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Thursday, August 31, 2006

*shaking an angry fist at Time Warner*

UGH! I hate our ISP! It's a stupid, dumb story, but basically everytime someone moves into our building, OUR cable gets disconnected. Big, BIG spankings to Time Warner - and that's a lot coming from a Gentle Discipline mama.

Anyway, I have a TON of stuff to catch up on, not to mention desperately trying to get the hacienda ready for the in-laws rolling into town this weekend, so I will try so very hard to get more about wool, et al., up soon.

In the meantime, my long-awaited and much-anticipated new cookbook Feeding the Whole Family: Whole Foods Recipes for Babies, Young Children and Their Parents arrived yesterday. I am so thrilled! I have been reading it like it's a novel. Great book! Can't wait to try some new recipes!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

let's discuss

Great question from Jill in yesterday's comments . . . how does one dress a child in cloth diapers? I will get to that in a second. First I wanted to talk about why prefolds hold up better for us than most fitteds . . .

I did not start really liking prefolds on D until she was about 15 or 16 months old. I never could get a good fit or a great fold to work for us when she was smaller and not mobile. I know some of my readers have used prefolds on babies since they were, well, babies, and I would love to hear how they found prefold success with infants!

When I put a prefold on D, I use a modified version of the Angel Wing Fold. I basically tri-fold the prefold, bring it up through the legs, then pull the "wings" from the back forward, fold the excess OUT, and pin. When I do this with a premium (4x8x4) prefold, I basically have 16 layers of cotton in the wet zone. That stands the test of time (for us) far better than any fitted I have tried so far. Well, except for maybe Olive Branch Baby's Very Simply Nights, but those aren't easy to come by.

Now - dressing the Cloth Diapered Child. I will admit, when I first put D in a Bummi wrap with a trifolded premium prefold in it and then tried to snap her onesie around it, I just cried. Then laughed. It was ridiculous. I wish I had taken pictures! The truth is, there are modification that need to be made when you use cloth. Here's the thing - disposable diapers are filled with chemicals that both absorb and hold on to pee. Because disposables use chemicals rather than absorbent materials, they are very trim fitting. That's just how it is. And *most* baby and toddler clothes are cut to go over disposable diapers.

So what's a mom (or dad) to do?

1) Buy clothes with stretch. I have found The Children's Place to have clothes that accomodate cloth diapers quite nicely. I hear the same about Gymboree, but I can't afford those lovelies, so I have to take my fellow CDers word on that. I will admit that I have only found ONE cloth diaper I can put on D under jeans - Cloth Thoughts. At one time, we had a medium side snapping Cloth Thoughts that worked gorgeously under jeans. It has since gone on to another home. I personally don't dress D in jeans that much. It's rarely cool enough here and I just think they look uncomfortable on her. Maybe it's because of her thunder thighs (and I mean that lovingly!). I just prefer knits on her and I find those work nicely with cloth.

2) Size up. As Jill mentioned, sizing up is an option. You may have to roll up the cuffs, and once your babe is toddling/walking/running, this could get tricky. It works nicely with a baby though, or at least it did for my baby.

3) Wool as clothing! This is what I have done with D most all summer long. Her wool shorts and soakers are part of her outfit. Beautiful. Cool. Darling.
I will say that if and when the weather cools down here, we will probably go back to primarily pockets under regular clothes. As much as I would love, love, love to dress her in the darling "longies" I see out there ( as in Mango Flamingo's Fancy Flares, Llamajama's pink cargos,
Kool Sheep Soakers ANYTHING from her!, Mosaic Moon again - ANYTHING!, or the always darling Sissy Crabapple), I just can't afford it! I really couldn't afford one pair, let alone several to switch in and out of during the day. So alas, back to our functional pockets which work great under cute clothes from the store.

Anyone come up with any other great sites about wool for us?

Monday, August 28, 2006

In honor of Back To School - you have homework!

Yep - the ol high school teacher in me gets kind of itchy when school is back in session. I truly LOVE being at home with Dacey, yet I miss those wonderful, giddy, scary, exciting, NEW first days of school. So in preparation for our discussion on wool, you have some homework to do!

There is so much to say about why wool is a wonderful way to cover cloth diapers, and I don't want to simply regurgitate information from the comprehensive resources already out there. So here's your homework:

1) Read this article on Why Wool is Cool so you have a great basic background on wool use in cloth diapering.

2) See if you can find and post in the comments any other helpful resources on wool. Save your shopping links! We will do that next time.

On another note, we are currently on a cloth hiatus at our house. D has a urinary tract infection and the antibiodics she has to take do major damage to the tummy. (Yes, I have her on acidophilus as well . . .) Anyway, the revolting clean-up and inevitable staining of our precious dipes just aren't worth it to me, so she is in 'sposies for the time being. Since everything in the stash is clean and organized, I took a few minutes to take pictures of it all to share!

Here are our lovely woolens - from top left: Blue Purlz soaker, Llamajama soaker, Luxe Baby pull-on cover, KYBaby knit cargo shorts, Ah May Designs interlock shorts, Celtic Wolf Creations side snapping wool cover, Ewe Baby Designs side snap cover (wool jersey, I think!), Becca Bottoms Ultra Trim side snap wool cover
This is our changing area with my basket of wipes, liners, and spray:

Our hanging wet bag for the dirties:
Bird's-eye view of the stash:

And where the stash "lives" - D's hardly used baby bassinette:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Thoughts on fitteds and covers

First of all - SO good to be posting again. Something funky happened with the blog, but once I switched over to the Blogger Beta, I was back online. Funny how that works, huh?

Anyway, to pick up where I left off - we need to talk covers. But I can't do that until we discuss one more type of diaper that also needs a cover - the beautiful, fun, lovely fitted diaper.

Fitteds are diapers that are made from natural materials, but there is no folding or pinning required. They generally close with snaps or aplix. Most every fitted on the market has some kind of darling fabric on the outside, generally a cotton weave, knit, or flannel (although there are many other possibilities). Some people question why have such cute material on the outside when this diaper has to be covered (it's not waterproof). Well, many mamas like to let their babes go around the house or out in the yard in a fitted with no cover. Again, these are all-natural materials so an uncovered fitted provides a lovely amount of breathability for baby's bum.

Personally, I do LOVE fitteds, but I find I am clearing most of ours out of the stash. They are fairly expensive to buy new (compared to prefolds) . . . or maybe that's just because I like to buy fitteds made from organic cottons. Anyway, I have only come across a very FEW brands of fitteds that can hold up the way a prefold can. It's so important to remember as you read about my personal tastes that D is an ultra-heavy wetter. So prefolds under covers are the workhorses of our stash, but fitteds are so nice for days when she wants to rollie-pollie away from a diaper change.

Some of my fave fitteds are:

Clothmopolitan (so wonderfully trim, extremely well-made, very abosorbent - kind of hard to get. Have to watch for stockings)
Laughing Lion (very similiar to Clothmo in my opinion - equally well-made, very trim, great fit)
Keester Kovers (she doesn't stock a lot of fitteds, but she made us an all organic velour one that was so scrumptious! I bet she would do a custom fitted for anyone who is interested. Super sweet mama!)
Blackbird Lane (also fairly hard to get, but AWESOMELY absorbent for heavy-wetting babes!)
El Bee Baby (dang near impossible to get - as in, two-year waiting list! Basically, if you want brand new El Bees, you put your name on the list for a child you hope to concieve in the future. I have two I scored off of For Sale Or Trade boards)
Dream Eze (the only fitted I am listing that is not Work At Home Mom made - I love Kim at Montana Diapers and she worked very hard to design this awesome diaper. Super, super absorbent and gorgeous trim cut)

So, that's about all I can think to say about fitteds. Oh yeah - there are lots of choices on fitteds: turned and topstitched edges or serged edges; soaker style - sewn-in, snap in, internal . . .; snaps or aplix; front-snapping or side-snapping . . . Everyone will have their own personal taste on those choices. As for me and my household, we like a side-snapping, snap-in or sewn on external soaker with either turned and topstitched edges or serged edges that aren't TOO ruffly. But to each their own!

Okay . . .


There are three basic kinds of covers: nylon, PUL, and wool.

Let me cover the first two today, because I want to devote an entirely new entry to wool.

The plastic pants that our parents used on us are not so much used these days. A very basic, very easy, very cheap way to cover a cloth diaper that needs a cover (flats, prefolds, fitteds) is with nylon. I hear great things about the Dappi cover. I personally have two Bummi Whisper Pant in our stash that I use from time to time. If you want top of the line nylon covering, you must have the Snap-EZ snapping nylon cover. These are all great choices, and nylon tends to breathe a bit better than PUL.

First of all, what is PUL? PUL stands for Polyurethane Laminate. It is a synthetic, waterproof material that you will find used in diaper covers, pocket diapers, All-in-One diapers, and diaper wet bags. Because of its synthetic nature, it is generally not breathable - but still highly functional and useful for all kinds of diapering needs.
By far the most popular (in terms of number of users) of PUL cover is the Bummi Super Whisper Wrap . It comes in basic white, but also has a few cute prints. Highly effective and user-friendly, these were an important part of our beginning stash. Many people also like the Imse Vimse Bumpy cover. I have tried Wiggle Worm Bottoms but they have got to be some of the most DARLING covers I have seen yet! There are a plethora of choices for PUL covers -- check out some for yourself at the Diaper Pin Covers Review Page.

Well, I have a sick chick who needs my attention. I can't wait to share with you all why I love WOOL in my next entry!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gosh, really?

Has it been almost a week since I posted anything? I have written about five entries in my head, but then I am too tired to get it from my head to the screen. Huh - must be the constant, consistent, never-ending days of 100+ degree temps. My brain is as dried out as the parched earth outside my front door. *sigh*

So, I thought I better take a minute to go through the different types of cloth diapers before I go on to share my personal picks. You will notice I tend to link to my favorite stores. There is, however, a vast, amazing array of cloth diapering shops online and I have yet to have a bad experience with any of them. Most of the people who run diaper shops are passionate about cloth diapering and natural family living and are truly wonderful people!

Okay, so let's start BASIC.

The very first kind of cloth diaper is a basic flat. This is the kind of diaper Mary probably used to diaper the baby Jesus. Many CDing moms are a bit intimidated by the flat because it's, well, flat. It requires folding to get into the shape it needs to be in to diaper sufficiently. Fortunately, you don't have to know origami to fold a flat (although there is an "origami fold!"). I like the flat folding instructions at Gumbush. Since D is a toddler, I find I use the flats in our collection a little differently than I plan to with little babies in the future. I like to take one, fold it into a kind of folded-up tri-fold and just lay it in a Bummi Original Cover. It's just easier since she is bigger. I think a standard sized flat in any flat fold would work nicely on a little baby though.

So, what do you get when someone else does the folding for you? A prefold! There are several varieties of the basic prefold. The two most popular, widely-used prefolds are Indian and Chinese. Indian prefolds (like the ones I linked to) are made from unbleached cotton. Some people swear up and down these are softer than the Chinese prefolds. I don't know - I have both and can't really tell the difference in texture. Because they are unbleached, they will have a natural color to them. The "classic" white cloth diaper you may have seen is the Chinese prefold. It is bleached cotton and has colored serging that tells what size it is. Prefolds come these sizes: preemie, standard infant, infant, regular, premium, and toddler. (It is very important to note that the most reliable, effective prefolds are generally NOT the ones you can buy at your local Super Store. You want to make sure you are purchasing Diaper Service Quality - DSQ - prefolds.) This chart at The Stork Warehouse explains the sizing. Note that the "ply" column - the higher the middle number, the more absorbent the diaper is. A younger baby doesn't generally let loose with the quantities of pee that an older baby and toddler can, so diapers designed to fit younger babies generally have less "oomph" in the middle.

Finally, you should know that a flat or prefold is not waterproof on its own. These all-cotton diapers are wonderfully breathable, and as we sweat through the Texas summer, I will often let D run around with just a prefold on and change her when she wets. This, however, freaks out her Dad - he sort of flips out at the thought of touching pee. (Why are men so squeamish about pee? I don't get it. I would think their hands interact with pee more than most women on an average bathroom visit.) Anyway, when her Dad is home, I make sure she the dipe is covered.

Ah, covers. There is so much to talk about here. And D is waking up. So covers will be, ahem, covered in the next post.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Oh, hey . . . keep forgetting . . .

I changed my settings so anyone can post comments (for now), whether you have a blogger account or not. So any super-stealth lurkers (Julie!) can leave comments if ya want.

Stripping . . .

is not as sexy as it sounds, particularly when what is being stripped are cloth diapers. Good question from the comments about what stripping involves. Sometimes cloth diapers will collect a build-up for detergent residue. This can happen when you use a bit too much detergent in your regular wash, or sometimes, it just happens. No big deal, really. One way to strip is to just wash the diapers several times on hot water with absolutely no soap or detergent. Generally, if there is detergent residue, when you open your washer lid after the load has been through the agitation (with no detergent) you will see bubbles. This is the residue that is being lifted. Keep washing until no bubbles can be seen in the rinse cycle. Or, even better, here are some instructions from Cottonbabies on how to do it. Note that they also mention the Dawn Original - apparently, it helps break down the detergent so no residue is left behind. So far, I have never stripped my diapers, though I did buy some used that needed to have their hemp inserts stripped. As a side note - I hear hemp is much worse about detergent build-up. I have mostly gotten rid of my hemp inserts (for the pocket diapers) because the ones I had did tend to get detergent build-up.

So, that's it for stripping! Pretty painless, but a little time-consuming.

Speaking of stripping - it is so insanely hot I have allowed D to strip down and run naked for the moment. Even in our air-conditioned townhouse, it's hot. With the fans on. We are headed to the pool in a minute (for that she cannot go naked!).

And speaking of pools, we had a lovely time at the swim play date yesterday! I really hit it off with the two of the mamas who have little boys near D's age. I am glad I went and hope to get together with them again soon! You never know who you might meet at library storytime . . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Random natterings

Just some random things:

1) I feel I should expand a bit on my last post. It may have sounded like I hated prefolds entirely and now use pockets exclusively . . . and that was the case until last spring. Once D started walking, her body shape changed quite a bit. It was at that time I also discovered I really liked pinning prefolds on her - they are SO absorbent and I can get them on her in a really trim fold. (Ask if you want details!) Also last spring, I discovered the beauty of wool covers, and that led to the purchase of tons of fitted diapers to go under the lovely wool. I promise at one point I will do a whole entry (with links!) on the diapers I love to use, but that's going to be an undertaking. Right now in our stash, we have prefolds, flats (basically a prefold that hasn't been, well, prefolded for you!), fitteds, pockets, and one lonely All-In-Two. (Julie, if you are reading, I SWEAR I will also do an entry on what all these categories are!)

2) Good question, Rece, in the comments. (I need Rece's mama to show me how to get D to do the diaper laundry around here! LOL!) I actually don't dry everything. I usually don't dry my pockets - I let them air dry which happens fairly quickly, even in the muggy summer air.

And yes - getting that laundry routine down can be frustrating. We have really hard water here, so I tend to use a bit more detergent than others, but that's just one of those little quirks that each person has to figure out for their situation.

3) Non CD related . . . Today D and I went to the library for toddler storytime.

(Sidebar gripe - the librarian who does the toddler storytime stresses me out! She is all about "now make sure you are sitting down . . . let's everyone stay sitting on our bottoms . . . okay, make sure to sit really still . . ." UGH! D wants to walk around and explore and flirt and check things out. So half the time I take her outside the room until it gets to the part where everyone gets in a circle and sings songs. She LOVES that! But she always turns to me and starts doing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and signing "please!" And I have to tell her, "No, dear - she doesn't take requests." Anyway, it really bothers me that amazingly the majority of the other toddlers there DO sit still and listen quietly. I don't know - maybe she is gifted and bored easily. :) I actually think the others there are either younger than her and therefore not mobile enough to roam, or are older than her and have an attention span that lasts longer than, say, 10 seconds . . . but I have digressed badly.)

So at storytime, I met this really nice mama who has a little boy about D's age. When he started getting cranky, she just took him the back of the room and nursed him! Oh how I wish D weren't way too easily distracted to still go for that! Anyway, after storytime we were talking about signing - her son is really good at it. So then she invited me to join her and some other mommy friends and their kiddos for swimming tomorrow. I am kind of nervous because I barely know her and won't know anyone else and I sometimes have mild Social Anxiety Disorder in such situations, but I figure - what the heck? Worse case scenario - they are all gorgeous, model-thin mamas in bikinis and not a stretch mark to be seen (ahem, Meghan) with perfectly behaved children who don't even splash in the pool and at some point one of them politely tells me that my broken-out face (which, by the way, can only be described as GROSS) and ill-behaved nose-picker of a child won't be asked back to any more swim dates. What will I have lost, really, except perhaps a little dignity?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Okay, here goes!

The Ins-and-Outs of Cloth Diapering by a Self-Proclaimed Cloth Diaper Nerd:
(how's that for gratuitous capitalization?)

Grace mentioned in her comment to the Super(wo)man entry that I switched to cloth diapering in mid-babyhood. This is true. In fact, at the end of September we will have been a cloth family for one year!

A few disclaimers before I share "our way":
1) A lot of CDing is experimentation. The first day I put D in a tri-folded prefold in a Bummi Super Whisper Wrap, I literally cried because I hated how bulky it looked on her (not-so-little) 8 month old frame. So I experimented around and found some diapers I did like. And stopped dressing her in onesies every day - that helped immensely. Anyway - there is (in my opinion) a steep learning curve at the beginning, but there are also fantastic resources out there in the form of cloth diapering message boards to help you through.
2) Every baby and every family is different. I myself am a stay-at-home mom who prefers to keep D in cloth as much as possible. D is a heavy-wetter with chunky thighs, thin waist, and short rise. So what works for us is just that - what works for us. Your mileage may vary.

So, here goes:

In the beginning, I was looking for the cheapest way to CD. I didn't have a whole lot of money for starting a stash. In fact, that can be a big concern for anyone looking to make the switch. The start-up costs can be big. Ideally, if you are pregnant, you can start building a stash in those 9 months (or in D's case - 41 weeks, 4 days, not that I am bitter or anything). It's a lot easier to buy a few here and there. For that matter, if you do want to make the switch later in babyhood, I am sure you could buy a few a month and CD part-time until you have a workable stash. I personally don't have that kind of self-control and I wanted to do it all - NOW.

So I started with prefolds and Bummi covers from a lovely little brick-and-mortar CD store in the very lovely town just down the road from us: Full Circle Baby. It was a delight to work with a great CDing mama in starting my stash. But as I mentioned, we were in the full-on, nothing but onesies stage of babyhood and snapping a onesie around a tri-folded prefold in a Bummi cover was not only tricky, it looked ridiculous (to me). It was at about that time that some wonderful mamas on the forums at Diaper Pin shared some advice with me: take it slow, check out used diapers, dress D in t-shirts and dresses, and give it time. Diaper Pin has a wonderful For Sale or Trade forum and shortly after that I discovered Diaperswappers.

I know, I know - the thought of buying and selling USED cloth diapers totally skeeves some people out. I don't know what to say to that except that it doesn't bother me. I can purchase them so much cheaper gently used and wash them and dry them myself before I put them on D to make sure they are adequately clean. If you think about it, the people who use cloth diaper services are also using "used" diapers on their kids - diaper services don't send you a stack of brand new diapers each week - trust me.

I soon discovered I loved the ease and trim fit of pocket diapers. The most basic and probably most popular pocket diaper on the scene right now is Fuzzi Bunz. As you can see from the picture, it is a diaper that has a waterproof outer layer, a stay-dry inner layer of microfleece, and there is space in between for you to stuff your insert (which is what holds the moisture. oh who are we kidding? It holds the pee!). Though many, many CD retailers sell FBs, I linked you to Cotton Babies because I love, love, love their inserts! Anyway, my pocket stash has expanded and I have more favorites these days, but that's another post.

I believe Grace was asking as far as day-to-day CDing - what does it look like, right?

Well, I keep all of D's diapers in her (unused) bassinet in her room. They are all ready to go next to the changing area on her bed. When she is wet, I spray a cloth wipe with my homemade wipe solution, wipe, and put the cloth wipe and diaper in the wet bag. We have a NappSack that I got on ebay. I will let you read on that page about all that a wet bag is (I am getting tired, friends!), but basically you should know that no one really does wet pails anymore. Wet bags are a great thing and much easier with which to work.

Now, if we have a poopy dipe to change, I will make sure to wet down a few cloth wipes first. Then I lay her down, change her, put her fresh dipe on and let her play while I take said poopy dipe to the bathroom. If the CD gods are a-smiling on me, then I can shake that bad boy into the toilet and flush and PRESTO CHANGE-O, I am done! But as I mentioned in the previous entry, sometimes it's more involved. Anyway, when the clean-up is over, I put that dipe in the wet bag.

Laundry - I do laundry every other night after D is in bed. It's a routine I have had from the beginning and I don't really want to change it. I have enough diapers to go longer between washes, but I personally feel that washing every other night keeps our diapers stink-free and stain-free. Our laundry routine is cold rinse, hot wash with two tablespoons of Sun detergent and a few drops of Dawn Original dishwashing soap, followed by one more cold rinse to make sure the detergent is all rinsed away. I pop most everything in the dryer and then I am done!

Did I cover everything? If you have other questions, let me know. It's getting late and my head hurts, so I am sure some things have been left out.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

this will happen . . .

Grace (and other avid readers who just can't WAIT to hear about how we cloth diaper, step-by-step - hee hee!), I really am planning an entry to walk it through, it's just that life happens and I haven't gotten the time to devote to it that I want to. But fear not! It will happen! I haven't forgotten!

Friday, August 11, 2006

I'm no Super(wo)man

First, I wanted to tell you all thanks for all the positive feedback on our veggin' out experiment! Today was the last of the Ten Days Without Meat, and I can say I have learned SOOOOO much more than I ever dreamed possible. I am looking forward to having dairy and eggs in my life again (do you know HOW many recipes call for eggs?! Sheesh! Hats off to all the vegans out there - I am indeed inspired by your dedication to your principles). I am also looking forward to really, really focusing on using more whole foods in our meals. I cannot say enough how much better I feel physically since we started focusing on more whole foods, less processed food - and feeling better physically is always good for the ol' mental health as well.

Now, on to what is on my mind . . .

Yesterday, D and I went over to visit a neighbor who is new to town. She has a darling little boy who is a few months younger than D, so we tried to visit as much as is possible while refereeing two only children who are quite sure every object they encounter is surely for their amusement alone. Her son got into my purse and found a disposable diaper I had tucked in last minute - just in case. She noted that those were the same diapers they used, and so of COURSE I had to mention that we use cloth diapers - but that I carry disposables with me out of the house. She then did the Wayne's World-esque "we're not worthy bow" and went on about how awesome I am . . .

Well, as much as I would like to perceive myself as being awesome, I would be a big, fat, phony fake if I considered myself awesome for cloth diapering. The very real truth is that cloth diapering is EASY. Shamefully, surprisingly easy.

Let me share with you the few things about cloth diapering that I personally find challenging, and then compare that to how unchallenging the rest is (to me anyway):

(note to the squeamish: in-depth poop descriptions below)
1. I know you have wondered, and the truth is that yes - poopy diaper clean-ups can get tricky. There are two stages of a child's life when the poopy cloth diaper presents relatively few hurdles: the newborn/infant 100% breastfed stage and the older toddler stage. Babes who are exclusively breastfed have poopy diapers that are water soluble, so you simply toss the whole thing in the diaper pail (or wet bag) and everything comes out in the first pre-rinse of the diaper load. It washes down the drain, safe and sound. When a toddler is older and solids are well-established, poops are nice and solid and just roll off the diaper into the toilet and get flushed into the sewer just like yours does - safe and sound. However, gentle reader, there is a stage of life that proves to be a bit, ahem, icky in the arena of poopy dipes. And that is the stage dear D has been in pretty much since we started CDing almost a year ago. Because she is still breastfed and because she is a very picky eater, her poopy diapers are almost always of a sort of very thick mashed potato texture. And that means in order to get it into the toilet to flush away, I have to use a Poop Scraper (an old kitchen spatula that is now clearly and boldly labeled POOP ONLY). And to be honest, there are some poopy diapers that I wish I could just wrap up and throw away -- but since I have paid anywhere from $10-$20 for each diaper, I resist that urge and power through. But it ain't pretty. BUT, my house never smells like stinky toddler poop either! (more on this later)

2. Aside from icky clean-ups, it can be tricky when one first starts CDing to find the system that will work for you and your babe. This holds true as babe grows and her body shape changes, her poop consistency evolves, and her ability to soak a diaper with a power jet of pee reaches off-the-chart status. So there is always some trial-and-error involved in building and maintaining a workable diaper stash. (But, sometimes, that's half the fun. Or more than half for me! More later)

3. Finally, some people encounter laundering problems that can be very frustrating. Those who have front loading washing machines or water that is too hard or water that is too soft . . . these things can throw a wrench in getting diapers nice and delightfully clean. Again, it's just a matter of trial-and-error to find a laundry system that works for you, but once you get there, you rarely have to make adjustments.

(for me anyway)

1. I will openly confess while I originally started CDing to save money, cloth diapering quickly became a hobby of sorts for me. I love diaper shopping! One of the glorious benefits of CDing is the CUTE factor! No boring, standard, utilitarian paper dipes for our sweet D. Her cute buns are almost always in something pink or lavender or flowery (hmmmm, that reminds me - I might like to find something pink AND lavender AND flowery!). I kind of suspect that moms of girls tend to find the CUTE factor to be more alluring than moms of boys, but I could be wrong. But now on the odd occasion D is in a 'sposie dipe, I feel kind of sad for the lack of cuteness covering her booty region that day.

2. I think it's pretty fun to be doing something good for the earth. Yes, yes, yes - there is GREAT debate out there as to the actual environmental benefits of CDing. Many diapers are made from cotton and standard cotton growing practices are not kind to the earth. (The most posh and lovely of diapers are made from organic cotton which is both delicious to the touch and generally grown in an earth-respecting way.) Then there is the fact that most of the more convenient and popular diapers have polyester laminate outers - and polyester is made in factories . . . factories that contribute to pollution and other un-earth-loving things.

But what I like to remember is that every time I diaper D with cloth, that is one less 'sposie in a landfill somewhere. Remember the Oprah show on Global Warming 101 ? She made a huge deal over the statistic that "Americans throw away 49 million diapers every single day," and that "the diapers end up in landfills and could take 500 years to decompose." That's a lot of ick for a long time to come. Yes, parents could choose Elimination Communication or letting baby go "diaper-free," but the odds of that movement taking hold in Western culture seem a bit slim to me. CDing, on the other hand, seems to be the lesser of two evils.

3. As I mentioned above, since D's poop goes down the toilet, our house never smells like dirty diapers! Self-explanatory as to why that rocks.

4. It's great not to worry about the chemicals next to D's most delicate skin.

5. And it's really, really wonderful when I think about how uncomfortable I would feel in paper underwear and to be able to know that the vast majority of the time, the materials next to D's skin are much kinder to her very sensitive skin.

Please know, friends, that all of this is just my explanation as to why for US, the choice to cloth diaper is so fun, so easy, so worth it that I feel extremely embarrassed when people assume I am some kind of Super Mom for doing it. I am not - far from it, in fact! But I also know that it is not a choice for everyone and I highly respect every parent's right to make the best decisions for their babes and their homes.

Buuuuuut, if you ever wanna know more about the ins-and-outs and ups-and-downs of diapering with cloth, I am here for ya!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Something delicious happened. . .

I have a bunch of stuff percolating to write about, but it's all still floating around like so many dust particles . . . so I will hold off on that. I do want to say I am IMMENSELY enjoying our meat-free experiment! I have always had problems with blood sugar, but after the first two days of our non-meat protein based diet, I haven't had any problems at all. Another huge benefit for me has been the elimination of the 3-4 pm snack attacks. Usually in the mid-afternoon, I eat snack stuff almost non-stop, but a few days ago I realized I hadn't had the need to eat all afternoon.

Grace asked what we had for dinner the other night . . . it was yummy, let me tell ya! I baked some golden potatoes and we topped those with a recipe called Split Pea Splendor that I found. It was basically cooked split peas blended with celery, soy sauce, and pepper. Delicious! We had salad and veggies on the side. Another night I marinated some portabello mushrooms and sauteed those in the skillet and served some red beans and rice on the side. Very good and very filling. I have been so amazed at what having so much protein in my system has done for me. I feel really good! Kyle has said when our experiment is over (Friday is the last day), he wants to add a little meat back in our diet, but I am kind of thinking that I will continue to go meatless for the time being. We are currently not eating dairy or eggs - I miss my dairy!!! So I look forward to adding that back in after Friday.

Overall, going meatless has really challenged my thoughts about what makes a good meal. It has stretched my imagination in the kitchen - a very good thing, indeed! After eight years of marriage, I find myself making the same old boring stuff week after week. I am wanting to eat REAL food and make sure Dace is doing the same. The child is happy with cheese on a tortilla, so it's been a challenge to get her to try new foods, but I read it's much more difficult to introduce new tastes after a child turns two, so the clock is ticking on our attempts to help her have a wide and varied palate for food.

Two books in my Amazon cart that I hope to get ordered today:

Simple Vegetarian Pleasures

Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

Quick, simple, healthy - yep, sign me up!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Checking in

I am very, VERY frustrated with blogger right now. I am trying to post a Dacey video, but apparently that isn't meant to be.

Anyway, our journey into eating whole foods is actually going wonderfully. I am really enjoying the amazing and diverse recipes I have found and am eating things it never occured to me to eat. For example, in the past, a typical lunch for me might be PBJ, some Pringles or fruit, and a cup of yogurt. However for lunch today, I smashed up some avocado and tofu together and threw in some salsa, spread that on my homemade wheat bread (which I was already making before our Less Meat Experiement began) along with some hummus, replaced my Pringles with cucumber sliced very thin and drizzled with roasted salsa vinagrette, and broiled some pear halves which I sprinkled with cinnamon, ginger, and brown sugar. Hello, delicious!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Crunchier by the minute - literally

I married me a carnivore.

Kyle's fave meal has always been steak, topped with steak, and a little steak on the side. I have been secretly delighted that Dace shows some strong vegetarian tendencies, which has perplexed and confused her meat-eating father. And really, it's no small miracle that Dacey loves veggies because Kyle makes a huge production about how much he hates eating anything green, raw, or that "feels sqeaky on my teeth."

You can only imagine my absolute shock when last night my carniverous husband approached me with the suggestion that maybe we should start cutting back on the meat in our diet. Beef in particular. After a sideways glance to the Eastern sky to see if the Lord was coming back, I said, "Um, okay . . ."

I guess I should share with you that my husband has been making lots of changes in his life lately. His spiritual life has become more deep, more real, and more important to him than ever before. A result of that inner growth has been lots of external changes. And this desire to eat more healthy, whole foods with an emphasis on less meat and more veggies is one of the more significant transformations yet.

I was so taken aback by this suggestion that I literally dreamed of vegetables last night! I have long thought that I could easily find fulfillment in a vegetarian lifestyle, but just never thought I would see the day when that would become reality. But I am pretty much freaking out at the thought right now. I have NO IDEA what I am doing. I do know of resources within the natural parenting community that will help get me started (my friend Noah will be a great place to start), but I am still pretty wide-eyed over it all.

And I just got back from the grocery where I spent $33 on vegetables - a first for me, I can tell you that.

So, gentle readers, if you have some ideas to share with me on how to make this transition, feel free to share! If you need me, I will be crunching on carrots while I clean out the fridge . . .