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.