Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Crunchy Way to Dye Hair

My "virgin" haircolor
In high school I dyed my hair with the toxic chemical filled junk you buy at the drugstore. I loved having red/burgundy hair. I got a lot of compliments and it really brought out my green eyes. But it washed out really quickly and I couldn't keep up with the expense and found it annoying. I started growing it out during my pregnancy with Ceaghan. And during my pregnancy with Cesilee I chopped a bunch off and ended up with all virgin hair. My natural hair color is your average ashy medium brown. Lately I have been growing out that haircut and started craving change. But I am so crunchy that I use coconut oil as lotion, how could I slather chemicals all over my head?? I searched for an alternative. I discovered Henna. There is a lot of misinformation about henna floating around. It is definitely something you need to research before jumping into. There are a few reasons for this. The most important being that not all Henna is created equal. Henna is a powdered plant and ONLY creates red tones. Yeah those "Henna Hair dye" boxes at the drugstore that claim fabulous colors are NOT pure henna and most likely contain other herbs/dyes and things like metallic salts that you do not want on your hair. What you want to look for is pure "body art quality" henna. Known as BAQ henna. This will help  ensure your henna is just henna. Another reason you really need to research is that this is not something you do spontaneously with the thought of changing soon after. Henna is permanent and by permanent I mean so permanent that you will need to go to crazy damaging measures (think bleach, peroxide, stripping!) or grow it out if you dont like it anymore. It is something you commit to and you should be sure you want to go there. This is a plus for me as the chemical red dyes washed out insanely fast. Henna binds to the keratin inside your hair, this causes its permanence and also strengthens your hair. Another thing to research is which "type" of henna will help you achieve the red tone you want. Now all henna is red and it won't lighten hair, it simply puts the red on top of what you already have. But hennas from different regions give different intensity of red. This depends on the lawsome content, the higher the content the more red and the deeper red. Even the henna's with the highest lawsome content might not give you the result you want the first time. You usually need to do multiple full head henna's before achieving the color you want. This is completely safe to do as henna is good for you hair. I wanted a deep red wine color and wanted to avoid orange. After going back and forth on  which type to use, I decided on Yemeni Henna from Henna Sooq. The henna sooq website has a lot of helpful information. I discovered that adding hibiscus powder to your henna mix helps create redder tones. I bought some with the henna.
My results after two applications of Henna
I was so excited when my henna arrived. I couldn't wait to be a redhead again and cure my itchy scalp/shedding issues I have been having. When it was finally time to henna I mixed 100 grams Yemeni henna with warm water and 3 tablespoons of hibiscus powder. I waited for the dye to release and left it on my hair for around 5-6 hours. Its a bit messy to apply and it will get everywhere. I wrapped it with plastic wrap and put a cap over top. This will keep the henna moist. If the henna dries, it stops staining and will dry out your hair. I then used a bottle (yes the entire thing) of Suave Coconut conditioner to wash the henna out. You do NOT want to use shampoo and I recommend a silicone free conditioner to cleanse it all out. Rinse until the water runs clear. This will take a bit. My hair was firery and orang-ish! This was alright though as henna comes out this way right away but then oxidizes and settles down over a period of days. The color deepens and goes redder as opposed to orange toned. So wait a few days before evaluating the color. I waited a few and decided to henna again. This time I mixed the henna and hibiscus into conditioner instead of water. This conditioned my hair more and was easier to wash out. My hair has finished oxidizing and I LOVE the results! I will just be doing root touch ups from here on out now that I have reached the color I like. If I kept applying full head applications the henna would build up getting darker and more purple burgundy color which I do not want. My hair feels healthy and strong. It is the most manageable it has ever been in my life. Here is a video with clips and photos of the process:

Well there you go. I am a henna head now and loving it! I missed the red hair a lot. I am happy that I could achieve what I wanted in a natural and crunchy way. If I ever decide that I dont want to henna anymore I could grow it out again. Hair grows, so why not have fun with it?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EC Daytime Cloth Trainer Reviews

 Realizing that diapers were a pain to take on and off to potty and that they contained too much absorbancy for the daytime, I purchased a variety of training pants for Cesilee. I have ended up liking certain styles for different reasons and certain situations. I have seriously over bought, but I wanted to try out many kinds and some cute prints are hard to resist. Cesilee is 5 months old and 15 lbs. She is chubby with a little belly and pudgy thighs. When she becomes mobile and her body changes, what works might really change. To be really honest though... to practice EC you dont really need anything. Yes there are items (like training pants, potty's, split pants) that make it a little more convenient, but they aren't required. You could really inexpensively use prefolds and receiving blankets to catch misses and a Tupperware or bowl as a potty and even use the bloomers that come with baby dresses as underwear! I like the convenience and the cuteness of the trainers and I dont mind the expense for that. Here are my thoughts on some types of training pants and an explanation of each that we use/have tried.
Ecapants Drop-style Training Pants $17.95 -$21.55

Waterproof EcaPants
Non-waterproof EcaPants
They are specifically made for babies who potty. They have a great range of sizes that fit from newborn all the way through toddler. I find them very convenient when out of the house. I could see how they wouldn't be as convenient under pants or shorts. Since it has been warm, Cesilee has been in shirts and dresses so we haven't encountered that problem yet. They have an elastic band that secures around the waist and then the front part snaps over top. When its time to potty, you simply unsnap or un-aplix the front from the sides and drop it back out of the way. Not having to take a trainer down or off and then back on is a lot easier, especially in situations where you don't have anywhere to lay baby down. I have tried both aplix and snap styles and I seem to have a preference for the aplix. This is so surprising to me since when we cloth diapered I was so anti-aplix; lover of snaps. The reason for this is ease of closing the Ecapants after opening them for use. I find when I am trying to reattach while juggling her in my arms it is easier to just stick aplix than try to secure snaps. One negative that I could see even stopping parents from purchasing Ecapants is the price. Some parents argue that they are simply an expensive version of using a prefold diaper secured with a prefold belt. The prefold/belt combination does not really transition well to outings. Overall I really love my Ecapants! They are ideal to me for times out of the home, especially the waterproof styles. They are well made and come in very cute prints and colors. I will definitely buy more when they go on sale or are listed for sale second hand. They are somewhat hard to find used but not impossible.
Blueberry Cloth Training Pants $15.95
She has a bunch of Blueberry training pant prints,
this one has sunset colored stripes.
I will be honest, the reason I was first attracted to these was the adorable prints!! I also was a huge fan of Blueberry/Swaddlebees diapers. I knew they would be made just as quality as the diapers were. The Blueberry training pants style is essentially absorbent underwear. Made to catch most of a pee so that you don't end up with a puddle. You pull them up and down and there are no snaps or other things to secure. A negative that can arise because of this is if you do end up missing a poop catch, it can result in an epic mess to clean up. These pants are very soft and can hold a pee miss very well despite not being waterproof. I like them for at home or going out to places where I know I will have space to take them on and off to potty. I find at this point that I can't just pull them down to her ankles to potty. It doesn't work out and I have dropped some accidentally into the toilet before. I like that the size small fits her great but has enough stretch that it seems like it will fit for a good while. I think that makes these a great investment. Since this brand is very popular and they are aimed for the potty training community, they are not hard to find used in excellent condition. The smallest size is the small size and so these would not work for younger smaller infants and newborns. They are made for the 20lb toddler who is potty training but like in our case could work on a chubby round baby. Measurements are more important than weight in cases like these.

Starbunz/Super Undies $19.99
I have some the original Starbunz Super Undies and the new style as well. They have a few different types. Ones that are pull on and have a sewn in absorbancy, ones that snap open and have a pocket and also overnight ones. I have some of the older style with the sewn in microfiber, a pocket and a PUL waterproof outer. And also some of the AIO style with no pocket: all of the absorbent layers are sewn in. The AIO style pulls on and off and the pocket style does also but has snaps as well. I like using them when going somewhere where I am unsure if I will have access to a toilet or when we are doing something that might distract me from her signs. Being waterproof makes a miss not as much of a mess. A bonus is that the pocket style can be stuffed with more absorbancy. Which means you could use them if you practice EC a night and need something as a backup. They seem well made. I just wish they had cute prints along with the colors and that the absorbent layers were made from natural fibers instead of microfiber. I find these a bit hard to pull on and off. We also have issues with them being too short in the back and her getting a plumber crack going on.

Guerilla Fluff Training Underwear
Guerilla Fluff Training Underwear $16.00
These are just so cute! I love the print choices of the cotton and how soft they are. They are essentially little underwear that have a lay in doubler to use as an training pant. It seems like a great idea to have them have 2 uses, however the lasy in doubled does just lays in. So when you go to pull these on and off the insert twists and falls out the side. There is nothing keeping it in place at all. I found this annoying enough that I rarely reach for them at all. I am sure they will be great once she is older and needing underwear. They are cute and very well made. I just wish they would update them with a way for the insert to stay put! The price of these and the issues makes me not interested in purchasing anymore right now.

Super Skivvies  $17.95
These Skivvies are very cute very comparable to the Guerilla Fluff Trainer. They are also an natural fiber underwear style with an absorbent insert. But these have a piece of fabric in the crotch where you insert in the insert! It really does make them much more convenient and I reach for them if I am needing a non-waterproof trainer. Once your child is potty independent you can simply leave out this insert and use them as very cute underwear. They are very well made and have a good stretchy waist band. The only downside to these is that they are a bit pricey. At around $18 a pair, these are not for the budget conscious. However for those who love collecting cute prints, these are a good investment. One must also be aware that non-waterproof underwear style trainers are not extremely absorbent. They will catch a bit of pee but not as much as say the blueberry trainer. We are not at a point yet that I would be confident leaving the house with just these on.

Gerber Training Underwear $9.00/3 pk
Gerber training pants are cotton with an absorbent fill sewn into the crotch. The 18 month size will shrink enough in the wash to fit chunky babies well. They are inexpensive especially if found secondhand. Most stores will not carry the 18 month size but you can find them on amazon or at online EC stores. I love these for Cesilee during her day alert/play time. I am expecially attuned to her signals during this time. I find them extremely easy to pull on and off. They do catch a miss but sometimes not the whole mess. Sometimes I double them up for more absorbancy in case. This is easily done. I wish they made different colors and patterns. I am planning on attempting to tie-dye the solid white pairs in the future to make them more fun. The pink prints are cute but I would love some purple or other vibrant colors. These can be used as underwear once baby is potty independent, which makes the low price an even better deal. I am not sure how these will hold up over time but I like having these around right now.

Daisy Doodles Bikini Britches Trainer in Hot Pink.
Daisy Doodles Bikini Britches Trainers $16.95
These are Custom made to fit your baby or come in sizes. The ones I have were given to us (I was so excited!) and are a size medium. However they do fit good and are well made. The outside is waterproof and the interior is made of soft natural fibers. They are very absorbent. I like them for trips out of the house when I am either out of clean ecapants or need a pull down option instead of drop down option like the ecapant. I like that even a full pee will not leak out of these. These are very soft inside. A big downside to custom sized trainers would be that baby would grow out of them quickly. They fit perfect and are very trim at the start and them baby grows out of them and its time to drop more money on a size up. I have 4 or 5 size medium yet they all vary in sizing, which I find strange. Some fit perfectly and others the waist is too loose. They also only have one set of snaps on the side so you cannot adjust them. They outer waterproof material comes in a wide variety of solid colors. I like them a lot but don't plan on purchasing more anytime soon.

Charlie Banana Swim Diaper/Training Pant with
a cute heart on the butt!
Charlie Banana Swim Diaper/Training Pant $12.88
Charlie Banana gets props for this 2 in 1 style trainer. They can be used as an waterproof trainer or swim diaper. They prints are very cute and the sizing goes all the way down to newborn. They will hold a tiny bit of pee before they leak. They are sized and therefore wont be a long term investment. Baby grows out of them quickly but they are very trim. I tend to use these as a swim diaper the most. They are getting snug though and are very hard to get up and down. I dont think I would purchase more until she needs a new swim diaper next year.

I also have some Imse Visme trainers and an Gro-via trainer. The Imse Visme trainers are in their smallest size and although they are usable they are very large and bulky. I love Gro-via and do still use their AI2 and AIO system but their cloth trainer is way to large even on the smallest setting to use on Cesilee. It is also very bulky and thick. I am keeping it and hopefully we can use it for nighttime once she is older.
Using dress bloomers as underwear. 1-2 sizes down usually
works the best due to them being made to fit over diapers.
  Occasionally I dont use a trainer or diaper at all and we do naked time or a prefold with a prefold belt to hold it on. A prefold belt holds on the prefold and allows you to drop down the front to potty. You can use an headband as a belt as well. Like I stated earlier in this post, using a prefold belt is much like an inexpensive version of Ecapants. You can easily do this at home or under wool for outings. Well that is if you dont have a crazy addiction to cute prints like me! And the final option is just using tiny underwear or if you would rather avoid the ridiculous mark up on those special made tiny underwear,  you can go to your local thrift store and pick up a bunch of those little bloomers that go under baby dresses! I have seen these for as low as 5/$1.00. They will work for boy or girl as there are a wide variety of colors and prints.
  As I said in the beginning, you don't need anything to practice EC but these items make it even easier. They make life easier when you are going through transitions and are having a lot of misses.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Life is good.

Dancing on the porch in mommy's shoes!
Things have been going well. Ceaghan is potty trained. I can't believe how quickly it happened. We are working on phasing out his little potty and him using the toilet all the time. He is very interested in using the toilet. He has even had an accident because he didn't time it right to make it to the toilet. We also struggle with him not letting us know that he has to go while we are out. I can tell because he starts grabbing himself and I ask. When I get him on the toilet and he finally goes, I make it a point to talk with him about how it feels so much better to empty your bladder and that he should let me know when he has to go. This kid would hold it for 8 hours! He is also learning a trillion (okay a slight exaggeration) words everyday and he makes me so proud. I can't believe he will be 3 in a few months. This Thursday is the first day of meeting up with a toddler preschool co-op. There are 10 toddlers around his age to learn and play with. I think it is going to be very good for him. I love that this can be an extension of our homeschooling.
This is how I hold her on the potty
  Elimination Communication with Cesilee is going well. We catch some and we miss some. Some days are awesome and we barely have any misses and then others we seem to be missing a lot. We have been going out a lot enjoying the summer weather and it has become a bit tricky. I need some sort of travel potty to take with us. We were at a family picnic the other day at a park. The park had a port-a-potty instead of restrooms. I couldn't take her in there to potty and I was not prepared with a potty bowl or anything. So she reluctantly had to go in a diaper. I changed her often but I can really tell that she has the preference to go on a potty. I am looking into the "Pottete Plus" travel potty/seat. I think I could fit it into my diaper bag and be used in situations like this and on public toilets as well. Cesilee is 5 months old now. Wow did that go fast! I sometimes stare at her in awe that she is so big now. Yet when I look back at photographs and video clips of her premature 5lb self, I am shocked. She has come so far and is such a beautiful blessing! She started babbling as well, which she has been trying to use to communicate the need to eliminate. She makes this certain pitch of sounds and I just know its time. We almost always catch poop but the other day I had set her down in the exersaucer while I tried to hurry and make Ceaghan a sandwich. She was showing sighs but I was just hoping she would hold it for a minute (mistake!!) she couldn't thought and was only wearing Gerber training underwear. It was very full and had leaked out ALL over! What a mess to clean up! But I did learn that she is serious about needing to go and there is no waiting. She has been wearing trainers during the day and diapers at night. She used to wake up during the night and wiggle and cry before letting go of a huge pee. However she has stopped doing this and doesn't make obvious enough signs that wake me up. I think perhaps this is due to deeper sleeping. I have reluctantly been putting her in a stuffed diaper with wool over top to try to make it until morning. (it never does though, shes a super soaker!) I am hoping to figure out a solution soon. I think a wool pad under her would really help as well. The little round wash basin that we were using as a potty bowl cracked. I bought a vintage potty bowl off ebay and it works a lot better. But recently she has decided that she does not like going on anything but the toilet. She will hold it and not go on anything else.  I think this is just her preference right now and I am doing my best to accommodate this desire. The way I hold her on the potty matters as well. She seems to want me to hold her backwards on the potty with her feet pressed against the back inside rim of the seat. She will protest if I try to pee her any other way. But when she has to poop, she wants me sitting on the toilet with her. I am not sure why, but I will do whatever works for her.