Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cloth Nappies

Even before I was pregnant I had wanted to use cloth nappies for my baby. I didn't know anything about modern cloth nappies so during my pregnancy I did some research and became quickly overwhelmed by the conflicting information and opinions. There are so many styles and abbreviations people use, not to mention complicated washing systems etc.

I use cloth nappies when I'm at home and disposables for overnight/away from home. Using cloth nappies and washable wipes (muslin flannels that we keep separate) saves us money but lightens our burden on the environment. 

We have found them brilliant and quite simple now that we have a routine.  I wash the nappies daily and have approximately 15 nappies. Initially we used 8 Green Beginnings newborn nappies as these were too bulky for our little girl. We changed to a variety of modern pocket style nappy with inserts when she was about three months old. Ours have domes and the inserts are removable.

We have a dry bucket system (which just means there is no water to soak the nappies in) in the laundry. The bucket has a lid. I have a hook above the sink with a old dish-brush to help rinse soiled nappies

My routine is as follows;
  • If nappy is just wet, I remove inserts and place the outer and inserts into the bucket.
  • If the nappy is soiled I put the solids into the toilet and then use the brush and cold water to rinse the inserts and outer. Then place them in the bucket.
  • I do exactly the same with the washable wipes/flannels.
  • At the end of the day I run the whole lot through a cold rinse cycle in the washing machine. 
  • After that I set the washing machine to warm regular wash with a medium spin cycle. I use Ecostore Laundry Liquid
  • I hang the nappies and inserts outside during the day. If they are still a bit damp I finish them off in the dryer. (Normally only the bamboo liners need this as they take longer to dry)
  • It only takes about ten minutes to pop the liners into the outers in the evenings. 

It takes less time than I imagined and certainly less water. I use the lowest water setting on our machine and this is fine. The nappies are still white and fresh. I haven't had any problems with them leaking or not fitting well

. I am borrowing about half of our stash from a friend (Cheek Boutique Nappies) and the other half I got new off Trademe (ten for about $80). Anyway I hope this helps if you are just getting started or are thinking about using reusable nappies. 

Raglan Weekend Escape

So a couple of weeks ago we loaded up the car, locked the door and hit the road. We were headed toward Raglan. A coastal town a few hours away but a baby mixed with bad traffic, detours and poor weather made for a rather longer trip. We arrived in the dark, tired and relieved to see our friends. The house was warm and Mae settled quickly to sleep in her port-a-cot. An early night was had by all.

View from the barn

The next morning Mae woke early and the sun was shining. We finally got to see the view and it was spectacular. Our friends Claire and Chris had booked an open plan barn at the top of a hill. Countryside of green grass reached toward steep cliffs where the wild west coast sea rumbled. What an amazing way to start the weekend.

After a delicious breakfast of croissants and fruits we sunscreened up and made our way through the paddocks and down the hill to the beach. I had forgotten my togs so didn't go swimming (dammit!) but sitting on the beach was just as nice. It was amazing weather for Autumn and the beach was busy.

Heading down to the beach

Amazing views from the cliff tops

We drove into Raglan for a late lunch and shopping then spent an evening enjoying the sunset and a few drinks. It was so great to sit around the table and chat into what felt like the wee hours as the two babies slept. To be honest anytime after about nine pm feels the late these days! Cublet was worn out after all the fresh air and slept really well; meaning Mr. Fox and I could relax and enjoy the night.

Bath; holiday style!
These two. Oh my heart

Sunday morning was warm but a bit blustery; still nice enough to enjoy brunch outdoors. We went to Solscape cafe which had incredible views. The menu was vegetarian with much of it grown on site. I'm hoping to go back sometime to enjoy the food. Such a treat to be able to pick anything off the menu (Mr. Fox and I are vegetarian).  I feel quite inspired by the garden and am going to add a few more herbs and flowers to our garden beds. Not just to look pretty but to help confuse the pests.

Enjoying a vegetarian breakfast

Solscape Cafe views
The weather started to cool and rain threatened as we packed the car to go home. It feels like months not weeks ago that we went away. We are already plotting another escape to the beach. Some fresh air, good company and not much else was just the tonic we needed after a busy summer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Recording Christmas in April

Cringe! It has taken me four months to get this post started. When the weather is warm I blog less frequently...too many other temptations like the beach and the garden call to me.

Christmas 2014 was our first here in Auckland.  We celebrated here for a number of reasons; it was easier for us with Mae being only three months old, it was a big change for everyone to help ease the pain of our first Christmas without Mum and it was easier for my sister and her man to come from Melbourne. The first Christmas season without Mum was always going to be a tough one. Ma Fox adored Christmas and always spent a lot of time and effort making it a magical experience for family and friends. See how she felt about in her own words here and here. I so miss her blog updates!

Despite not having our Christmas Fairy we had a lovely time. Just our wee family of three for Christmas Eve and morning. A cosy evening finishing up cublet's Christmas stocking while watching the Die Hard movie. In the morning we had such fun opening the wee treasures Santa had left Mae. Oh how I can't wait for this Christmas, Mae will love the flurry of unwrapping and all the paper!
We gave Mae a special penguin ornament and a bauble with her name was gifted by her Aunty Mary. It will be fun to add to her collection as the years go by.

We like the idea of this rhyme for gifting for children as it is so easy to go overboard. Here's how it goes;

Something you want, 
something you need, 
something to wear 
and something to read.

It was a great guide as we chose Mae meaningful presents. In the end we gave her two Schleich figurines; a penguin and an elephant, a sweet little book about a late rainy season in the desert and the hungry animals, a jolly jumper and a little dress. She was very spoilt by the rest of the family, recieving toys, a very cool play gym/mat, clothes, books and her own teddy bear from Poppa.
Mae and her new ornament!

After picking up my Dad from the airport we had a fun picnic lunch at Western Springs with dear friends Brylee and Tony, Tony's children and the puppies. We had such a feast and afterwards went for a wander. It was great to see so many families making the most of a sunny day. We were all quite tired so had a relaxing evening and an early night.  Sister Fox and her man, and Toby's Mum and her partner arrived over the next couple of days. We were grateful to have sunny, warm weather and made the most of it by enjoying a belated Christmas lunch outdoors. Mae had her first swim in her paddling pool, she is a water baby for sure. Chooky our sweet little bantam enjoyed scratching round the lawn as Mae splashed.

Chatting with Poppa

A trip to Devonport was also a highlight. A lovely day swimming in the ocean and lazing under the big Pohutakawa trees. A yummy lunch in a local cafe and a walk along the waterfront. A wonderful way to spend time with the family. Mae was in her element with a captive audience. Looking back she has grown so much since then. Now rolling around easily and almost sitting without help.  She might be toddling or standing this Christmas....oh my goodness how babies grow and change in that first year.

Family stroll at Devonport
Mr Fox and I are grateful to have had such a Merry Christmas last year. We are blessed to have such a fun family. We look forward to many more Christmas holidays in the furture...hopefully with similar perfect weather too!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Finding Balance

So I didn't quite get back to blogging within a week as I had hoped but for wonderful reasons. We had our sweet friend Julia stay with us for a couple of nights before she headed off for her South American adventure. We always have the best time when she comes to stay and Mae adores her. Lots to catch up on and friends to picnic with made for the fun kind of busy week.

Auckland's Summer has been spectacular; hot and seemed to go on forever. Today the weather is wet and cool (you can almost hear the garden sigh with relief!). The air smells of that delicious scent drenched soil releases after a long dry spell. The washing line is empty for the first time in months and I should be unpacking the last of our belongings from a weekend away.

However I really wanted to post on the blog. Finding a bit of me time is easier now that Mae's naps are often longer than half an hour or so. It is tempting to run around and make the house sparkle but attending to my hobbies is good for my soul. You know the saying....Happy Mum makes for a happy bub!

Our wee family ventured to the South Island for ten days at the start of March. We hired a rental car and visited friends and family along the way. It was a happy, tiring holiday. Lovely to see Mae doted on by so many. We count ourselves lucky she has a special village to help raise her. 

Playing with condensation during a break on the longest day of driving

Lots of fun with the Great Grandparents! 
Mae was a good wee traveller with only one major meltdown after a very long day of driving. We explored a few new places but mostly enjoyed revisiting some old favourites. I have to make time to put all the photos into the baby book I'm making using Blurb to celebrate her first year. Along with finishing quite a few already started craft projects.

Meeting her Great Nana and Pop was such a highlight. She is the first great grandchild and it's been a long time since there has been a baby in the family. Mae is very spoiled by her Great Nana who has kept her snuggly warm in hand knitted woollens. A new pink hooded cardigan and a beautiful cream cardigan have been added to her wardrobe (along with new booties and mittens).  I am not a fan of synthetic fabrics so with winter coming I am grateful to have such beautiful garments to keep our little girl toasty in the cooler months. 

The latter end of March was spent at my Dad's place. He had back surgery and my sister and I went home to help out. Pa Fox's recovery was speedy and so our time was spent doting on Mae whilst catching up. I was able to spend time with Mae's Grandma and Grandad in Gore. Always a special and fun time there for us both. The anniversary of Mum's passing was during our stay and it was so comforting to all be together. We went to Bluff for Fish and Chips, a walk in the fresh air, shared our favourite stories of our darling was a memorable day.

Bluff harbour

Mr. Fox met us at the airport on Good Friday after nearly 3 weeks apart. It was ever so wonderful to all be together again. Easter weekend was really magical. Mae was content to watch and play in her pram as Toby and I tended the garden. We explored the beach and bush, ate way too much chocolate and generally just soaked up each others company. One of my best Easter breaks for sure.

Which brings us up to the most recent week and weekend. A special couple of days in Raglan with friends. A beautiful, relaxing break away in an amazing batch. The kind of weekend I dreamed of when I was a teenager. We are already planning another getaway......