Monday, December 30, 2013

The evolution of the fit of an AppleCheeks diapers

One of the most common questions asked by AppleCheeks newbies is "How would they fit my child of "x" weight?" or "what size would my child need?". In general I feel the size descriptions hold pretty true to their claims. Size 1 fits from 7 (or even fewer) pounds until 20, and sz 2 from 20 to potty-learning. There is however a strange transition point for many children at about 13 lbs, many unmobile babies develop some serious thunder thighs at this point, but they slim down again once they are mobile. But fortunately AppleCheeks comes to the rescue again, and this is the perfect time to use extenders to achieve a perfect fit.
So now without any further ado, a picture says a thousand words!

Many people ask about the fit on a newborn. Evie was about 7 lbs even in this picture and 5 days old. Her diaper is stuffed with a 3 ply bamboo insert trifolded. That disposable diaper lurking in the corner was the last one she ever wore!

Here she is at 1 month old. Notice we have moved out one hip snap but have retained the same waist snap as it moves further down the belly.

At 4 months old, she is chunking up a bit and we have moved the leg and waist snaps out.

This picture was taken when she was 6 months old. This was in fact the last day we used a sz 1 on her for awhile. She had entered that tricky thunder thigh category where we ran out of hip snaps!

One month later here she is using extenders to get an optimal fit. Her legs were too round for the hip snaps of a sz 1, but sz 2 would have been too big on the rise and the waist...

…like so. Here she is at 8 months old in a sz 2 for the first time. It was too "big" on her, but was in fact effective, leakproof and functional. However as you can see, she was just starting to get around and her thighs were beginning to thin out
 By the time she was 1 year old, the size 1s were the best fit on her again. 
We could also use sz 2s, but remember to pull those wings waaaaaaay up!
At 18 months she was holding steady in sz limbo. Both sz 1 and sz 2 provided a good reliable fit.

 Now finally at 21 months and about 23 lbs, we have finally said good bye to our sz 1 diapers and are in sz 2s full time.

Obviously Evie is a pretty slim child, and your child will most likely not follow the same pattern. I hope this gives you a good reference for the way AppleCheeks diapers can be tweaked to fit any child at any stage of their development. Please feel free to ask me or even AppleCheeks headquarters if you have ANY fit issues as everyone is always super willing to help out another Mama.

-By Erin Smith

Friday, December 27, 2013

Evie's first birthday party

So as I dip my feet into the planning of her second birthday party, I realize that I never shared her first birthday party with you. We did a Minnie Mouse theme and I was very proud of myself for DIY the majority of the stuff. So here you go!

Here is her cake made by me with rolled marshmallow fondant and buttercream

 Here are the Minnie Mouse cupcakes and chocolate bars in the printed wrappers.

If you look closely you can see the three food tables are arranged into a Minnie head.

A close-up of the chandelier made of balloons, tissue paper flowers and Chinese lanterns.

Her printed banner over the present table

 Her highchair/picture area. In the background are the party hats with take-home hair bows attached.

A closer picture of her highchair skirt. It says "I am 1"

There is the birthday girl herself! Looking sweet in her Minnie dress, but she wouldn't leave the ears on!

Her smash cake (Banana bread in an attempt to get her to eat it. I didn't work, she just picked off the strawberries)

Cake smash photo op! You can kind of see our custom Mom/Dad of the birthday girl shirts.

Well I hope you enjoyed the quick trip down memory lane, and I maybe I have inspired you in the planning of your own!

-By Erin Smith

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meditations on a forthcoming second christmas

In exactly one week we will be celebrating Evie's second Christmas and am super excited! She is such a little girl this year, and I really hope she will "get" the occasion. Last year she was so little and was generally oblivious the whole time, she opened a couple presents but mostly just hung out.  This year her new curiosity and the Sofia paper, will work together for a snowstorm of paper I am sure.

It feels kind of like a transition year. Last year she was a baby and next year she will be a child but this year she is kind of caught in the middle. Sometimes I look at her and wonder how she got to be so big and smart, but other times, like when we are rocking, she is still completely my baby.

As much as we try, it is obviously difficult to teach her about Christmas. She has heard the story, attended Sunday school and played with her nativity plenty, but I know she doesn't "get" it. I am looking forward to next year when she might being to understand and talk about it. I know if we tried we could probably get a word and recognition of Santa, but we have decided to downplay that aspect of Christmas in our house. So far attempts to get her to say "Merry Christmas" have only been met with scrunchy smiles.

Unlike us, I know she is feeling no anticipation of the holiday but I am so looking forward to her reactions on the day. On Christmas Eve we will head to church where she can see her friends and be oooo'ed over by the seniors. Then we will head to my In-laws for the big party. She is such a social butterfly I know she will be wound up just by the people and the attention even before she sees her other favorite thing, food!

Christmas morning is going to be very different this year, our normal schedule has been completely thrown out. All of her Grandparents are going to come here to see her open her presents and to eat breakfast. I really hope she is not going to be overwhelmed with presents, we really tried to hold ourselves back ( and were moderately successful) but I am sure our presents will only account for one third of the total! But we decided that as long as it takes her to open them,  that is how long it takes. We will not be pushing or rushing her, if she wants to stop and play or eat or just cuddle that is fine.
However I hope she doesn't take too long! I think we are pushing the lunch/dinner at my parents house ahead this year, so I would not want to  run into that. That evening we are probably trying something new. Our Church is hosting a dinner uptown for people who have nowhere else to go for Christmas. I admit I am a little nervous to go so far out of my comfort zone, but I think I need to man up and do it, and we will all be better for it!

Anyway all that ramble is to say that I am super excited to share this Christmas with Evie. It is so exciting to see how her reactions to the holiday change every year  and to finally have a child around for Christmas again, since let;s face it, children really do make the season.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent Conspiracy week 3: Give more.

This weeks topic is so closely related to last weeks that it was difficult to speak about only one. Last week we talked about the "spend less" concept and the rejection of consumerism. This week is the solution to that problem, while seemingly like a complete opposite statement!

The answer that we are being asked to give more "quality' in our gifts. AC has never been about shunning the tradititon of gift giving, but rather re-considering it. We are asked to ponder deeply the message and feeling behind our gifts. Find soemthign that a person will use and appreciatef or years to come and never end up as "stuff".

A simple way to combine these two presents is with homemade gifts. What skills do you have that you could turn into some meaningful gifts without feeding the christmas consumerism monster? Perhaps some consumables? Have you ever seen christmas baking go to waste? Just no fruitcake ;)

Another combination of the prinicples would be a charity gift. When we send commerically we contribute only to the profits of large companies and the reiciculous finiancial divisions in the world. We could choose instead to contribute to charity in the givers name. There are several companes who offer catalogues of tangible gifts for the occasion, a goat or misquito netting, or school supplies bless both the giver and the giftee.

The utimate answer to the question is of course to give presence instead of presents. The famous example is of a  grown son who gives his father a bag of coffee beans, but they came with a condition, the coffee could only been brewed when they were together. The son made a commitment to sit down with his father and just be together with him with the simple metaphorical gift. Maybe this Christmas we can tend our relationships, we can slow down the business of life and focus on the love between family and friends.

Friday, December 13, 2013

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why I Dislike The Elf on the Shelf

Many of my Instagram followers may know I have been running a series of satirical pictures at #acherontheabusedelf , but my satire is based on some real opinions

The first reason I dislike TEOTS is that I dislike that it perpetuates the Christmas guilt trip of "Be good Santa is watching". I would rather teach my children to behave appropriately all twelve months of the year, instead of letting Santa do the work for me for 2 months a year. I will teach them they should behave because they are responsible members of society, not because they fear the judgement of Santa.

I also dislike the simple concept that we should be good so we can get gifts. This elf is going to report to Santa how may presents we deserve? No, that is definitely not a message for us. We get gifts not because we deserve them in any way, we get gifts because the giver chooses to give them to us because the love us and wish to give us a gift. We are not entitled to gifts, and no one is obligated to give one to us, no matter how "good" we have been.

However, that being said, this poor little guy is just a blunt instrument to the literature included with it. I have seen some Moms follow the trend without any of the negative connotations and hats off them and their creativity. In have also seen some reference to a "Good deed elf" which could be an interesting concept to investigate.

Why Elf on the Shelf is not for us

Many of my Instagram followers may know I have been running a series of satirical pictures at #acherontheabusedelf , but my satire is based on some real opinions

My dislike harkens back to the ago old, much repeated "naughty or nice list" concept. I do not care to continue the message that our behaviour should be moderated by our personal greed.  I see no merit in a tiny magical figure leaving notes explaining how children are now being punished for their misdeeds by this figurehead, is that going to promote a lasting behaviour change or just a temporary frustration?  I would rather teach my children about correct behaviour consistently all months of the year, regardless of whether "Santa" or his minion are watching and reprimanding them.

It also does not mesh with our families approach to gifting in general. Gifting is an action of love not a return for our behaviours. We get gifts not because we deserve them in any way, we get gifts because the giver chooses to give them to us because the love us and wish to give us a gift. We are not entitled to gifts, and no one is obligated to give one to us, no matter how "good" we have been. The threatened removal of the anticipated gift is not a useful tool for behaviour modification for us.

However, that being said, this poor little guy is just a blunt instrument to the included literature. I have seen some Moms follow the trend without any of the negative connotations and hats off them and their creativity. If the focus is set on the fun and anticipation of the coming holiday it could be a fun family activity, if you can avoid the included messages.

Advent Conspiracy week 2: Spend Less

For a quick summary of Advent Conspiracy please check out my previous post Advent Conspiracy week 1 Worship More

This week's topic is simply spend less. It focuses in on the disturbing trend of the over-commercialization of Christmas.  We always celebrated our Christmas in a Christ-centered way, but I didn't realize I still wasn't getting it! "Keep Christ in Christmas" is insufficient. It has now become a battle to keep over-consumption out of Christmas. I am appalled at the Christmas marketing now that I look at through fresh-eyes, consumerism is poisoning Christmas and us!

Here comes the guilt trip: If you watched the teaser video you were probably as shocked as I was at the sheer numbers of North American greed. To paraphrase: Americans (sorry I am not sure of the Canadian stats) spend $450 million on Christmas this year, but by contrast we could solve world water issues with $20 million. Yes that is about 0.05%. I don't know about you but that makes me feel terribly guilty. We throw all this money into stuff, of which it would only take a infinitesimal portion to save innumerable lives. Why do we need all this stuff! Why do we need so much in general?

The Advent Conspiracy - Spend Less / Give More from Timmy Allen on Vimeo.

Have you ever opened up your mountain of gifts on Christmas morning and then felt that persistent emptiness? Sure it felt nice for a minute, but the glow of stuff probably didn't even make it to the end of the day. Consumer culture tells us that stuff satisfies, have the most and you win! But it is dead wrong! He who has the most stuff should feel guilty! Stuff provides no meaning and only encourages us to think about ourselves and how to better serve ourselves. We instead need to look inward and upward to find that fulfilment that we will never find in any corporal object.

Christmas pleasure can be found in family, friends quality time and most importantly Christ. We do not need excesses of gifts to create pleasure this season. However,  I am not a Christmas scrooge. Presents are a part of Christmas. However let's consider a change in how we gift. Gift should have meaning and be special to the recipient. How do you feel when you get a Walmart gift card for a gift? Special, Considered? No, I doubt it, more like generic, and wondering if they know you at all. Instead of this hyper-consumerism and excess, let's aim this year to give fewer, but more special gifts. Consider the person, not the obligation when you check them off your list. Find that one gift for each person which really says "I Love you for you".

Monday, December 2, 2013

[Advent Conspiracy] Week 1: Worship More

Consider this part one of four in my new Advent Conspiracy themed series.  What is Advent Conspiracy you ask? They are a counter-cultural movement which seeks to return the focus of christmas to the birth of Jesus and to relational time instead of consumerism. You can check out the website at but here is my version. They encourage you to put aside the meaningless, thoughtless and excessive gifting that goes on in this season. They encourage instead to focus that time on relationships with your family, your world and Jesus. It is not an extremist movement, they do not ask you to do away with modern christmas traditions and gifts, but just to change the focus. Check out the awesome teaser video below to get a great summery.

So this week is WORSHIP MORE week. One of the readings this week was the Magnificate or Song of Mary. We take this passage for granted, but some of the teaching this week has really caused me to rethink my perspective. This young woman has just been informed that while she has this amazing blessing her life is now literally in danger by tradition. But she chose instead to speak these words of blessing and jubilation. That is how we need to try to approach christmas. We are constantly bombarded by things that can cause negative feelings or stress at Christmas and it is so hard to push past them to focus our Christmas on it's true centre...worship.