What I Didn’t Know About Miscarriage

In May after I told him in our tradition, via a t-shirt, my husband excitedly announced to everyone he thought needed to know that we were expecting again. Would be our sixth total. The story of announcing it to him is epic. I have various stories of how long it took him to catch on to the message being displayed for him on a shirt on me, another child, or someone else. When I got pregnant with our fourth, Cody, I thought he’d never read the third child’s shirt! Well, telling him about the sixth topped even that. Hours people. Hours filled with hints and suspicious suggestions but he was so excited about his new motorcycle and safety class he breezed right by them.

The story I can’t help but feel is somewhat tainted now, though, because shortly after the NaPro doc I see for progesterone supplementation in pregnancy did his usual insist on an early ultrasound thing and it was suspicious. Baby wasn’t as far as long as should have been. Then my HCG was kind of low and not doubling as fast as it should and my progesterone was even lower than it should have been. Then another ultrasound showing progress and yet not as much as there should have been and still no answers, even though it had been two weeks of waiting since the first. Then another HCG test, only the lab messed that up and ran a hep B test instead. Thanks, Quest! But it’s really tainted because we are in fact losing this baby. Very early on, considered a blighted ovum. But because I insist on keeping track of my body I found out very, very early. So it feels kind of further along, in a way.

What I didn’t know about miscarriage? Is that it isn’t always just a moment. A definitive moment where you’re told or you know you’re no longer expecting. I had absolutely no idea the uncertainty and amount of waiting that can be involved in just trying to determine whether a pregnancy is viable or not. I guess I should consider myself blessed that the reason I didn’t know is because with four previous pregnancies I’d never had cause to know. There was never any indication that anything was wrong with the baby. This time it took almost three weeks to get a definitive answer that yes, indeed, baby had stopped developing. The definitive answer was in a repeat HCG blood test that showed rather than rising from 15,000 the previous week it was now 14,000. I’m told a decrease means impending miscarriage. So I stopped the progesterone injections because, something else I didn’t know despite this being my third pregnancy on them, they can make the body hold onto a pregnancy that isn’t viable. So it’s imperative I stopped them.

What else I didn’t know? On top of the waiting for a definitive answer, I now have more waiting. Waiting for my body to finish this pregnancy the only way it can now finish: in miscarriage. Baby has stopped developing but is still in the womb. Which is very disconcerting to say the least. The most disconcerting part, just waiting for it to happen and not knowing exactly what it’ll be like. Testimonies from other moms range from “cramping/contractions as bad as child birth” to “a severe period”. This early on, 6 weeks-ish, I believe I’m supposed to expect more of the severe period variety. But it’s been a week and yet to present itself. Which is awfully personal to put in a blog. But I feel as though I’d like other women to know. It seems like an awfully depressing thing to talk about when you’re newly pregnant, but perhaps we’d all be better off if someone DID discuss with expectant moms the fact that 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. It’s not at all uncommon. Maybe I’m just super morbid. But I wish I’d read more about miscarriage before it happened and I started taking a crash course in how it works.

I didn’t know that I’d feel awful that what I felt when I found out it was definitely over was…relief. Relief that I didn’t have to wait in limbo anymore. Relief that I knew. Quickly followed by grief that more waiting was coming because I would prefer to allow my body to naturally finish this process rather than take medication or do a surgical procedure to speed the process along. The fast option would be better for my emotions but the natural option would be better for my body, so that’s winning out. But the body doesn’t always do what it’s supposed to, so I suppose that’s something I may have to consider at some point. A friend said her miscarriage took a long time. I’m not sure what a long time is, but I suspect weeks based on what I’ve read from other moms online. WEEKS waiting for it to pass. I never knew.

I thought it was just something you found out, then a process completed quickly, and that was it, you’re done. You had a miscarriage, now you can grieve it. I had no idea it was like this. I feel like I ought to apologize to those women I know how have miscarried at some point because though I understood the weight of losing a child as much as I can without having had it happen to me, I didn’t understand the other stressors that go along with the whole process. Stressful enough that after several months of good keto diet I trashed it and have had junk food every day for almost a week. And the scale reflects that. Sigh. I was doing so well! Surely I’m not the only one who has let other plates in life drop while going through this. I hope not. Life keeps going but I feel I’m stuck waiting. It’s funny and yet not, every time I feel a little twinge somewhere in my midsection I feel, “at last!” And then…it’s gas. Seriously. Gas. Not impressed GI tract.

Hopefully my words aren’t irreverent or hurtful to anyone who’s been in my situation. I come at this as my first miscarriage, my first experience with loss, and it’s very, very early on. I have hope and expectation that I’ll be able to conceive again soon and that colors my feelings. I mourn this baby, especially since my instinct says it was a girl, but I’m at peace with baby not making it since, another thing I learned, is that it usually happens because there is something very, very wrong with the chromosomal makeup of the embryo for it to happen. I feel like in the rollercoaster that took weeks of going back and forth between viable/non-viable/viable/non-viable I grieved this baby over and over already. Crying and then happy. I’m emotionally just very done.

I just wish I’d known more about the process before. Maybe I’d been able to be better support to my friends that it has happened to.


New Disney Stroller Size Rules

I love Disney, even though I’ve only been once to Disney World, it’s just the ultimate family vacation to me and I thought of it every year in the ten years between going the first time and getting to plan a return trip, now with a much more extended family! First time my then only son, almost 5 years old then, and I tagged along with my mother and my sister on my sister’s school choir trip. Now it’ll be me, my husband of 5 (by then almost 6!) years, that same oldest son who’ll be 15, our 5 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old along. And we’ve convinced my mother’s household of three and my sister’s household of two to join us. So ELEVEN people. A planning nightmare. If anyone knows the cheapest way to rent minivans let me know.

But anyway, as I’m planning I see TheBabyGuyNYC post on Facebook that Disney has changed it’s strollers size requirements and momentarily I panic that my expensive double stroller won’t make the cut. Thankfully, my much loved Peg Perego Book For Two that I’ve written about fits the new size reqs. However, I do have a riding board on it for my almost 5 year old and the policy appears to ban those. But I figure I’ll take it and take our chances. Worst they can do is ask me to remove it, and it comes off easily.

But I wanted to write a post that may help everyone when either stroller shopping for Disney or trying to figure out if their current stroller (or strollers, is anyone else like me? See my baby gear post) fit the new policy. You know, without having to first find a tape measure the toddlers haven’t stolen and broken, and second, make your way to garage in the dead of night when they’ve all gone to sleep to measure it every which way. So I compiled a chart of every stroller I could think of and measurements, if I could find them. I contacted manufacturers when I couldn’t find measurements, some I’m still waiting on but I wanted to go ahead and post it. I tried to get specific with manufacturers specifically on the tandem double strollers because that, in my opinion, is where the trouble will usually come from, on whether their measurements include just the frame or the stroller from tip of handlebar to the toe of the front most seat’s footrest. A few confirmed it did. If you see an error or would like me to include a stroller I didn’t, let me know and I’ll try to figure that one out.

Effective May 1st, 2019 Disney will prohibit strollers wider than 31 inches or longer than 52 inches. Those of us with multiple little children may be affected if our people and stuff carrier is too big. In my research it seemed most strollers are within the guidelines, but some of the most popular ones (I’m looking at you, Baby Jogger City Select as a double) aren’t. Though you could likely flip a seat around and remedy the 1 inch too long issue there.

If you want to talk strollers, I’m always amenable to that. I’m pretty opinionated on it. I didn’t hardly include any single strollers because there’s really none that are going to be too big. Another part of the ban? No more wagons. Which apparently has been a ban already but they’re going to start enforcing it, including stroller wagons like Veer and Keenz. Facebook was in an uproar with wagon lovers sad. I get it. Those wagons are expensive! If you bought one especially for a trip like Disney and found out you couldn’t use it just a month prior? I’d be irritate a bit, too. Though I’m actually not a wagon fan. That doesn’t keep me from trying to win one. I figure maybe if I try one it would win me over. Are you listening, Veer? Send me one and I’ll give it my best shot! I may not have included enough of the lower end strollers, Evenflo and Graco’s sites were not super helpful with measurements. Summer Infant didn’t seem to make a double anymore, but since it was small it should be fine. I didn’t include obvious tiny ones like Kinderhop Wagon or tiny umbrella stroller doubles, the $30 ones at Wal-Mart. (are those still there? I hate umbrella strollers). Please note this shouldn’t be your final stop in knowing if a stroller is exactly the right size; if it’s close to the reqs check it yourself, move the seats around in a tandem to see if you can cut off an inch or two, etc. And I put in measurements of whatever current versions are out and on manufacturer websites, so if your stroller is an older model it may not be the same, though a lot of them likely haven’t changed much in size over the years.

Buttons Super Cloth Diaper Review & GIVEAWAY!

Buttons Super cloth diaper cover garden party

I originally reviewed and gave away a Buttons One Size cloth diaper when my second child, first cloth diapered child, was a few months old. Please ignore the bad fit – I needed to pull the sides up better but he was really little for a long time and I had a hard time fitting some diapers to him well.

Most people new to cloth diapering buy a myriad of types to try and sort out what they like. I was very fortunate and inherited a friend’s stash to try out some different kinds. But as for what I actually purchased while still pregnant I put all my eggs in one basket: Buttons. I loved the cute little button on the bum and the pastel colors but what really drew me was that they are AI2. That means all-in-two: a cover and an insert that snaps in. I plan to have a forthcoming post on the different types of cloth diapers and abbreviations for people wanting to start using cloth. Or just curious. It can be confusing at first. Disposables mostly are all pretty similar, you’re just choosing brand and price point. Cloth is a whole different ballgame with lots of different kinds.

AI2, for me, had all the benefits of cloth without the inconveniences. Easy to put on, not too bulky, cost saving because you can reuse the covers throughout the day until they’re poopy rather than getting out a fresh cover each time, didn’t take up too much space in the diaper bag, and fast drying because the insert isn’t permanently attached to the cover. I tried and hated pockets. Fitteds and covers were too many steps for me. Prefolds and flats were less convenient with all the folding. AIO (all-in-ones) took too long to dry. So I have used a bit of everything but have still held true to preferring AI2. True AI2 – meaning a wipeable cover and a snap in insert. Here’s the inside of a true AI2:
Buttons super inside

With my fourth child, third cloth diapered baby, a problem arose: poopsplosions. Constantly. Poopsplosions are common with disposables but rare with cloth. (another reason to switch, eh?) I’m embarrassed to say it took me months to figure out why and find a solution. I knew she had an ample behind (my husband calls it mommy butt, should I be insulted?) and that she usually had plumber’s crack in her cloth diapers. Once I figured out she needed a taller rise I set out to find a true AI2 cover (so one with no absorbent material inside the cover) with a taller rise, preferably that I could use the inserts I already had with. And I was underwhelmed at the lack of options. She needed a taller rise than most diapers on their biggest setting! She had plumber’s crack in the same diaper her 36lbs brother was wearing! Then I narrowed it down to Bigger Best Bottom and Buttons Super. The Super is cut bigger, both in the rise and in the crotch/behind area than Buttons so in the hopes it would actually last her until we’re done with cloth I got one. NO MORE POOPSPLOSIONS! So exciting. No more stained baby clothes. She was 5 months old.

A little tearfully I put away her one size diaper collection and amassed a stash of Buttons Supers. They use the same inserts I already have, a mix of Best Bottom and Buttons inserts. Buttons Supers feel very sturdy. I love that. I have a few covers that even though they were $20+ they feel so thin and flimsy! I’m all for not having a bulky diaper but it doesn’t elicit much confidence when it seems the diaper is too fragile to stand up to 3-4 years of use since the name of the game in cloth diapering is saving money. I don’t worry about that with my Buttons Supers. They have two rows of waist snaps so you get a better fit since you can independently adjust the top row to for the waist and the bottom row for the thighs. They have flaps inside, which honestly kind of drive me crazy, but would be handy if you use prefolds or flats inside instead of inserts. Most important to me on the inside is the snaps to snap in inserts. The covers are also double layered PUL, which makes it extremely resistant to leaking (I haven’t had a single issue in almost a year) as well as protection just in case the cover should start to delaminate on the outer layer. We have no more plumbers crack here! And I was able to share the previous one size stash I had bought and used for 5 months with my cousin and she’s now using cloth.

I love supporting a small business (which many cloth diaper brands are), and an added perk for me that it’s a small Christian family run business. They literally have all their inventory on their property where they live, in their barn. They have a great community on Facebook, too.  They are very attentive to their customers, you can always reach out in email and get either Amy or Scott, the husband and wife team behind Buttons. They wanted to create an affordable quality diaper. And they have done a good job! I was thrilled I actually liked Buttons Super better than Bigger Best Bottom because Buttons are quite a bit cheaper! Upfront cost of cloth can seem daunting so that’s helpful. They take care in making them pretty packages before they get sent out.
Buttons packaging

I just got the gorgeous cover in the first pic in this post last week in a limited edition release. You can buy it here straight from Buttons while it lasts. Here it is our first time putting this one on:
Buttons Super fit         20190320_140858

Buttons still has OS (one size) and now also has newborn size, which I haven’t got to try yet but if we’re blessed with another baby I will and will likely post about it. I think I actually like their newborn and Super better than their OS.

Buttons super next to inserts, the insert on the bottom is a Buttons XL insert, the top is a Best Bottom large insert, so you can see the size difference.

Buttons super inserts

I don’t use the XL with Layla, it’s too long. But if you use the Buttons Super with the rise all the way out you’d want XL. The child on the right is my almost 5 year old. He’s not in cloth full time anymore, but he obliged me in trying on his sister’s diaper to show it fits his 41lbs self. The child on the left is 3 years old and it fits him as well, with more rise room to grow. The super is even roomy enough it fits over a bulky nighttime solution; few covers are. Parker Cody Buttons Super

And here is a super cover with a prefold on the left, insert on the right:Buttons Super prefoldButtons Super insert

Buttons has generously agreed to give away a Buttons Super cover and one extra large insert! Enter below

Baby Gear Aficionado


Aficionado because it sounds nicer than obsessed. Nicer than driven to find the perfect piece of baby gear for each situation. Above is my area in the garage for car seats and strollers. In that picture there are 7 car seats, 2 strollers, and a tub of car seat pieces. Not pictured are the 3 seats in the van, 1 seat in my husband’s car, 1 seat in my mother’s car, and 1 seat in my dining room. It irritates my dad, all the car seats and strollers taking up space in the garage. He retaliates by covering them in sawdust when he works in there. I’ve tried to tell him how much this stuff retails for to stop him, it hasn’t worked. Luckily another hobby is giveaways so I won several of the seats and strollers.

Like many stay at home moms I’ve been trying to figure out ways I might bring a little extra money in. I stopped transcribing when my fourth baby was born and they’re all so LOUD now I don’t see how I’d start that up again without staying up all night to do it. And my nights aren’t all that quiet either. So I actually had the thought I wonder if I could parlay my many, many hours of baby gear/birth/pregnancy/parenting research into some kind of paying gig. Shockingly I’m not the first to think of this – I found a website for a “maternity consultant”. Bummer. I thought I was onto a novel idea! Pay me some fee and I’ll tell you exactly what to buy that fits your budget and situation. I’m not sure anyone would pay. It seems rude to email the owner of the site I found just to ask, “Does this actually make you any money?”

My husband, thankfully, just laughs or rolls his eyes when I bring home more baby gear, most often car seats. I was a car seat tech (CPST) for several years and I miss it sorely. I keep up on all things car seat because I want to get my certification renewed whenever I can. I actually really enjoy helping other families pick out a seat that’ll fit their needs, and all the better is the challenge of getting them a deal. In the last month a Facebook friend posted about a steal of a deal at Wal-Mart, two different Britax convertible car seats for $40 and $49. A jaw dropping discounted price, from $200+ original price. The same friend posted about a Graco Nautilus SnugLock for $54, sometimes even $35, down from $130ish. I visited every Wal-Mart near me (and several not so near…) and cleared all of them out. I think I ended up buying 8 or 9 seats total. Not every store had them. The ones that did only had 1 or 2. I have a friend with several littles in car seats so she bought three from me, a friend getting ready to have her much anticipated first baby so she got two, I gave another as a gift at a shower, and I kept one of the Graco seats for my 4.5 year old and one of the Britax seats for a future baby in case we’re blessed. (it’ll get used in the meantime, too, it’s currently in my dining room having been thrown into use when our van broke down. Who else but a former CPST gets broken down with 3 car seats in the back of her van?)

And then to top off the fun, at a local outlet store I found a Maxi Cosi infant carrier seat, $220 on Amazon right now, for $65! I’d have loved to bought it and played with it but I bought it and kept it in the box for a pregnant friend. I love finding such a deal, and all the more love it that it’s not making me poor since I found it for someone else!

I wish car seats were the end of my obsessing, but they’re not. High chairs, co-sleepers, crib mattresses, cribs, nursing stool, baby bottles, pacifiers, nursing pillows, clothes, shoes, breast pumps (I have 3), baby entertainers, babywearing apparatus, playpens, birth tubs, birthing clothes, nursing clothes, diaper bags, cloth diapers, toys and on and on and on. And probably my other big thing: strollers. I currently have 2, down from 4 a couple years ago. But I won most of those, does that help? See my stroller review posts, I’ll try to keep them coming as I get to try out more. Love a good quality stroller. I gave up on the Wal-Mart stuff with my firstborn. Sometimes I wonder what exactly shall I do once we no longer have small children in the house. Will I be bored or move on to something else?

So what do you think? Could I make this a business? Would anyone actually PAY for help picking the right items so they didn’t have to spend all the time poring over reviews and price checking different places the way I have? Or is that just dreaming and I should go back to the plan of doing UberEats during nap time? lol I’d like to go back to transcribing, I actually miss it, I should make a post on it. But it’s just not real feasible right now. In the meantime, if you want to hit me up for baby gear suggestions, go for it. If I do a good job maybe you’ll refer your friends to me one day.

Stroller Superiority

I think I finally found it. Mostly anyway. I wrote about my quest trying to ever find the perfect stroller. It doesn’t exist. The one feature I love most, seats that can face out or in, just isn’t on most strollers and if it is, the rest of the stroller may not be what I need.

I didn’t even use a stroller hardly with my oldest. Or my 2nd. It wasn’t until I had two under two that I really saw a need sometimes to have one. And it’s very nice for carrying their stuff. We had a tandem, Contours Options Elite. And I really, really liked it, despite the naysayers that it’s not ‘high end’ enough, or is hard to push. Frankly I found it easier to push than it’s higher priced counterpart the Baby Jogger City Select. And it had a basket that none of the other modular tandems measured up to. HUGE! But my wrists are chronically sore, haven’t really figured out why yet, and I need something smooth as silk to push. Once the “two under two” were no longer that but 3 and 18 months and 60+ pounds together I couldn’t handle pushing the tandem anymore.

I looked at an UppaBaby Vista, but it wasn’t that much easier to push than the contours to make the huge price tag worth it ($1,000+ for all the needed parts to use it as a double) and it would have a very limited lifespan considering the second seat only goes to 35lbs. Why do they do that?! So begrudgingly I started looking at side by side strollers which I was assured are always easier to push than tandems. Even bought a Britax B-Agile double which was in fact easier to push than our tandem. But still I wasn’t quite sure it was as easy as it got. I’d heard moms raving about how easy the Peg Perego Book For Two was to push. But at $600+ it was just priced too steeply for our budget. Until the day after we bought the Britax stroller one came up on Amazon warehouse deals for less than $500. I also had a few gift cards and some reward points to use which brought it down below $450 with free returns and free shipping. Too good to pass up.

I’m glad we got it. The push is truly amazing. I tried out every double stroller at Buy Buy Baby and nothing compares. Ball bearings and suspension on the wheels make it a very smooth ride for the kids and I can literally push it with one hand even with both kids and a loaded diaper bag in it, aided by the middle grip on the handle that helps you find the center to guide it better.


The basket is quite large. I have no issues fitting full Ju Ju Be Be Prepared in there.

The seats are big enough to fit my average sized almost 3 1/2 year old who is 35lbs. for some time to come. Also fits my 1 1/2 year old well, though I put the calf rest in the up position for him since he can’t reach the foot rest yet. The harness is a bit different-I think they call it a floating harness or something, but it gets the job done and is adjustable both in the shoulder straps and hip straps, and height adjustable as well. The seats have a very good recline, though you will need both hands to put it back up to straight. And the irritating way many strollers have very reclined ‘upright’ seat positions isn’t found on the Book For Two. They are plenty upright. When you lie the seats down there is the option to have just mesh at the back or cover it with the canopy material.

The canopies each have a peek a boo window, though I wish it was mesh, it does get the job done and you can secure the panel over the window or open.

And the canopies are massive, which is great. 20170715_202228

But aside from the amazingly easy push, which I can’t take a picture of, I think my favorite feature is the fold, which I’ve never seen an easier one, especially on a double. If you’ve folded a Baby Jogger City Mini and think it’s great, it’s got nothing on the Book! Squeeze the fold handle. That’s it. You’re done. Standing fold. To open? Unlock the automatic lock and then squeeze the fold handle, pull up on the stroller handle.

Standing fold

It is not an extremely compact fold, but it’s not bad. The Contours took up less space in the back of our van but only because it’s long rather than wide. I’d definitely recommend this stroller above most other doubles, especially the most popular one, the City Mini, whose basket is almost completely inaccessible.

Quest For the Perfect Stroller

My mother will tell you I have an obsession. Or a couple: car seats and strollers. Strollers came first, way back when I had my oldest who will be 13 years old this month. Started with your usual travel system stroller that fit the infant car seat on it. A feature I used exactly zero times because he vehemently hated all car seats for his first 8-9 months. It was slightly cutesy, a Safety1st run of the mill stroller with a teddy bear on it. I hated it. Couldn’t push it with hand, which was what I was always trying to do because rather than being IN the stroller my child preferred to be carried. His stroller was just a cart for his stuff. The brake was hard to do with flip flops. Something always seemed to be not working exactly as I wanted it to. So I got rid of it within a couple months and set out to find another.

At that time I realized they had this amazing thing: strollers where your baby could face you! I was so excited and decided I had to have one of those. They came in two varieties: either you moved the handle back and forth or you flipped the direction of the seat. I preferred the handle moving, it was easier. But they were few and far between. Oddly enough it was a very common feature on older strollers. My oldest was born in 2004 so by older I mean 80s, early 90s-ish. Those old polka dotted Graco things that pushed awfully but the handle flipped back and forth. And they never had a parent tray or a kid tray. So I set out to find the ideal stroller where baby could face me or the world with a baby tray and a parent tray.

I felt incredibly lucky when I found an older Peg Perego Aria at a thrift store for $4. Ostensibly there because the material on the inside of the canopy was torn up. I figured I could fix that. I really liked that stroller. Better than the other 3 I’d found anyway, that I cleaned and resold. Then I found a Kolcraft Ranger Quattro stroller and despite the pesky recall on it I set out to buy one used. Here’s a pic from the recall: http://wemakeitsafer.com/Kolcraft-Ranger-Quattro-strollers-Recall-665175-057544

Briefly I earnestly sought out a Graco CoachRider but discovered before it was too late that it wasn’t likely to fit in the trunk of my ’99 Honda Civic Coupe. I think right about that time I gave up on having a stroller with my first. He didn’t like it anyway and for all the trying different ones he was unimpressed with them all and wanted to be held or to walk.

The next time around with babies, 10 years later, I knew I had little patience with ‘big box’ strollers from Wal-Mart and knew it may need to last more than one child so I only considered higher end models. Modular strollers are what’s popular so I got a used Britax Vigour with a crappy canopy. It veered to one side when we used it and the basket was pretty small. It hardly got used, though, because I used a baby sling or a baby wrap most of the time. I sold it when I got pregnant with our third baby and started looking at doubles. I do still have a single because I won a GB Lyfe travel system after the third boy (all boys so far!) was born. The seat was reversible and converted into a bassinet. And it was free!! I bought a used Contours Options stroller for our double and thought I was set. Until I realized the newer model Contours Options Elite was much, much better, and prettier, and sold the used one to get a new one. THEN I really thought that was it. And the GB Lyfe and Contours Options Elite lasted for well over a year.

While pregnant with our third I started having a really hard time pushing the Options Elite. I try to get out and walk every day with them, but together they are more than 60lbs of kid plus diaper bag (big diaper bag) and my carpal tunnel wrists couldn’t handle it. Apparently a side by side double is much easier to push than a tandem. So…I started shopping again. And buying again. I looked at the oft loved CMGT, Baby Jogger City Mini double. But I hated it. The basket was unaccessible because of a bar on the bottom rear. And the seats needed additional straps to help hold them more upright than the naturally reclined position they were in. Plus it didn’t have my main requirement of a stroller: option to have baby(ies) face me.

ZT018-LGN-awards-2017 https://www.contoursbaby.com/retail/2016-contours-options-elite-tandem-stroller/

But as it turns out very few double strollers have this parent facing option past the little baby phase, at least not in the side by sides. And the tandem options were mainly Baby Jogger City Select which pushed like a bear and had the kids so close together someone’s foot would be in the other’s face, and the UppaBaby Vista which had limitations in the low weight limit of the rumble seat, though it is very easy to push. I checked out StrollAir My Duo, but it has some serious quality issues so I crossed it off the list. Valco made one that’s now very hard to find and expensive so I skipped that, too. I immediately eliminated the Bugaboo Donkey for being extremely heavy, cumbersome, having a too low weight limit, and feeling sluggish when pushed. As well as the exorbitant price. And I realized then parent facing seats weren’t happening on my double. I resigned myself and decided I really wanted a Peg Perego Book For Two because anyone online who had one raved about the one handed push. Upon seeing the almost $700 price tag, though, I assumed I wouldn’t be getting one.

I waited for a Britax B-Agile double to pop up for sale locally and when it did, in a pretty blue color called peacock to boot, I snapped it up.


It was easier to push, but not in the excellent condition I’d hoped. And then Book For Two show up open box on Amazon Warehouse deals the very next day (what are the odds?!). So my understanding husband agreed we could get the Peg stroller and see if it was better. We were both shocked when it got here at exactly how easy it is to push. Seriously: one handed with 60+ pounds of kids in it and a heavy diaper bag. If the seats parent faced it would be perfect. It is absolutely it’s only drawback. Stay tuned for an upcoming review on it. At the point we bought the Peg there was then 3 double strollers and 3 singles in the garage. Luckily I’ve since whittled it down to 2 doubles and a single. One more double to sell. Just hard to let go of the parent facing option, even if I can’t hardly push it. I think we’re done stroller shopping now. Barring the addition of twins one day or something. I reserve the right to change that.


Snoofybee: Changing Time Game Changer + GIVEAWAY!!


Odd name, fun to say. I reviewed this a while back but had forgotten to post it. The Snoofybee is a product conceived by a frustrated parent trying to keep baby’s hands clean during diaper changes. Trying to hold feet, hands, and clothes out of the way is like wrestling a squirrel. I’ve had one about a year now I think and keep one at home and in the van. My youngest usually isn’t as thrilled to be Velcro’ed up in it as the kids in Snoofybee’s video but maybe that’s because I haven’t made use of the cool loop you can hook a toy to for distraction while changing. He was 13 months in the photo below.


It’s easy to open and close with one hand and would fit in most people’s diaper bag; mine  carries cloth diapers and wipes for 2 kids so I use the clip on it to hook it to my bag. They come in cute non-childish prints which I appreciate. Inside and out is easily wiped clean. I even tried it with my older diaper wearer when he was 2 1/2 just to see if it could wrap around him and it can though of course it’s not really needed for him. It’s not a high priced item, it’s a great one to add to a baby registry rather than the standard flat changing pads. Snoofybee touts it as 3-in-1: changing mat, toy mat, diaper clutch. I’ve only used it as changing mat and diaper clutch. I believe their use of the word playmat is somewhat misleading since you don’t generally want to wrap your child up in it unless you’re actually changing their diaper. Check out their website for prints use videos! https://snoofybee.com/  Snoofybee has generously agreed to sponsor a giveaway so one of my readers can win one, too! Enter through the Giveaway Tools form below and if you win you may choose between Mint Dot, HoneyComb, or Mustard stripe print for your Snoofybee.

Snoofybee Changing Pad Giveaway

Child Passenger Safety Week

I was trying to figure out something to post on here this week, but a certain person in our lives insisted on inserting some drama into it that veered me off the path and I forgot about Child Passenger Safety Week! Child Passenger Safety, or in most circles, the use of car seats/boosters, is a passion I have, which may seem odd. Why is it a passion? It became one when I learned that cars were and are the #1 killer of our kids. More than drowning, falling, any medical disease, burning, all the things we protect them from cars are the most likely taker. And yet with that kind of impact, over 80%, some estimates put it over 90% but the 80% is well documented, are used WRONG. That’s right, either installed wrong, used wrong, wrong seat for the child’s height, weight, or age, missing pieces, expired, incompatible with the vehicle sometimes people get really creative in their version of ‘wrong’ like the guy who bolted plywood to his back seat and then bolted the car seat to it. True story. Or the fireman who thought if one seatbelt was good 3 should be awesome and therefore installed a mom’s seat with all 3 belts at the same time. LOL I love his enthusiasm.

My purpose isn’t to shame, I did stuff wrong, too. Namely, I realized I was using a seat that had been expired for several years, it had been another family member’s. So I bought another one and my son quickly outgrew it in a matter of months. I’d spent $150 on that seat, had not planned to need to replace it so I desperately researched.

This is the seat I bought him first (well, actually the first seat was an infant carrier that was a total waste of $60 because he outgrew it at 4 months!) Note the ears creeping over the back of the seat:
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I discovered the only seats my 33lbs 2 1/2 year old fit in were $300+ and posted to craigslist asking for a used Britax seat, the most common of the options. Luckily a local woman who was passionate about CPS already emailed me and said getting a used seat wasn’t a good option. She linked me to car-seat.org, my home away from home for the last 8 years, and put me in touch with a charity, the Kyle David Miller Foundation, which at the time was on a mission to provide higher weight harness (HWH) seats to families that couldn’t afford them but had kids that needed them. They put me on the waiting list and told me it could be up to 6 months. Another blessing came in the form of a CPST nurse at our children’s hospital who gave me one of her training seats, a Britax Marathon. Having never used a higher end seat, I fell in love with it pretty quickly. The ease of use! And it fit my big kid. ❤  As luck would have it is was also a really sought after cute paw print cover.


IA couple months later the Kyle David Miller Foundation sent a Sunshine Kids Radian to a tech who then brought it to us. She fought it in the backseat of my ’99 Honda Civic EX Coupe, and sadly, she lost. It was 100 degrees out that day, I felt bad. So they had her take it to another family, and they sent her back to us with a Britax Regent, known as the king of car seats at the time. This thing went to 80lbs harnessed and was a beast. A throne! Here he is minutes after she installed it. Check out all the space above his head! He was a 3 year old in the 95% for height and weight by then and yet he still had years left in it! It fit an average 8 year old in the harness. And it was very easy to use, although heavy.


A while later I was able to save up and get him the next seat he’d need, one that would turn into a booster. Again we needed tall with high weight limits, so he got a Britax Frontier, and later I traded that up for a Britax Frontier85. Loved those seats. They were heavy, but fit him well, and were very solid and pretty easy to use. I just now got rid of those after realizing I have no one to sit in them anymore!

So that’s how I got passionate about it. I wasn’t totally ignorant on the subject, but someone pulled me aside and shared some important info. Once I realized the danger involved I learned all I could. Which led to me wanting to help other parents who I figured knew the little I knew, too. So I became certified a few years ago and run an inspection station through our church where the state also provides some seats to give to eligible families who cannot otherwise afford them. It’s a blessing to me to be able to give back to the community that way. 🙂 But…I’ll be honest, my own check seats prove that about 90% of the seats I see are used wrong somehow. And the parents are usually surprised.

Biggest things I can share follow:

1)pick the right seat for age/height/weight, age being the first really important factor. Stages:
–Rear facing, newborns start in a rear facing seat, contrary to popular belief this does NOT have to be an infant carrier with a handle. We started this baby in a Combi Coccoro, convertible seat instead. KEEP the kids rear facing until you literally have to turn them forward because they’ve outgrown a rear facing convertible, most of which now rear face to at least 40lbs. Then…–Forward facing in a 5 point harness, either in a convertible car seat or a combination seat (convertible goes rear and forward, combo goes forward and then booster). Keep them this way until at least 5 years old, and then train them how to sit still and upright in a booster seat.
–Booster: minimum 5 years, 40lbs, though a lot of kids aren’t ready until about 6 years old. Then use the booster until the child passes the 5 step test: 1. child sit all the way at the back of the seat?
2. knees bent comfortable at vehicle seat edge?
3. shoulder belt across shoulder, not neck?
4. lap belt rides low across the thighs, not belly?
5. can stay seated this way for the whole ride, every time?
And is at least 8-10 years old, at least 80lbs, and at least 4’9″ tall. Seatbelts in cars were made for 150lbs adults, not kids.

2) Next is never ever ever buy a used seat of unknown history. Seats expire. And lots of people do things to compromise the safety of a seat, like wash the harness straps in a washing machine, or check or gate check it on an airplane. Or drop it. All no-nos. There are budget seats out there that will work in a lot of situations, if you need help, ask me or find a tech, we’re happy to answer questions about what seat to get for your budget, vehicle, and child.

3) Britax does not a magic bubble make. 🙂 All seats are equally safe as far as we’re told, they only receive a pass/fail from the tests and precious few release the actual results. What makes a difference is how easy is to use. The easier it is the more likely you are to use it right! We techs have a saying, too, RTFM! roughly translated it’s, ahem, read the freaking manual. They come with manuals for a reason. They really do need one.

4) LATCH is not the be all end all it was supposed to be, seatbelts are just as safe and frankly usually easier to use. Just don’t use LATCH and seatbelt at the same time.

5) Don’t use coats in car seats. Or Bundle Mes. Or after market pads, inserts, nothing that goes between kid and seat. Basically the word aftermarket is ugly. The Mighty Tight falls into this range. We’ve seen it shred seatbelts. That’s certainly not doing anyone a favor.

Those are my big ones! Here’s some extra ones:

1) NEVER put an infant carrier seat on the top of a shopping cart. Neither the cart nor the seat were made for this. It’s a dangerous duo.
2) Don’t leave an infant in the infant carrier seat. It’s a CAR seat and should only be used in the car or atop the stroller. Too much time in the seat is unhealthy. If you’re worried about the temptation like I was, skip the carrier and get a convertible. It’ll save you money in the long run, too.
3) Not car seat related, but no one should ever sit in a lap belt. There’s a reason they don’t make them anymore. In particular, never use a booster with a lap belt only. The only thing lap belts are good for are installing car seats.

I think that’s it for now. There’s lots of nitty gritty stuff, but these are some good basics. Please ask questions if you need to! For good measure here’s my newest little one in the Combi Coccoro, proof tiny babies (he was 6lbs 9oz) CAN indeed use convertible car seats from birth (please note we were not getting ready to drive and I had not tightened the harness yet, it’s too loose at the thighs!):


Buttons Diapers Giveaway!

As a giveaway junkie I’m excited to be on the hosting end of my first giveaway. I reached out to the manufacturer of my favorite cloth diaper, Buttons, and she graciously agreed to give one of my readers a Buttons cover and insert of their choice. I knew long before I got pregnant, heck, long before I even had a boyfriend, that I would cloth diaper any future kids. This may very well be the first of many posts on it, brace yourself, but to me it just didn’t make sense to use disposables. Cloth is cheaper, better for the environment, cuter, safer for baby, and though peopl who’ve never done it may have apprehensions, I think it’s actually easier. We never have that ‘oh shoot!’ moment at 10pm when we realize we’re out of diapers. We don’t have to worry about spending $50+ a month for a box. Is that even an appropriate guess? My other son is 10, it’s been a long time since I had to buy disposable diapers!

I lucked out having a couple of great friends who gave me some cloth diapers to try out different types and brands. It can be an intimidating world. But I’ll go nitty gritty into it all in another post. This post is all about the Buttons. I did not receive any free Buttons diapers from the sponsor (or anyone else, lol) to do this review. I approached her about a giveaway because of all the kinds I’ve gotten to try these are my favorites for 3 reasons: simplicity, cost, customer service. Well, and they’re cute, that little embroidered button on the butt.

Buttons are an AI2, read: all-in-two, system. There is a shell  or cover and an insert. Here’s the blurb from the Buttons site describing their system:

“Our one-size diaper covers can snap to fit babies from 9-35 lbs, and are made of 2 layers of soft wipeable PUL with double gussets around the legs. Our snap-in diaper inserts are soft and absorbant, and come in two sizes…Elastic at the back and tummy makes a custom fit.”

“Our daytime inserts are made of 4 layers of absorbent micro fiber, with a luxuriously soft layer of fleece on top. Buttons cloth inserts snap into our one-size diapers covers. Plus, they come in 2 sizes for your growing baby (small fits babies 9-20 lbs., large fits babies 20-35 lbs.).”

“Our nighttime doublers have 6 wonderful layers of micro fiber, for extra absorbency, and work as a doubler with Buttons daytime inserts snapped on top. Buttons cloth inserts snap right into our one-size diapers covers. Plus, they come in 2 sizes for your growing baby (small fits babies 9-20 lbs., large fits babies 20-35 lbs.) *Note: the nighttime doubler is made to be used with our daytime insert snapped on top. Only the daytime insert has a top layer of soft moisture-wicking fleece to keep baby’s skin dry.”

I’ve now tried diapers from many major brands: AppleCheeks, Kissaluvs, Rumparooz, Smart Snugs, GroVia, Thirsties, Happy Heineys,BumGenius, and a couple WAHM made ones, which I really liked. I’ve also tried some of the so-called “Chinese Cheapies”: Sunbabies, Alva, Kawaii, Babyland, Baby Wizard, THX. Buttons is my favorite among them all. I recently decided to get rid of all the others that I’ve bought and replace them with Buttons via some Amazon gift cards I got using Swagbucks.

The review:

The most appealing part of Buttons to me is the simplicity. No stuffing pockets, no waiting forever for all-in-ones to dry. No elaborate folding/rolling routines with flats. I tried each of these things. Snap the insert in, put it on. I love that I don’t have to pre-setup all the diapers for other people to be able to change the baby, either. It’s too simple. No more worrying if I ever got all the pockets stuffed before the next wash day. No, I didn’t. I almost never did. Put them together on the fly which would lead to my dear husband putting an empty pocket on the baby. Oops. And it’s one step in putting it on. Baby is too wiggly for putting on a fitted and then a cover.

The second most appealing point is cost. These are good quality diapers, and yet the price is a good median price: $12-$13 per cover, 3 inserts for $10.50. And you can get by with only a few covers per day, I usually only need 2-3, occasionally 4. Because you reuse the same cover all day until it gets soiled. As in…dirty. Wet is OK. We even use Buttons at night with the doublers. No tricky night time routine, these are the only ones not leaking on us during the 12 hour night time stretch. No, my almost 5 month old doesn’t sleep 12 hours straight, but it sure helps him sleep better that I don’t change him each time he wakes to nurse.

Third is absorbency. These inserts are thick and dense, but very soft with the fleece on top. He never feels like he’s been sitting in a wet diaper, even after the aforementioned 12 hour night. I did have to wait a while to use these with him, as he was less than 7lbs at birth. But by month two and under 9lbs he fit them OK on their tightest setting without overlapping the wings, shortest rise.


And here is today at 12lbs, this is with the nighttime doubler in. It does make for a very fluffy thick bum, but it works!

Buttons 4

To enter this giveaway you’ll need to go to my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/midwestcrunch and click the giveaway tab.

Here’s a mobile friendly link: http://bit.ly/1lXbgvp

And please visit Buttons Diapers at: www.buttonsdiapers.com,
On Facebook: www.Facebook.com/ButtonsDiapers
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Buttons_Diapers
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/buttonsdiapers/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ButtonsDiapers

Check them out! I hope you like them as much as we do.