T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Monday, May 30, 2011

Flats and Vacation...The End


That's me taking a deep breath since the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is done. It was certainly enlightening. In the end, I washed 41 diapers. It does not sound like much but when you're wringing each of them multiple times, it does add up. Of course, the weather could not cooperate this week but as you saw, I made do and the laundry room did fine drying them over night.

Where do I go from here? Well, I've opted to switch out all my pocket diaper inserts and fold the flats into them. I like my microfiber inserts - they are super trim. However, they do hold some stink and I have noticed the natural fibers like cotton do not. Plus, the flats dry faster and absorb more. They are a bit more bulky but nothing too bothersome.

I did notice this challenge did motivate me to have our daughter practice elimination communication more frequently. I think I only counted 3 or 4 BMs in her diaper this week. She usually does 2-4 per day so that's actually about 75% to 80%. We're doing good. I think she enjoys the story time on the potty. Lately she's been signing to go potty but I think it's because she wants to have one-on-one reading time because she knows Brother is not allowed in the bathroom with us. (Don't worry, he gets his morning privacy and reading time, too.)

What did this challenge demonstrate to me? Well, cloth diapering on a very tight budget is possible. It is possible to cloth diaper a baby from birth to potty training for less than $150. This would buy flats, covers, and soap with some extra for water and power usage expenses.

Something I thought of while I was writing this posting was, the old proverb, 

"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”—Author unknown 

Let me change this up a bit : 

Give a family a box of disposable diapers, and they can diaper their baby for a few days. Give them a box of cloth diapers and covers, and they can diaper their baby for its lifetime.  

I think this was the key point of the challenge from my perspective. It is possible to help low income families keep their babies dry and clean and it does not have to cost thousands of dollars and waste tons - literally - of resources. 

There you have it - my take on the flats challenge.

The vacation was lovely. For four days no cooking or cleaning for me. Bebe Sister and I pulled a couple of all-nighters as she is teething but T Rex Dad was wonderful about letting me sleep in and catch up on my rest. And I did finish one more small project during today's nap time. I'll be previewing this week.

In the mean time, a shout out to all our service men/women past and present. Thank you for the freedoms I enjoy. Even just being able to write my thoughts and opinions in this blog is something I do not take for granted. And thank you all for listening to my opinions and being supportive. Some of you are so wonderful to me - I know you don't use cloth diapers or even have an interest, yet, you support me. I cannot tell you how much this warms my heart. 

Now, I'm off to enjoy the last few precious moments of vacation time with T Rex Dad before tomorrow comes and he's back to work. Me? Well, I'm still out of school for the summer but I have a shower to scrub, strip, and reseal as well as some items to drop at the consignment store. Plus, T Rex and I have our dental appointments this week. We'll keep you posted.

If you've read my postings this past week on the Flats and Handwashing Challenge - what do you think?  What do you think of my quote from above - "Give a box of cloth diapers..."? Would it work? Why or why not?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Flats - Day Six...Vacation Day 2

It's been wonderful having T Rex Dad home for the past couple of days. I haven't had to cook or clean in two days. And the adult company has been very welcome, particularly when it's my favorite person and very best friend.
The only work I have really done is diaper handwashing. An update on how the diapers did drying overnight. The ones hanging over my hamper bins dried no problem. The ones hanging over the laundry baskets on the floor, were about 80% dry by morning. The covers were about 75% dry. After I assessed the situation, I took down the dry ones and put up the damp ones on the hampers. They dried within a couple of hours. And a good thing to. We were down to one cover. And, by the way, it is still raining and raining and raining. The neighborhood pool is supposed to be opening but with nighttime temperature dropping to 42 degree F and snow in the foothills, I am not the least bit interested in trying out Bebe Sister's adorable swim suit in these cold conditions.

Thus far, I have washed 31 diapers in the past 6 days. Tomorrow should probably be wash day, however, I think I have enough diapers in the stash to wait until Monday. There will probably be quite a few to wash, but maybe I'll have some sunshine by then. That's the Flats update. Now onto the vacation update.

Lately when T Rex Dad calls to check in with us during his work days, I have been telling him about the kids and their dress up adventures. Well, since he's been home these past couple of days he has been able to experience it first hand. T Rex is just starting to get interested in dressing up but Bebe Sister really loves it. She comes up with some pretty interesting combinations.

For the past several months, T Rex has been asking his dad to take a trip to HobbyTown USA to purchase a rocket to launch at the park. We would always tell him in the spring, we would do so. Well, it did not feel like spring today but we decided, it was the day. T Rex looked at all the styles and simply stated, "I want to wait." Bebe Sister and had a great time looking at furniture for our doll house. Still, just looking. As T Rex would say, "Those are chocking hazards, Mama." Indeed.

We wrapped the daylight hours of the day with a three year old birthday party where, of course, T Rex insistently and very politely declined cake but asked for carrots on his pizza. Seriously, where did this child come from? 

Now, the kids are tucked in the beds and T Rex Dad and I are watching a favorite movie with some popcorn and lemonade. I'm taking tomorrow off so my last Flats update will be on Monday.

Enjoy your weekend. I know I will.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Flats - Day Five...

It's been raining...

Raining a lot.

No break long enough for me to dry diapers.

So tonight, I washed and hung them in my laundry room with the hope they will dry by morning. The temperature is still cold enough to be running the heater unit. This will hopefully assist in the drying process. We'll see come morning.

These flats are big. Really big. I could use a couple of them as a table cloth for my 6 seat table. As you can see from the photos, I used up most of my laundry room real estate. There is still the counter top space but I did not think they would dry well laying flat.

I am NOT enjoying the handwashing component of this challenge but I really like the flats. After this week, I am planning to switch all my microfiber inserts in my pocket diapers to flats. My hands are really starting to dry and crack from all the moisture and the washing. I have one more wash before this is complete.

It's late. I'm tired. But the diapers are clean. Now pardon be me while I go use my favorite hand cream to soothe my aching cracking hands.

What are your remedies for cracking hands?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flats - Day Four...Plus Some...

We're at day four - a little more than half way in this Flats and Handwashing Challenge. The flats part has been easy but the handwashing/air drying not so much. This morning we washed the diapers. There were only seven to wash. This was two days worth of diapers but because our daughter has been doing so good with elimination communication, we're way down on diaper use. I would say washing seven was significantly easier than washing 14 as I did in the previous handwashed load. Lesson learned - if handwashing, do it before the load gets too big. The kids were kind enough to "help" me hang them before we left for our errand.

Bebe Sister had her nurse appointment for another vaccine. I choose to have my kids vaccinated. However, I am learning that we like to spread them out so not too many are given at a time. Thus, if we have a reaction, we know what caused it. We went to the appointment leaving the diapers outside to dry and knowing it could rain. The sky looked mostly clear so I was not terribly concerned. Alas, this is Idaho. The weather changes about every 20 minutes. I should have known better.

Well, the pediatric office moved and is located adjacent to T Rex's favorite park so, of course, we had to stop there for a little play time. As we played, the wind started to pick up and our long sleeve clothes were not enough to keep us warm. We loaded into the car and headed home.

Sure enough, when we arrived home, it was raining - lesson two learned. Not too much but enough to dampen the diapers. Funny thing, I was not grumpy. Why? I had three thoughts. One - I'm on vacation with my kids and I had the best time at the park. Plus, T Rex Dad starts a four day weekend after today. (Insert smiles from all of us.) Two - I am always worried the diapers have not been rinsed enough so add another rinse to the cycle. And three - I can blog about this.

How odd that since I've been recording our adventures in this blog I seem to have a different perspective on life and some of the not-so-great moments that affect us. The good ones are also most definitely "blog worthy" but trying to take a not-so-great situation and write about it so it's more humorous has certainly made my perspective change. As my long time blogger friend Kim said in a message to me: Isn't it funny what blogging has done to our attitudes? I'm constantly looking at seemingly irritating things and wondering how I can write about it. So true, my dear friend. One of her recent postings was published on another blog today. She is a beautiful writer and a mommy to two charming little guys. Please stop by and read her recent publication about "not being a good stay at home mom" - it is well done.

With that note, T Rex Dad is officially on vacation for the next four days. We have nothing planned except for lots of family time and a birthday party for T Rex's little friend up the road. She's a sweetie. She'll be receiving a T Rex Mom original. I promise after this week is done, I'll post some of the completed projects. For now, look at these and smile with me. They are photos I love and have been wanting to publish but I don't have especially interesting stories to go with them.
She is such a girl - she picks her cloths and LOVES shoes. And he is such a boy - look at that ball in his hand.

I thought this was a cool family photo.

Do you think blogging has changed your attitude about life's little bumps because you know you can write about and share them with others?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Flats - Day Three...

We did fine today - at least in the area of cloth diapering. Other areas - debatable. In the end, though, I think it was a great day. There were lots of smiles and as I put T Rex to bed he gave me the best kiss and said, "I love you, Mama." And in the end, that's what it's all about.
I received an excellent suggestion on a flat diaper fold. You can see the video here. It is more of a trouble shooting idea. We used it during nap time. I was quite concerned about leaks as we had one on an outing the previous night. I've never had a leak with my pocket diapers on an outing EVER so I was really surprised yesterday. However, I am dedicated to this challenge so we will push forward.

No leaks utilizing the tip with the origami fold. But her bottom was really damp - more so than with the pad fold we have been utilizing. I'll give it a couple more trials to see. Then at least I can say I gave it a try.

Origami flat diaper fold.

Our struggle with this fold is just that our daughter has a really tiny waist and skinny little legs. The baby in the video has a little more surface area for coverage and tying. And yes, I used a pin to secure everything in place.
She loves being my diaper model.

I did manage to not stick our daughter with the pin. However, she did have a day of many other firsts - first split lip, first electric shock, and first whipped cream beater. You can read about her Day of Firsts here.

For now, it is my break time. Time for some crafting and, of course, blogging. But mostly crafting tonight. I cannot wait to show you what fun project I've been working on.

What do you like to do during your precious, well earn free time?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Flats - Day Two...

Today was chore day.
First item on the agenda - diaper laundry. I dumped my 14 flat diapers, 1 cover, 2 BumGenius pocket covers (for nighttime only but stuffed with flats), and a few cloth wipes into the laundry room sink along with my favorite green tea scent of Rockin Green laundry detergent.

As the diapers became soiled the past couple days, I rinsed them in the sink so that come wash time I did not have to do the usual cold water prewash. I let them soak for a few hours and as I switched the non-diaper laundry loads, I would agitate the soaking diapers.

The kids were very interested. Anything out of the ordinary becomes the greatest interest of the moment. In fact, my "good neighbors" whom we adore left some storage containers at our door step. They know I like to try and reuse things as much as possible before it goes into the recycle or trash bins.

Thanks to them and those containers, the kids were enthralled for the next 2 hours while I dusted, vacuumed, mopped, agitated diapers, and organized. Occassionally, I would have to break up an argument as to which container was whose - they were all almost exactly the same but of course, one was "the best one". Normally, Bebe Sister is my little helper but today she wanted to play with Big Brother. (By the way, Good Neighbors D&M - they took all the containers into the last giant containers you gave us.)

During nap time, I rinsed the diapers and rang them out. I was very nervous about getting them completely rinsed. I think I rinsed them 3-4 times just to be certain. And ringing them out was the toughest part. I will never get grumpy at that noisy spin cycle ever again.

Then onto the line they went. It's my make shift line that I've been using for a while. And the lawn furniture has always been very accommodating to drying diapers as well. By day end, everything was dry and folded.

Bebe Sister likes to look out at the diapers when they are drying.
This first handwashing cycle of diapers was not too bad. I am used to drying them outside but the washing part was different. I really appreciate my machine very, very much. I don't think it is one modern convenience that I would want to give up. It was not terribly labor intensive nor time consuming, just kind of, well, a soggy chore.

Which modern convenience could you not live without?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Beings Today...

Last night I put Bebe Sister in her new night time diaper stuffed with an old-style birds eye cotton flat - two of them actually. This was so we could start our "challenge" at the midnight hour.

This morning she woke up in good measure with no issues. We have been practicing the past few days just so we could get ready.

At this point, we are only a half a day into the event and all is well. We'll let you know as things progress. For the time being, we have not had much success with special cloth diaper folds. We're just doing a "pad" style fold that lays right into the cover and is put directly into our daughter. We tried an origami fold this past weekend and I could not fasten it tight enough to her. I even tried using pins.

Here I dressed her up to match her diaper cover. Actually, she did most of the accessorizing. Always fun to accessorize, right? More photos of her dress up time on her blog.

Stay tuned...more fun to come.

If you'd like to see what some of the other participants are up to, check out the links at our host's site Dirty Diaper Laundry.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Farmers Markets, Baby Wearing, and a New Teen...Plus a little more

What does all this have in common?

It was our Saturday this weekend. And, because T Rex Dad and I take our cameras everywhere, we captured lots of fun memories. We happily share them here. (Fair warning, lots of photos.)

Bebe Sister enjoying some ceramic balls in the non-food section of the market.

T Rex enjoying the fountain. At first he was a little apprehensive. Later, he was drenched from playing. Luckily, I anticipated this and packed towels and a change of clothes. (More photos of his fun on his blog later this week).

T Rex trying to get his little sister to partake in the fun. She preferred snuggling with some unexpected family members we ran into at the market.
Uncle Doc(left) had just come from the office along with his sister and Auntie. Always a bonus when we get to see loved ones at the market.
I've been wanting a photo of Bebe Sister and me sporting our new Boba carrier. We LOVE it. There was lots of baby wearing at the market so we fit right in.
After we went home and enjoyed naps, we headed to nephew Dede's 13th birthday. Since he is quite the baseball player (he's on three teams right now), there was a baseball theme. Dede worked with T Rex on his baseball swing. It was good practice for later events...

Later, a pinata - this was what all that batting practice was for. A couple days before the party, T Rex called his Auntie J and asked if there was going to be a pinata. I think this interest was sparked after we checked a Dora book out from the library that was about carnivals and pinatas. We've been reading Dora books en Espanol. Now T Rex runs around the house saying, "No te los lleves, Swiper." Awesome!

Bebe Sister wanted nothing to do with baseball. She wanted to explore the neighborhood. She is at that stage where she just wants to go, go, go and see, see, see. She would stop occasionally to wave. Here she is examining a flower she found on her walk with Dad. She is wearing a crochet shall I made for her from some organic cotton yarn that I found at the thrift store. Awesome find but the skeins of yarn were from two different dye lots so it's a bit darker on top than on bottom. But still not bad for $3. And it only took about a week to complete.
It was a small gathering but still lots of fun. Here you can see some of the crowd. I thought this was a cool photo. T Rex, of course, wants to be right at his cousin's side.

The birthday boy himself. I did make the cake for him. My special recipe as he requested.

I honestly cannot believe Dede is 13 years old. He's a teen. I was at the hospital when he was born. The first time I held him when he was moments old, he peed on me. I've never been so happy to have been soiled on. He was the first sick child I ever cared for. The first one I got up in the night with. It was a honor to be such a large part of his life during those early years. I am grateful my sister and brother-in-law allowed me such a privilege.

He calls me "Ootat" because when he was a tiny little guy his parents would point to me and ask, "Whose that?" In fact, he still calls me Ootat. It will be a sad, sad day when he no longer does. He is turning into a wonderful and handsome young man. His uncle and I are so proud of the person he is becoming. We were there for his first birthday so how wonderful we all four could be there for his 13th. So many good memories and only more to come.

Happy Birthday, Dede.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tour of Parks...

Our lovely small city is semi-famous for all the parks we have. As a treat to the kids after I finished spring semester, I took them to a different park every day to play and picnic. Fortunately, the weather also cooperated. I might be on break but T Rex Dad does still have to work. Hence, he is missing from the photos. One of the parks we went to was at his company recreation area so he did get to eat with us one day. Nana also made a guest appearance during one of our outings, too.

The kids had a great time. And I had just the best time being with them. Although, it was a little stressful when they would bolt in two different directions or when Bebe Sister decided to make a three and half foot drop. She suffered no ill effects from the drop as she took it feet first like stairs but I can only surmise one of the kids at one of the half dozen play structures we were at gave her a case of Roseola with nearly all the accompanying symptoms.

She is on the mend and likely the rest of us will not suffer any ill effects except sleep deprivation (T Rex has been taking 3 hours naps). The good aspect of her illness was it gave me a chance to do a little pediatric medicine to diagnose and treat her. Not much to treat except supportive care but when a child presents with a rash, the differential diagnoses could be one of a long list of things. I was very proud of my diagnosis. I must be learning something at school.

For now, though, I'm on break for three whole months. I plan to fill that time with an EKG refresher and some medical Spanish. However, when I'm not doing that and not working on some really fun crafting projects (more on that later), I'll be doing more of this...

He can name just about all the planets in order. He LOVES space.

Waiting for lunch.

Longingly watching her brother and hoping she can do the same thing. All too soon.

Being like Brother with some help for Mom.

On the "Bucking Rana" as he calls it - the "Bucking Frog" is in one of his favorite Berenstain Bear Books.

The kids on the swing set with Nana. (This one might be my favorite.)

Classic older sibling head lock, although, he thinks he is loving her Most of the time she doesn't mind.

Obviously, the photo at the very top of the blog in the header section is my most favorite (kind of Little House on the Prairie, I thought) from our tour of parks. However, I am not certain which of these others is my favorite.

Do you have a favorite of these photos?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Prep Work...

Last week I introduced you to the Flats and Handwashing Challenge that our household will be participating in. As with any big challenge, there are preparations that go into it. For this one, we needed to update a few supplies.

First, I had a few "flat diapers" - Gerber brand. This worked pretty good on our little girl until she was about 6 months old. Then, they were just too small. I did fold them up and use them as "doublers" for our newer pocket style diapers. Some even made it to the kitchen for use as bibs (our little bean can take any bib off except these when they are tied) or paperless towels.

So, I needed to get some flats. I started following "Flat Cloth Diapers" on Facebook. Seriously, what don't they have a page for?!? I asked if someone could suggest a flat diaper that had good "bang for the buck". Many suggestions later, I ended up with these from Diaper Junction. I had never worked with Diaper Junction before and was pleasantly surprised with how professional and helpful they were. I also received an excellent instruction sheet on washing diapers. I've never had one so thorough before. I saved it a put it in the washing machine. Plus, they offer free shipping on orders $49 or more (same as Kelly's Closet).

I purchased 2 packages of a dozen natural Diaper Rite birds eye cotton prefold diapers for $17.95 each. Additionally, I will be utilizing some flour sack towels that are also 100% cotton that I had here at the house. I checked the store where they were purchased and they retail $3.99 for 3. Additionally, I took 3 flannel receiving blankets from storage and we will be using those, too. I wanted a variety to choose from to see how someone could take things from around the house to diaper their baby. Particularly if funds were that tight.

The new diapers did have to be prepped by washing alone 3-4 times. This will allow them to achieve maximum absorbency.

Modeling her new Tweedlebugs diaper cover. She is standing on the two types of birdseye flats.

The Diaper Rite natural flat - spoon gives you an idea of how big these are. These are size large and they are quite large. They did shrink about 10%, though. You can see the flour sack towel just under it. So can see they are smaller but still fairly large.

This is the flour sack  - smaller than the Diaper Rite one but still big enough to fold and fit nicely in the covers.
I also allowed my self to get a couple new covers. I went with very cost friendly covers: Bummis Super Lite for $9.99 and TweedleBugs one-size for $9.95. The Bummis is sized medium but the TweedleBugs is a one-size so would fit throughout the diapering years. Other covers we'll be using come from our current stash - Bummis Super Whisper (medium, retail $11.95), Bummis Super Bright (medium, retail $12.95), and a homemade fleece cover (took about a day to make sewing by hand and about $4 in materials). I also had some Bummis fleece liners from our tiny baby days that we'll be reusing, too. These cost about $5 for a dozen. Although, easily made for much less that this.

TweedleBug One-size cover - front view.
TweedleBug One-size rear view.
Bummis Super Lite - size medium - front view (so far my favorite diaper cover yet).

Bummis Super Lite, size medium, rear view.
Here is the diaper folded into 12 layers laid with a fleece liner into the Bummis Super Bright cover.

The "Flats Stash" prepped and ready minus the cover being worn at the time of the photo.
After looking at these photos, I had forgotten how trim flats are, even when folded into 12 layers like these have been. As you can see, at this point I have opted just to fold the diapers as if they were inserts so they can be laid into the cover and then just change the "inserts" and the covers as needed.

Lastly, I will add the price of soap. We use Rockin Green retailing about $13.95 for 90 loads. This tends to last us about 2-3 months.

This entire package would cost $112.69 (30 diapers total). If one-size covers are purchased instead of sized ones, then this would be enough to diaper a baby throughout his/her diapering years and only wash every 2-3 days. So, if it costs about $2000 to $2500 to diaper a baby (and prices are only going up) in disposables, then this is a significant cost savings for those financially strapped families. There would be cost of wipes and additional laundry detergent. I am not including laundering costs since for this particular challenge we will only be utilizing water, not a washing machine or dryer. We use reusable wipes and I make my own solution (also a significant cost savings).

When our son was in disposables, it cost us about $100 a month for diapers and wipes. Thank goodness he was out of diapers by 18 months! We've spent about $750 on "modern cloth diapers" for our daughter. If we decide to add another baby to the family we won't have to spend a dime, except for maybe some more detergent and the optional new diapers to satisfy my diaper addiction! (Newborn diapers are too cute for words.)

If you'd like to see some of the other 300+ participants in this challenge, feel free to visit Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry.

So, what should I do with the $1500 we've saved from utilizing cloth diapers on our daughter? (wedding fund, college fund, shoe fund, horse fund, charitiable donation, other fund...)