Monday, January 30, 2012

Adventures In Cloth. Diapers That Is.

I really wanted to try cloth diapers with M, but A.R. was completely against it.  I did some research before she was born and while they are so very different from the days when both of our mothers cloth diapered (think wet pails, huge diaper pins, ugly rubber pants), A.R. still wasn't on board so I gave in up and Pampers became our go-to baby booty cover.  I baby sat while my younger siblings were in cloth and helped change them, so I definitely had the experience just no support or energy to push the issue.  When we found out we were expecting #2, we also discovered that my job was in jeopardy due to outsourcing (yup, they can outsource anything these days including accounting) and I panicked about money and looked at our budget to see where we could cut back if need be.  While we don't spend a fortune on diapers (thanks to Amazon Mom- which is sadly, changing for the worse and we won't be able to use them come next month), the thought of two babies in them- assuming M isn't completely potty trained come June- kind of freaked me out considering I could very well be unemployed.
Her 1st cloth diaper at bedtime
In a moment of panic with a VERY skeptical husband, I made the executive decision to try cloth diapers on M and see where it led us.  If we liked them (and A.R. came around), we'd use them with our new little one from day 1.  I have to say that cloth diapers these days are CUTE.  A.R. couldn't deny that!  We asked my parents-in-law if they were okay with my little experiement as they'd be responsible for changing them four days a week while M was in their care while I worked and my mother-in-law was suprisingly supportive and told A.R. he was crazy for not being more so.  You rock mother-in-law!!  Now came the fun part = shopping!
Cute fluffy butt!
Deciding on styles and colors to try can be quite overwhelming with all the options out there now for cloth diapers.  Luckily, I found some great tutorials and spoke with several fellow cloth diaper mom friends about their favorites and found some great share sites on Facebook to buy/trade/sell cloth diapers at very reasonable prices.  I was able to buy a full stash of diapers, inserts, and supplies (diaper pail liners, wet bags, pail, etc.) for a total of $300.  I had around 26 diapers for M in various colors (including some neutral in case we could use them for #2) and brands.  With this amount of diapers for a toddler I would need to do laundry every 2nd or 3rd day.  I decided to go with all pocket cloth diapers and several all-in-ones and fast learned that aplix (velcro) wasn't cohesive (ha! ha!) with a toddler.  Snaps are the way to go to prevent your toddler from streaking!  I opted for the pockets and all-in-ones to make it easy for my in-laws and for a husband that wasn't keen on cloth diapers to begin with as it would be easy for them to put them on- no different than a disposable diaper, really.

After doing a ton of reading I finally put my first cloth diaper on M one September day and I must say her fluffy butt was so very cute!  She wasn't keen on them at first- especially the double stuffed night diapers, but soon didn't care about them.  I totally "cheated" and used diaper liners (Bummies) when I knew M was soon going to poop to make changing poopie diapers a cinch (read: no toilet bowl cleaning) and my mother-in-law soon fell in love with them.  My favorite brands on M were actually Sunbabies!  My second and third choices were Kawaiis and Fuzzibunz.  I didn't like the fit of Bum Genius on her- they were the only ones that ever leaked on us, but I think that was more her shape (tall/skinny/flat butt/thin thighs).  A.R. did get brave and would change only her pee pee diapers.  The first clean diaper he butt on her (the BG) leaked and after that he was pretty much done with the whole thing even though it was the diaper and it's fit on M and not the user.  He would change her in the mornings and pull out the inserts before putting the diapers in the diaper pail for the wash, but everything else (washing, stuffing diapers, and changing poopie diapers) was all me.

At first I didn't mind it and then the washing troubles began.  We have a GE front loading washing machine and no matter what I did, the inserts came out stinky.  They were micro fiber, which I've heard are notorious for stink after so many uses, but I also feared we weren't getting them or the covers as clean as they could be due to not enough water in the wash (a common issue with efficient front load machines).  None of the diapers I used ever had lasting stains, but in order to avoid stink and get all the soap out, I had to do a pre-wash with Oxy Clean, a sterilizing hot wash with Tide, then the regular rinse that the sterilizing cycle used, plus an extra rinse.  THEN, I would have to run another Quick Wash cycle with a pre-rinse and extra rinse and no detergent at all just to get the diapers fully rinsed.  Curse you front load washer!!  The total wash cycle took 3 hours.  I hung all inserts to line dry and/or sunned them every other week if the weather cooperated and once a month I put the covers in the dryer to help ensure that they stayed water proof by resealing the PUL.

I read blogs and talked to cloth diaper gurus and tried all the tricks to get my front loading machine to use more water in the rinse cycle- even physically adding more water myself, but it got to be too much.  I couldn't babysit a washing machine for 3 hours every 2-3 days while working 4 days a week and chasing a toddler around the house.  It just wasn't practical.  We spoke to my mother-in-law about it and told her we were thinking of stopping our great trial effort and she offered to help us out by letting us use her top loader.  I just couldn't put that burden on her...she already feeds my daughter three meals a day most of the time when she's in her care.  I couldn't ask her to wash her diapers, too, because that's what would happen.  She wouldn't wait until I had a full load and let me come over and do it.  She'd do it herself and I'd feel so guilty putting that burden on her.  Then, the great snow storm Halloween weekend hit and we lost power for a week.  We used disposables the whole time and it was easy, fast, with no 3 hour laundry cycles and making sure I had enough diapers for the next day that were clean, dry, and assembled.  I have to admit it was nice.  I was happy.  A.R. was happy.  M was indifferent.  And our great cloth diaper adventure came to an end.  M never had a fluffy butt again.

Was I disappointed it didn't work out?  Sure.  The important thing to me is that I tried and gave it an honest effort and even got A.R. to change a few diapers.  Would things have ended differently had he been more supportive?  I don't think so, because I'd still have the washing machine issues and our washer is only 3 years old and nowhere near getting replaced, especially just so we could cloth diaper.  I even recouped most of my costs by reselling the stash I had accrued on the same trading sites that I bought them from.  The old diaper pail is now a trash can in our laundry room and the drying rack I bought is still used to dry sweaters and bras.  I also saved a few of the adorable homemade wet bags I acquired to still use in diaper bags when/if blow outs occur (with baby 2.0) or for when potty training begins with M and inevitable accidents occur on the road.  We maybe had 3 total blow outs total with M (during early breastfeeding days where she pooped all.the.time), her Pampers never leak urine or smell funny, both A.R. and I are happy again, M still has a cute diaper butt even if it isn't fluffy with purple daisies, and my laundry burden as been cut significantly.  I admit it:  cloth diapers were not for us, but I am glad I tried.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

2011 A Year in Photos

January- Snow, snow, and yet more snow!

February- My other loves you don't hear so much about these days.  My beautiful Lily and handsome Tomas.  It's a good thing Lily is so pretty as she is so pushy. Typical woman.

March- A first birthday to remember.

April- Easter and walking!

May- Flowers in bloom and a super hot Memorial Day with a swim

I'm not impressed parental units.
June- My first 5k

July- Fireworks!

August- Cruising the clear blue seas once again.

September- Mariela is going to be a big sister and 1st pony rides!

October- A freak snow storm that knocked our power out for a week and cancelled Halloween.

Trying to keep warm by the fire at night

Pretty much every street looked like this
November- Thankful for M's cousins and how they all play together.  Not pictured is the youngest, C, who didn't do stairs until a few days later...HA!

December- A visit to NYC with my big brother, A.R. and M

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Christmas Cheer 2011


I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas (or a Happy Hanukkah)!  This year was especially magical for me as I got to live the magic of Christmas through the big, brown, eyes of my daughter.  Oh to be a child again and have that innocence and wonder.  The greatest gift I received this holiday season wasn't my new Snoogle (although that pregnancy pillow goodness is pure heaven) or the jewels from A.R., it's the joy and delight I saw reflected in our daughter's eyes as she stumbled upon a visit from Santa and figured out that there were toys and special treats beneath that Christmas wrapping paper.  It was her look of awe and dancing in church as the choir sang my favorite Christmas hymns and her first coloring artwork of baby Jesus in his manger as we began to teach her the true meaning of Christmas. 
I think this year I was more excited for the day than she was.  I slept fitfully Christmas Eve as I waited for her to wake up and see her surprise under the tree.  The same tree she saw decorated every morning as we came downstairs and said, "Wo-ow!" to every morning for the last month.  We were especially blessed this year to have my Grandmother with us to share the day.  There's nothing like seeing the joy a tiny toddler can bring a 92 year old women.  They were inseparable her entire visit with us.  It was a busy time for them with tea parties to attend, babies to feed and take for walks, keyboards to play, and puzzles to assemble.  I think my Grandmother grew a few years younger for just those two days she was with us!
My eldest two nephews present stalking

Craziness with 6 grandkids at my in-law's house
A.R. and I sat back and watched, videoed, and took hundreds of pictures of our little family and day dreamed about what it will be like next year with two sweet little ones running/crawling around.  Morning snuggles are the best over holiday breaks from the daily grind.  I love how M comes into our bed between us and snuggles in.  She gives us both kisses and even whispers special secrets in my ear on some mornings.  I cherish these days as I know they'll pass all too quickly.  I have so many fond memories of our Christmas in 2011 and I look forward to what's to come next year!  Now, without further adieu, let me add some pictures...

WOW! Just wow.