Friday, October 31, 2008

Little Gourd

So two days ago I was trying to give Elisa her bottle. But she grabbed a decorative gourd off the table and chewed/sucked on it instead. She wouldn't give it up. It was so funny to me that I made Greg take a picture.

Our little chick

Here's little Leesi today in her first Halloween costume! So much fun.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cloth Diapering (continued)

So a few weeks ago I posted about cloth diapering. And I said that I would update you on how it's going... so here it is:

The first couple of days were hard. Elisa had diarrhea, there was a lot of poop that leaked onto the diaper covers, it took a long time to get the diapers on, the diapers were super bulky, most of her pants didn't seem to fit over the top of the diapers.... and everything just seemed a lot harder. Also, I had no cloth diaper bin, so I was just sticking the diapers into the washing machine... which meant that if I wanted to do other laundry I had to take them out... ick!

On the instructions that came with the diapers it said that it was hard to transition from disposable to cloth... and not to give up right away. So, we didn't. We bought a trash can for the dirty diapers and just kept on trying.

It's been about a month now, and we've been using them about half the time. For awhile I had a goal of using four a day... and that kept me motivated. But now I use them most of the time when I'm home. And it's really not that hard. Greg agrees... he wasn't really into the idea from the beginning. But now he uses them too and it's no big deal. In fact, I think we're going to buy a few more so that we have enough to use them even on "washing days." We both agree that we don't like using them when we're away from home. So I think we'll just stick to using them when we're here.

They are really quite easy to wash. I use diaper liners (which are thin sheets of paper-like stuff that go in between the diaper and the baby's butt), so I can just flush the liner with the poop. I rarely have to dunk the diapers in the toilet, or deal with poop. Then on wash day I just dump them in the washer and run them through once on cold, then once on hot. I wash the liners that were just peed on along with the diapers and reuse them. I don't fold my diapers (folding has long been my least favorite thing about laundry). I just stack them and use them again... so that's easy peasy!

I think that the hardest things for me to get used to are:
1) The added bulk. I have pants that Elisa can wear with cloth diapers and pants that she can wear with disposables. If I switch halfway through the day I have to switch pants too... otherwise the pants will either fall off, or be so tight that Elisa has trouble moving.
2) The added diapering time. Even though I've gotten faster it still takes about three times as long for me to change a cloth diaper. And Elisa is NOT a patient diaper changer. She wants to be moving and crawling and rolling, not laying on her back getting her diaper changed.

But other than that... I guess I like it. It is a little more work. But overall I'm glad that I'm saving money. Though I'm still not so sure that I'm saving the earth.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where's Itty?

Here's Elisa and me playing a hide 'n' seek of sorts. The bunny we're playing with is named Itty Bit... and Elisa is super attached to her. She sleeps with Itty and, if we let her, she drags Itty around the house.

Leesi is just so much fun. Today while I was watching her I realized that I'm just a few weeks away from having a toddler. She is starting to seem more and more like a big girl and less and less like a baby. It's amazing that last year at this time I was pregnant with her, she's grown up so quickly!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kansas City

So Greg, Leesi and I spent some time in Kansas City this last weekend. We had a great time seeing the city... and best of all spending time with the Wehrley family. Here are some highlights. We went to the Art Museum. It was such a great museum and it had a sculpture garden around it... with these huge badminton birdies... (or shuttlecocks as Molly and Greg tried to avoid saying).
We also went to the best farmer's market (okay, maybe not the best... Pike's Place still has them beat... but it was a fun one) and ate gelato at a little shop next to the market.
We saw this sculpture... and guess what it was, "The Thinker" by Rodin. You can't quite see the whole thing because we had a 5 year old taking our picture... but you get the idea. Of course, the real one is in Paris. But it was cool nonetheless.
Greg even got to experience twins... but only for a minute. All in all a really great weekend. Thanks Adam and Molly!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Just Swinging

So we are in Kansas City, Missouri right now. We decided spur of the moment to drive up and visit our friends Molly, Adam, and their kids, Natasha, Elias, and Ana. They are only here for a few weeks so we decided we should seize our opportunity. I haven't seen Molly in probably five years... which means that I haven't met either of her younger kids... and Natasha was only a baby last time I saw them. Anyway, we're having a good time with them. I'll post more later about our trip. But tonight I just thought I'd post my favorite picture from today. Elisa loved the swings today!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Diapering... green?

Well, I don't even know how to start this post... since this has been such a long process for me.

A couple months ago I started thinking about how serious I am about recycling. In the 7 years since Greg and I have been married I have always recycled... even though I've never had curbside recycling. With the exception of when we first moved to Arkansas and were told incorrectly that they didn't recycle anything but paper, I've always saved up all my recyclables and driven them to the nearest recycling center. In other words, I'm willing to go to a lot of trouble to be a little "greener".

So why, I wondered, wasn't I willing to even look into cloth diapering?

I decided to do some research. And what I found was somewhat surprising.

Now I know that diapering can be a sensitive topic... as can almost any parenting topic. It seems as though we all have our strongly held opinions... I'm not really trying to change any minds in writing about this. This is truly just a story of my "journey" into the great diaper debate. (Maybe someday I'll write a screenplay).

I found that it is actually highly debated if it is indeed greener to use cloth diapers. Here's a quote from the ABC News Story:
"A new study released in England by a quasi-government environmental organization may dampen the debate even further. After a three-year, 200,000-pound (about $360,000) study, the London-based Environmental Agency concluded that disposable diapers have the same environmental impact as reusable diapers when the effect of laundering cloth diapers is taken into account."

Now it is important to mention that cloth diapering CAN BE greener... It's all in how you wash. For instance, washing diapers in warm water (instead of hot), using an energy effecient washer, and line drying diapers are just a few of the ways to cut down on energy consumption thereby making this a more environmentally friendly option. Also, another thing to take into consideration is the fact that you can use cloth diapers until they wear out. That is, it is possible to use them with multiple children... and then as dust rags etc.

I have to admit, it is pretty crazy to think that using and washing my own cloth diapers could possibly be as bad as throwing a huge bag of disposable diapers away each week. I just don't know if I believe it. But, hey, I didn't do a three year study.

Also there is the health factor to take into consideration. There was a study done with lab rats etc. etc. etc. Disposable diapers (cloth-diaper-people say) contain harmful chemicals... do you really want those against your baby's bottom?

And then the question of potty training. I think that it is pretty much agreed upon that cloth-diapered kids potty train sooner than disposable-diapered kids. It's because they can feel the wetness against their skin.

Still, these things didn't convince me to do cloth... I mean, it's debated whether or not cloth is greener. It's suggested that disposables may have harmful chemicals (but really, I chew sugarless gum - I'm used to the "may cause cancer in lab rats" line). I liked the fact that Leesi may potty train sooner. But was I really willing to dunk poopy diapers into the toilet for the two years until she's potty trained?

But then I came to the cost consideration. After much research into different cloth diaper options (and believe me, there are a lot of options!), I figured out which diapering supplies I would use and then calculated the cost difference. I figured out that I would save AT LEAST $600 over the next two years if I used cloth diapers most of the time. Now that is a VERY conservative estimate! And of course, with our second kid it would be pure savings. Now that was based on my own personal estimate... But if you're curious about the savings check out this website Why use cloth diapers? She breaks down all the costs including wear and tear to your washer and still comes up with at least a $600 savings.

So, I decided to try it. I bought a small amount of cloth diapering supplies and I've been using them part time over the course of the last week. I'll keep trying it out over the next few weeks and report back what I think.

For now, I welcome your comments. Let me know what's worked for you... or your opinion about diapering in general.