Month: May 2015

Catching up

I like to believe that my readers are really just a bunch of old friends, and understand where I am in life… So just like writing a letter to a friend, I’m just going to try and pick up this blog and blow the dust off and keep on writing… It works better for me than trying to write everything that has gone on in the last year and trying not to foget anything  It just ain’t going to happen… Let’s face it.

Today was hard.  Charity went from being a little sniffly to being SICK .. I mean really sick.  Took her to the doctor .. actually had plans to take Alasdair to the doctor for a little irritation on his pinky that I thought might be ringworm since that’s what I thought I had going on with my hand .. long story .. but no .. Right around lunchtime, Charity went into full blown asthma attack.  Crying, freaking out, turning purple, couldn’t breathe asthma attack.  She went from totally fine, begging me to read another chapter in Narnia and bouncing around the living room to having a fever of 103, not even able to walk to the car by lunch.

Verdict? Strep Throat, (yay! garlic kills that, easy enough) Sinus infection (oh guess what? garlic for that too!) …

I wanted to keep a rescue inhaler on hand for her too, since we haven’t kept one around for her for YEARS, but instead, the pediatrician asked me to start her back on Singulair.  That is NOT happening.  The list of side effects are just not something I can stomach putting into my sweet baby girl.

What a day.  Washed the diapers (THANK GOD for my washer and dryer!) dealt with all the schooling and doctor issues, and am now beat.

On the cute factor, today Kyle played Mario Kart on the Wii with Domi and Charity.  I’m hoping his eye-hand coordination improves over time, but he LOVED it! SO sweet.

I also made sunscreen.  Boy does it smell delicious!  If I ever run out, I’ll make a tutorial for it, it was super easy and really fun too.  It makes a fantastic rash cream as well, for diaper rash, or this thing I have going wrong with my hand.

Ok.. speaking of my hand.  Apparently I have nummular eczema.  Blargh. I swore it was ring worm.  I tried everything to get it to go away… which successfully made it worse- tea tree oil, ACV, soaking it in epsom salts, keeping it dry, not putting lotion on it etc… it only spread. BADLY.  So it went from a small patch on one of my knuckles to completely wrapping three of my fingers on my right hand in itchy, scaly, oozing, ring shaped sores. Searing pain.  I cannot even begin to describe it. It would wake me out of a deep sleep at 2 am trying to claw my fingers off… As I sat rocking the baby in the dappled sunlight on my porch, I would consider amputation just to be able to relish the moments I was having with my baby without worrying about the damn itching and pain.  All three of the knuckles on the fingers that were affected swelled, cracked, and were in so much pain, constantly.  Washing my hands (which moms do about a thousand times a day) was painful.  Hot water to wash dishes was painful.  Anything that required my hands was very painful and made me push off doing things.  It hurt just to hold on to anything.

So that was today… I finally have an answer about the finger and skin issue… and the good news is, it’s not contagious! It just means I’m high maintenance 😦 We need to get a water filtration system on our house again ASAP, for laundry, dishes, and the sake of my skin …

Announcement.

Beginning June 1st, I will be doing a 365 day challenge on wrapping! I’m excited to be able to blog daily about babywearing… I wear him every day anyway, I just want to document this part of Alasdair’s childhood… it will go so quickly, I’m sure.

DDL Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 7~ Summing Up



Well, time for the final thoughts on this challenge! 

I have a few categories my thoughts chunk into; what I’ve learned, what I would do differently, if this is a viable option for me/other people on a regular basis, how I can make it easier?

What I’ve learned?

From participating in this challenge, I’ve learned that I AM capable of accepting and completing a challenge (and this was, indeed, a challenge for me).  I’ve also learned that it’s good to have fun with a challenge.

I tried to keep my attitude one that pushed me on to continue, but I kept in the back of my mind that I had at my disposal the ability to just go back to what works for us. It kept the stress WAY down, and while I did have to beef up my stash a bit mid week, I found that the knowledge that if it was too tough I could back out and gave it a good try were very comforting. 

Giving myself permission to quit actually helped me finish the challenge! 

I also HATE line dried stiffness. Even with the gorgeous wind we have had, I still need that 20 minutes of tumbling on no heat to fluff up my diapers. I miss it. Can I get by without? Yes, but if I were to do that full time, I would only do bamboo jersey flats, not a single woven or flannel diaper. The stretchy ones were the only ones that didn’t get stuff.

What I would do differently?

I would definitely set my diaper changing area up a little differently if this were my every day reality. Things would be much easier if I had all the diapers together, since there are no sizes with flats, if one diaper is clean, then it doesn’t matter who needs changing!

I get a little panicked when I don’t have clean diapers stacked and a few for the diaper bag! I definitely will be stocking up on more flats for next years challenge when I will still have two kids in flats! 

At least a few more overnight solutions, I will definitely be ordering a few yards of bamboo loop terry to make some flats out of do an overnight solution. 

Stress is a huge trigger for me, and feeling like I HAVE to wash diapers right this second makes me uncomfortable. I was able to plan ahead and I washed Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. 

Doing every second day with two kids was TOUGH! Washing out more than 2 dozen diapers by hand really tested me. My back aches after wringing and agitating. I found Saturday’s laundry much more doable with only 16 diapers to wash.

Is this a viable option? 

I think for one kid in diapers, yes. I think that if it were my reality, I would still do it with two kids in diapers if I had absolutely no option for laundry machines. Washing was the most time consuming, I actually line dry my diapers usually, and they dry faster coming out of my washer because they spin out a bit more water! 

But then I also tumble them for a few minutes to soften them back up before I fold them. I love fluffy flats!

If I were living in an apartment, or without access to an outdoor drying space, it would be much more difficult. 

It is DEFINITELY doable when we go camping, especially if I just wash every morning while I make breakfast!

DDL Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 6 ~ favorite folds

So now we come to the part of the challenge where I get to talk about how we fold our flats. 

This little cutie is wearing a kite folded receiving blanket. 

We start with our flats stacked up all nice and neat. 





Then I fold the bottom right corner up about a third …





Then I cross the top left corner across so that I have that “kite” shape …



Fold the middle point down towards the bottom point…



Then the bottom left corner up to as far as I need for the rise on Alasdair – I need about 16 inches 



At this point, you can jelly roll, on the baby, but I like to stack them ready to be grabbed and go in the diaper bag etc so I fold them in thirds like a prefold



And the other side

Then I fold in half, up from the bottom…



To put them on, I basically do an angel wing from this and snappi it or pin it in place. 

The reason this works so well for us is that if I give a little tug on the last triangle and adjust the rise .. Even when it’s already on the baby 🙂 Since I’m diapering two very different sized kiddos, it’s really nice to fold them all to the same size and stack them in the diaper changer baskets.

I have tried a bunch of other folds and keep coming back to this one!

DDL Flats and Handwashing Challenge ~ Day 5 ~ Wash Routine ~Tell us what’s working and what isn’t.

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Washing… Oh the washing.  The “Flats” part of this challenge was easy (ish) enough.  I love flats.  They are permastash around here, and surface for all our in between sizes, and just create such a sense of happiness when used.

Handwashing.  um. yeah. I have kind of an issue with handwashing.  I’m not a diva, I’m not a stuck up snob.  I do not send my laundry out to have done and returned to me when it’s clean.  I wash laundry.

In order to fully understand handwashing, I feel the need to elaborate for your sake on what an average week of laundry looks like in our household.  We have 5 kids, ranging in age from 11 down to 6 months.  One of them is paraplegic and doesn’t handle his own laundry.  Every single day there are two loads of laundry to do MINIMUM.  Three days a week, there are loads of diapers, one day a week we wash towels, one day a week we wash sheets (unless they have been thrown up or peed on, in which case, they get washed immediately).  The other 9 loads are usually 4 light loads, 4 dark loads, and 1 load of reds/pinks/purples.

That’s a LOT of laundry.  My children are all CAPABLE of washing laundry from start to finish, but still need reminders for steps, so all of the washing and drying falls to me.

Last year, we moved into this house and had no washer or dryer, and no money to purchase them either.  So handwashing it was.  I found a fantastic method of washing that only took about 30-45 minutes a day to stay on top of the daily laundry and then we could take sheets and towels to the laundromat to dry (I HATE crunchy towels).

I am SO glad that handwashing is behind us.  It killed my hugely pregnant body, and stripped my hands of anything resembling normal skin!

Many people use a camp washer, but for the number of people in our family, that just wasn’t going to cut it, so I introduce you to the larger family way of doing things….

IMG_3256Here are all the supplies needed to wash.  It’s a terrible picture, but you probably get the gist.  I have 2 rope handle buckets I found on clearance at walmart for $4 last year.  I use 2-3 for each wash, depending on how many rinse cycles i need.

I start by setting my teakettle to boil, then go and dump the diapers into the first bucket. Covers and wet bsgs go in the other bucket with 1Tbsp detergent.  Im using Ecos free and clear for handwashing because my home made detergent is not safe for grey watering my garden/yard.

I fill the diaper bucket with water~ just enough to get everything submerged ~ and then use the agitator (a clean toilet plunger with holes drilled in it to decrease resistance) to rinse for about 5 minutes.

IMG_3259(1)By this point, the water is usually boiling and I bring it out and pour it into the wash bucket while simultaneously adding cold water too .. it creates a warm wash.

Agitate and wash covers, pull out and set aside to rinse and hang (I keep a basket near by or have used a third washing bucket at times if that was handier).  I dump the cold rinse water the diapers were in, and unfold and slightly wring out each diaper and put them into the wash bucket. At this point I add another Tbsp of detergent and more water to get the right level of water for washing the diapers.  Agitate for 5 minutes, then take a break from that, rinse the original bucket out and fill it with some fresh rinse water for the covers.  Quick rinse and hang the covers to dry on the line while the diapers are soaking in detergent.  (I agitate a few times more in between) swish and wring each diaper individually and put them a few at a time in the rinse water.

I don’t like any more than 5 diapers in the rinse water at a time, and wring them out really well and put them in a basket to carry over to my line.

Only tip?

WEAR GLOVES!

Today (Thursday), I washed 27 flats, one bamboo doubler, 6 PUL covers, 1 wet bag, and 1 pail liner.

IMG_3356Tuesday, I was still washing Sunday’s diapers from before the challenge, so there were a bunch of fitteds on the line that day.  They didn’t dry.  Well, they did, but they took FOREVER! Flats dry in an hour… fitteds take all day .. and that’s IF I get them up at 10 am!

Here’s Tuesday’s wash…

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I don’t enjoy how rough everything feels dried on the line. We have hard water, and line drying makes everything but the bamboo velour flat really stiff and crunchy. 

One of my big ways to combat the stiff line dried feeling is to stack all the diapers as they come off the line… And then allow the adorable Alasdair to nap on them, softening the fibers 🙂



And here they are all folded and ready to go!!



DDL Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 4 ~ Out And About! How do you travel with flats on errands?

WHEW! What a day for this post… Today we are talking about traveling with flat diapers and running errands.

One thing about this challenge that I needed to be absolutely certain about was that I wanted to be sure that using flats wouldn’t take me away from my family.  Everything has to get scheduled around here and time must be carefully carved out- whether it’s returning text messages and phone calls, checking the mail, taking the trash out, washing diapers etc…

So far, this week we went to my 11 yr old’s county track meet from 9-2 30 minutes away from home, then played with some friends until 4 on Tuesday.  Wednesday we left for therapy at 11, then had lunch, stopped off to buy tickets for the county fair, then went to the grocery store and the bank (and still had time to mow the overgrown patio area and do some waste removal before trash day today).  Today (Thursday), we got out by 8:20 and went to the county fair, then home and back out twice (forgot things from the grocery store).  I can’t even remember what we did on Monday, that was too long ago.

Here’s us at the fair:

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I prep all of my flats so that the changes are easy peasy.  It’s absolutely no difference to me between flats and disposables.  Changing my monster 6 yr old special needs little guy who has thighs of steel and always clenches them together somehow is REALLY tough… that combined with the fact that he has outgrown wall mount diaper changing weight limits means that we have to change in the trunk of the van.  It’s flat and we have a nice cushy changing area there for him.  It works pretty well.  I keep my diaper bag close by and just toss the used ones in the wet bag and go… If I go in somewhere longer than an hour (that I might need to change diapers during) I take it with me and loop it over the handle of the stroller or the wheelchair, whichever we have. It is handy to have when we need wipes or diaper changes.

I kite fold everything (more on different folds this week) so that everything lines up nicely in the diaper bag… I also like that for my situation, the kite fold will easily fit my little Alasdair and with only a tiny little tug, grows enough to fit Kyle, so unlike our fitteds that are definitely sized and I need to take the right amount for each kid.

So here’s a picture of our “after”… I tend to take too many diapers with me (1 per kid per 2 hour window of us being out of the house).  Kyle only needs changing every 3 hours, and Alasdair just gets a fresh diaper whenever we unwrap before we rewrap or if he is getting ready for a nap.

IMG_3350I have the wet bag on the floor so you can see, but everything fits in the diaper bag for two kids for a full day out.  When we left, the wet bag was rolled up and the bag was full of diapers.  In 6 hours out with the kids, we went through 3 diaper changes for the baby (3 flats) and two for Kyle (4 flats- his are doubled).  It worked really well for us, and didn’t change anything or slow us down.

In general, cloth diapering just fits into our lifestyle, it’s cozy, soft, and a natural way to diaper our children.  Bringing home diapers at the end of an excursion isn’t troublesome, and I never have to stop and look for a bathroom to throw away the dirty diapers ..

I’m finding though that I am running out of diapers more quickly than I wanted to be, and the other thing about this challenge is that I’m not limiting myself to the things that I started with.  I have added in another 10 receiving blanket flats, for a total of 32 flats.  We triple up for Kyle overnight (still leaked even with a PUL cover and wool) and used the bamboo velour flat for Alasdair.

I also added in another 2 covers for our rotation (so a total of 10 PUL covers, 5 for each kiddo).

I think that’s about it for now.

DDL Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 3 ~ Open Topic

The most common question I hear is “Isn’t it HARD to cloth diaper?” followed quickly by “I don’t have time for that”.

So let me delve into that question deeper on a personal level.

This morning started like most mornings, getting 5 kids up, dressed, fed, quick tidy up around the house and then settle in for school activities.  My 9 year old parked her cute little bum on the couch while I folded a load of laundry and read Little House on the Prairie to me…

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I quickly finished that and headed outside to start diapers.  I wanted to get them into the sun on the line before the heat of the day set in since we have plans today.

So I bundled up my little guy and went out to wash diapers, all the while listening to my little bug read to me…. it was rather sweet.

IMG_3300By the time I was finished, Daddy was getting home from his morning shift and we were settling in for math.

Being outside didn’t take me from my kids, our school activities, or doing anything else.  I touched base with the yard work that needs to be done, making a list in my head of what to tackle in the garden this afternoon while the baby sleeps.

And then I forgot… yep.  Forgot.  There is nothing souring in the washing machine, going rancid.  There is nothing that I need to hover over to deal with… such peace.

All in, it took me 45 minutes to rinse, wash, rinse, rinse, and hang :20 diapers, 8 covers, a few doublers, and a pail liner.  NOT too bad at all.  It would’ve easily taken the same amount of time to wash them in my washing machine too… and I would have to babysit them. There is nothing I despise more than down time that is pretending…

Like those minutes you wait for the teakettle to whistle… it’s not really a few minutes to yourself, it’s just pretending… because if you get sidetracked, you know it’s going to whistle and call you away from what you were doing.  I love tasks that once complete, are COMPLETE… there is no going back on a timer to finish.

I have another task this afternoon to bring the diapers back in… I have to mow the lawn today too, so that’s going to happen at the same time… Total time spent on diapers this afternoon will be about 5 minutes to bring them in and pile them neatly on the couch so I can sit on them and soften them before I need to fold them tonight.

I like being busy.  If I’m not busy, I sleep.  I do crafts, or knit, or crochet, or cook, or browse facebook when I watch TV… having a fresh smelling stack of diapers to fold when I sit down with my family to watch a show after dinner is rather cathartic!

So no, for us it doesn’t take much time.  I am outside getting a decent upper body work out and doing my squats while I wash.  I’m stretching while hanging on the line.  I get to sit down and have a cup of tea when I finish and get lost in playing with my kids, instead of worrying about resetting the washer or stuff getting moldy.  I get to wear my little buddy and talk and sing to him while I wash diapers.

Having been forced to wash ALL of our clothes last year in this manner, I don’t find it bothersome, and the finished product is so wonderful!

It’s not hard.  It simply requires a bit of planning and dedication.  I enjoy having purpose to my life, and for things to have routine and clear expectations.  I just do.

If we are to move off the grid, I will probably still consider this a viable option, but I do like how the washer spins all of the water out though!

DDL Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 2: What’s in your stash?

So many times I hear the question “what’s the best cloth diaper?” Or “where do I start?” Or “what do you use?”

The answer can be as varied as the number of persons on our planet. Really.

So for this challenge, I’m using the following.

I have 7 stretchy bamboo jersey flats made from just cutting material into 30×30 squares in the top basket on the left. On the right of the same basket, I have 7 receiving blankets purchased on Amazon (2 packs of 5 for 17.99) and a goodwill flannel receiving blanket I got for .25. On the right I have 5 flannel reviving blankets that cost $6.00 for four on clearance at my local walmart.

I am also using some scraps of bamboo velour as doublers and made two bamboo velour flats out of a yard of fabric I had lying around.

In front is my normal basket of covers. For this challenge I have limited myself to 2 covers per day per kid (so 4 daytime covers) and 1 overnight wool cover which I washed and lanolized Monday morning in prep for wearing for the challenge.

The covers I’m using for my big special needs boy are 2 real nappies (on Amazon for 9.99 ) and 2 bummis pull on  ($7.95 from GMD). I am using a one size rumparooz cover ($16)for my little guy, 2 Thirsties Duo size ( 12.95 ea) 1, and a bumkins one size cover(9.95).

My wool getting ready for a bath^

So total for 2 kids is 8 daytime covers, 2 nighttime wool covers, 7 stretchy flats, 16 receiving blanket flats, 2 Flour Sack Towels, and one bamboo velour flat. I may have to add more later on in the week depending on how heavy my kids are wetting, and if I can’t wash every other day.

All in? This stash cost me $195.00 for two kids in very different sizes. (I am not counting my found materials as free, but the actual price paid too so that it is included.

**add on- what do I wish was in my stash?**

A few large bamboo flats from either diaper junction or nicki’s. For overnight, these would be fantastic! 4 Sbish or orange baby company bamboo loop square flats for overnight.

Today was very busy getting all 5 kids out of the house for Gracie’s track meet this morning, and we were gone for the whole day. We made it home around 4, just in time for dinner and bed.

I’m determined to not let this challenge change my parenting or take me from my family! Always making sure to get some time outide …

**Edited on day 5**

I need to add that after leaving the house, only having the ability to wash every other day (I was planning on washing every day, but that’s not happening, just like I’m not going to the gym every day.  Every other day is fine 🙂 ), I had to add into my stash.

By the end of the challenge, my stash consists of

Flats-

10 luvable friends receiving blankets (amazon) $19.98

8 Garanimals receiving blankets (walmart) $12.00

2 Printed Flour Sack Towels (walmart) $6

7 Stretchy Flats (naturesfabric.com) $21

6 receiving blankets (found) FREE

2 bamboo velour flats (naturesfabric.com) $13

6 organic osocozy flats (clothdiaper.com) $11

Covers

2 Real Nappies Toddler covers $20

3 Bummis Pull on Pants $24

2 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap $24

2 Thirsties Duo $26

2 Bumkins OS snap $20

1 Rumparooz OS $16

1 disana wool soaker $27

1 Home made wool soaker $6

1 Blueberry Coverall $19