Midsummer brain-dump

07.16.10 Week 35

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My due date is one month from today! Crazy. I’m definitely feeling closer and closer to being ready, at least in terms of stuff... We don’t have much more to do in the nursery, and we’re waiting until after my baby shower (which is next weekend) to finish buying the essentials.

The only big question that is still bothering us is the cloth diaper conundrum: We live, as I’ve said, in a fourth floor walk-up, and the laundry is coin-op in the basement. I really believe in cloth diapering but everyone seems to think I’m nuts to consider it. Of course, I don’t know anyone in real life who has forgone the disposables, so... (Yes, I know my parents’ generation almost all used cloth, but there have been such huge changes to the options since I was a baby that it’s barely the same product!)

We want to visit The Diaper Lab, a shop in Somerville (and Spokane, WA) that sells pretty much every cloth diaper under the sun, and has lots of resources to help make your decision easier. Unfortunately, the Somerville shop was flooded in the torrential downpours over the weekend, so I’m not sure when we’ll get to go. And if I end up going with cloth, I will definitely try to use a diaper service for the first couple months before transitioning to doing the laundry myself; maybe I should stop stressing about this for now?

Still, I have to ask for your opinions! And what kind of diaper pail do you use if you’re cloth diapering? Obviously the omnipresent Diaper Genie isn’t the right choice.

Since I don’t have any exciting baby products to share with you, I thought I’d tip you off to a few of my favorite things, maternity and not, at the moment:

Old Navy Maternity Low-Rise Cuffed Twill Shorts

They’re on sale for $15 right now, so I don’t know how much longer these will last, but I have lived in the grey ones this summer. The band goes under your stomach--I haven’t been able to get on board with anything paneled, I think because it’s way too warm for extra layers. Combined with nice soft maternity t-shirts and tanks (I like everything fitted, not A-line), they’ve been my uniform, alternating with...

...Old Navy Maternity Fold-Over Skirts

I have the black and the brown. I wear these more than the shorts, even, since they can pretend to be a bit dressier. Light, super-soft knit, very comfortable on the tummy since you can fold the band to rest wherever you want on your hips. Great for these insanely hot days. Also on sale--$16! Bargain!

Camelbak Better Bottle

$12 from LL Bean, and available elsewhere, I’m sure. I love a really well-designed product. BPA-free, with a clever straw/silicone mouthpiece that you pinch with your teeth to drink from. Doesn’t leak. Holds 16 oz., which makes it easier to remember to get your daily ration of water, with a wide enough mouth to let you put in ice cubes. I carry mine everywhere, like a security blanket. I love that it is a little narrower at the base, so it fits into the skinny cup holder in my car, unlike a bigger bottle that I used to have. I also like the loop on the top, which makes it easy to carry with a finger when it’s cold and drippy.

Target Up and Up brand Sunblock and Lotion

Consumer Reports recently gave top marks to Target’s house brand aerosol sunscreen, which was music to my ears. The continuous-spray stuff costs an arm and a leg but it’s the only thing that prevents terrifyingly-pale me from spending the whole summer covered in splotchy sunburns. I bought a two-pack for less than $10.

And I also really like the Up and Up version of the unscented Aveeno body lotion I’ve used for a while. The Target version is thinner, which I actually prefer. And again, it’s quite a bit cheaper than the name brand.

Ta-da! I hope some of that was useful...

Physically, I’m really feeling slow now. I have a lot of ligament pain when I walk--which I refuse to stop doing--and I just feel generally lethargic and overtired, yet unable to sleep very well. I’m sure the crazy heat and humidity aren’t helping... I’m cramming in a lot of appointments, errands, work projects and so on right now, but I want to start trying to slow down and rest. At least my fabulous water bottle is keeping me hydrated!

Kate Flaim is a freelance journalist and food blogger based in Cambridge, Mass. When she's not cooking or writing, she is gearing up for the arrival of her first child this summer.