe you have an organization, school or group that could benefit from this service?  Think about it!

So those are just a few of the Granola Tips that the H-G's have.  Got any to share?


Friday, January 20, 2012

Perspectives (One Month After Everything Changed)

Here we are: one month from when I first went into labor.  (If you missed Quincy's introduction that Brad posted, check it out here).  There are times I've held Quincy and said out loud to myself, "I have a baby!  This baby is mine!", because I still can't believe it.

4 Weeks Old

I debated for a long time whether I should post the Birth Story.  I've found I am a very private person in certain instances, though I am very proud of how the labor and birth went.  This blog is public for anyone to read, and I still want to keep a small corner of my life private.  So, here is my compromise: I won't be posting the full story here, but if anyone would like to know the full details, meet me for coffee and I'll tell you anything you'd like to know.  (Especially for new moms - I have some really great friends that shared their stories, and it was so helpful for me in preparing for the birth.  Please don't hesitate to ask if you'd like to know more!)

The condensed version is: 12 hours from start to finish, unmedicated, and Brad was an amazing coach.  I couldn't have made it through without him.

The Final Belly at the Start of Contractions

For parents-to-be or those just curious about labor and birth and the weeks following, here are a few insights from my experience:

Contractions and labor are painful, but as some great friends of mine described it, it's better to be in the mindset that it's hard work instead of pain.  You aren't in the hospital due to an injury or illness; your body is supposed to go through these difficult (but rewarding) phases.  Plus, once the baby arrives, you are in total euphoria, and couldn't care less what happened in the previous hours.

Minutes After Quincy's Arrival (First Photos!)

Visualizing is really helpful.  Did you know that 10 centimeters is the length of an iPhone from the top of the phone, down to the button?  Weird example?  Yes.  But it was helpful all the same.

10 Centimeters

Newborn clothing is tiny.

Maggie's Pants vs. Quincy's Pants

You will find as a new mother (or father), that you become highly skilled at doing things one-handed, learn to pick things up with your feet, and adjust to operating at the demands of a very small person.  They rule your life, but in a good way.  New accessories are just a bonus.

My New Index Finger Ring

A lot has transpired over the last month, but we couldn't be happier with our little dude.  God sure has blessed us.

Oh, and Quincy says hey.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Many Faces of Quincy

New Year's Eve 2011 (10 Days Old)

One thing we have realized with being new parents, is children are ever changing.  Looking back through the different photos we've taken over the past two and a half weeks, Quincy has proven to be a growing boy, but also he has his only personality (and hilarious faces and noises).  We've had requests for more photos of Quincy, so instead of jamming everyone's Facebook News Feed with tons of separate posts (at least for right now), we've opted to do a post on Quincy's many faces.

You may notice that the majority of the photos are of him sleeping.  I'm sure we'll have more open-eyed photos as he gets older, but he still spends a lot of his time sleeping.  Enjoy!

Bundled up for his first ride in the stroller

Blowing Bubbles - a necessary skill for newborns

Trains, Planes & Toes

You can guess what this face is from...


Calm & Content

Yawning, or... upset about minimal snow fall so far this year?

I pledge allegiance to the... guitar? 

Chillin' in his sleeper bag - way cooler than a Snuggie

Mommy's Little Monkey indeed.
We hope you all had a great start to your New Year; the H-G's sure did!