Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Previews: Our Maternity Photo Session & Cloth Diapers

Our Maternity Photo Session

Professional photographers are amazing.  They take the most beautiful pictures and do all the editing for you.  BUT (there's always a BUT when you watch your budget, right?) I have found that simple pictures can do the job just fine.  One of the reasons we live debt-free right now is because we evaluate every. single. purchase. before we make it.  Case in point:  photography.  I wanted professional pictures at first, and I had a few incredible photographers in mind.  But then I remembered how awkward I am and how well our engagement pictures that my sister took turned out, so I decided the hundreds of dollars weren't worth it.  Then I debated getting a high-quality camera (currently we have a Canon PowerShot SD 1400IS...nice, but a few years old and could be a lot better).  After asking around for recommendations from photography-happy friends, I realized there was a wide variety of preferences, and not all high-quality cameras guarantee great photos (oh, and then there's my lack of patience with technology...guess that explains the pay-as-you-go phone I still use from Wal Mart).  I decided to just stick with what we have, practice some editing myself, and be glad for the invention of photography at all!

I am extremely happy with how our pictures turned out!  The day was REALLY sunny, so I had to do lots of editing and sometimes was unable to remove glares and shadows, but they turned out OK.  We took some of the pictures at our house and some at a small state park about 15 miles down the road.  Nothing fancy, just a few images to capture our first pregnancy.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I'm not going to post all of them, but I made the album public on my Facebook page so if you want to see the rest just click here.  Fall is my favorite time of year, and we had a blast taking these pictures on a beautiful October afternoon.  So glad my sister could deal with my awkward-ness when it comes to picture taking :-)

Cloth Diapers

Right now I'm not going to do a detailed post on cloth diapers for one simple reason:  I am inexperienced!!  I will just do a recap on what I've done so far, and then after a month or two of using them I will do a thorough post on how I chose the diapers I did (and if I'm happy with their performance), how I keep them clean, my storage set-up in the nursery (although you'll get a preview of that when I do my nursery post this week!), how I make traveling with cloth diapers less of a pain (providing I figure that out!!), and tips for cloth diapering in general.  

I already explained that we chose to use cloth diapers because it is better for your baby (less chance of diaper rash, potty train easier, and safer on their sensitive skin), the environment (saves SO MUCH waste), and your pocketbook (studies have estimated that it costs about $2,000 to diaper a baby with disposables...birth through potty training...compared to $900 with cloth diapers, plus you save money by using the same diapers with multiple kids!).  If you can't imagine cloth diapering your baby, you are not a bad mom.  It's a personal choice and just as I would never think twice about someone who uses disposables, I hope others return the favor and don't insult me for choosing cloth.  

I was referred to a mom who runs a cloth diaper business out of her home by my brother-in-law's cousin, and I am so thankful to her!  The company is Pinstripes and PolkaDots, I linked to their website in hopes you check it out!  The owner is amazing, so quick to get back to you and not pushy at all!  I attended a (free) diaper class with my sister a few months back, which was WONDERFUL for learning the basics.  I then did several hours of research at home on her website (which includes photos of the diapers, laundry instructions, suggestions...everything you can think of!) before setting up my diaper registry.  After my shower it was easy to just complete my order (which came with a 10% discount!).  Her prices are competitive with Amazon, and personally I'd rather spend a little more and have someone there to answer questions for me when it comes to something I don't know much about as opposed to ordering off a huge retailer.  Yes, I watch my budget...but I do that so I can splurge when needs be!  

I received almost all the items in one order (just waiting on some back ordered hemp inserts and a diaper pail).  I must say I was overwhelmed at first!  Some diapers require 3 washes before their absorbency is ready to go.  Luckily I ordered diapers that only needed to be washed once.  However, I still did non-stop laundry for 2 days before they were all fluffy and clean!  Today I assembled all the diapers, snapped them down to newborn size, and practiced them on my old Cabbage Patch doll (hey, better to learn now than on a squirmy, crying baby).  I am pleased with how easy everything was, it's a huge relief that I'm not in over my head!  Then I did some organizing in the nursery and put them all away.  Like I mentioned in my hospital bag post, I do plan to just go with disposables in the hospital to relieve some stress.  Then when we come home, all those soft, fluffy pretty cloth diapers are ready to do their job!

Oh, and I should mention...I saved the laundry instructions from the diaper class and added some notes on them specific to our washer and dryer.  I highlighted the key parts and put the sheet in a page protector on the washer so Mark can do the laundry until I'm up and around.  Every step I take to be prepared now will allow me more cuddle time with Stella in the future!

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