Cloth Confessions

So, you know how I like to recycle.

And I am all about repurposing things.

I do not like to waste.

I guess with those things in mind, it was only a matter of time before I turned to cloth diapering. I have been doing cloth  for quite some time now with Wesley.

I am not sure what took me so long to come to cloth diapering. Actually, I take that back, I do know…..
See, when Thomas and I decided one day to just take our chances, we made a baby. We were blessed to have quick success. I did not have any friends at the time that had children. I felt like I was journeying a path all alone, going where “no friend has gone before,” so everything was new. I did not have the privilege (or frustration most likely) of thinking for years what I would do when I finally became pregnant. True, I did have 9 months, but if you have had a kid, you know that time passes quickly, especially when you are trying to decide on the gazillion other things, from a name to a crib.

I remember researching cloth diapering when pregnant with Daniel. I also remember finding very little about the idea. It was, after all, 5 years ago, and although the approach has gained much more momentum since then, there was little at the time to read (or at least little that I could find). I knew not a single soul to question and the message boards that I discovered had so much jargon on it that I was completely lost and frustrated. I had no clue at the time what DNW, SAHM, WAHM, FFS, AIO, DDS, FLAG, OS, and things of the like meant (some I am still not sure of!). Once I randomly encountered a mom that was cloth diapering and I tried to pick her brain. She was so proud of herself (and not the good kind of pride). It was sickening. It all seriously hurt my brain.

When pregnant with Wesley, I had a few friends that had entered the world of parenthood. One of those friends had used cloth, and she had actually asked me a few questions before she started cloth diapering, since she knew I had done a little research. I shot her an e-mail with some details I thought could help, but I by no means had much to share. She, being braver than I, took the plunge with her first child regardless of knowing people who could help. When #2 came along for me, she assumed that I would go cloth, yet I did not.

Here was part of my reasoning: 1-She had some issues cloth diapering, so my one example was not a good one. She spent a small fortune to acquire her supply and then never really bought enough in the first place, so she was washing every night to the point of exhaustion (she has doubled her supply now in prep for her second child). This did not reflect well for me. She said it was a lot of work, and the last thing I wanted to do when adding a second child into my life was to add another task. 2-My good friends from college offered to have a diaper shower for me, being that it was my second boy and we had most all “big things.” This sounded nice.

After Wesley, I had one other friend that was pregnant that planned to use cloth. She had a little boy due about 6 weeks after me. One other college friend also planned on cloth and when Wesley was a few months old, we went to visit her before her baby was born and got a grand tour of her hand-me-down diapers that she acquired from her sister-in-law.

And somewhere along the line, the whole idea became trendy. People were popping up all over the place that were into cloth diapering. It was suddenly cool and information abounded.

Still, the cost was so disappointing for me. I know people argue that you save so much money, but when you only buy  diapers on sale and with a coupon, not to mention you can even earn gift cards when you buy, the cost is not much, and it is certainly nothing near the amount websites that sell cloth diapers claim you save. Had someone just gifted me their whole lot of previously loved cloth diapers, I would have switched at that moment, but, as mentioned before, I knew no cloth users (or none that were not about to use the items for themselves!)

One day though, I found a cloth diaper on sale at a “don’t pay retail” store (see my favorite diaper pic of Wesley to the right, which was bought at that store). I thought that $10 off the retail price, along with no shipping costs, was a good price to pay if I wanted to experiment. I then found another, and another, and another, and before I knew it, I was building a supply at an extremely discounted rate, which I liked. A chance consignment sale provided me with a wet bag and some more covers (someone bought it all and never used it), and soon I had all that I needed to be completely cloth.

I feel pretty good about not throwing away diapers into the trash to take *forever* to deteriorate, which was my main motivation. I have definitely spent some cash building up a supply, and I can honestly say I need about double what I do actually possess in order to have breaks in laundering, but being that Wesley is not a newborn, my amount is sufficient. One thing that I love though: they are SO cute. It is slightly addicting to see the bright colors, different styles (I’ve now found what I prefer), and personality in cloth.

The verdicts:

  • It is work to wash them but not really more than washing anything else. If you already do laundry, you just have a little more. No big deal.
  • They are cute and let moms of boys relish in some fun aspects that they do not normally get!
  • Less waste and harm on the environment.
  • Better for baby.
  • Lots of prepping for new diapers, which is just plain annoying (another reason why I wish someone had just given me their old ones). You have to wash them so many times in so many ways to make them ready.
  • Poop while out and about is not fun, unless you are officially in a bathroom with a changing table. Even then, still not as easy as disposables.
  • Since Wesley is a heavy wetter, I feel like I have more leaks.
  • Wesley’s pants fit better (skinny-minis usually lose pants but the little extra bulk of cloth helps them stay).
  • You can not tell as easily if the diaper is dry/wet. Thomas still has no clue without taking it all off and looking. I guess he could stick his hand inside but that is a whole new complication :O)
  • I wish I would have just bit the bullet and invested with Daniel ( I think that on a lot of baby items though. You live and you learn. This is just one of the cons to being the first of your circle of friends to take a plunge). I would have gotten even more bang for my buck.
  • There are a lot of rules with cloth. Detergents to use, settings to dry on, creams to not use, ways to stack, etc. It can be overwhelming. Once you learn, however, you’ve got it.
  • Our current rental home has the best set-up for cloth diapering. The laundry room is a random half-bath and exit from the house, so a toilet, sink, washer, dryer, and door access to a covered screened in porch and place to hang my diapers are all just within a few steps of one another. This was all just random fortune, and our previous home was not as accommodating to this process.
  • The convenience, when you use the style I have chosen to use is just as simple as disposables. I just keep them together, inserts inside, and ready to grab and go for diaper change time (see below).
  • I seriously smile when I see all the bright colors, when air drying or just sitting in a pile to be put on Wesley. I mean, I have a cow print. How is that not fun?

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Daddy?

A few days ago, the boys and I were sitting around my computer reading and viewing The Beginner’s Bible: The Very First Easter. I had gotten the download for free and being that it is the Easter season, I was using it to help present the message of Christ’s death and resurrection to my young ones in a way built for their learning.

Things were going well, and they were loving the bright pictures. Now, keep in mind this was on the computer, so I was clicking to turn each page, rather than physically turning a page. You did not have side by side views, so each page was a little more of a surprise as I clicked and had the new page pop up suddenly.

I clicked and the following image was the next surprise on the screen, and although it seems to be the cover of the book, we had not seen it due to the digital nature (and our actual image had this same idea but was not as populated with people. Think Jesus, donkey, and three palm wavers):

Wesley immediately points to Jesus and cheers happily, “Daddy!”to which I responded, “Umm. No, that is not Daddy. That is Jesus” while emitting a tiny chuckle. Thomas looks nothing like that.

Next, Wesley points directly to the donkey and said, in the form of an interrogative sentence, “Daddy?”

I now laughed uninhibited, saying, “No! That is not Daddy, you sweet silly boy.”

A few second later, I began to laugh even harder because it looks like, to Wesley, Thomas  is either the Savior of the world or an ass. :O)

Never a dull moment around here!

Geometrical Encounters

Please note, this post is long. I am well aware of that fact. I did not want to take anything out though, and brevity is never necessarily a strong point of mine. I am posting it for my husband who says I never write something unless it pertains to the kids. I am posting it because I read David Platt’s Radical last year. I am posting it because I want to remember it. I am posting it because you need to read it, so please hang with me and read it, in its entirety.

I would not call him someone that I liked, at the time. He was just someone who was smarter than me.

I have never been one to like math, and in fact, I can still recall the queasy feeling in my stomach from when I was in 3rd grade, sitting at the kitchen table with my math brilliant brother, attempting to answer correctly to the multiplication table flash cards. So, when Geometry hit my Junior year in high school, I already felt at a loss. I positioned myself next to one of my best friends, and I was ready to learn. Turns out, my social nature got the best of me and I was moved a few seats away from the BFF to the quietest boy in the class. In fact, he might have been one of the quietest boys in the school. My inner social butterfly was squashed.

Turns out, the move was not so bad after all, for the quietest boy was also the smartest. He was actually a whole year younger than me but was already in the course. Perhaps my luck was not so bad after all!

Soon, I found myself getting help from that quiet boy named Sheldon. He really did not have much to say beyond the assigned problems. I never cheated off him but I sure did tap his brain when trying to master my own angles. Never complaining, Sheldon always helped, and for that I was grateful. Often you would find our desks pushed together during work time, but when the bell rang for lunch, I jetted out with my friends to eat and chat. I had no idea where Sheldon ate his lunch.

One day, my friend and I decided to throw a party. It was going to be a blast, and we were going to invite all of our friends. Rugby, piñatas, Hawaiian shirts, and anything else wild and silly were the platform. Ever so creatively, we titled it our “Piñata Party.” While handing out our handmade invites, I felt a twinge of guilt in my gut when I looked towards Sheldon. I had not really planned to invite him. It was not like he was going to say much anyway. Realizing how snobbish it seemed to pass him over, I extended the small piece of paper to him and smiled. Immediately he said he wanted to come. “Great!” I replied, not completely sure if I meant it or not. Turns out, the boy a whole year younger could not drive and would need a ride. I reluctantly agreed to pick him up.

A day of goofiness seemed like about all he needed to open up and begin to talk and enjoy the company of others. Somewhere in the midst of that day, I began to believe that I actually did like his company and it would not be so bad if the quiet, smart, younger boy actually hung out with my crew more. He seemed to get along with everyone well enough.

Piñata Party turned into an invite into our lunch crew. Lunch crew turned into tennis playing buddy. Tennis playing buddy turned into extra person to join in on capture the flag. And, if he was going to be at all those things, it just made sense to start inviting him to all the activities at my church and the churches of my friends.

All the while, the Lord had started to open my eyes to Sheldon, and I realized how this boy was in need of a relationship with the Lord. God was not someone or something that he ever really considered, so the idea of “needing” this “Savior” was foreign. Suddenly, I was the smart one tutoring the one that needed to learn.

As it turns out, Sheldon was still too young to drive, so any event that he attended was courtesy of me and my powder blue 1981 Honda. A commute just so happened to yield a contained audience member. This is when our deep conversations about the Bible and Jesus would begin, and while we traveled, I would ask questions of him and he of me. I would take him home after a church service and we would discuss what occurred or what we studied that night the whole way.

A gift of a Bible and more activities later, Sheldon was softening. He knew there was more to this life, and he wanted it. I had been praying for basically an entire year when, the summer before I began my Senior year, Sheldon accepted Christ. That very summer his parents also gave him a truck for his birthday. The new wheels meant more freedom to join in on all sorts of other events to help grow his faith. It was humbling to know my tutor turned tutored was now in the body of Christ and that I was able to play a major role in the conversion.

My entire Senior year Sheldon was a friend. We ate lunch together often and people that were acquaintances to him before had become his true friends. He also began to make friends with people in his own class, which was great, for my friends and I were set to graduate soon, and I did not want him back to square one, quiet and friendless, whenever we moved on to college. He even began to share his excitement for his new life in Christ with his parents, who were not very open to hearing. They adored me, and they were grateful to know their son had begun to blossom and gain friends, but they were not real thrilled with the idea of a God playing a role in it all.

Sheldon often drove around 30 minutes one-way to get to church 2 days a week. He would frequently make an extra trip out on Mondays for prayer group when he was not working at the grocery store. You could see him growing spiritually.

As the close of the year came, I was thrilled to be preparing to embark on an overseas mission trip. I was literally going to the other side of the world, without anyone I knew, and I was going to serve and disciple for an entire month. It was a grand adventure, to say the least. I knew God had good things in store for me while there. This meant that my normal summer break good-byes were intensified due to the fact I would not be coming back to high school the next year, and for the majority of the summer before beginning college, I would be unreachable to all my friends. I would call my mom perhaps once a week but forget speaking with anyone else. To top it off, I did not even have an e-mail address with which to communicate.

Fast forward through a life-changing month away. At 17, I had signed up to be a short-term missionary for the summer, and it was all I had prayed for in the previous months. When back on US soil and after hugging my mom, I began to tell her all about my adventure, filling her in on all the highlights, letting her know how mighty of a God we serve.

When I look back on that time of emotional spillage, I can see that something was off. I was a bit oblivious to it at the time, but when I pause and reflect, her emotions were just not right.

Mom let me talk, and then she let me talk some more. We stopped at an exit not too far from the airport to get or do something, which I cannot recall now. I remember being in her car and having her look at me with a face of pity. It confused me because pity should not have been an emotion on her radar after having me back next to her after a month and especially not after all the things I had been relaying to her from my trip. The face of pity turned into an odd sadness. As she sat behind the steering wheel and I in the passenger seat, our eyes locked and I knew something was officially wrong, big time.

The words “Summer…..Sheldon is dead” came out of her mouth. I immediately grabbed her hand, turned my head away from her towards the window and let out a blend of a shriek and a gasp. Momentarily, the world stopped. Everything turned blurry from the tears in my eyes and my heart sank into a deep pit. From the rooftop to the ditch in a flash, I was emotionally crushed.

The word “How?!” was all I could muster. My mom then reached into her purse and began to pull out a small notepad that had the name of a local funeral home on it. As she opened it, the details of his accidental death were given. While mowing his yard for his parents one hot day in the summer, Sheldon ran over an extension cord that had been out in the grass. Turning off the mower and reaching underneath to remove the surprise cord, Sheldon received an intense electrical shock from the exposed wires touching the metal blades. It was enough to kill him. His parents found him dead in the grass when they came home from work.

It all occurred while I was on the other side of the world. Mom had already attended the funeral service by the last time I talked with her on the phone. She had decided it was best not to tell me while away, for there was nothing I could do. There was not a way to get home in enough time. It was futile. Instead, she just kept it quiet and decided to tell me in person.

After some tears, mom handed me the obituary paper and the funeral pamphlet. He looked so nice in his ROTC uniform. While I gazed at his image, she read to me from the small notebook she had taken out earlier. In it she had written detailed notes that covered all aspects of his service.

She told me how his parents had asked the pastor at our church to speak at the funeral, as well as how they had specifically mentioned to him not to do any sermon. They just wanted him to say a few words and end it. Knowing Sheldon was a believer, the pastor knew he would have wanted that information relayed, despite his parents not being in the faith. In fact, Sheldon would have wanted the words of Christ shared even more so in their presence, so that is what the pastor did. Mom had written down every song that was played, every scripture that was read, and I think even every flower that was present. She wanted me to be able to know all the details, even if in abstenstua.

A few days later, I went to Sheldon’s parents’ house to pay my respects and mourn with them for a while. They were glad to see me. Sheldon’s mom had set aside a few items that she knew he would want me to have. Although reluctantly, I took from her hands a tennis racquet. She told me that he only played because I had introduced him to the sport. I tried to refuse it; she insisted. So, I left Sheldon’s old home that day with the racquet given to me by his parents, as a reminder to me of their only child– their only child who was now gone.

I still have the racquet, along with the service reminders and memories. I still fully believe that Sheldon is heaven waiting for another tennis match one day when I get there. I still pray that his parents have found a faith in God to help them and heal them. I still remind myself of how a happenstance Geometrical encounter for me turned out to be a life-altering encounter for Sheldon. I still remind myself of how a happenstance Geometrical encounter turned out to be a life-altering encounter for me.

(Left is a prom photo of Sheldon, which he gifted to me in 2000, as I prepared to graduate. The second image is what he wrote on the back of his photo.)

Things Started Well….

Our church was collecting monetary donations for a crisis pregnancy center in our city, which supports and encourages women to choose life. As a great collection tool, they requested donors to sponsor a baby bottle in which we were to collect our monies for the charity. We were to fill the bottles with our cash and bring them back to the church at a predetermined date. It was a great plan.

The boys were intrigued with the bottle and I discussed with them that it was “for the babies that needed mommies to choose to keep them in their tummies and love them.” Daniel accepted this idea and was ready to collect coins to fill it. When we would find spare change out and about, mainly Daniel and I would declare it was “for the babies” and Wesley would chime with a “dah!” which is his term of agreement.

The Sunday for our bottle to be returned appeared and our bottle was not yet full. The boys and I went upstairs to their rooms to pull some change from their banks “to help the babies.” Daniel, Wesley, and I gathered on the floor of Daniel’s room shaking the blue ceramic piggy bank in order to dump out the coins. They eagerly grabbed coins off the floor and shoved them into the bottle. I had to slow them down several times, and I also had to keep them from distributing some euros, which my brother had brought back from his travels, to the babies. The three of us bowed our heads and began to pray for the babies and the mommies. Seeing both of my babies with their heads bowed, eyes closed, and tiny hands grasped was precious. We all said amen, and then I put the plug back into the blue pig.

With Daniel’s bank empty of the coins we were able to donate, we traveled into Wesley’s room to raid his bank as well. I turned Wesley’s giraffe bank upside down and shook it, attempting to get out all the coins. The clinking sounds began to diminish and I knew the bank was almost empty. Once all the money was out, our bottle was full and we were ready to get into the car for church. Before we left the room, we repeated another prayer and my heart melted for a second time. My children praying for other children, even those not born, was a blessing. After the amen, I placed Wesley’s bank back up on the shelf and headed down the steps.

Daniel and I were downstairs and I walked into the kitchen for a moment. Suddenly, I head a loud crash, followed immediately by Daniel bursting into loud sobs of “NOOOO!! Whhhyyyy???”

Before I even walked around the corner, I knew what had happened. I had forgotten to put Daniel’s bank back and Wesley put the ceramic pig on a free fall off the top of the steps:

Thomas had entered into the living room and firmly said “Wesley Reese, get down here NOW!”

My tiny little Wesley at the top of the stairs began his descent, on his tummy. He slid down the stairs so very quickly it was comical. I had to stifle a laugh. He looked like the character in a cartoon that is walking down the stairs when, magically, the stairs morph into a slide, and the character swiftly glides down to the bottom. Wesley was just like that, but on his tummy.

He was sent to time out and told not to move while I consoled Daniel. For all his craziness, Wesley does obey very well in serious situations, so he sat in the chair, unmoving, while I picked up the large pieces and Thomas vacuumed…..and Daniel cried.

When all was safe and clean, Wesley had to apologize to Daniel, which consisted of a hug, a kiss, and the words “Bubba saw-ree.”

In his defense, I do not believe Wesley intended to break the bank. He had no idea that it would shatter as it did. He was not necessarily in trouble for breaking the bank as much as he was in trouble for pushing something between the banister slats at the top of our stairs, which is a no-no in the house.

Boys.

At least things all started well!

Baseball Firsts





Daniel: You were a super star today! We loved celebrating your first hit, your first run around the bases, and your first official time to “touch the ball” while playing your inaugural game of baseball. You make us proud. Even though you may not remember this fun day years from now, Momma and Daddy sure will, and we will reflect fondly upon your day of firsts! Good game, son.

Exploring

The boys and I have been having to find new places to visit and things to do since we’ve moved. I know very few people here, and of the ones I do there are even fewer that stay at home with kiddos, so we don’t have as much company. We’ve had to find replacement places for similar locations that we use to frequent before our move. Today, we explored a new park and found some family friendly hiking trails and a nice creek to throw rocks into for lots of splashes and laughs. Both boys began to fuss when I told them we had to hike back and return to our car, for it is true after all that “all good things must come to an end” at some point. I promised, however, that we would go back again. Days like today make my heart smile and rejoice in my husband’s hard work to help me stay home with my babies so that I do not miss moments of exploring with my wonderful boys.

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