Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I've Been Replaced

Washing Cloth Diapers in a Front Loader

There is quite a method to washing CD's in a front load washer and it took me a long time to perfect. First off, if you use (or are planning on using) CD's and are thinking about buying a front loader, DON'T DO IT! And don't let the salesman sell you the front loader by talking about how convenient it will be for cloth diapers. If I had it to do all over again, we would have a top loader, but alas, we didn't.
Now, one plus to front loaders (when washing regular articles of clothing) is the minimal amount of water they use. When you look at a load of laundry being washed, there's only a few inches of water in the drum. However, stick a bunch of really absorbent diapers in there, and what do you think happens? Yep, they soak up all the water, and you just have a bunch of damp diapers rolling around in there.

I've heard that there are front loaders out there that have an "Extra Water" option, however, mine is not one of those.

As mentioned in my Cloth Diapering 101 post, I use a wet pail for my dirty diapers. That way, my diapers are already drenched in water when they go into the washer.

I run them through a speed wash to get the Oxi-Clean out, with my "no spin" setting, so they hold as much water as possible for the main wash.

Next, I add Rockin' Green and do a hot wash, and two cold rinses.

A note on Rockin Green...I was using Tide Free & Clear for months on my dipes, then my sis let me try some of her Rockin' Green. They advertise themselves as being a detergent that rinses clean. Since I was having such a problem with getting all the detergent out, I decided to give it a try. After only 2 washes, I noticed such a difference in the softness of my diapers. With the Tide, they were a bit stiff, but with Rockin' Green they come out super-soft every wash. I HIGHLY recommend it! I buy mine here. They even have special formulas for extra hard or extra soft water, but when it doubt, start with the Classic Rock which is a good middle-of-the-road detergent.

You have to make sure all the detergent is out. If it's not, it can start to smell after pee hits it, and it could bother baby's skin when it's wet on their bottom too.

So that's that.

I really don't recommend front loaders for CD's. And don't let the salesman tell you you're crazy for wanting a top loader if you'll be washing CD's in them. We both know he's probably never washed a CD in his life and doesn't know what he's talking about.

Cloth Diapering 101

Are you interested in cloth diapering, but don't know where to start? (I feel like I'm writing a paper. 'Draw in the audience with a question!') ;)

I have decided to make a blog post about the absolute basics of cloth diapering. Hopefully I can answer some people's questions that they may be too afraid to ask.

When I was pregnant with Kylee, I constantly had to call my sister and ask her what a pocket diaper was, PUL, and don't even mention a Snappi! Since we live 1000 miles apart though, this was always on the phone, and I'm a visual learner so I wasn't retaining the information.


Here's the basics:


Choosing the Right Kind

There are LOTS of different types of cloth diapers (CD's) out there. You just have to find what works for you. If you try one kind and hate it, that doesn't mean CD aren't for you, it just means that particular type may not be. If you have a CD store in your area, check it out! I don't so I had to do research online, and ask friends.

I asked all of my CD friends what their preferred method was, bought a couple of each kind of every one's favorites, and found what I preferred that way. I highly recommend buying used. Check out CraigsList, eBay, and even garage sales. You'll spend way less money (obviously) while finding out which method you prefer, and remember - you can always turn around and sell what you don't like for what you paid for them.


And please know there is much more information out there that what I know, but I am posting my knowledge to hopefully help at least one person.


Anyway, there are three basic types of CD: (click on the link for more pictures)





AIOs are just that. No stuffing or covers or anything, just put it on and go. I don't personally know anyone that uses these though so I don't either. This means that I don't have anything good or bad to say about them, and I also don't have a picture.

Pocket diapers have a liner than you have to stuff inside. I have a couple of these but Kylee is just growing into them so I haven't used them yet. However, I have been told they aren't as absorbent as prefolds, and I personally HATE stuffing them, and I only have two. I do have a friend, though, that swears by pocket diapers. She loves them. Again, you just have to find what works for you. Below is a picture of my pocket diapers. The purple one is stuffed, and the liner for the pink one is above it.

Next are prefolds and covers. (This is my preferred method.) You have to buy prefold diapers (just like the Gerber ones that are awesome for burp rags but they make much higher quality ones too.) I prefer Chinese prefolds, and below is a picture of one of mine.Next is a Snappi, which is used to hold the prefold on (instead of the old fashioned diaper pin method.) I'd show you a picture of mine, but I only have one, and Kylee is currently wearing it.

Then you need a waterproof cover to go over the prefold. If you hear someone talk about PUL, it is just what the cover is lined with to make it waterproof. Here are mine:

If you look, my solid color ones are fastened with Velcro, and the multi-colored one has snaps. Again, it's all in preference. Velcro does wear out, which is something to consider. Another vocabulary lesson: gussets are the extra piece of elastic lined fabric that is sewn in around the part that goes around the thigh. See the picture below:

Gussets help with holding in the moisture. I don't suggest covers that don't have gussets.

Dealing with the Dirty Diapers


There's two options: a wet pail, and a dry pail. I use a wet pail. I have a 5 gallon bucket that I put Oxi-Clean and water in, and throw the dirty diapers and covers in there to soak until I'm ready to wash them. I highly recommend a wet pail if you'll be washing with a front-loader like I do. Also, please keep the wet pail somewhere out of a children's reach. Think: drowning hazard. A dry pail is done by using a wet bag (fabric bag lined in PUL) or an actual covered bin. A bit of tea tree oil in the pail keeps the smells inside.


Washing CD's


How to wash them just depends on who you talk to. I suggest you really research yourself on what type of detergent to use. However, every CD mom will tell you a few of the same things on what to do: 1. Do NOT use a detergent with fragrance and stuff, because it contains soap. I don't know why that's bad, but I know it is. I think it messes with the absorbency of the diapers. 2. Do NOT use fabric softener...also messes with absorbency. 3. Do NOT dry your covers in the dryer - always line dry them. The heat will, over time, ruin the PUL layer and they wont be waterproof anymore. 4. If you have Velcro covers, make sure the Velcro is fastened so you don't make a diaper chain in your washer. I had to learn this the hard way, and also messed with the gussets on one of my covers and had to throw it away. It was a sad day.


There is much controversy on whether or not there are any regular store-bought detergents that are ok for CD's. But, there are lots of CD-specific detergents, so when in doubt, those are always a safe choice since they're designed for CD's.


For info on washing CD's in a front loader, check out my separate post on that subject.


Other CD things to consider that I don't think I'm knowledgeable enough to give my opinion on: *cloth wipes *disposable liners *fitted diapers *diaper services (Doesn't save you much money-if any-but is still good for the environment compared to disposables.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Blessings

We're tight on money. Who isn't?



We're trying to pay off debt. Who isn't?

Because of this though, our household items have seen better days (before we ever owned them.) We've just acquired what we have in the cheapest ways possible, whether it be an awesome deal we find on craigslist, from friends blessing us with free items, or even taking things out of the garbage. (I make my husband do the dirty work on that last one.)

For the last year, our "desk" has been my sewing table (which we got out of the garbage.) When you went in the top drawer for the stapler, you had to pick it up from atop the spool holder.

Classy, I know. We try.

Anyway, the sewing table was sufficient so we just went about our business.

However, Greg's boss is retiring and moving out of state, so they are selling all of their furniture to make for a light move, and boy - did it benefit us!

We got two desks, a small filing cabinet, a new computer chair, a rocker, and a Toy Story 3 toddler table and chair set for Hunter for an awesome price. While Greg and his friend (thanks, Ruben!) were picking it up, his boss even threw in a large filing cabinet that matches the other furniture. Here's a picture of a few of the new items.

As you can see by the burp cloth on the desk, the giant piece of cake I was about to indulge in (the weight loss is really going well,) and the goofy face my husband is making, we've made the desks feel right at home. We had to rearrange our whole half of the living room for them, but it looks ten times better than it did before with a very unorganized bookshelf and sewing table as a desk.


Since being diligent with my Bible studying every morning, I've acquired quite the stack of books that had made permanent residence on my microwave (right next to the Windex, apparently) since I was studying at the kitchen table. I am so excited to have an actual desk to study at that is comfortable, roomy, and my books can stay there so they're convenient during studying. So, aside from the computer being on the one desk, Greg and I each have our own desks. I have informed him that a MacBook would be a wonderful accessory on my desk, though. It's been nice to sit at each of them in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. Even though he's playing a computer game, I'm clipping coupons, and not much talking is done, we're still close by each other.


So thank you, Lord, for blessing us with nice furniture once again! But just FYI...


we're still holding out for a new coffee table!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Videos

Alert: These are some adorable videos of our kids. Watch at your own risk.


Grandparents: They may make you hop in your car and drive down immediately to smother them with hugs and kisses.


I'm sorry, I can't help that Greg and I make adorable children.
video


video

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Matching Shirts

They finally got to wear them together!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hunter Update

Our big boy is doing wonderfully with potty training. Apparently, we just had to force him to do it! ;) We've slowly been transitioning with the training. First, he ran around half naked all day, and the potty was in the living room for easy access. Slowly but surely, we've added more clothes and moved the potty to the bathroom. Yesterday, he was fully clothed, and the potty was in the bathroom, and he made it in there to go #2 with enough time to undress and everything. Momma was so proud. He is also staying dry at nap time. Nighttime is another story, but he's getting better with it, although he still wears a diaper at night.


He is doing wonderfully with school. I can't believe how smart he is. I have posted pictures of his name that he wrote by himself. He still needs reminders of how to write the letters sometimes, but he knows how to spell it all on his own. We write is name like "Hunter" but we were out and about the other day and saw it written as "HUNTER." He didn't know what it said, but after I asked him what each letter was, he smiled and said it was his name. He can tell you what each capital letter is, and there's only about 4-5 lower case letters that we're working on recognizing every time. He gets the usual tough ones mixed up like b and d, and because I am teaching him D'Nealian (which is a loopy-ish style of writing to make the transition from printing to cursive easier) he gets i and j mixed up sometimes too. However, he's not even 3 and a half, so I'd say we're still doing really well. He knows all the basic colors and shapes. Now we're working on the weird ones like gold, silver, hexagon and octagon. He can also count to 39.

We're teaching him to pray during our bedtime prayers. We ask him if he wants to thank God for anything. His answer is always "for mommy, daddy, Hunter, Kylee, and Bella" (Bella is our dog.) Last night though, I asked him if he wanted to thank God for anything else. His list became so long that I went and got my journal that I use for Bible study so we could write down his prayer list like I told him I do. His list was (in addition to the usual): Food, specifically marshmallow sandwiches (thanks Keri!); pasta; m&m's; his toys, specifically his trucks, train track, race track and cars; and Bella's toys. It was such a sweet time as we prayed, because he started to say his thanks even without repeating me since he had made the list. I'm thankful for this so he can begin to understand that we can thank God for whatever we want and talk to Him about anything. :)


My baby boy is getting so big. We have conversations about so many things, and he really is like a sponge with information we give him! It's so fun to be the one to teach him about everything from God to nature!

Morning Photo Shoot

Monday, March 21, 2011

Growing Leaps and Bounds

Ms. Kylee had her two month check up today! Everything looks wonderful. She is 11 lbs, and 23 inches. Hunter was 10 lbs 8 oz and 23 inches at birth. It's so crazy to hold her and think that she is about his size when he was born! She is in the 75th percentile for height, 50th for weight, and 30th for head circumference. She's definitely got her daddy's body type: tall, thin, and a little head!

She got her immunizations too but she actually did great with them. 

She's such a little sweetie pie, but she's definitely got a personality. She loves being upright so she can look around, and she let's you know if she's unhappy with the position you have her in. She's very particular. 

She smiles when she's well-rested and in a good mood and I love her cooing too. We're still waiting on a laugh and rolling over will be a little while too. 

She is healthy though and doing wonderfully! We're so thankful for our addition to the family. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Krispy Kreme

Hunter enjoying a doughnut for going poo poo in the potty again! (and because our 'free doughnut coupons' from Grammy and Poppy expird tomorrow!) ;)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Motivation

So with an almost 8 week old, I obviously have baby weight I want to lose. I decided I needed a motivational picture for me to see to help with the process.

I printed out this picture...

and I originally hung it on my bathroom mirror. Then about a week of it not helping at all, I decided I needed it to be visible when I'm grabbing for ice cream, not face wash.

So I hung it on the fridge. Right next to the freezer handle. Take that, Edy's!

Every time I look at it, I can't believe how thin I was! Look at this!(Ok, ok. I'm done posting photos of my better-weight days.)

But the weight I was then is my current goal weight. I know it's possible. I have pictures to prove it.

I still can't go out and run like I want to because I'm still having physical issues I'm trying to work through.

But hanging the picture in the kitchen has at least kept me from eating a lot of junk that I probably would've otherwise consumed had the picture not been there.

So until I can do some hardcore exercise again like I want, at least eating less (and more healthy) is a good start.

Size 6 jeans, here I come!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big Boy

Disclaimer: This is a potty training post. If you don't want to read about a toddler peeing and pooping, please skip this post. (Don't worry, there's no pictures!) ;)

So I finally decided that I've had enough of buying size 6 diapers. We have been trying to potty train Hunter for over a year now (He first went pee pee in the potty while we were in Arizona, and today is actually the one year anniversary of us arriving in Virginia Beach.) But for whatever reason, he has REFUSED to poop in the potty. He would start to cry and everything, and I didn't want to traumatize him about going poop and scar him for life of something.
We have tried everything. We tried dumping the poop into the big potty from the diaper; I've tried just putting him in underpants. He'd just poop in them. We've tried buying MULTIPLE rewards for when he did poop. He has over 10 Matchbox cars and trucks hanging in his bedroom as rewards for pooping. We've offered ice cream, pop, chocolate, slurpees...about anything you can think of. But nothing was worth it, apparently.

But I'd had enough. He's almost three and a half and a very smart boy, and I decided it was time.

So Tuesday morning, I took his diaper off of him, brought the little potty into the living room (so it was convenient) and told him that if he needs to go pee or poop, he goes in the potty.

He was so ready for this that he did not have ONE accident, and everytime he pee'd it was because he decided he had to go, not because I asked if he needed to. I wasn't even in the room half the time. He would just come to me and tell me he pee'd in the potty.
Typically, he is a morning pooper, but he didn't want to go in the potty all day. Finally that night (while I was at choir practice) he asked Greg for a diaper and pants because he needed to go poop. Greg told him no and to go in the potty, so he said 'ok,' walked over there, and pooped! I think he was just sick of holding it, but I'm thankful he didn't just make a mess somewhere instead. Anyway, right after he did it, he walked over to Greg and said, "I get truck now."
Here is a picture of what he got!
He got a Kit Kat, a new Grave Digger monster truck, a Volvo, and a Camaro! (Man, if only I was showered with prizes like that for pooping in the potty...)
When I came home I showered him with kisses and we did the "poo poo dance" which he LOVED!
Then yesterday, he did the same thing with holding it. But he finally went last night (while I was grocery shopping) on his own. Greg said he was sitting on the potty and said "I get new car now," because he'd pooped again. Here is his new GTO (and you'd better believe that's what he calls it)...

So, that's where we are. No pee (or poop) accidents. He doesn't necessarily like doing it, but he does it anyway. And hopefully he'll decide that just going and getting a prize is way better than holding it...

I just bought the huge $30 box of diapers from Target for him about a week ago (go figure) but hopefully we have enough to last us through nighttimes until he's fully trained and I won't have to buy any more size 6's!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Who couldn't love this hair? I mean, really. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

video

This video teaches a number of things...

1. I need to learn to not stick my finger in front of my camera lense.

2. Hunter needs to learn the same thing.

3. Kylee has a gorgeous smile.

4. Kylee is becoming quite the chunker.

5. I have the cutest kids ever.

LOVE

My friend Christy and I are reading a book together called, The Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study, by Jen Hatmaker. It's a book to help teach you how to study the Bible on your own, and listen to the Holy Spirit and what He is trying to tell you about what you read daily.

Today the author directed me to 1 Corinthians 13. (While the tools I learn from this book will allow me to read anything in the Bible and study it, she directs the reader to certain passages in the beginning to help us get used to studying.)

The Lord definitely spoke to me today through this passage, and it was so exciting. I thought I was incapable of studying the Bible because I didn't know how, but it was awesome to have heard Him this morning, and I wanted to share it.

As you may know, this chapter is "the love chapter" of the Bible. It talks about what love is, and if I don't have love, I am nothing. My faith, my testimony, my witnessing is nothing without love. I need to love every one as Jesus does so they can see Him through me. It was clear to me, though, that with how perfect this love is, it can only come from God. The definition of love in the back of my Bible is this: wanting good to come to another person; being concerned and willing to work for another person's benefit. The flesh is incapable of love like this. I can only do this with His help. He will be loving others through me. I need His help to love like this so that the world can see, feel, and know His love.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm So Proud!

And I LOVE that I'm the one who taught him how to do this! :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Date Night

This past Saturday, Greg and I had our first date since becoming parents of two children. Our good friends, Ruben and Christy, were willing to brave both of them (along with their own 10-month-old) and Greg and I were able to go out to dinner for a belated Valentine's Day. While I was showering, Greg told me he was going out to buy transmission fluid and was gone before I could ask, "why now?" I thought it was odd that he HAD to run out Saturday afternoon for trans fluid being that his new transmission wasn't being delivered until Tuesday, but I didn't question it...until he was gone over 45 minutes. Advance Auto is literally right at the corner. It then occurred to me what was going on. ;)

He came home with a card and these...

I don't have much that fits me in my current state and I wanted to dress up and look nice for Greg. Earlier in the week, I scored this dress for $15 at Kohl's!

We went to a seafood restaurant recommended by a friend called "One Fish, Two Fish." (Thanks Debra!) It's right on the water which is really pretty. Unfortunately it was a cold evening though, so we didn't get to enjoy the water outdoors. Even still, we had a wonderful dinner and a wonderful date. It was great to get out, just the two of us. I love Greg so much and still love the opportunity to get alone time with him (especially with how little that happens!)

Two Minute Tidy

So I read an idea in my Disney FamilyFun magazine and decided to give it a try, and so far, I love it!

Typically, clean up time at the end of the day is a fight with Hunter. We're lucky if we get it done with only a few fits thrown, but sometimes, he throws a ton. It's a dreaded time for all of us.

The article was written by a mother of three, so she has way more hands to help than I do, but I adapted it for us. I set my phone timer for two minutes (or a little more if I feel we need it,) Hunter gets to press the big green button (which is a highlight of the game for him) and we race the timer to clean the living room. He cleans up his toys and I clean up my mess from the day too. In two minutes, we have a clean room, a happy toddler, and a sane mommy - I love it!