Contributors

Julie Julie Ekstrom
Mother of Five! @julesekstrom
   
Julie Chad Ekstrom
Father of Five! @DaddyRooz
   
Calley Calley Pate
Mother of Two
   
Stacey Stacey Clover
Mother of Six
   
Kanga Care
521 Violet St
Golden • CO • 80401
303.279.3864

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Can we give this Daddy a high five?!

Just in case anyone ever asks what you "do" all day at home with a baby... 

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Monday, December 24, 2012

2012: A Year in Review!

A lot of great things happened here at Kanga Care in 2012. We broke and set new world records! We launched new products with sell-out results! We traveled the globe and won numerous awards on both the product and administrative levels. Its been a great year...even if Julie's iPhone did end up at the bottom of the Rhine River in Germany. Here's a little recap of 2012 with lots of pictures!


The Great Cloth Diaper Change

Last year, we booked a venue that we thought would hold everyone comfortably, but we were shocked when the room was full and babies just kept arriving! When it was all said and done, we changed 257 babies into a cloth diaper and had the largest Great Cloth Diaper Change event around the globe with about 1000 people in attendance! Were you there?
Right after the doors opened...
30 minutes to go!
Not a square inch of floor space left!
We have already started planning 2013's Great Cloth Diaper Change (Saturday, April 20th at 11am) and can't wait to tell you all about the amazing stuff we have in store for you! If you'd like to know when you can get registered, be sure to sign up for our newsletter


We Launched a New Print and Two New Colors! 


This past year, we also launched two new colors, Peacock (teal) and Phantom (black) and a new print, Preppy (plaid)! The Preppy was so incredibly popular that we actually sold out last week! Thankfully, our next shipment is on its way and we will have enough Preppy for everyone!
This is literally the last Preppy snap in the building. Send your bid to Ann. ;)

The new colors and print come in Rumparooz snap and Aplix, Lil Joeys, covers in both newborn and one size, wet bags and pail liners. View the entire collection! Stay tuned... even more new stuff is coming in 2013!


Germany!


This past year also included some globe trotting adventures for us! We took a trip across the pond to Cologne, Germany for the Kind + Jugend Expo. We made a lot of new friends and had an extremely successful show!
The Rhine River AKA: Where Julie launched her iPhone off the bridge.  Long story.
The expo center - bigger than some cities. 
It's all business in there, we promise. 


Kentucky!

The biggest baby gear trade show in the US is the the ABC Kid's Expo and this year it was in Louisville KY. We took a road trip all the way from Colorado to Kentucky and had a fantastic time at the show. While other companies were breaking their booths down, we were still taking orders! We had so much fun seeing our retailers from all over the globe and made a lot of new friends! 

The ABC Crew: Ann, Nate, Julie and Chad


Again. Trade shows are ALL BUSINESS.

Next year's ABC Kid's Expo is in Vegas, baby! Let us know if you're going! I think I can see a pretty great road trip in our future... 


Awards!

We were nominated for and won a lot of awards this year! Most notably: 

Stevies!

Also, in November, Julie and Chad travelled to NYC to accept two Stevie Awards! The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives and the organizations they run. All individuals and organizations worldwide are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The 2012 awards received more than 1200 entries from 17 nations and territories. Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 200 executives worldwide who participated in the judging process this year.



Kanga Care's President and CEO, Julie Ekstrom, won a Gold Stevie® Award as Entrepreneur of the Year and a Silver Stevie® Award for Lifetime Achievement in the 9th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business! We couldn't be more proud of her and our company!



All in all, 2012 was a busy, fun and successful year! We are so happy to be able to get more and more babies into cozy cloth diapers than ever before! Thanks so much for being a part of our big, crazy family! We hope that your holidays are full of snuggles, yummy food and laughs!

XO, Kanga Care


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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cloth diapering on the road?! It's possible. Here's how!

By Kanga Care Guest Blogger: Vanessa Tomchik, of  GreenPathBaby.com

Once again, the holidays are here and for many of us this is a season of sharing, giving and quality time with the family or friends. Not all of us however, are lucky (or unlucky) enough to live close to our relatives! This means that whenever the holidays roll around, so do our suitcases, making Christmastime the busiest season for travelers. Whether you're flying across the country or taking a roadtrip, this is a comprehensive guide to traveling with cloth diapers! Here is a handy check-list of tried and true products that you will want to bring on your trip to make your traveling experience great:

1. Diaper Covers:

Pocket diapers are great for everyday use and are perhaps the most popular type of modern cloth diapers, but remember, they tend to be bulky and take up a lot of space! If you are flying, most air carriers now charge a (large) fee for checked luggage. Save yourself some luggage space and money. Pack about 16-20 covers, split them up evenly between your carry-on luggage and your checked bag, that way, if your luggage gets lost you can still have a small stash to take with you. Diaper covers also can be used multiple times. You can reuse the cover as long as no poop gets on it and you wipe it down before placing a clean insert over it.

What we love: Rumparooz newborn or one-size aplix diaper cover. These covers are the best! They have an extra layer of protection with the double gussets and are so easy to use. These take almost no space at all in your suitcase-they are so trim! 

2. Bamboo Inserts:

Good ol' thirsty bamboo inserts are an absolute MUST to have around anyway, but they are indispensable for traveling. They are trim and super absorbent and make a great no-fuss addition to your existing stash. While traveling, these are fantastic because you can lay them flat on the bottom of your suitcase without taking up too much space. The laundering is also easier, with bamboo, you don't really have to worry about the insert holding stink because it's naturally antimicrobial! Just make sure that you have properly prepped your bamboo insert BEFORE you travel! (For maximum absorbency wash and dry 7-8 times).

What we love: Rumparooz Bamboo 6R Soaker. The softest, thirstiest insert out there. They come with an attachable newborn insert, which is a great addition to the regular insert for nighttime diapering or if you have a long flight. With the inserts attached to one another you have a total 7 layers of absorbency. Wow!

3. Flushable Liners:

A lifesaver when you're on the go! The bulk of the mess stays on the liner, making it easy to flush the waste down the toilet. Great if your baby has the “peanut butter” poop consistency. 

4. Washable Liners:

Washable liners are great to have if your baby’s bum needs a little diaper cream every now and then! You can use this as a barrier between your cloth diapers and diaper rash cream to keep your diapers (and your baby) in perfect condition.

What we love: Kanga Care Washable Diaper Liners. Made with the same cloud-soft microchamois in a Rumparooz and great for babies!

5. Two Great Wetbags:

We are not talking a regular run-of-the-mill bargain basement wetbag...this has to be a great wetbag. You do NOT want to take the chance of anything leaking on your clean clothes, diapers, or worst yet, your suitcase. A larger sized wetbag, one that fits at least 10-15 diapers is ideal for travel because it is not too large to carry around, but it is large enough to accommodate lots of diapers! This way, you don't constantly have to take time out to empty the bag. Bring two, so that you always have a clean wetbag waiting while you are doing laundry or on the go.

What we love: The Kanga Care wetbag has two features that are really excellent for traveling. The 3-D design means the wetbag folds really small but fits up to 15 diapers and 15 inserts. The other great feature is the barrier-seam sealing. No odor, no leakage. This feature alone is worth its weight in gold for travelers.

6. Detergent:

Pack pre-measured ziplock bags of your favorite cloth diaper safe detergent. (Remember: Kanga Care recommends original Tide Ultra, powdered Ecover or Gain.) Depending on your stash, you might need a special kind of detergent packed. Prepare the individual sandwich baggies with a single load portion of your detergent, one for every other day you plan to stay. For example, if you stay at your relatives' for 6 days, pack 3 pre-measured baggies of your cloth diaper detergent. Don't expect your relatives to have the type of detergent you need for your diapers!

7. Backpack Style Diaper Bag:

I live and die by my Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack. Ok, that was a mouthful, but it's true. It fits all of my diapers, wipes, blankies and snacks. It also has an awesome feature, which is a built-in changing pad. I have used this bag to change my baby in the weirdest places! The pad folds back into the bag when you're done. It is ultra convenient. The fact that this bag can be worn as a backpack is also lifesaver, I can wear baby in the front and the Diaper Bag on the back. I might look like a mom-donkey, but hey, my hands are free!

8. A Baby Carrier/Wrap:

On my last cross-country trip, I wore my baby everywhere! What a difference it makes to have your hands free to get something to drink or chase around an older sibling. Wearing baby is also a great way to keep him/her calm during take-off or landing, and to keep baby close to your heart!



Now, some of you will read this and think, “Hey, where are the disposable cloth diaper inserts? Those are great for traveling right?” Sure, they might be convenient, but please read up on the brand you're considering if you do decide to use these because they are not all the same! Among other non-biodegradable elements like plastic and elastic, they contain SAPs (super absorbent polymers) which have been linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome and were removed from tampons more than three decades ago. It pays to do a little research!

Final tips:

If you are staying at a hotel, call ahead and find out what type of laundry facilities they have or what type of services they offer. The front desk may be able to move you to a room closer to those facilities. Some higher-end hotels will pick-up the laundry for you and wash it for a fee.

If you are staying with relatives, the same advice applies there; call ahead to check if it's ok to use their washing machine for cloth diapers (some people are touchy about that). And don’t forget to check what kind of machine they have. If they have an HE machine, you might have to do extra cycles to get the diapers really clean and bring HE safe detergent.

Remember, the point of any trip is to have fun! So don't spend time worrying about laundry! Use these tips to plan ahead so that when you’re on the road, you can focus on what is really important: spending time with your family and gorging yourself on yummy foods.

Do you have any other tips you want to share? Tell us below!




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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Best Diaper Bags for Cloth Diapering Parents

By Kanga Care Guest Blogger: Julie Murphy, of MyClothDiaperStash.com

Cloth diapering parents have different needs in a diaper bag - namely, space to hold enough diapers! Remember that diaper bags get a LOT more use than a purse, so it's smart to invest in a quality bag that will survive years of hourly rummaging, sippy cups and toddlers.

If you're expecting a bundle of joy soon, you're probably getting a lot of baby gear from Santa this year. Add one of these to your list!

To make it easier for you, we've found the nicest, cutest, smartest most stylish bags for mamas of all types!

For the "Green" Mamas

Dandelion Organic Diaper Bag
Dandelion Organic Diaper Bag
There are plenty of reasons to cloth diaper. Some do it because it's economical, others because fluffy butts are just adorable. But a lot of mamas choose cloth diapers because they prefer a more natural, ecologically kind method of diapering.

If you consider yourself a “green” mama, check out the super cute line of organic Dandelion diaper bags! They are spacious and study like a good canvas bag should be!

If you'd prefer an organic bag with a fun print, check out the Petunia Pickle Bottom Organic Cotton Sashay Satchel. This bag moves from satchel to backpack effortlessly and has beautiful earthy prints. I especially love the Adoring Autumn print!


For the Sporty Mamas (Daddy approved!)

Scout Pack by Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag
Scout Pack by Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag

Not all daddies want to carry a bright pink, floral bag - even if they are totally wrapped around their little lady's finger. And not all mamas want to either! Thankfully, there are plenty of sporty options to suit.

While the chic yet sporty Heathered Gray Scout Pack by Petunia Pickle Bottom is on the smaller side, it is perfect for a quick run to the store or a play date at the park and comes with some essentials neatly stored away inside.

The Critical Mass Messenger Bag is another over the shoulder bag that has plenty of space for anything and everything dad will need all day long. It's not designed to be a diaper bag, but it would hold everything you need and last for years.

Caden Lane makes the Kyle Bowler diaper bag which- as the name might infer- looks somewhat like a bowling ball bag, which means there's plenty of room for cloth diapers. This bag has exterior pockets for accessories, a changing pad and a matching zippered sack.


Perfect for Practical Mamas

Ju Ju Be's Be Prepared Diaper Bag
Ju Ju Be's Be Prepared Diaper Bag

Who said practical has to be boring?? These are some smart, hard-working bags!

Ju-Ju-Be's Be Prepared diaper bag is one of the smartest diaper bags on the market. It opens up wide to make it easy to find everything you crammed in there! We love Ju Ju Be for lots of reasons (their prints are amazing!) but moreover, they are well-designed and incredibly well made. (Trust us. The ladies at Kanga Care have a collective dozen or so Ju Ju Be bags...)

Skip Hop makes a Grand Central Take it All Diaper Bag that will fit everything including the kitchen sink. This bag is perfect for a long day trip.

While the next diaper bag could fit into the category of sporty and daddy-friendly, the L.L. Bean Carryall Diaper Bag is also very spacious with built in organizational pockets and easy-to-clean fabric. You can also monogram it and choose from a variety of classic colors.

Petunia Pickle Bottom makes the Abundance Boxy Backpack which comes in multiple fabric options and has a huge main compartment and spacious pockets. There is also a build in zip out changing station with detachable changing mat.


Ooh la la for Couture Mamas

Dapper Bags Longmont Diaper Bag
Dapper Bags Longmont Diaper Bag

We all know that your diaper bag basically becomes your purse, so sometimes it's nice to have a diaper bag that can do double-duty: look stylish and perform well!

One of our favorites: Dapper Bag's Longmont bag (pictured). This bag is made of cowhide leather with a protective coating for durability. It has a convertible single strap which can double as backpack straps.

Tim and Leslie make super chic diaper bags that would be perfect for even the most stylish clothing diapering mama. Both the Hannah and Rachel Diaper Bags are sure to turn heads. These two bags are both made of faux leather and easy to clean with spacious interiors. They both come in different colors as well.

The Nest Diaper Bag makes a couture bag: Collins in Pacific Blue. This bag has convertible straps for the stroller and can be thrown over the shoulder. It is also spacious and very durable as it is made of glazed leather while the interior is water resistant.

Okay. We know. This adorable clutch wouldn't hold enough cloth diapers for a day out, but they are so beautiful, we just had to show you. The Marmalade Fondant Cake Cameo Clutch by Petunia Pickle Bottom features a fold-out, detachable, water-resistant changing pad, an embossed plastic Cake wipes case in coordinating color and a Cake monogrammed muslin dust cover that doubles as a reusable bag. In addition, it has a detachable wristlet that converts into shoulder strap. This bag is perfect for a special event where baby is invited, or just when you're feeling fabulous.


Mamas just want to have fun! 

Ju Ju Be's BFF in Tokidoki Iconic
Ju Ju Be's BFF in Tokidoki Iconic

This last category is a personal favorite of Kanga Care's CEO, Julie Ekstrom. These bright, playful prints complement her sparkly personality and eye for design.

Check out the B.F.F. by Ju Ju Be in their TokiDoki Iconic print! This bag is loaded with features and has room for plenty of Rumparooz! This diaper bag will be your B.F.F. as it will carry all of your stuff in an ultra organized way and doubles as a conversation-starter! It can be worn as a back pack or a messenger bag.

For you hipster parents (we know you're out there!), Chrome makes a Custom Citizen Bag. Just mix and match your favorite colors to design your own unique bag. For anyone who lives in a big city, you've seen these on bike messenger around town - they survive incredible abuse for years (literally guaranteed for life) so they could definitely last through several kiddos.


Whatever your style, there is a perfect cloth diaper bag for you out there! Tell us which bag is your favorite in the comments below!



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Friday, December 7, 2012

First Friday Birth Story!
This month: Katie Anderson and her baby girl, Blythe

We love birth stories! Each one is unique and amazing. If you'd like to share yours, you can use the link below to submit it. We will read (and probably cry) over each one, and then post one on the first Friday of every month! 



Mama: Katie Anderson
Baby: Blythe
Due Date: Thursday, July 12, 2012
Birthday: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Visit her Blog

My pregnancy was rough! I was sick most of the eight months. But worse than the sickness was the feeling that something was wrong. I was pretty convinced that my baby wasn't going to live. I spent a lot of time even from the very beginning begging God to let me keep this baby. 

Around 24 weeks we were sent to the hospital for a level two ultrasound because of a possible issue with the kidneys, and I thought, here it comes, they are going to tell me the baby's not going to make it. But they checked it out and said it was fine, and it was a girl! :) 

But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. I didn't want to pick a name or set up her room or buy any cute little girls clothes. I forced myself to do these things because I knew I needed to and I was fighting so hard to have faith that She would be okay.

At 32 weeks I felt like she just wasn't moving around very much. The doctor told me to drink some juice and if I felt something within an hour it was fine. I did, so I tried to ignore the feeling. She got less and less active and when I went in for my 35 week appointment I was ready to demand a stress test. But I didn't have to, for some reason they had scheduled me for an ultrasound even though I wasn't supposed to get it until the next week. 

I went in and it took about two minutes for the tech to turn the machine off and go get the doctor. But I saw with the first two measurements that the baby was measuring 30 weeks instead of the almost 36 that I was.

The Doctor came in and told me I was going to have a baby that day and I should call my husband to have him drive me over to the hospital. The reason was IUGR due to an issue with the placenta. I learned later that if we had waited another week for the ultrasound she would have been still born. 

We went over to the hospital and they prepped me quickly and delivered her within the hour. She let out the loudest scream, and to this day when she gets REALLY mad she still screams like that. Although I hate for her to be upset, it's kind of the best noise ever. 

They held her up for me to see and I couldn't believe how beautiful she was. All 4lbs 5 oz of her seemed perfect to me. They said they were going to take her up to the NICU because of her weight and just check her out and the nurses told me when I went into recovery that no news was good news. 

So when my husband showed up 20 minutes later with a neonatologist I figured it wasn't good. My husband was crying and I was just sure Blythe had passed. But then the doctor said she looked good and was doing really well. And then she stopped and looked at my husband like she was waiting for him to talk but he couldn't so she just said it.

"We believe that Blythe has Down Syndrome." 



I don't remember much else she said after that I just couldn't help feeling complete relief. I had know the whole time that there was something coming and I had all these terrible scenarios in my head. But for some reason when she told me and I finally knew I had so much peace. 

After they left I kept going over things in my life that had prepared me for this day. My desire to work with special needs children. My grief when my mother lost a baby with Downs at 20 weeks due to a severe heart defect. I had always felt like our family missed out on something special.

Of course I also thought about all the things that were going to be harder for her and as her mother my heart began to break that others might not accept her the way she was. That's about the time I heard my mom outside the recovery room door pretty much telling the nurse that she was going to come in there and see her baby and if the nurse wanted to call security then that was fine with her. So then my mother was there and she kissed me and grabbed my hand looked in my eyes and said, "Katie, she's beautiful, she's perfect and we are going to love that little girl more than anything." 



And then I had to wait what seemed like FOREVER for my legs to start working again so I could go see her. When they handed her to me My husband assured me that they weren't certain that she had Downs, but I just smiled and said, "She does, but its okay." 

The next few days at the hospital we were on an emotional roller coaster. It was also hard because I so desperately wanted people to be happy for us. I didn't want them to see her birth as a tragedy. I guess, like all mothers I wanted the world to realize she was special and perfect and amazing just like I did. 



In her short six months of life that little girl has already captured countless hearts! She's determined and delightful, and when she smiles at you she makes sadness an impossibility. 

And as for me, I have my days where I'm overwhelmed by all the therapists and specialists and the responsibility of raising a child with special needs. But mostly, more than all that I am just gratefully, unbelievably thankful that I get to be her momma.

-Katie

Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story with us, Katie! Blythe is precious! Give her kisses from all of us at Kanga Care! xo

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