Baby Todd, you are one lucky boy!  You were born to a family of hikers, mountain bikers, skiers…mountain lovers!  Adventure awaits!  Naturally, your first trip to the mountains would come early

FIRST TRIP – 9/27/14
Artist Point & Bagley Lakes
Mt Baker, WA

On September 27th, when Todd was 5 weeks old, we felt ready to take on a long car trip.  We were itching to get out into the mountains, so we drove to the end of the Mt Baker Highway (SR 542), to Artist Point, elevation 5210 ft.

(By the way, this is where you access the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail.  Check out these spectacular pictures of Mt Baker and Mt Shukshan, from the route.)

Todd does great on car rides of any length.  He falls fast asleep!  I’m not positive, but I think this trip took about 2.5 hours each way.

Once we arrived at the popular destination, we pulled out some chairs and fed the boy.  Mt Shuksan was in the clouds.

Fueling up

Fueling up

Eric & Todd with Mt Shuksan in the clouds

Eric & Todd with Mt Shuksan in the clouds

Todd & Eric

Todd & Eric

We walked along the stroller-friendly nature path, to views of a partially clouded Mt Baker.  I don’t think Todd opened his eyes to look.

Elisa, Todd & Mt Baker

Elisa, Todd & Mt Baker

Some nice people offered to take our picture, with Ptarmigan Ridge in the background.  I’ve hiked that trail before, and we also once did a backcountry ski trip along that route.

Family pic with Ptarmigan Ridge in the background

Family pic with Ptarmigan Ridge in the background

Eric and Todd with Mt Baker in the background

Eric and Todd with Mt Baker in the background

We took our first family selfie.  No one smiled…

First family selfie

First family selfie

Mt Baker from Artist Point

Mt Baker from Artist Point

After we topped off Todd’s tank with some more food, we drove a short stretch down the road to the Bagley Lakes Trailhead.  Another stroller-friendly path greeted us.

The stroller-friendly Bagley Lakes trail

The stroller-friendly Bagley Lakes trail

We tried to show him the columnar basalt, but all he would do is sleep…

Columnar Basalt

Columnar Basalt

Sleepy Todd

Sleepy Todd

Pictures of Bagley Lakes…

One of the Bagley Lakes

One of the Bagley Lakes

Another of the Bagley Lakes

Another of the Bagley Lakes

Clearly, Todd’s first trip to the mountains was memorable for him!  He slept the whole way home, too.

Todd with Table Mountain in the background

Todd with Table Mountain in the background

By the time we left, the clouds over Mt Shuksan had lifted…

Mt Shuksan

Mt Shuksan

Todd at 1 week old - August 28, 2014

Todd at 1 week old – August 28, 2014

Well– I started writing the post called “Baby Todd’s Second Month,” but then I realized that I was spending an awful long time writing just about Todd’s toileting.  It made sense to dedicate a post to the topic.  So here is everything related to Todd’s elimination in his first 3 months.

Let’s start with the set-up.  I didn’t waste my money on a specific changing table with specific changing table pads and covers.  First of all, I don’t have the space for extra furniture.  Second of all, I wanted to use things that would be useful beyond Todd’s diaper days.  I purchased a set of 4 washable bed pads for about $25.

I used a desk in my bedroom as the night time changing area and my sewing machine cabinet in my living room as the day time changing area.

  • First layer:  non-slip shelf liner
  • Second layer:  folded up towel (for padding)
  • Third layer:  folded waterproof bed pad
  • Fourth layer:  cloth diapers
  • “Side wall” layer:  folded cloth diapers
Night time diaper station

Night time diaper station

Day time diaper station

Day time diaper station

I purchased cloth diaper supplies from Green Mountain Diapers while I was still pregnant. I bought 2 dozen newborn and 2 dozen small Cloth-eez Unbleached Organic Prefolds. I also bought a large Blueberry Diaper Pail Liner Laundry Bag, 2 smaller zippered Blueberry Wet Bags, 3 different kinds of cloth wipes (a dozen each), a pack of Snappi Fasteners, and a couple diaper pins.

Green Mountain Diapers order

Green Mountain Diapers order

Note: If you use new cloth prefolds, be sure to wash them multiple times in order to get them ready for use. I had mine ready to go before Todd was born. The Green Mountain Diapers website has lots of instructional content.

Cloth-eez Prefolds, Blueberry Diaper Bags & Baby Bjorn Potty

Cloth-eez Prefolds, Blueberry Diaper Bags & Baby Bjorn Potty

I didn’t have to purchase any diaper covers because I got them used or as gifts.  My initial stash included:  2 Bummis Super Whisper Wraps (size newborn), 2 Thirsties Duo Wraps (size one), 1 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap (size small), and 3 other similar covers (Green Earth, ProWrap).

Cloth Diaper Covers

Cloth Diaper Covers

I recently received another size one Thirsties and 2 g diapers.  My cloth prefolds fit well inside the g diaper liner.  I also have some size medium covers for when Todd gets bigger.

g diaper with newborn prefold inside

g diaper with newborn prefold inside

For Todd’s first 5 weeks, I used only disposable newborn diapers. I’d originally planned to start using cloth diapers right after his cord stump fell off. It fell off when he was 2.5 weeks old (9/9/14), but I waited a little longer because I was still too overwhelmed at the time to start something new.

On September 28th, I put him in cloth for the first time. Once I started cloth diapering, I found out that it’s really easy.

Todd started out in the size newborn cloth covers…his frog covers. Ribbit! I didn’t need to use a Snappi or diaper pin (and I still don’t today). I just fold the prefold, line the cover with it, and put it on Todd.  Voila!

1st time in a cloth diaper (Newborn Bummis Super Whisper) - September 28, 2014

1st time in a cloth diaper (Newborn Bummis Super Whisper) – September 28, 2014

The large laundry bag is actually a lot bigger than I need. I wash the prefolds and the diaper bag(s) every other day. I do a warm/warm rinse-only, no detergent cycle, followed by a hot/cold + extra rinse wash cycle. Since I have 3 laundry/wet bags I always have a bag to put dirty diapers in while I’m doing laundry. The smaller wet bags are a nice travel size for when you leave the house.

With rare exception, I use the same diaper cover all day. I just change out the prefolds. I’m glad that I didn’t purchase more covers, because I definitely have enough. At the end of the day, I put the cover in our regular dirty laundry basket. (warm/cold wash cycle + air dry).

Since we started cloth diapering, Todd’s bowel movement frequency has been about once per day. His soy formula poops are soft but well formed, appear greenish and they don’t really stick to the cloth because they have a slightly oily sheen. Clean up is easy! I conserve on baby wipes by wiping first with toilet paper, then I use 1 wipe to finish the job.

Soy formula poop in a newborn cotton prefold.

Soy formula poop in a newborn cotton prefold.

Since we’re on the topic of poop, I should mention that it’s always really obvious when Todd is going.  First, he gets a certain faraway look on his face.  Then, he emits a series of forceful groans and his face turns all red.  It’s hilarious!  (Sorry, baby…)

We haven’t had any problem with diaper rash. Only briefly in his first month did he have a mild problem, but that’s when he pooped several times a day. At the time, we used The Honest Company’s Diaper Rash Cream (from Target) and it cleared right up.

Todd in his Thirsties diaper at 10.5 weeks old - November 2, 2014

Todd in his Thirsties diaper at 10.5 weeks old – November 2, 2014

For night time, I do use disposable diapers.  Especially now that Todd is sleeping up to 8.5 hours in a stretch, I appreciate the super absorbancy of the disposables.  (Thank you, Costco!)

I haven’t tried using my cloth wipes yet. I still have lots of disposable wipes (Seventh Generation, $2.99 at Target) and they’re really lasting a long time since I only use ~1 per day. Once I run out, I plan to try out the cloth wipes.

(Note that one package of the cloth wipes I bought has really been handy for Todd’s feedings. I call them Todd’s “face wipers.” He doesn’t spit up much, but he can be messy at times, dribbling formula while he eats.)

The latest thing we’re delving into is Elimination Communication (EC).  So far, Todd has peed in his potty three times.  The first time, I thought he was starting to make his “poopy face,” so I quickly moved him onto his potty.  He didn’t poop, but he peed.  That was on November 6th (11 weeks old).  Since then, I’ve put him on his potty occasionally during diaper changes, but he hasn’t produced.  Usually he fights it and tries to stand up.  I don’t push it.  Eric’s had better luck.  Todd peed in his potty two days in a row this week (11/19 & 11/20).

1st pee in the potty - November 6, 2014

1st pee in the potty – November 6, 2014

Usually Todd prefers to take opportunities to pee on the changing table.  We have some Pee-pee Teepees for the sprinkling wee-wee, but to be honest, you need a third hand for them to be effective, and it’s kind of a moving target!  It’s a cute idea, but not very practical.  (Thank you, aunt Ginny- for the gift, though!)

Pee-pee Teepees

Pee-pee Teepees

Here’s Todd today, at 3 months old, showing off his muscular upper back and his g diaper.  A few days ago, he weighed 11 pounds, 12 ounces.

Tummy time in the g diaper - 3 months old - November 21, 2014

Tummy time in the g diaper – 3 months old – November 21, 2014

Todd's g diaper

Todd’s g diaper


Todd at 2 days old - August 23, 2014

Todd at 2 days old – August 23, 2014

Has it already been 3 months since our #minivegan was born?  In keeping with what seems to be the new theme to this blog (part-time online journal), here’s the first in a series of month by month updates.  I’ve been fastidiously keeping records of all of Todd’s goings on since he was born.

As you know from my other baby posts, I am very detail oriented!  It’s not only because I’m in the medical profession that I’ve been charting Todd’s intake, output, sleep patterns, and more since he came home from the hospital.  I don’t want to forget anything about his precious development!

This post was originally going to include Todd’s first three months, but it started getting too long!  So, here’s just the first month…

(Note that I’m just summarizing points pertaining to Todd’s birth and my breastfeeding struggles.  For the detailed accounts and pictures, see my posts:  Todd’s Birth Day and My Bottle Baby.)



Todd was born on Thursday, August 21st at 7:08 PM.  He spent his first night in the NICU and his second night in my hospital room.  In the NICU, Eric gave him a nickname, “Ribbit,” because he made cute frog noises.

Todd and I came home from the hospital on the 23rd.  My sister and niece had been staying at our house since August 13th.  I was greeted with sweet decorations that they put up when I was gone, which made me cry!  I felt so loved.

Welcome Home Sign

Welcome Home Sign

One of many house decorations by Karin & Ashley

One of many house decorations by Karin & Ashley

Ashley & Todd - August 23, 2014

Ashley & Todd – August 23, 2014

My parents arrived with my nephew on the 24th.  We had a full house, but I really appreciated having the company and extra help during that painful and stressful first week.  My sister and her kids went home on the 26th.

My sister and her kids with Todd - August 26, 2014

My sister and her kids with Todd – August 26, 2014

On the 26th, I started having Todd sleep in my bed with me, because he wouldn’t go to sleep in the Pack ‘n Play in my room.  That saved my sanity.  I enjoyed my “little bed partner,” although it took some adjustment to sleep without moving a muscle and without using my blankets and body pillows the way I was accustomed to.

My bed partner - August 29, 2014

My bed partner – August 29, 2014

My parents went home on the 28th.  I was very emotional when my family left.  I was in the throes of sleep deprivation and my post-partum hormone crash.  I was struggling with breastfeeding and stressed about Todd’s weight loss.

My parents with Todd - August 28, 2014

My parents with Todd – August 28, 2014

  • Visitors in the hospital:  my sister (Karin), Eric’s parents (Diane & Darrel), our sister-in-law (Sandie), and my niece (Ashley)
  • Visitors at home:  Eric’s parents, Eric’s brother (Jeff), our niece (Kylie), our nephew (Eli), my parents (Carol Ann & Richard), and our doula (Serena)
  • Appointments:  Lactation (8/24), Pediatrician (8/25)
  • Todd’s weight = 7 pounds at birth;  6 pounds, 3 ounces at 1 week old.
  • 1st nail trim – August 23
  • 1st walk in the stroller – August 24
  • 1st co-sleeping – August 26
  • 1st restaurant outing (Shire Cafe, Arlington, WA) – August 28
1st nail trim, by Ashley - August 23, 2014

1st nail trim, by Ashley – August 23, 2014

Stroller Walk - August 24, 2014

Stroller Walk – August 24, 2014

The Shire Cafe - August 28, 2014

The Shire Cafe – August 28, 2014


Although my stress over breastfeeding difficulties was peaking this week and next, I do have tender memories of Todd holding onto his ears like handles when he was calmly latched on.  (When it was right, it seemed so right!  He just wasn’t getting enough to eat!)

Todd holding onto his ear like a handle - August 24, 2014

Todd holding onto his ear like a handle – August 24, 2014

Since birth, he would keep his hands up by his face.  There was speculation that maybe that was why he had a hard time getting out!  Often, I would have to wrestle with those hands when breastfeeding, because he would push away from me with them.  It’s amazing how strong newborns are!

September 3rd was another particularly emotional day for me.  There were lots of tears of heartache.

  • Visitors at home: our sister-in-law (Dallas)
  • Appointments:  Lactation (8/29, 8/31, 9/3), Cascade Birth Center (9/3), Pediatrician (9/2)
  • Todd’s weight = 6 pounds, 9.5 ounces at 12 days.
  • 1st time using Moby wrap (9/4)
Trying out the Moby - September 4, 2014

Trying out the Moby – September 4, 2014


For the first 3 days, I didn’t leave the house.  I was a slave to breastfeeding, then supplement feeding, then pumping, and the clean-up of pump parts and bottles.  Eric was a big help, but naturally the brunt of the stress was on me.  I reached another emotional low point in the wee hours of September 7th.

In the light of summer day, I felt a little better when I finally took Todd outside, to the mailbox and to briefly visit a neighbor.

For the remainder of this week (4 days in a row), Eric’s mom came over to help.  Todd gave her lots of snuggles.  I cherished the company.  I ended the week feeling emotionally loads better.


Cuddles from Grammie - September 8, 2014

Cuddles from Grammie – September 8, 2014

We purchased a swing on September 9th, and it turned out to be a vital piece of equipment.  I could put Todd down and he’d stay happy.  Otherwise, he loved to fall asleep on warm bodies!

  • Appointments:  ARNP (9/8), Pediatrician (9/9)
  • Todd’s weight = 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces at 2 1/2 weeks
  • Umbilical cord stump fell off (9/9)
  • 1st time in swing (9/10)


Since his cord stump fell off, we gave him his first bath on the 14th.  He was hesitant at first, but then he seemed to enjoy it.

By the end of this week, I stopped breastfeeding and I stopped pumping.  This meant that life started getting a whole lot better for the three of us.  Without the singular focus on simply feeding Todd, I was finally able to start caring for him.

Up until this week, Todd continued to sleep swaddled in my bed.  But then Todd started crying more when we’d go to bed.  It seemed like the right time to wean him from the co-sleeping.  On September 17th, he was able to fall asleep twice in the Pack n Play in my room.

At 7:30 PM the next night, I put him to bed in his crib.  Success!  He slept until 11 PM, ate, returned to his crib until 3 AM, ate, then returned to his crib until 7 AM.  He’s been sleeping in his crib at night ever since.

  • Visitor at home:  Eric’s mom
  • 1st & 2nd baths (9/14, 9/21)
  • Last breastfeeding attempt (9/17)
  • Active kicking day on playmat (9/18)
  • 1st sleep in crib (9/18)
  • 1st visit to a protest (Ringling circus, 9/20)
Todd on Grammie - September 14, 2014

Todd on Grammie – September 14, 2014

Ringling Circus Protest - September 20, 2014

Ringling Circus Protest – September 20, 2014


2nd Bath at 1 month old – September 21, 2014



Other things to remember about Todd’ first month:

  • scaly skin around his eyebrows
  • goopy right eye
  • sucking on his first finger
  • staring at our engagement picture above his changing table
Staring at our engagement picture - September 9, 2014

Staring at our engagement picture – September 9, 2014

  • staring at pictures on the walls
  • grunts and squeaks
  • turning head side to side during tummy time
  • at the end of the month, Todd’s bowel movement frequency had decreased, from multiple times per day to about twice.
  • carrying Todd around the yard to look at the plants, and walks to the mailbox
Eric & Todd - September 7, 2014

Eric & Todd – September 7, 2014

  • working on head stabilization by holding onto Todd’s hands and gently pulling him  to upright sitting. (See video clip below)

Next up:  Baby Todd’s Second Month…

Dear Andrea,

You don’t know me, but you know my parents.  All I know about you is that my parents are fond of you.  You work at a coffee shop that my parents frequent.  Your baby girl was born yesterday…Congratulations!

My mom was anxiously awaiting the news of your girl’s birth just like she was waiting for news of my baby boy’s birth just 12 weeks ago.  Last evening, mom shared with me that you went into labor at 2 AM and that you started pushing at 6:30 PM.  After 2 hours of pushing, mom was waiting for imminent news!  After 3 hours of pushing, she shared that you needed a c-section.

I want to write you because your story struck a very familiar chord with me.  I want to put this on my blog because I know I’m actually writing to a lot more women than just you!

My baby will be 3 months old in one week…which means I’m almost 3 months removed from all the very raw emotions surrounding my baby’s birth.  I’m nearly 3 months into my physical healing.  I can tell you that three months out is a really good place to be!

I don’t know you, Andrea.  I don’t know anything of your hopes and dreams for your baby’s birth.  I don’t pretend to know what you are feeling right now.  I only know how I felt at the time of my baby’s birth.

Then, I was disappointed that I couldn’t push my baby out on my own– after ~19 hours of labor with ~4 1/2 hours of pushing.  I needed help via an episiotomy, which made me feel like a failure.  I didn’t have a c-section like you did, but it’s only because I’d labored so long at a birth center first.  My midwife literally gave it all she had before she transferred me to the hospital.  Had I been in the hospital to start with, I would have had a c-section for certain.

At the time, I thought to myself, “Thank God it’s over and he’s out and I didn’t have a c-section!”  At the time, I thought that a c-section was the worst case scenario.  But why?  A scar?  Painful healing?  Healing that takes longer than a vaginal birth?


My healing from childbirth has made me re-think all of that.  Is a c-section really “so” bad?  I don’t know.  But I can tell you that healing from my vaginal birth has included 1) a scar, 2) painful healing and 3) a long time frame for healing– exactly those things that I feared with a c-section.

Sure, I don’t have an abdominal scar.  But I still have a belly that shows that I’ve carried a baby.  As I lose the fat underneath my skin, the skin is still looser than it was before.  It may tighten up over time, but I suspect that it won’t ever be like it was before I had my baby.  And I’ve decided that’s okay!  I wouldn’t trade my baby for my pre-pregnancy belly.

Second, my healing process has been very painful!  It’s taken a LONG time to simply feel normal again.  Seriously, it’s just been in the past week that I’ve felt significantly better.  The pressure in my perineum when I walk and shop and carry my baby and move his carseat with him in it is so much less.  My symptoms have finally decreased to a level that doesn’t really bother me anymore.

My point is:  no matter what kind of birth you have, it may take a long time to feel good again.  My intention is not to scare you but to reassure you.  I caused myself undue stress by assuming that I would heal a lot quicker than I did.  I thought 6 weeks would be the very longest it would take me to feel good again.  Oh, NO!  Not even close.  I sincerely hope you heal faster than I have, but if you don’t, please don’t worry!  Give yourself time.  The waiting really really sucks, but it will happen!  Make patience your best friend.

When I was in the midst of physically feeling really, really bad, week after week after week, I had a lot of time to think about all the “what ifs”:

  • What if I’d had a c-section?  Would I have had less pain?  Would I have healed faster?  Is that possible?
  • What if I’d started out in the hospital to begin with?  Would my baby have needed the NICU if I hadn’t pushed for those extra hours? (**See note.)
  • What if my baby didn’t go to the NICU?  Would I have been successful with breastfeeding?
  • What if I’d had an epidural instead of doing it unmedicated?  Would I have been less physically spent when he was finally born?  Would I have been able to feel elation when he came out instead of feeling dazed and traumatized?
  • What if I’d been able to birth my baby vaginally without an episiotomy cut?  How much different  would I feel?
  • What if I hadn’t taken castor oil to induce me at 41 weeks + 2 days?  Would I have gone into labor on my own before 42 weeks anyway?  Would I have had an easier labor?  Would it have changed the outcome?

What if, what if, what if?  Why do we do that to ourselves?  Yep– if I’d had a c-section, you can bet that I’d be playing the same “what if” game from that perspective.  It’s insane!!

What points am I trying to make?  What advice do I want to give?

When we’re pregnant, it’s only natural that we want the perfect birth experience.  When that happens it’s great!  I’m sooo happy for those lucky ladies!  But if it didn’t happen for you, then try to be gentle with yourself.   It’s not your fault.  You did the best you could.  Give yourself the time to grieve for the birth experience that you wanted but didn’t get.  Give yourself a lot of time.  Time does heal.  Know that the post-partum hormonal crash makes every sad feeling feel so much worse.

Nope– I’ll never know if changing one or more variables in my labor and delivery experience would have turned my traumatic experience into a satisfying one.  With every passing month, I’m letting go of the what ifs.  I’m getting closer and closer to…acceptance.

Yep– now that I’ve had my own “less-than-ideal childbirth and failed breastfeeding” experiences, I realize that my thinking on this topic is no longer “black and white” like it used to be.

Before, it was a little too easy to assume that a hospital birth would be bad and a birth center birth would be good…an epidural would be bad, and an unmedicated birth would be good…a c-section would be bad, and a vaginal birth would be good…formula feeding would be bad and breastfeeding would be good…etc, etc.

Now I know that there’s plenty of good and bad in all of it.  A lot of things are out of our control, anyway.

Andrea– congratulations again!  Enjoy your new baby girl.  Rest when you can (easier said than done, I know!)  Recover.  Accept help whenever you can.  Do what’s best for you and your baby.  These next few weeks will probably be difficult, but you’ll get through it.  The learning curve can be rough, but pretty soon you and your baby will have a “flow.”  Enjoy each phase of your newborn’s development.  It’s true that they grow so fast!  I’m starting to have a lot of fun with my almost 3 month old.



(P.S.: I’m still a brand new mom!)


(**Note that my baby was never in any distress while I was pushing.  I do not fault my midwife in any way whatsoever.  I support her and all of her decision making surrounding my labor.  And, during my 6 week post-partum check-up we actually had this same “what if” conversation.)

Click here to read my baby’s birth story.

Click here to read my attempts at breastfeeding.







Tandoori Tempeh & Potato

Tandoori Tempeh & Potato

Here is a flavorful recipe that is plant-powered NSNG (No Sugar No Grains). It serves 2-4 depending on serving size. I took an old recipe for Tandoori Chicken and veganized it. Please don’t eat birds- that’s not nice!


1 block tempeh
1/2 C fresh lemon juice (~5 lemon juice ice cubes if previously frozen)
1/2 of a small onion, cut in short strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut in small cubes (or use Yukon Gold potato)
2/3 C non-dairy milk (I used my homemade cashew rice milk)
1 t ground cumin
3/4 t chili powder
1/4 t ground ginger
1/2 t ginger juice
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t salt
1/4 t turmeric
Olive oil


Cut thawed tempeh in 1/4″ slices, about 2″ long pieces. Marinate the tempeh in fresh lemon juice for several hours. Soak the garlic and onion with the spices in the non-dairy milk. When ready to bake, coat the bottom of a rectangular glass ~9″ x 13″ pan with olive oil. Layer the tempeh on top of the oil. Pour the remaining lemon juice in the pan. Spread the potato cubes on top of the tempeh. Pour the garlic/onion/spice/milk mixture on top of the potatoes. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, or until the potatoes are cooked. Remove from the oven and stir. Enjoy!




"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

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