Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cloth Diapering

When I first decided to cloth diaper Nathan I was overwhelmed. Seriously. There are so many choices. And then everyone was saying things like "Why would you want to do that?" Honestly? At first I didn't want to. I felt like I needed to. When I found out I was pregnant we still had Haley in diapers. We had been looking forward to her upcoming potty training and losing that expense. And while I thank God daily that He gave us Nathan...we were going to extend that expense for another 2 (plus?) years! Ouch!

So, I started looking into cloth diapering options. The things that interested me were this:
1. Money Savings. A modest estimate of how much we would spend during the two years of diapering another baby (not accounting for tummy ailments or diaper rashes that would require more frequent changes during that time) was around: $1,440. And that is very modest. (Many have much higher estimates). Yes, the initial start-up fee is fairly high and kind of scary to many (me included) and I'll get to that in a bit-because you can go way cheap...or you can get the cadillac of cloth-diapering! The cost per month for washing my diapers (assuming I do 3 washloads per week-which I usually don't) is about $7.50. PER MONTH! I don't think that's too bad. (Compared to about $50 for buying disposables and wipes)

2. Chemical Free. My baby would not be wearing diapers with a bunch of chemicals. I don't know how huge of an issue this is, but I read that disposable diapers still contain Sodium polyacrylate is the same substance that was removed from tampons because of its link to toxic shock syndrome. Now, I know it's a little different since diapers are worn externally...but still!? That's kind of scary to me. We take them out of tampons, but leave them in something that is up against our newborn's skin night and day!?

3. The Environment. While I'm not into being "totally green" (I don't really have anything against being green, I'm just not.) I think we should all do what we can to take care of this Earth that God has loaned us. It's just a matter of stewardship. Anytime someone loans you something you should strive to return it to that person in the best possible condition (ideally better than you found it). Obviously, we can't really do that. But if each person does his or her part to minimize the damage we inflict...I figured since I had diapered 3 babies in "sposies" I'd already contributed to the landfills in a major way. Ick. While I don't think everyone needs to feel the same way I do about it...I felt a prick in my conscience. Hundreds of millions of literal doody bombs sitting in our landfiis.

4. Cuteness The new cloth diapers are just plain cute! So many colors and options. Some of which are:
:: fitteds with a cover-these have elastic around the legs so that there is no folding or gaping. You will need pins or a snappy to keep them closed
:: pre-folds with a cover-one of the cheapest easiest to care for. You will need the prefold diapers, a snappy or pins and a cover to keep wetness in.
:: flats with a cover-I think it is THE cheapest and I've heard good things about it. They are supposed to be less bulky than prefolds. (I was given so many prefolds that I haven't tried flats because I can't justify buying more diapers...)
:: pockets-they need no cover. they are like an "all-in-one" but you put the stuffing in a pocket at the top of the back of the diaper-the benefit to this? they dry so much faster! Really they do! I love pockets! the bumGenius ones that you see in the first picture in this post are one-size fits all bumGenius pocket diapers! Great!
:: all-in-ones-one of the more expensive options and take longer to dry. I personally didn't care as much for these because of the drying time.

My favorites? I love pockets-even with the added step of stuffing...they are the easiest and most husband-friendly. And next to those, I use prefolds with a cover. My favorite cover for my chunky little guy? THIRSTIES hands down. Second place? Bummis Super Whisper Wrap.

Washing is so easy. At least if you're exclusively breastfeeding it is. There is no toilet dunking. You simply throw the diapers in the washer. That's it. Seriously. Yeah, it sounds kind of gross. Like your washing machine will be full of poop. But it's not. Breastfeeding baby poop is fully water-soluable! I was skeptical. But it's true! My washer is clean. Here's how I do it:
:: cold wash/cold rinse with 1/3'ish of the amount of detergent you normally use
:: hot wash/cold rinse with 1/3-1/4'ish of the amount of detergent you normally use
:: extra rinse (cold)
The only time you even touch them is to throw them in the washer.
Then you can either dry them in the dryer or hang dry them. The fancier diapers will definitely last longer if you hang dry them...the pre-folds? No matter! They're almost indestructable!

When you get to the point where the baby is eating solids you can look into a diaper sprayer system (it hooks to the water line on your toilet so that you can simply spray the diapers off over the toilet). There are several websites that sell all of this-and most have good deals or shipping free if you spend a certain amount. And while the start up cost *seems* ridiculously high...think of the $20 that won't be coming out of your grocery budget every week!

**disclaimer: Nathan is wearing disposables right this minute. I still have and love my cloth...but my mom bought him a box of sposies that I'm not too proud to use! :) (Thanks Mom!)

Kids Are So Literal!

During the first night of our church's VBS Haley was so excited! Her sister had gotten to go to another one the week before (at a different church) but she wasn't old enough for that one. Soooo, she was thrilled to be a part of VBS.
Anyways, near the end I got called to her class because she'd had an accident! Haley has been fully potty trained for over a year. She does occasionally have accidents but not usually in a small class setting like that. (In fact she sometimes goes ten times just because it's a little toilet and she gets to stand on a chair and wash her hands!) But I guess the combination of lots of juice and exciting songs...she just forgot to take care of business on time. She made it to the bathroom, but not to the potty.
When I went in there she was standing in a HUGE puddle. Way "huger" than any 3 year old's bladder should be! I asked her, "Haley, that's a lot of pee. How much did you drink?" She looked at me....so incredulous....and said "Mama, I didn't drink any of it."

Monday, July 26, 2010

My "Little" Guy

I get asked all the time, most recently by Jules, so here goes! Nathan's stats:

He weighed in at 9 lbs 7 oz at birth--but here's the catch: he was 3 weeks early. No kidding. He really was. My dates were not off and he really did weigh that much and was 3 weeks early. Yikes! (And no, I did not have gestational diabetes...I passed that test. By the skin of my teeth, but I passed it!)

He dropped to just under 9 lbs after birth (waiting for my milk to come in). But when it came? It came with a vengeance! He gained 5 lbs in 1 month!!!! Our pediatrician said, in 20 years of practice, she had never had a baby gain 5 lbs in 1 month. My little guy made history--for her at least. ;) So, at approximately 6 weeks he weighed in at over 14 lbs. (Yep, it was worth the wait...my milk came in!)

From there on, he has just continued to thrive wonderfully-despite his propensity to barf regularly. (Boo!)

In April (4 months) he weighed 22.1 lbs and was 27 inches long. (Head 45 cm)
In June (6 months) he weighed 24.6 lbs and was 28 inches long.

He is now 7 1/2 months old and weighs (approximately) 25 lbs. That is what I get when I subtract my weight alone from my weight holding him, so definitely not exact.

His clothing size? He wears a size 4 diaper (when we use disposables-not the norm) and is outgrowing his "one-size" bumGenius diapers! And usually an 18-24 months clothes.

The thing that is amazing to me...he is not much smaller than Haley. She is 3 1/2 years old. When you compare their hands, hers feel so delicate and tiny. His feel...like big paws!

So, there's the numbers to go with the visual! :)

**Jared was almost as big...and he's a bean pole now! So, I don't worry about it. Plus, he's off and going as you saw from my previous post. He pulls up and tries to stand without holding on. He runs in his walker and crawls. He's perpetual motion already!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And He's Off!!!

Nathan has started crawling! It's probably been happening sporadically and "imperfectly" for about a week, maybe two. I think the laminate (hardwood look) floors (which were installed partly for Lindsay's allergies) has really slowed him down. He HATES to crawl on them. And I don't blame him. Poor guy. When we take him to our room (it still has carpet), he loves it! He crawls, scoots and pulls up! Yep, he's also pulling up! It's really funny, all of my babies have crawled within a week or two of turning 7 months! You'd think there would be more variation with 4 children. And 2 of them (the boys) being so much bigger than the other two. Nope. And at the rate he's going with pulling up and stuff...I'll bet he'll walk right on track with his brother and sisters too. Right around 10 months seems to be the magic number in our house! But, one thing at a time. It's all going way too quickly as it is.

A guy's gotta rest his knees. Those floors are killer!

**and just don't you worry about it if you see any dirt or clutter. I really took that sweet poem to heart. You know, the one about "Quiet down cobwebs...dust go to sleep...I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep"?
Or at least that sounds like a good reason for our messy house. ;) Truly it's because I didn't spend all day today cleaning and picking up. Never resting. Some days I can do that...some days I choose not to.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Show Me the Way to....

I've written and re-written this post several of times. In my head. As I'm cleaning, wiping bottoms, making meals, etc. And it has morphed each time into something different. I wonder how it will come out when I actually write it!?

The conclusion I've come to, in all my musings about contentment, is that it's not a place, it's a journey. A constant journey. You can never just be there and settle in because it's opposite will creep in and catch you unaware.

For example, in my life it has a lot to do with money-or lack thereof. I know. Money isn't everything. But it sure helps when the bills come due or you'd really like to get out of your house and do something. I will think I've made peace with our "station" and I'll be going along contentedly-even, dare I say it, happily-until someone gets a newer, bigger house. Or goes on a vacation. Or...or...or. You get the picture. Then I have to start all over again. Sigh...

Even the desire (almost need) to move somewhere else gets me. I found out the other day that someone is moving to North East Texas...I wanna go! But it doesn't have to be there...anywhere! Although I think it all stems from the financial thing. And from the long, intense hot summers here. Generally speaking, I prefer heat over extreme cold (if I have to choose. I'd rather have neither...but I do live in the real world.)

Scripture says: Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,' so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid" (Hebrews 13:5-6) (emphasis mine). That is my command from God!!!

Now, I don't think it's wrong to strive to better yourself and your home and your "station" in life. But that should not be your focus.

Another thing that can help immensely is to count your blessings. One by one. Really. I have so many. I have so much more than shelter. My house may not be fancy or big, but it definitely provides us: shelter, relief from the heat in the summer, warmth in the winter, a place to get clean and a place to eat and wash our dishes....so much more. I have a nice car! One that holds all of us and is safe and also provides air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter! And those are just a few of our material blessings. That says nothing of a husband that loves me and comes home every evening. Four children that really, overall are pretty good kids! A family that helps us and supports us. So many things to be thankful for!

So, yeah. This post took on a whole different slant than here than where I thought I was going to go with it. But I think it served it's purpose. It helped me to concretely say that contentment is mine to CHOOSE. Every day. Not somewhere I can get and say "I'm here. I'm content." But something I will choose each and every day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Drill Sergeant vs. The Martyr Mom

I can't seem to find a happy medium. I don't want to be like the guy in the picture above...with my "troops" feeling demeaned and humiliated while I stand there screaming at them with spittle flying from my mouth. But I don't like what my children are becoming. It seems like there should be an in-between. A place where I can tell the kids what they need to do and they go and do it. No screaming necessary.
I don't want to walk around like a martyr either (which I do catch myself doing) with heavy sighs and pitiful woe-is-me faces.
Neither of those approaches works in child-rearing. Not for behavior or teaching responsibility.
But where is the happy medium? I feel like I'm either a total harpy or the house is a disaster. Junk everywhere. Kids running amok. No one but me doing anything. And no one but me caring. Then I get MAD. It makes me Bombaloo (that's the kind of mad that is characterized by steam coming from the ears, eyes looking like bulls-eyes, fists clenched...you get the picture).
I think the key is to have them do certain chores. Every. Single. Day. No breaks, no exceptions (other than illness). Not because they're going to get money for it. Not because I will reward them in any way. Just because they are a part of this family. And when you're part of a family you have to help keep things going. I will NOT feel guilty for this. I will realize that I am teaching them valuable lessons in responsibility. Wow. I'm a mom. For real.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Beach

The beach is still full of sand. Who knew it? :) We went to the beach today with some great friends (to celebrate his 40th birthday...since when did I get old enough that my peers are "over the hill"? Yikes!) and we had fun...but there's just so much sand. Everywhere. And Nathan thought it was yummy. Try to give him applesauce...nope! He looks at you like you've given him poison. Try to give him green beans...Uh uh! But sand? "Bring it on! Can I have some more please?"

Then we find out...supposedly...that when dogs go to the beach they will eat sand...and DIE! *Gasp!* So, we'll be watching for normal amounts of poop for several days now. To make sure he didn't clog himself up with a sand bag. Oy.

And I still plan on keeping him. Even though he eats sand. I say this because the other day we were at the library and Haley was loving on him and asked me "Mom, are we going to keep this baby forEVER?" Yep, Haley. I think we will.

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