Saturday, February 21, 2015

We're feeling the InstaLOVE!

I have to admit, I really love Instagram when it comes to social media.  I'm a visual person, so pictures are my thing.  I won't claim to be great at taking them...mostly I just love looking at everyone else's posts. ;)  But it's fun giving our cloth diapering friends a glimpse into our day to day life, especially since business comes second to family in our house.  It's a balancing act to be sure, but we like to think we're doing alright figuring it all out as we go. :)

Over the weekend, we hit a big milestone on Instagram as we hit 5,000 fans. As promised, here's our much-anticipated 5,000 fan giveaway!  We're so excited so many of you are joining us on our mission to #makeclothmainstream on IG, so we're giving away a $75 gift card to our shop!  We figured this would cover everyone, whether you're a long time fan of the Spray Pal or you just started following us this week. No matter if you already own the world famous splatter shield or you're just starting out with cloth diapers and are looking to get one, you can use this gift card toward ANYTHING we carry!  Diaper sprayer, splatter shield, a variety of cloth diapers, wetbags, all-natural cleaning supplies for your Spray Pal shield...whatever you need to make your cloth diapering journey easier!

Just enter on the rafflecopter below.  We've included a variety of social media platforms to enter with because we didn't want anyone to feel left out. :)  Be sure to come back each day this week to do the daily options for extra entries!  And good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why You Shouldn't Take a Half-Decade Hiatus from the Gym.

When I was in college, 24 Hour Fitness was all the rage.  They were popping up everywhere and all the cool kids were going.  As soon as I got my first "real" job as a teacher, I made up my mind to invest in a lifetime membership.  It's a pretty big upfront cost, but once you pay that you only have to pay $50 a year to continue your membership.  Almost 15 years later, I can definitely see the value in this...the only issue was when I started having kids around 5 years ago, I had the world's greatest list of excuses to put off going to the gym.

Then I started to notice a pattern.  I must've enrolled in March because every year in February I get a statement in the mail reminding me to pay that 50 bucks.  And every year I do it because I'm cheap and I seriously don't want to have to pay another registration fee and monthly fees on top of it.  And then every year I feel guilty because that statement reminds me that it's been another WHOLE year since I've stepped foot in the gym!

So this year I made up my mind to stop making excuses.  And I went.  This morning, in fact.  I went back to the gym and not only that, I went balls to the wall (as they say) and walked right back into a Turbo Kickboxing class (which may not have been my wisest decision ever, but we'll get to that).

Heading back into the gym after a half a decade hiatus was like traveling back to the future.  The world around us has been changing and growing, but inside this 24 Hour Fitness, it looked at first glance as if time had stood still.  Until I saw the new finger print reader that scans you in instead of that damn card that I could NEVER find in my purse. (Love this long have they been doing that?!)

I walked into the group exercise room and here's what I learned:

1. I need new gym shoes.  The sweet little 80 year old lady next to me had more stylish shoes than I did.  Neon is in, people.

2. In addition to #1, I need an entirely new gym wardrobe. Apparently there's a new dress code and I was the only one who showed up in something that only made good fashion sense back in the early 2000s.  (Wait a second.  Say that out loud:  The early two thousands.  CRAAAAAAAZY!!! I'm so old.)  Everyone in this class looked like they just walked out of a Lululemon catalog and I was like, yeah...I got these yoga pants at the early two thousands.

3. There is a whole genre of music that I didn't even know existed prior to this class.  It actually felt like I was attending a rave. Add to that all the neon colors and the sweaty, gyrating people, and you have me questioning whether or not I actually DID just attend a rave.  The verdict is still out.  I'll go back next time with less dayquil and see if it feels more normal. ;)

4.  Standing in the back of the class will not prevent you from being seen.  In fact, there's a window back there and every time you do a "kick and turn" you get to see all the other gym rats staring at your sorry ass struggling to keep up.

5.  The terminology is the same, but it's not like riding a bike.  I was kind of a health nut right after college.  Pre-marriage, pre-kids, pre-Spray Pal...I had all the time in the world, right?  And I'd go to kickboxing at least 5 days a week.  I could pretty much teach the classes if the teacher called off sick.  NOT. ANY. MORE.  I've never felt so uncoordinated in my life trying to figure out what the heck they were doing!

6.  While the terminology is basically the same, there is a whole new lingo to go with this new music...bumping, shuffling...something about string cheese??  I don't even know.

So the bottom line is, don't go back to the gym unless you want to feel like a dinosaur.  I can't even believe I'm writing this.  I used to be SO COOL.  If you need me, I'll be icing my joints and watching "This is 40" as I cry over my lost youth.

Just kidding.  I'm excited for Thursday so I can do it all over again!  Just need to get myself some new neon "kicks" first. ;)

Anyone else out there working out?  I'd love to do some sort of check in to hold each other accountable, maybe on Facebook or Instagram?  Thoughts?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

#MiniSprayPal 2.0's Feeding Tube Journey

You may have noticed on our Spray Pal social media pages that we've been talking a bit more about #minispraypal 2.0's gtube lately.  It's interesting because I feel like I used to talk about it a lot more, but now that we've been feeding him this way for almost 3 years, it has just become second nature and I don't really notice it as much!  But, it's definitely a big part of who he is and a huge portion of our family routine with him, so I'd like to share a little bit about Ryan's gtube journey in honor of Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2015.

For those who don't know, Ryan was born a micropreemie at only 25 weeks gestation.  He was in the NICU for 7 months after he was born, and in that time he had numerous procedures and breathing episodes that required him to be intubated.  In fact, he was on the ventilator with a breathing tube for the first 6 weeks of his life as he fought against the odds to survive and grow.

As you can imagine, having a tube down your throat for an extended period of time can cause some long term damage.  Vocal chord damage, weakened airways, and oral aversion are pretty common side effects of long term intubation.  So, while we did work on both breast feeding and bottle feeding with him while he was in the NICU, he just didn't have the lung strength at that point to coordinate the suck, swallow, breathe routine needed to take a full feed.  So after 7 long months, our only option for bringing him home to continue his recovery was to give him a feeding tube so that he could take in the proper amount of nutrients and calories to help him grow.  There are so many reasons why someone might need a feeding tube.  This is just Ryan's story.

Luckily, since he did a swallow study and didn't show signs of aspirating, we are able to continue working with him on eating foods orally at home.  He currently receives 2 hours of Occupational Therapy (OT) each week and she works on a variety of things, but the focus for him is mostly on oral exercises and eating plus fine motor skills.  It's been a long journey and I wish I could say we're seeing progress in leaps and bounds, but our guy likes to keep us on our toes.  He'll jump forward one week and then take 5 steps back the next depending on a variety of factors including mood, whether or not he's sick at the time, etc.  But he does chug water like a camel and he is getting better at taking small spoonfuls of a variety of soft foods. 

I had opened this blog post up to questions on the Spray Pal page, and I'd like to address a few of them here:

1.  "Does he eat with his mouth now that he's older?" -Amy P.

I sort of hit on this answer above, but I'll expand a bit here.  Ryan does try foods by mouth, but it's a slow learning process for him.  As a result of his intubations he has an oral aversion and a very sensitive gag reflex.  So if we give him anything slightly chunky or solid, he typically pushes it out or chipmunks it into his cheeks or tries to swallow it whole which causes him to gag and throw up.  So we work a lot on exercises that train his tongue to push the food to his teeth for chewing.  Then we have to train him how to chew and so on.  So he's not like the typical toddler who sees food and wants to grab it and put in his mouth.  He's the opposite!  But, he hasn't met a toy he doesn't like to explore with his mouth first, lol.  And just as a disclaimer: this is Ryan's story...there are numerous people with feeding tubes who just can't eat by mouth for other medical reasons.

This was taken over a year ago, but his respond to solid foods is still pretty much the same now that he's a bit older. ;)

2.  "I always thought feeding tubes required some sort of medically specified food that you buy pre-made. I never knew you made it.  I'm curious what you give him, how often." -Sonia L.

I'm glad you brought this up as I forgot to mention it earlier!  We often get asked about what we are feeding Ryan.  During the first year, I pumped for as long as I could and built up a freezer stash, so he was getting fortified breast milk up until he was almost a year old.  Once I ran out of milk, we switched to formula, but no matter which brand or variety we tried, he always seemed to be more constipated and refluxy.  When he turned one, they wanted to switch him from formula to pediasure to continue to help his growth.  I wasn't really comfortable with the ingredient list on that, so we met with his GI doctor and a nutritionist because I had been doing some research on blenderized diet for tube fed babies, and I really wanted to try it.  Once we made the switch to real food, his constipation issues immediately cleared up.  He still had a lot of reflux issues so we had to play around with elimination diet to figure out what blend recipe worked best for him and what didn't.  The nice thing about blended diet is that you have complete control over what is going into his body.  If he's starting to get constipated, we can add certain foods or juices that will help.  If he's getting sick we can add more foods with vitamin C.  When we have leftovers from our meal, we can add it to his blend so he eats the same foods we do.  I swear he actually eats better than we all do because we can be sure he's getting the right balance of proteins, nutrients, liquids, etc.  We've been making him a fresh blend daily for the past almost 2 years and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Big sister helping make Ryan's daily blend.

3.  "What goes in his mix?" -@ItsyBitsyNecessities

We can vary the recipe based on his daily needs, but our basic recipe is: oatmeal, eggs, green veggies, carrots, a banana + other fruit,  honey, raisin bran, beans, bread, yogurt, milk, almond milk, and water. We may add a variety of other things if we have some healthy leftovers for example.  Sometimes we sub out some of the carbs for potatoes, the eggs for other proteins like peanut butter or meat, orange juice if he seems like he's getting a cold, etc.  There's a great page on Facebook that helped us out A TON when we were getting started with this, if you or someone you know is interested in switching to a blenderized diet, be sure to check them out (and talk to your doctor and a nutritionist first!!): One other thing I found super helpful when making the switch was this youtube video:
This morning's blend before adding liquids. :)
A blend from almost a year ago.  Some variety, but not much has changed! ;)
If anyone has any other questions about Ryan's feeding tube or blenderized diet, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I'll try to answer as best I can. Thank you for taking the time to learn about feeding tubes and

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mission #Makeclothmainstream Booth at Miami's Ultimate Baby Affair {PHOTO RECAP}

Now that I'm home recovering from my whirlwind trip to Miami for Miami's Ultimate Baby Affair hosted by Tutti Bambini, I just wanted to share the awesomeness that was #MUBA2015 in case you were not able to attend.  This was our first year putting on a Mission Makeclothmainstream booth, and I have to say, it was a HUGE success!  I want to start by giving a huge THANK YOU to the phenomenal brands who send us tons of goodies to use as models to explain modern cloth diapers and how easy and adorable they are.  You guys made our job so easy with your cute and squishy fluff!!  Here are the sponsors in case you want to check them out and show them some love:

Balm! Baby
Funky Fluff
Lalabye Baby
Logan + Lenora
Milkin' Cookies
Molly's Suds
Project Pomona
Smart Bottoms
Spray Pal
Tots Bots

Seriously, I had no idea what to expect going into this event.  I'd been told there are lots of people using cloth in northern Florida, but that Miami was this little (or big) pocket that didn't have the education or resources to learn about cloth diapers and how cute, easy, and economical they can be!  So Tutti Bambini reached out to me to change that. 

In addition to providing our Mission #Makeclothmainstream booth at their event, they've also started carrying more cloth diapers and accessories in their store.  You can now purchase a Spray Pal diaper sprayer and shield at Tutti Bambini, along with a variety of cloth diapers from brands like Sloomb, Lalabye Baby, AppleCheeks, and Softbums.  If you live in the area, be sure to stop by and check them out!

As for the event, all I can say is WOW.  I was so completely impressed with everything from the organization to the decor to the amazing people who attended.  Tutti Bambini, you guys know how to throw a party!

Here is my recap in photos:

Step 1: Assemble cloth diaper goody bags.

So many fun things from amazing brands to stuff into the bags!

Our bags were seriously amazing thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors!

Step 2: Set up the booth.

The Spray Pal certainly loves being surrounded by so many amazing brands!
The Spray Pal certainly loves being surrounded by so many amazing brands. Featuring Sloomb, AppleCheeks, Funky Fluff, Project Pomona, Balm Baby, Smart Bottoms and more!

Grovia, Molly's Suds, Thirsties and Logan and Lenora!

How about a little Tots Bots, TushMate, and Gen-Y?  Oh and there's a little side of Thirsties on the left with a box of Lalabye Baby up top. ;)
The finished booth...isn't she lovely?

And how could we forget the Diaper Wearing sign?  Because of course, Diaper Wearing = Cloth Diapers!

Step 3:  Smile, answer loads of questions, and meet a ton of amazing people! Oh, and convince them all to switch to cloth diapers! ;)

Our booth was packed the entire time with people asking so many wonderful questions about cloth diapers!

The winners of our MUBA Premium Ticket giveaway on the Spray Pal Blog. :)

I got to talk cloth with Ashley and JP from The Bachelorette and I got to meet baby Ford!!  Can you tell I was nervous??

This adorable family of SIX won the cloth diaper raffle prize and we couldn't have been more thrilled for them!

All in all, the event was a huge success and a big milestone in our mission to make cloth diapers mainstream.  The more we get the word out about cloth and show people all the options they have to make it simple to manage, the more we can convince people to make the switch!

Did you attend MUBA2015?  What did you think of our booth?  Where else should we go to #makeclothmainstream?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Funky Fluff New Cloth Diaper Reveal!

I was fortunate enough to get to hang out with the lovely ladies of Funky Fluff a few weeks ago at the Toronto Kid Show, and before I left they gave me (well, not really me, but Mini Spray Pal 2.0) their adorable new Funky Fluff color...and I've been holding my tongue since then! Aren't you super impressed?  I admittedly almost blew it with one post, but Kathy helped steer me straight. ;)

So, the day has finally arrived, and we can reveal this adorable new color!  I have to say, Ryan looks pretty dapper in this diaper.  It's the perfect color combo for Valentine's Day, but the bonus is that it's a great every day color as well!  In fact, if anyone's planning ahead for Halloween, I think you may need to stock up on these!  They'd make the perfect addition to any ladybug costume (or watermelon for that matter).

So, I give to you, my dapper little heart-breaker in his Love Bug cloth diaper by Funky Fluff:

He's rocking his cochlear implant and his Freshly Picked moccs with this combo, right? Just had to share because he was we are super excited about his adorable Valentine's Day outfit this year.  His special Valentine, also known as his big sister, is pretty smitten with his outfit, too. ;)

To purchase, you can click on the graphic below or check with your favorite cloth diaper retailer to see if they have them in stock!

Will you be wearing special cloth diapers for Valentine's Day?  If you're looking for more ideas, check out this adorable list of sweet options from Dirty Diaper Laundry: