Thursday, August 4, 2011

There was once a little brat named Flagrant Disregard.

I take issue with the term "creamy." While I do enjoy as much fat as our bovine suppliers can give us, I'm talking about the way the label is used as the antithesis of the term "crunchy," which is typically in reference to the lifestyle formerly known as "granola." However, now that granola is sold at Walmart, the lifestyle's subscribers needed to move further out on the fringe, because being on the fringe is also integral to the whole concept of "crunchiness," just like the batik skirts, Birkenstocks and reusable shopping bags.

If you didn't notice, I don't like the term "crunchy," either.
I also don't like "preggo," "preggers," or their phonetically challenged Italian American friend, "prego." I don't like "jock," "prep," "gearhead," and ESPECIALLY "nonconformist." Have you ever noticed most who call themselves nonconformists wear the same kind of clothes and listen to the same type of music? What's the definition of sterotype again? Just do your thing and shut up about it.

Moving on (or back). My major issue with the term "creamy" is not what it represents; which, in the mommy circles I frequent, typically means formula feeding, stroller pushing, disposable diaper using, sleep training, schedule sticking, non-organic eating, etc. Any one of those things is not evil or cruel or irresponsible. However, when moms proudly and defiantly declare themselves to be "creamy" in the face of the Crunch Crusaders, it is usually to turn a deaf ear/blind eye/cold heart to all the lifestyle and parenting differences. Is it a guilt thing? Because surely you can't sit there and tell me that your research has proven that formula trumps breastfeeding (insert disclaimer for genuine need here), or that BPA is actually good for babies, or that the less physical contact the better for small ones.


Basically, it's the same kind of disbelief, hopelessness, and irritation I feel when I see yet another Facebook profile like that of this young relative of mine:

Books: i hate reedng
Activities: yoo my name is XXXX i love to skateboard listen to muzic and txt thts all u need to no so txt meh ask 4 tha number
Political Views: they r all stupd <--I suppose this is rather accurate

Anyway, can someone please explain to me why why WHY it is ok to basically ignore everything that is widely known to be the best for your child (I'm not including those in true ignorance - we're only covering the self-proclaimed "creamies" here). 

And WHY is it ok to be proud of it?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How I Finished the Challenge

The END of the flats and handwashing challenge. 

Thursday evening, I rinsed, rinsed, washed, rinsed, and rinsed. All with my hands. I hung them in the bathroom, using hangers, because we were (once again!) under a tornado warning, plus it was dark outside. I left the fan on for about an hour, but turned it off before we went to bed. Amazingly, all but a few of the thicker flannels I had been using were dry by morning!

Hence my conclusion #1 I may not enjoy using flats all day every day, but I do not mind the handwashing. There's something cathartic about it, with a dose of satisfying mild compulsivity. Yes, even poop diapers.

It was fortuitous that the diapers dried so well overnight, because Friday morning I had to put my hind end into proverbial gear to pack and get the boys out of here by 9:15. We hit the library first to return an Elmo DVD and get some good toddler CD's for the drive, then wound and wove our way through the Catawba Valley to Vinton for E.R.'s funeral. I changed a flat at the funeral home - piece o'cake seeing as it was the first time I'd had to do any changing in a real public place. After a nice, respectful service, during which I felt the consequences of rarely taking the boys to church, at not least without foisting them upon the nursery workers, we headed down to Justin's parents for the rest of the weekend.

Conclusion #2 - Sometimes our convenient way of life is not possible, and camp-style washers come in handy.

Thursday night, a tornado-like storm (weathermen haven't acknowledged it yet, but here's a picture of the damage on the road going to the inlaws...) hit their area. We didn't know anything about it until we were at the funeral, so decided to go on down. This is what we saw (their neighbors)
Needless to say, power was out from Thursday night-Saturday evening. Even though my father in law is prepared, in his near-hoarder way, for many situations, and thankfully had a generator to power lights and fans, we had to handwash everything and take cold showers. Which is where having my camp-style washer along was incredibly providential.

Conclusion Final: Cloth diapering using flats and washing by hand is definitely possible, but the mother would have to be dedicated.

Not really prepared for a sociological discussion here, but let's face the fact that many underprivileged families are not exactly itching for the excitement of squeezing poopy water out of diapers. We have an obesity epidemic in our country, especially among the low-income folk, and it has a lot to do with convenience and under-education. I won't say the l-zy word, because I do know that's not always true. I think it is a valid option, but I don't particularly see the welfare moms around here, who refuse to breastfeed due to social conditioning, getting anywhere near "crunchy" enough to cloth diaper. I genuinely hope that this can be changed!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 4

Day 4! Can't believe it. No revelations for the day, other than I suppose I should watch some of those video tutorials for folding, I just have never learned really well from watching videos. I have to see a step by step diagram or read it or something. Therefore, the folds I've been using (besides the pad fold) have been largely improvised, and any resemblance they bear to named folds only bears witness to how the technique came about in the first place.

My first wash yesterday was a success, and contrary to my fears, the flats seem to have rinsed clean. No ammonia smell so far today! They dried SO fast outside, as it was nice and sunny and breezy yesterday afternoon (today too - we had a park playdate!). My only issue was with the bird that aimed well and pooped straight on one of my nice white diapers :( Maybe this is how I'll convince my hubby we need a cat. A fluffy fluff guard cat.
Rules here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On 60 Years

Yesterday, Justin's great-great uncle E.R. Collier passed away. He had pancreatic cancer that wasn't found until 4 weeks ago, and progressed at an astounding rate (the tumor went from 3.5x3.8cm to 5x5cm in less than 2 weeks). We saw him this last weekend and, even when he was responsive, he was still very yellow from his bile ducts being blocked by the mass. The hospice nurse had stopped by Justin's parents', where E.R. and his wife Joanne have been staying, and told them that, based on his breathing pattern, she did not expect him to make it through the night. Well, he didn't even make it til sundown. It's sad that she's had enough experience to be spot-on.

If E.R. had lived until July 3rd, he and Joanne would have been married 60 years. Sixty years together. They were never able to have children, and she cried herself to sleep many times over that. They tried to adopt once, but the birth mother changed her mind at the last moment, which, needless to say, traumatized them. Sixty years, only the two of them. They lived together, alone, in Roanoke until E.R. was hospitalized 4 weeks ago - when they found the cancer. When their life together began to be torn slowly down the middle. Sixty years together, and now she is alone. She's alone and she has dementia. While yesterday she understood that he had passed away and was no longer in pain, at night she searches for him. This morning she sobbed that she could not find him. She worries about him. Sixty years of caring gently for each other, calling each other "my love." She's concerned for his welfare when really, he's in the best shape he's ever been, in the best hands he could be. He's celebrating his long Earthly life as he begins his endless eternal life in the presence of the Father.

Joanne, locked in the confines of her failing human mind, laid her hand on my arm Sunday and tearily asked "can you help my husband? I'm just so worried about him. I love that man. I don't want anything to happen to him." Oh. Oh my. What can you say?

Her husband is in peace, but she will be anything but peaceful until they meet again. Heartbreaking.

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 3

Night #2 = dry sheets! I used two flats - one kite-folded, one pad-folded; and three of my dry flannel wipes as a type of insert. Voila!

Since we fell asleep super early last night, I didn't do the first flats wash until this morning. Sweet hubby drilled a hole in the top of the bucket to make my camp-style washer, which was helpful for the hot wash "cycle," but honestly the rest of it, including the rinsing, was much easier by hand in the bathtub. I did a cold soak for 20 minutes, then added a half scoop of Charlie's to the bucket of our hot, hot tap water (our water heater's broken - it comes out around 125 degrees). I plunged it around for a few minutes, then used the lid to hold the diapers back as I drained into the toilet. I rinsed with cold, drained again, filled the bucket with cold and soaked for 20 more minutes. I then agitated with my hands, drained once more, and filled again before wringing each flat and cover individually. I threw them into a laundry basket, made us some peanut butter and banana sandwiches, wiped the sticky children off, put them down to nap, and then went outside to rig my clothesline on our deck because, despite all the reminders, certain male halves of this relationship have not put up the poles for an official line. As I was hanging, I sniffed a kind of musty/urine scent. I sure hope I rinsed enough :( At least it's our first really sunny day in weeks! We only have one flat of the original collection left before we'll have to either cheat or go naked, so hopefully these dry quickly...

Once again, here are the rules. Proud to report we're following them, and even more proud that it's possible.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 2

Well, we're still alive on day 2 of this challenge. Sheets were soaked last night, forcing me to accept the fact that my baby is officially a stomach sleeper. Besides the fact he has a penis that is attached to the anterior side of his body, the stomach sleeping means I'm going to have to modify this flat-folding business to provide a little extra padding there.

He also managed to wake up and want to play from 12-2:30a, but that's a story for another therapy session.

Haven't tried to wash these flats yet, but I'm thinking that they're so thin, I could probably spritz them with a spray bottle and be done with it. I've been lucky that his biggest poop happened yesterday morning before the first flat was applied, so the first wash should be a breeze if my hubby ever gets a hole in the top of this 5 gallon bucket!

Sadness of the day: got two new BumbleDipes pockets (they were on clearance - $10 each, how friggin awesome?) in the mail - butter yellow and chocolate (making me hungry now) - and I can't use them til Monday :( Maybe we could work a clause into this experiment since they were on sale...the poverty-stricken could maybe afford these...

My 2 year old didn't understand what I was doing with the blankets...
Inspired by the creativity of the blogger at Milk Bubbles, I decided to upcycle a few pointless receiving blankets. You know, the kind that could maybe swaddle a newborn kitten, but I'll never understand why they market them for humans. They work so much better! I feel like my Carter's brand flats were little more than cheesecloth and have no idea how they were absorbing anything. Guess we'll see how well the blankets wash and dry, though.

Until tomorrow!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 1

I started out this challenge (Official Rules) with:
  • 1 dozen Carter's brand flats ($11.93)
  • 1 5 gallon bucket and lid ($5.04)
  • 1 basic plunger, although my husband said to just use ours since it's all poop anyway, right? ($2.47)
  • 1 pack diaper pins because I was afraid Snappi's would snag his skin through the thin flats ($1.54)
  • A tub of Charlie's Soap, which I already had ($11.50)
  • I'm sticking with 3 covers for now, because I'd like to use the smaller ones I've got in order to keep the flats nice and cozy underneath. So 2 Thirsties and 1 Econobum cover: about $30
Total: $62.48.
Damn, if an entire baby's worth of diapering could be done for that much, I think the US could recover from recession and probably buy China.

Monday 5/23 12:57 pm
I took the lazy road and prepped my flats in the washer and dryer last night. Once we got up this morning, I tried my hand at pad folding our very first flat, and have since changed him twice. I guess I got it right, but lesson learned, and take note here, gals, Carter's brand flats (I just went to Walmart) are not the same size as those in the tutorial video, and aren't looking like they'll be the right size for even my 9th percentile 6 month old. We're going to tough it out, though. I am wondering if I didn't read all the preparation info thoroughly enough to find a recommendation for measurements. I wanted to go by my instincts and buy them from Green Mountain, but they were just a little too pricey for what I'm looking at as an experiment. So Walmart it was :(
One positive here - they're super trim under my Thirsties covers!

Alright by me!

Ugh, as I was typing this and holding the baby, my two year old handed him a chunk of blue Playdoh, which he ate and promptly puked up, along with at least a couple ounces of breastmilk and some squash from his lunch. A+ for my Monday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For Ruth

The Pearl in the Oyster: From two, to one...
I've had one experience with grief and loss. April 16th, 2007. That experience was exceptional in that I was grieving along with thousands of others in our town and university, even across the world. It was terrifying, it was huge, it made headlines. For months afterwards, wearing a VT shirt outside of our little corner of the state would prompt inquiries and condolences from strangers. Most people experiencing a loss do not have it this way. They will walk into a restaurant, sit down, and be greeted in the same casual manner as every other diner. The waiter will bring crayons for their child, never knowing that there should be two children. Healthy grief can be stored for later - it does not typically involve public breakdowns. When your baby never really got to come home from the hospital, I'd imagine it would be hard to figure out where your grief belongs. My friend Ruth lost her 3 month old baby yesterday after a long struggle with a congenital heart defect. The way she has handled it, especially in the immediate aftermath, is absolutely amazing to me. I doubt that I would have that much presence of mind. I am also so grateful to her for sharing these moments, which are justifiably private and personal, with all of us "internet friends" who have followed with interest, concern and prayers through Corbin's short life. My heart has been aching for their family, and every time I cry my precious little boy comes up and kisses me, pats my leg, and says "mommy not sad, mommy happy?" My precious, healthy little boy. Thank you, God.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


So I've (perhaps rashly) decided to join this flats and handwashing challenge. Justin thinks I'm nuts for sending him to Lowe's for a bucket and plunger when we have a perfectly good (subject to interpretation) washing machine. I tell him he's nuts for changing the transmission in one of the Mustangs from automatic to 5 speed. Same difference, even though I do love 5 speeds.

Since I started this post this morning, saved it, and returned, I've been thinking about this cake for 120 people I'm making before next Sunday. It's Justin's grandfather's 80th birthday, and, with two entire cakes under my belt (I'm talking experience, not calories, but there could be a basis to that claim, as well...) I volunteered to make this monstrosity. It's gonna be part yellow, part chocolate, frosted in buttercream, and I'm going to attempt to do a plaid pattern out of blue marshmallow fondant. Little does Justin know that "n
Expensive candles anything seems justifiable when named
 in French, although perhaps not to my husband
ecessary expenses" for this baby included a fondant mat, a frosting spreader, and new 12"x18" baking pan, as well as the possibility of $20 in candles I am watching on Ebay. I am assuming they're new, as I'd rather not have the ones someone else pulled out of their cake and licked off. Come on, I know you do it too.

...It's going to be so mega-enormous that I've drafted Justin into cutting a piece of plywood to transport it on.
It shall be my pièce de résistance (see, isn't that better in French? With italics? It's like, doubly pretentious).

In the spirit of being prepared, and also at my sweet tooth's urging, I decided to make a preemptive cake to practice the decorations on. When Grady wanted to be involved, I mustered all the Montessori-ness my spirit could handle and invited him to the table. Of course, he's pretty much naked, but that Contessa chick is barefoot, isn't she?

Therefore my third child was conceived and birthed - the "Naked Baby" Tutorials. This is going to kick ass. Page over to "Naked Baby Presents" for the first installation.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I'm still way too busy with school (for T minus one month, YAY!) to really sit down and write like I've been desperate to, but last night and tonight I've been bursting with subject matter, so I'm going to cough it up on here so I can come back and remember what I wanted to discuss when I finally have time to discuss it.

My wonder and awe at God's creation. I've been astounded lately, and I think it's for three reasons: I'm getting older, hitting the developmental stage where you realize the world is so, so much bigger than you; I've got two amazing works of God that my body carried, built and nourished, and they're growing, developing, just like billions of other babies have, and it's amazing that that can just...happen (also, what I think about when it doesn't just happen); and the things about the human body and mind I've been learning the last two semesters - I feel like my worldview is coming together. I could write a book, but it couldn't be one with pages. This would have to be some kind of three-dimensional (maybe four) book, with arms and fingers and webs and tangents.

My views today vs. a few years ago re: childrearing, life, music, cooking... I love my mom, and I want to say "I'm sorry for everything I ever said." I think this is a developmental stage, as well.

I want goats and chickens. Did I mention we cloth diaper? Haha.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby Machine

All this reading for OB/Maternal nursing is stirring a deep, physical desire in me to be pregnant again. And over and over. Everyone wonders what Michelle Duggar is thinking, but she's just in nursing school!

Really, though, as I memorize Leopold's Maneuvers for assessing fetal position, I want that fetus in the pastel textbook graphic to be MY fetus, turned head downwards and curled up in MY abdomen, ready to be birthed by MY body and kissed by MY mouth. As I type this I am feeling tiny movements in my stomach, which I'm sure is just intestinal rumbling, but my heart imagines it to be another little baby.

This is dangerous. I fear I'm addicted to the "Mama Thing." No one tell Justin.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Things I Love

I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time being jealous. Coveting. Telling myself how awesome things will be when I'm out of school and have a real job and we can have health insurance and perhaps a new car. And I can go to Target and get what I want. And we can have a bed with a headboard, and different couches (the cushions kind of slide out when they're sat on and it drives me more insane than it should). 

But last night on Baby Center, someone posted a thread simply asking 'what do we love?' Genius. She transformed my day of stressing over money into a great night of remembering the little (and not so little) things. I started listing and kept listing.
I love...
Our beautiful old Blue Ridge Mountains, the New River, kayaking, sleeping in hay lofts, the smell of grass, beer, making bread, making cookies, making pies, listening to crickets, kittens, the color green, going on walks, seeing snow fall, having money in savings, giving birth, breastfeeding, cuddling my babies, having conversations with my two year old, kissing my husband, baby cheeks (they're so soft!), vacuuming carpets (I'm weird), reading a good book, hot baths, camping in the summer, getting a good haircut, weddings, board games, ironing (I never do it anymore because we basically own nothing that needs ironed, but my mom used to pay me $0.50 per dress shirt of my dad's and I LOVED IT), Reader's Digest. Jeopardy. Singing classical music and sounding good, worship music too, shows on ABC, baseball caps, football season!, health food stores where you can buy flour, grains, spices, etc. by weight and put them in the little bags, natural remedies, chicken wings, nursing school even though it's tough, cutting my kids' fingernails (but not my own, I bite them), Netflix, taking pictures, coffee

I'm sure there's much more, but the reading would be ridiculous. BTW could you tell I can't wait for warmer weather?

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Only Words I've Heard Today Are My Own.

Even though about half the time they're my own words repeated back to me by an almost-two-year-old with a distinctly Mexican flavored accent. Seriously. Kid is blond and blue, never been out of Virginia, and he speaks like his middle name is Jorge. "I did it" turns into "I deed eet" and "it's broken" is "ees brokeen." Anyone who knows my mother knows she's Senora Ribbe, Spanish teacher at GHS. Grady might need to spend more time with his other grandparents...

But I keed, I keed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Yes, that's right. There is just so much of it. If it's not one, it's the other. And as I'm sitting here and Grady's pushing his red truck back and forth across the room I'm getting whiffs that can mean only one thing...

And while he'll come up to us (typically in the middle of dinner when he's already pushed his food away saying "all done plate, all done fork" and gotten down from the table, which is happening more and more lately since he EATS NOTHING BESIDES PRETZELS, but that's another story), anyway he comes up to us in the middle of dinner patting his bottom and saying "is poopin diaper?" I insist that he immediately sits on his potty, but since I'm usually incapacitated by a nursing baby (and need my meat cut up for me...I feel like I'm back in the nursing home from last semester), Justin gets the pleasure. Of course Grady has yet to successfully eliminate in an approved receptacle, so by the third time last night that he informed us of his need to "poop in potty" Justin flat out refused. Kid's only manipulating us for marshmallows, which is what I give him when he tries on the potty, because otherwise he just wants to use it as a little chair to sit in and read magazines. ONE TIME he peed 3 drops in it, but that was over a month ago. Sigh. I'm really trying not to rush him, since I know kids need to be ready before any effort on my part will produce a result.

Moving along to a more savory subject, the boys' room is almost finished! Gwen, JB and Topher came over on Monday, sacrificing a snow day to help paint. One wall is dark brown and the other three are a sky blue, like a September day blue. Justin is kind of unsure about the contrast, and honestly so am I, but I think once I get the car and truck decals up and the furniture moved where I want it (and where is that? It's like a Sudoku, I have an idea of the goal but my mind just can't put the pieces together) it will look much better. MUCH better than the "sand" color it was before, thanks to Gavin. Our house is quite...colorful...if you've never been here. The kitchen and dining room are a pale cream yellow, but the cabinets are RED. The bathroom is ORANGE (seriously, it was called Harvest Spice and it looked great on the card when Meaghan and I picked it out). The living rooms are a nice, light Ralph Lauren brown, our bedroom is green (Tea Leaf or something) and the boys' room, well, you know. It's got personality! Speaking of which, Grady just stumbled up to me wearing Justin's sweatshirt backwards, like with the hood covering his face, crying for me to take "Daddy's shirt off." Time to go.