A Pride Like None Other

As I sit to write this, I feel like this post may come off as very boastful…and I don’t mean it to be. However, getting a Ph.D. is no small task.  Given that I didn’t write about it for at least 5 years, and that I seriously struggled with this degree, I’m going to take at least one post to exorcise some of the demons from this time in my life.  So please take my apology in advance for any moments that I come off as smug.

Remember how I briefly mentioned in my prior post that within the past four years I had switched advisors, and finally managed to finish that Ph.D.?  I realized that I’ve literally never written about my Ph.D. journey since having T.  There was a reason for that…there’s a lot to go into here.  This is going to be long.

I cannot count the times and ways in which I almost didn’t finish. When I got pregnant with T (and in my first year, no less!), I pretty much freaked out.  I freaked out about telling people, couldn’t imagine how people in my department or the university would react, or how I could possibly finish coursework. A full-time Ph.D. program is insane.  And I do mean, absolutely emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. You have to be somewhat clinically crazy to want to inflict that kind of torture upon yourself every single day.  Now, add a child to that.  Did you know that children are equally (actually, I think MORE) emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting?  Yeah, I think I’m going to go there.  Little kids make a Ph.D. seem easy.  And I was stupid enough to try to do both.  So, I took a semester off and started my second year a half of a semester “behind.”

While going through my first year of motherhood, I felt completely lost as a now second-year Ph.D. student (Spring, 2013).  I found out after returning from maternity leave that the person who had brought me into the program wasn’t going to be offered tenure.  I was officially advisor-less.  When you don’t have someone to act as your guide through academia, be a mentor, and help you figure out who you want to be in the field, you’re essentially on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean.  There’s a glimmer of hope you’ll survive, but the odds are against you.  So, I applied and interviewed for teaching jobs…but for some reason (mostly the ease of daycare) I decided to stick with the Ph.D.

The second half my second year rolled around.  I was “given” a new advisor at the beginning of Fall 2013.  She had been brought over from another department.  I’d had her for a class my first year as Ph.D. student, and honestly, wasn’t particularly fond of her. However, she was pretty prolific as a researcher, and offered some hope as far as a direction to take my research. It was around that time that I stopped sleeping.  Insomnia (likely due to anxiety) started taking over.  I eventually sought help, but how I managed to finish my second year as a Ph.D. student is seriously a mystery to me.

It was some point in the middle of my third year (Summer 2014) that I eventually came to the conclusion that I hated the direction this new advisor was taking me in.  By the end of 2014, I’d learned enough about the kind of person she was, but also enough about myself as a scholar (ugh, that term sounds pretentious…) to know that I didn’t want to do the research she did or the ways in which she did it.  When I told her this, she basically told me that I’d have to do it her way or she wasn’t going to act as my advisor.  I started looking for teaching jobs, again.  I was offered one.  Again, like an insane person, I turned it down. The internal turmoil I felt is still so vivid in my mind that I remember having that conversation just as if it had happened yesterday.  It was around that time that I somewhat secretly met up with our previous Department Chair, who was now the Dean of the Graduate School. After telling him what was going on, he offered to sit on my dissertation committee as a co-chair. I had a path forward, and just needed to work up the courage to take it.

(Retrospectively, it might seem like I’m being overly dramatic.  But realistically, I know I’m not.  I cannot emphasize enough about the politics that are at play in academia.  An advisor is seriously your lifeline going forward. If you don’t have a good working relationship with your advisor, let alone the people on your committee, your career is essentially dead in the water.  When your department has about 10 faculty members, and you need 3-4 of them to get along enough with you AND each other, in addition to understanding or appreciating your research, there are times putting together a committee can seem impossible.  Then, there’s the job market to think about.  Academia is so small, and the market is so bad that you basically need to come out glowing so much you sparkle in order to get a job.  But, I digress…)

The beginning of my fourth year as a Ph.D. student was rough.  It was Spring 2015.  The woman who was supposed to be my advisor was my department chair and hated the direction I wanted to take my research; I was acting as her Teaching Assistant and I cannot even write down how horrible this relationship was; and she was pressuring me to teach a class in the Fall that I really didn’t want to teach, but I wanted to have a class of my own on my CV. I was slowly getting her on board with the idea of co-chairing my dissertation (really, it was the Dean/newest co-advisor getting her on board; I didn’t have much to do with it).

Then, it was like the universe dropped a bomb on me.  In the middle of March 2015, I found out I was pregnant again.

I don’t think we’ve made it much of a secret that O was a complete, and total surprise to us.  But when I found out I was pregnant with him, I went through such an array of negative emotions and thoughts that I still can’t bring myself to admit a lot of them out loud unless I’ve had a lot of wine, or when I was in therapy.  I thought having one child during a Ph.D. program was near impossible.  How the heck could I do it with two?  At this point in the program, I had been hoping that I would have been able to graduate at some point in 2016.  Ha ha ha, naïve Lyndsie. My timeline was going to be thrown totally out the window.

The rest of 2015 kind of flew by.  In some ways, being pregnant with O ended up being the best thing that happened during my Ph.D. program.  (Whoa, never really thought of that until now.) He helped me take a breather when I was at a crossroads in my career as a graduate student.  He also presented me with the biggest challenge I’d ever faced as a parent.  He was colicky, he had reflux, and I suffered from postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety for nearly a year after he was born.  Having O forced me to seek help, get therapy, and figure out where my boundaries were and what I wanted my priorities to be moving forward.  I spent Spring 2016 on maternity, but also some mental health leave.

I came back to school in Summer 2016 ready to hit the ground running.  In the time that I was away, my “main” advisor had (apparently) been stripped of her chairship.  I was advised by the Dean to keep my head down and keep on working towards graduation.  Fall 2016 is a blur of wrangling two kids, working as a teaching assistant, working through the PPA and PPD and trying to put together a dissertation proposal.  At some point that fall, I met a lovely new assistant professor in Sociology, who literally changed my academic life.

On a whim, I put on my extrovert hat and reached out via email to this new colleague who was interested in immigration.  Anyone who is an introvert and deals with anxiety knows about how long it took me to decide to reach out to this new academic stranger.  Divine intervention must have been at play, there’s really no other explanation for what has happened since.  When meeting with her I felt a connection that I had never had with anyone at my university.  I felt like I had finally found an intellectual kindred soul.  I knew in that first meeting that in an ideal world, I wanted her on my committee.  But, she was new to the university, a shiny brand new assistant professor, there were standards about those sorts of things (which differ by department), and I had no idea how she felt about me.

Luckily, she must’ve felt somewhat similarly.  She managed to convince her department chair that I’d make a great teaching assistant for her.  It took some wrangling between her department, my department, and I think the Dean, but I ended up as her TA for Spring 2017.  What I learned as her TA took my research in a newish, but exciting direction.  I had found the theoretical framing I wanted, and I had someone who knew what I was talking about.

Throughout 2017 several other divine forces came into play.  After no less than three different full drafts of my dissertation proposal (which are usually about 100+ pages each), the Dean concluded that I had put my life together well enough to move forward.  He and I managed to part ways with my “original” chair, and he became the full chair of my dissertation committee.  I also managed to convince him that my new academic colleague in Sociology would work well on my committee.  Lots of stars aligned, and a proposal defense date was set for January 2018, with a tentative dissertation defense date of late March or early April.

Despite multiple rounds of stomach flu, strep throat, and I think a round of something like hand, foot, and mouth, that ended in a sinus infection, I managed to make my January deadline.  M had to stay home with one of the sick kids (I think it was T?) so I could actually go defend my proposal…which I did, while sick with whatever the kids had brought home.  I was so miserable; I had been in urgent care a day or two before and was antibiotics.  Regardless, I did it and was cleared to finish writing the full dissertation.  This past Spring was a whirlwind of long nights, lots of writing, re-writing, and drafts flying back and forth to the Dean.  M pulled a lot of the weight around the house while I focused on finishing.  (This house would have stopped running if M hadn’t taken over; I was a mess.)

Defense Day rolled around in early April.  I managed to successfully defend my dissertation and earn that elusive Ph.D.  And while the Defense Day is the part most people talk about, it was probably the easiest part of the process for me. I was excited to share all of the hard work I’d been doing the last 2+ years of my life.  And, as everyone tells you, it’s great practice for the job market.

On Defense Day, I had no idea of what lay ahead.  I had recently learned of a job opening with someone that my Sociology colleague had actually introduced me to about 4 months earlier.  Since I knew of the person, and the research sounded exciting, I decided to apply.  In May, my advisor and dissertation chair (the Dean) ended up offering me a position the same week I did a phone interview with MU.  And the rest, as they say, is history…I now have too much work, and not enough time. 😂

I wake up every single day aware of how lucky I am to have gotten out with a Ph.D. and to have successfully acquired a job (or two).  There were so many days I woke up thinking I was going to quit.  When I met with the Dean in 2014, I told him I wanted to quit…and he told me to hang on.  There were many days after that where I wanted to quit, as working with him was no walk in the park either.  But every day I inched closer to where I wanted to be.  Now here I am, on the other side…and I’m very happy and grateful to be here.


Categories: Academia, Children, Daily Life, Education, Faith, Family, Married Life, Parenting, Teaching | Leave a comment

Fast Forward to the Future! (The Future is Now)

Whoa, it’s been a really long time.  You know how hindsight is always 20/20?  That last post from 2014 is REALLY hilarious 4 years later.  How the heck has it been 4 years?  Easy.

#1–I was raising a toddler/preschooler.  Time flies.

#2–I was working on qualifying for my Ph.D., which is a lot of work, especially since I was raising a toddler/preschooler.

#3–We moved!  Across the street, but still, we moved.

#4–Literally a year after the 2014 post, we (SURPRISE!) found out we were pregnant with #2. O joined the family in December 2015.

#5–While pregnant, I’d been cheating on this blog with this one.  It has both of my pregnancy and postpartum journeys.

#6–Speaking of postpartum journeys, I lost a good chunk of 2016 to Postpartum Depression AND Postpartum Anxiety.  Some of it is detailed in the blog above.  The big takeaway?  PPD and PPA is no joke.  If you know a parent who seems to be struggling, please encourage them to check out Postpartum Support International.  Therapy can really be helpful.  I’ve learned a lot about myself, how to deal with my ongoing anxiety, and how to spot it in my kiddo.

#7–I switched advisors in my Ph.D. program…and FINALLY graduated last month.  I can’t put into words how I feel about this.  Well, actually, I can.  But that’s a different blog for a different day.

#8–M’s startup company was bought out by Cisco and he’s now part of a corporate empire. He’s still the smartest computer engineer/scientist/tech/whatever they’re calling themselves this month that I know.

Our most recent family photo.

So, yeah, that’s a very rough summary of the last 4 years.  I’m hoping now that I’m done dissertation writing, that I’ll start blogging a bit again.  I have a couple of blogs planned to cover what’s in the future for our family at this point, and the various struggles that have been raising two tiny, and now, no-so-tiny humans.  At the very least, it won’t be another 4 years until I update…I hope.

Categories: Academia, Children, Daily Life, Family, Married Life, Parenting, Pregnancy | Leave a comment

My Dearest T, Why You’re an “Only” (For Now)

This post comes from a lot of raw emotion, reflection, and guilt.  I’m just going to say that up front, and move on.  Take this post for what you will.
I should be working, but as all things inevitably do, my thoughts turn to my family as I’m eating lunch.  They also turn to my friends, many of whom have children about T’s age, and are rapidly extending their families, or planning to do so, while ours is resolutely staying unchanged.

I constantly get harassed by many, many people about when T is going to get a sibling.  When I say, “Not for several years, if ever,” reactions range from looks of dismay to outright lectures as to how I will ruin my child and my life if we don’t have another, and do it soon.  I’m sick of explaining it to people, I’m sick of feeling guilty about it, and I’m really tired of defending myself.  So here it is, my apology to the world: T, I’m sorry you’re not getting a sibling now, or possibly ever.

We got really lucky when we got pregnant.  I’ll never deny that.  But, we were also unprepared.  *I* was unprepared.  I now completely understand why my husband wanted to wait for children until he was done with coursework.  Having a child and attempting to do a Ph.D. sucks.  It downright sucks.  I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m a student, I’m supposed to be a researcher, and I’m supposed to be an employee.  Balancing all of these things is incredibly difficult.  I’m barely treading water at school.  I nearly left school last semester.  And right now, we outnumber her.  What happens when you add another?  Yeah, sorry, not gonna happen–at least not while I’m trying to finish this degree.  I actually LIKE what I’m doing (most days), and I want to see it through.

As any parent will tell you, being a parent is HARD.  It’s time consuming, energy draining, and a constant emotional rollercoaster.  Last week when M and I were up for hours overnight with a puking child, changing bedsheets, changing diapers, taking middle of the night showers, and listening to her scream out of fear and pain, we had the same thoughts, apparently.  We really don’t want to go through this again, at least not right now.  I’m constantly fearful of something horrific happening to my child.  Part of that is because I’m an incredibly anxious person to begin with, but it’s only exacerbated by having a child who I’m fairly certain is trying to give me a heart attack before I’m 30.  They’ve nicknamed her “TT” at school for “Toughie Tessa.”  She’s as rough as the boys, if not more so, they tell me.  Oy.  I foresee a trip to the ER in my future, I can feel it in my bones.  My heart hurts already.

Lastly, kids are expensive.  I don’t think I need to expand this explanation that much.  Most people know this.  I can honestly say I didn’t realize HOW expensive children are.  Right now, I take home about $200/month after we pay for daycare.  Simple finances are a very valid reason to not have more children at this time.  I love you kid, but PLEASE stop destroying your clothes at daycare.  I think I need to stop shopping at Carter’s, and go hit up Goodwill.

Between the time consumption, the constant anxiety, constricted freedom, and money, we just cannot have another right now.  I’m sorry.  I don’t know how much our viewpoints are going to change when we’ve got jobs and are attempting to get tenure.  Do I feel guilty?  YES.  I had always envisioned having two children, and feel incredibly sad when I reflect on all the crazy things me and my siblings did together.  But, it’s not realistic right now.

Our life as a family of three is actually really beautiful.  I love that I can play with her when M is busy doing something.  I love it when she takes my hand, or wraps her arm around my neck.  As hard as it may be to see my DINK friends travel, and enjoy their weekends, or see my friends with multiple children post their gorgeous baby bumps and adorable newborns, I have to lay aside my envy.  I remind myself that everyone has an individual path to walk.  Right now, ours is as family of three.  We may add two more feet in our future, but we may not.  And that’s okay.  Just please stop lecturing me.  I’m sorry I’m not living up to your vision of my life, but we’re still evolving as a family.  We just may be taking another path.

Categories: Children, Daily Life, Education, Family, Married Life, Parenting | Leave a comment

Happy 1st birthday, my dearest daughter!

Although it’s not *quite* your birthday yet, tonight’s one of those nights where I have a million things on my mind, and can’t sleep.  One of those things was writing this letter, so I figured I may as well do that while I was awake.

I know it’s totally cliche, but I can’t believe you’re already going to be a year old.  This year has gone so quickly, and I remember it all so well.  This time last year I was anxiously awaiting your arrival.  The doctor kept monitoring me because she was afraid you were small.  She kept mentioning that she might induce me if you didn’t grow.  Despite what the doctor thought, I kept telling everyone that I was afraid I’d be pregnant until almost October.  All the while I was telling you that you’d really want to come Labor Day weekend, so that you’ll always have a holiday around your birthday.  And here you are–sleeping soundly in the next room.

This year has been amazing.  From that first moment of “holy crap, she’s real” when I held you right after you were born, to tonight when you took a wobbly step towards me, I have loved watching you grow.  Your happiness, your spunk, and your curiosity for the world around you brings joy to both your Dad and I.

I still have days where I wonder how I got so lucky.  You’re only one, but I can tell you’re an amazing person.  You’re going to challenge me, yes…but God gave me you for a reason, and you’re here to make the world a better place.  You already make my world a better place.

I can’t tell you how much I love you.  I really didn’t know what people meant when they said you need to be a parent to understand.  It’s true.  You light up my world like nothing else.

I love you, baby.  Happy first birthday.

Categories: Children, Faith, Family, Married Life, Parenting | 2 Comments

Our BFing Journey

As World Breastfeeding Week (and my time BFing T) comes to a close, I continue to ruminate about T’s and my breastfeeding relationship.

I am by no means here to proselytize the wonders of breastfeeding.  There’s enough information out there from breastfeeding advocates that can do that for you.  I think that a mother should feed her child in whichever way works for her family and for their relationship.  Mothers have enough to worry about without getting into a pissing match about who’s better for doing whatever (including breastfeeding).  However, that being said, there’s still a lot of controversy and stigma surrounding breastfeeding.  These are my thoughts (and my thoughts alone) regarding the journey that T and I have made together.

I’m really happy I put the work into breastfeeding.  As many, many mothers will tell you, it is no easy task.  For something that is supposed to be “natural,” it’s really hard to figure out, especially in the beginning.  I’m really fortunate that our hospital had a great lactation consultant, and that our pediatrician was a very strong supporter of breastfeeding.  There were a lot of times, especially the first week of T’s life where I wanted to quit.  Let’s be honest, that first week it hurts, you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s frustrating, and you both can spend a lot of time crying.  At least, we did.


Oh hey, Momma! It’s you up there!

Eventually though, it all worked itself out.  There have been very few times since the early weeks where I have thought about quitting.  Although we’ve had a few hiccups along the way (clogged ducts, bites, slow flow, nursing strikes, etc.), overall, I’m really happy with the way it worked out.  T will take milk from a bottle, a sippy, or me, equally happy–probably in different ways–with all of them.

<–I love this photo.  It was taken when T was about 4.5 months and finally started to realize who was feeding her.

Now we’re weaning, and moving T to cow’s milk soon.  Although I still let her BF when she needs to, it’s becoming less and less.  I feel good about what we’ve done.  I’m happy and very grateful that it worked out.  Breastfeeding is really empowering.  Not everyone can do it; and that’s alright.  But, if you get the chance to try, I definitely recommend it.  🙂


Categories: Children, Girls Only, Parenting, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just Gotta Post

I haven’t posted in a really long time. Sometimes just starting off a post is the hardest part. But I’ve already done that, haven’t I? Phew, glad that part is over.

This summer has been pretty crazy-busy thus far.

GPA visit

Tess with Grandpa Charlie

Korty Family

Korty Family Reunion

We’ve had several visitors, gone to a family reunion, visited relatives and friends in Illinois, and gone to a Mommy-group meet-up/picked up Khrysta’s flower girl dresses…and we still have an entire month of stuff to go (including a trip to Montana for a wedding!).

So, it goes without saying that time is absolutely flying.  In the past week I’ve booked Tessa’s first birthday photo shoot, and ordered her first birthday invitations.  I know it’s cliche, but really, how is my baby turning a year old?  She’s moving all the time now, crawling, pulling herself up, and just starting to attempt cruising.  She’s got such a happy, fun personality (most of the time).

No matter how hard and exhausting it can be, M and I are really lucky.  We’ve got a wonderful kid, who is super healthy.  I might not be able to stay up past 11 p.m., and sometimes really miss the time we had to ourselves, but all in all, I wouldn’t give up this crazy life for anything else.


Categories: Children, Daily Life, Family, Married Life, Parenting | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to my Daughter

Dearest Daughter,

It’s been a little over 5 months since you’ve been here.  Maybe it’s just because it’s Valentine’s Day, so I’m feeling sentimental, but today I’m really glad I’m your Momma.

I was rocking you to sleep for your morning nap, watching your eyes flutter open and closed as your little hand stroked my hair, as it often does when you’re beginning to drift off.  I felt you snuggle in closer and realized that your feet now practically hang off the side of the glider as your head practically falls off my arm.  You’re still so small, but when did you get so big?  How is it I see you every day, yet I am still in awe of the tiny changes you go through?

Your bottom teeth popped through this week.  Again, I thought, since when have you gotten so big?  Where does time go?  I know I’m going to think this so many times throughout your life.

It’s funny that you never really realize the way in which your own parents love you, until you have a child.  All of a sudden, all of the things they claimed during an argument during your teenage years that they “sacrificed” or “did” for you start to make sense.  I understand why my parents acted the way they did.  You will be the biggest investment of my life.  (Your daddy is a close second.)  Parents make the investment willingly.  It doesn’t take long for your value to increase exponentially.  We have so much fun with you on a daily basis.  Your smile melts my heart, and your tears break it.

I know you won’t always be easy.  We had some rough weeks in the beginning.  There were lots of times where I really wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into by becoming a parent.  And I’m sure when you’re the toddler in the store who’s throwing an epic tantrum, I’m again going to wonder why I wanted kids as I haul you out to the car.  But for now I’m going to enjoy these little moments of peace…the snuggles I get when you’re falling asleep; the smile I get when you wake back up and you see I’m coming to pick you up; the giggles you give Daddy when he tickles you in just the right spot.

This what I promise to you today: I will take joy in the many small moments of being your mom.

I know there are so many struggles ahead of us.  But know that no matter what, I have loved being your mom.


(aka, the food lady)

Categories: Children, Daily Life, Family, Parenting | Leave a comment

Natural Family Planning (NFP)

A blog of this sort would typically belong on my other site, but since I feel like most people are aware of NFP, it’s a public enough topic to be discussed here.

NFP typically is synonymous with “surprise” babies.  Not shockingly, NFP gets a bad rep among most.  Yet, if you’re married in the Catholic church, it is the form of birth control that the church preaches.  While DH and I were going through pre-cana (the required pre-marriage classes the church requires you to take), NFP was drilled as the way to go.  But then they had the “endorsers” speak.  By this own married couple’s admission, they had two–TWO unplanned children by NFP.  Yes, in retrospect, they were blessings and part of God’s plan, yada, yada, yada.  But M and I did not leave that talk reassured that NFP could work. 

SPOILER ALERT:  we were wrong!

Fast forward a couple of years, and a missing gallbladder later.  I had been on and off of BC pills since the age of 14 due to hormonal imbalances that lead to ovarian cysts.  But once I found out that the pill might have been responsible for my gallbladder self-destructing by the time I was 24, mixed with the expense of the pill (since my prescription insurance sucked) and random disliked side-effects, I had a nice sit-down talk with DH about NFP.

There are various forms of NFP that combine well with Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM).  The Marquette Method is one of them.  After a lot of discussion (as we wanted the best odds of protection possible) we settled on a combination of the Marquette Method with the Symptothermal Method.  Although it required some work on my part (more so than remembering to take a pill at the same time every day), I actually enjoyed NFP a lot more than I anticipated.  For starters, I learned a TON about my body.  Despite having hormonal abnormalities, I learned that my body was still working the way it should…just on a random schedule.  Additionally, when both parties are committed to NOT having a baby at that point in time, it becomes a lot easier to resist one another.

But the main reason I’ve become an advocate for NFP is 33.5 weeks old.  Had it not been for NFP and the knowledge I gained from it, I don’t think we would have gotten pregnant as quickly as we did.  After 1.5 years of successfully preventing, we were ready to start a family.  Despite being told that if we wanted to try naturally that we’d essentially be playing “roulette,” we got pregnant the first month.  I cannot tell you how many times DH and I have looked at one another in disbelief at our incredible luck (even still!!).  As our due date approaches, I cannot help being thankful for the path we took.

So, when we say that we were “surprised” we got pregnant when we did, we’re always referring to the ease with which it happened…NOT that we’re surprised that it did happen.  I mean, we were there.  ;D  We knew what we were getting into.  We just didn’t realize it would happen so fast, especially after years of hearing we’d need fertility treatment.

As we learned in December, life can surprise you in positive ways.

Categories: Body Issues, Children, Daily Life, Faith, Family, Married Life, Pregnancy | Leave a comment

Cloth Diapering

This is one of those weird topics that M and I had agreed upon long before we even got pregnant.  I had casually mentioned one day that people still cloth diapered their kids, and I kind of thought it was a cool idea.  (Yes, I really am a hippy tree-hugger at heart, and always have been; go ahead and judge me.)  M and I both agreed that it seems to be better for the environment, better for your child’s skin, and economically more beneficial in the end.  Additionally, we were both cloth diapered (CD) as kids, and were were comfortable with the idea for our own children.  In the end, we knew that we’d probably end up CDing.

Now that we actually are pregnant, I’ve come to realize how big the CDing world really is.  There are SO MANY options out there, and so many items you need–diapers, wet bags, sprayers, etc.  Then as far as diapers go, there are prefolds, one-size, pocket, all-in-one, and the list just goes on.  In an attempt to figure out what will work best for us, I’ve ordered a couple of different kinds to try out once the baby is here.


Cute owl cover

I bought this adorable Thirsties Duo Wrap before I had any clue what I was doing.  I wasn’t sure what exactly I was ordering, so I got the wrap, and ordered some inserts.  When I got it, and saw that it was just a shell, I was really confused.  There were no pockets!  Where did the inserts go?  This is why reading is your friend.  The description on Amazon does state that they are ideally paired with trifolded prefolds.

Trifolded prefold with Snappi

What the heck are those? I thought to myself.  I just assumed that’s what inserts were.

No, no. This—>

is what a prefold is.  Also known as the “old fashioned” method of CDing, you have to place the prefold around your baby, and then the cover and inserts over that.  Try doing that with a screaming child.  In the middle of the night.  Yikes.

Cover, prefold, Snappi, and inserts.


Pros: Cheapest option, cute covers, easy to wipe cover, easy to dry inserts and prefolds

Cons: Pain to do, lots of parts to buy, takes forever to do, have to buy multiple sizes


Although this is the cheapest method of CDing your kid, and your cover options are super cute, these suckers are a lot of work.  I could forsee this being a nightmare to do in the middle of the night, or to make a babysitter try to do.  While we have the one that we’ll try out, I’m willing to bet this is NOT the option we end up going with.




Anytime I imagined CDing, I always imagined the pocket diaper (perhaps that’s because it’s the most common CD currently used).  Just like it’s name, it has a pocket inside that you place the inserts in.  Within this general category, there are several sub-categories of diaper types.  The main ones that come to mind are “perfect size” and “one-size.”


Perfect Size

Small “perfect fit”


I ordered this FuzziBunz Perfect Size diaper just to check it out.

Inserts get shoved into back “pocket”

I figured our little peanut would be small enough that we should get about 6 months of use out of it.  Also, a lot of people claim these fit their kids way better than one-size (OS) diapers do.



Pros: Slim design, easy to dry inserts, nice fleece inside, “best” fit

Cons: Have to stuff them, need to take out wet/gross insert, have to buy multiple sizes (7-18lbs, 15-30lbs, etc.), moderately expensive


One-Size (OS)

Snaps for multiple sizes


After purchasing the FuzziBunz, I decided to look into some OS diapers as well.  I like the idea that we can purchase one diaper to take us from a 7 pound baby up until the time we potty train him/her.  We’d have to purchase less diapers, but we might have to deal with diapers that don’t fit as well.

For these, I decided to try a BumGenius diaper, since they were rated the highest on multiple sites.  I got two of them.  They are very similar to the FuzziBunz, except they go up to 35 pounds instead of 18.

Inserts go in back pocket with flap that closes


Pros: Easy to dry inserts, diapers come with multiple inserts, nice fleece inside, won’t have to buy multiple sizes

Cons: Have to stuff them, need to take out wet/gross insert, moderately expensive, might have issues with fit




All-In-One (AIO):

“Albert” Freetime. SO CUTE!

One of my friends in my online Mommy group brought the BumGenius Freetime diaper to my attention a couple of weeks ago.  These diapers are just one of many kinds of AIO diaper.  As an AIO diaper there are no inserts to stuff.  Instead, the “inserts” are flaps already within the diaper.

Flaps fold on top of one another

Additionally, these particular diapers are OS, so in theory we won’t need to buy any other sizes.  When I found out about these, I had my husband drive us out to Cotton Babies in Town and Country so I could check them out myself.  I didn’t quite understand the concept of AIO.  However, after looking at them, we ended up coming home with two of them.  I could have bought more, but then M would have glared at me…

Pros: No inserts to deal with/pay extra for, no stuffing, won’t have to buy multiple sizes

Cons: They are line-dry only, most expensive diaper, might have issues with fit, could be bulky



Obviously, there’s no “perfect” option out there.  In the end, we registered for the Freetimes on our Amazon registry, as these seem to be the easiest/least time-consuming diaper to use.  Only time will tell which one of these options will work best on the baby.  Right now I only have 6 cloth diapers (the one Duo Wrap, the one Fuzzibunz, the two OS BumGenius, and the two Freetimes).  We will need at least 24 in order to get us to doing laundry only every other day(ish).  Although it’s going to be a big up-front investment (several hundred dollars), I know people easily spend that on diapers for one child alone.  The beauty of these is that we should be able to use them for a second child, whenever that time comes.

Overall, one of the things I’ve realized about parenting (so far) is that you do what you think is going to work best for you and your family.  It may seem crazy, and it may not work at all, but you make an honest effort to do the right thing.


Categories: Children, Daily Life, Family, Parenting, Pregnancy | 2 Comments

Ah, Roma!

After many years of dreaming, I finally got to book my ultimate trip: a week to Rome.  Since high school, the idea of going to Rome has always called to me.  I loved the idea of tiny streets, sidewalk cafés, and thousands of years of history.  Last October, we finally booked my dream trip–great hotel, sight-seeing in the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Pompeii…I dreamt of great food, cappuccinos, wine, and gelato.

Almost as soon as I realized we were pregnant, I also became aware of the fact that I would be missing out on some of the fun things I was looking forward to–mostly the wine and cappuccinos.  But I didn’t really think about it past that, for which I am grateful.  About two weeks before we left, I started to get really nervous about the trip.  Although the pregnancy has been relatively smooth, I was slightly concerned to be going so far.  While I’ve maintained exercising through yoga and shortish (2-3 mile) walks, I knew that a lot of walking would be required in Rome and the various tours.  I was starting to think that perhaps going to Rome while pregnant was not going to be the best idea.

While I’m very glad that we went, our trip was not exactly the rosy picture that our Facebook photos portray.  I figured I’d synthesize our trip through photos while I still remember some of the details.


This photo was not included on Facebook for obvious reasons; I look horrible.  We left St. Louis on Wednesday morning.  The flight into Newark was pretty bumpy towards the end.  I think the combo of the very bumpy descent, plus the stress of traveling while pregnant got the best of me.  I spent most of our 4 hour layover and 9.5 hour overnight flight in the bathroom feeling miserable.  During our layover in Newark we both really started debating if traveling all the way to Rome was a good idea for both me and the baby.  In the end, I knew I would kick myself if we postponed the trip (not only would we lose some of the money, but I didn’t want to be a pansy about traveling).  By the time we actually got to Rome, I was starting to feel better, but I was absolutely exhausted.  Since we arrived to the hotel around 10 a.m. Thursday, our room was not ready yet.  Although most tourists drop their bags and go out exploring, I fell asleep on a couch in the lobby.  Luckily, whoever was in our room before us checked out early that morning, and they were able to ready our room within 45 minutes.  We spent the rest of the day Thursday napping and watching CNN.  This picture was taken after I woke up from one of my naps.  That night we went out for pizza at a local restaurant that was recommended by hotel staff.  It was quite yummy, although my tummy was still barely handling food.



Trevi Fountain

Otherwise known as crazy tour day.  We had a busy, busy day.  We saw the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Colonna, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Vatican in the morning.  While walking between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, I began overheating and had to sit for about 5 minutes.  Once I had some water and took a break, I began to feel better.  I felt great by the time we got onto the bus and headed towards the Vatican.  Seeing St. Peter’s Basilica was amazing.  I told M that it was almost akin to a pilgrimage to Mecca.  It was fantastic to be able to be in the religious epicenter for the Catholic Church.  I got chills just being there.  In addition to the history and the art within the Basilica, it was just absolutely gorgeous.  I really enjoyed it.

We then headed off to lunch with two other American couples.  It was there that I learned a typical meal in Rome consisted of bread, a first course of pasta (which I devoured), and a surprise second course of meat, and dessert.  Since I had eaten all of my pasta, I had no room for the second course.  Ah well, lesson learned.  🙂

Roman Forum with Colosseum in background on the left

In the afternoon was our tour of the Roman Forum, St. Peter in Chains church, and the Colosseum.  Although we didn’t get to walk through the Forum like I was hoping, it was still really cool to see the ruins.  We then spent a good hour or so within the Colosseum.  Our tour guide gave us WAY too much history, and M and I decided to break off the tour a little bit to do our own picture taking, and to let me sit.

By the time our tours were over, we were both tired.  We decided to do dinner “early” (7:15 p.m.).  We, and another group of tourists were the first ones in the restaurant.  For dinner we went to the restaurant on the street behind us.  I ordered some gnocchi that were the best I have ever eaten in my life.  We then tried out the gelato place that was around the corner.  I knew within my first lick that we would be going back…oh so yummy!



Looking down from atop the Steps on an empty day.

After all of the touring on Friday, we decided to have a lazy Saturday that consisted of a late breakfast (9:30 a.m.) and slowly getting ready to go out.  We meandered to the Spanish Steps, which was about a mile away.  We at lunch at the famed Babbington’s Tea Rooms, walked back to the hotel, and napped for a bit.  We then had dinner (pizza) across the street from our Hotel at a restaurant named Henry Cow.




Naples on a dreary day

We spent most of Sunday traveling to, and touring Naples and Pompeii.  This perhaps was the one tour that I was looking forward to the most.  I was SUPER excited to get to visit Pompeii.  Although the weather was kind of dreary (cloudy, misty rain), I really enjoyed getting to see the countryside.  Naples was not all that exciting.  Although I’m sure it’s pretty on a sunny day, it really didn’t do much for M or I while we were there.  However, the weather did not dampen my enthusiasm for Pompeii. Although our tour guide was kind of

Looking down the street towards Vesuvius

annoying (he had some weird noise he would make at the end of each sentence), M and I stayed behind most of our tour group to take our own pictures and do some of our own exploring.

M got some great shots!  Overall, Pompeii was definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

Since we got back so late, we had dinner at the hotel restaurant, which was on the roof, overlooking the city.



We had a very nice, relaxing Monday after having to get up at 5:45 a.m. the previous day.  So, we slept in, had a later breakfast, and waited for the rain to clear.  We spent the day milling about, and explored Termini Station and the Spanish Steps for some souvenirs.  We quickly came to the conclusion that everything was either ridiculously chintzy, or something along the lines of Prada or Dolce and Gabbana (which we can’t afford).  Slightly saddened, we headed back towards the hotel to grab a quick pizza dinner at a hole-in-the-wall pizza place across the street from us.  We got a lot of ridiculously good pizza for less than 5 Euro!  Monday evening was rounded out by a Nighttime Tour of Rome.  Of course, that’s when it decided to rain again.  But not only did it rain, we had a nice, gentle Italian thunderstorm.

Lightning lit up the Roman sky

M got this great shot as we were on top of a hill in Trastevere, overlooking the city.  To the left is the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.  I love how the lightning just lit up the sky.  Although the night was rainy and thunderstormy, Rome at night was still gorgeous.



A majority of our last day in Rome was sadly spent inside of our hotel.  The rain from the evening before continued as a downpour for most of Tuesday.  We ventured out midday for lunch at Trimani, a local winebar.  Afterward, we looked for a couple of bottles of wine in their shop to bring back.  We trudged back to the hotel in the deluge to dry off and change clothes.  Several hours later, we decided that the rain just wasn’t going to lighten up, and I really wanted to throw coins into the Trevi Fountain (which legend has it will ensure a return trip to Rome).  So, we put on our semi-dry clothes and trekked to the Fountain.  Luckily, the rain slowed to a trickle while we were there, and we got to fight the other tourists for a spot at the Fountain.  Our return trip ensured, we went back to the hotel to get ready for our last dinner in Rome.  We asked where a great place to go was, and we ended up at Hostaria di Vincenzo, a local place made popular by its seafood, of all things.  Both M and I avoided the seafood, but had some fantastic pastas.  We also headed back one last time to our favorite gelato place around the corner from our hotel.


Overall, I’m really glad we went.  But to be honest, by Tuesday we were both looking forward to going back home.  Although I definitely suggest a trip to Rome, a week dedicated just to Rome may be too much.  I would definitely like to go back and see more of the country.  And I definitely want to go back and eat more of the food!!



Categories: Daily Life, Married Life, Pregnancy, Travel | Leave a comment