Welcome to our blog! In our home living life to the fullest often means we simply survive the day. We laugh, we learn, we cry, we play; we embrace chaos while pursuing sanity, and above all, we love fiercely.

Friday, December 16, 2011

When can I do it all???

I have so many things I want to do right now....planning, organizing, sorting, reading, etc. I feel like I'm so behind! I'm certainly behind on keeping a blog. :)

Jared brought home prize money from Montreal, so I was finally able to make some book and Montessori purchases. I'm so excited about this, and so excited to get things sorted and organized so I can get the kids going on stuff, but I feel like I can never find the time right now! I tend to want to have it all perfectly planned out as far as organization, storage, and how, when and where I'll implement things. The trouble is, I never have the time to just sit down and figure that out, or at least when I do get to sit down, everything I "need" to get done seems like work, and all I want to do is sit. This just means that all the great things I've got stay put away! When I finally just got out the paints for Sophia one day, she had a blast, and I didn't have anything worked out about it. When she was done, I quickly organized it, and put it away. Ba-da-boom, done! I really just need to do that with everything else, but it seems like all the other things require so much more time....

Also, I feel like I'm never able to research more ideas for things to do with the kids, especially Montessori activities. I feel very limited in creative ability - I like to write, and I can do that creatively, but all things crafty are beyond my scope, unless every little thing is plotted out for me, with detailed descriptions. :) That is something I would like to spend more time on, just so I can be more of a "natural" (or learned natural, rather) at coming up with my own Montessori or crafting ideas.

I guess I'm mostly just feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the fabulous things that I'm just now discovering. I have so many books around (at least 30 from the library) that I want to devour this very moment. I find I keep renewing and renewing them because I'm never finding the time to read them. And yet, I do find time to do lots of reading sometimes. Probably I've overwhelmed myself by checking out or borrowing every single book I want to read, all at the same time! I also have so many things online I'd like to be reading - particularly blogs and articles full of wonderful ideas. And, I want to start doing more family traditions, especially following the liturgical year. There's also the marvelous book, Nourishing Traditions, that I'd like to dive into so I can get started on...well, nourishing food traditions.

To top it all off, we'll be moving into a much smaller (and cheaper!) place in the next week, so that really throws a wrench in the organizing and storage department. Patience is something I am ENDlessly working on. I want to do it, and I want to do it/have it all set NOW. *sigh*

Sophia's really coming into her own, and is at a great age where she can do so many things, and just devours anything we give her...I just want to offer her more! And, if I'm more organized about it, I could get a lot of my own things done, that I'm always wanting to do, while she's doing her own fun things.

At least tonight Jared took the kids to his parents' house, but I stayed home. I really needed the time to myself; it's been so crazy around here, and will continue to be crazy until January 1st. I feel like the craziness never ends. I need to sort through things, pack, and figure out what won't fit (because we're moving to a smaller place), so I can start getting rid of (or selling) things. I also need to start reading so I can get a bunch of these books back to the library....

AND, Christmas is next weekend!!! I feel like I haven't even enjoyed Advent!!

Oh, geez, when and how to fit it all in.....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Diapering extras and caring for your cloth diapers

I'd like to add a few more things about diapers before I retire this subject for a while and focus on the rest of our life! :)

Some extra things that are wonderful to have in the old diaper stash are diaper doublers and fleece liners. Doublers are wonderful for night time (and nap time if you have an extremely heavy wetter). The doublers I use are the Stay-Dry Hemp Fleece Doublers (found at Babyworks.com). I like to call them miracle workers. My children tend to be the wettest in the morning. If I don't use a doubler for his morning nap, Dominic almost always leaks out of his Best Bottoms. These particular doublers have a fleece lining on top, which wicks moisture away from baby's bottom, leaving him feeling dry while his diaper is wet. Although I want my kids to feel the wetness of their diapers (hoping this discomfort will encourage them at potty-training age), I prefer them to be comfortable at nap/night time so that we all get a little more sleep. :) You can buy fleece liners by themselves if you don't want the added bulk of a doubler, or if you already use a fantastic diaper that doesn't need any more absorbency oomph, but could use that "staying dry" power.

I know I mentioned cloth wipes before, but I'll mention them again. They are amazing! They will change your life! They are easy to use! They are amazing! Whoops, getting redundant. :) Seriously, though, cloth wipes will make your whole cloth diaper change that much easier. I generally only need one at a time, unless the diaper is particularly offensive, in which case I'll use two, and sometimes three. I am disposable-wipe deficient, so I tend to use about 5-8 disposable wipes on a poopy diaper. Cloth wipes are a quick rinse with a diaper sprayer.

Diapers - a more thorough look. :)

We've experimented with multiple kinds of cloth diapers since Sophia was born over three years ago. I mentioned before that we began with Chinese prefolds and Bummis Whisper Wraps. This system just didn't work for us. They leaked, and I'm not sure if it was just the covers or the diapers, but it was maddening. I had several different types of diapers that my sister-in-law had sent me, so I tried all of those. I spent hours on the phone with Babyworks trying to trouble shoot my diaper issues. In the end, after trying several things, we went with Bum Genius 3.0 pocket diapers. Now, these diapers are fairly expensive, but we only needed 18 of them because they're a one-size diaper. Very handy! We had to buy special detergent, but that one bottle lasted us the life of the diapers (two and a half years!). So, considering all costs, still WAY cheaper than disposables, not to mention much better for the environment.

When Sophia was 11 months old I was pregnant with Dominic. I knew I couldn't use her diapers for him, so I started researching again. As much as I had loved my Bum Geniuses, the velcro was just awful. After one year it was fading, catching everything in the dryer, shrinking, and not fastening. I decided to go for snaps this time. I ordered three of Kissaluvs organic hemp/cotton fitted diapers. With these I ordered to wool covers from Royal Buns. Both the diapers and the covers were/are excellent. The Kissaluvs are super absorbent, and the wool covers, of course, are amazing.

Let me just quickly tell you about wool covers. Wool is naturally antibacterial/antimicrobial, meaning it doesn't harbor bacteria or retain odors. Because of this, it only has to be washed once or twice per month. PER MONTH!!! That is, if it doesn't get soiled. Yes, you must generally hand wash. However, you put it in the sink with a little water and lanolized wool detergent, squeeze it a couple of times, and then let it soak for at least 15 minutes. Take it out, squish it with a towel, and lay it out to dry. Not very complicated, and honestly not too time consuming. Wool is the most amazing thing to use at night; with a good wool cover you are basically guaranteed a leak-free night, even with just a so-so diaper. In the morning, if the cover is damp inside and smells of urine, flip it inside-out, lay it out to dry, and by the evening, no wetness, no odor! It is AMAZING. If you do smell urine at the end of the day, it's time to wash the cover. Also, wool diaper covers are not like commercial wool. Commercial wool tends to be itchy and generally irritating, but wool diaper covers are untreated and soft, soft, soft. This also means they are incredibly breathable (read: not hot), so they can be worn in winter AND summer.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Finally conquering the blog scene...and working on peace

Well, I have a new look to the blog...finally. It took me quite a while to get a feel for how to set everything up so it would look both cool and symmetrical. That was actually quite a pain to do, setting up the symmetry. Anyhow, I'm at peace with it now, and excited about the new look! :)

This week I've been trying really hard to deal with anger and impatience, especially with my sweet kiddos. Life is stressful right now as Jared's busy, busy, busy with the semester in full swing, and I'm "semi" preparing us for a move - to a new place - that will be happening in December. We really love this house that we're in and its location in Lawrence, but the rent is ridiculous, so we're embracing frugality and moving into a two-bedroom place...somewhere.

Anyhow, I struggle, as I'm sure many people do, with impatience. Too often I snap at the kids when it's really not about them, it's about me. So frustrating. I've been reading lots of great stuff about using gentleness in the home, especially regarding learning (from homeschooling to simply reading aloud with the kids), and that is certainly helping me deal with and try to conquer my impatience. I've been reading lots of John Holt (this obviously has more to do with education than anything else), but it really transfers to how I handle the kids, as well. He was a smart man, that John Holt. Along the line of education, I've also been reading Suzie Andres' two books: Homeschooling with Gentleness, and A Little Way of Homeschooling. Excellent, excellent books, full of endless encouragement. I've also been reading lots of St. Therese, and I'm trying to get into An Introduction to The Devout Life, by St. Francis de Sales.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our Cloth Diaper Experience - an Overview

At first I wrote a HUGE post on this....but it was just too much in one post, so here are some *quick* essentials from my point-of-view. I'll do more detailed posts later.

Sophia wearing her cloth diapers at about 15-16 months old
Diaper pail - a MUST. Ours is the Economy Diaper Pail from Babyworks.com. It locks in odors, it's large, and it's super easy to clean. Either I poor in a little Bac-Out and water, wipe and rinse, or I'll just rinse it out with water and set it out in the sun for a bit. I know lots of people who use wet bags for this job, but I prefer the pail - it never leaks!

Diaper sprayer - the Potty Pail. We started with the mini shower sprayer sold through Babyworks, but our current place has hard water, and it killed that sprayer (actually two). We now have the Potty Pail, and oh. my. gosh. It's fab. The pail means less spill, and no bending over (a God send when you're pregnant!). Also, it can double as a utility sink as there's a hole in the bottom and a stopper on a chain if you need it. The actual sprayer component is great, too. It's the most powerful sprayer we've seen. You can order the pail and sprayer separately - so if you choose to forego the pail, I highly recommend the sprayer on it's own.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The real point of this blog....

Although the title of this blog is "Adventures in Cloth Diapering," that will most likely not be the main focus. We do cloth diaper, and because the next 15 years or so will probably be filled with infants/toddlers in diapers, I've chosen this title. I intend, however, to cover all areas of our life on this blog, all things that are of the moment and important to me, so no worries for those of you seeking information on cloth - I'll have it!! My husband and I are discussing the possibility of a family blog, but for now this is my domain - I'm thrilled to actually be "out there" posting on a blog. :) Please be patient with me as I learn the quirks of this - I have no experience with blogs/Web pages, and am sort of a slow learner when it comes to all things technological. I'll try to keep things interesting, but for me, this is mostly a public journal - it's simply fulfilling my desire to share my thoughts and experiences with the world, while getting some real feedback on the various things I ponder. While I hope to have many active followers/readers, I'm here for me right now. Hope that makes sense! All right, more to come later....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A beginner, be gentle!

I have stayed away from blogging for so long that I sort of think there should be a party for this. :) I've always thought, who wants to read about such randomness, but then I realized that lots of people look for lots of various things on so many different blogs. So, here goes! Hopefully I can figure out all these quirks of setting this thing up. It'll be a while before it looks like what I want it to. I have no idea how regular I'll be with this. I've spent the last year and a half revelling in being a stay-at-home mom, and I'm JUST NOW beginning to come up with a daily schedule that will help me get in all the things I'd like to accomplish. If I had a live-in babysitter, so much more would get done....I'm enteretaining offers. :) Anyhow, you can see a bit about me in my profile, so I won't go into all that here. Suffice it to say, I'm a happy person, and excited to be "blogging!"