For all who are waiting…

For all who are waiting, we would like to share this offering of prayers we have all been saying for you all over these last four weeks.  Whether you are waiting for a child, a spouse, or an answer from God, please know that you have been in our thoughts and prayers during this season of waiting as sort of a “big group prayer buddy”, so to speak.  You have never been far from our thoughts and prayers as we made these daily offerings for your specific intentions, peace, and fruitfulness, both physical and spiritual, in this time of expectant waiting!  We are so blessed to be able to pray for you.  Image

Merry Christmas, dear friends!  The Christ child is born!

My Cloth Diapering System

I was inspired to write what our cloth diapering system is after reading Kathleen’s over at Becoming Peculiar.  She did she a good job laying it out so that you could see, its not a big deal to cloth diaper, so I wanted to do the same!  Mysterious, maybe, but no big deal.

The Diapers

Like Kathleen, we have literally used all types of cloth diapers.  Probably the most overwhelming thing about cloth diapers is that because they have “advanced” so much from what our mothers had, there are a lot of choices.  And too much choice can be paralyzing! I have appreciated different types of cloth diapers during different phases of babydom and I’m glad we didn’t get all of one type since I also appreciate having different types throughout the day.  Some of our diapers were gifted, some were bought on Craigslist, and some were bought new.   Here’s how I use our diapers:

Around the house:  My favorite for around the house are covers with prefolds or fitteds.  They are easiest to wash and I can take the little bit more time to line up the prefold in the cover in the comfort of my own home (or the time it takes to put on a fitted and a cover).  Prefolds were the cheapest to buy (Craigslist!) and look like they will hold up the longest.  One thing to note here is that I like using prefolds as inserts, instead of with the snappy.  We used the snappy when Sam was little, and it was ok, but using it as an insert with a cover is so much easier and just as effective.  Live and learn!

20121212_153214

Prefold with a cover and a fitted (I use these with covers too)

Day Outings:  This is where I appreciate the all-in-ones, pockets, and hybrids.  They are no harder to get on than disposables and since they are all in one piece when you take them out of the diaper bag, they are the simplest to use!  I also really, really love the hybrids, where the insert snaps in instead of just laying there or stuffing into a pocket.  It saves you a bit of prep time and is good for wiggly babies on the go!

20121212_153248

All in one and a hybrid with extra insert

Night-time:  During the night you want a diaper that will hold up without leaking for up to 12 hours.  At least I do.  I like pocket diapers and fitted diapers for this reason.  In particular, I like Bum Genius 4.0 Pockets, with a hemp doubler.  Not all pockets are created equal but whatever material this stay dry material is, it really keeps the baby booty soft and dry all night.  It may be bulky but its nighttime, so it doesn’t matter!  Also, fitteds with an extra insert and a cover is bulletproof.

Fitted with cover and a double stuffed Bum Genius pocket

Fitted with cover and a double stuffed Bum Genius pocket

Newborn:  We were gifted many disposables from our shower (despite requesting cloth diapers.  oh well!), so we used those primarily for the first month.  For this reason, I did not buy newborn diapers.  With an almost 8 lb baby that grew really quickly, size small worked well enough.  I started trying the cloth around 2 weeks just to test it out, but no pressure on myself.  I really liked that system and will probably do that again, since there was no way I was doing laundry 3 days after giving birth!  I liked it so much we ended up donating a lot of the disposables we were given instead of using them up!

We used sized covers in the beginning with prefolds and inserts, although newborn poo goes everywhere so we easily used up the 6 small covers we had in a day (whereas now I can easily only need 3 covers going that route!).  Most of our diapers were “one size” which really means they have to be at least 10 pounds, so I would definitely recommend getting a set of size small diapers so you can jump right in!

Image

Sam at 2 weeks with his first cloth, a size small cover.

Image

Same cover at 6 weeks.  He used these until about 4 months old.

The Setup

Our bathroom was made for cloth diapering!  We have an extra long space on our counter that is perfect diaper changing height where we just plopped a changing pad.

Image

We have a (gifted) diaper holder that I hold our cloth in on the left and a basket for our wipes and extra inserts on the right.  I have our diapers organized by type so I can see if we are running out very easily.  The ones I don’t like (and plan to sell on Craigslist shortly) are hiding in the pocket underneath since they are a last resort diaper.  We got a huge Costco case of wipes as a shower gift, so although I planned to use cloth wipes, we used those up first.  That took 7 months!  So we’re just now using cloth wipes full time.  I did try to use cloth wipes with a wipes warmer a friend gave us for a few weeks and had mixed results.  Sam didn’t really seem to care so I stopped using that.

ImageImage

We also keep the extra inserts underneath so they are stacked and folded, ready to go.

Image

Dirty diapers go right on in that hanging wet bag and the zipper keeps in the smell.  One wetbag holds about enough diapers for two days, which is also all that our machine can take at a time, so its the perfect size to say “hey lazy, do some laundry.”  We have two bags that go on rotation.  We also have diaper sprayer on our toilet to get off the big boy poo that Sam has just started to have.  We also have flushable diaper liners, but his poo hasn’t been solid enough for those to be effective yet.  Hopefully soon :)

WashingThis is where I get real with you.

Initially, washing was a breeze.  Even with newborn poo. because its totally water soluble.  I would wash on a normal cycle in our HE machines with the recommended amount of additive free soap and dry on a line on our deck. This lasted for the first two months.  Then I started having leaking/repelling issues and I couldn’t figure out why, since I had done nothing different.  And then the diapers started smelling after just a bit of pee.  Like ammonia.  Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming.

Image

However, after a bit of research, I finally concluded that it was because southern California water is very hard (read: lots of extra minerals in the water that don’t wash out).  Its those same minerals that make your hair dull and hard to get clean, and why everyone spends lots of money on water softeners down here every year.  Well, we don’t have further treatment or a water softener at our house, so I had to change things up.  Our wash routine now looks like this:

  1. Normal wash cycle on cold, no soap, NO SPIN (this is essential to trick the energy saving machine that I have a heavier load than normal so it adds even more water the next time!  Take that, water saving machine!).
  2. Normal wash cycle with auto soak and a second rinse, 2 tbsps detergent (we use Rockin Green) on hot, with spin.

About every third wash I also add in a capful of Calgon water softener, just to make sure I don’t get that buildup happening again. Per Rockin’ Green’s directions, I have also let the diapers soak longer, for a few hours to up to over night.  The “auto soak” function is about only 30 min. so every once in a while I’ll soak them longer.

So yes, my washing routine got a little more complicated.  But l have clean diapers.  And the good news is that if you have a regular washing machine it shouldn’t be that much different, I just think the combo HE/hard water one is a tough one.

We have a line on the back deck to dry the diapers.  The sun immediately gets out any stains and I guess being in California, we really have no excuse not to use it!  So, extra washing time, yes, but drying is freeeee!

Going out When I started cloth diapering, I honestly thought I would use disposables when we went out of the house.  I really didn’t expect cloth diapering to be so easy.  Seriously, I just grab a hybrid, an extra insert, a wet bag, and we’re good to go!

 20121212_153629

In Total

Here’s a total list of the items I have:

  1. Two hanging wet bags
  2. Two smaller wet bags for outings
  3. For when he was small: 5 newborn prefolds, 6 size small Thirsties covers, 2 Thirsties small inserts
  4. 3 all in ones (Grovia and Tots Bots Easy Fit)
  5. 4 one size Bum Genius 4.0 pockets (2 snaps, 2 velco.  wish I would have gotten all snaps! they do hold up better)
  6. 5 small doublers, a few brands of hemp ones
  7. 2 large hemp doublers
  8. 4 one size Fuzzibuns pockets (not my favorite…see below)
  9. 2 fitteds Motherease Sandys, size Small (would love more of these in large! but for now he still fits the small)
  10. 9 covers: 5 Flip covers and 4 Grovia hybrid shells (all one size – I have liked the one size once he was big enough since baby proportions change over time!)
  11. 25 inserts: 14 prefolds, 3 Thirsties large inserts, and 8 Grovia snap-in inserts
  12. 20 wipes, flannel, baby wash cloths, and Thirsties fab wipes.
  13. 1 spray bottle with water, drop of baby oil, drop of baby shampoo for wipes solution.

This is a really good size stash for me right now, although I would love some larger fitteds!.  Between what I bought new, used, and was gifted, I spent about $500, including the wetbags.

Fails 

For me, pocket diapers.  Most pockets have fleece and that just really does not wash well in this hard water.  I have a three Oh Katy diapers a saleswoman really sold me on and really, I could do without my Fuzzibuns too.  I also bought 2 Bonnibums from Babysteals one day.  There is a reason those diapers are on there so frequently!!  Anyway, I hope to resell them on Craigslist for pretty cheap.  Either that or I’ll just use them for covers.

Anyway, I hope that helps someone out there.  My best advice would be to get a few different styles because different types work for different things.  Happy cloth diapering!

Letters to my unborn

I found my journal the other day.  I had no idea where I put it when I unpacked but I opened a drawer a few weeks ago and voila, there it was.  I wrote “The Plan” on the front…at one point I think I started it in order to get in shape and track what I ate and worked out.  But those pages were quickly torn out.  I kept the same cover, The Plan was to somehow “get over” not getting pregnant.  Or help me through it?  I can’t remember why I didn’t just start a new one.  Maybe I just liked the size of the journal.  Its one of those notebooks leftover from when I lived in Belgium and the pages are easily torn out without any evidence of its previous life…

Anyway.  I would wrote to our baby.  I wrote to him* before we knew him (I obviously did not know Sam was a he), in our waiting.  And I yelled at God.  The stuff that’s not polished enough for sharing with the whole world but that needs to get out before it seeps into all parts of your life.  Not polished enough but I am choosing to share it here, now? Some of it at least.

“…I didn’t dream this would be me.  I couldn’t dare think about it…I never through I’d have nothing.  Maybe its because I have no faith.  I have no strength.  I have no patience. I. have. no. hope.  Please take this cross away.  I think you overestimate me.  I can’t do this.  Can I?”

“Here I am a month and a day later…in the same position, yet not at the same time.  Its Ash Wednesday.  I gave up my vices on the internet and meat with Mike, in hopes that I can face reality and also grow closer to Mike and God.  This is a stressful time for all of us right now and I know the added stress of not having a child just makes everything worse.  I’m doing a Bible reading a day on prayer.  The first is from 1 Samuel, and its about Samuel’s mom, Hannah and the prayer she prayed when she had to give up Samuel after he was weaned. It sounds like this has never been easy for any woman being barren, having to be with people or around them who have kids…”

“I had hopes this would be the month I met you.  I can’t fathom a month I don’t long to meet you.  I wonder what you’ll look like.  What will our family look like eventually?  This isn’t getting easier, but I’m starting to get used to the fact that it might be a while before I meet you.  I know I will meet you one day.  I must have hope.  Despair is of the devil.”

“Its getting very hard to be away from you, little one.  You’ve become more real to me in these past months.  I can feel and smell you in my dreams now.  I can hold your body close to me and it calms me, knowing that one day it will be right.  I can’t even imagine how happy I’ll be, my eyes swell with tears just thinking about it now.  Is it really possible that you will cause all these great changes?  I believe it is.”

“I wish I had a great answer for why I have to wait for you.  I know I may never get to know why, but I do know that I am not nearly the same person that I was when I thought you would come quickly.  It seems like an eternity ago now.  You’ve left such an imprint on my soul through your absence that I know I’ll never be the same again.”

There’s more but I won’t put it all out there.  I was all over the place.  There’s a reason I guess I wrote it in my journal!

I do realize that I need to write to Samuel still and especially now that he’s here.  I wrote to him when he was just a dream in order to keep me going, but it only makes sense keep writing to record this dream unfolding.