Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Family update and things to look forward to in the near future

March 31, 2009

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Well, I have all the kids down for a nap right now, so I thought now would be as good a time as ever to get back to posting on this blog.  It has been so hard for me to be absent from this blog for so long, but life has been busier than ever.  But, now that I’m back, I have a lot of new topics that I’d like to address soon!

First, though, I’d like to share what has happened in our lives that has caused my absence from blogging!  In February 2008, our church had “Sanctity of Human Life” Sunday.  I’ve always considered myself to be “pro-life”, but that Sunday, my husband and I were encouraged to do something about it–to show the world some way or another through our actions that we are indeed pro-life.  For many, it could mean talking to women, or volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center (which I did for a while), or protesting.  For my husband, Curtis, and I, however, we felt a very intense calling on our lives to show the world we value human life by adopting.  We had already adopted our daughter, Isabella, as a newborn.  But this time, we felt like the Lord was leading us to adopt older children–perhaps children that would be hard to place.

We responded to that calling by getting our homestudy in order, and applying for a lot of children in multiple states, including in Oklahoma, where we live.  But this process was frustratingly slow, and after several months, it became apparent to us, for several reasons, that adopting through the state government was not going to happen.  At that point, we were very confused because we had thought that the Lord was calling us to adopting older children.

So, still confused, we applied through an agency here in our state that specializes in infant adoption–thinking that maybe we would just get a baby instead.  About a week after we got in all of our paperwork and scrapbook, we got a call from the agency telling us that they had a group of 3 siblings that needed an immediate home.  We were shocked!!  Just the day before, I had received $4,100 in anonymous donations–specifically earmarked for adoption expenses.  So, wondering how much it would cost to adopt THREE kids (we had planned on maybe adopting 2 at most!), I asked what the expenses would be for such an adoption.  You guessed it….about $4000!  So, the Lord has confirmed right from the start that He had specifically chosen these kids to be our children.

The past 5 months have been quite a transition–and they have been quite rocky at times.  From the time we found out about the kids, to the time we brought them home with us, was less than 48 hours.  So, for weeks, we were left reeling from the major, unexpected transition.  We have faced behavior issues, food allergies, and a surgery.  I have been thrown into the homeschool scene, and suddenly have had to learn to budget for a family of 6.  It’s been tough, but oh my, it has been so rewarding!!

My experiences over the past few months have greatly influenced a lot of what I am going to post on this blog.  These are a few of the topics I want to tackle in the coming weeks:

  • budgeting in an increasingly worse economy
  • homeschooling topics such as curriculum, methods, and dealing with learning disabilities
  • simple homecare for busy moms
  • food allergies
  • craft projects for kids
  • frugal ideas to reduce waste
  • discipline
  • and the big one–adoption!

Now please note:  I am certainly not an expert in any of these areas, and I am hoping to make a lot of my posts an open forum for all of my readers to share their experiences as well.

Clothing Diapering Part 2: Lots of Details

March 10, 2008

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I got a comment from a visitor to my blog today regarding cloth diapering.  Her question is the same that I hear over and over again from friends and acquaintances that hear that I use cloth diapers on my daughter.  You can read her question in detail, but in essence, her question or comment is “Help!  I’m overwhelmed with the choices.”

While I can’t say that I have tried every brand of diapers, I have tried a lot, so I will give a run down of what I do for my cloth diapering system.  I would say that my philosophy behind cloth diapering is that I want cloth diapering to be economical (definitely cheaper than paper diapers!) but I also want some convenience and fun, too.  So, hopefully if you’re new to cloth diapering, this will help you understand everything a little better.  I know that I wouldn’t have understood cloth diapering if my friends hadn’t walked me through everything first.

To start, let’s talk about how many diapers you’ll need on an average day.  Well, that really depends on how many diaper changes you’ll do.  A newborn may go through 10-12 diapers a day (sometimes more!).  We didn’t start cloth diapering until Isabella was 4 months old, so we missed experiencing the really runny poop stage with cloth diapers.  But I’m estimating that you’ll still need probably 10-12 diapers per day.  With older babies, you  need probably 6-8 diapers per day.  How many diapers you want to buy totally depends on how frequently you can commit to washing your diaper load.  If you can wash every day, then you can probably get away with about 14 diapers.  But if you are like me, and you want to wash every other day, then you need about 24.  I don’t recommend going too much longer than 2-3 days between washings, since that will cause your diapers to stink worse, and you’ll run the risk of stained diapers.

All About Prefolds

Now let’s talk about types of diapers.  The first kind is the prefold and cover.  A prefold is essentially a giant cotton rag.  You can also buy a flat fold, which is a huge, thin cotton rag that you fold over and over again until you get it to the right size for your baby.  This is the old fashion style of cloth diaper.  Some people love these, and some prefer the prefold, which as the name implies, is a flat fold diaper that has already been folded and then sewn together.  A prefold is folded around your baby’s bottom and then fastened together in the front.  You can use special safety pins available on diapering websites.  Or you can use something called a “snappi” which is a rubber stretchy band with claws on the ends that grab the diaper and hold it in place.  This is what I use.  They are convenient, and they don’t poke the baby. 

Prefolds are not waterproof.  They are very absorbent, but they will leak if not covered.  So, you must buy a diaper cover to go over them.  There are many brands of diaper covers.  You can get them with velcro closure or snap closure.  Snaps are superior, in my opinion, because they don’t get caught on the other diapers in the wash, like the velcro does.  However, velcro is so much easier to close on a wiggly baby.  I personally have all velcro closure diaper covers.  My personal favorite brand is Bummi super whisper wrap and Bummi super brite.  I think they are the most generously cut/roomy diaper covers that I have tried. 

The benefits of diapering with prefolds and covers are several.  First, this is definitely the most economical way to diaper.  Secondly, although prefold/covers have a reputation of being “old fashioned” and inconvenient, they really are quite simple, and they hold up really well.  Prefolds are heavy duty, so they can withstand a lot more washing than other kinds of diapers.  There are drawbacks to this system.  The main one is that since you have to be familiar with how to fold and fasten the diaper properly, this may not be the best solution for kids that go to daycare, church nursery, etc.  Also, you have to buy bigger sizes as your child grows.  The good thing is that at least they are not super expensive. 

If you choose to do only prefolds, you’ll need probably 24 prefolds in each size.  And then you just need 2-4 covers.  At each diaper change you switch covers out.  You hang up the wet one to dry out and then use it at the next diaper change.  You continue to alternate covers until they stink or get poopy.

 All About Pocket/All in One (AIO) Diapers

The alternative to prefolds and covers is a diapering system called pocket diapers.  All in one diapers are very similar to pockets, so I’ll discuss them both here.  Pocket diapers look like a prefold cover, and they have a waterproof shell.  The difference is that the inside is lined with a soft fabric–usually fleece or flannel.  And there is a pocket in the back.  The pocket diapers usually come with special inserts that are essentially layers of terry cloth sewn together.  You stuff the pocket with the insert.  Pocket diapers are great for babies that are heavy wetters (like my wonderful child, the Super Soaker Queen Herself).  You can put as many inserts in the pocket as you need.  So, overnight, you can put several inserts, or one heavy duty insert in the pocket.  But, if you want a trimmer fit during the day, you can just put one insert in the pocket.  All in One diapers are like pocket diapers in that they have a waterproof shell and a soft inner lining.  The difference is that the absorbent stuffing is already inside, and there is no pocket.  So, you can’t change the absorbency.  These diapers, like the prefold covers, come in either snap or velcro.  I have some of each, and I like them both.  The velcro does tend to snag the diapers more in the wash.  But the snaps are a little more difficult for me to get on my squirmy 10 month old.

The benefits of using a pocket/all in one diaper is that they go on very much like a disposable diaper.  So a babysitter, dad, or church worker will be more willing to try to change the diaper.  Also, as I said before, with a pocket diaper, you can adjust absorbency for a heavy wetter.  A final benefit is that if you choose these diapers in a one size style, then you can use these diapers from birth to potty training by modifying the snaps in the front of the diaper.

The drawback with these kinds of diapers is their price.  If you must really watch your wallet with cloth diapers, you might feel that these kinds of diapers stretch you too much.  Another drawback with the all in one diapers is that they can take a long time to dry.  (These diapers should be hung out to dry.)

If you use only pocket diapers or AIO’s, then you would need 24 diapers, since the diaper cannot be reused until it is washed.

I have Bum Genius 2.0 and 3.0 one size diapers, Fuzzi Bunz (the older version), a BlueBerry minkee side snap pocket, and a Happy Heiny (not the one size.)  The winner for me is definitely the Bum Genius 3.0.  I like the way it fits and it has stretchy sides.  Fuzzi Bunz are great also, and these diapers are definitely still in the best condition since they have snaps instead of velcro.  The Blueberry minkee diaper is great and is very trim.  But in my honest opinion, it’s not superior enough to warrant the price.  The Happy Heiny is not my favorite.  We have major leaking problems with it.  But that may just be us.  It clearly has great reviews online, and I have friends that have no problems with theirs. 

Conclusion

There are obviously a lot of choices you can make with diapers.  I personally use a mix of the different kinds.  I own 18 prefolds and several accompanying covers.  And the rest of my diapers are pocket diapers.  We use the pocket diapers for overnight, for church, and for long car rides.  But the rest of the time we use the prefolds.

On to Accessories

There are a few accessories that I recommend in addition to the foundational diapers. 

First, I recommend doublers.  These are essentially a small version of a pocket insert.  It’s several layers of microfiber or terry cloth sewn together.  You lay this in the crotch of whatever diaper you’re using to add some extra absorbency.  It’s great for overnight.  If you only use them for overnight and nap times, you probably need 4-6 doublers.  If you have a really big wetter, you might consider doublers and pocket inserts made of hemp rather than cotton.  They are pricey, but we finally broke down and bought some, and Isabella isn’t leaking overnight anymore.

I also recommend diaper liners.  These are thin sheets of a biodegradable material that remind me of dryer sheets.  Some people think these are too rough on babies bottoms, but I have not had any problems whatsoever.  You lay a liner in the crotch of the diaper, and when your baby poops, the solid matter sticks to the liner, while the liquids soak into the diaper.  When you change the diaper, you just lift the liner out and flush it.  This eliminates the need for having to wash or spray the poop off.

You’ll also need a diaper pail and a waterproof bag to line the pail.  The bags are usually made out of the same PUL fabric that the diaper covers are made out of.  You just put the dirty diapers in the lined pail, and every couple of days you dump the whole thing–bag included–into your washing machine.

I already mentioned this, but if you use prefolds, you’re going to need pins or snappis.

Also, you’ll need to consider how you want to store dirty diapers when you’re out of the house.  We use little plastic bags meant for disposing of disposable diapers.  We just put the dirty diaper in the bag to bring it home, and then we dump the diaper into the pail and throw away the little baggie.

You’re going to also need to consider buying a special detergent that is additive free.  This is so important because the additives can build up on the diapers and reduce their absorbency.  Of course, you would never use fabric softener, either.  There are 3 main brands of laundry detergent that I have heard are best on diapers:  Charlie’s Soap, Country Save, and Allen’s Naturally.  I have had experience with all of them, and Country Save is my favorite.  There are people who use major detergent brands like All and Tide on their diapers with success.  I haven’t tried these, since they are not recommended by diaper companies, and I’m not much of a rule breaker. 🙂  You just have to figure out what works for you and with your water with a little experimentation.

To wash, I do a cold rinse first (2 cold rinses if they are especially yucky!).  Then I do a hot wash with 1/2 the recommended detergent.  Then I do another cold rinse.  I hang the covers and pocket diapers up to dry.  The prefold and terry cloth inserts and doublers are dried in the dryer.

Resources

To close, I wanted to share some resources that I have found helpful, or that I think that might be helpful for you readers out there! 

Both blogs that are mentioned in my blogroll are written by cloth diapering moms.  They have had several articles on different aspects of cloth diapering in the recent past.  You might peruse their sites and see if you find anything that is helpful for you.

Diapering Definitions and Helpful Information(this site is also my favorite online diaper store.)

A Work at Home mom that sells just the basics.

Prefold Diaper Folding Techniques.

Well, that’s all I have for now.  If you have any specific issues that I haven’t discussed, please leave a comment, and I’ll try to address those.  Also, some of my readers are my friends who actually taught me how to cloth diaper.  If you have anything to add, please leave a comment, too.

I’m Boycotting Valentine’s Day!

January 31, 2008

Sugar, chocolate processed with alkali, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin/an emulsifier, vanilla and vanillin/an artificial flavor, condensed milk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, invert sugar, natural flavor, and potassium sorbate.

 In case you were wondering, that’s how you spell love.  Or, at least how you’re supposed to if you properly celebrate Valentine’s Day as any good consumer would do!

Those are the ingredients for a popular Valentine’s candy that comes in a red heart box. 

You might think that this is the rant of a bitter, lonely person with no one to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  That’s not true.  I’m not bitter, I’m not lonely.  I am very blessed and very loved.  So now to the “rant”…

I was ironing this morning when I saw a commerial for a popular drug store.  It showed all the candy and said something about buying “all the things you need” to give your loved one for Valentine’s Day.

But my question to you is, have you bought into this idea?

First off, candy, as you can see the ingredient list, is not healthy for you.  But the issue is far more than that!  Our society has so greatly cheapened the idea of love that I am almost insulted.  We are told that if you buy a box of chocolates, a teddy bear, and flowers (or if you’re really good–Jewelry!) then that will make your loved one know they are loved.   Perhaps the world thinks that love should be cheap and easy and convenient, but as a Christian, I know true Christian love is way more that that.  It’s about commitment and sacrifice–not candy or commercialism.

Join me if you will, but this Valentine’s Day, I’m saying no!  I don’t need a special day to celebrate my love.  And I don’t need candy or a teddy bear.  And I don’t need $50 roses that are going to be dead a week later.  I’m not boycotting love, but I’m boycotting Valentine’s Day and all it’s empty consumerism.

On a related note, if you have any stories or ideas to share on how you have celebrated love for free or for a little money, please share! 

Good Reading…

January 27, 2008

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This past week, as time has permitted, I’ve been reading a fascinating book.  It’s called “Family Driven Faith” by Voddie Baucham.  I first heard about this book last summer, as some groups at our church went through it together.  And I’ve heard Voddie Baucham speak several times.  He’s a really captivating speaker.  So, I knew this book would be good.  While it’s an easy read, it definitely has provoked deep thought into taking intentional steps to raise our children in such a way that they will grow up to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and might.  What an awesome way to be a good steward of our roles as parents?! 

I’ve been reading about the importance of imparting a solid, Christian worldview to our children.  I thought this quote was powerful because it really goes along well with the purpose of this blog.  Baucham says, “Most people’s worldview is not based on critical analysis but on assumption.  We don’t spend our formative years evaluating the merits of cultural assumptions.  We simply see the way things are and fall in line.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be just another person falling in line with society.  As believers we are to be set apart, in our thinking and actions.  If we want our children to have a strong godly worldview, it has to start with us!  This has me thinking….where has the world’s view crept into my worldview?  Hmmm….