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Unworthy

I don’t do this terribly often but let’s get personal for a minute.

We all have particular personality inclinations and one of mine is people pleasing. I want to make everyone happy, and related to this – I want to feel like I am doing the right thing. Now, I’m fairly self aware about this inclination and do try to make sure this trait doesn’t conflict with where I feel led by God. Life isn’t black and white though, is it? And I am more susceptible to suggestion that I would ever like to admit.

Last night I checked up on an old friend. We have drifted apart: our paths have diverged. I may have moved, but they moved on. And in comparison? My life looks insignificant and so very un-worthy. My focus seems off; raising my boys, traveling, worrying about petty things like math curriculum and black/white conversions. In the grand scheme of things that matter to the urgent issues of today, how do my priorities stack up? Poorly, that’s how. I felt so small and even worse was the palpable rise of anxiety: that old companion of mine. He whispers in my ear that I am worthless, lukewarm and out of sync with the only thing that matters…

So with downcast countenance I tried to soldier on with the evening. Of course it didn’t take long for hubby to read distress on my features. Having been married long enough to know damage control was needed ASAP, he wrapped me up in a big hug, bowed his head and prayed for me. It helped. It usually does. But the seed of doubt and fear remained.

Later on:

While Dan showered I read in bed. I’m currently reading Jeannette Walls’s Half Broke Horses and as I  wound down for sleep I came across this line: “Teaching is a calling too. And I’ve always thought that teachers in their way are holy – angels leading their flocks out of the darkness.”

As often happens, God had found me where I was and laid a comforting hand on my shoulder.

While I can’t say I slept peacefully last night (because Wesley, the incredible never sleeping toddler) I did sleep untouched by anxiety. I am right where I am for a reason. God’s reason. He will continue to meet me where I am and give me the encouragement to run the race set specifically before me; he will grow and call me personally as he sees fit.

And I will endeavor to accept his peace in it all.

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Roman Gladiator Training School

This was the highlight of our trip for Rowan! They started out in the museum and learned all about Roman warfare. Then they began the training! After training they broke up for individual sparring matches. Daddy and Rowan both won their matches! At the end they were awarded new Roman names and a certificate. Such a neat experience that really brought history to life for my boys.

Spring in Italy

I like lists. I’m also short on time and assume you are as well, so I’ve decided to run down our Italian adventure in bullet points 😀

Itinerary:

  • Venice: We flew in on Thursday morning. The goals (that we met) were to tour the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Aqua Alta bookshop, the Jewish Ghetto (the original ghetto), to get lost on back streets, eat lots of gelato, chase pigeons, ride a traghetto to the Saturday morning fish market, count lions (the symbol of the city) and have no one fall in a canal.
  • Rome: on Saturday  we took the night rain to Roma termini station, without incident. Our (met) goals here were to take a general bus tour of the city, step foot in Vatican City, tour the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, traipse about famous squares and fountains, and to have Daddy and Rowan take a gladiator training course. We adored our apartment, enjoyed the vibe of the city and would love to return someday to the eternal city!
  • Naples: Tuesday afternoon we grabbed a train down to the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. We had a packed itinerary for the two half days scheduled here that mostly went not-as-planned. We were tired, opening hours weren’t clear on the subterranean city tour and on our way to one of the castles some delinquents threw glass bottles over a ridge, landing close to Rowan and scaring him near to death (we skipped the castle, grabbed some pasteries and went back to our apartment). We were able to visit the museum where most of the artifacts from Pompeii are housed, eat at a famous cafe, see some famous squares/shopping centers, eat some famous deserts, and of course eat pizza in it’s birthplace! We were also able to have a couple of very thrilling metro rides (I have personally never experienced anything like them, nor probably touched so many strangers all at once…except that I did engage in mosh pits as a teenager I seem to remember, so maybe I came close?) and upon getting lost and waiting ages for an airport bus, we hailed a taxi for one last wild adventure (I was panicked and asked him to “hurry.” This was effective and incredibly terrifying.)

Brags/Things that went right:

  • We managed to pack for a week in only carry-on bags!
  • No one fell in a canal!
  • We didn’t miss a single train or plane!
  • We didn’t lose a single kid
  • We saw most of what we wanted to see.
  • We ate lots of gelato
  • We weren’t pickpocketed
  • Our apartments were all very nice/as advertised. In Venice we had a canal view and in Naples we had an incredible 10th floor view of the city and Vesuvius.
  • We worked together to overcome obstacles and bonded on an awesome learning adventure ❤

Things we learned for next time (yes, even with all the travel we have done with kids we still make plenty of mistakes!):

  • Bring sun hats – always. Yes, even when the spring forecast is cool and rainy because it might actually be warm and sunny the entire time.
  • Maybe purchase attraction tickets in advance (although the ticket purchase line at the Colosseum was shorter than the advance ticket line and we were glad we didn’t pre-purchase for the Vatican museums because by the time we were supposed to go, our hearts were not in another museum visit with toddlers…so mileage may vary here).
  • Don’t bother with restaurant recommendations like the ones I painstakingly pinned – we just ended up eating takeaway pizza and supermarket sandwiches anyway – much less stressful than sit down meals with loud, messy, off schedule tots.
  • No markers. I’m sure the train seats/pastel toddler pants will thank us next time.
  • Remind husband extra times about putting color sucking laundry sheets into mixed loads. Or do the laundry myself.
  • Don’t leave the elderberry immune gummies in the car. Although I’m sure we still would have caught colds (because toddlers and public transportation).
  • Leave stroller intact instead of stripping snack tray and sunshade for weight reasons. See above about weather forecasting. Also, it would have spared a few unbelted toddler spills. Oooops.
  • Agree on souvenir and treat prices ahead of time so the kids know what to expect (or not to expect).
  • Accept the lack of early starts.
  • Accept that you’ll cut 1/4 -1/2 of your itinerary.
  • Trains are not scary. Hop on and enjoy the lack of airport uptight-ness.
  • Make time to pee/ get snacks before getting on the train instead of being so uptight about being there and waiting 45 minutes for a gate to even be announced.
  • Conversely: Either give the airport shuttle bus a huge lead time or just take a taxi (instead of frantically hailing one from the bus stop and eating the bus tickets). This could obviously vary by city, but Naples transportation was a crowded, under construction, disorganized nightmare. And…cue the pictures!
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Speaking


I’m not very good at it. I’d rather run away than disagree or fight. But sometimes something is too important to me, too deeply felt. This situation has not come up for me in a real raw way that leads me to openly witness to someone yet, but maybe every-time a situation causes me to break my comfort barrier it will bring me more peace in witnessing about my faith. In the meantime I do try to live my life in a way that exhibits God’s love and thus witnesses indirectly. 

It’s not enough, but I hope to always be learning and growing.

A break

Taking a Facebook break is freeing and annoying. To have vivid proof of ones addiction in the constant impulse to click on an app that is no longer there…

Also, it’s just an annoyance. I’d like to invite the homeschool group to the park today, but … no Facebook. I love the benefits though. Facebook is such a time suck and a distraction and it influences my mood far too often. 
Maybe this will be a more permanent thing. 

Sleeping, perchance

My youngest is a bad sleeper. My pediatrician has confirmed this as a diagnosis, ha. His non-sleeping habits have caused no little chaos to our family dynamic. I’ve been beyond tired. Combine this with tandem nursing until Connor turned three and hello extended postpartum hormonal land. Survival mode is my normal now. 

While big boys sleep, I try to fold laundry. Wesley helps by not only not sleeping but also unloading the recycling bin. Thanks dude.

Messy normal – the laundry I spent/wasted naptime folding? Baby unfolded it while I helped the toddler potty.

Some days my kids get organic meals crafted into fun designs. Sometimes things are more survival-y and they get cold canned chicken/beets on tupperware lids because there are no clean plates.

Some days this is my to-do list.

Connor weaning and potty training has made me feel somewhat more normal and this week I’ve set some new routines in place that just haven’t been possible in my baby and travel weary brain until now. A morning circle time routine should help with the noise complaints from our (late sleeping) downstairs landlords. And finally making the decision to crawl out of bed and run before the kids are up: this is a big one. When you feel like you’re drowning in exhaustion, every minute in bed is golden. But somehow making the decision to get up on your own and do something in the quiet pre-kid calm is worth every lost moment with my cozy blanket nest. Not to mention the mood and energy enhancements from the run itself. It’s good stuff. 
None of that means I won’t still be tired, pants-less, disorganized and grumpy with my kids… But it’s a start. 

A long time.

It has been a long time since I blogged. Life has raced forward, as it has a tendency to do. When you last saw your heroine…there were only two wee ones and it was post deployment/reintegration. So, obviously that went well…and now we have three boys. Hubby got orders overseas, which we never in a million years thought would actually happen. We are now 1.5 years into his 2 year tour in Crete, Greece. It is lovely, alien, and already familiar. Closing time is near enough for me to be anxious about leaving this island, which has become our home. We don’t know yet where we will be blown next by that silly north wind but stay tuned and I will try to write more frequently, as I did in the past. The old anxiety monster has tapped me on the shoulder again and has necessitated that counter measures be taken. So, I will be right here; writing, running, praying, swimming, loving, raising my voice and then apologizing, wiping bottoms and boogers, traveling, and all of the rest of the things that make up my crazy beautiful life. I hope you’ll read along with me 🙂

Objects of my disaffection

We are close to leave day. Packing close. Our house – in addition to being flooded with baby things – is now overrun with new boots to be laced, new uniforms to be washed/prepared, new bags, new socks, toiletries – mounds of stuff to be packed. I hate it all. I hate the bags spilling out into our hallway, congesting the top of our dresser. I loathe each piece of paraphernalia: each piece like a brick, one on top of the other, building the wall which will separate our family.

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A few minutes ago I leaned in the doorway, glowering at the bag on our bed, accumulating neat rows of folded clothing. And then it occurred to me: each one of those shoelaces and Velcro patches will soon be taking care of my husband where I cannot. I won’t be able to offer a comforting hug after a long day, so new sheets, please do it for me. There will be no foot rubs for sore feet after his 12 hour, six day a week shifts; new socks, please provide comfort for them. Multicam rain jacket – yeah, ugly, I’m talking to you – please give my husband warmth and dryness in your embrace until I can again.

Perhaps I can take comfort in this frame of mind until he leaves. The uniforms will be gone. The bags will be gone. On the surface, order will be restored to our house. Then I am sure his side of the bed, his toothbrush, the dust gathering on his Xbox, all the things that have no place in his life for the rest of this year, will take over screaming at me.

But that’s a problem for another day. For today, I will go hug my family and feel blessed that we are still under one roof.

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The Newborn Fluff Experience

I didn’t use cloth with my first son until 11 months, so had never cloth diapered a newbie. Here is the stash we ended up with for baby boy #2:

19 fitteds

10 newborn prefolds (15 + infant pfs)

6 newborn/xs PUL covers (3 new OS)

6 wool soakers
9 AIOs
4 pockets
Plenty of assorted inserts
Of course you never know how big babies will be (ODS was7lbs 1oz) so it’s hard to plan! DS2 was born at 9lbs and left the hospital at 8lbs 6oz. Kiddo is certainly on the large side! Basically all of the newborn stash fit for the first 4 weeks or so. Now at 8 weeks we are at about 14 lbs and well into one sizes. I still don’t regret investing in a newborn stash! I haven’t found newborn cloth to be an inconvenience – in fact my first son leaked far more frequently out of his sposies and caused a ton of laundry because of that. I love the look and feel of a cushy fluffy bottom.
With no further ado, here is the rundown on the stash:
Bummis newborn superbrite cover: the only diaper that was too small to start with. The tabs had to be so far out that the very scratchy (almost sharp) sides scraped C-man’s tender newborn legs when he frogged them up. So not cool.
Grovia NB AIO – loved these diapers for about 3 weeks. Had to add a little doubler at about two weeks.
Day two, 8lbs 6 oz

Day two, 8lbs 6 oz

Sized (XS) Thirsties covers and AIOs (no longer made): liked them – aios weren’t absorbent enough at about 2 weeks. We are still barely squeezing into the covers at 8 weeks. The duo system fits longer and I appreciate that with my big guy.
First week,

First week, <9lbs – Thirsties xs cover

7.5 weeks old13lbs 12 oz Xs thirsties over two trifolded preemie pfs

7.5 weeks old13lbs 12 oz Xs thirsties over two trifolded preemie pfs

Thirsties duo covers size one: love them! They have been my favorite cover paired with the fab fitted for a bulletproof combo. They are adorable too! They are getting a little short in the rise now at 8 weeks and almost 14 lbs. Doubt they will make it to the advertised 18lbs. Bummer.
6 days old, Thirsties Duo cover size one

6 days old, Thirsties Duo cover size one

2 weeks 5 days - 9lbs 13oz. Thirsties duo size one over a snappied infant PF

2 weeks 5 days – 9lbs 13oz. Thirsties duo size one over a snappied infant PF

2 days shy 8 weeks 13 lbs 12 oz last weigh thirsties duo sz1 over snappied infant pf. Starting to have leaks - too short in rise

2 days shy 8 weeks 13 lbs 12 oz at last weigh: Thirsties duo sz1 over snappied infant pf.

Thirsties fab fitted size one: hands down favorite diaper. Great absorbency – easy to add a doubler as needed. Soft and squishy – great at keeping poop inside and off of the cover. My absolute only con for these is that he is busting out of them at 14 lbs. Not going to make it to the advertised 18lbs. And since I found these NWOT on the swap for a good price…I probably won’t be replacing them with the next size up if I can’t find a good deal. $17 for a fitted is more than this bargain hunting girl will spend 😉
8 days old Thirsties Fab Fitted size one - weighed at 8lbs 14 oz the next day

8 days old Thirsties Fab Fitted size one – weighed at 8lbs 14 oz the next day

6.5 weeks, aprx 13 lbs

6.5 weeks, aprx 13 lbs

Kissaluvs 0 – another itty bitty favorite diaper. He can actually still wear them with a doubler for daytime. These live up to the hype – soft and awesome!
2 days old Kissaluv 0 - approx 8 lbs 6oz

2 days old Kissaluv 0 – approx 8 lbs 6oz

Swaddlebees AIO size one: love it – didn’t know how I would feel about a side snapper but the fit and functionality has been good. Needs a doubler now at 8 weeks and won’t fit for much longer.
How do I not have a picture of this adorable diaper?
Flip covers: fantastic fit starting around two weeks old – even with his brothers old covers after a little elastic tightening.
2 weeks 5 days - 9lbs 13oz. Flip over a snappied infant pf

2 weeks 5 days – 9lbs 13oz. Flip over a snappied infant pf

2 days shy of 8 weeks - apprx 13lbs 12oz (at last weigh) Big brothers heavily used Flip cover over snappied infant prefold - I did tighten the elastic

2 days shy of 8 weeks – apprx 13lbs 12oz (at last weigh) Big brothers heavily used Flip cover over snappied infant prefold – I did tighten the elastic

BG OS pocket: we had a few leaks in this one, but since we only have one hand me down from big brother and I haven’t done anything with the elastic I’m sure that was the problem.
2 weeks 5 days - 9lbs 13oz. BG with infant insert

2 weeks 5 days – 9lbs 13oz. BG with infant insert

Kawaii OS pocket: decent fit from 9.5 lbs or so. Pockets just aren’t my favorite. I like a nice fitted and cover with double gussets to keep that runny newborn poo in!
Bumkins cover:
So.many.snaps. And I love it! This is a great cover – love the material – it is very sturdy but doesn’t feel thick like the Bummis. Wonderful fit from as soon as we tried it – about 9lbs -possibly would have fit smaller.
7.5 weeks old, about 13 lbs - Bumkins cover over Thirsties fab fitted duo size one

7.5 weeks old, about 13 lbs – Bumkins cover over Thirsties fab fitted duo size one

Bummis newborn cover (not superbrite): bigger than the superbrite – did fit for a few weeks. Adorable print but the material felt thick and the tabs were scratchy here too. Not a favorite diaper.
aprx 3 days/8lbs 6oz

aprx 3 days/8lbs 6oz

3 weeks - ab 9 lbs 13 oz

3 weeks – ab 9 lbs 13 oz

Bummis organic preemie prefolds: love them! We use them as inserts for pockets or trifolded in covers. Afyer a couple weeks we needed two at a time, but that’s no big deal. We need a doubler with those two now at 8 weeks but its still a trim option because length wise they fit in the covers so well.
Infant prefolds – Chinese and Indian: love em! These with a snappi have been a surprise favorite of daddy’s. he likes he simplicity of not having to figure out if something is waterproof or not or which inserts go with what. They are a good fit with our big guy!
2 weeks 5 days - 9lbs 13oz -snappied infant pf

2 weeks 5 days – 9lbs 13oz -snappied infant pf

Good mama
And other similar OS fitteds:
They are ok. Fabric can be a little stiff for a tiny I feel but I only have pre-loved ones. They fit pretty well from early on with an infant insert instead of the one that comes with it. We use them, but they aren’t grabbed until we are at the bottom of the barrel.
4 weeks old, one size Goodmama with random infant insert

4 weeks old, one size Goodmama with random infant insert

Random tidbits:
My wool was almost all too small 😦 I need to make some more but turns out babies take a lot of time!
I used regular wipes and just threw them in the wash with everything for the first few weeks. We now are using my cloth wipes.
I haven’t been spraying the diapers out with my handy dandy sprayer yet (thanks for installing it though, babe!) Its EBF, so no need yet 😉
I need a replacement for my bulletproof Thirsties fab fitted/cover combo – any thoughts?
Just so you know, I didn’t receive any diapers for review ect ect. I just felt like putting my opinions out here on the diapers I liked/didn’t like for us. I know posts like this helped me when I was in the acquisition phase! I may come back and add pictures as I find them or any info I may have forgotten because I am still not sleeping, ha!
If you have any questions feel free to ask!!!
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