Friday, July 27, 2012

AppleCheeks Washable Swim Diaper: Review and Giveaway! (Closed)

If you've been kicking around for awhile here at M2M, you'll know I loooove AppleCheeks cloth diapers! I've had the opportunity to review both their Microterry and  Bamboo "Little Bundles" (i.e. envelope cover + absorbent insert) and awarded both extremely good scores via my cloth diaper evaluation system.

I'm happy to be teaming up with AppleCheeks again now by reviewing their Washable Swim Diaper!

Product Information:

AppleCheeks Washable Swim Diaper is a super soft, super cute swim solution! As we know you LOVE the styling of the AppleCheeks Envelope Cover, we’ve translated the design to a product that really works for the pool, the lake or the beach!

Two layers of 100% polyester Canadian-milled mesh allows water to comfortably move through the diaper while keeping any solids, should they occur at an inopportune time, out of the water.

Our diaper is completely designed and manufactured right in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, just like the rest of our AppleCheeks line.

And our signature two-size system with snaps at the waist and separately adjustable snaps at the thigh means your little one is guaranteed a comfortable, long-last fit.
  • Size 1 fits approximately 7 – 20lbs
  • Size 2 fits approximately 18 – 35lbs

My Review:

For review purposes, I chose the Samoan Sunset colour swim diaper in Size 2. Similar to their standard diapers, their swimmy comes with minimal packaging, which I always like to see!

A closer-up shot, sans insert:

True to description, the design of the swim diaper is very similar to their envelope cover. The same two-sized system is used (except their Size 2 envelope cover goes to 40 pounds, whereas the swimmy goes to 35), two rows of firm (but not ultra-tight) snaps are included and the signature super-stretchy & "ruffly" waist and leg elastics are incorporated here as well.

One difference is that there are only three sets of snaps on each size, whereas the envelope cover has four on each side. However I don't see this being an issue given the stretchiness of the waist elastic.

Given this is a swim diaper, the standard microfleece inner has been swapped out for a polyester mesh, which you can kinda-sorta see here. In hindsight, getting closer for a macro shot would have provided a better idea of the material's texture, but hopefully you can get a decent idea with this one.


All in all, the diaper is soft and incredibly light weight. Perfect, because the last thing you want when kickin' it at the pool is heavy, wet material hanging off your derrière!

Let's take a look at how the AppleCheeks swim dipe fits on our li'l princess! (18 months old and just over 20 pounds.)

Front view:

Side view:

"Mostly back" view:

Close-up of a leg gusset:

C'mon Mommy - are we going to go swimming already?!?

S has been in the 20-21 pound range during the review period, so she's at the lower end of the recommended weight spectrum for Size 2. That said, the waist and leg elastics still create a nice, snug fit on her so we haven't had any concerns that the diaper wouldn't contain at least a semi-solid mess (though I'm mostly happy to say we haven't had to test the theory out. Yet. :). The only fitting "imperfection" we've noticed (and it's probably due to the weight range thing) is that the diaper is a bit baggy in the back, especially when she's been playing for awhile. Here she is "helping" Mom & Dad in the backyard, and you can see that she has a li'l extra junk in the trunk.

At this point, I'd like to stop and thank AppleCheeks for their patience during this review period, as S has now been using the diaper for over two months. (Various personal factors have made it challenging for me to crank out reviews lately.) On the flipside, a longer review period = that many more opportunities to use the product, which is of course awesome assuming the goal is a thorough, detailed review (which you all know is my shtick. ;)

On the above note, S has now worn her swim diaper in the following scenarios: at the public (indoor) pool during her "Duck Tots" swimming lessons, in our own above-ground pool, on the sandy beach / wading in the shallow water at the cottage, and just mucking around in our backyard. As mentioned earlier, it's awesome in the water as it's so lightweight, and it fits nicely under a bathing suit which you can see from the following video taken during her swimming lessons.

When we remove the diaper, there are never any marks on her waist or legs, so we're confident that she's nice & comfy in there.

I'm also happy to report that it's quite durable. Aside from water (both chlorinated and fresh), our little munchkin's swimmy-clad bum has spent abundant time in sand, weedy grass, gravel and other less-than-gentle surfaces and the diaper hasn't sustained any damage or even noticeable wear.

On a related note, it's super-easy to care for. If it isn't visibly dirty after a wearing, we simply rinse under running water and hang to dry (and it dries fully in a few hours). We'll even do this if she's had a pee in the diaper, because there's no absorbent material which needs to be cleaned thoroughly. (On this note, swim diapers are not designed to contain pee. So yup, it's true - the more li'l kiddos in a pool, the higher the urine to water ratio. Yay!!) If the diaper is dirtier and/or she has worn it a few times, we just throw it in a load of cloth diaper or regular laundry and it comes out good as new!

All in all, I love our AppleCheeks Washable Swim Diaper, and would definitely recommend it to parents looking for a well-fitting, comfortable, attractive, durable swimmy for their little one(s). The only criticism I can think of is that it only comes in three colours, so it would be nice to see a few more options here, and possibly a print or two! But otherwise, two enthusiastic thumbs (bums?) up!

Buy It:

AppleCheeks sells its products exclusively via 3rd party retailers. Visit their Find a Store page to find retailers in your area.

Win It:

One lucky Manager to Mom reader will win an AppleCheeks Washable Swim Diaper of their own! Winner chooses colour and size.

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Comments do not count as entries, however feel free to add a comment to remind yourself that you entered! 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by AppleCheeks.  I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample items free of charge.  This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grandma Catherine: A Memorial

Last week at the cottage, I wrote a memorial for my grandmother who passed away on July 10th. I thought I would share it here, along with a video of Grandma, my mom and S singing together. So glad I managed to capture such a recent, joyful moment!

The Lucky One

When it comes to sharing memories of Grandma Catherine, so many ideas come to mind. I could mention all the fun times growing up as a child, visiting Grandma on St. Leger and raiding her snack cupboard (though as Vanessa recently pointed out, we had to stay away from Uncle John's stash of Zehrs chips!) There were all the chaotically memorable Christmases, with the whole Geffros clan crammed around the kitchen table, fighting over the remaining stuffing. And how could I forget the annual multi-day sleepovers each Summer, spending days with Grandma at the Queen St. park and Market Square, scratching lottery tickets at the deli with the "A crowd" (Edna, Emma, Frieda, Verna, Hannah and I'm sure there were others!) 

But now that Grandma has passed on from this life and on to the next, what remains with me most vividly are the more recent years. Conversations with Grandma in her apartment, me on the couch and Grandma on her favourite chair, munching on Pringles with the news or sports on mute in the background. Being warmed by the sparkle in Grandma's eye and her joyful laugh as she watched my daughter toddle around the living room, getting into mischief. Grocery shopping for Grandma and never failing to see the ol' standbys on the list - bananas (for the potassium, of course), French bread, 4-5 slices of deli meat, pineapple cream cheese and a Farmer's Market pie. And then telling her that the total was way more (or less) than it actually was and seeing how quick she was to brush her hand at me, saying "Ohhhhhhh hush". (And then she'd always be sure to give a "tip" on top of the actual total!) But most of all, simply appreciating all of her MANY admirable qualities - wisdom, patience, caring, generosity, humour, strength of mind and body, sociability, determination, gratitude, forgiveness - and of course an unwavering love for her family and friends. 

Following Grandma's passing, many people thanked me for the time I spent with Grandma over the recent years, mentioning that she was lucky to have me close by. My immediate answer was that it was my pleasure to spend this time with her. Because it certainly was. But it was more than that. *I* was the one who was lucky to have such a wonderful person in my life for 33 years, and Grandma I thank YOU for all the time we got to spend together. You will be forever loved and forever missed. 

xxoo Kristy

If You're Happy And You Know It!

"S" at 18 months: Spirited Away

Oops - almost two months late on this latest "S" update! Bad Mommy!! But don't worry - I'll make up for it with the most adorable pics and vids yet - OK? :)

16-18 months was an incredibly fun, interactive, rewarding age. All of a sudden, we have a little chatter on our hands, and she continues to hone all her other abilities and develop new ones at an amazing rate. We didn't think it was possible, but we're finding ourselves falling more and more in love with our li'l monkey every day!

Look at S grow - she's officially past the baby stage now!

16 months: 

17 months:

18 months:

On her 18 month "birthday" S clocked in at just under 21 pounds. We didn't actually get her growth chart up until a month later, however, so our best interpolation for height at the time is 30-30.5 inches. All in all, 5-10th percentile for weight and about 25th for height. Pretty consistent with previous updates!

Lots of new tooth action during months 16-18. Like clockwork, her first top right molar came in soon after the left in her 16th month, and then the bottom ones erupted about a month later. Yay for a renewed interest in putting everything in her mouth! Luckily her emerging chompers haven't appeared to cause her direct discomfort, however we have had to wrestle with quite the rashy bum, poor thing! This amounted to lots of air time, which was timely as she was also beginning to show signs of potty training interest/readiness in parallel. So at about 16 1/2 months, we bought her two brand spankin' new Baby Bjorn Potty Chairs (red and blue) and borrowed her cousin's Potty Movie DVD which she took to right away, as evidenced by the fact that her first multi-word sentence was "Bye Bye Poo Poo!"

Holy jumpins that ditty gets into your brain. *nods*

We didn't get serious about potty training prior to 18 months, though she did have a few periodic "hits" which we gave her mad props for!

Back to the topic of language development, I began compiling a list of words she could say at 16ish months, but promptly tossed that aside when it became clear she was able to utter back, well, just about everything. For example, "dandelion" came out clear as day at about 17 months, and following her affinity for "Bye Bye Poo", two and three-word phrases became a dime a dozen. "Daddy's shoes", "Starryn's hat", "go outside" and "bike ride" to name just a few!

It's been interesting to see how her proficiency with individual words has progressed as well. For example, Daddy was originally "Dah", then Dada for the longest time, and finally Daddy at 16-17 months. I was still Mama for a few weeks after this, and then she prompty switched to Mommy. Aunt Tracey was originally something like "Tuh-sss", and it became "Tay-cee" by 16-17 months.

At around 17 months she began to sing as well, and it's the sweetest thing! Aside from "Bye Bye Poo", she's also been keen on belting out parts of Baby Beluga, The Alphabet Song and Happy Birthday (though note this video's "cheating" a bit as she's a little over 19 months here :).

S loves working on her language pretty much all the time! It melts my heart listening to her chatter and sing herself to sleep at bedtime.

Another language-related development beginning close to 18 months: her ability to "fill in the blanks" when it comes to reading and singing. She loves helping Mommy & Daddy read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (and this makes the experience more engaging for us too) and she has memorized all items in the Phonics Song.

It's so rewarding being able to communicate back and forth verbally with our daughter, and this area just continues to blossom!

On the topic of books and toys, her tastes continue to evolve. She's into longer stories now, like Dr. Seuss (OFTFRFBD, Green Eggs & Ham, Oh the Places You'll Go), Robert Munsch (More Pies, anyone?) and this old, out-of-print Dogs book I still have from my childhood. She's all about building toys, like her WEDGiTS and Melissa & Doug Jumbo Cardboard Blocks, and she's beginning to dabble in make believe play. For example she gives her baby doll milk and "feeds" the animals from her Fisher Price Little People Zoo. She also enjoys scribbling and other early art 'n' crafts, and bath time has become much more interactive as she's become adept at pouring and dumping water into/from her various containers and toys. She continues to enjoy her chunky puzzles from time to time, though she's ready for more advanced variants as she can do her current ones in about 30 seconds each!

The warmer weather has given lots of opportunites for outdoor play, and she's eating it all up!

Rockin, Rollin' and Ridin' on her Fisher Price Trike!

Lovin' the swing set at the park. "Higher, Daddy!"

Picking dandelions with Granda. (Yes, our yard needs "a little TLC", to put it mildly.)

Helping Daddy with our weed-tuation.

Contemplating the enjoyment of a "long, thin, slimy one".

Physically, she can now climb up onto the ottoman and our bed, and can use the swing and slide of her Little Tikes SwingAlong Castle by herself (about 17 months). She performed her first somersault at 16-17 months, has developed sort of a "toddle run" and has begun learning the mechanics of jumping. Here, her little friend Sam encourages her to bounce with him on his trampoline!

At 16ish months, her increasing fine motor control allowed her to discover a new "game" - getting into mommy's purse and spreading its contents around the room. Fun stuff! :) At around 17 months, she also began taking off her own shirts, shoes, etc. and attempting to put things on (shoes, in particular!)

We took her for "Duck Tots" swimming lessons between 16 and 19 months, and she loooved it! The splashy slide in particular - no surprise there. :)

Emotionally, she continues to be a happy, easy going "sunflower" child for the most part. She went through a physically sensitive stage for about a month following an altercation with a sharp coffee table corner (at 15 1/2 months), during which injury-related references and pictures of children crying or looking afraid got to her quite a bit. Thankfully this passed and we don't think she was left with any longterm emotional scarring! (And the physical scar is slowly but surely fading as well - yay!)

Closer to 18 months, she began showing us a more spirited and determined side. Mini-tantrums were a  common reaction upon moving her away from a forbidden area or object she was determined to explore, and she became insistent about feeding herself at every opportunity, gosh darn it! The latter we were generally happy to accommodate, and her adeptness with spoon and fork increased quite quickly (though she does still prefer to use her hand, the most efficient utensil of them all!) There were also a couple weeks during which she reaaallly didn't want to go to daycare, so that was tough. But overall, no major complaints. We think we'll keep her. :)

Next update due in just over a month. Here's hoping I manage to be a li'l more expedient on that one!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: My Beloved Grandmother

My amazingly loving and strong grandmother passed away yesterday morning (June 10th) at 1:10 AM surrounded by close family. She lived an incredible 95 years and I feel blessed by every moment I got to spend with her. Grandma, you will be greatly missed, though I know you are happy now as you are with God, and your beloved husband and sons.