Friday, December 31, 2010

Cloth Diapers - Easing Our Way Into It

We've planned to try this cloth diaper thing.  Friends of ours have done it and said it wasn't so bad, so we figured we'd give it a shot.  It's cheaper, and it saves the landfills.  We're not going to be all high and mighty about it though.  Don't even know if we'll be able to pull it off.  Plus, we'll probably end up using some combination of cloth and disposables.  For instance, I don't think daycare will do cloth diapers for us, and on road trips, I think disposables are key.

We gave ourselves a little break and used the infant disposable diapers that the hospital stocked us with.  But two days ago, with a little nudge from our friend, Lisa G, we decided to dive into cloth diapers!

Here's the skinny.

We invested in a few Fuzzibunz,

and a couple Thirsties,

plus Gerber Pre-Folded Cloth Diapers. 

The Fuzzibunz seem too big for our little fella right now, and I haven't quite figured out how I want to use them yet (yeah, should've figured it out before, but didn't, okay?).  So we started last night with a cloth diaper covered with the x-small Thirsties cover.  So far, so good.  He's had two pees and a three poopies, and no leaks.  Of course, he hasn't had a huge blowout shart yet, but I'm still happy that the cloth diapers seem to be working for the normal-sized pees and poos.

I haven't washed a load yet. I'll let you know how it goes when I do.  I did buy some special detergent called Charlie's Soap, which I read is safe for baby skin and good for cloth diapers.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Follow Up - What's in Sarah's Birth Bag

I wrote a post a while ago about what I packed in my birth bag for the hospital.  This birth bag thing is like, what everyone is doing, so I thought I'd share my experience.

Here's the recap, in case you don't want to link back:

- Bath Robe
- Slippers
- Sour Push Pop
- Gatorade
- Make-Up
- Toothbrush
- Kotex Super Overnights
- IPod Touch

So here's the thing, I found out, you really don't NEED a birth bag.  At least not if you're opting for the epidural.  I didn't need any memento to focus on, or watch to time my contractions (I was hooked up to a monitor anyway).  The hospital provides pads, snacks, a gown (which I found to be perfectly adequate), slipper socks, and everything else you'll need afterwards.

There are a couple of things in my bag that I found useful. 

First, the SLIPPERS!  Yeah, those slippers that I got from a co-worker.  They were great!  I hated the hospital slipper socks because they turned around all the time (no heel).  I'm so glad I did end up bringing my fancy schmancy slippers.

My slippers :)

Also, Gatorade.  I drank both bottles during my hospital stay.  The only thing that sucks is that you have to pee more, but they try to pump you full of fluids anyway and Gatorade really hit the spot.  Plus, it was always there when I needed to take a pill.

The last useful item was a toothbrush.  The hospital did not provide one and I used mine every day. 

The other items in my bag didn't even get touched, except for my going home clothes, which I only used some of.  My mom ended up bringing me other clothes from home.

So, I hope this helps anyone trying to figure out what to put in their bag.  While the things I put in there might not have been useful during or after Rowan was born, it was theraputic to pack it, because I felt like it was a way to prepare for what was coming.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lifesaver (I mean, Pacifier)

It's Day 7 of dirty diapers, nursing, burping, crying, and too many kisses to count.  We haven't gotten into the groove yet, if that even happens! 

Rowan has been an angel during the day.  He's so quiet, you can almost forget he's there (pssh, no, I haven't done this).  The nights are a little more rough.  We somehow manage to get through the day on about one or two hours of sleep each night.  AMAZING!  Never thought it was possible. Everyone says "sleep when the baby sleeps", but seriously, that doesn't really work out so well.  Especially when it's the holidays and there are so many things going on and people around.

So far, I've found one thing that especially helped us get through the some of the not-so-pleasant parts of the first week at home.

SOOTHIE(R) $1.50 ea, available at

The SOOTHIE(R) pacifier. 

There is probably not scientific evidence to back up what I'm about to claim, (in fact, there's probably evidence against it) but I SWEAR, this thing saved me from becoming an "I tried to breastfeed" mom.

Rowan wasn't latching well from the beginning and it was making breastfeeding a nightmare.  One particularly fussy evening, we gave in and plugged Rowan's mouth with the SOOTHIE(R) pacifier that our friend Lisa G had given us.  We figured this particular pacifier might have some special power, I mean, Lisa is a labor and delivery nurse.

He sucked on that thing for hours without a peep, and if we thought that wasn't enough, the next feeding was the best he'd had!  My (fairly unbased - I don't read up on these things) theory is that sucking on that SOOTHIE(R) was good practice for the real thing.  Maybe, maybe not, but I'm sticking with it and I'll most likely be giving these to all my friends with babies on the way.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Best Christmas Present

 Our perfect baby boy, Rowan Matthijs Balyon, arrived on December 22, 2010, at 5:58pm.  He was 7 lbs, 9 oz and 21 inches long, and pretty much the most cutest thing on the planet!

Rogér is the proudest Papa, and has become a super poopy diaper changer, and the baby burrito (swaddle) master.

Sarah is an incredibly beautiful Mommy who;s husband thinks she is the greatest and did an amazing job cooking up the little dude.

We are so excited and have a lot to learn.  Luckily, for the past week, Rowan's Grandma Bev has been here to help.  But starting tomorrow, we're on our own!

Since things are going to be even busier around here, we might struggle to keep the blog updated at first.  But we hope to be able to document and share our dive into parenthood, little Rowan's adventures, and the rest of the circus act.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Still Waiting for Baby B...

Two days left until his due date, but it feels like he's late already!

A couple nights ago, we got fooled by some contractions that seemed pretty regular and kinda painful.  I'm not really sure if they were real contractions after all because I ended up falling back asleep and waking up sans baby.  Made fore an interesting morning though, because we got up at 4am, packed some bags, and gave the Demon Dog a much needed bath!

Haven't felt any contractions since then. 

I guess we should be enjoying our free days and nights without the little guy.  It's just that we're (me especially) ready for this whole pregnancy/delvery shindig to be over and on to the next thing already!  I think. Plus, if he really was about 7.5 lbs two weeks ago, I really don't want him to cook much longer.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Plastic Bags Part II

A friend of mine left a comment on my ode to the plastic bag post with a URL to an awesome YouTube music video about single use plastic bags.  (Thanks Elliot!)

But the video actually wasn't my favorite part.

I scrolled through the YouTube video comments and found that some people had good points about how the poly bags that we buy for $.99 are still bad for the environment.  Better, I think, but it's true.  This lead me to a source, for 35 ways to make reusable grocery bags out of materials you may already have and things that you would probably chuck anyways without a better use for them!

Here are some of my favorites, which I chose to highlight because they do simply use things that you will actually have lying around and they don't seem to require super-crafty skills (well, the first one might require some):

Recycled Grocery Totes Tutorial - courtesy of Dana-Made-It 

 T-Shirt Bag - courtesty of

Pillow Case Grocery Bag - courtesy of CreativeKismet

This still doesn't take care of my dog poop bag dilemma.  I've seen some reusable dog poop bags, but c'mon, that's waaaay too much work and kinda gross.  Also, without grocery bags, we'll be cycling through a LOT more trash bags.  Not sure how to solve that one either. Any ideas?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

San Jose to Ban Plastic Bags from Grocery Stores

We've been told this day would come.  Every grocery store that's any grocery store sells reusable bags with their logo plastered on the front.  Sometimes, you even see people using these bags.  An admirable step towards reduction of waste.

Now, San Jose is putting their foot down with a complete ban on plastic bags from the grocery stores.  Stores would pay a fine if they continue plastic bag use.  The ordinance, which passed on Tuesday, will also sport a fee for paper bag use.

I get where this is coming from. We have a few of those reusable bags.  Maybe, if forced, we'll even remember to bring them when we go shopping.  And, yes, we like to consider ourselves on board with acts of environmental friendliness (as long as they don't interfere too much with modern daily life).  But the truth is...

We'll miss our plastic grocery bags!

Buh-bye free garbage pail liner.

So long handy, always-one-in-the-car-when-you-need-it, poop bag.
Au revoir muck boot container.

Farewell makeshift gym bag.

Will we survive?  Undoubtedly.  But beginning Jan. 1, 2011, we'll have to learn to cope.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's in Sarah's Birth Bag?

We've read up a little on what put in your Birth Bag (the bag you bring to the hospital with you for during and after labor).  The Labor & Delivery Nurse that taught our Childbirth Preparation Class at Kaiser gave a few tips too.  We took some things, and left some things.  I thought I'd share what's in my bag, and follow up later with what I wish I had put in my bag.

For starters, we have two bags.  One is for me, the other is for baby.  This was suggested by the L&D Nurse so that the Father-to-Be (or whomever is with you at your time of delivery) isn't rummaging through baby clothes to get to the sour lollipop that you NEED.RIGHT.NOW!

In My Bag:

- Bath Robe - courtesy of OMG I'm a Mom! who says that the provided gowns don't quite cut it.
- Slippers - I'm stashed a pair that was given to me by a co-worker. They're I'll let you know if I have any regrets.
- Sour Push Pop - To help with dry mouth.  The Nurse suggested something on a stick, but sour lollies are more difficult to find than expected.
- Gatorade - Suggested by our (twice) experienced neighbor, Luisa, for quenching thirst and restoring electrolytes.
- Make-Up - I don't know if I'll get around to putting it on, but it might come in handy for all the photo ops.
- Going Home Clothes - A pair of sweats, nursing bra, cami, long sleeved shirt, and jacket.
- Toothbrush - I actually still have to buy one. Not sure what they provide at the hospital.
- Kotex Super Overnights - Our friend said I should get myself some Depends, but this is what I ended up with.  Again, I'll follow up with any regrets.
- IPod Touch - Mainly for the clock and the nursing app., but who knows,  I may get also get the urge to play Angry Birds!

(Other suggestions I came across included: mementos for focusing on during labor, stress relieving squishy, massagers)

In Baby B's Bag:

- Cute Outfit #1 - For the pictures. Inlcuding a onsie, pants, jacket, socks and mittens.
- Cute Outfit #2 - For when Cute Outfit #1 gets spit up on and peed through.
- Memory Album - So the Nurse can stamp his little hand/foot at the same time that they do it anyway.
- Flip - Seeing as the baby is the whole reason we got a Flip in the first place, wouldn't seem right to home without it.
- Giraffe -  The stuffed giraffe that Rogér picked out for Baby B a few months before we even started trying!

More suggestions are welcomed!! It makes me feel like I can do something to prepare.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Favorite Corner of the House

Right now, my favorite place in the house is a little corner that hosts a pretty photo of us at our wedding.  Keeps me warm & fuzzy :)

Do you have a favorite spot in your house?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rogér's first bloggy blog

Hi I am Rogér, Sarah's husband. Have we met yet? Nice to meet you.

So, we have lots of things going on lately in the Balyon household.  Lots o' pets to take care of, new house that needed a major remodel, and a baby on the way.  Plenty to keep us busy and some.

Yesterday, we had a doctor's visit. Just a check up to see how things were coming along.  The doctor measured Sarah's belly and felt that we should get another ultrasound because he measured on the small side.  Apparently this could mean a lot of thing that aren't so great.  So this was a little unnerving, but on the other hand we get more pictures!!!

I got off early from work and met Sarah at the hospital for our appointment.  The lady doing the ultrasound made quite an impression early on.  "This is my screen.  Your screen is over there. You need to lean back in your chair."  As she turns her screen away from mine.  After a few seconds pause she did mention that she had to turn the screen because of the glare, but that is how the whole appointment went.  Just like sour patch kids.

"Now I can't say how much he weighs.  People want to know and I tell them, well you can have my job.  Besides it is not accurate.  Could you tell me the weight of a man by his hat size, belt size, and pant length?  Plus or minus 15%.  So I could be a pound less or more and I would still be right.  Hmmm.  He is 7.5 pounds.  He is a little bit on the big size.  Congratulations.  See those Doctors don't know what they are talking about when it comes to weight.  You are doing a great job."

Yeah... good times, but it was worth knowing that everything is going well.

And here is the result.  A beautiful shot of his face!!!
Ok bud, you are looking good and your mom is doing a great job.  We will be waiting for you on the outside.  Love ya, good luck, and catch you on the flip side.

- Rogér

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

House Update - Furnace is Officially Working!

The GOOD NEWS:  The furnace is fixed and Dom, Buds, and I are sitting pretty (and warm) in the house these days.

The BAD NEWS:  The repair cost us 300 George Washingtons!!

The LESSON: A while back, a nice PG&E guy told us (for free) that the furnace probably needed a new ignitor. We chose not to DIY this one, because we had no clue about furnaces and just wanted it fixed already!  We had someone come and test the furnace, and after a $65 half hour diagnostic, he found that the ignitor needed to be replaced....genius.  after watching the guy repair it, we quickly realized this would have been a super simple fix.   The part just plugs into an air switch type thingy.  All you have to do is order a new ignitor and plug the hose into it! Well, the ignitor is not that cheap anyway, but you can certainly get it for less than $240 + $65.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The Balyon House is now ready for Christmas!  We just put up our lights and our tree!

 We have a feeling this is going to be a good Christmas ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

House Update - Drawer Pulls

Yay!  I put draw pulls on (almost) all the kitchen cabinets.  This is great news because now Rogér has no excuse not to put the counter tops on ;)

Well, okay, he has some good riding lessons, or putting up Christmas lights, or organizing the garage.

I guess he's needed a little break after the plumbing got done.  Well deserved, of course!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving a la Balyons & Schraders

Thanksgiving was a huge success!

The turkey was thawed completely (this happens to make a big difference in how well it cooks), brined superbly with 1 cup salt/ 1 gal water and some various herbs and spices.

Karla's stuffing was the shizz.  She did it in the crock pot this year, which was a fabulous idea!

Her home-made cranberry sauce was also delicious...way better than the canned stuff, AND she claims it's super easy to make.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Has Arrived!

So, like two weeks ago, it was 80 Deg. F, and now it's literally freezing!  Seriously, where was the gradual shift in temperature?

Too bad we put off getting our heater fixed for so long!

Now, we're desperately trying to get someone over to replace the broken igniter, while we all huddle near the space heater.

Domino hogging all the heat....can't say I blame him.
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