Oct 2 2010

The Explorer, Bills, Bills, Resumes, Deer?

Hey. It’s been a while eh? Yeah, I just really haven’t had much to talk about lately…
Lorne still doesn’t have a “real” job, he’s been working for weeks at a time out of town with his uncle. We haven’t been able to pay any bills this month because I had to pay off that lady I bumped into in a parking lot. That was sure fun. We can’t buy any groceries because of an upcoming automatic withdrawal for the car payment and vehicle insurance. On the plus side though, the insurance should go down a little bit once the Explorer sells.

Poor Lorne, I know he was sad to see it go. The Explorer was the first vehicle he bought when moving to Alberta, and he was able to save up enough to buy it full out in cash. It was the vehicle he had when we met, and the only vehicle we had until it died in ’07. Then my mom decided that she wanted to buy it from us, and replace the transmission and any other repairs it needed. Then later while we were planning our wedding, my mom decided to buy something new so we bought it back in ’09, but because we were putting all of our money towards to wedding she “sold” it to us accepting that she wasn’t going to see a dime for it for quite a while. We finally got her all paid off right after Logan was born, only to find ourselves with 3 vehicles and no longer needing it, but needing money. So, off to Osman Auction it went. We dropped it off last night with a reserve bid of $1200, which seems like such a low price compared to the $7000 that he originally paid for it a little more then 5 years ago.
R.I.P. Exploder 2004-2010 ♥ You served us well.

It may sound like I’m unappreciative… but I feel like Lorne could be trying harder to find a new job. His last job laid him off saying that they will need him back in a couple weeks, and they would call when they had work for him… Well it’s been over a month, he’s called them a couple times but keeps getting the same response: “No, not yet, call back in a week or so…” Well surprisingly enough those phone calls aren’t paying the bills. When he had a job, he was looking around for a better place and handed out resumes to everywhere he could think of, as well as a few places our friends knew were hiring or worked at. They were either hiring and said they’d be in touch, or told Lorne they would hold onto his resume for when they needed someone new. And that was the end of that. We didn’t hear from them, Lorne didn’t call following up or anything. I’ve been “nagging” him to call or visit those places, but he’s just been procrastinating, waiting for them to call him.
And in case you think I’m missing something… The money his uncle has been paying him has been going to gas to get back & forth to Athabasca (where they’ve been working). Oh, and Lorne bought a boat motor… in the middle of autumn… for his boat that’s in peices in our backyard… But i guess when you only get $250 for a week of work, you might as well spend it however you want? Right?

Having Lorne away for such long periods at a time, with such little money and with Ella not being herself has been really difficult. I’ve basically just been moping around, not accomplishing anything, with little patience for Ella’s attitude and just doing the bare minimum to get through the day. Cereal, pasta, crackers and fruit have been my go-to foods for Ella & I, and I’m super thankful Logan doesn’t eat actual food… that is until we ran out of milk and fruit last week. Soooo we went to my mom’s. Not only does that give me another person to give Ella attention (because I’ve decided that’s partially the cause of her attitude problems lately) but it also means I get yummy meals cooked for me.

I’m trying to deal with the weekends… I really am trying! Lorne gets home Friday night, and for the past two weekends he’s been going hunting with our friends each Saturday from like 5am until 9pm. Because that’s what I want to do after a week without him, sit at home by myself again… But I’m dealing with it, because after working hard all week, a man deserves a break. I’m just waiting for my turn to get a full day to myself without having to think of the dishes, or laundry, or cooking, or diapers.

So supposedly his uncle is getting money this weekend… But if we don’t have another $200 by Wednesday, our bills wont be the only thing bouncing.


Sep 22 2010

Sleepless Nights Make Crazy Scientists

As some of you know, Ella has been having a hell of a time sleeping, whether it’s at night or for a nap. I’ve accepted that she may be growing out of her naps and I don’t try too hard to get her to take one during the day unless she’s obviously really tired (but then it doesn’t take that much effort) from doing so much that day.
For the past month, to get her to sleep in her own bed it takes at least an hour of fighting with her to stay in her bed or room, sometimes she cries so hard she pukes. She pulls pretty much every excuse she can think of: she’s hungry, she has to go pee, there’s monsters, she’s afraid of the dark (even at her mid-day nap), she can’t sleep, she’s not tired, her bed is too big, her bed is too hard, her bed is wet, she’s too hot, her bed is too small, her room is too messy, she needs to go poop, she can’t find a stuffed kitty (she has 3 and needs to sleep with at least 1 if not all), she needs another story, she needs 5 minutes of cuddles, she needs more hugs & kisses… then once she’s gone through them all and we’ve attempted to fix them, she repeats. It’s ridiculous.
The only way this doesn’t happen is if she weasels us into letting her fall asleep in our bed (without us). Then once she’s asleep we move her to her bed, but she’s bound to wake up by 3am, if not midnight and attempt to crawl in with us again. This wouldn’t be so terrible now that I’m not pregnant but she kicks, tosses, talks, cries in her sleep and wont sleep with blankets on, plus I like to feed Logan in bed and let him stay until I get up for the day. This is why I’ve been sleeping on the couch. Lorne sleeps so heavily that he doesn’t notice her climb in, so once she tosses her way over to my side I just leave and head to the couch. It’s too much effort to fight with her to sleep in her bed again, and Lorne is dead to the world so he’s not exactly much help.

So I’ve decided to do some experiments on her and see if I can get her to actually like her bed and actually sleep in it!
We’re going to stick with the same bedtime routine she’s had since a baby which includes changing into pajamas (& a night-time diaper), brushing her teeth & hair, laying down in bed with her blankets & kitty(ies), reading 2 stories and drinking a glass of milk*. She sometimes has her pink Ikea flower light on, but that’s her choice, and her door is pulled closed but still an inch open.

Test Night #1: (Sept. 21st)
Remake Ella’s bed so that it’s as comfortable as can be without buying anything new.
Our bed is extremely soft and cushiony, in fact we could use a new one because it bows down in like an air mattress (you know, when you’re husband makes you roll to the center of the mattress because his weight is sinking it in like the Grand Canyon.) So I’ve layered Ella’s foam “mattress” that is made specifically to fit & expand with her bed from Ikea** with 2 thick blankets and put her favourite rainbow butterfly sheet on top. I’ve also given her my feather pillow since when she falls asleep in our bed she always uses it.
Since this is the very beginning of the process, I let her fall asleep in our bed and moved her, so this test is really to see if she stays there or is willing to go back there if she wakes up.

Variables:
During this day, she didn’t do much to wear off much energy, and didn’t nap.

Results:
After I moved her and went to bed myself, she woke up around 2am and came to my room. I walked her back to her room and put her back into her bed. She slept until about 6am, at which point she crawled in my bed and I didn’t expect her to fall asleep, but she did until about 7:30. So it was kinda win & lose… She did sleep in her bed, but not uninterrupted or for the whole night.

Test Night #2: (Sept. 22nd)
New Jammies.
Get her to initially fall asleep in her bed, not ours. Her bed will still be made the same as the previous night & she wears new Tinkerbell pajamas that she picked our herself promising to sleep in her bed with them on.

Variables:
Today we went to a play date from 9:30-12 and ran off a lot of energy, then she wouldn’t nap and was dead tired by 6pm.

Results:
So far so good! She’s been sleeping in her own bed since 8:20pm! She went to sleep without a struggle and only one story, I didn’t have to lay there and wait for her to fall asleep, I didn’t have to argue with her at all! Now if only I felt tired and could go to sleep right now.

Unfortunately we’re planning on going to my mom’s tomorrow and stay one night (Thursday) there. It’s a similar set up there though (with her own single bed in a separate room from mine) and she’s use to being there so it’s not something completely new and scary… so hopefully it wont upset this progress too much.

If necessary, we will continue the experiment further with these variables:

Test Night #3:
Beds are fun places too!
We’ve been trying to do some fun activities in her bed like pretending her dolls are sleeping in it, reading stories without having to sleep afterward and making tents. Tonight I’m going to play a little bit with her in her bed, then start our bedtime routine without leaving her bed.

Test Night #4:
Ok, beds are OBVIOUSLY fun.
We’ll buy her something for her bed like a canopy, tent, or maybe this to make her bed clearly a nice place to be in. We’re not trying to encourage fun over sleep, but to make her happy while she’s in her bed.

* I KNOW how you shouldn’t let a child of any age go to bed with a cup or bottle of milk or juice because it can effect their teeth. I don’t need you to bitch at me for it. Her teeth are fine so far and there’s no worries about any decay or anything like that, and we will eventually try to get her out of the habit. For now, it’s the one thing she depends on most to fall asleep. I also realize that it probably isn’t helping her night-time wetting, but that’s a whole other blog.
** We’ve realized recently that they’ve come out with new mattresses to fit her bed that would be more comfortable/supportive, but we’re trying to test things out to avoid spending more money. Her bed is currently on the middle setting so the next expansion will be to a real single mattress anyways.


Sep 5 2010

“Cloth Diapers” The Series – Part 6: What Do I Need & Where Do I Get It?

What is it?
Diapers (obviously…)
By now you should have decided what style(s) of diaper you plan on using. See Part 4 for the breakdown.
How Many Do I Need?
Newborns (0-3 months) go through approximately 10-12 diapers a day.
Infants (3-12 months) go through approximately 8-10 diapers a day.
Toddlers (12 months +) go through approximately 6-8 diapers a day.
If your baby doesn’t sleep through the night, wakes up from being uncomfortable or soaks right through -  you may add 1-2 more diapers for changing in the middle of the night.
You should wash diapers every 2-3 days, so multiply the age ranged amount by the number of days in between washes then add enough for the baby to wear while the rest are washing. (For example, washing every 2 days for an infant requires 16-20 diapers, 24 would be a comfortable amount.) If you chose prefolds or fitteds with a separate cover, you can get away with less covers then inner parts because the outer part doesn’t always get dirty and need to be changed. 4-6 Covers could last a couple of days, if you find the cover getting #2 mess on it – try to adjust the inner diaper to fit tighter around that area (around the thighs or in the back).
Also, keep in mind that the larger your diaper stash, the longer they will last because they’ll be in a larger rotation cycle.
Where Do I Get It? (If you can add to this list – please do! I’ll keep updating it!)
Online:
One Posh Baby
Lil’ Tree Hugger
Comfy Rumps
Luv Your Baby
Diaper Supply
Tadpoles & Butterflies
Etsy (handmade)
Diaper Swappers (used)
In Stores (Edmonton):
Birth Source
Bosom Babies
Carbon Environmental Boutique
Sears
Walmart (Kushies brand only)
Also, don’t forget that buying used diapers can save you a LOT of cash!  Look on Kijiji, or Craigslist. And ask your friends, relatives & neighbours! Check out this guide to Successfully Buying Used Diapers (it’s mostly common sense, but how common is that?)
If your having a baby shower, mentioning that you plan on cloth diapering will help people know that a cloth diaper would be a really useful gift!
How Do I Care for It?
See Part 5 of this series for full instructions & tips.

What is it?
Wipes
Here’s the choice between cloth and disposable again! To most, using cloth wipes with your cloth diapers makes the most sense. To germaphobes, you may feel the need for your baby’s bum to sparkle… Whatever. When using cloth wipes you can mix up a cleaning solution with baby soap or essential oils, or you can simply just use plain water from the tap or a spray bottle!
How Many Do I Need?
A stack of about 30 will do you just fine, and you may want 10 more for traveling. There’s no such thing as too many though.
Where Do I Get It?
Most diaper companies sell layered cloth wipes. You can buy a package of simple wash cloths for under $5 at any store (like Walmart), or wait until your baby shower – I was given all of mine! OR Make these yourself, what’s easier then 6″x6″ squares of scrap fabric?
How Do I Care for It?
Cloth – Just toss them in the wash with the diapers!
Disposables – Keep a small garbage can in the room, or take them to another garbage can or the toilet (if you’ve purchased flushable wipes)

What is it?
Pail &/or Bag (aka Pail Liner, Wet Bag)
See Part 5 for the explanation on these.
I have this liner (in Mandarin).
I have this pail.

How Many Do I Need?
1 pail. 1 – 2 bags, depending on your routine. It’s nice to have a second pail liner for when the other is in the wash – like having a second bed sheet to sleep on while the other one is being washed.
Where Do I Get It?
Most places that sell cloth diapers, sell pail liners since they are usually made out of the same waterproof fabric as the diaper. The best choice is something machine washable and big enough to hold most of your diapers. A drawstring or elastic closure can keep the bag closed, or keep it held up around the lip of the pail.
Any pail or can will work whether it’s plastic, metal, wicker or a frame, and it’s up to you to use a lid or not.
How Do I Care for It?
If you use a wet pail – give it a rinse between washes. If using a pail liner – toss it inside-out in the machine with the rest of your diapers. Some find it super easy to prepare the diaper (fold velcro laundry tabs, remove pocket inserts etc) before putting the dirty diaper into the pail, then on laundry day you simply dump the pail/bag into the machine and don’t touch a single dirty thing!

What is it?
Travel-size Wet Bag
A small waterproof cloth bag (approx. 12″x12″). Use them to store your dirty diapers when on the go; they’re also great for wet swim suits, muddy shoes, toddler accidents, stinky work-out gear… The possibilities are endless!
Of course there’s no reason why a recycled plastic grocery bag won’t do the trick… And I hear they’re free!
I have this
(in black).
How Many Do I Need?
1 – 2, again it’s nice to have a second for when the other is in the wash.
Where Do I Get It?

As with pail liners, most who carry diapers will sell wet bags. They are available with zipper, velcro or drawstring closure, and in a variety of sizes & colours.
How Do I Care for It?
Wash it with the rest of your diapers, turn it inside out and make sure the closure won’t catch on anything else.

Some optional accessories:
- Diaper Sprayer (aka mini shower) attachment for your toilet
- A spray bottle of water or wipe solution

Some other pretty straight forward supplies you will need:
- An area to change diapers (protected from diaper contents)
- Washing Machine
- Dryer &/or Place to hang things
- Detergent (See Part 5)
- A bum to put it on!

Next in this series: Part 7 – Hey! You peed on me!

See other entries in this series here.


Sep 4 2010

Expensive Hippies

Yeah, who would have thought that being eco-friendly and earthly could be SO expensive. But soooo awesome.
I stumbled upon Viva Terra this morning, thanks to good friend Tracy’s blog Forked

Here’s some lovely things that are totally DIYable:

Tape Measure Mat

(Well right now I only have one tape measure… but…)

Natural Edge Mirror

(This would look great made out of barn board!)

Garden Messages

(Ok, so these wouldn’t be quite the same, but you could simply get some wooden letters from a craft or dollar store and paint &/or decoupage them.)

Felted Wool Braided Rug

(Felt & recycle some old wool sweaters?)

And some things that are less/not DIYable, but I still love them:

Enamel Stacked Lunch Box

Bird on Branch Triptych

(JESUS SOME ONE PAINT ME THIS!)


Sep 3 2010

Gahd, I’m so domestic I might as well be ironing socks.

Lorne got laid off a week ago (to the day actually) and we’ve been taking it kind of casually. He’s been in contact with his 2 most recent previous companies, both of them saying they’d love to have him once the work starts back up. They know they’ve been contracted a job or two and need him for that job, they just don’t know when that job starts (it’s the upper company that has contracted them [aka hired] that decides when to initiate the construction). Yeah ok, that’s great for the future, but not today… We know there’s another smallish cheque coming in a week and we’ve been super cheapos not spending what we have left from his last cheque, but it really sucks that the credit card isn’t completely paid off, it’s about half used up. As we stand now, we can completely cover any automatic payments (insurances & mortgage) and still afford to eat. So I might be foolish but I’m still not worried too much.
We spent the week mostly just hanging out at home. He let me sleep in (which I totally needed because Ella has been terrible throughout the night, waking up at least 3 times) and we had a nice big breakfast pretty much every morning (sometimes bacon & eggs, sometimes waffles, etc). We went on lots of bike rides, cuddled and watched Dexter on yucky weather days. It was a really nice vacation…
Lorne filed for E.I. (Employment Insurance), the way we see it – you have to pay into it all your working life so you might as well get it back when you need it. His uncle (who owns a building moving company) has hired him on a few days here and there. And my aunt offered for him to work for them during this busy part of the season – working on swathers, combines and all those other machines that basically just mean “tractor” to me. Buut this means he’s 3 hours away, staying there for at least a week, and working practically from dawn till dusk.

I’m just going to take a moment and thank my husband for working so hard to support our family. It’s so amazing that he’s willing to put in days where he works longer then he sleeps, which allows me to just hang out at home with my kids. He’s sitting in a hot, loud, vibrating tractor staring at miles and miles of crops with nothing to focus on but driving in a perfectly straight line… I’m watching Sesame Street in my pajamas and eating black current tarts (that HE made BTW!) If anyone deserves a figgen gold start sticker, it’s this man.

So, as I’m completely inspired by his hard work effort, his drive to do anything it takes to bring home the bacon – I plan to spend this week that he’s away from home cleaning the.shit out of the house.

Here’s my To-Do List (which is more for my own reference, but I know some of you are that nosey):
- Wash all of the kids toys
- Bring out Logan’s excersaucer, exchange with items he’s grown out of [to the shed]
- Go through books, cds & dvds – donate some [so they'll all fit on the shelf]
- Organize my craft supplies [so they fit in the drawers and aren't spread all over the house]
- Sort through kid’s clothes for quilt
- Take hand-me-down clothes to the shed or person receiving them
- Wash, dry, fold & put away ALL the laundry
- Sort through piles of papers and file/recycle them as necessary
- Attack laundry room
- Take returnable recycling to the depot
- Rent carpet cleaner, do all carpeted rooms
- Wash all hard floors
- Vacuum out & re-stock the truck
- Bake something yummy
- Plan his favourite meal
- Re-colour hair
- Wax & shave
(The last 2 are because I’m not only good wife, I’m also a sexy mom) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHaaaa….


Aug 30 2010

Quilts are totally cool.

OMFG! Maybe I’m completely overdoing this “mother” thing and I’m sooo not cool anymore. Goodbye band tshirts, studded belts and bandannas – Hello yarn, quilts, scrapbooking and hippie parenting!

Today I’ve completely been obsessing over quilts! There are so many modern options out there these days, they don’t have to look like they belong on Rosanne’s couch anymore!

I’ve noticed there’s two main styles I’ve been drooling over, “Rag” quilts which are more rustic but seem more cuddley:

And “Applique” quilts which are more detailed and not so blocky but seem flatter:

Some day… some day I will find the time to make my very own rag quilt (because let’s face it, I don’t have enough patience for appliqueing)

Here’s some more quilts, a little more grown-up (because everything to do with babies is overly adorable, adults need awesome quilts too)…

If you liked the items in this blog, you may also like the Etsy Treasury I made here.


Aug 25 2010

“Cloth Diapers” The Series – Part 5: Washing & Drying

The biggest difference between cloth and disposable diapers is obviously not being able to just throw your poopy troubles away.  It’s also one of the biggest “Am i doing it right?” worries, so this is probably going to be one of the biggest entries in the series. Ready?

Where do I put the dirty diaper until I’m ready to do a load of laundry?

Wet Pail (aka Soaker Pail) This method is what people having been using for decades.
Pros:
- Soaking the diapers in a bucket of water until it’s ready to be washed eliminates having to soak diapers in your machine.
- Stains aren’t allowed to dry and set in
- Lift lid, toss diaper in, lock lid
Cons:
- Curious babies can drown in the water if you don’t use a locking lid
- A pail full of water and diapers is very heavy to lift to drain or transport to the machine
- Waterproof fabrics (such as PUL) can deteriorate from sitting water for long periods of time
- You might create “poop soup” and can breed bacteria & smell if not cleaned properly

Dry Pail The most common method these days. To avoid having to wash out your pail every time you empty it, use a washable pail liner or large wet bag – just like you use a plastic bag in your garbage can. When the liner gets dirty or stinky, wash it along with your diapers.
Pros:
- Safer, lighter, easier on diaper fabrics
- Lift lid, toss diaper in, close lid (or don’t use a lid at all)
Cons:
- Can be slightly stinkier.
- You should soak diapers in the machine at the beginning of the cycle for at least 20 minutes

Dry Bag Basically the “dry pail” method, without the can. Just a bag sitting on the floor, or hanging on a hook.
Pros:
- Not purchasing the can
Cons:
- Having to open the bag’s elastic closure every time rather then just lifting a lid

The Machine If you don’t wash other laundry (like adult clothes) often, you can store your dirty diapers right in your washing machine, this could be similar to the “dry pail” or “wet pail” methods.
Pros:
- When it’s time to wash diapers, they’re already in there waiting for the cycle to start.
Cons:
- If there are diapers in the machine and you want to wash other laundry, you have to either remove the diapers, or wash all the laundry according to your diaper routine.

Should I Swish it in the Toilet?
Many parents cringe at the thought of having to rinse soiled diapers before washing them, who wants to stick their hand in there? Dunking them in the toilet is not necessary. Breastfed baby bombs are basically like pulpy orange juice or butterscotch pudding and by 2 months it’s usually only once a day. It’s only once they start solid foods around the age of 6 months that you have to deal with “real” poop.
- Lightly shake any excess clumps into the toilet, and then throw the diaper into your diaper pail.
- If you want to rinse them, you could get a diaper sprayer (aka a mini-shower head) that attaches to the tank of your toilet, and lightly spray your diapers before putting them in the pail.
- Another option is disposable liners, a thick tissue much like a roll of toilet paper that you lay on top of the inside of the diaper so it’s the layer touching the baby’s bum. Once dirtied on you simply gather it up like a wanton and toss it in the garbage (flushable and compostable liners are also available).

Detergents
What to avoid: Any of these additives can decrease the absorbency of your cloth diapers causing them to leak, because they will leave a film or oil on the fabric. Whiteners and bleach will destroy the strength of your fabrics, creating holes or fraying.
Other then price, there’s no reason to not use your “diaper” detergent for all of your household laundry.
- Enzymes
- Dyes
- Heavy Fragrances
- Built-in fabric softeners
- Optical Whiteners
- Long lists of ingredients you can’t pronounce or no listed ingredients at all
- “Free & Clear” is usually a trick
- Pure Soaps
This list (although seemingly overwhelming and difficult to read) has an extensive amount of different brands. It’s best to go to your regular grocery store with a few different brand names from the list, if you can’t find any, write down some brands the store does stock and see if they’re on the list. If all else fails, use common sense.
FYI – “Nature Clean” and “Attitude” can be found at most Sobeys.

What cycle(s) on my machine do I use?
There are a million and one different routines and steps, so I doubt any two people do it the exact same way. I’ll try to explain the most common ways, but it’s best to just find what works for you depending on your schedule, water, home, detergent, diapers and child’s mess. A great article about cloth diapering in apartments or laundromats can be found here.
You’ll know that you’re washing routine is working if your diapers smell like nothing when they come out of the washing machine and that they’re absorbing for at least two hours of wear.

All cold water wash: (this is the routine I use)
- If using a wet pail, dump your entire pail (water & diapers) into the machine and select the spin cycle to get rid of all the pail water.
- If not using a wet pail, fill machine with enough cold water to cover the diapers (it’s unnecessary to fill it to he top of the barrel) soak diapers without detergent for a minimum of 20 minutes, soaking overnight eliminates having to wait (because you’re sleeping!) Let the machine agitate a few times to make sure all diapers are effected.
- Drain water (it may be yellowish now) by using the “spin” or cold “rinse” setting.
- Fill machine with cold water on a “regular” or “casual” setting, add 1/2 of the amount of detergent as recommended on the label – unless it has a diaper specific amount. Let the machine run it’s course – it should fill, agitate, drain, spin, & repeat.
- Select an extra/additional cold rinse (some machines have an option, others you’ll have to turn the dial to the right spot in the cycle)

Hot/cold water wash:
- If using a wet pail, dump your entire pail (water & diapers) into the machine and select the spin cycle to get rid of all the pail water.
- If not using a wet pail, fill machine with enough cold water to cover the diapers (it’s unnecessary to fill it to he top of the barrel) soak diapers without detergent for a minimum of 20 minutes, soaking overnight eliminates having to wait (because you’re sleeping!) Let the machine agitate a few times to make sure all diapers are effected. The cold rinse will prevent stains from setting.
- Drain water (it may be yellowish now) by using the “spin” or cold “rinse” setting.
- Fill machine with hot water on a “regular” or “casual” setting, add 1/2 of the amount of detergent as recommended on the label – unless it has a diaper specific amount. Let the machine run it’s course – it should fill with hot, agitate, drain, spin, fill with cold, agitate, drain, & spin.
- Select an extra/additional cold rinse (some machines have an option, others you’ll have to turn the dial to the right spot in the cycle)

Stains
Sun:
The best way to get rid of stains is to let your diapers dry out in the sunshine. Sunlight will “bleach” your diapers and will sanitize at the same time. I know, sounds like magic doesn’t it?! And, drying your diapers this way will save on the wear and tear that using the dryer may cause. Even drying your diapers inside by a sunny window will get the stains out.
- You can also put a squirt of lemon juice on the stain prior to leaving the diaper out in the sun, stains react with the acids in lemon juice & convert the stains into substances that are soluble. This method may remove particularly stubborn stains more quickly than sunning alone.

No Sun:
- Apply a little bit of hydrogen peroxide to the stain. However, first test a small inconspicuous area to make sure the fabric won’t yellow.
- Use Bac-Out (by Bio-Kleen). Either in your wash once in a while, or dilute some in a spray bottle and treat dirty diapers before tossing them in your pail.  It greatly reduced stains and helped deodorize the diaper pail.
- “Oxygen bleach” like Oxy-Clean or Chlorine-free bleach from companies like Seventh Generation can be used once a month.

Line Drying VS Machine Drying
If you would like to skip the dryer all together there are ways to line dry in your home with a variety of drying racks, like this selection from Ikea. Pockets will dry within a couple of hours, while AIO and fitteds can take a hell of a long time – consider this when buying your diapers and deciding how to dry them. One more note regarding the elastic, the key is to allow the diapers to fully cool off from the dryer before stretching them out to avoid prematurely wearing it out.

Line Drying:

Pros:
- Energy efficient (because air is free!)
- Prolongs the life of your diapers
- Natural sunshine is the best stain remover and disinfectant
- All your neighbours get to marvel at how “green” you are and colourful your line is!
Cons:
- Can tend to be crunchy
- Takes more then an hour to dry
- Takes up space in your yard or home
- Rain…

Machine Drying:
Pros:
- Weather doesn’t effect your laundry days
- Fast drying
- You don’t need a yard or drying rack
- No one sees your laundry (because fancy babies don’t poop?)
Cons:
- Dries out & cracks waterproof fabrics
- Can set in stains
- Can shrink parts of your diaper

Do’s and Don’ts
Do:

- Pre-wash newly purchased diapers, just like you would wash a new shirt before you wear it. Some fabrics have natural oils in them and have not been washed out by the manufacturers, washing 2-5 times in warm water without detergent will remove these oils. Also, washing a couple times in cold water will help strong colours (like black, red, navy) from fading.
- Remove inserts from pocket diapers before washing. pinch the end of the insert sticking out of the pocket slit and shake the diaper off over the pail or machine. Some brands (such as Thirsties) don’t require you to remove the inserts and guarantee to agitate out by themselves in the machine.
- Sprinkle baking soda into the can to eliminate odors, some prefer to allow airflow (no lid, holes in can) but I find this just makes the whole room stinky. You can also try placing a cloth with a little essential oil (like lavender or tea tree oil) in the pail.
- Feel free to add a half cup of baking soda during the first part of the wash if you like, but don’t bother if you use a powdered detergent. If you use baking soda in the wash or soak, make sure to use vinegar in the rinse, this will help restore the neutral pH level.
- Try vinegar as a fabric softener replacement. Pour 1/2 a cup of distilled white vinegar into a clean dispenser compartment (you don’t want old fabric softener left in there) or use a “Downy” ball. Any vinegar smell will go away once the diapers are dry.
- Remember to secure any “laundry tabs” on the diapers made with velcro. If you don’t, they’ll catch on other items or diapers in the wash, creating a big chain or wrecking delicate materials. If you find that your laundry tabs are opening or coming undone, flip the diaper and secure the velcro to the the tummy part of the diaper as if you’re putting it on the baby inside out.
- Wash your hands after changing a diaper or loading the machine!
- Make sure when you stuff your pocket diapers that the insert is completely flat and smooth from one side and end to the other. Don’t let it bunch up – this would be uncomfortable for babe and cause leaks.

Don’t:
- Don’t use Fabric Softeners or dryer sheets, “whatever” detergents or too much detergent, it can build up on diapers and create a film that will repel liquids rather then absorb them. Of course it makes clothes super soft and fresh smelling, so it is only natural that you would want to use it on your cloth diapers… but this would be a mistake! *palm to forehead* Fabric softener, either in liquid or sheet form, leaves a water-repelling residue on your diapers, making them less absorbent and useless in pretty much the only purpose that they serve. It also can deteriorate the covers water-proof laminate.
- Don’t use bleach to remove stains or disinfect! It will actually eat away at the fibers in your diapers – decreasing their durability, waterproofing and absorbency.
- Pure soaps are the more natural choice in the world of cleaners, but will leave a residue on your diapers and covers similar to the soap scum you find in your tub. Soap scum on diapers makes them repel moisture rather than absorb it. It is also harsh on the laminates used in your diaper covers, making them absorb rather than repel water. There actually is a difference between “soap” and “detergent”!
- Don’t expect others to obsess about diapers as much as you do, and don’t get mad at your partner when they use the wrong combination or insert… It’s just a shit catcher after all.

Next up in this series: Part 6 – What Do I Need & Where Do I Get It?

See other entries in this series here.


Aug 23 2010

“Cloth Diapers” The Series – Part 4: A dictionary of different designs

When most people hear the term “cloth diaper” they usually think of white cotton rag squares that a mid-century housewife could use to wash her kitchen floor with. Thankfully diapers have evolved right along everything else in the world and are much simpler and more attractive.

From Prefolds to All-in-ones and Everything in Between:

That white square rag is also known as the “Prefold” Diaper, meaning you fold it before you put it on the baby. These are the kind that most of our moms used, and also the least expensive option. In my opinion, I wouldn’t even use this to wash my kitchen floor with let alone a diaper, too much folding and snapping, pinning, changing, etc for me plus you still need “plastic pants” over top (otherwise known as a wrap or cover) to keep all the wetness away from their clothes and I don’t know about you, but wearing plastic pants is probably worse then leather pants.

Next up is the “Fitted” Diapers, which are slightly better. These are basically the same material and as their prefold brother, but they have a few upgrades. They are shaped like disposables, and have elastic around the openings and Velcro or snaps to hold it closed (no more safety pin stabs!). You’ll still need a cover for these because there’s no built-in waterproof layer.

The next two diapers are probably the simplest options available. “All-in-one” diapers are exactly that, everything you need is right there, all together, and used exactly like a disposable diaper. You simply slip it under the little bum, close it and let him run away. They are shaped like a disposable diaper with a waterproof (usually with PUL = Polyurethane Laminate) outer layer and an absorbent soaker core sewn right to the soft inner layer (usually micro-fleece or suede cloth) and can be adjusted and closed with either velcro or snaps. The absorbent core can consist of anything from terry cloth, microfiber (like the new cleaning cloth craze), bamboo, hemp, or plain ol’ cotton and obviously the difference in materials effect the level of absorbency (I’ll cover this later). Parent, caretakers & daycares don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to AIO’s because it just is what it is, nothing new to learn! The one downside I’ve experienced with AIOs is the drying time – it’s best to line dry and depending on weather it can take DAYS because it’s so thick.

What’s that? You want customization? “Pocket” diapers! And just like all-in-ones, pocket diapers are exactly what they sound like. They too have a PUL outer, soft inner layer, snaps or velcro, but instead of having the absorbency sewn on permanently – there’s a slit in one end (or sometimes both) in which you simply stuff in your absorbent part (“soaker”, “insert”, “liner”, “doubler” and “pad” are all terms that refer to this). And of course even your options have options here! Inserts can be constructed of cotton, terry, flannel, microfiber, bamboo, hemp and even something called “zorb” (a new matted fiber-type material that is supposed to be thinner but more absorbent then most other materials available)! I’ve used anything from a simple 3-layer microfiber insert to a combination of 4 layers of microfiber and 5 layers of a hemp/cotton blend – it all depends how much moisture you need the diaper to hold (outings vs overnight vs at home). And unlike the AIOs, the thick pad is removed when washing so it dries in much less time.

There’s also “Pocket All-in-one” diapers (sometimes referred to as an “All-in-two”) which have a slit in one end to allow you to slip in an additional absorbent pad for longer car trips or over night.

“Hybrid” diapers are the newest form. Similar to a pocket diaper, instead of slipping the absorbency inside, you simply lay (or snap in) a soaker pad on top. This way when the diaper is used, if the outer part is still clean (no poop) you can just lay a new dry core in and reuse the outer part. You can also do this with your AIOs or pocket diapers by just laying an insert or prefold on top. Although some people do consider this not as sanitary, it results in less laundry and supplies that you’ll need. Most hybrid diapers have a cloth insert ans a disposable option (which I personally don’t consider “cloth diapering”) for when you’re out & about you just take out the used dispoable insert, toss it in the trash and put in a new one… I guess that way you’re not carrying around dirty diapers (intro – the “wet bag” more on this later).

So in the end, it’s all up to you. Price vs simplicity. I personally use mainly pocket diapers, but have a few AIOs (honestly only because they were on a really cheap sale) I think the hubster prefers AIOs because he doesn’t have to worry about it being stuffed correctly (and yes, one time he was peed on because I didn’t stuff them and he assumed it was) but they usually only get used once or twice a week because during the rest of the time they’re on the line drying.

Snaps VS Velcro – The Ultimate Showdown:
I’ve experienced both wearing out at an equal pace, but there are some other things to consider. It’s kinda like comparing clothes with zippers vs buttons… When I first started I preferred velcro, but now I’m finding snaps aren’t as evil as I thought.

Snaps
Pros:

- Stronger hold once baby starts grabbing
- Doesn’t catch on other things in the wash
- Can’t scratch or cut into baby’s rolls
Cons:
- Can often end up lopsided or uneven unless you count the snaps
- You don’t want to push down on baby’s stomach, so you have to put your fingers inside the diaper
- Some snaps are too strong and can rip the fabric if you have to yank too hard, this can also startle a young or sleeping baby

Velcro (aka Applix or Hook & Loop)
Pros:
- Fast and easy adjust and readjust if necessary
- Can allow for smaller waist adjustment then most snaps
Cons:
- Remembering to close the ‘laundry tabs’ so they don’t catch on other things in the wash, and sometimes the laundry tabs come loose
- Can scratch or cut into baby’s rolls (although most diaper companies have designed the tops of their diapers with a space between the velcro and the top to avoid this)
- Can pick up lint and other fuzz, so you occasionally have to pick it out like your hairbrush.

One-Size-Fits-All VS Small, Medium Large?
Most companies have both options, so it really comes down to – How often do you want to have to swap out your stash for the next size up? How much will each sized set cost in comparison to one set of one-size diapers? And if you go with one-size, how big/small is your child likely to be on either end of the spectrum? Logan was a big newborn, so I didn’t have to worry about diapers being too big and bulky on him.

One Size Fits All
Pros:

- You buy one set of diapers, one time, and don’t have to put away diapers that baby’s grown out of which saves money, hassle and storage space.
Cons:
- If you have a smaller baby, they can be bulky or can leak if you can’t get them tight enough. Some brands have crossover velcro or snaps, other brands have elastics on adjustable buttons on the leg gussets like Fuzzibunz.
- Poor care for your diapers could wear them out after a while. They may fit after 2 years of wear, but they might start to leak due to the wear and tear of washing them 200 times.

XS/S/M/L/XL
Pros:
- Trimmer fit means being able to wear normal sized pants and onesies rather then one size up to accommodate the bulk. (Although some one-size brands like Thirsties and Rumparooz are really trim anyways)
Cons:
- You’ll buy up to 36 XS/S diapers, then in 3 months have to switch them out to another 24 S/M diapers, and so on for 2-3 years… This costs more money in the long run.
- If you’re using them again or handing them down, where do you plan on storing all these diapers that are too small?

Next up in this series: Part 5 – Washing & Drying

See other entries in this series here.


Aug 21 2010

“Cloth Diapers” The Series – Part 3: When cloth sucks

Okay, we can’t all be 24/7/365 Cloth Diaper Nazis. There are certain situations where you can’t, or might not want to use cloth diapers, or it’s just not working out. Here are some examples, and some suggested solutions. Of course, in any situation, disposables might be the easiest answer, a few disposables a week is still a lot better then a hundred! If using disposables, please avoid Pampers with Dry Max.

During the Newborn stage

Issue: You’re afraid things will be hectic enough having a new baby, you don’t want to have to worry about laundry or learning something new
Solution: Some people are lucky enough to have friends and family offer help during the first couple weeks of life with a newborn, so helping with the laundry is on their list of things to expect to do for you. As for “learning something new” there’s really not that much more to learn between cloth and disposables, it’s a diaper – not rocket surgery.
Issue: Meconium, no one wants to deal with that stuff!
Solution: Unless you want to wipe, soak and scrub the diaper, disposables. Another solution would be to buy inexpensive (used, low quality, or a different method such as prefolds) cloth diapers that you won’t mind it staining.
Issue: You don’t want that precious belly button stump to get soggy or infected
Solution: Um, roll the front of the diaper down and change before it’s like sitting in a water balloon… You’ll even have to do this if you use disposables…
Issue: You feel your one-size diapers are too big and bulky for newborns
Solution: This is where prefolds are the best cloth answer! Small prefolds are very inexpensive, so it’s not going to dent the wallet as deeply as buying newborn sized all-in-ones. You may only use newborn sized diapers for a month, so spending a lot of money on them would be silly. If you use diapers that are too big on your baby (at any age) it will most likely result in leaks.

When you can’t do laundry
Sometimes you run out of clean cloth diapers before you can do laundry, but you can’t just turn it inside and backwards like a tshirt can you?

Issue: You forgot to, or feel like you’re washing diapers too often and are exhausted
Solution:
You may not have enough, it might be wise to purchase about 4 more diapers, but you need to be washing dirty diapers at least after 3 days, leave them sitting any longer and they can rot. It may also be helpful to have a stash of “back ups”, maybe you don’t like them as much, they’re bulkier or you were given a pink diaper for your son (god forbid!) Having a few diapers that aren’t in regular rotation at the back of your shelf will come in handy every once in a while.
Issue: You ran out of detergent
Solution: It’s not going to kill you to use a different detergent once in a while. Things to try to avoid in detergents are: enzymes, optical brighteners, built-in softeners or bleach, heavy fragrances, and literal “soap”s. These things used frequently can clog up your diapers, creating a film or barrier and causing the liquids to roll right off the fabric instead of soaking into it… obviously a leak. If you think your diapers may be doing this, strip them (I’ll cover this later). Bleach wont clog diapers, but will deteriorate the fabric. A lot of the new “eco-friendly” and “biodegradable” detergents are great for diapers.

When you’re away from home

Issue: You are on a long trip or vacation.
Solution(s): Try to plan your trip so you can wash a load of diapers at the destination, usually family members don’t mind. Hotels will wash your laundry if you ask (for a price) but having them use the same technique/cycle and a soak might be difficult. You could also schedule it so you wash all your diapers the night before you leave, then if your trip is only a few days wash them as soon as you get home. If you use disposables, you won’t have to worry about laundry somewhere else or lugging the dirty bag around.
Issue: You’re planning a lot of shopping and don’t want your baby to leak accidentally because you’re so busy.
Solution: Double up your absorbency, hemp works wonders by keeping it thin yet absorbent. Using disposables would eliminate the need of carrying the dirty ones around with you (but with a wet bag this shouldn’t be an issue).

Overnight/Naps

Issue: Your baby pees so much you have to change more often then they wake up or else they’re swimming in Lake Urine by the morning.
Solution: Add extra absorbency! Again with the hemp, microfiber is also very absorbent. It might take numerous layers and make your kid’s trunk have more junk then J-Lo, but they’re sleeping – who cares!? Unfortunately, by the time they’re toddlers their bladders may have grown so much that it’s unavoidable (we’ve switched to GoodNights).
Issue: Your baby is sensitive to wetness and wakes up when they get too wet.
Solution: Try adding a fleece liner (even if you think your diaper is already lined with micro-fleece), it allows the liquid to pass through to the absorbent layer but not back up to the skin and should help baby stay dry feeling. This is simply a rectangular sheet of fleece fabric (save money and purchase it from a fabric store, you wont need to sew anything) placed on top of the inside of the diaper, so it’s the layer closest to your baby’s skin. Thicker fleece isn’t always better, if it’s too thick the liquid can’t penetrate it and will run right off to the closest opening.

You’re not my mommy!

Issue: Someone other then the main caretaker (day care, grandparents, dad, baby sitter) is changing a diaper. They don’t know how to use your cloth diaper.
Solution: Show them… If they can use a disposable diaper, they can use a fitted diaper and cover, a pocket diaper or an all-in-one. Pre-stuffing your pocket diapers makes it an easy one-step application that they can’t screw up. If they’re a parent over the age of 40, they’ve probably used a cloth diaper before, especially prefolds.

Fat Ass Syndrome

Issue: Cloth diapers inevitably add extra bulk to your babies bum, this can cause them to grow out of pants, sleepers, and onesies faster then usual. Your baby might only wear a size 3 month shirt, but need size 6 months bottoms.
Solution: Suck it up. Disposable diapers are squished flat and expand once they’re wet, cloth diapers are made of layers and layers of fabric, but it doesn’t usually get any bigger then it was to begin with. There are brands or fabrics that can help keep the bulk minimal. Thirsties are one of my favourite brands to use when being concerned about being fashionable – the Duo Diapers come with an ultra absorbent hemp insert and even though it’s 5 layers in total, it’s super thin. They’re also great colours so if you don’t want to wear pants, it still looks better then Elmo’s goofy face.

Next up in this series: Part 4: A dictionary of different designs

See other entries in this series here.


Aug 20 2010

“Cloth Diapers” The Series – Part 2: Why cloth diaper?

Absolutely NO chemicals on your baby’s skin (or the earth).
Studies have shown that it’s actually the chemicals in disposable diapers reacting with bodily fluids that is burning and irritating the sensitive skin that causes red bumps, blisters, and even bleeding otherwise known as a “diaper rash”. So let’s think about that for a second… No you know what, that’s all I have to say about that.

It’s cost effective.
One of the few main issues with people being afraid of cloth diapers is initial cost. Yes, they can range anywhere from $5 to $32 per diaper but it sure knocks the socks off 34 cents for a disposable. But how many times will you use that cloth diaper, and you can only use a disposable once… On average people spend $2000 a year on disposable diapers per baby. The average cost of a cloth diaper stash (although some mom’s will admit to an addiction of buying adorable cloth diapers) that will grow with the child and last until potty training is $500. So would you rather spend $20 twice a week for a possible 150 weeks for it to be pissed on and thrown in the garbage, or $200 up front and never a cent more ever again?

Cloth Diapers are also referred to as Reusable Diapers.
And they can be reused for numerous children or generations if cared for properly. There are so many ads on sites like Kijiji, eBay and DiaperSwappers where you can buy and sell used diapers for a fraction of the price*. If you have multiple children (whether apart or as twins/triplets etc) it’s beneficial to cloth diaper because they’re handed down or shared between them just like clothes or shoes. You’ll never have to run to the store to buy more, you just do a load of laundry and in 2 hours there’s a whole clean pile of diapers!

They’re as easy as disposable diapers, but 57x cuter!
Some moms wonder if their partners or babysitters can “handle” cloth diapers. These days, there have been so many advances in the design and technology of cloth diapers that it’s not just a white square of cotton anymore and they don’t have to sound like they’re wearing a potato chip bag on their ass! Seriously the only difference is that once you take the dirty diaper off the baby – you put it in a laundry hamper instead of a garbage can. I don’t even want to say that they look like disposable diapers though, because come on… Look at this:
Fuck Pampers and they're lame Elmo...

Global Warming & other ways to destroy Mother Nature
Back to point #1, think of the chemicals people! Not only are they making our butts bleed, keep putting enough into our city garbage dumps and they’ll begin to make Polar bear’s eyes bleed! Did you know that 4,275,000 tons of used diapers will end up in landfills each year? There are brands of disposable diapers out there that are “less harmful” then others like SeventhGeneration and gDiapers… meh, I’ll leave that one for your own opinion.

So don’t ask “Why should I cloth diaper?” ask “Really, Why not?”**

Next up in this series: Part 3: When cloth sucks

See other entries in this series here.

*You need to take precaution when buying used diapers from strangers because you never know how they’ve treated the diaper and if they’re telling the truth. It’s best to ask what brands of detergent they used and if they mostly line or machine dried them. Improper care of diapers can lead to leaks caused by water repelling, tears, or fabric deterioration.
**When asking “Why not?” You should take into consideration that cloth diapers do result in at least 3 loads of extra laundry per week. Although it’s not enough to see much of a change on the water bill, it does take a couple more hours of your time then simply tossing it in a garbage can.