Tag Archives: babies

And He Made It to Age 2…

There are only so many times you want to find yourself staring at a positive pregnancy test in shock.  Frankly, that number would probably be a big fat “zero” for me.  Yet, that’s exactly what I was doing in the late winter of 2009.  A pregnancy test in one hand and a 3 month old in the other…

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9

 

At exactly 3:02 PM on December 12, 2009, we welcomed our precious Chase into this world.

 

Overwhelming at times? Yes.  Humbling always? Yes.  Would I have it any other way? No.

Happy Birthday, Chasey-Bear!  We love you!

**Note: Whether it’s an afternoon of being born or playing around the house, his mouth is almost always open and there’s usually [loud] noise coming out of it.**

State Of The Cloth Union

Our one year cloth diaper anniversary occured some time in March; which was when I originally determined to write a post about this.  I thought about it all Spring, actually wrote my first draft in June … and now it’s August.  I’d love to say I was editing it especially for my readers, but I’ve already blog-confessed several times about my procrastinating ways, so I doubt anyone would believe me.

Aw, there are the little guys when we first started … I forgot how cute they used to be!  [mother moment]

Moving on … Here are my thoughts on cloth diapering after surviving it a whole year.

I have found cloth diapering to be intense and not unlike many relationships in life; a commitment that needs to weather the good, the bad, and the disgusting.  (that last word is more about the diapers and less about my relationships, FYI)

The Bum Rap: Many households have “stashes” that they add to over time.  Because my primary reason for getting into cloth was financial [3 children 3 and under in diapers; see also: complete insanity], I haven’t added a thing.  Confession: I’m still using the same 30-35 diapers I was when I started.  Bob and I researched the brands we liked, bought one or two of the top three and in settling on the Bum Genius One Size Pocket diapers, purchased the “Trusty Few”.  They’re still workin’ away.  Anyone want to guess how often I do a load of diapers?

The Equality of Detergents: Frankly, there isn’t an equality of detergents.  Repeat: detergents are not created equal.  To phrase it another way, there are certain kinds you SHOULD NOT USE!  (take it from someone who has mistakenly used most of the ones you should NEVER use).  After some pretty stinky trial and error and trying several all-natural (no “ites” or “ates” included) options, my favorite by far; and the most effective is Shaklee detergent and whitening powder.

Gathering of Information: So much of this process is subjective trial and error … your washer, your diaper brand, your kid’s waste, etc, etc.  I can’t and don’t presume to put myself in your shoes (I kinda like my own…) but two sites I’ve found super helpful are:

www.clothdiaperwhisperer.com

www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com (especially the detergent rating page!!)

In addition to these websites, nothing beats hearing real life stories, so, if you have people around you who are seasoned people of the cloth, sit at their feet and beg them for their wisdom.  Or, you know … do something less dramatic and sit down over coffee.  You know … whatever.

What About The … you know?!: The poop?  Yeah, it’s gross.  There’s no way around it.  It just is.  However, there are some ways to make it easier to handle.  For instance, this (a diaper sprayer): is a mad, crazy, awesome life saver.  There are a lot of accessories you can purchase if you decide to cloth diaper but this is something I would consider a necessity.  You’ll find a lot of wonderful tutorials online for its proper and non-spraying-all-over-your-bathroom usage, so I won’t waste your time with that here.  Haha, waste … get it?  Added bonus: it’s a great conversation starter as bemused house guests emerge from a first trip to your bathroom asking “What is that THING?”

What’s That Smell? :  Once of the biggest things I’ve battled is the “diaper smell” on my BGs even when they’re clean.  Playing with my detergent has helped a lot, as has a few extra rinses when I wash them.  Other than that, I’ve found that nothing beats a little fresh air and sunshine, so line dry your diapers as often as you can.

Energy What?: I’m still trying to figure out the “green angle” to this whole experience.  Yes, I am no longer a mass contributor to landfills, but honestly, there are days and seasons when I feel that the amount of extra spraying out, flushing, washing, and rinsing I do somehow rivals the water capacity of Niagra Falls and I’m left wondering how that is remotely good for the environment.  Ah well … if I ever meet Al Gore, I’ll ask him.

So these are my highlights to date.  There are so many blogs that address much more and in far greater depth, but this is based on what I do and it’s simple.  It needs to be simple for me right now.  I greatly admire those on a grand cloth quest, but I am not one of them.  This is a stage where I need things to be easier, not more involved, and that in and of itself is one great beauty of cloth diapering: it can be as simple or involved as you choose to make it.

Goals: What are my goals for next year?  With the addition of another infant in the Fall, I hope to report that the cloth is still working, that I still have the same diapers, and that I’ve found the perfect overnight insert combo that no longer leaks … EVER.  If I can do that, I just may run for president.

God bless you, and God bless America.

[Sorry, I just couldn’t resist]

Have a cloth diaper question to ask or an experience to share?  Please comment!  I’d love to hear from you.

Swaddling Blanket (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

It is done!  My MDW (Memorial Day Weekend) project is completed!

In other good news, I got back behind the wheel of the sewing machine (wheel? hey, don’t kill the cliche, okay?) for the first time since I helped my mom make matching PJs for me and my American Girl doll when I was 9.  This was BIG.  I don’t sew.

Side note:  This is where my mom and I are complete opposites.  She says that all four of her children’s labors were more easy than setting up her first e-mail account but the woman can whip up vintage Vogue shift dresses over a 48 hr period with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back.  Think I’m kidding?  It’s an impressive sight to behold!  The pattern practically bows down to her.  Anyway, back to me … I’m more with the computer than the sewing machine myself, so, this was epic.

As much as I’d love to “blog announce” that the blanket is perfect and I’m a natural, my finished product is probably closer to a grade school sewing class feel than a start-your-own-etsy-site feel.  But, I feel that I, for one, am stronger for it (cleansing breath of deep and profound maturity).

Haha!  Now for the technical stuff…

First, always read the manual (which I did) … even the trouble-shooting section (which I didn’t), and here’s why …

Hmmm ... Embroidery thread ... now that would have been helpful to know!

Because I ignored [cough], I mean, overlooked this paragraph, I experienced a couple, shall we say “thread malfunctions” that may or may not have involved a seam ripper and a prayers for patience.  It also meant that the regular, non-embroidery thread I was using for my decorative finishing stitch went through cycles of doing this:

 

puckered, warped, and just plain weird

Overall, the finished impression isn’t totally hideous.  Nobody is running in terror.  But, the “decorative stitch” I picked just looks more like my favorite inside-out sweatshirt stitching from high school than I’d like it to.

Second, the original pattern blog didn’t mention this, but I struggled with the different strengths/characteristics/whatever of sewing flannel to cotton.  The flannel was more stretchy than the cotton and I felt like I was fighting it more than I would have liked.  But that’s okay, I’m over it.    And I’m already dreaming about trying another one of these guys in all flannel for my little Fall baby.  :)

Last, Big Plus! Look at the SIZE! Have you ever seen such an awesome swaddling blanket?  I’m thinking that this will be great for covering the carrier and tummy time as well!

Sorry about the shadow-y quality.  This is what happens when you take pictures on your phone’s camera at 10:30 at night.  Learn from me.  Take normal pictures at normal times with normal light, okay?  Thank you.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the animal print is green, teal, orange, brown and yellow on a cream background and the flannel stripe is in the same colors plus a dark navy (which I chose to accentuate with the aforementioned disaster of a decorative stitch).

That pretty much concludes my thoughts on this project.  It was fun, easy, cute (especially if you follow all your sewing machine instructions) and I would definitely keep the pattern/idea on my list to reuse for baby shower gifts, etc.

Did I mention that I was taking pictures of this at 10:30 PM?  I’m not old.  It’s the pregnancy, really.  Anyhow, I need to sign off before my kids wake back up at half past the crack of dawn.

More on our extended weekend later …

Have a great Memorial Day!

PS:  want the blanket pattern?  You’ll find it at Passionate Homemaking – click here.

Week @ Large

Hey, so, about our week …!  Because I know you’ve all been dying to know …

Right now, we’re spending a lot of time with my little sister who is in town for the week after doing this:

Aw, isn’t she pretty?  Don’t be fooled, she’s also a bratty little sister.   Sidenote: She’s flanked here by the parental units who flew to LA to make sure she did the dirty deed and actually graduated.  And another sidenote [because they’re fun]: that bling she’s wearing is a lei made out of chocolate candies.  I wish I’d graduated from her school.

Care leaves for a summer ministry position tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned on this story.  As I’ve been talking with her, this ministry makes me want to cry because it’s so amazing and I’m looking forward to writing more about it sometime this weekend or next week.

On a pretty major note, we started off the week with a little of this:

Meet “E4” — 4th child and 3rd boy, due in the Fall.  Isn’t he cute?  He has his father’s fuzzy features, don’t you think?  Haha! …ahem.  Anyway…

On an (almost, but not really) equally major note, we’ll be finishing the week with this:

For those of you who might not know this if it slapped you in the face, this is PIZZA.  Chicago-style pizza.  Everything-else-you’ve-ever-eaten-pales-in-comparison pizza.  From Lou Malnati’s.  I think I’m actually drooling a little. [Mike Blackburn, wherever you are, eat your heart out]

We’re also looking forward to the long weekend in which we hope to be doing a little of this:

This is us at a Memorial Day parade …about a hundred years ago.  …which was apparently the last time either of us took a camera to a parade.  Plans to rectify that this weekend … so you all can see how much more mature we are [ha!] and also how many more children we have now [hahaha!].

More from the Ewoldts at large (or the large Ewoldts?) very soon …