T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snack Time...

Snack time at the T Rex Family household just changed. T Rex no longer dines alone at his table. Bebe Sister has taken her place at the little table.

Truly amazing how fast these kids grow. I seems like just yesterday Grandma and Grandpa gave one year old T Rex this table. Now he's sharing it with his baby sis. And even though her feet don't reach the ground she still gets up on that chair all by herself. This is becoming quite the nostalgic piece of furniture.

Do you have a nostalgic piece of furniture or maybe something else that carries with it strong memories?

Monday, February 21, 2011

One Year Cloth Diaper Anniversary...

A year ago I joined the ranks of cloth diapering. It was at this point our tiny daughter was big enough to fit into her Bummis and prefolds. These worked well for us during the day but not so great on outings or at night. The fit was just not yet right.

Just when I was starting to get a bit discouraged and thinking cloth might not be right for me, enter another mom (Caitlin) who was also exploring the realm of cloth. She had been doing a ton of research and actually purchased a few of the more "modern" cloth diapers. She offered to let me try the ones she had purchased.

Among these were three FuzziBunz size small diapers. She said these were her favorite. The first time we used them we had complete failure. Leaks, leaks, leaks. I liked that they were a pocket-style diaper but I was not big on snaps. But since they were her favorite, I decided I had to try them again. Remember, keep in mind, she and I were both novices and we did not have anything or anyone, other than the internet, to offer any suggestions. So, away to the internet discussion boards I went.

Aparently, I was not securing the diaper tight enough to the baby. I tried them again - LOVED, LOVED, LOVED them. I think Caitlin had to actually ask for them back. The snaps were still not my favorite, but the diapers were so trim that for the first time my tiny girl with her really tiny head did not have a diaper hanging down to her knees. And, outings became a pleasure. We even started venturing into trying cloth at night.

Well, these diapers have been used at least 3 times per week for the past year. This means each diaper has been used about 156 times. Multiple that by three which totals 468 diaper changes. This many diaper changes would cost an estimated $117 if I were using disposables. If these diapers were purchased new they would cost about $17-$18 each for a total of $54. Hence, you can see the cost savings is over 50%.

However, I did not purchase these diapers new. I loved the ones Caitlin loaned me so very much that I offered to trade her for them. She needed some air miles and I needed diapers. Worked out great. Therefore, I would say, this was a much more significant savings for us.

Additionally, these diapers still look as amazing today as they did when I first tried them out. Because they have snaps, you can hardly even notice the wear these diapers have endured. Not a single snap has needed replacing. Not a single stitch has come undone. Zip, zero, nada. One hundred fifty-six uses each and they still look amazing. Also, this has made me a huge fan of snaps, too. My velcro or hook/loop diapers have not held up as well. They still get the job done but do not look nearly as nice.

The most wonderful part is these diapers acted as my "gateway" diaper. They took me from being a part time cloth diapering mom who was considering giving up to a full time cloth diapering mom with an addiction for fuzzy, fluffy diapers!
I have many more FuzziBunz diapers in my stash adding two more size small (yes, my daughter at 19lbs still fits into these despite the sizing saying the upward size is 18lbs) as well as several one-size (these are adjustable to all the various sizes). We love them all but I still have a soft spot for the original three. I think they will be going in her hope chest. Maybe her daughter will wear them some day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snowy Days...

The past few days have gifted our area with lovely whiteness.

T Rex insisted on going out to play. However, Bebe Sister had to stay inside where it was warm.

Someone was not so happy staying inside while her brother played outside.

Finally, the weekend arrived and I remembered I had purchased a snow suit for Bebe Sister. I found an amazing deal on this used suit (bibs and coat) - $13. I did get it quite large so she could use it next season not intending to use it this year (hence the good deal). However, we did manage to tuck and roll a few things so she could go out and play.

Moving in her suit in the slippery conditions posed a bit of a challenge. She had a great time for about 5 minutes, after which she declared her disdain and play time was over. It took longer to gear up to go outside than actual time spent outside. However, it was her first snowy playtime so I'd say that merits success.

As you can see T Rex was delighted to have his Bebe Sister outside for playtime.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ready for Bed...

Here the kids are ready for bed...

Bebe Sister is wearing a hand-me-down pair of PJs from her brother. They have alligators on them. However, we've put her in a girl-ly sleep sac so you cannot really tell. She can get around in that sac pretty good. Her dad learned to walk in his nightgown when he was about her age. Life father, like daughter.

T Rex is on the stairs showing off his sleeping attire. These are up-cycled wool short pants. He still has night-time potty accidents. We wake him up every night around midnight to use the restroom but he still only stays dry about 50% of the time. I know this is pretty common so we haven't been too discouraged and have tried to work around it.

Thus, we started putting "night time underwear" (aka a loose-fitting cloth diaper) under some wool pants/shorts. This way, if he does pee in the night, his bedding stays dry. He doesn't seem to mind. Maybe the compromise for him being potty trained at such an early age (18 months)? Not sure.

Questions for you parents out there - were your kids sleep sac kids? And if so, at what age did you move to blankets versus the sleep sac (I'm still feeling paranoid about SIDS)? Secondly, when did you kids achieve night time dryness? Did you have any night-time challenges.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Finding Love...

Today, in honor of Valentine's Day - a day celebrating love - a few of the ways I've found love in our home today...

T Rex Dad giving me an extra 90 minutes of sleep this morning... 

The upon waking, seeing that both kids have already been fed breakfast...

The kids playing nicely so I could power through Monday morning chores...

A loving brother sharing a kiss with his Bebe Sister...

Big Brother T Rex reading to his sister so his mom could continue uninterrupted with vacuuming and laundry...

In the giving of rides in the ever popular Cozy Coupe...

And in the reciprocation of such courtesies...

Yes, I'm feeling the love today...how about you?

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I find it a daily challenge to try to get everything in my life in balance. I know many people struggle with this and can relate. 

I struggle to balance being a wife and a mother. I struggle to balance getting the household chores done without detracting from the precious time I have with my young children. I struggle to balance my personal and professional lives. I struggle to balance treating holistically and treating medically when caring for my patients. I struggle attaining a balance between my physical desires and my spiritual needs. I guess I just struggle.

I know there are no quick fix answers. And I know that often it's just that I need to re-evaluate my priorities. And sometimes, doing something fun really does need to be moved up on the priority list. I also find there is a predictable cyclical nature to some of my more anxious feelings about all these things. 

However, when it all boils down to it, I think I'm doing alright. It may seem to me like I'm flying half a ship but really, I'm doing alright. The kids are happy, healthy, and thriving. We have a clean home full of love. My time outside the home is minimal. My patients seem to appreciate the therapeutic options I offer. And all school assignments are turned in and on time. I guess the big question then is why I think I struggle.

Thank goodness for a wonderful husband for reminding me to take a step back and look at this - to look at our sleeping angels in their beds and the amazing lives we made for ourselves. And it's a mighty nice bonus that a little T Rex randomly gives me snuggles and statements of "Luv you, Mama" and my tiny little girl offers me a sip from her pretend cup of tea.

What do you do to achieve a balance in your life?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

T Rex Dad's Sacks of Potatoes

It seems that the tension level in the house always reaches its highest levels right around supper time. Probably because it's the end of the day and we're all approaching the "all done" barrier. Or maybe it's that delightful witching hour phenomenon.

Regardless, I've been having to get more and more creative so I can make supper. Recently, we put up the instant tent in the kitchen. This was mildly successful. The magnetic letters seemed to buy a few more minutes...

Then it's off for baths while the meat simmers or the rice steams. This way, when T Rex Dad arrives home, the kids can be fresh and clean, ready for dinner, and to become "sacks of potatoes"...

So, although, things reach a high stress tense point where we all either act or feel like throwing ourselves on the ground and spinning circles (if you've ever had a toddler you know what I'm talking about), things seem to magically come together right when T Rex Dad gets home.

What's it like at your house just before supper time - calm or crazy? Do you have a "witching hour"? If so, when is it?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How I Do it - Secret Revealed...

So, everyone always asks how I do it. You know, juggle school, domestic duties, and still manage to squeeze in projects like these...

You know how much I love dressing my kids alike - aren't these so cute?!?

One year old birthday gifts - Left, Crunchy Beach Mama's little guy, Right, JKMommy's little guy.

For my friend Katie's little guy's three year old birthday.

There are actually a lot of reasons I am able to "do it all". First, T Rex Dad handles at least 50% of the household duties. He's a very domestic guy. We had an almost argument over who keeps a cleaner house. But he helps with diaper duty and diaper cleaning, dishes, laundry, vacuuming - you name, he does it. In most households women usually assume more of an 80% role of domestic duties. So, you can see how much of a help this really is. And yes, I am grateful for him every day.

Also, I have really great kids. They are just great - I don't know what else to say. They stick to their rhythms pretty good and are also great at entertaining themselves when I need a few extra minutes to wrap things up after nap time. And they still nap at the same time - heavenly.


One of my favorite books from childhood was Cheaper By the Dozen. It's much different than the modern movie. It was written by an efficiency expert who had 12 kids. Since reading it, I try to turn every repetitive task I do into a study in efficiency and attempt to figure out how to make completing the task as quickly but thoroughly as possible. 

One of the tasks mentioned in the book is bath time. Well, I've adapted it to fit my current situation. We have a large shower. When I say large, I mean gigantic. There are two shower heads but there could probably be 4-8 and still have elbow room. It can get a little cold so we try to be quick. However, it does have its perks. When I became a parent, I found that eating and showering were often luxuries. I think there are a few parents out there that can relate to this. 

When T Rex was tiny, we started putting him in the shower with us - just holding him close enjoying that skin to skin time. As he got older he would just play with his letters or other bath toys in the shower while I washed. It was nice because then I did not have to worry about him getting into trouble while I had my shower. The other plus, I could save shower time for when he was awake. 

I think I surprised T Rex with the camera here - I've never brought it into the shower before, hence his startled look. But Bebe Sister is SO happy here!
When Bebe Sister came along we put her swing (and then later the exersaucer) in the bathroom and continued our showers. She would also get into the shower if T Rex Dad was home to help. Now, she's mobile and stable on her feet enough that she's allowed in the shower. And boy does she have a great time. If she is not allowed in she is not shy about expressing her disdain. 

Another secret - I rarely sit still. When I'm awake, I pretty much don't take a break. It's go, go, go until bedtime. And bedtime, well, that's midnight. The kids go to bed around 8:00 pm which is when I get the largest stretch of  studying done. However, when the school work is done, kids' bedtime equals craft time.

Another tidbit - multitask. When I listen to lectures I will also knit. The lectures are recorded so I can pause as often as needed. And this happens a lot when I'm watching during free play time - sharing toys is still a learning process for both of them and someone always has to "go potty" or have a diaper change.

Another thing I do - pre-make meals and freeze them. I'll make a big batch of Shepherd's pie or lasagna, freeze them, and then we can put them in the oven on those days I'm at school. I also make big batches of salads (green or egg salad). Instant meals - very handy.

It's just little things like this that help me manage my time. Little things and big help.

What are your time savers?

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I've mentioned before that we have no TV in our household. By this I mean, we have no way of viewing live TV - no cable, satellite - nothing. Now that T Rex no longer needs daily nebulizer breathing treatments, it is not necessary for him to see shows on a daily basis. In fact, we often go weeks between show viewings. At this moment, I think it's been a good two and a half weeks since T Rex watched a show - probably Cars since this is the most recent photo of him watching a show. The little girl doesn't see any. We are shooting for the "no TV" until age 2 like the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.

Since I've already written on this, a reader asks that I detail how we manage without TV - specifically how the kids manage and stay entertained without watching any television. This is actually an interesting question and one I had to contemplate because "no TV" is such the norm for my kids. 

I kind of chuckle right now as I write this because I'm watching old DVDs of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. So, T Rex Dad and I do get a little bit of show watching in but it's all DVDs and usually the shows are 5+ years old. We've been watching Dr. Quinn, various Star Treks series, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And you gotta love the no commercials. Sometimes when we are somewhere that does have live television playing, it is so bizarre to me to see commercials. I hear I'm missing out on some good ones. However, think of the years of my life I am not having to endure propaganda.

But the kids - well, they really don't know what they are missing. At first, when we stopped the shows for T Rex, he would ask for one. And I'd allow a 30-60 session of something like Veggie Tales or Sesame Street. This was especially useful when I needed to cook dinner. Then it became every other night, then every third night, then a couple times a week. Now he doesn't even ask and sometimes T Rex Dad and I just need a break to be able to talk about something so we ask if he'd like a show or if it's a special occasion we'll put something holiday related on. (And no, he does not play computer games all day either. In fact, unless it's a school lecture or a blog I'm reading, he doesn't even look at the computer.) And let me tell you, his behavior is significantly improved since the switch. We have had significantly fewer tantrums. And the best part, he is learning to play on his own in the play room - and what an imagination he has!

It's not like I leave him in there unsupervised for hours. Rather, the play room is in direct view from the kitchen. So, while I'm cooking dinner, he will go in there and I can actually see or hear him at all times. He is allowed to close the door to keep his sister out if he wants to play with "choke-ables". The good news is that the room has windows on the door so I can still see in when he does that.

We frequently rotate toys - I pack up some in boxes and pull others out. It keeps them fresh and interesting. We also trade toys with friends and neighbors who also have children about the same age. This is great because we don't have to store some of the bigger toys like the rocking horse or kitchen. And the majority of our toys have come from garage sales, consignment stores, Craigslist, or our favorite thrift store. This allows us to get more toys for less amount. So, keeping the toys interesting is a huge part of this.

I also schedule activities for T Rex during the day. During breakfast time we discuss with the kids what our day is going to entail. We detail out our home activities as well as our outings. We talk about when naps will be, what we're going to do during art time, what books we will be reading during reading time, when free play time will be, as well as what toys he thinks he wants to get out for play time. We plan very full days so there really is not much time for shows. The key with my kids is that we are in a structured routine, they know what to expect from our day, and they really look forward to the events of the day. And we definitely build in flexibility. No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, right?

T Rex Dad and I might watch our DVDs in the evening time before bed, but the kids never see us watching them. Honestly, I think leading by example is also a major part. I know this could be tough if the big game is on or something like that. And I'm not saying, TV is bad and should be avoided completely. We've just made the decision as a family to not have it at this stage in our lives. Maybe down the road we might revisit the topic, but for now, we feel it's best for us. 

I believe the key is to keep the television turned off as often as possible. Definitely, switch it off during meal times and don't leave it on as background noise. Keep viewings down to 2 hours or less per day. Ensure those viewings are age appropriate and ideally have some kind of educational component to it. Then talk about what they watched. If possible, interact with them during the show so they don't turn into zombies in front of a one-eyed beast.

Please feel free to offer your own suggestions for getting kids out from in front of the TV. Or offer your own experiences with TV in your home.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Keep Growing...

Part of the kids' new years resolutions is to keep growing. So we checked in on their stats this week. And indeed, they continue to grow. T Rex is up about 3/4 inch in the past several months and Bebe Sister grew a good 1 3/4 inches in the past 2 months!

Yes, I'd say they are doing good with these resolutions. 

How go your resolutions???