Apr 24, 2013
Oh these nights
When I walk through the house and the smell of sweet potatoes and peaches fills the corners of every room
When I spend minutes picking up tiny tennis shoes, socks, hats…
When I glimpse a neatly stacked array of diapers, still warm from the dryer and waiting to be delivered to their room
When I stop to turn the heat up one more notch despite how warm I feel because their room just gets so cold
When the noise from the dishwasher makes it hard to hear as my pump parts are being cleaned for my late night pumping
When they are sleeping so soundly, breathing heavily, warm little bodies so tired out from the day.
Oh these nights.
If only they would never go away.
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Apr 22, 2013
This morning, the 10 month birthday of our sweet Linc and Viv, I’ve been glued to the TV watching the coverage of the hunt for the Boston bomber. My heart is a heavy weight in my chest. I’ve spent this week on edge, praying for God to give me peace despite the unrest and tension that I’m sure most other people are feeling as well, given the events of this week. From the marathon bombing, the explosion in West, Texas, the letters sent to the President and senator, and to now today, the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and the search for the bombing suspect, it just feels like the world is so full of evil. Since having the twins there has been a whole extra element added where it seems like danger for them is lurking around every corner, and I feel like fear is constantly trying to suck me in. I hear a noise in the house during the day, and I look over my shoulder expecting the worst….I hear Linc holler from the living room and race in there with a sinking feeling in my stomach, convinced that something terrible has happened. Among these and other things in the day-to-day, I fear for my babies future and for what they will have to face as they grow up in this world. It envelopes me in thankfulness for my hope in Christ and my knowledge that life on this earth is only temporary because without that hope I think I would feel so terrified. I’m clinging to it right now and trying to rest in the peace that comes with it.
Not only am I meditating on my hope in Christ when I start to feel suffocated by all the bad, I also am consumed with urgency to try and do something to change it. Sadly, there is nothing that can erase the evil things of this world, so I come to the conclusion that I have to do everything I can to counteract it. I am realizing more the older I get that I’m responsible for putting as much good out into the world as I can. And now I’m not only responsible for myself, but also for my babies. It is Jon and I’s privilege to instill in Linc and Viv an accurate perspective of the world – how big it is, how people are so very different from us (yet so very much the same) and how not everyone was born into a life in which they have all their needs met. Jon and I have always been passionate about other cultures and traveling because it opens our minds to the fact that not everybody in the world lives like us. Since we even began to think about kids, we have had long talks about how we can instill a heart of compassion and a realistic world view in them as they get older. We know that it will take intentionality. We live in the suburbs of Oklahoma City where where it is easy to become so absorbed in the comfortable, safe life that we live and forget that not everyone lives the same. How will they ever know any different unless we show them?
All of these feelings and desires have converged recently as Jon and I have been working on a project that floods my heart with passion. The evil that has been so much in our faces these last couple of weeks has fueled our excitement over what we feel is a small way we can try to project good out into the world, as well as build into our life a way to instill in our babies compassion and desire to love well and make a difference in the lives of others. Having been a public school teacher, I’m so familiar with the attitude and perspective of our society’s kids as a whole (there are exceptions), and our hope is that not only will we be able to strive for this in our own home, but for other kids as well. There have been a lot of sleepless nights lately – working in the office late into the night, me laying in bed awake because of noises in the house, watching Linc and Viv through the monitor as I strain to see that their little backs are rising and falling, and me consumed with passion for this new venture so that I can’t stop the wheels in my brain from spinning.
I wasn’t able to finish this post on Friday, and now as I finish it up this morning I feel energized and hopeful for a new day and a new week. A new opportunity to not let the negativity bring me down, but to use it as motivation to work harder and love stronger.
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Apr 10, 2013
I still remember the dread in Jon’s eyes the day I told him that I’d like to consider cloth diapering our twin babies that were on the way. But it didn’t take long for him to come around to loving it too.
Many people continually ask me about our cloth diapering experience – why we do it, what kind of diapers we use, is it gross? I honestly think that cloth diapering is going to become much more mainstream in the coming years. It’s already growing in popularity, and with all the easy options out there, I think people are pleasantly surprised when they realize that it’s not like the cloth diapering our parents used to do.
So, now that I’ve talked about why we do it and which diapers we chose, let’s talk about how it fits into the day-to-day. Just a warning – I’m a super detail oriented person, so this may get a little long. But when we were preparing for our babies, I was really interested in hearing how other people did things – and I wanted details! Feel free to skim if that’s not you:) Also fair warning: we are talking about poop etc. in this post, so if those kinds of topics turn your stomach, you might want to skip out on this
The early days
When the babies were little and on only breastmilk, our system looked a little different than it does now. Breastmilk poop is water soluble, so whether the diaper was just wet or dirty, it went straight into the dirty pail. We bought a step-open trash can, and instead of using a trash bag, we put in our wet bag. There are a lot of different options you could use, but this works really well for us because it closes (so as to eliminate odors), but there is still a narrow slit in the top so that air can get in and out even when it’s closed. Plus, when your hands are full of a dirty diaper and a squirmy baby, it’s easy to just step to open and dump in the diaper.
Cloth wipes – the easy way
This brings me to why we started using cloth wipes. In the beginning, I didn’t even want to consider using cloth wipes. Honestly, I just thought it sounded messy and disgusting. Then a friend gave us her unused set of cloth wipes that had been gifted to her, but that she had never used. For a long while, they just sat in the drawer. But the more time that went on and the more dirty diapers we changed, I began to think it just might be easier to use cloth.
Picture changing a diaper. You open the diaper, use a wipe to clean the baby, stuff the dirty wipe into the diaper, roll it all up and throw it away, right? Now picture using cloth diapers with disposable wipes. You clean the baby and then what? You either stuff the dirty wipe in the diaper and then sort it all out later (eww) or you have to stop and trash each wipe after you use it and then throw the diaper in a separate pail. After some thought, I decided that using cloth wipes is really not any more gross than cloth diapers. If you trust that your diapers are getting clean in the wash, then why not the wipes too? Now that we use cloth, we can simply clean up the baby, stuff the wipes in the diaper and roll it all up and toss in the dirty bin. Our wipes get washed right along with our diapers and aside from the extra 2 minutes used to fold and get them ready for use, the time commitment is about the same! I won’t try to go into how much money we save by using cloth wipes because it’s probably a little different for everyone (depending on how many wipes you use per diaper etc.), but just think about never having to buy a package of baby wipes again. Sounds nice, right?
Down the road – starting solids or using formula
I’m pretty sure that the people who know we use cloth were assuming that we’d give it all up once the babies started solids, and honestly I have to admit I was a little nervous that it would get a lot harder. But it really truly hasn’t. Once the babies started solids, we could no longer just throw the dirty diapers in the pail. For the first few days, their diapers were really soft as they made the transition to something other than breastmilk. I tried using the disposable liners we had gotten as a gift, but I found that they seemed to just be more inconvenient. I can assure you I did not enjoy having to try and pull up the edges of the liner without getting poop all over my hands and then transport it to the toilet. I know these work well for some people, but they just weren’t for us.
Basically, when the twins have a dirty diaper, most of the time (after that initial transition phase) it is pretty solid; so usually all the poop is on the diaper, and there is not much to be cleaned off their bottoms. In these instances, I simply clean them up, throw the wipe into the dirty bin, re-diaper the baby and then step into the bathroom and dump the contents into the toilet, and flush. The empty diaper goes into the dirty pail, and I’m done! Sure it’s an extra step, but remember – the payoff is huge.
If for whatever reason the contents of the diaper is soft and a little more messy, it does take a little extra attention. I start by cleaning baby’s bottom off with a swipe of the diaper. Then I use a wipe to clean the rest and throw the wipe in the dirty pail. The minimal residue on the wipe doesn’t bother me. If it did, I would probably just keep a pack of disposable wipes nearby for these instances. Obviously in that case you would probably want to have a small step trash can handy as well. After I re-diaper the baby, I step into our bathroom and use our sprayer (we bought this one off Zulilly), which is hooked to the toilet, to spray off the contents of the diaper. Yes, it does get a little spray on the toilet edges, which reminds me vividly of our days in Thailand, but it’s not that big of a deal. I usually use a tiny piece of toilet paper to wipe off any water droplets before flushing. We keep a small step-can with a small wet bag in it next to our toilet to put the wet diaper in after it’s been sprayed.
Washing and preparation
We choose to wash our diapers every night as we’ve found it’s easier to just have it as part of our daily routine rather than always having to remember and make time for it on wash days. Before we put the twins to bed at night, one of us goes in and pulls the wetbag full of dirty diapers as well as the wetbag in the bathroom (if we’ve had to spray that day) and puts it all into the washing machine. After turning the wetbag inside out inside the washer to dump everything out, we then shove the wetbag in as well. No touching diapers, no pulling out inserts….super easy. We run a cold cycle first; since we have a front loading HE machine, we press the “water plus” button so as much water as possible will run through the dipes. And of course we put the soil setting on “heavy.” We do not put soap in for this first cold cycle. Next we run a hot wash using the exact same settings (water plus and heavy), but we add detergent to this cycle. We use Charlie’s Soap for all our laundry, and it has worked perfectly for us. It doesn’t have that same smell as the usual detergent like Tide, and sometimes I miss that, but otherwise I love it, and we don’t have to worry about residue from our detergent being left behind for our diapers.
Last summer and fall I would hang our diapers outside to dry. I knew it would be easier on them in the long run and any stains that ever appeared would miraculously vanish in the sun (try it – it’s pretty amazing what the sun will do). Once the weather got cold, I started drying ours in the dryer, and that has worked great. Now that it’s getting warm again, I’m not sure if I’ll start line drying again. We’ll see. I don’t remember the last time I saw any type of stain on our diapers, but the few times that has happened I just hung that one diaper out and later brought it in bright white!
these two pictures show our newborn sized Bum Genius diapers
We do our washing at night because it does take awhile for them to get done. First thing in the morning, I move them to the dryer, and then later when the babies are sleeping I fold them and re-stock the drawers. With the BumGenius Freetimes, there’s no stuffing or anything, so folding literally takes minutes.
As I fold the diapers, I fold our wipes as well, stacking them into a little pile. To prepare them, I fill a bowl with warm water, add a squirt of baby wash (we use California Baby, but you could use whatever wash you use in the tub) and a few droplets of tea tree oil (to keep bacteria at bay). I then submerge the stack of wipes, wring them out and place them in a covered container. I happened to have a Tupperware dish that I never really used, which is perfect for storing wipes. You could really use anything though – there are even wipes warmers that work with cloth wipes.
By the way, you definitely wouldn’t have to use store-bought cloth wipes. You could use anything – scraps of fleece or cotton – anything!
On the go
If we are going on an overnight trip or for multiple days, we use disposables. It’s just not worth it to me to try and deal with washing diapers while on the go. If we are going somewhere just for a few hours or for the day, I pack cloth diapers and take a small wetbag (we use this one). After changing the babies, I just stuff the dirty diapers in the wetbag, zip it up and deal with it when we get home. The wetbags contain all the odors, and I’ve never had a problem with leaking or anything.
Now that the babies are older, we have started having overnight leaking problems with Linc. It’s really not surprising I suppose – now that he’s sleeping almost 12 hours. After talking to our local cloth diapering store, we decided to try these hemp inserts. We simply lay it inside the diaper before putting him to bed, and all our leaking problems are solved! It’s a super cheap fix too since we wash our diapers every night – technically we would only need one of these.
Our must-have cloth diapering products
Aside from the Bum Genius Freetime diapers, our diaper sprayer, disposal containers and wet bags, here are a couple other products that I highly recommend.
You cannot use normal rash cream on cloth diapers – it will hinder their absorbancy. There are lots of options out there, but we really like Grandma El’s. We have had very little diaper rash, but anytime one of the babies is looking just a little red, this clears it up quickly! I also think it is one of the main reasons (besides the cloth diapers themselves) why our babies have had so little diaper rash. There have been a couple of times that Vivian developed a more serious rash associated with teething. I pulled out all the stops and used Budreaux’s Butt Paste overnight with a tri-fold cloth lining the inside of the diaper so the cream wouldn’t touch it. In my experience, there’s nothing that works as fast as Budreaux’s, and when my baby has a painful looking rash I want only the best to get it cleared up stat!
I love the GroVia Magic Stick. We have one for each of the babies, and we try to swipe it over their bottoms after each diaper change. It protects against wetness, and as a bonus makes cleaning them up at the next change much easier!
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I think that about covers everything! Overall, I can’t imagine not cloth diapering the twins. The details in this post may seem a little overwhelming, but once you get set-up with the products you need, it really is so easy. As for doing it with twins – I’ve never done it with just one baby, but I can’t imagine why it would be so much harder. When you have twins, everything is double, and you just get used to it! The washing etc. is really no different though. It’s not only doable, it’s totally the way to go:)
And as I said before, the best part is obviously those cute little fluffy bottoms!
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Apr 1, 2013
By far the best Easter I can remember in a long time, this weekend was full of family, food, and an absurd amount of time spent listening to our babies laugh (they love their grandparents, aunts and cousins). On Saturday we packed up and headed to my mom and step-dad’s house where we hung out with them and my sister for the day. We laid in the floor forever watching Linc and Viv soak in time with Grandma and Aunt Cristen. It was a super relaxing day, and we topped it off with some mexican food for dinner and hanging out in the kitchen making food to take to my grandparent’s on Sunday.
It was a late night, and I didn’t sleep well once we finally went to bed. But Sunday morning came early anyway, and it was hard to feel tired once we pulled the babies from their pack-n-plays and cuddled up in the big bed together. Our family of four.
The babies were fed and they experienced their first Easter morning – baskets and all. Of course their favorite part was the basket, the grass and the eggs. They could have cared less about what was inside them. Eventually they went down for a short nap before church while the rest of us bustled around getting ready for the service. We joined my grandparents at their church, which doesn’t happen often enough. A small, southern Baptist church with a hymnal at every seat, it felt like the perfect place to be on Easter morning.
I held my sweet baby girl while worshipping our Savior, and I was overcome with thankfulness for all that He has done for me. I deserve death because of my sinfulness, and not only has He given me life, but also two precious babies, a husband who fits me perfectly and family all around. I couldn’t ask for more.
Sunday was a beautiful day, and we spent the afternoon at my grandparent’s house. A fantastic lunch was had before we gathered around the house catching up…then an epic egg hunt planned by my mom and sister later in the afternoon. Unfortunately for Vivian, she got paired with her mama, who ended up only snagging two eggs the entire time. Next year somebody remind that girl to avoid her mama when it comes to egg hunting time.
All in all, this Easter will go down in the books not only as the twins’ first, but also as the one where I stood in my grandma and grandpa’s kitchen and got all choked up over His awe inspiring love. I see it now in a different way than I used to. Not a better way, just different. The life He has given is so so good.
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