Tuesday, April 26

Thinking spring...

Do you ever find that "positive thinking" works to change anything more than your attitude? I've always been of the opinion that acting or thinking a certain way can change things external to you. For example, if it is cold, wet, and grey outside, but you decide to go out wearing strappy sandals, a colorful blouse, and (ok...) a springy jacket, you will actually feel like it's warm and spring-like. I call this "positive dressing" and it has about a 30% success rate. The other 70% of the time, I catch a cold or have to borrow Josh's huge, leather aviator jacket. And that kills any style I might have been trying to pull off other than the "stupid-freezing-wife-wrapped-in-man-coat" look. Wait for it. It will soon be all over the cover of InStyle. Yeah right... in about a hundred years!

But that rare 30%!! I'm of the opinion that what you wear in a given day does much to determine what kind of a day you are going to have. On my "stable" days, I'll wander around the house until about lunch time in pj's. After all, I'm doing my normal chores - that is, chores that require little thought, imagination, or effort. As my pj's indicate, I could be asleep and doing chores for as much thought as I give doing dishes, sweeping the floors, washing laundry, changing diapers, etc. But there are other chores that require a particular uniform. Gardening is one such. I don't mind dirt and getting dirty, but I have to be dressed for it. I have a particularly awesome, paint-stained pair of capris that were made for kneeling in the dirt. Certain forms of house cleaning - bathrooms, for example - require dressing up, even if it is just wearing Josh's white tees matched with a smashing pair of purple gloves. However, none of these dress-ups are more than functional. There is also the kind of dressing up that puts one in better spirits. On the aforementioned "grey days," the surest way to counteract the inevitable blues is to start your day out by putting on makeup, brushing your hair, and wearing something cute. Probably no one apart from me appreciates it, but try it some time. Cute clothes = better moods.

So what has this all to do with spring? Not much, except that it's getting here! Along with the short sleeves, tank tops, skirts, sandals and shorts that go with it. The wonderful thing about living 7,000 feet up in the air is that you are that much closer to the sun and that much more likely to tan quickly. And do I tan!! Thank you, dear Philipino mother for the ability to tan well. Nevermind that I go through the winter looking some sickly shade of yellow. In the summer, (after one or two nasty episodes without sunscreen) I bake to a lovely brown. The combination of working in my wannabe garden, on sunny days, in a tank top has produced some interesting tan lines on my back and shoulders. Don't worry, sooner or later those zebra stripes will all even out into something resembling a good tan.

In an effort to hurry spring along, I shall continue to done tees, skirts and sandals despite the gale-like winds and occasional snowfalls. When spring finally gets here, you can thank me by coming to my funeral, as I will probably soon succumb to pneumonia.

Saturday, April 16

Nursing Bras, Part 2

Last year I wrote a partial post about my "nursing bra research," which was simply a glorified way to run up our credit card bill. So my dear husband thought! But men, never having been blessed (or cursed) with the ability to nurse, have no idea how crucial it is to have well-fitting, comfortable, cute bras. My mentality is that it is worthwhile to spend lots of money on the aforesaid bras because 1) you are providing your child's sole source of nourishment for at least one year and those baby-feeders ought to be comfortable and well-cared-for; and 2) your bra is going to get lots of use in ways a regular bra will never. Without further ado, here is the outcome of lots of bra-trying-on, a combined 18 months of pregnancy, and another combined 2 years of nursing.

From the sleep bra category, the winner is.....
A Pea in the Pod's Unlined Nursing Sleep Bra. It's not cheap. Nothing from A Pea in the Pod is. But I found this one worth it. It's soft, it's stretchy but not too stretchy, it stays in place, and it's very sturdy. I've been using this one since I was pregnant and almost a year later, it's still in great condition and doing the job. One other great asset to this bra is that it makes a perfect "first week of nursing" bra. When your milk comes in and you're uncomfortable, engorged, and ready to die, sleep bras are a life saver.

And the loser is...
It's a tie between the Medela Sleep Bras and Motherhood Maternity's Sleep bras. I wanted to link to them but ha! They're gone. Yup, they were that bad. I bought them both for Greta's pregnancy and was SO happy to throw them away this time around. They lost their shape quickly, had itchy lace trim on the edges, an itchy elastic band, and rode up your back.

From the every-day-use category, the winner is...
A Pea in the Pod Wireless Clipdown Bra. I bought these over two years ago and they are still in great condition and as serviceable as when I first bought them. They're pretty thickly but evenly padded. The snaps are easy to use with one hand. The cups are flexible and easy to pull down when you're nursing. I just wish that the black and white colors came in sizes smaller than 36C. The nude color comes in all sizes. The outside fabric is nylon and the inner lining is cotton. They aren't really pretty, but for everyday use, they're the most supportive and most comfortable I've ever tried.

A close second in this category is Motherhood Maternity's Sport Clipdown Nursing Bra. I really like the racer-back straps on this. Very supportive. However, I don't like the seam on the cups that shows through on thin, tight, t-shirts. And like some sports bras, it can make you look uni-boob-ish.

Yet another close second in Motherhood Maternity's Wireless Full Coverage Nursing Bra. I really like this one because the cups are thick and firm so your nipple never shows through (ugh!). I also like it because it doesn't have underwire. However, for a no-underwire bra, it is incredibly supportive and forming. I found the snaps harder to manage. I also found that because the cups are made of a firm material, they don't fold down as well as the A Pea in the Pod bra. Last but not least, I found that the band size runs small. So if you try this one, I'd try to order it in one band size up from your normal size.

In the going-out, dress-up, cute bra category, the winner is....
Motherhood Maternity's Full Coverage Lightly Lined Nursing Bra. This bra doesn't look like it should be comfortable, but it really is! It has underwire and the cups are thin, but made with a firm material that holds its form. The lace on the outside is just lovely. Too bad it only comes in nude because black would be so pretty! The straps are wide and supportive (and cute). I don't like that the firm material of the cups makes it hard to fold them down to nurse, but if you're only wearing this on occasion, it's not a big deal. This is probably the prettiest and best fitting nursing bra I've tried.

The runner up in this category is La Leche League's 4204 Padded Contour bra. I tried a number of their bras and didn't care for the fit. This one, however, has gotten a lot of independent, good reviews. It has underwire and very thick, but comfortable cups. I found the cups difficult to fold down when you're nursing, but again, for a special occasion bra, you just learn to deal. You really couldn't tell this one is a nursing bra unless you look closely. I love how the silky lining on the outside doesn't cling to clothing or show through. The sizes run large and the straps (for me, at least) are a little too long. I bought one size down from my normal.

So there you go. Again, all of this is subject to personal taste, so don't hate the messenger if you disagree. All of these stores accept returns if made within one month and if all the items are in the original condition with tags. If you don't have access to a store, they are easy to order online. What I did was order a couple different bras in my size, and then one size up or down (depending if the reviews said they ran small or large). Whatever I didn't like, I returned. Not a cheap enterprise, but definitely worth it. I hope my "findings" help some other moms.